Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: March 26, 2014

I generally don't like sweet food, but for some reason I felt like having teriyaki chicken. Being that we never make that kind of food, I had to make my own teriyaki sauce.  It's a pretty simple process so I've never really thought about buying pre-made teriyaki sauce.  Sprouts was having a sale on their chicken this week, so I was able to get a whole chicken already butchered for me.  Originally, I had thought that I had gotten a smokin' deal on three days worth of groceries, but when I was doing the math in my head, it didn't add up.  I hunted down the receipt and saw that the cashier had missed zapping the whole chicken.  So instead of on sale, I got it free.  No wonder my total bill was so small.  The chicken itself was only $4.69, so I don't feel so bad about not paying for it.  So this dinner was extra tasty because it was "on the house".

I had to use up a bag of kale, so I put as much as I could in the bottom of
the pan with the excess teriyaki.  

Teriyaki Sauce 
1 c soy sauce
1 c sugar
2 tbsp garlic chili sauce
1 tsp garlic powder

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: March 25, 2014

Remember how the other day I said that I love having jook at our parents’ places because it is always the right texture?  I did it!  It’s really just a waiting game and because I’m so impatient I always serve the jook before the rice fully breaks down.  Nick had to work late and I was enjoying the nice weather on our balcony so I actually had time to let the jook do what jook does.  I added some garlic in the pot while it was boiling and it added so much extra flavor.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: March 24, 2014

Tonight was another lazy night.  Since I didn't have time to hit the grocery store over the weekend, I popped into Sprouts to pick up a few things.  *Gross factor disclosure* We were trying out an organic raw diet on Emmy, but noticed that the bone shards were pretty hard in her poop. This dog is eating better than we are.  I had read that it helps with health issues and promote overall healtiness in dogs of any age.  The raw bones were supposed to help her teeth and gums.  I didn't notice any yucky dog breath smell, but the bones in her poop scared us.  I've resorted to giving her boneless meat in the evenings when I'm making our dinner.

Tonight I used one of the five chicken drumsticks as her dinner (deboned).  I save the other four drumsticks for us.  In a large ziptop bag, I shook the chicken drumsticks in a mixture of parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion power, salt, and thyme.  After placing the chicken on  top of the squash, I sprinkled the rest of the seasoning on the zucchini and added a little bit of EVOO.  I drizzled some EVOO over the top of the chicken as well and baked the heck out of the dish.  I also made a little bit of orzo just so that we had a starch.

Parmesan Cheese-seasoning Chicken 
1/4 c garlic powder
1/4 c onion powder
2 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
3 lb chicken (doesn't matter what cut) 
Mix all dry ingredients in a ziptop bag.  Place chicken in bag.  Shake until fully coated. Bake or grill as fit. If baking, preheat at 375.  Bake for 45 minutes. 

Tonight's Dinner: March 23, 2014

Tonight we went out to dinner with my in-laws at a hot pot chain, but new to the area, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot.  We had sooooo much food.  This type of post is better to show as pictures.

We ordered two types of lamb.  This lamb pictured is lamb shoulder, but we also ordered New Zealand lamb.  We actually enjoyed the texture of the lamb shoulder than the fancy New Zealand variety.  

Pre-cooked dumplings that we dipped in the spicy for extra flavor. 

From left: Lettuce, rice noodles, Napa cabbage, spinach, and taro root.

Since we were hungry we ordered a "meat pie" that was similar to a crepe.  It was basically a seasoned ground beef pancake. 

Beef.  Not sure what kind of beef cut this is, but clearly it's very marbled and it was extremely tender after dunking into the pot for three to four seconds. I know it wasn't wagyu, but I would guess that it was a thinly cut chuck.

Lamb kabob

This is a lot of goodness.  Not sure what was on the far left, but from the left top: fish balls stuffed with seasoned tobiko, various meatballs, cuddle fish balls, squid, tripe, tendons.  Holy moly, everything on this tray was extremely delicious.   I loved that the meatballs were all made by hand and you could tell.  They were extremely delicious.  I know,  I've been trying to get more descriptive, but from the nature of family-style hot pot, it's difficult to taste everything.  My favorite, however, was the fish balls stuffed with tobiko.  When people describe Umami, I'm not sure exactly what they mean.  I'm probably wrong, but in my head that's what I think. In my head though, the flavor added to the tobiko is what I imagine is that 6th-sense/flavor Umami.

We ordered so much that we got some complementary pot stickers, which were delicious, by the way.

The center of the stuffed tobiko. 

Tonight's Dinner: March 22, 2014

After a long...very long, day of house hunting, Nick and I met up with a couple of friends for dinner.  I have a feeling it was an even longer day for our relator.  She was pretty much giving a tour of the area for a bunch of Asians.  We may as well have given her a flag to hold so we could see her. Yup, we're those people.  We made her drag around our parents and us.

Our friends recently purchased their second house, so I guess you could call our dinner as an educational "dinner meeting".  It was a great that we could talk with another couple who recently went through the same experience.  We have had a great support group from our friends to family.  Seriously, it's only a week into house hunting and I NEED a support group.  I don't know how people do this more than once.

We went to Creek Monkey Micro brew for some good food and company.  Nick got their fish and chips and I got the mac 'n cheese.   It was all quite tasty.

Tonight's Dinner: March 21, 2014

Tonight we had a short reprieve from house hunting.  I know, I know, we're the ones putting ourselves through all this mumbo jumbo, but still.  It's a trying process looking for a place you want to call home for good.  I hate moving so I told Nick early on that I want to find a house and stay there forever.  We'll see what actually happens in this day and age...especially with our budget constraints.  We also wanted to give our realtor a break since she had 13 houses in place for us to look at the next day.  What do we do when we're stressed or overwhelmed?  Cook.

This is why we need a bigger kitchen.  We can be in control of what's happening on the stove.

Tonight we made grilled zucchini and onions with chicken apple sausage and quinoa.  Really, I was too mentally exhausted to think of anything really creative.  The veggies were all just salt and pepper for seasoning and I made my regular balsamic-garlic salad dressing (a recipe that I stole from a friend so the "my" really doesn't mean my) and added hot sauce, which I guess constitutes as my since I altered the recipe.  Whatever the case, the dressing is amazing and I thank my friend for sharing it with me.  The whole meal was super simple and didn't need a lot of brain power.  I also got to catch up on a new show on BBC that I've gotten into called The Musketeers.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: March 20, 2014

Sushi dinner in the car on the way to seeing a couple of houses.  (Neither of which we will be placing an offer on.)  I mainly took these pictures so that I can chronicle our search for myself.  40 years from now we'll look back and say, "Boy, we were just two dumb kids trying to find a house in California.  We should have moved to Oklahoma."

We hadn't started driving yet.  Nick ate these in the parking lot of the restaurant.

Tonight's Dinner: March 19, 2014

We have been busy bees.  Any free time we have is usually spent looking at houses online or going out to open houses.  So, we haven’t been eating at home lately and poor Emmy has been shlupt off to her grandma and grandpa's while we’re out at night.  Tonight we met my inlaws for dinner at one of their favorite places to discuss house buying tacticss.  I really enjoy their food and they are pretty well priced.  Tonight I got their lobster ravioli.  I usually don’t get lobster because Nick is allergic, but it sounded really good and they didn’t have a vegetarian option.  Lately I’ve been carbing it up for unknown reasons.  I’m actually eating my second Costco focaccia roll on my lunch right now as I write this.  Not a sandwich, just the bread.  I love me some bread, that’s for sure.

So as a note to my everyday readers, I probably won’t be blogging that much for now as my time has been taken up with thoughts of lenders, mortgages, and houses.  That is also probably why I’ve been eating bread for lunch.  I don’t need to actually do anything to it. Who would have thought that there would come a day when food was a secondary thought?  

Fried calamari appetizer.

My seafood ravioli.

Nick got the Chicken Saltimboca.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: March 17, 2014

For St. Patrick’s Day we, of course, had corned beef and cabbage.  Nick was on his own because the nitrates give him a headache, but I take it whenever I can get it.  

Tonight's Dinner: March 16, 2014

Have I mentioned lately that I hate going to Costco on Sundays?  Unfortunately, it’s the best day for me to go and apparently for the rest of Contra Costa County.  Planning a Sunday trip to Costco is an all-day affair.  There is mental preparation, execution, and decompression.  It’s an ordeal.

We were planning to go to the Fongs house to discuss buying a house since we had already talked it over with my parents and hadn’t with them yet.  They are all for it, by the way.  We planned to barbeque since the weather has been so nice.  I picked up some boneless beef short ribs, halibut, asparagus, and organic salad greens.  I also brought over some quinoa and kale to have as our carb.  

Boneless short rib marinade

5 boneless short ribs
2 c low sodium soy sauce
¼ c EVOO
3 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
4 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp kosher salt


Mix in a gallon-size plastic bag and marinate for at least 3 hours.

Tonight's Dinner: March 15, 2014

It’s official.  We’ve started house hunting.  This also means that we’re taking an itty-bitty (very itty-bitty) step toward potentially having children.  That’s a big POTENTIALLY.  Don’t get your pom poms out yet, folks.  But we are moving in that general direction as grown adults.  This adulthood thing is not as great as it’s cracked up to be.  There are so many more responsibilities and actual life changing decisions that come with repercussions than pre-college days.  For instance, when I was in kindergarten a kid dared me to cut my hair with the kiddie scissors that claimed they can’t cut hair (thus, they were terrible at cutting everything except for hair).  So what did I do?  I cut my hair.  It was a big deal back then and I thought, Oh man, I’m in trouble.  But in the grand scheme of things, it was just hair.  Now I have real things to worry about like home loans, school districts, and college funds.  First-world problems.  So instead of blogging, I’ve been scouring real estate sites.

After a morning of changing my maiden name in my bank accounts, Nick and I went with my parents to look at open houses in the area.  Sometimes I wish we could just uproot ourselves and move to Iowa.  We’ve only been at it for a week, but there are so many factors to think about and try to absorb. 

In the evening, I headed out to see the Veronica Mars movie with some girlfriends.  My pre-movie dinner was a nice grilled shrimp burrito from Rubio’s that I scarfed down in less than five minutes so that we wouldn’t be late for our 7:40pm showing.  It was a jam packed day and I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  

Emmy also got her summer furcut so she was pretty exhausted from spending the morning with a strange face and pair of clippers.