Dinner for 2 (and some reviews!)

On Friday night, I made salad Nicoise with seared sea scallops for Nate and myself. The recipe was fairly simple: romaine lettuce, chopped tomato, kalamata olives, blanched green beans, boiled red potatoes, and sea scallops. I topped our salads with cracked black pepper, sea salt, and a vinaigrette made of 1/4 c olive oil, 3 Tb balsamic vinegar, and a tsp of dijon mustard. Super healthy and flavorful! For dessert, I used a Cooking Light recipe for Tiramisu. I substituted a splash of rum for the Kahlua and used a cup of fresh, black coffee in place of the espresso mixture. I was a little skeptical of using fat free cream cheese in the recipe, but I think it worked really well with the other ingredients. The dish tasted rich and creamy, yet not too heavy. It definitely passed my taste test – I think I ate 1/3 of the pan myself, hehe. Salad NicoiseTiramisuDouble-Fiber bread and Fitness & FruitsNow, on to some product reviews: Fine Fare was having a sale on Arnold Double Fiber Whole Wheat bread – for only $1.99. At this price I definitely had to stock up! This bread is great Each slice has 90 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and NO high fructose corn syrup. The slices are big – great for making peanut butter & banana sandwiches – my favorite! That box on the right is Nestle’s Fitness & Fruits! I used to eat this everyday when I lived in Italy. For the first month or so that I lived with my host parents, my host mom gave us corn flakes for breakfast (blech). Finally, I went to the grocery store, found a box of cereal that looked yummy, and wrote my host mom a note asking if she would buy Fitness & Fruits from now on. The cereal is made of lightly sweetened wheat/corn flakes with dried fruit and coconut. Nothing too fancy, but YOU CAN’T GET IT IN THE U.S.!! So obviously I had to buy some in Mexico City and stow it away in my carry-on :-)

Mexico, Yum!

LadiesJess really knows her stuff – everything we ate in Mexico City was delicious!  The warm climate offered plenty of fresh fruit and veggie options. I was also surprised by the really great coffee options. A girl could used to fancy cappuccinos and lattes for only 15 pesos. Below are some of the highlights: fresh guacamole and chips, chicken enchiladas verdes (had to remove some of that sour cream!) with beans and rice, yummy cappuccino with cinnamon, turkey veggie manchego cheese wrap, and a 100% fruit smoothie! On our last night we went to a taco place in the Condessa neighborhood – I forgot to take photos, but I had a really great dish called the “gringa”. Appropriate, eh? It consisted of a warm tortilla topped with shredded chicken, pineapple, onions, and cilantro. Yum! Chips and GuacChicken Enchiladas VerdesCappuccinoTurkey WrapJuiceI’m not sure why the juice photo is sideways – can’t seem to fixt that. Just tilt your head to the right :-)

Mexico City

I am back from Mexico City! Jess was an excellent tour guide/translator/hostess – I think she should consider opening a B&B or travel agency. Eventhough our visit was short, we did so much! We explored hip neighborhoods, visited the National Anthropology Museum, soaked up some art history at Frida Kahlo’s house, roamed around the city center, climbed the Aztec pyramids at Teotihuacan, were treated like VIP’s while watching “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, ate yummy food (guacamole! tacos! Mexican beer!), and braved the subways, busses, and taxis that travel through this bustling metropolis. I only ran twice (definitely felt the effects of pollution and altitude), but we walked A TON and as of yesterday I’m back on the running wagon.  Check out this sampling of photos and look for more updates to come soon!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day 2009!

I’m off to Mexico until next week, but enjoy these photos while I’m gone :-)Valentine's Day CardsCupcake

Nate and I exchanged eerily similar Valentines – both had puppies and kittens on them! Also, check out the beautifully decorated cupcake from Zaro’s breadbasket.

Happy Birthday Cookies

Jen’s Birthday Cookies!

I modified a cooking light recipe – I used 1/2 whole wheat flour instead of all purpose. Yum!

Chocolate Covered Mini Oreos

chocolate covered mini oreos

I am the best girlfriend ever. After Nate’s many fruitless searches for chocolate covered mini oreos (emphasis on the mini, not regular sized), I decided to take matters into my own hands. I bought a bag of mini oreos from Food emporium, melted a hershey’s bar in my microwave, and the result was pretty tasty.

Ingredients - Bag of mini oreos, large chocolate bar or 3/4 cup chocolate chips, glass bowl, foil/wax paper, baking sheet.

Instructions - To prevent the chocolate from seizing, use a completely dry glass bowl.  Break up a large chocolate bar (or use 3/4 cup chocolate chips), and put most of the chocolate into the bowl. Heat bowl for 40 seconds on MEDIUM - 50% power. Stir chocolate and microwave for another 40 seconds at 50% power. Add remaining bit of chocolate and stir until smooth. Saving some chocolate to stir in after microwaving will help firm up the chocolate at room temperature. Take each mini oreo and dip in the chocolate. Place on a foil or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then place in the fridge. Remove from fridge a few minutes before eating. Yum!!

Long Run – Sunday February 8th

Click here to see photos! hehe. Some of them are pretty funny.

Long Run -  Sunday February 8, 2009

I woke up around 6am, drank some coffee, ate some breakfast, and gave Alma a wake-up call. Took the 1 train to 225th Street and then warmed-up the mile+ to the start of the Bronx 1/2 marathon. Alma and I decided to scrap our plans to run marathon pace and instead take it easy. We ran with fellow CPTC teammate, Mayumi, from miles 4-9 and then picked up the pace a bit for miles 9-13. After a gatorade and stretch break we hit the road and ran back to my place (approximately 3 miles) bringing us to about 17.5 miles for the day, woo-hoo! Maybe it was the sunny and 55 degree weather or maybe it was the relaxed pace, but I felt really good throughout the long run. On a scale of 1-10, my hamstring/IT band/butt only got up to about a 4 on the pain scale. Most of the time it was at 2 or 3 and the last few miles were painless! I stretched and walked a lot throughout the remainder of the day - I think this really helped reduce soreness.

After the run, Alma and I made high fiber french toast! We used cinnamon, banana, maple syrup, and nut butter as toppings. La cena era molta deliziosa!

French Toast

After a successful long run, I felt like I deserved a salad from the Whole Foods (a.k.a. Whole Paycheck) salad bar. My salad included: mixed greens, shredded carrot, red onion, beets, feta cheese, a scoop of sonoma turkey salad, a scoop of tuna salad with dried cranberries, and a scoop of apple-pecan-barley salad. Yum-o!

Whole Foods Salad

Finally – a chocolate peanut butter cookie from Levain Bakery!! It’s been over a year since I’ve had one of these bad boys.  After talking about going to the bakery for the last few weeks, Nate and I made the trek yesterday afternoon. Each cookie is 6 oz and is crispy on the outside and wonderfully gooey on the inside. It kind of tastes like brownie dough!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie from Levain Bakery

On Friday night we went to Burgers & Cupcakes where I got a vanilla frosted cupcake as big as my head. It made me very happy.

Giant Cupcake!

The Top 10

Here’s a list of my top 10 favorite NYC eateries:

FireHouse

Popover Cafe

Magnolia Cupcakes

Grandpa’s Pizza

Levain Bakery

5 Guys Burgers & Fries

Dinosaur BBQ

Penelope NYC

Pita Grill

Tiny’s Giant Sandwich Shop

Kale, Carrots, and Sesame Tofu

Healthy Lunches save $$

I decided to take a break from buying lunch at the office cafeteria and instead prepare a week of healthy lunches. Over the weekend, I cleaned and de-stemmed a HUGE bunch of kale – only 79 cents at C-Town grocery store :-) I used a TB of canola oil and a large skillet to stirfry the kale until tender. Towards the end I added some low-sodium soy sauce. For the tofu, I pressed out some water and then cut the 12 oz block into 8 slices. I marinated the tofu in a mixture of 1/2 Tb canola oil, 1 Tb maple syrup, and 2 tsp soy sauce (~30 minutes). After pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees, I dredged the tofu slices in a shallow bowl of sesame seeds and placed them on a greased baking sheet. I cooked the tofu for about 25 minutes – until slightly brown and crispy along the edges. Don’t forget to flip once during baking! I added some roasted carrots to my healthy mix and divided everything into tupperware.

Cauliflower Macaroni & Cheese

Cauliflower mac n' cheese and roasted carrots

I used Bon Appetit’s Cheesemongers Mac and Cheese as a template for this recipe, but made a few key alterations:

I cut the recipe in half so that it made 4 portions instead of 8, I used 2% milk instead of whole, and I used equal amounts of Gruyere and Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar (about 9 oz total) and omitted the Brie. Most notably, I added some lightly cooked cauliflower florets to the pasta before topping it with the cheese sauce. The finished recipe was great! I forgot to take a photo of the entire pan, but the above plate shows my next-day leftovers with some roasted carrots. Yum!

 

The carrot side dish was really easy to make. The oven roasting really brings out the sweetness! Preheat oven to 400 degrees, wash 3 large carrots (don’t peel!), cut the carrots in half length-wise and then cut into 1-2 ” pieces. Toss with 1 tsp olive oil and salt and place on a baking sheet (sprayed with oil or PAM). Roast for about 25-30 minutes until tender. You could get even more creative and top the carrots with maple syrup, honey, herbs, etc.

Kitchen Round-Up

Photos:

1) Marinated and broiled top round steak

2) Parmesan roasted potatoes

3) Dinner, yum!

4) Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

5) Muffins for my elderly neighbors!

6) Skillet baked beans

7) Apricot glazed ham with cloves

8) Leftovers

9) Pre-1/2 marathon breakfast and hamdwarmers (it was 14 degrees!)

10) Post-run fuel: greek yogurt, sliced apple, pb granola, and jam

11) Ham, cheddar, onion, and olive frittata

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