Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm Hummmm .... gry

The task of deciding what's for dinner never fails to be challenging.  I think it gets tougher whenever you ask yourself "what sounds good tonight".  I usually ask that to Mark and last night his response was


That sounds easy enough right? Well it just comes down to the fact that he's easier to please than me.

I've been using four websites for recipes lately:

These all have great recipes that are usually pretty healthy and they always have a few 30 minute meal options or budget friendly meals. There's also this fun app for iPizzle called the dinner spinner. I usually use that as my last resort because it typically brings up lots of recipes that overdose on butter and cheese. Don't get me wrong, I love butter and cheese but we just can't eat it every night.

Bingo! Just had an idea, Sweet and Sour Chicken it is problem solved.  This is great because Mark will get his rice and I will use our soon to be rotting pineapple that is sitting so prettily on the table. 

I've kinda created my own version that requires no frying of the chicken (to make it a tad bit healthier).

Pucker Punch Chicken 
(a lot less calories than your typical take out)
Makes 9-10 servings
  • Preheat your oven to 375 F
Get out that long jelly roll sheet pan and put some parchment paper on there; then lightly oil it.
  • 5 Chicken breasts - cut into nibblets about 1" or so
  • Beat 2 eggs in a separate bowl 
In a large plastic ziplock baggy mix:
  • 1.5 Cups all purpose flour + 1 tsp baking powder + 3 Tblsp Corn Starch + 1/2 tsp Salt
          + 1 Tblsp pepper

Coat handfuls of chicken with the egg and then place in baggy.  Seal bag with air and shake till everybody inside has a nice jacket of flour. Little by little place nibblets on the baking sheet with as little excess flour as possible.

  • 1/8 C. Olive Oil and a pastry brush to give those little guys a brushing before they take their naps in the oven.

Turn the heat up to 425F and bake for 15 minutes, then turn them about with a spatula and back the temperature down to 375F to bake for another 20 minutes or until golden like a goose egg.

While they're baking chop the following into 1-2" chunks:

  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots 
  • 1 pineapple sides cut off and cored

  • 2 heads of broccoli; chopped and set aside if you like it to have a crisp crunch, otherwise you CAN throw it in there, but I don't recommend it.
Sautee all those chopped up beauties in 2 Tblsp olive oil, salt and pepper to bring out their FLAY vors.
(I wonder if Bobby Flay from the Food Network plays a lot with that word. If not I should get credit for producing catchy advertising for him. :)

In a separate Sauce pan mix:
1.5 Cups Water with 1 chicken bouillon cube (Or 14 oz of chicken broth)
1/2 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 C. Sugar
3 Tblsp Honey
Bring these to a boil then turn off the heat
Whisk 1/4 C. Cornstarch with 1/4 C. cool water in a small bowl then add slowly while stirring to the sauce. Return the heat to low and just stir enough not to let it stick to the pan. It should thicken after 10 minutes.  Cook until it is almost as thick as maple syrup.

After all the veggies are caramelizing nicely then add the broccoli (I put a lid on it to sort of steam them for 7 minutes).

You might need a bigger bowl or pot but nevertheless throw the sauce over the veggies and add the chicken nibblets VOILA! DINNER. And it's a ton healthier than the take out kind. 
Like the restaurant bell sound when a dish is done.

Yesterday was a no exercise day. Everybody needs a day off and mine just felt like it needed to fall on a Tuesday.
Can't wait till Friday! We're leaving for Decatur Illinois! WOOT!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Byyyyyy Doggies!

Byyyy Doggies is the expression that my Grandpa always says when he's excited. For right now I've been scouting dog adoption websites and that's what I'm saying!

I've been nagging Mark about getting a puppy for, oh let's see, EVER, since we moved back to the states. I love all dogs big ones, small ones they're all great and I'm not too picky about which one we'll try to get but I do think that with our tiny apartment we need a pup who isn't going to grow to be too large. SO Mark's favorite dogs are pugs! I even sport a shirt that has a pugster on it so I think we're probably going to end up with one of those guys.  BUT in the mean time I found this little gem ...

LEXIE the TINY (I'm going to change her name to Lexie the Great!)

She's as cute as a button and I'm in love! It's a lot to decide though whether to get a dog right now. We certainly have enough people to take care of her with JJ living with us so that's not an issue. The question is do we get a puppy and train him or do we get an older short haired friend that is more set in his/her ways?
Bonus is Lexie here is old enough so that we wouldn't have to train her.  :) AHHHhhhh I want Lexie the Great so bad! (PLEASE nobody snatch her just yet until I talk to Mark about whether we can get a pup right now or not...pretty please!)

Are you a cat person or dog person?  I'm actually both but I just have bad allergies to cats but so far haven't had any problems with pups.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dill Dill-y-ogurt!

This is the recipe I was talking about that is way better than any Ranch dressing on the market and it will leave you feeling satisfied and guilt free!

Get your chopping board out and a large bowl
1 peeled cucumber chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 red onion diced
4 sprigs of dill leaves chopped
Place all the above in your bowl and  then squeeze
1 lemon
2 cups of Low Fat Yogurt in
then mix everything and
Salt and Pepper to taste

We put this over seared salmon the first night and then I used it on salad the whole week.  Also a great dip for veggies and crackers.  I got the idea from the sauce I make for Gyro's where all the ingredients are the same but instead I use cilantro.


Where did June go?

(POST FOR JUNE 22nd late because I keep having computer issues)
So since yesterday was the longest day of sunlight in the year I thought it seemed funny that June feels like the shortest month of the year. To me it has literally FLOWN by. Probably it has to do with Kristin (my suite/house mate from university) has a wedding fast approaching and I'm excited to get back to the Midwest to see family and friends for a split second.

The window washers are here!

Twice a year we get our windows washed for this luxurious high rise.  SSA takes up 17 floors in this 26 story building and Department of Defense and Justice take up and share the rest. Of course they have plenty of other locations too. The agency doesn't pay a whole lot of rent to park ourselves in this building but rather they charge $120 PER month (which the price is suppose to rise again soon) for parking in the underground garage.  Thank goodness we can walk 25 minutes to work and if we have to drive there's street parking about 10 mins walk away. Shooo I wish I owned the parking garage because that's a ton of cars!

We've been eating spinach like crazy lately! Basically we've been going through 2.5 LBs a week! A few months ago we discovered CostCo's huge spinach sucker and it has made life SO easy when it comes to getting some greens in the good ol' belly.  Popeye would be so proud! (Whatever happened to the sailor man anywho? I haven't seen him pop up for a long while now.) Since we go to the Korean/Indian "Lotte/Assi" market every two weeks I stock the cart full of delicious toppings for salads and such.  We scored a bundle of dill for $1.49 and I've been putting it in everything. I made dill pickles, and a homemade yogurt dressing that tastes even better than any ranch dressing on the market. At any of the big name grocery stores here (Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter) it'll run you about $2.99 for a small package of dill (small meaning probably thickness of four fingers put together) and at Lotte you get a bundle almost the size of your head. (Ok a bit smaller but SO much more for the buck.) I'll put my Dill Dillyogurt recipe up. This has been my lunch for three days in a row at work: 
I love veggies and fruit together in salads and we grilled this weekend so I had leftover chicken with delicious Rudy's Rub everywhere.  ANG SARAP SARAP! (Filipino saying for tasty) If you don't know Rudy's BBQ it's from San Antonio Texas (where Mark is from) and it is the best out there by far.  The seasoned rub has a deep smokey flavor already and then you grill it and POW! Right in your face! Whenever his Mom comes over we always ask her to bring some for us.
A few weeks ago our scuba gear arrived! So exciting. I'm taking lessons in July once we get back from DECATUR ILLINOIS! YAY- I can't wait to go home!!!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

And the Beautiful Weather Came Back!

Since Tuesday the weather here has been ridiculously HOT! For much of the country I guess it's been like that but boy I was sure glad to see that rainstorm roll in last night. Now it's cool and Mark and I are going to go for hike.  This time we're not going clear out to the Shenandoah area and we're going to stay local to DC and visit the Great Falls area. 

Towards the end of my time in Korea I went hiking every weekend with some girlfriends and I came up with a delicious treat that not only tastes delicious but fuels your energy.  I call it my Hika-Wrap. Now we did some pretty intense all day hikes, that including climbing rocks and ropes so we needed something that was going to boost us to the top. I've been debating whether to make it because it has a lot of calories and I don't think we're going on a very strenuous hike tomorrow but here's the recipe anyways:

Serves 4 Hungry Hikers

 HINT: This tastes SOOOOOOOOOOOOO Good if it sits in your fridge over night! All the flavors become best friends!

What you need:
2 C. Pear or apple chopped (you can peel if you want, I like roughage)
2 C. Granola Cereal
1/4 C. Chopped nuts

2 Tbsp Honey
3-4 Tbsp Lemon juice (half a lemon)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 Soft Large Flour Tortilla Wraps
8 Tbsp Nutella
8 Tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter 

What you do:

In a medium mixing bowl combine chopped pear, granola and nuts.
In a small bowl mix honey, lemon, and cinnamon until well mixed.
Slowly fold the honey/lemon mix into the pear granola mix.

Spread 2 Tbsp of each Nutella and PB on each wrap making sure you work from the outside edges in. Then plop 1 Cup of the delicious filling in the middle.

roll like so:

Fold left part of circle in at the same time as right to meet in the middle. Hold with fingers then with thumbs take the bottom of the circle and fold up and roll. Press the edge together and secure with a toothpick.

Wrap in wax paper and keep in fridge until hiking time.

Enjoy with nature and after eating some sliced veggies!
Please no complaints if this sounds high in calories. I warned you at the beginning. Besides it's basically a nutella treat! :)

Now since I'm hiking tomorrow I'm having second thoughts about going to my exercise class tonight... so I can get an early start making these suckers!


Tuesday, June 07, 2011


(That word just makes me want to fall asleep... maybe I need to get my priorities in check)

I can't say I have ever been very great at routines. Unfortunately success comes only with routines therefore I need to change and get ROUTINED! YEAH Routine!!!! WOOO HOOO!!!!

Blogging requires routine. That's not really my forte as you can see with my sporadic postings but it is on my list of future routines that I'd like to keep up! Right now Mark and I are waking up early and jogging so hopefully that routine sticks better than blogging. So far two days out of three we've managed to find our feet on the dewy morning pavement. We'll see come the weeks end what this new routine brings.

For me it's easiest to be come obsessed with something rather than get in a routine. Perhaps it's my inability to multitask unless it's for one outcome or goal. When I lost a bunch of weight in Korea I was obsessed with running. That was a "one goal" sort of moment in my life. Living alone in another country toke me away from typical distractions, such as fast food driving and eating at the same time and getting persuaded by those late night chocolate commercials. (It helped to live in a country where I didn't understand "smooth, rich dark chocolate" when they say it.) Everyday was scheduled around my jogs and I would even pray for it not to rain and I had a full face mask while wearing 4 pairs of socks for the winter time jogs. I know I was obsessed but  it did lead to success and I lost a ton of weight. One of the best things my obsessive behaviour brought was my success with music. While playing flute or piano I'm concentrated on so many aspects; timbre, tone, positioning, posture, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, I can seem to manage that type of multitasking as it is for one outcome, great music.

For right now I'm trying to break my obsessive behavior over one thing and get into a routine of multiple goals. This is a challenge for me but it's got to be done.

So far the goals are:

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes/ 6 days a week -Thank God for Zumba to help me with this!
  • Prepare healthy meal ideas a week in advanced - Mark is helping with this one
  • Cut and use more coupons -And believe it or not he's helping with this one too!
  • Read one book a month
  • Keep in touch with family and friends more
  • Study Spanish
  • Keep current with German news (don't want to lose what I know of that language)
  • Play my flute and piccolo
  • Save money for a piano
  • Write in this blog
  • Spend more time outside -Soak up that vitamin D Jen!
  • Enroll in school to get my Masters in Education

I'm going to print this out and keep a copy up at home and at my desk to help me stay focused and hopefully I can get myself obsessed with more than one of these goals at a time. Routine baby! Here I come!!!