ForneyLife

Pack your lunch! Apple, Chicken, and Quinoa Salad

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on September 24, 2010

Staying healthy means a lot.  It means getting in regular exercise, portioning your meals, eating things in moderation, and finding good natural local (if possible) food.  All this is, of course, easier with habit.  But the one thing that you don’t want to get in the habit of is eating the same food day in and day out.  With monotony comes boredom, and when you’re bored of what you’re eating, your less likely to make good choices and more likely to indulge.

In an effort to stick with a healthy diet, Adam and I usually make meals for the week that we divide into portions.  This way, rather than heading out for lunch each day, we just grab out of the fridge each morning. It is fantastically convenient.  Of course we have to change up the meal every few days so we don’t die of boredom.

This brings us to the apple chicken and quinoa salad we made for this week.  A new dish that I thought I’d share.

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple (peeled or unpeeled – your choice)
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (I cooked mine with chicken stock for flavor)
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (I roasted mine simply with olive oil and salt and pepper)
  • basil
  • scallions
  • white wine vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • sliced almonds

Chop your cooked chicken into bite sized pieces.  Mix this with your cooked quinoa. Dice your apple, chop the basil and scallions.  Toss these and the sliced almonds in with quinoa and chicken mix.  Now it is time for the dressing.  I went with one part brown sugar and two parts white wine vinegar.  For the amount of salad I had I thought I’d just need one tablespoon of brown sugar and two of the vinegar.

Add to the salad and toss.  If you leave the peel of the apple on you’ll have a much more colorful dish than I did.  Though it doesn’t photograph well, it did eat well!

What I like about this dish is its versatility.  I like that it is a little sweet, but if we were to make it again, I’d make it a little more savory for Adam’s taste.  Perhaps I’d use less dressing, or change it entirely to a pesto or vinegar and dijon mustard.  You could also trade out the chicken for shrimp or the apple for peas or some other veggie you love.  Make it your own!  But most of all, pack it up for lunch and make your coworkers jealous of your yummy food.

Kalb Report

Posted in Entertainment, Life by Elizabeth on September 22, 2010

Last night Adam and I went to the Kalb Report.  The show airs live on public television and radio. The topic of Tuesday’s program was “The Great Debates: The History and Future of U.S. Presidential Debates,” a commemoration of the 50 years that have passed since the first televised presidential debate.  The guests were Bob Schieffer, Sander Vanocur (who was there for the first televised presidential debate – and when I say there, I mean he is one of the journalists who queried Kennedy and Nixon), Mike McMurry, and Janet Brown.

The night was spent half reminiscing about previous debates, discussing the dynamic of two candidates and one moderator, and the future of journalism and how it will affect, if at all, future presidential debates.  The highlight of the discussion probably came when Sander Vanocur recalled Henry Wallace’s remark of Roosevelt who “was able to keep everyone’s balls in the air but his own”. The panelists all had great ideas about how the debates impact the election process and how the debates have changed within the last fifty years.

Checkout the webcast of the discussion. What do you think? One moderator or a panel of journalists? Are Youtube and Twitter reworking the edges of the format of these debates? When will the news be on our wristwatches?

Stories from the Betrothed

Posted in Life by Meredith on September 21, 2010
Hello!  This is Meredith, youngest sister in the D/L Forney clan and infrequent blog-poster.  I’ve been recently engaged to Andrew Kittle, my life partner and closest friend. 

we are awesome! and we come in lavendar scent too!

The story of our engagement spans over 4 years and involves Andrew proposing to me, then heart break, reconciliation, travel and adventures, and then me getting down on one knee.  We’re committed to our life together and have started planning a day to share the love with our family and friends (aka our wedding day)! 

We’d like our wedding to focus on the love and commitment we have, and sharing in a celebration with family and friends.  We love the old school weddings of our parents’ generation where you got married in someone’s backyard and then had the reception in the church basement and all the church ladies cooked dinner.  Can you say cheap and meaningful in the same sentence?  I can!  When working on a tight budget, and still wanting to have a party, a wedding like this seems like a fantabulous idea. 

Party on, Garth!

Think:  backyard barbeque meets a block party meets a steady flow of wine and beer meets outdoor games, and you’ve got yourself at our wedding.  Of course, we’ll have a ceremony to which we plan on inviting God.  We welcome His blessing and the blessing of our family and friends to continue on our journey as a couple. 
 
This will promptly be followed by sharing a meal, drinking spirits, and some good old fashioned horsing around.
We are trimming some of the traditional wedding things that aren’t so important to us in favor of saving for other life events.  It will be an informal affair to match our personalities. 
 
I’m thinking I’ll wear a short white dress and Andy will where a suit jacket.  Our wedding party will likely be asked to simply look nice. 
 
We’re going to Pittsburgh this weekend to check out some places we’re considering having the ceremony and the party.  Pittsburgh is known for being the Three Rivers City.  One idea is to get married at The Point – where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River join to become the Ohio River.  Symbolism anyone?  Two becoming one?  Oh it’s so cheesey and delicious!!  There’s also Dad’s backyard, or the Fort Pitt Museum (love my Burgh history), or Phipps Conservatory amid the flowers. 
 
Wherever and whenever it ends up being, it’s going to be a lovely day.  I’d say that we can’t wait for it, but we really are living the good life already!  Our wedding is just another part of life’s path to be enjoyed.
 
This post brought to you by Sarah and Elizabeth who have been parched for wedding details.

Fall is (almost) Here!

Posted in Life, Pictures by Sarah on September 19, 2010

Fall is probably my favorite season and I’m excited to be welcoming in Fall this week (September 23rd).  Thought I’d share some recent Fall-inspired pictures with you!

Today I couldn’t resist buying some mums at the store as a way of saying, “Howdy, Autumn!”

Mums to Welcome Fall!

And earlier this week, Torre captured a very haunting but classic seasonal moment atop Nob Hill.

Fall night atop Nob Hill

Looming & Lit Up

Grace Cathedral Blanketed in Fog

Make it for the week! Turkey Chili with Quinoa Pasta

Posted in Food by Sarah on September 17, 2010

After a long day at work, the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen chopping, dicing, and preparing dinner.  I am HUNGRY and would like food now, please.   One thing Torre & I do to short-cut the dinner routine is make meals on the weekends that will be ready in a jiffy on weeknights.  I’ll be posting these recipes as part of a series… the first recipe is quite easy to make and healthy to boot.

Turkey Chili with Quinoa Pasta

Ingredients

Directions

For the pasta, boil about 4 cups of water.  While you’re waiting for the water to boil, place the turkey in a large, lightly-oiled sautee pan.  Place the pan on low-medium and slowly brown the turkey.

Once the pasta water is boiling, toss a box of Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta into the boiling water.

At the same time, place 2 cans of chili in a small soup pan and set to medium.  You could of course, use home-made chili for this, but this recipe is all about time-saving, not stove-slaving!

In about 8 minutes both your pasta and your chili will be ready and the turkey should be completely cooked.

Add the chili to the turkey and remove from heat.

Drain the pasta and then add the pasta to the turkey-chili.

Dinner is Served!

Enjoy immediately!  As much as you eat, you’re sure to have enough leftover to save for lunch or dinner tomorrow and maybe even the next day!

How Do You Do Your To-Do?

Posted in House and Home, Life, Technology by Sarah on September 15, 2010

I Wish!

Last week I got a plea for help: I have a lot to do and need to keep it all organized, do you know of a good system?

This got me thinking about how I manage and maintain all of my daily, weekly, and monthly lists of To-Do’s. I realized just how much a well-thought out to-do management system can make me more effective and productive – and even help me find time to relax!

So how do you do your to-do? Some people use scratch pads or commercial To-Do notepads (I used to love these, pictured left).  Others use lots of post it notes stuck to the inside of their glasses case (you know who you are!).  Some write email reminders to themselves.  Still others go whole-hog and use comprehensive life-organizing systems like David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.”

Over the years, my own organizational system has changed and evolved. As my own methods change, I’ve found that the important thing is finding something that works for you.  Something that you know you can stick to.  For example, if you write emails to yourself but constantly disregard them, that’s probably a sign your current system is not working for you.

Don't be Forgetful Jones!

One easy solution for those on-the-go is using spreadsheets from Google Docs. You can create separate tabs for the different areas where you have things to do (work, home, school, bills, car, etc…).   Because Google Docs are “cloud-computing” based, you can get to your To Do lists from anywhere that has internet access, including your smartphone.  So if I suddenly remember I’ve got an errand to run while I’m heading to work, I can take a second and add that to my to-do list, wherever I am (and not risk being Forgetful Jones).

Other electronic-based solutions include apps like Remember the Milk or Simplenote.  The CEO of Twitter also recently tweeted his solution du jour: if you’ve got a camera-phone, take a picture of what you need to remember and save it as your phone’s wallpaper.  I’m a bit dubious of this one, but he at least gets points for creativity!

More traditional folks may prefer a planner, a big calendar or even color-coded index cards.

If you’ve found a solution that works for you, please do share!

Fall Fashion 2010

Posted in Fashionistas by Elizabeth on September 13, 2010

It’s about that time again.  September is here!  Squash and zucchini overload the farmer’s markets, back to school sales are dying down (but still worth checking out), college campuses refill, and the beaches empty.  It’s also the time to switch from tank tops and shorts to pants, long-sleeves, and sweaters.

This season, the runways have taken a neutral tone.  Luscious camels, cozy creams, deep blacks, and shades of grey are everywhere.  At first glance, one might think that the recession has made these great designers a little depressed.  Though these tones don’t scream fall, they do allow for bright and bold bursts of burnt orange, or stunning plaids.  Camel jackets that made a come back last fall are still around and a perfect way to warm up, but still hint at the deep fall color you’ve got beneath with a pop of red or purple.

Warm cozy fabrics and rich vibrant colors can still fill your closet’s palette.  This autumn, floral prints are making a come back.  Look for rich colors that make for bolder prints.  Stand out in a print like Elie Tahari’s floral stretch cotton dress.  Or find some subtlety in a cozy cardigan from Anthropologie.

Another trend to keep in mind this fall is military style.  Call it utility, call it warrior wear, or call it military, if you’re wearing it, you’d better be rockin’ it like a fashion fighter!

Hunter greens, lots of buttons, great structure, and uber sexy bomber jackets all fit this trend.  Rachel Zoe loves blacks, military greens, and camel colors (hmm, a nice complement with the neutral trend) for the military look.  She recommends not to take it too literally.  With things like a double breasted jacket or blazers with squared shoulders, a belt at the waist helps give the silhouette some femininity.   There are all kinds of military jackets out there – check out these from Zara, Free People, and Banana Republic:

Of course, this trend isn’t limited to just jackets. Alloy and J. Crew have some great military utility pants.

Thankfully, designers have been hard at work to make these pants stylish rather than bulky.  In these, your hips won’t lie and say they’re three sizes bigger than they are – hello sexy skinny cargos!

If you’re not up for the military chic look or are looking for something to pop off that forest green, take a dive into the animal print trend.  Keep it subtle with a printed belt,  scarf, or a printed shoe.  Or take it loud with a bangin’  leopard jacket.  This trend is a fantastic way to express some spice and sexy flair to any outfit, work, casual, or on a hot night out.

For yet another sexy trend this fall, turn to Mad Men.  This early 60’s style is back in action.  Accentuate your curves.   Get into a high waisted pencil skirt like Adrienne Vittadini’s in a to die for houndstooth (never out of style).

Find tailored blazers, blouses, and dresses with darting in just the right spots.  Still have those skinny jeans that raged this last year?  Well keep them on!  They’re a perfect match to a plaid blazer and some knee high boots. With this style, its important to keep fit as the number one priority.  If you’re in love with a coat or dress but the fit isn’t just right, don’t make the purchase if you can’t bite the bullet to get that perfect item to a tailor.

Finally, let’s get to those shoes.  Happily, there are many trends to love here which means lots and lots of shoe shopping this fall!  Get into lace-ups, like Rachel Zoe’s picks on Piperlime.  Jump into some thigh high boots, tip toe in some kitten heels, or go Dutch in some clogs.

So as the weather cools and you contemplate that first fall stew, keep these trends in mind.  Happy shopping!

Pancake Breakfast

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on September 2, 2010

You know how you get these great ideas to make something tasty that you have all the ingredients for except one thing?  So you buy that thing, make the tasty dish that inspired you, love it, and then have leftover of that one awkward ingredient that you just don’t have an occasion to use.  That ingredient then sits in the fridge or pantry, waiting and waiting to be used, but it is sadly forgotten about despite the fact that it stares you in the face each time you open that fridge or cabinet door.  I hate that.  This happens for me when I make the annual batch of cranberry ginger cookies and am leftover with a lot of molasses.  Luckily I have found another delicious use for this molasses.

I had another straggler ingredient after making chocolate cake for the same party that provided so much leftover skirt steak for some fried rice.  I had all the necessary baking ingredients (because that’s what we Forneys do – bake) except one.  The buttermilk.  Sweet, decadent, thick, buttermilk.  Boy did it make this cake nice and moist.  Well, I needed to use the rest of the buttermilk before it expired (I paid for all of it didn’t I?).  After some online searching, I found a buttermilk pancake recipe.  I already had all the ingredients necessary for it so it was perfect.  I wasn’t about to go out and get another ingredient in order to use up one straggler, and then of course be left with another!

The recipe I found called for:

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Directions:

While getting your griddle (or skillet) nice and hot on the stove, combine the dry ingredients.  (For all you bakers out there, the sugar is included in the dry this time around, don’t let my lack of sugar in the picture confuse you.)  In a separate bowl, lightly beat the buttermilk and egg.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Don’t over mix.  When I was folding the dry in, I decided to add more buttermilk, the batter was just a little too thick for my liking.  I think I probably ended up using 1/4 – 1/2 cup more than the recipe called for. When the batter is at the thickness (or thinness) of your liking, its time to turn to the stove.

Spray your griddle so that the pancakes don’t stick.  Then start pouring that batter on.  Be cautioned, these pancakes puff up, so the amount you pour for each cake will grow in size.  The best way to know when to flip your pancakes is by the bubbles that appear in the batter.  Once you start to see these sprinkled all over your pancake, flip that sucker over!

Thanks again to that party, we also had some leftover blueberry sauce in the fridge that originally topped cheesecake.  This is such a simple sauce that you can make it along side your pancakes if you want.  You’ll need blueberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice.  Use about 3/4 to 1 cup of water along with a pint of blueberries (or whatever fruit you like), add probably 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and the juice of half a lemon.  Heat these ingredients to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the fruit is broken down and the sauce thickens.  This can take about 15-20 minutes and might be something you’ll want to get going before making the pancake batter.  The blueberry sauce was a perfect maple syrup replacement on this morning.  Deeelicious!

Livening up some leftovers

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on September 1, 2010

The other night I came home to a fridge full of leftovers.  Thanks to a party we had, there was an abundance of food for the week.  On this particular night I wanted to finish the skirt steak that was leftover.  This originally was a part of our mini taco station.  The rest of the taco ingredients, however, had been devoured (we do love tacos!).  With a surplus of meat, there was only one thing to do – Fried Rice! You don’t have to have skirt steak to make this, use leftover (or fresh) chicken, turkey, pork, shrimp, or other steaks.  They all work well in this dish.  Plus it couldn’t be easier to make.  To start, I put on a cup of rice to cook (this is also an excellent dish to use leftover rice in – some people prefer the leftover rice rather than fresh).  To help flavor the rice, I cooked it in beef stock instead of water.  Again, you can use chicken, fish, or vegetable stock with rice rather than water.  It helps to quickly and easily add some much needed flavor.

Next I prepped my ingredients while heating a saute pan over medium heat.  These are all ingredients that I had on hand, which, of course, made this dinner extra productive in cleaning out the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 an onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • about 2 1/2 cups of spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • rice
  • leftover steak
  • soy sauce
  • sriachi sauce
  • 1 lemon
  • a few basil leaves

The best thing about fried rice is that it is truly a leftover dish.  The carrots and spinach were just the ingredients I had on hand and decided would enjoy in the dish.  If you have peppers, asparagus, peas, mushrooms – anything really – you could add them instead.

I diced my onion, minced the garlic, and chopped the carrots.  By this time, my pan was nice and heated.

I added some olive oil and sautéed my onions and carrots.  I added a healthy dash of salt to this mix so the onions and carrots start to release their juices. I added the carrots pretty early because they would need awhile to cook.  Judge your veggies and other ingredients accordingly.  After these got nice and golden and fragrant, I added my garlic (don’t add this first, it will burn and the dish will be ruined, there is no recovery from burnt garlic).  I let the garlic cook in there for about 2 minutes.

Next up was the spinach and the meat (The whole reason we’re making this dish)! I added them and let everything sauté for a bit, the spinach shrinks up quickly. Once that started cooking down I added the rice and mixed everything.  Then I made a well in the center of the pan and plopped in my eggs (you’ll want to scramble these in a bowl before adding them).  Get your eggs cooking and then mix it in with the rest of the rice.

Now that the egg is in there, turn the heat off. This means, it’s sauce time!  Add your soy sauce and sriacha sauce! Salt and pepper to taste.  I also squeezed some fresh lemon juice and stirred it in.  After plating I tore fresh basil over the dish. And there we have it – a tasty fried rice dish.  A perfect way to spice up some leftovers.



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