Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Orange Store, Fresno, CA

Greetings from Fresno, CA! The home of the best oranges on earth.

I have been here for the last 2 weeks on business and I just thought I'd share the wonderful things I've found. I have to admit, I went to college in San Diego, then later moved to San Francisco. Visited Lake Tahoe a few times and Monterrey and Half Moon Bay, but never visited Fresno.

Well, if you ever find yourself in this part of California, enjoy it. So far, I am really enjoying myself and have met some fantastic people!!! Not the biggest city I have ever stepped foot on, but who cares.

On a recent drive around town, I found The Orange Store. OK, don't get too excited, it's really just a fruit stand, but if you are from the land of apples, you will go nuts at this place. Fresh Navel Oranges, Tangerines, Blood Oranges, Meyer Lemons, and even their own honey.

Oh Fresno, I am going to miss your ORANGES when I leave!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cheers...St Germain Gimlet

My husband is a total bourbon guy, but I like to mix it up some times!

I asked if he could make a cocktail for me that was a little lighter and refreshing...
My husband made this for me.

2 shots gin
1.25 shot St. Germain
.5 shot freshly squeezed lime juice.

Shake. Strain in glass.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Meatless Monday: Jalepeno-Cheese Corn Bread

Jalapeno-Cheese Corn Bread...MMMM!

I love this cook book, Cook, Eat, Cha Cha Cha. I don't know if they are still around, but if they are still in the Haight and you are in SF. Check them out. Cha Cha Cha. The food is a mix of Cuban, Puerto Rican, Cajun, and California Fresh!

The food is so awesome!!!

Here's the yummy beverage my husband made to go with this meal. I'm calling it the

"Black-out Winter" Sangria.
Start a hand full of blackberries (frozen in this case-picked last summer), smash, and then
add 4 0z. Sauvignon Blanc, 1 oz. Cointreau, and 1 oz. Brandy. Mix. YUM!
There are so many flavors in the cornbread, I just made a simple cole slaw on the side.
Sliced cabbage, apple cider vinegar, mayonaise, salt and pepper, that's it. Easy!
You'll be tempted to have another piece of this cornbread for dessert. So GOOD!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ten in 2010: Fitness and Business Travel

My last meal: Splash, Bellevue Club
I will be spending 3 weeks away from home training for a new job. After spending most of the afternoon of Valentines Day travelling from Seattle, I landed in Fresno, CA. I have been living in a hotel studio with a kitchenette. Here's the summary of my week!

Sunday (Valentines Day): Resistance Training followed by a Ham & Gruyere Omelet
Travelled the rest of the day. I arrived around 6 pm. After settling in, around 8 pm, I went to the store to stock up on some healthy food to have on hand; Eggs, Spinach, Snap Peas, Lowfat Cheese, skim milk, nuts, salsa, low-fat deli meat.

Monday: Yoga - Stretch
I an so glad to have a kitchen. The Hotel "continental" consists of mostly muffins, pastries, plain bagels with butter, cream cheese and jelly, fresh fruit, boiled eggs (good choice), assorted cereals (some good ones), juices and coffee.
I made myself a cup of decaf coffee and fruit, and then made breakfast in my room; Scramble with spinach and cheese.
I work for a fine dining restaurant and meals are usually provided for staff. Chinese food was ordered in for lunch and for dinner I had an AWESOME dinner; gumbo (sans the rice) Sea Bass, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, a couple bites of the dessert, and red wine - skipped the bread. OK, I don't eat like this at every dinner!

Tuesday: I finally made my way to the hotel gym...hmmm. Sad, there are 2 treadmills, one bicycle, and a stepper - not stat-of-the-art.
I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to gyms. I am a charter member of the Bellevue Club, where all the equipment is very current. Also, I was the Programs Director for the Seattle Athletic Club for a few years and the equipment there is VERY current and the trainer really push you when you're working out!
I tested out all he equipment and I think the bike will be my friend for the next 3 weeks! Fortunately, I brought a jump rope, Versa-Loop, and Versa-Tube, so I can get a little resistance training in while I am away from my own gym. I brought P90X dvd's, but if there is a dvd player in my room, I can't find it!
Oh, also,when I was flipping through the TV channels, I found 2 yoga classes that I can play on demand for free. Yippee! I usually like to take 2-3 Hot Vinyasa Yoga classes a week, so I'll follow these on TV and turn up the heat in my room.
My fitness program was 40 minutes Bike, Resistance Training (arms), and Yoga

Wednesday: 35 minutes Bike

Thursday: Rest
I was a little tired today and had a lot of work to do, so I couldn't bring myself to the gym.

Friday: 50 minutes Bike

Saturday: 45 minutes Resistance Training and Yoga

Overall, this week wasn't bad. I stayed away from the cookies and brownies available at staff meals and I'm not going to touch bread for a while. I am drinking a lot of water and staying away from caffeine and soda. The oranges are so GOOD here, just how I remember them when I first went to college in San Diego. I swear, oranges are so awful in Washington State. YUCK!
So, I treat myself with fresh oranges and sugar-free dark chocolate covered almonds....YUM!

I will try to do HOT YOGA at least 2 times a week while I am here and then go back to my classes when I get back home.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

TWD: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Doesn't this dough look delicious? I put half the dough in the freezer for future use...
emergency or just snacking. The bittersweet chocolate chips add a very chocolatey richness to these chocolate chip cookies.
I have to admit, I only make Toll House Cookies. That's the best recipe in the world, as far as my family goes. I never add nuts. OK, the pecans are a great addition to this cookie...mmmmm!
Make sure to follow the directions exactly, "2 inches between spoonfuls". These spread a lot!

OK, the first batch came out thin. I scooped out the second batch and chilled it for a few minutes. OK, doesn't make a difference. These cookies are pretty thin.

Let them cool for a minute before taking them off the baking sheet, and then
cool them on a rack.


Another great pick for Tuesdays with Dorie! Kait of Kait’s Plate selected My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meatless Mondays: Spanish Tortilla

I had Spanish Tortilla for the first time about 7 years ago in my sister Maria's flat in London. After living in California for so many years, when she said, "Tortilla", I thought Mexican. Wrong.

After a quick call to her friend, Christina, in Spain, she started gathering up all the stuff she needed to make tortilla. Maria started chopping up onions, then potatoes (WHAT?) and then scrambling eggs.

OK, obviously she wasn't making dough or tortillas. The tortilla Maria was making was more like a potato omelet. A nice touch is that Maria tops her tortilla with chopped lettuce, tomatoes and tuna fish....SO GOOD!!!

These days, Maria and her husband, Ravi with their 3 sons live in Virginia. I visited them this past summer and was treated to Spanish Tortilla. Ravi is reigning Spanish Tortilla Maker now. Delicious!!!
Spanish Tortilla
adapted from Tyler Florence, FoodNetwork AND my sister Maria

6 medium potatoes, steamed and diced
2 small onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus 2 tablespoons
7 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Sour Cream


In a medium bowl mix the onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt by hand.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan.

Fry the onions on medium heat, about 3 minutes, until soft.

Turn up the heat, add potatoes and saute for another 5 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the stove and drain off any excess oil.

Meanwhile break the eggs into a medium bowl.

Add the remaining salt and milk and whisk vigorously until frothy.

Add the potatoes and onions to the eggs and mix until fully integrated.

Clean the frying pan and return to stove.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a high heat and pour in the mixture, moving it around in the pan to help the tortilla to rise.

Fry until golden brown, stirring occasionally until it has set.

Then turn down the heat to allow the inside to cook.

After a few minutes turn up the heat in order to brown the tortilla.

When it's cooked place a large plate over the frying pan and flip the tortilla onto it.

Return to the pan and fry the other side until golden brown.
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TWD: Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia

I have to admit, I am not the brownie baker in my house, I leave that to my husband and recently, my son too! I am not that picky about brownies...fudgy, cakey, I like both. The one big HUGE thing I think is important for brownies is CHOCOLATE. The chocolate has too be rich and flavorful, otherwise, forget it.

Many thanks to Tanya of Chocolatechic for choosing our treat this week, Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia. You can find the recipe on her site or on page 91 of the book, Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Very important to follow the recipe exactly. I used a 9-inch square baking pan, not a pyrex. Also, I forgot to put the pan on a baking sheet. The recipe said, "Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until the top looks dry".
I was a little worried when the time went off and the whole pan of brownies was totally jiggly. I used a the Convect Bake function, so my oven ran a little hotter. Hmmm...

OK, my brownies sank a bit, but the top was totally dry, so YIKES, WHAT TO DO? I took the brownies out and cooled on a rack.

The aroma of the brownies was too much to take..."I want, I want, I want!!!" I know we should have waited, but my husband and I cut into the brownie when is was just slightly cooled. Totally GOOEY, but delicious! This is not a brownie, it's a big Chocolate Lava Cake. So Good!
The brownies take on a different texture when totally cooled, the top has a nice crunch, but the inside is still VERY fudgey! This is not like any brownie I have ever had. They are very fragile, not so easy to cut, but I will make these little chocolate fudgey little babies again and again!!!

The rest of this week's brownies can be seen by visiting the TWD blogroll.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Meatless Monday: Nachos!!!

This is one of my favorite foods and it's MEATLESS!!!

I think I could live on nachos. Of course, there has to be my husband's guacamole or it's just not the same.
John's Garlicky Guacamole
3 ripe avocados, smashed
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 fire roasted jalapeno, finely chopped
1/2 roma tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 T cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1/4 lime
Mix it all together and enjoy with tortilla chips!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ten in 2010: 2/6 Update

Sunday: walk
Monday: Cardio Strength Class
Tuesday: nothing
Wednesday: nothing
Thursday: nothing
Friday: nothing
Saturday: 75 minutes Hot Vinyasa Yoga

OK, not the best week. I strained my left wrist the prior Saturday, so I opted to walking through Pike Place Market with my husband. By Monday, I thought I would be OK, and took a combination strength class that uses step, free weights, and body bar...MISTAKE. My wrist got worse. I laid off the gym until Saturday where I was very careful, but got a great workout at Hot Yoga.

Healthy Dinners:
Sunday: White Chicken Chili
Monday: *ate out* King's Cafe (Chinese)
Tuesday: *take-away* Goldberg's Deli (corned beef on rye with cole slaw)
Wednesday: *ate out* Maximilien's (French Bistro)
Thursday: Teriyaki Chicken with sauteed veggies
Friday: Meatloaf and steamed corn
Saturday: Slow cooked Pork Ribs, Jalapeno-Cheese Corn Bread, Cole Slaw

Well, not so healthy, but I tried. Eating at home was much healthier, but sometimes it's not always possible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

PF Changs

Why start with dessert? It's the only thing I really like at PF Changs. Thank God we have a great International District, so we can get great Chinese, but if you can't PF Changs is the answer!!!

I have to admit, I prefer the authentic Chinese that doesn't ask, "How spicy do you you want your sauce?" I am referring to the mix of soy, sesame oil, sambal, and rice vinegar, which usually sits on the table for your own personal use, but at PF Changs, the servers feel they need to mix it for you. Funny.

The huge plus at PF Changs is that there is a full bar with bartenders who can really mix a tasty drink. Another is the starters/small plates. It's so nice to have a little yummy bite rather than always starting with soup. Hmmm...what else. Portion control! Don't get me wrong, I love the leftovers, but there's just way too much food served at most Chinese restaurants. OK, maybe those aren't valid complaints...just sayin'.

At the end of the day, EVERYONE loves PF Changs. Can't really complain. Great place to meet for a drink and perfect place to eat with your family!
WOW, Organic and with Agave!!! I'd say, "How Healthy", but it's a COCKTAIL!!!
A yummy cocktail!
4 Copas Tequila and Organic Agave Nectar shaken with fresh lime juicemmmm...start with this...
Tender wok-braised ribs served with a five-spice salt
OK, I love Wonton soup, but this was a miss. The chicken was seriously DRY and the broth completely flavorless.

Pork wontons, mushrooms, spinach, water chestnuts, chicken and shrimp in our homemade chicken broth. Made to order. If you want the real stuff, pass on this.
Vegetarians rejoice! PF Changs has a nice selection of veggie entrees that even your meat loving friends will love.

Sichuan’s famous dish of crispy silken tofu in a vegetarian sauce with steamed broccoli...mmm!
Fried Rice, hold the shrimp!
Wok-fried rice blended with egg, soy and sliced scallions. Choice of vegetable, beef, pork, chicken, shrimp or combo.
OK, have a picky kid? My sister just told me that my Godson, Lucas, loves the fried rice at PF Changs. He orders Fried Rice, No Vegetables! Perfect!

If you are looking for the traditional Sweet and Sour Pork, this is close, but better for you. Well, it's chicken anyway, instead of random chunks of fatty pork.

Lightly battered and served in a sweet, flavorful sauce over a bed of crispy rice sticks. So Good!!! Check out this crazy dessert selection. That's right "Cake Shots"!!! You can have every cake without the guilt..."It's not a whole piece!"

P.F. Chang's China Bistro (Bellevue) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

TWD: Milk Chocolate Mini Bundts

This weeks recipe (Milk Chocolate Mini Bundts) was chosen by Kristin of I'm Right About Everything.

Sorry, I had to pass this week. I don't have the mini bundt baking tray, also, still have Cocoa-Nana Bread lingering from last week. I probably would have made the bundt cakes if my husband was in town, so he would eat them all, not me.

I'll be joining in the baking next week: Rick Katz’s Brownies for Julia!!! YUM!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meatless Mondays: Minestrone Soup

So Delicious. So Nutritious!
This Minestrone is yet another awesome thing I learned how to make from my roommate Paola. I am not listing a recipe this time, because every time Paola made minestrone, it was different. I'll measure everything out next time.
One thing, always start with olive oil, onion, and garlic, and then add seasonal vegetables and water (or broth). Salt & Pepper to taste. Simmer, Simmer, done! YUM.


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