Tag Archives: sandwich

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

It makes me a little sad that I only have one child young enough to do cute little Valentine goodies like this…

Logan’s 2nd grade class is having a traditional school party with games, treats and crafts, so we made these treat bags for him to pass out. Brady’s 5th grade class is doing a luau instead of a Valentine’s Day party, with tropical treats and games like the limbo. And poor Madison? Well, Brady asked her what they do for Valentine’s Day at the junior high and she said, “uh, you walk around and say Happy Valentine’s Day to your friends and then go to class.” He looked at her like she was crazy.

Actually, the junior high had a Valentine’s dance last Friday. Madison went with her BFF, Brooke, and they met up with a bunch of friends at the dance. It makes me even more sad to see how grown up she looks in her dress for the dance!

So I haven’t figured out a fun dinner yet for Valentine’s Day, but I did do a tasty little treat for last night’s dinner. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do have a few favorites that I DVR. One of those is Chopped on the Food Network. I’m addicted to this show. And it doesn’t sadden me one bit that Brady, my 10-year-old, has taken a liking to Chopped either! Chopped is a competitive show that starts with four contestants presented with a basket of “mystery ingredients.” They must create an amazing appetizer, which is then judged by the panel of expert chefs. At the end of the round, one competitor is chopped. The next round features another basket of mystery ingredients which must be turned into an entree. The last round is dessert, with just two competitors remaining. The one not chopped wins $10,000.

Over the weekend, Brady and I watched a recorded episode that was a special event. Rather than four restaurant chefs, the competitors were real “lunch ladies” and White House chef Sam Kass filled in as a guest judge. It was a great show, filled with a lot of emotion as these wonderful cafeteria workers talked about the kids they feed, the meals they try to keep healthful, struggling with budget limitations, and the many children who come to school hungry because there’s no food at home. The love they have for the students in their schools is immense.

As the show made its way to the dessert round, Brady and I watched with anticipation of what the mystery ingredients might be. The remaining two competitors mentioned that dessert is not really part of the typical school lunch. The mystery ingredients they had to work with were cream cheese, fresh grapes, canned pineapple and sunflower seeds. Both of these amazing ladies created a healthy dessert, but the winning dessert had Brady drooling! It was basically a dessert grilled cheese. The contestant took the cream cheese and mixed it with the crushed pineapple, fresh grapes, and other fresh fruit. She then spooned it between two thick slices of bread, buttered both sides, and grilled it. To serve, she sliced it in half, drizzled a little melted chocolate on top and sprinkled it with the sunflower seeds. What kid would not want that?!

Yesterday, while at Aldi, I picked up the ingredients I needed to make these. I bought whipped cream cheese (substitute Tofutti if you want it vegan), a can of pineapple, fresh grapes and, believe it or not, some gorgeous strawberries from Plant City, Florida!

I wish I’d taken a picture of Brady’s face when I told him that’s what we were having for dinner! They were delicious! Actually, they’d make a perfect breakfast. The amount of chocolate is minimal and the sandwich is stuffed with cream cheese and fruit. I didn’t have the sunflower seeds, so we left them off, but I think toasted almonds would be a nice touch. Here’s the recipe, if you want to call it that. Oh, and have a fork handy. These are messy! And what kid doesn’t love that?!

I wish you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with the company of your loved ones!

GRILLED CREAM CHEESE & FRUIT
makes 4 sandwiches

8 oz whipped cream cheese or Tofutti, softened
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
6 large strawberries, stemmed and chopped
1 cup grapes, halved
1/4 cup apricot fruit spread (All Fruit)
8 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
toasted slivered almonds or sunflower seeds, optional

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and fruit until well incorporated. Divide evenly between 4 slices of bread, spreading to the edges. Spread 1 tablespoon of the apricot fruit spread on each of the remaining 4 slices of bread and place jam side down on top of the cream cheese covered bread, forming a sandwich. Heat a pan to medium and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Grill each sandwich, flipping once, until toasted and golden brown. Remove to a plate, cut in half and drizzle with melted chocolate. Garnish with toasted nuts, if using. Enjoy!

Just another Manic Monday.

28 Jul

Remember The Bangles? They were one of my favorite groups in high school. And their Manic Monday lyrics do a good job of describing how my week started. Actually, the mess started last week, but Monday was the worst.

I woke up last Thursday with a headache. By noon, it had turned into a major stiff neck. I figured I must have slept on it wrong or something, but I woke up Friday morning and it was even worse. I couldn’t turn my head left or right and it hurt. So I called my beloved chiropractor and he was on vacation! Nooo! The earliest they could get me in was Monday at 3 p.m. So I took the appointment and dealt with the neck thing all weekend.

Finally…Monday’s appointment. I told Doc what was going on and he helped me relax then did one heckuva big crack on my neck. I’ve never heard it that loud and I’ve been to the chiropractor a zillion times. Whew!

When we left there, it had settled a little and I was starting to feel better. We headed down the road and were only about 2 miles away when BAM! I got rear-ended by the car behind me. So much for my newly-adjusted neck. I had noticed the cars in front of me braking quickly so I looked in my rearview mirror and could see the guy behind me was coming fast. I tried to swerve into the center turning lane to get out of his way, but he slammed into me anyway. After calling 911, I called my chiropractor and told him what happened. We made an appointment for the next day so the boys and I could get checked out.

The police arrived and the other guy got cited and we left to head home. Thank goodness I had already planned an easy dinner, right? Yeah… By the time we got home it was almost 6:00 so I started dicing potatoes as fast as I could to get them in the oven and I managed to slice off the edge of my finger with the knife. ARGH! WHAT A DAY!

I do have to say, though, that dinner was a total success. Jason helped me get the vegs diced and into the oven for roasting — redskin potatoes and onions, plus zucchini and yellow squash from our garden, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano. Yum. But the best part was the sandwiches we made. Tomato & Provolone Sandwiches from the August 2010 issue of Eating Well magazine. Did I say YUM already? I could eat these every day for lunch. I totally veganized the recipe and even the kids loved it. The recipe makes an herb-infused mayonnaise spread so I substituted Veganaise for the mayo. Then you use big, juicy fresh tomatoes and provolone cheese. I used smoked provolone soy cheese slices. (It’s the only fake cheese I’ve found that tastes good and melts). Rather than use the broiler, as in the recipe, I assembled the sandwiches and put them in the George Foreman Grill so they were toasty like paninis. Oh, man. Delicious! And so fast and easy to make.

So my neck is a mess again. Bruising, swelling, and bucketloads of pain. He did a minor adjustment Tuesday, but wanted to let it have a few days to settle and get the swelling down so I’m going back in on Friday morning. But, on a good note, Eating Well challenge recipe #6 is a success!

Pure heaven, baby!

21 Mar

I love soup. It's such a perfect choice for dinner, especially when homemade. You can control the sodium and fat and you can jam pack it with vegetables. The perfect accompaniment to soup? Grilled paninis, without a doubt. I made a fabulous vegan panini the other night for dinner. It's so easy, you don't even need a recipe. 

First, make some pesto mayonnaise. Scoop a couple spoonfuls of Vegenaise into a small bowl. Stir in a heaping tablespoon of pesto (made without Parmesan). Blend well and set aside. Heat olive oil in a small skillet. Saute a bunch of your favorite veggies — I used sliced mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, onions and garlic. Season with salt substitute and pepper and a little dried thyme or any other seasonings you like.
Assemble your sandwich next. Yes, I should have used a whole wheat bread, but this beautiful loaf of artisinal bread was on sale at Kroger, so I bought it. Slice it nice and thick so it holds up when grilled. Spread two slices of bread with the pesto mayo. On one slice, layer your sauteed veggies. I also added a layer of artichoke hearts (canned, drained, rinsed). Spinach leaves would have been a nice addition. You can add some vegan cheese if you've found a brand that you like. Put the other piece of bread on top and grill. We cooked ours in the George Foreman grill, which presses them perfectly. Enjoy!

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