Monday, January 30, 2012

3 Weeks a Gym Member

Hello gym! Goodbye Couch!

Alright, so that is not a commitment that I am going to make in both direction... But I am committed to going to the gym Monday through Friday!  I will still spend time with you, dear couch, as the DVR and I have a serious relationship.  {Thank goodness for DVR!}

Things I like at the gym:  When I am somehow able to push through the last rep, sweating {makes me feel accomplished}, jamming out to the Dance Cardio station on Pandora, being younger than most of the other members, getting to tell people "Yeah, I went to the gym this morning..."

Things I do not like at the gym:  Being on a cardio machine next to a skinny chick {not the word I was thinking, but seemed less offensive}, being on any machine next to a stinky man {had to switch from my fav machine today it was so icky}, loud obnoxious guy who is offensive and annoying {oh and OBNOXIOUS}, old ladies blow drying their hair in the locker room NAKED, and germs.

Today I did feel very accomplished, because I was glistening and out of breath at a few times!  I even sent a photo via text to my skinny gym going friend and she was impressed, rightly so I'd say!  She said she was proud of me, this in turn made me proud of me.  Wonderfully feeling, a little self pride!

Although my body is changing on me as I have half of my twenties before me, I am determined to make it change that way that I see fit.  Take that!, Body!  I am going to treat it with respect and discipline so that it will be whipped into shape.  Think of it as a camp for kids who are bigger than many others - fat camp - even though I will call it healthy camp so that I will not be discouraged.

Goodnight world, happy gym going and/or couch sitting!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Recipe List

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

Tostada Pizza

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

***Breaking a bottle of bubbly on the bow of this ship for the FIRST POSTED RECIPE!***

I am already a lover of all things vegetable and this is a dish I was delighted with! 
It was also husband approved, even though he prefers fruit :)  
The not-too-much cheese leaves the top a bit crunchy, yum!

After my husband and I devoured it, I was left thinking of all the options it could have!
Decide which veggies sound good to you, will go over in your home or that you haven't tried.

The whole family can enjoy this one bowl dinner!

{roasted vegetable pasta bake}

 I dance and often sing while I am creating meals! 
 Have fun!  
 The kitchen can be your stage to get creative! 

Prep: 30 min.  Bake: 20 min.
Servings: About 6

11in. x 7in. baking dish
large bowl
15in. x 10in. x 1in. baking sheet/pan

3-4 cups fresh vegetables cut into 1/4in. x 1in. pieces  {see options}
1 medium onion - chopped, about 1in. pieces
1 cup frozen veggies thawed  {see options}
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, no salt added, do not drain
3/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Cooking Spray - I use olive oil cooking spray
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed

{options} to tickle your fancy!
Fresh Veggies: I used 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash and 1 cup cauliflower - You could use almost any veggie! - Mushrooms, red or green bell pepper, asparagus or even eggplant! *Careful! Naturally dryer veggies cook much quicker, pick some that have moisture*

Frozen Veggies: I used corn, peas and carrots - You could use peas, carrots, corn, broccoli, or lima beans!

{how to}
Preheat oven to 425*F 
In a large bowl (I do mean LARGE) toss together fresh veggies and onion with olive oil and Italian seasoning.
Arrange in a single layer on foil lined baking sheet/pan.
Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until tender - watch for tips and edges of veggies to brown.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. (add to boiling water until tender but not mushy) Drain.

Turn oven down to 350*F

In your LARGE bowl combine pasta, roasted veggies, thawed frozen veggies, shredded cheese, undrained tomatoes, salt and pepper.

Transfer to greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Dot with butter cubes.
Cover and bake for 10 minutes.  
Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbling or darkening on top.
Let sit for 5 minutes to cool.


{Leave me a comment below to tell me how it went, leave questions & suggestions, or a recipe request}

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I am by no means an 'expert' or a 'chef', I am not schooled in cooking or baking.  Rather, I am self taught, still make mistakes and have fun, but that is how I discover new things to make and share with you.

I am excited to share recipes that are yummy, mostly found and altered, some made up, and ranging from very simple to a bit of a challenge, super affordable to little splurges, very health minded to indulgences, and more!

     I have been posting photos of things that I cook and create in the kitchen ever since I left the nest.  This was about a year and a half ago.  My mother, upon noticing the amounting posts of dinner creations, said "I should have named you Betty!".  Hilarious, as I am sure that Ms. Crocker would make me eat her crumbs in the way of everything recipe.  I did not take much interest in cooking while living with my parents.  Apart from the occasional baking and very rare "cooking" (macaroni and cheese from a box, sandwiches etc.), there were no inclinations that I might not live off of pre-boxed and fast food.  But I was engaged to be married in three months and moving out for the first time and I thought "Hey! I can be a house wife! Right?".

     This leads me to tell you a little about my kitchen!  Little indeed.  It is a small, apartment kitchen.  With a small fridge, shallow sink and mismatched lower quality stove/oven and dishwasher.  I brought with me a hand-me-down microwave and less than $30 toaster.  Plus all of the glory that is kitchen decor.
     Kitchen Decor: Not of tangible function or purpose, but for emotional and spiritual lightening.  Color and some whimsy are good things.  Necessities.

For today, how about a little tour?
 Wooden salad bowls - I have never used these to serve food for two reasons: 
I think they make lovely decor and I am nervous that using them would make them less lovely.

 Just a couple of love chickens on a cake stand - Putting simple things on a 'pedestal'

 Open air storage - for my nicest bake ware and jewel of a dutch oven :)

 Floral contact paper on shelves and an owl trivet = Cheerful and useful!

 In an apartment or home with less built in storage, storing things out in plain sight is acceptable!
 Yes, my fridge. Showing the world that the As Seen On Tv perfectly organized ice box is not a reality!
(Not for longer than a day after the occasional clean outs anyway)

 Magazines and cookbooks galore! I stack them 'neatly' on my shelf all together like a little library of goodies.

Gerald the giraffe, as my husband named him, keeping up the optimism by 'hanging in there' with engagement, baby, and marriage announcements on the coveted Front-Of-Fridge display.

Well friends (Yes, we are friends now.), I will show you a few of the staples in my kitchen that a cook of my aptitude is requiring and/or loving... (Yes, I cleaned just before I did a photo sesh!

 This is IT. The stove top and the oven that has the easy job. All it has to do it get as hot as I tell it to.  It is adorned with one of the roosters gifted to me, kissing chicken shakers, happily tacky timers, whistling tea pot (if it didn't whistle, I'd forget it), owl trivet, S&P, and an always available dish towel.

 Perched nearby are a knife block with a good variety of things to run with, a lazy-susan style spice rack with most basics, a holder of cooking utensils, and my trusty cutting board made of teak from a sustainably farmed crop.

 Flavor go-to's : Black pepper, chili powder (not hot), Mrs. Dash (no salt seasoning), Italian blend of seasonings, and a giant jar of minced garlic (judged often by only-fresh-garlic users everywhere, but it has great value in my kitchen)

 My BELOVED. Stand mixer in cherry red with attachments including: whisk, dough hook, paddle and grater/slicer. Literally makes my life so much easier (and fancy!).

 A few things I love - rounded measuring cups and spoons, bamboo utensils (for any cookware), small-ish grippy handle tongs, a mini collapsible strainer (called a berry strainer sometimes), scrapers covered completely in silicone (non-slip, do not get hot and wont melt in any pot or pan!)

 As much FRESH fruit and veggies as I can for any recipe.  Much healthier and flavorful than frozen or canned, but can be the extra dollars on your grocery receipt. 
(Although I do use some frozen and canned ingredients in many recipes)

 Wonderful discovery, I received as a gift.  Garlic flavored olive oil! Adds SO much flavor to recipes!

Plain extra virgin olive oil, because it is healthier for you than vegetable oil and because not every recipe wants garlic flavor.  (Not for baking confections! I'll just say 'Ew".)

There you have it folks!  My kitchen in all of its glory... ?  It is nothing extravagant, un-affordable or reachable goals.  My haven/lab for cooking, creating and experimenting with food to feed my husband, family, friends, neighbors and myself.

Look forward to my first recipe very soon!  I know I am!  You can expect that I will be posting recipes with commentary as well as tidbits of my preferences, discoveries and tips.

I am anxious to see your comments below telling me of your journeys with my recipes and tips as well as recipe requests and questions!

Thank you for stopping by! I am looking forward to this adventure!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On the fence of disappointment and assurance...

Today I mustered up the strength to walk into the office where I would demand, rather ask, what the status of my possible impending employment.
There were versions of how the conversation would go reeling through my head for days.

Some of the possible imagined responses to my inquiry included:

"Yes! We are ready to hire you today! We were hoping you could quit your job today, take a week's vacation, and start at a very generous wage.  And we will give you all the free massages from the next door spa that you could ever need!" (Okay, so that version may be slightly exaggerated.. A girl can dream!)

"Sorry, we aren't going to be able to hire you.  We have hired someone else and they have experience in this exact field and position, also they are related to everyone here.  And we will not be paying you for working the home shows." (Alright, also exaggerated... But it was the deep end of the pool with no shallow end.)

Realistic what if's:

"We still want to hire you, but for business financial reasons we cannot do so at this time.  Also we do not have a good grip on the time frame at all.  So keep waiting and we will call you when we are able to hire.  When the time comes, you are our first choice and do not plan to interview anyone else."

"We are able to hire in a few weeks your start date is February 1st."

"We are not going to be needing a receptionist as it turns out."

Well folks, good-ish news is it was the first one in the realistic what if's that they said.  This was bitter-sweet news, but I suppose that is better than bad news.  I was happy to hear that they want me, that I am basically pre-hired!  The bitter part being that the timeline is unknown.  Because they are going through a temporary financial unsettlement and that as soon as they know how that is going to turn out, they will contact with me.  If their issue settles soon and favorably it could be a few months, if it settles soon or later especially unfavorably then it could be a lot longer... A year plus?  This would be very bad news.

In any case, I am going to think about looking for a job that is daytime only and hopefully Monday thru Friday.  This would make me the most happy.  I would create some financial stability and mental stability.  Working in the food service industry is just not cutting it anymore.

Happy for what I have, in love with my husband and my puppy who is not a puppy. :)


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Things I potentially want to be when I grow up...

Among the many things flying through my brain at any given time, there are many many things I could potentially want to be when I grow up or at some point in my life...

  • Interior Designer
  • Photographer
  • Event/Wedding Planner
  • Florist
  • Model Scout
  • Videographer
  • Personal Stylist/Makeover Professional
  • Make-Up Artist
  • Crafter That Gets Paid For Crafting
  • Mommy
  • Homeowner
  • Landscape Designer
  • Painter
  • Lip Model (Not THAT kind! Wash your mind out with soap!)
  • Runner/Exerciser
  • Couponer

Ok, so I could clarify that the list is not only of interesting-to-me career options, but also personal 'traits'(?).

Here's the conundrum: I do not think that it would be wise to attempt them all. At least not all at the same time.  Doesn't mean that I won't attempt them all at some point in my life.

Goals are good, essential. Without them life is sedentary.  But is there such thing as too many?
This is a crazy making list. How will I ever choose???

I feel like saying that I  l.o.v.e.  my husband, like a lot.  I LOVE that he makes me feel strong, but understands weak moments. I LOVE that he makes me laugh, really laugh.  I LOVE when he laughs, really laughs.  and I LOVE his heart and soul!!! 


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Like a horse track in my head...

Grogginess passes each morning while the gates are loaded and ready to fly open.  Clinking around and restless jostling.  Then 'Off they go!".  My mind races with so so so many things everyday, all day.  I go about my business as they take each corner faster, each straight away gaining speed still.  Then night comes.  I am tired, which makes my mind weaker against the thoughts that are now a tangled grouping, all so close, not one seems to stay ahead for but a few seconds.  By the time I decide to force myself to lay down and attempt sleep, there is nothing but a blur.  The line is being crossed by them all at once.  Noses are a many in the last second photo.  One is determined the most stressful and the rest so close.  But tomorrow is another day, another chance for each topic of irritation, hope, worry and stress to leap beyond the others.  Even if just for a split second.
The race is constant seeming.  Each day the thoughts race and race, overwhelming me with feelings.  Leaving me sometimes confused, hopeful, hopeless, worried, excited, and weary. All at once.

Where is my passion? What do I pursue? Which idea is most doable, exciting, profitable, fulfilling, worth it?  Why can I not find the motivation or drive or will power to do the things I NEED to do?

A list of recurring thoughts: 
In current order as of this very moment. (Could and will shift at a moments notice).

  • Lose weight- for health, for pregnancy(I am not pregnant!), for happiness, for quality of life, for self esteem, for self image, for my future children as an example, for my marriage (not in jeopardy, but my being more happy with myself would only benefit our relationship).  Stop hating the size I am. and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. 
  • NOT HAPPY BEING A WAITRESS ANYMORE! I do not want another make-no-difference part time irritation causing job.
  • Career- find one, decide on one, pursue one, how? for financial cushion, stability and support. for saving for having babies, for buying a house, for travel. For peace of mind.  ONE? Photography, Interior Design, Arts & Crafts.... Is doing them ALL possible? Feasible?
  • [Will I get the receptionist job at the showroom? It seems like it would make a WORLD of differences!]
  • Hobbies- narrow down, organize, do. for my sanity, for creative outlet, for feeling productive.  for sales?  Are they a waste of time in light of not having a job I enjoy?

FEW! A sigh of temporary relief from a compulsive list maker.

Taking a moment to remember what I am lucky to have and what is wonderful about my life:
Beyond words wonderful amazing awesome husband - he is my best friend.
Family that is close, healthy, helpful and loving.
Puppy who is not a puppy but I love him so dearly.
A roof over my head and all of the 'stuff' we are blessed to have.
A fridge and cupboards full of food, we will not be hungry.
Overall in good health.
A job for me and a job for my husband.
No debt other than student loans.

Okay so the list is wonderfully long... Time to remember that the little things are the best things, there are wonderful things to know about each day and to see everywhere.