Friday, April 30, 2010

You Say Fritata

If you're looking for a super quick, nutrient packed dinner with little to no measuring and only one pan (that cleans up in a snap!); a fritata should be your go-to dish. I have always watched Rachel Ray and Giada put their pans straight from the stove-top to the oven with envy. I didn't have any oven safe pans until recently. Now, I have one and I LOVE it!

If you've never made one, a fritata is a great way to use whatever produce and/or meat you have on hand. Simply cut them into small pieces and saute them in about 1-2 t of EVOO, then whisk 4-6 eggs (depending on how many people you want to serve) with about 1/4 cup of milk, season as you wish, pour the egg mixture over the sauteed mixture and continue to cook over medium heat, and you can use the spatula to push the cooked egg down and allow the runny egg to reach the outside of the pan so it can cook as well.

After the eggs are fairly set, transfer the pan to a 400 degree pre-heated oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, depenind on how many eggs you used. It's done when it's browned and puffy. Let cool for about 5 minutes, cut into wedges and serve with a simple green salad.

Last night I used some summer squash, zucchini and red peppers, then sprinkled goat cheese over the top. If you're using shredded cheese you can add it to the egg mixture or sprinkle on top.

If you clean your non-stick pan while it's still warm, it's such a breeze! No stuck-on egg for this girl.

J wasn't able to eat with us last night, so he had a yummy breakfast waiting for him upon his arrival home this morning.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pounding the Pavement

Please note the expression on the by-standers face...and the fact that he's not wearing any shoes when it's clearly cold outside on a Saturday morning. I have loved running in downtown Worcester, which has been dubbed by many as 'Paris of the 80's'.

The past week has been a whirlwind of tour-guiding, trail-running and school vacation madness! A few days before my training group's eight-mile trail run, we were told that this would not be an iPod friendly run. Much to our chagrin, we were actually going to have to talk to each other; something that I would normally love but not so much while I'm running.

Lo and behold, it was one of my best runs yet. Engulfed by nature and the sound of my own huff and puff and blow your house down, then I realized...I'm not really huffing and puffing. Somewhere over the last two months I've learned to regulate my breathing. Every once in awhile taking that deep breath and letting it out to calm the old girl down, and breathing harder on hills but overall, I'm starting to really love this.

A Saturday morning that started out with the rush, rush to quietly load Charlie's old crib and mattress into the car and drop it at my friend's yard sale before the run, ended with quiet reflection as I drove back along the Wachusett Reservoir after completing my longest run to date.

This is really happening. I'm going to complete a half-marathon in just over a month. I've lost a little over twenty pounds, and I feel fantastic. The long list of move-ready to-do's are getting checked off one by one, including the biggie of selling my husband's car. The load is lifting from my shoulders and I think that a huge part of it has been the gift I gave myself two months ago...time for myself.

It started as just twenty to thirty minutes of time all to myself; now I get almost 2 hours on Saturday mornings to let my mind wander about how I'm going to decorate each room, what I'll plant in my garden, and my next tropical vacation. All to the backdrop of the latest tunes on my iPod.

I used to say I'd never run a marathon, but now I know all those people were right...once the running bug bites you, you're a goner. I'll leave you with my latest addition to 'Sally's funky fresh fitness' playlist.

Jack Johnson - You And Your Heart: "To The Sea"

Monday, April 12, 2010

Green MomCentral

Don't forget to check me out every Tuesday and Friday as I contribute to Green MomCentral !

This week, I've written about a few chlorine-free diaper brands as well as a post about the status of our food system. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Half way to a Half!

By the time this posts, I will have completed yet another Saturday morning long run with my half-marathon training group. Each week, I look at the course and the mileage it represents and think 'What have I gotten myself into?!" Then, I cruise back in the parking lot of the Central Branch Y and think "I've never felt better!"

This has been one of those amazing experiences that all started with an invitation from my sister-in-law to run a half-marathon in Oregon with her. Had I not found the group coordinated by Andy, I know that I'd be risking injury, and having a really hard time meeting the timelines and prescribed distances for training runs. That's not even mentioning the fact that I wouldn't be making time for proper cross-training.

I spent so much time in every other road run I've participated in being obsessed with not being in the very back. I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that the person in the back of the pack is still very much a part of it.

I had not forgotten how much I thrive on being part of a team, but I guess I forgot just how insurmountable it would all seem were I to have tried training solo. Thanks to Melody on DailyMile, I found Andy. Thanks to the social networking powers of Facebook, I'm not the only one who did. I'm now part of a training group of almost one hundred people, all surging toward the same finish line every single week, and happy to support each other as we make our way to what I hope will be the first of many on June 13th.

*Post-run update; I ran the whole thing. I have never run 6 solid miles without walking at least part. I finished this morning thinking for the first time not that I'd do the half-marathon and probably walk a good chunk of it, but that I'm gonna run that whole beyotch!

Friday, April 9, 2010

(Over) Committed

Yes, that is a gigantic cold sore taking up residence on the lower half of my face. The picture seems to minimize the damage, but it's pretty much half of my lower lip, then down onto the skin about a half-inch. It looks the prettiest when I've slathered on Abreva so that it looks like I just did a really sloppy job of brushing my teeth.

As it would happen, the cold-sore didn't make it's appearance until after all the mortgage stress was resolved, but I think I just needed to sit down and have a little reflective time about my priorities. That time came when I had a baby-sitter for a full day so that I could tackle the albatross that is our loft. Originally designated as an office and crafting space, it's become the loft of shame, where toys go for time-out, goodwill boxes are stored and general chaos ensues. I had been sifting and tossing for about two hours when my friend Alex called to check on the progress.

I was feeling pretty discouraged because I felt like I'd been at it for awhile with no real difference (but after I'd taken out the SEVEN bags of garbage/recycling, it was actually substantially better) and she asked if I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed just didn't capture how I was feeling. I felt a little discouraged, but I felt like the biggest sensation was that I had no idea when I'd be able to fit in another day of cleaning like this, and I had so many things I wanted to get done, with so little time.

Oh, did I mention I was hosting book club that evening and still had to make the baked goods for it? Because OF COURSE I chose to tackle a major cleaning task when I was slated to have guests that evening. It wasn't until I was mixing the nonfat yogurt into the 'less guilt' Trader Joe's brownies and talking with my sister on the phone that it hit me and I told her 'I am just completely over-committed!' I know this isn't a shocker to most, as a lot of people are over-committed, but I was just tired of missing deadlines and not having time to really enjoy any one task because it was just another to tick off the ever-growing to-do list.

After almost three years of fast and furious, throw-yourself-out-there to make friends and connections quickly, my time in New England is winding down and I feel like I need to allow myself the luxury of withdrawing a little bit to start tying up loose ends. Those hats that I still owe Michele? Yes, they'll get done, but now that it's fully Spring, I can only hope they're still in style next winter. That sweater for my sister's birthday (last month)? Yep, it'll get done, before she gets here for her conference in May. Those transcriptions? checkedy-check. My board positions ended at the first of the month and with each completion, I feel a weight lifting. No new cast-ons...pack that yarn and those needles away!

Coordinating the move has been more work than I remembered it being last time. It's probably because I was working a full time job literally up until we moved so I had far less time to obsess over it. But maybe it's just because it's like having your second child; the first time you were blissfully unaware of how much work an infant would be...I mean, you'd heard it was hard, but until you have that baby who's yowling at midnight, then at 2am, then 4...then 6...but the second? You know already.

Oh, and you can only put one jumbo Yakima Skybox on top of your car, so I now know how important it will be to keep behind only the most essential items. What are essentials? Well, I probably won't insist on bringing our full sized computer and television, enough clothes for a month or toiletries to spare. But that scrub-brush and plastic bucket did actually come in handy (you ever tried to get puke off of a car seat in a gas station parking lot without an outdoor water supply? Ask J, it was really fun!)

Taking on one task or stressor at a time and either eliminating it or putting boundaries on it will be a slow process, but I already feel a huge sense of relief. It's just too bad I had to have herpes spread all over my face to finally wise up!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Charlie is his mother's child through and through. In the car, if he's crying and has shoes and socks on, I can almost guarantee you that the crying will cease as soon as socks and shoes are removed. He loves to let his 'piggies' breathe!

Knowing this about him, I didn't think twice about him wanting to take him shoes off at the playground. Even though walking barefoot on wood chips isn't exactly my idea of fun, I indulged him. That is, until I realized that the reason he keeps wanting to take off this pair (and several others that fit H well after his second birthday) is that they are too small. Not jam-your-feet-in small, but just small enough to be uncomfortable. Apparently they've been that way for about a month because Alex commented that she'd told J about it when she watched the kids for us during my trek to the double Walla to pick out my beloved bamboo floors. Thanks for passing on the message, J.

I felt like mother of the year, so busy to just get out the door that I didn't realize that he was hobbling along in too-small shoes.

I had ordered the kids' crocs for the season (with a coupon for $10 off each pair!) but was then sorely disappointed that Charlie appears to be right between sizes. I remembered that my friend had given me a pair of croc-like Airwalks at Charlie's shower, and I was actually able to remember where I'd put them! Perfect fit.

'Luckily', because we are heathens and don't really attend church, the boys really only need about 2 pairs of shoes for each season; boots and sneakers for winter, sandals and sneakers for summer and spring. I was about to break down and head to Stride Rite for his monstrously wide feet when, today, I got my email from Robeez, which announced they now have an eco-friendly line. Starting at 21.99, which means they're not even more expensive than their regular line! I love the Surfin' Turtle shoe for walkers.

Oh darn, you know how I hate shoe shopping!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Photography by Lee Ann Giveaway

Right now, if you live in, or will be in, the Tri-Cities, WA area you could enter to win a shot at a free photo-shoot with Lee Ann! If you'd like to see some of her photos, you can browse her site. After a stint in the Mid-West, she's back home, and is building her business in the area super fast, so you better get her while you can!

Sugar High, Sugar Low

Just before the start of Easter weekend we got word that our mortgage and house closing would be going forward as planned. Now, it's just the underlying sense of unease that all new home-owners tell me is normal; the I-can't-believe-it-until-the-keys-are-in-my-hands feeling. I'll take that over what I felt all last week any day!

On Saturday, I went with my training group for our 5 mile run, which was mapped at 5.25 miles. When I got done I was tired, but I didn't feel like I needed to sit down or that I couldn't go another step. I picked my kids up from childwatch, wrestled with Charlie in the back seat while I changed the world's poopiest diaper and then it was off to the Starbucks drive-thru for my weekly post-run reward. Honestly, the fact that the group runs are stationed near the only drive-thru Starbucks in Central Mass is incredible motivation each week. Before we arrived, H asked if he could have a donut. I told him I'd love to get one for he and Charlie to share. 'But I want one to myself!' Fine. They sell really cute little mini-frosted donuts at Starbucks now, so I told him he could have one of those.

His response? 'Is there more sugar in a big donut, or a little one?' Well, um, the big one most likely. 'Then I want a big one.' Yeah, it's either the little one or nothing. 'Okay, the little one.' That's what I thought.

Before my run, I'd done my weekly weigh-in and realized that since I started running about a month and a half ago, I've lost sixteen pounds. While I haven't been on a diet, per se, my food choices have seemed to change on their own. I don't necessarily want to eat a burger for lunch if I know I'm going to run later in the day, or if I've already run, I remember how hard I had to work to burn the calories I did, so the trade-off no longer looks quite so appealing. Instead of the usual weekend mocha that I may have rewarded myself with, just getting a nice nonfat latte felt pretty good.

Not so for H. Lately, the kid is obsessed with sugar! Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day and every other sugar-fueled holiday has not helped to end his love affair with saccharine goodness, so this year I asked that the Easter bunny only bring as much candy as the kids could eat in one sitting...I'm done storing the leftovers until time memorial so that they could have candy each night until they were twenty, and because I don't want to have candy in the house all the time.

After they finished their breakfast of peeps and chocolate, we got ready and headed over to a friend's house for a pot-luck Easter brunch. It was so much more enjoyable than sitting in a restaurant, paying an exorbitant amount of money for the tiny bit of food they'd eat before they were 'done' and made you eat with the goal in mind of making a quick exodus.

This time, the kids played in the basement, the adults enjoyed the offerings, and then we all went out for an egg hunt. It's quite possibly the first Easter in NewEngland in the last decade that has been this lovely, but it was seventy-five degrees! We sat in the sun while the kids played and our food settled, then headed back in for a quick dessert. My friend had made the most fun little deserts by dipping a balloon in chocolate, and then popping the balloon to make it look like half an egg. Then you fill it with chocolate mousse and, instead of cherry, each confection was topped with a peep.

By the time we got home, the kids were fast asleep. I had time to submit both posts to Green MomCentral before we felt obliged to wake them, and then it was time for the circus of the night-time routine to begin. We switched Charlie to a 'big boy' bed this weekend (aka the crib rail came down) and the first night went ridiculously well. Last night when I put him to bed, he started messing around, so I reminded him that he needed to lay down or he'd have to be in a baby crib again. He settled immediately and went to sleep...or so we thought.

After about an hour, H went in to join him in slumber only to find that he was waiting for big brother to get the party started. Guess who had to be the party pooper? Of course. So, H in our bed, and Charlie in the pack-n-play, both kids were asleep within about five minutes. But only after J doled out the worst punishment ever...'No Candy For a WEEK!' And just like that, the party was over.

*Photo credits go to Michele of mQn photography. If you're looking for great candid shots of your family, you won't find anyone better, or at a more reasonable price!