Saturday, July 31, 2010

Better late....

Wow, today took off like a rocket. My apologies for not posting sooner!

Riley doesn't sleep in, of course. So my day started at 6am. Now, that's sort of sleeping in for me since I get up in the 5am hour during the work week, but that just seemed so early this morning! I relaxed with the pup till my hubby got out of bed then set to cleaning. After things were clean (enough), Riley and I set out on our daily walk. Unfortunately, we can't have our walk this evening because I have a belly dance performance tonight.

I was showered and out of the house at 9am, ready to put the chores behind me! Chores included the Lewisville Farmers' Market. The market had so many good things that I literally had to leave for cash and go back! I got fresh okra, potatoes, black eyed peas, onions and zucchini. They also had a Great Harvest booth!!! Thanks to KERF, I've been drooling over Great Harvest offerings, and now I get to try them! I picked up a loaf of dakota bread, a trek bar, whole wheat pizza dough, and pancake mix. After the market, I picked up our other grocery necessities and headed home.

Now, I have a pot of fresh peas cooking with fresh okra and onions, all from the market that I'll add some grilled sausage to with cornbread for dinner. Nothing like a market inspired dinner, right?! I cannot wait.

But first, dance rehearsal and dancing. Such a long day! Wish me luck. :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Food in Review

As I said on Monday, I needed a week that went fairly smoothly after the chaos of "first week with puppy" was still lingering. So, I did a whole lot of double duty dinners, as Robin Miller would say.

Sunday, I made a healthier version of Sloppy Joes from Ellie Krieger. This is the first time I'd made sloppy joe sauce from scratch. The odd thing about this recipe? It contained an entire can of beans! The only thing I did differently than the recipe was the I pureed all the veg/beans before adding them and used 93/7 lean ground turkey. Our joes were served on whole wheat buns with oven-fried sweet potato fries and English-inspired peas and onions. This mean appeared again on Wednesday (since I had belly dance rehearsal and would be making dinner late), except with jalapeno-spiced corn instead of peas. They were intensely good!

Monday, I made beef and broccoli. No recipe except what was in my head on most of it. I used a thin sliced sirloin sliced thin. A little tip: stick the steak in the freezer about 15 minutes before you slice it. You'll get beautifully sliced steak with ease. I was super excited to make this dish, because I was adding tofu cooked according to the Front Burner Blog's tutorial. It made the tofu so amazingly chewy, meaty, and all around wonderful. The only thing it didn't do? Give it flavor. I stir fired the beef, broccoli, soy, ginger, onions, shrirasha, and rice wine vinegar. Then I added the tofu after it was browned. I served it over wild rice.

Tuesday we had a buffalo wing inspired salad. I used baby organic spinach dressed with greek yogurt with horseradish. Add in baby carrots, green bell peppers, and bleu cheese plus sliced chicken breast marinated in Frank's Red Hot sauce! Spicy and cool and creamy.

Thursday, I used the left overs from the beef and broccoli to make fried rice, just added carrots and brown rice and stir fried the heck out of it. Let me tell you....the tofu marinated in the seasonings and it was the highlight of this meal! So glad I did that. I'll be doing it again for certain! Nom!

Some little extras from the week: spinach and bacon quiche, zucchini and summer squash with tomato basil pesto quiche (both for our lunches all week), homemade hummus, and homemade mixed nut (peanut, almond, walnut, and sunflower) butter!

And to send you into Friday right, here's Frog Puppy!

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Creaking in my bones!

I took the week off from "real" workouts and gym visits last week to get acclimated to Riley being with us. After all, she steals a whole lot of sleep and just general down time in the evenings. Therefore, I was barely coherent enough for work much less fitness.

This week, I'm hitting the workouts with renewed vim and vigor! I've been to the gym twice at lunch as of Wednesday and did an hour long belly dance practice for a performance this weekend. Plus, we've been playing with Riley every evening in an attempt to wear her butt OUT! Considering I'm losing some sleep and a little edgy over it, I've proud that I stuck to my guns and got back to my workout routines. They aren't as epic as some people's workouts, but I do think it's better than nothing! Heh.

Hoping to hit the gym again at lunch today! Plus more practice (the at home kind this time) for the performance Saturday. It's in front of a HUGE crowd! No pressure or anything, right?? I'm hoping that upping the activity level this week will help me with my energy during the performance. We'll see!

Man, skipping all workouts for a week makes me feel SO OLD when I start back up. You wouldn't think a silly little week would matter. Oh my, does it! I've had a whole lot of poppy and cracking and needed extra stretches. Nothing like breaking in your old bones all over again, eh? Perhaps this should be a lesson to me.....but I doubt it will be!

Does this happen to any of you?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turn out the lights.....

I haven't posted anything about the wedding in ages. (Blame the dog!) So, it seemed high time. Our night dwindled into a gathering of just our close friend, gathered around two of the tables that we'd pulled together....enjoying the last of the open bar. We'd long since given up on the music due to technical difficulties and were just enjoying each others' company. It was a great end to a very good day. And it felt just the way we hoped it would.....blissful, peaceful, and successful.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

When routine fails

Monday was all messed up by a vet appointment! Don't get me wrong, the vet was great. And she seemed delighted by my adorable little Riley! But having the appointment threw Riley off schedule. Therefore, she did not do just her usual 2am wake up call then go back to sleep. No! She did an 11pm wake up and a 4am wake up. The she whined from 4 til I got up and took her out of the room.

Just when I thought we might be in a routine we could suffer through with only mild inconvinience, she decides we don't really need sleep. DRAT! Silly dog.

It's not her fault though. She got treated for two different kinds of worms yesterday, and my guess is that she really wasn't feeling well after taking those two huge pills.

Perhaps we'll sleep tonight....and perhaps Cesar Millan will have something helpful to say about all this.

Monday, July 26, 2010

On the right foot

I'm determined to start this week off on a more prepared note than last week. Last week, Monday started with two sleepless nights in a row, about to be a third! The rest of the week was destroyed by our lack of sleep which made us unable to make any headway toward feeling rested or caught up the rest of the week. By Friday, I was a grouchy little beast and my husband looked utterly numb.

As of Sunday evening, I feel far more rested (yeah, I'm still tired but I don't feel like I've been run over by a 4x4 anymore). I'm getting used to this new puppy routine. 2am walks aren't entirely enjoyable, but at least she keeps it to one outing a night. I've got lunches for the next two days prepped. I've got one dinner pre-cooked. I've got simple meals planned for the rest of the week. And we cleaned the house on Sunday. Nary a dish remains in our sink to wake up to! Other than "tend puppy" and cook dinner, we don't have any house chores for the week. That's the best I can do to help us have a more restful, easy week than last week.

Now....let's just see if it works!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wussy Alert!

We had a little issue last night. Riley got excited, jumped up on me, fell and bumped her head. It didn't seem like anything at all (aside from the usual clumsy puppy). Half an hour later, my little girl laid down on her blanket and couldn't get back up. Her whole back leg was curled under her, and she wasn't able to uncoil it or stand up. Her whole body was shaking, because, of course, this really scared her.

Well, thank God for my husband, because I FREAKED! I burst into tears. I'd let her fall off me and something horrible has happened to my puppy! The husband, on the other hand, was calm and soothing and stretched her leg out manually and massaged all over her.

She popped RIGHT BACK UP! And started jumping and running around just like a happy little puppy should. I have no idea what happened, but she seems right as rain today. She PULLED me all over the lawn this morning, so her legs definitely seem fine. I might schedule a vet appointment this week just to check, but she's back to her usual self.

As I sighed a huge huff of stressful relief over not having to have an 8pm emergency vet visit, my husband teased me mercilessly for being such a wuss! Totally unhelpful to sit on the couch and cry instead of taking action. Yeah, yeah, I know. Mommy up!

I'm off to see what she's into. Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sleep? We don't need no stinkin' sleep....

Good gracious, this dog is going to kill us! Three AM potty breaks, and up at 6:30 does not leave either of us feeling very rested. Perhaps we can alternate naps today?

Anyhow, the good news is that we have NO PLANS till tomorrow at 5pm, which is Riley's first puppy training class. I love plan-less weekends. Of course, this one is not nearly as free and easy as our previous plan-less weekends. This one will be full of "oh.....I can't hear her anymore....what's she into now?!" and potty walks. Oh the growing pains of puppihood!

Hope you all enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Food in Review

Riley.....pounced for the camera, which I foolishly moved to protect it
....and left my nose exposed!

Well, I did no better this week. I blame Riley. I think she fried my brain through sleep deprivation on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Still, we had great meals this week.

Sunday, I made Ashley's crunchy whole wheat pizza crust and topped it with turkey Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, and crimini mushrooms. The crust was fluffy and full of flavor!

Monday was turkey milanese with sun-dried tomato brussel sprouts. Milanese is basically any cutlet of meat, pounded very thinly, coated with flour, then egg, then bread crumb and sauteed till golden brown. It's served with lemon wedges. Simple and delicious.

Tuesday, left over whole wheat pizza dough was made into knots and baked for a yummy, warm, yeasty treat. Then I made a simple baby romaine caesar to go with baked gnocchi. I used sweet potato gnocchi topped with organic Bertolli marinara with sauteed onion and criminis and fresh mozzarella. It was total comfort food! I needed it after getting NO sleep Monday night.

Wednesday we had Greek-inspired pita sandwiches with grilled turkey cutlets marinated in a yogurt, lemon, garlic sauce. Each pita was garnished with baby greens, feta, tomatoes, red onion, and homemade sun-dried tomato hummus and served with sweet potato Terra chips. It was light and refreshing.

Thursday, Riley had to go to the vet. So, we ate out right down the street at I (heart) Sushi. We had a Philly Roll and a spicy crab roll along with a fried tofu appetizer. The change of pace was much-needed, as was the evening free of potty walks and quiet with the hubby. It's completely overwhelming to go from utterly care free in the evening to chore latent. Yet, somehow, the house isn't the same without that spunky little dog!

Happy Friday all!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


This week has been.....chaos! Wednesday, we'd been married five months. Yet, I still get choked up when someone refers to me as wife or when I hear my wedding march on my iPod. Riley whined the first three nights in a row. We're incredibly exhausted. But Tuesday night, my wonderful dog-whisperer husband got the dog to sleep all night except one potty break! It was amazing. Today, Riley gets fixed. Sunday, we start puppy training. It feels like madness here. I just hope we can handle it in the long run. Wish us luck!

And least tomorrow's Friday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Granola Bars - Attempt #4

These are GLORIOUS. Mama Peas is a food genius. I will be purchasing her upcoming book, even though I am neither vegetarian nor vegan. Her food is good. Period. No meat necessary. This is the second bar of Mama Peas that I've tried. The first was her version of a KIND bar, which also rocked my world. She deemed these vegan energy bars. Mine weren't vegan. I used dark chocolate instead of vegan chips.

They're slightly crumbly, but absolutely amazing. They reminded me of those childhood no-bake oatmeal cookies that my mom made for us. Now that in and of itself makes them a winner in my book! I used homemade peanut butter from my awesome new food processor!!! It was the star of this bar. Great texture. Very filling. Happy belly!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More on Ms. Riley



We're lovin' or new lil puppy! She's so cute, and I am really impressed with her behavior so far. I'm not saying she's had ZERO accidents, but she's learning quickly just the same. We're trying to follow the "rules" and tips we've read so that the pup, husband, cats and I are all on the same page. We're hoping that leads to far less frustration than raising a pup can be!

Here's some adorable shots from her first two days in her new home.

She took to this bed IMMEDIATELY.

Oliver is freaked out!

AWWWWWW!!!! Melts my heart.

My old baby, Stinker, plotting the pup's demise!

Failed family summit. That black blur is Stinker vacating the area.

Tuckered puppy couldn't even go for a one block walk! Just too big of a day on Sunday.

And as I type this, she's happily laying in her kennel on her bed....sulking because Oliver took a swat at her. Don't you just love family dynamics?!

Monday, July 19, 2010

An adventurous weekend

My weekend started on Friday with an adventure with my little big 7 year old Hurricane Harbor for KSCS's coupon day. The place was PACKED. I excepted for him to be a little daredevil because he's my dirt bike riding rough-and-tumble boy! Turns out, he only likes the dangerous stuff if he's in total control of it. Water rides were NOT his cup of tea. The wave pool was though! We jumped a ton of waves and went around the lazy river endlessly. We even split pizza for lunch. It was a good day. He told me so. ;)

For my efforts? Well, a little lovin' and bonding time with a great kid and.....sunburns. They don't look too bad in the photos, but they're quite red. That's after extra applications of sunscreen! It was totally worth it.

I literally crashed when I got home. We were in the park from 11-4 plus and hour drive each way. I was exhausted from the heat and from being a human buoy. I ate have a Papa Murphy's pizza and zonked out. I didn't get up till 8:30am on Saturday, which is totally uncharacteristic for me! I usually can't sleep past 7.

Saturday, I worked hard to get all of my chores completed so that I could go on a special mission. A puppy quest!

I started with the Denton County Animal Shelter. I have to say, they have great rates, a clean facility, and really friendly volunteers. Sadly, they didn't have a pup that suited our needs. Actually, they had one pup I might have been interested in, but she got adopted while I was there. Good for her!

So, I moved on to the PetSmart in McKinney. They were having an adoption fair with the Red River Humane Society. I actually found out about this fair from I was going for a specific dog. As I walked up to the pen, the puppy I'd came to see was being lifted out of the cage. Literally. It was kind of heart breaking. I waited around til they finalized the adoption of the little black lab/heeler mix. They had a sister to that pup, but it was three hours away from here. Then I started looking at the full grown labs that they had that were up for adoption, and they had several sadly, and it became very clear that labs are just too big for me. So, perhaps it is fate that the pup was snatched right out from under me.

As I waited to see if the pup I'd came for was actually going home with the other family, I paid very close attention to the other pups. One kept calling me back to it. No one could tell me much about her. No one even seemed to care if I took her. She was just so demure. She huddled under the other pups and even let one bite on her ear without fighting back. I realize that might make her a bit wimpy, but I have my cats to think of. I wanted a dog that wouldn't be an immediate, outright aggressor. She definitely wasn't. After about an hour of multiple texts and several heart-wrenching phone calls with the husband, I decided to take this little shunned pup!

And here she is!

This is our little Riley. I'll give you more info on this little lady tomorrow!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Apologies for being absent! I have been completely overwhelmed this weekend. Don't worry, it's all been positive. I just need to tend to a couple of thing with greater attention than I'm used to. I'll be back tomorrow to tell you all about it!

Hope your Sunday is wonderful and relaxing.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Food in Review

Another week of successful meals is under our belts, literally. I was feeling incredibly uninspired by meal planning this week, especially since I had to do our grocery shopping after work on Monday. That is, in no way, the way I prefer to grocery shop. It makes me rushed and tried....and I still have to COOK when I get home! Ugh. Nonetheless, I really think that we managed to have some great meals this week.

Monday, we had extremely simple tostadas with fat free, organic refried black beans, grilled chicken breasts, mixed greens, some sour cream, and salsa on crisp tostada shells. I was SO hungry that they were wolfed down literally as soon as they hit the plate. I cracked the shells making them because my hands were shaking so bad from hunger. They never stood a chance.

Tuesday, we had baked potatoes stuffed with roasted cauliflower and broccoli, a little crumbled turkey bacon, reduced fat cheese, a little sour cream and butter. It was creamy and oh-so-glorious! The broccoli and cauliflower were roasted for about half an hour at 400 with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder....turned over and over till lovely and caramelized.

Wednesday was Greek-style chop salad. I used organic mixed baby greens and spinach with red onion, pepperoncinis, olives, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and grilled chicken. I totally forgot about the feta! Isn't that sort of sin....leaving feta off of a Greek salad?? And on the side: HOMEMADE SUNDRIED TOMATO HUMMUS!!!!!!!!!! Holy Moses, I was so happy about this that I danced around the kitchen! It's a shame that the photos of it are all fuzzy. I'm still not very good at this camera thing.

The husbands absolute favorite thing in the world was dinner for our 2 year, 5 month anniversary. :) Ruebens! With oven-fried okra on the side. Ruebens are extremely simple, yet delicious. I fry the sauerkraut with brown mustard, grill the roast been, put it on rye bread with a special sauce and provolone and grill the entire sandwich. It gets creamy and melty with lots of strong flavors. It's our kind of comfort food, for certain! hunger got the better of me again. No photos!

The best part, I used the leftover roasted veg, baby spinach, grilled chicken, red onion, and added some Israeli cous cous, olive oil, and balsamic. Add a blob of homemade hummus = greatness in lunch form! This little pasta salad rocked my lunch. I love using left overs for lunch!

Happy Friday! I've got the water park to look forward to and this cutie (the big boy; not sure I'm quite ready to take the itty one)!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day brightener

I'm not sure which is more exciting: lunch at a new little hole in the wall or lunch with my best friend. When you combine the two, well, I can barely contain myself! I met my best maid at a place called Constanin's today in Addison. Seriously, go there. It felt like we were eating lunch in a Romanian mama's kitchen! It was warm and inviting with food that warmed the soul. Bonus, it was totally affordable.

We ate the homecooked buffet of three hearty dishes plus fresh baked bread and salad. After, we split a strudel and a cookie. Then in a massive burst of powdered sugar, I nearly snorted my water straight out of my nose! Now, that's a good lunch. It set me in a fantastic mood for the rest of the day, albeit a little feisty. It was just the mid-week boost I needed.

Thank goodness for friends. Go visit one! Make your day better. It's totally worth it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Is it Friday yet?!

I'm SO excited! I get to take my nephew (the big boy, not the little one) to a water park! I haven't been to a water park in two years, and it was more like a public pool than a proper water park. I'm not quite sure I'll like it or not. I'm a bit afraid I've gotten too old to enjoy it. Still, I'm excited to spend the day with my big little man. We haven't had an outing together completely alone in years.

Why are we going on Friday? Well, one, I am hoping that going during the week will be more pleasant than say....Saturday. That just scares me. Two, KSCS has a coupon for Friday! I love coupons. I love taking vacation days for fun reasons. And I love my nephew! It's going to be a great day.

Hey, what's the point of having nephews if I can't do something really wild and fun with them every once in a while.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In case you wondered...

.....what on earth food and cooking has to do with a blog about planning a marriage and being in a relationship, I'll tell you my take on it.

In my family, food is a way to show someone you care about them. Many, many times, I've passed along a pan of enchiladas or lasagna or peanut noodles AS A GIFT to my mom, grandparents, brother, name it....for a birthday or anniversary gift. At Christmas, I often hand out homemade goodies. While I'm sure that practice happens a lot at holidays, I'm not so sure that spinach enchiladas count as a "really awesome gift" in many other families than mine (and yes my grama asked for them almost every time I see her). I think somewhere along the lines, my family decided that feeding a person was the ultimate gesture of love.

As a wife, I cook a lot. One, it's cheaper, and I'm a cheapskate. Two, it's healthier, and I want us to be vital and happy together for a really long time. Three, I love him immensely, and I can think of no better way of showing him every day. So, I generally make all three meals. Now, he's still just a cereal guy, but I usually take it to his study in the morning. I pack both of our lunches almost every day complete with snacks for the day. And dinner is usually the focus of the evening. It's no wonder that my fancy/splurge gadgets are kitchen devices, no?

So, that's why you see so much about food on my blog. How do you show affection?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Play recaps

One: the wee one in a church production.

Two: Lend Me a Tenor, a dinner theatre production, at the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival (OSF) in Durant, OK. It was a slamming door comedy, and it was SPOT ON! Totally amazing. If you're anywhere near Southeastern OK, please go see this play next weekend. I laughed the entire way though!

Three: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a musical comedy of errors, at OSF. The ending of this was amazing, and a couple of the actors really steal the show for me.

Apologies for not having photos of the actual actors/stage. It was prohibited. But here's the view from the bridge over Lake Texoma....our little side bar to kill time on Sunday! So pretty.

Have a good Monday.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

No thanks

I realize business correspondence is necessary, but those thanks but no thanks letters that companies send are complete crap. Just one likes a note on pretty letterhead letting them know that they're just not good enough. Perhaps a new method should be invented, eh?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Plays a' Plenty!

I have three, count 'em three, plays to go to this weekend!!! The first is a little fifties themed musical starring my totally awesome and utterly cute seven year old nephew at his church. Fun, right?!

After that, my honey and I are headed to Oklahoma. My uncle - the extordinary man that married us - stars, directs, and produces plays for the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival every year. We have tickets to the dinner theater tonight for Lend Me a Tenor and the matinee on Sunday for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He actually acts in both plays, I believe. I LOVE watching my uncle act. It's inspiring, I swear. He's still my superhero. :) Anything he's ever put his mind to he's done. Now, what better role model can you get than that?!

PLUS.....we get to go out for drinks after the play tonight and have a late lunch with him tomorrow! YAY. And we're spending the night in his glorious Victorian home. Swoon. Yeah, I'm a little excited.

My baby is even taking me to lunch at our restaurant on the way to OK. Oh yeah, this is just my kind of weekend.

I'll try to get over my "I don't do cameras" thing so that you all can see some of our weekend. Hope you all are having a kick butt weekend!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Food in Review

This week contained some mighty good eats. And yet, most remain uncaptured because I simply cannot remember to pick up a camera before picking up a fork! But I do a have for you. That's one up on last week!

Monday, we had a fajita feast that was to die for! It contained a huge, lovely flank steak from Central Market, yellow bells, onions, avocados, salsa, sour cream, and CM whole wheat tortillas with spicy organic black beans on the side. It hit all the right spots!

Tuesday, our left over half flank steak was recreated into an arugula steak salad with Stilton bleu cheese crumbles and homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

Wednesday was sausage and veggies over creamy polenta. It's becoming a household staple, generally made of CM roma chicken sausage, peppers, onions, any other veggie in the house simmered in fire roasted tomatoes and poured over polenta that's been spiked with lemon zest and parmesan. So freaking good. It's my kind of soul food. The only downside...both the husband and I decided to wear our dinner. That'll teach us to be so laid back while eating!

Last night was a first. I needed to use up the rest of the whole wheat tortillas. I came up with refried spicy black bean and sweet potato burritos. My handy-dandy, brand spanking new processor was involved! So exciting. It sliced the sweet potato like warm butter. Ah....heaven! I did the sweet potatoes up like home fries with onions. The warm black beans were smeared on warm tortillas, topped with sweet potato home fries, shredded pepper jack and grilled in a dry pan then topped with homemade sour cream sauce and salsa. Let me tell you, it sound odd, but it was absolutely delicious! Even my husband thought so. WIN!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rock the Reception

Have you heard of the show Rock the Reception on TLC? When I first saw it, OH, how I wanted to do it! But, my husband is NOT a dancer. He was not hip to the idea at all. As you all know, though, he did attend dance lessons (rather we never made it to a second lesson) with me. It was a huge testament to the fact that he'll do just about anything to make me happy. Dance lessons made me over the moon.

The reason I bring up Rock the Reception is not because we attempted anything like that, but because it may have looked as though we did. Our song, Everything by Michael Buble, started. We started dancing. Then about 30-45 seconds later, the music STOPPED. Just stopped. We'd has issue with the sound system all night. Turns out the speakers we borred from the husband's job were too powerful for the outlets provided by the venue. Now, to be fair, the venue flatly denies this, but the speakers worked again when we moved to new outlets.....until we blew that outlet's fuse too. We switched outlets about 4 times during the evening. Now, in Rock the Reception, the music stops, the guests gasp, then some funky dance beat starts and they break it down. We did no such thing. Our stoppage wasn't for theatrical effect. It was simply a technical malfunction. And I did not hear gasp one out of the crowd watching. So, there.

And what did we do when the music stopped?! We laughed. Yup. I also threw my arms up and yelled "FAIL!" while laughing. My hubby and the honorary techie for the night set to work and start the song again within a minute. We didn't start the song over. We didn't abandon the song. Nah, we just lined our feet back up and started again in the middle of the song.

This is where the music stopped.

This is right after I threw my arms up and
proclaimed the epic fail of the night.

We'd practice and practiced, but we hadn't anticipated the music dying. Who cares though?! We still had our dance, and we have some pretty killer photos of it too!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Granola Bars - Attempt #3

These babies....oh....these are SO STINKIN' GOOD!!! Okay, so this is my trail of Mama Pea's bars. These probably aren't technically granola bars, right?! There's NO oats. There's just nuts, coconut, dried fruit, flax, and agave. I actually had to change the recipe a bit because of my dislike of apricots. So, I used half dried dates and half blueberry infused cranberries.

The smell coming out of the oven drove me absolutely wild. I had to channel Alton Brown's mantra of patience being rewarded in order to keep myself from devouring the pan as it came out of the oven.

The parchment was key for this recipe. I was able to pull the sticky mess out of the pan while piping hot. It cooled on that rack for about 20 minutes with the parchment. Then I flipped it out onto a small cutting board and very carefully peeled the parchment off. The bars will still warm. I'm glad I did it at that point. I think it would have stuck if I waited much longer. After they were completely cool, I cut and wrapped each bar in cling wrap.

They're totally awesome people! Make them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Granola Bars - Attempt #2

Attempts 2 and 3 of my quest to make my own granola bars happened on Monday. I want to make healthy bars with ingredients that I feel good about eating while not paying $2 a bar. That's all. Not too much to ask right?

So, attempt two was found on a recipe sharing site. I can't even remember which one! I was intrigued by it because it used a cup of yogurt as the base. I love cooking with yogurt.

Here's the recipe:

1c whole wheat flour
3/4 c oats
1c dried fruit, chopped (unsweetened cranberries or dried apricots)
1/2c raisins
1/2c wheat bran
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp baking soda
2 apples, grated
1/2c nuts and seeds (sunflower and pumpkins seeds)
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
1c fat free plain yogourt
1tbs vegetable oil
3 egg whites (or two eggs worth of egg replacer)
***optional: unsweetened coconut, more fruit, more nuts, applesauce,mashed bananas ,different flours, cereal, protein shake mix, whatever you want!

***optional, toast the oats, nuts and coconut

Set oven to 350F (180C). Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix flour, oats, dried fruit, raisins, bran, baking powder, baking soda and apple (or banana). Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk yogort, oil and eggs. Stir into dry ingredients. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and slice into either 12 or 16 bars.

I did used sunflower seeds, pepitas, walnuts, and two tablespoons of sucunat.

The verdict? They're dense! They're like an oatmeal block of chewy goodness. I love the texture. The hubby and I agreed, though, it needs more sweetness. So, I think I'll up the sucunat next time. Also, they were incredibly easy to make! I'll be making these again for certain!

Monday, July 5, 2010

One woman show

Sadly, my husband has to work today. The university considers today a workday since the 4th fell on the weekend. While I think that is personally lame, I can't argue too much because they allow him far, far more days off than most business allow employees. He gets nearly two weeks at Christmas. Anyhow, this means that I have the house to myself today! It's a very rare phenomenon. What to do, what to do?

I think I'll get all domestic and clean things that are long neglected. I do a basic clean every week, but there are those other little things that just don't get done. I always feel refreshed when every surface of the house has had a good scrubbing! Then, I'm off to a few of my biggest luxuries: health food stores. I'd like to stock up on a few things, and sadly, they're so far away that I can't go often. Actually, that's probably a blessing in disguise! We'd be broke if I could go more often! They don't call it Whole Paycheck for nothing. At least my frugal, tightwad self doesn't allow for me blowing the budget. I'm quite the savvy shopper when it comes to those joints.

Yeah, not the most glamorous way to spend a day off, huh? What are you doing with your bonus weekend time?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!

Yesterday, it poured and poured....changing our plans from going out to staying nearby. It was actually a great twist of fate because we really had a relaxing evening instead of a slightly stressful one.

And today, I get to have lunch with my entire family then spend the rest of the time alone with my love. This is the best part of being married!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Long weekend needed

I hope you all are off to a great start on your independent day weekend! We sure are.

We started our Friday evening with a 750ml bottle of Fin du Monde, one of my husband's favorite imported beers, in our Las Vegas Hard Rock Cafe commemorative glasses. It was fun seeing those out again! We honestly hadn't used them since obtaining them two years ago. Such a great trip! Good memory. We watched two documentaries over the so bad it was good recapping the 50 worst movies ever made and the other a really great documentary about movies from the screenwriters point of view. Yep, we watched documentaries to ring in our weekend. We're that kind of exciting! Heh.

This morning started with less than stellar pancakes. I really need to find a better whole wheat recipes. Surely there are some out there. I'll be combing my healthy living blogs later to see what those smart ladies use.

There should be fireworks and barbecue in my future, but that depends on the rain. Honestly, I'd be okay with it if we got rained out. All I care about is chilling with my man this weekend. Everything else is just gravy.


Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Food in Review

I thought I'd try sharing a few of our meals each week. Here's the problem: I forget to take photos! I make the food. I eat the food. Oops.....all gone and no photos. I'll try to do better with it, but I only photographed one meal this week.

Sunday and Tuesday, we had homemade turkey slow cooker meatballs on whole wheat hoagies topped in mozzarella. One night, it was accompanied by sweet potato fries. The other, baked "fried" okra.

Monday and Wednesday, we had a total summer favorite: taco salad. This one featured chicken breast instead of ground beef.

Thursday, I used left over homemade marinara from the meatballs to top an oven baked version of eggplant parm with a side of spiced cannelloni beans and caesar salad. I love baking the breaded eggplant because it still gets a crispy crust of breading while allowing the eggplant to get creamy on the inside the way only roasting it slowly can accomplish.

If any of these pique your interest, I'd be glad to tell you how I made them.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Big-girl toys!

I'm so excited! I ordered a REAL food processor last night. I have a puny mini-processor. It's been useful, but it's definitely limiting and in no way a finely crafted machine. Oh no. Well, in my efforts to make more things at home so that I can eliminate some of the excess and fillers from our diets, it was becoming apparent that a processor really was necessary.

So, I turned to the person that seems to be the processor queen. Ashley over at the Edible Perspective pointed me in the right direction. Her advice, along with some online reviews, guided me to the Cuisinart Prep 11. Now, this little tight wad really did not want to spend that much on a processor! does oh so much more than chop food! It also has bread dough attachments! Soon, I'll be creating wondrous nut butters, healthy at-home versions of expensive granola bars, and Alton Brown's pizza dough for the grill! SO FREAKIN' EXCITED!!! It's my first piece of truly fine kitchenware.

I cannot wait for it to arrive!