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Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Happy New Year!

It’s New Year’s morning and I have a lot of plans for the year ahead.  I don’t like to think of them as “resolutions” but more just some general ideas to guide me.  Here’s a few of them in case you are curious:

  • I’m looking forward to continuing my time at Cross Fit which means I will hopefully be able to crank out a pull-up by year-end.
  • I have a trip to the spa planned in January (this is really just something to look forward to).
  • I am hoping to complete another half marathon.
  • I want to take some time to learn html, CSS, java script and whatever else that might lead to (I am hoping that will help me pretty up this blog)
  • I would also like to take some photography classes, wine classes, possibly cooking classes…we’ll see.

Anyways, that’s just what’s on my mind at the moment, but let me get to the recipe.

I had a good but uneventful New Year’s Eve with my neighbor’s and my sister and her family.  I decided for our small get together to make cucumber sandwiches because they are always a big hit.

I make these delightful little sandwiches any time I need an easy “go-to” recipe.  Typically, I just use a packet of italian seasoning and a cream cheese/sour cream blend, but I didn’t have a packet of seasoning on hand so I just used my own mix of spices from the cupboard instead.

Ingredients:

8 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (I ended up using closer to 6 oz bc that is what I had on hand)

1/4 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream (again because that is what I had on hand – you could use mayo or yogurt)

1 tbsp each:

Lemon Juice, Parsley, Basil, Oregano,

1 tsp each:

Cayenne Pepper (gives it a kick – omit if not a spicy fan!), Garlic, Onion Flakes, Paprika

A pinch of salt and pepper

1 English Cucumber

1-2 loaves French Bread (you can use any type of bread, I sometimes use a loaf of white bread and cut off the crusts)

To assemble:

Mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, all of the herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Taste mixture and add more herbs and lemon juice as necessary (I ended up using all of the juice from half a lemon).  Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night (I only was able to let it sit a couple of hours and it was fine, but the flavors will develop more the longer you let it sit).

Using a mandolin or very sharp nice, slice the cucumber in very thin slices (I have a super cheap mandolin from target and it works perfectly).

Now, to prep the bread, you can choose from a variety of options.  I just slice the bread into 1/4 inch circles, but sometimes I just slice the bread in half lengthwise, spread on the mixture and then slice in inch wide strips.

Whichever your choice, spread the cream cheese mixture in a thin layer on each slice of bread and top with the cucumbers (I do 3 per slice).

Try to make right before you leave for the event so they don’t get soggy!

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You are probably wondering, what the heck is a K2E, right?  Well, I have been diligent and dedicated to my gym (CrossFit) for 4+months now.  This is not to say that I am not typically athletic (I completed my first 1/2 marathon in April – go me!) but I find it hard to keep the routine of going to the gym…until now.

CrossFit is a different type of gym.  I typically describe it as a big open ‘Man’s Man’ kind of gym.  The location I go to is basically a big locker room with lots of kettlebells, ropes, and weights – not a lot of those fancy shiny machines you see at my old gym (which shall remain nameless).

Here is the beauty of CrossFit – every day you go in and they have some sort of series of exercises (usually involving a variety of pull-ups, kettlebell swings, push-ups, squats, etc.) that are combined in this painful short and sweet routine.

So today, our routine was 21 hang cleans (basically lifted the weighted bar from your knees to your shoulders), 21 repetitions of throwing a weighted ball against the wall (‘wall balls’), 21 K2E’s (knees to elbows – you hang from a pull up bar and bring your knees to your elbows – much harder than it sounds).  After you finish that, you do the whole thing again but you do 19 reps of each, then 15, then 12, then 9.  It was exhausting, my arms hurt from the hang cleans, my hands hurt from the knees to elbows, and I am drained.  Yet the whole routine took less than 20 minutes!

All that being the case – I’m done!  After four months of routines like this, I was able to actually get my knees to my elbows all the way for the first time.  Normally I get my knees about halfway and call that a repetition.  It was great.  I can lift more weight than ever before, I can run further and faster, and I have lost weight and toned up.  Running was never able to get me to where CrossFit has.  Plus, so far, I haven’t had a hard time dragging myself there because it is always so quick, the people who own it are great, and it has really made a difference in my health…did I mention there are typically quite a few shirtless buff men there????  That really helps the motivation.

I’m not saying Crossfit is for everyone…but so far it’s for me.  I just had share.  Since this is a cooking blog and you may want some cooking pictures instead of my gym story…and I don’t care to share any photos of me at the gym, here are the tomatoes that are currently drying in my oven (and here is the link to how I made them).

This particular batch has been in for 2.5 hrs so far (as opposed to the batch from the other night that I took out at 2 hrs).  I will probably keep these in until I go to bed – another 1.5 hrs or so.

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