August 30, 2012

Quinoa w/Asparagus and Red Pepper

I have been MIA this week, sorry about that! I get busy with other things or I have absolutely nothing to write about and it is like pulling teeth to try to get myself to put words on the screen in front of me.

Mike has been trying to eat healthier lately - which, if you have a husband - you know that means he wants protein. Hard boiled eggs, turkey, chicken, etc. It's all very boring. So, I thought why not whip up some Quinoa (which is pronounced KEEN-WAH in case you were wondering though we still say QUI-NO-AH at our house) It's a seed of sorts. It's gluten free. And, bonus - it has 6 grams of protein for every 1/4 cup. That was all I had to tell Mike and he was sold.

Ingredients:
1/2 bunch of asparagus
1 red pepper
1 cup quinoa
1 chicken breast for each person
1 handful of spinach/arugula - optional

Make your quinoa per the package description - it's usually 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water, bring it to a boil and then turn the heat on low and cover it for about 15 minutes.

I prepared mine and set it aside with the lid on it.

Slice the red pepper and the asparagus into one inch sections and pan fry in 1 teaspoon of olive oil for about 8 minutes until soft.

Fry up your chicken - then add the veggies to the quinoa and stir together. Serve the spinach/arugula (if you want) on the bottom of the plate, spoon quinoa over the top and the chicken can be on top of that! I had mine plain - Mike's was made with chicken (of course)!

I squeezed a lime over the top of mine - totally unnecessary, but I loved it.





This camera does awesome close-ups. haha!!

August 27, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

I had an awesome weekend. Friday we went out with out lovely neighbors and two of our friends - triple date night! It was a blast - I really need to start taking more pictures, because I have nothing to show for that night out except maybe a picture of a cherry bomb shot - I'm addicted now - all Megan's fault!

Saturday, we hit the state fair!! I have loved the state fair since I was a little girl and my dad would take me and he would put me on his shoulders and walk around so I could see EVERYTHING! It was awesome. If you're short like me you totally get that.

Hands down the best thing I ate was the cheese curds. They make me so happy - probably happier than they should. We also rode the open glider - which was my first time on it - made me a little nervous, and Mike is the one who hates heights! I got to see the giant pig and chow down on sweet martha's cookies.


Left the fair and hit my parents house for dinner - I haven't seen them in what feels like forever. We had dinner and wine and a nice long chat!

Sunday rolled around and we were determined to be as lazy as possible! Lunch, quick trip to the grocery store - I tried to cook - I burnt fries and caramelized onions. LAME. So, I stopped cooking for fear of ruining everything else. Then we hit the pool at my in-laws and brought the dog so she could run around in their backyard - it's her favorite hobby.


She LOVES chasing Mike!

Now if only her grandma Rita had been home to rub her she would have never left!

You are all screwed when I have children - if I take pictures like this and post them of my DOG, can you imagine what's going to happen when I have a mini me that I'm snapping photos of!?

Anywho - on to dinner - pasta carbonara - if you've never had it, you really should try it! So simple and so good! This version was adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen - beautiful blog people check it out!

Ingredients:
4 slices of bacon
3 leeks - white and light green parts, sliced thinly
3/4 pound of Gemelli pasta
1/4 cup of starchy/cloudy pasta water
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of parmesean-reggiano cheese
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
Zest of one lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup pof parsley, minced

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil, and start cooking your pasta. When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until good and brown. Then remove the bacon from the skillet and add the leeks cooking for a few minutes until they are lightly browned around the edges. Turn off the skillet.

Mix together in a bowl the eggs, cheese, heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice and the pasta water. When well combine, add to the skillet with the leeks. Turn the heat back up to medium and cook until thickened slightly. Crumble the cabon into bits and add to the pan along with the pasta. Stir together. Top with parsley for serving.




How was your weekend??

August 26, 2012

Training Week 5

Dear readers,
I love when you e-mail me and comment on my posts. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, even when you are correcting my grammar or telling me about a spelling mistake (you see that I correct those things once you tell me about them right??)

Before I list my training for this upcoming week and what I did last week I want to address one thing. I got an e-mail this week, and it's not like I get hundreds of e-mails, so I really do read them - the question in the e-mail was "why do you work-out so much when you're already so tiny?" ... I feel that this warrants a quick run down of reasons why I get out and sweat each week...
  1. I sleep better
  2. I can tolerate more dairy
  3. I am less dramatic (ask my husband!)
  4. It makes me happy
  5. Endorphin highs are addicting
  6. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I can check each work-out off my list
Those are just the superficial reasons, the truth is I want to live a  healthy life... so, I ask you reader... Why don't you work-out? You don't have to do as much as I do, just go for a walk! 30 minutes is easy to carve out of your day if you make it a priority.

Oh and I'm not tiny, but I do have a small frame. The reality is my parents are small people who produced small children. Rant over.

Last week, on cross training days - I walked the dog and did the following work-out I found on Pinterest! Here's the source.

And this week's training looks like this...


How is your program going? What are you doing this week to get out and sweat?

August 23, 2012

Donuts

Hubby has been out of town the last few days... Wives out there you will understand this: for the first two days I always love it. Bed to myself, clean kitchen every morning when I get up, no big shoes to step on by the front door. But, then there's that moment on the third day where something really funny happens that he would love and you miss him a little.

You see, in our homey neighborhood, not a whole lot happens that's out of the ordinary. It's part of what we love about our street. However, there is this one guy who walks by almost everyday without a shirt or shoes and he's always sort of dancing and bopping around to his music. This week he was doing all of the above AND singing at the top of his lungs. I was in the kitchen and heard him outside and immediately grabbed my phone to snap a picture. I sent it to Mike and it made his day - he called me cracking up and just like that I missed him!

Last night he got home and immediately dropped to the floor to greet Abby. After about 5 minutes he says "hi honey!" (I'm chopped liver people!)





They are so in love  - she seriously moped around the entire time he was gone! He brought gifts! (smart man!) I swear this may as well be my catchphrase - cutest t shirt ever! Thanks Rita (the MIL)!






Anyway, about a week or two ago I pinned this donut and immediately had to make it. I have never made homemade donuts, I would have never thought of how to even do that. This is the cheater way - so, I had to try these first. Next up - full on homemade donuts with chocolate glaze of sorts or maybe maple bacon?

Ingredients:
Home style buttermilk biscuits - Yepp, the ones in a can
Frying oil - I used vegetable oil
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
White sugar - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 1 tablespoon - or more, to taste

You will also need a biscuit cutter.

Open the can and punch a hold out of each biscuit -  you can either toss the donut holes or you can fry those up too! In a very large pan - you want tall sides - pour about an inch of oil and heat it up on medium heat. While that is heating mix together your sugar and cinnamon mixture on a place, and set aside. You will know the oil is hot when you place a wooden spoon on the bottom of the pan and little bubbles freak out around the spoon. I fried one donut at a time. Place one into the hot oil for about 3 minutes and then flip it - you will know when it's time. They grow really puffy and big and start to turn brown. Pull out of the pan and immediately place in the sugar mixture - dipping both side, then place on a separate plate - or cooling rack - to cool down. They are seriously SO hot.



Have you ever made homemade donuts? What are your favorite flavors? From scratch are next - I have to try now that I've seen how easy the cheater version is!!

August 21, 2012

Asparagus Flatbread

I had an awesome weekend with some very dear friends. We ate, we drank, we laughed, and we learned a lot about each other! It would be childish of me to list my favorite quotes or inside jokes, right? I'm trying not to be a child...

Seriously... The view...


Moving on to a serious question - Am I the only one who uses Pinterest as a checklist!? I pin dinners, crafts, outfits, etc... Then I make, buy, create whatever it is and when I'm done I delete the pin! Just me?

This was one of those pins and it was to.die.for!

Ingredients:
1 flatbread, I used naan bread
1 small bunch of asparagus
1/3 cup of ricotta cheese
1 drizzle of olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 and spread the ricotta cheese all over the flatbread. Then I drizzled a little bit of olive oil over the top, layer the asparagus on top of that. Bake about 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts a bit and the asparagus is cooked (bright green). Top with fresh cracked pepper and devour!



August 19, 2012

Training Week 4

Last week my runs were significantly easier than the week prior, and my back hurt significantly less!! WHOOP! On my cross training days I went for a walk with the dog for about 40 minutes, and did a Pinterest work-out the other day. If you are bored with the usual - you should try this one...


I was actually pretty sore after that work-out, I don't think I was expecting it to be that good, but if you keep moving and don't take a break between them, it burns pretty good!! This upcoming week is going to look like this...


Off to enjoy the remainder of my rest day, wine anyone? ;-)

August 17, 2012

Peanut Butter Bars

So, this week I was craving a candy bar like you wouldn't believe. I was at work, so pretty much my only options were a vending machine or the gas station across the street. I opted for the vending machine and I ended up disappointed. The caramel in said candy car had all melted to one side. I had maybe two bites and I threw it away.

If you follow me on twitter you saw this whole thing play out - and if you don't follow me on twitter, why not!? But, that's neither here nor there... my sister Jodie tweeted and said that I should have made my own. And about 45 minutes after I got home I realized she was right. So, I whipped up a batch of reese's peanut butter bars. They taste JUST like the candy. Next time I am making them in actual cup form!

Warning: These are addicting. Really addicting. I had to take them to someone else's house and LEAVE them, because I ate myself sick after about 1/3 of the pan. So, be prepared to share!

Ingredients:
1 cup of butter, melted
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, I ground mine in a food processor
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 and 1/4 cups of peanut butter
1 bag of chocolate chips

In a medium bowl pour the melted butter, graham crackers, powdered sugar and peanut butter - mix together well. Press into a 13x9 pan. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Then melt the chocolate chips and pour over the top and spread evenly throughout the pan. Put it back in the frridge for at least another 2 hours. When you're ready to gorge yourself enjoy an awesome treat, slice and enjoy.

Next time: Line a muffin tin with papers. Then melt 1/2 the bag of chocolate chips and pour a thin layer of chocolate into each of the muffin papers. Put in the fridge for an hour. Then I would make the peanut butter filling and fill each with about 1/4 inch thick filling, pressing it flat. Then I would pour chocolate over the top until the peanut butter filling is covered. Then, place back in the fridge until the chocolate is set.

*Recipe adapted from Let's Dish



Happy Friday everyone!!

August 15, 2012

Bombay Sloppy Joes

Lately, I have been trying to squeeze a bunch of acitivities into what's left of summer as I possibly can! I just finished Where We Belong - by Emily Giffin and I really liked it, but my complaint with her is always the same - I want a real ending. One that has a night neat bow and is all wrapped up. Her books always leave you to interpret your own ending. It was good though, and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a light and fluffy summer read!



On that note - I just started the second book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness - I read the first one forever ago, and loved it. This book is over 500 pages, so it's going to take me just a little time to get through! So far I'm 4 chapters in and I'm loving it. I'm very curious how the story will unfold.


I think next summer I need to do one of the summer bucket lists I see floating around - basically a laundry list of things you want to accomplish in just the three short months that it decides to stick around. Don't get me wrong - I love love love fall and I cannot wait for sweaters and boots, and scarves... but, summer has gone way way too fast.

I digress - this recipe is one my mom has made for Mike and I before, and we really like it. You can find the official recipe here. I serve it on an onion bun with my favorite sun chips - garden salsa flavor on the side. These sloppy joes have a LOT in them - pistachios, raisins, onion, cumin seeds, etc. My mom makes them with two serrano peppers, seeds and everything - I added crushed red pepper flakes for additional kick.



What are you reading? Anything I need in on!?

August 13, 2012

Brown Butter Ice Cream

When I told all of you that I finally used my KitchenAid mixer and that I instantly fell in love with it... you all had attachment suggestions, and I ended up mildly overwhelmed, because I had no idea there were so many!!

Then, I realized that we had a gift card leftover from our wedding... I went into the store thinking ice cream maker... and stumbled upon the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment you were all telling me about! I was in and out in about two minutes. I was soo excited!


After making this purchase, I ran to the grocery store and immediately purchased everything I needed to make brown butter ice cream. If you have read this blog for any period of time, you know I am madly in love with brown butter. That stuff is what dreams are made of.

*Adapted from always with butter
Ingredients:
4 tablespoons butter, browned
1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

Top with Williams-Sonoma's salted caramel sauce, because quite frankly, it's awesome.
 
1. Heat butter in a skillet on medium low heat. Stir it every once and awhile making sure it doesn't burn. You will know when it's ready, it will turn brown, smell nutty and have flecks of deliciousness all over the pan. Set aside.

2. In a saucepan, bring the cream milk and vanilla bean to a simmer. While that is starting to cook, use a separate bowl and whisk together the egg yolks and brown sugar until fluffy. Then pour all the ingredients into the saucepan and heat together, whisking frequently.

3. Cook in the saucepan on medium heat until thick and coats the back of your spoon.

4. Follow your ice cream maker instructions from here...


Seriously, don't forget the salted caramel sauce - it makes the ice cream that much better!!


Your dish will quickly be gone! Next time I'm adding chocolate chips!!


What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?? I'm thinking mint chocolate chip is next!

August 12, 2012

Training Week 3

Yet another week has gone by - last week, I ran my mileage and on cross training days I did yoga - and one night I did a work-out off of Pinterest, which was really a circuit. (It kicked my butt!)

My back was really sore after my first run last week, so I spent extra time stretching and using a heating pad, especially on my rest days!


Saturday's runs will be completed with Erica - including yesterday's. They are the endurance runs, so they are long (or will be getting longer) and slow. 

What are you doing this week to move? Anyone else in Minneapolis, running the monster dash 10 miler?

August 8, 2012

Flat Iron Steak

It never fails people - I fuss over dinner for my husband, he takes his first bite and... he's SHOCKED that it's good. Seriously!? I've been cooking for him for YEARS and he's STILL shocked! It's sort of funny, but it also probably goes to show that not every dish I've made over the years has been awesome.


Oh and you should pair this freaking awesome steak with Danza Del Sol's amazing Grenache wine. Oh and I feel I should mention their new website re-design, it's so pretty! Go check it out!


*Recipe adapted from PDubs

Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sherry cooking wine
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 flat iron steak
1 scallion, sliced for garnish

Instructions:
1. Whisk all the ingredients together except for the steak and the scallions. Then pour over the steak into a ziplock bag and stick it in the fridge for about an hour.
2. In a preheated skillet, cook the steak for 4 minutes a side. (assuming you like your steak on the medium rare side) Then the key is to tent the steak on a cutting board or a large plate (place tinfoil over the top) for about 5 minutes. This makes the juice absorb back into the steak. Slice and serve over rice.

Oh and don't be offended when your husband is amazed that you put something delicious on the table!

Oh and if you haven't liked my facebook page - you can do so here! (hint, hint)

August 6, 2012

Spicy Pasta w/Sweet Potatoes

On Friday our very dear friends got married - the ceremony was beautiful - they even wrote their own vows! We got to hang with good friends, and enjoy the loving atmosphere all night. Bonus: we got to stay in a hotel downtown! Congratulations again to Bryan and Maria - the wedding was beautiful!!


On Saturday we attended a birthday party for Lukas! His mom - Becky - has an Etsy shop, which should tell you something about the party (everything handmade - and so stinking cute!). It was a sock monkey theme - invitations, water bottle labels, cake, balloons, pictures, etc. My favorite part was this decal she found for his onesie! (Seriously Becky I'm going to hire you for all future events!)



Ok, on to the food - this is the strangest combination of ingredients I have ever made... strange to the point where I'm probably going to lose half of you after you read through this list. But, if there is anything you should try - it's a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens! This recipe has sweet potatoes, scallions, chili powder, sriracha sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter and even cream cheese!

Seriously, you must try this! Find the recipe here.


How was your weekend??

August 5, 2012

Work-Out: Training week 1 and 2

Alright - I have gone a week and three days without running or working out of any kind. Which also means I have been going crazy.

I was stressing out one day last week and Mike simply said "you should go for a..." before realizing that I can't run. You see, I have hurt my back. Between having high arches unsupported in my running shoes and not stretching enough the muscles in my back have gotten too tight. I hit the chiropractor twice last week and he regrettably told me to lay off the exercise until Sunday (today!).


As I've mentioned before I have been convinced that a 10 mile race is a good idea... so, we are doing the Monster Dash 10 miler in October. I am going to start posting my weekly work-outs here as help on the motivation front and just in case someone else out there is crazy enough to want to train for it too.

Here's what I'm doing - last week, I obviously didn't get any of the work-outs in, but this week I will get my runs in! (Don't worry - I have a new stretching plan, and insoles for my shoes!)


On cross training days I will do what I feel like doing - bike ride, yoga, pilates, etc. Whatever feels good on that day. I found a pin on Pinterest for P90X abs - I love it. Also, if you haven't heard of Tracy Anderson - you should google her. Her arm work-outs are KILLER. They seem so easy, and you think "I can do this" then you get 4 minutes in and you want to cry. Hang in there, and finish the whole work out - you will not regret it!



What are you doing to sweat this week?

August 3, 2012

Zucchini Tots

As promised - back to the good stuff around here! I see zucchini tots all over Pinterest! People rave about them and claim they could replace normal potato tots with these, and some even claim that they peel the zucchini and make home made tots for their kids and the kids don't know the difference... lies? perhaps.

Anywho - I made my own version of course and used what I knew for ingredients. Cumin and chili powder are two of my favorite spices next to chipotle powder (buy some of that stuff and watch your husband's eyes bug out of their sockets when you tell him it was $11 a bottle!).

Ingredients:
1 zucchini, grated
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 egg
1/4 onion, minced
1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grate the zucchini onto a dish towel - this is important, are you listening? - and squeeze as much of the excess liquid out of the zucchini as you possibly can. If you don't do this step, your tots will be soggy and you will be sad.

Add the ingredients all into the bowl. Mix them all together until well combine. Grease a muffin tin and scoop the mixture into the cups. I made only 9 this time around - 9 thin ones. I could have made them thicker, use your judgement and preferences to determine what you think! Bake for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

Mike says dip them in sweet BBQ sauce. Personally, I still reached for the ketchup!



Anyone have fun plans for the weekend?? Two of our friends are getting married tonight (HAPPY WEDDING DAY BRYAN AND MARIA!) and Lukas is turning ONE tomorrow, so we have a packed weekend of family and friends ahead!

August 2, 2012

Busy

I'm back - right here, writing. I think it's sweet that I get e-mails and comments and phone calls when I haven't posted in a few days - you guys are the best.

Anyway, the truth is that I have had pictures and recipes queued up for weeks... but, I have been SO busy lately that I haven't had time to get around to writing everything up and posting it here.

Here's a quick re-cap of what I've been up to:

We had to have a tree taken down (this was a few weeks ago, but I never got around to posting about it). We were very sad about this, mostly because it's really expensive! Mike kept saying "taking this tree down is worth a really fun vacation's worth of money" which totally didn't help. But, the tree was freaking hollow. You could see through it, and there was a good chance that a strong storm could have taken it down and hit straight into our house.


If you're in Minneapolis and you need a tree guy - get in touch with me, seriously this guy was the nicest!

Mike got to see Minnehaha Falls for the first time - and he's going to kill me when he sees that I've posted this picture! If you haven't been, make sure you hit Sea Salt eatery while you're there - the line is long for a reason! My favorite part was the mint chocolate chip ice cream, seriously to die for!


Went out for a night on the town with some of my favorite ladies on earth! I had SO much fun seeing people I know from completely different groups of friends all get alone. By the end of the night, when the last of the drinks were had there was a whole lot of love going around. I woke up feeling grateful the next day to have such wonderful friends - and seriously wishing Sandy and Jenna weren't going "home" (out of the state) again.


Speaking of people to be grateful for - my bookclub ladies and I got together a couple times in the last week to celebrate birthday's! We went out for Erica's birthday and stayed in for Nicole's - little did she know we made ALL of her favorite things for dinner!


I feel I should point out here how pretty Erica's plates are! :-) Pasta, lemon juice, parmesean-reggiano cheese, heavy cream and a lot of basil makes for an excellent dinner!


Erica also made ridiculously delicious sorbet like raspberry chocolate ice cream - it was awesome! She also found these wafers that were FULL of caramel. It was an awesome way to end the night.

Let's see - we also swapped out the crappy light fixture above our kitchen table... and now I'm afraid to turn it on... somehow because we played with electricity all my ourselves I'm nervous about it even though we did it the right way!



There's more, but for now I'll leave it at this - you get the point, I've been BUSY! Recipe up tomorrow - I promise!!
 
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