Friday, July 30, 2010

What are you doing this weekend?

This is the first weekend in July that we have been home. Which is probably why my house hasn't been vacuumed in two weeks, the grass hasn't been mowed for the same time period and why I couldn't find my eggplant plant in the garden last night - the garden has been overcome with weeds. Actually, my garden is to a point where I am a little bit ashamed of it's weedy state ... But this weekend will be an opportunity to get caught up! Well ... hopefully. I am helping with a wedding at our church for most of Saturday, but Lance will be free and clear :) Here's my idea of weekend fun:
  • Baby Legs gifts~!
  • Fun Magnets
  • This is a project I want to do in the future - I need to round up some cute fabric first
  • Graduation supper at my favorite DSM restaurant
  • And making some homemade Salted Nut Roll Bars, courtesy of my mom's fab recipe

Keep in mind these things only will happen after all the not so fun things ... like mowing, weeding, and vacuuming. Maybe Lance will get those things done before I'm finished with the wedding (a girl can hope, right?) Is is weird that I like to do laundry? The whole laundry process from sorting, washing, to folding. It must be the repetition and the sense of completing an entire task. I'm a little odd. What fun DIY projects are you planning this weekend?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tofu is fun-fu

Tofu is fun-fu. Haha, I made a funny.
This is a meal that I had about a month ago. I was pretty darn impressed with myself. I marinated and baked the tofu and then served it with brown rice and steamed sugar snap peas and broccoli. It wasn't really a Lance meal, but he survived because ... the tofu was really yummy! Granted, I still have not achieved a lovely crispy texture, but the tofu was really tasty. I recommend giving tofu a second chance. You might be surprised.

Make sure you press your tofu really well. I mean excessively well. I drained and wrapped my tofu in multiple dish towels prior to going to work in the morning and then took it out of the fridge when I got home and marinated it then. Pressing your tofu helps decrease the nasty sogginess that so many people dislike.

The marinade was pretty simple - just a lot of tasting and dumping, but not a lot of measuring ... soy sauce, honey, garlic powder, minced ginger, sesame oil - voila!

Cube your tofu, lay it out on a foil lined, sprayed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Then I used the extra marinade and drizzled a little bit of it over the brown rice and the veggies. It was very yummy and very healthy. Have you tried tofu yet? Give it a spin - it will help your waistline and your budget.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Homemade Jamba Juice

One of our favorite things to do on vacation is to get Jamba Juice. It might sound silly and somewhat bandwagon, but we really enjoy these juice/smoothies! I wish they had one in Des Moines, although it's probably better for my wallet that there isn't one.

These smoothies are a great way to get rid of extra/soon-to-be-spoiling fruit all in one swoop. In this smoothie there is a banana, a kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, and a couple of raspberries (Yes, I have all that fruit at my house at one time. Yes, all of the fruit is fresh too). In addition to the fruit I add a half scoop of chia seeds (for omega 3 fatty acids), some Simply Orange Mango Juice, 3 ice cubes, and a secret ingredient: blood orange and pomegranate sorbet. I think the secret ingredient makes the smoothie more Jamba Juice like.

Blend, blend, blend and voila - a Jamba Juice smoothie! It's a great way to get all my fruit servings completed by 10 am.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad Bananas

I have a love hate relationship with bananas. I don't like green bananas. I prefer mine to be a little on the ripe side. This poses a challenge because by the time the bananas are actually at a stage that I like, one day later they are mush. Therefore Lance and I have a lot of mushy bananas that are banished to the freezer to become banana bread. When I say "a lot" I mean probably enough bananas to make half a dozen loaves of banana bread. Keep in mind that I usually use about 5 bananas to make a loaf. You do the calculations and keep the appalling numbers to yourself :)

This is my favorite recipe for banana bread, compliments of BHG. I do not add nuts (Lance thinks that nuts do not belong in baked goods) nor do I do the streusel topping (too much effort).

Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups mashed banana (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 recipe Streusel-Nut Topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch or two 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). If desired, sprinkle Streusel Topping over batter.
3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent over browning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.
4. Makes 1 loaf (16 slices)
5. Streusel-Nut Topping: In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Final Washington & Oregon Pictures

Well, a full month after our trip out west, here are our final pictures!

These are the double falls at Multnomah Falls, about 45 minutes outside of Portland. Lance was feeling a little under the weather, so I drove most of the 5 hour drive from Portland to Spokane. We took an hour out of our drive and drove on the Oregon Scenic Highway. It was scenic, it was also very curvy which made me increasingly nervous. This also meant that I drove about 30 mph, annoying all of the drivers behind me.

A funny story about the bridge that is pictured in the photo below. Apparently a few years back there was a wedding party taking pictures on the bridge when a huge chunk of rock fell from the first set of waterfalls and drenched the whole party. I think that a few were injured, but not seriously. Talk about a crazy, memorable event for your wedding day!

This picture was taken by a man who knew his stuff. When I handed him my camera, he exclaimed "Oh, she's got extra power!" Referencing the extra battery pack on my Nikon 200.

These are the falls in Spokane, WA. According to my friend Nicole, her husband who's family is in Spokane, there is a garbage eating goat around here. Sadly, I did not get to meet the goat.

This picture is on Gonzaga's campus. This is the Tilford Center - where all of my COML classes are out of. It also houses the COML program.

I think this is the Jundt Art Center. I think.
Well. Obviously I should have written the names down of these buildings. It appears I don't remember any of their names. But it's on Gonzaga's campus!
Another unidentified building.

Bulldog picture. Because they are the Bulldogs.

This was a scenic lookout about 2 hours away from Spokane on our drive back to Seattle. This is the Columbia River Gorge.
Columbia River Gorge. There was a rattlesnake. And a man pointing out the rattlesnake to everyone. Very smart.

I told Lance that I thought the clouds were prettier than the clouds are in Iowa. He thought I was crazy. But I still think that I am right.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Where have I been?

Kara-spotting #1: Well, my final project for my last class for my master's degree is a multi-media class. Meaning that I had to design a website and video along with photos and text. Everything was within my realm of knowledge except the video. And oh was it painful. I am only technology savvy to a certain point. Anything after that I just want to pull out my hair! I should have probably used blogger as my web design forum, but I wanted a challenge and used weebly instead. Gads. That was a so-so choice. Here is a link to my final project. What is done is done. As of tomorrow, I'm calling it DONE.

Kara-spotting #2: Lance's sweet grandmother, Ethel, died on July 4. Fitting, on the 4th of July she was set free from the captivity of this life and went to meet her maker. This accounted for about 12 hours in the car and some unexpected time away from home.

Kara-spotting #3: I do promotional events as a brand ambassador during the summer and other misc times. It's good money, but it's tiring for the person who works full time and is completing grad school. Here's a picture of me and the other brand ambassador, Jon, at a US Cellular event at the Iowa Speedway.

Needless to say, I'll be back in the next couple of days with updates about life and food. Because we all have to eat. Even if it's turkey sandwiches for a week straight (and we all know that I hate boring turkey sandwiches for lunch.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

5 Years

Lance and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary on July 2. I'm a little bit behind in things, but here is a couple of pictures from the wedding in honor of the day. I love you honey! We've had our ups and downs, but here's to many more anniversaries!

Crazy Cat Lady

Yeah... I know that I'm a crazy cat lady. But in leiu of actual children, I can be a crazy cat lady. Isn't Fire just adorable?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things to do on a Day Off

Tomorrow I have the day off. Lance and I were supposed to both have the day off for our anniversary. But lo and behold, Lance forgot to take the day off. So I have the day off to celebrate our anniversary by myself :) In my ideal world, I would spend my day off like this:

Sleep in late
Sip a Cinnamon Vanilla Latte
Practice a little AM yoga
Relax with a massage
Meet a friend for lunch
Sip some raspberry lemonade and lounge with a new book
Take a little afternoon siesta
Prep a honey glaze marinade for salmon steaks and start supper

Now doesn't that sound lovely? Here's how my day will actually look:

Sleep in late (somethings are non-negotiable!)
Drink non-exciting coffee from my coffee maker
Make my own "Naked" juice using fruit remnants from my fridge (I think that I have blueberries, strawberries, a kiwi, some bananas - maybe a raspberry or two)
Purge the fridge of ancient leftovers, dips, and things we aren't eating (maybe I'll take a picture of our fridge and show you how I can't fit anything else in it)
Wipe down fridge
Meet Jessica for lunch at Granite City (yay, at least one thing from my "ideal day" list)
Do a little consignment shopping - Worn & Repeat Boutique
Clean out my pantry
Work on my looming multi-media project for my final class

I'll only get to do my consignment shopping if I make some major headway on my project. Alas, another day off ruined by real life :)

How would you spend a childless, responsibility-free day off?