Posts tagged ‘laundry’

Rainy day + sugary sweets

Sometimes I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of my life. I was in the middle of my lunch and realized that I needed to go downstairs to switch my laundry out. Since my cats are fatty vultures, they will immediately jump up and sniff/lick/consume any food or drink that I leave out, regardless of what it is. For this reason, I am always balancing or hiding my food in weird places when I walk away. Today, my lunch was perched on top of the fridge for ten minutes.

I had a delicious open-faced turkey sandwich with TJ’s sliced goat cheese and 1/3 of an avocado, and a salad with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell pepper and TJ’s champagne pear vinaigrette. I just picked up some sliced turkey from the deli yesterday after finishing off the gross pre-packaged turkey I bought last time when the deli was closed. It was the natural, no preservatives kind, but still — that stuff is so slimy and just not tasty. I prefer Boar’s Head ovengold much more :)

See the little flecks of Gorgonzola in the dressing? Mmmm! It’s pretty low-cal too, I think only 45 calories in a serving. I always keep this stuff in the fridge because it makes any salad taste like it came from a restaurant.

Half a banana was also enjoyed on the side.

I was able to sleep in and work from home today (yayyy work-from-home Wendesdays!) and it’s a good thing too, because it’s bleary and rainy out! It seemed like it was actually pretty nice out up until about 1 o’clock, but I was a good little worker bee and stayed inside near the computer, so I can’t be sure. Now it’s raining pretty steadily though, and it’s nice to have the sound in the background while I’m working away.

Yesterday after leaving work, I hopped on the bus to find that it was uber-crowded, so I had to stand up at the very front next to the driver, and it felt like I was playing a video game or something. I was RIGHT up against the windshield. Traffic was bad, so I downloaded a new phone app that is similar to the Hipstamatic for the iPhone and played around with it. Here is an overly-Hipsteresque shot of my ridiculously treacherous-looking spot on the bus.

Crazy, no? That happens from time to time on the bus because it’s the very last stop before it runs express up Lake Shore Drive. It was a beautiful day with tons of people running and biking along the lake shore path, with lots of sailboats out on the water too, but I couldn’t snap a decent enough shot. Sorry! Here’s another.

This app is so neat, I can’t wait to play around with it more. Expect many more hipster-y, vintage-looking pictures in the future!

When I got home, I made a quick run (hah!) to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for the evening’s activities. I seriously don’t think I can leave a grocery store with a bill under $50. Honestly. I think it’s impossible. Thankfully it was still lower than it would have been normally, because strawberries were $1.50 a pack!!! Talk about a kid in a candy store — I went nuts, and left with four packages :D

My friend Laura met me in front of my apartment soon after, and after dropping off the groceries, we walked over to a new restaurant that just opened in the neighborhood called Taverna 750. Immediately after seeing the signs and menu go up a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try this place. It had lots of small plates, homemade cellos (limoncello, orangecello, etc) and a fantastic drink list, all with an Italian twist.

I started off with their signature 750 cocktail, which was very similar to a cosmopolitan, but was made with homemade limoncello and came with a sidecar!

It was STRONG, but very delicious. And how cute is the little sidecar in a bucket of ice? The drink was $10, but I felt like I really got my money’s worth with the extra little carafe. Of course I shared with Laura, and she got a shooter of homemade pistachio-cello. It was sweet and very smooth!

Next we each received our own antipastos. She got a chilled carrot soup, and I got a mozzarella dish wrapped in phyllo dough…they were both amazing.

That’s truffle honey drizzled over the top!

We shared two small plates after that: a slow-roasted pork shoulder in a tomato sauce with creamy polenta and a pesto drizzle (OMG), and a “pizzette” with brie, figs, pepperoni and poppy seeds (OMG!). This is my kind of restaurant.

The polenta was SO creamy and amazing, and paired with the savory meat and sauce, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I will never turn down slow-roasted pork shoulder, it’s one of my favorite dishes. The pizza was amazing too, and I thought the poppy seeds (typo alert – I wrote “poopy seeds” at first…heh) were such a neat and unexpected addition. I can’t wait to come back and try everything on their menu!

For dessert, Laura and I planned on making strawberry rhubarb pie (!) after I texted her earlier in the day saying that it sounded really good (drawback of looking at food all day for work). When we looked at some of the recipes, though, it seemed like the combination of a few tired girls and my very small kitchen might mean we should pick something a little easier. We decided (after a stiff cocktail, of course) that Emeril’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Irish Whiskey Butter sounded perfect to these two lushes.

makin' whiskey butter

pre-cooking

ready for the oven! see all that berry goodness at the bottom?

the finished product

I have to admit, this dessert was very good, but it was far too sweet for my tastes. I have never been a big dessert or sugar person, and hardly eat much of it from day to day, so when I try something really sweet, it usually turns me off. While the taste was fantastic, I had a hard time adjusting to the sweetness with that first bite. The sauce was also very sweet, so I needed to gulp down a gigantic glass of water after a few tastes.

I think next time (if there is a next time), I’d make this with 1/3 of the sugar or even less, since the strawberries were so naturally sweet. I would also try to figure out a way to make the sauce with less sugar, because once that melted into the crumble, it was just that much more sugar. If you’re a big sweets fan though, this would definitely be for you!

I decided to have dessert after my lunch today, and mixed a small portion of leftover SR crumble into a big blob of Fage 0% and sprinkled a little cinnamon on top — I think this was the key here. The yogurt’s tang really set off some of the sweetness of the dessert, and the insanely indulgent creaminess of the Fage (seriously, this stuff is worth the splurge — it is leaps and bounds beyond every other Greek yogurt out there) contrasted nicely with the crunch of the crumble.

You better believe I licked the bowl clean! Yum.

I have a bit more work to do today, and I’m multitasking by doing some long-overdue laundry that has been staring at me for weeks. There are about nineteen piles of clean clothes on my bed, and every hanging surface available is covered in clothes hanging dry. I’d like to get to the gym at some point before it gets too late, but I have a feeling this is going to take a looooong time tonight…wish me luck.

Catch ya later!

June 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm 6 comments

London Weather

The foggy, misty, still-icky-but-not-that-cold weather Chicago has been having reminds me of the weather the winter I lived in London. It rarely got below 30 degrees, but most days had some sort of misty/rainy overcast business going on. Surprisingly, I loved it…it felt very, I don’t know, romantic? Either way, this weather is making me miss being in London terribly. I really can’t wait to go back — either as a tourist, or as a resident :)

Source

So despite my gung-ho (hah!) attitude about getting laundry done yesterday, it didn’t happen. I swear, mom, I had a good excuse!

A friend was having a yucky, horrible day, so I arrived with reinforcements in hand — a bottle of wine, lots of hugs, and a penchant for Thai food. I honestly believe that “girl time” and maintaining your female friendships is one of the most important parts of life. Relationships come and go, but when you really need them, your girlfriends are always there.

I was going to skip the gym (again) tonight in favor of laundry, but that seemed counterintuitive (somehow?), so I’m really hoping I can get it done anyway tonight. I’m going to be making an eggplant and celery stew for dinner (recipe here!) because I have both an eggplant and a bag of celery waiting to be used in the fridge (I’m trying to get better about using my groceries and budgeting — can be seen in Tina’s latest post here!), so maybe I can get some of the laundry done while that’s cooking.

Lunch today had to be thrown together from the grocery store (talk about contradicting my goal of budgeting right away, sheesh) because I got home late last night and didn’t have the energy to put a lunch together. It came out really good anyway, though!

I had about 3/4 of a red bell pepper cut up (they were SOOO pretty and on sale for $0.99!), a sliced organic cucumber, some fat-free ranch salad dressing for dipping and my favorite chicken burrito. I normally don’t eat fat-free salad dressings because, aside from tasting bad, I think they’re really silly. Veggies need fat to help you absorb their nutrients, and usually these FF dressings are loaded with sugar and HFCS to compensate for their lack of fat (aka flavor). I think I should have stuck to my guns, because I’m now dealing with a really awful stomach ache, and there wouldn’t be any other reason for it. I actually am wondering if it might be the corn syrup, because I have essentially cut that stuff out of my diet completely. Does anyone else ever have trouble with HFCS sensitivity?

The kitties have been super cuddly lately…perhaps they’re wanting to bundle up because of this weather too. Some shameless Mojo pictures…

why are you taking pictures of me? leave me alone!

okay fine, I'll be cute...but just this ONCE

January 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm 3 comments

Gray Mondays…

It is certainly one of those Mondays where I would give anything to be curled up under my covers in my pajamas. It’s a misty, foggy, overcast day in Chicago and my head is feeling just about as foggy. I would give anything to be one of those people that’s bright eyed and bushy tailed on Monday mornings…or mornings in general. How do people do that??

I had a tiring but enjoyable weekend with a friend that came into town for the Bears/Packers game. We spent a lot of time out, catching up and enjoying the cocktails. We hadn’t seen each other since I moved away from Madison in July, so I was thrilled to finally get to see her.

Too bad the Bears were crushed.

Report: Bears’ Cutler suffered torn MCL against Packers.

It was a somber mood inside our Wrigleyville bar, but I have to hand it to my visiting Packer friends — they kept it respectful. At least, I imagine, until they were out of sight from us grieving Bears fans.

Aside from the pitiful game, the rest of the weekend had a great feel to it. For the last week or two though, I’ve felt like my body has been fighting off some sort of bug; I haven’t felt sick per-se, but kind of worn down and blah. Unfortunately, two of my roommates have had nasty colds, so I was really concerned I was next on the list.

After going out for a few drinks Friday night, I woke up Saturday feeling congested, groggy and just overall nasty. At first I thought it was allergies, but my roommate insisted the rhinovirus had me in a deathgrip. This is where discipline comes in: instead of sitting around feeling gross, I got my butt up and off to the gym, did some low-impact cardio and lifted weights. And I am SO GLAD that I did.

I still feel sort of run down, but I woke up Sunday feeling much better and like the nasty cold feeling (you know that indescribable, but very distinctive feeling you get when you know you’re getting sick?) had gone away. Yay!!! I truly believe that when I am eating well and exercising regularly, I get sick FAR less often. I love mah bod when it does what it’s supposed to do! :)

After dulling the pain of the Bears defeat with a slice of Ian’s pizza, I spent the rest of my evening running some errands. I reserved a Zipcar for an hour and a half, but couldn’t get inside the car because my card wasn’t working. After sitting on the phone with them for half an hour and walking to THREE different car locations, we finally tracked one down that had an extra card in it. Phew! Thankfully they have great customer service and hooked me up with a free extra half hour.

Zipcar is quite possibly my favorite thing ever

First stop was Target, where I picked up a HUGE 35 lb bucket of cat litter. Boy, those cats really have no idea of the grunt work that goes into their creature comforts….I spent too much money on Target essentials like cleaning supplies, yogurt and mascara. Yep.

A far more exciting next stop was Trader Joe’s! I walked away with all sorts of goodies, ranging from fresh fennel, to heirloom tomatoes, to goat cheese and some frozen shrimp. YUM. Unfortunately, my bill was crazy high (although I did buy some “super greens” supplements that were a whopping $20) and I was kicking myself after already dropping a wad of cash at Target.

Tina over at Carrot’s n Cake posted a great grocery shopping guide from which I could stand to learn a few lessons. Her main take home point is planning, which I am not very good at doing. She suggests taking time every Sunday to assess what is in your pantry and come up with a plan of how you can use things you already have, specifically things that are about to go bad.

My problem (although I hardly see this as a problem!) is that I love food and get overwhelmed/excited/overstimulated whenever I hit up the grocery store — particularly Whole Foods or TJ’s. For the most part, I can avoid going into a food frenzy by sticking to my standard foods. Don’t get me wrong, I love my go-to products, but sometimes things can get a little boring. And that boring part is what leads me to spend $15 on gourmet smoked salmon.

Oops.

Despite my overindulgence, I was able to make some really tasty meals with all the loot that I scored :) Since a slice of cheese pizza won’t fill you up for very long, I snacked on a toasted mini whole wheat bagel, topped with some fresh sliced fennel, goat cheese and smoked salmon while I made my lunch for the next day. I wish I would have gotten a picture, but it was too good to stop and put down! Yum!

Lunch today was a salad consisting of: mixed greens, sliced tomato, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, sprouts, cukes, sliced fennel and some delish poppyseed dressing. I also had some Trader Joe’s black bean soup (which tasted remarkably similar to the Amy’s stuff, but was a whole buck cheaper!), but I couldn’t finish the can because it was a tad too salty for me.

On the to-do list for today is LAUNDRY. I hate to skip the gym for boring old chores, but the two activities are directly related because I am out of clean gym clothes! Ack!

yucky

I’m thinking I’d like to make some of the shrimp I bought for dinner, but I’m not sure what I want to make with it…Perhaps another round of my quickie pesto! I didn’t have a single vegetable yesterday though (unless you count french fries…), so I’ll need to have an extra serving or two today.

My apologies for the lack of pictures…I can only upload from my computer at home, so for now it’s plain old stock photos.

January 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment


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