Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sedona, Arizona


Some pictures from Sedona when we were in AZ for New Years.  Sedona is a nice day trip from Phoenix, known for its red rock formations.  We went on a hike which the bf estimated to be 4 miles.... turns out we need to work on his gauge of distance.  We were pretty much starved and exhausted at the end!
Driving into the city
Somewhere along the hike
Beautiful view
Patch of ice - still trying to figure that out... it was north of 75 degrees
This was at mile 5. Me = very flummoxed!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happiness lately 1-26-12

Field of sunflowers
Something else that made me really happy today - booked a trip to Colorado in March for some skiing with some new friends from Machu Picchu!  We're flying into Denver, staying a few nights with an old work friend, driving to Steamboat Springs and staying for a week.  Looking forward to spending some time in a state with actual winter!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sodium Nitrates



Guys.  This may be one of those statements I regret making later, but me thinks it's time to cut back on the amount of processed meats I consume regularly.  Recently I watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and having a mild form of chronic urticaria myself, really empathized with the people in the documentary.  Through a diet of pure vegetables and fruit juices, these two men were able to wean themselves off the many prescription drugs they took.  Kind of made me take a step back and analyze exactly how much "processed food" I eat.  It's a LOT.  Take beans for example.  I don't think I've ever soaked beans overnight, I just buy canned.  Canned is easy, but it's also full of sodium and preservatives to keep the beans fresh.

Anyways, I stumbled on this article today which really cemented by decision to reinvigorate my diet with fresh foods.  I'm getting to the age where my habits are really going to affect my health later.  Smoking is a habit I choose not to pick up because of proven links to lung cancer.  Same could be said for sodium nitrates, the chemical added to processed meats like sausage and sandwich meat.  I will start by cutting back on processed meats and see if I can take it further. I'm not putting pressure on myself to completely cut them out, but will give it a good try.

In other news, I have been drinking a lot of tea! Chamomile, green tea, earl grey, it's so comforting to curl up on the sofa with a big mug.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ode to pizza

I can never turn down pizza.  Pizza is savory cheesy heavenly goodness.  I could come in the door with an armful of groceries with the full intention of cooking dinner, and the slightest mention of pizza will have me swooning like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert. 

Which is exactly what happened tonight.  Le sigh. 

Dammit Round Table Gourmet Veggie!

Courtesy of roundtable.com

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Guacamole!


One dish that always perks me up is a fresh bowl of guacamole.  It's such a cheery snack, great color, taste, and crowd pleasing.  Over the years I've experimented with a lot of guac recipes, including adding mayo (holy horror!), salsa, various spices, and toppings.  Well I am a much wiser cook now (wink wink) and have come to firmly believe that guacamole is a dish best showcased with simple ingredients.  Here is my go-to method.

Makes: 4 servings

2 ripe avocados (Costco usually has nice Hass avocados)
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno
1 fresh tomato
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

This is as easy as it gets folks.

Slice avocados in half and using a spoon, scoop the insides into a bowl.


Add diced garlic, jalapeno, tomato, and lemon juice.

Nail color ~ Chanel Peridot :)
Using a fork, mash together until mixed but not so much that the avocado chunks completely fall apart. Chunky guacamole is the way to go!

Serve with tortilla chips.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year everyone!  Here's to another year.  What are everyone's resolutions? I'm aiming to....

- Eat better and exercise more (which would ideally lead to a happier, fitter me!)
- Blog once a week
- Plan some cool trips!

In retrospect, 2011 had some great adventures.....  the first half of the year was mostly comprised of weekend trips to Yosemite to train for Machu Picchu.  And boy, am I glad we did!

Couple of photos that I haven't posted before:

Machu Picchu

Yosemite - Cathedral Peak
Emigrant Wilderness - Roosevelt Lake
Sunset in Stanislaus Forest
Over the holidays I went to Vegas with the fam for Christmas and to Phoenix with the BF for NYE and the Fiesta Bowl.  The week flew by insanely fast with a lot of traveling and a lot of eating out.  The BF, bless his heart, found Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix which was apparently Rachael Ray's number one pizza pick in the US.  There's a little foodie in him after all! 

Tonight we are making baked tilapia, veggies, and rice pilaf.  Starting the New Year off right.  :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

White truffle, potato, and carmelized onion pizza


One of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area is Pizza Antica.  I've always loved their Heirloom Potato, Carmelized Onion, and Truffle Oil pizza.  I recently acquired a bottle of truffle oil and the first thing I wanted to try to cook was this pizza.  It was surprisingly easy and very delicious. Personally I think thin crust works best with these toppings but you do have to work the dough to stretch it out. 

A quick note about truffle oil - I got to the store and got stumped over deciding to buy black or white truffle oil.  I ended up getting black, which isn't the right kind for this pizza.  Black truffle oil had a very earthy, strong, pungent flavor better suited to meat or risotto.  White truffle oil is lighter and better for pizza, potatoes, etc. 

Makes: 1 large pizza

Pizza dough (I used pre-made Trader Joe's)
1 handful cornmeal
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 large onion, sliced thinly
Butter
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
Couple sprigs of rosemary
White truffle oil 

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray down a cookie tray with Pam and sprinkle cornmeal all over.  Roll out pizza dough with your fingers, spreading it as thin as possible without making a hole. 


Place dough in oven to bake for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, either use a mandoline or knife to slice the potatoes thinly. 


Saute onions with a pat of butter and let carmelize for 5-8 minutes. 


Add potatoes.


While potatoes are cooking, sprinkle the gruyere and parmesan cheese over the pizza dough. When the potatoes are more or less cooked, remove from heat and add the mixture on top of the pizza. Using a light hand, pour a stream of truffle oil on top.


Add sprigs of rosemary.


Bake for 20-30 minutes until crust is nice and firm. Remove from oven, let cool, slice, and enjoy!