Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Things Friday

1)      I have become obsessed with tea. Erick’s sister bought me this tea infuser travel mug so now in addition to just bagged teas I can have loose leaf tea as well. I think you could even use coarsely ground coffee too but I have yet to try it. Anywho, I was really loving drinking tea every day and I even took advantage of a Groupon for 3 month subscription to Steepster (which is like a tea of the month club) which was awesome. Then last week, I found this herbal green tea kit on Uncommon Goods (is that not the best website ever?) and just had to get it. It is all loose leaf teas (three types of green tea) and herbs (nine different ones like hibiscus and lavender) allowing you to make your own herbal tea blends. It is awesome! Making my own blend is definitely the most exciting thing happening in my life at 730a every morning. Lol!

2)      I planted, or I guess I should say we planted, our first garden last night. If you follow me on FB, which I am pretty sure all six of you reading do, then you already saw the pictures. But I am just so excited that I wanted to share them again. Of course, now the hard part begins. The waiting. 50 days is the soonest anything will be ready to pick. Well, except the basil. That could probably be picked now. But we are looking 50-60 days for cucumbers and Japanese eggplant all the way up to 88 days for cantaloupe. The plan is to build a second container and plant the fall crops sometime in early July. We spaced this first container off to the right so that way we would have room for a second. I don’t know why (probably because I am a huge dork- which is totally fine by me) but I am super excited over the idea of bringing our homegrown organic veggies to share with the family over 4th of July weekend. Here’s to hoping the weather cooperates and that I don’t have a black thumb. I would make for one bad hippie if I couldn’t even raise a small 4’x4’ garden. Lol!

      I made makrers using shells I collected at the beach a few weeks ago. I was planning on using rocks but I didn't have any on hand. I did, however, have seashells so voila!


3)      Tonight is the last Hot Glass Cold Brew of the season and I am quite sad. This is definitely one of my favorite Pensacola events. It’s a mix of live music, free food and free (local) beer, and glass blowing demos. Oh, and the artists with gallery/shop space all have food and beer/wine for passersby to enjoy while talking with them about their work. Some are painters, sculptors, glass blowers, potters, and there is even a guy with a 3D printer that does demos. It’s really cool, very informative and tons of fun.

4)      I love spring/summer time. I am definitely a warm weather person and love, love, love the sunshine. I am happy it is finally starting to warm up (although we have like rain forecasted every day for the foreseeable future) and I am feeling quite optimistic that this is going to be an amazing summer. Maybe even the best one yet. One of my favorite things about warmer weather is the food. Not just grilling and BBQs and eating outdoors but all the yummy fruits and veggies that come into season. I am a sucker for corn on the cob, rainier cherries, jersey tomatoes, asparagus, watermelon (all the melon, actually), strawberries, etc., the list could go on for days. And one of my favorite warm weather foods to make is cold pasta salad. It reminds me of my childhood. Except I don’t use mayo, or much pasta, and load mine up with whatever fresh veggies I have on hand. I wish I was a good recipe builder person. I would love to be the blogger that shares all sorts of yummy recipes but I am a fly-by-my-pants kind of cook. It’s why I don’t like baking. I am almost always successful just throwing stuff together and having it turn out. The big downside being that I never can make the same dish twice. Lol. But I digress. Lately I have been making some version of this pasta salad dish for me and E (and even made a heartier version of it for Easter dinner) and it is awesome. So I thought I would share.

Spring Time Pasta Salad (to the best of my recollection)

·         1 cup dry whole wheat orzo

·         ½ bunch of trimmed and chopped fresh asparagus

·         ½ English cucumber, quartered and chopped

·         1 small bag (maybe 3 oz) fresh peas – you could totally use frozen here too

·         A few sprigs of fresh mint

·         2 lemons

·         Dijon mustard

·         Red wine vinegar

·         Olive oil

·         Salt & Pepper

Step 1- prepare the orzo according to package

Step 2- as the pasta is cooking, prep/chop veggies

Step 3- when there is about 3-4 minutes left on the past add in the asparagus and peas to cook them

Step 4- drain pasta and cooked veggies and rinse under cold water

Step 5- add to a large bowl with mint and chopped cucumber

Step 6- make dressing by mixing together the juice of 2 lemons, approximately 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (you can add this in gradually in case you aren’t a mustard fan- or omit it completely), 1 tablespoon of vinegar, about ¼ cup of olive oil (I use just enough to cut some of the acidity and make a ‘creamy’ dressing) and some salt and pepper. Honestly, I do the dressing all by taste. You could totally swap out for store bought dressing.

Step 7- add dressing to pasta/veggies, mix well, and refrigerate for 30 minutes+

Step 8- enjoy!
So much green, so much yumminess!

I love pasta salad. We have made a similar recipe but used quinoa pasta (for you gluten-freers) instead of orzo and added chickpeas. That was awesome too. I love to make what I call a ‘greek’ version of this with cucumber, tomatoes, green onion, Kalamata olives, chickpeas, bell pepper and spinach but E does not eat most of those things so I reserve that recipe for family or work potlucks. Lol!

5)      Wow! These past few days social media has really gotten it right! I know I talked earlier this week about my girl Brooke and her story about Shape magazine having gone viral. I never thought that what happened last week would have led to watching her on both Good Morning America and the Today Show. How awesome is that? This morning, during her piece on the Today Show, the world was informed that Shape Magazine (whose editor at large was on as well) would be rectifying this mess by featuring Brooke (as well as some others) in a magazine spread about the realities of extreme weight loss. Right on! I think that is a really important topic and it isn’t often shared…other than from bloggers who of course talk openly about it and share tons (sometimes too many, points finger at self) pictures about where their journey has led them. I know I held nothing back when it came to my skin removal surgery and showing pictures all the time. And I know the before pictures were a gleaming harsh reality of what losing a whole adult human beings (a healthy 5’ 5” woman, in my case) worth of weight looks like. And I wasn’t ashamed, or even hesitant to share, because I agree with Brooke- it is nothing to be ashamed of. That being said, I am also not ashamed that I had the skin removal surgery after. It was for both cosmetic and medical reasons. And yes, sometimes a part of me feels a bit vain. But most days I am beyond happy I had the surgery and I would do it again in a heartbeat. That being said, I am still not planning on having surgery to remove excess skin on my arms or legs nor do I plan on having a breast job- which is another common post weight loss surgery. But I don’t blame or judge anyone for doing so. I think we all have to make the decisions that are best for us as individuals.  And I am happy for any positive exposure stories like Brooke's gets. The more people know, the more they are exposed to it, the more stories like hers (or mine) become the norm. And hopefully this leads to less discussions over whether or not any person should put a shirt on and more discussions about how awesome it is seeing strong, happy, proud, and inspirational women in mainstream media- regardless of the circumstance that led them there.

Well, that’s about it for me this Friday. I hope you have a happy, healthy and amazing weekend!

Love and hugs,