Nov 242014
 

I am so glad I’m not sick anymore. Having bronchitis and being segregated in the house for four days straight made me stir crazy and aching for some social interaction!

Friday

First swim in two weeks! Bronchitis is an ass-kicker. I wasn’t sure how I’d do because swimming is the #1 barometer on fitness in my opinion. If you are not up to par you will know it immediately in the pool. I had my inhaler with me just in case, but didn’t need it. I was able to swim and breathe normally and didn’t cough once! The only thing I noticed was I was getting really tired towards the end of the swim. Despite all that I did 1.125 miles without any breaks and felt great.

Saturday

Back at the Warrior Room! Thank goodness. I was still not back to normal. My stamina isn’t fabulous. My muscles were getting fatigued quicker than normal and I had to stop to rest in between sets. Other than that the class was really fun and the workout was challenging. There was one set we did where we held kettle bells in each hand and did front raises then Ashley would say “hold” and we’d have to hold the kettlebells in mid-air. It is SO MUCH harder than it sounds, trust me. Even with super light weight kettle bells it was brutal. Then we did the same thing with side lateral raises and holds. Ouch!

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Later on Saturday we went to our friend’s house for a housewarming party. They bought a house together recently and have been fixing it up so this was our change to catch up with them and see the new place.

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Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese to bring. Trust me, this is the perfect mac n’ cheese recipe. If you ever make this for a potluck or holiday party, be prepared to be nominated to make it for every following potluck for the rest of your life. Word will spread. People will request it. Trust me, I know. Michael made it one year for my family Christmas party and I think there would be a mutiny if he ever skipped it a year!

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While I ate some of the mac n’ cheese, I tried to limit how much because it’s so high in calories. I was trying to practice what I preached when it came to holiday eating…try a little bit of everything I want but don’t go overboard.

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Christi also made some roasted nuts that were AMAZING and I ended up eating way too many of those babies. They were seriously so good. Butter, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, rosemary and thyme. Amazing. We ended up playing Cards Against Humanity for a few hours and before we knew it, it was really late. It was a fun night though!

Sunday

Sunday I was finally back to yoga class. I’d missed it. So had my stiff joints and muscles. I also got in a two mile run on the treadmill before class. Which was nice because both things loosened up my tight muscles after the Warrior Room Saturday.

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After class Michael and I went over to a friend’s house for lunch and board games! Something else I had missed terribly lately.

My friend Courtney made chili so I found a cornbread recipe and made that. I decided to do mini muffins and used my mini muffin tray that we got as a wedding present. I liked the mini size. :) Because I used the mini muffin tray and I substituted the Splenda Blend, the calorie came out to 60 calories per muffin. Obviously if you do regular sized muffins that will change.

Cornbread Muffins

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 or 32 depending on size

Serving Size: 1 muffin

From: http://princesspinkygirl.com/delicious-cornbread-muffins/

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  3. Combine milk, egg and butter/margarine and mix well.
  4. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients in a bowl and mix (do not overmix, should be slightly lumpy).
  5. Pour batter into a well greased muffin pan.
  6. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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I made three changes to the recipe: first I substituted Splenda Blend for the sugar and then I added about 1/4 cup of corn kernels. I like cornbread that has actual corn in it. Lastly, I heated the oven at 350 instead of 400 because they are so much smaller than other muffins. I thought they might get overdone.

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I liked the muffins and I liked the flavor. They were a little on the dry side eating them on their own. But with some butter melted on top or with chili, they were fine. I’d make these again but I’d probably add maybe some shredded cheese to make them a little moister? Other than that it was good.

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I love chili! It was fantastic and she used chunks of beef instead of just ground beef. It was really good and next time I make chili I want to try using chunks of beef in it. Usually I just do ground turkey or beef. This was a nice variation.

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We played two games, Love Letter and Gloom. They were both really fun. I liked the Gloom game but it was really involved and intricate. I need to play it a few more times to really get it I think.

It was the kind of weekend that was jam-packed and I didn’t have any downtime to myself, but it was worth it. It was a ton of fun!

Do you have any game recommendations? Looking for something new!

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Oct 292014
 

A few weeks after our wedding the certificate finally arrived. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t an actual certificate and just an official form that had been certified. Kinda lame, but whatever. I took a half day off from work to go to the Social Security Office and DMV to get that done first.

I have to say, the SS office is hell on earth. The DMV was actually fine. That took like 30 minutes, start to finish, and they had like 9 or 10 people working the counter so the line moved very quickly. Social Security? Not so much. I got there about a half hour after they had opened and the place was full.

There were people standing, there were a few empty seats but they were so scrunched together I felt claustrophobic. The waiting room sucked. Why did they have to make it so awful? The chairs were all in a line (similar to the photo below) in four rows. Who creates a waiting room like this?

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The chairs were all facing the same direction, looking at basically a wall and the screen updating the numbers. Hell on earth. Seriously. The numbers moved at a snail’s pace and seemed to have no rhyme or reason. People were coughing, sneezing, there were kids fussing, there were angry people arguing with the workers. Ugh. Just awful. I was there for nearly an hour and a half and 5 minutes of that was the ACTUAL process of changing my name and getting a new card. 5 minutes. The rest was waiting; feeling like your number is never going to be called.

But, the good news is that it’s done and I am now officially Mrs. W!

For our 1 month anniversary (I know, I know, eye roll) I cooked us dinner at home and I also made Michael his favorite drink–an Old Fashioned. I’ve never made it before so I did my research and I bought some fancy bitters to make it official! Here is the recipe I used:

Old Fashioned
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
From: http://liquor.com/recipes/bourbon-old-fashioned/#.
Ingredients
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp Sugar (or 2 sugar cubes)
  • 1 Orange wheel
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 splash Club soda
  • 2 oz Bourbon
Instructions
  1. In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the bitters, sugar, orange wheel, cherry and a splash of soda. Remove the orange rind, add the bourbon and fill with ice.
  2. Garnish with a fresh orange wheel and cherry.
  3. Old Fashioned drinkers are divided on the question of muddling the fruit. To prepare the traditional version, muddle only the sugar, bitters and splash of soda but keep the fruit as garnishes.

I didn’t quite get the muddling down, I need to give it another try. Other than that, it was pretty easy to make and Michael loved it! I’m so glad.

oldfashioned

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For dinner I made us a baked gnocchi dish and used our new French Onion Soup LeCreuset bowls that we got as a wedding gift. They were perfect for this recipe. No, I did not make the gnocchi from scratch. I’ve never done that before and while sometimes I think I want to give it a try, I also kind just want to use the easy stuff from Trader Joe’s…

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato and mozzarella

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories per serving: 820 for 3 servings

From: http://simply-delicious-food.com/2013/07/16/baked-gnocchi-with-bacon-tomato-and-mozzarella/

Ingredients

  • 500g store-bought gnocchi
  • 250g bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream/yoghurt
  • large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 100g mozzarella, sliced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  3. In the meantime, make the sauce.
  4. In a large, hot frying pan, fry the bacon until starting to crisp with most of the fat rendered.
  5. Pour off most of the fat then add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add all of the tomatoes and the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream/yoghurt, parsley and seasoning.
  8. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it starts floating to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
  9. Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the sliced mozzarella.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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The recipe was pretty easy to make. I cooked the bacon and when it was time to add the tomatoes I used canned tomatoes from my garden! It was so cool to be able to finally use them for something and they worked great. I am so glad I spent the time the summer to can all of those romas.

dinner1

The recipe called for either cream or yogurt. I thought I had some plain Greek yogurt (because I almost always have some on hand) but I was out! I panicked for a second and then googled what alternatives I could use. I found a website that gave some other options and one of them was sour cream–which I did have on hand. So I used about 2 tablespoons of that and it added such a rich, tangy flavor pretty similar to what plain Greek yogurt would have done. It was amazing.

dinner2

The recipe claimed to be 2-3 servings. When I was measuring everything out I thought it was more like 4 servings. But when I spooned everything into the Le Creuset bowls it turned out to be three generous servings. I love our new bowls! They worked perfectly for this. I baked them for about 15 minutes (using the broiler for the last 5 of those) to brown the cheese on top.

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It smelled so good. But then, doesn’t bacon always smell good?? So whenever I do a new recipe I always check the calorie count online first. Sometimes I disregard certain recipes if the calories are too high. This is the ONE TIME I didn’t do that first and of course, the calories were a lot higher than I’d normally like. Oh well, it was fantastic….so worth it! Look at this dinner:

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It was so amazing and an easy enough recipe to make for a dinner party and impress everyone. Michael loved it. I loved it. I wanted to keep eating it. This recipe was a winner! Michael mentioned that adding some fresh basil would be nice and I agree. Next time I’ll add some fresh rosemary and basil to the recipe.

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We sat at our bar in the kitchen and ate our delicious dinner, listening to some jazz music. Michael enjoyed is Old Fashioned and I broke out the mini bottle of champagne that we got on our wedding night from the hotel manager that we never actually drank. To one month! Cheers!

I will most definitely be making this recipe again. When I do, I will portion it out into 4 servings instead of 3 and I’ll serve a spinach salad with it or something. That will reduce the calories in the dish dramatically. It’s a heavy dish, so reducing it a little and making a salad would make sense. Make this recipe! You won’t be disappointed.

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