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Archive for January, 2009

…2009 has been crazy so far!  I can’t believe January is almost over!!  I’ve had travels, a birthday, lots of crazy stuff going on at work and I feel like I’ve neglected my blog.  I have to catch you up on the recipes I’ve made the past couple of weeks but I’ll do that in a later post.

I wanted to write about a conversation I had with a friend recently.  We were talking about relationships and how when it doesn’t work out, we always say something along the lines of, “well, their loss!”

It got me wondering though…”their” must be “you” at some point, right?  What if it’s not “their loss” but “YOUR loss”….what if you’re the one who is fucking up every relationship you get into?  Rather depressing but something I started thinking about in regard to my past relationships or potential relationships.  Am I doing something to keep me in a single state?  I’ve talked about self sabotaging behaviors in the past which I think I’ve displayed on occasion….but what if it really is ME?  Between my friend and I we started a downward spiral of self questioning/loathing…of course we laughed it off at the end.  Surely it’s not us?!  We’re amazing, talented, attractive people!!

But….what if it IS me?

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My favorite painting…

…don’t ask me why I was reminded of this recently.  Maybe someone mentioned The Lourve, maybe someone said martyr….but whatever was mentioned, it reminded me of one of my favorite paintings that happens to hang in The Lourve.  La Jeune Martyre or The Young Martyr by Paul Delaroche.  I happened upon it on my only visit to The Louvre and was immediately entranced.  I was lucky enough to find a print of it in The Lourve gift shop and bought it.  To this day I’m not sure what exactly was the inspiration for the painting.  I’ve read that the paining is Delaroche’s depiction of Rhea Silvia’s attempted murder by Amulius. If you look to the background in the original painting, you can see the figure of an angry male figure looking down upon the woman in the Tiber. In the legend, Rhea is ultimately saved by Tiberius the river god and they were married. Tiberius gave Romulus and Remus, Rhea’s twin sons by Mars, God of War to a she wolf to raise and Romulus later killed Remus and claimed “Rome” his own.
I was immediately struck by a wave of sadness when I saw it…but also the beauty of it.  So simplistic.  I’m sure some would be bored by this painting, but I’ve never had such a strong reaction to a piece of art (unless in utter disgust…;-) ….anyway, sharing it with you now.  What are some of your favorite works?

La Jeune Martyre - Paul Delaroche, 1855

La Jeune Martyre - Paul Delaroche, 1855

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What is YOUR soundtrack in life?

What is YOUR soundtrack in life?

I started thinking about this last night…as I get older, the more music plays into my life.  And I think about the songs that have weaved their way through my life…through my childhood, important, tragic, exciting moments of my life.  I don’t want to forget the music that has gotten me through my tough times or made me who I am.  I guess since I’m gaining a year in a few days it made me start thinking about putting together a list of songs that have played a part in my life.

This will be an ongoing project…I think it’ll take a while to put together put once I complete it, I’ll post it here.

What is on the soundtrack of YOUR life?

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For my second recipe, I again went for a Weight Watcher recipe.  Part of the reason I did this was because I was trying to figure out what I wanted to make while at work and I knew I could research recipes on their website.  I wanted something easy that wouldn’t take a lot of time as I had a long day at work.  I stuck pretty much to the recipe, using canned corn instead of corn on the cob (really…I don’t know why they suggest corn on the cob when you’re going to take the corn off the cob anyway!)  I also opted not to use corn oil….I didn’t see any point in adding it to the recipe since it wasn’t used to cook the chicken.  I also couldn’t find taco seasoning at the Safeway I went to (I’m sure it was there, I just couldn’t find it and was in a hurry) and instead opted to cook my own chicken (chicken breast cutlets with oregano, salt cooked in balsamic vinegar).  I also decided to make these open faced tacos, using whole wheat tortillas and adding a small amount of shredded cheese.

Overall I was pretty happy with how it came out.  It was easy and tasty.  No culinary masterpiece but a good weeknight meal.

Southwestern Chicken-Bean Salad

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POINTS® Value: 5
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
This crisp, refreshing salad takes only minutes to make if you begin with precooked chicken breasts, available at most supermarkets. Serve our salad as is, or roll it in tortillas for finger-lickin’-good wrap sandwiches.

Ingredients

2 medium scallion(s), chopped
1/2 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped
1/2 medium bell pepper(s), chopped
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 piece(s) corn on the cob, kernels removed
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp corn oil
8 oz chicken breast, cooked, skinless, chopped
2 tbsp reduced-sodium taco seasoning, about 1/2 a 1.25 oz packet
4 tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
4 tbsp fat-free sour cream

Instructions

  • Combine scallions, peppers, beans and corn in a large bowl; toss until well mixed.
  • Add lime juice and oil to bean mixture; toss to coat. Add chicken, taco seasoning and cilantro; toss. Top with sour cream and serve. Yields about 1 1/2 cups salad plus 1 tablespoon sour cream per serving.

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Im not a chef, but I play one on TV...

I'm not a chef, but I play one on TV...

So for those of you who know me, you know I’m not much of a cook.  I made the admission a month or so ago that I had used my oven for the first time in my apartment (I’ve lived here for over 18 months).  That being said, I’ve always wanted to cook more, (I have about 10 cookbooks) but I’ve been hard pressed to get inspired to cook for just myself.  So when a friend of mine started talking about how he had decided to cook more I thought, hey, I should take a hint and do that as well!

I figured the way to try and stick with this would be to challenge myself (and anyone else who would like to) to cook one new recipe a week.  So, the plan is to blog the recipe and how it turned out each and every week for this year.  I started on Sunday with a Sesame Chicken recipe I found in my Weight Watcher’s Dining for Two Cookbook.

Recipe

2 (5 ounce) skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I used breast cutlets)

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 TBSP plain dry bread crumbs

1 TBSP sesame seeds

1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

2 tsp olive oil

1. Combine the chicken and buttermilk in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate, about 20 minutes

2. Preheat oven to 350 F

3, Mix together the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, and Cajun seasoning on a sheet of wax paper.  Lift a chicken breast from the buttermilk, allowing the excess buttermilk to drip off.  Coat the chicken on both sides with the crumb mixture, pressing gently so it adheres.  Repeat with the remaining chicken; discard any remaining buttermilk and crumb mixture.

4. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes on each side.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

This yields 2 servings and each serving is 281 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 1 g fiber.

So what I realized when doing this was that with cutlets you need more of the bread crumb mixture because they’re smaller pieces that you need to cover.  The cooking time is also different because of this.  Luckily I figured this out before it was too late  but if I do this recipe again, I’ll use halved chicken breasts.  To get a real crispy texture you have to make sure that you’re cooking the breasts in a well oiled skillet.  Some of the pieces were pushed off too far to the side so didn’t come out as crispy.  Other than that, I was really happy with the recipe.  I served it with asparagus grilled in a garlic white balsamic vinegar.

I did another recipe this evening but that’ll be saved for a later blog post.  I’ve already been told by a few people they want to see pics…I’m going to hold off on pics until I get a bit more confident with my skills.  Right now it definitely tastes better than it looks!

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2009

Happy New Year!

I know a lot of people have been talking about resolutions for 2009…but this year my only resolution was to not have any resolutions.  I figure if there’s something I want to do I’ll do it, regardless of the new year or not.  Hence why I started my 12 days of Christmas exercise program prior to 2009.  I managed pretty well, btw.  I only ended up missing one day…

That being said, I hope good things happen for those of you who are looking for changes in your life this year!  Happy 2009!

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