Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weekend Away....

I've been away, but now I'm back and found sometime to fill you in on what I've been up to. Let's start with this picture to give you a hint.

Obviously you noticed it was an outhouse, so hopefully you guessed that I went camping. Last weekend was a girls only weekend, and we all headed up to Brenda's family camp (thanks Brenda!). Don't worry though we didn't have to use the outhouse pictured above. Her family has two beautiful cabins that had indoor plumbing and electric- well most of the time but we'll get to that.

We arrived very late Friday evening, took a few wrong turns, and ended our night with some homemade pizza and a glass of wine. Prior to going to bed we were warned that the power might be going at 8am due to the local crews needing to do some work. Sure enough at the strike of eight in the morning the power went out and the fire alarm went off. Let's just say it woke everyone that was planning to sleeping.

We were hoping that the power would come back soon, but in the meantime Brenda's mom took to the grill and made us all a hot breakfast of eggs and sausage. A few of us went into town to pick up some hot coffee because we had no way to brew it ourselves. After breakfast we had planned a day of spa activities that required electricity, but we made it work. Where there is a will there is a way!

The main cabin had two massage rooms set up, and everyone else hung out down at the original cabin with the pedicures. Without power we had to improvise and get hot water by heating it on the grill. We were willing to go pretty far for some pampering.

Unfortunately we spent the entire day without power and were beginning to wonder if we would ever get it back, luckily around 6pm it came back on. We were so excited because it meant we could take hot showers and have a hot meal! We had a great time just sitting back, relaxing and chatting the weekend away. I highly recommend a weekend away.

Upon returning home it was back to the normal work week so I won't bore you with those details, but I will leaving you with some scenic pictures from the weekend.

Have a great day! I'll try to be better this coming week with getting posts up!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Green Morning...

Wow! An early morning post?!?!? Tell me about it. Just thought I'd share with you a lovely green goodness shake to start my day.

It contained:
1 cup almond milk
3 handfuls of spinach
2 scoops Whey protein
4 strawberries

I put it all in the Vita-mix and mix it all together. I know some people might think you could taste the spinach, but honestly it tastes more like a milkshake. I hoping it will help me kick this cold now have do to the up and down temperatures around here. It's officially fall, so why is it suppose to be near 90 today?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taco Thursday...

After lots of cooking in the kitchen tonight for my upcoming weekend with the girls, I decided to put together dinner based around the idea of a taco. For some reason I haven't felt like cooking with meat lately, though I do still eat meat when we're other places, so tonight's meal was made with veggies!

I cut up an onion, a green pepper, a yellow summer squash, and a zucchini. Then I tossed them in a pan and steamed until it cooked down. Then I added some of my favorite taco seasoning (read: spicy!), and gave Matt the option of nachos or tacos. He went with nachos, but he ate it up so quick I didn't snap a picture.

As you can see from above I went with deconstructed nachos. Toppings tonight included: hot salsa, black olives, Greek yogurt, and cilantro. I also had a side of homemade guacamole and blue chips. Super yummy!

Alright I'm off to get packed up for my weekend away- hopefully Matt won't miss me too much! Though he might miss my weird meals.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


On Sunday Matt, Sabrina, Jill, and I made our way to Windham Mountain to take part in Warrior Dash. I assume you've read my original post, but just in case you haven't I'll give you a quick run down.

Warrior Dash is an event that in multiple locations across the US, and provides participants the chance to not only compete in a race but too get really involved in the race. Each participant must not only cover 3.23 miles, but also must dig deep and make it through 13 different obstacles. As our group learned it really ends up being more unlabeled obstacles along the way. This is unlike any race I have ever done, there are more people than you can imagine, and it's not only a physical- it's mental.

A lot of work goes into planning and executing this event in each region, so each event lasts two days with a group of at least 200 people leaving the start line every half hour. It was a crazy event, clean people, dirty people, food, beer, music-one great big party! Alright so onto the excitement...

Start of the day picture....

We got to Windham Mountain with plenty of time to check in, take in the sight, watch people cross the finish line, and try to get mentally prepared for the fun to come. When standing at the starting corral all you can see is the MASSIVE hill, and it gets intimidating.

Here's the conversation;
S: Oh my- look at the hill!
J: We can do this! Just keep your head down and keep going.
S: Okay, but I don't know.
J: We can do this!!!

Then the gun goes off, and our 12:30 group has officially started Warrior Dash. We start our climb up the hill- guess who the first person to walk is? Yup, me. I realize as we begin our climb it isn't a hill- it's a Mountain and I realized that as we rounded the first corner and it got even steeper. We climbed the mountain for probably approximately a half a mile!!! (No joke.)

Then we came up to our first obstacle the 'Knee High Hell' or basically speed stepping through the tires to the other side. We got through this, but I know I was barely breathing. Then we continued our climb up the mountain, then we came across the Warrior Walls. A series of three walls that were about chest high that you had to get yourself over- not too bad at all the biggest thing was to try not to kick the face of the person behind you or get kicked yourself.

Then we climbed another half mile up the mountain, at this point I just kept my hands over my head so I could breath. I don't mean to sound like a baby- but we were climbing a very steep part of a muddy mountain- it was intense (but doable). Then we came to the Tunnels of Terror- probably one of the easiest obstacles because you just had to crawl through a tunnel/pipe of approximately 3 feet in diameter. It was a little rough on the knees but not bad at all really.

Upon crawling out of the tunnel, we were finally cut a break- we no longer had to climb straight up. It was more of a zig zag down the mountain- with a few climbs along the way. As we ran across the mountain we made our way through uncharted territory referred to as the Black Forest obstacle. The important part was to pay attention to each step to avoid slipping on a rock or twisting an ankle in the thick, slippery mud.

Then as we rounded the corner there was the Slithering Swamp- you climb into icy cold water that comes up to your chest and then make your way to the other side to climb out. Although it was super cold it felt great on my burning from the climb up the mountain- maybe one of my favorite obstacles.

We continued weave our way down the mountain by Walking the Plank, running over a bridge, running down a small river, then we climbed up a cargo net then down the other side. Then we could hear the crowds of people, which meant one thing we were almost there!!!!

The last three obstacles were one right after the other. We first slid down an adult version of the slip'n slide. As I was headed down face first I realized there was a small pond at the end so I quickly covered my face, then after we all had to quickly stand up and get out of the way of the others come down. Next we ran toward the fire and jumped over two different rows of fire- it sounds scary to jump over fire, but it was actually quite fun. And you're soaking wet so you're really don't in any danger.

We were suddenly at the end with all the people cheering as you jump into the Muddy Mayhem and crawl your way across under the barbed wire. Then it was up and across the finish line.

Pretty incredible right?

What an adventure! We all completed it successfully with no injuries. Jill was the first from our group to finish up, then Matt, Sabrina and I crossed the finish line at about the same time. We haven't been given any official times but it took us about an hour to finish.

And here's our final group picture after all the fun!

Anyone want to join us next time???

Monday, September 20, 2010

A weekend of extremes...

Matt said it perfectly the other day- “We either pack the weekend full of excitement or do nothing.” I guess we’re just extremely busy or extremely bored, and once we get moving we just can’t stop.


7:00am- We got up early to get packed and organized for the events to come later in the day and on Sunday. We had a Volkswagen meet-up, a wedding, a reception, and a challenging event- spread across the great state of New York.

9:30am- Noon: Car loaded and on the road to a meet-up with some of the local Volkswagen folks. We all made our way down the Thruway toward Rochester to check out a local business that specializes in car modifications. It was a pretty neat company and the cleanest, most organized auto shop I have ever been in!

Noon- 2:00pm: On the road toward the Volkswagen meet-up we realized we forgot to grab Matt’s dress shoes. Oops! So after leaving the meet up we headed toward a mall in Rochester to quickly get Matt shoes to wear to the wedding, we changed into our wedding dress clothes, then hit the road again for a 40 minute drive to the church ceremony. We arrived with a few minutes spare, but not many. (I have no pictures from the wedding due to my dysfunctional camera.)

2:00: Emily & Jon's Wedding Ceremony

3:00pm-6:00pm: We had three hours between the wedding and reception, so what did we do? We went to our go-to place: Barnes & Nobles! It is such a great place to spend time reading magazines and sippin' coffee.

6:30pm-10:00pm: We enjoyed a nice reception in the Rochester area, with good food and great dance moves by Matt. Unfortunately we had to cut it short because we had a lot of miles to cover before we could rest! We're just glad we had a chance to have some fun before we had to run.

10:00pm-2:00am: We got back on the Thruway and headed to Kingston. We are crazy, young people who like to try to do as much as possible, and all at one time. We had to be in Kingston in the morning for an epic adventure, so we just figured it was best to do it after the wedding. Matt let me sleep while he did the driving- such a good guy!

So what was it that we had to get to Kingston for???? Do you remember when I mentioned Warrior Dash on my blog a while ago???? It was called 'Are we crazy???'. Well believe it or not, this weekend it was time for us to finally take on the challenge and become WARRIORS!!!!

However since this post is getting long, I'm going to leave you with a cliffhanger. I will tell we covered the 3.23 miles and 13 obstacles with success and met the challenge. You'll get the details, possibly pictures, and hopefully official stats from the race tomorrow.

Did you do anything crazy this weekend???

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I've been making...

Monday: Tilapia with Roasted Asparagus

Tuesday: After a little lacrosse, we went to our favorite Greek restaurant- Kostas!

Wednesday: Green Rice with Black Bean Burger (anything else you could want!)

Thursday: Eggplant and Olive Tapenade Pizza (Sorry no picture after it came out of the oven because we inhaled all it's goodness.)

And lastly Thursday night's experiment with recipe making. My inspiration was an apple pie, and my goal was to turn it into a cupcake. The first batch into the oven tasted great, but didn't have that cupcake look. The second batch was much better! I topped it with some yummy cinnamon frosting!

I'll leave you to drool over the fabulous food coming out of our kitchen- this girl needs some sleep. Tomorrow is Friday and it can't come soon enough!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What do you do?

So I don't have a ton of time to write a normal blog tonight, but I wanted to ask you all an etiquette question.

Here is the scenario:

You are in a public restroom (or office bathroom in my case) with multiple stalls, obviously. You're going about your normal bathroom type business when from the next stall comes the sounds of a person making a phone call. (Using speaker phone no less!) This person appears to be calling their doctor to make an appointment, and you can clearly here both sides of the conversation. So by now you're done with your business, do you flush or do you wait for the person in the neighboring stall to finish their phone call?

I thought for a quick second and decide to just flush and get on with my business. A bathroom is for one purpose, not for carrying out phone calls. I just could feel bad for her, make calls from your desk! Who knows I could been stuck there all day waiting for her to finish all her calls.

(Note to self: Don't ever borrow another person's cellphone, you don't know if they are a bathroom talker!)

Tell me what you would do....

Do guys ever run into this issue?

What do you do?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pink Dress Run and Other Fun

Friday night after work Sabrina and I took part in the Pink Dress Run in downtown Buffalo. It was a 2-mile fun run/walk to "save second base". All money raised went to breast cancer awareness and research at Roswell Park.

I kept with the theme and wore a pink dress, with shorts underneath- just in case. I only felt out of place while leaving my office building because you don't usually wear a pink dress with bright green sneakers. Once I got to the event, I soon looked less out of place, especially with these outfit. And yes men wore dresses to get into the excitement!

The run was only 2-miles, and while I didn't time it we did find out from a fellow run that our first mile was done in 10:14- yeah!!! I really didn't feel like we were moving that fast but I'll take it. I didn't find out our official time because this was an untimed event- but I believe we probably came in under 22 minutes- we're pretty happy with that!

After the race we were suppose to catch a bus back to the start line, but the first bus was full and took almost 30 minutes to get back for a second load- which we also missed out on. So we walked the 2 miles back to the start- so we got in a 2 mile run and a 2 mile walk. We were starving we finally finished, so we each headed home then met up for some sushi (or in my case a chicken dish). It was a late evening, but a fun time.

After dinner it was home for some sleep! Matt and I had an early morning wake up call to take care of some house stuff. We had to rent a Pick-up truck to haul some construction debris and other house garbage to the dump. We're allowed to bring 2000 pounds a year, and we did 1000 pounds in one week! We got all the garbage from the kitchen renovations, a bunch of miscellaneous doors and closet doors, and we also ripped all the paneling out of the basement! (We now have just the 2x4 studs left, which will get taken down and re purposed.) Let's just say we feel 1000 pounds lighter- I can't believe we had that much stuff.

After dropping of the garbage we loaded the truck with all the donation items left from the garage sale a few weeks ago and dropped it all at goodwill. I'd guess that was another couple hundred pounds of stuff!

After it was normal Saturday tasks like groceries, re-organizing the kitchen, mowing the lawn, and other fun around the house. Then it was finally time to shower and head to church. After church we decided to have a date night, and got on our bikes headed for a local festival. On the way we stopped off to see friends, and ended up spending the whole night there catching up and sitting by a backyard fire.

Today will be much more leisurely- I have some baking to do and some giant zucchini to use. It's going to be a yummy day!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Black Beans + Spices = Yummy Burgers!

Okay I must confess I had intentions to go to the grocery store Tuesday night, but never got there. I even went through the trouble of creating a list, but once the rain started pouring down I changed plans.

So now I've had to re-think the whole week of food because the week is almost over so there is very little reason to do a full out shopping trip. I stopped at the store on my way home from the gym tonight. My reduced shopping list came to just under $30- sounds like a good week for me!

So for tonight I've decided to prepare black bean burgers because I have the items on hand- and because I've been meaning to get the recipe to Sabrina!

So here goes... black bean burgers with sweet potato fries.

Black Bean Burger Recipe

1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
3/4 cup walnuts
1 can black beans (drain & rinse)
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup corn
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, whisked

1. Preheat oven to 425*.

2. Whisk ground flax and water together in small bowl and allow to sit until used. (This replaces 1 egg for a vegan burger.)

3. Saute the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After about 3 minutes add in the chili powder, paprika, cumin and red pepper flakes.

4. Place the walnuts in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the black beans, salsa, corn, bread crumbs, "egg" mixture from step 2, and onion mixture from step 3. Process until the mixture forms a paste- then add salt & pepper to taste.

5. Allow mixture to sit for approximately 10 minutes, then form six patties. Patties should be cooked on an oiled baking sheet, with the tops of the patties also brushed with olive oil.

6. Bake 15 minutes, then flip and cook 10 more minutes.

7. Remove from oven and enjoy!

I must warn you though that the burgers came out looking good, this recipe may need a little more adjustment to make them easier to handle. They are a bit soft, and have too much moisture. I would still say to give them a shot because they are super yummy!

What did you have for dinner tonight?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Celebration of One Great Year

We have had quite a fun weekend here, and all the preparation I mentioned in the last post really paid off. When I left off Matt was busy in the kitchen making meals for our trip to the great outdoors to go camping, in a tent and in the woods. Before I get into what we had to eat and what we did, I should explain that all the meals were planned and made by Matt- I must say he did an outstanding job! I think we're going to have lots of people wanting to come camping with us in the future after you see how well we ate.

We decided on Raccoon Creek State Park located west of Pittsburgh because it had available camping spots, it was near Pittsburgh, and it had lots of hiking trails. We used the tent we got from Matt's dad that has been used since before Matt was even born, and although it looked small from the outside the inside was quite spacious- but not quite the tent 'castle' I was used it. Growing up we had a tent with three "rooms" and you could stand up inside, while this tent was more of a crawl in version. I wasn't complaining since it fit an air mattress with plenty of room-yes an air mattress!

We arrived Friday afternoon around 3pm to check into the campgrounds during pouring rain. Needless to say I was a bit concerned because camping in the rain isn't much fun, and setting up camp in the rain would have been much worse. Luckily we just waited a little while and the rain stopped and the sun came out for the rest of the trip. We set up the tent, got the bed all made, then headed into town to get some firewood.

Friday we planned just to set up camp, have dinner and relax. Dinner was tilapia with grilled corn. Matt prepared the tilapia by creating foil packets with mixed veggies and seasoning. The foil packets were grilled over the open fire with fresh grilled corn.

It was a great meal and we spent the rest of the evening just enjoying a campfire- and of course some s'mores. Sorry no pictures of the s'mores because they were consumed very quickly.

Saturday morning was our official one year anniversary, and after a shower I found this love meal prepared.

Yes those are pancakes stacked with layers of jam, peanut butter, banana, maple syrup, coconut, and cocoa nibs. AMAZING!!!! A fabulous way to start our day of adventure.

Saturday we took a 2 hour drive to see one of the most famous homes created by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater.

We took a tour of the grounds surrounding Fallingwater and toured the inside of the home. It was a relaxing day of taking in the sights, but unfortunately I can't show you the pictures we took of the home because we received specific instructions that pictures could not be posted on personal websites. We would definitely love to live in that house! Too bad it will never be for sale!

We enjoyed lunch at the cafe located on the grounds of Fallingwater because we were so far from our camp, but upon arrival back at the campsite Matt set to work on another amazing dinner. He skewered chicken, beef, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms- then grilled them over the open flames. It was served with a wheat berry salad, and was the perfect meal after a long day of exploring.

Matt even planned a dessert for that evening of grilled peaches. He packed the grilled peaches in a foil pack with brown sugar over the open flames to create a tasty treat.

Sunday morning we slept in because it was so cold overnight that we didn't want to get out of bed. I think it was in the forties during the night, and our toes were freezing! I think I slept with the blanket over my head and the thought of crawling out of the bed to go to the bathroom was dreadful, so I always tried to wait until I really had to go.

Anyways Sunday morning we had a pretty leisurely day, Matt prepared another great breakfast of eggs with sweet potato home fries and crumbled turkey sausage. On the side we had fresh cantaloupe with blueberries. It was so very tasty, and better than any breakfast I've made at home.

After lunch we took a walk around the park and just enjoyed the beautiful weather, later in the afternoon Matt made us lunch. It was homemade black bean soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. By grilled I'm mean literally grilled over the open flames- with two thumbs up and no complaints from me!

After another great meal we headed out to explore the Wildflower Reserve and took a walk through the trails and captured some beautiful photos.

After a nice walk we grilled some sausages over the fire and had some fresh made guacamole on the side. We enjoyed another great fire and another round of s'mores.

After all that fun I was so relaxed I curled up in a blanket and fell asleep next to the campfire! Shortly after Matt snapped this picture he woke me up and sent me to bed, while he enjoyed more fire burning. Boys sure do love playing with fire.

Monday morning was the end of our camping trip but not before Matt prepared one last meal. Egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches on grilled rolls. Two thumbs up!!!

Then it was time to pack up the campsite and hit the road home. We back a couple wraps for lunch on the way, and headed out. We did stop at the outlet mall to do a little shopping, had lunch, then enjoyed some self-serve yogurt! We've been looking all over for a place that have multiple yogurts with endless toppings- you pay by the ounce and can mix and match as you want. So fun and it tasted great!

There you have it, a great weekend camping! We celebrated our first year of marriage, and are looking forward to many more!

Have a good night!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's getting crazy....

Matt is very busy in the kitchen. He's taking charge of the meal planning for the next few days, and he is doing lots of prep work. I went in briefly to get some water- there he was chopping, packaging, and labeling lots of goodies. I'm excited to see what the next few days bring...

I used the iPhone to snap a photo of my stuff peppers from last night!

It's a Stuffed Pepper, and it's organic (bonus!). Matt's mom gave us these peppers last weekend so I used them to create a protein stuffed pepper.

Protein Filled Peppers

What you'll need:
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
2 cups spinach
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne (if you like it hot!)
1 cup tomato sauce of your choice
1 cup quinoa (dry)
2 cups water

2 bell peppers (any color)

How to do it:

1- Cook the quinoa in the 2 cups of water.
2- Meanwhile in a pan saute the onion, garlic, and spinch in a little olive oil.
3- When the spinach has cooked down add the remaining ingredients, then the cooked quinoa. Mix it all up.
4- Cut the two bell pepper in half, removing the ribs and seeds. Then stuff them full of your awesome mixture.
5- Bake at 375* for about 30 minutes.


(The blog just better with pictures- don't you agree?)