cooking

Baking Bread and Eating Ice Cream (and other weekend adventures)

My work wife turned me onto the most fabulous, cheap and easy cooking blog I have yet to encounter.  It is called Budget Bytes, http://www.budgetbytes.com/, and after using her recipes for over a week, I am hooked and have yet to be disappointed. 

This woman even got me baking bread.  ME!  I love to cook, but you ask me to bake, prepare to have a sugary let-down on your hands. She makes you believe you can do it though, because not only are her recipes cheap, they are easy!

Feeling sassy while reading through her blog, I decided that I was going to try her Olive Herb Bread (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/03/olive-herb-bread/). 

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I’m not going to lie, chopping the olives was the hardest part…

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Waiting was the second hardest part for me. Plus, having never seen active yeast in action before, I didn’t believe this would “rise”.

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But it did!!!!

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The pre-cooked loaf, all ready to go in the oven along with all of my baking hopes and dreams.

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Thirty minutes later 🙂 (this was the good side of the loaf… the far side looked a little deformed. I still loved it, none the less)

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The fruits of my labor! A sandwich made with the vegetables out of a friends garden.

Here is the link again if you would like to try the recipe: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/03/olive-herb-bread/

This was my start to the weekend on Saturday morning.  If I could bake bread, the weekend possibilities were endless!  Continuing down the road of awesomeness, Saturday night Paul and I had a double-date night with Aunt Janice and Uncle Tom.  You may remember them:

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so cute

How can you not have a great night with a couple like that?

Sunday, I was up early to ride my bike to the gym to swim a few laps.  I had the pool all to myself, and it was the perfect temperature!  I don’t care how old I get, I always want to play around and do somersaults and hand-stands after a few hard laps.

Next, my bike and I adventured into downtown Lansing to visit a friend who I haven’t seen in over a year.  Meeting with a good friend is always such a boost in life, especially ones like Annette.  I thrive off of people with great energy (as I am sure most of you do), and she is great for that.

It was also such a great day to be riding around Lansing.  There was very little traffic, few people out and about; the streets seemed to be mine.  There is something so freeing and mobile to me about riding a bike.  That may sound like a “duh” statement, but riding a bike is more freeing to me than having a car.  You can go so many more places around town!  All in all, I think I rode about 20 miles on Sunday.

The good times kept on rolling on Monday when I started my day with my follow-up appointment with my doctor.  His original thinking was correct with is prediction of my blood work being fine.  It was better than fine.  My numbers are awesome across the board! (Always good to hear).  So now, it is just a matter of weaning me off of my medication and seeing how I do with just emergency meds in the rare times of anxiety.  I should be able to start dropping weight and get back to feeling like myself shortly.  

I felt like I had made the Dean’s List!  I immediately called my Aunt Janice then Paul to tell them both how stellar I had done on my blood “test”, (I always brag to Paul about my blood pressure, too, but high blood pressure runs in my family, so it is a number I take seriously.  He just rolls his eyes as if to say, “yes, honey, you are extremely healthy, I know”, in a very supportive, albeit, eye rolling way.)

Max even had a vet appointment yesterday, also displaying a stellar check up.

What is a mom and her puppy to do when they both get A++ at the doctor? Take a nap then go for ice cream!!!! (A little counter-intuitive, and I don’t generally support the usage of food as a reward, but it was what we wanted… don’t judge).

So Paul drove his two newly declared healthy family members to the ice cream shop in Old Town, where I got a small swirl for us (Max and me) to split. yes… I share ice cream cones with my dog…

God punished me for my poor choice though, because ten minutes later, back on our couch at home, my cone had lost all structural integrity, melted ice cream was dripping out the top, bottom, AND sides, and I was covered in it.

No grown woman should have to shower after eating an ice cream cone.  

Once again, Paul just rolled his eyes, but was good enough to document the sticky mess, complete with nap hair, that I was.

What is it that they say?  Behind every crazy person is a sane person rolling their eyes and cleaning up the messes, making sure crazy makes it through the day alive…?

Wait, no, maybe that is just my life.

And I am only sharing this photo because I would never judge any of you, so save the same respect for me, please:

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Probably the second least attractive photo of me ever… hopefully the #1 least attractive will never surface…

Please, excuse my absence…

It has been a while!  I guess that is what happens when you are busy having fun 🙂

I will do a quick recap of what life has been handing me, using mostly photos:

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Classically AWESOME!

I can’t even remember where I left off, so we will just start with this awesome car that we stumbled upon outside of Home Depot one Saturday when my bestie, Julie, was in town.  That whole weekend was fun, complete with shopping, drinks in the sun, waffles at the City Market, just good times had by all.

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Julie, being cute and stylish 🙂

Paul and I have been cooking up a storm:

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Vegan Pot Stickers and Orange Chicken (Gardein brand… not a fan of imitation meat, but we went for it)

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Kale-Quinoa Salad, compliments of Runners World magazine

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Tempeh Sloppy Joes… I had forgotten all about this childhood favorite

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Baked apple chips: because only a fool doesn’t like snacks

There was a cool benefit in a barn with beer and music!

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It was a double date with my Uncle Tom and Aunt Janice

 

ImageI took a tour of the magnificent Michigan Capitol, and it was AWESOME!

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The dome

Took a day trip to the Upper Peninsula for work allowing me to cross something off of my bucket list:  hiring my brother to fly me somewhere 🙂

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Big bro doing is thing 🙂 So proud of him!

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Leaving Escanaba, flying over Lake Michigan, heading back to the lower peninsula

I took a moment after a meeting to stop and appreciate the world:

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Red Cedar River on Michigan State’s campus

Received over 90 pokes for my allergy test… and am allergic to everything! (and should also never get an upper arm tattoo:

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I guess this is the mark of my tribe…?

Loved on my kids:

ImageWent to a Detroit Tiger’s game with our best friends, and my true boyfriend:

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This was his first pop ever! We had to keep reminding him to call it “root beer” and not just beer

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We stopped in Greek Town for some pre-game food:

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From some angles, Detroit doesn’t seem so bad

Then headed to the game where we witnessed a Tiger’s loss, but still had a great time:

ImageImageLife has been busy, but things are good!  I am excited that summer is finally here!

This weekend, we are going camping, so cross your fingers that it goes well.

What have you all been up to? 

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Tuesday meeting at the Capitol

30 Days of New: The Final Day

We find ourselves at day 30 of this “30 day challenge”, and my new event for this final day is hardly epic, but here it is: 

Today I came face-to-face with my incisions.  Day 7 after surgery is when the bandages come off, and let me tell you what, I am damn impressed!  The one on the right side is probably a quarter of an inch long and not even a pen line thick, same as the one in my belly button, and the one on the lower left side is maybe an inch long and just as thin.

How someone can go into my body and operate on a huge cyst and remove an organ through 3 tiny incisions is beyond me, but my doctor is a magician (I know that this is common medical practice, but I am biased to my awesome doctor).

Tomorrow, May begins, a clean slate to start fresh.  I will be back at work, out of the house, living life without George.  Granted, I can’t run or workout for another week, but Paul has dedicated himself to living a vegan lifestyle with me (to the best of his ability), so there should be lots of cooking adventures and healthfulness in the next month.

Here is to an interesting month; I have always hated April because it has a habit of throwing me curve balls.  This April was no exception. 

Sleep tight, kids, and I will see you in May.

Tempeh cooking experiment

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I have introduced tempeh into my kitchen in an attempt to up my protein intake. This first experiment went amazing!

I call it, “tempeh breakfast mash”, because frankly, I don’t like to use the word “stir fry” before noon.

I simply browned soy tempeh in a frying pan, adding garlic pepper, followed by broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, marinara sauce, and peanuts just for some crunch. So good! Great flavor, good texture, filling, and tons of protein 🙂

I am excited to include tempeh in more meals, like the spaghetti I have slated for tonight’s dinner.

Off for a seven miler. Hope you all are having a great weekend!

Guess who just got a food processor…WE DID!!

“A whole new culinary world just opened up to us!”~Paul, while putting together our new food processor.

Paul: “I feel so adult, buying accessories!”

Me: “You mean appliances”

Paul: “It slices cucumbers!  We can slice them thin, or thick, like a man”

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This is probably only super exciting to other health nuts and fitblrs, but it is EXTREMELY  exciting for this household.

This is the, “I really need to put some food together for the rest of the week but don’t really want to” face.  But I will be so happy to just grab and go.

I have found that being prepared is the #1 way to avoid a binge or eating something unhealthy.

I always have fun once I get started, but sitting on the floor with my laptop sounds so much more fun!

Btw, today at lunch, I got stuck in a bathroom stall between the door and the toilet.  Not even joking.  This stall was not meant for normal sized people.

Thank God I was alone. 

piecesinprogress:

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies!

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This is one of those incredibly easy recipe where all you have to do is mix a handful of ingredients you can always have on hand and 15 minutes later you have a healthy tasty snack! You can try adding white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts or any combination to make it a more interesting cookie but I liked the simple brown sugar oatmeal taste.

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For more healthy cookie recipes go here:

http://piecesinprogress.tumblr.com/creativecookies

Just made these!  So GOOD!  Substituted coconut oil for the butter, and I have no doubt you can mix some protein powder in there, along with nuts or dried fruit 🙂

Recipe of the month: Beet and Walnut Salad!

I went into this recipe like a complete 12 year old; “Beets are gross and I hate Rachel Ray” (because it is a Rachel Ray recipe).

Ok, I don’t really hate Rachel Ray, I just think there was an over-saturation of her a few years back that I am scarred from. I didn’t need to see her on every channel, not to mention on my box of Wheat Thins.

But I digress…I said, “I don’t like beets”, but I would be hard pressed to tell you the last time, if ever, that I have eaten one. Plus I figured, this whole cooking experiment was to open my mind, so with my open arms in a cranial sense, I loaded up at the grocery store.

The best part about this recipe is that there is no actual “cooking” involved. Not only did it turn out to be super tasty, but it is a great way to get loads of vegetables into a meal, vegetables that I would guess most people don’t use on a daily basis.

Beets are actually a very underrated vegetable. Ancient Romans used beetroot as a treatment for fevers and constipation , amongst other ailments. Today, beets are one of the best foods out there for you. It is a high-fiber little power house that can help lower your LDL, or bad, cholesterol, is a known anti-inflammatory, is loaded with natural antioxidants, and contains folate, an essential B vitamin.

A picture of my dad and aunt picking beets back in the day… I’m just kidding, I found this picture on the internet. I have no historical connection to beets.

Let’s not forget about the radishes! Also a high-fiber contender, radishes are loaded with vitamin C. Both beets and radishes are also noted as being cancer fighters, mainly colon cancer.

Pick ‘em up next time you are at the farmers market! They are great for snacking too!

The preserves (I used raspberry) gave this salad a very sweet and refreshing finish, and all in all I found this to be a great little dish! And it turns out that beets aren’t really gross at all.

You can find the entire recipe at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/beet-and-walnut-salad-recipe/index.html .

I will have original pictures back next month. Technology was not on my side this weekend.

Enjoy!