Monday, September 30, 2013

the widowed chef's recipe box

I have been cooking up some mean dishes the past two nights... ones so delish that I didn't think it would be right to keep them from the world. So here goes...

So usually I have some recipe idea appear in my head. I have a couple of ingredients that I want to feature and I need to think up a way to highlight them without too much prep time. I love casseroles for two reasons... you mash up everything in one pan/pot and then there is only one pan/pot to clean. As a widow cooking for one now, I also have very special criteria that I keep in mind including; ability to reheat and be delicious, ability to not get sick of after multiple meals, and the ability to not make me think of the depressing though of cooking for one. I always google around for recipes once I have an idea in my head. Then I meld all of the recipes until I find something that doesn't require me to buy five new spices and doesn't require too much prep time. So here was my recipe from tonight... super yummy and I can't wait to eat it for the rest of the week!

Crockpot Balsamic Vinegar Chicken

1. Coat crockpot with olive oil and put in some minced garlic.

2. Cut up chicken into manageable sized pieces

3. Season chicken with garlic powder, kosher salt, ground pepper, and Lipton onion soup mix

4. Place chicken in crockpot and drizzle 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

5. About an hour later check on chicken to see cooking status (perhaps turn chicken bits over) then add artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and basil/oregano from the garden

6. Let cook for about three hours but depends on the chicken chunk size and be sure to spoon the sauce mix around a few times

7. When ready boil whatever rice/noodle/quinoa that you prefer (wheat angel hair is my preferred choice at the moment) and open your fav bottle of wine

8. Smoother your fav carb/grain with the chicken deliciousness and top with your fav cheese

9. Enjoy

As I wrote this I realized how hard it is to write a recipe especially when you cook like me which includes a lot of eyeballin it! Just feel it out... thats how you get to be good both on and off your mat! But below are a few tips...

  • Although sometimes its nice to just leave the crock pot and go... it's best to watch chicken so it doesn't burn and get dried out!
  • I used Lipton onion soup mix because that's all I had... any sort of onion flavoring would do.
  • Invest in a gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar... it can change the dish! 
  • Anything from your own garden is a 100x better!
  • I used organic free ranged chicken.
  • Wash everything a million times after dealing with chicken chunks. 
  • I don't have a fancy crockpot... I registered for one but Matt made me return it after he reminded me I had a crockpot that his Dad bought us at a garage sale that I rarely used. Then the movers smooshed one side in. But it still works fine, I use it all the time now, and I love it! 
Hope this inspires you or provides you with a delightful meal one night!

Here were my inspirations for more exact measurements:


the widowed chef

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yoga in the Moutaintops

I closed out my final week of freedom (last week) with a full moon Yoga hike. It was the perfect end to the week given I started the final week of freedom with yoga on the water. From the sea to the mountaintops!

A friend and I headed up to Mt. Laguna, about 45 miles east of SD, in the late afternoon. We drove round and round thru the mountains before the land flattened out and we felt like we were driving through Ohio! We met the group from my yoga studio (Yoga Six) and hiked through a somewhat rugged trail before coming upon a giant meadow. The meadow even had cows way up there in the mountaintops! We unrolled our mats which was somewhat difficult with the meadow grass and uneven ground and started an even paced vinyasa flow. At one point a bug crawled onto my mat and I gave out a scream but other than that the class was serene. Afterwards one of the hikers brought some delish snacks and we chilled atop the mountain meadow before a short hike out of the woods. As we drove back through the moutains headed back to the city we were surrounded by the sunset.

Mount Laguna 

The meadow 

Doing a headstand in the meadow was harder than on the board! 

Dancers pose on a rock



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wake Me Up

This song has been my cool down in Zumba for the past few weeks. I just love the lyrics and wanted to share... be sure to listen to it live... great message and a catchy tune! 

Wake Me Up by Avicii

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can't tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

They tell me I'm too young to understand

They say I'm caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don't open up my eyes
Well that's fine by me

So wake me up when it's all over

When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world

But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don't have any plans

Wish that I could stay forever this young

Not afraid to close my eyes
Life's a game made for everyone
And love is the prize

So wake me up when it's all over

When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
And I didn't know I was lost

Didn't know I was lost

I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know



Friday, September 20, 2013

Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga!

In an effort to try all things San Diego before I get back to working full time, I suited up for a morning Stand Up Paddle-board class by Bliss Paddle Yoga. It was a real challenge and amazing to be out on the water like this! The class was started by paddling out through Mission Bay to find a good spot to anchor down for our morning asana. Once anchored down we started with meditation and kapalbhati breathing (alternate nostril breathing technique). I found myself easily drifting off into my meditative sweet spot. Then I would realize I was floating in the water and have a momentary freak out before realizing it was all good.

Then came movement on the board. We started with Tabletop position before moving into Downward Dog. Each move was taken cautiously as you need to figure out how to distribute your weight on the board. We moved through a few Sun Salutations with Crescent pose proving to be very challenging. I had to take it on my knees and fellow students event took a dip into the Bay with this move. We completed our salutes allowing for some time to try additional asanas such as Crow and Headstand. My headstand has come a long way this year and I am much more stable in the pose but I didn't quite nail it this time around. I got up for a second but as you can imagine, it's very hard to find your balance on the board! I fell a few times playing with the pose which is just fine with me, falling means taking a risk. The class was closed with an especially serene savasana.

I loved this class and it was a welcome addition to my practice. I found myself wanting to take the poses like I normally do in class but with balance being so important, this just wasn't possible. Just like life, it was all about finding the balance where you are at. Staying so focused on where I was at allowed this to become a powerful moving meditation and my mind didn't even have time to wander!Overall this was an extremely tough class but I would recommend it to everyone at every level! Bliss was a great company to SUP-Yo with and they have locations around the country and even do retreats internationally including Bali! The Teacher was amazing and made me feel comfortable on the water. Below is a pic of me in Downward Dog about to go into Crescent.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Remember

As I sit here trying to generate a post I really don't know where to begin. As the country remembers the 11th of September, I remember the day as well as the 9th of September. The 9th was a year and a half since Matt passed away. It seems unreal that it was that long ago and that so much has happened since then. As I gazed from the patio of my new home at the flags flying in the wind across the hills, I couldn't help but be grateful. Grateful for a country that allows me to make so many choices after my world was turned upside down. Grateful for those that fight for those choices to be available to me (especially my cuz about to deploy).  Grateful for a wonderful husband that continues to guide me in those choices. We remember.



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bob Marley, Cooking, and Wine...

... Make the perfect evening. Well, I should clarify that it is actually the Pandora Bob Marley station which still cranks out awesomely chill tunes but switches it up. As I alway say, I gave up cooking for awhile but once I get back into the groove, I realize how much I missed it. One of the things I looked forward to most moving out here was year round farmer's markets. My marketing was non-existent the past month and I made a commitment to get back into the fresh produce game this week. I went to two markets including the famous Little Italy mercato which led to plenty of Cali grown organic concoctions. Tonight my new favorite recipe, Zucchini Lasagna, is in the oven. Check out the recipe here from Skinny Taste. Another culinary delight that Matt would have never tried, go figure. And as I was cooking, "Don't Worry be Happy" by Bob came on. Always an appreciated tune that no matter at what point I am in my life, teaches me something new.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Yogi Problems

Not surprisingly another hilarious yogi event has occurred. I slept in this morn as I was tired out from all of my rigorous outdoor activities this holiday weekend but was still able to catch a late morn yoga class. As usual the schedule was abbreviated and I everyone else at my studio decided to take a longer snooze and attend this slower paced class. I noticed that the class was packed and quickly threw my mat down to secure my usual front row diva locale. Then they started pouring in and everyone looked very confused. We all slightly moved our mats in hopes of avoiding touching anyone to make room the best we could. Of course there was still a spot up front and the teacher encouraged a stranded yogi to come on down. The woman obviously a back row lurker, was not pleased and stomped up front with all of her belongings including a dinging cell phone. I felt the stink eye exchanged between the couple in prayer position next to me. There were a few more minutes of awkward shuffling before class began. My spot wasn't too bad and I was comfortable although I typically avoid practicing next to men  because they sweat like crazy and stink but sandwiched between two attractive older men, I was fine. The back row lurker converted front row dive loudly asked how to get into child's pose as the teacher pursed her lips and gave her the silence gesture like a kindergarten teacher during nap time. After about five minutes, the couple next to me shot up and announced they were leaving because they are six feet tall and it was cramped. I smirked and scooted my mat over to get away from the hot sweaty forty something. Finally, the yogis settled into the practice and an enjoyable slow flow kept on. As class ended and I lay in sivasana listening to someone's cell phone go off, I pondered doesn't this class describe life perfectly?  Half the journey is getting to your half the mat and about forty five percent is off the mat the rest is the just the postures.