Friday, February 27, 2009

Dear Concerned Reader:

From my college roomie this afternoon:

Are you the new 90210 cast member? Because I'm concerned that you haven't eaten since Monday. Blog post please.

Well I've eaten. I've also cooked, taken pictures, attempted to upload them this morning when I realized that i LEFT my camera in yesterday's purse. Then I wondered how much energy I could save a day If I didn't switch purses so often. And then I thought as much as I love being lazy, I truly dislike mismatching/clashing (not to mention i kind of live to accessorize). And then I chastised myself for being so out of shape that I was considering trying to save energy by matching less. Get off the couch already lauren, Sheesh.... even J.Lo ran a marathon.. after twins.

Where was I? oh, right. [soon-to-be-but-not-pictured-at-the-moment] This week I made this risotto thing that didn't include the right kind of rice, wine, stirring, or parm. Do I love short cuts or what? I also made butternut squash soup, which was seriously a lot like baby food. I pureed and added spices and things, but minus adding a wheel of cheese or something unhealthy and/or with 'wham' factor.... total baby food. Well, I guess it's been 25 plus years since I've probably eaten baby food, so what do I know. However, it did make me think I should have been eating it with a rubber spoon. food for thought.

What else is new? I'm glad that you asked. I'm going VEGETARIAN for lent this year. What's so novel about that you say? Well although I've done it for several years now, I've always done the 'catholic' thing and eaten fish. So basically it means I get to eat a lot more sushi. Everyone wins, right? This year I'm being a little more hard core. That also means no fish and no hungover hamburgers on my birthday. No really (friends, please hold me to this, don't let me be all 'don't tell god' while I pick the day after st. pat's green confetti out of my hair).

I'm actually paying lots of attention to my protein intake daily and trying to be as healthy as possible (instead of ... oh... say eating cheese pizzas every day for several weeks, not that that has happened in the past. okay yes it has). So stay tuned for healthy things, which may or may not be impossible in my 1.5 weeks traveling for work.

This weekend will be SO MUCH FUN. I am headed to Iowa again for a girls weekend of art, theater and excessive amounts of estrogen. What could be better?

Happy weekend!

Monday, February 23, 2009

See, my damie, Pootie Tang don't wa-da-tah to the shama cow... 'cause thats a cama cama leepa-chaiii, dig?

Pootie tang might be the stupidest movie I've ever watched (or watched for a few minutes, channel surfed, made several comments about how surprised I was that Bob Costas was in this movie, and how UNsurprised I am that Wanda is Sikes is in it).. Anyway if you're unfamiliar it's the classic story about a guy who has mojo, loses mojo, gains it back and makes the world a better place while being shirtless and NOT SPEAKING ENGLISH. Seriously it was just hilarious jibberish. example: Baby, I'm going to sine your pitty on the runny kine!

Awesome. The marathon do-nothing session was fueled by celebrating the big wins with all three college basketball games that we attended on Saturday. Two for my Alma Matter and one for his team. woohoo! His sister announced her engagement that day too, so what else would we do but head to the dive bowling alley for frosty coors light pitchers and creeping out middle schoolers? (or maybe they were the ones creeping us out, they were in twilight/vampire shirts... is that what the kids are up to these days?) These kids, in the lane next to ours, called john 'Sir' and didn't laugh at my jokes (what is WRONG with them????) ... we then proceeded to make a lot of jokes about W-2's and being grown ups.

I then proceeded to have only strikes and gutter balls. Heavy on the gutter balls. I am the most uneven bowler ever.

My victory dance was a Beyonce 'All the Single Ladies' running-man type dance. It was awesome... until I fell... with my bowling ball. and got bruises. and john told me to quit being such a drama queen. except that HE kept doing this.

John got lots of X's (strikes).................. but I was so excited at my freak victory (the other two games i bowled under 50. ouch.) I obviously took a picture.
Because I did nothing but eat food at basketball games (which..... would you believe... is not health friendly)... i thought I would share a hearty yummy dish I made last week. When I was in Iowa for My grandma's party, My aunt Anne (hi food aunt!) let me take a hy-vee magazine/cookbook/publication that focused on healthy and natural meals (look at you hy-vee, nice work). They had an easy slow cooker recipe for chicken pot pie which sounded AMAZING!
HyVee Chicken Pot Pie Easy Amazingness
  • carrots
  • onion
  • celery
  • chicken
  • chicken broth
  • thyme
  • bay leaf
  • S&P
  • flour

SO easy. In fact I came home over lunch and threw the ingredients in. My slow cooker is kind of small (which is oh-so-nice for cooking for one) and doesn't have high/low designations so I had no idea if after 5 hours my meal would be over/under cooked.

Cut to after work when I'm hauling myself and my ten million bags (laptop, school books, purse with usually 10 kinds of lip glosses and a change of shoes and some sort of breakfast/lunch/snack bag) I notice the most heavenly smell wafting through the hallways. I think to myself 'someone is cooking something good'.... much to my delight when I opened my door it was coming from MY apartment (obviously I then felt like an idiot for not remembering).... this dish was SO good. I made homemade whole wheat biscuits (they didn't use milk or butter and they were kind of not my everything).... but from scratch amazingness.

So my refrigerator has been smelling weird for a little while (after tossing stuff, cleaning it, and loading it up with baking soda it STILL smells like a too-old forgotten bean dish of last month) and consequently I've been trying to use up what's in there as opposed to whipping up new fabulous things. Easier... but not so great for the look-what-i-just-made blog o mine. Don't hate. I'll check in soon :) Hope you had an AMAZING weekend! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good Day, Sunshine

My BFF from high school just got engaged... YAY Amy and Chris!! Also I never check my mail (weird segway you say... well... stay tuned) I park on the 2nd floor but live on the 4th, the mail is on the 1st and who wants to spend all that time on the elevator/stairwell for what is usually a 20% off bed bath & beyond coupon and 10 credit card offers promising me the world. Not me. However I finally checked the mail and guess what was waiting for me: A cute card from my other friend Amy (thanks amigo!) and a V-day card from my parents. My dad even wrote me a little poem:
  • Big kisses to my cyber-savvy sweetie on Valentine's Day.
  • Your blog I check religiously, to see what you've got to say.
  • So what if you occasionally backslide?
  • Your clever writing, that's my special pride.
  • So go ahead and treat yourself to a heart-shaped, sugar-filled parfait.

Aren't I a lucky daughter? :)

So cold weather = soups, right? I found the above recipe at the which actually has a lot of healthy recipes (minus pictures, boo for that). I also had it with Kath's Kale chips. Flippin Good, and easy too. They kind of taste like baked lays (okay that might be a bit of a stretch) but a crispy salty snack all the same.

Potato Soup with Apples and Brie Cheese

  • onion
  • leeks
  • granny smith apples
  • chicken broth
  • bay leaf / salt / thyme
  • evaporated milk
  • small potatoes
  • brie cheese

Too bad I was halving the recipe but forgot to halve the brie amount which sent this soup into the out of control rich category. I felt like I was eating dollar bills (ha! i kill me). But seriously folks, I don't know when I'll learn to use the correct ingredients, but I hope it is soon. Even despite my accidental ruin of the intended taste, it was still good. A keeper, for sure.

Then I made a Thai soup. I don't know what it is about coconut milk that is so amazing, but I feel myself gravitating to recipes with that as the star ingredient more and more.

Thai Chicken and Coconut Noodle Soup (<-- linked to msn's

  • onion
  • garlic
  • coriander / ginger / pepper / cayenne / salt
  • chicken broth
  • coconut milk
  • fish sauce
  • lime juice / zest
  • fettuccine
  • noodles
  • cilantro

Okay so delish lets you set the intended serving amounts and will adjust the quantities of ingredients accordingly..... or so they say. In this case I think it must have kept the amount of broth because I had TONS! granted I generally cut back on the meat in recipes in favor of more veggies (which weren't really in the recipe at all) which could have been the case but either way I threw out half the broth, had a bowl, and patted myself on the back. In that order.

Did I mention it was a great day? It's also unseasonably warm and will be in the 50s today. Woohoo :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

We could make sweet.. sweet music together...

Or fried foods. So John had games on Thursday and Saturday which meant celebrating V-day came a bit earlier (and a bit more low key). Opting out of fighting the weather and the crowds we decided to make dinner in. with booze. and chocolate. and pointless dressing up by yours truly. Check my stargazer lilies... my favorite!!
For apps I made the goat cheese/cream cheese covered grapes with pistachios that I made this time from this recipe at Only covering half of them and eating them right away made them a thousand times better. a) they were easily identifiable (NYE people were nervous to eat the mystery green mushy nut ball) b) they were fresh and the nuts hadn't had time to mush. John raved. I was happy, and selfishly ate most of them anyway. I also made Ellie's sauteed zucchini roll ups from this recipe with spinach, goat cheese, basil & lemon. Totally messy, and difficult to slice super thin (hello shakes), but worth attempting to perfect. They were easy and umm umm good.
Finally the main event was Shrimp Scampi that was to throw health, caution, and hesitation to use tons of butter whilst cooking.. to the wind! We forgot to get Brandy, which meant that the theatrical lighting-of-the-pan-including-shrimpies didn't happen. We improvised by doing nothing (well technically we tried to light the wine just to see..) We served the semi battered, semi crispy, but flavorful shrimp with fresh garlic bread and herbed angel hair pasta.

for dessert............FONDUE! John gave me a cuisinart fondue pot/set several years ago and I've only used it a few times (much to his chagrin) it seemed very appropriate to be using it for our holiday together. I made a dark chocolate fondue (dark chocolate chunks and heavy cream) and dipped in strawberries, blackberries, bananas, and fat free marshmallows. We each had 4-5 bites each and then wondered what the heck we were going to do with an entire pot full of chocolate and tray of dippers (not to mention an entire bag full of marshmallows). Seriously, fondue pot = feeding a crowd. I think for two we'll use the mini crock pot next time.


So I actually cooked all week and all weekend long but haven't been around to post. As to not inundate you at once, I plan to sporadically show you my new cooking conquests (yay!).
I hope everyone had a fabulous chocolate filled health-food hiatus weekend :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This just in: dunk tank saves writers/jokers/cooker's block

Despite the fact that I raced home for lunch to create a delicious/creative/someone else's recipe lunch AND got to work preparing dinner in a crock, I debated posting because i had absolutely nothing to say. I seriously can't think of anything funny or slightly entertaining to tell you people other than just show you a picture of my food. Since we all know my cooking has barely a leg to stand on (more like a substition.. like a peg leg), I needed some pizzaz. The only thing I found notable was that today whilst chopping 2 onions I found myself crying so hard I couldn't see straight. This is unusual because I can't cry about other real life things. Seriously, dad is sick you say? let's hit the bars. what's that? mom is sick?, let's make an inappropriate joke. I'm graduating from high school? How about I unsuccessfully attempt to squeeze out a crocodile tear while everyone around is crying and giving dirty looks for being an insensitive jerk/half man/half machine.

Thoughts of my strange onion blurry-eye fest at lunch got my mind wandering here: which actually has nothing to do with onions, crying, or my lack of emotion. There are ridiculous satirical stories which literally make me LOL at my desk (which I sincerely try to avoid because everyone knows laughing is NOT a work related activity). Seriously there's probably not a day that goes by that my brother, father, or BFF/neighbor extraordinaire Emily doesn't send me a link about something ridiculous and amazing (last week's funniest was: Tina Turner burns own legs down for insurance money). If you aren't familiar with the site, I recommend visiting for some hilariousness. It's a gem. Below is a highlight from the week: Cheney Dunk Tank Raises $800 Billion For Nation
For lunch I made Heidi Swanson's Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad.
  • chickpeas
  • cilantro
  • lemon (juice/zest)
  • red onions
  • tahini
  • quinoa

I ate it with black grapes (don't they look like olives in the picture?) anyway the salad was good. It tasted different, as most of her recipes do, but in a good/wholesome kind of way. I will be making this again... probably with less dressing (what with my halving the recipe and eyeballing it.. sheesh)

Happy Tuesday! I laughed, I cried... it's been a good day. Further good-mood-ifying me: I have no class today, it's nearly 70 degrees AND i got to use my lemon zester today for the first time (it was everything i hoped it would be and put my grater to shame).

Monday, February 9, 2009

To Flash or not to Flash..

Mind outta the gutter people, the New Orleans post was last week. Actually I was having camera related problems all week, forgetting to mess with the flash (food = no flash, people at bars and in low lighting = flash) Anyway this weekend was a HOOT! I had girls time for the first night in AGES. Kelly's birthday (which is actually today!) was pretty much celebrated all weekend long. Friday we saw 'he's just not that into you' which despite the fact my stupid brother kept sending bad reviews to me all day, was the perfect mindless girl bonding cute movie for the evening. Oh yeah.... and there were baked goods :)

I did okay over the weekend, with highs and lows in the health food and junk food departments. Getting home Saturday and raiding Emily's poor fridge after dancing and running around all night long was a cheesy processed food slip.. although it was SO worth it at the time! I did make it to yoga, and I did have the following amazing grocery store trip... do you see my treasures below? (john: 'no you just didn't take a pictures of your groceries after you un-bagged them') My never-tried-before purchases include: Kale, leeks, black grapes, and yeast (it's time to learn to bake.. for serious)
Previous to the grocery trip I put homework aside for a trip to a cute little dumpling place (with bubble tea!) and used book store. Sunday Funday!! For 20 bucks I got the following four books. Three cookbooks: a tastes of KC books (i'm guessing in no way healthy), fruit/veggie encyclopedia with home remedy info, and a wine guide book. I also got a yoga book.... WITH pictures (this is necessary). It was one of those rare occasions that I actually had cash and was fishing in my purse for the last few dollars to pay when the guy said 'ehhh, that's close enough' Don't you love places like that? There were old type writers in the shelves, a big swirling staircase, and store keepers who were talking smack on Ann Coulter. I felt right at home.

I had all of my ingredients out and ready for a would-be fabulous Thai soup. But then we decided to pop in the kite runner DVD for a bit and got completely sucked in. What a great movie, I can understand why when I went to check it out the lady next to me gave me a glowing 10 minute review about how it was the best movie ever. Seriously although I consider myself half robot (seemingly nothing in my own life can get me to cry) I was getting all kinds of choked up.
Two hours later we were starving and emotionally drained which lead to a decision that comfort food was needed, causing me to abandon all plans for homemade goodness. We walked three blocks to a dive bar where I had the BLT (just a little bit of bacon, normally they give you an entire pig... yuck), and I had one of John's Wings (or a half, those things are like Pterodactyl wings) before my lips were on fire and I gave up trying to eat this cave-man fire chicken.

I seriously love dive bars........ our waiter was like....... 'um... i didn't mean to interrupt picture time' with a skeptical look on his face. I think a small piece of John died.

Carnivore. Sort of.
On the walk home my stomach was killing me! Everything from my rib cage to the pit of my stomach was angry with me for not consuming more vegetables in the day. As my mother would say in her teasing guilt trippery... 'The wages of Sin'.
Happy Monday (if there is such a thing). I promise home made and healthy yummy eats are coming later in the week! :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dear goat population....

Do you have any idea how addictive and delicious goat cheese is? (i would say 'your cheese' but that just sounds gross). Seriously despite the fact that showing an actual animal picture kind of makes me think of the state fair, and it kind of reminds me where meat/dairy comes from and it kind of makes me want to be vegan... goat cheese is the bomb. the end. Last night post class and pre LOST, BFF extraordinaire and neighbor Emily came over for some eats. She had snuck into my apartment earlier in the week to gift my fridge with some dips she had made for a superbowl party on Sunday. Isn't she wonderful? Anyway this is she posing with a possibly not-so-photogenic but delicious veggie meal. Even being the committed carnivore that she is she liked it. Success!
I used this recipe from an MSN featured, Kashi, Naturalizer (there were a lot of names happening, i'm not sure who it's from exactly). Ingredients are as follows:
  • pasta
  • EVOO
  • garlic
  • sweet potato
  • red bell pepper
  • tomato
  • parsley/tarragon/pepper
  • lemon juice
  • goat cheese

    It called for angel hair which would've been lovely, however I used a combo of WW and white spaghetti noodles because its what i had on hand. DELICIOUS. no seriously, I loved it. I've been noticing some of my veggie meals lack protein, so this wasn't SO filling as there wasn't a dedicated protein source (meat, fake meat, beans, lentils, etc.).. which theoretically could've been added relatively easy. I can't wait to eat it again.
TGI-Thursday peeps! Tonight I'm headed to John's game (their rival... go ravens!) and tomorrow night and the rest of the weekend our very good friend from college KELLY will be flying in from colorado to spend her Birthday in the motherland. There are all kinds of shenanigans planned and I'm trying to think of ways to sneak almonds, dried apricots, and larabars into my purse as to avoid bar food. We're getting better at this... right? :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

John Finds Okra

So right around this time last year, myself and two of my adventurous and hilarious lady friends took an impromptu weekend trip to New Orleans. We proceeded to try the local cuisine, sample a few hurricanes and in general soak up the Bourbon street atmosphere. Currently I am finding myself chained to my desk with no vacation in sight and therefore am attempting to recreate a bit of the Nawlins yumminess we experienced while there. Minus the day drinking.

I decided to make a healthy Seafood Gumbo. I actually used this recipe from This website is aimed at weight watchers but does healthy modifications of recipes, product reviews, etc. In general many of my feelings towards food (more veggies, etc.) are in line with the WW message, except that I don't really focus on fat and calories. I would much rather have natural ingredients than something that is low fat with lots of additives. Food for thought. Either way, taking it with a grain of salt I have received tons of creative ideas from this site. They send me emails (you should get on their list too... click here) daily which is how I came across this bad boy and knew I wanted to try it.

Hungry Girl's Yumbo Gumbo:
  • Okra
  • Peppers: green/red/yellow
  • Can stewed tomatoes
  • tomato juice
  • Onions
  • Crab meat
  • Shrimp
  • Creole Seasoning
  • Hot sauce
  • brown rice

I had most of the ingredients on hand but made John pick up the Okra at the last minute. He now knows what okra is.

Also the recipe called for spicy tomato juice which i omitted and subbed some hot sauce for. WHOAH. Did I forget I don't like spicy foods? Duh.

Monday, February 2, 2009

45 people, 38 forks

WHEW what a weekend. Minus the 12 hours in the car, not so much getting my homework completely finished and waking up this morning in a sleep-like state hating any and all vermin (groundhogs seeing their shadow), alarm clocks, school, and the universe in general... this was a pretty great weekend. My mom's family is hilarious, and wonderful, and loud, and ridiculous. I freaking love them all. After work Friday I made a few stops at party supply stores and fabric stores and then I was able to make it to my sister's basketball game in time to watch her cheer the last quarter. Isn't she adorable?She learned it by watching me (or so i've been telling her for 17 years). So up at the crack of dawn the next day we made it to Grandmas in time to costume ourselves for Grandma's birthday party. Before cancer plagued our family, she had been planning to visit Hawaii this year (quite the world traveler she is... she has been to every country i can think to name, seriously)... so what else would we do than throw a Luau in January.
Because my sister and I had a song and dance routine (really, would you expect anything less?) we wore matching fabric worn different ways..... a la destiny's child. Planned? you'd think. Everyone's costumes were great. My personal favorite was Sara who put a cream blush on her face (except around her eyes) to have a sun burn with her swimsuit and hula skirt. HA! loved it. My grandma wore a cute sundress that my GREAT grandma had worn when she visited Hawaii a million years ago. How cool is that? She looked great too and had a pretty flower in her hair and cute sandals on. Definitely the least tacky of us all. There were board shorts, swim suits, coconut bras, extremely loud shirts, flowered leis, hair pieces, straw hats, and sunglasses a plenty. Do we know how to theme or what?

Mom and dad looking festive. Note to self, when you challenge your 10 year old cousins to limbo: I have the bruises to show for it. Also hardwood floor hurts, despite only falling 2 feet. food for thought.

The eats were tropically appropriate, and of course delicious! Among others, my aunt Anne and aunt Trish used these recipes: Pomegranate Balsamic Pork Roast and Asian Slaw. That slaw was the big time hit of the party, people we even asking for it for breakfast the next morning! Pictured below is my Aunt Lori mixing in the dressing for the shredded greens. Oh yeah, and better get in line for the food, because there were not enough forks to go around.... you snooze you lose!!

In between the fresh fruit, smoothie bar, gazillion amazing deserts my aunt Marilyn made, the professional themed and amazing sugar cookies from aunt Teresa, I was pretty stuffed. Anne, the hostest with the mostest, threw in some yummy spanikopita for fun too.

FRUIT! I was in heaven.

Cookies! The heaven continues. Dad = Vanna white. Did I mention how last week he told me he didn't think he was featured on here enough? There you go daddio :)

Smoothie Bar! Theresa borrowed a VitaMix blender (I get the food world's obsession, I feel like that thing has more power than a lawn mower) Complete with fruit garnish, tiny umbrellas, and enough taste to make a brain freeze totally worth it.

What a fun day. I was out like trout. I didn't even stay awake for SNL. It worked out okay though because the shower the next day was fabulous of course. They had special M&M's made with their names and the wedding date. How cute!
Guess what? MORE themed cookies!!! soooooooooooooo good. Check the bride and groom cookies, with wedding ring and wedding cakes.

We even played Sheila & Greg Jeopardy. Good thing I was helping to facilitate, I was no good at the answers.... despite the fact Sheila is my aunt/godmother/birthday twin. Shouldn't I know her best? party foul. Special points to my dad's team (with uncle john, aunt collette, cousin nick, and anne for having the funniest comeback of the day)

Before we left town Aunt Anne (who has spent a lifetime in various professional culinary fields and as far as I'm concerned, knows everything) gave me a fruit tutorial. There was so much leftover from the party that she gave me an entire bucket's worth to bring home to eat (at this very minute I'm eating some at my desk). We were dicing Papaya (bleh, overrated), and Mango (also overrated), Starfruit (kiwi's more expensive, prettier, inferior red-headed step child), and Pineapple. There was even a coconut that she gifted me which was TOTALLY going to be a project this week (since you have to use hammers/chainsaws/wreckingballs/whatnot to try to open it). However in my late night dark unpacking of the fruit, I accidentally threw the rest of the bag away! I literally woke up in the middle of the night with this realization. Boo! Sorry
Anne. I am resolved to purchase another one. Stay tuned.
Also apparently there was a superbowl?? Just kidding. I was driving almost the entire time it was on, but more than anything I'm sad I missed the opportunity for snack food/dips and a special hour long office.
And now.......... work. and six more weeks of winter. Is anyone else really sick of their winter clothes? All of this fruit and Luau-ness made me OVER the weather right now. Stupid groundhog.