Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another Poached Egg and Kale Chips

What's for dinner??
Oh sorry Sunny bunny, that's not for you!  You get kibble.  

So I've been dreaming of a poached egg ever since my first attempt over the weekend (first attempt at poaching an egg here!).  So I decided as part of my dinner I'd have a poached egg with toast.  I successfully poached another egg!  Despite having done it so recently, I still freaked out when the egg was cooking in the water.  The water turned all white and murky and I was convinced I had egg drop soup and I'd have to start over.  Luckily, after 3 minutes, out popped a cute lil poached egg - phew!  

I followed the same method as last time and since it worked again I think I'll stick with it.  A couple tips I forgot to mention.  Take your egg out of the fridge a few minutes before poaching.  It's best to not have a super cold one.  And some people whirl the water before dropping the egg.  I tried that this time and I don't think it made any difference.  If anything it made my whites spin out more, which led to an exponential increase in my panic.

So after I dried it on a paper towel, I put it on top of some wheat toast.  If I was feeling more indulgent I would have buttered that bad boy but since this is only one part of my dinner feast, I decided to leave it dry.  I figured the yolk would moisten it up.
Oooooh yeeeeah.
Doesn't that look good Sunny?
Oh oops, sorry not for you!  I know you must think I'm mean but I did give her her own treats (she has issues with eggs) and she got her revenge later...

After I sliced the egg I remembered to salt and pepper this.
And then smash!
Drooool.  I love poached eggs!  This was cooked perfectly and the combo of the runny yolk, soft egg white, and toasted hearty bread was perfect!  I foresee many poached eggs in my future!
I also decided to try out some baked kale chips.  I was skeptical but had read so many rave reviews.  Let me tell you, these are surprisingly awesome!!!  Don't believe any of the lies.  These do not taste like potato chips at all.  Of course not!  But they are surprisingly yummy and the baking makes the kale texture way better - crispy instead of chewy.

I just got a prewashed prechopped bag of kale from Trader Joe's (if you get whole, unwashed kale, make sure it's completely dry before you bake it), sprayed it with Trader Joe's olive oil spray (I'm lazy), and then sprinkled a little bit of salt and cracked black pepper.  The kale stem doesn't cook as well so it won't get as crispy.  For my first batch I removed them, but then I got lazy and just left them on.  I read somewhere that kale has a lot of its own natural sodium and so you don't need a lot of salt.  Trust me, I'm a salt fiend, and these were plenty salty.  Recipes usually call for 1 tsp of salt for a bunch of kale but I say just go with your personal taste.  You can also add other things to this like various spices, cheese, and vinegar.  I did one batch with balsamic vinegar and that was yummy too!  I baked for 12 minutes at 325 degrees.  I probably could've gone a little longer but I'd rather have a few soggy pieces, then any burnt ones since I hear burnt kale tastes super bitter.
Muahaha!  Lil pug this is for me, not you!  Na na na na na na!
Aw shoot.  I dropped some.  And Sunny pounced on them right away and gobbled them up before I could take it away.  She knows that if she manages to get any spare morsel she should gobble it up quickly before I can take it away.
I hope kale isn't bad for dogs...
Ugh, now that she's had a taste for them, she's begging for them!  I never give her food I eat because I don't want her to get into the habit of expecting my food.  My first pug was the WORST food beggar.  Super sad face, whiny, and physically intrusive (if you were on the couch, forget it).  So normally Sunny doesn't bother me during dinner time.  But tonight, as soon as I started eating my bowl of kale chips she started trying to climb on me and she actually had the nerve to paw at my arm!

Naughty pug!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow/Ice and My First Poached Egg!

So last night was pretty snowy and icey here and my lil pug HATES it.  She never likes getting her dainty lil paws wet.  We tried out her new coat which I loved but she...not so much.  She likes it better than the dreaded koala hat or her too snug sweaters.  I got this from Etsy so I was able to specify the measurements and so it fits perfectly.  The D-link on the sweater is surprisingly strong too but Sunny's not used to having the leash attached at her back and she did not like it at first.  She kept trying to shake the coat off but that sucka did not budge.
Dang do you see how many "friends" my pug has?  She's so lucky.  I love how she likes to pile all her toys together on her crappiest bed (I've tried getting new beds for her and she likes this one the best for some reason).  I think my pug has a better life than me.

I love my one egg double-sided pan but it's a fine balance between getting the egg white cooked right (and not overcooked and hard) and keeping the yolk nice and runny.  I've always loved poached eggs in restaurants but the idea of poaching an egg myself was too daunting.  After much obsession with poached eggs (thanks Pinterest) and some research on the internet I decided to try poaching an egg for the first time ever.

I think poached eggs look so cute!

I put a couple inches of water in my smallest pot (to avoid too much movement) and brought it to a boil.  Then I lowered it to a simmer (only a couple tiny bubbles popping up to the surface) and added a splash of rice vinegar (the only vinegar I had in my kitchen).  The vinegar is supposed to help the egg white solidify better and since my eggs are not that fresh I thought it best to help the process along somewhat.  I poured in the egg that I had already cracked in a tiny bowl, very slowly, and then used a spoon to try to group together the whites.  Some of the whites were separating and it was starting to look like a bit of egg drop soup and so I quickly covered the pot then and cooked for about 3 minutes.

After the 3 minutes, I spooned the egg out onto a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the moisture as I'd seen on the internet.  After I prepared the rest of my salad I went to remove the egg and it stuck to the paper towel!  I almost panicked and was worried I'd crack the yolk inside.  So instead I flipped the paper towel over and let the egg fall into my hand.  This actually worked out better because the messy edge of the egg stayed stuck to the paper towel and into my hand plopped a cute, round lil poached egg.

I'm so pleased with my first poached egg!  The rest of the salad is some leftover arugula from my previous pasta dishes this week, halved grape tomatoes, a couple slices of turkey bacon crumbled, a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese, and a light splash of balsamic vinaigrette.

But the real test is how does the yolk look?  Here comes the fork test!
Yes!  Perfectly runny!
Sorry the background is so messy!  I have limited counter space and difficult lighting so I was huddled in a corner near my sink.  I'm quite pleased with my first poached egg and my lunch in general.  Very satisfying and delicious!  I think the egg was a bit small for the rest of the salad so maybe next time I'd do two eggs.  Notice how I decide to add an extra egg rather than just make the rest of my salad smaller.  I don't do well with small portions!

Now it's time to relax before I get ready for a quick run.  Sunny is napping.  I think she's a bit hungover from yesterday.
Haha I kid!  I kid!  Of course I don't let my lil pug drink beer!  She just likes to sniff at the bottle.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pasta Puttanesca!

Dinner is served my lil pug!  Tonight I made pasta puttanesca starting with a recipe from MyRecipes and it was delicious!
I had a crappyish day at work and got home late and was tempted to just order food for dinner but I had already prechopped all of my ingredients for this dish and I've been trying to order food less and cook more.  So I cooked, and I'm glad that I did!

I followed the recipe for the most part, but I added chopped bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms since I love those and add them to all pasta dishes.  I also added some grilled chicken (just nuked some Trader Joe's just grilled chicken - so awesome, but wish it was cheaper) for extra protein, and the leftover arugula I had from my last pasta dish.  And I always add more red pepper flakes and ground black pepper.  

Sorry, the grated parmesan cheese kinda obscures the pasta but there's no way I'm eating pasta without some form of cheese.  As if.

So here's a picture of some of the leftover pasta in the pot so you can see what the pasta looked like better.  At this point I'd already scooped up half of it and put it in a tupperware for another meal and spooned my first bowlful (I can never have just one serving).
See, here it is in the tupperware!
My first bite tasted a bit fishy but I didn't notice it after the second, or third, or fourth, etc.  Although I think I probably should've cooked the anchovies a bit longer and really gotten it to dissolve better.  But I didn't mind much since I love sardines.  I highly recommend this pasta dish and it's great because you can personalize it with things you like!  Like I added extra kalamata olives and a ton of capers (love those!) and all those other ingredients I mentioned above.  Oh and I used penne because I wanted to finish the bag I had but I think this would be amazing with other noodles.  Lastly, this is a fairly salty dish with the olives, capers, and anchovies, which was perfect for me since I am a salt fiend, but for those who don't like salty dishes you may want to rinse the olives and capers off before chopping them.

P.S. I also wanted to mention watch out when you put those anchovies in the pan!  With the olive oil (I used the Trader Joe's spray) and garlic already in there, as soon as those oily anchovies hit the pan things were sparking and crackling everywhere!  I'm dreading having to clean my stovetop now.  Ugh.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

NOTW - Butter London's Marrow

It's been a while since I've done a new NOTD, so here's Butter London's Marrow.
I really like this deep dark purple.  I put it on for the weekend but ended up keeping it on for today because I think it's tame enough for work (or is it??) since it's so dark.  Applied like a dream and this is the 5th day I've had it on for so it lasts pretty well.  This is two coats, with a top and base coat.  Sorry, my hands and fingers are a mess lately because this past week has been super bitterly cold and windy and now my hands are totally chapped and hurting.  Argh, I always mean to put on more hand lotion regularly, but somehow it always interferes with my eating, typing, petting my sensitive-skinned pug.  Oh wells.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Cooking Adventures! Sausage, Tomato, and Arugula Pasta

So this week's cooking is much more manageable so far!  For the weekdays I'm just doing two large pasta dishes and then splitting them up for my dinners.  I seem to only be able to cook pastas.  Hmm, I may need to change that up a bit.  

So tonight was a sausage, tomato, and arugula pasta and I think it's my favorite pasta I've made so far!  I changed the recipe a bit.  It calls for fettucine but I switched it for whole wheat pasta (so I feel less guilty about my all-pasta-all-the-time diet), used Trader Joe's chicken and jalapeno sausages, and added baby bella mushrooms, red and orange bell peppers, and chopped onion (because I had all those ingredients already and I love to add them to everything).  Oh also I used grated parmesan instead of shaved and added more pepper (freshly ground and red pepper flakes), because I'm a pepper fiend!  Soooo good!  I highly recommend!

See my lil hungry pug?  Don't be fooled, she had a full dinner and baby carrot snack just before this photo.  Does a pug's belly have any limit?  
There she is below licking the floor trying to catch any food remnants.
I thought this photo below came out normal at first but then later noticed the little curly tail that snuck in.  Do you see it?  Haha I love it!  Sneaky pug tail!

Busy, Busy Long Weekend

Haha lies!  I try to avoid busy weekends because I'm super lazy, low-key and hermitish.  I hate starting a work week feeling all rushed and harried from not having enough time to veg over the weekend.  So this is what my lil pug and I did.

First we slept.
And slept some more.
Then I tried to wake her up and she gave me a dirty look and went back to snoozing.
So then I got up and tried to prod her awake.

And then I moved to pick her up and she did that darn pug roll.  You know, where you try to pick them up and they roll over for a belly rub and suddenly become dead boneless weight?
Then the rest of my weekend consisted mostly of this:
And finally, we finished it up with some guessed it...snoozing.
See?  Busy, busy, busy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend With My Pug

Having a nice and relaxing long weekend with my lil pug.  Some photos below.

Lounging with her blue koala:
Sloppy tongue sticking out:
Doing some hard core napping:
Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Food and Pug - What More Could I Ask For?

I hate the winter after holidays end.  It sucks.  Just a long, drawn out wait for the brief spring before gross and muggy summer arrives.  And we haven't even gotten any real snow yet!

To continue my grumbling, I have come down with a case of plantar fasciitis in my left foot (and now I think my right).  This has been diagnosed, as usual, by Dr. Funaek (that's me, but powered with knowledge from the internets).  So since I am unable to do any real exercise, I've been trying to concentrate on eating better and cooking more meals of my own.  This has been both exciting and a bit of a pain.  

My lil pug especially hates all this cooking.  She sometimes loiters around the kitchen hoping for scraps but eventually gets fed up and seeks comfort with her "friends."
And polaroid style:
Sometimes I try winging it, like this dish of soba noodles, veggies, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, and a fried egg.  This was pretty good except my first egg I overcooked and didn't get the runny yolk I so love.  I was a 1/3 of the way through eating this when I decided I had to have the runny yolk and cooked another egg.
But I decided that I need professional help and started digging around the internet for recipes.  Is it just me or is the portion size in a recipe sooo not enough for one person?

I have a hard time reading recipes correctly.  Why do they have the list of ingredients up top and then not include the specific measurements within the directions themselves.  All that looking back and forth leads to me putting in 2 cups of rice into a soup recipe instead of 1/4 cup (oops!).  This led to my sausage and barley soup (sausage and barley soup recipe here) coming out more like a jambalaya, which is fine by me.  I changed the recipe around a bit and used brown rice instead of barley (since that's what I had handy), and also sauteed some onions, garlic, and mushrooms, with some chicken jalapeno sausage.  Oh and I used broth instead of water for blending the peppers, and added more salt, pepper, and tabasco sauce (I love that stuff).  Suuuuuper filling (with the stupid 2 cups of rice) and pretty good with the extra seasonings.
I really liked this asparagus side dish I made (asparagus with balsamic tomatoes recipe here).  It was super tasty!  Cooking tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic?  Genius!  The only change I made was I used feta instead of goat cheese.  Not because I hate cheese of the goat (I love it!), but because feta is what I had handy.  Oh you can see my pug has gotten up from her bed to give me a dirty look for spending so much time cooking and not cuddling with her.
And because I always go gung ho with my new crazes (and usually burn out quickly because I tire myself out), I also made some pasta salads for my lunches during the week.  This was too much I think and I'll stick with just sandwiches for lunch and only cooking dinners.  Otherwise I have to spend all day Sunday cooking! But these were really good!  (mediterranean orzo salad with feta vinaigrette and chicken salad with olive vinaigrette recipe links)  I added chicken to the orzo salad to make it heartier and grape tomatoes to both.  Oh and I added capers to the chicken salad with olive vinaigrette to add an extra kick and because I love those little salty balls of goodness.  Um...

You can see my slippered foot at the top of the photo since walking barefoot is not advised when recuperating from plantar fasciitis according to Dr. Funaek.

Oh and lastly I made a pizza casserole (pizza casserole recipe here).  See I told you I go gung ho and burn out with my latest obsessions!  I made it with whole wheat pasta and added mushrooms (I would've added olives too but my stinkin Trader Joe's was out of a ton of stuff when I went there - argh!).  I added a ton of pepperoni because I love them, but pepperoni in the casserole don't taste as good as on a pizza (they don't have that delicious crispiness at the edges) and instead were soggy.  Since they add a lot of calories to the recipe I think next time I'll skip the pepperoni and just add more veggies.  Oooh or maybe some sort of sausage (I love the Trader Joe's chicken jalapeno ones).
Phew!  Just typing this all out has tired me out again!  Lesson learned.  Next week I'm packing PB&J sandwiches for lunch and choosing simple recipes for dinner!  Just planning out my meals, rewriting recipes so I can read them easier, and putting together my grocery list takes forever.  I'm hoping it'll be easier next week.  I have to say that cooking my own food has helped a lot in getting me out of a food rut and getting rid of my holiday bloat.

Ok, my pug is really mad at the lack of attention I'm giving her and is demanding I finish this already too long post!  See?
I can't say no to that face!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

NOT New Year and Painful Shoes

Happy New Year!  For the new year and since I have a long weekend, I decided to do something fun that I've been wanting to do for a while - multicolored nails!  I may be a bit too old for this though.  Maybe next time I'll try darker colors.  But I still loved this - every time I looked down at my nails I would smile.  
Not so much my lil pug.
These are all Essie polishes (since I am an Essie devotee!) except for my index finger.  I have on from thumb to pinky: Essie's Smooth Sailing; Butter London's Scoundrel, Essie's Turquoise and Caicos (I hate this one - so streaky!  I had to redo my right finger 3 times it was such uneven application and got goopy in weird places), Essie's Watermelon, and Essie's Lapis of Luxury.
I guess I should've done a picture with both hands so you could see that I didn't do the same order on my other hand.  I liked the look of slightly mixed up colors.  I also used these colors on my toenails and I think I'll keep that for a while since it's so fun and my toes are safely enclosed in work appropriate shoes and boots.  I'll have to change my fingernails though tomorrow.

On a random note, I've been trying to take up running lately.  My marathon-running sister has inspired me and despite my body's insistence that it is not meant to run (seriously, I don't think my body is meant for high activity), I have always had a secret desire to be able to run easily, like a gazelle!  I've been using my ugly running shoes but wanted some new more barefoot type shoes (but not those gorilla feet shoes).  So my sister and I got a pair of Brooks' Green Silence shoes.  I loved them when they arrived!  They fit like gloves and are unique and bright.  They are also the lightest running shoes I've ever tried on.
This is a really bad angle and makes it look like I have cankles.  I do not have cankles.  I do have ginormous calves, but that's a whole different issue.

Anyways, I've been dealing with some heel pain recently and so I decided to take a break from running and did a 4 mile walk.  At first the back of the left shoe hurt but the pain eventually faded and I felt great!  During my walk I saw a man running completely barefoot (in 40 degree weather too!) and thought to myself, "Damn that man is crazy!  He should get barefooty shoes like mine instead!  I love my shoes - lalala!"

I came back and took off my shoes and to my horror saw the entire back of my left heel covered in blood!  The inside of my shoe was also blood soaked.  It was horrific - so much blood everywhere!  I tried cleaning out my shoe and by the time I was done it looked like I had murdered someone and was doing a sloppy job of cleaning up.  I actually have pictures that I sent to my family, but I think it's too gross to post here.  I'm so mad at my shoes!  Argh!

I'm going to try them again after my heel has healed (hehe) from the scraped skin and the plantar fasciitis, but will be sure to properly cover that spot on my skin and will take it slowly in breaking them in.  Maybe wear really thick and tall socks next time.  But if this happens again, I'm done with these high-backed shoes!  They'll be dead to me!  But, the bigger problem at this point is my plantar fasciitis which is not getting better and has totally derailed my running.  This is not good, especially since I now eat way more than I used to.  With the inability to do any exercise that puts pressure on my heel, I am going to have to seriously scale back my eating.  Sigh.  But those potato chips are calling to me!