Chi-Town

A few of my favorite photos from my trip to Chicago. How can you not love downtown Chicago?

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Chicago via Instagram

I just got home from my trip to Chicago visiting my family with my dad and haven’t had time to upload the photos from my camera. So, I thought I’d share my trip via Instagram photos. You’ll notice I did a lot of eating (so I tried to do a lot of working out too). Overall it was a fantastic trip. It was great to spend time with my dad and all of my Chicago family and it was a nice little break from real life. More photos to come!

MikiThe White Sox game was amazing! Fitzgerald’s is a great little blues club we went toButterfly sushiGnocchi and meatballs the size of my head. I loved this indoor track in Chicago. You don’t see those too often in California!

Hummingbirds

I am always so envious of my mom’s hummingbird feeder. It attracts such amazing little creatures and I love watching them flutter around and drink their sugar-water. I would love to have one in our backyard but our cats will go after (and kill) just about any bird they see in a one-mile radius of our house. Humming birds are extremely fast, but I just wouldn’t feel right intentionally luring them into the “kill zone” just so I can look at them. I am always wishing I had my camera when I go to my parent’s house so I made sure I brought it over for Mother’s Day. I sat and watched the birds for a few minutes and took a ton of photos. These were some of my favorite shots. I swear, for a minute this one particular hummingbird was posing and dancing around for me.

See, he (or she) is totally looking at me here.

Photo of The Week

Loaded Veggie Frittata for Mother’s Day

Most brunch items are not extremely healthy so I was trying to figure out what to do for Mother’s Day that would taste delicious and still be loaded with ingredients that are good for your body. My husband and I prepared a small outdoor brunch for my parents and it was fairly easy to please everyone since we all usually eat pretty healthy diets. Although, I really do think that even people who don’t normally love healthy food would love this frittata recipe. It was so delicious, we ate the whole thing! I stopped at the farmer’s market in the morning and picked up most of the ingredients along with a bunch of fresh herbs for garnish and some beautiful flowers for my mom. The farmer’s market really is one of my favorite places! What you’ll need:

  • a dozen eggs, 5 whole eggs & 7 egg whites
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • fresh basil, torn into pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • I didn’t add spinach but I think it would be a great addition!

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 375. Crack eggs and combine in a bowl with salt and pepper. Whisk until mixed and set aside. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil in a large frying pan. Once tender, add in zucchini and squash. Next add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. At the last-minute, add tomatoes and stir. If you’re adding fresh spinach leaves, do that now. Add in salt and pepper and fresh basil. Slowly pour in the egg mixture. Stir and let the egg heat up a little. Then pour the entire mixture into a casserole dish, or any oven safe dish you would like to use, and place in the oven for about 25 minutes. The time will depend on how deep your pan is. Mine was about 3-3/2 inches, so my frittata took about 30 minutes to bake all the way through. A traditional frittata is much thinner but I had to work with what my mom had at her house and I was actually very glad I did it this way. Keep an eye on it and when the top is solid and nothing jiggles when you move the dish, it should be ready. Serve when warm. Top with fresh basil, rosemary, cilantro or whatever fresh herbs you have for garnish.

We also made guacamole and salsa and used non-fat greek yogurt in place of sour cream for the toppings. It was delicious and I will definitely be making this again. On the side we had organic turkey breakfast sausage from Whole Foods and some delicious fresh fruit.

I also made a lemon, rosemary, and mint infused water and served it with rosemary as garnish. I just added those ingredients to a large pitcher of ice water and let it sit for a while. It was very refreshing with our brunch. Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Lighting Class Portraits

I recently volunteered to be the “model” for a photography lighting class through Photography My Way. They are a photography company that teaches you everything you want to know about your DSLR camera. I have loved every single class I have taken with them and highly recommend it if you’re new to photography.

I was a student in their lighting class months ago and afterwards still struggled with finding the perfect light for my photos. So I thought if I sat through another class and was able to re-learn lighting from the perspective of the subject, it might help me improve my shots. Well, it did! Being moved around and told where to stand and how to turn my head toward the light really helped me understand the concept better and I’m so glad I did it. Although, I have to say it was pretty uncomfortable having a group of people take TONS of photos of you in a crowded, public place. Not to mention the instructor had everyone take photos of me in horrible light and then in good light so they could see the difference. I am not interested in seeing the photos they took in the horrible light. No thank you.

Here are two of the shots they took in “good light.”

Grilled Portabella Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Growing up I hated mushrooms. About a year ago I bought some from the farmer’s market because a friend kept talking about how amazing they were. She was right..and I have been enjoying them ever since!

I picked up two portabellas from the farmer’s market last week and decided we would have grilled portabella “burgers” for dinner. I think the key to making these so delicious is using a marinade before grilling. The sweet potato fries on the side with a spicy dipping sauce was a great addition.

What you’ll need:

“Burger” marinade

  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Wash mushrooms and remove the stems. Combine ingredients in a bowl (or a zip lock bag) and pour over mushrooms. Marinate for about an hour, flipping once if you’re using a bowl.Then grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side. We topped them with guacamole and grilled red onions and ate them on cabbage leaves instead of buns. This marinade was so good that you didn’t even need sauce on top!

Sweet potato fries

  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced into fry size bites (serves 2 people)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Coat the fries in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake on 375 for about 25-30 minutes until lightly crispy. (sprinkle a little cornstarch on top for extra crisp!)

Spicy Sriracha Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt (more if you’re making sauce for more than 2 people)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (less if you don’t like too much spice)
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • tsp garlic powder or garlic salt

Combine all ingredients and serve. If you like this extra spicy you can add more sriracha, but definitely taste this before serving. The light color of the finished product can be misleading..it is still incredibly spicy!

Seared Ahi with Lemon Dill Aioil

Last night my husband and I made this delicious dinner. We bought a sashimi grade tuna steak from our local grocery store and served it with garlic & balsamic brussel sprouts and the first artichoke from our backyard this year!

The tuna is easy and super fast (I accidentally overcooked it a little, but it was still tasty). I added salt and pepper to each side and seared it in a hot pan with a little olive oil. It really only needs less than a minute on each side, and I went a little long as you can see in my photo.

Then I sautéed onions and garlic in another pan with olive oil, added the brussel sprouts and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar until they were tender and a little crispy on the edges. I boiled the artichoke and used my lemon dill aioli for dipping sauce for both the artichoke and the tuna.

Lemon Dill Aioli

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon veganaise
  • juice of half a lemon
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and add ingredients until you have the taste/texture you like. You can definitely make this without the veganaise, but I like to add a little to cut down the tartness of the yogurt.

Enjoy!

Proud of My President

I am so proud of my President today. Of course, there is little doubt in my mind that politics and Obama’s re-election played some role in his decision to come out supporting same-sex marriage. But do I care? No. Not.at.all.

All I care about is the fact that our President (whether you like him or not) did the right thing today. There is no reason a same-sex couple should be denied the exact same rights that a heterosexual couple takes for granted. I married my husband almost two years ago and you better believe I’d be pretty pissed if the Government, no ANYONE, told me I couldn’t. Any couple who is in love and wants to get married should have the right to do so.

This view of mine may alienate me from some of my blog readers, or even some of my friends and acquaintances. But I have to say, I don’t really care. I can understand some people with strong religious beliefs truly feel that marriage is between a man and a woman. I can respect and appreciate their views, but I also believe that what other people choose to do with their lives does not affect me. It is not right to deny people the rights they deserve just because you personally do not agree with their lifestyle.  Do I want to have a romantic relationship with another woman? No. But do I care if someone else does? NO. Why would I? Another couple’s relationship has absolutely nothing to do with me and I definitely do not have the right to judge them for being with the person they love.

So, today, for this reason, I am proud of my President. Politics or not.

Watch the video here.

Garlic & Red Pepper Chinese Broccoli

Last night I got home from work and wasn’t all that hungry. The hubby was out playing basketball so I decided to make myself more of a snack than a huge dinner. I had a big bundle of chinese broccoli from the farmer’s market and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I love regular broccoli sautéed with onions, garlic, and soy sauce, so that’s what I did!

For this super easy broccoli you just wash and cut the stems off the broccoli so you have florets. Then saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil. Add Chinese broccoli (regular broccoli would work too but I just loved the Chinese broccoli for this recipe) and saute for a few minutes until it begins to wilt. Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce, some red pepper flakes (I like spicy food so I added lots!) and sliced almonds. Saute for another minute or so, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Delicious and super fast. Enjoy!