February 25, 2012

Homemade Corn Dogs

I LOVE corn dogs!  They are one of my guilty pleasures that I very rarely eat because they are (obviously) not that good for you and because I attempt to be vegetarian as much as possible.  Lately though I have definitely been craving some so I figured why not make them!  Last time I was at the grocery store I picked up a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix and some turkey dogs.  (Did I mention that everything cost about $2 - talk about frugal!)

I mixed the corn muffin mix according to the instructions and placed the mix in a large muffin pan - it yielded about three large muffins.  Then I cut a turkey dogs into thirds and placed them in the muffin mix!
Next I pushed the turkey dogs into the pan and made sure they were covered with the muffin mix.  Then I baked the muffins according to the instructions!

Ta - da!  

They obviously didn't taste exactly like corn dogs (no deep frying here) but they were pretty good and did the trick to satisfy my craving!

February 23, 2012

I Hate Meatloaf ...

But I decided to give it a try and it actually turned out really well!  I also made scalloped potatoes and some steamed veggies. 

Turkey Meatloaf
1 lb ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons ketchup
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 green pepper
1 red pepper

Heat oil in medium skillet and cook onion and peppers, stirring frequently until soft.  Add garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper - stirring for about one minute.  Add Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth and one tbs ketchup.  Once mixed transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.

Add ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, egg white and remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper (I also added about 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes - for a little kick) - mix everything together.

Shape into a loaf and place on a greased baking sheet (or a niffy silicon baking sheet).  Brush the meatloaf with the remaining 2 tbs of ketchup.  

Bake at 375 degrees for one hour or until an internal thermometer reads 170 degrees.

The scalloped potatoes were also delicious and they are one of my favorite things!  I sliced the potatoes but didn't remove the skin because the potatoes were pretty small.  The cheese sauce is the same as I use to make macaroni and cheese, but this time I used all reduced or fat free ingredients!

Last weekend I made chicken tacos and they were also pretty delicious!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
4 chicken breasts (or 8 chicken tenderloins)
1 jar of salsa
1 packet of taco seasoning
Cook at 'low' for about 6 hours and serve with all the fixins'!
 And I finally used my silver dollar pancake skillet to make banana and blackberry pancakes!

And last but not least - my co-workers could not find a red dot magnet like everyone else has for the 'In & Out' board so they found this one for me!
It's sort of scary how they know me so well already!

February 21, 2012

Week > Abby

I started off this week thinking that I was going to kick butt - but as it turns out this week is kicking my ass - and it's only Tuesday!  

Case and point.
Wearing my glasses to work (which I very rarely do)

Title of the current project I am working on (don't worry it'll definitely be removed but it is just my general feeling toward writing policy/procedure right now)

And I am on about my third cup this morning

Oh and in case anyone was wondering - I went from a nice spacious cube with huge windows and a nice view to a basement office that I share with many other people.  (I lovingly call it the dungeon - mine is on the right.)

This past weekend there were two events that benefited The Albany Damien Center - both were a lot of fun but they caused me to feel like I didn't have much of a weekend - which I am sure is contributing to my sluggish nature this week.  Saturday was the Mardi Gras Pub Crawl on Lark Street to benefit ASAP and PAWS.  I worked the registration table and got a bunch of free stuff.  We were also able to judge for 'Best Team Name' - the winners were 'So Aside From That Mr. Lincoln Did You Enjoy The Play' and 'It Should Have Been Bobby Brown'.  Sunday was the 2nd annual Bowling for Paws event at a bowling alley in downtown Albany.  It was a ton of fun and raised a lot of money for PAWS.  For someone who has little to no bowling skills I ended up bowling six strikes in the first game including a turkey!  My team also won for 'Best Team Name' (I Can't Believe Its Not Gutter) which means I got to take home a mug, some wine and two movie tickets!  All in all a pretty fabulous yet tiring weekend.

Oh and for Lent this year I am giving up soda - wish me luck!! 

February 16, 2012

Sights from Working in Downtown Albany

I have been working at The Albany Damien Center for nearly two weeks now and everything is still going really well!  I have been doing lots of reading and research and today I'll be attending an HMIS training (Homeless Management Information System).  It's amazing that even though I have been working with 'marginalized' populations for a while now how little I seem to know about PLWA/H - it has been really interesting to do the research and speak with the members.  The only downside of the job at this point is that I share an office (a very small office) with about fifteen people (working at various times throughout the day) and a desk with about five - and the computer is about as slow as molasses rolling uphill.  Luckily I will be getting a lap top within the next couple of weeks and I have the ability to work remotely. 

Picture time!
New work digs - Sun Spot Cafe
Some pretty awesome soup I had while working at the cafe
(There's my car - alive and well - parked on the street)
Anyone see anything slightly creepy going on with this sign?  (i.e. the website)
The Albany Damien Center!  As you can see - it is quite literally - a house.
And in honor of Valentine's Day I made a couple of things for the ADC members!
Devil's food chocolate cupcakes with pink vanilla icing!

February 12, 2012

Adventures In Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (and Other Homemade Deliciousness!)

I decided to make homemade spaghetti sauce today.  Oddly enough I had never made or even attempted to make sauce.  Not only did I set out to make homemade sauce I also decided to make homemade turkey meatballs and challah bread from scratch!

Here are some pictures of the spaghetti sauce with recipe to follow.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato puree
1 small can tomato paste
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
4-5 cloves fresh garlic
1-2 fresh onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil or 2 tbsp. fresh, minced
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup sugar (added near the end of cooking)

 Heat the olive oil and then add the onion.  Add minced garlic and any other vegetables (I also added a red and green bell pepper and half a zucchini) and sautee.  Add the tomato paste and mix well.  Add the tomato puree and crushed tomatoes.  Add various seasonings, mix well and cook on low or in a crock pot for 6 hours.  
(I cooked it in a crock pot because I knew I would not be home the entire 6 hours.)

Next up was the turkey meat balls!  I decided to use turkey instead of ground beef because it is much leaner and to be honest I think they turned out MUCH better than the ones typically made with ground beef.

Turkey Meat Balls
1 LB ground turkey
1 egg
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 chopped onion
Seasoning - garlic powder and onion salt

I also made some challah from scratch - which I previously blogged about here!

And the final result of it all!  It was pretty delicious!
(See Mother - I'm eating at my table!)

Oh and I also made muffins!

Banana Oat Peanut Butter Muffins
1 cup flour 
3/4 cup quick cooking oats 
1/3 cup packed brown sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 cup milk 
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter 
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix everything together - I normally double the recipe and it yields about 24 muffins.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes.  Serve warm or heat up in my microwave for about 10 - 15 seconds.

February 11, 2012


Happy Weekend!

Today I decided to take advantage of some of the gift cards that my former co-workers gave me on my last day of work at NPCS.  I looked around The Different Drummer's Kitchen Co. for about forty-five minutes until getting completely overwhelmed and going to my eyebrow waxing appointment next door (which was also paid for thanks to the generous gift cards).  After the appointment I went back and decided what to buy!

 A knife sharpener (which I have needed for quite some time) and a set of knives!

Olive Oil dispenser thingy

And quite possibly one of the coolest things ever!  I figured it was an investment and oh the pancake making opportunities!  It fits right over the burner and makes silver dollar pancakes!

Now I love to make pancakes or french toast on Saturday or Sunday mornings but I always end up with extra batter because I don't need to use it all - so I came up with an awesome idea!  I took an empty (and clean) 'Coffee Mate' creamer bottle and peeled off the label; then I mixed up some pancake batter and poured it in the bottle.  Now I can make pancakes whenever I want and don't have to worry about excess batter!  There is a strong possibility that I may be making silver dollar pancakes tomorrow morning!

I also decided that since I have some new fancy knives that I needed to organize my knife draw - I ended up buying a 'holder' at Target, as well as a few other things - I mean it's Target, you can never go in there and just buy one thing.

This past week I also registered for the Pedaling Toward the Pink Cure indoor cycling event on St. Patrick's Day weekend at the College of St. Rose!  The race raises money for cancer research, cancer survivors as well as the local children's hospital.  The event pulls all the indoor cycling bikes from the four Gold's Gyms in the area and places them in the gymnasium at St. Rose.  Then you ride in teams or as an individual (I am riding with the 'Early Birds' because a bunch of us as well as our instructor from the 5:45 AM class is participating) for as many hours as you like - fundraising a minimum of $25 for every hour!  I wasn't able to participate last year so I am super excited to be able to do this year - I have heard it's an awesome event! 

February 9, 2012

New Job

 I REALLY like my new job and - knock on wood - it stays that way!  My first week at The Albany Damien Center is almost over and it has been the easiest transition into any job thus far.  This week I have been getting to know the members, attending programs held at the center, reading grants and policies and procedures and getting to know the staff and their role at the center.  I am really happy to be working in Albany as well.  The ADC boarders Washington Park and I have already gone on a couple of walks.

Washington Park

This week I have been reading A LOT of policies and procedures ...

And these are located in nearly every room of the ADC.  The ADC is apparently one of the largest condom distributor in the Capital Region - last year they passed out approximately 14,000 condoms!

Yesterday was a particularly good day!  After spending the morning reviewing some grants and getting to know some of the members I walked through Washington Park and down Lark Street to visit the thrift store that the ADC runs.  I wanted to check out their stock of professional clothes for when I need to dress the members for interviews - but anyone who knows me know that I LOVE thrift stores, so that was definitely a lot of fun.  I then came back to the Center and had a delicious lunch - oh did I mention that they feed me lunch everyday (and dinner if I stay late) prepared by a chef and approved by a dietician.  After lunch the massage therapist happened to be there (the ADC takes a very holistic approach to supporting their members) and all the members who wanted it had already been massaged so my supervisor asked if I would like to get one - YES!  I got a 45 minute deep tissue massage for free!  I also discovered the Veggie Mobile!  It was parked in front of the Section 8 housing near my office and the goal is to get poorer individuals to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables either with their EBT or otherwise.  Well - I thought the mobile was fabulous and I bought some fresh local organic broccoli and zucchini.  But the best part of the veggie mobile was the 'taste and talk'; they had a delicious fruit smoothy which I got to try and then right as I was leaving the guy handed me a bag full all the ingredients to make the smoothie and the recipe!!  I was SO excited!  

Later that night I set out to make an awesome stir fry with the veggies I got from the mobile and attempt to make the fruit smoothie since I had all the ingredients!
Now I know the smoothie looks more or less like lawn mower grass soup but I promise it was pretty good!  
The recipe is ...
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 orange, diced
2 bananans
1 cup pineapple, diced
Blend together in a blender or food processor, place in the fridge for a little while then enjoy!