Roasted Red Pepper Soup

You know when you're little and you get a new barbie or other toy and find reasons to bring her out and play with her EVERYWHERE (um, hello Barbie needs to pee too!)? Well I'm currently feeling that way about my newest food toy, this Immersion Blender.  It was a Christmas gift from my boyfriend's parents, and while I can't bring it to work with me or cuddle with it while I nap like when I was little (ok, maybe I do cuddle with it), I'm constantly formulating recipes in my head that somehow include blending.  It's actually pretty remarkable how much you can blend if you really put your mind to it.  Smoothies? blended. Soups? blended. Salad dressing? No whisk needed! Homemade salsa? Did someone say chopper attachment!
I've been blending up a STORM!!!
So here is a thoroughly blend-able recipe with just enough spice to keep you full and toasty even though it tips in at only about 95 calories a cup.  Don't have an immersion blender? GET ONE!!! Just kidding you don't have to, you can also use a regular blender and it'll work just fine!

I also just wanted to tell you all how much I absolutely LOVE hearing you made my recipes, and I LOVE seeing photos of the stuff you made, and I LOVE LOVE hearing you told your friends to make it, and I basically I just LOVE LOVE LOVE you all so much!!!  There is absolutely nothing that can brighten my day more!!


Nacho Nirvana

Are you drooling just ever so slightly?  It's ok, you don't have to feel bad, this is a judgement free blog! Well this beautious pile of cheese, chile, and corn chip-y goodness is from a little place my boyfriend and I like to frequent approximately once a day week called Sunset Cantina (916 Com Ave or 130 Brighten Ave).
I worked at a Mexican restaurant in high school, and to say I'm a nacho snob because of that would be a severe understatement.  I knowwwww Vermont mexican food probably is not the BEST mexican food, but I. know. nachos.  I know when they're getting just a touch too hot, and when they're just a touch too cold. I know the exact ratio of cheese to chip that is ideal for your tasting pleasure.  I know when there are not enough toppings, and when there are too many (yes that is such a thing.) In short, I know their soul.
I've travelled all around this great city in search of the perfect nachos to fiesta in my mouth and you know what?  These are about as close to nirvana as we mere mortals can reach.  Eat them.

Just in case the nachos alone aren't enough to get you there, they also have 100 beers on tap and 400 in bottles.

Yes you read that correctly. FIVE HUNDRED BEERS


Turkey Chili

In Chinese medicine, diseases can either be caused by a disharmony inside your body (things like aches and pains) or an invasion of something from outside your body (like catching a cold).  When something is invading from the outside, it goes through two distinct phases.  In the first phase, the pathogen is on the "exterior" and has only just entered your body.  You have an aversion to cold, and probably want to bundle up in sweats or curl up under lots of blankets.  In the second phase, the pathogen has sort of made your body its home and moved in to the "interior."  During this phase you probably feel an aversion to heat, and throw off your blankets while you sleep.

Now I know you're probably wondering what all this has to do with turkey  chili.

Well yesterday in class I started to feel the tell tale signs of an on coming cold.  My throat felt scratchy, my face felt flushed, and my body just didn't feel....right.  I didn't have time to go to CVS much less get sick, so instead I decided to utilize some of that info I'm paying so many tuition dollars for.  When the pathogen is in the exterior (as mine was) you have a unique opportunity to get rid of it before it sets up camp and stays for weeks.  It's chilling just under your skin, which conveniently is also where your "wei qi" (the equivalent of your immune system) functions.  By consuming warming herbs and bundling up, you can get your wei qi to push the pathogen out of your pores with sweat.  Essentially, at the beginning of a cold you can, in theory, "sweat it out."

Yesterday was disgusting and rainy, and while I'm not sure chili pepper flakes technically count as a warming herb, chili seemed like a delicious solution to both the gloom and getting my wei qi pumping.  I'd never made chili before, so I modified this recipe and couldn't have been happier with the results.  I piled on a couple of sweatshirts and inhaled AT LEAST two delicious and hearty bowls.

And in case you were wondering...I woke up today feeling perfectly healthy :-)


Alice's Trout

About a month ago, I discovered something.....that changed my life.  It's called nike training club, and if you have an iPhone, an iTouch, or even an iPad you absolutely MUST DOWNLOAD IT!!!!! No I'm serious, download it right now! It's free, it's awesome, and I am currently soooo obsessed with it it's not even funny. It's a work out app that has 85 ahhmazing custom workouts that play over your music on your ipod. 
It's like having a personal trainer in your ear.  
This app has revolutionized my life.  
I know I say that about a lot of things....but this time it really has.
SO because this app is SO AWESOME and I've forced my roommates to download it, my entire apartment now has a mild obsession with working out. If you were to knock on our door around 8pm on any given night, you would likely hear only dubstep pumping through the apartment and the occasional expletive of frustration that our arms can no longer lift a water glass much less a 10 pound dumbbell. We have a strange love/hate relationship with the silvery little voice that says "1 minute of crazy ivans" to torture us, and then follows with "2 minute recovery." In short, our apartment is looking smokin' hot.

Last night, was one of these nights.  We endured a brutal work out session in which I may or may not have cried, and after decided to have a classic (and well deserved) roomie night.  Alice made trout as our (healthy!) main course, and I was absolutely blown away by how simple, beautiful, and delicious her recipe turned out to be.  This is one of those fantastic dishes to have in your repertoire of accidental gourmet. You can easily throw it together at the last minute and look insanely impressive.

If, after trying this recipe, you're totally obsessed with Alice (as you should be) you can check out her blog over at Songs Alice Likes!


5 Simple Rules for Breakfast

Going out to breakfast is one of those little treats that can make an otherwise average day feel really special. Being fully awake is not a prerequisite, and someone else is in charge of worrying about whether the potatoes are cooked all the way through. A really fantastic breakfast restaurant will gently bring you into full consciousness, and prepare you for the day, while (unfortunately) a poor one can leave you grumpy and dissatisfied for hours after you leave.  In case you haven't yet noticed, I'm a big breakfast person and over many years and breakfasts (both good and bad) I have compiled a list of five absolutely non-negotiable rules for the restaurant.  There are a finite number of breakfasts I have left in this world, and I absolutely refuse to waste one of them on a sub-par experience.


Lemoncello Martini

This semester, my Tuesdays are incredibly busy.  I have a full day at work followed by 5 hours of class, and then (if I haven't collapsed from exhaustion) I head to the gym for an hour or so.  This means I am going going going for 14+ hours straight through.  After all that, to be frank, I need a drink.
For me, post-work martinis have always conjured an image of a 1950's husband coming home, collapsing on the sofa, and demanding a dirty martini pronto from his doting wife.  I can completely understand this husband's desire to unwind, but as I'm not really in the business of demanding, I needed a drink recipe that was sufficiently powerful, easy, and delicious.
Enter the lemoncello martini.  While still powerful enough to take the edge off your day, this martini is also slightly sweet, and the citrus is sure to perk you up.  I know it looks girly, but men fear not! if you don't rim the glass with sugar, the martini's color is light enough that it isn't instantly obvious as a girl drink.  But then again, if you want to just own it, sugar up!  Real men wear pink, real men drink lemoncello martinis.


The Habit of Being Skinny

Being healthy and maintaining a trim physique isn't about dieting or killing yourself with an insane workout routine.  Sure, both of these can help you reach weight and fitness goals, but in time you will inevitably burn out, or just be so so SO sick of cottage cheese you can't even look at it anymore!  The secret of skinny people isn't that they work out 8 hours a day, or that they genuinely enjoy salad (please, anyone who tells you they just LOVE lettuce with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar is LIEING THROUGH THEIR TEETH!), it's that throughout the day, millions of little decisions they make (and probably don't even think about) are just....healthy.  Did you know fidgeters burn up to 400 more calories per day than people who don't fidget? Yup, 400 calories.  That's like running almost 4 miles.
No seriously.
Google it.
I wouldn't lie to you!
I'm not at all advocating that you become a fidgeter because, honestly, it's super annoying when someone won't stop jiggling their leg in a meeting.  What I AM advocating, is attempting to trade in a few habits for their far healthier alternatives, and becoming an accidentally skinny person.  So in the spirit of the new year, and the incredible enthusiasm I've received for my healthier posts, here are 5 bad eating habits that are very simple to trade in.


Peppermint Bark

If you DIDNT give up sweets for the new year, and you want to make something tastayyyy you should check out the peppermint bark I shot (and sous-chefed!) for my sister over at Style EnVie!!

Incredible Edible Egg

Everyone has heard 1000 times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but still the large majority of people I know don't eat breakfast, or just chug a coffee for energy to carry them through to lunch.  I am absolutely guilty of the latter (my psych professor in college was literally speechless after asking me what my average daily coffee consumption was...whoops), but recently I have been REALLY trying to be better about breakfast.  I have so little time in the morning (a problem I'm sure you all face), so if I'm going to take precious moments to eat breakfast, you better be darn sure that I'm going to make it count. Once again, I'm talking protein people!! A study in the February 2010 issue of Nutrition Research showed that people who eat eggs for breakfast consumed 18% fewer calories over the next 24 hour period, and dieters who ate eggs lost 65% more weight and felt more energetic than those who ate bagels. 
Now this little protein rich (10g to be specific) do-hikey I made here is not JUST eggy.  Oh no, I made it better for you.  It is eggy AND (as-close-as-you-can-get-while-still-being-healthy-aka-turkey) BACON-Y.  And if you're sitting there thinking "Oh this could never happen on a weekday because 20 minutes is WAY too long to wait for breakfast."  you are WRONG my friend. WRONG.  
It's Friday, and I ate this for breakfast a mere three and a half hours ago.
It takes about 30 seconds to assemble, pop it in the oven, shower, blowdry, do what'cha gotta do for 20 minutes....and BAM.  Just before you walk out the door, there's a piping hot delicious breakfast waiting for you.
And I guess you can chug a coffee too if you want. You all know I did.


Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone!!!

After a wonderful and *sorely* needed vacation, I'm back in action and looking forward to an amazing 2012!  I'm not one to make resolutions, but unfortunately I AM one to blindly throw myself head first into situations where I am quite likely over my head but, like the little Boston terrier in me (BU!!!), absolutely refuse to let go of said decision until it has been thoroughly destroyed like a pair of new Louboutins accidentally left on the floor.

Did I lose you?

What I MEAN by that excessively run on sentence, is that in a fit of psychosis optimism, last November I registered for a tough mudder with my boyfriend.  Don't know what a tough mudder is?

For me, I wouldn't say being healthy is exactly a new years resolution, so much as it is a pure necessity for me not to die and make a fool of myself.  
The bad: I absolutely must follow through
The good: I absolutely must follow through.

SO, what this means for you, my lovely, beautiful, talented, readers, is that if YOUR resolution was to get in better shape or be healthier, I will be there with you 100% and my recipes are about to take a turn for the bacon-less (sorry!) yet still deeeeeeeelicious (I promise!).

So cheers to a healthy new year, let's have a beer and some lasagna to say goodbye to our previously gluttonous ways because, as usual, our diet (and workout plan!) starts tomorrow.  Just kidding it starts today. OR DOES IT?? No really it does.  The tough mudder looks hard.