Friday, February 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 5)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 116)

1) *Warning: This QT is a little graphic. Do not read if you have a weak stomach.* I got food poisoning for the first this last Thursday night. It was not pleasant. Luckily, I was able to "expel" most of the contents of my stomach before finishing packing and heading for the airport at 8am. The first flight was pretty rough, but I felt much better by the second flight. This is my first experience with food poisoning - ever. I can now understand why people refuse to eat at places where they got food poisoning.

2) This past weekend I went to visit my sister in AZ. It was great seeing her since I hadn't seen her in over a year (since Christmas 2009), and I had never been out to see her since she moved to AZ. We spent a lot of time just hanging out but also visited Jerome, Sedona, and Phoenix. Although - I was a bit of a slacker when it came to taking pictures...I didn't take any. But, Jeannette has a few which I'll try to post at some point.

3) The flights both to and from AZ have made me reconsider whether I want to go to Spain this May. My concern has shifted from worrying about being uncomfortable from swelling (which is still a very real possibility) to worrying about being uncomfortable from my aching back. I'm also a little concerned with having to go to the bathroom in those tiny airplane bathrooms. I was sure to check out the bathrooms on all my flights and it just seemed like I may not fit when I'm hugely pregnant. So, we'll see what happens. I'm still waiting on my passport to go through so I have time to continue to think about it.

4) Seeing how quickly Lent is approaching I've been thinking about what I want to give up. I'm still at a loss as to what to give up this year. I was warned not to give up anything related to food while I'm pregnant which seems to make sense. I have given up sweets for as many years as I can remember, so coming up with something new has presented me with a challenge. I've considered giving up watching TV for lent which would be really difficult for me, but would probably be really good for me. If I can't come up with anything better that may be what I go with. 

5) My belly "popped out" this week. It was really quick. I felt it stretching on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it was obviously bigger by Wednesday night. By Thursday my shirts were clearly a little tight , so I went and bought some maternity shirts and a couple more pairs of pants.

6) I've been dealing with some serious back ache issues and can't seem to find a solution. They randomly started last week and don't seem to want to go away. I can't even seem to find a sleeping position where my back won't hurt. Blerg.

7) Ok - I'll be honest. This week has been pretty busy and I haven't really been paying too much attention to Facebook, but here's a post my cousin-in-law (is that right?), Greta, put up today. It intrigued me as I've begun to pay a lot of attention to baby/kid stuff. It's pretty scary how much sugar you can find in baby food/kid snacks. Favorite Facebook quote of the week:
"Someone put Gerber preschoolers juice treats on my desk at work. I opened them and took a bite. They are so sweet it made me ill. I look and it has 17 grams of sugar. SERIOUSLY!?! What toddler needs 17 grams of sugar in one tiny snack? Then I look at the ingredients, second ingredient is sugar and third ingredigent is corn syrup. Wonder why childhood obesity is on the rise?"

Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 4)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 116)

1) Will and I had a low key Valentine's Day. He hates the holiday, but plays along to make me happy :) We went to our favorite mexican restaurant after mass on Sunday then came home in time for the Duke v someone game. That last part was my fault because I was the one who suggested going for a late lunch/early dinner instead of dinner. Oh well, it was still a good time.

2) After I announced that the bathroom was finally finished (like a month ago) I failed to mention that it wasn't completely finished.... yes. All that was left to do was seal the grout and put up a shower curtain. These two simple tasks have, of course, taken me a full month to complete. But I am happy to say that the bathroom is now not only finished, but in full working condition.

3) I am now beginning to understand how easy it is to pack on those pregnancy pounds. It's just so tempting to say "yes" to that extra snack (or two) every day! But, I really don't need all those extra calories. I've recently had to resort to having salads for dinner to counteract those other extra calories I consume throughout the day (not to mention that I can pack a ton of nutrients into a salad).

4) I got my oil changed last Friday and was informed that I needed a new car battery. I know next to nothing about cars, but my car place seems to only let me know when something is actually wrong with my car. So I trusted what they said and had my battery replaced for fear of being stuck somewhere with a dead battery. Now my car should be in good shape for a while. Although I'm still waiting for them to tell me I need to replace my tires (53K+ miles and still going strong)....

5) I'm going to visit my sister in Arizona this weekend! Woohoo! She's lived there now for several years, and I have yet to go visit her. It's about time I make my way out there :) I'm not sure exactly what is planned for the long weekend, but I'm sure it will be fun times.

6) I've given up on trying to find a hair stylist for the moment and have decided I'm going to let my hair grow out so I can donate it to Locks of Love. I had my husband measure how long my ponytail is so far (about 7") and I only need 3 more inches. That should give me enough time to scope out someone to cut my hair.

7) Favorite Facebook post of the week goes to Sarah (because it made me drool):

"Wow. This is some serious cookie-on-cookie action."
‎[Photographs: Adam Kuban] Have you seen Pinterest yet? (Yeah, we're on there — go follow us if you'd like.) I was on that site a couple weeks ago when I saw the most friggin' amazing thing: Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A few years ago I decided I wanted to learn how to cook fish. I wasn't picky, any kind of fish would do. I just wanted to be able to cook something other than chicken, beef and pork. So, I started asking some friends and co-workers if they knew how to cook fish, and if so how they cooked it. I got lots of different answers. It seems that many people grill their fish - either on a regular grill or on a George Foreman grill. I didn't have either of these, so eventually I just decided I would buy fish and try to cook it. I'd throw some spices on it and hope it turned out well. 

I love salmon and had heard it is super easy to cook, so that's what I attempted first (and I've only tried one other kind of fish since!). The salmon I bought came frozen and, luckily, had a pretty simple recipe on the side. I decided to give this recipe a shot. It turned out really well, and I've used that approximate recipe ever since.
I don't remember exactly which package this recipe came from so I'm sorry to say I can't give an exact reference for the recipe, but here's the recipe I use when I cook salmon:
cayenne pepper
brown sugar
teriyaki sauce (or marinade)
Recipe (with pictures!)
Before I start in on the whole process I'll just note that I prefer to line whatever pan I'm using to cook the fish in with foil. It makes for much easier cleanup.

1) Sprinkle salt and cayenne pepper over salmon to taste. (I've recently started using more and more cayenne pepper because it gives it a nice kick.)

2) Pack salmon in brown sugar. 
Note: I used to take the time to pack the sides in brown sugar as well, but as you'll see in step 3 - it all sort of melts off anyway so you don't need to waste your time worrying about the sides :)

3) Coat salmon with teriyaki sauce.

4) Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 mins (depending on the thickness of the salmon). You'll know it's done when the fish flakes easily.

 When I serve the salmon my husband prefers just the salmon while I prefer to drizzle the sauce in the bottom of the pan over my salmon and make a nice puddle on my plate. It's delicious either way.


Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 3)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 116)

1) I made my first "successful" smoothie this week. What do I mean by "successful" you ask? Well, it means that I was able to make EXACTLY ONE serving. This was surprisingly difficult. The few times before this that I tried to make a smoothie I made like 3 servings worth and was eating smoothies all night. At least my baby was getting enough fruit servings :)

2) I mailed my passport name change application off this week. This is a milestone for two reasons. 
       a) It's the final hurdle in the name change process for me. 
       b) It's the next step that I needed to take in order to go to Spain this May - yes, while I'm pregnant. I realize that traveling at 33 weeks pregnant isn't going to be easy or comfortable, but I figure it's my last real chance to go to Europe for who knows how long (and maybe it'll be my last chance ever). Here's a list of reasons why now is the perfect time for me to go to Spain:
     - I've never been to Europe before.
     - My sister is on study abroad there this semester.
     - My parents are going in May so it just seems to make sense that I would go with them. Not to mention that if anything goes wrong (with the pregnancy) my mom's an OB/GYN so it'll be like I'm traveling with my own personal doctor. 
     - My husband has no interest in traveling to Europe, so I can easily go without him (in May) since I'll be with my family.
     - I can stay with my parents in their time share - for free!.
     - Who knows if we'll be able to afford a trip to Europe once our family starts growing.
For those reasons I feel like I'm not completely crazy for wanting (and planning) to go to Europe at 33 weeks pregnant. Here's to hoping my passport gets processed without any problems.

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3) Last weekend I went to target to pick up a few things and as I passed by the cereal aisle I just had to look and see if any cereals I liked were on sale (I always do this). It turns out that Cinnamon Toast Crunch was on sale - 2/$5. Is that a good deal? As far as I'm concerned it's pretty good, so I put 3 boxes in my cart. This was a bad idea. Nay, this was a terrible idea. Not because Cinnamon Toast Crunch is bad, but because it's sooo good. I've already managed to put away nearly 2 boxes of the stuff. Umm, did I actually just admit that? Yea... I guess we all know where the one pound of pregnancy weight I'm supposed to gain this week is coming from!

4) Am I crazy for buying 3 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch simply so I could show those marketeers at Target that I know they're trying to get me to buy 2 boxes of cereal when they list the sale as "2/$5"? No. They can't fool me. I know that each box only costs $2.50 and that I could just buy one box of cereal and still get the sale. That's why I bought three boxes, you see? I bought an odd number of boxes to show them I know their little tricks. They can't fool me.

5) At eucharistic adoration on Tuesday I spent some time praying the sorrowful mysteries. I generally try to pray a rosary during my holy hour but for some reason I had a really hard time meditating/concentrating on each mystery this time. During my horribly distracted prayer (as well as after my hour was over) I pondered if I was having trouble meditating on the sorrowful mysteries because I was in such a good mood. Is this possible? It seems to me that my mood shouldn't affect my ability to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, but I'm not quite sure how to move beyond this. Perhaps I just need a meditation guide (similar to the one I linked to above) to help keep me mentally on track. Has anyone else had trouble with this? Do you have any suggestions for how to stay focused?

6) My husband and I started sleeping with a humidifier in our room. I got the idea from my mom. I asked her how I could curb my nightly nosebleeds which were clogging my sinuses and making it difficult to breathe at night. Apparently, both pregnancy and the cold, dry weather were contributing to the nosebleeds. The humidifier has been awesome! It only helped a little the first night, but after that I haven't had a single nosebleed. I've also noticed that my legs aren't itchy when I go to bed. This has also been awesome because before using the humidifier I was having to put lotion on my legs before I went to bed every nigh, and even that didn't always stop the itching. Thank goodness for humidifiers, and thank goodness they're much more affordable than dehumidifiers!

7) My friend, Megan, posted this as her Facebook status on Monday. It was my favorite status of the week. I love the office and think this clip is particularly hilarious. I'm not sure if Megan posted this because her Monday got off to a rough start, or simply because she loves to watch The Office...

‎"i don't have a headache. i'm just preparing."


Once you're finished laughing at that clip you can go check out Megan's blog, Crooked Seams:)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I have a great love for pizza. Unfortunately, my husband does not. This is mostly because dairy tends to wreak havoc on his digestive system. So, I decided to make homemade pizza last week that way I could control how much cheese was put on the pizza. I have used this pizza dough recipe before and love it because it's quick, easy, and tastes really good if you like your crust to be a bit on the thick side. Here's the recipe I used:


2pkg active dry yeast
1 1/4 C warm water
1/4 C oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
4 C flour, divided
Yellow corn meal

In bowl mix yeast with 2 C of flour.
Add water, oil, salt, and sugar. Mix well.
Add additional flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Let rest 10 minutes.
Grease pizza pans and sprinkle lightly with corn meal.
Roll dough to size.
Add pizza toppings.
Bake at 375 for 20 mins.

I just used regular marinara sauce on our pizza, although next time I'll definitely use more than I think it needs. I'll also put more cheese on my side of the pizza. When the crust rose it made both the sauce a cheese much thinner than I had anticipated. I will also note, however, that I used "highly active dry yeast" - maybe that's why my dough rose so much.
rolled out dough
Making homemade pizza worked out well. I was able to put lots of cheese on my side of the pizza along with the toppings I like (I chose spinach and onion with a little ham on a couple slices), and just a sprinkle of cheese on my husband's side along with his preferred toppings (ham and pepperoni). It was also significantly cheaper than ordering pizza, and I'm sure that one day my pizza will taste just as good as take-out pizza.
Homemade pizza right out of the oven.
One more thought - if you prefer a thinner crust I think it would work to split the dough in 2 and make 2 pizzas by simply rolling the dough really thin. I'm still working on my pizza-dough-rolling-skillz. As soon as I find a method that works (or seems to work) particularly well, I'll be sure to share that with you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 2)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 115)

1) I tried the whole scheduling my day out thing again this week. After that first week of "Bringing a little structure into my life" I kind of fell off the wagon. I got lazy and started just making a mental list of what I wanted to accomplish that week, but never came up with a more concrete plan. I planned out this past Tuesday in detail with times for each thing I wanted to do. Luckily I only planned my day out through 2:30pm because some things took a little longer than expected and I forgot to include taking a shower after working out and going to the grocery store (oops!). So, the day was quite busy. I opted for a "to-do" list for Thursday and Friday but didn't create a strict schedule. This seemed to work out ok, but I was (am) definitely more likely to only do the things that I deem more important and tell myself I'll get to the other stuff this weekend (knitting is what got pushed to the side so that's not so bad, right?).

2) Earlier this week I read this post and the very first point Jennifer made was about how "your priorities are the things you plan for." This is one reason I decided to give the whole "planning out my days" thing another try, but also because I realized my priorities weren't what I want them to be. I made a point this week to plan on going to daily mass. Now, this can sometimes be a feat for me because I hate getting up early, and even though mass starts at 9am it can still be a little difficult for me to drag myself out of bed in the morning. This post compounded with a conversation I had over the weekend made me adamant about getting my rear out of bed and to mass. It's not like there was anything stopping me. It's not like I have children to attend to or a job preventing me from going to mass, so what was holding me back? Well, after some thought I realized it was my own selfishness and desire to sleep in. But what did this say about my priorities? As I thought about it it was quite clear: sleep is more important to me than time with our Lord. I hope that I will be able to readjust my life and get my priorities straight because if I can't get them straight when it's just me at home during the day, how in the world will I do it once we have children?

3) I got my first flu shot ever yesterday. I don't know why but I just really didn't want to get one. I can't remember the last time I've had the flu, but I knew I needed one at the doctor's request. Yesterday wasn't so bad - my arm hurt a little but nothing very noticeable. Today it's definitely noticeable and kept me from sleeping on my left side last night (*gasp*). Hopefully the pain/tenderness will dissipate quickly.

4) I felt the baby kick for the first time this week! I was on my way home from babysitting on Wednesday and thought I felt the baby but wasn't sure, so I poked at my belly and sure enough the baby responded! For some reason I found it easier to feel the baby when the music was turned down low. Does that make any sense? I guess it helped me concentrate on feeling the kicks more since they're so faint right now.

5) I've decided that you can't go wrong with the recipe that comes with the package. What I mean by this is the recipes that food manufacturers give you HAVE GOT TO BE foolproof, right? The recipes are intended to encourage you to continue buying their product, so they wouldn't put a recipe on the product if it weren't good, would they? I've contemplated doing a series on food package recipes and just trying out the different recipes on different packages of foods. We'll see if I ever get around to that.

6) I can't decide whether I'm happy or sad that the big snow storm missed us. On the one hand - I love a good snow. On the other hand - snow can be quite inconvenient. Regardless we only got a little freezing rain. I guess it's a good thing. At least it got up to nearly 50 degrees on Wednesday! Maybe that groundhog was right - maybe spring is right around the corner. I definitely wouldn't be sad about that.

7) I've decided that my 7th "Quick Take" each week will be my favorite Facebook status from the week. A little background info to put this particular status in perspective: Ally is the first daughter of my friend, Emily. She's an adorable 21 month old with what we'll call a "strong sense of self" :) Here's my favorite Facebook status from this week: 
"so ally just threw a piece of food, looked me square in the face and said "i a stinker"--ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh boy."
Emily, you are a brave woman, and I am sure you triumph over those terrible twos :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Tiki Masala

A little over a month ago my Uncle Joe gave me one of his favorite recipes. During my first trimester chicken really didn't appeal to me and made me sort of nauseous when I ate it, so I had to wait a few weeks to make the dish (that chicken aversion seems to have gone away). But when I made it it was well worth the wait. It's actually really easy to make, and I made mine without the onion and it still tasted great!

Chicken Tiki Masala

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
4 boneless chicken breast (my uncle cuts up a rotisserie from the store, I used raw chicken and cut it into strips)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 table spoon garam masala (spice from Indian store very cheap)
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 onion chopped

Pulse tomatoes in blender (keep separate)
cook or cut meat
cook onion and garlic with oil until soft
add garam masala and ginger and cook medium heat for 1 minute
add tomatos
add cream
add cilantro
add salt and pepper to taste

Serve with rice and Naan bread (I was able to find Naan at my local grocery store, although I hear it’s cheaper if you get it at an Indian store).

And now that I'm looking over the recipe again I realize I made it wrong. Oops! I somehow thought it said to use 1 cup of heavy cream. NO WONDER it wasn't very spicy!!! Hahaha! Now I feel like (an idiot and) I need to make it again the real way.

Here are some pictures of what your chicken probably won't look like (because you'll know to use only 1/4 cup of heavy cream)....

3 large chicken breasts cut into strips - I only used 3 chicken
breasts because they were each so big (nearly 1lb each).
chicken before I added the heavy cream
The last 2 chicken strips left. I forgot to take a picture
before we ate - oops (again!).
Adding 1 cup of heavy cream made the sauce a little sweet, so if that's what you're going for now you know how to accomplish it :)