I’ve been keeping busy

Before and up to the marathon I’ve been keeping busy. Cooking so far has been a good way of helping me cope. I was feeling overwhelmed so I found a new recipe for brownies. I don’t drink but I’m thinking of pouring some baileys into them. I found it to be a nice combo when I was still trying to drink.

I had friends over the other week, I always use this as a chance to try new recipes. I did barbecue chicken sandwiches. I watched the chicken cook in the crock pot, I felt like there was so much liquid after the chicken was cooked. But once you shred the chicken it starts absorbing it like crazy which makes the chicken very moist and flavorful. And being the paranoid person I was I went to the store and bought Jack Daniels Hickory Smoke Barbecue sauce. Seriously delicious. And when it stews with the juices and the other sauce, it just makes such a sweet savory flavor that I love. But it’s not overpowering barbecue flavor that would turn off Mr. Vietalian.

The next day, I had my Hawaii Kids over for lunch/brunch. We had loco mocos. Loco mocos are from Hawaii, it’s essentially a hamburger with gravy on rice with an egg on top. I don’t eat egg so I don’t know how to cook the egg at all so Mr. Vietalian covered that. I had that gravy from the crock pot roast beef. It’s really the quality of the gravy, burgers, and how long you wait to consume the loco moco that makes it really something. This meal cold, probably not so good, but nice and hot, before the gravy congeals; do it right or don’t do it at all basically.  We were out of gravy by the end of the meal but hey, at least we made it. The gravy, I saved the juices from the Pot roast, mixed in milk, flour and butter and waited until it thickened up. I think I even used some beef stock (basically just to use it since I wanted to use it). It becomes thick and a nice brown gravy, I’m definitely going to do this again.

Lastly, I made baked spaghetti. I was aiming for that spaghetti that they serve in Hawaii Schools. It’s covered in cheddar, plain spaghetti with marinara and baked until it’s pretty much overcooked. Yes, that is what I wanted. The recipe I had though had cottage cheese and mozzarella involved. It was good, but not the crap I was craving. Is it bad that I find that rather unfortunate? When I want the crappy food I want like Pizza Hut, I want the crappy food. But it was good, far too filling. Top it with some cheddar and it kind of brings back some of that Hawaii school charm.ImageImage

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Crockpot Pot Roast and Other Things Keeping Me from My WordPress

I’ve been very busy. But I’ve decided I want to cook more. Recently I’ve been cooking a lot of things I know how to cook, easy to cook, and something I’m very familiar with. But my friend May cooks a new meal every night! I’m not quite that good. When I get home from work and class I just want to eat. I love to cook but I do it on Sunday and Tuesday (I don’t have class on Tuesdays) when I have time. So I used my chuck roast that I got from McKinnons in Davis Square. I have to say it’s the best butcher shop ever. I put all the ingredients together, put the chuck roast into the slow cooker before I went to bed, woke up and had amazing pot roast. I saved the juices from the pot roast. I made a roux with 1/4 c flour and 1/4 c. butter, put the juices in with a cup of milk (using 2% probably would have been a better idea than skim) and 1/2 c. water. Keep stirring with a whisk on med-high heat so that it reduces and thickens up. Delicious. I put it with a side of sliced baked potatoes. Another night I sided it with sweet potato fries. (I also made a garlic aioli to go with the sweet potato fries) Combine 3/4 c. light mayo, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper. I mixed it with an immersion blender because i”m lazy and I wanted to do it right. Let it sit for half an hour to an hour before serving.

I made lemon and key lime bars for Easter weekend. I was all about the spring colors that weekend. Dying for spring, less cold, less snow. I used those pre-squeezed lemon and lime juice, it makes it easier because I generally can’t get a cup of lemon juice from a couple of lemons. We went to Mr. Vietalian’s house for Easter. Since Easter is a big deal in a lot of Italian/Catholic households I wasn’t sure how this would go over. We had a large meal. Starting the first course with ravioli, salad, meatballs, and sausage. The second course we had ham, mashed potatoes two-ways, and vegetables. Then dessert. I think that my lemon bars went over okay. My oven is on the fritz still. So I baked it with time in the recipe. When I put the lemon mixture on top the crust broke off and floated to the top. It really does need to bake well. After I baked the lemon mix, LET THE THING SIT! It will firm up. When it came out it was all gooey. I let it sit for a day in the fridge and then covered it with powdered sugar. Came out nice.

Trader Joe’s makes this fabulous salad called the Harvest Chicken Salad. It had a hardboiled egg, chicken, green beans, corn, and a Dijon dressing. After buying 2 in a day I decided it was time to buy the ingredients for a mock Harvest Chicken Salad. I baked the chicken in 400 degrees for 20 minutes, just a little salt and pepper on top of it. Cut it up. Hard boiled the egg, this is the first time I hard boiled an egg. Combined everything on a plate then mixed it with the dijon dressing (mix 1/4c apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c. dijon Mustard, 1/4 c. EVOO, 2 tsp or to taste splenda). It’s really very good, easy and healthy.

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I’m Finding this So Interesting

I’m finding my new Polar Heart Rate Monitor so interesting. Now when I’m working out I’m looking down every so often to see where my heart rate is. But as distracting as it is, I’m loving how personal it makes my workout. Taking in my age, sex, weight, and heart rate it more accurately determines how many calories I burn during Insanity or during a run. The snow is ruining my outside running, but I’ve been running on the treadmill. The treadmills at Planet fitness actually have a Polar transmitter as well so I don’t always have to be looking down at my wrist to see my heart rate. And what the treadmill has been saying that I burn and what I really burn are entirely different. In fact, when my HRM says that I burned 30 calories, the treadmill says I burned 70. That’s more than double what I actually burned. So then I would compensate and justify me eating other foods that I probably shouldn’t be eating. But what if your HRM is wrong? I thought about that too. But giving myself an actual deficit of calories isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I’m also enjoying that the HRM determines what a good zone for my heart to be at during exercise is. For me it’s 128-167. I try to keep it at 150-155, I have been known to push it into the 160s and 180s. But I try to keep it in the zone because it makes optimal fat burn and weight loss. Above the given zone can strain your body if you push it too hard for too long, below it you’re not pushing your body hard enough. The HRM even beeps at me when I do one or the other. And believe me I can push or back off to avoid the annoying beeping sound. Overall, I’m so in love. All I have to do is start eating better to match and I’m more than ready for spring.

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The strap usually starts higher up, but as I do the deep breathing and all the other exercises. It slips. I just tightened it and that problem was fixed right up.

 

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So where does one start. I’ve been doing a lot of weird cooking. Remember that time I failed at making chex mix? Well I still have cereal left over from that time. So I have plain cheerios…and why would anyone eat plain cheerios? They’re so boring. So I put marshmallows and butter into a pan, poured it over the dry cheerios and made cheerio crispy treats. I’m not so good at coating everything equally but we can work on that next time I have a different cereal I need to get rid of.

I went to When Pigs Fly. Turns out it’s a dollar less there for a full loaf of sourdough than it is for half a loaf at my grocery store. But it’s also not as convenient. I got sidetracked and got a triple chocolate salted caramel cookie. Best thing I’ve eaten recently. It was amazing. I also bought their salad dressing bread dip. It was good, a little overpowering. Herbs and lemon, straight up. It needs something else and I’ll determine what that is later.

I was on a home food kick recently, so I wanted shoyu chicken. However, there’s still that issue with my oven. So I made crock pot shoyu chicken. Mr. Vitalian loved it, but he hasn’t had shoyu chicken before. I wanted more shoyu on the chicken so I would suggest using less chicken. I did like that I browned the chicken before. I might also not use cilantro I don’t likey cilantro. Everything else was pretty good. I think just less chicken would bring out the flavor. It’s still in the fridge and leaving it in the sauce for now is probably only a good thing. I served it with mash since Mr. Vitalian isn’t too fond of rice. But it was a good first try. I’ll try again soon, but I’m pretty over with Asian food right now.

And today, I don’t even know how any of this happened. I was using the hand mixer to make sourdough bread. So here’s the thing about sourdough, you need to make a starter which is 2 c. warm water, 2 c. flour, and 1.5 tsp of active yeast and let it sit for a week or LONGER. Make sure you mix it well. And like I was saying, I was using the handmixer and the chord got caught in the mixer so I tried to pull it out. But I didn’t turn it off first, so my fingers got pulled in while the mixer was still going. It started heating because it couldn’t mix around my fingers. I finally got the mixer off. I’m fine. I held an ice pack for a little while. And I should be fine. But it hurt like nobody’s business.

So I mixed all of the ingredients like the recipe below said. My bread didn’t rise. I didn’t add as much flour as the first time I tried to make it because the biggest problem with it was there was too much dry flour not to mention instead of using bread flour I tried to use whole wheat. So much for being healthy. I waited for it to rise for an hour and it didn’t. I’m wondering if it’s still too cold for that and where does one put it so it’ll rise. I’m thinking of taking a class on sourdough bread because I tried once or twice now and it’s not working out yet.

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Top of the Hub

Top of the Hub

Happiest of Birthdays!

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Beef Vegetable Crockpot Soup

There would have been pictures…But I ate them. So basically I was too hungry for pictures.

Two appliances I’m loving: my crockpot and my food processor.

I make a lot of creamy, yummy soups and I thought I should try something new, which also means, lets try something without chicken. So beef vegetable soup it is. Now, when I think of beef vegetable soup I think of Alphabet soup that I used to get when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, the stuff was delicious, but kindddaaa bad for you.

So I need to start reading these recipes better. Like I read them, think I got it, put it down, make the recipe, and then find out that I forgot something. This time I forgot to put the potatoes in when I threw everything into the crock pot. I used one real potato instead of a can of potatoes. Something about canned potatoes just doesn’t do it for me. It also creeps me out. Like surprisingly canned carrots creep me out. I’ve been trying to move away from canned food as I realized how much of the nutrients are drained out and how much it increases your sodium intake for the day. But I read a lot of the reviews for the recipe and it said fresh produce will increase the water in the soup, which I did not want. I added a few things, and again forgot a few things.

The next thing I forgot was the beef onion soup mixture. It adds the flavor as it turns out. I mean it had flavor but I was pouring salt in to get more of it. Then I realized what I forgot. So when I reheated the soup for dinner I put it on the stove top, mixed in the soup mix, and let it simmer until Mr. Vitalian came home.

I took the recipe as is, but next time I do it I’m going to try to firstly, REMEMBER all the ingredients. Secondly,use fresh ingredients.

I love sandwiches. As much as I would enjoy a chicken sandwich with some soup. That’s a lot of protein for one meal. So I went with a good old fashioned Grilled Cheese. I used sourdough bread, Havarti cheese, American cheese, and some spinach. It was delicious. Along side with the fixed soup and some chipotle mayo on the side. The chipotle mayo, well so the first time I tried to make it, I wanted to utilize the entire can of chipotle chili peppers in one sitting, so I tripled the recipe. AND IT WAS WAY TO SPICY AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. That time I also tried to use Fat-free mayo because I already don’t particularly like mayo and adding to the fact that it’s not good for you doesn’t help its reputation with me. So I used light mayo this time, the 2 chili peppers it said, half a lime’s juice (then I broke my juicer, the handle snapped off), 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tsps of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of white vinegar. Food processed all of that into a nice mix and now I have a ton of chipotle mayo and a couple peppers and mayo to use for whatever else. I’m thinking of making more and keeping it at Mr. Vitalian’s how for the next time we have Quesadillas. Thank god I got it right this time because the last time it was inedible and I had to throw out a food processor and a half of chipotle mayo.  Continue reading

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NYC

I love going to NYC just to eat. I mean, lets be real, their restaurants rock. It’s actually a really hard decision of trying to figure out where to eat in NYC because there are JUST SO MANY PLACES!

Friday, we met up with Mr. Vietalian’s cousin in the Village. I’m so unfamiliar with the geography of NY but I’m getting better at it. Especially after looking at so many maps to figure out if I’m going in the right direction. We went to John’s Pizzaria. As the weirdo I am, I’m not a big fan of pizza. But I’ll eat it. I told them to get whatever they wanted and to not let my preferences hold them back. You have to see me eat a fully loaded pizza sometime. I can navigate around ham, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and anything else I don’t like like no other. This one wasn’t hard, the only thing I fully wouldn’t eat were the peppers. Being able to eat onions now is kind of cool. But this was our Friday. Concluded by a piece of Cheesecake in times square. I ran that morning I deserve that cake. My next goal for that area is going to The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. We passed it walking from the village back up to our hotel.

So Saturday morning I woke up hungry. I quickly yelped nearby bagel places. Guys, I’m in NY, I’m eating a bagel even though it’s empty carbs. I found Pick a Bagel 2 streets down. I got a garlic bagel, which is not as overpowering as it sounds. Non fat cream cheese. I forget how they LOAD the bagels with cream cheese. One part bagel, two parts cream cheese. Thank god it was fat free, but I still scraped a lot of it off. I shared the bagel with Mr. Vietalian and then also shared a cup of yogurt and granola. This cup of granola had nothing on our Trader Joe Greek Yogurt and Low fat Trader Joe Granola.

For lunch, well so I wanted a cheap knock off bag. So we were down in Chinatown after about an hour of searching for my bag and random clothes shop I was crashing and getting very hungry. So we walked probably about a mile to BobWhite Lunch and Supper Counter. I’ve seen it on 24 in 24, where the guy on Food Network tries to eat in NYC for 24$, which is insane by the way. I spent more than that on one meal, mostly because there was 2 of us and we like our side orders and stuff. I also saw this place on Padma Lakshmi’s instagram, so I knew it had to be good. I wasn’t at all disappointed. One of our cheaper real meals in the city. I had the juicy fried chicken supper which comes with a side of slaw and a biscuit. I loved the chicken, it had a fantastic crunch but was so moist and well seasoned. Then the biscuit wasn’t dry as most biscuits are. That’s generally why I don’t like biscuits. Mr. Vietalian got a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and a side of cheesy grits. Turns out I don’t like grits, but I tried it. TWICE. But he says it was the best grits he’s had in the Northeast, as he’s comparing it to grits he’s had in the south, I’d say that’s pretty damn good. One of the guy’s Andy, he owns it partially but the guy cooking in the back really owns it. They said it’s old Kansas recipes. They’re open 12-10pm, which seems weird to NYC but they are a little out of the way and it makes the neighborhood they’re in happy. It’s a small little restaurant so going at 1pm was good timing on our part. I can see how the prices, food, and overall company of this restaurant will bring in hoards of customers.

For dinner we met up with Mr. Vietalian’s friend and because we were indecisive we went to a restaurant called Mooncake Foods. It was Asian fusion. I enjoyed watching Mr. Vietalian’s friend try to eat short ribs. They were the ribs you’d use for Kalbi with the little round bones in it. He couldn’t figure out how to get the meat off the bone, I showed him. I popped one in my mouth and used my teeth to pull the meat free from the bone, but he didn’t like the scraping it would do to his teeth. You gotta do what you gotta do. I had a salad since I wasn’t so hungry since BobWhite’s. Honestly I can eat like it’s my job so that always impressive. I had a shrimp salad, I should have asked for the cilantro not in it. I’d be eating and run into a really bitter something here and there. The dressing all fell to the bottom but it was delicious. More stirring of the salad! Mr. Vietalian had fish tacos which he enjoyed. I think they were a little more Asian than he expected. The menu is interesting, it has some legit food. But when it says “heros” they mean banh mi, and that threw me of. Deciphering what they really meant was more of a task than I wanted it to be.

We were going to meet up with some friends, but we had some time to kill. I went with the boys to a Hookah Lounge, didn’t partake. But the entire time I was confused why there was Hookah in a Latin restaurant. I did my research Hookah has middle eastern/Indian roots, why were we in a Latin restaurant? Oh well, no skin off my nose.

We met up with my friends on 32nd street. It’s amazing the way I navigate. I actually just looked on Yelp but it took us to Korean Way! Hah, leave it to the Asian to find the one Asian street and not even know it. We went to Spot’s Dessert Bar, which is not a bar. I should have looked into it better. It was a big food court with really good looking restaurants though. Just looking at it satisfied my Asian fix. But I got a Yuzu Eskimo. I’m still unsure of how to classify yuzu, but it was like a citrus ice cream cheesecake with an oreo bottom. And a side of strawberry puree and chocolate bits. It wasn’t bad but I wanted to eat my Red Velvet cupcake. It scored high on the cupcake scale, but not the best I ever had. I need to look into my Yelp Searches better before I settle on a place. We then trekked our way to Rattle and Hum. Turned out to be a bit of a dive bar, packed of course, and loud. I mean my goal was to be able to hear Samm talk, but you know what. The atmosphere was one we were familiar with. So why not. Everyone just got drinks. We sat at a table that was made out of a barrel. I’m a big fan of bars like this, no muss no fuss.

Sunday morning I returned to Pick A Bagel, got us each our own garlic bagels and some sandwiches for the bus. Not a super eventful NYC trip, but every time I go to NYC I remember how much I hate Times Square, the people, the rain, and the noise. It’s a nice place to visit but I’m much more comfortable exactly where I am.

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