Friday, September 18, 2020

Take 353

7 Quick Takes Friday
--- 1 ---
I'm here this week reporting on some things about the kitchen... First!

Hate cleaning your food processor? Want to make pesto and hummus? Make the pesto first, leaving a couple of tablespoons in the processor and then make your hummus. #NoRegrets #Cleanitonce
--- 2 ---
Second! We make Smitten Kitchen's Black Bean recipe from her first cookbook probably twice per month. After we've eaten our fill for one meal, I save leftover beans for future taco dinners, scrambled eggs, etc. But this year it occurred to me that we should be using the liquid (which I had always previously dumped down the drain... GASP!). Now we eat Mexican Soup every week following when I make black beans. I simply add some chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and some more chipotle powder. Add quesadillas and... drool.
--- 3 ---
Third... This week was the first time I tried a sheet pan dinner... and I fell in love. One dish, roasted veggies... so good. It wasn't a beloved meal by all family members... but I fell head over heels for this one, and next time will actually chop it up and serve it in freshly made pita bread.
--- 4 ---
Finally, I just have to share that of all the things I'm proud of having learned from my own Mama, I'm very proud to say that I can cut between a chicken leg and thigh on first try, no problem. Like butter. No hacking away in multiple spots. My Mama taught me that! Thanks, Mama. 
--- 5 ---
I saw a video this week on Facebook about a family who lost their house in a fire. It really got me thinking... what would I grab? What would I lose?? Do you have answers to these questions?? I'm proud to say that we have two fireproof containers in our house for important documentation, but it really got me thinking... hard drive? Photo albums? 
--- 6 ---
At the same time, my computer storage space is full. And my battery is dead. And it's likely to die at some point... similar to the fire, I have to make sure I don't lose our stuff... It's hard to believe how much of adulthood is simply administration. It's not that exciting... but I really do have to organize files on my computer. Sigh. 
--- 7 ---
I'm still working on healing my fingers of what they're now calling eczema. I'm just chiming in here to complain about my vitamins that are supposed to help nail growth and want to say: 
Why would anyone make a pill that size?!? Perfectly shaped and sized to get lodged in my throat. Dumb. 

Happy Friday!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Take 352

7 Quick Takes Friday
--- 1 ---
I finished the book Better Than Before and I couldn't not tell you a small piece of information I learned: That by simply removing trays from college cafeterias (requiring the use of only plates when getting food), food waste was reduced by 25-30%! Can you believe that??? 

Note to self: keep dinner plates small. LOL.
--- 2 ---
Vote! Which gin bottle do you like better?? Same product, design change. Brian and I have complete opposite opinions. LOL. 
Find the answers below... just like those cool books we used to read in grade school.
--- 3 ---
Since the older kids are back in school, I've resumed my daily walking, which has been very nice. I wanted to share something with you that's on our walk to the mall: covered walk ways along a busy street for a more pleasant walking experience... fast bicycles go to the left along with traffic. Genius, no?
--- 4 ---
We roasted our first pumpkin this week and made pumpkin bread. I used the Betty Crocker recipe and  BOY, was it bland. I guess I'll try Deb's next... I've had a real problem with calorie counting and my love of Smitten Kitchen... there's simply no nutritional information on her recipes... and that doesn't work well for me right now. So, I've been trying to use allrecipes.com more because they have calories for everything. Shrug. Live and learn.
--- 5 ---
Public Service Announcement: It's the time of year to plant your spring bulbs! I've never done this before, but this weekend we'll be planting hyacinths and allium... spring bulbs that I used to love from our garden in South Bend... 

Side note: our first home was owned by a master gardener and I was able to cut bouquets of flowers all growing season long... I find myself planning my ideal future garden entirely based on what we had in that garden. It was my favorite.
--- 6 ---
With our third kiddo, I'm still a big fan of these. If nothing else, it helps them to "participate" in a family meal, even if they're not eating. Love those baby lolly pops.
--- 7 ---
In the blink of an eye, my trusty MacBook Pro, which still feels like my "new computer" is 3 years and 10 months old... the perfect time to have the battery completely die. It now needs to be plugged in at all times and we're venturing into the land of the (dun dun dun!) 

Family Desk

I've been thinking of getting a family desktop and owning one family laptop since we got our last set of laptops. The reality is that my photo work could use the bigger monitor and extra storage space... and I like the idea of having a printer (lol). So, we'll see! First things first: buy a desk! It will be our first desk in our marriage... imagine that! 8.5 years of marriage to a teacher and we've never owned a desk. Strange.

Happy Friday!

#2: the yellow on the right is the old design, and I LOVE the new design. Brian does not. :)

Friday, September 04, 2020

Take 351

7 Quick Takes Friday
--- 1 ---
I'm not one for sharing lots on this front, but believe yous me, I love looking at other people's before and after photos... And I'm not one for before and after photos much of *me*, but because you all know I've been calorie counting (with the app "Lose It!"), I'm happy to share that after 2.5 months, I met my weight goal.

Meeting this goal has been timely, as I just jumped back into listening, "Better Than Before", where the author is describing habit forming and points out a few things that have hit home for me: meeting a goal means... you've met it. So, are you done? Are you going back? Or, are you totally changed? LOL. How anticlimactic. Now I'm grappling with what the long-term plan is. And I'm confident I'll find a good one.

(Thanks for the book recommendation, friends. I'm enjoying it!)
--- 2 ---
Another thing that the author mentions about habits is that we often choose rewards that undermine the very habit we're trying to build... #COOKIES, amiright? 

So, in an effort to keep embracing lower calorie weekdays for higher calorie weekends, I chose a bouquet of flowers and a new pair of yoga pants.


Also, rice crispy treats. I'm not perfect! LOL.
--- 3 ---
Dear Apple, Thanks?
FYI: This is totally NOT TRUE. I did 43 workouts in August and closed all three rings 27 out of 31 days. For me, that's total success! LOL.
--- 4 ---
We have a new fitness center at the mall here. Hilariously, they outfitted the front entryway (completely visible from the mall), with brand new swanky looking leather sofas. #Fitness Also, I'm sorely tempted to go lounge in them. LOL.
--- 5 ---
We went to a party this weekend and brought 7-layer dip. We had such a fun moment in the kitchen trying to remember all 7 layers. Can you do it? No cheating! LOL. Enjoy :) Now, go google it.
--- 6 ---
You know the super huge flying bug with long legs that we always called a mosquito... but clearly wasn't? (If you don't, google at your own risk. I have a strict policy to avoid bug google searches.) BUT, it's called a crane fly. And no, it doesn't bite.
--- 7 ---
It's not in all places, but I thought I'd share something I like about our walk to the mall here... the sidewalk splits and there's a woodsy-covered sidewalk for walkers, and the bicycles stay on the road side of the sidewalk... and that's just nice. #Germany

Happy Friday!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Take 350

7 Quick Takes Friday
--- 1 ---
Is it happening where you are? It's just the slightest changes... only a tree here or there, but YES. Autumn is on its way. We have a small garden park near our house and the ground there is covered in leaves. The temperatures haven't been above 70 degrees this week, and I served white chicken chili with homemade bread... It's coming folks. #SweaterWeather

And yes. I'm one of those annoyingly in love with Fall people. I wait all year for this. (Not to be annoying, but to experience Fall.)
--- 2 ---
So, you ask, if you're so in love with Fall/Autumn, why have you never decided which label to use? Is one superior? Why do we have two names for this season? I'm 35 years old and I continue to call it both Autumn and Fall every time I talk about it with my kids. 

What is that?? Why??? Someone tell me, should I pick one? Which one? And why?? 
--- 3 ---
Some COVID updates for you... Our numbers have been so low in Germany that I do now take the baby into the store for quick grocery pick-ups... But of course a 6-month old can't be masked... I haven't seen anyone talking about this, so I thought I'd share: we use a stroller and the rain cover. Not perfect, but I figure it's some sort of protection! :)
--- 4 ---
The other COVID update? We haven't had babysitters much this year... thanks to the pandemic and new baby and and and... BUT! We had a babysitter this past weekend and I was jolted into the sudden realization that my baby is officially at the "Stranger Danger" attachment phase... and YES. I blame COVID-19 for his extreme reaction to having someone else in the house. I don't remember it being that bad with my other kids... His whole world has basically been the 4 of us... Crazy.
--- 5 ---
In other related news, the NYTimes informed me that Pizza Farms are gaining in popularity as farms are losing income from the restaurant industry being hit by the pandemic. When you go, you can even sit outside in the spacious properties because.... FARM. Cool idea, right?? I'd totally go to a pizza farm!
--- 6 ---
I saw the Columbia Torch Holding Lady in the opening credits of a movie this week and was struck... good gracious! Is that Susan Sarandon? Nope. Turns out she's not. 
--- 7 ---
It's funny how I've gotten older and I've shared a few cocktails that I like... and then I find out that my preferences are similar to those of my grandparents... #Manhattan #Benedictine Are liquor preferences really genetic? *Shrug* Maybe! I kind of like the idea. :)




Happy Friday!