One dish dinner & an apartment update

What with marathon training and enjoying my summer I am all over simple dinners that I can bring to work for lunch. I found this gem when going through back issues of Real Simple.

One Dish Bulger, Asparagus and Lemony Salmon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup bulger
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375. In a baking dish combine water, bulger, salt and pepper in the bottom of the pan. On top, layer the asparagus in a thin layer. Salt and pepper the salmon and place them on top of the asparagus. Squeeze lemon on top and place the lemon, just like so…

Cover the pan with foil.

Place in the oven and back for 30 mins. When you take it out you will have two perfectly cooked meals!

In the words of Ina, “how easy is that?!”
So easy. You have no excuse not to make a fantastic dinner tonight. I don’t cook a ton of meat but salmon is my protein go-to. And the reheated lunch was delicious and didn’t have that fish-ey thing that you get with shrimp.

Apartment Update!

If you follow me on Twitter you already know that my application was accepted for apartment #2! I sign my lease on Saturday and my lease starts on July 2. I am totally getting a celebratory treat on Saturday from Tavern, since I can WALK there from my new apartment! Oh yes. You thought there were a lot of Tavern and Susie Cakes and NY Bagel on the blog last year. Just you wait.

In the meantime, here are some other pictures from the apartment for interested parties…

Living Room

The other side of the kitchen. Words cannot adequately express how excited I am to cook in this kitchen. Seriously people. See the counter space near the oven? That’s what I’m working with NOW and I don’t have a full size oven either. And there is a window. It’s love.

Love the funky knobs in the bathroom.

More than a little excited about a yellow tub. So funky. There is a matching yellow shower.

A bedroom with its own door that closes and is TOTALLY separate from the living area. I’ve been dreaming of this for years.

I cannot wait to get into my new apartment and work on decorating!

What is your décor style? I had a decorator but my style is definitely eclectic.

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Fennel, Sausage, and Goat Cheese Pizza

Long time readers know that if there is one go to dinner that I love its homemade pizza. There is almost nothing easier than coming home and slapping some ingredients on dough. Plus it’s also my favorite go to meal after long runs. I pretty much have it down to a science. I love to experiment with different flavor combinations. Seriously, I think there needs to be a running pizza post on LCC, I make it that frequently.

Heather made a reader request last month for healthy pizza. I really love sweet potato kale pizza from the skinny bitch cook book. That recipe is vegan and totally delicious. Here is another healthy recipe. Ok, maybe it’s not as healthy as SB’s recipe but I think it turned out pretty well and let’s face it, it’s healthier than baked potato pizza (which is TOTALLY delicious).

For this pie, I prepped the dough as I usually do

Then I spread a thin layer of goat cheese on the dough.

I also laid down a layer of chopped fennel. I love the flavor of fennel (like black licorice!). Does that make me weird? I feel like that flavor doesn’t get a lot of love.

Then I added the rest of the toppings I love. Right now I am really into Trader Joe’s applewood sausages. I rarely actually cook meat for myself due to extreme levels of laziness but I’ve been adding this sausage to random dinners. I also added a general sprinkling of spinach which, again, I’ve been adding to everything recently! There are so many ways to include spinach in meals.

Doesn’t that make you just want to eat a ton of spinach? Just me? Just me? Ah well.

Baked at 450, 14 mins later…

I wasn’t totally sure how this pizza would turn out. I used a WEIRD combo of flavor combinations. I mean sausage, fennel, and goat cheese? Perhaps surprisingly, this was pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

OK, time to spill! What is your favorite, but totally weird, flavor combination? Besides fennel, sausage and goat cheese I enjoy pretzels dipped in veganaise. Yes. I am going on record and admitting that. Embarrassing, I know.

Back at it

How was everyone’s long weekend? Mine was good. It was the last hurrah of vacation because I started work on Tuesday! This marks what will likely be the last internship that I will complete (did you know that I’ve done 6 total? True story) So far I really like the place I’ll be working and I am looking forward to going out in the world and actually doing something with my law skills. Very excited to see what the summer holds for me! More on that at the END of this post.

Before work started I made this fantastic dinner. It is Paula Deen inspired so you can probably guess what the main ingredient is (butter).

I give you: Shallot, Scallop and Goat Cheese Quesadillas.

Oh yes. Get excited. The inspiration for this dish came from Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. I took some of the elements of her Bay Scallop dish and rolled it into a quesadilla with some goat cheese.

I took 1 tablespoon of butter and melted it down at a low heat. Once the butter melted I added 1 chopped shallot. It is very important to cook the shallot and butter at a low heat slowly. Do NOT burn the butter. Seriously, just don’t. While the shallot is cooking take out a quesadilla (I used Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat) and spread it with goat cheese (again, I used Trader Joe’s spreadable goat cheese, but anything will work). Once the shallots are soft and lightly browned transfer the shallot to the quesadilla and set aside. There should be butter left in the pan.

Then, raise the heat in the pan to medium high and add about 8 baby scallops (which should be salted and peppered on either side) to the pan. If there isn’t enough butter then add about a half tablespoon more. Sear the scallops on either side for about three mins. Once the scallops are done, transfer to the quesadilla. So at this point you should have your quesadilla with everything in it. Lower the heat again, to medium, and place the filled quesadilla in the pan, heat it up, fold it up and cook until the quesadilla is crispy.

Yum. Shallots cooked in butter? Thank you, Paula. You are a goddess. The butter goddess. This will be a repeat quesadilla for sure!

National Running Day:

Did you know that today was national running day? Well it was! I hit the pavement after work for a 4 mile run (my favorite run around my neighborhood). I’ve been laying low on the running to ensure that nothing happens to my foot before my half marathon on Sunday but the 4 mile run felt incredible. My legs felt good and I had a fantastic runner high afterwards. Yay runners run!

What I’m Wearing Work Edition

Anyone who knew me, especially in college, can attest to that I love dressing up especially in business casual. Last week I took my suit (for court!), a blazer and a dress to the tailors. I hadn’t lost enough weight last summer to justify alterations and I didn’t wear them all year so some nip/tuck was much needed! In addition I dominated the Anthropology sale rack and Zara and came away with some fun new pieces. I’m so excited to wear them I thought that I would share them with you!

High Waisted Skirt, Zara

I don’t frequently shop at Zara (sometimes I feel like their proportions fit oddly on my body) but I did pick up this fun, high waisted skirt last week. Zara has cute stuff and is pretty affordable so I was happy to find something I really loved there.

Shift Dress, Anthropology Sale Rack!

I have an obsession with Antro. No joke. I really will know that I have made it when I can wear Antro to work every day. This dress fits like a glove and will pair well with a cardi.

White Blouse, Anthology Sale Rack

Not necessarily for work (maybe with a tank under, paired with a nice pant on casual Friday?) but this was fantastic for Saturday bunch in Silverlake. I paired with olive green shorts. I love how light and summery this top is!

How do you dress for work?

Blogger Picnic

Saturday was a beautiful day! To celebrate I got together with some awesome LA area bloggers for a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl. You can access the bowl whenever you like if there isn’t a show. There was literally no one else there.

Best Seats I’ve had at the Bowl, ever. Way more mainstream than that time I snuck in to see Tom Petty.

My picnicking buddies were Kaitlin, Amanda, Lea, Lynn and Eden.

Kaitlin and I (photo credit to Amanda)

Amanda, Eden, and Lea

Lynn, Kaitlin and I (photo credit to Kaitlin- as always, I love how your camera makes me look!)

It should be noted that we took over not 1, 2 or 3 boxes BUT 5 boxes. Oh yes. There was that much food! I brought my Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad.

Kaitlin brought veggies and hummus and almonds

Lynn brought granola bars (um, they were amazing) and muffins with fig jam (!)

Eden brought cold cuts and mini quiches & Amanda brought chips, hummus, dips, cheese and drinks.

And Lea brought veggie bars

I had 3 plates FULL of food, but I only took a picture of plate 1… I was distracted by all the tasty food.

I left the event with an awesome food baby and some rocken’ tan lines. I had a great time meeting hanging out with old friends and meeting some new LA bloggers!

What did you do this weekend?

Pretend it’s Summer Oats

Two years ago almost to the day, I was accepted to UCLA Law. The acceptance was both a huge honor and totally threw a wrench in my plans. I’d already committed to a school in Boston (and paid for a year’s worth of yoga <- don’t question what was important to me) but UCLA was my dream school with a program which was the reason I was interested in law school so I figured I at least needed to visit and give UCLA a shot. Once at the school I got the full court press from various staff members. One of the big selling points, outside of the strength of the school, was the weather. “It doesn’t rain between March and December” I was enthusiastically told. It was music to this Midwest to New England girl’s ears.

Well, I am here to tell you…

VICIOUS LIES!

Its 52 degrees and rainy right now. No bueno southern California. No bueno!

To compensate for this terrible weather I made summer style oats. Like yesterday, close your eyes and pretend.

In the mix:

  • Brown sugar
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Granola

Coconut makes everything taste more like summer in my opinion and I just could resist adding these amazing cherries to the mix.

Its killing me that it was 90 and sunny the first week of finals and now it’s raining but the rain is actually coming at a decent time. I really need a running break. After 8 miles yesterday, my knees want a vacation from my vacation. I have an EPIC dinner planned tonight. Dinner will be SO epic my foodie friend and I have a countdown going. Stay tuned!

In it to win it

Hey blog peeps! Sorry it’s been a while since I posted but as you can imagine it has been a bit of a whirlwind around here since Tuesday. Thanks for the predictions on my coffee consumption. LCCMOM has the highest guess, which I suppose is telling since I can pretty much give her credit for my addiction habit. I owe you a post about the She Run’s LA after party and I was going to do it yesterday. Let’s just say I went into yoga with a plan for the night, as I was getting into my meditation there was chanting of “USA” outside the window of the studio on the Promenade and when I emerged from yoga the world was a different place. I had intended to post but I went home and was glued to the news. She Runs LA after party post will be happening, eventually.

Saturday I took a final (I kinda rocked it, no biggie) and I’ve been spending most of my time since then studying, tempered with some nice breaks. Like today! I spent 6 hours in the library so I took a study break for a walk on the beach. This probably the best study break I’ve taken in the past 2 years. In all I covered 2.5 miles in the sand which counted as my workout today.


Another achievement? I ran 24 miles last week which is a high for me and also the first time I’ve run more miles than my age! I capped the week off with a 10 miler on Saturday and boy did my legs feel it yesterday. I also went pretty hard in yoga last night. I kinda rocked my back bend which was awesome! My body was tired today so I let myself rest up a little bit. I’ve also done a good job of not rewarding myself at Susie Cakes and/or Tavern and/or Huckleberry every day for being focused while studying. This is good for me. I can reward myself with healthy things like time on the beach, rather than the intoxicating smell of Susie Cakes.

However, the trifecta of winning really happened when I came home and made an EPIC dinner totally on the fly: Seared Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, Dill Aioli, sautéed Summer Squash, and Wheat Bulger with Scallions. Oh yes, it was epic! I promise, it was ridiculously quick and easy to make too!

I started with 1 tbsp. of EVO in a pot with ¾ cup wheat Bulger (which is like a cousin of couscous and quinoa). I put the heat on low and made sure the Bulger was coated in the oil. Then I added 1 and 1/8 cup of water, raised the heat to a boil and then reduced the heat and let it cook for 15 mins.

Next, I heated 1 tbsp of EVO in a pan with med/high heat. While it heated up I patted the salmon dry and salted and peppered each side. Then I placed the salmon in the hot pan and seared it on each side for about 3 mins, or until the inside of the salmon was light and flakey.

Once the salmon is done keep everything in the pan and sauté the summer squash for about 5 mins, until cooked through. I used two mini summer squashes which made their first appearance at the FM this week!

Check on the bulger. Once it is done cooking (it will be like couscous or quinoa) fluff and add one sliced scallion.

Finally, make the aioli. For the aioli I used a spoonful of veganaise (because I like it better than mayo, true story), squeezed lemon, chopped fresh dill and a little bit of garlic spread. I didn’t measure it out; I just eyeballed it because that’s how I roll.

For something I made totally on the fly, this was pretty tasty. I got the seared salmon and bulger idea from a random back issue of Everyday Food but I came up with the aioli on my own! This meal was very filling and I am glad I added the baby squash. It was their first week at the farmers market and they were so tiny and adorable I knew I had to buy some! The best part of this dish was that, besides being filling and healthy, it only took about 20 mins to throw together. If you start with the bulger and then do the salmon while the bulger cooks you can do it in 20 mins. Also, minimal chopping was involved with the meal.

Let’s just say that between my first final, my running mileage and this insane meal, I’m in it to win it 🙂

What are you winning right now? It’s important to recognize our achievements, right!?

Good for me, good for the earth

Hey gang!

Today I decided that after all of the chocolate, cheesy potatoes, friend chicken and scones I consumed yesterday it would be a good idea to eat something green. Yoga last night was fantastic but my stomach definitely felt all the food I consumed. After eating like I did yesterday I was craving something green.

Enter Heirloom Spinach!

I didn’t even know Heirloom spinach existed! Of course I have had heirloom tomatoes, when you grow new tomatoes using the seeds from another tomato. This spinach looked so irresistible I had to buy it. It was so crisp and bright green!

My lunch today consisted of lentil soup and a slice of 9 grain bread, toasted with spreadable goat cheese and a huge handful of spinach. Gotta get the green in where you can!

Delicious. And don’t worry, that is the last of the goat cheese. I promise. I am stepping away from the goat cheese.

In other news… over the weekend I did something nice for the earth! I put all of my grains, pastas, nuts, snacks, dried fruit and baking supplies in to reusable glass jars! I went to OSH and bought 24 glass jars (half in pint size and half quart size). I buy many items bulk from Whole Foods and transfer the items to Ziplock bags so this will definitely help the earth!

I managed to use 22 of the 24 jars. Who knew I had that many jar-able things in my apartment?! 5 jars of pasta! 5! Another side benefit? I can see everything I have and I love the way that it looks. I don’t know why but whole walnuts in a jar are seriously beautiful. Other good things I do for the earth? I recycle, use reusable grocery bags and cart, walk to and from school everyday, buy local produce, and I buy use clothing and kitchen utensils. Most of my kitchen supplies are either hand me downs or purchased from thrift stores and estate sales!

What do you do for the earth?

Boredom Sets In…

So, day 5 of vacation and boredom is setting in. I could feel it this morning when I just wanted to lay on the couch and not get dressed but I forced myself up and out on a 4 mile run. Post yoga running is a whole new world! No pain in my hips or knees. Then I came home to see Iz just hanging out in her favorite perch:

Oh, hi Izzzzz!

Then I had lunch: small salad with arugula, chopped walnuts, orange flavored dried cranberries, brie and balsamic vin. I supplemented my lunch with apple sauce and edamame.  I made sure to eat immediately when I returned from my run and drank a ton of water:

Yum! Then I did a variety of things in the afternoon, which included buying a pair of size 28 skinny jeans from jcrew! This is UNPRECEDENTED! I pretty much hit puberty and became an 8, but a 28 in jcrew translates to a 6. This might be too early to call it but I feel good. Also, I am feeling healthy which is the most important thing.

So I arrived home triumphantly and made a healthy dinner which I’d been dying to try for a long time: eggplant and tomato towers. I preheated the oven to 350 and cut eggplant and tomato into slices. Then I added salt, pepper, and EVO to each side of the slices and roasted for 20 mins.

Then after 20 mins you add cheese and stack em! The recipe calls for mozzarella but I forgot to buy it so I used the left over cheddar with garlic and apple flavor. It was a decent replacement (although would have been SO GOOD with alternating levels of buffalo motzo and basil on top, now that I consider it!) After 20 mins you add the cheese and stack it and cook until the cheese is melted and browned (10-20 mins, make sure to keep an eye on it). Unfortch, my stack kinda fell down while cooking. Eh, you can’t win them all. It still turned out well and was totally delicious and healthy.

It turned out really well! I can’t wait to try with motzo and basil, but this was a great dish and so healthy. I love eating a healthy dinner and feeling good at the end of the day especially after a long run. I need to make sure that I am structuring my time this week which means healthy eating and exercise. I have just a few more days before the little bro arrives in LA so I better enjoy my alone time!