21 May 2010

Recipe: Chicken Pad Thai

One of the things I used to love to make before I was married was Pad Thai, but I had never made it from scratch. Here was my first attempt, which turned out rather well.  We didn't have any limes, so the lime zest and juice were left out. I also tend to skip the garnishes in recipes, so we didn't use any cilantro, either. Overall, this recipe was a hit, and my husband even reheated some for lunch the next day.

Changes for next time: I would decrease the amount of chile sauce; it was a tad spicy with a whole tablespoon.  I also want to experiment with incorporating the egg into the dish.  I thought it was weird to just sprinkle it on top.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
Serves: 4

8 oz. rice noodles
1/4 c. salted peanuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. grated lime peel
3 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
4 1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. Asian chile sauce with garlic
3 tbsp. cooking oil (we used vegetable oil)
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size strips (we used chicken tenderloins)
1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic (we find using a hand grater is easier and faster)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c. fresh bean sprouts
1/3 c. sliced green onion (approx. 3)
2 tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro

Place noodles in a large bowl. Add enough hot water to cover them; let stand for 10-15 minutes. Drain well.
For peanut topping, combine peanuts and lime peel. Set aside.

Combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chile sauce. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a 12-in nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp. cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic. Cook and stir for 6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a bowl.

Add egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Turn egg with spatula and cook for 30-60 seconds until set. Remove egg from skillet, chop, and set aside.

In same skillet, heat remaining 2 tbsp. cooking oil over high heat for 30 seconds. Add drained noodles and sprouts; stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Add fish sauce mixture and chicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through.

To serve, sprinkle each serving of noodle mixture with egg, peanut topping, green onion, and cilantro.


16 May 2010

P90 Cardio/Abs Day 2

Somehow we made it through our workout yesterday, but both of us found it so difficult!  My body just wasn't cooperating.  I think it's because we took Friday off to spend some time with friends and didn't eat the healthiest things (read: pizza).  But we survived and tomorrow it will be easier, right?

13 May 2010

P90 Cadio/Abs

Last night we did our first night of P90 Cardio/Abs.  It wasn't that bad, but I learned that I'm really bad at yoga.  Does the instructor really think I can do planks and pushups after yesterday's strength training?  Oh, and the yoga dog must be Episcopalian.

12 May 2010


About a week ago my husband, frustrated with my poor self-esteem, ordered the Power 90 workout series.  The package arrived yesterday and we started our 90 day journey to fitness!  We took "before" pictures, but I want to wait until I have some comparison photos before I post them.  The first day was a strength training workout.  I think I had an easier time than my husband, but only because I was using free weights while he was struggling with a resistance band.  It will get easier as we get familiar with the routines.  I am surprised that my chest and arms are a little sore this morning, but it makes me happy.  I am really proud of myself this morning and am a little nervous about what the cardio/abs video may hold for this evening.  I think we are going to wait until next week to use the accompanying meal plan.  I looked at it last night and am honestly not that excited about it.  Hopefully we'll still see results even if we don't follow the meal plan!

Have you used the P90 system?  What are your favorite workouts?

04 May 2010


Today I participated in a Graduate Student Boot Camp hosted by my university's library.  It was an intensive, productive, information-filled day.  Sessions covered Graduate School requirements for theses and dissertations, methods for searching article databases, RefWorks, writing center resources, plagiarism and copyright, and career center resources.

They also provided snacks and lunch...and I had a revelation.  I looked at the ingredients list of the granola bar they provided and new it provided high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, but I ate it anyways.  Who knows what the catered lunch (BBQ, vegetarian baked beans, hummus) really contained.  I should have skipped the meat and ate vegetarian, but I didn't.  I also drank sweet tea and ate two cookies.  The kicker was later that afternoon I was dying of thirst, and instead of making the effort to find a water fountain to refill my own water bottle, I was lazy and took one of the bottled waters (OMG!!) that was provided.  I hate the taste of bottled water; I always have.  And because it left a funny taste in my mouth, I ate two more cookies, which only made me thirsty again.  But I stopped the cycle there.

I'm not writing all of this because I want pity for my poor eating choices today.  The point is that this food made me fell "off", which just reinforced that I've been making good choices by eliminating high fructose corn syrup (and corn syrup), all-purpose flour, and other things I can't remember right now.  My body is adapting to real food!

This is a major step for me, and I refuse to beat myself up and apologize for my eating today.  Tomorrow is a new day and I will do better :)

03 May 2010

Weekly Meal Plan

Last night we had a few friends over to celebrate me completing all the course requirements for my PhD.  We made hamburgers and baked french fries from scratch, which turned out extremely well.  Check out what we'll be eating for dinner the rest of the week:

Monday: My mom's recipe for lentil soup

Tuesday: Chicken Marsala and spaghetti

Wednesday: Out to eat for Cinco de Mayo!

Thursday: Greek Cod with corn-on-the-cob and rice

Friday: Frozen pizza

Saturday and Sunday we'll be on my first backpacking trip, but we haven't decided what we're going to eat yet.  My husband wants to do prepared meal packs you buy at sporting goods stores, but I'm convinced there's a healthier, cheaper, better way.  We'll see who wins.

We will also be making strawberry ice cream with my new Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment. We had planned to have that ready last night for our guests, but didn't read the recipe all the way through before we started (you'd think I'd have learned that lesson by now), and it wouldn't have been done until about 3am. So we had grain-free brownies instead. Check back for my review later this week!

I'm doing my best to remain gradually make better eating choices.  So, what's a healthy meal choice at a Mexican restaurant?  I was thinking fajitas, but I don't really like peppers and onions in that quantity.  Any other thoughts? 

What do your dinner plans look like this week?

02 May 2010

I'm Back!

I'm sorry for seemingly falling off the face of the earth.  I was struggling through my last week of classes and then final exams, but on Wednesday, I turned in my last final ever!  I even did a little happy dance after I pressed the send button.  I've now completed all of the classes for my Ph.D. degree, so it's just research and seminars from here on out.  My goal is to graduate by the end of 2011.  That's ambitious, but I'm hoping I can do it.  I'm ready to live a real life!

I'm already really enjoying all the "extra" time I have.  I diligently went to the gym on Thursday and Saturday, and hope to be able to continue going to the gym three times a week and doing yoga, pilates, or another workout video at home at least twice a week.  I feel like I've finally managed to catch up and climb back onto the healthy lifestyle bandwagon!

I've also been reading a lot of new blogs lately regarding real food and gluten-free diets.  I plan on taking baby steps to encorporate some of the ideas I've read about into my life, even though I want to jump in head-first and do it all at once!  I know that I will crash and burn and feel like a failure if I do that though, so I'm going to try and restrain myself.