Good eats

I feel like I spent all day in the kitchen today!  But it felt GREAT.  I’ve been gone from home and busy the last several weekends, and it was nice to do some baking and cooking again.  I can’t wait to use all my new pots and pans, though!

Lunch was leftovers from last night.  I’m usually a plate cleaner, so I’m glad I saved half this time!  (It was shell pasta with marinara sauce and about half a meatball.)  Please note the floor plan for our reception in the background!

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Re: the seating chart.  We’re still waiting to hear from ten people, but our count right now is 94 yes, 99 no.  We got a surprise “yes” from one of Tim’s old college friends today, which I’m really happy about.  I’m antsy to hear back from everyone else so we can run some hard numbers and figure out our final upgrades!

I stopped at the grocery store for a few things, and they were out of my beloved cantaloupe.  But, giant pineapples were on sale for $2.99, so I risked it!  I got a ton of chopped up fruit out of it for us to munch on all week.  It was really good!

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I also had to do some baking.  I work at a university, and during finals time, the faculty and staff all bring in treats for the stressed students.  I decided to bake two things, and send some to work with Tim.

Peanut butter brownies… 0425 003

And the return of the infamous cake balls!

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All day I simmered a giant roast in the crockpot.  This couldn’t be easier—about a two pound roast, some beef broth, a few cloves of garlic, and let it go on high for about 6 hours.  Pull the roast apart with forks as soon as possible!  We made sammiches out of it.  This was Tim’s.  (Mine was smaller, on a sandwich thin!)

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And now we have dinner for at least the next two nights!

I decided to be a little creative with the side dish.  The other day when I went out with my boss, we had wonderful Portabella “fries.”  I tried to make my own version today, and it turned out pretty good!  We only had regular mushrooms, and they were about to turn, so I’m glad I got to use them.  I didn’t measure—I just grilled them on a griddle with a little EVOO until they softened up, then dipped them in an egg wash, then dipped them in a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs, whole wheat flour, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and put them back on the griddle until they’d crisped up a bit..  They turned out great!  Tim even asked for seconds.   I’ll definitely make these again!  I love all things mushroom.

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I also managed to finish up a last minute DIY project for the wedding.

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Directions: raid Michael’s cheap flip flops.  Buy lots of ribbon.  Remove ugly tags and tie together with pretty ribbon.  Spray paint clearance basket from Michaels.  Attach ribbon and sign with glue dots.  Enjoy.

I don’t know why I did this other than that I think it’s cute. 

Anyway.  I’ve got a fridge full of delicious shredded beef, pineapple chunks, and sweets.  I’m a happy camper.  Normally, I’d at least try some of the sweet stuff, but I’m on my absolute best behavior until the wedding—it’ll be a scoop of fro-yo for dessert for me tonight!  Also, I’m happy to announce I’ve been coffee and Diet Coke free for…four days now, I think?  Not going to lie, I’m craving both here and there, but it helps not keeping it in the house.

I got really excited today when I realized that by the time our gallon of milk expires…we’ll be married.  See?

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I’m off to finish getting ready for my last full work week before the wedding—we’re officially getting married next week, y’all!  I can’t wait to get back to the gym this week—I hope hope hope my leg feels better so I can get some running in.  I feel lazy!

What things do you bulk cook? I love making a full roast or chicken on Sundays to eat all week, and usually cut up fresh fruit too.

Happy Easter!

Today started out with Tim telling me I was not allowed out of bed because I woke up feeling gross.  Post-nasal drip is foul—the sludge piles up overnight and I woke up with a raw throat and upset stomach.

BUT, I knew I’d feel better once I got up and moving, so I ignored him and quickly got ready for church.  I really love services on Easter Sunday—they’re so cheery and happy.

Since many of you liked my dress, I took a full-body shot.  Yes, I re-wore it.  That’s the beauty of an intentionally wrinkled dress—you can’t get it wrinkled!  I got it at Target last summer for $19.99 and I get complimented on it more than any other piece of clothing I owned.

Apologies for the awkwardface.  And our messy house.0404 001

Anyway, services were lovely, including the baptism of a chubby little baby with adorable sticking-up dark hair. 

I am so glad I went—the sermon was actually (kind of) about running!  Our pastor was talking about resurrection, and how when you think all hope is gone there are miracles and triumphs of the human spirit.  She started talking about Team Hoyt.  (You should definitely go read their full story.)  Basically, the son was born with severe brain damage as a quadriplegic, and the doctors told his parents to give up on him and put him in a home because he’d be a vegetable.   They didn’t give up hope, and their son went on to graduate college, and his father has pushed him in over 1,000 races—everything from 5Ks to Ironman Triathlons (and a 2:40 marathon!  Holy cow!).

It was exactly what I needed to hear.  I’m not intensely religious, though I do enjoy going to church, and obviously, in my “I don’t know if I can do this” state re: half marathon, this really spoke to me.  I won’t give up hope and I will keep fighting.

We stopped on the way home for a little sale Easter candy, since the Easter Bunny did not come to our house.  Yum!0404 002

Then I went home and baked peanutty banana chocolate chip muffins.  They are delicious and will be heading too work with Tim tomorrow.0404 008

Easter dinner?  Rachel at Shedding It’s Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Loin, Christmas rice, and steamed green beans.

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This recipe for pork was MAGICAL.  It was nice and moist.  I usually shy away from pork because it always comes out dry and tough, but this was awesome.  This will definitely be going in our rotation.

I overcooked the green beans, though.

For dessert, I made Cookie Dough Brownies.  They are chilling in the fridge as we speak.

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Someone requested the recipe for these bad boys earlier this week, so here you go!

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0404 007 I cut down on prep time by just using a brownie mix for the brownie part.  The cookie dough topping and glaze is really the important part!

Here are a few more recipes that people wanted to see!

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Pretzel Jello SOUNDS gross, but is secretly delicious.  I swear. 

I’ve never tried the make-your-own-cleaning wipes, either!

Anyway, I think we are going to take Milhouse for a nice long walk outside while it’s still light out.  I hope you enjoyed your Easter!

Recommend your favorite pump-you-up songs for my half marathon playlist.  I have an hour and a half on there now, so I need at least another 45 minutes to an hour (unless I suddenly become Speedy Gonzalez.)  Help!

Friday traditions

Happy Friday!

First things first: the random winner of the Chobani giveaway is Hallie!  Congrats!  E-mail your mailing address to thefitbride at gmail dot com and I’ll send it away so you get your free case of yogurt.  Enjoy!

Today I beguiled my co-workers with my baking skillz.  Red velvet cake balls, German chocolate cake balls, peppermint brownies, and peanut butter cookies.  Nom!

I may or may not have had a peanut butter cookie myself.  It was delightful!  The peppermint brownies are also a big hit.

Anyway, as predicted, I’m verrrry sore from my lifting yesterday.  My quads and back muscles, especially, are whining.  I usually don’t get sore in the back, which makes me happy, because that means I’m working it well.  Those lat pulldowns can really be a killer.  I’m happy today is a rest day!

Not too much to report here–we’re planning a nice easy night of bumming around the house.  As per Friday night tradition indicates, we’re going to make homemade pizza and catch up on our Tivo.  If I can muster up the energy, maybe I’ll work on wedding invitations a little.  (MAYBE.)  I am so ready for these stupid little suckers to be done with!  I’ve been working on these intermittently since FEBRUARY.  I don’t think I’ll ever be more happy to mail something in my entire life.  I stopped at Michael’s to pick up the last stuff I’d need (hopefully) to get them done, so we’ll see.

Have a great night!  Do you have any weekly traditions?

I’ve been on a soup kick lately.  The old school, plain, chicken noodle and tomato soups, straight out of a can.  I don’t know why, but I find them so filling!  Maybe all the liquid?  The heat?  Who knows.

Productivity!

I didn’t work out today, but I feel like I did.  I’ve just been so gosh darn productive it’s mind-boggling!  My feet hurt and my shoulders and neck are tense and sore.

First, Tim and I got up early and went to church.  We both like going to church, but it’s a struggle to get out of bed most Sundays.  We made it, though, today, and it was really nice!  The decorations for Christmas were gorgeous–tons of poinsettias and a beautiful Christmas tree and there was really nice Christmas music going on.  It definitely helped get me in the spirit!

Then we made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up the necessities for my baking extravaganza.  I always do a TON of baking at the holidays because a) I love to bake and b) I love giving away what I bake!  I’m bringing a lot of stuff to school tomorrow for a special holiday thing, and then on Saturday we’re having a Christmas get-together with Tim’s family in Kansas City.  I figured it would be perfect to make up a little something for everyone to take home.

First up? A triple batch of cake balls.  I started these last night, but didn’t finish them until today.  These puppies are LABOR INTENSIVE, but so good.  I did one batch of red velvet with cream cheese frosting, and two batches of German chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting.

Then, I tried my hand at dog baking.  I made these pumpkin & peanut butter treats to include the four-legged family members in the holiday festivity.  (Milhouse actually needs to put on a few pounds!)  This recipe was super easy and Milhouse loved the results.

Next up?  Peanut butter cup cookies.  I made these once, forgot about them, and then remembered (thankfully).  Again, somewhat labor intensive and finnicky, but delicious nonetheless.

I love peppermint and chocolate together, so I decided to try making peppermint chocolate bars.  I haven’t tried one yet, but I predict they’ll be good!  (The batter and frosting were, anyway.  Whoops.)

Somewhere between the peppermint bars and the PB cookies, Tim left.  He’s traveling for work and will be back either late tomorrow night or late Tuesday night.  So, I’m living like a single girl for awhile!  This means lots of wedding/girly shows on TV and canned soup for dinner.  I’m also watching a girly-ish movie from Netflix, 7 Pounds, but it’s pretty bad.

I also managed to do two loads of laundry, tons of dishes, all my ironing for the week, several dog walks, and a bunch of invitation cutting.  Okay, I’m trying to talk myself into invitation cutting still.  God, this project sucks.  Is it over yet?

Get excited–tomorrow morning I’m starting a most excellent giveaway!

What’s your favorite holiday baked item? I can’t be loyal to just one, but my mom’s caramel brownies are high on the list.  Every time I try to make them myself they turn out horrible, but hers are always perfect.