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Archive for February, 2010

Sunny + Snow

We got more snow last night!

By the time we got up this morning, we had about 3 inches of new snow, so all the grass I could finally see in the yard is now covered again.

At least I had some natural light this morning with my breakfast!

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It may be snowing, but spring is coming – slowly.

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I had a big bowl of apple oatmeal this morning and that new TJ’s almond butter made it even better.

  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt
  • cinnamon
  • 1 apple, diced and cooked in the microwave for 1 minute with extra cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp craisins
  • 1 Tbsp TJ’s almond butter

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A big bowl of oatmeal and some new coffee from TJ’s was perfect this morning. It’s not terribly cold outside (even with the snow), but seeing the snowflakes falling outside made me want a hot breakfast and lots of coffee.

–work, work, work–

Lunch today might be the biggest salad I’ve ever made.

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Yup, that’s 8 cups of lettuce! Definitely getting in my veggies today 😉

Before we came home last weekend, I ran by Costco near Nick’s parents and bought a 6-pack of romaine. Since we have so much lettuce now, I decided to just use a whole heart in my salad today, but I didn’t realize it would be so much!

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The rest of my salad was just random stuff I found in the fridge.

  • 1 romaine heart
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • scallions
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 Tbsp ranch dressing

It is a tasty salad, but I can’t WAIT for tomatoes to be in season again. I miss them on my salads, and the ones in the grocery store just aren’t good.

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For some crunch on the side, I opened my last bag of these veggies chips I got from Nick’s mom a while ago.

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I really like ‘em – the texture reminds me of Munchos (just not as greasy), which I used to LOVE and eat all the time.

 

Time for a puppy walk, then back to work!

 

What are your favorite chips?

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The second day of our trip included a morning in Madrid and traveling to Toledo that afternoon.

After eating a small breakfast at the hostel, we walked over to the Prado Museum.

On top of it just being the biggest museum I’d ever visited, they had a huge collection of Velazquez paintings, rooms full of sculptures, and a really neat still life exhibition.

Obviously, I couldn’t take pictures in the museum, but it was a fun activity. It had been a while since I’d visited one and I’m really happy I got to go and indulge my love of art.

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After leaving the museum and getting our bags, we headed to the train station in Madrid to catch our 30 minute train to Toledo.

This train station was crazy! They had this rain-forest type thing in the middle of it and there were birds flying through the building.

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We got off the train in Toledo and had a short walk to the entrance in the city walls, but it was worth every minute.

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Toledo does stretch further than the original city walls, but I’ve never visited something like this. The old city walls that used to protect it from intruders are still standing.

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Every part of Toledo was beautiful.

I found myself holding my breath a few times while walking through the city, just hoping that I didn’t miss anything.

THIS is what I thought of when I thought of Spain.

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And not even a mile into the main part of the city, we found another old city gate + tower! And the door was open, so we headed up 🙂

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And this was the staircase! We all had to duck to get through there with our backpacks on – and I’m not very tall (5’5”), so you can imagine how tight it was in there.

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But the steep and narrow staircase was worth it – the view from the top was one high point from our trip to Toledo.

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After coming down from the tower, we walked through the city to find our hostel for the night.

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The streets were so narrow; it was hard to believe the people actually drive cars down the roads.

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The week we were in Spain also happened to be Carnival, so there were big parties outside each night and lots of people walking around in costumes.

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Girls trying to read maps is always funny 😉

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We found our hostel, dropped our stuff off and headed back out to explore!

We tried to find this place that Tiff and James had eaten at before, but we never did.

One thing we did find?

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This view.

I’ll tell you one reason I loved Toledo so much: This city took my breath away more than once.

This view popped up out of nowhere. We were walking down a street lined with houses and it just opened  up to this.

Call me dorky, but I honestly had tears in my eyes – and that was only the first time that happened to me in Toledo. I just wasn’t expecting to see this, and (as pretty as it looks in the picture) it was so much more beautiful in person.

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After posing for pictures in front of the view, we went looking for dinner. Luckily, most places with outdoor seating had heaters by the tables, so we sat and enjoyed a pizza dinner together out on the plaza while listening to the Carnival parade going by.

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After demolishing 3 pizzas, we (of course) went in search of dessert before heading back to the hostel.

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I know you may not like this picture, Mom, but I love it 🙂 Especially since you can see James making a funny face in the background.

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We took my parents back to the hostel after this and then us youngins headed back out for a while. We ended up at an outdoor concert in another plaza – all these families and groups were dressed up in costumes and dancing! It was fun to watch, so we hung out there for a little while before heading back to bed.

After this 1/2 day in Toledo, I wasn’t sure it could get any better – but it did.

 

Up next!

Day 2 in Toledo, Another Teary – Eyed Moment, and Snow in Sequellamos

 

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Bite of Spice

I love having different spices in the house.

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I actually won this in a BSI prize package last year, but haven’t used it in a while.

As soon as I saw this recipe for Broccoli and Sweet Potato Bhaji on Spice’s website, I knew I had to make it.

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I’m so glad I won this spice mix from her – it’s so different than everything else I have in the cabinet.

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I did make a few changes to her recipe based on what I had in the house.

I guess I forgot to buy sweet potatoes, but regular russets worked beautifully in the dish.

  • Russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes
  • About 3-4 cups of potatoes and broccoli instead of 2
  • 1 whole small onion
  • 2 spicy chicken sausages!

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I love the spice mix! It smelled amazing in the house while the spices were cooking.

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The chicken sausage was definitely not a traditional part of the dish, but I knew Nick would want some meat so I added it in to make it more of a one-pot wonder. The spicy chicken sausage added a little more kick to the vegetables – I liked it!

I also had some celery and TJ’s hummus on the side.

I’ve got to get working on more Spain posts! They take SO long to put together, but are so much fun 🙂

 

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Yoatgurt? Yes!

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I’m officially a yoatgurt fan!

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Janetha, you’re a genius 🙂

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I’ve been seeing this breakfast all over the place lately, and I finally bought some more greek yogurt this past weekend just so I could try it.

My first bowl of yoatgurt was pretty simple, but delicious!

  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt, cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup or so greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp *new* almond butter! 

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I love bananas with greek yogurt, and I love them in oatmeal. This was the perfect mix! I really liked being able to have just cold bites with the yogurt/banana or hot bites with oatmeal – plus, you can mix it all together and it’s even better 😉

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My new almond butter is one I’m really excited about. On our way from my parents’ to Nick’s parents’ this weekend, we stopped at the Trader Joe’s in Newport News 🙂

We were out of Kona coffee anyway, but I got a lot of new stuff, including this almond butter with roasted flaxseeds. It’s so crunchy from the almonds + flaxseeds, and I’ve decided that I like salted almond butter the best. Not too salty, but just a pinch makes a world of difference.

And  did you notice the natural light in these pictures? Spring is coming!!! It’s getting lighter just a little earlier in the morning and that makes me happy.

 

Have you tried yoatgurt yet? What are you waiting for?!?

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Spain Trip 2010: Madrid!

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After landing in Madrid around 10:30 Friday morning, we found my sister Tiffany and her husband, James, and rode the metro into town.

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Stepping out into the city for the first time was so exciting! Friday was a beautiful day – a little chilly, but blue skies and sunshine.

We walked from the metro station into town to get some lunch (or breakfast, for us).

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After being up all day Thursday, flying overnight without getting any sleep, and  having to ride the metro and start walking with our bags, we were all worn out.

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We took a few breaks on the way, but we finally made it to our lunch destination.

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Of course, we toasted our arrival with a Spanish beer called Mahou.

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By this point, I was starving. The meal on the plane the night before wasn’t that great, and I didn’t eat the crappy pastry they gave us for “breakfast” before we landed, so I just wanted food!!!

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I had some bread while waiting for the meal – Nick and I decided to get 2 dishes and share them, and both were delicious!

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We ordered a serrano ham and goat cheese salad to start. This goat cheese was warmed before serving, and it was the creamiest and most tangy goat cheese I’ve ever had. We devoured the salad between the two of us.

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The other dish we ordered was serrano ham croquetas.

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Fried cheese + ham? They didn’t last long 😉

And we didn’t get any pastries, but they were tempting.

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After finishing lunch, we headed over to our hostel to check in and drop off our bags so we could walk around the city some more.

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The inside was so neat. It had a stained glass ceiling and tiling all throughout the courtyard area.

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Sadly, even seeing such a cool place couldn’t keep us awake! Almost all of us took naps in the courtyard while we were waiting for our room keys.

But once we were able to sit in the room for a few minutes, rest our feet, and drop our bags, we were ready to go.

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Staying in hostels was an experience, to say the least. All the ones we stayed in were nice, but it was strange having random people in your room.

We took a short nap and headed back out.

Tiff and James took us through part of this humongous park in the middle of the city.

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One of the coolest things we came across in the park was this glass building.

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It was already closed for the evening so we couldn’t go in, but it was so neat! Apparently, you can have receptions and parties in it.

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It was just starting to get dark as we were leaving the park and we were basically walking-while-sleeping, so we grabbed some quick food for my mom and dad and took them back to the hostel to go to bed.

Even though I was super tired, I was a little hungry and not ready to go to sleep, so Tiff, James, Melissa, Nick and I headed back out for some food and fun.

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For “dinner”, I finally had the churros + chocolate I’d been dreaming about since seeing a picture that Tiff put up on Facebook.

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Delicioso.

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This chocolate drink was almost like a dark chocolate pudding – it wasn’t as thick as normal pudding, but it definitely wasn’t like regular hot chocolate. It was great to dip the churro in because the churro was sugary-sweet and the chocolate was really dark and rich.

Before heading back to the hostel that first night, we walked to a plaza where this guy was hanging sideways and playing a piano AND we went to the center of Spain.

It was quite the first day in Spain 🙂 And I enjoyed every minute!

Next up – Madrid, day 2 and Toledo!

 

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Mexican Memories

Thank goodness it’s Tuesday night!

I have a hot date with Nick, Maggie, the couch, LOST, and White Collar so I better hurry 🙂

In between bathroom trips outside and finishing up work today, I had a coconut cream pie Larabar.

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This is definitely one of my favorite flavors. The coconut oil gives it such great depth and keeps it from tasting like just a date bar with coconut mixed in.

As soon as I finished work today, I got started cleaning the house. We didn’t get to it this weekend and going back to work right after the trip hasn’t helped, either.

I dusted, cleaned the bathroom, and vacuumed the downstairs before Nick got home. Isn’t is crazy how just cleaning a little makes the house feel SO much better?

It wasn’t horribly dirty or anything, but Maggie drags in little sticks and pieces of grass, and her paws are always wet after walking in the snow in our yard.

I was just about to start working on dinner, but Nick suggested going out since he had to go drop off a prescription and those dinner-at-home plans went out the window!

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Truth be told, Nick and I both felt a bit defeated after our days at work today, so having a fun dinner out together was good for us.

As were the margaritas!

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This local Mexican place JUST got its ABC license so we had to celebrate the fact that we could finally order a margarita.

I got their special tonight which was Nachos Supremos.

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I never get nachos – and they were good.

The nachos were loaded with:

  • beans
  • chicken
  • lettuce
  • peppers
  • onions

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I added on a healthy layer of their spicy salsa before digging in. 🙂 The chicken was super spicy and had my nose running while I was eating – but it was definitely a good spicy.

And Nick had a burrito the size of his forearm!

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Isn’t that nuts?

When Nick and I were still dating, we went to this Mexican place in Arkansas for dinner and he ordered something called a “Burrito Loco”. Believe it or not, it was bigger than the one pictured above! That burrito was seriously the biggest one I’ve ever seen.

I bet him that he couldn’t eat it all, and the winner would pay for the other person’s dinner.

He totally surprised me and finished the entire thing! I bought dinner, and I guess the rest is history. And he still orders those huge burritos.

 

I’ve got to get comfy and catch up on LOST before the new episode.

Night!

 

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Family Resemblance

Going through our pictures from Spain is SO fun, but it makes me miss it even more than I already do! I can’t wait to post the rest of the recaps – there are a few posts I’m really excited to put together 😉

Nick and I had some eggs + cara cara oranges this morning, but I can’t find my pictures? I had my eggs over oatbran (the best!) and some Kona – it was a good way to start the day. Much better than yesterday, too, since my oatbran didn’t explode on me.

Since I went into the office yesterday, I’m working from home today. That means a fun lunch!

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I got a bunch of Progesso soups a while ago when I held the giveaway, and Nick and are slowly working through them. We both had a can yesterday for lunch, and I broke out the Chicken Noodle today.

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The temperature today is pretty mild, but it’s really foggy/misty/gray outside so it seemed like the perfect day for a bowl of soup.

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To pump up my lunch, I had some celery with TJ’s 3-layer hummus and a slice of my honey wheat bread I made 2 weeks ago (recipe coming soon).

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Homemade bread is ridiculous. This 1/2 loaf has been in the fridge/freezer since we left, and it still tastes amazing.

 

Family Resemblance

Wow – almost all the comments from my Spain post this morning were about how much my family looks alike! We definitely do – except for my little sister. She doesn’t have the really dark hair/dark eyes, but she does have my mom’s face.

I think I’m a mix of my mom + dad for sure, but seeing pictures of me and my mom remind me of how much I do look like her – it’s crazy how similar we look in some pictures! I’m pretty sure I have my mom’s face with my dad’s nose 🙂

 

Who you do resemble most in your family?

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