Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Person Behind The Plate #6

My sister sent me a book last week called The Introvert Advantage. I am most definitely an introvert and reading this has been pretty enlightening. I often wonder about bloggers and whether this is a social outlet for them in lieu of actually going out and meeting with people face to face.

Introvert dinner
I also think the irony of me eating alone while reading this book is pretty funny.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Does blogging provide a social outlet for you?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chicken and Artichoke Packet

After eating a cheeseburger on a donut bun I needed to get back to smarter eating. Not that I regret that sandwich for one second but the scale definitely reminded me that what happens in San Francisco does not stay in San Francisco. So I busted out one of my old favorites, a Weight Watchers cookbook I picked up at Goodwill.

This is another foil pack recipe, which I love because there is nothing to clean up after. I cut this recipe down to one serving. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees and lets get started.

The ingredients are, beans, carrots, chicken, seasoning, artichoke and Italian dressing. The best thing about recipes like this is you can just take the basic idea and use whatever you want. I don't like fennel so I just used cabbage instead. I also had some white beans already in the fridge so I just used those. The only prep you need to do is to chop your veggies.

Literally all you have to do is lay down the chicken and pile the rest of the ingredients on top. The hardest part of this recipe is folding the packet.

Folded up tight and ready to cook. Put it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. The best thing is there is nothing to clean up so you can use that half hour to read a book or sit outside and enjoy the summer weather because it will be gone too soon!

Cut a few holes in the foil when it is done to let some of the steam escape. Once the packet has cooled a bit get your chicken out and you are ready to eat.

This was so packed with flavor and only took a few minutes to prep. Eating smarter doesn't have to be expensive or difficult, and it doesn't have to be boring and bland. I will be going back to this cookbook more often for the rest of the Summer.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weight Watchers Chicken With Broccoli and Oranges

I have definitely been on an Asian food kick since having the delicious peanut chicken dish in San Fran. I was craving something a little sweet and savory and found this recipe in an old Weight Watchers cookbook. This took no time to make and definitely cured my craving.


I cut this recipe pretty much in half. You need stock, corn starch, OJ, broccoli, oranges, tamari or soy sauce, ginger and chicken. I used canned mandarin oranges instead of fresh.

Mix your cornstarch and water. This is called a slurry!

Measure the stock, soy sauce, and OJ. I did not have fresh ginger so I just put the dried ginger in with the sauce.

Chop your broccoli, I did this the night before.

Chop your chicken.

Lets cook! Get the oil heated in a pan. Again, I skipped using fresh ginger so I went straight to cooking the chicken. Cut this small it only takes a few minutes to cook.

Once cooked, get the chicken out of there.

Drop in the broccoli with some water and pop the lid on for about 3 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan with the sauce mixture and give it a stir. Bring it up to boiling.

Stir in the slurry and let it thicken. Can you believe that it is this easy? Well, it is.

Stir in the oranges and you are ready to eat.

Chicken With Broccoli and Oranges
Delicious, fast and easy. That is a trifecta in my opinion.

What is your favorite Asian dish and have you ever made it at home?

Monday, August 5, 2013

More San Francisco Pics

Since we were gone all last weekend, I have been in catch up mode this past week and we also had no groceries. That means, no cooking this past week to share with you. But I do have a few more wonderful photos from San Francisco and I will be cooking a few good dishes this week.

One of the coolest places we went was the arcade near Pier 39 called Musee Mechanique It had a lot of old school and antique arcade games and attractions.

Tom playing Area 51

Funny game
I thought this was pretty funny!

My favorite school ever
I found a school I would love to attend :)

Cool church
This cool church was right by our hotel.

Go Tom!
Of course we had to stop when we encountered a fun looking playground.

Straight up
One of those San Francisco hills we climbed, what a work out.

I hope you all had an awesome Monday!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I left my heart in San Francisco

I didn't really leave my heart there, but I sure had a wonderful time visiting the city for the first time last weekend. Tom has been there a few times and has been wanting to plan a trip for a while. Friends of ours also wanted to go so we decided on a weekend and finally made it there.

Union Square
We stayed at the Chancellor Hotel which is right near Union Square. It was a nice hotel and close to everything we wanted to visit.

view from Top Of The Mark
We visited the Top of the Mark restaurant and bar on the 19th floor of the Mark Hopkins hotel in Nob Hill. We had to climb straight UP those famous San Francisco hills to get there but the view was worth it.

Dream Girl and Passion Martinis at Top of the Mark
The martinis were worth it too! This place has pages and pages of martinis in their menu, it was so hard to decide. Tom got the 'Dream Girl' which was Stolichnaya Vodka, Grand Marnier, Lime Juice and Mint. Topped with Sparkling Kenwood Brut. I got the 'Passion' which was Plymouth Gin, Alize Red Passion Campari and Triple Sec. Both were delicious!

walking down
Luckily it was just a nice stroll down hill to get back to our hotel area.

Chips and Salsa at Jasmine
We had to stop for chips and salsa on the way at Jasmin's cafe. Tom is a salsa addict! It was really fresh and pretty spicy for me.

AT&T Park
Of course being baseball nerds we hit up AT&T park for the Giants and Cubs. The park is so much smaller than I thought it would be, Chase field in AZ makes it look downright tiny. The game was great but it was a little chilly for us AZ folks that are only used to 50 degree temperatures in winter.

Peanut Chicken
Later that night we got some Thai food at a place called Chabaa. This is peanut chicken and it was fabulous.

Dungeness Crab Melt at Buena Vista
The next day we went to the Buena Vista cafe where I got a dungeness crab melt. This was so good, and it was my first time having crab! I really liked it.

BLT at Buena Vista
Tom got a BLT, of course.

We did a lot of other cool things but the one place that really made my trip was our dinner at STRAW. This place is a carnival themed restaurant and is pretty unique.

Checking out the menu
You can see the sign on the door and the back of a Tilt A Whirl, which is actually one of the tables in the restaurant.

Creepy Carny sign
The sign is totally creepy, reminded me of something out of a Stephen King novel.

The Big Dipper
My friend's drink glass came lined with fundip. My drink was actually a big ball of cotton candy that they pour the drink over and it dissolves in the liquid. So fun!

Remember in the last post where I mentioned I am pretty open to trying most foods? Well when I saw the 'Ringmaster' on the menu I knew I had to get it. Here is the description "ground chuck burger/home-made glazed doughnut/cheddar cheese". Everything about that says ME.

the ringmaster
I will admit that I ate every single bite of that burger and it was delicious. Everything just worked together in some odd carnival dream world taste explosion. Fortunately we then walked straight up another San Francisco hill so I know I worked off at least a few bites of the donut at least.

It was an awesome trip with great friends and I would definitely recommend checking the city out if you ever have the chance.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mongolian Beef

I love recreating restaurant dishes at home because it is so much cheaper and you can really make it taste just how you want it to. Tom and I both like Mongolian Beef so I thought I would try this recipe I found on the Table For Two Blog. Head on over there to check out the recipe or follow my step by step photos.

The original recipe calls for green onion but I wanted more veggies so I added green pepper and onion. You also need beef, soy sauce, corn starch, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and some cooking oil. I am using rice bran oil.

Chop up your meat nice and thin. This ensures it will cook quickly and evenly.

Coat the beef with corn starch.

I found it easiest to do this with my hands. Once it is coated get it in the fridge for about 10 minutes while you prep the rest of the food.

Peel your ginger.

Mince it with a knife or your trusty microplane.

Mince the garlic as well.

Chop whatever veggies you are using.

Combine the soy sauce, water and brown sugar.

Saute the garlic and ginger in some oil.

Get it in with the soy sauce mixture and let it boil for about 2 minutes then set it aside.

Saute your vegetables.

Get them out of there.

Saute the beef. Don't over crowd the pan or you will end up steaming your beef.

Get the beef out on to a paper towel to drain.

Pour the soy sauce mixture into the frying pan and let it come to a boil.

Toss the meat back in and you will see the sauce start to thicken immediately from the corn starch. Once it is thickened up you are ready to eat. Plate it with some rice or noodles and enjoy.

Mongolian Beef
This is a fast way to get a tasty dinner on the table and brings you all the great flavors of Chinese take out for a lot less money.