Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Introduction to Tuna Melts

When I first saw a tuna melt, I was a freshman in college going through my dorm's cafeteria line. I actually had never had warm tuna in my life. My only experience with tuna had been my Mom's wonderful tuna fish sandwiches with crunchy red apple, and I believed tuna should be eaten cold. Also, the whole sound of a tuna melt just turned me off. Needless to say, I passed on the cafeteria tuna melts.

Since getting married, I have had tuna steak a few times and enjoyed it, but when using canned tuna, I always made my Mom's recipe. Until now! In the June 2011 issue of Cooking Light I saw a recipe for Tuna Melts with Avocado. I LOVE avacado, so I had to try them. Not only are they delicious, my whole family loved them! (I didn't call them tuna melts; I called them mini pizzas so they would actually try them). In case you would like to give it a try, the recipe (with my adaptations) is below.

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp thinly sliced shallots (I just used half onions and half minced garlic)
1Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper (I used a few twists of the pepper grinder)
1/8 tsp salt
1 (6 oz) can white tuna in water, drained
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 avocado
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese (I think any mild, white cheese would do)
2 (6 oz) pieces French bread, halved and toasted (I used bollos from HEB Bakery and didn't toast)

1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients.

3. Chop avocado and mix with lemon juice in separate bowl.

4. Combine avocado mixture with tuna mixture.

5. Sprinkle cheese over cut sides of bread and broil for 3 minutes

6. Divide tuna mixture evenly among bread slices.

(I actually put the tuna mixture on the bread first, sprinkled the cheese on top of that, and then toasted all of the ingredients together like pizza).

Hope you enjoy! What is your favorite canned tuna recipe?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cooking Light®

I LOVE Cooking Light® (CL) magazine! My love for CL began in the summer of 2000. It had been almost a year since Ramiro and I got married and we had celebrated every night with mega amounts of food and Blue Bell ice cream. I had gained around 15 pounds in 1 year and knew I needed to make a change. There was a Weight Watchers® (WW) group that met at work, and I decided to join and give it a try. Around that time I also bought a CL magazine. Since CL listed all the nutritional data under each recipe, it was easy for me to use along with the WW Point System.

CL opened up a whole new world for Ramiro and I. We were foodies at heart, but didn't know it yet! Since I had to plan my points each day for WW, I began to write a menu for each week and put the number of points I would be eating by each meal. CL made that easy. Almost every day of the week had at least one CL recipe. Cooking became such an adventure. Many times I would go to the grocery store with at least one item on the list that I had never seen before, or if I had, I didn't know it. CL really helped us discover food!

After about eight months of being on WW and making CL recipes, I lost 15-20 pounds, but I was eating better than I ever had! Even though I have become a little more lax about my nutrition, (having 3 kids will do that to you) I still love CL. Many of the CL recipes have become old favorites. Every once in a while I will post a good one that I think everyone should try. If you have a favorite, please share!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Luke - my Mini-Olympian!

In June, Luke finished his first season of gymnastics and participated in a mini-olympics showcase. He did great! He showed the audience all the events he has learned on the floor, vault, bars, and beam. He even received his first trophy! We are so very proud of our little gymnast!

Hannah's Fantastic First Grade!

Well, we're halfway through the summer and things have finally settled down so that I can write about Hannah's wonderful 1st grade year. Thankfully, she loved her new school and her teacher, Mrs. James. In fact, during a game we were playing, she was asked: "If you could invite anyone in the world to your house for dinner, who would it be?" Her answer - "Mrs. James."

She learned so much in reading, writing, math and social studies, but her favorite time of school was when she went to the library. She even dressed up as a librarian on "Dress like a professional" day!

Not only did she grow in knowledge this year, she grew in character. For the school play, she really wanted to be a ladybug. For weeks she told me repeatedly, "I hope I get to be a ladybug!" How I hoped she would get what she wanted, because I knew she would be so disappointed if she didn't. Although she was disappointed when she found out she wasn't going to be a ladybug, she happily sang me her honey bee song when she got home from school. During the play, my little honey bee sang sweetly with a big smile on her face.
At one point, one of her antennae fell off. Even though she saw it right away, she didn't miss a beat - she just kept on dancing and singing and picked up her antenna at the end. She really is learning how to roll with the punches! This character growth must have been noticed by the teachers, because toward the end of the year she won 1st grade student of the month!

The end of first grade was jam-packed. She had a field trip to the children's museum, her first Field Day, and her first Awards Day. At Awards Day, she received the Excellence in Reading, Excellence in Math, Excellence in Spelling, Excellence in Writing, Citizenship, and Texas Readers Club awards. She also received the "Sweetart Award" for being a sweet child. How appropriate!

My favorite hugs to remember from 1st grade are the walks that Hannah, Luke, Aaron, and I took to and from school each day. I treasure the talks that we had, the loving "Goodbye Hannah" that Luke yelled each morning in front of her school after he gave her a big hug and kiss on the cheek, and the hello and good-bye hugs and kisses she gave the boys and I each morning and afternoon.

Goodbye 1st grade! Thanks for the hugs!