A New Year & New Goals

Many friends have stopped me lately to ask what is happening with My Preppy Kitchen.  To put it simply… not much at all.  I received so much support from many of you with orders, well wishes, and recommendations.  But, after being pretty discouraged by the need for a full commmercial kitchen and the lack of available spaces to use part time, I decided to put MPK on the back burner for a while.  I am not willing to borrow money to get started because I have gone that route as a start-up before, I’m NEVER doing it again.  So, I thought, I will just work part time to save some money.  In the mean time, we have had other expenses come up that need my attention so once again, saving for MPK was put on the back burner.  Then, over the past month, I was reminded time and time again why I LOVE not being tied to my job as a business owner, I have been reminded why I sold the store in the first place, and I have been reminded that I never want to work so much that my kids and husband feel neglected.  Because I seemingly do not know how to do anything “part time”, I have to admit that MPK would no doubt consume my life and I would get back to that point where I am trying to do it all, all the time.

My Preppy Kitchen is not going to be business.  I am still baking for friends, in fact I got to make a baby gender reveal cake and these super cute cupcakes for my friend Ashley last week and I still cook every night at home.

 

What is My Preppy Kitchen going to be?  Hopefully a place for me to document all that goes on in my kitchen, the room in my house where I spend the most time.  I want to continue to document recipes.  Those that I come up with and those that I find.  A sweet friend asked me recently to put together some favorites for her to make life simpler in her house.  Sorry Aggie that I haven’t gotten to it yet, I will, I promise.  I would love to one day really put together a cook book.  I think that is my ultimate goal.   So, MPK might be recipes, it might be craft ideas, or silly stories about my kids.  It will just be a blog about my life and what goes on in my kitchen.

Right now, I love my job.  I am working part time (ha! – 43 hours last week – like I said I’m not good at part time!) for a marketing research company that is incredible.  Truly, everyone should have a work environment like that.  It has reminded me how much I loved to use that part of my brain and why I majored in marketing in the first place.  I get to work from home most of the time and I am here for all 3 kids in the afternoons.  And I am still running, though not as much as I should!

My goals for the year are…

*To appreciate and recognize my blessings more while worrying about the small stuff less.

*Spend more time one on one time with each of my kids and Jeff.

*Spend less time working.

*Spend more time with my grandparents.

*SPEND LESS MONEY

*Work on the “One Day” Cookbook.

2011 was a wonderful year and we were blessed in so many ways I can’t even begin to put them into words.  I look at my life since moving here in 2007 and I am astonished to see the difference 4 years has made.  Life just doesn’t get much better than this.  I say that with a full plate, constant unexpected obstacles, and 3 kids who act like neanderthals on a regular basis.  I know I need to save more, spend less, and exercise more, but truly, LIFE IS GOOD, I am blessed, and I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for the Princes in 2012.

Seriously people, the Ninja, is awesome!

So, for all 11 years of marriage, Jeff and I have had the saddest little blender.  It was either my mom’s or my mother-in-law’s blender originally and sometime while I was in college, she got a new one and gave me hers.  I guess we never got one as a wedding gift and just never got around to buying a new one.  Well, all of that changed today.  I broke down and bought the Ninja Kitchen System and I absolutely love it already.  Since I am on this journey to being healthier, I decided I should get on the bandwagon for making vitamin filled smoothies and the first one I made today did not disappoint.  Here is all it was:

2 cups ice

1 cup strawberries

1/2 of a banana

3 hands full of fresh spinach

3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt (I used Lowes Foods Brand)

Just pop it all in the small Ninja Blender and chop for about 60-90 sec.  It is delicious!  I made Will one before mine with everything but the spinach but next time I will throw the spinach in his too.  Poor kid doesn’t feel well, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by making him drink spinach this morning.  So all in all I am thrilled with this purchase.  It was $159.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond and I was even able to use the 20% off coupon that we all get in the mail all the time so it was only $127.99 with that.  Great buy in my opinion!  After running this morning, my oatmeal was long gone so the smoothie was a welcome treat to fill me back up.

Here is what all I ate today (I am drinking water throughout the day and trying to get in more than 64 oz per day)

6:45am – breakfastQuaker Oatmeal Maple Brown Sugar

10:30am – Spinach Smoothie (see recipe above)

12:30pm – lunch – Chicken Salad Sandwich on whole wheat bread with a HUGE honey crisp apple (YUM)

1:00 – guilty pleasure snack – I was craving something chocolate and I caved in and had a mini Heath Bar from the leftover Halloween Candy.  But, I did just have one and at least it was a mini.  A week ago I would have had a few!

2:30 – New Discovery Snack – I need salsa in my life to survive and I have been trying to figure out how to eat it without the guilt of eating tortilla chips.  Those Quaker Mini Rice Cakes from yesterday are delicious dipped in homemade salsa for a snack with few calories and very little fat.

7:00pm – Dinner (and I am starving!) – No-guilt Chicken & Dumplings

2 qt plus 5 cups water

3-4 stalks of celery with leaves

Handful of mini carrots

1/2 of a meduim onion sliced

6 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders

salt & pepper

2 cups AP flour (plus a little more for dusting)

1/3 cup butter (I only had regular butter but I would recommend using reduced fat butter)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

dried parsley

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large pot & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours.  Remove veggies to a blender or food processor (I used the fabulous aforementioned Ninja)  and chicken to a cutting board where you will shred chicken.  Strain broth and reserve 2/3 of a cup to use with the dumplings.  Return remaining broth to the pot along with the shredded chicken.  Add approximately 1 cup of broth to blender and liquify veggies, then return it to the pot with broth and chicken.  This is a great way to keep from losing all the vitamins that cook out of the veggies.  Just use it all!  Salt & pepper broth to taste.

While this is returning to a low boil, cut butter into flour, baking powder, and salt with a pastry cutter until it is crumbly.  Slowly add reserved broth stirring with a fork just until it is moistened.  Roll out dough to 1/8 in thickness and cut into 2 inch squares.  Carefully drop dumplings into boiling water and simmer for 5-10 min.

This is a GREAT alternative to the often fatty chicken and dumpling recipes.  The boneless skinless chicken has very little fat and you can control the amount of fat in the dumplings based on the type of butter you use.  Makes 6-8 servings with about 8 grams of fat if you use full fat butter.  It was delicious!  Jeff and I had it with a big side salad with my favorite Makoto Ginger Dressing and the kids had it with grilled cheese on whole wheat so everyone was happy.

At this point in the week, I am still happy and feeling full.  I am not dieting, just eating better.  If tomorrow, I want another mini Heath Bar, I am probably going to have one… and smile while eating it!

Day 3… still going but now with a sick kid!

Day 3

I am feeling a little better but now I have a sick little one.  Will was up much of the night with a terrible cough and running a fever.  So, just like I expected, there was a kink in my plans from the get go.  But, Jeff just let me sleep a little late and I was still able to get in my 20 min walk with a very happy dog before he left for work.  I know this is miraculous that I am posting not only 2 days in a row, but also twice in one day!  I just didn’t have time to put yesterday’s meals on here before I crashed last night.

7:15am – wake up and drink 16 oz water

8:00am – breakfast – Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal with 1% milk

9:30am – snack – small handful of cashews

10:00am – morning treat – Coffee with a little sugar & Nestle CoffeeMate Natural Bliss vanilla flavor

12:00pm – lunch – salad with green leaf lettuce, red bell pepper, yellow onion, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and Makoto Ginger dressing (I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!)

1:00pm – NutRition Bone Health Bar (I started craving something sweet – this seemed like a good option!)

4:00pm – afternoon snack – 10 quaker mini cheddar rice cakes

6:30pm – dinner – Baked Salmon with Sauteed Veggies and Brown Rice

I found a great deal on salmon at Food Lion today in the freezer section.  It was 1.5 lb wild caught alaskan salmon for $8.99.  It is pre sliced so I just thawed it out and placed it right in a dish coated with cooking spray.  Gently pat the salmon dry and brush with olive oil.  Squeeze lemon over the salmon and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt, garlic pepper (I use McCormick Grinder), and dried dill.  Bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 min.  Check for your desired doneness.  My family likes salmon pretty well done so that it flakes with a fork.

For the veggies, chop 6 cups of any of the following:

red bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, onions, garlic

Heat a small amount of olive oil just to coat the pan.  Add veggies and saute just until they are tender but still a little crisp.  Season to taste with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.

While all of this is cooking, prepare brown rice according to package directions.  I use a rice cooker so I can turn it on in the beginning and leave it.  Just remember when you make brown rice you need lots more water with the rice cooker!

As I am typing tonight, I am craving something sweet.  So, I resorted to my pregnancy staple – when I was pregnant I always wanted something chocolate late at night but I didn’t want a ton of calories.  A big glass of of skim milk with low sugar Quick is perfect. It hit the spot!

Getting back in shape

Blogworld friends, this is my official declaration that I am getting back in shape.  I am a person who desperately needs accountability in this arena so I am determined that if I say it here, for all to read, I will have to actually do it.  So along with my couch to 5 K running plan, I will be blogging about the food I am actually eating.  Now, disclaimer time.  If you would like to go along with me on this journey, you must know a few things.  I adamantly refuse to diet.  I love food and any full-blown restrictions on my diet cause me to just want whatever that I cannot have even more.  So, I am just making a conscious effort to make wise choices.  Hopefully posting here for all to see what I eat each day will motivate me to not down an entire sleeve of Oreos or make a quick run through the McDonald’s drive through.  Disclaimer number 2… Thanksgiving is next week.  I LOVE Thanksgiving and all of the food I will consume on that day.  I will definitely be posting about it, if you want to be über healthy on Thanksgiving, do not read.  I will not be.  But, I will run that morning so I won’t feel the least bit bad about what all I eat.  Disclaimer number 3… I still have to bake.  So, basically, I am going to make better day-to-day meal choices so that when I have an unquenchable desire to make muffins or cookies, or whatever, I will do it.  I will have one or 2, and I will know that I am still way better off than I was when I was not exercising and not making better food choices.

So, that being said, we are off.  Yesterday was day 1.  I downloaded the Couch 2 5 K running plan here and we had a great whole family jog to get started.  I had a bowl of multi-grain Cheerios for breakfast and for lunch we went out to the Buena Vista Grille for my grandfather’s birthday.  Luckily they had my favorite, lettuce wedge salad and I ordered a bowl of crab soup.  I am positive it was not low-fat or low cal soup but it was delicious.  To top it off we had birthday cake.  But, the only saving grace for my choices was that by the time we got home, I felt terrible from the cold I have and I didn’t feel like eating dinner.  I had a cup of blackberry hot tea instead and went to bed with Maddie May.

Day 2

Still feeling a little coldish but I still got up and ran this morning.  I am not following the plan exactly because I want to do more than 3 days per week.  I’m going to try to do Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun with the plan, and walk Tuesday and Thursday.  We will see what happens on Saturdays!  Here is what I fed my body with today:

Wake up – 16 oz water

6:45 am BreakfastQuaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal with 1% milk

9:00am Morning Treat – Coffee with a little sugar & Nestle CoffeeMate Natural Bliss vanilla flavor

10:15 am 2nd Breakfast – Whole Wheat Toast Topped with Eggs & Fresh Veggies

2 eggs

2 tbsp sliced onion

2 tsp diced jalapeno

2 tbsp diced tomato

2 tbsp diced mushroom

1 tbsp shredded cheese

salt & pepper to taste

1 slice whole wheat bread

*scramble eggs in a small bowl.  Saute veggies in non-stick pan (use spray or a very small amt of oil) until soft.

Add eggs and cook to desired doneness.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Top with cheese and stir to melt.

Serve on top of one slice of toasted whole wheat bread.

 

1:00pm Snack – handful of roasted cashews

2:00pm Lunch – Chicken Salad with Triscuits

12.5 oz can of Swanson 98% fat-free chicken

1 celery stalk finely diced

2 green onions finely chopped

10 purple grapes quartered

4 almonds sliced

2 tbsp low-fat mayo

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

dash of mustard powder

dash of garlic powder

Break up chicken with a fork and combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Serve with reduced fat triscuits.  About 1/3 of the chicken salad & 7 triscuits is approx 200 calories and about 5.5 g fat.  It is very filling!

5:30pm – dinner

This does not in any way fit into a healthier eating plan but it was planned long before I decided to do this, so, we had pizza and cake.  I did stick to just one and a half slices of delicious Vincenzo’s pizza (which I highly recommend) and a VERY tiny slice of cake.  So offensively small in fact that my 2-year-old would not eat it because it “looks like a slide”.  You see, it was the big reveal party to find out if I am going to have a new niece or a new nephew & I was thrilled to find out I am having another nephew.  My sister is expecting her first baby in March and I could not be more excited to meet him.  That is why I had no choice but to eat the delicious pizza and cake from Mrs. Pumpkins – it was to celebrate!  This should just serve as further proof that this will not in any way be a journey through a perfect eating plan that any dietician in his or her right mind would recommend.  But, it is better than what I have been doing and might serve as inspiration for someone else to do better as well.  I’m not looking to win any awards for healthiest woman alive, just trying to be a better me.

Who is this person and what has she done with the mom I thought I would be???

EDITED 2-20-14: I am no longer writing at MyPreppy Kitchen but I am writing at www.caseyprince.com  Hope you will join me there!

Saturday, I was blessed to spend the day with one of my very best friends in the world.  She is “my person”.  The one who when we are together it is like she is my other half.  When we first became friends, people would often comment on how odd it was that we had known each other such a short time because we seemed to know one another so well.  It is definitely a friendship that was meant to be.  The funniest thing is that 2 of my kids look just like her kids.  It is adorable really.  

As we were about to sing happy birthday to Maddie May’s best friend Carter we laughed that she was frosting the cupcakes at the last second, not unlike her son’s party a few weeks ago where I came in the door and started frosting them for her because life once again got in the way of the best laid plans.  We remarked that we are nothing like the moms we planned to be.  You know, the ones who are always perfectly manicured with hair fixed and clothes that do not involve running pants and tennis shoes.  We just knew we would be the moms who have a healthy breakfast cooked and ready when the kids wake up so that they are off to school with a full tummy and combed hair.  Their clothes would always match, their faces would be perfectly scrubbed, and our floors in our houses would never be dirty.  We would still dust weekly (or more) and finger prints would immediately be removed from windows and doors.  There would never by more laundry to fold than the one load that is coming right out of the dryer still warm so as not to have wrinkles.  And birthday parties, those would be spectacular.  We would make adorable decorations so cute that Martha Stewart would approve.  The snacks would be hand-made little treats and the cupcakes would always be made and ready to go hours before the party so that we could make sure we were ready to greet our guests.  Never would we forget to send invitations until the week of or rush out 30 minutes before the party because we forgot plates.  All in all, our houses would be clean, our children a study in perfect behavior, and our gifts for organization would serve us well as we breeze through life as if we have all the time in the world to accomplish all that we have to do.

But alas, these women do not exist, the perfect Casey mommy and the perfect Stephanie mommy were lost somewhere between that last mani pedi we had the week before Jake was born almost 8 years ago and child number 5 between us born 2 years ago yesterday.  Now… my nails are kept short because I have no time to care for them, my hair is perpetually in a pony tail, and workout clothes are my new normal (because maybe if I wear them I will get motivated to actually work out in them).  Breakfast on weekdays is usually cereal or oatmeal for the kids and coffee for me (though I do still cook on the weekends!)  Sometimes my kids clothes match but rarely do all 3 have brushed hair and sometimes Jake tries to get on the bus without shoes.  Just yesterday, Jeff took Maddie May into the nursery at church only to realize her face had not been wiped after breakfast – at least she was wearing stripey tights though.  The floors in my house are almost never clean.  I can vacuum and swiffer every day and there is still perpetual dirt.  I think there is a dirt fairy who comes by after me and sprinkles it around.  I have decided to consider finger prints on the glass to be art by the kids so I leave it alone until I can take it no longer.  Laundry is never-ending and sometimes I wonder how we are not walking around naked because I am certain that literally every piece of clothing we own is laying on my sofa to be folded.  And oh the parties… I regularly forget to send invitations, I scramble at the last-minute to come up with a cute snack or 2 and I am almost always still frosting the cupcakes when the first guest arrives.

It makes me laugh and cry all at the same time.  I wonder who this woman is who looks longingly at a clean house and wonders how to keep it that way.  Sometimes I miss the perfectly organized silverware drawers, windows without nose prints, and a staircase not littered with tiny shoes (99% of which belong to Will Prince I must add).  Then, I remember how quiet life was back then and I know with complete certainty I would miss the loud, messy craziness that my house is now if I had to live one minute without my kids in it.  I always imagined this perfect mom, the mom I didn’t understand why others couldn’t be.  The mom I always thought my own mom should be – why did she always have piles of laundry to fold???  I imagined the mom I had to be in order to live up to this standard I had set for myself.  And now I see I am the mom God made me to be and hopefully more like my own mom than I ever knew I wanted to be.  He gave me children to give me some perspective.  It really doesn’t matter if they don’t fold their clothes or make their beds exactly the way I want them to, they just need to be shown to appreciate that they have beds and clothes.  It doesn’t matter if they sometimes eat sugary cereal for breakfast as long as I usually feed them well-balanced meals prepared and served with love and teach them to be generous so that others who might not have food can be given a warm meal.  And it certainly doesn’t matter that the floors are not spotless.  I do anything to ensure that their little feet would always be here to dirty my floors.

So as I sit here this morning and give myself a hard time for neglecting the My Preppy Kitchen blog for weeks, I am reminded that the reason I do this, the reason I do any of it, is for the love of my family.  I will get back to food blogging this week as we go into my favorite time of the year, but for now I am just reminded of how thankful I am that God changed the mom I thought I would be into the mom I am.  I am doing the best I can with what I have, and thank heavens Jeff and my kids think it is good enough.

Finally, a food post again… Sausage and Jalapeno French Bread Pizza

I know it has been days since I last blogged a dinner. Trust me, I have been cooking, even taking pictures.  I just haven’t had a minute to get down here and blog about it.  Between sick kids and working (yes, I have taken on a part-time job to make some money to get MPK off the ground)  I have been a hot mess the past 2 weeks. I promise I will do better and give you more delicious easy dinners to try.

Tonight was one of those nights when I seriously regret not planning the week’s meals out fully.  We had planned to go to the Dixie Classic Fair tonight so I had no intention of cooking.  I was planning to gorge myself on the world’s unhealthiest foods and love every minute of it.  I have said it before and will say it again, second only to salsa or guacamole, Funnel Cake is among the world’s most perfect foods.  But, it was not meant to be.  One child still with the sickies meant that we will not be enjoying the fun (read:terrifying) rides, terribly unhealthy (read:delicious) food, and my favorite pastime of people watching.  Seriously, there is no place with better people watching than the fair.  There is only one place I have ever been that could rival it and that was at the Dockhouse Restaurant in Beaufort, NC.  It was 4th of July weekend MANY years ago and the place was packed with people of all sorts.  The people watching was so good that we went so far as to make up a game that involved beer and predictions about the next person who would walk out the door.  My girlfriends and I were literally sitting on a fence railing for hours “playing” this game.  We laughed so hard people were beginning to stare.  Now that I am thinking about it I’m sure people were probably people watching us as well.  But, I digress, the fair, the people watching, they should sell tickets just for that.

So, because I had not planned to make dinner tonight I had to come up with something on the fly since I spent the afternoon baking for the Clemmons Country Store.  I had a loaf of french bread I bought at Lowes Foods earlier in the week for $.99, and I had some cheese, sausage, and some jalapenos.  I decided to make up a new pizza and it was all done in a snap!

SAUSAGE AND JALAPENO FRENCH BREAD PIZZA

To begin with, I sliced the bread in half-length wise and then sliced it into 3 pieces (which makes 6 when you split them)

To make the sauce, open a 15 oz can of tomato sauce ( I used Lowes Foods brand).  Mix with it 1 tsp each of dried sweet basil and dried oregano, 1/2 tsp of dried parsley, 1/4 tsp of onion powder and garlic powder.  Then add 1 tbsp red wine.

Add the sauce to the bread.  If you have little hands who like to help, a great job for them is to spread the sauce on all pieces of bread.  Let the sauce soak into the bread during the next step.  Only use about 2/3 of the sauce.  Save the remaining 1/3 for the next step.

Next I brown 1/2 lb of sausage.  I love Jimmy Dean All Natural when I am out of the local fresh sausage I get from the farm across from my grandparents house.  Drain the sausage and leave the drippings in the pan.

Slice as much jalapeno, red onion, and garlic as you would like on your pizza.  I used a large jalapeno and about 1/4 of a small red onion and 2 garlic cloves.  Toss them all into the pan with the sausage drippings.  Saute just until slightly softened and then pour in the remaining 1/3 of the tomato sauce.

Cook it down slightly.

I made enough of the jalapeno mixture to top 2 of the pizzas because the kids didn’t want the heat.  Make more if you want to top them all.  If so, you might want to double the sauce mixture as well.

When the mixture has cooked down slightly, top the pizzas with it.  Next, add the browned sausage.

Top pizzas with shredded mozzarella and grated parmesan.  I used about 3 cups of mozzarella.  Add the parmesan to taste.

Bake at 400 for about 15 min, then turn on the broiler for 5-10 min, depending on how brown and bubbly you like your cheese.

Pair it with a side salad and you have a quick, well-balanced meal that costs almost nothing!  Everyone here loved it.

This sad little bite is all that was left, and if I know my husband, it didn’t last long when he was cleaning the kitchen (yes, I know how lucky I am).  I’m sure he couldn’t just throw it away, and what a waste to wrap up that little bite and let it get lost in the fridge!

So, that’s it for my super easy dinner tonight.  Make sure you make a stop tomorrow at the Clemmons Country Store to try some pumpkin bread and peanut butter cookies.  Yes, I know this is a picture of a pumpkin muffin and not a pumpkin loaf, but I forgot to take pictures before I took them.  I would have taken some muffins but they get eaten around here as soon as I bake them!  I am hoping to take some more things tomorrow but I am not certain it will happen.  Drop me a comment to let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading, good night!

Anyone in the film / TV production business???

So yesterday, while cooking and watching Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network, it caught my attention when at the end of the show they said something to the effect of, “if you have a struggling restaurant contact us…” and I thought, HEY, what about if you have a struggling idea to get started!?!

Here I am, a woman passionate about cooking, with lots of potential business (ie. people who are so patiently waiting for me to wind up in a legitimate kitchen so I can start cooking FOR REAL), but I can’t get this off the ground without borrowing a boatload of money.  I just do not want to get back into the world of debt.  After borrowing for my first business venture and needing to sell when it was not a great time, I just am very gun shy at the idea of borrowing again.  I had planned to just do this from home while I built up capital to get my own place.  But, as you know, that plan was shot to pieces as soon as I started to do my homework on HOW you can get going and the fact that you cannot (legally) without the cash upfront to get a commercial health dept approved kitchen.  And the thing is, I am not alone.  There are people all over this town who are starting up food based businesses from home illegally because they cannot find a part time kitchen to cook in and don’t have the funds to do it the way the health department wants them to.  There are culinary incubators all over the state, just no where close to us.

So… I decided to look on the FN website to see if they have a spot to send new show ideas (I didn’t think they would but decided to look nonetheless).  They do not of course.   They say they only accept new show ideas from production companies.  I don’t know if any of you out there have any contacts in the production industry, but if you do I have a great idea (or 2).  I watch Food Network religiously and think this idea would be a big hit and would be an opportunity to help out very small businesses.  Here we are in a struggling economy where the government is talking about helping the little guy and supporting small business.  And at the same time we see this is an example of government regulations and restrictions preventing the growth of business (sorry, back down from my soap box)).  I’m looking for a way to get past that hurdle and grow a small business anyways.

I know this is a stretch, and many of you are laughing right now at my notion that this could even work. But those of you who know me well, also know that I am not one to be afraid of going after something that is a stretch.  I figure, these shows happen for someone, it might as well be for me.  I am passionate and excited about something and I am going to do everything I can to make it happen.

PS – I successfully made a biscuit last week so miracles do happen.

Location?????

Does anyone know who owns the old Baskin Robbins building in Clemmons? Wouldn’t that be the perfect spot for My Preppy Kitchen to grow? I think Clemmons needs a little bakery where you an stop for a cup of coffee and a muffin at the drive through in the morning and pick up your dinner on the way home from work. Plus, it could be the go to place for cupcakes! Now I just need to sweet talk the owner into renting to me CHEAP! Got to start somewhere, right?

If you know anything about this building let me know!  My mind is just spinning with ideas right now!

Follow Me!

Word Press has added a new button making it easy to follow my blog so you don’t have to check back to see what it new.  Just click on the “follow” button at the bottom of this post and you will be added.

I really appreciate all of you who are reading – hopefully I will have some great news soon on getting MPK rolling with a kitchen.  I have a couple of leads to call today.  In the meantime, if you come across an empty kitchen looking for a short term renter or if you know of a restaurant or caterer who is closed sometimes and would like to rent their space, let me know!

I’ll have some new recipes to post tonight!

Casey

A Huge Thank You and Ugly Cookies

I cannot believe the number of people who have stopped me lately to tell me they are reading my blog.  Clearly, not strangers, they are all people I know, but people who I had no idea even knew I had a blog!  It is absolutely one of the best compliments when someone asks what I will be cooking tonight and I just smile ear to ear when a new person tells me they love it or asks for my blog address because someone else told them about it.  Every time I get a notification that someone else either “liked” a post or is subscribing or following me I do a little dance – I think my kids believe I am going crazy.

So, please let me say thank you so much for making this little venture worthwhile, even if it is on a detour at the moment.  I have a couple of leads I am waiting to hear from regarding cooking space, and I am just not ready to give up yet.  I just need someone out there to want to give a chance to a new business.  Someone with some money to burn should look at opening a culinary incubator in the Piedmont Triad area.  Currently, we have nothing I can find.  There are spaces in Cornelius, Durham, even Hillsborough, but nothing here.  Investors… I would even run it for you!  Imagine, a space with a few kitchens in it all that can be rented hourly for business start-ups.  There is a market for it – I am proof!  I would love to know where all of the caterers and other food based businesses in Winston-Salem got started.  Anyone with ideas, I am all ears.  A church kitchen is not an option and it has to be a space I can have inspected in my name.  So, if you know anyone with a commercial kitchen they are not using (like if they have a business that has a commercial kitchen in the building that they do not use) or anyone who owned a restaurant that is now closed that they might want to rent inexpensively, let me know!

 

Now, for the good part of my post.  Last night’s dinner was quick and delicious – hope you will try it!

PARMESAN CRUSTED TILAPIA with wild rice and steamed veggies

6 Tilapia Filets

2 eggs

1 Tbsp milk

1 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded parmesan

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups broccoli florettes

1 cup cauliflower florettes

1 1/2 cups wild rice

2 1/2 cups water

salt & pepper to taste

 

Start your rice first.  If you have a rice cooker, use that.  I have this one, by Cuisinart and I use it all the time.  Mine has a steam basket on top making meals like this even easier.  Put the rice and water into the cooker with salt and pepper to taste.  Set it to on.

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper.  In a separate bowl, wisk together eggs and milk.  Dip the fish in egg mixture and then dredge in the bread crumb mix.  Place on non-stick foil lined pan.  Bake for 10 min, flip, and bake 5 min more.

About 7 min before fish is ready, put broccoli and cauliflower in steam basket (place on top of rice cooker if using) and cook 5-7 min or until just tender.  The ones pictured were a little over done because they sat in the basket too long waiting for dinner to be served.  Be sure to take them away from the heat and steam as soon as they are ready.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serve with a mixed green side salad and crusty bread.  The bread shown here is one of my favorites that I need to learn to make.  It is roasted garlic bread from Food Lion, so good!

UGLY COOKIES!!!

Seriously, these are not pretty cookies but they taste so good.  I was playing with cookie dough recipes yesterday and this is what I created.  It is a chewy, crispy twist on a chocolate chip cookie.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I can’t share my cookie recipes, but I will share the pictures!