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Posts from the ‘day-to-day’ Category

How Many?

It is December. Also known as the month where I am too busy for words.

Trips to IKEA in the past week:  TWO

Trying to figure out WTF are we doing with the kitchen!?! This kitchen must die.

death to this kitchen


ikea kitchen shopping

Come to me, wooden countertop. I love you.

ikea kitchen shopping2

Tristan: Currently thinking WTF!?! While contemplating the fact that we have to paint the ENTIRE house…


Veggies eaten: A GAZILLION

I have been trying to fight off the plague (aka one of the nuggets had strep – and I can NOT get sick this month!); so I’ve been fueling myself with goodness.

green smoothiesgrapefruitorange chix sesame kaletofu honey mustard saladrainbow dinner2bburgers ala jenny2

Miles on the treadmill so far this week:  TEN!

Sweat it out, baby. Sweat it out.

X-mas presents purchased:  ZERO

Send elves!



(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

I’m here.

I’m alive.

I’m Mama to this cutie-patootie pup… (who never stops moving!)

lickin lilly

(I’m currently being swallowed up by my upcoming event this weekend… the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer – but I should be back tomorrow with a new post!)



Weekends always go by far too quickly. My life is busy, busy… and I look forward to my weekends, like a kid looking forward to Xmas.

Though I usually have so much that I want to accomplish, that they end up being just as busy as my weekdays… and… well… it’s just a vicious circle really.

However, this past weekend, I was able to take a well-deserved lazy day on Saturday. I had gotten off of work a few hours early on Friday, and was able to do my weekly grocery shopping, as well as a much-needed trip to Costco that afternoon. Then I came home and turned my kitchen into pumpkin-flavored heaven, as promised.

Pumpkin muffins (so moist and doughy!), pumpkin butter and pumpkin cream cheese. All made with real food ingredients, and respectably healthy.

muffs big and minipumpkin butter pump cc55

Put all three together, and you have a winning combination, as we happily discovered…

super deluxe muffins

Saturday morning was my usual ritual of Farmers’ Market and coffee…

sat am coffeefarmers bounty basket

I was thrilled to find GREENS at the market again… and (possibly?) went a little crazy, buying Collards (two types), and arugula! As well as 3 green peppers, breakfast radishes, and something called ‘Asparagus Beans’… (they look like Chinese Long Beans to me). I also bought some fingerling potatoes, eggs and some chicken breasts… as well as these super-cute itty-bitty tomatoes …

gorgeous tomspretty toms2


I returned home in a light drizzle, to find Susan and Victor (Tristan’s Mom and nephew) at our house, hanging out. After Susan and I caught up -we’re both quite chatty (much to Victor’s dismay – 12 year old boys get bored pretty easily around women); they headed out, and that marked the end of my productive day! The rest of the day was spent in sweats, on the couch with Tristan, watching the first season of Raising Hope on DVD, and taking a nap.  It rained, it poured, and we lounged. Fantastic. I didn’t even have to cook dinner, courtesy of Mellow Mushroom and my lovely boyfriend who went to pick it up.

We were excited for the premiere of Saturday Night Live with Alec Baldwin, and bought some Schweddy Balls in his honor. It didn’t disappoint! (The ice cream or the show!).

balls ice creamballs ice cream4

(If you don’t get that reference, I’m sorry, but we can’t be friends).

When it comes to relaxing, I’m normally such a guiltaholic (Tristan says it’s my Catholic school childhood!); but on Saturday I was able to take a step back, and not give myself a hard time for relaxing. I know I deserve it (always!), but sometimes it is honestly hard to let go.

Sunday morning I had a mini lie-in, and then a breakfast of coffee, local eggs and homemade pumpkin muffins.

Then it was back to the business of my weekend to-do list… multiple loads of laundry, and of course, keeping busy in the kitchen.

I turned these… applesauce1

into applesauce. (will post the recipe tomorrow)

And I  lightened up my favorite hummus recipe, by using some vegetable broth (not exactly authentic – but rest-assured there was evoo and tahini in there – just less of it – as I tend to eat hummus by the boatload).

Sunday night I made my Minestrone soup (recipe to come), and indulged in a giant bowl of healthy comfort food. Seriously, it is so GOOD. I’ve been eating it nonstop ever since.

I also enjoyed my first Schlafly Pumpkin Ale this weekend, as well (which came to me all the way from Illinois! More on that later).



Do you find it easy to ‘let go’ and relax on the weekends….? Or are you a control-freak, like me? 🙂


My Grandpa’s Green Thumb

Apparently I have inherited it. I never expected to; it’s come as quite a surprise. But I couldn’t be happier. My Grandpa was an amazing gardener. My childhood memories wouldn’t be complete without his rhubarb pie, homemade pickles, grape juice, fresh berries and canned tomatoes. All grown by him in my grandparent’s backyard. My Grandma and I are freakishly similar in many ways, but it seems that quite a bit of Grandpa rubbed off on me as well. He has been gone for 14 years this May, and I think of him often. I’m sorry that we never got to experience this together. I know he’d be proud of my garden.

I had good success last year with one raised-bed garden, and some containers. This year, I upped the ante. Quite a bit.

Here is how my little garden grows…


Garden #1 - on May 1st


Garden #2 - on May 1st


Garden #3 - on May 1st

And now, exactly one month later…

garden 1 - 1 month

Garden #1 - on June 1st

garden 2 - 1 month

Garden #2 - on June 1st

garden 3 - 1 month

Garden #3 - on June 1st

Ignore the fact that I need to weed, and that we need to mow the yard (what can I say? We were in Asheville last weekend!)


Baby zucchini!!



In the second garden #2 photo, you can see a couple of things… one of them is a hastily staked-up tomato plant, with bamboo sticks. The night before we left for Asheville brought one hell of a storm, and the next morning, I had damage control to do, while trying to rush out the door. I am going to hit Lowes up to get another folding tomato cage for it this weekend. The cone cages are far too small to fit over it now. Also, sort of tucked up underneath the big tomato plant is a tall, but skinny little Sungold tomato shoot. It broke off from the main plant during a storm, and I immediately stuck it straight into the ground. I really didn’t expect it to take (hence the poorly chosen spot), but it did. It has little baby tomatoes on it now, so I’m going to have to make the set-up work!

My garden is organic, and thus, something is already chowing down on my eggplant leaves (seen in garden #3 photo). This happened last year, but whatever it was didn’t care for the fruit (eggplant), and it didn’t seem to have much of an ill effect on the plant as a whole. I am going to try to figure out how to stop it though. The holes in the leaves make me sad! All my hard work!


Pesto! Ahem... I mean basil!



all gardens - 1 month

A view down the line...


The only thing (aside from herbs) that I’ve been able to harvest thus far has been radishes. However, check out my Sungolds… I’m thinking I will be able to pluck one of those babies and pop it straight into my mouth while working in the garden this weekend. Sustenance, right?!


The End of the World

Last Saturday morning brought another trip to the Farmer’s Market (of course!)…  where I scored Jericho romaine (x2), kale, broccoli, snow peas, breakfast radishes, eggs, baby red potatoes, yellow squash, strawberries (this was the last week for them!), and the first PEACHES of the season! I also bought a loaf of gluten-free sorghum bread (as a gift) and a loaf of the amazing Cranberry Walnut bread from By Lucille.

Saturday midday brought a birthday picnic for Tristan’s Mom, Susan, at a local park. Yummy food was enjoyed… I contributed a spicy Tex-Mex brown rice/black bean salad and some Roasted Red Pepper & Basil hummus.  We also enjoyed some yummy gluten-free cupcakes, courtesy of the birthday gal. Susan suffers from Celiac disease, and as such we enjoy a lot of gluten-free food at family gatherings.


After the picnic we took a family walk on the Greenway, and encountered a dead snake, live lizard, and a turtle!


6 p.m. came and went – and the world didn’t end. (Shocker). So we grilled out Portobello mushrooms for “burgers”, and served them on Great Harvest buns with Swiss cheese; along with sweet potato fries and fresh local steamed broccoli.


For dessert we dug into Joya’s Wren Cake with Irish Cream Glaze. Mmm. Delicious. (I won this cake in Tina’s Bake Sale, for Team for Kids). She also sent along a little jar of jam that her Dad made. Thanks, Joya!


We celebrated the world NOT ending on Saturday night, with a viewing of Religulous (Loved it!).


We are big Bill Maher fans, and watch Real Time every week. It was awesomely appropriate material.


My week in pictures

Easter egg hunts…

egg hunt

… and baking Emily’s Jelly Surprise Muffins

baking with j

The Farmers Market…

frms mkt bounty

… and local STRAWBERRIES!


Reading Tina Fey’s new book, Bossypants

bossypants book

Easter Brunch…

easter1 easter2

kale salad bloody mary easter4

Playground weather…



A handsome man to pump my gas…  (NOT loving the cost though – eeeks!)

eeeks gas

Two days off work, with a day of shopping and lunch out thrown in…

131 main 131 main1


plants1 plants2


Getting dirt delivered for my gardens…

truck of dirt gardens


And… this guy…

t and a easter smooch



I can’t seem to get into the swing of things, these days. I swear, Daylight Savings Time is STILL kicking my butt. I  have “snoozed” my alarm(s) for 45 minutes more than once in the past couple of weeks. Luckily I got my butt in gear once I finally dragged myself out of bed, and wasn’t ever late for work – but I absolutely hate to be rushed. 45 minutes?? Eeeks.

I am the crazy person that can sleep through alarms, and thus sets many, many alarms for the morning. I have my bedside alarm clock * (which I’ve had for half my life! Also – Tristan has the exact same alarm clock. We came into our first apartment 5 years ago with matching alarm clocks. How cute is that?)…

big alarm

… and I also use not one, but TWO old mobile phones with alarms… I’ve got my ancient clunky Nokia from when I lived in England (24 hr clock,baby!)…

phone alarms

… and my still old yet more recently retired flip phone…

The flip phone is awesome because it has THREE alarms that I can set. And I do. The old British phone is awesome because it is SUPER loud and vibrates at the same time. Buzz, buzz, clunk, clunk on my nightstand. It works pretty well. But NONE of them are foolproof.

I’ve used this mixture of alarms for many years… but lately, it’s just not cutting it. I’ve been on the hunt for the ‘perfect’ alarm clock for a long time… something that will MAKE me get out of bed.

Have you ever heard of “Clocky“??!? He is super-cute, and quite annoying. He is also now residing on my nightstand, as well.

meet clocky

He sounds like R2D2 on crack, and jumps down from your nightstand to ROLL AWAY FROM YOU!!! You have to hunt him down. I’m just getting the hang of using him, and can’t solely rely on him yet… but we’ll see. Maybe he will solve all of my snoozing problems!

Although it is definitely taking me a while (weeks!) to get into the swing of things with the time change, I am absolutely loving  that it is still light outside when I get home after 6pm. I love that I can go outside and play with Lilly. I love that soon, I will be able to tend to my garden after work.

However, the real problem here is this… I don’t get enough sleep. (who does?!?!). I love our bed. I love to sleep. Looooove. I usually get about 6 hours, or mayyyybe 6.5 (if I SNOOZE!) on weeknights. Is this enough sleep? No. I know that it isn’t. But, it’s the way things are. I work long, hard hours; like to cook dinner, and can’t get to bed any earlier. So, in the interest of productivity and not wanting to rushed in the a.m., I tend to set my alarm(s) for earlier than I “HAVE” to be up. As I said, I despise rushing around before work (it makes me feel flustered for the whole day!) – and I like to have time to check email, hop on the treadmill, etc. But knowing that I have that time” cushion”, sometimes makes me think “Well, I can just sleep a few more minutes and check email on my phone later”… etc, etc. And thus, I snooze. And snooze.

Have I met my match in Clocky? I certainly hope so.

Is anyone else a snooze-aholic?


Cooking up and taking down…

Now that I’m amongst the land of the living again, I have been enjoying some pretty flowers…

spring flowers

… playtime outside with puppies…


Tug of wubba


They never stop!

… and being a busy bee in my kitchen…

Granola (of course!)… I make a big batch of this every 3-4 weeks.


Spiced Vanilla Granola

English muffins… I make several batches of these at a time, split them and freeze them for easy breakfast and snacks. They are so wonderfully delicious! English muffins are something that I’ve really missed since cutting processed food out. I am so happy to be able to make my own whole-grain English muffins with minimal ingredients.

Eng muffins

Whole-grain English Muffins

Coconut Butter! This is so easy, it is ridiculous. Really. And, this 8 oz jar only cost me $2.79, to make.

coconut butter finished

Coconut Butter

My favorite Almond Butter!! It was definitely time to make more! We’ll see how long this jar lasts. 🙂

jar of heaven

Heaven in a jar

Simple Broccoli salad with yogurt dressing…

brocc salad

Fresh broccoli salad with yogurt dressing

Carrot Pumpkin Muffins…

pumpkin carrot muffin

How could you go wrong with this?

Emily’s Vegetable Masala burgers

masala burgers3

Delicious with avocado on top!

Collards. Lots of collards. (My “fall garden” exploded with them, all of a sudden).

collards, spicy

Sweet & Spicy Collards

Panang Curry


Panang Tofu Curry

Dolsot Bibimbap and Kimchi

dolsot bibmibap

Dolsot Bibimbap



And of course… Lilly’s favorite Crunchy Peanut Butter dog treats!

crunchy dog treats

World's greatest (and healthiest) dog treats!

On the cookbook front, I recently purchased Mark Bittman’s Food Matters, and am in love. (shhh, don’t tell Tristan). I’ve made several recipes out of it already… Brothy Vegetable and Lentil Soup (with some modifications), Skillet Tamales (w/local grass fed beef), Refried Black Beans, Arroz Con Pollo – and then some (with local pastured chicken), and Cauliflower Mac & Cheese.  I have dozens more pages bookmarked to try .

cauli mac inside

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese


Lentil Soup


Skillet Tamales and Refried Black Beans

As for outside of the kitchen, we’ve had a very rainy and chilly week here… Spring? Not so much. I actually love rainy days as a rule, but I have to say – I much prefer the dry days now with Lilly around. Mud sucks. Mud on paws, sucks even more. And mud on my carpet? Don’t get me started.

Also making me long for sunnier days? The fact that our beautiful gazebo took a cartwheeling tumble about a month ago, and now resembles something a 2 year old would make with Tinker Toys, rather than an attractive and useful addition to our backyard.


Anyone know what to do with 145 lbs of crumpled steel?

We’ve bitten the bullet and purchased a new one (ooh, it’s even bigger!) and can’t wait to put it up. However, it is far too soggy out there right now.

So I’m uncharacteristically ready for the sun. Spring. Not summer. Do you hear me, universe? NOT. Summer.


The ABC’s of ABB

So, in an effort to get back to regular life and business, I thought I would do the current blog-floater, “The ABC’s of me”.

I’ve seen this around… Ashley, and Allison have done it, as well as others. Is it a cop-out? Yep. Kinda. But hang in there… tomorrow is March… and March is a new month! I’m leaving the sickness behind!

A. Age:  32  (loving my 30’s!)

B. Bed size:  Queen.

C. Chore you dislike:  Cleaning bathrooms!!! Dusting comes in at a close 2nd! (Our house is SO dusty, I swear something is wrong with the HVAC system. Thanks goodness we are just renting it).

D. Dogs:  Lilly! (aka: Lillith, Lilster, Monkey, Lils). Our 1 year old Aussie/Border Collie mix.

E. Essential start to your day:  Espresso!!!

F. Favorite color: Purple. Always purple.

G. Gold or silver: Definitely silver (or white gold/platinum). Yellow gold is icky. Yes, I said icky.

H. Height: 5’6” 

I. Instruments you play(ed):   Flute, Piano.

J. Job title:  Jill of all trades? Shaper of young minds?

K. Kids:  In the not-too-distant future. 🙂

L. Live: Charlotte, NC  (not my cup of tea).

M. Mom’s name:  Patricia

N. Nicknames:   Angie, Ange, Blankers, Bambina (by my love), Sis (my Mom still calls me this to this day. It started as “Sissy” when my little brother couldn’t say “Angie”. He’s 25 now, time to let it go! Ha,ha).

O. Overnight hospital stays:  Several times when I was young… once I was there for a month, when I was nearly 3 y/o. I remember certain things from that time, believe it or not.

P. Pet peeves:  SC drivers, squeaky shopping carts, bad grammar, ignorance.

Q. Quote from a movie:  (I’d rather pick a book quote, but…)  One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.  — Animal Crackers.

R. Righty or lefty:  Righty

S. Siblings: Chris (age 25. We share the same birthday, seven years apart!).  

T. Time you wake up:  on weekdays:  5:00 a.m. – 5:30 a.m., depending on my workout schedule that day. I’m *always* tired. 😦

U. Underwear:  …. I wear it, yes.

V. Vegetables you don’t like:  It’s hard to think of a veggie that I don’t like…  honestly. I could pick a fruit that I don’t like – how’s that? Definitely cantaloupe (and it’s really not that I don’t like it, but am allergic. It makes my throat/mouth all itchy!).

W. What makes you run late:  Getting lost in my own thoughts! Also, Lilly is to blame sometimes, as well.

X. X-rays you’ve had:  Well teeth, obviously!  Also Lumbar x-ray, and CT scan just last month.  

Y. Yummy food you make: Everything I make is yummy!!! I made English muffins over the weekend… delish!

Z. Zoo animal favorites:  Monkeys and penguins, obviously.


The Walking Dead

(and TMI…)

 I’ve been MIA lately, or rather, M-I-N-A (Missing in NON-action). I haven’t been up to much, beside trying not to die. Okay, so that is a tad extremely dramatic. But it has been a rough 2 weeks…

I haven’t been posting b/c I don’t have anything interesting to say…. Or the energy to say it, even if I did. I’m fighting a UTI/kidney infection. Not very well, I might add.

 I finished one five-day course of my 2nd antibiotic. (My first one, Bactrim, had NASTY side-effects that I didn’t enjoy. I quit it after 2 doses, and went back for a second option.  However, on the last couple of days on my 2nd antibiotic, Cipro, I had some nasty side-effects as well. Apparently I am allergic to both of those meds. Fun, fun).  Before this ordeal, I can’t tell you the last time I was on an antibiotic. It’s been a looooong time, and it was probably a Z-pak for a sinus infection. I haven’t had a UTI in probably 8 or 9 years; but I recall one self-diagnosed bout with one while living in England; which I knocked-out on my own with cranberry/herbal remedies; so this is all new to me, again. As it stands now, I am on my THIRD antibiotic, Macrobid, for 7 days and really hoping that this finally knocks the infection on its ass.  My body does NOT like taking antibiotics. This is painfully clear. But, I don’t have any other options.

Another not so great aspect of all of this is that I am also having all sorts of back pain that has me Googling more serious kidney issues like mad. I’ve been to the Minute Clinic once, and my Dr.’s office twice. I have yet another appointment already scheduled for next Thursday, to hopefully tell me that everything is back to normal.  We shall see. Up until this, I have had a rather healthy winter; but spending so much time in germ-infested Doctor’s offices and waiting rooms, has me wanting to take extra good care of myself. I’ve been trying to keep up the fruit and veg, and green monsters, too. And Emergen-C (which pretty much goes against most of my rules – but I SWEAR by it). I’ve also been told to lay off the treadmill for the duration of this, which is driving me crazy. I feel like if I could get some exercise in, I would have more energy, ya know?

I have been keeping up with everyone’s blogs but not contributing much myself. I just feel blah. I’m too miserable to write anything clever or remotely interesting.

Keep in mind – this is a work-through-the-pain and ickiness kind of illness.  I haven’t taken a sick day from work throughout all of this – and have been at my job every day alive and kicking. Well, alive anyways.

To add insult to injury, I have been told to stay off alcohol for the duration of this ordeal. I so enjoy my glass of wine after a hard day of work to help me unwind, so I’m extremely pouty about this as well.  😦

Happy it is the weekend? Yes-indeedy! Tonight my sweetie has offered to get Mellow Mushroom take-out for dinner. Nothing a little Kosmic Karma can’t fix, right?

I promise to be back with more next week, as I start to feel better…