Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: April 29, 2014

Inspired by my protein burger from In 'n Out last week, I wanted to make our own version.  Emmy and I didn't go running today because my allergies were killing me and we are planning to run to my inlaws' tomorrow night for another bbq so that Nick can do his laundry.  I figured we could take today off since it's pretty warm out and catch up on our milage from Wednesday through Friday, though tomorrow's forecast looks pretty warm too.  Nevertheless, I took today off to do some cooking and manage my sniffles. Sniffling really makes me tired.

I seasoned about a pound of lean ground beef with garlic powder, black pepper, salt and a packet of Simply Organic Ranch Dressing Mix.  I also added about a tablespoon of soy sauce and a tsp of worcestershire sauce.   Since I've had success with baked kale chips, I also decided to try out baked potato chips.

Baked Cayenne Potato chips 
1 Idaho potato, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp cayenne
cooking spray 
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Lay out slices of potato so that there is only one layer of potato slices.  Spray potatoes evenly with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.  Bake in oven for 1.5 hours.  

Tonight's Dinner: April 28, 2014

After a short run, I decided that I wanted to grill.  The weather here has been so nice that there is no reason not to.  The next few days are going to be getting pretty warm for April weather, but tonight is a nice dry 72 degrees. Nick is really good at encouraging me, hence the multiple mud runs and the marathon I'm currently training for.  Even though he is the grill master in our household, he likes to let me grill so that I can say, "I'm a woman who can grill."  He knows that it gets my goat when people say that grilling is a man's job.  For the last couple of years I have been learning to work the grill.  Sometimes things come out a little, ahem, Cajun, but we all need a little practice sometimes.  For the most part I let Nick grill so that I can have a break from cooking, but I also don't want to lose any skills that I've learned over the last few years.

So tonight I was the one in charge of grilling.  I made a buffalo style chicken with a grilled romaine salad and kale chips.  I added some grill yellow squash to the salad to make things a little different.

My squash got a little charred because I was busy writing this blog while it was cooking.  Probably not the best idea to blog and grill at the same time.

Buffalo Style Marinade 
1 c low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 c garlic hot sauce
1 tsp white vinegar

Marathon training update:

This week my goal is to log 27 miles.  When I say week, that usually applies to a work week.  I have a really hard time making myself run on weekends.  Tonight Emmy and I logged 6.35 miles, but we're counting it as 6.25 to make things easy.  You'll probably notice a change in our diet also since I'm trying to eat pretty healthfully now to get back in the swing of things.  Well, healthfully at dinner anyway.  Lunch at my office is a whole different story.  Too many burrito joints to pass up.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: April 27, 2014

I was away most of the weekend for a friend’s bachelorette party and missed Nick’s 30th birthday.  We celebrated his birthday last weekend when we went for oysters, but we invited ourselves over to my inlaw’s place for a bbq.  I had bought them a couple of bottles of wine from Merry Edwards where we did a tasting for the bachelorette and wanted to bring them over anyway.  I planned to bring all the food since we were invading their house, but they went down to Safeway to pick up steaks, chicken wings, chicken skewers, asparagus and salad.  The only thing we brought was broccoli, wine and our hungry stomachs. I did all the seasoning and Nick did the grilling.  The wine and food was delicious.  I usually don’t eat chicken wings because I think they’re messy and a lot of work to eat, but since we were at home I decided to have one.  Safeway’s buffalo marinade is really tasty!  Still, they’re messier than I would like.  


Emmy was fluffy from her bath earlier in the day.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tonight's Dinner: April 24, 2014

Tonight Emmy and I set off to do our long run for the week.  My goal was to run 25 cumulative miles this week. We only ran Monday and Wednesday, but racked up 12.25 miles. My goal for the day was to run 10 miles tonight and then run about three miles on Friday.  It was pretty cool out so I was feeling pretty good and decided to push myself to do 13.1 miles (half marathon).  It's probably a good thing since it started raining. So, we made our 25 mile goal for the week.

Nick was in charge of dinner since I was out training.  Good thing too because I was really tired and shaky after that run.

Tonight's Dinner: April 23, 2014

Tonight Emmy and I went for a 6.75mi run on the trails.  It is so much nicer on the trails.  Even though there are more bikers, we have found a couple that aren't as heavily bike traveled.  That's what happens when you try to put on mileage.  You start exploring. We couldn't do a super long run tonight because we had to be out in Livermore by 7:30pm to pick up a bookshelf that I plan to transform.

Nick and I headed out and decided to grab In 'N Out on the way back.  I didn't really want to ruin everything that I had done on our run, so I tried my first Protein Style double-double.  I have to say, I felt pretty good afterwards.  Usually I roll out of there feeling like a lump on a log, but I felt very satisfied and not overly full.  Nick, on the other hand, got a 3x2 (three patties) and was feeling mighty uncomfortable.

Protein style

Tonight's Dinner: April 22, 2014

Last night I had thrown some chicken in a bag to marinate in a mixture of bbq sauce and soy sauce because I knew that I would be going out to pick up Craigslist items after work.  I knew that the bbq sauce was slightly sweet, so I was trying to offset the sweetness with the soy sauce.  I chopped up some zucchini and threw it all in the oven to bake.  One the side we had a green lettuce salad.  I think I prefer romaine to green lettuce.  I like the crunch of the romaine compared to the floppiness of the large green leaves.  Nick had said that he didn't have any carbs with his lunch so he was hungry shortly after.  I made him orzo to have with his chicken, but didn't have any myself.

We don't normally drench our salads in dressing, but we are trying to use up the knock off Spaghetti Factory creamy pesto ranch sauce that I made before it goes bad.

Tonight's Dinner: April 21, 2014

Tonight Emmy and I went for a 5.5mi run on main city streets.  We normally run on the numerous walking trails in our area, but there are a lot of bikers who frequent the trails as well which makes it very difficult because Emmy never grew out of her bike chasing habit.  On the main city streets there are fewer bikes, but it is so noisy. When we got back from our run, I was surprised that my app said that we had only run 5.5 miles because it seemed like we were going for a long time.  The scenery was boring and it was so loud that I couldn't even hear my footsteps.  I like to be able to hear my footfall because it helps me keep my breathing regulated which, in turn, helps me relax and go further. It helps me get in the "zone". When we got home I did some foam and lacrosse ball rolling and started on dinner.

On the menu tonight was chicken drum sticks, grilled romaine with a garlic-balsamic tomato and cucumber salsa, and kale chips.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the kale chips turned out to be. I did all the grilling tonight since Nick went out with his coworkers for a happy hour drink.

Only a little charred because I was trying to blog while it was cooking.


Kale Chips

2-3 stalks kale, deveined, torn in to pieces  
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp EVOO


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  On a large sheet pan, coat kale with salt, pepper, EVOO and spread out in one layer.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Gently push the kale chips around to loosen from pan and bake for another 10 min. 

Silver polish

This project was nothing that amazing, but I wanted to show you the amazingness of silver polish.  I'm sure you can use any brand of silver polish, but I used Wright's Silver Cream. I bought this a while ago for the Tiffany ring that Nick got me a few years back.  I wanted to keep it looking shiny and new.  Turns out having the silver polish around was handy.  I've used it for many things.

This is how tarnished the plate was.

I had actually already started cleaning the tarnish off when I took this picture. It was much. much worse. When I bought it from the garage sale I could see a hint of detailing, but it was so dull that you could barely see anything.

There were still some little bits of tarnish that wouldn't come off no matter how much scrubbing I did.  I sprayed the front and back with a glossy clear coat to prevent tarnishing.

I made this from a brass candle stick and small dish for a friend.  I told her that she could use it for jewelry or at her new job for paper clips.   I spray painted the brass candle stick holder white.  The candle stick holder is actually upside down.  When I was trying it out for placement, the base covered up all of the pretty blue detailing.  With some ceramic glue, I attached the base of the candle stick to the silver plate and the "candle holder" portion to the China dish so that the detailing wasn't hidden.  I found these three pieces at a garage sale for $1.50 total.

Wine crate staining

Today I worked on a few wine crates that I picked up for $7 apiece from a local woman trying to get rid of her boxes.  After completion, I WANT MORE.  I’m very tempted to email her back and see if she got any new stock.  I don’t know if she belongs to a bunch of wine clubs or is a vendor, but I’d like to repurpose them for storage.  I have ideas for some storage options, but don’t know if I need that many more.  There is a fine line between want and need.  98% of the time I just want stuff.  This is also why I craft.  I told a friend of mine that I like having things, but I can’t always afford all the things I see in catalogs.  Let’s just say that I’m materialist but practical.  That is why I do what I do.  My crafts may not come out as perfectly as a product from West Elm or Pottery Barn, but it adds character and I get it at a fraction of a cost with a similar look. 

There were some large shipping labels on the crates that took a while to get off.  Since the wood was raw and untreated, I didn’t want to use Goo Gone.  After trying to use my nails for a little while, my Dad helped me break out the belt sander.  What a difference it made. Zip, zip and the labels were gone.  My Dad also helped me remove the staples that were left in the box edges to speed up the process. 

 I used a can of “Cherry” wood stain that my Dad had leftover in his cabinet.  I did the first two boxes in the cherry stain, but thought that it was a little light.  The stain wasn’t much deeper than the original raw wood color.  Even after setting for a few days, the cherry is still a little light for my taste.  For the other three boxes I switched to a “Dark Walnut” wood stain that I had used for another project when I first moved into our apartment. It’s nice because a little bit of stain goes a long way in the dark color.  With the Cherry color, I was slopping it on in hopes of making it look darker.  I saw on a DIY show that stain application is much easier and smoother with an old rag rather than a brush.  I liked the outcome much better because there weren’t any streaks and it was much faster to do all five boxes.  

All-in-all, I really like the way the boxes turned out and have big plans for them.  I think after writing this post that I may have convinced myself that I “need” more boxes. 



This is the difference between the Cherry and the raw.  I like the darkness on the edges of the wood, but the face didn't turn out as dark.

After settling for a few days, the dark boxes took on a more rich color rather than the dark-black look they have here.  I'm not sure why the box closest to us has the spot that took on a lot of the stain.  Maybe it was just they way the wood was in that area.  In person it looks kind of neat because it is right in the body of the lion brand.

Tonight's Dinner: April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!  Most of the day I spent picking up things off of Craigslist and fixing them up.  More of that to come on a later post.  For dinner though, we spent the evening with my parents since we spent most of the day with my inlaws they day before.  My Mom made an amazing giant ham.  She was basting every 20 minutes!  It was well worth the time (for me at least since I wasn't the head cook).  It was amazing.  I love ham.  I made a chicken dinner tonight (4/22/14), but now I want the leftover ham my Mom gave me!

For Easter dinner, Nick grilled some oysters that we brought back from Hog Island and my mother-in-law let me have the rest of her sauce that she made.  We reboiled the sauce and my parents loved it.  My Dad even said, "New tradition! You guys go to Hog Island with the Fongs for your birthday and bring us back oysters."  That works for us!  My parents don't like raw seafood much, so grilling works well for them.  For dinner my Mom also made rice pilaf and garlic green beans.

This was my only contribution to tonight's dinner.  I was in charge of making salad.  I mad a wedge salad and made the knock off of the Spaghetti Factory's creamy pesto ranch.

My Mom also made ice cream pie.  I think my Dad used the biggest knife in the drawer to cut it with.