Changing habits.

Lately I have been thinking about changing up my environment every once in a while.  Working from home, I find myself feeling stifled often and while I do have an office I have the option to go into, it is 50 minutes away and full of transient consultants.  My HR colleagues are never in the office, so that defeats the purpose of going in to socialize.  I need to start going to coffee shops, and since a CERTAIN MONOPOLISTIC BRAND has taken over every small coffee shop in this area, I have one choice and one choice only.

image from starbucks.com

We do have a really nice Starbucks just 5 minutes away from me so I wonder why I am not taking advantage of that- probably because I am the cheapest person on the planet and can’t bear to pay for a coffee drink when I can make a perfectly good one at home.  A Vanilla Rooibos tea would be delightful though.  I need to start a new routine where I pack up and get out once a week because while I’m not going stir crazy (take note I am essentially a recluse so I love being home for work), my weekday routine is precisely this: work at home all day, take  run outside, make dinner, sit on the couch all night either watching the DVR or reading blogs.  I don’t even want to know what I will turn into once I have babies.

I found that I was dreading my scheduled interval run yesterday afternoon so I thought that instead of doing my usual route that I am quickly becoming tired of, I would run on the treadmill.  It helped that it was 86 degrees outside so 78 in the gym was sounding mighty cool.  I came to the conclusion that I certainly need to find a new running route because I usually avoid the treadmill at absolutely all costs.

It was actually a great run, usually I am much slower on the treadmill, but I think that I kept the same interval paces as I would have run if I were outside in perfect weather, though I was embarrassingly DRIPPING in sweat while I was leaving.  It was disgusting, and I swear people were staring.

I also created a new recipe last night out of necessity and it came out really delicious and was the perfect balance I needed after my workout.  I was planning to make THIS chicken dish, but realized I had bought tenderloins instead of breast, so I re-worked it into something new.  I of all people know how hard it is to have cheap nutritious meals but depending on the price of feta and tomatoes in your area, I think this could be a great option to fit in your healthy food budget!

I know you can’t tell, but I feel obligated to bring to your attention that I am not a professional photographer

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The last thing I made in 2012

Peppermint Bark Brownies!  All of the fine chocolate that was required took this off my holiday baking list because I am as cheap as they come; however when my mom asked me to make a dessert for a family gathering, I was all over this with her debit card.  You can find the recipe and much more appetizing photos over at Love & Olive Oil.  Ghiardelli chocolate was used for every component, however  the white chocolate was tricky.  I bought chips for this part, and maybe that was the problem, but the white chocolate was acting like it was scorched even before it melted.  I omitted the shortening (because I never use shortening in anything) and used canola oil to thin out the white chocolate “bark” topping.  It still hardened in the refrigerator and it came out as the recipe intended.  I would have also added more peppermint extract to the brownie batter, but it’s all a matter of preference because many were complimenting me on how they liked that the brownies did not overwhelm their taste buds with peppermint flavor.

New Year’s Eve day was spent on the road to Charleston without incident (thank goodness)!  We had excellent wings downtown and brought in the new year over disgusting free champagne and a live band with college friends.  It was fun and I have no photos to offer since I don’t blog or anything.

I NEVER make resolutions, however I broke that by thinking of a few things I’d like to change that just happened to coincide with the dawning of a new year.

  1. Sign up for a mother freaking race.  I do want to run a half marathon, but since I’m so intimidated to do that, why not start with a 5k?  I need to do a 5k this winter for sure or else I’ll never sign up for a half marathon.
  2. Spend a little more money.  We save over our minimum 10% of our income every month.  Stop freaking out over every single penny and enjoy life a little bit.
  3. Put as much love into my house as I do into my food.  I complain that it’s not “cozy” and it’s nobody’s fault but my own.  I already have plenty of cheap ideas to make it feel more homey that I’m going to work on next month.

My only plans so far this year is Colorado Springs for my brother in law’s wedding in June.  2012 was seriously a whirlwind that started on a high note and got progressively worse until November when it mellowed out.  I did chose to be happy throughout it all and see the humor in everything, which I do think is the key to surviving life.

I’m definitely glad to be back in Florida.  I don’t know how I became such a southerner but while the below is pretty to look at, I got sick of it after 1 day.  It also burned my lungs for 12 hours after running in it.  No bueno.  All done.  Warmth forever please.

weather hangover

It is totally rain snowing outside and I am all alone in my parents house flailing around trying to stay warm.  Thank goodness I figured out how to work the ancient thermostat but now I am assured my parents will not be happy when the gas bill comes in next month :p  Sorry you turned your kid into a Floridian the day you let me go away to college.

misery

I do love coming up here and appreciating the cute quaintness that is New England but I have to say, Florida weather is just so appreciated and GLORIOUS.  I have turned into SUCH a baby and I lose all coping mechanisms when the weather hits below 50 degrees.  After a weekend at the in-laws and snuggling my CUTEST nieces and nephews, I am now stuck in Connecticut for 2 weeks (husband is in Philly for business) and will have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the house if anyone wants me to go anywhere.  We already had this scenario multiple times in Rhode Island this weekend.

I know all of you are probably so over Thanksgiving now, but I will never be, as upon arriving back at my parents I resumed eating leftovers for every meal.  They are so incredible and there is NO WAY they are going to waste, damn the FDA and their guidelines.  I will not be satisfied until the last crumb is eaten! (You may want to pray for my digestive system for the rest of this week)  Is anybody with me on this?

I H-A-V-E to share the new sweet potato recipe I tried this year and I am not sorry about it at all.  I know a lot of people don’t like the whole dessert type sweet potato dish bit, but HELLO, sweet is IN THE NAME.  I am completely on board with it forever and if you are too, TRY THIS!  The browned butter gives it subtle caramel note and the topping is just divine.  You will feel like Paula Deen both making and consuming this so you may need to save it for the holidays.  Usually we bake the cut up yams from a can in the oven with some OJ, maple syrup, brown sugar and marshmallows on top but I have to thank Jessica from How Sweet It Is for taking our holiday dinner to a new level.

gooey goodness

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happy holiday weekend

I wish more than anything that we had a grill and a pool for this weekend.

I have a newly unemployed husband running around our house cleaning everything (fantastic), making “no soliciting” signs for our front door (good?), bothering me about his resume every five seconds (can’t you see i’m trying to work here, bro?), and when he gets really desperate, turns on music and starts dirty dancing with my lime green resistance band (HALP).

I sigh, carry on, and Thank God for my good job that not only allows me to provide for our basics, but also allows me to work from home where I don’t need to commute and be stressed and take it up the you know what every time I fill up my gas tank once a week.

& I thank God for good friends willing to do cheap things with us to entertain us on our Memorial Day Weekend.

Thank you for listening, here is a recipe in return for your time.

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Welcome every morning with a thankful heart

I needed comfort food this morning – I’m dealing with one of those wonderful situations where something bad can happen but I don’t have control over the outcome.  Normally I’d be a ball of anxiety in the corner not being able to function; but thankfully throughout the years of dealing with these things I just pretend it’s not happening and pray for the best outcome.

Don’t you just love going away and coming back to real life that you don’t have the capacity to deal with?

One more question: do you like oatmeal?  I couldn’t stomach it.  Thank goodness for food blogs or I would’ve never had the ability to eat oatmeal.

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