Thursday, March 31, 2011

Books I have been reading

Lately I have been able to read numerous good books. I thought I would share a few with you!

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The first is Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage. I am reading this book right now. This book is actually very interesting and I am enjoying reading about the Roosevelts and their marriage. The book does a great job of describing the marriage from Eleanor's perspective, using letters and her later autobiography as clues to her feelings. The author clearly sympathizes with Eleanor. My only complaint is that sometimes I feel that the writing is a bit disjointed...the author jumps from subject to subject rather quickly, but the book is a great read overall. I can't wait to finish it!
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I also recently finished reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. This book is very cute and describes a lady who goes back to her Mennonite roots after a nasty divorce. It is more of a chick-lit easy read than a serious book, but overall I enjoyed it.

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Finally, I finished Look Again. This is more of a mystery book that is easy to read and somewhat predictable (although the ending was not for me...I was surprised by a few things). The chapters are very short, so the book went very quickly. This book tells the story of a mother who sees her own son's face on a missing persons flier.

Have you read any good books lately?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

$50/week

David and I went through our budget a few days ago and determined that we spend WAY too much money on groceries. Seriously, how can two people eat enough to use up so much of our budget each month? Because of our discussion, I decided to try a challenge. During the month of April, I am going to try to only spend $50/week on groceries.

The rules:
- the $50 covers the weekly food, not big expenses like alcohol or something like olive oil
- try to eat as healthy as possible (no ramen)
- have fun and be creative!

Our issue is that we cannot exactly coupon clip around here...we do not eat enough non-perishable items! 90% of our grocery budget goes to fruits and vegetables. Here is the breakdown of how I anticipate our money being spent:
$6- oranges
$5- bananas
$7- spinach
$3- carrots
$3- apples
$8- other vegetables for supper, etc.
$5-8- some kind of meat
$5-8- grains, tortillas, etc.
$2- canned food

I plan to post a weekly update. This may fail miserably, but at least I will have documentation!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Cleaning update


I did a lot of spring cleaning this past weekend. I touched up some paint trouble spots in the basement, cleaned the floors, wiped down doors, cleaned the kitty litter room, steam cleaned the basement, and dusted a bunch of furniture. The problem is that I still have to wipe down and magic erase the woodworking everywhere...this is my least favorite job. The job is so tedious and takes forever. However, I think that it really makes a difference so hopefully I can overcome my disdain for the job.

On Friday night, I went to happy hour with a friend and then engaged in SSB (Secret Single Behavior...Sex and the City, Anyone?) by ordering bread sticks from Pizza Hut. How can something that is only $3.50 taste so good? David was out of town for the evening so I had the house to myself. I watched Friends and hung out with the animals...and then missed David.

On Saturday I went to yoga, ran errands, and started cleaning. While spring cleaning is a LOT of work, I think it is worth it to try to finish the job before the weather gets beautiful outside and I do not want to be cooped up in the house!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple and Onion Sliders

I made these sliders this weekend and loved it! My grandmother used to make turkey burgers with apple and onion in them, but after an unfortunate incident with a roll of ground turkey I refuse to cook that stuff myself again.

These were delicious and I will be making them again soon!

Apple and Onion Sliders
- 3/4 apple, chopped in food processor
- 1/2 onion, chopped in food processor
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients (I mush them around with my hands!). Shape into a hamburger or slider shape (I made 15 sliders total, but mine were very small). I cooked mine for about 30 minutes, but they were a tad overcooked. My best advice is to check them periodically and then cook them according to your preference.

Another note...here is a sign that one needs to clean his/her pantry more often:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sleepy Saturday

I am so glad that these two can relax while I clean all afternoon!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup


Please don't ask me why this picture looks so horrible.

I made this delicious Italian Wedding Soup this past weekend. Seriously, go make it. YUM! The meatballs were so delicious and the broth was fantastic.

I love making soup on Sundays. Do you have a weekly food tradition?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sugar Scrub


Are you feeling springy lately? I totally am as well. This gorgeous weather is making me think about swimming weather. Thinking about swimming weather is currently my thin inspiration....and my good skin inspiration.

I made this sugar scrub a few months ago and have loved it. The recipe is in almost every magazine you read, but here it is just for your information:

Sugar Scrub
- Johnson and Johnson Baby Oil
- sugar

Mix equal parts baby oil and sugar in a bowl. If desired, add a drop of fragrance.

I invest in a few beauty products (i.e. my shampoo and conditioner), so I like to save money where I can. Making this sugar scrub definitely helps!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sleepless Sundays


Paco loves to snuggle any day of the week!

Do you have trouble falling asleep on Sunday evenings?

It seems that every Sunday evening, I have issues falling asleep. I used to have trouble falling asleep every single night in law school----everything had to be juuuuust perfect. I had to have a good temperature, a good amount of covers, certain outfits, and a husband who magically did not breathe next to me.

Now, I have a routine where I go to bed by myself and read for a while. When I am tired, I turn out the light and fall asleep without much of a problem. Reading has always been in my bedtime routine---I can barely fall asleep without reading. If I am without a book, I will read a brochure, a Bible in a hotel nightstand...anything.

Lately, though, Sundays have been bad. I do not do anything before bed, so I don't think it is a matter of too much activity before sleepy time. I do not feel that I am that anxious about work...compared to most attorney jobs, I feel like I have pretty low-stress at work (or at least am able to leave it there), although anxiety may be a part of it.

This past Sunday evening, I only got four hours of sleep. This was just horrible. The longer I stayed awake, the more I thought of how many hours of sleep I was missing. I am a huge believer in the 8-hour sleep, so this makes me nervous. I tried everything: I put my head at the foot of our bed, I slept on the sofa, I folded laundry, I put my head back in the correct spot on the bed, I turned on our fan, I took off covers, I tried stretching. Finally, I asked David to sleep on the couch and I fell asleep. I felt horrible, but I could think of nothing else. Luckily, I have a very understanding husband who also happens to be a third child and can sleep anywhere in the world without interruption.

I have a few ideas for falling asleep better next Sunday:
  • Try to attend yoga. I have slept better since I began going to yoga, and I truly think this helps. I had not attended yoga for almost five days this past Sunday, and I think that it contributed to the sleep deprivation.
  • Clean my house. I hate starting a week with a messy house.
  • Finish my projects. I want to try not to have anything over my head, project-wise. This mostly involves bill paying and going through the mail.
  • Go for a walk before bedtime.
I need ideas. Do you have any sleep secrets? Help!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Friend weekend!

This weekend I had a wonderful time getting away and having a friend weekend in STL! It is always so much fun to visit my college buddies, and every year we try to get together to have a "birthday bash" for my friend Colleen and I, since we both have birthdays in March.

On Friday evening we enjoyed some pizza and hung around my friend Julie's home. On Saturday, Julie and I prepped for upcoming running events by running 5 miles on the Katy trail! That day we shopped until we dropped and then ate at Kitaro, a hibachi place. The food was really delicious and at the end of our meal, the waiters brought out a special birthday cake and song surprise! After doing a little dance, the birthday girls enjoyed a tasty dessert. Thanks, Amy and Julie!!

On Sunday I returned home and enjoyed the gorgeous day by running with David on a trail. It felt so good to take full advantage of the gorgeous weather!

It was wonderful to get away for the weekend....thanks girls!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day and my Birthday!

Today is my birthday!

I am officially one year older but still love my very favorite Dairy Queen birthday cake! David bought it for me on Sunday and it was delicious! (The key to enjoying a Dairy Queen birthday cake is to take your finger, run it along the whipped cream edges and icing, and then take a lick. YUM!)

I hope you all enjoy your St. Patrick's Day today!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Race

We ran a St. Patrick's Day 4 mile race on Saturday in Westport. It was so much fun!
People dressed up in very festive costumes:

Will we be running this next year? Absolutely.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our weekend

We had a fabulous weekend. On Friday night, we enjoyed a fish fry at our church with David's sister's family. I ate wayyyy too much. On Saturday we ran in a St. Patrick's day 5k (more about that later) and enjoyed a day with some of our family friends. We ate at Grunauer, which was delicious as usual.

After that, we walked on the plaza and ate at Jack Stack BBQ, my favorite BBQ in Kansas City. One word: yum. Do you see a theme happening this weekend?

Finally, on Sunday, I went to yoga and then went to a St. Patrick's Day parade! The parade was so much fun and really put me in the St. Patrick's day spirit....so much so that I made corned beef and cabbage that evening!
Did you do anything for St. Patrick's day this weekend?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Menu Monday: Corned Beef and Cabbage

Last night we ate delicious corned beef and cabbage. We also enjoyed German potato salad and Irish Soda bread. This meal was cooked by me but courtesy of my mom, who always ensures that we have a proper St. Patrick's day feast of corned beef and cabbage!

I just roasted my corned beef in the oven during the afternoon. The meat was delicious and we all enjoyed our meal!!

Do you cook anything special for St. Patrick's day?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fun Thing Friday: Kings of Pastry

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I watched this documentary on Netflix Instant Watch and it was soooo much fun. You can't help but get wrapped up in this story of a man seeking France's highest honor for a pastry chef.

What are your favorite Netflix documentary picks?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Corn Chowder


Last Sunday I made Ina Garten's Cheddar Corn Chowder. One word: yum. Go make this recipe today. It was sooooo delicious yet soooooo bad for us. Oh well, there is a reason we have mardi gras season, right? (Or am I the only one who celebrates it on the day plus the weekend before?)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Spring Work Wardrobe

I am trying to gather ideas for a few new pieces of my spring work wardrobe. Last year, I went shopping when I got a job and bought a few good outfits for work, but I want to continue building my clothing collection. My favorite pieces can transition from work into an outfit for the weekend, whether it is a going out shirt or a Target run outfit.

So, I have to ask you dear readers....any suggestions? The only thing I've found so far is this shirt from Loft. I think it looks super cute:
What are your favorite work wardrobe stores? I kind of want to invest in a few higher quality items. What are your suggestions for investment pieces?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Lent

Are you giving up something for Lent? Or adding something?

Legally Fabulous had a great post about this subject. I know that I am guilty of giving up something rather than adding something, so I plan to do both this year. I agree that oftentimes giving something up is more about you than it is about Jesus.

Have a happy Fat Tuesday celebration tonight!

Mardi Gras: Jazz


Sorry for the disgusting picture, but the food was actually really delicious.

This past weekend we did not do much. On Friday night we went out to Blue Grotto, a fun restaurant in Brookside with delicious wood-fire pizza. The Pancetta pizza was fabulous.
On Saturday, I went to yoga and began spring cleaning. Let's just say that the cleaning project may be a bit bigger than I expected. I only finished the living room on Saturday after hours of working! Argh.

On Saturday evening after mass, we went to eat at Jazz, a Louisiana-inspired restaurant in Midtown. The place was pretty packed for Mardi Gras, but the food was delicious. I had gumbo, fried shrimp and oysters, dirty rice, and hush puppies. Yum. Everything was so tasty. (Note: I have been to Jazz in Columbia as well and did not think that it was great. If any of you have tried it, please let me know! I wonder now if I just had ordered something that was not a house specialty or something.)

I went to yoga again on Sunday morning and then came home and cleaned all. day. long. My house looks the same, minus teeny-tiny little black marks that I erased with my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

What did you all do this weekend?

Happy Fat Tuesday!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Last week I began craving tomato soup while at work. I love a good tomato soup so I thought I would give it a go at home!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Ingredients
- four tomatoes
- 1/2 medium onion
- three carrots, cooked and peeled
- one can tomato sauce
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2/3 cup whipping cream
- salt
- pepper
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Slice tomatoes into thin pieces and lay on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil. Roast for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up the olive oil in a stock pan. Saute onions until translucent. Add the carrots and the roasted tomatoes from the oven. Add the chicken broth and tomato sauce. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables until smooth. Once everything is blended, add the whipping cream and basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 more minutes while stirring.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Whoops

So today I figured out that I've been eating over 600 calories every day solely because of the amount of almonds I bring for my lunch. No wonder my teeny lunch was filling me up all afternoon. And no wonder I have gone no where with the winter weight loss.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fun Thing Friday: more hoot owls

Sorry for the horrid picture, but I had to share a shot of one of the hoot owls that were in our backyard a few weeks ago. He apparently lives in a tree behind our house, because he was back this past weekend in full force. He was so close to our house that I was afraid that he would come through our windows and pick up our animals!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Something Borrowed



I've always been a fine of Emily Giffin's books (in fact, I am re-reading Something Blue right now!). If you are in the mood for good chick lit, you should pick up her books.

Now, Something Borrowed is being made into a movie, and I cannot wait!!! Who wants to go with me?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks- PW

Last week I tried the Pasta with Pancetta and Leeks recipe from Pioneer Woman. Except that I thought that it said, "Pasta with Prosciutto and Leeks" because I made it with Prosciutto instead of Pancetta. Oops. It was still good.

It was delicious and I highly recommend the recipe.

I love cream recipes, but I need to stop making them. Seriously, cream sauces need to be reserved for special occasions, not for weekday meals. And I wonder why I've gained back some of the weight I lost before the winter!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Girls' weekend!

A few weekends ago, my college friends came to visit (unfortunately, sans our friend Julie---we missed you!). We had a fabulous time, as always.

On Friday night, we headed to 75th Street Brewery, which is a great little pub with delicious food and a varied menu. On Saturday morning, Amy and Colleen went to yoga with me and Jancin. I think that they enjoyed seeing what all of the fuss was about. After that was over, we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I haven't had time to explore the art museum here in KC, so it was a fun little trip. Of course, after that was over, we had to hit up the Plaza.

After all of that, we went to La Bodega in Midtown, collectively our favorite restaurant in KC. We had another fabulous meal and a great weekend. I love girls' weekends and can't wait until the next one!