Sunday, January 23, 2011

Must See Fitness Site!

I just found this amazing site called and am envious of this girls stomach for sure! She has so many great excercises, recipes, and other great advise. She also has many videos that are all free to watch. She posts quite a lot too. I haven't actually tried any of her intervals yet but they look really hard plus I'm willing to try if it means a body like hers!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shoes > Self Control

Now please forgive the terrible photos as well as the outfit that was not planned to go with them but I was just so excited to show off the new shoes. I'll be the first to admit that self control in the shoe department is not something that I pride myself on. I guess that's why I ended up with two new pairs today!!!

Call it a mental illness if you will but I just loose all control when shoes come into the picture. Like for example today.... I walk into the store and as I'm approaching the shoes I can feel the A.D.D take over. I don't know where to look and I'm all over the place. I also know very well that once a shoe is on my foot and I love it, I am simply not leaving without it! Therefore, in an effort to control myself, I am not much of a browser. I only enter a shoe store when I am there to purchase and I have to decide that in an environment free of shoes (so that my decision isn't swayed of course)

Last week was my birthday and I was given money from both my parents and Drew's so it only made since that new shoes were on the horizon. The first thing I said this morning when I opened my eyes was, "I am going shoe shopping today" When I got there, I really did have every intention of only buying one pair, I really did but I like I said, I loose control.

So there I was sitting in a pile of boxes debating if it was ok to buy three or four pair when I spotted this beautiful pair of Rachel Roy boots. The minute I put my foot in, that feeling came over me! I immediately ran to a mirror to marvel at they're beauty, leaving my purse and coat on a seat unattended. Luckily other people shopping for shoes today were honest because they could have robbed me blind and I would have never noticed till I went to pay. I'm actually just assuming other people get swooped off to the happy shoe place I'm in and don't even notice how neglectful I am of my belongings. Anyways, I am really excited about them if you can't tell. I even had to put them in my trunk on the way home so that I didn't reck my car staring at them the whole way home!

I also got a pair of heels that were on clearance, I couldn't pass up a deal!

Anyways, long story short...happy birthday to me!

Poached Eggs and sauteed kale for breakfast

I'm not very big of sweet for breakfast kind of girl but I really love a savory breakfast and this one was also very healthy. I was so excited to use my home made bread for the toast and my home made chicken stock to saute the kale. The picture isn't the best best but trust me it was really good. I found the recipe on Foodwoolf if you want to try it for yourself.

Monday, January 10, 2011

More about shoes...

This time about men's boots!

I really love all shoes, not just women's and I bought my boyfriend a really nice pair of men's polo boots for Xmas. I love that they are both fashionable and rugged at the same time. I think part of the reason they feel so manly, despite the shearling, is that they are a size 13!

Here's Drew trying them on and you can't see this but I'm letting him know it will not be acceptable to wear them with his Abercrombie gym shorts! He has since worn them with jeans, and I have to say I did a good job!

My first home made bread

I decided that I would try my hand at making my own bread so I found this delicious recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I made mine with coconut oil instead of butter and added flax and steel cut oats. I also added oats and sesame seeds to the top. I was pretty impressed with how good and healthy it was.

Trying to get back on the wagon is tough...

I've been trying to force myself to eat healthy and go back to the gym, so I'm going to be posting some healthier recipes than I have been. The going back to the gym part is really the easy part because I really like to work out. I love being at the gym, I love being sore, and I love the way I feel after a good work out. The hard part is that I really like to cook as well and I like to try new recipes. Most of the recipes that look good and that I want to try are not the healthiest. They're not terrible usually but they're not the kind of things that work for me when I'm trying to get really lean. I could make them healthier, but let's face it, they just wouldn't taste the same. I'm not going to a totally strict diet just yet, but I am trying to be better.

Saturday night, I made my boyfriend's sister in law's salmon recipe and it was really tasty! We had that with some kale and brussel sprouts. I worked out on Saturday so I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a little extra greens!

Nikki's Salmon Marinade and Sauce

3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
3 Tblsp. Bourbon
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1 Tbsp. ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Combine all ingredients and marinate fish for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
2. Then simmer marinade until it thickens, and use it as a sauce.

For the brussel sprouts, see my earlier post called My tasty NYE. for the recipe.

Here's the ingredients you will need for the greens.

I actually, wanted to make Rapini but they didn't have any that day, so I made Kale instead but it was really good and healthy too.

1 bunch of kale
Orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 small shallot, diced
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
a splash of white vinegar

1. Add a tbsp. of co cconut oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and shallots and cook until softened.
3. Add kale, orange zest,orange juice, crushed red pepper
4. Season with salt and pepper
5. Cook kale until bright green and add a splash of vinegar

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie From Scratch

My mom, always made the most amazing chicken pot pie when I was younger and since I keep telling my boyfriend and everyone else how good it is, I thought, I need to try and make it myself. I feel like my cooking skills have really improved but I am not so confident in my baking skills, so I thought about buying a pre-made crust. I'm so glad I didn't! Making everything from scratch really made a difference and gave a richness to the flavors. I have to warn you though, this was an all day affair. I don't really mind though, I actually quite enjoy it but it's certainly the kind of recipe that only lends itself to a Sunday!

Start by making your own stock, it is really worth it.

This is what the finished stock will look like.
For the base of the filling, use your stock to make a roux.

Ingredients for the filling

My home made pie crust

Drew trying to roll the dough. It wasn't working for him so he left it for me.

I made individual ramekins, for one because I just got them for Christmas and two because I'm a corner piece girl anyways.


1 whole chicken, (about 3 pounds)
1 gallon cool water
2 carrots, cut into about 2" pieces
2 celery stocks, cut into pieces
1 onion, halved
1 head of garlic, halved
4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
a handful of whole black peppercorns

Pie Crust: thanks to my mom!
3 cups flour
1 cup fat (I took my mom's advise and did 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening but you can do all one too)
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup ice water
1 egg mixed with 3tbsp. water(for the top)

1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 russet potatos, cut into 1/4" cubes


Pie Crust:
I actually made mine in the food processor, which was really easy.
1. add flour
2. cut butter into small pieces (make sure butter is cold)
3. add butter and shortening and pulse
4. add ice cube to 1 cup water
5.add 1 teaspoon vinegar to water
6. slowly add water vinegar mixture to the flour and butter and pulse
(make sure not to over mix it, you don't want your butter to be too warm)
7. when dough start to clump together, remove from the food processor and wrap in plastic wrap. You wont use the entire cup of water but follow to get the ratio correct.
8. Let dough sit in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour.

1. Add chicken to the stockpot and cover with 1 gallon of cold water.
2. Add vegetables and herbs and bring pot to a boil
3. Skim pot and then simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes, skimming often.
4. Remove the chicken to a plate and allow to cool
5. Cook the broth for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Use a colander to strain the broth into another pot.
7. Pull out carrots or any other veggies you want to add to the filling and discard the rest.
8. When the chicken is cool enough, shred the meat and discard the skin and bones.

1.Wipe out the stockpot and put it back on the stovetop over medium heat.
2.Melt the butter and then whisk in the flour to form a roux ( or paste).
3. Gradually, pour 8 cups of chicken broth, whisking the whole time.
4. Whisk and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, it will look like a gravy.
5.Season with salt and pepper.
6. Add shredded chicken and vegetables and stir to combine.
7. Turn off the heat.

To assemble:
1. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut a top and bottom piece for your dish. Like I said before, I used four individual ramekins, but you can also use one large casserole dish.
2. Lay your bottom layer of crust
3. Fill with chicken and vegetable filling
4. Lay second layer of crust on top.
5. Cut slits in the top of dough and brush with egg wash.
6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
7. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and put crocks on a baking sheet.
8. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the tops are nice and brown.
9. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes
10. Dig in and go into a sleepy pot pie coma!!!

Bedroom Update

I think our bedroom is progressing well but for those who know me, you know that I'm thinking about what else to do to make further improvements. So, I doctored up the photo a bit with some additional things I think I might need in here....

Maybe a little too much for this generic apartment. Hopefully, when I have a house of my own to decorate...and pretty hardwood floors, I can invest in the rest of these things!

Some more new trinkets...he he!

Coconut French Toast with Apples

Spiced French Toast with Apple Compote and Coconut
6 slices challah bread
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp coconut milk
1 Tbsp agave syrup or honey
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
coconut oil
2 medium sized honeycrisp apples
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp agave syrup
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, agave syrup, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, sea salt and vanilla. In another shallow bowl, fill with coconut flakes. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat and add a bit of coconut oil to lightly coat the pan. Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture, coating both sides, and letting soak in slightly, then dip into coconut. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until golden. To prepare apples, in a saucepan over medium heat, cook apples, agave syrup, sea salt and spices until apples have softened, about 10 minutes. Add golden raisins and cook until plumped, then add vanilla. Place bread on the plates and top each with half the apple mixture. You can also srinkle some extra coconut flakes on top.

This was really tasty considering I'm not much of a sweet breakfast person. I usually like more of a savory breakfast but if there is coconut involved can't pass that up!

My Tasty NYE!

I don't know about anyone else but I think New Years is just so over-rated! It never delivers enough for all the hype! I usually am just frustrated by all of the amateurs out who are so drunk and acting stupid. There are usually fights, covers at bars, and no cabs available! That's why my boyfriend and I decided to stay in and make a good dinner and have some drinks at home. We did that last year too and after hearing stories from friends the next day, we were glad we did!

The Menu for the Evening:

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Filet Mignon
Lemon Risotto
Brussel Sprouts
Many Delicious Drinks!!!

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

2 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into small cubes
1 shallot, diced
1 garlic glove, minced
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1. cook the bacon in a pan until done. Set aside and pour off all but about 1 tbsp. bacon fat.
2. cook the shallot and garlic in the same pan with the bacon fat for about 5 minutes on medium heat until it's softened
3.Turn heat to low. Add in red wine vinegar, honey, and dijon mustard and whisk well.
4. Whisk in the olive oil a little at a time and then pour over your salad greens!

*I used spinach, red onions, and cherry tomatoes for mine.

Lemon Risotto

1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice
2 lemons
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into squares
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
A handfool of basil, chopped
Salt and pepper

1.In a large pot, heat the stock and 2 cups water over medium low heat.

2.In a risotto pot or large skillet with a rounded bottom, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.

3.Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute to soften 3 to 4 minutes

4.Stir in the rice and add the zest of 1 lemon. Heat the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until evaporated.

5.Add in the hot stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, to develop the starch and the creamy aspect.

6. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges.

7.While the rice cooks, peel and supreme or section the flesh of a lemon and finely chop. Sprinkle with a 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

8.When rice is cooked to al dente, stir in the butter, lemon sections, juice of 1 lemon, the cheese and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

I love this risotto! It is my go to recipe and I like to take the extra and coat with panko bread crumbs and make risotto balls the next day! It's naughty and not very diet friendly but they are so good!

White Wine Vinegar Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts, quartered
Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, minced
apple cider vinegar

1. chop sprouts into quarters
2. heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add minced garlic
3. add brussel sprouts and saute until they are nice and carmelized
4. right before they are finished, add white wine vinegar and toss

These are so easy and good and you can make them with different vinegars for variation. I make brussel sprouts at least 2 to 3 times a week. I'm obsessed and I'v converted my brussel sprout despising boyfriend into a lover of these guys too!

We spent the rest of the night drinking beer, wine and champagne and watching epsides of 30 Rock!