Seasonal Eats

Another week and I’ve been MIA. I know, I know. It was the last full week of class this week and finals are impending as I mentioned earlier this week.

4 exams, 1 35-page paper before December 16th. What was I thinking? I am way too easily swept up in the excitement of classes that sound interesting and/or are with great professors. The good news is that only 2 of my exams utilize “black letter law” which is good for this theory loving girl.

But for the record, I feel a bit like this right now:

Alert, anxious and rifling through paper.

So, as I mentioned it was a busy week but I did manage to cook a delicious dinner this week. Unfortunately, I did not come up with the recipe myself. Can’t win them all.

I made Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and it was everything I wanted and more. I love those dinners that you can make in a casserole dish and then eat out of for meals. Yes, this means I ate pumpkin mac and cheese three times this week. Don’t judge. I foresee this happening more than once in the next few weeks.

This was also my first time using pumpkin, rather than just laying on them. I KNOW, I KNOW. All healthy living bloggers, whatever that is, are OMGSOOBSESSED with pumpkin. I have decided that I like pumpkin in certain contexts. For example, I for sure like pumpkin topped with whipped cream or with carbs and cheese. I still have 3/4 of a can chilling in my fridge so I need to figure out what to do with that. If you have any suggestions for a 3/4 can of pumpkin let me know by dropping a comment!

In other news, Thanksgiving is next week and Kaitlin is hosting! I am so excited to have thanksgiving with Kaitlin. She’s a food blogger so I know it’s going to be good eating plus lots of wine and I’m clearly going to need a break at that point. I’ve decided to make Eat, Live, Run’s caramelized Brussels sprouts because, as we know, I love Brussels sprouts. I also plan to make my eggplant dip. Any by “my” I mean “my mother’s” and by “my mother’s” I really mean “Barefoot’s”. I’ve never blogged the recipe so you can look forward to that next week!

Finally, I have Tavern news!

My favorite restaurant has opened another outpost in Beverly Hills. I haven’t been yet since I live walking distance from the original but if you’re in that hood make sure to check it out!

Go get yourself a treat. You earned it.

Also, I found Suzanna Goin’s (the chef/owner of Tavern) Brussels sprouts recipe which is on the Tavern Thanksgiving menu: Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Balsamic, and Breadcrumbs. Oh yes. I debated making it for Thursday but there are going to be many veggies at Kaitlin’s thanksgiving and I want to be accommodating. I debated bastardizing the recipe by switching out the veal stock and pancetta but doing that just didn’t sit right with me.

But! I encourage you to make it and let’s face it. It has pancetta and Brussels sprouts so I will be making it eventually!

And finally, Congrats to everyone who passed the bar today! I cannot believe that a year from now I’ll be finding out my bar results.

So, since I have no free time to cook my own things, link me a great, easy, quick recipe for me to try.

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

There are two things that I love: fennel and anything caramelized.

Don’t act surprised. Fennel has a licoricey flavor. Caramelizing involves cooking something in butter for an extended period of time. What NOT to love?

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve featured a pasta dish on the blog. I love me some pasta but I ate a great deal of quinoa while marathon training and I still am eating a great deal of it. However, the other day I came home from school and was just craving a big bowl of pasta. I blame the cooler weather and the impending rain. It makes me want to carb load. But then again, everything makes me want to carb load.

It’s been a while since I’ve cooked something truly blog worthy. I blame law school. I’m taking some really interesting classes but I have 4 exams and a 35 page paper all staring me down in December. What was I thinking!? Finals prep normally lasts for about a month and my fear of how much work I have to do have motivated me to start earlier than usual.

Finals are starting to get to me. Like today. I did laundry. I washed, dried and folded it before I realized that I neglected to add detergent. Seriously people. Sometimes I wonder about myself.

In any case! My meals have been roasted veggies and quinoa -> boring. Hopefully I can make some bloggable meals in the next few weeks. I promise to try!

Linguini with Caramelized Fennel

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 servings of brown linguini (portion determined per package directions)

2 tbs unsalted butter

1 blub of fennel, sliced length wise

1 can diced, unsalted tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

1 head of broccoli

Goat Cheese

Oregano

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta in salted pasta water. When the pasta is halfway done cooking add the broccoli to the boiling water. Drain and set aside once al dente.

Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the sliced fennel. Stir gradually at a low heat until the fennel softens.

It might take a while. Add a pinch of salt and pepper while stirring.

Once the fennel has softened add the garlic until fragrant. It should only take minute.

Then add the can of diced tomatoes and red wine. Turn the heat up.

Let the sauce cook until it has reduced a little. Add more salt and pepper. Add the oregano. Stir frequently.

Add the pasta and the broccoli to the mix and combine well with the pasta. Serve in a bowl with a big dollop of goat cheese on top.

The fennel really serves as a substitute for onion and I really like it. The sauce isn’t anything too different than usual but I loved mixing it up with fennel. I really like a simple diced tomato and red wine sauce. I added the goat cheese on a whim at the last moment but it the perfect way to top the pasta. The noodles were warm and melted the goat cheese. Melted goat cheese on pasta? Yes! All day everyday!

How was your weekend? Considering finals, mine still managed to be pretty fun.

Quinoa Stir fry

Hola gang!

Sorry I went totally MIA this week. See I had a plan of what I was going to blog at the beginning of the week.

But it didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it to…

Chocolate Chip Toasted Macadamia Nut Cookies. Delicious, but flat as a pancake. I know they’re delicious because even though they turned out super flat I still managed to try them. I need to figure out what I did wrong, right? Right. I’m going to go back and retool this recipe before posting it but it will be back because the toasted macadamia’s were fan-tas-tic!

Don’t worry, I developed something delicious tonight to share with you: Quinoa Stir Fry

I went out Thursday night for Halloween and didn’t get home until after 4 am (-> so late but SO worth it) and I am still exhausted! Around 5 o’clock tonight I was puttering around my kitchen, thinking about getting takeout and trying to decide what I wanted that would be easy. Being tired and working on final exams prep all day was makes me lazy. Then inspiration struck! I’ve been a quinoa eating machine the past few days and I love stir fry so why not combine the two?!

For the oil I used coconut oil and I added chopped up carrots, lima beans, broccoli, and sliced Brussels sprouts with some grated ginger. I even made the sauce myself!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup quinoa

1 cup water

Chopped veggies (I had 1 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots and lima beans)

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

Sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

Tiny dash of toasted sesame oil

Instructions:

Heat and water with the quinoa in a pot and let cook until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Set aside.

In a pan bring the heat the coconut oil at medium high heat until melted. Add the veggies and the ginger and cook until softened.

In a small bowl measure out the soy sauce, honey and toasted sesame oil. Whisk until combined. Once the veggies have softened, add the sauce, combine, and move the heat to low. Then add the quinoa to pan, combine and then serve!

So delicious! I was puttering around my kitchen with some pretty low expectations but I can tell that this is going to be a Katherine classic. I’m obsessed with quinoa right now. It’s so easy to cook, filling and a nice change from my go to dish of noodles. I think this whole thing took about 20 mins to throw together.

I’m also new to using coconut oil and I really like it. I typically use extra virgin olive oil in my cooking but I like the hint of flavor that coconut oil adds to a dish. I need to figure out new ways to work coconut oil in to my meals.

Next time I think I’m even going to add an egg to make it resemble quinoa fried rice. Oh yes, that will be winning.

And because I am the height of excitement I am off to take a bath and crawl into freshly washed sheets. I have a 5k in the morning I need to rest up for!

Seasonal Sunday

Hello friends!

It has been three weeks since I have had a regular weekend in LA.

First I went to Chicago and ran a marathon!

Then I went to San Francisco.

And I ate my face off.

While I had so much fun the past few weekends I was really looking forward to hanging in my hood this weekend and getting back into my routine.

Routine on Sundays means breakfast, iced lattes, farmers markets, and enjoying my hood.

It’s starting to cool down in LA. We don’t have a traditional change of seasons but the weather does crisp up a bit which is nice. I’m going to go ahead and count that as a change. Mmkay? With cooler weather comes oatmeal!

Doesn’t that picture just look like fall? I actually put vanilla in the oatmeal while I cooked the oats. Then I topped with granola, cinnamon, and obviously brown sugar. Oats without brown sugar? I would never!

Then I took to the streets and stopped at one of my favorite LA coffee shops, Café Luxxe.

Cafe Luxxe has several locations on the Westside and our former governor has been known to frequent them (and I’m not talking about Gray Davis).

I got my usual, an iced non fat latte. I pretty much never get a hot drink unless it’s below freezing. Even then, I prefer cold. My Mom does the same thing and I think it might be genetic.

After I moseyed on over to the Farmer’s Market. So much has changed since the last time I was there! It’s a whole new season!

What’s in season now?

Squash! I love butternut. Some of my favorite butternut squash recipes are butternut squash risotto, butternut squash potato pancakesbutternut squash ravioli, and honey roasted butternut squash.

Kale


Pluots


Persimmons


Grapes and Pomegranates


Brussels Sprouts, one of my favorites!


Yams


Peppers and Swiss Chard


Jujubes (Chinese Dates)

I love eating mostly seasonal produce because I can really tell when the seasons are changing. If I’m eating butternut squash, it’s fall!

After the FM I walked home through an art festival! I love my new neighborhood for having stuff like this just randomly happening on a Sunday afternoon.

I didn’t buy anything but I got freebees from Pirate’s Booty!

Last night I also went back to yoga. Sunday just isn’t complete without yoga for me. Since I do yoga every Sunday I kinda feel like yoga resets by body, if that makes sense. I haven’t done yoga since before the marathon. Last night I felt like I was wringing my body out post marathon. This is going to sound so weird but I felt like I could still feel the marathon in my body. I felt a little bit heavy in my inversion but I think it’s because my arms haven’t been properly worked in a while.

I know the blog has been a little “food light, running heavy” recently but I’ve been baking and I hope to start bringing more food content back to the blog this week. I also have more marathon related writing to do, so there is a lot to look forward to.

What is your favorite fall food?

Easy Soba Noodles with a Homemade Sauce

Remember when I made salmon with bok choy and discovered sesame oil?

It looked a little something like this…

The instant I tasted the sauce all I wanted to was slather it on some soba noodles. Everyone told me to use sesame oil sparingly but the salmon recipe called for 1 tsp but with the salmon to absorb the sauce everything worked out perfectly. Unfortunately the first attempt at putting the sauce on soba was totally misguided and the sesame oil flavor was way too strong. I worked out the kinks and now the sauce is great on soba.

Soba Noodle Stir Fry in a Homemade Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

Grated ginger

Tiny drop of sesame oil

Pinch of garlic salt

Assorted chopped veggies (I used eggplant, beans, scallions, bok choy and sugar snap peas)

1 serving soba noodles

Instructions

I started by chopping the eggplant, beans, bok choy and peas.

I love the purple and white colors of the beans and eggplant. I heated up a pan with a dollop of EVO and added the beans and peas. I started with them because they were going to take the longest time to cook. The I added the eggplant and the bok choy. I cooked until the bok choy was wilted and everything was cooked through but not burned.

While the items were cooking I put together the sauce.

It was super easy. I just added all the ingredients together and whisked (I also added the ginger through it wasn’t photographed).

Weird picture, I know.

Anyways, while all this was going on I cooked the soba noodles. I love soba because, like the sauce, they are ready in less than 3 mins.

I added the soba to the veggie mixture until the sauce coated everything.

And that was it! Dinner is served!

As you can tell, this took about 15 mins to make and was so simple. Personally, I always try to make homemade sauces. Yes, I’m that weirdo who hasn’t bought marinara sauce in three years. I really like this sauce as an alternative to Trader Joe’s Soyaki which is my normal go to. I love the sweetness of the honey and the bite of the ginger. Ginger is one of my favorite flavors!

In other news: I went on my final weekend run before the marathon tonight. I did 8 miles and it was the last long run where I saw the ocean. I ran 8 miles with a 9 min per mile pace (still running 10 mins, walking 2 mins) and felt fantastic. I’m going to take it very easy this week and I am so excited to head to Chicago on Thursday. I’ll be posting more about running this week than I will about cooking, just a heads up!

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo

Seeing as I started the summer with a delicious orzo salad, roasted shrimp orzo, I figured I should end the summer with one. I broke open a cookbook I got for my birthday from my Mom.

So far, this cookbook is great! I love the recipes (there are a ton) and the saucy commentary with the recipes. This one was pretty simple. I subbed the mozzarella for feta because it’s what I had on tap. This recipe took literally no thought to put together and was great cold the next day. We had a mini heat wave last week with temps in the 90’s. Having no AC, a cold lunch was necessary. I couldn’t bear to turn on the oven.

Tomato, Basil and Feta Orzo Salad

Ingredients

3 servings of orzo

1/8 cup chopped basil

1/8 cup EVO

1 tablespoon EVO

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (I used orange and yellow ones from the FM)

1 small minced clove of garlic

1 cup crumbled feta

Sprinkling of pepper and sea salt

Instructions

Combine the halved tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, feta, and 1/8 cut EVO in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 1 hour. This was great because it allowed me to get a post run shower in. Wahoo!

After an hour, cook the orzo. Combine the cooked orzo with the other ingredients and the additional tablespoon of EVO. Salt and pepper to taste.

Seriously, can a meal get any easier? I don’t think so. The tomatoes were so fresh and amazing, because they’re in season now. The feta melted just slightly onto the orzo and the basil. Be still my heart it was so good! Is there a better flavor combination than tomatoes and basil? Nope.

This makes three servings. With my marathon appetite I housed a serving and a half and chilled the other portion for lunch the next say. As I mentioned above, it was so hot that the chilled portion came in extra handy. I don’t think I would have heated it up if I could have; it was great cold like all orzo salads. This is something I can see myself making in mass for several days worth of lunches.

One Year Ago: I set my 10k PR in the Santa Monica 5000. It was also the race that introduced me to Kaitlin! Isn’t running wonderful?

Creature of Habit

Above anything else, I am a creature of habit.

It’s why I end up at either Coffee Bean or Starbucks almost every morning.

It’s why I need chocolate every night before bed (obviously while being lawyerly and reading).

And it’s why I almost always eat the same breakfast. Strike that. I have eaten the same breakfast every day, with the exception of when I go out and the less that 5 times I’ve made a breakfast smoothie in the past 11 months. I saw Kaitlin blog Van’s waffles last November and I have had them nearly daily since. It was a very serious and exclusive relationship unlike most of my other relationships. Sometimes with butter, sometimes with honey or sometimes with nothing but it was always the same story.

I loved Vans because I could eat them quickly, in the car while driving or while walking to school. Seriously, I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but outside of a good brunch, I have a hard time getting excited about it. Doesn’t hurt that I don’t love many breakfast foods like eggs and I know this will get me kicked out of the Healthy Living club, but I don’t love nut butter.

I know. Take a minute to absorb that information.

I hope I haven’t lost you.

In recent weeks, while I love Vans, I’ve noticed that they are not filling me up the way they used to. I need more protein in light of all the running I’m doing for marathon training. I played with a few ideas to dress up Vans but in the end I decided to just try something new for a change.

I am so glad I did. Sorry Vans, I now only have eyes for muesli. This was made, of course at my Mothers suggestion. She is very concerned about the nutritional quality of my meals while marathon training.

The best part of muesli is that I can make it the night before. It actually is very similar to the breakfast cookie. There are plenty of variations, and I feel like the night before thing will encourage me to be more creative with my breakfasts and HEY maybe they’ll make the blog from time to time!

Here is how it went down. I gathered all of my ingredients the night before.

The oats and the almond milk are the base of this breakfast and everything else was selected by me because it is what I had on hand. I also grabbed a container to make my muesli in.

Morning reminder not to get too cray cray or over anxious.

I combined 1/3 cup oats, a sprinkling of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla, some raisins and macadamia nuts in the mug.

Then I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk until the oats et al were submerged.

Saran it and fridge it overnight!

The next morning I opened the fridge to a delicious surprise!

So good, like freezing cold oatmeal. The muesli was so refreshing in the morning. I was able to eat it relatively quickly and didn’t have to spend any time prepping it. Also, it only dirtied one spoon and one mug which is pretty awesome. I hate cleaning in the morning.

Like I said, I have several variants in mind that I want to try and share on the blog. I see a very happy relationship blossoming with muesli.

Do you have a go to breakfast item or do you like to mix it up?

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.

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.