Monday, April 30, 2012

Chipotle-Style Pulled Pork

I've had a request for the Chipotle style pulled pork that we are having this week and I cannot find the recipe (and I had made some changes) so here's what I used:

3 lb Pork tenderloin (pork roast or shoulder would work as well)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
1 T tomato paste (we didn't have any tomatoes)
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, sliced and sauce added (this gives a nice heat to the pork, less if you are sensitive to spice)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread onions in a layer over the bottom of the crock pot.

Liberally salt and pepper all sides of tenderloin.  Mix remaining herbs together and coat tenderloin.  Place tenderloin on top of onions.

Add peppers with adobo sauce and tomato paste to water and stir until paste dissolves.  Carefully pour mixture around (not on top of) the tenderloin.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until done.  Remove meat from crock pot.  Remove bay leaves and cloves and discard.  Shred meat and place back in crock pot on warm for to absorb sauces or until ready to serve.

We will be serving with corn tortillas, homemade queso sauce (left over from last week's dinner), blackbeans and lots of veggies.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meal planning

We've got a few things going on this week (ahem, graduation) and plenty of left overs from last week so we are light on meal planning:

Sunday-meal in the go! We're in Cinci to visit friends so we'll be eating out or in the car.
Monday- MBA grad reception
Tuesday-Zuppa Toscano soup (we just receive our years supply of sausage and bacon)
Wednesday- left overs
Thursday-pulled pork tacos (copycat Chipotle recipe)
Friday-homemade pizza
Saturday-grad celebration!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sonya's List of Must-Have Gear for Running

As promised, here's my must-have gear for running a race!

1. Good sports bra.  I'm not brand specific but I do like mine to be made of moisture (aka sweat) wicking fabric.  
2. Running socks-yes, running socks make a difference!  Once you try them you will never go back, I promise.  I have mix of Thorlo, Wigwam and Balga.  They have extra cushioning in the toes/heels and compression around the mid-foot.  Good stuff!
3. Running shoes.  I highly, highly, highly recommend getting fitted for running shoes at a reputable store.  They will watch the way you walk/run and recommend shoes for you.  Are you an over or under pronator?  They will be able to tell you!  Then you try a few pairs on and go for a quick test run (inside or out, depending on the store) to make sure they will work.
4. Running capris.  No shorts here, I like a little more coverage when I run.  I do like compression capris which fit snugly and give support to my legs/knees.  And pockets are nice for keys, energy, etc.
5. Cliff Blocks.  I'm not a huge fan of running goo but these I love.  Most races give goo so I carry my own blocks (hence the pockets in the capris)
6. iPod.  Music is a great motivator.  I use the Nike + system to track my distance and pacing through the iPod.  I like the iPod nano because it's small and light.  C runs with his iPhone but I feel unbalanced and weighed down with it.
7. Watch/Heart Rate Monitor.  Know your zone and where you need to be.  Tracking heart rate is a great way to listen to your body.
6. Sunglasses.  I borrowed C's Oakley's for race day.
9. Layers.  I wasn't sure what race day would bring so I picked out a few layers ahead of time.  I ended up wearing the black Dry-Fit tshirt (10) and a zip up long sleeved jacket before the race and handed my jacket to C right before the start so I didn't have to tie it around my waist once I was warmed up.

Quick note about race day clothes:  NEVER wear anything new!  Always take your gear out for a few test runs to make sure that there aren't any performance or comfort issues.  I have a friend who wore new shorts for a marathon and now has a permanent scar from the tag rubbing her back.

And of course, not numbered, but my race bib ready to be pinned to my shirt.

What are some of your must-haves?

Cleveland's Top Restaurants

One of my Facebook friends posted this link to a list of Cleveland's Top Restaurants from The Plain Dealer.  I thought it would be fun to post it here and check them off as we try them once we move in June:

Clearly, we have A LOT of work ahead of us.  So let us know, have you tried any of these?  Any recommendations on which ones rock and which ones we should skip?  Anyone want to help??


• Aldo
• AMP 150 
• Anatolia Cafe
• Bac Asian American Bistro and Bar
• Balaton
• Bar Cento 
• Bistro 185 
• Bistro on Lincoln Park
• Blue Point Grille 
• Bruno's Ristorante
• Bubba's-Q
• Cafe Toscano
• Charm Thai 
• Chez Francois 
• Chinato 
• Chowder House Cafe
• Cowell & Hubbard 
• Crave 
• Crop Bistro & Bar 
• Cuisine of India 
• D'Agneses 
• Dante
• Deagan's Kitchen & Bar
• Delmonico's Steakhouse
• Diamond Grille
• Don's Pomeroy House 
• Don's Lighthouse 
• Downtown 140
• Eddie's Pizzeria Cerino 
• Etna 
• Fahrenheit 
• Fat Cats 
• Felice Urban Cafe
• Fire
• Flour 
• Flying Fig 
• Fountain
• Georgetown
• Ginko 
• Giovanni's
• Greenhouse Tavern 
• Grotto Wine Bar
• Grovewood Tavern
• Hunan by the Falls 
• House of Hunan Medina
• Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse 
• Indian Delight 
• Istanbul Grill
• Johnny's Bar 
• Johnny's Downtown
• John Q's 
• Ken Stewart Lodge 
 Lago Restaurant & Wine Bar
• L'Albatros 
• Le Bistro du Beaujolais 
 Le Petit Triangle 
• Light Bistro 
• Lockkeepers 
• Lola Bistro 
• Lolita 
• Lopez 
• Luxe 
• Market 
• Melt 
• Michelangelo's 
• Minh Anh 
• Molinari's 
• Momocho
• Morton's
• Moxie
• Muse
• Noodlecat 
• One Red Door
• Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
• Parallax 
• Pearl of the Orient West
• Piatto Novo
• Pier W 
• Players on Madison
• Pura Vida 
• Red the Steakhouse 
• Restaurant Europa
• Rockefeller's 
• Russo's Kitchen 
• Sergio's Sarava
• SB Eighty One 
• Shuhei Restaurant
• Stino da Napoli
• Strip Steakhouse
• Superior Pho
 Sweet Melissa's 
• Table 45 
• Tartine Bistro 
• Ty Fun
• Viaduct Lounge 
• Washington Place Bistro and Inn
• Wild Mango 
• Wonton Gourmet
• XO Prime Steaks 
• Zanzibar

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Meal Planning-The Pioneer Woman Cookbook takes over

So I was the lucky recipient of two cook books in April (one for Easter and one for my b-day).  Now that my schedule has lightened, I've been able to break them out.  I handed Chris the new cook book from The Pioneer Woman: "Food from my frontier" and he had no issues picking out a few dishes (so many delicious looking ones to choose from!).

Sunday-White Chicken Enchiladas
Monday-Spicy Orzo with Broccoli (I added a can of white beans for protein...still wasn't a winner)
Tuesday-Left overs (I had a salad with left over crock pot rotisserie chicken)
Wednesday-Apricot Shrimp Skewers (note to self, do NOT rub eyes after cutting up jalapenos!)
Thursday-Chris has class and is watching the draft so I'll be eating popcorn and BP with apples or sweet potato chips
Friday-Pork Tenderloin with root vegetables (this was much work but it was soo good)

Have you tried any new recipes lately?  My mom and I had a conversation this week about how variety in meal planning is key.  Keeps things interesting!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love ya, mean it

Over the past week, I've been in Louisville training for my job. I have the best work family, and I do mean the best. We care about each other, look out for each other and help each other. This team had been so supportive of me as I've gotten started in my job and when Chris was deployed. We've got a couple of team members retiring this year and one of them is know for saying "love ya, mean it". Not just to his family but to all of us. We believe in saying "I love you". C and I say it all the time, it comes from spending months apart when he was in the Army and was our only way to express our feelings thousands of miles apart. Sometimes it's said out of habit but we still mean it so i think "love ya, mean it" sums it up pretty well. How do you express your feelings to loved ones?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cbus 10 Miler

On Sunday, I completed the Cbus 10miler for the second year.  Chris, Brittany and I ran this race last year and it was tough!  The race course was flip-flopped this year so there wasn't a two mile incline at the finish but there still was a mile incline that I hated :)  It's a hilly course that is meant to be a training run for the upcoming Capital City Half Marathon.  My goal this year was to beat last year's time (1:38:40 or 9:50 per mile) which wasn't much of a challenge since I had a cold last year, and I'm happy to say I did!  My time this year was 1:27:35 (8:46 per mile) which is a PR (personal record)!

  Over all, it's a nice, small race with both street and (paved) trail running.  I wouldn't call it easy because there are several inclines, some steep and some long and slow, but the people are friendly and the race well organized.  I think strength training (yoga and BodyPump) helped me improve and the guy that paced me for the last three miles :)  I don't know who he was but he would not let be get below a 9 minute mile :)  Wish I could say thank you to whoever he is!  Here's a few photos of the day: 

All my gear, ready to go (and my bags packed for a work trip later that day).  Gear post here!
Almost to the finish!
After the race

My race supporter and sometimes running partner
My race reward (not really, I just needed new shoes and they were on sale after the race)
Now that I'm a few days past the race, I'm wondering what's next?????  Maybe another sprint triathlon?  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Date Nut Energy "Brownie" Bites

I've made this recipe a couple of times over the past few months and it's a winner (this one is soooo easy)!  I try to keep a batch in the fridge for fast fuel on the go.  Sorry it took me so long to get around to blogging them. These are the perfect pre-  or post- workout snack and are packed full of energy from the dates and nuts.

1 cup dates, chopped and pitted
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1-2 teaspoons filtered water

Pulse ingredients together in food processor until mixture sticks together.  
I usually add a teaspoon or two of water to get the mixture to stick.
Roll into balls and store in fridge.

Before adding water:

After adding water (one teaspoon at a time):
After rolling into balls (I use a pampered chef cookie dough baller, works great:

Lemon pull-apart bread

I've made this recipe twice (once to try and once for Easter morning) and it is delicious!  A perfect alternative to cinnamon rolls for special breakfasts....and the glaze is out of this world, I could eat it straight out of the bowl.  I've seen several versions of this bread on Pinerest but I based my recipe one I found at Two Tiny Kitchens.

Ingredients for Dough:
2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups white)+ extra for rolling and kneading
1/4 cup honey
2 1/4 tsp yeast (one packet)
1/2 tsp salt
5 TBSP milk
4 TBSP butter
1/8 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Ingredients for Lemon Paste Filling:
1/2 cup honey
Zest from 2 lemons (just the yellow part on the outside)
1 TBSP butter, softened

Ingredients for Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze:
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP butter, softened
1/2 cups powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (watch for seeds)
1 tsp milk (or more, depending on preference of glaze thickness)

To make dough:

Place butter and milk in microwaveable bowl.  Microwave until butter melts, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cool (1 minute) and add water, honey and vanilla. 
In large bowl (I used the bowl for my KitchenAid mixer because I would be using it to knead), place 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast and salt.
Pour butter/milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix with paddle attachment.
Stir until combined and then add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
Change paddle to kneading hook and knead until smooth, 5-10 minutes.  Because of the honey, I found the dough to be sticky and added extra (about 1/4 cup) additional flour.
Place the kneaded dough in an oiled bowl (turning dough until covered in oil) and cover with a tea towel.
Set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours-the whole wheat flour leads to lengthened rising time)

While dough is rising grease bread pan and get started on Lemon Paste Filling:
Mix honey, zest and butter until well combined.  Set aside.

Once the dough has risen, roll out on a well-floured surface into a 20x12" rectangle (or something close).  Spread with lemon paste filling, pressing to adhere to the dough.  
Cut dough into strips, 4x12", and stack them onto each other.  
Cut the stack into smaller pieces, 2x4".  
Place cut stacks into prepared bread pan with cut sides up.  
Fan out the slices to fill the pan, using fingers.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cover loaf pan and allow bread to rise until double in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

Bake loaf for 25-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Mine looked like this:

To prepare the glaze, cream together cream cheese and butter.
Then add powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk and mix until combined. 

Remove bread from oven and place on wire rack to cool.  After 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely.  Then top with lemon glaze and enjoy!

What are some of your favorite special occasion breakfasts?  

Quinoa pancakes

For my birthday, I took the day off of work and enjoyed a wonderful day shopping, lunch and at the spa with my Mom (such a nice birthday treat!).  Since I had a little extra time, I decided to whip up some quinoa pancakes and they were delicious!  I topped mine with Sunflower butter, fresh strawberries and a touch of homemade honey whipped cream (it was my birthday, after all).  I found the original recipe at My Life Runs on Food but I did make a few changes:  

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 TBSP baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
1 TBSP honey
1 egg
1 TSP vanilla extract
1 TSP cinnamon
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup blueberries (optional)
Olive oil for greasing skillet 

Preheat skillet to medium heat and add olive oil.  
In large bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon) in bowl and set aside.  
In a seperate bowl, whisk together honey, egg, milk and vanilla.  
Add liquid ingredients, quinoa and blueberries into dry mixture.  Don't over mix, batter will have lumps (this gives fluffy pancakes).
Spoon 1/4 cup batter into skillet.  when bubbles appear in the surface, flip.  When both sides are golden brown, remove and enjoy!  

We found these pancakes to be surprisingly light and fluffy.  Chris couldn't even tell the quinoa was there.  They were really satisfying and left me full until lunch!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bread baking mishaps

I'm getting closer to posting a recipe that I've been using for the past three months to make homemade bread. But I did run into a little issue over the weekend…broken baking stone!

Birthday fun!

Just a few photos of the birthday fun I've had over the last week! If this is any indication, 29's going to be a good year.
Wine tasting with Chris
Buddha Bowl from North Star 
Massages and Pedicures with my Mom
Toms leopard print ballet flats from Chris

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meal Planning

We got back from our DC trip around 8:30pm on Sunday night...not much time for meal planning or grocery shopping!  It's a short (but fun) week with the my (29th) birthday and Easter holiday coming up...meaning we're gone back-to-back weekends, not much house stuff getting done (I'm starting to sense a theme last week)!

(Meatless) Monday- Vegan black bean tacos from Self Magazine (and I mean vegan for me as C added sour cream and cheese to his).  I thought they were tasty and would eat them again, not sure about C.  He liked the salsa very much.
Tuesday- Crockpot chicken (this was yummy, almost like the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store but I controlled the ingredients), sauteed green beans with almonds
Wednesday- Steak and broccoli on the grill

That's it!  Only planning 3 meals this week because we have plenty left over chicken and black bean mixture (I'm thinking we'll be having quesadilla's with the left overs) and Thursday is class night for me so no time to cook.

And 3 MBA classes left, yay :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

DC weekend

C and I road-tripped to DC this weekend to see his sister, Alicia (celebrating April bdays!) and our good friends Caitlin and Brian (and their oh-so-adorable kids Case and Claire).  We had a great time!  We arrived on Friday night, shortly after Mom and Dad K. and then went out to dinner in Alicia's new neighborhood, Arlington.  On Saturday, we got up early for breakfast at Founding was delicious (highly recommend the beignets and the stuffed french toast) and then C and I went to Georgetown to see Cait and Brian.  The 6 of us navigated the streets of Georgtown (not easy with a double stroller, mind you), hit up a park for the kids and then beers and pizza for the adults :)  We last saw them in Colorado last year and have dearly missed them!  Then we met back up with C's family at the National Mall and enjoyed the Botanical Gardens.  Next came dinner and the OSU/KU game (kinda glad I fell asleep during the second half).  Sunday included Palm Sunday Mass, home cooking and a 6.5 hour drive home...let's hear it for books on tape, they make the drive so much more bearable.  Here are a few photos of our trip:

Riding the Metro into DC for the day

Waiting for the Metro (and coffee)
Breakfast at Founding Farmers, Beignets...they were AMAZING!
National Mall, looking towards the Capitol building
The Botanic Garden Conservatory
Celebrating April Birthdays!