Thursday, December 29, 2011


I ended up joining the Saratoga YMCA. I know I said in a previous post that I would not be able to join, but my friend managed to get me a family membership, or something. I am not too sure. Regardless, I'm a member now!

Now here's the big news. Yesterday, I ran 5k on the treadmill! for the first time ever! Granted, I averaged a 12 min mile and it took me 37 minutes, but still, I did it! Now I am ready to sign up for my first road race, which will be a 5k in SF in early February. My goal is to run it at a 10 min mile pace, which means the next few weeks, I will be working on running...faster.

Running = not as scary as I thought.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

roasted tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes: yum. There are various recipes floating around that call for roasting the tomatoes at different temps for different periods of time. I haven't figured out what's best yet, but I normally waiver between 375 or 400 degrees for about an hour. (remember the part where I said I'm not very good at following recipes). Sometimes I'll start at 375 and after 45 minutes, I'll turn it up. I'm semi convinced it always tastes the same regardless.

Roasted Tomatoes
Tomatoes (I like roma tomatoes for this project) - halved lengthwise
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: herbs such as, thyme, basil, whatever

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and arrange tomatoes on the sheet, cut side facing up.

Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and whatever other herbs you would like.

Roast tomatoes until skins wrinkle and bottoms begin to brown - about an hour (maybe). It may be longer depending on your oven and the temperature you use. Just check on them every once on awhile.


You can then eat the roasted tomatoes as a snack, or use it to make roasted tomato spaghetti sauce, or make roasted tomato soup. I am lazy and hungry at this point, so I normally just eat the tomatoes as soon as they are done.

Monday, December 26, 2011

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas loyal readers! Hope everyone ate tons of food today. Christmas recipes to come tomorrow...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

easy peasy pesto

another day at the saratoga's farmers market
Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup parsley sprigs
1/3 cup grated Pecorino (or Parmesan or Romano) cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until desired smoothness is reached. Done! (so easy. the part that's not so easy? cleaning the blender afterwards...ugh). Maybe squirt some lemon juice if you're not going to eat the pesto right away to help prevent oxidization.

Also a convenient way to store pesto (in case you make a bunch) is to put it in ice cube trays and freeze into pesto cubes. Then put the pesto cubes into a plastic baggie and store in freezer. When you're ready to eat your pasta or sandwich or whatever, just defrost a cube!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

what ca does best: beautiful produce + sunshine in the midst of winter

One of California's redeeming qualities is its produce selection. Summer, winter, fall, or spring, the produce always looks beautiful. Last winter, Orlando and I parked in a snowbank and then walked a mile to get to the Somerville Winter's Farmers Market. When we got there, we found 1 little veggie stand with lots of potatoes. While it was fun to buy purple potatoes, it was nothing like a true California farmers market. So this past Saturday, I decided to take full advantage of my time here and visited my local Saratoga Farmers Market. Here is what I encountered...

how awesome do these strawberries look? and its december!

carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli (delicious roasted together)

I also got the chance to try (and buy) some Bolani, which is a delicious afghani bread. It comes stuffed with spinach, pumpkin, potato, or lentils (I got the pumpkin one of course). I ate it before I got a chance to take a photo (sorry). The vendor also sells these delicious spreads such as, cilantro pesto, garlic mint cheese, and hummus. I can't wait to go next Saturday to try some more stuff!

This past weekend, I also got the chance to go to Monterey. My cousin is getting married at the Intercontinental next summer, so she brought us there to check it out. Monterey is BEAUTIFUL. Trust me on this one.

the lobby of the intercontinental (it has a very california modern feel to it)

view from her wedding site...right on the ocean

i love it here

outside view of the hotel

My next project is finding fun Monterey activities for us to do before and after the wedding. So far on my list is (1) drink clam chowder; (2) visit the Nestle Toll House Cafe.

Monday, December 12, 2011 real life

As some of you know, it's my life dream to own chickens. My favorite breakfast ever is an egg sandwich with a fried egg and cheddar cheese. I figured if I owned chickens, I would have a bountiful supply of egg sandwiches to eat. Unfortunately, I live in apartment, so getting chickens is so out of the picture (along with bbqing, sitting on a porch drinking beer, and growing tomatoes).

Some of my friends in CA are lucky enough to have chickens and since they are out of town, I have been feeding them and collecting their eggs!

The chicken coop! (my friend chris built this. impressive right?)

The chickens pecking around...getting their daily exercise out of the coop.

And...they pooped out eggs!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

parmesan roasted butternut squash

I normally just roast my butternut squash with butter or olive oil, but I had some leftover cream from making mashed potatoes, so I decided to make a butternut squash gratin. Cautionary note: this is definitely NOT the healthiest way to eat in life (but it did taste pretty good).

Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash
Makes 8 servings (i half-ed the recipe when i made it)

2 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (i normally just buy the pre-peeled, pre-cut containers. MUCH easier)
3/4 cup of heavy cream
3 sage leaves, diced
2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese (i substituted pecorino b/c i love it more)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with the rack in the middle.

Toss squash with cream, sage leaves, salt, and pepper in a 2 quart shallow baking dish. Bake covered, for 30 minutes.

Stir in half of cheese and sprinkle remainder on top. Roast uncovered, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Let stand about 5 minutes before serving (cream will thicken).

*Note: I am really bad about measuring**, so I normally just add stuff like salt and pepper to taste. That said, I included these measurements because I know some people love being precise.

**Another note: Actually, to be perfectly honest, I am terrible at recipes in general. Normally when I cook, I just throw stuff together and cross my fingers that what I've randomly mixed comes out and tastes good. I generally only use a recipe when I am trying something new out.

In other news, I must confess something. I love running on the treadmill. I hate running outdoors (on a track or on the street). This poses a problem mainly because I can't afford to join the YMCA while I am in CA for 3 months. Therefore, I have to run outdoors. My new plan is to check out the Campbell Community Track after work. Rumor has it, the track is lit every night until 10pm.

I did manage to sneak into the YMCA on Tuesday (by pretending I wanted a tour of the place) and do 2 miles running on the treadmill! Here's what I did:
Run - 1 1/4 miles
Walk - 1/4 mile
Run - 3/4 mile
Walk - 1/4 mile
For a grand total of 2 miles running and 1/2 a mile walking! Wooo!

Monday, December 5, 2011

we got a tree!

I went with my parents this past weekend to Home Depot, where a christmas tree!

(that's my dad with the tree)

I also went for a run yesterday with my dad around the Saratoga High School track. My dad not only ran more than I did, but he also ran faster than me. It is really sad.

Full confession: this is the first time I've gone running since the last time I blogged about it.

Anyways I managed to do a total of 1 1/2 miles running and 1/2 a mile walking. I have no idea how I am supposed to get up to 13 miles.

I am in the process of signing up for my first race ever! It's a 5K in San Francisco. Now I just need to try and convince 2 of my friends to run it with me...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

these are a few of my favorite things...

I figured some of you might want to know a bit more about me (seeing as I never really introduced myself). My name is Jennifer and I am a 28 year old grad student living in Brookline, MA.

Here are some of my favorite...
pizza - eggplant and ricotta
movie - the rock
beer - sam summer (b/c it reminds me of sitting outside)
bar with the best memories - pizzeria reginas, medford, ma (before, during, and after work)
food - homemade pasta or fish tacos
place to get poutine - all star sandwich bar
beverage - hot coffee
place to get hot coffee - whatever's the most convenient!
place to get iced coffee - mary lou's
game to play at starbucks - starbucks survivor
boston restaurant - kebab factory (okay so it's in cambridge or maybe somerville. oh well. it's delicious!)
california restaurant - i really can't decide
food truck - clover food lab
hangover/comfort food - cream of mushroom soup over rice
cd i could listen to over and over again - rent
sandwich place - tbd (there may be a post about this in the future...)

Also, I am excellent at angry birds.

Anything else you want to know? Just ask.

And a photo of...the Mountain View Caltrain Station from this morning! (yes I know I am wicked lame about taking photos, but hey, I'm working on it)

Monday, November 28, 2011

blueberry cake

I stole this from awhile ago and made it for Orlando for his birthday. It's a blueberry coffeecake and its DELICIOUS! and super easy. I think this was one of the first times I've ever really baked anything.

Blueberry Coffeecake (with a delicious topping!)

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut up

In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter.

Work the mixture with your fingertips until well blended and refrigerate.

Butter or kitchen spray (for the pan)
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 cups flour (+ some extra for the pan)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Set the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square baking pan and then dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour in a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt to blend them.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until soft and light. Beat in the egg and vanilla until also soft and light. With the mixer set to the lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a rubber spatula, fold in blueberries. Transfer the batter to the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the topping over the cake.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is brown.

And...we have our first photo!

sauvignon blanc por favor

Our schedule at Northeastern is a bit strange. After our first year we go on a quarter system and rotate between classes and doing a "coop" which is an internship. This quarter, I've decided to do my coop at the SF Public Defenders. I am staying with my parents in the south bay and seeing as my car is in Boston, I will be taking the caltrain everyday. I also get dropped off at the caltrain station in Mountain View by my know, like a middle schooler. Anyways, today I arrived at the crack of dawn aka 6:45am. It was surprisingly busy and there was a coffee cart that may or may not also sell hot dogs. I will investigate that tomorrow. Now the big surprise came after can drink on the caltrain! wtf. The lady in front of me sits down, takes a small plastic bottle of wine out of a grocery bag, and then pours it in a plastic cup! She then proceeds to sip and enjoy her wine while doing something on her laptop. Really?? Now that I know this, I will probably mix a cocktail or two tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

one mile

Sooo, last week I let my friends Irene and Jim convince me to run the Philly half marathon. It is next November and I've decided to start training for it. Well, actually I said I would start training for it last Sunday and since then I have taken a lot of naps and eaten a lot of muffins and other types of miscellaneous junk food. Yesterday I actually went for a run. I am definitely not a runner and at this point I can only do 1 mile. I have a ways to go before I reach 13. So I guess I am going for another 1 mile run today. and everyday. until I get 2 miles. 

Today's run plan:
House to the Saratoga Starbucks: 0.9 miles

Also apparently I am supposed to post photos on this thing. So stay tuned for that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

first post + pumpkin mac and cheese

Hello Everyone,
Seeing as this is my first blog post, I am probably supposed to say something profound or what this blog is all about, but I am not really sure at this point (and I need to finish packing). So I will leave that and other introductions for later.

Here's what I do have: a SUPER delicious recipe for pumpkin mac and cheese.

1/2 a box of pasta (I think it's 8 ounces)
1 pound brussel sprouts
6 (or more!) strips of bacon
1 apple
1 onion
1 can of pumpkin puree (16 ounces?)
1/3 cup of half and half (or milk)
3/4 cup of your favorite melty cheese. fontina? gruyere? whatever works.

Drizzle brussel sprouts with oil and roast at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Boil water and cook the pasta.

In a frying pan (or a wok!), cook bacon until crispy, remove bacon from pan and chop into small pieces.

Pour off most of the bacon fat. Then saute diced apples and diced onions for 5 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, half and half, and half a cup of cheese. After a minute, add brussel sprouts, bacon, and pasta. Stir together.

Pour everything into a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 425.

Then eat it!