Monday, October 24, 2011

Autumn Afternoon

Yesterday was a perfect fall Sunday.  I slept in, drank pumpkin coffee, and watched some football.

Lunch was a hot bowl of seafood chowder that we had been storing in the freezer since last year's soup sale at the Firehouse.  I love soup on a chilly afternoon!

And Puddin' and I went out to enjoy the perfect weather with a walk up the mountain.

And a regular view at Dave's house...

Puddin had a blast, as always.

Doggie smile!

Saturday was on the busy side since I got up early to search for Halloween costume stuff at multiple thrift stores in the area.  I refuse to buy my costume from a store, I love DIY Halloween costumes!  Then I headed into the city with my cheerleading squad for their competition.  They killed it.  I was SO proud!  I drove to Dave's after we got back from the competition and I was exhausted.  It was so nice to take it easy on Sunday and recover.

What's your perfect fall day include?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Veggie Vodka Ravioli

I'm only at Dave's on Tuesdays and over the weekend, so smart grocery shopping and planning meals ahead of time is pretty rare for me.  There's always that quick trip to the grocery store to grab a thing or two to make each meal happen.  But then there are those times when you realize you randomly have all the things you need to make an amazing meal!

Veggie Vodka Ravioli

- Trader Joe's vodka sauce
- Trader Joe's spinach ravioli
- Green & red peppers
- Onion
- Mushrooms
- Parmesan & mozzarella cheese
- Sprinkle of oregano and basil to taste

1.  Precook ravioli as directed on package (maybe a little less time than called for).
2.  Slice veggies thin and saute in a pan over medium heat until slightly wilted.
3.  Layer all ingredients in a baking pan.
4.  Cook in oven at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
5.  Think to yourself, dang this was easy and enjoy!
I didn't think this was going to be anything special when I started, but when I layered it all in the pan it really started to look amazing!

All of the veggies really complimented the sauce and the ravioli.  And cheese makes everything better, duh :)  I'm usually not that into ravioli, but I'm thinking my feelings come from plain cheese ravioli only accompanied by some tomato sauce.  The spinach inside the ravioli changed things up a bit and I think I could add sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms to any pasta dish!

Some garlic bread made out of a leftover Wawa wheat shorty roll completed the meal.  Win.

Do you like vodka sauce?  Have you ever made it or had homemade?
I never had vodka sauce until the dining commons in college.  My roomie loved it and I had never even heard of it!  I've never had homemade vodka sauce, possible recipe to try in the future...?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winetober Fest!

On Saturday, I met some friends in Skippack for Winetober Fest!

Various locations were set up along Skippack's cute little Main Street with wine tasting, food, art, and live music.

I also got a free mini massage and I knew someone playing, we saw Pete from Pete Kranz and the Wide Eyed Mother Brothers!

The weather was amazing, a perfect fall day.  It was great to get out and have an afternoon with the ladies and try so many different kinds of wine... including one that tasted like apple cider (and was made with grapes)!  So fall, so tasty.  I'm such a sucker for sweet wines, although I've been trying to find more of an appreciation for wines on the dry side too.

The rest of the weekend included cocktails with friends, getting down to our friend's band Dead Poets at a local spot, quality time with my faves, and Shayna asking me to be one of her bridesmaids!  I'm now in two weddings next October, wowza!  On Sunday I hit up a bridal show in King of Prussia with Shayna and her MOH, Jenn.  Both ladies blog over at Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times, a group blog with some tasty recipes!  The show was free but Shayna won a ton of goodies including a $50 Macy's gift card, a $200 gift certificate to a bridal salon, and the most beautiful earrings for her wedding day!  I should have taken a picture of them, epic fail!  We also ended up on stage doing the cupid shuffle with a dozen people and suddenly the MC dismisses everyone but us.  Next thing we know were belting out some Aretha on stage, this is my ridiculous life.

Thanks for the pic, Jes!

The weekend was awesome but it also was not very recharging.  I've been kinda dragging this week but I did go out for a 2.75 mi run with Joanne on Monday!  Running with her really pushed my pace and the sunset was a beautiful running backdrop.  Yay for running dates!

What's your favorite wine?  Do you like working out with a partner in crime?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Creamy Artichoke Pasta

Looky here, a little autumn love for the blog!  I probably should do a complete layout overhaul... but at least this is a little something different to look at!

Monday's Workout:
1.6 mi run - 15 minutes

I'm desperately trying to speed up my running pace.  I used to run a mile in under ten minutes like it was my job and now it's super challenging.  At the time, I wasn't super interested in running, but I convinced myself that I would just go for a quick one and in ten minutes it would be over.  I'm really finding running to be a great release.  I miss organized sports because it was easy to work hard when I had a game coming up and a coach to impress.  Now I need to find that push inside myself to beat my pace, run longer distances, and not walk when I know I can push through and keep running.  I should probably sign up for a race...

The rest of the week was lacking in planned exercise.  I did fill in at practice and throw some cheerleaders in the air, but I failed at making use of that gym membership I'm paying for, fail!

Anyway, Sunday night I made a delicious dinner for the boyfriend and myself.  This is a vegetarian dish that will even satisfy all the meat hungry men in your life.  The recipe is from one of my fave bloggers Iowa Girl Eats.  She is amazing, seriously if you don't read her blog go there now!  I'm always drooling over her recipes!

Creamy Artichoke Pasta

- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 (heaping) tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup half & half
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 6oz pasta, like fettuccini or spaghetti
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Missed the olive oil in my line up.
1.   Cook pasta, drain, and put back into hot pot.  While pasta is cooking prepare the rest of the dish.
2.  Melt butter and olive oil in pan over medium heat.
3.  Add green onions, salt, and pepper and saute approximately 2 minutes.

4.  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
5.  Add artichokes and tomatoes into the pan.  Season with more salt and pepper (to taste) and cook for 8 minutes.

6.  Add in half & half and chicken broth and cook until heated through.

7.  Add the parmesan cheese over the cooked pasta then add in the tomato artichoke sauce.
8.  Stir to combine and dig in!

Like I said, this dish was so tasty!  The tomatoes we used were the only canned ones that Trader Joe's had, they were fire roasted so the dish had a little zing to it that Dave and I both liked!  The artichokes are the "meat" of the dish and it was a very hearty meal.  I will definitely be making this again.  I'd recommend serving it with a nice piece of crusty bread... at least that's what I was wishing we had on Sunday night!

Well it's Friday and I have an awesome weekend planned, I hope you do too!

What's your favorite vegetarian meal?

Updated 2/8/12: Please note that I understand that chicken broth is not vegetarian.  At this time I am not eliminating all animal products from my diet, I am simply trying to eat less meat.  However, I'm sure you could easily substitute some veggie broth or even just leave out the broth completely, which is actually what I did last time I made the dish simply because I didn't have any.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Enjoying the Weekend Sunshine

After getting over the horribly depressing Phillies loss on Friday night, I decided the best way to spend my Saturday afternoon would be at to the Quakertown Farmer's Market (aka the Q-Mart) with my friend Leah!  The weather was gorgeous so we started with the outdoor flea market portion.  We had some great finds!  I bought 2 knives ($1 each), an earthy stone ring ($5), a bright red beaded necklace ($1), and 2 brooches (2 for $5).  Can't wait to put these bad boys on my winter coats!

I love putting someone else's "trash" back into use.  Yay for going green and getting cheap stuff!  The inside portion was more focused on food!  We enjoyed some tasty gyros and samples from the pickle man and bought lots of fresh produce.  Leah bought a bucket of a dozen pears for $1.50!  She donated some to me.

I also picked up a ton of oats.  So many bloggers talk about delicious dessert-like overnight oats and I've wanted to try them for a while.  Who doesn't want a breakfast that tastes like dessert?  And they were so cheap!

Overall the trip was a great success.  And Q-Mart is also notorious for amazing people watching, and it did not disappoint.  Afterwards I headed over to Dave's and he took me on a scenic ride on his motorcycle.  I'm glad we got out to enjoy the amazing weather.  I love riding on the back of a bike through beautiful fall scenery!  The rest of the night was spent grilling up some dinner and watching a movie.  Yay for relaxing date nights.

Today I took the dog for an hour long hike through Valley Forge National Park.  I love love love that the park is right next to Dave's house.  Puddin' shares my feelings on the subject.  And you know what they say, a tired dog is a good dog!

I supplemented the hike with some better than nothing living room exercises including some squats, scissor abs, calf raises, tricep dips, and some mountain climbers.  We also did some more grilling since the weather was so inviting.  We picked these up from Trader Joe's.

Quite honestly, these are the first thing I've ever actually grilled by myself (other than on a George Forman haha).  And yes, they were fully cooked, so all I had to do was brown them... but I had never even started a grill by myself.  Sad but true!  Dave is usually the grill master, but I want to learn more about grilling.  They were delish!  I foresee a long lasting love affair with Trader Joe's.

Tonight I'll be whipping up a pasta dish.  Recipe to come!  Hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Do you enjoy flea and farmer's markets?  Do you have a favorite one near you?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Rundown

Quick updates from the week:

My cheerleader's had their competition.  They did pretty well, despite the the injury we had on Thursday.  Their next competition is on October 22nd at Temple.  We have a lot of work to do before then, but overall the day was a success.

Then we had a girls dinner at Kristen's house.  Her and Heather made us a tasty feast of homemade pumpkin ravioli in a mushroom sauce, a white bean and sausage soup, and an awesome produce packed salad.  Check those links from Heather's blog to get the recipes!  Then we danced the night away at a local bar to a jammin' coverband, we had a fricken blast!

My entire day was spent watching football and hanging with the boyfriend!  My fantasy team scored a whopping 187.4... my opponent had 88.0!  I think I got a record high for my league... gotta make the boys scared :)  I'm last year's superbowl champ, and I'm 4-0 this season!

I also ate my first papaya!  I had never tried one before, and when I saw it at Trader Joe's, I thought hey why not?!

I had no idea how to handle this bad boy so naturally, I googled it.  It looked kinda funny to me, but the internet said when it's ripe it will be turning from green to yellow.  The first step was to cut it in half and when I did, I found all these silly looking seeds!

The next step was to take a spoon and scrape them out.  Be careful, they like to escape and fly all over your kitchen floor!

Then I just ate it with a spoon, although you could cut it up into pieces.  It was tasty!  It wasn't as sweet as I thought it was going to be, it kind of reminded me of a sweeter version of cantaloupe.  I'm glad I tried it!

Monday - Wednesday
Honestly Monday through Wednesday are kind of a blur of work of work, cheer, and Phillies playoff games.

I felt spoiled today. I got to go out on a site visit all day to view the project I'm working on in person. I got to enjoy the sunshine, a paid lunch, and a day away from my desk. It was wonderful. After work I squeezed in a run! I ran 2.5 miles (with no walking!) and it felt great. Well, in the beginning I was not feeling it, but I kept pumping myself up with positive thoughts and it really helped! Cheerleading went well too. And I made myself a veggie sandwich for dinner, yay for healthy choices.

TGtomorrowIF! This weekend should be a relaxing one. I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully I can also find some motivation to fit in some workouts though... maybe even a run! It would be nice to run more than once a week... although it's better than nothing! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

What's your favorite fruit?  Do you like any oddballs?
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