Feb 5, 2011
The last few days have been full of so much time. Time to slow down for once and enjoy just being. My love for snow days runs deep for this very reason. There are only a few times a year that one can hole up indoors with their favorite person (and dog) and have every excuse to stay there. There’s something about the beauty of the cold and white outside that makes it perfectly okay to lack productivity and busyness. While almost all you see on Facebook is people remarking about how stir crazy they are and how ready they are for the snow to head out, I can’t help but feel just the opposite…and cuddle up a little deeper with the husband.
We’ve had lots of naps, good food eaten while curled up on the couch, watched many episodes of Lost and actually have accomplished a small amount of packing and organizing for the big move.
mixed greens, chick peas, chia seeds, dried cranberries, chopped bell peppers and onions and tahini dressing
baked kale chips seasoned with cumin, sea salt and garlic powder + sweet potato, black beans, salsa and broccoli
Thursday night I decided to whip up this dish I’d seen several days ago. It looked so delicious, and considering the husband and I’s love for avocado, I figured it simply couldn’t go wrong. I mixed the avocado, fresh basil and lemon juice in the Vitamix while the husband cooked some quinoa pasta.
One of the things I adore about my husband is the way that he spends time with me. Whether it’s cooking dinner each night, running a few errands or cleaning the bathrooms, he is usually there right alongside me. I will never forget a comment he made last year when I was so consumed with lesson planning and grading each night that I couldn’t even leave the house. As he headed out the door to run to Walmart one night I asked him “does it make you sad that we aren’t able to do most things together these days?” His reply: “Yeah, usually when I’m on my way to the store I look over at the passenger’s seat and it makes me sad that you aren’t there.”
I love that we do everything together. Not that we never do our own thing or have time apart…because there’s a place for that as well. But we’re a team and most everything is more fun when we’re together.
So, once we each finished our task, I poured the avocado sauce over the pasta and mixed it all up before spooning a portion out on each or our plates.
Antsy to bite into what would be one of my favorite dishes ever, I carried our plates to the table. We prayed for the food and then wound a big bite of noodles around our forks and….
It was not good. My only idea about why it went wrong is that the husband and I didn’t communicate very well about portion sizes of noodles to sauce. The sauce was just really gooey and overpowering. I tried to keep eating it, but after a few bites was really feeling like I might be sick. Weird, right? The husband, being not quite as adventurous as I when it comes to food, quit after the first bite. We were so hungry by this point and didn’t feel like taking the time to create an entirely new meal, so we resorted to a couple of Amy’s burritos jazzed up with a bit of enchilada sauce.
Not exactly what I had planned, but sometimes you just have to roll with it, eh?
Based on the comments from the recipe’s post, I feel pretty sure that we are the ones that screwed this one up. I’m thinking I’d really like to try it again one of these days…maybe with a little more pasta and a little less sauce.
Last night we had our traditional Friday night date night. We made our classic enchiladas and guacamole…all ready in about 20 minutes and so delicious. I have been feeling so nostalgic lately; I’m a very sentimental person, so while packing and having “lasts” in our house, I get probably a little dramatic. But along with the drama, I try to really savor every moment, remembering exactly what it feels like and ingraining it in my memory, so I can keep it with me forever.
We’ve had so many memories in this house, and I’m happy that before we leave it for good we were able to spend a lot of time just being together and doing our favorite things at home. The other night I was packing some boxes in the office, and as I loaded another armload of books I noticed that the boxes was labeled “books – office” in thick black marker. I mused aloud “it really was just like yesterday that we were packing to move here.” It just really took me back to the excitement we both felt over moving into our first house together and how in love with it we were the first time we laid eyes on the shiny wood floors. I always imagined that we would be in this house for many years. That we’d bring our first baby up the steps of our porch and fill the second bedroom with a crib and rocking chair, placed right between the two corner windows.
But now we’re moving on sooner than we thought because God’s plan wasn’t quite what we had envisioned for ourselves. And sprinkled throughout my sad moments about leaving, I feel so excited over where we’re going and so thankful that He is taking us there. Since the day we got married, the husband and I have thrived on adventure – moving to Thailand for a year, exploring NYC, Europe, starting new jobs and then leaving when we feel a pull toward something different. Sometimes the adventures bring fear and struggles, but always at the end we are closer, wiser and more in love.
So yay for new opportunities in life and yay for doing it all together! I’m off now to help the husband – he’s currently buried in boxes and paperwork, attempting to get our office under control.
I hope you all have enjoyed your snow days if you had any…and happy weekend!
Are you a person who likes change? What is a big change that you experienced in your life that had a big impact on you?
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Jan 28, 2011
Am I the only one who feels like this week has seemed sort of long? I’m so glad it’s Friday!
I’m off to teach PiYo this morning, and then I have a tutoring appointment right before lunch. The rest of the day I’ll be just working around the house – Outbox, moving etc.
While this week has seemed long, it has been great as far as food is concerned. I’ve incorporated so many more juices and raw fruits and vegetables, and I feel great for it! It’s cool the way your body starts to crave those things when you give it lots of them. I’ve been craving fresh juice and green smoothies so much this week. The only downside is I’m going broke over produce. But it’s so worth it.
I’ve also been eating a lot of salads, which is not usually my cup of tea in the winter months. Almost every lunch this week has been a plate of fresh greens with lots of toppings. The key is to make a really full, great salad with lots of textures and flavors.
I made a batch of tahini salad dressing that I found in Crazy Sexy Diet, and the creaminess has left me craving more after every meal. It’s so basic – a mixture of 1 cup tahini, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 minced garlic clove. Whisk it all together, adding water until you reach the desired consistency. I love simple ingredients that create a lot of bang!
I’ve switched my additions up a little bit each day, but it’s been some combination of tons of spring mix and spinach, pinto/black beans, chopped carrots, chopped bell pepper, onion, unsweetened dried cranberries, corn, diced avocado and chia seeds. Perfect! It has helped a lot for me to make a large batch of the dressing ahead of time and even pre-chop all the veggies (except the avocado)…then all I have to do is throw it together and it’s done!
I’m thinking I’ll probably top off the week by having another one for lunch…I really might turn into a big lettuce leaf.
Remember last Friday when we talked about geese, and I told you all that I used to catch ducks when I was little? Well my Grandma has come through with the evidence (thanks Grandma!!).
These showed up in my mailbox yesterday and gave me quite a laugh.
Photo 1: candice luring the duck to shore.
Photo 2/3: the catch.
is it just me or is that a very large duck?
I love side bangs, don’t you? I should totally rock those again.
Photo 4: HELP!!
thank you mom and Cristen, for being completely oblivious to the duck attack;)
Photo 5: Quote from my grandma – “This one has nothing to do with ducks. Tom was a big cat. Seems you’re trying to lift him.”
looks like it’s not going too well….for me or Tom…
There are many things that are funny to me in these photos, but one in particular is that in my quest to grow my hair out – the image in my head of what I want eventually is uncannily close to photos 1 and 2. ha!
Happy weekend ya’ll!
What is something funny or crazy that you did as a child? What are you most looking forward to this weekend?
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Oct 31, 2010
Olive says “I hope you had a ‘Hap-bee’ Halloween weekend!!”
Is there some kind of competition for cutest dog costume contest?
Some may think it’s silly to dress up animals for Halloween, but I think it’s just so darn cute. And besides, with no human children to speak of we must spend our time doing something!
We did have some Halloween fun with humans this weekend as well. Saturday night we headed over to our friends’ house for a party with our Sunday School class. We had sort of potluck with lots of delicious food, roasted marshmallows and a pumpkin carving contest! I was the proud wife of the best carved pumpkin winner. Here’s the husband’s masterpiece:
Not bad for a graphic designer, eh?
Anyway, I signed up to bring a pasta salad to the party. The main dish was slated to be ribs, and when we arrived our sweet hostess proudly announced that they had grilled 15 pounds of ribs - “so eat up!!” haha. Lovely:)
I don’t mean to be cynical at all – this is one of the sweetest couples you’d ever meet, but I have to admit that I cringed a bit at the announcement. Anyway, I usually sign up to bring some kind of side dish or salad when we got to parties, so that I’ll for sure have something substantial to eat that is vegetarian. And for this particular occasion I decided to go with a classic favorite.
Summery Fall Couscous Salad
Even though it’s technically more of a summery dish, I knew it would be a hit. Plus the recipe makes a huge amount, perfect for parties and potlucks. Seriously ya’ll, if you get a chance, please make this salad. Once people get past the “foreigness” of couscous there is no holding them back. Sometimes I even make it just to have at the house – and the husband eats it like candy:) If you’re making it just for your family though, you may want to half the recipe.
The stars of this salad:
My sweet friend, Grace, also brought a tasty salad that was meat free, so I enjoyed some of that, a few chips and some bread!
And a s’more of course.
Anyway, it was a great time. You really can’t beat good food and great friends, ya know?
After the party Saturday night, we stopped by Redbox to rent a movie – The Greatest. Have you seen it? If you don’t mind movies that make you bawl for an hour straight, then you should definitely rent it!
Jon loves to rent really sad movies with me and then fall asleep and make me watch them by myself.
Case in point: When we were in Tokyo a couple of years ago, we got in bed to watch P.S. I Love You. Um, yeah. Talk about a tear jerker. Within 5 minutes the husband was fast asleep, and I was left to be sucked into this horribly sad movie all by myself. I got revenge, however, when he woke up to me sobbing uncontrollably at 1am, begging him to tell me why he made me watch it all alone. And that is no exaggeration, my friends. I was an complete mess. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean.
Anyway, so last night was pretty much a replay, but not quite as intense.
Needless to say I woke up after only about 5 hours of sleep, puffy eyed and tired. I’m sure everyone at church wondered just what kind of party we had Saturday night, haha. o’well!
Naturally, it is now almost midnight, and I still have some tasks to finish up. I’m working on something for tomorrow’s post that I’m pretty excited about. Heather is having a special post this week where she’s linking other bloggers who took on a recipe that is a challenge and is out of their comfort zone. I love challenges like this! Stay tuned…
See you guys tomorrow:) Let’s start strong for another week!
What was the craziest or funniest costume you saw this weekend? While it wasn’t super crazy, on Saturday afternoon at about 4 o’clock I happened to glance out our front window, and there was a Peter Pan and Tinker Bell walking down our street. I know it was the day before Halloween and all, but there was just something funny about it:) lol.
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Oct 20, 2010
No one told me how cold it was going to be here in DC!
Something you may not know about me – I have a small obsession with watching the weather. Outside real time and through my Weather Channel iPhone app. I love looking at the hour by hour forecast. Oh, and the 7 day is almost more than my little heart can handle! I get so excited.
So, needless to say I was watching DC weather like a Natzi over the last week or so. According to my calculations, it was supposed to be in the low 70′s this week.
Well, apparently those calculations were wro-ong!
It is downright cold here…so cold that most of the locals are in coats, hats, boots…you name it. If it’s a cold weather accessory, it’s walkin’ the streets of the District (I can totally call it that now that I’ve actually been here, right?!).
Unfortunately, this unsuspecting tourist did not pack for frigid temps. Luckily I did bring a couple pairs of jeans and threw in my light trench coat, but I am kicking myself for not bringing my boots and some long sleeve shirts. Oh, and I almost bought some gloves at Urban Outfitters today. I’m kicking myself for leaving those behind too.
Despite the cold, I am loving DC! Something else you may not know about me is that I am so in love with the east coast I could marry it. Seriously. Jon and I drove up the east coast on our honeymoon, and I’ve pined away for it ever since. I knew I would love it here (in DC) too…and I couldn’t have been more right.
Now, here’s my list so far of things that have surprised me about DC:
One. how cold it is.
Two. how friendly the people are. there are some seriously friendly people here – and so helpful!
Three. the number of runners out and about throughout the day.
Four. how much the area around Capitol Hill reminds us of Paris. Anybody else?
Okay, so now that my lovefest has commenced, let’s go forth with the story of our trip here yesterday.
Jon and I left our house around 7:45am (right on time, thankyouverymuch) and hit up Starbucks on our way out of town for some coffee and a bite to eat. I gotta say, Starbuck’s Oatmeal is the way to go if you’re out and about in the early morning hours.
Okay, I am aware that this picture does not look that appetizing. But I promise you, they don’t call it “perfect” for nothing. Have I ever lied to you before?
After an hour and a half of driving in torrential rains, getting lost and making a circle around the entire perimeter of the airport, we finally got parked. This is not the first time that using directions from our iPhone has failed us. It literally led us on a wild goose chase down all kinds of windy back roads and plopped us down right at the entrance people use to fly private jets. Riiiiiight.
So, after nearly having a nervous breakdown and then a panic attack, we made it into the airport looking like a couple of wet dogs as we raced to check in. At that point I split off from the husband because unfortunately we were booked on different flights (his was booked through his work).
Luckily we both made it to our gates in time. After the hour-ish flight, I landed at O’Hare in Chicago for an hour and a half layover. First things first. Find some healthy food, stat!
I have to say – in my humble opinion, airports have really improved in the way of healthy eats. At least larger airports. Unfortunately it does cost half your life savings to obtain said eats, but they’re there. Per the usual, I had planned ahead and packed rice cakes, larabars, dried apricots, apples and bananas in my bag for this trip. But I always end up eating my packed stuff for breakfast and snacks when I go on vacation…and by day 2 or 3 I’m usually getting serious fresh veggie withdrawals. So, I had decided that if there were any good veggies to be had at the airport, I was going to splurge on invest in them. Enter – the best airport lunch ever:
Mixed greens salad with grilled veggies and pita wedges on top. With a balsamic vinegar dressing.
and a green juice
I used to think these Naked juices had added sugar – not sure why I thought that. This was 100% juice – including several fruits and broccoli, spirulina etc. It was delicious! And I felt on top of the world when I finished this lunch. Full of veggies:)
After I landed in DC a few hours later, I snacked on some spelt pretzels while I waited for Jon and his coworkers to land. Then it was off to the hotel to drop our bags and on to dinner!
Jon and I were desperate to get into the heart of the action and see the sights, but being in a new city we weren’t quite sure where to get some food first. So, we walked around the area where we’re staying for a little while and spotted this cute little Thai restaurant. It had us at Sawat-dee (hello in Thai).
If the traditional Thai greeting when we walked in the door didn’t charm us, then the egg rolls, cashew tofu, and sweet little Thai waitresses picked up the slack. We were enamored.
Highlight of the night: Jon and I ordered the same dish, but I substituted tofu for chicken. In the end we realized that Jon had been served tofu as well, and he didn’t even realize it until 75% of his food was gone! We couldn’t tell my looking at it because it was fried, and apparently he couldn’t taste the difference. ha!
After dinner, we took the bus and metro down to Capitol Hill. We strolled around, taking in the beauty of everything all lit up and taking pictures like we actually thought they would be good without at tripod.
freezing my tail off while waiting for the train
a fuzzy Washington Monument
hello there Abe
hello there Mister Obama
We were exhausted by the time we were ready to head back to the hotel, so we decided to hitch a ride in a cab. We had a crazy funny cab driver from India with an awesome accent who we found to be rather entertaining. That is until he drove off without giving us correct change, leaving us $10 short! What was that I was saying about friendly people…
I kid, I kid.
Anyway, that’s the long and short of day 1 in DC! Day 2 was a bit more eventful and definitely better for photo opps. I’ll be back tomorrow with the details:)
Jon will be in meetings all day tomorrow, so I’m thinking I’ll head over to Alexandria (Old Town) to explore a little bit. I was quite taken with it’s quaintness when we passed through on our way from the airport. Actually, it might be better if I didn’t go there – I don’t think I’m ever gonna want to leave!
See ya tomorrow!
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Aug 31, 2010
Thanks for all the sweet and encouraging comments on yesterday’s posts. Every single comment on this blog truly means so much to me!
Today has been pretty uneventful really…I’ve spent the morning working away on the blog and Outbox stuff, breaking just long enough for breakfast and lunch. I do, however, have a new “eats” page at the top to show for it – so go check it out if you get the chance!
Jon and I did go out for a run this morning, which unfortunately turned into a half run half walk. We intended to crank out 3 quick miles, but the return of the heat and humidity plus Jon running late for work got the best of us. I think we may start hitting up the treadmill for our short runs until this heat lets up a little bit. I am not a big fan of the treadmill, but I’m even less of a fan of sweltering heat.
Breakfast this morning was one of my all-time favorites
Cinnamon raisin Ezekiel muffin with 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter and half a sliced banana
And lunch was one of my favorites from last year. When I was a teacher, I would make my lunch before I went to bed every night. A version of this salad was one of quickest, easiest, healthiest and most popular meals I ever took! Popular because several of my coworkers would always ooh and ahh over it’s color and beauty. Now that I am at home for many lunches, I don’t make it as much, seeing as how I don’t have to worry about being on-the-go…but today it was resurrected!
So, in honor of our last few weeks of summer, here is a quick little tutorial on how to create an awesome salad. Salads don’t have to be just lettuce. I’ll be the first one to say “I don’t like salads” if we’re talkin’ lettuce and a few tomatoes thrown on top. I know some people really dig that, but for me – they’ve got to be loaded with different flavors, textures and colors to be enjoyable and to keep me going throughout the afternoon. So, here we go.
Pick your base
- spring mix
*Next, chop your greens and put them in a large bowl. This salad could get big, so leave plenty of room:) I always chop mine up because I want every bite of salad to have a bit of everything. Plus, I try to avoid shoving giant lettuce leaves in my mouth in front of my lunch buddies (which granted, now mainly include Olive).
Choose and chop your veggies. I like my salads to be bulky. Lettuce really ends up being a smallish part of the overall masterpiece. But you definitely want to create volume by tossing in lots of different veggies. I usually use anywhere between 3 and 5 of the options below.
- artichoke hearts (a must in my opinion!)
- bell pepper
- snow peas
- cold peas
- beets, shredded
- green onions
Choose your protein. Every good salad has to have protein. I’m going to stick to vegetarian suggestions. For beans, I usually add in about 1/3 – 1/2 of a cup. Sometimes I’ll go with 2 different types of beans and add 1/4 cup of each.
- beans (kidney, black, chick peas, navy etc)
- chopped egg
- nuts (sliced almonds, walnuts etc)
Choose your healthy fat.
- olive oil
Choose your dressing. Now we all know that a bad dressing can ruin the most healthy and delicious salad. The great thing is that with all the flavorful elements you’re adding to this salad, you don’t need much of a dressing! Here are a few of my personal favorites – just to add a bit of moisture.
- balsamic vinegar, straight up. I poor on about 1-2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and call it a day. It adds the perfect amount of flavor, in my opinion.
- olive oil
- lime or lemon juice
And now for what I consider to be the best and final add ins. These are things that really add a huge punch of flavor or texture.
- dried fruit without added sugar (cranberries are my favorite)
- chia seeds
- fresh fruit (apples, mandarin oranges, strawberries, blueberries, pears, grapes)
- seasonings – sometimes just a sprinkle of ground red pepper or oregano can add the perfect touch
Now that all of your ingredients are in a huge bowl, it’s time to mix it up!
This is one of the most important steps because if you just add everything onto a plate, layer by layer, then you won’t get a little bit of every ingredient in most bites. And we definitely cannot deal with that. So mix it up really, really well!
Lastly, dump it all out either onto a plate or in a to-go container. Now off you go with a super healthy, filling and tasty lunch that will make you the envy of everyone you know! ha.
Note: obviously some of these suggested ingredients can serve for more than one category. For instance, olive oil could serve as your healthy fat and your dressing. Or chia seeds could serve as a fun, crunchy add on or as a source of healthy fat or protein. You get the picture.
If you’re someone who is always in a hurry when making lunch like I was was, I suggest using some time on the weekend to pre-chop your veggies that need it (rocket science, right?). Then reserve a small space on one shelf of your fridge for “salad fixins.” That way, when you get ready to create your salad, everything is ready to go – you can just snatch it out of the fridge, toss in a little of this and a little of that, throw a lid on it and go!
Along with creating this salad for lunch today, I also made a new and improved batch of hummus.
Spicy Garlic Hummus
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
- toss everything into a food processor minus 1 tsp minced garlic and process until smooth
- transfer hummus to a small bowl and add remaining tsp of garlic to the very center
- garnish with a sprinkle of ground red pepper
Well, I’m off to have a (hopefully) productive afternoon! See you all later;)
What is your favorite salad topping?
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