Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

My first attempt at chicken cacciatore in honor of Snow White & The Huntsman coming out soon. Hunter in Italian is cacciatore which inspired me. Sidenote, I bought the organic free-range chicken from Trader Joe's and carved it myself for the first time. Maybe next time I will ask the butcher.
I wish you could smell this picture. I almost ate the roasted veggies before the chicken was done because it smelled so good. Man, Sunday dinners are the best!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A body in motion...

So Sunday morning I woke up after sleeping in and as I lay in bed thinking I could physically sleep the day away and be fine with that decision Newton's law of motion came to mind. A paraphrase, "A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest." I glanced at my clock and decided that I was going to force myself to get up and go to the farmer's market. I was going to be a body in motion.

Going to the farmer's market is always a good idea because I get the best tasting local veggies and when I buy them I incorporate them in my meals for the week not wanting anything to go to waste. I got to the market as it was opening, spent my allotted $20 in no time at all and then off to the grocery store for things not sold at the market. Once home I decided to stick with Newton and made a list of things to do on my favorite office supply, the index card. As the day went on I was more and more productive and scratched things off my list like I was sword fighting with my pen. Make Aunt Jan's recipe for green beans and vinaigrette for a dish dish for dinners. Check. Make roasted red pepper hummus to go with lunch for the week. Check. List my tv/dvd/vcr on Craigslist. Check. Put up shelves above desk. CHECK. (This was a long time coming and by far my favorite accomplishment. See gritty picture below.) Do laundry so I can have clean workout clothes. Check. Wash sheets. Check. Organize said desk. Desk. Rearrange hallway furniture with living room furniture. Check. Make Laura Calder's Caramelized Onion Tart to take to wine class this week. Check. (Really wanted to eat this as it smelled amazing and looked just perfect but I maintained some self control.) Empty trash and recycling in bed room and bathroom. Check. Clean out refrigerator. Check. Wash and dry al dishes. Check. Put away all laundry. Check. Put up picture in room. Almost check. Apparently we are out of long nails. Who knew? Make run to Goodwill. Still open due to lack of time but that was thrown on last minute and I can do later when they are open.

All in all it is amazing what you can do when unhindered and have a check list. My room feels a million times more organized now that my shelves are up above my desk. So many obstacles have been in my way fo these shelves but Sunday was the day or reckoning. And there is just something about having all of your laundry done and going to bed in clean sheets that puts one's mind at ease. My sense of accomplishment knows no bounds. I finally sat down in the evening and watch one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction, with my sisters before calling it a day. Hope you guys had a great weekend too!

(Did I mention Saturday was my Cake Decorating Class? Loved it!)

My little desk area. (Trust me, it was really bad before.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Harvest from the DSA

My mom picked these today from her garden.

Aren't they great? I have tons more pictures from our visit this weekend that I will post later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My less than $5 dinner

Salmon was $7.99/lb from Sprouts. I always ask the butcher to give me a quarter of a pound to try to get as close as possible to 4 oz which is a serving size. This was almost 6 oz but I had just worked out and was pretty hungry. Salmon was coated with spice rub from Williams Sonoma. I highly recommend their spice rubs, truly addicting.

Cantaloupe was $2 for a whole melon from the Long Beach Farmer's market

Asparagus (one of my favorite vegetables) was $2.50 for a huge bunch. This was only 1/3 of the bunch.

Salmon - $3.04

Asparagus - $0.83

Cantaloupe - $0.25

TOTAL $4.12

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wouldn't you know

I find it quite hilarious and ironic that my last post was all about eating close to the source and my discipline and that night I went for wine and appetizers and had artichoke dip and crackers and wine which we all know are not close to the source. (It was planned for so I had eaten less calroeis the previous days.) So despite going way over my calories for the day last Thursday I was almost dead on for the week. That is why I like tracking for the whole week. You go over one day then the next you go under. You don't have to stick to those calories exactly every day. I mean, for goodness sake, that would be no way to live. It is more about being disciplined and then taking those breaks for celebrations.

On a side note, I have really enjoyed making my self breakfast, lunch, and dinner. First of all, I am saving money by not going out. Secondly, I know exactly what goes in my food and where it came from. And lastly, I have been trying new recipes and am inspired to be creative and try more. My lunches are pretty standard, but I am getting ready to mix that up soon. Anyone have any suggestions of some fun and tasty lunch recipes? If so, let me know!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tired Thursday...but still thinking

Apparently I was pretty tired this morning. I am that no-nonsense person that sets their alarm and when it goes off I get up immediately and go get ready. Well this morning I was that lazy, glassy-eyed person that decided to hit their snooze bottom 3 times before I got out of bed. Apparently I was tired. Is it because I have been working out a bit with Tony Horton so much lately or because I have been going to bed later than usual? Oh how I dream of getting a steady 7.5 hours sleep a night and eventually it will happen. Who knows the reason, all I know if that I needed that extra sleep.

My daily life has change a bit recently. Along with working out with Tony Horton and P90X I am also being fairly strict with my calorie intake and the types of food that go into my body. All this week 80% of what I have eaten came straight from the farmer's market, the other 20% were from Trader Joe's. I am aiming to have a 1/3 ratio for protein, carbs, and fats and have been doing great. Sure I have had to choke down some protein that made me gag (salmon) but I am keeping that ratio. Being the fast oxidizer I am, I need to have around 40% of my calories be from protein. When I do eat that way I have noticed a steady stream of energy throughout the day and am less hungry, unlike my sister who loves eating protein but is actually a slow oxidizer and can maintain her energy on more carbs than protein. For me, being less hungry and not used to the large amount of protein = having to choke down salmon last night. It is amazing to me when you eat food straight from the source (raw fruits & veggies, cooked fruits and veggies, eggs, & fish) how MUCH you eat and how LITTLE calories are in them. Currently I am snacking on about 4 cups of veggies that total less than 100 calories. (In those veggies are string beans from my mother's garden. Man are they good!)

Anyway, my energy is good today and I am planning on going to bed at a decent time tonight. Just trying to get to be the best I can be and the healthiest I can be. Makes me wonder how much better I could have felt in the past on those down days where coffee and carbs were calling my name.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Operation healthy

So, apparently I fell off the fit train a few months back. I have gained weight since my record low in January and I am not too happy about it. After seeing my very fit uncle in San Francisco I was motivated to hop back on the train. He is the first person to tell me about the Lose It! app and he has lost over 30 pounds and looks great. I decided I wanted to feel stronger and kick up my health level once again. Started tracking my nutrition with the Lose It! app and doing P90X again. (Did night #1 last night and wanted to puke afterwards. I guess that is a good thing...)

Anyway, here is part of my yummy lunch. I am loving my spinach, mushroom, and scallion quiches. Super easy to make, fast, travels well, and totally healthy. Kicking up that protein level one step at a time. Also, I am loving plain, non-fat Greek yogurt for breakfast. Who knew?

Come on, get back on the train with me!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Can I just say...

How much I love my aunt and San Francisco! Last week I took a last minute trip up to the Bay for some much needed R&R. My aunt and uncle were going to be there and I ended up spending the whole time with my aunt while my uncle competed in the World Laser sailing tournament. We went to the Farmer's Market at The Ferry Building, discovered an amazing Italian grocery store in Cow Hollow, checked out garden stores, a cool paper store where I got a great bicycle bag and bicycle stamp ( sense a theme?), chatted up strangers in a book store, ate the most amazing ice cream sandwich from Miette, and went to the Wicked Plants exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. We walked so much I thought my feet were going to fall off. It was great! Discovered the ins and outs of the SF bus system and narrowly made the plane ride home with the help of a few strangers. There is just always something magical about that city to me that draws me to it. One day I am going to live there, if even for a moment. It was great spending time with my aunt as we have common interest and find the same things funny. I can't tell you how long we were in that paper store reading ridiculous greeting cards. Oh, did I mention we had a Rummikub tournament while watching my uncle sail at the St. Francis Yacht Club? ( She may have won a few more times than me, dang it!)

Anyway, I was sad to leave and am already thinking about my next trip. San Francisco, until we meet again...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Think About It Thursday

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way." - Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pulled Pork anyone?

So I decided this past weekend that I was going to give making pulled pork another go. You see, I never ate pork growing up. This was not due to religious purposes, merely that my mother never bought it and when I was out I never ordered. I believe that was a hidden fear of getting a disease from pork but I have no clue where that came from. As an adult I have tried to expand my palate and that has included pork. I have made a lovely Donna Hay recipe or apple pork chops wrapped in puff pastry. Pretty tasty and east to make. Next, I tried a Robin Miller recipe and hated it. Her recipe for pulled pork was not up my flavor alley. So when the pork bug hit me again this past weekend my sister recommended a recipe from the new show Kelsey's Essentials. I road my bike over the the grocery store, came home, popped the ingredients in the slow cooker and 4-6 hours later a memorable dish was ready to be eaten. So succulent and flavorful. I have tons of meals for the week. I might ever freeze some just for an emergency meal. Man, I need to use the slow cooker more often. I mist say, I altered the recipe only slightly. Here is the recipe I used:

Slow Cooker Shredded Pork (adapted from Kelsey Nixon)

1 (15-ounce) can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes

3 tablespoons chili powder

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 (3-pound) pork shoulder (or butt), trimmed of excess fat

salt & pepper

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 yellow onions, dice

1/4 cup lime juice

Puree diced tomatoes. To puree add chili powder, brown sugar, coriander, and cumin and mix well. Put sauce in the bottom of slow cooker and add meat. Turn meat to coat all sides. Add onions and garlic and toss to coat. The rest can be found HERE.

Any recipes you can recommend?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another day in the got garden

They're alive!! Look at those tomatoes...mmmm, mmm! And there is more where that came from! My sister and I did I quick garden trip to my mother's house this weekend and surveyed the happenings of the garden. All of the tomato plants are kicked into high gear with tons of fruit (or vegetables) on their way to ripening. The second picture is the cucumber seed I planted a few weeks back. Man is it loving the sun out there! Sad to say that only one survived. For some reason so I have planted another seed so I will let you know how that goes. Third picture in the row is the-little-parsley-that-could. We trimmed back the sage that was hogging the sun and most likely soil from this little guy, but he hasn't died so I think he is a fighter and should spring up more soon. The sage and thyme (pronounced "time") are still acting like they are on steroids because they are huge and refuse to die. We have hacked the crap (pardon my French) out of them and they keep coming back which I love and apparently so do the bees. I love that they are getting nectar and that I am part of that reason. I love the little hum they make when gathering nectar. I am thinking of making a t-shirt for our gardening service that says "We feed bees". What do you think?

On man, do you know what this is? It is a Pablano Pepper that is slowing growing!!! Man, just thinking about those suckers is making me salivate. Just me? Can't you smell that smokey flavor that is longing to be turned into a sauce and nice mild Mexican dish? Sad to say for some reason the serrano pepper plants keep dying. It is like the soil knows that is my favorite pepper and just wont acquiesce to my request to spring forth and multiply. Any suggestions out there in the gardening world?

Speaking of peppers... above the a shot looking down through a cut-out soda bottle onto some bell peppers. My mom threw a bunch of seeds in a whole and up sprouted 11 plants! She made me take all but the strongest out of the ground. I couldn't just leave 10 good little sprouts to die so I replanted them elsewhere in hopes that we will have tons of pepper plants and can roast and jar them to be used at a later date. We put the cut-up bottle over them for a few reasons. First, this helps warm the soil and plant which peppers love. Second, it makes a little terrarium which helps with the watering process. Third, and most important, it deters stupid evil grasshoppers from eating the young leave which they love and have been known to do. (Fact: grasshoppers are my least favorite bug of all time.) I really hope these little guys do well and that we are giving them the best chance possible.

Now for something sweet (and something my mom did all on her own)....cantaloupe melons!!! She has three cantaloupe melon plants growing; two she planted and one that was a volunteer. They are taking my advice and going forth and prospering. Look at the little guys! Man, I hope they get huge and that my mom turns them ever so often so that they grow well rounded! (Yes, I love puns.)

Aw, the Japanese eggplants...slowly growing, but doing well. For some reason the American eggplants are stunted. Perhaps this is due to the recent budge crisis? Okay, I will stop now before I spout off a 120-page dissertation on our current politics. But the eggplants are up and coming...

That is all for now folks. Any gardening advice is welcome if you see something I might need to know. Also, political comments are fun to read regardless of if I agree with you or not!!! Happy gardening and here's to a balanced budget!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Think About It Thursday

"You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them." - Michael Jordan

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Aww nature

Nothing like going for a bike ride and on the way back snagging a few free figs from the neighborhood tree. (Community tree, I would never take fruits or vegetables from someones garden.) As I was munching into the fig I couldn't help but have a nerd alert and draw a similarity to the inside of a fig and a sea anemone. Pretty cool.

More in the fun science and nature genre, check out these sprouted cucumbers!
My sisters and I are continuing or hard-labor, I mean DSA (daughter supported agriculture) at my mother's house. Things are progressing and she even has a cool watering system down for her Japanese eggplants, beans, and cantaloupe. What made me really smile though were the cucumbers. Last time we were out there we wanted to plant something in a area we had de-weeded. My middle sister had wanted to plant zucchini but apparently we did not bring that set of seeds. So just for good measure I threw in some cucumber seeds. I was doubtful of them actually sprouting, but low and behold they fought through the heat and the nutrient depleted soil and are alive!

In other miraculous news, we usually take home a basket of lemons each time we leave my mother's house. Her lemon tree produces the best lemons I have ever had. Well I kept joking about planting a lemon tree back at our place. One day I come home and see pot of dirt sitting in the middle of our patio table. I asked my sister if I could put the soil back in the bag when she informed me she had taken one of the seeds from a lemon and planted it. We both started cracking up. That little pot has been sitting there and we water it every time we water out other edible plants, not because we really thought it would grow, but just to keep the joke alive. Again, my doubt was rebutted with the sprouting of our little lemon tree!!! (Lemon tree name still undecided.)Isn't it the cutest thing? Somehow growing a plant from seed is one of the most rewarding things to me.

"Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof." - Julie Moir Messervy

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Think About It Thursday

"The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community." ~Ann Strong

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Think About It Thursday

"Thinkers think and doers do. But until the thinkers do and the doers think, progress will be just another word in the already overburdened vocabulary of the talkers who talk."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lemon & Anise Biscotti

Sunday mornings sometimes are meant to be cooking little treats for the week like this Lemon & Anise Biscotti.