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The Mint

January 25, 2012

The end of last week found me at two different restaurants that I just can’t feel guilty about.  I mean, I’ve tried.  The guilt just isn’t there.  Sorry!

Friday I had a work lunch that had been scheduled for about a month (and had been postponed at least twice already).  It couldn’t be moved, and I couldn’t not eat!  So we decided to go somewhere special, a little out of the ordinary.  Kristin suggested The Mint

I am so sorry that I have no pictures!  Bad blogger! 

The restaurant has a casual, modern vibe.  The interior décor gives it a light, airy, fresh feeling.

I ordered the Tom Kha Coconut Soup to start, and the Mint Platter off of the appetizer menu as my main dish.  The platter consists of  chicken satay, fresh summer rolls, and crispy vegetable dumplings.  I traded my crispy vegetable dumplings for Kristin’s Steamed Vegetable Dumplings.

This was my first taste of coconut soup, and I loved it!  It’s going on my list of things to order whenever it’s on the menu!  I really enjoyed the subtle sweetness of the broth and the way it mixed with the tomatoes and mushrooms.  I thought the chicken in it was a little bland, so next time I may try it with the shrimp instead.

Everything on the Mint Platter was amazing.  Next time, though, I will add shrimp to the summer rolls (I’m beginning to see a common thread with my dishes…I think I need more shrimp!).  I did order a side of the cucumber sauce on Kristin’s recommendation.  I enjoyed the rolls and dumplings equally with the peanut sauce and the cucumber. 

I left feeling full, but not stuffed.  I love finding that balance!  I can’t wait to go back…maybe next time I can try one of their martini’s.  I hear they’re delicious!

I’ll tell you about Saturday’s restaurant another time…

The Junior Baker

January 20, 2012

G made her first batch of cookies this week for a school project.  She read the recipe, measured the ingredients, mixed, rolled, cut and baked.  Then she decorated.

We also tasted.  Best. Project. Ever.

Blame it on Mexico

January 19, 2012

Tuesday was one of those days.  You know the ones… you can’t put your finger on what made it so difficult, but by the time your day’s over, you’re wiped out.  One of those days when nothing but a margarita will make it better?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who has those.

I had no real plan for dinner (forgot to put the pork roast in the slow cooker) and no energy to come up with a plan.  So El Fenix provided our meal for the evening.  As well as a margarita on the rocks.  So. Not. Worth it!  Everything was off, nothing tasted right.  Or maybe that was just the guilt… Sad smile

But the next day I was back in the game.  Open-mouthed smile

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I followed this recipe.  Meh.  There was too much of something, but we couldn’t figure it out.  I even halved the basil.  I also sautéed fresh green beans with olive oil and garlic, then added a mixed green salad with Parmesan Ranch Dressing.

I have a pretty stocked kitchen most of the time, but there are a few things that I don’t have.  A couple of things I can think of off the top of my head: milk frother, skimmer, strainer, cheese cloth.  None of these are big ticket items, but I still don’t see myself adding them to my kitchen supplies any time soon. But every once in a while, something is called for, and I think I might probably get one.

For the pork, a skimmer was called for to skim the fat off the top of the juices left in the crockpot so I could make gravy.  I obviously could not have lumpy gravy!  Oh, what’s a girl to do?!

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I spy something with my little eye…

I temporarily turned my zester into a strainer!  It took a few passes through, but it subbed in pretty well for a skimmer!

Another tool that my kitchen is missing is a milk frother.  I shopped on Amazon for one, and found one, but just couldn’t pull the trigger on the purchase.  Especially not when Google had a solution!

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I may not have a frother, but I have at least half a dozen of these little jars!  I just pour the amount of half and half that I’d normally pour into my coffee.  Screw the lid on, then shake!  Take the lid off and microwave for ~30 seconds.  Watch it so the froth doesn’t overflow.  Pour into your coffee and spoon the remaining froth on top.  Just like the coffee shop, only cheaper! Winking smile  I have done this with milk, and it worked just fine.  The almond milk didn’t froth up as nicely as the milk or half and half.  I don’t recommend it, but I may have just done it wrong.

And that’s all for tonight!  Thanks for stopping by!

And you stay classy, San Diego!

Chickenhenge

January 17, 2012

Over the weekend, Chickenhenge appeared in our north pasture.  Who placed it there remains a mystery.

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Ok, so really it’s not a mystery.  We did it.  And by we, I mean Ron and me.

This is where our ladies currently live:

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This worked very well in the city for three chickens.  In their old home, Red and Goldie were able to free range in their back yard.  However, here, we can’t let them roam any of our yards without protection.  The predators and our dogs would endanger their lives if they were allowed to free range.  Also, since I am expanding my flock this spring to at least 9 birds, I needed a much larger home for them to roam. 

This week I spent time researching and drawing, and came up with a plan, loosely based on this coop.  I had several factors that were important to me: easy access to eggs, the ability to stand up in the run and coop, plenty of room for 8 or more chickens, security, and ventilation.  Ron and I also agreed that it needed to look nice, since it can easily be seen from the road and the house. 

Because we live in a pretty mild climate, the coop doesn’t need to be completely enclosed.  However, I feel that the chickens will be safer if I’m able to close the coop up for the night.  Since we have such high humidity here, I also need to make sure I allow for plenty of ventilation.  I’ve read over and over that, when you think you have enough ventilation, add more.

So, after the plans were drawn, pictures studied, and lumber purchased, we began erecting Chickenhenge.

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The first section is 8’ high x 16’ long.  We built the section laying flat, then stood it up and braced it.

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And then we took a break. 

IMG_0300IMG_0303IMG_0305 We built the second side, then stood it up and braced it.  We had to work pretty quickly to stabilize them at this point, so we added posts at the bottom, then added the posts at the top. 

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Lou was a very big help throughout the process.  She kept us focused and on-task. 

IMG_0314IMG_0315IMG_0318 As the sun set on our first day of work, Chickenhenge stood strongly against the setting sun.  There was talk of turning this into a deck for us.  But the chickens need it more than we do.  They will have a beautiful view!

This is just the pen.  We will be adding a 6’ section at the North End for the raised coop.  Next weekend we’ll begin work on the roof.  Since I’m terrified of being on a ladder, that should be a really fun day.  Disappointed smile

Can’t you just see how excited the chickens are for their new home?IMG_0299IMG_0309

Surviving the weekend

January 16, 2012

What a great weekend!

We watched a riveting basketball game.

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We started work on a major project at the house.

We watched a little football.

We played with the dogs.

And we didn’t eat out at all!  Major success!

Friday

Chicken and Rice with salad (mixed greens topped with rosemary olive oil and flavored balsamic vinegar)IMG_0241

Saturday

Steak night!  with roasted new potatoes, grilled asparagus, and garlic focaccia bread.  (No pictures were taken, I ate it too fast!)

We were successful this Saturday because of two things I did that I neglected to do last weekend.  First, I made sure everyone ate something before we left the house.  I had a banana with a scoop of Dark Chocolate Almond Butter.  Second, I made a trail mix of sorts that we took with us in case we got hungry.  It consisted of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, dried bananas, dark chocolate chips, and rice Chex.  We didn’t actually break into it until we got home, but it was with us in case we needed it.  We also each had a water bottle.  Sandwiches were ready to go as soon as we got home, since we were going to be hungry as we walked in the door!

Sunday

Ribs cooked on the smoker with baked potatoes.  I topped my potato with butter, Greek yogurt and English Cheddar Cheese.  We started the day off with a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs over easy and pancakes.  I highly recommend these pancakes!  In fact, we had some left over that I froze for breakfasts throughout the week.  I may even make another batch.

Next Week’s Planned Workouts

Last week was not a great workout week.  Towards the end of the week we both lost our drive.  I chalked it up as a loss, and decided to just repeat the week.

Sunday: 3 mile long run [done]

Monday: NROLFW 1B

Tuesday: 25 minute easy run

Wednesday: NROLFW 1A

Thursday: Speedwork (6×400)

Friday: NROLFW 1B

Saturday: Rest

I don’t normally do 3 days of strength training in 1 week, but since I didn’t get two in last week, I need to play catch up this week.  I like to give my legs a rest day after Sunday’s long run, but it was only 3 miles, so, for me, this doesn’t really count as a long run.  In a couple of weeks when we’re up to 5 miles, then we’ll take Monday off to give our legs a chance to recover.  I also like to plan a rest day after speedwork, but I think the rest day before a long run (Sunday: 4 miles) is more important.  And I know that Saturdays are very difficult for us to stick to a workout plan.

Next week we’ll be back to two strength sessions, so our week will look like this:

Sunday: 4 mile long run

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 30 minute easy run; NROLFW 1A

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Speedwork (8×400)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: NROLFW 1B (or rest if we do strength on Friday).

I’m also VERY excited that this 8 week training plan culminates the weekend of the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth.  We will be running in the 5k on Saturday and aiming for a sub-30 minute time!  Ron and I would love to have more people run with us!  Sign up if you’re in the area.  If you’re already signed up, let me know!

This Little Chicken

January 12, 2012
tags: ,

This little chicken…

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used to be our only egg-layer. 

And now…

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there are two.

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So now we wait…

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Clean Fridge

January 11, 2012

Last night I tackled the refrigerator.  I can’t remember the last time it was thoroughly cleaned.  I mean, I try to keep it neat and somewhat organized, but I haven’t cleaned it in too long to think about.

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Ok, so I forgot to take a picture before I started.  Sorry!

I cleaned each shelf off and wiped it down with warm, soapy water.

Finished product:

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I would also like you to know that these pictures were taken in RAW mode on my new camera.  I was inspired by this post.  Now I just need to learn how to edit them correctly!


Yesterday Memphis had to go in for her big surgery.  They kept her overnight to make sure she was going to be ok.  I really struggled with this, and missed her tremendously.  I think someone else did, too.

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He stayed in her crate most of the night.   Maybe he just really likes the cozy atmosphere she’s created with the placement of the bed and accessories.  I think she gets her design skills from her mom.  Smile

Memphis came home this afternoon.  I think they mixed up the meds and gave her crack.  She was crazy!

I love her crazy-hyper puppy bursts of energy, but I also really love the sleepy, cuddly sweetheart.

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I’m so glad she made it home safely!

Looks like it’s time for bed.

And I’ve made it one more day without restaurants.  For those of you keeping track, 31 out of 33 meals so far this month from the Rogers’ Kitchen (if we act like I eat 3 meals every single day).  Not too shabby!

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Good night!