Monthly Archives: March 2012

Making It.

Hello, survivors!

I don’t know about y’all, but by the time I pulled into the garage last night I was just exhausted.

And after looking over the posts from last week, I am doubly surprised that we managed to keep the wheels on the bus this go-round.

Regardless, the weekend is now and 99% of my plans for the weekend orbit around the concept of running-sleeping-eating-friends.

Cooking and a bit of cleaning fit in there somewhere too.

This morning Molly and I headed out for an 8.5 mile run down the Minneapolis Greenway and around Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.  We workshopped like, probably a record number of topics.  Because, you know, it’s like doing coffee or drinks.  Except with your feet.

And a bit of huffing and puffing.

Anyway, through all of our chatter we managed to determine that not only does she work in Plymouth, but she and her fiance are moving like a mile or so away from where Marcus and I live.

Can I just say how excited I am to have a running buddy that lives nearby?  The whole situation is just so 11/10.

After a bit of napping (let’s be serious, this is a non-negotiable part of my life on the weekend), I decided to do something about the situation taking place on my mitts + paws.

For my mitts: Revlon Elegant.  For my paws: Color Club Jackie Oh!

It was hardcore soothing.  There’s just something about being able to look down without having to catch a glimpse of chipped polish.

Did I mention that I’ve also begun the process of discovering all of these great summer dresses that I forgot I owned?  Because there’s that, too.  I was about to have a major anxiety attack about what on earth I would wear this summer but apparently my wardrobe-that-knows-n0-bounds is well and truly boundless.

Unrelated: This slideshow of Prom on The NYT website was fascinating and worth the few minutes it takes to flip through.  And this Prom slideshow from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is doubly so.

Make it happen.

What are your weekend plans?

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Friday Food Round-Up!

Most weeks really lend themselves to a flowery preface.

This week: I am absolutely astonished by the amount of food I managed to cook, considering that I’ve been running on empty.

We feast-on.

Sunday – Vegetable Stir Fry (with Omelet) over Brown Rice

After doing cheese fondue, sangria and desserts galore for Madelyn’s Bridal Shower, I wanted nothing more than green things.  The good news is that we had a TON of extra veggie “dippers” leftover, even after I forced some of them on Christine.

My choices were stir fry and pizza.  Between the two, the chew of vegetables over brown rice just sounded better to me than cheese and crust.  Likely because I had already eaten my body weight in gruyere and swiss.

What I really need to learn how to do: Make an excellent, stick-to-the-dish stir fry sauce.  I realize that if I removed the stir fry from the pan, drained the liquid and then made/reduced the sauce, this problem would be totally solved.

Next time.

Lunch – Turkey Picadillo Sandwiches from Great, Easy Meals

Since I knew we weren’t going to be cooking a ton this week and I had the extra half-hour, I decided to action a batch of the filling for these sandwiches.

Why I was skeptical: It included raisins and olives, neither of which Marcus is fond of.

Why I shouldn’t have been skeptical: Marcus loved it 11/10.

And how easy is it to send your husband to work with a container of sandwich filling to heat up in the microwave and a roll?

Not.

Tuesday – Gorditas from time for dinner

Another day for skepticism.  Because we were cooking with cornmeal, which is yet another one of The Things that Marcus self-professed hate-relationship with.

You know, until I fashion it into a meal.

Our modifications: I didn’t put the cheese into the base of the gordita-cups.  I knew that it was a clear-cut example of A Time Where We Wouldn’t Be Able To Taste It and I already knew we would be liberally sprinkling the cheese on top of the cups instead.   Instead of buying a rotisserie chicken, I roasted up the turkey legs remaining from The Butchering of 2011.

Next time I want to attempt these in a mini-muffin tin so that I could fill them with, say, Kirsten’s Corn and Avocado Salad as an appetizer.

How fun, right?

Thursday – Migas and Mexican Fried Potatoes from The Homesick Texan

This week was so stressful (surprise) that I ended up having to re-schedule a happy hour-dinner date with a sorority sister.  Which left my night totally open for relaxing until I realized that Mom was out-of-town on business and that Dad was home alone with Mr. Fang.

So I called him up and asked him to come to dinner.

This might sound kind of strange, but I very rarely cook for anyone else beyond Marcus and myself.  Yes, I bring leftover baked goods in for co-workers.  But the idea of feeding other people?  Just makes me anxious.

What that really means: I have never cooked dinner for my parents.

To the point where Dad seriously wondered whether or not I actually cooked any of the things that I show here and if Marcus’ raving about my cooking abilities were totally appropriate or completely off-base.

The meal I chose wasn’t fancy at all.  I decided to go with Migas and this potato situation because I had most all of the ingredients in my pantry to begin with.  And I knew that if Dad was late, they would be easy dishes to keep warm.

But Breakfast For Dinner is always a good choice, and Lisa (and The Homesick Texan) have yet to do me wrong.

After offering to photograph me with the food (I politely declined), Dad dug into his plate and declared the feast blog-worthy.

So I guess I really can cook, or something. ;)

What was the first meal you cooked for your parents?

A Tiny Bit of Organizing

Thank you for bearing with me kittens.  This post is what I actually wanted to workshop yesterday, before exhaustion took me down.

The good news: Tomorrow is Friday.

I was going to do this crazy, in-depth review of my March Birchbox, but either energy has been eluding me or I just am not that emotionally invested in going into minutiae.

Or I realized that unless you also have a Birchbox (yes, you should absolutely subscribe) you’re likely never going to try any of those things.

In summary: All of the samples were great.  I only seriously considered purchasing two (the Kerastase and the tea forte).  I’m still working my way through most of them (the tea was consumed on a jag on Sunday night).

What is fantastic: as a “thank you” for throwing her shower, Madelyn sourced Christine and I these fantastic Vera Bradley brush cases.

I have a number of Vera Bradley bags (and aprons) so I am a major fan.

After digging through my make-up bag, I realized I actually have a fair few brushes and probably should be doing something more to corral them.

In the interim I have done nothing.

Because I decided that this bag would be the perfect place to stash my monthly samples.

I mean, it’s a reasonably sized bag.  But the size definitely makes it impossible for me to attempt to hoard.

It’s a priorities-thing.

You can just file this one under Being Proactive.

Do you have  special bag for your make-up brushes?

Do you have a Birchbox subscription?

It’s Wednesday

It’s Wednesday.

I know that’s totally obvious and a given.

But in all seriousness, did you realize that?  Because this morning, I woke up and wondered, where has all the time gone?

And then I proceeded to blow out my hair and dig a black blazer out of the back of my closet.

Keep calm and carry on.

Don’t lie, you’ve done the same.

I left the house at 7:00 AM and didn’t pull into the garage until 8:15 PM.

Time stops for no one.

Yes, some glorious things were involved (running long, walking around Lake Calhoun with Galina, eating cheese fries + hot wings and calling them a dinner).  But mostly, I’m just extremely exhausted.

Like last week, this has been the busiest week ever.  Chaotic.  Unrelenting.  Full of high expectations.

The good news = tomorrow is Thursday.

The bad news = tomorrow is not Friday.

The blanket burrito calls.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high) how is your week going?

Planting Time

What you’re seeing here is the first (and likely only) action shot ever on The Blog.

Fact: When you’re busy taking a picture in the middle of pouring water into your seedling flat, you’re also busy pouring water down the front of your cabinetry.

Blogging mysteries, unveiled.

As I was helter-skelter scattering seed packets into their respective bits of earth, I realized that over the winter I actually missed le jardin.

Despite my best efforts at procrastinating, as of Sunday it is planted.

The first year that we planted Le Jardin, I didn’t really think to label it properly.  I just figured that the cilantro, basil, tarragon, parsley and oregano would start to differentiate themselves.  Which they did.

This year?  My choice of plants is not-so-different as that first planting.  So this go-round, I decided to label them from the beginning.

What we’re doing: Genovese Basil, Lettuce Leaf Basil, Purple Basil, Sage.

Apparently Sage is like the Panda of the plant-world.  Whereas my Basil will only take 5-10 days to germinate, Sage apparently takes 10-20.

WHO KNEW THAT I WOULD BE HELD HOSTAGE TO THE SEED THAT REFUSES TO SPROUT?

I planted 18 pellets of each plant (there are 72 in the kit), hoping that I would get four strong plants of each kind.

The rest of the survivors?  Mother’s Day gifts.  Obviously.

What have you planted this spring?

Flowers-wise, what goes well in full-sun planters?

I’m still going to have a few extra planters leftover and the deck could always use more beauty!

Day 82

Yes, I realize that you can barely read the number on that Post-It.  But in case you still trying to read the situation, it’s 82.  Obviously.

Day 82.  The beginning of the first 40 mile week I’ve had to run in a long time.

Pray for me, kittens.

This week (and my almost 25% jump in weekly mileage) fits perfectly with one of my Healthy Living Resolutions, #4 Train to Minimize Injury.

I was going to write this really long post about how I’m working to minimize my injury risk.

Translation: I was going to get into great detail about compression garments and how 11/10 they are.  In case you were wondering, they’re absolutely worth the money and you should invest without batting a lash if you haven’t already.

Stretching.  Yoga.  Nutrition.  The works.

But we were at family dinner for three hours and I really want to go curl up in bed.

So instead, (as a summary) about a month ago, Brady shared these 5 Training Rules from Coach Caleb.

They are obvious, straight-forward and profound.  We as runners should be following every single one of them.

Yes, racing is about trying to achieve a certain time or goal.  But training is about being able to walk up to the start line.

What do you do to try to avoid injury?

If you read the Coach Caleb article, what rule is your personal favorite?

A Shower of Yellow and White

When Christine asked me on New Year’s Eve if I would plan Madelyn’s bridal shower with her, I said Absolutely Yes.  She is one of my loveliest friends and I am honored that I get to share in and celebrate this part of her life with her.

So, celebrate we did.

What I failed at: Getting pictures of the guests ensemble.  Getting pictures of anyone other than Madelyn.  Getting pictures of Madelyn doing anything other than unflattering shower game stuff.

So we’re just not going to go there.

Let’s go here instead.

On the tables: a mix of tulips, spider mums and daffodils.  Crystal candlesticks.  It was a lovely mix of high and low, and created a nice sight line across the table.

I didn’t even know I had that description in me.

For lunch: Party Salad.  Gruyere and Swiss fondue with the following dippers: Tots, Baguette, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Apples.

Beverages: Raspberry Simply Lemonade.  Red and White Sangrias.  Water.

For the “Bride” frame (and some menu printables that didn’t really show up in the tablescape snaps) I used these Chevron Stripe printables from The Wedding Chicks.

I will be using them for everything in the future and you should too.  Because how easy is it to send something to your printer and cut it out/frame it and call it a day decor-wise?

I was completely miserable at getting snaps of the dessert display, which is basically a crying shame because we had the sterling, the cake stand and the cupcake tree going ensemble.

So, rather, here is a view of what remained in my house as of 7:30 PM CST.

The Orange Crunch Layer Cake.  For the record, even though it’s a profile shot, there’s still like 1/3 of a cake there.

And Christine’s infamous Crack Bars.

What didn’t survive: Emily’s German Chocolate Brownies.

All in all, it was a successful afternoon of feasting, laughter and celebration for one of our favorite girls.

What are the highlights of the best showers you have attended?

Like the Swan, Paddling Furiously

Kittens, I must be on a roll this week.  Or something.

Christine and I are throwing a bridal shower tomorrow for Madelyn.  We’re having it here.  I think it’s going to be 11/10 lovely.

Based on the flowers that have taken over my table, I didn’t believe such pretty things could happen in these four walls.

Apparently they will.

There will be time for that later.

But like the swan, even though everything looks fine above the water, underneath I’m paddling furiously.

Today I made my first layer cake.

Yes, seriously.

It went well, I can’t wait to tell you more about it.

And because I was majorly wanting to check things off of The List, I frosted it on the cake stand.

Not a big deal.

Except for that part where I decided that it should definitely take up residence in my already-packed refrigerator for the night.  And the revelation that apparently Crate and Barrel sells cake stands that don’t have covers.

Even with the skewers that I inserted into the cake, my attempts at fashioning a cake-sized pup tent out of tin foil and plastic wrap failed miserably.

I took a breath, I took a step back.

I found myself improvising once more.

White Trash Cake Stand Cover, get at me.

What has the most colorful part of your weekend been?

Friday Food Round-Up!

I still don’t know how we managed to cook as much as we did this week.  Like, it’s mind-boggling, really.  The fridge was full to overflowing, and in contrast to a few of our more plant-based weeks, I ate a lot of meat.  Like between the dinners and the leftovers, at least once a day.

I’ll be honest, that’s a big change that I did notice.  Because even though our freezer is full of the stuff, it felt like it was raining from the sky.

Sunday – Cabbage and Radish Slaw with Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing, Red Chile Rice, Tex-Mex Meatloaf with a Chipotle-Tomato Glaze and Texas Caviar

We actually mixed up the slaw on Friday when we did a bit of light grilling with Ben and Tiffany.  But as you all know, slaw is the kind of thing that makes a veritable bounty of food.  More importantly, this slaw and its dressing were a worthy offering to my slaw-hating husband.

This was only our second attempt at actioning a meatloaf.  I think we all remember my first attempt via Paula Deen, which while totally delicious ended up falling apart.  While this loaf ended up requiring us to thaw a half pound of chorizo for the blend (we reduced the total meat volume to 1.5 lbs from 2), it was well worth the effort.

Time-saver: After comparing the red slurry for the Red Chile Rice with the Chipotle-Tomato Glaze recipe, I realized that the two were essentially one and the same.  So instead of mixing them separately, I just went big and mixed the entire cast ensemble.  The only thing I would do differently next time is add one more chipotle pepper.

Was the Texas Caviar really necessary?  Probably not.  But y’all know how fond I am of having Things To Eat in the fridge.  I will openly admit to my laziness though in the fact that I had zero desire to deal with actioning black-eyed peas from their dried state, and thus mixed one can of Great Northern beans and one can of black beans (both drained and rinsed, of course) and called it a day.

Lisa, please forgive me.

Tuesday – Pineapple-Cashew Quinoa Stir-Fry from Veganomicon

Marcus: So we’re not adding chicken.

Me: No, it’s vegan.

Marcus: Oh, I thought that it would be like a chicken-modification.

Truth: This was like…vegan sweet and sour chicken.  Except without the meat.or a faux-soy substitute.

Truth x 2: I never thought I would cook Marcus a meal that requires an entire pineapple and he would enjoy it.

Next time: We would do edamame instead of peas for more of a protein/satiety-hit.  Toss in an onion.  For fun.  And maybe instead of doing quinoa (which was quite delicious), we would consider doing brown rice.

More importantly, there WILL be a next time.

Wednesday – Jerk Turkey Burgers with Mango Slaw from Great, Easy Meals and Oven Fries

More slaw.  And during this meal, Marcus was so bold as to actually declare that he likes slaw.

Cool.  I’m in.

Considering that the dressing was 1/4 c mayo and 1/4 c mango chutney, it was the easiest side/burger topper in…ever.

The turkey burgers were good.  We were meant to throw a green apple (grated) into the mix.  Since we couldn’t really taste it, I think next time we would go old school and throw in onions instead.  If I was feeling lazy and not in the mood for slaw, I’d mix some chutney and mayo together to slather on the bun for a bit of extra moisture.

Consider this a preview meal for our summer – grilling and potatoes.  It’s the only way to live really.

Thursday – Paninis with Grilled Chicken, Roasted Vegetables (zucchini, onion and pepper), Cheddar Cheese and Lemon (Garlic) Aioli on multi-grain bread with Roasted Broccoli

Also known as Michelle and Kat are doing dinner, there are vegetables in the fridge and homegirl has been craving a roasted vegetable sandwich all day.

Roasting: The fastest and most delicious way to shrink vegetables for consumption.

What else can I say about this matter?  I’ll probably be day-dreaming about this total beast of a sandwich for the next week.

End of story.

What cravings did you cook for this week?

Innovation happens.

Michelle came over for dinner tonight, because we decided that we needed to do more regular sister-in-law bonding.

Translation: We were both running around town living our lives and realized that we never scheduled friend-date type activities with one another.

We were busy attending everyone else’s events and parties together, but not doing anything for ourselves.

Considering the fact that we are both sans-baby right now (and have plans to keep it that way!), we should be doing every zen, fantastic girly thing in the book.

So we are.  Effective now.

Tonight started with “Pinot” and ended with “Grigio.”  It also kick-started a debate regarding a different friend’s request to “Bring any Pinot” and not specify whether or not they meant Grigio or Noir.

Um, hello?   That’s like going into a bakery and saying “I’d like the one with the frosting.”

Really, that’s neither here nor there.

You can see what we ate for dinner tomorrow.  But for tonight, I just wanted you to be able to bask in the glory of this.

Seeing IS believing.  I give to you, The White Trash Panini Press.

Yes, you could possess a griddler.  Or one of those fancy weights with a handle.

But who needs those when you have a grill pan, a slightly smaller frying pan and a tea kettle?

Necessity.  It’s the mother of invention.

What sort of kitchen tools have you “improvised?”

Which do you prefer: Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir?

I like them both, but I definitely prefer Pinot Noir myself.