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What we’ve been eating

So yeah…we have been trying some new recipes lately.  But no, I have not taken any pictures of these recipes, therefore, I haven’t posted anything about them.  I had this thing about posting recipes with pictures, but for now, I’ll have to get over that.  Hopefully that will change and I’ll take pictures again, especially since we have been cleaning out the kitchen and there’s room to actually spread out and work!  :)

So here’s a list of what we’ve tried lately – I’ll write about each of them individually at another time.

Ropa Vieja

Garlic Butter Noodles

Potato Leek Soup

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Kebabs with Aleppo Pepper

Tandoori Tilapia With Hearts of Palm Salad

Chili Lime Fish Fry (but we baked ours)

Tex-Mex Peperonata

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There could be more, but I don’t remember right now.  And there might be more after this weekend, after our Halloween gathering.  I know I want to try red velvet cupcakes – will be the first time I’ve made ‘em!  And there might be more to try!

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Adventures in Pizza

We just got a Big Green Egg (BGE). It has been a lot of fun cooking and grilling on it.  In a short period of time, we, ok, Greg, has made ribs (baby back and beef), brisket, burgers, and a turkey breast.  Oh, and pizza.  Yup – pizza.  On a grill.  And it wasn’t that bad, either.

Let me back up a bit…One of the accessories for the BGE is a pizza stone, so we got it.  You can use it to bake bread, pizza, calzones, and I’m sure other things.  So we decided to make pizza.  From scratch.

This particular afternoon was one full of learning experiences, which I’ll write about, here.  I won’t post any recipes, as I plan on making more until I find one I really like.

So I looked for pizza dough recipes and found a few.  I had wanted a honey-wheat dough.  I found a wheat dough and added some honey.  This particular recipe was done by hand, not a food processor or mix-master.  So I tried this dough, by hand.  And it was sticky.  And I was impatient, and when the dough would not unstick from my hands, I threw it away and started over.  So the second time around I used the mix-master – wow, I was amazed at how it came together!  (I haven’t made that many breads before).  Followed the directions.  A few hours later, it was time to roll out the dough and top it.

When it was time to roll out the dough, I rolled out a thin one.  When Greg saw it, he said it was too thin, so I rolled out one for him, but a little thicker.  I then took my dough, put it on a plate, and topped it.  Oh yeah – I made the sauce from scratch, too. 

 Dough                        Sauce

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When it came time to bake the pizza, I couldn’t transfer my pizza fro   m the plate to the stone.  It was sticking and heavy!  Oops…so lesson #1 – pre-bake the dough.  We finally managed to get the pizza onto the stone, but it was now shaped funnily!  Fast forward 20 minutes, and we had to get the pizza off the stone onto something.  It stuck a little.  Lesson #2 – put cornmeal on the stone before putting pizza on it.

Ingredients                                Raw Pizza

So, mine was made, now to bake Greg’s.  We started off by putting cornmeal on the pizza stone, but still had a time trying to transfer the pizza.  And his was heavier, since we used more dough.  Oh, and it started raining out.  Fast forward 20 minutes, and boy, has his dough risen!!!  Guess we forgot about the whole rising action.

BGE                         Baking Pizza

So we ate both pizzas.  They were pretty good.  One was definitely thicker than the other. 

I definitely want to make this again.  And I will probably keep making it until I perfect the dough (at least to our taste!)

 

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Baked Pizza

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Bunko and kiddos

I played bunko the other night.  We’ve been playing for 3 years now – at least I think it’s 3.  Maybe we’re starting our third year?  I don’t remember, exactly. I remember after the first game, and probably for a few games after that, that I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep playing.  I only knew my good friend, and I was acquaintances with a few other women.  This wasn’t necessarily the issue.  The concern I had was that I was the only one without kids.  A lot of the women knew each other because their kids all went to the same school.  Or they were direct neighbors (we all live very close to each other).  I did not have that connection.  As I said, I really only knew my friend.  However, as time went on, I became more comfortable with everyone, and got to know about their families.  And I’ve come to really enjoy playing bunko with these women.

So, the other night at bunko was such a fun night!  I think the conversation was great at each table I sat at.  And the stories about the kiddos had me in stitches.  The stories just made me laugh and gave me some serious insight into the lives of little kiddos.  However, to protect the (not-so) innocent, I will keep their antics to myself!  :)

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Bring on the hills

One thing about where I leave is that it’s not flat.  Especially where I run.  I usually start my runs in one direction.  It’s about .3-.4 miles to the stop light.  And it’s uphill!

For a long time, I would walk up that hill.  I would call it my warm-up.  It would give me time to wake-up, start moving, get the heart rate up a little, and most of all – I wouldn’t have to run up the hill.  However, the past couple of outings, I have started my workouts by running.  Not only running, but running up that hill! 

I think it’s because my approach to the hills have changed.  I wll admit that, at this time, I don’t specifically do any hill workouts.  But I can’t avoid running up & down hills during my runs.  Some are short, some are long, some are steep, some are not so steep.  But they are there.  When I was training for the half-marathon, especially as I started getting into longer runs, I would just take my time running up the hills, and once at the top, just take my time as I continue with my runs.  My thought was that I didn’t want to wear myself out because I still had a long time to run before I was done.

However, a couple months ago, I was talking with some friends who also run, and was listening to one girl’s approach to training here.  And she said you just have to run up the hills and keep on going.  I started thinking about that.  I started thinking that maybe I should take it so easy on the hills, either on the way up, or once at the top. 

So I have started putting in more effort into running up the hills.  And I try to not slow down once I get to the top.  Because, really, it’s such a short amount of time.  I don’t know if this is true or not, but I feel like it’s making me a (slightly) stronger runner.  The hills don’t seem as bad.  And I think by continuing on through the top, I’m working on my recovery rate.

So…bring on those hills!  :)

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Greek Yogurt

This might be my new favorite food.  The jury is still out, but so far, I’m liking it.  I’ve bought it once or twice before.  A few weeks ago, I bought some Oikos yogurt - I got some non-fat vanilla flavor.  Ya know what – not too bad.  It was very smooth.  The flavor was not too sweet, but very enjoyable.  The only down fall – it’s kind of expensive.  At least compared to the store brand non-fat yogurt I usually buy – ~$2 v. $.40!!!

I suggested to Greg that we check out Trader Joe’s.  I know they can be cheaper on some things than regular grocery stores.  We find the Greek yogurt – they have Oikos, as well as their own brand.  In the TJ brand, we saw honey, blueberry, and pomegranate in the small sizes.  I know that they had plain in the large size.  The small sizes were cheaper than the small-sized Oikos.  We got one of each flavor to try.  We also got a large size of the plain yogurt.  This stuff is pretty good – and the great thing – it’s a substitute for sour cream!  The yogurt is not as tangy as plain non-fat plain yogurt.  There is a slight tang, and it’s very smooth.  Tonight I had some Indian dish – it was a little spicy, and we had no sour cream.  So I put a dollop of the plain Greek yogurt in it – it was a great addition.  It cooled off some of the spices.  We’ve also used the yogurt in smoothies.  We’ve started making smoothies – and the yogurt is another great addition.

I’ll still get the flavored yogurts at my grocery.  But I’m also a fan of the Greek yogurts now!  I will definitely be adding them to my diet!

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Wordless Wednesday

(we’ll see if I keep up with this weekly)

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Fruit

I might’ve mentioned our garden.  If you count a few pots of herbs and a couple of topsy-turveys – then, yeah, we have our garden this year.   :)

Last year, we grew herbs.  And did ok with them.  This year, we planted herbs, AND, tomatoes & peppers.  The tomatoes and peppers are in the topsy turveys.  One topsy turvey has cherry and big boy tomatoes.  I don’t remember which plant is which.  The other topsy turvey has red bell peppers and hot chili peppers.

And I’d say, we’re doing pretty well this year.  The herbs are taking off!  In fact, I probably need to cut & freeze some basil, as it’s just growing like crazy!

Even crazier – is how the tomatoes and peppers are growing!  The chili peppers flowered first – however, they are taking their sweet (uh, hot, since they’re not sweet peppers!) time growing in.  The bell peppers, on the other hand, are doing well.  We go outside every morning to see how big the pepper has gotten!  This picture is from yesterday – so far, we have one pepper that’s pretty big – relatively speaking!  And I can see a couple others that are beginnig to form.

As for the tomatoes – those started flowering a while ago, but we had not seen any fruit.  For a while, each plant had only flowers.  All of a sudden, on Sunday morning, I saw two tiny tomatoes on one of the plants!  And I don’t remember which plant, but one of them has a second set of flowers.  This is all very exciting to us, as we added the tomatoes and peppers this year.

We were at my in-laws for Father’s day – and got to see their tomatoes.  My mother-in-law planted 5 or 6 huge pots, had the stakes and everything.  She also has a topsy turvey growing, too.  Let me tell ya – those tomato plants are HUGE!  They have grown SO tall and have so many tomatoes on them!  I think next year, that’s how we’re doing our tomatoes!  :)   I’m sure we’ll plant other fruits and vegetables next year – just slowly adding to our garden!

For now, here’s what we’ve got :)

Cute little bell pepper Up close to the pepper

Tomatoes! Cute Little Bell Pepper

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Peer pressure…and ramblings

Peer pressure first – ok, so it’s not really peer pressure.  I decided to join my neighbor for runs, once a week.  At least for this week – we’ll see how it goes.  We finally talked – and she’s faster than me!  At least on her shorter runs.  However, she wants to do her longer runs at a slower pace.  And her slower pace is a comfortable pace for me.  She also said I can go as long as I want and turn around.  Which I hadn’t thought of, initially.  So I will see what it’s like running with someone!

Ramblings – so pictures were posted from the run I did a couple weeks ago.  Basically it was just finish line pix.  They weren’t bad.  Not sure if I’ll get any.

Downloaded the new OS for my phone.  Some neat new features.  Then I found out that Apple will be offering the new phone to existing customers who are due for an upgrade – at the same, lower price as new customers.  We talked about it briefly, but haven’t decided yet if either of us will be upgrading.

Thinking of adding swimming to my workouts.  I know it’s such a good workout for you.  I’m just scared of the hurt.  Cuz I know it’ll hurt! :)

Our peppers and tomatoes are flowering!  And I see the beginnings of a bell pepper!  It’s very exciting, as this is the first time we’ve tried tomatoes and peppers.  These guys are in a topsy turvy.

And – I’m tired.  Gonna relax for a bit and go to bed – if the pup will let me.  She got a haircut last week, and she’s returned to her normal, playful self.  I think she was hiding behind her fur.  It’s funny.  She’s cute.  But it’s tiring! :)

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Running Partner

I may have an offer to run with someone.  It’s kind of exciting.  And it makes me nervous.

So on facebook, one of the girls mentioned she was training for a thanksgiving day marathon.  I commented that I had thought about it (well, the half, that is), along with 2 other half-marathons that occur within the month before thanksgiving (one Halloween weekend, the other one the weekend after that).  I had told myself I’d start trying to ramp up into shape in June, and then decide the beginning of July if I wanted to run any of these.  I figured that would give me 4 months until the Halloween half – plus I have to factor in a week-10 day vacation in that time frame where I’m probably not doing any running.  However, if I do anything, it will only be a half – I am being realistic and don’t want to do a full marathon at this time.

So on facebook, the girl said she was going her long runs on Friday mornings – which works for me since I’m an early morning exerciser.  But here’s the thing – I have no idea what distance she’s up to nor do I know how fast she runs.  I don’t want to hold her back at all – but what if she’s way speedier than I am???  That scares me.  But, it could get my tush into shape if I keep up with her, right?!  I know I run faster during races (ok, like 5k races, that is) and probably don’t push myself as much when I run by myself.  And what if she’s already doing 7-8 miles, where I haven’t run that far since the half?  I was going to do 5 miles today, but came in a little under that – it was hot, I caught a light almost at the end, my stomach was starting to bother me.  I haven’t plugged it in to see how fast I went or the exact distance.

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The nice thing about running w/her is that we’re neighbors, so we can just leave from our houses together.  The other thing that I just realized is that I walk the first .3-.4 miles when I run from the house – I use it as my warm-up, plus, I don’t want to start my run going up hill!!!  What if she wants to start running straight from the house?  I never run that hill when I’m just starting out.  It could make for a looooong run, starting off out of breath.  It could also make me stronger & better, if I do it more often!

On the other hand, it would be nice to have a running partner – someone to push me, someone to go out on long runs with.  Ah – the dilemma.  I think I should contact her first to see where she is, distance & speed-wise, and then decide on it.

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Edamame Lo Mein

A couple days ago, someone I follow on Twitter, posted a link to this recipe, on the Eating Well website.  I LOVE edamame, so I was very interested in making this recipe.  I made it for dinner tonight, and it was delicious.  So good, that Greg said he would even order this in a restaurant!  I’m thinking that’s the best compliment, right?!

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8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
2 cups frozen edamame (shelled soybeans)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast             *not part of original recipe – I added this
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup oyster sauce or vegetarian “oyster” sauce
1/4 cup rice-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 small red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks

1. Saute chicken in a large pan.  Set chicken aside when done.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and edamame and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
3. Meanwhile, whisk scallions, oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and crushed red pepper in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.
4. In the same pan that the chicken was cooked, heat canola oil over high heat. Add carrots and bell peppers and cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pasta and edamame. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is crispy in spots, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sauce and stir to combine.

Finishing touches

Finishing touches

Dinner's Served

Dinner's Served

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