Sick Day

Yesterday after I hit publish on my blog post I felt something coming on. Sure enough,today I woke up feeling like crap, and after keeping my head up through my 9:30 class I decided it was time to honor my body and go home. I haven’t been sick in almost two years so this fatigued head cold really is knocking me down. But really, what is the point of sitting in class, barely able to focus, passing the germs around? No point.

Someone was very excited when I came home at 11 am…

Actually, she looks suspicious in that picture. Oh well.

Mid day I emerged from my couch to get some sick essentials.

Does anyone else remember these? I remember them coming in a box and I would eat them all the time when I was sick (and even when I wasn’t sick!)

I remember them looking like this:

Source

So yummy. I also stopped by Jerry’s Deli for matzoh ball soup.

Obviously this sick day fave came with bagel chips…

Bonus: I flirted my way into a free ginger ale from the counter man at Jerry’s. Left Coast FTW!

Besides ginger ale I enjoyed another sick day favorite: tea!

My mom makes the best honey tea ever. I might have to have some before bed. Of course it isn’t the same when I make it but its worth a shot.

I am starting to feel a little bit better and I hope to be at 70% tomorrow. I hate missing school. I know the golden nugget of wisdom that will make or break exam season isn’t going to happen tomorrow but I hate missing class. I also have a really busy weekend with a 10k and many Halloween events so I hope I was able to head this cold off at the pass today. Fingers crossed please!

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Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli

Since tonight is my first weekend night off in forever I decided to make something new and fantastic for dinner! Confession time: Butternut squash is my new obsession. It is so fall like. This girl might not be able to get a cider doughnut but at least I can have butternut squash.

I started by peeling and cutting up the rest of the remaining butternut squash. I roasted the whole thing and saved some for later.

I roasted the butternut squash with olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. I cannot get enough of this honey! I used less honey than last time and it gave the squash a light, sweet flavor that complimented the taste nicely.

Mix it up and roast at 425. Keep an eye on it. I think I left it in for about 35 mins.Once you remove it from the oven set aside a half cup or so of the squash and refrigerate the rest.

Time to get cracking on the dough! I used Jenna’s recipe because it only had three ingredients and was simple. Since it’s my first time making my own pasta I didn’t want to be too crazy.

Use a 3/4 cup of flour and a pinch of salt, make a volcano with the flour and put the egg inside.

Start to gently work the dough with your fingers and work it until it is in a ball.

Put in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and set aside for 45 mins.

Take a break, put on some music, check on your squash.

The squash should come out before the dough. I also sauteed garlic and onions. I added it to the butternut squash and mashed it up.

Set this aside and dig into your dough! Flour the counter and your rolling pin and roll it out really thin.

Cut the dough into strips and put butternut squash on the dough.

Take the squares and put their tops on, use a fork and compress on all sides.

Boil water and cook until the pasta rises.

While the pasta was cooking I made a simple butter sauce. I took 2 tsp. of butter and browned it with pine nuts. Put the ravioli on the plate and pour the butter on top of the pasta. Grate Parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!

I was worried that this wasn’t going to be a big enough serving but it wound up being quite the hearty portion. I love the browned butter sauce with parm. It is so easy to make especially since you’re already making a multi-step dinner with homemade pasta. The pasta itself was pretty good considering it was so simple. I am left wondering how hard it would be to make other kinds of pasta. I may have to try that soon! And the butternut squash? There are no words. I am in love and my new boyfriends name is ‘butternut’.

Butternut squash is a beautiful thing.

HBO Night

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement: If it’s Sunday, you know I’m watching HBO. What can I say? I love True Blood and Entourage is starting to get interesting again (in my opinion).

But first let’s rewind a little bit:

After my long run this morning I read some of my book, The Help, which I am loving! Then I spent some quality time with Izzy Cat. We played with her new bird toy:

Oh hi Izzzz!

Then I cleaned the house and prepared for guests. Emily and Catie came over to watch HBO and have dinner.

Before they came over I made some guacamole.

I made this last week when I made fish tacos and I ate it all week. I love the fresh, creaminess of the avocado. It’s great to put on sandwiches, dip veggies into or pita chips. Don’t you love the bright green color?

I also cracked open one of my favorite beers of all time, Sam Adams Summer.

I love Sam Seasonal. It takes me back to last summer and being around Boston. It’s the perfect cure for homesickness. Also, I’ve shared before that after running I sometimes crave a beer. After a long afternoon of cleaning it sure was nice to unwind.

Then I got down to the business of dinner. When having a group over, pizza is an excellent default. I started with Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat crust. Then I prepped my ingredients.

Holy Heirloom Tomato! Check out those colors! I know that I have blathered on in more than one post about the color of my foods, but I like to eat eclectic colors. It’s how you know you’re eating healthy.

A ball of mozzarella. Cheese is always better when it isn’t from a bag that says Kraft.

I also diced onion and garlic and I tore some pieces of prosciutto. When I constructed my pie I used those ingredients and S&P.

Check out the before. I sparsely distributed the  cheese and baked at 450 for 10 mins. While I waited for the pizza to cook I shredded some Parmesan from the biggest wedge of parm I have ever seen! Emily bought it from costco.

I present “After”:

I let the parm melt on top of the pizza after I took it out of the oven.

Simplistic but delicious, this was one of the best pizza’s I ever made.

Melting the parm on top of the good mozzarella was a great idea. I used a lot of tomato paste as a base and used a nicely proportioned bit of prosciutto. But the standout of this dish was the heirloom tomatoes. Let me tell you, they taste as delicious as they look. The heirlooms were actually kinda sweet compared to the best of the dish. Having simple, minimal ingredients really let the heirlooms stand out.  Now that they are in season at the Farmer’s Market I will have to cook with them more often. This is was way higher quality tomato then I typically use and I should utilize it more often!

This was my portion (+1 slice after this photo was taken). Definitely delicious and I will be making again.

Classic Pesto

Today while walking through the farmer’s market I was drawn to something that I couldn’t resist.

Who can say no to a bundle of pesto? Not me! I decided it would be nice to makes some classic pesto. Pesto is a great sauce/spread and it’s super easy to make. You can “wing” pesto which I like because I am not a super precise cook.

First I got together my ingredients.

Pine nuts

Minced garlic from 2 cloves

EVO

Parm. Make sure that it is from a block people. There is a difference between pre-grated and from a block. From a block is much better plus it’s an arm workout.

Put the parm to the side and combine all the other ingredients with S&P in the food processor. I like to start with less than more especially when it comes to the garlic. Unless, of course, you want it super garlickey.

Mix it up! The more you mix the better. Do a taste test, add more garlic or pine nuts or EVO if you want to. Once you like the flavor then you can add the parm.

Mix it up until the parm is combine. While mixing it pour yourself a nice glass of this…

While I was making the pesto I made pasta and roasted some eggplant to add with the pesto.

Yum! It’s been a while since I had fresh pesto and this was such a treat! I made two portions so I can have an easy lunch tomorrow after my run. Tonight I am going out for birthday drinks at Varnish, a speakeasy-ish bar in Downtown LA that I have been dying to go to for months! Love birthdays, you can go for drinks where ever you want!

Umami Burger

Yesterday night Kelly and I went to Umami burger for dinner. We both have heard rave reviews of Umami. Some even say that it is the best burger in LA. We all know that I have strong feelings about Father’s Office, so I knew I had to check out Umami! How could I not weigh in on the great debate?

Kelly and I went to the Santa Monica location which is located in Fred Segal and has  a parking lot. The importance of a parking lot cannot be under emphasized. Looking for parking is never fun, especially in Santa Monica. The interior of the restaurant is small, but was not over crowded and it had cute, kitschy things on the wall including taxidermy.

We started with beer. What is better than beer and burgers? I would argue nothing.We both had a Belgium Blonde.

So delicious!

Kelly and I both are big believers in sharing. Like we did at Taste, we both decided to order our own burgers and share them. Umami has a wide selection of burgers to choose from. Our server suggested that on our first trip we should have their signature Umami Burger.

Money shot:

Whoops a bit blurry. I have to say that this was pretty good. I am not a huge mushroom fan but I didn’t mind them in this burger. I loved the meat. Again, I am not typically a big fan of ground beef but the quality of the meat was fantastic.

We also tried a bit more “avant gard” burger, the “triple pork burger” which features a patty made of pork, chorizo and bacon with manchego cheese and a pimenton aioli.

So good! A little bit spicier. It reminded me of a pulled pork sandwich.

And now of the sides… Kelly and I knew that we wanted sweet potato fries and at the last min our server convinced us to also try the cheesy tots!

The sweet potato fries were just OK. They had a cinn sugar topping on them which was different and unexpected. It was not bad, but it was… different. Probably not my favorite sweet potato fry but pretty damn good.

And how can you not like a cheesy tot?

So good! The cheese was not overwhelming and the fried outside was better than say, ore ida. I would absolutely order it again. And, going back, I would probably only order one side. The sides are good and the portion isn’t huge but I would have been happy with just one side.

There were also toppings for the fries and tots:

Mustard

homemade ketchup.

So where do I stand in the Umami vs. Father’s Office debate? Well, they are entirely different animals. Father’s office is a great bar with awesome food. They have a better selection of wine and craft beers. You get a ton of food and I love the burger. On the other hand, Umami is more restaurant like. It is less expensive (in the aggregate- but a $10 burger isn’t “cheap”) and we didn’t have an issue getting a table, which is almost always an issue at FO. I do have to say that the sweet potato fries at FO are better than Umami. Umami has more veggie options.

So, in my humble opinion, they are about equal. Different moods, different venues. What do you all think?

Pizza Night

Tonight I came back from my run and had no idea what to eat. After standing in my kitchen for 10 mins contemplating it I decided on pizza.

I used whole wheat crust, tomato, goat cheese, prosciutto, onion, garlic, and S&P. Goat cheese is so delicious and I love the FM tomatoes right now! Pizza was yummy, carby, and easy to make. Clearly all of my favorite things.

Tonight I used about 1/3 of the dough that comes in the package and it only made about three slices.

Also, if you were wondering, eating a brownie before running isn’t motivating, it just hurts your stomach when you run. Although I cannot complain too much. It was not too hot, not too cold and not too humid. Love running in LA.

Finally, Iz is trying to escape…

or she’s hunting… I can’t decide but I thought it was amusing.

Barefoot Mac and Cheese

As a first day of work present to myself I prepared mac and cheese. I have a well documented love of cheese and pasta! The both together is always amazing. I used a recipe from Barefoot Contessa but I altered it. I used her Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe as a base, but at the end when you add lobster I added veggies instead. I also used some Barefoot tips and tricks with varying degrees of success. Obviously I started by boiling brown pasta. I utilized Barefoot Tip #1: add olive oil to the pasta water so the pasta doesn’t stick.

This was a successful experiment! None of my pasta stuck which means that this is a success. While the pasta was boiling I took gruyere and cheddar and cut them up. Instead of the arm workout of grating cheese I attempted to use Barfoot tip #2: putting the cheese in the food processor to cut it. Ummm, not so successful:

the picture of fail

I think it was because of the consistency of the cheese. Maybe it was too mushy? Well, moving on. I heated a 1/4 pint of milk in a sauce pan while I melted a 1/4 cup of butter in another pan with a little bit of flour.

butter mixture

the milk pan

and then we combine! This, according to Ina, is a traditional white sauce. I kept the heat on low and added nutmeg (which I ground with my Microplane, a product I love), pepper, salt, and the cheese. Then I mix and let melt.

This is where we separate from Ina and add our favorite things. I added tomato, broccoli, and leeks. Note: tonight I made this again and instead I used sundried tomato, leeks, arugula, and thyme!

Mix it up and put it in an oven safe container, cook at 350 for 30-35 mins. Barefoot suggests adding a breadcrumb crumble but I bypassed this.

Yum! I only ate about 1/2 of the pasta and saved the rest for a later time. What can I say, I was full!

This recipe is for sure a keeper. Barefoot never does me wrong.

Oats to You

Kicking off my first real weekend in ages with oats.

I love oats and today I actually had time to cook them!

Delicious raspberries from the Farmers Market. This totally made my morning. Fresh fruit is the best way to start the day.

A little brown sugar and Saigon Cinnamon later, deliciousness.

This was moments before I mashed up the raspberries into a puree thing. I love fresh berries. Super summery. And now I am off to run errands and finally unpack from my trip to Chicago and Boston. Whoops! Well, its been a busy week and sometimes it just takes a while to unpack. It happens.

Left Coast goes Lake Coast!

After Boston I flew directly to Chicago to spend a few days with my parents and brother before I started to work. I love O’Hare airport! So well laid out and you can’t walk 500 feet without running into a Starbucks.

I had a pretty chill time in Chicago. I was able to run 2 of 5 days that I was home which was great. I also had a great recovery treat, a Green Monster! My family looked at me like I was insane but this is an awesome post run snack.

You can tell I’m home because the counter is significantly nicer! Add spinach, almond milk, and Greek yogurt in the blender and mix! It was so refreshing after a hot run. I also snacked on other things while home.

Like wonderful Starbucks ice teas! I used to have two a day while in high school. The people still recognize me at that Starbucks! I am now a Coffee Bean devote but when in Chicago, Starbucks is where its at.

I arrived home two days ago. I have to say that I am pretty exhausted. I am in that place where things have been crazy and I just want to chill. I had a great Memorial Day going to the beach (getting a bad sunburn), and seeing Sex and the City 2. But today was my first day of work and I am so tired. I haven’t worked out in several days now. I am going to eat dinner and do weights. Unfortunately my sun burn is right where my running shorts are and I don’t want to aggravate the burn but I am dying to get back into routine! This is the first night alone in my apartment in almost 3 weeks so hopefully I am getting back to normal. I want to be back on the running wagon, back on the yoga wagon, and back on the well portioned healthy eating wagon. Hopefully I’m getting there.