Thursday, February 25, 2010

Barbecue Meat Loaf

This morning started out a little rough. I was running late to get to my car before parking enforcement starts handing out tickets so I had to run down the street with wet hair sans makeup. Luckily, no ticket. Once at work I got thrown right back into the chaotic storm that I have been living the last couple of weeks. *Keep in mind I still love my job! It's just been insanely busy lately and I feel so unorganized and unable to get organized!*

After applying my makeup in the bathroom at work, eating a bowl of delicious overnight oats and drinking the largest mug of coffee my day just got better! It started with finding out that I just got a promotion! Yippee!!!! You have no idea how excited I am! I already love my job but now I'm infatuated, even with the current craze!

After that I had a great lunch break with my colleagues. I had some turkey chili that my next door neighbor dropped off for me last night (The same neighbor who invited me over for yoga and sleepy time tea last night. I'm so lucky!) and half of a peanut butter and banana sandwich on wheat toast. Aside from my delicious meal my colleagues must have taken some funny pills before lunch. There was so much laughing I don't think any of us actually consumed any calories!

After work I came home to my husband who had returned from Orlando with a gift. Black Hunter Wellies! I've been wanting these boots for over a year! When Oprah announced them as one of her favorite items my chance of getting them for Christmas or Valentine's Day went right out the window! But I got them tonight, just because! He didn't even know about my promotion yet!

After christening my new boots by taking Bailey out for his walk in the rain I started making dinner. On the docket for the evening, Barbecue Meat Loaf from Cooking Light, March 2006. While making the meatloaf I realized that I missed an important step in the directions. I was only supposed to add 1 Tablespoon of the BBQ sauce to the meat. Oops! I added all 1/3 cups of BBQ sauce! Oh well! After strategizing with Matt I decided to leave the meatloaf in the oven a little longer to compensate for the extra liquid.

Accompanying our dinner this evening one of our favorite bottles of Zinfandel to celebrate the day.

Lauren's review: Good. Moist. Easy to make! A little too much BBQ sauce. Definitely recommend it to those that like BBQ sauce and can follow directions!
Matt's review: Too much barbecue sauce. I didn't like it.
Final decision: Lauren will eat the leftovers at lunch. Trashing the recipe because we both didn't LOVE it.

*UPDATE 2/26: Matt said this morning that we should keep the recipe. Try it the way it was supposed to be made with 1 T of BBQ in the meatloaf and slightly less than the rest of the sauce on top. So it's a keeper!*

My fuzzy, iPhone picture

To do the recipe justice I have attached Cooking Light's photo

Barbecue Meat Loaf


1 1/2 lb ground beef, extra lean (raw)
1/2 c dry breadcrumbs *I used whole wheat breadcrumbs*
1/2 c chopped onion
1/3 c barbecue sauce divided (Oops!)
1 T prepared mustard (I used half yellow and half Dijon)
1 1/2 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg whites
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the beef, breadcrumbs, and onion, 1 T barbecue sauce (oops again!), and remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.
Shape meat mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread remaining barbecue sauce over top of meat loaf. *This is when I discovered my error* Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut loaf into 12 slices.

6 servings

Off to enjoy some wine and catch up on Lost with the hubby. Hope you have a good night!

Linguine with Shrimp and White Wine

Last night I stopped by Whole Foods on my way home from a long day of work! While there I decided to try some local Maine shrimp. This meant peeling and deveining shrimp for the first time. After watching a video online I was ready to cook!

On the menu for the evening Linguine with Shrimp and White Wine courtesy of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, September 2009. First I had to peel and devein. I think I did a good job. What do you think?!

This was my final dinner, the pasta, a V8 for my veggies and an Amstel Light.

After dinner my friend (and neighbor) stopped by and invited me over to her condo for yoga and sleepy time tea before bed. It ended up being a great although late night.

Lauren's review: It was okay but my last shrimp dinner was much better.
Matt's review: Shrimp?! I'm glad I was in Orlando!
Final decision: Trash it!

Linguine with Shrimp and White Wine


coarse salt and ground pepper
2 ounces linguine (about a 1/2-inch-wide handful)
1 T cold butter, cut into pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
red-pepper flakes
1/3 c dry white wine
1/4 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 t fresh lemon juice
fresh parsley leaves for garnish

Serves 1

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Between...

Wow, I'm not sure where to start! So much has happened in a week!

Well, back to the beginning... last Wednesday!

Wednesday my department celebrated two birthdays at The Field. We all shared buffalo tenders for an appetizer and then I shared a cheeseburger with one of my friends. In addition to all this yummy pub grub I had my favorite Irish beer, Murphy's! It was a great celebratory lunch!

After work Matt and I decided to go out to the Natick Collection to peruse before our trip. I found a new favorite store, Martin + Osa, and got a bag of goodies that were all on sale! I think Matt got a shirt there too but his purchases aren't important! After shopping we were starving. We decided to go visit our friend, Betsy, at her fun money job working as a server at The Met. Matt and I each ordered a glass of red wine then we split a half order of ravioli and a cobb salad. The sauce that the ravioli in was phenomenal. It was the perfect dinner for the two of us!

Thursday morning I had to go to work for a half-day training. I was the first one there so I had prime choice from the breakfast platter. Hahaha. I ended up eating two-thirds of a cinnamon raisin bagel with lite cream cheese, a banana, and a much needed coffee from Dunkin Donuts.

I had to leave my training a little early so that Matt and I could get to the airport on time for our flight to Orlando. We made it through security shortly after 1:00pm which was just enough time for us to sit down and have a little lunch at the Harpoon Tap Room. We both got the unfiltered IPA and a sandwich. I ate half of my buffalo chicken wrap and all of my potato chips. There's nothing better than a beer with potato chips!

We arrived in Orlando around 7PM. Our friend Art and Meghan were kind enough to have us as visitors for the weekend. They picked us up at the airport and we went back to their house. Had an amazing glass of wine (the first of many to come) and then headed out to dinner at Spice. Art and I shared Tuna Wontons to start. Then I had a greek mahi wrap with sweet potato fries. Last but not least we got a tiramisu for us all to share. I had two little bites. After getting stuffed on food we went back to their house to consume more wine and catch up!

Apparently, I drank too much wine because I woke up feeling awful Friday morning. To save me from my creeping hangover we immediately ran out to breakfast. Thank God for Cracker Barrel! I had the largest breakfast ever:

Smokehouse Breakfast®

Two Eggs* cooked to order with Grits, Sawmill Gravy, Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, real Butter and the best Preserves, Jam n’ Apple Butter (on request) we could find. Your choice of Smoked Sausage Patties, Turkey Sausage Patties or Thick Sliced Bacon.

I ate almost everything! I had both eggs, half of my bacon, grits and 1.5 biscuits (sans gravy). Add the 5 glasses of iced tea and I was back to normal in no time! After Cracker Barrel we found our way wandering around a mall. I ended up with a couple of cute things for the spring in Boston... whenever it comes...

We met back up with Art and Meghan after they got out of work. Dinner for our second evening was sushi! They took us to this awesome place, Wazzabi!

This is us out on their patio drinking wine and waiting for a table.

And the newly engaged couple, Art & Meghan! Aren't they cute?!

Dinner that night was a beautiful selection of sushi and edamame.

After dinner we all had some more wine at home and enjoyed a viewing of Inglorious Basterds
which is my husband's favorite movie!

The next morning our friends took us to one of their favorite brunch spots, Dexters. Matt and I split the Dexters Benedict and the Malted Belgian Waffle. Both were amazing!!!

In addition to the delicious meals I had the most amazing Bloody Mary. I wish we lived in Orlando just so I could come back to Dexters!

After breakfast we all headed over to the Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens for the day. The property was beautiful even with all the flowers being dead from their recent freeze. It was a great day of strolling around a beautiful park and the historic home on the property. While we were there there was also a wedding that you can see set up in one of my pictures.

After our long walk through the park we headed to Harmoni for a late snack. Matt and I shared the Mediterranean Nachos which were pitas with Red Pepper Hummus, Spicy Tzatziki, Salsa, Kalamata Olives, and Feta. Yum! They were heavenly! I could have eaten the whole thing by myself.

After our snack we went to their local YMCA for a quick workout. Their gym was amazing and had more than enough equipment for me to get through my bicep, chest and calf strength training. It was a beautiful gym!

After showering we headed out for an evening Planetarium event, Cocktails and Kosmos. We got to see Mars, Orion's belt and the moon through three different telescopes. It was very cool!

After our star gazing we went to a late dinner at Funky Monkey. I decided that it was too late to have something heavy so I opted for a spinach salad and crab bisque.

Then for dessert we all shared a chocolate waffle bread pudding. It may have been my favorite part of my meal!? But dessert typically is my favorite part of any meal!

The next morning Art made us a great breakfast at home. After breakfast we shopped around the outlets for a little while. Around dinner time we said our good byes to our friends and went to check Matt into his hotel for his conference.

Matt and I decided to have one last romantic dinner before I flew back to Boston and he stayed in Orlando. The restaurant at the hotel, The Boheme, looked great! The food was not good and the service was even worse but here are some pictures of our meal at The Boheme.

Interesting menus:

A Tanqueray Rangpur Martini to start:

My favorite part of the meal. Fried Green Tomatoes appetizer:

Matt's disappointing risotto:

My salmon was okay:


Future advice to myself, don't eat in your hotel's restaurant. Do some searching and find another restaurant!

After dinner we met up with Matt's colleague's at Piper's for a beer and to watch USA destroy the Canadians... It was a great hockey game and a great bar!

The next morning I had a very early breakfast with Matt and then headed for Orlando airport back to Boston. I was bummed but it was all better when I got home. I had a gift from Foodbuzz! I apparently won a panini grill from Krups! So in addition to Bailey's happy face when I came home I had a new toy too! Hooray! I can't wait to try this out!

Well that's it! If you were able to keep up I'm impressed! I'm now off to bed. Good night!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baked Pesto Chicken and Skillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio

After a long day of traveling, working and schedule rearranging I came home to the friendliest face on the planet yesterday. Bailey! It was my puppy's 7th birthday yesterday! I can't believe how fast the last 7 years flew by. Matt and I brought Bailey home when he was just 8 weeks old. He's so grown up now! I can't even remember my life before Bailey and Matt. I think I'm the luckiest wife and mom on the planet!

Bailey makes everything all better! In addition to Bailey though I had an easy dinner planned. Last night I made Baked Pesto Chicken and put it over a bowl of seasoned whole wheat pasta. I got this recipe a couple of year's ago from one of Matt's old co-workers.

Lauren's review: Easy and delicious!
Matt's review: If I had been home I'm sure I would have enjoyed it.
Final decision: Keeper!

The best part was that with one chicken breast I had enough for dinner last night and for leftovers.

I decided to put the leftovers on top of a salad for lunch today. Speaking of lunches, I decided that for Lent I am going to give up buying lunch. Matt and I will have brown bag lunches for the next 40 days. Today's lunch was a delicious start! Pesto chicken salad and a pear.

Tonight I remade one of my recipes for the first time since I started this project. I didn't have a chance to run to the grocery store for the week yet but I had all the ingredients for Skillet Chicken Breast Aglio e Olio. It was one of my favorite meals so far so I figured it would make a good dinner plus more leftovers for another salad this week. In addition to the chicken I roasted up a medley of potatoes, beets, parsnips, onions and garlic.

Now I'm off to bed. I try to get to bed early when I have the house to myself but I haven't been successful so far this week.

Enjoy the Baked Pesto Chicken recipe:

Baked Pesto Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 c pesto with basil (Buitoni recommended)
3 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat chicken with pesto and put on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes (until chicken is not pink in the center). Top with tomatoes and cheese. Bake for an additional 3 - 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serves 4

The story of my life between Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce and Baked Pesto Chicken to be posted tomorrow.

Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce

Last Tuesday Matt and I had our good friend, Ian, over for dinner. We hadn't seen him in almost a year! While the snow fell we caught up over good food, wine, and cookies that Ian had baked.

For our special dinner guest I decided to make Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce courtesy of Cooking Light, October 2007. I think our reviews say it all!

Lauren's Review: This was a perfectly balanced dish. The flavors worked so well together! I was proud to serve it to company!
Matt's review: YUM!
Ian's review: This is delicious!
Final decision: Keeper!

Chicken and Asparagus in White Wine Sauce

4 (6-oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
2 T butter
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c fat-free, less sodium chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T fresh lemon juice

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add wine, broth, and garlic to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 minutes. Add asparagus; cover and cook 3 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and juice. * I put the chicken back in the pan and flipped it in the sauce to soak up a little more sauce* Serve asparagus and sauce with chicken.

4 servings


Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Good To Be Home

I'm finally home in Boston after a crazy day of traveling followed by a hectic couple of hours in the office. Right now I'm off to bed to recharge for the rest of the coming week. I have lots of great photos and stories to share from the last week. Check back tomorrow night for my recap, including my Orlando adventures, and two new "keeper" recipes!

Good night!

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day Festivities

Matt and I are going to Orlando on Thursday so Matt's parents came into the city today with a friend of theirs for dinner & drinks and then to bring Bailey home with them. After a quick tour of 450 sq ft, our home, and then our roof deck we headed next door to have drinks at Mooo.... I had an Aloe Rangpur which was Tanqueray Rangpur gin with aloe vera and lime. It was really good! I think I've discovered I am a fan of citrus gin!

After cocktails we took the T to Capital Grille which is my in-laws favorite Boston restaurant.

A photo of our Maine visitors.

For dinner Matt and I shared our standard Kobe Encrusted Aged Sirloin.

Shared sides included mashed potatoes and asparagus.

To accompany our red meat we had a delicious bottle of zinfandel.

The table shared a platter of desserts that included cheesecake, creme brulee, coconut cream pie and chocolate espresso cake. A brightly lit flash photo of the platter after we all dug in:

A bright photo of my plate with a little taste of each and most of the berries:

Accompanying dessert, a delicious cappuccino

All of us at the dinner table.

It was a great night! Delicious food and great company!!!

Now I'm off to catch up on some television before bed. I can't believe I have to go back to work tomorrow! Thank goodness it's a short week before we're in Orlando!

Happy President's Day!!