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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‘Greek’ Mac & Cheese: Just Throw it All in the Skillet

Rocket Science Scale: 1 – Straightforward

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So I’ve signed up for one of those ‘deliver to your door’ grocery services. I get fresh produce every other Thursday and if I need anything else, I pick it up at the Indy Winter’s Farmer Market. But after Thanksgiving, I had no groceries and basically no food in my apartment. I even ran out of milk pretty early in the week, so I just relied on the $1 oatmeal at work for my breakfast instead of my usually boring bowl of cereal. (I realized while typing this I eat the most boring breakfasts during the week)

So what do you do when you are practically out of food? You just throw everything into a skillet. And call it a pasta bowl. Specifically, I made a ‘Greek’ Mac & Cheese. And my version of Mediterranean means that there are artichoke hearts, spinach, some bell peppers and black olives. Along with a lot of cheese.

I turned a block of cheese into a shredded block of cheese.

I turned a block of cheese into a shredded block of cheese.

From all the cooking I did last week, I had a lot of leftover cheese which had just been sitting in my fridge. So I just threw it in along with the pasta and veggies. This Mac & Cheese is not too traditional since I did not make a roux to make a thick cheese sauce. Instead, I just hoped that the goat cheese would add that extra creaminess.  (I think it did!)

All in All, this is a homemade recipe that allows for some pretty easy cooking. I had it ready in about a half hour and only needed two pots (one for boiling pasta, the other being a large skillet). It’s a great weeknight dinner and it made about 4 servings!

‘Greek’ Mac & Cheese

Recipe by Me!

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Mom’s Puerto Rican Rice : My Family’s Untraditional Traditional Thanksgiving Side

Rocket Science Scale : 1 – Very Easy

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So last weekend I shared what I am bringing to Thanksgiving this year. But as I said then, I am not the head cook. This will actually be my third year helping in the kitchen. But my parents have had this holiday to a science all throughout my childhood. When my parents host, my dad is the head chef who cooks the turkey and about half of the sides. My mom is the sous chef who takes care of the rest. And that always includes a large pot of her Puerto Rican rice.

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Oh have I never mentioned that I’m half Puerto Rican? Yup. I’m the whitest Puerto Rican ever. (I swear my Dad’s German/Polish/Irish won the majority of the genetics battle.) I mean I don’t tan well, I have blonde hair and I missed out on the Vega nose (my mom’s family’s most distinct trait.) BUT I do look similar to my Mima, who is 100% Puerto Rican and also has blonde hair and fair skin.

My sisters, my Mima and Me at my graduation.

My sisters, my Mima and Me at my graduation.

My Mom's family [all as kids]. Can you see the Vega nose? And yes my mom is one of 8 children!

My Mom’s family [all as kids]. Can you see the Vega nose? And yes my mom is one of 8 children!

So while I unfortunately do not speak Spanish fluently, I did grow up eating the dishes my Mima made. And the Puerto Rican Rice is a recipe I got from my mom, who got it from my Mima and I’m pretty sure she got it from her mom and so on. It is one of my family’s traditional Thanksgiving sides and one of my favorite quick dinners throughout the year. You could probably even make this after Thanksgiving and put your leftover turkey in it. I dare you.

It just screams EAT ME.

It just screams EAT ME.

Mom’s Puerto Rican Rice

Also Known as Arroz con Gandules

Recipe by my Grandma/Mom/Me

Takes anywhere from 30 mins – 1 hr

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