14 August 2017

Crock-Pot Sunday | Turkey Enchilada Quinoa



"So, are you like a food blogger now?"
No. God, no.

But seriously, I'm not. I don't have my own recipes and I'm not a "foodie" by any means. I am just using my blog to share good recipes that I find and also to motivate me to cook at home. I am making an effort to eat at home more, not only to save money, but also to be relatively healthier.

Speaking of healthy, this past weekend, I made the healthy version of one of our favorite dishes to make at home. My boyfriend makes a really good enchilada casserole, which is basically an enchilada "lasagna," but it's very fatty and unhealthy (but ohhh so delicious).

He sent a link to me the other day of 30 healthy slow cooker recipes and one stood out to me as I knew it was something that he would really like. I followed the link for the "Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa" and it took me to Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen!

Let me tell you, this recipe is packed with flavor. I had to tweak it a little and it actually ended up being "Turkey Enchilada Quinoa." Here are the substitutions I made:

  • I used the Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey instead of ground chicken because the turkey was on sale. 
  • I didn't use any jalapenos because I used spiced beans. This was simply because I didn't want to buy just ONE jalapeno. We are not big jalapeno users at home.
  • We didn't have cumin so I used curry powder instead, which is a good substitute. I also used 1/2 tbsp instead of the suggested 1 tbsp because I wasn't sure how the curry powder would alter the intended flavor.
  • I added about 1 tsp. of chipotle powder.

Trying new recipes is always a scary thing for me since I'm not an experienced cook, but I'm actually very proud of how this turned out. I'm that much more excited now for the next recipe that I'm going to attempt!

Until the next dish...*


*I really shouldn't sign off with this because then it makes it seem like I'm a food blogger, because I'm really not.

Omg why do I care so much?

09 August 2017

Favorite Life Pro Tips/Hacks

Turn Zits into Moles/Beauty Marks
I have to admit, this is not an original idea. I saw Miley Cyrus do it once and thought it was genius. I'm merely re-blogging, if you will, this brilliant concept for you all because I know we've all been there. My favorite products to use are brown liquid eyeliners and brown pencil eyeliners. Both work just fine and it just depends on how dark you want your mark to be. It's your choice, Death Eaters.

Oh wait, wrong mark... I meant your fake mole obviously. I'm not a follower of the Dark Lord.

Or am I?

Buying Paperbacks from Half.com
When I was still in school, I used to buy and rent books online all the time. Apart from Chegg and Abe Books, I'd also go on eBay and Half.com. Half was always more reliable than all the other sites (apart from Chegg) so I used them a lot. If you're a reader and prefer real books over a Nook or Kindle, you can get super cheap paperbacks from Half.com, where they can be as cheap as $0.50!

Going to TJ Maxx and Marshall's for Beauty, Hair and Skincare Products
Unless you're a makeup artist or esthetician, I don't think it's necessary to spend a lot of money on beauty tools, skincare or hair products that you're only going to use on yourself. I love going to these stores to look for cheap brushes and other tools. I've found a lot of Real Techniques brush sets at both Marshall's and TJ Maxx. I've also found brush eggs and other brush cleaning supplies. As far as skincare goes, you obviously have to be a little cautious and check the labels. Recently I found some Elizabeth Arden products on sale, none of which were expired. It turns out EA are rolling out new packaging so anything that had old packaging was sent to discount stores. To be honest, it can be hit or miss when it comes to finding good products. You just have to be really patient and use good judgment.

Going to TJ Maxx, Marshall's and HomeGoods for Home... Goods...
As much as I love IKEA and Target, sometimes you just find better deals at TJ Maxx, Marshall's and HomeGoods. Plus I love that they sell fairly unique items. At HomeGoods, especially, you can find furniture, accent pieces, rugs, decor, etc. for a reasonable price.


08 August 2017

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe w/ Arugula


I'm back with another recipe from Cravings! Again, I chose a recipe that my boyfriend wouldn't completely shun away and one that was (almost) fool-proof. I went with Chrissy's "Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe." I've made cacio e pepe before with just olive oil, some cheese and pepper, but this was a little bit more spruced up as it called for pancetta, arugula, lemon juice and copious amounts of red pepper flakes (which I'm learning is pretty much in every single recipe in this book).



This dish is really that easy to make and really tasty too. I thought the combination of the pancetta, lemon and arugula went really well together. I think next time I will add even more pancetta (I love me some meat) and maybe sub in another leafy green, as the arugula is a little too bitter and something my boyfriend won't touch.

I'm really enjoying this cook book and how it's helping my confidence in the kitchen. Cooking is becoming less stressful for me and is now more of a therapeutic learning experience. I intend to completely nerd out on this sh*t.

Until the next dish...

02 August 2017

Satisfying My Cravings

 

I am almost 31 years old and I couldn't cook my way out of a paper bag if my life depended on it.

Okay that's a bit of an over exaggeration, but when I was younger, I thought by now I wouldn't have to look up recipes for my favorite dishes, including Filipino ones. I thought I'd be just like my mum, who could whip up anything with whatever was in the pantry or fridge. I bought Chrissy Teigen's cookbook in particular because well, I just wanted to buy into the hype. Plus, anything with a celebrity's face on it is supposed to be good right?

I bought the cookbook because I just wanted to be a better adult and I wanted to have an understanding of the science of cooking (omg science, seriously I need to learn the science of food!) through actual cooking. Her recipes seemed easy enough, and that's why I thought I'd start here. I'm excited to dive into it and find my inner chef.



For my first attempt, I thought I'd start with breakfast because why not? First recipe, first meal of the day. I bought all my ingredients the day before and was so excited that I woke up much earlier than normal the next morning. I had to find a dish that both my boyfriend and I would enjoy. He's not big on vegetables or anything too elaborate so the breakfast sandwich was a happy medium.



These sandwiches are relatively easy to make, though probably not as convenient as buying pre-made patties or going to McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin. But to be honest, I think these are much better! They're the perfect combination of savory, sweet (yes sweet!) and spicy. However, I must point out that the recipe calls for a ridiculous amount of red pepper flakes for half a pound of ground pork. If you're not into spicy foods, I'd say add to taste instead of following the recipe.

Not pictured are the hash browns that I made to accompany the sandwich. They turned out just fine, but weren't pretty enough for the photos. My boyfriend decided to add them into his sandwich (pictured above) that's why I chose to post his sandwich instead of mine because it looks much more scrumptious.

Overall, I'm so happy with how the sandwiches turned out. It's boosted my confidence in the kitchen and I can't wait to try more of her recipes. And if those dishes turn out well, then you'll definitely be seeing more food on the blog!


P.S.
I am NOT a food blogger. I know I have zero plating or photography skills so you don't need to point it out.

P.P.S.
No, I will not post the recipes from the book. I'm almost sure that's kind of very illegal. Just go buy a cookbook! Or find someone else to break the law for you.

20 June 2017

30 Going on 17

Every once in a while, I do this thing where I imagine what high school would be like if I attended as the adult version of me. And I don't mean the 30 year old version of me, physically. I just mean the 17 year old me with my 30 year old brain. I also like to imagine what it would be like to come back to high school as a famous celebrity, but that's another story for another day.

It's funny to be writing this now because just last night I dreamt that my friend and I were sent back in time to our senior year. In my dream, neither one of us could remember what our schedule was (although we both still knew to go to the band room for first period). The last thing I remember was walking into a classroom that was being taught by Babs Tarr and telling her that one day she would work on Batgirl.

I've had a conversation about this topic plenty of times with a handful of my friendfriends and we discuss what we would do differently. For example, we probably wouldn't sign up for a bunch of AP classes because we've learned that most of them count for naught when you get to uni. As for me specifically, I'd probably practice with my french horn a lot more since I've often wished I was a better musician.

When I think of how I'd be like in high school now, I feel as though I'd excel academically and I'd be far more at ease when it came to the social aspect. I would probably choose to eat lunch by myself, instead of awkwardly trying to sit with people with whom I had no real connection, thus avoiding the crippling feeling of rejection and inadequacy. Don't get me wrong, I was never bullied or anything, except for when I had horrible acne and a boy called me a Klingon or when another repeatedly whispered "Clearasil" into my ear right before the Mira Mesa area concert in 8th grade (yeah I still remember that and no, I don't forgive you), so I don't have a real reason to dislike anyone. In fact, I'm sure most people in my school were genuinely nice.

There are some things that I would leave as they were. I would probably still be a dxck to Mr. Weeks because he was a terrible English teacher. I know that's harsh but if you were in that class, you'd understand. What kind of monster makes their class take 150 word vocabulary tests? I'd obviously still be in band, but I'd probably also try for drama or chorus. I'd also probably take AP Music Theory so that I could be an even bigger snob when it comes to music. I know I said I would skip out on AP classes, but I'd stick with AP Calculus simply because it made Business Calculus in college a breeze. And I would still take Tagalog for my foreign language class because it was easy and it's still useful to me. I would still choose to go home and take naps instead of walking to the movie theater to hang out after school. By the way, do kids still do that? Hang out in front of the movie theater and not actually go inside to watch a movie?

Something that I'd definitely improve on is my choice of footwear. My chunky skater shoes, which served no real purpose because I was not a skater, would be replaced with a pair of comfortable Nike Cortez (or some knock-off version of it because I was kind of poor). Actually, I'd just take my current wardrobe with me.

As far as romance goes, I'd leave it completely alone. Of course, I had crushes and I managed to have one boyfriend. But looking back, I would spare him the agony of dating 16 year old me. I wasn't completely terrible, but I also wasn't the best girlfriend. Basically, no dating, which includes volunteering to hand out birthday cards during ASB period so I could accidentally-on-purpose run into my crush.

But really, I'd just enjoy the simplicity of my life. I didn't realize until my 20s just how it was easy was to be that young and to never have to worry about what I was going to eat because I knew my mother had that covered. One of the biggest struggles as an adult is survival and food being the first thing you worry about. So honestly, if I went back and could only change one thing, I think I'd know exactly what I would do:

Sign up for reduced lunch*.



*I did actually sign up, during my 2nd semester of senior year. I didn't think I qualified all those other years and I was so annoyed with myself for only doing it then, because I only got to enjoy free lunches during my very last semester of school. Yay for low-income households.