Tag: food

Selfish Christmas Shopping and In N’ Out is Here!

As many of you know the fast food chain In N’  Out has made it to Utah.  There are four locations opening in the next few months including one in Draper.  In fact, it is about 2 minutes from my house, which is mostly a blessing but also quite the temptation.  So far I have avoided the deliciousness mostly because of the long lines- the drive through still has long wait.  Opening week the drive through wait was over an hour!

For the past two weeks I  have been sick and miserable (and still have a strain of it hanging on for dear life!).  Finally today I decided to treat myself.  I dropped my dad off at the airport and did a little  shopping- finally bought some snow shoes, a slipcover for my ugly sofa, some shampoo/conditioner/makeup, an entry-way mat, and Christmas cards.   I went shopping thinking of getting gifts for Christmas presents but to be honest I have already gotten most of my presents.   I have a few more to make but that’s about it.  This leads me a little room to buy some presents for myself!  Let’s face it sometimes a girl just needs to spoil herself!

These are the shoes I bought.  They are called Bogs, and I know they are ugly but they are ultra comfortable, and  will be super in the snow. I am excited about the purchase because most boots/winter shoes are hard for me  with my wide calves and high arches! I’m very excited about them.

After all this bustling about I decided to brave the line at In N’ Out.  In reality it wasn’t too bad a wait.  I went inside and it took maybe 5 minutes to get my order.Then I thoroughly enjoyed a regular hamburger with grilled onions, french fries and a chocolate shake.  It was terrible for me but yummy- and worth it! The shake tasted good on my sore throat and the comfort food was great.  It made me happy.  The whole afternoon cheered me up.   I needed a nice productive happy day with good food.

By the way, I also got a lot of work done today  but I think you’all are tired of hearing about my work…

Dating Chili

This Monday I participated in a chili cookoff at the churchhouse.  It was one of the most enjoyable activities we have had in a long time with everyone talking and enjoying good chili.  Each contestant was responsible for making a pot of chili and giving it a funny, creative name.  I made my own variation on the Barefoot Contessa Parties Chicken Chili recipe by Ina Garten and called it Dating Chili: It’s so good you will want to ask me out after eating it!  I would like to say that the title worked and I got a lot of dates from but sadly that was not the case.  (Plus, there were about 40 girls to 10 boys so the odds were not in my favor).

The competition was pretty fierce with around 10 pots of chili for the judges to try- including one pot made by a professional chef.   Mine was undoubtably the best and the biggest crowd pleaser; however, I just needed the judges to agree with that assesment.  Unfortunately they picked another 😦    It’s like my sister said “ther’s no accounting for taste”.  Afterwards a couple of the girl judges came and said they liked mine the best.  Maybe chicken chili is more suited to a girl’s pallet.  Who knows.  Despite not winning, a number of people have asked for the recipe and I decided my blog is the perfect place for that.

Chicken Chili (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook by Ina Garten)

  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 red jalapeno seeds and stem removed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (preferably with mexican seasonings or fire roasted flavor)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro plus some for garnish
  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can cannelloni beans
  • 1 (28-0unce) can pinto beans
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Dice the onions, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic. Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, honey and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, beans, cilantro and basil.  Add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

I think it is the yummiest recipe.  I love a big bowl with a little sour cream, cheese and cilantro on top.  Delicious!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  It does make a large pot of chili so if you are making it for a family I would cut it in half (believe it or not this is already cut in half from the original Ina Garten recipe!).

By the way, I did win best name for my chili, so there is some hope for next time! My only regret is I didn’t take a picture of the delicious chili.  I always forget to take pictures of normal life events.  If you looked at my camera you’d think all I did was go on vacation!

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Comfort

Tonight my mood while writing this post can be summed up in one word- comfort.  Why is that you might ask? Well, there are a number of reasons.  First, I am watching one of my all-time favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail.  My regular readers will not be surprised by this- as it is the one of only two movies I have written entire posts on (See Open to Change).   It’s interesting because I wrote the post in May of last year when my life was going through many changes.  Now my life is once again changing and wouldn’t you know I turn to the same movie to provide escapism and comfort.  I know it is predictable and somewhat obvious, but I don’t care.  It makes me laugh, has lots to say about modern-day work,  captures my love of books and New York City,  and realizes  my fantasy of a romantic pen pal.  Plus, its themes of modernity and change are ones I continue to come back to again and again.  I will not bore you by re-posting my favorite quotes from the movie.  You can look at my original post for that.  Suffice it to say, it is a comfort movie in a time of change.  Do any of you have movies you watch repeatedly?  One of these days I am going to do a posting on my favorite movies.  I have started one several times but it is difficult to pare it down to a manageable list.

The second comforting aspect of tonight is the food I made.  I happened to have the ingredients to make one of my family’s favorite items- German potato salad.  If any of you haven’t enjoyed this dish, it is made with potatoes, bacon, vinegar, sugar, flour, celery seed, salt and onion.  It is one of those dishes that pulls off the delicious sweet/salty combination.  I have been trying to eat healthier in the last few weeks (lost 10 lbs in 5 weeks!) , so perhaps this choice was a bit of an indulgence but as a main course for dinner it wasn’t too bad.  We have a tradition in our family of eating a  German meal on Christmas Eve.  It sounds odd but it is delicious.  The main course is bratwurst sandwiches cooked on the griddle with rye bread, gooey swish cheese and my mom’s special sauerkraut.  Most people turn their noses up at sauerkraut but that is because they  haven’t tried my mom’s.  It is delicious.  She takes the sauerkraut, rinses it, and then boils it in fresh apple cider for hours until it is sweet/salty yummy!  It has won over even the most ardent sauerkraut haters.  As a side for the  meal we also have german potato salad.  I have tried to recreate the other aspects of the Christmas Eve meal but to no avail.  The two times I tried the sauerkraut it  didn’t turn out and the sandwiches are nothing without it.  The german potato salad I have succeeded in making, so I decided to tackle it tonight. It was delicious and comforting.

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The third comforting aspect of tonight is the satisfaction of hard work.  Is there anything better or more comforting than relaxing after working really hard? Ever since I got home from Hawaii I have felt a bit like  a chicken with its head cut off- running around frantically, working hard and not knowing what was happening next.  I can now see things coming into place but it’s been a bit overwhelming.  As with any change there is the fear of the unknown, the fear of being unhappy, the fear of picking the wrong path.  It has been hard and I think I’ve done a pretty good job keeping it all together.  Maybe part of it is I’ve been so busy there hasn’t been much time for moping around the house or worrying.  There were about 2 weeks when I allowed myself to stress out about the future, but now I am excited about the opportunities that are coming.  As I mentioned in my last post I have gone from worrying whether I had one job to now having the potential for four- vacation rentals, sales tax, Grabber events, and managing other people’s vacation rentals.  I have had to put the real estate school on the back burner for August but that will start up in September, which I am excited about (my renting 2 of the Suncrest houses as long-term rentals  should be a good sign for my future as a property manager!).  This week in particular I have been working all hours on the vacation rentals, the long-term rentals, getting trained on sales tax, working on Grabber events and more. Yesterday I was up at the houses from the morning until late in the afternoon working and forgot to drink enough water or eat lunch. Eventually I had to lie down because I started feeling faint.  I also had phone calls all day- by 2 pm I had received 25 incoming calls! It was exhausting.  Today I knew I needed to take a break from it all and that is what I have done.  I had my voice lesson this morning, which is always wonderful.  Then I came home worked on my computer for the afternoon, made dinner and am watching the movie.  It feels great to just enjoy my life!

The only thing that would make today more comforting is if I wasn’t alone.  However, maybe wishing for someone to watch You’ve Got Mail and eat german potato salad with is wishing for too much! Even if a man is unrealistic, it would be the icing on the cake to have a girlfriend or two with me.  There are so many who are far away, and I miss greatly- Melissa, Raelene, Emily and Stefanie to name a few.  I can also imagine this night with my sisters- all of us laughing and eating together.  Still, they are all only a phone call away, and they all love me.  As much as I would love their company, the knowledge of their love builds me and provides comfort.   I know whatever career path or life choice I make my friends and family will support and encourage me.  One of my most frequent prayers throughout my life has been one of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for all the love He has given me.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about needing increased faith for the months ahead.  It may have sounded trite or simplistic to some, but I don’t care.  Having faith means believing in something that is not seen.  At that moment I could not see what was in store for me.  I still have many unknowns but already I have seen new opportunities open- chances that will help me be a better, more interesting person.  This is perhaps the most comforting part about tonight- that I know everything will be ok.  My life is watched over.  As long as I work hard, believe in myself and trust in God then everything will turn out for the best.  This is a hard thing to believe when life is in chaos but it’s true.

Thank you for all your support during this crazy time.  Thank you for the comfort.

Dieting is so miserable at least I found this funny

My friends, I am once again dieting.  This time the main reason is to help boost my gall bladder health.  While that might sound odd, I have good reasons. My nurse friend keeps pointing out that my gall bladder might be heading for problems.  This would not only be painful but since I only have a high deductible insurance plan I can’t pay for surgery right now.  Hopefully everything will be fine but in the meantime I am trying to stick to a diet I found on a website for gall bladder problems and praying that will solve the problem.  I figure it couldn’t hurt.  The main things it suggests are items high in amino acids such as grapes, celery, berries,  carrots, fish (it says wild fish but I can’t afford that) soy milk, prunes (yuck!)  and whole wheat breads- yummy, hah….not so much? At the same time you are to avoid dairy (except for yogurt and cottage cheese), meats including fowl, pork and beef, nuts and oddly all cabbage type vegetables.  In general low fat is supposed to be good but omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oils and olive oil are recommended.  The diet is big on organic foods but again those get into money.   All fast food is out- especially anything that is fried.  I have also been working on the wii fit to try and get in shape.  That blasted animated trainer is killing me!

Anyway, I have been trying the diet this week and am doing okay.  I’m on week 2 of consistent work on the wii fit.  I wish I could say I never messed up but there has been an improvement from weeks previous.  Today I started out strong with a turkey (just one slice) sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes and mustard.  On the side I had some a few corn chips without trans fats and some strawberries.  This was pretty good.

Unfortunately things went down hill from there.  I met up with a friend for a late lunch (my hair stylist Grace who got me sweet deals on a new flat iron and hair product).  I loved chatting with Grace but the Cafe Rio meal was definitely off the diet. I did try to minimizing the damage by only eating half and getting half chicken/half pork instead of just pork.  I also got the burrito without any cheese.  I haven’t quite figured out how to stay on a diet and be social and have fun.  I felt like I did the best I could but still feel frustrated.  Any tips? Be nice!

The other confession…I had some ice cream later on in the evening.  In my defense it was lower calorie ice cream (6 grams fat for 1/2 cup), but still I shouldn’t have.

At least I am trying, and I mean to keep updating my blog regularly with how I am doing.  Any motivation you’ll can give me would be great.  I really don’t want to have  surgery for my gall bladder, and I want to be healthy.  I suppose I should celebrate the small victories and keep pressing forward.

I did have a nice phone call from Miriam and a pleasant visit from my Uncle Tom today.  Plus the lunch with Grace- so I would say I did pretty well socially today! Still, I felt a little discouraged on the dieting front.  However, this made me laugh.  I think it encompasses dieting to a tee.  At least I didn’t end the day eating cheesecake from the freezer!:

This is a specially formulated diet designed to help women cope with the stress that builds during the day.
BREAKFAST
1 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup skim milk
LUNCH
1 small portion lean, steamed chicken
1 cup spinach
1 cup herbal tea
1 Hershey’s kiss
AFTERNOON TEA
The rest of the Hershey Kisses in the bag

1 tub of Hagen-Dazs ice cream with chocolate chips

DINNER
4 glasses of wine (red or white)
2 loaves garlic bread
1 family size supreme pizza
3 Snickers Bars
LATE NIGHT SNACK
1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer).

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One last comment- I am very sad Jorge got voted off Idol.  I thought he would last longer.  I am a big fan of Danny and that’s pretty much it.  I think all the girls are bad except for Lil.  I can’t believe Megan  Corkey stayed on after her song.  It was terrible. The judges were definitely too soft on her and too hard on Jorge.  Oh well!  That’s a reality singing competition for you!