Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February Fun

We went live with our new charting system at work and it went pretty well considering all the things that could have gone wrong. Yesterday was one week in and I think we're starting to get into the swing of things.
My parents left to visit my sister for the week which meant that I broke out my panini press, and my mobile pinterest app for operation Kitchen Takeover!

I combined elements of several different recipes for my first experiment...
I don't know what to call this one. It has no name as yet but I made sure that I wrote down all the ingredients because it was a very successful experiment.

Into this large bowl I added the following goodies:
-baby spinach
-black beans
-garbanzo beans
-1 chopped roma tomato
-green and orange bell peppers
-cooked quinoa
-toasted almonds
-basalmic vinegar
-juice from 1 lime

To be honest I was a bit iffy. It was very colorful and pretty but I wasn't sure if the flavors were going to compliment each other. Of course, I sat down with a bowl and some toasted rosemary/garlic bread on top to try it out anyway. It turned out to be really great. I also topped it with a dollop of hummus and crumbled feta cheese.

Obviously there was way too much in that bowl for one meal for one person so I took it to work for lunch the next day and share with my lovely friends and coworkers, Ashley and Zaúl. 

Next follows a string of paninis. I like paninis but I just don't like the ones I make as much as the ones I've ordered at restaurants. I can't figure it out. Ashley and I decided that maybe I should get a job at Panera, infiltrate their panini making process and steal their grilling secrets. Don't laugh, I haven't completely ruled it out as an option. :)

I love being able to throw together leftover stuff from the fridge to make something new. I'm not a leftover fan but that's only if you've reheated exactly what you had 2 nights ago to make the same meal. When you make it into something new, it doesn't really feel like leftovers anymore.

 So, I made this salad with the leftover quinoa, and the last of the garbanzo beans and fried an egg to top it off. Then, I realized that I had no good salad dressings to top it off. What to do?! Oh I know... put some hummus on it. Hummus solves everything! ;)

I don't remember what night of my kitchen rule this panini came to fruition. When you make this many in one week's time, they all start getting a little blurred together. Oh well, more "leftovers" A quick baby green salad and the last of the quinoa. Simple, and fast. 

On Friday Ashley and I finally did what we had been threatening to do for about 3 weeks now. We got together to be productive. Since she's a super overachiever, all of her applications are mailed and submitted. Mine on the other hand... well suffice it to say that she studied and I poured over pages of internship stuff.
The best part was that it was raining outside so we had this study/application date at my house in our cozy clothes. Then we made lunch... paninis. =D One of the excellent oranges from Mom and Dad's tree and a bowl of soup topped it off nicely.

After my "date" with Ashley, I got ready for dinner with the lovely and talented Tianne. She's back in the area for the month which is so great! We had made plans to go to a Tapas Bar that featured flamenco dancers but when we arrived, the wait was close to an hour and I had to be up at 3 for work. So we walked around and found "Louise's Trattoria" in old town Pasadena.
You will have to forgive these horribly grainy pictures. My phone can take excellent pictures but it isn't exactly the best option for low light in a restaurant. =/

I ordered this the Montecito Green salad: Baby field greens, roasted tomatoes, beets, goat cheese, caramelized walnuts, with balsamic vinaigrette.

Tianne ordered Eggplant parmigiana. Then we split our two meals and tasted both. For the first time in my life, we had to send a meal back to the kitchen. The eggplant had just been set on the table and it was warm at best. More cold than anything. =/
Once it was heated up it was pretty good. The salad was excellent!

Then we treated ourselves to Creme Brulee which I believe is a first for me also. There wasn't much top to crack and they didn't caramelize it at the table like some restaurants do but it was very delectable. It's definitely something I'll order as dessert if given the option again.

I've been meaning to get new running shoes for a while and this week I finally did it!

After I got them home I was a little iffy on the color and the shape but.. I decided to keep them. Then I had to break them in so I got the crazy idea to run bleachers... ugh! I use to do those all the time in High School! What happened? Oh right! 7-8 years is plenty of time to get out of shape. 

Then, like a crazy person, that same night Ashley and I planned to take a hike the following morning. We were both not so thrilled with our idea at 7 the next morning. But... we did it anyway. Go us! Another friend and coworker, Kim, joined us as well.

Here we are at the finish. Don't let that flat ground fool you. This is a good 5 mile loop that is uphill most of the way.

Shame on me but I didn't have breakfast. Thankfully, Ashley had enough forethought to bring us cuties. This one was particularly excellent! :)

And now... we are officially caught up to present day. Woohoo!

Also, I'm super late getting ready for work so I better hit the road. See you soon!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

January - Now

Alright, Diving in again. Let's finish up this catch-up so we can start in on more fun posts. :)

Happy New Years!! work
I would like to tell you that all of December I spent my lunch breaks like this:

Sitting outside in the sunshine with a packed lunch, studying for the DTR. The real story is that this happened one day and then...

With the holidays and extra hours at work during the entire month of December, my time to study for the DTR passed by very quickly and once again I found myself unprepared and needing to reschedule the exam. One small problem, it was a holiday and by the time I could call to reschedule, it would be too late. I realized this on a Monday and the test was on Thursday.... So I had 3 days (all of which I was working) to cram for this test. I think this kind of emergency and panic was necessary for me to get serious about it. So, with the help of an excellent study buddy and Ashley's flashcards, I rolled up my sleeves and dived in. 3 days later...

 WOOOHOOO! I finally did it. After I finished the exam I went over to my sister Kim's and had some well deserved sister time just chatting the evening away. Then I went out to dinner with Roger to catch up and celebrate.

I visited Laura again. It worked out perfectly for me to have a long weekend there standing in for my brother-in-law while he was out of town on business. We had plenty of girl time the whole weekend.

Katelyn called her daddy every night to say goodnight. 

She was also treated to her first In-N-Out Shake. She drank it down pretty easily. ;)

Laura baked some fabulous sourdough and Katelyn kindly offered to help me slice some up for dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. What a big help!

Don't you just love when you try something from pinterest and it's a success?
Laura found this recipe for pineapple smoothies on pinterest and we had to try them out. They were amazing! As soon as I get the recipe from her I have to make them again.

Roger and I planned a hike one weekend but it turned into a small exploratory adventure instead. He directed me to this really cool spot in the mountains where it is perfectly still and silent. A great thinking place.

Then we walked through the fog covered, abandoned trails up in the mountains and discovered some strange and random things like these,

 and this abandoned and torn apart mobile home

and this hunk of wood on a makeshift sled.

 Then we enjoyed making up stories to explain them all away. We finished off the afternoon with a nice warm lunch at Red Lobster. (Which I didn't take pictures of. Can you tell I was out of the blogging habits?)
Good times!

I've really enjoyed getting to know my new Loma Linda coworkers and spending time with my old school buddies. Toward the end of the month we celebrated a coworker's quarter-of-a-century birthday with just a small group.
We have this cute picture of us girls where we excluded the birthday boy and all other males present. (Sorry boys!)

 We got dessert/appetizers at BJ's Bar and Grill and then went cosmic bowling. Despite my insistence that I was really bad at bowling, I pulled some kind of luck out of my imaginary top hat and pulled ahead with a pretty good score. :)

 Loma Linda continued to prepare us for the changeover into a new online charting system with a full day of hands-on training, incessant emails and a meeting to orient all of us techs to the new procedures. Here we are having "fun" learning the ropes together. My co-Diet Techs are pretty great girls! :)

Phew! I think that's everything in January. Now, here we are in February. Tomorrow I will share all of my kitchen experiments with you. I'm excited about one recipe in general that I really, really liked. :)

Still working on applications....

Have a great Monday!

Diving In

It's been so long since I've written anything that I feel like I should introduce myself all over again. Thanksgiving was my last post which is really quite sad considering everything that has happened since November. I've been up to much of the same shenanigans and a few new ones too. :) For the last week or so I have been anxious to start blogging again so here I am, back to it. I hope you didn't think you could get rid of me that easily. 

I will do a very quick recap of the last few months just to catch you up in case you care. Get ready for picture overload

 Caught up with my long time high school friend Kelsey who's going to school in HI, and enjoyed plenty of other good times with beautiful scenery. (I really need to do a Hawaii post I guess)

White girls just can't pull off 'gangsta' signs. I should learn my lesson. 

A trip to visit my sister and her family.

What a cutie!

Laura and I had a girl's date night while Katelyn had a Daddy-daughter date night. Laura and I chose a steakhouse which was the best meal I have had out in a very long time.

Festive chips and queso for appetizers (never a good idea) 

I'm not a steak person but this steak was amazing. Needless to say, I couldn't finish it.

 I also found out that I'm going to be an aunt again!! What a great reason to look forward to May :)

Candy making with Grandma and Aunts

 A lot of baking

My sister's work of art... the world's best Apple Pie. :)

Since I worked X-Mas, there was a pot-luck for everyone and I took mint brownies and Mini cupcakes. I didn't care for the brownies that much but the cupcakes were really good. (Spice cake w/cream cheese icing)

By the way, squeezing cupcake batter into the cups makes sooo much more sense than trying to spoon or scoop it in. Maybe I'm way behind the times but this was the first time I used this trick. Way less mess and a whole lot more accurate portioning.

Christmas eve game night at Blake's

Not sure what the tissue in my nephew's nose is for. I can only assume there was a bloody nose involved at some point. :)

The girls + my baby brother won! :)

I love my family but we're not perfect. Can you tell my Dad hates pictures? and that 4 seconds after this was taken we all yelled at my nephew for using a root beer bottle to ruin an otherwise respectable picture. Oh well, it documents a very fun and memorable night that we had together despite the fact that there were 10 (yes 10!) missing.

also in December: I casually started in on internship applications and scheduled my DTR (<---more on that story)

I will have to stop here and do the rest of the catch up tomorrow. Maybe I can make it through January and into present day by tomorrow. It would be nice to be caught up with current events and to start writing about food again. I did quite a bit of cooking this last week. It feels good to be in the kitchen making messes and creating madness.

Goodnight for now.