Tag Archives: Tastemaker

Sick Day and a Knee Update

I’m home sick today. I’d show you a picture of all of the tissues, but… gross.

Instead, I’ll show you some food. And a few gratuitous shots of my swollen leg. Hot, right? Don’t worry, I’m going to make you wait for it.

I know. I’m such a tease.

So, this morning I broke some bread out of the freezer that I’ve definitely already started on but never managed to capture on camera. Whoops.

I was send this Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat With Flax from Foodbuzz as a part of their Tastemaker’s Program.

As a quick breakfast before my MRI this morning, I toasted a piece of this bread and topped it with Bee’s Knees peanut butter, half a banana (sliced), and a sprinkle of chocolate granola.

It was pretty great.

I will say, though, that this bread is probably better for buttered toast or, mostly, as sandwich bread. It leans more toward “savory” than “sweet.”

I bet it makes for a mean grilled cheese. Or an egg sandwich. Yum. I’ll have to try that. Or those. Probably both. You know, all in the name of research. I’m selfless like that.

Right. So… then, I went to my MRI. I may or may not have fallen asleep during it with my book on my face. No big deal. We don’t judge around here.

Anyway, the MRI showed that I don’t have a meniscus tear (yay!), but I do have warning signs of potential tears. I’m going to have to be careful about that.

What I definitely do have (no surprises here – I already knew this) is “Excessive Lateral Patellar Compression Syndrome” (I got the official name this time). Since PT hasn’t really been working for my left knee, and since the clicking, etc. has been so prominent, the doctor decided we should try a cortisone shot. After hearing about what it does and what any side effects or consequences were, I agreed.

Basically, the idea here is that we’re breaking the inflammation cycle and loosening everything up.

I was super nervous for the shot, but it wasn’t so bad. It was more of an uncomfortable pressure than actual pain.

I am, however, now sporting this bad boy:

(Gratuitous knee shot #1)

Ignore the redness. It’s from icing. See?

(Gratuitous knee shot #2). You’re welcome.

My knee is pretty stiff and sore, but the doctor told me that I’d likely feel a little pain for about 48 hours. He also said that in about 5-7 days, I should be seeing improvements. He even said that, if it works (though, no promises there), I may get to work out again — MY way, not the easy way.

Seriously, is that not the best news, ever?? That is, if it works. We’ll see. But, please, cross your fingers for me.There is nothing I want more than to return to boot camp… and possibly – possibly!!! – running. God, that would be amazing.

In the meantime, I’m also still nursing this cold. Which means I’ve been eating lots of soup/ stew and drinking lots of orange juice. See?

I actually made this stew the other day. It’s pretty good. I can’t wait to share the recipe.

Plus, I was able to work on one of my New Year’s resolutions in making it!

Anyway, other than the doctor’s appointment and the icing, I’ve basically been spending my day watching Lie To Me, a new-to-me show.

Have any of you seen it? I like it so far.

Also, can anyone get me my dark chocolate-covered almonds? They’re all the way over there.




Filed under Blog Posts

Caprese Stew (and a Dinner Party)

I had a pretty great night, last Sunday night.

Mark and I had an impromptu dinner party with our friends Claire and Matthew.

What was the occasion for said dinner party?

Well, as a part of Foodbuzz’s Tastemakers program, I was sent some Newman’s Own products, with which I was to make a recipe and film a video, which was shot on a flip cam – also sent to me by Foodbuzz!

Pretty cool, huh? I love getting to do stuff like this because I’m a blogger!

In the package:

  • Newman’s Own Light Caesar dressing
  • Newman’s Own Light Raspberry & Walnut dressing
  • Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian dressing
  • Newman’s Own Roasted Garlic sauce
  • Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Bombolina sauce
  • Newman’s Own Cabernet Marinara sauce
  • certificates for 2 Newman’s Own All Natural Thin & Crispy pizzas (excited to redeem these!)
  • and, of course, the ultra HD Flip Video! (so cool!!)

Before I get to the video (I’m stalling) or the recipe (that’s pretty great, though), I’ll share our little dinner party.

We started with a lovely spread of cheese and crackers.

We had multi-grain “entertainment crackers,” goat gouda, bleu cheese, and NZ (for Sam) sharp cheddar. The cheddar was my favorite, but Mark showed Claire and Matthew how to drizzle honey on top of the bleu, and I think he converted everyone else.

We also, of course, had wine – both white and red. I somehow managed to forget to photograph those… probably because I was too busy drinking them.

With the stew, we also served fresh French bread with butter.

When we sat down, the spread looked like this.

After dinner, we entertained ourselves by drinking more wine playing Taboo. I am super competitive with Taboo, as you may remember, so this was a very exciting time for me.

This was also, clearly, an exciting time for Mark.


Mark and I decided it wouldn’t be fair if we were on a team together (we are amazing on a team together, FYI), so I paired with Claire and he paired with Matthew.

When we weren’t playing our intense game of Taboo, Claire and I entertained ourselves by cracking up (I don’t remember what it was about).

Finally (sort of) got one…

Someone take the wine away from me.

Oh, and Mark introduced Matthew to my blog.

Riveting, I know.

We also had cake! Mark made us an amazing lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting. One of the better cakes I’ve ever had, seriously.

That boy is always showing me up.

The nerve.

I didn’t mind so much when I was eating it, though.

Alright, enough stalling. I guess I should get to the recipe (which was pretty great, if I do say so myself) and… dun dun dun… the video!

So, having gone to film school, I sort of have the hookup with lots of people who know the ins and outs of making movies. That helped. It also should have helped that I know all about filmmaking, but you’d be surprised how much all of that know-how flew out of the window as Claire filmed me.

Anyway, filming was fun, but totally scary. I was so awkward! You probably shouldn’t watch it (I want to keep my readers), but, well, here it is.


What a dork.

The recipe is written out below and has a couple of adjustments (I added more garlic powder, sauce, and salt & pepper, but those adjustments were edited out of the video for awkwardness time purposes).

Caprese Stew

serves eight


  • 1 cup (dry) orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes in tomato juice
  • 1/2 to one bottle of Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Bombolina sauce (I used about 2/3, which is more than the original 1/2 bottle I used in the video)
  • ~ 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 3 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 yellow squash, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or about 5 cloves, chopped… which I won’t do) (and yes, I added more after I added the 1 1/2 tsp in the video)
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 2 15-oz cans cooked cannellini beans
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cups (one container) small mozzarella balls
  • parmesan, romano and/ or asiago to garnish


Boil water in a small pot and cook the orzo to about al dente. Set aside and let it sit, soaking up the water.

Dice the half onion and chop mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.

In a large pan, saute the onions in about one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, zucchini and squash, in a few installments. Add the rest of the olive oil and stir everything together. Let this cook, covered, over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir every so often.

While the vegetables are cooking, pour the diced tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil.

Add the Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Bombolina sauce and bring to a boil again.

Turn the pot down to a simmer.

Add the vegetables, basil, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Let simmer for a few minutes.

Add cooked orzo and cooked cannellini beans. Let simmer until you’re ready to serve.

When you are just about to serve it, drop in the mozzarella balls and stir to evenly distribute.

Serve and topped with parmesan, romano, and/ or asiago.

And that’s it!

I’d like to send out the BIGGEST THANK YOU EVER to my amazing friend Claire, who single-handedly shot, edited, and magicified (it’s a word) that video. I can’t wait to show you the bloopers so you know what I mean.


Alright, be honest. Am I a total dork? Did I lose any readers from that video?


Filed under Blog Posts, Recipes