Tomato Basil Goodness

So how awesome was guest post from Darcy yesterday? For real. She’s the best.

The past few days, I’ve been eating a lot of tomatoes, basil, cheese, and sprouts. And it’s been great. So fresh. So wonderful.

The first time was at Emily’s house for her birthday dinner. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EMILY! Her mom made us a super tasty bruschetta for an appetizer.

Then, last night, inspired by Darcy, we made the same sort of dish before dinner. The base is farmer’s market bread with butter and garlic salt, toasted for a few minutes in the broiler. Then, we layered tomato (from the garden), fresh basil, parmesan, and sprouts.

So tasty. And so easy. And so lending to variation. Switch up the kind of cheese…try fresh mozzarella. Try different kinds of bread: pita, rye, or skip the bread entirely and use the tomato as the base.

If you want a traditional bruschetta (a la Emily’s birthday dinner), just chop the tomatoes and basil finely, add some EVOO, and serve on a bread substance of choice. Yum!

Officially my new favorite, easy to make, summer appetizer!

Winona Lake by Day

On my way (sort of) between Michigan and North Carolina, I stopped to visit Rachel and thought it would make a fun guest post.  Rachel scampered off to work in the morning and I set out to discover Winona Lake on my own, armed with a book and some insider info as to where I should stop.  Of course, the first thing I did was head down to the water to look for sailboats.  The lake must be fairly shallow because all I saw were small catamarans.
Such a cute fricken town. All the little shops have signs out front.
So I wandered down by the water and found the Killarney Castle (PRIVATE RESIDENCE). Right after I took the picture I saw a woman cleaning right by the window. Oops.
I tried to make myself round to blend in with some park art.
I figured I could knock out the downtown shops in about ten minutes, as it’s a pretty small area. However, by the time I made it to the cafe that Rachel said I MUST stop at, it was nearly 11:30. It is blazing hot outside today (hence the sundress), so going into the cafe was a nice relief. As promised, the ginger cookie was delicious…
…and it went well with my recommended book, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design . So there I sat, munching on my cookie and reading about spark plug design.
But, as I said, it was 11:30 so I didn’t linger too long. Rachel was coming to take me out for my first sushi experience! Yes, that’s right. My name is Darcy and I have never tried sushi. I’ll confess. And being the research maven that I am, I can tell you that what we ate today is called makizushi (literally “rolled sushi”). I tried a spicy Siren maki (right after I learned how to use chopsticks).
Rachel was an old pro at it by then. At least, she seemed like it, until she had to pour some soy sauce onto her plate. We admired the rectangular plates.
So it’s been a busy morning! And now I sit in her office, using old-fashioned html to insert my photos because WordPress is apparently furious at me (undoubtedly because I went with Blogger rather than WordPress for my blog).

But the day is only half over! Stay tuned to hear more about Winona Lake by Night!

Two birds with one stone

After a night of pizza eating and champagne drinking, a work out was in order for the morning. In order to accomplish all the errands I needed to do, I decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I pulled on the bike shorts, donned a backpack, and clipped in the bike shoes. Hit the road!

First stop, Walgreens. I needed to pick up the order of photos that I uploaded last night to be printed. Here’s my hot ride:

Next week, I’ll do a post featuring the final product of the new prints that I have 🙂

Next stop, Owens. I had to pick up bananas and PB. Goal for this year: bananas and PB together do not create a meal. ALSO: each jar of PB must last 2 weeks. Unless I bake something.

Moving on… then I biked into town, yelled at a bunch of stop lights for not turning green in time, and thus making me unclip my pedals, and deposited my paycheck at the bank (payday!!)

Last, and most certainly not least: farmer’s market!

There’s a great little farmer’s market within a mile of my house. I like it bunches and intend to take full advantage over the next few weeks of harvest-time goodness. The goods include:

  • green beans
  • tomatoes
  • green peppers
  • a purple pepper
  • a yellow pepper
  • a loaf of wheat bread
  • eggs

Pretty much just the basics. But, since I never really grocery shopped last week, I haven’t stocked up on anything, and so, was in need of the basics.

Off to the beach this afternoon to soak up some of the last of summer’s sun! Woot!

TGIF! and Day 6 for the sprouts….

“No man needs a vacation so much as the man who just had one” -Elbert Hubbard

Thank you, Elbert Hubbard. No truer words have ever been spoken.

That said, I actually did make it through my first week back at work. Though I wouldn’t whine if I had just one more little tiny bit of summer. Let’s recap the week:

  • I painted my office
  • I painted my bookshelf
  • I rearranged the office
  • I moved all of my earthly belongings up two flights of stairs and across a porch.
  • I grew a jar of sprouts for the first time ever 🙂
  • I joined foodbuzz. Hi, foodbuzz readers!
  • I got back in the game and started running regularly again.

All in all, a fairly productive week, all things considered.

So, tonight called for nothing strenuous. Pizza and vino, anyone? Yeah, yeah, second time this week. I know. Desperate times call for desperate measures, guys. It can’t be helped.

This time, we went the Papa John’s route:

While we chowed down, I sipped some vino and we watched Love Happens. So relaxing. So good.

It’s 9 pm here and now. And I think bed is calling my name quite soonly! Before I get offline though, Walgreens has a photo deal right now, and I want to order some photogs from epic trip of a lifetime. Also, front tire of bike needs a new tube if I’m going to go to the farmer’s market in the morning. Might as well make that happen now! Maybe I won’t get to bed soon, after all.

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Finally, the day you’ve all be waiting for. Our sprout babies have grown up big enough to face the world all on their own. By day 6, they’ve grown all that they’re going to grow, so you can transfer them into their own grown up container and put them in the fridge.

Eat responsibly, friends!

Get back in the game

I just loved the start of a school year. I loved buying new school supplies, getting new shoes, some new clothes. I loved being handed new textbooks, imagining all the things that we would do that year in that subject. I love meeting new teachers and being assigned new desks. I loved all the potential that each school year offered me. A clean slate. I’m a nerd. Don’t judge me.

The beginning of a new school year always felt something like New Year’s Day. Resolutions had to be made. Mostly about how I wasn’t going to procrastinate, and I wasn’t going to spend as much money on junk food at lunch, and I was going to get better grades in that class (usually a math or science).

Even though I’m not in school anymore, my world hasn’t changed that much. My job operates on a school year-esque schedule, minus the months-long summer break. Each September heralds in a new era in the office after the festival the previous summer: new positions, new schedule, new expectations, new people. And with all the newness inevitably comes new resolutions about how this fall, this year, will be different. Sometimes it’s setting new goals, but often it’s a reaffirmation of old goals. A re-commitment to something I had already decided to do.

For me, this fall, that involves returning to regular running. I don’t have any endurance races planned, though I will probably do a couple of 5ks, and maybe a 10k. There are several things to bear in mind as you get back in the game.

  1. Keep your expectations reasonable. You ran your first marathon 3 months ago, and haven’t run muchsince? Don’t plan your first run out the door as an 8 mile tempo run. You’ll kill your body and your psyche. Not healthy.
  2. Set reasonable goals for yourself. Goals that will push you, but that are attainable. Maybe this means increasing the walking time in your walk-run ratio. Maybe it means adding in walk segments so that you can make your 3 mile loop.
  3. Build distance and speed sensibly. Remember that in order to get where you were in the first place, you had to build. Now is no different. To rush endurance and speed can mean injury.
  4. Listen to your body. Are you gasping for air much earlier than you were? Is your knee killing you? Pull back the pace and/or lessen the distance and refer to steps 1 through 3.

The hardest part about getting back in the game is the mental aspect. It’s hard to deal with weakness when you’re used to having strength and endurance. Just be careful…pushing too hard too soon could cause injury. Know that with a realistic plan, you’ll be back where you were in no time!

How do you get back into something you were previously very disciplined in?

Office move in, celebratory pizza….and day 4S

I finished painting today! Bookshelf is now a lovely shade of white. Also, I hung a few things up on the walls. I definitely need to put up more to fill it up….now it just looks awkward. I’ll probably see what I can do about printing and framing some photos. Anyone have any other ideas?

Tomorrow, books go on the shelf. The best part. Obviously.

In celebration for the office move in, I made pizza for dinner. I used Sarah’s pizza dough recipe (thanks, Sarah!)

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. yeast
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water (not cold. not hot. lukewarm.)

Mix it all together, then cover the bowl with saran wrap and leave it alone for 2+ hrs. The dough is supposed to rise and double.

When its ready, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread out the dough by whatever method you prefer and top with whatever you want. It’s a very creative cooking experiment. So be creative. Think outside the box.

Tonight’s was simple…a bunch of different cheeses and spices.

Speaking of, I highly recommend spicing it with spices like oregano, basil, garlic, various peppers, etc.

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Check up on the sprout babies! Aww…..

For day 4, rinse 2 to 3 times again, as the hulls are (apparently) still falling off.

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And last but not least, a small critique of the sitcom The Middle. Indiana is not like that. Promise.