Sunday, October 21, 2012

Washington

I haven't blogged at all over the past week (obviously) because I went to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew in DuPont, Washington. I don't carry my laptop when I travel on planes- mainly because I'm too lazy to deal with the hassle at the airport- so I figured I would just wait until I got home to update anything. I flew my first red eye last night, and while I still had to sleep some when I got home, I have to admit that I liked spending an entire day visiting before getting on a plane to sleep. In other words, when I traveled I didn't miss a thing (other than some shut eye because our pilot managed to get us from Seattle to Atlanta in under 4 hours). I also didn't take many pictures but here's my trip, in bullets:
  • Saturday October 13- Arrived in Seattle around 11am- my sister picked me up and we went to Ikea so she could get some furniture. Ikea's are awesome. Went back to DuPont and spent the rest of the evening with her family. My nephew is the most adorable kid ever.
  • Sunday October 14- Got up early to drive to Puyallup and run a 5K- it was my sister's first 5K ever so it was neat that I got to be there for it. The race was called the "Haunted Hustle 5K & 10K" and people showed up in all sorts of neat costumes. My sister, nephew, and I dressed up as candy corn; we managed to finish together in 34:29.
  • Monday October 15-Friday October 19- We spent a lot of time chasing my nephew around the block. The area my sister lives in is FULL of walking/running trails that go on for miles; I'm very jealous. We did some outlet shopping (I super-love Under Armour now), I went to my first Cabela's store (could totally live out of that store), we did some 30 minute runs around her apartment and a 4 mile hike at Nisqually Nature Reserve, I met some of her friends, and we watched several good movies (Memento, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Rango, Spiderman, Dark Shadows, Madagascar 3). Oh, and between my sister and I we accomplished a lot of good cooking.
  • Saturday October 16- The 4 of us took another trip to Cabela's and then I spent the rest of the day doing laundry and getting ready for my flight (which was completely uneventful thank goodness).
I will definitely miss the 3 of them very much, but luckily my husband and I are flying out there in January and heading to Whistler, BC for a week with my sister, nephew, and mom.
Candy corn

About to cross the finish line

The Brownings on base

Chasing the kid down the Nisqually boardwalk

Pretty trees

My first Cabela's


My nephew fascinated with himself...



Working the candy corn outfit

Watching something Elmo-related

Running through legs

Upside down

Mom swinging baby around

Looking at something in Nisqually

Riding the escalator (about 10x)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Breakfast Sandwich

While browsing Pinterest the other day (what? me? on Pinterest? no...) I got an idea for a breakfast sandwich. It's crazy good and crazy full of protein, so if you have bad kidneys, don't eat it.

All you need is 2 slices of bread, fresh sliced avocado (AB blended it up to make a paste), a tomato, a fried egg, and some bacon, and ta-da:


Good stuff. Try some.

Paula Deen Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

I was craving pumpkin the other day (okay, I crave pumpkin all the time in the fall) and found a recipe online for Paula Deen's Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. As the name suggests, it's super buttery and guaranteed to give you diabetes if you eat enough of it. However, it was AMAZING. I took it to the in laws house for dinner and it was a hit; I will be making this instead of my annual pie for Thanksgiving this year.

Recipe:

Cake:
  • 1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
Filling:
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened  
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


To make the cake, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Pat the mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Do NOT use the directions on the cake box. Mixture will be very dry.

Prepare filling:

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together.

Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well.

Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey. When testing the center, it is okay if it's still slightly "wet". The cake will firm up as it cools.


I don't have a picture of the final product; it was eaten too quickly.


Lazy Cake Cookies

Yet another recipe from Pinterest: Lazy Cake Cookies from the I'm A Lazy Mom blog. They were super-easy to make and tasted awesome. Plus, the cookies stayed moist even as leftovers.

Recipe:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbs butter
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Blend ingredients in large bowl (the mixture will be fairly dry so use an electric mixer)
  3. Spray 9x13 pan with butter
  4. Spread batter into pan and bake for 20min
  5. Serve- esp good with ice cream


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Updates & All

It's been a busy week, mainly because I've been working every day while still managing to cook, exercise the pets, run, and get my required 8-9 hours of sleep a night. Yes, I require that much; if I get less my eyes get red, my face swollen, and I trip over my own feet.

So here goes- my updates in bullets:
  • Work actually went smoothly- I don't have any patient stories but it's because I honestly can't remember any. After a while, they all start to blend together.
  • I have not managed to study for the GRE but that's not surprising considering I'm a master procrastinator.
  • I don't think I want to go to grad school - quite yet. Mainly because I really have no clue what I want to do (other than knowing that I don't want to be a nurse forever) and I don't need more student loan debt for something I'm not passionate about. Which leads me to...
  • I've started looking into other RN jobs to apply for in the new year. My contract is up March 1 and I'd like to try something else...something that doesn't require paging doctors that never respond for orders, trying not to spill bedpans, and sucking copious amounts of mucus out of a stranger's mouth.
  • I've got an idea for a new blog- one that will simultaneously fulfill a New Year's Resolution and make me a better person (or at least look like one)- and no, it has nothing to do with looks!
  • I got new boots. That's right- rain/snow boots. My husband has turned me into a North Face whore (I never used to buy NF- too expensive) and now I'm in love with pretty much everything they make. I will be taking these to Seattle next week:
  • As mentioned previously, I get to spend some time with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew next week (this also means I get a break from work...double awesome)
  • I'm up to 3.2 miles of running; not every time but I can manage it...which is good because the costume 5K is next week (stay tuned for the absurd candy my sister managed to get me to agree to dress up as)
  • I purchased a Living Social deal for a box of fresh produce from a local delivery company, DoorStep Produce and it was well worth it. I chose the Fruit & Salad box and ended up with a hearty serving of fresh turnip greens, pears, apples, onions, tomatoes, green/red/orange peppers, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini.
  • This evening I wanted to finish up the veggies from above mentioned salad box so I cut up the onions, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and peppers, coated them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and had AB toss them on the grill. I also cooked some 3 cheese tortellini with Ragu sauce and it made for a filling dinner (followed by the fabulous Apples & Pears Foster).



Apple & Pears Foster

AB and I received fresh local fruits and veggies from Doorstop Produce this past week, and in our box were some pears and apples. This evening we thought it might be nice to use them before they go bad (hey, it happens) so I found a recipe for Bananas Foster and substituted the pears and apples in for the bananas. Surprisingly, it worked well and made for a great dessert.

Recipe:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3.5 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • 1-2 small pears
  • 1-2 small apples
  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add brown sugar, dark rum, vanilla, and cinnamon
  3. When mixture begins to bubble add fruit in
  4. Stir/cook until fruit is hot and starts to soften
  5. Pour directly over vanilla ice cream and serve

Monday, October 1, 2012

Baked Ziti

So I have a slight problem with pasta...carbs...all starches...which would totally explain my waistline issues. Regardless, I love them and will continue to consume them at an unusually high rate. Enter tonight's dinner, baked ziti. Huge surprise- I got the recipe off of Pinterest and since my dad was coming over for dinner I figured a recipe that produced a massive amount of food would be beneficial; we all need leftovers the rest of the week.

Recipe:
  • 1 pound dry ziti pasta
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 2 jars (26 ounces each) spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced ( 9 rounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Boil pasta per box instructions
  2. At the same time, brown onions and sausage in large skillet- I started with some olive oil and then added a bit of chardonnay for flavoring
  3. Once browned, add in chopped garlic and Italian seasoning
  4. Pour in 2 jars of sauce and simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 casserole pan
  6. Add ingredients in following order:
    1. 1/2 ziti
    2. 1/2 sauce mix
    3. Provolone
    4. Sour cream
    5. Remaining ziti
    6. Remaining sauce mix
    7. Mozarella
    8. Parmesan
  7. Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 min
  8. Remove tinfoil and bake for 10 min more to brown cheese
  9. Serve with garlic bread or salad
  10. 
    Browning sausage and onions
    Simmering

    Layering

    Preparing to go in oven

    Final product

Bacon, Tomato, & Avocado Pasta

Another recipe that I found on Pinterest was for a creamy bacon, avocado, and tomato pasta salad. The first time I made it was for my family, and since it was a hit I made it again for AB this past Saturday. The recipe is super-easy (b/c I need things that way) and the end result is delicious.

Recipe:
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped into one inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound dried rotini pasta
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado pitted and sliced
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box; strain and run under cold water
  2. Cook bacon and place on paper towels- once cooled cut into small pieces
  3. Whisk together mayo, lemon, salt, garlic powder, white pepper, and dill
  4. Cut tomatoes into halves
  5. Cut avocado into small pieces
  6. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes
  7. Serve

Hearty Crockpot Potato Soup

I've been stalking Pinterest for months now, and recently I actually started trying things I discovered on there. One thing I've never been much of is a cook, but being married to someone who can cook has made me want to contribute at least partially. Yesterday I got the urge to try this crockpot potato soup and needless to say, I (nor AB) was disappointed. For the most part I followed the recipe, but since I love veggies I had to add a little extra in. If you decide to try this recipe make sure you have a LARGE crockpot- it filled mine up and we have leftovers for days.

Recipe:
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes- ~2.5lbs
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (I used regular, the recipe calls for fat-free)
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in slow cooker, and cook on HIGH for 3 hrs or until veggies are tender
  2. Combine flour and half-and-half then pour into slow cooker
  3. Cover and cook for 30 more minutes or until soup is hot 
  4. Pour soup into bread bowls (we got ours from Panera and they were awesome)
First 8 ingredients in slow cooker

Flour and half-and-half added
Bread bowls
Final product