Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cleaning Out The Fridge - Veggie Quiche

A week or so ago I bought way too much produce while grocery shopping.  Our fridge was practically overflowing with broccoli, asparagus, onions, carrots, and zucchini.  To make matters worse, the hubs was on his way out of town for a long weekend.  In an effort to not let our abundance of greens go to waste, I decided to make a veggie filled quiche.  I've always loved making quiche for dinner - it seems so fresh and light, and goes perfectly with a small side salad.  It also makes great leftovers for breakfast or lunch the next day.  You can pretty much use any combination of veggies, herbs and cheese within a basic quiche recipe.  To make this quiche I mish-mashed a few recipes together to come up with my own combination.  I think the results turned out pretty darn good!

Veggie Quiche

1 store bought pie crust
3-4 cups of various chopped veggies - I used broccoli, scallions, zucchini, asparagus, and shredded carrots
1 teaspoon dried herbs - I used thyme
1 cup shredded cheese
4 eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup nonfat milk - I used a combo of milk and half and half in an attempt to make it a little lighter.  I don't know what official quiche protocol is, but it seemed to work fine for me.
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1.  Unroll the pie crust and line a 9-inch deep pie dish with it
2.  Lightly saute the chopped veggies in a bit of olive oil just until they're crisp tender.  Season with salt, pepper, and herbs if desired.
3.  Pour veggies into pie crust 
4.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top
5.  Beat the eggs with milk and half and half
6.  Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to eggs
7.  Pour egg mixture over veggies and cheese - I'm always so afraid I don't have enough egg mixture but it puffs up as it bakes and ends up being perfect
8.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until the eggs are set and a knife in the middle comes out clean

 Slice up the quiche and serve with a side of mixed greens.  Enjoy!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

1.   My most prized possession is  - sounds cheesy, but my wedding band.  I love that it combines diamonds from both of our grandmothers.

2.  If I could be one age for the rest of my life, I would want to be - Probably around 25.  It's just a nice, not too young, not too old age.  I definitely wouldn't want to be a teenager again!

3.  The best way to spend a weekend is  - a relaxing Friday night at home with the hubby, a nice bike ride to the beach on Saturday, spending some time with friends with good food and good wine.  A good mix of relaxing and fun.

4.  My outlook on life is  - It certainly doesn't happen as you plan it.  You're in charge of what you make of it - i f you're not happy with the way things are going then you need to change it up a bit.  And don't take anything too seriously.  I think life is really about spending time with people you love, not stressing about work.

5.  If you want to annoy me, just  - Drive slow in the left hand lane!

6.  I am completely defenseless when it comes to - Sweets.  Put a cookie in front of me and I cannot say no.  Even if I'm sickenly full, or trying to diet.  I just cant resist.

7.  When dressing for the day one should - put on what makes you feel good.  Something that you're not gonna be tugging at all day.  Be stylish and slightly trendy, but be comfortable.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Tor!

The hubby turned 32 this past weekend and we celebrated with good friends, a bike ride up the coast, and some yummy carrot cake.

A few weeks ago when I asked what kind of birthday cake Tor wanted he immediately replied "carrot cake!"  I'd never made a carrot cake before so I quickly looked on one of my favorite baking websites, The Joy of Baking, to find this delicious recipe.  For some reason I'd always been kind of afraid of carrot cake and had only recently started eating it.  I think it was the 7 year old in me thinking that the words "carrot" and "cake" did not belong together.  Boy was I wrong!  This recipe was soo yummy and moist, with cream cheese frosting slathered on top.

The hardest part was definitely shredding the carrots.  Since I don't have a food processor I had to do it all by hand.  My arm was pretty tired by the time I got 2 cups worth!

After mixing all the ingredients I poured the batter into two 9-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper.

After letting the cakes cool, I spread cream cheese frosting all over and stacked them on top of each other.  Next time I'll probably leave the lemon zest out to make the frosting nice and smooth. 

Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of the birthday boy blowing out candles.  But I'm loving my new cake plate I got at Home Goods!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mom's Beef Stroganoff

 It's Tor's birthday week this week so I've been treating him to a whole week of home cooked meals, instead of making him cook half of them.  It surprised me how hard it is to come up with something good everyday!  Yesterday I was looking through my old emails and found one titled "Mom's Great Stroganoff" and my dinner search ended!  So here you go - Mom's recipe.  Just don't tell her I'm sharing it with you all, okay?


2 lb. sirloin steak, cut in thin strips
2 C sliced fresh mushrooms
1 C finely chopped onions
1/4 C butter, divided 
3 beef bouillon cubes dissolved in 1C hot water
2 T tomato paste
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T flour
1/4 C water
1 C sour cream

1.  In large skillet saute onions and mushrooms in 3T butter.  Remove from skillet.  

2.  Add remaining butter and brown beef strips.  

3.  Pour bouillon & hot water over beef.  (I had to use a fork to mash up the bouillon cubes in the water).  Add tomato paste, mustard and salt.  Mix; cover & simmer 45 min.  

4.  Combine flour & water.  Slowly pour into meat mixture.  Cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Stir in onions and mushrooms & sour cream.  Heat, but do not boil.  Serve over hot rice or noodles.
*Tip - you can cook a day ahead - Add sour cream when reheating! 

It's not the most photogenic meal, but it's delicious!

Up next, making a carrot cake for the birthday boy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chicken With Black Beans and Rice

I was looking for an easy-ish dish to make on Friday night and saw this recipe on the Yahoo home page, courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.  I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, using chopped fresh onion and green pepper.  The results came out pretty good, though I felt like something was missing.  Next time I'll probably use a bit more cayenne pepper and chili powder and maybe add a jalapeno.

Ingredients (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens):

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 lbs chicken pieces (I used thighs)
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato juice
1 cup frozen corn
2/3 cup long grain white rice
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

serves 4-6

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  In a large ziploc bag, combine flour, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Add chicken and shake to coat.

2.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add chicken and brown on all sides over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

3.  Heat a little more oil in the skillet.  Add onion and green pepper. Saute a couple minutes until the onion is translucent. 

4.  Add beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato juice, corn, uncooked rice, remaining chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic to the skillet.  Bring to boiling.  Transfer to a 3 quart casserole or 13x9x2 dish.  Arrange chicken on top.  You could probably just cook this all in an oven safe skillet with a cover, as well.

5.  Cook covered for 45-50 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

6.  Serve with sliced avocado, cilantro, sour cream...whatever your heart desires!

This made good leftovers the next day, too, and would probably be delicious all wrapped up in a warm tortilla!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

I am SO happy it's Friday!  I have been super tired this week for some unknown reason.  Like not just sleepy tired, but like "oh my god I'm too tired to chew my salad" tired.  Weird.  So I'm home, sitting on my couch watching Food Network and enjoying my afternoon off.

I found this little fill-in-the-blank game while perusing blogs this week and thought it looked kinda fun.  So here I go!

My biggest accomplishment in life thus far is: changing my career and getting my doctorate in physical therapy.  Leaving a job and a life I knew to move back home and start all over again when I was 26 was a very difficult process.  At the time I felt like such a failure - being 26, living with my parents, and starting school all over again.  But I look at my life now and know that none of this would have happened if I hadn't taken that leap.  Those three years of grad school were challenging, to say the least, but the payoff has been great!

My favorite place in the house to sit is:  on the couch, in front of the TV.  It's kinda the only place to sit in our apartment, other than the desk (which the hubby has taken over) or the dining table.

My fashion philosophy is:  Ugh.  I don't feel like I have much of a philosophy.  I kinda hate all the clothes in my closet at the moment.  My work clothes all feel tired, worn out, and not cute.  My weekend clothes are boring.  I go shopping but end up not buying anything because I either feel guilty or can't decide.  It's ridiculous.  Overall I like dressing simply, with a few trendy splashes added here and there.

Something every girl should have is:  at least one outfit that makes you feel beautiful, sexy, gorgeous.

If you looked in my purse right now you'd find:  my wallet, iphone, 3-4 lip glosses, a hair clip, and a stack of about 20 gift cards that I still need to use.

My favorite music right now is: Mumford & Sons and Florence + the Machine 

My favorite part of my body is:  My boobs - not too big, not too small.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ginger Beef Stir Fry

I probably make some form of stir-fry at least once a week.  It's just so easy to chop up a bunch of stuff, throw it in the pan with some sauce, and have dinner ready in a few short minutes.  Tonight I dug an old recipe out of my box to make Ginger Beef Stir Fry.  I have no idea where this recipe came from, since it's been written on an index card and shoved into my recipe box for quite a few years now.  More than likely, though, it came from one of my mom's magazines.

The recipe is pretty simple, however I managed to goof it up at more than one point.  Let's just chalk it up to a long day, shall we?

Ingredients - 4 servings

8oz top round steak
1/2 cup beef broth
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
12oz asparagus
1 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
4 green onions, sliced
3 teaspoons sesame oil

1. Slice meat across the grain into thin strips.  Set aside.

2.  Mix broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger.  Set aside

This is where my first "oops" of the night happened.  See, the original recipe I had written down was for 2 servings.  Off to the side of the card I had written the double amounts for the ingredients, like 9 teaspoons soy sauce.  Somehow I thought the card said 9 TABLESPOONS of soy sauce.  


Even as I was measuring it out and pouring it into the beef broth I was thinking "Wow this is a LOT of soy sauce!"  Then I looked down and saw the mistake.  I hate wasting ingredients but I had no idea how to salvage broth mixed with a whole boat load of soy sauce.  So down the drain it went. 

3.  Heat some oil in a large pan or wok.  Stir fry veggies for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender.  Remove from pan and set aside.

4.  Heat a little more oil in the pan.  Stir fry meat for 2-3 minutes or no longer pink.  Push to the side of the pan.  Stir the sauce and pour into the center of the pan.  Cook until thickened and bubbly.

5.  Add veggies back into pan.  Stir to coat and cook for 1 minute till heated through.

I served my stir-fry with a side of brown rice.  Here is where my second "oops" occurred, though I don't know how.   I cooked the rice in our new rice cooker, which should be easy enough, right?  I even pulled out the instruction booklet to see how much rice and liquid I should use.  Thirty minutes later I opened the lid to find burnt rice.  Seriously?  I think I'm the only person that can burn rice using a rice cooker.  And this isn't the first time it's happened either!  Isn't this thing supposed to make cooking easier? 

See the brown burnt bits?  Ugh!

The recipe is technically for 4 servings, but it was the perfect amount for the the two of us.  Maybe we just have big appetites?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Field Trip to the Getty Villa

When I woke up Saturday morning to clear blue sunny skies I knew I wanted to do just one thing.  Go to the Getty Villa.  I've been itching to go for a while now and this beautiful Spring day seemed the perfect time to go.  I checked online and reserved our tickets for the 12:00 slot.  Admission to the Villa is free, but parking is $15.  Still, it's not a bad deal for a day spent at an Italian Villa surrounded by ancient Greek gods.


Fertility Goddess


The Getty Villa was modeled after the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum and originally opened in 1974.  It holds 44,000 works from Ancient Greece and Rome dating from 6,500 BC to 400 AD. 

Tor's been turned to stone!

Must have been hard to see out of this helmet!

The grounds are beautiful, with mosaic tile floors, large gardens, and views of the Pacific.  It's a great place to escape LA and spend an afternoon in Italy.

Flowers on a Peach Tree

Squinting in the bright sun


How was your weekend?