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Archive for October, 2009

Out on the Town

Last night was such fun! We have friends who were in town for just one night, so we joined them for a yummy sushi dinner. We went to Daikanyama, a Japanese restaurant in Lexington, MA. We had to wait for a table for quite some time…the restaurant is really small. And then the food took even longer. By the time the food arrived, I was so hungry, any thoughts of taking pictures had gone out the window! It was 8:00 and my tummy likes dinner at 6! Despite the wait, dinner was wonderful! And all the waiting allowed for lots of time to catch up.

We go out to eat so rarely that I joked to Dave on Thursday that he was taking me on a date. Last night at the time he usually gets home, there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and there he was, saying “I’m here to pick up my date!”

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I invited him in and played along, introducing him to the kitties.

What a sweetie! And fortunately, the flowers have not been eaten or knocked over (yet) by the above kitties. (Flowers and plants don’t bode well at our house!)

Happy Halloween everyone! We’re off to visit with friends tonight and help them pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters in their neighborhood. It should be a lot of fun! I’m excited that we are getting out and getting social more. It’s good for us! See you tomorrow!

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Tonight’s post will be a quickie.  I am just finishing up my studying for the day and I have a handsome falla and 2 cuddly kitties waiting for me on the couch!  But before I put my feet up for the night, I want to share with you my very yummy and very simple dinner tonight.

I’ve had a sweet potato hanging around for a bit and wanted to turn it into a meal, rather than a side dish.  So while my potato baked, I mixed up and heated some kidney beans, tomato sauce, diced tomato, and artichoke hearts.  When the potato was done, I split it open and put a Laughing Cow cheese wedge in the middle and closed it up to melt.  Once that was melted, I poured the sauce mixture on top.  What a perfect mixture of carbs, fat, and protein!

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There is a potato under there somewhere!

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I have a weekend of studying ahead, but also a number of fun things.  We have friends in town tomorrow night so we will be taking them out to dinner.  I’m hoping for sushi!  Then on Saturday, I’m planning to run again with Elina and her social running group in the morning, before heading over to our friends’ house for Halloween night.  They just bought a house in a very kid-friendly neighborhood, so we are going over for dinner and to help hand out candy to the kiddies.  It should be a lot of fun!  Somewhere in there will be some chemistry cramming.  I have a big test next week!

Have a good night everyone!  I may not be around the next couple of nights to post…..don’t forget me!

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New Tastes

Dinner was the highlight today!  (And it would have been the highlight even if the bar hadn’t been set exceptionally low with a day of chemistry and statistics!)  But I can’t tell you about it yet.  I am writing a guest post and when it is all set, I will direct you there!  For now, I will just say that I got to experiment in making something I have never had before and had been just a little afraid of…

But I can share couple of things I tried today that were also new to me…..  When I was at Whole Foods last weekend, I picked up a new gluten-free product.

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These Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins are made of almonds and rice and were just wonderful.  Light and crunchy, and not overly salty.  Only 130 calories for 16 crackers also makes them a good, substantial snack.  I tried them with hummus, with salsa, and then with Barney Butter (it’s possible a couple of extra spoonfuls of Barney Butter ended up in my mouth as well…).  These were great and I will definitely buy them again!

Even more exciting….Today I drank a cup of tea!  I know, you’re thinking, “big deal.”  But it is a big deal!  I hate tea.  I have tried for years and years to like it because I know it is good for you and I feel like I “should” like it.  But I just don’t.

When Dave and I met for our first date, I suggested meeting up for a cup of coffee (I had learned that dinner dates were bad first dates because you can get stuck for too long with a lousy conversationalist.).  He thought meeting at a Starbucks sounded too generic.  So he suggested we meet at Tealuxe, an fancy tea shop on Newbury Street in Boston.  I agreed since I thought it was sweet that he wanted to make that extra effort.  We had a wonderful first date and talked for hours!  Neither of us finished our tea…because he doesn’t like it any more than I do!

I fail each time, but I have never stopped trying to like tea.

Last weekend, Melissa gave me a very sweet gift of Barney Butter, as well as several teas.  I opened the gift later after telling her the above story about how I hate tea!  Ooops!   Good job making new friends, Shannon!  It was okay, we both laughed, and she emailed me a couple of days later to suggest I try two tea bags instead of one.  So today I gave it a shot.

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Vanilla Caramel!  Doesn’t that just sound delicious!  I boiled some water, added 2 tea bags, and took a careful sip…. Nope.  It wasn’t awful, but I wasn’t going to be able to down the whole thing.  Feeling defeated again, I tried adding a packet of Splenda and some almond milk…..  Amazing!  I loved it.

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I finished my first cup of tea!!  I may have had to sweeten it up, but it worked.  I have added milk and sugar before to various teas, but it hasn’t helped.  But this Vanilla Caramel tea was great!  A great big thank you to Melissa!  I am not calling myself a tea drinker yet, but there is potential!

Is there anything you don’t like, but want to like because you think you “should,” or because you know it’s good for you?

I am looking forward to sharing my tasty dinner with you soon…

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The creative juices aren’t flowing tonight.  My mind is mush after the second day of working on my Biology midterm.  But I got it done, along with my chem lab from last week and my lab prep for tomorrow.  Phew!  All I can say, is thank goodness for leftovers!

I threw some mac and cheese on the stove for Dave and used last night’s veggies and squash in a yummy panini for me.  It turned out really well!  I am getting the hang of these brown rice wraps.  The key is to heat them up first, otherwise, they crack instead of roll.

I spread some hummus and Laughing Cow cheese on my wrap, added some lettuce and the veggies, along with some tomato, and threw it in the panini maker.  Perfection!

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Look at that melty goodness!

As soon as I finished, look who showed up on the arm of my chair:

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He saw immediately that he was out of luck, and seconds later, look where he popped up:

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No luck there either!

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Some kitties have no manners!!

I am ready to unwind for the night.  It was a busy, busy day, but I’m feeling very productive.  It wasn’t looking good this morning around 10am though.  I was tired and frustrated.  But in between chemistry and biology I went for a great run on the treadmill.  It woke me up and revved me up to keep going.  Exercise is great that way!  When I came home I was even more productive, vacuuming the apartment and finishing my exam.  2 big chores out of the way!

I refueled with something I have been dying to try….The lovely Melissa bought me such a sweet gift when we met up last weekend.  I was so excited to try Barney Butter for the first time!

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Good Lord!  What have I been missing!  I know that for most bloggers who hopped on the Barney Butter Bus long ago, the novelty may have worn off.  But for me, the first time on the “Bus” was very exciting.  Smooth, rich, creamy.  Everything a nut butter should be!  It isn’t necessarily in the budget, but perhaps when  I am really good…..like when I ace my chemistry test next week…I’ll treat myself to a jar.  Thanks again, Melissa!!

No more work to do tonight.  The house is clean and the dishes are done thanks to my sweet husband who washes them every night….and with a smile on his face, no less!

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I'm a lucky girl!

 

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More Squash!!

When I met up with Melissa the other night at Whole Foods, I finally found the elusive kabocha squash! I was so excited! I keep reading about it and have been looking for it each time I go to the store. It took a special trip to Whole Foods. I brought it home and added it to my squash collection. I had butternut, spaghetti, and kabocha squashes on the counter! I knew I need to start chipping away at the squash stash, so today was kabocha’s day!

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So pretty inside!

I had a heck of a time taking the skin off. But I managed to do it without losing a finger. I have seen some bloggers leave the skin on, but I know my tummy wouldn’t like the extra fiber!

In the oven it went, seasoned with a little crazy-mixed-up salt and some paprika. Along side when a pan of eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash, seasoned the same way.

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When everything was roasted nicely, I added some veggies and some squash to a salad made of romaine, tomato, and salmon. It was delish!

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I decided that I like the kabocha. But I love butternut squash! It seems like the blog world is in love with kabocha, but if I had a choice between the two, butternut would win.

Of course, Dave’s version of dinner was quite different! I made him some chicken parm and rice, but he did have squash and veggies on the side! And of course….you know……crescent rolls!

He’s making a face here because I gave him vegetables and a brand new squash to try. But I want you to notice his almost empty plate! He ate it all! Score!!

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Rudy also joined us for dinner. I turned away for just a minute and he came up behind me and stole a leaf of lettuce. Cat’s don’t eat lettuce!

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Lick, lick, lick...

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You caught me!

He finally realized that I was right….he doesn’t like lettuce after all! But it sure is fun to play with….

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I have been working all day on my biology midterm. I am wiped and looking forward to some mindless tv!

See you all tomorrow!

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Fun with Friends

What a great weekend! I’m sorry to see it go. I’ve posted repeatedly about how it’s been hard for me, especially as an adult, to meet new friends. I had one of my very best friends from college visit last weekend…but she was coming from Mexico City! That’s a little far for regular get-togethers. It was sad to see her leave. Another really close friend is in Indianapolis. We talk on the phone weekly, but it’s not the same as gabbing over a cup of coffee, seeing a girly movie, or making a great meal to enjoy together. I have the greatest husband in the world…I can talk to him about anything, he makes me laugh, and he is my number one cheerleader (along with my mom!). But there is something special about that time you spend with girlfriends, and I’ve been missing that.

I was thrilled to meet up with several lovely…and local...ladies this weekend. Last night, Melissa braved the rain and wind to meet up with me at the new mega Whole Foods store in Dedham, MA. I got there early because I wanted to take it all in and have a chance to shop before meeting Melissa and having dinner. Well, she must have had the same idea because I was only a few yards into the store when I heard my name. We walked and talked and shopped for a solid 45 minutes before realizing how hungry we were! I bought a couple of new things that I’ll show you this week, and I restocked my Lara bar supply.

Melissa is just the sweetest person ever…just as genuine as she comes across in her blog. She even brought me a gift of Barney Butter (which I have been dying to try!!!), a Lara Bar (for my gluten-free tummy), and an assortment of teas. Completely unnecessary, but very much appreciated! We have very similar goals in terms of career and are both in the process of changing careers, so we had a lot to talk about on the subject of following your passions. We also had fun stories to share about our significant others. Both my husband and her boyfriend wished us a good time on our “date.” Funny boys! I laughed a lot…For 2 shy people who were nervous to meet, we sure did find a lot to talk about. Thank you Melissa, for putting me at ease. I felt like I’d known you for a long time!

I’m sure you’re curious about the food. Melissa made a beautiful salad:

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I’ve heard so many good things about the salad bars at Whole Foods stores, but I have also been really craving sushi lately. When I saw that they had spring rolls too, something I have tried repeatedly to make myself, I knew I need to squelch that craving. And the gentleman behind the counter was kind enough to cut my sushi order in half so I could fit the spring rolls and a smaller order of sushi in my belly…the best of both worlds. It didn’t disappoint!

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I am clearly a novice blogger because I didn’t even think to snap a picture of my Zevia soda (sweetened with Stevia). I’ve seen this a lot and was excited to try it. Melissa really didn’t like hers. I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t love it. I’ve been drinking seltzer for so long now, that any soda, regardless of the sweetener, tastes really sweet. I would definitely drink it again, but I probably wouldn’t go out and buy it. I’ll stick to my Soda Stream seltzer maker!

It was pouring all the way home…the kind of rain where you have to pay really close attention to stay in your lane. Kind of scary. So I arrived home tired…but happy. I went right to bed and got up this morning to meet up with Elina, Shannon, and Molly at the Prudential Center for a run. Like I said a couple of days ago, running with other people is just not something I have done often. There is that nagging feeling (going all the way back to childhood!) that I won’t be able to keep up. So I have shied away from running with anyone else. It’s silly, and in this case, would have kept me from meeting a great group of girls. I have no pictures, although I did have my camera in my pocket. We got to talking and running, and any thought of taking out my camera vanished. Maybe next time!

I went to college and grad school in Boston, but I never learned my way around the city. I can get anywhere on the T, but walking or driving, I am completely lost! It was really fun to see so much of the city on foot, and on such a beautiful day. It was a perfect fall day and the company was great. Elina and I returned to Prudential after Shannon and Molly headed off in the direction of their homes. That was the most effortless 7 miles I’ve ever done! Thank you ladies!!

Dave had sweetly driven into the city with me. He wanted to run along the Charles himself. So when I finished running, I called to find out where he was. He was done running and was waiting for me…apparently only a half mile or so away. The area around Prudential is busy, so I told him to sit tight and I’d run another half mile to him. He gave me very good directions….But my directionally-challenged brain managed to get confused. By the time I found him, I had run another 2 miles! What a great way to start the day! Although the rest of the day was spent studying biology, it was such a fulfilling weekend that I didn’t mind. I was also being tutored by my brother so I got a little family time in there too!

I could have gone on chatting with each and every one of these ladies for much, much longer. I will be looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

Enjoy your Sunday evening everyone! I’m off to join the hubby for some serious catching up on the DVR!

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Boo!

It’s a rainy day here in Boston and the perfect day to get into the Halloween spirit! Today we hauled out the big box that contains a mish mash of holiday decorations. Just after Halloween last year, my mom bought me a bunch of fun decorations on sale. So it was exciting to open up all of my new goodies this year.

Here’s a sampling:

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We also bought a pumpkin. We parked the car in front of the the pumpkins at the farm stand and looked through the pouring rain, for the perfect pumpkin. When we found it, we dashed out and grabbed it, then dashed inside to pay. While we were out…and wet….we also picked up some candy for the trick-or-treaters next week. We are having dinner with friends who just moved into a very kid-friendly neighborhood, so we bought a few bags. It’s ridiculous how much a bag of Halloween candy is!

We came home and held our annual pumpkin carving event. I think we’re quite good! And best of all, we have pumpkin seeds to bake this week!

Here’s a look at our creative endeavour!

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And of course, no Halloween would be complete without the requisite black-cat-with-the- jack-o-lantern picture!

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Rudy couldn’t look scary even if he wanted to! And because I can’t show favoritism, here is the not-so- requisite picture of the somewhat-black-cat with-the jack-o-lantern picture.

Jack with the Jack-o-Lantern

Jack with the Jack-o-Lantern

I hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday night. I am off to meet up with a fellow blogger at, where else? Whole Foods! It’s new and supposed to be the biggest one in New England!

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