Sunday, October 18, 2009

discovering quinoa

I heard a lot about quinoa this year, but had yet to try it. I'm still not really sure it is, but from what I understand, it's a seed that has amazing nutritional properties. It's a whole grain, gluten free, and according to our bag, it's "an exceptional source of protein containing all eight essential amino acids and is high in iron, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber." A while back, we found organic quinoa, by Earthly Delights brand, at Costco of all places and decided to buy a 4 lb bag.

Well the 4 lb bag sat for a while...hey I was out getting married & honeymooning and such. And I guess I wasn't really sure what to do with the mysterious quinoa. But this month, my copy of Food & Wine arrived in the mail, and in it I found the most delicious sounding recipe: Bacon Quinoa with Almonds and Herbs. Can't go wrong with bacon right?

Right! It was a great recipe, and pretty easy too. I've used it twice in the past 2 weeks! I would definitely recommend it if you need a good quinoa recipe! You can prep the herbs in advance, and then the actual cooking time only takes about 30 minutes. The article said this makes a good side dish, but honestly, it's so filling, you can make it a whole meal. Now that I've had quinoa, I wish I could describe it, but I can't. It's just a new and different taste all its own.

Here's some pics to enjoy:

I'm usually not a big fan of parsley, but the fresh parsley went really well with this dish.

We toasted our own almonds. The recipe called for toasted, slivered almonds, but I had a several pound bag in the fridge from Costco and didn't want to waste money on a small bag of slivered almonds. So we just threw our almonds in the food processor and did something more of almond chunks, then toasted in the oven. I think they turned out just as good!

The complete dish in the pot:

The finished product! I also made a side salad of diced yellow & green peppers and cucumbers. I have become a HUGE fan of making my own dressing...ever since Raegan got me hooked on her homemade dressing. It's really fun and it tastes different every time. This dressing was fresh squeezed lemon juice from 3 lemons, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and the leftover fresh chives & parsley from the quinoa recipe. Also had whole grain mustard, roasted garlic, salt & pepper. Yum! And a little feta on top :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

disney wine & dine 2010

It's been a while since I've blogged, so you know it has to be reeeeeeeeally important for me to make this update. Disney added a new race to 2010 - the Wine & Dine Half Marathon!!! Oh my gosh! Can we think of any event that is more perfect for me!? Who's in? We can even do a 2-person relay!

Reasons why this is my dream event:

1 - it's run at night! Finally, a race where I don't have to be up at the crack of dawn (or earlier).
2 - after party at the Food & Wine Festival - as you may recall, this has become a family tradition and I look forward to it every yr!
3 - it's only a half! so only half the training, half the pain, etc. you get the picture!
4 - did i mention Disney World? this place is becoming my magical second home, apparently

Hit me up if you want to go! We have a year to train, that's more than enough time! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

links of the day

Food for thought on this lovely, hot summer Friday...

"You are terrifying us"...and no Peggy Noonan isn't talking about Republicans.

My favorite part re: the town hall meetings that have gotten "out of control":

"But you can’t get people to leave their homes and go to a meeting with a congressman (of all people) unless they are engaged to the point of passion. And what tends to agitate people most is the idea of loss—loss of money hard earned, loss of autonomy, loss of the few things that work in a great sweeping away of those that don’t.

People are not automatons. They show up only if they care.

What the town-hall meetings represent is a feeling of rebellion, an uprising against change they do not believe in. And the Democratic response has been stunningly crude and aggressive. It has been to attack."

Speaking of town hall meetings...check out these recent Rasmussen polls.

- "Sixty-three percent (63%) of Republicans and the plurality (48%) of voters not affiliated with either party view the protesters favorably." So what I'm getting is first the obvious - Republicans think the town halls are good & view them as genuine grassroots events. But what's even more interesting to me is that half of unaffiliated voters - independents - also view these events favorably. Makes you go hmmm right?

Second - Going back to the issue at hand, universal healthcare. Turns out a whopping 68% of Americans are actually happy with their insurance coverage (rating it good or excellent)! So...if I were Obama, I would look at that number and say, uhoh. As the old adage says, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! Especially when our economy is crumbling as it is.

So there's the bad news - the Democrats & the policy of fear (Obama is cool with you turning in your neighbors if they tell you anything bad about his plan...scary). And there's the good news - most Americans don't want the monstrosity of healthcare. But I would be remiss if I didn't offer an alternative solution, and what do you know? Charles Krauthammer has one today!

The very best part echoes a conversation I had last year around election time, where we asked ourselves, why do employers provide healthcare benefits? Wouldn't it make more sense if healthcare was bought on a free market type basis just like auto, homeowners, life etc?

Take it away Charles!

"There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It's economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

The health-care benefit exemption is the largest tax break in the entire U.S. budget, costing the government a quarter-trillion dollars annually. It hinders health-insurance security and portability as well as personal independence. If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone.

Repealing the exemption has one fatal flaw, however. It was advocated by candidate John McCain. Obama so demagogued it last year that he cannot bring it up now without being accused of the most extreme hypocrisy and without being mercilessly attacked with his own 2008 ads."

Daaaaaang. I read "McCain" and laughed. Because I remember that one of the biggest reasons I liked McCain was his healthcare plan. It just made sense! And it still does. I think I'm going to tweet him or's not too late to try a better, more progressive plan rather than the convoluted mess that is being pushed through Congress now.

Friday, July 31, 2009

chick-fil-a news!

Today, Ryan's dream came true. Chick-fil-a is going to add spicy chicken sandwiches to their menu next year! Any time Chick-fil-a adds something new, it's a big deal! Can't wait to try it :)

link of the day

I came across this link today - a post by Mitt Romney on healthcare. I think the biggest questions I had after reading were 1) why are our leaders rushing universal healthcare without thinking it through? and 2) why aren't more people pushing for plans that have had success, like Romney's?

Monday, July 27, 2009

review: chez raegan & other food news

I confess, I'm a slacker. Can you believe how much has happened since my last post? After I was so excited about Palin's running feature, she announced her resignation as governor, and now she officially has resigned as governor of Alaska. Man how time flies!

I felt compelled to blog again because yesterday I had THE BEST salmon I've had all year. And I didn't have it at any restaurant...I had at my new favorite Sunday lunch spot, Chez Raegan. Hehe. My sister-grandma Raegan had Ryan & I over for lunch after church on Sunday. She got some wild Alaskan sockeye salmon on sale at the Fresh Market and fried it up in a grill pan with fennel, lemon, salt, pepper and oil. I had one filet and then went back for another half, I just couldn't stop eating it! For the sides, she made an awesome salad with fennel and homemade dressing, and sourdough bread with brie. Mmmm. It was a great summer meal and I told Raegan that she could cook for me every Sunday and I would gladly pay her. And it was so good I had to blog about it, plus she asked me today why I hadn't blogged about it yet :) I wish I had pics but I was just so hungry and into the food that it was all gone before I thought about taking any pictures. She also inspired me to start cooking again...I mean, I try to stay home and cook to save money but I haven't been very creative lately. But Raegan, hats off to you. I want to be creative like you :)

In other news, I've had the pleasure of trying 2 new hotspots: Varasano's & Morelli's.

First Morelli's.

This place is just awesome. They have all your standard sweet ice cream flavors, and then they have all kinds of exotic & savory flavors, like corn! When I lived in Puerto Rico for a summer, my weekly indulgence was corn ice cream with cinnamon on top. When I asked for cinnamon on top of my corn ice cream at Morelli's, I got more than one puzzled look. But I promise, it's good. It's not quite as good as my corn ice cream in PR, but it's the closest I've found in the US. Also, they have some of the best waffle bowls I've ever had.

Next up we have Varasano's. I read about Varasano the man a couple years ago. He was on a quest to find the best NY style pizza. He would throw pizza parties at his house and rig his oven to do crazy things in order to achieve the perfect char & crust. He also kept track of all the best pizzerias and had a pretty intense ranking system. Of course, I disagree with him because I think Grimaldi's is the best pizza I've ever had, and I always, always crave it. But of course, I haven't been to quite the number of pizzerias he has, so I'm probably wrong.

Anyway, the first time we went, we did the Slice of Heaven promotion, which was all you can eat pizza for $13? Something like that...I think it was so popular that now you can only do it late at night one day of the week. I can understand why...I thought the kitchen was going to crash, pizzas were flying out by the minute and still there were hungry tables clamoring for more (including ours!) It was so great though, every pizza we tried was deeeeelicious. The only one I didn't care for was a caramelized onion. It was good the first time, but the cheese was very pungent and thick, so I didn't care to eat more than one slice. Unfortunately that was the flavor of pizza we saw the most that night! haha. I liked the crust, but sometimes it was a little too sour for me, and not enough char. My favorites that night ended up being Nana's - classic mozzarella, tomato and special sauce. My other favorite was something that looking at, I thought I would hate. But once I took a bite, I scarfed it down. It was the Chica Bella - arugula with lemon on top of ricotta & mozzarella cheese. We're talking so good that Ryan & I tried to replicate it many times at my apartment afterwards. Sooooo good!!

The second time we went, it wasn't quite as crazy and this time we knew what our favorites were. We all settled for Nana's pizza. And this time the crust was pretty darn near perfect. I felt like I was almost back in Grimaldi's.

I'm kinda craving one now, aren't you?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

link of the day

Check this out - Sarah Palin is pretty cool. I knew she was a runner, but I didn't know she ran a sub-4 marathon! Dang. She would totally smoke me in a race!

I'm a Runner - Sarah Palin - from Runner's World

Check out the pics too!

Friday, June 12, 2009

disney marathon: mile 26.2

Ahhhh this is it! The end!

As I ran under Spaceship Earth, and the applause and cheers became even louder and thunderous, I was shaking...oh my goodness, could this really be the end? I rounded a corner, out a back entrance, into the parking lot...and there it was. Huge crowd to my left. Trees. Grandstand. Finish line. Tears. Arms up. One more smile. One more "yeah!!" Waving at my fan club one more time from this side of the finish line - their cheers & smiles & jumping up and down gave the final push I needed to get over the line.

And then it was done. 26.2 miles. Done. Once I crossed the line, a million thoughts left my head and for just one second I felt sad. A year of training to do something less than .5% of Americans will do this year. And now it was over. Now what? But then as I kept walking, I saw the medals, I saw how far I had to keep walking and the lines of people going through the aid stations and all I could think was "I need to see my family RIGHT NOW." I was so giddy and excited and I just couldn't wait in any more lines! I needed ice for my legs, badly, but I just didn't want to wait. Time to celebrate!!!!