Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not my normal Wednesday

Today was a little different from the norm.

  • No Subway for lunch
  • No spinning at the Y
  • No popcorn for a snack

There was a good reason that my day veered off its usual course, and I’ll be sure to update you guys on why, but you’ll have to be patient.  It’s already 10:05 and I’m hoping to get to bed by 11:00 (An early night for us!).  Then I have some baking to do tomorrow night (You know, just another normal Thursday.) so I promise to take some time this weekend to get my ducks in a row and write a post about what’s going on.

In the meantime: Today was my second day in the smoothie challenge.  I had planned to make a peanut butter chocolate smoothie with some of the McHusband’s protein powder, but it turns out the powder was an imposter – it was strawberry flavored.  But I had frozen strawberries and I was pressed for time so I went with the flow and threw everything in the blender.

Verdict?  It tasted like what I expected a spinach smoothie to taste like. Sad smile  But it looked better than I expected in that it was green, not some sick gray or muddy brown color.

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Okay, so it might not look like the greenest of Green Monsters, but I promise it was decidedly green.

So it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ingested, but I’m glad it wasn’t my first Green Monster because then the rest of this week really would be a challenge because I would NOT be looking forward to having five more big cups of green goo that tasted like the one I had this morning.

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I’m going back to the banana-pineapple-vanilla combo tomorrow, and I may stick with it for the rest of the week.  I mean, if it ain’t broke…

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Green Monster Smoothie Challenge Day 1

While I entered into this challenge fairly reluctantly, I’m actually looking forward to trying some new combos, all of them involving spinach of course.

Tuesday’s Green Monster:

  • About 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup Cabot plain lowfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • Ice as needed to thicken the smoothie

So what’s the verdict?  If I’d had this with a blindfold on, I would never have guessed that it had spinach in it.  I think it was only because I knew the spinach was in there that I detected an ever-so-slight “fresh” flavor.  It’s hard to describe it exactly, but imagine if you were eating something you knew was natural and good for you and how it wouldn’t be overly processed and you’d sorta be able to taste all that information.

So for real, what did I think?  I liked it!

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I hadn’t yet taken a swig when the McHusband snapped the photo above so…

Bottoms up!

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My smoothie worked out to be just about 350 calories.  I’d be happier if it were between 250 and 300 calories so that I have more room in my diet during the day for things like dark chocolate Hershey Kisses.  After all, haven’t you heard the newest good news about chocolate?  But so long as I get a good workout in at the end of the day, a big (for me) breakfast isn’t going to throw me too far off track.

My next smoothie is going to use some peanut butter chocolate protein powder.  I have a feeling it’s not going to be a very pretty shade of green and may in fact not even be green at all, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that the flavor makes it easy to overlook appearances.

Anyone curious enough to try a Green Monster for yourself?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Green Monster

I’m not talking about jealousy, I’m talking about a smoothie.

I was inspired by Jen’s post to stop at Harris Teeter on the way home from the Y tonight for spinach and plain lowfat Greek yogurt.  I already have fruit like a banana and Dole Pineapple Chunks in the freezer. 

I’ve read that it’s unappetizing to add red fruit like strawberries to the smoothie because instead of it being a very definite green color, it gets kinda muddy looking.  So I’m hoping the tropical flavor imparted by the banana-pineapple combo works for me and my smoothie stays green.

Yes, this is the appetizing hue I’ll be targeting.

{via}

If you didn’t click over to read Jen’s post, she’s basically inviting people to join her on a weeklong Green Monster Smoothie Challenge wherein you have one a day.  I’m starting out a day late, but I can always extend my blending until Tuesday of next week.  We’ll see how the first few smoothies go before committing though.

If someone had told me I’d be downing a smoothie whose main ingredient were spinach at some point in my life, I’d think that person was ready for the loony bin.  Spinach in a drink?!  No way, not gonna happen.

Until now.  I’ll report back and let you know how easily – or not – it goes down.

Monday, March 26, 2012

SPD 2012: Settin’ the mood

I didn’t do a very good job of getting d├ęcor pictures from the party.  I was just too busy right up to the last minute to stop for even two minutes to take pictures.  The next day, however, I made sure to go outside in my pajamas and snap a few shots of my shamrock tree.

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The night before, we had a spotlight shining on the tree.  Just in case the bar being set up in the dining room window wasn’t enough to let people know they were in the right place.

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Like with the candy canes at Christmas, I turned a holiday symbol into wallpaper.

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Dessert was set up on the buffet.

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I picked up those two shamrock plants at Trader Joe’s.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them.  I need to do some research and see if I should plant them or keep them in pots or trash ‘em.

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All right, it’s Sunday night at 10:45 and it’s been a very busy weekend so I’m going to wrap this post up.  I hope you all enjoyed your Saturday and Sunday and you’re ready to take on another week.  Not it matters if you are or aren’t – Monday’s here to stay.  Until Tuesday anyway.

Friday, March 23, 2012

SPD 2012: Party People

This post is going to be my version of a Facebook photo album minus the tagging; I’m just going to put people’s names over the pictures.  If you weren’t at the party or don’t know these people, this post may not be of much interest to you.

We had both cameras out at the party.  The Nikon’s battery was dead so I used our Canon for the first part of the party and mostly just wandered through the crowd snapping pictures of our guests.

Kendal and Chelle

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Steve

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Carrie, Anne, and Alicia

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Get ready for some self-portraits.

Eric and me

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Jovyn and me

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Vanessa and me

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Terry and Joyvn

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Bruce.  Yes, he’s wearing a kilt.

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Jennifer and Mark

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Shawn and Vanessa

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Some guys from the ‘hood: Slavic, Dave, and Paul.  And me.

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Heather, most of a lamp, and about a third of a McHusband.

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Leigh and me

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Vickie and me

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Party antics, food, and some decorations coming soon!

Hope you guys have a good weekend.  I have a busy one ahead of me: a concert with the McHusband tonight; the Y, baking cupcakes, chores, and Greg’s 30th birthday party tomorrow; then skydiving (Well, taking pictures of the McHusband and friends arriving safely on the ground after jumping out of a perfectly good airplane) on Sunday.

TGIF!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An egg-cellent idea

Did you know you can bake your hardboiled eggs?  Yeah, me neither.  But now we do!

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This method is supposed to be less stinky so I’m all for the McHusband giving it a try next time he makes a batch of his eggs for snacking.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not just a bowl of candy

This isn’t going to be an official party post.  More like a craft-for-the-party post.

I bought a black bowl for $1.50 from Walmart and some gold scrapbook letters and voila – it’s not just a bowl of candy any more, it’s a Pot of Gold.

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I put gold-wrapped candies in the bowl.

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Sorry, that’s all I have the energy for tonight.  It’s 9:56 and I’m thinking I’ll be in bed within 15 minutes.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Beantown to the City of Oaks

Guess who we had dinner with Monday night?  Okay, I guess the “Beantown” reference might’ve given it away.

Rick and Sabrina are in town for a few days for Rick’s job so we were able to catch up with them over a barbecue dinner.

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What a nice change from the normal pace of the week: I skipped my PHX class at the Y to eat hushpuppies and catch up with friends.

I hope to start the SPD party posts tomorrow.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday after the party

It’s 9:45 on Sunday night.  The McHusband and I are finishing a show and then we’re going to bed.  Our St. Patrick’s Day party was a blast and we both felt fine today, but it was a late night after a long day of party prep.

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I’ll get the party pics up this week.  First, I need a good night’s sleep uninterrupted by the Captain and/or shamrocks dancing in my head.

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I hope your week’s off to a good start!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Recipe Recap: San Francisco Chops

Well, I guess I didn’t do too bad with the posting this week.  I couldn’t drop the ball on the last day so I’m giving you a dinner idea if you live somewhere that’s not going to have perfect-for-grilling weather this weekend.

Instead of minding some meat, let your crockpot do the heavy lifting.

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The McHusband and I thoroughly enjoyed these pork chops.  The flavor was awesome and they were so tender, literally just falling apart.

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I served the meat over some orzo and next to peas.  It doesn’t look like a lot of food, but it was was a filling meal.

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The McHusband ate this for a day or two as leftovers and he said it was quite tasty then as well.

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If you’re looking for something yummy that SEEMS like you worked really hard on it, this is your meal.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  I have today off (from the office; I’ll be working twice at hard at home) for party prep, which will continue through at least 4:00 on Saturday, then our St. Patrick’s Day party that night, then Sunday’ll be party recovery.  I can’t wait!  And of course you know I’ll be blogging about all the sordid details.

{Recipe here}

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adios, Old Man Winter!

This is what the last week of winter – yes, WINTER! – looks like in our area.

You won’t hear me complaining about mid-seventies or higher and sunny just so long as it isn’t also humid.  I’m looking forward to a lunch hour spent outside in the sun, taking advantage of free refills on diet Coke at Subway while I read my book and stockpile some vitamin D.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Partake and Paint

Actually, I think they like to call it Wine and Design.  I went there a couple Fridays ago to celebrate my neighbor’s birthday.

I’d heard of this concept, but hadn’t an opportunity to try it.  I’m so glad Carrie and Alicia invited me to join them.  I was really excited to try it and I was right to be – it was a lot of fun and I got to bring my “masterpiece” home to hang on one of my walls.

If you’re like me, you don’t know what to expect out of something like this.  Here’s a look at the studio.

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All of the paintings on the walls are options for the parties.  Here’s one for the McMom.

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You can even paint your pet!

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Here are the two versions of the painting we did that night.  Not two versions painted by us – they were done by a studio artist.

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All our canvases already had the outline of the tree on them.

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We started out by painting the sky in the background.

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There’s Tawnya and me, hard at work.  And that’s the birthday girl, Carrie, in front of me.

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As you can see, I chose to go with the blue sky while Tawnya went the purple route.

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Next, we filled in the tree and added branches.

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Then it was time for grass, leaves, and embellishments.

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Tawnya was trying to figure out if she had room for just one more “headstone” in her grass.

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Group photo!

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I hung my painting between the two windows in the front bedroom.

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I even signed it a la David Bromstad.

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If you get a chance to try your hand at creating your own art at a place like this, I highly recommend it.  Our cost was $35 per person and it was money very well spent.  I had a great time AND I got a useful souvenir out of the deal.