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Posted on Nov 28, 2011 in Dear Diary, Pup Posts | 25 comments

Highs and Lows

Happy (?) Monday, everyone! I hope everybody survived their holiday weekend unscathed and with only an extra 10 or 12 pounds around their waists (heh.) Surprisingly, I’m actually glad to get into a bit of normalcy over the next week or so. Until the craziness of the next holiday settles in, that is. Not that this unusual for me, as you are all painfully aware, but even with all of the Thanksgiving festiveness, the past week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. Ups and downs, highs and lows, it’s been a trip. Here are just some examples of each:

Feast!

High: The socially accepted binge that is Thanksgiving Dinner.

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Low: Not getting to spend Thanksgiving with my family (fur-family excluded).

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High: Completing 7.02 miles in preparation for the 15K coming up on Saturday (!!!)

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Low: How sore I already am, less than 24-hours later. And I only actually ran for half of it. Also a low? Seeing the race course and elevation map:

WHY SO HILLY?! Just kill me now. Ow.

High: The amazingness that is The Muppets Movie. Seriously, go see it right now. Mah-na mah-na.

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Low: Coming home post-movie to a sick puppy. Not that you need the specifics, but let’s just say my night — and day — included more than one messy clean-up. 🙁

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Extra Low: My sick puppy continuing to be sick, waking up every half-hour Saturday night to check for anything that may have spewed from either end, and, after 24+ hours of vomiting and diarrhea, finally making the decision to take him to the emergency vet at 10 PM last night. Prognosis? Undetermined, of course. It could be any number of things: upset stomach, parasites, blockage, gastrosomethingitis… They wanted to keep him overnight and IV-this and X-ray-that but even with my awesome pet insurance my monetary situation forced me to stay on the conservative side here. Which makes me feel like a horrible pet parent just saying so, but you know me: any sign of worsening or further trouble and I’ll be speeding (literally!) straight back to the Hope Center. But for now, at least my $585.00 procured a few meds and instructions for taking care of my little guy. Therefore, I’ll be playing the roll of Doggy Nurse today and hopefully things will go smoothly… for both of us.

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So, yeah… with all that, I’ve been doing some (more) emotional yo-yoing. And while mentally I know that Daxter is going to be okay, it’s still very worrisome. Oh, plus there’s the fact that I’m running on approximately 85 minutes hours of sleep thanks to getting home at 1:45 AM from the Doggy ER and Daxter’s frequent trips outside. I’m sure that my emotional instability will only continue to worsen as time goes on… and as I get closer and closer to Saturday’s race. For the latter, I know I just need to keep telling myself that I just need to FINISH the race: time be damned, pace be damned, other people’s opinions be damned. Right?

…right?

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Posted on Nov 27, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 6 comments

Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes

The belated Thanksgiving recipes continue! Put ’em in your Christmas box, or be like me and randomly make mashed potatoes for no reason other than because they’re delicious.

Peeled

Even if you’re not a potato fan, this recipe will teach you my not-so-secret method of making uhmaaaazing, creamy mashed potatoes without butter! I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But it’s delicious! And you can thank my sister for sharing this tidbit of knowledge with me.

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I’ve mentioned how I “roast” garlic before, and you can either do it my way or by roasting full bulbs of garlic in the oven (here’s a great tutorial on doing it that way.) Behold! True deliciousness!

Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes
Print this recipe!

These creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes are so rich-tasting, you’ll never believe they are butter-free! The garlic and olive oil provide both flavor and a dose of healthy fats. Feel free to leave the potato skins on if you prefer that “smashed” potato texture, or whip until fluffy and light!

Ingredients:

10 red potatoes, peeled
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, for roasting (1 tbsp used in recipe)
Salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Instructions:

1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until potatoes are completely soft.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the olive oil in a small pan on medium-low heat. Add peeled garlic cloves until oil begins to softly bubble. Reduce heat to very low and “roast” cloves until they are browned and soft. Remove from heat, set aside cloves and 1 tablespoon of the oil, and save garlic-infused oil for other uses.

3. Once the potatoes are done, drain the water and return to the pot. Add a splash of heavy cream if you are using, then whip together using an electric hand-mixer (alternative: use a potato masher or standing mixer.)

4. Mash together soft garlic cloves with a fork, then add them plus the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix together well. Garnish with crumbled bacon bits, chopped green onion, plain greek yogurt (or sour cream), or shredded cheese!

Nutritional info per 1/8th serving: 196 calories, 3.3 g fat, 38 g carbs (4 g fiber), 5 g protein. WW Points+: 5

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Posted on Nov 26, 2011 in Food, Recipes | 13 comments

Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples

Prepped

Because it’s so super helpful to post a recipe for something like stuffing AFTER Thanksgiving has happened.

Stuffing Ingredients

But hey, it’s possible that there is someone out there who makes stuffing for Christmas dinner too, right? RIGHT?!

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Well, at the very least, perhaps someone will want to file this away for next year, since it is pretty much the most awesome stuffing I’ve ever cooked/tasted/looked at.

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Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples
Print this recipe!

This robust, savory stuffing has all the classic flavors of Thanksgiving, with the added bonus of butternut squash roasted with cinnamon to give it an extra zip. This would also be delicious with the addition of some chopped walnuts or dried cranberries. Enjoy with turkey and gravy, or simply by the spoonful!

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium white onion, diced
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 apples (I used fuji), chopped
1 10 oz. bag of seasoned stuffing mix
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable stock

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Toss your butternut squash in the oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper then place on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, chop and dice the rest of your ingredients, then melt the butter in a large pan (with high sides) on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to get soft and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add celery.

3. When the butternut squash has finished roasting, mix it into the onion and celery. You want to be careful when mixing now, as the squash is probably very soft. Add the apples and saute an additional 2-3 minutes.

4. Add your dried stuffing mix directly to the pan, then pour water and vegetable stock over it. Mix the combination well. Add additional stock as necessary to achieve desired moistness.

5. At this point, you may transfer the stuffing into a casserole dish and bake for 10 – 15 minutes to achieve that crisper, drier top layer, or simply serve as-is.

Stuffing with Butternut Squash and Apples

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Posted on Nov 25, 2011 in Food | 6 comments

Thanksgiving: A Saga in 6 Parts

I. The Prepping

CubedIMG_0202
PeeledPreppedTurkey DoSteep.

Cook Me!

Stuffing Ingredients

II. The Drinking

Cooking Fuel

III. The Cooking

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Saucy
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IV. The Begging

Beggers
Helpers (?)

… er, and the not begging.

Wompy

Sweepy
Daxters

V. The Feast

Gobble!

Stuffing with Butternut Squash and ApplesRoasted Garlic Whipped PotatoesIMG_0298Maple Brussels Sprouts with BaconJalapeno Cranberry SauceGood Eats!

Feast!
Baked Apple Bomb

VI. The Carnage

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I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, your food was delicious, and your stomachs have deflated by now (mine hasn’t!)

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Posted on Nov 24, 2011 in Dear Diary | 6 comments

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, I am thankful.

I am thankful for family.

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Furry and otherwise.

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Photo by Ben

I am thankful for good food.

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For great friends.

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Both old and new.

Ladies

And for more than my fair share of guilty pleasures.

I am thankful for being able to conquer my fears and set new goals.

Errrrr.

And for progress, no matter how slow it may be right now.

Gazebo 2<

Have a wonderful, love-filled, delicious Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for today?

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