Friday, November 11, 2011

A Day Late

on the blog, but it's sort of a month long celebration, anyway. Yesterday, Mark and I celebrated our 8th anniversary!

Eight years ago, we were sitting on a warm sunny beach.
Eight years ago, we were dipping our toes in the Caribbean.
Eight years ago, it was 85 degrees outside.
Eight years ago, we were in Negril, Jamaica!

It's been a fantastic eight years. I could not be happier with my choice of partner, and it's so awesome how our life together just keep getting better with each passing year. Okay, enough schmaltz. How about some photos? (And yes, I Googled the word 'schmaltz', to make sure I was both spelling and using it correctly. Scroll down to 'derived meanings'.)

We celebrated number 8 at Martine, one of our favorite restaurants (and the restaurant we went to on the Valentine's Day we got engaged). It has a romantic setting and fabulous, amazing food. We enjoyed tapas, such as the seared beef filet with carmelized onions and warmed brie, and the smoked duck bruschetta with mission figs and cambazola. And topped it off with the chocolate decadence and grilled gingerbread.

All in all, a good day, and a good life!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Been a While....

Since I have all this free time, I thought I'd get out some pictures and do a little scrappin'. I needed some inspiration, and found this sketch challenge over on the PageMaps blog. They are giving away some fun supplies to one person who enters a layout based on this sketch, so I thought I'd give it a shot:

And here's my take:

Still trying to figure out a good way to photograph layouts to post, so the colors look right. This shows the colors pretty accurately, but there are some harsh shadows.  Any suggestions?

The journaling reads:

Elliott’s third birthday was celebrated with a bit of bowling and, of course, presents. He was so cute when he opened his present from me and Mark. When he saw Cookie Monster, he grabbed him out of the gift bag and fell onto the floor with Cookie tightly wrapped in his arms. And he gave us that deceptively angelic look!

I used supplies I had on hand and the Silhouette, which is hands-down my all-time favorite tool. I am slowly learning how to do more things with it. I love using makes it easier to move beyond the basic design of a layout and lets me get right to the fun stuff. I also love it when I see a typo only after I have glued everything down. Arrgh! Fixed it, though.

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food Week: Days 6 & 7

Oops. Yep. Didn't get any pictures of the camping food. But it was so good!

Here's the breakdown:

Day 6:
Breakfast: Grape Nuts, Banana
Lunch: Subway ham & turkey sandwich, 6" on Italian
Dinner: (camping food starts here): Filet mignon, baked potato with butter & sour cream, grilled zucchini and yellow squash, s'mores, daiquiri. Pretty luxurious camping food...thanks, Steve & Eileen!

Day 7:
Breakfast: Instant Oatmeal (2 packs), Hot chocolate
Lunch: Tuna salad (in a convenient foil pouch), Ritz crackers, cheddar cheese, salami
Snack: Dried fruit
Dinner: Ramen noodles, chicken salad, daiquiri
Snack: Hot chocolate

Sorry about the lack of food pictures....but I will leave you with this:

Kolob Arch, Zion National Park

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Food Week: Day 5

Well, today's eating could only be described as crap-tastic. :)  Cafe Rio for lunch, McDonald's for dinner. Nice.

Breakfast: Oat bran muffin with butter and a protein shake (served in a very cool Joe Cool mug):

Lunch: Cafe Rio Pork Salad (I only at half of this gut bomb):

Dinner: Mark's choice: McDonald's. My choice at McDonald's: Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Medium fries, Diet Coke (Again, only had half of this meal). Man, the Diet Coke is gonna keep me up all night, too. Bad choices happen at McDonald's, that's for sure!

Still, overall, I kept the calories within my goal range. 

I'm going "off the grid" for a few nights, so I won't be posting for the next two days until Sunday or Monday. I'm sure they'll be exciting, though, because it will be camping/backpacking meals! Can you say "s'mores"?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food Week: Day 4

Wednesday! Whew, over halfway done with this little project. I tell ya, taking pictures of food is not my thing, really. I'm too anxious to eat to keep trying for the perfect shot.

Well, here's today's lineup:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, avocado, buttered wheat toast
Lunch: Dole Southwest Salad Kit (with less than half the dressing they's way too much!)
Dinner: Salmon cakes, sweet potato, wild rice and Caesar salad
Snack: Buttered wheat toast and a glass of milk

Dinner tonight was pretty boring looking. Fortunately, it tasted much better than it appears in the photo! I didn't mean to fix a meal that was monochromatic. Ah well. Better planning next time.

Geeking Out

Oh, man. I'm so looking forward to this thing! I confess, I pre-ordered it today. November 17th is the arrival date. It looks so cool.

Yes, I just got a new Kindle (to replace one that failed). But this baby looks too sweet to pass up.

Yay! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Food Week: Day 3

Today was a bit rough - I had a busy day in clinic with zero time for a real lunch, so had to make do with a protein bar. While it was better than nothing, it just wasn't enough calories! That set me up to be extremely hungry the rest of the day, and I chose a pretty unhealthy (but sooo good) after dinner snack. Ah well, that's the way it goes, I suppose.

Here are the foods for the day:

Breakfast: Another protein shake.
Lunch: Zone Perfect Caramel Chocolate Cluster Bar
Snack: Carrot sticks
Dinner: Stir Fry (zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, red pepper, red onion, beef, rice); daiquiri
Snack: Two slices of white bread, toasted, with butter and Mark's raspberry jam

I'm sure tomorrow will be better! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Food Week: Day 2

Mark made the best roast beef for dinner tonight, with some delicious new potatoes and an avocado-tomato salad to start. What a guy!

Breakfast: Banana and berry medley protein shake (served up in one of my favorite mugs), one boiled egg
Lunch: Leftovers! Spinach salad and tomato soup; Marcona almonds (oh, man! these are addicting!)
Dinner: Roast beef, rosemary red potatoes, avocado-tomato salad, and San Pellegrino with a twist of lime

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Food Week: Day 1

It was a great day with some great meals! I realized as I was photographing my food that I need to be a better photographer, otherwise all my pics will be an overhead of a plate. I will try to get more creative as the week progresses. And thank goodness for Picasa - it's totally easy to make a photo collage with that program.

Here's what I ate today, September 25, 2011:

Breakfast: An oat bran muffin (Mark's recipe) with butter, two boiled eggs
Lunch: Chicken enchilada (Eating for Life recipe) with tomatoes, olives & salsa
Snack: Apple & mozzarella cheese
Dinner: Crab cake (home-made), spinach salad (Dole Spinach, Cherry, Almond & Blue Cheese), creamy tomato bisque (store-bought)
Snack: 1/2 of a RubySnap chocolate chip cookie. Mark ate the other half.

I ate a small sample of Aidelles Cajun andouille sausage when I was at Smith's. It was the size of the tip of my little finger, but in the interest of full-disclosure, I included a pic. Yes, I actually bought the product just so I could take a picture of it! Well, I would have (probably) bought it anyway.

I only had water to drink today, so there are no beverage shots. If I drink something else...well, you'll see a picture of it.

That wraps up day one. See you tomorrow night!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Week of Food

Just for fun (at least, fun for me, maybe not for you so much. I guess we'll see.), I thought I'd do a week-long series of posts, with photographs, of all the food I eat in a week. Doesn't that sound awesome? I thought so. Really, this is because I have nothing else to do. Have I mentioned that I love being out of school?

So starting tomorrow, Sunday, September 25th, I will be doing a daily post showcasing everything I eat. No editing! If I decide to eat an entire carton of Ben & Jerry's, well, there will be photographic evidence.

Hopefully, you'll see a lot of this:

And not so much of this:

Guess I better go make a menu...

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello, Fall

I thought I'd embrace the impending arrival of fall (rather than curl up in a ball, lamenting the passage of summer) with a new twist on breakfast. Nothing says "fall" quite like pumpkin, so I created a new protein smoothie this morning. I substituted some canned pumpkin for my usual frozen berries, and made a delicious breakfast shake:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 medium banana
1 scoop of protein powder

Put all ingredients in a blender and....blend! A sprinkle of cinnamon on top was a nice touch. It has about 350 calories. Easy and delicious!

If you happen to try it, let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Lately, I have been studying nutrition. Basically, I've been listening to some podcasts from Dishing Up Nutrition and Fat 2 Fit, both interesting and informative talk shows about nutrition and fitness. All of which has me looking for ways to avoid highly processed foods. While I'm not going to turn this into a religion, I think it would be nice to broaden the repertoire of foods to eat that don't come from a package or a can.

While deciding on the menu for this week (Mark and I plan a weekly menu, and then do our grocery shopping based on that), tonight I wanted to make Monterey Chicken Casserole. While most of the ingredients are "natural" and relatively unprocessed (chicken, rice, cheeses, chili, tomatoes, etc.), it does call for a can of cream of mushroom soup. Campbell's is my standby for that, so let's just take a look at the list of ingredients in one can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup:

  • Water
  • Mushrooms
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola and/or Soybean)...don't they know?
  • Modified food starch
  • Wheat flour
  • Salt
  • Cream
  • Whey (dehydrated)
  • Monosodium Glutamate (our good friend, MSG)
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Yeast extract
  • Flavoring
  • Garlic (dehydrated)

Mmmm, love me some of that MSG and "flavoring"! What does that even mean, "flavoring"?***

So, I decided to make my own cream of mushroom soup. After searching the internet for recipes, I devised something that I thought would work. Here's my list of ingredients:

  • Mushrooms
  • Butter
  • Chicken broth (also homemade, from a real chicken - one that actually got to roam around a farm yard)
  • Cream
  • Onion (the real stuff, not dehydrated)
  • Garlic (also not dehydrated)
  • Salt
  • Flour

And that's it. Now, some might say that "flour" is a highly processed food, and it is, certainly. But like I said, let's not get all crazy about stuff.

My recipe made 3 cups, 2 of which I will freeze for future use. It only took about 30 minutes total, including prep time. It looks good...not quite as gelatinous as the stuff in the can, it's really creamy, and it has a nice mushroom-y flavor...with no added "flavoring"!

Am I going to toss out all my canned soup now? No, of course not. I don't think I have time to always make every meal completely 'fresh'. But sometimes, I might choose the alternative (especially now that I have some in the freezer...hope it freezes well).

An now, of course, I don't feel quite so bad about all the Doritos that get crushed and sprinkled on the top! 

*** Flavoring agents are substances added to food to improve the quality of taste. Because apparently the product doesn't taste good without it. And by "substance", read "chemicals" - some flavoring agents go by the names "methylphenylcarbinyl acetate" and "ethyl 3-phenylglycidate" (an epoxy compound). I think I prefer flavorings such as "mushroom" and "onion". Or , if you prefer something fancy, Agaricus bisporus and Allium cepa. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

San Francisco!

Mark and I spent a quick 2 days in  San Francisco a couple of weekends ago. It had been about 24 years since I was last in San Francisco, and it was so much fun being there! Some of the highlights included:

  • Dim Sum (I crossed it off the list!)
  • Chinatown and the live frogs - which must be killed prior to leaving the store.
  • Alcatraz (we didn't take a tour, but we got to see it)
  • Hiking up Lombard Street
  • Lavender Mojitos
  • Ghirardelli Chocolates
  • Zuppa Restaurant
  • Shopping (window shopping, anyway)

It was fun, exhausting, and totally worth it! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Making of a Meal

Took some of this...

And some of this....

Plus a bit of this....

Added a bit of butter, garlic, white wine....and had a great meal!

And no, we don't eat like this all the time. But some of the time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'll Drink To That!

So, I wanted to share some of the fun things that have been happening around here since April. I presented my doctoral project on April 8th, and what a joy it was to be done with that! Graduation was the first week of May, and was basically a crazy week of ceremonies, dinners, parties...

In June, Mark and I took a much needed (and well-deserved) vacation to Germany. We had an amazing time! The city of Berlin is beautiful, and the people were so friendly. We saw all the main attractions, ate some great food, and Mark had a fun time speaking German to all the locals.

July has also been eventful. Most importantly, I passed my boards! Yay! I am now a board-certified acute care nurse practitioner. It's a relief having that task out of the way.  Also, I have started my new job with Neurosurgical Associates. Also very cool! I am working in a slightly limited capacity since I'm still waiting for my license, hospital privileges and credentials...basically a whole bunch of paper work needs to be done, and mostly by other people, thankfully. This whole process could take months (but hopefully only weeks), so I'm happy to be able to at least start working in the clinic.

Not to worry, I am using my down-time wisely, working on projects around the house and reading some great novels (The Hunger Games, anyone?).

Hope everyone is enjoying summer!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Two Weeks' Notice

One of my all time favorite movies. I can watch it over and over again. It's simply classic, with great lines:

  • Ruth: Your cholesterol is over 300 - you're basically a solid!
  • Lucy: George, you're the most selfish person on the planet. George: That's just ridiculous. Have you met everyone on the planet?
  • Helen: Can I get you anything? George: I'd love some Milk Duds. Helen: We don't have any, but I can send out for one. George: Oh, no. Don't be ridiculous. If you're going to send out for one, get a whole box.
It's a "feel good" sort of a movie.

Kind of like how I felt when I told my work I was giving them my two weeks' notice.

Yep, that kind of good!  :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

39 Things...

This was Emma's birthday cake (February, 2011) made by Catherine.

It's that time of year again when another birthday rolls around. Yay! I love celebrating my birthday and don't have too many qualms about the whole growing older thing. As my dad says, it's better than the alternative. So why not embrace a day that's all about me? In fact, why not make it a whole weekend of celebrating? I'm celebrating today with:

- toast and hot chocolate for breakfast
- seeing "Water For Elephants" with Catherine
- lunch at Iggy's with Catherine and Jon
- reading....a novel - no studying for boards today!
- making potato salad in preparation for our weekend in Torrey
- birthday wishes from family and friends
- a bottle of Perrier Jouet champange (thanks, Eileen and Steve!)
- sushi at Takashi....there's food, and then there's sushi

With that, I want to share a list of things...39 things, to be exact, that I plan to do before I turn 40 in exactly one year. Some are easy, some will take some work. Some are already planned, some will need to be worked into the schedule. I will keep you updated as I progress through the list.

39 Things I Want to Do Before I Turn 40...(in no particular order, except for the last one):

1. Pass my NP boards (7/10/11)
2. Start a new job (7/18/11)
3. Visit Germany (June 19-26)
4. Start Spanish lessons - Rosetta Stone? Ugh. Just. Do. This. Pronto!
5. Do some volunteer work  Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (8/2011)
6. Take a photography class - didn't happen
7. Visit a high school friend - wasn't in the cards
8. Take up a new exercise…barre classes sound really fun played community rec basketball! (12/11-2/12)
9. Visit Yellowstone - didn't work out this year
10. Go on a backpacking trip (9/30-10/2/11)
11. Organize the storage closet (8/2011)
12. Make one new friend made a couple
13. Try a ballroom dance class
14. Frame my diplomas
15. Make a will - actually have this planned for June
16. Visit the Oregon coast - but got a trip planned for possibly this summer! yay!
17. Buy myself a bouquet of flowers - for no reason! Umm...sadly, didn't even do this! What a goofball!
18. Have professional portraits taken of me and Mark - not sure who to go to
19. Take a sewing class - did an online tutorial. Count it! (2/12)
20. Update one section of my wardrobe Can you say, "sock drawer"? Done! (3/12)
21. Throw a party - had a few dinner parties..does that count? Sure! (11/11, 12/11, 3/12, 3/12, 4/12)
22. Buy an “investment bag” (Thanks, Mark! 9/10/11)
23. Try dim sum (8/20/11)
24. Get ripped shoulders and arms - didn't even try
25. Buy a dress for everyday wear (and wear it)! (5/12)
26. Learn to change a bike tire
27. 39 scrapbook layouts Think I only did 15 at most
28. 39 cards - well, I made all my xmas cards, so that covers that! (12/11)
29. Watch a sunrise (4/12)
30. Watch a sunset (5/12)
31. Read the plays of Shakespeare Read one....gave up.
32. Visit a state I’ve never set foot in (South Carolina! 5/12)
33. Go on a horseback ride
34. Take a gun safety class - got some info on it, though. 
35. Write and send 39 letters/postcards (not including xmas cards or email, of course)
36. Buy a new desk chair - didn't do this, but I did fix my old one! 
37. Do 10 pull-ups (right now, I can't do a single one) - didn't even attempt this
38. Go to tea at the Grand America
39. Celebrate all of this with a bottle of Dom Perignon on my 40th birthday! It was amazing!

Now I'm off to pack for our trip to Torrey!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello New Day

I think it's a good time to get a new look for the blog. A new title, a new format, a bit of a theme...and gee, maybe some regular posting!

Check back tomorrow for the kick-off post.


Friday, January 7, 2011

A Look Back

Happy 2011! Before getting too involved in the new year, it's fun to take a look at the past. In no particular order, a few images from 2010.

Mark's trip to Canada, which was reminiscent of our trip to Paris...

A whole lot of studying occurred...

Birthdays were celebrated....

Hanging out with friends...

Pursuing the perfect cocktail...

Starbuck's Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Enough said...

Cruising around in the new car...

Here's hoping 2011 is filled with fun and new experiences!

Such as graduation, for instance.