Monday, November 22, 2010

New Grouper Recipe and Blogging Break

Hey there Bloggies, it’s Monday Night!  How was your Monday this week?  Better knowing it’s a short/holiday week?  Mine has been busy, busy.  We just came back from Monday Night Football happy hour at our gym/club.

I am going to be taking a bit of a blogging break for the next couple of weeks.  I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with preparing for the holidays, while managing to keep up with an active 16 month old.  As you’ve probably noticed, my posts have become a little more infrequent, and to be honest, so has cooking anything of real note.  That said, we do continue to cook most nights, as it’s important to us to eat right, cook fresh ingredients that include some organic, and local, but it has NOT included much to write about.  It has mostly been grilling vegetables, fish, making some good salads, and some delicious wines…but all the same as what I’ve already posted.  Not to mention, that by the time I have a chunk of time that I am not watching over a busy toddler, I’m to exhausted to be creative.  Which in turn means that creating blog posts has really taken a back burner.

Please don’t give up on me!  While I’m taking a break from actual blog posting, I will be busy experimenting with gluten free cut out sugar cookies for Chistmas, exploring some new holiday meal traditions, and of course, still reading all your wonderful blogs!  Check back in a few weeks for a recap and some new energy at Mommy RD!

For now, I’ll leave you with a real ‘Quick and Easy’ fish recipe I made last night.  It was on the bag of the Kroeger Grouper I purchased.  As simple as it was, the few ingredients really created an explosion of flavor!

Tomato and Chili Grouper

DSC03632 DSC03634 

I served this over whole wheat couscous with kale and apples

This meal came together in less that 15 minutes and was one that I will certainly repeat again and again!

Recipe: (adapted from Kroeger’s Grouper Serving Suggestion)

  • 2  6 oz grouper fillets  (any white fish would work here)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons, sweet chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add fish and cook approximately 4 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and keep warm.  Add a bit more olive oil and sautee onion until translucent.  Add tomato and chili sauce and cook another couple of minutes until tomato softens.  Spoon over fish fillets.  Enjoy!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving friends!  I know I have a lot to be thankful for!

DSC03642 DSC03644 DSC03651  DSC03663

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finally Friday!

TGIF blog land!  It feels like forever since I’ve posted.  With Scott out of town, it was hard to find time to cook, let alone blog about it.  Ava is now down to one nap per day, and that seems to be the time that I clean up the house, do a little food prep, or catch up on all of your interesting blogs.  And, since it is Confession Friday, I will admit, I have been occasionally taking a 20-30 minute nap when Ava is down in the afternoons.  It starts out quite innocent actually.  I catch up on emails and read a few blogs; after I’ve picked up the kitchen from lunch and put toys away.  My eyes start to feel a bit “dry,” so I think I’m just going to lay back and close them for a few minutes.  Ha, then I’m out.  I don’t even know who I am anymore!  I am usually a terrible sleeper, and used to rely on my Ambien script to get to sleep many a nights.  The thought of ‘closing my eyes’ during the day was a foreign concept to my usually high energy self.  Then again,Ava seems to have an internal alarm clock for 5:30 am.  Heck, just changing Ava’s clothes has been an aerobic wrestling session.  So, I’m embracing it for now, but to the expense of my blogging time. 

So, since I have not made anything new or inspriring lately, I will tell you about the wine I tried the other night. 

Now I have to admit, I’m partial to anything with cake in it’s name.  I’ve also been particularly fond of red blends lately – noting that they seem to have the best of all varietals represented.  The blend here includes Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  I don’t know if it was the power of suggestion with the name, or that it was the wine that made a perfect match to be called Red Velvet – cupcake, but this tasted like a creamy chocolate cupcake with lots of berry.  Yes, I don’t know that a wine can taste creamy, but it sure came close.  I can’t even imagine pairing it with a piece of sea salt dark chocolate…dreamy!  For around $10 to $12 dollars, I would highly recommend this blend – a winner for sure!

Speaking of red, here is Ava ready for a hike with Daddy this morning.  She enjoys the scenery from the backpack – double workout for Scott!


What is your confession this Friday?  Or, if you don’t want to ‘confess’, what are your weekend plans?

I’m off to a personal training session and then getting ready for Ava’s holiday photos.  The rest of the weekend is going to be spontaneous – yippee!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Re-cap and Squash Obsession

Hello ladies and gentlemen and happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a relaxing and wonderful weekend.  Do anything fun?   The weather here has been absolutely delightful, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it.  Saturday started with a 6 mile run with Ava in the BOB, followed by the Scottsdale Farmer’s Market.  Yes, here in Arizona, we are just kicking off the best of the growing season and our markets just opened about 2 weeks ago.  We also had a lot of nice walks outside and Ava enjoyed being in her Radio Flyer wagon. 

I’d have to say that fall is my favorite “foodie” time of year.  Squash, pumpkin, squash, cranberries, persimmon, and  pomegranates, and did I mention squash? I have been eating some form of winter squash Delicata, butternut, spaghetti, acorn, and carnival have all been on the menu in the past 2 weeks!  I usually just roast or grill any of them, but I had an acorn squash recently that was just calling to be used in a real recipe.  And I had just the appliance to test a new recipe! 


Of course, while getting to work I needed an old flame to get started:


As much as I love red wine and try so many different ones each week, I keep coming back to Red Diamond Merlot.  It is like “comfort” wine, as mac and cheese is to comfort food. 


Ah, a glass in hand and ready to start my squash endeavor…

Acorn Squash Soup


Wait, it needs a little something – something…

ah, there it is:


The recipe was in cookbook that came with the new appliance.  More on that in a coming post.  Can you guess? 


Overall, the soup was slightly bland.  We added a bit more salt, a swirl of creme fraiche, and some pistachios, but it still needed a little more pizazz, if you know what I mean.  I think this is why I don’t make soups very often.  I feel like they are a lot of work for what you get.  Meaning, it was a decent amount of effort, for something that was only a starter to our meal, more of an appetizer.  This soup was far to light to be served as a main dish, so I still had to make a full meal.  I dunno, maybe I don’t see the appeal of soups.  Does anyone else feel this way?

On another note, it’s Monday and Scott has left for a business trip.  It means I am solo parenting for a few days.  We are headed off to the gym this morning for mommy’s break workout.  I think we will hit up the grocery store  and the park as well.  That should keep us busy for the morning…

What is your favorite homemade soup?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dinner Out

Hey Bloggies, it’s Friday Eve!  As I’ve mentioned before, I heart Thursdays.  Everything from my favorite Bootcamp Class, to new episodes of CSI, to official weekend plans and weekend lists being made.  Today we also have another play group at the park, and Story Time at the library.  Exciting things I tell you.  ;-) 

But, before all that, I’m going to tell you about the great dinner we had at Season’s 52.


I’ve been reading some of the East Coast bloggers rave about this restaurant for years, and finally tried it this past winter when we were in Florida.  It is a healthy foodie’s idea of a great eatery.  Fresh flavors, lower fat fare that tastes great, reasonable sized portions, and best of all, and award winning wine list!  Well, we finally got one here in Phoenix.  Opening just a week and a half ago, this place was already standing room only while waiting- if you didn’t have reservations.  Luckily, we did.

We started with a couple of glasses of the Honoro Vera Merlot ‘08.  Oh. My.  It was velvety smooth, with a hint of cherry and raisin, and just bit of tannins, to remind you to sip and not gulp this liquid deliciousness. this bottle retail. 

While sipping our wine, and people watching, as this place was humming with people of all ages, eating and waiting to be seated, we also split a salad.  The simple organic mixed greens with roasted pumpkin seeds, gorgonzola and grape tomatoes.   Perfect as a starter to the main events.

Artichoke Stuffed Shrimp with a Lemon Herb Sauce


Tons of flavor, and deceivingly huge portions, this was absolutely fabulous.  Spot on with the right amount of herbs and lemon to not overpower the fresh flavor of the seafood.  We’d order this again in a heartbeat. 

My choice for the evening was the grilled scallops in a tamarind glaze, and roasted asparagus.  This dish was supposed to come with a sundried tomato pasta, but since I’m not a huge fan of pasta with scallops, I opted for extra mixed vegetables.  Good choice.  This portion was so big that we brought a bit home. 


The scallops were absolutely marvelous!  Cooked perfectly (which can be hard to do) they absolutely melted like butter in your mouth.  Best scallops I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant.  Veggies, were fine, nothing out of the ordinary.  Would sub the roasted squashes next time. 

We had a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to an excuse to go back!

What has been your best dining experience lately? 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gluten Free Fall Pizza

Happy Monday Evening blogland!  It’s been a busy Monday here in MommyRD’s house.  I had an awesome Body Blast class this morning.  This is a class at the gym that is very much interval training, with a lot of lunges, squats, and partner activities.  I think they really should rename it to Booty Blast, as I can already feel my tush and hamstrings screaming.  I’m happy to be done with the half marathon training, as now I can take more fun classes at the gym, and not worry how my legs will feel if I have to do a long run.  Ava gets to play at the daycare, and I get time to talk to other adults, so it’s a win-win.  Also, maybe it is because running comes fairly easy for me, but I really think that weight lifting and interval/circuit classes are doing more for my fitness than a lot of running.  That said, I haven’t given up running, just taking it down to short runs once or twice a week, it’s to nice this time of the year to spend everyday in the gym! 

Now, let’s talk food, shall we?

Over the weekend, we made homemade pizza – GLUTEN FREE!

I was sent some dough mixes from Chebe to try out.  We tried this Original Bread Mix to make our pizza.  (There is pizza dough instructions on the back.)  This is also yeast free, which means there is no extra time involved for the rising. 



Scott liked the fact that it spread out easily. 

We decided on some fall flavored ingredients.  Pears and blue cheese were the first things we thought of.  Coupled with some shitake mushrooms and sauteed red onion, we were good to go.  Right before topping, I thought I’d try a base of  canned pumpkin mixed with goat cheese.  A little sprinkle of blue cheese and goat gouda on top added some additional cheesiness.  I also sprinkled just a bit of our garden fresh Rosemary. 

Just out of the oven…


Hmmm…needs a little something.  I know, balsamic reduction!!

DSC03610 DSC03611

The crust was great.  Not quite the doughy chew you get in a traditional flour crust, but it crisped up nicely and had good flavor.  I haven’t had other gluten free pizzas to compare, but it was something I’d gladly eat again.  As for our fall inspired toppings;  good, but next time I would add some capers or prosciutto.  With all the sweet toppings I had, it needed more saltiness to balance it. 

We paired this with a lovely Merlot Nero d’Avola blend. 

Vignali Roccamora 'Carlo Alfano' Nero d'Avola - Merlot 2008













I enjoyed this wine a lot.  It was drier and slightly more tannic then most merlots, and had more complexity thanks to the Nero d’Avola.  It went great with the pizza as it matched and balanced the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin and pears.  I’m really a fan of red blends. 

What is the best thing you ate or drank over the weekend?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is It the Weekend Yet?!

I can almost smell Friday, as I sit here late on Thursday evening contemplating a second glass of wine.  It has been one of “those days.” 

Our days begin around 5:30 am, and by 11 am we had played outside, took Chase on a walk, went to Bootcamp (!!), had breakfast and a snack, picked up some groceries, and started a batch of Angela’s Healthy Bites cookies.  This afternoon was full of tears, as trying to run and navigate the balls Chase leaves behind, left Ava with a few bumps and bruises.   Makeup was never accomplished, and heck, I didn’t get a shower until 5:30 this evening.  99.5% of the time, I LOVE being a stay at home mom, but today was the other .5% where I just wanted to yell, “Calgon, take me away!”  (Am I the only one old enough to remember those commercials?)

So, instead, I opted for a lovely glass of vino


Ah, it may not be Calgon, but it did help me enjoy the quietness of the evening on the patio.  To tired to think of cooking much, I knew the “grill master” aka Scott, would be happy to fire up the grill for a healthy dinner.


Trader Joe’s seasoned Mahi Mahi with grilled veggies;  enjoyed on the patio.  We are experiencing that blissful kind of weather that reminds me why we put up with the dreadful summers. 

Friday plans include a cardio sculpt class, a ear check for Ava with the pediatrician, and a nice walk in the late afternoon as a family.  As I said, I can almost smell the weekend! 

What are your plans for the weekend?

One Year Ago Today

This little peanut


became legally ours.  It was Ava’s Adoption Day!!


Even though she was “ours” since birth, (I was lucky enough to be the one to cut her umbilical cord) this was the final legalization and re-issuance of her birth certificate with our names listed as her parents.  Another special day in our baby book of special moments. 


Adoption has a special meaning to me, as I was adopted myself as an infant.  My grandmother was also adopted off an orphan train back in the 1920’s.  We are so lucky to continue this precious gift with Ava. 

While we were in the process of trying to adopt, we took some classes through a local agency.  One night there was a panel of adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth moms, all talking about their experiences.  The thing that really kept being reiterated was that the right child will come to you.  Of course, when you are apprehensively waiting and wondering if it will ever happen, it was hard to believe.  But, oh, so wise they were… She couldn’t be more like the two of us, with her love of eating, being active, and enjoying social time when we take her out. 

After our quick hour in court, we went to get Ava a present.  Here she is enjoying her new “jumperoo.”  While this provided hours of entertainment for a couple of months, it was nothing to the fun we’ve had watching her grow and progress in the past 15 months.  I never knew parenthood would be this fun and rewarding. 


One year later:


I’ll be back tomorrow with food, wine and fitness. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Perfect Fall Dinner

I love the flavors of fall.  Everything from cranberries, squash and pumpkin, to pomegranates, persimmon, and fall apples; it’s a season for hearty flavor.  After the trick-or- treats were finished, we settled down to a taste of fall.

A first for us;  Carnival Squash


Roasted and drizzled with maple syrup.  Mmmm….


Starter salad of butter lettuce, pom seeds, fennel, Honeycrisp apple, and red onion. 


The main course;  organic chicken breast stuffed with homemade cranberry zinfandel sauce, goat cheese, and fresh thyme.  Topped with few capers.  Moist, salty, sweet, tangy, creamy…this chicken had it all going on.

 DSC03576 DSC03578 DSC03583

Wine pairing:  We couldn’t decide between red and white so we went with a little of both.  The Rombauer Chardonnay was good, but a tad to oaky for my taste.  I decided a red would suit the chicken’s depth of flavors and it did.  The 14 Hands “Hot to Trot” was a delicious red blend.  I am a huge fan of 14 Hands merlot, and since that isn’t sold retail, I decided to try this blend.  It’s a stunning mix;  full of ripe fruit, tannins and just a hint of pepper and oak.   For you red wine fans, this is perfect.  It really has the best elements of a few red varietals, which will make it pleasing to a variety of tastes. 

Every part of this meal was spectacular and reminded me why I love fall and don’t miss the passing of summer.  Although, since the high is supposed to be 94 today, I’m not sure summer has really passed.  (???) 

Have a magnificent day lovelies.   I’m off to hit up the gym for some upper body weight lifting!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Post Halloween Sugar Slump

Happy Monday guys and gals!  Did everyone have a great weekend?

Is anyone else experiencing the “sugar hangover?”  Well, I really over indulged this weekend.  My love of candy corn, eating some of Ava’s goodies, and going to a couple of Halloween parties + a one year old birthday party, have left me in a sugar slump.  Needless to say, this post will be more pictures, and less words. 

Ava at Quin’s birthday party at the park.  It was a beautiful Saturday afternooon!2010-10-30_13-01-03_189 2010-10-30_13-01-27_174

Ava loved the pretzels and other fun snacks…


Ava dressed as a Peanut for her first Halloween “Boo Bash” at the Kid’s Club of our gym.  (She also went trick or treating in this costume.)

 DSC03549 DSC03550 DSC03551 DSC03562

Scott carved a magnificent pumpkin for Ava.  She LOVES dogs.  

IMG_1959 IMG_1963

Unfortunately, we carved it Saturday, put it out Saturday night, and it was destroyed by Halloween morning.   The neighborhood vandals.  No, it was javelinas!  Yes, we see those regularly in our neighborhood.  Ugly, stinky, and dangerous;  our dog, Chase, knows the wrath of a javelina, he’s been attacked. 

A simple Halloween treat I made from a magazine idea years ago. 

Nutter butters

White chocolate bark

Mini chips



Oh, and lot’s o’candy. 

Will post about real food tomorrow!  I’m off to exercise and try to bring down my blood sugar! 

What was your favorite part of Halloween weekend?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Side Dish Thursday

Hey there!  Happy Friday Eve.  Are you making weekend plans yet?  Who’s dressing up for Halloween?

I have a fun day ahead; including Boot Camp class, Ava’s 15 month check up and immunizations, and a fun girl’s night out tonight at a friend’s house, sure to include lots of vino.  So let’s get to it shall we?

As I mentioned in this post, I’m all in favor of sprucing up our side dishes.  I lurve to make salads, because I can get creative with toppings and dressing, but sometimes the cooked vegetables is where I get into a rut.  For instance, usually when I have fresh asparagus, I tend to roast it or grill it with a little kosher salt and eat it like that.  When I saw this recipe, I tore it out with the resolution to make it the next time I saw some good fresh asparagus at the market. 


Grilled Asparagus with Caper Vinaigrette  adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 lb asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided  (I only used 2)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced  (I left it out entirely)
  • 2 tsp. capers, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup small basil leaves

Grill the asparagus that has been coated with cooking spray and salt and pepper 4 minutes, or until crisp tender. 

Combine the red wine vinegar and next 4 ingredients, slowly add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, stirring with a whisk.  Pour over asparagus and top with torn basil leaves. 

*optional – serve on asparagus plate  ;-) 


This was sooo good.  A keeper for sure.  I think this vinaigrette would be good over chicken or fish as well.  I have a feeling it might become a staple for asparagus in our house. 

 Wine Pairing:  asparagus is one of the hardest foods to pair with wine.  One of the few wines that really can match is a crisp, grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  Hints of grapefruit and enough acidity to hold it’s own to the caper vinaigrette.  If you haven’t tried a Sauv Blanc from New Zealand before, it’s a bit different than one from California.  It may catch you off guard at first, but give it a chance – it will soon be something you crave on a hot summer day. 

Question:  Vegetables…plain or do you “dress them up?” 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Homemade Sushi

Hello friends!  I hope you’re off to a great Tuesday.

After our first homemade sushi night last month, I’ve been itching to repeat it.  We had plans to have friends over this past Saturday night to do it again, but Ava came down with a cold and ear infection, and unfortunately, I caught it from her.  So, with the two of us sick, we had to cancel plans with our friends.  (Both couples have babies as well, and we didn’t want to risk exposing the little ones to our infected house.)  I spent the day trying to decide what we’d do for dinner instead.  Hardly able to breathe through my nose and not having a huge appetite, I kept dreaming about wasabi.  I mean, really, what would help a congested nose better than hot, Japanese horseradish, and some spicy tuna? 

So, after Ava had her antibiotics and was put down to sleep in her  humidified bedroom, Scott and I got to work on our own little sushi night. 

I had a few comments last time on the difficulty of preparing sushi rolls.  I like to start with having all the ingredients ready to go, and the sushi mat ready.  (Saran wrap on the sushi mat is essential for inside out rolls.)  After that, it is really quite simple.  Don’t be afraid of mistakes – they are just as tasty!


Lollipop rolls (cucumber on the outside instead of nori or rice) take some awesome knife skills.  Thanks to Scott for doing that –don’t ask me how?!

DSC03495 DSC03498

Fancied up with some roe purchased a couple days prior at the Asian Market. 

 DSC03500 DSC03501

Wine Pairing:  Sake!  We are not as familiar with sake as with our regular vino, so experimenting with different brands and types has been a fun learning experience.  This one was smooth, subtly sweet, and paired deliciously with sushi. 


Between the wasabi and the sake, I felt a lot better! 

I’m off to get my strength training on.  I didn’t make it to yoga yesterday.  Ava was to sick to bring to the gym’s daycare, and honestly, I felt like I would have been a snot fest if I attempted a downward dog.  Maybe next week! 

What is your favorite kind of sushi?  Have you ever made it at home?