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Monday, October 20, 2008

Dealing with a few issues, but I have exciting news (x 2)!!

Sorry I haven't been around in awhile. I have been keeping up with everyone else's blogs in the past few weeks, but I feel like I have NO time lately for anything other than work and school. Full time work + full time grad school is really taking a toll on me, especially these past couple weeks before fall break. I didn't have any midterms, but the assignments have been very large and time consuming.

I've also been dealing with some health things, mainly pain in my right hip/thigh/knee. Eventually I went to the doctor (after it was excruciating to even sit down, we won't even talk about driving) and found out I have bursitis in my hip. At first I felt like an old lady, but after a little research I found out it can happen from repetitive activity (kind of like carpal tunnel, I guess). Luckily it was not infected! The pain is still lingering, but steadily going away. Forcing myself to exercise has helped.

I did manage to make some food during my busy weeks, though. A friend from school had a copy of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine in class one night and I saw some interesting recipes, so I bought my own copy and tried the Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna. It was delicious, but a little salty from the prosciutto. Next time I will cut the amount in half, or even omit it completely, because I think it would be just as good without it. Also, I recommend cutting it into six servings instead of four. It was extremely filling - I could never eat 1/4 of it in one sitting!

OK, on with the good news. First of all, I found out that I will graduate a semester EARLY! How often does that happen? I guess it paid off to work my butt off and take 27 graduate credit hours in three terms. I only have one class and a practicum left, then I'll be finished!


The Boyfriend is now....the FIANCE!! That's right, as of Friday night, I am engaged!

My ring:

Even closer up:

I'll admit that I'm a little nervous about planning a wedding, but I'm so excited! And it really helps to know that I'll be graduating early so I don't have to worry about that while finishing up wedding plans. We don't have a specific date yet, but we're thinking November of next year.

If anyone has tips to help me get started, they would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great night!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Experiments with cooking techniques

After reading Jenna's blog the other day, I was intrigued by whipped cottage cheese. I found some at the Fresh Market, so this morning I had some cottage cheese oats.

I used:

1/3 c. thick rolled oats
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. water
1/3 c. whipped cottage cheese
1 T. ground flax
splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
sprinkle of cinnamon
handful of walnut halves

(Do you like all of my descriptive words for "just a little bit?")

This was an awesome combination that kept me full all morning while I ran errands.

Last night, I tried my hand at poaching. I had never poached food before (not even eggs) so I did a little research online and experimented on some salmon. I forgot to take pictures of the poaching process, but this is what I put in my liquid:

1 14 oz. can vegetable broth
8 oz. chardonnay
whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
zest of one lemon (in strips, not grated)

I poached two pieces of salmon for approx. 10 minutes, and it was very good! The fish really picked up the flavors, especially the pepper. I also made some corn and stuffed summer squash, so I only ate half of my salmon. I ate the rest for lunch.


After, as salmon salad, with a few Kashi crackers.

For the salad, I added:

diced red onion
S & P
dried parsley flakes
capers (I love the little bursts of salty flavor!)
1 T. fat free mayo

I've never had a salad made out of fish other than tuna, so this was a nice change. I think I'll start cooking extra salmon when I make it for dinner for some new lunches.

I'm going to be traveling this weekend, so I'll see everyone on Sunday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Everyday with Rachel Rhea

Once upon a time, my best friend and I decided we should start a restaurant. Since my first name is Rachel and her last name is Rhea, we decided to call it Rachel Rhea's. Both names are spelled differently than Rachael Ray, so that's not copyright infringement...right?

Back to the present - last night I made one of Rachael's recipes, Honey-Mustard Chicken With(out) Potato Wedges. It was quite good and a nice change from my regular barbecue sauce. The lime juice in the marinade gave it a little bit of a tangy taste, but it wasn't overwhelming.

I marinaded it for around one hour, then grilled it on my stovetop grill pan. With steamed broccoli and Annie's Organic Shells & Cheese:

The shells & cheese was my first Annie's purchase. I didn't think it was spectacular, but I do like that it's organic and it went well with the meal.

Instead of Rachael's potato wedges, I made squash "fries." They were a big hit with the boyfriend! I tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper and baked for around 25 minutes at 400 degrees. My trick to getting them really crispy (which I read in a magazine article years ago) is to bake them on crumpled aluminum foil.

Also, my free Kashi cookie sample came today! It was a nice perk after a boring day. I've had this kind before, but a free sample is always good. I had mine this afternoon with some cashew butter.

I hope everyone has a great night!