Category Archives: Recipe

Kitchen Sink Curry

In theory, today was the perfect day to do my 5-mile tempo run. I have dinner plans tomorrow night and I’m doing my long run on Saturday, so doing the 5-miler tonight would have spaced things out perfectly. I was tired all day. I’m not sure why. I didn’t go to bed any later than normal nor did I have trouble sleeping, but I was tired. I drove to the gym after work. Usually it takes some willpower to actually drive to the gym instead of home, but once I’m there, I’m fine.

Not so much tonight. My dad called while I was in the car and I sat in the parking lot talking to him for like 10 minutes. Then, I went in the gym, changed and hopped on a treadmill. I ran for 4 minutes before calling it quits. And I went home. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever done that before. I’ve aborted a run and gotten on the elliptical, but I don’t know if I’ve ever just straight up gone home.

Of course, I’m feeling a little guilty about it. Now I’m going to have to do the 5 mile run on Friday, my long run on Saturday and what was supposed to be Friday’s 3 miler on Sunday. So that’ll be a lot of running this weekend. I hope it’s worth it. I was just so tired tonight. I think that my body was asking for a break.

I had some spinach and tomato in my fridge that I needed to use. After looking at Super Cook (which is the coolest website – why didn’t I invent that?), I found some curry recipes and decided to make curry for dinner based on what I had already at home. This was definitely an everything but the kitchen sink curry! It was tasty though. I think once you have the sauce down, curry is a pretty hard recipe to screw up.

I based my sauce on the Spicy Curry from Skinny Bitch but then changed it up quite a bit.

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Everything But the Kitchen Sink Curry
adapted from Skinny Bitch
Serves 4-6

2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk
1.5 cups water
2 tbsp miso
2 tsp mild red curry paste
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup spinach
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Heat 1 tbsp grapeseed oil in pot over medium heat. Saute garlic for 30 seconds. Add next five ingredients. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low and cover.

2. Meanwhile, heat other tbsp of oil in large pan. Add onion and broccoli. Cook for approximately 5 minutes. When onion and broccoli are tender, add spinach and cook until wilted.

3. Add onion, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and chickpeas to curry sauce. Continue to let simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Now I’m off to curl up on the couch with my new Cooking Light subscription. My sister-in-law Natalie got it for me for Christmas and the first issue came today. Good night!

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Bizarre Foods Friday

Two weeks ago, I brought my black bean brownies into work and basically forced everyone to try them. This inspired something fun for the office – Bizarre Foods Friday. My co-worker/friend Tanya thought of it. Her rules were simple, you had to make a food that either:

• had a weird ingredient
• had a weird color
• had a weird smell

Fortunately, no one went with the smell. Eight people participated. The rules were that you had to try the food before you were told what the secret ingredient was. Everyone was expecting something really weird from me, but I kept it pretty tame and made a pie.

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Can you spot the weird ingredient?

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I made Alton Brown’s Moo-less Chocolate Pie.

Ingredients
2 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
1 block silken tofu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey (I used agave nectar)
1 prepared chocolate wafer crust
Directions
Place a small metal bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Melt the chocolate and coffee liqueur in the bowl. Stir in vanilla.

Combine the tofu, chocolate mixture, and honey in the blender jar. Liquefy until smooth.

Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until the filling is set.

No one guessed that there was tofu in it! It just tasted like a very rich chocolate pie. Some people did taste the Kahlua, but I didn’t notice it.

Aside from the pie, we had lots of other interesting choices. My personal favorite were the Deceptively Delicious Banana Cauliflower Muffins. Seriously, I would make these at home.

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Chocolate cake made with three jalapenos and cilantro and a ricotta icing. I didn’t like the cake, but the icing was good.

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“Apple” Pie that’s really make from zucchini. This was just weird. I actually knew the secret ingredient ahead of time and I’m wondering if it would have tasted different to me had I not. It sort of tasted like apple pie, but just a little bit off.

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Potato Salad made with apples:

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Cookies made with cake mix. These just tasted like soft cookies. Cake mix is not very bizarre!

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Brownies with gummy worms:

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And last but not least, chips with blue dip. It was a little disconcerting to eat onion dip that was bright blue like that!

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My office has never done anything like this, at least since I’ve been there, so it was a fun little Friday afternoon activity for sure.

Granola Bars

I have this habit of buying random ingredients and not knowing what to do with them. Case in point…

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With a little bit of googling, I settled on Big Sur Power Bars.

Fortunately, I won a contest recently and happened to have an abundance of coconut in my house. You think I’m kidding? This is next to the Diet Coke (that I might or might not have drank) for a size comparison.

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That’s 2 pounds of coconut, yo.

I made a few changes to the recipe, per the norm. Instead of using a cup of pecans and a cup of almonds, I used Trader Joe’s Trek Mix. I’ve had it in the cabinet for a while and it was the perfect substitute for the nuts. I used 5 packs which made almost 2 cups. I also omitted the espresso.

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The brown rice syrup was the consistency of honey. But then when I heated it up, it got much more liquidy. I poured it over the cereal and voila, instant granola.

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The hardest part was waiting for everything to cool before I could cut it into bars.

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All wrapped up and ready to take for snacks.

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One of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules is to eat all the junk food you want as long as you make it yourself. These granola bars aren’t exactly health food, but I did make them myself!

Tired Legs

I guess my speed work yesterday really took more out of me than I realized. I did two miles on the treadmill today and it took a lot of effort to make myself run the entire time. I wasn’t running fast, but it was still hard. I guess I should take a day off after speedwork, perhaps? After my run, I did some weights. I’m still on Stage 1 of the New Rules of Lifting. I feel like I’ve been on Stage 1 forever! I still have four more workouts before I can move to Stage 2.

I wanted something quick and easy for dinner so I made up a recipe based on something that I’d previously made.

Tahini Couscous with Mushrooms, Onions and Chickpeas
Serves 4
(adapted from this recipe)

1.3 cups whole wheat toasted Israeli couscous
1.75 cups water
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, chopped
6 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp tahini
1.5 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp creole spice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put couscous, water and garlic powder into rice cooker. You could also do this on the stove.

2. While couscous is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and creole seasoning. Cook for about 7 minutes, until veggies are soft.

3. Mix couscous with veggies and chickpeas. Add tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

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I liked this, but it definitely has a strong tahini taste so keep that in mind if you make it. It does need a lot of salt. I didn’t measure how much I put.

Tomorrow is Friday! Any fun plans for the weekend?

Blogger Spotting

I went to the gym after work to run. When I got onto a treadmill, I was recognized by Tracy from Kitchen Ambition who was on the treadmill next to me! I’ve met a bunch of bloggers in real life before but this was the first time that I’ve run into one that I’ve never met before! We chatted for about ten minutes while she finished her run and I started mine.

I ended up doing a 5 mile speedwork session. My training plan called for seven, but that seemed a little too much to do on the treadmill, so I cut it down to five and will run the other two tomorrow. I warmed up at 5.5 for a mile. I ran at 6.4 mph (9:22) for three quarters of a mile and then walked at 3.5mph for a quarter mile. I did the run/walk repeat for a total of three miles and then cooled down at 5.5 for the final mile. While running at 6.4mph isn’t fun for me, it isn’t impossible, which I need to remember. I’ve run a 5K at that pace before, so it’s definitely do able.

While I was running, I was thinking about Oprah’s vegan challenge. At first, I thought that since I don’t eat much meat (fish and seafood is still meat!), it wouldn’t be that hard for me to go vegan for a week. But then I started thinking about what I ate all day and what was vegan and what wasn’t.

• coffee with soy creamer and stevia – vegan
• fried egg sandwich – not vegan
• chocolate vitatop – not vegan
• leftoever ravioli stew – not vegan
• apple – vegan
• fun size pack of peanut m&ms – not vegan
Greek orzo salad – not vegan

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• black bean brownie – vegan

So even though I ate vegetarian all day, the only vegan things that I had were coffee, an apple and a brownie. That was sort of surprising to me! I didn’t realize quite how many animals products I eat on a regular basis. Of course, the ravioli stew could have easily been veganized by using vegan ravioli and the Greek Orzo salad could have been veganized by leaving out the cheese (I used goat cheese instead of feta, btw).

Could you go vegan for a week? And have you ever run into another blogger?

Dust Storm

While the rest of the country was getting pounded by a snowstorm, we had a dust storm instead. In our house.

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After we removed the wallpaper a couple weeks ago, we were left with a ton of glue on the walls. We ended up skim coating the walls which basically means covering them with a layer of drywall compound. Then they had to be sanded.

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I guess it’s better than 2 feet of snow, right? Well, maybe not. Seriously, this home improvement stuff is hard. It just takes so long to finish and I feel like our house is constantly a huge mess. We still have to finish sanding the walls, prime them and then paint them and that’s just for that little hallway!

Not only did Jason sand the walls, but he also put dinner in the crockpot. I like my crockpot, but one of the reasons that I don’t use it as much as some of my other kitchen appliances is that I don’t feel like it’s as easy as drop it in and go. You still have to chop up the ingredients and everything beforehand and for whatever reason, I am always too lazy to do it the night before. So I mainly use the crockpot on weekend (mine or his) nights.

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It was nice to have Ravioli Stew waiting for me when I get home, I’ll admit that. I guess I could get over the preparing the night before phobia.

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We also had a salad with a new dressing that I got at Whole Foods. I love the dressing at Japanese restaurants and am always trying to find a bottled version or recipe. This was pretty close but not an exact replicate. Does anyone have a recipe for that stuff?

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After we ate, we sat down to watch today’s Oprah episode about veganism. While nothing in the show was particularly new information for me, I still thought it was interesting and give kudos to Oprah for introducing the concept of veganism to her audience. I did find the Kashi product placement sort of odd though!

While we were watching, I was also making dessert. I saw this recipe for Black Bean Brownies on Foodie Fresh and the idea intrigued me. I told Jason that I was making dessert with a secret ingredient. This is pretty much the norm in our house, for me to add something odd, so he didn’t really bat an eye.

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I gave one to Jason and his first comment was that it’d be good with ice cream. I asked him what he thought was different about it and first he asked if there was no sugar. I assured him that there was plenty of sugar. (I actually used about 1.75 cups instead of 2.25) Then he asked if there was no flour. I said there was. He asked if they were vegan. I said that they were, but that wasn’t the weird ingredient, nor was the almond milk. Finally I told him.

Beans! (You can’t taste them and I guess they provide added fiber.)

What’s your favorite “weird” ingredient to put in a dessert? Or any meal for that matter?

Favorite Gifts

In the past, whenever I’d make sweet potato fries, I’d make the frozen, pre-cut kind which never turned out quite as good. The reason I did it this way was simple – I didn’t have a sharp knife. Cutting the potato into fry-like shapes was more of a pain than it was worth. So my fries were freezer burned and soggy all the time.

When we got married, one of the things that we registered for was a very sharp knife and I’m so glad that we did. Seriously, having a good knife has made a huge difference in my kitchen.

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Sweet Potato Fries that a non-sweet potato liking husband will like

Serves 2

1 large sweet potato, cut into fry shapes
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut potato into fry-like shapes.

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Coat fries with oil and spices.

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Put fries onto parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

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Bake for 15 minutes and then flip. Bake for 15 more minutes.

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When we registered for wedding gifts, I went a little crazy in the kitchen department. Our friends and family were generous enough to get us a lot of what was on the registry. Some of which we use, like the knife, and some of which we don’t. I was thinking about the top three things we use the most and came up with this:

1. The knife. Obviously.

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2. Fiestaware in pretty colors. Eating off nice, bright plates makes me happy.

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3. Zojirushi rice cooker. I know that a $150 rice cooker (and this is the smaller size) is a bit ridiculous but I use it all the time. I’m actually using it right now for oatmeal. I also use it for rice, quinoa, lentils, millet, basically anything that has to be cooked in water.

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And what we don’t use?

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You can guess who added that to the registry! We used it once for a party. (In his defense, he also was the one that picked out the knife!)

Grocery Haul

My intention for yesterday afternoon was to strip glue off the walls (fun!) but somehow the day got away from me. I went to the gym and then to the Farmer’s Market and made dinner and suddenly it was after 9pm and the walls still had wallpaper glue on them. Oops.

I love a trip to the Farmer’s Market. Like I’ve said before, it’s not a traditional farmer’s market at all. It’s more like a big warehouse that sells pretty much any type of produce you can think of, grains, dairy, meats and breads. And it’s cheap!

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Here’s what I got:

Brown Rice Syrup
Organic Spelt Flour
Pearl Couscous
Rice Wine Vinegar
3 Chobani yogurts
2 cup of soup type things
2 cans chickepas
Cinnamon Flatbreads
2 organic apples
2 red peppers
package of mushrooms
1 head garlic
1 lb bag organic carrots
2 sweet potatoes
1.25 lb sugar snap peas
2 broccoli crowns
1 acorn squash
2 cucumbers
cashews
2 avocados
romaine lettuce
organic dinosaur kale
organic bananas (I don’t typically buy organic bananas, but that’s all they had)
sage
organic eggs
crumbled goat cheese
ginger

And guess how much I paid for my loot? $55.26. I love the Farmer’s Market. I also ran into someone that I graduated college with. Considering I went to college over 1000 miles away, seeing someone who went to the same school, much less in my graduating class, does not happen often.

I came home and started dinner. What was on the menu? Soup, of course! My desire not to eat soup for every meal was short lived, apparently. I consulted my “recipes to try” bookmarked folder and came up with Garlic Soup with Quinoa and Snap Peas.

(Recipe from nytimes.com, link above)

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock, vegetable stock or water (I used half low sodium veggie broth and half water)
6 garlic cloves, minced or sliced
4 small or 2 large sage leaves
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
2 eggs
6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 1/3 cups cooked quinoa, warmed

1. Combine the stock or water, garlic, sage leaves and salt in a heavy saucepan or soup pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until the flavor of the garlic is no longer sharp. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2. Add the snap peas to the simmering soup, and simmer two to three minutes until crisp but tender.

3. Beat the eggs in a bowl with the olive oil. Whisk in about 1/2 cup of hot soup. Take the soup off the heat, then whisk the tempered eggs into the soup. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Place 1/3 cup of quinoa in each soup bowl. Ladle in the soup and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

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This needed a lot of salt, but after I added enough, it was very tasty. It reminded me a lot of egg drop soup.

The plan for today is to do 7 miles with my friend Joan. We’re waiting until it warms up a bit. I am such a cold weather running wimp. I’ve done this race four times in the past, obviously I trained during the winter! I just can’t seem to get into it this time. In my defense, we are having a very cold winter this year.

Oh, and the wallpaper glue, I guess I should do that today too.

Dinner Guests

Even though our house is still in disarray from our wallpaper project last weekend, we decided to have our friends Andrew and Katharine over for dinner last night. They are good friends of ours but for some reason, hadn’t seen our house yet.

Having dinner guests on Friday, or any weeknight for that matter, is hard. Unfortunately, Jason works on Saturday and Sunday evenings so Friday is pretty much the only weekend night that we can have people over.

Since I don’t get off work until 5:30 and still needed to grocery shop and they were coming at 7:30, I knew that we needed a quick and easy dinner. Enter a build your own taco bar. This is a great meal for guests. For one, you don’t have to do much and secondly, everyone can customize his or her taco to their liking. It also solves the problem of do I make a vegetarian dish for non-vegetarian guests?

We had some crackers and brie to start with. For some reason, these crackers tasted like cookies. It was kind of weird. They were Carr Whole Wheat Crackers.

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Then we just put everything else in bowls on the table.

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The salsa and queso are jarred but I did make the guacamole. This is hardly a recipe, but it’s easy and tastes good so I’m going to post it anyway.

Easy Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup pico de gallo (I got it in the produce section of Kroger)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Peel the avocados and then mash them with a potato masher. Then mix everything else together. Voila, instant guacamole!

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There was also chicken which isn’t pictured for some reason. And we had whole wheat tortillas to wrap everything in. I also picked up something new at the store.

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Sweet Corn Cake. This was from a Chi Chi’s mix that was hanging out near the salsa in the grocery store. The ingredient list looked pretty harmless, so I picked it up. It was super easy to make. You just mix the corn cake mix with a bit of water, butter and a can of creamed corn. I’m sure this was not the healthiest thing in the world, but it was sweet and delicious.

Our friends supplied wine and dessert. I was very careful not to drink too much and to make sure that I had lots of water. I had a beer while “cooking” and then two glasses of wine. I completely switched to water around 9:30 or 10 which proved to be a good decision because I feel fine this morning.

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For dessert, A and K brought over a box of little cupcakes and pastries from Whole Foods. I had a really good cookie thing that I gobbled up so fast that it didn’t get a picture. That fruit tart is calling my name for tonight’s dessert, I think.

SnOMG Muffins

Since I’m kind of trapped in my house, I made muffins.

Pumpkin Muffins
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
Makes 12 muffins

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2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup diced pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup oats

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in bowl.
3. In separate bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin, pineapple, applesauce, sugar and oil.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until blended.
5. Coat muffin tin with cooking spray and pour batter into tin. Top muffins with a sprinkling of oats.
6. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

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