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!

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!

    Monday’s Eats + Sore Feet.

    Okay, I know, the title probably doesn’t make you want to eat, after reading feet, but I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

    Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in the city. Sunny, sunny with more sunny. Waking up on a sunny day just makes you want to spend it outside. I had a cup of coffee, leftover Kodiak Blueberry Pancakes with a little Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, some banana, Agave Syrup + some Chia Seeds on top.

    Perfect fuel for a long walk around the city to get a little exploring in/ figure out where everything is. 🙂

    I ended up trekking over 4 miles around the city. It felt good to move my legs, take in the Pacific Ocean air, and to see the amazing new city I am living in!

    The walk was also a good idea since my foot has had some serious arch cramping since driving across the country. I have extremely flat feet and really need to do something about finding some running shoes that have better arch support. I  mean, my foot cramping from using the gas pedal for 5 days (even if it was all day) clearly indicates I need something to help me out!

    The walk definitely help. As did the random arch stretching I did while on the walk.

    Any arch supporting shoe recommendations out there? Overall, it was a nice long walk that really help me get a little more familiar with my city. And I only had to look at my iPhone map once or twice.

    After my walk, and since I do not have a gym to use currently, I came back home and threw in Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred into the DVD player and did Level 1.

    I’ve started this DVD a few times, and never get past doing it a few times in a row. Since I have no gym, I think Jillian might have to be my trainer for the next few weeks. So I am hoping to actually do this thing at least 5 times a week. Have you ever tried it? Thoughts?

    After my walk + Jillian I had worked up quite the appetite, and whipped together a big salad.

    In the mix: romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, carrots, Trader Joe’s Roasted Chicken Patty, a sprinkle of cheddar + a little Light Champagne Vinaigrette from TJ’s as well. It hit the stop. I have missed homemade salads. Homemade everything for that matter, after all those Subway sandwiches last week! (Just writing Subway makes me go blah!)

    After lunch I got to work getting things organized. While I have a very, very good lead on a job with an in person interview for it next week, I do not want to place all my eggs in one basket, so I spent the afternoon looking for jobs which I will apply for today! I also did a few other tasks that I needed to get done, and while typing away, eventually snacked on a Mojo Bar my mother bought a Costco pack of on Sunday.

    This one was pretty tasty. Definitely good for someone with a sweet tooth, which for me is some days true, some days not.

    Oh and I might have been doing all this work while watching the first season (not in its entirety…yet) of Sex and the City. The entire series is in this apartment. This could be a good or a bad thing, but as long as I am productive, then it can stay on… right?!

    For dinner, I had a chicken that needed to be roasted, so I did a little research, and decided to make a Roast Chicken with Lemon + Thyme. I also decided to take a few more pictures while making it, in case you guys were interested. What I love about this recipe is its simple ingredients that create a delicious, fresh flavor. I have been all about fresh tasting food lately, haven’t I?

    Roast Chicken with Lemon + Thyme
    Adapted from Epicurious.com 

    Ingredients:

    • 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    • 1 7-pound roasting chicken
    • 1 lemon, quartered

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl.

    Rinse chicken; pat dry.

    Place chicken in roasting pan. Rub all but 1 tablespoon garlic-thyme oil over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place lemon in cavity of chicken.

    Roast chicken 20 minutes at 450°F. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Roast chicken until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of inner thigh registers 180°F, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

    Let chicken sit for several minutes + enjoy.

    I served the chicken with a little brown rice + roasted asparagus on the side. It was a perfectly fresh, delicious and simple meal. The only downside is the length of time it takes to cook the chicken, but it is well worth it. Trust me.

    This was actually way too much chicken for me to eat, so I only ended up eating about half, but I am terrible at cutting chicken off a whole bird… this girl needs lessons stat! Overall, it was a great first Monday in San Francisco!

    Have you ever roasted a chicken? What are some of your favorite recipes? And don’t forget, if you have any suggestions for running shoes with good arch support please let me know! 

    Fresh Eggplant Lasagna.

    Last night for dinner I was craving lots of vegetables and a delicious, home cooked meal. For some reason the idea of an eggplant lasagna popped into my head and after an idea pops into my head, well I have to follow through. (Did you forget, I am in California?! Case in point.) I wanted a really fresh, stocked full of vegetables eggplant lasagna though, not just your ordinary eggplant lasagna, so I did a little research and ended up putting a few twists on a few recipes I found to create the following dish.

    Fresh Eggplant Lasagna
    A Broccolini + Cheese recipe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, thinly sliced
    • vegetable spray
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1 chopped shallot
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 16 ounces sliced mushrooms
    • 1 bell pepper
    • 4 cups spinach
    • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
    • 1 jar (16 ounces) spaghetti sauce
    • 1 can (8 ounces) diced tomatoes
    • 8 ounces ricotta cheese, fat free
    • 6 ounces shredded part skim fresh mozzarella cheese
    • Variety of herbs, salt + pepper to taste

    Directions:

    In large nonstick skillet sprayed with vegetable spray, quickly brown eggplant slices; set aside. In the same skillet in hot olive oil, saute onion, shallot and garlic for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add bell pepper, mushrooms and spinach; cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes or until mushrooms and bell pepper are tender. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling salted water. Combine ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Combine tomato sauce, spices, and diced tomatoes. Into a baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the sauce. Arrange three alternate layers of lasagna noodles, vegetable mixture, eggplant slices, cheese and sauce. Bake eggplant lasagna at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes or until heated through. Enjoy.

    This was the first time I have made this, but it was delicious. As fresh as I wanted, plus lots of veggies, healthy carbs, and low fat cheese. I highly recommend it for a Fall night in.