Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This weekend I turned 28. I know that it seems silly, but it honestly feels so much closer to 30, that it is really strange. I have a feeling that I will be one of those people to who 30 is a big, strange birthday. There is the added weird feeling where I remember not so long ago that I expected to be a mother by 26... and here I am at 28 and still not one. I know that time is coming, but it is an interesting feeling all the same as just another reminder of how much time has passed since we first decided that we were ready. At the same time, Blake and I have had multiple conversations about how we are glad that we haven't been parents for the last couple years. Also, though we said we were ready, I think it is only just now that Blake is getting to where I was years ago, where he is looking forward to that time, not just accepting that it was time.

Anyways, so far I have celebrated with two out of three groups. I will be celebrating with Blake's family in a few weeks. My first celebration was last Monday, April 2 with my students. My room mom went above and beyond to make my day special. When I arrived, the room was completely decorated with bright spring decorations. Across my window was a huge happy birthday banner, and my desk had a tablecloth and a beautiful bouquet of flowers on it. It truly made me smile when I entered my room that day.

When I saw her a little later, she gave me my favorite coffee drink, my favorite breakfast treat, and my favorite candy bar. Later that day, they had a cake and had the kids sing. Then she gave me a class gift of a script card (where I can get my choice of a bunch of different gift cards with) and a card that the class had signed, and we ate the very tasty cake she brought. It was more than a room mom had done for me in a bunch of years, it was very special.

On Saturday, I had dinner with my husband, parents, and my brother and sister in law.
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It was a wonderful dinner, both with the company and the food. There were a bunch of other people that were invited to join us, but for various reasons couldn't make it, but honestly I found out yet again on Saturday just how much I love my immediate family, and appreciate their company and their presence at special events. I was impressed with Amy's bravery for trying the anchovies that come with the ceasar salad that Blake loves, but no one else ever eats, even if she didn't like them like Blake does, she gets credit for trying. I loved the scallops that I had as my main dish, I have honestly never had such good scallops before, and I order them a lot. I had a tasty cheese plate, but the real highlight was the dessert course.

For the dessert course, the Loft brought me a beautiful dessert:
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It was tasty, but I think my sister in law, Amy, got the best dessert at the table (which I can say with some authority since I tasted almost everyone's desserts that night), and it was the most exciting to watch too.
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It was this chocolate shell that had passionfruit ice cream over a passionfruit cake inside, and they poured this syrup over the chocolate shell to melt it so you could eat all of the delicious treats inside, and it was so good I would go back there just for that!

Blake had a pear dessert, which was beautiful, but in my opinion, the taste was not as good as the passion fruit dessert.
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It has been fun being celebrated, and I look forward to my third and final birthday celebration in a few weeks.

Oh, and the gourmet cooking continues:
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Last night, we made our own fish sticks with part of the breading having bacon crumbled in it (like we saw on iron chef a few nights ago). We had that with some steamed broccoli that we tossed with lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and green onions that was also really good.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Garden 2012

Our garden is currently showing all of the signs of spring and growth. I am really looking forward to when these little tomato flowers become delicious tomatoes to enjoy.

The white fence that we built to keep Tasha out also looks really nice.
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Like last year we have strawberries, peppers and a variety of tomatoes featured in this picture, with more flowers than last year to attract beneficial insects as our best control.

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We also have a variety of herbs, and are trying artichokes and corn this year, which we have never planted before.

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On the side of the house, we have less plants than normal, with it being mainly onions, a few eggplants and a lot of flowers. The main reason for this is that we read that if we keep planting the same things there over and over again it drains it of all the nutrients, so we need to rotate where our tomatoes go, among other plants to get the best gains possible.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

10k results

28 11 8 Lisa Olsen F 27 700 00:51:34 8.32

Out of 115 runners who did the 10k with me that that day, I finished 28th overall, I was the 11th female and I was the 8th in my class! It really makes me excited that I was not only not last, I was towards the front of the pack who ran that day. My time was 51:34 and my mile time was 8.32. So proud.

In other news, I am officially signed up for my marathon now as well. Wow... big step, but I am feeling good about my ability to be successful based on the success of my first run.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gourmet Week

Two different elements came together for this week's meal planning. One was that I am currently reading an advance copy of Yes, Chef (and loving it) and reading about fine dining chefs and restaurants makes me want to make some more gourmet meals than normal.

The other element is that last week was a scrounge week where I didn't make meal plans and we just tried to make meals from what we found in the house, or eat out. I truly missed making real meals and having a balance of protein and vegetables.

So, when I started to plan meals, I stepped away from the typical "go to" recipes and searched out for perhaps longer, more involved, but definitely higher scale meals.

First up was Easy Garlic Chicken and a Sunburst Carrot Salad on the side. Both were tasty, but the carrot salad was exceptionally good.
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On Sunday we had a chicken cacciatore that we made in the crockpot.
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Monday we made our own red pepper hollandaise sauce that we enjoyed over salmon. We also had a citrus salad on the side.
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Tuesday was another crockpot meal. We made a bison and barley soup.
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Wednesday we ate out, and on Thursday we made our own ravioli. We tried a new flour this week that was advertised to make better pasta because it is stretchier. The taste was fine, but it was a lot harder to work with in some ways, even as it was easier in other ways. We think that next time we will do half of a regular flour and half this kind. The filling was great though, cream cheese with chives and parsley. It reminded us of the filling of cream cheese wontons.
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(Not as pretty as our previous ravioli because of the different kind of noodles).

Friday we made our most involved meal of the week- braised artichokes and peas over polenta. We both agreed that it was our favorite tasting meal of the week, though not my favorite picture.
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After a week of higher quality meals, we agree that we enjoyed both the cooking and the eating of this level of food, and I will probably continue to incorporate at least a few of these kind of meals as I make meal plans.

We did decide that at some point we should get a non-stick pan, because it seems pretty important for the sauces. Also, we need to learn more how to make the food look nice on the plate, besides just making it taste good.

There really are two main problems about cooking like this that limit our ability to make it the normal kind of meals in our house. One thing is that it does take substantially more time to make and prep each of the steps, and most nights we don't have that time to spend.

The second problem is just price. My shopping list really wasn't that much longer than a normal week, but the bill was higher by probably about 20 dollars. It was things like on a normal week I might get sour cream, but this week I needed creme fraiche, which was a dollar or two more than the price of sour cream. We regularly buy onions, but this week we needed shallots instead, things like that.

It was a great week of food, that I will top off with my birthday dinner tonight at Montage's Loft restaurant!