Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

We are officially old. It's not even 10pm on New Years' Eve and Michael is sleeping on the couch, we already played Scrabble and I have a cat curled up in my lap.

Last year's resolutions:

1. Relearn French - Fail.

2. Try new recipes - I did okay this year. I found good recipes for falafel, herbed chicken parmesan tenders and butternut squash lasagna, all of which were good enough to go into our regular dinner rotation.

3. Run 12 miles a week.- I was not good about keeping track of my mileage, so I really don't know if I ever hit this milestone. I did run 4 5K races this year, so I think I did pretty well. My best time was 29:37.

4. Read 25 books - I barely did this! Here are the books I read:
1. I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence
2. The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction
3. The Audacity of Hope
4. The Omnivore's Dilemma
5. The Reader
6. Musicolphilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
7. Bel Canto
8. In A Sunburned Country
9. Unaccustomed Earth
10. Julie and Julia
11. My Life In France
12. Middlesex (this was a re-read)
13. Eat This, Not That
14. The Namesake (another re-read)
15. Wicked
16. Lies My Teacher Told Me
17. Outlander
18. Born To Run
19. Naked (re-read)
20. The Diversity Culture (I didn't finish this, so I don't really know if I should count this one)
21. Made In America
22. The BestAmerican Short Stories
23. In Defense of Food
24. Holidays On Ice (re-read, a favorite for the Christmas season!)
25. Broken Music
26. And I am currently reading STP: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones

I hope everyone has had a safe and happy New Years Eve!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Desert Island Jukebox

There is a new NPR station in Dallas on 91.7 that plays really great music and has some really good syndicated shows. The other night on my way home from work I was listening to Sound Opinions and they had a great segment called The Desert Island Jukebox.

What would be on your desert island jukebox?

Here are a few of my selections...

Take A Picture by Filter

The Warmth by Incubus

Feel Flows by The Beach Boys

Up On The Roof (The Drifters did the original , but I also love Peter Cincotti's version)

My Own Worst Enemy by Lit

What I Got by Sublime

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Christmas Edition!

What are you hoping to get for Christmas this year?

I already got one of my gifts and I LOVE it! The T-Mobile G1 with Google phone.

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This is the first smart phone I've had and I don't know how I lived without it! It links to my gmail account so I get notifications when I have a new email and also notifies me to events on my google calendar. Plus it has navigation, all free apps, a slide-out keyboard and tons of other stuff I haven't even figured out yet!

Okay, I got another early Christmas present. My mom and I went to the Relache Spa at the Gaylord! We did a mother-daughter package: massage, pedicure and manicure. It was great to get away and have a little girl time before the holidays. I loved all the treatments, I got a cute color on my toes, Lincoln Park After Dark.
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I really hope I get some new running shoes! I really want to be fitted for shoes so I can run as comfortably as possible, so maybe a gift card to a running store. I'm hoping to really increase my mileage this spring, so some shoes and gear would definitely help.

I also hope I get some good books. We do a book exchange with our families on Christmas day, and with as many readers in our family there are always some good choices. Since we do it white elephant style, if you get one you really want you have to hope it doesn't get stolen!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

A Festivus for the Rest of Us!

I hope everybody is having a good Festivus and airing their grievances.

I am trying very hard to be productive today. I had yesterday and today off from work and I always love it when I have two days off together. However, I have been having some bad sinus congestion since Saturday. On Sunday I left work early because my head hurt so bad that I was really sick to my stomach. I worked late Monday night, didn't get home until about 3:00am. Tuesday morning I should have slept in, but I woke up about 8:30 with (you guessed it!) another sinus headache. So I ended up sleeping most of the day. Maybe I was also sleep deprived because I feel much better today.

Today is my annual baking extravaganza! I am baking pumpkin bread for the whole management team at work (17 people in all). This is a great recipe, I can't even remember where I found it.

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree (I use can pumpkin)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 Tbsps softened margarine

Preheat oven 350 degree F

1. Sift all dry ingredients together. Stir in pumpkin, brown sugar, buttermilk, egg, and butter. Mix well.

2. Pour dough into greased loaf pan. Bake 1 hour or until toothpick poked into center comes clean.

Michael also requested that I make some chocolate chip cookies. I found these dark chocolate and mint chips and I am going to substitute them for the semi-sweet chips that I normally use.

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I am also going to put together some spinach and artichoke dip to take to our Christmas brunch and book exchange.

Whew! I am so excited for Christmas to be here!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WIsh List Wednesday: Dream Home

I am so tired of apartment living: noisy neighbors, no control over heat, fighting for parking spaces. So today I am building our dream house in my head.

First up: the kitchen!

I long for the day when I have real counter space. And a pantry! I would cook like crazy if I could have a kitchen bigger than a closet.
Love these from and

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I love this island!

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Living room inspiration pictures.

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Home office

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And of course the master bathroom should be a place to unwind.

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I love this tub, as well as the blue and gold color scheme.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Bronson Sellers Smith

We said goodbye to a friend today. Bronson passed away December 1, 2009 and his funeral was today.
Bronson and I went to elementary school together and then he wound up in our extended circle of friends once we were grown. Bronson had a wicked sense of humor and a generous spirit. He would go out of his way to help somebody out or just put a smile on their face when they were down.
After the funeral, a big group of us decided to go to Snuffers to eat, drink and share our best memories of Bronson. (In fact, there might have been some shots taken in the parking lot of the church. But trust me, Bronson would have wanted it that way!) We laughed until our sides hurt remembering the ways he touched our lives.
It was especially hard to say goodbye because Bronson was overcome with the demons he fought and took his own life. Suicide is so difficult to make sense of, we will never understand why he decided to leave us when so many people cared about him and would have done anything to help him.
Please keep his family in your thoughts this holiday season.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

We started off Thanksgiving Day by getting up early and heading downtown for the Turkey Trot! I did the 5K, I still do not feel ready to do an 8 mile race.

It was so crowded-- 35,000 participants not including the people (like my family) who just came for moral support. I wanted to take the DART rail downtown so that we wouldn't have to deal with parking. That was a big FAIL. As usual, DART was not prepared to deal with crowds. You would think that when you have a big event downtown and it is being advertised to take the rail downtown that DART might actually be ready. Nope. We went to the park and ride at Mockingbird Station at about 7:45 (race started at 9) because the trains were on a Sunday schedule. Meaning, there would only be two trains going downtown between 7:45 and 9:00. When we got there, we couldn't even purchase a ticket, all the machines were broken. Fail. Then we decide to go down to the platform anyway. Hey, if an official was going to stop us (which they didn't), we tried to buy a ticket! The train pulled up and (big suprise!) it was completely packed. So we gave up and drove downtown.

Guess what? Parking downtown was fine, traffic was not especially bad and there were plenty of lots with spaces available.

I found the starting line and joined the throngs of trotters. It was PACKED, we were squished together like sardines. Nobody could even start running until way past the starting line. I was so annoyed about the crowd. I know it's a family race and I shouldn't try to PR, but I had it in my head I wanted to finish in under 30 minutes, darn it! It was actually fun running downtown, people had set up along the way and there were a couple of live bands.

And to my suprise, I did PR! I finished in 29:37, I was so suprised! You can check out pictures here.
Afterwards, I went to our designated meeting spot to wait for my family. I waited and waited. Finally, I went back to the finish line and there they were, they hadn't even seen me finish! We got some free yogurt and granola, then headed out of downtown to get on with the Thanksgiving celebration.

Michael and I went to McKinney and ate with his side of the family. We had a blast, we ate delicious food and drank lots of champagne. It is just not a Baker holiday without champagne! We had so much fun visiting, but as usual, I did not have my camera with me. I hope I can get some pictures from somebody!

I am so thankful to have my health, my husband and my wonderful family! Thanksgiving is a great chance to reflect on how blessed we are.

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. The holiday season is fully under way at work and I survived Black Friday weekend. Christmas is just around the corner and I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition!

Happy early Thanksgiving! What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

My first wish is to make my goal time at the Turkey Trot 5K! We shall see.

I am looking forward to some of my favorite Thanksgiving foods!

Roast turkey breast (this is last year's turkey made by my godfather Chad, who is an amazing chef).

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Sweet potatoes! Must have marshmallows.

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Fresh steamed green beans. No casserole for me, thank you. My godmother makes them perfectly, with lemon and butter.

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And the piece de resistance...chocolate pecan pie. My friend Monika gave me this recipe several years ago and it was an instant hit. I just took this one out of the oven. (Sorry it's a little blurry, I don't have a fancy camera like the food bloggers!)

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I love lasagna and thought this would be a healthier alternative, plus the addition of butternut squash would be great for fall. I thought it turned out pretty good! The recipe is actually for two lasagnas, I should have halved it. But now I have one in my freezer!

Yield: 2 lasagnas, 6 servings per pan

Cooking spray
3 cups chopped onion
10 cup fresh spinach
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) carton part-skim ricotta cheese
1 (15-ounce) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
3 cups diced peeled butternut squash
6 cups Smoky Marinara
12 oven-ready lasagna noodles (such as Barilla)
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach; sauté 1 1/2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Combine provolone, parsley, salt, pepper, eggs, and ricotta cheeses in a large bowl.

Place squash in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and cook on high 5 minutes or until tender.

Coat the bottom and sides of 2 (8-inch-square) baking dishes with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup Smoky Marinara in the bottom of one prepared dish. Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup cheese mixture over noodles. Arrange 1 1/2 cups squash over cheese mixture; spread 3/4 cup sauce over squash.

Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup cheese mixture over the noodles. Arrange 1 1/2 cups onion mixture over cheese mixture; spread 3/4 cup sauce over spinach mixture.

Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; spread 1 cup Smoky Marinara evenly over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients in remaining pan. Cover each pan with foil.

Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes.

To freeze unbaked lasagna: Prepare through Step 6. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing to remove as much air as possible. Wrap with heavy-duty foil. Store in freezer for up to 2 months.

To prepare frozen unbaked lasagna: Thaw completely in refrigerator (about 24 hours). Preheat oven to 375º. Remove foil; reserve foil. Remove plastic wrap; discard wrap. Cover lasagna with reserved foil; bake at 375º for 1 hour. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Nutritional Information
Calories:254 (30% from fat)
Fat:8.5g (sat 4.5g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.3g)
Barbara Seelig Brown, Cooking Light, MARCH 2003

Changes I made:

- I used part-skim mozzarella instead of sharp provolone. (Whole Foods had a suprisingly small selection of provolone).

- I used all part-skim ricotta instead of fat-free. (As Ted Allen says, fat free cheese is the polyester of food).

- I used premade marinara (Muir Glen Organic) instead of making the smoky marinara recipe.

Things I will do differently next time:

- I either won't use no-boil noodles or I will put more marinara across the top. The top layer of noodles turned out a little crunchy.

- I will use less onion, several bites were too "oniony" for my taste. I will probably add more spinach, too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wish List Wednesday: Bottoms up!

Here are a few things I have been craving this week!

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I normally only like fresh brewed iced tea, but I tried True Brew on a coworker's advice and it is really good! I like my tea unsweetened and I love their black tea as well as the white tea. They also have some flavored, sweetened and green varieties.

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When fall hits, I love to get a latte from Starbucks! I especially love the cinnamon dolce latte and the gingerbread latte. I very rarely splurge on coffee out but I like to treat myself to Starbucks while Christmas shopping.

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When we went to dinner at Toulouse with some friends a couple weeks ago and I got a Pink Planet cocktail. It was so delicious and girly! Champagne, strawberry liqueur, strawberry puree and garnished (of course!) with a strawberry. (Note: I found this photo online, but it is pretty much what they look like.)

What are some of your favorite drinks?

Monday, November 2, 2009

'Tis the Season!

It officially feels like fall! With gaining an hour for Daylight Savings, I feel well rested and I have also been enjoying this gorgeous weather. I have built a little onto my usual running route and I hope to keep building on to my distance.

I am getting excited about the upcoming holiday season! Of course, it has already felt like the holidays at work. We have had our Christmas shop up since the end of September and I have been interviewing for our seasonal help nonstop. This is the time of year that will make or break us as far as sales and I want this to be the best year ever! I also have my own Christmas shopping on my mind, I already am making a mental list.

We already have plans for Thanksgiving with Michael's family and I am so happy that I am participating in the Turkey Trot this year! I am doing the 5K, not the 8 mile race, but it is amazing to me that a year ago I never would have thought I could participate in a race. This will be my fourth 5K this year, next year I hope to be able to build up to a 10K!

I am also participating in a Holiday Season fitness challenge, started by my buddy Kelsey. I think it is a great idea, I am already having fun keeping track of my points!

I know we won't get a chance to see everybody we want to see, but know that we wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wish List Wednesday

What a great idea! I saw this on Clean Eating Mama's blog (see links). This Wednesday's wish list: travel!

I would love to go back to Rome. I went when I was 17 and just fell in love.




One place I would just love to visit is Paris. It's top on my wish list!

What destination is on your wish list?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Oktoberfest 2009

Ahh, the most wonderful time of the year. Addison Oktoberfest!

I kicked off the festivities by participating in the Oktoberfest 5K to benefit Wipe Out Kids' Cancer. I was so excited to participate in my third 5K this year. I was disappointed in my time (31:23), however. I was hoping to break 30 minutes, but it didn't happen. I had a few things go wrong during my run, but the bottom line is that I finished and only took a short walk break.

Afterwards there was free beer available but we decided to head home and rest up. We returned that evening and met up with a bunch of our friends. We enjoyed lots of beer, soft pretzels and great company! Too bad I left my camera at home!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Herbed Chicken Parmesan

Another great Cooking Light recipe! The only thing I did differently was use olive oil instead of butter to cook the chicken, and melted mozzarella on top instead of provolone.

4 servings

1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 pound chicken breast tenders
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups bottled fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded provolone cheese
Preheat broiler.

Combine 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Place egg white in a shallow dish. Dip each chicken tender in egg white; dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Set aside.

Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; vent. Microwave sauce mixture at HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Pour the sauce over chicken in pan. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese. Wrap handle of pan with foil, and broil 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Nutritional Information
Calories:308 (30% from fat)
Fat:10.4g (sat 5.7g,mono 3g,poly 0.6g)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let's call them "crunch patties"

I have been craving falafel the last couple weeks. I found a recipe in Cooking Light that was quick, easy and delicious! I didn't make the yogurt sauce to go with, instead I spread the pitas with a little bit of hummus. We didn't have any ground coriander on hand, so I left it out and it still tasted fine. I might add a little bit of lemon juice next time, just to add a little extra flavor to the patties.

Falafel Pitas

If you don't have time to make the sauce, use commercial hummus thinned with lemon juice.

4 servings (serving size: 1 stuffed pita)

1 cup 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
2/3 cup chopped peeled cucumber
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 garlic clove, minced

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil

Remaining ingredients:
2 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, cut in half
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 cup chopped plum tomato
2/3 cup thinly sliced peeled cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1. To prepare sauce, combine the first 4 ingredients; set aside.

2. To prepare falafel, drain chickpeas in a colander over a bowl; reserve liquid. Place chickpeas, 3 tablespoons liquid (discard remaining liquid), breadcrumbs, and next 5 ingredients (through cumin) in a food processor; process until minced. Divide chickpea mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Spread about 1/4 cup sauce into each pita half. Fill each pita half with 1/2 cup lettuce, 1/4 cup tomato, about 2 tablespoons sliced cucumber, 1 tablespoon sliced onion, and 2 patties.

Nutritional Information
Calories:303 (0.0% from fat)
Fat:10.8g (sat 2.2g,mono 5.4g,poly 1.8g)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

La Vie Francaise

My mom, sister and I had a great evening! We went to see Julie and Julia. I read Julie Powell's book as well as My Life in France by Julia Child this summer. I thought the movie was a really great combination of both. I love Meryl Streep, she was fabulous as Julia!
Afterwards, we went to dinner at Toulouse to continue on the French theme. I had never been before and it was amazing! We started with a goat cheese tart which was delicious. I ordered the poulet roti, which came with sauteed spinach and grape tomatoes as well as pommes frites.
We were so stuffed we didn't even look at dessert! I didn't order a drink but I did notice they had a couple of champagnes you could order by the glass, so I will have to remember that next time. I love champagne and it's not often I can order just a glass-- just one is usually all I need!
Ahhh, now all I need is to go to Paris! Laissez les bonnes temps roulez!

Friday, July 31, 2009


Sorry about the lack of posts! I have been buried alive in work and I fear that I may not be able to claw myself out. Michael has been plugging away at summer school and it looks like he will be able to transfer into UTD this spring. I am so excited that we will have the same alma mater!
I have also been reading like crazy. I just finished Julie and Julia and My Life in France in anticipation of the movie coming out next week. I also just re-read Middlesex and I think I liked it even better the second time around!
Working out is still going well. My work schedule has been really erratic so I have been doing different things every week. (I went running outside yesterday for the first time since Race for the Cure and I will not do that again until the weather cools off!)
Well, we were hoping to get away for a little vacation but school and work schedules have unfortunately gotten in the way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Over the hump...

Well, we are halfway through the year. How is everyone doing on their New Years' Resolutions?

1. Relearn French. I did a couple lessons and then when I rebuilt my computer I lost Rosetta Stone. I haven't downloaded it again.

2. Try some new recipes.

I have tried out a few new things. Unfortunately things have gotten so busy at work that I have not had much time to cook in the last couple months. I have made some healthier quick-dinner choices, though. I discovered Whole Foods has pre-marinated chicken breasts in handy two-person serving sizes.

3. Work up to running 12 miles a week.

I was a little ambitious with this goal. I have been running regularly since the beginning of the year and have run two 5k's. However, it will take me a while to work up to running that much. Between work, yoga class and Muscleflex, I can only run about 3 days a week. I think it's a psychological block, but once I hit two miles I feel like I can't keep going.

4. Read 25 books.

I am on #8 so I have some catching up to do! I have read some really good books this year. Is anyone else on If so, friend me! Right now I am reading Bill Bryson's In A Sunburned Country. Since we are not going to be taking a vacation this year, I figured a little travel reading was in order.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Race for the Cure

On Saturday I had the opportunity to participate in Race for the Cure North Texas. I signed up through JC Penney, which put together a big team. My goal was to raise $100 and thanks to the generous support of friends, family and coworkers, I raised $136!

The race itself was pretty hard, I have had better runs. It was already so hot out by 8am and in addition the allergens were terrible. My nose was congested by the halfway point. My original goal was to finish in less than 30 minutes, but my time ended up 30:41. I still beat my time from the 5k I did two months ago, so I will have to be happy with that.

After the race, there was a huge area set up with a band and sponsor booths. There was so much free stuff: Einstein's bagels, coupons from Chick-fil-a, fruit, water bottles, Sun Chips...I walked around collecting some freebies for a while. I never did find my JC Penney group, I guess nobody else was in the starting corral that was set up for those using chip timing.

After I left the freebie area and walked back past the finish line to head to the car, it was really inspiring to see all the people still walking the race. The street was just a sea of pink, it was an incredible amount of people! I will definitely participate in Race for the Cure again!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Austin bound!

A couple weeks ago, I drove to Austin for an early celebration of Tori's graduate school graduation. Her masters program held a beautiful reading at Laguna Gloria, part of the Austin Museum of Art. The space is really beautiful and has an amazing view of Town Lake. Here are a few pictures from the reception afterwards.

Tori read a few poems from her thesis. It was great to get to see her work bound and official-looking and know it will be in UT's library. I am so proud of my little sister!

After the reading, we went to a late dinner at Z'Tejas. We got a yummy new appetizer, artichoke beignetss and, of course, cornbread. I got the Jerk Chicken salad for my entree. I have had it once before and it was as good as I remembered, very spicy!

My parents and I stayed at the Star of Texas Inn right by the UT campus. It was cute and I liked the location. I slept fine because I'm used to noise, but they do offer complimentary ear plugs because of all the fraternity houses nearby.

And because we were so close to campus, I just had to go visit my old stomping grounds at Scottish Rite dormitory (aka SRD). I checked out the cafeteria (no CCB's being served that day unfortunately) and sat by the pool. I miss those days!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Michael's birthday weekend!

Sorry it has been so long since my last update! Nothing too exciting has been happening in our world, other than me being sick from allergies and Michael plugging away at school. Our weekends usually just involve working and homework (for Michael anyway) but this weekend we set aside time for some fun!

Michael turned the big 2-8 on Friday so we started with dinner at Patrizio with his parents and Judson. Patrizio is always a family favorite, the service is great and the food is fabulous. We got bruschetta to start because you just can't start a meal at Patrizio without it. I got Vegetable Lasagna and Michael got the Fettucini Pappagano. And of course I got a bellini, yum!

Afterwards we hung out at "the casa" with the guys, played pool and ping pong.

Saturday night we got a great gift from our friend Andrew, he took us to the symphony! I love the symphony, so I may have been more excited than Michael to get invited. The program for the evening was Mozart's Requiem. It's not exactly a happy piece, but beautiful to listen to. Japp von Zweden is a guest conductor and he did an amazing job with the DSO. And I can't say it enough: I love the Meyerson Symphony Center.

After the symphony, we went to Trinity Hall and Margarita Ranch for drinks and delicious junk food.

Whew! I am only sad I didn't get any good pictures during all the festivities. I need to catch up on sleep now!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Running is going well! I asked for (and got!) a running watch for my birthday. I am still figuring out all the ins and outs of using the software, and unfortunately the heart rate strap doesn't quite fit around my chest. However, it has really helped me be able to more accurately track my runs and I've enjoyed using it.
My friend Sarah works for Genesis Women's Shelter and she asked a few of us to participate in the Make the Break 5k. Aria, Jessica and I signed up and had a great time on Saturday. I wasn't sure how long it would take me and goaled myself at 35 minutes based on times of other runs I have done outside. Aria and I crossed the finish line together and my chip time was 31:51! I was so excited to see that I beat my goal!
However, I think my Garmin needs to be calibrated! When I stopped the timer, it had logged 5.27km. Hmmm...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Goat cheese

I started out with this recipe and an idea from my friend Meredith.
I roasted one bulb of garlic and mashed the soft cloves with about half a package of crumbled goat cheese.
I marinated boneless skinless chicken breasts in olive oil, lemon juice and Italian seasoning. Michael butterflied the chicken and stuffed it with the garlic-cheese mixture. I baked it instead of pan-searing, about 30 min at 350.
I served parmesan couscous (Near East mix) and sauteed carrots and spinach on the side.
Nummy dinner!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New York New York!

Mom and I had a whilrwind trip to NYC! We landed late in the day Saturday and hit the ground running.
I tried to put together a pretty comprehensive list of all the things we did. This was our third trip to NYC together and we stayed in a different neighborhood than before so we really got to do some different things.

We stayed at the The Lucerne. At the time, they were running a good special so we were able to upgrade to one of the suites. It was wonderful to have a mini-fridge and coffee maker in the room. We had a little blip checking in, our room was not ready until almost 5pm (checkin was at 4pm). Other than that, the staff was wonderful and we loved the neighborhood we stayed in.

Food and Drink
Nice Matin- This French bistro is attached to the Lucerne and you get a discount on breakfast. We ate there several times and the food was wonderful! We loved the atmosphere, it seemed like a popular neighborhood cafe. Some favorites: Fava bean hummus, pistou, fava bean tortellini, vanilla creme brulee. Great wine list and beer selection.
Teany- We noticed Teany after leaving the Tenemant museum en route to Katz's. We decided to stop there instead; quite a difference as Teany is vegetarian! Lots of delicious tea (of course), salads, soups and a great atmosphere.
Pisticci- This ended up being one of our favorite dining experiences. The restaurant itself was beautiful, the staff was friendly and there was live jazz the night we went (a Sunday). Our waitress was knowledgable and talented- she sang with the band! I got garlic bread with goat cheese and the grilled chicken with arugula and tomatoes and tiramisu for dessert.
Cafe Lalo- The restaurant was beautiful, another that felt like a French bistro. Our service was terrible, although I think it was our particular waitress, English was clearly not her first language. I was so looking forward to a grilled sandwich, but she said they were not available (I didn't understand quite why). But I got oatmeal and yogurt and it was very good. The desserts looked amazing!
Le Pain Quotidien- We ate here during our day at the Met. It's a chain, a lot like a La Madeleine and very delicious! We ate here with my cousin and we all ordered tartines, an open faced sandwich. Mine had grilled chicken, mozzarella, pesto and arugula. A great lunch spot!
The View Lounge- This is the only rotating restaurant/lounge in NYC, so it is a popular spot for an after-theater drink. It is located at the top of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Be warned, it is insanesly overpriced and there is a cover charge after 9pm. You are really paying for the view, which is fantastic. They have a buffet, and you can also do just dessert and cheese.
United Nations Delegates Dining Room- This was a really neat experience. You have to make reservations (we were able to make them the same day) and no jeans or tennis shoes are allowed. There is an international buffet for lunch and amazing views of the East River. The food and service were great!
Sido Falafel and More- Across the street (403 Amsterdam Ave) from the hotel. Yummy falafel!
Amsterdam Gourmet- Next door to Sido. Cheap and yummy coffee, pastries and groceries.

Wicked- We did not have tickets, but thought we'd check to see if the box office had any available Saturday night. They did not, of course. However, we could get in line for cancellations. There were about 12-15 people ahead of us and it was 2 hours to curtain so we figured our chances weren't good but thought we'd risk it. At 7:55, there were still 8 people ahead of us when the box office released a lot of tickets. We all ended up in about 10th row center, amazing seats! The musical was so great, I had never seen it and I highly recommend it. Showing at the Gershwin Theater.
Avenue Q- We had a discount code and bought tickets for this Monday night. Our seats were toward the back, but the theater is small so it was okay. The show is hysterical and definitely not kid-appropriate!
Billy Elliot- Amazing! This was the only show we bought tickets in advance. We missed the first half hour because we (mistakenly) assumed it was an 8pm curtain. I had seen the movie many years ago and the show is a good adaptation. The dancing is incredible! There are 3 actors who play Billy because it's a pretty demanding role. I very highly recommend this show.

Tenement Museum- Really interesting, a glimpse into the lives of immigrants living in tenements. It can only be seen by taking a guided tour and the one we took was called Getting By. Our tour guide was great, we really enjoyed it!
Columbia University- Candace took us on an informal tour of the campus, very pretty!
Church of Notre Dame- Pretty church near Columbia with a grotto.
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine- Gorgeous church, it has been under construction for over 100 years.
Peace Fountain- Next to St. John the Divine, great area with children's sculptures.
Riverside Park and Morningside Park
Shopping in Soho- I hit up H&M for inexpensive clothes and we browsed in Dean and Deluca as well as some of the smaller boutiques.
Metropolitan Museum of Art- I have been to the Met twice before and this time I insisted on dedicating an entire day to the museum. We took a guided tour of Great Paintings: East and West and had a great tour guide.
United Nations Headquarters- Really great tour! The website said the tours were sold out through March, but we went anyway and there were tour tickets available.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

We went out for a family dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday (a little belated). We tried out a fairly new restaurant in our neighborhood, Woodlands.
The food was delicious. I started with a mixed greens salad. It was delicious, I normally hate salad dressing but their citrus vinaigrette was sooo good. For my entree, I ordered the half rosemary chicken with baby vegetables. It was delicious! Michael got the COBALT sandwich, Tori got a center cut filet and both my parents ordered fish. Everyone loved their dinner and there was a lot on the menu that I would like to try.
For dessert we ordered two chocolate desserts: the molten chocolate cake and the chocolate snowball. The snowball was really dry, but the molten chocolate cake was delicious!
We will definitely go back, the atmosphere was really cool. The design was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wrights' Fallingwater house. It wasn't super-expensive, it could be a great neighborhood hangout.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spa Day!

My mom and I love to get pampered, it's our favorite way to spend a day off together! We decided to try out the Spa at the Crescent Court today. I received a gift card from my wonderful in-laws for Christmas and decided to splurge on a Hotter 'n Texas Rock Massage.

Description: Based on ancient Hispanic healing traditions, the body is massaged with smooth hotstones, relaxing and stretching the muscles. Stone massage is designed to balance theemotional, mental, physical and spiritual spheres of your being. There is an energyexchange between the stones and the tension in your body. You will feel spirituallyuplifted and reenergized by mother earth.

Wow, it was amazing! And today was the perfect day for a massage after my really tough workout last night at Muscleflex. We did a lot of ab work and I since my abs are not in good shape, I have a bad habit of using my neck to push through extra reps. I asked the masseuse to do a little extra work on my neck and she did a fantastic job!

We lunched at the Spa Cafe inside. I had a wrap with grilled chicken, greens and tomatoes and mom got the spinach salad. Yum!

Mom and I decided that we have a career as spa reviewers. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cookie Time!

Am I the only person that remembers Troop Beverly Hills when Girl Scout cookie time rolls around?

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I was ordering Girl Scout cookies from our cash room lady's granddaughter and was shocked that they have changed the names of many of the cookies. I was a faithful Girl Scout back in the day (never mind that I found out later our leader was only fulfilling her court-ordered community service). My favorites were Thin Mints, of course, but next in line were Tagalongs. Now they are "Peanut Butter Patties."

And Somoas are "Caramel Delights." My dad is especially upset. His favorite ongoing joke was how much he loved Somoas. He loved them so much that he always asked for "Somoa!"

This year I got a box of Tagalongs (I won't call them Peanut Butter Patties) and am still waiting on my Thin Mints. You better not be holding out on me, Ms. Linda!!!

What is your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yoga Day USA

I opened my chakras today, how about you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Come fly with me...

I found a great framed picture of Frank on clearance at work. It's this picture but in black and white.

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Not sure where I'm going to put it yet! I still have some records that I bought a couple years ago, maybe I can find a way to display them together.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Anybody got a needle and thread?

'Cuz I'm ripped!
Not really, but I did try out a new class yesterday. I am good about doing cardio on my own but one area I always struggle with is strength training. I always feel stupid using the weights at the gym and don't push myself to do more than a couple sets before I give up.
Boot camp definitely helped me build some muscle but the usual class time has been changed so it doesn't look like I'll be able to make it every week. So I decided to try out a new class on Tuesdays called MuscleFlex. I hope to make it part of my regular routine. Pushups, armbands and bosu balls, oh my! My arms are really sore today. Just the push I need!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

2008 had its ups and downs and I am so looking forward to 2009!
I don't usually make many resolutions, but here are some things I want to accomplish in the coming year:

1. Relearn French. I want to visit Paris, but the French I learned in high school seems to have fallen out of my head during college (imagine that). Michael downloaded Rosetta Stone for me and I've already had fun with the first couple lessons.

2. Try some new recipes. I tend to get in a rut with what I make at home.

3. Work up to running 12 miles a week. I feel really good when I run but for some reason I have trouble sticking with it. It's a good excuse for me to get outside, too.

4. Read 25 books. I have had some on my "to-read" list for quite a while.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy year!