Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend Happenings

I had a very restful and rejuvenating weekend, which I really needed.

On Saturday morning, I ditched my workout….to go shopping! I’m not so proud of that, but it happens. When a friend calls and says that the entire Ann Taylor Loft store is 40% off, all other plans are immediately halted. I happily arrived at the store at 10am sharp to find a bunch of very eager shoppers just like myself. It was like a party in there and you could just tell that all the ladies were excitedly looking for new Fall pieces. I browsed for a while, and then…the dreaded line to the fitting rooms. It ended up not being too bad of a wait, and it only took me about twenty minutes to get a fitting room. I bought two pairs of cords, a black and reddish/orange color. The red/orange color is just something that’s fun to have, and the black pair are classic and will be so practical and versatile. Here they are.

red and black cords

I decided to give myself a pedicure when I got home. I had a real pedicure about six weeks ago, and it was time for a trim and new polish. I love painting my nails, and I’m good at it. I kinda stink at pedicures though. I took my time and was determined to get it right this time. I wanted to do it well so it would last. As I said, I can usually get about six weeks out of a real pedi, which, I think, is pretty impressive. My pedi looked great and I was so happy to be letting my toes dry all afternoon. Well, we decided to go for a walk on the Lakefront later in the day. I strapped on my exercise socks and shoes. We had a lovely two mile walk with our puppy, Cami. BUT, when we got home and I was taking off my socks and shoes, I had to literally peel my socks from my nails. Yikes…sheer horror! My beautiful pedi now has sock material print all over. As my husband says, it looks textured now. Not the look I was going for!So, I’ll try again tomorrow. I want pretty toes…for free.

We threw together the simplest dinner ever on Saturday night. I marinated chicken tenders all afternoon and we threw them on the grill (ignore the burgers in this old pic). So juicy and tasty, and I cooked extra so we would have leftovers. Yay for leftovers! On the side we had microwaved sweet potatoes with butter. Normally, we go all out with sweet potato toppings: cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup. But this time, we both wanted them rather plain, with only butter. They’re so delicious in their natural state that I can easily eat them plain.

barbecue chicken

It was my pick for movie night, so, of course, it was a girly one: The Lucky One. I loved it!

Sunday, I finally got in my scheduled workout. I shoot for exercising three times a week while I am working, four or five times a week when I’m not working. I consider three times a week an accomplishment, as my job is physically demanding and I am on my feet (getting a workout!) almost eight hours a day. It always feels good to work the muscles properly though and really sweat.

Well, that rounds out another weekend for us. I know…we’re such a wild and crazy couple! Now, I’m looking forward to a few more cool fronts to hit. One is actually on the way right now! The official start of Fall is this week and I need some pumpkin in my life real soon. Maybe next weekend…


Monday, September 10, 2012

Workweek Breakfast And Lunch Planning

Well, it’s back to work for me! I’ve been back to teaching for a few weeks now. I told my husband that the theme of this school year is convenience. However, there is one thing that I am never willing to compromise when feeding us and that is our health. As I’m sure many of you know, it can be very challenging on limited time and energy to “whip up” healthy things for us to eat 7 days a week. Recently, I’ve figured out a few tricks that seem to be making things a little easier in this department and I do not feel that we are sacrificing our health or lacking flavor. I must preface this with the fact that neither of us really mind eating the same thing over and over. I am also only cooking for two adults at this point. During the workweek, our meals are not creative at all. The focus is getting decent food in our bellies quickly. Don’t get me wrong, we love to cook and eat and we live in a city where good food is abundant. During the workweek though, the goal is simplicity. Today, I’m sharing the how-to’s of our Monday through Friday eats with you.

On Sunday, I do a lot of prep work. It really pays off though!

Here’s the breakdown:

Every Sunday

In a 350 degree oven, I place 10 whole eggs. This is a method of making hard boiled eggs that works fabulously. In my opinion, it’s easier than actually boiling them. They cook for 22 minutes. Then, they are placed in an ice bath. My husband eats 2 of these everyday as part of his breakfast. Next, I scramble 5 eggs for myself, as part of my breakfast. I put in the fridge and I portion them out and eat 1 egg every morning. Yes, they last all five days and stay quite fresh actually.

The next thing I work on is roasting almonds. We each take about 4oz of these daily as snacks. I roast them on top of the stove usually with whatever I can find in the house. Some things I throw in  are butter, olive oil, bar b q sauce, sriracha, spices such as cumin, salt, cinnamon. You get the idea! Just be creative. This takes about 15 minutes, using 4c of almonds.

 Every Night

I pack breakfast and lunch for my husband and I every night. We each work long hours and have to have everything ready to go. There’s no time to do this in the morning. I’ll start with breakfast. I explained part of our breakfast above (the eggs). We also have smoothies in the morning. At night, I put 2C almond milk, 2 bananas, protein powder, cocoa powder, 2 tbs peanut butter and a handful of kale into the blender. This stays in the fridge overnight and my husband blends it for us before work in the morning. It’s as fresh as ever! I have to have my egg and smoothie to start my day or else I just feel “off.”

Now onto lunches…

I make a salad for each of us consisting of lettuce, tomato, avocado, seeds of some sort, cheese, and salmon for him, chicken for me (if I cooked it on Sunday). We each take a piece of fruit to go with lunch. Sometimes, we take plain yogurts as well (dressed up with maple syrup, cinnamon, and any other yummies I may have on hand!)

As I’m sure you can tell, this is quite an operation I have going and it has taken me four years to get it to this point. I feel like I have it down to a science (for our family), with little room for improvement. It works well for me. Who knows…I’m sure someone out there has a more organized way of doing this. if you do, please share!

I hope this gets you motivated to start meal planning as the new school year starts. I’ll be back soon with a post about how I do dinners during the workweek.



Monday, September 3, 2012

Hurricane Isaac

sorry for the disappearing act last week, but we’ve had to “weather” this storm the past few days! this meant no internet connection for us for 5 very long days.

happy labor day to everyone! although summer is in it’s prime here, i know this means the end of summer for many of you. i am jealous of those of you who will soon be getting a taste of fall.

this is my re-cap of hurricane isaac. this was written on wednesday morning, in the midst of it all. once again, we were spared and feel so very lucky with the outcome.

ahhh, yes…it seems as though in the southeastern region, we all like to take a “staycation” almost every august. we like to “hunker down” and “ride out the storm” in our homes with no electricity, sometimes no water, and debris flying all over the backyard. sounds fun, right? not so. all kidding aside, this storm is such a coincidence because today (wednesday; the day we are experiencing the worst of isaac) is the 7 year anniversary of hurricane katrina.

for me, all of the madness started sunday morning when i decided to take my usual bi-monthly trip to sam’s to “make groceries” – ‘cause that’s what we do in the south! when i arrived at sam’s, i noticed the line for getting gas was about 30 cars deep. then, i noticed a line of people wrapped around the store waiting to get inside. i thought to myself that this was rather odd. once in the store, i could tell people were in a panic. for the first time in my life, i felt like i was the calm one. trust me, that says a lot. i’m usually not the calm one. so i called my husband and asked why all these people were in a frenzy. not one to worry much, he said “yea, there’s a little storm there watching that could come get us.” you must understand that whenever there is a storm mentioned, or worse yet, a hurricane mentioned, people in my area get very intense and nervous. after going through hurricane katrina, i understand this (i was lucky enough to be evacuated for that, though). somehow, i managed to get my groceries super-fast at sam’s and I escaped the 20 person deep checkout line when my good eye spotted a self-checkout line with only a few people ahead of me.

i have always said that i wish we would start school after labor day because it’s just too hot to start before labor day. well, it looks like my wish may come true this year. i had my first grade students for a whopping six days before this happened. to my surprise, it looks like we may be out of school this whole week. so we will get a taste of what it’s like to start after labor day. our little ones come in from recess with purple faces in august because they are so hot. starting after labor day may just be the solution to that. what a novel idea! the rest of the country seems to already be aware of this! maybe, just maybe, with our hurricane history, we should give this a try.

we have been experiencing the full effects of Isaac for about 12 hours now. our families have decided to stay put in our secure homes. we do not take evacuation lightly here. it is a very carefully calculated decision with each storm as to whether or not to evacuate. we have been having very high winds (60-80ish mi/hour) and rain since about 8pm last night. unfortunately, at this point, the storm is stalled. it is literally sitting on top of us right now with no end in site. our meteorologists are saying that we will be lucky if it is gone in the next 12 hours or so. so, what does this mean for our property? there’s quite a bit of debris flying around. our small fence in our backyard came down within an hour of this beginning last night, shingles have fallen, and we have a small roof leak. thank goodness my husband checked the attic or this could have meant a completely flooded living room. and, this is not even a big storm. this is considered rather mild. we do feel extremely lucky that, for some reason, our home has been one of the few in the city that has had power all the way through. yep, we have not lost power. i am totally flabbergasted by this, but i just feel very blessed that we have had power the entire time. i wish everyone would be so lucky because there are people who need power much more than we do.

overall, we are doing just fine. they are asking that no one leave their homes until further notice, so we have really taken advantage of this. We cooked a big pot of gumbo all day yesterday (recipe coming soon!), have fixed 2 great breakfasts, and, quite honestly, are enjoying a little bit of down time. once normal life resumes, i know it will be go, go, go. so, i feel very lucky right now and i hope the rest of the southeastern region does not see too much destruction.

regular blogging will resume as of today. i have some really fun and delish recipes coming up in the next few weeks! i’m so anxiously awaiting fall!

if you made it to the end of this post, you deserve something pretty. here’s a pic of the purslane growing in my backyard that i brought back to life this summer. this pic is from a few weeks ago. it has almost quadrupled in size.


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