22 April 2010

Super Easy and Delicious Low-Carb (crustless) Quiche

Made this last night. Ragan said I'm hitting homeruns with my new recipes. I made a chicken and mushroom pasta in a white wine sauce the other night. I'll post that recipe later.

Low-Carb Crustless Quiche
6 slices bacon, diced
6 eggs
2 cups shredded cheese (your choice)
Onion, diced
Couple cloves of garlic
Mushrooms, sliced
Salt/Pepper to taste
Splash of milk (or chicken broth)**

The good thing about this quiche is you can take your eggs and cheese and basically you can do anything you want with it. This recipe isn't exact because I kinda did my own thing...threw in whatever I wanted (the recipe only called for onions and spinach--no bacon--but I added the bacon, garlic, and mushrooms).

Preheat oven to 350

In a skillet, cook the bacon until it's as crispy as you want it. Once the bacon is done, drain the grease. In that same skillet add your diced onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until the onions are clear and the mushrooms are tender. Throw in as much fresh spinach as you want and wilt it down.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the 6 eggs until they are beaten. Add the cheese and salt/pepper and mix well. (**Here's my own note: I thought it looked a little too thick so I added a splash of chicken broth--I would've used milk but I was out) Once the onion/garlic/spinach gets done, add that and the bacon to the egg mixture and mix well.

Pour egg mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.


Shrimp & Grits Recipe

So I have heard of Shrimp & Grits and that it's a classic south-eastern food, I had never had it. I found a recipe and tweaked it just a bit. Ragan said it was easily one of the best things I've ever cooked so I'm sharing it with you:
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheese (your choice, something like cheddar is good)
6 slices bacon, chopped
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined***
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons parsley (fresh is preferred but dried is ok)
6 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to your taste)
***Ragan wouldn't let me use fresh shrimp because he was grossed out by their grayish color. So I used frozen already cooked cocktail shrimp that I thawed and decreased the cooking time by half (1 1/2 minutes each time whereas the recipe calls for 3 minutes). Also the original recipe didn't have cayenne pepper but I had to spice it up just a bit...you can absolutely leave this out if you want. And the original recipe also called for cheddar cheese but I used a shredded monteray jack and it was yummy.
Also note, this recipe calls for you make the grits first, set aside, and then do the rest of the recipe. I did that but the grits were cold so next time I'll try to time it a little better.
Bring chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in grits. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in salt, pepper, butter, and cheese. Set aside to keep warm.
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon from pan. (Just FYI, whoever wrote this recipe has a seriously distorted view of how long it acutally takes bacon to cook to a crisp...it probably wasn't even warm all the way through by 3 minutes...it's more like 3 or 4 or 5 times that cooking time depending on how crisp you want it)Cook shrimp in same pan over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until almost pink, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice, worchestershire sauce, parsley, green onions, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Stir in bacon.Spoon grits onto individual plates or into shallow bowls; top with shrimp mixture. Serve immediately.
I served mine with garlic bread but a light side salad would also be nice.
4 servings

20 April 2010

Book Review No. 37

It's no secret that I love love love Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. In my opinion, it's one of the greatest romances ever put to page. So when an assignment was presented at school where I had to give booktalks on a certain theme/topic, it was an easy decision to choose Pride & Prejudice as my theme. And thus The Other Side of the Story: Pride & Prejudice Revisited was born. A booktalk is basically to a book what a movie trailer is to a movie--you attempt to hook in the audience so that they want to read the book without giving away too much of the plot. I really enjoyed preparing for this assignment because it gave me a chance to immerse myself in all things Pride & Prejudice. I've alreayd posted a book review (No. 36) about one book used for this assignment, Vampire Darcy's Desire by Regina Jeffers, so here is my review for Darcy's Story (Pride & Prejudice told from Mr. Darcy's perspective).

Let's roll...

Book Review No. 37
Title: Darcy's Story: Pride & Prejudice Told From a Whole New Perspective
Author: Janey Aylmer
Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice has long stood among the most beloved novels of all time. The story of Elizabeth Bennet’s blossoming romance with “haughty, reserved, and fastidious” Fitzwilliam Darcy has enchanted readers for nearly two centuries. Yet, Mr. Darcy has always remained an intriguing enigma—his thoughts, feelings, and motivations hidden behind a cold, impenetrable exterior…until now. With the utmost respect for Austen’s original masterwork, author Janet Aylmer lovingly retells Pride & Prejudice from a bold new perspective; seeing events as they transpire through the eyes of Darcy himself. One of the world’s great love stories takes on breathtaking new life, and one of fiction’s greatest romantic heroes becomes even more sympathetic, compelling, attractive, and accessible, all through the imagination and artistry of a truly gifted storyteller. (taken from back of book)
From the Booktalk:
My name is Fitzwilliam Darcy. People see me as a proud individual, having no patience for those in a lesser station than myself. I wish people could see me for who I am—which is why I’m telling my story—the story of how I fell in love with Miss Elizabeth Bennet.

I am fortunate to have been born into a family of wealth. I learned a long time ago that when people look at me, they mostly look past me and see only my wealth. I’ll be honest, this has helped me achieve success and respect in life. But it is a lonely existence. I desperately desire to marry for love but the only women who are presented to me are only interested because of my wealth and status in life. Society tells me that I must marry someone that is my societal equal—but what if I don’t love them? Should I be resolved to settle for a life of complacency? Perhaps I will never marry.

That was my philosophy—until the day I met Elizabeth Bennet. See my good friend Charles Bingley let a house in Netherfield and longing to get out of the City for a while, I thought the country air would be just what I needed. Though I dreaded the country society and customs, I took part so as not to bring disfavor on Bingley. It was at a ball that I first saw Elizabeth Bennet. Immediately I was drawn in by her beauty but more so by her quick wit and charm. She didn’t hesitate to disagree with me and did not seem deterred by my wealth. She was unlike any woman I had ever met and I was smitten.

I fought my feelings for her because it would be a scandal to marry someone of such a low station in life and I have responsibilities that come with my station in life after all. But my fight was in vain. I fell in love with Elizabeth and my life forever changed—for the better.

Now, the question is—do you want to know the rest of the story???
My Critique:
This book is one of my favorites--right up there with the original. I knew that I liked it already because I had already read it. This is one of those books you'll continue to read over and over again. The author takes the sympathetic view of Darcy that I do and does a good job revealing his character while keeping the language consistent with the original work.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Darcy's Story, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas--uh, nevermind.

15 April 2010

No Regrets

I pride myself on my platform of not believing in regrets. For so long now I've held firmly to the belief that you should never regret anything because (a) you can't change it, and (b) make yourself happy, make the best decisions for yourself that you know how to make, based on the information you have and the beliefs you hold, and no matter the outcome, you won't regret it because you did the best that you could.
BUT...lately I've just had this unsettled feeling--a general sense unrest. And when that happens I tend to start questioning and second guessing every major life decision I've ever made--and even some minor ones. I hate when this happens because usually the ones I love suffer most. I get really moody and am just not pleasant to be around...because I'm lost in my thoughts.
I begin to wonder if my steadfast belief in NO REGRETS has validity. Is it the selfish impulse of an independent free-spirit or is it a valid life choice? Can we avoid regrets? Or are they inevitable?
My hope is this...on my dying day I will look back on my life and truly, honestly say, "I wouldn't have changed a thing."

11 April 2010

Book Review No. 36

Back when Myspace was all the rage for a hot minute I started posting book reviews of books I read. I haven't posted one in ages because going to school and working full-time I haven't had much time for leisure reading. However, I just read a book that I really enjoyed--and while it was not for leisure per sae, it was entertaining. It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I'm pretty much obsessed with Pride & Prejudice and all things associated with one, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Anyway, Book Reviews Numbers 1 thru 35 are lost over in Myspace land and I might attempt to move them over here but for now, we'll pick up where I left off...

Book Review No. 36

Book Title: Vampire Darcy's Desire
Author: Regina Jeffers
Publication Info: Ulysses Press, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-56975-731-4
Vampire Darcy's Desire presents Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice as a heart-pounding vampire romance filled with passion and danger. Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half-human/half-vampire dhampir, Mr. Darcy vows to live forever alone rather than inflict the horrors of life as a vampire on an innocent wife. But when he comes to Netherfield Park, he meets the captivating Elizabeth Bennet. As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a "pride and prejudice" never before imagined--while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love. Meanwhile, dark forces are at work all around them. Most ominous is the threat from George Wickham, the purveyor of the curse, a demon who vows to destroy each generation of Darcys. Written in authentic Austen style and faithful to its Regency-era setting, Vampire Darcy's Desire retells the greatest love story of all time in a hauntingly imaginative fashion.
(taken from the back of the book)
My Critique:
I'll be the first to admit that I was very apprehensive at first of reading this book. I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to my Austen, but more specifically when it comes to my Darcy and Elizabeth. But, as class assignments often do, I was forced to read it and I was very pleasantly surprised. From almost the first paragraph I was hooked...I couldn't put it down (just ask my poor neglected hubby). Now I must mention that I never jumped on the Twilight bandwagon. I read it at the insistance of several of my friends and I found it to be pretty much one big cheesy letdown. This book, however, is like Pride & Prejudice meets Twilight only it's about 437 times better than the melodramatic teen drama. Simply put, this was the best book I've read in a very long time--then again, it's pretty much the only book I've read in a very long time. Nonetheless, I would recommend this book as one to be read. I would especially think it would be good for those of you who are reluctant readers but who are all about the whole vampire craze.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in the afore mentioned book, Vampire Darcy's Desire, are the sole views and opinions of the author and have nothing to do with me or my views/opinions/beliefs...so get off my back. I am in no way affiliated with the afore mentioned author...except that one time in Vegas--uh, nevermind.

08 April 2010

Bare Your Sole

I'm bare-ing my sole today for One Day Without Shoes. What are you talking about? I'm glad you asked. One Day Without Shoes is an annual event sponsored by TOMS Shoes (a shoe company asking you to NOT wear shoes...what a concept) to raise awareness for the millions of people in our world who must live day to day without the luxury of shoes on their feet. As a shoe lover, this thought was very humbling to me. Far too often I get blinded by my own little world and have no thought of those less fortunate than me (both in my own country and others). Here are some facts:
  • In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.
  • Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.
  • Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.
  • In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.
  • Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.

How sad that millions of people are suffering a 100% preventable disease simply because they don't have shoes! So I've joined the cause...my own one-man revolution. I'll probably get reprimanded at work for not being "professional." I know I'm going to not like it because I don't like going barefoot...but at least for me at the end of the day I have shoes...it's a choice for me, for millions it's the only way of life they know.

How can you help? For every pair of shoes you buy from TOMS, they donate one brand new pair of shoes to a child in need.

That's all find an good but what if I have used shoes that I would like to donate to those in need? There's a wonderful organization called Soles 4 Souls that accept donations. You can send new or used shoes to them via UPS since there isn't a location near us. You only have to pay your shipping costs.

Check out TOMS website at: http://www.toms.com/ or http://www.onedaywithoutshoes.com/

Check out Soles 4 Souls at: http://www.soles4souls.org

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