Snow Day Part Two

20121221-153213.jpg

On Wednesday, I thought there was no way we’d have a snow day on Friday, but here I am, at home, and I will be home now until January 2 because of winter break. A thirteen day break is quite long, and sometimes these longer breaks make it even more difficult to go back. I hope that doesn’t sound like I am complaining, though, because I very much appreciate this perk of being a teacher.

My morning started off like yesterday: toast, a hot beverage (coffee this time), and grading.

Then I worked out.

20121221-145949.jpg

After 65 minutes on the elliptical, my feet were sufficiently tingly and I had worked up a light sweat. I hopefully will be able to get to yoga one day this weekend and maybe start running again next week after Brody’s bronchitis clears up.

Grocery stores make me happy, especially empty ones.

20121221-153243.jpg
A few key buys: kombucha (for $3 each), orange juice (for Brody’s vitamin C needs and my love), and dates.

You know what doesn’t make me happy? Dog poop…in the house…on the carpet. Moose must be having some tummy troubles, which I feel bad for, but I also feel bad for me because the house smells bad and it takes at least twenty minutes to thoroughly clean it up. I’ve heard that dogs can tell if you’re pregnant and sometimes act out. I don’t think that is necessarily the case here, but I do think that’s an interesting notion.

I made plans this morning to meet my friend Jennifer at the dog park this afternoon. She was a little late, but the dogs had fun playing in the deep snow and I liked sitting on a bench under a tree taking in the winter scene.
20121221-153113.jpg

Normally, without snow, I can make it around the dog park loop, which is 2/3 a mile, in 12 minutes. It took Jennifer and I at least 30 minutes to do one lap. The snow was deep, up to my knees in some areas, as no one else had been crazy enough to go there and forge a path for us. Jerks. We actually took a few breaks, and at one point sat down in the snow to rest for a couple minutes. This was definitely my second workout of the day!
20121221-153019.jpg

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I’d like to share what I’m making for dinner tonight. This was a Wine and Recipe recipe by Kathy from Mel’s bar food theme night. I loved these and hope they turn out.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
By Rachel Ray

Ingredients:
-2 tbs vegetable oil
-4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
-1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
-1 pound ground chicken, preferably thigh meat
-1 large egg
-3/4 cup bread crumbs
-1/2 celery stalk, minced
-1 tsp salt

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 450 and evenly drizzle oil over baking dish.
2) Combine butter and hot sauce in a sauce pan, and cook over low heat, whisking until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
3) Combine chicken, hot sauce mixture, egg, celery, bread crumbs, and salt in a large bowl by hand.
4) Roll the mixture into round, 3/4 inch balls, making sure to make the meat firmly. Place balls on baking sheet, touching one another, to form a grid.
5) Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. The center of the balls should be 165 degrees.

Serve these with celery stalks and dip in blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Have a great Friday night, and to all you teachers or students out there, happy winter break!!!

Questions:
Do you enjoy or despise grocery store trips?
What was your workout today?
What is your favorite meatball recipe?

WIAW Summer Staples #3

Hey there! I took a handful of days off but I am back and ready to share random details of my life.

Wednesdays are What I Ate Wednesday around here, but I did a craptastic job taking photos yesterday. If you want better photos of food and real recipes, please head over to Jenn’s link-up and check out some new blogs.

20120822-123144.jpg

Breakfast @ 7:00
20120822-130457.jpg

This has become a summer staple for me: peanut butter toast with chia seeds. I rarely have toast during the school year because overnight oats are just so much easier. For more staying power, I had a strawberry banana Chobani. Although you can’t see it, I also had an iced coffee with skim milk.

Snack @ 11:30am
I drove to school to meet with a couple of my colleagues for a little curriculum work. It went awesome and I was so happy with what we developed! Time flew by and it wasn’t until 11:30 that I noticed my stomach growling. I ate cut up cantaloupe.
20120822-125601.jpg

Source

Lunch @ 12:45pm
Driving back home and to a doctor’s appointment, I ate lunch in the car: pork and chicken sausage and roasted green beans.
20120822-125335.jpg

The sausage was an item Brody actually chose while shopping at Woodman’s on Saturday. The stats are better than normal sausage with 200 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 16 grams of protein per link. They have great flavor and would be delicious in a pasta dish.

Snack @ 2:30pm
Lunch didn’t keep me satisfied, so I had half a Flatout light wrap with TJ’s peanut butter.

Snack (drink) @ 4:00pm
Yah for kombucha! I love this stuff, but sadly this was the last one in my fridge. The trilogy flavor is one of my favorites. This quenched my thirst after an afternoon trip to the dog park. Now that Woodman’s is so close and the prices are the cheapest, I see kombucha being more of a year-round staple.

Snack @ 6:00pm
Yup, three small snacks in one afternoon. A friend and I ran three miles, and I knew we wouldn’t be eating dinner right away. That other half of the Flatout wrap? Ate that with more peanut butter.

Dinner @ 7:30pm
My pizza had spinach, green onions, tomatoes, red pepper, goat cheese, a little mozzarella, Garlic Gold Italian Herb seasoning, and DiSalvo’s pizza sauce (seriously the best sauce ever). My crust was naan. I ate it all.
20120822-130632.jpg

For dessert, I polished off the last half cup of triple espresso gelato I picked out at Woodman’s. This flavor was so amazing – very intense coffee flavor and super creamy.
20120822-125718.jpg

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

Questions:
What has been your go-to breakfast this summer?
Do you make pizza a lot? Favorite sauce, toppings, or crust?

Thursday Photo and Word Dump

Good afternoon! I hope your day is going well. I initially planned on just dumping a bunch of photos into this post but the English teacher in me begged me for words, explanations, and useless details. Obviously she won.

20120816-153013.jpg

I bought a new shower curtain because the last one I bought was way too long. This new one was meant for a stall shower which is basically what we have. It was also too long.

Seriously? I just had to laugh. And then I got creative.

What you see in the photo is some smart, innovative problem solving. Three safety pins to the rescue.

20120816-153302.jpg
I killed this plant. It’s been under my care for at least eight years. After moving from the spare bedroom to the master to the other spare bedroom, I think I put it through too much. RIP plant.

20120816-153445.jpg

20120816-153502.jpg
Brody and I met for lunch today. He had an intense craving for Mexican so we hit up Pasquals. The seasoning they out on their chips is delicious, and the wrap I had was so fresh and veggie-filled. The Sedona Veggie Wrap gets an A from Angie.

20120816-153702.jpg
Woodman’s is officially open. I was a little upset when I found out they had been open for the last two days unofficially (soft opening) because I would’ve gone. Kombuchas were only $3! At Copps you pay $4.50. #kombuchahighwayrobbery
Now my fridge is stocked with kombucha and margaritas from last night.
20120816-155956.jpg

If your mouth is salivating over the margaritas, you are in luck. Here’s the recipe:

1 cup tequila
1/2 can frozen limeade
1/2 can frozen lemonade
1/2 can frozen cran-raspberry juice
1 liter white soda (I used diet 7up)
1 can beer (like Corona)

Mix together and drink.

P.S. It is probably easier to double the recipe like I did so you don’t have half cans of frozen drink mix left.

20120816-155302.jpg
Because of the storms this morning, we didn’t get to the park until later. Instead of walking the loop, I ran it. Three times around is just over two miles. Killing two birds with one stone. Or in this case, two dogs…and they’re not dead. Just tired.

Tonight is Wine and Recipe night so expect some fantastic recipes, including one for the tres leches cake, tomorrow.

Peace out!

What I’ve Been Doing For the Last Two Days

Now all together…breathe in, breathe out, and smile. It is Friday. We made it. One week closer to summer break, one week closer to Switzerland and Croatia, and one week closer to the Madison Marathon. Woo hoo!

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to for the past two days:

1. Thursday morning, I woke up earlier than normal. I had planned on running before work and my alarm was set for 5:00am, but the dogs’ erratic behavior (they sense the storms coming) meant I was up fifteen minutes early. After sucking down some iced coffee (caffeine) and eating half a slice of bread with a smear of peanut butter (energy), I was ready to go.

20120504-185825.jpg

Proof of the time I left the house for my run.

With more humidity in the air, it was a tougher run than Tuesday’s, but as always, it felt so good to work out in the morning. I saw a deer in the field and ran through a part of neighborhood I had never been in.

2. I saw Aziz Ansari last night! He was hilarious and put on a great show.

We were in the balcony, but I swear that is Aziz.

Although we don’t watch Parks and Rec, Brody and I watched one of his stand-up specials last summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. His show started at 7:00pm at The Barrymore, so we met two other couples at The Alchemy for drinks (New Belgium Somersault for me) and dinner (Matilda for me). Between dinner and the show, it was a very fun Thursday night! Plus, I was in bed at my normal time. Score for the 29 year old who acts like she’s 60!

3. Rarely am I not reading a book. I try to alternate between more quality pieces of literature and “fluff” books. The Grapes of Wrath has been on my to-read list for years now, and I finally started it last week. Unable to focus for extended periods of time, I decided to temporarily give up on it and begin something a little lighter: The Stolen Child.

Book description from Amazon:
Inspired by the W.B. Yeats poem that tempts a child from home to the waters and the wild, The Stolen Child is a modern fairy tale narrated by the child Henry Day and his double.

On a summer night, Henry Day runs away from home and hides in a hollow tree. There he is taken by the changelings—an unaging tribe of wild children who live in darkness and in secret. They spirit him away, name him Aniday, and make him one of their own. Stuck forever as a child, Aniday grows in spirit, struggling to remember the life and family he left behind. He also seeks to understand and fit in this shadow land, as modern life encroaches upon both myth and nature.
In his place, the changelings leave a double, a boy who steals Henry’s life in the world. This new Henry Day must adjust to a modern culture while hiding his true identity from the Day family. But he can’t hide his extraordinary talent for the piano (a skill the true Henry never displayed), and his dazzling performances prompt his father to suspect that the son he has raised is an imposter. As he ages the new Henry Day becomes haunted by vague but persistent memories of life in another time and place, of a German piano teacher and his prodigy. Of a time when he, too, had been a stolen child. Both Henry and Aniday obsessively search for who they once were before they changed places in the world.
The Stolen Child is a classic tale of leaving childhood and the search for identity. With just the right mix of fantasy and realism, Keith Donohue has created a bedtime story for adults and a literary fable of remarkable depth and strange delights.

Doesn’t it sound good? Although I love utopian/dystopian novels, I rarely read anything fantasy-like. This was a great find at Goodwill (great selection for building up a library!). I am only a few chapters in and already really liking it; hopefully I’ll find time to read this weekend.

4. Obviously I’ve been teaching, but school feels different around this time of year. The warm weather, prom, graduation, and the up-coming summer break all create a certain buzz in the building. I can’t believe I almost have another year of teaching under my belt!

5. I’ve been drinking kombucha this week and love it. This summer I may attempt making my own…we’ll see. For now, I’ll stick to either Synergy or Nessalla.

****

I am looking forward to sharing all of my weekend activities with you all on Saturday and/or Sunday. On the agenda: run 20 miles (the Monona 20K is part of that), attend a Cinco de Mayo party, meet teacher friends at Salvatore’s, and see Brody more than I did last weekend.

Have a wonderful Friday evening!

Questions:
What book are you reading right now?
Have you ever made kombucha?
Any exciting plans for the weekend?

What I Ate Wednesday

Yesterday would’ve been a much more interesting day for my What I Ate Wednesday, but I failed to bring my camera or iPad to school yesterday to take a photo of my lunch. But I think the point is to show just a normal day of food and to share food ideas and recipes.

Last night, when I was planning my meals though 4:15pm, I actually took into account Jenn’s monthly theme of an extra serving of veggies. At 9:30pm, I felt lazy and considered making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which would’ve meant no veggies so far in my day. Thanks to Jenn for being a positive influence on my food choices today!

20120502-185255.jpg

After a big dinner meal, like so big you have a food baby, do you ever wake up starving the next morning? I do. Even in the middle of the night I woke up to intense hunger pangs. I also woke up to Moose licking my face and Frankie’s panting; both behaviors were due to thunderstorms. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to eat my overnight oats on my drive to school, so I adjusted my morning meals.

Breakfast #1 @ 6:15am
I have been thinking of the Trader Joe’s fig jam in my refrigerator since I bought it on Saturday. Let me tell you – it paired perfectly with goat cheese on toast. Mmmm…

20120502-185101.jpg

Breakfast #2 @ 7:15am
Half of my overnight oats were consumed during my drive. Into the oats I mixed very cherry blend from TJ’s, plain unsweetened fat free yogurt, coconut milk, chia seeds, and honey. I swear I had a picture from Tuesday that I took in my car with my oats in my lap, but it is no where to be found.

Snack @ 9:15am
I finished my oats at my desk while doing work.

Lunch @ 12:45pm

20120502-185655.jpg
Putting together this salad was totally worth it. I love cold roasted vegetables on a salad! My “dressing” was horseradish hummus and cottage cheese. For dessert, I had a few mini-chocolate bars (Mr. Goodbars are currently my favorite.).

Snack @ 4:15pm
Copp’s had these bars on sale for 50% off, so I took a chance. Although all of the unpronounceable ingredients freaks me out a little, I still bought it and obviously ate it.

20120502-190000.jpg
It was okay but tasted pretty fake. I think it had pretty good stats: 190 calories, 15 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 26 grams of carbs.

Pre-dinner snack @ 7:00pm
Brody was at a social gathering, and I knew we wouldn’t be eating until after 8:00pm. Instead of going for the pita chips in my pantry, I had some almonds and chocolate chips. Whole Foods had their Synergy kombucha on sale 2/$5, so I stocked up on four. This strawberry flavor is one of my favorites.

20120502-190521.jpg

Dinner @ 8:30pm

20120502-203939.jpg
Once that goat cheese passed by my lips at breakfast, I had to have more, and since Brody doesn’t care for it, I knew there was only one meal that would work: pizza. My personal pizza on naan included Di Salvo’s pizza sauce, spinach, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, five cheese Italian blend, and Garlic Gold Italian blend. I ate half and will eat the rest tomorrow for lunch. After dinner, I also had some frozen mango.

And that’s all she wrote…or ate.

Have a nice evening!

Questions:
Do you bring your lunch or go out?
What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Alphabet of My Weekend

Both Janetha from Meals and Moves and Chelsey from Clean Eating Chelsey used this format. I liked it and I am too lazy to think for myself, so I am being a copycat. :)

A is for appetite
My appetite is bigger than normal today. This tends to happen to me the day after long runs.

B is for Brody
Brody took a nap this afternoon with headphones on that I got him for his birthday.

20120311-152416.jpg

C is for cutting
I spent an hour this morning cutting down and hauling the branches away of three willow bushes in our yard. They grow so quickly and were already starting to bud. I never got around to cutting them back in the fall.

D is for dog park
My friend Jennifer called me at 8:30 this morning to see if I was interested in meeting her at the dog park. Although I was in the process of making donuts (see F), I said yes. It had been a while since we had chatted, and the time flies when we walk together. We did four laps in an hour with our dogs, which was about three miles.

E is for episodes
We watch a lot of episodes of Lost on the weekends. This show is very confusing even though it is second time I am watching it.

F is for fail
While drinking an iced coffee this morning in a quiet house, I caught up on a few blogs. The Daily Crumb referenced donuts she had made. I looked through the recipe, looked through my cupboard and fridge, and realized I had everything to make these babies! What I did not realize was that I needed a donut pan – missed that detail. I piped the batter into rings on a cookie sheet and watched them spread out into cookie/pancake/semi-donut looking things. Major fail. They still tasted good, especially with the glaze drizzled over the top. Now I have a dozen flat donuts, and based on looks, I don’t know if anyone at my school would try them if I left them in the coffee area.

G is for Grandma
Yesterday was my grandma’s birthday. I am horrible with birthdays and apparently a horrible granddaughter. I will be sending a late birthday card tomorrow. :(

H is for hamburgers
Tonight we are grilling! On the menu: hamburgers and asparagus. The asparagus I got from Aldi looks really good with nice skinny stalks. Brody makes a killer hamburger with lots of yummy seasonings.

I is for IT band
My IT band needs some attention after my long run yesterday. The foam roller is staring at me. I know I need to do it, but it hurts.

J is for julep
Last night, one of the drinks I tried at Natt Spil was a spin on a mint julep. There was oolong kombucha in it, so I was intrigued. I have had a mint julep once before when I went to the Kentucky Derby (the inner area, not the fancy area with the hats). I, unfortunately, did not care for the drink last night. I should’ve stuck with the raspberry kombucha Collins.

K is for kombucha
We had a few errands to run this morning and needed to pick up meat, cheese, and buns for burgers tonight. Hyvee has a great selection of kombuchas for a decent price. I chose the trilogy flavor.

20120311-153115.jpg

L is for laundered
One of my least favorite chores is taking off bed sheets and putting them back on. As much as I love the feeling and smell of clean sheets, it is such a pain. But I put on my big girl pants and stripped the bed and laundered the sheets.

M is for mango
When I want to cut back on my sugar intake, I turn to mango. Whether it is fresh or frozen, I love mango. It helped me detox from chocolate for almost a month when I got back from Switzerland (their chocolate is amazing).

N is for Natt Spil
Natt Spil was pretty good last night. The drinks, especially the raspberry kombucha Collins, were spot on, but the food was just alright. We ordered some appetizers (steamed dumplings, cheese wontons, and steamed mussels), and those were all very good. The pizzas weren’t anything spectacular. I ordered the Greek Goddess with red peppers, artichokes, olives, and onions. Brody and I decided we probably wouldn’t eat dinner there again but that it’d be a good place for drinks and apps.

O is for open
Because of the warm weather, our windows are open. I love having fresh air in the house.

P is for pancakes
I made pancakes for Brody and I this morning. Mine were topped with peanut butter and maple syrup.

20120311-154013.jpg

Q is for quiet
I love the quiet of weekend mornings. My internal alarm clock wakes me up around 7am. I enjoy the peacefulness and knowing the day is so full of possibilities and opportunities.

R is for rest
My body needs rest and that’s what it is getting today. Besides my three mile walk at the dog park, my legs and body are not doing much.

S is for Stalzy’s
After dropping off Brody’s bike to be tuned up, we headed over to Stalzy’s on Atwood for lunch. I had never been there when breakfast items were available and jumped on the idea of combining eggs and good meat. I ordered the Brooklyn breakfast sandwich: grilled rye, Swiss cheese, pastrami, fried egg, and ground mustard. SOOO GOOD!

20120311-193305.jpg

T is for tight
My legs are tight from yesterday. My lack of stretching, foam rolling, and rehydrating probably have something to do with that.

U is for unlimited
Moose has unlimited amounts of energy today. After an hour at the dog park, play time outside, and a thirty minute walk, he still wants to play.

V is for vacuum
The dogs shed, so I try to vacuum once a week. I still need to do this today.

W is for water
Because I did not drink enough water yesterday after my run and then chose to have a couple cocktails last night, I know I am still dehydrated. Need to keep drinking water.

X is for X-fit (Crossfit)
This one is a stretch, but X is tough. Brody went to X-fit (Crossfit) three times last week. Today he said he excited for me to be done with marathon training so that I can come try it.

Y is for you
I have enjoyed writing to all of you, whoever you are! This post was especially fun even though it took much longer than I had expected.

Z is for ZZZs
I hope to get some quality ZZZs tonight in my clean sheets. Eight hours is ideal for me but most weekday nights I end up only sleeping for seven.

Thankful Thursday

Welcome to the third installment of Thankful Thursday! In no particular order, here is what I appreciated today.

Kombucha

20120216-200007.jpg
That is Frankie there next to my hand holding the Strawberry Serenity Kombucha by Synergy. He wanted to be in the picture. Hyvee had these on sale – two for $6! I like the way they taste (except for the green one – yuck!) and they just make me feel better. The grocery store closest to me carries two flavors, but they sell for $4.50 each! This is probably one of the few items that is actually cheaper at Whole Foods than Copps. If these things were cheaper, I would drink one daily. I know I could start brewing my own, but I tried fermenting a food (kefir) for a while and I eventually gave up. Well, that is kind of a lie. I tried using coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and it got all funky. Moving on…

Skinny Taste
Seriously LOVE this blog! Great healthy, practical recipes. I have been starting here when I want to plan out a few meals for the week. Tonight I made the sloppy joes.

20120216-200814.jpg
Of course sloppy joes are not appealing to the eye, but I was happy with this recipe. Unfortunately our food processor died, and I had to use the blender to mince the veggies (carrots, onion, garlic, and mushrooms). Without any liquid, the mincing was not happening. Later in the recipe, you add tomato sauce, so I added it to the veggie party to get things moving. It worked but ended up pureeing everything which made for a different texture than what Gina had probably intended. Regardless, I ate them for dinner on a bagel thin and now have a satisfied, vegetable-filled tummy.

A Good Run
Two days ago, I complained about not feeling enthusiastic about my workouts. Luckily, I woke up on the right side of the bed (or not in REM sleep) and popped out of bed…after the husband woke me up. I didn’t hear my alarm but he did. Maybe that is the solution! Brody could be my 5:00am alarm clock everyday! Back to my run…I felt strong and did some intervals: .4 mile at 5.7 and .1 mile at 6.2 repeated eight times to make four miles. Even doing small intervals like that help the time go by so much quicker.

Books
I heart books. This should be no surprise considering I teach English. After much cajoling by Brody, I read The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway. In high school, we read The Old Man and the Sea, and in an American Literature course in college, I read some of his short stories. While I can appreciate his prose and his influence on American literature, I still can say I do not enjoy his works; I will continue to appreciate them though.

I started a new book today and it is not from the canon. The Doctor’s Wife is a psychological thriller “about four people and the cataclysmic intersection of their lives” (from back of book). It has a strong beginning and seems to jump between all four characters as narrators. I am only twenty-six pages in, but maybe I will do a book review when I finish it,

Also related to books was this video I watched today. Fantastic! If you have fifteen minutes and you love books, you will enjoy this.

That is it for today. Please take a moment today to consider what you are thankful for (and put it in the comments if you’d like to share)!