Baking, Cars, and Comfort Food

It’s Monday. I think I’ve got something that will put a big ol’ goofy smile on your face:

(Source)

Isn’t that cute? It kind of makes me want an otter . . . I wonder if anyone actually has one as a pet? Besides zoos that is. I am sure someone does. I mean, one guy here in Ohio had a whole bunch of exotic animals. Unfortunately, he released them and there ended up being a massive hunt to track them all down. Can you imagine? You wake up one morning and, “Hey, Mom! There’s a lion in our backyard . . . “ Crazy.

Anyway, Friday seems like light years away now. I had a pretty packed weekend. Of course, there was some baking involved!

Banana Bars with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Some sad, brown-spotted bananas that had been chilling in the kitchen for some time inspired these babies. What’s a girl to do with super ripe naners? (Is that really even a valid question?!)

I was tired of making banana muffins, and when I saw that I had all of the ingredients for these bars (rarely ever happens), I knew it was fate. I just had to make them.

This recipe comes compliments of Jaclyn at Cooking Classy. I highly suggest that you go check out her blog if you are looking to whip up something delicious.  These bars are a testament to the utter deliciousness you will discover!

Now, the banana batter to this recipe is relatively healthy (no butter and I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream); however, the flavor is in no way sacrificed. It is perfectly banana-y and moist! Yet, in my opinion, it’s the frosting that really stole the show here. I am a cream cheese frosting gal with a cinnamon obsession, so I went crazy over this frosting. It was also the perfect texture for these bars—fluffy, but with just the right touch of gooeyness. I think I could have licked it all off the top of the bars if no one was looking.

Take a look at that sugar-infused wonderfulness.

Speaking of wonderfulness, my Saturday ended up being unexpectedly delightful. After a quick trip to the gym to get my cardio on (I still can’t strength train), I met my friend, Lori, to make a very important trip.

That’s right! She bought a new car! She was able to get a pretty good deal through a friend who works at a dealership about 2 hours away. So, Saturday afternoon we headed down to get her new baby.

I was really thankful that she asked me to accompany her. It gave us some solid catch-up time that was desperately needed. Plus, I got to check out her new ride: a Hyundai Elantra

That’s a good lookin’ pair!

I loved the heated seats and iPod compatibility. Oh, and 41 miles to the gallon highway?! I want one!

The rain snuck up on me on the ride home, and with a sick Madre to boot, the rest of my evening was devoted to chilling inside and watching The Descendants. It was pretty good, not outstanding but good. I can see why it was nominated at the Academy Awards. But, I mean, you can’t really go wrong with George Clooney.😉

Compared to my Saturday, my Sunday was less than thrilling. I spent the bulk of my day swapping out my summer clothes for my wintery ones. Doesn’t that sound like jumping for joy fun? I know you’re jealous. Thankfully, Madre and I did take a break to walk Ellie and enjoy the exceptional fall weather. Ellie was quite appreciative, too.

She wastes no time hopping in your lap whenever you sit down. I think she’s part feline . . . except she is so much more loving than a cat. (And not allergy aggravating!)

Due to Madre’s continuing sniffles and sore throat, when dinnertime rolled around, we decided it was a perfect night for soup.

Chicken Chowder

I found this soup in a Penzeys catalogue awhile back, and it has become a hit with my family. It packs a great amount of protein for a soup, and the milk also provides a great source of calcium. Madre and I enjoyed this with a toasty baguette we had purchased from Krogers.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C butter
  • 1/3 C finely chopped onion
  • ½ C finely diced carrots (I just chopped up some baby carrots we had in the fridge)
  • 1/3 C finely diced celery (I did not include celery this time and it tasted great still)
  • ¼ C finely diced green pepper (about ½ of a pepper)
  • ¼ C flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper (I used a little less)
  • 1 C boiling water
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomato (I didn’t look close enough at the amount, and only bought 1 can of diced tomatoes . . . which is 14 oz. It still tasted fine, but make sure it’s a 28 oz. can!)
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 T parsley
  • 3 C milk
  • 1 C diced cooked chicken

Directions:

  • Melt butter in stock pot over medium-high heat
  • Add onion, carrot, celery and green pepper. Cook until tender (2-3 min.)
  • Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Stir gently until combined.
  • Gradually mix in boiling water.
  • Stir in tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add apple, thyme and parsley.
  • Simmer for 30 min.
  • Add milk and chicken. Cook until heated through (5-10 min.)
  • SERVE!

(I like to add a few . . . or 10 . . . shakes of hot sauce to mine!)

Nutrition: (1 C) Calories 170, Fat 7g, Carb. 17g, Protein 11g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 10g

Gotta love comfort food! It’s even delicious reheated for lunch or dinner in a hurry.

Well, I have to cut this sort-ish! I am off to bed for a good night’s rest, because I have my third interview tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed again!

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, recipes

Better than . . .

What a day! Wait, let me rephrase that. What a past 24 hours! (you know, since we still have a good part of our day left!)

Although I am still lacking full-use of a limb, I haven’t let it stop me too much. I surprised myself yesterday and took my spinning class one-handed. Yes, you read that right. One-handed. Hmmmm . . . I wonder if there’s a word for that. A unicycle is a one-wheeled bicycle.  Unicyclist is already taken . . . Maybe monocyclist? The jury is out on that one, but get at me if you know. Anyway, I was quite proud of myself for that one. I knew all that dance training would pay off—balancing on a bike.

Last night was also pretty eventful. I mean, how could it not be when it’s girls night? Just for the record, my friends and I are crazy. (Or as they say, “cray cray.”) But it’s all good kinds of crazy. Crazy fun, if you know what I mean. Delicious food, Sarah’s bomb bartending skills, epic jokes, AND mouthwatering dessert made by yours truly.

Image

Holy Chocolate Batman!

This is the kind of cake you need to have on hand on a bad day. It’s that good. Sorrow-curing good. Break-up therapy good. Better than sex good. In fact, that’s what I am going to call my version of this cake.

I found this recipe on averie cooks, but it was simply labeled “Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache.” Now, after tasting this scrumptious morsel from chocolate heaven, I have decided that this name just won’t do. It doesn’t do it justice. However, since I did make some minor adjustments, I am now dubbing this my “Better than Sex Chocolate Cake.” Oh, and did I mention that this is a no-mixer required recipe? Super easy to make AND clean up. So the faster you can dig in! Prepare yourselves you chocoholics out there!

Better than Sex Chocolate Cake

 Image

 Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 6 oz. plain greek yogurt (looky there, just the amount in a single serving Choboni cup!)
  • ¼ C. vegetable or canola oil (I used veggie, since that was what I had on hand)
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ C. coffee—I just dissolved instant coffee in a ½ C. hot water
  • ¼ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ C. dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s special dark)
  • 1 C. AP flour (King Arthur is the best!)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 9 oz. (1 ½ C.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ C. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9×9 (or 8×8) pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, and vanilla. Now, whisk your little heart out until the batter is nice and smooth.
  4. Add coffee and both cocoa powders. Whisk again!
  5. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk, whisk, whiskiddy, whisk.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared ban.
  7. Bake for about 25-27 min. The top should be set, and the batter shouldn’t really jiggle as you pull it out of the oven.
  8. Let cake cool for at least 30 minutes. (Before ganaching it that is).
  9. Heat chocolate in a large-ish microwave-safe bowl for about 1 minute. Set aside.
  10. Microwave cream for about 70 seconds—just until the cream is about to bubble.
  11. Pour cream over chocolate. Let stand for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then, you guessed it, whisk until smooth!
  12. Pour ganache over cake.
  13. Now this is the hardest part: wait at least 30 minutes for ganache to set before slicing and eating. (I put mine in the fridge for a while, too).

Now, doesn’t that sound fantastic?

I do have a confession to make, though: I had to make two of these babies . . .

Image

. . . because I messed up on my first one. I misread the ingredients and only put ¼ C. of cocoa powder in the batter my first time around! I would have just said a little prayer and hoped for the best if I was just feeding my family, BUT since this was for a party, I had to make sure it was Gooooood.

Funny thing is, is that I ran out of regular cocoa powder during my second go-around. Hence, the dark chocolate cocoa. I think it turned out for the best though. Don’t you think?

 Image

It’s like a fudgy little cake bite! Or piece of cake fudge . . . look at that moist crumb. And shiny, gooey ganache!

Yes, this is a cake that will instantly make you feel better. Or it will put you into a chocolate coma . . .

I, however, did not need the magical qualities from this delicacy today. Today was a good one. Maybe I should thank all of you? For the good vibes and crossed fingers that is, because I got an email about coming in for a THIRD INTERVIEW for elitefts! So may I ask for one more round of good vibes? Preferably around 10:30AM this Tuesday morning? Pretty please?

Another highlight of the last 24 hours is that I am finally back in the good graces of this little one.

 Image

She was not a happy camper when I picked her up from the groomers. She does not do well with change, or water, or with people hovering near her butt . . . oh, and let me tell you, this little pup can hold a grudge.

I was given the silent treatment for a good 24 hours. This was the look she gave me when I called her to come snuggle.

 

If you don’t get the horsebeast reference, check this link out.

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering: I have still been hitting the gym other than for spin class. However, I can’t say my workouts have been all that stellar. The elliptical machine is my best friend right now, and I did run today! I just haven’t mapped out my mileage yet.

Well, I am off to grab some dinner with Madre and computer shop. I think I have figured out how to afford a Mac!

Image

Winning!

Questions of the day?

  • Do you have an outstanding chocolate cake recipe?
  • What are your comfort foods?

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Fingers Crossed

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am finally back from my brief blogging hiatus. I wish I could say that I am refreshed, brimming and bursting with news; however, I think that would be stretching the truth a bit.

My bum hand is largely to blame for my absence. Again, it is quite the task to type with one hand. Fortunately, I am slowly healing. My fingers are still puffy and purplish, but I think the swelling has gone down. Fingers crossed for a speedy rest of recovery, eh? Your fingers, not mine. I can’t yet.😉

My computer has not helped maters either. Freezing on me, crashing, losing battery power at rapid speed . . . same ol’ thing. I know you are just as tired of hearing about it as I am with dealing with it. However, there is a light shining up ahead! I met with my bro, Gage, yesterday to take a look at some PC options. Maybe this one?

Image

That’s the ASUS R500VM-MS71

I love my Mac, but they are way too darn expensive. Anyway, I am hoping to have a new laptop in the next week or so. This will be such a relief to the small tech-loving side of myself. My wallet, on the other hand, will not be so jubilant.  Oh well, c’est la vie!

My week did kick off with some excitement, though. (Of the non-digital variety). I had my second interview with elitefts.net for their content editor position!

And . . . (drum-roll, please) . . . it went fantastic!

As soon as I showed up at the elitefts.net corporate office, I was immediately welcomed by several of the staff members. Everyone’s warm smiles made me feel at ease, and it was encouraging to see that everyone really seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. The atmosphere was incredibly down to earth—with everyone laughing and joking, eating lunch together, etc. Yet, with a 20% growth history each year since its inception, I know these folks still get it done!

The interview itself was actually really enjoyable. I know, an interview being enjoyable? I was surprised as well, but it didn’t feel like an hour-long grill-session. (Like most of the interviews I have been in before).  It felt like an actual discussion—a learning experience for both of us. Which is how it should be, shouldn’t it? I mean, yes, they are trying to find the best person for the job, but you also need to decide if what they are offering is the best fit for you. I think this is forgotten these days, but unfortunately there’s not much we can do, because of the sheer desperation for employment and all.:/

Anyway, I could truly see myself in that role. The scope of work sounds right up my ally- editing, proofing, AND fitness all combined into one crazy good editorial position! Heck yes! Here’s to hoping for a third interview!

I wish my Tuesday was as exciting and jam-packed as my Monday, but I guess I’ll take what I can get.

Ellie was certainly not thrilled this morning. When I grabbed her harness and leash, announcing that it was time to go get a hair cut and a nail trim, she hunkered down and gave me the pouty look.

Image

She needs it though. Look at that fur ball! And her nails are like daggers. Whenever she jumps on my legs to give me a hug, I am left with red scraps down my thighs.

Too bad dogs can’t have dental work. Ellie also has a mad under-bite.

Image

Haha! When her lip gets caught on her tooth it is even more pronounced. That silly goose.

 Image

Oh! And I need your opinion. I saw doggie costumes at Target the other day, and I think I may have to get this one for Ellie Boo.

Image

What are your thoughts?

Decisions, decisions.

Well, I’m off to make the most out of this rainy day! I might even try to bake something one-handed for tomorrow’s girls’ night . . .

Question of the day:

  • Do you have any good (or bad) interview stories?

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations

Baked Apple Slices with Peanut Butter Crumble (AKA Peanut Butter Apple Crisp)

Recipe compliments of Hershey’s

PB Apple crisp

As promised, here is the recipe for the oh-so-delicious peanut butter and apple goodness! I pulled this recipe from this book. I highly recommend this little gem and have made several delicious desserts featured in here. For instance, I’ve treated my family and friends to the Chocolate Almond Cheesecake, Hershey’s Special Dark Truffle Brownie Cheesecake, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Filled Peanut Butter Blondies, and the good ol’ favorite: Peanut Butter Blossoms! And let me tell you, ALL were absolutely delicious! I wouldn’t lie about this stuff, folks! Smile

So, next time you happen to have several apples on your hands, try this baby out:

Baked Apple Slices with Peanut Butter Crumble (AKA Peanut Butter Apple Crisp)

PB Apple crisp 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square pan.
  2. Stir together apples, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour in a large bowl. Spread in prepared pan; dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Combine oats, remaining 3/4 cup flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Place remaining tablespoon of butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at Medium for 30 seconds (or until butter is melted); stir until smooth. Add to oat mixture; blend until crumbs are formed.Sprinkle crumble mixture over apples.*
  4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and edges are bubbly. Cool slightly. Serve warm or cool with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

*I had to break my oat mixture up a but with my fingers. The PB makes it a bit sticky, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Thank you Hershey’s for such a treat! Mmmmmm

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did!

Leave a comment

Filed under travel

One-Handed Adaptation

I have a new found appreciation for being able to use both of my hands.

I really, really do.

Remember yesterday how I said that I was typing one handed?

Well, that was because I took a little trip to the hospital in the morning, and I said goodbye to this:

Image

That little bump has been with me for seven some years. However, after a brief period of time where it caused me some pain, I decided it was time for the two of us to part ways. So off to surgery I went!

Don’t I just look dapper?

Image

What can I say? It was an early morning filled with lots of waiting.

The surgery itself went smoothly . . . at least as far as I can remember. I was under some anesthesia mind you. However, it turned out that my little bump wasn’t a cyst like everyone, even my doctor, thought. It was something called a “giant cell tumor.” Sounds gross, doesn’t it? No worries, though. It is most likely benign. Still, tumor . . . the word in and of itself gives me the creepy crawlies. Yikes!

Another bright side of the surgery: I don’t have to wear a splint. Originally I was told that I would have to sport a cumbersome splint for about two weeks, but when I came out of surgery my doctor said he thinks I will be okay without one. I still have to keep it well-bandaged though, and clean and dry.

I think I will be sporting some swelling for awhile too. (Warning: graphic images below!)

Image

Have you see my left knuckles? They seem to have gone missing . . . It kind of looks like a fake hand. Or a dead one . . . maybe I should paint each of the nails a different color and go around telling people that I had the Ice Truck Killer’s first victim’s hand surgically implanted onto my wrist. (Dexter, anyone? Dexter? Sorry, it’s on the brain.)

I have been slowly adapting to my one-handed lifestyle today, especially since I am on my own this weekend. Let me just throw this one out there: have you ever tried putting deodorant on with only one hand? It’s harder than it seems, my friends. Harder than it seems.

I did make it to the gym this morning, despite my gimp-ness. I just had to DO something.

Workout

After asking an old man to tie my shoes (he seemed oddly surprised and scared when I asked . . . I don’t know why), I did an easy 20 minutes on the elliptical. My hand/wrist held up alright through the warm-up, although it did get kind of hot and tingly, so I decided to complete this workout I saw on pbfingers.

Image

I wasn’t expecting this workout to be particularly challenging, but WOW was I wrong! I don’t know if it was the surgery/time off from vacation OR because this type of movement is out of my normal routine, but I was sweating and feeling the burn with this one. That incline kicked my booty! I had to even decrease my speed to 3.8 by the second incline.

I will definitely be incorporating more walking incline workouts into my weekly regimen, especially as I begin to plan my half marathon training!

Speaking of feeling the burn, my right hand is getting a little tired from all this typing. Haha, just kidding . . . well, kind of. How about you try typing a “)” or capital “P” with one hand. Streeetttchhhh!

Here’s to a great Friday evening!

Questions of the day:

  • Have you ever faced a time where you were physically challenged? What did you glean from the experience?

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, work outs

Riviera Maya!

¡Hola! ¿Cómo estás?

That’s right! I am back from Mexico. (Or as it is pronounced there: MeHico). Madre and I had an excellent trip, and as you have gathered, I left my trusty laptop at my casa. (I think I have used all my Spanish knowledge up now. Wait! I know baño (bathroom) and agua (water). Okay, now I’m done!) It’s a good thing I did not lug my Mac across the border, anyway. Getting Internet was a pain in the you-know-what. You had to buy access- in increments of 30 minutes, but just doing that turned into quite a venture. So let’s just say Poppa only received one quick email during our entire trip!

Okay, now let’s get down to business!

Our flight down went pretty well- no major blips to report. We did have to get up early to make our flight though. And I’m talking waking up at 2:15am early. Yeah . . . Madre and I didn’t get much sleep on Tuesday night. Yet, I can’t say we cared too much. Not when sun, sand, and margaritas were awaiting us! Plus, we were able to make a Starbucks pit stop in Dallas/Ft. Worth (Dallas in Dallas! Hahaha!), and we both caught a few zzzzz’s on the last leg of our flight.

When we arrived at the airport in Cancun at around 11:30 local time, it was HOT and sunny! Our hotel was about 40 minutes away, but we had already booked a shuttle service when we purchased our trip via cheapcarribean.com. Oh! And remember when I said I was really pleased with their customer service a few weeks ago- when I purchased additional insurance? Well, I am going to second that and give them another two-thumbs-up for service! Cheapcarribean.com is known as Olympus Tours in Mexico, and they really took good care of us. They acted as our “travel agency representatives” and were there if we ever had any questions.

Oh, and for you future travelers out there: when you are waking out of the airport in Cancun, KEEP WALKING! Don’t stop for any of the people lined up along the walls. They are most likely selling time shares and will talk your ear off to get you to buy something- whether it be an excursion, tickets to an event, etc.

After the overwhelming expedition of keeping those vendors at bay, I was more than relieved we had booked the shuttle. I honestly don’t know if I would have been able to tackle driving there. Let’s just say it involved traveling at very high speeds and weaving A LOT. Oh, and did I mention the police check points randomly peppered along the highway? With the officers wearing large automatic weapons strapped to their chests, the black, shiny metal flashing for all to see. Yeah . . . not intimidating at all . . .

Ah, but look what welcomed us when we arrived at out destination:

That’s the view from the main lobby at our hotel: Occidental Gran Xcaret.

That’s the view of the stairs leading up to the check-in/lobby, taken from the lower deck of the main building. The tables and chairs shown are used in the evening as a nice place for guests to sit and chat while they enjoy a drink from the nearby bar. Although, many guests found this to be just the right place to enjoy a cigarette (or two . . . or forty). I felt like I was walking through Stephen King’s “The Mist” when I went by at night. The smoke was so thick I wasn’t sure if something was lurking in the thick grey clouds, ready to snatch me at a moment’s notice. Okay, okay . . . maybe that’s an over-exaggeration, but it was pretty caustic.

Anyway, what was pretty neat about our resort was that it was like its own secluded little city. Along with the main lobby building, there were around 22 building villas which housed guests.

Our room was on the third floor, the second two last (farthest) window. And yes, we did overlook the pool. Winning!

The view from our room!

I can’t forget what was awaiting us when we got to our room:

Yup! Kickin’our vacation off right!

Pretty good looking room if I do say so myself. However, I could have gone for a bit more fluff in terms of the bed.

Haha! Sorry, I just had to to it. It was too perfect, kind of like those classic “that’s what she said” moments. Love it.

And, in an attempt to bring out that green little monster of envy in you, may I present what made up the remainder of the all-inclusive resort:

Pool numero uno. (Aha! More Spanish!) See that waterfall? You can swim under that and order a drink. Oh yeah! Swim up bar, yeah!

Oh, and if it’s too hot to tan alongside the pool:

You can lay-out on the little island. Personally, I spent as much time in the water as possible. On top of it being suffocatingly humid, the sun was HOT! This time I am not exaggerating. They didn’t have to heat their pools . . . and the water was WARM in the MORNING.

Next to this pool lay yet another smaller pool which Madre and I enjoyed the most. It was just far enough away from all the hoopla and loud music. Plus, we made friends with the bartender, Jesus. You couldn’t swim up to this bar, BUT it had swings!

Image

Side note: My computer crashed yesterday as I was writing this post, and I just got the program up and running again . . . after much stress and tears. I am also typing one-handed now (will explain more later), so the remainder of this post will involve a little less text! Okay, back to Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Ah! Look what we have here. Yet ANOTHER pool!

Image

This one was also a little quieter than the big one in the main area . . . but of course it still had a bar.

Image

However, Madre and I started most of our mornings here:

Image

The beach! Look at that beautiful blue/green water! And let me tell you what, so so so very refreshing from the blazing sun rays. The icy cool drinks from the bar only 5 feet away didn’t help, either.

Image

Although I certainly enjoyed this little sandy cove, I did miss the open-ness of a regular beach. I suppose that would be one of my biggest cons about this resort. I missed being able to take walks on a beach, particularly in the morning. You know, feeling the warm sun as it rises, the sand beneath your feet . . . the tiny bit of rejuvenating exercise. Plus, the wide open coast would have provided more of a relieving breeze!

However, there was a fun snorkeling pool just outside the beach cove:

Image

And a pretty walkway leading up to it:

Image

Picturesque, don’t you agree?

It’s funny, but one of my favorite aspects of the resort was not a place or an activity, but the people. The guests themselves. Everywhere you went, you were surrounded by a plethora of different languages. Quite a few beach-goers had strong English accents, but I also heard French, Spanish, Aussie (yes!), Eastern-European sounding- tongues, etc. One group had even traveled all the way from Russia!

Madre and I made friends with some dashing fellas from Espana:

Image

:

Oh yeah, we know how to pick up the men.😉

We also kept running into the cutest family from Oklahoma. The mother always looked like she had just walked out of a page in a fashion magazine, and the dad was quite handsome. They had two little blond-haired girls and a little boy who was always trailing a few feet behind the pack. He reminded us of that little boy in What to Expect When You’re Expecting– Chris Rock’s cute but klutzy toddler. On our second to last day there, the dad finally came up to me and introduced himself. He (Shannon) told me that him and his wife both thought I looked like Ann Hathaway!

Image

I don’t know . . . do you see it?

How about now?

Image

It made my day, though. I was extremely flattered.

It was truly an incredible trip! Just what Madre and I needed- we seriously were asleep by 9:30pm almost every night! Yet, as Monday rolled around, we both agreed that we were ready to go home and be back in good ol’ ‘Merica!

Guess who was squeaky with joy as we came into the door . . .

Image

Love!

Well, I will fill you in on more later. It’s time for this girl to rest up!

Questions for the day:

  • Where is your favorite vacation destination?
  • Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
  • Do any of you have laptop recommendations?

1 Comment

Filed under lamentations, travel

Bananas for the Weekend

Well, it’s back to reality today, eh? Back to the routine . . . work, school, etc. I hope you were as ready as this kiddo.

Get it little guy! I am so going to make one of these for my future kid(s). (I have plenty of time though, don’t you worry. That won’t be for quite a few years).

I hope everyone had a fantastic Labor Day weekend, Mine was pretty good, but most importantly, it was pretty laid back. I spent quite a bit of time preparing for my VACATION! Madre and I leave tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. Oh, and when I wasn’t packing, I was caching up on lost time with Michael C. Hall:

Who else is addicted? I swear I could watch the entire season in one sitting . . . if I had the time. The mystery, the morbid excitement, and the dark humor are fantastic. I also personally love Deb. I find her foul-mouthed, blunt reactions completely refreshing. She basically tells it how it is, although brutally. There are many times that I wish I could do that, but I don’t have the guts . . . or my conscience takes over. Anyway, if you haven’t experienced the utter brilliance that is Dexter, I am giving you full permission to go indulge. At this very moment. Seriously, go. Rent it. You will thank me later.

Among my packing and TV watching, I had planned to squeeze in a blog post; however, things did not work in my favor. Things meaning my computer. It’s the grandpa of MacBooks I do believe.

I am not even sure how old it is, but it is dying a slow and very painful (for me) death. My Uncle purchased it used off ebay several years ago and made some fixes/adjustments. After lending it to a friend for a period of time, he lent it to me when my Dell crashed during my sophomore year of college. It then turned into a graduation present once I was finished at the U of A in 2011. So, how many years is that? I’m not exactly sure, considering we don’t know how long the previous ebay owner had it. Let’s just say that this baby is a testament of Apple’s products. (My Dell lasted 2.5 years before crashing). However, it is getting to the point where I need to move on . . . if only I had enough money to buy a new MacBook.

(Source)

I’m really not exaggerating about the dying a slow and painful death part. Last night, I went to upload the pictures from my phone . . . it took 2 hours. Then, I got an error message telling me that the photos I supposedly uploaded, well, didn’t. Hmmmmm . . . Oh, and with every other click, I have to wait for an unknown amount of time watching this:

(Source)

What I like to call: The CIRCLE OF DEATH

The two of us are not friends. I have called it a variety of other colorful (no pun intended) names. It seriously takes FOREVER.

(Source) Oh Sandlot!🙂

Sometimes, I wait so long that I have no choice left but to force shutdown and restart. And don’t even get me started on how many times I have been filling out job applications and my Mac just freezes, refusing to move. Oy vey. Deep breaths. Very deep breaths.

Thankfully, I did succeed with uploading my pictures this morning. You should be very thankful too. Why? You may ask? Because I did whip up a tasty treat this weekend. Once again, over-ripened naners were calling to me. Begging me to make their lives useful. I couldn’t refuse their pleas.

Go Bananas Whoopie Pies

I have had these tagged in my recipe book ever since they appeared in an issue of Food Network Magazine. Since I had the ingredients, AND since I it would be a great treat for Madre to bring to her non-chocolate-loving coworkers (gasp!), I couldn’t help but call it fate.

I pretty much followed Food Network Magazine’s recipe to the T, except for two minor alterations:

  1. I used reduced fat cream cheese (that’s all I had)
  2. I threw a few chocolate chips in the batter at the very end (for my last pan), because some of us just need a little chocolate in our desserts!

I give these guys a thumbs up! Ummm . . . how can I not? Peanut butter and banana are quite a pair. Although, I was a little surprised at the filling. I expected it to be more fluffy and frosting-like. This filling is definitely more of a thick, peanutty spread. You won’t be disappointed though. No worries!

Go Bananas Whoopie Pies

By: Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/4 C packed brown sugar (I used dark, again it’s all I had on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla ext.
  • 1/2 C mashed very-ripe banana (about 1.5 naners)
  • 1/2 C buttermilk (I put 1.5 tsp white vinegar in a measuring cup and then filled it up with milk up to the 1/2 C mark)
  • 2 C AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 T butter, softened
  • 1 C creamy PB
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla ext.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • In a separate small bowl, combine banana and buttermilk.
  • In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Gradually add dry mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with banana/buttermilk mixture.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes (or until set).
  • Cool for a few minutes on pan, then transfer to wire rack.
  • For filling, cream peanut butter, cream cheese, and butter until fluffy. (Mine wasn’t that fluffy . . . )
  • Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Spread onto bottom of one cookie; top with another cookie.
  • EAT! (Oh, and store in the fridge!)

For the love of peanut butter. Are you drooling yet?

How about now?

Did you know that these are called Gobs in Pennsylvania? I coworker last summer brought chocolate cookie with vanilla filling whoopie pies to a function one time, and when I exclaimed, “Yes! Whoopie Pies!” I was met with a dozen quizzical-faced colleagues. It took awhile for me to live that one down. I’m still calling them whoopie pies though. Gobs sound ugly.

Speaking of oddly-named things. Look what Madre and I found while browsing Kroger yesterday:

Snacks on a Stick Maker

It gets better. Look at all the delicious, high-quality and nutritious food you can make:

That’s steak, corn dogs, OMELETS???, pizza, pancakes, and cookies. On a stick . . .

Madre came up with the product’s new slogan: “You may never have to use silverware again!” I think it’s fitting.

Before I go take care of some other vaca preparations, I will share my workout with you.

Workout:

I began with a nice 40 minutes on the elliptical machine. You know, to get my sweat on. The weight room was pretty packed after I finished, so I headed upstairs to complete a Plyometric workout I found.

I only did the entire circuit one time through, but I was still a sweaty fiend. Loved it! Those Hamstring Sliding Curls and Split Jumps are killer! I will definitely be revisiting this one again, and no worries, I will step it up and go for at least two rounds.

I finished with some random exercises to hit my arms and back:

  • Seated Narrow Grip Cable Rows (3 sets of 10)
  • Inclined Dumbbell Curl (3 sets of 10)
  • Back Extensions (3 sets of 10-using 10 lb. weight)

Told ya it was random!

Well, that’s it for me today. I haven’t decided if I will be lugging my Mac to Mexico with me, so I may not be back until the 11th! Have a great week!

Questions of the Day:

  • If you were to purchase a new laptop, what would you choose?
  • What’s your favorite TV series?

Powered by Qumana

1 Comment

Filed under lamentations, recipes, work outs