Wednesday, January 15, 2014

{Make this}: Legit Fried Rice.

Back in April, 2011, I blogged about a great recipe for fried rice. This recipe is one my dad uses and is from a cookbook he gave me a copy of. The other day, Jake made fried rice with chicken & broccoli... seeing as it was absolutely delicious, it is imperative that the recipe be reposted:

Here's the cookbook the recipe is from:
And here's the recipe again:

Fried Rice You need... 2 cups white rice (pre-cooked and cooled in refrigerator) 2 eggs, beaten 2 ounces prosciutto or thin sliced ham (you could omit) 1/4 cup frozen peas peanut oil 1 tsp salt
1) dice ham/prosciutto 2) blanch peas for 2 min (5 if fresh), drain 3) heat wok/skillet until hot, add oil (2 tbsp) and wait until almost smoking 4) add cooked chilled rice and stir fry for 1 minute 5) add peas, ham/prosciutto, and salt, continue to stir fry for 5 min over high heat (must constantly stir) 6) add beaten egg, stir fry for 2 min or until eggs have set

In family favorites,

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Monday, January 13, 2014

{Life}: Packing my lunch...

When I taught in public schools, I took my lunch each day. Once I switched to my new job, I got in our meal plan. It was great! I didn't have to pack lunch, it was cheap, it was like a food court of options - I was in heaven. But for every day that I chose the nacho bar over the salad bar, a little piece of my healthy goal died.

So in December, I decided to start taking my lunch again. I prefer to not think of this as a New Year's Resolution, as I don't believe in those. I prefer to think of it as an adventure.

As a part of my "I'm a grown up and need to take care of my self" adventure, I've decided to scale back on eating out, cut out soda completely, and curb the alcohol, salt, fried foods, and sweets intake. I know this sounds like a New Year's Resolution but I promise it isn't. Because I don't believe in those, remember?

So naturally, when you're going to give something up*, you have it one more time... The night before break ended, we headed to Garabaldi's for one more pizza:

*and by give up I mean eat more sparingly and not get a 14inch for two people...

Monday, a week ago now, it was time for the packing of the lunch! We grocery shopped and planned for the week:

I'm going the small meal route, so I'm doing breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. This has been working really well for me because I'm not letting myself get hungry. After doing it for a week, I also noticed I don't feel exhausted after lunch, which was the norm before.

We also are meal-planning... so out with the pizza and in with the Mexico City Couscous!

So here I am, a week in. I can tell you I slipped up on Sunday and it felt awful. So hopefully this non-New Year's Resolution will be the adventure I'm hoping for and not another failed attempt!

In keeping it real,

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

{Make this}: Crock Pot Roast.

Back in 2009, when this blog was but a wee one, Jake and I started making this crock pot roast. It is so ridiculously easy and delicious that I can't help but blog about it since we recently made it. In case you don't want to troll through the 2009 archives of my blog (believe me, you don't - it's a bit embarrassing), here's the link.

What's funny is the difference in pictures. Since then, we've renovated our kitchen. So here's the exact same spot, then and now:

No more paneled backsplash, no more gold fleck white counters, no more wood trim window.

And even better, since 2009, Kroger has invented something genius - a ready made pot roast pack in the produce section (with the pre sliced apples and salad and such).

You'll want to make this - here's the recipe, copied from my 2009 self - our changes to the All Recipes recipe are in italics. We added rosemary this time and it was a game changer.

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Cook time: 9 hours
Feeds: Four


2 lbs (boneless) chuck roast
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 packet dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup water (one can beef broth, can sized amount of wine)1-1/2 carrots, chopped (about 20 baby carrots)
1/2 onion, chopped
1-1/2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (5 small red potatoes, quartered)
1/2 stalk celery (we omitted)
2 cloves garlic, chopped in large pieces

1) Take chuck roast and salt/pepper to taste (we also used minced garlic and Montreal Steak Seasoning here). Brown both sides in a large skillet over high heat (it sears it, locking in flavor)

2) Place in the slow cooker and add soup mix, water (or beef broth/wine mixture), carrots, onion, potatoes, and celery (and garlic, if desired)

3) Cover and cook on the low setting for 8-10 hours

In recipes that stand the test of time,
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Monday, January 6, 2014

{Make this}: Jalapeño Poppers.

Back in 2011 I fell in love with an appetizer. According to Pinterest, Jalapeño bites were all the rage that year. I made them and was hooked. I blogged about it here.

Since then, I would like to think I've perfected the art of a jalapeño popper. I used to use this cooking creme for the cream cheese. Since then, they stopped making it (sad times) but now I use regular cream cheese and it is probably for the best. So here's my updated version of that recipe, since I made them over Christmas break:

Jalapeño Bacon Poppers:

You'll need:
   fresh jalapeños (however many you plan to make)
   cream cheese block (we made 20 poppers with one block)
   worcestershire sauce
   your choice of seasoning (you could use garlic salt, Old Bay seasoning, creole seasoning, etc)
   a package of bacon

Preheat the oven to 375

You'll do:
1) chop your jalapeños in half, deseeding and taking out the membrane

2) meanwhile, soften your cream cheese in the microwave, then mix in bowl with the worcestershire sauce (to taste) and seasoning.

3) spoon the cream cheese mixture into the jalapeños, filling the jalapeño

4) wrap your bacon around the jalapeño - I cut my bacon in half and did 1/2 a piece per jalapeño but if you were feeling generous you could use the whole one

5) Bake in the oven on 375 for approximately 40 minutes - watch the bacon to see if it is cooked all the way

Note: we use our broiler pan so the bacon grease can drip down onto the foil covered bottom pan of the set, that way the bacon doesn't burn in its own grease. I highly recommend.

And... the end result. Not too many in the picture because we nommed them all super quick:

In excessive calories,

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Sunday, January 5, 2014

{Life} Christmas 2013.

Christmas was a fabulous time for us this year. With Jake off for the month of December to do interviews, we had a lot of time for hanging out and taking a break from everyday life.

We received lots of love from friends far and near. This isn't quite all the cards (I forgot to take a final pic before taking it down):

The dogs were quite festive. The cat, not so much:

On Christmas Eve we went over to my parents' house and decorated Christmas cookies:

Then we went to the mall for the annual Jasper children Santa photo:

Afterwards we had our first Christmas Eve dinner at Jake's parents' house - his family came over and we all hung out and caught up. Then we went over to my parents for the big Christmas Eve dinner. Dad broke out two bottles from his cellar for our "mystery wine" challenge:

My mom always puts out this sweet picture of my brothers in front of the Christmas tree from sometime in the '90s.

Christmas morning came - Jesus appeared in the manger!

There were presents under the tree ready to open:

And stockings hung on the mantle:

Sebastian got in on the fun:

Jake did well this year!

The guys even got something - toys and bones from Santa:

Jake also got me this present - so excited about my new Costco membership #adulthood

Then it was over to the parentals for the morning. We racked up quite nicely there and it was very fun being able to share what we got for everyone! I got dad this oil painting of my mom - he told me a while ago he wanted one and so we surprised him!

Then it was over to Jake's family for more Christmas. Here's the carnage from their house -

I took a minute to take in the beauty of my Christmas presents from Jake (watch and boots):

After the craziness of the day I settled in with my new kindle, which Jake's parents got me. I've already read two books on it and love it!

Beamer with his fox - we ask him "what does the fox say, Beamer?" and he squeaks it...

I also got to spend a lot of quality time with my bff Chan - I snapped this picture as I left Harbor Town one night after chilling with her:

And then there was our inaugural visit to Costco! So exciting. We got a lot of goodies:

We also hit up the Growler a few more times.. Jake got one of the beer flights. Love that place.

Somewhere in there we had a Christmas Crawl/birthday party for Jake's mom in their neighborhood that was fun per usual:

And a family hibachi dinner at A-tan. Always a good time:

We went out to St. Philip to hear Chan preach (and I listened to her whole sermon!):

Chan helped me find new boots - it took a day with my mom and a day with Chan. Turns out Zumba has given me some beast calves.

We took family photos on New Year's Eve. Here's one:

Afterwards we went to El Mezcal for a big family New Year's Eve dinner. It was a lot of fun!

The following days were full of relaxing and taking in the last of break. We had dinner with my family one night before Jacob & Lydia went back to Knoxville. Oscar was the uninvited dinner guest:

I also spent some time soaking in the last glows of the Christmas tree before taking it down:

We went downtown and spent time with my cousin Amy and Layla, including riding on the trolley. Layla is getting so big!

There was a lot of hanging out with the pups too, of course:

And a final dinner of the break before a new year at South of Beale (their duck fried rice... amazing).

Alas, we finally took down the tree. The guys were glad to have their spot back:

And as much as I like Christmas decorations, it was nice to have a clean living room again:

But what a great break. Here's to a new year with new memories.

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