Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekly Dinner - Week 2

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!

What makes this super exciting is that I only have to plan 4 meals instead of 5!

Last week we took a trip to Costco and decided to try a new way of shopping.  We bought a bunch of pre-frozen food and meat then individually shrink wrapped it into nightly portions using our food saver.  You will notice a lot of "from Costco" in the next few weeks and after the experiment is over will update you and let you know how it went!

Also, a helpful hint for the week is to prep everything you can on Sunday.  Last week I premade the roasted red pepper soup and chopped all the veggies; organizing them into container by date needed.  The amount of time it saved during the week was invaluable.  

But enough of last week, it's time for this weeks meals!

9/1/14 - 9/4/14

Monday: Tacos & Margaritas. (30 minutes)


Well, it's a holiday weekend, and you know what that means... Taco Monday! 

ground beef (organic & grass fed if possible, sometimes lamb if I'm in the mood), tomatoes, avocado, taco shells, shredded Mexican cheese, salsa (I import mine from Texas, seriously), tortilla chips, greek yogurt (tastes the same as sour cream and healthier for you), taco seasoning (we do this ever week, so we get the big container at Costco), red onion

cooks note: Heat the oven to 400, then heat the taco shells for 2-3 minutes one or two at a time just before making and consuming.  They taste so much better!

Margaritas - 1/2 a lime (squeezed then tossed into the glass), then 2:1 ratio of tequila and orange liquor.  We use Bauchant orange liquor and nice tequila (honestly, we are tequila snobs, and yes, it does matter what tequila you use when you aren't masking the taste with sweet and sour or olive juice)

Tuesday: Korean Style Short Ribs (5 minutes prep, 6 hours slow cooker)


I am very excited about this recipe because I get to use my crockpot and it's super easy.  

Also, because we have baby back ribs (from Costco), we will be substituting those for the beef short ribs.

Check out the recipe HERE.

I will be serving these with a size of sauted zucchini flavored with Anna's Herbs or Herbs from Provence.

Wednesday: Fish Tacos. (20 minutes)

As we were shopping at Costco last week, we came across some fresh salmon topped with herb butter.  At only $10 for over a pound, we couldn't not try it.  So we punted fish taco's to this week.  So, you can always pretend that this meal is actually what we had last Monday which was Salmon from Costco with herbed butter and asparagus.  (At $10 for the salmon + $3 for asparagus, you can't go wrong, and it's actually pretty good salmon.  Word of warning, the directions have the cooking time WAY too long.  Cook until you see white bubbles coming up the side of the fish, then pull it)

If however you are interested in fish tacos, here's the recipe again, with some subtle additions.

White fish (whatever is on sale, I've acutally got a frozen bag of cod and mahi mahi from Costco that I'm trying out), broiled or pan fried until flaky.
corn tortillas, cilantro, tomato, red onion, cojita cheese, avocado
Seasoned Mayo (mix mayo with some lime juice and southwest ancho seasoning)

Tecate or some other Mexican beer.

Thursday: Grilled Shrimp and Saute'd Spinach

Last week we went on a Costco binge in hopes of saving us money during the week on meat.  This Thrusday we are going super easy and doing shrimp from Costco, frozen and pre-peeled.  Marinate in some herb butter, saute in a hot skillet or skewer and grill for 2-3 minutes per side.

For the spinach, toss about half the bag in a frying pan with some coconut oil and Anna's Herbs.  Cook down about 1/2 way then toss in the rest of the bag.  Cook down until wilted but not slimy.  


Lunch: Leftover pasta and salads

Our big Saturday night meal was chicken, herb, and cheese stuffed ravioli with spaghetti sauce and snap peas.  Exciting, I know.  But what is exciting was that the package of pasta (from Costco) was big enough to leave pasta for my weekly lunch -  2 days at least! 

We will also be having salads with olive oil, spinach (or mixed greens, arugula, whatever your desire), macadamia nuts, roasted turkey breast, and a little balsamic vinegar.  

I also always keep nuts at my desk for munching.

Bon Appetite!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Dinner - Take 1

Grocery shopping is always a struggle in my house.

First, I'm a planner.  I can't come home and go "what should we do for dinner tonight?"  I mean, I used to, but with a kiddo, that is no longer possible.  Also having a 14 month old, I only get limited time at the store before he wants to be out and running around.  So I like to have to have my list ready and meals planned out for the week.

Usually this means we have to cover Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Lunch.

That's a lot.  And it's hard to get creative after a while.

So I've decided that I will start blogging about our weekly meals in hopes that you will find them useful as well (Christy, I'm looking at you!)

If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments below!

8/25/14 - 8/28/14

Sunday: Tacos & Margaritas. (30 minutes)

This one will always stay the same (unless it needs to get bumped to monday because it's a holiday weekend).

ground beef (organic & grass fed if possible, sometimes lamb if I'm in the mood), tomatoes, avocado, taco shells, shredded Mexican cheese, salsa (I import mine from Texas, seriously), tortilla chips, greek yogurt (tastes the same as sour cream and healthier for you), taco seasoning (we do this ever week, so we get the big container at Costco), red onion

cooks note: Heat the oven to 400, then heat the taco shells for 2-3 minutes one or two at a time just before making and consuming.  They taste so much better!

Margaritas - 1/2 a lime (squeezed then tossed into the glass), then 2:1 ratio of tequila and orange liquor.  We use Bauchant orange liquor and nice tequila (honestly, we are tequila snobs, and yes, it does matter what tequila you use when you aren't masking the taste with sweet and sour or olive juice)

Monday: Fish Tacos. (20 minutes)

I know, this week is a double taco night week, but I'm told from my husband that beef hardshell tacos and fish tacos are different enough that it's okay.  Also, because seafood can't sit around for too long, I like to make Monday or Tuesday fish/seafood night.

White fish (whatever is on sale), broiled or pan fried until flaky.
corn tortillas, cilantro, tomato, red onion, cojita cheese

Tecate or some other Mexican beer.

Tuesday: Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Veggie Sandwiches, Roasted Cauliflower (1 hour)

The Soup:

I like this because I can make the soup ahead of time on Sunday and it will be good to go.  Fortunately it's also a very easy recipe.  This one comes courtesy of Lisa Ferrerio.

Watch her video HERE.

Ingredients: Chibatta bread, olive oil, dried herbs, 1/4 onion, shallot, 1 tsp garlic, 2 jars roasted red peppers, 1/3 cup chicken stock, 1/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup cream cheese.

Veggie Sandwiches:

I love making these with some chibatta bread (and how convenient with the soup).  Fry up some zucchini slices, yellow squash slices, red onion, with some olive oil, salt and pepper in a skillet.  Spread hummus on one side of the bread and pesto on the other.  Place the bottom of the sandwich in the skillet on low heat.  Top with veggies and cheese.  Close the sandwich then cover the skillet with a lid for a few minutes to build up heat and get that cheese nice and melted.  Once done, move to a plate to cool and fry up and egg or two if you want a delicious, and very messy, addition!

Roasted Cauliflower:

This recipe came from the Bon Appetit magazine.  Simply delicious.  Cook time is about 50 minutes, so you'll want to time it right.

Ingredients: 1 cauliflower, 4 thyme sprigs, 4 garlic cloves (peeled), 1 onion, olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 deg.  Cut cauliflower into florets (or thaw frozen ones).  Toss in a bowl with 1 chopped medium onion, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 tbsp olive oil, and 4 peeled garlic cloves.  Spread out onto rimmed baking sheet.  Sprinkle with ground pepper and salt.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.  After they are soft, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and roast 10-12 minutes more.

Wednesday: Tortilla soup (1 - 1 1/2 hours but less with preplanning)

Thanks to Ami for sharing this one with me.  It comes from Pioneer Woman and you can find the recipe HERE.

I know the time is a lot for a mid week meal, but I'm planning to precook some stuff on Sunday so it should go quicker.

cooks note: use tortilla chips from Sunday's dinner instead of making your own.  Also, since you'll be pre-making the roasted red pepper soup on Sunday, why not go ahead and pre-make this chicken too.

Thursday: Beef and Broccoli. (15 minutes + marinade time)

I looked to Ami for two recipe's this week.  This one comes from Rainy Day Gal and you can find the recipe HERE.

Lunch:  Sandwiches.

Usually my lunch is more interesting, bbq pulled pork, turkey/bacon/avo, salsa chicken, etc.  But this week for some reason I decided I was in the mood for good old fashion sandwiches... basic ham and cheese, and peanut butter & jelly.  I also keep a jar of nuts at my desk for munching.  Jeremy will do salad's this week with turnkey breast and olive oil with ground pepper.

I promise something more exciting for lunch next week.

Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Bonnie

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!



HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!

- Max





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Big Sur & A Trip to Monterey

I was so excited to be able to spend last weekend with my friend Steve and his wife, Amanda.  Steve and I went to undergrad together and though we've kept in touch, it's been about 8 years since we've been able to hang out.

What's awesome is that Steve and Amanda live in Monterey, about 2 hours from Oakland.  So Jeremy, Max, and I packed up on Friday and headed down to visit.

I was excited for a few things this weekend.  1) to see old friends.  2) for max to experience the beach and the ocean.  And 3) for max to play with Ginger dog!  Yep, Steve and Amanda have a little dog and I knew Max would just love him.

Though Friday night was a little touch and go, by Saturday night Max and Ginger dog were best friends.



I'm pretty sure Ginger ate more people food this weekend than she has in her short life so far.  Sorry about that Amanda.

Saturday morning we headed out to the coast and down to Big Sur.   The drive was amazing.  Though it was hard, I controlled myself and didn't ask to stop too many times along the way.  

We drove down to McWay Falls at Pfeiffer Beach and headed back, stopping a few times along the way.

The water looks so inviting.

And the coast so beautiful.

But it's pretty darn cold!

McWay Falls

McWay Falls Coast

Happy Family... well, two of us.

Bixby Bridge

After the drive, we headed to a small beach in Monterey.  I never did find out the name of it, mostly because I was crashed out along the way. 

I was so excited for Max to see the beach and the ocean.  He loves water and he loves the pool, so I was hoping he would like the ocean, even if it was a bit too cold to swim.

So we walked up to the water line.


And watched the ocean waves washing up on the shore.


The sand was chilly, but he cautiously walked toward the waters edge.


Man that water is COLD!  


And he was none too happy.


After we dried off a bit, we went away from the waters edge and spent some time in the sand.  He wasn't too happy at first (clearly), but after a while he seemed to be a little happy.


This kid is such a cutie!

Although the first trip didn't go exactly as I had hoped, I think our next adventures in the sand will be better received.  Though I'm sure swimming in the ocean will have to wait until we visit someplace warm!

Here's to great friends and California living!





Thursday, May 22, 2014

California Dreamin'

We made it!

It's been a hell of a 2 months, but we are finally here and getting situated.  At this point you've probably heard the story, but I'll give you a quick recap.

For the past few months I'd noticed the funding on my current project getting tighter and tighter.  I knew it was just a matter of time, so I started looking at other options.  One day I saw a post from Russ Angold on Linkdin looking for an electrical engineer to head up their Ekso team in the Bay Area.

"Should I apply?" I asked Jeremy.

"Sure, why not." He said. 

Well fast forward a few weeks and I landed the job two days before I was told that my project funding would be out in three weeks.  Perfect timing. 

Though I wasn't (and sometimes still aren't) convinced it was a good idea, we decided that if we didn't move to Cali then we would look back on this opportunity 10 years from now and say "why didn't we go."

So we sold the house, packed our stuff, and headed on out here.

Two weeks after moving and I can say we are getting used to the area.  We live in Oakland, but up in the hills with a great view of San Francisco and the bay.  Our house is about 700 sq ft smaller than our Houston house, but we rented a storage place and we are getting used to the limited space.  Honestly, there were rooms in our old house that we never really used anyway, so it's not so bad.  Plus we've really downsized and purged, which felt great.

As for my job, well, that's going great.  I'm full time now (did a few half days to start) and I'm loving the people and the work.  Our building is open and airy and has windows... a whole wall of them.  We even have TWO, yes 2, women's bathrooms.  Check out the bathroom signs


I've already have lots to do and people are all pretty excited that I've finally arrived.  I hope I can live up to their expectations!

Also today I got to take the Ekso GT for a test ride, okay walk.  It's pretty cool and it was really interesting feeling this exo vs the X1 exoskeleton that I worked on at NASA. 

What's even cooler is that people are coming into the building all the time to work with the exo and work with the PT's in our group.  It's amazing to see people up and walking in such a short amount of time.  I'm really excited to be part of this team and to be part of a project that will have such a lasting impact on mankind.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A special message from Sonoma




Happy 39th Anniversary 
Mom & Dad!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle



Yesterday Jeremy, myself, and our friend, Chris, got to drive the NASA SEV Chariot Rover.  The Rover was designed in in the Dexterous Robotics Lab where I work, however the team that designed it is part of a different group, in a different building, so I don't get to interact with them very often.

It was a great experience to learn more about what they are doing and to drive the rover.  It was so much fun!

Jody was nice enough to take us out to the rock yard and we each got to drive through the craters and up and down the rock hill.

The Chariot Rover has six wheel modules, each with independent suspension, drive, steering and 2 feet of travel.   It also is equip with crab drive.  All this allows the rover to traverse even the most difficult terrains.

Here are some pictures of us driving up and around the rock yard.





Check out my flickr page for more photos and videos!