Thursday, August 27, 2015

I'm a Beast

To catch you up, each day with a star is a day I worked out. I was using the 21 Day Fix program from Beach Body and I was doing okay, then I did better, etc.

Then in March I tried another fix (marked in yellow) and got one day of exercise in. Go me. I tried again (in pink) and got five days of exercising in. Then in April I did nothing, and as the end of the month neared, I must have realized that I was about to get through a whole month without exercising. As you can see I got two days of working out in, which I'm assuming was some kind of running. That also reminds me, I signed up for a ten mile race and blew it off. Not a good exercise month for me.

May wasn't much different. I don't remember, but I'm assuming the workout days in May were some combination of running or workout DVDs. Then clearly, in June, something changed. Do you see the stars that month? Hurry, check out July and August.

Look at me, consistently exercising, for three months straight. Are you wondering what happened? ME TOO.

Just kidding. I know exactly what happened. I got into CrossFit.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Cassia's Peanut Dressing

I'm friends with a lot of smart and talented ladies. We share a lot - secrets, ideas, inside jokes, memories, RECIPES... Today I'm going to share with you a recipe that was passed to me by my friend Cassia.

Once when Cassia and I were attempting to regularly lunch-share at work she brought in a kale salad in peanut dressing. That peanut dressing was soooo good I asked for the recipe and over a year later I'm making it.

A few things about Cassia (Cah-See-Ya):

How we met: Cassia and I met when she was interviewing at the company I work at. I don't remember who else we interviewed for the summer job but we hired Cassia and the rest is history.

Why we're friends: In one phrase: power-clashing. Cassia has a very IDGAF attitude that drew me to her when we met. I wanted to be like her in that way. I thinks it's rubbed off a bit! Now we love each other. I'm wearing her pants at this very moment.

Our favorite activities: Like hands down, eating and drinking. We love to try new things especially if they taste good. We also like to discuss politics and social issues in a very sensitive and compassionate way.

Cassia's recipe is more of a to-taste concoction. She was inspired by this recipe for kale salad with peanut dressing but has since made some adjustments to the recipe.

Here are the ingredients:

From  left to right: honey, siracha, soy sauce, creamy peanut butter, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, olive oil, fresh garlic, and lemon juice. Toasted sesame oil (not pictured).

I had everything I needed for the recipe except for fresh ginger and toasted sesame oil. I found this sesame oil at Market District for a relatively good price. Cassia said not to waste my time on regular sesame oil. It needs to be toasted in order to be worth my (or your) time. This oil doesn't say "toasted" on the front of the bottle, but the description on the side says "toasted" and when you turn the bottle on it's side, you can see that the oil is brown and the bottle is clear. Sounds like brown oil is more likely to be the toasted kind. Get the toasted kind!

Cassia's recipe doesn't come with exact measurements but you can basically assume that the peanut butter, vinegar, and oils are going to be your largest, about equal portions. Then as you go down the list you can add a little less of each ingredient. Another option is to use the recipe linked above (and listed below) to get a better idea on quantities.

I used the linked recipe to know to start with 3 TBSP of peanut butter and to understand how much fresh ginger was appropriate - that's one tsp ground.

Here's my sauce before mixing. I will say I probably started with too much sriracha. That is about a tablespoon there. Start with less! After mixing this all up it was pretty thick and very spicy/vinegary. Not good. So I added another squeeze of honey, and a little more of both the olive oil and sesame oil. Then things started to taste much better. I also added some more garlic because I LOVE garlic.

This peanut sauce is seriously SO delicious. I would put it on chicken, salad, noodles, pretty much anything. For this first instance of making the sauce I decided to put it over zoodles. Zoodles are when you cut zucchini using a special cutter called a "vegetti" (yep). It makes some pretty good noodles I hear. My zucchini was a little too large for the vegetti and I had to cut it into quarters. This ended up in some less than ideal zoodles, but lets be real here, the shape is just a novelty.

Here's my zucchini.

Here's my quartered zucchini in the vegetti, and my resulting zoodles. Good enough.

Zoodles should be sauteed for a better texture.

And here are my sauteed zoodles with the peanut dressing on top. Doesn't necessarily look great, but it was seriously DELICIOUS. I ate an entire half of a zucchini and didn't even realize I was eating a veggie. I'm not really the type who needs to be tricked into eating vegetables, but still. So good.

Because this sauce is from my interpretation of Cassia's interpretation of a published recipe, I've included her notes she sent me word-for-word so you can have ALL the same info I had to make this sauce.

I will definitely be making this sauce again, and when I do, I will work out the official measurements and share them with you.

Ca-see-ya later!

Cassia's Notes:

i love this salad!  this is where i got the inspiration for my peanut dressing :)

their dressing recipe is below.  

mine is more like this:

smooth PB
rice vinegar (if you don't have any GET SOME cuz its great with asian food)
olive oil
toasted sesame oil (comes in a little bottle from trader joe's - worth it!!)
soy sauce
fresh ginger
fresh garlic
sriracha OR red curry paste (also amazing to own if you don't have it)
lemon juice (just a lil bit)

i don't use measurements... but your biggest portions should be PB, rice vinegar, then oils and soy sauce, then everything else to taste.  

you can also skip some ingredients if u dont have, like ginger, although i love to add it if i have it.

this is great over "zoodles" and stir fry which i made last night!

Spicy Peanut Dressing
  • 3tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3tablespoons warm water
  • 3tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1teaspoon dried red chili flakes