Thursday Thoughts 27.0: October Recap

Happy Halloween everyone! In addition to eating some delicious treats today (well currently my delicious treat is an oat and honey bar…but whatcha gonna do?), I also want to recap my October.

***

[1]

Oh say it ain’t so!!!! I only finished two books this past month. In my defense they were sort of longish, and the books I began reading after them are also pretty long. Regardless, those two books bring my total up to 39 books for the year. I’m really going to have to “book it” (he he) if I want to hit my goal of 52 books for the year.

Books Read in October:

1) The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

2) The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

[2]

I did A LOT of cooking in October. As usual though, only a few recipes actually made it to the blog.

Recipes Posted:

1) Penne Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

2) Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

[3]

After a poor showing in September, I rallied in October to put in a much more impressive 92 miles of cardio.

October

For the year I’m logged about 777 miles. Obviously my 1000 mile goal is still doable, but I am going to have to pick up the pace even more these last few months (which could be difficult with the holidays approaching). If I don’t make the goal at the end of the year I will be obviously disappointed. Even if I don’t make it I know that this project has accomplished what I hoped it would: it has ensured I am more consistently active.

[4]

Fun things I did in October:

1) Went to a football tailgate:

IMG_0957

2) Enjoyed a visit with my parents (GO CHIEFS!!!):

IMG_0974

3) Took a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan:

IMG_1031

3) Played Trivia (but only once 😦 ). Nothing says “big winner” like a giant bag of microwaved popcorn:

Bonus Prize

***

October you were pretty good to me. I’m excited to see what November has in store! Have a great weekend everyone!

Advertisements

Thursday Thoughts (On a Friday) 26.0

Whoops! I missed my Thursday post (again), so I’m doing it on Friday instead!

***

[1]

Last weekend I took a trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan. Honestly, I kind of expected it to already be a snow covered tundra by the time I got there (even though it was only mid October), so I was pleasantly surprised by the sights that awaited me. It was so pretty and scenic!

IMG_1022

We spent some of our time exploring the towns of Hancock and Houghton. We stopped in a coffee shop, and ate in a few of the cafes/restaurants. I was a big fan of this pretty (and tasty) hot chocolate:

IMG_0995

I also spent some time playing with my new favorite puppy, Snoop. It took us a bit of time to adjust to each other, but we quickly became friends:

IMG_0996

Throw me the toy already, human

As I mentioned above, I was SO surprised by how pretty it was outside. As someone who was not raised in a place with a lot of water, it was awesome to wake up to this view everyday:

IMG_1004

Initially, I was called to the window to see “a ship”, which I assumed was a sailboat or something. So you can image my surprise at seeing a giant ship (barge?) right out back. This giant ship/barge (clearly I’m an expert at using nautical terminology) brought a load of salt for the roads in the winter. It spent hours unloading:

IMG_1006

I guess a salt barge in itself isn’t that interesting, but it was kind of surprising to see it it literally right out the back door!

On Saturday we took a drive up the Brockway Mountain Drive to Brockway Mountain. It was a beautiful, sceanic drive with fantastic views of Lake Superior and Copper Harbor. We also saw a rainbow!

IMG_1031

It took like 50 tries to get one without me squinting

IMG_1025

Lake Superior

IMG_1034

Copper Harbor

Overall I had a great weekend–the UP (i.e. Upper Peninsula) totally exceeded my expectations!

[2]

Halloween Nail art:

October

Base/Top Coat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Sun Kissed

Nail Detail: Sally Hansen Midnight in NY

[3]

I suffered a sad loss this morning. My dependable Mr. Coffee stopped working after over 8 years of loyal service.

photo(10)

Yes I happened to be this coffee shirt

Honestly, I’m a little sad. It will be nice to get a new one, but I will miss the one that got me through undergrad, a stint at NASA, and most of grad school. Farewell Mr. Coffee, and thank you for helping me get through many a long day.

***

That’s it for now. Have a great weekend everyone and go Chiefs!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Happy Tuesday everyone! As I mentioned a few posts ago, I recently went apple picking and have since been scanning the Internet for different apple-themed recipes. I love oatmeal and have long been intrigued by the plethora of slow cooker apple cinnamon oatmeal recipes out there, BUT when the time came to actually make the oatmeal I only had rolled oats on hand at home instead of the required steel cut oats (and as usual was loath to head the grocery store for just a few ingredients). So, I used this recipe instead and overall was pretty happy with it (bonus: it made the apartment smell GREAT).

One important thing to note–make sure you use enough brown sugar. I misread the recipe and didn’t add enough in so the final result wasn’t as sweet as I would have liked. Next time I make this I’ll be more careful about that!

***

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Adapted from: Barefeet In The Kitchen

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats

3 3/4 cups water

3 small sweet apples, diced small

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of nutmeg

1/4 cup brown sugar, adjust to taste

Butter (enough for a teaspoon on top of each serving)

Instructions:

Combine the oats, water, diced apple pieces, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium size saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

As soon as it boils, reduce heat to low and simmer for just a few minutes, until the oats are soft and the apples are tender.

Remove from the heat and add brown sugar to taste. Scoop into serving bowls and top with butter.

Notes:

This reheated well and was just as delicious the next day!

Thursday Thoughts (On a Friday) 25.0

Whoops! I missed my Thursday post, so I’m doing it on Friday instead!

***

[1]

Last weekend my parents were in town and we had a good, albeit busy, weekend. Friday evening we went to Dave’s Italian Kitchen, where we caught up and enjoyed some delicious Italian food. On Saturday morning, we got up early to take my car in for some maintenance, and had breakfast at the always delicious Dixie Kitchen. In the afternoon we ran a few errands and I stopped by a football tailgate (more on that in a minute). For dinner, we traveled into the city to enjoy some delicious German food at Berghoff:

IMG_0965

Aww, aren’t they cute!?

IMG_0967

Yes, this giant pretzel was as delicious as it looks!

Sunday morning began with a simple mission: find somewhere to watch the Kansas City Chiefs game. I did some quick googling and found Toons, which is the the Chicago-area Chiefs bar. We put on our finest Chiefs attire and caught the train into the city. After a short walk, we turned the corner onto Southport Street and immediately knew we had found the correct bar since this guy was waiting out front:

IMG_0980

The bar was really hoppin’ by the time we got there (a little after the game started) and there weren’t any tables free (not a huge shock considering we were 4-0 at that time), but luckily there was some standing room near the shuffleboard table in back. This actually ended up being kind of perfect because we had a table for our drinks and somewhere to lean/sit.

IMG_0973

IMG_0977

IMG_0974

It was a great game, and a great place to be for a Chiefs win!

[2]

As I mentioned above, I made a brief detour Saturday afternoon to a tailgate for the Ohio State vs Northwestern game. There was good food, music, friends, and for a while the weather cooperated…

IMG_0957

…until it didn’t. Not long after this lovely picture was taken it began to pour. Then there was scary lightening, so we quickly moved the tailgate indoors to an undisclosed location. The rain didn’t dampen the fun, but it did make getting home in time to leave for Berghoff tricky. Luckily, my super awesome Dad braved the rain and came to pick me up. Thanks Dad, you’re awesome!

[3]

Tuesday’s with Morrie (the trivia team I play on) played a good round of trivia on Tuesday. As I mentioned previously, we had to move locations since the other bar quit hosting trivia. This new bar definitely offers better prizes, and they even have a few “bonus” questions. For the bonus questions, they give some kind of number question (i.e. name the capacity of the Ohio State football stadium) and the team that most closely estimates the real answer instantly wins a bonus prize. Sometimes the prizes are super awesome (like free shots or a pair of Blackhawks tickets), so we were stoked when we won a bonus prize this week. Sadly, we did not win any adult beverages or hockey tickets…instead we won a giant trashbag of popcorn.

Bonus Prize

Photo credit: Kayla

Wah wah wah wahhhhhhhhhh. Overall, it was a good week for trivia and we took second overall!

***

That’s it for now. Have a great weekend everyone and go Chiefs!

Penne Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes. I probably found this recipe about a year ago and am only now getting around to posting about it, but trust me it’s one of my favorites (I make it about every other week). I also like it because it’s an easy, weeknight friendly recipe–fix and eat in 30-45 minutes. Bon Appetit!

***

Penne Pasta in a Tomato Cream Sauce

Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

Ingredients:

3/4 pounds Penne Pasta

3 Tablespoons Butter

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 whole Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 cup Red (or White) Wine, Or To Taste

1 can Tomato Sauce (or 1 can Tomato Paste plus 8 Oz of Water)

1 cup Heavy Cream

Fresh Parsley, to taste

Fresh Basil – To Taste

Pepper To Taste

Salt to Taste

Instructions:

Cook the penne pasta according to directions.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally. After the garlic and onions have cooked (i.e. onions are soft), add wine. Let the wine evaporate for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the can of tomato sauce and stir well until combined. If you are using tomato paste instead of the sauce, mix 8 oz of water and can of tomato paste in small bowl before adding to the skillet. Then, add 1 cup of heavy cream. Continue stirring. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

Next, add the parsley and basil to the sauce and continue stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add in pasta and stir well before serving.

Notes:

If you’d rather not cook with wine, you can substitute with 1/2 cup chicken broth or water.

Sometimes if I’m looking for a little extra protein, I saute a chicken breast and add it to the dish at the end!

Thursday Thoughts 24.0: September Recap

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m busy gearing up for a visit from my parents this weekend, but before they get here I thought I’d quickly recap my September (I’m only a few days late :P).

***

[1]

I had a pretty successful September on the reading front. I really enjoyed all of these, especially The House of Mirth.

Books Read in September:

1) Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

2) The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

3) The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

4) Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

5) I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

[2]

I did a fair amount of cooking in September and even finally got back in the habit of posting my favorite recipes on this blog!

Recipes Posted:

1) Spiced Beef Ragu Shells

2) Lasagna Soup in the Slow Cooker

[3]

September wasn’t my best month on the fitness front. I just really wasn’t able to get into the workout groove between burning my arm on the oven in a baking accident, and suffering from a lingering cold.

September

For the year I’m logged about 687ish miles, which means it’s going to be a race to the finish (literally) if I want to make my 1000 mile goal for the year. I haven’t given up hope yet, but I am going to have to get serious about the cardio this month (and not get sick again) if I want to make it.

[4]

I did a few simple manicures that I liked this month, but didn’t take pictures of them. The most complicated I attempted was a blue and white stripped accent nail manicure:

September

Base/Topcoat: Sally Hansen Flawless

Nail polish: Essie Bouncer It’s Me

Accent Nail: OPI Alpine Snow

[5]

Although I was busy with work, I did get to do some fun things in September:

1) Early in the month, I went home for the Michael Buble Concert:

IMG_0158

2) Last weekend I traveled to Homestead Orchard to go Apple Picking. It was a small, cute orchard in Woodstock, IL, and we were able to pick Blushing Golden, McIntosh, and Gala apples.

photo(2)

The weather was perfect and it wasn’t too crowded. All in all I brought home about 12 pounds worth of apples! Be on the lookout for some apple-related recipe posts as I get around to cooking delicious things with my apples!

3) Tuesdays with Morrie is back on the trivia circuit again. We had to find a new location for this season of trivia as our old bar unfortunately quit hosting. We’ve tried out two different spots, and I think we’ve found a keeper (although I personally have not been to this locale yet) 🙂

***

Have a great weekend everyone!

Lasanga Soup in the Slow Cooker

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today I’m posting (yet another) soup recipe for the slow cooker. I’ve made this a few times now, and have enjoyed it every time. Fun fact: this recipe also recently bailed me out when I had bought all the requisite ingredients to make an actual lasagna except for the ricotta (or cottage) cheese! So if you find yourself in a similar situation, I’d suggest whipping up a batch of this tasty soup!

***

Lasagna Soup in the Slow Cooker

Adapted from: Real Mom Kitchen

Lasanga Soup

Ingredients:

1 pound Italian sausage links, cut into bite-sized pieces with the casings

1 large onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp dried oregano

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

2 (15 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

6 cups chicken broth or 6 cups of water with 6 crushed bouillon cubes

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups penne pasta, uncooked (or other similar pasta)

Instructions:

In a large slow cooker, combine the sausage, onion, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and broth.

Cook on low for 8-9 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add in pasta.

Notes:

The original recipe called for a container of Ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese for topping, but I have skipped this step every time I made the soup and I don’t think it lacked anything in flavor!