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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I’m getting used to this photo a day thing! Surprisingly it hasn’t felt like a chore, which is something I was very worried about. I enjoy seeking out things to photograph and I absolutely cannot wait till I get a new phone that has a decent camera so I can document all these wonderful things around me; I’m too much of a weenie to pull out my dslr in a big crowd. I also don’t want to lug it around in my purse every day. I also always feel like I’m in such a hurry to get somewhere that I don’t feel like I can just stop for a minute and compose a nice photo. Ok, I admit it: I’m just full of lame excuses…

Day 17: January 17, 2013

I did not know what to photograph this day and I really did not want to resort to taking another photograph of my super amazing cat. So instead I took a photo of his toy mouse.

Day017 - Playing with my Cat's Toy

A friend of mine told me about these mice and I found a local pet store selling them for $1 a pop. I bought one and, of course, the little bugger got lost after a day of intense cat play and then I decided I was too cheap to go back and pay $1/mouse, so I bought a whole box on Amazon because somehow that made way more financial sense to me….

Day 18: January 18, 2013

I took a photo during the day of the view from my office on Day 8. I decided to take a similar photo, but in the evening.

Day018

The night photo really emphasizes the hellish rush hour traffic that truly highlights life in LA. Thankfully, I don’t *have* to deal with rush hour traffic (as long as I’m not lazy) since I can take public transportation to and from work. (Note: my camera’s timestamp is all wrong so it says I took this photo on Jan 17th at 11:55pm, but I assure you that I did in fact take this photo on January 18th and I sure as hell was not in the office at 11:55 pm. I think this was taken at 5:55pm.)

Day 19: January 19, 2013

This was my second attempt at making a green juice/smoothie.

Day019

Although my husband was quick to correct me that this is neither a juice nor a smoothie, so I guess I’ll just call it a green goopy drink. Since I don’t have a juicer, I’ve been trying my best to create a green drink in my POS blender, but I can’t blend it for too long otherwise the liquid begins to leak out the bottom. Obviously I need a new blender. Oh, you want to know how it tasted? Hmmm…..there is a lot of room for improvement, but I did drink 1/3 cup of almonds, 2 celery stalks, 1 orange, half of a banana, and 2 stalks of kale leaves…..so, there’s that.

Day 20: January 20, 2013

Lunch at Father’s Office, THE BEST BURGER IN TOWN!

Day020

Perhaps it is a good thing a burger and fries costs $15.00 because otherwise I would want to go every single weekend. There are plenty of other items on the menu, but I don’t know what they taste like because I have never strayed from ordering the burger and fries. This meal is heavenly. We decided to treat ourselves to a nice lunch because we finally took the huge jump and met with a realtor! Ack, we’re going to be so broke later this year (if things go as planned)!! Why am I so excited about having a soul-crushing mortgage?!

Note:  I took this photo on my husband’s iphone (in case you care about those type of deets.)

To everyone who has off from work on MLK Day: I hate you. I’ll be slaving away at work on Monday, but enjoying the lovely 80 degree weather we have been blessed with recently. I know it won’t last, so I won’t complain about how I wish we could experience some winter weather instead.

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Days 14-16. Guess what?? No cat photos in this post!!!! (Instead I made a photoset on Flickr of just cat photos…..)

Day 14: January 14, 2013
This photo a day thing isn’t too bad! Even my husband is encouraging me to stick with it and offered to make himself a drink so I could take a photograph of it. Although, now that I think about it, it is more likely that he used my photo project as an excuse to drink………he. used. me.

Here’s a photo of his 50/50 martini. However, you’ll notice that I focused on something else:

Day014

Yep, those are Battlestar Galactica coasters. I have no doubt that BSG fans are creaming their pants right now, but non-BSG fans (like myself) are thinking “blech, those are unsightly coasters!” (and you’d be damn right!)

Day 15: January 15, 2013
Normally our apartment stays pretty warm throughout the year and we have never in the 4+ years of living here have used our wall heater. But lately it has been a bit chilly in LA and the indoor temp finally fell below 65 degrees so we brought out ‘Steeley’, the super amazing portable oil-filled radiator heater! (Yes, I gave the heater a nickname.)

Day015

We bought Steeley when we lived in Long Beach because it got cold down there! Contributing to the frigid temps was the fact we lived in a 1910s-era Craftsman bungalow that had absolutely no insulation. My grandmother recommended buying an oil-filled radiator because it is affordable, portable, safer than a typical space heater, and can heat a room fairly effectively. Additionally I have recently discovered it is kitty-friendly. The only downside is that it uses electricity so if you use it all day long, then your electric bill will skyrocket! I told my husband he can only turn it on if the indoor temp is below 70 degrees. (Note: I am fully aware that I am cheap, but I am not being mean. He has told me on several occasions that his ideal temperature is 65 degrees, but I have learned this winter that apparently that only applies to summer.)

Day 16: January 16, 2013

A photo of my current favorite cookbook.

Day016

No, I am not a vegetarian. I sorta tried to “be” vegetarian for about a week, but I got tired of trying to figure out how to get enough protein. I love soup, but ugh, lentils really make you bloated…I mainly bought this cookbook because I want to eat more vegetables, but I needed more ideas on how to cook them. One of the things that I really like about this cookbook is that Mark Bittman provides a ton of suggestions for how to alter a recipe into different flavor profiles. For instance, I think there are at least 4 different versions of a Tomato Soup recipe. When I first got the cookbook I actually had the thought “I’m going to make every single recipe in here!“……and then I flipped through it and realized that is never going to happen. But I love that I can buy almost any vegetable and then find 10 different ways to make it.

Looking forward to Thursday; word on the street is the temp might reach the upper 70s!!! wooohooo!

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Days 10-13….these were some chilly days in LA! Laugh all you want non-SoCal people, but it was cold here and I did not want to go outside.

Day 10: January 10, 2013

Mad Housewife….she seemed like a good idea at the time. So, I started a food blog {finally} and will eventually review this el cheapo wine. Spoiler Alert: I do not recommend it.

Day 10/365 - Mad Housewife Wine

Day 11: January 11, 2013

Another cat photo…what can I say. I love taking photos of my sweet, psychotic Bailey:

Day 11/365

Day 12: January 12, 2013

This is a T-Rex tea infuser!!! 🙂

Day 12/365

I bought this little trinket as a stocking stuffer for my husband. I found it at Sur La Table and thought he would get a kick out of it. It’s fun to use and have sitting in your mug, but it is a pain in the behind to clean! The holes are a bit big so some of the smaller tea leaves float into your tea, but since they usually settle to the bottom it isn’t that big of an issue.

Day 13: January 13, 2013

Bailey’s feeding station:

Day 13/365

A close friend of mine gave me the awesome bowl and placemat. Funny story: Bailey freaked out when I first used the placemat. I’m not sure why he was so weirded out, but he didn’t want to go near his food bowl. Of course, his love for food was too overwhelming and he eventually got past his fears.

Oh Sunday, you’ve been fun. Definitely not looking forward to your bastard cousin, Monday.

Have a good week, everyone!

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I Need a Good Quinoa Recipe

Last weekend I was at Trader Joe’s and when I got to the checkout line I noticed a bag of quinoa randomly sitting in a basket containing nuts or crackers. Obviously someone got to the checkout line and decided not to buy it so he or she tossed it aside. I have always wanted to try quinoa because I have heard that’s it a great substitute for starchy side dishes, but I have never put it on my grocery list so I never remember to even look for it. It’s like the Food Gods were trying to send me a message that day so I picked up the bag to see how to cook the quinoa and was pleasantly surprised to see that you cook it like rice so even though I had no idea how much it cost I decided to get it.  Total impulse buy.

Later in the week (a couple days ago) I finally got around to making quinoa. I figured it would be a good alternative to potatoes, which I usually serve alongside a pork tenderloin.

Pork Tenderloin

Hmmm....pork tenderloin. So yummy......

I had absolutely no idea how the quinoa was going to taste so I cooked it in water first and then tried to season it properly. First of all, does anyone else think quinoa looks really freaking weird? It looks like harmless little beads in the bag, but then it transforms into an alien mass. The instructions on the bag did mention that you’ll know the quinoa is fully cooked when all the water is gone and the quinoa expands and the germ is exposed. I didn’t really know what to expect from that description, but once I saw the cooked quinoa, it made perfect sense.  In case you’re a quinoa newbie, here are before and after photos:

Uncooked Quinoa

Uncooked Quinoa

 

Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

So back to seasoning the quinoa. I only cooked it in water and when I first tasted it I was a little disappointed with how completely and utterly bland it was. There was absolutely no flavor to it. None. Zero. Nil. Zilch. It was boring. On the contrary, I can easily eat plain Japanese white rice by the bowlful without any salt, butter, soy sauce, spice, etc. But the quinoa needed a huge kick in the pants if I was going to eat it and especially if I was going to convince P to try it.

I started by adding some salt and pepper. Still bland. So I added some butter hoping that would give it a savory flavor since butter makes everything taste better. It did taste marginally better, but still not something I would want to it a lot of. I think I also added some Tony Chachere’s to give it more saltiness and a little bit of a kick. It definitely helped, but I don’t want to get in the habit of adding Tony’s to quinoa every time i make it. Isn’t quinoa supposed to be healthy? I don’t feel so healthy knowing I add so much salt and fat to it….

So I went online to search for more hints, which I should have done before I even started cooking the quinoa. The first recipe I came across was a quinoa dish from Ellie Krieger of the Food Network. However the only ingredients I had were quinoa and garlic so I added some minced garlic cloves that were lightly toasted in olive oil and the quinoa tasted so much better! It wasn’t fabulous, but definitely edible and even P liked it. Lesson learned: look online for tested recipes.

Quinoa expands a ridiculous amount when it cooks so I still have a ton of uncooked quinoa to experiment with. Its blandness lends itself to being transformed into a host of different types of flavors and I look forward to trying new recipes and pairing it with different main dishes. Anyone have any good quinoa recipes or cooking suggestions that I can try?

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Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Every Friday someone in my office brings breakfast. We’re compensated for up to a certain amount and not everyone in the office is required to participate, but most of my coworkers do. You usually know what each person is going to bring and typically you can expect bagels. Personally, I love having bagels on Friday because I don’t usually have bagels any other time. In fact, it wasn’t until I worked at this company did I experience the amazingness of a cheddar jalapeno bagel!!!!! Holy moly, those are THE BEST! There are some other breakfasts that I enjoy and look forward to, but in my humble opinion you really can’t go wrong with bagels and cream cheese.

There have been a couple times that I’ve baked items and one time I cooked scrambled eggs. But, usually I’m too lazy to do anything. However, I decided the year of 2012 is the year to be motivated! Whenever I feel like being lazy, I’m going to remind myself to be motivated because whenever I succumb to laziness, I feel like poop even though all I did was rest on my bum. However, if I stay motivated and finish something, even though I’m tired and complaining to myself about doing it, I feel great when it’s done.

My breakfast day was the first Friday of 2012. It was too soon in the New Year to resort to being lazy!  My office size has dwindled since I first started working there in 2008 and several people work from home or take regular days off on Fridays so I knew there wouldn’t be a ton of people in the office. I knew I wanted to buy bagels, but I also wanted to supplement them with something else in case people were getting tired of bagels. I thought about cooking eggs, but I was concerned about them getting cold and I think cold eggs are the worst. Instead I decided to bake a coffee cake. Then, I wondered if it was possible to make into a pumpkin coffee cake because even though plain pumpkin is disgusting, anything with pumpkin in it is to die for!

I looked online for some recipes and decided to use this Ina Garten coffee cake recipe (minus the glaze) and based on this allrecipes.com pumpkin coffee cake recipe, I figured it was probably okay to add 1/2 cup of canned pure pumpkin. I have a pumpkin muffin recipe that I love (not sure where I found it though) and it also uses 1/2 c of pumpkin for 2c of flour and it calls for 1/4 tsp of ground ginger, so I added that too. Ina Garten baked her coffee cake in a bundt-type pan, but I don’t have one, so I used a 13×9 baking pan and guessed on the baking time. I removed it after 40 minutes and P and I tasted it……even though I was pretty sure it was fully cooked the texture was just a bit off so I threw it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. The inside still didn’t look like it was cooked (it looked kinda wet and way too moist), but it tasted fully cooked this time.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

ooooh, look at all the crap on my kitchen counter!

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

yum.....

The great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t use any milk! {I actually didn’t even have any milk that day and I had just gotten back from the store when I realized I forgot to buy it so I was delighted when I read the recipe again and found out I didn’t need any.} The muffin recipe that I try to make every year around November calls for buttermilk and I always hate buying a carton of buttermilk and only using 1/3 cup and then the rest just sits in my fridge until it goes bad. This coffee cake recipe uses sour cream, so even if I don’t use an entire carton for baking, there’s a high probability that I’ll use the rest of it in another dish.  I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a lot easier to use leftover sour cream than it is to find a second use for buttermilk.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

nom nom nom

The coffee cake was gone by lunchtime so I’m going to assume people liked it (although I didn’t check the trash can to see if anyone spit it out!)  Regardless, this is definitely a recipe I’ll make again! If you like pumpkin flavored baked goods {or pumpkin spice lattes!} then I’m sure you’ll love this coffee cake recipe.  If you’ve made one before or you make this one, then let me know what you think!

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Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a safe and fun NYE celebration!

P and I decided to stay in and make ourselves a 5-course dinner.  We had never done this before so it was quite a treat.  We came up with a menu pretty much off the top of our heads and despite not too much planning we both loved our choices.  Our menu consisted of the following:

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Bruschetta

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

Walnut  Cranberry Salad with Sliced Apples

Filet Mignon with Brussel Sprouts and Potato Hash

Blood Orange Sorbetto

I’m really glad NYE was on a Saturday so I could go shopping Saturday morning and not have to worry about ridiculously long lines.  I remember a couple years ago NYE was on a weekday and I went to Trader Joe’s after work to pick up TWO items and every single checkout line extended to the middle of the store.  I almost left the store, but I reluctantly got in line.  Thankfully everyone in the line let me skip ahead of them because they felt so bad that I was only buying two things as opposed to a full cart of food like everyone else.

This year I did most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s, but went to Whole Foods to get the shrimp, basil, and sorbetto.  P bought the meat at the LA Farmers Market at one of the meat stands (the one closest to Bob’s Coffee & Donuts).  Here are some photos from the night:

I cooked the brussel sprouts based on a Michael Symon recipe and they looked so nice and green  until I forgot about them and they got kinda charred….oops!  This was my first time cooking shrimp for a shrimp cocktail and, just like you would expect, it was pretty easy and I was able to cook it earlier in the day and then chill it in the fridge until we were ready to eat it.  I was going to follow this Alton Brown recipe, but in the end followed a much simpler recipe found in Mark Bittman’s cookbook, ‘How to Cook Everything: The Basics’.  The main course looks kinda sad in the photo, but it tasted great!  We’ll definitely buy meat from the Farmers Market again because the price wasn’t that much more expensive than at the local grocery store, but it tasted way better!

Happy New Year, friends! Hope 2012 is a great year for everyone!! 🙂

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