Friday, April 24, 2015

Little Things Lately ...

Wearing//A white tank-top and sailor pajama bottoms [As I type this].

Watching// 'Game of Thrones' and in total fear that the few remaining characters I love will be murdered soon as George RR Martin is the greatest serial killer in literary history.

Excited to// Move this summer. Not sure where we will be living but all I know is that it won't be in our current building. It's been good to us, but it's time to graduate from this square footage.

Feeling// Grateful for the dentist.  I last Saturday during a running fall and stayed inside like a leper for the rest of the weekend. Climbing into the dentist's chair on Monday, watching 'Frozen' and emerging 45 min. later all fixed-up was nothing short of a modern-day miracle. So grateful it's not 1874 and a broken tooth wasn't just my lot in life from that point on.

Listening to// "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding. I just love that song. And I also love listening to certain songs on repeat for hours much to most everyone I knows dismay.
Wanting// Black hair. Knowing I'm not going to highlight my hair this summer, I'm thinking the big jump will be the dark brown I am to a dark black next hair appointment. Basically, I just don't ever like natural looking hair color on myself. So goes the plight of the dirty-dishwater hair girl.

Reading// The novel "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron and falling in love with every page.

Enjoying// Memories of my wedding. Starting the process of organizing photos and oh boy are they fun to view.

Drinking// Canned Club Soda like it's my job. My gosh that stuff is good. I could chug it all day long.

Smelling// Every possible flower in existence. Spring is blossoming all up in this city.

Anticipating// Watching Bruce Jenner tonight. I honestly can't wait. I've been dying to hear his side of it for so long. And I really like and respect him so I just hope he's happy. I'm sure he's looking forward to taking back his narrative after years of speculation and perhaps this will all seem less shocking once we hear it from him. We'll see!

What's up with you today?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

God Loves A Terrier

Let's talk about Chandler. I know I rarreeelyyy mention him here but I figured okay, okay, okay - I'll talk about him on the blog for once. Ha! But really, I have been meaning to get to a few items surrounding that furball for awhile now. As I discussed here, we got Chandler from the Humane Society and had no idea what type of dog he would end up being. Everyone agreed that he probably had some Lab in him but that was as far as anyone could go with it. 
As Chandler grew, there was a point when his paws were far bigger than the rest of him so the guess became that he was going to be huge (thankfully he's not only bc we idiotically ignored that and still let him sleep on our bed, imagine if he had been a large dog?). But most notably as he aged was the appearance of rough, wiry hair all over the place. And alongside that, a certain insane disposition for energy: Yipping at everything. Jumping higher than our heads. Turbo-charged on the field like no dog I had ever seen. Agility at the park (casually leaping over fences and once- a golden retriever!). He was like a little bullet.

Bullet + Wiry hair = a solid guess that this was in fact a terrier we were dealing with. I haven't ever specifically worked with terriers so I was (and still partially am) a bit ill-equipped to deal with all the energy that entails at times. They like to whiz, leap, bound, yip and jump to a level of enthusiasm I have never seen (and I grew up with herding mixes which I always thought were as energetic as it got). It's crazy!

Showing how much he knows me, for Christmas Jay gave me a doggy DNA test. And while I hope the practice of receiving DNA tests from Jay doesn't carry into the future (...), I was estatic to get this one and finally find out what made up my beloved companion.

We swabbed his cheek and sent-off his sample with our guesses and I am very proud to say that after researching terriers, looking at his characteristics and noting his behavior - my final guess was the correct one.

Chandler is a Lab/Jack Russel Terrier mix.

It explains the wiry hair, the insane jumping ability, the energeticness, the independence. It explains it all. The DNA indicates much more Lab than JRT however, he wholly has the spirit of one.

A couple weeks ago, we decided it was time to give Chandler his summer cut. We thought he might like a break from the long hair with the approaching heat and we were so curious to see what he would look like without it.

Thanks to my Dad willing to help, we shaved Chandler and got to see him transform from looking highly terrier to a little more Labish. It was and is funny. However, the DIY shaving left a little nick on his back leg. Not a big deal but the alcohol and Neosporin proved to be too intriguing to Chandler and he would not stop licking it thus not giving it a chance to heal. With no cone at home, we improvised with an airplane pillow and figured we were the smartest people around ... 

... until Jay left him at home with it all day by himself on a Monday. And I got to return to this...
^He gets in trouble for chewing but I can't really blame him for this one. He was basically left alone with a stuffed animal around his neck for eight hours. I'm not shocked this happened.

Yes, Chandler may look a bit more Labish now. But that boy is surely all Terrier.

Title of Post from this Grammy-worthy song

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Night Songster

I always have trouble falling asleep like a normal person. I like to be up late naturally so I generally have to fight that inclination in order to hit a REM cycle to benefit my tomorrow. In contrast, Jay falls asleep three minutes after climbing into bed and opening his book. He generally reads a chapter or two before it inevitably wilts against his face and the pages crumple around his lips. He's out.
The hardest part is that when he's having some good, good sleep - the man snores. And for me, the gal who struggles to sleep every single night, this is an added roadblock and it drives me nuts. I'm never mad at him. I'm well aware he doesn't know he's doing it and he's always receptive to the roll over method when poked- but it still makes things a bit more difficult for me. And whenever that sound starts to murmur, I feel a battle coming on: Me vs. Unconscious Jay's nose. Let's do this.

Even as I type this right now the 'snore du jour' is bouncing off the bedroom walls like the beat of a drum: Ever steady, ever strong. And here I am awake. But it's not bothering me so much tonight. After weeeeksssss apart on different continents, way different time zones, different cities, different beds and different experiences - I'm happy he's right back here next to me tonight. He's exhausted, spent, mentally tapped-out and needs his sleep before real life hits him again tomororw.

I'm just happy he's home like a little sap. So snore away, my dear. Snore away.
(That kinda made me want to sing that to the tune of Enya)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cheap Thrones

I rarely find anything cool at garage/moving/estate sales. And I think that's largely because I don't go to them often enough to come back with a trove of treasures. However, on my way home from errands on Saturday, this chair called out to me from a moving sale display. Actually, I'm not sure I should call it a chair and rather, a throne: It honestly stands higher than the top of my chest! I think it's pretty dang cool. However, I know it needs some work- paint chipping on its stems and all that jazz. And I know in my heart I won't mess with it until we move into a new place later this summer BUT I'm excited about the options moving forward. 

For now, it's just fun to sit that high.

If you have any ideas about redoing the legs, feel free to let me know :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Meal Prep: Mason Jar Asian Chicken Transportable Salads

 Mason Jars may be everywhere you look but I have a hard time caring about that. Mainly because gosh dangit if they don't keep food fresher than anything else available. Their airtight seal far surpasses any array of plastic food storage containers one may have (just be careful transporting them!). And the mason jar salads are just about the best way to keep all the components fresh throughout the work week. So I thought I'd share a version I like to make: The Asian Chicken Mason Jar transportable salad.

First, as usual, grab your needed items from the grocery store:

Which includes gathering the fixins' for this insanely yummy homemade dressing:
^Gym protein shakers work great for homemade dressing. Sorry for the ugly pic.

And now you should have everything you need to begin:

Now comes the fun part! Putting it all together. If you remember one thing about Mason Jar salads it's this: The fact that they work for an entire workweek is due to the fact that the wet stays at the bottom and the dry stays at the top. You begin with the wettest thing (the dressing most likely) and continue on up with drier ingredients. Greens should always be as close to the lid as possible and they should enter the jar only after being completely dried post washing. So let's build, shall we? Here's my salad.

Start with an empty mason jar ...

Add the dressing first ...

Then the chicken...

Then the green onions...

Then the baby corn, bamboo shoots & water chestnuts...

Then the cucumbers ...

Then the toasted sesame seeds ...

Then the peanuts ...

Then the romaine & green leaf lettuce  ... 

Then the crunchy chow mein noodles ...

Then seal those puppies up!

And admire that sheer beauty >>>
^Yum!! Note the layers from wet to dry.

Now the chow mein noodles & the greens will remain dry until I'm ready to eat.

Truly one of the easiest, tastiest & more convenient lunches you will make for yourself.

Just be a wee bit careful carrying it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Meal Prep: Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers w/ Slow Cooker Chicken

As I mentioned here, since I am on business travel this week, I did not food prep this Sunday like usual. However, I did make these back in November and they were so, so yummy that I'm excited to share them here.
I'm a big vegetable lover. I have always found them completely appealing with their crunchy, natural goodness. Yum, yum - no extras needed but what an amplified taste when there are some. And if there's any vegetable that's as good to eat raw as it is cooked, it's definitely a bell pepper. So when I started seeing them filled to the brim with grains, nuts, beans & meat on the internets, I decided to find a way to incorporate my own version into our lunch prep sooner than later.

I started by reading this recipe and then altered it for my own version (below).

For the Stuffed Peppers:
 (8) Bell Peppers*
(*you can use however many you want obviously. I made 8 for Mon-Thurs lunches for 2)
Chick Peas
Yelllow, green Onions
Savory seasoning
Feta Cheese
Olive Oil

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Wash, cut & prep the bell peppers by lopping off their tops & pulling out all their insides (like in a horror movie).

Apply non-stick cooking spray to a baking dish.

Place the prepped bell peppers in baking dish w/ a little olive oil drizzle and put in oven for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare quinoa and then throw into sauce pan with a little bit of olive oil. Add-in chick peas, diced yellow & green onions and mix together with seasonings (I mixed in chili pepper, pepper, salt & red pepper flakes). Blend together until it's a beautiful little saturated mix.

Then remove baking dish from oven with warm bell peppers & spoon quinoa mixture into the bell pepper 'cups'. Then place back in the oven for fifteen to twenty minutes.

When done, remove from oven and top with feta cheese.
^For the record: I am against paper plates for every day use. But I made these the weekend after Halloween and we had a few left over from a party so I used them as resting dishes.

For the Slow-Cooker Chicken
(4) Chicken Breasts
diced Onions
diced Bell Pepper
Mexican sauces (I used Cholula & Tapatio)
Juice of a lemon

Throw all ingredients into slow cooker and cook on low for sevenish hours or high for three to four. Remove and call yourself a GD chef.

For our lunches: 
Since these meal preps are always for our office lunches, I made to-go containers thereafter with a scoop of the slow-cooker chicken & one bell pepper.  

When eaten together at the office, I dished into one bowl and savagely ate both together. What resulted was a juicy, succulent little vibe that made for one tasty little dish.
Snacks this week included carrots & edamame, almonds & bananas.

And of course greek yogurt with cinnamon & berries.
So now that I've made the bell peppers myself, I can't wait to do it again. I realize that you can really add anything and remix them however you choose. I'm sure this sounds like normal information to most of you, but since I've really only been cooking for two years- I am quite astonished by this revelation. The options are always endless, aren't they?

To adventures in eating!