30 Days Of Gratitude: Day 10

Ahoy! Did you know that today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Thanks to Facebook, I do! Personally, I prefer National Tequila Day. But that’s just me ūüėČ

Today I am grateful for:

  • My dad. He calls me just about every.single.day. And I love it. As the father to two pre-teen girls (sorry bro, but you’re not involved in this story), I can’t even begin to count the times he had to listen to the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing and Grease. It was a lot. And he always maintained a smile. Today, I’m lucky enough that his love of sailing brings him to San Diego several times a year, so I definitely get to hang out with my dad a lot. And that’s definitely something to be grateful for.
  • Cheese! I know….the other day it was pepperoncini and today it’s cheese. Can you tell that I think with my tummy? Right now I’m snacking on some smoked gouda, manchego, and feta. Mmmmmm. It’s a well-known fact among my friends that if you should ever just happen upon my house, I will have at least 4 cheeses in my fridge just waiting to be snacked on.

A typical night of snacking

  • Facebook. I know, it’s annoying and people over-share and post ridiculous things; but I am grateful for it nonetheless. Because of it, I get to see pictures of my friends, their babies, their pets, and the yummy food they eat (hehe). It’s an easy way to catch up with a wide net of people at the click of a button. If you ever wonder if anyone is looking at the 107th picture you posted of your baby eating his first bowl of blueberries, know that I am!

So there you go. Hope everyone is having a great Thursday. Also, would love to hear what you all are grateful for. Let’s make gratitude contagious!

Namaste!

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Step Aside Rachael Ray

Because THIS is how you do a healthy, easy 20-minute meal.

I posted the following picture to my Instagram with the caption “staple in my kitchen”:

That is definitely not an exaggeration. Chili garlic sauce is easily one of my favorite pre-made sauces. I put it in dipping sauces, marinades, dressings, etc. and I add it to soups or use it to dip my egg rolls into. I LOVE it. And tonight it was the showcase of my dinner. Twenty minutes is all it took to send me to chili garlic sauce heaven.

In this dinner, it is all about the sauce. I will be eating this dinner at least once a week from now on. I’m not even slightly joking. I’m already anxiously waiting for lunch tomorrow so that I can dive into round 2. I really, really hope that you give this a try!

Easy 20 Minute Garlic Chili Sauce Stir-Fry

Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 large carrot (2 medium carrots), chopped into 1/4 inch coins
  • 1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into small florets (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
  • chili garlic stir fry sauce (see below for recipe)
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, 2 TBSP
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice/pasta per package instructions (this is optional).
  2. In a small/medium sized pot, place both chicken breasts into the bottom of the pot and cover with water (enough water so that there is an extra 1″ inch covering the chicken) and cook over high until boiling. Allow the chicken to boil for 3 minutes and then cover with a lid and remove from the heat. Let the chicken remain in the pot, off the heat, for 15 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, in a large pan over medium-medium high heat add 2 TBSP olive oil. Place all of the vegetables into the saute pan , and add salt and pepper. Allow to cook for approximately 5 min, stirring frequently. After the five minutes, turn down to medium-low heat and cover. Allow vegetables to cook for another 5 minutes (this steams the broccoli nicely).
  4. Once the chicken is done (after the 15 minutes have elapsed) remove from the poaching liquid,season with salt and pepper and chop into bite size pieces.
  5. Add the cooked rice/pasta, chicken and chili garlic stir fry to the sauteed vegetables. Stir to combine and enjoy! You may garnish with some chopped cilantro, if desired.

Chili Garlic Stir Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP chili garlic sauce
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • ground ginger, a dash or two

Directions:

  1. Measure out and combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust ingredient amounts as necessary.
  2. Add to your favorite stir-fry/pasta dish.

Please do yourself a favor and get on this!

 

A quick note: As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been watching my eats the past week or so, so this was a low-carb meal, and while I’m generally not a low-carb person, I had already had my fill for the day and I wanted a light, yet satisfying dinner. So given that, I tried a new item – shirataki noodles. They are a Japanese noodle (found in the refrigerated portion next to the tofu/health foods in my supermarket) made out of a “water soluble dietary fiber” (YUMMM) and are extremely low cal and low carb. I prepared them by rinsing them and running them under extremely hot water for a minute or two and then adding them my stir fry. They don’t really have a taste, and kind of remind me of the noodles you find in Pho. I’m a fan, but the above meal would’ve been equally great with rice or your favorite pasta.

Here’s The Thing

Just a few days ago I was waxing poetic about how I can’t stand all the emails regarding New Years Resolutions and a “new healthy you!” A healthy diet is a lifestyle choice…blah blah blah.

Anyway, a few days later and here I am eating oat bran pancakes for breakfast. The truth is, those holiday pounds have added up! And although I can still fit into all of my clothing, there are a few extra pounds hanging here and there.

So, a few weeks of clean eating, more exercise, lots of water, and listening to those damn emails I spoke of last week are ahead of me.

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Oat bran pancake. Luckily, it tastes like french toast. I can get down with that.

Let’s just all agree that this is not about January/New Years Resolutions and more about the fact that I live in San Diego and bikini season is fast approaching…

P.S. If you are interested in the above “pancake” it’s really easy. It’s 1-1/2 Tbsp oat bran (you can find it in the cereal aisle, next to the Quaker Oats), 1-1/2 Tbsp nonfat greek yogurt, 1 egg, a dash of cinnamon and a dash of sugar/splenda/honey. Mix it together and cook in a pan over medium-medium high heat for approx 2 minutes a side (I just wait until the pancake starts bubbling and flip it). Easy-peasy. PLEASE NOTE: I did not make up this recipe, it’s all over Pinterest/the interwebs.

Buon Anno

As per usual, my New Years Eve and New Years Day celebrations were both marked by the presence of spirits, and an abundance of food.

The evening portion was fairly low-key and spent at a dinner party with several friends. I stuffed myself for the last time in 2012 with baked fish, vegetables, quiche, plenty of cheese, and chased it all down with plenty of good wine and champagne.

The wine and cheese portion of the night.

The day portion was equally lovely. We started with mimosas, bagels, and lox. The day ended with a trip to the movie theater to see Django Unchained* and, what else? More eating. This time Korean BBQ was the choice cuisine.

New Years brunch at the house

As far as the New Year goes, you won’t find me making any resolutions about healthy eating or exercising more frequently – these are things that are always on my mind. But for the last few months,¬† I have been trying to make an effort to be more kind and generous of spirit. I think I shall continue that, and hope that we all, to some extent, try to be kinder and generous to those around us.

korean bbq

Stuffing our faces in Clairmont Mesa

Although, I might make an exception to the above, and add “eat more Korean food.” It is seriously delicious.

Happy New Year friends.

* If you like Tarantino movies then you will LOVE it. I enjoyed it thoroughly –it was wonderfully acted, completely irreverent, heavy at times, and accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack. I should mention that in particular, Christopher Waltz is a complete delight in every scene he’s in. I look forward to watching it again.

Sometimes You Just Need Some Fritos

“Style is the perfection of a point of view” – Richard Eberhart.

Oh my, but I do believe this is true.

Like it or not, we are all judged by our appearances. Luckily (or perhaps not?), this is one of many facets upon which we are judged. This is a roundabout way of saying, I recently stumbled upon a fashion blog that I actually like – Capital Hill Style. I may not be working on the Hill, but I work in the legal field and I don’t want to look like a skank and/or a 20-year old! So this is a breath of fresh air.

Do you know what else is a breath of fresh air? Knowing that Frito Pies are a real thing!

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Oh my word!

I discovered this culinary treasure while in Atlanta, Georgia. It came with mashed potatoes, sauteed greens, beets, a piece of fried chicken, and corn bread. I ate everything. I might prefer my usual fare of grilled chicken and salad, but man, sometimes you just need some food.

Happy Friday everyone!

On The Couch

Because after this

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And this

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Where else would I be?

Happy Labor Day weekend!

The Grass Is Sometimes Greener (On The Other Side of 30)

So far, being 30 has been downright swell. Things kicked off nicely with a night out in Little Italy, followed by a night out in La Jolla with too much beer and just enough pool, a birthday bash, and finally a trip to Mission Viejo for a Fantasy Football Draft.

Two days have passed since the weekend, and I’m still utterly exhausted. But content. And that can’t ever be bad.

I have some recipes to share, but today I just feel like posting some pictures from my birthday party. I had some amazing friends show up, and some even more amazing friends show up and help (I’m looking at you Adam, Scott, Trevor, Brynne and family!)

In case you can’t tell, there was a Roaring Twenties theme to the night. The music was swinging, the champagne was popping, and the ladies and gents were dressed to the nines. It was an incredibly fun evening (and early morning).

Who doesn’t love a good mustache?

So.Much.Food.

Cream puffs, drunken cherry brownies.

Chocolate cupcakes with espresso frosting. Amazing.

Pomegranite Champagne Punch (in addition to plenty of wine, beer and other mixed drinks)

These handsome gents TRANSFORMED my backyard. They strung the lights, rearranged furniture/pots/bbq and raked all the leaves. Amazing.

I wish men wore tuxes more often!

I think we need to bring fans back into fashion. They’re both pretty and useful!

Dark Red and Black Dahlias (in old wine bottles…something I have no shortage of) were placed all around the house and yard

It was an amazing evening, and I’m so happy to have such lovely friends. Unfortunately I only snapped photos of a tiny fraction of the people there, but everyone’s presence was appreciated! Champagne and photos don’t mix. Good life advice, I should say.

Are Women Inherently Less Funny Than Men?

I was honestly wondering that the other night, as I was sitting, watching and mostly laughing my way through an evening at the Comedy Store in La Jolla (good call Adam!). I say mostly, because there were two comediennes that night, that unfortunately, were not funny. In fact, they were painfully unfunny. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some funny ladies out there – Jane Lynch, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey come to mind fairly quickly. But more often then not, when I see something labeled “female comedy” it’s usually ends up being something along the lines of Chelsea Handler’s brand of comedy, which personally, I do not find humorous at all. Ladies – insinuating that you are a lazy, drunken, slut is not funny! It’s not empowering. It’s crude. Am I prude? Maybe. But I don’t care. I’m not advocating that women shut up, put on a dress and slave away in the kitchen all day. I’m just saying – lay off the slut talk. I’m aware that this is a complete double standard, because many of the jokes told by the men were along the same subject line and there I was laughing away hysterically… So there you go: I’m a hypocrite, I think women aren’t funny, and men rule!

Speaking of slaving away in the kitchen all day (segue!) – that is something I have not been doing lately. It’s summer and it’s hot and honestly, a big meal sounds horrible.¬† But, I am still a snack-monster, so here’s a little something I managed to whip up the other night that involved minimal effort and no heat. It also helped me clear out my refrigerator of some strawberries and a cucumber that were on the brink of being spoiled.

I present to you Strawberry and Cucumber Salsa!

Ingredients*

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup cucumber
  • 1/4 cup red onion
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (or 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger)
  • healthy handful of cilantro, chopped (probably about 1/4 cup)
  • black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. This is ridiculously easy – chop the strawberries, cucumber and red onion into small pieces. Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl, chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, and serve with tortilla or pita chips.

* As usual, measurements are approximate. Feel free to play around with the proportions/work with what you have.

Anyway, try the salsa – it’s sweet and it pairs perfectly with the saltiness of tortilla chips. Also, definitely check out the Comedy Store. Wednesday and Thursday nights are local nights and there are definitely some genuine laughs to be found.

Bored This Sunday Evening?

Get thee to a Trader Joes and buy these ASAP.

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You’ll thank me later. Promise.

La Dolce Vita

So I’ve already told you I’ve put on a few lbs. these past few weeks. Now, let me show you how it happened.

Recently, some girlfriends and I spent an evening at La Villa in Little Italy. Let me preface this by saying, having the girlfriend of the chef as a dining companion is wonderful….and extremely dangerous.

We each started out with individual servings of two different appetizers.

striped jack crudo with cucumber, radish, sugar snap peas and lemon

foie gras with early grey poached stone fruit and a balsamic gelee

And then the three of us split 3 entrees.

lobster tortellini with sweet corn

short Ribs

pasta with spicy lamb sausage, peas, tomato, and mint

Everything was amazing. The standout dish was definitely the lobster tortellini. The sweet corn burst in your mouth, and the lobster was delicate and not too heavy. The foie gras appetizer was also amazing. Mostly because the chef gave each of us a portion that would easily be split between 4 people. I know, gluttonous. But you try to send back half of that specialty uneaten!

This is why I’m getting fat.

But it was worth it. I would highly recommend La Villa. We sat out on the patio, and it was the perfect relaxed setting for an evening filled with wine, great food, and the best company possible. All of the ingredients are fresh and whenever possible sourced from local farmers and fishermen. You can definitely taste the freshness.

I can’t wait to make a second trip.