Peter Peter

get it?

Well folks, I finally did it. I cooked with a Pumpkin:

A real, once-live pumpkin that didn’t come out of a can. Of course, upon actually cooking with it I realized that my Libby’s canned pumpkin couldn’t possibly be from this type, but it deterred my not! But before I delve into the cooking world, I promised Halloween pictures!

Please proceed to guess what I am

awwww

Now back to what you really came for:

The inside:

I did not take this photo.

This baby was impossible to cut (even for a computer) and I ended up baking it for a little, cutting it in half, and baking it for a wile longer. And when it was done it surprisingly was like a stringier butternut squash! Quite unexpected. So what did I make with it you ask?

Pumpkinified Indian Spiced Chicken & Barley – Slow Cooker Style

serves 6

Ingredients
– 1 lb chicken breasts
– juice of 1 lemon
– ~1 tsp turmeric

– olive oil
– 2 large carrots, chopped
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 1 turnip, chopped
– 1 red bell pepper, chopped
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 tbsp cumin
– 2 tsp coriander
– 1 1/2 tsp indian spice blend
– 1 – 15 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
– 1 1/2 can-fuls of water
– 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (alternatively you can use 28 oz can diced tomatoes total and only 1 cup of the water above)
– 1 cup barley

– 1/2 baked pumpkin, scooped out of the shell

– 1 cup plain yogurt

Directions:

1. Place cleaned chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour/squeeze juice over it and sprinkle with turmeric.

2. Heat oil in a large pan. Add carrots through bell pepper and cook until softened. About 5 minutes. Add garlic through spice blend and mix for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add canned & fresh tomatoes, water, and barley. Bring to a boil.

3. Pour boiled mixture over chicken. Add the scooped-out pumpkin.

4. Cook on High for 2 1/2 hours or Low for 5 hours. Mix well – the chicken should shred nicely into the whole mixture.

5. Add yogurt and cook on High for 30 minutes.

clearly there was a time lapse - no sun

This dish is mm mm good! It takes some prep, but I like the slow cooker aspect of it. It’s awesome with thighs as well and the fattier your yogurt (obvi) the better.

And now, since I never posted it before:

ThisWeekInWorkouts
Su – 45 minute elliptical
M – Circuit Strength 1
Tu – 4.63 mi run
W – rest
Th – Circuit Strength 2
F – 45 min Cycle
Sa – rest

Have you ever cooked with fresh pumpkin? If so, what did you make?

What’s the best fall thing you’ve made lately?

Tell me about your workouts!

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Career Craziness

So these past few days have been pretty darn crazy as far as my job goes.

Friday- I get an invitation via email to a confidential meeting with Human Resources in which I was offered another position in my company due to “uncertainty” about my program’s future.

Cut to today- half of the program’s staff gets laid off, and the other half is out of a job come August 26th. (luckily I managed to get into the second half) So, needless to say this is a lot to process. But I accepted the job offer. (Though it requires some screening of my Spanish skills first) It will mean a little more money, a lot of good experience, and a big schedule change.

totally unrelated.

Anyways! I’m going to look on the bright side of things and hope that this job pans out. (And put in some applications just in case)

But in all of this work craziness, I haven’t forgotten to eat well! (Duh. This is a food-eating blog, right?)

I spent last week enjoying barley a lot. Remember when I made it to go along with my salmon? Well, I had some leftover, and I got to keep enjoying it in breakfast form for a few days. If you’ve never tried barley for breakfast, you are missing out. It’s quite easy and quite delicious.

Step 1: Open your fridge, and stare at your leftover barley

waste not!

Step 2: Make half a serving of a hot cereal you enjoy. (preferably with milk for that creamy deliciousness) I made oat bran most days but also enjoyed quick cook steel cut oats.

+ Add 3/8 cup of barley (I think that’s roughly 1/2 a serving)

oat bran & barley

Step 3: Add your most favoritist toppings*

frozen sweet cherries + tahini

Strawberry, Kiwi, Wheat Germ, & Tahini

Raspberry, Flaxseed Meal, & Almond Butter

*Note: Can also be your second, third, or fourth most favoritis toppings

Once you try this, you will wish that you always had leftover barley. (That is my promise to you) The barley adds a wonderful chew and a most comforting flavor.

To round things out, I figured that I would leave you with This Week in Workouts:

TWIW 7.10.11-7.16.11

Su – 60 min Power Yoga

M – 45 min Cycle class

Tu – Circuit Strength Training

W – 20 min Stairmill + 25 min Elliptical

Th – Circuit Strength Training

F – 45 min Cycle class

Sa – off

Last Nice-Clothes Day

^^ This is what I consider Thursdays. It helps me to make my work week seem shorter in my head. I just think to myself: “Just one more day of wearing business casual, and then it’s jeans day. ” I live in jeans. Therefore, life begins on Friday. {And sometimes after work (Though if you were watching me right now, you would see that I’m in comfy pants, but only because I changed out of my business causal attire and wasn’t going anywhere)}

I think my favorite part of a three day weekend is only having 4 days of work the next week. (That is, if you have Monday off, and not Friday) But anyways. Let’s get to food. Because that’s why I created this blog, right? Right.

Tonight I made a simple yet delicious meal. I’m quite glad that I decided to make something simple because (as you can see) I have time to tell you about it rather than let the pictures fester in my iPhoto. The delicious part was just toppings on the froyo (I have a mad craving tonight). I was inspired by the recipe here but made a few changes (as you will see if you compare the two).

Easy Roast Salmon Proveçal

(serves 4-5)

Ingredients

– 4-5 servings of salmon (preferably wild & pacific)

– 1 red bell pepper

– 2 zucchini, sliced

– 1/2 large eggplant, chopped in 1 inch pieces

– 1 cup mini portobello mushrooms, chopped

– 1/4 cup Tuscany Italian Dressing

– 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

– 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

– 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Spray a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the Dressing and vinegar in a bowl.

2. Place Salmon on baking dish and cover/surround with the chopped vegetables

3. Drizzle half of the dressing/vinegar combination on the salmon and veggies and toss lightly (just the veggies, not the salmon)

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, add the remaining dressing/vinegar and mix. Add the fresh basil and olives. Return to oven and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

The Flavorings

After roasting -- Salmon's underneath

Served up with some pearled barley mmmm....

Plated and delicious.

Probably my favorite part of this meal was the fact that it involved very little active time, so I could do other things while I was “cooking” dinner.

I realized before making this dish that it had been a very very long time since I cooked an animal. On Monday, I had seafood Pho, and I realized that I don’t really eat too much animal. It seems that I’m down to eating it once a week or so. And I’m cool with that. I can’t imagine being as dependent on it as some people feel that they are.

So tell me,

What do you think about work attire?

What was the last simple/delicious thing you made?

How often do you eat meat and why?

The day finally came.

I can now call myself a proud owner of Apple’s iPhone!

I received this beautiful baby from my parents for my birthday! I had been holding off on buying the iPhone since it’s not compatible with Verizon’s 4G network but then I found out that we don’t even have 4G access in Richmond so I concluded that the waiting should end. And boy am I happy that I did! This is an awesome phone. But then again I’ve used apple products my whole life so it’s like a puzzle piece falling right into the correct slot for me.
Since I’m trying to go to bed early (pre-10pm) I’m just going to leave you all with a few new things I’ve tried out lately:
1) Barley in Overnight Oats
mmmm
I whipped up these babies just like I would overnight oats except I used 1/2 cooked barley and 1/2 quick cooking steel cut oats. (the cooked part is important!) I ended up making these sort of by accident in a way perhaps. I was cooking barley to make something for dinner when I changed my mind and started making something better (more on that later). So I found myself with a whole batch of barley and thought to myself: “What am I to do?” And then it popped into my head! I had gotten the idea for a hot breakfast cereal with barley from a few blogs in the past and I thought – why not put barley in my overnight oats?
HUGE success! I loved the chewy texture of the barley in the mix.
2) New Roasted Vegetables with Tempeh Sauce
I roasted the vegetables and tempeh in a baking dish on 400˚F for about 20-30 minutes in 1/2 tbsp sesame oil and 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
Sauce: 2 tsp tahini, 2 tbsp peanut flour, 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp dry sherry, 1/2 tbsp chili garlic sauce, minced garlic, ginger
After roasting the veggies, I simply poured the sauce on top, mixed around, and returned everything to the oven for about 5 minutes.
This turned out to be quite delicious! It was a quick and easy meal when I didn’t really feel like standing at the stove for a long time.
3) New “Pasta” Sauce Recipe
I cooked up a spaghetti squash last week and made a delectable Lentil-Tomato Sauce to go with it. That recipe was a bit more involved, so I’ll have to post it later, but suffice it to say that my boyfriend informed me that it was probably his favorite thing that I’ve ever made.

Alright bed is calling me.

It’s been too long…

>…since I posted a main dish meal! So I figured that I would post one of my new favorite recipes! It mainly involves a slow cooker, barley, and chicken. It yields a main dish so creamy and delectable that you’ll just want to sit and bask in its excellence.

Indian-Spiced Chicken and Barley
Ingredients
– 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1 tsp (roughly) turmeric

-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 large red onion, finely chopped
– 4 stalks celery, diced
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tbsp minced gingerroot
– 1 tbsp ground cumin
– 2 tsp ground coreander
– sprinkling of indian spice blend (garam masala/curry will do)
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 cup rinsed barley
– 1 can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
– 1 cup broth/stock (I made this with the sodium-free broth powder and water)
– sprinkling of cayenne pepper
– 1 cup plain yogurt

Directions
1. Chop chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and spread out on bottom of slow cooker. Squeeze lemon on top and sprinkle with turmeric. Toss to combine and spread back out in a single layer.

2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, spice blend, and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add barley and toss until well coated. Add tomatoes with juice and stock/broth and bring to a rapid boil. 
before the tomatoes/broth

3. Pour over the chicken. Cook in slow cooker on Low for 5 hours or High for 2 1/2 hours. Stir in the cayenne pepper and yogurt. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

I forgot to snap a photo from the slow cooker or my plate, so this is the dish in a lunch container. 
It may look like mush, but it is sooo good. You will not be sorry that you tried it! I served it alongside steamed broccoli and carrots to round out the meal.