>RIP Bird Rock Pizza

>
So last night, Sunday night, was one of those nights where I just knew I wasn’t going to cook anything for dinner. A grilled cheese seemed like too much effort. That kind of night. So when Adam suggested pizza, I jumped all over that.

I quickly picked up my phone, navigated to our favorite pizza joint online to get the number, and was shocked to see that it had a notice on their site that they had unexpectedly closed down. Whaaaaaaaaaaa?

I’m not kidding when I say this was the best pizza in town. Light, thin-ish crust, perfect amount of toppings, not too much cheese, a nice spicy marinara. These pizzas were a thing of beauty. And it was tucked away in Bird Rock, one of my favorite little neighborhoods.

Bummer.

Woodstocks has now been promoted to number 1 for our go-to quick pizza delivery/pick – up.

>San Diego is the Bee’s Knees

>While the East Coast was bracing for another storm, icy weather, and general coldness, I was at the beach, in a swimsuit, basking in the sun. I’m not bragging, I’m just saying – San Diego, you rock.

Apart from my visit to the beach, it was a lovely weekend. Nothing too crazy, just a relaxing weekend. (There was an adventure on Saturday night trying to find a bar to play some pool. 4 bars later we gave up. But not without a few beers…) The weekend was capped off with a delicious dinner: Roasted Chicken. Adam had been craving it for a while, and I felt like cooking dinner instead of picking something up so chicken it was. If you don’t know how to do this, you are missing out. It’s economical, delicious and most of all – EASY. Add some cut up vegetables, and it’s a one dish meal.

I was able to pick up this beauty at Trader Joes late Sunday afternoon.

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5 lb free range organic chicken

Yah, it might not look like much, but with a few ingredients and an hour in the oven this sucker will look and smell unbelievable.

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Ready for a date with some 450 degree weather 😉

Roasted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb roaster chicken
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 head of garlic with the top cut off (as if you were going to roast the garlic)
  • sea salt, pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash and pat completely dry (inside the cavity too) the chicken. Make sure it’s as dry as possible so that it won’t steam when you cook it. When dry, “truss” the chicken by tying the legs together up over the chicken breast. (Youtube is awesome for learning these things).
  3. Take about a palm-full of Sea Salt (or about a Tablespoon + a little) and generously sprinkle over the entire chicken. Add a little to the inside of the cavity. Seriously, be generous here. You want to be able to see the layer of salt on the chicken,
  4. Stuff the chicken cavity with the rosemary, garlic and the lemon (cut into quarters).
  5. Put in the oven and let sit for about 50-60 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and lit sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

That’s it. It’s so simple, no-fuss and it smells and tastes out of this world. You will never buy a precooked rotisserie chicken after this.

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Yes Please!

I was feeling extra lazy so I cut up some carrots and red onion and added some fingerling potatoes and put them in the pan to cook with the chicken. The juice from the chicken seasons it all very nicely, and the potatoes come out moist and flavorful. Also, since I had a 5lb chicken I left it in the oven for an extra 30 minutes.

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Gus, one of Adam’s roommates staring longingly at the chicken.

>Little Italy for Non-Italian food

>I love working in Little Italy (San Diego). The views of both the harbor and Downtown are hard to beat. It’s lively, photogenic, there are great neighborhood markets and it always smells good (aka like pizza). There are also lots of Italians. I love listening to people walking down the street speaking Italian, in California.

The food though, meh. It’s the typical touristy- Italian fare. However, lately there have been a few non-Italian places that have been popping up. Craft and Commerce? LOVE IT! But that’s for a later post…

But my real lunch-time lover, without a doubt is Burger Lounge. I die. All-Natural. Grass Fed. Insanely good. I know it might not look like much, but that salad up there is the BOMB. I have never had a vegetarian burger that was so flavorful, moist (without falling apart) and filling. The salad is pretty darn tasty too- lots of lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, red onion, sliced jicama, corn, aged ricotta and a light basil lemon vinaigrette. YUM!

I have much love for Burger Lounge.

>Friday Eve and It Feels So Good

>I’ve got to say, this week has not been bad. But something about it has just been blah. And I’ve been eagerly anticipating the weekend since 8AM Monday morning. Maybe it’s because I had such a lovely weekend last weekend and I’m anticipating something similar for this upcoming weekend. Hmm….

Last night I finally got around to watching The Wrestler. Man! It was definitely not a feel-good movie, and at times it was downright uncomfortable to watch, but it was great. I’ve been wanting to watch it for a long time, and I was not disappointed.

But before movie night, the Man Friend and I made a semi-Mexican feast. It was awesome! Steak! Guac! Barbecued green onions! Stuffed poblano peppers! You know I went to town on the guac…

Take a look suckers:

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Guacamole. I’m not exaggerating by saying I could eat this every day.

Before: Steak seasoned with lime, garlic and chili powder
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After:
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Try not to lick the screen.

Action shot!
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The Man Friend got a new ceramic knife for Christmas. I’m not jealous.

Stuffed poblanos with goat cheese, rice, corn and black beans. Also sprinkled with Cotija cheese.
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Next time I’m adding more cheese.

There are Green Onions Hiding in this picture.
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Olive Oil + Salt + Pepper makes everything taste better 🙂

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Not pictured? Several bottles of Tecate with lime.

All in all? Not a bad way to spend a quiet Wednesday night.

Tonight? Participating in San Diego’s Restaurant Week. We have reservations at Bankers Hill Bar and Restaurant. Excited, I am.

>Somebody’s Got a Case of the Mondays

>After such a lovely weekend, sometimes it’s hard to get back into work mode. This was one of those days. Did I mention it was in the high 70’s this weekend? I love San Diego.

So after spending a weekend by the pool, by the beach and generally, outside I was a bit of a crankypants this morning. I suffered through it, tried to perk myself up with a quick breakfast smoothie. It kind of helped…

Then made it to work. Started at my computer for a good 10 minutes and decided, it was time to be a grown-up and get some work done.

I woke up early enough to make a quick salad with lots o’ hummus. It was meh. Not that it didn’t taste good, I just wasn’t feeling it.

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I got no love for salad today.

Maybe it’s because last night, the Man Friend and I made a seriously scrumptious supper. (I never say supper, but I couldn’t resist…sssss)

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Barbecued Pork loin, french baguette (oil and vinegar out of the picture for dipping), a fresh salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and a few slices of smoked dutch cheddar. Now that’s a dinner.

Now to make it through the next few hours…. sigh 😉

>Poser Chili

That’s right. I’m a poser. I pretend to make gourmet, rustic meals from scratch. But really? I opened up a few cans, simmered them together in a pot and 2o minutes later – Poser Chili. (Name courtesy of Adam. I love it.)

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Seriously flavorful. Seriously easy.Poser Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or jar Marinara sauce (I used 1 can of Trader Joe’s Tuscano Marinara)
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 jar salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Double Roasted salsa)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp basil, dried
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a medium saute pan over medium, add a little olive oil and cook ground turkey. I seasoned the turkey in the pan with the basil, salt and pepper. Cook until done. Drain any excess oil/juice and set aside.
  2. Drain the corn and black beans.
  3. Mix the corn, black beans, marina, salsa and spices in one pot and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the cooked turkey and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with warm crusty bread (and a glass of vino!)
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The Boo and I enjoyed with a side salad and toasted sourdough bread. I think this will be a regular dinner from now on. The great thing is it is easily adaptable. I think next time I might add some diced jalepeno.

It was the perfect accompaniment to an evening at home catching up on episodes of Modern Family (I LOVE THIS SHOW) and Parks and Recreation (I wish more people would watch this show, it’s sooo funny).

>What Did I Just Sign Up For?

>Yesterday I bit the bullet and committed to doing this. The SoCal Ragnar Relay. (Dun! Dun! DUN!!!) People, I have not properly run in months. MONTHS. And now, in about 3 months I’m going to run about 16 miles in 48 hours. I can do this.

Training starts today. After work. I woke up late.

And because I woke up late, this was my breakfast:

An Aple Cinnamon Nut Kind Bar.

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Double Espresso shot with a dab of steamed milk (2%) and a splenda
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I also had half of a somewhat frozen (my refrigerator stinks) grapefruit.

Now, I LOVE Kind Bars. They taste delicious, and they keep me satiated for quite a while. And now that the Starbucks around the corner carries them, they’re ultra-convenient. Still, this isn’t exactly the most nutritious, energy-providing breakfast.

I have to do better than this. Luckily I do have some leftover eggplant parmesan, an orange, lots of almonds, some greek yogurt and an apple in the refrigerator at work (this refrigerator does not stink…it does not freeze my supposed to be unfrozen food). But looking at that list, I see that I’m definitely lacking protein and good fat. I think this is going to be something that I have to work on. In the past few months I’ve noticed I’ve been an all-or-nothing girl. It’s salad and yogurt all day or pizza and wings with the Boo. I don’t like this.

I’m definitely going to have to make some changes.

I didn’t go running last night, since I left work a little late and it was pretty dark outside. BUT, I did do this:

shape bikini ready fast

For a quick 30 minute video, this got my heart pumping! I think I’m going to try to incorporate this into my workout this 2-3 times a week. After all, beach weather is literally just around the corner. I say this as I think of my sister snowed in at home in Atlanta for her 3rd day… Did I mention it will be almost 70 degrees today here in San Diego?

>1.11.11

>That’s a lot of 1s! Hopefully this signifies that it is going to be a champion (I’m number 1!) kind of day. We shall see….

I’ve noticed lately that there is a lot of negative energy surrounding New Years Resolutions. I think I understand this. So often we make these ridiculous checklists of things we resolve to do this year, and by the middle of January we’ve abandoned them. And thus, New Years Resolutions are seen as pointless, unattainable, lofty, unrealistic.

Personally, I love them. I think in our society there is a lot of focus on improving ourselves. Wander through a Borders bookstore for 5 minutes and you’ll be confronted with self-help books on every table. As a society, we have the luxury of much free time (most of us are not spending our days scavenging or hunting for food, putting in a full day of hard labor, etc) . And much of that free time is spent on our favorite subject – us! Look at me – I am writing a blog about myself. I read blogs about other people. I watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (a whole other post) about a bunch of privileged women. I spend most of my time either thinking about myself or listening to what others think of themselves.

So I tend to look at New Years Resolutions as just a convenient time to take yet another look at ourselves. The timing doesn’t really seem all that peculiar either. It’s the start of a new year. We love new beginnings! We love closure! Of course we’re going to look back at the year that just passed us by, evaluate and move on to the next one.

So hey, if you hate New Years Resolutions, I understand. But humor me, will ya?

My quick, I didn’t have to time to eat breakfast at home but luckily I’ve got some treats at work, breakfast:

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Greek Yogurt with Kashi Go Lean, frozen blueberries and blackberries. Starbucks Nonfat Misto to accompany. I’ve been on a tea kick lately, but today, because I’m a champion I went for the good stuff 😉

Mixed in:

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So pretty and swirly…

Hope you’re day is a champion day!

>Parm Heaven

>This weekend I decided to do some experimenting. At Christmas dinner, one of my favorite dishes was one that our dear family friends had brought over. It was the most delicious Eggplant Parmesan I have ever had the pleasure of eating. It was both flavorful and relatively healthy. Most recipes I have seen for Eggplant Parm call for frying the eggplant slices and heaping on the mozzarella and ricotta cheese. This recipe makes some healthier choices without sacrificing any of the flavor.

Since then, I’ve been counting down the days until I could try my own version. Luckily, I found myself with some extra time this past Saturday. After a short trip to Trader Joes, I was ready to go.

The Best Eggplant Parmesan You’ve Ever Had (seriously)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggplants, medium size
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup Panko
  • 1 jar of your favorite Marinara Sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • basil, dried
  • 1 cup Nonfat Cottage Cheese
  • 1 cup Part Skim Mozarella, shredded
  • Parmesan, grated
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Canola Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. Preaheat your oven using the Broiler setting.
  2. Slice both eggplants into 1/4″ slices.
  3. In two separate bowls create your dipping station. In the first bowl combine the egg whites and water and whisk together to mix. In the second bowl add the Panko. One by one, take each eggplant slice and dip first into the egg whites and then into the Panko. Make sure to coat both sides in both the egg whites and Panko.
  4. Place the eggplant slices onto two baking trays that have been coated in Canola cooking spray.
  5. Place the baking trays under the broiler. Make sure to keep an eye on them! After about 15 minutes I took the trays out, flipped the slices and put back in for another 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees.
  7. In a casserole dish, spoon a thin layer of marinara sauce into the Casserole. NOTE: I doctored up my marinara sauce by adding garlic and basil (listed in the ingredients above).
  8. On top of the marinara sauce, layer 1/2 of the eggplant in the dish so that the individual slices are overlapping. Add salt and pepper over the eggplant. Cover with more marina sauce.
  9. Combine the cottage cheese and mozzarella into one dish. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the eggplant.
  10. Repeat by adding another layer of eggplant, marinara and cheese.
  11. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the entire dish.
  12. Bake in the oven uncovered for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

Think these suckers can adequately substitute for meat?

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One of the eggplants sliced and waiting for their egg white bath.

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I use my hands to separate the yolks and egg whites. I’m a gangsta.
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The dipping stations! Prepare to get dirty!

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Nice and brown! Be careful – the broiler works fast. I can’t tell you how often I’ve burned bread or veggies by not paying attention….
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One layer down!
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Hello lover!
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The Man Friend, who is skeptical of all things veggie, managed to put some away. It must have been good.

What are your favorite healthy versions of classic recipes?

>Do You Quinoa?

>I love Quinoa. It is one of the staples of my kitchen. The reason being is that it so versatile and it’s a complete protein. Now I love me a good bowl of pasta or rice, but this is just as easy to make and much more nutrient-packed.

If you haven’t yet tried Quinoa, you should definitely give it a shot.


Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
Quinoa (1 cup dry)
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
2 Cups Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 Large Red Bell Pepper (or 1 small pepper), Cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Carrots, sliced into 1-inch coins
1 zucchini, sliced into 1-inch pieces ( I like half moons – slice the zucchini lengthwise and then cut into 1 inch pieces)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and Cut all Vegetables and place on a baking pan.
  3. With a light hand, drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables. Add salt and pepper (and any other seasoning you might prefer) and toss to make sure that the olive oil and seasoning evenly coats the vegetables.
  4. Place in the oven to cook for 40 minutes. Tossing the vegetables about half-way through so they cook evenly.
  5. Meanwhile (I wait about 20 minutes after I have started cooking the vegetables) rinse the Quinoa and cook according to directions. I make about a cup’s worth of Quinoa (dry) so that I’ll have leftovers.
  6. Combine the Quinoa and Vegetables into one platter and enjoy!

It’s that simple! This recipe can be amended to whatever you happen to have handy. I sometimes like to add a little lemon juice or lemon pepper to give it all a little kick. Also, the individual amounts of vegetables that I include are estimates. I try to keep them balanced, but if you like some vegetables over another or happen to have extra of something by all means adjust the recipe!


Isn’t it Pretty?