i feel smart, and other things of note

So… Today in Chemistry, we tackled this equation:

E = mc^2

Like, as in the one Einstein came up with all that time ago.  It has to do with energy, mass of nucleons (neutrons and protons) and the speed of light.

Can I just say that five years ago, I would NEVER have guessed I’d be where I am right now?  In so many ways…

In other news…

1. Andrew comes home this afternoon!  I feel all giddy inside… I guess absence DOES make the heart grow fonder 🙂

(Psst!  I’m making bagels as a surprise for his return… Since he doesn’t have a smart phone, there is no way he can see this before he actually arrives home, so I thought I’d share–in a whisper voice–to add to the suspense.)

2.  I have confirmed that I am OFFICIALLY finished with Microbiology, with A’s in both lecture and lab.  Thus, I’ll be making bagels this afternoon when I would have normally been in lab.

3.  It’s my birthday month!  WOO-HOO!  Birthday list is being made and tweaked as I speak…  (That’s how Andrew’s family does it; they practically DEMAND a list two months in advance, and hound you if you don’t provide one soon enough.  I. LOVE. IT.)

On the list this year: a pair of Crocs, better, non-warping baking sheets and other miscellaneous clothing items.  (If you’re reading this and need “the list,” Andrew can provide it to you :))

4.  Emily’s birthday is the same day as mine.  God really knew what he was doing when he arranged our chance meet-up at a friend-of-a-friend’s bbq, in which Emily and her hubby were attending as friends-of-a-mother…

5.  Pineapple boxers!

Andrew and I found these at Gap a couple weeks ago.  It wasn’t even a discussion; I held onto those things for dear life.  I mean, how could we NOT buy them?  They have been washed and are currently in my jammie drawer, waiting for warm weather.

6.  Andrew ate a 30-ounce steak last night at his final dinner in Texas, at some super-snazzy restaurant, I’m sure.  Thirty ounces.  THIRTY.  People, 16 ounces is a POUND.  He’s already requested salads for the forseeable future…

7.  While I’m super excited for Andrew to come home, I don’t know that I’m ready to give up the clean, quiet, organized and peaceful house/routine I’ve enjoyed for the past week…

8.  Here’s a good one:  To those who continue to ask about whether or not we’ve found a house:  Yes, we’re still house-hunting.  We will continue to house-hunt until we find one.  New houses are coming up on the market now that it’s spring, but it’s been a little slow.  (No, I’m not upset, but I’ll admit that the question, “So, are you still house-hunting?” gets old.  We’re in a tiny rental with gross carpet, no yard and no dishwasher–OF COURSE WE’RE STILL HOUSE-HUNTING.)

9.  Speaking of houses, we’re seeing a fixer-upper tomorrow night, and one popped up just today that piqued my interest. A LOT.  Prayers please!!

10.  Cinco de Mayo is this weekend 🙂  Margaritas, anyone?

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 People.com.  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!

what a surprise

Now, you wouldn’t necessarily think that this is a fantastic present, given by a hubby who actually listens (most of the time, anyway), but it was 🙂

A box of Mini-Clif Bars and a beautiful Papyrus card!

Andrew has taken to having a Clif Bar in the afternoons before his workout, and really likes the Crunchy Peanut Butter flavor. I don’t typically eat a lot of pre-packaged stuff, but it’s nice to have a few on-hand for those times when you have to eat-and-run (literally or figuratively) or when I need to pack a snack that I can’t keep cold.  My bar of choice lately has been Luna Bars (lower calories), but now that the  energy bar companies have smartened-up (just like everyone else and their ‘100-calorie packs’), I can enjoy Clif Bars without feeling like I’ve eaten almost a whole meal in one!

Anyway, (I’m getting to the part in which this was a present) just the other day I was commenting (apparently within earshot of Andrew–I specify because more often than not, I just talk to myself all day anyway, so I never quite know what I’ve told him and what I haven’t…) that I should start keeping snacks in my car for those times when I’m STARVING after class or something, but won’t be home any time soon.  I’m one of those “hungry-angry” people, so solving this problem benefits everyone with whom I come into contact.

I hadn’t even had a chance to write down “mini-energy bars” on my shopping list when Andrew came home the other night and presented me with a giftbag (complete with tissue paper and all!) and card, just to say “I love you.” Yes ladies, swoon away…  I may have a pretty frugal husband, but he knows my love language is gifts and strives to show me often.

In fact, he even splurges on Papyrus cards (I have a thing for fine stationery) that are beautiful, just because he knows I appreciate that little extra ‘pizazz.’

So, (now that this has totally turned into a ‘let’s brag on Andrew’ post), just wanted to share about my sweet surprise and how much I’m looking forward to “never go[ing] hungry again!”   Alright, from what movie is that quote taken???

Happy Friday, all!