Monday, March 8, 2010

Gettin' Real

Last night was the Academy Awards and mom were hoping to get nominated this year, but unfortunately, narrowly missed the getting the nod. That doesn't stop us though, we decided to create our own party right here at home. I pulled out my old prom dress and mom pulled out her galabaya from Egypt. We both put our gowns on in the morning to make sure they still fit. We were good to go. I decide to take a little bike ride and when I get back mom says there has been a change of plans. One of our dear friends had called and wanted us to help her pick out some new clothes in town. Mom and I don't get too many invitations and when we do we always say "yes"! So off to town we went with our girlfriend and spent the day in the stores making her look and feel like the Goddess that she is. By the time we get home, we are all worn out and I open a bottle of wine. I whip up some of my Humdinger Hummus (published on the 1/8/10 'Evening In Cairo' blog) and the three of us start munching. I get ready to whip up dinner still in my jeans and look over at mom, "Are we really wearing dresses?" We both look at each other and declare, "Hell no." Then my mom put her sweats on. This is much more REAL.

Isn't that the best when we can just be REAL with ourselves and others. It is an award we often don't allow ourselves. This gift of telling the truth no matter what and being authentic in every moment. I have heard people say to me that I look the best when I first get up in the morning. My hair a mess, no make up, and looking pretty dazzed and confused. Really, that is me at my best?!?! Seems highly unlikely, however I feel the same about them. It is when I catch a glimpse of the real authentic person that is inside that I truly understand, respect, and become close to another. What's silly is we spend hours in front of the mirror covering up what everyone really wants to see. The truth makes things better instead of worse; even when we think it is scary or ugly. Once it is set free, it makes the world seem like a lighter and better place.

Last night we got real; as real as the sun rises and sets. We threw out or original, more complicated, recipe ideas and adapted to what we had on hand. We snacked on Humdinger Hummus, and I whipped up an Easy Cheesy Salsa. Then we tucked into Playin' It Cool Calzones, and Real Roasted Cauliflower while we sat curled up on the couch with TV trays (which are a guilty, but real treat for us) and watched the awards being dished out to those that had worked hard to receive them. We also acknowledged that we deserve our own award, for being adaptable and getting real.

We might not have won an Academy Award last night, but I shared the Gettin' Real Award with my mom and I think it was well deserved. Here's hoping that you too allow yourself to get real. It is so much easier than anything else I've done, so I am planning on sticking with it. Enjoy your reality and these very delicious, very real recipes!

Easy Cheesy Salsa
1 jar of your favorite salsa (16 oz)
1 package of cream cheese (8 oz)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayanne pepper
1 tsp. olive oil

1. Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese has softened and has a satin feel. 

2. Add the salsa and spices and continue stirring to combine. Cook on medium heat until the cheese and salsa are bubblin; approx 5-7 minutes. 

3. Serve immediately with chips for a great and easy appetizer! A dear friend of mine turned me on to this delicious and simple start to something real. I think you will really like it!

Playin' It Cool Calzones
1 can tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
3 tbsp. sundried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic; minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white onion; minced
2 tbsp. fresh basil; minced
4 all beef hot dogs; sliced into rounds
1 cup mozzarella cheese; shredded
phyllo dough
olive oil spray

1. Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add garlic and onion; saute for 2 minutes. Add the sundried tomatoes, basil, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and stir for 5 minutes. Next, add the hot dog slices and allow to heat for another 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 

3. Lay the phyllo dough out and separate 3 sheets and lay on a greased cookie sheet. Working quickly, spray the phyllo dough with olive oil (you can also use a pastry brush if you don't have a spray) and scoop 1/4 of a cup of the hotdog tomato sauce mixture in the lower left corner of the phyllo, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and fold the phyllo dough up forming a triangle shape. 

4. Repeat three more times, making 4 triangle shaped calzones. Reserve 1 cup of sauce. Spray the top of the phyllo calzones with olive oil spray and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Bake in the 300 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and top each calzone with reserved sauce and serve immediately.

These taste great with the Real Roasted Cauliflower and nice green salad! Enjoy this healthy version of the traditional calzone.

Real Roasted Cauliflower

1 large head of cauliflower; stemmed and chopped
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Italian seasonings
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl mix the cauliflower and olive oil, stirring to coat the chunks of cauliflower. Next, add the rest of the ingredients, tossing to coat the cauliflower. Once coated, place the cauliflower on a greased baking sheet in a thin layer.

3. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 40 minutes. The aroma alone will have you singing and getting real!

Mental Health Benefit: These recipes are easy and crowd pleasing. We are here to help you keep your meals healthy, simple, and sane. We also want to make sure you get real with yourself, your expectations, and everything else that you deserve. It is so easy for me to set my expectations too high and miss them. The only one who can be real with me and what I deserve is me. I am working on setting realistic goals that I can meet every time. My wish is for you to do the same. Remember everything can be accomplished one step at a time!

Here's our reality check from our kitchen to yours!

~ "Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen

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