Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

Last time I posted I think the season could still be considered summer. Now we are knee deep in autumn. This is totes my favorite season. Changing leaves, cool weather/perfect running weather, cozy food, and art contest prize delivery trips!

Michael and I ran in a 5K with a few of his friends earlier this month.

I have yet to run a race in my FiveFingers, a goal I set for myself in the spring to reach by the end of the summer, but this 5K was amazing. It was at Mallow Run Winery, a bit south of Indianapolis. Firstly, I’m super happy with my time of 24:25. Guys, that’s a 7:52 per mile average pace! That’s under 8 minutes! These are things I never thought I’d say about myself as a runner. Secondly, we got a free glass of wine after the race. Thirdly, we tasted various wines after our free glasses.

Fourthly, we bought two bottles of wine per couple and sat on the patio and enjoyed many glasses. Wine and running and friendly people are a good combo!

In the last month my magazine’s amazing art director and I have traveled to three cities to deliver prizes for our art contest. Do you have a kid? You should so enter! Multiple perks to these trips include: making the day of a kid and his or her family, giving money to art programs in schools, getting to visit awesome cities!

San Diego. We visited the San Diego Zoo. Oh mah Gawd, it was worth every dollar of the $40 we paid to get in! We ate cupcakes two nights in a row. We saw seals. We hiked on the beach And we saw Erica!

I went to high school with Erica. She moved to L.A. for college and is still there. I’m glad we’ve stayed friends despite miles and time. The kind of weird thing about this whole trip is that most of the time it was cloudy. I thought San Diego was sunny almost all the time.

Knoxville. We had a hotel…disaster…horror story…grossness…long story short, the hotel was terrible and we ran at 11:30 at night. Before we broke free from trucker hell, we wandered around downtown Knoxville. Jen had a contact emergency that took us to this little grocery.

They had growlers and eight beers on tap IN THE GROCERY. Like a little bar in the grocery with awesome beer! I died a little. Just one more reason the South is superior.

Kalamazoo. The Bell’s Brewery is located in Kalamazoo. Oktoberfest is in season. Have you had Oktoberfest on tap at the Brewery that it comes from? Holy amazing caramel-flavored beer awesomeness! We sat in the bier garden and enjoyed some pints. I left with a six pack of Oktoberfest and a variety six pack.

I just realized that I sound like a drunk. Wine. Beer. Beer. I am not a drunk. I am not a drunk …

So cozy autumn food. It goes well with Bell’s beer. It goes well with cool weather. Unfortunately we are having some sort of Indian summer during the days. 70s and 80s, what? I don’t care. I’ve been cooking roasted chicken, potatoes, and butternut squash (which, sidenote, is amazing, sweet, and creamy just diced, salted, peppered, and nutmeged, and roasted), vegetarian chili, and a new soup, coconut curry noodle soup.

This soup is coconuty, spicy, flavorful, and I love the slurpy noodles. I actually managed to eat most of the soup with chopsticks! As is, the recipe is vegetarian, but I’d say add in some chicken or shrimp if you so desire. One of my favorite soup perks is how it lasts for multiple meals. This one gave me two dinners and two lunches. Plus, it was insanely affordable. I got my ingredients at the farmers market and an incredible international grocery in town called Saraga. They have a whole aisle practically of curries. And all sorts of produce from around the world. And all of the exotic food that costs a fortune at the regular grocery cost half the price. I think overall, this meal, or four meals, cost me around $10. Seriously, guys.

The recipe calls for Singapore noodles, but you can sub any rice noodle. Laksa paste is a type of curry paste. I found a jar at Saraga, but if you can’t, just go for any curry paste available. As for vegetables, I used a carrot, a zucchini, and a red pepper.

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Cheesy Enchiladas with Gravy

Oh I have been slacking again. But here’s the thing. I traveled a lot this past week. Well a lot for me. My job normally requires no travel, but when it comes to this time of year, I hop on lots of planes to deliver prizes for our art contest. Lucky for me this year I didn’t have to travel alone (which I think sucks balls). Jen and I traveled to L.A. and Alyssa and I went to New Jersey/Philly. Much fun. Though I could never do the work travel thing regularly. It’s seriously exhausting. And all the sitting on planes made me super dehydrated. Poor chapped lips.

There were also two more concerts the last two weekends: Guster and Band of Horses. I’m going to post some pictures and go on and on about how much I love Guster later this week. Just so you know and have something to look forward to.

Oh and, AND, big news – Mira and I got a new roommate! I adopted a sweet little kitty on Saturday.Her name is Lola. She’s quite the talker. I think she likes to sing to herself as she runs around the house or plays with her feathers on a stick toy. She and the Mira dog are getting along quite well all things considered. Lola isn’t scared of Mira at all. Mira does not want to eat Lola. On the contrary, she desperately wants to play with her, and cannot understand why Lola sprints away when she chases her down the hall. My only current problem is placement of kitty food. Adam says if we tell Mira no every time she tries to eat it, she’ll learn.

Now, I have a very, very good dinner for you. Cheesey Enchiladas with Gravy filled with whatever your heart desires. I added a variety of vegetables. I think some shredded chicken would be tasty as well. Add some jalapeños, maybe olives if you’re into that, zucchini may even be good! I think what I really like about these is the gravy. I’m not a huge fan of the red enchilada sauce. The gravy in this recipe packs some heat, so be warned and dial down the chile powder and hot sauce if you’d like! Overall, a good weeknight meal. Takes about 30 minutes total time to make. Continue reading

Easiest pizza you ever met

There are days when I really, really like my job. Tuesday was one of those days. Today was not one of those days. Today I worked pretty much every minute (minus the minutes I chatted about movies with a coworker). I also missed pilates because traffic from work to my gym was awful. My gym is really about 10 minutes from work. Today I got halfway there in 15 minutes. I blame the Colts game. My route runs very close to Lucas Oil Stadium. So tonight, I say screw you, Colts! Tonight I am not proud to live in a city of Super Bowl winners. But just tonight. I’m OK with today being entirely exhausting though because tomorrow we’re going to Chicago and I can hardly wait.
But back to Tuesday, which did not suck. Every issue of the magazine I pick a recipe that I tell the kids is awesome and tasty and easy to make. For this issue (that’s November/December, and let’s not talk about how working on Christmas stuff in August fucks up my clock) I went with pizza. Jen, the magazine’s art director, and I make these recipes in the kitchen at work and do photo shoots. Tuesday, we made this pizza, which took about two hours total (that’s not how long it’ll take you, I swear. Taking pictures adds minutes.) and made for a very pleasant morning.

mmm chicken, pineapple, and barbecue sauce!

The recipe for this pizza should probably be written on bar bathroom stalls everywhere, that’s how easy it is. You should probably make lots of batches of the crust dough at once and put them in your freezer. Then, whenever you get a pizza craving (which is like once a week for me), you can defrost one of them and have pizza in 15 minutes. You can also let the dough rise all day in the refrigerator in place of the one hour rise. I do this sometimes if I make the dough on my lunch break and want it for dinner. So, on to the recipe! I’m going to give you the two topping options that we made, but really the options are endless. Be creative! Recreate your favorite restaurant’s pizza! Make one up with the seasonal veggies available at your farmer’s market!

Lissie

Fridays at work have become quiet days since summers hours started. By 3 pm most people have cleared out. Today, my side of the building is even quieter than the normal summer Friday. Both the other editors took yesterday and today off. My (I say “my” not in a possessive way, but in a I-love-this-girl-and-am-so-lucky-to-work-with-her sort of a way) art director works from home on Fridays with her sweet little boy Niko. The other kids magazine art director is on vacation this entire week.

So I’m sitting in my office, desperately trying to make a dent in my towering stack of manuscripts, with my music cranked up almost too loud for work. I follow this music blog called Some Velvet Blog (he works for WXPN radio in Philadelphia). He posted a review of an artist named Lissie and her upcoming album Catching a Tiger (out on August 18) a few days ago. I listened to the song in his post, listened to the the songs on her web site, and then to the NPR World Café show she played on. I have a new girl crush. She’s labeled as Americana and blues, but I think there’s a little rock in there. And maybe some Dixie Chicks?

Anyway, please do yourself a favor and at least listen to these two songs. I know this is the second girl with a strong voice I’ve posted about, but it’s so refreshing to hear girls stepping up and away from the coffeeshop/guitar/singer-songwriter genre. I can’t get enough.

This first song is called “Cuckoo.”

This one is “Oh Mississippi.” I got chills when I heard her sing it on that NPR World Café show I mentioned up there.

Gotta Get Me Going

I’ve made it to another Friday! In a short nine hours I will be in Chicago with some of my favorite girls in the world. I cannot wait!! Sushi, Indian food, Olympics, girl time.

I haven’t cooked much this week. Last weekend was spent chiefly in the kitchen (much to my happiness I’ll add). Instead I’ve been trying to find the perfect morning pump up music. Driving to work is a chore, despite the cup of coffee I’ve already downed by then. I need good music to get me going for the day. Something that I can turn up, sing along to, or just listen to and feel motivated. Sometimes I just scream loudly, but that makes my throat hurt. So far, I’ve found these bands to be successful.

Guster. Always Guster. Playing Lost and Gone Forever makes me feel home. It’s hard for me to recommend this band to you for any concrete reason other than they are awesome because they’ve just been my favorite for so long (10 years to be exact). I love how goofy they are, I love the drums, particularly the bongos of their earlier years, and how they’ve evolved with each album but not so much that they lose who they are. Here we have “Happier” from Lost and Gone Forever.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have also been good pump me up music. Karen O is their singer. She’s awesome. They played at Lollapalooza last summer (a last minute sub for the Beastie Boys) and I fell in love. I might put that show in my top five. Very high energy, and of course being in downtown Chicago on a gorgeous summer night never hurts either 🙂 I love Karen O’s voice – powerful without getting out of tune. That girl can scream. Two songs here.

“Maps” on Fever to Tell

“Zero” on It’s Blitz!

So what gets you pumped up when you need a lift? I’m always looking for recommendations to add to my morning playlist.

I’m also going to mention the Broderick, a band from dear Bloomington. Four dudes singing solid rock. Check them out, they’re up and coming.

Now onto food! Last Thursday I made a black and white cappuccino cheesecake for our cheesecake competition at work. It was very tasty and made my stomach scream out in protest of too much cream cheese. Cheesecake is a lot of work though, and I think only appropriate for special occasions. So I’m going to give you a better and easier sweets recipe: Meyer lemon bars, which I made Friday night. Meyer lemons are smaller than regular lemons and sweeter, which I like because normal lemon bars can be a bit too tart for me. Between the lemon bars and the leftover cheesecake Adam and I had good Valentine’s dessert. We also had magical dinners. Sunday we made au gratin potatoes, the recipe for which I’ll have to post sometime, Dover sole two ways, and snow peas (mmm I love snow peas for their crunchy sweetness). Saturday night was the real star though in my opinion.

lasagna mmmmm

Lasagna. In a Dutch oven no less. I think you should ideally use a large and deep casserole dish of some kind, but I don’t have one. The Dutch oven worked just fine. The lasagna was flavorful, filling, and cheeeeesy!

OK, so what follows, in case you missed it from all that rambling, is Meyer lemon bars and lasagna.

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Reach

The past week the news has been full of stories of from Haiti. Bodies piling up on the streets, rescue efforts at schools abandoned because survivors at this point were unlikely, no clean water or food, crime, and general hopelessness. This picture, though, defies all that. It literally embodies the word HOPE for me. That little boy was buried for eight days under rubble, and amazing rescue workers pulled him out. Talk about second chances.

I want to do my small part and was thrilled when one of Jack and Jill’s fairly regular writers emailed me saying she felt the same way. She suggested writing an article about the children in Haiti, how they are coping with the aftermath of the earthquake, and how kids here in the U.S. can help through various organizations and charities. I hope that we’re touching kids and opening their minds with the magazine. Who knows, but I like to dream 🙂

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup and Edward

One of the best perks of my job is the free stuff. We have a product review page called Cool Finds in Jack and Jill. Companies email us about reviewing their products, we say “sure, we’d love to! But we have to see the product first.” The company sends us their product, we decide if we like it or not, and then we fight over who gets to take it home. I’ve gotten an air popper for popcorn, a Paul Frank winter hat, a pair of fuzzy slippers, and a rice cooker. The rice cooker came with a recipe book. We figured if we were going to take advantage of this free rice cooker, we might as well give the company some publicity in return, so we featured one of their recipes for chicken tortilla soup. The U.S. Kids Test Kitchen made it and all employees were fairly impressed. I thought it needed just a bit more kick. Last night we made it at home with a few spicy additions.

I’m just going to say that this recipe is firstly fairly cheap. Canned ingredients, rice, chicken, and broth. Secondly, it’s a ONE POT RECIPE. So few dishes!! Thirdly, it’s pretty easy to throw together.

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