French Toast for Friday

September 12, 2014

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The weekend and leisurely breakfasts approach! I think it’s about time for some French toast. When I buy a baguette or boule of sourdough, I like to make breakfast with the leftover or slightly stale portion I always seem to have.* This recipe will use up about half a loaf, sliced 1/2 inch – 1 inch thick according to your preference.

In a bowl, beat an egg. Add 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Soak the bread slices in the egg mixture until it has all been absorbed.

Next, melt a pat of butter in a frying pan over medium heat and sprinkle both sides of the French toast slices with additional sugar. When the butter is frothy, add the bread slices and cook until golden brown. Don’t let the pan get too hot or the middle of the toasts won’t have time to cook before the surfaces burn.

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I drizzled this batch with a little wildflower honey, but I prefer French toast without syrup if I can have a lot of fresh fruit.

*Side note: slightly stale bread never gets thrown out around here. If it isn’t destined for French toast, I throw it into the food processor and pulse until I have homemade bread crumbs. They seem to keep pretty well in a ziploc in the freezer. Occasionally, I will cube the leftover bread and make croutons, which are great for chopped salads panzanella-style. More on that later, I hope!

Pork Chops Sous Vide

September 10, 2014

Is pork a mainstay protein for you? It’s not a meat I think to pick up. A and I tried making pork chops for the first time recently. Since they have a bad reputation for being dry, we used the sous vide technique. (We received a Sous Vide Supreme as a gift and have been using it for everything.)

To sum it up, I was surprised and pleased with the result! I think pork will be joining our menu a little more often…

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The flavor here is all chop. We added no seasoning other than salt and pepper, vacuum sealed it, tossed it into a 57 degree C (135F) water oven, and left it for a couple of hours while we ran around.

When we were nearly ready to eat, I tossed some kale sprouts (new Trader Joe’s item) with olive oil and stuck them in the broiler until they started to brown, then seared the chops in a bit of butter heated until just before it started to smoke. A couple of minutes on each side is all you need – which is good because any longer would set off the smoke alarm!

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For sides:
To the kale/brussels sprouts that are nicely toasty, add some caramelized onions that you have on hand in the freezer (you do, don’t you? If not, buy some onions and follow these directions so your weeknight vegetable or lunchtime sandwich can have a touch of sweet/savory whenever you’d like.) Another classic side for pork is “dirty” corn, which is creamed corn that you fry a bit in the browned butter right after you remove your pork chop from it. It is gooooooood, trust me.

Non-sad (non)desk lunches

September 8, 2014

You do not want to see what working all day in nitrile gloves has done to my nails. I’m trying to mitigate the damage, but sheesh. You might want to see what keeps me going on a work day, though – LUNCH.

I work in an area with a few places to grab a salad or sandwich, but not so many that the menus can keep me entertained 5 days a week. Bringing my lunch has been great for my wallet and my peace of mind since I can sit down and relax outside right away. But when I first started to pack lunch in my usual food storage containers, I ended up wearing salad dressing or carrying around a sauerkraut-soaked messenger bag. (Mmmmmmmm, I’m sure my coworkers loved that.) I needed something that wouldn’t leak, so I fired up Google…

Of course, I spent a long while looking at bento photos, but my level of effort will never add up to those masterpieces. After that, I did get my heart set on having a compact, spill-proof lunchbox set that could be used for the variety of foods I like to pack. Some people like to have a salad every day, and if I did I would have chosen one of the lidded bowls with a dressing container included – some even have a locked-in ice pack. But I like to pack salads AND leftover bratwurst with sauerkraut, or soup, or a sandwich with the tomatoes in a different container so they don’t make the bread soggy. I ended up choosing Laptop Lunches. They come with a set of little containers that are made of BPA-free plastic and fit neatly into a hard outer case that is small enough to carry in my smelly messenger bag. I also ordered the additional container set with a larger lidded box.

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I chiefly liked this set because of the size, but it also had to fit these criteria:
-microwave safe (the container lids are not, but that’s fine with me)
-watertight
-lightweight

That last one is the main reason I chose plastic over glass. Many of my coworkers prefer glass because they’re nervous about microwaving plastic. I don’t know whether or not that’s bad, and I expect it’ll be years before anyone knows the exact extent of the implications, but minimizing the weight of my shoulder bag felt like a top priority. Many other lunchbox or food storage kits would have worked for me, and there are so many cool-looking stainless steel, tiffin-style, or vintage options in all price ranges out there… So my advice is to spend the time to get something you’re sure you’ll enjoy using.

So far, I love the set I chose! The lids keep liquids from leaking and I am able to pack more than enough food. I knew that I would need the extra inserts for days when I haven’t had time to wash yesterday’s containers. I will be posting a few photos and recipes/ideas for lunch in case anyone out there, like me, feels that inspiration is a good way to avoid the nearby fast food line.

If I can give one last tip for you, it’s to use the last 2 minutes of your break to rinse or wash your containers (or, to throw them in the dishwasher as soon as you can. Judge the number of containers you need to have by the frequency you can run a full dishwasher.) You are much more likely to pack lunch for tomorrow if you don’t let your containers get stinky. Happy lunch!

Mushroom chicken and browned-butter-thyme squash

September 7, 2014

Hey, who says you can’t eat well away from home?

My advice? Get an apartment via AirBnB (ymmv) instead of a hotel, and when you’re there, make Browned Butter Butternut Squash, and pair it with chicken on wild rice and sauteed mushrooms.

To sauté mushrooms, I like to slice them fairly thickly. Make sure your pan is pretty hot, whether you’re using butter or oil. (I like to use olive oil with chicken, butter if I’m putting them on steak.) The hardest part is to avoid stirring too much. I find that they don’t brown very easily if they’re moved too frequently. Once they’re brown to your liking, deglaze the pan with white wine, stir in some chopped parsley maybe, and enjoy!

Maybelline Color Show Gilded Rose

April 9, 2014

Glitter time! I have recently realized that I love rose gold.

Color Show Gilded Rose

Color Show Gilded Rose

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this color! It “covers” in two coats and dries very quickly. I say “covers” because the base is heavy with gold glass fleck, which means that light shines through the flecks at certain angles and shows up at most angles as bright gold. (That also makes it difficult to photograph.)

The rumors that it chips easily are true. It comes off in huge chunks within a day or so.

Because of the fantastic color and quick dry time, it’s easy to throw this on before a dinner date, sans topcoat. When it comes time to remove though… UGH GLITTER. I might try some of that OPI glitter base. If I do, I’ll let you know!

So much this

March 15, 2014

http://tapastic.com/episode/31088

Weeknight Dinners

March 10, 2014

Cooking when you don’t feel like cooking sucks. Nothing sounded good tonight, and the fridge isn’t exactly stocked, so I made pesto, which didn’t suck, because the whole thing took 20 minutes.

packed up for lunch

packed up for lunch

I had some curly kale from my most recent CSA delivery, so I put some of that under my pasta and called it a night. (After packing up the leftovers for lunch, of course!)

Pesto Ingredients:

6-8 large basil leaves

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic (or more, to taste)

olive oil

I combined all ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor and pulsed until chopped small. I then added olive oil until it was the consistency I like. Bam! Pesto. Make sure to taste it to see if it needs salt or  more garlic.

I put a pot of lightly salted water on the stove and set it to boil. Once I saw bubbles, I threw in washed and chopped kale and let that cook until bright green but tender. I pulled the greens out with tongs and put the pasta in the same water to cook. Once the pasta was tender, I drained it, stirred in the pesto, and added diced ricotta salata – a cheese I’m adding to everything these days. Feta cheese would also be lovely, and if I’d had some cherry tomatoes around? HEAVEN.

Making pesto is definitely one of the those comforting things I do when I have only a smattering of ingredients. It’s especially nice that I don’t always have to use basil or 100% basil. I’ve added kale, spinach, and arugula  to the basil to stretch out the pesto without anyone really noticing much difference in taste. I’ve also made it with all arugula, which was delicious. (Mental note: buy more arugula seeds.) Once I get my Italian parsley plant up and roaring, I think I’ll try an all-parsley version. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Stuff I Ate

March 10, 2014

Welp…

Hi.

I kinda stopped shopping for nail polish. I guess I felt like I had good representation of the colors that I wanted, so I just kept wearing the colors I already have (approximately *cough* 100 bottles…)

I did, however, keep taking pictures of food, so there’s that. They aren’t necessarily good pictures, fair warning, but they are numerous.

Feeding ourselves is a different sort of hobby. I try to keep up with whatever new ideas on nutrition come about, but don’t you feel like a nutrition claim is no sooner made than refuted?

BUT: There are few food tenets that I have held onto:

1. Whole foods are best, whenever possible.

2. A variety of foods is best, whenever possible.

3. Dude, you deserve the best.

To elaborate on #3, I ask you to peruse Sad Desk Lunch. When I find myself eating food like that, it’s not usually because I’m like, so busy. It’s because I’m not taking care of myself. But we all deserve care, so I’ve resolved to enjoy food, life, and lunch breaks as much as possible.

I also bought a (very easily chipped) new polish. I guess I’m into glitter now? More on that if I can get it accurately photographed.

Lappert's so-called Spumoni

Lappert’s so-called Spumoni

Essie Chubby Cheeks

August 8, 2012

This is my favorite summer color this year, Essie Chubby Cheeks:

Full sun

It’s a creamy jelly or a jelly-ish cream. You can see plenty of VNL at two coats here, but I still love it. Different lighting will shift the color toward pink, but it always looks yummy.  <3

Quick bites

April 18, 2012

Ginger Fried Rice from Smitten Kitchen

 

Lunch today! I followed the recipe exactly and had this done in 30 minutes before my study sesh. ;)

 


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