Monday, July 18, 2011

All You Need is Love

This has to by far be one of my favorite posts so far because I get to announce that my brother and his girlfriend got engaged over the weekend - which would technically now make her his fiance! I am so incredibly excited for both of them, and could not have imagined a better match for Josh. Nicki is his perfect match, and I could not be happier to be able to call her my sister very very soon - at least officially because she is already a part of my family! If you want the story, you'll have to ask one of them because I don't think I could really do it justice- I will say it was very romantic, and did involve a duffy boat ride in Long Beach.

Somehow I am a bad sister and don't have any photos of them... so I stole this from their facebook :) I will take plenty of pictures of them in Alaska though - watch out!

Congrats you too, and I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness! Can't wait for all the celebrations!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Turkey Chili Stew...

Wow that title is a mouthful! Last night I went to dinner with my friend Lindsay at Zimzala in downtown HB, and we had such a great time chatting and catching up, that we were an hour over on the parking meter, but thankfully there wasn't a ticket when we got back. Sean's on a 72 (working 3 days straight), so I happily took home our delicious leftovers- a pork chop and some skirt steak. Lindsay and I were talking about how when the boys aren't home, it's hard to cook a lavish meal for one person so we often find ourselves with a random assortment for dinner. There was enough leftovers to last me a couple days - Score!

Well today when I went to make lunch, I looked in the fridge, and what did I find? Nothing.... I left them in the car all night, and as it was already noon on a hot summer day, there was of course no salvaging it. Lunch was easy to figure out but then I though... what am I going to do for dinner. I really need to go to the market which means we had nothing really but some random veggies. We had quite a few that if I didn't use some of them, they would go bad, and I hate wasting such good food.... but I didn't want to eat just a random assortment of veggies. So, although I'm not really good at "winging it" when it comes to making meals, I thought. What do I have to lose. So I threw a bunch of veggies in there, garlic, some left over beef stalk, some canned corn, Italian Style Stewed tomatoes, green chilies, salt, pepper, oregano, onion powder (since I didn't have any onions), and oh yeah, some trader Joes Turkey Chili, all topped with a little Parmesan cheese. It actually turned out really good. I think it would be work throwing it all in the crock pot on low all day and would make a really easy, yummy dinner. I'm very proud of my impromptu dinner, and am now sitting watching So You Think You Can Dance and sipping on a glass of red wine.

2 large carrots chopped
1 large celery stalk chopped
about half pint of cherry tomatoes (I had a mixture of orange and red)
Broccoli chopped in the food processor (I'm not a big broccoli fan so chopping it in the food processor allows it to blend in the sauce, and gives you all the yummy nutrients. you could put the florets in whole if you prefer)
1 clove garlic minced
1 can of corn (drained)
1 can of Italian Style stewed tomatoes
1 small can of diced green chilies
Beef broth (I probably put in about 1 -1.5 cups)
1 can Trader Joes Turkey Chili
Salt and Pepper to taste
onion powder (probably about 1/2 teaspoon)
dried oregano (probably about 1 teaspoon or so)

I put pretty much everything in a large pot, minus the turkey chili along with some water (I honestly don't know how much, I rinsed the tomato can - probably about half the can - and also added a small mug full), and let it reach a boil. My carrots and celery were still a little crunchy, which was yummy, but if you want them more tender, you can let it cook longer. Then I added the can of turkey chili, stirred, and let it simmer for a while longer until the chili was well incorporated. I put it in a bowl, added some Parmesan cheese on top, and voila! I think it would be yummy with almost any veggie you have - kale, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, zucchini, yellow squash... whatever you have! Also, I think it would make a really yummy minestrone type soup, so tomorrow when I have some leftovers, I think I may add some little bow tie pasta (I'll probably precook them to save some time) to make it like a minestrone. It would be good with some more beans too- like kidney, cannelloni, black... whatever! My favorite bites are the fresh tomatoes that get so delish when cooked with some melted cheese on top. Maybe I'll go back for seconds!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

I hope everyone had a Happy 4th of July. Our weekend was very busy, and yet I didn't take 1 picture. I really need to get better at that! Friday afternoon some friends came over and hung out by the pool and then we rode our bikes to a nearby Sushi restaurant for dinner. Any of you who know me know that I'm not a fan of raw fish, but I do like a crunchy roll, or something where everything is cooked- at this restaurant I get a tiger roll, which is like a California roll but with avocado and cooked shrimp on top with eel sauce- YUM! 

Saturday day we went to Home Depot, went to the local gun range, and then hung outside by the pool- it was a beautiful day! That night our friend's Kevin and Karla came over for dinner then we met up with Chris and Courtney at Brix wine bar in sunset beach. It was fun- Kevin and Karla live in San Diego so we don't get to see them that often- it was great to get together! 

Sunday we went to church in the morning and then went to my brother's now house in Long Beach for dinner. It was delish- he BBQ'd turkey burgers, and I made some of our family's Bossanova Beans (ironically these were a 4th of July Staple for years- how appropriate!). 

Monday, Sean had to work unfortunately. I went to brunch at our friend Brandi's house and got to spend some time with two of my favorite little guys, Noah and Dean, as well as their wonderful mom Lindsay! Then I somehow managed to lift my beach cruiser into the back of Sean's truck (hello muscles!) and went to Josh's house. Josh, Nicki and I rode our bikes to 2nd street, walked around, had some Lebanese food at Open Sesame (now I have the desire to try to make some pistachio Baklava - it was delish!) and I even bought some Garlic Olive Oil from We Olive (Sean and I had some that we used when cooking veggies and were so sad when we ran out. The cool thing about We Olive is that you can buy a bottle, and when you're done with the oil you take it back and refill it!). Then I stopped by the station for some yummy pulled pork sandwiches and to switch Sean's truck for my car. I picked my friend Heather up from the airport, but had to take the dogs with me (hence the car switch) because Ace is terrified of the fireworks. I think the 30 or so minutes we spent in the car the way to and from the airport was the only time that he had relaxed all night. Heather and I got to catch up, drink some wine, eat some cake, and watch TV. All in all it was a great 4th of July weekend! Sorry for no pictures, I promise to get better at it!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Feel the Burn Fridays

So this week was super busy.  Two of our best friends got married on Saturday. Sean was one of the groomsmen so we were able to celebrate with them all weekend with a lovely rehearsal dinner at the Cannery, ceremony and reception at the Mesa Verde Country Club, and celebratory brunch on Sunday morning. We had such a good time dancing the night away.

This week I went golfing for the charity golf tournament Sean's Department puts on every year. No it wasn't going to a fitness class or the gym, BUT I would say that golf is definitely a work out! Luckily since I'm pretty active, I'm not super sore or anything, but it works a lot of your core muscles in ways you're not used to. I don't golf very often at all, but I must say I did pretty well for myself. I was driving the ball really well off the tee, but the rest of my game needs a little work. One thing that I started thinking about purposefully was the way I breathed while swinging. It's amazing how something so simple changed my game. I don't know if it relaxes me or how exactly it helped, but definitely paying attention to my breathing improved my game.

Breath is so important while you work out for many reasons (sure to keep you alive), but I would tell you that the next time you're taking a class, going for a walk, or even on the golf course, pay attention to your breath. I can't tell you how many times I've been in some sort of workout class, or doing something else that I find myself holding my breath- not only do I get red in the face, but my balance seems to be off, I get lightheaded, and I can't push through the workout as I can when I remember to breath. Such a silly concept that you have to remember your breath, but when you do, you'd be amazed at how different your abilities can be!