Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ode to a Burger

My husband is a great cook. I love that he cooks! We take turns, usually every other night.  He likes to experiment and is a little bit more adventurous that I.  Tonight's dinner is not about some crazy dinner he made, but a burger.  We don't eat burgers very often, nor do I choose to eat a burger when we dine out.
Friday night we went to The Big Board which has a nice menu of burgers. I thought about getting The Great Chicago Fire, but thought it might just wreck havoc on my digestive system.  I've been trying to limit my carbs, well when it comes to bread. I CANNOT give up pasta! I decided to get the Memphis Blues burger, with colby-jack cheese, house made BBQ sauce and crispy "tobacco" onions.  I typically get my burgers medium, but at the top of their menu they have descriptions of each of the ways you can get your burger cooked. Gary got medium well, which was weird for him, but I decided to do the same.  Sadly, my burger was not as moist as I would have liked.  I also ended up getting my burger on a salad- which the waitress suggested to me. Don't get me wrong I am a big fan of salads, but I don't think I'd do a burger on a bed of lettuce again. As far as burger places go, I'm not 100% sold yet, I might have to try another burger. If I was to grade it on a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 7. 
One thing that I do like is their beer board. All the beers are listed with their starting price. The more it sells, the lower the price. 
My burger on top of a salad:
Too many french fries
Gary's super crispy sweet potato fries
 Gary's Le' burg-aire aupoivre
Tonight G made buffalo burgers, one of our favorite types of meat to make burgers with. He also made oven friend potatoes and did a fabulously job chopping them, restaurant quality. haha...we like our potatoes extra crispy too.
I also had him sautee up some fresh mushrooms for yours truly. I'm a huge fan of mushrooms and love them on burgers. If only we had some swiss cheese, but American was satisfactory.  Add some BBQ sauce and voila.
Yummy sauteed mushrooms
Perfectly sliced roasted potatoes
Beautiful Bun-less Burger
Perfect bit of mushrooms, burger and BBQ sauce

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

American Idol

Ok, so I don't know when I watched American Idol last, but I happened to watch last week, when they were picking the final 24. I'm not sure if that's what it is exactly called. just so happens that someone from my Alma Mater happens to be in the Top 24.  Shout out to 17027! Holla! A few years ago a girl I graduated with from High School made it to Hollywood, but to be in the TOP!

Oddly enough we had just finished watching the Academy Awards, yes, I know it's Tuesday and we just watched them, but G works Sunday and Monday night, so it had to be tonight.  We just finished the Awards and switched over to AI and low and behold Adam is singing, not too bad if I do say so myself.  To be honest I only looked up his Hollywood week on youtube and I also looked up the Asian, being Asian myself I tend to root for them, plus I was excited to see and Asian on AI, I'm not sure if one has ever been in the Top 24 before, but you can correct me if I'm wrong. You GO Adam Brock!

Anyone else watch AI?

Do you have any favorites?

Sweet Treats!

Hobby of the Day: Baking!

The PTA (parent/teacher association) at my school is having a bake sale.  Tomorrow evening our older students are having a spring concert and therefore the PTA thought it would be a nice idea to sell some delicious treats.  I'm all for that.  So I signed up, seeing that baking is one of my favorite past time hobbies. If ingredients weren't so dang expensive I would do it A LOT more than I currently do. Plus, since I gave up sweets for lent it makes baking really hard!
What did I bake?
Mini oreo cheesecake cupcakes and of course, chocolate chip cookies! It was very hard for me not to eat a few bites...I know I know, salmonella.
 My new cookie sheet, it works SOOO much better than my old ones. 
Enter Mini oreo cheesecakes- Gary's not on a sweet lent diet so he was able to partake in the goodness that is. Yes, thank you Martha Stewart!
Sugar and cream cheese mixture

Chopped up Oreos, it calls for 12, I may have added a few extra
Baking at 275 degrees for 22 min, rotating at the half
Cooling in the in fridge....note my favorite Naked Juice and Ragu pasta sauce
Recipe: Thanks to good old Martha Stewart and her cupcake book! LOVE IT!
  • 42 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 whole and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 lbs cream cheese (or 4 8oz boxes) room temperature
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Drizzle in eggs, a big at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
4. Divide batter evenly (I use a 3 tbs. cookie scoop) among cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely.  Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours, or overnight before serving.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Brussel Sprouts....


Ok, so I have NEVER made brussel sprouts in my life.  Nor have a I ever been a fan until recently, maybe it's because it is the new kitschy thing.  The restaurant my husband moonlights at has friend brussel sprouts with bleu cheese and bacon.  I had them and they were pretty fab....I mean fried with bacon! Once upon a time my mother tried to make me eat brussels, that was an EPIC fail! I was young and that thing got washed down with a huge glass of milk. It probably went something like this.....sniff...put in mouth, check quick to break it up (but not breathing) then swallow with huge swig of milk.  That's how it went with asparagus and I am still not a huge fan, unless I am starving. 
A friend brought brussel sprouts to one of our book club dinners and I tried a few and WHOA! My mouth now thanks me. 
So I attempted too cook brussel sprouts the other night...I'm pretty sure G hasn't had them before ever. I meant to parboil them before I cut them up, but forgot.  That's supposed to help soften them up and cook faster through without becoming mushy. I added chopped garlic to my roasted sprouts. I heart garlic and we pretty much use it in everything. I cut the brussels in half so that they cooked through more thoroughly. I added them, oil, salt, pepper and the garlic to a bowl and tossed lightly. Then I roasted them in the oven for 30-40 min at 400 degrees.  Keep mixing them every 7 minutes or so, so that they cook evenly.  I ended up with some burned edges, which we just call crispy and Gary loves.  Then I added grated reggiano cheese on top.
-You can parboil for 2 minutes before cutting
1 lb of brussel sprouts, outer yellowed leaves removed, cut off the bottom and half if desired.
3 tbs. oil
3 cloves diced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
*salt during cooking if desired
 Add all together and toss to coat

Lay on a tray
Cook at 400 degrees for 30- 40 min. 
Mix every 6-7 minutes to get cooked through
 **I like mine crispy

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slow and Steady

Hobby of the Day: Running

Of course, after being in the 60's all week it has now dropped to wintery weather temperatures.  At least it is sunny out. I think the weather flux is also making me sick, warm, cold, rainy, cold, With spring comes....ALLERGIES. YUCK....Looking out the window it looks pretty window, also one of my Everests.  
I have the pink one of course
Today will be one of our longer runs that we've done in awhile- glad we saved it for this sunny cold day. I decided I was going to practice running with my water belt, or rather Gatorade belt.  One of my biggest concerns as of late is that I think I have developed shin splints.  I know that the majority of athletes get them I was just hoping I would be one of the lucky few to avoid.  I texted my soon to be Personal Trainer Sis-in-law and she gave me some advice. Score, free PT sessions haha. One recommendations is to avoid running on hard surfaces ie: concrete. Hard to avoid since I live in the city, a concrete jungle.
Here's one website to help with shin splint stretches 
I'm not gonna go out super hard, I just want to see what I can do. 10 miles is the longest I have ever run. Gary's got a bad knee and I have bad knees and now other issues. This should be a doosey.  But I am thankful that I have the ability to run and I am thankful that the sun is shining, despite the fact that I don't have running sunglasses....There is always tons to look at on the National Mall and tons of pass me. I'm a turtle.....slow and steady.... I've been trying to be better with fartleks(speed training). Gary likes to scream that out when we are running, "Do a FARTLEK!" Thank you hun! Also, please don't use up my energy while making me laugh!
My first couple of miles are always the BEST WORST. Then things start to find a rhythm and flow. Then around 4-5 miles my feet fall asleep. They wake up around 6-7 and then will occasionally fall fluctuate between awake and sleep.  I really don't know the best way to fix this problem. Sometimes stopping helps, sometimes keeping running helps.

Update on the run:  It was ROUGH....thank you cold weather and ridiculous amount of wind. Energy was being drained out of me and yet  I made it, ended up doing 11 miles accidentally, mapmyrun was a little off. Legs didn't feel good throughout the whole run breathing was poor in the beginning, I think the wind took it away. But, I did try my knew fueling belt, shared with the hubs. 
Also: I didn't have running sunglasses, so I ran with my Coach Sunglasses- not too shabby if I say so myself, will be doing it again, sure beats having to buy new sunglasses.  
Didn't feel like Spring.
Do anyone else's feet fall asleep when the run? What do you do?

Anyone with shin splints? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Hobby of the day: Cooking
For some reason, both Gary and I have been wanting to cook meatballs lately. I don't know if it's because we've seen commercials or TV shows with them.  Did they make meatballs on Top Chef?  By the way we love that show.  I am so amazed at what they can do on the spur of the moment. I'd be so lost and overwhelmed. I guess that's why I'm not a chef.  They make beautiful food that is so complex. You have to have some knowledge of chemistry with what works with what, etc...
We are trying to be healthier with our cooking and eating habits, so I decided to make chicken meatballs.  I looked at a couple of recipes. One from food network by Giada and the other on Smitten Kitchen's blog.  I love that Smitten Kitchen adds pancetta to her meatball. I love pancetta which is an Italian bacon.  We use it in a lot of our cooking.  Hard decision, but I ended up going with Giada's. I've never made orecchiette pasta, but she always talks about it, so here goes nothing.  Ok, couldn't find orecchiette so I'm making farfalline.
You can find the recipe here.  The nice thing about making meatballs is that you can freeze them and reheat them whenever you need. I did tweak some of the ingredients. I wasn't going to buy the flat leaf parsley, but oddly enough we already had some.  I forgot to buy the basil, ugh I know it's the perfect add on to any Italian inspired meal.  I thought about making my bread crumbs from scratch, like G does, but instead spent my time running outside on this beautiful 60 degree day!
 I actually got my PR in my 6 miler and I even stopped at a few lights and helped a lost soul find his way.

 It ended up being pretty delicious. I loved the fresh little mozzerella balls that got all warm and gooey. I love cheese by the way. The cherry tomatoes added a nice balance too. All in all I would say it was a success!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Givin it up

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday! Wish I was down in New Orleans, we've been there twice and love it! Someday we will be there for Mardi Gras.  I thought about giving out beads to my kids, for some reason they love to pick them from the prize box, but then realized I didn't have enough.
Today is the first day of Lent....or to others, Ash Wednesday.  Lent goes from today, until Easter.  Some people give things up just to give them up, as a challenge, others for another reason whether it be religious or not.
I decided to give up candy, desserts, essentially sweets.  This is rough because I love candy, gummies are my favorite, but chocolate comes in close behind.  Unfortunately we just bought some girl scout cookies.....enter freezer- sorry samoas, we will be reunited. I also just received a bunch of candy from my wonderful students, which is now hidden away.  Gary is giving up unhealthy snacking....aka, chips, pretzels, cheese its, the grocery store I bought grapes, carrots, celery and nuts. 
So for my last sweet treat tonight, other than my handful of sweet tart hearts I made my own version of sopapillas= fried dough from South America.  We unfortunately don't have a fryer, so enter my frying pan, oil and some 6 inch tortillas. Below is what they should look like, puffed up goodness that dissolves in your mouth. 

This is what mine ended up looking like, needless to say we each ended up eating two.  
Frying pan with my sad delicious little tortilla

Notice that I couldn't take a picture of the whole thing, I devoured some of it before I snapped the shot.  Also, honey and cinnamon and sugar make everything yummy!

Anyone else giving anything up?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who you calling 4 eyes?

I haven't bought glasses in awhile.  I don't really wear them very often because, thankfully, I have been introduced to contacts.  Changed my whole middle school life lol, but that was about oh I don't know 13 years ago! Crazy! The last time I bought glasses I bought from Costco. They have name brand and pretty decent prices. Although they don't take insurance so I might be able to get them cheaper from other places, who knows.  I picked out this "cute" pair.  Turns out- I bought children's glasses, the guy told me they looked good, clearly he didn't know.  They pinch my head and sit higher than the should, they actually don't rest behind my head. It's a mess. Thankfully I wear them infrequently.
I'm all about giving back and I love that TOMS gives shoes to needy children. One pair for each pair you buy.  They are super cute and I am guilty of owning 3 pairs.....and NOW they just introduced ballet flats....ugh! They are however kinda expensive ranging from $44 for basic pairs, plain colors to about $68 for more intricate designs and materials.  Maybe that's not too expensive for you, but I'm kinda a cheap skate when it comes to footwear. I'm all about Payless and Target.  But these...... I'm going to have to splurge sooner or later....
I have to admit they are really comfortable and are great for packing light. They have some padding so you are flat on the ground.

ANYWAY: A friend on FB recently purchased glasses from Warby Parker. Glasses cost $95 and they have some FABULOUS frames.  Specifically vintage inspired, which is very popular and hipster right now and-super trendy in DC right now.  I'm usually very apprehensive about buying glasses without trying them on, as I am with clothes and shoes. One option that Warby Parker offers is an option in which you can upload a picture of yourself and try the glasses on. Several other online glass sites have this option too. While this is nice, it's still not optimal, at least not for me, you still really can't get the true feel of them.  So... enter option 2.... you can choose up to 5 pairs to have shipped to you for free in a super cute little case. You keep them and try them on for 5 days and send them back with a prepaid shipping label--PS save the box.
If you are in the market for new glasses, check them out! 
I've pretty much narrowed it down to two pairs.  I do like a third pair, but I just don't know if I could pull it off daily, they are super cute though. So...I'm uploading pictures of myself in the glasses.
Winston Lunar Fade
Sorry it's blurry



And......I need your opinions, which pair are your favorite?

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