The Cheesecake Addiction

My Life in Food

Archive for the tag “healthy”

Staycation Tacos

It is that time of year again; the time of the year where I (and many of you, I’m sure) slowly sink into the throws of seasonal affective disorder. It is that time of year where I spend an hour on Facebook, looking at those photos from my trip to Tahiti seven years ago, and long to wait out the winter in the tropics. To snorkel in the crystal clear 80 degree water, eat fish out of coconuts, and watch fire dancers…ah, the life.

Usually, it is around this time that I bounce over to Bath and Body Works and pick up my favorite tropical scented body lotions, candles, and bath salts and give myself a little Island staycation. Well, I haven’t had a chance to fully create the happy, island vibes, but I did manage to get in touch with those warm, Hispanic roots of mine.

Heading south of the border last night, we made veggie tacos for our dinner guest, Geoff.

I thought it would be nice to make a mango salsa-fresh and tropical with a little kick.

Chop up some mango–about 1 cup, diced, with half of a jalapeño, 1/4 cup diced red onion, 1 diced roma tomato, a few tablespoons of cilantro, and the juice of 1/2 lime. Also, salt and pepper to taste.


Mix and serve with chips OR as a taco topping! Mmmyum!

Mix and serve with chips OR as a taco topping! Mmmyum!

The rest of the meal was pretty simple. I sautéed three bell peppers and one red onion, thinly sliced. I made white rice and tossed that with cilantro and lime. I mixed up black beans with some black refried beans (and again, lime and cilantro), and sliced up some avocado. We built our plates…

A corn tortilla, topped with beans, peppers, onions, mango salsa, and avocado!

A corn tortilla, topped with beans, peppers, onions, mango salsa, and avocado!

…and had some delightful conversation and we shared many laughs.

Phew. That certainly helped pull me out of my funk. I’ve awakened refreshed, reenergized, and ready to begin again.


Slow Cooker Chili + Cornbread Lovin’


The Polar Vortex is hitting this foodie pretty hard and today has been one big “Don’t Cry” challenge. I’m mildly coping, which of course means I went ahead and bought that dark chocolate, soy Turtle Mocha with whip cream from Caribou Coffee. It ain’t no Mocha Coconut Frap (or mock-cocos), but hey. There’s a frickin POLAR VORTEX.

Snow, why you gotta be so pretty but SO COLD.

Ok, ok. I digress. Ya’ll need to hear about this slow cooker chili.

Dontcha just wanna warm up with a bowl of this?

Dontcha just wanna warm up with a bowl of this?

In a crock pot, put:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 chopped onion

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 can kidney beans

1 can white beans (any kind, really)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies.

Salt, pepper, paprika, granulated garlic, cayenne, and chipotle pepper all to taste (get creative!)

Set the crockpot on high, and let this all simmer together for an hour.

After an hour, turn the crockpot to low, and add in about 3 cups of stock. We used homemade beef stock, and you can use that or chicken stock. OR, go vegetarian, and use water or vegetable stock. OOOHH, or mushroom stock. How yummy would that be?!?!?!

Let cook for several hours.

In the meantime, you’re going to want to make some cornbread (obviously) to go with it. I just used the Trader Joe’s cornbread mix and added the egg, milk, and oil according to the package directions. BUT, I also added, two chopped scallions, 1/2 chopped jalapeño, and 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (SHARP, please!).

Mix and Bake!

Mix and Bake!

Fill muffin tins, and cook about 18 minutes. Oooh, yeah.

When it’s time for dinner, load up your bowl of chili.IMG_1533

And grab a corn muffin.

Sweet and Spicy perfection!

Sweet and Spicy perfection!

And stuff your face.

Note: The chili, especially if you use water or veggie stock is high in protein and low in fat (but add avocado on top for the GOOD fats)–a great option for a New Year’s Resolution recipe.

Mahi-Mahi Salad

Hey, hey, hey!

The answer is yes, blogosphere. Yes, I am single-handedly making my way through that batch of cookies. Because guess what? There wasn’t enough chocolate in the world this week. But somehow, I’m getting through.

Note to Mom: I did NOT eat cookies yesterday, when I was puking up my lungs. I promise. I only ate toast.

But I’m mildly better today, and so I continue to finish off that batch.

So on Monday, the day BEFORE all consuming nausea set in–we made an awesome round 2 lunch with our left over Mahi-Mahi. Our dinner the night before was simple: roasted fish and veggies, with delicious couscous (“the food so nice, they named it twice!”)

For lunch, though–I flaked up our fish and did it tuna-salad style. I stirred in some mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Simple and lovely.

Chop up some red peppers...

Chop up some red peppers…

And some thinly sliced red onions...

And some thinly sliced red onions…

Spread some hummus on toasted bread.

Spread some hummus on toasted bread.


Top with tuna and accouterment! (Don't forget to put some yummy mayo on the other side of the bread!!)

Top with tuna and accouterment! (Don’t forget to put some yummy mayo on the other side of the bread!!)




Yes, enjoy it because it healthy for you, packed with protein, and light. 🙂

Back tomorrow with our Weekly Cocktail–The Sazerac!


A Salad A Day and Look How Domestic I Am!

Greetings, readers!

It is getting to be that time of year. It is colder and darker and the holidays are right around the corner. I have gotten my organizational butt in gear to get the house ready. Poor, CDR. He’s had to deal with me in my new role as Tasmanian Devil Molly Maid cleaning psycho. But I’m sure he’ll thank me later…he will. 🙂

And thanks to Trader Joe’s and their cinnamon brooms, our house smells delicious 100% of the time. Just took a few strategically placed rustic-looking brooms soaked in cinnamon oil–and it totally counts as Halloween decorations, right?

A mini-broom in the bathroom:


Bathroom Broom!

A mini-broom on CDR’s side of the bed:

See that birdhouse? That's going to be spray-painted white and filled with red LED light candles. You know.

See that birdhouse? That’s going to be spray-painted white and filled with red LED light candles. You know.

And a regular-sized broom in the kitchen/dining room:

Look at all of our cool stuff!

Look at all of our cool stuff!

And thanks to my new favorite blog obsession Young House Love, I am finally inspired to do something about these big windows that need curtains (that aren’t shower curtains).

Yes, that is a brown shower curtain in ONE of our windows. Just wait till you see the 10 yards of fabric I just bought.

Yes, that is a brown shower curtain in ONE of our windows. Just wait till you see the 10 yards of fabric I just bought.

And curtains to our bedroom windows (see how they’re lopsided?! Currently trying to problem solve):

The window on the left is about an inch taller…bizarro. And yes, that is a WHITE shower curtain in one of the windows.

The window on the left is about an inch taller…bizarro. And yes, that is a WHITE shower curtain in one of the windows.

But anyhoozle, you’re here for the food aren’t you?

I’ve decided that I need to find a way to sneak more veggies into my diet. We eat healthy, but I think we could stand to add more greens, so to get into the habit I have decided that I will have at least one salad a day for the next week. This started at Panera two days ago, and I’ve continued it through today.

For dinner I had a simple salad of spinach, arugula, sunflower kernels, cranberries, tomatoes, and a  little parmesan tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Fresh, healthy, and tasty.



I also had some of that Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup from Trader Joe’s. Can’t go wrong there.

Yeah, we have both square AND round bowls because we're awesome like that.

Yeah, we have both square AND round bowls because we’re awesome like that.

Oh wait…I’m still hungry. Maybe something I ate last week at Ms. Archer’s will inspire me…

Hmmm…what can I make for a yummy snack?

Hmmm…what can I make for a yummy snack?

There's those bacon ends'n'pieces from Trader Joe's...

There’s those bacon ends’n’pieces from Trader Joe’s…

And there's those dates CDR picked up a few weeks ago...

And there’s those dates CDR picked up a few weeks ago…

Oh, I know...

Oh, I know…

BACON WRAPPED DATES…good thing I had the forethought to buy toothpicks today…Bake for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

BACON WRAPPED DATES…good thing I had the forethought to buy toothpicks today…Bake for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mmm, gurl! Delicious!

Now those are some HOT DATES!

Mmm, the smell of cinnamon and bacon swirling around my house and the desire to craft my shit up has me thinking of that thing that’s right around the corner? What’s it called, again? It’s my favoritest thing ever?



Oh yeah. Christmas.

Sigh. Can’t I just be a crafty foodie for a living? People make livings from their blogs, right? I can has do it too?

Bye for now.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Our garden is booming and so our need to use a lot of tomatoes and peppers is growing. We had about 13 gypsy and poblano peppers that needed immediate consumption, and I was trying to come up with a good way to make peppers be the main dish.

So  I stuffed ’em, ya’ll.

I cooked up some quionoa with olive oil and garlic, added salt, pepper, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and some lemon juice.Quinoa Stuffing

I cut the tops off of the peppers and scooped out their seeds and tossed them all with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, using a teaspoon, I filled them all with the stuffing.Peppers Pre-cooked

I popped them in the 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Delicious!Roasted Stuffed Peppers

I’m making this with bigger bell peppers next weekend, and will probably add chopped mushrooms and scallions to the mix.

For dinner last night, I also chopped up six or seven golden potatoes and tossed with chopped garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper and baked those for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.

A salad of arugula and garden fresh tomatoes was tossed with lemon juice and olive oil. Simple, rustic, and oh so good.dinnerplate

I’m starting to feel energized again. A lot happier than I was a few weeks ago, but I guess that’s the ebb and flow of life. I just have to keep breathing and anytime a boundary (no matter how small) is crossed, I just have to shake it off. And I’m getting much better at it.

Toodles, kids. Eat happy.

Mahi-Mahi Wraps and My Birthday

Ok. Wow. As I typed “my birthday” just now (up there ^) I realized that I didn’t have cake on my birthday…or the celebration before. I didn’t blow out any candles. Shoot. CDR, get on that! I’m mildly debilitated with sadness over this fact.

I’ll get back to my birthday wish in a second. First, I’ll tell you about the extraordinary food I’ve made/eaten these last few days. We have to rewind to Saturday.

On Saturday evening, after yet another car melt-down, CDR and I found ourselves in Trader Joe’s trying to figure out what we wanted for dinner. He was thinking maybe fish tacos and I was thinking maybe Indian food. So we compromised. Mahi-Mahi wraps with a curried mayo and ginger chutney.

Oh. My. God.

First, we sliced the fillets of fish into long strip chunks (yes, the technical term) and coated them with some turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.Image 1

We cooked them on a flat top grill with some red onions.Image 2

And sliced up some tomatoes.Image

Then we built our beautiful wraps. On the bottom, we spread curried mayo (mayo with curry powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and lime juice) and some jarred ginger chutney (found at Trader Joe’s). Top with fish, carmelized onions, and fresh tomatoes and ALWAYS when it comes to fish, add a little lime or lemon juice on top.Image 3

It’s so pretty, right? And sooo tasty!

The next morning, we had some left over fish and being the resident Jew of Reason, I suggested that rather than the smoked trout we had from Trader Joe’s, we put the left over mahi-mahi on a bagel with some cream cheese and the works.Image 4

Mmm, good. An onion or everything bagel is key here. It goes bagel, cream cheese, fish, tomato, red onion, capers, LIME OR LEMON JUICE, and topped with some dressed arugula.

Later that night my parents took us out to one of my favorite places, Quartino. It’s a delicious wine bar with small, delicious plates. CDR and I stayed up until midnight, because I will ALWAYS be that person that LOVES her birthday. I love my birthday.

On Monday, Birthday Morning, CDR surprised me with a yummy breakfast.Image 5

French toast with raspberry cream (he mashed raspberries with cream cheese).

It was an awesome start to the morning, and then I went off to the office meeting where about five colleagues came up to me asking where CDR and I had those delicious looking mahi-mahi wraps.  Delighted, I told them we made them.

CDR, it might be time to make ourselves a little demo tape for the Foodnetwork. Right? I mean, we’re totally an awesome duo.

That’s all for now, guys. Hope you have a good one!

P.S. CDR just informed me that he’ll make cake and candles happen tonight. Yep. We’re awesome.

A Taste of Creole

Holy Moly Mother of Gods I made a delectable creole inspired soup last night. It was so easy and packed full of flavor.

The first crispy day in a while had me feeling like I should make something warm and soulful…and also get rid of some stuff in the fridge because we’re going out of town in a week. I went to the store and picked up corn on the cob, some chicken tenderloins, and half a pound of raw shrimp (which I had to peel).

Once home, I finely chopped half an onion, a clove of garlic, and a stalk of celery and sautéed that in some butter.

Onions, Garlic, and Celery

Onions, Garlic, and Celery

I let that go a few minutes while I chopped up four chicken tenderloins (the equivalent of maybe 3/4 of a chicken breast) and tossed them in a little salt and pepper. I added the chicken to the pot with about 1/4 -1/2 tsp of red pepper flake, and some chopped fresh basil and a tsp or so of dry basil.

Flavors, flavors, flavors OH MY!

Flavors, flavors, flavors OH MY!

After a few minutes I added about 2 cups of chicken stock and I just let that simmer for an hour or so until the chicken was tender. Then I added half a box of Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup (found at Trader Joe’s), the kernels from a shaved ear of corn, 2 bay leafs, and some old bay seasoning. I let that go for another 30-40 minutes or so (really, just because I was waiting for CDR to get home. If you’re in a pinch…this could probably be made in only 45 min).

This is my favorite soup from TJs.

This is my favorite soup from TJs.

About ten minutes before CDR got home, I added the 1/2 pound of peeled shrimp, which i had lightly salted, peppered, and tossed with olive oil.

That cooked for about 8-10 minutes and then…DONE. It was probably the most full-bodied soup I have ever made and I attribute that largely to the boxed soup. Typically, I think those soups are very bland and flavorless, but when messed with can really be extraordinary.



The corn and shrimp added a delicious sweetness, and made it taste mildly chowder-y.

Oh…also…I made delicious individual cobblers for dessert. Yum-O.

Frozen fruit tossed with a little cinnamon and sugar and topped with a cobbler crust. Perfection!

Frozen fruit tossed with a little cinnamon and sugar and topped with a cobbler crust. Perfection!

Clearly, my heart is getting set to travel to the Cape because I’m just craving seafood 24/7. We’re leaving in six days and there’s a pretty good chance I already have 1/4 of a suitcase packed. SO PUMPED.

I posted this nearly a year ago from the Peter Pan Bus on my way to Woods Hole. I can’t believe how much has really happened in the past year. Holy cow! So much has happened, a lot has changed, and yet, so much has stayed the same.

I’m grateful to free myself for a week, and forget the hurt (and hopefully the sick) and crippling fears. I need a soul vacation.

No, I need to get to an ocean and out of Chicago.

Toodles, kids. Now, excuse me while I enjoy my peanut-butter swirl brownies.

Connected, Not Crazy

Well kids,

It’s frickin hot outside. So hot. But I’m joyous over the breeze, because my 2nd floor apartment is not air conditioned and all I have to do is sit to sweat pounds off of me. But the breeze is nice.

Our final dress rehearsal went off pretty spectacularly and we are poised for a fantastic opening tonight. So…come…because we need to fill the seats!

My dinner last night was also pretty spectacular. I made a bean salad that was SO GOOD. I had some left over black beans and I added dried cranberries, almonds, fresh rooftop basil, shaved gouda, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Oh ALSO. For my weakling self, we keep some frozen chicken nuggets on hand so that I can get a quick helping of protein whenever I need it, so I toasted up 3 of them and cut them into little pieces and tossed them with the salad.

ImageFor a quick, healthy, light  dinner–this totally fit the bill. See how yummy?

So, guys…I’m sitting on quite a doozy of a text message. The kind that you think up at 11:30 at night, type up at 12:30, and wonder if you should send until about 1:30. Don’t worry, I didn’t send it. But I’m still thinking about it.

The problem is that is of another tone entirely than my last communication with said person. It is softer, and ok, ok—caring. Ugh. It’s caring, ok? I mean, there are several issues at play here. If I send a caring message, will this person forget that I sent (and meant) that last email? Will my previous words be forgotten and not taken seriously? Probably.

And also, for fuck’s sake WHY are we communicating via email and text message? Yes, the distance is probably safer for me, but how can we gauge sincerity? The teenagers I work with choose to profess love and start fights through text messages and how ridiculous is that?!

A soft and caring text could be taken as manipulative, and maybe it is–because it’s completely self serving. Sending my feelings-that change daily-across cyberspace could only ruin a person’s day and keep us stuck.

But then again, I’ve hurt every day for the past year and it is well within my right to say what I feel.

I get that to him (who may or may not be reading), and to you, I’m probably coming across as  crazy. I feel angry and sympathetic all at once, need to be far and close in the same day, and want him to fuck up so I can still be mad. Alright, maybe a little crazy. Maybe psycho pants.

But maybe just connected. We’re connected. You’re always connected significantly to the person that hurt you-be them exes, bosses, friends, family, mentors. When you’ve been hurt, you get connected, and bound in a way. So many feelings come with betrayal–it’s confusing, intense, fast, and slow. Its effects can be long lasting and maybe the only cure really is time.

You stay connected until enough time has passed until suddenly, you aren’t.

But I guess I won’t send the message after all. It can wait until we meet again.

Maybe I’ll see you all at the show tonight.

Love and Connections, guys. Eat well.

Another Smoothie, More Bruschetta, and the Obligatory Tech Exhaustion Post

Well, ladies and gentleman–

I’m coming at you from bed. My health has taken a negative turn in the last week and pair that up with the exhaustion from tech…bed just seems to be the best place.

Mind you, this is not a crazy, exhausting, strenuous tech process. Actually, this is really smooth, calm, and a lot of fun. But the late nights and early mornings are taking their toll and so it is actually just the lack of sleep that has made me exhausted. How refreshing!

Of course, exhaustion at times means “emotionally compromised” and I think that’s where I’ve been for a few days. I’m proud to say it hasn’t affected my work. I’ve been determined to call a great show, and in doing so it has made for even more exhaustion. My mind is stuck on the issue mentioned yesterday: the note, hope, and holding on. Oy vey.

Perhaps another factor is the drama of the angst-y, hormonal, and sexually charged teens I work with…Their issues are bringing up my own to an extent.

Or really, maybe I just have too much damn time on my hands because I’m bedridden and can’t concentrate on anything else except finding energy to make a smoothie and my damn feelings. This is probably the case.

Whatever the reason may be, I hate it here. I hate it in this place of limbo. Not moving forward, not moving back. Stuck in illness and frustration.

Anyway…when the iPad is done charging (for the photos), I’ll make my way to the kitchen to make myself a banana chocolate smoothie and some tuna bruschetta for my protein-packed tech dinner.

Banana Smoothie:

Almond milk, banana, coco powder, a handful of frozen berries and mango, a little orange juice, and cinnamon. Blend to tasty banana-y perfection and let it heal your ailing tummy. ImageImage

It was SO GOOD. I’m drinking it now and can feel my body absorbing the nutrients. Plus, the chocolate kick curbs the sweet tooth.

Tuna Bruschetta:

Similar to last time, I just mixed a can of tuna with chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, thyme, chives. This time, instead of garbanzo beans, I added black beans. I also added a tablespoon or so of capers. Dress it up with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

There you go, my friends. Easy, kind of rustic, and hopefully enough to get me through.

Funny, isn’t it? The things you think when you’re exhausted? How much more difficult thought management is when you don’t sleep?

Funny also how we always have one more thing to say, even if we think we’ve said it all.

California Cooking and the Spiral.

Hey guys,

My recent obsession with Shark Week re-runs has me aching to get back to an ocean. Even now, sitting on couch and watching SVU, I’m day dreaming about waves washing over me. I can feel the cool water lap against me and the salt stick to my skin. Heaven.

Feeling a little distant from my roots, and desperately needing some nourishment, I channeled my SoCal self and went to work making a quinoa salad and black bean burgers.

*I have zero photos of the process because all photo-taking devices were un-charged.

For the Quinoa Salad

I first sautéed half an onion and a clove of garlic in some oil. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Then add a cup of quinoa and stir to toast slightly before adding 2 cups of water. Add 1/4 cup  of dried cherries to the water. They’ll get plump and it’ll sweeten the dish. Simmer for fifteen minutes and when the water has boiled away, add half of a chopped green pepper and a little fresh lime juice.

Tasty and healthy. When ready to serve, add some avocado and tomatoes. Or some sliced almonds for a yummy crunch!

For the black bean burgers:

Add a couple tablespoons of sauteed, diced mushrooms, a can of black beans, half of a chopped green pepper, a clove of garlic, and half a cup of bread crumbs into a blender or food processor. I also added a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander. Coarsely puree the mixture. The mix will be very wet, so the best way to to form the patties is to line a small tupperware with plastic wrap and then fill it with the mixture. Wrap up the patties and then pop them in the freezer to set up and cook when you want them. Delicious and protein packed.

Again, my apologies for the lack of food photos. Everything was eaten too fast.

And so we have entered tech rehearsals for How to Succeed. After a long hiatus, I was expecting to be frazzled and expecting to have a harder time finding the flow of the show. Surprisingly, this has been easy breezy. I’m a little more disorganized than usual, but I think that has only helped me to be a little more spontaneous, calm, and adaptable. We’ve got a great show and so far, it’s been melt-down free.

Except for once. For five minutes. Last night. And here’s where I might start to spiral. Like I said, tech has been great, but when we started our dry tech on Saturday and I opened my kit, I saw the note. A note from him that glares back at me and asks, “Why haven’t you taken me down yet? Take me down, throw me away…or at least hide me in a different box. Why do you leave me here?” And for a moment on Saturday (okay a few moments) I felt a lump in my throat and a wave of melancholy. On our ride home, I talked to Geoff about it.

“Why?” I asked, frustrated.

“Because you hope,” he said. Damn. He’s right. I do hope. For what, I’m not sure. Do I hope that we’ll move on and be fine someday? Yes, of course. Do I hope for a reconciled relationship? I’m not sure…maybe. I hope for answers and explanations. But do I really think leaving a note taped to my kit will give me those things? Oh, fuck if I know.

Geoff continued (and Geoff, forgive the paraphrase), “You’re holding on because you hope. You have to overanalyze and talk about it because, still, anything he says will put you into a downward spiral.”

Yep. That’s true. Yesterday in the middle of act two, after an unfortunate glance towards a friend’s email inbox, I realized how my friends are still connected to this person and there’s not one damn thing I can do about it. I have to sit and say nothing, while a person who destroyed me emotionally connects with the people I know and love. I have to sit and say nothing because it isn’t my place to ruin him for them. I have to accept that my friends will be his friends no matter what happened…and honestly, that’s really harsh. And devastating. And yeah, I stifled tears through act two (though I called it like a champ, thanks very much) because it hurts so much. And sucks…majorly.

Ok, I’ll shut up about my downward spiral and keep California Dreaming to get through. Also…I’ll kick major ass with this show.


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