Friday, January 28, 2011

Catching Up

From the latest snow storm...more to come tonight and tomorrow:

Currently I'm in bed with the flu possibly? I'm so getting a flu shot next year...being achy and waking with a fever of 103 is not cool! It's going around my lab though, my boss has been out all week as was one of our technicians.

Apart from sleeping all day I decided to do a back log of blogging.

A few weeks ago a few girls in my class got together for a pizza party. I made a sweet potato crust and pineapple salsa topping.

The salsa was a mix of black beans, pineapples, green onions, and red and green peppers:

There was also more traditional styles of pizza with mozzarella, spinach, and broccoli, photo thanks to my friend Jenn, also her slice of pizza:

For dessert we had dessert pizza with berries, homemade whipping cream and nutella. I left out the crust and went with just the toppings. Yummy!

Ok, so this is random, but I think it's so cute. I recently watched the movie About a Boy because a coworker pointed out that he's the same kid as the star of the UK version of Skins. Not going to go into the show here apart from saying the US version completely ruins the UK version. In the former the acting is just horrible and the ideas just don't translate. Plus there is so much more imagery and artistic merit, in my opinion, in the UK version. Also the casting in the US version is all wrong. Just look at the two Tony's for example, first the UK Tony followed my the US Tony. Tony is suppose to be a suave, intelligent, and popular kid who is able to get away with manipulative acts because he's so confident and at ease they just seem natural.

The US Tony would never be able to get away with these actions because it just doesn't seem believable. He tries to pull off the debonair persona, but it just makes me seems out of character. Perhaps it's because he's short, not attractive to me (sorry that's mean) and just not as built as the UK Tony.

Anyhow, not going into the show again, but About a Boy. I love the little kid in this movie and just want to give him a big hug. He's such a nerd but doesn't mind putting himself on the line for his mother's happiness. Favorite scene from the movie found here, unable to embed.

Off to rest some more.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Something Good Can Work

"Let's make this happen, girl you gonna show the world that something good can work and it can work for you.
And you know that it will."-Two Door Cinema Club

When I last blogged I had no clue what to make for my Malbec inspired dinner. Time was not on my side and I was lacking a few ingredients. Before hitting the gym for a spin class I stopped at the grocery store planning to buy ready made butternut squash soup and spicing it up a bit. Well...they didn't have any! In the end I decided to go with my original recipe for Vegetable Pakoras.

Although incredibly last minute, they came out quite well!!

Mixture of sweet and yukon potatoes, onion, flour, egg, and spices:

To pair I decided to blend together a 1/4 cup of pineapple (mine were frozen and then defrosted) with 1/2 cup or so of plain yogurt:

Finished product!

We also had cheese, crackers, and figs:

Other food items for the night, stuffed zuchinni with indian spices:

3-cheese cannelloni:

The wine:

The best food items to pair with Malbec are meat dishes. Well there are 2 vegetarians in my group so we went with tomato based dishes and spicy Mexican/Indian dishes that also pair well with Malbec.

For dessert we had these awesome rum brownies. They were amazing! One was just not enough:)

Then lots of laughter and great conversation ensued. Such a great night!

Oh, and I couldn't go without mentioning the wonderful weather once more! Yesterday it seemed like a blizzard pretty much came out of no where and lasted for the entire morning. This picture does not do it justice.

But I think this forecast says it all....sigh.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not so bad...

Hey everyone,

Despite it only being 6* when I left my apartment yesterday, it was a great Monday.

After getting home from lab I was debating on the best recovery workout from my first longer run on Sunday. Haven't run more than 5 miles in quite some time, but surprisingly my legs felt okay. I wasn't particularly tired when I got home from lab but decided to keep it easy with a 30 minute yoga session. I was originally going to go with my usual 45 minutes of pilates, but decided to push myself and do yoga. Generally, I much prefer the constant movement of pilates, but I know I get a deeper stretch and more of an arm workout with yoga so I stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and went with yoga. It was such a great decision! Despite not doing yoga for some time, all my weight lifting, and probably faithful commitment to pilates once again, I've really improved! Maybe I'll start incorporating yoga into my weekly schedule once more?

Monday was also great because I enjoyed Siggi's my favorite thick style yogurt. Whole Foods was having an awesome sale on it this past week and I stocked up big time!!

Finally, last night before letting my head hit the pillow I started in on this book. I've heard nothing but great things, and it is proving to be a page turner.

Tonight I'm getting together with a few ladies in my class for a wine inspired dinner. I'm in charge of making one of the dishes but I've yet to decide what I'm going to whip's going to have to be a quick one at this point!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Eats

Hey Bloggies, Nicole here!

Once again this weekend has flown by, but it was amazing and I'm not completely dreading the start of another work week.

Saturday I met a friend for dessert at Chickalicous and then to see True Grit.

Once again Chickalicious was amazing! I love the idea of 3 courses for dessert :)

I don't recall the details of each dish but the starter was a mixture of grapefruit and honey flavored ice cream.

For my main course I had a walnut maple panna cotta, I believe, and an apple ice cream.

Matt had the Fromage Blanc Island "Cheesecake" which I tried a bit of, and it was also spectacular!

The final course consisted of petite fours-marshmallows, shortbread, and brandy trifles.

The movie was also great, I loved the dialogue, very witty! At first, I wasn't so sure what I thought of new comer Hailee Steinfield, she seemed a bit stiff in the beginning and her lines a bit forced. However, by the end she came around or perhaps the presence of Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges made up for Hailee's downfalls, all the same I recommend, especially if you're a Cohen brother's fan!

It was the perfect way to spend a cold Saturday night!!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winter Blues

I am so over winter! This week in particular has really gotten to me...too many days with a fresh coat of snow or a wintery mix, not to mention the short days and freezing temperatures!

Thankfully it is the weekend and the sun is shining bright, granted it's only 14* outside and with a windchill it probably feels like the single digits, but the sun is out and I'm going to get out and get some vit D. Also I'm going to pretend that I don't see two additional days in the coming week with snow.

Ideally I would escape to some place warm for a weekend; however, I have a project going on in lab at the moment that requires I run something everyday at 4 pm for the next month.

Ah, seriously can't wait to see this!

I had some kind of tempory relief from the winter last night at the Two Door Cinema Club and Tokyo Police Club concert, I imagined that I was back at Austin City Limits.

I was surprised to see that the opener last night was Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

I love this band and was introduced to them 2 years ago, I think, by Amanda!

I'm not the hugest fan of Tokyo Police Club, with the exception of "Nature of the Experiment," but ended up staying for about half of their set. The sound at Terminal 5 also seemed worse than usual last night so I could hardly make out the band. The band's best asset in my opinion is Dave Monks vocals (who also had a birthday last night) but the sound system did it no justice.

Birthday boy, the band surprised him with a chocolate cake a few songs into the set.

Two Door Cinema Club, was amazing and so much fun. I saw them last at Austin City Limits and once again they brought with them so much energy. Terminal 5 became one huge dance party.

They're also from the other side of the pond, which always makes me like the band a bit more :)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Winter Squash

Hey Bloggies!

Yesterday I had dinner plans with a friend. However, his kitchen was lacking a bit. On hand he had pasta, garlic, onions, and a few other veggies. So my mission became finding an interesting recipe to spice up mentioned ingredients.

With a few additions from my kitchen/the grocery store, breadcrumbs and goat cheese:

Along with a red pepper and winter squash:

And finally the pasta:

Mixed together:

And we had-Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Winter Squash! Such a simple but incredibly tasty recipe.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cake and Quinoa

The black forest cake I made for my friend Michelle's 25th birthday was a big hit! The combination of cherries and chocolate is so good. I got the recipe from a Duncan Hines cookbook called "Cake Mix Magic." You use the box cake mixes, and jazz them up a bit. My only problem was there were a lot of bubbles baked into one of the layers, so it cracked in the middle. Not pretty, but still tasty!

Tonight for dinner, I made a chicken marsala quinoa casserole. It was so very good and filling! The bottom was a chicken-mushroom-marsala-cream-sauce mixture, and the top was quinoa, sweet potato, eggs, and nutmeg. Sprinkled with parmesan and baked to bubbly, it was just perfect. I will definitely be using quinoa again.


Monday, January 17, 2011

New Music

Greetings! Happy Martin Luther King Day!

My weekend was pretty great! I saw Tangled, finally, on Saturday. Has anyone else seen it? I thought it was great! I've always liked Mandy Moore, and I have no clue why she hasn't voiced a Disney character until now! Anyway, one of the people I follow on youtube sang a cover from Tangled that I thought was pretty good.

Another song that made me smile this weekend was a new one from Bruno Mars, "Count on Me." Just a beautiful song!

I did make a black forest cake for a friend's birthday, but I haven't uploaded the pictures yet. As soon as I do, you'll see it! It was a great cake.
Have a nice week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vegetarian Cooking

Quite accidentally, I've cooked two (almost) vegetarian dinners in a row! I've been trying to go meatless more often.

Tuesday night was spinach artichoke stuffed shells. There was definitely more veggies in these than the traditional stuffed shells. And they were very good! The picture below is before baking, but you get the idea.

Wednesday night was midwinter minestrone. Now, this was almost vegetarian. We already had the chicken stock, so why buy the veggie stock? It called for sun-dried tomatoes, and I accidentally bought smoked sun-dried tomatoes, which gave the soup a smoky, nice flavor. It had kale in it, which was super tasty as well.

This morning, I was up early enough to make steel-cut oats. I cooked an apple while the oats were boiling away in a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon, and it turned out great! I like the texture of the steel-cut variety. I added a packet of splenda and a splash of vanilla extract in the oatmeal before topping it with the apples.

Tomorrow I will be getting lots of exercise by skiing! My little brother got good grades in his first semester of college, so his reward is skiing. Not looking forward to being in the cold all day, but it should be fun!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Red Curry

Hey Bloggies!

I've dappled here and there with curry dishes, and usually I don't have much luck. To be honest, it's because I simply throw in a little of this and a little of that, and generally when cooking this method works for me. However, I didn't grow up with curry dishes and have no rhyme or reason for my madness, so I thought it was time I follow an actual recipe.

Cooking Light had an entire section on vegetarian thai dishes for their January/February issue, so I figured what better time to work on developing a go to curry dish? I used the recipe found here.

For the most the dish was pretty good...not spicy though so I'll be adding hot peppers in the future. Otherwise, simple and delicious!

In other news I've decided to run my 2nd half marathon! I need to get my training schedule together. I feel like I might be doing quite a bit of this training on the treadmill, because there are so few hours of daylight during non work hours. I could go into lab a bit later in the morning, but I'm usually most productive in the morning so I don't really want to trade in that time. The other issue is the snow and worse the ice. My die hard running friends go out in these conditions, but I'm too scared to twist an ankle on some black ice, thus I think I'll be okay with training partly on the treadmill.

Have a great one,

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ear Worm

Ear Worm=a song/melody stuck in your head

I don't really listen to the radio much, but over the holidays both of these song caught my attention and I can't stop listening to them!

1. Wiz Khalifa-Black and Yellow. Even if you're not a rap fan I think you can appreciate the rhyming skills in this song. My favorite is 54 seconds into the video.

2. Edward Maya and Vika Jigulina-Stereo Love. This type of sound has been really big in Europe for such a long time, not sure why this one made it main stream in the US, but I love it!

Pizza My Way

Hey all!

I am one tired blogger, but I had a fun/productive weekend so I won't complain! I have a few new recipes to share with you this week and I can't wait. To build the suspense I'll simply start with my "Mexican Pizza" I had for lunch yesterday.

Being allergic to tomatoes suddenly after eating them for 23 years was such a major blow! Hopefully I'll out grow it? I mean there are so many delicious tomato recipes, and foods that I loved to eat. However, I can't dwell on the past so I'm learning to be more creative!

I bring you the Mexican Pizza (also still limiting yeast and mold products-thus the use of flat bread and no cheese):

Pretty basic-tortilla shell or pita bread with refried beans and topped with veggies, here I have onion and zucchini. I had also intended to sauté red and green peppers but I was impatient and extremely hungry so I popped just the above into the toaster oven and dug in.

Served with a juicy blood orange:

Happy Monday,