Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Best Meal Is...

...the one someone else makes for you!!

Two weeks ago my mom called out of the blue and offered to drive out for the afternoon to spend time with the boys so that I could rest or get some errands done. How awesome!! I went out to certain places that just stink to go to with kids (went to the bike shop and had the tires replaced on my double stroller, leisurely browsed around Barnes and Noble with a Starbucks cup, and lost myself in the two floors of Forever 21).

The greatest part of all is that my mom brought dinner with her!! There is nothing better in my mind than a home cooked meal you didn't have to make. I didn't have to plan it, buy stuff for it, make it, clean it up, or pay for someone else to make it. Therefore it could have been anything, and it would have been delicious!

But my mom is an excellent cook and we have the exact same "taste" when it comes to food so this really WAS delicious!

Two things. 1 - This is a great recipe to experiment with new flavors in your house. Although Biryani is traditionally an Indian dish, I think this recipe tones it down for the American palate so you get some bold new flavors, but not too spicy or overwhelming. Just different. Batman even loved it!

2 - Take the opportunity to build your spice cabinet!!! I always hate when a recipe calls for a spice I don't have, because I know that's an extra $5 on my grocery bill. But then its awesome the next time I make something and the spices are already in my cabinet.

Easy Chicken Biryani (from Cooking Light)
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced ...removing the seeds makes the jalapeno a lot less spicy. Just don't scratch your eye or nose until you've washed your hands :)
  • a 1 inch piece of fresh minced ginger, a few cloves chopped garlic (or don't forget the Dorot cubes if raw ginger/garlic scares you!)
  • Spices: 1 1/2 tsp garam masala, 3/4 tsp ground cumin, salt to taste
  • About 2 plum tomatoes chopped (I'm sure you could sub 1 can diced tomatoes here)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds and lime wedges for garnish

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and saute 3 minutes before adding onion and jalapeno. After three more minutes add the ginger, garlic, and spices. Let cook through a few more minutes then add in tomatoes, rice, raisins and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender! Stir in the cilantro, sprinkle with almonds and serve with lime wedges.

My mom also said she sometimes makes everything without the rice, and then spoons the chicken over separately cooked rice. Just a thought! I enjoy having only one pot to clean up myself :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stop Before you Shop

I hope everyone set their Tivo's to record today's Oprah. It is on a subject I have been passionate about for some time, and I am so happy to see her talking about it to such a wide, attentive audience! WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM! Especially since I've had kids, I've given a lot more thought about what we put in our bodies in relation to antibiotics, hormones and distance from the source as opposed to just calories, carbs and fat. I wholeheartedly believe so many of the problems in our country related to health are directly resulting from the effect of capitalism on our food supply.

I beg you to read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It really changed my idea about HOW we eat. I would like to point out that I am not a vegetarian at all, but I do pay attention to where my meat comes from. It's a tough trade off... because I'm still a very busy mom who is not rolling in money so that I could buy the best of everything. If my kids want grapes in the dead of winter, I buy them. I buy bananas 52 weeks out of the year and eat fruit flown in from who-knows-where all winter long. We eat hot dogs and mac n cheese like every other family. I am no where near the poster child for this cause!! But I do try and make as many small changes as I can!

I love that Michael Pollan says "eat all the junk food you want but cook it yourself." This is so true!! It is so easy to make your kids chicken nuggets, and I rather deep fry it myself with controlled ingredients then the ones from the frozen section. Don't misunderstand me... we go to McDonalds and I have a bag of frozen nuggets in the freezer for when I'm in a pinch... but I've realized how easy and cheap it is to make things like this.

If you live in the area here are some local resources to think about.

  • Join your local CSA!! Great Country Farms offers a great one and the sign up starts NOW! I split a half share with a girlfriend last year and that kept it affordable. Local, fresh vegetables AND fruits were delivered to our doorstep weekly. The best part is the CSA includes membership to the farm so that you can bring your kids for FREE to pick the local produce and really show them that strawberries grow outside on vines and are actually no bigger than my thumb unless they are stuffed with hormones!! And of course GCF is a great place to take the kids to play!

  • There is a fantastic butcher in Middleburg that sells LOCAL organic, hormone-free, vegetarian or grass fed MEAT! It is called the Home Farm Store. You can buy your chicken, beef and pork fresh or FROZEN (I do this and stock up). They also sell eggs there!

  • Fields of Athenry, off Snickersville Turnpike is a great place to take your kids and buy your meat locally when the weather changes. They have Open Farm Fridays where you can walk among the roaming chickens and pigs with your kids and pick out your eggs or meat for the week. I thought it was really cool to teach the kids that this is where our meat comes from... not magically appearing boneless in cellophane wrap at the grocery store.

  • Fields of Athenry provides the local meat for our very own Leesburg/South Riding establishments, Vintage 50 and 51! American Flatbread in Ashburn is a local pizza place that serves meat from local farms as well.

  • Grow your own garden! It is so much simpler than I ever thought. I literally threw seeds in the ground last year and watered them about once every two weeks and reaped enough of a harvest that I had enough to keep us fed on a night when the fridge was empty. People prepare their gardens around here in April, so keep that in mind in the upcoming months!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not soup, Not vegetarian!

This morning Kate and I were joined by our neighbor Leslie (hi Leslie!) on our morning run! It was fun to add another person to the mix. In the summertime I see my neighbors every single day. We go outside and play for hours on end - I mean the kids play for hours on end ;) Then in the winter we go into hibernation mode and we don't see each other from about late November until April. Basically, I told my neighbors I was pregnant in the fall and they probably won't see me again until I've delivered. So I love that Leslie runs because its the best way to catch up, especially during hibernation time.

On our run she mentioned she's not a soup person (I know, shocking) and I realized how many soups I've been posting and how many vegetarian ones at that! So I thought I'd switch gears. Very fast and easy and not too much chopping required (for you, Angela!)

Also... be warned that my camera officially died this weekend. I'm pulling from old recipes for a while and then either we pull the plug and buy a newer nicer camera or I'm a pictureless food blog... that would be so sad.

from this month's Cooking Light (with some adjustments):

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Gravy

2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1 pound top sirloin steak, cut into 3/4 inch strips
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (I just used half a yellow onion)
1 8 oz package presliced baby bella mushrooms
3 cloves minced garlic or 2 cubes Dorot garlic
2 tbl soy sauce (recipe calls for 1, I call for 2)
3 tbl flour
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbl Worcestershire
1 tablespoon dried thyme

While cooking your noodles, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan. Add steak tips, toss to coat in oil, add salt and pepper and let brown on all sides. Don't worry about cooking all the way through because it goes back in the sauce later. Remove from pan and cover.

Now melt the 1 tbl of butter in the same pan and add mushrooms, garlic and onion (or shallot). Saute for about 4 or 5 minutes then stir in the soy sauce and Worcestershire (not in the original recipe but it was needed).

The recipe says to sprinkle flour on top but I hate the potential for clumps so instead whisk the flour in with the beef broth, and then add that to the pan. I also added 1/4 cup of red wine because a lot of Cooking Light's recipes are fairly bland. The red wine helped - or maybe I'm just pregnant and take alcohol where I can get it :)

Stir constantly while sauce thickens and then add the thyme leaves (fresh thyme leaves would be prettier but I didn't have any and didn't feel like spending $3 on some), salt and a generous amount of pepper. Bring to a boil, return beef to pan, cook two minutes until thickened and then reduce heat and cook another minute or two before serving.

There are egg noodles hiding under all that steak. Kevin was so happy to not be eating shrimp and tofu again. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tuscan Bread Soup

The best thing about running is definitely the way you feel when you're done. I had such a great run this morning and it was so rejuventaing after some not-so-great ones this week. Last Saturday I definitely went way too fast for my body and was paying for it for the next few days. It was discouraging. I only ran twice with Kate this week because I was being lazy and they were slow slow runs - she's a saint for sticking with me :)

Then I went to the gym last night and wanted to hop on the treadmill for a little bit. I ran TWO miles. TWO. And they were so painful and terrible. I hate the treadmill!! Its so much harder than running outside, mentally at least. I think the hardest part is that you can get off at any time. And its boring. Dead boring.

So I was so thankful that my two good friends stuck with me this morning and went nice and slow with me for a longer run. Such a great way to start out the weekend.

Here's some great weekend food, perfect for a cold day like today. Kate gave me this amazing cookbook for Christmas called the Daily Soup Cookbook and everything in it looks delicious. This recipe did NOT disappoint. It was a hearty "peasant dish" that was pretty inexpensive and fast. My favorite things about it are 1) that its vegetarian but still very filling, 2) I got to use leeks (had to you-tube how to cut and prepare leeks because I forgot), and 3) I loved the bread in the soup. It won't disappoint!!

Tuscan Bread Soup

1/2 sourdough baguette cut into 1 inch cubes (mmm I love sourdough!!)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes at 300 degrees until crisp. I did this part earlier in the day when the kids were occupied just so I could throw the soup together faster before dinner. You could do it the night before if you wanted. Took 2 minutes, and you could even reserve some of the cubes for croutons for salads through the week!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large spanish onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed and well chopped (how to prepare leeks)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
6 cups Veggie Broth
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and diced
1 bunch of basil STEMS tied together (will discard before serving)
shaved parm and chopped parsely for garnish

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery, leeks, and garlic. Let it "sweat" for about 5 minutes until tender, then stir in the dry spices (salt, pepper, cayenne and thyme). Toss to coat.

Add the stock, diced tomatoes and basil stems tied together and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes. I loved doing this with the stems - it really infused the basil flavor without actually adding basil. It was a cool method to try - but if all you have is dried basil I'm sure thats fine too!

Now remove from heat, remove those basil stems, stir in the bread cubes and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Here's where I would do it differently next time - this made PLENTY of soup, and I wish I put the bread cubes in each individual bowl and ladled soup over it. The second you add the bread cubes it starts absorbing liquid. Kevin was about an hour later then he said he would be and I was calling him going "HOW FAR AWAY ARE YOU??!! My soup is being ruined by the second!!" Also we didnt finish it all and its sat in tupperware in the fridge for about 1 week now (about to move on to the trashcan) because its straight up soaked bread now. I HATE wasting leftovers. It really has to be eaten right away so I would recommend doing it bowl by bowl. Its easier to save it that way too.

Top with the chopped parsley and shredded parm... it really was a pretty bowl!

Oh and Batman gobbled it up! So its kid friendly too. He liked the pieces of bread just cut up! It goes without saying Superman wouldn't get near it... kid doesn't know what he's missin!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shrimp and Tofu Part Two

Last week I made that Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp and Tofu. I mentioned that I like to save half the bag of frozen shrimp (because its relatively expensive) and I purposefully used half of the block of tofu. Keep in mind for dishes like this I'm really only feeding two so I can get away with using less and bulking up the veggies. I wanted to use up the rest of the shrimp and tofu for a meal this week so I made a stir fry that loosely followed this recipe from Runner's World but more to my tastes (spicy). If you're not a spicy person, check out their version.

Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry with Tofu and Green Beans

  • preferred oil for stir fry (peanut, pepper, olive, whichever suits you and you have on hand)
  • half a yellow or white onion thinly sliced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (or try ginger paste in refrigerated part of veg section of supermarket for a quick and easy cheat)
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (try Dorot crushed garlic cubes in freezer section at Trader Joes or Harris Teeter for a quick cheat)
  • Red Curry Paste (optional)
  • 3 cups frozen or fresh green beans
  • 6 oz of tofu, blotted dry and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 6 oz of raw shrimp
  • 1/2 cup veg stock (or chicken)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Soy Sauce
  • Cilantro or scallions for garnish
Heat oil over medium hight heat in a stir fry pan (I used spicy pepper stir fry oil, but use whatever you have on hand).

Add half a thinly sliced white or yellow onion, a 1 inch piece of chopped gingerroot and 3 cloves of chopped garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of Thai Red Curry Paste (sold at all grocery stores in Asian section and can be stored in fridge - this kicked up the spicy flavor a bit and added a nice red color).

Add 2 to 3 cups of green beans. I used frozen and added them straight from the freezer... not ideal but its what I had so I did it, and hey it worked fine.

Let cook through for a bit stirring often. Add desired amount of raw shrimp. Let turn pink.

Add 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken stock and 1/4 cup of white wine and cook, stirring, until about half evaporates.

During that time heat a small frying pan with a small amount of oil. When hot, fry tofu. (First blot and cut into one inch cubes). Let"brown" on each side. I just liked to do it separate so it didnt soak up too much liquid in stir fry pan and get heavy.

Once stock/wine reduces, add two tablespoons soy sauce and chopped cilantro. Stir in tofu. Serve over brown rice.

YUM! Kevin worked late and went straight to basketball so this sat on the stove for hours before he got home and ate it... I kept picking and picking all night and he's lucky I saved him any at all!! :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spinny-Spin Pasta and Balls

AKA Spaghetti and Meatballs. To get the kids to eat it though it has taken on this new name. This is one of my favorite Sunday dinners to make because its very nostaligc for me. It reminds me of Sunday dinners in my house growing up. It's a little too labor intensive for a weekday but just right for a Sunday like today.

Today is the perfect Sunday to chill... I took the day off after a fast (for me), long (for me) run yesterday morning with the club. Now it is rainy and cold, and there's football on (perfect for napping), Zach is napping while Drew is playing quietly and I'm in my sweats. Will someone come over and make me spinny-spin pasta for dinner while I take a little nap??

Spaghetti Sauce (recipe from my Italian Nana - don't tell her I used Kraft Parm)

3 cans of whole tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 carrots (this is not part of her recipe, I add it for the kid's sake)
Spices: parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, white sugar, parm cheese (fresh is preferred!), garlic powder, salt, black pepper, 2 bay leaves.
Now drain the liquid from all three cans of whole tomatoes into a sauce pan. Add the whole tomatoes to a blender. Dont skip this, it really makes the sauce the perfect consistency.
Grate two carrot sticks and add to the blender. Puree grated carrots and whole tomatoes until smooth, and then add to reserved liquid in sauce pan. Add the 1 can of tomato sauce.
Now this is the way Nana told me so this is the way I tell you... add enough of all of the spices to cover the top so barely any red peeks through. I will say from trial and error to go easy on the oregano and sugar - 2 dashes of oregano goes a long way. And 1 shallow spoonful of sugar is plenty. The carrots add some natural sweetness of their own.
Now bring to a slow boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let this simmer and smell good while you make...
The Meatballs
You will need
1 pound lean ground beef (we've been buying our meat from a butcher in Middleburg who sells meat from a local farm in Upperville. I don't buy the classic meatball mixture of beef, veal and pork because they don't sell it. But use what you want!)
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg
1/3 cup warm water
3/4 cup FRESHLY GRATED PARM (I know I used Kraft because I was out, but it makes all the difference between DRY meatballs and MOIST meatballs)
spices: salt, oregano, basil, garlic
Mix all your ingredients together. Add a little more bread crumbs if meatballs are too liquidy (made up word), but they should be somewhat liquidy so they are not dry. Also, you must use your hands to blend, its the only way to get the flavors right :)
Heat a non stick pan with a thin layer of olive oil. When hot, add your meatballs, rolled to about an inch in diameter - I would err on the side of smaller though if you have kids who like the whole concept of "balls" they can eat in one bite!
Just cook long enough so that they are browned on all sides, then remove from pan and let drain and cool on a paper towel. They might not be 100% cooked through and thats ok.
15 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the meatballs to your simmering spaghetti sauce. Let them cook through in there.
Serve over a big bowl of hot spaghetti and ENJOY! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I miss running fast. My friend Dorothy just posted a blog about favorite songs to listen to for motivation while running. I don't like to listen to music much while I'm outside... there's enough going on around me to keep me entertained. However, on the treadmill I like music. I recommended Coldplay - Fix You. Kevin and I used to both love this song for treadmill runs. In fact I think I could play it on repeat for a tempo run. The end of the song - only about a minute - literally makes you want to jump out of your skin and sprint your heart out. I miss running fast!!! I miss sprinting my heart out. Is that weird?? I know I'll probably be "eating" my words (haha) when I can actually do speed workouts again this summer.

Speaking of fast - heres a recipe for my favorite pantry meal. Great to keep these ingredients on hand for a night where there's nothing in the fridge and you need to whip up something fast. Plus everyone in the house eats it - the boys just get jarred plain tomato sauce and Kev and I have the clam sauce. Theres a million and one versions of this out there - here's mine!

Linguini with Clam Sauce

You can see the Italian in me come out here because I have no idea how much I add of anything - a little of this and a little of that. The measurements are approximations. But you can never have too much garlic or wine!

Saute 3 (or more!) cloves chopped garlic in 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter (for a thicker sauce, whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour with butter. Opt for just olive oil to save on calories). Add thinly chopped shallots or onions (about 1 medium). Add 1 turn of the pan worth of white wine (maybe a 1/2 cup?). Bring to a boil and then simmer to let reduce for a bit.

Add 2 cans of chopped clams, drained. Heat through and add salt, basil, oregano, parsley, red chili flakes (optional, but so good!) and remove from heat. Stir in preferred amount of freshly grated parm and serve over hot linguini (or fettucini, or heck even spaghetti if that's what you've got!) pasta.

Sometimes I add chopped bacon (add with garlic and remove with slotted spoon - add back at the end!) or a can of diced tomatoes just to change it up. The beauty of it is - everything in this recipe can be kept in your pantry!! In the summer it's a great dish to use up the abundance of summer herbs too. Enjoy!!

And a picture from my horrible camera that doesnt do the meal any justice...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hot and Sour Soup, Cold and Sweet Day

Yes another Soup Post. And I'm making soup again tonight. I can't help it, have you been outside?! This freezing cold weather basically begs you to make soup. Although today felt like a warm spring morning after the past few mornings. Yesterday was to date, the coldest running morning of the year - make that the past 2 years. I called Kate the night before and asked her if she wanted to go or not because according to the temp at 5:45 was going to be 12 degrees... feels like 6. BUT no wind.

As soon as we were running it felt fine, like any other morning - I tell you its that wind that really stinks the most. I did however totally WIPE OUT on my run. No not from ice, and not from the dark (I have a headlamp) just from plain old Karen clumsiness. It was the kind of cold morning where the hot shower actually kind of hurts your skin at first but once your body adjusts it takes a lot, A LOT of effort to make yourself turn the shower off and get out. I was 15 minutes late for my 6 month OB check up because I was stuck in the hot hot shower :)
By the way the 6 month check up was the "sweet" part of the day - I brought both boys and it made my heart fill with joy when Batman got to hold the heartbeat monitor wand on my belly. His eyes were wide with amazement and he kept saying, "baby, baby!" Superman, in typical Superman fashion, was more into his trains to notice what was going on on the exam table.

So I was excited to try this recipe last night - it was the perfect Hot Soup for a very Cold Day.
*Recipe is from Cooking Light, with my own adjustments

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp

3 cups Chicken Broth
1 tbl White Vinegar
1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
Soy sauce
2 1/2 tbl lemon juice
black pepper
8 oz diced tofu
2 large cloves fresh garlic or 1 tsp powder
1 tbl flour whisked in 2 tbl cold water
6-12 oz frozen raw shrimp
1 egg white
green onions
Red Chili flakes or Chili Oil

Combine 3 cups chicken broth, 1 tbl white vinegar, 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms, and 2 to 3 tablespoons os soy sauce (I'm a salt addict... I did 3 or 4. Taste at the end and add more according to your preference).

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer. Add 2 1/2 tbl of fresh lemon juice (don't skimp, this is the "sour" part!), black pepper, chopped fresh garlic, and 8 oz of diced tofu (or more if you like). Stir in your thickening agent (1 tbl of flour whisked with 2 tbl cold water).

Bring back up to a slow boil and add 6 oz of raw shrimp (I put in about half a 12 oz package of frozen raw tail off shrimp - recipe called for a pound and a half but shrimp is expensive - I opted to add more tofu and extra veggies and save the other 6 oz of shrimp for another night).
Whisk one egg white in a bowl. Truth be told I'm actually anti-egg white because I always buy the overpriced organic eggs and it makes me mad to waste half the egg. Anyway slowly stir the whisked egg or egg white in the soup to make an egg drop soup of sorts.

Drop in about a half bag of baby spinach leaves, chopped, and let wilt in hot soup. Reduce to a simmer. From the picture above you can see I added my spinach way too early in the process which made it lose its beautiful bright green color. Stir in chopped green onion for garnish, and 1/2 tbl of chile oil. I didn't have chile oil so I sprinkled Red Chili Flakes. Add as much or as little heat as you can take (a little goes a long way) but I will say the heat + sour really makes the soup.

I served the soup over rice so that my very carnivorous husband wouldn't complain about the lack of red meat or chicken in dinner. Worked like a charm, he didn't. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Favorite Time of Day, Favorite Soup!

It's 6:30 am and I'm just walking in the door from an excellent run with Kate. Its about 24 degrees out, pitch black dark, and my pace has slowed to about 9:15 to 9:30 according to my Garmin, but I still feel really happy right now. This is definitely the best part of my day. I feel like I am operating on stolen time. The rest of the houses on my street are dark and only a few cars are making their way to work. The bitter cold, which will seem miserable the rest of the day, felt amazing to breathe into my lungs for 45 minutes this morning while my heart was pumping and my temperature was up.

No one is fighting, begging for chocolate milk, making a mess that needs cleaning, needing to be anywhere at any time, or needing me for anything in general. I remember my friend Jean (mother of 6) telling me she used to get up at 5 am to read the paper and sip her coffee as her quiet time. I used to think she was nuts but now I totally get it!!

Don't get me wrong, I HATE my alarm - I want to throw it against the wall - when it goes off at 5:22. The whole time I'm getting dressed I think about how freaking cold it is and how much I hate that I'm awake and about to be outside and how I'm not going to do this again this week and how I stay up too late every night. You just gotta hold on to the feeling of how good its going to be when you're done. And I realize I'm pretty lucky to not have to rush anyone to the bus for kindergarten that leaves at 7:30 or bustle into the shower quickly to be at work by 7 or hurry home to a husband who is leaving for work and kids who sleep in until 7:15! I'm grateful for this stolen time.

Anyway enough monologuing - Kate and I were talking about SOUP (MY FAVORITE!!) and I wanted to share this amazing recipe I love for its ease and its uniqueness. I actually made this 2 nights ago but my camera was in my room, so no pictures but a stolen one :) The recipe is compliments of Cooking Light magazine (here is the way they do it), with a few of my own changes.

Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

The recipe calls for boiling the noodles and spinach separately but that's just more time and more dishes so I skip that. Instead, I start with heating olive oil over medium heat in a soup pan. Add:

  • 1 thinly sliced small white/yellow onion

  • 3 cloves chopped garlic

  • about a 1 inch piece chopped ginger

  • (If you're using raw chicken then add chopped chicken breast here, I prefer to use leftover chicken I've shredded or a rotisserie chicken for ease)

  • 2 tsp red curry paste (more if you like heat)

  • 1-1/2 tsp curry powder

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

Add 6 cups (1 carton) of chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add 1 14 oz can of light coconut milk, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add 3-4 cups of spinach and let wilt.

Add 1 handful of Pad Thai noodles (I've also used wide lo-mein noodles when Pad Thai noodles weren't available) and cook for 3 minutes before adding shredded chicken (if using leftovers or rotisserie)

Stir in 2 tbl sugar, 2 tbl fish sauce, the juice from 1 lime, fresh cilantro to taste, and a dash of crushed red pepper.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Reset Run

I wanted to share this passage from a a blog I like to read written by Kristin Armstrong (Lance's ex-wife). I love the way she thinks, lives and writes and this particular blog about a Reset Run was a beautiful way to articulate the many ways that running helps to make me a better mom, wife, and friend.

"Here it is, already somehow the day before New Year's Eve. The idea of a Reset Run as a transition between 2009 and 2010 sounds appealing so I am planning one for the morning of January 1st. I have to do some thinking before I hit the pavement that day. I want to spend some time considering the things I want to leave behind so I can tread lightly this year, as well as the things I want to run toward. I want to leave behind things like any form of lingering guilt, any resentments, any relationships that weigh me down, any worries that hold me back, any old definitions of myself that I've outgrown, any fears that limit my view.

And I want to run ahead into beautiful things like freedom, friendship, contentment, joy, love and understanding. I wish we could all go together on a Reset Run."

I did attempt a Reset Run Saturday, the first weekend run of 2010, but I came home feeling demoralized. Running into strong headfirst winds, on one of the coldest mornings of the year, with a bowling ball in my uterus proved to be a rotten combination. This morning I was still itching to get in a good Reset Run to start the year off. But yet again I was daunted by the prospect of winds and cold at 5:45 am and skipped it. Thankfully, my friends who happen to be both moms and runners truly understand the need to get out and *pound the pavement* and watched the kids so I could go when the sun was shining. I came home feeling uplifted about the coming year, hopeful about running through these cold winter months as I get rounder and rounder, and ready to tackle the long list of things to be done in the next few months before a baby girl enters our lives.

And now, I leave you with a recipe. A good crock pot recipe for an icy cold winter day like today. My friend Jackie made this for my girlfriends and I last night and both the chili and the company were fantastic!

Black and White Chili

  • Brown 1 lb of chicken breast cut into 3/4 in pieces and 1 chopped onion in pan
  • Dump 1 can black beans, 1 can Great Northern beans, 1 can stewed tomatoes, and 2 tbl chili powder in your crock pot
  • Add two cloves fresh garlic and 1 chopped yellow zucchini for some extra flavor and color
  • Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours
  • Garnish with Green Onions and Cheddar Cheese and ENJOY!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Trying Again in 2010

I realize I've fallen off the wagon in the past month. Ive been a tad discouraged that my camera STINKS and makes the food I create look bland and not so appetizing when in actuality the dishes are much more appealing in person, I swear!! Well, no more excuses in 2010! You either get bland looking pictures, a picture stolen off the Internet, or no pictures at all, but I'll at least post some recipes!

Part of growing your marriage and family is combining each other's family traditions, as well as creating some new ones in the process that your kids will hopefully carry down to their families one day. I was thinking about that last night as I made tea sandwiches for Kevin and I and some friends we had over. My mom always made tea sandwiches and chocolate fondue on New Years Eve, and it seemed totally natural to be making that for my own family and friends now. A couple years ago Kevin and I started having grilled jumbo shrimp on New Years Eve as well. Then on New Years Day Kevin's family always has Pork and Sauerkraut. This dish is a tribute to Kevin's Grandma Fisher, who made this year after year on New Years Day for the Haddon family. I love that we are keeping her memory alive and teaching our kids a little bit about their great grandparents by recreating this dish on New Years Day.

So here is a hodge-podge of very simple recipes for you!

Tea Sandwiches
(a member of our running club made these particular sandwiches for us last week and I thought they were very yummy)

Wheat Bread, Chive and Onion Cream Cheese, Ham or Turkey
What Bread, Chive and Onion Cream Cheese, Sliced Cucumbers, Smoked Salmon

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

2 pounds of raw, tail on, peeled jumbo shrimp
Place in a shallow pan and cover with
  • Worcestershire sauce (enough to cover top)
  • About half a bottle of "Pick-A-Pepper" sauce (this is key - you can find it in any grocery store)
  • One freshly squeezed lemon
  • About 2 tbl olive oil
  • Freshly grated pepper and Italian seasonings (basil, oregano)
  • Chopped garlic
  • A dash or more of cayenne pepper

Let marinate for at least one hour, skewer, and grill. We also did Scallops this year, which I think are done the best in the simplest form: toss in olive oil and salt and bake for 12 minutes at 425, then broil for 5 minutes on high. Serve your scallops and shrimp with salad, rice, or whatever accompaniment you like!

Pork and Sauerkraut

And finally, what is currently in my crock pot: People this couldn't be easier!
1.5 pounds of Crown Roast Pork Loin. Place in a crock pot with a half cup of water. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Throw on a bag of sauerkraut and let it cook all day!

Kate and I are about to head out for a nice long run to kick off 2010. Theres nothing better than getting back home around dinner time to realize that the house smells amazing, someone made dinner and its almost ready to eat! (Oh yeah, I did that hours ago in the crock pot...)

Happy New Year to All!! Do you have any New Years Eve or Day meals that are tradition in your family??