***Last chance to grab a snack before reading...Im serious...food IS discussed!***
well ok...you've been fairly warned...
M is for Mealtime.
What M list would be complete without one of the most necessary of items...FOOD!! OOps. MEALTIME!!! ~grinz~ As you can tell with any of the pictures you've seen of me, I love my mealtimes and rarely miss one. Im not big on veggies, even though they make up a good part of my eating modification right now, but I LOVE my pastas, sweets and meats. I love to cook, bake and eat, but hate the clean-up. Anyhow, the following pictures are my tribute to this special time of day (again, all within the theme):
Melons. Everytime a dr has attempted to put me on an eating modification, watermelon has been the one thing I was allowed as much as I wanted of. In season, it's so sweet that it easily takes place of popcicles and it's better for you too! Honeydews are my next favorite, I prefer them to the cantalopes any day of the week. None is as good as chocolate, but they all take care of a sweet tooth pretty well.Mangos! Ok, I wont pick a fresh one up in the store to eat but I have no problem reaching for it in the frozen food section. I may like cooking but I hate having to process fruits and veggies. I think that's one of the reasons I dont eat them as much as I should. If Im going to eat well, it needs to be handy and easy to throw together...then Im more likely to eat it. Ive discovered the frozen fruits section of the store. All I have to do is pour it into a bowl and let it thaw as I bike, then toss it with some sliced banana and voila...a nice fruit salad for dessert! Plus the mango is sweet enough where I dont even want chocolate afterwards.. *gasp!*
Mushrooms. Oh I hear some of you going "YUCK!" but I love me some sliced mushrooms. They go with nearly everything. Toss em on a salad or warm them up with a little bit of butter and they make a nice side dish. Batter and fry them up and they make an awesome appetizer with some light ranch dressing. Yummy!
Speaking of appetizers, how about those mozzarella sticks? Mozzarella's good melted on almost everything (and if you dont have that, a nice Provolone works as well). Mozzarella's most fun when it's all drippy and gooey but it can be almost as much fun as a cold string cheese that you can pull apart piece by piece.
Moving into the sidedishes there's mashed potatoes! Creamy, lumpy mashed potatoes. Not much beats a good, homemade mashed tater. I like to use a little chicken broth in mine to help cut down on the butter and of course skim milk. However, the best ones are made with real butter and full on cream! Ohhh and fattening but delicious...
....mac and cheese! Im not much on those little boxed with the powdered cheese (can ya say ew?) but Kraft Four Cheese Mac and Cheese dinner? Heck yeah, I could eat that nearly everyday! A close second in the boxed meal is the Velveeta and cheese. If I had my choice, it'd be the homemade kind...there's just something different about it. The closest I've found to homemade is the the Stouffer's brand.
Moseying into the main dishes, there's meatballs and spaghetti. These days I have to use the Smart Taste pasta, which is ~almost~ as good as the regular ol' white pastas...at least it's better than most of the wheat pastas out there. Another substitution I've had to make is to use ground poultry for the meatballs. My favorite meatballs are so fattening Im not allowed even one so why make them. I used to make them with 90% (or higher) lean beef but then I'd mix in a 16oz tube of Owens Italian sausage (Jimmy Dean's Sage works good too)....add a little onion, garlic and parmesan cheese (Romano works too). After it's mixed, I'd stick them in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes...then pop them in the sauce. It cooks a great deal of the grease out ...if you dont, then your sauce becomes an oily mess.
Manicotti. Take about filling but fattening! This is my favorite Italian meal second only to fettucini alfredo with chicken strips on it. Pasta cooked with a cheesy yummy filling....mmm. The only Italian meal I know how to cook with any major prep time (not to mention all those other cheeses...like ricotta) is lasagna. I'd love to learn how to make manicotti, raviolis, etc etc some day. I suspect I wouldnt have the patience for it though.
Heading into desserts we have muffins. Actually, muffins make a good breakfast item too...with a nice hot cuppa breakfast drink (tea, coffee, whatever). I love most kinds of muffins.... blueberry, cran-orange, lemon creme, cherry....but my absolute favorite muffins lately have been the cinnamon chip ones. Ohhh yummy. One of the hardest departments to walk by in the grocery store these days has been the bakery with the freshly baked breads and muffins. *sigh* Oh hell, it's ALWAYS been the hardest department to walk through!! Frozen foods arent as bad as it's just visual but the bakery department is not only visual but it grabs your olfactory gland's attention as well. Who can truly fight it when 2 of the 5 senses are under attack?
Another good dessert item that tastes great as a breakfast item is monkey bread. Im only guessing on this one as it looks much like the coffee cake that mom used to make twice a year when we were growing up. It was made on Christmas Eve, and we'd have a few of those yummy, warm, gooey, heavenly pieces while watching the Nutcracker. The next morning, it was warmed up a bit and served for breakfast. It was then made again for New Years Eve. Since it was time consuming to make, it was a treat item... especially once mom's hands developed arthritis.
Mint choclate chip icecream. The smooth, creamy taste of chocolate married with the cool taste of mint....it's a match made in heaven. A real pick me up for days when things just aint going right.
Of course, we can't leave M&Ms off the list (betcha thought I forgot, eh iggy?). That melt in your mouth but not in your hands chocolatey goodness. Unfortunely, like with Pringles, you cant eat just one! Well, at least I cant....we wont go into THAT again...that was another whole blog entry!
Microwave. Wait, what? That aint a food! Well it counts because I use it to prepare a good many of my meals...leftovers! I also use it to prepare my most favorite of nightly treats in the wintertime.......
Marshmallows and hot chocolate!! (see...I worked it in there Tori!). I cheat with my treat though as I use the powdered mix and make due with the little marshmallows they tuck in there. I dont dare put the real deal in the house as I'd not have any for my cocoa if I did. The one thing I dont cheat on is what I mix the mix with. I dont use water. I use
MILK, of course!! Only time I use water is if there is no milk in the house....and only if I MUST have the cocoa....