Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shrimp & Linguine over Spinach

Pasta is my favorite food. Hands down. After chocolate. And cheese. I could probably eat an entire box of pasta all by myself. Although that would also require an entire block of parmesan cheese.

And yes I buy pasta. And no haven't had the time or courage to try to make it myself. I'm working on it.

Tonight was quick and simple: whole wheat linguine tossed over garlic and olive oil with jumbo shrimp. And lots of fresh parmesan of course. In an effort to not eat an entire box of pasta, I filled the bottom of my bowl with lots of fresh spinach. I read about this nice little trick in a fitness magazine as a way to indulge in pasta with a healthy twist. However, I had my doubts. I don't love cooked spinach so I was pumped when the spinach stayed mostly fresh and crisp underneath the pasta. I'm a convert.

Guilt free pasta!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Tonight was beautiful for a long run. Lupe and I ran a new path, which actually turned out to be scenic and hilly and awesome. I only swallowed two bugs. That sucked.

I was craving pizza but it was already 9:00 by the time we finished running, so I didn't feel like waiting for homemade dough to rise. So I cheated and bought pre-baked thin crust whole wheat pizza crust from the grocery store. 

The pizza was topped with store bought tomato and basil marinara sauce,  fresh sliced mushrooms, green bell peppers, roma tomatoes and finished with reduce fat mozzarella cheese.  
ready for the oven
I let the pizza bake for about 15 minutes at 450*.

nice and crispy
This is a fairly healthy option for pizza. It was pretty delicious. However, next time I am definitely going the extra mile and making my own dough. Store bought just doesn't compare.

new purple plates :)
I am ushering in the nice weather with white wine :)

Strawberry, Spinach & Wheat Berry Salad

Sunday was a perfect day for a picnic! After rain and floods all day Saturday, Pam, Kasia, Taylor and I headed to Old Town Alexandria for a relaxing day on along the river. We had planned a picnic and I knew this salad would be perfect from the moment I saw it here. I adore How Sweet's obsession with bacon. And chocolate. And basically wish I could eat everything she this salad.

1 sliced red onion
8 large strawberries
8 cups fresh spinach
3 cloves of minced garlic
4 strips of turkey bacon
3/4 cup cooked wheat berries
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese
fresh basil to garnish 

prepped veggies
While I was chopping away at the fruit and veggies, I cooked the wheat berries.

wheat berries
I had never cooked wheat berries. The recipe called for orzo, but my grocery store didn't have any, so I experimented with wheat berries. Besides the nutritional value of wheat berries, I really like the crunch they add to the salad. With that being said, any grain would work here. Pasta would be great too.

smoked turkey bacon sizzling away
I used turkey bacon to respect my non pork eating friend and also to mitigate the fact that I skipped the gym all weekend. It was a win-win. Kind of. Who are we kidding? Bacon > Gym any day.
After crisping up the bacon, I sauteed the walnuts in the "bacon fat" which was basically non-existent because turkey is so healthy. After about 5 or 6 minutes of toasting the walnuts, I removed them from the pan and caramelized the red onion and garlic. I added some olive oil to facilitate the process. Once the onion was brown and beautiful, I added the crumbled bacon, walnuts, spinach, strawberries and cooked wheat berries.  I finished the salad with feta and fresh basil. 
This salad is awesome hot or cold.
All ready for the picnic!

Picnic time!
Our picnic included my salad, fresh bread and crackers, dean and deluca tuna salad and pesto chicken salad, a greek yogurt dip, tabouli, sliced bell pepper, baby carrots, and grapes.

The best part? Pinot Noir we bought from a specialty wine store on our stroll to the water, which we drank out of insulated styrofoam coffee cups (thanks walgreens). The view of the river was awesome, but the grass was soggy due to the heavy rains and flooding the night before. We worked it out by scoring a semi secluded spot along a paved path. 

Later we checked out the Torpedo Factory, a local art museum and gallery.

We were inspired by the art and decided to leave our mark!

Yeah South Dakota!
The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling in and out cute little shops. I randomly found an awesome dress that is perfect for a wedding rehearsal/cinco de mayo celebration in Vegas! 

I can't wait to go back Old Town for some wine tasting and exploration!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brunch Eggs Caprese

I started the weekend off right with my version of a brunch eggs caprese (plus carbs, sub swiss). This early Saturday morning breakfast was a delicious upgrade from my cereal or yogurt breakfasts all week. 

1 egg
1 whole wheat pita
1 sliced roma tomato
3 fresh basil leaves
1 slice swiss cheese
salt & pepper to taste
 This recipe is super simply and light. I fried an egg and melted swiss cheese on top. I placed the fried egg on top of a toasted wheat pita with fresh basil and sliced tomatoes. Yum-O!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BBQ Chicken Salad with Roasted Cauliflower

Look what I got today! A fresh basil plant. Thank you Whole Foods :)
As soon as I saw the fresh basil I immediately wanted to make pesto. However, I had been oddly craving BBQ chicken all day and ultimately, my craving beat out my dreams of whole wheat linguine with pesto. 

When I got home tonight, I preheated the oven and baked two chicken breasts. While the chicken was cooking, I went on a quick run. I normally don't leave my apartment with the oven on, so I ran a little faster than normal because I was a little nervous I would return home to a kitchen in flames. Thankfully, everything worked out nicely. 

After the chicken was almost cooked through, I shredded it with a fork and sauteed it with some BBQ sauce. It didn't occur to me to try and make my own BBQ sauce tonight. Maybe next time. Sticky Fingers-Habanero Hot was pretty good. 

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about the best part. While the chicken was simmering away in the BBQ sauce, I drizzled extra virgin olive oil over cauliflower, seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper and roasted it in the oven for 20 mins at 425*. 

For the salad, I put the BBQ chicken on top of a bed of fresh spinach with shaved red onion, baby red and yellow tomatoes, and shredded pepper jack cheese. The chicken was so juicy, I didn't use any salad dressing. Also, I have to say I am completely shocked as to how good the cauliflower turned out. It was nutty, garlicky, and delicious. In fact, I ate all of the cauliflower before I evened touched the salad. Hello new obsession!
For a healthy lunch tomorrow, I took the left over BBQ chicken and sauteed it with 1/4 cup of whole grain brown rice, fresh corn, and sliced red and green bell peppers. I bet the cauliflower will be even better tomorrow!

Ok, now I'm off to raid my kitchen for fulfill my nightly chocolate craving :) 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What They Eat in Heaven

Grilled Mac & Cheese and Pulled Pork Sandwich

I wish I ate this for dinner tonight. However, just to be safe, I think I will wait until after my next cardiac exam. 
Cheese + butter + mac & cheese + mayonnaise + pork + bread = the best thing ever! 

p.s. I found this recipe in the Food Network's Magazine, so the complete recipe is also available on 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Roasted Broccoli and Sweet Potato Salad

The weather was beautiful tonight. It was still about 65* when I got home from work, so I laced up my shoes and went for a long run. Even though it is officially Spring, it is still pretty chilly here. Therefore, I'm boycotting any day that is below 60* and sticking with the treadmill. Tonight, however, was a different story. I ran my usual route for 7 miles at a 8.5min pace. I definitely pushed myself during the second half of the run, and finally by mile 6 I was starting to loosen up. Tonight my hamstrings were super tight. I swear somedays I can barely put one foot in front of the other for more than a mile...

For dinner I roasted a broccoli, red onion, sweet potatoes, and baby tomatoes in the oven with walnuts. I seasoned the veggies with salt, pepper and a little olive oil and baked them for about 15 minutes at 425*. After 10 minutes I sprinkled the mix with a little brown sugar to add a touch of sweetness and caramelization.
I added the veggies to some mixed greens and dinner was ready.
Healthy and Delicious
For once, I decided to be proactive and pack my lunch for tomorrow. I used the leftover roasted veggies and mixed them with 3/4 cup of instant brown rice, some super spicy chili garlic sauce and general tso's sauce stir fry sauce.
Lunch :)
I hope I remember to bring this to work tomorrow. I always forget my lunch in the fridge when I have something yummy to take.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let's bake cookies!
While my dinner was cooking, I whipped up a quick batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies. Why not? I almost made THESE...but didn't want to go to the deli downstairs to buy oreos. I'm definitely buying the double stuffed peanut butter oreos soon and putting them inside a chocolate chip cookie. For sure. I have about a million bags of chocolate chip taking up precious real estate in my limited cabinet space. I have made this recipe several times before and loved it, and honestly, what is not to love? Feel free to throw in walnuts or oats.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350* F
2. Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water. Add to the batter along with salt. Stir in flour and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
4. Share and enjoy :)

Ready for the oven!
Pure Joy

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Salad + Rant

First thing is first. Today's workout: 4 miles this am, 60 minutes on the elliptical tonight and 10 minutes of abs.

Tonight on the menu: mixed greens, baby tomatoes, grapes, sliced almonds, feta cheese and (of course) honey balsamic vinaigrette. Super super super yummy.
Light and Satisfying
I munched on the salad while looking over a new cookbook I picked up. The Borders by my office (where I got this) is closing in a matter of days, so I thought I'd stop by one last time on my way home to see what was left. The answer? Not much. Not much at all. The only thing I saw worth buying was the "Master Chef Cookbook". Apparently there was a show on Fox called Master Chef. I must have missed that one. Anyway, the book has a bunch of fun recipes and helpful hints like how to make fresh pasta and fillet a salmon (stay tuned).


The Situation? He really got a book deal by pitching his idea for a guide to "creeping on chicks"?? Oh and by the way, excuse me while I go do 10,000 crunches...

Really JWow? Didn't all of America see her last trainwreck of a relationship and now she is SELLING advice. Also, her outfit is making me doubt her grammar skills. 
I don't hate Hilary Duff, I just kind of forgot she existed. I honestly had no idea she had a book out. Maybe it's great, she did take some online college classes from Harvard. I had to google that fact and found this nice little quote from Hilary..."I'm not big on English, but I am into math. If I'm able to focus on it, I like it." Lovely Hilary. Lovely.

A travesty. Lauren Conrad next to Charles Dickens. Sad. Sad Sad. I guess even though these people got book deals (minus Charles Dickens, he was writing books before people got book deals) these were literally the only books left on the shelves. 

Lately, I've been reading novels en Espanol. It is obviously more challenging and time consuming than reading in English, but it is also more rewarding when everything comes together. Currently I'm reading "El Nino con el Pijama de Rayas" (Boy in the Stripped Pajamas). So far it's 100% better than the movie.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eat @ Eat Bar!

A bar called Eat? Yes please!
Eat? I don't mind if I do...
Eat is a gastropub in Arlington, Va that serves up small plates and microbrews and was the setting for Monday night date night. Usually, Lupe and I cook and relax at home, but tonight the temperature was nearly 85* at 7:00pm when I finished work, so we decided to take a walk and go out to eat.

As we arrived, the happy hour crowd was heading out and the restaurant was filling up. We sat at the bar and ordered a bottle merlot/cab mix from Lebanon. I always like to branch out and and was excited to try something new. It was nice and light and a little sweet. You can't get Lebanese wine from the deli downstairs (where the most expensive wine sells for about $17) so it was quite the treat.

After I looked at the menu forever, Lupe was starving. This is how is usually goes when we order food....I can never make up my mind, so I pick out a few things that I want, ask "half and half?" and then we share everything. For the most part, Lupe and I have the same taste in food so this works well.

For an appetizer, I chose risotto frito and Lupe opted for a baby cheeseburger. Yum and yum! Fried risotto is what heaven would taste like if it was rolled into a ball, lightly battered, fried to perfection and served with a side of garlic cream.
Fried risotto and a baby cheeseburger!
We decided on our entrees later. After seeing the baby cheeseburger (how cute is that?), I was craving the real thing and ordered an aged beef burger with cheddar and malt vinegar french fries.

I talked Lupe into ordering the fried chicken and waffles. I can safely say I have never had this dish and quite honestly the Ihop commercials advertising their chicken and waffles makes me want to run in the other direction. BUT I worked out at 5 am this morning, so who cares right? I don't remember the last time I had friend chicken, and that my friends, is a tragedy. I am looking up recipes as we speak. The fried chicken was so crispy, tender and juicy and topped with homemade gravy. The waffle was freshly baked and beautiful. It was served with maple syrup and spinach satueed with lemon. I love fresh spinach but can't stand cooked basically we didn't eat any vegetables tonight.

But that's okay, because this is what I had for lunch.

Arugula with roasted squash, goat cheese, and walnuts served with fireroasted red pepper hummus and fresh baked pita slices. Yum :)

And for the rest of the night? Relaxing and watching Gone with the Wind! I LOVE this movie...all 6 hours! This is the first time I've ever watched a movie on TMC and I think they should play this on repeat at least for the rest of the week so I can seen the whole thing. Do they sell this movie on DVD? My mom has it on VHS and it is at least 4 tapes haha.

Good night all!