Road Wars

This morning I risked my life for a bagel.

I woke up craving the cinnamon-y, sugar-y deliciousness of a Panera Bread Cinnamon Crunch Bagel. I got ready in record time – for a Monday – hopped in my car and headed to Panera.

Panera is relatively new in Conway and in a new development of both residential and commerical properties. [Which, by the way, is quite possibly the cutest little neighborhood I’ve ever seen.] This development has sparked the installation of some roundabouts and due to those roundabouts there is understandably some construction to navigate through. I’m okay with that, as normally it doesn’t cause that big of a delay.

But today, this is what I encountered as I approached my turn:

What you are looking at is a roundabout where the middle is blocked, making it impossible to make my left-hand turn to get to Panera. [Also notice there’s a curbed grassy median preventing me from just making my own turn lane]

Frustrated, I continued to drive a bit further as there is a second roundabout just up the road, it’s also new. Unfortunately, that roundabout was similarly blocked preventing me from making a U-turn.

This would be where I developed road Tourette’s.

I was bound and determined to make that left-hand turn and buy a bagel, so at the first opportunity I had where there was no longer a grassy median blocking me, I made a U-turn through an opening in the traffic barrels and into oncoming traffic narrowly avoiding a collision, but also starting a trend of 6 other cars making the same manuever.

I got skills. And I know how to use them.

At lunch I risked my life for a salad.

Now that my favorite Little Rock restaurant has opened a location in Conway, it’s pretty much become my regular lunch spot. To get there I take a series of side streets from work to get back to the aforementioned cluster-*bleep*. You’d think, since I’m making only right-hand turns this time it would be a breeze to get to ZAZA.

Well, you’d be mistaken, because this is what that same area looked like at lunch:

This time, the entire northbound road is blocked off. Not only that, what you don’t see is the madness I had to get through just to get on the road. The last 20 feet or so of the side-street I took was blocked off and had detour signs up. What these detour signs didn’t tell you, until it was too late, is that you were being taken to a coned off area that was running out of road; where making a right hand turn was virtually impossible given how close the cones were together and the narrow lanes of two-way traffic you would have to fight. You also had no option of backing up and turning around, because there was a line of cars in the same predicament as you.

As soon as I could make a left-hand turn, as it was much easier to make than a right, I bolted into the traffic then quickly made another left into a parking lot so I could finish my U-turn. And, wouldn’t you know it, I started a trend yet again. Skills.

I’m giving myself an imaginary pat on the back for being so resourceful when faced with adversity when I realize that the entire half of the roundabout I need to drive through to get to ZAZA is blocked. I do a quick scan for construction workers and equipment, of which there  is NONE, and bolt through a gap in the barrels just large enough for my car to fit through.

Which brings me to this question:

Seriously, “road people”. What possessed you to block the ONLY entrance to 2 of the newest hotspots in town with construction? Is it to test my analytical thinking skills? Is it a subtle hint that I don’t need to eat a bagel? No? Well then, maybe it’s your way of really testing my patience first thing on a Monday? Either way I deserve an explanation. stat.

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Chick Parmesan Sub

Mambo Italiano

Chick Parmesan SubI’ve been looking for easy one or two serving recipes that I can cook when I get home from work. And now that I’m done with Grad School [at least until August] I’m hoping to have more time to cook in my neglected kitchen. After work and a workout I came home and decided to try my first new recipe of the summer…
I actually had no idea what I wanted to eat for dinner tonight, but I surfed on over Tasty Kitchen and decided to peruse the sandwiches. Man, did I hit the jackpot!! I’m a huge sucker for Chicken Parmesan, but the prep is hardly easy and the cleanup, at least for me, takes longer than the cooking. Plus, you can’t ever make just one serving. Luckily, I found I could have the taste of Chicken Parmesan that I love without the frying and the pie tins of egg, flour, and breading strewn across my counter. YAY!
This recipe is simple, hearty, and cheesy and would pair perfectly with a light green salad. Buon Appetito!
Chicken Parmesan Subs
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1-⅔ whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves (cooked)
  • ⅓ Jar Of Spaghetti Sauce (28 – 32 Ounce Jar)
  • 2 whole 6″ Hoagie Buns
  • 1 tablespoon Butter (enough to butter the bread)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Pinch (or more) of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasonings
  • ⅔ cups Shredded Mozarella Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Chop cooked chicken breasts into small 1/2-inch pieces. Heat spaghetti sauce in saucepan and add red pepper, italian seasonings and chicken pieces. Cook until chicken is heated through.
  2. Slice hoagie buns in half.
  3. Mix softened butter and and garlic until well incorporated. Spread garlic butter over bread.
  4. Preheat broiler. Place bread on a pan, butter side up, under broiler. Broil until golden and crunchy.
  5. Distribute the chicken mixture over bread. Top generously with cheeses.
  6. Return to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let set a few minutes.

Serves 2

Note: You can prepare the chicken breasts however you like – baked, sauteed, rotisserie, etc. Leftover is perfect!

Makin’ Banana Pancakes

HG's Fab Five Banana Pancake Minis

Here’s the thing. I’m not a big whole wheat person. [Almost] Every bread I’ve ever tried that’s wheat has been either too “oat-y”, too “grainy” or tasted too much like chalk. So when I saw the ingredients for banana pancakes, a la HG‘s 200 Under 200 book, I was hesitant. Also, I’ve been afraid to try soy milk. Lucky me, this recipe calls for both.

As soon as the cinnamon-y dry ingredients combined with the banana-y wet ingredients I knew this would be a winner. Boy was it ever, if I hadn’t made them myself I wouldn’t even have known they were low-cal and healthy. The texture was perfect, no grainy or chalk taste here, only fluffy pancake goodness.

As for my topping, I didn’t leave them plain as you see in the picture above, nor did I drown them as syrup (because? as much as I wanted to do that I wanted to NOT go to the grocery store more). Instead, I sprinkled them with Splenda, it added the extra sweetness the syrup would’ve provided, without all those calories.

Comfort Food

Last week I had a hankering to cook up some comfort food.

I wanted something easy, that used ingredients I already had in my pantry, and was quick. I dig through my cabinets and see some whole wheat/whole grain bread, sugar and cinnamon. I immediately become reminded of my childhood and having breakfasts of Cinnamon Toast.

The memories flood my mind as soon as the aroma fills my apartment and I’m in a nostalgic heaven. Memories of flouring the kitchen while “baking” before mom wakes up, helping my grandmas bake on the weekends, and more recently finding my love of cooking – one recipe at a time – bring a smile to my face.

This cinnamon toast is the epitome of comfort food to me and has quickly become my breakfast staple.

Meggie’s Cinnamon Toast

Ingredients

  • 1 slice Whole grain/whole wheat bread
  • 1/3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2/3 tsp Sugar
  • 0 calorie fake butter spray (as much as you prefer)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven broiler to high.
  2. Place bread on baking sheet and spray with the fake butter
  3. Mix cinnamon and sugar together, then sprinkle onto the bread.
  4. Place in oven and cook until toasted. Be careful not to burn.
  5. Devour.