the mice, they are a-playin’

At least this one has been…  Playing, and school-working, and running and cooking…   I have been a BUSY girl these last few days, filling my extra free time to the max!  So busy, I haven’t even had time to BLOG-gasp!

Let’s see…where did I leave off?

Well, Andrew’s long gone, but I can’t not post about the fantastic dinner we had Wednesday.  Foreign!

I pulled this recipe for Banh Mi sandwiches out of a Food Network magazine back in 2008 or 2009.  It has, literally, been sitting in my “to try” recipe binder (in the fish section), waiting for such a time as this.  Well, the stars aligned last week and I finally made them…

You can see the fish peeking out from under the watercress and carrot.  The seasoning for the fish was super easy and really good–I just sauteed coconut oil (which is solid at room temperature) for a minute or two, added some Thai red curry paste and cooked it a little longer, then slathered it all over the fish before broiling.  It smelled SO GOOD.  I’m keeping the recipe because I think it’s such a unique flavoring, and the asian sauce you make to go with it was a winner, too.

Andrew left Thursday, which was the night I made my hawaiian pizza.  Check out my solo dinner set-up:

Disclaimer: About a minute after I took the photo, I traded the magazines for the laptop and perused my usual: Kath’s blog, Facebook and  I call them my guilty pleasures.

Check out that perfectly browned cheese!  With a good red sauce, hawaiian pizza cannot be beat.  Although I don’t know that I’ll be using fresh mozzarella next time for pizza; it’s best reserved for caprese salad.

Thursday night was also the night I chose to clean the WHOLE house…kind of like a mini-spring cleaning.  I always clean when Andrew leaves…  The way I see it: the earlier I get the place cleaned up, I longer I get to experience a clean house without having to pick up after anyone else!  It’s been glorious…

The next morning, at 6:30 a.m. no less(!), Emily and I did one of our Made to Crave discussion dates over the phone.

Is it bad that I was eating at the same time I was discussing a Bible study about CONTROLLING eating???  I suppose I should fess up and admit I printed out TWO cookie recipes from King Arthur Flour’s ‘best cookie line-up’ just moments before this shot was taken…

Also, note the “cookie-like” object on my plate…  They’re called “Anytime Cookies” and they’re from an online site called Nourished Kitchen.  I made them a day or so before Andrew left and WOW.  Loved them!  Super easy, SUPER healthy (no added sweeteners–just sweet from dried fruit) and the texture was great.  They’re kind of like a mini-muffin more than a cookie.  But at only 127 calories, they’re easier to have as a snack with some fruit or yogurt (or both) than something bigger or heavier.  I’ve shared them with some local loved ones (and Susy in her pre-half-marathon care package–tell me what you think!) and they raved.

Recipe is linked.  They use coconut flour and unsweetened, shredded coconut.  Coconut flour is higher in protein and fiber than regular flour.  Most grocery stores with a ‘natural/organic’ section should have coconut flour there, or in their gluten-free section.  That’s also where you’ll find the unsweetened, shredded coconut–the kind in the baking aisle is (heavily) sweetened.  If you absolutely can’t find the unsweetened kind, use the regular and perhaps decrease some of the fruit.  Or you’ll just have sweeter cookies, which if you’re not used to things like plain yogurt and unsweetened applesauce, might be a good transition for you, anyway.

OK, now that I’ve COMPLETELY digressed from my weekend re-cap…

I made this recipe for sweet potato and coconut soup, the recipe for which has been hanging on the fridge forever…  I knew I’d have leftover fish from the Banh Mi, and I thought a coconut-flavored soup would be perfect. PCC Natural Markets is a ‘chain’ of co-ops in Washington State and a friend from the co-op here sent me a link to the soup awhile ago.  Thanks Mary!

I roasted the sweet potatoes instead of steaming like the recipe called for–check out these babies!  Like dessert, I tell you.

Friday was filled with school-working, since I cleaned all night Thursday…  Chem lab to finish, two Micro labs to finish, Chem practice quizzes to prep for the actual quiz, Stats homework… Not to mention paying bills, random emailing and phone-calling, co-op blogging

Friday night I enjoyed my soup topped with a dollop (I love that word, don’t you?) of plain lowfat yogurt (to sub for sour cream, of course!), cilantro and chopped peanuts, paired with leftover fish, edamame and white wine.  As my friend Regina said when she saw the photo (I sent her a photo of my food–I AM that weird)…”Def not an Andrew meal!”  Nope, not an Andrew meal, although he does eat all of these things (points for him), he does LOVE any of them.

Saturday morning, I read the paper!  What a relaxing pastime…  Now I know why people sit and read the paper on Saturday mornings…  I’m usually up and going early on Saturdays, either the gym or early-morning shopping at Wegmans to beat the crowds (I like shopping so much I’d rather get up EARLY and go to enjoy myself than be rushed and crowded–grocery shopping, to me, is an EVENT).

If you look close enough, you can see yours’ truly’s byline on the front page, ABOVE the fold…(!)

I did hit the gym later that morning and tried a “punk rope” class.  It’s basically a circuit-training class with jump ropes, and while it wasn’t as high-intensity as it could have been, it was a nice change and a great time slot (8:30 to 9:15) for a Saturday morning workout.

I spent the afternoon with Carolyn bridesmaid-dress shopping…

…and we found a winner!  She’s liked this one from the beginning, and was finally ready to declare that this was it.  Ours will be black with a black ribbon, and Abigail’s will be black with a hot pink ribbon.  If you’re reading this and you know Abigail, you know that that is SO her.

I’d made plans with Regina for later that night (when was I supposed to get any of my Chemistry done, you ask?  I was asking myself the same thing…), but we didn’t know if we were going to stay in, or go out, so I decided to have something ready just in case.  Enter Triple Ginger Biscotti.

Yet another recipe that’s been hanging around for awhile… Not even sure who sent it to me…?  Susy, was that you?  They turned out well, but the recipe made A TON.  Should have halved it.

Regina and I stayed in and enjoyed out biscotti and tea after walking Hadrian.  So glad she was up for a walk despite the chilly temps; I’ve been thinking a lot lately (because of Made to Crave) about how EVERYTHING we do (socially, at least) is centered around food–meeting for drinks, dessert, coffee, lunch–the list goes on.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, it will be easier to meet up for more active activities like walks or runs.  Just something I’m trying to start doing to decrease foods’ ever-present status in my life…

(STILL chastising myself for not getting a photo of dear Regina…I’m such a terrible blogger!)

Sunday mornings are normally my run mornings, since it’s easier to run outside around the house than get to and from the gym before church.  Despite my late bedtime Saturday night–Regina and I were talking until at least 10:30–Hadrian got me up at 5:45 and I decided to go with it.  After polishing off some coffee, biscotti, the last Anytime Cookie and a banana, I headed out with Hadrian for our 3.4 mile loop.  I’d decided to do a long run (a.k.a. something in the 9+mile range for me), so after dropping him back off at home, I set out for my 7.4 mile loop around Orchard Park.  The stop at home was perfect; I was able to shed a pair of gloves (I wear two!) and add my sunglasses.  And since no one wants to run 10.8 miles, I added a 3-minute loop near the house, which upped it to more than 11.1.  Not an even number, but at least 11.  I was tired, but satisfied.  I hadn’t run more than 7 miles in a LONG time, so busting this out was good for me.

All that running done by 8:45 a.m.!  Still plenty of time to refuel and meet Andrew’s family for church.  I read my friend, Emily’s blog (a fellow RD-in-training here in Buffalo, not to be confused with the oft-mentioned Emily with whom I’m doing M2C) a couple days ago and she had a ‘toasted marshmallow cheesecake‘ oatmeal that I HAD TO TRY.  I knew it would be perfect post-run.

Yes, that is Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter melting on the top.  Deliciousness, and pure indulgence.  At least with peanut butter one gets a little protein; cookie butter is just dessert, people.  Also, I had to leave out the ‘mallows, I was fresh out!  But, since I’m not a huge marshmallow fan, anyway, (love ‘smores!), it wasn’t a big deal.  SO GOOD, I could have liked the bowl.  In fact, I might have.

After church and lunch at Panera with everyone, Carolyn and Ben and I headed to Target for some errand-running.  So fun to see what they registered for!  I treated myself to some new gym towels–mine were getting pretty ‘tired,’ for lack of a gross-er word–and some other things I needed.

LOOK!  The pineapple in action!

I packaged up every last piece of that biscotti!  Had to get it out of the house for my waistline’s own protection.  Note: this photo was taken at about 4 p.m. Sunday, at which time I had YET to start any Chemistry…  I had completely one practice quiz the night before, but still had two to go.  My procrastination drugs of choice: 1.) baking 2.) cleaning 3.) anything else that needs to be done around the house.  That way, I still feel productive while ‘wasting time.’

Oh, and I also changed out my purses for spring!  Goodbye my lovely green leather (but ridiculously heavy!) bag, hello Paris purse!  The blue striped bag was a Target purchase to corral all my giftcards and coupons, since the red bag is a bottomless pit.  Not a single pocket to be found inside…

Biscotti packed up…now on to Chemistry! I did a practice quiz, followed by leftover sweet potato soup and veggies and hummus for dinner, then another practice quiz.

After taking the dog for a brief, and chilly, walk, I sat down for the real thing.  Deep breaths abounded…

And I was handsomely, and shockingly, rewarded with a 100%!  Holy smokes!!  Seriously, I know I whine and complain about Chemistry, and while I have an A in the class, it’s still super hard and I never quite know what’s really going on with all those electrons and ions and things swimming around in solution…  Anyway, I’ve NEVER gotten a 100% on a quiz in either semester of Chem so far, so this was huge.

Except that it wasn’t.  The quiz took all of 15 minutes since EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM WAS ONE THAT HAD BEEN ON THE PRACTICE QUIZZES.  I repeat: I had the answers in front of me.  Seriously. I mean, on all the past quizzes there have been a handful (maybe 5 or 6) problems that matched up with practice quizzes, but never ALL of them.  My theory?  Dr. Barton rewards those who do the practice quizzes, because that’s the kind of guy he is.  Let’s just say I was in total shock and had to keep checking to make sure I’d taken an ACTUAL quiz and not another practice quiz.  And for fear that you think I exaggerate about how bad Chemistry is, this 100% will allow me to drop the 72% I got on the last quiz…

And it was a HUGE blessing, too!  The extra time I gained by finished the quiz so early allowed me to prep my breakfast:

Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Bread Pudding.  It’s essentially a ‘breakfast casserole’ but less egg and assembled like a bread pudding.

I order to lighten it up a bit (and it is just me by my lonesome), I halved the amount of sausage.

I am, as I type this, enjoying a bowl of this and a pear for breakfast.  YUM.

Signing off now–whew, this was a long one!

a breakfast Pioneer Woman would be proud of

Or dinner, rather.

(And yes, I know I shouldn’t end a ‘sentence’ with ‘of,’ but it’s not really a sentence, and it just wouldn’t sound the same any other way.)


This is what ‘cooking’ (a.k.a. piling things on top of one another) looks like in my house right now.  Can I just say that Pioneer Woman has a dream house AND a re-done ‘lodge’ with a potentially nicer kitchen than her own?  Seriously jealous.  Not that I ever want two houses to clean.  EVER.

So, I decided tonight would be ‘breakfast for dinner’ night since it was supposed to be sometime last week when we had no food in the house (does anyone else revert to pancakes for dinner when you have nothing else??), but it never happened.  I’ve been dying to make PW’s Lemon Blueberry Pancakes since they appeared on her blog awhile back, and when they were included in the new cookbook, I put them in the rotation ASAP.

Note the plate of pancakes ON TOP OF the yogurt maker.  (I also made bread and hummus today, in addition to yogurt–AND I had a class, AND swimming, and two dog walks, and two loads of laundry, and vacuuming–whoever wonders what I do to fill up my time, well folks, that’s where it goes.  Unemployed Holly doesn’t know how employed Holly ever made it.)

I can’t tell you how sick I am of the yellow light in our dining room…. And the tiny kitchen.  And the carpet…I’ll stop before I a) bore you, or b) start sounding like a whiny brat.  CAN. NOT. WAIT. UNTIL. DREAM. KITCHEN. WITH. NATURAL. LIGHT.

The reason I say P-Dub would be proud is because I also made canadian bacon and eggs with salsa.  Well, I eat eggs with salsa, Andrew doesn’t.  But since he didn’t even start eating eggs until we went on a backpacking trip in the Boundary Waters a couple years ago, I’ll take it.

I hate to admit it (I really do), but they were a bit anticlimactic.  Good, definitely, but not so amazing that I can’t wait to have them again.  Andrew said they tasted like a blueberry muffin and that the blueberry flavor overpowered the lemon.  I told him he didn’t know what he was talking about since he a) doesn’t even really like muffins (according to him), and b) doesn’t eat blueberry pancakes.  EVER.  He’s a bit of a purist; plain pancakes, vanilla ice cream, strawberry yogurt, no mayo or mustard…  Whatever he is, it’s BORING.  (But I love him…)

All in all, they were pretty good and I’m glad I have another serving in the freezer, just waiting for me to drizzle a bit of my ginger maple syrup on them…  Because ginger goes so well with both lemons and blueberries!

And, in case you were wondering if we had any more counter space to spare…

Nope, not so much.  Dishes done compliments of Andrew, who has become dishwasher extraordinaire.  Seriously, he does them in the morning before work as I’m packing up his breakfast and lunch, then he does them immediately after walking in the door after the gym as he dumps his lunch stuff into the sink and I’m in the kitchen making dinner, and then (if I haven’t gotten to them yet), he picks up after we eat where he left off while I was prepping dinner!  Whew!  WHO IS THIS MAN?

If you like lemon and you like blueberry, make the pancakes.  If not, make Foster’s Market’s Panama Pancakes…you won’t regret it!

moog bash & breakfast

Here we are, at the Moog MId-Winter Bash.  I had SUCH FUN getting dressed up and socializing with Andrew’s co-workers.

I even got my hair done!  My hair hasn’t been long enough for an updo in AGES (if ever, really), so I was excited to get a french twist for the occasion.  Doesn’t it look awesome?  Like I actually HAVE hair?

Can you believe just a few hours earlier it looked like this??!?!  She had to tease the heck out of it in order to get it to stay.

I don’t have any other photos of the bash, unfortunately.  It was really neat–TONS of food, multiple bands in different conference rooms of the hotel, as well as a couple comedy shows, too–but it was a little chaotic, too.  There were people everywhere; it was a wonder we ever ran into anyone Andrew knew.

Side note: Interestingly enough, we actually bumped into the company CEO!  I has interviewed him earlier in the week for a human interest piece for the Advertiser, so it was actually really neat to see him again and chat for a moment or two.  And introduce Andrew to him–certainly can’t hurt his career;)

We stayed the night at the hotel (it’s so nice to get away sometimes), so of course we were excited to come up with a place to eat breakfast the next morning.  The Lake Effect Diner is one we’d been meaning to try–it’s one of the places in Buffalo featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives–and we weren’t disappointed.

It’s in a silver train car and it was standing-room only for a few minutes while we waiting for some spots at the counter.

“Guy Ate Here” emblazoned on the wall and a made-fresh OJ machine.

I don’t think we look too worse for the wear after our (relatively tame–we are old and married, after all) night of partying.  Note Andrew’s teal shirt and the teal stripes on my cardigan–we didn’t plan it, I swear, but I had to take a photo.

Here’s a shout-out to my dear friend, Emily, who gifted me with this purse hook for Christmas.  I don’t use it often (I prefer to use an empty chair next to me), but it was a life-saver this morning.

I was only somewhat indecisive this morning; as usual I wanted to try a little of everything, so I opted for an omelet and added a pancake.  I chose the banana and candied pistachio pancake (I mean, where can you get that combo?) and the Greek omelet.

It even had chicken souvlaki, the leftovers of which I used to top my salad tonight.  Home fries were pretty good, too.

The Lake Effect Diner is known for their smoked meats, so we had to try a couple varieties.  I chose the ham, since Andrew opted for the bacon.

Andrew had plain pancakes…

…as well as my toast and a side of bacon.

Like a good little healthy eater, I halved all my food (except the pancake) and loaded up a to-go box right way.  The box got even more full before I was finished–pancakes don’t keep well, so I opted to finish that instead of the rest.  It was SO MUCH FOOD.

Check out my two additional breakfasts, happily sitting in the fridge 🙂