Category Archives: Recipe

Proud and Productive

I might be too hard on myself, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve been proud of myself for something running related. I’ve run a marathon before. I’m never going to run more than 26.2 miles so I’ll never have another moment of “This is the farthest I’ve ever run.” Sure, there are runs when I feel good about myself because I’ve PR’d or run faster but there hasn’t been an instance in a long time where I really thought that I couldn’t do something and then I did it. Until my 9 miles on the treadmill. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could do it. My gym doesn’t have personal tvs; this was 9 miles of staring at the seconds going by. But I did do it and I feel very proud of myself for it!

I also feel a sense of accomplishment when I have a productive weekend and I think this weekend counted as one. Aside from the 9 miles, I also:

• hung out with my friends Emily and Brian
• did the dishes twice
• did 4 loads of laundry
• went grocery shopping
• walked Murphy twice
• made a good dinner

And what did I make for dinner? Well this cold weather sort of mandated something warm: soup!

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I decided to make Nicole’s Rockin’ Red Curry Shrimp Soup. I always have a can or two of both coconut milk and vegetable broth on hand and had some curry paste too, so all I really needed were the sweet potatoes, bok choy and shrimp. Well, my grocery store didn’t have bok choy (or lemongrass for that matter), so I used kale. This was a thick and filling soup and it was good except for one thing, which was totally my fault: the shrimp. I used frozen raw shrimp from Kroger. I defrosted it first, but it just didn’t taste right. It was too shrimpy. I never learn. Every time I buy frozen seafood or fish from Kroger, I end up not liking it! I found myself picking around the shrimp, but otherwise, the soup was very good.

Blah Sunday night. All in all, a good weekend though.

Weights and Soup

I have a confession to make: I haven’t run since Sunday. It’s not because I haven’t been working out at all, it’s because I’ve been doing the Jamie Eason Live Fit Trainer. It’s a free program that I learned about from Janetha. Even though it says not do cardio for the first 30 days, my original plan was to run anyway. It still is, but I haven’t fit that in yet. Don’t worry Jolene, I’m still in the running challenge for sure, just got a little off track.

I’ve done two days of the Live Fit trainer and I have to say that I really like it so far. I’m kind of clueless when it comes to weights. I’ll go to the gym and just try to hit all the muscles but I never know if I should do more than one exercise for each or things like that. A lot of times I’ll do the workouts from The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises but that got a little tiring.

Besides listening to Jamie Eason, I’ve also been listening to a personal trainer that’s much more local. Tina! Tina just got her NASM certification and offered to give me a training session at her house. Since I’m not working at the moment and have some extra free time, I jumped on the opportunity.

Tina and I both live in the Atlanta metro area but we’re actually about a 45 minute drive from each other. We agreed to meet around 1:45 since that would be when her kids were napping and I also wouldn’t hit traffic. She had a little home gym set up in her basement and designed two different circuits for me with six exercises in each circuit. We did stuff with weights, resistance bands and an exercise ball. The move that was the hardest for me was probably a squat on a resistance band with a lat raise. Killed my shoulders. In a good way of course. We did the first circuit three times and the second twice. I’m definitely a little bit sore today. Not terribly, but I can feel it. Thanks again Tina!

Probably because I sat around in my sweaty clothes for several hours after I got home (I know you do it too!), but I started to feel really cold and couldn’t stop thinking about soup for dinner. And a hot shower.

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[fake] Chicken, Spinach and Bean Soup
Serves 6

1 box vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sliced whole potatoes
2 cups frozen spinach
2 cups Quorn chicken pieces (you could use real chicken too, probably tastes better)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt

Put everything in a big soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and let simmer, covered until spinach is not frozen anymore. Add more salt to taste.

Two Things Accomplished

Two things were accomplished yesterday.

1. Murphy got de-stinkified. You might have seen me posting about it on Twitter, but on Saturday afternoon, I let Murphy in the backyard. We have a pretty woodsy yard and he’s been chasing mysterious animals a lot lately. By mysterious animals, I mean mostly squirrels and perhaps a fox or rabbit. (Despite the way I just made it sound, I don’t live in the country.) After a chasing/barking bout on Saturday afternoon, I let him inside and went to the gym. When I got home, I noticed the SMELL.

Even though Murphy is completely house trained and has had only one accident in the whole three years that we’ve had him, my first thought was, “Did he pee in the house?” There was a strong urine odor, but I soon realized, the odor was on Murphy and in his fur. For a minute, I wondered if he got sprayed by a skunk. I didn’t smell like a skunk, but I thought maybe I didn’t really know what skunks smell like.

Upon consultation with Jason, who was at work, we decided that I should go buy some dog shampoo and attempt to wash Murphy myself. I should mention that all this was happening like half an hour before I was supposed to go to a friend’s birthday party.

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Long story short, I couldn’t even get the damn dog in the bathtub. So I went to the party and waited for Jason to get home to help me. We managed to wash him a bit, but the smell didn’t come out. So, bright and early Sunday morning, I called Petsmart to enlist some professional help. Well, wouldn’t you know? They didn’t have his updated rabies information on file and our vet is closed on Sundays. So we had to wait until Monday. I think Jason thinks I’m exaggerating, but when I took him to Petsmart, all the people there were like, “He really smells bad! What is that smell?” Whatever it was, they got it out, with special (read: expensive) deodorizing shampoo.

We still don’t know what the smell was. We think he rolled in fox pee. Jason has seen a few foxes. Whatever it was, I’m glad my good smelling cuddle buddy is back.

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2. We got rid of some of the leaves in the front yard. I’ve said before that I don’t have good natural light in my house. The reason being, there are tons of trees. And in the fall, tons of trees equal tons of leaves.

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There was no way that we were getting them all. And again, this is one of those cases when I say “we” but I mean Jason.

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I mean, someone has to take pictures of pretty leaves instead, right?

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I did, however, contribute by making a nice dinner. We had some leftover artichoke hearts (the canned kind) in the fridge and I did a quick Allrecipes search to find out what I could do with them.

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What I could do with them turned out to be making them into Artichoke Salsa. This was okay. I added goat cheese. It was really more like a brushetta topping than a traditional salsa. Probably didn’t help that my Roma tomatoes were…however you’d describe a tomato in winter. (An aside – I love that allrecipes lets you upload your own photos. I always get a kick out of seeing one of my photos on their site.) With the salsa, we also had enchiladas, but, while they were good, they didn’t look very pretty, so I’ll spare you the picture.

That was my day yesterday. Hopefully more gets accomplished today. You know, like finding a job or something.

Edited to add: Murphy smells again! He was in the yard, barking and something, and came back inside and the smell was there.

A Lot of Cooking

One of the most difficult things for me regarding being unemployed is not knowing what to do with myself all day. People always saying that looking for a job is a full-time job, but really? How is that possible? I feel like I’ve applied for everything out there that I’m qualified for at this point. I’ve been going to all the major job sites daily, but it just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of new stuff out there. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe both.

Another thing that is hard is making sure that I’m not grazing the day away. When I was at work, I ate breakfast at home and packed lunches and snacks. Sure, sometimes there were extra snacks in the office that I munched on when I didn’t need to, but I didn’t have access to all the food in the kitchen all the time. I’ve been trying to make sure that I still eat the same way – breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert – but the kitchen is tempting. I can definitely see how not working, or working from home, could lead to weight gain. I’m stressed enough right now, I do not need to add the stress of my clothes not fitting on top of everything.

That said, I have been cooking a lot.

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(Tahini Lemon Rice and Beans from HappyHealthyMama.com)

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(Vegetarian Tortellini Salad from Runningwithtweezers.com)

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(Butternut Squash fries. I didn’t use a recipe, just coated them with some salt and cumin and baked them at 425 for 25 minutes, flipping once.)

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(Healthy Banana Bread from Kitchenambition.blogspot.com. I used chocolate chips instead of walnuts.)

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Vegetarian Stew
Recipe adapted from Sparkpeople.com
Serves 4

1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 large handful of spinach
cheese for topping

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add potatoes, onion, red pepper and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Top each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.

So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing with my time. I really hope that I get a job offer soon. I guess if I don’t, I’ll be a better cook. A poorer, but better cook.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

Today hasn’t been the best. I think it finally hit me that I’m not on vacation and I actually don’t have a job anymore.




That’s what people do when they feel down, post quotes that they found from Pinterest, right? No? How about make slow cooker applesauce? Because that’s also what I did today.

Slow Cooker Applesauce

8 small Fuji apples
1/2 cup orange juice (I used Trop50, you could probably use 1/4 cup but I was worried about it burning)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon

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1. Peel apples and core them.

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2. Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot. I poured the juice in first so it would coat the bottom.

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3. Set the crockpot for 4 hours on high.

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4. Mash the apples with a potato masher and drain the remaining liquid.

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