Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lemon-Rosemary Broccoli Turkey Pasta

I subscribe to the Rachael Ray magazine—and keep every copy—but rarely make any of the recipes. I told myself that if I'm going to keep subscribing I need to start making a few recipes out of each issue. I went through and marked a few that seemed easy enough or that I could use any leftover turkey. Well, tonight I got a bit confused and started cooking while looking at two different recipes! How this happened, I'm not sure, but one dish was vegetarian and had broccoli and couscous and another had pasta and chicken and for some reason I thought I was making a chicken/broccoli pasta dish. Once I realized that I was missing ingredients for both recipes I just whipped up my own concoction. Know that impromptu cooking scares me.

The result: pretty tasty!


This was supposed to make 2 servings, but really they were pretty generous so either cut back on the pasta or maybe eat a smaller portion with some salad. Or just eat half. I did.

Directions
Boil pasta (I used 1 c. dried elbow SmartPasta—a bit too much)
Sauté half of an onion and a couple cloves of garlic until softened
Add frozen broccoli (I had about 1/3 bag left), cooked & shredded chicken or turkey, salt, lemon pepper, dried rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Cook until broccoli has cooked through.
Add a bit of pasta water if veggie/chicken mixture gets dry
Add drained pasta
Top with a sprinkle of reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Super easy, I think it took me about 15 minutes to make, and it was good! Plus you can use some of your leftover turkey. One recipe called for the zest of a lemon and the juice, and I think that would have made the flavor a little brighter, but I had no lemon. Next time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Glitter Polish

First of all, yes, I am a blogging machine today.  I had a ton of things I wanted to share, and I'm putting off getting ready for next week.  Also, I have a feeling my posts will start to dwindle/become very short for the next three weeks until Christmas break.  I got a little overwhelmed with my calendar a few moments ago.

Secondly, look at this dachshund!  He's such a baby, I love him!


OK, on to the goods.  I was reading this month's Rachael Ray Magazine and saw some fabulous multi-colored glitter nail polish (p. 52)

caption: Save the confetti for your nails: Ring in the new year wearing Deborah Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Happy Birthday. $18 deborahlippmann.com

Oooh! I absolutely love this!  In some ways glitter polish is so junior high, but it's so sparkly and fun (though such a pain to remove).  While Deborah's polish looks fab, I thought I would test out the glitter polish fad on the cheap first.  I looked around found this glitter polish by wetnwild for $1.99.

wetnwild Craze Nail Lacquer in Glitz

I decided to test it out on the tootsies first, and I have to admit...I like it!

I think a multi-colored glitter polish like the one featured would be really fun, especially for holiday parties or for NYE, but even this pink is pretty festive.  I applied four coats, but If you had a base color of pink you could probably get away with two.

Holiday Mix

I love Holiday music.  Maybe I have like over 250 songs.  Just saying.  I have all of the classics, and the remakes of the classics, but these days I'm only buying original holiday songs or classics that have somehow slipped passed me (O Come Let Us Adore Him?  Bought Weezer's version last week).

Here is my *Holiday Mix for 2009.  It has a few of my absolute favorites (Christmas Wrapping, Christmas All Over Again) and a few new songs (The New Year, Maybe Next Year).  I have two Sufjan Stevens songs on here, but I love his Christmas album.  There are so many songs and snippets on it, you definitely get your money's worth.
  1. All My Bells Are Ringing Lenka
  2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) U2
  3. Christmas All Over Again Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  4. Christmas for Two Sixpence None The Richer
  5. Christmas Wrapping (Long Version) The Waitresses
  6. Fairytale of New York Pilate
  7. Hallelujah Harmon Li
  8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Daphne Loves Derby
  9. The Heartache Can Wait Brandi Carlile
  10. Hidden Peace GHOSTMAN
  11. I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas Bon Jovi
  12. It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad! Sufjan Stevens
  13. Last Christmas Jimmy Eat World
  14. Maybe Next Year (X-Mas Song) Meiko
  15. Merry Christmas, Here's to Many More Relient k
  16. The New Year Parachute
  17. No Christmas for Me Zee Avi
  18. Only At Christmas Time Sufjan Stevens
  19. Please Come Home for Christmas Jon Bon Jovi
  20. A Silent Night With You Tori Amos
  21. A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss) Glasvegas
  22. Song About Christmas THE SNOWBALLS
  23. Winter's Night Sarah Rogers
  24. Winter Song Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson

 

It's Christmas All Over Again

The day after Thanksgiving is always spent decorating for Christmas. As I rummaged through my boxes I decided I wanted a new theme for my tree. I’ve had silver and blue ornaments and snowflakes for a few years now. I’m always drawn to the clear glass, mirrored, silver ornaments when I look in stores. This morning I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a few new black and silver ornaments and salvaged the other clear or silver ornaments from last year’s tree. I also had a silver sequined garland laying around my room that I wrapped around the tree (What? You don’t use sequined garland in your every day room décor?)





I also found the cutest silver glitter doves at Wal-Mart the other night for $1 each. I bought four. They may be one of my favorite things this year. I love birds, obvs, but the silver doves! I also have two other bird ornaments on my tree. One is a red cardinal shaped out of wire that my freshman year roommate gave me. I’ve always loved it. It’s the only thing red on the tree and definitely stands out, but it makes it that much better. I also have this black and gold bird that was part of some gift wrapping last year. Again, the only thing gold, but he’s so sassy perched up there. Love him too.







I also have a small collection of S’mores Ornaments. Have you seen these? I don’t know why I think these little things are so cute (and FYI, I'm not really one to collect things so I think it's funny that I have so many of these) They’re usually hanging in the tree but this year they’re being featured around it.







Lastly, my favorite Christmas item is my nativity scene from the Maya Rivera. My aunt brought this back for me and it is one of my favorite things in general—I keep it out all year! It’s like they're in a mini chiminea, and inside the background is blue with stars. Baby Jesus’ eyes are closed, but he’s smiling. He’s faking, Sirena! The star hangs above them on a stand and looks like a piñata. Besides the Willow Tree Nativity that I will someday own (wish list), this is the only other nativity that has stolen my heart.






Hope you're finding ways to enjoy the holidays--they come and go so quickly!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

This year I opted to sleep in on Black Friday.  I've been known to be one of the crazies out there at 4 a.m. to get something.  Last night we popped into Wal-Mart for a few things around 8 p.m, and people were already sitting in line for things.  The sale didn't start until 5 a.m.!  Ridiculous!  I noticed last year that around 9 a.m. the first round of early shoppers have gone home and it's the perfect time to go out to the stores.  I went to Sports Authority to check out what they had.  I have been wanting a pair of leggings to run in and after yesterday's cold morning I was very motivated to go out and find some!  For someone who is 5'3", ankle-length leggings are a challenge (Um, if you know of any athletic apparel for petites, let me know!)  I usually have about 8 inches bunched up around my ankles (which is why I just opt for cropped tights).  After trying on lots of Nike Women's tights to no avail, I took my chances and ventured into the boys section where I found a pair of XL Boys Under Armour Leggings--on sale!


I won't lie, they're a little tight.  I think a Boys XL is equal to a Womens Small, but they fit the best out of all the pants.  They rise a bit above the ankle, but aren't as short as my cropped tights.  And for $29.99, I said, "SOLD!" 

I debated between buying gloves or a cap, neither of which I regularly use but feel like I would use.  I found some great Nike Women's gloves for $20, but the thought of my hands being covered up gave me an instant hot flash.  Besides, I usually don't run with a jacket with pockets so I'd have no place to stash them if I got tired of them.  I went with a cap instead.  I really want sunglasses, but I sweat a lot and touch my face when I run, and I feel like the glasses might be a situation.  So cutie white cap it is!




I'm officially done with my Sports Authority gift card, and I feel like I made good use of my little money!  I know the Fuel Belt will be a life saver come April when it's hot again.  OMG, I was miserable running this summer.  I don't know why I waited so long to buy it.

We went to the mall but I really didn't see anything great.  I popped into Bath and Body Works and am intrigued by the Black Amethyst and Twilight Woods perfumes, and the Twilight Woods candle smells very woodsy--I liked it!  I haven't been into a Bath & Body Works in years!  That store was a hot mess though so I had to leave. 

"A sophisticated blend of Italian bergamot and rare camellias with exotic sandalwood and a surprising twist of vetiver"


"Blended apricot nectar, mimosa petals, and Tuscan cypress create this hypnotic fragrance inspired by a romantic walk in enchanted woods"


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank.Full

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving! The morning started with a 5:30 a.m. alarm to get me up and going for my 10K. This was the first year a running club in this area hosted a Thanksgiving Day run, since the HUGE Turkey Trot in Houston usually dominates. I was happy to see so many people at this event, and even happier it only took 15 mins to get there. No driving across all of Houston and fighting traffic in the Galleria area. It was very chilly this morning, 43 degrees, and I was nervous that my tank, t-shirt, and light jacket wouldn’t be enough. Luckily the sun came out and once I got going I was feeling fine. Now some people were wearing shorts…let’s not get crazy. I wore cropped tights and was wishing I had ankle length ones.

Overall it was a good race. I was proud that I had zero walk breaks and ran through 2 water stations for a quick swish of the mouth. I had a new PR of 1:03:22 (waiting for my officially time, but that’s what I clocked on my watch) with a pace of 10:11/mi. I’m trying to break that 10 min/mi ! Considering I did little training (I ran yesterday for the first time in about 2 weeks) I was pretty proud of myself. I am also still sore from Monday 's Muscle Blast class. I really need to work on speedwork, and I think I’ll ask a buddy of mine soon to take me to the track once a week and show me some moves. I have about 6 weeks until the Houston half, and while I’m not at all nervous about completing 13 miles, my goal is to run a strong race. I felt great today until the last mile, and even the last half mile was draining me. I didn’t start my sprint to the end until I was fairly close. I’m definitely proud of my run today, but it also showed me a few things to work on!

I came home and immediately showered and started working on my portion of the Thanksgiving meal, Ina Garten’s Orzo with Roasted Vegetables. This has been a favorite of mine for a few years, and while I roast vegetables regularly, I only make this full out meal during Thanksgiving. It’s really simple and so good, and tastes great in the winter since there’s roasted veggies or the summer since there’s lemon in it. Try it! (sidenote: I add squash and sweet potatoes instead of eggplant)

We did pretty good this year! We didn’t make too much (Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, broccoli cheese casserole, roasted veggies, jellified cranberry sauce, rolls, gravy) and kept the desserts simple (1 pumpkin pie and a few chocolate chip cookies). My grandmother only made one pan of dressing and she usually makes two huge pans, so we are rationing! There aren't too many leftovers, which is good. I think we’ll be done with them by tomorrow evening.

While getting up early to run was tough, and I was exhausted after lunch, I think a race is a great way to start the day. Not only are you out and active on a day you know you’re going to indulge, that time out there gave me an opportunity to think of the things I am thankful for:

1. For health and for a body that is willing to take on new challenges
2. For family that is a constant support, whether that means waking up at 6 and giving up 3 hours of their morning to go cheer me on, or who verbally expresses their love and encouragement
3. For friends, old and new, from my hometown and from college and from even more recent
4. For tradition, my family is small but I’m glad they’ve instilled a few traditions that we look forward to year after year
5. For snuggly daschunds
6. For little brothers, well, just one (and that’s enough!)
7. For a job that is never mundane, and that is constantly teaching me new things
8. For personal faith, and how it reminds me to embrace rather than exclude
9. For yummy oatmeal with my favorite peanut butter and gourmet chocolate (I like to buy a new brand/flavor after I use up a bar!)
10. For holiday music, and how I can officially play it/hear it everywhere I go!

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bringing in the Cheer…

The holidays are here, and everywhere I look I'm surrounded by pumpkin, peppermint, chunky sweaters and—my favorite—sequins! A few holiday favorites of mine at the moment:

Shiner Cheer
My favorite local ale brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans! I wish they sold Shiner Cheer all year long.



Dryer’s Slow Churned Peppermint Ice Cream
This low fat/low cal ice cream is the absolute best, and tastes like an indulgence. The peppermint flavor is subtle unless you get a tiny bit of hard candy. Other seasonal flavors include Pumpkin and Egg Nog.

Serving Size: ½ cup
Cal: 110
Fat: 3.5
Carbs: 17
Protein: 3



A chunky cableknit hat
Not usually one to wear hats, I couldn’t resist this one. I bought it in a taupy-oatmeal color since I usually wear a black coat and have black hair. It’s snug and keeps my ears warm, and the small bill gives it structure and keeps it from looking like a beanie.




Juicy pomegranates
They are everywhere, and I finally broke down and bought one. I would definitely say it’s the most glamorous of all fruits. Each little seed looks like fiery ruby. Full of antioxidants, I snacked on this pom tonight in hopes of awaking to flawless skin and tons of energy for my run in the morning!


Staying busy

I am loving Thanksgiving break! There has been lots of socializing in the evenings which is such a change from my regular work weeks. I’m usually exhausted or strapped for time to meet up for HH or dinner during the week. Between trying to muster up the energy to go the gym or run, or get things prepared for the next day, I’m usually only up for meeting folks on Fridays or Saturdays.

Monday I met up with some folks at Pub Fiction to watch the Texans vs. Titans on MFN. I have never watched Monday Night Football before, and I was very impressed with all the fancy camera work. Sadly, the Houston Texans lost, but it was still a fun night!



Yesterday a few of us tried to go play trivia, however I did not know that there is a whole Trivia Night culture/norms. We didn’t reserve a table, and as a result we weren’t allowed to play. Lame. We finally settled at the Velvet Melvin. ONE DAY I will play trivia! I’m determined!

Oh, I also made Dorie Greenspan’s All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake. It was fairly easy to make, but it did come out very moist. I think it would taste better toasted in the toaster oven.

Today I went and picked up my packet for tomorrow’s Turkey Day 10K. It’s pretty cool in the mornings right now, upper 50s/lower 60s, and very sunny! I’m debating going and buying a cap. I need to work on my running mix for my iPod Shuffle, and I’m thinking there will be about 50% holiday music on it! Tis the season!

What are your thoughts on Christmas cards? I was looking at buying some today but didn’t find any I just loved. I would love to find Christmas postcards…I’m going to be doing some research.

Monday, November 23, 2009

(Not) Another Manic Monday

Yay for weeklong holidays! Today was pretty low key. Tried to sleep in (8 am, that’s pretty good), got up and ate some yummy oatmeal with my last square of chocolate—I’ll definitely be getting some more chocolate, it’s a great way to get my fix. Afterwards I did a bit of pre-shopping with my mom. This is when I go and scope out things I want so she can see exactly what to buy me. It works best this way. I think the only thing I was really loving was a cute coat from LOFT.

While there though I found a great pair of corduroys. I’m not a huge corduroy fan, but I feel like they are staples worth investing in. Last year I went to a consignment store and scored 2 pairs for about $10 each. This was probably the best idea since I probably wore each pair twice. I’m glad I didn’t overspend. I busted out a pair this weekend though and loved them, and while at LOFT today saw a black pair for only $19 (and remember, an extra 15% off for the teacher discount!). I love them! They’re cut very slim on the leg and I think they look a bit nicer and not so slouchy. I wore them out tonight with a sheer shirt, and let me tell you, the bottom half of me was nice and toasty and the top half was freeeeeeezing! So, they work.




I bought a pair of trouser jeans, but their more trousers than jeans if you know what I’m saying. I like them the best so far, but I’m still on the hunt.

Oh, I also tried this faux-leather jacket from Express. I absolutely love everything about it, minus the belt around the waist. Sad. Still looking for this item too.




I also went to the gym in th first time in 2 weeks.  My arms feel like jello right now and I know tomorrow they're really going to kill.  I have 3 days until the Turkey Day 10K so I need to get it in gear quickly! 

"These streets will make you feel brand new" ~Jay-Z ftg Alicia Keys

Another weekend spent with the college roommates is in the books!  This weekend we had 100% attendance by all Singletons (our cutie college nickname).  After a long day at my teacher training program, Shea and I made the cold and rainy drive up to Austin, and only spent about 45 minutes of it trying to figure out how to properly defrost/fog the windows.  Does anyone else have trouble doing this?  Ridiculous.

We all met at Sirena's parents' house before heading to dinner at La Feria.  Delish!  This little place had some great food and never ending Mexican Martinis.  I munched on one mushroom enchilada and one poblano pepper enchilada.  The waiter was very gracious with us and let us all create our own combos.  Don't give us an inch--he let one person do it and then every single one of us wanted our own personalized plates!


After dinner we went back to Sirena's where her mom had chocolate cake waiting for us!  Ok, stop.  You have to understand how good this cake is.  I think she brought some cake to our apartment for Sirena and we devoured it, and ever since have LOVED and CRAVED it, or at least I have!  It's really just a box cake, but she jazzes it up with cinnamon and another secret ingredient (which I know, but won't reveal).  Mmmm....I love cake.  Ok, so we ate some cake and then got ready for the second phase of the evening: dance party.

I have been wanting--no, needing--to go dancing for a while.  Yes I was super tired after waking up at 6 am and driving, but it didn't matter.  Gotta dance.  We went to The Madison and had a great time!

Empire State of Mind is my new anthem


Pretties

Striking a pose for the paparazzo

My, "omg--I love this song" face



So much fun!  The DJ did a great job of playing some old school songs.  Hello, way to dust off Gloria Estefan's Conga and Journey's Don't Stop Believing. 

This morning we all met up again for brunch at Moonshine.  Oh my.  If you are ever in the Austin area you need to experience Moonshine--we've been a few times for dinner, but go and do brunch.  Here is a what you could find on my plate(s) this morning:

GREEN EGG SCRAMBLE with Basil Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes
& Parmesan Cheese
KING RANCH CASSEROLE Texas Favorite with Smoked
Chicken & Corn Tortillas
GRILLED JALAPEÑO BREAKFAST SAUSAGES
ROASTED NEW POTATOES
with Rosemary & Olive Oil
CORNFLAKE FRIED CHICKEN TENDERS
with Honey Mustard
BROCCOLI & CHEESE CASSEROLE
with Cheddar & Rice
BUTTERMILK BISCUITS with Chipotle Cream Gravy
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
with Black Strap Molasses
SEASONAL FRESH FRUIT with Poppy Seed Yogurt
CAPPUCCINO BUNDT CAKE
The Best Coffee Cake Ever Brewed
WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
with Raisins & Bourbon Sauce

No really, I ate all of that.   And a tiny slice of carrot cake bread.  And maybe I got a few things twice.  And I had grapefruit juice.  I only copied what I consumed from the menu, there was so much more I didn't try.   OK, so you get it, go eat brunch at Moonshine!

And I'm so happy to have this picture of the five of us together (4/5 of us wearing purple, that was weird!).  I am so excited to meet baby Creighton in a few weeks.  He was moving all around for us, so I know he's excited to meet us too!


"Be sure to keep in touch CC, OK?" ~Hillary Whitney

"Well sure. We're friends, aren't we? "
~CC Bloom, Beaches

I am so behind in updates!  Luckily it's Thanksgiving break, 11 glorious days free!  I felt I needed to recap what's been going on these past few weeks.  Besides work, which has been great but exhausting, I've now had two weekend with my college roommates.  With Sirena being stateside and Laura getting ready to welcome her baby, we've really been intentional with trying to see each other.  Last week, Carosa, Sirena, Shea and I had what we dubbed an 8th Grade Slumber Party!  Sirena and Carosa came down from ATX and Shea graciously played hostess with the mostess.  We started with dinner at a cute local Italian place (and I've forgotten the name, so no link!)




After dinner we opted to stay in.  We all immdiately changed into comfy sleepware and reconvened in the living room.  Magazines, nail polish, & plenty of snacks and wine were on hand (ok, the wine is not so 8th grade). 




We even played a funny little question game. Even though we know a lot about each other, some of the questions and answers had us squealing, which made the whole evening that much more fun!


The next day we had brunch at my favorite Empire Cafe before C & S headed back to ATX.  A short but much needed weekend with good friends!


(Yes, I'm wearing my Lauren Conrad blouse, don't we look like twins?)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still serving mystery meat, but at least it's wheat pasta

"The first man to land on the moon was Neil Armstrong.  The second one was Buzzed."

Oh lawd.  By far my favorite quote of the week.  Thank you little student for paying attention in class.

Today I forgot my lunch.  I was going to just not eat, but I had $2 and figured I could buy a school lunch and experience what the kids are eating.  I asked the students how much lunch was and they told me $1.75.  Golden.  Get my lunch and go to pay and am told it's $2.75.  "Oh! I only have $2, but I'll bring you the rest tomorrow (Smile)!"

Lunch lady wasn't having it.  Definitely called over her manager and said, "She don't have enough money." Awesome.  Oh, there is definitely a line building up behind me.  They take down some info from me, write an IOU, and make me swear on my life I'll bring $.75 tomorrow.

The cafeteria is no joke.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fido Fashion


If the Snuggie isn’t right for your pooch, maybe one of these sweaters will keep him/her warm. While doing some online shopping for myself I came across these teeny tiny sweaters:



I didn’t know The Limited sold stuff for pups, but these are super cute!

Holiday Shadows Palette

Apparently a lightning storm came through on Saturday night and destroyed our internet!  I have been slowly dying, but it's been restored, and now so have I.

Lots to recap, but this beauty deserves its own post!  I am currently in possession of a very lovely eye palette:









Again, the BlackBerry doesn't do it justice.  The colors are amazing, and each matte has a complimentary shimmery shadow.  My favorites are Coffee Ground, Sable, African Violet, and Celestial.  I'm very excited to get this since the holiday parties are around the corner!