Monday, July 27, 2009

fun ride, great dinner

As you know, last time I went on a group cycling ride with my mountain bike I about died and was far behind the group, so I’ve been searching and wanting to get road bike for awhile now.  Well, I got one this weekend!!  Just the baseline model, something to get me started (and I’ll be paying off forever!).  It’s crazy there are some bikes out there upwards of $8,000!!!



IMG_3911We decided to go on a ride on Sunday with the owner of JT’s bicycle shop, the place where I actually bought my bike from.  They have a great shop and are such nice people.  It was supposed to be a 20 mile ‘C’ ride, but there were only the 3 of us (Jim, chris and I), so we decided to go further on the River Mountain Trail towards Lake Mead.  It turned out to be 33 miles total!  For my first time on a road bike, it actually wasn’t too bad.  My legs and butt weren’t sore, but by the second hour my shoulders and neck were screaming!  I did have to buy a pair of cushy butt shorts for next time.  I think I just have to get used to being in that position for so long and have Chris give me a good back rub haha.  Road bikes are an entirely different animal!  It feels like you can actually get speed and going up hills isn’t a complete battle.  It was really amazing!  If you hate bike riding because it seems like you can’t go anywhere without killing yourself, really consider a road bike because it really makes a big difference in speed and efficiency.  Here’s me trying to be a serious rider . . . lol

no_power_linesNow speaking of speed, there were a few hills, well three actually, that they call the 3 sisters on the River Mountain Trail.  Whoa, I was freaking out!  I still have to get used to going so fast and turning fast because I get really scared I’m going to totally biff it.  One of the hills felt like a rollercoaster where you slowly reach the top and shoot down really fast, yikes!  I was riding my brakes down the whole way.  I’ll probably have to get my brakes serviced sooner than most because I’m a little brake happy at the moment haha!  But it was a lot of fun and I ate a lot too.  Here are my eats for the day . . .


  • piece of WW toast, two egg whites (in the micro)
  • 1/2 banana with peanut butter slather
  • 2 cups H20

During the Ride

  • 1 packet Luna Moons – blueberry flavor (I actually really liked these because liquid carbohydrate drinks usually upset my stomach)  I will be experimenting with others.
  • 1 liter of H20 + about 12 ounces of water mixed with this sample I got at the bike shop (I think I liked this too because I am a very salty sweater)

After the Ride (at a nearby coffee shop)

  • 1/2 liter water
  • 1/4 bagel with grape jam (shared with Chris who was ravenous so I could barely grab a bite!)

Rest of the Day

  • IMG_3904 Big smoothie with milk, frozen fruit, peanut butter, amazing grass (bought this myself), chocolate whey protein, chia seeds in a fun glass from Nawlins
  • about 3 oz of leftover roasted chicken, 1 rib, 1/2 corn muffin from Famous Dave’s
  • flatbread sammie with mozzarella and leftover roasted veggies, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, handful of pretzels
  • more water!


  • Cedar-planked maple salmon with cous cous, avocado and grilled veggies
  • glass of chardonnay (not the best to have with exercise)
  • bowl of cookies and cream yogurt blends I found at Walmart.  These are really yummy, creamy and 120 kcals per 1/2 cup serving; I had one cup.  I want to try more flavors!  Do you ever go down the frozen dessert isle thinking you shouldn’t but just want to look, and you’re secretly hoping you’ll find something to try?  haha
  • more water!

Whew!  That was a lot.  I’m sure I forgot a few munchie stuff in there too haha  But, my HR monitor said I burned about 1,000 kcals.  I’m not sure how accurate this is since some of the time we were coasting, but my heart was sure racing from the adrenaline! 

On to the the yummy dinner . . .

I’ve never tried using cedar planks on the grill, but oh man, it sure gave it a great smoky flavor!  Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and a spritzer bottle of water nearby just in case.  We had a few flare-ups, oops!

Cedar-Planked Maple Salmon

Yield: 4 for dinner

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • juice from 1/2 an orange (you will need 2 oranges total)
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp each sesame oil and canola oil
  • 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon (if possible, I found this on sale otherwise it’s a bit too pricey for me)
  • 1 cedar plank soaked in H20 for at least 1 hour (I put it in a baking dish, covered with water and topped with another baking dish to weigh it down)

For the cous cous:

  • 1 cup whole wheat cous cous
  • 1 cup water with juice of other orange 1/2 
  • 1 orange, zest and segments
  • various grilled veggies – bell peppers, green onions
  • handful of walnuts
  • splash of the maple sauce above 
  • salt and pepper

Soak cedar plank for at least 1 hour in H20.  Prepare grill to about medium.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium sauce pan.  Boil gently until reduced down and syrupy.  Reserve a little for the cous cous.  Once cedar plank gets slightly smoky on the grill, place salmon on plank.  Baste with maple mixture every 3 minutes for about 15-20 minutes until slightly pink in the center. 


Boil water and juice for the cous cous, add cous cous, stir, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients to combine.

Plate and enjoy!  This is really really good!  Sorry for the terrible lighting.  It was getting late and that good sunlight was dwindling!


IMG_3936 I also grilled some bok choy and served it with 1/4 of an avocado.  Bok choy has a wonderful popcorn-like flavor when it’s grilled and green onions taste like sweet candy.  I can just eat them whole!

I paired it with this chardonnay that was recommended to me at Lee’s when I couldn’t find my favorite buttery chard from Ravenswood.  While this chardonnay wasn’t really that buttery at all, it was very bright with grapefruit and citrus flavors.  Honestly, it didn’t go to well with the buttery-ness of the salmon and avocado and kind of cut into the flavor characteristics of this dish for me.  Oh well, it was still pretty refreshing and mellowed out a little as it warmed up.  It’s still fun to try a new wine, but sometimes you just wish you could have got your tried and true favorite, no?   


Tonight for dinner I made a salmon cous cous salad, just love leftovers!  And what’s a good salad without some dried fruit, crumbled goat cheese and a dollop of greek yogurt?!


Close-up!  Glorious salmon . . . I wish I could eat this every day.


Any new activities, products, recipes you’ve stumbled upon that turned out pretty darn good?





Wednesday, July 22, 2009

not so perfect?

IMG_3880This article from Jessica Setnick’s Eating Disorder’s Boot Camp monthly newsletter really struck a chord in myself and I would like to share it with you.  Please check out her site, she has a great monthly newsletter you can subscribe to, as well as many other great resources.  I believe her idea of perfection can not only apply to eating disorders, but to life in general.  I am a perfectionist for sure and I’m still trying to tone it down and just accept the fact that it’s okay to not be absolutely perfect in everything or compare yourself to others.  We can’t keep thinking perfection is the only way because we are keeping true happiness from ourselves.  It’s a very interesting article, and while it’s not in it’s entirety here (you can find it on her website above), I believe these paragraphs are the most moving.  Let me know what you think!   

Martha Beck wrote the perfectionist credo that I repeat in my practice at least once a day: “If I do everything right, then everyone will like me, I will always be happy, and everything will turn out the way that I planned.” (This is not a direct quote, please forgive me Martha.) The perfectionist credo does not in any way assure perfection. It does not guide us to perfect actions or thoughts or outcomes. But it does deceive us that perfection is possible, and therefore when we perform at an ordinary or even exceptional level, we are not good enough, since we didn’t “do our best.”

 Now I have a real issue with the whole “Do your best” concept, because some situations don’t warrant our best. If my best effort at something meaningless takes a lot of time and energy, then why on earth would I want to do my best? Just to say I did? I would much rather give a half-baked effort to things that are minor (like blow-drying my hair or peeling an orange) and save my “best” energy for things like raising my stepkids and recycling. But EVEN THE THINGS FOR WHICH WE DO OUR BEST do not always turn out the way we were expecting. I can recycle all day long and still not save the planet. I can give those kids all the love I have and still not know if they’ll be happy. And I’m not sure I want that much responsibility – that everything I do must be the best or else I am a failure. 

The problem is that the perfectionist credo is insidious. Even though I can accept my semi-best at peeling an orange, if nobody eats the orange that I peeled, maybe it’s because I didn’t try hard enough to peel it attractively. If Peyton and Derek aren’t the happiest kids on the block, maybe it’s because I told them to turn off the tv. Even though I don’t want this much power, I prefer an explanation of the world that puts me in control. That way, instead of realizing things might not go my way AND THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT!!!! I can tell myself that things didn’t turn out right THIS TIME, but since I have identified myself as the weak link, I can prevent this bad outcome next time by being and doing better. Whether or not I do my best, if the outcome is not what I was expecting, I can take away that I wasn’t good ENOUGH, or didn’t try hard ENOUGH. The perfectionist credo in reverse says that anytime that things go wrong, anytime someone doesn’t like me, or anytime I’m not feeling happy, IT IS MY FAULT because the only explanation is that I wasn’t perfect. Because if I was, I would be happy, liked, and get expected outcomes. Not to mention that if I do my best and STILL get a tragic outcome, THERE IS NOTHING AT ALL I CAN DO – I AM DOOMED! And that is completely unacceptable. Better to not do my best, or not do anything at all, rather than find out even my best isn’t good. 

My patients are shocked to hear that perfectionism isn’t people who are perfect, it is people who are afraid of messing up so they do nothing at all. It is people who don’t study till the last minute so that if they don’t get a good grade, they can say, “I could have done better if I had tried.” Perfectionism is a defense mechanism for explaining the world for people who don’t know how to handle “bad” feelings.

If I eat the perfect foods, then I will never gain weight. If I ever gain weight, then I have eaten something wrong. This is the perfectionism of the patient who weighs many times a day to see how each and every food is reflected on the scale.

If I eat the perfect foods, then I will never feel guilty. If I ever feel guilty, I must choose a food to blame, and never eat that food. If I do eat that food, I will feel guilty. And if I don’t eat that food, but feel guilty anyway, I will need to find another food to blame and promise myself never to eat. This is the perfectionism of the patient who has eliminated dozens of foods, yet binges on the very same foods that are “bad.”

If I always look perfect, then I will always have friends. Since I am feeling lonely, it proves that I don’t look good enough. This is the perfectionism of the patient who is already underweight but insists on losing more.

 If I were good enough, then my parents wouldn’t fight, my mother wouldn’t have cancer, my husband wouldn’t be having an affair, my children would be in college, my bank account would be full, and so on and so on ad infinitum. The patients we see who are seeking perfection are trying to explain why their lives feel so wrong. But they’re only wrong compared to what they were expecting. No one that I know of has a guarantee in life that things will go well, or even feel good. But the culture we have that sells looks and perfection as keys to happiness gives the impression that these attributes are within our control. Instead of understanding that feelings are chemical reactions, and processes beyond our conscious control, we prefer to believe that we can orchestrate a happy life by achieving perfection – in grades, in our families, in the cleanliness of our homes. We can’t achieve perfection, I am 100% sure, but believing it exists, and that those who have reached it are happy is a terrible trick that we play on ourselves.  

As a dietitian, I am constantly explaining that there is no perfect way of eating that will always fill your stomach the exact right amount, there is no perfect weight that will make you fit all the clothes that you admire in the magazines, and there is no perfect you that will snag you the perfect mate. I once read a book on careers that said the game is already over – it is too late for everyone to like you – there are people out there who don’t like you for reasons completely beyond your control. This concept felt so freeing, although I admit I have had to relearn it again and again in my life.

-Jessica Setnick, MS, RD/LD, CSSD

Wow, kinda makes you think, right?  I know I don’t usually get so deep on my blog, but I thought this was fitting and an important topic to discuss and just think about.  I have to say that I think even the blog world is striving for perfection sometimes?  I love all the foodie blogs out there because it’s so interesting to see what others are doing, eating (yum!), achieving.  I miss it terribly when I can’t look and I just love the community because everyone is so nice and thoughtful.  But, sometimes it gets me thinking, wow, my blog sucks, I need to do this, I can’t do that, I don’t know how to do that, I need more traffic, I need to blog more, blah blah blah.  And I just have to step back and realize that this is what I love to do and I can’t think like that.  Bad energy! 

I’ve been a pretty serious dancer since I was 8, and always want to do better, strive harder (I was never the best mind you and never portrayed this at all, but secretly loved the thrill of competition and performing).  While I don’t dance as much now, I’ve moved on to other goals to tackle, including learning more about photography and getting better at road cycling (expensive much?).  Sometimes my perfectionist mind gets the best of me and I think way too much.  This is just a general thing that tends to happen in my life and there is a fine line between perfection that is helpful and perfection that is destructive.  What will others think if I make a mistake?  Where is my life/career going?  Why am I not better?  Need a perfectly cleaned house, perfect mate, perfect food and on and on lol.  It will get there, everything doesn’t have to be set yet.  Easier said then done, eh?  I think this ‘let it go’ mantra should be applied to life in general in so many ways, and I’m still working on this throughout my own :) Whew!  I was kind of nervous submitting this post really, and what you all will think. 

On a lighter note, I also have a recipe for you!  Another take on quinoa-stuffed bell-peppers . . .  kind of golden around the edges, filling oozing out, toppling over, not so perfect but once you take a bite, it’s bright with flavor and oh so yummy!  (Had to throw that in there!)

Pesto-Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yield:  4-6 servings


  • 3-4 bell peppers, sliced in half and seeds/ribs removed
  • 16 oz cherry tomatoes, sliced in half and extra juice squeezed out (I used the heirloom ones from TJ’s)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie broth
  • 1/3-1/2 cup of lemon pesto (depending on your liking, see recipe below)
  • good shake of all-purpose seasoning like Mrs. Dash
  • 1 inch knob of herbed goat cheese
  • 8 oz of fresh mozzarella balls, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Prep bell peppers and place in baking dish.  Sauté the tomatoes in a little olive oil until slightly charred (you could also roast them in the oven).  Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.

Add the quinoa to the pan and toast for 1 minute; add broth, cover and cook about 15-20 minutes until broth is absorbed.  Pour into bowl with the maters.

IMG_3881 Add the pesto, goat cheese and seasonings to the bowl and mix well.  When the mixture has cooled slightly, add the mozzarella balls.  Place mixture into the bell pepper halves in a baking dish.  Pour a little water in the dish, cover and bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the peppers are tender.  Uncover and cook another 15 minutes to brown the tops.  Enjoy!  I also drizzled mine with a balsamic reduction.

Lemony Pesto (approximate since I just threw stuff in there!)

In a food processor place a hefty bunch of basil, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, zest and juice of one lemon, 2 garlic cloves (or more if you like it garlicky like me!), salt and pepper, and about 3 tbsp of olive oil drizzled in at the end.  I had a little of this left over, so I used it on roasted veggie sandwiches the next day and in an omelet, so yummy.  Pesto makes the world go round!  Hope you enjoy it :)




I especially like the last sentence of the quote below and I love to dance!  Getting on stage or the dance floor with the music just takes me to another place, and I can actually just let go.  Now if only I could make life my dance stage!

“Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.”    -Satchel Paige

Check out these great giveaways from Megan’s Munchies, Angela, Keri, and Amanda Yum!  There are so many great giveaways out there I can’t keep them all straight!

Are you a perfectionist?  Let me know what you think about this conundrum of perfectionism, harmful or helpful?    




Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Chris and I found a local cycling club called Green Valley Cyclists and we’re really excited to join.  They post different rides throughout the week and each ride is labeled either an A, B, or C (+/-) depending on the average speed, difficulty, extra help/stops, etc.  We decided to start out with a C ride this past Sunday to try it out, especially since I only have a slow mountain bike and only take a spin class once a week.  Boy, did it kick my butt!  ‘C’ rides average 10-12 mph and this one was 22 miles, their easiest ride ha!  ‘A’ rides average 18-25 mph and are usually 30-40 miles with minimal stops.  Maybe I could ride my car along side?  I guess I have a ways to go for that one!


With my mountain bike I was slowing everyone down!  I felt like I was pulling a giant piece of lead while everyone else was breezing by.  It got really hot and windy towards the end and I thought I was going to keel over.  I am also a very salty sweater and need to carry more Gatorade or those jellies with me to get more electrolytes.  I was like one big salt-lick when all the sweat evaporated lol  At least I powered through and finished :)  I think a road bike is the first thing on my list before I attempt another group ride, but it was a really good workout and fun to meet other cyclists.  I wish I would have remembered to wear my HR monitor to see the calories burned.  I was absolutely ravenous afterwards!!  I could have practically eaten anything and continued to eat throughout the day.  Does anyone else get like this with more intense exercise?  I think I about cancelled out any of the calories burned and then some I got so hungry.  But, I didn’t feel too sore the next day, so that must be a good sign :) 

So before the ride I had an average sized bowl of cereal with a 1/2 banana (this is also the perfect post-workout fuel).  During the ride I had 3/4 of a homemade bar.  Right afterwards we had a chunky strawberry granola parfait thing from Jamba Juice, and then when we got home we had this . . .



Pumpkin Crème Brulee French Toast

This is the perfect brunch food that you can make in advance and it feeds a lot of people.  I love brunch food!  I first came across this idea at Nothing To It!, a great cooking school in Reno that I worked at for awhile in college.  This place was sooo much fun, and I’d really like to do something like that again someday.  I lightened this version up with some non-fat half-n-half and egg substitute.  I also added some canned pumpkin and extra spices to warm it up! 

Yield:  8-10 servings (but probably even more)


  • 1 quart vanilla non-fat half-n-half (the original called for heavy cream!)
  • 1 1/4 cups egg substitute
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 rounds of Hawaiian Sweet bread, sliced
  • 5 slices whole wheat bread (I didn’t have enough of the sweet bread and had to use some of this)
  • butter and brown sugar for caramelizing on top

Mix the first 9 ingredients in a large bowl.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan and place 1/2 the bread slices in the pan like a jigsaw puzzle filling in all the gaps.  Pour half of the custard mixture on top.  Place the remaining bread slices in the pan (with the whole wheat in the middle) and top with the rest of the custard mixture.  It will look pretty wet, but it will get absorbed when it sits.  Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours up to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Let custard sit at room temperature for 30 minutes and then bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until slightly golden and no longer liquid in the middle.

Cut into your favorite shapes and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.  I like an offset diamond shape.  Put a little bit of melted butter on top, sprinkle with brown sugar and broil until the sugar browns slightly (Alternatively, you could sauté them).  As it cools, the sugar will harden and get crispy like crème brulee.  I like to serve mine with Greek yogurt for dipping, honey for drizzling and cinnamon for sprinkling.  You could also mix a little pumpkin into the Greek Yogurt.  Yum!

This dish is pretty filling, although it didn’t weigh me down and it definitely hit the spot after a long bike ride!


All together now . . . Since I had that fruit parfait earlier, I went easy on the fruit, but still had to have some of course!  Added an egg in the background for some extra protein and fat.  I just love egg yolk!


Do you find that you tend to eat a lot more if you are more active?  Or does exercise not make you very hungry? 

Monday, July 20, 2009

can’t forget this one

There is one recipe from IMG_3741CookingLight I wanted to share with you before I left on my trip, but didn’t quite get the chance to post about it.  It is definitely one that I will make again because it was so easy and really good for dinner and lots of leftover creations (perfect!). 

I love my crock pot because you can just throw a bunch of ingredients in one pot and let it do all the work for you so when you get home there’s a nice meal waiting.  The only thing I don’t like about my crock pot is the clean up!!  It’s not the top of the line crock pot mind you, but even the low setting always seems to cook pretty hot and everything always gets stuck and burnt on the sides of it as it cooks down.  This does not change the flavor of the dishes, but I’m left soaking it for a few days and scrubbing like a mad woman to try to get the stuff off!  Any ideas on crock pot clean-up?  I’ve seen those disposable inserts to put in there, but I’m not so sure about light plastic cooking with my food all day.

This is a great multi-use recipe that could be used in different ways.


Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pork Roast

Yield:  8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and 1/4 cup sauce)


  • 1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4  cup  hoisin sauce
  • 3  tbsp ketchup ( I just used tomato paste)
  • 3  tbsp honey
  • 2  tsp bottled minced garlic (I used 1 tsp fresh garlic)
  • 2  tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2  tsp  five-spice powder 
  • 2 lb boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed (I used a loin roast)
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth


Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place pork and marinade in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  I think that 6 hours would have been plenty.

Remove pork from slow cooker using a slotted spoon; place on a cutting board or work surface. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm.

Add broth to sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Shred pork with 2 forks; serve with sauce.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 227 (38% from fat)
Fat: 9.5g (sat 3.1g,mono 3.9g,poly 1.1g)
Protein: 21.6g
Carbohydrate: 12.7g  
Sodium: 561mg

It was so tender and easily shred with the forks . . . 


A little bit of bokeh for you . . . :)  I paired it with some sautéed veggies and short grain brown rice.  A nice way to add flavor to veggies is to add just a splash of rice wine vinegar at the end of cooking.  It gives it a brightness that wakes them up.



All together a wonderful meal that was so easy!

I also made it into a wrap the next day for lunch.  This would also work well for many things like pork buns, a big Asian salad creation, eggs, layered casserole, etc.  You could also make this a bit spicier if you like things HOT!


How do you handle the major clean-ups in the kitchen?  Do you usually tackle it head on, let it ‘soak’, or find someone else to do it?  I myself hate to have dirty dishes just sitting around, but on occasion I just say . . . ahhh I’m letting ‘em soak!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nawlins recap and lots of pictures

I can’t keep track of the days lately and my trip to New Orleans just flew by!  The summer in general is just slipping from my grasp it seems, moving closer and closer to the start of school once again.  I really had a wonderful trip and met some great people.  The conference was really interesting and gave me a new insight into nutrition education that I had never quite thought about before.  Here are all the sessions that I attended:

  • Using Technology to Engage Captive and Fleeting Audiences
  • Convenience vs. Conviction
  • Teaching the World to Fish:  Strategies to Create Global Food Security  
  • Deconstructing a Possible Hunger-Obesity Paradox
  • Communicating Healthy Options Down the Street and Around the World
  • How to Write a Grant and Get Results
  • USDA Demonstration Project and Local Wellness Policies

I had never looked in-depth to global food insecurity issues before, so it was pretty interesting.  There were so many great professionals there and it was nice to network and meet some of them.  Here is the poster that we presented at the conference.



A little Mardi Gras Fun!


 One morning session we got to try samples from Kashi, yum!


I really liked that cocoa beach flavor on the left.


And of course, while a good portion of the time was spent in the conference sessions, there was still some time for play and savoring the amazing food of New Orleans.  I loved all the fresh seafood!  It was to die for.  I think I had more seafood in that week that I’ve had in a long time!  lol

This was at a place called Deannie’s . . . crabcake stuffed flounder


This was at a place called Snug Harbor, which is also where we saw some great jazz . . . salmon with a multigrain pilaf and sauvingon blanc


A local favorite . . .


I had a shrimp po boy at Mother’s . . . still wanted to try that ham.


Had to go to Cafe du Monde to get a beignet with mounds of powdered sugar!

 IMG_3843 IMG_3846 

Had to try one of Nawlin’s famous Hurricanes, but it’s really sweet!


Also had some crab cakes, but the remoulade sauce was a bit too rich for me.  I also had gumbo (oh man!), BBQ shrimp (so good!) and good ol’ pralines.  Their food is just phenomenal, a little spicy for my tongue, but so good.  I love trying local cuisine, and there was so much more I could have tried!


IMG_3855 I didn’t get to see any of the areas that were hard hit by Katrina, but mostly spent time along Decatur St. and Bourbon St. in the French Quarter.  We went to a couple jazz clubs too, which was so much fun.  I really enjoy jazz music.  We went dancing and bar hopping on Bourbon the last night there.  I LOVE dancing, just love it.  I think I could dance all night long.  Well, 3 am came and I was pooped and had a bit too much to drink!  Now I am working on correcting my sleep deprivation for the past 5 days lol  

A view from the hotel . . .

IMG_3776 IMG_3778 IMG_3790



Sunny and muggy, but nothing like the Vegas heat.  I actually don’t mind humidity, it makes my skin soft and hair curly :)

  IMG_3838 IMG_3839 IMG_3848

Jackson Square on the left and famous bourbon st. on the right.  Wow, even being from Vegas, I was surprised by things on this street lol.

And this is my new favorite word :)


I had such a great time!  Now I have to get back to reality and get cookin’.  I’ve missed you all while I’ve been gone.  I’ll be sure to get caught up on all your great blogs asap. 

What is one of your most memorable or most fun trips?   


Monday, July 6, 2009

hot hot hot

IMG_3526   It’s been pretty dang hot here lately and I think we only have another 2 1/2 months of it yet to go?  Ugh!  I just feel like this heat drains me and steals all the energy I have!  Does anyone have any advice on powering through hot desert weather?  I make sure to stay hydrated, but I can’t seem to regulate my temperature well, even in the winter.  I also get terrible heat headaches since all my veins blow up like little balloons.  I just have to get through it!

I call this the blow dryer effect . . . 


I’m going to the SNE Conference in New Orleans, so I guess I won’t get any reprieve from the hot weather.  I think it’s supposed to rain 3 out of the 5 days I’ll be there, so I’m sure the humidity won’t help things!

I also bought some new running shoes!  They were only $30 at DSW and they are quite cushy and comfy.  Now you all know that I am not the running type, and I don’t run that often to be honest.  I’ve been dancing since I was 8 years old and was on the dance team in HS and college.  I can dance all day long or take fitness classes like kickboxing and spin, but running has always been a challenge.  I truly admire those of you who can run and run and run!  So, I decided that I am going to start training for a sprint triathlon on October 3!  I think that I’m not getting any younger and I’d like to do something like this when I have the chance.  Because I’m also studying sports nutrition, I’d like to better counsel athletes if I’ve actually experienced it myself.  We’ll see how it goes . . . this hot weather isn’t helping at the moment.

IMG_3685 My lil sis Sarah’s 4th birthday was this past Sunday (the one on the left, her friend Hannah is on the right).  My dad actually has 3 little ones!  Isn’t he crazy?!  But, he truly loves it and can’t wait till he can retire and spend lots more time with them.  There is Kauner who’s 6, Sarah who just turned 4 and Josh who’s 3.  Wow, I don’t think I could even imagine having 3 kids right now even at the age of 24.  It was also Sarah’s friend Hannah’s birthday, so it was double the fun.  Here are some pictures of the party with lots of crazy kids!  Ahhh . . . to be a kid again and not have a care in the world.

Don’t drop the egg!


I want candy!



Sweet Josh was tired! 


In foodie news, I have a couple great recipes for you that I tried out this past weekend, both involving my favorite thing . . . peanut butter!  I swear I think I could eat that stuff all day long.  It would definitely be my first choice if I was stuck on a deserted island :) My ultimate favorite brand is Trader Joe’s because it has a wonderful roasty toasty flavor.  When I taste a regular brand peanut butter now, it just tastes flavorless to me.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend no matter what you were up to!  

Asian BBQ Chicken with Crispy Peanutty Noodles

( I got the ‘crispy’ idea from PF Chang’s dan dan noodles)

Ingredients for the chicken:

  • 1/4  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tbsp  fresh lime juice
  • dash cayenne
  • 1/4  tsp curry powder
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds chicken tenders

IMG_3515Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours (this also freezes well).

Prepare grill.

Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.  Place chicken on oiled grill; grill about 4-5 minutes each side or until done, turning and basting frequently with the marinade.

Ingredients for the Noodles:

  • A bunch of your favorite veggies to sauté.  I used 2 baby bok choy, 2 green bell peppers, several julienned carrots, green onions
  • 1 bundle of soba noodles, boiled until al dente
  • For the peanut sauce to add at the end:  2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger, 3  garlic cloves, minced, 1  cup low-sodium chicken broth, 1/2  cup  peanut butter, 1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce, 3  tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1  tsp chili garlic sauce all warmed up in a small saucepan (you may have sauce left over, depending on how saucy you like your noodles)

IMG_3509 Stir fry all the veggies until slightly tender in a large wok, but still crisp; remove from wok.  Add some more canola oil, then the cooked noodles and cook until crispy around the edges.  Pour the veggies back on top of the noodles along with the peanut sauce and serve with the asian BBQ chicken!  Top with more green onions for garnish.  Pyramid apricot ale is one of my favorites and went well with this type of dish. 



This chicken recipe is very versatile, so I used it in another recipe the next night because I had some leftover . . .

Chicken Satay Wraps

(adapted from CookingLight)


  • 1/2  cup  diced carrots
  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions
  • 2/3  cup  light coconut milk
  • 1  tbsp  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tbsp  rice vinegar
  • 3  tbsp  creamy peanut butter
  • 1  tsp  curry powder
  • dash cayenne
  • 2  cups  chopped asian BBQ chicken (see above)
  • 4  (8-inch) flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
  • romaine and bok choy for stuffing and greenage

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little bit of olive oil. Add carrots and onions; sauté 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through cayenne); stirring constantly. Add the chicken; cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Remove from heat; cool. Warm tortillas and spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla, and top each with greenage. Roll up and enjoy!

I also topped mine with some creamy goat cheese.


mmmm . . . mid bite


One recipe, two versatile dishes that are a whole lotta yum :)

Speaking of glorious nut butters . . . Angie is giving away some great stuff from Trader Joe’s (my favorite, um I mean it’s terrible!)  Darn it, I forgot she is on east coast time and I missed it!  But you should still check out her blog :)

What’s your favorite way to use nut butters?