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April 12, 2010

I WENT FOR A RUN TODAY!!

It wasn’t the greatest run, but gracious, I’m glad I did it. I didn’t have that overwhelming sense of guilt all day because I didn’t exercise (like I had almost every day last week). I think I’m going to have to have my left knee looked at because I had to stop twice today from the pain. *sigh*

Anyway-Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

(Photos courtesy of my SIL)

Sooo..in my spare time I bake. I love making cookies and cakes, especially for my friends and family! My friend and I have a small business. One day we’ll let it grow up to a big business, but we both have really busy schedules, and she has two kids, so it’s hard to bake as much as we want to.

These were for my SIL’s BFF’s baby shower. I used some of the designs in the baby’s nursery as inspiration for the cake and cookies. I had so much fun making the cake! I think it turned out pretty good, except I don’t know what is up with the sloppy icing job on the front of the cake. Yikes!

The cookies were fun too. Each favor bag had 2 cookies, in one of three designs: a flower, a tree or a birdie. I think the birdies were my favorite of the 3 cookies. They had the cutest little heart wings. I will definitely be using that cookie cutter a lot!

This week I will be working on my BFFs’ baby’s first birthday cake. It’s going to be complicated so I’m going to work on it little by little this week. I can’t wait to show you the finished product!

Have a great night! Cheers!

Garden Check-in, Week 5

April 11, 2010

The garden is doing great. This week I have not been visiting the garden as much as I have before…I’ve been so busy and stressed out!. Luckily we got some rain, so I didn’t have to water it as much, or else everything might have died.

This week I have noticed that some of the seeds I planted last week have sprouted-spinach, carrots and lettuce. The original lettuce is getting much bigger. I’m a bit concerned about the onions. They don’t seem to even be growing. I guess I don’t really know what they should look like; I might look into that tonight. Here are some exciting things that I found this week:

Strawberry! A little deformed, but still loved.

Radishes! Most of the tops of the radish roots are sticking out of the soil. I guess this means that they are ready to harvest? Another research project for me.

Not much else new this week. The tomato plant has some flowers on it and the peppers and cucumbers I planted last week seem to be making themselves at home. I’m sure I’ll be pulling some of the radishes out of the ground this week…how exciting-my first harvest of the year! I will need to decide what to put in place of the radishes when they are out.

Next week’s garden update will either be early or late depending on my schedule. We will be out-of-town on a mini (much-needed) vacation on Sunday!

Happy gardening!

Quick Check-In

April 9, 2010

I’m still alive. It’s been a really long week at work-I can’t go into too much detail, but we have a lot of projects taking place at one time and I’ve been trying to coordinate them. I’ve been in conference calls and meetings all week. In addition, I’ve got a pretty big cake/cookie order for tomorrow that I’ve been working on. I’ll be back tomorrow with pictures (after I take a nap).
Have a great Friday night!

Go-To Meal

April 7, 2010

Hey hey hey! I was planning on posting this stir-fry recipe yesterday (when I made it) but we had a pretty big emergency at work, so I was away from the house for most of the evening. Good thing I got to come home and cook dinner though!

So, this is my go-to meal. I call it “stir-fry” but it’s not cooked in a wok (read: I don’t own one) and an Asian chef might not agree with the way I do it. But who cares! This is what I make when I have some form of chicken or pork thawed out in the fridge and no plans for it. Or basically, when I’m being lazy and want some good comfort food. It’s super versatile!

First I start out with a hodge-podge of vegetables…whatever is in the fridge that needs to be cooked. This time I used carrots, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers and asparagus. I usually put zucchini or squash in it but we were out and I was too lazy to go to the store. (See, it’s so versatile..haha)

Add butter, oil or both to a pan (or wok) and heat it up baby!

In another pan, prepare your “grain.” You can use rice, noodles or whatever base for the stir-fry you want. Here I’ve used israeli couscous (a small, round, semolina pasta) but I frequently use rice or lo mein noodles-again, whatever I have in the house.

Just cook whatever it is according to the label.

Now back to the other pan…Add your meat to the hot oil/butter (or, alternately, skip the meat and just go for the veges!)

Flip it over…

When it’s done cooking (or mostly done) remove it from the pan. At this point you might need to add a little more oil/butter. Now throw those vegetables in that hot pan!

Cook them until they are crisp-tender. I just keep tasting them until they feel good in my mouth.

Now add the chicken back to the pan and throw in some soy sauce. Heat it all up together. (Sorry for the blurry picture…my food was steamy!)

By now the couscous (or rice or noodles) should be finished cooking. Fluff it up with a fork!

Not pictured here is me adding the soy sauce to the couscous. It’s because I was at the bottom of the bottle and was having to shake what I could out of it.

Now, there are two methods for putting this together. You can either add it all into one pan, mix it up and cook it for a little while longer together, oooorrrr you can just layer it into a bowl, which is what I did here…

Voila..my lazy go-to meal! We probably eat this once a week, although I could eat it more often than that. And the best part is that there are normally leftovers for lunch the next day!

It’s been a long couple of days, so I’m headed off to bed. I’ll be back tomorrow to share my new breakfast addiction!

Cheers!

Busy Weekend

April 5, 2010

I love weekends when I feel like I got a lot accomplished. This weekend was one of those.

Saturday I didn’t exactly do as I had planned. I slept in which felt soooo nice. When I got up I ate breakfast and went for a run (2.7 miles-felt like longer). When I got home I showered and got dressed for the day. By this time I was feeling quite lazy and did not want to bake the second dessert-so I didn’t! I figured between the first dessert and all of the Easter candy, we would have enough sweets. I headed out to the ‘rents house and stopped by Michael’s craft store on the way. I could spend my life savings there! I picked up a few essentials for some cakes I am baking in the next few weeks.

I had so much fun at my parents’ house. My SIL & brother were there. We dyed Easter eggs, had a huge dinner and my mom made us a giant Easter basket with “retro” candy:

It was so good. Of course my favorite were the Razzles-candy that turns into gum. I also enjoyed the Nik-l-Nips and the Zots candy.

Sunday was also a productive day. I did a little rearranging in the garden, watered the new plants in the front yard, did the laundry, cleaned up the house, etc. But the highlight of my day was the bread making! I found my new favorite recipe on Smitten Kitchen: Light Wheat Bread. Here’s a few pics of the process:

The dry ingredients-

All mixed up and ready to rise-

Ready for the pan-

So yummilicious!

Seriously, this is the best bread I have ever tasted. The crumb is perfect, the crust is not too thick, not too thin. The next time I bake it, I will post step by step photos. It’s really simple to make, but a little time-consuming (there’s a lot of waiting-that’s where the laundry comes in!)

I also made this for dinner:

Not a traditional Easter dinner, but simple and yummy! Homemade pizza dough, olive oil & garlic, sharp cheddar & mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli and tomatoes. This would be good with chicken too.

Today was so unproductive. I only worked half a day (LAAAAZY!) and then went to “the big city” with my poor, sick BF. We helped his mom transport some new doors for her house and I bought a couple of gifts for upcoming events. I’m headed off to read now. I’m currently working on the book “Food Matters.” It’s really interesting. I’ll be sure to review it when I’m done. Next on the library list “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” I am really considering cutting waaaaay back on my meat/animal product consumption (except cheese and butter-I cannot live without those). We’ll see how I feel after I finish these books. Stay tuned!

Cheers!

Garden Update!

April 4, 2010

Here is the square foot garden at Week 4. Wow, I cannot believe it’s been a month!

I made some changes this week. I dug up the areas where there were going to be flowers. It seemed that the flower seeds just did not want to sprout! I added these two plants (sorry about the blurry pics…it was really windy outside today):

a bell pepper and…

…an anaheim pepper. I hope these are more productive than the flowers!

I also dug out what I think was a weed growing in the cucumber square and added 3 cucumber sprouts:

You’re only supposed to plant 2 cucumbers per square, so we’ll see what happens with three!

The broccoli now looks like broccoli. I can’t wait to eat this:

This week I replanted the carrot, spinach and lettuce seeds that had not sprouted yet. I don’t think the lettuce or spinach will make it because it’s getting too hot here. If not, I’ll try again in the fall! I figure this year there is a learning curve for deciding what to plant when.

Also, there is still a “mystery sprout” in the zucchini square. It’s not in the spot where I planted the zucchini plant, but the leaves look just like the zucchini plants at Lowe’s. I’m going to let it keep growing and we’ll all be surprised together!

I’ll update again next week!

Naughty!

April 2, 2010

I cannot believe I’ve only gone for 1 run this week. It’s been a bad week for exercising and eating in my world. Here is my vow: starting tomorrow I am going to run at least 3 times a week. How am I supposed to run a half marathon in a few months if I don’t keep running?? I need to come up with a better plan-I seem to work better when I have a written plan, on paper, to look at and keep up with.

Anyway-I’m done beating myself up over that. On to my day…

The weather was absolutely beautiful here today. I slept in a little since I had the day off. When I got up the BF and I took the dogs for a walk around the park across the street. When we got back I cooked up this little diddy for breakfast:

One scrambled egg, half of a waffle and a passion fruit. SO TASTY! It kept me full for a long time. I had a banana and a few chips for a snack at some point. The BF and I ran a few errands before he went to work and then came home and had chicken sandwiches for lunch. Since he was going to work so late and he would be too far from home to come home for dinner I made him a sandwich and packed up some snacks so he wouldn’t have to eat fast food. (I can’t really take credit for that, he asked me to do it) When he left for work I decided that I would mow and weed-eat the backyard. Mowing was fun, weed-eating was not. My left arm shook for about 45 minutes after I was done from holding the thing up for so long (our backyard is fenced in so it took forever to go around all of the fencing!) (yes, I would like some cheese with my whine…make it swiss please!)

I got called in to work around 4:30, so I was there until 6. When I got home (instead of going running) I cooked dinner. It was vegetable pasta:

(Not a great picture because I was too lazy to walk over to the light switch and turn on the lights) It was sooo easy and quick. While the pasta was boiling I sauteed some garlic in olive oil and then added zucchini, asparagus and mushrooms and cooked until crisp tender. Add some salt & pepper, the noodles, a little pasta water and some parmesan cheese and VOILA! This would be great with any vegetables. I just added what was sitting in the fridge.

I’m going to call it an early night. I just finished up one of my desserts for our early Easter dinner tomorrow (hint: lemons) and I’m going to get up early tomorrow to bake the other one and some bread for the week. AND I AM GOING TO GO FOR A RUN. (If I write it in all CAPS then it must be done!)

I hope your Friday was good and productive.

Cheers!