Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Make: Chicken Curry

This is hands-down JJ's favorite meal. So much so, that for my bridal shower, my friends asked JJ what my favorite meal was, and he said "chicken curry." (NO! Chocolate? Sushi?) So much so, that he frequently asks, "Why don't you make chicken curry any more?" Even though I make it probably once a week. I think maybe he would eat curry every day if possible. So, I've figured out a way to make pretty easy chicken curry.

The hardest thing about this meal is that it has some unique ingredients. You can certainly find them at the supermarket, although for a lower quality and a higher price than you would at an oriental supermarket. The two ingredients you should look for are: curry paste (NOT curry powder) and coconut milk (it comes in cans). At the regular grocery store, you can usually find these in the "International Foods" aisle, but they'll probably be the "Thai Kitchen" brand, which is very low quality. Really. You can spend a few bucks on a little tiny jar of curry paste and use almost the whole thing for one meal, or you can buy a big tub of it at the oriental supermarket, and have it for a few months! There are all kinds: red, yellow, green, panang, name it! My favorite is green and JJ loves red, so usually we have one of each on hand.

So now that you've braved the oriental supermarket, we're ready to get cookin'!

1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup diced onion (or dried equivalent) 
Approximately 1/2 cup chicken stock
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 can coconut milk
Approx. 2 Tbsp. curry paste (read package directions...depends on how spicy you like it)
Your choice of veggies, chopped into bite sizes (my favorites are red bell pepper, green beans, and carrots)
Rice to serve it over

  1. Brown chicken in a skillet. Make sure not to cook the chicken all the way through--it should still be a little pink in the middle. Remove chicken from skillet, making sure to leave the juices in the pan. Set chicken aside.
  2. Mix onion, garlic, and curry paste into the chicken juices in the pan, until onion begins to get tender. You can pour in a little more chicken stock if you need to.
  3. Once your onion is nice and tender, throw in your veggies. Pour in the chicken stock--you can use however much you need to give your veggies a nice little "bath." You don't need to cover the veggies all the way up though. Let veggies cook until they begin to get tender, stirring frequently.
  4. Put the chicken back in the pan, and pour in the coconut milk. Stir everything really well, and turn down the heat. Your curry is done when the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and your veggies are done to your liking!

"Christmas curry"--green curry paste, red bell peppers, green beans, and potato

Just FYI, you might have to play around a little with the amount of curry paste you use. Back in Tucson, we bought a brand that required 5 Tbsp...and here in MA, I did that the first time with a different brand and we nearly burned our faces off. So that's why I say 2 Tbsp is a good "starting place." Make sure you taste the sauce to see if you need anything before surprises here people!

Happy cooking, and bon appetit!

Thanksgiving Meal!

Only a week late...but here is our update on how our Thanksgiving meal turned out!

We woke up Thanksgiving morning and were both pleasantly surprised that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade didn't start until 9 am...back in Arizona, it always started at 7 am because of the time difference, and honestly, who wants to wake up that early on the holiday? EWWWW. So we watched the parade in its entirety before we started cooking....oh, the joy that is only serving two people on Thanksgiving! No schedule to follow!

Anyway, first I baked the blueberry pie. In my whole life, I've only ever baked one kind of pie, and that it my grandmother's famous (well, famous to me, anyway) summer season strawberry jello pie. And that's easy. So needless to say, I was nervous to tackle my first ever blueberry pie! Luckily, it turned out pretty good.

Not confident enough to try the fancy lattice-work I opted for a crumble topping with rolled oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon instead. Yuuuuuum.

After the pie was done, it was time to get those chickens in the oven! I've never made Cornish game hens before, and I have to say, I'm more than a little grossed out by raw chicken that is still chicken-shaped. Give me boneless, skinless chicken breasts any day and I'll handle those babies without flinching! There was some confusion about whether there were giblets or not in the hens, and so I spent a good five minutes "making sure" they weren't still frozen to the insides or something. All the while, JJ is of course, making lewd jokes and taking pictures. And then he tells me that there are no giblets and shows me the package. Um, thanks!

You can't see my "eww" face right am  I ever going to tackle a real turkey?

Finally got the chickens prepped and stuffed with wild rice...ready to go into the oven!

Now we had only a couple of hours before feasting time...and with no other really complicated dishes (just crescent rolls, frozen green beans, mashed potatoes and canned cranberry jelly), we had some time to spare! So what to do we do? Harass the cat, of course. (And you thought you were going to read a no kitty-pic post!)


Anyway, after waiting patiently and whipping together those few last minute items, it was time to admire our beautiful feast and then eat!

Our finished chickens....yummmmmmy!

Our completed much food leftover! Didn't cook again until the following Monday =)

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and are now ramping up for Christmas! We decided to put the turkey taquito tradition on hold...because after all, we did have enough food after Thursday to last us a whole week, and I hate throwing perfectly good food away. So I think we are going to turn it into a New Year's tradition instead =D

And and update on the job my phone interview went really, really well. They invited me in for an in-person interview this past Wednesday. However, I got an email a few days before saying that one aspect of the clinical trial was found to be ineffective, and the whole project was put on hold and they couldn't hire anybody. WHAT A BUMMER! However, yesterday I got an email from another person at the same place (Fenway Health) asking if I was still interested in the position, but for a different clinical trial. UM, YES. So good news: I have another phone interview on Monday with two different project managers. Hopefully at least one of them likes me enough to bring me in for a real interview! Cross your fingers, folks!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday inspiration

Last night, I had nightmares about our Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, sure, it's just the two of us, so if I mess it up, we can just laugh it off later as our first Thanksgiving disaster. Right after we're done being sad that I screwed up Thanksgiving though, which is a very big deal to both of us.

So all night, I tossed and turned, dreaming about blueberry pie that tasted too cinnamon-y, or the chicken being raw in the middle (remember we are having Cornish game hens), or not cleaning out the chicken right (never done it before) or the potatoes being to lumpy. UGH. It was terrible.

And then JJ found me this video, which I think might be helpful to all you other stressed out turkey-makers this year:

"Here's how you make your turkey taste good...gravy, cranberry, and Pinot Noir. Why do you think they put cranberry on turkey? To make it taste good! It doesn't taste good by itself."

After watching that, I'm good. Another rum and coke (we forgot to buy wine), I'm having fun, it's THANKSGIVING, and we are content.

Missing all of our Arizona family, love goes out to you all. Stop stressing!

More updates later on how our meal turned out =D

Friday, November 18, 2011


JJ, listening to weird music on his computer: "Lindsay, why isn't opera more popular? I mean, I could see how the shows would be boring but the music is really good. How come they don't have like, opera-pop music?"

Lindsay: "You mean like that one scene in the Fifth Element?" ::does opera voice and flails like the lady in the Fifth Element::

JJ: ::stares in disbelief::

Lindsay: "You're right...that was like the best scene in the whole movie..."

JJ: "Making-fun-of-something FAIL."

We spent the next 20 minutes watching opera-esque videos on Youtube.

"That one scene in the Fifth Element" know, the only one anyone ever remembers.

My absolute FAVORITE singer/songwriter, Shara Worden, being her magical self. OMGILUVHER

Job Progress?

Well folks, I feel like my phone interview went so, so well this morning! It's such a relief to interview in what I term "the real fashion." That means, no predetermined list of questions, no panel of people judging you, with a person who is knowledgeable about the position you are interviewing for. It was so refreshing to be able to talk to someone in a professional manner and really be given an opportunity to talk about my strengths and passions. Furthermore, I think this more casual discourse puts both the interviewer and interviewee more at ease...and allows you both to really get to know the other! I've never experienced this type of interview before, but I can definitely say I'm a fan.

After she was done asking specific questions about my resume and experiences, she told me a TON about the job. I've done a lot of research on (love that site!) about what research nursing is all about, and I must say, it sounds sooooo cool! I've always been really interested in evidence-based practice (EBP) and being a research nurse, you get to know a study inside and out while still providing some patient care. She described the study and the team she works with and I'm so excited about the prospect of working at Fenway Health!

She is supposed to contact me next week about whether or not they would like to move forward in the hiring process by having me come in for a face-to-face interview. Keep your fingers crossed please!

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Diced Tomatoes

This is one of my favorite recipes to make...not sure if it's one of JJ's favorites to eat, but I always feel so gourmet when I cook it. (You know, instead of the typical cheapy hamburger-helper-esque dinners). It tastes especially good with a fresh green salad. I want to try it with asparagus, but JJ hates asparagus (all things green, really), so that's sorta out of the question. Here goes:

-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (or 1/4 cup of balsamic and 1/4 cup of chicken stock if you want a less vinegar-y taste)
-3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded thin)
-1 onion, thinly sliced (JJ and I use onion flake equivalent instead...neither of us are big on onions)
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1 tsp rosemary
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp basil
-1/2 tsp thyme
-1 can diced tomatoes

Season chicken breast halves with ground black pepper. Brown in a large skillet in a few tablespoons of olive oil. (If using regular onions, you should throw them in with the chicken...the onion flakes burn so I wait a little). Throw in the garlic; let it stew a little. Mix rosemary, oregano, thyme, and basil with balsamic vinegar. Put that mixture and the can of diced tomatoes in the skillet, basting the chicken with the liquid. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

We usually eat this over angel hair pasta, but it's good with rice too. And super easy! I love one-skillet meals =).  And no, I don't have any pictures of my own cooking, but I did find this one on the internet that is pretty close to what it looks like when it's done (except we try not to smother ours in cheese):

We are also starting to think about Thanksgiving dinner. Since it will be just us two, we want to make a meal that is both special and NOT TOO CRAZY. We are thinking:

-Cornish game hens, with rice stuffing
-Cranberry sauce (from the can, because that's how I like it, and JJ is ambivalent)
-Mashed taters and gravy
-Some sort of beans?
-Blueberry pie

I know, I know. Blueberry pie for Thanksgiving? Sounds weird, right? Well, my uncle Jim makes literally the BEST PUMPKIN PIE in the entire world. It's so good it makes me sad when I eat other pumpkin pies. Seriously. So I kind of don't want pumpkin pie because I think it would just remind me that I'm not in instead we are going to make blueberry pie! Yummy!

Any other ideas for Thanksgiving dinner for two?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Back in the swing!

Not going to's been incredibly frustrating and difficult to have to look for a job again. I get all jumpy and heart palpitation-y when I think about interviewing...again.....soooooo nerve-wracking! I've been using the past few months to look for another "dream job" in Massachusetts. And folks, we've got good news: I finally have a phone interview! I know talking about it may just jinx my success, but I'm hoping that positive energy from our readers will help me instead.

Check out the awesome dream-jobby environment I am hoping to land myself in soon: Does this not sound like me, people? An HIV/AIDS clinic, support and research center that is associated with Harvard, Beth Israel, AND the National Institutes of Health? Pinch me! =P The job I'm interviewing for is a research nurse position. Cross your fingers for me please!

Monday, November 14, 2011

More kitteh!

JJ and I have enjoyed these past few months with our little kitty-dude. We feel like proud parents most of the time--bragging to each other about things we saw him do, telling him he's a great kitty and even coming up with nick names for him (among them...Kittybeard, Ki Ki Wah Wah, Kitty Boo Boo Face, Senor, Mr. Piggy....and the list goes on, and on...). I thought I'd share some of the funny (and sometimes not-so funny) things he does.

This is JJ's work bag...which Meeko likes to climb into (crumpling any and all papers inside), and  he usually falls asleep in there. Awww.
Meeko with his "precious." He loves these fake mice. He  plays fetch with them, carries them around everywhere with him, and sometimes inconveniently deposits them in real odd places....the shower...our pillows...
This is something he recently started doing. Every time the fridge opens, he uses the ledge by our fridge to jump on the door. It's as if he's saying "What's for dinner, guys?" Fatty.

So,,,,Meeko has a fascination with water. He jumps into the shower with us (cute.) He sticks his head under the faucet anytime you wash your hands or brush your teeth (mostly cute). And....he drinks out of your glass. Always. (Not cute at all, just gross). We want to buy him a water fountain for Christmas to help avoid this....
Meeko loves his scratching post. Many times a day we find him sitting, perfectly balanced, on the very top, just to get a better view of whatever we are doing. Also on the kitty wish list...a cat tree. We think he would approve.

Relaxing with mom...isn't he vicious? =P

Meeko chasing his tail in his favorite play area...the bathtub.

Meeko begging for breakfast. Poohead (aka, my brother Daniel) says he sounds like a baby raptor when he meows, so we have aptly named his begging routine his "baby raptor impression."

One of the funniest (and undocumented) things he does is how he wakes you up. First, he comes in, purring. Then he sits on your pillow, swishing his tail in your face (still purring). Then he nonchalantly stretches, "accidentally" putting his paw either in your mouth or covering your nose (still, purring). If none of this works, he give his version of a nibbling your nose or chin. And yep, as soon as you are up, he dashes to the kitchen, ready for breakfast. What a piggy. 

And....that's it. Yes, we are obsessed. And no, I'm not going to promise that this will be the last kitty photo brag sesh, because knowing me, it probably won't.

Thanksgiving plans

Okay, okay--I know. I'm REALLY bad at updating the blog, after I made so many promises that I would! Silly me.

The holiday season is fast approaching and JJ and I are stuck with the realization that we will be nearly 3,000 miles from home for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Even though this is really difficult to come to terms with, we are trying to look on the bright side. This Thanksgiving, we may not be spending time in Sierra Vista or Phoenix with family, but you can bet your booty that I'm still going to cook a turkey (even if it's just for two of us)! And I most certainly am going to partake in one of my family's most time-honored traditions: turkey taquitos!

Ever since I was little, my mom has always used the leftover turkey not to make soup or casserole or hot turkey Instead, she has always ground it all up and spent the entire day after Thanksgiving making the most deliciously mouth-watering homemade turkey taquitos and chile rellenos ever. A long time ago, this "second day feast" used to be shared with just my immediate family and my aunt and uncle's family who live in Sierra Vista, but as the years have gone on, Thanksgiving Friday has become arguably a bigger deal in my family than even Thanksgiving itself. When my cousins and I were in high school, it was likely that many of our hungry friends would make the trip down to southern Arizona to partake in the Mexican feast...and for good reason! People literally fight over those taquitos...they are that delicious.

Well, this year I'm going to try to bring a little bit of home to Massachusetts. After years of helping in the construction of those delicious and awesomely messy taquitos, I'm going to try to make them all by my lonesome. Well....maybe I'll let JJ be my sioux-chef. =D

In other news, JJ and I finally have a couch! After nearly 2 months of sitting on the floor, we feel like grown-ups with our own living room set! Never mind that our mattress is still on the floor and our "dining room table" is a card table...little steps people! Little steps!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Poohead comes to visit

So, my brother Daniel came to visit a couple weeks ago (or as I prefer to call him, Poohead). It was a fun-filled weekend of tourist-ing, eating, and playing board games! We took him to the Minuteman National Historical Park in Concord. This is 5 out of the 16 miles that the American militiamen chased the redcoats back to the Boston Harbor on April 19th, 1775. It was pretty cool to see where the first fighting of the American Revolution took place!

The next day, we went to tour Cambridge..which is the home of many, many universities, including MIT. We tried to do this the day before, only to find parking was not free on Saturdays =(

Daniel and JJ mapping how to get to Harvard Square from the only parking spot we could find...which was like a mile away!
Poohead and I rubbing John Harvard's shoes for good luck in the "Hahvahd Yahd"

More of Harvard

Um...what? These Harvard kids. They're crazy!

After we were done walking around Harvard, we took a walk (a very long walk) to the MIT campus. It was a little more laid-back than the Harvard campus....

The Great Dome of MIT, overlooking the Charles River

Admiring the Charles River from the front of MIT
So that's it! We all feel smarter after after our little stroll on two of the most famous college campuses in the US.


I just realized I never posted our pics from the Freedom Trail...which we walked way back in August. Ooops =(

Anyway, we decided to take the commuter rail into Boston rather than drive, because parking is apparently terrible and really expensive in Beantown. The train ride was pretty fun! Seeing as how we only have one car right now, when I get a job I will almost certainly be taking the train into work.

JJ is happy he's not driving!

Once we got to Beantown, we decided we'd do an ultra-touristy thing (of course!) The Freedom Trail. We only walked the south part, figuring that the slightly more awe-inspiring Bunker Hill Monument and U.S.S. Constitution in the north part would be something visitors might want to do with us.
Me posing with the sign on the Boston Common. Boston Common is America's oldest public park, and it was host to a camp of redcoats during the British occupation of Boston in 1775.

The Granary Burial Ground. I felt sorta weird taking pics of the graves,  so I just got a pic of this sign.  The people buried here include Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere. The biggest memorial was actually for Benjamin Franklin's parents!
So I didn't get any really cool pics of the Old South Meeting House because they charged 5 bucks to get in, and we figured we'd probably be doing it again when our moms come to visit.  Among other things, this was where the march to Boston Harbor for the Boston Tea Party originated.

So awesome...the balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read! At the Old State House

We went to watch street performers outside Faneuil Hall (where the Stamp Act was protested) , and then thought we'd catch a bite to eat in Quincy Market, just behind it. However, we quickly discovered that Quincy Market (one of the oldest trading posts and centers of commerce in America) was a gigantic tourist trap, and we both got really claustrophobic in there. So we quickly as possible.

....And walked over to the North End of Boston, which (as far as I could  tell) consists entirely of delicious Italian restaurants. One after the other.....we walked to Pizzeria Regina and I ate THE BEST PIZZA I HAVE EVER HAD. Drooling a little right now just thinking about it....

I snapped this pic of the Boston skyline on our short walk back to North Station.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wedding Pics! WHOOO!

So we finally got our wedding pics! Here are the linkies for them:

Pastor Bill is awesome!
Emma doggy doesn't know what to think about all the rehearsing
more from the Rehearsal Dinner

Playing on a playground

The front desk of the Wigwam
More from the Day After Wedding

"Just Married"
More Wedding Pics

Of course all these pictures are from the awesome Mrs. Rachel Perrella of Bright Fizz Photography. Definitely worth the wait! 

Monday, September 12, 2011


So, JJ and I have been looking around for a ragdoll kitty for a few weeks. This has been problematic because:

1) They are very expensive in Massachusetts. Why?
2) It's hard to find an available litter.
3) Most of the cat breeders we came across we batshit crazy. Um, your cats are called "cats" not "lords and ladies" or "dukes and dutchesses." And no, I will not sign a contract saying you can come visit the kitten I bought from you at any point in their life within 24 hours notice. That's just creepy, no.

Well, yesterday morning I got an email back from one of the breeders who actually seemed NORMAL. She had kittens on special because they were the last of their litter, two males and a female. And she was uh...only two hours away.

So what did we do? We jumped in the car and drove to Connecticut to get the damn kitty! And he was worth it. How did we pick which one? Well, I knew I wanted one of the males. So we both held one, and then we switched, and then we put them on the floor. The one we didn't pick ran away. The one we wanted did figure eights around our feet. So, that was him then!

We were thinking the 2 hour ride home was going to be terrible with a meowing kitty. But now, he just curled up in his cat carrier and went right to sleep. Awwww.

Now for the oogles:
At the breeder's
Getting him home...he went for the first enclosed space he could find, the entertainment center.

Getting pets from JJ, he seemed to calm down.

This cat loves JJ...and that zebra snuggie. Never met a cat who didn't, actually.

Getting the people germs off of him.

Haha, doing what they do best! =P

We haven't picked a name yet. We both seem to like "Moose" the best, because when male ragdolls become adults they average between 15-20 pounds. However, we have also discussed "Optimus Prime" (O.P.): Lord Samson Wiggletummy, Esquire; and Oliver Paddington. I dunno. What do you think?

For now, he is just "kitty." He slept with us last night. Oh how we love him, oh how we do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Unpacking Progress!

So, in between unpacking, I have become addicted to HBO's Game of Thrones. I managed to watch the entire first season in three days before I went on to the books. I mean, I seriously needed a break from The Count of Monte Cristo which is...interesting....but dry. I know not everyone out there is a big fan of the fantasy genre, and I'm probably late on the bandwagon for those that are, but I highly suggest reading/watching this series for those of you feeling adventurous. Go on!

Ironically, I feel like I'm actually in the books because of the Stark House's motto, "Winter is coming." Yes, I feel it looming closer everyday. I've started wearing my fuzzy boots around the house because my feet get cold easily. And it's not even October yet. ::heavy sigh::

Anyway, we finally unpacked the kitchen! It is now officially the only room in the house that is livable. See:

My favorite cupboard....look at how bright!

But of course, we still have this to look forward to. Anxiously awaiting our couch...

We also bit the bullet and bought our horribly expensive but-oh-so-comfy sectional and chair from Crate and Barrel that we've been drooling over for weeks. It should be here, in, oh, 2 months. NBD. I'll just sit on the ground or in a folding chair until then...