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Back to School

August 24, 2015

Other than this:

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…we’re getting back into the swing of things over here.  Lila has had a full week of school…Ryan and I have both taught a few classes.  It always takes a while to adjust to a new semester’s schedule, but we’re getting there.

We’ve been having some easy meals, like chili:

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…which we ate on the floor since we were still without a table.  Smile

Chicken tacos after class:

 

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…made with chicken that we made in a stove-top smoker that my parents got us for Christmas last year.  We’ve used it a few times over the past month and really love it—I’m glad we decided to keep it when we were paring down our kitchen stuff!

In other news, Lila had her first ballet class of the year, at a new studio that we were able to walk to (!!!)

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She’s so much bigger this year!

On Friday night, we put a few more miles on the stroller and walked downtown to a food truck festival for gourmet sandwiches and ice cream:

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Finally, out of nowhere, Lila started feeling pretty bad on Saturday afternoon—she had a bit of a fever and a sore throat.  Sad smile  She seems to be doing much better today, but she has no voice at all…which has been kind of nice.  Winking smile  She’s in that phase where everything is a “Why?” so getting a break from that is okay by me.  

Still, I do want her back to 100%…so I made this chicken noodle soup in the slow cooker for dinner tonight:

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I guess we’ll see tomorrow if she regains her voice. 

Banana Nut Muffins and First Day of School!

August 13, 2015

First of all, I can’t believe we’ve gone from this:

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…to this, in just a year:

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Gah!  It’s funny—I feel like I’ve been way more emotional about Lila going to school *this* year than I ever was last year.  I blame the pregnancy hormones.  There’s been a little bit of this from me, these days:

…and a lot of this, on Ryan’s end:

Anyway.  She just seems so much more grown-up to me these days…I guess since I’m spending more time thinking about what it will be like to have a baby in the house again.  It doesn’t help that she has an adorably, ridiculously huge backpack this year:

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So.  Grownup.

Other than that, we’ve been packing, packing, packing, and visiting the new house, where painting is afoot:

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Eek!  Moving on Saturday, and I really can’t wait.  I’m so ready to get in the house and unpack.  Is it weird that I really like doing that?  I just love the feeling of getting everything settled. 

Meals have been quick and easy…tacos:

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…etc.  Anything that we can throw together in fifteen minutes, basically.  But, Lila and I *did* do a little baking this afternoon, in an attempt to use up some bananas that were on their way out.  We used this banana muffin recipe, subbing oil for the butter (all we had) and adding walnuts and almonds (use up the pantry!).  They turned out really tasty!

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Even Baxter wanted in on the action. 

Happy Thursday—glad tomorrow is Friday, even though I am spending literally the whole day in meetings. 

xx

Final Weekend of Summer

August 10, 2015

School doesn’t start for me and Ryan for another week or so, but this weekend definitely had an air of finality to it—it just *felt* like the last weekend of summer.  For Lila, it is—she’ll go to school to meet her teachers today, and then will have her first full day tomorrow.  I know it was three months just like every other summer, but for whatever reason, this one feels like it really flew by.  Our trips to California and Block Island seem like a lifetime ago.

In between packing, we tried to soak up some of the last bit of summer over the weekend.  Huntsville offers a TON of really fun summer activities, but I’ll be honest—we often talk ourselves out of them by the time they roll around at 6pm, because A) we’re tired and B) I’m pregnant and it’s hot as balls out there. 

But, this weekend we sucked it up and headed out for a concert at a local downtown park, and I’m so glad we did—it was really nice in the shade, the food (tacos from local food trucks) was great:

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…and the music was perfect for a  little dancing:

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Channeling Jodi Sawyer. Winking smile

Yesterday, we went to church and then packed up some more.  I had Lila’s preschool orientation, which went from 3:30 to about 5:00.  Then, as I was driving home, Ryan (who was at the park with Lila) called and let me know that we had a house showing at 6—ack! We rushed home, did a super-fast cleaning, and then got out of there around 5:50.  Apparently our dogs were causing quite the distraction for some buyers who came by on Saturday, so we took them with us this time, and all headed downtown for a pizza dinner:

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Alas, pizza was only for the humans.  Sorry, dogs.

Hope you had a great weekend—is your summer wrapping up, or do you still have a few more weeks?  As much as saying goodbye to summer is bittersweet, I will say that I’m excited to get back to school.  Can’t believe another year is upon us.  Time to learn all the new terminology of the youths.

This year will be bae.

Did I use that right?

xx

Slow-Cooking

August 8, 2015

Morning!

We’re counting down the days until Lila starts school…and then we move…and then we start school.  It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks. Winking smile 

All this craziness, plus trying to clean out the pantry and freezer, means that lately, dinners have been a little…experimental.

But this was actually a really tasty experiment!

I mentioned wanting to use our slow cooker more once school starts, so I got a head start on that yesterday.  We had a half-empty jar of sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge, just waiting to be used up before the move.  So, I combined that jar (about 1/2 cup) with half an onion and 4 garlic cloves, and pulsed all of it in the food processor. 

Then, to that I added 2 pounds of ground meat (I used half beef, half turkey, but you could easily use all beef…or throw some pork in there), plus two eggs and 1 tsp. garlic salt.

I mixed this well and then formed meatballs to put at the bottom of the slow-cooker—this made eight BIG meatballs.  I covered them with another pantry item—butternut squash spaghetti sauce—and cooked on high for 4.5 hours (you could also do on low for 8).

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The end result was really tasty!  A little bit of meatball broke down in the sauce, so it thickened up by the time I removed the meatballs and gave it a good stir.  Very yummy—and again, so nice to just need to boil water for the rest of the meal, essentially:

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Well, someone is coming to look at our house this morning—our first official showing!! What are the odds that they’ll want to buy it?  High, I hope. Winking smile 

Happy Saturday!

Eat the Pantry

August 4, 2015

I had a friend post on Facebook the other day about how they were doing a pantry and freezer challenge in the month of August—only using a small amount of money to buy fresh goods, and trying to “eat down” the pantry and freezer for the rest.  We’ve been doing the same thing, informally, because of our move—the less we have to move to the new house, the better.

Our pantry isn’t *totally* out of control, but I do have a bad habit of buying slow-cooking items (rice, beans, etc.) in bulk with the thought that I’ll take the time to cook them…and then I end up buying the convenience version of the item (microwave rice, canned beans, etc.) instead when it’s actually time to make dinner.  But anyway, because of this, we have bags of grains especially that I’d like to eat up—quinoa, barley, and TONS of different rice.  I don’t know why a huge bag of arborio rice even sounded like a good idea when I bought it—I mean, we don’t eat that much risotto.

Anyway.

Last night, we also had a lot of chicken leftover from the night before, plus farmer’s market veggies (peppers, zucchini and tomato), so we made a summer sauté of sorts.  I cooked up the rice (so much tastier cooking it in broth…with butter)—it was super easy and only took 45 minutes—why am I so bad about using this stuff?!  The veggies and chicken were also sautéed and seasoned with garlic salt and basil.  Finally, assemblage: rice, veggies and chicken, plus goat cheese on top.  Yum!

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Probably not life-changing, but easy and delicious.

We need to clean the house this morning—our realtor’s photographer is coming to take pictures, and then he’s hoping to list it by the end of the week.  Finally!  We’re ready to get this puppy sold.  Just as long as it doesn’t take a year, like our Altoona house….ugh.

xx

Quinoa Summer Salad

August 3, 2015

As I was typing this, I was reminded of that Bachelorette contestant who had no idea how to pronounce “quinoa”, and that reminded me that I forgot to watch Bachelor in Paradise last night—damn it!  Oh well…I’m sure I can catch up.

Anyway, quinoa.  We got a load of fresh peaches from the farmers market on Saturday (is there anything better than a southern peach?), and have been eating them left and right.  I used one of the last ones for this quick, easy salad, which we served as a side to smoked chicken and corn last night:

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Quinoa Summer Salad:

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 large peach, diced

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup chopped nuts (we used walnuts)

1 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

honey, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and garlic salt whisked to dress

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to directions and set aside to cool.  Once cool, toss with remaining ingredients.  Enjoy!

I’ve been trying to take better pictures with my phone—I think these are pretty good!  Not as good as my DSLR, but soooooo much easier—plus, yesterday I packed up my real camera for the move.  Guess I’ll see it in a couple of weeks.

Off to take care of some business—our last full week of summer! Gah!

Veggie + Turkey Burgers

August 2, 2015

Morning!  Happy Sunday!

Yesterday, we woke up with a beautiful day and the whole day open, so we decided to take advantage of the weather and head out for a hike.  Well, more like a “hike” really– we went to the Green Mountain Nature Trail, which is about ten minutes from our house– it’s a pretty little hiking trail that works itself around a lake, but it’s only about a mile long, which is actually the perfect distance for Lila to do on her own.  Otherwise, she starts complaining about not wanting to walk anymore– oh wait; she did that anyway. It was still a fun hike.  :-)


  Lila’s new favorite thing is to pretend she is a tiger…or a dog…
  

It was the perfect morning outing!  On the way back, we stopped at the farmers market and got some veggies for our dinner plans, which were…turkey burgers.  Fresh Market sells some *really* tasty turkey burgers– I hate this word as much as the next person, but really the only way to describe them is:

They have tons of veggies in them, which I figured was part of the solution.  So, for our turkey burgers last night, we cooked up some diced onion, pepper, and zucchini to mix in with the ground turkey (along with garlic salt and worcestershire sauce for flavor) before grilling:


   Final verdict?  It was good, but not Fresh Market good.  I’d guess that they use a fattier turkey meat, except that the burgers are billed as “low-fat.”  Sigh.  Some day we’ll figure it out.

Not sure what’s on our agenda today, but I hope you have a great Sunday!

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