Monday, February 23, 2015

Pinterexperiment: Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Hi, guys! 


I'm week 2 into funemployment and I LOVE that I've had time to start cooking again! I've been craving a good crock-pot recipe for a while now and this was a huge success! If you love chicken and dumplings, this is your go-to recipe.



We had SO much leftovers though so if you have a gathering or a large family - or you just enjoy leftovers, give it a try! 

xoxo


 Slow-Cook Chicken & Dumplings  
Serves 6-8 
Cooking time: 6 hours 

What You'll Need:
 4 Skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
 2 Tablespoons butter
 1 Onion diced
 2 Cans of mixed vegetables  
♥ 1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup (condensed) 
♥ 1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (condensed) 
♥ 1 Can of refrigerated biscuit dough 
♥ Chicken Broth (as needed)

Instructions: 
 Place the chicken, butter, soup, mixed vegetables and diced onions in the crock pot. 
 Stir and mix as much as possible. 
 Pour chicken broth - enough to cover entire mixture (it may look like a lot of liquid but the biscuits will soak a lot of them up). 
 Cook on high for 3 hours. 
 Tear the biscuits into 2 inch pieces and place them on top of the mixture and cover. 
 Cook on high for 3 additional hours. 

All you need! (Minus 1 biscuit can - I only needed 1)

The initial mixture pre-cooking.

The fun part of placing the biscuit dough on the top! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Changes.

Via Pinterest
My goodness, it's almost mid-February and this is my first post of the year. 2015 just started and it's been very....strange, to say the least.

Long story short, after some frustrating and inappropriate things consecutively happening at my job and some broken promises, I decided to leave. There were external reasons as well, such as the 130 mile commute (25 hours a week of driving), not being able to complete my Masters program within the allocated time, health/happiness. I take respect very seriously and I had none for anyone superior to me by the time I decided to resign. Really, really sad since I resigned exactly on my 2nd anniversary for my company but it happens to everyone - you go separate ways. 

Anyway, I am so excited to be making such a huge change. Thankfully finance isn't a problem so I'll be focusing on finishing my Masters, working on my fitness and wellness. I'll be studying almost full time, doing some translation jobs here and there, traveling and reuniting with people I've abandoned due to my last job for the past year. I can't wait to start playing the piano again, painting, cooking and playing tennis - all of what made me unique that I grew distant from.

When I closed the door to my office last week, I felt a relief I didn't expect to feel. I don't think I quite realized how unhappy I was and how toxic of an environment I was spending 90% of my life in the past year. I could go on and on about how unfairly I was treated and several people asked me if I would give my company a piece of my mind - but I didn't. I took the high road and I certainly wasn't going to stoop down to their level of unprofessionalism just to exit with guns blazing. It's easy to wish them horrible things but I don't. I can only hope they figure things out so they don't keep losing good people out of ego. I wish them well.

Needless to say, I am happier than ever. I am so busy this month with travel (Sonoma & Seattle), dinners/lunches with friends, a little bit of work already, gym classes, Symphonies, weekday activities and two Red Wings games!

Richard Branson said it best, "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to." 

So excited for what's ahead of me; school, travel, friends, family, wine, cooking and more blogging!

xoxo





Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Napa Valley, California


I'm finally done traveling....for the next week! Traveling for 2 weeks in a row to 4 cities was exhausting. All I ever wanted in my job was to be able to travel; be careful what you wish for, I guess!

Travel = flying on work dollars = staying for the weekend. I'm lucky enough to have a job where they let me enjoy the weekend at whatever city I'm at. Of course when work took me to Sacramento, Adam and I had to make a trip out to Napa Valley! 

We try to do Napa once a quarter but this year we only got two trips in, which is ok since the reason why we couldn't was because we were too busy traveling to other places. Can you tell we love traveling? :)

We always have our signature places to visit: Robert Biale Vineyards & Brix. While we have other favorites, we try to experiment since Napa is just exploding with wineries and amazing restaurants. This time we tried Hall Winery, Domaine Chandon, Cakebread Cellars for new wineries and Long Meadow Ranch Farmstead and Etoile for restaurants.This doesn't happen very often but all of them were top notch; we pat ourselves on the backs for our perfect selections this time around!

Hall Wines - our newest Wine Club addition.

Long Meadow Farmstead Restaurant

Biale Vineyards - our favorite!

Cakebread Cellars 


Domaine Chandon - Limited Edition design. 

Hide and seek @ Cakebread Cellars

Bubblies @ Domaine Chandon

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pinterexperiments: Slow-Cook Ranch Mushrooms

Hi, friends! 

So, this is the easiest Pinterest recipe I've ever made, hands down. It's ridiculously simple, yet it's steakhouse quality! Beyond delicious and let me repeat, so easy

This recipe is perfect for a side dish for fish or steak, or even an addition to a pasta dish. Really versatile. 

1lb of mushrooms might sound like a lot but not only do they decrease in size significantly, it's so good that just two people can finish it off easily. Well. At least Adam and I did! :) 

 Slow-Cook Ranch Mushrooms 
Serves 2-3

What You'll Need:
 1 lb of mushrooms
 1 packet of Ranch seasoning mix
 1 stick of butter 
 1/4 Parmesan cheese *optional* 

Instructions: 
 Completely melt the stick of butter in the microwave. 
 Stir the ranch powder in the melted butter. 
 Place mushrooms in the crock-pot.
 Drizzle melted butter & ranch mix over the mushrooms. 
 Sprinkle parmesan cheese. 
 Cook on low for 4 hours. 

Things to keep in mind: 
 If you have a larger or 'stronger' crock pot, keep your eye on it around the 3rd hour. The recipe called for 4 hours and some of my mushrooms on the edges were overcooked. 




See, so simple! Enjoy! xo


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Travel (Throwback) Tuesday: BFF in L.A

First night: Drinks at Picca in Beverly Hills
So this is a bit of a "Throwback" situation since my BFF visit was actually during Halloween but better late than never, right?

Anyway, my best friend Maya from Portland visited me during Halloween weekend which was also the 1st Hello Kitty Convention in L.A. We had so much fun and ugh, I missed her so much! She came down mainly for the Hello Kitty Convention here in L.A at the MOCA/JANM. We're not one of those crazy Hello Kitty fanatics but went more for nostalgia sake. We were both born and raised in Japan so we were surrounded by Hello Kitty growing up. My car isn't full of Hello Kitty and I don't have any of her tattoos - we just love her, just because it reminds us of home.

The convention was mind-blowing. The 25k tickets were completely sold out, people were lining up early just to get in, Little Tokyo was so busy - just absolute craziness! I was so impressed with Sanrio though. They did such a great job. The only thing is that they didn't expect that kind of turn out. There should have been more food trucks, a better system for the shops, etc. JANM (Japanese American National Museum)'s Hello Kitty exhibit runs through March of 2015 but since it was free for convention attendees, we checked it out. The exhibit was curated so perfectly, everything brought me back to my childhood in Tokyo and I loved every second of it. What a gorgeous museum, that is!

The Hello Kitty Con was on Halloween so we were completely wiped out by the time we were supposed to get ready to hit up West Hollywood for Halloween festivities. We ended up being old ladies and just swam in the pool. I'm pretty sure we were all cozied up in bed by 11pm, yikes!

The rest of the weekend was so much fun but a blur. We had breakfast coffee at Intelligentsia, then went to Din Tai Fung for lunch (Maya's fav!), drove all the way out to the Getty Villa and dinner at Mercado in Santa Monica. Oh and dessert with wine at the Grove. Can I just say that the Getty Villa is so beautiful? Can't wait to go back!

She left on Sunday but had some time to grab brunch in DTLA at Bottega Louie, my favorite.

I'm so sad she's gone but we had the best time catching up on life and being girly :) I miss her already but hopefully a trip up to Portland is in the works early 2015.  

Entering!

Maya in front of the Hello Kitty Cafe

Whee! 

"You Can Never Have Too Many Friends"

She was everywhere!

JANM/MOCA

Convention life. #TheStruggleIsReal




The view from our hotel room - pretty rainbow over Beverly Hills!

Getty Villa

Getty Villa

@LAX - waaah, don't leave me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Travel Tuesday: Tips & Tricks 101

What's in my carry-on?



I was so excited when I was approached by RelayRides to share some of my holiday travel tips! I've also had some friends and fellow bloggers ask me for advice and I'm so happy to finally be posting about it.

Just a little about my travels: Not only am I a former airline employee, I've been blessed to have been flying ever since I was born, both domestic and international. I've continued to travel quite a bit for leisure purposes but the past couple of years I've had to travel a lot for business. I fly at least once a month if not two or three times, a combination of leisure and business. I definitely rack up those miles!

I know the holidays are approaching and a lot of people will be traveling for the first time, or first time in a while. While we have no control over weather or mechanical delays, we sure have control over making the most out of the process!

So, here are some tips and tricks from a jetsetter and former airline employee that I hope will help you make traveling seamless and less stressful!

//Book your flight & hotel ASAP// - I'm in the hospitality business and a former airline employee so trust me on this. Book your flight and your hotel as soon as you know your plans. Unless you're booking third party (Expedia, Orbitz, etc), most hotels have a generous cancellation policy just in case you have a change of plans. Now airlines are not as generous but prices for both will go up and you will be sorry.

//Be on time// - I can't emphasize enough how much you need to be on time, especially during the holidays! Some people think I'm ridiculous for leaving my house 3-4 hours prior to departure but trust me, a lot of times I've been thankful I did. You can assume but never know for sure how busy the ticket counter is going to be or how low staffed TSA are that day.

//Renting a car// - I am such a huge fan of Uber but you can't exactly use that for your entire trip. There's a sharing community (think Air BnB but a car version) called RelayRides. Simply put, you rent someone's personal car. SFO and LAX already have established Relay Ride lots (so convenient!) but a lot of the RelayRides community have listings by several other airports. You search for a car (hybrids, luxury, convertibles, you name it!), contact the driver and boom. You have your car. You can see other people's reviews, be in constant touch with the car owner and do all of this online or through their awesome app. Sharing is caring, you guys! Test RelayRides out on your next trip.

//Get your liquids straight// - If you're a carry-on-only traveler like I try to be, have all of your liquids, 3.1 oz or less into a clear pouch. No, it doesn't matter if there's only 1 oz of product left in your 5 oz bottle, they're still going to throw it away. This way, you're more organized, you do yourself a favor and shows respect to the people behind you in line. Just don't be that person.

//Move, Drink & Moisturize// - Whether your flight is 1 hour or 15 hours, make a point to move around the cabin a little bit so your blood keeps a healthy flow. If your neighbor in the aisle seat is sleeping, then stretch out, do a little shake and move in place. Planes make you dehydrated. Buy yourself water pre-boarding or ask for water during drink/food service. Have lip-balm and moisturizer with you since the cabin can get extremely dry. Keep your gorgeous skin happy inside and out!

//Follow luggage rules// - I know you have your clutch, your carry-on and your tote but seriously, it's 1+1 on most airlines. Be respectful of other passengers and don't take up space that they deserve too. It's 1 large carry-on and 1 small handbag. The last thing you want is a boarding agent pulling you aside to rearrange your bags. I've had passengers miss their flight because they couldn't figure their bag situation out, true story.

//Carry cash// - I know a lot of us don't carry cash anymore since we have plastic and smart phones. However, you can't tip your valet/bellmen/room service, shuttle drivers with a card or phone and some cabs are not advanced enough to have touchscreen pay portals. I'm always so glad I have cash with me, even if it's only $10.

//Just relax!// - That's right, just relax. You've followed all my rules, you made your flight, got your car and now sitting cozy at your destination. I know traveling can be terrifying for a lot of people and trust me, I still get nervous traveling and I do it all the time! My vacation or work doesn't start when I get there, it starts when I start packing. Just enjoy the whole process, you're lucky to be traveling! 

Well, those are some of my essentials in a picture and the most basic yet important tips to keep in mind when traveling. If you're traveling this holiday season, be safe and have a wonderful time wherever you go

Thank you, RelayRides for reaching out! The concept of sharing your car when it's not in use is absolutely genius. Being in the hospitality business, I know that Air BnB is growing expeditiously and I know RelayRides will too. The sharing community is definitely revolutionizing the way we travel. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and download their super user-friendly App

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pinterexperiments: Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Hi, everyone! Time for some more recipes!

Adam has been studying for his recurring CFA exam and I decided to be a good girlfriend by cooking something new. I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately wanted to try it. We both love lemon, rosemary and garlic.... so perfecto! 

This was delicious! I can't believe the chicken breast skin got that crispy! The rotisserie chicken from Costco has no chance!

Can't wait to make it again. 

♥ Lemon Rosemary Chicken  
Serves 4

What You'll Need: 

♥ 4 Bone-in Chicken Breast Halves (2 Whole Breasts)
♥ 1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary
♥ 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
♥ 2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
♥ 1/4 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper 
♥ 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest 
♥ 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice 
♥ 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 

Instructions: 

Pre-Eating Time: 
♥ 4-8 hours prior to eating time, prepare the rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil together in a bowl. 
♥ Defrost the chicken if frozen and pat them dry. 
♥ Marinate the chicken with the mixture - make sure you cover the entire chicken. 
♥ Cover the chicken in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. 

Cooking Time: 
♥ Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
♥ Place your marinated chicken breasts skin side down on a sheet pan. 
♥ Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the chicken skin side up. 
♥ Continue baking for another 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts. If you have a thermometer, the ideal temperature the chicken should be is at 160 degrees. 

Things to Consider: 
♥ After you flip the chicken, I added some sprigs of fresh rosemary and slices of lemon to the pan just to add some more fragrance and zest. 
♥ The ingredients are definite but the measurements are not. The above ingredients was taken from here - thank you! However, my chicken breasts were so large I had to almost double the amount it called for. 
♥ If you have time to marinate it for 8 hours, definitely do it! The longer the better. 
♥ If you're a garlic fan like I am, go ahead and mince however much you want! I think I minced about 8 cloves, haha! 



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