Another Gorgeous Weekend.

Don’t quote me, but I am almost pretty sure that when you are job searching weekends are even better than when you are working. While working can be stressful, searching for a job may be even more stressful, so I have been really looking forward to the weekends, and last weekend did not disappoint.

Friday night was all about my favorite thing, (like you all don’t know,) food. My sister, a few new friends and I headed down to Fort Mason Center to check out Off the Grid. Off the Grid is a roaming food festival of sort that makes its way around the Bay Area. Off the Grid brings a ton of food trucks and tents all together giving you delicious, local food choices.

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It was a gorgeous night, with a gorgeous sunset, oh and let me tell you, the food did not disappoint. I only brought my old iPhone (did I mention I got the 4S? I love it!) so there was no flash and by the time we sat down to eat, it was too dark to take pictures. My sister and I decided to share a few things as to get the most bang for our buck stomachs. We ordered empanadas (mushroom & beef) from El Portenos’ Empanadas, baked Chinese buns (pork & tofu) from the Chairman Bao Truck and a lemon grass chicken bahn mi from the Nom Nom Truck.

Everything was so good. We sat in the park, popped a bottle of bubbly (because why not,) and chowed down. My favorite was the pork bun and the bahn mi, which I actually did snap a picture of because we ended up eating it the next day – we were too full! There was so much other food I would have love to try (curry burritos, what?!) so I suppose I’ll have to go back.

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Afterwards we headed home, drank a little more wine, and turned in for the night, because on Saturday we were up bright & early heading to Napa for a Harvest Party! Since we got to Napa a little early, we stopped at Elizabeth Spencer’s for a quick tasting.

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They have an indoor tasting room but the outside is so much better. It’s a little garden courtyard with big couches and umbrellas, and since the weather was perfection, we sat outside and basked in the sun with our sips of wine.

After the tasting we headed next door to the St Helena Olive Oil Co to do a little perusing.

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The store is so quaint and cute, but the best part is that you can sample everything! From olive oils infused with everything you can imagine, to honey and jam. I could have left with everything, but instead I was good and left empty handed – I will certainly return though, and hopefully pick up some treats!

After tasting and perusing we headed to the Harvest Party. While I can’t disclose the location, it’s where my sister is getting married next summer, I can say it was such a fun event.

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The event obviously had wine tasting, fantastic food, and spectacular views. We had a big group, eight of us, so it made it even more fun chatting about ideas for my sister’s wedding, deciding which wines we like, and enjoying the good company. And the good food of course.

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I clearly couldn’t eat all of this, but I had to try all of it. From salmon to chicken, fresh grilled vegetables, tasty bread and mozzarella, everything was amazing. And did I mention how gorgeous the weather was?

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Sunday was all about rest and recuperation. It was a long day in the sun with wine, why can I say. Smile

On the books for this week: applying to 1,654,987 jobs today and Tuesday. And then on Wednesday heading to LA for an extra long weekend with a bunch of friends from college, complete with a big college alumni event on Saturday.

How was your weekend? Looking forward to anything this week?!

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Cold & Hot.

For the past few days, I have been fighting a cold. But between Fleet Weekend (which was so much fun) dog sitting (a big, fluffy standard poodle) & job hunting (which is seriously a full-time job,) I have been too busy to even realize I wasn’t feeling good in the first place. I hate colds and I hate being sick. Not that anyone likes being sick, but I especially hate it, because I don’t really know how to be sick. I tend to ignore the fact that I am not feeling well until its too late.

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Even though I am bad at recognizing that I have a cold, I have the perfect recipe to fight it: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Hot to fight cold? Seems to make sense right? I have been living off this since yesterday and am already less congested and am feeling a little bit better.

Chicken Noodle Soup
From my mother’s kitchen to yours.

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 chicken breast halves
  • 1-2 leeks (cleaned and sliced thinly)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Kale
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger minced (more if you want a kick)
  • 2-boxes of chicken stock
  • Noodles (your choice)

Directions:

Clean chicken breast with cold water removing skin and excess fat.  Place in stock pot and add stock.  Add 1 cup of water.  Add remaining ingredients except the noodles.  Bring to a boil and then cover and lower heat to a simmer for at least 1 hour. Enjoy!

Notes:

The longer you simmer, the better it is! I usually make Whole Wheat “No Yolk Noodles” on the side and just add them at the end so that they don’t fall apart, although this time I forgot them and just added mini bowtie pasta that I had in the cupboard.

This is the best soup for when you are sick. It warms you up, provides a ton of nutrients and most importantly tastes amazing.

I have been applying for jobs up a storm, and have told myself that job applications are my priority right now over blogging. PLUS, I have something new I am going to tell you about soon which I have been working on, which I am really excited about, so that has been taking some time as well.

So hold tight, and I promise to not be as much as a stranger. Hopefully I have a job and feel better soon, soon, soon!

Fall in a Bowl.

Yesterday for breakfast, I ate fall in a bowl. For the past month or so I have see pumpkin oats all around on this blog or that. And for the past month or so I have been meaning to pick up a can of pumpkin puree. Well, on Sunday I finally remembered and picked up a can from Trader Joe’s. Since I missed breakfast on Monday, it was clear that I wasn’t about to miss it again yesterday, I mean it is the most important meal of the day, not to mention, I had some pumpkin oats to try!

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Try I did and they were fantastic. At first I thought I had put too much pumpkin and water in the oats I was making. I threw some chia seeds in the mix too help soak some of the liquid up, put in it the microwave for just a little longer than normal, and the crisis was averted. I topped my oats with some fresh blueberries and some agave sweetener (my new obsession) and a little piece of fall was mine for breakfast. (Don’t worry, plenty of fall to go around. Winking smile)

Lunch was another chicken patty from Trader Joe’s (clearly obsessed with these too,) on a Whole Wheat Bagel Thin with spicy hummus, red onion, cucumbers and spinach plus some carrots on the side. Another winning meal, if I do say so myself.

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Dinner’s inspiration was care of my go to blog for healthy recipes, SkinnyTaste. If you’ve never been on the site, go now! It’s great, super easy to search, and has all the nutritional information you need.

I made Chicken + Mushrooms in a Garlic White Wine Sauce, and it turned out great. The only steps I did differently was skip the flour and butter. I paired the chicken with whole wheat cous cous and a big salad on the side.

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Overall, a pretty yummy day for food. I also had a hard boiled egg in there after my workout in the afternoon.

Speaking of workouts, yesterday I decided to start a Couch to 10K program. The first workout was a little easy, so I think I am going to try the second week, workout one and see if that’s better. I figured that even though I’m not starting from the couch per se, I am starting outside and in a city with a lot of hills. The program is on my iPhone, so it tells you want to walk or run, and no matter where I was on my route, I would run when it said. Sometimes this was up some freaking steep hills (good for the booty!) but it was still a bit too easy for me. So I’m just going to do the first day of each week until I get to a week that I find challenging. Then I will complete the week (3 runs per week.) I may do more than 3 runs a week, I may not. I am just going to go at a pace that comfortable to me, yet challenging at the same time.

I’m frustrated with my fitness improvements over the time I started this blog till now. While I have had lots of big changes since I started the goal of becoming a runner, I really have no excuse now. That being said, I know me, and I know I can over do it. So I am going to try and listen to my body, push myself in a good way, and see where I end up. I am looking for a race to sign up for in the near future, but what to get a few weeks in of running in this new city before I commit myself. I also want to wait a few weeks, because I have decided to go to a Team in Training informational meeting in a few weeks to see if that is the way I want to train. I think running with a team would be so motivational for me. It’s always just been me with my running, and running alone, or going to a race, alone, just seems so depressing to me sometimes. I am trying to convince my sister to go with me, and run with me, so we shall see.

I am sure some of you have been a part of Team in Training. Do you recommend it? Also, San Francisco/Bay Area runners, where do you like to run? I need to get my booty moving, so any information you have, I would love to hear!

Speaking of getting my booty moving, I am out the door to get a workout in! Have a happy hump day!

Crockpot Productivity.

Yesterday, I was actually productive. And it was all thanks to a crockpot. Okay, not really, but there was something about starting dinner before noon that really allowed me to be more productive throughout the day. More on my crockpot efforts in a minute. In fact so productive in the morning that it was 11am and I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet!!

I get somewhat confused when I don’t eat breakfast. I love breakfast. But for some reason yesterday I poured my coffee, sat down on my computer to catch up on emails and peruse job boards, and all of a sudden it was 11am! I finished up what I was doing and was eating lunch by 11:45. A lunch fit for a queen! Or just a big salad, you decided.

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Romaine, red onion, carrots, cucumber + TJ Roasted Chicken Patty, with a little TJ Light Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing drizzled on top. So delicious. If you haven’t tried the Roasted Chicken Patties you are seriously missing out. I love them.

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They are perfect for lunch, and beat cold cuts anytime in my humble opinion. I also had a peach on the side after my salad. It was okay, but I am afraid peach season has left the building.

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After lunch, I got back to the computer to get back to work. They say finding a new job is a full time job and they are correct! There are so many different job boards to go through. Any suggestions out there on good places to look in the Bay Area? I’d love to know!

Since I didn’t eat breakfast my salad held me over until around 3pm when my stomach told me I was in need of a little snack. I decided to boil some eggs so that I’d have some snacks for the rest of the week as well.

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They turned out perfect. No green around the shell. Perfect. And delicious. I loved that it was still a little warm while I was eating it. The perfect snack. Okay, I am done saying perfect. Smile

After my snack it was time for a walk in the rain. I was planning on going for a run, but it was raining and I just received my new running shoes yesterday (Asic Gels!) so I didn’t want to try them out for the first time in the rain. I threw on my Hunters, grabbed an umbrella and took Oliver out for a brisk 30 minute walk. I would have gone longer, but it was all I can take. The rain was just so, well, wet! I was thinking about joining a gym, but I really think I should wait until I have a reliable income. You know, do the responsible thing. (I hate doing the responsible thing!) So I will hit the pavement today and begin working out, outside. Some people hate the treadmill, but it was always just so convenient for me. Maybe that was the problem? Maybe I need more of a challenge. I’ll keep you updated.

After the cold, rainy walk, a hot dinner sounded great. A hot dinner that was conveniently waiting in the crockpot for me. After dinner at The Slanted Door on Friday, I decided I should try to make my own Asian Pork. I looked around for crock pot recipes and found one that looked great to adapt.

Crock Pot Asian Pork Roast
Adapted from Food.Com

Yield: 9-12 Servings

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Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (2-3 lb) boneless whole pork loin roast
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup agave sweetener
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Directions:

  • Place onions in a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, salt and pepper. Cut roast in half; rub with garlic mixture. Put roast in the slow cooker and add bay leaves.

  • In a small bowl, combine hot water and honey; stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and cloves. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160°F.

  • Remove meat and onions from slow cooker; keep warm. Discard bay leaves. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Gradually stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until thickened, stirring twice.

  • Slice pork; top with onions, sauce and sesame seeds. Serve with mixed sautéed vegetables such as bok choy, mushrooms + zucchini (I mixed the onions into this.)

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    I think this really turned out quite nice. There was a little heat, it was a little sweet, and the veggies on the bottom really worked well with the pork. I’d definitely make this dish again.

    I am off to go for a run. Well, let’s be honest, probable a walk/run combo. Need to start out slow with all these hills!

    Go Time + Stuffed Peppers.

    Good morning everyone + Happy Monday! This week for me is all about one this: being productive! I had my week off to get settled, but this week its go time. I am setting up interviews, applying for every single job I find and getting my butt moving by picking up my workouts and run, and really watching what I eat (and drink) for the next few weeks. It is go time. Time to set myself up for an awesome  new chapter of my life here in San Francisco. Time to get back in the game. Because let’s face it, the last few months I’ve been in limbo, and it’s time to move on to bigger and better things! And let me tell you all, I am more than ready. More than ready.

    After a weekend of indulgence, last night for dinner was all about balance. The weekend before last I bought a huge bag of bell peppers at Costco, only to come home and find a bag of them already in the refrigerator. Needless to say, I had a lot of peppers to use! Since I still had six left last night, I decided that stuffed peppers were a perfect way to use some of those up. Three to be exact!

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    Stuffed peppers are really easy to make, seriously! Just pick you favorite ground meat or sausage, your favorite vegetables and your favorite grain, and you are ready to make stuffed peppers. Last night I browned, sautéed and then mixed together:

    • Chicken Sausage, 1 pound
    • Mushrooms, 4 ounces
    • Onion, half
    • Garlic, 6 gloves
    • Spinach, 3 big handfuls
    • Diced Tomatoes, 1 can
    • Brown Rice, 1 cup cooked
    • Italian Spice Mix, 1 Tbsp
    • Salt + Pepper, to taste

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    Afterward your mix is ready, slice the peppers in half, remove the seeds and stuff. Place in a baking dish with a bit of chicken broth or veggie brown about an 1/8th of an inch high, cover with tin foil, and bake at 400 degrees of 35 minutes. Sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and voila!

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    The steam was fogging up my camera, but these little treats were delicious! I love making meals on Sunday nights that can be used for leftovers during the week for lunch or a lazy dinner. Normally, I see recipes for stuffed peppers that use cumin or other Mexican-esque or Spanish spices, but this time I decided to go for a more Italian feel, and it worked!

    I am now patiently waiting for my new running shoes to come in, that will hopefully have more arch support than my current ones, and then I will be out for my first run in San Francisco! (Hopefully the rain stays away!)

    I’ve got a lot to do, so I’ve got to go! Be back later! Hope no one is having a case of the Mondays!