July 27, 2012

Pork Carnitas

One of my favorite things to do is eat - obviously, or I wouldn't be here and neither would you. But, one of my favorite dinner dates is someone who claims she can't cook... this ones for you Brit!

One night Brit called and said she was going to bring dinner over... I'll admit I was curious... Turns out she brought over something really delicious - pork carnitas! But, not just any pork carnitas... Trader Joe's pork carnitas...


This package contains a pre-cooked hunk of deliciousness. Brit stuck this in the microwave and once it was done heating up she pulled it apart with two forks. It simply falls apart. She heated up tortillas, placed the meat on the tortilla, squeezed a lime, sprinkled some salt and topped with cilantro. Viola! Dinner was served it 5 minutes flat.

Brit, are you listening? I was impressed! It was an awesome dinner and it was on the table in no time. I can't complain about that, ever!!

So, last week when I started craving it I immediately went to Trader Joe's! Of course, I put my own spin on it - check out how gourmet they turned out looking!


Ingredients:
One package of Trader Joe's traditional carnitas
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1 roma tomato, minced
Cilantro, to taste
Salt, to taste
Fresh lime juice, squeezed

I minced together the jalapeno, tomato, and onion - cook in a skillet for a couple of minutes until the onion is a bit translucent. Then cook the carnitas according to the package and pull with two forks. Pile all the ingredients high and enjoy!


Do it my way or Brit's either way - it was awesome!




So, it's Friday and this recipe makes it hard to say you don't have enough time to throw something together!

Happy Friday everyone!! I hope you have a happy weekend!

July 25, 2012

Biscoff Banana Bread

Excuse me, excuse me, attention please - I have an annoucement to make: I have finally discovered Biscoff spread!

... I know, I know late to the party, but not everyone knows about it. So, for those of you who don't know about it - I'm going to tell you! Biscoff cookies are ginger bread tasting - like the ones you get on airplanes, but not those... am I making sense? Anyway, I can't stand the cookies, because for some reason the texture hurts my teeth. (someone out there is totally nodding along like "yea, me too!")

Well, they take those cookies and grind them into this smooth consistency, and it turns into a peanut butter like substance... and you know what? It's AMAZING. I don't know how I ever lived without it.

So, go to trader joe's and pick up a jar of this stuff...


Then, print off this banana bread recipe (it's my mother's or maybe grandmother's - either way you know that means it's good) and add 3/4 cup of biscoff spread, pop it in the oven, and DEVOUR.


Another confesssion... I have been trying to bake constantly lately, and nothing has been turning out - my cookies are flat, my bread won't rise, etc. Then over the 4th of July I watched as my MIL went through her spice cabinet and threw away all the expired ones... and it dawned on me that I don't even know when the last time was I did that.

So, a message to all of you out there who tell me things aren't turning out: check your labels! My baking soda was super expired (is that a thing?) It's magical that everything is turning out perfectly now!!


Okay, one more confession... I got a stand up kitchen aid mixer at my bridal shower back in January... JANUARY and this past Sunday was the first time I used it... I'll let you think about that for a minute...

Yepp, since January. I've always been a hand mixer kind of girl.

I didn't get around to opening it and taking it out of the box to clean it, etc. And now that I have, I'm not sure how I lived without that either... buy one people, you only need one - ever. Thanks for the shower gift mom and Marty!


...Who's wondering how much caffeine I've had today? Happy Tuesday y'all! (No, I don't usually say that, but it felt right.)

July 23, 2012

Torchlight 5K Race

I was determined to run the torchlight 5K after hearing everyone rave about it last year. It starts at the Basillica church and ends at the St. Anthony main neighborhood.

So, when I signed up for this in May, I asked Mike if he would run it with me... he promptly made a joke about how I would  have to keep up with him. He asked if I could run an 8 minute mile... what? No, of course I can't. We bargained and I told him I would train and attempt to get to a 10 minute mile pace! Thus began Hal Higdon's 5K training program.

I've decided a few things on running:
  1. It's impossible for me to run the entire time without water in my hand - I walked a portion of both the 5K go commando race and the color run 5K, but ran every minute of the torchlight
  2. I can no longer run without knowing how far I've gone - my Garmin is becoming invaluable - plus, I found that the Garmin is far more accurate than the flags at the actual race... strange, right?
  3. Salted nut rolls officially mean I have accomplished something - random, I know. The only three races I have ever ran have all ended with piles of salted nut rolls, and I now associate the two! I'm contemplating buying a Costco sized portion of the mini ones so I can eat them after my runs!
Anywho, my goal (or so I told people) was to run it in under 35 minutes. But, my real goal was to run it in under 33 minutes. I wasn't sure how I would do, so I was nervous about saying it out loud.

Turns out, I totally shouldn't have been worried...


Booyah! Mike makes me run fast as it turns out! I like that about him. Below is us at the beginning of the race.


Once again I have an adorable cheerleader... the soon to be one year old Lukas himself! (Sorry it's a blurry photo!)


Oh and my mom found a video online of us crossing the finish line and sent me this screen shot... my favorite part is that I'm completely focused on pushing that stop button on my garmin! (We're on the left!)


Next up:
Runner's World half marathon training program and the Monster Dash 10 mile race in October! After that a half marathon in April in Nashville - I have so many food bloggers I must meet when I'm there!!

July 18, 2012

Apple Brie Flatbread

I love meeting up with friends for happy hour - small plates and cheap (or at least cheaper) drinks and good conversation is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. We went to a local restaurant recently and I ordered this flatbread - I knew immediately that I had to try to re-create it!

The best part about this recipe is that it's four ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 pre-made pizza dough
White truffle oil
1 granny smith apple, sliced thinly
Brie cheese, I used .41lb and it was a good amount

Roll the pizza dough out thinly - I cut it in half and made two smaller sized pizzas. Roll the dough out thinly and stab the dough with a fork multiple times. This will prevent air pockets from forming. Sprinkle white truffle oil all over the dough - use sparingly - a little truffle oil goes a long way. Slice the apple thinly and cover the pizza dough. Brie cheese is soft, and it won't spread easily. But, you don't need it to! Dab it over the flatbread. It doesn't need to perfectly cover - it melts really easily and will spread out to cover the pizza!

Bake per the instructions for the dough - Mine was 400 degrees for about 12 minutes.




What's your favorite HH app??

July 16, 2012

Color Run 5K

Have you heard of the Color Run? It's been all over the US and the idea is that you run a 5K, and at each "K" you are doused in another color of powder! There is a big celebration at the end - you rip open the color packet you were given at the beginning of the race and toss it above your head! 20,000 runners showed up! I was shocked! I was even more surprised that despite those numbers I actually ran into a lot of people I know - including co-workers!

It was a HOT race - I really wish that this weather would just settle down 20 degrees! I have two complaints about this race: absolutely no shade (race location was the state fair grounds!) and the color green wasn't thrown! We really had so much fun though - everyone was cheering and enthusiastic, there was dancing and screaming and just a lot of happy people! This race is dubbed as the happiest 5K, and I actually agree!

 Here's us at the beginning...


 ... and us after!



We also just so happen to have had the world's most adorable cheerleader! Isn't she the cutest? The flower just kills me! Erica's munchkin Rory is the sweetest thing ever!!


I still have orange ankles and blue armpits and I think an orange neck! Proof of the fun we had! Good thing I won't be the only one in the office today covered in colors!

Quick and Dirty - 101 in 1,001 Update:
25. Add hooks for the blind cords so another one doesn’t break - Completed 7/2/12
49. Go to a flea market - Completed 6/27/12
79. Make another strawberry fraiser cake - 6/19/12 See Here - It was a total flop!
95. Pay for a beverage for the person behind me in line - Completed 7/13/12
98. Read 50 books (23/50)  

What's your favorite race? Have you ever done the color run?

July 13, 2012

Granola Bars

I am an active person, proven by my last post, but sometimes you just want to sit on the couch and do NOTHING. Thankfully, I am loving all the summer shows right now. Between work and all the running around we have been doing my DVR is a gold mine! I spent last Sunday on the couch, being lazy and attempting to empty my DVR. (Rough day I know)

Some of my favorites: Suits, True Blood, Franklin & Bash, and Men at Work. Oh and I really really love White Collar - if you haven't seen it you need to watch it! No reality tv for this girl. On the days where it's too hot to run outside, I hit the treadmill and watch tv shows on Netflix, so I'm always looking for new suggestions.

I digress - I keep a laundry list of recipes I'm dying to make and I finally got around to making my own granola bars! Seriously, why didn't I do this before?? They are so tasty and SO easy!!

Ingredients:
2 cups of plain oatmeal - rolled oats
2 cups of your favorite granola, I used upfront foods granola
3/4 cup of peanut butter, melted
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of chia seeds, optional
1/4 cup of craisins, optional
1/4 cup chocolate chips, optional

Mix all the ingredients into a large bowl. Add more honey or peanut butter if you need to, you want the mixture to be wet and sticky. Press into a 13x9 inch pan, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

You're going to need to let this cool in order to cut them and be able to eat them without them falling apart.

After eating about half the pan plain, I started to crumble them into my yogurt in the mornings, and I even tossed bits of them on a salad - sounds weird right? It was awesome.



What summer shows are you watching??

July 11, 2012

Running

I have always been the type of person that works out. I woke up almost every morning in college and went to the gym and worked out at 6AM when it opened. I love the sore feeling that proves you did something difficult. But, I have never been a runner. I have always envied people who could run. I usually did the elliptical or lifted - I especially love lifting.

These days, I am trying SO hard to be a runner. If you know me you are probably laughing. I am uncoordinated, and really bow legged, and when I run for even 5 minutes my face is beet red for hours. What's really odd, is that when I run my knees lightly touch - what? I know, I don't think I have form down yet.

Here's what I know so far:
  • Erica taught me to pace myself, and to train for the course of the race - if there are hills train hills (none of us trained for hills on the 5K go commando race)
  • Becky sent me training programs - Hal Higdon - this guy is 80 and running marathons... what? I am currently using his 5K training program.
  • Caitlin taught me to cross train - hello yoga/pilates - I haven't decided which yet!
  • Anne taught me that you need a garmin - and I seriously have already gotten to the point where I hate running without it! I have the forerunner 610 and I'm in love with it. I swear there is nothing more motivating than the vibration at your wrist that tells you you've hit another mile!

  • Meghann taught me that you need the right running shoe - I am now the proud owner of a pair of brooks running shoes! 


  • Janae is proof that you can do ANYTHING if you put your mind to it! (She's in her third trimester and still running all the time)
I've learned a lot from my own experiences too - Montell Jordan is the greatest Pandora station - 90's hip hop makes me run and smile at the same time, and I've learned not to eat items I'm allergic to (ie: cheese) too soon before a run. The food didn't last long in my stomach after leaving the house that time. 

I have two races in July - both 5K's and I'm looking for 10K's for the fall. I'm sort of addicted you guys!!

Okay and in all seriousness, I hate all of you runner who can run for hours and never get a face that is beet red! One woman was running past me one day and asked if I was okay! Oh well, it won't stop me. Endorphins make me happy.

I have water bottles, a strap for my iPhone, headphones, lululemon running and yoga gear. What am I missing?? What else do I need to know??

July 9, 2012

Crispy Edamame

I hope you all had a WONDERFUL holiday week/weekend! This year we told Mike's parents we wouldn't make it up to the cabin for the fourth, and then we surprised them by showing up!

{Abby loves her bed at the cabin!}
 
I got a few e-mails from readers telling me they made this tuna salad for their fourth of July picnics and their friends raved about it - warm fuzzies for me!

Anywho, this week it's back to the grind, and first recipe up this week is one from Pinterest of course! I made a small amount as a snack one night when I got home from work. (hence the wine glass in the photo). Next time I'm going to make a bigger portion and serve it as that night's veggies!

Ingredients:
1 cup of edamame, shelled and frozen
1 teaspoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Broil at 400 for about 15 minutes - until the outside of the edamame is crispy and the cheese is melted.

*recipe adapted from allrecipes



How was your holiday?

July 3, 2012

Tuna Salad

This is the perfect dish for your 4th of July BBQ tomorrow! I made this lightened up version of tuna salad for Mike, and he raved about it. This recipe makes two servings, so double or triple it for a BBQ sized portion.

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday on earth. Yes, most people love Christmas and this makes me seem weird. But, I personally believe that there is nothing better than fireworks, nothing. Okay, maybe my birthday.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of mayo - use something light
1/4 cup of plain chobani yogurt
A dribble of balsamic vinegar
Mustard to taste - I used very little yellow mustard
1/3 red pepper, minced
1/4 cup of  cucumber, minced
1 can of tuna
1 cup of pasta, cooked
Salt and Pepper to taste

While the pasta is cooking on the stove, mix together the mayo, chobani, balsamic and mustard. Stir until well combine, add salt and pepper to taste. Mince the cucumber and red pepper and add to the bowl with the sauce. Add the tuna to the sauce mixture. Drain the pasta when completely cooked, and add to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Stir together and serve. Mike likes this cold, and oddly enough I like it a little warm! Either way it's good!




What's everyone eating for the 4th of July holiday? I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
 
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