Friday Faves

Another week gone…thank goodness! I’ve gotta say though, it really does feel like the week flies by when you’re busy at work.

I did a lot better this week about eating healthily (thanks to my Sunday Food Prep, my only meal that wasn’t homemade this week was dinner last night at the dodgeball bar {pizza and beer FTW!}) and I continued my pretty good exercise streak. Last night before dodgeball, my friend Lisa and I did this quick upper-body workout from Women’s Health — perfect for easing my way into pumping iron again. I feel like I have the opposite problem as this guy: muscular legs, noodley arms.

Anyway, here’s what I’m lovin today:

1) This story about the “inventor” of Sriracha

It makes me love sriracha 20x more knowing that the product is made by a guy who really loves what he does.

2) Alexia products

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I know I’ve shown pictures of my dinners with fries on the side, but I’ve never explained where those come from…I have Alexia brand fries or potatoes a minimum of 2 nights per week! So so good. I am sad that it’s going to be too hot soon to use my oven, because they’ve really become a staple in my diet, and a key factor in making easy quick weeknight meals!

3) The Kings are (most likely) Staying in Sacramento!

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Crappy picture, but after the NBA Relocation Committee recommended to block our team’s move to Seattle, there was a HUGE crowd gathered at a bar/restaurant near my office for the mayor’s press conference. It was a happy day in my Facebook and Twitter feeds! #HereWeStay was trending NATIONALLY! YES! {not to mention it was the same day that Jason Collins became the first active NBA player to publicly come out of the closet. Great day for the NBA if you ask me!}

It’s still up in the air who the team will be sold to, but for now we know that they’re here for at least another season.

4) The Kentucky Derby

Is anyone else really into horse races? It’s totally in my genes: my grandpa on the East Coast started taking us to the races (dogs, horses, you name it) since we were little, and when I started dating T-Man I was delighted to learn that he loves it too! We have gone to Golden Gate Fields (as pictured above) quite a few times over the past couple of years for Dollar Days.

I’m putting together a Derby pool for our gambling-loving friends, and will TOTALLY be living vicariously through my future Blend Roomie, Becky, who is there and has already posted pictures of her first fabulous outfit + hat on Instagram!!!

5) Gradual Tanning lotion WITH SUNSCREEN from Jergens

THIS IS BIG, PEOPLE. Do you understand what a big deal it is for a pale chica like me to have discovered a lotion that safely (artificially) tans you WHILE PROTECTING YOUR SKIN?!

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Ready for these pale legs to get some color! Let’s call this my ‘before’ picture 🙂

I’ve always struggled with accepting my fair skin – especially when I attended college at a school right on the beach where everyone’s tan. Even at my tannest (summer after sophomore year) I was pretty pale according to normal standards! I’ve always been pretty good about applying sunscreen though, and after having a cancerous mole removed in January, I’m not taking chances anymore. I’ve used Jergen’s before and I like it…the smell didn’t seem to be as bad with this one at first, but it definitely lingers.

6) Rose gardens!

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McKinley Park Rose Garden

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Capitol Park Rose Garden

The rose gardens in Sacramento have been pretty epic lately. Last Saturday, T-Man and I had a picnic at McKinley Park and took a few minutes to walk around the epic rose garden there. This morning, I walked to work for the first time since Winter and got a chance to walk through the rose garden at Capitol Park! Loving springtime…even if it already feels like summer 🙂 (94 degrees today!)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Do you like horse races?

How do you maintain your skin’s natural (or in my case, not so natural) glow?

Cooking with (and for) Friends

Since I got somewhat good news about my hand, I’ve been wearing my splint less and finally cooking more. I tested out a few recipes I found online this weekend (and experimented with some of my own) and thought I’d share!

My friend Anna has started a new tradition recently — Sunday night dinner. She cooks out of a Russian cookbook her mom gave her (she’s Russian), and everyone else brings dishes to share too. It’s been a fun way to try out new recipes and stuff myself to capacity every Sunday night. Oh, and other people besides T-Man get to benefit from my cooking for once 😛

We’ve also been talking about even doing some kind of “secret ingredient” challenge where we all have to do new and different things with the same ingredient. How cool, right? My inner Iron Chef nerd was totally nerding out at the idea. On the same ticket, another friend of mine recently told me she does a regular Pasta Night with her girl friends. Everyone brings a different kind of pasta dish (or salad, or bread, etc).

When you’re in your 20’s and just starting a career and really living on your own for the first time like my friends and I are, I think we’re all inclined to just whip up a frozen dinner or salad or get take-out every night when we get off work before we go to hang out with our friends — usually at bars over a drink or two. Why not use homemade meals as a way to hang out? It saves you money, is healthier, and you’ll actually be able to have a conversation, rather than yelling over the background music at the bar!

The first 2 of these 4 dishes were brought to Sunday Dinner last week (and joined Anna’s avocado fries and cheesy potatoes, Kristen’s salad, and Jeff’s beer and pasta salads….the meals are always super random FYI). The rest were just for fun!

Jalapeno-Lime Hummus by me

This was totally a throw-whatever-you-have-in-the-food-processor kinda thing. But it turned out great! I’m definitely going to make it again and take notes this time, plus make some tweaks to make sure it’s perfect before I share the recipe. 🙂

Sriracha Caramel Corn from Baker by Nature

Holy crap, right? This one was a bit of a challenge, as not only had I never made caramel before (not very hard, BTW!) but also, our microwave is busted so I had to pop the corn on the stove, which I had never done.

After one unsuccessful try…

I added more oil, decreased the heat, didn’t touch the pot, and wound up with:

A perfect batch!

Next was the caramel.

It actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be, but it took a lot of whisking. The tricky thing about caramel is that it burns really easily.

The finished product (um, ignore the mess). I mixed in hazelnuts — SO good! The sriracha isn’t evident when you first taste the caramel corn, but it’s got a pretty strong sriracha-y aftertaste. I added the full 2 tablespoons of sriracha, but it was a bit overwhelming to most people, so if I make it again I will definitely tone it down!

Chana Masala (with lentils) from Let It Brie

Have I told you guys about Indi’s blog and YouTube channel? Letitbrie is a YouTube cooking show. I wish I had known what an amazing chef and baker Indi was when I lived below her in college, because we would have been hanging out MUCH more often. Anyway, I advise you to check out her site, and especially her recipe for Chana Masala. I made it with lentils (which I think technically means it is Daal Masala?), but it was incredible. Luckily, my roommate had all the necessary spices (see above).

I made a huge pan of it, and it was enough for me to eat for dinner, then in two lunches! For lunch I ate it up in a tortilla…I know I know, totally a not-authentic typical white person thing to do, haha. Long story short, it was delicious.

Breakfast Tostada…for dinner by me

Tortilla loaded with potatoes sauteed with onions, red & green bell peppers, as well as salsa, pepper jack, and a fried egg & green onions on top. Holy crap. I made too many potatoes so T-Man got the leftovers, but in his I started with a layer of homemade tortilla chips, then all the same things plus a chopped up jalapeno sausage.  Holy crap times 2.

I am so glad it’s the weekend! It was a crazy week at my office. No bosses in today, so I’m going to set aside my work and crack this monstrous thing open:

Yup that’s right. First I geek out Iron Chef-style, now I show you that I’m reading a Julia Child biography. Food nerd fo lyfe. While we’re at it, I’m gonna admit to you all that I am one of the suckers who bought a new iPhone 5 at midnight last night and now I won’t get it until October 4th because they’re back-ordered. Womp womp. Nerd Katie OUT!