Monday, May 23, 2011

Farm stand

Well, not a real farm stand, but perhaps the start of one? Last year's adventure in gardening ended up with me only having male zucchini plants, 2 peppers and no cucumbers,but a metric ton of herbs.

year 2: we got serious. Yup, that rinky-dink raised bed is mine. All mine! It's in the midst of a HUGE garden my landlady has been cultivating since the 1950s. And, yes, she laughs at me. But then, she pulls my weeds, picks bugs off my plants and brings me tomatoes. :)
Planted: zucchini (4), cucumbers (5), peppers (4), thai basil, sweet basil, strawberries (in hanging pots) and lettuce seed is going in this weekend.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Friday, May 13, 2011


As an unmarried, childless couple, this is not how our living room looks on a typical Friday around lunch. But today. Today is different. My very best friend is in the midst of labor for her second son. Not wanting to risk a chaotic situation with her first son, he came for a visit with Auntie Mini and PC.(whom he adores). 
Soon, a new member of the planet, but now just 2yo bliss.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Embarrassing moment of the day

So far today, I've had one embarrassing moment: getting stuck in my yoga class. I wasn't locked in the room or anything, I got my leg stuck in one position and couldn't un-do it. Yup, that whackadoo panicking in the YMCA auditorium this morning was me.

Skills. I got 'em. (see, Mr. President, I'm a poet too... where's my invite to your house?)

In knitting news, I'm working on socks for my mom. Mom *loves* the stretchy cotton socks that I have knit her. Guess who hates knitting with the stretchy cotton? Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

But, she's my mom; she birthed me for 72 hours and managed not to lose me too often when I was younger, so I knit. With horrendous stretchy cotton. The one and only upside to this project? My mom wants anklets, or "wee socks" as PC calls them (God bless him, he thinks my feet are tiny and petite. Size 9. Nope, not telling him any different. And neither will you. Got it?). Wee socks take about 1 night to knit each sock.

Sharin asked me via FB this morning: what's for lunch? Lunch today is kind of boring: lemon parsley chicken (thank you Whole Foods!) and green beans.

Breakfast... well, breakfast is different:

What you don't eat chicken breasts with ajvar and green beans for breakfast? This is a 'typical' South Beach Phase 1 meal: to be eaten whenever you like. And the ajvar.... oh yum. I buy it at Trader Joe's as "roasted red pepper spread with eggplant and garlic." That's a mouthful. Ajvar. (Eye-var) Maybe my garden will yield some of the ingredients to make my own (with my shiny new food processor, bought on sale at BB&B, with a coupon and a rebate. Take that Extreme Couponers!)

Well, must work for a few more hours and then head off to see the new trainer at the YMCA for a fitness evaluation. I wanted to start couch to 5K and aim for 1.6k (1 mile) but when I inquired, they thought I should have an evaluation at the gym. *sigh* I'm sure its for the best.

By the by: does anyone LOVE their scale? We need a new one, and we have uneven floors, so recommendations are appreciated! Digital vs. analog?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Downward cat...

I think in yoga class, downward cat would look something like this:

(reclining PC is also another yoga move, but it's anti-flow)

This week, I'm trying yoga. Yup. Me, the anti-chakra girl, has been to two yogilates (yoga/Pilates) classes this week. Oh, and I'm heading to my 3rd tomorrow. Did I mention it's at 6am? Yup, my tush got right out of bed this morning at 5:40 and I was in class by 5:57 (YMCA is about 4 blocks away, but I still drive over). So, let's talk about yoga class....

Things I didn't know then that I do know now:
  • you can do yoga with shoes on (srsly?)
  • not everything is on the floor
  • there is more than one way to each pose
  • you don't have to be a pretzel
  • bad co-worker vibes go away when nice yoga instructor says "you are perfect and beautiful"
  • I am REALLY good at standing on one leg (who'd thought that?)
  • breathing is hard
  • I hold my breath when I exercise... this causes headaches and makes everything 100% more difficult
  • yoga is fun & hard, Pilates is hard & fun
I've always used this blog as my personal diary, so if it moves a bit far afield of knitting for the next few weeks, my apologies. I'm focusing on getting my physical & emotional self back on-line and it is taking a lot of my energy. Knitting: not so much. I'm doing some, but not a lot. I predict a bit of an uptick soon, so please standby.

If you've been following along the progress bar at the top, you'll see that my dietary changes have been effective. An old family friend, Sharin (you're not old, but you've known me since birth) commented that she liked my salad-a-day. So next week is Chicken Week (sorry PC)--- I know 500 things to do with a simple chicken breast that can have you eating chicken breasts every day for 5 days and never feel like you're eating chicken breasts. In June, we'll do cold salads. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 things for Throwing a Party

The ten on Tuesday this week is interesting, b/c I was just thinking that it's been awhile since Dan & I had a party.

1. Shop early and think plastic. Yup: disposable is NOT my first choice for anything besides dental floss, but for parties, it works. We keep paper plates, napkins & cutlery in the house for both camping and parties.
2. Know your location. Is it in the house? Do you have enough chairs? Outside--- got a plan B for rain? Plan B can simply be a tent.
3. Know your people. Is this a drinking crowd? Kids? Beverage choices are key here-- as is keeping an eye on your guests.
4. Make ahead. I like to make the cookies, desserts, etc ahead of time and keep in the fridge/freezer. Also, a few days before, get what you can ahead of time.
5. keep people employed. :) I get deli trays, veggie platters, sandwich platters, etc. It's someone's job to do it and they will do MUCH better than you will.
6. When in doubt: order out. Our friends did this for their 3 year old's party last year: pizza delivery. 10 pizzas delivered: happy kids, happy adults, one very chillaxed mama. (that's you, Laura!)
7. Mingle. Introduce your friend Sally to your friend Bob and his wife. You can't talk to all of your guests at once, but you can introduce them to someone else, interesting, of course, to talk to.
8. Accept help. I struggle with this one. But, now I know, when my SIL says "can I make something?" I say yes. Same with my bff's Sylvie & Mari. They are all phenomenal cooks and I take them up on it.
9. Pre-feed the cat. I know it sounds silly, but if you have pets, be mindful of them during the party. Give them safe space to do their thing.
10. Relax---it's a party! No one is going to notice/comment on if you forgot to dust the lightbulbs or if your couches look tatty (ahem: sound familiar?). And if they do, do you really want them at a party? :)

Monday, May 09, 2011

That lady

That lady who feeds super busy again. But we did have everyone here for something called brunch this weekend. That lady said it was a lot of work.

That guy said she should share recipes with you, but I will have to might take awhile. She always says "Pumpkin, no!" In the kitchen. Meanwhile, look at my cute pic.... and get ready for another recipe week. Mmmmm... chicken.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Salad day five

A simple Greek salad no olives no walking today but I am on again for tomorrow!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Day four....

I can't believe I've made it to day 4 of salad week. I'm not always a stick-to-it kinda girl, y'know? But, it's inspired me in all kinds of ways: I've cooked dinner every night this week. That doesn't sound really great right? But, I tend to rely heavily on our crockpot, as with two working adults in the house, it's often two starving adults coming home and wanting dinner. The crockpot lets me start dinner in the a.m. ( I leave after PC) and not have to "deal" with it until I get home. I still love my crockpot, and it'll be used this weekend for my famous sugar-free pulled pork for Mom Day brunch.

So far this week, I've made:
  • Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
  • Seared Scallops with couscous, asparagus and a soy-garlic sauce
  • Marinated flank steak
Yum, right? Well, I've also been reconnecting with old friends and doing something I haven't done in ages: talking on the phone. Do you remember the last time you just gabbed on the phone? I've missed it. I'm a talker. I love chatting on the phone, while sipping a cup of tea and knitting. It's like having a knit night without the need for pants.

This (below): is a scarf in progress in an "ink" color from The Woolen Rabbit (*heart* Kim)---it's a traveling woman scarf. Yup, another one. And, it's going to be blocked this week b/c it's for my mom this weekend! Tomorrow, i'll have a wee sock for you. Anklets!

And, now for all of you following along with the salad week: Thursday's salad.
Ingredients: romaine (the end of the bag!), cranberries, almonds and mustard chicken (from Whole Foods); Dressing: homemade mustard vinaigrette.

My secret sometimes? I love Whole Foods prepared foods section. When I'm feeling lazy and want take out? I head to Whole Foods-- for less than $8, they will make you a dinner. And their dinners? Enough for lunch AND dinner. And, I can make dinner for me, and a different dinner for PC. I know, right? I tend to skip the lasagna and such and head straight for the chicken & turkey. They make a perfect roast herbed turkey. You get two HUGE slices plus 2 sides. It can get pricey, of course (they don't call it whole paycheck for nothing), but if you are smart and be realistic about the portions, it's cheaper than take-out. Healthier too. (I mean, who delivers brussel sprouts? Or quinoa salad?)

Tomorrow's salad is up in the air, so I'm asking for suggestions. Tell me what to put on my salad! And, tonight's dinner is Kung Pao Chicken.

So, what do we think? Are we lovin' the daily blogging? I'm adding it to my to-do list after "walk 1.2 miles in under 25 minutes" each day. Yup, i'm still at it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Salad day three

Denny: I didn't forget! I just forgot the photo, so please excuse my messy desk shot.

Ingredients: romaine (I got the three-pack this week, can you tell?), southwest seasoned flank steak, cranberries, Red Dragon cheese

Dressing: homemade balsamic... so tangy!

And, for my knitting peeps: a cute sweater for a friend's baby-to-be. It's a boy, so I thought froggy greens would be a great start to this future frog-catching-baseball-throwing-hot-dog-afficianado. :) (yes, Stacey- it's for you!) I need to add buttons and mail it this weekend.

Yarn: Cascade 220 sport, about 1/2 a skein each
Needles: US 8
Pattern: the blueberry sweater (rav link)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Week of salad: day two, soldiering on

Well, unlike Osama Bin Laden, I can eat a meal today (seriously, no matter what political side you fall on, it is a kick-ass week for the US military). Today's salad is called "American classic." (you'll see why)

Ingredients:romaine lettuce, flank steak (seasoned w/ Penzey's Arizona Dreaming & lime juice), cucumbers, blue cheese and cranberries. (ahem: cranberry=red, cheese=blue & white... yup, I'm corny like that)

Dressing: homemade balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard)

**notes on salad dressing:

  1. make your own. It takes less than 2 minutes and the freshness will liven the salad without needing more than 2 tbsp
  2. add it to the side of the bowl and lightly toss. Don't dump it on the top--- this is how you get soggy salad
  3. KISS- keep it simple, silly: a base of vinegar & olive oil or safflower oil with: lemon, lime, italian seasoning, mustard, herbs de provence, rosemary & garlic--- find something that makes your heart sing.

And because I haven't shown you any knitting (tomorrow for an update), here's a cute cat picture. She looks sweet, innocent and snuggly here, right? Well, this morning she was loud, puking and bit me. But, after PC left for work and I was making my salad, she was there, underfoot in the kitchen: begging. Begging for what? Lettuce. Yup, my weird human-like cat wanted lettuce. She ate 3 pieces in 2 seconds.
PC and I are putting in a raised bed next weekend (God help us: construction) and have some ideas for planting: green beans, wax beans (we are green bean people- 2-3 nights per week!), lettuce, zucchini, peppers. I'm going to try strawberries in a hanging basket on a shepherd's hook and the lettuce in a vertical tower in the corner of the garden.

Monday, May 02, 2011

This one's for Denny

my college friend, Denny, asked me via FB to share my salad-a-day recipes this week. That's right. Every day this week, I'm going to eat a salad for lunch and I'm going to post both a photo and the recipe. Why? To keep me motivated and interested in the process of eating better. And, I'm exhausted with my boring salads (even though, honestly, the best salad was yesterday made by Sylvie's hubby, Alec: yummy and healthy).

The dressing:
2tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp hot sesame oil
1 tsp crushed hot pepper
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey (or sugar free maple syrup, which I did this a.m.)
2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp soy sauce (not shown)

The salad:
5 cups chopped romaine
2 small cucumbers, burpless
1/2 radish
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
3 ounces grilled flank steak (marinated in lime juice, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, brown sugar, salt, sesame oil, and 4 cloves of garlic---all else: equal parts, but double lime juice)

The result: amazing!

Today, I'm walking after dinner instead of before work b/c I was super tired this a.m. and wanted nothing but s-l-e-e-p, which is a good sign that I'm losing weight and my metabolism is kicking in. I've been on the right "schedule" (10pm-6am or 11pm-7am) for 3 nights now- hooray!