Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hearty Healthy Holiday Soup

Have you noticed all the perfume ads lately? I know that "scents" are quite the popular holiday gift, unless you're me and you hate perfume because it gives you a headache, but seriously people. Lindsey first drew my attention to this at the T.J. Maxx in Auburn over Iron Bowl weekend when we stopped in to get gloves for the cold. There were at least 6 different "celebrescents" (I just invented a word) at the checkout counter. Britney Spears. Shania Twain. Celine Dion. Mariah Carey. Hilary Duff. Who doesn't have a perfume out this holiday season? And are people actually buying them? If any of y'all out there are actually purchasing these fragrances, I need to know about it. This is a critical analysis in the making. Do you want to smell like the celebrities? In the case of Britney, does it smell like a combination between frappuccinos and cigarettes? What's Shania smell like, hay fields from Canada? I bet Hilary smells like cotton candy and bubble gum. And do you actually think the people wear their own perfume, that is mass produced and, I'm sure, cheaply made? I am curious about these things. And I am clearly watching way too much television on my holiday vacation. Wait, wait - oh yeah, it's my job to keep up with television. Nevermind.

In between coming up with more research projects that may help me get tenured some day, I have been doing my favorite thing in the world - cooking. Holiday baking took up a lot of time yesterday, and Dave really threw me for a loop when he called at 4 p.m. and requested "vegetables" for dinner. It's rare that he specifically requests something that close to the night's dinner, so I took it as a challenge. I nixed the chicken enchiladas I had in mind, flipped through a Rachael Ray cookbook, and adapted a recipe based on what I had left from last week's grocery trip. The result: a healthy, hearty soup that was perfect for a cold night like last night. Dave ate two bowls, I personally loved it, and there were leftovers for lunch today. So here's the recipe for LBDelicious Spinach Artichoke Soup.

2 T (approx) EVOO
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered (do not use marinated artichoke hearts)
salt & pepper to taste

In large soup pot, heat oil, then sautee onion, pepper and garlic, with salt & pepper, until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer about 15-20 minutes, until ready to eat. Before serving, make up a batch of cheesy toast or serve with crusty bread. My cheese toast was a kaiser roll split in half, topped with mozzarella, placed in the toaster oven for 3 minutes. MMMM

This is very low-fat, low-calorie, and filling meal, especially if you eat it with bread. No bread laying around? Make it heartier by adding some ditalini, orzo, or any small pasta (pre-cooked, unless you want a thick stew-like consistency). Where have you seen ditalini before? Yep, Jon's Italian Sausage Soup. This recipe was also in part adapted from that one. You probably have all of these ingredients laying around your house. If you don't, and you're broke from all your Christmas shopping and think you can't afford to cook it, these ingredients are all very budget-friendly.

Now, I'm going back to baking some more and prepping walls to paint. Happy Holidays!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Apologizing in Advance

Dearest Readers,

I am writing to apologize in advance. I will not be posting much, if at all, this semester. Don't look to hear from me again until December 14, which is the last day of Fall 2007, according to the registrar. My schedule is a bit, well, nutty. I'm trying to finish up a Ph.D. before my boyfriend decides he's tired of waiting around on me to get all "self fulfilled" as we say so often. :) I tell you, if I didn't care so darn much about teaching, and research, and helping people become critical media consumers, and if I didn't feel so compelled to help college students the same way so many wonderful college professors helped me through the years, and if there weren't so many young, brilliant men and women out there who need to be exposed to more feminist literature because they seriously believe that we aren't ready for a woman president because "women are just too emotional and we'd be seen as weak in the eyes of the world," then I'd probably have never made it here in the first place, and probably wouldn't have the mind to blog about random things like gourmet foodtv recipes either, and would probably instead be blogging about how bad it sucks to be barefoot, pregnant, living in a field in Alabama, so we probably are better off not speculating. Anyway. In the grand scheme of things, I'd take Dave over a degree any day, but I think having both is a completely realistic possibility. So. That being said. In order to accomplish these goals, my priority this semester is with the 12 hours of graduate classes I'm taking (all of which are fascinating, which is good, since all I'll be doing is reading and writing for them), and running the Grad Student Association. Oh, and probably being the primary investigator on a grant. And presenting at conferences. And being in weddings. And trying not to completely alienate my friends, most of whom are nowhere near the commonwealth (meaning I get to travel a lot!). And going to the Iron Bowl. And continuing to not say "no" to projects that just happen my way. You know. Living the life of the mind while totally losing mine.

So, to tide you over, I will leave you with one final recipe that will carry you through the dark days when you think "man I wish LBD had a new post up on the blog." It is my go-to recipe when I am having a really, really, REALLY bad day.

Chocolate Martini
1 1/2 shots Godiva chocolate liqueur
1 1/2 shots Creme de Cacao
1/2 shot vodka
2 1/2 shots half & half

Rim a chilled martini glass with sugar (dip the rim in a shallow saucer with vodka, then roll in a saucer filled with sugar). In a martini shaker, combine all ingredients with ice. Shake well. Strain into sugar rimmed martini glasses. Drink/savor. Best not to drink these if you have anything to do the next day that requires you to get out of bed by, like, noon.

Really, there isn't much a chocolate martini can't fix, in my book. And you can't screw it up. But don't go trying to use skim milk (or 1% or 2%, or heavy cream) - you must use all the ingredients, exactly, no substitutions.

So, dear readers, until December, farewell! Keep checking LBDelicious.com for me to actually set up a for-real website, in my free time of course.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Just Invented Something Not Half Bad

I know better than to go to the grocery store when I'm hungry. Just like I know better than to wait until I'm starving to decide what to make myself for lunch or dinner. (Why not breakfast? That's a no brainer. Cereal and coffee. Mindless, and stable. Like old Britney Spears cds.) So today, when I made it home around 11, I was really hungry and had no quick fix available. I did not want a sandwich. I did not want something tomato-based. So I invented a pasta dish that I'd like to share with all of you. I call it:

What's in the Fridge Pasta Salad #1
1/2 cup penne pasta
1 T olive oil
1 red bell pepper, rough diced
1/2 zuccini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
garnish (optional): ricotta cheese

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water, al dente. Meanwhile, preheat skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Satuee pepper and zuccini, with salt and pepper. Add in garlic. After 7-9 minutes, deglaze pan with chicken stock. Add in artichoke hearts. Add in cheeses. Toss with cooked, drained pasta. Serve, topping with more parmesan and ricotta (optional).

Maybe I just haven't had enough calcium today or something, and that's why it sounded good to top the dish with a teeny bit of ricotta cheese. But it was dang tasty! It hit the spot, whereas sometimes, when I have "throw stuff together" meals, they don't go over as well. With these measurements, it made two servings, and you get your veggies, carbs, and some dairy in for the day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to My New Blog Home!

My freshman year of college, I was a piece of work. Here I was, a naive, homely looking, unfashionable girl who wore really baggy t-shirts, high waisted jeans, big glasses, and, most infamously, sported a horrible set of bangs atop long, wild, bushy, unhighlighted hair. I was quiet. I never spoke up. Ever. I don't even think I had real opinions. I was quite the tragic story. I wore my style and personality inadequacies like a badge, proud to non-conform. It didn't take too long, though, to realize that I wasn't just non-conforming by sticking to what I thought was an acceptable look or performance - I was only perpetuating the unhealthy self-image I had by not branching out and trying to look remotely good. Enter Mica Smith dragging me to Jason Glass at the Rage Studio of Hair Design, Allison, Denise and KiKi taking me to Dillard's, and a set of plastic eyeglass frames that somehow became my signature. I needed a makeover to help me out of my shell, and I thank God I was surrounded by people who loved me for who I was, but wanted to help me be the best person I could be.

Not that I'm that much more fashionable or attractive these days, but at least I got rid of the bangs. And high waisted jeans. Oh, and I have opinions and voice them. Mega important to feeling good about onesself.

The moral of this story: no matter what you've got on the inside, everyone needs a makeover sometimes. Even blogs.

Everyone's favorite food blog, LBDelicious.com, is moving here. LBDelicious will soon become, instead, my own personal home page. I feel as if I need one, seeing as how I'm going to be, like, getting a job in the next couple of years, and will need a place to host teaching materials, a vita, and just other random stuff like cool links and pictures of me and my homies, out doing fun things like playing Scrabble and running 5Ks. But what really's prompting this change: the food blog needs to be more visually appealing. It needs a makeover.

It's just not food porn if I can't show you pictures of what I create, or eat, and that's what I'm going for. Food porn. Admit it. You know you love it too. It's what keep Food Network on the air. While LBDelicious has up til now been a site of food that I love, the new and improved LBDelicious will be home to, well, all things LBD. I plan on extending my blog to include restaurant reviews in addition to my amateur attempts in the kitchen. Only, the blog will be here, at lbdelicous.blogspot.com, instead of just lbdelicious.com. Don't worry. It'll be the numero uno link on my site. Another good reason for moving my blog - this will make commenting easier. And I'm all about the conversation, really. Wasn't it James Carey who said that life is just a conversation - when we are born, we enter it, and when we die, it carries on? Or something like that. Sorry, J.W., I can't cite everything you wrote. Though I wish I could.

Anyway, I feel as if LBDelicious is more of a way of life, rather than just food I like. LBDelicious is about embracing your inner nerd. Laughing without abandon. Television, music, movies, and websites. Spending time with friends. Traveling. Learning. Eating. Teaching others. See - a way of life. So that's where LBDelicious is going. The blog is only going here. Please keep visiting. The transition will happen as soon as I need another reason to procrastinate.