Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Cooking Extravaganza of a Sunday

This Sunday, while The Hubs was off helping his bro pour concrete, I decided that I would spend the afternoon cooking some fall, festive food. (Say that three times fast.)

I started out by making the 3 ingredient pumpkin bread (Spice Cake Mix, small can pumpkin puree & 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice) that apparently has been all the rage on Pinterest. (I am not a Pinner...don't need another computer time suck!) I found it over at Bower Power and then ended up doing a bit more Googling till I got the actual recipe which I ended up finding here.

The final product...

And the verdict??? YUM-O! The Hubs and I have both made duds of pumpkin bread recipes, so it was great to find one that actually works! Even though it is more of a cake than a bread, it still satisfies a pumpkin craving!

Then I went on to make some festive Halloween cupcakes for work tomorrow and for our evening out with friends tomorrow night. I found the inspiration for the decoration over at Gina's Skinny Recipes (what the heck did people do for inspiration before blogs and the internet??), even though the actual cupcakes aren't skinny!

Oh well.. They turned out super cute!!!

And finally... I decided to try a Paleo (well it wasn't fully Paleo as it had some pumpkin ale in it, but we weren't picky!) Pumpkin Chili over Spaghetti Squash that our friends Teresa and Elliott said was delicious. It made the kitchen smell so fall-like as it was cooking! I love seasonal foods!
It was REALLY delicious and healthy!! I loved the lingering pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon flavor!

Now, I have to go get all the pieces of my somewhat unoriginal costume together for tomorrow! I'll try to post a picture of it sometime tomorrow, but if not then, definitely Tuesday!

Until then...I hope you all have a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Adventures in the Kitchen - Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

So it has been awhile since I've graced you all with an "Adventures in the Kitchen" post. The Hubs and I just have been that adventurous lately. We've also been lazy. and out of sync when it comes to planning.

The Hubs doesn't like to plan ahead, he likes to wing it. I, on the other hand, like to pick recipes, make a list, grocery shop and cook. Last week, after a bit of heated discussion about what to do for dinners for the week, we decided to go to the store with the cookbook and randomly pick two recipes based on what we saw. Although this method induced some anxiety in me, it ended up working out and we picked two recipes that we both liked fairly well. I was also impressed that neither one had any carbs in them, which is something for this bread loving girl. Our Paleo friend would be proud!! :-)

The first recipe we tried was Spiced Pork Chops with Apple Chutney. The recipe came from Cooking Light Way to Cook, a great recipe book with step by step instructions for the novice cook (like me!) and LOTS of pictures for those who don't like to read (like The Hubs!).

Image Source: Amazon

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 cups (1/4 inch) cubed peeled apple (about 3 apples) ** This was a TON of apples. Probably could have done with 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount.**
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger  ** I substituted 1 teaspoon of ground ginger and it worked fine. **
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper **Since we didn't have exactly this, I had The Hubs ground up red pepper flakes as a substitute. **'
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (4-ounce) bonless center-cut pork loin chops, trimmed
  • Cooking Spray
First up was to prepare the Chutney. I was so excited to use my new Le Creuset Dutch Oven that I used it to do my Chutney preparation. It worked great and after using it for the last few things we've made, I'm in love!

Combine all of the spices and put aside in a separate container.

Then, melt the butter in a nonstick pan of your choosing over medium-high heat. Add apples and saute for 4 minutes until lightly browned.

 Add cranberries, spices and cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Note this will be a small boil since there isn't a whole lot of liquid going on.

Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally.

For the pork, clean and pat dry the chops.

Combine all of the spices in a separate container and the sprinkle over the pork.

Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and add pork to pan.

The recipe says to cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. We did some research and found out that we were supposed to cook to 150-155°C and then letting it sit for 5-10 minute to let it reach the USDA recommended 160°C. Well, it ended up being more than 4 minutes on each side and since we are conservative, we probably cooked it longer than we had to, but we were having trouble getting it to the right temperature.

I also made string beans as a side (since it was suggested with the recipe). For these, I cooked the string beans in olive oil for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then I stirred in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves. I continued cook for 5 minutes until the garlic was lightly browned.

Finally, everything was plated and a beautiful, healthy (and yummy!) meal was created!

This ended up being The Hubs's favorite dish of the two we made last week. The pork was nicely spiced and had a good contrasting flavor with the slightly sweet and tangy apple chutney. I also really like the flavor of the string beans. It was nice to veer from the traditionally steamed beans we usually eat! It really felt like a gourmet meal, especially since pork is not something we normally cook.

You all will have to let me know how you like this recipe if you do try it out (and if you substituted anything that made it even better!)!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Image Source: We Heart It
Gratitude is the best attitude.  ~Author Unknown

This week I'm thankful for...

1.) Oprah's Lifeclass. I'm learning so much and need to work hard to apply what I am learning to my every day life.

2.) Friends who I can talk to about anything.

3.) Weekends with no official plans.

4.) A good book..

5.) Trying out and cooking new recipes with The Hubs. (Blog posts to come on Pork Loin and Apple Chutney and Shrimp and Asparagus Gremolata we tried!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekend Shenanigans

This post is coming a few days late as I've been having trouble finding time to blog.

It seems when I don't try to catch up on posts on the weekend, that I can never recover to post daily during the week. When I first started this blog, I'd write posts at work during some down time or at lunch. Now, work has been busier and with one of my best friends working here now, lunchtime is occupied every day! During the evening, The Hubs wants me to watch TV with him and hang out and he sometimes gets a bit annoyed when I have the computer open and am typing away.

In any case, this weekend The Hubs and I did some fun things.

Saturday we had a Cal game at AT&T park at 4:00 pm, so we decided to head into the city early to hang out. We took Bart up to Union Square where we did a little window shopping and then ended up walking the couple of miles to the ball park.

We usually hang out at Public House prior to the game, but this week we decided to try some new places. First we hit up Pete's Tavern for lunch and a few drinks, then MoMo's for a few more drinks. At MoMo's, I had a Pink Lemonade and a Humm Baby shot which were both yummy in their fruity deliciousness. I don't have any pictures cause well, there were tons of people crammed into a small area, reminiscent of our college days.

The late afternoon at the ballpark was great. The weather was warm enough to be without a jacket and the Bears FINALLY won!

Sunday morning I caught up on some Oprah's Lifeclasses (I'm hoping to write up some blog posts on some of these episodes this weekend. I've been finding them quite enriching in reminding me on how to live my best life.)

In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to meet Teresa and Elliott's new edition Mackenzie.

She is such a cutie, as evidence of these pictures!

It was so nice to see the whole family and I was able to get my baby fix, at least for a little while!

I'm so glad that today is already hump day and next weekend is already in sight. We don't have anything officially planned for the weekend so I'm looking forward to just relaxing!

And now for a reader poll...

When do you all compose your blog posts?

Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Dreaded ""

I thought I had fixed the dreaded (Jen) issue I encountered awhile back when I first started my blog. I swear I had looked at my feed and thought that it said "By Jen" just below the title of the blog post.

Then I noticed that the pictures on my blog aren't showing up in my Dashboard of "Blogs I'm Following". (Yes, I shamefully am following my own blog, but mostly to catch issues like these!)

So I did some Googling and found out that first I should make sure my email address is listed and is able to be publically accessed. Everything seemed to check out find on this front.

Then I started digging a little deeper...

Some people said that I need to delete my FeedBurner account. To be honest, I never really look at the FeedBurner stats. When I started blogging, I thought maybe I would want to track stats and things, but since I'm not really that famliar with most of the stats FeedBurner provides it has been pretty worthless to me. I was about to delete it to see if that would correct the problem, but wasn't sure how many people that would screw up. I figured if I hit delete and it was the wrong thing to do, I might piss people off! :-)

So a couple of questions for my techy friends....

Any one else have a similar issue and how did you fix it?

How will deleting my FeedBurner feed affect how people are connected to my blog?

Will it delete the feed from Google Reader?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I want to be a good blogger and not be the annoying girl who has "" as the default email address. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Image Source: We Heart It
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week I'm thankful for...

1.) Having one of my best friends work with me. Makes the day SO much more tolerable!

2.) That my friend Teresa had a perfectly beautiful and healthy baby girl.

3.) My mom whose been so understanding during some fits of crying I've had lately.

4.) A wonderfully refreshing lunchtime work out.

5.) The Hubs.

What are you thankful for this week??

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Isn't he cute?? :-)

Happy Birthday to The Hubs who turns 30 years young today!

Thanks for putting up with my crap and loving me anyways.

Here's to many more wonderfully happy birthdays! :-)

(Sorry that this showed up in Google Reader yesterday!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mistakes and My Ego

Image Source: myLot

I'm not very good at making mistakes.

The other day at work, I sent a coworker some calculations that I worked on for a couple hours the night before. I had worked really hard and did the best I could to make sure that the answers made sense before I sent it to her. It was SOO hard for me to hit the send button because of my uncertainty and confidence about the correctness of my answers. But after checking through them again, I sent it off.

Well, turns out I did the calculations wrong. Chemistry calculations that should have been simple (at least in my head should have been simple) I got WRONG.

That alone created a downward spiral of thoughts in my head...

"You thought you were so good at chemisty...well obviously not..."
"How could you think you could become a chemistry teacher when you can't even do simple problems!"
"You should have known better."
"People are right to think you don't know what you are talking about."
Etc. Etc. Etc.

This is the way I've always been...or should I say... the way my EGO has always been.

My Ego has been flaring its ugly head lately. I don't think that this is necessarily unusual, I just think that I am more aware of it after watching Oprah's first Lifeclass last week.

It showed up again over the weekend, when I didn't get the expected reaction from The Hubs after his surprise weekend. I mean, the surprise wasn't for me, so why should I get so incredibly upset when things didn't work out exactly like I had planned.

So yesterday, I decided to rewatch Oprah's Lifeclass on The Power of the Ego so that I could take some notes and really learn how to keep my Ego in check.

Here were some of my favorite quotes from the class. Things to remember and to know when my Ego is flaring up..
  • "I don't think it's possible anymore for others to hurt me. They are are just giving their observations. I am giving them meaning." - Wow. When I heard this, it totally made sense to me. Something I need to remember! 

  • "Know the truth of yourself to disconnect from Ego." - I sometimes think that I really do need to learn more about myself. I think most of the time I'm probably identfing with my Ego and not my true authentic self.

  • "The Ego feeds itself in wanting."

  • "Ego shows up when someone disagrees with you. It's your defense." - I've seen this happen in my own life. Probably more times than I can count. It comes with being a perfectionist and people-pleaser.
  •  "I am worthy!"
I'm going to try again and read some of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. I've tried in the past, but got bogged down with the philosophy of it all. Oprah said Chapters 3 and 4 really resonated with her so I figured maybe I would start in small steps there.

I think I'll do some individual posts on additional Lifeclasses that resonate with me. This way I can go back and remember all the wonderful things I learn without hogging DVR space! :-)

Do you ever recognize your Ego flaring up? How do you deal with it?
Are you taking Oprah's Lifeclass? What do you think so far?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Surprises

This weekend was full of surprises for The Hubs's 30th birthday which is coming up on Wednesday. I was so proud of myself that I was able to keep all the activities I planned for the weekend a secret, since I usually have an extremely big mouth.

I decided that I wouldn't tell him anything and then give him clues along the way. I also tried to mislead him a bit in hopes that it would lead him off course making the surprise even more exciting!

We started off by heading south to Gilroy to stop at the outlets for The Hubs to get some new jeans. I wasn't too worried about him knowing we were going south since there are SO many places that we could head from that direction - L.A., San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Barbara. While at the outlets, I ended up getting myself some fun things as well.

A new Coach purse and wallet in my favorite colors and perfect for fall!

And my first Le Creuset Dutch Oven in Carribbean blue! I can't wait to use it to make some fun one pot meals!

I gave The Hubs his first clue which was a California Sea Otter. At first he had NO IDEA what it meant, even though I thought it was pretty obvious. Finally after a little bit of leading him along the right path he guessed Monterey. We stopped at our hotel, checked into our room and then I gave him his second clue for our next activity. This one was a wine glass, so it was fairly easy for him to figure out we were going wine tasting.

We headed to Cannery Row so that we could enjoy the Monterey Bay and do some wine tasting at one of the many tasting rooms there. Although we thought the weather might be cold and gloomy in ended up being a gorgeous day!

We stopped at the Bargetto and Schied Tasting Room and enjoyed quite a few delicious wines. We ended up buying a red wine at each.

We also bought a couple of fun ornaments. We love buying unique ornaments at the places we visit. We've been trying to accumulate our own ornaments since a lot of the ones on our tree belong to our parents!  I chose a Starfish Santa, while The Hubs picked a Coca Cola bottle cap. He LOVES his Coke!

Next on the agenda was dinner reservations at Monterey Fish House. I had never been here before, but it came with good recommendations. We got there a bit early and there was already a line out the door waiting to be seated! I was so glad I made a reservation, as we were able to sit right down. I forgot to take pictures of our meals, but I had oak grilled salmon, while The Hubs had oak grilled swordfish. Both were delicious and we were extremely full by the end of the meal!

I was so excited because it was almost time for the main event. The Hubs was excited too as he had some ideas in his head and wanted to see if he was right. I gave him the last clue.

He looked at the clue and said "Seinfeld?".

I smiled excitedly and said "So you know what we are doing???""

"Seeing Jerry Seinfeld stand up on a boat." - I had sorta lead him along a boat route thinking maybe we were going to do a cruise or something. Ended up not being such a good idea since he seemed pretty exciting about the boat...

"Well, yes, but not on a boat!! Are you so excited??"

He replied... "Sure!"

"Isn't it great that you get to see him live for the first time???"

"Well, I've already seen him."

Cue Jen's Ego deflating... (I should have watch Oprah's Lifeclass earlier in the week to learn more about defeating the ego so I could have avoided getting upset. More on that later this week...)

"Oh.... I didn't realize." I replied. Then proceeded to get upset that the surprise was a big let down.

The Hubs said it wasn't, but I could still see that he expected something different after I built up the surprise so much.

We went to the show, which was at the Golden State Theater. It provided an awesome ambiance for the show. We ended up laughing the whole time! Seinfeld was hilarious and the show obviously wasn't the same as the one The Hubs had seen years before, but in the end I still felt a little bad. I kept thinking about all the things I should have done instead. Maybe I should have gotten him Garth Brooks tickets since he's never seen him and it's on his bucket list. I should have saved the money and done that instead. I should have known that he had already seen Seinfeld, of course... Nothing like the ego to kick me repeatedly in my own butt while I'm down!

I know I probably overreacted, but I really wanted to do something BIG for his 30th birthday and since he'd already done this activity before, it wasn't exactly the reaction I expected.

After the show we went to get sundaes at Ghirardelli, which was yummy deliciousness. Then we headed back to the hotel for the night.

Although things didn't turn out exactly as planned, I think I would still consider the weekend a success. We had a great time shopping, wine tasting, enjoying the show and each others company. I need to remember that we have the rest of our lives to experience fun and exciting things together and I can try to pull off a different big surprise hopefully in the coming years!

Have you ever tried to pull off a big surprise that didn't turn out as expected?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Friday!

I'm so excited it's Friday!

I have a fun surprise weekend planned for The Hubs! I'll fill you in on everything Monday, but here are a few clues about where we are going and what we are doing! :-)

Image Source: Here

Image Source: Here

Image Source: Flickr

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday


“If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.” — Meister Eckhart

This week, I'm thankful for...

1.) Finding time to go to a yoga class (even if it was just at 24 Hour). Reminds me how much I enjoy it.

2.) A new shower head that provides a heavenly shower!

3.) A husband who forgives me when I throw temper tantrums.

4.) Being born into the life I have surrounded by awesome family and friends.

5.) A beautiful sunset over the Bay that I saw on the way home from the gym.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Working to Gain Confidence

I've been at my company for over 8 years. I interned here, did my senior project here, worked in various places in the organization, etc.

But still I feel like I'm invisible. It could have to do with my personality. I must admit I'm a bit of a Negative Nancy, but I always thought my smarts and good work made up for it. The benefit of being negative is that I'm conservative and take a lot of pains to ensure that if something is done, it is done right. However, perhaps it makes it seem like I don't have enough confidence in myself, which is something I do sometimes have an issue with.

I'm also not the type to go bragging about the things I've accomplished. I mean I tell my boss during one on one sessions about what I've been up to, but he's not much of the verbal type to share it with others.

I try to build my confidence by listing the things I've accomplished. However when I'm not EVER recognized by managers or peers for knowing what I know, I get frustrated and end up second guessing everything I thought I knew about myself.

Take for example ...

My company has been putting together a series of internal classes to teach the engineers about the basics of our technology. I've gone through trainings like this before (too many to count), but it is no secret that I LOVE to learn and LOVE anything that is school related. A month or so back, I even offered to one of the upper management engineers who was going to plan these classes that I would love to help out in learning about and then teaching one of the modules. I feel like I have the capacity to do this and to do it well.

Recently, I heard that an email went around polling people who were interested in taking these new classes. And lo and behold, my name along with a couple of other engineers (no rhyme or reason so it seems) wasn't even on the distribution list. Now maybe it could have been an honest mistake and it just slipped their mind to include me (although this isn't the first time something like this has happened.) And obviously my interest in helping out was ignored since the planning of the classes is going on without my knowledge and with one of the organizing engineers having less experience then me. It could be possible that they think I'm too busy, but still what would be the harm in asking...

I feel like work is a lot like school. If you aren't in the "in" crowd, well sorry,  tough luck. You can stay out there and look at us make ourselves look good and you can just look like an outsider. Seems real mature, eh?

It's not that I'm looking to move up in the company to extraordinary proportions or anything. The Hubs and I are in the process of trying to grow our family, so added work stress and responsiblity is not what I'm looking for. I also don't really want to look for a new job because I don't want to start at a new company from scratch with regards to benefits.

So it seems I need to find another way to build my confidence in the workforce and I need to prevent events like this from setting me back.

Have you ever dealt with self-confidence issues at work? 
Do you have any tips on how to gain self-confidence without outside influences?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Heavenly Shower

The Hubs and I have been living with the shower head that originally came with the house. The bathroom had been redone, so we figured it would be fine to use what was there.

It worked fine for awhile, but lately, there was this one rogue shoot of water that always hit in just the wrong spot or would be coming out so hard it would hurt.  I would try to change the setting, but the shower head was SO hard to turn! Not exactly a relaxing shower!

So over the weekend, we headed out to Home Depot and were overwhelmed by the shower head choices. Should we get a whole new set or just a shower head? Should we stick with the color we have (brushed nickel) or pick something else? We were so overwhelmed, we almost didn't pick one!

But thankfully, The Hubs picked this one up and decided we were going to get it to at least try it out.

Waterpik - PowerSpray + Shower Head - 7 Spray Settings
Ahhhhhh! The shower gods are now raining down on us! This new shower head is heavenly! With seven settings to choose from, there is definitely one to suit your needs or mood. 

The Hubs loves the misty rain one (soft spray), while I like the good ol' normal spray (full body).  My first time in the shower though, I took advantage of every.single.setting and probably will do the same for the next month! I have a feeling our water bill might be a little higher this month...

Is your shower heavenly?

Disclaimer: I wasn't compensated in any way to give this review, other than the heavenly shower I am provided nightly! :-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Becca's Closet

While I was cleaning the closet yesterday, I found a few things from my past that have been in the closet gathering dust.

Prom Dresses!

There were five dresses in the hallway closet still in their garment bags. Two I that I could possibly wear again (what can I say, I was a prude in high school so that dress is still age appropriate!) and the other held sentimental value since I wore it to Junior Prom - the dance I went to with The Hubs. The third looked a little old, so I put in the give away pile.

The other two, however, I thought looked in good condition, so I started researching the possibility of donating them to an organization that gives prom dresses to girls who can't afford them.

I headed over to Donate My Dress (link found in Better Homes and Garden) and found an organization fairly close by that takes dresses.

The organization is Becca's Closet and they have a high school in Tracy and one in Modesto that will take dresses. Only problem is, they say the dresses need to be from 2005 to present so that they are "current styles".  (Ugh! Makes me feel SO OLD!)

Anyways, I looked at the dresses I again and I really don't think they look that out of date!

See for yourself...

Blue shimmer dress I wore to Senior Ball - 2000

Detail at the top and better idea of color. It's like a shimmer blue/black.

Black strapless dress with flower detail. Can't even remember what I wore it to!

I really hope these are donation worthy! I'd love to make a difference in the life of teenager by giving them a fun dress to wear to Homecoming or a Prom!

What do you think? 

Do you think these dresses are donation worthy?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drawer and Closet Intervention

After lazing around pretty much all day yesterday and all morning today, I figured it would be a good idea to do something productive this weekend.

So while The Hubs was outside working in the yard, I decided to go through our closets and drawers to see what things we could part with and give away.

Both the bedroom closet, hallway closet and dresser drawers were stuffed to the brim with both my clothes and The Hubs's clothes. The drawers were also extremely disorganized and made finding anything extremely hard!  Here's some evidence:

Drawer Disaster! Clothes thrown and stuffed in the drawer.

Closet stuff to the brim with clothes and a mess of hangers

I think the last time I went through my side of the closet was a few months ago and at the time there were some pieces of clothing that I wasn't ready to part with... But today I held no mercy!  If it hadn't been worn for months, was slightly faded or if it looked like something a teenager would wear... to the give away/trash pile it went! For The Hubs, I held things up and gave him two seconds to decide whether to keep or give away. I thought it was a fun game, but I think he was having some trouble parting with stuff as well.

In the end, I was left with three bags of clothes...

And clean drawers,

Organized tank top drawer!
And a closet where I can actually move the hangers to look through the closets.

May not look that different, but things are definitely easier to find!

It feels great to have cleaned stuff out. Now I just need to take the clothes bags to a give away drop off or Goodwill or else it will sit in the garage for ages!

Have you gone through your closets and drawers lately?
Do you have trouble giving old clothes away even if you have not worn them in ages?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti with a Squash Medley

The Hubs and I love squash and zucchini. They are staple veggies at our house that we cut up and saute because it is quick, easy and tasty.

So of course, when I first learned about spaghetti squash (which I have to admit, wasn't that long ago...), I knew I wanted to try to it out. I picked up a squash last week at TJ's and decided today would be the day to try it out.

I had cut out a small article in Better Homes and Garden about how to cook spaghetti squash and decided to use that as the method of cooking.

I washed the squash and then began to attempt (keyword is attempt) to cut the squash in half like the instructions said. Holy moly was this thing hard to cut! I ended up having to call in the reserves (aka The Hubs) to help! (I found out later from Katie at She Likes Ruffles, He Likes Truffles on Twitter that I could have just put the whole thing in the oven and it would have been much easier. She also recommended a great recipe she's made).

After a slight struggle, The Hubs was able to cut it. Then I removed the seeds from the inside of both halves.

And placed the cut sides down in roasting pan. I added 1/2 a cup of water to the pan, covered with foil, and baked at 350°F for 1 hour

For a side, I decided to make a squash medley recipe that I found in the August issue of Family Circle. The only ingredients needed I had on hand.

I cut up the squash and zucchini into 1/4 inch coins and the red bell pepper into chunks. Everything went on a cookie sheet where I tossed with EVOO.

At this point, the spaghetti squash was ready to come out to cool, so out came the spaghetti squash and in went the squash medley. The squash medley had to cook at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Once I was able to handle the spaghetti squash, I used a fork to spaghettify (a technical term) the squash.

And because I am a master chef (NOT!), I timed things such that once I was done spaghetifying, the squash medley was ready to come out. And voila!

I really enjoyed the meal and have a ton of leftovers that I can hopefully finish this week. I love that the entire meal had pretty much zero carbs (except for whatever was in the sauce). So healthy! The Hubs wasn't as enthralled with the meal, but it figures since he avoids any foods that are healthy (no matter how hard I try!)

Anyone else have any yummy spaghetti squash recipes I can try this week?
Do you have a spouse that avoids healthy foods? Any tips on turning their tastes??

Friday, October 7, 2011


Image Source: We Heart It

Wahoo! Thank God  it's Friday!

I feel like the last two weeks have dragged on. Must be the post-vacation slump. (Has it already been a month since Seattle??) I'm already ready for my next vacation day. Unfortunately, neither The Hubs and I have this Monday off for Columbus Day. :-(

The Hubs and I don't have any special plans this weekend, although the weather in the Bay is supposed to be really nice. After a week of rain, it might be nice to get a little bit of sun!

Fleet Week is coming to the city, so if we have enough energy to brave the crowds, maybe we'll head there. Or else we'll just hang out around the house doing errands and maybe go out to the movies to see Moneyball. I hope to spend a little time drafting some blog posts for next week as well!

Anyone have any fun plans for the weekend or are you content just hanging around the house? 

Are any of you lucky enough to have Columbus Day off?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Image Source: We Heart It

"The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. And the more grateful you are, the more you get." Oprah
I've decided to start a weekly ritual similar to the Five for Friday series that a few of my fellow bloggers participate in ( Ali @ His Birdies Nest and Monica @ C'set Law Vie to name a couple).

I'm calling it Thankful Thursday.

In the past, especially when I've been in a rut or feeling sorry for myself, I've tried to keep a daily gratitude journal. I always last for a couple of days and then sort of let the practice fall by the way side. Sometimes I would even have trouble coming up with a short list, even though I know I have TONS to be grateful for! With this weekly installment, I hope to make a habit of coming up with five things a week I'm thankful for and then just maybe, someday, I will be able to make it a daily practice.

So without further ado, the first installment of Thankful Thursday:

"I'm thankful for..

1.) A warm shower, warm PJ's, and a cuddle partner at the end of a cold, rainy day.

2.) The good health of me, my husband, family, and friends.

3.) The ability to buy The Hubs some great gifts for his birthday (hopefully one of those being a creation of Steve Jobs's, but shhhh, that's a secret!)

4.) A fun step class to go to every Tuesday and Thursday.

5.) The vision, person, and icon that was Steve Jobs. The technology we use everyday would not BE if it were not for him. RIP Steve Jobs.

And to further pay tribute to Steve Jobs... just few of his most memorable quotes:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

  All quotes from -- Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

What are you thankful for today??

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Doing Things for Myself

I've been following Gretchen Rubin's - The Happiness Project blog for some time. There was awhile there where I was reading books all about happiness (including The How of Happiness and Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment), trying to figure out ways where I could make my life happier. At the time, work was really crappy and the unhappiness of it seemed to leak into every portion of my life.

That was before her book The Happiness Project came out and although I haven't yet read the book (I figured I would get most of the info in it on her blog), I've been filing away little tidbits of what she's learned into my daily life.

The latest thing I'm trying to incorporate to make my life (and marriage) happier was found on Tip Wednesday a couple of weeks ago.

Gretchen wrote an article about the 5 mistakes she continues to make in her marriage and even though I could identify with Every.Single.One of them, I worked on just the first one over the weekend.

I always want to be recognized for what I do around the house, something Gretchen calls "Demanding Gold Stars". Like her husband, mine is also not very good about handing them out. He normally doesn't care if the house is super tidy or that the sink is free of dirty dishes.  Those are things I appreciate. So instead of getting annoyed when he doesn't do something, I've been just trying to do things for myself that I know will make me happy. For instance, this weekend The Hubs washed his car and then took it out for a drive and didn't wash mine at the same time. So while he was out, I went ahead and washed my car myself. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and it made me happy that I had a nice, sparkly car (that got rained on today!) It's the little things people! :-)

From now on I'm going to try to give myself gold stars both at home and work when I check something off a To-Do list or accomplish something I think is significant!

Image Source: The Happiness Project

The next mistake I definitely need to work on is Number 4 - Scorekeeping. I'm always keeping a tally of all the thing I'm doing around the house and I'm oblivious to the things The Hubs IS doing around the house. He gets annoyed that I only see what I do and that I don't see what he does. Anyone else have this problem?? I think if I followed the rule above about doing things for MYSELF, we'd BOTH be happier!

Are any of you guilty of one of Gretchen's "Marriage Mistakes"??

Have any of you read The Happiness Project? Is it worth reading even if you follow her blog?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Get To Know Me Better - 5 Things

Here's another great "Get to Know Me" exercise that my new blogging friend Shayla posted about.

Feel free to re-post so I can get to know more about you as well! :-)

Last five people I talked to on the phone:
1. Coworker and one of my best friends about a work thing
2. The Hubs - I needed him to take ground turkey out of the freezer for dinner! See below!
3. The Hubs
4. My sister
5. My mom

Last five meals I ate:
1. Last night's dessert: A piece of spice cake (not a meal, but close enough)
2. Last night's dinner: Ground turkey tacos with a corn tortilla
3. Yesterday's lunch: Lentil chili leftovers (recipe courtesy of Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life) and fruit
4. Yesterday's breakfast: A bowl of Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Granola Cereal and a glass of milk
5. Sunday Dinner: Sweet Tomatoes - salad, chicken noodle soup and chocolate lava cake with soft serve

Last five places I’ve traveled (or fun places I've gone!):
1. Keith Urban concert last night!
2. Cal Football game at AT&T Park
3. Seattle at the beginning of September
4. Backstreet Boys/NKOTB concert in July
5. San Luis Obispo for a spontaneous weekend away in January

Next five places I will go that I know of right now and not counting work (I added some details to make this one more interesting!):
1. 24 Hour for my FAVORITE step class
2. Grocery Store - I'm hoping I can find a Spaghetti Squash as I've been wanting to make one for awhile.
3. AT&T Park for Cal v. USC football game
4. Monterey for a Comedy Show (This is still up in the air... It would be part of The Hubs 30th B-day celebration)
5. SWE Professional Development Event

Last five workouts:
1. 30 min stationary bike (today at lunch)
2. Cleaning the house and doing laundry, which I consider a work out! hehe :-) (Saturday)
3. 1 hour step class at 24 hour fitness (Thursday)
4. 30 minutes of running on treadmill, 10 minutes of stair climber, sit-ups (Wednesday)
5. 1 hour step class at 24 hour fitness (Tuesday)

Five things making me happy right now:
1. That the weather is gloomy and getting cooler, perfect for snuggling with the Hubs and wearing warm, comforting clothes.
2. The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon (from baked goods and candles)
3. The secret I'm keeping about what I'm getting the Hubs for his 30th birthday! ;-)
4. That my BBT is FINALLY tracking like a "normal" woman.
5. That I seem to be getting back in the blogging groove and I'm connecting with even more online friends!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunny Seattle - Day 5 - Alki Beach & Headed Home

I'm sure you're all sick of my Sunny Seattle updates, so lucky for you, we've reached the last day of our trip!

The day of our departure turned out to be the cloudiest day of the whole week. After checking out of our hotel, we only had one last place that I wanted to explore. So we got in our rental car and headed toward West Seattle, where we drove along the waterfront to Alki Beach.

There was sandy beach...

And rocky beach...

And somewhat hazy views of the Seattle skyline, but pretty none the less.

Although we had an amazing time in Seattle, once we were back in Cali, we realized we didn't really have to travel all the way to Washington for some beautiful views.

Home Sweet Home!!

** Want to see the rest of our trip Sunny Seattle??**

Sunny Seattle - Day 1 - Pioneer Square
Sunny Seattle - Day 2 - Boeing and Snoqualmie Falls
Sunny Seattle - Day 2 (Evening) - Sunset Cruise
Sunny Seattle - Day 3 - EMP, Savor Seattle & Space Needle 
Sunny Seattle - Day 4 - Aquarium, Pike's Place & The Locks