Friday, August 23, 2013

Must Make - Fruit cobb salad.

I've been on a spinach-fruit salad kick for some time now, which is weird, because my old self would never imagine my current self eating raw spinach and goat cheeses and such. But I must say, I'm really liking my current self with my age-appropriate pallet.

Taking a cue from my go-to spinach, strawberry, blueberry, and goat cheese salad, I decided to throw Cobb salad ingredients in the mix to create a Fruit Cobb salad of sorts, with turkey bacon, chicken, cherry tomatoes (for the bf, I don't like them), boiled egg, and avocado. I also diced some cucumbers and shredded fresh mozzarella, and tossed it all with raspberry vinaigrette! I don't think I've been this anxious to eat a salad in...well, ever. It was really, really good...and I'm patting myself on the back for it.

(Also of note: this has been one of the few days I haven't used my crockpot crackpot since purchased!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LA + Me.

You can't quite tell from this old cell phone flick, but 2 years ago, I got the date I moved to LA tattooed on my inner arm. (Sorry, mom.) It was on my 7th anniversary--I figured go with the whole lucky number 7 thing--and I got the date written as it was on my plane ticket (which I still have).

It's crazy to think I've lived in this city almost an entire decade. (It's also crazy to think I'm that have lived in a city post-highschool for that long.) I never thought twice about the move after I made it; LA just instantaneously become home. I almost felt bad, because so many people would ask if I missed "home," and I would think "but wait...I am home, here in LA!"

So, as I become nostalgic about my first years here, I can remember why I so easily fell in love with this place:
  • The beautiful SoCal weather.
  • People say hello if you pass by them! (I hadn't noticed that so much in Massachusetts.)
  • The beaches--Malibu days with my dogs are my favorite.
  • Dog parks! I lived across the street from one for a few years, and it was so convenient.
  • The lax environment (which can also be a bit slow and annoying to me at times--but I still love it).
  • Exercising outside: amazing hikes and the Santa Monica stairs, in particular.
  • Flea market shopping at the Rose Bowl and Melrose Trading Post.
  • Farmers Market Sundays (and now Wednesdays and Thursdays).
  • Hands down, the best Mexican food around.
  • Smart people from all walks of life (I love me a good convo).
  • Street culture--graffiti art, considered as actual art!
  • My home of the last 4ish years, Downtown LA.
Just to name a few.  Happy anniversary, LA! Thanks for treating me so well.

(More opinions of why LA is so great,  here, here and here.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

How to keep your man, food edition: BBQ pulled chicken and biscuits.

Okay. One day I will prepare in advance for taking photos when cooking. It's just so hard when the food looks and smells so actually stop stuffing your face for the 30 seconds it'd take to get a decent picture and take the picture.

Anyway. Last weekend, I bought a crockpot. It's weird that it took me so long to buy one, or even think to buy one, considering how much I love food and love to cook. All that aside, it is easily my new favorite thing in the world. I have actually stopped calling it a crockpot--it is now the crackpot.

Since buying the crackpot, I have made chicken tortilla soup, chicken nachos, chicken cheese-steaks (in case anyone didn't know, chicken is my fav), turkey chili, and last night, I made BBQ pulled chicken (with biscuits, sweet potatoes, and spinach with toasted almonds). Now, this isn't a meal I'd typically lean toward making, but I figured it was solid manly meal, which my man would appreciate. I mean, he deals with my constant quinoa-making and healthy food substitutions, so I can throw in a guy meal here and there, right? And I'm not going to act like I don't love biscuits. Because I do.

For a busy person like myself, it's nice to just throw a bunch of stuff in the crackpot and spoon it onto a plate at the end of a busy day. For this BBQ chicken, it's easy:
  • 1 lb of chicken breast
  • About 2/3 bottle of BBQ sauce (Um, how'd I forgot to mention this initially?! Thanks Crystal! Ha.)
  • 1/3C brown sugar
  • 2T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2C apple cider vinegar
Throw in all of those ingredients, and depending on when you are intending to eat, cook on low/high. (I had it slow-cooking for 10 hours.) The chicken naturally pulls apart, which is like heaven to me. I just made sure the ingredients had been well combined while cooking, and served the chicken over hot biscuits when it was time to eat! Seriously, so good.

Buy a crackpot.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I have a tomato...

*$#% my boyfriend!

I realize this may catch you a bit off guard. I was talking to my mother this morning about this really, really crazy situation that's been happening, but got thrown off course when I noticed my new plants were growing! I was telling her that I was writing the bf a sappy text about how I wanted him to come home, but then saw my plants sprouting and yelled "I have a tomato, #@$* my boyfriend!" (Sorry babe, love you.) I think I was both stunned by the fact that they were actually growing, and that I was so enamored and proud of this growth, that I got a bit carried away...(sorry again, boo!)

And then my mother said that should be a title of a book. Gotta love her encouragement.

So, last weekend, I went to Ross and found an adorable "garden" of 6 planters for tomatoes and green peppers. For some reason, I've recently been into plants and putting some green in my apartment, so I was kind of excited to come across these guys--for $1.99 nonetheless. Everyone I know back East is able to have backyards and gardens, so this was my way of feeling like I kind of can too--out of my apartment window. And wouldn't you know, I guess I did something right with 2 out of the 6 (either that or the other 4 will catch up), because when I went to water them this morning, I found these baby sprouts! Let's just hope they continue growing. (If so, I'm sure updates will follow.) Oh, and the bf sent me a text saying "Yay! Go girl!" after I showed him the progress. So all is good there. Unless he potentially reads this.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Must Make- Roasted cauliflower, potato & mushroom quinoa in balsamic vinaigrette.

I think I'm getting pretty good with quinoa. Once you figure out how to put flavor into it (using chicken broth instead of water, blasting it with garlic and lemon, or adding dressings and hot sauce), you can whip up all kinds of meals from there, probably using things you already have in your kitchen.

I made a roasted cauliflower, sweet potato and mushroom quinoa, over a bed of sauteed spinach, with balsamic vinaigrette and  blue cheese on top. I used all of the veggies I had in my fridge, which was perfect. And I had leftover blue cheese from the buffalo chicken quinoa


Here's another simple recipe for you:
  •  Make 1 cup of quinoa (note: I use 2C of chicken broth instead of water), and while that's cooking, roast your veggies (with seasonings of your choice) at 400° for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to flip them over halfway!
  • Combine quinoa and veggies when done! Use about 1/4C balsamic vinaigrette (or however much you'd like) as dressing, and top with blue cheese! Goat cheese probably would have been best, but I had blue already.
As always, enjoy!