Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Squash Veggie Panini

Sometimes you want hot food even though it's hot outside. I know I do. There's something comforting about a hot meal, especially at the end of a frustrating workday.

I had some veggies I want to cook, but I didn't want to turn on my oven. And I have a toaster oven, but I didn't want to carry it up from the basement. Let's blame the heat for my laziness.

However, let's thank my laziness for inspiring this amazing dinner! I present to you: the summer squash veggie panini.

You could use bread. I had tortillas on hand, but no bread. Pretty common in my house, as you might guess.

The zucchini and summer squash are from Price Chopper, but supposedly local. They were really quite tasty. I sliced them, brushed them with olive oil, and grilled them in a George Foreman grill with a little garlic salt and Penzey's Mural of Flavor. Mrs. Dash or something similar would work as well, just to give the veggies a little extra kick.

The grilled veggies went in the carbs with some fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.

Throw that all back on the George Foreman grill long enough to make the cheese melty.

Eat and freakin' enjoy! You could use different veggies or different cheese. I'm going to make this again really soon with some goat cheese.

Summer Squash Veggie Panini
(makes one sandwich)

1 tortilla (or 2 slices bread)
1/2 small zucchini, sliced
1/2 small summer squash, sliced
Olive oil
Garlic salt
Mural of Flavor
Fresh basil
Fresh mozzarella, sliced

1. Heat up George Foreman grill.
2. Brush veggies with oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and Mural of Flavor.
3. Grill veggies until softened a bit.
4. Assemble sandwich. Place back on grill.
5. Cook until cheese melts.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Derby Photo Secrets

Makeup, pregame. Photo courtesy Steve Yates, Kansas City Star Community Faces.

I am increasingly aware that I look better in derby photos than I do in real life. In case you've forgotten or never knew or cared in the first place, I read this article a while back: Never Skate With Scissors, And Other Advice For Surviving Roller Derby

My favorite part is right up front:
"Future roller derby skaters, if I had only one piece of advice to offer regarding your upcoming derby career, it would be this: Invest in a good bra. Regardless of the size of your chest or budget, do yourself this favor and indulge. Like a loyal friend, a good bra will support you when you need it most, it will lift you when you’re feeling down and it will help you stand firm in the face of your adversaries. Treat this bra with care. Never put it in the washing machine. Do not sleep in it. Some day when you look back on the photos of yourself skating, you’ll thank me."

Photo courtesy Firebranded Photography. Boobies courtesy Victoria's Secret.

I like this one personally:

A lot of skaters like a mix of colored tights and/or fishnets, but I want to be comfortable on bottom and show off my leg muscles. Some decent cheap (you're going to tear them up anyway) control-top pantyhose do the trick. For the most recent game, I wore these and was pleased:

I *love* plain nude tights. Photo courtesy KC Derby Digest.

Honestly, it also takes me between 30 and 45 minutes to do gameday makeup as well. But I think it's worth it!

What are your derby photo tips?

Friday, June 22, 2012

13 All Over Again: Quick-Dry Nail Polish

Big surprise: I'm a nail polish snob. But I'm either too busy, too lazy, or have better things to do than paint my nails on a regular basis. And I can't seem to justify paying for manicures weekly. When I do sneak in the time to paint my nails, then I go to bed an hour later and the polish ends up all smushed. This does not make for a happy Mel.

On a whim, I bought Sally Hansen Insta-Dri purple polish and top coat.

Much to my surprise: it did not suck! I painted my fingernails and toenails Tuesday night. No basecoat, two coats of polish, one layer of topcoat. About an hour later, I showered and went to bed. As of this morning, they're starting to chip a tiny bit around the edges, but that would have happened with anything I used. I've thrown around derby gear and had my pinky nail skated over in that time. (No worries, my finger is fine.)

My past experiences with quick-dry polishes have SUCKED. I've even tried this exact brand and type in another color and wasn't super-impressed. Obviously I'm shocked enough that I felt the need to share this with everyone. I'm leaving both the color and top coat in my purse makeup bag for future downtime self-manicures.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

When my mother-in-law called to make plans for Father's Day dinner, she asked me to make a hearty side with rice, broccoli, cheese, something like that. She didn't mean it literally, but I took it literally and ran with it. It turned out tasty enough that I wish I wouldn't have left all the leftovers with her. This makes a TON.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

Modified from AllRecipes

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped broccoli
3 cups brown rice (cooked in 7.5 cups water)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 bag sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag mild cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pot, put rice in water to cook.
2. In a large skillet, saute onion in butter. Add both bags broccoli and continue to cook until thawed. Mix in both cans of soup and bag of sharp cheddar.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Keep cooking skillet mixture until all cheese is melted through. Then mix that with the half-cooked rice and water that's still in the pot. It'll be kinda goopy.
5. Spread all that in a lasagna pan. Top with the mild cheddar cheese.
6. Bake until the middle is set and cheese is brown.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are adapted from a Food Network recipe and were my dad's Father's Day gift.

All I told him is that they were peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips.

His response: "Are these some sort of gluten-free whatevers?"

I don't ever bake gluten-free on purpose. I think he was mocking me for often cooking/eating vegetarian or vegan. Whatever.

When I informed him that they were merely sugar-free, he was amazed.  These are really THAT good! If you don't do Splenda, you could use sugar and regular chips instead. Yum!

Sugar-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes 1 dozen)

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup Splenda
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. If batter is too wet to ball up, add a little more Splenda.
3. Bake at 350 degrees about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Best Dessert Quesadilla Yet

This is another one of those recipes that isn't really even a recipe. It's again the result of "I want dessert," "I'm still hungry," a fat-kid past, and a tendency to put everything into quesadilla form.

As usual, you'll just have to trust me. I want to eat 15 of these.

This would of course work with regular goat cheese. Then you could experiment with other additions as well if you'd like.

Cranberry Cinnamon Honey Goat Cheese Dessert Quesadilla
(makes 1 quesadilla)

1 wheat tortilla
2 oz cranberry cinnamon goat cheese
1 tbsp honey

1. Spread cold goat cheese over half the tortilla.
2. Cover goat cheese with honey.
3. Fold tortilla.
4. Eat quesadilla.
5. Be fat and happy.