Monthly Archive: February 2011



February 2011



Dinner for Two

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After a delicious, and expensive, restaurant week…Mike and I decided to stay home Friday night and make a great dinner ourselves.  This week I got my first delivery from Fresh Picks, a CSA-ish company that delivers organic, seasonal fruit and veggies to my door step every Tuesday!  My first delivery was super exciting-I got gorgeous produce, several items which I’ve never tried before.  Leeks, Boston Lettuce, Collard Greens, Black Radishes, Garlic, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Sprouts, Portabella Mushrooms, Navel Orange, Pink Lady apples, Mango, and Strawberries.  Yea, I was pretty freaking excited!

One of the things I’ve never cooked before was collard greens.  Luckily, my Clean Eating mag had just arrived Thursday and had a fantastic recipe for collards with shrimp and turkey sausage.

Spicy Collard Greens with Turkey Sausage and Shrimp

1 tsp Chile Powder
1 tsp Paprika (I didn’t have any so I didn’t use it and it still turned out great!)
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 tsp each ground Black Pepper and Cayenne Pepper
1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off (I actually had pre-cooked shrimp so I just used those and didn’t cook them as long)
1 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (I didn’t have shallots on hand so I just used a regular onion)
2 lean deli-fresh Turkey Sausages (7 oz) casings removed (I had some Jimmy Dean’s turkey sausage crumbles on hand and just used those)
1 bunch collard greens (about 1 lb), stems removed and leaves chopped

*The original recipe only calls for half of what I’ve listed above for the spice mixture.  I love spices so I doubled the recipe and I thought it turned out perfect!

1.  Mix together chile powder, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.  Toss shrimp with 1 tsp of this mixture until coated.

2.  Heat 2 tsp oil in a large sauté pan or wok on medium-high.  Add shallots and cook until softened (approx 3 min).  Add shrimp and cook until just turning pink (about 3 minutes if you have raw shrimp, just a short amount of time if they’re already cooked).  Transfer mixture to a bowl and return pan to heat.

3.  Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in pan.  Add sausage and cook for about 3 minutes until browned.  Stir remaining spice mix and collard greens into pan.  Cover and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove lid, stir and cook for about 2 or so more minutes.  Add shallot-shrimp mixture back to pan, stir and cook for 1 more minute until all heated through.  Serve immediately.

4.  Enjoy!

To complement our greens we had some grilled grass-fed filets, sauteed green beens, and yukon gold potatoes roasted with fresh garlic, olive oil, and Onion Onion and Seasoned Salt seasonings from a Tastefully Simple party I attended last month.  I cooked the potatoes around 375° for about 40 minutes or so, until the potatoes were crispy.  They turned about fab!  We enjoyed our dinner with a few glasses of wine…our dessert was more wine, more cocktails, Cranium playing with friends, and a late night karaoke outing to Sidekicks.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post…I was hurting the next day.
To maintain my sanity and not be overwhelmed, I’m allowing myself minimal animal products on the weekends.  Any animal products I do have, I try and make sure they are organic, grass-fed, cage free, etc.  I think this has really helped me so I don’t feel completely deprived.  When you know you can’t have something, doesn’t that make you want it more??



February 2011



ABC…easy as 1, 2, 3

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So last night I drank a little too much wine…and beer and Mike’s famous “Norman” drink.  Needless to say I have done absolutely nothing productive today.  So I figured I’d attempt a blog post, luckily a fun little “get to know me” ABC post is going around the blog world-I can handle that!  I can’t promise my usual fantastically witty humor, hangovers tend to temporarily slow my brain cells down, but I’ll do my best for you guys!

A. Age: 27…I actually had to think about that for a second, when did I get into my late 20’s?!
B. Bed size: gotta have a Queen
C. Chore you hate: emptying the dishwasher-hate, abhor, loathe, despise.
D. Dogs: I love my big cuddly puppy Bailey!  Really, I love all dogs-unless they’re mean to me 😉
E.  Essential start to your day:  pee and take my dog out to pee.  hahaha!  Those were the only 2 things I could think of that I do every single day!
F.  Favorite color:  Green
G.  Gold or silver:  Lately I’ve been loving gold, my mom had my baby locket engraved with an “L” for Valentine’s Day so as of late that’s been my fav necklace-plus I love my gold watch!  But I still love my silver and have tons of it!

H.  Height:  6’1″…yes, I am tall…very tall.

I.  Instruments you play:  does Rock Band guitar count?  haha!  I used to play the Clarinet back in the day, but that’s where my musical abilities end!

J.  Job title:  Registered Business Analyst (a pharmacist gone corporate!)

K.  Kids:  Love them, but not for me….yet 😉

My best friend’s baby girl Lennon

L.  Live:  Chicago…Chicago girl to the bone.

M.  Mom’s name:  Christine, super-mom, super-woman!

Wasn’t I the cutest baby ever?!?

N.  Nicknames:  Lo, L, V,

O.  Overnight stays in hospital:  Exactly one year ago today I had to have an emergency appendectomy and stayed overnight at Northwestern Memorial….it sucked, a lot, but the staff at Northwestern are fantastic!  At least I’ll never have to do that again!

P.  Pet peeve:  Slow drivers!

Q:  Quote from a movie: “I like to think of Jesus with, like, big eagle’s wings, singing lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with, like, an angel band, and I’m in the front row, and I’m hammered drunk.” -Talladega Nights

R:  Right or left handed:  Right

S.  Siblings:  younger brother Stephen…love you SV!

T:  Time you wake up:  5:55am on weekdays…and as late as I can get away with on the weekends!

U:  Underwear:  I usually buy mine from GapBody…but that’s all I’m sayin’!

V:  Vegetables you dislike:  Olives and artichokes (unless they’re drenched in a cheesy dip-the artichokes that is, I don’t like olives under any circumstances)

W:  What makes you run late:  If I can help it nothing-I hate being late….but sometimes traffic wins.

X:  X-rays you’ve had:  What x-rays haven’t I had?  I broke my leg when I was younger and was always injuring my ankles and knees while playing basketball in high school, so I’m pretty sure my lower half has had its fair share of radiation.  Between several other bumps and bruises I’m pretty sure my upper half has had its fair share as well!

Y:  Yummy food you make:  Not to toot my own horn, but I make lots of yummy food 🙂  My favs are my chocolate chip cookies and my spicy shrimp pasta!

Z:  Zoo-favorite animal:  Polar Bears!



February 2011



Guilty Pleasures

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So I have to come clean….I’ve been indulging in a few guilty pleasures this week.

Ok…..let’s be honest, I indulge in guilty pleasures a lot, some gultier than others….but this week I’ve caved in to 2 of my favs:  Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vampires.

I made chocolate cookies this past weekend per Mike’s request-a mutually beneficial request that I could not deny.  This recipe is one that my mom has made forever, Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies (I don’t know who’s grandma came up with it because it certainly wasn’t hers or mine), and I finally, FINALLY perfected it myself to make the perfect batch!

My mom’s batches always came out perfect-but not mine.  Sometimes they’d come out not cooked all the way through (although Mike actually likes mushy cookies), or overcooked, or they wouldn’t be fluffy….but this…..this was the perfect batch.  I think what helped me acheive some uniformity amongst the cookies was the melon baller I used to scoop the dough onto the cookie sheet-can’t believe I didn’t think of this earlier.  Actually, I didn’t think of it, my mom did, so she deserves the credit on that one…although I’m pretty sure this isn’t a new concept.  Regardless….they turned out aMAzing and I had to take a break from vegan-ness to enjoy them.  The melon baller made for smaller cookies than I usually make so this recipe churned out a lot of cookies-big bonus for my coworkers, they got to enjoy them as well.  Hope you can enjoy them too!!

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1.5 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
*Cream the above ingredients together
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
*Add to above
4.5 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
1-12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips

*Drop on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.

So about those vampires.  Let me first say that I am not a crazy “I watch and read anything involving vampires” kinda girl.  I read the Twilight series and enjoyed those like I was a 10 year old reading the Babysitters Club, best books EVER!-but there are only 4 books in the Twilight series and it didn’t take me long to power through them.  So what do I do?  I move on to Sookie Stackhouse.  I’ve watched True Blood but never got into the books-that is until my friend Erin got me the first 2 for my birthday (August 15, send presents!  Just kidding.  No I’m not).  They sat on my bookshelf until recently when I finally finished all the other books that were in my line-up.  I read the first one, read the second one….and now I’m hooked.  No…hooked might not be the right word…addicted?  obsessed?  losing sleep to finish a book everyday?  Yea, that’s more like it.  These books are so freaking good-they’re like the Danielle Steele of our generation (imho)-vampires and steamy, make-you-blush-while-reading sex scenes…what more could you ask for??  I actually did read book 4, Dead To The World, in 1 day.  I love starting a series of books once they’re all out, so I don’t have to wait forever for the next one!  These are addictive, if you’re looking for a saucy book series-look no further!

My collection-minus book number 5 “Dead as a Doornail”-which is stowed away in my drawer at work so I can read during my lunches!

So yes…I admit that these are my latest guilty pleasures…what are yours???

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