Running Forward

Apple+Caffeine+Nerves=Not Good

I neglected my blog this week due to way too much random stuff on my mind. I guess I’ll start by explaining this post’s title. I ate an apple on Tuesday. Last semester I made the decision to give up apples because I noticed that they made me feel sick. Cooking the apple first, though, seemed to be okay. I was running low on food and needed a snack, so I baked an apple.

On Wednesday I had a big interview that was originally scheduled at 11 am. I was SUPER nervous, so I decided to set a relaxing tone by treating myself to a Starbucks and grabbing a table outside to have some privacy (it was a phone interview). I guzzled down my coffee and then received a call saying that the interview needed to be pushed back to 5 pm. No problem. Except the nerves kept building themselves up throughout the day. Between the apple, my sensitivity to caffeine, and the nerves I felt so nauseated all day. On top of feeling so sick, the caffeine kept me up all night which resulted in only sleeping from 2:45 am to 4:30 am. Bright side: I pretty much finished my current book. I stuck with cereal and almond milk for my next few meals and finally felt brave enough to munch on some veggies for dinner.

Cauliflower was on sale at Kroger, so I took inspiration from this recipe to create cauliflower fried rice. I started by sauteeing some frozen broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, and cauliflower greens (the leafy parts around the actual cauliflower) with some blackened seasoning and pepper until everything was cooked. Meanwhile, I added the cauliflower to my food processor and blended until the pieces were chopped very finely. I added the cauliflower to the pan and drizzled soy sauce over everything. I gave it a few minutes to cook while stirring every once in a while. The resulting product tasted just like fried rice! I definitely want to try the paella version next time I’m home and have the ingredients.

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Just Like Giada

What a lazy, rainy day it’s been. My Saturday started with an early workout and a semi-family lunch at the Last Resort. Love that place! I ordered the Southwestern Grazer salad, which is a bed of romaine topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and black bean relish, carrots, and avocado. Delicious! The rest of the afternoon was spent cooking, studying, and cleaning. For dinner I decided to put together some vegetarian chili. I made it for my mom last time I was home and haven’t been able to get it out of my head. The thunderstorms outside convinced me that it truly was meant to be a chili night. I cranked up the Pavarotti Pandora station and cooked myself a giant pot of comfort

Vegetarian Chili

1/4 onion

1/2 eggplant

1 sweet potato

1 squash

1 bell pepper

1 cup mushrooms

small handful of seitan

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans diced tomatoes

chili powder

ground cumin

salt

pepper

I always start by sautéing the onion and adding the sweet potato shortly after. Once the onions are translucent I add the vegetables in the order that they take to cook. You can use whatever you have on hand, so I listed my inventory above. I also like to add corn and zucchini when I have them. Once all of the vegetables are cooked, add the seitan and spices to taste. I always add the chili powder and cumin until the chili taste is strong enough for me. I also add in other spices like oregano and blackened seasoning when I have them. Add the tomatoes and black beans, then stir the mixture together and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. The flavors will meld together and you’ll be left with a comforting bowl of chili that is also great for you!

Before digging into my bowl of chili, I had a small salad as an appetizer.

Finally, the star of the show:

My laundry is almost done and my homework is complete. I have an exciting week ahead of me, which means I’ll hopefully have some good stuff to post later.  😉

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Long Weekend

I love having long weekends, but it came too early in the semester this year. We only had one week of class under our belts and then we have some time off again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining per se, but it would have been nice to postpone our Monday off. Luckily, it was a great weekend and started off on Friday night with my best friends. The three of us watched Pride and Prejudice while doing our nails and enjoying each other’s company. I drove home on Saturday morning, ran errands with my mom, and made my tortilla soup.  Unfortunately, the peppers were a bit hot this time, so nobody ended up eating the soup until it mellowed out the next day. Oh well, all chefs have failures at some point. Oops, I almost forgot: my mom talked me into making this horrifying creation. Mac ‘n Cheese Pizza. It’s against everything I’ve ever believed. You start with pizza crust, add sour cream, top it with cooked macaroni, then sprinkle generous amounts of cheese on top. Bake it on high until it’s nice and bubbly. I’m still waiting for the health police to knock on my door with arrest warrants in hand.

On Sunday my mom, brother, and I went to the outlets. For dinner my dad used some of the cool ingredients I picked up at H Mart (3 different types of mushrooms, yam noodles, etc.). I definitely have a mushroom obsession. But on another note, the yam noodles were really good. They have zero calories (how is that even possible?) and soak up whatever sauce you cook them in. I sipped on my corn silk tea to round out my Asian night.

On a happy note, my knee has been feeling a lot better, so I’m starting to ease myself back into running. My mom and I went on a 2.5 mile walk on Sunday that started with a mile jog. Today I ran 2 miles on the treadmill. I’ll probably try running outside next weekend. Until then, I’m going to keep going to the gym and working on less stress-causing equipment. Let the week begin!

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The New Golden Three

When I was home during the break, my dad and I usually split dinner duty. He’s always coming up with new combinations that I would never think of. One of my new favorites is his stir fry. Usually he includes bok choy, water chestnuts, and other delicious veggies. But the secret is in the sauce. He combines lemon juice, worcestershire, and soy sauce in the pan while the veggies cook. I’ve used the sauce for two days in a row now and it’s delicious every time. I was going to take a picture of dinner, but completely forgot. At least I snapped my lunch. I made a tomato soup with diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and some spices. Perfect for a rainy day.

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Back in the Routine

The first day of Spring semester is now over. I only had one class at 12:20, so I woke up early and drove back this morning. Class was uneventful, but then I went to the health center for a last minute knee appointment. The doctor thinks the problem is coming from my kneecap. She explained that normal kneecaps glide up and down. Mine glides diagonally. Final result: She gave me exercises to do everyday and said to come back if it doesn’t get better in 2 weeks. The worst part is that I have to take time off running, but I know that once I can run again I’ll love it even more.

After a super long chapter, my little surprised me with a gift. She knows me too well.

 

My favorite spice is cinnamon, so I can’t wait to compare these two! Overall: superb first day back. Now I’m sipping some chocolate hazelnut tea and watching Julie & Julia. Time for bed soon.

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Time Travel

From the moment I first saw the trailer for The Artist I knew I had to see it while still in theatres. It’s only playing in a few theatres around Atlanta, so I lucked out. My mom and I went to the theatre together tonight and were amazed by this film. In case you haven’t heard, this movie is completely silent; 1920s style. In fact, the cinematography was so good that you feel as if you’re watching a restored Charlie Chaplin film. Please give this film the chance it deserves and you will be pleasantly surprised.

On another note, one of my new favorite activities online is watching bloopers from 1940s movies. It’s hilarious to hear the actors actually curse and mess things up.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

A week from today I’ll be back at school. I can’t believe how fast the last three weeks flew by. I definitely need to savor this last bit of my break. I started the day by going to Atlanta Fitness to do some time on the elliptical. Upon my return home, I gathered the ingredients to make seitan and got busy. Just in case you don’t know, seitan is a meat substitute that is made from wheat gluten. It’s loaded with protein and works in most meat dishes.

Seitan

1 cup vital wheat gluten

3/4 cups broth

2 tbsp liquid aminos

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp garlic powder

Additional broth to poach seitan dough

Start by combining the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients, then knead for a few minutes. Let sit for five minutes and knead some more. Next, break the dough into 3 pieces and try to flatten out each one. Add the dough pieces to the broth and simmer for about an hour. That’s it! And it worked pretty well.

After lunch I ran some errands with my mom, then went back to Atlanta Fitness for some yoga. It was a great class and was almost completely full. The first 30 minutes focused on strength and the last 30 minutes focused on stretching. My dad requested chicken tortilla soup for dinner, so I created a wonderful recipe that is now his favorite. I am now a soup master!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 large cans chicken broth

1/2 onion

1 tsp minced garlic

3 chicken breasts

fajita seasoning

4 stalks celery

1 can shoepeg corn with chipotle

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 roma tomatoes

1 handful fresh cilantro

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

generous pinch dried oregano

generous sprinkle ground cumin

avocado (optional)

brown rice (optional)

Start by adding the onion and minced garlic to a large pot. Then add the chicken breasts with the fajita seasoning and put a lid on the pot. Chop the celery and add to the chicken. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it and allow it to cool. In the meantime, add the chicken broth, corn, black beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and finely chopped chipotle peppers. Shred the chicken into large pieces and add back to the soup along with the oregano and cumin. Bring the mix up to a strong simmer, then turn the heat down low. Serve with avocado and brown rice.

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