Author Archives: Joggerslife

thai coconut curry soup

Thai Coconut Curry Soup [Noodles & Co. Remix]

A few years ago, I was both blessed and cursed after trying Noodles & Company’s Thai Curry Soup. Blessed because the stuff is delicious; cursed because the stuff is delicious.

[courtesy of Noodles & Co. Website]

[and, not the healthiest choice]

Needless to say, there was good reason to remix this recipe.  I love this soup, but since I want to eat it all the time, it’s not a sensible choice to order the real deal 7 days per week.  My jeans don’t conform to this decision.

Don’t be scared about the seemingly long list of ingredients.  You probably have everything in your kitchen right now besides the coconut milk, lemongrass, Chinese cabbage, bok choy and scallions.

Now, if you want, you can leave the cilantro and scallions out of the initial cooking process and just use them as garnish.  Some people don’t care for the way they look when they’re cooked, but I like the flavor that they add to the soup.  Either way is good, so the decision is yours.

Or, you can substitute the scallions for red onion.

Or, you can leave both out.

Or, you can do 1/2 and 1/2.

You could also slice up a raw tomato into wedges and add a wedge or two to each bowl when you serve the soup.

This soup is a party waiting to happen.

I’m a total mushroom-a-holic.  I love them lots.

I normally taste my soup throughout the cooking process, not only because I’m impatient, but also because the flavor tends to change as it cooks.  I like this soup pretty flavorful, so I add a lot of curry powder.  If you hate curry powder, you can leave it out, but it’ll be much less tasty.

To round off this soup, I added some marinated and grilled firm tofu.  It was fantastic.  You could also add chicken or shrimp, and it will be just as yummy.

This recipe will yield about 8 – 2 cup servings of soup, which is similar to the serving of a “regular” bowl at Noodles & Co.  Here is the nutritional information for each serving (assuming 8 – 2 cup servings):

Not too shabby, right?

Print the recipe, and make it…it’s delicious!

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twisted chicken tacos

Twisted Chicken Tacos

Remember when I used to cook all the time and then post recipes for you guys?

Yeah.  Well, there’s not a whole lot of time for cooking these days, considering that I’m either working, sweating or studying.  Unfortunately, cooking is a great stress relief for me.  For that reason, I do my best to cook at least one delicious meal every weekend.

Thanks to an unexpected offer from Ryan at POM Wonderful, I received a case of delicious, nutritious POM Pomegranate juice.  I had tried POM in the past (after I received some freebie coupons last year), but I never attempted cooking with it.  Considering the fact that I had an entire case, I knew that I needed to cook with it.

I didn’t want to try the normal things that immediately came to mind (pancake syrup, glazes, etc.), so I decided to make Chicken PACOS.

Chicken POM Tacos.

Yes, I made that up.  Isn’t the name just brilliant?

(I kid.)

Tacos are My Gazelle’s favorite meal of all time.  If I ask him what he wants to eat for dinner (provided that he’s home), approximately 90% of the time, he’ll tell me that he wants tacos.  The other 10% of the time, he doesn’t want to tell me that he wants tacos because he likes to seem mysterious and unpredictable.  So, I make him tacos.  Then he says “woo hoo! Tacos!” I basically never cook anything besides tacos for him.  I don’t mind, but tacos get kind of old.

Since I’ve been partaking in the occasional bout with organic, locally farm-raised chicken, I decided that I wanted tacos tonight as well.  So, we were having fancy tacos.  POM tacos.

 

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I chopped up the chicken breasts into tiny cubes, added Adobo seasoning, pepper,  and garlic powder, then cooked it in a little bit of olive oil over medium heat.

 

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(please excuse the sub-par photos…my camera apparently does not respond well on manual focus in low light!  Lesson learned.)

When the chicken appeared to be cooked all the way through, I added approximately 1 cup of POM Wonderful.

 

add pom

Then, I added a packet of my favorite taco seasoning.

 

add taco seasoning

Then I drank the rest of the POM (with my hawt post-12 mile bike ride hair).

 

drink some

As soon as I stirred everything together to combine, I noticed a marked difference in the texture from my normal taco meat.  I would guess that something having to do with the fruit sugar in the POM caused the mixture to be much more thick, and the seasoning seemed to adhere to the meat better.  I hate watery taco meat, so this was a good thing.

 

seasoned

I was nervous about the whole thing, because I was afraid that the POM would make the meat way too sweet.  I crossed my fingers and layered up the tacos…

 

finished

Spinach, Amy’s refried beans, chicken, salsa, daiya cheese (yum!), and sour cream.

PERFECTION!

These tacos were so freaking good.  By cooking the chicken in POM, it made it incredibly tender.  It also added an interesting edge to the standard taco meat flavor, and made things sort of sweet without being too sweet.  Even My Gazelle loved it.

So, I’ll probably make this again tomorrow.  Since he’ll probably want tacos again.

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fruity quinoa breakfast oats

Fruity Quinoa Breakfast Oats

Some may celebrate the beginning of a new year by eating black-eyed peas. Some may begin by setting a resolution.

Me?

I whip up a batch of Quinoa Oat Fruity Nutty Slightly Sweet Breakfast Cereal.

I guess the name needs some work, but it tasted divine.

To create this loveliness on your own, here’s what you need:

1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Quinoa
4 Cups Water (for more sweetness, use half water and 1/2 fruit juice)
1/3 Cup Tapioca
1/2 Cup Dried Apples
1/4 Cup Dried Blueberries
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts (or your favorite nut)
1 Mashed Banana
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Almond Extract
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoon Honey

Combine all of the ingredients into a rice cooker, and let ‘er rip. This is my rice cooker, I got it from Target for $30.

You can also cook this on the stove, but I was just being lazy.

Keep in mind that if you don’t want to yield 4+ cups of this breakfast cereal, just divide everything in 1/2 (If you have 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1/2 cup of Quinoa, you need 2 cups of water). You can also add rice to the mix.  In the past, I’ve made recipes similar to this with Jasmine rice and wild rice with yummy results.

This was my first breakfast of 2010. Quinoa Oat Fruity Nutty Slightly Sweet Breakfast Cereal bathing in unsweetened almond milk, with a brown sugar hat. Yum!

I was in the middle of eating at this point, but that bite looked far too delicious to not document it for all of you. Agreed?

Prior to this morning, I had never tried quinoa before. Ever since my “meh” experience with Freekah, I’ve been kind of a wussy when it comes to branching out in the grains department. However, I was reading last week about quinoa in my “Staying Healthy with Nutrition” book for school. So naturally, when I saw an ENORMOUS bag of organic quinoa at Costco, I snatched it right up.

With no regard for whether I’d like it or not.

What can I say…I’m a woman of extremes.

According to my text, like Amaranth, Quinoa is native to Central America, and is a fairly new grain to America. Strangely, quinoa is more closely related to beets and green leafy vegetables than it is to any “grain” in existence. The author of my text, Elson M. Haas, MD, suggests that we call it a “vege-grain.”

Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain, and can be purposed as a main or a side dish, used in soups and puddings, and as a flour in baking. Since quinoa is high in protein, iron, and calcium, and it has a mix of both B vitamins and other minerals, it is excellent from a nutrition standpoint.

Here’s the nutritionals for my quinoa:

Not too shabby.

My personal opinion of quinoa is that I will be happily finding uses for the remaining 3.5 pounds left in my 4 pound bag. When it was cooking last night, I was skeptical because quinoa has a unique smell, and I am often guilty of basing my opinion of food on smell alone (**cough**Kabocha**cough**).

This time, I vowed not to make my judgement until after I ate the quinoa.

Although the smell was still unique and unusual, I definitely liked the combination of all of the fruity/nutty flavors. The quinoa itself adds a certain amount of nuttiness, which is why I thought it’d be great with fruity flavors.

If you want to break into the world of quinoa, this recipe is a great way to do it.

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Chocolate chocolate chip cookies

[Chocolate] Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I posted a plea on Facebook early last week.

I begged all of my facebook friends for cookie recipes.  I needed fuel for my cookie party fire.  My sister receives credit for this fabulous recipe.  I can honestly call these the very best chocolate chip cookies that I’ve ever had.

They are very gooey on the inside, with a slightly crispy exterior, and chewy edges.

In other words, chocolate chip cookie heaven–everything that your girl loves in a cookie.

P1013061 edit

A tower of terror, chocolate-style.

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Here’s the recipe.  They’re super simple, so you should make them now!

Jessica’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt… See More
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not over heat. Remove; stir until melted and smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs, brown sugar and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in chocolate mixture. Mix in dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway thru, until cookies are shiny and crackly, yet still soft in center, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Yum!

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Mexican Wedding Cakes/Russian Tea Cakes

The absence of any egg-related ingredients, in addition to the use of powdered rather than granulated sugar, makes these a completely different consistency than any other cookie I’ve ever had. They’re a little more delicate than your average cookie, but flavorful enough to hold their own.

Another great (hidden) benefit is that they can be completely vegan if you substitute the butter for Earth Balance, which is what I did. I love the buttery flavor that Earth Balance adds, with none of the animal byproducts.

Although the recipe calls for pecans or almonds, in the past, I have been known to split the dough into 5 or 6 different bowls, and put different additions into each bit of dough. Some of them will have nuts, some will have candied ginger, dried fruit, or even chocolate chips. No matter what you add, it’s always delicious.

Well…I’m sure there are some exceptions to that rule, but let’s not explore that.

P1013055 wedding cakes copy

Here’s the recipe:

Mexican Wedding Cakes
(Makes about 48)

1/2 C powdered sugar
1 C butter (or Earth Balance), softened
2 t vanilla
2 C all-purpose flour
1 C finely chopped almonds or pecans
1/4 t salt
Powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cut powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Blend well.
3. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
4. Shape into 1-inch balls and place 1″ apart on un-greased cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets.
6. Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar (or place powdered sugar into a Ziploc bag and shake 2-3 cookies at a time in the sugar).
7. Cool completely and re-roll in powdered sugar.

Just a word of caution: When eating these cookies, do not inhale deeply just before taking a bite. You will most definitely inhale powdered sugar, and if you’re anything like me, it will induce a 10 minute coughing fit. It’s just not fun.

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almond paste cookies

Almond Paste Cookies [Must Be Eaten]

The same friend who loves me enough to give me the recipe for Marzipan-laced Stollen also loves me enough give me the recipe for her Almond Paste Cookies.

This is a friend, indeed.

Almond paste cookies are the thing that dreams are made of. After my horrendous Baltimore Marathon experience, I went to a bakery near our hotel and immediately purchased 3 almond paste cookies (in addition to a few other things). The goal was to drown my pain in almond paste. I don’t know if they took the pain away, but it was fun trying.

The almond paste cookies in my girl’s recipe are different than the ones I got at Vaccarro’s that day, but I would venture to say that they taste better!

And I even forgot to add the slivered almonds on the top.

They’re still amazing.

This is my first time making almond paste cookies, so there was a little trial and error involved (and forgotten almond slivers). I found it interesting that the first batch of cookies that went in the oven came out pretty flat, and they were also very difficult to get off of the cookie sheet. After re-reading the recipe, I realized that I was supposed to line the cookie sheet with foil.

Uh. Duh.

(The first batch is on the right).

While the first batch baked, I left the remaining batter on the counter, and didn’t add the second batch of cookies to the  sheet until after it had completely cooled. I’m not sure if it was because the dough had some time to rest, or if it cooled down some after all of the mixing, but the second batch was notably fluffier.

I also baked them for the exact same time, and used the exact same amount of dough (I use a mini ice-cream scoop), but the cookies were more golden brown the second time around.  In any case, it was good because they looked more like a traditional almond paste cookie.

Unfortunately, there was only enough dough to make 4 of them. And I ate one.

So, after I can actually leave my house (we’ve had 5,000 inches of snow in less than 24 hours), I plan to buy more almond paste and try these again. They are so so good!

The first batch is in the back, and the second is in the front…

Next time, I’ll let the dough rest in the fridge before I start making them, and I’ll also use a silicone mat on the cookie sheet.

Then, hopefully they’ll all look like this…

Yum!

Here’s the recipe!

Chana’s Almond Paste Cookies

1/2 pound almond paste
2 egg whites
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C confectioners sugar
1/4 C flour (I used 1/3 C because my dough was WAY too sticky)
pinch of salt
2 OZ almond slivers

1. Combine both sugars, flour & salt, and set aside.

2. Mix almond paste and eggs with hands. Do not over mix.

3. Add dry ingredients and mix well (with spoon).

4. Roll into one inch balls. Roll tops in almonds.

5. Place on foil-lined cookie sheet.

6. Bake at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

If you are able to not eat all of these at one time, please do tell me how!

What is your favorite Christmas cookie??

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Christmas Stolen

Eat It Like It’s Stollen.

I don’t think that I’ve properly emphasized this fact yet on the blog, but I love anything that has the word “almond” in it.

Almond paste.

Almond extract.

Almonds.

I love coconut macaroons because they taste like almonds. I could very easily leave out the coconut and be just as happy.

And, speaking of almonds, Rachel had a great idea a couple of weeks ago. Her great idea involved the purchase of a vintage-inspired apron from BoojiBoo. And, this actually has nothing at all to do with almonds, but I want to show you my adorable apron.


And, this is me. Today. In the midst of baking Almond Paste Cookies. Wearing ratty old gym shorts. And tennis shoes. And no makeup.

But my apron is damn cute.

It actually looks a little scandalous from this angle, but I swear that I was totally wearing pants.

Right, so speaking of almonds.

Today, I made a German Christmas bread called Stollen. This was my first experience with Stollen, and the recipe was suggested to me by one of the three people that I still talk to from high school, and she happens to know of my love for all things marzipan.

The process was a little longer than I had originally anticipated, but it turns out that I love stollen!

My only gripe with stollen was that the marzipan was not located in every bite. I know, that’s greedy and gluttonous, but I don’t get the stuff very often, and when I do, I want it to be pure indulgence. Next time, I’ll cut the marzipan into several ropes instead of just one rope, and then place them throughout the loaf.

P1013052 stollen

So here’s the recipe…

German Christmas Stollen
(Based on a recipe from allrecipes.com)

1 T active dry yeast
2/3 C warm milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 T salt
1/3 C butter, softened
2 1/2 C bread flour
1/3 C raisins
1/3 C currants (I didn’t use because I don’t like)
1/3 C red candied cherries, quartered (I didn’t use because I don’t have any)
2/3 C diced candied citron (again, couldn’t find it)
6 OZ marzipan or almond paste
1T confectioners’ sugar
1t ground cinnamon

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the egg, white sugar, salt, butter, and 2 cups of bread flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.

3. When the dough has begun to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead in the currants, raisins, dried cherries, and citrus peel. Continue kneading until smooth, about 8 minutes.

4. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

5. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the marzipan into a rope and place it in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it; pinch the seams together to seal.

6. Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 50 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

8. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow loaf to cool on a wire rack.

9. After completely cooled, dust the loaf with confectioners’ sugar, and sprinkle with the cinnamon.

10. Eat this once per hour, on the hour, for the entire time you’re snowed in (optional).

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coconut chickpea curry

Coconut Chickpea Curry to Cure My Broken Mojo.

In Honor of the fact that my 16 mile run yesterday was thwarted by more of my chronic knee/leg/calf issues (which can now be classified as knee/leg/calf/hip/thigh/shin/lower back issues), I am sharing one of my favorite recipes for Coconut Chickpea Curry.

I know there’s an authentic name for this recipe, but I prefer to call it something much more lazy. Coconut Chickpea Curry.

It gets the point across.

I just ate it for lunch, and I’m thinking about marrying it.

Before you can even consider making this dish, you have to channel your best Run.Eat.Repeat. After you have successfully channelled, immediately go to Costco and buy a gargantuan can of chickpeas for $2.75.

Because really. You can’t go wrong with massive amounts of chickpeas for $2.75.

So you don’t think that it looks big, huh?

Uh, yeah. That’s over 6 pounds of chickpeas. Thanks for the tip, Monica. We should start a new blog about Costco. Since we’re both there enough.

So, after you have purchased your 6 pounds of chickpeas, you may proceed.

It’s very simple.

And believe me when I tell you.

That if you like chickpeas, and you like curry;

You will love this dish!

Coconut Curry Chickpeas (Printable Recipe)

Yum! These little chickpeas almost made me forget about my pathetic running failure yesterday.

Almost.

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Blueberry Nectarine Crisp

This little beauty makes a great dessert or even a sweet addition to breakfast or brunch. The California nectarines that I’ve purchased are fantastically sweet this year, and they pair perfectly with the tartness of blueberries.

I made it this morning as a sweet “dessert” for our brunch French toast. The smell of this dish baking in the oven was almost too much to handle.

To make this yourself, begin with a bowl of diced nectarines and drained blueberries, patted dry. Add honey, brown sugar, corn starch & cinnamon, and mix until the corn starch is combined.  The corn starch will just give the berry and nectarine a nice thick sauce rather than becoming watery when it bakes.

Set the fruit aside and let it “marinate”.  The longer it sits around, the sweeter it’ll get.

I mean…don’t leave it sitting on your counter for a week or anything…but 30 minutes is good.

p1012621resize1In a separate bowl, combine rolled oats, brown sugar, chopped pecans or almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Earth Balance or margarine.  This is a yummy way to get your hands dirty.

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Place the fruit into individual ramekins or a small baking dish.  Make sure to include that lovely juice hanging out at the bottom of the bowl!

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Then top with the rolled oats mixture.  Press it down enough so it’s not going to fall off the edges when you transfer it to the oven.

p1012629resizeBake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown and the blueberry/nectarine mixture is bubbling.

p1012631resizeWow. Yum.

p1012632resizeI’m pretty sure this is going to change my life.

p1012636resize-copyEnjoy!

Blueberry Nectarine Crisp–Full Recipe

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what the heck cookies

(What the Heck are in) THOSE Cookies?

Someone pissed me off again today.  You know.  Almost exactly the same thing that the same exact person did almost exactly a week ago.

The solution?

I came home and baked these cookies while watching Bridget Jones’ Diary.

what-the-heck-cookies-copy

Did you know that I bought a new camera?  Yep, and I love it already.  I sold my old camera on eBay last week, and bought this Olympus Evolt E-500 DSLR used.  I ended up paying $20 for it after selling my Canon PowerShot SX10IS.

Now that’s a price I can live with.

My first DLSR.  Now I really feel like a big girl.

I’m excited.

I regress…

THOSE Cookies.  Right.

what-the-heck-cookies-2

Oh, THOSE cookies.

Do you see the cute little chia seeds?

And the oat nuggets?

And the carob, chocolate, and raisins?!

I must be honest.  I didn’t expect these cookies to turn out as beautifully as they did.  I was pissed off and baking, and that doesn’t always equal success.  However, I chose to throw together many ingredients that apparently meshed well together because OH. MY. GOODNESS.  THESE cookies are so good!

They are moist, delicious, and have a crunchy exterior and soft interior.  Just the way I like it.

I also stuck 5 of them into Cali, so I’ll let you know how those turn out tomorrow.

For now, just make these cookies.  And don’t be afraid to throw in whatever you want to use.  I think that as long as you keep the wet/dry ratios consistent, you can use any old nuts/nut butter/flour/sweetener that you have on hand.  Go crazy.

Click here for the printable recipe!

Now.

Go forth and make  cookies!

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