Inspired by Life

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Bread

I am a reluctant baker. Not quite the introduction one would like to read as they look up your recipe but I have to be honest. Give me a mystery basket of ingredients and tell me to cook something and I will confidently attack the task at hand. Give me something that requires me to bake and you will be met with blank stares and bewilderment. Okay, not completely accurate but close enough.

Every once in a while, some phantom thought will wedge itself in my brain and convince me that my fear of baking is unfounded and I should just go for it. So I do. And it turns out okay, even delicious at times. This recipe came with simple ingredients (a combination I had never tried before), a three-to-four-step process, and resulted in yumminess. I was willing to try it despite my natural instinct to stay away from baking :) If you have never tried the combination of chocolate and zucchini, you are in for a treat. If you have, you need no encouragement to whip up this baby in no time and impress your family and guests.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Guacamole Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

In an attempt to curb my enthusiasm for eating white rice three times a day, I have been seeking out food combinations that are healthier for me. This is a combination I don't often think of because guacamole and bread don't seem to readily go together in my head. But, I was so wrong! This was delicious and the Monterey Jack Cheese slices melted to perfection takes this to another level. Your kids will ask for this meal and if you are willing, they wouldn't mind making it for themselves either!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fish Tacos & Mango Avocado Salsa

Notwithstanding all obvious signs that winter is still around, my mind is playing tricks on me by inducing thoughts that include fresh farmers' market-type ingredients. This meal came together so quickly and easily and the flavors complementing each other immediately transformed us straight back to sunny California. Warm weather, sunshine, beaches, farmers' markets, latin music... hmmm, how much longer till springtime?

Okay, back from daydreaming but only long enough to give you the recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekly Menu - February 17, 2014.

I have the utmost respect for those mothers who run around all day long taking care of kids, laundry, homework, driving their kids to games, etc., and are still able to put a meal together for dinner so their family could spend some quality time with each other.

As I look forward to my own little bundle of joy, I wonder how long I can pull off just opening the fridge and coming up with things to make for dinner before my brain cells' capacity starts depleting :) I am convinced that "pregnancy brain" is a real phenomenon! To battle this and make this a preventative measure, I make a regular weekly menu. It helps with grocery shopping and meal planning without having to be at my wits' end each evening as I try to conjure up a delicious dinner. I am noticing that the third benefit could be that it allows me to create some new blog posts as well. Now that's what I call a multitasking menu list!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Firecracker Chicken

Looking for something to turn up the heat during these long, cold, exceptionally cold (oh, I already said that) winter days,  I turned to my trusty friend—Pinterest. While I am still getting the hang of using this medium of recipe collection, I have found some great blogs and sources of inspiration as far as food is concerned. One of these sources is Mel's Kitchen Cafe and I love everything I have made so far.

Recipes on Pinterest are a hit and miss. I have been lucky to have fewer misses than many others. This Firecracker Chicken was a surefire hit! It is now added to our meal rotation. It takes a bit more time than most of the recipes I usually make, but it is well worth the effort! Tangy, sweet, and spicy all rolled into one, these crispy pieces of chicken make you want more while you are still eating your first bowl. I served this with some white sushi rice, topped with some green onions and sprinkled with some sesame seeds. It was mouthwatering!

Here's the recipe!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I wasn't ready for marriage

An honest, thoughtful, insightful blog post by Matt Walsh on his popular blog. He was spot on in his observations and this was such a well-written collection of thoughts that I feel compelled to re-post it on my blog for future reference.

I wasn't ready for marriage.

I met my wife on eHarmony. I was a morning rock DJ in Delaware, she was living in Maryland and finishing up her degree. I drove two and a half hours to pick her up for our first date. I spent most of my bi-weekly paycheck on tickets to a dinner theater in Baltimore. The rest went to gas and tolls.
And that’s the way it would go for the next year and a half (minus the dinner theater part). Once a week, I’d spend money I didn’t have and drive the 260 mile roundtrip to see the love of my life. Sometimes I’d sleep for a few hours in the guest room at her mom’s house, waking up at 2AM to head back to the coast for my 5:30AM radio show.

I was very tired back then.

And broke.

Lord, was I broke.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Savory Corn Cakes w/ Lime & Guacamole

Although I have been in America for a long time, I still have a hard time eating sweet breakfasts :) So I am always on the lookout for savory dishes and I happened to stumble onto one recently via Pinterest on A Spicy Perspective.  Cornmeal, lime zest,  guacamole. Need I say more? Just had to try it!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ammon & Jessica's DC Vacation

This weekend we had the pleasure of spending some quality time with Aaron's brother's cute family - Ammon, Jessica & Ezra. It was wonderful to have them visit us all the way from Arizona! Entering my third trimester accompanied by the cold weather made me a home-bound host, but they had the chance to do a tiny bit of sightseeing in DC - The White House, Capitol Hill, and the Pentagon (which I got to be a part of), to name a few places.

However, playing with Ezra could easily be the highlight of their visit :) I love this baby and I like to think he loves me, too! I would prop him up on the dining table while we sat around eating, chatting, and he would lean forward and play for about 10 seconds, then lean back and put one arm around my neck and snuggle his face into my neck. Ahhhh - I could die from the sweet feeling of getting loves from a tiny six-month old!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Reading List

February is turning out to be another winner in terms of my reading list! I am excited to dive into these books and lose myself in them. I have already started reading two of these books—French Kids Eat Everything (I am taking notes!) and My Berlin Kitchen (loving her blog - The Wednesday Chef). They are both really great books, and I have already added a couple more books on the list for February.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

German Pancakes

Aaron, aka The Breakfast King, knocks it out of the park yet again! He whipped up these babies in no time and they looked so perfect, I hesitated to eat them (but for no longer than a couple of seconds). This is a Taylor family favorite for breakfasts, and my mother-in-law made it for them all the time, only for some reason, they called them souffle. I, on the other hand, had never had German pancakes before.

I slept in this morning, and as I stirred awake, I could hear Aaron pottering around the kitchen below. I knew he was making something yummy but I could not imagine that he would make these perfect, puffy pancakes from Our Best Recipes by Better Homes and Gardens. He just shrugged off the praise (although I could tell he was loving my audacious praises), and said they were really easy to make.

Don't you want to try it for yourself?