Friday, June 21, 2013

Recipe : Horchata

Have you ever had Horchata (pronounced - or-chata)? 

I recommend you try it.  I had never had it, ever, in my life.
Until now.

I enjoy watching cooking shows on PBS Saturday Mornings (when I am not out and about doing anything else), and there is was Mexico One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless show on.  (I see now it is on the Live Well Network

At any rate, I saw an episode a long time ago, where Rick talked about how fabulous Mexican Horchata is.  It goes great with a spicy carnitas burrito he said.  I was like whatever dude, you are a crazy nut berger.  Basically what it was that he had described, was a sweetened almond/rice milk. 

A few weeks later I ended up seeing a post on the America's Test Kitchen Feed, and was like.. well, what do we have here?  Sounds simple enough!

And it was.

So, basically what you do, is you take slivered almonds, rice, vanilla, cinnamon and water and combine them.  Let them soak 12-24 hours, pulse it in a blender until smooth-ish, and then strain it, mix it with some evaporated milk and sugar. 

And WHAM-O!  Throw it in a glass over ice, maybe an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, and you have a delicious glass of Horchata!


It was quite sweet with the amount of sugar they said to add, they noted you could add 2 less tablespoons if you do not like yours quite as sweet, but I am thinking like maybe cut the sugar in half, and it might be more adequate. 

I may have had it in the morning while I sat outside eating cinnamon-sugar toast.

DIY Horchata (Adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
Makes about 5 cups
  • 1 1/3 cups Slivered Almonds
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup Long Grain Rice
  • 4 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar

  • Take the first 4 ingredients and put them in a blender, and put the lid on. Shake it around a little.  Let it sit for about 16 hours - up to 24.  (Please note I did mine for 24 hours, and it was about 70 degrees out - if it is warmer, you might want to shorten the time.)

    Line your strainer with some cheese cloth, put it over a large bowl and set aside. 
    After your almond rice mixture has set out long enough, turn on the blender, and blend that stuff up!  (You could probably use a Cuisinart, but I am not that fancy.) Blend the mixture until relatively smooth.  It took me almost a minute or so.
    Then pour the mix into the cheesecloth strainer set up you have going, let it strain itself out.  Once it has pretty much done it's work, take up the edges of the cheesecloth, and twist the cloth in a pouch to squeeze as much as the almond rice goodness out as you can.  Then toss the pulp packet out.
    Stir your almond/rice water mixture, evaporated milk and sugar together in a pitcher/bowl until the sugar is dissolved.  (you can add more sugar if you would like, or leave out a sugar bowl when serving it for individual tastes.)
    Then chill it for about 2 hours, and enjoy! 
    You can store leftover Horchata in a jar with a tight fitting lid for up to 3 days in the fridge.

    I will admit, I am pretty impatient, and I automatically put it in a glass over ice, tossed a little more cinnamon on it, and loved it up.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : How do you want to be remembered?

    On the Facepage someone shared a link.
    I clicked it, read it, thought about it, and 'shared it'.  

    I hope people understand what the writer was intending. 
    Those photos people take all the time, they will be your legacy, no matter how pretty (or ugly) you are in that moment.. 
    And if you are always waiting for that moment to come... It might be too late.  
    My Grandma died a couple of years ago, I gave some photos to my younger sister for the 'Celebration of Life' displays.  My sister wanted to know how I was able to get such nice photos of her. 
    Here was my trick- 
    1. I would remind my Graham Cracker that she knew she was having people over or that she was coming out to an event.
    2. I told her I was going to take a picture of her anyways, did she want me to take a picture of her with her mouth open, or one where she was smiling?
    That these are going to be around long after she was gone, how did she want to be remembered, or did she?

    She would smile for at least one or two, and then say 'Oh that's enough! I have to get back to XYZ.'
    I am always going to wish I wore a different outfit, had a better hair day, spent more time on my makeup, weighed less, had clearer skin, etc.

    But if I keep waiting for that perfect moment, I will never be able to enjoy the moments I am experiencing.

    If you do not pose for or let people take photos with/of you, then people will take a photo of your dead body in a casket so they have something to remember you by.  

    Is that what you really want? 

    I mean really, ask yourself, How do you want to be remembered- or do you?

    (My Graham Cracker was cremated, there are no photos of her dead body in the event you were wondering.)

    RIP Graham Cracker, I do miss you dearly.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Ouch. That stings.

    My little sister stopped by yesterday with her son after they were done doing the aquarium at the Mall of America.

    I honestly do not know what our conversation was about, but in general, I am someone who does not like things done wrong.  Something my dad would say as we were growing up, "Anything worth doing, is worth doing well."  And I was probably talking the Hubster doing something wrong, and being annoyed with it, and then talking about when we went camping and his friend's parenting style.  And wrapped it up with how we sat through my step-son's high school graduation ceremony, and if I ever have a kid, I might try to talk them out of walking across that stage.   (For 320 kids, it was almost 2 hours long.)

    After I make those remarks, she says, "Amy, you really shouldn't have kids. Seriously."

    Oh, well, good thing that I have not been able to maintain a pregnancy, any my current cycle time is going on 41 days.

    Sunday, June 2, 2013

    Manicure Monday : French Tips with a Gem!

    I wanted to pant my nails something classic.  I had my toes done with my sister and did a French on them, they look so pretty, I decided to match my fingers!

    When I was younger I would put tape across my nail and then paint the tip that was exposed.  As I grew older I saw that they basically make the same stuff I was using.  I bought it once, and then went back to the old masking tape.  It is wider, so I did not have to worry too much about how neat I was being, the smile strips they sell were just too thin for me.

    Now days I just free hand them with white nail polish.  I used OPI's Alpine Snow on the tips.  I do not drag the nail polish brush across the nail, rather I just sort of make short swipes on the nail tips pulling it off the edge.

    Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Doctor visit

    I have been going to the same doctor since childhood, which I know is strange.

    You see, when my mom first went when she was pregnant with my older sister she happened upon Dr. Vincent, he was doing his internship then.  She immediately fell in love with the fact that she felt like he actually listened to her, and addressed her concerns instead of pushing her out after the allotted 15 minutes.

    Which is why all of her appointments last 45 if its a 15 minute appointment and an hour if it is a half hour appointment.

    But I like him, and he knows ALL my family history, so I do not have to go through it, which is good, because I do not know it.

    I went in, we had out appointment for my girly exam, was on the scale, was incredibly saddened by the number being 10lbs heavier than my wedding day, but decided to chalk it up to having ate and drinking beer before showing up, as I had just been out getting a pedicure and dinner with my little sister for her birthday.

    So we left for the weekend, and when I checked the mail on Monday I was surprised to see a letter from the Dr.'s office already, because I had him test me for everything (like always).

    I open it up, and it was a referral to speak with the nutritionist based on my BMI.


    I have been consistently netting around 1250 calories a day for 3 weeks, going to the gym 3/4 times a week, and I have nothing to show for it.

    Well, I have this piece of paper that says I really need to do something about this mess I have ate my way into.

    I think it is an auto referral, he didn't have his signature anywhere on it.  I would hope he would say something to me while I was in there.. Bleh.

    How do you stay motivated after a blow to your face?

    Monday, May 27, 2013

    Manicure Monday : On Her Majesty's Secret Service-OPI

    This week I wanted a darker color, but thought I should not go too dark, and figured that if it sparkled, then it would be acceptable.  
    I am not completely sold on this color though.

    In the bottle it looks like there should be a little more purple in it, but they almost look to be a denim color.  But, I will wear it out.

    How often does this happen to you?  Where you have a color you want to wear, and it turns out to be a little off?

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Running : 5K Challenge!

    So I have completed the 3rd week of the Ease into 5K - C25K app on my phone.  Continuing onto the idea that I would like to be able to 'run' for 30-45 minute stretches with out dying, on a regular basis.

    I didn't die, and it wasn't the worst thing in the world either. 

    After running the 11.29 min mile, I would have to say it at least helped me to push through and run the 3 minute intervals, because I had to have 'run' for 5 minutes at least once, I mean, when I did the TC1Mile last week, I didn't stop running until I had hit the 1/2 mile marker.

    I think doing the BodyWorks Plus Abs (mind you, I always step out of the Abs portion, only because I need to get home and get ready for work) helps a bit.  In the class you use hand weights (2.5, 5 or 7.5 lb) and do a lot of reps. 

    The Thursday morning class is growing on me.  Yesterday she talked about how she makes us do about 100 reps per muscle move, and how high reps/low weight will help give muscle tone/definition.  She said the other option is to do high weights, and significantly lower reps.  Sometimes I think that would be nicer.

    As I was sifting through the Internet blogs on my lunch hour, I came across a Virtual 5K Challenge on the blog page of KTJ Weighing In, and figured, why not?

    button   button

    I mean, really, I am doing the Hal Higdon C25K training program(again) anyways.  It happens on June 1st, which is a Saturday.  And I am hoping that while we are camping over Memorial Day, that I will go for a trail run or two, I wake up earlier than most, and plan on not drinking and staying up to all hours of the night, and that should help a little endurance training - right?  And allegedly we will be going on 'hikes' as a group.

    I am a little apprehensive of the camping as well, mainly because, well, it is all picnic food! Pasta salads, creamy salads in general, chips, crackers, candy, bacon, eggs, pancakes, buns, you know, the tasty stuff that I have a hard time saying no to! 

    I am hoping to bring a fair amount of veggies, fruit, and of course meat choices - chicken, steak, and skipping hot dog night.  Well, that's the other thing, no one plans anything with this camping crew (the Hubster's family and close family friends). 

    There will be 8-10 children, depending on if his brother's 1st child from another lady comes, and if all the people make the outing too.  That is a lot of kids, and one brother, is notorious for not having enough food (in general) to feed his family.  At home they must eat like birds, but when in front of others, all bets are off.

    What do you do to try to plan ahead for food/exercise challenges?.

    P.S. If you are interested in signing up for the Virtual 5K Challenge - go to KTJ's Post, maybe she will let us in even though it might be 'closed'.

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    ULTA Hair Event!

    I used to work for ULTA - Many moons ago now.  I love the store!  I just didn't love the hours of a Retail Manager.  Among other gripes.

    Every year ULTA has different promotions go on.  21 Days of Beauty where they feature different make up brands and do mini make-overs every day, and you get free sample (some times full or deluxe size) products.

    Current Promotion they are running is the Love your Hair Event.  A 21 Day Celebration of hair from May 12th - June 1st at an ULTA store near you!  As with all of their events, this one includes hair events, demos, prizes and free samples.

    Yes, I get their mailers, I am a club card holder (you shoudl be too - it's free and you get 'rewards'), but I generally glaze over them. However, I was reading The HONEYBEE Blog yesterday, and came across her post about a Sweepstakes/giveaway! A $100 gift card to ULTA?  Yes, PLEASE!  I have some stuff I have been meaning to pick up there!

    On her blog post she talks about loving her CONAIR Big Curls hot roller set.  I have that one.  Well, and older version of it (purple), and to be honest, I am not a fan. Part of my problem is that I don't like the foam around the rollers.  I like a nice flocked heated roller.  Or even better, I would prefer to use my hot iron to make big waves (or little ones too!).

    Remmington Flocked Rollers, purchased at ULTA
    I will say this though, it is convenient to throw hot rollers in and tie a bandanna or scarf around your head, do your make-up, have a bit of breakfast, do whatever, take them out real quick and go!  I put the bandanna on only because sometimes I am cleaning up and moving around and would like to keep them in place. In her post she said she uses the clamp clips, and I have thought about using those, but I just don't care enough to go buy them.  I mean, like I said, I would just rather grab my hot iron.

    What I do want to try, is a Dry Shampoo, and The HONEYBEE Blog she talks about Schwarzkopf's Dust It, maybe I try that one out.  Looks like I missed the super awesome sale for it on Tuesday.  Bummer.  Check out the other events here though. Scroll partway down.  I think I might take advantage of the FREE Redken Diamond Oil 5 Carat finish as part of their Salon Events.  Maybe I will just see about getting a full condition

    If you have $20 to spend, I suggest taking advantage of the wash/dry/style deal they have going on on Fridays during the event.  I swear that is my favorite part of a haircut.  I decided a few years ago that most people probably like it, because it is sort of a comfort thing.  Which I also decided stems from being a child, where everyone is always rubbing your head. 

    I mean think about it, you are swaddled, and people want to touch that bald or very fine baby hair, or kiss your head, or when you are walking buy people pat you on the head.  It makes sense to me anyways.

    Let me wrap up this post by giving you a piece of unsolicited advice.  Do NOT use a freaking brush on your hair.  Unless absolutely necessary. And when I say necessary, I mean, you are finishing up blow drying your 60% dry hair with a round brush.  I do not brush my hair.  People visit our house and have forgotten theirs, and ask to borrow mine, but I have none.  What I do have is a 'beach comb' (buy one here - not being paid for that) which I have had for just about ever (meaning, over 10 years).  This helps eliminate stretching to the point of breaking hair off, you aren't roughing up the cuticle.  You are keeping your hair pretty, shiny and over time will have less breakage in general.

    Did you know I used to be platnium blonde?  Well I was.  Currently I am my natural hair color with a few highlights.  But truth be told, even when I was a platnium blonde, I had minimal breakage.  All breakage that happened was from the chemicals, and was kept to a minimum because my girl Sam knows what she is doing.

    What happens when my hair is snarly? Well I take a shower, shampoo it up, condition it down, let it set while I tend to other things, and then comb it out, and rinse. When I dry my hair, I like the air to do it's work, if I don't have time for that, then I will use a little heat protectant, and blow dry it out to about 80%, comb it,  and call it a day.  I am fortunate to have hair that wants to be straight (most of the time).  So I don't blow dry it 100% generally by the time I reach my destination, my hair is dry.
    What is your favorite hair care item or hair styling tool?

    For the record: I am blogging about this promotion to receive a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing said blog post.  All thoughts and opinions about the store, mentioned blog post and products are mine, and mine alone.

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Anticipating the Weekend

    My little sister is having her birthday gathering this Saturday.  And it's my favorite type of party - one where I get to bring something!

    I have so many ideas on what I should bring!!!  Should I bring some Creamy Cucumber Salad, Broccoli Salad, Rice Krispy Bars, Oreo Truffles?  Maybe I bring a fresh Veggie Pizza thing!? I have no idea!  I just sent at text to her asking if cake/dessert/treats were covered.  There will be hot dogs/buns provided, option to bring your own meat.

    I mean, think about it, there will probably be a bunch of bags of chips and probably pasta salad, because they are so easy to bring! 

    Maybe I bring a beverage to share?  I have no idea!  Here is the little crummy thing though: I have to go to a baby shower at 1 on Saturday, and this party starts at 4 or shortly there after.  So that means, I need to be ready and out my door by like 10, so I can bring my stuff to my Dad's and then go to the baby shower.

    It will all be fine though.  Once I figure out what I am going to make!

    Any suggestions or ideas?

    I am completely open right now.  Friday however, I will not be, I better lock and load by then so I can go to the grocery store on my way home so I can make whatever it is I decide upon!

    Monday, May 13, 2013

    Weekend Update : RELAXING!

    I had a fantastic weekend, I hope you did too!

    Here's the rundown:
    Saturday I woke up, got my food ready for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.  It was super easy, they give you an empty bag a few days in advance, you fill it with good dated non perishables, and then set it out on the day selected, and the postal workers pick it up! 

    How easy!  Anyways, so I did that, and then went to the gym, hung out on the Dreadmill for a bit, came home, showered, grabbed the hubster and went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market to pick up some plants for our garden.  I ended up putting them in the window sill until later this week, because it is supposed to freeze tonight(and then warm up to 90!).

    While we were there we saw this guy that we had met a couple years ago giving away sample tastes of Mean Green at our local Cub Foods.  We ended up buying 2 bottles.  He has you try it on a piece of french bread, and I swear, I would be just fine the Mean Green like that.

    While we were at the Farmer's Market it was frozen raining on us for a brief moment.  Where they would have been rain drops, except that they froze, and never thawed by the time they landed on Earth.

    After that we came home, unloaded our stuff, I tried to take a nap, the Hubster went and got a haircut, called me up, and we headed to Menards to pick up some stuff to add to the soil since ours gets so dry and crumbly.  We also ended up picking up a cheap table and chair set for our deck, since I really like to eat outside, it is basically a necessity.

    After Menards we went out to eat at the Lone Spur Bar and Grill, where I had a Coronarita!  I at first only ordered a water, however the Hubster was upset that I wasn't drinking.  (what a weirdo)

    The drink was only $10. But think about it.  It's a margarita, and a 12 oz. beer.  The Hubster's 2 beers were $12 or something.

    Then we napped.  Well, I basically went to bed for the night, he napped, and watched NASCAR. Gross.  Glad I slept through that.

    Sunday we woke up, and I scooted over to Caribou for their BOGO offer for Mother's Day.  When I got back the Hubster was washing dishes. He sat down with me to finish watching CBS Sunday Morning, and then we started moving around. 

    We finished up the dishes, then moved outside to the deck to take care of the climbing vines from last year's Morning Glory's, 4 o'clocks and Moon Flowers.  And to set up our new deck set.  We grilled Corn on the cob (in it's husk) from the Market, potatoes and chicken.  

    It was a particularly lovely day! 

    How was your weekend?!

    Thursday, May 9, 2013

    TC1Mile - 2013

    This is probably my most favorite running event. 

    The Twin Cities 1 Mile.  Like their slogan says "It's just 1 Mile."  And I love it.  You run down a pretty flat 1 mile stretch in Minneapolis, on the Nicollet Mall, which is generally open only to buses and pedestrians, and is supposed to be pretty popular for a Farmer's Market(in the Spring/Summer) and shopping.  It also has the Holidazzle Parade from the day after Thanksgiving through New Years or something, which is pretty fun too (read: cold and bundle up)!

    One thing to note, there is the IDS Tower as well.  It was constructed to allow for 6" of movement at the top of the building to allow for the winds and what nots.  I will say this, it's pretty creepy to be on the sidewalk staring up, seeing the building move. I swear you can see it move.

    At any rate, this is the 5th year in a row that I have completed the 1 Mile Race.  I was hoping to beat my best time of 11.22 *I know, this is not fast*.  But I failed, by 7 seconds.  Which is a little irritating, and I am a little sad with myself for not making my goal.  But I finished.

    Here is a photo from before the race, in the photo are two of my friends from work.  Sarah and Karen have both completed the race 3 times I believe.. I know Sarah took at least 1 year off being pregnant, or post partum, or something.  And Karen, well, I know she has done this with me at least two times. 

    Sarah, Me, Karen
     It was cold.  Like 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  With a wind.  I had to go pick up a sweet long sleeve shirt before I went down, since I only brought a running tank top and a layering tank to wear.  At least the shirt was on clearance for $11 at Target.

    I did have running capri's and running pants to choose from.  It had been 60 degrees, sunny and no wind the day before!  I picked up the running pants last night at Kohl's on clearance for $15.  I couldn't love them anymore than I do already.  I think they are super awesome! What are your thoughts on my super sexy pants?

    They make me smile, and because of the color pattern on it, any lumps or bumps are pretty well camouflaged.

    What is even more funny, that after I was done watching Scandal tonight, I was just watching the news as I typed this, and they covered the TC1Mile.  Guess who made the news?  That's right, this one!  Well, not me specifically, but a crowd of people running.. I just happen to be able to spot myself in a crowd, not sure why.

    What is your favorite running event?


    Thursday, May 2, 2013

    Dinner : Spaghetti and Garlic Knots!

    Yesterday I came across this blog post for Garlic Knots by Baking in my Bathing Suit.  It was snowing outside (I know... in May. How gross!).  And I really needed some comfort food. (Comfort food - see pasta, white bread, carbs.)
    Everyone at work seems to be bringing salads right now.
    I had my salad packed and ready to go for lunch, and it wasn't seemingly all that appealing.  But I ate it anyways.  Since I was so good about eating 'right' for lunch, I decided I should be able to splurge for dinner, at least a little bit.

    And her Garlic Knots looked DELICIOUS! (plus I hate vampires).  Well, maybe I do not hate vampires.  But I do not feel like meeting any, any time soon.
    Ready for the oven!
    Let's just say that I perhaps am quite inept at making knots with dough. I can tie my shoes with relative ease - but those are tied in bows!

    Right out of the oven, last brushing of garlic butter mixture.
    Don't they look tasty?  They smelled wonderful too!  I had to hold myself back from trying one straight out of the oven, trying not to burn my tongue (which always happens with pizza!).
    Heading to the table!
    They made it to the plate (mostly).  Not going to lie, there were a few casualties.  But they were devoured with care and consideration (you know, so that I did not burn my tongue!).

    This morning I woke up to a text from the hubster's brother, thankfully none of our snow that fell stuck around.  In Southern Minnesota however, the story is quite different.  A total of 10" fell. So glad we are heading down tonight for a 'Wild Ladies Night Out'. (I know, on a Thursday??)

    Please note, I do not drink Coors
    I am the odd duck out every time I go down there (if the girls are not drinking wine anyways).  I am currently dabbling with some Smartini in the Pomegranate flavor.  1.5 oz has 34 calories.  I fill a glass with ice, top it with Sprite Zero, and a splash or two or the Smartini. It is pretty tasty, but it's only 25 proof.  (not nearly as tasty as my Cherry Rum at 42 proof - or Bacardi Torched Cherry-no idea on proof. Did you check out how I make the Torched Cherry Lemonade? Basically lemonade with a splash of Torched Cherry, splash of grenadine, and a cherry, oh summer, how I wish you would come soon..)

    Do you have any low calorie favorites to share?

    Wednesday, May 1, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Softball

    Yesterday I went to the gym, did a little C25K, and then the Body Works Class.

    Apparently there is another girl in the class that is on the Dreadmills before class.  And I mean, really, why not?  You already had to get up early for the class, what's an extra 35 minutes on a Dreadmill?

    After class I was feeling energetic and thinking I would run outside before softball since our coach person scheduled a scrimmage at 7:15pm. I don't work/play on this team near home, so that means I will hang out at work until 6:30pm to head on over.. I never went running. I floated on the Internet instead.

    At any rate. I got my money for the shirts, the league fees and went.  We were completely unorganized. That makes me bonkers.  We spent about 3 minutes (low balling) before we went to the field each time, trying to figure out who goes where.  Super annoying, and pretty embarrassing.  At the end of it, I said I would email everyone and ask their positions so I could compile a list to make it easier on future games. (Please note, I worked with the 'coach' 4-5 years ago. I didn't think this would be a problem.) Everyone was like cool.  'Coach' didn't say no..

    But he didn't say yes either. 

    When I sent out the email asking for everyone:

    Hello fellow team mates–
    I was wondering if you could email me your positions that you play,
    Rank them 1st choice, 2nd choice and 3rd choice.

    I will compile them in a list, so that it may be easier for our future games.

    Thank you!

    'Coach' was mad and told me to recall the message.  He is a very disorganized person, and I swear I wasn't trying to be rude or overstep my bounds, as this was supposed to be a team.  LONG story short, he wanted me to recall the message.  I said no. He replied all to disregard my email:

    Hello All,

    Please disregard Amy’s email.
    Please contact me if you have any questions/concerns about where you would like to play. 


    He then replied to me saying:

    I am trying to make sure everyone is having fun and is treated fairly.  I just don’t need you undermining everything I do.  What you are doing could divide the team, and I can’t have that.

    There is more, and of course I can edit how ever I want.  This is my blog anyways.  But that is the gist. I did apologize after his first email to me to recall the message saying I wasn't trying to upset or offend him, that I am a very detailed and organized person by nature, and had time available to do this for our team.

    He gave me this B.S. back at the end saying, hey I have this with my Wife (which no one knew existed as a GF or Wife due to his overly flirtatious manners), and that he and she would be missing a couple so he wanted to let me and some other person step in for that week, would I be willing to do that?

    Uh, H-to the E- to the double hockey stick - no.

    I am actually just thinking about not showing up.  I have little to no respect for him.  I actually went to the scrimmage/practice what those feelings, but knowing that, I tried to be open to it all.  He is a jerk in general, and I probably shouldn't be there. Just write my $30 as a loss.

    Maybe it is all my fault for how it is all going down.  The other team (being a company team) had plenty to say back in their areas about the scrimmage and dis-organization. (People talk.)  They also had plenty to say while I was playing catcher waiting for the rest of the team to find their field assignments for our turn.

    You have any suggestions/thoughts for me?


    Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Dinner : Sriracha Burgers and Potato Wedges

    When I was looking ahead at the weather forecast for the week, I knew I needed to get out and use the grill Monday.  The rest of the week has the possibility of either - turning very cold, or maintaining Spring. 

    I hope it can maintain!!  We have had a very long, cold, and particularly snowy April.  I am hoping that May will be the warmth that everyone knows and loves.  Especially since we will be camping at the end of the month for Memorial Day.

    Monday's lunch was pretty disappointing from the cafeteria.  It consisted of stir fry veggies, a piece of grilled chicken (like, a slice of it) soggy rice, and peanut sauce.  I put more Sriracha sauce on it to give it a little extra kick. And am I ever glad I did.  If you have read a few of my past posts, you may have seen my posting on Poor Man's Pad Thai that I was making for lunch for a month, for no other reason than I LOVED it.

    But that got me thinking,
    1. I needed to figure out dinner
    2. We should use the grill tonight
    3. There is ground beef in the fridge that needs to be used
    4. I love Sriracha!
    So I came up with this brilliant idea of Sriracha Burgers!  Knowing I am not the most ingenious person in the world, I knew I could google it and find something that would work.

    The results I came up with ended up leading to The Sriracha Cookbook.  Which I should probably own. I decided to use the Serious Eats Ultimate Sriracha Burger recipe.  I followed the recipe pretty much, I posted the recipe here too.

    And while I was floating for a recipe for the burgers, I knew I wanted to make 'oven fries' on the grill, and came across Serious Eats for Grilled Potato Wedges - sounds good to me!  I made a couple of changes to the Potato Wedges, my version can be found here.

    One of the number one things I would say, is you should ALWAYS set up a topping station, for anything that requires assembly.  You can see in my photo the bacon slices, onions, tomato slices, blue cheese-Sriracha sauce and the Arugula, waiting patiently for the burgers to finish.

    All we did was put a slice of cheese on the burgers and let it sit on the grill an extra minute, and then put them on the buns.  I was eating a Pepperidge Farm Deli Flat. Not the same as a beautiful hamburger bun, but with the average calorie count for the burger being at about 780, I needed to cut corners somewhere.

    There she is in all her glory. She was super tasty!  I really liked the extra bite the Sriracha gave the burger, and the sauce? That was so delicious that I needed to dip some of our slightly over done potato wedges in.

    I let the hubster do the grilling, I mean, I did buy him the grill.  However, I think we would have better results if I took it over.  He seemingly has no idea what he is doing. 

    What do you like to make on the grill?  Have you checked out my Chipotle Mango Chicken Kabobs?  I am going to make them when it warms up again. 

    Which hopefully will be next week.

    Friday, April 26, 2013

    Lunch : Salad with Balsamic

    Sorry friend, your salad looks sad.

    Have you tried balsamic?

    Just about every brand has one.

    At Cub (not sure what your shopping options are these days) they have a 1lb tub of 'spring mix' lasts me easily a week of extra large salads for lunch. ($6.99-organic section) I mix 3 c. of that with 1/2 c. broccoli slaw mix (dry-has carrots and broccoli) 1/8 cup of of unsalted roasted sunflower seeds, couple tablespoons of craisins and finely shredded Parmesan cheese, and top it with a tablespoon or 2 of Newman's Own Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.

    Can you believe this clocks in at a mere 230 calories including 2 tablespoons of dressing?  It fills me up (I mean, it's 3.75 cups of veggies!).  I have been eating this for 2 weeks now, I love it, and apparently am borderline obsessed.

    I had the hubster eat it last night too - Thursdays are generally pizza night, and he can put down a few slices, I wanted to limit the number of slices I ate, so he joined me in a salad before the pizza.  He still ate 3/4 of the pizza. 

    Wish I were a guy, then I would only gain a pound every month by eating like that.. *sigh* but at least I get to have long pretty hair..

    Do you have a great low calorie, high nutrient salad?  Please share, for I fear I will become bored with this one.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Evil Food

    My body did not wake be around 5 this morning.

    I woke at 6. I am not going to lie, part of me was happy I slept a little more. But the other part of me was a little irritated.

    I think the working out in the morning does have a positive effect on a person (or just me?). I really think it might help me to make better choices of what goes in my mouth.

    Today, was not a great day. Not sure why I let it stray so far off. Probably that time of the months coming up. I ate a ton of crap today. Like- literally a ton, and a piece of bread with dinner.

    On my way home I was thinking if I made it home in time I would head over to the gym for a class. I probably made it in time, but I really don't like to leave once I get home. No motivation. Zilch. Which is why I need to go in the morning.

    Tomorrow will be better. I am going to bed in the work out clothes, and going to bed earlier.

    What do you do to stay on track?

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    This is April?


    I do not believe it.  It was an hour long car ride home - AFTER I cleared the 4" of snow off my car.  At least the commute was only double.  Good thing I left early.  I took this picture as just before I started clearing our sidewalks/driveway:

    I sent it to one of my boss' who is starting his trip back to MN from India on vacation.  They say they are predicting another 4" over night.  Tomorrow's commute I don't think will be affected. 

    Which is good.

    Because I am going out with my little sister for happy hour, and then going out with one of my friends.

    Tonight is Pizza night.  The Hubster said he was going to make homemade pizza.  He has never made a pizza before.  I don't see it happening anyways.  He will forget or something..

    I am a little sore right now as I did the 'Body Works Plus Abs' this morning after 25 min on Mr. Dreadmill.  And the Thursday lady, she ALWAYS forgets to count or something. I was watching the clock today, and she did about 5 minutes on each move.

    Yes, you read that right. 5 MINUTES!

    Are you kidding me?  5 minutes of 'dead lifts' or whatever, is ri-dic. For realz. BUT I finished through.  I mean, I grabbed the light weights (2 lbs.) so I could , but whatever. I knew I was in for a long boring class.

    At any rate - How do you make it through a tedious class?  Any tips?

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : C25K - W1D3

    Ugh. Wednesday you middle of the week beast you. 

    Why does it take so long for you to show up?  After that warm welcome.. So glad you are here!
    My vagine still hasn't fully recovered from last week's Spin class.  I don't know if it will ever.  I read on some other blog I was clicking through (sorry I cannot remember..) about how she was going to have to explain to her gyno about why her lady bits were bruised... I completely understand. I was tempted to grab a hand mirror and see if they were discolored!  Sorry.. TMI I am sure..

    Since I was not up for another beating, I completed another day of the C25K Program this morning.  I completed W1D3 (week 1 day 3).  And then I stayed on a little longer and increased the incline to 5.  For 5 minutes.  I don't know really what that will do, other than make me work more (which it did).
    I really do like the handy App that I could download on my iPhone. I think it was originally free and that I paid for the GPS add on feature. It shows that the Ease into 5K, by Bluefin Software is sitting at $2.99. I still think it is worth it.  They have some sort of subscription feature now that does more than I think I need, so I do not pay for it.. but getting little 'badges' is always fun, if that is more motivating to you?  The main things I like about the App, are that it
    1. GPS you if you run outside
    2. Let's you play your music
    3. Tells you when to Run/Walk
    4. and has a timer/shows your progress (walk 8 of 9)
    5. It keeps track of your pace (with GPS) for your run vs. walk
    6. It will track how many calories you burned and weight (accuracy.. I dunno)
    I am not that great at keeping track of time, I get lost in lots of random thoughts, and forget to change it up.  Plus the person's voice isn't real demanding or anything.  Well, maybe when I get up to that 20 min run again I will think differently..

    At any rate, I did it, I completed about 45 minutes on Mr. Dreadmill, and I lived to tell about it.
    I would like to say, my gym is not the most AWESOME gym in the world.  My main complaint is that there is ZERO air circulation up in the joint.  Those fans on Mr. Dreadmill?  They are worthless, I can't hardly feel them at all, unless I put my sweaty palms over the vent.  So stupid. I wish they would just put like... 1 fan in off the ceiling.  Or open that door on the 2nd floor where all the cardio equipment is, where I spend most of my time.  I mean really people, the smell of stale sweat is not the most appealing. Maybe that's just me.
    What you got for me.. any App recommendations? Gym variations?  Good libations? 
    Leave me a comment!


    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    Multi-Tonal Highlights!

    I got my hair did again!

    I did the Ombre type look in February. 

    Then colored over it because I was over it pretty quickly.

    So this time, I figured I should get some more dimension in this hair.  So I requested a couple of different colors put throughout.  I kept my base color, but it now is just a little brighter over all.

    In the photo you can see the before on the left, and the after on the right. 

    I love it.  And I am excited for next time, because I will have her put more in it.  I mean, Summer is coming - even if they are predicting snow again this week. I mean, it's APRIL for crying out loud.

    The Hubster and I are going to a 'Beer Bust' for some girls on one of the Softball teams I play on.  It should be fun.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Spin Class

    So today I decided that I should take that morning Spin Class at the Gym.  Yeah, brilliant idea.

    I hear everyone say - great calorie burner, so fun, yadda yadda.

    Know what I say? NOT FOR ME!

    So, I crawled into the gym at 5:10am with about an inch and a half of snow on the ground.  Yes, in April. So awesome.  NOT. (Side note: They are predicting another 6 inches overnight.)

    So I do 15 minutes on the treadmill, nothing fancy, traveled a mile. Yeah, you can be jealous. And then wandered down to the Spin room.  Well, it's a bunch of bikes, I don't really know what I am doing, so I went up to the instructor, she introduced herself as Tracy, filling in for her twin Theresa today.  Cool, don't need your full background, but let's start with this sign - it says 'Must sign up at the desk'. Is that for real?  She said yes, and so went up to the desk.  Apparently the last spot on the list. AWESOME! It was meant to be!

    I go back in, and she is like, do you have a bike picked out? I told her I hadn't marked my territory yet, she suggested I pick one in the back, so we took the only open one, and she says adjust the height of the seat to this, blah blah, and explained how class works, and that she will say 80% etc and this lever on it will control that, but if I wanted to keep it at a 5 that would be okay too- no one will know.  This lady already knew what I was going to do - never move it.

    She also was kind enough to let me know that it took her a year to get used to the seat.  My back side is kind of ample. And yeah, the seat isn't comfy, so, after 45 minutes, I am sure it's not going to be fun.  She may as well have just handed me this card:
    So class starts, they never turn the lights on - which is fine, because no one needs to see this on a bike.  Everyone is going up and down, and up and down, and moving their resistance to 80% 95%.. here I am at like 70%.  50 was too easy.  But I am not moving, are you kidding me? It was hard standing up and riding a bike.

    I sat on the bike, moved the resistance up some, and moved it back down when she said, and only stood up for a 90% for the 15 seconds once.  It's way hard. Everyone was sweaty, sweat is dripping on the floor, people have their towels to sop up all their mess.  I was getting ready to take off my t-shirt (I had a shirt on under it).  I really wish I had a FitBit One or the FitBit Flex thingy.  Because that is supposed to track your calories based on your personal profile, tracks your sleep and all that other good stuff.  It is also $99.  The Flex has the ability to of a silent alarm as well to wake yer butt up.  So it won't disturb my hub.. which is nice, because now he just groans and grumbles when my phone alarm goes off..

    Maybe when I decide I need to spend a substantial amount of money on nothing again I will blow it on that.

    But also, there are no widgets on this bike, no distance, no nothing. So what I do know is that I rode it for the full 45 minutes, at probably around 80% resistance on average, and was super sweaty. And my vagine hurt.  Like it still hurts hours later.

    I am out on a decision of whether or not to go back.  I felt a little guilty at using the last spot (although there was an empty bike the whole time), I mean, I doubt I would ride a stationary bike that long on my own, but someone else probably really wanted to sweat their balls off for real. Also, even though I was super sweaty, I have no idea on how to figure how much I burned.

    Perhaps I will stick to the early morning Body Works plus Abs classes on Tues/Thursday, and try keeping up with the Couch 2 5K training plan around that.

    We will see.

    Do you have any advice for those spin classes?  Because even when I tried standing up and riding, it was still poking me from behind in a not so PG-13 way.

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013

    Words for Wednesday : Carmex

    I love Carmex.
    I used to strictly use the pot of Carmex only.  I would rub my lips in the pot, instead of rubbing my finger in it to rub on my lips.  Reasoning - why do I want a greasy substance on my fingers after it has been applied?  People said it was weird, and that it looked like I was making out with the container.  What evs people. Mind yer business.

    It's a true story. And I am not ashamed.

    I have loved Carmex for as long as I could remember.  There is something about the menthol/cool feeling that I LOVE.  Well, that, and when my lips are really chapped, it only takes like half a day for them to feel normal again.

    I was at work today, and I put some Carmex on, and did that little >POP< after putting it on, and someone just happened to be walking by and saw/heard me do it.  And we also just happened to make eye contact.  A little embarrassing, but nothing out of the ordinary really.

    But I was recanting the story, and they said that Carmex is horrible for your lips, that there was fiberglass in the Carmex. WHAT!?!! No way! 

    I decide to take a look at the ingredient list..
    Active ingredients - Camphor, Menthol and Phenol. Same as always, maybe fiber glass is not considered an 'active' ingredient. 

    Let's scroll lower.. 
    Inactive: Petrolatum, lanolin, cetyl esters, theobroma cocoa (cocoa) seed butter, mineral oil, beeswax, flavor, salicylic acid.  The only thing that sort of caught my attention was the salicylic acid - well that and 'flavor'. Who knew that Carmex had 'flavor'?

    See, salicylic acid is in facial cleansers and acne medications and what nots to slough off dead skin cells, to help your fresh skin show faster.  They use it in those facial peels.  Higher percentage of the acid, the deeper it sloughs off/burns down to.

    Which at least let's me know why you would only want to use Carmex a few times a day.

    So of course I had to research it.  I pulled up, and read what they had to say.  Basically what they had to say was a lot of blah blah blah, 'no fiberglass'.  But I am never happy with just the skim of the surface information.  So I continued on my quest for more knowledge.

    I came across this Museum of Hoaxes website. They say the same thing, but they also offer up a link to the Lip Balm Anonymous website. They have some light hearted 'letters to the editor' on there, also a page about 'Are Balms Addicting'.  But still I wasn't satisfied. 

    I clicked on over to the Wikipedia link, and read up on Carmex there. They go in to some more detail, referencing people's concern over the fiberglass content, and how it is not in the Carmex.  But they do bring up, "The use of phenol in cosmetics is prohibited in the European Union".  Which then intrigued me. 

    What is wrong with 'phenol'? And also, what is it?

    So I had to click and dive deeper into Wikipedia for the article on Phenol.  Turns out that 'phenol' is also an acid.  But it is used in stuff like Chloraseptic spray, and from how I am interpreting it, it helps to numb, and kill bacteria and other stuff, as it is an antiseptic. And if used improperly, (or properly I guess) it can kill a man.  (Not a women, they are too darn smart. *maybe not the most accurate*)

    When I looked at the Carmex Website, I found they had 'The Little Lip Book' available for download. I did.  It says in there that salicylic acid loosens the keratin layer and allows the chaps to fall off.  Which totally makes sense when you think of what it does in other cosmetics/facial cleansers.

    So, at the end of this rambling.  Carmex is not bad, only use it a few times a day (you won't need to use it more), and there is no fiberglass present in their lip balms.

    I personally think there is something wrong with waxy Chapstick. Only good thing for them, is if you wanted to coat your lips to protect them from something, like a spray tan. But that's my opinion.