Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Aren't they pretty. Anyway, last night was my night to host book club. It's a small book club so I was only expecting 5-6 people. However, when I left for work yesterday my house was rather messy, I had no idea what was for dinner or what snacks to make for book club. Luckily I was able to get out of work a bit early so I had a little more time to pick up and get ready. My sister sweetly brought me home a smoothie from Jamba Juice and so by 5pm my smoothie, Dolly Parton and I were cleaning away.
Then everything just seemed to go wrong. My sister decided to make popcorn for a snack. Somehow the popcorn exploded in the microwave and burned horribly. So at 5:30 I was doing dishes, while starting dinner, and the kitchen reeked of burnt popcorn and I started to feel very overwhelmed. You know that doing to many things at once, with too much noise (or in this case odor) and too many people in your kitchen at one time feeling. So I stopped to drink some more of my Jamba Juice only to realize that there was something green on the inside of the lid. I opened the lid and was horrified to see the inside of my cup was lined with green film. So gross. Jess and I couldn't figure out what could have turned my smoothie green. I was so grossed out. Then in the process of dumping the gross smoothie out I managed to get smoothie all over the kitchen. It was ridiculous.
Long story short all was well in the end. I finished dinner, we ate, I made some cookies and did dishes and tea and cookies were beautifully on display by 7pm with no green soothie evidence in sight. Thankfully the warm fresh cookies smell overpowered the gross burnt popcorn smell. Do you ever have these problems? Please tell me I am not alone.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Have you seen this show?
I had been wanting to watch it for some time and so I finally checked the first season out from the library. And I love it.
My sister and I may have stayed up until 2:45 AM Sunday morning watching it. In our defense we meant to go to bed at midnight but then there was a cliff hanger, and then another, and you get the idea. We blame Rob Lowe. He's so dreamy. And all the fun politics. We are political junkies. We not only have seen the entire series of the West Wing but we own some of it. It also has Rob Lowe.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
So what’s a girl to do in this situation? The “me” of three years ago would say, “make a very detailed to do list, go get a big cup of coffee and work through the list”. But that was the old “me”, the idealistic college “me”, the pre-real world “me”. The “me” of today can’t drink coffee. The “me” of today is much more seasoned in the life of chaos that is mine. The “me” of today knows that my phone will ring, crisis will ensue, and I will be derailed from my well intentioned to-do list because that is the nature of my job. So we are back to what’s a girl to do? Buck up and muddle through. I know I know this doesn’t sound like a very inspired answer. But here is my point. Sometimes life is just crazy and that’s okay. We can get through it but sometimes getting through it isn’t very pretty and that’s okay too. So in case any of you out there are having the same chaotic start to 2010 as I am here are my muddling through tips.
1. Eat Breakfast. I can not stress this enough. No matter how late you are, or how much you don’t like to eat in the morning, if you know you have craziness ahead of you eat. It doesn’t matter what you eat, it can be eggs, toast, peanut butter by the spoonful or leftover pot roast just eat something with protein. Because at 2pm when you still haven’t had lunch you will be so much better off having eaten breakfast.
2. Try and take a break from work. Even if it’s 10 minutes on email a blog or facebook. Try to take a few minutes to disassociate your mind from work. Because then minutes later when you return to work you will be able to look at things with fresh eyes and sometimes that makes all the difference.
3. Wear comfortable clothes. Obviously I don’t mean wear sweats to work. But if you have a go too work outfit, a comfortable pair of slacks or dress shoes, a shirt you feel great in. This is the week to wear those clothes. You want your tried and true I feel great and look good outfits this week. This in not the week to experiment with high fashion. Nothing sucks more to be still working at 8pm and be incredibly uncomfortable.
4. This is my favorite life is crazy trick. Speed cleaning on your lunch hour. When my job gets crazy and Mr. P’s life is crazy and we still have church events, youth group, social live, working out and so on the house always gets shoved to the back burner. The last thing either of us wants to do after getting home at 8pm and making dinner is the dishes or the laundry. So we leave the kitchen a disaster. Then we over sleep because and are frantically fixing breakfast and making lunch in a messy kitchen rendering it even more messy. Then we can't find work out clothes, clean socks or somebody's wallet. We get out of the door late, frazzled and irritated. Then I'm dreading coming home late to a disaster in my house. Meanwhile work is crazy and annoying and I need a break. So my cell phone and I run home for lunch. With a 10 minute drive home and a 10 minute drive to return I have 40 minutes to pick up the house. I know this might sound crazy but it's amazing. You can get a lot of cleaning done in 40 minutes and the difference in your energy level at noon or 1 when you finally got out of that office and 8pm when you are finally home are night and day. On an average lunch hour I can run home, start laundry, make the bed, pick up the clothes on the floor, take all the dirty dishes into the kitchen, pick up the living room, load the dishwasher, and maybe even wash a few dishes while scarfing some lunch. It might sound stressful to spend your lunch hour frantically cleaning but for me it's incredibly therapeutic. I go back to work feeling a weight off my shoulders and like I've accomplished something. Obviously this only works if you live close to work. And for me it's vital that I have my cell phone. My office phone rolls over to my cell (best office invention of all time) so I can be reached by anyone who needs me while I'm cleaning my house.
So there you go. Life is crazy muddling through tips. What are you secrets for coping with chaos? Please share, I'd love to know.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
4. A new favorite dinner: Friday night Mr. P and I made fresh red snapper, wild rice pilaf, and roasted heirloom carrots for dinner. It was delicious and easy. We picked up both the fish and the carrots at a one of our local grocery stores. Here is my recipe,
Fresh Red Snapper with Wild rice pilaf and heirloom carrots
First start the rice. Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan. Add two cloves garlic (if you can eat onion add some chopped onion or shallots too). When garlic just starts to brown add 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/8th tsp curry. Cook spices 30 seconds or so. Add rice and cook a few minutes until browned. While rice is browning bring 3 cups broth to boil. Add hot broth to pan with rice. Bring pan to boil. Add some salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cover. Cook 45-55 minutes until rice is done.
Once rice is cooking wash and trim carrots. Place whole in baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. place in 425 degree oven. let roast 45 minutes.
Just before rice and carrots are finished cooking start fish. Heat olive oil in pan. Season fish with salt and pepper. when pan is very hot. Place fish in skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side depending on how thick pieces of fish are.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I had a blast shopping in Portland with Lauren this weekend. We both took the plunge and got leggings. We also hit the J. Crew final sale and found some wonderful things with ruffles.
While I was in Portland Mr. P and I visited an amazing church, Imago Dei. If you read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, the this is the Church the author talks about.
Mr. P returns from his hiatus in Portland on Thursday.
I am fixing steak in his honor.
This is because I am a very nice wife even if I do put my cold feet on him in bed.
My feet have been consistently cold while he has been away.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I have always loved Friday's but now that I only work a 4 day work week I especially like Friday! So what am I doing with my first three day weekend? Well me and my new boots,
aren't they beautiful, are going up to Portland to see our beloved Mr. P. But before we leave town we are having coffee with an old friend. Once in Portland we are having date night. We are either going to see the Blind Side or the new movie about Queen Victoria. Then tomorrow is my much anticipated shopping day with Lauren, after which Lauren and I are going to cook Indian food for Mr. P and Mr. J. Shall be a fabulous work free three day weekend!
Happy weekend everyone,
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The results of my food sensitivity test were not so great. I showed sensitivity to over 20 foods. Among them are: all dairy (except butter), wheat, gluten, eggs, corn, potatoes, onions, citrus, honey, sugar, molasses, red wine, and shrimp. This is particularly bad because ever since I had to take wheat and dairy out my diet I have been living on corn tortillas, potatoes, eggs and oatmeal, all things I can no longer eat. You are probably thinking right now, “what can you eat?”. I get this question a lot. But luckily there are a lot of good foods I can eat. Sometimes it just requires a little bit of creativity. I can eat meat, all vegetables (except potatoes and onions), sweet potatoes, squash, lentils, beans, rice, fruit and nuts. However, it does make eating and cooking a lot more challenging.
Since my new diet restrictions have been in place I haven’t really been able to follow recipes. I can start with a recipe as a loose guide and alter it as I go. For example last night I made a rice and garbanzo bean chili. Because I had to leave out the onions I added more garlic. I had to leave out the Worcestershire sauce (you don’t even want to know what all is in that stuff) I added a dash of soy sauce. To make cranberry sauce at Christmas I replaced the oranges with apples, the sugar with some pure maple syrup, the white wine vinegar with raspberry vinegar. So it works. But I also have to make up a lot of my own recipes. My favorite recipe I’ve made up so far is a super quick easy chicken recipe that I serve with mashed sweet potatoes and sautéed spinach. It makes such a quick and easy dinner and is super yummy.
Balsamic and Thyme Chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and spinach (serves 4)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 TB olive oil
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 Tb fresh thyme leaves
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
3 large sweet potatoes
Good nob of butter
Salt and pepper
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
First mix the oil, vinegar, thyme and garlic in shallow dish. Add generous amount of salt and pepper. Pound chicken with meat mallet until very thin. Basically you want it thin enough that it will cook very quickly. Cut each piece in half so you have four pieces of chicken. Place chicken in marinade and turn over to coat each side. Let it sit out in marinade while you continue with sides.
Peel and chop potatoes. Place in pot, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain.
While potatoes are draining heat oil in skillet until smoking. Add chicken pieces.
While chicken is cooking run potatoes through a potato ricer if you have one. If not just mash in bowl. Add good nob of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
When chicken has cooked 3-4 minutes turn over. Cook a few more minutes on other side. Remove from pan and set aside. Add a little more oil to pan, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach. Turn heat down to med. Cook spinach just till wilted. Season to taste.
Serve chicken on bed of spinach with sweet potatoes on the side.
*Recipe is by Laura Potter.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
During my vacation I watched the movie 500 Days of Summer.
particularly like the movie. I really loved Zooey Deschanel's makeup in this movie. Particularly her eye makeup. This is the best picture I could find on line. Obviously it's a little hard to find pictures of eye makeup because usually pictures are taken when someones eyes are open rather than shut. What I like best about it is all the pink tones used on her eyes. So beautiful.
My sister has been helping me attempt to recreate the look. I'm very lucky to have such a makeup genius living under my roof. But I would love your tips. What is your favorite makeup product? Do you know of any perfect pink eye shadow out there? I'd love to hear.
*Yes I learned all I know about eye makeup from my little sister. Yes I see the humor in that. In case you are wondering she learned all about eye makeup from America's Next Top Model, I kid you not.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Cooked prime rib with my Mom
Had a slumber party with my siblings and husband on my Mom's living room floor
Played lots of Super Mario
Read Jamie's Italy cover to cover
Went to Portland with Mr. P to see his family
Went to Nutcracker on Christmas Eve
Had Crab Louis for the 1st time
Watched approximately 15 episodes of friends with my sister-in-law
Got new perfectly lovely riding boots
Roasted Chestnuts on an open fire (I am actually serious)
Read little woman for the 5th or 6th time
Watched the entire 1st and second season of Dawson's Creek
Stayed up until 2-3am watching said Dawson's Creek
What I did not do on my vacation:
Find the perfect skinny jeans
Clean my house
do any of the ironing out of of the giant ironing basket
organize my files
mend my sweater
think about work
Needless to say it was a glorious vacation. But now I'm back to reality so to speak. I had to wake up at *gasp* 8am this morning and it was painful. So I'm slowly returning to normal. However Mr. P is still in Portland (he stayed to do legal work and will be gone a few more weeks) and so there may still be some late nights of Dawson's Creek in the cards for me. Hope every one's return to the real world is going okay.