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Hey foodie friends🙂 I thought it’d be a fun idea to do a tour of my kitchen, since every time I go to a friend’s house that’s the first place I check out (I’m always snooping through to see what people have in their fridge to give me new ideas!)

 

THE FRIDGE

Our fridge is covered with magnets from places we’ve visited, a list of organic/conventional groceries, a list of dinners we like to make at home, coupons, recipes, funny pictures, the gym hours… I love our tacky fridge🙂

Let’s start with the door: we have two handy bins up at the top and 3 shelves, usually filled with condiments.

Handy bins have brewer’s yeast (leftover from when we had Murrey and I don’t have a good reason to toss it out yet), real butter (fiancé’s preference), Taco Bell hot sauces, and a random package of Camel Snus (probably wound up there after a party b/c I’ve never seen it before LOL).

Onto the condiments: we’ve got Dijon mustard, red curry paste, lemon juice, marinated artichoke hearts, relish, lime juice, spicy mustard, lime juice, cayenne pepper, capers, squeezy ginger & squeezy basil.

Down here we’ve got a Tupperware full of ground flax, a few jars of Pickapeppa sauce (try it on cream cheese with crackers – a great party appetizer!), minced garlic, yogurt Caesar dressing (the only kind we found w/o anchovies), nooch, Polaner jelly/jam/fruit spread, chia seeds, ketchup, sunburn gel, bottled water, cornstarch and baking soda for freshness.

Here’s the main part of the fridge, I’ll walk you through it:

Top shelf has the water filter, with random jars in the front and baking supplies in the back.

We’ve got a leftover strawberry smoothie, lemons for freshness (I used the lemon zest for muffins), a bag with a box of baking soda to actually bake with, natural PB, roasted red peppers, pepperoncinis, strawberries, cranberry apple butter, tres bean dip (best EVER! get the jalapeno lime flavor at Publix), Asian ginger dressing (we love Bolthouse farms, that’s the only brand of salad dressing we buy anymore), a pitcher of sugar-free Koolaid for the fiancé…

and in the way back we’ve got baking powder, wheat bran (for muffins), and earth balance (MY butter).

On the middle shelf is stuff we use to make lunches (which is usually some sort of hummus wrap or leftovers). So now we’ve got a big container of leftover chili, feta cheese, various types of hummus,

this should last a while, it’s a BIG container,

and a bag with my dates in it – the lid cracked so I just tossed them in this big bag. I snack on these a lot before runs or when I’m feeling snacky, or I use them to make desserts like raw chocolate chip cookie dough.

Down here on this mini-shelf is where we keep the whole wheat wraps, and there’s also a premade greek salad mix (great on wraps/salads) and a chopped onion.

In our “meat” drawer (there isn’t actually any meat in our kitchen) we’ve got taboule salad, tempeh, whole wheat pastas for quick dinners, veggie bacon, feta cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Over here is where we keep the big stuff, so we’ve got a huge jar of jalapenos, some pickles back there, unsweetened vanilla almond milk (my favorite), two big things of organic lettuce (it always amazes the fiancé how much lettuce I can eat), some baby carrots, more carrots in that Tupperware…

and in that coffee container that’s not actually coffee, it’s batteries. I’m marrying a battery hoarder😛 We also keep soymilk here too but we don’t have any right now.

Produce draw #1: a few organic apples, some green beans, and fresh mint – mmmmm

Produce drawer #2: a package of month-old organic celery LOL we can never eat celery fast enough unless we toss it in a stew, which is probably where this guy will end up. Usually there’s also some zucchini, carrots, and onion in this drawer, and maybe some grapes.

 

THE FREEZER

On top of the freezer is where we keep our reusable grocery bags and lunch bags/boxes. Inside we’ve got some old hot dog buns from a camping trip, ice, frozen cool whip (so good on pie), whole wheat flour, ice packs, frozen broccoli, frozen brussel sprouts, frozen peas, frozen strawberries, and a Tupperware full of an awesome honey chipotle sauce the fiancé made – we add this to chili or random dishes whenever we feel like it.

THE COUNTERTOPS

You all are probably very familiar with my microwave at this point from the pictures haha so you probably already know we keep our flexible cutting boards, recipes and tin foil sheets on top of the microwave. Next to it we’ve got the toaster, a bottle of red wine (2 buck chuck!), some bananas (ALWAYS bananas), a container to hold the wine corks (I save them) and knife block #1.

Over here we’ve got the coffee maker (fiancé uses this, not me), multivitamins, calcium/magnesium and flax oil, plus random utensil hanger.

Over here, knife block #2, paper towels, more utensils, olive oil dispenser, and blender (I put it away after it’s clean & dry).

 

THE CABINETS

We don’t have a tremendous amount of cabinet space, so we cram a lot in there. Here we’ve got all sorts of Tupperware sizes and shapes…

Grains & beans bin (brown rice, black beans, kidney beans, quinoa, amaranth, grains mix from Trader Joe’s)

 

Down here we’ve got empty jars I use for bringing smoothies to work, cacao nibs, cocoa, more artichoke hearts, a thing of peanut powder/flour, and a file box full of my old recipe cards from college🙂 Plus tiny Tupperwares for salad dressing/nuts/snacks. And the obligatory shot glass. If you look closely you can see my Speedo goggles I wear while chopping onions – it’s a necessity.

Over here we’ve got even MORE Tupperware (it always ends up at our house after family get-togethers), and more dry goods.

Popcorn kernels (we love making it at home), water chestnuts, raw coconut, spicy okra pickles, chickpeas, olives, gum, B-12 (aka Kim’s Little Helper), canned beans, candy for the fiancé, more Polaner jelly/jam/fruit spread, and a jar of marinated sundried tomatoes.

Peanuts (for peanut noodles!), store-bought curry sauce for quick dinners, falafel mix, sugar-free drink mix, honey, Italian spices for dipping bread in oil, and a jumbo bag of goldfish (took it home free from a work event).

Up here: more goldfish (hahaha), flax tortilla chips, graham crackers for camping, and pastas (whole wheat and gluten free varieties).

Down here we have MORE TUPPERWARE (it’s getting out of control), V8 cans, crock pot, party cups, bulk olive oil, and a bottle of Lambrusco that I’ll never actually finish (Kellie get over here and help me drink this thing).

Spice Cabinet!!! Here’s some fun:

From memory: food scale, sage, marjoram, chili powder, crushed red pepper, kosher salt, oregano, salt, cumin, vanilla extract, mint extract, soy sauce, Palo Alto Firefighters hot sauce (our favorite)…

…onion powder, Goya adobo sauce, Louisiana hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, butter flavored cooking spray, Creole seasoning, port wine (why?), balsamic vinegar, white pepper grinder, and more Louisiana hot sauce.

Cups cabinet: wine glasses, coffee mugs, cups…

tea bags, stevia, and emergency dark chocolate stash for me🙂

Breakfast cabinet: usually there’s a big thing of oatmeal but we’re out, so now we’ve got bread crumbs, crackers, cream of wheat, chocolate granola, Lara bars, hemp protein powder (usually there’s chocolate brown rice protein powder but we’re out), race fuel (gels/chews), and cookbooks.

These are all my favorite cookbooks🙂

and I put these recipes up here since we make these things for breakfast so often.

OK, so there you have it! Now you know what I usually keep on hand to make healthy & fun recipes. What’s in your kitchen?

Hey everybody! Looking for something ultra-refreshing for a springtime lunch? Well here you go – the fiancé’s sister sent me this recipe and I knew immediately I had to try it.

 

Curry Quinoa Salad

based on this recipe from The Culinary Life

Start out by putting 1-1/3 cup dry quinoa with 2-2/3 cup water into a rice cooker. I used red quinoa because it’s what we had on hand in the kitchen.

Here’s what it will look like when it’s done:

 

While that’s cooking, work on the rest of the recipe – super easy!

In a large mixing bowl, put together these ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (I use the kind from the squeeze bottle)
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (I use the squeezable ginger tubes sold in the produce section next to the fresh herbs – super time saver!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whisk it until it looks like dressing – it should resemble honey mustard

Then get to chopping! Chop up these ingredients (that rice cooker should still be going)

  • 1 package (4.5-oz) dried mango (fresh mango is hard to work with, so if you can buy pre-sliced mango I’d go with that or do like I did and get dried mango), chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

Warning – the fresh chopped mint may cause serious mojito cravings – resist the urge to run to the ABC store for some rum…

Once the rice cooker is done, toss the quinoa into the mixing bowl along with the chopped ingredients and mix it well.

under some better natural light…

The whole batch makes 4 lunch/dinner servings or 6 side-dish servings. We ate it for lunch outside with some fresh grapes – a perfect complement!

Hope you all like it!!!

Have you ever wanted to try a new recipe for a long time, and when you finally get around to making it, it was nothing like you expected?

That’s the story of me and the Chocolate Cherry Bomb. I’ve seen the CCB on so many blogs over the past year and always wanted it, but never had frozen cherries laying around the house.

Well I finally bit the bullet and bought a bag this week to try it out. Amazingly I had most of the other ingredients on hand too.

I had to sub chia seeds for hemp seeds, and baking cocoa for raw chocolate powder. I was so excited to find a use for that narsty hemp protein powder too!

blended it up…

looks a little bit like I’m drinking blood… and the taste of the hemp powder was a little too grainy for me. I also had to add a pack of truvia to it to cut the bitterness of the cocoa.

It was kinda a let down Sad smile

BUT I’m not giving up. Next time I’m going to try:

  • frozen cherries
  • frozen banana
  • almond or coconut milk
  • chocolate vegan protein powder

and we’ll see how that goes. This version just tasted a little too “earthy” for me – I was expecting CHOOOOOOCOLATE!

Have you ever had a recipe that just wasn’t what you expected? How did you fix it?

Let me start out by saying Kellie is the best friend EVER and I am eternally thankful to her for putting on the most awesome girls night bachelorette party of my dreams Smile 

But first… when you know it’s gonna be a long night, start out the morning right… like maybe with an almond milk/truvia latte and a blackberry jam/muenster cheese bagelwich?

I got this idea from Julie and had to try it! AWESOME flavor combo!

After work I went to the Beauty Spot to redeem a Groupon for my first facial – it was a fun experience but I still like pedicures & massages better… good thing I have a Groupon for each of those before the wedding too Winking smile

I drove home and saw all the girls’ cars parked in my driveway and when I walked in the door, they were all dressed up with a big pink “Girls Night Out” banner hanging on the wall, wine in hand – hell to the yes! Since Kellie was the only girlfriend who could make it up to Myrtle Beach to party with my sisters, we wanted to have a bachelorette shindig locally in Orlando, and what a great idea!

There were 6 of us: me, Kellie the BFF, Natalie the future sista-in-law (already feels like a sister Smile), Megan, Bridget & Katie – six awesome friends all together to have a blast. We were walking out the door and I asked who would drive (the only thing I knew of at this point was that we were going to a chocolate party), and everyone looked around like “I guess I could drive…” – then we noticed a big white limo parked in the street! Bridget said “I bet he could give us a ride…” **SQUEAL!!!** I totally thought the limo was just driving by, and had no idea it was for us. Then I was convinced the driver was the fiancé’s friend Craig (it looked JUST like him) and I kept asking Kellie how she got Craig to drive the limo haha

Once we got in the limo, champagne immediately ensued Smile poppin’ bottles in the ice…

The limo took us to Baldwin Park to an awesome chocolate shop – Farris and Foster’s! They do private chocolate parties – every girl’s dream come true Smile

We each got a half pound of our own chocolate, plus several pounds of free sampling while we made our own! They let us bring our own wine and snacks in to munch on and played music – it was like an easy bake oven party for grownups. I said we all need to have daughters so we can come back haha

Look what I made!

Also a chocolate flip flop filled with gummi bears…

chocolate potato chips…

Chocolate seashell with macadamia nuts…

SOOOO good and such a great idea!

The other girls took lots of pictures, I was a little too busy focusing on the wine to remember to take out the camera for most of the night. The limo picked us up and took us to Bananas for dinner. I had heard this place was like Hooters but with men (whoa), but when we got there it was just like any other restaurant. We started with epic drinks,

chowed on fried pickles & mac & cheese, and finished up with banana-flavored cotton candy!

The limo made one last pit stop at the ABC store (necessities) and then dropped us off back at home for the sleepover. We stayed up playing the Newlywed Game (Kellie actually got the fiancé to sit down and answer all these questions, and we had matching answers for the most random things!) and girl talk.

The next morning we all went to Einstein’s for a bagel breakfast. This was the most fun girls’ night I’ve ever had and it’s so awesome to have such good friends here. I’ve never had a lot of girl friends (being an engineer) so this was that much more special Smile I love all of you and thanks again!!!

Guess who found her way back into the kitchen this week Smile

I’ve been having some fun with new foods, like chocolate chia pudding

brought yogurt back (oh how I missed you, you never really left)

and kept it green with my favorite breakfast

Also, remember when I got my hair done for the wedding trial-run? The stylist cut my bangs and it’s the second best bangs I’ve ever had (best was in California) so I took a picture for future reference – I like the look of long hair with sexy side-swept bangs, it gives the impression that I actually do something to my hair in the morning Winking smile

And now it’s time for a recipe – a few nights ago I was feeling a serious craving for French food and had some stress to bang out on the chopping board, so I came up with…

 

French Onion Soup (vegetarian-style)

Start out by chopping two medium-sized yellow onions. Wear goggles if you’re an onion wimp like me.

Sauté in a pot with olive oil and two chopped celery bunches (leaves included)

Add about 2 tbsp of minced garlic, and salt & black pepper to taste

Then add a whole bag of chopped parsnips (5 parsnips total) and 3 cans of vegetable stock.

Bring the soup to a boil and add about 1/2 cup of amaranth (random grain in our cabinet, tastes kinda like grits, kinda like quinoa)

Put the lid on the pot, bring it down to low heat and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes (until parsnips are soft). While cooking, munch on these goodies

…nom nom nom…

Once the soup is ready, ladle into a bowl and top with a slice of Munster cheese:

After about a minute the cheese melts into the hot soup and you can stir it around to make the soup nice and creamy! This batch made 5 servings for us, but could be 4-6 servings (depending on if you’re having a salad or rolls with it, we didn’t). Next time I’d pair it with crescent rolls… mmm sinful.

The fiancé loved this recipe – it’s a keeper! Smile

Are you ready to witness the transformation? Let’s have some fun Smile

I went to St Pete last weekend to visit family, and found a cute little salon. They started out with hair, so here’s the hairstyle without makeup:

and since I’m wearing a veil in the ceremony, here’s with a veil (not mine, just one they had laying around the salon):

aaaaaaaand makeup time:

See those fake eyelashes? AWESOME Smile

I like it a lot, and it looks good outside in the sunshine too Smile

People have asked me a lot lately if I’m nervous about the wedding (since it’s only 3 weeks away). The honest answer is I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had a lot of “me” time to sit and think about the wedding, and I don’t think the reality is going to hit me until we drive over to St Pete for that weekend.

Last night was our graduation party from the marriage prep course, and I am so happy we went through the 12 weeks of serious talks about our future, family, babies babies babies, finances, chores, and all the other fun marriage stuff. Now I feel like we’re ready to take on the world together, and it feels great Smile

This weekend should be fun too – we’re going to Disney, a street party, and celebrating Mother’s Day!

Do you have any fun weekend plans?

Hey!!! Happy Friday! I totally played the whole “Friday” song on YouTube at work and sang along with Kellie today🙂

Here’s some fun news – I’ve been trying out some new beauty stuff getting ready for the wedding, and one of those things is a spray tan!

My sister Abbie had a spray tan at her wedding and looked amazing, so I knew I wanted to try to get one – and I’ve also been wearing a cute strapless bikini top this season to get rid of tan lines since my wedding dress is strapless too. Kellie recommended a chain tanning salon nearby and I headed over to see how it would make my skin look so I didn’t show up at the wedding looking ridiculous.

They use these stand-up booths and you turn around in 4 positions (one of them was like “walk like an Egyptian” to get the inside of your legs – fun) – the whole time I was coughing b/c the stuff smells kinda strong, but it was over in about 2 minutes. I got the “clear” coat so I didn’t walk out looking like J-Wow immediately, and waited until this morning to shower (so I kept it on overnight). The results this morning:

You can see the lines in my finger wrinkles, but that’s about it

I guess I didn’t scrub my feet the right way b/c they still looked funky after the color set in haha

 

I like the overall tan, it looks good!:) Next up is my first hair & makeup in a salon – I’m doing a trial run tomorrow to see how it looks. Anybody else notice Kate Middleton’s hair this morning looked very simplistic, almost like she had curled it herself? Heard that!

Just got this book in the mail from the library and hoping it’ll shed some light and help me de-stress about some worries I’ve been having lately…

The worries? That we may not be able to afford the kind of home we want in our neighborhood😦 We have a pretty strict budget (set up so that we could afford the mortgage payments on one salary b/c eventually we’re gonna have kids and our situation will change), and the houses we looked at this week were great online, but in person not so much.

  • One had a shared driveway with 3 other houses, and I almost hit a neighbor’s parked car while backing out…
  • One was immediately next to I-4 with an underpass where homeless folks hang out
  • One was ON A LAKE! but on a very busy street (not really “residential”)
  • And the rest are about 50-100K over our budget. Boo😦

So I’m drowning my sorrows in bunny corn

and hoping that this weekend will help me chillax – we’re gonna talk to the fiancé’s stepmom since she’s a realtor and can help us get our ducks in a row as far as mortgages, short sales, and all the other processes we are new to.

It’s Friday, Friday, gonna get down on Friday… looking forward to the weeeeek-end😛