Sep 30, 2009

There's an Egg in My Oats!

Call me crazy, but I really wanted to combine my two new faves: oat bran & a fried egg. Don't scrunch your nose up just yet...

In the bowl:
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup cheese
1 fried egg
s&p

As the oats were thickening, I fried the egg. I plopped that baby right on top and added some cheese:


I put the lid on the old Oikos container, stuffed it in my purse, and headed to work. Three minutes later (yes I work that close), the steam had melted the cheese! Yum!


I ended up adding ketchup for more flavor. I secretly want to add ketchup to eeeeeeverything.

After work I went to my aunt's house to visit. Before eating dinner, my cousin Gabby and I squeezed in some exercise. I ran two miles, then walked one, then we rode bikes for another two together. She is so cute! I forgot to take a picture of her on her bike though.

I borrowed Kelly's sweet ride. I can't be trusted with a real baby on a bike.


For dinner, Kelly roasted a chicken with rosemary, lemon, and garlic.


She also roasted potatoes, carrots, turnips, and onions. The turnips were SO good -- definitely a new fave.

In addition to the roasted vegetables, she made a spinach souffle.


My plate:


Baby grabbing the camera:


Now I'm home impatiently waiting for my girls to come on tv...Golden Girls that is. I'm actually watching that oooold movie, Ghost, right now. Whoopi Goldberg makes me smile. And Patrick Swayze, well, he really is a Ghost now, haha. Okay, okay, an angel. :)

Sep 28, 2009

A smorgasbord!


Nuts? Check.
Fruit? Check, check.
Cheese? Check, check, check.

Since we became wine connoisseurs, I've thought about doing a fruit/nut/cheese plate. Haha, just kidding. I'm no wine snob, I just like to drink. Brandon on the other hand, well, he is snooty. We are members at Wine Styles and they have wine tastings a few times a week. Occasionally I will see other members ordering cheese and nut plates, and it has been making me jealous. We decided to go to Whole Foods to pick some fun stuff up.

After trying six different kinds of cheese with the cheese man (aka our new best friend at WF), we chose the following to take home:
1. Parrano -cow's milk cheese, firm, smooth, nutty, salty & sweet
2. Midnight Moon - goat's milk cheese, nutty, brown-buttery, hints of caramel
3. Fromage D'Affinois - cow's milk cheese, buttery, rich, silky. This tastes more like butter than cheese. Kind of odd.

For fruit we bought:
1. Bosc pear - crisp, spicy, nutty
2. Bartlett pear - smooth, sweet, juicy
3. Gala Apple - sweet, firm, juicy

I cut the cheese (HA HA HA ) and fruit, and plated them with a few almonds. Everything tasted so good! My favorite cheese is still the Parrano, but Brandon preferred the Midnight Moon. They are very similar.


In other news, I was finally found the Chobani pineapple yogurt!! The pomegranate flavor needs to hurry up and come to SC!


Sep 27, 2009

Welcome to my life, fried eggs...and a curry dish!

Fried eggs are the new oats, IMO. I've only made scrambled eggs before, but today Brandon taught me how to make a fried egg. Don't laugh -- I had never tried it! They look gross...all raw and runny and ewww... Back in the winter he made me a sandwich that almost made me cry it was so tasty. It was a fried egg on whole wheat bread with spinach, goat cheese, and blueberry jelly. Odd combination? Yes. Delicious? YES. So master Brandon taught me how to make a fried egg -- so easy btw -- and we put it in an English muffin with a slice of ham and cheese. YUMMY!


Dinner was a simple chicken curry dish. We cooked chicken with garlic and set that aside. In a separate dish I mixed a can of lite coconut milk with 1 1/2 tbsp of red curry paste, 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce, lime juice, and basil leaves. After that warmed, we poured it over the chicken and added sliced red pepper, carrots, and peas, and lemon grass. It simmered for a few minutes, and then we poured it over jasmine rice. It was pretty good, but I thought the flavor was so one-dimensional. It needed more lemon grass or maybe even ginger. We ended up adding some sweet chile sauce for extra flavor.






Sep 26, 2009

Oh, Saturday...

I love waking up on Saturdays knowing that I can cook anything I want for breakfast and not feel rushed. Somehow I was feeling tired of oats, so we pulled out waffles. I ended up putting the same toppings on my waffle as I put on my oats -- almond butter, blueberry jelly, bananas, and honey. Ew to the honey though. I realized I don't like honey unless it's mixed into something.


For lunch I met with a girl that I may be living with when my lease is up. She was really nice, and it looks like things will work out. We had lunch at Five Loaves, which is just a few minutes away from where she lives. I failed to take a picture, but I had a tomato tarragon soup with a pesto chicken sandwich. Both were pretty good.

I recently read about almond crusted chicken on Meghann's blog. As much as we are obsessed with almonds, I don't know why I never thought of this genius idea before! Guess I've been too busy dreaming about things I can put in my oat bran...This is so easy to do. You just need three things -- almonds, chicken tenderloins, and an egg white! I threw 1/2 cup of whole almonds into the blender and chopped them up. Then I dipped the tenderloins in the egg white wash, then rolled them in the almond meal. They were so cute! They baked at 350* for about 15 minutes. I turned them once, just in case, but I'm not sure that was necessary. We put them on top of wilted spinach with a raspberry soy glaze.

For the raspberry soy glaze, we pureed fresh raspberries, a bit of whole grain mustard, a bit of soy sauce, then reduced it over high heat until it thickened.


The almond crusted chicken was awesome! It is definitely a new favorite! We're off to meet auntie Kelly & her friend Sarah downtown for drinks...I need wine, stat.

Sep 23, 2009

Feeling better already...!

Day 3 of Operation Goddess complete! Woohoo! I swear I feel better already, haha.

Here's what I ate throughout the day:

Breakfast: 1/3 cup oat bran + 1/3 cup milk + 1/3 cup water + 1/2 banana, topped with a couple cranberries, walnuts and pumpkin seeds and green tea
Snack:
1/2 banana
Lunch: 1/2 pita pocket with rosemary ham, cheese, dijon mustard. Small bowl of spinach with raspberry balsamic dressing
Snack: apple
Before working out: couple bites of last night's food bc my stomach was growling

After I worked out, Brandon came over. We threw together yummy salads that consisted of spinach, chicken, sliced peaches, cranberries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and raspberry balsamic vinaigrette. Yummy!


I will try to do a better job of taking pics of everything I eat. It's so much more fun than reading text. Night guys!








Sep 21, 2009

Chicken, Carrot, and Broccoli Stir Fry

I was craving a noodle dish all weekend, and since we were too afraid to try any of the Thai restaurants in Greenville and they were closed on Sunday in Atlanta, we made our own Monday night.

Brandon chopped up broccoli and carrots and let them simmer in a pan with a little water and soy sauce. He also cooked a chicken breast with garlic. Meanwhile, we boiled soba noodles.


I made a sauce that consisted of the following:
- 1/4 c. (or less) soy sauce
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tbsp orange juice

Once the chicken and veggies were done, we combined them and added with the sauce. It simmered for a few minutes and then we added the cooked noodles. For extra flavor, Brandon added sweet chile sauce to his.


I added a bit of almond butter and lime juice.

This dish was fairly easy to make. If we make it again, we'll add more ginger and a red pepper.




I spy Trader Joe's, The Fresh Market, and Fresh2Order!

This weekend we went up to Greenville to see our aweeeeeeesome friend, Cory! Here, say hi to Cory:


We stayed there Friday night and then headed to Atlanta on Saturday for the Journey concert. When we got to Atlanta, Brandon's friend Adam told me there was a Fresh Market right by his apartments. I was so excited and ran off to explore. I was in there for 45 minutes (only to get food for lunch) because I didn't want to leave. It was fun! I picked up our lunch (a turkey & cranberry sandwich for him and blueberry yogurt, banana, apple, and pasta salad for me) and a bag of chocolate goodies. I got dark chocolate covered toffee (omg yum) and dark chocolate covered pretzels. Everything was yummy but I was so tired that I forgot to take pictures. The concert was pretty cool. We went with a big group, which was fun, but we got rained out!

Before heading home on Sunday we were hunting around for a place to eat lunch and I spied a Trader Joe's! Ah! We don't have those in Charleston either, so I was very excited. I picked up 2 jars of their almond butter for only $4.99 each! That is so much cheaper than the Maranatha AB from Whole Foods ($9.99). I also picked up a Honey Greek yogurt, of course.

Their Greek yogurt was sooooo creamy! It wasn't tangy at all, but I didn't get much of a honey taste. I liked it a lot, but am staying faithful to Oikos.

We chose a little place called Fresh2Order for lunch. They had lots of yummy salads, soups, and sandwiches.
I got the Spinach salad. It came with strawberries, golden raisins, slivered almonds, feta and a raspberry vinaigrette. I added almond & rosemary crusted chicken skewers.

Brandon got the Asian Salad. It was a mix of baby greens, candied walnuts, tomatoes, sesame seeds, avocado, pickled ginger, crispy noodles, mandarin oranges, mixed nuts, and a dijon vinaigrette. He added grilled chicken.
On the way home, I pulled out this MASSIVE apple! It was a honeycrisp apple that I picked up from The Fresh Market. It was so juicy!





Fresh 2 Order, f2o Buckhead on Urbanspoon

Sep 14, 2009

Greek Chicken & Potatoes

MMM PITA!

A few months ago, I found a pork souvlaki recipe on Serious Eats. I made the tzatziki sauce and it was really tasty. I omitted the olive oil because I didn't find it necessary, and it was still really yummy. You really taste the garlic and lemon in the sauce.

Here's the recipe I used:
1 cup Oikos plain Greek yougrt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup grated cucumber

Mix all ingredients together and marinade for at least an hour.

We cooked a chicken breast in olive oil and added a Greek seasoning that consisted of oregano, rosemary, and a couple other herbs. Then we stuffed toasted pitas with the chicken, spinach leaves, and the tzatziki sauce.

For the potatoes, I used olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. I baked them in the oven for about 45 minutes on 450*, turning halfway through.

Everything turned out great!



Step by Step Pumpkin Oat Bran!

Come here fall and give me a big hug!!

I dread the summer coming to an end, but this year, I think I'll go all grammy-like and embrace the seasons! Last night's soup was warm and cozy, so why not make breakfast the same?

We went on a 2 1/2 mile run together (sort of...) and then it was time to welcome pumpkin into our lives. Last night when we were at Publix getting stuff for the soup, I couldn't find pumpkin. I asked ones of the workers and she told me they don't usually get pumpkin until October. Okay, so I'm a little early! I was like eeeeek, bc it was 8:40 ish and Whole Foods closes at 9. Don't worry, Brandon's beast of a truck got us there in time.

Here is a step-by-step process of how I made the oat bran!

In a saucepan over high heat, add 1/3 cup of milk and 1/3 cup water. Add 1 tsp vanilla if desired. I always desire vanilla.


Once the liquid is boiling and acting crazier than Britney Spears, remove from heat and add 1/3 cup of oat bran.


And pumpkin:
Then add your toppings! For the pumpkin oat bran I used the following:
-cinnamon
-a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt
-a swirl of maple syrup
-a few walnuts and dried cranberries.

The work of art:
Verdict: Success in my mouth!


Sep 11, 2009

Lasagna Soup

My auntie (aunt, not ant) Kelly makes this soup and I snatched the recipe from her. Hi Kelly! It's got lots of flavor and a good amount of veggies. I feel like I'm eating a rainbow when I eat this soup because it's so colorful.

That was so lame. I'm not a hippie.

The recipe is from the Cuisine at Home cookbook. The recipe can be found online here. We wanted our recipe to have a lower sodium content so we opted for Aidell's chicken sausage instead of regular store-bought pork sausage. It was less sausage than on the recipe, so I tossed it some exra pasta and it came out fine. We also swapped out the campanelle pasta for fusilli.

So the ingredients we used were:
-1 (12 oz) package of Aidell's chicken & basil sausage
-1 cup onions, chopped
-1 cup carrot, diced
-2 cups mushrooms, sliced
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-4 cups chicken broth
-1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian style stewed tomatoes
-1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
-1 1/2 cups fusilli pastas
-2 cups fresh spinach
-1 cup provolone cheese, diced
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese
-basil, for garnish

We chopped up the sausage and threw it (okay, tossed, I'm not really that violent) into a large pot. Then we added the onions and carrot and cooked those for 3 minutes.

Next we added the mushrooms and garlic and sauteed those for another 3 minutes.

Then we added the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and broth and brought it to a boil. We added the pasta and let it simmer for about 8 minutes. Cook your pasta according to the package. Then we stirred in the spinach and basil until they were wilted. You can take a chunk of cheese and throw it in the bottom of the bowl before you pour your soup in. Surprise ending, yes please!


Cheese addicts like ourselves put extra on top. Mmm! This soup is really good! We'll definitely make it again.



Sep 10, 2009

Tossed Asian Delight

Hungry has met someone new... Tonight, Hungry Meets Healthy Asian! I'm Nikki, Christina and Brandon's very first guest-blogger... AND Christina's original cooking and baking partner! hahaha. We've had Asian night before, with sushi rolls, egg rolls, teriyaki chicken and veggies, and fried rice, but this salad takes it to a new level! Filling, flavorful, and fun! You will want to make this tasty, healthy, asian-infused chicken salad! "This salad is so healthy, but it's delightful!" -Christina Orso


It's quite simple, measure the following:
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

AND:

2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup very thinly sliced onion
2 cups finely shredded napa cabbage
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

After all that measuring and chopping ingredients, we paused for a quick cheers because soon it would be time to eat!


Now mix the lime, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and onions into a small bowl. Then take the chicken, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro and mix into a large bowl. Here's a sneak peak at our technique:
video


Now you can pour the "dressing" atop the veggie mix and stir it all up.
It was our first time using napa cabbage, and it was fantastic. It has a nice crisp feel, and basically a hybrid between cabbage and romaine lettuce. After a quick 40 minute prep time, we were ready to eat... and as you can see here... Eating is serious business!


The salad is light and fresh. If desired it is great with some sweet chili sauce instead of the sugar. Brandon, sorry you missed out to watch the Tigers lose! :) The Gamecocks will dominate come Saturday! Enjoy this recipe and "Lettuce eat!" -Nicole Johnson




Sep 8, 2009

Beautiful Breakfast, Ugly News...Oh, and football.

Let's get the bad news over with: Facebook is now blocked at my work. All the ladies are freaking. Around 9:30 this morning I was scrolling through pics from the weekend, and when I went to click back to my own page, BAM! SPAM FILTER! NO!!!!!!!! I was so disturbed, I ran down to the girls in Accounting and they all confirmed it was blocked for them as well! One sweet lady thinks that if we raise a big enough stink, they'll let us have it back. Hmmm, probably not, but we can dream about it.

So to pull me out of my depression, I whipped out the $1 off coupon for Biggby Coffee that I had been drooling over for the past 6 days. Ever since its arrival to my email early Wednesday morning, I've been debating whether or not to get it. This week's coupon was $1 off a S'mores latte. Really!? I was drooling just looking at the coupon. But do I need the extra calories? Do I need to spend the frivolous $3.92 even after using a coupon? After the facebook crash, YES I DO.

I just got back to work with my latte and it is heaaaavenly. It's made with gingerbread, chocolate, and marshmallows. To me, that is perfect. And since I hadn't eaten breakfast, I pulled out my honey Oikos & a tangelo.


Right as I was pulling all this out, my coworker came in and offered me some grapes, so I gave her half of the tangelo. Breakfast just got even more amazing!


I'm not sure if I'm on some sort of coffee high or if these are my true feelings, but I think I like football. I watched about 7 minutes of the OSU/Navy game (Callie is so proud), about 24 of the FSU/Miami game, and maybe, just maybe, 32 of the Clemson/Middle Tennessee game.


But I feel the need to analyze why I might have enjoyed football.

OSU/Navy: Super Boyfriend removed the tv from his bedroom and put it outside on the deck. I'm not kidding. Like Super Boyfriend went Super Ghetto and used an extension cord and propped the 19 incher on the patio table. He and Brett sat in their foldout chairs to watch the game, while the girlfriends played in the A/C and read the newest People and surfed Forever21.com. It was beautiful outside Saturday, so I decided to see how the game was going and ended up catching the last few minutes, which were actually a big deal. OSU was winning 29-21 and Navy had the ball. Time to text Callie to make sure she's still alive. Her response: "I can't talk right now." HAHA! She is a huge fan and I want to thank her for convincing me to actually give the sport a chance. So for 7 minutes, I was outside in beautiful, sunny weather, sitting on boyfriend's lap, watching the game. What's not to like?

Clemson: Saturday night we went to Wild Wings with some friends to watch the game. They have $3 beers in these big plastic cups. Big plastic cups means beer slides down your throat a heck of a lot easier than in a bottle. 5, 6, maybe 7 beers later, Xtina came out. I really can't be sure how much of this game I actually watched, but I feel like it was about 32 minutes. With beer cups the size of my face and my blackberry in hand, I loved the game!

Success!!

Kidding, I didn't drink all of those.

FSU/Miami: First we had this on in the living room while Brandon was studying and I was looking up Italy hotels. The beginning of the game was really pretty. Scratch that, Callie said this is called "Pre-game activities." Wow, she is pretty much a football player. Anyway, the PGAs were fun! Fireworks, dancing horses, and girls with too much glitter on their faces! I likey! We watched the rest of the game while snuggling (ew) in bed, and I even asked a few questions. So for this game, I was perusing Italy sites, then snuggling, then (gasp!) learning something.

63 minutes of football--I think I like it. We're going to the Clemson/Texas Christian game in a couple of weeks. This will be my fiiiiiirst in real life football game. Yay!! Oh, wait, Callie says I need to say "live game" and "Clemson/TCU." Bear with me, this is a learning process.

Sep 7, 2009

Trail Mix Oats

I woke up this morning and thought, "leftover pizza!!" But since there were only two slices and I felt like being healthy after my beer binge, I gave the pizza to B and made oats for myself. He said, "Look at you being healthy." (pssh) I reminded him that Chick-Fil-A was giving away free sandwiches to those wearing their favorite sports logos today, and I'd be unhealthy later.


I used:
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
dash of cinnamon
trail mix

I made the trail mix for Brandon yesterday. I mixed up a ton of walnuts, almonds, cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate bits. Close up:

Breakfast was yummy and B was nice enough to share some of the pizza with me.

The weather was really nice. When I was showering and getting ready, Brandon mowed the lawn. He pruned his rose bushes while I painted my nails. Haha. After they dried, I helped him water his garden. Then it was Chick-Fil-A time!! We put on Clemson t-shirts and headed over. It wasn't as busy as I thought. Outside there was a girl with a wheel spin for more free goods! My first spin, I won a cinnamon cluster. I looked back at B, like ewwww bad! He whispered, "Spin it again if you don't want that!" The girl wasn't looking, so I did! This time I won Chick-n minis! Brandon won the same thing. We got our free chicken sandwiches, a fruit cup, a carrot & raisin salad, and my beloved diet lemonade. How obsessed am I with their lemonade? Um, I drank the 20 ounces so quickly that as we were heading out the door, I decided to go back and get a refill. I'm gross! We brought the food back to his house and ate outside . Then it was study time for him, and I met Megan at Barnes & Noble where we poured over Paris and Italy travel books. Happy Labor Day!

Sep 6, 2009

Prosciutto & Parrano Pizza

OOOOOOH my holy goodness, I made the most amazing pizza.

Whole Foods has the nicest employees! I knew I wanted to make a pizza with prosciutto and spinach but I wasn't sure which cheese to use. I told the cheese man that I loved gouda and he let me try a piece of Paranno. Paranno is a Dutch cheese that is marketed as Italian. It has a buttery, nuttery flavor. I almost passed out when I tried the sample. Seriously...soooo good. Although it is a semi-firm cheese, it melts in your mouth.

Next employee to harass: the pizza man. I sweetly asked him how he rolls the dough so thin wihtout making holes in it, because the last time I tried, I nearly had a mental breakdown. no, really, I wanted to throw the stupid ball out. He was kind enough to give in, and rolled out a whole wheat ball for me to take home.

Once home, I brushed the dough with a little bit of olive oil and then worked on the sauce mixture. I took a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes and added minced garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper. I cranked the oven up to 450*, let it preheat, then popped the pizza dough with the sauce in for 10 minutes. Then I added the grated Paranno, fresh spinach, fresh basil, and thin slices of prosciutto and baked for another 5 minutes.

The saltiness of the prosciutto balanced really well with the creamy, nutty cheese. It came out so pretty!

I know you're drooling.