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What the Monopoly Guy Eats When He’s in a Hurry

November 1, 2011
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I had a pretty busy weekend!

This year, I decided to continue my room mate and I’s idea to poke fun at the turn-anything-into-something-sexy route a lot of girls go…

… and dressed as Sexy Monopoly Guy.

On Friday, my friend Zulay had a birthday party, and the theme was the 30s, 40s and 50s. I decided Sexy Monopoly Guy fit well enough into that category.

The mustache was the funniest part of the costume, but it unfortunately forced me to drink everything through a straw– even red wine. But whatever, sacrifices must be made.

On Saturday, a few of us went to a karaoke bar in Burbank called Sardo’s. And no, I don’t sing karaoke. I prefer to spectate. Godley came dressed as a redneck.

The Dude/Nice Gentleman/Whatever Other Awkward Names I’ve Referred to Him As came too, dressed somewhat un-PC as a Mormon missionary.

And on the actual night of Halloween, my friend Laura and I decided to join the madness on the streets of West Hollywood. Every year, West Hollywood throws a Carnaval Halloween party, and the streets are closed down. Some of the costumes are pretty hilarious.

Laura found the guys from Modern Family.

I met the Queen.

And I also met my costume twin! He decided to go the political route and had a sign that said “Occupy Park Place” on one side and “I Am the 1%” on the other. He gave me $500 in Monopoly money for one of my Get Out of Jail Free cards.

Needless to say, I didn’t have much time to cook full meals with all the Halloweening I did. But I whipped up a pretty delicious dinner in less than 10=5 minutes that I had to share with you.

Step 1, boil some ravioli. I used cheese + arugula ravioli from Trader Joe’s.

Step 2, saute some chopped spinach and set aside.

Step 3, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter (I use Brummel & Brown spread made with yogurt, so it’s lighter) with 1 clove of minced garlic (I used already-minced garlic from a jar) and a few sprinkles of ground sage over medium heat. Let the butter brown a bit so it has a nice, nutty flavor, but take care to ensure it doesn’t burn!

Step 4, drain the pasta, and toss everything together in the skillet to make sure it’s well combined. You’re done!

The next time I made it, I didn’t have enough ravioli to make it a full meal. No worries, though, I just sliced up some chicken apple sausage and threw it into the mix at the very end. I actually think I liked it better this way.

I love this recipe, because it tasted like the rich sage brown butter sauce you come across often during fall, but it was much lighter due to the small amount of butter. And it was quick!

So how were your Halloweens? Dress up as anything interesting? 

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Breakfast Pizza and a Malibu Hike

October 28, 2011

No day starts off on the wrong foot when it starts with pizza. Especially if it’s BREAKFAST PIZZA.

Yesterday morning I used half a batch of Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough to make a breakfast pizza for myself and a very nice dude (yes, the one who gave me the orchid that’s STILL ALIVE).

Fontina & Sausage Breakfast Pizza

serves two

  • whole wheat pizza dough (usually 1/2 a batch of what you buy at the store)
  • 1/2 c fontina cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • chopped spinach
  • 1 cooked chicken apple sausage, chopped
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Allow half the batch of dough to rise according to package directions while wrapping the other half in plastic wrap and refrigerating or freezing.
  2. Stretch dough to fit inside an 8″ circular pan (or on a pizza stone if you’re lucky to have one!). Sprinkle on cheese, sausage, and spinach.
  3. Crack two eggs on top. You can either poke the yolks or leave them whole.
  4. Bake until eggs in the middle of the pizza are solid, at least 15 minutes.

I ate mine just as it was, but the dude decided to add a little heat. Can’t blame a guy for appreciating what hot sauce can do to food. 😀

 

After breakfast, I met up with a friend in Santa Monica, and we drove out to Solstice Canyon in Malibu for a hike (yay for other people who don’t have 9-5’s!).

Solstice Canyon is pretty different from a lot of the hikes around LA. A few of them are pretty green (like areas of Griffith Park), but Solstice is like an oasis in a city of dry air and traffic.

It’s mostly untouched– except for the occasional house that burned down in the 50s. The foundation of the house, a couple appliances, and some walls are still standing, but the rest was burned down in on the many wildfires that wreaks havoc on SoCal every few years.

Shortly after we passed the house we came to a waterfall. It was small, but it was still a waterfall. Not something you expect to see in Los Angeles County, is it?

We continued on to another area where some people were taking a dip.

Sorry, guy. I didn’t mean to photograph you mid-strip. I think.

A couple of dogs decided to go for a swim, too! Every time I see dogs, no matter what kind, it makes me miss Dakota terribly (she’s in Tampa with my mom for a bit 😦 ).

My dad is supposed to come for a visit in either late November or early December, so I’ll definitely be taking him here at some point. I kind of wish I had known about this place sooner so my mom would’ve been able to go! Solstice Canyon is a mild hike and has beautiful scenery, so it’s the perfect place to take family members who don’t usually hike on a normal basis.

And hey, being able to see waterfalls 45 minutes from my house isn’t so bad, either. 🙂

Even the Unemployed Get Busy

October 24, 2011

Oh hey, guys. I promise I don’t mean to neglect the blog… again.

This time I’ve been genuinely busy.

This weekend I was busy with things such as beer tastings– where my “notes” are illustrations that don’t really make a lot of sense. Listen, it was a porter and stout tasting, and they gave us 15 different beers to “taste.” I may have stumbled on my way out.

I also may have been busy ordering a turkey burger with goat cheese, dried cranberries, mixed greens, grilled onions, and an apricot sauce. And I was also busy ordering this beer, both because the name made me giggle and because I thought 8.3% alcohol was a great idea after tasting 15 porters and stouts.

Today, I was very busy at a job interview for a company and position I’m genuinely very excited about. Results TBD, but I’mma hopin’.

I also was very busy getting sideswiped by a very angry young lady.

And then I was really busy satisfying a ravenous hunger beast with a Bali Bliss burger from the Veggie Grill.

Seeeeee? Busy.

And tomorrow’ not looking much better (freelance work!), but I promise the day after will finally bring a little downtime to cook up some serious grub.

So until then, stay tuned, eat some good stuff, and say a few kind words for Chester the Envoy– he’s feeling a little violated.

Cafe con… Chocolate?

October 21, 2011

I took a day off today.

No, not from work. Every day recently has been a “day off” from work.

I meant from working out.

I inexplicably woke up this morning feeling run-down, stuffy, and my eyes were a little puffy and dry. So rather than drag myself to the gym for cardio and abs, I decided to take the day off.

I wasn’t in the mood for a big breakfast, so I had a almond butter and jelly banana sandwich, something I’d completely forgotten about until I saw it on Anastasia’s blog yesterday!

The breadless banana sandwich worked out perfectly, seeing as I just had to toss the rest of my bread for containing colors that should never be found on bread.

It seemed like a cafe con leche kind of morning today. But since I’m not a huge fan of having dairy when I show any symptoms of a cold, I decided to crack open the carton of chocolate almond milk I picked up at TJ’s the other day.

I stuck my little cafesito (oh man, I sound sooo authentic using Spanish words and such) on the stove while the chocolate almond milk nuked for 2 minutes.

After the espresso had brewed and the chocolate almond milk had heated up, I combined the two in the mug I painted when my mom and Mia were in town (with one of my favorite quotes from the movie Practical Magic). The legit-looking foam on top is courtesy of my $2 frother from Ikea.

Looks like I own a $200 espresso maker, yes?

Because chocolate almond milk has a lot less calories than traditional chocolate milk, I drank the size-equivalent of a Starbucks Grande– but with half the calories (a nonfat, no-whip Grande mocha is 220 calories, mine was 110!).

After breakfast, I was feeling better already.

Running Towards Thanksgiving

Since my run yesterday ended without any pain, I decided to join in on a running challenge created by Monica from Run, Eat, Repeat: Pile on the Miles. Instead of piling on weight this fall– which can easily happen between chilly weather and the holidays– the idea is to pile on at least 5 miles a week. Once you’ve run at least 5 miles, you fill in your part on a spreadsheet and are entered for weekly drawings. The best part of it is that it’s not a competition to see who can run the most miles– you just run at least five miles. However many over 5 you run is up to you. So if you feel like giving yourself a little extra motivation as the weather starts cooling down, come join me! The challenge runs from the beginning of November through Thanksgiving.

Dinner de Giada

October 20, 2011

Sooo… the whole setting-my-alarm-to-go-to-spin-class thing didn’t really work out. I seem to be morally opposed to setting any kind of alarm unless the place I’m headed earns me a paycheck.

But I DID end up going for a run today!

I woke up to my knee feeling much, much better (no pain at all, and I even tried a couple one-legged squats on it to be sure). I kept it the run at 2 miles, and I made sure to add in a couple walk breaks just to make sure I didn’t overdo it on my first run.

My knee was just fine during the run, and I didn’t feel any soreness afterward, either! But just as a precaution, I chilled out with a bag of frozen blueberries afterward (Get it? Chilled out? ‘Cause they’re frozen? Anyone?).

Later on, my friend Shamus– who works for a show that’s on hiatus this week– came and hung out during non-working-people hours. I then introduced him to the Food Network (he rarely ventures out to non-sports programming), and he began to drool over a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis.

“I can make that!” I told him.

He looked at me with slight doubt, but I assured him I could do it.

So off to Trader Joe’s we went, and $18 later, we had everything necessary to make Chicken Meuniere with Tomato and Parsley Sauce.

I used the knife skills I’ve been learning in a cooking class I’ve been taking to properly dice a tomato. You make cuts like this…

… and then slice normally. The scores you make leave you with perfectly diced tomatoes that look like this:

So pretty. 🙂

Another thing I had learned in the beginning of taking the class was something called mise en place, where you place all your pre-measured ingredients out beforehand. This way you don’t have to worry about searching, pouring, and measuring while you’re in the middle of cooking. The sauce ingredients, just before I zested my first-ever lemon (Seriously? And I tell people I know how to cook?):

And Shamus, ever the helpful sous chef, salted, peppered, and dredged the chicken in some flour. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s any way to make raw chicken look appetizing– especially if it looks wrinkly and powdery.

Maybe you should just un-see this photo.

I put the ugly-looking raw chicken into a pan with olive oil and butter and cooked it for a few minutes on each side. After cooking the chicken, all the sauce ingredients went into the same pan.

Once the chicken had been cooked, the sauce simmered, and the pasta boiled, the fun part came.

The eating part, of course.

The Chicken Meuniere recipe was incredibly easy to make, and it tasted delicious. The chicken came out tender enough to cut with a fork, and the sauce was light and refreshing.

 

 

 

 

Bum Knee, Bummed Brittany

October 19, 2011

I went to sleep last night with some Icy Hot on my knee, and I woke up around 6am to my skin being ON FIRE. I’ve never had that happen before, and it was a pretty painful way to wake up. Have any of you had that happen to you with Icy Hot?

Icy Hot’s been helping big time with soreness, but I’m not about to be regularly woken up early with my skin feeling like it took a dive into boiling water.

Once I woke up from Sleep 2.0 (sorry, my unemployed day isn’t going to start at 6am), I went for a 3 mile power-walk around my neighborhood. I didn’t feel like going to the gym today– and I was worried about the impact of the downhill part of hiking– so I decided to stick to walking today.

My knee did great on the walk, and I think I might try spinning tomorrow. I’m not sure I can keep up with walking, since I’m so used to more high-intensity workouts. I kept wanting to break out into a run, but I had to remind myself that it wasn’t worth messing my knee up more.

Aside from not being able to run, hike, or do anything that requires me to use my wrists (oh yeah, my left wrist is on the fritz, too), I’m doing my best to stay active.

And when I get back from my walks or treadmill hill-climbs, I make sure to eat some delicious and very colorful food. 😀

After my power walk, I came home and made a pumpkin smoothie with some raisins and chopped pecans sprinkled on top. I like my smoothies super-thick so I can eat them out of a bowl– kind of like ice cream.

Pumpkin Smoothie

makes one serving

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 c pumpkin
  • a few dashes of pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • splash of milk

I just finished the last bit of my canned pumpkin, so it looks like there will be a few pumpkin-less days ahead of me until I get back to the grocery store. 😦

Here’s to actually setting an alarm to get to spinning. Hope your Wednesday’s great!!

Hot Pink from the Farmer’s Market

October 18, 2011

Instead of the usual sit-down restaurant for Sunday brunch, I headed down to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market for some street-food-style grub. Since my hunger got the best of me and I didn’t come up for air to take a photo, you’ll just have to imagine a chorizo breakfast burrito, home fries, and some hot sauce. Let me tell you, it was glorious.

And since I was in the middle of booths upon booths of fresh produce, I turned it into a mini-grocery trip, too. A very mini one.

The finds were as follows…

An orchid– my favorite flower– purchased by a very nice gentleman. 🙂

Some wonky-looking tomatoes that taste delicious (more to come on that).

And… this guy. A dragon fruit.

You might’ve heard of dragon fruit before, but maybe you didn’t know exactly what they were. I honestly thought it was a fake fruit that Sobe flavored its juices with. But it’s very real, and it tastes like a cross between a kiwi and a pear.

Dragon fruit’s proper name is pitaya, and it’s a cactus fruit. They’re grown as far as Australia and as close as Mexico, and the inside has small edible seeds (like kiwis) with either white or HOT PINK flesh.

I was kind of hoping for the hot pink kind (judge freely), and… well…

Needless to say, I haven’t been this excited about eating fruit in a while.

I took the fruit out of the skin (which is inedible) by scooping it out in one piece with a larger spoon– about the size of a tablespoon.

From there I chopped it up and put it back into the skin– just for pretty. 😀

Since one piece of fruit is hardly enough for breakfast, I also sliced up one of the wonky yellow tomatoes, browned them in a skillet with salt, pepper, and very little olive oil. On top of the tomatoes went two scrambled eggs mixed with a couple pinches of light sharp cheddar.

Today’s breakfast was a very good breakfast.

Aside from the fact that dragon fruit’s quite pretty, it was pretty delicious as well. I was such a huge fan that I walked over to Whole Foods and bought another to have as a dessert for an early dinner I’m planning for tomorrow. But after paying $3 for the farmer’s market one and oh… SEVEN DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS… for the second one (it was twice the size of the first), I think my obsession with dragon fruit will have to be short-lived.

Have you tried any exotic fruit lately? What’d you think?