Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Look Out, Panda

So, to celebrate Kam's last final and freedom to the summer, I cooked a special meal. His last final took 3 hours, so I had plenty of time to get to it. I almost forgot to take a picture of it, so it's half eaten and doesn't look quite as good as it tasted. Kam said he wants it to be on our regular menu from now on.

One of the things I'm most proud of about this meal is that although it's not exactly healthy, it definitely competes with some of the places we're partial to (Ahem. Panda Express). And it's definitely a money saver in that area as well. The second thing I'm proud of is that I made this up all by myself. (And it actually tasted good! Whoohoo! It's always a gamble with those ones.) With that introduction, I give you my personal orange chicken recipe.

Disclaimer: It is definitely a subtle orange flavor. But I don't really know what else to call it. (How about delicious Chinese flavored stuff?) I said it competes with Panda. Not, tastes just like it.

Orange Chicken (feeds two very hungry college kids (one of whom is a man))
In 5 easy steps! (With a very long commentary)

Like I said, I was way into actually eating this when I remembered to take a picture.
Otherwise, I could probably have made it more pretty.
You will need:

2 bell peppers
1/4 of an onion
1 orange
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup of flour
1 egg
olive oil
teriyaki sauce
lite soy sauce
corn starch
onion powder
garlic salt
2 cups cooked rice

1. Chop your fruit and veggies
Slice bell peppers and chop onion and set aside. Chop orange in half and set one half aside. The other half can be used to garnish the dish with some of those fancy orange rings (like in my picture). Or you can just eat it, or save it, or whatever you want to do really. I just wanted my dinner to look fancy.

2. Fry your chicken
Chop your chicken breasts up into bite sized pieces. Start some olive oil frying in a wok or frying pan on high or medium-high. You're going to kind of deep fry your chicken in this, but you don't want to have a whole lot of extra oil in your pan (this becomes the base for your sauce), so be conservative (like I said. Not exactly healthy. But olive oil is better than a lot of things. Especially things that chinese food gets cooked in...). Break the egg into a small bowl and put the flour out in a shallow bowl or plate. Dip the chicken in the egg and then flour, and then carefully drop into the hot oil (MAKE SURE YOUR CHICKEN IS COMPLETELY THAWED BEFORE THIS STEP. I've heard a lot of horror stories about this from my old roommate, Sam). You're going to have to do this quickly so the first pieces don't burn before you get the rest in the pan. Stir/flip the chicken as needed, so that it doesn't get too brown on any one side.

3. Add your veggies
Once all the sides are pretty even, turn the stove down to medium-low and add your peppers and onions. If you do this just as the pan is starting to cool down, your onions will get really yummy really fast. :) Stir this every once in a while to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, but get started on your sauce.

4. Make your sauce
You can either throw everything in the pan right away (If you're real confident) or mix it in a bowl and taste it as you go along. I do a little bit of both. (And unfortunately, I didn't measure anything, so you're going to have to do a little guess work yourself). But, (from what I can remember,) here's how I did it:

Take your half an orange and squeeze the juice out into the pan. (I do this first so it gets as much time cooking with the chicken as possible. They're friends.) Mix teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and honey to desired taste. I typically find it takes a lot more teriyaki than any of the other ingredients. Lite soy sauce is a little easier to work with, I find, because it's lower in sodium, and thus not as strong. I use it to cancel out the teriyaki's grilled flavor, if you will, just a little bit. If you're using regular soy sauce, keep this in mind (In other words, take it easy on the soy sauce). I like sweet sauces, but I didn't want to add straight sugar to my slightly more healthy recipe, so I figured between about a half a tablespoon of honey and half an orange's worth of juice I could get the kick I was looking for. I then added corn starch to the sauce to make it just a little thicker (this also makes it stick to the rice and chicken a little more and then you don't have to worry about scooping the sauce out of the pan and drizzling it on your food just to have it run all over everything on your plate). If you're adding everything straight to the pan I wouldn't recommend adding corn starch. Just skip this step. If you get too much corn starch (you can tell if you can taste it. Blech), just add more teriyaki sauce. Once you add it to the pan the oil will help null the starchy flavor as well. I added a little ginger to the sauce right towards the end. (My mom used to tell me you needed 4 flavors to make a good Asian sauce. I don't remember what they are, so I try to cover all my bases, and I consider spicy one of them.) After adding my sauce to the pan, I decided it need just a little garlic salt and onion powder, but you could just as easily add this to your sauce before dumping it in the pan.

5. Mix in your rice
Add your sauce to the pan, and heat everything up together. Add 2 cups of rice (or whatever will fit in your pan) and stir that in. Put your cute little orange garnishes on your plates and serve it up! You're done!

If anyone tries this, let me know what you think!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Buziness

I haven't been as motivated to blog recently, because I've been really busy, and that seems noteworthy. But at the same time, I don't feel like I have a whole lot to say about anything. (You can tell I've been just a little overwhelmed around here. I let crumbs just sit on the kitchen table for days--it must have been that long since I haven't cooked since Wednesday--which I never do, because it bugs me too much to have things dirty. And on Wednesday evening, I just lay on the couch and watched the 5th season finale of Psych ALONE. Which I never do. I never ever watch tv alone. Which shows how stressed out I was. And I didn't clean anything. Which I'm usually just looking for time to do, because I like of like it.) But it's mostly a good overwhelmed. A lot of exciting stuff is keeping me busy.

First, this semester is almost over! Which means I'm almost done with all my classes until my new classes start! Which means I'm almost done with school, period! Which means I have a tooonnnn of work to do in the next few days.

Second, I started my new job on Thursday! (Poor timing on my part.) And it has been way fun, but it takes up a lot of my time. It takes about an hour just to commute each way. But I took the train today, which has wifi, so I got a little time to do homework, and then got a little bike ride through the suburbs of Murray from the train station to my building. So that was a nice bonus.

My new job is like, the crazy coolest job ever. I get to work with data and make graphs and figure out why things change, and I get paid for it (I like it, ok?). Plus, on my first day I came in and they said, "We're having a webinar in seven minutes! Let me introduce you to everyone and then you can come upstairs and sit in on that." So that's what we did. And everyone was very friendly, and then a dog walked into the conference room, and everyone got distracted for a minute and petted it.

That wasn't the last surprise. My coworker showed me where our fully stocked kitchen is and explained to me that all the Costco sized containers of food were for us including a lifetime supply of pop-tarts. Today I got hit in the back of the head with a nerf dart. One of the higher ups in the office commended me for coming to work in more appropriate attire today (a t-shirt and jeans). A group of people in the office rallied together an ultimate frisbee team at about 3:30, and there was much rejoicing (by that I mean shouting across the office). So yeah. That's pretty much where I work.

I'm also the only girl on my floor, which means I get special treatment. Not really, but the coworker that shares my desk with me put my chair together for me on my first day, which is apparently usually part of their initiation process here. And I overheard someone saying I was getting a little extra love from the IT department, too. The CEO told me I'd be the princess of the 3rd floor when he hired me, and I guess that's what's happening. Except for the getting hit with nerf darts thing. And I'm pretty sure I'll be forced to learn how to play ultimate frisbee at some point, too. It's part of the job description.

But I work there, too. I'm just starting to get familiar with the software, and apparently they need someone with a little javascript programming background to look at something for them, and fortunately, I have just that. Next week I start updating some decks for my boss's client, and I guess we'll see where it goes from there.

I guess those are the only two things. They're kind of big things. Kam's busy, too. Finals, about to apply for the Information Systems program at the Marriott School. It's a big deal. He just got a 93% on his finance test! Which is way cool. Finance is tough (I always thought so, anyway). So, yeah. Busy all around.

That's it for now. I guess I had more to say than I thought.

UPDATE: There's a third thing that was a big deal this week! We met Kam's best friend, Ethan, at the airport as he just got off of his mission in Oregon! They hadn't seen each other in about 4 years, so Kam was really excited. I was too, and also nervous because, obviously, Kam didn't have a wife the last time Ethan saw him. It was really fun, and even though I didn't know Ethan, really, I could tell how loved he was by his friends and family, and it touched me. It especially meant a lot to me to see Kam's face when he finally got to give Ethan a hug. Kam is one of the most loyal people I have ever met, and it shows. And I could tell Ethan knew it, too. I'm glad Kam's best friend is back and I'm excited to get to know him.

One of the funniest moments for me was after Ethan gave Kam a hug and turned to me and with a huge smile said (nearly shouted), "Who are you?" He then turned to another friend who had gotten married and had a baby (1 uped us, I guess), and Ethan shouted, "You have a son!" And everyone around him added, "And a wife!" Poor Ethan. All of us crazy women coming along and messing with things.

Beautiful Messages

LDS General Conference was... last weekend? I love conference. It's like a whole weekend of inspirational messages, and then I have new material to listen to while I do the dishes and get ready in the morning for the next 6 months!

Some of my favorites:

Kam showed me this one during Family Home Evening this week. It was a Priesthood talk, so I didn't listen to it until he showed it to me, but I highly recommend it! Especially to anyone who tends to beat themselves up about things (which, isn't that like, all of us?).

Four Titles

This one is great for anyone who's dealing with doubt or fear. I'm sure this speaks to so many people in different ways, but for me a lot of it was about dealing with anxiety and self-defeating thoughts.

"Lord, I Believe"

And this one is great for any of you who may just be curious about what the Mormon church believes in. I don't think I could have explained it as beautifully as Elder Oaks does.

Followers of Christ

There were so many more I loved as well, but these spoke the most to me. To those of you who watched/read, which were your favorites this go round?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Walking Plant?

Yesterday, when I came home from work, one of my plants had moved from the corner of the table near the wall, to the middle of the table where it could get more sun.

I just stared at it for about a minute straight thinking:

"How did it do that?! It couldn't just do that.
Did I move it and forget? No, I wouldn't move it there.
Did someone break into our house just to move my plant! 'Alright, we've got all the good silver (Ha. Like we have good silver), oh wait. This plant's not getting any sun! Let's move it before we take off!' No...
OH! Kam took work off earlier today to study! Kam moved my plant so it would get more sun. Aww! Kam cares about our plant!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nom Nom Nom

I'm pretty proud of myself today. Tonight's dinner turned out too pretty for me not to show off a little.

Nummy Enchiladas
These are a popular dish for Kam and I, although we usually use green sauce. We've been making these since last summer, though, so we thought we'd try something a little different this time. The red sauce was a nice change, but I think if we do it again, we'll have to get something a little spicier. It's a great meal to save. We always make extra and keep a few for lunches. Kam usually eats the leftovers before I get a chance, though.

And I got most of the dishes I cooked with cleaned while the enchiladas were in the oven, and then Kam washed the rest of the dishes after we ate, and it took hardly any time at all!

Also, here's a little secret to anyone who hasn't been seeing me on a regular basis recently. My back's been trying to kill me for the past couple weeks, so to get that much done today made me feel like Rosie the Riveter (aka Betty the Beefer. At least, that's what I thought she was called until I tried to google her picture).  Still not sure what the deal is with my back. I like to think it's just that I've been getting such buff abs in my dance class that my back can't keep up, and that's straining it, and I really just need to work out my back more so it can keep up with my 6 pack (lies). Anyone that's got any suggestions for some really good back stretches or , let me know. I've done most of the typical running ones already, and they're just not cutting it.

But really, I've just been rollin' this week. On Tuesday I ran to the store and grabbed some things to make chicken roll ups for dinner, and after I picked Kam up from work I told him, and he said, "Ooh! I forgot about those! Those were so good last time!" That's what makes cooking worth it. (Making tasty food just doesn't cut it if you don't have someone to share it with. I mean, I've got a store-bought chicken pot pie in the freezer that's just begging for Kam to leave so I won't have the desire to cook anything from scratch. Then I will be happy to give that pie a little extra attention.) Then I cut up some oranges and put them out on a plate with some strawberries, and it looked like such a summery dinner! I swear, the oranges and strawberries were more for decoration than anything else. They just made the rest of the dinner look so cheerful. (But they didn't actually taste that good. The oranges were pretty good. The strawberries were a little under ripe. Or maybe Zupas has just given me unrealistic expectations for strawberries.)

So, that's it for today's update in the life of the Jensen family. If you're interested in any recipes, let me know and I'll make a recipe post for you all.

Here. I'll leave you with one right now.

Summery Fruit Plate:

You'll need:


Cut them up. Put them on a plate. Look at them. Be happy.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


So, the warm weather and Easter season have had a little bit of an effect on my mood. I've developed a new hobby, and a new resolution.


BAM! Aren't they cuuute? :)

So, I'm not exactly sure why I haven't gotten into gardening before. I love flowers, and I like mud and dirt, and that's pretty much it right?

Ok, that was a lie. I know exactly why I don't like gardening. Worms. They are the most grossest thing that ever crawled across the face of the earth. Literally. I hate them so much, I just can't deal with it. I hate how they wiggle, and how they look all segmented, and how pink and fleshy they are, and how if you cut them in half you just have TWO extra wiggly tiny worms!

I have nightmares about worms on a semi-regular basis.

But, the good new is, potted plants require no worms. Yay for not having a yard!

So I now have two pots of pansies (a little one in the house, and a slightly larger one on the balcony (I have a serious issue with spatial reasoning. The smaller pot was originally supposed to fit all 8 pansy plants in it!)), and I have a tiny pot of forget me not seeds that will hopefully grow. We'll see I guess.

Kam gets me flowers for special occasions and things, and I love it. But they all eventually die, and I always feel sad about throwing them away, so they kind of just sit there in the vase dead for a little while until I'm eventually like, "What the crap?! These plants are dead!" And then I have to throw them away because they're grossing me out. Yeah, that was a weird explanation.

So hopefully this rectifies that problem (if I can manage to keep the pansies alive. I think they're supposed to be easier plants).

In other news, I have a buttload of Easter candy, people! My mom sent Kam and me a lovely Easter package that had Easter grass in it and eggs full of candy, and bunnies like a real Easter basket! But Easter this year came fairly soon after Pi Day (Did you know Village Inn will give you a new pie if you don't like the first one you buy? True story). And even if it hadn't, I eat ice cream like it has its own food group, and make cookies most Sundays, and the girl scouts just came by... So our house was already overflowing with non-holiday related sweets (Besides Pi Day, of course). So when, I got that basket I carefully ate as many of the jelly beans as I could find, saved the Easter bunnies, and took the rest of the candy to Kam's mom's house to share. I hid all the eggs for Savannah and Brendan, but Kam's mom gave us each another delicious Easter basket.

Which I've eaten all the jelly beans out of, and I'm working on Kam's basket now. But all of this sugar has finally started to throw me overboard (which takes a lot). I've always been kind of a sugar shark, especially in the colder months when fruits aren't in season and everybody's making cookies, and warm sweets just seem like such a fantastic pick me up after you've been trudging around in the snow. But now that it's warming up, I have less of an excuse, and less of an appetite for sweets. I mean, I just bought a whole pound of strawberries for like, $1.20 or something ridiculous like that. Awesome.

So I happened upon this list of tips for getting over sugar cravings. And I definitely noticed a few that would help me be healthier in general. Like drinking water when you're craving something sweet. So often I just eat ice cream because I'm really thirsty but I don't like to drink water. (I've also heard some good advice from my friend, Brenna, who said that if water doesn't taste good to you, you may need to eat something with just a little bit of salt to make it more appealing.) I also notice that I definitely comfort eat, and eat when I'm tired and need an energy boost. So I'm going to try to find some healthier alternatives for those moments. Finally, I thought stocking up on protein might be a good idea, especially because my dance class has been kicking my butt recently, so I bought a few cups of greek yogurt that were on sale, and we'll see how I like those for breakfast this week.

With that said, I can't just throw all of that Easter candy away, now can I? I told Kam, "As soon as this Easter candy is gone, I want to start eating less junk food." I don't think he believes me. So, I'm not sure if that means I should eat it super fast and get rid of it, or just eat it really slowly and let it sit until it's less appealing...

I think I hear a chocolate mint patty calling my name.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Milk Myth

It's time again for Pin Busters!

I seriously have no idea if anyone thinks this is a good idea but me, but hey. If this bores you to sleep, you can just keep waiting for the next post.

So, on pinterest I happened upon this infographic about breast milk. Now, there are a lot of  fact/fictions to deal with there, and I DO NOT want to open up the breast-feeding debate here. Do what's right for you, there.

However, I did find one section of this infographic particularly interesting.

"Breast milk changes during the day. Morning milk helps baby wake up; evening milk helps baby fall asleep."

What the what! I had never heard of something like that before! (And I like to read all kinds of nerdy health facts!) That's almost like, some sort of sci-fi or something!

So I had to investigate. Luckily, the infographic cited a few sources. I found the news article that briefed one doctor's findings about changes in breast milk in the morning and evening, but it was very vague and dumbed down. I'm not dumb!

So, I looked up that source! (I'm almost like a detective now, right?) Which was in the periodical, "Nutritional Neuroscience."

And BYU had it! So I found the article, and this was the title, "The possible role of human milk nucleotides as sleep inducers." And it just got better from there.

Holy big words batman.

After much decoding, I feel fairly confident that I can give you the Chloe-language version of this particular scientific article.

A bunch of scientists got together and took some "human milk samples" and used "capillary electrophoresis," which basically means some awesome science experiment where you shock stuff, to separate the nucleotides (molecules that make up things like DNA) from each other. They then ran tests to find out when these nucleotides were at their peak and found that two of five nucleotides peaked at night while another two of five peaked during the day. They found these results to be statistically significant at a p value of 5%, which basically means they are 95% confident that these findings are accurate (which is a pretty big deal in the science world, from what I can tell).

So what does this all mean?

It means this crazy sci-fi milk myth might be right! This test seems to be pretty strong evidence that there are different nutrients in morning and evening breast milk. If these nutrients effect your baby and by how much, it's hard to say. But at least to the statement, "Breast milk changes during the day," I think I can confidently state that this myth is

Which is pretty neat!

(And personally, if breast milk's genetic makeup changes during the day, it seems to me that this has to affect your baby at least a little bit. Why else would your body do that? Just a personal opinion though.)

So, random breast milk infographic designer, color me impressed. And thanks for citing your sources, too. Makes my work much easier.

Let me know what you think of these posts. Love them, hate them? Want me to research something? Just asking for a little interaction!