THREE homeruns in one day – score!

I pulled out all the stops today and made not one, but TWO new and different meals today.  For a lazy Saturday, I think that’s pretty outrageous, even for me.

Lunch was a stuffed tomato with leftover quinoa.

The beefsteak tomatoes cost me an arm and a leg ($3.50 for 2!), but it was worth it to hear Andrew approve.  The filling was a mix of diced, cooked chicken, pineapple and spinach, dressed with olive oil and dijon mustard.  It was a cinch to whip up and you could easily do just about anything with this…switch out the filling components and use ranch dressing or a balsamic vinaigrette, or you could always stuff a pepper.

After lunch we headed into EA; me to visit Abigail at Fowler’s and Andrew to spend some time at work prepping for a Monday telecon.  I “splurged” (not really since I ran THIRTEEN miles, but still) and got a scoop of Birthday Bash ice cream before leaving.  YUM.  It’s cake-flavored ice cream with swirls of blue icing.  Seriously amazing.

I picked up the mail at Andrew’s parents’ house and then he arrived from work and we left to run errands.  On the agenda:  buy Holly a new bathing suit.  This proved much harder than we thought it would be, seeing as it’s early August and pretty much everything that’s left is on the clearance rack.  And it’s either all tops or all bottoms.  How that happens, I don’t know…

After striking out at Target, Kohl’s, Swim City (it had a “For Lease” sign on the door…grrr) and TJ Maxx, we made a last-ditch effort and headed across the street to the mall.  SCORE!  JC Penney was loaded!  I was able to pick two different patterns to try on, and, thankfully, the one I loved from the moment I saw it totally worked.  It was meant to be.  And major bonus points to Andrew who was incredibly patient through all of this suit-shopping.

When we finally got back to the hotel, I hurriedly whipped dinner together.  Spicy Southwestern Tabbouleh, or, in this case, barley.  If you don’t know, tabbouleh is a classic Middle Eastern dish made with bulgar, parsley and mint.  I had just used up the last of my bulgar, so I substituted barley and cooked it earlier in the day.

It’s full of southwestern spices, like chili powder, paprika, cumin and allspice, and veggies akin to taco fillings: red onion, cilantro, tomatoes, yellow pepper and jalapeno.  I added avocado to mine and leftover diced chicken to Andrew’s.  It was a hit with both of us.  This is also a very versatile dish; you could use just about any grain here.  Brown rice would be a fantastic choice, and one most people have in their pantry.

I found these at Target today and thought I’d give them a try.

The coconut flavor caught my eye.  I’m obsessed with coconut-anything lately.  Not sure why…  A co-worked of mine a few years ago used to drink these all the time and I’ve been intrigued ever since.  I’m not a big mineral/sparkling water fan, but because I don’t like drinking sugary drinks, I thought these might be good.  Well…  I’m still not a sparkling water fan, and I think it’s a taste you have to get used to.  I’m also not sure coconut was the flavor to start with; they have other ones like lime or cran-raspberry, which might have gone down easier.  I am, however, willing to keep drinking them to see if I develop a taste for it.  It’s zero calories without an artificial sweetener, which is important to me.  Who knows?  I might be a convert in no time!

Tomorrow is our beach day with some of Andrew’s friends from work and Abigail!


I had leftovers for lunch today.  Last night I grilled zucchini, lettuce, red onion and asparagus and mixed them all into the leftover barley I had sitting in the fridge from the other day.  I served that with grilled kielbasa from the freezer.  The only bad thing about using my grill pan here in the hotel is that it makes the room SO SMOKY!  It’s going to be a smoky summer…

I tore up some of the romaine I got at the farmers’ market and topped it with the leftover barley and veggie salad and some tomatoes, then drizzled it with the balsamic syrup.

I served it with the toasted rye and flaxseed bread I got Saturday at the Co-op spread with the goat cheese from the farmers’ market, along with hummus and cucumbers.

YUM.  And it was so healthy and I felt so good eating it.  Yay barley 🙂

magnificent dinner and Amazon rocks

This is what I made for dinner last night:

I roasted farmer’s market asparagus in the toaster oven (something I did at home a ton), made barley and added my own frozen herbs from last years’ garden and grilled steak on my grill pan.  I see the grill pan getting A LOT of use this summer in the kitchenette.  I drizzled my all-in-Italian balsamic syrup over the steaks.  Served them up with the last of the Fingerlakes Riesling our friends JD and Sara gave us a bit ago.  Again, not bad for a kitchenette.

A moment on photography:  I suck.  Seriously.  I do not know how to use Andrew’s camera to save my life.  The above photo was taken in the kitchenette on the “no flash” setting.

This one was taken by the window:

I don’t really like either of them.  I realize natural light is better, I just don’t think I used it properly.

Amazon to the rescue!

I found Anna Pump’s newest cookbook, Summer on a Plate, on Amazon for $9 yesterday, and because she is Ina’s (a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa) best friend and partial inspiration, I knew this was one I had to have in my collection the moment I first saw it a month or so ago.  (Thank you Susy, for showing me it’s OK to have a gazillion cookbooks–they are both beautiful AND functional!)

ANYWAY, in order to get free shipping we all know you have to spend $25…so I called Andrew to see if there was anything he had been eyeing on Amazon.  No luck.  I put it in my cart and logged off.  And then I remembered…

…Pioneer Woman’s macaron and photography weekend at the Lodge!  No, of course I didn’t win.  I never win anything from her…might be because 60 THOUSAND other people want to win, too.  Helene, from Tartlette, just came out with a food styling and photography book, Plate to Pixel, and PW was raving about it (and was included in her weekend prize package), so I decided to take a peek on Amazon to see how much her book was.

Wouldn’t you know it was only $16???

Needless to say, both of those goodies will be arriving on my in-laws’ doorstep in just a few days.