Sunday, October 23, 2011

Award Winning* Muffins

Ok, well maybe not exactly award winning...more like me and a couple of people in the office taste test each other's food on Friday mornings and decide who's is best.  But so far my muffins AND my breakfast burritos have won(*)!  I'll take it :)

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been fattening up the office one baked good at a time.  These muffins kick started my recent baking spree.  Imagine that banana bread and cinnamon streusel cake had a baby, but the banana bread also had an affair with a blueberry muffin - that's what these muffins would be.  Wonderful, right?

So what are you going to do next Saturday morning?  Make these for yourself and a loved one, make some coffee, enjoy.  I swear your day will be better because of it!

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. (3 lg.) mashed very ripe bananas
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 c. Pillsbury's Best all purpose or unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 18 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. In large bowl beat 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar until fluffy. Add bananas, milk, vanilla and eggs; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently stir in blueberries. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full.


3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

In small bowl combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 3 minutes; remove from muffin cups. Makes 18 muffins.

Recipe via

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hello world!

It has been far too long since I updated this blog.  In all honesty, I didn't think anyone was reading it - that is, until I had 5 people approach in me in the last month about why I haven't done any recent blog posts.  That made me happy :)  So here I am with a new post!

So what have I been up to, you ask?
  • World travelling.  How do I make a ton of money and still have a decent schedule so that I can do this SEVERAL times/year??
  • Moving downtown - twice.  It's a long story, but I love living in Denver and have been having so much fun going to all of the restaurants and bars near my house!
  • Kidney stones.  This took up the last month of my summer and I am still bitter about it!  I spent a month laying in bed (when I wasn't forcing myself to go to work), highly medicated and eating saltines...don't be jealous :)
  • Turning 27.  Yikes, late 20's - didn't I just finish school?
  • Cooking cooking cooking.  Once I got better, that is.  I missed being able to eat good food and have gone a little crazy - probably time to get back to eating healthier!  And although the people at my work have enjoyed me bringing in muffins, cupcakes and pancakes each Friday, they would probably appreciate it if I picked up a healthier hobby.
  • Misc. working out to combat said unhealthy hobby
I'll try to get some pictures up soon of the yummy stuff I have been making (banana blueberry streusel muffins in particular!)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Food Series: Salads and Sandwiches

Omg.  Wedge salads are so hot right now.

I'm not a big salad eater.  Typically by the time I 'enjoy' eating a salad it has so much crap on it that it no longer resembles a salad, or anything healthy for that matter.  But what I have enjoyed eating lately are wedge salads.  I know it's ridiculous.  Wedge salads are perhaps one of the least nutritious things you can eat.  But like most people, I fall for things that look pretty and fancy.  Let's break it down:

Iceberg lettuce:  0 nutritional value
Ranch/Blue Cheese dressing:  -100 nutritional value
Bacon: -200 nutritional value
Onions, tomatoes, etc:  Does it even matter at this point?

Lastly I would like to point out the lack of effort it takes to make these salads:  You cut the lettuce into 4 pieces and pour stuff on top of it.  Don't you feel glad you just paid $12 for it?  If you make it at home you don't feel as bad :)

Sandwiches and I, on the other hand, are BFF's.  I love all forms of sandwiches, which makes my rocky affair with gluten free so difficult at times.  Good thing I have found a bread that is bearable (albeit WAY overpriced) so I am eating sandwiches once again.  Rudi's Gluten Free, try it out.  However, I still will not pass up the opportunity for a nice baguette or french bread.

This sandwich is one of my faves right now.

Gluten Free bread (or something more delicious), toasted
Honey roasted turkey
Red onion

I have been so crazy about arugula since eating a burger from this place in San Francisco (hands down best burger ever - I got the French and Fries).  I finally loosened the purse strings enough to buy some.  I'm glad I did.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Summer Food Series: Mom's Potato Salad


One of the great things about cooking is that it doesn't have to get old.  Each season brings new ingredients and foods that are unique to that time of year.  I thought it would be fun to bring some of these dishes to the blog as the year progresses!

There are some things that I just don't eat unless it is summer but I look forward to them all year long.  One of the things I crave come June is my mom's potato salad.  It reminds me of picnics at the park or the beach.  The ingredients are super simple and, I don't know about you, but that's what I like in a potato salad!

5 lbs of potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled until cooked through
5 scallions, chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1-1.5 cups of mayo to desired consistency
Salt and seasoned pepper to taste

The only problem with this recipe is that I make enough for an entire family and quickly remember that I am only one person.  Therefore I only make it once or twice each summer because I end up eating it for a while after I make it!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially mine - he is super great!

Everything but the kitchen sink...

I hope everyone had a good weekend!  Sundays are always bittersweet because a new work week is just around the corner and it is a reminder of how short our weekends are :-/.  I had a pretty laid back weekend, saw two of my friends get married (which is always so fun!), went shopping, got some exercise in, and once again did not clean my apartment when I promised I would :)

Tonight I had fun making dinner with the little bit of food I have in my fridge.  I need to go grocery shopping BAD, but managed to make something really good with what I had.  This pasta is summery and light and super easy.  Plus, anything with roasted garlic is going to be amazing and make the house smell like you have been cooking all day ....mmmmmmm....

1 head of garlic, roasted before hand and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, julienned
1/2 can of corn
a pinch of rosemary
a pinch of dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
feta cheese, to garnish

Cook the pasta according to instructions.  While it is cooking, chop veggies and saute with corn and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add salt, pepper and spices to taste.  Strain pasta and add to saute pan, mix well.  Garnish with feta, enjoy!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bear Peak: Attempt 2

Today was my second attempt at Bear Peak...I really think I need to give myself more than 2 hours.  Got some good pictures though!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Must-Haves!

Summer is my favorite time of the year.  The hot weather is here and I feel rejuvenated!!  During summer I feel like being active, being social and never letting my days go to waste.  Being from Southern California, I think I have been spoiled by growing up with weather like this almost every day, now it is hard for me to function in anything BUT sunny warmth.  Here are some things I feel are must-haves for a great summer, enjoy!

1 - I found this cocktail recipe and want to try it so bad!!  It's looks so summery and refreshing :)

2 - Everyone needs a grill...including me :)  BBQ's are the BEST in summer time.  Who wants to make donations to my "house fund" so that I will have a place to put my non-existent grill?
Can't make a donation?  Just invite me to your next bbq :)

3 - A veggie garden!!  Mine is apartment patio style, all in pots.  But so far I have tomatoes and bell peppers.  The herbs have died but I'll replace them soon :)

4 - Vacations are the best during the summer!  Of course an exotic beach would be the ultimate vacation, however I have seemed to go to places that are not known for their excellent weather the past couple of summers.  Still a vacation is a vacation and I love them.  This summer will be London and Paris!  Can't wait!

5 - A good concert.  One great thing about Colorado is Red Rocks and I try to catch a show there every summer.  This summer it will be Incubus!

6 - Bug spray.  Take it from me, mosquito bites are no fun :(  Maybe add some sunscreen for good measure!

Happy Summer!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Strolling Around Denver

Unfortunately I have been rather sick the last few days.  I started work this week as well.  Being sick your first week = no fun.  But the good news is that I really like the office I work in and all of the people who work there!

In terms of exercise, I haven't been able to do much this week, but over Memorial Day weekend I did some working out and a lot of walking.  One such trip was around Denver and the Highlands.  It was the first nice day in what has felt like FOREVER so everyone was out.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day:

Soon I will be posting more yummy food that I have made in the past couple of weeks, stay tuned!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Also, Happy Birthday Mom...

I'm glad that as the 80s faded away, so did our hairstyles :)

Memorial Day Weekend...Off To A Good Start

Well, this is my last weekend of freedom.  To say that I am not nervous about starting work next week would be a lie.  And I don't want to lie to you.  Of course I am nervous about all of the normal things:  Will I be good at my job?  Are the people going to be nice?  Will I get to leave at a decent hour each day?  But I am also really nervous about sitting at a desk 9 hours a day and losing motivation outside of work.

You know how it goes - by about 12 o'clock you are stir crazy and have all these ambitions for awesome things you will do when you get home.  Then you get home and you are so exhausted and lethargic that you just want to lounge in preparation for doing it all again the next day.  I am trying to avoid that, but have never been great at maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  In the meantime, I have been trying to take advantage of this 3 day weekend (the last one I may have in a while!).

Hiked part of Bear Peak Trail with 3 lovely ladies.  It was an absolutely gorgeous trail, in fact I had every intention of bringing my camera and taking pictures, but decided against it.  It looked like rain clouds were forming, and I swear I read earlier that day that there would be evening thunderstorms (in true Colorado fashion).  Since I was not well equipped with a backpack that I could store my camera in if it rained, I didn't want to risk it.  I am vowing to go back up at some point and get some nice pictures.  But here is one I took of the Flatirons during graduation weekend to hold you over.  Probably one of my faves.

Saturday (today)
Headed to an open mic event with these two and bringing a bottle of wine, should be great, and should be plenty more of what you see in the picture above :) ...

Sunday (tomorrow)
Spending a day with my camera - going exploring.  Not sure where yet, but I need to get comfortable with my camera, and I think any place will do for that.  Remember last time when I said I needed to pick a hobby and stick with it?  Well the camera won and I am looking forward to getting to know it better!

Might be making a little trip to Wash Park.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stupid Creativity!

Don't those paintings look awesome?!

That's ok, you don't have to lie.  I know they look like they were done by a 2nd grader, complete with birds shaped like V's and puffy clouds.

Before I graduated, I put together a list of things I was going to do this summer.  When I found out that I start work in a week (instead of in the 2 months I had in mind!), I panicked and have tried to fit in as much stuff in as I could in just a few days.  This "stuff" ranges from painting to trying to learn how to use my new camera and properly edit photos.

Needless to say, this has led to much frustration.  We all know you can't rush the creative process, and the years and years I have spent dedicating to schoolwork has left little time to get (back) in touch with the inner artist that I was once a lot closer to.

This week, I think I bit off way more than I can chew...and I'm chewing things that I have never eaten before, ugh.  Drawing, painting, and shooting awesome pictures (even with my little point and shoot), was something that once came a lot easier to me than it does these days.  But like I said, this week is different: I used to paint with oils, this week I tried watercolor.  I used to take pretty pictures and think "I wouldn't change a thing," this week I am lost in tutorials and complex commands of Photoshop :(

After sputtering out excuses (out loud, and angrily) ranging from "There's something wrong with my tap water!" to "My version of Photoshop is broken!" the advice I have for myself is to back off a bit and take life one hobby at a time.  I also shouldn't beat myself up for not being great at something new (or that I haven't done in a LONG time).

This hasn't stopped me from making yummy food this week though, so maybe I'll post some of that.  Besides, at least I have this face to cheer me up when I get frustrated :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sherpa's - You Never Cease to Amaze Me....

I just got back from my FAVE restaurant, Sherpa's.  Every few months I get to enjoy lunch here...usually meeting up with friends, or taking anyone who is visiting from out of town and up for trying something new!  Some people say "No way, Jose" to Indian/Nepalese/Himalayan food, but those who are willing to try it are never disappointed.

Besides the amazing food, this restaurant also has a cool vibe and a cool story.  It is in an old house in Boulder with a great outdoor patio.  The owner is an avid runner, and is also a sherpa for Mt. Everest (bad ass).  The waiters and chefs are also friends and family members of his, from Nepal.  The walls are lined with maps of the Himalayas and antique mountaineering gear.  Pretty cool (as Miley Cirus would say)

Today it was downpouring (in fact, it has been almost every day for the past couple of weeks now - So over it), so we didn't get to sit outside, but we did sit in one of the many small "rooms" on the first floor.

The picture below was taken on a much sunnier day.  It was a simpler time when happiness and warmth filled my heart.  I was also being a good girl and taking 1/2 home for leftovers.  Must have been a good self-control day, which today was NOT.

This is what I usually get, Aloo Gobi (SOO good).  Potatoes, cauliflower and peas with a tomato cream sauce.  Also, the naan is homemade and to die for!  All of this and a side of naan (4 pcs) for only $7!!  $6 with a student ID.  Another of the many reasons I love this place!

I'm not sure how this meal does on the healthy scale, but probably not too well considering I ate ALL of it and ate the entire side of naan, and had a chai.  But hey, I ate a light breakfast so that I could do so.  Plus I am way sore from all the working out I have been doing (no big deal...) so I felt I deserved it.  Whether I did or not is a different story.  Afterwards, my brother took me to see Bridesmaids - which I loved and is right up my alley! - so I feel I am truly enjoying my last week before work starts.  PS - I want every outfit that Kristen Wiig wore in that movie!

Tomorrow I get to meet with another long lost friend for lunch who, I am told, already got some great food from Whole Foods (automatically healthy right??).  Afterwards I will be taking some form of butt-lifting ballet at this place.  I have a pretty thorough dance background but never dabbled in ballet because I am a klutz and not graceful whatsoever.  This will be interesting!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 1: Success

Day 1 of eating healthy and exercising was a success!  Kora and I went on a 4+ mile hike with some friends and their dog.  For an 11 year old dog, Kora rocked!  She often wanted me to go faster but was careful not to pull (most of the time!).  As promised, breakfast and lunch were great.

Breakfast:  Egg Whites with Avocado and Feta

3 egg whites, scrambled
1/2 avocado (some people say I eat too much avocado, nonsense.)
feta cheese crumbles

Lunch (this may be dinner also!):  Chicken Wraps w/ Hummus

1 chicken breast, seasoned with basil, seasoned pepper and garlic, baked
small flour tortillas
onions, chopped
lettuce, chopped
feta cheese crumbles (ok, maybe I eat too much feta cheese also)

Hummus is another fave of mine :)  Just plain, none of this 3 pepper jalapeno crap.

After all this hiking and eating, I have only had energy to lounge all day.  Although, this did give me time to research cute outfits that I want to get for my new job that starts in a week (yikes!).  I have a feeling all of these are expensive, so I may be making a trip to Forever 21 for some substitutes!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What's an artichoke?

One of my new favorite hobbies is looking at food blogs.  The recipes are usually super awesome, and the photography is kick ass.  Now that I am out of school (and have a super cool camera of my own - thanks Aunt Deb!!), I can finally justify spending the time on a blog of my own.  I just got out of a grueling 8 YEARS of college, and no I am not a doctor...sad.  So I have promised my body that I am going to pay it back by taking better care of it.  That means eating better than I did in college (although I was never THAT bad), and exercising (gasp!).  Hopefully this blog will help me keep that promise!!

What's in a name?
Growing up in California, I ate a lot of artichokes.  My dad would make them all the time, and as a kid, they were super fun to eat (although sometimes painful - those spikes at the ends of the petals will get ya every time).  We even had a saying "Okey dokey, Artichokey!!" - which was almost the name of this blog.  At any rate, artichokes were my first glimpse into all of the great, interesting, and healthy, foods that exist out there.  Although they were a common treat for me, I have come to realize that a lot of people have never had one before (especially Colorado folks).  And some of the people who have had them think they are too much work to eat, and soon resort to canned artichokes only (tisk, tisk).  It's a shame because 'real' artichokes are so delicious!  For those of you who have never seen, or eaten, an artichoke - exhibit A....

Aren't they pretty?  They eventually bloom into a flower if left in the wild too...


Well tomorrow starts day 1 of trying to eat healthier.  I waver back and forth on gluten free too, so we'll see how that goes.  Although thanks to my Aunt Kim, I have some great gluten free snacks in my freezer!  Also, I recently tried this quinoa recipe (a staple for a gluten free diet), and it finally made me see the potential of what is usually a very bland food.  Maybe I'll blog about that next :)

Tomorrow's menu includes egg whites and avocado for breakfast, and a grilled chicken hummus wrap for lunch.  With a hike in between!  This is Kora's first hike of the summer so wish her luck!