Newman’s Own Pizza

It’s no secret that my wife and I love pizza. Heck, it’s even our standard anniversary dinner! We even have a usual order at a local pizza place – Vintage Pizza. The only problem is that pizza doesn’t really fit well into a healthy diet. Like many people, we don’t want to have to sacrifice taste in order to eat healthy. Perhaps I shouldn’t use the word healthy to describe Newman’s Own. Rather, it is a healthier alternative to the pizza we would normally order which has a much thicker crust and a lot more cheese.

As far as frozen pizza goes, this is one of the best we have found. It’s reasonably priced and lower in calories than many of the others including DiGiorno. Newman’s Own comes in at about 320 calories for 1/3 pizza, but DiGiorno has about the same in 1/6 pizza. I must admit that 1/3 pizza seems like a pretty small serving. Usually the two of us split one pizza into 2 slices each. On a rare occasion we may even get one pizza each, but that’s not very common.

We find that a Newman’s Own pizza is a nice thing to keep on hand for those days we are just too worn out to bother with cooking or cleaning. The best part is that it is still better than getting fast food or ordering a pizza.

Pit Bull Transport

Our trip back from New Jersey was an interesting one. We sometimes work with an organization called Out Of The Pits that rescues Pit Bulls and places them into good homes. Before we left for New Jersey, we heard of three adorable 12 week old puppies that were coming up from the south. They needed someone to pick them up in Newburgh and bring them to Coxsackie. We were going to be driving right by both on our way home so we let them know we were interested. We got a call telling us that pick up time would be around 2 PM in Newburgh. We decided to head out early and we arrived in Newburgh around 11:00. That gave us some time to relax and prepare.

When we first arrived in Newburgh we went to Barnes & Noble to look for a few books my wife wanted and to get online for a little bit. Then we made our way over to Petsmart because we realized we had forgotten to pack leashes. It’s a good thing we didn’t bring them or we never would have gone to Petsmart. We told a few of the employees what we were doing and they brought us to look at seat belt harnesses. In the same isle, we spotted a back seat hammock that protects the seats and prevents pets from easily climbing up front. I’m glad we got it – but more on that later. On to the food.

We decided to grab lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse since we had plenty of time to enjoy a good meal before we picked up the puppies. We ordered what turned out to be a huge order of cheese fries as an appetizer. Between the two of us, we didn’t finish it. We both ordered the Flat Iron Steak. I got mine with broccoli and rice pilaf.

The steak was delicious. I get mine done medium-well. I like the Flat Iron steak because it’s a little more lean a cut than the NY strip steak. I generally will eat the whole thing rather than leaving a lot of pieces of fat behind. The rice pilaf was a little spicy, but I’ve been getting used to spicier foods lately so that was OK. I have no idea what the little red-orange flakes are in it though – and I’m not sure I want to know either.  The broccoli was a bit bigger than I prefer. I like the baby broccoli florets. I ended up cutting up the broccoli into smaller pieces so I could scoop it up with some rice.

So after we ate, we went to meet the people transporting the puppies to Newburgh. We were surprised to find that they had a total of 7 dogs in the van. It turns out we were meeting in Newburgh because that was the exit they needed to take to catch Rt 84 headed towards Connecticut and Rhode Island where the rest of the dogs were going. The puppies had scars on their backs that we were told probably were from a cheap flea medicine.

We took the puppies on the leashes and let them play in the grass a little bit before we loaded them in the back seat. I was hoping they would wear themselves out a little and also go to the bathroom. As I mentioned earlier, I’m so glad we stopped at Petsmart for the water repellent car hammock. Just a few minutes into the drive somebody got a little excited back there. After about half the trip, they settled down.

The people picking them up in Coxackie were just a few minutes behind us. They told us a little about the puppies and showed us pictures of what they looked like when they first were taken in by Out Of The Pits. They also told us that only one was currently spoken for and that the other male was available. We have an older female Pit Bull (Mugsy), who doesn’t always get along with other dogs. They said that a male puppy probably wouldn’t be considered a threat and might work. We are considering the possibility of taking one in, but we need to think about it more.

New Jersey Wedding Trip

My wife Linda and I went to a wedding in New Jersey over the weekend. It was a lot fun. We don’t really get out a lot so it was nice to get away from the house even for a night. The Days Inn we stayed at could have been better, but it was the closest thing to the wedding so we put up with it.

The wedding was great and they did the food buffet style for the meal during the reception. They had both roast beef and turkey so I was pleased. I did grab some green beans as well. I didn’t go near the pasta since I don’t care for red sauce. Still, there was plenty to eat that I did like.

They had do-it-yourself ice cream sundaes for dessert which was awesome. They had many of my favorite toppings. I didn’t bother with the cake because it had some kind of cream cheese filling, but Linda enjoyed it. It was an early wedding so food was served early afternoon. When we got back to the hotel, we were both feeling a little peckish. We looked around and found that there was an Applebee’s nearby so we decided to head over.

When we got there, we noticed another place nearby that caught our attention and it had Jersey all over it – Joey G’s Bar & Grill. It was a nice place. On the inside, it kind of reminded us of a remodeled Red Lobster – although neither of us could really put into words why. The outside certainly didn’t look like Red Lobster.

Our waitress was nice friendly. She pointed out a few specials and answered a few questions we had. We decided to get a sampler platter of mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and potato skins since we couldn’t quite decide. In case you’re wondering – Linda had the onion rings. I had most of the mozzarella sticks and we shared the potato skins. We also ordered a dish they call Crunch Chicken. It’s chicken fingers made with Cap’N Crunch instead of bread crumbs in the mix. I love Cap’N Crunch cereal so I thought it would be a great dish to try that I could make at home too.

Well, here are words I thought I’d never say – It was a little too sweet for me. They weren’t bad, but it just didn’t seem right. I guess I prefer my fried foods not so sweet. Still, if you have a fussy eater that likes Cap’N Crunch, I’d say give it a try.

The next morning there was no question as to where to eat. We had just one place in mind – IHOP. We spotted one on our way to the wedding so we knew it was close.  Linda had some eggs, bacon and hash browns. I got what I always get at IHOP – chocolate chip pancakes. I was a little surprised that they asked if I wanted chocolate batter as well. Usually that’s how they come at any other IHOP I’ve been to. As expected they were delicious.

We went back to our hotel to pack and let breakfast settle and then we were on our way.

Trader Joe’s Rice Medley

A couple of weeks ago Trader Joe’s opened up just 10-15 minutes from my house. I didn’t go during the first week because it was a complete zoo with police directing cars to parking spots. They are still there during peak hours and I’m sure they are getting tired of that by now. My wife and I decided to stop on our way home from some other shopping and  parked at a nearby frozen yogurt place (not TCBY). We grabbed some frozen yogurt (since I now like the stuff) and then headed over to Trader Joe’s.

It was pretty packed inside, but we did manage to look over everything. Personally, I prefer the produce at The Fresh Market. They have a much larger selection. The meat selection was decent as was the seafood. They had a section for gluten free food too – not that we really look for that sort of thing.

We picked up a few things here and there – some burger meat, bananas, and a rice medley. It looked rather interesting and also included barley. We figured we’d give it as shot.

I’d never heard of red rice before, but I like brown rice. How different could it be? The best part was that is cooks in the microwave in about 3 minutes. Just toss the bag in, wait 3 minutes and you’re done. I like that kind of simplicity. It took longer than that to make the Southwestern Salmon that we had with it.

The rice was pretty good. It did taste a little different than our usual brown rice, but it wasn’t bad at all. It came with several pouches so we can have it again a few times before we need to brave the parking lot at Trader Joe’s again.

TCBY Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

My wife has been trying to convince me to try frozen yogurt for a while now. I finally decided to give it a try. We stopped in at a local TCBY on our way home from shopping. The girl working at the counter gave me a sample of the chocolate and the peanut butter cup. I didn’t really care for the peanut butter cup, but the chocolate wasn’t bad. Since they have a bunch of the typical ice cream toppings to make sundaes, I went ahead and made one with all my favorites – M&Ms, chocolate chips, sprinkles, caramel, and hot fudge. It was really good. However, I think that with all the toppings it kind of loses any health benefits of choosing frozen yogurt over ice cream. Still, it does open up a few more options for me and I guess it’s better than ice cream with the same toppings. I should have listened to my wife sooner and given it a try. I’m still hesitant to try vanilla, but I’ll get the chocolate again.

Southwestern Tilapia and Brown Rice Recipe

I had some brown rice leftover from when I did the chicken and brown rice and I still have a bunch of tilapia from the BOGO at Price Chopper,  so I decided to try it with tilapia instead of chicken. Since I liked the Southwestern Tilapia, I figured I’d use the same basic seasoning. It’s another quick, healthy meal you can make instead of ordering take-out.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tilapia fillets
  • Corn, peas , broccoli or other vegetables as desired

Instructions

  1. Mix olive oil and dry ingredients in a food storage bag.
  2. Add tilapia to the bag and shake until thoroughly coated.
  3. Dump tilapia and the remainder of the oil mix in a skillet.
  4. Cook until tilapia starts to turn a bit more white – but not completely cooked.
  5. Add approximately 2 cups of cooked brown rice to skillet.
  6. Add vegetable to skillet.
  7. Use wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and break the tilapia up.
  8. Stir until all ingredients are cooked.

I overdid it a bit on the red pepper. I don’t measure so my list of ingredients is approximate. Apparently, I must have added a bit more red pepper and chili powder as my mouth was definitely feeling the heat. However, that did a good job of masking the fish taste, so overall I will call this a success.

Spicy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My Roasted Brussels Sprouts were OK, but they still needed a little something. With all the southwestern dishes I’ve been doing lately, it seemed like a pretty good idea to try it with Brussels Sprouts too. We had company over for dinner, so I did the original recipe as well as these new spicy sprouts.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Place ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

I should have made more of the spicy sprouts since everyone seemed to really like them. The spices kind of hid the sprout taste a little more than the original sprouts. I’ll probably continue to make them spicy.

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