Running from the Law: October 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Retirement Dad!

Retirement . . . is when you stop living at work and begin working at living.
— Unknown wise person

This evening I will attending my dad's retirement party.  After thirty-six years of working for the man, this man get to be his own man.  I'm so proud of him!  After all, this is what he's been working for his whole life. 

But now that he's retired, I figured he'd probably get pretty bored after a few days, so I thought I'd make a list of all the things he could do...
  1. Remodel our basement
  2. Play golf with me
  3. Teach Ryan how to fix a car
  4. Manage our assets and portfolio
  5. Help us plant a vegetable garden
  6. Repair our backyard fence
  7. Go fly fishing with Ryan
  8. Install crown molding in the bedroom
  9. Change the oil in our cars
  10. Replace the windows in the house with engery efficient ones
  11. Plant a dogwood tree in the front yard
  12. Fix the leak in the fountain
  13. Become the world's best grandpa (I'll supply the grandkid)
  14. Remodel upstairs master bath
  15. Paint guest room
  16. Build us walk-in closets
 That should keep him busy for a while. 

Happy Retirement Dad!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Weight Watchers Mushroom Smothered Salisbury Steak

This recipe has solidified my place as "World's Best Chef" in my husband's eyes.  What is it with men and meat?  Add gravy and mashed potatoes and he thinks I'm a culinary goddess.  Whatever, I'll take it! 

Don't be turned off from a recipe like this because it's Weight Watchers.  Honestly, I think they have some of the best recipes around...and you usually cannot even tell they're "healthy."  I consider myself a pretty healthy eater and I'm always looking for healthy recipes...but you get tired of the same ol' grilled fish/chicken, brown rice and veggies recipes that are considered "healthy" by the cooking world.  Weight Watchers has better-for-you-versions of your favorite recipies and foods.  They use lots of little tricks for making their recipies low-fat, low-cal and low-sodium, without making it taste like diet food.  For example, this recipe puts picante sauce (which is fat free) in the burgers and gravy.  Picante, really?  I was a little apprehensive, but it gave so much flavor to the meat and kept it really moist and juicy.  Score one Weight Watchers.

• 1 (14 oz.) can low-sodium beef broth
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1/2 cup picante sauce, divided
• 12 oz. ground sirloin*
• 3 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
• 1 large egg white
• cooking spray
• 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  1. Combine broth, flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl; stir with a whisk.  Add 1/4 cup picante sauce; stir well.  Set broth mixture aside.
  2. Combine beef, breadcrumbs, egg white, remaining 1/4 cup picante sauce, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Divide mixute into 4 eaqual portions and shape each into 1/2 inch thick patty.
  3. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add patties; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove from heat; cover and set aside.
  4. Add mushrooms to pan; saute 2 minutes or until browned.  Add broth mixture to pan.  Bring to a boil; cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.  Return patties to pan, and cook until thoroughly heated.
  5. Serve patties with gravy on top!
Yield: 4 servings (1 patty and 1/4 cup of sauce each)
Nutrition: 5 points (217 calories and 9g fat)**

* Instead of beef/sirloin, I used ground bison (although often referred to as "buffalo" - the correct term is bison).  Ryan and I hardly ever eat beef...we substitute bison for beef in almost every recipe.  Bison is a  much much healthier alternative for beef, and we think it's even better tasting.  Bison has more iron and protein than beef, but fewer calories and fat than fish or chicken.  Bison is also rich in Vitamin B12, Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6 and Niacin, all of which are recommended daily.  Ground bison can be substituted for ground beef and is prepared in exactly the same way.  When preparing bison steaks, the bison needs to be cooked slower and at a lower temperature than that used for beef because of the lack of marbling (white streaks of fat through the meat). 

You can get bison at most specialty food stores (like Whole Foods), or order it from our friends at Sayersbrook!  Click HERE to place your order.  Try the bacon and breakfast sausage...delicious!

**Calories and fat will be significantly lower if you use bison, instead of beef.

Serve with sauteed green beans (with a little extra-virgin olive oil and lightly sprinkled with Italian dressing seasoning) and mashed potatoes (made with skim milk and low-sodium chicken broth)

Yeah, so, it's a little messy.  I need to work on my presentation skillz.

Yum.  Seriously.  Yum.

Sorry for the pictures being a little blurry and dark.  I'm using Ryan's underwater fishing camera.  My camera is currently in the shop being fixed.  I think Miami was just too much for the poor thing. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Engagement Pictures

I realized the other day that I still haven't posted our engagment pictures.  Originally, I didn't really see the point of getting engagment pictures taken.  I wasn't planning on using them for anything in the wedding (guest book, save the dates, etc.), so I didn't think we needed them.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of having some pictures of just the two of us (pre-wedding), just to have...even if we didn't use them for anything.  And I really wanted them to be taken in Jackson.  The Tetons are so incredible, but they weren't visable from our wedding venue, so they wouldn't be in our wedding pictures.  Engagement pictures would be a perfect opportunity for us to get some pictures in front of those peaks.  Also, I thought doing an engagement session would be a great way for the two of us to get comfortable in front of the camera, so we didn't look awkward and uncomfortable in the wedding pictures.  So, a few days before the wedding, the amazing and talented Carrie Patterson took Ryan and I out to Grand Teton National Park, just outside of Jackson for our engagement session.  We went to the Moulton Barns, which was the perfect spot for me since I have a slight obsession with old barns.  We went at dusk and the lighting is beautiful.  I think they turned out to be some of the prettiest and romantic pictures I've ever seen.  They are way too gorgeous not to do something with!  Anyone have any ideas of what I can do with them?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Super Easy Pan-seared Scallops with Fruit Salsa

This is just about the quickest and easiest recipe ever. You're going to love me for this one!


  • 1 tub store-made pico de gallo (Whole Foods has an excellent one)
  • 3/4 cup diced pineapple
  • dash of ground cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey (optional)
  • 20 large dry-packed* scallops
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil


For the fruit salsa:
  1. Add diced pineapple to the pico de gallo.
  2. If you'd like it to be a little spicier, add the cayenne. If you want it to be sweet and spicy, add both the cayenne and the honey. I recommend both.
  3. Heat up for a minute in a small sautee-pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Set aside.

For the scallops:
  1. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the cooking oil.
  3. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the scallops. Make sure that the scallops do not touch each other – they should have a finger-width’s space between them.
  4. Sautee the scallops 1-1/2 – 2 minutes each side and remove immediately to prevent overcooking. Timing depends on how thick your scallops are. Try not to move them around in the skillet while cooking, so they can form a crust. The scallops should have a golden brown crust and the interior will be medium-rare.
Serve the scallops with the fruit salsa on top. Viola!

Above: Pico de gallo

Below: diced pineapple (I buy the tub of pre-cut pineapple and dice it smaller)

Below: Pico de gallo (from Whole Foods) combined with diced pineapple

Add a bit of honey for sweetness

Add a dash of pepper for some spice

These are medium-sized dry-packed sea scallops. I'd recommend the larger ones, if you can get them. Serving size is probably around 8-10 medium-sized scallops (or 4-5 large-size scallops) per person.

Sautee the scallops in cooking oil, a few minutes on each side. Try not to let them touch each other. And try not to move them around in the pan so they can form that awesome brown crust.

* NOTE: It is incredibly important to make sure your scallops are dry-packed. Dry-packed scallops are scallops that are shucked, packed up and shipped on ice without chemical additives. They taste better than wet-packed scallops, which are soaked in water and sodium tripolyphosphate, meaning the scallop becomes bloated with water and additives. These scallops contain too much moisture and are less successful in the pan, since excess water seeps out, preventing a flavorful crust from forming on the outside of the scallop as it cooks. Dry-packed scallops may also have a stickier texture and a slightly more pronounced smell, which is nothing to worry about. They cost more, but have a naturally sweeter taste. Do NOT use frozen scallops.

Other things you can add to the salsa:
  • diced mango
  • fresh minced mint leaves
  • diced papaya
  • diced cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Monday, October 5, 2009

Adventures in Camping

One of my co-workers made a comment the other day that the true test of a stong marriage is being able to survive a camping trip together. If that's so, we might just have the strongest marriage in the world. Ryan and I not only survived our weekend, but we had an amazing time (as we always do). It was the perfect weekend on the Current River: cool, crisp, sunny. I didn't catch a single fish and I injured myself a number of times, but it didn't stop us from having fun. We had Top Chef worthy food (including possibly the best breakfast sandwich ever made), our tent was better than some hotel rooms (very spacious and comfortable), there was hardly anyone else on the river, and Mally was almost a good dog. What more could a girl ask for?

Me and Mally, getting ready to launch off Saturday morning.
We floated a few miles and stopped to set up our campsite along the sandy shore.

Ryan set up our tent.

I prepared the sleeping quarters (along with our queen size air matress).

Mally went into country-dog chill mode.

I found kindling and prepared the fire.

Ryan prepared for fishing -- (does he look happy or what?).
Boots and waders and flies, oh my.
Ryan said this fly was called Sex Dungeon.
I insisted that he use it immediately. It caught nothing.

Mally played in the grass and almost got in the water.

And we're ready to fish!

Isn't my husband a bad-ass fisherman?

A few hours later, our lazy (i.e. spoiled and worthless) dog wouldn't cross the river.

I think Ryan had a good day. (And Mally's already asleep.)

Later that night, dinner of spinach and feta salmon burgers and pasta.

It got a little chilly that night, but Mally and I kept warm by snuggling.

Sausage, egg and cheese croissants for breakfast. Mmmmm.

Mally was hiding, she didn't want to go home.

Unfortunately Sunday came too soon. We floated down the river to the truck, unloaded the canoe, packed up the truck and headed home. We're already talking about when we're going again.