Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin'

Hey guys!  Fall is here which means everything is going to start smelling like cinnamon.  I hope you're ready.

I blame my recent adoption of the iPhone for this new feature on the blog.  That's right, I'm sharing with you all of the things I currently like on the net!  I'm online constantly now, for better or for worse, and I'm taking you all down with me!

This week, I'm likin':

  1. This site - it is hilarious.  I'm not even sure how I came upon it, but I mean, their slogan is "Eat like you give a f*ck."  If my brother were to have a food blog I picture it going a little something like this.
  2. This guy was featured on said hilarious site above and is equally talented.  You don't even have to like comics.  Promise.  (I'm going to pretend like that rhymed)
  3. Denny and I used to make boxed mac n cheese with tuna and sriracha ALL the time.  Still in our top 5 favorite meals.  This grown up version quite literally makes me drool.
  4. Speaking of mac n cheese - my birthday is coming up and whoever gets me this cookbook earns a place in my will.  And you can all trust I am going to make it big someday. (Update: I have been told by my awesome aunt KimAnna that she purchased this for me. SO excited!)
  5. I know most of us have seen this already.  But if we have a soul and have shopped at Whole Foods, we have all been there.  Read it again.
  6. I made this this weekend, and you all should try.  Pretty dang easy, pretty dang fancy, pretty dang delicious, and the possibilities are endless!
  7. I'm doing some photos for this great company and hope to have a post about it soon!!
  8. Surprise, marriage is hard.  Here is a nice little article about how to show some love.  (Am I the only one with "What A Girl Wants" playing in my head?)
  9. Then this guy goes and says "Marriage is easy" and it sounds true because he is on Breaking Bad. (One more episode???  WHy, GOD, why?!!)
  10. Once I start embracing fall I will happily make soups and stews :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Grilled Peaches & Oatmeal

Ah that time of year is upon us.  You know, the one where there is a slight breeze in the air, the mornings are cooler, the leaves are juuuust barely starting to turn.  It's almost fall.  You can recognize it by the increasingly annoying Facebook posts about football.  It's almost as annoying as Facebook during election time.  I understand I am the minority that doesn't care AT ALL about football, but come on people, work with me.  If you insist on posting about how excited, or sad, you are about _____ team, ____ game, or _____ player, then first take a quick gander at your news feed and use this opportunity to post something original.  To really make your mark.  "Go Broncos!!" and  "I love you Payton!!" are examples of unoriginal content.  Perhaps think to yourself, "Hmm, 4 people have already said this.  Maybe, just maybe, I should say something else, or nothing at all."

By the way, Colorado people looooove fall.  It's like, "trendy" to like fall out here.  I'm just saying, it's okay to like summer too, Coloradans, it's ok.  Can you sense how "judgey" I am lately?  I think recent levels of elevated stress have sent my filter running.  It's probably temporary, but maybe not :)  One of my last posts started with a 2 paragraph rant and was later reduced to just the slightly annoying dog accident and  good ol' "moth-in-the-shirt" story.  Now there is no editing...it might become that kind of blog. Excited?!  Hey, thanks for reading ;-)

On another note, this time of year is awesome because of peaches.  That's right, peaches.  (Finally she is getting to the food part...)  Colorado has the best peaches I'm convinced.  They come from a little town called Palisade on the western slope.  It's a lovely place with fruit stands on every corner.  And wineries!  I'm a little obsessed with peaches right now because they are soooo ripe and perfect, and there is such a small window every year to get good peaches.  My daily peach consumption is currently averaging 3 peaches per day.  I have been singing to myself "...millions of peaches, peaches for me..." for the past week.  I'm almost as annoying as Facebook football fans.

When Sunday breakfast came along this week, I was sad that we didn't have eggs, but excited that we had peaches.  Still sad about the eggs.  I thought Denny would be sad too, but he hid it well.  When I suggested peach oatmeal, he was all over it.  You know me, always wanting to grill sh*t, so there I went.  Grilling at breakfast.

This is really simple and a nice little way to spice up boring oatmeal.

4 ripe peaches, pitted and halved
1 14 oz. can coconut milk, unsweetened
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground nutmeg1½ cups sugar
(Cinnamon or vanilla ice cream also works!)

Rolled oats, or quick oats

Halve the peaches and dip in coconut milk, then in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mixture.  Grill for about 5min on each side until you get some nice grill marks.

Cook oatmeal per instructions on package.  Spoon into bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or drizzle generously with honey, place peaches on top.
(We used the extra coconut milk to cook our oats, with a little water to make up the difference.  When sweetened with cinnamon sugar and/or honey it tasted great!  Without a sweetener, not so much.)

Recipe adapted from Gilded Fork.

Friday, September 6, 2013

All Them Mocha Lattes, You Gotta Do Pilates

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!  Yes, the title of this post is quoting Kanye West...I hope I don't get sued!  I mean no harm, I just want to share with you one of my fave workouts.  I know this is different from the usual blog content, but I mean, come on, you guys see how much I eat.  I need to do this from time to time, so bare with me.  I think you will like it.

This workout only takes about 30minutes, you can do it in the privacy of your own home, and all you need is (2) 5lb weights (or whatever weight you fancy), you might also want a mat or towel or something to lay on.  I would say that is a no-excuse kind of workout.  Give it a try...you'll feel like you did good for the day, because you did!

100 bridges

25 crunches with weight

16 squats  (all leg exercises w/ weights)

16 low pulse squats
Repeat squats

16 lunges - right side
16 low pulse lunges - right side
16 lunges - left side
16 low pulse lunges - left side

25 upper ½ shoulder press
25 lower ½ shoulder press

(2) sets of 25 bicep curls

1min plank

16 low pulse plie squat w/ weights
Repeat squats

25 tricep press pulses

25 Glute pulses - right leg
25 Glute pulses - left leg

25 Fire hydrants - right leg
25 Fire hydrants - left leg

1min plank

100 bridges

25 crunches with weight
25 oblique side to side crunches with weight

Monday, September 2, 2013

Greek Tacos & Tahini Pesto

I hope you all had a great labor day weekend!  One of the highlights of the past few weeks was scrounging together a recipe that turned out to be really tasty - Greek tacos with tahini pesto.  I know it's silly, but it's the little things that can make a big difference :)

On this particular day, I think life was starting to get to me and affect my mental state.  The day started with Kora (my elderly dog) having a not-so-little "accident" all over the living room 5 minutes before I was supposed to leave for work.  Not her fault, and I love her to pieces, so I cleaned it up and moved on.  When I was walking into my elevator to head to work, I felt an itch in my shirt.  Out flew a moth (GROSS!), which left me feeling itchy and icky all day long.  Which resulted in me spilling some of my breakfast on myself when I got to work.  Fast forward through a pretty rough day of "ugh's" "oh crap's" and discouraging emails, I am finally in the kitchen ready to make this thing that I wasn't totally sure about.  All I knew was that if my senses were correct, it would probably taste pretty darn good.

Your basic pesto is made of some kind of herb, some kind of cheese, some kind of nut, and small amounts of garlic, lemon juice, and not-so-small amounts of some kind of oil - usually olive oil.  I had everything but the nuts.  For the herbs, I pretty much killed what was an already ill basil plant by using all of its remaining leaves.  Tahini was the only thing we had that came to mind to sub for nuts because it is kind of peanut buttery.  It is also kind of a stretch for pesto, but I went for it anyway.  It was a brand spanking new jar so when I struggled to open it (and finally succeeded, ah-HA!) the top layer of oil flew all over.  Right on schedule for that day.

Up until now I was still thinking this would be a "pasta pesto" but when I tasted it I knew I had to think of something else.  The tahini was the abundant flavor, rather than the basil, and I started to think Greek, hummus-like spreads.  I could picture it more on a sandwich-Gyro-type-thing rather than mixed in with any type of noodle.

So, looking at my other dying herb plants (I blame my lack of a green thumb on the fact that I have only been able to garden in pots and on patios, and not at all on the fact that I have gotten really bored with watering lately) I thought of one of my favorite marinades which just so happens to be a Greek one.  This used up some of my dying rosemary and parsley.  Win-win.  Rummaging through the fridge resulted in finding corn tortillas, 1/2 of a yellow squash donated by a co-worker (thanks Ivy!), a bell pepper and some goat cheese.  We usually have some kind of meat in the freezer, so I thawed some chicken.  Boom.  Greek Tacos.

This was definitely a "clean out the fridge" sort of meal, but it was probably the best of the sort that I have ever made.  We ended the night with full, happy bellies; major garlic breath (you have been warned); and a couple of beers under our belts.  All was good by the end of the day.

Tahini Pesto
3tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4c olive oil
3/4c basil leaves
2tbsp tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic (you could go with less if you don't want it to be too overpowering)
1/2tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  You can make this the day before and keep in the fridge.

Greek Marinade
2 chicken breasts, chopped into about 4-5 large chunks

1/2 Large yellow squash, seeded and cut into 1/4" thick strips (or about 3 small yellow squash, halved)
1 Green bell pepper cut into 1/4" strips

1c olive oil
1/4c lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
2tbsp dijon mustard
2tbsp dried oregano
1tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1tsp dried thyme)
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1tsp dried rosemary)
1tsp pepper

Wisk all ingredients (other than veggies and chicken) together in a bowl.  Place chicken and veggies in a large ziploc baggie and pour marinade over the top.  Zip the bag and work the mixture throughout so everything is covered.  Put in the fridge for a minimum of 1hr, but can stay in the fridge for up to a day.

Grill chicken and veggies until tender/cooked through.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes, and chop into 1/2" pieces.  Set aside.

Cucumber and red onion for garnish
Goat cheese (optional)
Corn tortillas

After cooking the chicken, place corn tortillas on the grill.  Only a minute or so on each side, watching carefully.

Spread a little (or a lot) of pesto on each tortilla to your liking, pile on some chicken and veggies, and top with cucumber, onion and a sprinkle of goat cheese.  We served ours with some couscous :)