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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day all!!

Today is the ~day of love~ for millions of couples around the world. It is also the following : "Single People Awareness Day", "Single Lady Celebration Day", and "Day Before 50% off Chocolate Day." Personally, it is just another day to me, but my boyfriend and I went for a wonderful supper last night at Thai Orchid that included amazing food and some lovely wine.

I don't think this day is meant to hate on the single people, but to appreciate what you DO have in life. Things happen (or don't happen) for a reason. Just because you haven't found that certain someone doesn't mean they're not out there just waiting for you to find them. Have faith. 

I have never been one for all the hype of Valentine's Day, all of the chocolate and the flowers and the kitschy ridiculous things that show up around this time. I do love those hot cinnamon hearts, and the cute message hearts, and I always gave out Valentines up until I graduated high school. Well, last year I gave out Transformers Valentines even though I was 20, that part is still fun. :D I think that random flowers for no particular reason from your significant other is the sweeter than on the day that they feel obligated to. 

My one exception : 

My boyfriend came home from a 'Swap Meet' which is where a bunch of people, car dealerships, mechanic's shops, etc. take all these vehicle parts and sell them. Craziness. He picks me up from the bar where I went to waste a little time and have a drink after a hard day. We get to my house, and he helps me bring in my groceries, then says "I will be right back." La-de-da, I'm putting away my groceries, and I turn around and he's standing there with this huge bouquet of the prettiest red roses. This was honestly the first time I think that I have ever received flowers on (or in his case, before) Valentine's Day. And not just a dozen, 18 beautiful red roses. 






Cue me being all :
 

Photobucket



Some of my favorite pictures of us:


His first time in the Atlantic Ocean





I am just so blessed to have such an amazing guy in my life. He has stuck with me through all the good, the bad, and the crazy.


Now I'm off to eat some left over Green Curry Chicken!!


xo
Lauren



Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Lord is My (Shepherd's Pie)

If there was one vegetable that I could eat for the rest of my life, it would definitely be the sweet potato. I think that Kelsey might agree with me. It is such a diverse vegetable! You can dress it up and dress it down, it can be sweet, it can be savory. You can eat it with marshmallows and maple syrup, you can have it in chilies and soups, you can have it in stuffing for your Christmas roast beast, and you can have it in pies and muffins. The possibilities are endless!


The first time that I had a sweet potato, I was in my early teens. So really, only a few years ago. My uncle was making some supper after a day on the lake, and he baked some sweet potatoes. I saw him eating this weird thing that looked like a regular potato, only it was quite a bit bigger, and it had this gorgeous orange glow that drew me in. I asked him "What are you eating?" and he replied "A sweet potato. Have you ever had one?" I told him that I hadn't, and he grabbed a fork for me to test this out. I took one bite, and my tastebuds were tingling. The flavor was creamy and smooth and quite different from a normal potato, absolute love at first bite.

My mother and I have grown to love cooking with sweet potatoes, following blogs and finding new recipes that include these root vegetables. The majority of the recipes that I have bookmarked or written on my mom's chalkboard usually feature them.

Along with being bright and colorful, sweet potatoes are also very high in Vitamin C. They are low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. When I want to go for a run, these are usually my go-to energy boost. The carbohydrates are great fuel for my body, and I seem to get the best run when I eat these bad boys. 


This next recipe is so basic, yet so flavorful. A crowd pleaser for sure!


Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from Meals & Moves 



Ingredients: 
  • 5 cups sweet potatoes, cubed and steamed
  • splash milk
  • cooking spray or olive oil
  • 12 oz ground turkey or ground chicken (I used turkey)
  • 1/2 red onions, diced
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 cans tomato sauce (She recommended 2 - 8oz cans, I ended up using 2 - 15oz cans for added saucey-ness) 
  • 1.5 cups green beans, steamed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • asiago or parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on top
 Directions:

Steam your potatoes and green beans. I did these together, because they're going in the same dish anyways. Just make sure your green beans are on top so you don't have to go digging like me :P




Meanwhile, chop your carrots and onion.




Saute carrots and onion in an oiled pan over med-high heat. Add your W-Sauce, if you choose.


Add your ground turkey (or chicken) and cook thoroughly (not pink, like there is still a bit of here). Add salt and pepper. 


Add your tomato sauce and give it a stir to combine everything together. Feel free to add more W-Sauce here, if desired. If your carrots aren't quite tender, keep cooking your mixture until they are.
*I forgot a picture of this step, sorry*


Give your steamed sweet potatoes a nice splash of milk and add a little salt and pepper. Mash mash mash! 
*I ALSO forgot a picture of this step. I was really hungry, okay?*


When your tomato mixture is done cooking to your liking, layer as such :
- Meat mixture, 
- Steamed green beans,
- Mashed sweet potatoes, and
- Sprinkling of cheese!




Cover with foil and bake for 30 -40 minutes at 375 degrees, or until cheese is nice and bubbly.
Enjoy!!







Makes 6 large servings or 8 regular servings


For 8 servings:
Calories - 197.2, Fat - 2.3g, Sodium - 130mg, Carbs - 24.2g, Protein - 12.0g

I will be making this again for sure.


Question : What vegetable could you not live without? 




Toodleloo!!
xo
Lauren 

EDIT:
I have changed the settings so that anyone can comment!!
 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Can I just start by saying...

How awesome Glee was the other night? Their halftime show definitely outdid the Superbowl's! At least that's what I heard, as I didn't watch the Superbowl. Glee's Lea Michele also opened with 'America The Beautiful'. Kudos to her for kickin' arse and taking names.

What really gets me is how much people hate on her and the rest of the cast of Glee. They are talented people, and HELLO this is show choir people. It's not the version of Dream On or Bohemian Rhapsody or  Don't Stop Believin' that everyone knows and is used to. I always get made fun of for it, but you know what? Don't hate on me until you know for yourself. It truly is an awesome show!!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic 


Now to the nom's.

I made this dish twice in two days actually, because a) it was delicious, b) it needed some fine tuning , c) I wanted to cook some for my boyfriend.



One Pot Chicken Lemon Rice
Adapted from Meals & Moves


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (I used a 1/4 of a large one, but use to your preference)
  • 1 cup baby carrots, sliced very thin (I left mine in bite sized pieces)
  • 2 tsp Clubhouse Greek seasoning 
  • 1.75 cups (15oz) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2 lemons in picture, but 1st attempt it turned out to be too overpowering)
  • Zest of same lemon
  • 1.5 cups brown minute-rice (uncooked)
  • 1.5 cups broccoli, chopped roughly
  • 0.5 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped roughly (omitted as I didn't have any)
  • 0.5 cup cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots and saute for about 4-5 minutes.

Season your chicken with salt and pepper.

 Turn heat down to medium and add chicken. Stir often, making sure all sides are cooked. Add your Greek seasoning (if desired).





While that is cooking, combine chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch and brown rice together in a small bowl. Salt this mixture. 
Once your chicken is cooked through, add your rice mixture and turn the heat back up to medium-high.



Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, add your broccoli, parsley, and cream soup.
Mix well and turn heat to low.
 



 Cover this mixture and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until rice has absorbed the liquid and it is nice and creamy.


It has the little brother Taste of Approval!

Makes 4 servings.
Per serving - Cal - 310, Fat - 6.6g, Sodium - 292.6mg, Carbs - 38.5g, Protein - 26.3g

This dish is creamy, full of flavor, fresh and delicious! 


Don't be scared to comment, I would love to see more below!!

Toodleloo!

xo
Lauren