Thursday, October 4, 2012

With a heavy heart

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to say that I will no longer be posting here.

In the interest of my health, there is a person in my life with whom I have cut off all contact.  It was absolutely necessary.  That person, however, has continued to visit this page in an attempt to figure out my whereabouts.  And I do not feel comfortable with that.

I have so enjoyed writing this blog and interacting with its readers, and it saddens me that this person has ended that for me.  I am sad, especially, because I loved this blog's name.

As the saying goes, though, I think this is for the best.  I have become increasingly interested in health living, and a girl can only eat so much buttercream.

And to the person at whom this post is directed, I forgive you.  But that is all.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ideas to Upgrade Your Baking

The spread for my dessert and drinks birthday party...

A chocolate buttercream layer cake, coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and a lemon-pistachio tart. 

Todd and I decided to make everything the morning of the party - a lot to begin with, but in addition, we were unfamilar with two of the recipes, including the layer cake. The sum of which made for a fun, action-packed day in which we "sampled" about a cup of buttercream.  Each.  Okay, Todd had more than me.

In these situations, it helps to take comfort that the universe will pull through for you. It also helps to know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help me along the way. While there's no substitute for practice, here are a couple of things I rely on to kick things up a knotch:
- Measure accurately.  You're probably way ahead of me on this.  When I made the Pistachio-Lemon Tart last weekend, I measured the flour incorrectly.  Twice.  In the same exact way.  And I didn't figure out until I rolled out the dough.  As a rule, if you're baking in AZ and the dough comes together perfectly with only the amount of liquid called for by the recipe, you've done it wrong.
- Substitute vodka from the freezer for water. It will make the dough flakier.  In a good way.

- Transfer your rolled out dough from the pastry cloth to the pie/tart pan by carefully folding it into fourths then placing it in the center of your baking dish
- When removing a false bottom tart pan from the oven, gently hold the pan from the sides, not the bottom.  If you hold the pan on the bottom, the center will pop up and the ring will slide down your arm like an oversized bracelet, etching second-degree burns into your forearm.  Just trust me on this one.


Monday, July 23, 2012

ZWOWs 23 & 20 + Recent Eats

Yesterday's workout was ZWOW 23, a.k.a Burpee Torture.  Take a look:

That's right - 1-0-0 burpees!  Taking a hint from Zuzanna, I split the 2 sets of 50 into 5 sets of 10 burpees (and 2 sets of 50 for the air squats).
I also did an easy 45 minutes on the stationary bike (mostly to listen to Radio Lab...).

Some recent eats:

My new favorite flavor yogurt + chia seeds (a good source of healthy fats)

Not pictured... 1 Hershey's chocolate piece snagged from a supevsor's office + dinner = TJ's whole wheat tortilla with turkey, spinach and dijon + 2 hanfuls of green grapes.  Thankfully, also not pictured are the Mrs. Field's cookies and chocolate covered almonds someone brought to the office - I managed to avoid those temptations entirely, and I know I feel better for it!

Cups of water today = 6 , tryin' fo' 6 mo'

Just finished up ZWOW 20 (short and sweet compared to yesterday's!) and now I'm up and off to get in some more cardio the most funnest way I know...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dinner at Desta

2 eggs and 1 egg white seasoned with sriracha, nutritional yeast, and oregano wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.

Cappuccinos at Cartel

Snacks (not pictured) = carrots, orange, and apple

Dinner at Desta (new to me but delicious! Tucson now has 2 Ethiopian restaurants!)

Alright bloggies, that's it!  Next time I see you, I'll be in DC (I can't believe I haven't traveled by myself since high school and early college!)!  I'm looking forward to summer adventures and can't wait to share them with you!

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Dinner from last night
Broccoli, cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, and chicken with 1/3c chicken stock, 3T hoison sauce, 3T rice vinegar, sriracha, and salt and pepper.  Served over buckwheat noodles.


Breakfast = apple then, a bit later, burrito with 2 eggs and 1 one white with 2 handfuls of spinach, seasoned with oregano, sriracha, and salt and pepper + black coffee

Lunch = sliced turkey breast, hefty spoonful of grind your own PB, an orange, and passion fruit greek yogurt.

Snack = 

Dinner = happy hour at Sullivan's (Todd kept joking around calling it O'Sullivan's, pretending like it was an Irish pub) then munched on leftovers from last night.  Definitely going to pay for that by gaining weight in the morning...
Have a great rest of the night, bloggies!  See you tomorrow - it's my last day to run errands before DC!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A microwave and a mini fridge

Breakfast = oatmeal with a hefty dollup of grind-your-own PB
Black Coffee
Children's Indie Radio in the background.  I've loved that stuff ever since my Mrs. Tiggy Winkle days.
 Lunch = orange + whole wheat tortilla with turkey, spinach, and stone ground mustard

This summer, the only kitchen items I'll have easy access to are a mini fridge and a microwave, so, I'm pretty sure this combination this combination is going to start appearing regularly.

Afternoon snacks = 
I haven't exactly figured out how I'm going to handle the cooking situation, but I anticipate a lot of greek yogurt, edamame, fresh fruit, spinach, garbonzo beans, kombucha, and maybe a few trips to the Whole Foods juice bar... It feels a little like living in Switzerland again, except without the Farmer Croc.

Trying out a new 'do.  (I've been wanting to try it ever since lindy-hopper Jo Hoffberg posted it in February)
I'm off to start working on a chicken, broccoli, and shiitake mushroom stir fry - I want to get some more vegetables in before the day's over!  Have a great night!

P.S. As you may have noticed, this blog is kind of turning into Food for Jennifer.  I'm still figuring it out :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crazy Oatmeal

Things I've eaten recently:

Gah!  Terrible picture.  What is it, though?  Oatmeal, egg sriracha (my favorite), nutritional yeast, and sea salt.  It's a little different, but I'm not the first to try it ;) (see here and here).

Post-Pilates lunch = apple + spinach + yesterday chicken and quinoa drizzled with balsamic, lemon juice, and freshly cracked black pepper.

I was so hungry I had to eat something before dinner!
Grits and Greens for dinner

Going to hang out with the hubs for a bit then I'm off to the gym for body pump and/or Zumba (haven't quite decided yet ...).  Pilates class not so great this morning - I think the substitute teacher underestimated us!

Have a great night!

Monday, May 28, 2012

My First Run!

Things I've eaten recently:

A gibralter (basically a cappuccino in a smaller cup) at Cartel.

Lunch = quinoa made in the rice cooker tossed with tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and basil on a bed of spinach drizzled with balsamic vinegar + a green apple.

This afternoon I also ran on the treadmill for the first time in at least 3 years. After breaking my femur in 2006, I developed a mental block towards certain activities. Running was one of them. Although Todd and I ran through the neighborhood a couple of times, I decided to stop it because it made my knees and ankles hurt.

After talking with the trainer yesterday and remembering what I've heard from orthos, it's finally sinking in that a little pain is normal for someone in my situation. So today I gave the treadmill a try (easier than running on concrete, don't have to watch for cars). I hopped on the treadmill, did a 5 minute warmup then ran at 5.5mph for 20 minutes (no incline).

Post-workout snack

I definitely felt some pain, but I worked through it, and now, 3 hours later, I don't feel any pain. While I won't be running a marathon any time soon, it feels great to conquer something I didn't think I could do and motivates me to keep it comin' :)

Dinner. I seasoned the corn with a little butter, salt, cayenne, and a squeeze of lime.

Great Bodies are Made in the Kitchen

Some recent eats:

Breakfast = 2 eggs, 1 egg white, oregano, spinach, and fresh salsa
My surprise date for Todd was yesterday, and it turned out amazing!  A few weeks ago, I emailed Tia of Fit Pro, LLC, asking if she could make Todd and I sweat like crazy and feel like we want to die for an hour.  And she delivered.  

Todd has always said he's not the kind of person who enjoys working out, so I wasn't sure how he'd feel about our "date."  But Tia made it really fun with game-like challenges, and we learned ways to incorporate partnership into our workouts.  I couldn't believe it when Todd kept saying how much fun he had!  I guess he can like working out after all!

We also learned quite bit, especially: (1) the importance of warming up before our ZWOWs, (2) that it's OK to have a little bit of pain while working out, and  (3) that great bodies are made in the kitchen.  

Her tips have already made us think, like I'd like to try running again (something I never thought I could do after I broke my femur) since Todd and I can do it together and it gets us out of the gym.  And although Todd and I tend to think we eat healthy, thinking about it yesterday, we realized we could eat better. Although cheddar dill scones and chocolate chip cookies are treats, it definitely seems like treats like those have been appearing more regularly ;)

For dinner, we went to the new Sushi Garden on Broadway. Which was also a hit with the hubs. The interior design is a huge improvement from their old place, and the staff is super attentive!

Rainbow Roll

Todd and I are off to a coffee shop to work on our respective research papers for school!  Have a great memorial day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Blackett's and Blue Cornmeal

It's been unseasonably cool this weekend, so yesterday Mr. Food for Todd and I woke up super early to hike Blackett's Ridge, a beautiful moderate-intensity trail well-known among Tucson hikers. 

We hiked it in just over 2 hours, which made me feel strong but also reminded me how amazing our bodies are!  Plus, major bonus points for not seeing any rattlers!  

Blackett's is my current favorite trail - I've been there 3 times already, and it's incredible.  We had lunch at Beyond Bread then checked out Dragoon Brewing in the evening.  The whole day reminded that Tucson really is a cool city and that we're lucky to live here.  I feel if you find your niche (hiking, biking, yoga, lindy-hop ;) ), Tucson will treat you well.

After getting up early yesterday, we had a lazy Sunday morning:

Aeropress coffee 

Blue cornmeal pancakes (cream 2T butter, 2c cornmeal, 1t of salt.  Add 1c milk, some water and that's it!) (Todd dipped his in honey).

These will make you so full!

I'm taking Todd on a top-secret date this afternoon, so I'll be back later with a recap of that.  All I can say is that I hope Todd doesn't hate me after it!  

Something to Watch
Mike Birbiglia and Terry Gross Short Film (watch if you listen to NPR and didn't see the live show for the most recent This American Life)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Todd's Birthday Dinner from a Million Years Ago

About a million years ago, in March, I made beef and beer carbonnade for Todd's birthday dinner. 

Beef and beer carbonnade is Todd's favorite meal, so I always like to make it :) But it's also a great meal for a dinner party because you can guarantee it's delicious and it makes your house smell amazing while everyone is hanging out before dinner.

A few notes: this meal can get expensive fast. I bought chuck roast since it was Todd's birthday, but next time I'll use a less expensive cut. Authentic Belgian beer is probably at least $5, but next time I may very well use Blue Moon.

I served this over a bed of mashed potatoes with roasted, crunchy, salty brussel sprouts. In the past, I've served this over sweet potato fries, and I've also seen it served over egg noodles, but mashed potatoes soak up the juices nicely. 

Overall, this is a husband-pleasing, dinner-party-worthy meal, but be mindful that it will be at least three hours before it's ready. 

Beef and Beer Carbonnade 
From Simply Recipes, Serves 6
3 1/2 lbs chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp butter
3 medium yellow onions sliced about 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups)
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 cups (12 oz bottle) Belgian beer
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Pat beef dry with paper towels, then season well with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot, almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the meat, without stirring, about 3 minutes on each side (do not stir, give the meat an opportunity to brown well). Transfer browned beef to a separate bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to dutch oven; reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; cook until onions are browned, about 15 minutes. Add flour and stir until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits; stir in beer, thyme, bay, browned beef with any of the accumulated juices, and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a full simmer. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, let cook for 2-3 hours until beef is fork tender. (Alternatively can cook in the oven at 300°F.) Stir occasionally, scraping up anything that is sticking to the bottom of the pan. About half an hour before it finishes cooking, add the mustard and brown sugar. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Discard thyme and bay leaf. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Can serve plain, with potatoes, over noodles, or over French fries.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Your Best Chocolate Chip Cookies?

Make it rain.  No one tells me I don't use my sifter!

Joy the Baker says these chocolate chip cookies are the tops. And it's true they do have some unique things going for them, including melted butter, bread flour, and extra brown sugar.  They also call for kosher salt, which I previously heard was not ideal for baking... 

Now, I'm making these cookies for charity, so I obviously have no idea how they taste, but if I had to guess, I'd say they're soft and sweet with just a hint of salt ;)

One cookie got damaged. By accident. But I can't give a broken cookie to charity. So. 

What's your favorite cookie? One time I made chocolate chip cookies for Todd - I didn't try them, but Todd seemed to like them. Not thinking they were anything special, I tossed the recipe and forgot about it. A couple months later, Todd told me they were the best cookies he's ever tasted(!). Unbelievably, I've never been able to re-find the recipe, so I tend to think the best cookie recipe is still floating around somewhere on the internet... (If I absolutely had to pick a recipe, though, it'd be these!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Alton Brown via Joy the Baker

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar.
Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5
minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in
an airtight container.

Something to Read:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yesterday's ZWOW; Happy Hour at Home

Have you had any exercise today? If not, here's a great total body workout you can complete in less than 30 minutes:

Just be mindful of your knees :/ I did simple weighted lunges on each side rather than jump lunges.

My workout for today included cleaning the house and making some delicious apps for a happy at home. 

Prepping another Barefoot Contessa recipe:




Todd and I are going to spend the rest of the evening relaxing at home, but tomorrow will be a busy day filled with research, yoga, and cardio. Have a great rest of the week, bloggies :)

Herb & Lemon Buttered Popcorn

1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cups popcorn kernels
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped almonds 

Place a large, heavy pan with a lid on medium heat. Add the olive oil and 3 kernels. When they pop, add the rest of the kernels. Shake the pan to distribute, then cover it. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until you stop hearing kernels pop more than once every five seconds or so. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on for another 2-3 minutes, until all of the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl.

While the kernels are popping, preheat the oven to 300°F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Keep cooking it, stirring occasionally, until it is very slightly golden. Pour into a bowl and add the lemon juice and zest, the pepper, salt, and spices (and a couple tablespoons Parmesan cheese??). Mix well, then drizzle this over the popcorn in the bowl. Add almonds and use your hands to mix the popcorn well, trying to get the butter mixture spread around as best as possible. Taste for salt, adding more as needed.

Pour the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the popcorn has dried out slightly, about 6-8 minutes.

Serve warm or room temperature. If you make the popcorn in advance, cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container.

Barefoot Contessa's Hummus (my go-to hummus recipe)
4 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste) 
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons) 
2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
8 dashes hot sauce 

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature.  (I served with hot house cucumber and carrots).

Izze Sparkling Cocktail
From Tasteinspired, Serves 1
Fill a short glass with ice. Add 2 ounces of vodka. Top glass off with blackberry-flavored Izze. Squeeze in a lime and drop in glass. Stir and enjoy!

Parsley, mint, basil, and chives from Adam and Erica.  Todd is a major stud at keeping these plants alive.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Avocado Mac and Cheese

Good evening, bloggies!  Hope you had a great weekend.  Ours was filled lindy-hop, tacos, and a surprise rendez-vous with friends while purchasing our solar viewers for the eclipse :)  We started off at the 7th Avenue food truck event then cruised over to Barrio to see the moon take a bite out of the sun and relax with friends.

As you may know, Mr. Food for Todd and I like mac and cheese a lot (OK, a lot a lot), but with the cheese and buttah and occasional quart of cream, it's not something we make all the time.  This mac and cheese is different though.  While it calls for 2 cups of cheese, it's still pretty wholesome and a unique way to get some good avocado fat into your day!

Plus, it comes together lightening-fast, doesn't require any chopping, and is just as tasty the next day :)  Don't miss out on this one!

Avocado Mac and Cheese
From Two Peas and Their Pod, Serves 4

10 ounces dry elbow macaroni (we used whole wheat/veggie-flavored bows)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (we used nonfat)
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add in macaroni. Stir and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. While the pasta is cooking, make the avocado sauce by placing the garlic, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

3. To make the cheese sauce, place butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. When butter is melted, whisk in flour to create a paste. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in Pepper Jack cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

4. Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour the avocado sauce over the macaroni and stir until well coated. Add the cheese sauce and stir until macaroni is coated and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh avocado chunks, if desired.