Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A hotel room meal

Cravings: a real meal, not a sandwich! When you're living in a hotel room, most of your meals are sandwiches. Ughhhhh.

Disclaimer: I wrote this about 5 days ago but could not post it due to no internet access.

These posts are going to be very all over the place since so much has happened and my connection is so spotty. I have many pictures and do not remember the order of everything, especially since half are on my camera and half are on my iphone!

What I do know is that last Friday I decided to make chicken in the microwave. Charlie's flight was grilling but we wanted to go see The Avengers (base movie theater was showing it), so we didn't have time to grill. The result was mediocre, but mostly due to lack of seasoning. The chicken actually cooked decently.


I bought a package of chicken "tenders" - basically breast strips w/o fat or skin chopped into thinner slices.

The recipe can be found here.

Along with my microwave chicken, I had a salad. 

Charlie made the point that I don't have to buy all of my salad ingredients and prepare them myself, but that we live in a country where they actually do that for you. Wow, I have been overworking myself! I bought one of those salads that has all the ingredients in little pouches, and it was delicious! All I needed was a fork and bowl. And my mouth.

Look everyone - I need my scissors, I am so happy I brought them! (For other things you may need when living in a hotel room, please reference this post).

I also had a brown rice microwavable packet. You literally just open the container and microwave for one minute. I usually buy these at trader jos or costco, but found these at the commissary and they were great as well.

I hope if you are living in a hotel room, that this meal has given you some inspiration to eat something more than a sandwich! It can be done :-)

Microwave Chicken Recipe


-1/4 pound chicken breast "tenders"
-1/4 bottle of Dale's seasoning sauce, or marinade of your choice (make sure to use something with salt as the microwave adds NO flavor)
-zip lock bag or saran wrap/plastic wrap
-microwavable plate or bowl
-optional: sauce/dip for when it's done. I used a greek yogurt based ranch dip.

Marinade the chicken in a ziplock bag. 

(I marinated more chicken than the recipe called for, but then I used a different bag that only had a few pieces of chicken)

Put it in a microwavable dish, and make sure it's sealed. 

Microwave it on about 60% for 7 minutes. 

Microwave ovens vary a lot, so you may need to cook it for shorter or longer. My microwave at home is super powerful so I'm sure it would be ready sooner. Just keep an eye on it and check it every 3 or so minutes until you get the hang of your microwave. The bag or seal may expand in the middle of cooking - this is fine for a few minutes, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't pop open!

Make sure to keep the oven on 60% of less, or the chicken will be very rubbery.

Sort of mediocre, but cooked through, edible, and not a sandwich! (When you're living in a hotel, you eat a lot of sandwiches).

Once your chicken has cooled, put it in a plate, and add sauce or dip! Enjoy - it's not a sandwich! I know I said that, but it's true.

I used Otria's Greek yogurt dip:

Enjoy your not a sandwich!

Lemon-Poppy Cookies

Craving: a recipe that will get rid of extra poppy seeds

Hi again. Sorry for the lack of posts - no readily available wi-fi is killing me! I am staying at the Marriott in Atlanta right now for a conference and I paid to get this wi-fi. But this recipe is so worth the $12.95 in wi-fi fees. I know you will love it!

A week and a half ago Charlie and I stayed at his parents' for the weekend and I got kitchen access (I posted this enchilada recipe from that weekend). For dinner one of the nights I decided to make Mom's strawberry-spinach salad, but they had no poppy or sesame seeds. I could only find a larger containenor of poppy's at the store, so I had to make up a poppy recipe to use them!

My thought? Cookies of course!

First let me start by saying that I made about 100 batches of my OMG cookies, and in a few of them I used butterscotch chips instead of chocolate chips. I now call those OMFG cookies. Try it.

I thought I could tweak this recipe to make a lemon poppy cookie recipe of similar texture but different flavor. The result was SO good, and some of the folk there claimed these were their favorite of all the cookies I had made!

Lemon-Poppy Cookies

-Juice of 1 lemon
-zest of 2 lemons (you will have a naked lemon in your fridge, it will last just fine)
-1 egg and 1 yolk
-2 sticks of salted butter at room temperature (or unsalted, and add 1 tsp kosher salt)
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1 tbs and 1 tsp poppy seeds (this is 4 tsp)
-2 cups of bread flour
-1/4 cup all purpose flour

1. Cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar using a hand mixer on medium.

2. Zest your lemons. Add zest, juice, vanilla, egg and yolk, and poppy seeds. Mix until combined.





3. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda). Mix until combined.


4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours - after that, seal and freeze it).

5. Scoop onto cookie sheets using a 1.5 ounce (3 tbs) scoop. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time and moving from top to bottom and vice versa.

Let cool - cookies will look a little raw in the middle while hot, but will harden.
Cooking time may need adjustment based on oven temperatures.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And ode to Ima and Abba

Disclaimer: I wrote this on June 14th, but Charlie needed the computer before I could edit and post, so it's waited until now, whoopsies!

Cravings: to show off my beautiful "ima" and "abba" on their anniversary.

Mom and dad at one of the many gala events for a charity they support

Checking into a staycation

Relaxing in Israel, somewhere in the north

Sneaking a kiss in cooler Jerusalem

Dancing at one of the other galas

Looking amazing (NOT just for their age) in Hawaii when my dad had a conference there.

I am so blessed to have parents who make things work no matter what, who are still parents in every sense of the word to not only me and my sister, but Charlie as well. We all love you and Happy Anniversary!

Fitness on Demand

Disclaimer, I wrote this on June 14th, and right before I finished, Charlie needed the internet for a school assignment. Whoopsies!

Cravings: My body pump classes, but I'm happy with what we have here!

Hey ya'll!

First of all, Happy Anniversary to my mommy and daddy, or Ima and Abba. I hope in 30 years, you can be as happy as me and Charlie.  Ha ha hee hee I am so funny.

Coming soon is an ode to my parents. But now I will move on to what I have been doing the last few days here.

We are in the same block of rooms as Charlie's flight, which is an accompanied flight and so I have been working out with several of the wives. We met up to go to a class (I don't even remember what it was supposed to be) to find an empty workout room. We quickly realized that there was a machine in the corner of the room and approached it:

We waited while a projector screen came down....

Well, we decided to pick our own class and did kickboxing. It was great! The instructors can get a little....silly, to be nice, because they are not teaching in front of a class but just to the camera man. Must be a bit awkward. I don't think I could talk to myself while working out like that, I would just start laughing.

The next day we went at 9 and decided to do spinning:

After spinning we weren't satisfied yet so we did yoga....and then abs. I was extremely sore the next day. Who am I kidding? I couldn't move for about 2.

I also met a running buddy while here and we are going to do a 5k on the 19th, the day before I leave. Haven't done one of those in a while, I am already dreading it, but excited to see if I can do it in 30 minutes...(probably not, maybe I should aim for 35?).  My little Caroline's running story which you can find here is motivating me, it's so inspiring, so I know I can do it! If you don't follow her blog, you definitely should.

Another really cool thing we get to do is called Project X and it is all the military training obstacles with crazy situations. We got to watch the guys do it and I was definitely gritting my teeth through some of them hoping Charlie wouldn't fall! It was so incredible that they let us watch! I was so proud of Charlie who took the lead on so many of the obstacles. I am constantly impressed by him. For obvious reasons we are not allowed to take pictures there, and we are not allowed to tell about the specific obstacles. But, I can say they involved a lot of getting from here to there in ways I would rather not have to do! I hope they give us the easy ones to do.

Well that was quite some rambling with no visual aides, but the military would get a little bit upset with me if I had taken pictures.
Hope you can find a spot with fitness on demand, it's definitely awesome to get to choose your own classes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

White Enchiladas with Chicken Breast, Spinach, and Corn

Cravings: a gluten free, healthy, rounded, re-heat-able dish

How do you spell reheatable? I put the dashes because I'm just not sure.
This reminds of my junior year of high school when my mom and I sat down to make a list of what colleges I would apply to and I went to write "Ivy League" and stopped and said, "Wait, how do you spell league...?"

Yes that came out of my mouth...At least I was organized and categorized things even back then.

Okay on to the food. Mmmmmmm. Enchiladas, yummmm.

(a corner with no cheese for Charlie)

After a while of no cooking I was craving it, BAD.  I would see a recipe on pinterest and get so upset I couldn't make it due to my no kitchen. Well, last weekend we were staying in Enterprise with Charlie's parents, and his Aunt Susan and Uncle Eddy were visiting. Aunt Susan doesn't eat gluten. Challenge accepted! (yes that was a Barney Stinson reference).

My new running buddy Alison had told me about white enchiladas she made, and I based my recipe off of hers, with some tweaks.

White Enchiladas with Chicken Breast, Spinach, and Corn
-about 10 corn tortillas, or flour if you do not need it gluten free
-two containers of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
-one small can of chicken broth
-two jalapenos (you can use green chili peppers or omit if you don't want it spicy at all)
-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 tbs corn starch (or 3 tbs flour, but then it's not gluten free)
-1 pound of skinless chicken breasts
-cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper for seasoning (I eyeball)
-juice from a lime
-2 cups of part skim shredded cheese (you can omit this if you are sensitive to cheese)
-small bunch of green onion
-one can of corn (frozen or fresh works as well, but I had canned on hand)
-one packet of frozen spinach, thawed

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Sprinkle your chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, and cumin. Cook for 25 minutes. Let cool, and shred with a fork and knife (or two forks)

2. While the chicken is cooking, remove the setting from your gas burner, and put your jalapenos directly on the fire. I forgot to take a picture of this. I let them sit for about 10 minutes until they were charred and black. Put them into a ziplock bag so they steam.

3. While the chicken is cooking and jalapenos are steaming in the bag, start your "roux". Mix your olive oil and corn starch, and stir on medium low:

Add about a tablespoon of cumin, teaspoon of garlic and onion powder each, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Peel the skin off your charred jalapenos and chop them finely. Add half the jalapenos into your roux:

4. Add the chicken broth to your roux and stir it. Let it thicken on medium. I have no idea how long this took - you want it to be thick but still runny, it should coat a spoon. Once the mixture is slightly thick, let it cool for about 10 minutes, and add your greek yogurt.

5. Chop up your green onion, and slice your lime.

Add them, as well as the spinach, corn, and remainder of the jalapeno to your shredded chicken. If you are good to go on the cheese, add about 3/4 of it all as well. Mix well together.

6. Scoop the mixture evenly into your tortillas. Line them up in a casserole dish and secure with a toothpick.

7. Top your rolled tortillas with the yogurt mixture, and top with the remaining cheese. (If you love someone who doesn't do cheese, leave some naked, they still taste great!)

8. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. You can broil it at the end if you want the cheese to be a bit crispy.

Don't forget to remove your toothpicks before you serve!

In retrospect, I think I would rather make these as a Mexican "lasagna" next time, stacking layers of tortillas, chicken mixture, and sauce, (repeat), instead of rolling them. But they are still yummy, nutritious, and gluten free! You can also substitute almost anything for the stuffing - any veggies you fancy, shredded beef or pork, or even tofu. Hope you enjoy them, and let me know what creative combinations you come up with.

Essential Items for living in a hotel room

Disclaimer: I wrote this post about a week ago and never got around to posting it because of a shared internet connection in our hotel room, with Charlie getting priority!

Cravings: a kitchen, still!

We are in a hotel room for the next two months. Oh joy.

No seriously though, it's great that the military allows us to come and stay w/our spouses!

Military lodging is just like a hotel minus the room service etc.

What's in our room besides the basic bed, table, drawers, closet and bathroom:
-mini fridge
-coffee maker
-ironing board and leaking iron

That's all folks!

Here are items I have found are essential for surviving when you are living in a hotel room for longer than a vacation. I did not include the basic packing list materials.

-Scissors and tape - let's say you buy something at target that needs cutting open. Tape is to put things on your mini fridge, such as schedules, reminders etc.
-batteries (my toothbrush died in the plane! Can you imagine what someone must have thought was vibrating in my bag?). I don't prefer a brand so I posted both big ones, I'm all for equal opportunity:
-hangers (there are never enough provided)

-your own lotion, shampoo, body wash, loofa, etc. Your own blow drier as well if you're particular. Here are my preferences:

-any meds you may need - advil, vitamins, melatonin, etc

Sidenote - I google imaged advil, and it showed up with Hebrew letter on the side, how freaking weird!?!?

(gotta keep my hair long while I'm in a hotel room)

(I never travel w/o this stuff, I'll write a post on melatonin later on)
-can opener

-corkscrew if you are a wine drinker (Charlie and I did not bring one and have not needed on yet, but our neighbor has one if we need it. I still felt it was important to put on the list, though!)

-hand towels for the gym

-stamps - you may want to send a greeting card, etc

Here are things to buy once you get there:
-paper towels

-clorox wipes - yes I know there is room service every day, but it's still nice to have the option to clean something in case you need to!

-dish-soap and a sponge - if there is a rental closet where you're going you can usually get a few bowls, silverware etc. You will want to clean it, even if it's in your dinky little sink.

-paper goods (plates, bowls, cups, cutlery). You can also buy one set of these at a dollar store

Just for fun:
-white board for your door. Yes, me and a few other spouses bought these to use just like in college. Judge us!

-grilling items - our base has grills outside of the lodging buildings. I have tinfoil, ziplock bags to marinade, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches. I need a spatula! Maybe the rental closet?

-Totally optional but if you want it to feel homey, a tablecloth and candle really does the trick

(I love yankee candles. I have told Charlie that if we ever get in a fight, he can go buy me floral scented yankee candle instead of flowers).

-Again, totally optional, but helpful, see if any rental closets have laundry baskets - you can use one to toss your shoes in and one for your dirty clothes of course

-check to see if your hotel has wifi. Ours does not. We do not have hot spot on our phones, and so we are sharing an ethernet chord (hence why I haven't posted in 8 days). A cable splitter would solve the trick!

Hot spot would be a very viable option as well.

I hope this helps any future military wives having to stay on base lodging, or anybody that needs to live out of a hotel for an extended period of time!

I will try to post microwave meals as they happen, but I've been really bad. I cooked a bunch at Charlie's parents house over the weekend and brought back chicken breasts and enchiladas for us to re-heat. Brown rice packets have been my friend too, as well as refrigerator oats.

Updates and recipes coming soon!