Sunday, November 24, 2013

Law school is ALMOST OVER!!

Jim has his LAST class tomorrow night!!!!

I can tell he is jumping out of his skin, as am I. He actually said to me this morning, "Shaz, should we have a party when I'm done with school?"  (In other words -- "Shaz, throw me a party when I'm done with school"). Whichever way he approached it, he definitely deserves a monstrous party. For his birthday last year, I rented a boat for a few hours and we went out in the marina with about 10 friends.  It was so fun. I could tell he loved it. Maybe we can do something like that again...or maybe we just have a huge party here at our place. We'll see...stay tuned for that decision to be made.

Today I am still in the process of cooking up everything in my fridge. I was craving hash browns, and since I had a couple sweet potatoes in the fridge, I decided to make sweet potato hash browns with scrambled eggs...and whatever else we had. They were AMAZING. They certainly are a must-try, if you have the patience to grate a few of the sweet potatoes. Totally worth it.

Here's how it went down.

I had two sweet potatoes and needed to wash, peel and grate them.  I took out the necessary items in order to make the smallest mess possible. In addition to the items pictured, I also used some sea salt, fresh ground pepper, onion, olive oil and flour.

Jim helped me towards the end, because the grating was extremely tiring. But like I said, it was worth it. These things were scrumptious. After we finished grating, I placed the pile in the colander to rinse off all the orange juices. Once the water ran clear, I then squeezed out all the water.  Here's the before shot:

And after rinsing/squeezing. You can tell it's just a little less orange at this point:

I transferred the grated potatoes to a bowl, and added some minced onion, flour, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  I mixed it around with a fork to get it mixed real well.

After mixing, I separated my large pile into four smaller (even sized) piles to then transfer to the sauté pan. I borrowed this trick from Rachel Ray. She always says to do this when making burgers, so you have even sized burgers and not three nice sized ones and then a tiny kids-size burg.

I placed a decent amount of olive oil into the sauté pan (feel free to use coconut oil) and waited for it to become REAL hot. You can test this by dropping a tiny bit of sweet potato in the pan to see if it sizzles. Once it sizzles, you are ready to go.

After firming up the little piles one by one, I then placed them in the pan. It sounded perfect! I let them cook for about 5 minutes on the first side (careful not to burn the bottom) and then flatted them with my spatula, and flipped. I cooked them on the other side for another 5-7 minutes so that the inside was cooked thoroughly.

I decided to make some scrambled eggs with American cheese while my little hash browns were finishing up. Here's a pic of my simple scrambled eggs with cheese, pre-cooked:

And here's my finished brunch....with an extra crispy turkey bacon slice on the side!  It was so filling. We both loved having a different side with our eggs.

Here is our kitchen table where we ate our brunch this afternoon. :)  I needed to light a candle because the neighbors below us were smoking cigarettes and the smell was making me ill.

Thanks again for joining me for breakfast/ seems to be a fav of mine. Happy Thanksgiving WEEK!! hehe :)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cleaning Out the Fridge!

You wanna know one of the things I enjoy most about getting ready for a trip?  I love seeing what meals I can come up with when I am cleaning out my fridge...

Jim and I are preparing for our trip to Boston for Thanksgiving next week and we are SO excited. I am excited to be home, excited to get away from work for a few days...but I am not excited about the actual travel since we are taking the red eye the night before Thanksgiving. Ugh, wish us luck.

Over the last few weeks, I have been piling up some items so I don't forget to pack them. For example, I forgot my mom and dad's birthday cards in September, so I already threw those in my suitcase. I packed up my peacoat, a few sweatshirts, my UGG boots, etc. Today, I decided to look through the fridge to see what perishable items needed to be eaten/cooked/tossed prior to our trip. 

I noticed we had typical veggies such as red peppers, onions, spinach, baby well as some shredded cheddar cheese and ground beef that I know won't last while we are away. BAM! I will make some chili. I have been trying to eat more protein, so I can make that happen by throwing in a bunch of different beans (black beans, white beans, garbanzos...whatever I have). Last night, I cooked up some edamame, so I figure I can pop those suckers out of the shell and toss them in, too. Why not? They will add some nice color, as well as fiber. I also noticed I had some fresh salsa from Trader Joe's that won't last much longer, as well as some opened turkey bacon from over the weekend. I decided to just throw everything in together.

As far as non-perishable items are concerned, I always keep a few canned diced tomatoes in the pantry, as well as various beans, chicken/vegetable broth and other seasonings, like cumin that I will add to the pot. It won't be the best planned chili in the world, but it will certainly do the trick. And who doesn't love a warm, comforting bowl of chili for dinner while watching The Blacklist?! Chrissy and I are soooo into the new drama with James Spader.

I started out with all these ingredients (minus the bread/bagels captured in the shot). The ground beef and broth are not pictured, as they are simmering in a big pot on the stove.

I then diced up a few of the veggies to get those working as early as possible. I find that I need to cook carrots for like 3 hours for me to enjoy them.

These are the veggies I added first (red pepper, carrots and about half my onions), so they would cook the longest. I also poured the salsa in to cook with the meat.

I then threw in the beans, edamame, corn and more onions a few hours later. In total, it took about 2-3 hours to prep and cook the chili.  I kep it simmering for a few more hours, I was just hungry and eager to try it! 

Here it is about 4 hours later.  I also made some cornbread and took out all my toppings (and more seasonings since Jim can handle a little more kick than me). **Oh and hugely important -- don't forget to skim the fat off the top!!!

Finished product. Cornbread on the bottom, then a few scoops of chili topped with low-fat, shredded cheddar cheese and greek yogurt. Yum!

High protein, high fiber...just what I was looking for (oh, and an empty fridge too!). Success!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Breakfast with the Phelan's!

I wanted to share this morning's breakfast with you because it really hit the spot.  I usually wake up craving something specific -- but not this morning.  Instead, I slept in, took a long warm shower and as I walked into the kitchen, I noticed Jim had started boiling a few eggs.  This rarely happens...

As Jim was cooking at the stove, I asked him to throw on some turkey bacon because I have been really trying to eat more protein lately.  I am not a huge meat eater, so I am doing everything I can to eat more of it.  Last night, we walked to the local grocery store and bought a few essentials, such as some plain Greek yogurt, granola and fruit.  Therefore, I decided to make a simple little parfait for us to pair with the eggs and bacon.  I only used bananas, granola and the yogurt and made a few well as a sprinkle of cinnamon on top to add a little fall flavor. ;) 

Here are the ingredients I used:

Finished product!  I think it's all about the presentation.  Why not get a little fancy in your own house?  Martini glass parfaits it is. :)

And my egg and turkey bacon.

We are planning on going for a run down by the marina today, so standby for an update!  Looks like a beautiful day out here in SoCal!

Friday, November 8, 2013

"Fetch" Fall Fashion!

I've been homesick this week.  I am not sure if it's because I've been having some serious fall season envy....or if it's because I secretly thought I would be living back home by now....or because we have a trip planned in a few weeks and I want it to be November 27th now.  Who knows, maybe I am just overly emotional.  

But to continue with my honesty, I must say I am not a fashionista by any means -- but fall is my favorite style season.  With that, I wanted to show you some of my favorite fall looks.  People here in LA tend to wear fall clothes as if the weather is any different than summer.  In fact, sometimes it's nicer here in the fall months, so I struggle wearing boots and scarves and lots of layers.  I think I may be getting used to it, but here goes nothing.

In the fall, there's nothing better than the simplicity of some stylish skinnies, paired with an oversized dressy top, a colorful scarf and tall brown boots (preferably Tory Burch).  You really can't go wrong with that look.  You can enhance the look with some chic sunnies, a nice watch and a fall purse to pull it all together.

 I LOVE this summery mint top with the fall scarf and boots.  And I bet she is really comfy!  This fall is all about color pairings.  It's a nice way to incorporate color without veering away from your fall staples.  I am really digging the mint and brown combo here. Another fav color pairing is pink and gray or even bright cobalt blue with black.

Another fall must-have for me is a classic blazer (or five).  A blazer dresses up an outfit a little more than a cardigan.  It is also a good option to have compared to a heavier jacket if it's a little too warm outside.  I love this look below, it's so patriotic. Just in time for Veteran's Day weekend. :)  That purse isn't too bad either. #want

Have a fall or winter wedding coming up?  This navy dress is perfect!  I love the lace and the belt combo.  You could wear it with a nude or brown pump or even a fall boot if it's a more casual wedding.  I also think a blazer would be a perfect pairing to keep it dressed up.  The Essie nail polish is a good choice, too.

I threw this last one in for my sister.  We were shopping at the Camarillo Outlets last weekend trying on dresses for her new job which started Monday.  Every "Loft" dress she tried on looked fantastic.  Whenever she would come out of the dressing room, she would say "great, I can just pair this with some black tights".  After the third or fourth dress,  I said "Chrissy, it looks great just like that!!  Why the black tights?!"  She told me that all the Boston gals wear black tights with their outfits this season.  I guess I am out of touch in LA these days.
Anyway...this one's for you sistah. ;)

Til next time....