Dec 23, 2009

the laziness continues

actually, i've been baking up a storm, but since the actual baking is taking quite a lot of time, this blog post will be about a very simple, but delicious pasta dish that can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes.this is what hubby likes to call a one-pot meal. just everything thrown together. there are many variations that i go through, but this is one of hubby's faves. and mine. it's tasty, easy, and like most of our other food, somewhat healthy.
3 links of turkey sausage (we like jenny-o, sweet italian style)
penne pasta (you could use whole wheat to up the healthy factor)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp olive oil
~ 3/4 cup frozen spinach
jar pasta sauce, about 1 cup
break out the Forman grill, heat it up and put on the 3 turkey sausage links.
while that's going, start pasta water
chop the garlic
heat pan and oil
saute your garlic, then add the frozen spinach and saute, then add pasta sauce
pasta water should be ready now, add penne
turkey sausage should be done by now. take off the grill and let it rest for a minute on a cutting board.
slice turkey sausage, add to garlic/spinach/sauce and cook on low until pasta is ready.
drain pasta, but keep a little water and add it all to sauce mixture.
mix and let cook together for just a minute.
check to see if you need any more salt/pepper.
that's it!
the whole thing should take about 20 minutes.
you could add other things if you want. it's just a very casual weeknight sort of dinner.

Dec 18, 2009

lazy cake

sometimes, i want cake. but i don't want to bake. so i microwave.
yes, microwave chocolate cake.
it's not fantastic, no, but it's quick, easy and you only need to clean one cup, and two spoons.
take a microwave safe mug and add:
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp flour (i use whole wheat)
1/8 tsp baking powder
tiny pinch of salt
2 tbsp sugar (i actually like 1 heaping tbsp instead of 2)
1 large egg
1 tbsp milk (non fat)
1 tbsp plain yogurt (non fat)
1 tbsp chocolate chips (or more, however much you feel like)
mix it all together and microwave it for 1:30 min on high. my microwave's pretty strong, so if your microwave isn't, maybe 2 min. i like to spri
nkle a few more chocolate chips on the top when it comes right out. b/c i use non fat milk and non fat yogurt, i admit, it's a little dry. also, if you don't eat it within 30 min, it gets hard b/c it was microwaved. but, the whole thing is done in just a few minutes and there's so little cleanup.
and it's still pretty tasty.

Dec 14, 2009

case of the mondays - lanai

today sucks. not because it's monday. but because it's dec. 14th and one of the MBA programs I applied to released it's decisions.
and i did not get positive feedback.
so, instead of wallowing about this, since it's pointless and i'll just eat a lot of food and get fat even before the holidays are here, we're going to lanai!

lanai is one of the islands of hawaii
there are only 3 hotels on the entire island, and two of them are four seasons resorts.
hubby and i honeymooned on lanai (among other islands).
we stayed at the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele.
and because i was so enamored with the place, i totally forgot interior pictures.
but this is part of the property in the back.
when we got there, they gave us fresh-squeeze pineapple juice. it was delicious. of course. they had fruit in the lobby and i grabbed an apple on our way out to explore.
i mean, i guess it could be said that i have a small head (but i'm kind of short, so it's totally proportional). but this apple was gigantic. i didn't stand a chance.

we drove on this red-dusted road to get to the Garden of the Gods (Keahiakawelo).
so named because to rocks bring to mind god-like images. fields of this. some had much bigger boulders.
what i loved was that from one of the small hills, you could see Molokai.
we did also visit the other Four Seasons resort and went snorkeling there. while i was resting, hubby was out trying to get close to the dolphins. yes, that speck in the middle is a dolphin.
the view of Manele Bay, where we were snorkeling. ahh, lanai was a beautiful island.
there's a lot to do on the island, tiny as it is. we didn't do it all and what we did actually partake in, we don't have lots of photos. but still, i can think back to it and see it very clearly in my mind. one particular restaurant was great (and amazingly, not connected to four seasons, though those were all wonderful too). the Lanai City Grille, part of the one other hotel on the island, Hotel Lanai. not only were the portions generous, but it really was delicious. i can still remember that i had pork chops. with a pureed vegetable. and greens. there was garlic.
for the rest of the day, i will think about lanai. the chocolate-covered pineapple spears from our four seasons resort. the dinner and music at lanai city grille. beautiful, enchanting hawaii.

Dec 7, 2009

case of the mondays - venice

do you have a case of the mondays?
i do.
i have a case of the mondays every monday.
i just have that kind of job. do you?
if so, would you like to travel with me?
every monday, let's take a trip.
i've been to a number of places in my short life and each monday, we'll visit a different place.
to start, let's go to venice.
ahhh, beautiful, amazing venice.
with it's gondolas

many, many gondolas
and markets, just brimming with produce. none of which are actually from venice. most not even from italy, like the pineapples in the corner and the bananas hanging up top. but a vibrant scene, nonetheless.

the swordfish head looked particularly appetizing . . .
mui mui, trying to blend with the local scene. too bad we didn't buy it. the packaging and transporting thing would have been an issue. but the guy who owned this store was great! we went back to his place several times to buy little masks as souvenirs for friends.
mui mui eating a cream puff in a square. lots and lots of squares in venice. the streets, canals, bridges, etc. are all a bit confusing. but if you are ever lost, just keep walking until you get to a square. locate the square on your map, and you are all good.
Venice's most famous square - Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark's Square. mui mui, mom, and dad, among the throngs of tourists there.
one of the things i loved about venice was that you could look up at anytime and see beautiful carved details like this
the food at this one restaurant, something with pumpkin in the title, was also very much loved. completely forgot to take a picture of the food before we started to eat. this was towards the end of the delicious meal.
Venice was a beautiful, lovely place. bye. sigh.

Dec 5, 2009

our thanksgiving

this year, we celebrated thanksgiving in london. so before we went, we had thanksgiving with friends. the whole spread - turkey, mashed potatoes (which sort of looks bigger than the turkey), asparagus, sweet potato biscuits, stuffing, brussel sprouts with bacon, pecan and caramelized apple pie, cranberry sauce, cornbread stuffing, gingerbread and pumpkin cheesecake with caramel sauce. mmmm, lots of food.

our friends digging in

my favorite dish of the night (almost, i liked them all actually) - cornbread stuffing with sausage, butternut squash, craisins and parsley

caramelized apple and pecan pie - it's hard to see the apple, but it's in there

gingerbread and pumpkin cheesecake

another shot of the gingerbread and pumpkin cheesecake, this time, with caramel sauce. and let me tell you, it wasn't easy to take that picture. one hand with the caramel sauce and the other one trying to steadily take the picture, all while the sun is setting outside.

Nov 11, 2009

green goodness

pesto couscous with veggies. very fast, very simple.

1 cup couscous
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup soybeans (edamame)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
~2 tbsp pesto

bring veggie broth and water to a boil. then turn off heat, stir in couscous, cover and leave alone while you make the veggies.
saute onion and zucchini. add edamame at end to heat through.
fluff couscous with fork. add veggies. add pesto. stir and you're ready to eat!
you can add more pesto if you want it more heavily seasoned.
we also added some slivered almonds on top too.
the crunch of the almonds is a nice contrast.
this is really a very versatile dish. if you want some meat in it, add some diced chicken. i like it as a vegetarian dish though. mmm, yum.

Nov 10, 2009

perhaps a little ambitious . . .

but here is what i plan to serve for our "thanksgiving" dinner
it's in quotes b/c we're really having it this saturday since hubby and i will be visiting mui mui in london over thanksgiving. but i couldn't bear the thought of missing out on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. so we're having our own gathering with a few people this saturday.
here is the plan:
turkey (duh!)
stuffing (the kind my dad makes)
cornbread stuffing (with sausage, onion and cranberries)
mashed potatoes
sweet potato biscuits
cranberry sauce
green beans
roasted brussel sprouts (with balsamic vinegar and bacon)
caramel apple pecan pie
pumpkin cheesecake and ginger molasses cake mini trifles

and i'm doing it all from scratch. as in making the cornbread for the cornbread stuffing. making cranberry sauce tomorrow and freezing it until saturday. making pie dough friday night. nice thing about having furlough this friday - gives me time to prep.
new recipe and photos to come tomorrow. finally have time to blog and play around with editing photos again. the MBA application process is almost, almost over. so not complaining about it - having it be almost over b/c i got invited to interview is a wonderful (and relieving) feeling.

Nov 6, 2009

dear world, it's been too long

picture courtesy of my friend Aneesh (photo-editing from me)

hello again!
here's what's been happening: MBA applications. that's about it.
i've been writing lots and lots of essays.
spending lots and lots of money on MBA applications.
and now i'm spending lots of lots of time waiting for a decision.

just before i dropped off the face of the earth, we did manage to make it to the San Francisco Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival. we went with Lisa and Chris (btw, i'm tired of using just first initials, it gets too confusing for me) and met up with Aneesh and Jimmy. fun and yum in the sun. okay, fine, no sun. we were in SF after all.

Lisa and Chris

here's a picture of me and hubby
the Chocolate Festival was delicious. the deal with the Festival is that visitors pay a fee (can't remember the amount, this was almost two months ago, i'm a little behind on blogging) for 10 tickets. then, we visit each booth to trade a ticket for a goodie. like the ones below. (photo below courtesy of Aneesh. our camera was not working. the pictures of Lisa and Chris and me and hubby are from my iphone.)

oh, and now i'm hungry.

Oct 5, 2009

on hiatus

limited blogging until MBA apps are in. priorities.

Sep 12, 2009

totally crushing on Tate Forcier

it's good to be a wolverine.  
silver lining for charlie weis: he'll have more time to work out since he may not keep his job much longer.
coach rod rocks!

Sep 10, 2009

to prepare for this weekend of fun

before the activities of this weekend, i'm going to first take a long, grueling test.
i'm signed up to take the GMAT tomorrow because i'm applying to MBA programs. one master's degree is not enough - i need another. or rather, i need one that can actually help me make a difference in the world while raking in the dough. my current masters degree is pretty useless for helping me in my career right now, thank-you-budget-cuts-in-education. and to perfectly honest, even if there were no budget cuts and i was working in my field, i would still not be making enough money to really be comfortable. and that's not okay.
i like comfortable. the first thing i do when i get home is change into something with a stretchy waistband. nobody said yoga pants can only be worn for yoga. comfortable rocks. thank you 97% cotton 3% lycra.
so tomorrow AM, i will face the GMAT. i think i'll be okay. it's only a few hours in front of a computer that will spit questions at me that get HARDER as i progress. but i've studied and i've practiced and i feel ready. i AM ready.
sentence corrections? data-sufficiency? bring it on!

Sep 5, 2009

the new saturday morning cartoons

another blogger i read and admire commented - the badass geek.  great way to start a saturday.
another great way to start a saturday?  the adult version saturday morning cartoons.  remember waking up on the weekend and stumbling into the living room, turning on the tv and watching your fave cartoons?  the cartoons were entertaining and suspenseful and the perfect match for sugary cereals.
it's september and it's started again.
college football - the adult equivalent of saturday morning cartoons.
entertaining and suspenseful and the perfect match for a beer and wings.
hubby and i are looking forward to when our team plays in a couple hours, and hopefully wins.  oh dear god, please win.  we went to michigan (GO BLUE!).  hubby is a huge fan.  our alumni friends, especially A, bleed maize and blue.  and last year, they bled a lot.  coach rod did not have a stellar season.  today, we play western michigan.  we need to win.
no really, we NEED to win.  b/c if we lose, hubby and A and all the rest of them will sulk until the next game.  so if we have another season like last year, they will all sulk until december. 
i can't handle another season of sulking.  people who sulk are like people who walk slow.  i want to punch them in the back of the head.  
i also hate sweater vests.

Sep 3, 2009

LONDON! and other random thoughts

mui mui's in london. for study abroad. i wonder when we ichat this weekend if she'll take on a british accent.
oh, and the pictures of the ribs and southwestern style mac and cheese were terrible. still debating on whether those will go up or not. maybe they're terrible because i haven't bothered to clean them up.
instead, i've been sitting on the couch at night, alternating between doing gmat questions and staring at the tv. okay, mostly staring at the tv. this is what happens when hubby leaves me for extended amounts of time. i go dumb.
but i did wash the dishes by hand. this is huge for me. i HATE doing dishes. hubby usually does the dishes. but since he's not around, and clean dishes don't magically appear and the double sink can really only hold so much . . . i succombed and did the dishes. TWICE. yeah, over a period of 3 days, i did dishes twice. i should get a gold star.

Aug 31, 2009

one of my favorite bloggers left a comment for me

i'm still giddy about it. this is where you go for his hilarity -
i'm also giddy because someone other than my sister reads this thing. not that having just mui mui has a reader isn't enough. thanks for the support mui mui.
hubby sometimes comes here. actually, i bet hubby will be checking my blog regularly over the next few days.
hubby's in korea for the new few days. he will come back about 5 lbs lighter than when he left. why? because hubby does not like korean food. in fact, hubby hates korean food (gasp!). in his eyes, kim chee sucks. but before you start talking about the merits of kim chee, just know that white boy from michigan has come a LONG way, culinarily speaking. so before hubby left, i made a very american meal for him.
ribs and mac and cheese.
slow-cooked ribs that take 5 hrs and southwestern style mac and cheese.
not a shred of kimchee in sight.
blurry pics with awful lighting and recipes to come soon.

Aug 27, 2009

how good is your memory?

mine sucks. and so does hubby's.
there were just three. 1 - 2 - 3 items to pick up from the store yesterday and neither of us could remember the third item.
1 - toilet paper, this one was too important to forget. we were down to the very last roll. no reserves.
2- low-fat plain yogurt. a staple, everyday item for us
3 - something else. i couldn't remember it. i realized around noon yesterday that i couldn't remember it. i called hubby (mainly to let him know that i'd have to stay late at work) and asked if he remembered it. he did not.
i spent the rest of the day racking my brain for what this item could possibly be.
i mentally walked through our grocery store multiple times to try to remember what this one item is. was it important? did we need it that night? did we need it this weekend? was it a food item? was it from the pharmacy section? dear lord, what the hell is it?!?!?!
during my "trip" to the store, i remembered a bunch of other things - wheat germ for homemade wheat bread, chicken stock (yes, i buy the stuff from the carton, i don't make my own, judge away), parmesan cheese, etc. i even remembered that i need to buy lemons, which weren't on the original list.
i needed lemons for making baba ganoush. one would think that if i could remember the lemons for making baba ganoush, i would remember the thing you use to eat baba ganoush.
it took me a full day to remember that it was pitas that we needed.
great memory, huh?

Aug 25, 2009

what it means to love . . .chocolate

it means always having something that can make your day a little better.
it means having a store of different kinds of chocolate in your pantry at all times (cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, dark chocolate bars, bittersweet chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, etc.)
it means a heightened ability to enjoy life.
it means happy me.
and it means getting really excited during this time of year because the Ghiradelli Square Chocolate Festival is just around the corner.
hubby and i are going for the third time. third time's a charm, right?
the first time, i was completely overwhelmed by the chocolate. and hubby was overwhelmed by everything else. it was chaotic, loud, and confusing. hubby doesn't like crowds. hubby doesn't like kids. hubby especially doesn't like crowds of kids. so we left fairly soon and i did not taste as many things as i would have liked.
second time, we went with people we were trying to become friends with. the trip was fine, but those people are no longer our friends, we didn't mesh. the chocolate was good, but again, i did not taste as many things as i would have liked.
this is the third and possibly last time we will go to the Chocolate Festival. i am going to taste everything i want. this year, hubby is prepared for the crowds of kids. we are inviting people we are actually friends with. so come hell or high water, i will taste everything i want.

Aug 18, 2009

good things can take a long time

this is such a refreshing summer salad!  the ingredient list is rather short and the method is simple.  it's just one step that takes quite a long time.  but what's 4-5 hours?  
we start with fresh tomatoes, preferably the same size, but i couldn't do it.  i got my tomatoes from my CSA and from a coworker's garden.  

fresh tomatoes are slow-roasted in the oven at 250 for 4-5 hours (depending on the size of your tomatoes).  the flavor is amazing.  i could eat these plain.  i actually ate many of the plain and had to stop so that i had enough for the salad.  okay, so not the prettiest, but some of the tastiest food around.
the salad is just the slow roasted tomatoes with yellow wax beans, white beans, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. that's it! 
and yes, this picture is just a little blurry.  still working on those camera skills.
one wonderful thing about this is that the juices from the slow-roasted tomatoes (just some juices) is sweet and slightly acidic and mixes beautifully with a little bit of olive oil to give every bite some flavor.
Summer Salad with slow-roasted tomatoes and beans
6 or 7 roma tomatoes or equivalent
1 cup yellow wax beans (i stir-fried mine, steamed would be good too)
1 cup white beans (home cooked, if you've got the time, not canned)
handful or more of basil
1 tbsp good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
just toss it together!

Aug 12, 2009

Taste of Ann Arbor

last week, we had an event with our Alumni Association. hubby and i both went to the University of Michigan, the best school ever. GO BLUE!
it's where we met. at a house party. my house party. fun times.
so every year, our Alumni Association holds an event called Taste of Ann Arbor where we fly out different foods from AA. we had Cottage Inn pizza (not my favorite, but they ship to CA), Stucchi's ice cream (ended up being a mess) and Zingerman's (baked goods to die for!).

the whole event went off without too many problems. except with the Stucchi's. this is what it looked like when it arrived.
lovely, huh? i got to clean that up. lucky me.
when it was all cleaned up, it actually looked appetizing.

here we are at the park. love the flag in the background.

hubby and our friend Y.

N and J enjoying some Stucchi's ice cream. also, you can't see in the picture, but N (in the pink below) is wearing stylish leggings and very cute shoes. i am perpetually jealous of the outfits that she's in! she's even fashionable in the park! i was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and my hair was in a messy ponytail.

delicious Zingerman's bread.
saving the best for last . . . Zingerman's brownies. and not just any brownies. black magic brownies. first brownie i've had in a long time that wasn't a recipe of my own (which all attempt to cut the fat in half). full-fat brownies. so so good!

Aug 10, 2009

zucchini bread mini muffins. visual fail.

they TASTED great.  but as getting them out of the pan was too much of a challenge, we ended up with not very traditional looking zucchini bread mini muffin.  
more specifically, we ended up with mini muffin tops and bottoms.
we had the problem because we ran out of non-stick spray.  i used oil and greased each individual mini muffin hole, but it didn't work.  
but we bought more non-stick spray today and i'll try it again soon.  
hubby likes these very much, as i add in cranberries and toasted walnuts.  
makes one traditional loaf of zucchini bread (in 9x5 pan).  or one tray of mini muffin tops and bottoms.
here's the recipe:
adapted from hubby's mom
1 egg and 1 egg white
1/2 cup oil (minus two tbsp)
2 tbsp plain lowfat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cranberries (we used frozen, i'm sure dried sweetened would be fine)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

preheat oven to 375
spray either a 9x5 loaf pan, mini muffin pan or a regular muffin pan.
combine eggs, oil, yogurt, vanilla, sugars and honey.  mix until well combined.  stir in zucchini.
in a separate bowl, combine flours, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.  mix until all specks of cinnamon are distributed.
pour dry ingredients into wet, stir until just combined.  stir in cranberries and walnuts.
pour batter into desired pan. 
bake until just you just start to see browning on top.
for the mini muffin pan, it took about 20 minutes.
the loaf pan could be 30-40 min.

Aug 8, 2009

the sauces - proof of my sad inability to absorb chinese

apparently, the many years i spent in Chinese school on friday nights didn't amount to much.  neither did the years of Chinese i took in high school and college.  somehow, none of it stuck.  i can barely read a lick of it.  
it's not usually a huge problem at the grocery store since i shop by sight and brand recognition.  but it's sort of an issue when a certain brand sauce isn't carried at the store.  
this is what can ensue:
on phone with mom
me: what do you put into zha jian mien?
mom: you need tian mien jiang (awful pinyin alert)
me: is that the one in the small, blue tin can?
mom: yes, that's the one, just look for the can.
me: looking and looking.  mom, there's no blue can.  
mom: well, look for something that says tian mien jiang
me: looking and looking.  mom, nothing says that.
mom: okay, well it's a kind of bean sauce.
me: reading labels.  is it black bean sauce?
mom: no
me: hot bean sauce?
mom: no
me: bean chili sauce?
mom: no
me: getting desperate.  ground bean sauce?
mom: maybe, i don't know.  starting to think of all the money and hours wasted at chinese school.  why didn't she retain anything?
me: well, it has sugar and no chilis.  i'll just get this one.
mom: okay, let me know how it tastes.

hi mom, 
thank you for talking me through the "sauce" aisle on the phone while i was at the asian supermarket.  
here are the sauces i bought. since the one the blue can wasn't available.
and thanks for telling me which noodles to buy.  i hope i got the right ones.
your eldest daughter

Aug 7, 2009

is. he. crazy?!?!

some people have questioned the sanity of hubby. i admit, i am one of those people.
this morning, for instance, the thought crossed my mind in a haze resembling something like, “mmm, crazy hubby, emph, early, cough, snore." it was early morning, maybe 5:30am, and he was already up and about.

see, there's something special about hubby.
hubby voluntarily wrenches himself up at dawn so that he can go do something he doesn't like - swim.
he's at the pool about 4 times a week to work on his freestyle technique.
hubby's a triathlete.
and not just any triathlete.
hubby's a long-distance triathlete.
hubby's a kick-ass long-distance triathlete.
this means he's dedicated (obsessive), determined (stubborn), and organized (about training).

i love that he is all those things and more. and that's probably why i allow myself to be dragged out of bed in the early morning on race days. i'm also his photographer. i'm not that good, but my photography services are free. what else am i going to do at the race? these things take hours!

last weekend was the Sandman Triathlon in Aptos, CA at Seacliff State Beach. Sandman's not a long-distance tri. it's a sprint. and so hubby actually worked about again that afternoon.

swim, bike, run.

hubby coming out of the swim. working on getting that wetsuit off.

hubby coming down a large hill at the end of the bike. love the alien helmut. oops, sorry, i mean aerodynamic.
hubby starting the run on the sand. cool remnants of a ship in the background.

the apres-race photo. he's happy with his time.

crazy hubby.