I Can’t Get No…

To be fair, I did say I was going to clean up my diet this month.  But, to be fair, it is ridiculously difficult to properly do so when tempted by pandora’s box of fine food options provided courtesy of another’s law school summer clerk program.  Alas, tonight, the war waged on.  Heirloom tomato and fresh buffalo mozzarella salad?  Yes, please.  Tuna tartar with garlic crostini and green olive tapenade?  Yes, please.  Risotto del giorno with bacon, jalapeno, fresh summer corn, and a crispy-skin chicken breast?  Yes, please.  Honeyed donuts with housemade chocolate and espresso gelato?  I SURRENDER.

No reasonably sane human could refuse these offerings.  If only it weren’t so creepy to bust out an iphone and photograph these masterpieces, I’d surely have posted pictures of them here. 

All this to say, however, that I thought tonight about true satisfaction.   Is there anything more satisfying than  a great bottle of wine, a relaxing slow dinner filled with delicious food and good conversation?  Surely, nothing.  I think the Italians have it right here–I spend so much of life just rushing around to nowhere, and I hardly ever stop to slow down and just enjoy the bounty.   Yes, I’m stressed about the bar exam, work, and life.  But a couple of select hours just enjoying others’ company with great food and a good bottle of wine sure does lend a certain perspective to all of life’s stress.  There’s so much here on this planet for us to enjoy.  La vita e bella, truly.

Summer on a Plate

In honor of eating healthfully, cleanly, and deliciously, I decided to try a new recipe from this book, So Easy by nutritionist Ellie Krieger (also a minor Food Network celeb).  With the help of my sous chef and photo stylist Diana, it came out great.  For the first time in recent memory, I managed to not overcook the chicken (a trait inherited from sweet Cathy, thanks Mom 🙂 ), and the accompanying warm salad is like summer on a plate.

Behold,  my poorly-lit iphone photos capturing the magic:

Chicken with Warm Tomato Corn Salad

Adapted from So Easy by Ellie Krieger

So, here’s what I did.

1.  First, I marinated two chicken breasts (recipe didn’t say to do this–but, with my propensity for charring a marinade helped to prevent overcooking and adds flavor).

2.  Then, I sliced the breasts to make four thinner breast halves and cooked them in a pan with some olive oil.  Saute 3 min on each side, no more.  This requires immense self-control for all of us with an intense salmonella phobia but trust me they will be done.   Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.

3.   In the same pan, add a touch more oil and then saute three chopped scallions for 1 min, then add a garlic clove and saute for another minute.

4.  Add one pint of grape tomatoes (halved) and the kernels of three fresh corn cobs (cut off the cob of course).  Saute for approx. 3 minutes.

5.  Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro, take it off the heat, and squeeze half of a lime over the mixture.

6.  Then, put one piece of chicken on the plate, top with your warm salad mixture, and put a couple of slices of avocado on top.

DONE!


Get Clean

Did I mention that I’m trying to clean up my diet this month??? I did this last semester and it worked wonders–I felt better and looked better. Turns out, there is a bunch of nasty unnecessary stuff in my day-to-day eating, and when I do this “clean up”, I am reminded that this is the way that my body likes to eat and what it really needs, and the rest is just superfluous. So, here’s what I’m doing:

Eating:
-lean protein
-legumes
-veggies, load of ’em
-fruit
-eggs
-skim milk
-nuts and natural nut butter
-olive oil

Avoiding:
-white carbs
-added sugar
-processed anything
-cheese (sad face, but I have a serious cheese snacking problem and need to cut it out for now)
-butter, mayo, etc.

So, one week in and this clean up is surprisingly easy. Maybe my body is saying “thank you, we couldn’t handle another yogurt bowl full to the brim with reeses peanut butter cups??” I dunno. Granted, I do relax and enjoy a bit on weekends, so that helps.

I will update on progress and pitfalls. Also, I plan to post some recipes made in my attempt to eat healthy and clean. For now, see below for breakfast. This purple monster smoothie was made with: 1/2 c frozen blueberries, a banana, 1/2 c skim milk, 1 tbsp natural pb. Blend and enjoy.

Eat Your Veggies

Tonight, I cleaned out my vegetable drawer for dinner.

Some farmers market cauliflower that was about to go bad, and a couple of carrots left in the bag were chopped and then roasted, my absolute favorite way to prepare veggies.  Now, a lot of people aren’t veggie people.  I like to think that’s probably because they haven’t had them prepared properly.  Roasting vegetables is easy, delicious, and I have yet to meet a vegetable that doesn’t work well with this technique.  Its amazingly simple:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or so), and chop vegetables into bite sized pieces.  Dump onto baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2.  Let veggies (whatever they are–I’ve successfully done brussels, onions, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, and squash, seriously it all works) cook for about half an hour.  Then, voila!

Delicious, slightly crunchy, perfectly cooked and wonderfully flavorful veggies, yours to enjoy!  If it sounds too simplistic, that’s because it is.

Treasures of Years Past

So I’m back from a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend at home with the fam, where sister and I prepared quite the Italian feast for our mom, aunts, and other very important women.  Pictures from the meal, which I’ve deemed “Under the Tuscan Sun-themed,” coming soon.

We managed to only slightly overcook the pork tenderloin and also served grilled veggies, prosciutto and melon, caprese salad made with heirloom tomatoes and drizzled with pesto, rosemary and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and with a little help from good ol’ Central Market, tiramisu for dessert.  I managed to extricate CM’s tiramisu from its grocery store packaging and deftly pieced four of them together in my mom’s 9X11 pyrex.  After some smushing with a spatula, it appeared appropriately homemade to me, and no one seemed to notice.  For the record, I have made tiramisu before.  But if you ask me, such skilled faking is in itself a culinary accomplishment.  Plus I was busy making Martha’s divine blueberry mint lemonade.  Ms. Stewart is not known for quick and easy recipes, but ohmygosh is this stuff good.  Recipe is not available online, but lives in this beauty:

You can this book at Amazon, here.  (Sidenote:  I got this cookbook as a gift for Christmas and it has not failed me yet, full of good recipes and pretty comprehensive).

In other news, this weekend I spent part of the afternoon going through my grandparents’ things to clean and get their house more organized.  Just being there made me miss Mimi and Papa terribly, as I have such vivid memories of spending time there growing up with two of the most wonderful, kind-hearted people that ever were.  Also, because I have a fat kid’s heart, it brings back memories of so many great treats consumed at the Casa de Mimi.  Orange slices, chili cheese fritos, macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, Mrs. Baird’s honey buns (microwaved with butter and syrup on top, no less), Peter Paul Mounds bars, oh and that time Mattie, Annie, and I stayed up all night eating two whole  family-sized bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Clearly we are quite the health-conscious family.  But, eating habits aside, my grandparents truly taught me so much about what it means to love others, love life, and live  well.

Most of my grandparent’s things have yet to be divised among the kids and grandkids, but in all of our cleaning and sorting, I was able to come away with this wonderful treasure.

A scarf of Mimi’s that I guess to be 1970’s or earlier.  It is clearly fantastic, as Mimi had fantastic taste.  I actually wore this last night to a cocktail thing that was quasi-casual, as I used it to dress down my White House Black Market tiered chiffon strapless dress.

Prior to acquiring this beautiful orange, navy, and cream scarf, I was stumped by this conundrum.  Turns out its not easy to dress down silk chiffon, but this scarf and nude Aldo pumps did the trick (at least IMO).  Also, maybe someday  I will graduate from grainy iphone photos.  Maybe.

So, thanks Mimi for all of your wisdom (fashion/beauty related and otherwise) throughout my youth, and for this beautiful scarf that will remind me of you at every wear!  And with that, I leave you with one of Mimi’s greatest pieces of fashion wisdom:

Powder and paint make a woman what she ain’t.” –Thanks, Mimi!  I clearly heard you on this one 🙂

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