Exploring Boston

Brendan and I set out this afternoon to tour the Back Bay in Boston, since that is where my office is, and I wanted to know how to get there on the T(subway).  I loved the Back Bay so much when I visited for interviews; it probably had a lot to do with why I chose the firm I chose. 

Our trip started out at… the Finish!! Yep, that’s the finish line of the Boston Marathon… drool. 


You have to risk your life for a pic with the finish line.  I ran out there while the light was red, and Brendan took a quick picture of me!

There is only one thing that Brendan and I like as much as new ice cream shops…new CANDY shops


Brendan was VERY excited about these peachy penguin gummies.  They were just OK.

We walked through the gorgeous brick buildings on Newbury Street, along the Charles River, and over to the Boston Common.


I just realized that we meant to do the Freedom Trail today, but we forgot… another day.

It was such a beautiful day, and there were literally TONS of runners all along the river.  It was more crowded than some races I’ve been in!  Not kidding.   Needless to say, I was pretty excited to go running when we got home.  I have runner’s envy real bad.  I thought I knew where I was going, but then I wasn’t sure about my loop route plan, so I ended up doing an out-and-back 7 miler.  It was SO beautiful out.  There was a crazy cloud formation and a beautiful sunset over the city.  Sorry, but I took my water bottle instead of my camera.  You’ll just have to come visit me! 

Dinner tonight was turkey chili from the “Cooking with all things Trader Joe’s” cookbook.  It’s super simple and healthy, making it one of my go-to dinners. 

Turkey Chili – serves 4



  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (we use white meat)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 can refried beans
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup TJ’s Chipotle salsa (or your fav salsa)
  • 2 Tbs. BBQ sauce
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Toppings: cheese, nonfat greek yogurt or sour cream, avocado


  • Sauté the onion with the olive oil for a few minutes over medium heat
  • Add the ground turkey and break it up as it cooks
  • Once the turkey is cooked through, add the cumin.  Stir
  • Add the refried beans.  Smash them so that they mix with the other ingredients.
  • Add all other ingredients through black beans (not the toppings!)
  • Stir!
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy with toppings of your choice, cornbread, chips, sourdough bread?  Yum.

Dinner time!

I don’t post the food I eat on my blog like a lot of healthy living and running bloggers do because it would be an unhealthy habit for me, personally.  I don’t have a problem with other people doing it.  There are some that I feel like I can read without feeling triggered, but there are other blogs that I choose not to read altogether because something about them gets me thinking about food toooo much.  Not good for me. 

However, I am going to post what Brendan and I make for dinner sometimes, even when it is not very interesting or involved.  This is going to serve as a resource for me when I am planning rushed weeknight dinners in the future, or before I head to the grocery store.  I hope that it may also serve as a resource for some of you as you battle the back-to-school craziness of fall when there is suddenly not even enough time to eat dinner!!

If you don’t care what I eat for dinner and you hate me, don’t read these posts.  If you think this might be useful or interesting to you, I will tag all of the dinner posts with the word “dinner” and you can find a list of the dinners I post by clicking on “dinner” in the tag cloud on my homepage.  Comment if that doesn’t make sense. 

Tonight Brendan and I teamed up to make risotto and caesar salad.  I love making risotto because I feel like once you make it the first time, you never really need a recipe except for the ratio of rice to liquid.  There are often a lot of extra steps in risotto recipes that may add subtle flavors, but I find they are really unnecessary for the average weeknight creamy risotto. 

Simplified Risotto (for 2-4 people, we usually have 1-2 servings of leftovers)

I think it takes 30 minutes for the whole process.  We poached the chicken while the risotto was cooking and just added it in. 


a few tablespoons olive oil

one yellow onion (coarsely chopped)

extra ingredients: artichoke hearts, mushrooms, chicken, sausage, spinach, tomatoes, etc.

one 32 oz. container chicken broth (or veggie)

1 1/2 cups arborio rice


(I used chicken that Brendan had poached and chopped and a can of artichoke hearts)


Pour all of the chicken broth into a saucepan over medium heat.

Put the olive oil in another pot over medium heat and sauté the onions and whatever other ingredients you have chosen to add to your risotto.  Honestly, you can’t really mess it up, so add whatever you think you like in your risotto.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the rice and mix it around, allowing the  rice to toast slightly and become more translucent. 

Add 1 cup of the (still on the stove heating) chicken broth and let cook/stir occasionally until that is absorbed.  Repeat this process until you are out of chicken broth.  The 1 cup measurement doesn’t really matter, but you should add the chicken broth in small amounts (about 4 times), allowing the rice to absorb the broth each time before you add more. 

You should continue to stir to avoid burning/sticking. 

When the last of your chicken broth is absorbed turn the stove down to low and cover the risotto for a few minutes.  I like to sprinkle some parmesan on top at this point so that it melts a nice layer across the top while the lid is on!! 

Serve with parmesan and some good bread.  We also had a salad. 

This is definitely on my go-to list for dinner because it is so easy to always have arborio rice and chicken broth around, and then I can just add whatever is in the fridge…

Shout out to Braedon who ran his first high school cross country race today!! Yay!!

Moving update and “Yumm”y new product

Brendan and I have decided to go camping in Yellowstone for two nights during our road trip, so we need to buy a tent!  We are looking into buying a TINY small light tent from one of Brendan’s coworkers, and she let us try it out last night before committing to the big purchase! 


Things got a little crazy in the kitchen last night when we were trying to get the poles to go in the right places without seriously damaging our apartment.  Once we got in we knew that it was just barely big enough.  Brendan said his only concern was how often I was planning to shower because it was a small space that would get stinky quickly. 


How can someone SO CUTE be soooooo rude!!?  Of course I will shower… once a week.  I’m actually not sure if we decided to buy it.  We obviously have really good communication. 

In other news…

Trader Joe’s has a new AWESOME product!!  Is that news?  Oh well, let me tell you about it anyways…


Hummus salad dressing!  We had it the other night as our dressing on our caesar salad and it was a little odd, but good.  Brendan liked it which is a miracle because he hates most salad dressings.  It really does taste a lot like hummus, but thinner and a tiny bit tangy.  SO… I know you are wondering… and YES, it does taste a LOT like YUMM sauce!  Woohoo…  Now I don’t have to go buy nutritional yeast and almonds to make the Yumm sauce.  It doesn’t have all of the same ingredients, but it does do the trick.  I had it today for lunch over a big veggie, white bean, salsa, rice medley. 

I apologize in advance if your TJ’s isn’t carrying the hummus dressing yet.

So then I HAD to use it for dinner:

Hummus dressing “Yumm”-y bowls


In the mix: brown rice, black beans, sweet potatoes, fresh corn, diced red pepper, butter lettuce, salsa AND TJ’s hummus salad dressing! 

Try it.  Now.  Please note that these fabulous ingredients would have even been good without the hummus dressing.  I know… treason. 

Mangio italiano

I’ve always been a Spanish speaker when it came to second languages.  I didn’t really even consider French (too impractical here) and my dad pretended to know knew and randomly spoke quite a bit of Spanish while I was growing up.  We traveled in Mexico a few times when I was in school and I LOVED being able to order in Spanish! 

When we started college, Brendan and I were really excited about all of the language offerings at Cal, so we enrolled in Italian I during our first semester.  That was probably the easiest class I took in college because Italian is so similar to Spanish, and I was super excited to be expanding my traveling opportunities.  After my first semester I started trying to take classes that could only be taken at Cal or that would be uniquely intellectual at Cal because I was paying a pretty penny to take language classes that could also be taken a lot cheaper.  I’ve really wanted to take French, so that I could formally learn the pronunciation (and learn how to say foods like clafoutis without sounding super dumb), but I will probably take it later. 

Needless to say I know very little Italian because I only took it for one semester, but I can read it and translate it pretty well because it shares its Latin roots with Spanish. 

I may not speak much Italian, but I do eat quite well in Italian!

Tonight I made Italian Wedding Soup from my Trader Joe’s cookbook!  I adapted it quite a bit, actually, but it is super simple and makes a nice meal.


Adapted from Cooking with all Things Trader Joe’s


1 bag frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s


1 cup diced onion

1 tsp crushed garlic

1/2 cup halved baby carrots

1 small zucchini (chopped)

1 (32 oz) carton chicken broth

3 cups southern green mix from Trader Joe’s

fresh parsley, chopped

Parmesan cheese


Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over med-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, carrot, zucchini.  Cook for 5 minutes-ish.  I start cooking before I’m ready (always), so I just add things as they are chopped and ready and add them in.  That means the onions cooked for longer than the garlic.  Whatever.


Add the chicken broth and meatballs.  If you had time to thaw your meatballs then you are a planner!  Want a medal?  You should chop your meatballs into bite-size pieces/quarters/sixths/you decide.  If they are still frozen because you also go to the grocery store 10 minutes before it is time to make dinner, just empty the bag into the pot.  We will deal with those big boys later. 

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  If you were in the frozen meatball camp, scoop your meatballs out and chop them up OR tell your boyfriend to suck it up and cut up his own food in his bowl after you serve it.  I scooped and chopped.  I also added a cup of water here because I wanted to (turned out great, felt like I could/should? have added more water).  You can be the judge. 


Add the greens and let boil for 10 more minutes or wilt that stuff however much you please.  When your boyfriend gets home, ladle out some boiling soup into a bowl, quickly top with chopped Italian parsley and grated cheese and watch as he digs in and burns his whole mouth!  Muah haha…


Things I am thinking of adding next time: more liquid, cannellini beans, diced tomato, more carrots, more zucchini. 

FYI: the recipe calls for chard or spinach (not the TJ’s crazy pungent blend, but I’ve been wanting to try it, so I did, and it was great…)


Food photographer of the year goes to…

I served this with sourdough bread and caesar salad.

Chickpea pasta sauce

There are two ways to stand in line at the grocery store:

1. Let your anxiety and impatience build up as you scrutinize every move that the customer or cashier make.  “What the… who pays with checks anymore?!”


2. Realize that you have nothing to do with the things going on in front of you.  You have just been gifted 2-5 minutes of relaxation.  Set your basket down and chill out.

An hour before dinner time this evening I realized I didn’t have any of the ingredients I needed to make dinner, so I rushed over to Trader Joe’s.  I was feeling a little frantic on my way to the store, but I made the conscious decision to take a chill pill when I got to the store.  I felt my irritation building when I saw 4 people in the express line at checkout, but I reminded myself that I would prefer to have a #2 experience, rather than a #1 (mega Bee-otch) experience.  And look how I was rewarded…


I LOVE Peonies.  They were right next to me, so I just stared at them until it was my turn to swipe my credit  card.

Down to business…

BEST pasta sauce ever.  Make this tomorrow.  Not tonight.  I don’t want to stress anyone out!

I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, but I have changed it a little bit, too.

Chickpea Sauce!

Makes enough for Hungry Hungry Brendan and Kaetlin… or 3 normal people.


olive oil

1 medium onion sliced

3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped

4 oz. turkey bacon diced (I use Trader Joe’s peppered)

Dried or fresh basil

1 14oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15oz. can garbanzo beans

1/2 cup chicken broth


Begin by sautéing the onions and garlic in olive oil (2 turns of the pan… lol do I sound like Rachael Ray!?) over medium-high heat.  When they start to get soft, add the diced turkey bacon and a good 7-10 shakes of the dried basil (or add your fresh basil).  Also add salt to taste ( don’t actually taste it).  Give these ingredients some time to cook together until the onions are gorgeously translucent and your house smells like Italy, or until your eyes stop burning from the onions.


Continue to watch and stir unless the only “me time” you get during the day is while your significant other does the dishes.  In that case, let them stick to the bottom and burn a little.  It will still taste fine.

Then add the diced tomatoes.  You can also put 1/2 cup of the garbanzo beans into the pot, but pour the rest of the can into the food processor.


I add a good amount of the sauce in there, too, because Brendan doesn’t like chunky tomatoes, but it is fine either way.  Add the chicken broth in there with the garbanzos, blend it to a nice chunky puree, and then add it back into the sauce.


Let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes uncovered for best results, but it will be just fine if you are too hungry to wait that long.

We had this with quinoa linguine and an arugula strawberry summer salad, but this sauce is also excellent served with eggs, by itself, or with bread…


My pictures are kind of blurry, but you get the idea.  I’m not a food blogger, remember!!