Looking back from the future

Just thinking as I lie here on my bedroom floor…some day, when I’m a reporter in Boston, I’ll look back at these days and smile. Remembering my apartment room in West Virginia, the size of a postage stamp. Eating beans and rice, shopping at Aldi, putting $10 of gas in my tank at a time. Livin’ the dream! But I’m doing what I want to do. :)

Shrimp & Penne Pasta Salad

I pack lunch most days, so I try to keep things interesting and mix it up. Usually it ends up being a salad (different ingredients every day)…reliable, but boring. Dan suggested I try pasta salad, so I cobbled one together for lunch today and it was such a nice change.

Shrimp & Penne Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium size shrimp
  • short pasta (I used Barilla PastaPlus penne) — any amount
  • diced green bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • kalamata olives
  • tomato
  • salad dressing (I used balsamic vinaigrette)
  • EVOO
  • garlic salt, white & black pepper
  • pecorino romano (or any grated cheese)

Cook a random amount of pasta until al dente, then measure out desired amount (I used 3/4 cup cooked pasta) and rinse under cool water. (NOTE: don’t ever do this for pasta you’re mixing with a sauce & serving hot! Rinsing totally ruins it). Leftover pasta can just be put away — or you can make it all at once.

Steam or saute shrimp (I let mine thaw in a colander and then dropped them in the pasta water toward the last minute or so of cooking). Cut into small pieces.

In a bowl, combine cooked pasta, cut shrimp and all veggies. I made my veggies fairly small — not minced, but diced or a bit larger.

Add dressing and mix well, then add a large drizzle of EVOO, along with garlic salt, white pepper & black pepper. Other spices might be good too — garlic powder, cayenne, anything really.

After the entire thing is mixed together, you can grate some hard cheese over it. I grated Pecorino Romano from a block, but I think parmesan would work as well. I’d recommend grating it fresh if you can instead of getting it pre-grated…tastes better!

It feels like the weekend…

I’ve been absent from the blog for a loooong time. I spent my winter break interning in Boston and had a great experience (not to mention a lot of fun). Back in the ‘Cuse now, and definitely going to be updating this more with recipes. I don’t have class two days a week, so I’m spending that time doing things I love, like cooking more.

Dan is here visiting for the week (!) and I’m using that as a great excuse to cook more exciting things (since it’s easier to try out a new recipe on two people). First, my dinner creation last night:

Peanut Soba Stir-Fry (note: recipes are mine, but credit given for direct inspiration/adaptation)

  • veggies: carrots (cut like matchsticks), white button mushrooms, broccoli, kale, fresh ginger, onion
  • canola oil
  • buckwheat soba noodles
  • extra-firm tofu (cubed)
  • peanut sauce (adapted from Cooking Light): water, natural PB, sriracha, rice vinegar, citrus soy sauce, brown sugar)
  • blanched slivered almonds

After cubing the tofu, spray a baking pan with cooking spray and place tofu in it. I seasoned with garam masala and then sprayed again, but you could just do salt & pepper (or whatever spice you want). Bake in 350* oven until crispy (30-60 minutes).

Cook soba noodles in boiling water (as you would with pasta) for just a few minutes (usually about 4-5) until tender, then drain.

For peanut sauce, combine a small amount of water with a large spoonful each of brown sugar and peanut butter. Squirt in sriracha, rice vinegar and soy sauce, then stir all of the ingredients together and add more of any of them to taste.

Toast the almonds in the microwave — spread them on a small plate in a single layer, then microwave for around one minute.

Cut veggies into very small pieces. Drizzle canola oil into skillet (~1 tbsp) and add all veggies. Once kale cooks down, add in tofu and noodles, then slowly add the peanut sauce and the almonds.

I served it with sliced comice pear on the side (sort of tastes like a hybrid apple/pear, with very porous flesh).

And then…brunch today also turned out worthy of a recipe post on here.

Coconut French Toast with Caramelized Bananas

  • 2 egg whites
  • ~1/3 cup one-percent milk
  • splash of coconut milk (unsweet)
  • cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup
  • 3 slices of Ithaca Bakery oatmeal whole wheat
  • bananas (2)
  • canola oil & cooking spray
  • walnuts
  • raspberry jam
  • Greek yogurt

Combine egg whites, milk and coconut milk, a few shakes of cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup in a bowl. Soak each piece of bread in it, but not for too long or it’ll get too soggy to put in the pan.

In one skillet, add a big drizzle of canola oil and put slices of banana in it to cook on low heat until they caramelize (as a topping for the french toast).

In another skillet, spray very well with cooking spray (mine is EVOO spray but canola works also). Add in the pieces of bread (one at a time is easiest in a small-ish skillet). Flip the toast once it’s browned a bit.

Top each piece with the caramelized bananas, pieces of walnut and either maple syrup or jam (both are yummy). I had my piece with plain Greek yogurt and a cafe au lait on the side.

Buon appetito! :)

A guide from beyond

“The Guest House,” by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Take two

Well, hello again.

I don’t think I’ve ever blogged 2x in one day before, but there’s a first for everything and I had to share this recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of pearled farro (bulk from Wegmans), boiled like pasta in salted water
  • sauteed (separately) in olive oil spray:
  • frozen spinach
  • canned mushrooms
  • fresh cremini mushrooms (sliced)
  • diced onion
  • walnuts
  • RAISINS!
  • a little each of garam masala & cinnamon

All mixed together and topped with a blob of plain Greek yogurt!

Epic

First and foremost, I’m obsessed with “Headlines,” Drake’s new single. So catchy!

Last night after I left my internship, I went on an epic grocery shopping spree. Highlights:

  • pumpkin butter
  • Odwalla bars
  • frozen blueberries
  • “Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride” tea
  • cremini mushrooms
  • canned salmon
  • Clif Bar (Peppermint Stick holiday flavor!)
  • Dagoba dark chocolate
  • delicata squash
  • sundried tomato chicken sausage

Other stuff too! But this is just stuff I never buy, hence why it was epic. I love when things are on sale…aaand maybe I love Wegmans a little too much. :D

I’ve been feeling lately like all I eat is soup and salad anymore, so I got creative for breakfast today and made oatmeal with some of the goodies. I’ve been out of rolled oats for like 4 days! So depressing.

Didn’t take a picture, but the mix included banana, skim milk, canned pumpkin, pumpkin butter and peanut butter, fiber cereal, slivered almonds, cinnamon. Very much KERF-inspired! It was fantastic but now my reflux is acting up a little. :(

Last day of classes today! I can’t believe this semester went by so quickly!

Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down

My Vibram FiveFingers came in the mail yesterday (so much faster than I expected).

I did a normal run in my old running shoes (New Balance), then put the Vibrams on to do another half mile. I love them! They’re definitely gonna take a gradual transition though. I’m hoping I can fit in a really short run this morning before I head to Ithaca for Dan’s formal.

I didn’t think I was hungry enough to cook an exciting dinner last night (I had a LaraBar at 4pm), but I figured I should use the salmon thawing in the fridge…

I sauteed strips of salmon in canola oil with chunks of one Roma tomato, some frozen broccoli and spinach, and a couple of white mushrooms all sliced up.

Then I mixed whole-wheat penne in with the salmon and veggies and threw in a couple spoonfuls of jarred pesto.

I think my only complaint was that it could’ve used more salt…but the pesto is so salty straight from the jar! For some reason, the flavor disappears a little. Oh well, still good.

So yesterday was also the BDJ Ugly Sweater Christmas party! I went shopping with Becca yesterday and we settled on just looking really tacky with glittery shirts from Walmart that say “Holiday Cheers!”

Went to the party around 8, which was a blast, and then most of us ended up going downtown to Daisy Duke’s.

Heading to Ithaca in a few hours! :)

Good things

I really want to try to update this more than twice a month…we’ll see…

SO, here’s what’s going on in my life:

1) I just bought a pair of Vibram FiveFingers! They’re gray, green and black. I’m really excited for them and hope I can get used to them quickly. I finally can run more than 3 miles at a time again (this is huge, since I couldn’t for awhile b/c of my knee injury).

2) I have 6 days of class until my semester ends. This program is FLYYYYING by!

3) I’m going to be interning in Boston at NECN from December 27 until January 14.

4) Thanksgiving break was fantastic. I got a couple days to relax and clean and reorganize my life, then I went to Ithaca for a few days for Dan’s birthday. My brother was in town for Thanksgiving, so I stayed at my parents’ house, and then I had a couple MORE days to just relax. I saw so many friends and family members that I haven’t seen in months. It totally reenergized me and gave me the boost I need to get through the next couple weeks.

Edited to add: I’m pretty sure I have acid reflux, which is a fail. I’m working on figuring out what foods trigger it, how late at night I can eat, etc. This will be an adventure (sort of).