And Now For Something Completely Different

I am not known to be a domestic goddess by any means. I clean on a regular basis, mainly because I don’t enjoy living in the kind of filth that New York tends to create. Though I don’t go overboard. I mean, why waste time cleaning when you can be laying in bed watching TV? But over the past year I’ve unearthed an interest in cooking thanks to my best friend and holistic health counselor. Previously, my most complex meal involved adding a microwaved bag of veggies in cheese sauce to some pasta. Include some pepper to the mix and I was almost going gourmet. Now, though, I’m getting in the kitchen like a good little woman and making some pretty tasty things. It’s helped me feel like a real grown-up as well as shed quite a few pounds, the only negative is the excessive amount of dish washing afterwards.

Last week I made something called sweet potato shepherds pie, a dish that many of my British friends laugh at because it in no way resembles traditional shepherds pie. The only things the two recipes have in common are carrots and onions, but I’m not worried about it because it’s pure awesome-ness. I’ve been thinking about how good it tastes since I finished it days ago, it’s the best meal I’ve made to date. Today, I’m going to make it again and thought I would capture it’s beauty for you all and share this fabulous fall recipe for you all to enjoy!

First order of business is to cook and mash the sweet potatoes

 

Then saute the onions and carrots

This process starts making the house smell amazing. It’s the perfect time to sip on a glass of wine while watching the rain outside the window.

This is the part that you add the beans and broth to simmer

After that is all finished, you add the bean and veggie mixture to a casserole dish and lay the sweet potatoes on top to bake in the oven.

All ready to go in the oven!

 

Finished product right before it went in my belly

 

See the recipe here: Sweet potato shepherds pie. I omitted the leeks and turnips for no real reason, I just didn’t feel like buying them.

So, there you go! If you end up making it let me know what you think.

 

*This short, and random, post is due in part to the fact that I’m currently working on a personal essay but didn’t want to go yet another month without being in touch with you guys. I hope to have the thing I’m working on be finished soon so I can maybe get back to normal.

-xo

I’m Never Eating Again

Since I’ve been off gallivanting around the eastern seaboard, I decided to take this afternoon and check in on what’s going on in the job market. I’ve been applying to jobs all day, or what feels like all day. But I find after reading a handful of ‘about our company’s and ‘requirements’ they all start to blur into one huge job-blob. My cover letters begin to look the same and completely insincere, and I lose all interest. Maybe it’s because it’s Saturday and I should be doing something fun, or maybe it’s because applying to jobs totally sucks, or maybe it’s due to the fact that I’m suffering from the absolute worst food hangover I’ve ever encountered.

Last night I met some friends I hadn’t seen in a while for a drink downtown. Luckily, our meet time was just after the torrential downpour some of us experienced in the New York area. It was nasty. I walked into a moist, dark bar which seemed to suffer from a bit of an identity crisis. It wanted to be a little country, but also eclectic in a T.G.I.Friday’s way. There were velvet Elvis’s on the wall next to a huge Chinese New Year dragon and another state’s license plate. They played awful honky-tonk peppered with Thriller era Michael Jackson and Pink, my nose full of stale beer and stale Polo cologne. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love dive bars like they are my own child… but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one. One crappy $6 pitcher of no-name-apple-juice beer and a pitcher of Bud Lite later my one friend was ready to leave to meet her boyfriend, my other friend and I decided we were hungry.

I was slowly getting over some kind of stomach-based food aversion that had kept me from eating all Friday, so I was ready to feast. We walked to Chinatown to my favorite, cheap, awesome Chinese restaurant. It was on.

A huge bowl of crispy noodles, two veggie egg rolls (yes, two), veggie fried rice, and a beer later, I couldn’t move. My friend and I looking at each other, sighing, while holding our stomachs asking why we would do such a thing to ourselves.

We waddled to the subway, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. I toyed with the idea of lying down on the platform, just because standing hurt so much. I prayed for the smell of rotting garbage to trigger my gag reflex. I waited for the sweet release of death. The saddest part about all these feelings I was having was holding the bag of leftovers, and an extra order of chinese broccoli I took for later. (I still can’t look at it). I got home, fell onto my bed with labored breath, unbuttoned my suddenly too skinny jeans, and counted the minutes until it passed. But it hasn’t, still. I tossed and turned all night, and woke up to find that nothing had digested.

I’ve never been this full in my life. Isn’t Chinese food supposed to make you feel hungry again in an hour?

Have you ever done this to yourself? What did you eat? How did you get over it?

-xo

So (Not) Like Candy

I know some of you will freak out at this statement but, I don’t like chocolate. I don’t like sweets in general, really. Of course, when I was younger I did. Give me a candy necklace, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Pixy Stix, NutRageous, or one of those white chocolate lollipops you could only find on Easter or Valentines’s Day and I was happy. Hell, I even just carried around packets of pure sugar to down throughout the day. But in my twenties, maybe once the soothing nectar of alcohol completely took over my life, candy just didn’t do it for me. At a birthday party? No cake for me. Happen to be celebrating Valentine’s Day? (Something I’m not a fan of as it is). Don’t waste your money on chocolate (or flowers). Big family dinner? Please stop asking me if I’m sure I don’t want a slice of pie. Unless I’m suffering from a random and super rare, intense bout of PMS, I’d rather have another glass of wine.

But I’ll take the ice cream.

Come to mama

I rarely let myself have any in my apartment because I’ll eat it within minutes. And when I’m home doing errands with my mom, she knows I can’t say ‘no’ to a Dairy Queen run. I try to resist and it’s just no use. New York television constantly airs ads for Dairy Queen but the nearest one is in Jersey City. What is up with that? It kills me every time, my mom knows my weakness. But it’s quickly becoming ice cream weather and I’m having a hard time keeping those soft-serve-thoughts out of my non-frozen brain. It’s just so comforting, smooth and refreshing on my tongue, I never want it to end.

Yesterday I got a coupon for Tasti-D-Lite in the mail, and I knew exactly what I was going to do. Today, in between babysitting jobs, I was going to hit up a Tasti-D-Lite and enjoy the hell out of it. Now, I know it’s not really ice cream. It’s frozen yogurt, but it tastes just like ice cream so it satisfies that creamy craving. Good old half vanilla, half cookies and cream, in a dish, because cones just get in the way (I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s how I feel). I walked home liking the spoon until it was as clean as possible, each bite. So good, so cool, so much better than sex. ….Sometimes.

So, there you go. A word to the wise. 99% of the time I don’t want your candy, cake (unless it’s ice cream cake) or pie so please don’t keep offering them to me. And please don’t say, ‘ooooooh, that’s why you’re so skinny!’ I walked fifty blocks before I let myself walk into the store.

Now I want more ice cream.

-xo

Yan Can Cook and So Can I!

I cooked today. Be very surprised.

All my life cooking consisted of opening a box and throwing the contents in a pot or microwave, and I was happy. But last year, with the threat of my thirtieth birthday looming over my head, I knew I needed to step it up. It was time to stop living like a broke college kid, because I’m a broke adult now. I enlisted the help of my best friend, who had just become a holistic health counselor, for six months of lessons on how to find the balance in life. It worked.

Without even trying, or feeling deprived, I’ve lost thirteen pounds so far. (Ten was the first goal, my fantasy goal is fifteen). That’s a lot considering I’ve always been a skinny girl. (I didn’t even break the hundred pound mark until I was in my mid-twenties). But after years of indiscriminate drinking and late night pizza runs, I ended up with too much jiggle that begged to be dealt with. I also didn’t want to enter into a new decade with the same poor eating habits. There’s a time and a place for Pastaroni, and it’s not twice a week.

My sessions were a combination of visualizing and addressing my physical and emotional needs, as well as experimenting with new ways to treat my body the way it deserves. And after everything I put my body through the past fifteen years of my life, it was the least I could do to try. My stubborn self actually found the changes to be super easy and rewarding. I started cooking for myself on a regular basis, even baking on occasion, and learning that my cooking skills weren’t as bad as I had once believed! Cleaning up afterwards wasn’t even so torturous, and I totally hate washing dishes. 

I have found myself gravitating to one recipe over and over again. It’s a simple mix of kale and white beans. It’s just kale sautéed in olive oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic, with white beans added at the end. (You can really use any green. Last time I made it with bok choy and added eggplant, it was fantastic). I always make enough for a couple days, that way it allows me to feel productive and healthy while still being lazy (which I love more than anything).

So that’s what I made today and I’m super excited to eat it all. I’ll probably have some over a little pasta for dinner tonight and fold some into scrambled eggs tomorrow morning, and then repeat until it’s all gone. I’ve even used it to top cut pieces of baguette for an appetizer. 

I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a simple, tasty, versatile, easy meal because it’s super awesome. (And I’m saying that because it’s been on my mind since I cooked it).

Here’s a picture. Keep in mind, I’m not a professional food photographer. This photo was taken right after I put it in a container to store in the fridge, then I had to separate myself until dinner time.

My masterpiece

-xo

Free Lunch Mondays

I intern (for free) for a pretty large news/pop culture/a-little-bit-of-everything blog, that’s quite well-known in New York, twice a week while I try to find a job in the field (good luck with that). It’s been a pretty cool place to work. Laid back, music playing in the office, nice people, no one standing over your shoulder, lots of TV watching and Internet surfing. I’m scheduled to work twice a week, though have been known to be puppy-dog-eyed into working up to four days a week. Since most of the interns are actually in college and busy and I’m not, I have always found it hard to say ‘no’. (They knew to come to me because I’m such a push-over. I am a sucker).

Monday and Wednesday the company offers a free meal. Lunch on Monday and breakfast on Wednesday. I love breakfast and somehow after all the shifts I’ve covered I’ve never been here on a Wednesday. I’m lucky enough, though, to be here on Monday. Lunch comes around 1pm, so by about 11:30am I start to get pretty curious as to what we’re having. My curiosity is piqued for two reasons: What kind of food is coming? And what will I be able to eat? I don’t eat meat, along with quite a good bit of others here, yet the delivery could be anything from pizza to hot dogs, Mexican to Chinese. (It’s like Christmas morning!) I normally just take a little because I’m not a huge fan of buffet-style food (I have a touch of germaphobia) and there aren’t tons of options for me. You can imagine lunches that consist of hot dogs and french fries don’t exactly provide me with much, there wasn’t even cole slaw that day (not that veggies covered in mayo is really a better choice). Yes, french fries are super yummy and I love them but how many can/should one really eat solely as a meal? I think we all know that sad, sad answer.

However today I was faced with a completely different conundrum, how many was too many times to go back to the food for another helping? I didn’t want to look obnoxious or have my third helping while someone was just coming over for their first (there I am being too nice again). It was actually an internal struggle because I’ve never had to deal with this here before. Today we got Chinese/Japanese food and the spread consisted of soups, dumplings, meat dishes (I didn’t pay attention to those), tons of veggies, and noodles. I love almost any Asian cuisine. I also am such a huge fan of chinese style veggies and veggie dumplings, it’s probably some of my favorite food. Today, I also happened to be monstrously ravenous and in the mood to eat some yummy food. I call that a jackpot!

I filled up my plate with veggie dumplings, the sautéed chinese style vegetables, and other mixed veggies. Somehow by the time I get comfortable at my desk my plate was basically empty so I went back up again, this time picking up more chinese style veggies and sesame noodles. Those noodles we awesome, like really so good (I’ll probably be dreaming about them tonight). I looked over to the guy I sit next to as I’m shoveling food in my face and asked him if he thought I’d look like an ass if I went back up again. He just laughed, he hadn’t taken a bite yet but once he did he understood.

‘Dis is reawy goo,’ he said with his mouth full and got up for more sauce.

So I decided to go for more. Throw caution to the wind! Lunch comes but once a day so live in the moment! Besides, I’m starving and this food rocks.

My internship ends at the end of the month. I didn’t think losing Monday lunches would really effect me (besides the awesome financial benefit) but now I think I will be mourning the loss just a little bit more. Probably because I’m already longing for another taste.

Now I’m hungry again. great.

-xo