Archive for the ‘snacks/appetizers’ Category

Happy Thanksgiving from California!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Mine was especially special because Chris and I are in California visiting my Dad. We got in late on Wednesday evening and were exhausted from traveling. But this little touch of kindness cured all of that ūüôā

The next morning I woke up rested and ready to run! As a sort of homage to Lafayette, I opted to run down Mt. Diablo instead of the reservoir behind my parents house. It was so nice to run by all the awesome shops that have sprung up since I spent my high school years here. I went about 1.5 out because I knew once I came back, the hills in the neighborhood were going to be BRUTAL!

They were, but I survived. Then I enjoyed a guilt free Thanksgiving feast!

My step-mom decorated the table beautifully. I really liked her rustic yet regal approach this year. ūüôā

This year I spent a little too much on the appetizers beforehand. There was such a great assortment of cheeses. I was especially keen on the cranberry goat cheese log-Oh My God.

 We also had stuffed mushrooms, zucchini squares, fruit and a smattering of other delicious treats that I just could not avoid.

Finally sitting down to eat the turkey¬†was a hard task-but I was up to the challenge. ūüôā

Then of course came the dessert and wouldn’t you know there was a whole table dedicated to the after-meal course!

…and this wouldn’t be America if we didn’t have some classic homemade Apple Pie! Mmmmmm

Keeping in line with the holiday we had pumpkin and walnut waffles with fruit the next morning-I had been craving waffles so this was a special treat.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There are so many things to be thankful for this year and hopefully to come!

Over the hump…

I have a new obsession. Cycle class.

I’m starting to feel like myself again after getting hit with some type of bug last week and so I decided to try a cycle class last night at the gym. While some people may find it annoying to race, race, race, in one place-I think it’s fabulous. I’ve never sweated so much in my life!

While I love to run outside, it’s been cold and rainy here lately so I see more visits to the gym in my future. After the Thunder Road Half I am excited to do more group classes and take a little break from running.

Lunch yesterday was Panera! I opted for the soup and salad vs. the soup and sandwich. My apple was surprisingly good yesterday too…

Mid-day snack was some Calm Tazo tea in a “Better Smarter Faster” mug ūüôā Clearly, I have to keep myself motivated…

some almonds on the side along with a granola bar helped to keep me full till dinner.

Soy-Glazed Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine, or water
  • 2 pounds salmon fillet
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Directions:

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. with a rack in the center. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, stir brown sugar, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and white wine until the sugar has dissolved.

    Cut salmon fillet into 4 equal-size pieces; arrange, skin side down, in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour glaze over the fish, and turn to coat evenly.

    Bake until fish is opaque but still bright pink inside, basting every few minutes with glaze from baking dish, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

    (I was  craving some bread so I whipped up some biscuits to go along with the meal-as well as steamed some brocoli.) Total time for dinner=30 minutes.

    TGI Friday!

    I am¬†constantly on the hunt for more tofu recipes because while I still love meat and red meat at that, I do know that substituting in tofu, fish, pasta¬†amongst other healthier options into our weekly meals is imperative for our health and well-being. Beyond that, tofu is easily managed and¬†oh so versatile.¬†Wednesday nights¬†dinner was the closest I’ve come to making a tofu meal really tasty. I like this recipe and will try it again but I’m still searching to find a recipe that makes me say, “Oh My Gosh, this is soooo good.” If anyone has any suggestions, let me know!

    Sweet & Sour Tofu Stirfry

    Ingredients:

    • ¬Ĺ (19 oz) container regular tofu
    • ¬ľ cup soy sauce or tamari
    • ¬ľ cup apple juice
    • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp honey
    • 2 Tbsp ketchup
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed, or 1 cube frozen Crushed Garlic
    • ¬Ĺ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
    • 1 tsp cornstarch or flour
    • 2 heads baby bok¬†choy, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2-2 ¬Ĺ cups)
    • ¬Ĺ each of one yellow, red, and orange bell pepper, sliced
    • 2 cups broccoli florets
    • 2 stalks green onion, sliced

    Directions:

    Cut tofu into large pieces (such as triangle shapes, about a dozen pieces).

    In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine soy sauce, juice, vinegar, honey, ketchup, garlic, and pepper flakes.  Stir, bring sauce to a simmer, and reduce heat. Add cornstarch (dissolved in 1 Tbsp water) and stir until sauce thickens, about one minute.  Set aside.

    Heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat.  Add tofu and pan-fry until all sides are golden brown.  Transfer tofu to a plate and set aside.

    In the same wok or skillet, over high heat, stir fry thicker white pieces of boy choy, bell pepper, and broccoli, adding 1-2 Tbsp of water to help vegetables cook easily.   After 2 minutes, add leafy pieces of bok choy and green onion, stir frying for less than a minute.    Add tofu and sauce.  Stir to distribute sauce throughout evenly. 

    Serve over white or brown rice.

    With the colder weather coming in, I have been craving comfort food and carbs. I don’t feel too bad about my carb overload lately due to the fact that I have been running more miles. On Wednesday night after dinner I decided to try to make “15 minutes oatmeal scones” that I read about on Eat Live Run. I am clearly won over by not only good recipes, but efficient ones as well. With a few simple ingredients, the yummy scones really were made in 15 minutes-and 12 of those minutes they were in the oven.

    With a few simple ingredients I whipped up my breakfast for the rest of the week. These were delicious with a little blackberry jam or crumbled over some oatmeal. For a how-to on these check here: Eat Live Run!

    Thursday night I had plans to run with my friends Jenny, Lindsay and cousins Kelly and Megan. It was so nice to have some running buddies. I have been feeling a little burnt out lately on the running front and these ladies totally gave me my competitive edge back!¬† I ran 3 miles in just under 28 minutes! I realized that since the last time I ran the bike path I shaved a good 5 minutes off my time. Jenny is a recently turned pro MMA¬†fighter, while Lindsay has advanced in Muay Thai in record speed over the last year and a half. Both are in tip-tip shape and really push me to up my game. My cousin Kelly is about to take her PT test for the Police Academy and my cousin Megan is making strides in becoming a better runner, like myself. I’m so appreciative of these great women in my life.

    (Forgive me for this picture, it was dark and I’m still figuring out my new memory-maker!)

    After such a great run we all decided to continue the conversation over some dinner. I originally had plans to go home and make pesto pasta with pine-nuts and cherry tomatoes but not cooking and continuing gabbing sounded more fun. After a quick call to the hubs, we went decided on TGIFridays for dinner. There I was introduced to my new favorite appetizer, Crispy Green Been Fries. (OMG they were SO good!) These snappy green beans are breaded and fried to a golden-brown crust. They serve it with a cucumber-wasabi ranch dip which was just spicy enough.

    I was feeling adventurous so instead of my usual salad or dragonfire¬†chicken-I went with their new Captain Morgan Caribbean Conga-LIne Chicken Sandwich. The perfectly seasoned, fire-grilled chicken breast was served on a bun with seasoned sour cream, pineapple pico, fresh cilantro, avocado and a side of sweet potato fries. To be honest, it wasn’t as good as the picture or the description but hey, you gotta try something new every once in a while right?

    The night was capped off with a Sam Adams Octoberfest seasonal beer and tons of laughter at the table. It was a great Thursday, fall night. I’m ready for the weekend as I’m sure you all are too! I have a weekend filled with wedding duties including save-the-dates and registering for gifts. What are your plans for the weekend? Any fun runs or meals planned? I plan on baking up a storm in my down-time, I LOVE FALL ūüôā

    Good Eats

    Sunday was a good day. I slept in till almost 11:00! Chris helped me clean the house so we were actually done by 1:00. I know he was trying to get in some good points before watching football all day, and I let him. I finally got around to watching the Blind Side and my prediction on how much I would like the movie was dead on. I thought Sandra was amazing in it and I’m such a sucker for a good heart-felt movie. I went grocery shopping and made an afternoon sub complete with chips and homemade guacamole. I LOVE anything that has to do with avocados and they were on sale, so I snagged them.

    I don’t usually make roast beef sandwiches but I know Chris likes them and I got a lb. at the store for his lunches for the week. I didn’t feel like finding something else for myself so I indulged in the fresh sub complete with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, salt & pepper.

    For dinner the meal plan called for “Southern Chicken Wing Pizza” pending a certain someone emailing the recipe. Well, they did so I gave it a shot and it was pretty darn good! (thanks Bets) Not hard to make either, for those of you that are interested. I did change the chicken around a bit. In the menu it calls for a Rotisserie chicken but I had picked up a bag of chicken breasts at the store so I just baked them and then shredded like pulled pork. After shredding the chicken I poured in some Frank’s hot sauce.

    After mixing the chicken with the hot sauce you want to put ranch on the pizza dough, cover with the chicken and then add some mozzarella cheese.

    Put in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes (we left it in a little later because we like our pizza crispy) and voila! It was a nice treat to have pizza minus all the grease that usually comes with it, plus it had a nice little kick to it thanks to the hot sauce. I wanted a little more for dinner so I paired it with one of the last summer salads we’ll probably have. I threw in walnuts, strawberries, diced up green peppers and blue cheese crumbles. It seemed fitting for the pizza we were having, or am I just sounding more and more like an upstate New Yorker everyday? I’m surrounded by them-but I love it.

    After letting my dinner settle I decided to get out on the road for my long run before it was pitch black. I ran for a full 45 minutes and decided not to harp on mileage tonight but concentrate on running for a longer length of time. I’m curious and anal so I’ll probably jump in my car on the way to work tomorrow and clock it just to see…I think as I finish up the laundry and watch the VMA’s (look for a mini recap on this in the music section of this blog tomorrow) I will enjoy a nice newcastle brown ale! Ready to tackle another week, life is good.

    Overwhelmed!

    HYA! I’m back, but not really. I’m back physically from my NY trip but not mentally. Chris and I drove the 12 hours from NY to CLT¬†and got back late Sunday night. I was up and back¬†to the grind on¬†Monday morning and my fridge is still bare, my laundry is literally piling out of my suitcase and I am having withdrawals from the lack of ¬†running I did while on vacation. I feel like I socially drank for 4 days straight and am¬†so eager to get back into my usual routine but there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day! All in all it was a great trip and I’m so happy for my bestie and¬†the no doubt lifelong marriage she is embarking on…

    Weddings are always so touching and make me feel lucky that I’m marrying someone that I love so much. Honestly, the 12 hour trip back home would have been excruicating had we not had eachother. We laughed, we had some serious conversations about our future and I think we fell in love all over again. It’s important in our busy lives to have some down time with just eachother to reconnect and that is exactly what we did.

    I was able to squeeze a two-mile¬†run in yesterday. I took advantage of my mom’s neighborhood and the great sidewalks and Daisy¬†stayed with her while we were out-of-town, so I had to pick her up. Unfortunately she lives about 45 minutes away from us so by the time I got back it was too late to go grocery shopping. So here I am, no breakfast, no lunch and wondering what I’m going to do for dinner.

    I told you there would be fun, food and festivities¬†and while there was fun, lots of food and obviously festivities, I was a bad blogger. I did not document like I should’ve over the week partially because I was having too much fun and partially because I forgot. Live and Learn I guess.

    I did start the trip off with a YUMMY Einstein bagel in the Detroit Airport. Whole wheat bagel with Strawberry cream-cheese.

    For the bridal luncheon I made Nutella¬†croissants which weren’t a big feat because they are super easy to make. All you need to do is buy some croissant¬†rolls¬†in a can at your local grocery store, open then up and put a dollop of nutella at the largest part of the dough. Roll up, cook like normal and serve!

    With the bachelorette party being the night before, my motivation to cook extravagantly eluded me.

    I made a fruit salad and then dubbed myself the bartender and made everyone Bloody Mary’s. A must after the night we had.

    The food at the rehearsal dinner and wedding were amazing. I try to¬†keep to posting about food that I have made (with a few exceptions of stuff I love) and so I didn’t take any pictures. Unpictured¬†was hearty chicken parmesan¬†with a salad for the rehearsal dinner and¬†at the wedding we ate steak,¬†mashed potatoes and some steamed vegetables. It was delish.

    On to the late meal plan for this week, as well as my running plan-of attack!

    • Monday-Dinner @ Madre’s (London Broil¬†and veggies)
    • Tuesday-Grilled Fish Tacos (Tilapia)
    • Wednesday-Chicken Apple Arugula Goat Cheese Salad
    • Thursday-¬†Lime-¬†and Honey-Glazed Salmon with Basmati¬†and Broccolini
    • Friday-Tuna Casserole
    • Saturday-Going to Charlotte’s Irish Festival so we’ll probably eat there (Yum!)

    I’m up to 4 sets of 7 with the running. I’m skipping Group Power tonight, mainly because I have a missions meeting after work but also because all my energy is going to running as of late. I love Group Power but feel I’m slipping in my training schedule. Chris is kicking butt with his daily 5 mile runs. I need to show him up! ūüôā¬† It’s RUN RUN RUN for me for a little bit-wish me Luck!

    An interesting food week so far…

    Hello! It’s Wednesday, yay hump day ūüôā I promise I have been sticking to my running schedule and cooking meal plan but on Monday I was just too exhausted to blog and last night my laptop decided to act up on me. Get ready for a 2-day ¬†post…

    So Monday’s dinner was, how do you say? Interesting. If you recall I was going to make fried-egg¬†Caesar¬†salad with¬†prosciutto¬†bread-sticks. My husband-to-be was so nice to go grocery shopping but left the store with about half of the things I needed this week. I don’t blame him too much since the grocery list included items like fish sauce and ginger root but boy have I had to improvise over the last few days. ¬†The Gazpacho turned out yummy and thankfully we had that as a precursor to the meal because I don’t know if my Fried-Egg¬†Caesar¬†Salad would have entirely filled me up.

    The Gazpacho was thick and almost salsa-like but it was sooo good!

    Instead of¬†bread-sticks I had to use toast¬†banquettes¬†and instead of sun-dried tomatoes I just through in cherry tomatoes. ¬†I don’t think this turned out the way it was supposed to but I don’t think I will try making it again either. Not bad, not great.

    I can deal with Monday nights because of the Bachelorette. So I cozied up on my couch after my 2 mile run and grabbed a bowl of ice-cream. Can’t go wrong with vanilla-bean and chocolate syrup!

    Tuesday was a busy, busy day. After work I had a meeting from 7-8 and when I got home I was starving. I should probably add that my meeting was held at Arby’s and while I was watching people eat their roast beef sandwiches and curly fries I was¬†salivating. But I held strong because I was excited to try out a tofu recipe. I know, that’s a leap right? Roast beef lusting to Tofu? Tuesday’s dinner was originally scheduled for Wed. but with my meeting and getting home so late, grilling tilapia really wasn’t in the cards, so that is what I will cook tonight.

    Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers & Peanuts

    Let me tell you how good this was! I was impressed! I encourage you all to try this recipe. It’s easy and probably a good “first” tofu dish for those of you that are willing to try it.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 2 large red bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced
    • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
    • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 14-to 16-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained well, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
    • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
    • 1/3 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts

    Directions:

    Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add bell peppers, ginger, and garlic; sauté until peppers just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add tofu and green onions; toss 2 minutes. Add next 3 ingredients. Toss to blend, about 1 minute. Add spinach in 3 additions, tossing until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute for each addition. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle peanuts over.

    Once again I got this recipe of Epicurous.

    I was unable to attend Group Power last night due to other obligations and I missed it. I am well aware of how that sounds and how lame I am, but I can’t help it. I am looking forward to getting in a class tomorrow before I leave for the beach.

    Also, I’m almost finished compiling my list of yummy lunch foods to eat whether you are on the go or stuck in a cubicle. I hope to post some combinations tomorrow night along with how the Tilapia turned out ūüôā

    A Dehyrdated Weekend.

    One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to go to concerts. This weekend I went to the Rascal Flatts concert with some girlfriends and we had a great time. With 94 degree weather, there were many Shock-Top beers consumed throughout the day and not enough water. No maintenance means I have a headache and feel pretty gross today. It’s always fun to have a night-out like that but for me they are becoming few and far between so recovering is hard.

    The tailgating wouldn’t be complete without some good eats! To my delight there wasn’t anything too unhealthy. Marinda brought some great multi-grain “pin-wheels” filled with cream cheese and Tab made a really great salsa dip from scratch. My contribution was some fruit skewers which I thought added a nice balance and was a great cold food to snack on in the heat. *This is my last post using my phone for pictures! Yay.

    After waking up this morning feeling a bit yucky and dehydrated, my body was craving a good breakfast. I went downstairs and immediately got to work on an omelet. I love omelet’s and usually just throw in whatever I have in my fridge at the time to make them. Today I added mushrooms, green peppers, red onion along with Monterrey Jack cheese and cheddar cheese. I had some extra fruit leftover from the tailgate skewers so I ate those as a side. I love to go to brunch and when I can’t I try to make my Sunday morning meals feel as much like a morning breakfast out as I can. Hence the champagne flute filled with O.J. ūüėČ

    Today started off calm but quickly got busy. After breakfast I had a softball game to play in at 3:30. I’m in a league that plays every Sunday and if it weren’t so hot outside these days I’d probably enjoy it more. On a positive note it is a nice way to get some exercise in without thinking about it. After softball I went to Trader Joes. Grocery shopping got so much more interesting when they finally got a TJ in Charlotte! I love this grocery store. I grabbed all the items for our upcoming weekly dinners with an added bonus: the ingredients to the famous “Green Monster Smoothie.” Check out the movement here: http://greenmonstermovement.com/

    I’m very excited to try this smoothie out. I plan on making one after my cycle class tomorrow morning so I will let you know if it is really good or not. With ingredients like, 2 cups spinach, ice, milk and a banana…I have my concerns ūüôā

    By the time I got home I was exhausted from the 16-4 defeat and errands so tonight’s dinner was a quick dish courtesy of Giada. Pasta with Red Pepper, Almonds and Breadcrumbs. Nothing special at all, but it was easy and I was tired.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound pasta
    • 3 cups purchased garlic-flavored croutons, (about 5 ounces)
    • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (about 1 ounce), toasted
    • 1 cup julienned roasted red bell peppers
    • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Directions:

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

    Place the croutons and the almonds in a food processor. Pulse until it becomes the texture of bread crumbs. Add the crouton and almond mixture to the hot pasta. Add the peppers and the olive oil. Toss to combine and serve.