Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grocery Judging

I had a special request that I post to my blog.  Sorry, peeps.  I have no good excuse for not posting.  Sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say, but someone out there must enjoy my commentary.  We have been enjoying this beautiful summer.  Working, walking, jogging, biking, and just being in love with each other.  (Me and Jim and Trooper.)

A few weeks ago I meant to post about a Pioneer Woman recipe that I made: Sloppy Joe's.  I made the meat (would you call that the Joe?) before work so that Jim could reheat it.  I also put in a special request to butter the buns and grill them on the griddle pan just as Ree advises.  This was a key step.  Butter griddling (is that a verb?) is so much better than toasting in the toaster.  In my humble opinion.  This would also be a good freezer meal.  Much better than the weird Sloppy Joe mixes at the store.

Which makes me want to confess to you.  In case you didn't know, I am a grocery shopping snob and I love, love, love seeing what other people buy at the grocery store.  I know I'm totally being an elitist shopper and I'm pretty sure The Onion made fun of me in an article I posted on Facebook a few months back.  But don't you love seeing what people pay money to eat?  You might be at Super Target and the person in front of you is buying 10 cans of Spaghetti O's.  Or 12 boxes of Pop Tarts.  Or Manwich.  I'm so intrigued and I know I stare and am really rude, but I can't help it.  I like to think I'm like the Margaret Mead of my local grocery stores, but really I know I'm just being judgemental.  Sorry.  You can all eat what you want.  I bet the person with the Pop Tarts is staring at my food thinking, "What is she buying?!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Fun

Hi Dear Readers!
I have been too busy taking in the beautiful weather to sit at Jim's computer and blog.  I am not that sorry!
One thing I like about spending time with my lovely husband (when he isn't working too hard) is that we both like to be outdoors and stay active.  Even before we adopted Trooper Zika, we loved to take walks together.  Some of my favorite times together are when we are biking, hiking, walking, etc.  Hopefully we will encourage each other to stay young!
Last weekend we ran in one of our fave runs, the Lincoln Park Zoo Run for the Zoo.  We both ran the 10k option and it was a blast.  We stayed with friends the night before and started running on Lake Michigan bright and early.  I overheated a bit and did not get my best time ever (1:02), but it was still a lot of fun.
We are counting down the days: one week from tomorrow until our family vacation!  We are very excited to be spending four days in a condo on Siesta Key Beach.  I am already dreaming of my Publix sub on the beach.

Friday, May 23, 2014

(Unofficial) Summer

The time of year has arrived that makes me fall in love with the Midwest.  My 35 commute from work is so lovely these days.  I pass baby cows and sheep, baby corn sprouting from the fields, and Trooper B. Zika sleeps in the back seat.  (Did you know I have always wanted to live on a farm?  One where I get to sleep in and someone else does all of the chores.  And I have access to walking paths and the public library and the grocery store is five minutes away.)  We are all in great moods in this weather (although one member of our family is still ready to move to San Diego after this winter) and ready for a lovely three day weekend together.

I just realized that I would do some chores on the farm.  Petting the mini donkey is a chore, right?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mindful

As I've been mentioning, I've been trying to be a little "cleaner" in my living every day.  Less caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc.  More veggies and water and yoga.  It really has nothing to do with weight or calories as much as being healthy and happy.  Then yesterday I was meditating (more on that later) and I had a vision of a margarita.  I think it was a message, so last night I opened a bottle of Green Fin wine and bought a pack of Justin's organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups.  Green Fin is made with organic grapes (and only $3.99 at TJs!) so I'm pretty sure that qualifies as clean living.  And we all know wine and dark chocolate are good for us, so I was really investing in my health future.

If you've ever been curious about meditating, an acupuncturist recommended the site Meditation Oasis to me.  I have downloaded three of their apps on my phone for guided meditation.  There are meditations that range from 5-20 minutes that I try to do every day.  I have a very, very busy mind and the best thing for me to remember is that I'm never going to stop thinking or totally turn my mind off, but I just try to be mindful of it.  I also do the meditations laying down, so that my back and neck don't start to get tired.  I'm pretty sure Jim think I'm napping.  Sometimes I actually do come close to napping, but I guess that means I've achieved relaxation.

And then I have visions of margaritas.  I was actually specifically thinking of a grapefruit margarita.  Doesn't that sound lovely?  It's kind of like when I do yoga and the take away from looking at my feet so much is that I realize need a pedicure.  I have a long way to go.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Entertainment and Lifestyle

Our weekend entertainment has evolved in the ten years since I met my wonderful husband, and I'm not complaining one bit.  When we first met, it was quite normal for us to start our evening at the bar at 10pm.  That now sounds like my worst nightmare.  We try not to eat out very often, so we often make lovely dinners at home and rent/ stream movies on weekends.  Last night, for instance, Jim made a homemade Caesar salad (complete with homemade croutons) for dinner and we watched Mud.  (I'm confident it was better than any Caesar salad we could have purchased at a restaurant and was made with organic lettuce and chicken.)   Maybe I'm a homebody, but I'm totally okay with that.  

I realized that it's been one year since I ran the marathon.  With the change of weather, I have been loving running all over again.  We discovered some new park district paths that are great to run on.  I haven't yet found a "running buddy" here as I had in Eugene, but that's okay.  I don't even run with my ipod these days and try to think of it more like a meditation while running.  Being along with my thoughts is a scary thing, but good for me.  My right knee still bothers me at times, but I guess that's the price you pay for running five hours without stopping.  I've been trying to work on running at a faster pace for a shorter period of time.  I love the feeling of how tired I get from a really good run.  If I don't run outdoors, I still continue to go to the gym or do yoga almost every day.  I'm lucky that my partner tries to be fit and healthy too, which is a great motivation.  

We continue our goal to eat less sugar and meat throughout the week.  Sugar: how I love you!  I sweeten our "everyday" snacks like granola bars and muffins with honey.  As the weather gets warmer, I LOVE coconut ice cream.  We both have major sweet tooths (teeth??) and I do love to bake.  But man do I want some frozen custard and cookies!!  We are also down to red meat once a week or less, and veggie meals twice a week or so.  Hopefully we'll still be jogging when we're 99.  

(I am now going to try to not eat the chocolate chips in my freezer and get ready for my beef tacos for dinner.)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Spring Fever

When I find my camera one day, I will post pictures of how lovely it is these days.  We just returned home from a long walk around one of the parks we discovered.  Trooper is out on our balcony, watching over his kingdom, which he will do until I make him come in at dusk, like a kiddo.  After a winter with multiple days of wind chills reaching negative 30 degrees, it feels like we are emerging from a cocoon.  Tomorrow we plan to take the dog to one of the forest preserves in the area.  (I am slightly obsessed with being outdoors.)

My sweet and lovely bestie bought me Giada's Feel Good Food for Christmas, and I've been slowly working my way through the recipes.  I love it!  This week I made two recipes from it and loved them both.  The new one was her Chicken Salad with Mangos and Black Beans.  I loved the combo of flavors.  I actually added more mustard to add a little more flavor and a little olive oil.  I wasn't sure where to find Persian Pickling Cucumbers, but they actually sell them at Trader Joe's.  I really loved the mint in this.  I served it with brown rice and enjoyed it for lunch a lot this week.  I love mayo as much as the next girl, but it was a nice alternative.  I also thought it might be nice on a whole wheat pita.

And I am excited to see that the lovely Ina has a new cookbook coming out: make ahead meals!  I am always searching for good make ahead meals, especially slightly healthy ones.  I made this turkey and sweet potato shepherd's pie this week and really enjoyed it.  Jim had a great suggestion of adding pureed chipotle peppers in sauce next time.

It might seem like food is all that's on my mind, and, to be honest, it really does take up most of my free brain.  I'm a hungry girl who enjoys cooking!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weddings

You might not know this about us, but we love weddings.  What is more fun than an event with food, drinks, music and friends and/ or family celebrating love?  I personally think that people should hire us to come to their wedding.  Are people not dancing?  We will get them to dance.  And keep them dancing.  Contact me if you are interested in our services.

We had a lovely and exciting weekend celebrating and eating and be merry.  Today is a day of domestics and recovery and getting ready for the new week.  It was 81 degrees yesterday and it felt like we emerged from a cocoon.  We went into the city and had sushi with some lovely friends and were reminded of how wonderful Chicago is the in the summer.  Now it is raining and they are calling for a little snow tomorrow.  So the spring goes.

Tonight I am making these mustard chicken thighs.  I love this recipe that my dear friend Vanessa introduced me to.  I do, however, hate the name of the recipe.  (Is this 1950?)  I am making them with Ina's roasted potatoes and roasted cauliflower.  I recently started roasting all veggies in the oven as my preferred method of cooking.  Slathering their little veggie bodies in olive oil and salt and pepper and roasting in a baking dish with a lid on.  How did I ever do anything else?  One of the best veggies roasted in olive oil is broccoli.  Trader Joe's also sells a lovely mix of kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other veggies that is so good roasted.  Never boil or steam your veggies again!