Monthly Archives: December 2008

end of the holidays…

…and back to reality.   The hubb and I head back to Virginia tomorrow (sniff sniff) and enjoyed the last of our meals with my family today.  The food and company have been fabulous, but I think we’re going to need a week of detox to recover from all of the decadent foods we’ve been consuming!  Today wasn’t too bad, but I did manage to fit 3 pieces of Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake in. Here’s today’s eats…

Breakfast:  Another fabulous smoothie, this one heavy on the pineapple, and a piece of the pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake.



Lunch:  My momma and I went to Olive Garden while our hubbs were out fishing.  Olive Garden is a tradition for us…we loaded up on the all you can eat salad, soup and breadsticks, my fave!  We also had calamari to start.  It was a fantastic lunch!  🙂

Snack:  Another piece of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake (unbelievable, I know).

Exercise:  I went for a run this evening!  It was so much more pleasant at 5pm than at 9am…we had a great breeze coming off the ocean and the sun was set behind the trees and houses.  I only did about 2-1/2 miles running with some walking warm-up and cool-down.  I’m REALLY proud of myself…I ran 4 times while on vacation and am planning a run tomorrow morning before we get on the road. Last year at Christmas, even though I was training for the 10-miler then too, I only managed to run once on our week-long vacation.  Yay for progress!!!  🙂

Dinner:  The hubb and I brought my stepfather sausages from our favorite farmer in Virginia, Babes in the Wood.  We grilled them up and had leftover Indian potatoes and cauliflower, cranberries, and a huge salad.



I had 1/2 a hot italian link and 1/2 a bratwurst link.  We also had some homemade nectarine preserves on top of the sausage after I took this picture, which was very tasty.  My stepfather gave me a jar to take home to Virginia so you’ll be seeing it prominently featured I’m sure…


Dessert:  Another piece of pumpkin ooey gooey butter cake (they are tiny pieces, but this is really getting embarassing…).

After dinner my stepfather taught me how to can preserves!!!  I’m so excited, I want to be able to can this summer when we get our garden going again.  Tonight we made the cranberry “ketchup”  I made last week (email me if you want the recipe) so that he could teach me his methods.





So I’ll be on the road a good part of tomorrow and Wednesday.  We’ve decided to get a hotel on the way back to break up the trip a bit (yay!) so depending on internet availability I may or may not have a Tuesday evening post.  Rest assured, the eats won’t be all that interesting as we hit Subway on our way up the east coast…  🙂  I am going to be thinking about some resolutions during the long car ride so stay tuned for some breathtaking, soul-defining thoughts when I’m back in VA……kidding.  🙂  What are you all thinking about for New Year’s Resolutions?

another holiday feast…

My family had another feast today.  Its what we do…we feast.  Actually, we normally only officially feast twice over the holidays, but this year we were lucky enough to fit in three family feasts.  I think this is the last of 2008, although we still have a few days left in the year so we may try to slip another in…!  Before I get to this afternoon’s amazing eats let me recap the day…

Breakfast:  7 Fruit Smoothie a la my stepfather.  It was really tasty, and I can’t even remember the fruits he told me he put in it…


The hubb and I went for a run after our smoothies.  We were a little late getting out the door this morning and it was a bit warmer, a bit more humid and a LOT sunnier!  I forgot how big the sky is in Florida and how brightly the sun shines.  In Charlottesville we have narrow, hilly streets and tall trees that pretty much block the sun on our morning and evening runs.  This morning we were squinting the whole time, our route was straight, flat and boring…it just wasn’t fun.  We were supposed to run 4 miles for the training program and we only did about 3 miles total, with some walking in the middle.  I’ve decided that as nice as it is to not have to bundle up for my Florida runs I do miss the hills, variety and shade of Virginia…

Lunch:  A hodge-podge of green bean casserole, sliced turkey, cranberries, carrots and citrus.  It was just what I needed to hold me over until our 3pm feast.


I also munched on a few crackers with Asiago Cheese spread while my lunch was heating…it was really tasty.


Afternoon Feast #3:  We had a variety of wonderful foods…

Fried Squash Cakes – These are a family favorite that my grandfather makes…they are to-die-for.  I don’t know how to make them and I’m not going to ask because I don’t want to know.  I’d make them ALL the time…



Steaks, for those who like that kind of thing…(not me!!!).


Ribs, for those who like that kind of thing…(me me me!!!).


A huge salad (yay!!!).


Roasted Veggies (double yay!!!).


We also had a yummy Indian dish with potatoes and cauliflower…I can’t remember its proper name but it was so good.  Here’s my plate with two ribs, a pile of salad, potatoes + cauliflower, roasted veggies and a few squash cakes.  Also, a glass of vino.  Sadly I did not get a picture of the fabulous chianti we had after I finished this glass, so so so good.


And my trio of dessertsCoconut Mango White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce, Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Butter Cake [recipe to come – but from Paula Deen] and the blurry glob in the front is Chocolate Mousse [recipe to come].


Oh, and my cousin’s birthday is coming up so of course we had cake…


Aaaahhhhh….I will definitely be running tomorrow.

Finally, here is the hubb, the “kids” and I in our annual holiday photo in front of my momma’s house…I just can’t resist ’cause the kids are so cute!!!  🙂


Alrighty, time for bed.  I can’t wait to catch up with all of your blogs!  I’ve been so absent, my google reader is getting more and more full…scary!  Thanks for continuing to read mine and for putting up with my inconsistent posting this last week!  🙂

coconut mango white chocolate bread pudding

I’ve mentioned that my family is very attached to the city of New Orleans and all that comes with it…food, music, architecture, people and culture.  One of our favorite food traditions when we visit is to stop in the Palace Cafe for their famous  White Chocolate Bread Pudding.  After one visit my stepfather decided to create his own version of one of our NOLA favorites.  We had it this year (and most years) for Christmas Day dessert.


Coconut Mango White Chocolate Bread Pudding


  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups diced mango
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 4 oz white chocolate
  • 6 cups cubed day-old crustless bread


  1. Melt white chocolate in coconut milk on stovetop over medium-low heat.  Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk eggs and add to white chocolate mixture. (you want the white chocolate mixture to be cool enough so as not to scramble the eggs…)  Add all spices and whisk together.
  3. In large buttered baking dish combine the cubed bread, mango sliced and coconut.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the bread mixture and let soak for 30 minutes.
  4. Bake at 350* for one hour.  Serve with rum sauce.

Rum Sauce


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch


  1. Combine run, sugar and 1-1/2 cups of cream in medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of cream.  Add to the rum mixture.
  3. Return to heat and simmer for 4 minutes.


You will probably need two medium-sized loaves of bread…Italian is what we typically use.  If you remove the bread from its packaging and sit out over night it will be sufficiently stale the next morning.  Remove all crust and cut into 1″ cubes.



The recipe is really quite simple  and the combination of flavors is absolutely perfect.  I actually made this for my co-workers for breakfast once and they were very, very happy…



I hope that some of you will try it and let me know what you think!

“healthified” meat loaf + macaroni and cheese

Hello bloggies!  I’m going to try and catch up on some recipe posts from my first few days in Florida.  It was such a whirlwind around here with the holidays that it was all I could do to keep up with food journal posts (and I didn’t do that great of a job at that!).  So, stay tuned for a flurry of posts over the next 48 hours, I’m hoping to be all caught up before we leave for Virginia Tuesday morning.  I promise to keep the writing as short as possible so that you can easily skim…

Our first night in town we had my stepfather’s meatloaf and my momma’s mac & cheese…a perfect combination if you ask me.  


Joe’s Meatloaf (a fabulous, healthier version of a classic favorite…)

makes 6-8 servings


  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • splash of hot sauce
  • squeeze of tomato paste
  • Provencal herb mix (thyme, oregano, parsley) to taste
  • 1 tbsp roasted garlic, minced
  • salt + pepper to taste


  1. Blend all ingredients together in mixer.
  2. Form into loaf in large baking dish.
  3. Bake at 350* for 1 hour 15 minutes.


Momma’s Mac & Cheese (I did a slightly healthier version here)


  • 1 lb macaroni noodles
  • 2 bags of shredded cheese (about 4 cups) – I like cheddar and monterrey jack or mozzarella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • extra milk
  • salt + pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter, cut into pieces


  1. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Boil macaroni noodles until al dente.
  3. Spread about 1/3 of the macaroni noodles in the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese over the noodles and sprinkle with salt + pepper.
  5. Repeat until you have 3 layers, ending with the last of the cheese.
  6. Whisk together the 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk. Pour over the top of the casserole dish.  Add enough milk until it reaches 1/2 way up the side of the casserole dish. (its easier to tell if you use a clear glass dish, but you can wiggle an opaque dish back an forth to see where the milk level is).
  7. Spread the pats of butter across the top of the casserole.
  8. Bake at 350* for 1 hour.


sushi extravaganza

I had an amazing dining experience tonight.  The hubb, my momma, stepdad and I went to a fantastic Japanese restaurant and split the Boat for Four, which included 4 different rolls, 28 pieces of sushi and 28 pieces of sashimi.  We also got a volcano roll on the side, because…you know…the entire boat of sushi just didn’t seem like enough…

Dinner:  Lots and lots of sushi/sashimi/rolls, a bowl of veggie miso soup and a Sapporo.






It was a very happy evening…  🙂