Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yummy Dinners

Using leftover steak from Sunday nights dinner, I made Beef and Chicken Tacos with homemade guacomole on Monday night. I was inspired from Robin Millers Quick Fix Meals Beef Tacos with Garlic Avocado Cream. Here's what I did:

Beef and Chicken Tacos
1 cup cooked steak and 1 cup cooked chicken, diced
1 (4-ounce) can hot peppers
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1 cup fresh tomato, diced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Cheddar

In a large skillet on medium-high heat, combine beef, chicken, hot peppers, and chili powder and cook together to blend flavors. In a food processor, combine avocado, lime juice, jalepeno, red onion, salt and pepper. Microwave flour tortillas for :30-1 minute. Then start compiling the tacos. Put the tortilla on a plate, add steak/chicken mixture, shredded cheese, tomatoes and guac. Microwave until the cheese is melted and enjoy.

Tonight I made another Robin Miller dinner: Baked Ricotta Bowls. These were soooo good!!!

1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust (I got this in the refridgerator section... this is soo cool, comes in two 9 inch crusts that you roll out....perfect for this recipe!)
2 chicken breast halves, cooked and diced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup of assorted colored peppers
3 slices of prosciutto, diced
1/8 cup of asparagus, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Divide crust into 11 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Press the balls into the bottom and up the sides of an 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine chicken, ricotta, Cheddar, eggs, Dijon, parsley, peppers, prosciutto, asparagus, salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups and top with remaining Parmesan. Bake 20 minutes, then remove the bowls with a knife. I also made Zuchinni cakes and a salad. Good dinner! After dinner, we broke into Wii Fit and had tons of fun!! I'm just on the borderline of Normal and Overweight according to my BMI so starting January 8th, I'm really going to step up the workouts and eating habits!
I hope I can wake up tomorrow to run. I haven't been able to workout the last couple days and need to!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Welcome Back

Hello Everyone! Hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Dave and I had a blast. Before we left for the North Shore on Christmas Eve, we exchanged presents. The highlights for Dave were clothes, his universal remote, stuffed animals and lots of Celtics stuff. I got Wii Fit and a cutting cheese board as well as lots of clothes. After we exchanged gifts, we headed up to Dave's parents house and then to his aunts house to celebrate Christmas Eve!

We stayed at Dave's parents house on Christmas Eve and woke up to open gifts. I even get my own stocking : ) Dave and I enjoyed a nice leisurely run and then we ate dinner around 2pm. Dave's mom made an amazing beef tenderloin, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, steamed veggies and so much dessert. It was amazing!!!

We got home late Friday night and Saturday was a busy day. I visited with a friend then went to my brothers and ran. We ran just under 6 miles. Felt pretty good! Then Saturday night we went to my friend Melissa's going away party. She is moving to England for three months with work. Lucky girl!

Sunday Dave and I had a lazy cleaning day. I finally went shopping around 5. My plan for Sunday dinner was Steak and Mushroom Reuben from this months Bon Appetit. This is another one of those dishes where I wish the pictures look as good as this tastes. Trust me people, it was gooooood!

Steak and Mushroom Reubens

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 8-ounce NY Strip
  • 12 large fresh portobello mushrooms, stemmed
  • 12 slices deli rye bread
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Thousand Island dressing
  • 1 1/2 cups drained sauerkraut
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced Provolone cheese
  • Nonstick olive oil spray

  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons pickling spice on each side of steak, then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Add steak to skillet and cook to medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board. Add mushrooms to same skillet. Cover and cook until mushrooms are tender, turning occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to bowl.

  • Thinly slice steak on diagonal. Arrange 6 bread slices on work surface. Spread with dressing. Layer each with steak, 2 mushroom caps, sauerkraut, and cheese. Top with remaining bread slices.

  • Spray 2 large nonstick skillets with nonstick spray. Add sandwiches to skillets; place over medium heat. Cover and cook until bottoms are golden, about 3 minutes. Remove skillets from heat. Remove sandwiches. Spray skillets with nonstick spray. Turn sandwiches over into skillets. Cover and cook until bottoms are golden and cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Then Sunday night, I went to BFF Courtney's house in the city to hang out with our other BFF Jamie! Jamie is quite the foodie herself and she is in town visiting from California with her boyfriend. These pictures highlight the night pretty well. It's always so fun when we all get together. It's just too bad I had to work today!
Plans for the Week:
Monday: Beef & Chicken Soft Tacos with Avocado Cream and Roasted Asparagus Salsa

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday I made Orange Chicken. I got this recipe from reading Annie-Eats. As you've probably guessed I looked through her site one day and wrote down tons of recipes that I wanted to try out. I'm pretty impressed with everything I've made so far inspired from Annie's site and this was no exception. On the rare occasion that I eat Chinese food, Orange Chicken is one of my favorite dishes. I love the crispy skin and the sweet orange tang to it. I made this with jasmine rice and broccoli. This is a MUST TRY. So good, and really wasn't hard a all!

Orange Chicken
For the marinade and sauce:
1 ½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 ½” pieces
¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (I just used regular orange juice out of a carton)
1 ½ tsp. grated orange zest
8 thin strips orange peel (optional) (I skipped this)
6 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup dark brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. cold water
For coating and frying:
3 large egg whites
1 cup cornstarch
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1.5 cups or canola oil (this is where I saved some fat, the original recipe called for 3 cups!)
For the marinade and sauce, place the chicken in a Ziploc bag; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, zest, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper; whisk until the sugar is fully dissolved. Measure out ¾ cup of the mixture and pour it into the bag with the chicken; press out as much air as possible and seal the bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, but no longer. Bring the remaining mixture in the saucepan to a boil over high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and cold water; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and translucent, about 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the orange peel (if using); set the sauce aside. For the coating, place the egg whites in a plate and beat with a fork until frothy. In a second plate, whisk together the cornstarch, baking soda and cayenne until combined. Place half of the chicken pieces in the egg whites and turn to coat. Transfer the pieces to cornstarch mixture and coat thoroughly. Place the dredged chicken pieces on another plate or a baking sheet. To fry the chicken, heat the oil in a sauté pan with at least 3 qt. capacity over high heat until the oil reaches 350° on an instant read or deep fry thermometer ( I cheat and do something Rachael Ray taught me... take your wooden spoon and turn it around to the long side... deep it in oil, when it starts to make bubbles all around it, the oil is hot enough). Carefully place half of the chicken in the oil; fry to golden brown, about 5 minutes, turning each piece with tongs halfway through cooking. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Return the oil to 350° and repeat with the remaining chicken. To serve, reheat the sauce over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken and gently toss until evenly coated and heated through. Serve with rice and broccoli.

Okay on to workouts:
I think I last wrote about last Wed... so I will start from a week ago today.
Thursday 12/17: Muscle Conditioning
Friday 12/18: Ran 4 miles
Saturday 12/19 & Sunday 12/20: off
Monday 12/21: Ran 5 miles (hardest five miles of my life, had to walk a little after every mile- I just keep having pain in my hip...)
Tuesday 12/22: Ran 3 miles (felt easy!) then Bootcamp (sub instructor, wasn't a fan, ended up walking out early...)
Wed 12/23: off
Thursday 12/24: Ran 4 painful miles on the treadmill in 41 minutes. Yep you read that right. I used to be able to run 5 in 38 but I just did 4 in 41. I had to walk quite a bit again. Then I lifted legs.

Tomorrow, I'll try to get out for a short run with Dave but not sure if we will have time. Then Saturday is supposed to be my first run with the new running club. Problem is they are planning on running 10 and I'm a little worried I won't be able to hang. Hopefully I won't chicken out. We'll see!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Off to celebrate!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Biggest Loser Round 2

I'm organizing another Biggest Loser Competition at work. It will start on January 8th and last 12 weeks. I've been eating like crazy lately and with my decreased running miles, I know I need to lose the weight. So here it is, in writing. By the beginning of April, I will weigh in the 120s. Which means I am going to dramatically cut out all the baking I've been doing lately. I wasn't very good at it anyway (but I was good at eating it!) I will also officially start training for my Half Marathon in February and possible marathon in May. I've been pretty good with working out even though I've been gaining weight. But I have to add on the running mileage for sure.

Here's my plan to lose the weight-

1. Write down everything I eat in a journal again
2. Eat a healthy breakfast (oatmeal, breakfast cookies, cereal... no more mini bagels with cream cheese...or toast with a slice of cheese, I know I'm a fatty.)
3. Salads during lunch or 100 calorie wraps with grilled chicken, hummus... no more chips at all
4. Dinners is where I will indulge a bit since I love to cook. But I will eliminate after dinner sweets completely.
5. It's really all about portion control.

Mondays: Run 3-7 miles, lift legs
Tuesdays: Speed Workout in the AM at the local track, Boot Camp at lunch when I can
Wednesdays: Physical Therapy in the AM, Spinning during lunch
Thursdays: Muscle Conditioning
Fridays: Run 3-7 miles
Saturdays: LONG RUN over the course of 12 weeks 7-18 miles
Sundays: Rest or Eliptical/Lifting

That's the plan. Wish me luck!!!
PS- I made Orange Chicken last night. Like the chicken you get a Chinese food restaurant. It was AMAZING. So I will post that recipe later but don't judge me, it wasn't healthy. I have until January 8th to keep piling on the pounds right?!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Okay, I have a lot to blog about and a ton of photos. Let's start with Wednesday night. I had red cabbage to use so I searched for recipes and decided to saute the red cabbage with green onions and chicken. Then I made some spaghetti and made a peanut sauce and mixed it all together. Here's the recipe:

Thai Chicken Noodles with Red Cabbage, Green Onions and Peanut Sauce
For peanut dressing:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon of Thai Chili Paste
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes

For noodles
3/4 lb dried soba nooodles (or spaghetti, like I used_
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 head of red cabbage, sliced thin and cleaned thouroughly
Half a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken sliced thin
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Puree peanut sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then
transfer to a large bowl. Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Cook the red cabbage and chicken until chicken is cooked through and cabbage and soft (about 15-20 minutes). Drain pasta in a colander, then rinse well under cold water. Add pasta into the large saute pan and mix through with the Peanut Sauce. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions, serve immediately.
Thursday night, we had my companies holiday party. There was great food and it was a really good time. I decided to make a collage to highlight the night.
The big picture is Carissa and myself and the upper right is the Broadcast department kids.

Friday night, I went out with my friends from home and ended up staying in the city at Courtney's apartment. We got home Saturday early and Dave and I did a lot of sleeping, hanging out, wrapping presents and cooking. Check out our pretty tree with all the presents!
Wally was one of Dave's hanukkah presents that I gave him. I love ornaments!

We had parties to go to Saturday night but one got canceled so we decided to stay in for the night. I had watched Barefoot Contessa earlier in the day and was really inspired, so I made Seafood Gratin for the main course, and Kale and White Bean Soup for the first course.

Kale and White Bean Soup (inspired by this months Real Simple)

1 15 oz can of cannellini beans
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 qt water
1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb kale (preferably lacinato), stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water, cheese rind, salt, pepper and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 50 minutes. Stir in kale, quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Seafood Gratin (inspired by Ina Garten)

  • 1 cup seafood stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons good white wine
  • 8 ounces raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut in half crosswise
  • 8 ounces raw halibut, cut into1-inch chunks
  • small cans of cooked crab meat and salmon (this is supposed to be lobster meat, but I was too cheap)
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 1 1/2 cups julienned carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese dried bread crumbs)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the stock, cream, 1/2 cup of the wine in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add the shrimp. After 3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp to a bowl. Add the halibut to the stock for 3 minutes, until just cooked through, and remove to the same bowl. Add the cooked crab meat and canned salmon Continue to cook the sauce until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Mash 1 tablespoon of the butter together with the flour. Whisk the butter mixture into the sauce along with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saute pan. Add the leeks and carrots and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender. Set aside.. Combine the panko, Parmesan and garlic. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and mix it into the crumbs until they're moistened.Place the seafood at the bottom of a medium casserole dish. Strew the vegetables on top and pour the sauce equally over the seafood and vegetables and spoon the crumbs evenly on top. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly. Serve hot.
OMG, this was sooo delicious! Definitely recommend making this for a special occasion. Like you know, doing nothing on a Saturday night.

Later in the evening, my brother and Natalia came over before the storm hit. It actually didn't start snowing until after we went to bed, but when we woke up, it was a Winter Wonderland. Our Sunday consisted of eating, playing in snow, cooking, baking, eating and Hanukkah! Oh yeah, and eating. Did I mention that?
Mike, Natalia and I built this beautiful snow man and played in the snow. Good times! Dave was being lame and didn't want to go outside twice (he wanted to wait until the snow stopped so he could snow blow). I guess I understand since I didn't help at all with clearing the snow but I did have fun playing in it!

When we came inside, Natalia and I baked. We made Eggnog, Cranberry Muffins and Pumpkin Mousse. I burnt the hell out of the muffins (I blew it) but the recipe is from Annie-Eats (shocking right?).
The pumpkin mousse was in the same episode of Barefoot Contessa as the Seafood Gratin. Check it out!

  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 (29-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 packages (4 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ripe banana, finely mashed
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus more for garnish, optional
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat the half-and-half, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl, stir some of the hot pumpkin into the egg yolks to heat them, then pour the egg-pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well. Heat the mixture over the simmering water for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. You don't want the eggs to scramble. Remove from the heat. Dissolve the gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water. Add the dissolved gelatin, banana, and orange zest to the pumpkin mixture and mix well. Set aside to cool. Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks. Fold half the whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour the mousse into a 7 by 4-inch souffle dish. Pipe or spoon the remaining whipped cream decoratively on the mousse and sprinkle, if desired, with orange zest. Serve chilled.
And since I totally blew my muffins, I decided to make an Eggnog Cranberry Cake. I was supposed to make it in a bundt pan, but didn't have one, so I used a loaf pan. I found the recipe here. I basically googled cranberry eggnog cake, and her recipe had the least amount of butter so I decided to go for it. It was delicious but looked frightening. The cake started to fold in the middle, but I flipped it when I took it out of the loaf pan and then glazed it. Hey, at least it tasted good. (Maybe baking isn't really my thing...)
Alright now on to the highlight of Sunday, Hanukkah Dinner at my moms!

My mom made Brisket, Sweet Potato and Potato Latkes, Spinach Salad and a Chicken Roaster. My plate:
Then it was on to gifts. Here are the highlights. Mom got clothes, a food processor and an Immersion Blender. Mike got workout clothes, Domo, and a GPS. Dave got workout clothes, a Celtics sweatshirt and Celtics mug. Natalia got a year subscription to US Weekly, clothes and a fleece jacket.

And I got an Under Armour Backpack, running gloves, running ear warmers and socks, my perfume (yes it is britney, got a problem with that?) and this amazing computer I am typing on right now! Mike got a new computer for work and gave his beautiful wife his old laptop which was only 6 months old. So I got Natalia's! Thanks guys! It's so much faster than my 6 year old MacBook!
Alright, what a weekend! Goodnight!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


When I got into work today, I had this email waiting for me from my BFF Courtney.

A Warm Refuge
Best Friends
By the time we reach adulthood, many of us have had the good fortune to have at least one best friend. If we have moved around or changed our life situation repeatedly, we may be lucky enough to have had several. The best friend relationship is often our earliest intimate peer relationship, and it can be a source of great warmth and connection throughout our lives. The details of best friendship change as we grow up and grow older, but the heart of it remains the same. Our best friends are a warm refuge in which we feel free to be fully ourselves, to share our deepest secrets, to rest when we are tired, to celebrate when we are happy—a place in which we feel utterly welcome to give and receive that most precious of all gifts, love.

intimate relationships hit bumps from time to time, and one of the hallmarks of an enduring best friendship is its ability to ride out the turbulence and remain intact even as it faces changes. Our best friends are those who manage to love us through all of our transitions, as we do the same for them. We find ways to embrace and appreciate the differences that set us apart and offer love and support no matter what. We allow each other to be exactly as we are at a given moment, even as we allow each other to change over time. In this way, best friends sometimes feel like family. We know we will stick together regardless of where our individual paths lead.

We may be on the phone with our best friends every day, or we may not have spoken for a year, yet we know that our bond will be strong and immediate when we do connect. This bond ties us together even when we are apart and draws us blissfully back into the warm refuge of each other’s company when our paths bring us together again.
Precious right! Court and I have been friends since 3rd grade. But we weren't always as close as we are today. We were always in the same group and we always lived in the same neighborhood, but I think we established being true best friends over the last three years when we realized how much we each relied on each other. I'm so happy to have Courtney in my life and I feel very grateful that we met a long long time ago at Nancy Kelly's Dance Studio.
Okay, on to some eats. Monday night I made Portobello Mushroom Melts with Sausage, Spinach and Mozzarella.
Grilled Portobellos Stuffed with Sausage, Spinach and Mozzarella

3/4 lb. turkey sausage
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 chicken broth
Salt and pepper
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
6-8 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1-2 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of onions
In a hot skillet, saute the mushrooms for 3 minutes on each side. Remove the mushrooms from the grill and place on a flat surface, cap side down. In another skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage and break it into small pieces. Add the sliced onion and cook until tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and cook until completely reduced. Add the spinach, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Fill the mushrooms with the sausage mixture and top each with one or two slices of tomato and the mozzarella cheese. Preheat the broiler and cook until the mushroom and filling have heated through, the cheese is melted and the tomato is soft, about 5 minutes. I served a salad and the stuffed shells I made on Sunday. This was a LOT of food.

Also on Monday, we had our department Chrismakkah Yankee Swap Party. I ended up with Rum from St. Marteen. Can't beat that! Everyone was asked to bring some food to the party. Here's the spread.
We had some home-made foccacia, a goat cheese and mushroom quiche, cold cuts, turkey chili, a delicious salad and the lasagna I brought in. We also had tons of desserts including my friend Carissa's Chocolate Mint Orea Triffle. Good job Little One! Yummy!
And Gretchen's Cranberry Tart. Remember Gretchen? She used to blog. Maybe she will come back soon and post this delicious recipe. Gretchen, hellooooooo are you there? We miss you.
Okay moving on to Tuesday night. I bought parsnips even though I wasn't really sure what to do with them. I looked up some recipes and this is what I came up with. I made Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Parsnips and Carrots, inspired by this website I found by using google.
Apple Cider Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

• 2 tbsp. apple cider
• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tbsp. honey
• ½ tsp. horseradish
• ½ tsp minced garlic
• 1 lb. pork tenderloin
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper

Combine apple cider, Worcestershire sauce, honey, horseradish, garlic and whisk together in a small bowl. Place the pork tenderloin in a large plastic storage bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Clearly I didn't have an hour- how's 20 minutes work for you?!?!) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and pat dry. Season it with salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the tenderloins and sear for about 4 minutes, turning to ensure equal browning. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 degrees. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, slice the meat against the grain into ¾ inch slices. Serve on a large platter on top of the parsnips and carrots. Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

• 1 lb. parsnips
• 1 lb. carrots
• 1 tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tbsp. honey
• Cooking spray
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the parsnips and carrots and slice into 2 inch by 1 inch pieces. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil and honey. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Pour olive oil and honey mixture over the parsnips and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables, stirring occasionally, for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
I liked the sweet tang of the parsnips and carrots! This was tasty!
I also made a Potato and Parsnip Gratin. I thought this was okay. I didn't love the parsnips with cream and cheese. I liked it better sweet!
Potato Parsnip Gratin
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1 pound parsnips
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons garlic
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 stick, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded chedddar cheese
Heat oven to 425°F. Lightly butter a 10-inch round or oval, 2-inch-deep gratin dish or pie plate and set aside. Peel and trim potatoes and parsnips. Slice parsnips crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, pat dry, and place in a large mixing bowl. Slice potatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Toss vegetables together and set aside. Warm cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering but not boiling; remove from heat. Place 1/2 of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish. Dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the cheese. Top with remaining vegetable mixture, dot with remaining butter, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Pour warm cream over top. Cover the dish with foil and bake until vegetables are tender when pierced with a fork and the top is bubbling, about 35 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over gratin, pressing them down lightly with the back of a spatula so they absorb some of the moisture and don’t brown too fast. Return gratin to oven and bake until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Remove gratin from oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

Doing something with apples, red cabbage and chicken tonight and my work Christmas party tomorrow!
Workouts thus far:
Sunday- 4 miles
Monday- off
Tuesday- Ran 3 miles + Boot Camp
Wed- Physical Therapy

Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the third night of Hanukkah...

My true love gave to me...
a Sugar Plum Apron!!! Amazing right!!! (My favorite word is sugar plum for those who don't know. I call people sugas all the time...)

So today was one of those days where I'm amazed by how much I can fit into one day. I slept in kinda late and finally got moving around 11. I went out for a run and ran just over 4 miles at 8:50 pace. I went out running 7:30 pace not even realizing it then I gradually slowed down. My achilles felt a little pain and I think I really need to stick to my plan to not run two days in a row. I have PT tomorrow so we will see what he says.

After I ran, I did laundry and got to work on making spinach and turkey sausage lasagna and stuffed shells. The lasagna I'm bringing to my departments Christmakkah Party/Yankee Swap tomorrow. Stuffed Shells goes with tomorrow dinner of Portobello Mushroom Melts. I also cooked 2 pounds of chicken. Some of it was used for tonight's dinner and rest I will incorporate into lunches. I also baked some chocolate chip cookies for the party as well. So after making a lasagna, stuffed shells, chicken and cookies in under an hour and a half, I quickly got ready to go my friend Joanna's A cappella concert about 25 minutes away.

My friend Joanna is an absolutely amazing singer. She's been singing for many many years and although we've been friends for 16+ years, I've only seen her perform once before. So when she told me about the show, I was excited to go. I wasn't really sure what a capella actually meant because I've never seen a show live. Here is the definition on Wikipedia:
A cappella (Italian[1] for From the chapel/choir) music is vocal music or singing without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way.
They had this playlist and it was amazing. No instruments, just beautiful music. I was soooo impressed, although I was secretly hoping for a solo by Jo Jo. I was in luck! Although its not listed on this list, Vinyl Street had something else up there sleeve, and Joanna was the lead on Mercy by Duffy, the encore performance. She was unbelievable. I'm not lying when I tell you I had tears in my eyes listening to her sing. She's not just an amazing singer, she's a performer. As she was singing, I kept thinking back to little Joanna with curly hair and glasses, my favorite camper who sat at my mixed table during meals at camp, and my penpal from High School. She has grown up so much and I'm so proud of who she's become. Joanna, you are beautiful and amazing, and I feel so honored to have such an amazingly talented friend!
(sorry this picture blows. I was all the way in the back!)

When I got home, I got cooking. I made Chinese Chicken and Brocolli, a recipe I saw on (where else) Annie-Eats.

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

1 tbsp. peanut oil, divided
1½ tsp. sesame oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
¼-½ tsp. red pepper flakes
4 cups broccoli florets
6 tbsp. chicken broth, divided
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
4 tbsp. soy sauce
1½ tsp. cornstarch
3 scallions, chopped
Heat about half of the peanut oil and the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes and broccoli florets to the pan. Pour in about half of the chicken broth – it should steam and boil quickly. Allow the broccoli to cook until crisp-tender and the broth has mostly evaporated. Add the oyster sauce and hoisin sauce to the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and cornstarch, and add to the pan. Stir in the remaining chicken broth. Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions. Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.
I served this with Teriyaki Rice with scallions. This was such a tasy dish. I absolutely loved it!

After dinner, we lit the candles and I got my wonderful sugar plum apron. Then I got to work finishing up the Chrismakkah cards. (Notice I still haven't taken the apron off).
On yesterdays post, I talked about my plan for the week with working out and dinners. I love this time of the year : )

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter has arrived...

On Wednesday night, I made a dish that I saw on Annie-Eats that looked good. Black Beans, Rice, Chicken and spice, what could be bad? I used the ingredients above to make the dish below. :90 microwaveable rice, black beans, chicken broth and spicy tomatos with jalepeno.
Jalepeno Chicken and Rice with Black Beans
Adapted from Elly Says Opa, originally from Mexican Everyday by Rick

2 tbsp. canola oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 halves
2.5 tbsp. chili powder, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package microwavable rice
1 can of tomatoes with jalepeno
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1Ž4 cup green onions, chopped (or 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro)
1Ž2-1 cup salsa, for serving

Heat the oil in large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season both sides of
the chicken breast halves with salt and sprinkle with half of the chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible. Add the onion and rice to the pot. Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining chili powder to the pot. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the chicken broth and salt to taste. Stir well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to
a simmer on medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces and add them to the pot along with the beans. Recover the pot and allow to cook 12 minutes longer. Sprinkle the green onions on top of the chicken, beans and rice.

I also made a cake with chocolate chips and oatmeal. These were tasty.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cake
Adapted from I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers, Dinner and Dessert @ wordpress

8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 ¾ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup quick oats
1 ¾ cups boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, whisked together
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13×9x2-inch nonstick baking pan with ½ tablespoon of the melted butter (I just used PAM). Dust the pan with the tablespoon of flour and shake out any excess. In a sifter, combine the remaining 1 ¾ cups flour, the cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Sift onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper. Place the oats in a large heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oats and let stand for 10 minutes before adding the sugars, eggs, and remaining 8 tablespoons melted butter. Stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Add the dry ingredients, and use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients until combined. Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Combine the remaining ½ cup chocolate chips and the walnuts in a small bowl. Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts over the top of the batter.Bake on the center rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking time. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 20 minutes at room temperature. Gently turn the cake out onto a cutting board, then turn the cake chocolate chip-nut topping side up (this is easier if you use a utility turner or wide spatula). Cool for an additional 10 minutes before serving.
Friday night I made vegetable quesidillas with pretty much whatever vegetable I had left in the fridge. I sauteed onions, red pepper, green onions, tomatoes and brocollini. Then I took that off the heat and threw in my flour tortillas into the hot skillet. I put a handful of the veggies on one side, added some shredded monterey jack cheese, and folder the empty half over the full half. After a few minutes I flipped. I repeated this process 4 times. I also made Kale Chips and roasted Brocollini. I also heated up some Organic Tomato Soup I got at Whole Foods.
close up look- mmm cheesy! Great quick meal!

Last night was also the first night of Hanukkah and we actually remembered to light the candles!HAPPY HANUKKAH!!!
I started off today with a nice run with Nancy. We ran just short of 6 miles and I felt great. No real pain at all. We finished the run at 9:05 pace which is perfect-- I'm getting faster. It was FREEZING this morning though!
Here's the workouts I did so far this week:
Monday: Physical Therapy
Tuesday: Ran 4 miles, lifted legs
Wednesday: Ran 3 miles
Thursday: Muscle Conditioning
Friday: off
Saturday: 5.75 miles outside
Sunday: (Hopeful to run 5 miles with a new Running Club)
Possible Mileage for the week: 17.75 (baby steps)

Just got back from grocery shopping too.
Here is the menu for the week:
Sunday: Chinese Chicken and Brocolli (didn't make this last week)
Monday: Grilled Portobellos Stuffed with Turkey Sausage, Spinach and Mozzerela & Sausage Spinach Shells
Tuesday: Pork Tenderloin with Parsnips/Potato Puree
Wed: Meatless Meatloaf (from Peas and Thank you)
Thurs: Work Holliday Party
Fri: Leftovers

I also plan on making lasagna for my department Christmas party on Monday. Lot of cooking on the plan for tomorrow!

We are going to leave in a minute and head up to the North End. My BFF is moving into a new apartment so we are going to get dinner and visit. Can't wait!