Mar 122014
 

Over the weekend Bella had her first at home bath! Last time she had a bath I took her to a groomer. Mostly because I had no idea how to wash a dog and also, I was lazy. But paying for that on a regular basis was going to add up fast. I bought some nice dog shampoo (with green tea and tea tree oil because she has some dry skin issues) and then Michael and I debated on how to bathe her.

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We tried luring her into the tub with treats and she was having none of that. In the end I just picked her up and put her in the tub. Michael held her collar and leash and I used the detachable shower head to get her wet. She did so well! She didn’t freak out at all! Not like her first time at the groomer. I shampooed her (super quickly) and she actually seemed to enjoy the little mini massage she was getting. I rinsed off the soap and we were done!

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She did a fantastic job sitting still while we dried her off. Her collar got wet so we took it off to dry. She ran around the house looking naked with the collar — Michael commented that it was like a little toddler running around the house naked after a bath. It was so weird to see Bella without it. 

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She smelled so good! Like a clean puppy. :) While she was overdo for a bath, there was an other reason for it. Her foster mom Jen was coming over for a visit. She hadn’t seen Bella since we adopted her and I was more than happy to have her come and play with Bella. I knew both her and Bella would be ecstatic.

Bella barked at her once when she first arrived and then realized “OH MY GOSH it’s my other mom!!!!” She was SO FREAKING EXCITED. Words cannot describe just how spazzy Bella was for the first hour or so that Jen was there. It was so cute. Jen also brought a little gift baggy of dog treats, poo bags, and a new squeaky toy.

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It was so good to see Jen! And Bella was so happy to see her, too. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday.

I also decided to make a crockpot dinner just in case Jen wanted to stay for dinner, then we’d have tons of food, but she had to go so oh well–more leftovers! I’ve been stockpiling some crockpot recipes and just haven’t gotten around to actually doing them. This one has been on the top of that list for awhile now. I love chicken teriyaki. It’s a fantastic dish but often times it’s way too sugary. This recipe looked good on paper. Unlike many recipes I saw, it didn’t call for a cup of sugar or 1/2 a cup of honey. That’s just too much!

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I added some frozen vegetable blend to the recipe because I like my chicken teriyaki with veggies. I thought onion and pepper mixture would go nicely. Adding that changed the calorie count for the recipe to 420 calories a serving. That’s still an awesome number for dinner. Here is the recipe:

Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 314

From: http://damndelicious.net/2013/10/11/slow-cooker-chicken-teriyaki/

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together teriyaki sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil.
  2. Place chicken breasts into a slow cooker. Add teriyaki mixture and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred the chicken before returning to the pot with the juices. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=42037

I didn’t add the frozen veggies until later. I let the chicken cook for about 2.5 hours, then checked on it and flipped the chicken breasts over and let it cook for another 30 minutes before adding the frozen vegetables (they had thawed out for awhile). The chicken didn’t take quite as long as the recipe said it would. Around the 3 hour mark it was looking pretty cooked. I took the chicken breasts out and shredded them then returned it to the crockpot.  So 3 hours or so is the sweet spot for the recipe. I turned the rice cooker on and let the shredded chicken soak up the sauce.

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I was glad I added the veggies to the dish. It made a difference. The chicken was tender and flavorful. It didn’t really taste like teriyaki though, mostly soy sauce. I think next time I’d experimenting with using less soy sauce to see if there was a difference.

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Despite that, dinner was delicious. I loved it and so did Michael. Will definitely make this recipe again!

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May 232013
 

This post is about two recipes I made recently that turned out exceptionally well.

The first was a dinner made perfectly for a sunny, warm evening spent on a deck with a grill. The evening was cooling down after a record hot day and Michael had biked home from work. I got home from the gym and we relaxed outside with a glass of wine while it cooked. The side dish, Creamy Dill Cucumber salad, was really quick to make, kind of a lazy man’s tzatziki sauce.

I halved the recipe since I only had one cucumber (although it was a very large cucumber so….it might be pretty close to the recipe). Either way, my calculations make it about 160 calories for Michael and I splitting half the recipe.

Creamy Dill Cucumber Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 1 minute

Yield: 8

Calories per serving: 85-100

From: http://www.nutritiouseats.com/creamy-dill-cucumber-salad/

Ingredients

  • 2 English cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • Freshly grated black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place cucumber slices in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt and toss, let sit for ~20 minutes or until they lose some of their water. Remove cucumbers, squeeze and blot dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sour cream and vinegar until combined. Stir in red onion, garlic and dill.
  3. Add cucumbers and stir to combine. Season with black pepper to taste (optional).
  4. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour before serving.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=38556

I didn’t follow the directions exactly (it would help if I read the instructions first, right?) and skipped the step with the salt and cucumber. Oh well! It didn’t seem to matter. The cucumber salad was delicious and not soggy at all.

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I’d been marinating some chicken thighs in a store-bought lemon and herb marinade and even though it was store-bought, it turned out to be really, really good. I was happy with the end results.

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I definitely prefer to make my own marinades (and I’m pretty good at it) but this one was just fine and good for a work night when I didn’t have much time. The cucumber salad went well with the lemon chicken.  I think next time I’ll try it with plain Greek yogurt.

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Michael and I split the whole cucumber salad and it was delicious! Definitely staying in the rotation for this summer.

The second recipe was a crockpot recipe I found on a food blog. I had some frozen pork chops (from Costco) that had been cut in half so I used 4 thin pork chops instead of the 6 thick ones the recipe called for.

Easy Crockpot Thai Pork

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Calories per serving: 257 calories (not including rice)

From: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/pork/easy-crockpot-thai-pork-2.html

Ingredients

  • 6 thick cut boneless pork chops-trim fat
  • 1 lg red bell peppers-chopped
  • 1/3 c prepared teriyaki sauce
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 lg cloves garlic-minced
  • 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • FOR SERVING:
  • 1/2 c green onion-chopped
  • 2 limes-cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 c dry roasted peanuts-chopped
  • cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Grease crockpot or use a plastic liner.
  2. Place pork, bell peppers,broth, teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and garlic in cooker. Cover and cook on low setting until pork is fork tender, 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove pork from cooker and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to liquid in cooker; stir well to dissolve peanut butter and blend with liquid to make the sauce. Return pork to sauce and toss to coat the meat.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls over hot rice. Sprinkle with green onions and peanuts. Pass lime wedges, to serve with this wonderful dish.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=38556

It took about 15 minutes to throw everything in the crockpot and just let it do it’s magic. I did this one on a Sunday and spent the rest of the rainy day catching up on some TV shows while it cooked.

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I checked on it periodically and had some doubts about the pork. It was starting to look a little overcooked but I decided to just wait and see. About 30 minutes before it was going to be done, I shredded the pork, added the peanut butter and then mixed the pork back into the sauce.

The sauce thickened up nicely with the peanut butter and it smelled great! I started the rice cooker with some jasmine rice while I finished things up.

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I LOVED the flavors. The peanut butter was not overpowering and it wasn’t too spicy (next time I’ll add more red pepper flakes). I topped the dish with crushed roasted peanuts, green onions and drizzled some fresh lime juice on it. Everything went together perfectly. I loved how the peanut topping added some crunchiness to the meat.

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The red peppers were pretty decimated by the time the dish was done cooking. I might add them later in the process next time just so they don’t get so mushy. Michael loved this recipe. It’s definitely the kind I would make for a dinner party.

Using 4 thin pork chops got me about 4.5 servings total. I had leftovers for lunch the next day and it still tasted great. The pork wasn’t dried out like I had worried it would be.  It could definitely be done with chicken, too.

Both of these recipes were winners! I hope you give them a try.

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