30 Years Old…Holy Crap!

BabyMe

Well, it’s official, I’m 30 years old.  Does this mean that I can’t pretend I’m not an adult any more?  Its funny how we grow up and do all the things that adults do but somehow inside still feel like we’re still little kids figuring everything out.

The picture above was me as a baby, apparently I was laughing in my sleep which still hasn’t changed.  I wake Tom up occasionally when I’m laughing at something completely hilarious in my sleep.  There’s no better way to wake up than laughing :) I didn’t necessarily wake up laughing today to the sound of snow and hail hitting the house but I’m not going to let it get me grumpy on my birthday.

I’m not at all scared about entering my 30′s, I’m just excited for all the fun things to come.  I had so much fun in my 20′s and it seems to be getting better and better every year.  So many people act like aging means losing things that once made you happy but I feel like its the opposite.  I feel that as the years move along, I learn what really makes me happy and get rid of the things in my life that don’t.  I’ve learned what makes my body happiest, what experiences I want to have and we now have the means to actually make them happen!

FamFriendsLife

I feel so blessed to have such an amazing family that supports me in everything I do, a husband that I can truly call my best friend, a beautiful town to call my home, a wonderful little puppy that makes me laugh every day and last but definitely not least, the most amazing friends a girl could ask for!  Come on 30′s, BRING IT ON!!

 

 

Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Stuffed Portobello

Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Stuffed Mushroom

Ugh, I was totally having the most awesome day until about an hour ago when I entered into the world of taxes.  Oh the joys of being self employed!! Could they seriously make it any more confusing?? “Oh its so simple, just pay us quarterly, simply fill out this line here and then subtract this line which you’ll get from filling out some other form but if you want to fill out that form, please reference this other form and article 2.5.229920239230, but that only applies to you if you’re a farmer so please go back to the first form and reference line 25 of some other form.  AHHH!! Make it stop!!  WHEW! Ok, deep breaths….

Let’s think about the wonderful day I was having before this started stressing me out…. a blue skied sunny day where I got to take a nice long walk with Oto AND managed to get a whole boatload of work done, OH and I got to enjoy some of these leftovers for lunch…

QuinoaMushroom2

This was our dinner last night and it was SO yummy!  I’m not going to post a recipe because its seriously SO easy.

Just hollow out a portobello mushroom, bake at 425 for 10 minutes, sauté up some onions and peppers until they are soft, add some cooked quinoa, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Then serve the mixture over the mushroom and top with some feta for good luck.  See? Easy peasy!

Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Stuffed Mushroom

I served it alongside the usual spinach salad with some avocado.

OK, time for me to get working on dinner for tonight.  NO idea what it will be but I’m hoping something will come to me by the time I make it downstairs to the fridge.

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Having a moment to take it all in…

Oto

Oto & I took a walk this afternoon and I decided to stop and have a moment to take it all in.  I usually keep power walking on by when I see this beautiful view but today, we (I) decided to stop on this rock and just enjoy it for a moment.  There was noone in sight, the wind had died down, the sun was warm on my face, the birds were singing and the waves were gently falling over the rocks.  I closed my eyes for a minute and let myself enjoy the moment.  A moment with no distractions, no work, or taxes, or errands to run… AHHH life is good!  I need to give myself more moments like this.

 

 

WIAW #72

breakfast

Today was almost 60, the long term forecast is looking promising and the flowers are starting to bloom, I like the direction this is headed in!  It’s  somehow making this incredibly busy work week not so bad.

Since I’d rather talk about food than do my taxes, let’s take a look at some eats for What I Ate Wednesday!

For breakfast I had a bagel thin with dill havarti cheese & smoked salmon alongside a little yogurt with strawberries & granola.  In case you didn’t hear, I’ve been having a love affair with salmon lately, it’s likely to continue…

lunch

Sometimes for lunch I just crave a super simple no-frills sandwich so that’s exactly what I had.  Some ham, turkey & cheese with bread & butter pickles alongside some carrots and peppers for good measure.

snack

I took a nice long run to enjoy the warm weather this afternoon so I powered up with a banana before I headed out.  5 miles later and Oto STILL has boatloads of energy.  What do I have to do to tire this dog out?

dinner

For dinner I fired up the grill and made some grilled asparagus, sweet potato fries and burgers topped with a pickled green tomato.

Happy Wednesday!

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

GRILLING!!!!!!

firstgrill

This was the first time I’ve used the grill ALL year and it was so exciting!  I’m sure I had the neighbors drooling and dreaming of summertime.  We had a few flare ups but its all good, no one got hurt, just some nice char marks on those burgers :)

 

 

 

 

 

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Bruschetta

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Bruschetta

Not sure where you guys live but here in Massachusetts Sunday was one of the nicest days we’ve had this year.  It was as though everyone was rising from the dead and coming out to see the light.  The beach was packed with people biking, running, walking their dogs, pretty much anything that got them out of the house and into the sun.  We got an early start on the day, whipped up some smoothies for breakfast and then got our errands out of the way before the stores filled up.  We followed it up with a nice long walk with Oto around the island.  For lunch we cooked up some salmon burgers and then I got my nails done while Tom went to swim training.  He’s training for a triathalon this summer and has been putting lots of time in running, biking and swimming.  I always admire how committed he is to his goals once he sets them for himself.  Can’t wait to go cheer him on in August!

Anyways, since we’re talking about an awesome day, let’s talk about some awesome food too…

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Bruschetta

This actually started out as an entirely different meal but ended up being even better as leftovers.  I originally made this as a pizza fondue which we dipped small chunks of bread into.  It was out-of-this-world delicious and we were lucky to have a bunch of leftovers.  It didn’t melt to the same consistency when I reheated it so we started just piling it on top of bread and realized that it almost tasted better as a bruschetta-type topping.

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Bruschetta

This would be the perfect appetizer to make for a party.  You can prepare everything ahead of time if you’d like and then before serving just reheat in the microwave (or stovetop), toast up some bread points and call it a day.  I used a round piece of onion focaccia that I cut into wedges and then cut each wedge in half (depth-wise) so it wasn’t as thick.  The nice part about the topping is the consistency, its not quite as watery as regular bruschetta so you don’t have to worry too much about the bread getting soggy.

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Bruschetta

I finished it off with some grated parmesan cheese, I’m sure it would be amazing with some fresh basil as well.  Only a few more months before I can start planting my summer herbs and have constant access to fresh basil, mint and thyme!  You could also make it vegetarian by omitting the sausage & pepperoni and adding some vegetables like zucchini or peppers.

If you decide to make this as a fondue, prepare the same way, just serve immediately with bread cut into small cubes.  It’s pizza night without all the mess!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

The sound of spring birds…

Now that we’ve fixed the bathroom vent and I’m no longer dealing with creepy birds IN our house, I’m really starting to enjoy the sounds of birds outside the house.  When we go for our afternoon walks the birds are out chirping in full force, I always imagine that they are talking to each other about what a beautiful day it is (and this year, probably how crappy that winter was)…

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • olive oil
  • 1/2lb sweet italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 3oz thinly sliced pepperoni (diced)
  • 24oz chunky tomato sauce**
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

Directions

1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
2. Remove casings from the sausage and add to the pot. Break the sausage up into small pieces using a spoon or spatula. Cook until lightly browned & cooked through. Drain excess fat from the pot if necessary.
3. Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Continue cooking until sauce is heated through (5-10 minutes).
4. In a bowl toss the mozzarella cheese and diced pepperoni with the corn starch until coated well.
5. When sauce is hot, slowly stir in the mozzarella cheese mixture until creamy and melted.
6. If serving as fondue, serve with small pieces of bread. If serving as bruschetta, serve on top of lightly toasted bread.*

Note

* Can be made ahead.  Before serving, reheat in the microwave or on the stove top over low heat.

**For sauce, I used a mixture of Rao's Four Cheese sauce and Trader Joe's bruschetta topping.

WIAW #71

breakfast

Wow, I kind of suck at being a food blogger lately huh?  Sorry about that.  Its not really for lack of motivation or cooking because I’m still cooking meals for us every day but I guess I just haven’t made much that is “blog worthy,” food worth whipping out the camera and sharing a recipe.  I’ve found that my best ideas come when I’m inspired by new seasonal ingredients so maybe I just need to wait for the weather to warm up and the fresh vegetables to start coming out of the farm.  Or maybe I need to just get off my ass and go buy some peas and asparagus.  I’m just having a hard time getting there mentally, the weather is warming up slightly but we’re still not there yet.

I saw THIS a few days ago on a walk so I think it might finally be coming.

flowers

You should have seen me, I literally started jumping up and down going “oh my god, oh my god, look, there are FLOWERS! In the ground! And they are blooming! And yellow! And Happy!, I must crouch down in this person’s yard and take a photo.”  Oto didn’t know what was going on, he thought maybe he should eat one and figure out what the fuss was about (fortunately I pulled him away just in time, before he munched one of the three flowers blooming in the state of Massachusetts).

ANYWHO, let’s take a look at some eats for What I Ate Wednesday because I’m incapable of coming up with new recipes but taking a photo of everything I eat? That I can do.

The breakfast above consisted of pineapple and a bagel thin, sausage, egg & cheese sandwich.

lunch

For lunch I had a spinach salad with this homemade greek dressing I’ve been making lately.  Tom & I are obsessed with the chicken kabob salads at a local pizza place because their dressing is SOO good!  I think I’ve copied it pretty well but there’s still something missing, I haven’t quite been able to figure it out yet.  I may try to post this recipe soon, I just need to write down some measurements, its usually me just adding a bunch of crap and tasting it along the way to see if it’s there yet.

I also had a piece of focaccia topped with a pizza bruschetta topping thingy.  I made a pizza fondue this weekend and it was SO good!  I was going to photograph it for you but it doesn’t reheat quite as creamy so we’ve just been eating it on top of toasted bread which is just as delicious so I took some photos and I’ll post this one soon <– SEE! I’m trying! I really am!

snack

For an afternoon snack before crossfit I had a quick peanut butter & jelly, exciting huh!?

dinner

For dinner I made pulled pork and served it with grilled pineapple, pickled green tomatoes, sautéed green beans & steamed broccoli.  It was yummy!   

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Finishing a good book.

The_Fault_in_Our_Stars

I just read this one because I had heard lots of great things about.  It was heartwarming and funny and sad and makes you appreciate your health and relationships while bringing you back to your first love and teenage years.  I think its technically a young adult book but you should read it anyways, your life will be better for it. Oh, and you’ll cry a lot, just be ready.

 

WIAW #70

Breakfast

I finally feel like I’ve fallen into a really good rhythm with my health lately. Eating, working out, I’m just feeling good!  I’m not restricting my diet at all, I’m eating the things I love but I’m making an effort to eat things that fuel me and make me feel good rather than the things that I might crave momentarily but that make me feel like crap after.  I’ve been doing crossfit 4 days a week and taking walks/going for runs on my days off which has probably been the biggest difference.  I just don’t see the same results when I cut it back to 2-3 days a week.  I haven’t weighed myself and I don’t think I’m going to, I’m getting stronger and I feel energized and healthy so that’s all that matters to me right now.

Today my What I Ate Wednesday post is a pretty good example of what I’ve been eating lately, lots of colors and lots of fruits & vegetables.

For breakfast I had some goat’s milk yogurt with strawberries, granola & coconut along with a bagel thin with dill havarti cheese and smoked salmon.  I have been all about the salmon lately!  On Saturday I had potato pancakes with smoked salmon on top for breakfast, and then for dinner we had sushi with salmon and I ordered the Vietnamese salmon dish for my dinner.  Talk about a salmon party!

Lunch

For lunch I had a big salad with peppers, carrots, feta, avocado, chive cottage cheese, avocado chicken salad and a few bread & butter pickles on the side.  I need to stop making my salads this big, I couldn’t even finish the whole thing.

Snack

For a snack I had some carrots & green beans dipped in ginger miso dressing.

Snack2

…and some crack pop for good measure.  Seriously, if you see this in the store you need to buy it.  Its slightly dangerous but OH SO YUMMY.

Dinner

For dinner I didn’t have much motivation after getting back from a run at the gym so I cooked up some pesto turkey sausage and made a kale & avocado salad.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Head on over to peas & crayons to check out more yummy eats.

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Feeling myself getting stronger at crossfit.

Crossfit

I’ve really been noticing my progress lately at crossfit.  I have a long way to go to be anywhere near some of the other athletes but I’m taking the progress as I see it.  A few weeks ago I wasn’t able to do one toe to bar and I was able to do 30 during 14.4 last week.  I can now do a pull up and I can finally clean over 100 pounds.  I’m excited to see where I will be in another year :)

Hoisin Ginger Glazed Salmon

Hoisin Ginger Glazed Salmon

HAPPY SPRING!  I guess we’re now one step closer to what might be some better weather.  Now we can at least “say” that winter is no longer here, even if I still have to bundle up in my down jacket and boots to take Oto outside.  I don’t even have the energy to complain any more, it sucks, it will continue to suck, let’s just hope summer will come some day…

In the meantime, let’s bury our winter woes in the most delicious salmon you’ll ever have.  My dad used to make this when we were younger and it quickly became one of my favorite dishes.  The sauce is sweet and complex and is SO perfect on a nice crispy piece of salmon.

Hoisin Ginger Glazed Salmon

This is totally a meal that you could whip up when you have company over to impress them. If they like fish, I can guarantee they will enjoy this.  The whole meal comes together in about 15 minutes.  I made it when I got home from crossfit and we sat down to eat only a half hour later (the mashed cauliflower took a little longer).

Anyways, I will stop talking about how good it is, just make it.  Hope you all have a great weekend! BTW – if any of you live in warm weather locations like California or Florida, I might need to come live with you, I am in desperate need of WARMTH! I’ve had enough!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

This photo.

OtoFirstDay

I posted this for Throwback Thursday last week but it just makes me so happy looking at it.  This is a picture of Oto the first day we brought him home.  It was a cold day so we got him this little hoodie sweatshirt.  Look at that face! Its like he knew he was home (we hadn’t even gone inside yet).  I’m pretty sure he grew out of that jacket about 2 days later and never wore it again but it made for a cute picture. :)

Hoisin Ginger Glazed Salmon

Serves 4
Allergy Soy, Wheat
Misc Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 4 medium wild salmon filets
  • flour
  • salt & pepper

glaze

  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce

Directions

1. Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat stirring occasionally.
2. Season the salmon filets with salt & pepper and dust lightly with flour.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add salmon to the hot pan and cook for about 5 minutes each side or until lightly browned and cooked through.
4. Coat salmon with hoisin glaze before serving.

 

 

WIAW #69

Breakfast

Hey there! LOOK! I was actually able to get my act together and take some photos yesterday so I could do a post today! :)  Sorry for the lack of recipes lately, its mostly been because of a lack of photos.  I’ve still been cooking a lot but they’ve either been repeats of things I’ve shared already or meals that I forgot to take photos of and let’s just admit it, you don’t care about recipes unless you can see how delicious it looks first, am I right?? I know I’m right because I’m the same way.

Anyways, I’ll work on getting more recipes collected to share, in the meantime let’s celebrate What I Ate Wednesday!

One of my “bad food” weaknesses is the Starbucks Sausage Egg & Cheese breakfast sandwich.  Its SO good! And I’m sure its SO bad for me but sometimes I just can’t resist.  Yesterday’s breakfast was my way of dealing with a craving for one of those things.  I made my own using an everything bagel thin, an egg and some turkey sausage.  I had it alongside some fresh strawberries.  We’re not quite there yet but fresh strawberry season is approaching, I can’t WAIT!

Lunch

Whenever I get a new design client (which is usually a food brand) I have to go out and buy the product and give it a try.  I like to make sure that I’m endorsing a product that I believe in and Red’s All Natural are certainly products I can believe in.  I’m so glad that I gave them a try, I never really venture into the frozen burrito section so I would have never found them.  They are going to be great to have on hand for last-minute meals.  They are only 250 calories and the ingredient list is very clean, they use high quality meat, real vegetables and non-gmo ingredients.  I had one for lunch yesterday long with a spinach/pepper salad.

Snack1

For a snack I had some pretzels dipped in chive cottage cheese (my favorite!)

Snack2

I had a meeting in the afternoon and then we didn’t eat dinner until around 8:00 so this was my second snack of the day.

Dinner

For dinner I made a skillet lasagna with ground turkey and served it with the usual spinach salad.  Are you sick of seeing spinach salads on my What I Ate Wednesday posts? If so – you’re just going to to have to deal with it because its probably not going to stop any time soon, it’s my go-to vegetable side.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

Vineyard Vine stores.

vineyard-vines

This weekend we were hanging out with my brother & his girlfriend and we went over to Marketstreet in Lynnfield to walk around and enjoy the beautiful weather on Saturday.  We wandered into a Vineyard Vines store and I have to say that I have NEVER been that happy in a store before.  I can’t even describe how great the environment was.  It was warm and bright and the sun was shining in through the windows, the warm breeze was blowing through the open doors.  They had a great band playing some of my favorite songs and a lively atmosphere.  Everything looked so bright and happy and summery and I felt as though I had been transported to a summer on the vineyard.  None of us wanted to buy anything but we kept wandering around in circles with smiles on our face and I know we were all feeling the same thing.  Nice job VV, kudos to you!  Next time you’re feeling the winter blues, just wander over to your closest Vineyard Vine store :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Days of Happiness

Happiness

You guys might have seen this floating around in the social media world but I wanted to give it a special shout out since its something close to my heart.  When I started this blog I knew that it was going to be mostly about cooking and food but I decided to add a “What Makes Me Happy” to every blog post.  I found that its easy to get caught up in the grind of every day life that we forget to think about all those little things that make us happy.  This #100HappyDays movement is now doing the exact same thing and recruiting you to do it for yourself.  It seems silly but it really does help, so join in!!

HappyStuffHere’s a little sampling of some of my “happy things” from past posts.  To read more about why I do this and why I think you should do it too, read my about section.  Its getting hard to stay positive with the super crap crappity winter that won’t leave so let’s just dream of sunny happy days and kick those negative thoughts away!

 

 

WIAW #68

breakfast

Holy beautiful day out there today!  I realize that it won’t last long as the storms roll in again but it was SOO nice while it lasted.  To step outside, take a deep breath and feel the WARM sun on my face felt sooooo good!  I’m so ready, give me summer! NOW! Flip flops and grilling and sandy toes and juicy tomatoes, all of them! now!!

Well, I won’t deny that it was a great day of eats, workouts & weather but it was diminished slightly by an incident on our afternoon walk.  For whatever reason, Oto decided he didn’t like this Husky we were walking by and instead of sniffing him as he normally does he snapped out of nowhere.  I pulled him away quickly but I think he might have nipped the other dog because his tongue was bleeding :(  I felt so terrible and ashamed that Oto would do that, I have no idea what brought it on.  The lady was pretty upset and told me “I need to be careful with that dog” and I honestly didn’t know how to respond to her.  Have you guys ever had an incident like this?  Its tough because he’s fine with 80% of the dogs we come across, should I avoid ever letting him say hello to another dog again in the off chance that he might snap again?  I usually find that if I pull him away from a dog he gets more worked up whereas if I just let them say hello they can sniff & move on.  I would love your perspective on this because I don’t want to be a bad dog owner and be known as the girl with the dog that attacks, its really upsetting to me.

Anyways, we can leave dog psychology for another day, let’s talk about some eats!  For breakfast I had 1/2 an english muffin with almond butter and cinnamon and a green smoothie with apple, banana, strawberries, pineapple and kale.

lunch

For lunch I cooked up a mixture of snap peas, pancettea, asparagus, peppers & onions and served it with a few over easy eggs and a piece of toast.

snack

Before crossfit I had a piece of bread with peanut butter and a banana.  The peanut butter was cold and wouldn’t spread and kept ripping up the bread so I just said screw it and shoved it in my face as is.  Do you guys refrigerate your peanut butter?  I feel like we should because we get the natural stuff but its SO hard to spread on things, I would much rather leave it in the pantry.  Tell me its ok! I’ll listen to you! Please!

dinner

For dinner I cooked up some spiced lamb meatballs and served it with a little cucumber yogurt sauce and a side of sautéed zucchini, peppers & onions.

Happy Hump Day!

 

WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY:

I know you saw this coming but it definitely has to be the temperature today!

temp

There are two awesome things about this photo.  #1 – its 61 degrees, duh  #2 – Its 5:39 and the sun is still high in the sky!! Woohoo, yay for more sunlight in the evening!!