Life Lately…

So It’s been a while.

Since my last post, Easter has come and gone, I’m this close to turning in my grad school application and the Mini-Marathon is two weeks from today. Also, the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so I’m pretty happy. So here’s what’s been going on:

Cooking:

  • I’ve made some Pesto Pasta with red peppers and andouille sausage:

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  • A Goat Cheese appetizer from A Couple Cooks (on Easter!),

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  • With a Fancy Steak Dinner!

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Finally cooked correctly this time, to a delicious medium.

IMG_8837I used a slightly modified version of the Alton Brown Method.

1) I took out my steak and let it come to room temperature. Then I seasoned it with coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

2) Then I heated up my cast iron skillet at 450 in the oven for 20 minutes

3) I took it out of the oven (make sure to put on oven mitts!) and put it on the stove top over high heat.

4) Add the steak and sear for about a minute or two. Then flip over and put back into the 450 oven.

5) Then let it cook for 6-7 minutes for medium. (8 – 10 for medium well)

  • I’ve also made a quick version of red beans and rice.

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Ramblings:

  • So it’s technically 1-1 now, but Hawks are on their way to the Stanley Cup! Game 3 is pretty important.
  • I went to see Walk the Moon and they are FANTASTIC! I’m sooo happy that everyone knows them now (From Shut Up and Dance With Me).
  • IMG_8799I’ve also run through a downpour. It actually helped my breathing. So I’d now recommend running through the rain!IMG_8828
  • Game of Thrones is back! Drank some wine to celebrate.
  • IMG_8895I got a new fancy fitbit! It has heart rate monitoring, which I think is pretty great.

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  • And lastly, I now have plants! It’ll be fun trying to keep them alive over the coming months.

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Aerospace News:

  • SpaceX is so close to getting a reusable rocket.

It tipped over right after this vine. Apparently it had too much lateral velocity on landing. The day this works, rockets will get sooooo much cheaper. Maybe they’ll (NASA) put up a new space station because the cost is reduced XD. All while SpaceX works on Mars exploration.

Another Week in the Life….

So here is another post to float my blog until my grad school application is done (I’m aiming to turn it in two weeks, so hopefully I’ll have a lot more free time to start writing full posts again!

First, Cooking:

March 19th, Pesto Pasta with Eggs. I found this cool new market in Indy, Wildwood Market, that sells local artisan food such as the pesto and pasta used in this dish!

IMG_8660Next is on March 20th, Kale Fried Rice with a Healthy dose of carrots! Inspired by HowSweetEats.

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I also made sweet garlic chile shrimp for the protein.

IMG_8687On March 22nd and 23rd, I adapted a soup from Trader Joe’s into a slightly more filling meal.

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The first day I added spinach and some homemade croutons.

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The second day I added spinach, pasta, carrots and a hard boiled egg (could you tell I was a little hungrier?)

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Picture above is before I added the egg obviously.

Yesterday I cheated and got dinner from a local soup shop in Indy (Soupremacy). I got a trio of roasted carrots, saffron fish and bacon and corn chowder which they serve with fresh baked bread provided by Amelia’s (a local bakery). Best sound was the corn chowder, followed by the saffron. The roasted carrot had lentils in it that I thought were a bit tough.

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And as I write this I am making Shepard’s Pie for the first time (from IamaFoodBlog). Below is a photo pre-potatoes (with a small veggie corner for lunch tomorrow (because of Lent)!)

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And here is a photo with the potatoes!!

I was maybe one small potato short from covering the whole thing. Also my broiler also favored one side...

I was maybe one small potato short from covering the whole thing. Also my broiler also favored one side…

And then here was my dinner!

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All in All, a very delicious week!

Ramblings:

– I found a donut shop that sells a Leslie Knope Waffle doughnut (from a new doughnut shop Rocket88)!! #PawneeForever

IMG_8647I can confirm that the maple waffle doughnut tastes like a funnel cake. All it needed was a signature whip cream topper and it would be perfect.

IMG_8650– Also, my favorite sous-chef came to visit, my Mom! and by sous-chef, I mean pro-dish washer 😉

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She also brought some of my younger siblings, who immediately found the TV upon arrival.

IMG_8675I spent the weekend with them, shopping and walking around downtown Indy. It was the best relaxing weekend.

– And with the arrival of half my family, came some flowers! It’s been fun watching them bloom.

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Last, Rocket Science:

– So the Germanwings plane crash is crazy and really sad. Right now, the news is that the co-pilot initiated the descent which crashed the plane. Again, really sad.

And on a happier note, Here is a pretty space picture. Have a good weekend!

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Food That I Have Made Recently and Life Lately.

So I’ve been busy. And it looks like I’m going to be busy in the next few weeks too.

So instead of a long post, explaining a recipe, here is what I’ve been cooking with a link to the original recipe! I will also rate the recipe’s difficulty level, since that is kinda why I started this blog in the first place (to keep notes on my favorite recipes so I can eventually make them again).

  • My First Steak! I roasted the veggies, cooked the potato, and seared and baked my steak. It was a little overdone to my taste (I like my steaks as a pink medium) but it was edible! Woohoo! (Probably a 3/5 if you have never cooked steak before)
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  • Spinach Soup with Homemade Croutons. Needed a good soup pot, a blender and the oven, so I’d give it a 2/5 (Not super easy but not complicated) The croutons were outstanding though!! I also think you could either use coconut milk (instead of cream) or add some roasted garlic in the blender to add some depth to it.

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  • Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Bread. This is my favorite version of Shrimp Scampi. The butter and wine sauce with a TON of red pepper flakes = Happy Sarah. 2/5 since cleaning the shrimp takes a while.

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  • Pi Day Mini Apple Pies! First “Pie” I have ever made, and I thought they turned out great. I also decorated for the occasion 🙂 4/5 in difficulty though, a bit complex.

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  • And finally, my lazy weeknight meal, of spaghetti and meatballs, featuring store bought frozen meatballs and sauce, with about to go bad veggies! Turned out pretty good for something I threw together in 30 minutes.

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I think this menu update might be my new ‘thing’ during busy weeks.

In other news:

– Weather has drastically changed in Indy. From this:

On March 7th

On March 7th

To this:

On March 11th.

On March 11th.

The sudden shift in temperature is much appreciated on the outdoor runs though, so thanks Indy?

Since my last post, I hit my max long run at 8 miles. Hopefully it will be building more in the coming months as the Mini approaches.

– Change my Facebook profile picture. Major life event there. It is a pretty good selfie though 🙂

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– I still rock at 2048

Highest score to date!

Highest score to date! 8192! (that’s the third time total I’ve hit the 8192 tile)

– And I’ll end with a new view of Downtown Indy, from a trail that I’ve started running on (The Monon, it runs from Carmel all the way to Downtown.)

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I’ll try and update soon but no promises!

Loaded (Baked) Cajun Fries

Rocket Science Scale: 2

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Not the prettiest dish, but one of the tastier ones.

So it’s been a while. Life has been busy. I have half started post and then stopped. BUT, I needed to share this recipe.

It is spicy. And filling. Plus kind of healthy? I mean, I put some vegetables on top of my fries.

These Veggies

Also, these would be great with cheese on top. Or avocado. And green onions. I also have other ideas to make this recipe better, so I might give it a repost in the future.

Things I wouldn’t change? The carrot ribbons. Don’t know why, but I was really excited about them and thought they were fantastic in this. I’d also probably keep the diced red pepper. But I’d probably change the sausage from an Italian sausage to an andouille and regular sausage mix. Also, the green peas were not the right green for loaded fries, but they were the only ones I had so in they went!

Loaded Baked Cajun Fries

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Homemade Mediterranean Pizza: ALLL the Toppings

Rocket Science Scale: 3 – Moderately Complicated

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The Krusty Krab Pizza, Is the pizza, For you and me. And I don’t say that about a lot of pizzas.

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Also I use “Mediterranean” loosely as this pizza was inspired by the ingredient list of the Mediterranean pizza of a local pizza place (Bazbeaux Pizza). Their descriptor had feta cheese, chorizo, pepperoni, house roasted red peppers and spinach. Which Sounds like a fantastic (albeit slightly pretentious….. you know my feelings). So I decided to recreate it with mostly the same ingredients, but instead I used roasted red peppers from a jar, added some black olives, used goat cheese instead of feta (goat cheese is my favorite), and lastly kale instead of spinach.

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I also made my own cheese blend (Mozzarella and some pecorino romano). Plus, instead of traditional pizza sauce from a jar, I used some marinara sauce from a jar with some extra tomato sauce. Lastly, I made homemade crust with the recipe from Seriously Delish. Homemade pizza really is the best, even with ten trillion toppings on it. Specifically, when you put on those ten trillion toppings.

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Kung Pao Chicken with Zoodles

Rocket Science Scale: 3 – Moderately Complicated

ALL THE VEGGIES.

IMG_8201And Some Chicken.

Plus some peanuts too.

Plus some peanuts too.

Equals KUNG PAO CHICKEN which is healthy. Who would have thought!?

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Oh right, all this people who have been eating healthy long before me. So I’ve been wanting to try and make zoodles, which are zucchini cut up in the shape of noodles. So that way instead of eating all of the delicious carbs, you get to eat all of the delicious food without feeling bad.

I will say, I do not own a mandolin or a spiralizer which are the typically materials to make zoodles. Because of this, I used a handy dandy sharp knife and carefully cut the zucchini into thin strips. With this method, you need patience and some time, since the thinner strips of zucchini are more noodle like.

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But the end result is so worth all the patience. So read on for my version of Kung Pao Chicken with Zoodles!

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Ramen, Ramen, RAMEN! : Made Two Ways

Rocket Science Scale: 2

Say hello to my recent guilty pleasure.

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Even though the weather has finally taken a turn into the 50s, a few weeks ago it was bone chilling cold. So cold that I drove to work instead of my usual walk (and I live less than ten minutes away from work). Because of the cold, I’ve been craving warm bowls of soup. I wanted all the variations, as long as it was just warm slurpy soup. Ramen falls into that category. Which is why I’ve made it twice in the past two months, in two different ways.

The first is a Chicken Ramen from howsweeteats.com [link here].

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I followed her recipe pretty close to the letter, so I’m only going to share a few tips on how I made it. But the second ramen, although inspired by iamafoodblog’s brothless ramen [link here], was made by me! I followed her beef marinade and used ramen noodles but the rest of the ingredients are my own!

Look at that egg yolk!

Look at that egg yolk!

So I’ll start with the chicken ramen first:
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2015 Goals, Cooking Edition: Eggs, Snack and My Blog

So another goal I have for 2015 is to become a better cook. It’s something that I can continuously work on with every new dish. That’s one of the reasons I love cooking in general. You learn something new every time you make a dish, new or old. But in 2015, I have some immediate goals in regards to cooking:

1) Learn how to cook every version of the egg. I felt that the second half of 2014, I dedicated myself to chickpeas, zucchini and the runny egg. Specifically, the fried egg. I put it on top of everything, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

I promise, even with the egg slightly burnt on the edge, it was perfect.

Dinner…

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Lunch/Dinner….

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And Breakfast!

But, I went to brunch with a friend (at a lovely local restaurant called Milktooth) and my breakfast came with a poached egg. Dun Dun Dunnnnnn.

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Definitely looks prettier than my food.

And I might be a tiny bit overdramatic but after spending the past 20 years really only eating scrambled or hard boiled eggs, I realized a) there are so many variations of the egg and b) at this point I can really only make scrambled and fried eggs. And that’s just sad. Eggs are a great source of protein and as I have already noticed, can basically go with any meal. I’ve already attempted the poached egg, with some moderate success.

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My most recent Bibimbap. Poached Egg, Carrots, Sliced Beef, Green Beans, Kale and some Shallots over rice. Yum.

So at least for the first half of the year, 2015 = Eggs!

2) Another goal of mine is to find the perfect healthy snack. Of course, the obvious answer is fruit or vegetables. But you can’t always just eat fruit and vegetables. When I got back from Christmas vacation, I didn’t have any groceries and that included milk. Without milk, I realized I needed to get some quick breakfasts for the week until my milk came (I have a grocery service that delivers to my apartment and one of the things I get is fresh milk, my service is on Thursday). So I picked up some greek yogurt and some breakfast oatmeal bars. I quickly realized the breakfast bars were extremely delicious and would make a great snack….. but they put SO MUCH SUGAR in them. I’m pretty sure a small chocolate bar has less sugar in it. So I’ve found some alternative bars/balls that I’m going to try and make. I’m excited.

http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/09/quick-easy-no-bake-oatmeal-peanut-butter-bites/

http://minimalistbaker.com/3-ingredient-peanut-butter-granola-bars/

3) And last but not least my blog. So far I’ve been focusing on the recipes I cook in my day to day, and taking the pictures as I go with my fancy iPhone. BUT I know I could do better. Plus, everyone always says Quality over Quantity right? So I’m thinking of going down to three posts a week: A recipe, a Sunday Science post and a life update. It’s a manageable amount of posts and I can put more time into each one. For food posts, that means cooking the blog recipe on a Saturday or Sunday, where I can get actual natural light. It really can make a difference when it comes to food photos. An example:

Some delicious homemade chili.

Some delicious homemade chili. Taken at night under my oven light.

For example, I made this bowl of chili and then took a pretty picture of it.

Some chili I had later, picture taken at lunch.

There is a lot more behind sharing delicious food than just writing about it. Lesson Learned. I’m going to keep cooking recipes, reviewing them and sharing my attempt with you guys.

Happy Cooking in 2015!

Mini Cinnamon Rolls: Perfect for Christmas Morning

Rocket Science Scale: 1 – Easy Peasy

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When I think of Christmas, my mind jumps to Christmas morning. The tree up with presents surrounding it. The thought of ten trillion presents from Santa sitting around that tree. Getting up at 6 am to open said presents.

Yes I did say 6 AM. Even crazier, my sisters and I would wake up around 12/1 AM to just look at the presents. We would sneak downstairs with flashlights and just look at the size of the boxes. That tradition has now passed on to my youngest sister and brother. (We have pushed the 6 AM present time to 7 AM. Oh the signs of growing up).

I realized that I own no pictures of my family opening Christmas presents. Problems of growing up before digital cameras.

I realized that I own no pictures of my family opening Christmas presents. Problems of growing up before digital cameras.

So while my siblings and I would look through the stockings and begin sorting the presents into corners, my parents would make a cup of coffee. About a half hour later, all the presents would be open and we’d be off playing while my parents made breakfast. And by the time breakfast would be ready, we had all burned through at least that first toy.

You can tell we were normal children.

You can tell we were normal children.

I think this recipe would be a sweet bite to have ready while opening presents. Maybe turn that half hour sprint into an hour. At least in a house with older kids, who no longer want to rush the Christmas morning experience.

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These cinnamon rolls can be ready in 8 – 10 minutes. They are the perfect bite of sugar in the morning. Plus, I’ve included some coffee in the icing to wake you up. For those 6 AM christmas mornings. The recipe is adapted from Iowa Girl Eats. I will also be sharing some tips on how to mass produce them since I made about 80 of them for my office (we have a December Goodies celebration and I wanted to make sure everyone got at least two).

10 Minute Mini Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Icing Inspired by the Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls

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Made Up Brunch: What to Eat on A Sunday Morning

Rocket Science Scale: 1 – I made it up as I went along

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So I really think recipe making is just having leftover ingredients and trying to make something edible out of them. I seem to always get more than enough ingredients for the recipes I plan on making and then are left with just a tiny bit extra.

Like I always seem to have extra spinach. Which is not a bad problem to have.

Like I always seem to have extra spinach. Which is not a bad problem to have.

And then I just try throw it all together and call it a meal. Which is what happened this past weekend when I realized my eggs were getting ready to expire. And that I had leftover sausage from a soup I made. Plus some bread. Which lead to what I calling Made Up Brunch, where I tried to make a fancy meal and just ended up putting it on a plate and letting the runny yolks make a mess.

A Yummy Mess

A Yummy Mess

So here’s another original recipe by me! It’s also my first entry into the Breakfast/Brunch tab I created forever ago. And then promptly ignored as I didn’t feel that any of my breakfast recipes were that great. But THIS IS. I’d recommend if you don’t like sausage, to use bacon instead. This might also be better with a bowl instead of a plate so everything mixes at the bottom. No matter what you make, Enjoy it!

Made Up Brunch (aka Toast, Fried Eggs, Sausage, Onions and Spinach)

Made by Me!

Serves 1 if you want a big breakfast.

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