Archive for the 'shrimp' Category


crossing over to the meaty side…

Well hello, hiatus. I wasn’t planning to allow for you these past two months, but you seem to have happened upon the old blog. You knew I’d be distracted by the Sun, beach and miscellaneous activities only possible in 70+ degree heat, and you were happy to step in and make me look lazy by comparison. I’d be angry if I weren’t so impressed, hiatus.

Nevertheless, hiatus, I created you and I can destroy you. Care to know what I’ve been doing in my sweaty time? Oh, just training for a half marathon. It’s no big deal, really. I just decided it would be nice to have goals, and so I made one. I’ve also decided to take part in more outdoor sports, because it’s far too nice out to while away hours in the gym. And whiling I’d been. This past weekend I went bike riding for the first real time in about 15 years. It’s been a while since I stowed away my Huffy complete with detachable radio, and I feared I’d have trouble steering with handlebars curiously not equipped with streamers. Luckily, the saying held true, and I remained upright for the entire ride!

me, biking

In other news, I abandoned vegetarianism. We had a solid three year run, but I tired of the inevitably carb-heavy lifestyle and lack of variety in my meals. It’s been a little more than a month since I crossed over to the meaty side, and I’ve had quite a few experiences of note.

I began with a little chorizo in an omelette, and I was taken aback by how overpowering I found the pork to be in an otherwise inoffensive Manchego-laced omelette. Immediately after, I approached the Whole Foods meat counter for the first time and bought some chorizo of my own, assuming I would like it much better once I prepared it myself. This was pretty accurate. I made Rachael Ray’s Portuguese Fisherman’s Shrimp and Chorizo the next night, assuming it would an easy transition for me to sneak it in a veggie-heavy soup with shrimp.

shrimp and chorizo stew

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces chorizo, casing removed and chopped
1 starchy potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced
1 Fresno or Holland pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 small bunch flat-leaf kale, leaves stripped and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chick peas, drained
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with chiles
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined and stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon

You start by heating the olive oil in a soup pot over medium high heat, and then render the chorizo down for a couple of minutes. Add the potato, onion, carrot, garlic, chili pepper, thyme, and bay leaf, and soften for 5-6 minutes. Wilt in the kale, then stir in chickpeas, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a low boil, season with salt and pepper, and add shrimp and cook until pink. Juice with a lemon and serve. This meal was infinity times better than my first chorizo experience, which made me realize I enjoy fatty meat only when it’s the supporting role rather than the lead.

A few weeks later, I ate some steak tacos from this place that easily made my list of top five meals under $10. I had suspected up until that point that I enjoyed beef, but that experience solidified my appreciation. I made this Pepper Grilled Steak with Chopped Summer Salad from Epicurious not long after.

steak with summer salad


2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 3/4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 2-pound 1 1/2-inch-thick top sirloin steak
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup baby arugula or chopped regular arugula
1/2 cup (generous) diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 jalapeño chile, seeded, finely chopped (about 4 teaspoons)

You start by mixing the garlic, pepper, and 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt in small bowl; rub all over steak. You’re supposed to let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour, but I’ve been fending off a freeloading mouse for a month or so, and so my steak standing lasted more like 15 minutes.

I then heated up the Panini Press and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. I grilled the steak until charred and cooked to desired doneness, about 7 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 10 minutes.

Mix tomatoes and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thinly slice steak; arrange on plate. This may not have been the prettiest dish, but it redeems itself in both saltiness and juiciness. Those are two admirable qualities.


Tonight was the proudest moment in my meat exploration, however, because I both prepared and tasted lamb for the first time. I have been curious about lamb for quite some time, but purchasing the lamb rib chops took cojones I was quite sure I did not possess. I found this recipe for Lamb Chops with Yogurt-Mint Sauce on Epicurious:


1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 (1-inch-thick) rib lamb chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp cumin (I added)
1 tsp paprika (I added)
1 tsp salt (I added)
1/2 tsp pepper (I added)

The recipe did not call for the last four ingredients, but one of the Epicurious reviewers said she’d followed an old Jacques Pepin dry rub to the chops. Jacques, pictured above, was a mainstay in my childhood as one of the chefs who lived on the television in my family’s living room. He said “salt and pepper” in a hilarious French accent, but the man knew his shit. So, prior to my lamb searing, I mixed together the cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and rubbed it on the meat. I then heated the olive oil in a skillet, and cooked the lamb over medium-high heat for about three minutes a side. While those were cooking, I stirred together the mint, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl. I also made some Sugar Snap Peas with Ginger and Garlic, and served those with the chops.

The meat was fattier than I would have expected, but it had a really interesting flavor far from anything I’ve accidentally experienced before (ahem, pork snuck into every Chinese dish ever). I really enjoyed, and I think in the future I’ll try ground lamb so there’s less fat invited to the party. See below:

lamb chops with yogurt mint sauce, sugar snap peas with ginger and garlic



Midday gym and mussels provencale.

I used to think I was incapable of a midday gym. I thought, “Oh, give me two hours after work when I’d want nothing more than some Seinfeld and a leisurely prepared meal to, rather, duke it out with the overly-chatty after-work crowd for some poorly matched free weights and a sliver of floor space.” Then, it dawned on me that more than 20 minutes of cardio at non-interval speeds is the cardio equivalent of white rice, in that it provides no legitimate value to my life and makes me resent sushi for favoring its kind. I used to think my high maintenance hair wouldn’t allow me to compress my routine into an effective half hour, but I found my way back to the oft-neglected ponytail of dance team performances past. I wear it these days without my puff painted hair ribbon with “GJHS” on one side and “Eagles” on the other, though. I’ve moved on.

So, I’ve embraced the midday gym these days. I’m sold on its ability to allow me some midday Cooking Channel and its non-compete policy with happy hour. Also, I realized all too late (several hundred dollars late!) that I was temporarily rendered insane by Physique 57’s feminist messaging and nostalgia-provoking ballet stretches. Nothing tones my body more than weights, and cardio allows for some fat burning and stress releasing. Period. No need to shell out hundreds for less-effective exercises and group motivation, no matter how fancy it makes me feel. And I DID feel fancy. Bring on the fuzzy high heeled slippers and ear plugs that double as chandelier earrings, please. I’m just CRAZY about Tiffany’s.

Since I’m all freed up with the cult-like group exercising, I decided I had some bandwidth to join a dietary cult. My office is kind of enamored with the Four Hour Body, which preaches a dramatic change in physique if one adopts a slow carb mentality. Meaning, you have to cut out all dairy, grains, sugar and fruit, and eat meals of just lean protein, legumes and vegetables. I turned my nose up at first, naturally, but I allowed myself to get sucked in. It’s somewhat challenging to make interesting meals on the diet, but I’ve been doing it for about two weeks and have made some delicious seafood-centric meals.

I made this spicy shrimp dish last week, which I based on this recipe from Epicurious:


spicy shrimp with peanuts and black beans

3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp vegetable oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini, chopped (my addition)
1/4 c peanuts, chopped (my addition)
1/4 c black beans (my addition)

The recipe actually calls for pineapple and bok choy, but I’m off fruit for now and Whole Foods was out of bok choy, so I improvised. I used broccolini instead, mostly because I think it’s adorable. It’s baby broccoli! How cute is that? Also, it tastes good and adds some color.

You start by blending together the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil in a bowl. The original recipe wanted me to blend cornstarch and honey in there also, but neither are 4hb compliant, so I abstained. You then heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add 2 tsp vegetable oil, shrimp, garlic, ginger and pepper for about two minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and then add 2 more tsp of oil to the skillet. Add peppers, onions, and broccolini to the skillet and stir fry until wilted. Then add black beans, peanuts, and eventually recombine with the shrimp mixture in the skillet. It should only take about 5 minutes, and dinner is served.

I made mussels for dinner last night, and they came out pretty amazing. Emphasis on the pretty. Are they not the classiest shellfish around? That they are. My first run-in with a mussel happened just a month ago, and I had wrongly assumed that I had a mussel aversion since my mom is not a fan. It’s the same way I assumed that I, too, hated beets since they had always disgusted her. I temporarily remembered that I am a separate human with separate opinions, and I sat down to several buckets of mussels for dinner. It turns out, I’m a fan. Shocking.

I made this dish from Epicurious:



2 lbs mussels, cleaned
1/2 c dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped, and some extra for bouquet garni
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper (my addition)
1 tbsp balade butter (my addition)
You start by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan and adding the onions, celery, garlic, basil and bouquet garni, which I took to mean a bundle of un-chopped basil. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the mussels in a large skillet with the white wine and butter over high heat. Put the lid on to trap the heat, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The mussels will all open to reveal their innards, and those who haven’t are still alive and must be discarded. Pour the tomato sauce over the mussels, and sprinkle with chopped basil.

They were incredible. Seriously. This is one of the easiest and tastiest meals ever, and it looks so damn classy. Unfortunately, the picture quality is a little fuzzy due to the steam. I’m including a somewhat distorted picture of the finished product, since it was the best of the bunch. See below:

moules provencale


spicy parmesan grilled shrimp and tabbouleh.

Well Happy New Year, readers. I hereby resolve to make this the sweatiest and spiciest year of them all. These first two days have been pretty decent, so all signs point to continued success for the next 363. As I danced away 2010 on New Year’s Eve,  a trusty vodka soda in hand, I spent a brief moment reflecting on all I experienced last year. My passport was covered in cobwebs of neglect since I’d tucked it away in 2005, but I revived it in March to go to Mexico and in June to visit Israel. I went to California twice while it was frigid in NYC, and I was even fortunate enough to experience Malibu in all its glory. Yep – I saw it nakey. I went to Austin and had the best damn fish taco of my life, which I bought from the back of a food trailer. I was promoted at work in May, and then I moved to my own apartment on arguably the best street in the East Village (next to 7th street) in October. Quite the eventful year, 2010. I’m sad to see you go.

It will be tough for 2011 to compete with my self proclaimed “Year of the Vacay” that was 2010. I hate to go all “lowest common denominator” on you and deem it the “Year of the Stay-cay,” but that’s pretty accurate as to how I see the year panning out. I’ve bought adorbs dishware, my first ever flat screen TV, and I recently upgraded to a 2-disc Netflix program, so I’m beginning to understand the joy in nesting. I also became reacquainted with the novel I started a few months back, and I’m hoping to actually finish it this year. It’s a marathon, yo. Books are so very long. In the meantime, I’m strongly considering giving birth to another blog that will operate in a more stream of consciousness manner. Stay tuned for that…

In between all the Netflix-ing I’ve been doing, I’ve managed to kick my glutes into shape. Who’s that girl logging an average 60-90 minutes of intense cardio along with more challenging strength training? Oh, that’s just me. I’ve been spinning, stair stepper-ing, ski machin-ing, and hitting a yoga class at least once a week. Suzanne Somers in the height of Three’s Company fame, you say? Well, I guess I have been mistaken for her once or twice.


I need to be bikini-ready for a wedding in Mexico this February, so I can’t exactly take my sweet time getting there. I’m off to quite the sweaty start.

As far as the spicy side is concerned, I’ve had a confusing last few weeks as there seems to be a holiday dinner party every other day that I need to mentally prepare for. The chances to cook have been pretty limited, but everything slowed down once a blizzard slammed the east coast and dropped 20 inches of snow outside my door.

I found myself ill-prepared, as my refrigerator boasted a modest two eggs, a bunch of parsley, and bread crumbs. I found myself impotent to create new meals from such limited ingredients, and I had just two dollars in cash on my person. Delivery was out of the question, and Fresh Direct had put a temporary moratorium on all deliveries. Nice one, blizzard. You win this round.

Left to my own devices, I ate poached eggs and worked on my novel for the full two days. On the third day, I emerged from the apartment to find an unplowed winter wonderland outside:


I so badly wanted to get to the Middle Eastern restaurant across the street for my falafel fix, but a guaranteed face dive in the snow kept me away. I decided to go home and make my own tabbouleh instead, because the market on my side of the street was much more attainable.

As someone who credits half her body weight to the existence of the chickpea – and more specifically, hummus – I’ve rarely attempted to make my own dishes. My sister and I once made a meal of Mediterranean sides in college, but I credit that olive tapenade, hummus and tabbouleh to her and her alone. I vaguely remember adding colorful commentary while I thumbed through Vogue and halfheartedly toasted pita chips, but I don’t recall actually making anything.

In my post-grad years, I once famously bought a jar of tahini so I could start making my own hummus. The tahini mostly sat in the refrigerator and worked on creating a rusty ring on the shelf from its tin container. I may have made my own hummus just once, but that one occasion reminded me of how much I loathe cleaning food processors. I went back to buying.

I was left with no choice last weekend as the Middle Eastern food craving had already hit, and I was a sea of snow away from the people who prepared it so skillfully.

I found this tabbouleh recipe in the Jewish cookbook that my dad gifted me a few months back:



1 package tabbouleh mix
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
½ bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped
juice of 2-3 lemons
¾ c of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

In actuality, the recipe called for cracked wheat or bulgar wheat, but the only open market was not too sophisticated. I wasn’t able to find either of the above, so I was forced to cheat with the ready packaged tabbouleh mix. I’m so ashamed.

I started by making the mix as instructed on the box. I was to mix the grains with the seasoning mixture with one cup of boiling water, and then remove from heat. It asked me to refrigerate for half an hour, and so I did as told. Meanwhile, I prepped all my veggies. La di da. When the tabbouleh was ready, I added the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley and mint. Then I added lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It was so tangy and herby, just as the recipe predicted. I ate it the first night as is.

The second night, I grilled some shrimp and ate them alongside the tabbouleh. While the Panini Press was heating up, I threw together this fun little rub to dip them in pre-grilling.


1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c Panko bread crumbs
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
dash of salt

I dabbed my grill with canola oil, dredged my shrimp, and let them grill for about two minutes each side. I’ve watched several hundreds of hours of the Food Network through the years, so I’m aware that for anything to stick one needs a binding element, such as egg. I was maybe a little over zealous with my shrimp rub, because I knew I’d like to avoid turning a simple, 5-minute meal into a more drawn out, painful process. As a result, the majority of my rub ended up stuck to the grill, and solely the flavor of the lemon juice penetrated the shrimp. I have a secret habit of eating grill scrapings and enjoying them far more than the actual intended meal, so I was all too happy to scrape off the cheesy mix and use it to top the shrimp. I did as such, and enjoyed a few shrimp with my tabbouleh. Don’t they look good together? It was yum, too:

spicy parmesan shrimp and tabbouleh


roasted shrimp and baked clams.

In 1991, I went through the obligatory phase in which I obsessed about all things “The Little Mermaid.” We’re talking multiple Ariel dolls, swimsuits, tent, bedspread, watch, etc. If collecting Ariel paraphernalia were an Olympic sport, I would have broken records in the second grade. I had the entire movie memorized and would proudly recite it daily in conjunction with the movie, which I watched anywhere from 5-10 times every day. And, yet, I can’t recall one fantasy of devouring Sebastian shumai or grilled Flounder tacos. Odd.

Enter 2010, and suddenly I’m this seafood obsessive who craves Ariel’s friends on the daily. Fo realz. I recently made a roasted shrimp with champagne-shallot sauce that was all kinds of amazeballs.

roasted shrimp with champagne shallot sauce

I found it courtesy of my old standby, Epicurious. Oh, Epi, you’re always there for me when creativity abandons me. You’re like my safety school.


1/2 cup minced shallots
3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 3/4 lbs uncooked shrimp, deveined
3 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 1/4 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 cup butter, room temp
green beans
2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley

I brought some champy back from Israel, so it was a relief to find some use for it that didn’t involve wearing my high heeled slippers and eating gold. I’m getting sooo sick of my Tuesday night routine.

You start by simmering the champagne and shallots until they reduce to 1/2 cup, which takes 25 minutes. Combine oil, shrimp, 2 1/2 tsp thyme, and lemon peel in a bowl, and toss together with some salt and pepper. Meanwhile I boiled the green beans in some salted water for a few minutes, and those were good to go.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and arrange shrimp on baking sheets. Roast for about 6 minutes, or until opaque. Meanwhile, bring sauce to simmer, remove from heat, and whisk in butter along with 1 tsp thyme, and 1/2 tsp lemon peel. Add salt to taste, and voila. Make a bed of green beans, put shrimp on top, spoon sauce on top, and garnish with parsley. Delicioso.

littleneck clams

I’ve also been having a not-so-covert affair with bivalves, and so I decided to bake some recently.


16 littleneck clams
1 bunch Italian parsley
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, minced
a few drops of hot sauce

I had just returned from a weekend of gluttony in the central Fla., and I was craving something non-muffin top inducing, if at all possible. I researched and found solely sub-par baked clam recipes, and so I was left to my own devices. I started by steaming the clams in a tight fitting pot over moderately high heat for 5-7 minutes. They eventually bloomed, if you will, and looked as they do above. Check.

I mixed together breadcrumbs, about 2 tbsp Parmesan, garlic, shallot, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a large bowl. I then shucked the clams, and added those into the mix as well. I threw away half of each shell, and used the other half as a bed for my clam mix. I divided the mix among the shells, topped with more cheese, and put under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes. They were so tasty and easy to prepare, and I only had to pair with a small salad to be full. Loves it.

As far as the sweatiness goes, I’ve been logging hours with my good friend, Gym. I try to mix it up with the variety of machines, but it comes as no surprise that I’m nearing yet another rut. It’s quite a bit of time spent with Gym for minimal results, and I realize that it’s less about the time spent and more about how one tricks one’s body. It’s damn near impossible to do weird exercises in my cramped room or in a gym full of spectators, though. I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide whether to get a trainer or try crossfit, and I’m treating this week as my sampler. A revamping is straight ahead, and I, for one, am thrilled. Stay tuned, and see below for my clams:

stuffed and baked clams


shrimp salad with serrano-mint sauce.

My longest term relationship has been with the gym, and I have put a LOT of time into making it work. We first got together in high school, had a trial separation in college, and got back together right before I moved to New York. We’ve been going strong for four years now, and I am bored out of my skull. I’ve tried different things to keep it interesting, but there are only so many options within those confined walls. As a result, I’ve been looking elsewhere for satisfaction. The track and I have had a well publicized affair, but that’s not the only time I’ve strayed. I recently went to Mexico, and the pool and I had some really good times. We’re talking handstand contests, somersaults, et al. Also, what better way to rehydrate than with a swim up bar and giant frozen cocktails? Sorry, Poland Spring. I appreciate a good sport cap, but Pina Colada won this round.

gym assassin

Also, is it any accident that all the girls with the sickest bodies in Mexico were major yogis? Methinks not. I’m all about the yoga now. I was warned that it would change my body, muscle-y-wise, and I’ll be damned if it hasn’t already. I’ve gone maybe five times in the last two weeks, and I honestly look longer and leaner. Seriously, I think my spine went off and elongated itself. Or maybe it’s all in my head, but I’ll take it.

As far as the food goes, I had something like 20 Mexican meals in a row. Not only was I in Puerto Vallarta eating beer battered fish tacos daily, but then, without skipping a beat, I headed to Austin and had street truck tacos and queso for three days straight. Eventually, I returned to NYC with habanero swimming in my veins, and met a friend for brunch at the legit Mexican place down the street. Two days later, I met another friend for dinner and had – wait for it – Mexican food. Think I’ve had my fill? Nah. Although if my metabolism could talk, it would say, “Listen, my dear. Throw me a bone and deprive yourself of chips and salsa for, like, one day.” And I’d say, “You can handle this. Take it all, bitch.” And it would get all pouty and defiant, and I really hate when it’s like that. So to maintain peace, I’m taking a brief departure from all the huevos rancheros and the like.

I made a beautiful little salad the other night that had a fair amount of Mexican flavors, though. It called for:


1/4 lb pre-cooked shrimp

2 cups baby spinach

1/4 sliced avocado

5 sliced roma tomatoes

chopped cilantro

1/4 lb baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

It started with some shrimp that I bought pre-cooked at Whole Foods. I sauteed some baby portabella mushrooms in olive oil, salt and pepper, and then heated the shrimp in there as well. I sliced the avocado and tomatoes, threw those on top of the spinach, and then added the mushrooms and shrimp as well. I topped the whole mix with the chopped cilantro, and then made this Bobby Flay serrano-mint sauce to use as dressing. It was the spiciest thing I’ve made in ages, and it calls for:


1 c mint leaves

2 serrano chiles, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons Agave nectar (Bobby calls for sugar; I didn’t have)

1/4 c white wine vinegar


You throw all ingredients in a blender and pulse until mixed. I drizzled it atop the salad. Even after my two week Mexican food bender, I found it to be just slightly too spicy. I added a little more agave nectar, but the mint, ginger, white wine vinegar and chiles quadruple-teamed each other to make a pretty potent sauce. Anyways, see below for the delicious final product. It may have sacrificed half my stomach lining, but what a way to go:

shrimp salad with serrano-mint sauce


spicy green beans and kale, shrimp creole.

I just got THE most exciting package of all time. I have been all kinds of Amish these past few months, since my computer decided to lose its shit one day while I was mid-blog. I sent it down to FL, and my dad fixed it and sent it right back along with like 6 cookbooks. I can’t even describe the level of excitement going on here, but it’s midway between finding a delicious late night cookie for less than 300 calories (mild thrill) and a Free People sample sale (off the charts).

I lived off the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook in college, but for some reason I left the marinade-crusted pages with the rest of my condo in the fam’s garage when I moved to NYC. Since then, I have subsisted solely on e-recipes and spontaneity, i.e. whatever comes to me when I’m perusing Trader Joe’s shelves. Since the computer deserted me, I downgraded to recipes via iPhone, which are really not so comparable. Then, out of the blue, I decided TJ’s is a little too rat race-y for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and maybe sometimes I want to search for orzo without five people hovering in my ass space.

That said, I’ve had a kind of “return to basics” going on in my life. My mom sent me “Giada’s Kitchen” cookbook recently, if only to encourage my Talented Mr. Ripley-style relationship with her. As in, I want her life. It’s probably not going to happen though, so I settled for making one of her recipes. It’s a spicy parmesan green bean and kale dish, so it was pretty much designed with me in mind. It calls for:

Giada's spicy green beans and kale


one bunch (about 1/2 lb) of kale

1 1/2 lbs of green beans

1/4 lb of cremini mushrooms

1 onion

red pepper flakes

1/4 cup white wine

lemon juice

3 tbsp. parmesan cheese

I followed the instructions all the way, although I used a vidalia onion (I’m obsessed) and about three times the amount of red pepper flakes it calls for. You basically just saute it all on the stove top starting with the onions, work up to the green beans, kale and wine, and add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese at the very end. It was really tasty, and I even made an extra batch to take to a Christmas Day potluck I attended. I goofed and accidentally came an hour late, and people still took seconds after their initial polite sampling. Success.

On the sweaty front, I’ve been trying variety on for size. When I was in my plateau phase, I was doing two to three miles a day at about 6 to 6.5 treadmill speed. Like, every day. Then, I would follow up the cardio with a consistent rotation of weight machines (Sun, Tues, Thurs legs, Mon, Wed, Fri arms). Since I realized my body has pretty much settled into its comfort phase, I upped the running to sometimes five miles at a time. For instance, the other day I ran three miles straight, and then I walked uphill for a mile, and THEN ran another mile. Bam. I’ve decided weight machines are of little to no interest, so I’ve traded most of them in for free weights. I’ve been sore as of late, so I figure that’s a decent enough sign. I went to Crate and Barrel and rewarded myself with an olive oil drizzler:

olive oil drizzler

Not only is it super adorable, but it lets the olive oil come out in a stream, rather than, like spilling out to five times the recommended usage. It was the best $9.95 I think I’ve ever spent in life. It came in handy when I made this shrimp creole recipe the other day, courtesy of my dad. It calls for:


shrimp, frozen and pre-cooked

1 red bell pepper

1/2 vidalia onion

1 shallot, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

diced canned tomatoes

1/4 cup dry white wine

cayenne pepper to taste

I started by sauteing the chopped onion, shallot and garlic with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Sidebar: I finally invested in the organic stuff from Whole Foods, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to TJ’s $6.99 bottle. It’s just THAT much better. When all those were translucent, I added the celery, bell pepper, canned tomatoes, and dry white wine, and sauteed those about five minutes until all was tender. Since the shrimp were pre-cooked, I just thawed them in some cold water and threw them in the pan to heat. Since I loooove my heat, I added about two tablespoons of cayenne pepper to the whole mix, which equated to about 3/4 a tablespoon per serving. I served it all atop wild rice, although my dad did it with yellow which is kind of superior. It was delicious, SO easy, and had all kinds of flavor going on. See below:

shrimp creole atop wild rice


shrimp tacos.

I’m leaving on a jet(Blue) plane first thing tomorrow morning, so cue a straight week of eating my face off and watching 19+ hours of “Days of Our Lives.” It happens. I’ll try and work in the occasional lake run, but I can’t make any promises. Until then, I’d like to live off my recent accomplishments. Indulge me.

To begin with, I’ve been running every single day. I look like her, except turn the intensity waayyy down. runningI’m all for rock running, but I’ve been sticking to my diluted version with the treadmill and some “Lady Gaga” on Pandora. I cut out the elliptical for good, which seems a little finite considering how good it is to my knees. I’ve never been that impressed with the results, though, so for now it’s over between us. On Saturday, I ran two miles, and then I walked an entire mile by bringing the incline gradually up to 10, and then back down to one. Then, I ran two MORE miles. How serious am I? Not as serious as this girl, but I’m at least halfway there.

On the food front, I’ve been making delicious stuff lately that is just not so photogenic. I’m too honest and law abiding to superimpose one of Giada’s recipes on one of my plates, so I’ve decided to leave them out of this. One was pretty clever, though, so it’s a shame. My friend and I had brunch plans last Sunday, so I was up and doing my morning gymming when I got a text from that friend. He was all, “Can we do a cheap-ass diner instead?” which I read as “dinner,” and immediately started making my own brunch. Once I realized my mistake, I had an over easy egg just hanging out with nowhere to go. I tupperwared it and met my friend for brunch.

Later that night, I was considering making a carbonara to make use of my egg. I don’t eat bacon, I’m mostly off cheese, and the egg was already in a phase not compatible with carbonara, so I had to nix that idea. I made a pasta and my own sauce out of tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and garlic, and at the last minute I threw the egg in there to heat it. I ended up eating it altogether, and it was pretty amazing. Seriously. Just not so pretty, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

I love a good taco, so I decided to make some shrimp tacos on Monday. I started with some pre-cooked and frozen shrimp, which I ran water over and then heated with some butter. I toasted a low-carb wrap (obvs), and then heated some black beans alongside my shrimpies. I have this delicious corn-chile salsa from TJ’s, so that became a pretty serious part of the meal. On the side, I chopped tomatoes and fresh cilantro. Not only were they delicious (roommate-approved!), but they’re so easy on the eyes. See below:

shrimp taco

July 2020