Roasted Red Pepper Pesto!

After I made my broccoli pesto, I've been intrigued by all the different types of pesto out there and have wanted to try making another one since then. Tonight I made a roasted red pepper pesto and it was rather amazing! I added it to my spinach pasta with mushrooms was craving more when the bowl was empty...

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Serves 8, 1/4 cup per serving
2 large red peppers
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
splash of lemon juice

Discard pepper tops, core and seeds. Char peppers on the grill or broiler. Under the broiler it takes up to about 20 minutes. Continuous rotate them while charring to ensure it cooks evenly. Once slightly cooled, rub the skin off the peppers with a paper towel. Add everything to a blender until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water if needed to made help with blending. 

Add to whatever you heart desires and ENJOY!



Do You Know The Muffin Man?

I feel like I'm turning into the muffin man. I just made another batch of muffins. This time, much less healthy and oddly enough not as tasty, so I won't share the recipe with you. I just googled chocolate chip muffins and tried my luck on a food.com recipe. I was going to make cookies, but having the muffins last week to take to work with me as a kind of second breakfast was so nice and I couldn't justify taking cookies as a second breakfast! I even continued my muffin streak this weekend in Blacksburg by enjoying a delicious lemon-raspberry muffin from one of Dan and I's favorite coffee shops, Bollo's. Plus muffins just seem really fall-esque to me and with the nice little cold snap here I've been craving some heartier, warmer type meals...not that a muffin constitutes a meal! Tomorrow I'm going to make some porkchops and potato-apple mash...see I do make food other than muffins. I'll let you know how it turns out. Now I'm turning in for the night since I'm extra sleepy from my drive back to Baltimore last night and an extra early work day this morning.



Lush Obsession

At least it is healthy hygiene obsession. 

Bath products my friends, wonderful, fresh handmade bath products. 

It all started when I met my dear, lovely, beautiful friend Jaye in Denver and she opened up a whole new world to me. These products are magical for self care and they make you smell oh so pretty. I was a little sad when I left Colorado, because they were opening up a new store in Denver and there was one in Boulder...I was right in the middle of the two! But this weekend, I just happened to be shopping at Ikea, when I was finished, I decided to walk around the outdoor mall area and BAM! I saw a Lush store. Ahhhh, sweet relief. Now, I don't have a ginormous bath tub anymore so I reframed from stocking up on bath bombs and bubble bars, but Lush has so much more. My favs...Buffy and Vanilla in the Mist were a must. Then I happened to be browsing the shower gels and came across Flying Fox. It was love at first sniff. I came home after work tonight and all I wanted to do was shower. 

And at least I will smell good after my Team in Training runs...10 miles this weekend!

Happiness in a bottle.  

And the box under the sink Chris may or may not know about...
he says he doesn't read this so we will find out!

Would it be weird to take multiple showers in one day?


Ahh...Relaxing Weekend, Will You Come Back?

This past weekend was fabulous in a very low key way. Spent some quality snuggle time with Harper and Mav, ran a painful 10 miles, took a trip to the farmer's market, watched the NOLES play football, and ended the weekend with some baking and a Sunday Night Baltimore Family Dinner.

Seminole flag waving proud at the Baltimore alumni bar
With some of my farmer's market peaches I decided to take a stab at this recipe from Marcus Samuelsson's blog. I used cupcake liners instead of the butter, and they did stick a bit, but they still turned out absolutely delicious!

Cinnamon Peach Muffins Recipe
Makes 9 muffins, Adapted from Food & Wine’s Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes
Butter for tins
1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
1 large or 2 small peaches, ripe, but firm
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup oat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
3 ounces (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooked slightly
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
1 egg
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Rub muffin tins with a 1/3-cup capacity with butter.
  2. For the topping, halve the peach, remove the pit, and slice the halves into slices about ¼ inch thick. Add the butter, honey, and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon to a medium-size skillet. Place the skillet over a medium flame to melt the mixture, stirring to combine. Cook until the syrup begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. Add the peaches, toss the pan to coat them with the syrup, and set aside.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. Using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently combine.
  4. Scoop the batter into 9 muffin cups, using a spoon or an ice cream scoop. The batter should be slightly mounded above the edge. Toss the pan of peaches to coat them with the pan juices. Lay one slice of peach over each of the muffins, tucking a second slice partway into the batter. Any extra peaches are delicious over yogurt or ice cream. Spoon the pan juices over the peaches.
  5. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The muffins are ready to come out when they smell nutty, their bottoms are golden in color (twist a muffin out of the pan to check), and the edges of the peaches are caramelized. Take the tins out of the oven, twist each muffin out, and place it on its side in the cup to cool. This ensures that the muffin stays crusty instead of getting soggy. These muffins are best eaten the same day they are made. They can also be kept in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or frozen and reheated.
The weekend finished off with a Sunday night family dinner with some of my friends from Baltimore. It made me miss my Tallahassee family a lot. And on that note, I'm off to drown my sorrows in a muffin!



Asian Noodle Goodness

I've been looking for some hearty, healthy meals to eat before my long runs with Team in Training and came across this one in Bon Appetite's Easy Fresh Cookbook I got at the Benicia Library a few weeks ago. So I made this meal last night and ran 8 miles this morning and it felt great! It was like eating fuel for my body and I think it made a difference. And I had plenty of left overs for lunch today for a great recovery meal. I highly recommend it.

Asian Noodle Salad (serves 4)
  • 1 lb of Eggplant cut up into smallish pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms stemmed (I used dried and it turned out fine)
  • 2 bunches of green onions
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 6 ounces Soba Noodles (can be found in natural or Asian food section of your grocery store)
  • 8 oncues sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 7 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • Juice from 2-3 limes (about 3-4 tablespoons)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated lime peel

Combine eggplant, mushrooms and green onions and add oil. Toss and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Either grill or saute over medium high heat turning often until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water for about 3 minutes or until tender but still has a bite. Add sugar snap peas to boiling water and cook about a minute longer. Drain well and transfer noodles to a large bowl with veggies. Whisk together hoisin sauce and all remaining ingredients and add to noodle mixture. Season with salt and pepper and you are done.

I made some beef for Chris because he always needs meat with a meal, but I ate mine without and it was perfect.

And look, evidence that I loved it...

Now time to watch some Seminole Football!! Go Noles!




Welcome Class of 2015!

Yesterday was the first day of school at Loyola and I've been go, go, go ever since! I'm glad that the students are back. It was getting a bit boring this summer without them here. There has been awful weather for this first week. I think it's rained for probably 45 out of the past 48 hours. Yuck! I'm glad that I don't have to traipse from class to class, I can just sit in my office and wait for the students to come to me! 

It's hard to believe that I was beginning college 9 years ago! You know what that means...next year is my 10 year high school reunion. Some days I feel really old, and other days I feel really young. In looking at Beloit College's mindset list for this year's incoming freshmen, I realize that even though there's only 9 years separating myself from the freshmen, in some aspects we are ages apart! Enjoy the list!


The Mindset List for the Class of 2015
Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.
  1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
  2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
  3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
  4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
  5. There have nearly always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
  6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
  7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
  8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
  9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
  10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
  11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.
  12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
  13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.
  14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
  15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
  16. Women have never been too old to have children.
  17. Japan has always been importing rice.
  18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
  19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
  20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
  21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
  22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.
  23. The Communist Party has never been the official political party in Russia.
  24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.
  25. Video games have always had ratings.
  26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.
  27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.
  28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.
  29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.
  30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
  31. Women have always been kissing women on television.
  32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.
  33. Most have grown up with a faux Christmas Tree in the house at the holidays.
  34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”
  35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.
  36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.
  37. Music has always been available via free downloads.
  38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
  39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.
  40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
  41. The United States has always been shedding fur.
  42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
  43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.
  44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.
  45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.
  46. Russian courts have always had juries.
  47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.
  48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.
  49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.
  50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
  51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.
  52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
  53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.
  54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.
  55. New Kids have always been known as NKOTB.
  56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
  57. They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
  58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown. 
  59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.
  60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.
  61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.
  62. Nurses have always been in short supply.
  63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
  64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.
  65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.
  66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.
  67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.
  68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.
  69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.
  70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.
  71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
  72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.
  73. McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.
  74. “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
  75. The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.


Gimme Five!

Happy Labor Day! Yay for days OFF of work :) And how cool is this photo! It was taken during a Team in Training Run in Emeryville, CA. I'm having such a great time training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon to help benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the race happens to be occurring 6 weeks from yesterday!! I'm still working on my fundraising goal, there is still plenty of time to help!
1. Gimme 5 minutes of your time. Go to my website (Erica's Website), and read about what what I am doing.

2. Gimme 5 bucks. Just donate online. Five dollars for a great cause—and hey, if you want to donate more, fantastic!

3.Gimme 5 friends. Send this to five friends and help spread the word!

4. I've met at least 5 amazing people through Team in Training that have been helped by the funds I am raising, by donating, you can help 5 MORE!

5. Every 5 minutes someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and that number is getting smaller. Money for research is desperately needed. Donate now!

 Thank you for all the continued support.



Some Like It Hot...Some Like It Cold

Some like summer and some like fall, and for those of you who like fall...it's quickly approaching! I have two conclusive signs from today. 1) I was chilly today in a dress and a cardigan (I'm probably not the best gauge of this since I am always freezing). 2) While picking up some Southern Tier Double IPA for the weekend, the clerk told me the pumpkin beers were out, which I kindly declined. 

None of those things have anything to do with this post which happens to be about a dinner I made a couple of nights ago. I took the recipe from Marcus Samuelsson's blog:

Pennette with Broccoli Sauce and Prosciutto Recipe
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 4-6 servings, depending on kid size and appetite
1½ pounds of broccoli, cut into florets
1 pound (1 box) of ribbed pennette
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of finely grated pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
¼ pound of thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped into thin slivers
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
Freshly ground pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, adding a generous amount of salt to flavor the broccoli.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli.
  3. Let the water return to a boil and add in the pennette. Cook for 8 minutes until pasta is al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta and broccoli in a colander and return to the pot. Add the olive oil, cheese and smashed garlic and stir until the broccoli and cheese form a speckled sauce. Keep an eye out for the garlic so that no unsuspecting diner takes a surprise bite. Remove the cloves after they’ve done their job.
  5. Add in the prosciutto and stir gently to prevent the meat from clumping together. Top with pecorino and freshly ground pepper.
I ended up buying pancetta instead of prosciutto on accident (that's what I get for trying to shop from memory). It worked ok, but had much more fat than the prosciutto would've had. I also halved the recipe and have had the initial dinner, another dinner, and a lunch and still have leftovers! All in all it was a pretty good, fast, easy recipe. True to form it was good both hot and cold as well as reheated in the oven. I think next time I try it I'll use salami and if I eat it cold I might add some sort of Italian vinaigrette and some tomatoes to give it more of a salady feel.

I'll be avoiding downtown Baltimore this weekend since the Grand Prix is going on. Oh and did I mention I ran 14 miles this morning? 6 weeks to the Baltimore Marathon! Happy Labor Day weekend!


Enchiladas and Okra

I first had these Enchiladas on a girls weekend up in Vail, Colorado back in March. My friend Desiree made them for us and we devoured them. We were in heaven!! She was kind enough to share the recipe and I have made them several times since then. They are such good comfort food and are relatively easy to make. I added roasted okra to the side it seemed to complement the dish well. I bought more okra today at the farmer’s market, so I will be roasting mine again soon!

Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 6
1 chopped medium onion
1 chopped green or red pepper
1 hot pepper, such as jalpeno
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1 4-ounce can green chili peppers
1 teaspoon coriander 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of flour
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ cups shredded jack cheese
12 6-inch tortillas

Preheat Oven to 350*. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, then add onions and peppers and cook until tender. Combine onion mixture in a bowl with chicken and green chilies and set aside. 

In the same saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When melted, stir in flour, coriander and salt. Whisk in chicken broth all at once and cook until sauce is thick and bubbly. Cook 1-2 minutes more then remove from heat. Stir sour cream and ½ cup of cheese. Add ½ cup of sauce to the chicken mixture. 

Dip each tortilla into the remaining sauce to soften. Fill each with about ¼ cups of chicken mixture, roll up and arrange in an 13x9x2 backing dish. Pour remaining sauce over everything and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes.

This dish can easily be made vegetarian by just using cheese and vegetable broth. I recommended roasting your favorite veggies to replace the chicken.

Roasted Okra
1lb fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a rimmed baking sheet, spead all the okra evenly. Toss the okra with oil and spices and roast for about 20-25 minutes.


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