Open Sesame

This post is about music, memories and a mighty tasty dinner.


Sunday afternoon we made our way over to Reed College to see the Portland Baroque Orchestra perform Haydn’s Three Symphonies (Symphony No. 6. Le matin, Symphony No. 7. Le midi, Symphony No. 8. Le soir.). It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the orchestra and I’m so glad I got us tickets! It was a fun performance and the auditorium at Reed College was pretty intimate.



During the intermission we walked around the campus a little bit. It was a gorgeous hot day and students were laying in the grass hanging out, listening to music and studying with friends. It made me wish I’d gone away to college right after highschool and experienced that adventure. Instead, I went to college part time while working full time throughout my 20’s. I don’t necessarily regret that because I got the experience of living on my own for almost a decade. That kind of independence is important, I think.


But still, I wistfully watched the students and part of me wished I’d gone to one of the schools I’d been interested in. Of course as a 17 year old student I was looking at colleges AS FAR FROM HOME as humanly possible. 🙂 There was one in Vermont and one in Boston I was in love with, as well as Reed, Evergreen and Grinnell.


Isn’t Reed a gorgeous campus? It’s especially beautiful in the springtime.


We went back to the auditorium for the final performance. The director was a vibrant, enthusiastic performer and the rest of the orchestra sounded flawless. It was such a nice, uplifting performance. I was particularly interested in watching the violinists. When I was in elementary school I really wanted to learn how to play the violin or cello. Unfortunately it was the piano for me–since that’s what my parents had. Oh well! Maybe someday I’ll try to learn it.

There wasn’t time to linger at Reed, even though it was a perfect day to do so, because dinner was cooking in the crockpot at home. This recipe is from Skinny Taste. I’ve tried a few of her recipes in the past and usually they are pretty good. I figured you can’t go wrong with chicken and soy sauce.


I might have added a little more of the sriracha sauce than the recipe called for…but that’s typical of me! I like SPICE! The recipe was super quick to throw together. I halved the recipe to make 4 servings instead of the 8. That way there would be enough for dinner and maybe a lunch or two this week.

This is not a good recipe for a week night. It only takes 4 hours to make and that would be hard to do during the week, but it’s perfect for a weekend when you are in and out of the house all day.


I made brown rice to go with the chicken, which was a good combo. The chicken was probably a lot spicier than the originally recipe was supposed to be but I liked it spicy! I wish there was more of a sesame flavor to it, but the spice and the tomato paste and the soy were the dominant flavors in this dish. I think a little more nutty sesame flavor would be a nice finishing flavor.


The chicken was a tad on the dry side–maybe because I used boneless, skinless chicken cutlets instead of breasts? Or maybe it needed to be cooked for 3.5 hours instead of 4. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a big deal. The dinner was still delicious and I would make it again!

QUESTION: Are you a fan of classical music? Where did you go to college?

Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

20 thoughts on “Open Sesame”

  1. Wow, that dish looks amazing, but you had me at sriracha! I went to Southern Illinois my first year – I got a field hockey scholarship. Sadly, they dropped the field hockey program after my freshman year and I never went back to school.

    I am so proud of my daughter because she just finished her junior year in college! She stayed home the first two years and went to community college to get her Gen Ed’s out of the way (saving lots of $$!!) and she got an academic scholarship at Roosevelt University and moved in with her boyfriend last year. She loves living on her own, commuting to school and working 30 hours a week!
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    1. Have you ever thought about going back to school?

      That’s great about your daughter. What is her degree in? I also went to community college. I got my AA degree because I was working full time while I went to school full time (fun huh?). I intended on going to Portland State afterward to finish my degree but I got a job in the field I was studying and thought I would get some on the job training and experience. After 6 years now, I realize this is not the field I want to be in! LOL

  2. How cool that the orchestra used period instruments, too! I actually was a performance major (horn) and got a masters degree. I was working on my doctorate and realized that as much as I loved music, I couldn’t fit very well in academia and would have been miserable.

    I went to SUNY Potsdam for my undergrad, Michigan State for my masters and did doctoral work at CU Boulder. I traveled a lot!! 😀
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    1. Wow! That’s so cool to learn about you. I didn’t know that you had such an advanced degree in music. Do you still play the horn? My brother played the trombone in highschool (I didn’t play anything) and went to Ireland and Japan twice with the band. Also met his wife in the college band. He’s going to be in academia but he seems to love it.

      1. No, I don’t play the horn any more. It’s a bit bittersweet to play it. One reason why I decided to play guitar was to bring music back into my life without it being so emotional.
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  3. That recipe looks good! I bet if you saved the sesame oil and sprinkled it on after cooking, you’d get more of its nutty flavor.

    I went to a gorgeous college outside of Boston called Stonehill – it’s got a great reputation in New England, but no one here’s ever heard of it!

  4. Yummy sounding recipe, thanks! I’ll put that on my ‘to make’ list. Or, even better, my boyfriend could follow those instructions so I can put it on his ‘to make’ list instead!!

    Classical music? No thanks. My ex was a musician and played mainly classical and jazz. The amount of concerts I had to sit through… No thanks! Here in NZ it isn’t common to move away to study, unless you live in a small town without a university nearby, or the degree you want isn’t offered at the closest university. I studied in Auckland city for my diploma and in a suburb about 30 minutes away (by car) for my degree.

  5. I went to Rutgers and then to American University for my masters in public communication… where I met my husband on the first day of school. I’m not doing anything career-wise like I thought I would – maybe at some point when my son gets older I’ll get back to it – event programming is what I’d really like to do and I do a lot of that as a volunteer at the moment and also work with my husband.

    I played the clarinet as a kid – didn’t stick with it into high school. My son (5th grader) is playing and absolutely loving percussion and I hope he sticks with it! We’re thinking about starting him on either piano or guitar in addition.

    1. Public communication sounds like a good base for event programming. I’m sure you’ve looked into it, but what about a job with a nonprofit that does a lot of charity events to raise money? A friend works at Ronald McDonald House and plans all the events. She seems to love her job.

  6. very good recipe. i used boneless chicken thighs, instead of chil sauce I used hoisin sauce and added red pepper flakes, also doubled the onion poweder and added sesame seed during the cooking since you said you like more sesame taste.

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