Friday, February 17, 2012

Reason #108: Why I Love My Boyfriend

Because we can exchange Valentines like these on Valentine's Day:

Erik's Valentine to me. Courtesy of this link

My Valentine to Erik. Courtesy of this link

Weird, yes, but strangely romantic. Don't you think? Nothing beats a Valentine greeting with the word "shit" in it--especially when combined with a cute and cuddly honey badger.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pinterest Recipe Reviews

I know I said back in January I would try incorporating some Pinterest inspired forays into the blog and so here goes the first of what will more than likely be many posts on this glorious website  (because I, like probably all  females with internet access, am addicted to Pinterest. Admittance is the first step right?).

*By the way if you don't know what Pinterest is click here (just don't blame me when you look at the clock and begin to wonder where the last 4 hours went. Just a friendly warning).

Two of my favorite categories on Pinterest are the recipe boards and the DIY boards because I love to cook and love to craft on occasion. Since I have been more successful in trying out recipes that is what I will be sharing today.

Because I'm trying to be healthy (re: back on Weight Watchers) I have been testing mostly low-cal recipes. The bulk of these have been dedicated to my new best friend quinoa. If you've never had quinoa before it is what they call a "superfood" which means it is a whole grain packed with all kinds of nutrients and protein. To me it looks kinda like couscous and you cook it pretty much the same way you cook rice. The best thing about it is that 2 cups of dry quinoa makes about 6 cups of cooked quinoa. So if you make a batch at the beginning of the week you can use it for all kinds of things throughout the week.  Simple and quick. Oh and I should mention that these recipes are all boy approved (Erik was forced to go vegetarian with me the week as I tried these recipes out).

*Just an FYI, all of these recipes can be found on Pinterest or you can click on the recipe name below and it will take you to the website that posted the original recipe.

Recipe #1: Quinoa Burgers--This recipe was delicious! I served the burgers with this creamy greek yogurt style dill and feta dip (made by Marzetti I believe) and they were amazing. Highly recommend.

Quinoa Burgers

Recipe #2: Quinoa "mac and cheese"--I had high hopes that this would satisfy my lusting for mac and cheese but alas, I was a bit disappointed. It tasted great but there really was no confusing this dish for old fashioned mac and cheese. I would say go ahead and try this recipe if the idea of quinoa and cheese excites you but if you are really carving mac and cheese just bite the bullet and eat the real thing. You will probably be much more satisfied.

Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Recipe #3: Broccoli, Cheese, and Quinoa Casserole--Another very good recipe. I added chicken to mine to add a little extra protein. It was filling and was very comfort food-like.

Quinoa Broccoli and cheese casserole

Recipe #4 (moving away from quinoa) White Bean dip--I made this dish as a healthy alternative to take to a superbowl party and I was very pleasantly surprised. It was very easy to make (uses two cans of cannelloni beans + various other ingredients) and had the look and consistency of hummus. I served it with the Special K crackers but it also tasted very good with baby carrots or you could even use pita bread or pita chips.

White Bean dip

Recipe #5: Lemon Dill Chicken Breasts--I made this last night for dinner and served it with whole wheat orzo and mixed veggies. I really loved the lemony-dill sauce that goes over the chicken. It has a nice flavor and for under 200 calories it was a very satisfying dish. Both Erik and I took leftovers for lunch today and it re-heated nicely.

Lemon and dill chicken breasts

Recipe #6: Slow cooker corn and potato chowder--So this recipe may not technically be healthy but it was damn good--especially on a cold winter night. Not to mention you make it in the crock pot which is the most amazing invention ever (well...almost). This is a must-make blog friends. Try it very soon and you won't be disappointed!

Potato and Corn Chowder

Well there you have it. I could go on but six is a nice even number so I'll stop there for now. Hope you enjoy these and let me know if you've tried any good Pinterest recipes lately.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Filing This One Under: "Yes, that really just happened"

Happy Valentine's Day all you friends, family members, stalkers, etc! Hope it is filled with flowers, candies, jewels, sweet cards, romantic moments, and lots of love.

My Valentine's Day agenda includes bowling this evening (Erik and I are members of a bowling league sponsored by my company. We even have our own custom made bowling balls! It's super klassy.) followed by me trying to force Erik into watching one of my favorite movies of all time: When Harry Met Sally. Or maybe we will watch something else I haven't decided yet. I have been joking the last couple of weeks about making him take me to see The Vow but then I don't really want to be THAT girlfriend dragging her guy to a sappy movie on Valentine's Day. So Erik honey, at least you lucked out on that one.


The real reason I am posting is to tell the story of how I realized this morning that I am fully capable of taking down criminals in my sleep (even if they turn out to be imaginary). This realization proves to me that 1) I need to watch less violent shows before bedtime and 2) you can feel like a complete badass and a complete dumbass at the same time.

Let's rewind to about 6:45 this morning.

I'm in the midst of a dream where I have just been robbed. Everything in my house is gone except for some things in my bedroom. I am pissed and completely freaked since this robber stole virtually everything of value that I own. All of a sudden I have this realization that I may have hidden some of my valuables in my closet so I am on my knees tossing things around before I happen to see that yes! I did hide away a few precious things.

Just when I have this realization I feel this thump to the middle of my back and the air rushes out of my lungs. I know immediately that the robber has come back and has just seen this secret hidden stash. In my head I am thinking "fight back" but at the same time I am hurt so I'm having difficulty moving. So with all the strength I can muster I roll my body backwards seemingly to hit the robber with my arm and try to hurt him when...


I find myself tumbling over the side of my bed and crashing onto my hardwood floors scaring the crap out of my poor cats (and myself for that matter). For a second I couldn't understand what was happening and I thought that maybe I had accidentally hit Erik when he was trying to kiss me goodbye as he left for work but thankfully he was nowhere to be seen. I may have muttered "oh god, oh god" a couple of times before I crawled back into bed a little bewildered by the fact that I had  believed what I was dreaming so much that I literally flung myself out of bed.

It's still one of those things that I am remembering now that seems so hazy and foggy like "did that really happen"? But oh yes, blog friends I am afraid that really did happen and I am pretty sure I will have the bruises to prove it later. The funny thing about all of this is that Erik was in the house when all this was happening but he didn't hear any of it. I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing because I could have really hurt myself but it was totally mortifying when I realized what had actually happened as I was sitting on the floor. At any rate I told him that he should be careful because I am now prone to physical violence of suspected imaginary robbers in my sleep, to which he replied, "It's okay. I think I accidentally hit you in the face last night."

Now that's love.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blue February

I have hit that point in the New Year where I just want to boycott life-as-usual. They say that the most depressing day of the year is about the 3rd Monday in January (“Blue Monday”) but this isn’t so much of a problem for me. Since my birthday is January 21st I am usually feeling pretty darn good come that Monday (we’ll see how that one changes as I get older heh). For me, Blue Monday was February 6th—and it has just carried on into the rest of the week. 

Right now I have ZERO motivation to do anything. I stayed home from work on Monday, I refused to go to my Weight Watchers meeting on Tuesday (mostly due to post-Super Bowl food guilt but it did feel strangely good and rebellious to boycott the scale for the day), and I just can’t seem to get my ass off the couch to make it to the gym. To top it all off I [willingly and/or stupidly] went and had a lipids profile done today only to find out that I definitely fall into the “needs improvement” category. Oh yeah and my cats have fleas (most likely brought in by the dog) which have been feasting on me as of late—so there’s that too.

Gross. Gross. Gross.

I have, however, managed to write this blog post so hooray for small victories?

Needless to say, I am ready for this week to be over and maybe try to dig up some motivation this weekend. Anyone else having a “blue” February so far? Any suggestions for perking up?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Post January Re-cap

So now that the hoopla of turning 30 is behind me it's time to focus on some real issues like who do these mortgage people think they are and why can't they estimate my taxes and insurance correctly??? But we'll get to that.

First, here are some photos of how my 30th birthday went down. The day involved horrific rain and thunderstorms (and more than 1 tornado warning)  here in Georgia along with Erik and I attempting to leave the house for a few hours to grab some breakfast, run some errands, and then make it to dinner reservations in the evening. It wasn't quite the day I had planned, but what can you do?

*Bear with me--all of these photos were taken on my iphone*

My parents surprised me with a dozen roses at work

Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes at Stone Soup Kitchen

One of my fave stores The Beehive in Edgewood was
having a warehouse sale just for my birthday (think Etsy in a store)! 

Scallops at Tantra Restaurant 

Erik and I after dinner--welcome to 30!
(I have a cake photo or two that I will post eventually when I stop being lazy and actually download pictures from the Nikon. My brother made me a super yummy red velvet cake that didn't last long between my friends, Erik, and I).

So now that I am 30 and officially an adult (haha) I had another first-time homeowner moment. I got a letter from my mortgage company letting me know that I had a shortage in my escrow account and that I owed them $102. They also informed me that my mortgage payment would go up and I had the option of it either going up $1.33 if I paid the escrow shortage in 10 days or $10 if I wanted to pay the shortage in 12 installments.

I'm dumb when it comes to stuff like this so I asked my older and wiser co-workers about it and they informed me that yes, this happens when the mortgage company does not estimate taxes or insurance payments correctly. Sometimes there is a shortage and sometimes there is an overage (and they cut you a check). I grumbled about it a little (c'mon peeps--get it right!) but I sucked it up and went ahead and paid the $102. It could've been worse I suppose but it was irritating that I had to spend money I wasn't planning on spending just so my mortgage payment could still be increased.

Guess this time around it is mortgage company: 1 and Ashley: 0. Guess I'll know better for next year.