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“Scent”sational

Y’all, it smells like cheese in my office. Don’t read this wrong. I’m not saying “ewwww it smells like cheese.” It’s not a bad thing (really). Someone is eating cheese nearby, I can just tell. (I smell it.) And, whoa boy does this make me want some cheese.

All right, let’s hop off the crazy train. I don’t want this to turn into a post about my love of cheese. (You all know that by now.)

I set a new personal distance record on Saturday! Hubs and I ran six miles Saturday am. It wasn’t speedy, but it was almost fun. Like my four miler on Thursday, there was never really a point where I absolutely hated what I was doing/really, really wanted to stop. It’s so hard for me to believe that I’ll be running more than double that distance in a month and a half or so. Whoa!

On Friday, Hubs and I joined our friends for our first night out in three weeks at Truckeroo!

(Source.)
Truckeroo is a gathering of about twenty of DC’s food trucks; it’s happening once a month through October at “Das Bullpen” near Nationals’ Park. Hubs and I split an order of Poutine from “Eat Wonky.” Hubs then got soft shell crab tacos (not kidding) from Sabora Street while I dined on Ethiopian cuisine from the Fojol Brothers. Holy YUM! I had the berbere beef (slightly spicy but so flavorful) and shiro (which was so good that I can’t even describe it) complimented (and consumed) by inerja (Ethiopian sponge bread). I was stuffed and the meal was just $7. Let’s just say I cannot wait to get my hands on some more Fojol Brother’s Cuisine! I decided to round out my evening with a trip to the Pleasant Pops truck where I scored a summer peach pop (which tasted exactly like a huge, juicy peach) and a lei.

I’d highly recommend the Fojol Brothers for a delicious, filling street food meal. Pleasant Pops is equally awesome and the perfect summer treat. They frequent a lot of DC Markets so be on the look out! Their fruit and dairy are all local which is also a plus. I’m looking forward to returning to Truckeroo in August to try out some other food trucks. (Wow, now I’ve made myself hungry all over again…)

Speaking of being hungry, Hubs has undertaken something slightly crazy this week. He watched some documentary on Netflix about an Austrailian man who did a 60 day juice fast to help with his medical conditions and weight. By the end of his fast (which was overseen by a doctor) he had lost a decent amount of weight and was on little to no medication to treat his (now prior) medical conditions. Hubs thought it sounded interesting and, after our indulgent weekend, he decided to give it a go for the next five days.

Instead of juice, he’s drinking smoothies made up entirely of fruits and vegetables. He rolled through the produce section last night just grabbing all sorts of greens, fruits, veggies, etc. He is also planning to eat nuts (almonds and walnuts) as well as a light white bean salad to help keep his calorie count up in a good range and to make sure he’s getting all the protein he needs. Neither one of us is sure if he’ll make it five days and neither one of us knows what benefits (if any) he’ll see. However, before he undertook this we both agreed that if it ever got “dangerous” he would immediately quit and have a real meal. I’ll let you know how this works out/how grumpy he is… 🙂

I’m also trying to eat (mostly) clean this week after my past week of glutenous eating. I planned out my meals, bought some extra fruits and veggies, and made sure not to bring any alcohol or dessert into the house. When consumed in moderation, treats are fine. I just have problems with moderation. 🙂 I’ve got a couple new recipes on tap so that will keep things interesting. (I just feel slightly guilty cooking when Hubs can only drink a smoothie. Maybe it won’t look good and he won’t feel like he’s missing out on anything?)

How was your weekend? Have you ever tried any kind of “raw” diet?

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Onto the next one

Better late than never! It’s time to welcome July with a quick look back at June.

1. Get my mileage up! (2/4) I did pretty well with this for most of the month. Even though my mileage wasn’t as high as it needed to be, I was pushing for long runs and running more often. The last week in June definitely suffered after Buddy’s accident. I’m looking forward to really kicking up a notch in July.
2. Weight train (at least once a week). (4/4) They may have not happened once a week as planned, but I did get (at least) four strength training sessions in. Sometimes it was just arms, sometimes it was the P90x “Ab Ripper X” dvd, sometimes it was both. I can’t wait to continue this and see my running and fitness continue to improve. 
3. Read three books that are non-fiction or classics. (4/3) I crushed this pretty much. Books: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4. Get Laptop fixed. Seriously, Anna. I did get an external hard drive for our fading desktop computer and I got a wireless USB thinking that might fix our laptop connectivity problems. But, unfortunuately, it still doesn’t recognize our home wireless even though all our other electronics do. 
5. Make a savings plan for summer fun trips. Hubs and I knocked this out pretty quickly. We’ve been following it successfully as well. 
6. Make four new recipes. (3/4) Again, I think I could have nailed this if we hadn’t spent the past week in a daze/frenzy after Buddy’s run in with a car. Still, three new recipes isn’t shabby! Quinoa salad for lunches, pound cake, and Thai Chicken Soup — I would make all of these again!

Time to look at July!
1. Try out four new recipes. I already have at least one in mind for next week! If we’re staying in with the hound for “house arrest” we might as well eat some good things!
2. Run 45 miles in July. After my Saturday run, I “only” need 42.5 more miles!
3. Read six books, three non-fiction or classic. The Kindle has been spurring on my reading. And with “hound house arrest” I should be able to read even more.
4. Share at least two book reviews. I’ll aim for our current book club pick and something perhaps a little fluffier.
5. Complete six strength training sessions for the month. I like seeing my body get stronger and my running get better.
6. Post at least 10 times this month.

What are you up to this month? Any suggestions for books to read or recipes to try? I’m all ears!

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Mid Year Resolution Gut Check

I’m a little astounded that we’re halfway through the year already. It feels like Christmas was a few weeks ago — how has the summer gotten here so fast?

I figured it was about time to give myself a little look in the mirror and see how I’m doing with my resolutions.

1) Re-introduce weights.
I could be doing so much better with this. I love lifting. I just need to remind myself of that. This month, I’m re-introducing it in manageable, baby bite sized chunks. Then, next month I’ll add a little more. I want to be toned and feel great come September for the half (more on that in a minute) and our beach trip.

2) Run a half marathon. 
I signed up for this race! Yes, I actually did it! And, to boot, I got my husband and two good friends on board as well. I’m registered, we have a hotel room, I’ve got a training plan, and dammit I am going to do this!

3) Vary my reading.
I’ve been doing pretty good with this little goal. I’m realizing that I’m definitely better at knocking out non-fiction as opposed to classics. That’s a pity because there are so many classics I want to read. I’m hoping that having a Kindle (and free access to a lot of these books) will improve my classics record.  Don’t forget to add me as a friend on Goodreads! I love stealing book ideas from people. 🙂

4) Write letters.
I did pretty well with this for the first few months. Then, I got a few letters back and saved them with the intention of responding. They are still sitting in my cubby of the living room table. Whoops! I’ll work on sending some post cards from my trips this summer!

5) Get student loans under $X.
This is going very well. We are chugging away. I did some calculations yesterday about how much we’ve paid off in the (just under) two years we’ve been paying on the loans. I am astounded by how well we’ve done. Definitely on track here to meet my goal and pay off the loans before this time next year!

6) Cook!
Doing very well here too! Hubs and I have definitely been entertaining a lot. I’ve been picking a lot of our recipes for our meals and am generally starting to feel very at home in the kitchen!

7) Stop wasting time.
I gave up Facebook for Lent and that helped with this for a while. Lately, I’ve found myself killing time again lately. Refreshing facebook, twitter, and news sites. Re-checking blogs that I just looked at. Mindlessly watching TV that Hubs has on. I’m trying to avoid these time sucks but by the time I realize what I’m doing sometimes, I’ve wasted half an hour! Must stop wasting time! 

I’m satisfied with that. Looks like 3 goals could use some improvements and 4 are coming along swimmingly! Thankfully no huge failures on the horizon here! How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?

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Ready for it!

Good Morning Folks!

The pollen has abated marginally so I’m feeling much better. Also making me feel better, the reintroduction of CHEESE into my life! That’s right folks, Lent is over and cheese is back on!

Hubs and I celebrated Easter with a yummy brunch at Alexandria’s Evening Star Cafe, lots of baking/cooking on my part for the week, and a Mac and Cheese dinner I’ve wait a month and a half for!

Source: http://www.wisconsinmommy.com
Truffle Mac and Cheese from Noodles and Company!

I could have handled more cheese, but really, it hit the spot! Yesterday I also had: quiche made with grueyre (among other things), grits with cheese, and numerous cheese samples at Whole Foods. I fully intend to continue my cheese domination today as well.

Yesterday’s kitchen creations were another round of Rachel’s Spring Chicken Cups (I’m eating one right now on a toated english muffin) and Emily’s Surprise Muffins. Both were excellent successes! Last time I made the spring chicken cups, I overcooked them and didn’t add enough veggies/flavor. This time they are bursting with onion, garlic, chives, spinach, and some cheese (of course). Love! The Surprise Muffins have been declared by the Husband his FAVORITE muffins ever! I drifted from Emily’s vegan take and used cow’s milk, an egg, etc. For my “filling” I tried out Crofter’s Superfruit North American Spread. I’ve wanted an excuse to give this a try for a while and found the muffins to be the perfect venue for them. I’ll be making another two batches of these muffins tomorrow for my work’s bake off! I also can’t wait to try them with other fillings. Yum!

Training runs are going fairly well. I’m still having some trouble motivating myself but I keep telling myself I really have no choice now! That seems to be working pretty well. What’s not going well, is my attempts at reading a classic this month. I picked Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park as it is the last full Jane Austen novel I have to read. I am not really enjoying it and find it very slow. I’m at the halfway point and just now starting to see a glimmer of an actual plot. Come on Jane Austen, don’t let me down now!

My coffee and muffin/egg breakfast has come to an end, so it’s back to work with me. How was your Easter? And, what have you been cooking up lately?

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Awkward Kitchen

Sometimes I wish my husband would go on work travel.

Okay, that’s really not true.

The ONLY reason I wish he’d go on work travel? Anna food. Husband and I enjoy 99% of the same foods. The 1% of difference comes from his willingness to try animal organs (no thank you), eat rabbits (I had a pet bunny), and his love of SPICY food. The food that I crave, normally, is much simpler than what my husband likes. He loves to cook when it means HOURS in the kitchen and a HUGE spread at the end. When he cooks like that, he enjoys my help but is also just as happy to do it on his own.

My husband seems to excel at everything he tries for the first time. And he’s SO MUCH FASTER than me. I tend to get a little harried when other people are around and find that prep/cooking times need to have at least 50% added on to them to accommodate my pace.

I am getting better and I’m trying to encourage myself to feel more comfortable. My husband has NEVER been negative or hurried me. He is a wonderful encourager in the kitchen. But, I’m just not good at not being good at something. 🙂 I’m quite the perfectionist.

Lately, husband has taken the back seat in meal planning and let me take more control. I really love planning meals and now I get to run with it. Somehow, this makes me feel more comfortable. I’ve been coming up with lists of ideas for meals and discussing them with him. We pick our favorites and he lets me take the lead in the kitchen. I’m still unsure sometimes, but I’m definitely getting more confident in the kitchen. 

And, I’m actually really looking forward to cooking this week. Since I’m the one suggesting the meals, I know I won’t suggest something I’m not comfortable fixing. Here’s to slowly expanding my comfort levels in the kitchen.

Oh, and if husband wants animal innards for dinner he will always have to fix those for himself!

 

Are you/were you ever uncomfortable in the kitchen? What helped you?

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Hot Saturday Night In

That’s right folks, coming to you live from my HOT Saturday night in! Actually, it’s nice not to have anything to do. I’ve got Pandora queued up and a little dog for company.

I worked on a new recipe this evening. It’s another from the Test Kitchen Slowcooker Revolution book — I love that thing! This is a breakfast recipe – a sausage and potato Spanish Tortilla. I was super excited to find an egg recipe that didn’t call for copious amounts of cheese. The apartment smells awesome right now, but I have come to the conclusion that I would never make it as a prep cook. I’m absolutely slow as molasses when it comes to chopping and dicing, etc. I always forget how slow I am because Husband is usually around to help. Ha ha ha! Oh well, as long as the end result is good…

I finished up curious incident of the dog in night time  this evening also. It was an interesting reading experience. If you haven’t  read it, the story is told by an autistic teenager. You get some intriguing insight into all his quirks and compulsions. I enjoyed that the chapter numbers are all prime numbers. It was kind of like reading Room since the narrator isn’t “fully developed” like in most books.

I’m beat this evening! Today had lots of errands, a minor stint of helping a friend move, and making muffins in addition to the Spanish tortilla. (I certainly hope this is as good as it smells!) Husband is over at a friend’s tonight for guys’ night so I’m going to take advantage of having the apartment to myself and watch a little trashy tv. Y’all have a good night!

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Out like a Lamb

March, I’m a little sad to see you go. You were pretty awesome! You brought me my first wedding anniversary, a delightful mountain vacation, several excellent meals/visits with friends, and lots of excitement for the months to come.

March also had goals. Some met with success and some, not so much. Let’s take a look see!
1. Read another five books – Almost! I got 4/5; Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson, Room by Emma Donohue, and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. My favorite out of these was Stones Into Schools!
2. One of those books, non fiction or classic – Check – Stones Into Schools!
3. Try out at least three new recipes – Check! We tried a variety of new delights including a delicious slow cooker lasagna with mushrooms and spinach, a new “fake” egg salad recipe (which we made again last night), and a Shepperd’s Pie recipe from the slowcooker book that we adapted to the stovetop.
4. Write three letters – Also check; I actually exceeded this one and sent out my fourth letter yesterday.
5. Be able to run three miles straight – Oooo, not so much. I made it up to 1.5 miles. I had plans to be over two, but being sick this week set me back.
6. Buy a kettlebell (check!) and do a kettlebell workout at least three times –So I got the kettlebell, but only managed two of my three goal workouts. Again, being sick put a damper on this as I had planned to do another work out earlier this week.

Obviously I cannot go a month without some goals. So, here is what’s up for April:
1. Be ready to start half-marathon training (aka be able to run three miles with minimal walking breaks). This is mandated by Thea who will be creating my half marathon training schedule – I start May 1!
2. Complete 6 strength training work outs. (0/6) I miss my muscle tone! These can be kettlebell workouts, gym workouts, bootcamps, whatever as long as I feel the burn!
3. Make 3 more new recipes, including something to share. (0/3) I already have a few things up my sleeve!
4. Read 5 books, for real this time! (0/5) My upcoming travel for a family wedding should help since I’ll be killing time in an airport for a while.
5. One of these books should be a classic. (0/1) I’m not doing so hot with this part of my resolution. Anne of Green Gables is still a work in progress and probably won’t count until May.
6. Stick to our weekly budgets. (0/5) We’ve been diverging from our meal plans a little too much and spending more money than we should. Eating in more/sticking to our plans should help me achieve at least three new recipes!

So, what’s April got in store for me?

  • I’ll be making my first trip to the dentist in over two years. It is also worth noting that I’m horrified of the dentist. I’m already a little anxious thinking about it.
  • I’m headed to Atlanta and then on to St. Augustine for my cousin’s wedding!
  • About a bazillion friends have birthdays that need celebrating. This is always excellent!
  • I am teleworking a ton which is wonderful!
  • Hubs has some work travel coming up and I’m fairly jealous. It’s okay though because he can’t come to St. Augustine due to school work.

What are you excited about in April? Are you making any goals this month?

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