Saturday, July 10, 2010

Island or Patio??

Tyler and I just went apartment hunting last weekend because we are planning on moving in together in August. Apt. hunting has always been a little stressful to me because it seems like you always find one you like and then you feel like you need to lock it down right away before someone else gets it. On Sat we went and looked at about 5 places. I had just a couple things that I wanted in my new apt that were very important to me. First of all...a big closet. I have tons of clothes so unless Tyler wants the coat closet we need a big one in the bedroom. Second, I really wanted a patio. I haven't had an apt. with a patio in years and just really wanted to have my own private outdoor space. Plus, my doggie Riley would really love it. He could sit outside forever and feel the wind in his ears. Third, I really wanted an island in the kitchen. I love islands because they just offer up sooo much more counter space to cook. I have an island right now and it's cruicial to my cooking. When I lived downtown in a loft I actually bought a kitchen island and I still have it. It plenty wide but it's not as deep as I would like though. It's currently in my bedroom with a nice table runner on it, storing some things and displaying some pictures. You can't even tell it's a kitchen island!
So, it's actually not that easy to find an apt with an island in it. I thought it would be easier. When we narrowed it down to a single complex we had 2 floorplans that we were deciding between. One had an island but no patio. The other had a patio but no island. The one with no island was a fantastic floorplan. It was very open, and had a huge closet. The one with the island had no patio, but a study with an extra closet. The only bad thing was that there wasn't one of those available to look at. I think that would have made my decision much easier. So that night I went to bed and literally laid awake for 2 hours thinking about this. That is highly unusual for me because I can normally fall asleep within 10 min no matter what time I go to bed. I was laying there thinking....patio??.....or island??....I have a kitchen island I can use.....but it's not as nice as the built in's not like I can add a patio on to the apartment.....and if this island doesn't work I can always buy a bigger one..... I kept thinking these things over and over and over. Finally I decided we should go for the one with the patio. I really think I want a patio. I'm looking forward to buying patio furniture and plants and just chillin outside. And I can always buy a bigger island....even if they are kinda expensive.... If you can't tell, I'm still not sure I made the right choice. Although, no matter what I will be happy that we will have this apt together. And even though there will be a smaller island, the appliances kick ass! Much better than my current ones. So there you go, now you know the source of my anxiety for the last week. Lucky you! We move in the first week of August and we will be having lovely parties with food, drinks and my yummy fried ravioli. (I know that's the only reason some of you come ;) I look forward to having all my good friends over! Love you all!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Love Mexican Food

Hi food lovers!!
So I obviously don't cook everynight because, well let's face it, that would be crazy. I pretty much never cook on nights when I've just gotten off of work so I end up eating out a lot. That's why I always try to cook larger amounts so I can have leftovers for work and for the evening. Tonight I had my leftover enchiladas that I made a few nights ago. They are very yummy and very easy to make. I got the recipe from watching someone else make them and just kind of tweak it to whatever I feel like. I've also made them as a Mexican Lasagna because I felt too lazy to roll them into enchiladas that night. They taste just the same, only easier! So here is the recipe....I know it's not very exciting for my first recipe but don't we all love Mexican food? Yummmm....

1lb chicken breasts
1 packet of taco seasoning (the kind you use to season ground taco beef)
2 cans of red enchilada sauce
1 yellow onion chopped
1 green onion chopped
yellow corn tortillas
pickled sliced jalapenos (I like Mezetta brand. It's usually near the jars of olives and pickles)
lots and lots of cheese (I usually use around 2-3 cups of some kind of mexican blend or cheddar. Buy it shredded)

Trim the fat off of the chicken and put the chicken breasts in a big gallon size ziploc baggy. Pour the taco seasoning in the bag and follow the directions for how to mix in on the back of the packet. Usually says mix with 1/4-1/2 cup water. Pour the water in and mix it all around to cover the chicken. Put the bag back in the fridge and let the chicken marinate for 30min to an hr. I usually cook the chicken on my George Foreman grill but you can use the stovetop or oven or however you usually cook chicken. Shred the chicken by taking 2 forks and basically scraping at the chicken until it becomes little shreds and chunks. This can be tedious but also kinda fun at the same time. Preheat the oven to 375F. Take a 13x9 baking dish and pour a thin layer of the enchilada sauce in the bottom. Spread the sauce around. In each corn tortilla, spread some sauce, chicken, the yellow and green onions and cheese. Roll em' up. After you have rolled enough the fill the baking dish pour another layer of sauce on top of all the enchiladas. Cover with PLENTY of cheese and then throw however many jalapenos you want on top.
To make it lasagne style:
Pour the enchilada sauce in the dish then cover it with a layer of tortillas. It's ok if they overlap. Cover those with a layer of chicken, both onions and cheese. Add another layer of tortillas and then more filling. Then on top of that, another layer of tortillas and then enchilada sauce. Lots of cheese and jalapenos, then into the oven!
With either style I cook it for 30 min until the sauce is bubbling.
I eat mine with guac, sour cream, salsa and of course, extra jalapenos.
You could also add other veggies if you want or olives. Make it your own!

I found a really yummy salsa at Whole Foods. It's Mrs. Renfro's and it's the tequila salsa variety. It's goooood! Almost kinda sweet.

If you want to make your own guac and don't know how, it's easy.

3 avocados
1/2 red onion
1-2 tomatoes
1 whole jalapeno
1 lime
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Honestly I just throw all the ingredients in and adjust it till it tastes right. I think everyone likes their guac a little different so you just have to play with it. I use the juice from the whole lime and the garlic powder really adds something different.

And to top off the mexican food shake up a margarita! As long as it has Grand Marnier and plenty of tequila I approve. Ole!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Joining the Blogging World

Sooo....blogging.... I never thought I would actually ever have one of these things, but here we are! I'm one of those people who doesn't have a twitter account and doesn't frequently update my facebook status because I don't like to think that I'm so interesting that people should care what I have to say. I guess a blog is pretty much just me, hoping someone finds what I have to say interesting so....oh well! I've started reading blogs lately and I just find them fascinating. A friend at work told me she likes to read them and follows several. She doesn't know the people, just likes to read them. I thought "well that sounds like something I could do on my days off!" Lo and behold, two weeks later I'm writing my own. It wasn't hard to pick something to write about. One of my biggest hobbies and passions is food. I like shopping for it. I take trips to Central Market sometimes with no plan in mind, just to wander through the aisles, taste things, get inspired and find exotic and rare items that make me excited. Oh, Central Market how I love thee! If you are not fortunate enough to live near one, then I'm sorry. One of my biggest fears about possibly moving someday out of the state is that I would't get to have my Central Market. I know, weird. Don't worry Whole Foods fans, it's a great place, but it's just not the same!! I did also just buy my dinner ingredients at Whole Foods last night, so it's ok. I love eating food also. I try new things and relish eating my old faves. I get excited about going to new restaurants. It's like an adventure! Probably the thing I love the most though is cooking! I don't know when this passion started. I think mostly after I graduated college. I had enough money to buy good ingredients and also plenty of time! I only work three days a week so that left plenty of time to peruse the stores on my day off and make a delicious meal. I've had a lot of good experiences with my cooking and a few not so good. It will be fun to share those experiences. I also hope that you try some of the recipes that I cook and enjoy them! I always do!