Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snow!

This morning I woke up to a light dusting of snow. What can be better than that? Nothing!



My day has been the perfect Sunday. Lounge around in my pajamas, make pancakes and sausage patties for breakfast, knit while watching the Seahawks lose, play a little Team Fortress 2 with Tim, all while watching the snow fall.


My aunt said that she woke up to an inch and a half of snow on Orcas Island. I wish we had that much!


But a little snow is better than no snow! And the ski passes are going to be opening soon, which really make everything better!

Can't you tell I love snow??

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deconstructed Fruit and Nut Parfait

When it comes to making breakfast in the morning, I definitely reach for something easy and quick to get me out the door. I mostly eat my breakfast either in my car or once I get to work. My cat hates me for that since he so badly wants my attention after patiently waiting for 8 hours.



Most days, it's toast and some tea. Not the best breakfast. Some mornings (when I get enough sleep so my brain cells actually work soon after getting up at 5 in the morning) I can actually put together a pretty healthy breakfast. One of my favorites that I got to constantly is a deconstructed fruit and nut parfait. It's super easy and I like to tell myself it's healthy. I mean it's got lots of fruit, nuts and yogurt. What's not healthy about that?

Ok, I should fess up. I add chocolate to my parfait. And honey. What can I say? I need a little sweetness in the morning. I usually pair this with tea and some toast. I just can't get rid of that darn slice of toast with apple butter on it!



The great thing about this recipe is that it's so flexible. Don't have fresh fruit? Add in dried fruit. Don't have walnuts? Add pecans or peanuts or what ever nut you have on hand. The only thing you really need is yogurt.

I love to use seasonal fruits, no matter if they are fresh or dried. My favorite seasonal combinations are below the recipe, which I hope you will find some inspiration that will make your mornings better.

Deconstructed Fruit and Nut Parfait

Serves 1

1 c. yogurt (I prefer Greek, but plain is fine)
1/4 c. walnuts
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. fresh pomegranate seeds
1/4 c. dark chocolate chips (the best part!)
1 tbsp honey

Spoon yogurt into bowl and layer fruits, nuts and chocolate on top. Drizzle with honey. Serve with (or without) toast.

My favorite combinations:

Fall: Apples cubes, pecans and dried cranberries
Winter: Pear cubes, walnuts and raisins
Spring: Strawberry halves, pistachios and dried apricots
Summer: Peach cubes, walnuts and dried pineapple

Have fun and make up your own combinations!

Enjoy!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required


















      

   

   



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall's Flavors

Fall and winter are my two favorite seasons. Well, and spring. Basically I just don't like summer.

I love roaring fires, comfy blankets, hot cocoa, and snow. They all come in every season except summer. So you get my reasoning, right?

But one of the best reasons I love fall is the food. I absolutely adore roasting, braising, stewing. The melding of the flavors, the sweet smell that perfumes the house (or apartment). Everything about it just makes me feel warm and cozy. Comfortable.

It's really too bad that my schedule doesn't allow me to make time consuming dishes except on the spare Saturday or Sunday that I don't have anything planned. I would love to make something that is complicated or just takes a long time everyday. Oh well.

So now that I've been talking all about long, slow meals, I'm gonna give you a recipe that takes only about 15 minutes. And it's a side dish. Kinda lame, huh?

Can you tell I'm in a cooking rut? And a picture-taking rut?

Now that daylight savings time is over, I am driving home in the dark and cooking in the dark,  so it's a little hard for me to take a picture of my food, in the dark. I'm working on building a light box, but as I'm not that creative, I'm going to have to hire some help. As in my fiance, the engineer. But he doesn't know about it yet, so that's kinda hard to make it happen, huh?

So you will have to bare with me as I change things around and figure stuff out. I apologize in advance.


Buttered Green Beans

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and washed
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp of your favorite herb (preferably fresh), chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Fill a large stockpot with water to about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Bring to a rapid boil, then add 2 tbsp salt along with the beans. Cook for about 4-5 min or until as cooked as you prefer. Drain and let finish cooking in colander. 
2. Heat butter over low heat in a 10-in skillet until melted. Add herbs and swirl to mix. Add green beans to coat and reheat. Serve with mashed potatoes and some chicken sausages. 

Enjoy!

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required













 

   



Monday, November 8, 2010

My Health List

Have you ever seen the movie Wish Upon a Star, starring Katherine Heigl and Danielle Harris? It was my all-time favorite movie in junior high. I would watch it almost every weekend. It drove my parents crazy and they could never figure out why I wanted to watch it so often. I now think it was because I was dying to be like Alexia (Katherine’s character) when in real life I was definitely more like Hayley (Danielle’s character).



Wish upon a Star is a feel-good movie with a great moral for teens (that I obviously didn’t get!). The moral of the story is that just because you are beautiful doesn’t mean you have to act dumb and if you are smart, you shouldn’t feel like you have to be ugly, because you can be pretty too! Oh and the other thing about the grass is always greener on the other side, when most often it’s not. Either way, it’s a great movie. Go watch it!

On to the point of this post! In the movie, Alexia and her friends make up this list of things they have to do everyday. Most of the things are silly, like shaving their legs everyday and never wearing the same outfit two days in a row. I always wanted to have a list like theirs, but I just never could find one that stuck. I tried the whole “focus on my looks” list, I focused on lists that other people made, but none worked! I have now decided to make a list focused on inner beauty. Well, rather inner health. Health of my body, health of my soul. I believe that if you take care of those two, outer beauty will follow.

So I’ve been slowly compiling a list of things to do everyday (or for some, once or twice a week). Here is what I have so far:

  1. Drink 1 cup of green tea everyday (or more!)
  2. Eat as many fruits and veggies as I can.
  3. Spend a moment to think of all the things I’m thankful for.
  4. Close my eyes for at least 5 minutes a day to clear my mind of all the clutter.
  5. Get to bed at a reasonable hour, even on weekends!
  6. Get up when my alarm is calling me out of my warm, cozy bed.
  7. Smile!
  8. Swim twice a week, or more.
  9. Ski once or twice a week once it starts to snow. (Skiing is great mental and physical therapy for me. I can just focus on the hill and my technique and nothing else.)
  10. Drink lots of water.
  11. Be happy! Find happiness in the smaller things in life.
That’s it so far.

What would you add to your list?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Potatoes, Cauliflower, Onions and Brats.. yum!

My morning routine is usually rather hectic. I sleep late, then try to hurry around, making up for lost time, but I still leave late. I usually don't have time (or the brain capacity at 5:30am) to figure out what I'm going to make for dinner that night. On the weekends, I try to make a meal plan for the week, but yesterday morning, I forgot to write down what groceries I needed. As I was leaving work, I realized, I don't know what's for dinner!
Thanks to MegaHowto.com

Now, that's a big deal for me. Food is a big deal for me. But no fear! I whipped something up that was delicious and used up my leftover cauliflower!

Thanks to BigOven.com

Enter Roasted Cauliflower, Onions and Sweet Potatoes with Bratwursts. Om nom nom delicious!

I don't have any proof (i.e. pictures) since we were hungry, we scarfed our food. So I will instead have to substitute pictures from someone else...

Thanks to Fir0002



Roasted Cauliflower, Onions and Sweet Potatoes with Bratwursts

3 sweet potatoes (or yams), cut into wedges or your favorite shape
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 onion, cut into 1/2 in. wedges
4 bratwursts
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 c. of grated Parmesan cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your veggies)

Set the oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp canola oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add brats and sear, 5 min on each side or until nicely browned. Add a 1/4 c. of water to pan and cover. Steam until done, about 7-10 minutes. 

When oven is heated, add the vegetable to a sheet pan (or two if necessary, but rotate and swap half way through cooking) and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 min. As each vegetable finishes, remove from oven and keep warm in a foil covered bowl. When the veggies are all fork-tender, return to sheet pan, sprinkle with 1/2 the cheese and roast in the oven for 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Enjoy!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required

















      

   

   



Friday, October 29, 2010

How do you...?

How do you tell someone that you hardly talk to that you still care about them, even though they are 300 miles away?

I have always found it hard to let people know I still care for them. I just can never find the right words, so I end up keeping it to myself and end up seeming like a jerk. But I'm not. I just don't know what to say.

I have so many people in my life that I care deeply about, but they have no idea. I am so awkward when it comes to expressing feelings and emotions to people. By myself, oh I'm great at it. But when they are standing there in front of me, I am terrible at it. I just don't get what the problem is.

Like one of my friends just recently broke up with her boyfriend and I wish I could be there for her, but I have no idea how to tell her that I care and wish the best for her. I haven't talked to her in about six months or so. But I miss her. I miss a lot of my friends that I haven't kept in contact with. I want to invite them to my wedding, but I don't even know if they will come. After high school, we all went in separate directions and kind of grew apart but when we get back together it's like nothing changed. And I love that about them.

I just wish I could tell them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life

Why does life get so hectic that it always seems like you never have time for the things you enjoy?

My job keeps me busy, and my commute takes an extra hour and a half out of my day. I come home, cook dinner, clean up, then collapse on the couch, all my energy drained.

I have been saving my time on the weekends to do the things I love and the thing I want to try. But I never seem to get as much done as I'd like. Time just slips away.

Not much I can do, but I'm working towards finding more time and more energy.

One option is to work 10 hours days and then have 3 day weekends every weekend, but like my friend Fauna said, I will be spending the weekend catching up on all the stuff I should have done during the week. And I don't want to do that.

Second option is to go back to 8 hour days, never have any 3 day weekends, burn myself out, but have more time to do the things I like to do.

Third is to keep trucking on, working 9 hour days but having every other Friday off, which gives me a day to myself to paint, take pictures, explore, cook, eat, do crafts.


How do you manage your time and fit in the stuff you love to do?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Broccolini

Broccolini. What to say about Broccolini?Also known as asparation or baby broccoli, it is not in fact baby broccoli but a cross between broccoli and chinese chard (Gai lan). I've never had it before, so I thought I would give it a try. Some say it tastes a little like asparagus, others say broccoli. I say either way, it's delicious!

Broccolini


Especially when paired with sausage and farfalle pasta. Others might see the resemblance to Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Spicy Sausage, which would make sense. I just wanted to make it my own, so I used broccolini (which I think looks prettier than rabe), farfalle instead of orecchiette (my honey doesn't like orecchiette. don't ask why, I have no clue!), and chicken Italian sausage instead of the standard pork.


Broccoli Rabe
And I do have to say, I think it turned out pretty tasty. Tim is one of those who has to have some sort of sauce on his pasta, so he added some marinara to his and that was pretty tasty too. So if you are a saucist like my honey, go ahead and add some marinara. If your a purist, like me, keep it out!




Farfalle with Italian Sausage and Broccolini

1 lb. broccolini, ends trimmed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for sprinkling
1 lb chicken Italian sausage, casings removed and sliced or crumbled
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 lb. farfalle pasta

1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. During last 3 minutes of cooking, add broccolini.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat and cook sausages until no pink remains. Remove sausage from pan; add garlic and fennel seeds and cook 1 min till fragrant.
3. Add sausages back to pan and lower heat . Using a slotted spoon, remove broccolini and pasta and add to saute pan. Add some pasta water (2 tbsp to 1/4 c.) to make sauce. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired, or add marinara sauce.

Enjoy!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required

















      

   

   




Friday, September 17, 2010

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

I've been slowly getting back into cooking every night since our move. We were eating out almost every night and I had no motivation to cook. I slowly realized that the reason behind my lack of motivation was that the produce selection at my local store (which shall remain nameless) was rather boring and not of very good quality. I wasn't wanting to cook because I knew my food wasn't going to taste as good as it could.

So I decided to try shopping at Whole Foods. I was hesitant at first because I heard that they were really expensive (which is true for most of their stuff) and because getting to the one near me was going to be a headache because of traffic. But now, at least for produce and meat, I'm never going back to the local unnamed store.

Everything is locally grown or raised within 100 miles (except for things that simply won't grow in Washington like spicy peppers, but I don't use those anyways) and it's always super fresh and I've been really happy with everything I've bought. I try to buy in season fruit for our lunches and the nectarines and plums are so juicy and sweet and they smell so wonderful (the ones at the unnamed store were bruised, off-color and smelled like.. well nothing. And fruit should smell like fruit!)

And as for the prices, only the processed stuff is expensive. The meat is a little bit spendy, but you are getting the good stuff (grass-fed, no hormones, etc.) so it's totally worth it. And the produce is the best quality I've found so far (except a farmer's market, but the ones around me are really small and it's hard to go during the weekdays since I leave work at 4-4:30 and don't get home till 5-5:30 and most markets close at 6). So if you have a Whole Foods near you, it's worth the trip. And then just buy your staples at your local store. That's my plan at least.

Anyways, on to the food I've been making!

I wanted to make some soupy soup this week since it's been raining and I've been dying for it to be fall. So I thought butternut soup would be good.

I based this recipe off of the one in I Love to Cook by Lauren Groveman. I've simplified mine a bit so it's a little different. And plus her's makes like 7 quarts or some insane amount and since there is only two of us, that's a little much. But if you have that many mouths to feed (or maybe just a few really hungry boys!) then by all means, double or triple it. I'm sure this recipe will freeze well too, so that's another option.

Ok on to the soup. It's creamy, slightly sweet, and super delicious. Some hidden ingredients are added to make it even better than regular butternut soup. An apple is added for sweetness, a potato to make the soup smooth (without the addition of cream), and some curry for some spice. All of it adds up to one delicious, warming meal that's sure to please many.


Thanks to rosemaryconley.com

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Peas and Chicken

1 leek, washed well, halved and sliced thinly
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 golden delicious apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
7 c. chicken stock
2 tsp curry powder (more or less, depending on how you like it)
1.5 cups frozen peas
1/2 chicken, cooked and shredded
Sour cream or creme fraiche, if desired

1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion and leeks and cook for 1 min. Turn heat down to low and cover, cooking for 10 minutes until soft.
2. Add garlic, squash, apple, potato and stock. Bring to boil, then simmer for 45 minutes, until all are soft. After 30 minutes, add the curry powder. Using a hand blender (or regular blender), blend until smooth.
3. Stir in the peas and the chicken; cook for 5 more minutes to heat. Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche on top.

Enjoy!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required

















      

   

   





Monday, August 23, 2010

New Apartment

I've finally moved into my new apartment! We still have a few things left at our old one and a bit more unpacking but for the most part we are moved it. And last night I cooked on my new stove. It is definitely going to take some time to get used to. I mean, I used to cook on an electric stove and it would take so long for the pan to heat up, but now I'm cooking with gas and whoosh! the pan is heated before I can even grab a utensil from the jar next to my stove! I'm really going to have to practice mise en place much better than I did before!

So last night I made an easy stir-fry that was pretty much random ingredients thrown together that at first I was worried would taste terrible, but actually turned out to be quite delicious. The sauce is salty from the soy, but slightly sweet from the hoisin and rice wine. Unfortunately my salt and pepper shakers are still at my old place, so I couldn't add any pepper.


For the meat, I purchased a nice cut of flank steak, put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then sliced thinly across the grain. The meat was tender and juicy and much better than those stir-fry precut packaged nonsense they sell at the store. The only place I've found that has actually good precut packaged stir fry meat is at Metropolitan Market, but they are only in Seattle. (Which reminds me, I need to send them a letter and tell them I demand they open one in Bellevue.. ok maybe not demand but ask nicely..)


As for the veggies, I chose bok choy and green onions for the main event. Any veggies will work, but I was just feelin those last night, ya know? If you do chose to change it up, add the harder veggies (carrots, bell peppers, onions, etc.) first, then add the softer ingredients (leafy greens, for example). This way the softer veggies don't turn to mush while the harder ones are still, well, hard.

Anyways, here is the recipe for a delicious stir-fry. Enjoy!



Beef and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

1.5 lbs flank steak, sliced thinly across the grain
1 head bok choy, rinsed, trimmed and cut into 3/4 in. strips
2 green onions, sliced, reserving some for garnish
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 c. peanuts (roasted preferably)
peanut oil
1/2 c. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. rice wine
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. cornstarch
For sauce, combine last 5 ingredients and whisk together. Set aside. Assemble all ingredients near stove, since this dish will come together very quickly. 

Heat 12 in skillet over almost high heat. Add 2 tbsp. peanut oil to pan and cook beef in batches, constantly stirring, until no more red is visible. Remove from skillet to a plate. Reserve juices. Once beef is cooked, add little more oil if needed, then add garlic and stir for 30 sec until beginning to turn golden. Add bok choy and green onions and stir fry until slightly wilted; remove from pan. Stir sauce to recombine cornstarch, then add to pan. Lightly scrape bottom of pan to remove browned bits, then let reduce for 1-2 minutes depending on desired thickness of sauce. Add beef and vegetables back to pan and stir to combine. Stir in peanuts, then serve immediately on top of rice.
Have a great day!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required

















      

   

   





Stir Frying on Foodista

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moving

Wow, it's been so long since I've written anything. Life got really crazy and busy. I graduated from college, found a job (well, more like it found me) and now I'm moving out of the big city to a slightly smaller city across the lake. I'm so excited to move there, since I will regain an hour back into my life that I have spent in my car, in traffic on I-5. No more hour and a half commute for me!!

I also bought a new camera. Ain't she pretty??

So since my kitchen stuff is all packed, I'm going to have to wait to start posting food pictures. I'm excited to cook more. Lately I've had stuff to do after work so I haven't been getting home until 7 or so and so I've been eating dinner on the run. Not so good, but soon I will have access to a pool and a shorter commute and lots of wonderful stuff. The only sad part is that I'm really going to miss my grocery store. They had so many amazing things there that I loved. Sigh.. The good news is that there is a farmers market literally right across the street from my apartment so I'll be going there every Tuesday! And the QFC isn't that bad so I'll probably shop there. If I really wanted to, I could go to Whole Foods, which is right down the street, but I'll have to check them out again. Last time I was there I was really impressed by their meat and seafood department but rather unimpressed by their prices. But it won't hurt to look again!

And if all else fails, there is a Metropolitan Market about 20 minutes away so I guess I could go there on occasion to get some yummy things they don't have at other stores. Like sopressata!! mmm.. delicious!

I should really get back to work. I don't have much to do today, but I definitely have more packing to do tonight. Yay for moving!

I'll try to post more pictures and recipes once I get moved in and settled. Lots of yummy things to come!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I will never..

Eat plain egg salad ever again! Tonight I made Ina Garten's Egg Salad and Smoked Salmon Tartines for dinner. I'm not a huge fan of egg salad but Tim sure is so I gave it a try.

And it was delicious! And it really wasn't that expensive compared to an average meal at a restaurant, but it was a little spendy compared to a home cooked meal. But it was so worth it! And it only took about 20 minutes to make. Unless you make your own smoked salmon, then it might take a little bit longer.

I definitely want to try it again. Soon. But for now, you should make it.



Here's how:

12 eggs
1/3 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
some chopped dill (I used chives since I didn't have fresh dill)
salt and pepper
slices of whole grain bread
smoked salmon

Place eggs in a saucepan in one layer and cover with cold water. Heat the saucepan until the water boils, then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let eggs sit in hot water for another 5 minutes. Drain then fill saucepan with cold water. Let eggs cool to room temperature, then peel off shells. Put peeled eggs in a food processor and pulse 10 -12 times until chopped but not pureed. Empty into a bowl and add mayo, mustard and dill. Mix together gently. Toast bread, if desired. Spread egg salad onto bread, then top with smoked salmon. Enjoy!

*If you want, you can make only 6 or 4 eggs and also reduce mayo and mustard. 4 eggs was perfect for me and Tim.

Have a good evening!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required


















      

   

   



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Partition Functions and BF3

Those are the highlights of my week. Learning about the Partition function and working with hazardous boron trifluoride. Oh and there was a bromine spill in the labs in the building next to the one I was in. Thank goodness no one spilled any BF3!!

Anyways, other than school, its been off and on raining and sunny here. The tulips outside our place are half wilting, half blooming. But they are pink and yellow and they make me feel so cheery when I get home.

This week I haven't done as much cooking as I hoped. Lab on Tuesday took longer than I expected so we just grabbed some Kidd Valley burgers (garlic fries included!).



I have a midterm tomorrow so I'm meeting with a few people to study later tonight so there was no point in going home so I'm gonna just have good ole' Subway.

Just curious, but what's your favorite Subway sandwich? 



Mine is the Cold Cut Combo with Pepperjack cheese and tons of veggies :)

But so far this week I've made a Halibut and Asparagus Stir-Fry and Tomato and Basil Soup. The stir fry was delicious, but I hate how it makes your places smell like fish for a few days after!

The Tomato and Basil soup really hit the spot last night. It was cold and dreary out and a nice hot soup felt good. We sopped up the soup with an herbed baguette that had flecks of salt on them. Mmmmm.... I love soup!

Anyways, Tim should be back from his meeting any minute now so I should go.

Have a great evening!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Long Time No Type

I've been so busy with school and work and the board and everything, I just haven't had the time or motivation to write. Or to really do anything. I'm so close to being done with school that my motivation is dissipating. So much that all I want to do in the morning is stay in bed and sleep. This morning I didn't get out of bed until 10! I'm usually up at 6 or 7, making breakfast and getting ready for the day. But now, I really don't want to do much.

The stress is really creeping up on me. My whole philosophy of threes is just not working right now. (My dad has this philosophy that he came up with that I kind adopted. Never try to take on more than three things in your life, otherwise you will be too stressed and pay for it later). So here's a list of things I have piled on right now:

1.Family. That always comes first. Included in that is making time for me and Tim to spend together, for me to call my mom and keep in touch with my other family members (my cousin is having her 3rd kid soon... ) and stay updated on how my cat Jack is doing (he has cancer and was only supposed to live for a month or so but now he's going on five and is going strong!).
2. Friends. Not that I have a whole lot that I see on a regular basis, but I sure do think about them on a regular basis. I really should get better at keeping in contact with friends. But it's hard!
3. School. Will be over soon, but not soon enough!
4. Work. Included in this is trying to find a job once I graduate since my manager basically told me I won't have a job at Boeing.
5. Board of Trustees and other committees. I'm helping plan for both of this years auctions and its getting really crazy after we voted in our Master Plan.
6. Cooking and cleaning. Not had much time for that either! And my bazillion projects that I would love to work on.
7. My health. It's really not doing good. Allergy season, not eating healthy or exercising. Ugh.

Well, that's my seven. It could be condensed into 5 things (family and friends into one, and health and cooking into one also), which is 2 more than 3! So therefore it's true, I'm stressed. But hopefully after school is done with, I will be less stressed.

Breathe, Rachel, breathe!

I need to write up my recipes that I've cooked lately so you can enjoy them too! Last night I made a Halibut "Stir-Fry" that was really delicious and quick to make. I'll have to post that tomorrow when I am not worrying about this lab report I have to finish. Chelate effect anyone??

Ok, well I should get back to writing my report. Grrrr.. I'm so ready to quit writing these things!

Have a good evening!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Discovery Park

On Thursday, since me and Tim had the day off, we decided to go hike at Discovery Park out on Puget Sound. I've never been there so I thought it would be interesting. First of all, we had no plan, other than how to get there (and even that was foggy).

We parked all the way by the visitors center. We later found out there were two parking lots closer to the beach, but it was a good hike.



This was a stair way that we went up on our way to the beach. I thought it was gorgeous, with the cherry tree limbs gently leaning over to create a walkway filled with blossoms.


The first view as we went up over the hill. What pretty mountains, huh? My parents will be waking up to this everyday once they get their house built on their property. And the mountains are even bigger there since they are much closer!


A look back towards Elliot Bay. I love how the sun is shining off the water. Ahhh...


Mt. Rainier off in the hazy distance. It was much clearer in person.


Another shot as we were walking down to the beach.


View from the beach. No wonder so many people were there taking in the sights!


And of course we had to take the infamous self-portrait. Go Seahawks!

Overall, it was a great day of hiking. My feet were certainly killing me when I got home. But it was so worth it!

Have a great day, everyone!

Good Fun and Laughs

On Friday, I met up with a couple of girls that I went to high school and since we all go to different schools now, we hardly ever see each other. I've missed them terribly so it was very good to goof around Seattle with them.



We met up at the bronze pig at Pike Place Market. It was about lunch time so we went and grabbed some piroshky. It was heaven. I love Russian/Eastern European foods. Must be because I'm Czech :)




After that we perused the craft stalls and then sat at a park that over looked the Alaskan Viaduct and the waterfront with the Olympics out in the background. We gossiped and laughed, like we did back in high school.

When we were done with the piroshky (and the birds started flying over head a little too close) we headed inside the market to look at the pretty flowers and other shops.












After we had toured the whole market, we headed down to the waterfront and hung out by the aquarium for a little bit. It was pretty warm out so we dodged into the first Starbucks we saw and all grabbed iced tea of some sort (I got green tea, unsweetened).






We continued to walk along the waterfront until we came to a shop filled with random things. Trust me, they were very random.

After that experience, we walked back to the market and then said goodbye :(

I sure hope to see them again soon.

Muffins Galore!

So a while ago I bought a cookbook all about muffins called the Ultimate Muffin Book. I am in love with muffins. I don't know what it is about them, but they are truly delicious. I mean, I'm not a fan of the cake-like monster ones that you get at most stores (well, I will admit they are nice to eat every once in a while) but I love the ones that are smaller and are lighter and just plain yummier than the cakey ones. And that's the basis of this muffin book.

I've decided to try every single muffin recipe in this book, starting at the beginning. It's going to take me a really long time to make them all since there are over 600 different types!!!

But I've got the rest of my life to make muffins, right?

Yesterday morning, I made my first batch. They were just plain but delicious almond muffins. I am so used to using the standard recipe from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that this one was a little weird. Well, not that weird. But I was in a hurry and I was caught off guard by the melted butter. Yes, they added melted butter. I've never heard of that in a muffin recipe, but they turned out delicious, so it didn't hurt. I just wonder if leaving out the butter would make any difference. But that's for another experiment.

There are seven variations for an almond muffin: almond apple poppy seed, almond blueberry, almond cranberry, almond date, almond joy (coconut and chocolate chips), almond nut crunch and almond streusel. I am really excited to try the almond joy one :)

Anyways, here's the recipe for you to try. These are pretty basic muffins, so you can add pretty much anything in that you like!



Almond Muffins
3/4 c. sliced almonds
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temp
3/4 c. milk
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 c. almond oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400F and line muffin tin with paper cups or spray with non-stick spray. If desired, lightly toast almonds in oven for 5 minutes, then cool. Pour 1/2 c. almonds into a mini food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times until finely ground, but not a paste. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in rest of dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk next 5 ingredients together for about 1 minute, then whisk in the oil and butter. Stir together dry and wet ingredients until just moistened, not worrying about the lumps. Fill the tin 3/4 full and top with remaining almonds. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Set pan to cool for 10 minutes, then cool muffins individually on a cooling rack for 5 min. Enjoy!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required

















      

   

   



Chicken and Shrimp and Beef, Oh My!

Well, I'm not exactly making beef anytime soon, but I did make some things with chicken and shrimp.

For dinner on Thursday, I made Asian Chicken Salad Sandwiches. If you are tired of the plain old, celery and mayo chicken salad sandwich, this is something you must try.

It's crunchy from the cucumbers yet tangy from the lime. And it's a cinch to make if you have leftover chicken, or if your like me, you can just buy a roasted chicken (whole or half, depending on the crowd of hungry mouths you have to feed) from your local store.

There is definitely enough for many sandwiches. I used roughly the same amounts as in the recipe, and I got enough for 4 sandwiches. This recipe adapted from Noodles by Beverly LeBlanc.



Asian Chicken Salad
2 tbsp yogurt
2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp grated ginger (more if you like ginger)
grated rind and juice of 1 lime 
1 cup or so shredded cooked chicken
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly into half circles
fresh cilantro, mint, parsley and basil, chopped (feel free to omit any, I only used parsley and basil)

Combine first 3 ingredients and lime rind. Add enough lime juice until it's tangy enough for you. Stir in the chicken, carrot and cucumber. Chill, if desired. Before serving, add in herbs. Serve as a salad or as a sandwich.



Then tonight, I made a really super easy dish that was super delicious. The recipe originally calls for Pernod and dill, but I don't have any Pernod and what am I going to do with a bunch of fresh dill after this? Right above the recipe, there is a small comment section which says you can substitute white wine for the Pernod and basil for the dill, which is what I did. And it turned out yummy. It's an easy pasta dish, so it literally will take you the time it takes to cook the pasta, so about 15 minutes. And for vegetables, I just steamed some peas in the microwave and then added them to the dish when serving. Asparagus would be delicious on the side also, but peas are more my style with pasta.



Penne with Shrimp and Pernod (or White Wine)
1 c. panna da cucina or heavy cream (I used heavy cream)
1 c. fish stock
3 c. dried penne
2-3 tablespoons Pernod (or White Wine)
1 c. shelled, cooked shrimp, thawed and thoroughly dried if frozen
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill (or basil)

Put cream and stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10-15 minutes, until reduced by half. Meanwhile cook the pasta in a large stock pot, and drain when done according to package instructions.

Add Pernod and shrimp to the sauce with salt and pepper. Heat shrimp very gently. Stir in dill. Add pasta to a bowl, then pour sauce over top. Garnish with more chopped dill. Enjoy!






   

Like this recipe? Sign up for our email  list to get weekly recipe digests, updates on events, get a free e-cookbook and be entered for a monthly drawing for a free cookbook (Up to a value of $31.95. Limit one per person). Who wouldn't want all that?


* indicates required

















      

   

   





Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Make every day important

Today is a very sad day for those who work with my mom at a middle school near Seattle. Last night, they lost a cherished member of their staff, Mr. Colton. I've never met him, but from what my mom said, he will be surely missed by both staff and students.



My mom wrote to me in an email:

Mr. Colton was the PE teacher and coached a lot of team sports, so the kids really loved him. He was like a huge teddy bear of a guy. Used to play (for a short time) for the Dallas Cowboys, he’s the life of the party here at school, so he will really be missed! Karilyn (one of my mom's co-workers and close friend) knew him for 20+ years. He was planning to retire soon. 

Sounds like a really great person who left God's green Earth a little too soon. But it was probably his time and he had completed his journey.

Please say a prayer for the Colton family tonight. I'm sure they would appreciate it. 




The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit
Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Motivation, where are you?

Since my regular schedule is all out of whack because of finals, I've been having a hard time being motivated to do any thing other than read or play games or watch TV. I really need to do some spring cleaning, and I had it all planned out, but Sunday slipped away, and then there went Monday. So now it's Tuesday, and I still need to write a paper and make a note sheet for tomorrow. And yet this morning, motivation was no where to be seen.

I didn't roll out of bed until 10:30 (which is really 9:30 in my mind..) and didn't eat breakfast until about 11:30. Then I watched two episodes of Psych with Tim so we could send the dvd back to Netflix, and finally I showered and changed from sweatpants to jeans.


And then motivation showed its pretty shiny cheery face on this grey and blustery day. (Ok that sounded a lot better in my mind than on paper.. er.. computer screen)

It was so weird. And then I realized that every time I just wear sweatpants or PJ's around the house, I have no desire to clean or do anything really. But when I put a pair of jeans on, I can't help but want to clean and be productive.



So while I have this motivational mind set, I'm going to go work on my paper. But one question first,


What gets you motivated?

Have a great day!

Share This!