March 30, 2010

Halibut with lemon and paprika

I love the delicate texture of halibut, it's one of my favorite types of fish. I was super excited to get some on sale over the weekend. Last night I made it for dinner with a salad and a little pasta.

When I cook, most of the time I don't really have a plan, I just look in the fridge and see what looks good. When I'm seasoning food, I also let my intuition guide me. This is how I've learned to cook, through trial and error, and, for me, trying new things is what makes cooking so much fun.

Sorry I don't have any pictures, I really need to get better at taking pictures to post here, I will get better I promise!
Halibut with lemon and paprika

Fresh Halibut fillets
Half a lemon
Sea salt
Garlic powder
Sweet paprika

Take the fillets and dry them off on both sides with a paper towel. Now squeeze the lemon over the fillets, making sure the juice coats each of them completely. Next, cover the fillets with with a few pinches of salt each and a little ground pepper. Then lightly sprinkle with the garlic powder and paprika, you don't really need to measure this, just go with your intuition of how much is enough. Finally, sprinkle some of the zest from the lemon over the top of the fillets, and let them sit for a few minutes while you get the skillet ready.

Heat a skillet over medium high. Once the skillet feels hot when you hold your hand just above the surface, add a little olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the fish so it doesn't stick. Once the oil starts to give off little whisps of smoke, add the fish, skin side down and cover the skillet. Cook the fish like this until the fillets feel firm when you lightly squeeze the sides, and the flesh is completely opaque.

This comes out beautifully! The fish is bright white, with the vibrant reddish orange of the paprika, and the bright yellow of the lemon zest, it is a very colorful dish.

March 29, 2010

A peek inside my grocery cart

I think we all like to look into other people's lives a little bit, and that's why blogs are so popular. That's also why it's so much fun to look into other people's carts when grocery shopping and see what kind of stuff they buy (or at's fun for me...maybe I'm a freak...). In celebration of a much needed shopping trip, and to give some ideas to those who are less inspired while grocery shopping, here is what was in my grocery cart this weekend:

whole wheat pita bread
flour tortillas
shredded chedder
shredded mozzarella
a ball of pre-made pizza dough
whatever fish is on sale that week (this week, halibut)
ground beef
local made pork beer brats
round steaks
chicken breasts
no bone pork chops
field greens (salad mix)
sweet potatos
small red potatos
baby carrots
light vanilla soy milk
half and half
yogurt with no hf corn syrup, and active cultures, my fav is Cascade Fresh
butter...sweet amazing REAL butter. I gave up on the smart balance type stuff because, taste wise, it just does not compare. I do use it sparingly however :)
eggs from a local eco friendly farm
granola with whole grains and low sugar
dark chocolate covered orange sticks (so delicious)
tortilla chips
organic salsa
when Zak is with me: diet pepsi :)

These are basically all the items we need to buy about every other week. Things like fresh produce, meat and dairy, not to mention treats! For these things, I go to Sunflower Market, it's a grocer that specializes in local, and natural food. Their meat is all hormone free and mostly comes from local farms, that treat the animals ethically. The things I buy at Sunflower are very affordable, some things are just a few cents more than what you would buy at a regular store (like safeway or target) their produce and meat are actually cheaper (seriously, 2 steaks for $5)!

For other staples like flour, spices, zip lock bags, parchment paper, and toiletries I go to King Soopers because they are the cheapest in my neighborhood. When I shop, I look for what's on sale, then base all my meals around that. This way you can save A LOT of money. I also always look at the lables of what I am buying to quickly check to make sure there is no hf corn syrup, low sugar content, and to make sure the ingredient list isn't full of stuff I can't pronouce.

All in all, we spend a little more on groceries (about $300-400 a month) but it's worth it for me, and I compensate for it by going out to eat very rarely (once or twice a month), and going to starbucks very rarley (once a week or less).

Stay tuned this week, I will be posting some awesome old family photos of my grandparents and their horse ranch!

March 24, 2010

Homemade Pizza and Irving

Holy cow! We got 10 inches of snow overnight, soooo I am working from home this afternoon. Now the sun is out and there are huge clumps of slushy snow falling all around the house, I feel like I am working in and ice cave!

This weekend, my mom, my sister, and Zak's brother came over for dinner, and to wach the premier of Life on the Discovery Channel. We LOVED Planet Earth, we still watch the dvds every now and then, so we were so so so excited for the newest project from that team. My mom also brought over her new puppy Irving, a bichon friche. I usually don't really like small "lap" dogs, but he is so sweet I couldn't resist him :)
What a cutie! Oh yeah and my sister's pretty cute too ;)

For dinner I made Margherita Pizza. There was some very enticing pepperoni at the market, so I decided to throw them on too :) I like to make my own pizza dough, but in a time crunch I buy the uncooked dough from Sunflower Market (the Colorado equivalent of Trader Joes).

Margherita Pizza

Pizza Dough (I like this recipe from alton brown)
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh tomatoes sliced thin
Shredded mozzarella (you could also use slices of fresh)
Fresh basil, cut chiffonade style

Pre-heat the oven to 425, Roll the pizza dough out onto a pizza stone* or pan (I love my stone because the bottom of the pizza never gets soggy). Rub a little olive oil over the dough and scatter the garlic across evenly, leaving enough space around the edge for a crust. Let the garlic sit for about 5 minutes, this will season the oil a little bit and also maximize the nutritional value of the garlic. Now add the tomatos, use as many as you like, but make sure to leave about 1/2 an inch of the dough showing so you have a crust on your pizza! Season the tomatoes with the salt, pepper and paprika. Now cover the tomatoes with as much cheese as you like (you can also add any other toppings like pepperoni, or my favorite, green olives!). Cook the pizza until the cheese is just beginning to brown, and the edge of the crust is brown as well. Then you're done, enjoy!

The pepperoni were GIGANTIC, and delicious! 

*I usually do not buy so-called "kitchen gadgets" that have only one specific use because they will more than likely end up forgotten, collecting dust in the back of the deepest darkest cubbard in your kitchen. The pizza stone is not one of these gadgets. I use mine for baking cookies, bread, scones, you name it! The stone provides constant, even heat, and keeps the underside of your baked goods from becoming soggy. I also place it in a warm oven when I make pancakes, french toast or waffles, transferring the done items on to the stone to keep them warm until I have used all the batter. That way you can have them all at once, and warm none the less! 

March 23, 2010

New Blog Background!

I am so proud of myself! I figured out how to change the background of the blog! I got it from They have lots of awesome (and free) things for blogs on their website, check it out! I also added a list of some of the blogs I follow under the blog archive.

I have so much more to blog about this week, but I need to edit some photos first! Hopefully I will have time after doing taxes tonight. I made some pizza this weekend, and I must welcome the newest furry addition to my extended family: Irving, my mom's new puppy!!!! Stay tuned :)

March 22, 2010

Life List so far...

I have been keeping a life list inside of my head since I was a teenager. I was recently inspired to write it down and actively try to make it happen by four outstanding young men, and their quest that has been made into a show on MTV: The Buried Life.

I have come up with 40 things so far, some of them are life long dreams from when I was a kid, some are brand new. I will keep adding to this list as I cross items off, and will begin my journey to number 1 on May 8th!

I am fortunate enough to have already been able to cross off some items from my life list, things such as go hiking in a rainforest (in puerto rico), see the Rolling Stones live in concert, see a live sea turtle, go to a Regina Spektor concert with my husband (she's our fav), backpacking through eastern europe, road trip through Mexico inspired by the Motorcyle Diaries (years ago when it was safer). Writing down my list has been so theraputic for me in dealing with a less than perfect job, it reminds me that life can still be an exciting adventure and it gives me something to look forward too. Also, I believe that if you write something down, it will happen, try it!

My Life List (so far)...

1. Become a yoga teacher

2. Attend a Holi celebration (Color Festival) In northern India

3. Swim with great white sharks (in a cage)

4. Learn how to make a really good parisian macaroon

5. Give birth naturally, without an epidural, outside of a hospital (laugh all you want, I think I can do it!)

6. Travel somewhere awesome with my grandma, mom, and sister

7. Roadtrip across North America

8. All out food adventure in France

9. All out food adventure in Italy

10. Guest host/appear in a cooking show

11. Get a black belt in a martial art

12. Become a registered dietitian

13. Experience zero gravity

14. learn how to SCUBA dive

15. Do the voice for a cartoon (don't care if it's in a movie, just something for myself)

16. Gain more self discipline

17. Participate in some kind of cooking competition

18. Go whale watching

19. Learn how to sew

20. Be more physically fit than I ever have been

21. Eat fresh seafood in New England

22. See penguins in antartica

23. See polarbears in the arctic circle

24. Brew my own beer

25. Preform an awesome action/fighting sequence like in a movie (I think there is some company that does this in Japan)

26. Travel to all 7 continents

27. Meet a real geisha in Japan

28. Read all the Harry Potter books to my children

29. Get a half sleeve tattooed on my upper arm

30. Live on a little farm in the country

31. Volunteer/work closely with animals

32. Build my dream home with my husband

33. Successfully quit a bad habit

34. Learn how to swing dance

35. See Metallica in concert

36. Stop being jaded

37. Have a group of close female friends

38. Volunteer on a regular basis

39. Become an expert gardener of vegtables and fruit

40. Swim with dolfins

March 19, 2010

Spring in Colorado

Today I read many a blog post about packing away the heavy coat and boots, starting the seeds for the spring vegetables, and all the blossoms that are apparently appearing on trees elsewhere in the US. Here in Colorado, it has been heaviliy snowing since late last night. I yearn for the sweet sunshine, green grass, and that first day you can leave the house with a sweater instead of a jacket. I do love the snow though, I always feel a little excited when I wake up and look out the window to see big fluffy flakes coming down and a white blanket over everything. These late winter/early spring snow storms do make me grumble when I have to get out of bed and go to work though. Today my husband sent me this to make me smile, and it worked :)

Zak is such a positive minded person, and that is one of the many things I adore about him. Here's to seeing the positive in everything!

March 17, 2010

Ridiculously cool!

Ok Go Has some of the coolest music videos around, but this one takes the cake in my opinion! It's like if the dudes from MythBusters (LOVE that show) were trapped in that old game Mouse Trap.

March 15, 2010


Today is my birthday! I am a huge fan of birthdays, I think everyone should celebrate them with gusto. I am now 24, and for some reason, this random age is the one that made me go "wow, I am definitely ageing!". I don't really feel "old" it's just a little shocking to me for some reason. I am now in my mid 20's. I'm cool with it though :) To commemorate my experience, here is this weird picture I found when I googled "ageing"
It's a little creepy, no? Well, let's hope that when I am an old lady I will at least have a cooler hair do than that :)

Last night my mom had Zak, his brother, and I over for dinner. We made steaks on the grill despite the cold sleeting weather, and my mom made my favorite cake. It's just chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, but the recipe she uses somehow makes the cake soooo chocolaty it's almost black! It's so cool looking and delicious!

I seasoned the steaks by coating them in whiskey and then covering them with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon zest and cracked mustard seeds. It was really yummy. I pride myself in being a very intuitive cook, I almost never use a recipe, and measure by sight, but for some reason, I cannot cook meat properly without a thermometer. My husband on the other hand, in typical man fashion, will take command of the charcoal grill and use his "spidey sense" to know when the steaks are perfectly medium rare. It's truely amazing, and I am envious. It does make us a pretty good dynamic duo for cookouts :)

I'm still pretty sick, I went to the doctor on friday and instead of getting any answers about what's going on, they only gave me more questions. So now I am going in again this week for further poking and proding. Here's hoping they will be able to help me feel better soon!

Tonight, we will eat pizza and watch Coraline! We might even sneak in a few games of super mario on the wii if we're feeling really crazy, that's right, I know how to party on my birthday :)

March 11, 2010

Sick sick sick...

I swear I haven't givin up on blogging already! I have been sick for the past few days, and can barely get through work, yet alone come up with something coherent to post here. Hopefully next week I will be all better! Also: I turn 24 on Monday, WOW!

March 8, 2010

Revolutionary breakfast idea

Zak and I both work full time, and sometimes, it is challenging to always have food available to bring to work for breakfast and lunch. We don’t like to get frozen meals because they are really pricey, and not very filling to us, not to mention some of them taste horrendous. Pretty much all the items in our grocery cart are what we like to call “ingredients” for lack of a better word. We do our best to eat “whole foods” basically we limit the amount of processed foods with simple carbs and refined sugars in them, we do the whole “shopping around the outside of the store” thing, mainly buying items from the produce, bakery, dairy sections and the meat/seafood counter.

All of this is wonderful for our dietary intake, but not eating “convenience foods” means anything in our fridge and pantry will need to be prepared first. This is great for when I am making dinner at night, but when I need breakfast as I am running out the door to work I don’t really have time to make some oatmeal or scrambled eggs. I usually grab a yogurt and some granola to eat at my desk, but it would be nice to have a little more variety other than choosing the different flavors of yogurt :)

This weekend, I decided to try something revolutionary! Make a bunch of breakfast burritos, wrap them in paper, and freeze them! Breakfast burritos with eggs, potatoes and vegetarian green chili are one of my favorite breakfasts. Here is my recipe:

1 small handful of shredded potatoes (for convenience, I use Simply Potatoes shredded hash browns)
1 egg
2 tablespoons of vegetarian green chili (I like 505 medium gc, only 5 calories per 2 tbsp!)
1 small handful of sharp chedder, shredded
1 tortilla or whole wheat wrap

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high, once the surface is hot; add a little oil or butter. Once the fat is hot, throw in the potatoes and cook until they just start to turn brown. Now crack in the egg and scramble with the potatoes. Keep stirring until the egg is fully cooked, then stir in the green chili and take off the heat. Heat the tortilla until it is flimsy, then add the filling, and top with cheese. If you don’t know a good technique for rolling a burrito, this one is how I do it.

You can multiply this for however many burritos you want to make, for example, I made 8 yesterday, so I used 8 of everything, easy! You can buy freezer paper at the store, and wrap them in that, or just use a paper towel and a ziplock bag.

This burrito is healthy and filling! Weighing in at around 400 calories, I will eat this for breakfast and have a small lunch (soup or salad) and won't be hungry until dinner time. I brought one to work today, it was a nice break from my granola and yogurt routine :)

March 5, 2010

Rumo...a love story

After I graduated college, the first thing I wanted to do was read a book for pleasure. Now, you might think that a recent college graduate would want to stay as far away from books as possible, but this librarian's daughter grew up reading ALL.THE.TIME. I was literally always reading a book until I got into college and had to start memorizing every bone in the body, or the exact order of the 12 cranial nerves, or even better, the various ways in which you can die from diarrhea (studied communtiy health and neurobiology). Anyway, for me, reading was a normal state of being and when I was not reading some book or another, I felt out of whack.

Well right after college I started planning our wedding and working full time. This heartbreakingly (ok that might be a little melodramatic) did not leave me much time to read like I had planned. By the time we were a few weeks away from the wedding, Zak and I both were so burnt out we could barley wait to sit and read for hours straight on our honeymoon. The night after the wedding we went to the bookstore and were perusing the aisle for some dearly missed reading material and I casually glanced at the table where the store employees display their favorite books. There I saw it... it was love at first sight, a bright robin's egg blue cover with the title "RUMO and his miraculous adventures" in a awesome yellow font. Upon further inspection I saw that there was also a pink puppy with horns wielding a sword and some singing dinosaurs (I later found out they are in fact resiting poetry). I was almost hypnotized with curiosity.

Well it turns out, this is probably the most amazing book ever written. I became completely obsessed with Walter Moer's writing because it is so imaginative, funny, and unique. I mean, I have never read anything like this before, and this is coming from a huge fantasy and science fiction fan. Rumo's story  is a combination of Huck Fin, Harry Potter, Monty Python, and an acid trip. It is simultaneously innocent and rolicking, and dark, almost brutal, but every part of the story is done with a wonderful underlying sense of humor. It wasn't until I was done with the book that I discovered that the Moers is actually German, and this book is translated from its origional language. This may be why it feels so unique to me.

 I have since read The 13 1/2 Lives of Captin Bluebear, and am in the middle of The City of Dreaming Books and still can not get enough of the weird creatures, and ridiculous situtations that populate these books. Did I mention Moers illustrates the books as well? Flip through their pages and I bet you won't be able to put the book down until it is fully read. Happy Weekend!

March 4, 2010

Bruschetta, radio and animals

As you can see, I love to cook, it is the way I unwind at the end of the day. I get into my comfy clothes, pour a little glass of red wine, open the fridge and my imagination goes wild. Cooking is not only fun, it saves us money, and it is a way I can be sure that Zak and I are eating healthy meals. Some nights, however I am more hurried/tired/sick and am in need of a quick and easy meal. Bruschetta is the perfect contender for nights like this. It's quick, nutritious, and is made by ingredients you usually have in the kitchen at all times.

Here is my method of preparing bruschetta:

3 or so cups of diced tomatos I like to use Roma because where i live they are cheap and flavorful, but you can use any kind you can find, or even use canned if you don't have any fresh.
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped very fine
1 handful of fresh basil chopped fine
1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dry red wine
a few dashes of balsalmic vinegar (very light on this as the dish is already quite acidic!)

1 loaf of italian style bread (or anything crusty and relatively small in diameter)

Combine tomatoes, basil, balsalmic vinegar, and wine in a bowl and mix well. Heat a small skillet on med-high until hot, add olive oil and wait for the first whisps of smoke to appear. Those whisps let you know the oil is now hot enough to cook in. Now add the garlic and swirl in the oil until fully coated with oil. Let cook until the garlic just starts to brown, if you let it get too dark it will be bitter! Now pour the oil and garlic into the tomato mixture and mix well.

Slice your bread about an inch thick, and toast it, using either a wide toaster, toaster oven or the skillet you browned the garlic in (yum!). Now, just put everything on the table and your done! Easy and delicous!

Now, one more thing I would like to share today is this amazing new-ish show on NPR called Radio Lab. You can listen to it for free online. Basically the show investigates interesting things and tries to discover the science behind them. It is entirely different than anything I have ever heard in my life, and it is better that your just listen to the show rather than me trying to describe it to you.

I just listened to their episode on animal minds. I have always been SUCH an animal lover, so I was very excited to hear what they found out about what goes on inside the minds of our wild (and domestic!) neighbors. I grew up on a horse ranch, and we also boarded other types of animals like donkeys, goats and cows. Spending so much time with animals, you learn, at times they seem so much like us, you could swear that a horse has the same exact feelings you do. Then they would turn around and do something so inexplicable you would realize, that is an animal who has a comepletely different way of seeing and reacting to the world than I do. It's very interesting.

March 3, 2010

Small talk

Well, I don't have much time to write today, but I will post this quick article from Real Simple about the "art" of making small talk. This is an area where I am consideralby lacking. I tend to be quite awkward around people I don't know, sometimes not talking enough and sometimes talking too much.

Part of my hold-up with small talk is that I am really uncomfortable asking people questions about themselves because I'm afraid they will be too personal. All in all, I have the tendancy to be slightly anti-social. I want to become more gregarious and learn how to enjoy meeting new people, because right now it's downright painful for me!

Here is a link to the article:
The Ten Big Rules of Small Talk

March 2, 2010

And also...

I also want to say this: Although I do not really like my job, I am thankful to have it, I am especially thankful for the fact that I had this job set up before I even graduated college. That is very rare these days and I do not take it for granted.

Making the most of it

Damn this cat and his eternal optimism! Why can't I be like him? I don't know if I'm just not cut out for my job or if my job is not cut out for me, but whatever the situation is, I know for a fact that this is just not working like it should. Spending 8 full hours sitting at a desk and staring at a screen is starting to make me feel like a zombie slug. On top of that, I can't bring myself to care about what I am doing any more than it takes to be just efficient enough to get by. I am usually passionate about everything I do, but I just can't get behind this adminitrative stuff (who can??)

 Lucky for me, I am already enrolled in my yoga teacher training program, I will start in May, and if I play my cards right, I will be able to make enough $$ teaching yoga to quit this mismatched job of mine.

But, for the time being, I am stuck here, staring at this screen. All.Day.Long. That is part of the reason I started this blog, to provide a momentary escape from the tediousness of my work. I also have a few other ways of making my day a little more enjoyable:

  • Listening to my favorite music on Rhapsody while I work
  • Listening to story telling themed radio podcasts like This American Life or The Moth when I am doing something that requires little thought
  • Taking a walk when I can get away from my work for a little bit
  • Subscribing to newsletters in things that interest me such as nutrition, cooking and yoga so that I can keep in touch with what's new in those areas
  • Exercising and doing yoga when I get home
None of this makes up for the fact that I am spending the majority of my day doing something that I do not enjoy at all, but it does make me feel like I still have some sort of identity other than the dreaded zombie slug, not to mention, it keeps my brain occupied until 5 o'clock rolls around.

If anyone out there who's reading this has any awesome suggestions for how to cope with a boring job, PLEASE, be my savior and put them in the comments section! Here's to a more positive tomorrow :)

March 1, 2010

Sweet Weekend

Good afternoon, and happy Monday! All hell has broken loose at work today, and I am doing about a gagillion things at if my writing seems a little chaotic, THAT is why!

This weekend was full of sweet things, literally and figuritively. Zak and I went to bruch on Sunday, which is a VERY rare occurance, and I had the most spectacular bluberry pancake that was just ever so slightly undercooked so that it was deliciously gooey in the middle. Also, I haven't had real blueberries for months, and it perked me right up. We spent the meal drawing goofy things on the chalkboard above our table, reading the onion to each other, and holding hands. Mushy yes, but just the kind of quality time you start to crave when you both work fulltime jobs and don't get to see one another during daylight hours very often.

Now on to more substantial things, cooking! This summer, I discovered a meathod of making Dolce de Leche (caramelized milk) on my favorite food blog, Not Without Salt. It is so easy it feels like cheating. Dolce de Leche is so delicious you could eat it all on its own, but it is also spectacularly versitile for cooking. You can use it as a spread on just about anything you want to put caramel on (bread, apples...), or you can use it in pastries, because it keeps its form very well when baking (no giant pool of burnt caramel on the bottom of your oven!).

Super Easy Dolce De Leche

All you need for this recipe is a can of sweetened condensed milk and a deep pot for boiling water. Basically, all you have to do is submerge a can of the SCM under boiling water for 3 hours, that's it! There are however, a few things to note.

 It's very important that you use sweetend condensed milk and not its neighboor evaporated milk, because you need that sugar in order for the caramelization to occur! When you are boiling the can of SCM, make sure there is at least 1 inch of water above the top of the can at all times, if the water level goes below the top of the can, it might explode! You don't want to scrub sticky caramel off your kitchen celing do you? I didn't think so! Finally, after the can has been in the boiling water for 3 hours, take it out and let it cool until you can touch it with your bare hands before you open it. The first time I made Dolce de Leche, I was so excited to see inside the can that I tried to open it right away, big mistake! As soon as the can opener pierced the can, a stream of hot caramel shot out across my kitchen! You need to let the pressure from the heat subside before you open the can :) Also, let me just say, it is so enjoyable to open that can and see the gorgeous caramel, and your first bite will be heaven, I promise!
I got the idea to put the Dolce de Leche into coffee from The Pioneer Woman. I just brewed some extra strong coffee, stirred in the ddl, topped with hommade, unsweetened vanilla whipped cream and cinnamon to create these little concoctions.
A very welcome treat on a snowy, cold, horribly grey, Sunday afternoon. You might also consider adding in a little Kahlua, or Whiskey if you're feeling fancy.

Also, caramel apple pastry...I will post the recipe for this later in the week, but for now, I will leave you with this: