Saturday, May 28, 2011

Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz...

Hey guys! Hopefully I'm enjoying myself on the beach right about now...


I found this fun survey, the "Abc's of Food". I tend to ask my Business Man questions like these all the time, but he doesn't think it's any fun at all. So now I'm gonna answer all 26, because it'll be super fun! (For me, anyways...)


A is for apple, what's your favorite variety?


Honeycrisp! Although they come with a hefty pricetag. I have also been enjoying Pink Lady's lately.


B is for bread, regardless of nutrition, calories, or whole grains, what is your favorite type to have a nice big piece of?


Oh, man, Great Harvest for sure. The Orange Sunburst is the best. So sweet and doughy. Tastes almost like a sweet orange roll with the glaze on top. Yum!


C is for cereal, what's your favorite kind currently? (only one!)


Honey Nut Shredded Wheat! I love that stuff!



D is for donuts, you might not be currently eating one, but what is your favorite?


Haven't had one in awhile... but our local supermarket makes the best blueberry donuts. I know, it sounds weird, but they're totally delish. Like a blueberry muffin in donut form.






E is for eggs, how do you like yours prepared?


Scrambled with cheese. Yes I am five years old. And yes my Business Man has to make them for me. (Note: This only usually occurs after long runs of 16+ miles. Cheesy eggs seem to be the only thing my stomach can handle.)






Or, in a Caramelized Onion Bacon Quiche. That is good.


F is for finger food, what's your favorite food to eat with your hands?


Oh....... probably boneless buffalo wings. Never would have guessed that, eh? Yup! Dipped in massive amounts of ranch. (This only occurs a couple of times a year. But it's so delicious.)



G is for groceries, where do you purchase yours at?


I shop mostly at Meijer. (Great place for coupon deals! I've gotten many a package of free frozen vegetables and free brownie mix over the past few months.)


I looooove Trader Joe's, but the nearest one is 1.5 hours away so it doesn't happen that often.


H is for hot beverages, what is your favorite hot beverage?


I drink coffee every morning. But my favorite hot drink in the whole wide world is the Cinnamon Dulce latte from Jo's Java in little ole' Greenville, IL. The best drink ever. 


I is for ice cream. Pick a flavor and add a fun topping.


Anything chocolate-peanut butter. Even better to top it with a Reese's cup.






J is for jams or jellies. Do you eat them, and if so, what kind and flavor?


Of course! PB & J all the way! I love my momma's homemade grape jelly. It's so good.


K is for Kashi, name your favorite Kashi product.


Umm.... don't eat a lot of Kashi stuff. (It's a little $$$.) But I do like their GoLean Crunch cereal!


L is for lunch, what was yours today?


I had a bowl of yogurt mixed with fruit, Honey Nut Shredded Wheat, and sliced almonds. So light and refreshing.


M is for microwave, what is your favorite microwave meal/snack?


Probably my morning oatmeal. I can't really think of what else I microwave. Except for candy melts for making cake pops. Ha!


N is for nutrients. Do you like carbs, fats, or proteins best?


Carbs for sure. Bread, pasta, pizza. My mom and I are self-proclaimed carb-a-holics. Take us anywhere with a bread basket and we definitely get our money's worth. Texas Roadhouse, Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory. Carb heaven.





Don't worry, I eat vegetables, too. ;-)




O is for oil, what type do you like to use?


Whatever we have on hand. Usually olive oil.


P is for protein, how do you get yours?


Lots of ways. Greek yogurt, nuts, chicken, peanut butter, cheese. Ice cream. (Ice cream counts, right?)


Q is for Quaker, how do you like your oats?


Cooked with cinnamon and blackberries. With almond butter on top. That is my breakfast almost every school morning.





R is for roasting, what's your favorite thing to roast?


Chicken! Although I've only done it myself a handful of times. But the deli roasted chickens from the grocery store are great!


S is for sandwich, what's your favorite kind?


Hummus is yummus. Hummus and cheese with vegetables on homemade bread. So good.





T is for travel, how do you handle eating while traveling?


Open mouth, insert food. Eat as much ice cream as possible.





U is for unique, what is one of your weirdest food combos?


I used to dip green beans in ketchup. Does that count? Sweet potato fries in barbecue sauce?


V is for vitamins, what kind do you take?


Um... none? Mom, please pretend you didn't read that. I do have the ones you gave me. Somewhere.


W is for wasabi, yay or nay?


Haven't really had a lot of it. However, we painted our new kitchen 'wasabi' and I'm not the biggest fan.





X is for x-ray. If you x-rayed your belly right now, what food would you see?


A chicken quesadilla and some salad. And some Diet Dew. (Of course.)


Y is for youth, what foods remind you of your childhood?


My grandma's macaroni & cheese. Company casserole. Chipped beef on toast. Making cookies at Christmas time with my mom.

Z is for zucchini, how do you prepare it?


I haven't really made it a whole lot myself... but my mom used to make this bacon-tomato sauteed zucchini dish that was her grandmother's recipe. I need to bust that recipe out, pronto!

And that, my friends, is the "Abc's of Food." Enjoy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

Don't know when I'll be back again.


Scratch that, I'll be back Tuesday. (Gotta finish off that darn school year!)


After a couple hours of work tomorrow morning, we're headed off to the beach!





The big challenge was packing.


First of all, because of our move, I didn't quite know exactly where everything was. It took a bit of time, but I managed to find everything I needed. Though my iPod charger cord is currently MIA. Oh, well, I can handle a few runs along the beach sans music.


Second of all, we are not checking any luggage. That means I had to pack for 5 days/4 nights in just a carry-on bag. 


Thanks to my friend Amber who is a rockstar Thirty-One consultant, I had no problem! She set me up with this sweet "City Weekender" tote to use for the weekend. Everything fit great! I'm even gonna be able to squeeze my running shoes in, and not have to wear them on the plane.



(P.S. You should all go 'like' her on Facebook!)


So, you probably won't hear from me for a couple days.


I'll be too busy soakin' up the sun, running on the beach, and eating plenty of ice cream.





Ta ta for now!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baking Nook, what?

The last few days have been a bit crazy, to say the least.


Sunday was our big Moving Day, and on Monday I went to Cedar Point with my calculus class all day, including driving home through a tornado warning. Our bus driver was a beast and got us all back safely.

We're finally getting a bit settled into our new house, and by a 'bit settled', I mean that the kitchen is halfway organized. That's all that matters, right?


This was 'mid-move'. It looks much better now. But I'm not showing a pic until it's perfect!

One thing that I'm really excited about is our new fridge. The house didn't come with one, so I got to pick out my very own! It was a little tricky, because our space is only 31" wide, so there weren't a lot of options. This is what we ended up with:




Just kidding. We actually ordered a side-by-side with a bottom-drawer freezer, but it won't be here until after Memorial Day. The great people at Bindel's Appliances gave us this one to use in the meantime. One of the great things about patronizing small family-owned businesses! They actually care about your quality of life. Because my quality of life without a fridge is no bueno.


Now, let me introduce to you my favorite room in the whole house. It's a butler's pantry/breakfast nook, right off the kitchen.



I have deemed it my "baking nook." Because everyone needs a baking nook.


It's not going to stay yellow, I don't think. We like all our paint colors except the kitchen and this room. It's hard to find colors that look good with white trim! Any suggestion?


Here's the other side. The perfect place for my mixer to live. 




Along with a perfect little cabinet for all my baking supplies!




I was so excited to finally cook a meal tonight in our new place. Our first meal in our first home! I relied on one of our favorites... a "pizza bread" of sorts. Our favorite way to make pizza bread is BBQ chicken style. (Surprised, much?)


Here ya go... start with some ciabatta bread, sliced in half. I found this mini-loaf, perfect size for me and my Business Man.




Mix some shredded chicken with BBQ sauce, and pile it on top. 



Then, some sweet caramelized onions.






Then comes the cheese! I usually shred it, but was feeling a bit lazy tonight. I like to use a combo of sharp cheddar and mozzarella.




Then pop it into the oven at 425*F until the cheese is melted. Broil it for a few minutes if you want it quicker, but make sure you watch it!




Yum-O!


I also put my oven to test with some baked goods for my seniors. Tomorrow is their last day! 




Recipe to come later, I promise...






My Business Man caught me "cleaning the bowl", while attempting to suck internet from the random "linksys" signal that is within range. We are finally getting our internet hooked up tomorrow!


Welp, I'm off to start packing! We are headed to the beach in less than 44 hours! Wahoo!!



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Moving Day is Here!! Oh, and I ran a half-marathon yesterday...

Yes, call me crazy. 


It's already been a chaotic week, with the whole renovating our house thing, trying to move in thing, and wrapping up the school year thing.


But when I found out on Friday that the Bean Town was holding a half-marathon on Saturday, I just had to participate. Never mind the fact that the longest run I'd done since the marathon was 7.5 miles. And that the marathon was just 20 days prior. Who cares?





So, I set off yesterday morning with the hopes of having a very fun run. 


Trying to get a self-portrait... I had no spectators at this run. (Because they were working on the house!)



There weren't too many people running the half-marathon. (There was a 5km, too, and a lot of people were doing that.)


The course was a little boring, out in the country corn fields, but it was fine. I was definitely glad I brought my iPod so I could jam out to some tunes.


I set out about an 8:00-pace, and just decided to cruise along and see how I felt. I was pretty sure I would feel good until about mile 10, and then it would go downhill from there.


I passed through the 5-mile mark in 39:05, so a 7:49-average. Still feelin' good.


I passed a lot of men during miles 5-10 which was definitely an ego-boost. I crossed the 10-mile mark in 1:17:30, a 7:45-average.


And that's where the wheels came off. I just got reeeeeeal tired. And then sun had come up and was shining brightly and it was hooooot. But I continued on! I never had to walk, which was good. 


I ended up finishing somewhere around 1:43:xx, which was 7+ minutes off my PR, but good enough for 3rd overall female! (And also earned me a little cash!) I've never placed that high in a race! And I've never won cash for running... it was completely awesome. 




So after the race I got cleaned up and headed over to the house to work. Activities done today: scraping varnish, Krud-Kutting the kitchen, edging the sidewalk, vacuuming, and trimming hedges. Well, my Business Man trimmed hedges.


He was having way too fun with the electric hedge trimmer.


The chaos of the kitchen. It's now painted and needs to be cleaned really well so we can move stuff in!

See the floors in the background?
Late in the afternoon, I escaped to make cupcakes (red velvet, lemon, and vanilla) for my friend's baby shower this afternoon. No pics yet... I will try to get some later!

I also might have stopped for a delicious iced mocha. But shhh... don't tell because I didn't offer to get anyone else one.



And now, it's the big day! We are actually moving in!

All packed up and ready to go!
And I'm off!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Break in the Kitchen

This week we've had lots of take-out. Subway, Panera, Bellacino's, you-name-it.


Not that I don't like take-out (because I do!), but every night? I don't know how some people do it. Cooking is just so much more fun! And satisfying.


Anyways, we've finally reached a lull in the house improvements. They floors are in the process of being stained & varnished, so there are 10 hour chunks of time that they can't be walked on. Thus, work can't be done. (Well, no work can be done in those rooms... believe me there's plenty else to do.) 


But I got a reprieve today. I pleaded with my Business Man if I could stay home and cook dinner. It's been awhile since I really cooked. Tried a new recipe; something I really wanted to make.

So, after a quick trip to a store that wasn't Lowe's, I got started!


Yay for produce! Mangoes, onion, avocados, limes, cilantro. Yum!
I declared it Mexican night, but with a twist. I absolutely adore How Sweet It Is and all the recipes found there. If you haven't explored Jessica's site yet, you are definitely missing out!


She has quite the plethora of enchilada recipes, and I decided to try her BBQ Chicken Enchiladas.


You start with a filling of enchilada sauce, barbecue sauce, shredded chicken, caramelized onions (!), and shredded co-jack cheese. 




All wrapped up in little tortillas. Corn tortillas are the best. I used to only buy flour tortillas, but that was just because I'd never purchased corn tortillas. Corn is where it's at! And they're gluten-free. (I think.) If you have to worry about things like that.






All lined up in a pan.


All my pretty pans are packed up in boxes. Sad.
With more of the enchilada-barbecue sauce poured over the top, and covered with more cheese.






Because cheese makes everything better.


And then they get baked for 25 minutes to heat everything through and get the cheese a bit crunchy. That's my favorite part.



And topped with a bit of cilantro. My favorite fresh herb. 


Gosh these were so good. They were ready about 7:30pm, and I tried to wait until the guys got home at 8pm to eat. I lasted about 2 minutes before I dug in. The sweet & tangy sauce was just so good! And the caramelized onions just added a little extra something-something that was delicious.


But I didn't stop with enchiladas. You can't have Mexican without chips & salsa guacamole! (Gotta get those healthy fats somewhere!)






I'd never made guacamole before tonight. To be honest I was a bit intimidated. But it's so easy! I used this recipe for Mango Guacamole from How Sweet It Is. (What can I say? Every recipe over there is good!)




I only made half the recipe because avocados were $1.79 at the store. I couldn't justify spending almost $8 on four avocados. So I just bought 2, and halved the recipe. It turned out to be the perfect amount for three people. It always seems that leftover guacamole gets all yucky in the fridge anyways.


My Business Man and dad loved this meal. I loved taking the time to make it for them. Win-win situation. The other win-win situation is that they went back to put another coat of varnish on the floors, and I get to stay at the apartment and pack boxes watch House Hunters. (What they don't know won't hurt them, right??)


---


In other news, I'm running a half-marathon tomorrow! Yea... I didn't see that one coming either. I found out yesterday there is a half-marathon in the Bean Town tomorrow morning to raise money for an orphanage in Haiti. So of course I'm in!


It doesn't matter that the longest run I've done since the marathon is 7.5 miles. I'll be fine, right? ;-)


No worries, I'm gonna take it easy and run for fun.


Later gators!



BBQ Chicken Enchiladas


  • rotisserie chicken, skin & bones removed, and meat shredded
  • sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 28-oz. can enchilada sauce
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce , (Sweet Baby Ray's!)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 8-oz. co-jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 small corn tortillas

Method

Place olive oil and onions in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 10 minutes, until golden brown and caramelized.

Meanwhile, combine enchilada sauce and barbecue sauce in small bowl.

In large bowl, combine caramelized onion, chicken, cayenne pepper, and half the cheese. Add in about 1/2 cup of the sauce, just until everything is coated.

Spread a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Place a small amount of the filling into each corn tortilla, roll up, and place seam-side down in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. (You might have some filling leftover. This serves as a great pre-dinner appetizer.)

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake at 375*F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and top has browned.

Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

48 Hours Later...

In just 48 hours, lots of work has been done. Most of it not done by me. But I try!


Stairs... (right when you walk in the front door.)
We discovered there was hardwood under the foyer, staircase, upstairs hallway, and butler's pantry/breakfast nook.


Upstairs hallway. 
You know what that meant? 928,301,292,746 more staples and tacks to pull up.


I'm so thankful for my hard-working daddy and my Business Man's brother who is helping us out this week. They're awesome, pulling 14-hour days. I'm a wimp, and admit defeat after just a few hours.


This afternoon, I learned how awesome Krudkutter is. 






Long, long ago, in the guest bedroom, little droplets of paint somehow got all over the floor. The beautiful hardwood floor. 


So today, I got to use Krudkutter to scrape it all up. I think that was almost more fun than pulling up staples! ;-)


The previously paint-splattered guest bedroom. It has since been painted as well.
Note to self: Never splatter paint on hardwood floors. Also, never cover up hardwood floors with ugly carpet. It's a huge pain to remove.


Other notable things... my dad fixed the bathroom sink! It no longer leaks water all over the floor when you use it. Definitely a plus.

Yes, there's an air mattress lying on top of the tub. Don't ask.
This nastiness was inside the sink pipes. Yuck!!
My Business Man learned how to varnish floors. (2 of the rooms only need to be re-varnished, not sanded and stained first.) 


This is our room. He said it was just like mopping. I didn't get a chance to try this. (Probably a good thing.)
The polyurethane looks like honey, in my opinion. It does not smell like honey. Don't get polyurethane confused with honey and put it on your PB sandwich. That would probably be a bad idea.


Honey in a paint tray.


After two nights of take-out, I decided we needed a home-cooked meal tonight. (Or... maybe I just needed an excuse to be able to stop working and go back to our apartment and cook?)


I made chili. It was good. Have I shared my chili recipe yet? It's not really mine; it's my Business Man's mom's recipe. But it's really good.






And yes, it's not really chili season, the middle of May. But it's been rainy and in the 50s all week and it sounded good. Usually we make it in the crockpot, but I didn't get started until 7pm, so it's still bubbling on the stove. (No worries, I had a bowl already. It just needs to season and blend flavors a bit longer. So the leftovers will be even tastier.)



Chili

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 16-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 16-oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 2 16-oz. cans chili beans
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  •  cup brown sugar

Method

Brown beef and onion; drain off fat. Combine all ingredients and cook in crock pot 4-6 hours on low.

Or, you can simmer in a big pot for a couple hours. Still tastes very good!



Stay tuned for more house updates! Hopefully we will be able to move in this weekend...

 
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