November 17, 2008

On the Menu: Weekly Dinner Challenge #3

Plans with friends and a road trip lead to a short cooking week.

I didn't want a busy work week to get in the way of the few nights I would be cooking, so I made the most of leftovers. The key was that on Monday I roasted eggplant and zucchini, which found its way into each meal (first in a cous cous, next as a side dish, and lastly in a pasta).
  1. Diced Onion Chicken

  2. Israeli Cous Cous with Roasted Zucchini and Eggplant

  1. Left Over Onion Chicken
  2. Roasted Zucchini and Roasted Eggplant in Tomato Sauce
  1. Wheat Pasta with Roasted Zucchini and Roasted Eggplant (all I had to do was cook wheat pasta and stir it into the side dish I made the night before)

November 16, 2008

On the Menu: Weekly Dinner Challenge #2

While I was off to a good start, a cold and plans with friends made for a pathetic cooking week (that is unless I get bonus points for baking six loaves of pumpkin bread and an apple tart).

  1. Cesar Salad
  2. Chicken Parmigiana
  3. Wheat Pasta with Marinara Sauce
  1. Greek Salad

  2. Schnitzel
  3. Israeli CousCous

  4. Roasted Zucchini
  1. Fall Salad

  2. Arroz Con Pollo

Wednesday & Thursday: Out sick :(
Friday & Saturday: Plans with friends made for a short week of cooking.

November 9, 2008

Coffee or Tea?

As the days are getting cooler, I am finding myself slipping into a tea phase. Caffeine, sadly, is a necessary evil for me these days. While I love coffee just as much as the next gal, coffee, unfortunately, doesn't always agree with me. I typically end up with jitters or an upset stomach. So, I've just had to deal with stares from coworkers as I sip away at a diet coke every morning.

However, as fall has been slowly approaching, I've switched out my morning cola for tea. It's been a nice substitute for coffee in some ways (apparently caffeine in tea form doesn't jolt my body like coffee; rather, it gives me a natural energy, and it's warmth is still soothing on a cold day), but it didn't feel like a true substitute for the aromatic coffee I was missing . . . that is, until I stumbled upon vanilla bean tea from Mightyleaf. It has the soothing aroma of a french vanilla latte, but the benefits and effects of tea. I think I found my new best friend for this fall.

On the Menu: Weekly Dinner Challenge #1

OK, so here goes nothing, my first weekly dinner menu post:

On The Menu:

  1. Fig Salad

  2. Glazed Salmon

  3. Zucchini in Tomato Sauce
  4. Grilled Corn
Left over tip: Leftover fig salad made for a great lunch on Monday. The side dishes were turned into another dish for Tuesday.

  1. Organic Tomato Soup (from Trader Joe's)

  2. Pan Grilled Cheese on Wheat Sourdough Bread (using soy cheese . . . but you couldn't tell the difference)

    Inspiration: I knew I would be working late, so I decided to use a little help from the store. It took me about 7 minutes to make this dinner, and it will be back again (although I might try a different tomato soup next time).

  1. Fall Salad

  2. Lemon Garlic Chicken

  3. Zucchini and Corn in Tomato Sauce

Leftover Madness: I combined the side dishes I made on Monday to make the zucchini and corn in tomato sauce. The fall salad made for a great lunch on Wednesday!
Wednesday: Plans with friends translated into a night off from cooking.

  1. Santa Fe Salad
  2. Fajitas
Leftover Magic: When I made the fajitas, I made an extra batch with just onions, so I wouldn't have to cook a main course the next night.

  1. Challah
  2. Caesar Salad
  3. Onion Chicken
  4. Asian Broccoli
Leftover Magic: Since the chicken was cooked the night before, I didn't have to spend any time on the main course.
Stretching Ingredients: I used the leftover romaine lettuce from the package we bought to make the Santa Fe Salad (for Thursday night) for the Cesar Salad. Since I am trying to minimize my time at the market, I used frozen broccoli. The Asian broccoli allowed me to use some of the ingredients I picked up for the glazed salmon.
Saturday: We went to a friend's house for a dinner party, so, sadly I only cooked a total of 5 nights this week.

November 4, 2008

Information Underload

I was looking forward to staring at a map of the US all night, watching reporters talk about the same thing over and over for hours upon hours, as the states slowly would start turning from grey to blue or (dare I say it) red.

I figured the news casters would be cautious before coloring in each state (especially given the debacle of 2000, when I opened up a bottle of champagne right before they took Florida away), so I decided it would be safe to wait till I came home to follow the coverage . . . but nope, this time, they called it so fast, that I was still on the 405, headed home from work when history was made.

Sure, I made it home for one amazing speech from a future president that I helped elect. But, since this is one of the few times a year I enjoy the news, I am left feeling a bit cheated. Instead of the exciting night I had planned of watching the country turn it's true colors, there was no map on the TV screen; instead, the news was reporting on the Internet. They actually had a reporter searching the web for election coverage posted online by ordinary users and such. After watching the reporter take me to flickr, youtube, and the like, I finally had enough of watching the Internet on the news, and decided to get over my laziness and go straight to the source.

As a result, I've spent the greater part of the evening staring and clicking at maps online, examining the different percentages of each state, and learning random useless statistics that no one cares about, such as the fact that that biggest Obama loving state (although it's not technically a state) was Washington D.C., where Obama received 97% of the vote, and the biggest McCain loving state was Oklahoma (but McCain only took 61%). I was no longer a passive media watcher, I was interacting. True, at first I still felt like I was missing out on the excitement of a full night of news coverage, but the Internet was becoming a nice efficient consolation prize (that is until I got board and decided to blog).

So, thanks to being able to perform my very own Internet search, I've gotten my news fix, and, more importantly, now I remember why I stopped watching the news in the first place.

As an added bonus, Obama's victory has been a pleasant distraction from the disappointing fact that "No on Proposition 8" in California is not looking good . . . all in all it's been a great day to be an American and a computer owner (although I am not to sure how I feeling these days about California).

P.S. If you missed Obama's acceptance speech, I highly recommend youtubing it!

November 2, 2008

And the Winner Is . . .

As a follow up to my search for the perfect couple's costume, and in case you are curious, the winner was: Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

Not only did we take the prize for best couple's costume (taking down the reigning champs for the last 3 years in the process), but I managed to look girly while my husband's costume got the laughs he was searching for. Mission accomplished.

Weekly Dinner Menu Challenge

I'm not quite sure what makes someone "ready" to be a parent. However, my husband and I have joked that we will be ready to have kids when we can make our own lunches and cook dinner every night (or at least, most nights) for a year. It turns out this challenge was harder than it sounded. Sure, there were times when we were on top of it, and were cooking healthy almost everyday . . . and then . . . not so much. What can I say, I have a demanding career, a very tempting couch, a need to veg out after a long day, and a long slew of other excuses that keep me from the kitchen. Let's just say it's a good thing that this challenge was more of a joke than a reality, or we would never have kids.

But, if the fifteen pounds I've gained since I graduated from college weren't motivation enough, my husbands newly discovered heart condition was the motivation I needed to cut down on the fast food, and start cooking. Sure, I haven't always excelled at meeting this goal, but if I've learned anything this year, it is that no matter how busy I feel, the only way for me to have the time to do something, is for me to make the time.

I'm proud to report that for some time now, I've been cooking again. The down side - I haven't really been taking the time to blog lately. So, I've decided it's time to multitask and post a weekly menu every Sunday. In order to share the successes, failures, and lessons learned, I will post the menu at the end of the week.

Now-a-days, many of us struggle to balance work and life. Hopefully others who are facing the same struggles, will find these posts helpful.

Stay tuned for the first weekly menu . . .