Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sweet & Tangy Moroccan Chicken


The flavors in this dish had my mouth in absolute surrender. Seriously. I have never tasted such intense flavors of sweet, tangy, and spicy all melded together. It was amazing! I think Americans tend to flavor everything with salt, and we really have no idea how to utilize all the spices on the rack. (And I know you have a spice rack!!). Just for fun I took a look at my spice rack tonight to see what I really use and don’t use. Here’s what I found: I love cinnamon, cumin, oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, and paprika. I’ve either never touched or hardly used: ginger, fennel, marjoram, celery seed, chives, and sage. What spices are getting lots of love in your house? I got this fabulous moroccan recipe from Nurture Principles’ Facebook page. Check out the link. Like it, love it, fan it. I write for this site too. 🙂 But the recipe actually came from Food & Wine. You know that looong list of new recipes you have bookmarked to oneday try? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Moroccan Chicken with Apricot & Olive Relish was next on my list.. And let me tell you, it blew last week’s eggplant & lentil stew out of the water. So if that isn’t preaching enough let me put it in black and white: I highly recommend this recipe for anyone interested in taking your tastebuds on an exotic adventure. The recipe to follow is customized. Cooking for two, on a budget, and with limited time these days requires creativity. Feel free to give it a tweak of your own. 🙂

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh lemon, squeezed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika 
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 dried turkish apricots
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
10 green olives, such as Cerignola or Picholine, pitted ( 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Instructions:
Blend all the ingredients up through the pepper, pour it into a baking dish with the chicken and marinade for 2 hours (flipping half way through).
While they marinade rehydrate the apricots by pouring hot water over them and allow to soak for 10 minutes.

Seperately, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet and sauteé shallots. Once they turn golden brown pour marinade juices into the skillet, add apricots and olives. Reduce heat to simmer.

Bake chicken at 400F degrees for 30 minutes.

When chicken is done is should be absolutely tender and cooked all the way through. Remove and serve with apricot & olive glaze dressing. Garnish with cilantro. Voila!!

So that’s enough of that. If I’m going to be reeeeally honest (and you’ve seen my posts) I have to admit that I don’t eat glamorous every day. Oh no. I wish I did. Infact, I have to apologize for my long silence. I love, love, love blogging, but this is just a period of my life where every minute of my time is spoken for. I do what I can. There are only 2 1/2 more weeks in the quarter, and within 12 hours of my last final I will be on an airplane destined for Italy. So when I’m not blogging, studying, interning, working.. I’m planning my favoloso vacation to southern Italy, and training for my upcoming half marathon in Prague. (which by the way my training is going terrific!!).

A few eats in the every day hustle and bustle..


Kale chips seasoned with paprika.


Roasted brusell’s sprouts.


Smoked salmon salad.


Honeycrisp apple slices smothered in almond butter and apple-cranberry butter. YUM.

Aah yes, tonight’s dinner: NF vanilla Greek yogurt and chardonnay.

Well, just two more days before the weekend. I can do it!! What are you eating this week?

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Nothing Says Love Like Chocolate


Or Cioccolato e Pistacchio Frollino.. because everything sounds sweeter in Italian! 😉 Aaah, this chocolate and pistachio shortbread recipe won my heart and I just knew it would be a big hit at the office. So, no sweetheart doesn’t mean that I don’t have loved ones to dote on. I will dote, dote away tomorrow through Sunday! Starting with the chocolate. I found this recipe on Joy of Baking. She has the most phenominal desserts. I mean, if you’re into really velvety, rich, moist and sweet bites of goodness… I’m just sayin’.



Chocolate Shortbread:
1 cup (130 grams) flour 
1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk

Delicious. Favoloso. And with a glass of almond milk.. words just can’t describe. Fortunately my sweet tooth was preceded by an 8 mile training run. That’s right, I am sticking to it this week! (nice little pat on the back). In 4 days I’ve run 30 miles, including a hill run, and today’s speedwork. My legs are on fire, especially since I’ve been so inconsistant in the weight room and Tuesday I overdid legs. I truly hate leg workouts. Maybe because I’m not patient enough for results. Arms are so much more fun. So, a good run + extra chocolaty dessert = me so happy. 🙂 And tomorrow, a day of rest. Time to catch up on all my favorite blogs! A healthy balance between food and fitness is truly where it’s at. Remember to treat yourself to small indulgences this Valentine’s Day. Thanks for reading..

Question:
What’s cookin’ in your kitchen this Valentine weekend?

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Another Breakfast of Champions & Weekly Eats

1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup apple slices
sprinkle of cinnamon
1 T chopped walnuts
1T pumpkin butter

Some things just never get old. I love oats! I woke up feeling totally energized, ready to face another busy day in this crazy week. I’m sure I over use the phrase ‘crazy week’, but it’s still a true statement. Last month is a blur. As much as I really enjoy my job, my classes, internship, and everything else, I just want an hour to myself every night. One whole hour to do whatever I want, like drink wine and blog. 😉

Speaking of internship, I never thought I could enjoy food service or hospital work, but it has actually been a good experience. Everyone in the nutrition department is passionate about what they do. I love that! And I’m learning so much, but at the end of the day it’s still not where I want to when I graduate. However, I just read an article in the ADA Times and the stats on going right into internship after graduating from a didactic program is kinda freakin’ me out. I don’t want my whole career to be on hold while I’m waiting to get into a program, all just so I can sit for my RD exam and stamp that title on my business cards. Yes, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this. 🙂 All my RD’s out there, what were your strategies for choosing internships?

In food news. I’ve had some mighty fine eats this week. It just goes to show that a Sunday night devoted to preparing the week’s meals makes a huge improvement in the way I eat and feel. This is always my plan, but I don’t always follow through. And then I saw Estela @ Weekly Bite posted tips on meal planning, it was so inspirational that I wanted to pass it on. But without further adieu, and in no particular order, I give you my weekly bites!!

Lunch this day was a mod podge. I mixed my kale salad into quinoa and roasted squash. Yum, yum.

Kale salad with cucumber, grape tomatoes, goat cheese and rosemary balsamic vinegar.

Sometimes I have the wierdest cravings, like green beans with hummus and egg whites. Hhmm.. it made for a light dinner. (This is a horrible picture. Now that I’m taking a lot of pics with my roommate’s fancy-shmancy Cannon I’m no longer impressed with my camera phone).

Roasted veggie and lentil stew. Homemade, and a definite winner. I was on the hunt for a good way to use lentils .. Recipe found @ Epicurious.

A delish snack of Honeycrisp apple slices, 1T cranberry-apple butter, and 1/2 cup NF vanilla greek yogurt.

Tuesday was a loooong night. I started a paper and got on a roll. You know how it is when you’re feeling super productive and oddly motivated? It was like that. So several free refills later..

Spicy acorn squash. Just trying to find more ways to enjoy chipotle chilis and adobo sauce. 🙂 I cut one whole acorn squash into wedges, tossed it in a brown with 2 tsp brown sugar, 1T olive oil, and 6 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.

This spicy scallops and kale concoction is becoming a winter favorite.. so I added it to my recipes. Kale is sooo good for you! How much more nutrition can you squeeze into a single food? Not to mention it only has 35 calories per 1 cup (raw).

More irresistable salads!! This time on spinach, with cucumber, grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, smoked salmon, and rosemary balsamic vinegar.


Yes, there is a red truck on my bottle of vino. It was a descent red. I love wine shopping at QFC or the Metropolitan Market and randomly trying wines that I pick by the pretty labels. It’s a shot in the dark, but then again I can spend 20 minutes scrutinizing labels of $25 bottles and still be disappointed.

Well, happy Thursday to you all!! I hope you’re enjoying some good eats this week. 🙂

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Training Challenges and Kombucha Tea


I officially started my training schedule February 1st. My upcoming race is less than two months away, and so far I stink at sticking to a schedule. 😦 I know I can get the mileage in, but I need flexibility. Maybe Wednesdays aren’t a good day for me to run 7 miles because I’m in class till 8pm. I can go to the gym but if I have to run 7 miles on a treadmill I’ll go insane. Or what if it’s pouring rain on my day to do a long run and I’d rather do speedwork to get it over with? On the other hand, I’m free Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to run outside so why should I take a rest day on one of my favorite days to run? Aaaahhh the excuses are limitless. Can someone give me a little push? I need to hear “Carissa stop whining and just do it!!”

Something I recently tried was running without headphones. To my surprise I enjoyed it. I always thought I needed music to motivate me, but just being in my own thoughts was peaceful. Would I try it while running on a treadmill? Never! When I run indoors I need to be over stimulated: music and magazine. Occasionally taking a reading break to people watch, or catch an episode of The Office while I tread. Aah, Dwight, you never fail to make me laugh.

The new Brooks are finally broken in. It took a few weeks. And you know that feeling of wanting to keep new shoes clean? I have the urge to roll ’em in the mud just to get over that! On really, really wet days I’ve been switching back to my Mizunos. They’re already so filthy that it doesn’t bother me a bit to splash around in them.

Well that’s about it for an update. I’m so excited for Prague!! Ever since I ran in Vancouver B.C. last summer I’ve been wanting to run all over the world. This year Czech Republic, next year who knows. 

If you’re looking for a custom training schedule I like using the Smart Coach program at Runner’s World.. although here in week 2 I’m wondering why my schedule doesn’t include hill training. I know I need to add that in somewhere if I’m going to build strength and endurance, especially since Prague isn’t exactly the land of flat plains.

In other news, I posted a new blog posted on Kombucha Tea. You can find it here at Elite Nutrition.  As health trends come and go I’m always wondering what is it about these products that are so appealing? Is it glamorize advertising or people know what their buying? And if you knew what you were buying, why would you spend $4 on tea. For example, did you know that Kombucha Tea is not FDA approved? Have you visited their website? Rather than describing health benefits of their miracle tea, they refer you to “Google” its benefits. Seriously. That makes me wonder if they’re afraid of making false claims..? Hhmm. Check out the article. I’d love to know what you think of Kombucha!

Questions:
Training tips for distance runs?
Do you drink Kombucha? Do you have a testimony about how it’s radically improved your health?

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Savvy Grocery Shopping

Before

I was rummaging through my fridge last weekend while making a grocery list, and couldn’t believe all the expired, stale, and just plain moldy food I found. Yuuuuck!! It was like I’d stepped into a biology lab, and since I’m not exactly into making penicillin, I tossed a bunch. Among foods thrown out were: tomatoes, a sweet potato, melon, eggplant, chicken, whole-wheat bread, greek yogurt, and green beans.

So this made me think, how can I be more grocery shopping savvy? I love grocery shopping and cooking, but cooking for one can create a lot of leftover ingredients. So I set a few guidelines for myself to help cut grocery spending by minimizing food waste. And I thought my list just might come in handy for you too. 🙂

#1. Eat what you have. When I buy a whole tub of something for one recipe I need to find other ways to use it before it expires. For example yogurt. It’s delicious, it’s just not a staple for me, but I could mix it with sliced fruit for a tasty afternoon snack. Cheese too. If I buy mozzarella for a pasta dish, the rest could be used in a salads or wraps during the week.

#2. Bread. When I buy a loaf of bread there is always waste. If it’s whole-wheat or sourdough I should freeze half the loaf as soon as I get it home. Also, I love local artisan breads, but they dry out fast. From now on I’m using the waste for breadcrumbs. 

#3. Plan your meals. You don’t have to write down everything you’ll eat in the week to come, but if you have an idea it will keep you from buying everything that looks good. I eat lots of produce, and I know that I can easily eat two apples a day, but without planning my meals for the week I always seem to buy too many veggies. The brussels sprouts look good, the green beans I love, and can’t pass on squash.. Do you see where I’m going? So having a plan helps. For this week’s lunch and dinners I bought brussels sprouts, broccoli, and chopped up a mixed grill of sweet potatoes, acorn and butternut squash. I also snapped raw green beans for snacking (hummus + beans = delish).

#4. Eat leftovers or shrink the recipe. I can only eat leftovers for so many days, and I find cooking therapeutic so I don’t mind being in the kitchen every night (when my schedule allows). 🙂  I try to make enough for dinner plus an extra serving for lunch the next day, nothing more. If I do cook a lot of something, like soup, then I portion it out and freeze it. A couple weeks later it’ll make for a quick and tasty lunch. This weekend I made a roasted vegetable and lentil stew, 4 servings.

#5. Shop often. Okay, I know some people aren’t fond of grocery shopping, but I love it! If you under-estimate how much produce you can eat in seven days, just make a mid-week week stop at the market. It’s better to shop often then have waste.

So, after a bit of a scrub down, and restocking my fridge with fresh, ready-to-eat foods I feel so much better. No waste, and lots of good eats.

After

And that steamy tupperware in front.. that would be my quinoa and roasted squash and sweet potatoes. Yum! 🙂


I hope you’re all enjoying Superbowl weekend. What a game!! So far my favorite commercial was Career Builders, casual Fridays where the whole office is working in underwear.. gross. What was your favorite commercial?

Question:
What are your suggestions for savvy grocery shopping?

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