I never need to get takeout again.

Real talk.

Every recipe introduction and blog post that I have read which made WILD CLAIMS such as this I immediately dismissed. That is until I went on my Asian streak in the past 3 weeks and found this fantastic stroke of luck of discovering 3 “take out” recipes in a row that were so delicious and satisfying, not to mention cheaper and healthier too.

I am having a great week.

I figured out how to make crunchy chicken without deep frying, I got a new wireless mouse in the mail (my other one was the first wireless mouse ever manufactured), and a small minor detail I have seemed to left out until now: we bought a house.

It was a fairy tale story of us losing a perfect home, then in the least expected moment getting that call that our backup offer was accepted because the first offer fell through.  But enough about that- my husband is already packing and we aren’t even 30 days out from closing yet and financing this thing is giving me agita up the you know what, as expected.

BUT THIS BLOG ENTRY ISN’T ABOUT THAT.  IT’S ABOUT GLORIOUS CHINESE FOOD.

I used to yell at my dad for being so cocky and bragging and raving about food he cooked, and here I am, some 10 years later being overly impressed with my efforts.  Except I didn’t  create this recipe and my dad created all of the recipes he’s ever fawned over.

Okay okay, here is the recipe.  My computer’s graphic card just turned my screen a lovely shade of sky blue so if the photo is wonky (I can’t really edit it or even see it), you will know why.  Not that my photos are ever appetizing.

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Changing habits.

Lately I have been thinking about changing up my environment every once in a while.  Working from home, I find myself feeling stifled often and while I do have an office I have the option to go into, it is 50 minutes away and full of transient consultants.  My HR colleagues are never in the office, so that defeats the purpose of going in to socialize.  I need to start going to coffee shops, and since a CERTAIN MONOPOLISTIC BRAND has taken over every small coffee shop in this area, I have one choice and one choice only.

image from starbucks.com

We do have a really nice Starbucks just 5 minutes away from me so I wonder why I am not taking advantage of that- probably because I am the cheapest person on the planet and can’t bear to pay for a coffee drink when I can make a perfectly good one at home.  A Vanilla Rooibos tea would be delightful though.  I need to start a new routine where I pack up and get out once a week because while I’m not going stir crazy (take note I am essentially a recluse so I love being home for work), my weekday routine is precisely this: work at home all day, take  run outside, make dinner, sit on the couch all night either watching the DVR or reading blogs.  I don’t even want to know what I will turn into once I have babies.

I found that I was dreading my scheduled interval run yesterday afternoon so I thought that instead of doing my usual route that I am quickly becoming tired of, I would run on the treadmill.  It helped that it was 86 degrees outside so 78 in the gym was sounding mighty cool.  I came to the conclusion that I certainly need to find a new running route because I usually avoid the treadmill at absolutely all costs.

It was actually a great run, usually I am much slower on the treadmill, but I think that I kept the same interval paces as I would have run if I were outside in perfect weather, though I was embarrassingly DRIPPING in sweat while I was leaving.  It was disgusting, and I swear people were staring.

I also created a new recipe last night out of necessity and it came out really delicious and was the perfect balance I needed after my workout.  I was planning to make THIS chicken dish, but realized I had bought tenderloins instead of breast, so I re-worked it into something new.  I of all people know how hard it is to have cheap nutritious meals but depending on the price of feta and tomatoes in your area, I think this could be a great option to fit in your healthy food budget!

I know you can’t tell, but I feel obligated to bring to your attention that I am not a professional photographer

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My husband, the sous chef

We are all well aware of the hectic stress that comes with the holiday season.  We are scurrying all around cleaning for family, travelling for family, going broke buying presents, getting fat from baking, and et cetera.  While I am scared for my bank account, I’m feeling alright about the scale since I’m making time to keep exercising this holiday.  It’s really not that hard if you force yourself into a routine, I promise.

Because of my commitments, I achieved a very fabulous record I made for myself on Saturday despite all of the odds working against me.  I ran 5 miles (furthest ever) in 56 minutes.  My (very easy, I’ll admit) goal was to keep it under an hour and while I had to have a few walking “intervals” due to the fact that it felt like it was 1,000 degrees outside, I still made it with a pace that was reasonable to me.  The factors going against were a list a mile long, including the unexpected heat and sun beating on my head, having sliders and onion rings with long islands on Friday night and drinking coffee instead of water in the morning before the run.  My favorite part was that I picked a completely absurd route that I had never even driven let alone run before, leading to an adventurous “trail” run due to lack of sidewalks and scary cars driving fast.

With all of that being said, I am reversing all the good that run did to my body by having Buffalo Mac and Cheese.  My husband’s favorite thing is grating cheese from a block, but I wanted to cut things short and made him slice into blocks.  He had such a blast doing this… it’s the little things.

I used all reduced fat of course, since we don’t want to get too crazy up in here.  I really had the hardest time with this recipe.  It pissed me off because it took too long and used too many plates/pots/utensils and I probably should have just used my favorite cheese sauce for mac and cheese and added buffalo chicken to it. If you’d like the original recipe, I got it from the food network website.  I modified it a lot and it still wasn’t my favorite… I think it didn’t taste cheesy enough, it just tasted like saucy wings.  But perhaps that’s the purpose of having buffalo mac and cheese?  Help me out, have you had this before?

These are all of the substitutions I made that may have kept this dish from being REALLY delicious :

  • I didn’t bake it because a. I don’t like blue cheese and b. we didn’t want to wait that long to eat it
  • I used mustard the condiment instead of dry mustard powder
  • Realized my half and half was non-fat, so I did 1 cup of my non-fat half and half and 1.5 cups 1% milk
  • Like I said before, I used reduced fat cheese

If you have one, please send me your favorite Buffalo Mac & Cheese recipe!

Comfort zones

There is ONE (1) bad thing about my husband all of the sudden liking all of the shows I watch. It is NO LONGER EXCITING when I get my cozy night alone when I can light candles and watch all of the TV I want without judgement or complaints because OH WAIT, all of the crap I have been salivating over on my DVR is now a list of shows he wont’ let me watch without him!  I am now resentfully marathoning house hunters and oh I guess I will watch the debate and transition to hating on picky house buyers to everyone in my social media feed.

I also had a really weird Friday night for the same above reason and it ended with me eating pickles on toast for dinner because steak and shake and mcdonalds don’t deliver.  If you never understood the blog name before, now you do.

At least I FINALLY had my first week back to running thanks to these full priced, brand new running shoes on my credit card (& I tell you I NEVER buy anything in retail full price):

I love them more than anything right now, and after taking almost 2 months off I’m back to my painfully average pace of 10:30 miles.  Here’s to hoping there’s nothing but speedier runs from here on out.  I did 8 miles this week and icing my knee for 20 minutes after every run.  My goal is a 10k by Christmas and a half marathon next year.  I know this is more modest than it should be but the excuse is that I have to worry about my pathetic knee.

Since variety is the spice of life and I really like being spicy, I am now stepping out of my comfort zone at work (which I hate because this is the first job I AM happy with, I’m usually itching for a change after a year) and in the kitchen.  I invited my little brother over for dinner who goes to school 45 minutes east of us and since *GOD FORBID* I spend over my weekly grocery budget, I had to think a little bit.  He is in college so I knew he was going to eat a lot, and since Bry and I go to the gym every afternoon into dinner time I LOVE having leftovers on a Monday, therefore, much meat was needed.

Chicken thighs!

Dark meat chicken is something I have literally never cooked before; my health nut mother always talked me out of liking it.  It’s tender, juicy and so hard to dry out unlike chicken breast (I HATE COOKING CHICKEN BREAST!)  I liked it a lot, plus it is obviously more economical.  I think I got 4 pounds of meat for under $10.00.  Here in Florida, chicken breast usually goes for $3-5 per pound.

Anyway, here is what I made.  I took a recipe from Webicurian and added some other spices I happened to have on hand since I am in constant fear of flavorless chicken.  Here is what I came up with, but first, some questions.

How different are your TV habits from your spouse/significant other?  

Dark meat or white meat?

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staying full = impossiblity

I’m currently working on upping my protein intake simply to try and quell the constant yelling of my hungry stomach.  This is possible thanks to Gold Standard protein… it is THE ONLY PROTEIN POWDER I HAVE EVER TRIED (out of about 6 different brands) that I can actually drink in water without gagging.  It tastes GOOD with water… not sure how that is possible.  So far I have only tried the rocky road flavor but I will definitely be ordering a lot more once my bank account allows for it.  To be honest I am very skeptical of these protein powders considering there absolutely must be chemicals in them, but we’re all going to die one day and I don’t know of many instances where one died a premature death because of protein powder.  Feel free to prove me wrong?  How else would I consume 99+g of protein a day?  Feel free to offer up alternative suggestions.

I made a white chili the other night and it was SO FILLING that I thought after eating it at 7pm I was sure I wouldn’t be hungry before bed, which also made me worried that I had calculated the nutrition facts wrong (anything healthy leaves me hungry after 2 hours).  Sure enough by 8:30 my stomach started getting angry again (sorry about my privileged American problems).  I can’t even stand the thought of people who are REALLY going hungry every day, it makes me upset.  I hope to be able to cook for some of them one day.

I got this recipe from Rachael Ray’s October 2012 magazine issue.  It was a section where they give you a main recipe and many different ways to change it up.  Let me tell you it was nearly impossible to cook this because the directions were out of order and everywhere.

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