Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Good Eats, Reads, Workout Gear, Tunes and ... Age?

Welcome to another hodgepodge entry of my blog!

Good Eats

First up, a recap of a few recipes I tested out over the past two weeks. I'll start with my favorite - thai chicken pizza, from The Culinary Couple. (Emily's picture is below. It makes the pizza look much more appetizing than my shadow-riden photo above.)

I have to admit that many times while assembling this pizza, I thought to myself, "this recipe is not going well. This pizza is going to stink." Beginning with the crust, I misread the recipe and got confused as to how much water I was supposed to add to the dough. (I eventually figured it out.) Then, the crust got puffy, as the recipe said it would, but I figured that like normal pizza dough, it would rise. It didn't.

Next, I had some issues with the spicy chili sauce. This portion of the recipe called for mixing two tablespoons of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water, and then adding it to a simmering chili-garlic sauce concoction. I don't have much experience with cornstarch, so perhaps I let it sit for too long before adding it to the sauce, but it totally hardened up, and the clumps did not break apart once added to the simmering sauce. I ended up straining them out, but then didn't have enough sauce to cover the pizza. I compensated by just squirting extra Sriracha sauce around the pizza dough.

Eventually I pulled the pizza out of the oven, while simultaneously yelling to James and my sister (who again happened to be dining with us) to prepare themselves for another night of pasta. But then something miraculous happened. The pizza tasted damn good. We all loved it. (Even the dough!) In fact, it might be one of my new favorite pizzas, and I can't wait to make it again.

Next up, I made this lemon chickpea quinoa avocado salad. Lemon? Avocado? Cilantro? I was sold. It was light and delicious and will be a great summer side dish alongside some grilled chicken.

I meant to make the lemon chickpea avocado salad with the above summer rolls (which I pinned on Pinterest - note that my rolls came out looking nothing like the above photograph), but it took days for me to find rice paper. (I eventually found them at Whole Foods, a store I had been trying to avoid all week.)

This recipe comes to us from Williams-Sonoma, which I usually find to be a pretty solid recipe source. This was not the case with these rolls. I had a lot of difficulty with the rice paper (my own fault for not doing a bit more research ahead of time on how to work with them), and then I found the accompanying sauce majorly bland, and tasting too much like canola oil. I suppose I shouldn't have expected much from some rolls that contain lettuce, avocado, carrot and a few herbs, but still - I was disappointed.

Last night I made the Pioneer Woman's baked lemon pasta. This was a super simple recipe, and it was super quick to make. (I may have made it the 20 minutes during which I left a napping Sammy in the car in our driveway. No judgment...!) I added the juice of one more lemon than the recipe called for and enjoyed the flavor. But with two cups of sour cream in the pasta, it's not the healthiest of dishes, and I probably won't be making it again.

Good Reads

I mentioned in a recent post that I was reading Where You Left Me, by Jennifer Gardner Trulson. I finished it the next night, and recommend it if you're looking for a good, quick read. Or, if you're just in the need for a good cry. (Warning: James heard my sobs from all the way across our house. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

I've since moved on to a book that is a bit less of a tearjerker, Train Like a Mother, the sequel to Run Like a Mother. I'm sure I've lost about 99 percent of my audience at this point (all five of you...), but if you are a mom, and you run, these are both great books, and highly inspiring. They're written by a friend of a friend of a friend, which basically is equivalent to my relationship with Kevin Bacon, but I still think it's pretty cool.

Two books await me on my bookshelf, both written by other bloggers. Bloom, by Kelle Hampton, depicts being a mother to a baby with Down syndrome. I don't follow Kelle's blog, but someone I follow on Instagram couldn't stop raving about it. I fear that the Kleenex box I bought while reading Where You Left Me will get some more use. Then I'll read Rurally Screwed, by Jesse Knadler. Jesse is a former magazine writer who left her job in Manhattan for life in rural Virginia to be with the cowboy she fell in love with. To me, this sounds remarkably similar to the Pioneer Woman's book (which I enjoyed), but my mom tells me otherwise.

Good Workout Gear

Lately I've been in desperate need of new workout gear. I've almost always run in either cotton tee shirts or tank tops, and even though I'm not a big sweat-while-I-run type of girl, the cotton material is obviously not ideal and gets to feel quite heavy. I recently splurged on a few nice running tops from REI, but two shirts does not a running wardrobe make, so yesterday I headed to Target in search of a few inexpensive tees. Well let me tell you, I hit the mother load. I may now be obsessed with their loose fit athletic tees. (I can't find them online, but these are close [except that they're fitted]. The above picture is to confirm that the model I bought was a loose fit.)

Not only are they totally comfortable and lightweight, but they're flattering. And as one of the world's most unattractive runners (I have numerous race photos that confirm this title), I'll take all the help I can get! The shirts come in a bunch of fun colors (don't judge the blah grey above - there's also some fun fluorescent colors), and are long in length, which I love. I wore one for the first time this morning on a run, and before I left, my very sweet husband actually commented on how I looked especially slim this morning! (And based on the reading of my scale, this is entirely due to the shirt.) At $13 a shirt, I will definitely be stocking up on a few more.

Good Tune

Did anyone watch Glee last night? I didn't think it was a particularly great episode, but the final song featuring Blaine and his brother made up for it for me. Though I've heard this song on the radio a bunch of times, I didn't care for it until I heard it on the show. I'm now obsessed and can't stop playing it. At the very least, it got me through a particularly rough portion of my run this morning.

Good Age

In every monthly recap I write about Sammy, I claim that we've just had our best month to date. But really - I love this month! We're just days away from his nine month birthday, and I couldn't love this stage more. Almost every hour of the day is filled with smiles, laughter and Sammy's silly baby talk. (Which still shows no sign of including the word "mama".) He's always on the go lately, and seems to have forgotten about most of his toys, in lieu of crawling, kicking a ball (or rather, nudging a ball with his leg - regardless, still making his soccer-playing mom quite proud), or pulling himself up on anything and everything. I love seeing him explore everything with his hands, and I love hearing his happy squeals.

I love this stage so much that I may attempt to do another "day in the life" depiction tomorrow, just to see how things have changed from my first "day in the life," back in November. Stay tuned...!


  1. OK, I am SO glad that you salvaged the pizza ... because I just reviewed the recipe, and it should read 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water. YIKES! I prepared it correctly but blogged it incorrectly, and I feel so bad. Would it be wrong to blame it on sleep deprivation? Or does that excuse no longer work now that Sammy is sleeping through the night? Anyway ... I hope you'll forgive me. I need to check and double-check my recipes!

    1. No worries at all! This just gives me an opportunity to try out the (revised) recipe that much sooner!

  2. I'm glad it turned out great after all, everything else looks delicious too, you've been cooking a lot!!!

  3. I always loved this stage of 'babydom'----everyday is a new adventure!