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Dinner @ 6

Today brings, perhaps, one of the coolest and most important things I’ve ever done on Kaitlin With Honey.

I know — big statement, right? And what does that have to do with that dish above?

I’ll get to that in a second. 🙂 First, I want to give you a head’s up that you have a chance to win $100 through this post. You know, no big deal or anything. But you have to read this post first (it’s totally worth it)!

As a member of Foodbuzz, I get invited to do and try a bunch of really exciting things. This, however, takes the cake (Though… no, I did not make cake. What a tease.). I was selected as one of twenty bloggers to participate in Dinner @ 6, a competition held by Foodbuzz and American Express which involves creating a dinner out of six ingredients and six ingredients only (other than salt, pepper, oil and water). Feel free to visit the complete set of official rules if you want more information.

We’re judged on the following:

  • Creativity/Originality of Submission (33%);
  • Tastiness and Appearance of Submission (33%); and
  • Submission created with only six (6) ingredients (34%)

Now, for my submission!

I thought for a long time about what dinner I wanted to create and what ingredients I wanted to use. Believe me when I say that I changed my list of ingredients at least ten times, changing one ingredient at a time and sometimes overhauling my entire idea only to come full circle later. One or two of these recipe-changing incidents may or may not have occurred at 2:00 in the morning, after having woken up with some inspiration.

I know. I’m crazy. It’s cool. We can call it dedication.

My own criteria for my submission:

  • It had to be interesting;
  • It had to pack a lot of flavor;
  • It had to be colorful;
  • I wanted three different components;
  • It had to be accessible to anyone who wanted to make it;
  • It had to be healthy; and
  •  …It had to be something you’d find on Kaitlin With Honey even without the competition at hand.

So, again, we got to use some ingredients without counting them amongst our six.

I used salt, pepper, water and two different kinds of oils — olive and coconut.

And then — drum roll, please! — I chose my six lucky ingredients.

Because there are so few ingredients involved, the recipes are actually pretty simple.

—–

Maple-Chili Pepper Glazed Salmon

makes four (4) servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz fresh skinless, boneless and prepared (BBQ cut) salmon
  • 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • 4-6 tsp chili pepper sauce (depending on your preference — I like a kick, so I went with 5 tsp)
  • 2 dashes salt

Directions:

Whisk maple syrup and chili pepper sauce together. Halve and separate into two small bowls.

Sprinkle salt over raw salmon.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Place salmon in pan and brush maple-chili glaze (using only the glaze from one of the dishes) over tops of salmon. Once bottoms are cooked (about 3-4 minutes), flip salmon and brush cooked sides with glaze, cooking the other sides for about 3-4 minutes as well. Continue to flip and glaze liberally until the salmon is cooked through.

Drizzle remaining, separated glaze over tops of cooked salmon. Serve.

—–

Caramelized Onion Mashed Sweet Potatoes

makes four (4) servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small or 1 large sweet onion
  • salt to taste (for onions)
  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • salt & pepper to taste (for potatoes)

Directions:

Dice onions.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Lower pan to low heat.

Put diced onions into pan with heated olive oil. Add salt. Stir and cover pan. Lower heat to a simmer. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the onions if you feel they need more moisture. Stir every few minutes until onions are caramelized (about 20-25 minutes).

Meanwhile, boil a pot of water.

Peel sweet potatoes. Cut into even pieces (about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick). Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until soft to the touch with a fork. Once cooked through, drain potatoes.

Using a food processor, mix potatoes with coconut oil, salt and pepper. Remove mashed potatoes from food processor and put into a bowl.

Stir caramelized onions into mashed potatoes.

Serve.

(and finally…)

—–

Blackened Brussels Sprouts

makes four (4) servings

Ingredients:

  • about 20-30 whole Brussels sprouts
  • 3/4 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Trim all Brussels sprouts and halve, lengthwise.

Heat 1/2 tbs olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

Place all Brussels sprouts halves face-down in pan. You should hear them sizzle (that’s a good thing!). Drizzle remaining olive oil over the tops. Cover pan.

Cook for 6-8 minutes without touching them — that’s important! You have to let them blacken.

Remove cover and toss Brussels sprouts. Cook for about 2 more minutes.

Serve.

—–

If you time it right, you can do all of this at the same time. I actually started the potatoes and onions at the same time, then processed the potatoes while I cooked the Brussels sprouts. I then kept the mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts warm in the oven (at 200 degrees) while I focused on the salmon, then served everything together. Not hard at all!


Now — here is where you come in. This is REALLY IMPORTANT for both me and you!

I need you to comment! And you need you to comment, too. Why? As part of the Dinner@6 contest sponsored by Blue Cash PreferredSM, American Express provided me with a $100 gift card to give out to one lucky commenter. Sound off in the comments for a chance to win! What is your favorite six-ingredient recipe?”

You have THREE ways to enter:

1. Comment here with your favorite six-ingredient recipe.

2. Tweet about this giveaway, mentioning that you entered to win $100 from Kaitlin With Honey, linking to this post and CCing me (@HoneyKaitlin) and Foodbuzz (@Foodbuzz) but not starting the tweet with either of our @handles (because then people who don’t follow us won’t be able to see the tweet). Then, link to your tweet in a comment here.

3. Blog about this giveaway, linking to this post. Then, link to your blog post in a comment here.

You have until noon PST on September 30, 2011. I will randomly a choose a comment that day.

This is a really big opportunity for me and I would be so grateful for as many comments as possible. Tell your friends and family, too! I would love to be able to provide more opportunities like this for you guys in the future!

(P.S. — Big THANK YOU to my friend Robyn for being my official taste tester and working her magic to make my pictures prettier!)

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Broke My Promise

Let me start with some gratuitous dog pictures.

They’re totally best friends. It’s adorable.

Anyway, yesterday was a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, but the most important one was the one in which I got to rid myself of the dreadful heart monitor. So glad I only needed a 24-hour one and not a 48-hour one.

I fueled for the day with a yogurt bowl, since my mom noted my love for CHO and stocked up for me. 🙂

Into the mix went:

  • 1 pineapple 2% Chobani
  • Julie‘s healthy homemade granola
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • raspberries

Isn’t the grain of the wood pretty? I love the photos I take at my parents’ house.

Another reason my mom rocks? She packed me lunch!

She made me a chicken sandwich (basically all I’ve had for lunch since I came home…) with the Crispy Parmesan Chicken from the night before, cheddar cheese and honey mustard on a toasted english muffin.

I also snacked on an apple a little bit later.

Now, to get to that whole breaking my promise thing…

I worked out yesterday.

I just… had to. First of all, my doctor didn’t give me any indication that I had to stop working out altogether, so there was that. But really, after being limited in movement for the previous 24 hours from the heart monitor, after three days of not working out at all, and after a day full of doctor’s appointments… like I said, I just had to.

So, I fueled up with a handful of dark chocolate-covered raisins (what, that’s not fuel?) and went to the local gym (which I love) and did 20 minutes on an Arc Trainer and followed it with an hour-long strength class and then an hour-long kickboxing class. I had a blast. It was exactly what I needed!

And then, when I came home, I found that my mom had made an awesome dinner: grilled shrimp and sauteed vegetables in a chili sauce with white rice.

Um. Yum.

I could get used to coming home to a warm dinner!

…Mark.

Just kidding.

Oh, my mom and I also had a baking project yesterday…

… but I’ll get to that in another post. 🙂 I have a good deed to get to.

25 Days of Good Deeds for Christmas, Day 21

When I was in high school, I was in a choir that sold grapefruit every year in order to raise funds. This meant that every fall, I was held accountable for selling X many boxes of fresh grapefruit… no easy feat!

To this day, despite the fact I graduated roughly a thousand years ago, my family still buys grapefruit from the choir.

Yesterday, I went to pick our box of grapefruit up.

Someone else was pretty interested, too…

🙂

These 25 days are wrapping up!

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A Perfect Connecticut Saturday

Well, I’m back in California. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit homesick for Connecticut right now. 😦

However, I have lots of catching up to do about the weekend. I can at least absorb myself in my pictures.

Saturday started off strong, only slightly suffering due to the previous night’s margarita-fest. My mom and I went to the gym bright and early, where I did a little PreCor, ran 2 miles on the treadmill, and then joined my mom for a strength class. I’m pretty sure I was sweating tequila.

Gross. Sorry about that. Mostly sorry to the other people in the class.

After class, my mom and I headed to a local Farmer’s Market. It has long been one of my favorite Farmer’s Markets, ever. Here’s a little photo show.

Yes, they have live music.

So, so pretty.

We came home to make some smoothies. My mom adamantly did not trust the idea of spinach in her smoothie (psh, non-believer wimp), so I made her’s without it. My dad wanted to try it too, so my mom had about 2/3 of her’s and we gave the rest to my dad (who had already had breakfast).

His & Her’s SIABS:

That’s a Banilla Smoothie, minus the spinach, with coconut butter and granola on top.

I made myself a Raspberry Mousse Smoothie with the same toppings.

It was even better than usual because it was consumed outside in my parents’ gorgeous backyard.

I honestly can’t remember what I did for the rest of the morning. I think my mom and I went to run some errands. I know we stopped for coffee at some point, too.

We really like our coffee.

We came back for lunch and made the sandwich I’ve been craving for months.

The Connecticut Farmer’s Market Saturday Sandwich.

It’s heaven.


It’s better than any other caprese sandwich you’ve ever had. Just trust me on this.

It’s semolina bread with fresh (and I mean fresh) buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto, all (save the tomato) from the same stand at the Farmer’s Market.

So. Freaking. Good.

We followed the sandwiches with a little more Farmer’s Market delight: tiny slices of blueberry pie.

Drool.

I totally licked my plate clean. And I do mean that I picked my plate up and licked it.

Don’t judge me. You would have, too.

The afternoon was spent just hanging around the house, which included starting (and not finishing) Whip It and snacking on some Food Should Taste Good Cheddar Chips with a little bit of cheddar cheese.

Dinner was an early celebration of my dad’s birthday, so we had a meal that he requested. I can’t say it was my favorite, but it was still good.

We had jambalaya, grilled shrimp & chicken sausages, sliced FM tomatoes with S&P and fresh FM corn. The corn was, without a doubt, my favorite part of the meal.

That, and the wine. A glass of Chardonnay, poolside.

The dogs wanted in on the corn, too. Though Thatcher is definitely still learning the art, Sawyer is really good at eating corn off the cob. Our first dog, Huckleberry, was also quite skilled at this.

Even though it looks like I’m angry in the second one (that one’s with Sawyer, the good-at-this dog), I’m pretty sure I’m actually in the middle of saying “Good boy!”

Nice day, right?

10K Training Day Thirteen

15 minutes Precor (cardio)

2 miles @ 5.5 on treadmill (I upped my speed a little!) for about 22 minutes + 3 min(ish) cool down

60 minutes strength training class

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Lobster Dinner

Last night was beautiful.

I mean, first up, check out my gorgeous family (except for my sister, who was still getting ready during picture-taking after only just getting home from work).

My “little” (he’s 6’4″) brother, Daniel, and Dad (who made Daniel go down a step, haha):

Aren’t they handsome?

Daniel and our gorgeous mother (who didn’t exactly look at the camera):

Puppies!

My family went out for dinner last night to a Lobster Night. It was served buffet style and was insanely good (and fun!).

The night started with a bucket of clams and mussels.

I had one clam (not for me) and two mussels (I liked them better, but this kind of food is simply not my thing).

I had two really nice glasses of Sauvingnon Blanc (my favorite) throughout the night.

Next, we hit the salad buffet.

My plate:

That shrimp was awesome.

Finally, it was time for the main course and the main event: lobster!

Side dishes included roasted potatoes & carrots (so good), rice & beans, and vegetables (which were a little too soaked in oil for my taste but were still good).

There were also lots of other options, such as a roasted beef something-or-other, chicken, sausage, etc… but I didn’t mess around with that stuff. I knew what I was there for.

The lobstah!

It was delish.

My whole plate:

Ok. Here’s for the surprising part.

I had dessert.

Real dessert, with sugar.

I figured that since I hadn’t known the ingredients of anything else and might get sick anyway, it was as good a time as any to try dessert. I also kind of wanted to test the limits of my intolerance.

So, I went for it. I took little, roughly 1/3 piece slivers of the strawberry shortcake, the key lime pie and the fruit tart.

The fruit tart was good, but nothing special. I still ate all of it, but really, there were only about three bites there. The strawberry shortcake wasn’t worth the bite I took of it. Way too sweet. It tasted like a puff of sugar. I didn’t touch it again after the first bite. The key lime pie, though was awesome, and I practically licked the plate clean.

I can’t even really say I regretted it that much, even when I got sick (but no where near as sick as I thought I’d get) about two hours later. I guess I just decided to live a little. It’s an intolerance, not an allergy, so I wasn’t really hurting myself or putting myself in any kind of danger. I was just putting myself through a little pain that I often feel accidentally as the result of mistakes, anyway!

Anyway, I ate a lot of food last night and definitely over-indulged, but it’s fun to do that every once in a while. It’s all about moderation and getting back on the bandwagon at the very next meal!

It was a wonderful night.

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Dessert for Breakfast

First things first: I need to invest in a foam roller.

I never understood the point or appeal of foam rollers until I started running on a regular basis. I sure get it now! My muscles are sore and tight in a way they have never been from my other workouts. Eeesh. Even though I have definitely caught the running bug, I was physically grateful to have today’s training be run-free. I also had to cut it ten minutes short in order to get myself fully prepared to fly out tonight, and I wasn’t complaining about that, either!

I came home and made a really different smoothie from the norm. It was very exciting! (The little things, remember?) I mean, for starters, it was pink! This sounds so lame (…probably because it is…), but I’ve been aiming for a pink smoothie for a while now. That’s why my recent brown (or brown-ish) smoothies have been so very disappointing. Food just tastes better when it looks pretty.

Not that this smoothie needed any help. It was ridiculously good. It took me forever to figure out what it reminded me of, but eventually I realized it basically tasted like dessert – a raspberry mousse!

Raspberry Mousse Smoothie

Into the mix went:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • big handful fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 scoop Jay Robb’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (I actually measured this out, for once)
  • ~ a couple drops almond extract (I would use more next time and call it a Raspberry Almond Smoothie… ahh, things to come!)

On top:

  • drizzle (~1/2 tbs) coconut butter
  • handful Cinnamon Puffins

I love it when kitchen experiments go so very, very right! The only reason I wouldn’t make this all the time is that it’s a fairly expensive smoothie; one cup of raspberries is actually about $2 in itself.

Anyway, lunch and snack today were a total finish-the-fridge foods, but everything was awesome. For lunch, I made another serving of my Hummoney Mustard Tuna Salad (no changes).

I also had half of the leftovers from last night’s green & yellow wax beans on the side, served cold.

The plan was to eat other other half of them tonight, but I’m not really feeling them anymore. I might be a little bean-ed out.

And, of course, I had the requisite fruit. I brought two little plums but I only ate one. The other was shared with Lauren.

Food tastes better when it’s shared, too. Unless it’s carob chips.

Or flaxseed chips.

Or shredded oats.

Then, you’re on your own. 🙂

Snack was EPIC. I brought in the remainders of last night’s sweet potato fries and broiled them in the toaster oven for about five minutes. I dipped the hot fries in some chilled nonfat plain greek yogurt and flaxseed almond butter.

So. Freaking. Good.

Plus, I’m completely satiated, which is a good thing because I don’t think I’m going to have the chance to eat until 9:00pm or so.

Knock on wood: I’m not sick yet today! Intolerance-wise, I have been quite a lot recently. Here’s hoping this continues for the rest of the day. It would seriously suck to be sick while traveling.

Only one hour and fifteen minutes to go until I’m en route and on vacation!!!

10K Training Day Nine

5 minutes elliptical

45 minutes strength training (majorly core-heavy)

55 minutes elliptical (50 min high intensity, 5 min cool down)

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Weekending

The thing about having a full-time job is that weekends are all about catching up on errands. This morning, I managed to get to the Farmer’s Market, the bank, Starbucks (okay, that’s not an errand, but you know…), Target, Sports Authority (to pick up a new armband for my iPhone for running, yay!), Ralph’s and Trader Joe’s. It’s been a busy day!

I never ended up making it to that party last night. I went over to Lauren’s apartment to chill out by playing Rockband and drinking some wine. Lauren wasn’t hungry, so it was a good thing I’d ordered lunch yesterday rather than eating my packed lunch; I just ate my (Pinto) Bean, Green Bean & Potato Salad instead!

One serving of dinner…

… and more than one serving of wine.

No need to elaborate beyond that. 😉

Before I knew it, it was past 11:30pm and I’d had more than one glass of wine… aka, I wasn’t driving myself through LA to go to a party! I called it a night and ended up just going to sleep.

I woke up this morning craving oatmeal (it’s such a Saturday morning kind of meal to me), so I made myself some blueberry pie oatmeal.

I threw 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk and 1/3 cup water into a pot on the stove and heated it at medium heat for a few minutes. Once it started to cook through, I also tossed in a pinch of salt, a dash of pure vanilla extract, a dash of cinnamon and half a packet of stevia. For the last minute of heating, I added about 1/3 cup blueberries.

I put it all in a bowl and topped it with a heaping tablespoon of nonfat plain greek yogurt, about a tablespoon of almond butter and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

I didn’t get much at the Farmer’s Market today, as I’ll be traveling again in just a few days (so excited!!!) and don’t need much food.

I got some fresh baby spinach (this was a first for me)….

…a yellow peach, a white nectarine, a yellow nectarine, two tiny plums…

… and some amazingly delicious grapes that taste exactly like grape juice.

Here’s a lesson I wish I’d learn: never shop when you’re hungry. I did, and I picked up one of my three kryptonites!

I tore into these the moment I got into my car.

By “my kryptonites,” I mean, “things with which I absolutely cannot stop at one serving.” I ate ALL THREE of them today and did not stop at one serving with any of the three! Whoops.

The other two, for the record, are Shredded Oats and carob chips. I had a big mugful of these together after lunch today. Completely unnecessary, but I had it anyway. I should probably regret it more than I do, but – hey – I really enjoyed it.

Despite my overindulgence in chips before lunch, I still had a pretty epic lunch today.

First, I made a much-improved version of last week’s tuna salad. I realized, while consuming that salad, that I really don’t care at all for dijon mustard.

What I really like is honey mustard, but unfortunately, my shopping has revealed that honey mustard just about always has sugar as an ingredient. Not to be deterred, I decided to make my own honey mustard using a little bit of honey and this mustard:

Worked like a charm.

Hummoney Mustard Tuna Salad

makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 3-oz can of white tuna in water
  • 1 tbs hummus
  • 2 squeezes yellow mustard
  • 1 squeeze honey
  • 1/3 cup diced cucumber

Dice up the cucumber and mix everything together!

Tres simple.

I served it on the olive bread from last weeks’ Farmer’s Market (out of the freezer, of course), toasted with some shredded cheddar on one of the pieces of the bread.

So. Good.

Seriously. You’ll be seeing this again.

Very grateful for this:

10K Training Day Six

Rest Day!

Also very excited for my plans tonight!!!

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Delicious

Zac Efron is delicious.

There. I said it and I’m not taking it back.

(source)

Charlie St. Cloud definitely was not a good movie, but I will tell you that I enjoyed every moment of it anyway. I have no shame in admitting that I’m more than okay with going to a movie purely for eye candy, and that’s what last night was all about.

Plus, that’s the only kind of candy I can have anymore! 😉

Before the movie, I joined Mamito and Sedi at Kabuki, a Japanese restaurant.

I got the Salmon Teriyaki (minus the teriyaki!), which came with miso soup, salad (again, no dressing) and rice (which I requested to be brown).

My apologies for the blurry pictures. I’m still getting used to the whole “taking pictures in a public restaurant” thing.

I was kind of sad to have such a bland meal at a place listing a ton of things I wanted to try on their menu (especially after reading Kath’s post about sushi!), but it was good for what it was. The salmon, fortunately, was cooked very well. I ate all of the salmon and about half of the brown rice and salad. I also had a few sips of the soup, but I’m not a huge fan of miso soup. So salty!

This morning I kicked my own butt at the gym and came home starving for my SIAB. I had a packet of Jay Robb’s Chocolate Whey Protein Powder, so I decided to try that out, given my recent realization that I can’t have my beloved Greens & Whey anymore. Because I wanted to get a sense of what this new-to-me protein powder tasted like, I kept the other ingredients to a minimum. I have to say, though, that I couldn’t really taste the chocolate at all (which is fine with me). Has anybody else tried this powder? I’d love to hear what you think.

I believe I’m going to have to stick with Jay Robb’s Whey Protein Powders, since they’re sweetened with stevia rather than evaporated cane juice. However, I’m going back to the vanilla when I buy a tub.

Into the mix went:

  • 3 ice cubes
  • big handful of spinach
  • 1/2 packet Jay Robb’s Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • blob plain nonfat greek yogurt

On top:

  • drizzle melted coconut butter
  • handful Shredded Oats

While the smoothie was kind of blah, I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing that coconut butter drizzle was this morning. Coconut butter can be finicky and fickle, and it sometimes just doesn’t want to work with me. However, I happily opened the jar this morning to find that it was already melted. I simply spooned some out and let it glop into the bowl.

Perfection.

It’s the little things, guys.

10K Training Day Three

5 minutes elliptical

45 minutes boot camp (it was a medicine ball day – so intense!)

1.5 miles running on treadmill @ 5.0 speed for 18 min + 2 min cooldown at 4.5 and 4.0

35 minutes elliptical (20 min high intensity, 5 min cooldown)

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