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Dieting Isn't for Everyone

So my boyfriend and I decided to diet together a few weeks back. He wanted to try the HGC Diet everyone's been talking about. I still had a nice "winter coat" built up from the holidays and the fact that we stopped exercising when it got cold outside. It's easier to work out and diet when someone does it with you (at least it is for me). He bought the name brand online which cost him around $150. My aunt works in an organic supplement shop (like GMC for hippies) and she gave me HC3, which is supposedly a better-for-you version of the diet.

The way it works is you have an eyedropper worth of the supplement to take in the morning and evening. It works as an appetite suppressant and boosts your energy level as well as metabolism. It also helps with headaches!

Well, we started off good. The first week was rough, but I ended up following through. Andrew on the other hand cracked after the third day. I cracked week two. I couldn't resist the creamy, sweet call of a spoonful of peanut butter. Unlike Drew, I continued to follow the diet.

After the first week I was down 3 pounds.

Week 2 ended in 4 pounds.

Week 3 another 4 pounds.

After that I stopped keeping track. Basically by the end of the diet my pants were noticeably looser (especially my chef pants!), some of my smaller shirts, now fit "better", and overall I felt good!

I'm still not down to my goal, but I'm getting close! Now that spring has sprung, I can work out easily and continue to eat healthy.

I don't have a recipe, but I do have pictures to share!

Grilled chicken salad with a ginger dressing

Fish breaded with melba toast crackers and spices along with asparagus and strawberries.

This week is rough at the bakery with Easter and Passover (gluten-free so it's kosher)in addition to our store/wholesale orders, but more business means more money.

I like money. :)

Until next time, have a safe holiday!

Password= Accepted


I thought I was done journal-ing for good, but no. After many attempts, giving ups, trying agains, and slapping of the computers, I finally remembered my password! Now I just have 8-9 months of updates to do. Yay?

So here's the basics:

- I quit working at Party City (after almost 6 years) and started working in a gluten-free bakery. It was the best decision I ever made. I got the job in December and started training in my last week at Party City. There are things I miss about my old job (mainly my coworkers and Halloween season), but I'm really happy at the bakery and I absolutely LOVE my job.

- Andrew and I have been together for a WHOLE YEAR! I love my boyfriend with all my heart and I'm still happy in this relationship. We fight every now and then like any normal couple, but nothing really major. In the next few months we're planning on moving in together. :)

- Speaking of moving, I've also moved out. My parents are getting a divorce. Since I'm an adult it didn't really affect me much. I don't want to get involved in the drama or be forced to pick sides, so I decided to move out. I'm renting my brother's spare room. It's good for both of us. He needs help with rent and bills, and I needed a temporary place to live.So far so good. I did have a helli-sh amount of cleaning to do since it's been a bachelor pad for almost two years now. >.>

- I am still in school! I transferred to JSR in Richmond. It's close to home so I can actually attend culinary club meets, AND keep in touch with my friends. It's a lot less stress without that 2 hour commute between work and school. I love my classes and most of my teachers. Their culinary program is actually more challenging than Art Institute's in my opinion.

- I'm going to be updating more with food, fun, and possibly dollies.

- Hmmm... did I forget anything?

Oh yes! I can't just up and leave without a recipe appearance!

Creamy Zucchini Soup!

This was my first adventure with blue cheese. I've only ever tried it in dressing, and as much as I love cheese I figured now was as good a time as any to try. They can be a little smelly, but incredibly creamy and the flavor is so robust I think I found a new favorite: Gorgonzola!

-2 T olive oil
-1 T butter (or substitute I use Best Life most of the time)
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1 lbs zucchini (maybe 2 large), ends trimmed and sliced up
-1t oregano
-2 1/2 c veggie stock (or chicken)
-4 oz gorgonzola or dolcelatte cheese, diced or crumbled (without the rind)
-1 1/4 c light cream or half and half
-salt and pepper to taste
- fresh oregano, pepper, extra cheese, or cream to garnish

1. Heat oil and butter in a pot ans add onions. Sweat onions about 5 mins, but don't brown them. Keep the temperature medium high.
2. Add the zucchini, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in stock and bring to a boil.
3. Lower heat and cover the pot for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese until melted.
4. Process the soup in a blender and press through a food strainer into a new pot.
5. Add in the cream and re-heat the soup. You can add more stock if it's too thin. Pour into bowls and garnish by swirling in cream.

So easy and so tasty! I made mine a little thin so you can't really see my cheese garnish (it sank).

Gourmet Goldfish

Think of these as gourmet goldfish! The pastry texture makes them literally melt in your mouth. It only has 4 ingredients so if you don't make these...well you're either crazy or lactose intolerant.

Cheese Sables (there's an accent over the "e" but I don't know how to make it :()

-2/3 c cold butter, cubed
-1 c flour
-1 1/2 c extra sharp cheese (maybe a little extra next time!)
-1 egg yolk
- Sesame seeds for topping (if you like)

1. Grease two cookie sheets. Mix the flour and cheese in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your fingers until combined. (messy, but fun!)
2. Add the egg yolk and mix to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface. Use any cookie cutters. I found the cute fish ones at a kitchen outlet store in SC.
4. Place your cut out dough pieces on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Cool on a wire rack then enjoy!

Also, the trip to SC is Monday! I'm so excited (just not excited about getting up at 4am >.>)

Eggs Florentine and a Mini Vacation?

Do you love eggs?

Do you love spinach?

You'll love Eggs Florentine! :D

I don't have a recipe for this anymore so these are guessimates. It's kind of a taste-test and eyeball-ing recipe.

-2 eggs (duh)
-1/2 c heavy cream or half and half
-2 T of olive oil
-1 T of butter
-clove of garlic
-about a cup of cooked spinach (I used frozen >.>)
-1/4 c minced onion
- salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste
-mozzarella or Parmesan for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat a saucepan and add the olive oil and butter (it sounds silly, but just do it!). Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.
2. Mix in cooked spinach and season. Then add cream. Cook for another minute or so.
3. Transfer your "sauce" to a baking dish of your choice and make small wells for the eggs. Crack the eggs into a bowl, one at a time, and plop into the wells. Cover and bake until the eggs are set to the way you like them. (I like mine just a little runny). Add cheese and let cool for a few minutes.

Delicious is served

This month Drew and his brother are planning a trip to South Carolina for fireworks and peaches (since they're illegal to sell in VA). I'm going for the peaches and the nice mini one day vacation. I'll update about it later!

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoe "Cupcakes"

Just as a note, if I ever say something like "I'm making cupcakes for dinner!", there's probably mischief involved.

Like this!

I used this to trick Andrew into coming over for dinner and it totally worked!

Instead of using a loaf pan to make meatloaf I loaded it into my muffin pan and cooked it just the same (with my awesome meatloaf sauce on top). For the "icing" I used red potatoes, very little buttermilk and a little butter, just enough to get a good consistency. Then used peas as sprinkles.

I'm a dork, but I love playing with my food!

I felt kind of guilty about tricking Drew, so then I made actual cupcakes. :P

Have you ever wanted to have a cupcake to yourself without having to make 12 at a time or one for you and your significant other (or maybe two for yourself)?

Well I get that feeling a lot. I know if I have cupcakes around, I'm going to eat them all, but whenever I get a craving it sucks.

I found a recipe mixed in my bookmarks for JUST. TWO. CUPCAKES. It was heaven.

One Bowl, Two Cakes:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 2 liners. (If it's an old pan, fill the muffin pans around it with a little water to keep from burning.)
2. In a small bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined. Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth. Stir in milk.
3. Divide batter equally between the 2 cupcake liners.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until cake is set. Let cool completely, then frost as desired.

For the frosting I kind of guessed. I used just under a cup of heavy cream, a few tablespoons of powdered sugar, dash of vanilla, and I think 4 Oreo cookies, crumbled. I need to adjust the consistency a little since it didn't pipe well, but I plan to make a chocolate variation in the near future.

Time Flies!

It's been a while since I posted something, even just about food so I guess I need to put something up.I promise I have been cooking/baking on a regular basis, I even started meal planning!

Meal planning is saving me money, lessening my food waste, and overall keeping me healthy. Andrew and I have also started jogging together every other day as a way to stay in better shape. Oh yes! I also have a recipe for you all. ;)

I made an awesome strawberry pie with those fresh berries from strawberry picking! This recipe is really easy and you can make it with almost any berries.

Strawberry Pie: (12 in pie)
For the crust:( Mine made a 12 in pie plus enough for a lattice cover)
-1 stick of COLD butter, cubed
-2 tsp salt
-2 1/2 c flour plus extra for dusting and consistency
-5 T icy cold water (I used a little extra)

For the filling:
-1 c mashed strawberries
-About 2 1/2 - 3 c chopped strawberries (I guessed)
-1 c sugar
-3 T cornstarch
-1/2 c water

1. Mix the salt and flour in a bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or two knives. Add the water a little at a time and stir with a fork until it comes together as a dough.
2. Divide dough in half and roll out to pie pan's size on a floured surface. Cook pie shell at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or just enough to harden so the berry mix won't make it soggy.
3. While the pis shell is cooking, mix the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan/pot. Gradually stir in the water and mashed berries.
4. Place pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it starts t thicken. Boil and stir one minute.
5. Remove from heat and add the rest of the berries. Place berries in the firm pie shell and cover with lattice pastry dough or just cover it with the plain dough (make sure to cut holes!).
6. If you want, you can do what I did which is coat the dough with an egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar before baking. Let it bake until the top is browned (25 minutes for me.).

It taste delicious warm with a little ice cream, but it'd be okay cold too. :P

In addition to the pie I used up the last of my berries to make jam for the first time!

I don't have directions on this, but there was one thing I needed that I don't normally keep in my cabinet: Pectin. It's what helps turn the fruit into a jam. You'll also need canning jars and lids (I have a ton of them). You can buy pectin in small packets and make 3-4 cans and usually all you need is berries and a little sugar/honey to sweeten. You can buy a canning kit, but it's not really needed. It was a little messy, but not by much. I also don't have an actual water bath, I made one with a large stock pot and a kitchen rag to keep the jars from moving around in the boiling water. I used plain old tongs to get the jars out of the bath too. You know you did it right when you hear a "ping!" noise from your cans once they start cooling. My jam is actually a little darker than the picture and tastes delicious! Can't wait for blue berry and blackberry picking next month.

Mar. 25th, 2011

I have a deep respect for food photographers. You have no idea how hard it is to look at things like this all day and not be allowed to eat it until you get the perfect shot (which I didn't, because the hunger monster kicked in).

I've never made buttermilk pancakes (I know, it's a crime) and wanted to try it. I also didn't realize that my buttermilk expires in 7 days, so I'll have more buttermilk recipes up soon. I tried to make a strawberry "fan" that one of my classmates showed me how to do and it didn't work out so well, but it's still pretty. ^_^

And yes I did eat all of the pancakes pictured (in addition to extra strawberries dipped in whipped cream.).

Yield: about 10?
I used my 1/4 measuring cup to make the pancakes and ended up with 9.

-1 egg
-1 c buttermilk (no vinegar/lemon juice subs this time)
-1 T oil
-1 c flour (you can sub whole wheat if you like)
-1 T sugar
-1 t baking powder
-1/2 t baking soda
-1/2 t salt

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl with a whisk. Mix the wet ingredients, buttermilk, egg, and oil, together in a pitcher (I used my liquid measuring cup to save dishes).
2. Mix the wet into the dry ingredients with a spatula and avoid overmixing. It's okay if the batter is lumpy.
3. Let the mix sit for about 10 minutes so the flour is completely absorbed into the buttermilk for flavor and texture.
4. Heat a non -stick griddle (I had to butter a pan since I don't have anything good that's non-stick). Just using the griddle with no added butter will give a nice brown coating to your pancakes.
5.Use whatever you like to dollop your pancake mix into the pan. My pancakes were about 5 inches with the 1/4 cup.
6. Flip when the pancake is firm and stops bubbling.
7. Brown the other side and serve!

This picture was taken before I coated it in a layer of syrup. :)
Andrew came over for dinner and I wanted to make something special. This Friday marked out two weeks of dating so I thought I'd make a nice meal. :)

As intimidating as the title sounds, it's actually pretty easy to make and you can do it all at once without having to be an incredible multi-tasker. Have all your supplies and ingredients ready to go and you'll be fine. First here's your ingredients:

For the Fricasse:

-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast and/or legs. I buy whole chickens and de-bone them myself and use the bones for stock.
-Salt and black pepper, I keep mine in small ramekins so I can use it as I please
-1 Tbsp unsalted butter
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced or just a blue container full is fine
-1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
-1/4 cup white wine
-1 Tbsp all purpose flour
-1 medium garlic clove, minced
-1 1/2 cup chicken stock (You can use broth, but if you can get stock, USE IT!)
-1/3 cup sour cream
-1 egg yolk
-1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
-2 tsp juice from 1 lemon (I just used all the juice from the lemon)

For the Brussel Sprout Noisette:
-1 pack of brussel sprouts
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup pecans
-1/2 stick of butter


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. and pierce holes in your potatoes with a knife. Place in a preheated oven. Take your brussel sprouts and cut the botom off of each one and score it with an "X". This will help it cook faster. Place them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes so get rid of any dirt of bugs that might be hiding in the cabbage.

2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in a pan over medium high heat. When the butter melts. place chicken in the pan and cook until browned on both sides. Place chicken on a large plate.

2. Add mushrooms, onion, and wine to the now empty pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the flour and garlic and cook stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to get the browned bits also known as "fond". Add back the chicken and any juices to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the chicken is done (took me 10 minutes? Just take a piece out, cut and make sure it's all white). At this point while the chicken was cooking, I put on a big pot of water with lots of salt for the brussel sprouts. Bring it up to a boil and add the sprouts. I didn't time the brussel sprouts, just taste them. they should be soft, bright green, and cooked all the way through. Strain in a colander.

3. Transfer chicken to a clean plate and put in a warm place. Whisk sour cream and egg yolk together in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly stir into the sauce in the pan. Stir in nutmeg and lemon juice then return to simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

4. To make the noisette, place the butter in a saute pan and melt it. Add the pecans and toast lightly, then add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off of heat (butter will be slightly browned). Toss the sprouts in the butter mix and serve. Also at this point your potatoes should be done baking. I coated mine in butter, sour cream, and cheeeeeeeeeeeese.

All done!

And the cookies I baked after the meal so we had time to digest! Hehehehehe

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Quaker Oats recipe modified)


- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups of quick oats (I like better for small cookies)
- 1 cup chocolate chips I used mini


1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.

2. Add eggs and vanilla extractm beat well. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well. Slowly stir in oats.

3. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on sheet, remove to wire rack.

I'm Allllllllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiveee!

Yes, that's right, whether you wanted or not I'm still around!

My family and I have been in the process of moving to our new home and just recently got settled in. They've been in the same house for 10 years now and you tend to collect a lot of..junk in that time so moving has taken longer than normal. I have a nice picture of the new house and it's absolutely gorgeous!

Yea I know you're jealous. The best part is there's a kitchen upstairs AND downstairs. (I get my own kitchen! Yaay I can unpack my apartment boxes!)

In the process of moving I've been spending a lot of time with my brother's friend Andrew. He's a super sweet guy and I was surprised we have so much in common (dork/geek wise anyway). We went on a date two weeks ago to dinner and a movie and he even got me flowers. WIN! So far we're just in the kind-sorta-dating phase, but I really love being able to spend time with him even though I'm usually stealing him away from my brother.

Other news, I planted my herb/veggie garden in flower boxes in my window. Since we're renting the house we can't change the landscaping so once my plants really start to grow, I'll have to figure something out.

Tomorrow I'm making a Chicken Fricasse with baked potatoes and a garlic/pecan brussel sprout noisette. I know some people make a face at the mention of "the sprouts", but if you cook them right and maaaaybe add a few extras to counter the bitterness, they really aren't half bad (and pretty good for you too :P).

I also made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins and added green food coloring for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow...but I totally don't have a picture for it. I WILL have photos of my Fricasse dinner tomorrow though (which has nothing to do with St. Patty's Day, it's just nommy).

I'll be spending time catching up on my social networks and journals so I might not post too much in the next few days, but it sure feels good the blog again. :)

Indian Night! (..sort of)

So I tried Indian food for the first time about a month ago and LOVED it! While I'll be trying a lot more, I had a craving for naan and samosas.

I had my appetizer and side, so what to do for an entree?

I fudged it! ^_^

My roommate used to make me a meal he called "chicken curry couscous". Well it has the basics: chicken, curry powder, and well couscous. There's also golden raisins, shredded carrots, onions, and a few other spices. All in all, it's simple, fast, and really tasty! Plus all that couscous fills you fast, so you'll have plenty of leftovers.

I don't have any special recipe since it's not mine to begin with, I just kind of wing it.

I used:
-1 box of plain couscous
-1 onion, diced
-3 carrots, peeled and then shredded
-2 cooked chicken breasts, diced
-about 1 cup of golden raisins
-curry powder (to your liking)
-chili powder
-ground cumin
-ground coriander


Well first chop all your veggies! Start cooking your couscous, mine took five minutes. Cook your chicken in a saute pan with a little oil and some of the spices. Once your chicken is cooked, put it aside and cook your onion and carrots together until the onions are translucent. Now all you do is make sure your couscous is nice and fluffy and add everything to it! You can season up your dish with the spices or add some of your own!

The vegetable samosas were a lot easier to make than I thought. Even the dough was simple almost like wonton wrappers, but with warm oil added to the mix. I filled it with mashed potatoes, fresh peas, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, coriander, and my own blend of garam masala (minus cardamom). I was tempted to get cardamom for my spice blend, but even as a learning chef, I still can't justify spending $11 on a small jar of spice yet. (YET.)

Also the naan I made was perfect!It was buttery and crisp on the outside, creamy and fluffy on the inside. I used warm milk, plain yogurt, flour, a little salt, and yeast.

YUM! My dad loved it so much he ate two loaves by himself, ahahaha

I'm always updating with food and never with real life stuff. Well food is a big part of my life, and to be honest aside from work, I really don't have much else to do right now. My best friends are in Vermont for the week and everyone else is busy. (No social life for me-sadface).

But I hope you guys try out these recipes! My mom (who hates trying new things, and anything with curry) even loved the meal. Good luck in the kitchen!

(and maybe I'll update some real life stuff later) :p