Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day 36-40

I think I'll try and keep this mostly limited to just pictures, because most of this is stuff I make or am exposed to often, and would like to save it to write about later in the year.

Obviously, this doesn't represent every meal I ate, because I'm trying to cut back on duplicates.

This was some potato soup that I was given to at a free event. And it was delicious. But since there was nowhere to stand and I was trying to balance multiple things in two hands this, picture is god awful. Soup was provided by The Cavalryman Steakhouse, where I've never eaten because I'm pretty sure I can't afford it.

More pizza, that we got on the same night at a different event, from Domino's. There was so much leftover that they were giving entire boxes away - which I totally took advantage of.

The best chicken fried steak I've probably ever made, smothered in way too much gravy.

A closeup of some leftover chili.

There's a skull in my drink! Delicious Honey Ale from The Library.

Trying to sneak a photo of my buffalo chicken wrap from The Library.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Day 34, 35: Chili, Hushpuppies, a Surprise Package of Candy and Sweets

I made some Chili on Monday, and...I remember taking a picture of the whole pot. I really, really do. But I guess I didn't. So I don't really have anything to show for it.

But really, it's almost the exact same recipe I used last time...except for one thing - I added in half a jar of jalapenos that was sitting in my cupboard, juice and all. And that little addition added just enough spice to make the chili even more delicious, to the point I may make this a more regular thing. I should probably also start adding chilies more often.

That said, I saw this white chili the other day on Reddit that looks super delicious, and I may have to try making this sometime, especially since my boyfriend loves chicken.

I did, however, experiment with making some hushpuppies. They came out alright, but I did end up cooking them a touch too long.

  • 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup Corn Meal
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 Egg, Beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
 Beat together egg, sugar, and milk. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and add to liquid ingredients. Lump mixture together in balls and fry in oil until golden brown.

The sugar can be adjusted depending on how sweet you want these - I added slightly less than 1/4 of a cup, and that seemed to be just about perfect.

That day, I also received a (somewhat) surprise package - I had signed up for a secret santa exchange online months ago, and while I had sent out my gift in December (which included some fudge, which I'll make and discuss here one day), my gifter was a little behind on his shipment. In any case, my package did arrive on Monday - here's what came.

Candy and processed food is bad, blah blah...oh! Are those jelly beans? I haven't had jelly beans in years.


Look at these things.

Anyways, yesterday was pretty boring for food. I ate a bowl of honeycomb and two bowls of leftover chili. And more candy.

By the way, those Sour Patch Watermelon candies? Delicious.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Day 32, 33: Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches.

I'm obviously an advocate of crockpot meals.


Because for the most part, it's really hard to screw up anything you put in the crockpot.

I made this for my friend who took me to the airport, my boyfriend, and another my boyfriend's request.

Literally, to prepare the beef, all you do is pour a 16oz jar of pepperoncinis on some sort of beef roast, and set it on low for 6-8 hours.

Although that day, I also added a bottle of beer in with everything.

It also doesn't hurt to throw on some salt and pepper.

When the beef is nearly done, take two forks and shred it, and caramelize some onions.

(I'm sure one of these sandwiches would also taste fantastic with some sauteed mushrooms.)

Toast a baguette or sandwich roll just before you eat, add your meat, onions, any sauces you want, and some provolone...and eat!

(Also, this definitely came from Reddit's slowcooking subreddit.)

Also from that day - I didn't want to eat too much before dinner, so I pretty much just ate a bagel with a spread of this honey cream cheese mix I tried concocting myself...except I added way too much honey and the spread is mostly just a goopy mess.

The next day was leftover sandwiches of course, and a turkey sandwich from Jimmy John's, and after I work up talking about them...a chocolate donut filled with cream.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Month in Review: January

Data is fun to look at when it's presented all nice and pretty, so I decided to do one of these "Month in Review" posts every month.

But first, I'll begin with the subjective stuff.

Best Home Made Meal
 While not exactly a "meal" for most people, I really enjoyed these Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms. They were really easy to make, and they were incredibly tasty.

Runner Up
Even though it's something I make often, I would have to give the "runner up prize" to the home made chili.

Best Meal from a Restaurant
I ate a lot of great food while in the Phoenix area, and while there's a lot of competition, I think my favorite would have to be the Yellow Curry Chicken from Thai Hut.

Runner Up
While I really liked my burger from In-N'-Out, I really enjoyed my Black Bean Burger from Fez.

Now, in doing this post, I really wanted to have a whole bunch of graphs - what kind of cuisine was consumed, how much was home made vs. how much was prepared by somebody else, etc. But honestly... a lot of that stuff is really freakin' hard to quantify. Where do you draw the line between "Mexican", "Tex-Mex", and "American"? I would never see Chipotle as Mexican, and for some reason, I barely see it as Tex-Mex, but a lot of people would disagree. What about a place like Biaggi's or Olive Garden? Do you classify that as Italian? They say they're Italian, but a lot of people would disagree.

In the end, I really only came up with one idea for a chart (that wasn't boring, like a home made vs. restaurant food)....I made a pie chart of meat consumed during the month of January.

Even this was surprisingly difficult - because I sometimes didn't know what to count as a "meal", considering sometimes, I'll eat a muffin or a piece of banana bread and call that lunch.

In the end, I decided to avoid "meals" like that...and still ended up with the same percentage of meals eaten without meat as meals eaten with chicken. I was honestly expecting a heavier skew towards meals with chicken, because we eat a lot of it. No seriously. We probably go through at least 3-4 packages of 6 chicken breasts a month between myself and my boyfriend...and a lot of that is because he loves chicken. But sometimes, it's just easier to boil some egg noodles, or just eat some rice. (Plus, you'll notice two out of the four meals I mentioned above contain zero meat.)

In the end, I think doing this blog has made me realize one thing: food is a very social thing. What you eat is often dependent on who you're eating with, especially those you live with. If I didn't live with my picky-eating boyfriend, I would probably eat a lot more fish and vegetables, for example.

But even without him, the food you eat can easily be influenced by the people you're around. While in Phoenix, I suggested to my friend that we try an Ethiopian restaurant, and he told me he wasn't in the mood to try something new. We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings one day because that's what a friend of ours wanted. We eat at McAllister's all the time because it's my boyfriend's favorite place to get a sandwich. On the flip side, you may notice that it's rare that vegetables are cooked for the sake of being eaten as just a vegetable....because I could never get him to eat just "a side of broccoli" - all of our sides are usually potato-based, or bread-based.

Next time you want to cook something, ask yourself who you're cooking for - are you avoiding certain things because of a taste preference, or a food allergy? Or, next time you want to eat out with your friends, pay attention to how everybody comes to a single consensus. Why did are you eating at Restaurant X as opposed to Restaurant Y?

And seriously, try something new, even if you have to venture out by yourself.

Something Else from Day 28

I nearly forgot! On Tuesday night, I made some coktail weenies in the crockpot from a recipe that seems to be everywhere on the internet.

If you mix a package of "Lil' Smokies" with about half a jar of grape jelly and about half of a 12oz container of barbecue sauce in the crockpot and cook it on high for 2-3 hours, you get some pretty delicious cocktail weenies. They make a great snack.

Days 28 continued, 29, 30, and 31

On Wednesday night, the boyfriend brought home a pepperoni Pizza from Papa John's.

I would like to start off by saying that I really don't care that much for Papa John's Pizza - between them, Pizza Hut, and Domino's, I think Domino's tastes the best. And Pizza Hut has the best wings, especially if you have them run them through their oven twice. (I used to work at a Pizza Hut and did this frequently.)

But, the Pizza Hut here is notoriously awful and my boyfriend insists that he's gotten sick off Domino's every time he's eaten it.

Plus, he works at Papa John's, so we get discounts.

So, he ordered a pepperoni pizza on Tuesday night, along with some cheese sticks. But, I wasn't feeling too hungry, so I only has a few cheese sticks and a slice of pepperoni.

On Wednesday, I was hoping to eat some leftover pizza, but the boyfriend had taken the entire box to work and eaten three of the four leftover slices. But promised he would bring the last of the pizza and cheese sticks home later.

I ate what was left of the Chinese food for lunch, (can you believe it lasted this long?) and he brought the box home for dinner, eager for that last slice of pepperoni...only to find one of his coworkers stole the last slice out of the box.

(He actually works two jobs....this pizza-stealing occured at his office job.)

But, he felt bad and ended up bringing home a half buffalo-chicken, half pepperoni and olive pizza (because I love olives).

Thursday afternoon, I ate some leftover pizza.

Thursday night, boyfriend was feeling really sick...and wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese. It seemed pretty obvious that he had a flu, and I think he was sicker than I'd ever seen him. He actually stayed home from both work and school that day - which I've never seen him do. And he slept a lot. So, I was more concerned with getting him what he wanted than taking any photographs. But, the grilled cheese has provolone and American cheese slices, and the tomato soup was just some campbell's condensed I found in our cupboards.

I wanted to make the tomato soup spicy, hoping that some spice would help clear up his sinuses - so I added some Cayenne and crushed red peppers, along with some garlic, basil, and a bit of lemon juice. It was fairly tasty, but ended up being too spicy for him. So we had some leftover soup.

I actually tried using those leftovers as a tomato sauce for some pasta. It turned out...okay.

I intend to cook real tomato soup one day, because I'm not exactly the biggest fan of canned soup, for the most part. But it did it's job.

I also made myself from Cheesy Rice-A-Roni last night.

Finally, boyfriend ordered me a sandwich from Jimmy John's the other night - I got one with Turkey. Again, I didn't take a picture, because we were preoccupied with other things. But this one looks kind of close:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Day 26 Continued, 27, and 28

After my boyfriend picked me up from the airport on Sunday, he told me he wanted to stop in Fort Collins and get some Chinese food (unfortunately, Laramie has some very mediocre Chinese food...). He already had a place picked out, too - China Wok, which has an 88% rating on Urbanspoon.

We both ordered a ton of Sesame Chicken, which happened to come with broccoli. And the boyfriend absolutely loved it. Of course, he ate around the broccoli...but nevertheless, the whole time we spent driving away from that place, he kept talking all about how awesome it was and hot satisfied he was. And for $20, we ended up with enough food for leftovers. I ate some on Sunday, yesterday, and today. Actually, the only other thing I've actually eaten was a bowl of broccoli cheedar soup from McAllister's, after my boyfriend complained yesterday of being sooo hungry and really wanted McAllister's (even though he'd eaten it twice while I was gone).

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day 22-26: Phoenix!

This will be a fairly large post with a lot of photos, since I'm compiling all of my trip to Phoenix in a single post - lot's of pictures, and lot's of general reviews of places my friend took me to.

There were a few photos I didn't get - one on the second day of the trip of some fish tacos, another of a few vegetables my friend's mother cooked up, and another of a meal on Friday, mainly because we were eating outside and I could not get a picture that wasn't too dark without using flash (and we were in a fairly crowded place, so I didn't want to draw a lot of attention to our table).

Day 1
 Breakfast was more or less a pack of mini donuts I grabbed from the gas station while my friend, who drove me to the airport, was getting gas. I suppose I didn't get a photo of that either, but in case you're wondering - they were chocolate.

We left for Denver at 8:00 in the morning, arrived at DIA at 10:30, and my flight got into Phoenix around 2:30. So, I was pretty hungry by the time he picked me up.

He took me to Fez, which has an 88% rating on Urbanspoon. We ordered some spicy hummus as an appetizer, and we both ordered black bean burgers.

The black bean burger was excellent - it came with goat cheese, onions, and tomatoes.The goat cheese really made the burger, too (of course, I'm admittedly a huge fan of goat cheese). 

The hummus was good too, except it was loaded with chili powder - to the point there was way way way way too much. They probably could have put about half of the amount of chili powder in the hummus and it would have been fine. It was still good, especially with the warm pita bread - but there was definitely too much chili powder (and it wasn't really that spicy, either.)

Overall, I did enjoy the atmosphere, and the place was neatly decorated. But it did feel a bit overpriced (of course I'm young, so that's a relative term), and of course the hummus was just okay. But I would go back there, especially because there were a few other menu items I would have loved to have tried.

That night, before we met another friend of his, he took me to Raising Cane's, where we split a large basket of chicken. I had never heard of Raising Cane's before, and assumed it was maybe a southwest chain....until I saw a location in Fort Collins yesterday. Whoops.

You see those things of fry sauce? There were five of them given to us with the platter, and my friend used four of them. I didn't even use a whole one. 

My friend insisted that this place was better than Chick fil a, but honestly...I just thought it was okay. It was fast food. Though I did enjoy the toast (which we substituted for cole slaw, because neither of us really cares for cole slaw). I would return to Raising Cane's if I had to...but I would generally prefer Chick-fil-a or another similar option.

The next day, my friend had to work, and his mom took me out for a few hours. I ate some fish tacos for lunch at Rubio's. was okay. This is one of the meals I failed to get a picture of, though I did find the menu item online.

I love fish tacos, but again, this was just...okay. I felt like the batter on the fish was pretty bland, as was the fish itself. Even the sauce had very little taste. I got two avocado corn fish tacos, shown above.

My friend's mom cooked up some green chilis, mushrooms, and cauliflower later on, which I ate as a snack.

Later, my friend and I went out for taco's at America's Taco Shop, which has a 90% rating on urbanspoon. We both ordered Carne Asada Burritos and coke. The carne asada burrito was excellent.

The next day, while he was at work, I ended up walking to Thai Hut. Thai Hut was interesting, because although it was a Thai place, the building they're located in used to be a diner. Moreover, the outside has a red roof that somewhat resembles an old dine-in Pizza Hut. Thai Hut has an 88% rating on Urbanspoon. Though what's particularly notable about the place - they were really fast. I ordered Yellow Curry chicken for lunch, which came with soup and a spring roll. The soup and the spring roll were probably out to me not even 2-3 minutes after I placed my order, and my curry chicken was out to me very shortly after. And best of all - it was all delicious.

That night, we had dinner at Delux Burger. Delux interested me for many reasons - first off, they're a "gourmet burger" place located in a strip mall next to a Safeway - not the kind of place you'd expect to find "gourmet" anything, in my experience. In addition, they also sold both burgers and sushi - an unusual combination of foods. Though the best thing about it, in my opinion, was their beer menu - after having less-than-optimal luck at finding new beers to drink (which I'll discuss more in depth at the end of this post), I was excited for an opportunity to try some beers that can't be found in either Wyoming or Colorado. My friend ordered a White Rascal from Avery Brewing (after I encouraged him to branch off from only drinking Stella), his date ordered a Milk Stout from Left Hand, and I ordered Kilt Lifter from Four Peaks Brewing.

Oddly, I wasn't really feeling either a burger or sushi, so I ended up ordering a salad with Mahi-Mahi - which I was unable to take a picture of because we sat outside, and it was dark. However, I did manage to get a picture of the fries my friend ordered for the three of us to share - which came in a neat little shopping cart basket.

Delux has a 88% rating on Urbanspoon. And while I don't think it's not undeserved, there were a few things about our experience there that I wasn't too happy with.

When I ordered my salad, the waiter asked if I wanted fish with it. Granted, I should have asked how much extra the fish would cost - but I ended up with a small piece of Mahi-Mahi for an extra $7! The salad itself was only $9 to begin with. Again, it is my fault for not asking how much the extra fish would be, but I'll also note that I did not see the option of adding extras to salads on the menu (again, this could have been completely my fault). Nevertheless, it felt a little sneaky to me.

 But the other thing that was sort of odd about our night there was the fact that our waiter seemed pretty friendly towards us until my friend's friend (date?) showed up. My friend wondered if the guy caught onto the fact that they were a gay couple - which may or may not have been the case. Though I will admit that the waiter did seem to come around to our table a lot less once our third person showed up.

Oh, and before eating at Delux, I did order a cookie at Copper Star Coffee, which probably had more chocolate chips than any other cookie I've ever eaten. (The picture quality is terrible because my phone was running out of battery and did not want to focus.)

The next day, while my friend was working, I indulged in a guilty pleasure I'd been looking forward to the entire trip - In N' Out! Behold - a double double animal style burger with animal style fries. Yum!

By the way, it took probably 15-20 minutes to get my food at In N' Out - not because they were slow, but because they were so damn busy. The only other fast food place I've seen with as many people is Chick-fil-a.

That night, we ate at Pita Jungle, where I ordered a pita pizza with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and feta cheese. My friend and I also got hummus as an appetizer - again. And we opted for three different kinds of hummus, which came with two slices of pita bread (we ended up needing two more, and it still wasn't quite enough).

The food was delicious, of course - but something that particularly stuck out about this place was the way they collected feedback. When they gave you your receipt, they also gave you a tablet with a few "feedback questions" about your service, the food, and the atmosphere.

And finally, after a few days out of town, I ended my trip in Phoenix with a banana nut muffin from Copper Star.

One thing I did not mention here was the alcohol (except for the alcohol I ordered at Delux). You see, my friend and I went out every night we were there, and on my trip, I learned that mixed drinks and alcohol culture is sometimes a very regional thing.

You see, on the 22nd, the first drink I attempted to order is a favorite of mine, a Redd's and Fireball, which is exactly what it sounds like - a bottle of Redd's Apple Ale mixed with a shot of Fireball Whiskey. Well, the bar we were at didn't actually carry Redd's, or any cider for that matter. So I moved on, asking what kind of beer they had - and it was mostly a mix of your "domestic beers". I finally ordered a White Russian - thankfully the bartender knew how to make that.

However, my friend's other best friend and I got to talking that night about alcohol across the country, and we especially talked about beer. He said that he didn't feel like beer was a big cultural thing around the Phoenix area, after I ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (and after having that bartender list all their beers before settling on that one...oof). Of course, I'm sure that many people in Phoenix drink beer, and enjoy beer - otherwise, places like Delux Burger wouldn't serve a whole bunch of different types of beer. But another funny thing happened that night - after that same guy told me he was drinking a Vodka and Redbull, I suggested he try ordering a Trashcan, which has Redbull in it. But when he did, the bartender insisted she couldn't make it because the can of Redbull wouldn't fit in the glass. Except I've seen it done, and the can of redbull would have fit just fine in the aforementioned glass (though I didn't want to be the person who tells somebody how to do their job).

I also had a drink made for me on Friday night, a "Citrusy" drink - though I don't actually know what was in it. And when I asked the bartender what it was called, he pretty much shrugged and said it didn't have a name. (This happened after my friend encouraged it.) I've never thought of actually asking a bartender just to make something up - though this drink turned out quite good, and even my friend really liked it.

In a nutshell, that was my week and Phoenix - regarding food. Tl;dr - it was all pretty much delicious.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 21: Jinny John's, Macaroni and Cheese

I'd forgotten to mention yesterday that my boyfriend ordered me a sandwich from Jimmy John's the night before. Here's what he got me:

Yesterday, I ate half of the sandwich that I hadn't eaten the night before, and some Kraft mac and cheese.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 20: Cereal, Stir Fry, Home Made Hummus

Don't forget the leftover sitr fry!

The hummus was actually made by a friend of mine. I plan on making my own very soon!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Day 19: Leftovers, Leftovers, and More Leftovers.

Seriously, yesterday was a day of leftovers - I ate the rest of my lobster fettuccine from Biaggi's, and some leftover stir-fry from the other night. Not very exciting.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 18: Lobster Fettuccine and Salad, Stir Fry

Yesterday I met my mom in my sister in this shopping center in Loveland, where we ended up going to Biaggi's. I was going to order the lobster fettuccine regardless, but they happened to have a half-pasta, half salad deal - so I got that, with the Caesar salad.

Yes, those are black fettuccine noodles. They're honestly not that different from normal noodles.

After a quick stop in Cheyenne for some Chick-fil-a for the boyfriend (he LOVES a lot), I got home and wasn't feeling too hungry. But boyfriend wanted to make stir fry for dinner, which we ended up making around 8:00.

This stir fry was probably the best I've ever made. In the past, I've tended to add too much Teriyaki sauce. It was still good, but I thought this time's tasted much better and slightly more wholesome overall.

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into smaller chunks
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup snap peas
  • 1 can baby corn
  • 1 green pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tbsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Cut chicken into cubes and cook in skillet with olive oil until outsides are white. Chop vegetables into medium-sized chunks. Add remaining vegetables, spices, and sauces and cook over medium heat until chicken is done, stirring about every 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.

 This stuff was GOOD. The red pepper really made this - it was spicy, but not overwhelming. Next time, I may try this without the store-bought teriyaki sauce and just use soy sauce and brown sugar, with more ginger. I also would have liked to have added water chestnuts and broccoli, but the boyfriend never would have agreed to eat it otherwise. The amount of red pepper was just about perfect, though. And it makes for good leftovers!