Friends Cooking for Friends

After much consideration, I’ve made some new rules to follow when doing “happy hour” in the middle of the week.

I think we can all agree that no shots should be taken.  I’m not a 21-year-old college student that doesn’t have class on Friday.  I can’t swing these things like I used to.

Ugh… that made me sound old.

My boss told me my “eyes looked tired”.  I think we all know that was a nice way of saying, “seriously- you look awful”. 

I can’t help it, boss.  Things just escalated so quickly!

After work, I laid around until it was time to get moving once again.  Annie invited Mon and I over for a girl’s night.  She even cooked for us.  My friends are swell.  :)She is much less messy in the kitchen than I am.  So that’s why you rarely see pics like this of me cooking…

On the menu?  Tomato soup paired with veggie focaccia sandwiches.  Her husband is usually a dude who requires meat with his meals (let’s be honest- what man doesn’t?), so I think she was happy to be able to prepare a veggie-heavy meal for us.

And what girl’s night doesn’t include wine?If you look closely (or not that closely), you can see me in the red bottle.  Heeeeeeyyyyyyy!The base of the sandwiches were yellow, orange, and green peppers along with onions that had been sautéed in balsamic.  Topped off with spinach and provolone.  I chose to also go the extra mile and dip it in my tomato soup (also made from scratch- go Annie, go!). 

Faboosh.I’m excited.  But you may not be able to tell because of my “tired eyes”…  :)

On another note- this was the same shirt I wore out the night before.  Don’t judge me.  I swear I showered.  And it’s the  most comfy shirt of all time that can be dressed up and down.  Assume you’ll see it in heavy rotation on the blog.

Anyhoo… happy weekend!  I hope you enjoy a lazy Saturday.  I think I will be staying positioned on the couch a wee bit longer out of sheer laziness before I “start” my day.  Because I need to watch a couple more hours of Food Network and how to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving.  Even if I’m only in charge of dessert (because let’s face it- that’s the sole thing I excel at in the kitchen).

For the holiday- are you cooking the full meal or are you in charge of one dish?

Or do you bring the wine?  (Hey- that’s a very important duty, too!)

Enjoy your Saturday, kids!

Playing With Food

First, thanks everyone for the well wishes.  I don’t get sick often, so even a little run in with the common cold gets me down and out like nobody’s business…

I’m glad to say I’m feeling much more perky today.  :)  Weeeeeeee!

Things started looking up later on yesterday already.  I even did The Shred after work.  Just to prove it. After avoiding Jillian for a good part of last week, I decided it’d probably be a good idea to throw her in the mix.  I’ve been good with the resistance bands lately, but I still think Jillian is a step or two or five higher in intensity.

While I was busy shreddin’, my spaghetti squash was busy roastin’.  Say what???

Along with my pumpkin fail that I purchased last weekend, I picked up a spaghetti squash and red onion.Just adorable… am I right?  This could be the most uninteresting picture I’ve ever taken.  But it seems like important documentation as I tell the rest of my story…

This was my first time trying out spaghetti squash.  Turns out I’m lucky that I planned it when I did- I just followed the guidelines that Heather over at A Side of Sneakers posted yesterday!

So I poked a few holes in it (no way you were getting me to break out the big knife again to split it open!) and stuck it in the oven at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes.  After my 20-minute workout, I cut it in half (it was much softer and easier to do) and stuck it back in the oven for the remainder of the time.  After peeking in the oven a few times and crossing my fingers, I pulled it out and looked at it.  Now what?

Well now I get to play with my food.  People discussed how fun this part can be and I thought they were just being overly excited for no reason.  I was wrong.  It was fun.  Just scrap it with a fork and you have noodles.  Neat.Because I’m boring with my standard pasta sauce purchases, I sauteed some of that sassy red onion along with mushrooms and broccoli (this seems to be a regular combo for me, huh?).I used Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning on all the veggies.  I can’t get enough of this stuff.  I use it… like… everyday.

All together now…And now I have a ridiculous amount of spaghetti leftovers.  Considering I spent less than $2 on the squash, that’s a pretty sweet deal for me.  It’s like the price of ramen, but 10 times better for you (hello vitamin C).

In other news, here are a few random-yet-terrifying events that happened in a 4-hour time span:

1. I almost fell INSIDE the revolving door.  It’s not like people were around, though.  Oh wait… there were.

2. I burned my fingers on my left hand HORRIBLY when getting the squash out of the oven.  The pot holder slipped.  I made contact with a pan that had reached 425 degrees.  No good.

3. I took the trash out later on in the night.  A skunk ran out within 5 feet of me.  My heart stopped.  But no spray. Close call… I mean really, how do you explain calling in sick for smelling like skunk butt?

If this keeps up, I’m gonna be a hot mess REAL quick.

What’s something random that’s happened to you in the last day or two?

Things Worth Celebrating

Since yesterday was a rest day, I had quite a bit of free time on my hands.  This rarely happens, but I took it as a sign as maybe I should cook again.  Because even little things such as rest days should be celebrated, right?

If you remember, I did a review of  Uncle Sam’s cereal a few weeks ago.  I had considered doing some sort of honey glaze, but went a different route with the breaded parmesan.  This was amazing, but then Tracey left me drooling over what she came up with

Last night I remembered this and said “YES, that’s what I’ll make”.

Then I immediately said, “CRAP, I don’t have soy sauce”. 

What respectable cook doesn’t have soy sauce on hand?  (don’t answer- that’s an issue we can address at a later time)

So I tried something a little different. Enter balsamic vinegar and honey.Trader Joe’s really wanted to make sure I had enough balsamic, huh?

So I mixed it with a little honey and to dip the chicken into:Then I did a little shaky shaky with the cereal in a ziploc bag…Throw some sliced almonds on each piece, and then bake for 20 minutes (or um… until it’s done in the middle- duh) at 350 degrees.  Then, pair it with some sauteed veggies.Voila!  Perfect meal.  Granted, I wish I had the soy sauce like Tracey did…  would have given it more of a kick.  But hey- it was still a win in my book.

In other news, this Saturday is Boss’s Day.  How they let Boss’s Day fall on a Saturday, I do not know.  But either way- do you do anything for your boss on this day?  Or if you’re the boss, do people usually plan stuff for you?

Jaime and I celebrate for our two bosses.  Just… in a different way…Clearly I’ve edited the photo for privacy reasons, but you get the point.  Last year, we filled our supervisor’s cubicle with balloons.Our main boss seemed a little disappointed to not be in on the fun, so this year we took the “post-it everything in his office” approach.  It worked out really well that he’s out for a couple days.

I really have no idea how boring our office would be if we weren’t around to keep it interesting… And it’s always in good fun- that’s important to remember.  ;)

Do you ever pull office pranks?  I’m sure Jaime and I wouldn’t mind some new ideas! 

Happy Friday everyone!!!

“A Mood”

Have you ever revisited a meal you used to have all the time?  A meal that you probably had at least twice a week for who knows how long and then all the sudden it just disappeared off the menu? 

I did last night with a mini veggie casserole.  Or like the egg souffle I used to make  minus the cottage cheese.  Mostly because I didn’t have any on hand.

Anyways, this is how it all went down…

First, sautee an obnoxious amount of vegetables (assume the veggie to egg ratio will be off-balance).Then, whisk a whole egg plus an egg white with a little milk and realize yes, you were right, the veggie to egg ratio is off.Pour it all into a ramekin.  You get bonus points if your ramekins are from 1980 or older- gotta love the 70’s flower power designs.  ;) Bake at 375 degrees until the egg has set and is maybe a little browned on top (depends on your oven, but mine was baking for a little over 20 minutes).  That’s your cue to add a mini corn muffin and some extra parmesan cheese as a topping.  Turn the oven off, and throw the ramekin back in for another 5 minutes or so.  Preciseness has never been my strong point when it comes to cooking. This shortcoming has rarely bothered me. Sometimes red wine goes with everything.  And clearly I had some before I sat down for dinner and Modern Family.  Sometimes I’m very impatient.

I used to never be a big red wine drinker.  But it has recently replaced white wine when I’m in “a mood”.

Running often helps pull me out of “a mood”.  But the workout room was busy (because of the size of my apartment’s work out room, 5 people would qualify as “busy”) and I got stuck on the obnoxiously loud treadmill.  The loud treadmill really messes with a girl.  It makes you want to go faster to get the run done and get off.  But, at the same time, you’d almost prefer to run slower because the faster you go, the noisier it gets.  Blah.  It’s hard for me to get annoyed by the good treadmill already being taken. Even if it is being used by the slowest walking person of all time.  I know I take up a lot of time on that thing.  So I try to be patient.  But you can guarantee that within 15 seconds of Mr. Slow Walker stepping off that treadmill, I had already stopped the monster I was on, jumped onto the good treadmill (or as I like to call it- MY treadmill), and was off and running. 

Most of the people who frequent my gym know I do serious time on it, so I’m pretty they were all breathing a sigh of relief that I switched ‘mills and that they weren’t risking hearing loss by continuing to be there.

I’m not kidding.  The second treadmill is THAT loud.

Rant over.  I got my 5 miles in.  So I won’t complain anymore. 

Oh and because I did the mid-run switcheroo, I’m totally guessing, but I’m pretty sure my pace was a little under 8:25 if my math skills serve me correctly.

Either way, I’m really glad I’ve been keeping at 5-mile runs during the week.  It makes me feel my rest day today is well deserved!  Now if only I’d be as focused about upping my game with the weights…

Bulking Up

So I’m not the only one who hoards leftover office food, huh?  Good thing we don’t all work together- I’d hate to fight you guys for it.

Because I fight dirty.  And I’m not scared.  Bring it.

Don’t believe me?  You should.  I’ve been working on my guns.  Well- sort of.  I’ve been loving using resistance bands during my workout as part of my cross training routine.  I may have mentioned it already- but doing the front body circuit is my favorite.  So I spend some time doing work on the arms, shoulders, and even the core.  Loves it.

So I did that, but also hit the gym beforehand for some elliptical and stairmill time.  Kept myself entertained in the workout room this time by playing “where is that cheap cologne smell coming from?” 

I still don’t know.

Then I did some more bulking up.  With my dinner.90 calories a serving?  Sweet… that’ll keep me full for like a whole 15 minutes!  Like oh my god! I actually took two pics of the same thing- because I caught myself doing a sweet hitchhiker’s thumb and was kinda embarrassed.  Then I laughed.  Try and beat that one, people!  I think my thumbnail makes it look that much longer… Awesome.

But yes, we can take a minute to talk about my soup in a can.  I love playing in the kitchen, and I know soup isn’t hard, but I’m just not “there” yet.  I still only keep a few cans of it around as an easy option.  I know it’s a bit high on the sodium end, but I don’t know what to say- I just don’t like making soup from scratch.

Anyhoo, I took the can and used it as a “base”.  Then I added the goods.  Like broccoli, black beans, and corn.  And red chili pepper flakes.  And pepper (because we know how almost all “lite” soups are pretty freakin’ bland).  I must have gotten a little out of control because it was exploding out of the pot…I SLOWLY stirred it until it was all heated up and ready to go.  And then toasted an Arnold’s thin (still living on coupons from the Healthy Living Summit- holla’) with cheese on top.  Because soup isn’t comfort food without cheesy bread.  I don’t care what you say.  I need my cheesy bread.Voila.  Just in time for Modern Family. 

I have fantastic timing.

Being as how it’s Thursday, today is an official rest day for me.  Again- probably for the better.  I still haven’t figured out that “weird” feeling in my left leg.  It doesn’t hurt.  It’s just annoying me.  Grrr.  My real frustration comes from the fact that I’m a little over a month away from my 15k, and have yet to really log much over a 6-mile distance as of late.  Gah.

Here’s something funny…

Has anyone heard of the Happy Meal Project?  An artist out of New York, Sally Davies, photographed a McDonald’s happy meal every single day over a period of MONTHS.  Results?  I believe she’s still doing it, but they had pictures of Day 1 compared to Day 137- with very little change of appearance.  What?? (Click on the picture to be taken to the article and slideshow) 

Now- let me be clear.  I’m a kid who runs through the drive thru every now and then.  I see nothing wrong with that.  But um… I’m concerned about people who eat this every day.  I mean, it looks like you could still eat the bread- which seems to be mold free after 137 days (another reason why I’m frustrated my lastest wraps purchase didn’t even last but a week!).  Yikes.

Thoughts?

Double Dipping

Hey kids!  Happy Monday!  I’m extremely sleepy after a long weekend at the Healthy Living Summit, but it was totally worth it.  I’m sure some ladies would completely agree with me…

After I got back home and resituated myself, along with feeding my poor empty refrigerator, I made a short drive over to my lovely friend Annie’s.  We had a planned little workout sesh on a trail near her place to celebrate the fact we’re doing an 8k together in September!  If you remember, we did the Run For the Cheetah 5k back in April, and have been looking for another good race to fit into both of our schedules.  Annie found this 8k that looks doable and so we’re planning on signing up (more on it later).

Anyhoo, yes I went for another round of running after my 5k blogger fun run.  Yep, I double dipped into the running pool.  And the weather was AMAZING.  I had no idea the cool down was coming, but running in mid to high 70’s was greatly appreciated!Clearly we were overjoyed.  It’s also clear I should have paid more attention to the blogger photography session I attended at HLS.  Sorry everyone, the sun also wanted to say hello…

We did a solid two miles, walked a mile, then decided to finish strong with running the last mile back to the car.  Because we have very different schedules, we don’t get to workout together much, but I always love when we do because it gives us time to catch up and gossip a bit about what’s going on.

Since we both love cooking, half the fun of working out is the dinner we make afterwards.  This time, Annie was prepared ahead of time, so when we got back to her house, it didn’t take long for her to come up with serious good eats:Isn’t she a sweetheart?  She prepares it beautifully and breaks out the nice plates when I’m around. If anything, nice plates should always make you feel special.  :) Annie made wild rice with veggies with a honey and almond oil sauce mixed in.  All on a bed of spinach and a side of broccoli and topped with a little feta.  Fabulous.

On a side note, Lindsey over at Goodies Galore asked me over the weekend at the Summit if I was still on my major broccoli kick.  And because I’m sure everyone else is also concerned- yes, it’s still kicking.  Even in the background in meals I don’t post about.  There’s no such thing as too much green.  :)  Can I get an amen?

Anyone else on a serious food kick of some sort?

Finally, if you notice on the side bar, I joined twitter again!  I had a personal account forever ago, but didn’t do much with it.  Now, I’m excited to be tweeting again (so add me if you’d like!), but give me a little time- I’m still very much a newbie.  There’s probably a twitter term for it.  But I wouldn’t know.  Aaaahhhh technology….

Another technology issue?  I left my phone charger at the hotel.  I notice this when my phone is giving me the dead battery angry blinking sign.  You don’t even want to know how much anxiety this gives me.  Blah!  I feel like a part of my life is missing.  Looks like I’m running errands at lunch today…

Ok everyone, it’s time to get to work.  I hope everyone had a great weekend (tell me about it!) and that the week won’t be TOO painful… ;)

Bikram Elliptical

Oh hey hump day- you got here quickly! 

Last night was quite the event.  I got to the gym and several peeps were already there sweating it out.  And I mean SWEATING it out.  The air conditioning wasn’t working.  I asked Mon if they already reported it.  She had, but the girl hadn’t done anything yet.

Well.  This looks like it’ll be a short cross training session.

Someone came in after a little while.  Apparently the filter in the AC had been ignored for, oh I dunno, what looked to be about 5 years.  Gross.  I watched as I poured buckets of sweat all over the elliptical.  “What if this thing shorts out while I’m on it?” I thought.  Finally, the air started flowing again.  Bu the damage was done.  I looked like I had jumped into the pool.  I guess that’s what I get for starting my workout in a sweat box… oops.

It did end up being a decent workout.  I just moved a little more slowly than usual.  At some point I just took my shirt off.  I figured I could use the few dry spots left on it as a towel if need be.  I’m not really sure if the people working in the clubhouse and giving tours to future residents appreciated this.  But then again I didn’t appreciate sweating like a pig as soon as I walked through the door.  Fair enough.

After drinking about 10 gallons of water and taking a seriously needed shower, I finally felt hydrated and sanitary enough to do my thing in the kitchen.  Because I’m a sucker for a sale (and I had a coupon on top of it all!), I stocked up on chicken to eat/freeze on my last trip to the grocery store.  So tonight I had some while it was still “fresh”.  It took forever for me to decide what to do with it.  And I still hadn’t really decided what to do with it when I was halfway through constructing my sandwich.  Damn commitment issues…

But this is what I came up with:Doesn’t it look like my sandwich has fangs???  Raaarrrrrr!!!! 

Sorry. I swear I’m 24…Money shot.

Anyways, it’s a chipotle chicken sandwich with a bit of melted mozzarella and orange peppers on top.  Squash and mushrooms on the side again.  Originally I was going to work them into the sandwich as well, but that may have just been excessive if we’re going to be completely honest about it…  :)

And wine.  We’ll just say it was necessary.  That is all.

Because I’m working late today, I decided to get up early again to do some shredding.  Good morning Jillian.  I appreciate you.  I appreciate you.  I appreciate you…

Sometimes at 5:45 in the morning (like today), I have to repeat it a few times in order to believe it.  All whining set aside, I really do like doing quick sessions in the morning.  It gets me going without that extra cup of coffee in the morning and gives me some more time in the evening.  I have no desire to do it everyday, but a couple times a week isn’t hurting anything.  :)

My 5-mile run tonight is being planned on the dreadmill.  :(  Although the weather man has been completely wrong for the last 3 days about the rain, I can’t bank on it.  He swears today is the day it’s actually going to rain.  Well… ok… if you say so…

Have you been doing most of your workouts inside or outside these days?  I know it’s been rough for some of you kids up near the east coast with those 100-degree temps… ouch!

Um… I guess I should make it a point here to say drink some water and wear your sunscreen?  That’s my public service announcement of the day. 

Later, kiddos!

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