Saturday, December 22, 2012

Seared Scallops and Creamed Leeks

Last night Bryan and I celebrated our Christmas together at home since we will be traveling to Minnesota for the holidays! I absolutely love our early Christmas date nights that have sort of become our mini-tradition! We leisurely enjoyed a full menu of delicious food, a cocktail, wine, music in the background, candles lit all around us, and presents!

On the appetizer menu: goat gouda and crab salad served with crackers, and veggie pot stickers served with 2 different dipping sauces of hot chili sauce and soy sauce.

On the dinner menu: seared scallops with creamed leeks, and roasted, seasoned sweet potatoes and onions (not pictured).

This fall, we ate at a restaurant and my entree was served with creamed leeks, which I had never had before and absolutely loved! Being an avid leek lover, I tried my best to find a recipe that could mimic what I ate at the restaurant so that I could make them at home. Finally, I had found a recipe that looked great, and I wanted to save it for a special night. Served with seared scallops, it was perfection!

Oh my gosh, the seared scallops were like buttah and the creamed leeks were insanely delicious. Paired together, it was the perfect bite and we could not stop raving at how good everything tasted! I think this dinner might have to become our traditional Christmas dinner!

I had never made seared scallops at home before, so I followed this tutorial, and they turned out perfectly!

Creamed Leeks
Adapted from Epicurious

Makes: 4 servings

3 1/2 lb leeks, root ends trimmed
2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
3/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp pepper
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut each leek into an 8-inch length, measuring from root end, and halve lengthwise, then cut crosswise into roughly 1 1/2 inch pieces. Wash leeks thoroughly, and drain.

Cook bread crumbs with 1/4 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper in 3 tbsp butter in a skillet over moderate heath, stirring until crisp and pale golden, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook leeks with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in remaining 3 tbsp butter in a large skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until tender, about 12 minutes.

Transfer leeks with a slotted spoon to an oven save dish. Pour cream slowly over leeks, then scatter bread crumbs on top. Bake until cream is bubbling and slightly thickened and crumbs are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Everyone knows of those awesome peanut butter cookies with the chocolate star or Hershey's kiss on top, right?? Okay, those are, by far, my favorite Christmas cookie! And I needed to find a recipe to make them this year! So, when my girlfriends and I got together to bake Christmas cookies this week, I definitely wanted to make these.

Unfortunately, I could not find those beloved little chocolate stars at 3 different grocery stores, including stores that sell bulk candy and chocolate! Major disappointment. Since I was on a time crunch, I decided to purchase some chocolate chunks because I knew they would do the trick since the purpose of the chocolate is just for the topping and flavor. While these cookies are not the prettiest cookies with cute little star on top, they were the best tasting cookie ever. They were the perfect consistency: thick, dense, chewy, and perfectly paired with a bit of chocolate on top. Heavenly.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Adapted from

Makes 48 cookies

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
48 Hershey's chocolate kisses, or chocolate stars

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until well blended. Blend in sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually mix into peanut butter mixture.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

When removed from the oven, immediately place a kiss or star on top of the cookie and press down lightly.


Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Even though we hosted 10 people for Friendsgiving, and divvied up the leftovers, we still had a lot of leftover turkey! I was actually happy about this because I love my dad's turkey recipe. I had also been craving some soup, so I figured that it would go perfectly in a creamy wild rice soup!!

Fun factoid that I learned this semester in my food science class: Wild rice is not actually rice. It's not a grain either. It's a seed of a reed-like water plant and contains twice the protein and has more B vitamins than regular rice.

This soup far surpassed my expectations and was so good! If only I had leftover turkey year-round to make it!! I guess I'll have to use chicken until the next time we have a reason to make a large turkey!

Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Adapted from Eating Well

Makes: Approx. 4 servings
Prep time: 35 minutes

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick-cooking or instant wild rice
3 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey (12 oz)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, carrots, and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, 5-7 minutes (unless you are using conventional wild rice, which will take 40-50 minutes to cook. Check the directions on the package). Stir in turkey (or chicken), sour cream, and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more.

Serve and enjoy!

Bourbon Bomber

As I mentioned, we hosted a Friendsgiving on Thanksgiving weekend. I wanted to have a signature cocktail that was suited for the holiday. I found this recipe and knew it would be perfect! This cocktail is perfect for the fall since it uses apple cider and incorporates other fall seasonings like ginger and nutmeg! I think it could actually work well for Christmas too, if any of you are looking for a cocktail recipe!

Bourbon Bomber
Adapted from The Boys Club

Note: You can make this in one large pitcher, or you can make each drink one at a time. Ingredients and directions are listed for drinks made individually.

Apple cider
Ice cubes
Agave nectar
All spice
Lemon zest
Nutmeg, grated
Ginger, grated
Rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)

Using a cocktail shaker, add a few ice cubes, 1//4 cup bourbon, 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/2 tbsp agave nectar, 1/2 tbsp all spice, 1/2 tsp lemon zest, 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg, and a pinch of grated ginger. Shake well.

Using a strainer, strain the drink over an ice-filled rock glass. Top each drink with a drop (or two) of bitters and a rosemary sprig.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Bryan found out the day before Thanksgiving that he would have Thursday off! We actually had plans to host a Friendsgiving that Friday and had nothing planned for Thursday! Since I was also on a mini-break from school, we discovered that we would have a whole day together that we could do whatever we wanted! YES!

We slept in and made those French Toast BLT's for breakfast! We enjoyed multiple episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix while we ate those delicious sandwiches and lounged on the couch.

We took advantage of the lovely weather and went for a long bicycle ride in the afternoon! Ohio actually has great roads for biking!

It was an awesome day! (Oh yeah, did I mention that Bryan grew a mustache for Movember?) So glad that's over!

That Friday, we hosted a Friendsgiving! We had friends over who were also staying in Cleveland for the holiday. We made the turkey, appetizers, and a cocktail (post coming up) and everyone else brought sides. It was a success!!

Turkey prep! This is how surgeons make a turkey! It's from my dad's recipe - my favorite turkey of all time. Unfortunately, we got busy with hosting and forgot to take a picture of the final product. I guess you'll have to wait until we make it again!

Stay tuned for the festive cocktail recipe coming right up!

Homemade Pizza Dough

Everyone loves pizza, right? But most people order in or eat frozen pizza. Some people will venture out and make a homemade crust from a box or package. Those days are over!

I was lucky enough to be given the best homemade pizza dough recipe in the world by a great friend! I finally had time to make it this fall and we totally loved it!! I can't wait to try this again! The best part about making your own pizza is you can pick your own toppings and put whatever you'd like on it! We decided to use mozzarella cheese, Brussels sprouts, and pancetta. Delicious!

Homemade Pizza Dough
From My Friend Rachel!

Prep time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 1/2 hours, or overnight

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (scant 1 tbsp)
a pinch of sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Put the flower, sugar, and yeast in a mixing bowl and pour the hot water in. Mix together and set aside until foamy, 20-30 mins.

Lightly oil a clean bowl for the dough (should be fairly large).

Stir in the salt and oil, then start mixing with the dough hook on your Kitchen Aid. Add more flour as needed. Let the dough hook do its magic until the dough is smooth an dshiny, and bounces back to the touch. You may want to knead it by hand. If you decide not to use the Kitchen Aid, knead for ~10 minutes.

Put the dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight. Alternately, let it rise for about an hour at room temperature.

Divide into 2-3 pieces and make pizza! Bake as hot as you can get your oven, usually 10-15 minutes each. Enjoy!

French Toast BLT's

Bryan is in the 1st of 6 years of his urology residency, as many of you know. This first year, he is a general surgery intern, which allows for him to learn the basics of surgery and managing patients. Being an intern, he works a lot. Like, a crazy amount - usually around 80 hour weeks. We try to maximize our time together because any chunk of time we have together is precious! Whenever we both have a morning free, which is very rare, I try to make a delicious breakfast because I absolutely love breakfast food. I ran across this recipe a long time ago, and I finally had a chance to make it for us over the Thanksgiving weekend!

French Toast BLT's - seriously, genius. Whoever thought of this idea was on top of their game. These little sandwiches were so amazing that I can't wait for another opportunity to make them! Since the holidays are coming up, maybe some of you will be inspired to create these fancy little BLT's to impress your guests!

French Toast BLT's
Adapted from E is for Eat

Makes: 4 sandwiches

4 slices brioche bread (or 8 baguette slices)
2 large slices Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and cut in half
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk (or half and half)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp flour
Fresh ground salt and pepper
2-3 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 lettuce leaves

Cook the bacon until golden brown and crisp. Keep warm in microwave or oven until ready to serve.

While bacon cooks, whisk together eggs, cream, chives, parmesan, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Lay bread in single layer in large shallow dish and coat with egg mixture. Soak 20-30 mins, turning once in the dish to allow for proper soaking.

Next, cook bread as you would cook French toast. We use a nonstick pan, so I don't use any butter or cooking spray. If you use a skillet, melt butter or use cooking spray to prevent sticking. Flip bread when the egg is brown and crisp. Keep cooked pieces warm in microwave or oven until ready to serve.

To assemble, layer tomato, lettuce, and bacon on a slice of French toast. Top with another slice or serve open faced. Another great addition that we thought of as we were devouring these babies would be to add sliced avocado if you like. Enjoy!


A long while back, I posted a recipe for quinoa stuffed bell peppers. This recipe has become a staple here at our house, since it is so quick, easy, healthy, cheap, and makes great leftovers. Now that I've made it a number of times, I've altered the recipe into a favorite. I thought it would be worthwhile to update the recipe on the ol' blog, since I actually reference the old post often!

I basically make the bulk of the recipe the same way, but instead of baking the peppers as the original recipe instructs, the end result is much more delicious and beautiful if you grill the peppers! They only take a couple of minutes which cuts major time off the preparation. An alternative for those who don't have a grill or don't prefer to grill year-round as we do, you could also fire them on the gas oven for a minute or two (be careful if you do this!).

Additionally, the quinoa makes great filling in a tortilla, topped with salsa! This is another version that we love to make for leftovers the next day when the bell peppers are gone. To be honest, the quinoa mixture is delicious on its own!

This is a really great versatile recipe and I'd encourage anyone looking for something new to try to give this recipe a shot! Bryan requests it at least every other week!

Original recipe adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Second edition adapted from my own adaptation

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin (I usually add more to taste)
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 8oz package mushrooms, sliced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup quinoa
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn (or one small can, drained)
1 1/2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2-4 large bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and tomatoes (with liquid). Cook 5 minutes.

Stir in quinoa and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and stir in black beans, corn, and 1 cup cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill peppers for a couple of minutes - they will still be crunchy, but slightly cooked.

Serve by stuffing quinoa mixture into peppers or in the center of a tortilla, burrito style. Top with remaining shredded cheese and  salsa, or serve salsa on the side. Enjoy!

One semester down, Two to go!!!

Exciting news! This girl is officially done with finals! My first semester of graduate school is complete! It was interesting, stimulating, invigorating, frustrating at times, but very enriching and rewarding. I'm so glad that I'm finally learning what I want to learn and working towards my dream career.

Now that busy school life is over, I thought I'd have some free time on my hands. I was so wrong! There is so much to do! I've been busy with cooking, baking, hanging out with friends, cleaning, running errands, working a lot (since I cut back on hours during finals), and preparing for Christmas! At least it's fun busy!

So, you know what this means - blog post marathon comin' up! Stay tuned! Oh, and that pic of Dimitri is just to make you smile :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lentil Curry

It's time again for a quick update!

We survived last week's residual effects of Hurricane Sandy here in Ohio. We lost power for a few days and had to relocate to stay with friends who still had power. We were so thankful to have a place where we could bring Dimitri along with us, and that the storm damage wasn't as bad as it was on the east coast.

Last week was a crazy whirlwind of a week as we both tried to stay on top of things at work and in school.

When we got back, we had so many things to catch up on that neither of us had much time to cook. Finally, this week, I had some time to get to the grocery store to make a dish that I'd been craving! Do you ever crave a dish that you've never made before? I've had lentil curry quite a few times before, but I've never made it. Suddenly, it was time to learn. I found a great simple recipe and I'm happy to report that it was delicious! I probably ended up one-and-a-halfing the recipe, and it made a lot of leftovers that I'm happy about!! This is a great simple and comforting meal that I will surely be making again!

Lentil Curry
Adapted from Martha Stewart


1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp curry powder (or more to taste)
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), stemmed and separated into florets
1 cup brown lentils, picked over, well rinsed, and drained
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes with juice
Salt and pepper


1. In a nonstick Dutch oven (5-quart pot with tight-fitting lid), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 7 minutes.

2. Add curry powder and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in sweet potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and their juice, and 1 1/2 cups water; season with salt and pepper.

3. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover, and cook until lentils and sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. I served this dish on top of brown rice.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

I've made pumpkin muffins before... usually I get the craving sometime in the fall when everything pumpkin is around! You can see my posts for pumpkin muffins with a cinnamon and sugar toping and pumpkin cream cheese muffins with pecan streusel!!! They are both insanely delicious!

This fall, I was craving a pumpkin muffin that was more healthy. This may or may not have been prompted by my nutrition classes giving me a daily dose of nutrition and health!

Regardless, I went with my craving in search of a healthier pumpkin muffin. And I found a good one!! These muffins are super dense, thick and chewy, just like I like them! I also used whole wheat flour and oats for added fiber, and pumpkin and chia seeds for added protein! I like the extra crunch and texture in these muffins! Since they are loaded with fiber, they have some strong staying power, which is great for those days when I don't get home for lunch!

If you need to get in a healthy version of something with Halloween and Thanksgiving coming up, give these muffins a try! You won't feel guilty for eating a little extra batter while you're preparing them!!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
Adapted from Peanut Butter Fingers

Makes 12 muffins


3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
Optional mix-ins: nuts, chocolate chips, raisins. I added in pumpkin seeds and chia seeds.


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin pan with muffin cups, or spray with cooking spray.

2. Combine whole wheat flour through sugar in a large bowl and mix to evenly distribute ingredients.

3. In a separate bowl, mix egg, pumpkin, milk and canola oil

4. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture and stir until batter is thick and fully mixed

5. Fold in optional mix-ins

6. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes or until tops of the muffins bounce back when lightly touched

7. Cool and enjoy. You can top with cinnamon, butter, or pumpkin butter! I prefer them plain because they are delicious on their own!

Lentil and Swiss Chard Risotto

Since I had time to cook a nice meal over Fall Break, and I had a craving for lentils, I decided a good risotto would do the trick! I found this recipe by Martha Stewart, and simplified the process a bit. It was delicious and we had tons of leftovers! I will be making it again for sure!

Lentil and Swiss Chard Risotto
Adapted from Martha Stewart


1 bay leaf
fresh thyme sprigs
1 cup green lentils
1 large bunch Swiss chard
3 large leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut into small semicircles
4 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be used as well)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped radicchio, for garnish


1. In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups water, bay leaf, and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes. Add lentils, reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, 20-30 minutes. Drain lentils and discard bay leaf and thyme.

2. Meanwhile, wash the Swiss chard and chop into 2 inch pieces. Discard the larger stems. Cook in a large skillet, tossing constantly, until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

3. In the large skillet, heat olive oil and add leeks, onions, and garlic and cook stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and continue stirring until the edges of the rice are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until nearly all the wine is absorbed, about 30 seconds.

4. Raise the heat to medium high, add salt and pepper. Gradually add chicken broth until it is all absorbed by the rice, stirring constantly, until rice is creamy, about 15-20 minutes.

5. Turn the heat to low, and stir in the lentils, Swiss chard, and Parmesan. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Divide risotto among serving dishes and serve immediately.

6. We also added an over easy egg on top of our risotto, as per another risotto recipe, and it was delicious! Feel free to enjoy the dish either way!

Back to Running! (with tendonitis)...

Yes, the name of my blog is Runner Foodie. You'd think I'd post more about running, right? Well, do you remember last year, when I had all sorts of running struggles? Well, let's just say that after a long year of trying to recover, I'm still sort of injured.

My ankle has been so sore the past year whenever I ran as little as 2-3 miles. My frustration about not getting a good workout drove me to try the Insanity program (which I loved!) and I completed 2 cycles of it. I felt like my ankle got stronger by doing some cross training, so that's when I decided to go to the doctor and try to run again.

I went to a doctor this fall, and said that I have residual tendonitis from my injury last year that hasn't healed. She hooked me up with some cool orthotics to wear in my running shoes. They've really been helping my ankle feel better when I run, so I've been able to increase my distance to 5 miles! This is HUGE. It's so nice to get a good run in, now that school has started up and I'm more busy with less time to devote to a workout.

However, after a couple of months running 5 miles at a time, my ankle is still getting pretty sore towards the end of a run. I think it's time to go back to the doctor and get something figured out about this ankle of mine. I don't want to be injured for life! Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure I'm not injuring it further, and I'll continue to run and write about it!

Midterms/Fall Break

I successfully made it though my first midterms week of graduate school last week! I'm happy to report that the tests went well!! Dimitri helped me study:

A lot!

Our Fall Break was last weekend and was just a short 4 day weekend, but I really needed it! Bryan had to work 3 of the 4 days I was off (late nights too!), so I had plenty of time to myself, which is nice sometimes. I didn't do any schoolwork! I used my time to finish the Stephen King novel I was reading, 11/22/63 (it was really good, if anyone is looking for a long read!!), sleep, work for my job, run, bake, and cook!! Yes, you'll see some upcoming posts regarding some of these activities!

Bring on the rest of the semester!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

You know it's officially fall when everything includes pumpkin!! Last weekend I had a craving for pumpkin bread, and I also needed to do some baking for birthday gifts and thank you gifts to friends :)

To my surprise, when I went to search through my recipes, I didn't have a pumpkin bread recipe yet, and I'm so glad I found this one. It's delicious, moist, and flavorful! Next time, I will decrease the sugar amount a bit because it was a little too sweet for me. I also added walnuts and pecans (1/2 and 1/2) which was a great idea to add a variety of crunch! Topped with a thin layer of butter, these pumpkin bread slices were the perfect fall snack!

Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Yields: 2 8x4 loaves
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes


3-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil
2-2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 cups (15 ounces) canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used half a cup of each)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8½x4½-inch loaf pans.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and sugar until combined. Add the eggs, pumpkin, water and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix gently until combined. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir in the nuts.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 60 to 80 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Remove the bread from the oven and place the pans on a cooling rack. Once the breads are completely cool, turn out of the pans. You can serve immediately or, for even better flavor and moistness, wrap the loaves in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crock Pot French Onion Pork Tenderloin

This past weekend, Bryan and I went back to Minnesota for a much anticipated wedding of 2 wonderful friends. Bryan's group of guy friends from college are very close, and it is always a big event when all of them can get together at the same time! It is very hard to coordinate schedules of doctors, lawyers, pastors, PhD grad students, masters students, and crazy busy people to make occasions like this happen, but big events like weddings are quite warranted!

We flew in to MSP Friday night and headed straight to a late dinner with awesome friends Rob and Sarah at The Bachelor Farmer. For those of you who live in the Twin Cities and haven't been there yet - you must go! It was amazing. We even tried something new to the group - pickled duck hearts! I was all for it, others were hesitant, but everyone liked them! After a long and delicious dinner filled with cocktails and wine, we called it a night.

Saturday morning, I woke up at 7am - wide awake - for some odd reason. I decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather that I could see out the window, and I went for a 5 mile run around Lake Harriet.

It was beautiful and invigorating! There were so many people out and about!

For lunch, we met up with the whole gang (minus the bride, groom and one usher) at Maynard's Restaurant, since it was on the way to the wedding. It was so exciting to finally see everyone!! What a fun group :) We missed you William!

After lunch, we headed straight to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

Marc and Taylor got married at a beautiful winery in Waconia, MN. The weather was perfect, the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the ceremony was a success (2 pastor friends officiated!), and the reception was awesome! Since I've been to so many weddings, I've stopped trying to take pictures - I figure the photographer was paid to do that, so I just have fun. It was such a fun night that ended at 2am, and we were all exhausted! Overall, it was a fantastic wedding night!

You better believe that we had brunch plans for Sunday! We headed back to the cities and were super excited to experience Blackbird Cafe again as a group. It's the best brunch place ever! And they handled our large group very well and kept our coffee mugs full! Bryan and I split the special frittata that had yummy cheese in it and the sweet potato biscuits and sausage gravy. YUM!

It was such a fun weekend with everyone and we're excited for the next reunion!!! Congratulations to Marc and Taylor on a fabulous wedding and I wish you a wonderful marriage!

Now, on to describing that post title: Crock Pot French Onion Pork Tenderloin. Speaking of Taylor, I pulled this bad baby off her blog Greens and Chocolate. Since school has been so busy and Bryan works 80 hours a week, there is little time for cooking around here. I've been relying on fast and healthy dinners, focusing on things that will deliver left overs. My crock pot has been used at least once a week! This recipe was perfect for me!! Actually, this week is the second time I've made it in the last month! Set it, forget it, and try not to eat it before the husband gets home... :)

We made one change to her recipe - we placed the meat on buns, topped it with provolone cheese, and broiled the open face sandwich for a couple of minutes to get it nice and melted. Then, we dipped the sandwiches in a ramekin of au jus!

Crock Pot French Onion Pork Tenderloin
From Greens and Chocolate


2 lb pork tenderloin
1 packet French Onion Soup mix
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup sherry wine (or red wine, which I used)
3 tbsp soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced


Place pork in crock pot. Mix together soup mix, broth, wine, soy sauce and garlic. Pour over pork. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Cut or shred in crock pot. Serve on a plate and pour juice over pork, or serve on a sandwich with white cheese.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Biker Babe

I got a new bike this weekend!!

Bryan and I have been thinking about getting me a road bike for many years now, but it always seemed to be placed on the "back burner" due to many other pressing items that need to be done and only doing what our budget could allow at that time. The time finally came where I needed to get a bike out of necessity to ride to school. I had quite a hard time obtaining a parking permit at school, so we decided that I would be a bike commuter. We searched far and wide on Craigslist and Ebay, but lost out on some opportunities quickly. Bryan found a great bike shop in a nearby suburb that was having a sale last weekend, so we took advantage of that! The bike had to be ordered in and built at the shop.

Meanwhile, I got lucky and got off the extensive wait list for parking at the lot that is close to where I need to be on campus! Parking is super expensive, but it's totally worth it to me (especially when the weather is crappy!).

So, it turns out, I have parking at school AND was able to pick up my new bike this weekend! The bike will just be for fun rides and exercise rather than commuting! Much more enticing :)

I haven't ridden a bicycle since I was about 10, and it was my 21 speed mountain bike that I would ride in the hills I grew up in. I would ride on gravel, trails and go off jumps and have a grand ole time. I've never ridden a road bike, so I asked Bryan to go on the first ride with me, and show me how to have street smarts and teach me a few things. Oh, and I'm waiting to get actual biking shoes until I'm comfortable with my feet in the cages on the pedals.

Today, we went on a 20 mile ride out one of the main biker friendly streets and after a few miles, we were on pretty quiet roads that went through rolling hills and along beautiful tree lines. It was great!! I loved it and will be going on many more rides when I have time!!

Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

Now that school has started, I've been trying to focus on making quick and healthy meals for busy weeknights. We had some chicken and veggies that needed to be cooked, so I found a great marinade for the chicken and decided to make kabobs!

We ended up going out to eat with some of the other Urology residents that night, so the chicken actually marinated for 2 days. It was so delicious and I'm sure I'll be making this recipe again soon!

I also found a recipe for flavorful rice, which was super easy and delicious! Basically, you add some broth to the water it's cooked in and stir in some parsley. Perfection!

Marinade for Chicken Kabobs
Adapted from All Recipes


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Teriyaki sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


Mix all ingredients into a bowl or container that you're planning on marinading the chicken in. Cut up chicken breasts into large cubes and place in marinade. Let rest in refrigerator for a few hours, overnight, or until the next day.

When you're ready to grill your kabobs, assemble a variety of cubed vegetables onto skewers with chicken. We added red and green bell peppers, onion and mushrooms to the chicken. Lots of colors going on! Save the remaining marinade to brush onto the kabob skewers when you turn them on the grill.

Grill kabobs for 10-12 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear. Turn and brush with reserved marinade frequently.

For the Flavorful Rice

Place 1 cup of rice in a small pan that you will cook it in. Add 1 cup water and 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth. Cook rice according to the instructions on the package. When rice is done, add a tablespoon of butter and tablespoon of parsley. Also add sprinkle of ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Week of School!

The first week of school is complete, and it went pretty well! These are the classes I'm taking this semester:

Food Science and Lab
Advanced Nutrition
Maternal and Child Nutrition

It should be a good semester full of studying, loads of journal reading, and endless chapters to be read in textbooks. Bring it on! I'm beginning to transition from a working mindset to a student mindset again. Good times!

I'm super excited for this weekend. We don't have too much planned, but Bryan gets the rest of the weekend off! Days off in residency are so RARE that we are just going to enjoy some time together and keep life simple :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to School!

Tomorrow is my first day of school! I haven't been a full time student in 4 years! That seems like such a long time. I know that some people take more time off, but for me it wasn't completely intentional. I knew I wanted to take some time off after college, but I didn't think it would end up being this long. Due to Bryan being in medical school for 4 years in Chicago and trying to line up a program that would end at the same time as him, it made the most sense to wait until he was done to start a 3 year program (since it takes a year to apply). Since my time off was longer than anticipated (which I was grateful for!), I'm very excited to get back to school.

One of the things I love about the fall is all of the new beginnings. This fall is a huge beginning for me. I will start a 3 year masters program in nutrition and I'm super excited to get the ball rolling after so much time planning to start it!

I'm a little nervous starting back up again - even though I've only been out of school for 4 years, I'm sure things have changed. Additionally, the student population surely has changed a little bit. I will probably have peers of a variety of ages, which I think is a good thing!

I ran across this link a few days ago, and I remembered that this is a link I end up reading every fall at the start of school. It demonstrates the mindset of the new incoming freshman class by showing how they relate to the world and how they were brought up to think. It's always interesting, so I thought I'd share it with you now!

This is the Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2016

"For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.
  1. They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
  2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
  3. The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
  4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.”
  5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube. 
  6. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
  7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
  9. They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  10. On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of Dumb and Dumber males. 
  11. The paradox "too big to fail" has been, for their generation, what "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" was for their grandparents'.
  12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
  13. They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.
  14. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
  16. Since they've been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16 cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.
  17. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.
  18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
  19. The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.
  20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.
  21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
  22. The Real World has always stopped being polite and started getting real on MTV.
  23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
  24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited.
  25. They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.
  26. Having made the acquaintance of Furby at an early age, they have expected their toy friends to do ever more unpredictable things.
  27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.
  28. Star Wars has always been just a film, not a defense strategy.
  29. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
  30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.’
  31. Along with online viewbooks, parents have always been able to check the crime stats for the colleges their kids have selected.
  32. Newt Gingrich has always been a key figure in politics, trying to change the way America thinks about everything.
  33. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future.
  34. Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents.
  35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends. 
  36. Stephen Breyer has always been an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  37. Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting Saturday Night Live.
  38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.
  39. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.
  40. A bit of the late Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, has always existed in space.
  41. Good music programmers are rock stars to the women of this generation, just as guitar players were for their mothers.
  42. Gene therapy has always been an available treatment.
  43. They were too young to enjoy the 1994 World Series, but then no one else got to enjoy it either.
  44. The folks have always been able to grab an Aleve when the kids started giving them a migraine.
  45. While the iconic TV series for their older siblings was the sci-fi show Lost, for them it’sBreaking Bad, a gritty crime story motivated by desperate economic circumstances.
  46. Simba has always had trouble waiting to be King.
  47. Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
  48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.
  49. There has always been a World Trade Organization.
  50. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
  51. They have always been able to see Starz on Direct TV.
  52. Ice skating competitions have always been jumping matches.
  53. There has always been a Santa Clause.
  54. NBC has never shown A Wonderful Life more than twice during the holidays.
  55. Mr. Burns has replaced J.R.Ewing as the most shot-at man on American television.
  56. They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.
  57. Herr Schindler has always had a List; Mr. Spielberg has always had an Oscar.
  58. Selena's fans have always been in mourning.
  59. They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
  60. History has always had its own channel.
  61. Thousands have always been gathering for “million-man” demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
  62. Television and film dramas have always risked being pulled because the story line was too close to the headlines from which they were ”ripped.”
  63. TheTwilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.
  64. Robert Osborne has always been introducing Hollywood history on TCM.
  65. Little Caesar has always been proclaiming “Pizza Pizza.”
  66. They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.
  67. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.
  68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.
  69. Pulp Fiction’s meal of a "Royale with Cheese" and an “Amos and Andy milkshake” has little or no resonance with them.
  70. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.
  71. Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.
  72. Astronauts have always spent well over a year in a single space flight.
  73. Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.
  74. Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.
  75. The Sistine Chapel ceiling has always been brighter and cleaner."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Graduate School Orientation

Today, I went to orientation for graduate school at Case Western Reserve University where I'll be studying in the masters program for nutrition. The program was loaded with tons of information, but I feel like I'll be able to get into the swing of things, no problem.

I haven't been able to take any photos of the campus yet, but if you want to see some beautiful pictures of where I'll be spending much of my time, check out this US News site. The pictures make it feel similar to St. Olaf. It feels very different from St. Olaf though. I'm very excited for this new adventure! Classes start on Monday!

Goodtime III Cruise

This past weekend, Bryan and I had the opportunity to partake in a fun social event for residents at Cleveland Clinic on the Goodtime III Cruise! Apparently, this cruise line is Cleveland's largest and took us down the river a bit, and then out onto Lake Erie. The food and drinks were included, so you know we had a good time!

Overall, the cruise was really fun and allowed us to see parts of downtown Cleveland that we hadn't seen yet! It was great! Comparing this cruise to others that I'd been on in Chicago, it wasn't as cool, but I think that had a little to do with the fact that the aesthetic of the Chicago skyline can't be beat, so I was a little too hard on Cleveland. The sunset was beautiful and we had a great time hanging out with friends!

German Potato Salad

I've been craving a potato salad in the past few weeks and finally decided to find a good one to make. I didn't want the typical mustard/mayonnaise dressed potato salad, but I was interested in more of a vinegar taste. After some searching around, I found this recipe and I knew it would be a winner in my book. 

When I was growing up, my dad, who is mostly German by heritage, used to make this yummy spinach salad from produce straight from our garden. The base was spinach, and the toppings varied depending on what we had growing at the time. Most of the time it was tomatoes, scallions and hard boiled eggs (which were obviously not from our garden). He also created this delicious bacon vinaigrette that was served warm over the salad and was so delicious! Come to think of it, maybe I was craving that salad... hmm... Anyway, those Germans sure know what they're doing with bacon and vinegar by turing it into the best dressing for anything.

This potato salad had that same great flavor that is dense and salty from the bacon bits, but at the same time was still light and flavorful from the fresh ingredients. I've already made this salad a second time because I just needed more of it in my life! Oh, and don't make the same mistake I did when I made it the first time - the last two words of the recipe instructions say "Serve warm" and I didn't see that until I read them... last. And I wasn't planning on actually serving the dish to guests until later that evening. Suffice it to say, this salad also tastes great cold from the fridge :) When I made it the second time, it did really taste better warm, so I'd encourage you to plan better than me! Lesson learned! But it is good to know that you can enjoy the leftovers too.

Oh, and here's a fun fact of the day for you - Bryan is 100% German. Yup, he liked the potato salad too :)

German Potato Salad


2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp minced chives, for garnish


Slice potatoes into bite sized cubes. Place the potatoes in a medium sized pot and cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15-20 minutes. Drain.

While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving some in the pan to cook the onions in. Add onions and cook at medium high heat until translucent.

In a large bowl (the bowl you're planning to serve the potato salad in) whisk the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt and stir until thick and bubbly. Add the cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with crumbled bacon and garnish with the chives. Serve warm.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Peaches n Cream Cupcakes

For our night at Blossom, I also wanted to make a dessert! These cupcakes came to mind and I whipped them up the day before. I kept the whipped topping separate (and chilled) so that I could add it on top of the cupcakes right when we were ready to eat them. That also meant that I plopped the topping on with an ice cream scooper!! The simpler, the better, right?!

These cupcakes were quite yummy! They had the perfect summer flare with the added peach pieces in them. The cake was dense while the topping was light and fluffy - a perfect summer dessert in my book!! Anyone else in love with peaches right now?

Peaches n Cream Cupcakes

Makes 20-24 cupcakes


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup half & half
1-1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons flour, divided
1-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 peaches peeled, pitted & chopped
2-3 peaches sliced for garnish

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with cupcake wrappers. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined before adding the next one. Add vanilla then beat to combine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in half & half then beat to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together 1-1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches, mixing until just combined before adding the next batch. Toss remaining 2 Tablespoons flour with the chopped peaches then fold into the batter by hand.
3. Spoon batter into muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Smooth tops with the back of a spoon, then bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cupcakes rest in the muffin tins for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. For the Whipped Cream Frosting: Place the clean bowl of an electric mixer, or a large mixing bowl, into the freezer for 10 minutes. Fit the electric mixer with the whipping attachment then add whipping cream and vanilla to the chilled bowl. Beat the mixture on medium speed while gradually adding the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until whipped cream can hold it’s shape, but is not lumpy, about 2-3 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. When cupcakes are completely cool, scoop whipped cream frosting into a piping or ziplock bag then pipe onto cupcakes. Top with a fresh peach slice. Store in the refrigerator.

Veggie Pasta Salad

Two awesome things happened this past weekend - Bryan's parents came to visit us for the first time since we've moved to Cleveland, and Bryan finished being on nights (well, for now)!!

Bryan worked the first night they were here, so the three of us went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and then saw the movie Hope Springs! I love Meryl Streep, so I'm down to see any movie she's in. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it was mostly funny throughout and cute in the end.

The three of us went out for brunch Saturday morning so that Bryan could sleep a little bit after working all night. I wanted to explore a new area called Shaker Square. We went to Fire Food and Drink and it was fantastic! I will definitely be bringing Bryan here for brunch one of these days. The food was so delicious!

Saturday night, the four of us went to Blossom! As you know, Bryan and I love going to Blossom in the summer, so it was only fitting to bring his parents with us while they were here! We actually met up with friends of theirs while we were there too! We had quite the spread for dinner, including this pasta salad I made for the occasion. It was perfectly transportable and held up well not being refrigerated for a little while. It's a nice and light dish that could be a main dish in the summer or a side dish next to grilled items as well!

Veggie Pasta Salad
From All Recipes


  • 1 (8 ounce) package small pasta
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook the pasta at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes; drain. Rinse pasta with cold water until cool; drain.
  2. Toss drained pasta, sweet onion, green bell pepper, chile pepper, tomatoes, and cucumber together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk olive oil, tomato sauce, lime juice, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper together in a separate bowl; drizzle over the pasta mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours; stir to serve.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Pie

I think that Bryan working nights is totally getting to me. I'm not the one working nights, but my schedule is all sorts of screwed up. My eating, sleeping, workout and productivity hours are all backwards. It's oddly exhausting, given that I'm not the one working the night shift! Today, I was so tired that I took 2 naps! We had friends stay with us last night who were passing through Ohio, and after they left, I took a morning nap before the BBQ. After the BBQ, Bryan needed to nap for a few hours before working tonight, and I also took a long nap again! Sometimes it feels good to sleep when you can!

All of that has nothing to do with this dessert.

This pie is so good that this is the 3rd time I've made it this summer and this was the only time I was able to photograph it. The other times I forgot, or it was devoured too quickly with friends. I knew I'd be making it again soon, so I didn't care that much. Now that I have photographed it, I still think that I'll be making it again soon!! It's too delicious not to. Additionally, it's not the worst dessert for you! Made with light peanut butter, natural whipped topping, light cream cheese and a granola crust, you'd never think it was a light version of a decadent dessert! Today, Bryan and I were invited to a BBQ for the urologists at Cleveland Clinic, and I brought this pie along to share. It was a hit!

Skinny No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
From SkinnyTaste


5 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter (use Better n Peanut Butter for a healthier option) I did!
8 oz fat free frozen whipped topping, thawed (use Truwhip for a healthier option) I did!
Granola pie crust (or reduced fat graham cracker pie crust
Hershey's chocolate syrup


Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together in a medium bowl.

Mix in peanut butter and beat until smooth.

Fold in whipped topping.

Spoon into pie crust. Refrigerate until firm (about 2-3 hours).

Drizzle with chocolate syrup before serving.