Weekend prep for the week ahead?

Do you prep for the week ahead?  The last few weeks at work were crazy.  My schedule’s been packed from morning to night with little chance to breathe in between.  I know that’s the status quo for many.  Trying to balance work and family and a tiny bit of me time is often a challenge.  Wasn’t there an old advertisement where the Mom worked all day and came home to “fry it up in a pan”?  We could have it all – right?  My Pollyanna alter-ego says yes we can!  The part of me who is flat on the sofa says maybe not.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that if I’m going to have a shot at doing it all, prep is my only hope.  I’ve gotten into the habit of cooking for the week ahead.  That way I have homemade and healthy dinners already done when I get home on a week night.

I tried two new recipes last weekend.  Both new recipes are instagram inspired – chicken chili and stuffed peppers.  Best yet, both freeze.  This gives me dinner for the week and variety for another week.

Chicken chili-

  • One block low fat cream cheese
  • two chicken breasts
  • 1 carton chicken stock
  • one can black beans
  • one can rotes tomatoes
  • one package frozen corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot with beans, corn, tomatoes, stock, and spices next and cream cheese on top.

Stuffed peppers –

  • one pound sausage (chicken)
  • one can rotes tomatoes
  • one block low fat cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 bell peppers cut in half

Cut peppers in half, clean out and place on baking sheet.  Fry sausage out till done.  Add to sausage tomatoes and cream cheese.  Stuff pepper halves.  Bake for thirty minutes in oven.

 

Egg Salad: Comfort Food

 

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Growing up summer at the beach included egg salad sandwiches for lunch.  I have fond memories of Mom boiling eggs and turning them into deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches.  She knew they were a favorite we shared.  Egg salad, chips and a coke and lunch was served.  I have so many fond memories of those lunches.  White sandy beaches, heat, heat, humidity and fun.

Although I never thought about it, the egg salad seemed to be seasonal.  The sandwiches would start appearing after Easter and end sometime after Labor Day.  These days I look forward to my egg salad at the Masters.  There is something about their version of the egg salad sandwich that takes me back to Mom’s.  I’ve  been trying to decode their recipe for years now.  Today as I mixed my egg salad for sandwiches on the beach, I finally came close!

 

 

One dozen eggs – hard boiled and dumped into an ice bath to make pealing easy.

Peel eggs, slice and mash

Add salt and pepper to taste

Mix in 1/4 of mayo to start, add additional as needed.  I used lite mayo,

Add a tablespoon of mustard.  I used Frenches

Spread on bread of your choice and enjoy!

The Homestead

Do you ever need that weekend away to simply relax?  I do! I love that over night or long weekend when you get away from home, sleep in, and simply enjoy some needed peace and quite.  The Homestead, also now known as the Omni Homestead, is one of my favorite places for a quick trip away to recharge.

Nestled in the Virginia mountains, it has been there in one form or another since 1766.  Known for the hot springs in the area it was a place to “take the waters” – and you still can!

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The rooms are beautiful, the people phenomenal and the food a gourmand’s delight.  And, oh, did I mention the spa?  You can hike, swim or ski, depending on the season, golf, enjoy zip lining, falconry, hiking, or, my personal favorite, curl up with a book or a deck of cards in the library or on the front porch.  Then there is the great hall where you can enjoy the fire places.  I’ve enjoyed many an afternoon playing cards – yes, I mean playing with an actual deck of cards – with my Mom and enjoying a refreshment.

The spa is excellent; the garden pool, adult only, features a lovely heated pool and hot tub along with one of the original hot springs.  The aqua thermal suite is the perfect place for an afternoon and then a massage.  There is also a gym, indoor pool, and, in the warm weather, a family pool with a lazy river.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the food.  It is spectacular.  I feel like I roll away when I leave the table.  The breakfast buffet leaves nothing to the imagination.  Dinner options do not disappoint.  The wedge salad at Jefferson’s is a favorite.  I’ve eaten in the dining room, formal, Jefferson’s, casual, room service, and Sam Sneeds.  Each meal was to die for.

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The comfort restaurant, BG on 7

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Continuing with the theme of comfort food, do you have restaurants you return to time and time again?  I must be a creature of habit as I have favorites that I love and return to again and again.  One of those favorites is the restaurant on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman in New York.  The store is a regular stop for me on any visit to the City.  I love to visit Carmen at the Chanel make up counter for a refresh on my look, there is the amazing shoe salon, and the restaurant.  Note when you have a small and narrow foot, there is no better place to visit than the second floor of BG.  This is also a favorite place to meet a friend for lunch.  What better than a cozy restaurant where you can chat, laugh and generally catch up on everything happening.

 

The restaurant on the seventh floor is conveniently located with a wonderful view overlooking Central Park.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have lunch in the prized whisper chairs and been there when it was so busy I was just happy to eat at the bar.  The service and menu are excellent.  The croque monsieur is a perennial favorite.  Who doesn’t love a toasted ham sandwich covered in a cheese bechamel sauce?  The greens that accompany the sandwich are the perfect complement to the meal.  Other repeat favorites include the tomato bisque soup, the butternut squash soup, and the lobster mac-n-cheese.  I’m usually full before I get to desert  but have indulged in a serving of cookies.  The menu also has several figure friendly options if you prefer.  One thing that I love is that the portions are such that I don’t feel bad about opting for something like the lobster man-n-cheese.

The next time you are in the City, stop by and enjoy the restaurant on 7.

 

 

 

The cheese soufflé

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As Thanksgiving approaches I have food on the mind. Food, friends, family and memories all neatly come together for me recalling wonderful times in the kitchen and around the table.   The other night I was thinking about comfort food.  That favorite dish that you love no matter the calorie count.  I noticed that my comfort foods all seem to be cheese related.  Grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and a side of chips were a classic Mother/Daughter lunch growing up.  I don’t think I will ever forget watching Perry Mason re-runs on the tv with Mom while eating a grilled cheese.  To this day I love Perry Mason and tend to flash back on those wonderful lunches with her.  Her vegetable soup and homemade chili are on the list and tended to have grilled cheese sandwiches served with the soup.  To my list I’d also add mac-N-cheese, deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, the potato chip, Granddad’s cheese straws and, last but not least a cheese soufflé.

My grandmother made this wonderful cheddar cheese soufflé for “ladies lunch”.  Where my Mom related comfort food is soup and a grilled cheese sandwich, with Grandmom, it is a cheese soufflé.  At my request, she dutifully passed along the recipe.  As a novice cook in my first year of law school, I attempted to prepare my first  soufflé.  It was a disaster.  I needed to back up and learn some cooking basics, like making a white sauce.  My next attempt was slightly more successful thanks to coaching by Mom on some of the finer points of cooking.  Over the years I’ve mastered my soufflé recipe and even branched out to include variations on the original recipe.  I can now do a Roquefort cheese variation that is to die for.

Yesterday, I decided to treat myself to a cheese soufflé that was on the menu at Cognac in the City.  Wow, it was beautiful as well as delicious.  I think the bar has been set again.  Their soufflé was poofy and airy and delicious.  Taller than any I’ve ever coaxed out of the oven.  I’m not certain what the secret is but I’m going back to the kitchen and I may see if I can find a re-run of Perry to keep me company.  Grandmom has been gone since I graduated from law school but there are moments I feel her around and she may even decide to pop in to keep me company.  Back to that food, family, and friends theme!