Author Archives: Jillian
This recipe was so good. I thought it was going to be boring with no flavor but man was I wrong. Darren practically begged me to take the leftovers to work the next day. He in turn forgot them in the fridge when he left for work so I helped myself to them when I was working from home the next day. Ooops. Sorry.
Braised Chicken and Gnocchi
Adapted From: Real Simple
- 6 Chicken Legs
- 1 Packet of Potato Gnocchi (about a pound)
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon paprika (I sprinkled a little extra)
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- Heat oven to 400 F
- Make sure your chicken is dry and pat with paper towel if necessary.
- Season with paprika, salt and pepper as desired while heating the olive oil in a skillet.
- Put chicken in the skillet and cook for about 4-6 minutes on each side or until skin is crisp.
- Place chicken in a baking dish. I used a 9 x 13 pan.
- Add the broth, and place in oven to cook for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes add the gnocchi and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until gnocchi is completed.
- Plate and enjoy!
This was perfect with little to no prep and left me time to do other things while it was cooking. I’m all about multi-tasking especially during the work week. Working for 7.5 hours a day, working out, and all that goes into a day doesn’t leave much time to do a super intricate dinner so this was a nice (and delicious) compromise. It tasted great but was so easy to make.
What is up with the weather yo? I’m use to busting out the scarves, jackets and layering up a storm this time of year. Not being able to ride my bike in capris and a short sleeved shirt in January. I had to double check the calendar on Saturday when I went for my morning run and later bike ride. The calendar indeed said it was January. Either I’m crazy or California weather missed the memo that its mid-January and not April.
I’m not complaining because I love not having to deal with even worse traffic due to rain and excessive fog but can a girl get a little rain so I have an excuse to cuddle up on the couch and not leave the house? It’s not like I need an excuse but it sure would be nice to have one every once in a while. Sheesh.
Since the weather decided it wanted to be gorgeous on Saturday I took advantage of it and did a practice 5k in preparation for my first 5k race this Sunday (!!!). I finished the 3.1 miles and then did a 1.4 mile walk back up to my apartment. I think I’m set for Sunday. I’m not fast by any stretch of the imagination but as long as I finish that is all that matters to me. I could barely run a block this time last year.
After my run I met up with a friend and we did a leisurely bike ride on the Bay Trail in San Mateo. After we were done we did what we do best; we went shopping. I didn’t find much except a red shirt. I’m boring I know.
But to make up for my boring clothing choices I made a delicious meal that I’m going to share with you tomorrow. It was easy, tasty and the leftovers got eaten and not thrown out. That’s quite a feat in our house. I’ve never really mastered the cutting a recipe in half so you don’t have enough to feed an army when in actuality only two people will be eating it. On about day 2-3 of leftovers I’ve had it with it and throw it out. It’s terrible I know – so my remedy is only make delicious things that will be devoured in 2.5 seconds flat. Kind of like this sweet potato with black beans, corn and salsa on top. It never stood a chance.
I still can’t believe it’s 2012. 2011 felt like it flew by! It doesn’t help that I was quite the party animal on New Years Eve. Actually – that is a lie. I wasn’t feeling great on NYE so me and Darren cancelled our plans to party it up in SF for a quite night at home with a bottle of champagne. In reality this meant an unopened bottle of champagne and me falling asleep on the couch at about 10pm. Luckily I woke up at 11:30 in time to ring in the new year as I moved from the couch to the bed. What can I say – I’m a party animal! Don’t worry the champagne didn’t go to waste I had a mimosa the next morning with it. Who would waste champagne?
So much was packed in this previous year I really don’t even know where to begin. I experienced and learned so much in a year that it’s surreal that it all happened in just one year. I’m not a mushy touchy feely person so going into depth about how impactful this year was to me isn’t really my style. Because I think its important to reflect I’ll humor you and give you a little list of the big things I remember. Pardon my memory, I forget things all the time. I guarantee this list will be no different.
- I moved in with Darren – this was a HUGE step for me. I always said I wouldn’t live with a BF, that I like my space, independence and all that jazz. Look at me now – we’ve been living together for nearly 6 full months. We’ve both had to adjust to annoying habits the other posses but for the most part things have gone smoothly – if only he would put things back where they go!
- I’ve been out of college longer than I was in college – that is REALLY surreal and weird to think about but at the same time makes total sense. At times I feel like college was lifetimes ago and other times I feel like it was just yesterday. It’s really odd to me.
- I concurred some fitness related things that terrified me. – I took my first boot camp class and started running. I was always so scared I wouldn’t be able to hang in a boot camp class and now I do it twice a week! Up until this year I literally could not a run more than a minute or two without stopping and now I can run a few miles at about a 10 min/mile pace. I even participated in my first turkey trot!
- Started this blog! Me and Anna started this last May and it’s been a fun (and difficult) journey so far. We attended our first blogger meet up and a blogger festival. We had such great and positive experiences with the people we’ve met through blogging.
- Started seriously cooking – I’ve tried SO many new concoctions and recipes this year than any other year. I’ve had my kitchen disasters but for the most part have been successful. I’ve found how much I enjoy coming up with tasty, nutritious and easy to make foods that can fit into my lifestyle.
With every year that ends I like to set goals or expectations for myself. I don’t like to make goals that are unattainable or that I could never stick to because it’s setting myself up for failure and I hate losing at anything. I think long and hard about things I want to do WAY before I do them – some would say TOO much. I research and look into EVERYTHING. I seriously investigated hair brushes when mine broke. So the goals I have below are things I want to (and plan to!) complete before the year is over.
- Run more – I really want to pick up my running because I do like it (most days). I’m participating in my first 5K next weekend and would really love to do my first 1/2 marathon before the year is over. I’m thinking maybe the San Diego Rock & Roll for my 1/2 and also probably doing Bay to Breakers. I’m not setting time goals – I simply just want to finish.
- Apply to grad school – I’ve been going back and forth on this for what feels like forever. This is the year I finally want to crack down and send out the applications and get my butt in gear.
- Go to Europe – This is already planned for this summer and all we need to do is bite the bullet and buy our tickets. We’re planning on doing Ireland and Italy (10 days in each). I’m excited since I’ve never been to Europe and have an obsession with Italy.
- Make Cubicle Chronicles better – I don’t really have a set list of things I want to do but I really want to work hard on blogging better and more frequently. I also want to be more interactive within the blogging community.
- Work out better and smarter – I think this last year I kind of fell into a lull a bit and went to the gym days I probably should have rested and had sub par workouts. I also feel like some days I could have pushed myself farther. The ways I’m going to remedy this is try new classes/activities, incorporate more outdoor/interactive workouts, and use my new Garmin to track calories burned, distance, etc. to make sure I’m not just going through the motions but actually pushing myself for a good workout. Most importantly I want to listen to my body better.
- Plan and cook more – I LOVE trying new recipes but hate planning my grocery list and menu for the week. When I go to the store this leads to random things thrown in the cart and creative thrown together dinners/lunches. I really want to be more proactive about planning and preparing delicious and nutritious meals.
- Pay off any debt I have – I have some student loans, car payment and a few credit cards with balances on them. It’s nothing too crazy but I really would love to get the majority, if not all, of it paid off by the end of the year.
- Build Savings – This kind of goes hand in hand with my last goal. I’d love to pad my savings a bit (ok, a lot). I’ve already started this by automatically taking money from my weekly checks to my savings which is not tied to my checking account.
That seems like a lot when I write it down but in actuality I know all of these are attainable but wont be easy. If they were easy what would be the challenge and fun in that??
I hope everyone had a great New Years and is set to make this the best year ever. I know I am!
So I’ve been slacking on the posting but I decided to take a week or so off during my vacation from work for myself. I wanted to spend time with friends and family without taking time out to write blog posts. It was purely selfish, but I really think it was needed. It’s help me re-evaluate what I want to write about and ideas to make our little corner of the internet better. While I’m a week late her are my Christmas recaps.
Christmas Celebration #1 – With Darren’s Family
Before Darren and I headed to his families house for Christmas we exchanged gifts before hand. I got the bike (which I took for a spin for the first time this weekend), a Adele live DVD, dark chocolate of the world (from Trader Joes) and a few other small things hidden in my stocking. Darren’s gifts from me were of no surprise either since he practically hand picked them without knowing for sure if he was getting them. He got a watch, new running shoes and some Irish chocolate. I’d say we did a great job with the gift exchange this year. Most of the gifts were practical and we would get TONS of use out of. Those are my favorite kinds.
This Christmas at Darren’s families house is the first time I’ve been away from my family for Christmas and it was a bit odd for me. Everyone has their own traditions and way they celebrate and it was interesting to see how another family does it. We attended a party on Christmas eve at a family friends house after having dinner all together.
Christmas day we woke up bright and early and opened gifts, had coffee and breakfast before everyone hide out and relaxed as preparations for Christmas dinner approached. Me and Darren watch Band of Brothers, which I’ve seen before. I LOVE this HBO series. It’s well done from the story, to the cast, to the visuals and so forth. If you are like me and are interested in WWII this is a must see.
I was in charge of bringing sweets, which was right up my alley. I made a variety of things which of course I HAD to taste test. I made peppermint bark, Oreo cheesecake truffles (which Darren’s dad LOVED), Puppy Chow, English Toffee and brought some dark chocolate shortbread cookies. Phew that sounds like a lot when I write it down but didn’t feel like too much when making it all. Everyone ate most of it which is good because I didn’t want any coming back to my house. 🙂
Although it was odd to not be with my family on Christmas eve/day I enjoyed the holiday knowing that in less than a week I would get to celebrate with my family, including my brother who got time off from the Navy to come.
Christmas Celebration #2 – With My family
I took the week off work the week after Christmas. It was much needed and I’m itching for another one on my first day back to the office. My parents and brother came to good old San Francisco to celebrate together for Christmas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Even though it was a week later it wasn’t weird or odd at all. The tree multiplied in gifts once my parents arrived.
My mom is the kind of person that listens all year and stocks up on stuff throughout the entire year. She is really good at getting things you wouldn’t normally buy yourself but could really use. There were so many gifts, big and small. As was to be expected (knowing my mom) she got me and Darren several things for our apartment including a sweet new rice cooker, stacking mugs, and glasses. We also got some great individual gifts. I’m EXCITED that I got the Garmin I’ve been pining for and the curling iron – hopefully it will curl my hair. I also got some new running gear which is a great motivator to keep running.
But more important than the material items are the time I got to spend with friends and family. My family very rarely gets together. My parents live 3+ hours north of me and my brother is in the Navy stationed out of state. I think the last time we were all together was over a year ago when my brother moved to where he is stationed. It was nice to get together, chat, see each other and just enjoy ourselves. We ate, we drank, we were merry and may have even watched a UFC fight – per my brother’s request. It was a great reminder what’s important and how much spending time with people is WAY more important than any material gift.
I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season – no matter what you celebrate!