Monday, December 21, 2009

Julie & Julia

Jeromy and I watched a ton of movies while snowed in--part of a great, relaxing weekend. One of them was Julie & Julia. I could have watched the entire movie just about Julia Child and done without the Julie Powell part, but I did find the premise of her blog intriguing and so did Jeromy. We decided that we wanted to cook through an entire cookbook in one year as well (but don't worry, we're not going to blog about the experience, we're not complete copycats). We like the idea of challenging ourselves to try every recipe and not just the ones we've cherry-picked from the book. Starting January 1, 2010, our goal is to make every recipe out of this:



We'll let you know how it goes and if there are some recipes that really stand out, we'll post them here. We're both big fans of Giada's cooking so I think we're in for some very good meals!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

One scarf finished!

I finally finished my first scarf! Love how it came out. Unfortunately, the washing machine did not love it so much and ripped a section of it to shreds :-( The question is, do I give in and just buy a gift for my godchild, or, do I attempt to make a scarf in 4 days? With a snow day tomorrow, maybe it's possible....

Here's a picture of Dixie modeling the completed scarf pre-washing machine disaster.


Blizzaster 2009 cont'd

These were taken this morning...



















Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blizzaster 2009 pictures

These were taken around 10 am, the snow is already a lot higher...updates will be posted later!






















The Great Blizzaster of 2009!

The best part of living in the Mid-Atlantic region--the sheer panic when there is snow in the forecast. Granted, this snow storm is actually pretty big with up to 2 feet in some areas, so this is a bit of a big deal. What I find most entertaining is the amount of time we spend making fun of the panicking before the panic has even set in. The two articles below had me laughing hysterically...enjoy! I'll post some pictures later today of all the snow.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/commons/2009/12/here_comes_the_snow_a_survival.html

http://wonkette.com/412828/washington-dc-to-be-absolutely-decimated-permanently-with-snow

And yes, the word "Blizzaster" just came out of the mouth of meteorologist Chuck Bell. Wow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Confrontation

Over the course of 4 hours last night, I did battle with the nasty, angry knot of yarn that you see in the previous post. 4 hours of pulling, threading and winding and at the end I had 6 balls of yarn to show for it! Yes, it's true, I confronted the angry yarn and I WON! It felt like a very big accomplishment, now if only I can finish this scarf before Christmas.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

my new obsession...


My Sitoo (my mom's mother) taught me how to knit in high school. My poor sister even wore the horrible scarf I knitted for her once or twice. I made one more scarf after that and then put down my knitting needles. Recently, I decided to pick them back up. I think it was the new yarn stores with shelves upon shelves of beautifully colored threads calling my name. So I signed up for a knitting class. It was like riding a bike and I'm happy to say that the results seem to be A LOT better than the first time I tried. Once again, Kristin, I am so sorry I made you wear that scarf. The next one will be a lot better, I promise!


I have three projects going right now. The purple one is a ribbed scarf that is a Christmas gift. The yarn was in a nice, neat ball but something happened and all of a sudden it became an angry mess. The yarn and I are working through our difference and I'm confident that in the end we'll have a great scarf to show for our efforts :-)


The second one, which is almost finished, is for my Godchild, Isabella. I thought the color combination was perfect for her and I just love the tassles at the end.

And last but not least, is a scarf I'm working on for me :-)



These scarves are the result of the beginner class, stay tuned for more difficult projects as I take more classes!

Lisa :-)




Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

For comparison....

Our Christmas Tree (at Stover Drive)....


OR


The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center (in NYC).....


Had a great time in New York, despite the crazy crowd wielding umbrellas, and I love the Rockefeller tree, but I will always love the tree that we have at home more--it's just so us. :-)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dixie's favorite spot...

is right under the tree!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. I love preparing lots of food and getting my family and friends around a table to enjoy a meal together. This year Jeromy and I put together a rather ambitious menu. To start, we had hummus and veggie dip with crudite and hot stuffed peppers (more to come on the stuffed peppers). My friend Leah also joins us for Thanksgiving rather than traveling home to Duxbury. She has always been a fabulous addition not only for her company but because her contribution to the meal is an amazing antipasto. This year, she was so great as to bring us a separate smaller antipasto that Jeromy and I are about to dig into!

For the meal we prepared: mushroom soup, sweet potatoe biscuits, roasted acorn squash, sauted spinach, brussel sprouts with bacon, stuffing (the only from the box item on the table), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy and 2 turkeys (one on the grill and one in the oven). It was quite the feast. Unfortunately, I was so busy getting the food on the table that I didn't have a chance to take pictures of it all! I know, what kind of food blogger am I if I can't even show you what I did?? In the absence of food photos, I give you a video of Jeromy and my dad cutting down our Christmas tree:


video

We are officially entering one of my favorite times of the year--a time to eat, drink and be merry with the people that I love. I promise to be better about my picture taking and will post some Christmas recipes in the next few weeks. Until then, Happy Holidays!!

Lisa :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Flavors

Every now and then Jeromy and I visit a butcher in Del Ray, Let's Meat on the Avenue (http://www.letsmeatontheavenue.com/). He has some amazing meat and introduced us to kangaroo filet this summer. Last time we visted we picked up a rack of pork ribs. In celebration of Columbus Day, we made them for dinner tonight!

The recipe was from Food and Wine magazine and can be found here:


http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/apple-glazed-barbecued-baby-back-ribs

I had to make a couple of modifications, 1) we did not get a full rack since it's just the two of us so I cut the recipe in half. The ribs were also not baby back, but still came out very tender, juicy and came right off the bone. 2) I searched two stores and could not find apple jelly! I settled on pear jelly and it worked as a fine substitute. 3) Since there was less meat, I also modified the cooking times keeping the ribs in the oven for 2 hours and 15 minutes.


To go with the ribs, I made mashed potatoes and roasted acorn squash.

For the mashed potatoes (serves 2):

Peel and cut up 3 small/medium potatoes and add to a pot of boiling, salted water. Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain. Mash up the potatoes. Add 3-4 tablespoons of fat free buttermilk, 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1 minced garlic clove, 2-3 sprigs of finely chopped chives and a pinch of parmesan cheese to the pot and stir to combine. Add buttermilk or butter for smoother consistency.

For the acorn squash (serves 2):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut an acorn squash in half, clean out and discard seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and ground pepper. In a bowl, mix 1/2 tablespoon softened butter, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon amaretto liquer. Spread the mixture over the acorn squash halves, it will pool in the middle of the squash. Place sage leaves over the mixture in the squash and roast for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with toasted almond slices.

If you have any questions about the recipes, just leave a comment here and I'll get back to you. I'm about to try apple donuts...if I'm succesful, I'll let post again!

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Lisa :-)





Monday, September 14, 2009

In the kitchen tonight...

Our basil plant is HUGE so I was planning to make some pesto and mixing it with whole wheat pasta. As I was coming home from work I started thinking about what else was in the refrigerator and decided to do something with shrimp, tomatoes and mushrooms too. So I came up with this....



Here's the recipe:

Shrimp with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Pesto over Whole Wheat Pasta

Giada’s pesto
Whole wheat pasta
16 frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 mushrooms, sliced thin
2 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
Salt and pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook whole wheat pasta according to the package.
Prepare pesto according to Giada’s *modified* recipe (below)
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, add minced garlic and sauté for 2 minutes
Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and continue to sauté until mushrooms let out their juice
Add shrimp, tomatoes and pesto, combine until heated through.
Serve on top of pasta

Giada’s Pesto:

1 1/2 lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Blend the mint, basil, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add 1/4 cup of olive oil, processing until well blended. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Serves 2


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer Cooking

Aside from the traveling, work and other typical summer activities, I have spent a large amount of time in the kitchen--this should not come as a shock to anyone :-) Some times I stuck to the recipe, sometimes I made up my own and sometimes Jeromy and I made it a team effort. Below are our creations:



























Frittatas. Here's the thing I love about frittatas--you can put almost anything in them! On the left we have a broccoli, green pepper and cheddar frittata and on the right we have a tomato, tomatillo, green pepper, corn and cheddar frittata. The CSA we joined gave us a TON of produce over the summer so this was a great way to use up some of it.


This would be kangaroo filet. It was AMAZING. Jeromy and I have a butcher that we love in Del Ray and he imports kangaroo from Australia, so we had to give it a try. It's leaner than chicken and tastes as good as steak. On the side we have sauteed kohlrabi greens, mashed purple potatoes and corn on the cob, all from the CSA.


Risotto. I love risotto. I really REALLY love risotto. So even though it's not the time of year for risotto, I made it anyway. This recipe I made up on the fly with what we had on hand which was: shrimp, tomato paste, chicken broth, zucchini, white wine, parmesan cheese and arborio rice. I was really looking forward to the leftovers but someone else got to them before me!

More to follow....
Lisa :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Adventures in the Kitchen

Last night I decied to put our Food and Wine subscription to use and made the Poached Salmon with Corn and White Wine-Butter Sauce, from the most recent issue. It sounded kind of complicated after reading through the recipe a few times, but I discovered that if I had my ingredients ready to go ahead of time and followed the recipe step-by-step, it wouldn't be so bad. Here is my mise en place (those French chefs really know what they're doing!)



The only missing ingredient is the basil--I snipped that from the back deck right before adding it.


About 20 minutes later, we were ready to eat!


If you'd like to try this recipe, it can be found at: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/poached-salmon-with-corn-and-white-wine-butter-sauce

Happy Cooking (and Eating)!


Lisa :-)







Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Lion of the Senate is Silent Today

I couldn't let today go by without comment. I was shocked and sad when I woke up this morning and discovered that Senator Ted Kennedy had died late last night. Growing up in Massachusetts, the Kennedys were akin to the Royal Family and even though I knew that Sen. Kennedy was not long for this world, I hoped he would make it long enough to be able to vote on the health care reform that was the cause of his life. He was not a perfect human being, but none of us are. He was an amazing orator and statesman and I'm not sure that I'll see a senator as skilled as he was in my lifetime. He was able to reach across the aisle to make this country a better place and I hope his legacy lives on. So, Senator Kennedy, thank you for your service to the Commonwealth and to this country that you loved so much. I hope the seas that you now sail on are smooth and that the wind always fills your sails. Even though we are sad here on earth, I hope you are rejoicing with your family that has preceded you in Heaven. Rest in Peace.

Lisa

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blog Facelift

My blog has received a bit of a facelift. Instead of writing just about me and my triathlon training, I thought I'd open it up so Jeromy and I can both write about the things that we do, see and most likely, make. Because really, we love to cook, Jeromy loves to do projects around the house and I really love to make anything that will make me seem more like Martha Stewart. We hope you enjoy seeing what we're up to!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ANOTHER triathlon??

Yup, I did it again! The New Jersey State Triathlon for the second year in a row. I remember last year saying, "next year I'll train for this." I didn't. But, I did set a personal record and I think that's kind of a big deal. Despite the fact that I ate a hamburger for dinner the night before, I still managed to do each leg a little faster, including the transition. Usually transition is where I get hung up and kind of take my time and hang out, but not this time. This time I was fast as fast can be (which is still not entirely that fast :-) The most interesting part of the day was after the race was over, Jeromy took pity on me, Kara and Laura and put our names in for the free massages. While Kara and Laura enjoyed what seemed to be very relaxing rub downs, I was subjected to the S&M masseuse who stood on my shoulders and then kept swinging my legs around in ways that were neither comfortable nor decent. At least Jeromy, J.P. and Mr. Decker had a good laugh! I was hoping Oden would see my distress and come running to my rescue, but let's face it, as much as he's a lover that dog is not a fighter. He's just so darn cute. Pictures to follow.

Up next: a week in Yellowstone National Park with wolves and grizzlies and bison, oh my!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hooray, Maine and New Hampshire!

I was excited to hear on the news that Maine and New Hampshire have become the next states to allow same sex marriages. Hooray, Maine and New Hampshire! Way to respect everyone's right to marry whomever they choose. I'm proud to be from New England--Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Maybe that's enough peer pressure for Rhode Island to come around....

I have a job!

Hello, just a quick update to let anyone that reads this know that I received a job offer yesterday and I took it! I'm really excited to start (on Monday) and get back into the working world. I'll be at Defenders of Wildlife in the development department. I'm really excited for this new opportunity and can't wait to see what it has in store for me!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm a guest blogger!

Check out my friend Marika's blog, littlemisslaidoff.com, to see what I think about interviewing during this (hopefully short) time of unemployment. Thanks, Marika, for giving me the opportunity to write on your blog!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm an Olympic triathlete!

This post is so long overdue, and to anyone out there that was actually checking my blog, my apologies. I thought that training was interesting, but didn't find anything nearly so interesting that I thought others might want to read about it and to be quite honest, I was being a complete slacker. So I am sorry about that and I'll do better with my blog as I continue on with triathlons, road races, marathons and generally the game of life. But now, for the important stuff....the race recap!

The National Capital Area Team In Training team (NCA TNT) arrived in Austin, Texas on Saturday morning for a fun-filled and inspiring weekend. I started the morning by picking up one of my teammates, Christinas Fox (aka CFox) at 5:45 to make the drive to BWI and we became fast friends. My friend, Steven, from my first TNT event in 2005, lives in Austin now and became the de facto tour guide for our team. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, we saw the biggest Whole Foods in the country (it was really amazing, I didn't want to leave), the bridge that houses the largest urban bat colony in the country, Lance Armstrong's bike shop, Mellow Johnny's and had some fabulous Tex-Mex food. Where better than Texas for that? Sunday night brought us to the inspiration dinner with the rest of the TNT participants from around the country. All in all we raised $780,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society--pretty amazing for 211 people.

After the pasta party we had a team meeting to go over all of the last minute details and then we were off to pack our transition bags and get a good night's sleep. For the first time in my racing "career" I was not nervous and was able to sleep.

On the morning of the race I woke up at 4 am, ate a small breakfast of a banana and a Clif Z bar, gathered up all of my gear and headed downstairs to meet my team. **Oh, a note about the tri suit. It is spandex from shoulders to knees. It is not pretty, flattering or make you look photogenic. But I digress.** After everyone on my team had been body marked (race number on arms and thighs, age and wave on back of right calf) we walked to transition. It was still pretty dark but I was able to get all of my stuff out of the bags and laid out in the way I like it. Typically I start with enough empty space at the front of my towel so that I can step on it out of the water, then all of my bike stuff is lined up and anything that I want to remember to put on is tucked into my bike shoes. Then my running gear follows with my transition bag last. Along the side, I have extra water bottles, Gatorade, Gu and Clif Blocks. By the time I was done, the sun was up, I had on a ton of bodyglide and sunblock and had wriggled into my wetsuit to my waist. I was ready to go to the start line, but I was still not nervous. Jeromy and my parents will tell you that it's odd for me not to be nervous pre-race, but for some reason this one did not affect me at all.

I only had to wait about 50 minutes before getting in the water for the swim. My wave (Wave J, Females 25-29, yellow caps) went off at 7:50 for the 1500 meter swim, so just under a mile. I completed the swim in 27:09, a time I am really proud of! I don't think I've ever swam a mile that quickly, so training has really paid off. Getting out of the water was really disorienting though but I was so impressed by how the race handled it--they had people lining the ramp into the water that basically just grabbed me and held me up as I walked up the ramp. At the end of the ramp I started running, pulled off my cap and goggles and pulled my wetsuit back down to my waist. As soon as I was out of the water, I knew I was fine and that I would finish the race. I am strong in the water but for some reason I always feel like it's the spot that could go wrong and I could have a problem, but as soon as it's over, it's just a matter of how fast I will finish.
--> that's me in front!



When I got back to my transition, I peeled off my wetsuit, put on my helmet, dried my feet, drank some gatorade and took my bike off the rack. I should have run through transition but I was still feeling a bit wobbly so I walked my bike to the end of transition. This is the first time I saw Steven and CFox's family and friends--it was so great to hear and see people cheering for me. I smiled as soon as I saw them, gave them a few goofy faces and crossed the mount line. I did not prep at all for this race in terms of being familiar with the course so I had no idea what to expect except for a couple of bad hills somewhere. But still, I was not nervous, I felt great. I ate some Clif Blocks (and lost an unopened pack on the road) as soon as I got into the first loop and buckled down to see what was in store. To my pleasant surprise, the hills were maybe a 7 out of 10 in terms of how hard they were and they did not last long. It was hot, but on the bike there was a nice breeze. I can't tell you exactly how great I was feeling. My bike was light and fast, and my legs just kept pushing and pulling on the pedals--I did not want to slow down or stop. There were a few moments when it felt hard and I was tired, but when that would happen I would think of Brian and how brave he was at the clinic when I went with him, or how much his little body has to endure when he is receiving chemo. Brian got me up the hills when it started to get hard. At the front of my bike you'll see that I taped a list of people I was racing in honor of. It was the thought of what they went through that made me push harder and get through the race, because if they can battle cancer, then I could certainly finish a triathlon and finish strong.


** a note on the course--I loved it. It was a fantastic course. The bike had challenging hills and straightaways that were great for recovery. I hope to be able to do the race again, it was that much fun.**

After my fourth loop (confirmed by Steven and my bike computer to make sure I actually rode the whole race), I headed back into transition for the run. I completed the 40K (24.8 miles) in 1:27:32, about 3:30 faster than I expected, which was very exciting for me since biking is my weakest link. I got into transition, reracked my bike, put on my hat, my knee brace, my running shoes and my tri bracelet from Auntie Ellen & Uncle John, grabbed a Gu and I was on my way.

The transition between biking and running is never easy because your legs feel like jelly, so you start out kind of slow. I was hoping to be able to run the entire 6.2 mile course, but it was so hot that I was afraid I would overheat so I had to walk for part of it. The course had a ton of support so at every water stop I was able to drink water and also douse myself to keep cool. The run course was 2 loops back over the river and downtown--part of it was along the bike course. As I came over the Congress Street bridge the first time, I saw Steven and told him how bad I was feeling. He waited for me to come back around the corner and took this picture and then ran with me for almost a mile. It was really helpful because I was able to take my mind off of how I was feeling and naturally get into my stride. Thanks, Steven, you have no idea how much you helped! As I started on the second loop I knew exactly what I was in for and decided that as soon as I was about a mile out, I would run all the way into the finish as fast as I could. I had thought it would take me between 3:15 and 3:45 to do the whole race but at that point I was on pace to finish in 3 hours and I wanted to try to make it. (In the end I did the 10K in 1:06, a few minutes off of my PR.) I found a few other NCA TNTers on the course, which was fantastic so we could run/walk together. As I came back around and was on Congress Street, with just over a mile to go, I started to pick up my pace. I would not walk, I would run the rest of the way in. And I did. The crowds cheering me on made it easier to lift my feet and put one in front of the other. The chants of Go Team made me smile, every one, and smiling makes running easier. It's an amazing feeling to know that you're not racing for yourself, you're racing for a cure for something that has stolen the lives of too many people.


As I came around the corner into the finish shoot, I could not stop grinning. The finish was SO close! I started sprinting and didn't stop until I got over the line and saw my friend Leighton (a TNT team captain) waiting there. I gave her a big, sweaty hug and went on to get my medal. As soon as I had my medal and was waiting in line for my finish picture, it hit me. I did it. I finished an Olympic triathlon in 3 hours, 12 minutes and 53 seconds. I surpassed what I expected to do and I raised $4500 for the Society. I started crying right then and it took me a couple of minutes to pull myself together for the photographer--it was just overwhelming.



Thank you all for your support, encouragement and donations. I can't tell you how much it meant to me to know that you were all cheering for me in spirit and that you believed I could do this. I wore the triathlon bracelet that Auntie Ellen and Uncle John gave me so that I could carry them with me on the course and over the finish line. Uncle John, I TRI-ed for you, and I will keep TRI-ing and running until there is a cure (or my shoulders and knees give out, whichever comes first!)















Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bike-2, Lisa-1

This morning was the first group bike ride. The weather forecast was for sleet, snow and rain and I can't tell you how much I was hoping for that weather so that I could avoid getting on the bike! I was really excited about my new bike but also apprehensive because I knew the risk of falling was very real. The coaches started off the training by working with people that have never clipped their shoes in to the pedals (me). Basically, with this type of bike and pedals, my feet are attached to the bike. So if the bike goes over, I go over with it and can't put my foot out to stop it. So I gave it a try in the parking lot and seemed to be fine, but as soon as we started for the street, I accidentally got stuck in my clip and fell right over to my right side in to the middle of the street--I wasn't even moving when I fell! It was really funny and only slightly painful. Luckily it was so cold that I really didn't feel the impact.

Bike-1, Lisa-0.

I got myself back up and got back on the bike and was able to do the ride without any other incidences. But I was really cautious about clipping in to my pedals and only had one foot clipped the whole time so that in case I started to fall when I stopped, I would have one foot free.

After training we had the Honored Teammate picnic, when our season's honored teammates get to tell us their stories and really give us a reason to get up so early, get in the pool, go for a run or get on the bike. As always, some of the stories made me cry because they were so touching. But the best part is that the three Honored Teammates that were there are SURVIVORS. They've battled cancer and come out on top and if they can do that, I can certainly stay upright on my bike.

When I got home I took my bike out for another ride just to see if I could stop without falling and have both feel clipped in. First try, no, I fell over on to the other side.

Bike-2, Lisa-0.

The second fall helped me figure out what I was doing wrong though, so I headed back home. Sure enough, when I pulled in to the parking lot and started to slow down, I did it the right way and didn't fall! Success!!

Bike-2, Lisa-1.


Thanks for checking in on my progress! To date my training log:

Running: 45 mins.
Biking: 30 mins.
Falls off of bike: 2
Swimming: 0 minutes (I slacked on this part this week--I wasn't feeling well).

You'll see these numbers climb this week as I start to settle in to the training routine. Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year, More Training!

Happy 2009! We started training in December, but I will admit, I slacked a little over the holidays :-( So I'm considering this week to be my first week of REAL training. So far, so good! I'll do my weekly total of training time at the end of the week (for any of you that are interested in seeing exactly how much time I am spending doing this...or it might just be me that's interested....)

Today I picked up my bike from being tuned-up and it's looking great! I can't wait to get out there on the first ride on Saturday morning and see how it feels. I've never ridden a road bike before, so it will be a whole new experience. And, everyone says that I'll fall at least twice, so I'm trying to prepare myself for that--I hope it's not too painful--I'm going to wear some extra padding :-)

I also just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone that has donated so far, especially those of you who have donated anonymously, because I have no way to properly thank you. I can't tell you all how much your generosity and support means to me and to the mission. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Stay tuned...I'll post after the ride and tell you how many times I fell!