Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

2010 has been a wonderful year, and I always enjoy reflecting on the year on New Year's Eve. This year I have seen so many blessings (in no particular order):

  • selling our house and buying a new one successfully
  • graduating from law school
  • passing the bar exam
  • securing employment
While all of these are important, I can't help but reflect that in the grand scheme of things, they are less important than the continuing friendship of other people. To me, friendship encompasses the love of family, the caring relationships with my friends, and my marriage. When I think about my life so far, I think about all of the people whose friendship I enjoyed. I think about how each and every person taught me something about life and shaped the person that I am today. My high school friends loved me despite the face that I walked around with hand-painted Beatles shirts all the time. My college friends got past the five crates of books I bought to the dorms and continue to be a shoulder I can lean on at any time, any day. My law school friends inspired me with their intelligence and ambition. Even you all, my blogging readers and friends, have taught me more open-mindedness. Truly, friends are the greatest gift.

That is why, on New Year's Eve, when I hear the song "Auld Lang Syne", I stop and think about my friends. It makes me ever so grateful:



"Auld Lang Syne" by Robert Burns

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pou'd the gowans fine;
we've wander'd mony a weary foot
Sin' auld lang syne

Happy New Year's to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a wonderful Christmas celebration this year. It is always so much fun to see friends and family over the holidays.

On Wednesday evening we traveled to St. Louis where we spent the night at David's parents' house. On Thursday morning we woke up and went ice skating at Steinberg in Forest Park with my cousins and David's parents:


After that we met reader RoRo's family for lunch at Amighetti's, a delicious Italian lunch eatery on the Hill. I enjoyed a sandwich and a salad. Considering all of the food I was sure to eat in the next few days, I decided to forgo my favorite dish-- ravioli. After that was over, I met some good college friends for supper and we went to David's aunt's house where we enjoyed hanging out with her family.

On Christmas Eve, we woke up and met another good friend for breakfast and then met up with David's family for more celebrating!
That evening we went to my parents' house and enjoyed hot chocolate and presents with my family. On Christmas day we went to mass and then to my grandma's house where we ate too much food again! It was so much fun visiting my family on Christmas. Christmas is always extra special because it is my grandmother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Grandma!
On Christmas day evening we drove home and enjoyed relaxing the next day. I did not even allow myself to go to yoga class or to clean the house! It was nice to take a break before returning to work on Monday.

We had such a fun holiday weekend. I hope yours was fun as well!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Garfield and Friends Christmas Special

This past weekend David and I watched our favorite childhood Christmas specials---Charlie Brown, Frosty the Snowman, and Garfield and Friends. My absolute favorite was Garfield. I remember watching this when I was little and love the storyline.

What are your favorite TV Christmas specials?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Attention


If anybody would be willing to give me $450, I could buy these:
Source

Buy them here. I'm in love.

Christmas 2010: by Paco

Christmas this year left me really exhausted. I had a good time seeing a lot of people and had fun eating a lot of good food dropped on the floor.

First, I greeted my friend Allie. She is almost as short as I am, and I like her a lot because she always gives me hugs:
Then, these guys started to play Christmas music on the trombone. Everybody sang. It sounded okay, but sometimes things were a little flat. I don't know why humans do what they do sometimes:
Did I mention that I had my Christmas sweater on?
Allie, my brother Jose, and I enjoyed a long discussion about Christmases in the past:

For some reason, humans act very goofy sometimes:We came home and had a very relaxing evening and Sunday. Whew! How exhausting!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of my readers. I hope you are having a happy and wonderful holiday!



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ski Trip!

Yesterday we got back from our annual ski trip to Colorado. We had a great time, as usual. It was so weird being there before Christmas (we usually go over New Year's) but this past weekend worked best for us.

We went to Breckenridge, which was beautiful. How is this to put you into the Christmas spirit?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas cookie time!

I love decorating Christmas cookies so a few weeks ago we dreamed up another way to con invite our nieces and nephews to our house.

Hey, Christmas cookies full of sugar!!! You can try more than just one!
We had a blast and needless to say, used lots of flour. I used to decorate Christmas cookies with my grandma and have lots of fun memories of time spent in the kitchen. Hopefully the kids will remember our fun times as well!

The end result. I consumed an extreme amount (what? A cookie is not complete without a crazy amount of sprinkles):

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Party

A few weeks ago, we had a Christmas party at our house. It was our first party since the housewarming party, so it was fun to plan and fun to have some new and old friends over for Christmas cheer!

We served a buffet of appetizers and had lots of fun drinks. I have to share my very favorite new holiday drink that I created from some recipes I tried.
Christmas cookie martini

- one part Bailey's
- one part vanilla vodka
- one part Butterscotch Schnapps

Shake together in a martini shaker and serve cold. Rim your class with sugar and serve!
Please excuse my tacky serving dishes. My beautiful Christmas china was being used for the food!

We also served a Candy Cane Martini (if you look closely in the picture above, you will see that our sugars and signs were mismatched). The candy cane martini was a recipe from a cooking class I attended but was too strong for my taste.

I love to entertain people at my house so the party was a great way to get into the Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Green Monster: part 2

I just made a green monster with water instead of soy milk and I like it a lot better than the one I consumed yesterday. I think that the milk flavor turned me off to the shake yesterday. If you don't like milk, sub water!

COOOLLDD

It. is. cold.

FREEZING cold here. Brrrrr. We got our first real snow on Saturday evening and the temperature seemed to drop lower and lower throughout the weekend. The snow is not too bad, but when it is coupled with the freezing temperatures it seems like a winter wonderland!

We had a wonderful weekend complete with a visit from my parents, a cooking class, my Bikram yoga holiday party, shopping with my sister-in-law for a fancy dress, and the end of our bowling league. For now, I need to go recover before staring a crazy work week!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Green Monster

Today I decided to try the Green Monster shake. I tried the first recipe on the website with the banana, spinach, soy milk, flax, and ice. Verdict: okay. It is so weird to be eating something so...green and cold at the same time.

David's take: "It is not terrible."

Have you ever tried this monster shake?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fun Thing Friday: Christmas nails


Source

I love painting my nails and my toenails, and this Zoya polish with glitter really makes me drool. I would not normally wear glitter polish, but I have heard that this brand is actually good (not flaky) and it looks so festive. Imagine a black dress with cute accessories and this polish. Every year at Christmastime, I like to paint my nails a bright color.

Since I got a job, I have been painting my fingernails in pretty neutral colors, so this may have to wait until the actual holiday!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tree Trimming Party

A few days before Thanksgiving we had a little tree trimming party. Usually I do not assemble our tree until the Saturday after Thanksgiving (it is a little tradition we have to assemble the tree and watch Love Actually). However, this year, I had some good friends over the weekend after Thanksgiving and wanted the house to look like Christmas for them.

We essentially had one evening in which to decorate the tree, so we invited David's mother, sister, and her kids to help. For supper, we decided to set up a small buffet of meats, crackers, cheese, and other small appetizers.


I bought this decoration a year or so ago and love it! It is the snowman from Rudolph.

The kids loved "helping" sort the branches and looking at our decorations! Every year we laugh at our ornament boxes our moms gave us. Since I was the first grandchild in one family and the first born in my family, mine is a huge box full of beautiful ornaments for each year of my childhood. Since David is number three out of four children, he has a small box. However, his are cute because they are little handcrafted ornaments from his childhood. We are happy to have all of our ornaments!

Have you put up a tree yet if that is your tradition?

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Nutcracker

I have loved The Nutcracker ballet for a very long time. I remember going to the Fox Theater in St. Louis with my parents to see it before Christmas. We always dressed up in our finest attire, of course! The music and the dancing were always so beautiful.



Here is a wonderful synopsis of the Nutcracker. Do you have any fun holiday memories at the theater?


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas List: Practical

David and I are limiting our Christmas expenditures for each other this year. However, we each decided to get the other person one item. Hopefully, David will not get me a totally practical Christmas gift, but these are some practical items on my list.
Source
Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner: We have stairs in our new house and have you ever tried cleaning steps with a regular vacuum cleaner? Let's just say that it is very difficult.


Source
Rice cooker: I went to a cooking class a few weeks ago and the teacher used a rice cooker. They look amazing and can apparently make perfect rice every time. Source
Urban Decay Naked palette: okay, okay. This isn't very practical. But I wear makeup every day, so it kind of counts, right? This palette is sold out everywhere, though, and I definitely do not expect David (Santa) to stand in any lines waiting to find this.

What is on your practical holiday list?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Christmas List


I just love the Christmas holiday and have a lot of items to complete in the next month. Of course, all of these activities are lots of fun and not really work at all.

  • Make Christmas cookies. LOTS of Christmas cookies, including toffee cookies, possibly those delicious jelly cookies, and decorated sugar cookies
  • Make Christmas candy. I want to try my hand at peppermint bark again this year.
  • Watch lots of Christmas movies, including Holiday Inn, Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, and It's A Wonderful Life
  • Decorate the house (already completed)
  • Buy presents
  • Go to Hobby Lobby to get some cool wrapping paper and wrap the presents
  • Christmas cards!
  • Try some new Christmas recipes
What is on your Christmas to-do list?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Best Christmas Song Ever.

Girls' Weekend!

After all of the fun Thanksgiving festivities, my friends came for a girls' weekend. We had a blast and I am so lucky to have these longtime friends from my childhood.

On Friday I experienced my first Black Friday shopping! We went to Cabela's where Rach and I looked at the wildlife and fishing reels. After that, we went to a wine bar and enjoyed appetizers and delicious wine. Of course, after all of that, we had to stop at the store to grab more chocolate. No girls' weekend would be complete without it!

The next day we had what is now known as the Cat Disaster of 2010 during which poor Rachel (the proprietor of Pawsitive Memories, a pet photography business), tried to take our pictures for Christmas. I will be sure to show you the result later.

After that, we went to the Plaza where we enjoyed more shopping and a carriage ride to see the Plaza lights! So fun!
All of us with Santa!
I had a wonderful time and hope to see my friends again soon!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday last week. On Wednesday evening we hit the road to my parents' house, where we enjoyed taco salads with my mom's sister's family. I was happily surprised that my cousin Michael flew all the way from LA for the holiday and celebrated with us!

On Thanksgiving day, we ran a 5K Turkey Trot. I barely beat my brother in the race but was the only one out of my family not to win a prize! David and my mom both won first in their age divisions (pumpkin pies) and my brother won third (a box of stuffing)!Oh well about the prizes....we had a lot of fun!

After that, we ate a delicious lunch at my grandmother's house where she outdid herself yet again. It was nice to visit with everybody.

In the early afternoon, we traveled to a little bed and breakfast cabin in a small town to meet David's family. It is their family tradition to go on a trip every year for Thanksgiving.
We ate another Thanksgiving feast that night! Here is the entire crew:
What a fun holiday! What did you do for Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This thanksgiving, I am thankful for:


My husband...


My family, friends, and pets...


Sunrises...



And each sunset.

Happy happy thanksgiving to you and yours.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Only two more days! I have already begun dreaming of delicious food.


It seems that my favorite food changes from year to year. I love turkey, stuffing, hot rolls, casseroles, yum, yum, yum.

I have to say, though, that my very favorite food is the stuffing. Stuffing is full of my favorite things:
1. bread
2. more bread
3. salt
4. bread

Yum. Plus, you can top it all off with gravy and it is doubly tasty.

Here is what I plan to wear, and yes, I think I will regret the lack of stretchy pants:

Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving! by Abbie0317 featuring brown boots

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gobbler Grind Half Marathon

Yesterday we ran the Gobbler Grind half marathon. We ran the entire thing and our time was 2:29. David ran it with me (this is the first race since our triathlon that he has run with me) because I thought that I would need some encouragement.

The weekend started out crazily: I remembered while I was in my 90-minute yoga class that started at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday that indeed, we needed to pick up some race packets full of our numbers, etc. I couldn't leave the yoga room, so while I was exercising, I was trying to send David some thought waves that said, "GO PICK UP THE RACE PACKS DAVID!" It didn't work because as soon as I left class I borrowed my friend's phone and called him. "Oops," he said. Luckily we obtained the race packets on time.

We woke up and I ate my usual race day breakfast of an orange, banana, and raspberry smoothie. I also ate a muffin, which was good. We left home and got to the race area and David realized that he forgot his headphones. As you can imagine, this was bad, bad, bad. He contemplated going to Wal-Mart or Target before the race started to get the goods but decided against it after realizing he only had 40 minutes before race time to go and get back.

Once we got to the starting line, we hopped in line for the port-o-potties. That was a good thing, because the line got incredibly long before the race. Plus, the race only put port-o-potties at mile 10. MILE TEN, people. That is a long time to go without any bathroom stops.

We started the race. The race was set up so that the half marathoners and marathoners ran alongside people running the 5k. The 5k people veered off to the left and finished at mile 3 but then we had to keep going. We ran through trails and on streets in Overland Park. At about mile 5, we saw the first half marathoner running by to finish. Can you imagine?!?

We ran and ran. Miles 6, 7, and 8 were my hardest this time. At this point, we were running on streets and had the wind in our face. However, we kept trucking along, putting one foot in front of the other. The miles flew by.

We stopped for a bathroom break at mile 10 and after that the race was easier. At the end, the race course was kind of annoying because it was too narrow. I am a slow runner, so unfortunately for me, I get stuck with people who are doing the run/walk tactic: they run for a short distance, walk a short distance, run, walk. In the meantime, I am trying to truck along running very slowly. The narrow trails made it hard to let them pass me, and for me to pass them. Eventually, at mile 11, David and I ran a bit quicker to get ahead of some of the run/walkers.

Finally, we finished! I was very excited about the race. I was happy that we ran the entire way and happy that it was easier for me this time. This morning, I am able to walk easily and feel great!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who caught it?

Why of course I am talking about the Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Pioneer Woman.

Last week my sister-in-law texted me, "Did you see that Pioneer Woman is going to be on Throwdown with Bobby Flay?"

(Side note: we both love Pioneer Woman. If only because we make her recipes full of butter and deliciousness and love it.)

Why, yes I had. And I was totally stoked.

Spoiler: Pioneer Woman won.

What did you think? I kind of feel like the throwdowns always tilt to the person who is being challenged by Bobby, and I am convinced that the show is rigged (this may seem obvious to everybody else but me).

I kind of thought that Pioneer Woman had an advantage because of the entire potato thing. I mean, come on, Bobby. I don't even like mashed potatoes, yet I know that if I were in a Throwdown with Pioneer Woman I would be calling my grandma to get her best mashed potato recipe. Of course they will win over brussels sprouts...

Also, good call on Bobby's part to sub the pumpkin pudding for whatever he had at first.

What did you think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


- William Carlos Williams

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My body goals: food


Source

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how I wanted to lose some weight. As you can probably guess, weight loss is a large part of why I started going to Bikram yoga (now I obviously think there are other benefits besides weight loss).

At the end of law school, I knew that I had to get my body in gear. My weight was at the high end for me---I think that I weighed more at one point in high school and after my freshman year of college. At any rate, I knew that I wanted to do something about it. I am not saying that I was overweight or in any sort of real trouble, but a few things motivated me:
- I got a job and I had some work clothes my mom bought me in college, but they did not fit because I was too big to fit into them. I wanted to fit into those clothes so I did not have to buy more!
- I had more time in law school. Law school sucked a lot out of me time-wise, but at the same time, I had time to cook my favorite foods, etc.
- Going to work allowed me to control what I ate during the day. I can't exactly go and snack on the pita chips in our pantry while I am at work.
- I wanted to be healthier in general and I felt that my food intake during law school was not always healthy.

My friend Julie taught me that controlling your food intake while at work is extremely important. She brought things like salads and carrots and other vegetables to work---things that added up to a good meal calorie-wise, but were way healthier than things like hot dogs. So, my first step was to get into a routine about what I brought to work. I now bring:
- almonds (300 calories worth)
- broccoli (a huge bowlful)
- celery
- two apples
- carrots

All of these things add up to a normal lunch, but are all healthy food. The raw celery and carrots help me feel like I am snacking longer than what I am actually snacking.

For breakfast, I have a fruit smoothie every day. It includes one orange, one banana, and several frozen raspberries. I love it. Later in the morning, I eat another piece of fruit (usually an apple).

Other than that, I eat more veggies and less rice and noodles at home. I think that this has helped me tremendously- I do not crave the carbs like I used to, which helps.

Do you have any tips for losing weight with food? What do you consider to be a healthy diet?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Engagement!

Prince William is engaged to Kate Middleton, thus breaking the hearts of millions of ladies around the world.

Did you ever dream about the possibility that you would meet Prince William and become queen of England? Or was that just me?

Luckily, I found my knight in shining armor who is, in my opinion, more dashing than the Prince:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Paco, control yourself.

Just look at him. Why does he feel the need to expose himself all over the Internet? Don't ask me.

Today has been a crazy Monday. Luckily, it will probably be the nuttiest day out of my week. I spilled coffee all over myself this morning because the gas station didn't have a proper hot lid but only the cold plastic things. Before that, I made a fool out of myself because I had to keep asking the lady where the lids were. "Right there," she kept pointing. "ummm....where?" said I. Finally, I realized that she was indeed pointing to the plastic lids for the soft drinks. How does that make sense?

Just now I tried to make my lunch for tomorrow. My lunch consists of almonds, a full bowl of broccoli (unless David makes it, which means that I will have a half of a bowl because that man cannot stand to pack a full bowlful of food because I may waste some), celery, and carrots. Oh, and an apple. I know, it is horrible. I got the broccoli out of the fridge and it had sprouted mold. That means that not only will I get that miserable-sounding lunch, but I will get that miserable-sounding lunch with a side of fuzzy mold.

In other news, Arwen added this to her Christmas list this past week:



It totally starts up whenever anything moves around it. How fun will that be? She even gets excited when I show her the Youtube video.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend movie?

This movie looks so cute! Lately I have not felt inspired to go to the movies, but this may just send me in line!


Chicken and Stuffing

One of my favorite meals in the wintertime is roasted chicken with various side items. This week I made a roasted chicken with gravy and stuffing. Delicious---so I thought that I would share the recipes with you!

Roasted Chicken

- one whole chicken with skin on
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- rosemary
- thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove all innards from the inside of the chicken and place the chicken on a roaster pan. Generously coat the entire chicken (skin on) with olive oil. Next, coat the skin with the salt. Remove parts of the skin from the meat and shove some salt next to the meat as well. Be sure to coat the entire chicken. Follow with pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Cook at 400 degrees for at least 1.5 hours or until ready (this will depend on the size of your bird...look on the package for directions).

After cooked, let sit for a while. Keep the drippings in your roaster pan.

Gravy
- drippings from chicken
- white wine- 1/2 cup
- chicken broth
- flour- appx. 1/2 to 2/3 cup
- salt and pepper to taste

My gravy usually turns out lumpy, but I just place my roaster on my stove, turn on the stove, cook some flour in the drippings, and add the wine and broth until I am comfortable with the consistency.

Stuffing

- one box prepared Jiffy cornbread mix
- one large baguette
- celery (3 stalks)- diced
- carrots (2 stalks)- diced
- one whole onion- diced
- olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste

Cube the baguette into tiny pieces. Coat in olive oil and toast in the oven until firm and crispy. Place into a bowl. Crumble the Jiffy cornbread into the bowl. Saute the celery, carrots, and onion in a skillet in olive oil until brown. Add to the bread mixture. Slowly add the chicken broth and stir until all of the bowl is mixed and the bread is just coated with liquid (I usually use 2 cups of liquid). Put into a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or so (I usually just keep an eye on it). Serve with gravy.

I love this stuffing recipe. I love it a little too much. So much that it prompted me to make this sign for David when we were almost out of leftovers:
Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day!


Source
Happy Veterans Day to all of the veterans out there and thank you for serving our country. Your sacrifice is what makes our country so wonderful.

My favorite war memorial is the Korean War memorial in Washington, D.C. (pictured above). The poignant figures of the soldiers reflected against the wall provides a meaningful reflection of the Korean war.

Have you ever been to Washington, D.C.? What is your favorite memorial?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cliffhanger 8k

On Sunday morning David and I ran the Cliffhanger 8k, in Gladstone (North Kansas City). The race was absolutely gorgeous:

This creeper taking a picture of me on the course is my husband:My race was fine, I wanted to complete it in an hour and I did. The problem was that during the race I didn't actually know how long an 8k actually is. David told me beforehand but I thought that he was saying something like, "Let's clean the bathrooms," rather than "An 8k is 4.97 miles," so I tuned him out while he was saying it.

Anyway, the entire time I had no clue how much longer I would be running. I knew that it was shorter than a 10k (6.2 miles) but other than that I was lost.

At the end, though, I employed a good strategy: I found a guy who looked fast and stayed behind him. This concept known as following is good if you 1. actually pick someone who is fast and 2. can actually keep up with them. Luckily, I did, and finished in good time.

My only complaint was that at the end of the race the course was out of water! So when I finished we hiked back to our car so I could get a drink. Please save any you are so slow that you can't even get water at the end of the race jokes.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Menu Monday

I decided to continue Menu Monday from a few months ago....I am not sure why I stopped, but I have been cooking a lot lately!

Last week, I made this recipe: Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower. It was delicious and like always, never fails. Tonight I made this spinach recipe. So tasty!

This week is filled with lots of great recipes as well. Tonight I made the spinach along with a roasted chicken and stuffing. Here is how our menu is shaping up for the week:

Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: I took a page out of Sarah's book and decided to make some pumpkin chicken enchiladas with the leftover roasted chicken
Wednesday: salad with leftovers
Thursday: Rigatoni with pumpkin cream sauce
Friday: brussels sprouts and leftovers

I have several recipes to share, including my version of German Potato salad, my stuffing recipe, and my roasted chicken recipe. I will post those tomorrow!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Some creatures are spoiled


Some creatures are spoiled during the Mizzou game. Sadly, it does not look like we will be spoiled with a win.