Tag Archives: Bucket List 2012

Easy Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

8 Feb

Also known as Tom Kha Gai. (try saying that 5 times fast.)

I love to order it from my favorite Thai place. The combination of the lemongrass, ginger and coconut is great to eat anytime of the year. I’ve always wanted to make it for myself  — mainly because once I know how to make Tom Kha Gai, I won’t order it anymore when I go out. I don’t like to eat specific dishes I know I can make. Which is great because it makes me venture off the everyday menu & try new things. Win Win for me!

Even though this recipe tastes exotic, you can find all of the ingredients are your local grocery store. I recommend using chicken thighs instead of breast meat. Thigh meat retains moisture when it’s cooked unlike breast meat which gets all rubbery if it’s cooked too long.

I like to add rice to this soup. It’s not the traditional way to eat it, but it keeps me full longer. You can add rice to a bowl and ladle the soup over it if you want.

It’s getting colder in Chicago… but this soup keeps me warm and the Thai flavors spice up my day. Hope you enjoy it!

Tom Kha Gai

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 can (14oz.) light coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass
  • 1 lb skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tbs Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Thai chili paste ( I used Sirichai since I always have it on hand)
  • Basil leaves, for garnish
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  1. In a medium sauce pan, add olive oil. When the oil is warm, add onion, garlic, ginger and green pepper. Once the onion is soft, add coconut milk, chicken stock and lemongrass. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Discard lemongrass. Garnish servings with basil and cilantro.

Cleanse Wrap Up and Citrus & Ginger Smoothie

19 Jan

I’m happy to report I made it through my 3 day cleanse of only eating fruits & vegetables. Excluding the evening of Day 2, I felt great! I have a lot of energy and I feel lighter. I lost the 5 lbs I gained from the honeymoon, which is awesome so my jeans fit again. 🙂

I had some additional fruits & veggies in my fridge this morning, so I thought I’d give this cleanse one more day. Mr. Tasty isn’t coming home until this evening, so I probably won’t be cooking for us until tomorrow.

There are a few reasons why I succeed & stuck with my plan to cleanse.

  • I had no other food to eat in my house besides fruits & veggies. This is a huuuge element of my sucess. I think if I had different types of food around, I would of caved.
  • Mr. Tasty wasn’t home. Yes, it was sad to send him off on Sunday, but when he’s not home, I tend to eat a lot better.
  • I made a commitment and proclaimed it on the blogosphere. Letting others know about a goal you have makes you more accountable.

Has there been a time when you made a commitment to something difficult and you succeed?? If you didn’t succeed, what got in your way?

Alright, onto the last smoothie post I’ll make for a looong time. This morning, I made a Citrus & Ginger Smoothie. I also threw in a couple carrots. (Yay, no more green smoothies!) This smoothie is loaded with vitiman C and it tastes great. When I took my first sip, the smoothie reminded me of a Dreamicle… well, more like a Dreamicle who had an Asian cousin. The ginger gives the smoothie a little kick. I wish I would of made this recipe sooner in the cleanse. Ginger can help with headaches and I really could of used some help on Day 2.

I can see myself making this smoothie again. I think this would be a great smoothie to have when you’re coming down with the cold. The vitiman C and ginger can help aid colds. Overall, the smoothie is really good and I really like the zing from the ginger.

Citrus & Ginger Smoothie

* 2 oranges, peeled

* 1 cup pineapple

* 1/2 banana

* 2 carrots

* 1 tsp minced ginger

* 2 oz cold water


Put all ingredients in the blender. Blend until completely smooth. Serve cold (you may want to add ice to the blender if you’re going to drink it right away) or store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

I hope you like this one as much as I did!

Bucket List 2012: 3 day cleanse, Day 3

18 Jan

Pineapple Green Smoothie

Here I am. On to-day 3 of my cleanse. I’m not gonna lie, last night was rough. I got the “cleansing headache” which wouldn’t go away until I went to bed. I tried eating some fruit and drinking more water, but nothing was helping my head feel better. I guess it’s good I don’t have any food in my house besides fruits & vegetables. I think I might have gone on a food binge just to make myself feel better….. but I can understand why I wasn’t feeling my best. I haven’t had any caffeine, meat, dairy or grains. My body is giving me a big WTHeck.

This morning I woke up feeling great, so I’m glad I stuck it out. I worked out first thing in the morning and I had a lot of energy. Mr. Tasty isn’t coming home until Thursday evening & I’m thinking I’ll do this cleanse for one more day.

Today I made a smoothie which reminded me of my honeymoon. While we were in Hawaii, we ate so much pineapple. I love pineapple but this was the best pineapple I’ve ever eaten in my life. Every place we ate had it. The pineapple scent was so strong, you could smell it before you even took a bite. The Pineapple Green Smoothie I made this morning was very tropical tasting. I plan on making it more often because it jump starts so many memories of our time in Hawaii.

This smoothie has a lot of fruit in it – Grapefruit, Kiwi, Banana & Pineapple. The green color comes from adding 2 handfuls of spinach. When blending, don’t stop until the smoothie is free from chunks. It took about a minute of blending in the Vitamix to make sure the mixture was completely smooth.

Pineapple Green Smoothie

1 Grapefruit, peeled & deseeded

2 Kiwis, peeled

2 cups of cubed pineapple

1/2 of a banana

2 cups (handfuls) of spinach

4 oz cold water


Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Serve cold. Can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Bucket List 2012: 3 Day Cleanse, Day 2

17 Jan

One day down, two more to go. Honestly, it hasn’t been that bad. I thought I’d be calling Papa Johns last night while watching bad reality TV, but it turns out I have more will power than I thought. Go me!

Yesterday I finished off all of the Glowing Green Smoothie I had made for the day. I felt fulfilled and there are so many fruits & veggies in this smoothie. Plus, it tastes really good!

Today I was ready to try something different. I looked in my fridge to see what was in there. Granted, I haven’t grocery shopped since the week we left for Hawaii. I wasn’t expecting to find much but I did see some grapefruits in my crisper. I forgot I received 6 grapefruits from Harry & David. Since I’m the type of girl who believes in “use what you have,” I knew grapefruits would be incorporated into a couple of my smoothies.  Not a bad item to have on hand. Grapefruits have been known to regulate blood sugar, lowers cholesterol levels and aids in cancer prevention. Some studies have proven that grapefruits help people to loose weight.

This morning I made a Grapefruit & Banana Smoothie. The banana really cuts the bitterness of the grapefruit and gives it a smooth consistency. I really want all of the smoothies I make to have fruits & veggies in them, so I added 2 handfuls of spinach. It gave the smoothie a bright green color and spinach is a very nutrient dense food.

As with all citrus fruit, I routinely remove the seeds and peel them.  With grapefruit, you can leave as much of the pith on to get extra fiber and nutrients.  Always discard the outer peel.

So I put all of the ingredients in my Vitamix along with some water and I got this…..

 Isn’t it pretty??!! I really liked this smoothie. I’m glad I made enough for 2 servings so I can have some more later. Really, don’t let the sour taste of grapefruit steer you away from this smoothie. The banana really does sweeten the drink. I hope you try it!

Grapefruit Banana Smoothie

1 grapefruit, peeled and deseeded

1 banana, peeled

2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)

4 ounces of water

a few cubes of ice, optional


Put all items in your blender and blend. Drink immediately or store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Bucket List 2012: 3 day cleanse, Day 1

16 Jan

I’m back from Hawaii. I got used to having this view.

And this one…

And just because I want to torment you, this is a beauty too…

And now I’m back in Chicago. I won’t bother posting a picture. Just imagine nothing but gray skies, slushy streets and blustery cold. Depressing, isn’t it?

I did have a wonderful time and now that I’m back, it’s time for me to get back in with reality. There is nothing like coming home from vacation, trying on you jeans and thinking “WOWZA, these bad boys are tight!”  That’s my life right now.

When I was in Hawaii, I ate everything I wanted and drank every fruity drink you could think of. I figured its vacation and who knows when I would have the opportunity to eat this region’s cuisine again. So I went for it — all of it. And now I have to deal with it.

If you read one of my past posts about a cooking bucket list, you know one of the things I wanted to do in the kitchen this year is do a cleanse. Crazy? Sure, but now is no better time for me to accomplish this task and cross it off of my bucket list.

I haven’t done research on a specific cleanse, so what I post isn’t approved by a Doctor. I’m very luckily to have a Vitamix blender and I’m relying on that bad boy to do all of the work for me. For the next 3 days, I will consume only fruits & veggies mainly in smoothie form. If I feel good after 3 days, I might even try it for 5 days.

The reason behind this cleanse is not to lose a lot of weight. I put on 5 lbs from my honeymoon eating. That’s not the normal way I eat, so I’m sure once I get back into my everyday routine, the weight will disappear. I’m doing this cleanse because I want to see how my body reacts to only eating fruits & vegetables. Honestly I’m a meat girl, a cheese girl, a carb loving girl. I need a break from all of these foods. I feel sluggish. Fruits & veggies have great effects on people. I’m willing to see how it goes and I’m pretty excited to get this cleanse started.

Over the course of the next 3 days, I will only be eating fruits & vegetables. I will be drinking water and tea. That’s it. I will not be starving because I eat when hungry. You will wouldn’t want to be around me when I get hungry. (My husband describes me as Cranky.) I plan on making 3 smoothies/juices a day. Since I’ve never done this before, I may up my amount if my stomach starts to rumble. I’ll let you know.

This morning I made my first smoothie. I love the book, The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder. You may have seen her on TV over the summer promoting her book. That’s how I first heard about her and the Glowing Green Smoothie. She has many celebrity clients and they swear by the GGS to keep them feeling healthy. I remember the first time I tried it and thought to myself, “I can’t believe how good this tastes!” The smoothie combines fruits & vegetables. That’s it. Say goodbye to smoothies filled with processed juices and creams. This is as natural as it gets. I’ve never had a smoothie with veggies and I really like it.

I like to make a couple batches at once since they last up to 3 days in the fridge. I’ll be having the GGS all day today, and so far, I feel pretty good! No headaches and I’m not cranky. 🙂  Below is the recipe and link to Kimberly’s Official Glowing Green Smoothie. I dare you to try it. I’m sure you’ll love it and want to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Kimberly Snyder’s Official Glowing Green Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients (64 ounces / 2-4 servings)

  • 1 ½- 2 cups very cold, filtered water
  • 6 cups spinach, chopped
  • 5 cups organic romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 stalks of organic celery
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic banana
  • 1–2 Tbs. fresh organic lemon juice

Optional Ingredients

  • Ice cubes (the extra coldness can help newbies with the taste)
  • 1/2 cup of organic cilantro
  • 1/2 cup of organic parsley


Add water, spinach and chopped romaine to the blender. Starting the blender on a low speed; mix until smooth. Gradually move to higher speeds and add the herbs, celery, pear, and apple. Add the banana and lemon juice last.

A new kind of resolution…

21 Dec

I went out last night. (yay!!) It’s a simple joy for me since I graduated from Kendall’s Culinary Arts program and I finally have free time at night. One thing my group was talking about between our sips of beer and tearing into chicken wings was the topic of resolutions. What changes do you plan to make in 2012?

I’ve never been much of a resolution person. Sure, I’ve done the “I’m gonna lose weight” or “I promise to go to the gym every night after work” thing, but just like most people, I had excuses for every thing that kept me from obtaining those goals. Life is busy and it’s hard to make changes to yourself.

And let’s be honest, if you want to start hitting up the gym on a regular basis, January is NOT the time to want to start this goal. All gyms are packed at every hour of the day.

Having the resolution discussion with my friends last night got me to thinking, why should I make a commitment to change something about me?? Why can’t there be a fun resolution and something I look forward to doing?

Of course I’d like to make the resolution to take more vacations and shop for perfect shoes for every season, but the harsh reality of whats in my checking account every month would shut down these frivolous resolutions in a blink of an eye.

I can’t help I’m naturally a problem solver. I kept thinking to myself there must be other avenues you can take in regards to New Year Resolutions….. and after a new minutes of thinking about it, I came up with a great idea. Creat a Bucket List of food. Dishes I want to make by Dec 31, 2012. This was something I know I could do, look forward to accomplishing and I have to overcome my “mental road blocks” with recipes I’ve found intimidating.

Once I started my Cooking Bucket List, I couldn’t stop. There are so many things I want to commit to myself to making. I want to make international dishes I love to eat when I go out to dinner. I want to make family recipes which I’ve always relied on someone else to make. I want to bake at home.

So here it is….My Cooking Bucket List 2012

* Gnocchi

* Tom Kha Gai

* My Dad’s French Toast

* Croissants ( I made these in class but I want to do it again. One time in class isn’t enough.)

* Short Ribs

* Tamales

* Flourless Chocolate Cake

* Marshmallows

* Fried Chicken

* Pizza Dough

* Pickles

* Jam

* Biscuits (from scratch) & Sausage Gravy

* Spaghetti Carbonara

* Juice Cleanse

* Bean Veggie Burger

* Beef Wellington (so old school, I love it!)

* Eggs Benedict

* Beignets

By putting this list in writing (and on the internet), I’m officially committing myself to this Bucket List. I encourage you to think of your own Bucket List. It doesn’t have to be food related, just somethings you want to accomplish by the end of the year. I think New Year Resolutions would be much more successful if everyone went into it with this kind of mentality.

Of course I will share my Bucket List recipes, sucesses & failures with you. Expect some posts soon!