Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Part Deux

Even though Greg and I each had a couple Thanksgiving dinners between eating on the actual day and some leftovers my mom sent home with us, we hadn't yet had our Thanksgiving dinner together.  I told Greg last week that I would make him some of his favorites for dinner sometime this week, so last night I did just that.  Greg's Thanksgiving favorites are really the mashed potatoes and the green bean casserole (which we actually don't do in my family).  Feeling like we might need a little Umami in there, I decided to make an entree to go with it- Mushroom Wellington ala Vegan Faith.

I changed it slightly by using small white and baby portobello sliced mushrooms instead of the big portobellos and sauteeing them with the spinach, onion, garlic, and wine.  This made them all kind of liquidy (I may have gotten slightly heavy handed with the wine) and I kind of had to drain everything before adding it to the puff pastry.  For creaminess, I opted to add some goat cheese, which I thought was a great addition.  I also had too much filling to fit, so I reserved some and made a gravy out of what didn't fit in the pastry, by adding a little flour and stock to the pan and stirring with a whisk.  I had a few snafus with the puff pastry coming apart on me, but eventually, I got the whole thing assembled, in the oven, and it came out great!

I used baby red potatoes for my (s)mashed potatoes and I always use frozen green beans for the green bean casserole because I think canned ones are gross, even though Greg disagrees.  Don't ask him about the time we were at Costco and he insisted on buying the giant can of canned green beans.  Ewww.

Anyway, we both loved the meal and I was glad to have a little bit of Thanksgiving with my husband.  We're very used to holidays apart after ten years together with this lifestyle, but try to make an effort to set aside some time for ourselves to celebrate together.

Do you ever spend holidays apart?  How do you handle it?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tweeting And Trotting

Happy belated Thanksgiving!  I'm back in Hilton Head to spend the weekend with my family.

I took a half day on Wednesday, headed home to pack up, and gobbled down this salad of spinach, goat cheese, pear, walnuts, and vanilla balsamic, before hitting the road for the 3+ hour drive to Hilton Head.

Traffic wasn't to terrible, and I arrived in time for dinner with my fam, which was a nice bean pasta soup my mom made.

And some easy cresent rolls on the side.

Oh and we got into the pumpkin cheesecake early.

We turned it fairly early because we had to be up early on Thanksgiving for my Turkey Trot!  After being indecisive about running and racing ALL YEAR long, I decided to go ahead and do this race, since I had a great time running it last year.  Last year I was already entrenched in marathon training and ran the 10K, but this year I opted for the 5K, deciding I wasn't quite ready for 6+ miles just yet.  3.1 sounded fine though.

I had the typical pre-race breakfast.

It was much colder this year, so I was kind of bundled up pre-race and cold in my shorts!

My parents were good sports for hanging out in the cold with me!

I think the cofee helped!  We amused ourselves by watching many people ready to run in costume.

We loved this guy in the full turkey suit!

I really had no plan for this race.  I know my running has been sporatic all year, and looking at my only other two 5K times, I estimated I'd fall somewhere in between 33 and 27 minutes- my other two finish times.  I guessed I'd finish in about 30 minutes...  I really didn't care.  I actually forgot my Garmin in my jacket, so I didn't even time myself.  Really, I was just out to have fun and get a 3 mile run in before consuming mass amounts of Thanksgiving food so I didn't put any pressure on myself to PR.

I underestimated myself.  I felt pretty good on the out and back course, and just ran as fast as I was comfortable with.  I ended up finishing with a gun time of 27:33, which is a 5K PR for me (my previous best is 27:48)!  I also love that this race gives medals!  Fun to add another one to my race bling :)

After some water and a small hunk of bagel, we snapped some quick pics with the blow-up turkey, and headed home for breakfast.

My mom whipped up a frittata with goat cheese, spinach, pepper, and mushrooms.  We had that and leftover crescent rolls with Nutella, and some fruit.

While eating we saw in the paper that Old Navy was open, so we headed over there to check it out after breakfast.  I got a pair of jeans and a pair of running crops for pretty cheap!

Mini-shopping trip done, we headed home to start the turkey/stuffing prep.  A little story behind my turkey, I won it from EarthFare (Huntersville) on Twitter!  It was a fresh, organic, veg fed fella.  Thank you EarthFare!

Clyde looked on with interest as my mom cleaned it.

Once the bird was prepped and in the oven, we decided to head out on a walk on the plantation trails to enjoy the beautiful weather.  It was in the low 60s, sunny, and generally gorgeous.

I love these bridges over the marsh to the island in the plantation, gorgeous...

About 3 miles covered, we headed back and actually changed into bathing suits to go to the pool for a dip!  The pool is heated, and it was a little chilly, but not too bad!

Mom and I finished making dinner after our dip.  The EarthFare turkey came out great!

We made turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, mashed potato, mac and cheese, green beans with almonds, and cranberry (from the can- love that stuff).

With more pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

Thanksgiving is by far Clyde's favorite holiday.  He knows the word "turkey" because it's his favorite food.  He made out like a bandit.

A great day was had by all, even Greg, who was stuck in Houston and didn't make it home.  He was invited to a friend's house for some food and had a good time too.  We're planning on a mini Thanksgiving of our own next week.

Hope your Thanksgiving was as great as mine!  I'm thankful for all of you who read and support me, you guys rock!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scenes From the Weekend

To answer your comment questions, yes, I liked Breaking Dawn.  Some parts gave me chills (wedding) and other parts were cheesy (wolf pack scene), but overall I thought it was pretty good.  It's been so long since I read the books now that I kind of wish they'd just wrap it up and can't believe it'll be another year til part II comes out though!  I'm also addicted to this song...

Most of my Saturday (aside from my morning run) was spent at Kelly's new house "helping" (if you call standing around drinking beer and watching Kelly cook, helping ;) with their move.  Mostly the guys did the burly work and the girls hung around her gorgeous new kitchen

See, guys working, girls standing around...

Eventually we all assembled back in the kitchen and started chowing down.

Kelly made pulled pork sandwiches with mango salsa and black bean soup.

We ate, drank, and talked, and watched Rascal with an empty PB jar...

Then he got to lick about 10 soup bowls...doggie heaven!

I called it a night fairly early, so I could get home to Clyde and check on him.

Sunday, the weather was warm and Clyde and I took an hour long walk.

I don't think we'll have many more days like this, I can feel fall pulling away...

My walk was followed by a trip to a new brewery: The Noda Brewing Co.  My friends and I had heard about it from a bartender at Big Ben last week and wanted to check it out.

Graffiti on the backside of the brewery.

I scoped out the choices and asked if they had a sampler.  They said they're working on that, but would give me a sip of each one so I could decide what I wanted. 

I ended up liking the porter best, which was called Coco Loco and had chocolate and coconut flavors!

This actually shocked me, because usually I hate dark beer!

You can tell they're still working out the kinks, but I liked the place.  There was a good crowd of people there watching the Panthers game, and also a brewery tour that the girls opted out of, but the boys really liked.  I hope they add food eventually, we need more breweries with good food in Charlotte. 

That's pretty much the rundown of my weekend.  I think I need some downtime now!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Things I'm Into Lately

Hi there!  Hope everyone is well.  I've had another busy weekend over here!  I went to see Breaking Dawn Friday night, ran, went to a move party, visited a new brewery in Charlotte, and of course, snuggled the pup lots.  It was nice!  I figured I'd mix things up and give you a rundown of some stuff I'm into lately.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa

I found this stuff at Target recently and it's awesome.  I still like to drink something warm in the morning, even though I've been off caffeine for a while (because of TTC), so this is a great alternative.

Butternut Squash

It's officially my favorite squash.  I especially love it cubed and roasted or in this soup.

Clyde's boots

Even though he won't keep them all on at once, they are truly adorable!  Here he is with one on...

Chobani Mango

I'm not even a huge fan of mango and this stuff is awesome!
Indian food

I'm totally addicted to Indian food lately.  I've had it out twice in the last week and then made myself some at home tonight.  So good!


The fall weather has really put me in the mood for beer lately! 
I'm bummed that pumpkin beer season is over though :(


Well kind of.  November has been the month with the most consistent running I've done all year since my marathon in January.  I decided to just go for it, since being paranoid about running has gotten me no where with TTC.  I've been running at least 2-3 times a week all month.  And I signed up for a Turkey Trot!

What are you into lately??

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Lasagna

The other day I saw this recipe for pumpkin mac and cheese on Jenna's blog.  YUM!  I got home and figured I would try it, only I had NO shells or pasta resembling shells.  I did have two boxes of lasagna noodles though, and thus, I decided to create pumpkin lasagna.  As it turns out, I changed a bunch of other things along the way too, adding garlic, using dried herbs instead of fresh, etc.  So here's my adapted version of Jenna's mac and cheese turned into pumpkin lasagna.

Pumpkin Lasagna

Feeds about 3-4 people.

Prep time: about 30 minutes, Cook time 25 minutes


Lasagna noodles (It depends on what size pan you are using how many you'll need.  I used about seven for a square pan by cutting the noodles to fit on two layers of lasagna)

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour

1 clove of garlic, minced

3 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)

4-5 oz grated parmesan cheese (use the good stuff, not the powdered can)

¾ cup pumpkin puree (1/2 15-oz can)

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

¼ tsp cayenne

1/3 cup breadcrumbs (mine were Italian seasoned)


1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Cook noodles in boiling salted water. Drain. Set aside.

3.  In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk together and cook for thirty seconds. Add 2 cups milk, rosemary, and garlic and whisk until smooth. Add another cup of the milk and continue to whisk as the sauce thickens.
4.  Add 3/4 of the grated parmesan cheese (you're saving some for the top) gradually and stir well so that the cheese melts. Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne followed by the last half cup of milk and the pumpkin puree.

5.  Spray baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon a layer of sauce into the bottom, then layer with lasagna noodles, then sauce, then noodles, then sauce.  I only got two layers out of mine, so if you want more layers, you may want to double this recipe in it's entirety.  On top of the last layer of sauce, sprinkle the bread crumbs and the remaining parmesan cheese.

6.  Bake for 25 minutes until bubbling.

Even my husband, who is ready to kill me with the amount of pumpkin I keep putting in everything, loved this.

I still want to try Jenna's version, but I thought this was really delicious and will make it again!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How To Cram As Much As Possible Into A Weekend

Hi!  I had a really busy three day weekend.  I actually had Friday off for Veterans Day, which was awesome.  I REALLY needed one of those extra days off to get stuff I've been putting off done, like closet cleaning.  I had a pretty productive day and let's hope I can keep my closet somewhat cleaner.  I'm definitely a do-laundry-keep-in-laundry-basket-way-too-long kind of girl, so I need to get in a better habbit of putting my crap away!

While cleaning, I made some pumpkin bread using a Trader Joe's mix and subbing mashed banana in for the oil.

I also ran 3.75 miles on Friday, which was great!

To celebrate the conquering of my closet and my run, I met some friends out at Big Ben, a British Pub in South Charlotte. 

Nice photo bomb Tim :)

I decided to try this Crispin Cider, which came in the biggest glass I've ever seen!

The bartender assured me that it was actually the same amount of liquid that fits in a pint glass.  Phew.  I would have had to call it a night right there if that wasn't the case!  It was really delicious.

Gibson insisted on getting the Scottish Eggs, which I have never seen or heard of before.  They might be the most bizarre food I have ever seen.  I tried a bite.  They weren't horrible, but I wouldn't run right out to make them or have them again!

I Googled them, to find out more:  A Scotch egg consists of a de-shelled hard-boiled egg, wrapped in a sausage meat mixture, coated in breadcrumbs, and deep-fried.  Ewww...  Ok, now I'm kinda grossed out.

I ended up getting a pretty standard grilled chicken sandwich with fries.

We stayed out a little while longer and discussions about politics and the economy ensued.  Finally the debates broke up and I headed home.

I wish I could say my productivity continued into Saturday, but it didn't.  I had one of those loungy, TV watching days.  I finally got out later in the day to help my friend Gibson with some furniture shopping and it did help break me out of my funk.

Sunday was another busy day.  My friend Alison was in town for a visit with family, and we made plans to meet for breakfast at Flying Biscuit.

I couldn't make up my mind if I was more in an eggy mood or bready mood and kind of wanted a little of everything so I ordered The High Flyer, which included eggs, bacon, grits, a biscuit, and a pancake.  It was WAY more than I could eat though!  I ate about half of everything and quit!

We made a trip to Trader Joe's following breakfast, and I got a bunch of goodies :)

Before parting ways, Alison gave me this present for Clyde.

Um, how cute are these??  So far I have tried unsuccessfully to get them on him, but while Greg is home this week, I might try again.  I think it's a two man job ;)

I later met Sara, Erin, and our friend Kirsten for a light lunch at Reids.  Reids is kind of like Dean and Deluca, a high end specialty store with some food to order.  I got a cup of black bean soup since I still wasn't that hungry from breakfast.  Blogger fail- none of use got pictures!

Between lunch and my next event, I killed some time at the South Park mall.  I thought maybe I'd do some Christmas shopping, but I couldn't get into it.  I kind of need to come up with a list and game plan for that, so nothing was jumping out at me screaming "this would be perfect for so-and-so!"  I ended up with three pairs of socks.  Hey, it's something!

My next event was Katie's bartending adventure for BeardsBecause at Cowfish

It was highly entertaining watching Katie make drinks.

She was ready to kill me when I ordered this martini, but I told her it was meant to be easy since it had three ingredients in it: pinapple juice, Malibu rum, and vanilla vodka. 

I knew you could do it Katie!

I ordered some coconut covered onion rings for anyone that would eat them, since I had a appetizer coupon to use.  They're ridiculously good...

I also got a chinese chicken salad, which I could hardly make a dent in.

It was delicious and crunchy though!

I did order one more drink since this was a bartending gig and all.  I got a glass of Reisling, thinking that would be easy for Katie to pull off.  I was wrong.

This would be half the cork...

I did get my glass of wine after the struggle had ended.  :)

I had a great time watching Katie in action and all the more since the event was for a good cause.  She's also having a bake sale to benefit BeardsBecause on her blog today, so go over and bid on my spice cookies!  They are awesome!

Hope your weekend was as stellar as mine!

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