Monday, January 31, 2011

Day #29

On a cold, wet, wintery evening like tonight, I was in the mood for some comfort food. So I heated up a bowl of tomato soup and made a grilled cheese sandwich - whole grain bread, roast beef, cheddar cheese, and pepper jack cheese. I ate a handful of pretzels on the side, and washed it all down with a glass of red wine :)

I'll be back to "real cooking" tomorrow night!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day #28

This dinner might look fancy, but it really isn't very complicated. I took some of the leftover garlic couscous from a couple nights ago, laid a cooked chicken breast on top, added some pesto, then drizzled with a little balsamic vinegar and some grated cheese.

Before I had this blog, I never paid much attention to presentation of my food on the plate ;-)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day #27

I was in another salad mood tonight.   I started with a base of chopped romaine and mixed field greens. I then added chopped green pepper, yellow onion, sliced deli roast beef, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette (see side note below). I topped the salad with some gorgonzola cheese crumbles, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. The perfect combination of tastes (salty, tangy, and sweet) and textures (crunchy and soft).

Note: a few days ago, on my birthday, my mom and I went to a small store called Vom Fass. This store specializes in oils and vinegars sold straight from their casks.  I purchased 3 products - a red pepper olive oil, a toasted sesame oil, and some balsamic vinegar:

For my salad tonight, I decided to use my new balsamic. I added a little balsamic vinegar to a small mixing bowl, added some Italian seasoning, and then slow whisked in some EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) until it came together as a dressing.   Let me just say this.... the balsamic vinaigrette was better than any I've bought in stores. Just oil and vinegar without any additives or sugars.  It was worth the cost of the good grade balsamic. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day #26

Tonight's dinner was something I could throw together quickly.  I diced up some broccoli and sweet potato and sauteed it in a little olive oil for a few minutes. I then sliced some beef smoked sausage lengthwise, and added it to the pan to heat as the veggies finished softening. Meanwhile, I boiled some water in the microwave and made some 5-minute roasted garlic couscous (an Archer Farms box mix from Target).
Pretty tasty for a quick meal!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day #25

Disclaimer: this is my first attempt to update my blog via email through my cell phone.... please excuse any discrepancies in appearance or spelling error.

Tonight I went to my parents' house for dinner. We had pork tenderloin, mixed veggies, pineapple & yeast rolls. Dessert was leftover birthday pie. The food was delicious, as all of my mom's cooking is. Plus, I didn't have to prepare it, which was a welcomed change.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day #24

Today's my birthday!!   And like all good birthdays, it included a nice birthday dinner.   Tonight my parents and I went to Square One Brewery in the Lafayette Square Neighborhood.  The food was delicious, the beer was good, and I ate too much.  Here are a couple pics.  The lighting was rather dim, so the pics are dark :(

For an appetizer we ordered the Beer Pretzels - two warm buttery salty Bavarian retzels with dipping sauces: a jalapeno cheddar and a Pale Ale mustard.  (We were halfway through the plate when my dad reminded me to take a picture.)    My beer was a Bavarian Wiezen.  It was good!

My dinner was a Monte Cristo sandwich (Grilled ham steak on French toast with fontina spread and cherry mostarda) and their homemade pub chips (a blend of Idaho and sweet potato chips).   Excellent!!  I really enjoyed this sandwich and ate every bite.  

For my birthday dessert, I went back to my parents' house and we had pie.  A chocolate caramel pecan pie.  I forgot to write down the exact name of it.  But it was good and rich and I couldn't finish my slice!

Thanks everyone for stopping by my blog.  I didn't realize how many of my friends were viewing this until I saw all your message on my Facebook page today.  I'm glad I'm not just typing to myself :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day #23

(Pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Tonight I wasn't very hungry, nor did I feel like cooking.  So I threw together a simple cheese quesadilla - 2 whole grain tortillas filled with pepper-jack cheese, shredded Mexican-blend cheese, and corn & black bean salsa.   Placed it on my Pampered Chef stone, and baked it in a 275-degree oven for 5 minutes.  The tortillas were toasty and the cheese was melty.   The dipping sauce is a combination of plain Greek yogurt (no sour cream on hand) and Pampered Chef's Southwestern seasoning mix.

Quick and simple.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day #22

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Pizza night!   I was trying a new recipe tonight.  This was a pizza dough recipe that I discovered online when I was looking for a yeast-free pizza crust for a friend.   I found this recipe for Crazy Crust Pizza Dough on   And since the only ingredients are flour, eggs, milk, and spices (plus the toppings), it is a great recipe for throwing together when the pizza cravings arise.  Like tonight.  Pizza sounded good, but I wasn't about to buy a frozen pizza from the store.   Curses to this new desire to try and eat healthier and homemade!!

Anyway, I made the pizza dough, substituting whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour.  The only rimmed pan I had was a 9x13, so the dough was very thinly spread across the bottom.  I followed the recipe, which says to add the toppings on top of the dough "batter" before cooking.  I added Canadian Bacon and drained crushed pineapple.  I was going Hawaiian tonight!   Baked the pizza for 20 minutes, added the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, then baked an additional 5 minutes.   I didn't have any tomato sauce in the house, and I forgot to buy some at the store.  But I really didn't miss it!  The crust was thin....very crispy around the edges. The middle part under the toppings wasn't quite crispy but wasn't quite soft. 

I think I need to try and make this pizza dough recipe again before I make up my mind to keep it or trash it.  Next time I'll try prebaking the dough slighting before adding the toppings, and using a smaller pan to have a thicker crust.

Following along with my "lighter" dessert last night, I made more of the vanilla ricotta mixture.  Tonight I spread it on some graham cracker rectangles, and topped it with some frozen raspberries.   You could call them mock cheesecake squares, I guess!

 (pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day #21

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)
Today I went to brunch with my mom, grandma, aunts, and cousins.... and I ate too much!  Omelet, hash browns, bacon, fruit salad, garden salad.   So by the time dinner rolled around, I wasn't in the mood for much.  I reheated a bowl of Campbell's Tomato Bisque soup, added some Italian seasoning, and topped with shredded Mozzarella cheese.   It was satisfying without being filling.

Also, since today is National Pie Day, I wanted a sweet fruity dessert.  I don't have any pies laying around my apartment, and didn't want to go through the trouble of making a I came up with this:
(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)
I call it my "deconstructed peach cream pie."   Basically, I took some ricotta cheese, stirred in a sprinkle of Splenda and a dash of vanilla extract.    Added the vanilla ricotta to some crumbled graham crackers and some thawed frozen peach slices.  It satisfied by sweet tooth without being sugary or too fattening.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day #20

(pic taken with my Canon PowerShot SX20)

Tonight I made soup - Corn Chowder with Ham & Bacon.   

This is one of my favorite recipes, because it is quick, easy, and cheap!   I learned this recipe from Ro, the CEO of Scrap Girls - she had posted it on her blog back in 2009.   Since then, she has changed to a new blog, but has the recipe posted there too because everyone loves it so much.  You can find it here: Corn Chowder.

For the most part, I follow the recipe...but I make a couple small modifications.  Instead of 1 can cream corn, I use 1 cream corn and 1 regular corn kernels (drained) - I like the added texture.  I also use a mashed sweet potato instead of regular potato - adds more color and nutrition.

I ate my soup with a side of pretzel bites and grapes, which is obvious from the picture.

Tonight I also decided to use my real camera for my photo instead of my cell phone.  I was playing around with aperture settings and modes, and this one turned out the best.  My camera was in Aperture Priority Mode, and then set to Super Macro so I could get a nice close-up shot.  The settings were as follows: f/2.8, ISO-400, 1/13 sec., WB on Tungsten, no flash.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day #19

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Friday night.  Too tired to cook.  So I just threw together a salad for dinner - romaine lettuce, celery, green peppers, onion, sliced ham, Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette.  Simple but delicious & healthy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day #18

(Pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Lemon Pepper Tilapia and Harvest Soup -

I took some of the leftover Squash/Sweet Potato/Pear sautee from the other night, mixed in some milk, and blended it together.  Heated it up, and voila!  A simple "stoup" as Rachael Ray would call it - thinner than a stew but thicker than a soup.  (Some of the potato and pear refused to mash, no matter how much I heated or cooked they stayed chunky).
Sauteed a tilapia filet with some olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning, and served that along side the the stoup.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day #17

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

WAFFLES!!!   And not just any boring plain waffles....these are whole wheat bacon & chocolate waffles :-)    I was inspired by a December episode of Rachael Ray's daytime show when she made one of her "Breakfast for Dinner" meals: Crazy Bacon and Chocolate Waffles with Mulled Maple Syrup.
When I first watched the episode, I was very hesitant about the combination of bacon and chocolate, even though I've seen it used more and more throughout the culinary and baking worlds.  But recently I tried a bacon chocolate bar, and it was delicious!!   Plus, I received a Belgian waffle maker for Christmas... so what better reasons to try it out?  :-)
Instead of using Rachael's recipe, I followed the basic waffle recipe from the instructions that came with the waffle maker.  I substituted whole wheat flour instead of plain flour, then added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and crumbed hickory maple bacon.   Topped the waffles with a little butter and some dark amber maple syrup.  And gobbled the whole plate down :)  Mmmmm delicious!!
Along with the waffles, I had a little cup of Greek yogurt mixed up with frozen berries (and a little Splenda and almond extract).

Grains (whole wheat flour), protein (bacon), dairy (yogurt), and fruit (berries) - not too bad for a breakfast-type dinner! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day #16

(Pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Experiment night!

I bought an acorn squash last time I went grocery shopping, but had no clue how to cook it.   Most recipes I found online called for halving it and baking it in the oven for a long time.    As you can see from the picture, there is no half of an acorn squash sitting on my plate.   When I thought about squash, it made me think of sweet potatoes.   So I peeled and diced the acorn squash and sweet potato, and added them to a large skillet with a splash of olive oil, along with a little white wine, apple juice, and various spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, pepper, jerk seasoning).  Once the squash and potatoes softened, I also diced up an Anjou pear and mixed it in with the squash and potatoes, for a little more color and sweetness.  Since Anjou pears are a dense fruit, I knew it would hold up a bit more in the heat.
(The only slight problem was the sweet potatoes were a little undercooked - "al dente" as you might say.  Next time I will microwave them slightly before I start sauteeing them, so they are a little softer to begin with.  If I had cooked the mix any longer, the squash or pear would have been tooo mushy)

In another skillet, I cooked the pork chops.  First I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and jerk rub, and browned the chops on both sides.  I then added in some apple juice, white wine, sliced onion, and whole black peppercorns, and let it simmer over medium heat until the pork was cooked through.

The squash/potato/pear "hash" turned out wayyy better than I would have anticipated!!   Good balance of flavors to cover the boring sweet potato and squash taste, without being super-sweet.   Great accompaniment to the pork chops.

A successful experiment!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day #15

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Beef stir fry (steak, peppers, broccoli, celery, water chestnuts), rice, leftover Crab Rangoon (from Saturday night), and a sliced Asian pear.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day #14

(picture taken with my Samsung Epic)

Mega taco salad!!   Romaine lettuce, crushed corn tortilla chips, onion, celery, bell peppers, shredded cheese, ground turkey, salsa, and 1000 Island dressing.  Yummy!

I can't believe I've been keeping this blog for 2 whole weeks already :)   Thanks for following!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day #13

Saturday night dinner with mom and dad - Chinese takeout!   Sweet & Sour Chicken, fried rice, and an egg roll.  It's been so long since I've had Chinese from a restaurant.   It tasted so good and fried and fatty!  :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day #12

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Soup night!!  I call this my "Southwestern Steak Dump Soup."   I completely made it up on the spot, trying to use up some of the leftovers and half-empty jars that are taking up space in my fridge.  But, OH MY, it was delicious!!!  :-)

Here is the recipe:

Southwestern Steak Dump Soup
6 cups beef broth  (with extra, if needed)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
2 cups diced cooked steak (I used leftover flank steak from fajita night)
1 cup salsa verde
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced fire-roasted peppers
2 cups diced frozen broccoli & cauliflower (I needed more veggies and that was all I had on hand.  You could easily substitute canned or frozen corn, okra, or any other veggies you would like)
1 palm-full Southwest spices (I used a combination of Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning and Chipotle Rub - feel free to use taco seasoning, chili powder, paprika, chipotle powder, or whatever you have on hand)
Salt & pepper to taste
Shredded Mexican-blend or Cheddar cheese

Bring beef broth to a boil in large pot.  Add the rest of ingredients, stir together, and let come to a boil.  Cover pot, turn down heat, and let simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes....or until your stomach growls so much you can't wait any longer.   If the soup gets too thick, feel free to add more beef broth (adjusting spice levels if needed), and then simmer a while longer until hot.   When serving, top bowl of soup with a handful of shredded cheese.  Enjoy!

...or the recipe went something like that.  I should have written down better notes LOL.   Let this be my lesson that I need to keep a notebook and pen in my kitchen for my recipe experiments.

If you decide to try this recipe, please let me know what you think!  


EDIT: Theresa's note (1/17/11) - I took some leftover soup to work today.  When I went to re-heat it, ALL of the broth had been absorbed by the rice, which were now very large and puffy and soft.  I still ate it for lunch, it just wasn't soup anymore.  More like "Southwestern Steak Risotto"!   ;-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day #11

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Tonight I was in the mood for an omelet, so I made one :-)   Diced mushrooms, onions, ham, roasted peppers, and shredded cheese.   And a little frozen yogurt for dessert.  Yum yum.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day #10

(Pic taken with my Samsung Epic)
After the big 5th Annual Central Realty Chili Cookoff at the office earlier today, I was NOT in the mood for anything heavy for dinner.  So I threw together a simple salad - romaine lettuce, mixed field greens, chopped onion, diced mushrooms, diced pear,  gorgonzola cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.   I love the taste combination of sweet, salty, sour, and tangy among these ingredients.  Delicious!  And just right after a lunch of chili, chili, and more chili.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day #9

(pic taken with my Samsung Epic)

Tonight I tried a new recipe from Rachael Ray magazine - Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers.    1 lb. ground turkey mixed with 1/2 cup salsa verde, then grilled.  I served mine on a whole grain sandwich round with lettuce, shredded cheese, more salsa verde, and fire-roasted peppers.   It was just okay.  Nothing spectacular. 

I've tried cooking with ground turkey before, without great results.  I must be missing a trick somewhere.   Anybody have any fabulous tips, tricks, or recipes using ground turkey???

Day #9 - Lunch Special!

I know this is a blog about my dinners.  But we had a special snow-day lunch at the office, and I wanted to share it....

(picture taken with my Samsung Epic)

On snowy days, our managers like to reward any employees who trek into work by treating us to lunch.  Today, we ordered delicious Italian food from a new restaurant in the area - Filomena's Italian Kitchen.

I ordered the Chef Salad, which had romaine and iceberg lettuce, shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses, artichoke hearts, red onion,  tomato, roast beef, Genoa salami, and hard boiled eggs served with their house balsamic vinaigrette.  It was delicious!  The balsamic vinaigrette was nice and tangy, and the ingredients were crisp and fresh.   The majority of my coworkers ordered one of Filomena's hot sandwiches, and I didn't hear any complaints...just lots of chewing ;)

Delicious lunch break!

Thanks again to everyone for following my blog so far :)   My audience now stretches to 5 countries around the world!  

See you all in a few hours for dinner!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Day #8

Tonight's dinner was inspired by a conversation I overheard on the bus ride home from work.  Someone mentioned tomato soup, and it just sounded like a perfect delicious dinner for a snowy night like tonight.  So I dashed into the grocery store, picked up some tomato bisque soup, and dashed back home to make my dinner - grilled ham & pepperjack cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, with creamy tomato bisque soup, some Wheat Thins, and a sliced pear.  MMM, mmm good!

 (photo taken with my Samsung Epic)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day #7

Today I have been busily working on a large to-do list, and was so involved in my tasks I hadn't put much thought into preparing supper!  So when my stomach started growling, I needed to prepare something quick and easy.   I pulled out the leftover cooked fajita filling (peppers, onions, and steak) from the other night, sauteed then in a skillet with some diced portobello mushrooms, and put them on a whole grain tortilla.  I scrambled up an egg,  added that to the tortilla also, and topped it all with some shredded mozzarella cheese.   Sliced up a red pear on the side, and I have a well-balanced dinner - protein, veggies, dairy, fruit, grains!  :) 

If I had to give this dinner a name....I'd call it a "Philly Cheese Steak & Eggs Tortilla."  Rachael Ray would be so proud :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day #6

Tonight I went out to dinner with mom and dad.  We went to Chris' Pancake & Dining, and I ordered a chicken salad sandwich on croissant with french fries.  It was delicious :)

Time for a few Christmas cookies for dessert!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day #5

Tonight I went Mexican!!

My dinner consisted of the following:
Steak fajitas (chipotle-lime marinated flank steak, sauteed peppers and onions, and shredded Mexican cheese on whole grain tortillas)
Cilantro-lime rice (a box mix from Target)
Corn tortilla chips with peach pineapple salsa (also from Target)

Washed it all down with a can of Fresca and some mango peach frozen yogurt.  Delicioso!!  :-)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day #4

Dinner tonight was Steak Stir-Fry with Tomato Hummus Sauce and Orzo Pasta.   The recipe is from Rachael Ray Magazine - a link to the recipe can be found here.  I adjusted the recipe slightly, using snap peas instead of eggplant.  (Hers looks prettier than mine!)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day #3

Let me just say how complete shocked and amazed by how much support and feedback I've already received....and this project has only been active for about 3 hours!  Thank you! :)   I will try my best to keep updating regularly and not disappoint my followers.

Do you ever have days where a giant salad just sounds delicious?   Today was one of those days.  I was craving salad.  So tonight's dinner was a large salad made from mixed greens, celery, apple, chicken breast, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and a caesar-ranch dressing:


Welcome to my new blog project!

What is Project Food 365?
My plan for this blog is to post a photo each day of what I ate for dinner. Simple as that. 365 photos of my evening meals. (Well...363 photos. I didn't start until 1/3/11)

I came up with the idea for this blog while I was grocery shopping last night. This blog is the brainchild of several inspirations, including:
- Project 365 or Photo-A-Day challenges that are popular with scrapbookers and photographers
- Food blogs, such as the Julie/Julia Project, Coconut & Lime, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Bakerella... the list goes on and on
- The Worst Cooks in America show on Food Network
- Daily food holidays

Worst Cooks in America?
Perhaps I should explain that one, because it was the real catalyst for this blog idea.
Food Network recently began its second season of the Worst Cooks in America realty show. If you aren't familiar with this show, here is a quick synopsis: "Sixteen of the country's most hopeless cooks attempt to transform from kitchen zeros into kitchen heroes as they compete in a grueling culinary boot camp" (from
The show premiered on Sunday night, 1/2/11. As I watched the show, it made me feel very confident in my kitchen ability. I look great compared to many of the contestants!

Project Food 365 - the beginning
Day #1 - Monday, January 3, 2011
After being "inspired" by the Worst Cooks in America, I cooked Quick Pasta Primavera and Sauteed Tilapia for dinner, and then posted the following picture and caption on Facebook:

"I am NOT one of the worst cooks in America. Tonight I made sauteed tilapia and pasta primavera....without catching anything on fire or getting food poisoning ;)"

Day #2 - Tuesday, January 4, 2011:
January 4th is National Spaghetti Day. Did you know that? Me either until Tuesday morning! As soon as I discovered that food holiday, I was in the mood for spaghetti with pesto sauce. After work, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I needed to cook dinner....and that is when I had the lightbulb moment for this blog (instead of always posting my pics to Facebook)!
Dinner last night was spaghetti with chicken, roasted peppers, portobello mushrooms, and pesto sauce:
You see, I live by myself, I cook for myself, and I eat by myself. There is nobody here to share in my cooking successes (or messes). I think this is why posting my dinner pictures on Facebook, and now this blog, appeals so much to me.  Plus, having photographic proof of my dinners might keep me accountable as I attempt to improve my eating habits.

What to expect at Project Food 365
-Daily photos/captions of my dinners - EVERY dinner - the good, the bad, the homemade, the store-bought, the fast food.
- Occasional reflections on what I ate and why - whether for dietary, emotional, mental, or financial reasons
- Occasional recipes for my dinners (when requested by my readers)
DISCLAIMER: I will state upfront that most of my cooking (when not following a recipe) is in the style of Rachael Ray. In other words, I do a lot of tossing ingredients and guesstimating, and very little measuring. But I will do my best to translate them into directions that you can follow!

What NOT to expect at Project Food 365
- Posts about non-food related topics - work, my cat Noelle, family, hobbies

Over time, this blog will be constantly changing and evolving... with the help of you, my readers! If you have a recipe you think I should try and feature, send it to me! If you have tips or suggestions on improving my food photography, send those to me! If you have other comments or constructive criticism, send it to me! If you hate my blog....leave it to yourself ;)

Okay, enough posting for now. Time to go cook tonight's dinner!

Thanks for stopping by :)


P.S.  If anybody is interested in helping me decorate my blog by creating a snazzy header and page design, please let me know!