Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

My two passions–Food and books

Peanut Sesame Dressing January 6, 2013

Filed under: Asian,Quick and Easy,Salad,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 7:46 pm

Let’s face it, I have been doing hell to my body for the past year. I’ve hardly cooked (as evidenced by the lack of posts on this blog), I’ve drank a ton, and I’ve rarely exercised. Add a lot of stress and a job where I sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day, and the results are not pretty. It doesn’t help that buying fast food is so much cheaper than buying all the ingredients needed to make a healthy, well-balanced meal. But, I guess you get what you pay for.

Now I have no more excuse. I HAVE to get back in shape. Richard and I both agree we need to lose weight. Neither of us feel well most of the time, and there is so much going on in the next year that we need to have energy for. I went on a mega grocery trip yesterday and spent all day today prepping for meals. Man it felt good to really get back into the kitchen and letting my creative juices flow.

One of the things I prepped was this dressing. It’s maybe not the healthiest dressing out there, with the peanut butter and oil, but it’s better than what I HAVE been eating for lunch. I also cut up an apple and bell pepper, and roasted a chicken tonight, so I have plenty of toppings for the mixed greens I bought. It’s a step in the right direction, definitely.

This dressing isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s very strong, but also very delicious. You don’t need a lot–the flavor goes a long way. Oh! I even put some in a baggie with sliced chicken breast for stir-fry on another night. Yum!

Peanut Sesame Dressing
Adapted from Cooking Light, May 2009

3 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter (I used chunky)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine (I used flat champagne leftover from New Years.)

In a blender, mix ingredients until well combined to your taste. Add more of something if it needs it. I played around with it for awhile, even tripled the recipe so I could use it as a marinade.


Roasted Pepper and Garlic Tomato Pasta Sauce November 29, 2010

Filed under: garlic,Italian,My Recipes,pasta,Quick and Easy,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 7:51 pm

Wow! What a holiday! Can anyone say FOOD OVERLOAD!!! I’ve learned that when I go to my parents’ house, all I do is eat. And Eat. AND EAT. I made a new version of my turkey, I’ll try to share that recipe with you here soon. It’s a little bit more involved of a recipe.

Anyway, after all of that over the top food and snacks, I definitely needed something healthy tonight. I thought about just a salad, but that wasn’t going to satisfy the taste buds after the deliciousness of the weekend. I had a tomato and orange bell pepper that I bought before the holiday that were getting ready to turn, so I cut them up with a head of garlic and tossed them on a sheet pan, drizzled them in olive oil, and roasted them for a little while. When they were soft I turned them into a pasta sauce. Oh man. SO SO good. And, only 193 calories (according to!

Roasted Pepper and Garlic Tomato Pasta

Original Recipe

1 tomato, quartered
1/2 orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 head garlic, sliced though girth to reveal all cloves
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp butter
Italian seasonings
Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Chambourcin wine (or any spicy red)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. On a sheet pan, spread out tomato, pepper, and garlic heads. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or just until garlic and veggies are soft.

Melt butter in small saucepan on medium heat. Add roasted veggies and garlic. With a hand blender, puree mixture (if you don’t have a hand blender, puree veggies in a blender or food processor before adding the veggies to the pot. ) just until there are no visible chunks of each veggie, but the mixture is still rustic.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 2-3 minutes to thicken.

Serve over favorite pasta–Ziti or penne is really good with this.


Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops July 28, 2010

Filed under: Asian,My Recipes,Pork,Quick and Easy,sauce — hmills96 @ 6:04 pm
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We had a branch-wide quarterly meeting today. While most people generally don’t like those kinds of interruptions, I was glad for it. For someone new to the company, it was a way to put some names with the faces I see every day, and for this small business girl to really feel a sense of unity in such a large corporation. I was expecting something boring, lots of numbers that I wouldn’t understand. And there was some of that. But the main part of the meeting was to recognize birthdays, anniversaries, and those people who had been with the company for 1, 3, 5 or 10 years. It was a good way, I thought, to pump people up. At the end, PIZZA!!! Which is always OK in my book! My poor ham sandwich is still sitting in the fridge, waiting to be eaten.

That’s OK, I ended up getting my pork fix at the end of the day instead. If you like Chinese food, MAKE THIS NOW! This was just a sauce that I made up during the slow afternoon hours today at work, and it was soooooooo good.

For those of you country-folk who are thinking, “What in THE hell is Sriracha sauce?” don’t be scared of it. It’s just Chinese hot sauce, thicker than the stuff we use around here. You’ll find it in the international aisle. It’s a blazing red sauce, with a pointy green top.

Also, use any kind of jam or preserves you want for this. I had strawberry, but mango, peach, or pineapple would be good with this too. I wouldn’t use a dark berry, like blueberry or blackberry, but something light and tropical would work well.

The measurements below are just estimates. I only made two small pork chops, so I had a ton of sauce left over, which I did on purpose to keep in a jar for next time. But it would be a good amount for 4 or 5 chops.

Not a great picture unfortunately, bad lighting tonight.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

Original Recipe

1-2 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 jar fruit preserves
1/4 cup white wine
Boneless pork chops

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except chops.

Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat. Dip chops in sauce, place in hot pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, brushing with more glaze while cooking.

While plating, pour hot glaze from pan over chops.


Alfredo sauce for Pasta June 29, 2010

Filed under: Herbs,Italian,pasta,Quick and Easy,sauce,Vegetarian — hmills96 @ 5:36 pm
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One of my favorite meals (in case you haven’t noticed already) to make is pasta. I can do ANYTHING with pasta. I always have a variety of types on hand, and my sauces will change depending on what I have in my fridge and pantry that night. You’ve seen my spaghetti sauce–that’s a regular. But last night I wanted something a little richer, and J had been craving Fettuccine Alfredo.

I didn’t use Fettuccine for this, but he did NOT mind at all. I had some of those Bertolli Ravoli in my freezer. I LOVE them. Gives a little more oomph to a meal, without a lot more work. Last night I used the Four Cheese ones, and they were awesome with this sauce.

Growing up, I think Alfredo was something we all ordered in Italian restaurants. It was familiar, and especially for picky eaters like my sister, didn’t have anything unrecognizeable. Unfortunately, it’s also usually tasteless, unless you are at a REALLY authentic Italian place (if you know if any in my area, let me know!). This recipe was fantastic. It was super easy to do, and while not so light on the diet, it was soooo flavorful. I used herbs from my garden for something extra, and since I ran out of Parmesan (*gasp!*) I substituted in half mozzerella, so it was really creamy and smooth. We will definitely be having this again.

I want to apologize to you guys for the lack of pictures lately (and the crappy cell phone pic above). It seems like by the time I get home and cook the meal, I’m just ready to sit down and eat it! I can never find my camera when the food is ready. Ha! I’ll try to do better, I promise.

Alfredo Sauce
Adapted from Pioneer Woman on Tasty Kitchen

1 stick butter
3 cloves garlic
Handful of fresh oregano & basil, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups freshly grated parmesan (or 1 each of Parm & Mozzerella)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Dash of Nutmeg

Heat skillet over medium heat. Add stick of butter and let melt.

Add garlic and herbs, cook for about 1 minute, just until soft and fragrant.

Whisk in cream, let come to boil, then turn heat to low.

Add in salt, pepper, & nutmeg.

Pour over your favorite pasta!


Nanny Smith’s BBQ Sauce May 31, 2010

Filed under: Family,sauce — hmills96 @ 1:53 pm
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I have only a few very specific memories of my great-grandmother. She passed away when I was in elementary school. I remember going to visit her in Kentucky, especially in the last few years of her life. I loved going there, we were each other’s “special person”.

I don’t know if she ever made her BBQ chicken for me, but I grew up eating it–made by my Nana and Mom. It was one of my favorites, especially when the sauce would burn around the edges. That caramelized goo is the best part!

This is the reason I prefer southern style BBQ sauce to our thicker Midwestern version. It’s thin and tart. There’s no hiding the vinegar base in this. It’s wonderful!

I like to keep a jar of it in my fridge, so I double this recipe when I make it. Also, I added the Worcestershire sauce, that wasn’t in Nanny’s original recipe. She calls for regular sugar, but I use brown.

Nanny Smith’s BBQ Sauce

1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a small saucepan, mix together all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let sit until cool. Store in jar in fridge.