Treat Yourself Tuesday- Rosemary Garlic Pork Loin

img_3077Hi Everyone! I know I haven’t been posting much, if you read my previous entry this week, you’ll know I’m struggling with the energy to keep this going on top of work and my recovery. But I’m just going to work on it as I can. I made this awhile ago and I’m excited to share. My parents loved it… although they would probably say they loved dirt if I made dinner haha. So here we go.

Note pork loin and pork tenderloin are actually different cuts of meat. A pork loin is much thicker and comes from the back of the pig. It also comes as different names like top loin roast or center-cut. The tenderloin is Is taken from the muscle situated alongside the backbone of the pig. It’s much smaller. You can also make this recipe with a tenderloin, you’re cooking time will just be different- much less.. but the process of coating it is the same. I’ve made it with both kinds of cute and found the tenderloin dried out quicker, even though both are very lean cuts

What you’ll need:

*note you may need more based on the size of your loin/how many people you’re feeding. The loin I made was 2lbs and would feed at least 4 people.

  • 2 lb pork loin (The butcher will ask you how much. Honestly Just eyeball it.)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If your pork loin came with a large layer of fat, remove it img_3075and just leave the nice lean meat. Rub the loin with olive oil.

On a plate combine the rest of the ingredients on a plate and roll the pork loin in the bread crumb mixture until it’s completely coated. Place on a baking sheet (throw a sheet of aluminum foil on there for easy clean up!) and place in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes. Pork temperature can vary now. Anywhere from 145 degrees to 165 degrees. I prefer mine closer to well done, and I think this recipe still kept a lot of the moisture in. But if you like yours a little medium, the lower temperature is just fine.

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Let the loin rest for a few minutes before cutting and serve! If you’re looking for a few sides try my recipe for Green Bean Fries or Thyme & Honey Glazed Carrots

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Rumination: How One Word Takes Over Your Life

**note: I actually dictated this post on my phone while I was driving from a friend’s back to Philly. When I didn’t have anyone to take my mind off the stress, and nowhere to go, I turned to my phone. I knew I couldn’t write so I spoke it- forgive the stream of consciousness writing. It was written a few weeks ago so any reference to time may be a little dated.

If you’ve ever dealt with depression or anxiety, doctors or psychologists will often talk about rumination- or how your thoughts ruminate to the point where you can’t let them go. While I’m making big strides in my fight against depression and anxiety this is the one thing that still constantly comes back to haunt me. These thoughts are things I can’t get out of my mind. Whether their rational or not they stick with me consume me until I’ve worked myself up into a frenzy or completely broken down.

Generally it happens when you have a lot of downtime. For me I think it happens most when I’m trying to go to sleep. I’ll be tired all day, and finally lay down in bed only to start stressing about things from the past…things that haven’t mattered in years… or completely irrational things I know aren’t even possible. Even when I tell myself it’s OK there’s nothing I can do, it’s a struggle to try and let it go.

The other time it happens a lot to me is during long car drive. While I try to occupy my mind with music or podcasts, every once in a while driving down the highway I start to feel anxious. I don’t even know what I’m anxious about. There doesn’t really have to be a reason, but I feel anxious. The scary thing is there’s not a lot I can do. I feel trapped in a small box. I can’t listen to guided meditations because I actively have to keep this car on the road. I could of course pull over if I really needed to and take a few minutes, or stop somewhere along the way to get my mind off of things, but sometimes all I want is to just be home. It seems the quickest way to get there is to just keep going.

A lot of things in my life feel like they’re getting so much better. My panic attacks happen much less frequently and more days are good days, but this loss of control over what I think about is painful. More than the thoughts themselves, the anxiety comes from knowing I can’t shake it off. It’s something I’m working on fighting but it really takes a lot of my energy.

I’ve been so happy to work for some really great people who understand that work-life balance is incredibly important. I’m also happy that my schedule is so flexible. If I have a bad day I can take time for myself, and that helps the recovery.

But between trying to pay the bills and getting better one major thing has slipped through the cracks: this blog. I’m OK with putting it on the back burner while I try and get myself together but I really wanted to try and create a safe space for others may be going through something similar. I wanted to create recipes so that other people who also struggle with an eating disorder can maybe feel better about their relationship with food, but while the recipes are stacking up I’m either too busy or too exhausted to post. I tell myself it’s OK, and my therapist tells me it’s OK, but it still bothers me.

I know I’m not the only one who has to choose to prioritize how to spend their days. Many people struggle with the exhaustion and the rumination much worse than I do.We’re not lazy because we can’t work in an office every day and we’re not lazy because we take lots of naps, we do it because we have to.

This week has been especially hard because I’ve been very sick. My body doesn’t quite know how to shake it, and because I can’t be as active it feels like some of my symptoms of anxiety are getting worse. It’s funny that something as simple as a cold can feel like it’s derailed a lot of your personal growth. It’s weeks like this that remind me I still have a long way to go. And that might be an expensive journey considering Obamacare doesn’t have the best co-pays for outpatient mental health, but that’s a whole different blog post. (Trust me after I got my 2017 quote, I’m definitely writing one.)

For now I’ll just say that even when you think you’re doing so much better (and you are!) it doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s a much longer journey than any of us ever expect whether it’s extremely mild or severe it’s a long battle.

So for all of us suffering from some sort of mental illness- thank you to all of those people in our lives who are patient while we continue to improve. It means the world to have people who understand it’s not an overnight fix. And as for me I’m working on different methods to combat my ruminating thoughts this blog post was one of them. I can honestly say now that I’ve reached the end of it, that writing it (or dictating it rather) really did help.

Going Back to Work After Depression

Once I officially left my job in broadcast news, I didn’t know when or how I would go back to work. For awhile I was on medical leave, but at some point when I got a lot healthier and still realized i needed a break from news, I officially left. Now that the paychecks weren’t coming in what was I supposed to do? And was I healthy enough to go back to working 40 hours a week? The answer at the time was no.

I wasn’t worried about my next career step at the time. I figured if worse comes to worse, I would work at a coffee shop part time while I got myself figured out. But I got lucky, and I fell into something really amazing.

I started off looking for freelancing jobs on a website called Upwork. In the meantime I started dog sitting for the website DogVacay. (But come on… PUPPIES!)

I picked up a few freelance jobs and fell in with two really amazing jobs. The first is helping a phenomenal woman grow her podcast. Check it out. It’s called The Big Leap Show, and it talks about women entrepreneurs and businesswomen who have made a big changes in their lives. It resonated with me considering I just went through by own big change.

The second job is incredible. I’m freelancing with a start up real estate company, and doing their digital marketing. It’s amazing because they’re investing a lot in me, and I’ve gotten a chance to learn so much already. I only had a little work to begin with, but they liked what I did so I got more and more work.

I think the best thing about freelancing is that I work from home. I don’t have the stress of getting up and going in to work every day. I still work… a lot. But it helps my stress and anxiety to be able to work on my own hours for the most part. Plus I can still watch the dogs for a little cash on the side since I’m home all the time. (YAY PUPPIES!)

So sometimes even when I have really bad days, I realize I’m so lucky. I’ve somehow started to pick up the pieces. I’m finding a job I’m happy with, but is low stress and still gives me the flexibility to heal.

If you’re battling depression or are falling apart at your job, know you’re not stuck. I somehow found something great that works for me.

 

Treat Yourself Tuesdays- Homemade Crispy Thin Crust Pizza

IMG_2737IMG_2739Mmmmm pizza. Really what else can you say about it? It’s also this week’s Treat Yourself Tuesday. This week’s post was recommended by a great friend of mine! So if you ever have any ideas for a post let me know!

The nice thing about making pizza is you can top it with whatever you’d like. This gives you the opportunity to throw in some veggies and get a little extra nutrition. Treat yourself this week, and enjoy this pizza one night.

My sauce recipe is also perfect for any pasta dish you may want to cook up.

What You’ll Need:

For the pizza dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet dry yeast (1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees)

(If you have a bread machine, throw all the ingredients in and put it on the dough setting. The wet ingredients should be on the bottom, and the dry on top. The yeast should be the last thing you put in. If you don’t have a bread maker, read on.)

Add the sugar and water in a large bowl until dissolved. Add in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes. The liquid should be foamy. Stir while adding the olive oil.

In a separate bowl, add together the flour and salt. Add the wet and try ingredients together. Knead together until dough forms. (I would suggest dusting your hands in flour). When you get a smooth ball, put it in a oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a clean towel and leave to rise for an hour.

For the sauce:

  • 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoesIMG_2735
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 very small white onion chopped.
  • olive oil.

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped tomato, stirring occasionally until somewhat caramelized. Add the rest of the ingredients. When it starts to bubble, turn down to a simmer. Leave on the stove for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep tasting and add anything you think it needs.

What you need for toppings:

  • 1 oz package of fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil leaves
  • *any other toppings you desire.

IMG_2734Preheat the over to 450 degrees. When the dough is done rising, roll out into one large pizza, or two small ones. Because this is a thin crust pizza, the dough doesn’t behave as well. Stretch out, or use a rolling pin to roll out the dough extremely thin. Place on a baking sheet. Slice the fresh mozzarella and put it on the pizza. Add whatever other toppings you decide to use. I used sliced peppers. Put in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Take out when the cheese is melted and the edges of the crust begin to brown. Take out of the oven and top with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy your fresh crispy thin crust pizza!

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Delicious Summer Recipes!

I’ve been lazy about positing. Mostly because I’m at the beach, and unfortunately I’ve still had quite a bit of work to do here. But here’s something I wanted to share for awhile! I know for many summer might be winding down, but lets face it, it’s still going to be hot for awhile. So if you’re still looking for a great treat here’s some delicious summer recipes for your next BBQ, or just to keep cool.

Summer Berry Sorbet with Homemade Whipped CreamIMG_2506

This is the perfect treat to cool down, and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. (Although admittedly it’s just so much easier. Wish list for Kara: ice cream maker to go with my KitchenAid blender.) It’s only a few ingredients, so prep only takes a few minutes. The whipped cream makes for a really delicious addition, especially when the sorbet begins to melt.

 

basil watermelon slushWatermelon & Basil Summer Slush

A great drink to cool down with! If you’re planning on having people over on a hot August day, this is the perfect thing to cool them down. (If you really want to have a party just add a shot of vodka 😉 haha.) It’s extremely flavorful and the flavors are perfect for summer. The recipe makes one drink so make sure to multiply if you’re having company!

 

IMG_1482Seared Tuna with a Chili Soy Blood Orange Glaze

I love this recipe. I’m also a sucker for seared tuna. This works well for summer because it’s still somewhat cold. The edges are seared but its not a heavy or hot meal. Technically blood oranges are a winter fruit, so you may have some trouble finding them. If you can’t, you can always use regular oranges. Crush a few raspberries into the marinade and that will be closer to the flavor of a blood

orange.

salmon with border

Grilled Salmon with Ginger Soy Glaze

Fire up the grill. This is another great fish dish for summer. This glaze is incredible and really infuses a lot of flavor into the fish. Add some grilled veggies as a side and you’ve got an entire meal. It’s also much a quick and easy meal to make during the week. This is also a great option for those who want another option for the grill besides meat.

IMG_2510Savory Sweet Potato Burrito

I love sweet potato burritos. It sounds funny, but it’s amazingly good. I first had one at this great place in West Philadelphia. I then tried to replicate the recipe to the best of my abilities. I never thought about a sweet potato burrito before, but really it’s pretty incredible. This is another delicious summer recipe. If you haven’t had sweet potato in Mexican food before, definitely give this a shot.

 

 

Image-1-1Grilled Chilies Rellenos

Another great Mexican-inspired dish.  love the added tastiness of the grill, however you can of course do this in the oven. But who doesn’t love the taste of the grill? The mix of the poblano pepper, cotija cheese and chicken thighs is awesome. I think chicken thighs are really underutilized sometimes. This is something a little different than just the typical burgers and fries to throw on the grill.

 

zuchhini pasta w/ borderZucchini Pasta w/ Old Bay Ship, Heirloom Tomatoes & Fresh Corn

Zucchini pasta is such a great option for summer! It won’t weigh you down in the same way normal pasta will. Plus who doesn’t love Old Bay on shrimp? This is a great light summer dish that’s perfect for dinner. Zucchini pasta is extremely easy to make. You don’t even need one of those veggie pasta makers. I just use my cheese grater! Use all the great summer vegetables in this dish.

bruschetta with borderSummer Bruschetta

I really am not a fan of raw tomatoes. But I love this bruschetta recipe. Fresh tomatoes, corn and goat cheese makes for a delicious summer recipe! This is also such an easy and great option for entertaining. Check out the recipe!

 

FullSizeRender(3)Egg White Lemon Crepes w/ Berry Filling

A light crepe filled with summer berries! The light lemon flavor really comes through nicely in the crepe. These are really easy and quick to make. Top with some tasty whipped cream and serve it up for breakfast. Great for yourself or the entire family. You can really put any berries in the filling, but take advantage of all the in season berries. They’re so good right now!

IMG_2432Green Bean Fries

This is a great side dish for the summer. If you’re firing up the grill for burgers and want a side of fries, here’s a summer veggie option instead. They aren’t the same as normal fries obviously, but they’re crispy and delicious. A quick breading and they’re off in the oven. So easy to make! Think of this side the next time you’re making dinner or want a healthy snack.

 

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Fresh Corn & Quinoa Congee

I am sorry to all the people out there who have grown up with congee. This won’t be nearly as wonderful as anything your family used to make. But man this is still a delicious recipe. Quinoa is an awesome substitute for rice, and the fresh corn screams summer. It’s a great breakfast or lunch option. Honestly, I could eat it all day long.

 

IMG_1791Green Pea and Avocado Soup

This soup is great for summer, not only because of the fresh peas and avocado, but because this can be served hot or cold. I’m not the biggest fan of cold soups, but this is really flavorful and perfect when you don’t feel like eating something hot in the summer heat! Serve alone or with any protein you want. I chose fish. YUM.

 

So this is the 2016 list. Let me know whether or not there’s anything you like to see, or if you like the recipes or not!

Struggling With Depression in Broadcast News

With some inspiration from a former employer and mentor, I decided to begin to talk about paying attention to how our co-workers are handling stress in the workplace. The post on LinkedIn is titled Struggling With Depression in Broadcast News. Check out that link. For those of you who want a little more background before reading the article, keep reading here.

B_UvXfxWsAEeZOHFor 6 years I worked as a TV producer at several local stations. If you don’t know anything about the industry it’s rough. Many of the shifts have bad hours, when breaking news happens get used to long days and on top of it all you’re often dealing with very sensitive and upsetting topics. It’s hard and it takes its toll.

The day of the Boston Marathon bombing, I was in the control room live on the air. Then the news broke. For the next four hours I was managing the details, setting up interviews, giving my anchor new information, guiding the production crew, making new graphics and getting new video on the air. I did have help, but still it was a lot. It wasn’t until after I was done for the day I realized the gravity of what had happened. The saddest thing for me that day, was that I didn’t even have any emotions about the events until after the fact. It was a job, but realizing how desensitized you’ve become to tragedy is upsetting.

And I only work for the news! There are so many people working hard jobs with long hours and stressful situations. Look at hospital workers, firefighters and policemen. That’s just a small number of jobs that can wear you out. And if you’re like me, you care too much about what you’re doing.

So we need to begin to help each other and look out for warning signs of depression. Many people look ok, but are suffering in silence. We should at least be able to talk about this more so people aren’t afraid to ask for help. I’ve gotten a lot of great responses from this article. So please check it out. Let me know what you think. Start a conversation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sad and detached, you’re not alone. Many of us have been through it. I’m not a doctor, I’m not an expert, but I’ve someone who has been through it who is willing to listen.

Kara

Healthy Lunch Ideas-Roast Chicken Pesto Sandwich

I was asked to give some healthy lunch ideas you can take with you to work. I know how annoying and hard it is to pack your lunch. You many feel like you only have a few options: make a sandwich with lunch meat, take a frozen meal or get food near your office. (if you’re lucky to have a lunch place near you.) Many of you may say that you can take a salad. That’s true, but really it ends up being the same problem as the sandwich. Plus, if you’re anything like me you hate making your own salad.

(weird isn’t it? That I somehow feel like when someone else like Chop’t makes my salad it’s that much better? Is it the $13 dollars I’m paying? Is that what makes the taste difference?)

IMG_2584Anyway, here’s one good option to take with you to work. A roast chicken sandwich with broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, pesto and provolone. All on a baguette.(Throw in some sugar snap peas raw or tossed with a little olive oil, and you’ve got a meal.)

This may seem complicated for a quick lunch, but I promise make the elements (and even the sandwich) the night before and you’ll be thanking yourself by lunch. Plus make extras so you’re set for the week. The really great thing about this sandwich is that it’s balanced. You get a great combination of protein and vegetables to keep you going through the rest of the work day. Don’t just eat that granola bar, you’ll be hungry and tired in an hour.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 baguette loaf
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 jar store bought pesto (homemade pesto is better, but since we’re trying to be quick for work don’t sweat it too much. Plus it’s a pain without a food processor.)
  • 1 pack sliced provolone
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cayenne pepper

Cut the chicken breast into strips and pan fry with salt, pepper and a little cayenne. Cut off the ends of the broccoli rabe. Cook it in a pan with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. The broccoli rabe should be tender but not falling apart.

(If you’re super concerned about a soggy sandwich, stop here. You can put the chicken and the broccoli rabe in the fridge until morning and assemble it before work. The good news is that the baguette can handle the moisture because of the hard crust, and using the provolone as a barrier will also prevent sogginess.)

Cut the baguette loaf into the perfect sandwich-sized piece, then cut down the middle. Put a few slices of the cheese on the broad. Give a generous spread of the pesto. Top with a few slices of chicken, the broccoli rabe and the roasted red peppers. (Put the red peppers on a paper towel for a minute to prevent too much liquid from getting on your sandwich.) Then just get ready to have a great lunch.

That’s definitely food you can feel good about.

Living with Depression: How My Dog Helped Me

stella and karaMy dog Stella is a quirky little mutt. I love her. When she was young, she was super energetic. Now that she’s older she has calmed down significantly. Here’s a little bit about how she helped me through my depression.

Dogs are the best. We know that. I hope your pet cheers you up as much as mine does!

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Welcome to Treat Yourself Tuesdays!

If you’ve ever watched Parks and Recreation, you know the importance of a “Treat Yourself Day.”

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And really, who can argue with the wisdom we’ve learned from Parks and Rec?!

But seriously, we do all need to treat ourselves once in awhile. It’s hard… I know from experience. To be ok with indulging every once in awhile takes a lot of work. It’s not easy to actually have a healthy relationship with food. And that doesn’t mean just eating salads all the time.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t all eat healthy and balanced meals. In fact, we absolutely should. It’s important to get enough protein and vegetables for energy and nutrients. I’m learning a lot about it from sessions with a nutritionist.

**side note: if you’re interested in seeing a nutritionist to learn more about eating well, most health insurance plans will cover a few sessions a year at no extra cost. So check your plan.

The problem with food comes when you can’t allow yourself to enjoy something really delicious from time to time. You shouldn’t beat yourself up or feel guilty just because you ate a cookie. That’s what led me down a bad path to a skewed view of eating, and ultimately an eating disorder.

So that’s why I’ve decided to post recipes for *TREAT YOURSELF TUESDAYS.* On Tuesdays I’ll post a recipe that’s a little bit more of a guilty pleasure. In moderation we can all enjoy our favorite foods, and we don’t have to feel bad about it.

Today’s first Treat Yourself Tuesday recipe is Summer Berry Sorbet with Homemade Whipped Cream. So check it out! The sorbet itself isn’t too unhealthy, but with the homemade whipped cream this dish is a little more decadent and A LOT more delicious.

So in the words of Tom and Donna: “Treat Yo Self!”

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Summer Berry Sorbet with Homemade Whipped Cream

IMG_2506I don’t know about where you live, but here in Philadelphia it’s been HOT! Which makes sense, because it is the middle of July. But still, if you’re looking for a sweet way to beat the heat this recipe for summer berry sorbet with homemade whipped cream is perfect! Plus, nothing goes better than berries and cream!

*recipe cheat!!! If you don’t feel like making homemade whipped cream, you can just buy some from the store. BUT big *BUT* it won’t be nearly as good. and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make yourself.

**recipe cheat 2!!! Life is easier with an ice cream maker. I’ll show you how to make it without one (sadly I don’t have an ice cream maker). If you have an ice cream maker you can take the base of the summer berry sorbet, chill it and then stick it in the ice cream maker. Then you’re done!

What You’ll Need for the Sorbet:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 cups strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar

What You’ll Need for the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Make the Sorbet:IMG_2508-1

Take the strawberries, and half or quarter them depending on the size. Put the strawberries, blackberries and sugar in a mixing bowl. Give the berries and sugar a quick mix and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the berries are macerated (best word ever) and there’s a syrup at the bottom.

(Many people prefer to make a simple syrup and add it to the berries instead of macerating them. I think you get a better flavor when macerating, because it brings the flavor out of the strawberries and blackberries.)

Blend the berry mixture in a blender until smooth. Stick the sorbet base in the freezer. From there you have a few choices.

  1. Check on the sorbet occasionally (maybe ever hour or so) and give it a stir. When it’s firm your sorbet is done.
  2. Let the sorbet freeze completely. Then break it into pieces and blend until smooth. Stick it in the freezer again until its frozen and has the smooth consistency of sorbet. (Note: if you do this method, let the frozen sorbet sit out for about 5 minutes to soften first. If you don’t have a strong blender, this may not be the best method. Also you may have to stop and stir several times while blending.)

To Make the Whipped Cream:

Take the bowl and whisk you plan to use and stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. (This goes for the bowl and whisk for standing mixers as well.)

IMG_2504When the bowl is cold, add the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until you get stiff peaks. Don’t over whisk or you’ll start to get butter.

*note: If you’re using a standing mixer, make sure you whisk on a very low setting. In addition, make sure you scrape all the ingredients from the bottom. Generally the whisk won’t hit the bottom, so you have to make sure to scrape all the ingredients from the sides and bottom.

You can save the whipped cream or leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Just make sure to give it an extra whisk for a few seconds before using.

Put it All Together:

Take a few scoops of the sorbet, top with a few dollops of whipped cream and garnish with a few extra fresh berries.

That’s how you beat the heat with summer berry sorbet with homemade whipped cream!

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