February 29, 2008

Terragon Chicken Recipe

This is going to be a really short entry, but I wanted to share this recipe. Tonight, Ben and I tried this one out, and it worked great! We put the chicken over lettuce salad.

I was looking for low-carb, low-cal recipes, and I stumbled on this website. Everything seems pretty reasonable health-wise. This is the first one I've tried from here, but I was impressed.

We made one small adjustment in that we added the terragon while the chicken was cooking. I thought it would help distribute the flavor, and it seemed to. I enjoyed it. We also left out the pepper, but that was an oversight. It didn't seem to matter.

Next time, I think we will not use sesame oil. Ben didn't like the flavor it added, and I have suspected for a long time that I have a slight allergy to sesame seeds (and pine nuts, and peanuts). Since neither of us likes it, I think we'll skip it. The marinade seems to be enough to fry the chicken. If not, we will use canola oil.

So, for those of you who are keeping track, this is meal number 4 of 6 on my list of goals. Of the others, two were made in the slow-cooker, and one was pasta, so this is something quick and healthy that took maybe 30 to 45 minutes from frozen chicken to finished product. I recommend. :)

Posted by LoWriter at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2008

Salsa Review Numero Two

Well, here we are again. It is time once again to take a trip through the various jarred salsas you can purchase and enjoy my various opinions on them. This is mostly to save you the large sum of money I have shelled out over the years on salsas I do not care to eat ever again.

Parkers Farm Mild. I ate this for the first time tonight, and I dig it. First, let me retract something from a previous entry. The "Red Barn Garlic Salsa" is actually "Parkers Farm Roasted Garlic Salsa," thus my inability to find a website. Apparently I read the picture rather than the label. The mild version is quite delightful. It actually has a fair amount of zing, which you don't often see in a mild salsa. This may be their way of compensating for not creating a medium variety. At any rate, they could stand to go a little easier on the onions, but other than that, this is an exxxcellent salsa. I give it gold stars all around. It has lots of chunks, but the sauce part is a little more liquid-y than some varieties. Unlike most mild salsas, it doesn't taste like a bowl full of raw, chopped vegetables; it zings. The flavors mingle together well, though. It has cilantro, but not enough to overwhelm the other flavors, and it seemed to me that I detected a hint of basil, though the jury is still out on that one. On the whole, I recommend, but prepare to smell of onions.

Herdez Salsa Casera Medium. At the time I purchased it, I had no idea this was made by Hormel. This is a fine salsa. It's very simple, and I would have enjoyed it a lot if it had not had so much cilantro. I felt that flavor overpowered everything else, and I am not the biggest fan of cilantro, so it sort of ruined the salsa for me. It might not be a bad one to try if you like the herb. Otherwise, I would stay away.

Mrs. Renfro's Raspberry Chipotle Salsa. I have always really wanted to like Mrs. Renfro's Salsa, but there is something about it that tastes weird. This salsa is a classic example. Now, it may just be the fact that I have sort of moved on from chipotle flavoring. I don't like the smokey aftertaste it so often leaves (same with fire roasted). But I tried this salsa at a time when a friend worked for a MOA store I can't remember the name of that sold Raspberry Chipotle Salsa for like $20 a jar, and I was craving it. This seemed like a viable alternative. It isn't. This epitomizes what's wrong with this brand: Too many flavors trying too hard to be heard.

Newman's Own Chunky Pinapple. As I mentioned in the comments previously, I enjoy this salsa A LOT. I have not had it in a long time, but it is a delightfully sweet and spicey combination that I used to use for dipping Flaming Hot Cheetos in (yes, I regret my youth). On the whole, it has a lot of great chunks of pineapple, but it's got enough kick to keep it from being classified as a marinade. Though you could perhaps use it as a marinade. I bet it would taste good on chicken.... Hmmm.... Fire up the grill, Honey, and let's give that a try. In all seriousness, I always thought this was a delightful snacking salsa, especially late at night. I don't feel that any of the flavors overwhelms any of the others, and I enjoy it a lot.

Baja Cafe Salsa Original. I am going to be completely honest here. This salsa was so bad that I blocked out exactly what was so bad about it. Suffice it to say that I opened it, I smelled it, I took one bite of it, and then it sat in my fridge until long after it had expired and I finally had to throw it away. I'm going to go ahead and say that their burritos are sub-par as well. This just goes to show that just because it's in the fridge section, doesn't make it good. I'd take a plain-jane jar of Pace Picante any day of the week over this. Yuck. For reals.

Salsa Lisa Mild/Medium. I am throwing in a bonus review because I am not ready to sleep yet, and I like to end on a high note. I put this salsa in my list of top five. I ODed on it a little, so I haven't purchased it in awhile, but I always found it to be a well-balanced salsa, flavor-wise. I could also always tell that fresh ingredients had been used, and it had a lot of big chunks, especially of tomatoes. I think my one complaint was that it was a mild/medium, and I would like it to be just a titch spicier. Born and raised in Minnesota (with its roots in the farmer's markets), this salsa is worth a trip through the refrigerated section to get it.

Well, that's it for the reviews for now. I still have a little Parkers Farm left, and I think I'm going to go hit it up before I head to bed. Enjoy and feel free to share any new (or old) finds in the comments, peeps.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:22 PM | Comments (3)

February 17, 2008

V-Day at The Castle 2008

Well, once again, I spent this V-Day with Ben, and once again, we had a delightful time.

We began our evening with presents! :) I got him action figures from his favorite movie (he collects things). He got me a really great box with painted ceramic drawers (I am obsessed with boxes). We also got fancy chocolates for each other, which I think we all know, is my superhero weakness.

Then, we made our way through the cold to White Castle, where we had reservations for a candlelit table for two. Yes, that's right, we spent V-Day at The Castle. And it was awesome. The hostesses and waitresses were very nice. We ordered the chicken rings with a tangy honey mustard sauce and a side of onion chips. They took our picture (which should be viewable on the 18th, and I will post a link). And then drama ensued! :)

Now, we were expecting a little drama from our Rice Street White Castle experience, so we were by no means disappointed when it ensued. On Valentine's Day, White Castle is reserved seating only, so if you don't have a reservation, you have to take your food and go elsewhere, you bum. So, basically, one couple ordered their food, and walked directly to a table. The hostess (and probably assistant manager) indicated that the table was reserved, and the people yelled, "Well, where are we supposed to sit, then." The hostess explained, and the people promptly apologized (claiming ingornance despite the many signs and the people stating this to everyone who walked through the door) and then proceeded to accidentally set their food bag on fire via the romantic red votives placed on the table. Yes, that's right. Our V-Day was flammable, and I was glad that I was not the one to make it so. The hostess stomped out the flames and started sweeping it up, and the people left, and the people next to us told the hostess, "You looked like you were about ready to hit them with that broom."

She replied, "Yeah, well, I had one last week who got mad and started one of the toilet paper dispensers on fire, so..." And we almost died trying not to laugh.

It was hilarious. This was by far the greatest V-Day I've had to date. We topped the evening off with mini cheesecakes that we bought from Cub because, while I had purchased a Jello No-Bake Cheesecake, it had proven to be too much work to throw together the night before. (It's a long story, but I had a really long, aweful day.) And we watched a romantic movie. We also watched a romantic movie the next afternoon (we didn't want to fight crowds on V-Day), which we enjoyed. We saw Definitely, Maybe, which is super cute.

So, in a couple of days, I will be able to link to some cute pictures, and you can all see our highly flammable Valentine's Day location. I highly encourage the White Castle experience. The couple next to us had come there for V-Day every year for 15 years and had even had a congratulations message on the sign when they got married. It was really low-key but still cute. There were even little sweet tarts and placemats and red plates. It was cute but simple, and we had a blast. Next year, you should too. Just don't start The Castle on fire.

I mean it; I'm watching you.

Posted by LoWriter at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)

February 12, 2008

Salsa Review

I have been on a very long quest to find the perfect salsa. I am looking for something that tastes as good as the salsa you get in the restaurants, which is apparently impossible. This is how I end up with several open, icky jars of salsa in my fridge. So, in the interest of saving you money and fridge space, I am going to spend several articles reveiwing five salsas at a time (because I started trying to do them all, and I can't finish it tonight--there are far too many). Feel free to suggest a salsa you enjoy in the comments.

Red Barn Garlic Salsa. This lives up to its name. It has a lot of garlic in it. This is fine if you are not planning to go anywhere and don't really want to taste your salsa. Or if you happen to need to slay a vampire. Otherwise, mistake. The flavor isn't all that bad, it's just really, really overpowering. I can't find a website for them, so they must be local, but they didn't have a medium variety. If they do get a medium variety, I am going to be all over trying that. Sans extra garlic, of course.

On the Border Salsa, medium. While their chips rock, their salsa has very few vegetables is mostly flavored with black pepper, which is not my idea of a good time. It's more like a hot sauce and less like a salsa, in my opinion. Buy their chips; they're awesome. You can get a jumbo bag for fairly cheap, comparatively, and they taste like restaurant chips.

Pace Pico de Gallo. This is part of Pace's new line of salsa. It tastes weird. I don't know what's wrong with it, other than it does not taste like Pico de Gaillo. It tastes like Pace with more chopped tomatoes and onions in it.

Pace Salsa Verde. This is also new and not very good. I guess it has lime in it, but they seem to have overdone it. I could overlook that if the color and texture didn't gross me out. It's just a little too weird a shade of green. Don't waste your money.

Santa Fe Packing Co., medium. This is, in fact, my FAVORITE salsa to date. First, it is cheap, ringing in at under $2 a jar. Second, it is very close to restaurant style. They could chop it a little finer, but so far, this is my favorite. Buy it; it's yummy!

So there you have my first installment of five salsas. To review, Santa Fe Packing Co. has the best salsa so far. Red Barn could be good if you can find something with a little less garlic; Pace is 0 and 2 on their new line of salsas, and On the Border should stick to chips.

Share any good or aweful salsa finds in the comments and enjoy!

Posted by LoWriter at 11:30 PM | Comments (6)

February 04, 2008

Honesty and the Best Policy

I've been pretty quiet on here lately. Mostly, this is because I'm not sure how much to say. I don't want to piss people off or say things that will upset the various people that may (or may not, as it appears) read this blog, so I keep pretty quiet these days.

The truth is that there are a lot of things going down at work that I'm not particularly happy about, but I have no control over them, so whateva. I'm going to leave that one alone because A) I'm supposed to stay out of it, B) I feel pretty betrayed, and C) sometimes, it's just better to shut up.

The truth is that I'm crazy in love with Ben, who makes me feel like a princess and is everything I've been looking for but never thought I'd find. And I can say that because he knows it.

The truth is that I've been reading in one of my "break-up journals" lately. It's been really refreshing, actually. You know, I get worried all the time (hooray anxiety disorder, in the interest of honesty). And one of the things I worry about is my judgement. Like, how do you ever know if you're with the right person, and the truth is that you don't. But if you're happy more than you're unhappy, it's a pretty good sign. If you feel like you're with the person that you'd want on your side if you were out numbered and it came down to it, that's a pretty good sign.

We are rarely unhappy when we're together these days. I am happier with Ben than I have ever been alone or while dating anybody, and I've almost always been happier alone than with somebody. Not so these days. Sometimes, I feel like when I'm with him, I'm home (to paraphrase a movie I don't remember), and that's an amazing feeling. I feel like I've finally found a man I trust and love. And he never demanded that I trust him. He just waited around until I did trust him because he works under the principle that we have all the time in the world. It's nice to look back several years and remember who I was and realize that I'm very different now and that someone sees me, the real me, and loves me because of who I am underneath everything I put on for show. I like that I've found someone who I love for exactly what he is, too.

And the truth is that everything's not always perfect (you know, so I don't have to feel like I have to be perfect or that someday he's going to reveal hidden imperfections), but it's perfect in a slightly-dented kind of way. I've always been a slightly-dented kind of gal, so it just feels so right.

And then I don't know how much to share about that, either, because I'm sure not many people want to hear about how in love I am right now. (For the record: Completely, totally, head-over-heels, butterflies in my tummy, undeniably, unescapably in love with him.) I envision people making gagging noises whenever I get all mushy about him because I am so mushy and lovey dovey about him. :) And I like it.

And then on the other hand, the truth is that my grandmas are both ill and crazy, and it scares me. One gets a little better, and then the other one gets sick and goes nuts, and it scares the hell out of me. And I don't know what to say because on one hand I feel like a coward about it and on the other, I feel pretty ridiculous because they've had long, happy lives. I'm afraid to go see one of my grandmas because she is mad at everybody, and she's acting crazy (i.e., "Someone has been stealing my socks and unmentionables out of my apartment; call my daughter at work" and "None of you love me, anyway. I may as well just die" and "Now that you have pearls, you'll have to wear a dress for once" talk in circles and repeatedly ask the same question crazy.

The other grandma had pretty much given up for awhile there, and now she's sort of back to the way she was before the cancer treatment caused slight brain damage and made her mean. She's started giving Christmas presents again and saying things like, "How's my girl?" to me again, which makes me feel like maybe she's losing it, too, since it's been at least four or five years since she's been that kind to me. And it makes me sad because I don't know how long it'll last. But that's depressing, so who wants to hear that?

The truth is that right now, I'm not going to church because I don't want to. I like spending my Sunday mornings in my house in the sun in my pajamas. I don't need any help feeling badly about the world right now.

The truth is that I'm a liberal, and that's probably never going to change.

The truth is, I know a lot of people who don't like me very much right now, and I mostly think these people suck, but I can't say that because it's not polite and what would it accomplish anyway?

The truth is, most days, I'm satisfied if I can go home, cook dinner, cuddle, watch something amazing on TV (or DVD since the strike is on), play a game of Tetris, and go to bed at a decent hour.

And those are the things I can talk about. I guess that the truth is that there's a lot of things I can't talk about right now. I know a lot of secrets that other people can't know, and I know a lot of things that will get me into trouble if I talk about them too much. And I know a lot of things that I am treasuring up and pondering in my heart. I don't want to tempt Fate into wrecking the good things, and I don't feel like dwelling on the bad things. At some point, you're just out of things that meet the criteria for being said.

There's a lot in my life that needs to go unsaid right now. Chapters are beginning and others are ending, and that's ok. That's just fine. But for now, it's best for me to keep it to myself which are which. :)

Feel free to share mysteriously cryptic statements of your own in the comments.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:26 PM | Comments (5)