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Showing posts from March, 2011

The Subaru Fix

I am blessed to have a spouse who is very proficient at mechanical work. Unfortunately this sometimes leaves me as a "garage widow." I am grateful that he saves us money by fixing everything machine-related, but often this type of work can be very time consuming!
Over the course of the last month Daniel spent many hours in the garage working on our Subaru. The main thing to fix was a blown head gasket {a common problem in Subaru's}. While he had the engine pulled he also replaced belts and various other components.
Thankfully this project is FINISHED and we have two working vehicles again! With the help of a friend, he was able to get the motorcycle working as well. I am just glad that I don't have to get up at dawn to take him into work any more :)
Pulling the engine out of the Forrester with the help of the engine hoist... Daniel did this late one night all by himself. *Not recommended.
Close up of the engine.
We photographed each stage of the process as a precaution. T…

Burned Out on Running

It is 4 weeks and some change until the half marathon and sadly I am starting to feel burned out with the long distance training. I ran 9 miles on Saturday but I am dreading my next run {short or long}. I should have run yesterday, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I am so close that there is no reason to quit now, but at the same time I need to find some motivation to keep training. Any advice from you long distance runners???
On a separate note, I am really intrigued by Merrel's new Barefoot Trail Glove.

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:

Monday Dinner: Chicken and Rice with a Side Salad {Recipe from Elizabeth's Edibles}. Daniel gave it 3.4/5 stars because it was made with dark meat. He said it would have been 4.3/5 if it had been made with white meat. This was major comfort food for me, so I gave it 4.5/5.
Tuesday Dinner: Daniel was fixing our car until late, so we ordered Papa John's Pizza.
Wednesday Dinner: Daniel finally finished fixing the Subaru {another late night}. I opted for a bowl of cereal and Daniel had leftover pizza.
Thursday Dinner: We went BuenaVistas and split the Mex Tex Fajitas – our fave.

Friday Dinner: Chicken Florentine Pizza. Daniel said that I tricked him since I forgot to add the feta. Also I left it in the oven a little too long so the crust was SUPER crunchy. Daniel gave it 4.2/5 stars.

Saturday Lunch: Chipotle Bean Burritos {Recipe from Pink Parsley}.  Daniel gave it 4.4/5 stars.
Saturday Dinner:  We tried the burger and fries at Salt Internation…

Salt International Bistro

Last night after my 9-mile run, I had a huge calorie deficit and was craving protein. I told Daniel I wanted a burger and wished that there was a decent local eatery that served burgers {a la Big Daddy's style}. I thought we were going to have to settle on Ruby Tuesday, but our friendsuggested we try a new restaurant called Salt.
I tried looking it up on the internet before we drove to town, but being that we are in rural Alabama, there was nothing online* that mentioned anything about this new little bistro. When we arrived we discovered that it was actually called "Salt International Bistro." I think "International" is a stretch, if not a misnomer.
Anyways, we arrived around 8:00 p.m. and it was pretty slow. The prices for the fare seemed high for Scottsboro and our server was completely inexperienced to the point of making us feel awkward.**
We opted to try the only burger on the menu {also the cheapest entree at $10.50}. It was a good burger and the fries were…

52 Books: Books 16 and 17

This week I wrapped up two books. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is the first in a space trilogy. It is a short book that introduces the main character of the trilogy, Ransom, and describes his unexpected trip to Malacandra {otherwise known as Mars}. It is a quick read, but I found it to be rudimentary compared to The Chronicles of Narnia. Next up is Perelandra.

Book number two for the week was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I have been listening to an audio version of this book while training for my half marathon. Running with a story playing in my earphones has really helped to pass the time on my longer runs.

I don't remember reading this book when I was young, though I did recall parts of the story. It really is quite the adventure as Huck Finn finds himself in a multitude of scrapes – all of which he manages to find a way out of. I was entertained through the entire book.

{Peanut Butter} Banana Bread

This afternoon I felt like making Banana Bread and I have been waiting for the right time to make this Banana Cake recipe that I found at I am Baker
Unfortunately as I started baking, I realized that I was almost out of butter {this seems to be a recurring theme when I make treats}.
So what's a girl to do? Give up? Go to the grocery store? Search the cupboards for a different snack? I opted to google "butter substitutions" and decided that peanut butter would be a worthy substitution {and I had just enough on hand}. 
It worked like a charm.
I now need to add butter and peanut butter to my grocery list...
Peanut Butter Banana Bread Recipe adapted from I am Baker
Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 2 mashed overripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions: 1. Prehead oven to 350. 2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. 3. In a {separate} large bowl…

Dreaming of Summer...

We need a fire pit like this in our back yard...
{via West Elm}

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:

Monday Dinner:Fontina, Mushroom and Prosciutto Shells & Cheese with a side of Sauteed Spinach {Recipe from Pink Parsley}. I liked it, but it almost had too many flavors going on. A very grown up spin on mac-n-cheese. There were tons of leftovers so we were it eating it all week. Daniel gave this meal 3.82/5 stars. Tuesday Dinner: Leftovers Wednesday Dinner: Margherita Pizza with fresh Mozzarella {Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley}. No complaints from the peanut gallery that this pizza was meatless. The homemade sauce was just right. Daniel gave it 4.38/5 stars. Thursday Dinner: Chicken Tortilla Casserole with a side of Corn on the Cob {Recipe adapted from Pink Parsley}. This dish was a little on the spicy side, but really delicious. Daniel gave it 4.72/5 stars. Friday Dinner: We had dinner at The Terminal in Chattanooga. I had a Steak Salad while Daniel had his usual Black Bean Burger.
Saturday Dinner: More leftovers. We went to an afternoon weddin…

52 Books: Book 15

I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown on a GoodReads recommendation and I am so glad that I did. It was a difficult book to read as it was An Indian History of the American West and it is not a happy story. Unfortunately it is a true one.
If you have ever watched the movie, Dances with Wolves, you have had a little taste of what this history is like. There are soldiers and government and pioneers that are encroaching on Indian territory in the name of "civilizing" the uncivilized. Mostly it is a story about greed and the tragic loss of people and culture and animals. It is 400+ pages of horrible things that happen over and over and over to these people. At the same time that President Lincoln was making speeches about "all men being created equal," the Native Americans were not considered to be people. It is enough to make you sick and angry.
Excerpts from the book: "The white man has taken our country, killed all of our game; was not satisfied with t…

Another Broken Egg Cafe

Today at church we had a baby dedication with a reception to meet the families/babies afterward. Since Daniel and I are still new, we opted to skip the reception and grab brunch on the way home.
A few weeks ago, we had seen Another Broken Egg Cafe and wanted to try it out but there always seemed to be a ridiculously long wait. Hoping we had beat the rush by skipping class, we went to the restaurant.
It started out good. We were told it would be a 15 minute wait to sit outside – the weather today was amazing, so we definitely wanted to take advantage of the sunshine. Besides that, the interior of the restaurant was really crowded.
That 15 minutes quickly turned into 30 and then 45. It was one of those situations that you debate leaving, but you know that as soon as you leave your table will come up. So we waited. And got hungrier and hungrier. Daniel is not a happy camper when he is hungry, so not a good combination.
We had already decided what we were eating {during the ridiculously long …

Blogger's Day of Silence

I will not be blogging on Friday as I join other bloggers in a day of silence to pay respect to the tsunami/earthquake victims in Japan. I realize that Japan has requested limited assistance from international relief organizations at this time; however there are many organizations currently taking donations. I will be thinking about and praying for everyone affected by this terrible disaster.

This and That

I am not wearing green today. 
It is amazing what a good night's sleep will do for you. Last night my lower back was really aching and my right knee was pretty angry from yesterday's run. I was dreading being in pain today when I woke up, but amazingly I feel fine. Not even a twinge of pain anywhere. Yay for sleep!!!
Last night during a Skype conversation, my parents told me a funny story about my mom getting mad at my dad this past weekend... my dad did something and my mom was so mad that she wrote on a piece of paper in big letters I AM SO MAD and then told him that she was going to church. He asked if he could still go with her to church and she told him to get in the car. I am thankful that my parents can laugh about this experience – maybe this is why they have been married for almost 35 years?
We are on week #3 of having only one working vehicle. Week 1: I was out of town, visiting my parents. Week 2: I had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive Daniel to work. Week 3: Da…

Running Progress

So today I ran 8.5 miles and managed to maintain a 12:24 minute pace, but it was tough. It also means that I am about 3/4 of the way to running my first half marathon. I am pretty proud of myself since my longest run to date was 6.3 miles – it turns out that tacking on the extra two miles today was totally mental.
During those last two miles my lower back started aching; I ran out of water {I have been running longer distances with a Camelbak}; AND the hills were unbearable {as in I just had to keep telling myself to put one foot in front of the other at a pace that was probably slower than a walk}. But in the end none of that mattered because I did it!
From a cardio standpoint, I felt great after the run, but my quads were definitely starting to complain. I'm a sure that I will sleep great tonight.
Only 6.5 weeks until the Nashville marathon!!!

Greeting Cards: Bike Rides

Spring is trying to make an appearance and the lovely temperatures are perfect for taking a bike ride.
*This is the third in my series of twelve "I Love You More" cards 
that I have designed and will be posting throughout the year.

© Cheree Moore

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:

Monday Dinner: Greek Chicken Skillet – we gave it 3.5/5 stars. {Recipe from Good Life Eats}
Tuesday Dinner: I had a migraine, so we opted to eat at Zaxby's.

Wenesday Dinner: Rotini Lasagna and Italian Salad – I generally make my meals from scratch. This particular time, I decided to take the easy road and use a bottle of spaghetti sauce. This was a huge mistake. I found the pasta dish to be incredibly bland. The salad made up for it – the spiciness from the red onions and the saltiness from the kalamata olives redeemed the entire meal. Daniel didn't mind the bland pasta. I gave this recipe 3/5 stars. {Recipe from Sing For Your Supper}

Thursday Dinner:Mexican Pizza – Great meatless meal. Daniel hates tomatoes and he didn't pick them off AND he said that he couldn't tell that there was no meat in the dish. We gave it 4.5/5 stars. {Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats}

For dessert, I made Oatmeal-Peanut Butter-Nutella Cookies. These coo…

The REAL reason for the Four Wheeler...

Yesterday we tried out our mower-ATV combination. It rocked. Much better than push mowing. For reference, it used to take me 2 hours to push mow our 1/3 acre in Charlotte. With the four wheeler, I completed mowing our 3 acre property in about an hour {to be fair some of our acreage is wooded, but still}. 

We {meaning Daniel} will still need to use a weed eater up close to the house and the driveway, but I am really liking this new form of mowing.

Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza

This was going to be Shrimp Quessadillas... unfortunately I was short on tortilla shells, so I opted to make a Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza instead. I just made up the recipe as I went along. Chipotle, Shrimp and Mushroom Pizza Ingredients:
1 Mama Mary's Thin and Crispy Crust 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 cup chipotle salsa1 cup fiesta blend shredded cheese 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup red onions, chopped 1/2 lb shrimp, {I use frozen shrimp with the tails}
1. Preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.   2. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil. 3. Saute mushrooms and onions in olive oil. 4. Thaw shrimp, then peel tails off of the shrimp and add to the sauteed veggies. 5. Spread the salsa on the crust in an even layer 6. Layer evenly with the fiesta blend cheese.   7. Spread mushroom, onion and shrimp mixture on top of pizza. 8. Lower the oven temp to 425˚ F. 9. Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes. Daniel…

Mama Mary's Pizza Crust: A Review {and a recipe}

I just discovered Mama Mary's Pizza Crust and I am definitely a fan. I picked up the Thin and Crispy version on a whim and tried it with this Mexican Pizza recipe adapted from the Annie's Eats blog. It was fantastic – especially for a Mexican pizza. It was actually more like a tostada than a pizza.
Mexican Pizza Ingredients:
1 Mama Mary's Thin and Crispy Crust 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
3 tbsp chicken broth {or vegetable broth or water}
1 cup fiesta blend shredded cheese 1 jalapeƱo, seeded and diced
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup tomato, seeded and diced
1 fresh corn {kernels removed}
1. Preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.   2. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil. 3. Combine the black beans, cumin, paprika and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor.  4. Puree until ground into a paste {you can also mash it together with a spoon if you don't have a food processor}.  5. …

Oatmeal-Nutella-Peanut Butter Cookies

Last night I was in the mood for cookies. Since Thursdays are our Fridays and I was making a vegetarian pizza for dinner, I figured cookies would be acceptable.
I scoured my cookie recipes and checked my cupboards for ingredients before settling on these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Stephanie Cook's blog.
But then I realized that I was out of eggs and Daniel had finished the last of our chocolate chips {to be fair, he said there were only a few left in the bag}.
Not to be deterred, I decided to experiment with substituting applesauce for the egg and Nutella for the chocolate chips.
In the end, we had super flat cookies that were reminiscent of Nutter Butter cookies – which was a win as far as we were concerned.
Oatmeal-Nutella-Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe: Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter(smooth or crunchy will both work)
1/3 cup nutella 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce (or 1 egg)
1 cup all-pur…

52 Books: Book 14

As a teenager I went through a phase where I read everything I could about the Holocaust. I needed to know about these terrible things and each story broke my heart a little more. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to visit the Natzweiler-Struthof camp in France. It was a truly disturbing and heart-wrenching experience. After coming across several recommendations for Sarah's Keyby Tatiana de Rosnay, I finally picked up a copy and read it. For me, reading this novel was a bit like seeing a movie that has been hyped up too much. It was an interesting story, but not what I expected.
The author weaves together two stories that occur in two time periods through alternating chapters. Sarah's story is about a girl who is part of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ round up in Paris. The horrific tale is based on true events in which Parisian law enforcement round up thousands of Jews and send them to camps – almost all are sent to Auschwitz and do not survive.
Julia's story is about an Ame…

This Makes Daniel Happy...

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we purchased a mower that would require an All-Terrain Vehicle {ATV or 4-wheeler} to pull it. When deciding between a riding mower and a pull-behind, it wasn't too hard to lean towards the pull-behind. The price for a good John Deere verses a ATV/mower combination was similar and the ATV would give us more versatility {i.e. we can play with it too}. 

While deliberating, I pointed out that we would eventually have to buy a second ATV {you know, so we can both ride} and if we do that it will require buying a bigger trailer to haul two ATVs around... but for now, we are excited to have a new utilitarian vehicle.

The ATV also helps us to fit in a bit better. All of our neighbors own ATVs and during all of the snow earlier this year we felt a bit left out whenever we would see them pulling sleds and having a good ol' time. Next winter, that will be us :)

Since bringing our ATV home this past weekend, we had not had a chance to play with it at all. I k…

Confessions of a non-parent...

I am thirty years old and I could probably count the number of times that I have babysat {in my lifetime} on both hands {maybe one hand}... Now that I have a precious little niece, most of those times have been in the last 20 months.

That said, I am a smart and competent adult and I believe that little Izzy has a fun time with me and that she is safe in my care.

However, there are times when my lack of knowledge/experience shines through.

There was the time at Christmas when I put her down for a nap without removing her shoes first. She didn't seem bothered by sleeping in her sneakers, though she also didn't nap as long as usual.

Then there was the time I was making cookies and my sister told me to let Izzy lick the beater. I handed Izzy a beater that was covered in lots of gooey chocolate goodness. My sister looked at me and laughed. She said that she would have cleaned most of the batter off first. Again, Izzy didn't seemed bothered. In fact she looked like she pretty muc…