Summer Recipe Ideas

The season of barbecues and grilling is upon us, friends!

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We are officially moving into the high 90’s, and there’s no end in sight. Such is life in Sacramento during the summer months! We get an average of 22 days of 100+ degree temps every year, according to the National Weather Service. That first day might be tomorrow!

And fortunately, I’ll actually be able to enjoy the weather this weekend: included in this weekend’s agenda are at least two barbeques, Concerts in the Park tonight, and a pub crawl tomorrow. All of a sudden, my social life has seemed to perk up! Funny how a little bit of sunshine will do that 🙂

If you’re curious whether I followed my “Getting Back on Track” meal/exercise plan for the week, I actually did pretty awesomely! All of my meals were more or less planned out [except last night I ended up having fries before dodgeball T-shirt pickup, and a salad after…I was supposed to have chicken, fries, and veggies. Not too bad, right?], and I stuck with the workouts. I surprisingly managed to run 2.7 miles on Wednesday at a 9:15 pace (my longest/fastest run since my 5K in March), and did a pretty killer arms & core workout yesterday. I’m definitely feeling like I’m back on track, though we’ll see if I can carry it over into the weekend full of food, booze, and fun!

In celebrating all of our social lives becoming active again, I decided to put together a little collection of summer recipes. Some are recipes I developed, and others are recipes I’ve pinned over the last year or so. Some are entrees that would be perfect for dinner tonight, others are sides that will make you the hero of any barbeque. I’ve got desserts and drinks too! Enjoy!

Main Dishes

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Fried Green Tomato BLTs with Spicy Ranch Spread – I made these on my birthday weekend this past year and they would be perfect for a summer meal on the balcony!

Chipotle-Mango BBQ Sauce Chicken Salad – That sauce sounds out of this world!

Salmon with Lemon, Capers & Rosemary – This Giada recipe is the first fish dish I ever made, and it’s been my go-to ever since! Cooking salmon in foil packets on the grill is foolproof and so delicious.

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Spicy Smoky Black Bean Burgers – My most popular recipe, and one of my favorites. Once you get the hang of it, making veggie burgers at home is really easy.

Grilled Veggie Tacos – The perfect summer meal. I made this so many times last summer!

Asian Turkey Burgers with Spicy Lime Mayo – This recipe has been pinned on one of my boards for over a year now. I think it might be time!

Side Dishes/Appetizers

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad – definitely a recipe that should be in everyone’s repertoire!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Corn & Avocado – Finally I can make zucchini ribbons, now that I have a microplane!

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Roasted Garlic Hummus – Now that I’ve perfected my hummus recipe, I am totally going to make it all summer long!

Grilled Corn & Cheddar Quinoa – I couldn’t believe how delicious this was. Possibly my favorite quinoa dish ever.

Roasted Red Pepper, Artichoke and Olive Pasta Salad – Ashley has managed to develop my most perfect ideal pasta salad EVER!

Desserts

photo courtesy of Heather Christo Cooks

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icebox Cake – I’ve never made an icebox cake, but they sound so easy and perfect for warm weather…no oven required!

Orange Creamsicle Cookies – Quickly becoming my signature cookies! I am looking forward to revisiting this recipe this summer and updating my pictures.

Zucchini Almond Chocolate Bites – My favorite thing to do in the summer is sneak zucchini into everything. These bites are a perfect vehicle!

Coconut Shell Fruit Popsicles – What a cool idea. I might have to do this now that I got a huge amount of coconut oil in my Blend swag bag!

Drinks

photo courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Whiskey Lemonade with Honey – Whiskey and lemons is a favorite combo of mine. It’s like a warm weather hot toddy!

Watermelon G&T – It sounds a little labor intensive to make the watermelon syrup…but I have a feeling it’d be worth it.

Iced Green Tea Mojito – What a cool idea. The healthiness of the green tea totally cancels out the alcohol right? AND there’s green stuff in it. It’s healthy!

Raspberry Beer Cocktail – This sounds like a hangover waiting to happen…and a delicious one, at that.

Citrus-Strawberry Green Tea – So you all can’t say I only included alcoholic drinks 🙂 Though this does sound like it’d be great with a splash of vodka!

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What is your favorite thing to make in the summer?

What are your plans this weekend?

Wednesday Around the Web

Hello all! I was contemplating jumping on the What I Ate Wednesday bandwagon for the first time ever today, because I actually took pictures of every.single.thing I ate yesterday…but then I realized that my food was actually pretty ugly (I had oatmeal for breakfast and a bowl of black beans, peas, corn, chard, and quinoa for lunch…yeah, that doesn’t even sound appetizing). And no one wants to see ugly food…amirite?

The exception, though, was dinner!

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I got a special treat last night – T-Man cooked me dinner! This feat has only happened a handful of times (if you don’t include his amazing cheesy eggs in the morning, or his other specialty: Chicken Caesar wraps). This is mostly because, on nights that our schedules meet up at dinner time, either I insist on cooking or T-Man insists on going to Burgers & Brew 🙂

Last night, we had baked chicken (on which we both slathered BBQ sauce), steamed white rice, mixed greens, and his mom’s famous garlic bread. I think even a simple meal like this trumps eating out – on both the wallet and the waistline!

Anyhow, since none of my other meals yesterday were quite as share-worthy as this special one, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite finds from around the web lately. I’ve had a lot of spare time at work, so you can bet your butt I’ve been spending a lot of time on BuzzFeed 😉

1) Lip Sync-Off with John Krasinski on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Please tell me you have all seen this. If you haven’t seen it, WATCH NOW. If you have, I’m confident you loved it so much you’ll watch it again. I’ve watched it like 4 times already. J-Kras is freakin’ dreamy, talented, and makes me laugh like no other. We’ve been re-watching last season of The Office trying to catch up to the series finale tomorrow, but it ain’t gonna happen. I’ve been avoiding reading any articles about the final season so far, what’s another week or two? I don’t even care that it has gone “downhill” in the past couple of years. Definitely one of my top 10 all-time favorite shows. PB + J FO LYFE!

2) 43 Things That Will Make You Feel Really Old


I may only be in my mid-20’s, but most of these made me feel pretty old. Maybe it’s not so much that they made me feel old, as much as they made my childhood feel really, really far away.

3) Zach Braff’s Kickstarter movie’s 1st Casting Announcement

A few weeks ago, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and pledge money to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter project to fund his new movie. I know he’s gotten some critics for the move (yeahhh, it’s always a little ballsy for a millionaire to ask other people for money), but I think the idea behind this is solid. For $20, I have been enjoying production updates and will later be getting sneak peeks at the soundtrack. The Garden State soundtrack was pretty much this emo high schooler’s favorite album ever, so I’m excited to see how this one turns out.

ANYWAY, my decision to back this project was 100% justified when Zach announced this week that MANDY PATINKIN is going to play his father! You may know him as Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride, or Saul from Homeland. Rock on.

4) How To Create Your Own Original Cookie Recipe and Cookie Science

I’ve always steered clear of trying to create my own cookie recipe. This guide may change that. It breaks down each ingredient in a cookie (flour, leavening agent, fat, mix-ins): why they’re there, what you can use, and how to substitute in other options. Very informative, and her cookie recipes don’t sound half bad either!

5) A Guide to Living in Lyon for Parisians

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At the risk of alienating any non-Francophones who read my blog (AKA most of you), a few of my Facebook friends posted this article yesterday. It’s basically told from the perspective of a girl from Paris now living in Lyon, where I studied abroad in college. Lyon is the 2nd largest city in France (unless you ask someone from Marseille, who will tell you it’s Marseille ;-)) but it is still known to be quite “provincial” compared to the City of Lights.

The author describes Lyon’s slower way of life, plethora of amazing and cheap restaurants, questionable fashion sense, and slang. I was surprised to learn that some phrases I thought were normal colloquial French are actually regional “Lyonnais” language quirks!

6) This Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad from Bev Cooks

I was catching up on my Google Reader’s 100+ unread posts and found this gem. My dad gave me some beets from his garden and I just happen to have parsley and too many lemons on hand. Aaand there’s roasted garlic in the vinaigrette?! I’m thinking this needs to be dinner tonight + lunch tomorrow!

Which website can you lose hours browsing?

Any fun internet finds this week?

Lemony Brown Rice with Spring Veggies

Seems like every season, I make some kind of rice pilaf (or quinoa, couscous, etc) with the season’s veggies. It started in the SUMMER which included zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes.. then continued into an AUTUMN version which featured an amazing mix of walnuts, dried cranberries, caramelized onions, and rosemary. Ohhh man both were so good.

I think, however, I may have topped it.

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I am lemon-obsessed, as you all know. Braided Lemon Bread, Skinny Lemon Poppyseed Muffins…it is definitely lemon season around here. Plussssss, spring produce is finally here! Color me excited. I went to my first seasonal Farmers Market last week and zeroed in on two things: peas and asparagus. It’s green central up in my fridge, folks.

So what better vehicle is there to transport those fresh, green veggies into my mouth than my favorite brown rice?

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Of course if I were really to be following tradition here, I’d be using Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend. I really wanted to make this into a quinoa salad, but thought I didn’t have any… Of course right after I finished cooking this dish, I found a box of quinoa that I bought on Saturday and completely forgot about in a mostly-empty grocery bag in my living room. D’oh. Regardless, I really do like TJ’s Brown Jasmine Rice. I buy a 3 pound bag every six months or so and make it all the time.

The other players:

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Farmer’s Market asparagus is really funny lookin’. Duly noted.

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Green!

This dish gets its lemony kick from a vinaigrette I added at the end. A little bit of honey balances out the zingy lemon, and it’s so easy to make; all you need to do is add ingredients to a jar and give it a shake!

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This is my one snobbish foodie thing – I don’t use any store-bought dressings or marinades. If you have oil, vinegar, and mustard/honey in your kitchen, you will always have the makings of a delicious and cheap homemade dressing.

Mix mix mix.

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I split this batch into two tupperwares for lunch. It is about 300 calories, lots of fiber, and nearly 10 grams of protein thanks to the peas (that apparently have lots of it!).

DSC_0503I didn’t get a chance to food prep this weekend (being that I was too busy drinking tequila and playing kickball and whatnot), but luckily (unluckily?) I was feeling ill Monday and Tuesday and didn’t have an appetite for much beyond avocado toast or almond butter + toast. I made this on Tuesday night hoping I’d regain my appetite in time to eat it for lunch on Wednesday and Thursday……wish granted!

Except that my stomachache promptly got worse after eating it, so I went to the doctor and the reason my stomach was acting up was because of acid indigestion-related issues. So yesterday morning I got a strict “no caffeine-alcohol-dairy-spicy-or-acidic-foods” order from the doc. Which means one of these is still sitting in my fridge at work, waiting to be eaten.

Any takers?

Lemony Brown Rice with Spring Veggies
serves 2, or 3-4 as a side dish

1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 cup chicken broth, veggie broth, or water (for cooking rice)
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
~10 asparagus spears (this was about 1/2 my bunch)
1/2 medium zucchini, about 1 cup when sliced
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp oil, or as needed for sauteing

FOR DRESSING
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp oil (I used sunflower oil)
pinch of dried basil
pinch of dried thyme

Prepare brown rice according to package instructions using your choice of broth or water.

While rice is cooking, prepare veggies. Dice the onions and mince the garlic. Snap or cut off the woody ends of the asparagus then cut each spear into 3-4 bite sized pieces, shuck the peas (if using fresh ones still in the pod), and slice the zucchini into bite-sized slices.

Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Next, add asparagus, stirring to coat. Let asparagus cook for about 4 minutes. Once the asparagus starts to get tender, add zucchini slices and garlic, stirring again to combine. Cook for another couple of minutes. Add cooked rice and peas all at once, mixing everything thoroughly.

While waiting for the veggies to cook, combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.

After peas and rice are added, let cook until everything is heated through and then add dressing, stirring well. Turn heat down to low and let everything simmer until ready to serve, being sure to not let the veggies overcook.

Would be great served with fresh crusty bread, or with chicken!

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What is your favorite season for produce?

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Weekend Food Prep

Soo I wasn’t so great on the healthy eating thing these past four days.

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the Six Pepper Pizza at the Dodgeball league bar – pepperjack cheese, jalapenos, pepperoncinis, bell peppers, pepperoni, and crushed red. SO GOOD.

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got a hankerin’ to bake m&m chocolate chip cookies on Friday night… so i DID!

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had an epic picnic for two on Saturday. sandwich fixins, cheese, crackers, mango, MORE cheese, hummus, and carrots/bell peppers for dipping

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this is how much cheese T-Man put in our eggs yesterday morning when i requested “not too much cheese” haha

It was bound to happen, since I had an insane week at work and was too busy enjoying a baseball game last Sunday to do any food prep.

Meanwhile, I’ve been quite good and have kept up with 1 gym trip and 1-2 runs per week, and due to T-Man’s work schedule I’ve been biking to work 5 days a week (holy mother my quads are getting BIG!), so I’m not too concerned about a few days of “gluttony”, if you can even call them that.

It’s not the worst mess-up in the history of people-trying-to-eat-healthily, but all the same I feel a bit guilty. Actually, that feeling might be indigestion 😉

In order to avoid similar mistakes this week, I made some food yesterday.

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A lotttt of food.

So here’s the thing: I don’t like to meal plan. There, I said it. I know some people get off on it, but it’s just not my bag. I am very finicky when it comes to deciding what I’m in the mood to eat (especially for dinner). It gives me anxiety to imagine choosing what to eat more than a few hours before the meal happens, let alone FOUR DAYS. But what if I’m not feeling like chicken that night? What if someone cool wants to go out to happy hour and grab a bite to eat?….you get the picture.

I can, however, get down with prepping a bunch of food that can go together in different ways throughout the week. Yesterday, I made a couple of plain chicken breasts – this week I can shred them up for tacos, slice one to put in a sandwich, or just saute one to eat with some veggies and oven fries. Three different options already! And the best part is, once I decide what I want to eat on Wednesday night, I’ll already have done most of the work days before. I like this food prep business.

Here’s what I did this week:

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I started soaking some dry black beans while cleaned the kitchen. Cleaning is my #1 procrastination tool. If I ever have a big task ahead, you bet your ass I’ll find something to clean before I can get started.

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Lots of clutter… which, with the help of awesomely bad music….

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Became slightly less clutter. (also, all the dirty dishes in the sink that I didn’t tell you about are now clean. Boom.)

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I put the beans in the Crockpot for two hours thinking that would be long enough. Hahaha, silly Katie. I used it as a timer to see how long it took to prep the rest of the food. The result: everything was finished in less than 2 hours! (except for the actual thing cooking in the Crockpot of course.)

First course: Breakfast. Frozen Yogurt squares it is!

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Yogurt, fruit, oats, honey, mix mix mix.

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I’ll deal with you later.

Next, vegetables. I decided on a kale and mushroom saute, and instead of spending 35 minutes making rice, I decided to get creative with my cauliflower.

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Cauliflower rice! I’m kind of excited to try it.

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Meanwhile, crappy music was still blasting on my iPad.

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Kale and mushrooms were sauteing.

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And a couple of chicken breasts were poached.

Let’s break down the results.

For breakfast:

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I am set for the week! I have 2 leftover Oikos, which I pair with Fiber One brownies. For the rest of the days of the week, I’ll have a Frozen Yogurt square paired with Fiber One bars. (The FroYo squares are fewer calories than a yogurt cup, so I pair them with a higher cal bar to even it out)

Next: protein!

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Two chicken breasts, and nearly 2 cups of black beans will be readily available to me this week. I also made a batch of my spicy peanut sauce. I kinda just want to dip everything in it. Is that bad?

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I split the kale and mushroom saute into two servings – I’m thinking I’ll pair one with beans (on a workout day, for protein) and the other with cauliflower rice.

Obviously this won’t last me all 5 days this week as far as lunches and dinner goes. So far, I only have evening plans on Wednesday and Thursday this week, so I will have enough time to make a normal dinner most other nights. Some other things I have readily available in my fridge/freezer that I can use for meals this week:

  • Enough Spring Mix for a big salad or 2
  • Sprouts and bread for sandwiches
  • Soup cup at work
  • A serving of frozen ravioli + like 4 servings of my mom’s pasta sauce in the freezer. It’s my emergency pasta stash, y’all!
  • Lentils + veggies and a can of diced tomatoes = lentil stew (if I have time. Plus I can make enough so I have leftovers!)

Do you meal plan or do food prep? If so, which is more helpful to you?

What is your go-to lunch to bring to school/work?

Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce

So I think I’ve said this a few times before, but spring has definitely sprung in Northern California. Aside from a couple of rainy days here and there, and some crazy wind, I think spring is here to stay. It’s forecast to reach 85 degrees today! Anyway, the moral of all of this weather talk is that I’d like to thank the lawd for springtime and Daylight Savings because by the time I finished making this dinner last night, it was still light enough to get some semi-naturally lit pictures.

I wasn’t actually planning on dinner last night being a recipe I shared with the blogosphere. I was just jazzed that I’d had the foresight to put a chicken breast in the fridge the night before to defrost. {MAJOR win in my book}

Luckily, I was keeping track of the ingredients as I added them, since I record most of my recipes in my calorie counting app so I have the nutritional stats!

So I got out the chicken breast and my new trusty iPad, and pulled up the Pinterest app. I saw a recipe for spicy peanut sauce that I pinned 50 weeks ago. 50! It pops into my head from time to time, but for most of the past year I was trying to keep a low fat-ish diet. Not anymore! Now that I’m working out 3+ days per week, and trying to maintain my weight {not lose}, I think I can splurge on a little peanut butter here and there 😉

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I must have had faith in these trusty ingredients, ’cause I at least thought to take a picture of them! {not pictured are lime juice and sesame oil}

So I started to make the sauce, and had the chicken marinating…then, I started adding my own ingredients and subbing a couple of things here and there. Last time I made peanut sauce “with a few substitutions”, I went too heavy handed on the soy sauce and it basically tasted like salt. So I started eying the pizza my roommate and her boyfriend were making, and thinking to myself, “Welllll, if this doesn’t turn out, maybe I can at least steal a slice of their pizza…..”

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The dish turned out juuuust fine. MORE than fine, even. So fine, that I ran to get my camera after one bite to take pictures and texted my boyfriend, “HOLY S#@&!!” {and kind of freaked him out for a minute when I was too busy chowing down to explain my random outburst}.

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Suffice it to say, it was GOOD. And quick! This is a true 30-minute meal, depending on how long your rice takes to cook. The sauce is out of this world – salty from the soy sauce, spicy from just a hint {ok, a lot} of sriracha, and creamy from the peanut butter. Now how bad can that be?

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Chicken with Spicy Peanut Sauce
serves one…but is easily doubled, tripled or quadrupled 😉
sauce based on Naturally Ella’s Spicy Peanut Sauce with Rice Noodles & Veggies

For Sauce
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar (or just do 1 full tablespoon of soy sauce)
1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced (or 1 clove)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup warm water

For Chicken + Marinade
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
oil, for sauteing

Optional (but you should totally add these things)
1/4-1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 bunch asparagus
1 tsp sriracha, chile garlic sauce, or sambal oelek

Begin by cutting your chicken into bite sized pieces, and combine the chicken and marinade ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag. Mix until everything’s incorporated and all the chicken pieces are coated in marinade. Set aside. This would also be a good time to get your pot of rice simmering on the stove or in your rice cooker.

While that’s happenin’, combine all the ingredients for your sauce, mixing after each addition. Give it a taste! It should be perfect, but if it needs a lil somethin somethin, go ahead and add whatever your little heart desires. If you want it to be spicy, you can add the sriracha here (I waited until it was all bubblin away on the stove). It may seem really liquidy at this point, but it will thicken when it cooks. Prep whatever veggies you’re using…I used asparagus, so I trimmed the tough edges and cut the spears into 3rds/4ths.

Heat ~1 tsp of oil on a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, draining them of their marinade. If the veggies you’re using take a longer time to cook (like asparagus) add them in at the same time. If not…just wait a few minutes before adding them. No biggie. Cook chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, then add your sauce and reduce heat to medium-low. Let it simmer away until it has thickened to your desired consistency, about 5-7 minutes.

Spoon chicken, veggies, and sauce over rice and enjoy!

Notes: This recipe makes aboout twice as much as is on that plate. Other good veggies to use would be broccoli/cauliflower, a frozen stir fry mix, or other in-season veggies right now like peas or string beans.

Weekend in Photos

Oh boyyyy was it hard getting out of bed this morning. Seriously…I severely underestimated how tired I would be with Daylight Savings, and overestimated my willpower to get up after just one snooze. This is all karma for me being the DST cheerleader yesterday. Let’s just say I’ll probably be staying late at work today to make up for some lost time 😉

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Friday night, we played Settlers of Catan with two friends. Can’t decide if I’m embarrassed or proud that we played it twice last week!

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Saturday, we drove to Palo Alto for T-Man’s grandpa’s 80th birthday. Here are two of his grandparents’ kitties. 🙂

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Dick’s special dinner was at Chef Chu’s in Los Altos. Suffice it to say, it was an epic meal. Clockwise from top left: Peking Duck & Hoisin sauce on bao, the whole spread (General Tso’s chicken, Mongolian beef, a whole fish, candied prawns…), and the fish! It was fried with a sweet/sticky sauce. And those are its eyeball sockets. No one was brave enough to eat them 😛

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T-Man and my fortune cookies were EERILY accurate. T-Man is notorious for exaggerating embellishing his stories, and something unusual just happened at my work – there are definitely big changes coming up! We drove home just in time to see Justin Timberlake (and a whole host of other guest stars) on SNL. Always amazing!

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Woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and did some much-needed spring cleaning. My room is like a shoebox, so messes pile up quickly!

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I tried to balance out all that meat from the night before with some clean eats on Sunday. After working up an appetite cleaning, I had breakfast/lunch: black beans mashed with coconut milk, an egg, cheese and sriracha! Then, I went shopping and decided not to buy this dress that made me look like a 9 year old girl. For dinner: roasted broccoli and cauliflower, mixed greens, avocado and cannellini beans……and a beer on the balcony.

Not a bad weekend!

Also, can I just say that I meant to post this about an hour ago, but got distracted by:

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Ancestry.com. My parents made an account a year ago and I seriously just lost myself on that website! I was just interested in finding out all of my ethnic origins, and stuff got waaay complicated. All I know for sure is that only 3 of my 8 great-grandparents were purebreds: one Swede, one Italian, and one Irish. As for the rest of ’em, I may have to just simplify things and call them Anglo-Germanic Czechoslowegians….PLUS, I found out the family of my mom’s dad has been in America since the 1600’s! Fascinating.

Daylight Savings… thumbs up or thumbs down?

Ever tried out Ancestry.com?

Week in Groceries

Calling all grocery shopping cart voyeurs!

Am I the only one who thinks it’s super interesting to see what other people buy during their grocery shopping trip? I hope not, because this post is allllll about groceries.

As I’ve mentioned before, where I shop for groceries is mostly a matter of convenience. I don’t have a car, so if the store in question is more than .5 miles away, I probably don’t shop there regularly. This is the same principle that keeps me away from Target (thank heavens) and, until Saturday, Trader Joe’s.

The funny thing is, both of these places are actually only 2 miles from my house. Could totally bike there if I wanted…but I don’t. So Safeway and Groc Out it is.

I decided to wander outside my norm this weekend. I batted my eyelashes at T-Man and asked if he’d drive me to Trader Joe’s…And I had every intention of just buying some “bulk” items at TJ’s, then biking the (gasp) 20 blocks, or 1.6 miles to get the rest of my produce at the Sunday Farmers Market bright and early the next day.

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Needless to say, the Farmer’s Market never happened.

I was really surprised at how cheap TJ’s in season produce (cauliflower, broccoli, oranges) was. Soo I piled it in.

It had been over a week since my last grocery haul, and this was a big “stock-up” trip for me, as I recently ran out of essentials like rice, quinoa, lentils, etc. Even T-Man found a couple of things he liked (he has been RAVING about their lobster ravioli that he found in the refrigerated section).

So here’s what I got:

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Produce: Cara Cara oranges, kiwis, onions, a russet potato, cauliflower, broccoli, bag of baby lettuce mix, and a bag of pre-cut kale (this stuff is amazing. So much more tender than full leaf kale)

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Bulk items & Dairy: lentils, quinoa, hybrid corn/flour tortillas, brown jasmine rice (this 3 lb bag lasts me over 6 months!), a can of beans (I already had black & garbanzo beans at home) plain Greek yogurt, flavored nonfat Greek yogurt (I tried 1 so far which wasn’t fantastic, but the price was right), and eggs.

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These are two new-to-me products I was really excited about because I’m a food nerd I’ve never spotted them at Safeway before: red lentils and quinoa! I always get green lentils, or plain old quinoa. I haven’t tried the lentils yet, but the quinoa was yummo 😀

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Miscellaneous: tortilla chips (these are DELISH), Luna bars, almond butter, chicken broth, peppermint tea, and light coconut milk

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I spent a lot of time looking through all the protein and nutrition bars, and settled on my tried and true Luna Bars. So many bars are too high in calories and fat, or don’t have enough overall nutrition for me to justify buying them. And the ones that did were all superexpensive. So Lunas it is! I haven’t tried the Chocolate-dipped Coconut or Peanut Butter Cookie before. YUM!

And my grand total (which I’m predicting will last me nearly 2 weeks) only came out to: $54.28!

I was really surprised at how little I spent for so much stuff! Lots of things (coconut milk, tea, yogurt) were actually cheaper at TJ’s than Safeway. And I probably saved a lot by avoiding the frozen/refrigerated aisle.

Also, I had another one of my famous “weird illogical theories” (dubbed so by T-Man of course :-P), I was convinced it would be cheaper to make almond butter than buy a jar.

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I quickly ditched my 1 lb, $6.99 bag of almonds for the MUCH cheaper $5.99 jar. Those almonds would have hardly made one cup of butter!

So what have I made with these groceries?

I made a vague meal plan for the week. Check it:

Breakfast: Used the plain yogurt I bought, and frozen fruit and granola I already had, to made a batch of Lindsay’s Frozen Yogurt Bars. Those bars plus my yogurt cups and Fiber One brownies will suffice for two weeks worth of breakfasts! And if I run out, there’s always oatmeal at the office. 🙂

Lunch and dinner:

Monday: burrito bowl for lunch (black beans, broccoli, hot sauce & tortilla), Kale & Broccoli pasta dish for dinner

Tuesday: leftover pasta for lunch, happy hour & drinks for dinner {I ended up having fries & wine, haha, so I supplemented it with fruit & a Luna bar!}

Wednesday: burrito bowl for lunch (with chicken this time), some kind of lentil + coconut milk dish for dinner

Thursday: lunch with a friend, leftover lentil dish for dinner after dodgeball game

Friday: Wing it! Bike home for lunch, or if not enough time, have emergency soup cup at the office. Make nice dinner with T-Man?

While this isn’t a full list of what I eat every day (there’s been at least one snack of leftover crackers + cheese from my office’s reception each day, plus dessert and other random snacks), I usually stick to a plan much like this…e.g. make dinner Monday and Wednesday, eat leftovers for lunch the next day.

Since I’m just about over my cold, my workouts have been pretty scattered. Usually, I plan my workout days first, then my meals…That way, I know to plan for protein-packed meals on workout days. This week, I’ve just been cookin’ with what I have, and supplementing my meals when I should.

Do you meal plan?

Do you create a weekly fitness plan?

Do you like Trader Joe’s, or do you like Trader Joe’s?