WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Sharing is caring April 13, 2011

Filed under: Beverage,Side dish — WannaBe Chef @ 9:20 am

I have lots of totally random stuff to share today.  Being toward the end of my pregnancy (only 9 weeks to go!), it should be getting more difficult to eat normal quantities of food, and for some women, the nausea of the first trimester returns.  Well, this has not been the case for me.  I still want to eat everything in sight, ugh!  I’m trying my best to resist the cravings for root beer floats, donuts, and onion rings.  I’m also craving beverages.  Water gets soooo boring after awhile.  So I found this tea at the store the other day and decided to try it.  It’s a little pricey, but it was a nice change.

I also came across a recipe for homemade iced coffee.  I’ve tried making my own iced coffee in the past, and it always tasted like crap.  Well, this recipe is totally a hit!  And I love that I don’t have to brew coffee to make this. 

Iced Coffee
Recipe >>>HERE<<<

I used decaf instant coffee and probably a little more than 6 oz of skim milk.

Remember how I just said I was craving onion rings?  I decided to make some “healthy” onion rings last night, hoping it would squash the craving.  These turned out pretty well!  Despite the super high oven temperature setting off our smoke detector, the rings turned out very crispy and tasty. 

Oven Baked Onion Rings
Adapted from recipe >>>HERE<<<

I used panko bread crumbs instead of potato chips, and I didn’t use anywhere near 4 cups (more like 1 cup).  I also skipped the flour/zip-lock bag step and just let the onions soak in the buttermilk mixture for an hour or so before breading them in the panko.


Snooze October 14, 2010

Filed under: Beverage,Meatless,Potato — WannaBe Chef @ 6:34 pm

Hi friends.  I’m a little grouchy today, mostly because of the morons that “work” at the post office.  I just want my package, ok?!  Is it too much to ask for the carrier to put it in the right mailbox?!  Ugh.  Sorry, just had to get that out.  It’s been pretty boring around here, but Wayne is coming back tomorrow at least.  Dinner last night was anything but blogworthy – it was a massive pancake with walnuts, mini chocolate chips, peanut butter and syrup.  Is your mouth watering now?  So, my son has been especially leechy lately…

I also wanted to share this yummy drink I made the other night.  Into the blender, I dumped some pineapple juice, a couple spoonfuls of coconut milk, a little bit of shredded coconut, a pinch of sugar, and a handful of ice.

Tonight’s dinner was less than exciting, but it tasted so good.  A baked sweet potato topped with black beans, cumin, salt, pepper, fresh salsa and sour cream.


Sassy Saturday July 10, 2010

Filed under: Beverage,Life,Products — WannaBe Chef @ 8:30 pm

Hello, lovepies!  I’m feeling a little more in the bloggy spirit today, so I thought I’d share my Saturday with you.  We started out this lovely Saturday at the Farmer’s Market and came home with these green and yellow goodies.

  • Cucumbers (No, I’m not making pickles out of them, although I’d like to!)
  • Zucchini
  • Onions
  • Yellow beans
  • Potatoes

Then we went to the mall to return some things.  I also had to talk to a jeweler about my wedding rings.  I’ve developed some sort of allergy (likely to the nickel), and I’ve been unable to wear my rings for a couple weeks months now.  Hopefully having the rhodium plating re-done will help, at least for awhile 😦  I won’t have my rings back till Wednesday!  Booo.  Our day continued with lunch at where else but B-Dubs (Buffalo Wild Wings).  Since it’s Wayne’s birthday weekend, that’s where he wanted to go!  Sorry, no pictures, but I had the blackened chicken salad, yuh-um.  After that, Wayne decided he wanted to go golfing.  I don’t golf, but somehow he convinced me to come ride along in the golf cart. 

Tall man, short club

I had to break into my purse stash of almonds around hole 4 or so, hehe. 

After that, we stopped at the liquor store, and I saw the new Skinny Girl Margarita and couldn’t resist.  I have a very good friend who I know is laughing at me right now if she’s reading… *Kelsey, where you at?!* 

This stuff is made with tequila and agave nectar, so it’s ready to drink straight out of the bottle.  I poured it over ice, took a sip, and holy crap it’s strong!  I added a little more agave to it, and that helped a lot.  It’s actually pretty good, and I would buy it again.  So, remember that Papa Murphy’s pizza from last weekend?  Well, the coupon we had was for TWO pizzas, and guess what Wayney-pie wanted for dinner?

Overall, we’ve had a very nice and relaxing Saturday.  Tomorrow shall consist of more sassy, laid back activities, and Monday (Wayne’s actual birthday) may even contain a visit to an amusement park, weeeee!  Hope you all are having a nice weekend 🙂  Toodles for now.


The sigh factor April 28, 2010

Filed under: Beef,Beverage,Fruit,Products,Sweets — WannaBe Chef @ 6:41 pm

I decided to skip breakfast and lunch today… well, skip taking pics, not skip eating.  Both meals were pretty boring and leftover-ish, so I figured I would spare you.  Instead, I thought I’d share some snacks, like this delicious bowl of raspberries and lite Cool Whip…

and this skim Chai tea latte from the coffee shop down the street.

And I also thought I’d share an odd story.  So a few weeks ago, after seeing these stupid candies on some Food Network show, I decided to order some on a whim (or perhaps out of boredom?).  Well, after two tries with two different credit cards, the stupid website kept giving me errors and I gave up.  I never got any emails confirming my purchase, and my bank accounts were not charged, so I figured that was that.  Well, to my surprise, I received a package today and it contained the Sinfully Delicious candies.  Hmmm.  Well… I didn’t really want them anymore, and then when I opened the box, I discovered I had been shorted by two “sampler” boxes and one of the boxes I did get looked like it had been around the block a few times.  Grrreat.  And did I get charged twice??  Uggh.  So I called the place, and the lady was nice, so I didn’t demand a refund.  I will be getting my “replacements” shipped out soon.  Woot woot… yeah, I’m a doormat. 

I don’t know what I was thinking… believing that a tablet of compressed, artificially colored powder would taste like a 500 calorie dessert… yeahhhh… they are not very good.  Despite the wide array of “flavors,” they all have a similar chemical, plastic, fake taste going on…

The adorable packaging sucked me in, damnit!

This was the most appetizing part, though… thanks Mr. Mannitol!

Let’s get on with dinner, shall we?  Tonight, I made something I rarely make… a big ole hunk of meat.  Cooking steaks, roasts, chops, etc etc has always been intimidating to me… not to mention trying to pick it out at the store (can you say deer-in-the-headlights?).  It always ends up tough, dry, and/or flavorless.  It’s not like chicken where you can just cook it to death and then douse it in BBQ sauce.  You actually have to pay attention and hope you catch it somewhere between rare and shoe leather.  So anyway, I saw this very simple recipe in my latest Cooking Light and thought I’d give it a whirl.

Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak
modified from Cooking Light May 2010 issue, pg 108

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce (didn’t have any, I used teriyaki instead)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into four pieces (I used 3/4 lb of flank steak instead)
salt and pepper

– Place first four ingredients into a large ziplock bag.  Add steak, turn to coat.  Marinate at room temp for 25 minutes, turning once.  Remove steak and place on a baking sheet lined with a rack.  Season steaks with salt and pepper.  Discard the marinade.  I let my steaks marinate for about an hour and 15 minutes since I was using flank steak, which is a little tougher than skirt steak.
– Broil steak (or use grill pan) on each side until desired degree of doneness is reached.
– Remove steak from oven and put on a plate, cover tightly with foil and let rest for 5 minutes (essential step here, otherwise the juices will run out of the meat). 
– Cut steak diagonally, against the grain in thin slices.  Serve immediately.

Served with spuds/onions and green beans/feta.

I undercooked the steak, thinking that it would cook a little more as it rested under the foil.  Well, it was still a touch too rare after I cut it, so I zapped it in the microwave for about 1 minute and it came out perfect.  I was expecting the worst when I took my first bite, but instead I was greeted with one of the most tender and flavorful pieces of beef I’ve ever tasted!!  It was so good, I never wanted it to end… so good that I closed my eyes and let out a long *sigh* with each bite!


I won! April 22, 2010

Filed under: Beverage,Breakfast,Meatless,Products,Salad,Sandwiches,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 6:16 pm

First let me start out by saying that I actually won something today!  With all this time on my hands, I’ve been reading a lotttt of blogs and sometimes entering the contests I find.  Well, it turns out I won one of them today!  Pretty soon, I will be enjoying some Nature’s Path goodies, courtesy of a contest over on Hangry Pants.  I’ve never tried any of their products, but I’m constantly seeing them on blogs, so I’m excited!  🙂


Ok, so let’s get on with today’s eats.  Breakfast was a toasted wheat English muffin topped with Trader Joe’s PB, a perfectly ripe pear, and cinnamon.  This might be my new favorite breakfast.  PB, pears, and cinnamon have always been my favorite oatmeal toppings, and they sure didn’t disappoint on an English muffin either.


Lunch was a salad fit for a first-grader.  It was quite random and contained romaine, spinach, carrots, red onion, cheddar, a lite beef hot dog, and lite ranch.  I was a little skeptical, but it tasted soooo good.  How can you go wrong with hot dogs, cheese, and ranch??  For lunch dessert, I had a chocolate Oikos with a little All-Bran for crunch.  Did you notice my adorable new baby spoon?


After some digesting and soap-watching, I went out for a walk with my iPod.  It was quite nice.  After I got back, I found out I won the bloggie contest (woo!) and then whipped up another Chocolate Cherry Bomb.  This time, I still halved the original recipe but I used only 1/4 of a frozen banana, a little less water, and left out the flax meal and sweetener.  It turned out soooo yummy.  I love the tartness of the cherries with the chocolate.  I think I might be addicted to these. 


Dinner was for one tonight since Wayne had a business dinner.  Sometimes I like cooking for just myself… I can have whatever I want, I often get to use up food that needs to be used up, and I don’t have to hear any whining if there’s no meat involved!  I roasted the last of a bag of baby carrots and some red onion (I’ve been sawing away at the same damn onion since the Chicken Marsala!) with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I had them with an Amy’s burger on half a tortilla with Greek Olive hummus, spinach and BBQ.  Looove these burgers. 


Blending and Roasting April 20, 2010

Filed under: Beef,Beverage,Breakfast,Potato,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 6:09 pm

After much frustration trying to make smoothies in my mini food processor, I finally bought a blender (with 20% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond, of course!).  I decided to try a liquid breakfast today.  I’ve seen this shake everywhere in blogland and finally got to make one.  I don’t have any hemp protein or seeds, so I made some substitutions.  I also just used regular cocoa powder instead of raw and halved the recipe.   

Chocolate Cherry Bomb Shake
Based on recipe from Kristen’s Raw
The original recipe is on the left, and my version is on right.

1 cup filtered water                                         1/2 cup water
1 frozen banana, chopped                            1/2 banana, chopped (I forgot to freeze it)
1 cup frozen cherries                                      1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/4 cup hemp protein powder                   1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 tablespoons hemp seeds                            1 Tbsp flax meal
2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder    1 Tbsp cocoa powder
splash vanilla extract                                      splash of vanilla extract and sweetener

Blend up all ingredients and enjoy!

MMMMM!  This is the first bloggie shake I’ve actually enjoyed.  Maybe because there’s chocolate in it and no spinach?  Ha.  It was a nice mix of sweet from the chocolate and tart from the cherries.  I’m learning that I don’t exactly love the taste of bananas in smoothies, so next time I might omit it or decrease it.  I’ll definitely be playing with this recipe again!


Later in the afternoon, I was dragging and needed some caffeine.  I haven’t been drinking hot coffee in the morning anymore – it just doesn’t taste good lately.  So I decided to give the blender another workout and concoct a cold coffee drink.   

In the blender went:  1 cup leftover room temp or chilled coffee, 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 6-7 ice cubes, splash of vanilla extract, and Splenda to taste.  Oooh, how I’m loving my blender.  It totally crushed the ice and got the drink all frothy.  This drink still needs a couple tweeks (like some sugar-free flavored syrup or something), but it was quite refreshing and tasty.  I can totally see adding some yogurt, nut butter, or cocoa powder and making dessert out of this!

Dinner was entirely roasted in the oven.  I’ve said this before, but I can’t stress enough how awesome roasting is.  It really brings out a nutty flavor in otherwise boring veggies and meats, and provides a nice, brown crispiness.  Ever since the baseball game, I have been craving a hot dog.  I didn’t get one at the game because the people didn’t know if they were all beef or not!  (I don’t eat pork.)  So I decided the craving had to be fulfilled, stat! 

On the same foil-lined baking sheet coated in cooking spray, I lined up two potatoes that I cut into french fries and half a bag of FROZEN broccoli florets.  I sprayed i again with cooking spray then seasoned generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I roasted everything at 400 for about 30 minutes, flipped the potatoes and broccoli, then roasted for another 10-15 minutes.  I may have turned up the heat to 420 at some point due to being impatient.  I put the hot dogs on a separate, foil-lined pan and put them in the oven for the last 10-12 minutes.  I was pleasantly surprised by a carmelized dog, much like you’d get from an outdoor grill…. YUH-UM.  This meal really hit the spot!

Sans bun but with tomatoes, red onion and pickles on the side.

And the best part of roasting?  No clean up!  Just throw the foil away 🙂


Easter for two April 4, 2010

Filed under: Beverage,Chicken,Holiday,Life,Potato,Side dish,Sweets,Vegetable — WannaBe Chef @ 6:52 pm

My internet decided to work again for who-knows-how-long.  I downloaded/upgraded my Windows Internet Explorer browser, so I’m hoping that will help.  It seems silly to upload the pictures I missed over the past few days.  I mean, who needs to see my blueberry oatmeal or leftover tequila turkey burger now??  I finally got my beautiful Easter egg pics to upload.  The decorating was supposed to be a team activity, but I soon realized that Wayne has not yet discovered his creativity in the arts and crafts field, so he officially dunked two eggs into the dye and “decorated” just one.  Can you guess which one he decorated??

This is my first real holiday not spent with my mommy and family.  It’s a little strange, but Easter isn’t all that big with my family, so it’s not too sad I suppose.  It gave me the opportunity to make my first Easter dinner for two.  Of course I googled my way to some nice recipes and soon had my menu all planned. 

Here is a list of the recipes I used:
Horseradish Mustard New Potatoes (scroll down a little bit – I halved the recipe)
Balsamic Green Beans
3 Point Carrot Cake (I halved the recipe, used a 8-9″ square pan, subbed almonds for walnuts, subbed pumpkin pie spice for the nutmeg and cloves, and omitted the raisins)
Low-fat Cream Cheese Frosting (I halved the recipe)
We also had ham – well, Wayne did.  I glazed it in my mom’s traditional mix of brown sugar, mustard, and pineapple juice.  I made myself a chicken breast with the same glaze. 

I have never, ever been a wine fan.  My knowledge of wine consists of knowing there’s white wine and red wine.  Wayne and I, however, have recently discovered an awesome, huge liquor/wine store filled with really nice, knowledgeable employees.  In turn, I’ve discovered I’m in love with sweet Reisling (Riesling?).  We polished off our first bottle Friday night, ordered some at Olive Garden last night, and made a good dent in our second bottle tonight!!  This cannot be good. 

My plate

Wayne's plate


Everything turned out quite well.  You’d think that a meat and two sides wouldn’t be a big deal, but these recipes required some prep, chopping, and different steps, so it was pretty interesting trying to juggle the oven and all four burners on the stove!  As for the specifics…. the potatoes were creamy and a nice twist on the standard potato side dish; the beans were yummy and had a distinct sweet taste (I would probably reduce the amount of brown sugar next time), the ham/chicken were your standard glazed ham/chicken!; and the carrot cake was SO good!  Now, keep in mind, it does have that dense, made-with-applesauce texture, but I personally like that a lot.  It was moist, and it cut so cleanly (I hate crumbly cake that doesn’t cut nicely!).  However, as good as the cake was, it was the frosting that made it.  

So here’s where I attempted to post a picture of the best part of the whole meal.  After about 7 attempts, I’m giving up and publishing this thing before the internet goes haywire again.  I guess you’ll have to wait until another post to see what is was!