Cool Thing Friday

Hey friends it's Friday, woot!  Here's what's cool this Friday.....

I loved this video of what could happen if a stranger fell asleep on you on the Subway.

This guy can be my neighbor any day.

I think Sac should be on the top of this chart.  Just sayin'....


Speaking of bikes, I want this neat-o light.


This photo gallery makes me sad.  Dear VW - Bring back the bus!!


OK.  Here is the coolest part about this Cool Thing Friday: next week I will be here:


So please don't mind blog-silence as my husband and I relax on the beach.

But wait!  I still love Jennifer Lawrence.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Dinner Last Week #5

Since the Superbowl is this weekend, I'm including our Sunday-before-last eats that we enjoyed while watching our team lose.  Hopefully you can work one of these into your Superbowl festivities.

SUNDAY - Barbecued Ribs, Green Salad, Cheesy Corn & Black Bean Dip, Roasted Garbanzos, Chips+Salsa+Guac and other goodies + Beer Soaked Oven Fries

Nick made the ribs, Mom made the salad.  I made.... 
Cheesy Corn & Black Bean Dip from Simply Scratch


I made an attempt at de-fatifying this by substituting the majority of the mayo with greek yogurt.  Don't be like me.  Although mine didn't turn out terrible, it didn't set either.  This is meant to be an indulgent dip, so don't mess with the recipe, just go for it.

Roasted Garbanzos from She Wears Many Hats


If you want a healthier snack this is it.  I've made these before and we always gobble them up.  Similar to a corn-nut but not quite as crunchy, but just as satisfying.  Plus, I love that she calls them Garbanzos instead of Chick Peas!

Beer Soaked Oven Fries by The Beeroness


This recipe was the favorite of the three.  These are restaurant quality fries and worth the wait.  We had them as a side with the ribs and salad.  The Beeroness' Stout French Onion Soup recipe is also delicious.

MONDAY - Weeknight Pan Roasted Chicken by A Girl and Her Fork


We talked about this before.  I gave Nick the choice between this and Foodiecrush's Honey Mustard Chicken, which I would still like to try.


No I'm not kidding. I actually had an eye appointment and got my first perscription for glasses (can you say old?).  Nick wandered around and picked out Bao Asian buns and tortilla soup for our dinner.  Did you know "Bao" is pronounced "wow"?  Anyway, the wow buns were good and although it seems weird to eat them with tortilla soup, we did it anyway.

WEDNESDAY - Veggies with Red Curry and Jasmine Rice + more Bao buns

I used up all of our leftover veggies to make a quick Thai-ish dish.  It went like this:

2 tbsp. pre-made red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
veggies of your choosing
1 cup of jasmine rice, cooked and prepared to package instructions

Saute your veggies in oil (I used olive).  Add in the red curry paste and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Add the can of coconut milk and stir until it changes to a light red color.  Simmer everything for about 5-10 minutes.  Serve over jasmine rice.  Eat some WowBao buns if you have them.

THURSDAY - Crock-pot Chicken Tacos

Seriously.  The recipe is coming soon.

FRIDAY - Pizza Night!  Pizza #1 - sausage, mushroom, onion, bell, with red pepper pesto; Pizza #2 - olive oil, collard green, aged white cheddar, sweet potato with egg.

So Friday I decided to whip up some homemade pizzas.  I always use Trader Joe's dough.  Pizza #1 was pretty basic, but I got a little crazy with Pizza #2.  Here is how Pizza #2 went:

Peel and slice sweet potato into bite sized pieces, steam in microwave (put a tad bit of water in the bottom of a microwave safe dish, fill with potatoes, cover loosely and heat).  Set aside.
Clean and slice collard greens (I used 3 leaves) and toss in a bit of olive oil and salt.  Set aside.
Grate aged white cheddar.
Once your dough is rolled, spread olive oil over the crust.
Top with white cheddar, collard greens and potatoes.  Crack your egg(s) onto the pizza now.
Cook in your hottest oven until egg white has set but yolk is still soft.
Crack yolks upon serving.

Pizza #2 didn't turn out as I'd envisioned but it was still really good.  I put my eggs on too late (at the end of cooking), so don't be like me.

That's it!

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CrossFit Diary - Week 4

Week 4 what?  How did that happen?

Monday - Well, today I dead lifted 85lbs. and although the prescribed weight was your body weight, I am still pretty durned proud of myself.  P.S.  box jumps are a bit harder after you do dead lifts, just in case you were wondering.  Also, getting up after the Niner's lost and when my state worker husband has the day off was challenging, but I did it and had a personal best.  Woot!

Tuesday - Seriously, if I ever master the Clean I will jump for joy.  It's kind of like this:

...except its the weightlifting version.  I actually feel like a champion runner in CrossFit, even though I'm not.  But I was happy to run 6 100m sprints today.  Hear that?  Happy.

Wednesday - OK I'm just going to be real with you.  Today sucked.  I am so frustrated that I can't seem to get my body to cooperate in these weightlifting techniques.  I have always felt a bit awkward in movements like these and sticking my butt out is seriously a new concept to me.  I really have to think about it.  Today I felt like the girl at the back of the class who stands there and watches everyone else and once she figures it out, its already done.  And also, burpees are the bane of my existence.  The end.

Thursday - Today was better than yesterday and my arms are incredibly sore.  I had my first experience with ball squats, which were fun but difficult after dead lifts and some other arm weight technique that I can't remember the name of.  Push-ups are hard after all of that too.

Friday - Long story short: Sometimes shiz happens and you end up not going to CF.  So much for the 5 day streak I was hoping for.

P.S.  My 30 days are still active so I will be bringing you a Week 5 diary too!

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CrossFit Diary - Week 3

Yeah!  I made it through week 3!  (Here are week 1 and week 2 in case you missed them).
Week 3 diary begins NOW.

Monday - I seriously considered not getting out of bed today. I actually set two alarms, a CrossFit alarm and a regular wake up time alarm.  After CrossFit alarm sounded I laid there for a LONG time.  Eventually what got me out of bed was a thought about my terrible eating over the weekend.  I was like a garbage disposal, for realz.  So I went, and it was good.  Dare I say a little too easy?  I'm noticing where I can and should be adding additional weight.  I'm also loving it when there is any type of running involved in our daily work-out.  Running?  I can do that.

Tuesday - Have I mentioned it's hard to get out of bed?  Some encouragement from my husband this morning got me going (thanks honey!).  Our work-out of the day today was with a partner and included no weights. This made me glad, but it was a challenge.  I liked working with a partner and was happy to have a funny and encouraging person to do the work-out with.  Oh yeah, my soreness has seemed to dissipate.  I'm still sore here and there, but I don't require daily Advil anymore.  I also learned not to wear my ring to CrossFit, because my finger turned purple.  No pain, just purple.

Wednesday - A weird thing happens after 30.  Sometimes you wake up in the night and the little man in your mind and body is like "Let's PAR-TAY!" and you're like, "heck no, I have CrossFit in the morning, I have work, shut-up, I'm trying to sleep!".  And it goes on like this until you (finally) fall back to sleep like an hour before your alarm goes off.  And then you go "I am way to tired and have way too much to do at work tomorrow, I HAVE to sleep more".  And you do.  And you miss CrossFit.

Thursday - Well I made it.  I was asleep on the couch by 8:00 so crashing early helped.  Today's workout felt.....dare I again say....easy?!  I must need to add more weight.

Friday - Well that's what  get for saying some of this weeks workouts were easy.  Today's was hard.  But, I did it!  Even though the 6am class started before I finished, I freaking finished.  Also, I learned those crazy pull-ups that bum a girl out are actually called kippings (not "kiplings").  Blerg.  I did it today, all of it, and that feels good.

Week 3 - 4 days done.  Rack it!

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Dinner Last Week #4

Happy Monday friends.  I hope it is a holiday for you, it's not for me!  Here's a peek of Dinner Last Week......

MONDAY - Smitten Kitchen's One Pan Farro with Tomatoes


We've talked about farro before.  This is as good and easy as it was the first time I made it.  I seriously am in love with this dish.  Yum.

TUESDAY - Pete's Pizza

I know.  Not exciting.  The hubs was travelling for work and my plans with my girlfriend changed, so I got lazy and ate too much pizza.

WEDNESDAY - Spicy Ginger Soba Chicken Salad by Sally Wolf


We've talked about this dish before too.  The chicken turns out so well with this recipe and it's liked by kids and adults alike.  Yum #2.

THURSDAY - Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Recipe coming shortly!  I photographed it and just need to edit and get the post ready.  I can't wait to share it with you.  :)

FRIDAY - Mom's Leg of Lamb, Steamed Carrots and Mashed Potatoes with Brownies for Dessert

Mom hooked up dinner again and it was so good.  That Mom of mine.....I'm a lucky girl.  Thanks Mom!

So that was dinner last week.  What did you eat??

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Cool Thing Friday

Aaannnddd here's some cool stuff for you.....

In case you question why Meryl Streep is an Oscar winner, this Ellen segment should help.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

It's kind of nifty what you can do with a camera.  (Found via Shutterbean).


What you don't see it?  Here.


Click the links on the photos for more forced perspective!

I am completely intrigued by people (tribes) who live in seclusion.  This photo essay is awesome.


Have you ever wondered what our plates would look like without California?  This article is very interesting.  (Thanks Coco!)

This slideshow on Leavenworth, WA made me giggle a bit.  My sister lives nearby and we like to joke that everything in Leavenworth is called Da Something-Or-Other.


It is a very cute place, we had a ton of fun!  If you get the chance to visit you should.  If you want to hike while you're there check this out.

In case you were wondering, I still love Jennifer Lawrence.

Happy Friday!
Oh yeah, one more thing...

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Ladies Brunch

This last weekend the hubs was gone so I had some of my girls over for brunch.
Why don't we do this more often girls?  It was fun and great to catch up!
The girls asked if I would be blogging brunch.....I didn't take photos of my own, but I thought I'd share our brunch menu anyway.

Brunch was scheduled at 10:30 and my first question was is that too early for soup?
Nobody said no, so I made Shutterbean's Carrot Coconut Soup.


In the first two lines of her post Tracy (Shutterbean) says, "I made this soup twice in one week. That’s how good it is".  She is SO right.  This is my third time making this recipe in about a month or so.  The Sambal Olek is SPICY.  On attempt 2 of making the soup I added a tad less than a tablespoon.  This time, I was heavy handed (oops) and the soup was really spicy.  I added an extra can of coconut milk to take it down a notch and that worked great.  (I should note that I doubled the recipe, so I used 3 cans of coconut milk instead of two).  I made the soup the night before the brunch and it held up perfectly and re-heated well.

I also made a green salad.  I don't know what my deal is honestly.  I make salad ALL the time and its always different and good, if I don't say so myself.  It is the #1 thing people ask me to bring to parties, you make good salad, they say (thanks people!).  After all that I don't have a single green salad recipe on my own blog.  So, here is how my salad went (you pick the measurements for how big you want your salad to be):

Green leaf lettuce, washed & torn
Swiss Chard, washed and torn
Celery, sliced
Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
Avocado, chopped
Golden Raisins
Sliced Almonds
Sunflower Seeds

I made this Champagne Vinaigrette and used my Trader Joe's Orange Muscat vinegar.

Last but not least, I made Gluten Free Cranberry Corn Muffins.  I used this cornbread muffin recipe and made the following changes:

Replace 1 cup all purpose flour with 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour.
Use 2/3 cup of sugar (instead of 1/3).
Add 1 cup of fresh cranberries.
Cook as directed.

All in all this was a tasty lunch.  The sweet cornbread muffins with tart cranberry was a nice compliment to the creamy, spicy soup.  The salad made a good side for all the other good stuff we ate.  Most importantly, it was a fun day with the ladies.  Thanks ladies!


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CrossFit Diary - Week 2

In case you missed it, CrossFit and I are becoming friends.  Here is my Week 2 diary......

Monday - Yay, I finally felt better and was ready to go.  I even decided to set my alarm 10 minutes earlier in an attempt to obey the rule of my gym to "be early".  I got in bed an set my alarm set for 4:20.....PM.  FAIL.  I woke up at 5:45 said "shizzle" or something to that effect, and chalked up another missed day.  Bummer.  Alas, it may have been good to give my body one more day of rest anyway, wouldn't want a repeat sickness like last week.

Tuesday - I think the hardest part of working out is getting up and getting dressed.  Once you do that you're in.  I succeeded in setting my alarm for 4:20 AM, rolled out of bed and headed to CrossFit with a cup of peppermint tea.  I arrived early, check!  The workout went by quickly as usual.  Box jumps, what?!  I loved them.  That said I started with stacked weights instead of an actual box cause I'm a newbie still.  I'm ready for the box next time for sure.  This is the part of CrossFit I love, the desire to challenge myself.  It appears the soreness factor has reduced, but I still took Advil upon arriving at work.

Wednesday - Getting out of bed was hard, I broke the rule and was a tad late, oops.  I was not as sore, but still a little sore.  I learned some new lifting technique, which seems to happen frequently, CrossFit is my first real experience with weights.  I'm still stoked to go, so that is good.

Thursday - Oh Thursday.  I have a hard time at not being good at things immediately upon trying them. The truth is, I'm doing just fine, but often when I try something new I start to feel a bit discouraged when the newness wears off.  That is how I felt today.  For whatever reason I was kinda bummed and felt challenged. My body feels OK but my lady hands are pretty raw from attempting kiplings.  Nothing like some crazy pull-up to bum a girl out.

Friday -  I made it 4 days!  Some of those Thursday blues stuck with me, but the good thing is I'm aware that I am my own worst enemy.  I accept responsibility for bumming myself out!  The other good part is I dragged my butt out of bed on a Friday and came in, so yeah!

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Dinner Last Week #3 aka Alotta Pasta

Hi there friends.  Last week was pasta week at our house.  Nicholas had (bike) team camp over the weekend and wanted to build up his carbs, so here is what we ate....


MONDAY - Creamy Kale & Mushroom Chicken Pasta

I had kale I needed to use and then I came across this tasty recipe from Iowa Girl Eats.  I stopped at the store for the bowtie pasta, shallots and mushrooms and headed home to cook.  IGE calls for chopped chicken, I cooked mine first and then chopped it.  The only other change I made was using creme fraiche instead of mascarpone.  I had the creme fraiche left over from another recipe and a quick google search told me it could be used as a substitute for the mascarpone.  This turned out really good. It was nice and creamy which was a switch from our normal pasta dinners (I lean towards tomato sauce or olive oil).  This was a good start to pasta week.

TUESDAY - Left-Over Pasta Mash-Up with Chicken Sausage

My carbo loading husband went out with the boys and I stayed home with pasta still on the brain.  I used some of the bow-ties left from Monday and cooked it up with some sausage and veggies.  It went like this:

Boil water.
While water is boiling saute one sliced chicken sausage, about 1/4 cup sliced yellow onion and 1/4 cup sliced bell pepper in about 1 tbs of olive oil.
Once the onion becomes translucent add 2 chopped Swiss chard leafs and continue to saute until wilted.
Your water should be boiling some time around now.  Add in your pre-cooked bow-tie pasta (about 1 cup) and blanch it - just throw it in for a minute so it gets hot without over cooking it.
Drain the pasta and add it to the saute mixture.
Add olive oil if necessary.
Top with shredded Parmesan.

WEDNESDAY - Dad's Fair Oaks

We had a bike to pick up at the parentals and we worked late, so we stopped at Dad's for some grub.  I had a portabella sandwich and salad, which sounds healthy until I tell you we also shared habenero fries.  Good thing I'm doing CrossFit.

THURSDAY - Kitchen Sink Pesto Pasta with Broiled Salmon

Continuing our pasta kick and trying to make a quick dish, I threw everything but kitchen sink into our pasta and called it good.  Here is how it went:

Boil water.  Once water is boiling ad 2/3 of a (12 oz) package of linguine noodles.
Rub some olive oil on your salmon filet (we used one) and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Broil on low while you're doing everything else.  Once the fat starts to come out, its done.
While the noodles are cooking saute 1/4 white onion, 1/4 bell pepper and whatever other veggies you have in about 1 tbsp olive oil.
Once noodles are al dente drain them.
Before adding the noodles to your saute pan, first mix in about 1/2 cup of pesto and saute until warm.
Add noodles.
Top with salmon.
Sprinkle some Parmesan.

FRIDAY - Mom's Power Soup

My mom cooked for us on Friday (thanks mom!) and made this delicious soup.  Here is the recipe, I'm not sure where she got it.  She served it with crusty bread and salad and it was SO good.  Even the Munchkin devoured his whole bowl.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 med yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup farro (wheat berries)
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups peeled butternut squash cubes (1/2 inch)
1 (28 oz) can Italian plum tomatoes with juice (I used a can of crushed tomatoes cause I had them)
1 (2-inch) piece of Parm/Reggiano cheese rind
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 T fresh thyme
1/2 t salt
2-3 cups coarsely chopped green kale
grated parm/regg cheese for top

1. Heat oil in soup pot over med heat, add ontion and saute until soft (2-3 min).  Add garlic and saute 1 min.  Add farro and stir to coat.  Add broth, squash, tomatoes, cheese rind, thyme and salt.  Bring to boil, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

2.  Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until squash is tender and farro is cooked, (about 30 min).  Stir in kale and simmer 2 minutes.  Discard cheese rind.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle grated cheese on top.
Serves 6.

So that was dinner last week!  Also, my CrossFit adventure continues.  I'll post up last weeks CrossFit diary tomorrow!


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CrossFit Diary - Week 1

So I went and signed up for CrossFit.  This is not a New Years Resolution - I don't do those.  This was more of a need for a change, a reason to be consistent, curiosity and simplicity.

I've been curious about CrossFit for quite awhile.  Every person that I know who has tried it has had amazing results.  I have been running, but really only on the weekend....and I was riding, but then it got cold....and lets be real, consistency has never been my strong suit in working out.  I typically do enough.  Enough to stay reasonably active, enough to fit in my jeans, enough to eat what I want.  I have never been scale conscious and I think I have a positive body image.  But this year has been cray-cray and now that we are finally settling in, I have begun to feel the lag in the workout section of my life. Plus, I feel a little "fluffy" as I like to call it.  So, after we moved and I started seeing these little green and black signs all over our new area, I did a quick Google search of the CrossFit in my hood and viola, I signed up.

Beyond CrossFit curiosity here is what sold me - 5 a.m. classes and the first 30 days free.
"5 a.m.!" you say?  That's right.  The bottom line is if I don't get my workout done in the morning the chances of it actually happening at all plummet (to about 5%).  All of the other CrossFit facilities I've checked out in the past have classes starting at 6 a.m. - early yes, but not early enough for me to get ready and get to work by 8.  So, 5 a.m. sold me.  As far as the first 30 days, who doesn't like free?  I started with the plan to go every weekday during that period.  If I like my results I plan to continue.

So, last week was my first week and here is how it went down.  I'm sparing you the details of what we did and providing my basic thoughts and witty banter instead.

Monday - Holy cow!  That was awesome though push-ups might actually kill me.  I was sore and took advil as soon as I got to work.  I loved it!  Getting up early was worth it!  Work out done before 6am?! Rack-it!

Tuesday - I could barely get up from my chair and putting on my coat caused extreme difficulty, but I really wanted to go back.

Wednesday - Happy New Year, the CrossFit Gym was closed.  And also, I got sick again.  I spent the day on the couch with tissue, cough drops and a headache.  I planned to take down Christmas among other things but all I managed to do was sleep and fold 1/2 a basket of laundry.  Shoot.

Thursday - Still sick.  Major bummer.

Friday - Aaannnnd.....still sick.  Seriously?

So, my first week didn't go down as planned but so far I've still got the bug - the CrossFit bug not the sick bug.

Have you done CrossFit?  What are your thoughts?

Happy New Year!

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