Monday, March 30, 2009

April resolutions

Ah, April…I can’t believe you are almost here. I am very excited to be moving into Spring. I love the warm but not to warm weather, having the windows open, pretty blooms, and all the other lovely elements that come with the month.
Even with the crappy weather, the last few months have been great. Nathan and I have been so fortunate to spend a ton of time with friends and family and eat some great meals and discover new wines. As much as I have loved every moment of it, I am exhausted. Plus, our bank account is feeling the pressure.
Because of all this, Nathan and I are really making a conscious effort in April to focus a little less on going out and more on taking care of some much needed house projects. Some of them will cost a little money and others won’t, but most of them are long overdue. Besides that I have a lot that I need to do on my 29 in 09, I want to start dedicating more time to the cookbook, my veggie garden, and the gym.
Now to all of my local friends out there, this doesn’t mean we are crawling under a rock and won’t see you in the entire month of April. Nathan and I want to do at least one BBQ to unveil the new fence that is being installed as we speak!!!! YAY!
Although April isn’t looking to be overly exciting, I am looking forward to some time at home and possibly accomplishing some blog worthy projects!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sick day soup

I am officially going to say I am sick with something flu like. Saturday I woke up feeling bad, but figured it was more due to one too many drinks on Friday night, but on Saturday at 10 pm when I still felt crappy, it clued me in to may be something else was up.

I will be the first to admit that I am the biggest wimp about being sick. I still function, but I move slow and sleep more than one person should. Part of my functioning though, usually has to do with making a huge batch of soup to eat in the next few days. Yesterday I found myself looking through the cupboard trying to find enough ingredients to whip together an easy soup. I quickly remembered that my sister had emailed me a recipe for a vegetarian soup that I had been wanting to try forever. I knew I didn't have all the ingredients, but decided to give it a try anyway.

Here's the recipe, with my notes and what I omitted. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but I omitted a lot of them and it still turned out fabulous. This isn't an attractive looking soup by any means, but still very yummy (and healthy).

*Side note: I never kept fresh ginger in the house because I didn't use it that often, but you can freeze it and then just cut off what you need, so go out and buy some!!

Moroccan-style Lentil and Chickpea Soup
Cook time: 8 hours
Crockpot setting: low
Serves: 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped (I didn't have any, so I added in a zucchini instead)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (omitted)
½ cup dried lentils, picked over and rinsed (omitted)
One 14.5-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (I just used canned diced tomatoes)
One 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed ( used a little more than one can)
6 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons harissa sauce, to taste, plus more to serve (recipe follows)
salt and black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, cover, and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and cardamom, stirring to coat the vegetables.
2. Transfer the onion mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, add the lentils, tomatoes, chickpeas, and stock, cover, and cook on Low for 8 hours.
3. About 10 minutes before serving, add the lemon juice and harissa, and season with salt and pepper. A small bowl of harissa may be placed on the table for those who wish to add more.

Harissa Sauce
Makes about 1/2 cup
4 dried red chiles, stemmed and seeded (I used a couple tsps red pepper flakes and omitted step 1)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon ground caraway seeds (omitted)
¾ teaspoon ground coriander (omitted)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water

1. Break the chiles into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover and let soak for 5 minutes.
2. Drain the chiles and place them in a food processor. (I didn't use my food processor, just chopped everything really fine) Add the garlic, oil, caraway, coriander, and salt, and process until pureed. Add the water and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a tightly covered contained and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Properly stored, it will keep for several weeks.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Random Thursday

Yet another addition of Random Thursday!!

*Thanks everyone that took the time to put some words of encouragement in the last post. Today I completed Week 3 day 1 of C25K and even though I went a little slower than I would have liked (ran 5.2 instead of 5.4) I made it through it.

*Nathan and I found out today that our fence is being installed on the 30th!! I am so happy because it is happening a lot sooner than we thought, but that means we have to spend almost the entire weekend and next week clearing out some of the brush and crap that still remains in the backyard. We already pulled out the fire pit and started burning what we have cleared but we still have a lot to go!

*My oldest sister is moving in less than two weeks!!!! I am so excited that we can start making plans with her for summer outings and holidays!!

*My mom and I got to talk a little this week about the food we are catering for my aunts wedding in May. I am soooo excited about it. She is wanting me to do some fruit and veggie displays as well as a display incorporating a her chocolate fountain. I am already sketching ideas and thinking of design elements. Oh, and did I mention we are also doing the mini heart cakes like I had for my wedding? It is going to be a lot of work, but so much fun! And don't worry I will probably take about 100 pics of all of it, because I am sure it is going to be really cool!

In case you can't tell, I'm having a better, less frustrating week. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009


Most of the time I use the gym to work out frustration, but for the past week the gym has not been helping me with my bad mood mentioned in the last post. In fact I think it has actually made my mood worse.

As some of you know, I started week 3 of Couch to 5k. Up until week 3 I was really enjoying the program and actually looked forward to starting a new week. Well, not anymore. I flat out failed at week 3. Failed! I could barely run for 2 minutes let alone do two 3 minute runs! I was so down on myself I almost lost it at the gym. I am sure my work frustration didn't help, but I could not just wrap my head around why week 3 was so difficult. week 2 was a walk in the park compared to week 3. That was just under a week ago. The last few gym visits I have been doing what would probably be considered week 2.5 if there was one.

Now I'm not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me, really I am not. But I am firm believer that it is important that people ask for help and not shy away from it because of embarrassment. So, I need help. I don't want to quit. Let me say that again....I don't want to quit. But I am incredibly frustrated. At this rate the 9 week Couch to 5k will take me 4 months.

Any words of wisdom or encouragement would be appreciated. Like I said, I don't want anyone to think I want pity, but I think without support my frustration is just going to elevate and get worse.

Yep, it's been a week

It's been a week since my last blog post. With the frequent posting I was doing, it seems like a week is a long time to go without posting.

But I have a good reason. The last week I was seriously in the worst mood ever. I don't consider it to have been a funk because I know exactly what was causing it..freaking work. I was pretty sure I have done enough posts in recent times to not have yet another one about work just yet. Plus, at this point everything would have been very vague and hence a boring blog post.

However, the last part of the week and the weekend brought a few things that make me a lot happier. The first is that we signed with a company to install fencing. For those of you that have gone from having dogs without a fence to having dogs with a fence, you know what a HUGE deal it is to be putting one up. It is going to be awesome. We decided to fence in a little more of the yard then we had originally planned and went with a very nice wood and design. Of course, Nathan got super nervous about the expense, but he underestimated my ability to negotiate. The fence is still a huge expense, but so worth it.

Second, Nathan and I built my raised garden bed. It was surprisingly easy and not incredibly time consuming. Nathan also built me a compost box/bin to sit right beside the garden, so I can stop composting where the garden bed was placed. Yay! I may be the only one on earth to get excited about a compost box. I took pictures of both and will get a blog post up in the near future.

Besides that, I had another relaxing weekend, but managed to be incredibly productive.

For the house:
Built the garden bed
Went grocery shopping
Did a light cleaning
Built the garden bed
Built the compost bin and added more veggie scraps saved from work
Researched more about vegetable gardening

For the pantry and freezer:
Baked honey wheat buns
Made another batch of marinara (we used almost all the sauce I made last week)
Made enough of Roxie's food for almost three weeks
Baked Oatmeal Banana Choc Chip cookies

For me:
Went to the gym
Saw Taken (it was so good!!!)
Tried some new beers
Spent time with friends and family
Indulged in junk food including fish and chips, Starburst jelly beans, and the best ever BBQ chicken pizza
Laughed until my sides hurt (thank you drunk, quote-worthy, Chad)
Got a great haircut

I am working shorter days all this week, so I plan on keeping up with my productivity and great mood, as well as some blog posts.

Happy Monday everyone!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

An award I forgot about

I love getting blog awards, so it is incredibly shocking to me that I forgot that I was awarded this one. My apoligies, Sarah, I certainly appreciated it, I just forgot about it in all my life craziness.
Here is the premise for the award:“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
Thanks, again, that is too sweet of you!

The weekend

My productive Friday lead to a very unproductive weekend unfortunately.

What I should have done:
Made tomato sauces to freeze.
Made cheese for stuffed meatballs and a variation of a pasta dish I am making this week.
Finalize at least one recipe for the cookbook.

What I actually did:
Watch movies.
Lie on our super comfy, “new to us” mattress with Roxie and Lila.
Went out and drank a few glasses of wine and a few martinis.
Fell slightly short on the first workout of Week 3 of C25K.
Went to Fleet Feet and spent $120 dollars on new running shoes and socks.
Put a ton of apps and workout songs on my Iphone.
Made a big batch of homemade dog food for Roxie.

I shouldn’t complain because I am sure that deep down I needed a super lazy weekend and I think it has revived me to get a few things done this week. I am hoping to convince Nathan to help me buy the materials for our raised veggie garden bed this weekend. I want to build it myself but I know I am going to need his help with some of the materials. Then my biggest problem will just be figuring out what to plant besides the virtually no fail tomatoes. I see a library trip for many gardening books in my near future.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Crazy Friday

This post serves absolutely no purpose except to tell you of the event filled day I've had.

1. By myself I made 125 wraps today and stuffed them in lunch bags in 2 hours. T

2. I went to the gym and did Couch to 5k, weights, and signed Nathan up for personal training sessions.

3. I received my Iphone in the mail.

4. As we speak I am completing a recipe for the cookbook! I need other opinions but I think this one is a slam dunk. Sorry I can't get into to many details because it is a really original idea that I dont' want leaked on the Internet.

And it's not even 5 yet! Who knows what else I could have accomplished by the end of the day...maybe I will repaint the entire house or something!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I am such a hypocrite

I am sure you are reading the title of this post thinking, "Yeah, right this is just a tease to get us to read your post, Teresa." Well, it's not, I blogger Teresa, am a hypocrite.
Tonight I bought something that I have sworn I wouldn't buy. I have even gone so far as to attempt to persuade others out of buying this product.

I am sure I am never going to hear the end of this....but after much comparison and discount code applying, I will now be the owner of the Iphone.

Here is the backstory: I was anti Iphone not so much because of the price of the phone but because of the ridiculous cost of the monthly plan. Therefore even though I always thought the Iphone was cool, no way was I going to double my budget for phone service.
However I was in the market for a new phone because my AT&T Tilt that I used to love had an unfortunate incident with a tile floor a few weeks ago, making the touch screen (and most functions) not usable. Today I was able to upgrade my phone and all the ones I liked were all Pantech (who makes great phones) and were over $100. Then I stumbled upon a Refurbed (which I always buy and never had issues) 8G Iphone that with Nathan's awesome discounts through work was only $99. I still wasn't convinced because of the plan. But Nathan did some work and applied his hefty discount and we discovered that it was only going to cost $10 more dollars a month for me to have the Iphone!!!
Now here I am admitting that I am a total hypocrite, but still very excited!

Cookbook failures

I'm very early on in the process of writing the cookbook and I am already seeing my fair share of failures. What is really disappointing is that these failures are ones that should be easily avoided.

Why you ask? Well, a few nights ago I was throwing together a soup that I have made 100 times easily, so it should have been a piece of cake, right? It wasn't. I never got the flavor I normally do, even after playing with the seasoning and tasting it every five minutes. I think the beer I was using was too dark. (I am trying to incorporate a variety) Nathan and I ate it anyway, but it wasn't the same yummy soup that I usually drool over.

So what I am I learning from this whole cookbook process?
1. My never measuring and just throwing stuff in a pot is coming back to bite me in the ass.
2. I usually bake/cook to relax, and while working on the cookbook is fun, it is not relaxing. My meticulous attention to detail is preventing me from relaxing and I don't foresee that changing.
3. I've had a couple successes and it is killing me not to post the recipes. I rarely post recipes on the blog due to reason #1, and when now that I finally have some that are easy to follow all I want to do is share them with the world. I guess if I continue at my current rate, I won't have enough recipes for a book and I will just end up posting them here anyway.
4. People from the "Internet" world are often more supportive of big dreams then people in the "Real" world.
5. It is going to be forever until this thing is completed.