Sometimes… (Round 2)

…I can’t help but be completely enthralled in the NASCAR race being watched by my friendly seatmate on the commuter train. I didn’t even understand what was going on, but it lulled me to a nice state of relaxation as I stared at the cars going around and around and around and around- oh there I go again….

…when I make an honest effort to clean, I only make it worse. Like when just a weeeee bit of pledge was used to assist in dusting the spiraling staircase to my room. Walking down said stairs in my knee highs will be the death of me. You heard it here first.

… I’ll attempt to get a head start to all of my errands by going to Target at 8:30 in the morning. “Ma’m, it’s Sunday. We don’t sell liquor until 11 on Sundays.” Sigh. Nothing like being judged first thing in the morning.

…I’ll insist on loading up on veggies and being über healthy at the beginning of the day:roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflourin order to load up on the roomie’s crockpot creation of loaded baked potato soup at the end of the day. loaded baked potato soup

Perfect Sunday family dinner. And I didn’t even have to do anything.

…it’s truly unsettling to see signs like this. 12215_10151173421517613_342323037_nBecause I just don’t understand who could not love that song. It makes me weep for the patrons of this mystery bar.

…it’s a struggle to force myself to break out the Christmas decorations. But when we’re done, it’s always worth it.6226_10101171787655100_1229117807_nThis is the reason we will have glitter on EVERYTHING until at least May.

…I don’t really want to get up at an ungodly hour to go to the gym. But after some quality time with the elliptical and stairmill, my booty feels much better about life in general.

…it’s ok to wish away the week when all I can think about is HOW EXCITED I am for a holiday pub crawl this weekend. So, let’s hurry up and get through this Monday, shall we?

Laters, kids!

Just a hint of hot sauce…

There’s one really really evil thing about the tradition in my house known as “Slowcook Sunday”.

The smell.

Elixir of the gods. And when I say a "hint", I really mean a full cup of it when you double the recipe. Weeeee!

It fills the entire house. So imagine my dismay when I arrived back home after a day of store returns (ahem… and more shopping) and I got smacked in the face with the wonderful smell of buffalo chicken soup. And there was still about 3 hours of waiting around until dinner time.

The longest part of assembling this recipe was cubing and cooking the chicken. There's a LOT of chicken involved. Yay for protein!

3 hours. That’s a LONG time when you’re hungry and the only thing you had for lunch was a gigantic cookie from Nordstrom’s Ebar.

Don’t judge me.

I'll admit- it's not the prettiest soup there is. But don't judge a book by its cover. Personality-wise, this soup is the sexiest thing to ever grace your plate. Muy caliente!

Anyway, this soup was SO good, guys. SO good. Probably one of my favorite things we’ve made lately. And that’s really saying something because the roomie and I are self-proclaimed cononisseurs of the crock pot.

Oh and it is high suggested you top it off with Trader Joe’s cheese and garlic croutons.

Perfection. That is all.

With a beer on the side. If there’s any kind of soup that would be paired well with beer, this is it. (Can someone say “good super bowl recipe”?)

I couldn’t resist. I don’t expect you to, either.

So click HERE for the recipe link (this isn’t so much a suggestion, but a demand).

The only adaptions we had were the elimination of celery and the switching in cheddar cheese for the velveeta. Both (the celery and velveeta) gross me out and give me icky feelings on the inside.

Also, check out the rest of the blog where I found the recipe- this chick made something in her crock pot every day for an entire year.

Needless to say, the roomie and I will never run out of things to attempt for Slowcook Sunday. Ever.

Also, be sure to chug a glass of water before and after dining. Because this stuff as a serious kick. And may or may not have a weeeee bit more sodium in it than your normal eats. You’ve been warned. And advised. Chug-a-lug, kids.

We pigged out ate white watching the SAG Red Carpet Show. You’d think this would have slowed my eating down.

It didn’t.

However, the soup was also taken down for dinner last night.

The cauliflour was roasted. Not moldy. Promise.

It lead to me doing situps, pretending to do pushups, and planking my way through a good part of last night afterwards as I watched The SAG Awards Fashion Police. All after a 4-mile run (8:18 pace!).

Because I really need to focus on being red carpet ready. This should help for when, oh you know, Jason Segel and I start dating…

Can’t Resist

Sundays are meant to be enjoyed.

How you enjoy them are completely on you.

I tend to spend mine doing the things I do best.

A low key workout… Catching up with my dvr… Reading…

And consuming every single cookie in my sight.

After making another giant cookie for just myself, like I did last week, my friend Annie called to see if I wanted to go out and grab something of a sugar-infested nature.

Who am I to turn that opportunity down?My just “going along to grab some coffee” turned into picking up a small butter cookie and then helping Annie finish off a giant piece of carrot cake.

Never say no to dessert.

No really, I mean it.

That philosophy is also one of the reasons I spend so much time at the gym. But whatev.

Another philosophy of mine is to spend as little time in the kitchen on a Sunday as possible.

Enter more crock pot greatness.Funny how I just said I never eat steak and here it’s making a second appearance in less than a week.Straight from the farm. It’s how I like my beef but not my boys.

The cookbook was broken open once again- we used a steak dumpling recipe as a guideline for our own concoction.Minus the celery, of course. Because no one actually likes it. Fact. We also switched out the “dumpling” part for noodles. Because noodles look fun. We had them on hand. And the point is to be lazy. They won out by a landslide.

While I was out getting coffee and cookies, this bad boy did work. And I came home just in time for this:From what I’ve experienced, 4 hours seems to be the magic time for potatoes and onions to cook to perfection.

And yet again, a successful meal that required little more than throwing together a bunch of things from the refrigerator/pantry. A successful meal to be enjoyed while watching 4 football teams you could care less about.

Yeah. I said it. My focus has already switched to basketball. Go Bulls.

Happy Monday everyone! I’m especially happy because the snow is slowly disappearing and the temperatures don’t make me hate life. That single digit crap was really working my last nerve. As was seeing all the yellow snow in my dog friendly neighborhood.

Is it Spring yet?

Keeping the Streak Alive

Oh good! You’re back!

Making sure I actually ended up running that 5 miles I put off all weekend, huh?

Well no worries- totally did. Not the fastest- an 8:36 pace, which is a few (or 10) seconds slower than normal. But after a night of crappy sleep and a long Saturday of college basketball, football, friends, and a pyramid of beer cans, I’ll take what I can get.

5 miles is still 5 miles. And I still celebrated accordingly.

Maybe a little too much. A cookie craving occurred and it was so convenient that Picky Palate’s giant chocolate chip cookie she made around the holidays popped into my head.Quite easy to make (not a good thing) and probably equal to 2-3 regular-sized cookies, but at least you don’t end up with 2 dozen more just like it…

Oh and she states it’s “one serving for Santa”.

Um. It’s also one serving for Amy.

Let’s not comment on that.

We call it Sunday Funday for a reason. Mine includes cookies.

And lots of beer.Juuuuusssssstttttt kidding.

Well, not about the cookies. But about the beer. I didn’t drink it so much as throw it in the chili being made. Even though the roomie was out of town, the streak of Slowcooker Sunday was kept alive. She’s not a fan of chili, but it’s one of my favorite things, so it made sense to make it in her absence.

Pretty sure it’s been mentioned before, but I don’t often cook with recipes. So my chili comes out somewhat different each time. This round involved adding sweet potatoes.That’s why the beer came into play. It was fun in last week’s beer cheese soup. And I needed more liquid. Why not?

There’s a good chance I’ll never make chili without beer again. Who knew a lil’ 312 would add so much flavor? And since I make my chili ridiculously spicy (see entire packet of taco seasoning and more than a few jalepeno slices in attempts to completely burn a hole in my stomach), the sweet potato brought a nice balance to it all.chili with sweet potatoesPlus, the sweet potato just makes it that much more healthy, right?

Right.

Sadly, the slow cooker did its thing, but I was too late to enjoy it while enjoying watching the Packers lose. However, it was ready just in time for the Golden Globes Red Carpet. Nothing makes me crave the hearty comfort food more than watching ridiculously beautiful, toned, and tanned people prance around gracefully in gowns and jewelry that cost more than the house I live in.

Sigh.

More tan in a bottle is now on the shopping list.

At least I’m working on the “toned” part today. My friend Annie knows my issues with strength training (and how bored I get), so she not so much invited me, but insisted I go with her to a new class at her gym. It’s called “RIPPED”.

If you don’t here from me tomorrow, you know what happened.

That is all.

Deserved

If you were to run across my friends and I on a night out, it may seem we don’t get out much.

This is not actually last night, but a good representation of our standard weekend night out together. Last night my camera battery was dead and the iphone gave me less than desirable results. Sh*t Happens.

This really isn’t true.

We get out pretty often. We’re just a little strange sometimes. Fun, but strange. Like when the practiced dance move for the majority of the night is the robot.

Three hours of the robot really works the core, by the way.

Enough to where all you resort to doing on a Sunday is laying on the couch and watching Christmas Vacation. It’s only another 350 days away. You can never be too prepared.

Enough to when you actually do go to the gym, it’s a very light workout of 20 minutes on the stairmill and an easy-paced walk.

Enough to where it has been decided that Sundays should be considered “Slow Cook Sundays”. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Between all the vegetable soup and chili made in that thing this season, it seems only natural we finally come to this conclusion.

After a soup and salad week, no missed workouts, and an all-night dance party, the roomie and I were both on the same page.

We wanted comfort food.Or, more importantly, cheeeeeese.

On Friday night, as we were watching Beauty and the Beast (clearly Friday night was reserved for rest and recharge), we flipped through my Betty Crocker cook book.

Yeah- a real cook book. Which Bailey held and read out of as I threw everything in the pot.

Teamwork.

We chose a very basic beer cheese soup recipe.Obviously, this means we got to use the good stuff.

But because we pretend to beare adults and know we need our vegetables in order to lead healthy lives, potatoes and broccoli were an extra addition. People love cheesy potatoes. People love broccoli and cheese. Smart move, eh?

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

Then it was just a matter of waiting…And waiting…

And really starting to get hypocritically annoyed that the slow cooker was taking so long.

But after 5 hours?Perfection!

In hour 4, we added a little thickening (flour) because it was a little too thin- assumably because we used fat free milk that was on hand instead of whole milk like it called for.

I would feel weird about typing out a recipe from a cook book, but it’s quite similar to this one with the addition of potatoes and broccoli. Except we don’t like celery and couldn’t use the onion I had because it was sorta rotting in the refrigerator. Whoops.

Either way- easy peasy. As any lazy Sunday dinner should be.

Now if only I could have a lazy Monday.

But alas, half marathon training officially starts today. So laziness will have to wait another week.

My crockpot can’t wait.

Now please excuse me. The robot was mastered this weekend. So I’m gonna go practice the moonwalk in front of my mirror. Laters!

No Stress Here

It’s the weekend before Christmas.

That means less than 7 DAYS, people!

Normally, I’m freakin’ a little at this point. Somehow, this weekend doesn’t seem as bad as I thought.

Maybe it was the fact that I hit Target/Trader Joe’s early yesterday in order to avoid the bad crowds. There were still crowds, but it didn’t seem that busy.

Then again, I went sans makeup/shower/good hygiene in general. It’s possible men and small children hid as I strolled past.

Because I chose to break up the Target shopping and the last shopping trip to Michigan Avenue into two different days, it was noon and I had a good chunk of time on my hands. What’s a girl to do?

She runs. She runs 5 solid miles. She notices a hottie jump on the treadmill next to her. And she congratulates herself because that extra swipe of deodorant was a good choice… How you doin’?

Anyway…

Often, when I decide to stay low key for the weekend, I try to make smart decisions in the kitchen.Yay green!

And yes, that’s ranch dressing. The regular kind. My friend Mary and I discussed this once and both totally agree- the extra calories are ok as long as you’ve bringing in all the veggies with it. A massive plate of solely vegetables with some fat in the dressing is better to eat than no vegetables at all. Just don’t drown them. Holla’.

Besides, fat-free/lite ranch is really gross. And that doesn’t make anyone happy.

Another thing that does make me happy?Cookies. Duh.

During the 3rd Blogger Sweet Swap, Jessica from The Process of Healing and I were partnered together! I sent her some Chubby Hubby Cookie Bars last week, and this arrived at my door yesterday afternoon!

She chose to make a few things from How Sweet It Is- cake batter bark and browned butter chocolate chip/brownie cookies.Fabulous.

My roommate and I took down over half of the bark within an hour of opening the package. Truth.

Chocolate reduces levels of stress hormones. It’s absolutely necessary you fit it into your healthy diet over the holiday season. It’s medically proven. Google it.

Speaking of roommates, mine made buffalo ranch chicken last night.A way to reduce stress? When she asks if you want some of it, you say “why yes, yes I would love to not make my own dinner and eat this amazing food instead…”

Buffalo chicken is easily in my top 10. I’m a sucker for that hot sauce.I’m also a sucker for 312. I heart you, Goose Island. Even if you did sell your soul to Anheuser Busch. But that’s a bone to pick at another time…

We decided to hole ourselves up for a relaxing evening of movies. The Change Up, 30 Minutes or Less and The Wizard of Oz. Clearly we just couldn’t decide what kind of genre we wanted to go with. I guess variety is the spice of life.

And here I am now. Well-rested and relaxed. Not normal for a Sunday morning (reference last weekend’s silly foolery).

Off to the gym I go before tackling the last few things on my holiday shopping list. Hopefully with plenty of the Sunday afternoon to spare by the time I’m done.

And that, my friends, is how you have a relatively sane weekend before Christmas.

If You Give a Girl a Pancake

If you give a girl a pancake, she’s most likely going to want another one and also ask for some coffee.And if you give her coffee on a day when you’re attending a pub crawl, she’s going to be sure to put some Bailey’s into it.

Even if it’s possibly expired (yes, it’s’ been around THAT long).

But because she has her Bailey’s, she and her roommate, Bailey, will be ready to face all that is TBOX by 10:00 AM.Because the pub crawl theme was “Camp TBOX”, she’ll want to dress accordingly. She’ll also want to pack a peanut butter sandwich to go along with the theme and keep her going strong in the middle of the crawl. She’ll curse herself for not buying some trail mix a few days earlier.

However, even with the pb sandwich, because she’ll also be walking by a McDonald’s, she may just have to stop there, too. Just to be safe.

Because she had McDonalds that afternoon, your group will be able to power through the rest of the crawl. And truly make it “Wire to Wire” by visiting not only 12 Bars (hence the name Twelve Bars Of Xmas), but 15.

Because she goes “Wire to Wire” in 15 bars, she’s bound to meet some interesting people along the way.Did you know Jesus likes Miller Lite?

She didn’t either.

Because she drank Miller Lite all day with Jesus and all the other crazies at the pub crawl (her favorite costumes were those dressed up like Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation- that totally needed a mention), she was easily home and in bed by midnight.

She also insists you now call her Cinderella.

Because she was Cinderella with the early bed time, she’ll wake up early.

Because she wakes up early, she’ll decide to lay in semi-comatose on the couch and watch Saved By the Bell College Years, Friends and also two movies before figuring out how productive she’ll want to be during the day.

Because she laid around for the entire morning, she’ll most likely just go ahead and do the same for most of the afternoon and let the crock pot do all the work.Because the crock pot is doing work, she’ll sneak out of the house to slip in a 20-minute stairmill workout and a mile walk. Because that’s all she’s good for at that time.

Because she snuck in a workout, she assumes it’s ok for her to eat that much more when the crock pot is done making her soup of random vegetables found in the freezer/refrigerator/pantry.Because she ate her weight in soup (ahem- and cookies), she’ll roll herself back onto the couch for the rest of the evening to watch the Bears lose yet again.

Because she was a little down after the football game and didn’t have much else to do, she may go to bed early, making it possible to get 8 hours of sleep and still wake up early once again to hit the gym.

Because she hit the gym early, and doesn’t want to waste her breath/time with a half-assed workout, she’ll kick it up a notch and run a solid 4.3 miles like a champ. Like a CHAMP.

Because she’s feeling like a champ, she’ll need a breakfast to refuel herself properly.

Because there’s no better way to refuel herself, she’ll insist on reheating the leftover pancakes from Saturday morning.

And if you give a girl a pancake…

…uh oh…

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