Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Pork Chops

When I was at the market on Sunday, I was kind of hoping for chicken, but I still haven't been able to find anything. There is a ton of red meat, pork, turkey and sausages though and I decided to go with pork chops and figured I could do something Spring-y with them. With pork chops, I'll often bread them and bake them or smother them in barbecue sauce and bake them, but the breading seemed like a Winter-y approach and we just had barbecued ribs last weekend.

In the end, I decided on a mustard glaze. It was the right choice.

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I served some roasted asparagus as a side. Dinner was delicious, but a little light so we ended the meal with some Cookie Dough Blizzards.

Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 French cut pork chops (regular would work too)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a glass baking dish, add the vegetable oil, mustards, honey and vinegar; mix well with a fork
  3. Salt and pepper one side of the pork chops then place that side facedown in the glaze
  4. Salt and pepper the face up side of the chop and then use a baster or a basting brush to cover the top of the chops with glaze
  5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes
  6. After 30 minutes, remove foil and flip over the pork chops; place back in oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes

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I love the method of having the foil seal for the first half of the cook time, to keep the meat really juicy, and then removing it for the second half to let the outside sear and get a bit crispy. I also liked mixing up my glaze or marinade right in the dish I was using, which cut back on the amount of dirty dishes. New kitchen strategy!

We've always purchased regular cut pork chops before and I hadn't expected anything to be different about the French-cut other than the bone, but the chop was way less fatty than usual. Just enough to give the meat some flavor, but not anything ridiculous.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Gelato!

This weekend FLEW by. We were lucky to have really nice weather- DC has been a little funny lately, last week was ridiculously cold for the end of April. Saturday and Sunday were in the 70s though.

Starting off, we went out to dinner on Friday night to a nearby Greek restaurant that we've been meaning to try for awhile now. Mourayou in Dupont gets rave reviews from The Washington Post's food critic Tom Sietsema. We went on Open Table at about 6:30 PM to see where we could get in, and they had an opening at 7:15 PM so we just kind of ended up there. It ended up being a good choice!
We started off with an eggplant spread and sautéed shrimp.

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I love eggplant so that was a winner for me. It was cool and creamy and a good start. The shrimp was pretty good, I liked the sauce… it kind of tasted like pepperoni, and that was an interesting surprise.

Brian and I both ordered of the daily specials menu for our entrees. I had grilled calamari over fava beans.

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It was delicious- I thought the calamari was well cooked, and the beans had an awesome smoky flavor.

We decided to head somewhere else for dessert. We were close to the most amazing place ever, and that's pretty hard to pass up.

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Dolcezza is my favorite! It's a gelato and sorbet place which is perfect for Brian and I because I could subsist solely on ice cream, and he cannot eat it. The flavors are incredible. Brian had a Pineapple Honey Lime sorbet and I had a combo of Salted Caramel and Madagascar Vanilla. The flavors always rotate so we've tried some great flavors over the past few years. Two of my top choices are Chocolate Hazelnut gelato and Grapefruit Campari sorbet. Yum. Normally I get all of one flavor, but I loved the salted caramel and vanilla combo- the caramel was pretty salty, and it was nice to have something super sweet to contrast. I could eat this stuff every day. It cost almost $12 for two 2-scoop bowls though, so I don't. So sad. I need to get to work recreating this in my ice cream maker.

The rest of the weekend was full- a volunteer activity at the DC Public Library with the Junior League of Washington and an engagement party on Saturday, then groceries, laundry and a nine mile run in perfect weather on Sunday. A delicious farmers market breakfast too.

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Sweet potato hash with eggs (sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, onion, ramps, garlic, and spinach).

We actually watched a really funny movie Sunday morning- The Five Year Engagement. Neither of us had really high hopes for the movie, but I thought it was kind of hilarious. During the credits at the end we saw that it was a Judd Apatow movie which made sense. Really funny, with some really heavy/ depressing parts too. Brian actually thought it was pretty decent too, so if you're looking for a date movie I recommend it!

You may notice that I did not mention the White House Correspondents dinner. Apparently they forgot to invite us this year! We live close enough to the hotel to see people coming and going- no celeb spottings though :(

Friday, April 26, 2013

Recipe Round Up

Last night was extremely boring in the food department- or at least as far as food sharing goes. We had Chipotle! Again! And, yes, if you are keeping track that is three nights in a row of Mexican and our second Chipotle trip of the week. It doesn't happen often… but I don't mind when it does!

Yesterday, I mentioned that Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos are one of our favorite recipes that's in our regular rotation. I thought that today I'd list out some of our other favorites.

Yes, sometimes I make things like lamb burgers, or apple pork chops- and we love them!- but they don't happen to often because the prep work takes a long time, the ingredients are expensive, or its something Brian and I would rather just occasionally.

These recipes are different- We love them, and eat them all the time, and maybe you should too!

Whole Wheat Crepes

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Homemade Pizza

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Risotto

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Spinach Pesto or Vegan Pesto (usually on pasta or salmon)

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Oven BBQ Baked Ribs

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Pancakes

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Kale Chips
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Giant Salads (no recipe needed- just plate a pile of lettuce and toss things on top)

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Fajitas

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eating Staples

This morning's workout was a good one. I haven't been doing a lot of running workouts lately, so it was a nice change. I jogged one mile, then sprinted up a hill eight times, then cooled down with another mile. My first two times up the hill were 1 minute 15 seconds and 1 minute 16 seconds, but I knew these times were way off. On my third time up, I really focused on my running and brought my time down to 1 minute 8 seconds- which I knew was more in my range. The first two times up I was thinking about a million other things, so from then on, I focused only on running for the hill sprints and let my mind wander as I jogged back down the hill. I finished the workout with my last sprint at 1 minute 4 seconds. Success!

Last night for dinner we had Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos; delicious as always.

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Even though we just had tacos the night before, I felt like this was different enough… and I had planned it so that we would have leftover tortillas to use for a second dinner, but we ended up needing to make another batch.

I usually make whole wheat tortillas, but decided to go with white flour tonight. When I finished the batch, I wrapped them up in a towel and just placed them on the table for us to grab as we made our own tortillas. So easy.

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Topped with avocado, a bit of cheese and my favorite salsa.

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I was crazy hungry for some reason yesterday, so I wanted a dessert that was healthy and filling.

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A Chocolate Frosty always works!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos are a staple or fallback dinner for us because I tend to always have the ingredients on hand and we have them at least once a month if not more.

What recipes are regulars on your table?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIAW and a Vote!

Yesterday was a big day in DC.

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An Election Day!

I always vote, not matter how unimportant the election seems, because the rule of thumb is that if you don't vote, you can't complain. If you live in DC, you know that it is impossible NOT to complain about our government and city politics, so I certainly don't want to rule myself out!

In addition to voting, I also ate! Surprise, surprise.

Breakfast was the usual- oats, chia seeds, coconut, peanut butter, banana and milk.
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It's back to hot coffee this week. 
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For lunch, I had a leftover Italian sausage from the night before.
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And, this delicious salad!
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So many toppings! Tomatoes, carrots, edamame, pine nuts, cheese, dried cranberries and corn.
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Snacks included yogurt with mangoes and a fruit salad.
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Dinner was exceptionally delicious. Fish tacos with fresh mango salsa. (I went back for seconds)
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Mango Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 green pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/4 onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yoga Booty

Dinner last night was a classic.

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Italian sausage with peppers and onions and homemade steak fries. I just slice up a russet potato and toss the fries in olive oil and sea salt then bake for about 45 minutes at 375F, flipping after about 20 minutes. So delicious. Then of course we finished up our desserts from the night before!

While I have had some excellent meals lately, I feel as though I can't say the same about my workouts.

I've been getting in runs for the most part, but I can't get in the groove with any kind of strength training. I just don't prioritize it, which means that it has to happen after a run and before work. That's not a lot of time to work with! Needless to say, it just hasn't been happening.

Last week I saw an article on People.com- Get Kate Beckinsale's Yoga Booty. Who doesn't want that? So I decided to test it out this morning. I think its a good one! The big test will come tomorrow when we find out how sore I am. I think it will happen… pretty much any time I work out my lower half I become sore the next day or so.

I modified the work out just a bit, keeping the same poses, but increasing the reps. Here's what I came up with:
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Where do you look for inspiration when you're in a workout rut?

Monday, April 22, 2013

I've Been Waiting 2.5 Years For This Day

2.5 years ago, Brian and I moved to Dupont Circle and got rid of his car. I honestly love being car-free and walking everywhere, but if you were to ask me (as many of you have) if there's a downside, I would say it is grocery shopping. Yes, we do have a grocery cart and I can walk anywhere between half a mile and a mile to the grocery store and its not completely awful. But, its a little awful sometimes when I'm really tired, or its really cold, or I have to buy milk. Milk is so heavy.

I try to do most of our shopping at the farmers' market, which helps a lot, and the rest of the time I either make a trip to either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods with the shopping car, or I'll stop at one of those places on my way home from work.

When we moved in, everyone would talk about the 'Secret Safeway' that had been close by not too long ago and how great it was to pick up a few things in the neighborhood. I was beyond jealous and so sad that we didn't have that option.

Well, yesterday my life changed.

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Welcome to the neighborhood, Glen's Garden Market.

Glen's is kind of like a farmer's market in a store. All of the food is local, with the exception of a very few items kept on one row of shelves. They have lots of local beer and wine and a prepared foods section. When we got home from New York yesterday we went for a quick run and then immediately headed over. I was SO excited.

 We ended up purchasing a few things for dinner and for the rest of the week.

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MILK!!! Beer for Brian :) Sausages and some bread. We also picked up some vegan (which means no cheese for Brian!) ravioli to have for dinner.

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And, my new favorite food:

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Oh my goodness that salsa was incredible. I don't normally love chips and salsa, but I LOVE this stuff. It was so tangy-delicious and fresh tasting. I could eat it with a spoon. In fact, it's bound to happen soon. I can't get enough!

Dinner was also super delicious. I sautéed some garlic and pine nuts (Brian's favorite combo) in olive oil and added some kale, then tossed in the ravioli.

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Mmm. The ravioli was incredibly flavorful, and the dough held together really well, which was my concern. We will definitely buy this again. They also had a spinach and artichoke ravioli that looked good.

And, obviously, we were celebrating a special occasion for the day so we got dessert.

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We had a chocolate cake type thing and a seven layer bar. The cake was incredible. The frosting was so good. The seven layer bar was also delicious, but I was pretty full so I took a bite and decided to save the rest for tomorrow night.

I can honestly say that Glen's opening is going to bring change to my life. As you know, buying local is really important to me. I love that I recognize the names of the farms the meat and dairy products come from. I love that when I'm tired and don't feel like going a mile out of  my way to another grocery store, I will be able to buy milk and something for dinner. The prices are definitely higher than a typical grocery store and its not going to eliminate my Trader Joe's trips or my weekly trips to the farmer's market, but I think I'll purchase all of my milk from there and then some select special items. I currently have my eye on their peanut butter grinder :)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Must Love Animals

When we arrived in New York on Friday we grabbed a quick lunch. I ordered a wrap with shrimp, brie and red peppers. I kind of through it would be a warm wrap, but it wasn't. I'm not a huge fan of cold shrimp, but I ate most of it (and all of the fries). 

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We took the train up to Bedford and Brian's mom picked us up and we headed to the farm where their horse, Tech, lives. Bedford is really gorgeous, with tons of land and lots of farms. 

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Brian fed Tech about 1,000 treats and they became fast friends.

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Tech loooved him.

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Me? Not so much. I don't think he enjoyed the camera. Brian got hugs, I got this face:

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There is another love in Tech's life. Tech is a gigantic horse. His best friend is a tiny pony.

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Love is blind.

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Personally, I've always been a little partial to dapple gray's. This guy was super friendly. He just wanted some love! Tech wasn't really into the sharing, unfortunately, so he didn't hang around for long.

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The rest of the weekend was just nice and laid back. Brian's parents have a gorgeous new house, with a great yard that backs up onto a small lake.

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His parents dogs, Jake and Grace were so happy to see us. Especially when we had mozzarella sticks. 

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They look a little intimidating, but these dogs are serious babies. Especially Jake with his stuffed animals. He carries them around with him EVERYWHERE.

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We had such a nice weekend. Lots of nice animals (and people!), good food and good times. And, then it got cold- 30 degrees in April? No thanks!- so we headed south. Right now we are on a lovely bus back to DC about to eat some Chipotle. I think the trick to traveling is to choose the bus that picks us up right in Dupont on the way to NY, and picks us up right in front of a Chipotle on our way back to DC. 

It also helps not to have someone who snores loudly the entire way. We lost that battle.