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Posted on Oct 14, 2011 in Dear Diary | 40 comments

Freitag Fünf

Yes, I’m a copycat. I fully admit it. Every blogger and her mom does a “Friday Favorites” or “Five for Friday” or some other cleverly alliterative post, and today I am no different. Well, except for the whole thing where the title of my post is in German (literal translation according to Babel Fish: Friday Five.) Hey, I gotta mix it up somehow!

See, my plan was to blog about my first training run (in preparation of the Hot Chocolate 15K that I signed up for in an insomnia-induced stupor Tuesday night.) I was going to have this whole schpiel about how I did it even though I incessantly tried to talk myself out of it and how I managed to complete X amount of miles and blahblahblah. But just as I was tying the laces on my Brooks, the skies opened up. And since I am barely a runner, let alone the kind of hardcore runner that runs in the rain, I kicked off my sneaks and did yoga in my room instead. Let’s just call it “cross-training” and move on.

I like lots of things, but especially these things right now.

Photo on 2011-10-04 at 17.08 #5
1. La Croix Sparkling Water

You guys have known about my sparkling water obsession for a little while now, but I have to say it’s gotten a lot more focused since I’ve been introduced to this amazingness. I foresee many dollars being sacrificed to the La Croix gods in the future. Must… try… raspberry…

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2. Brussels sprouts.

Sorry Pops, I know these are your least favorite food, but the little green brains are back in my life! These used to be one of my scary foods, but I’ve since learned better. Cook ’em up with some maple syrup and bacon? Man, oh man. Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll eat your share.

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3. Weddings!

Tomorrow brings the FOURTH wedding that I will have attended since August. Whew! That being said, I still love weddings, and I am so, so happy to get to share in my friends’ special days. Steve, on the other hand, might be getting a little burnt out on my not-so-subtle bouquet-catching efforts, hahaha.


4. iOS 5

I just downloaded iOS 5 for my iPhone the night before last and I love it. Things are running smoother, faster, and I am OBSESSED with the new Banner notification option. Now when I get text messages they no longer pop up and interrupt whatever I’m doing – a notification simply slides down from the top. I can click it if I want, otherwise it will go away after a few seconds, sans interruptus. The new iMessage feature, where I can now text anyone else with iOS 5 for free (similar to Blackberry’s BBM function) is sweet too. Kinda makes that unlimited texting plan a little useless though, eh?


5. If I Die Young – The Band Perry

I know I’m really, really (um, a year?) late jumping onto this bandwagon but I have been eerily obsessed with this song lately. I literally cannot get it out of my head… and it may or may not be my ringtone as of 5 PM yesterday evening (damn you iTunes!) I’m sure my roommates are probably getting mighty sick of hearing me butcher it as I attempt to learn it on guitar though.

So what if October is already half over?! Better late than never!

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1. Hit 184-point-something lbs.

I know this might not seem like the loftiest of goals considering I’m sitting at exactly 186.0 lbs (as of my last weigh-in), but with the aforementioned wedding coming at me tomorrow… well, it might not be such a gimme after all.

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2. Complete a long run every weekend.

At this point, 4 to 5 miles is still a lot for me. I wasn’t able to run the Navy 5 Miler without walking, so I want to master that before trying to tack on any more distance. My goal is to do at least two shorter runs during the week and a longer run on the weekend. This is a really specific goal compared to how I usually plan things, so we’ll have to see how well I stick to it!

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3. Go Shopping.

The feedback you guys gave me on yesterday’s clothing dilemma helped me decide that I should pick up a few more closet staples in the size I am now. I plan on snagging a couple of fall & winter basics to carry me through this in-between phase before I hit my goal weight. Thanks for giving me an excuse to spend more money, guys!

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4. Bring lunch to work everyday.

I’ve been shamefully lacking in this area lately (and I was doing so well, too!) so I’m re-resolving to pack my lunch everyday. Bringing my own food is so much better for me, makes calorie counting so much easier, and is so, so, SO much cheaper.

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5. Step up my photography.

Seeing Ben in photog mode (both at the wedding and at various portrait shoots like the one above with our friend’s baby) has made me really want to up the ante with my photography. Seeing him in action made me painfully aware of how much I still have to learn. I want to take a class, or at least spend some real time reading and viewing tutorials on how to master my camera and get to the next level of editing expertise.

And there you have it. Yet another one of my forays into a (hopefully) beloved blog fad. So now it’s your turn!

What’s one thing you’ve been loving lately, and/or one thing you’d like to accomplish before the end of October?

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Posted on May 3, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food, Pup Posts | 11 comments

The Dog Days of Summer

Clever, right? I know, I’m a post titling genius. NBD. Well, mayhaps I need to explain why this post is titled that, no? (Be forewarned that it is slightly gross.)

Yesterday I took the puppers to the dog park to enjoy the nice weather and let off some steam. We were there probably 15 or 20 minutes, when Harry came running up and jumped up onto the table I was sitting at (as he often does.) I noticed something shiny on the bridge of his nose, and thought for a moment that one of the other dogs had bit him… until I got a closer look.

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It was a TICK! Ewewewewewewewewewewewew. Blech. GROSS. Stupid bloodsucking parasite (insert joke that my dad would make about me being the same, haha.) Since the ticks are out and about, you know that it’s quickly getting to be summer, sigh. I give both of my dogs Frontline topical flea & tick medication, but it can take up to 12 hours or something for the tick to die and fall off (they die from the medication in the dog’s blood or on its skin or something) and I didn’t want to A) wait that long or B) risk having a dead tick fall off in my bed or something. VOM.

I quickly scooped up the dogs and drove straight to… my mommy’s house. You’re never too old to go to your parents in a crisis, I say! Not that this was really a crisis, but it was gross and I didn’t want to have to deal with it alone. What can I say? I’m a wimp.

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I pulled up a “How to Safely Remove a Tick from Your Dog” tutorial on my phone, and we got down to business:

1. Using tweezers (don’t touch with your hand), grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and firmly pull out without squishing the bug.)

2. Put into a cup full of rubbing alcohol and watch it slowly squirm to death (disgustingly fascinating.) Also, check to make sure that the tiny, revolting head of the tick is still attached to the body and not still embedded in your dog (this rarely happens.)

3. Rub a little rubbing alcohol or antiseptic on the bite site (rhyming!) and send your pet on his merry way.

4. Flush that sucker down the toilet in victory!

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Aaaaand now that I’ve sufficiently grossed you out, let’s look at pictures of food! (Advance apologies for the lazy iPhone pics):

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Dinner last night was a hodgepodge of stuff. First, I set the oven to a nice 400 degrees, and threw in a tray of fingerling potatoes covered in olive oil, fresh rosemary, and a new seasoning I picked up from Penzey’s Spices (best store EVER).

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I let those do their thang (about 30 minutes, moving ’em around once) while I prepared my… *drumroll please*

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Brussels sprouts!

Yes, that’s right, after my disastrous first attempt with cooking them I have still decided to give them another try. I decided to try to recreate the surprisingly tasty b. sprouts I had at my birthday dinner at Founding Farmers a few weeks back.

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I cut off the stems and sliced the little brains in half, then “marinated” them in maple syrup and tossed them in a pan with a little EVOO. A tiny bit of salt & pepper was added to the bunch as well, and then I just let them do their thing. Then after they were almost done cooking, I crumbled a couple strips of already cooked bacon (from brunch over the weekend) into the pan:

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Unfortunately, I should have taken them off of the stove pretty much at this point. You can tell in the above picture that they’re almost done! But… I got distracted, and the maple syrup ended up getting super caramelized and many of the leaves were too hard and chewy to eat. Sad! But the ones that weren’t completely hardened in syrup were actually quite delicious! I think that with proper execution this would have been a real winner. I may even end up a brussels sprouts convert…!

After the potatoes were done, I pulled them out of the oven and composed my dish, hiding the blackened sprouts on the bottom, ahaha.

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Earlier I had baked up an almond cake & cupcakes because I was desperate to try out my new almond extract that I had also purchased from Penzeys, so I had one for dessert. Result? AMAZINGNESS. Seriously, the best tasting cake I think I’ve ever made (and considering the fact that my experimental cooking doesn’t usually translate into baking, I was extra impressed.)

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It’s dairy-free (though uses eggs) and moderately healthier since I utilized half whole wheat flour (I bet the texture would be even better if I had remembered that I still had some whole wheat pastry flour in my pantry, haha.) I’ll definitely be posting a recipe soon, along with pictures that actually do it justice.

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Who is the official bug killer in your household? For me, it’s anyone BUT me. I do NOT do well with anything creepy and crawly and… *shudder* Some of you may think that I just need to man up, but I say that as long as there’s someone else there willing to do it, I shouldn’t have to! 😀

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Posted on Mar 2, 2011 in Food | 9 comments

Scary Foods Dinner Attempt #1

Good morning, everyone. So, in an attempt to broaden my culinary horizons, my latest trips to the grocery store have included the sincere attempt to buy what I like to call my “scary foods”, which are foods that fall into one of the following categories:

1) Foods I haven’t liked in the past;
2) Foods I haven’t tried in the past;
3) Foods I have never been able to successfully cook for myself.

Last night, I attempted to actually make a palatable dish out of a few of my scary foods. On the docket were:

Brussels sprouts (category 1),

Kale (category 2),

Tofu (category 3).

I decided that the best way for me to tackle these strange, unfamiliar ingredients (well, except tofu – my mom makes awesome tofu dishes that I’ve never been able to replicate!) was to cook them up in a style that I’m veeeery familiar with: Thai!

Specifically, Thai green curry! YUM. Enter the other players:

I made a supah quick marinade for the tofu using low-sodium soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, crystalized ginger, and sriracha. Then, the curry sauce itself was made utilizing a green curry paste and a can of light coconut milk. You whisk the latter two together in a pan on the stove, and then I added a green bell pepper, red onion, and some stemmed kale to cook in the sauce.

Tossed the tofu into a pan with a little coconut and olive oil, and let it do it’s thing before adding it to the curry sauce and vegetables to let it all simmer together (and let the curry sauce reduce slightly):

As you can see in the sprouts picture above, I tried roasting the b. sprouts in the oven with some olive oil and salt. They didn’t end up being a part of the curry itself. After everything was done I piled it into a bowl with some quinoa that I cooked up in the rice cooker (another past scary food, but one that I’ve since conquered and come to <3):



Verdict?

Well, the curry was great. I mean, of course it was – curry IS great, haha. But the tofu turned out really well, so I was quite pleased! I think in the past the reason why I haven’t been successful with my tofu dishes is because I didn’t allow the tofu to really cook long enough. So I let it be for a long time just sizzling away until the edges got browned and it tasted really good. I think the marinade made a big difference too (tofu in and of itself doesn’t have much flavor.)

The kale also tasted good in the curry sauce. It is a little more of a substantial green than spinach or chard is — chewier, I guess. But I can definitely see myself eating this green a lot more in the future, which is good because it’s a superfood, right?

Unfortunately, the sprouts were the least successful part of the meal. I declare that I am not a Brussels sprout convert. I didn’t even finish eating all of the ones in my bowl (and I have like a gajillion leftover!) I think that I *want* to like them more than I ever really will (I see ’em all the time on other healthy living/food blogs and I want to be part of the gang!) I think I had read that roasting them is the best way to make them, but they just have this kind of bitter, sour flavor to them that I don’t think I’ll ever get on board with. Maybe if I doused them in BBQ sauce or something… if any of you have a magical b. sprout recipe that you think will change my mind, please share it with me! I’d be willing to give them one more chance but right now, the odds aren’t stacked in their little green, brainy-lookin’ favor.

Anyway, that was my food adventure for last night! I brought the leftover curry for lunch today, so I’m excited to revisit it (mad love for leftovers for lunch — sandwiches schmandwiches!) I have another exciting-slash-fairly-disgusting health thing that I’m currently pursuing, so I need to determine whether or not I have the ‘nards to actually blog about it, hahahaha. Stay tuned!

PS – I created a new page under the “About Me” section of the blog, all about the pupsters! Have you checked it out yet?

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