New Year’s Resolution

So I’ve gone and let it happen again.  I’ve neglected the blog for such a very long time.  I hate when that happens because then I have the hardest time coming up with a post to apologize.  It always ends up being too lengthy, trying to compensate for all the things that have happened and that I’ve failed to document and share.  I finally decided that I didn’t want to do that.  There will always be opportunity to catch up on things.  After all, I do want to share with you the most major happening of 2013: The Brinkman-Gross Wedding!!

But instead of getting back into the groove of things with feelings of remorse, I’m just going to let bygones be bygones and proceed with 2014.  My New Year’s resolution for all of you is to post at least twice a month.  (Baby steps people, baby steps.)

So here’s to 2014 and making New Year’s Resolutions happen!

Second Breakfast

It seems that we’ve been super busy lately.  Maybe it has something about a wedding in two weeks…..  So Adam & I have been taking time out to enjoy our Sundays.  Sunday is typically meal planning, grocery shopping & meal prep.  But we’ve been making a morning pit stop before heading to the store.

Bloomingfoods is a local food co-op that has, now, 5 locations in Bloomington.  Adam & I actually are members of the co-op.  It’s all organic and free-range produce & meats.  If you’re on a specific diet that requires you to seek out alternative ingredients in order to enjoy your favorite meals, this place is going to have it.

They’re most recent addition is the Elm Heights store.  They built it this year, and in the plans was an upstairs area, get this, dedicated to COFFEE!  Since we’ve been go, go, go so much, we decided to have ours “for here.”  My latest kick is a cafe au lait.  It’s so good.  With dark roasted coffee and steamed whole milk.  There’s something about sipping it while holding the warm ceramic mug.  It’s soothing and comforting.  And so nice to take a moment to just enjoy drinking it.  Adam had a cappucino.  It had skull & cross bones foam artwork on top!!  We also both enjoyed a Bloomingfoods baked treat.  (Seriously, this place has sooo many things to offer, made to order sandwiches, salad bar, prepared sandwiches & salads, hot bar, drinks galore.  It was so nice to just sit back.

Then it was on to groceries & meal prep.  While I love to shop at Bloomingfoods as much as I can, I also know that if we have a lengthy enough grocery list, it’s better on our pocket books to head to Kroger or Marsh.  But here’s our menu for the week.

Sunday – Creamy Chicken & Kale Soup

Monday – Leftovers

Tuesday – Caramelized Cauliflower & Mushroom Casserole

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Rigatoni with Roasted Broccoli & Chickpeas

Saturday – Out, maybe

Breakfast – Make-It-Up-As-I-Go Chorizo & Mushroom Egg Casserole

Lunches – Baked chicken breasts for wraps

Monday is right around the corner.  I should be having a pretty busy week at work, so it was nice to take a moment to ourselves today.  What do you like to do when you want just stop from life and take a breath?

Sunday Fun-day

Man, this morning was the latest I’ve woken up in a long time.  Adam & I went to a wedding up in the northern part of the state, and opted to drive back home last night after the reception.  We’re getting very close to our own wedding & honeymoon, so it’s nice to try to save a little extra dough here.  We arrived home at around 2:30 am today.  I immediately passed out, so it’s no wonder I was in bed until 10 am.

I was first up and got breakfast started.  An egg scramble, with bacon, green pepper, jalapeno, rainbow chard & a little cheese.  I topped mine with some of our Miggy’s Salsa (as my last & final tribute to the team this season).  What do ya know.  I forgot a photo.  Again.  I promise to get better.  Seriously.

With being out of town, Adam & I wanted to run some additional errands in town while out getting groceries.  So I menu planned, and we were off.

Sunday – Leek, Potato & Delicata Squash Soup

Monday – Paleo Cauliflower & Chicken Casserole

Tuesday – Leftovers

Wednesday – Chicken Sausages & Veggies

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Leftovers

Saturday – Out maybe

Weekday Lunches – Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Snack/Treat – Honey Chai Roasted Almonds

I must have been overly zealous grocery shopping last weekend, because the grocery list didn’t seem to be too long today.  So I thought it’d be a nice treat to go to the Bloomingfoods Elm Heights store.  They have a lovely coffee bar upstairs, and I’m kind of addicted to the bulk bin aisles.  Eek.  We stopped there first, & I enjoyed my first cafe au lait (which of course I mispronounced!  Oops!) along with a ginger oat cake.  Adam sipped away on an americano & a coconut-chocolate-bar-type treat.  We actually sat around upstairs & leisurely savored our second breakfast instead of trekking around a travel cup.  It was nice!  Then we grabbed groceries, quickly dropped them off at the apartment, & then headed to the mall.

Long story short at the mall.  I walked out with two pairs of shoes & five Bath & Body Works hand soaps.  Quite the mix there.  Our bellies were getting grumbly at this time, so we opted to head downtown for lunch.

We contemplated going to Darn Good Soup, but it warmed up too much while we were shopping away.  We opted for Laughing Planet instead.  I had the Asian Salad & Adam had a burrito of some sort.  They have a huge patio that they share with the coffee house that’s located in the basement below them.  It’s a great place to enjoy this fall weather.  The leaves changing colors and rustling.  The sunshine.  The college students down on Kirkwood.  Great all around lunch decision.  We stopped at a few other little local shops before coming home.

I threw some salsa chicken in the slow cooker.  You know, chicken, jar of salsa, can of beans.  Simple.  I know.  Picture of raw chicken.  Yucky.  But it’ll be so good this week in some wraps for our lunches!

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Then I started those almonds.

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They’re beautiful and smell delicious, but I think they’re lacking something in the flavor department.  Maybe it’s because I used my jarred spices instead of grinding everything up fresh.  But they’re still yummy regardless!

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The apartment definitely smelled wonderful while cooking them up!  Now I think it’s time for a shower & getting ready for tomorrow.  I also need to think about getting dinner started too.  I just want to be lazy all evening.  There’s another busy work week ahead!

 

Throwback Thursday

So I had all kinds of apprehensions when deciding about whether or not to do this blog.  I had tried a time or two already, and it just didn’t last that long.  It was just a random thing then, and that’s not what I want this blog to be.  It’s fresh, it’s new, and I consider myself to be a slightly different person than I was back then.

Two main items stuck in my mind.  1) “Oh my gosh, this thing is going to require so much time!  I need to make sure to stay consistent for my followers.  I don’t want to be flaky on them!”  2) “I don’t want to be too wordy of a blogger.  I know myself, I enjoy blogs that use pictures to describe their topics, and not just lengthy sentences full of witty verbiage.  So I need to take pictures, a lot of them.  And, work on things like composition.”  These are big worries in my mind.

So to try to kill two birds with one stone, I thought that maybe I could try a hand at Throwback Thursdays.  It’s an opportunity for me to keep on flexing my writing skills and an opportunity to share with you the archive of pictures I have from these past few years.  Plus, as a bonus, it’ll kind of be an opportunity for you to get to know me better.  I really want to build this relationship between you and I.

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A long time ago….  Just kidding, more like 5 years ago, right out of college, Adam & I got our first apartment together.  We lived in Warsaw, IN.  A quaint community, developed in an area of Indiana with a ton of lakes.  The town was cute enough, but too small for our aspirations and dreams.  But we used to kill time on a nice little hiking path that started close to our apartment and then winded its way through a marshy/wetland type of thing and eventually to one of the many lakes.

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Adam has always had a knack for photography, and I always had a knack for being jealous of his skills.  So while he was out being artsy and finding the perfect shot, I was busy with the point-and-shoot, trying to create my own masterpieces.

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There were the always fun, “Lemme take your picture while you’re taking mine!”  I know, how original.

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There were even more pictures of Adam taking pictures.  I know.  You can say it.  Creeeeee-perrrrrrr.

When we were done with our walks, we’d go back home and pop the SD cards into our laptops and check out each other’s shots.  Sometimes, I was randomly pleased.

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I mean this tree was perfect though.  Can trees be photogenic?  This tree was.  You can’t go wrong with photographing fall foliage in my mind.  It’s always beautiful.

But I hope to develop my photography skills for this blog.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to be better at but have never done anything about it.

The Tigers are playing again tonight.  Big game versus the Athletics.  Record 2 and 2 in a series of 5.  Cabrera just started it off right.  HOMERUN!!

How are your photography skills?

Have you ever wanted to improve them or done anything to improve them?

 

Lazy Sunday or the most productive day of the week

Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely love to travel with A, but sometimes those Sundays just end up being a whirlwind of a day traveling back home to Bloomington.  A lot of fun to be had just to feel like one of our weekend days have been stolen from us.  No relaxing, no productivity.  Just travel.

This weekend (thankfully) is not one of those!  So it allows for so much to get done.  Laundry, dishes, meal prep, random baking trials.

I had the ingredients purchased last week to make a “Polenta Breakfast Pizza” from one of my favorite blogs, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.  (Seriously, you need to go check Tina Haupert out.  She has the cutest pug pup ever!)  Alas, I never got to making it during the week, so I made it this morning.  I’m hoping this will last for a majority of our breakfasts this week.  It looks and smells yummy!  I had an uh oh while baking, and a major boil-over in the oven.  Meh.  NBD.  I continued on with the morning’s task of today’s breakfast too; bacon and random scramble of eggs, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and Laughing Cow Swiss wedges.  Hit the spot along with my morning coffee.

While chowing down on breakfast, I took the opportunity to start thinking about the menu for the week and groceries.  I like to attempt to plan out for the full week ahead, and can most of the time get us through it.  I pin recipes like a fiend throughout the week, and most of the time have a decent idea already established for what I’d like to make.  TG for Pinterest!

Weekday Breakfasts: Polenta Breakfast Pizza

Weekday Lunches: Crock Pot Sugar Spiced Pork

Dinners

Sunday: Steaks & 3 Bean Salad

Monday: Chicken Stir-Fry

Tuesday: Left overs

Wednesday: Chipotle Chicken & Pumpkin Soup

Thursday: Left overs

Friday: Spicy Garlic Shrimp

List in hand, the grocery shop battle could commence.  Our list included all kinds of house stuff on it too, so we opted for Krogers.  Yet again, meh.  It’s a crazy mad house….like always.  So we can skip the frustrations that are had, and you can just know that when I said “I shopped at Kroger”, it was most likely a stress-induced nightmare.

We were going to go to the Butcher’s Block for our steaks, but whomp whomp, we forgot they were closed on Sundays.  Oops!  But guess what’s right next door to coddle us in our sadness.  STARBUCKS!  Salted Carmel Mocha for the man and a Skinny Dirty Chai for the girl, and we were well over the fact that we forgot about the Butcher’s Block being closed!

We unloaded the groceries and started what meal prep we could for the week.  Sugar Spiced Pork is smelling up the apartment all kinds of wonderful.  And the vinaigrette is working its magic on the beans for tonight’s dinner.

Since I believe fall is officially here, I also have been hankering for a pumpkin baked good.  So my bonus treat for the week is Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread.  Oh buddy, does it smell divine!  

We’re waiting for it to finish baking so A can take me downtown to the Oliver Winery Tasting Room.  We’re going for a day-drink and to sample a new wine cocktail that they’re serving over this weekend.  I don’t remember the exact details, but I think it had something to do with ginger.  I don’t know.  I’ll just have to remember to take a few snap shots of it so I can share with you.

Here’s to the final hours remaining of the weekend!  Before we know it, it’s time to start the grind all over again.

How do you spend your Sundays?  Do you prepare for the week or enjoy your last day of the weekend?

Do you find that meal planning and meal preparation is beneficial to your week running smoothly?

It began with bacon and eggs

A seemingly normal start to any weekend morning, no?  Today was pleasantly different.  Due to having an Indiana DNR gift card from Christmas 2012 that expires in roughly 2 months, we decided to have said bacon & eggs at the Little Gem Restaurant.  To get to breaky, first we had to journey to Brown County State Park this morning.  About a 15 minute jaunt to the northeast from Bloomington.  You see, Little Gem is located inside the Abe Martin Lodge, on the Brown County State Park grounds.  A and I frequent the park all throughout the year.  It’s a favorite location of ours, especially as the seasons begin to change.

We opted for the weekend breakfast buffet, as I am always tempted by the choice of “having a little bit of everything” instead of making a committed decision to one particular breakfast food item.  Can you blame me?!  The variety was great.  Pancakes (which of course, A couldn’t turn down), French toast, eggs, BACON, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs, muffins, bagels, fresh fruit and coffee (the utmost important breakfast item).  It wasn’t a meal I’d write home to mom about, but it helped us use part of that gift card, and convert the balance to a different card that doesn’t expire for 5 years.  Rock on!  That, and we were able to drive through the park at about 9:30 this morning and check out the hazy vistas that the park has to offer; it’s best feature!  

After our bellies were satisfied, I convinced A to drive a little further east towards Columbus to pick out PUMPKINS!  I seriously love fall, and don’t find that the season has officially arrived until there are pumpkins and gourds strewn all though the apartment.  Yeah, I know that “fall” isn’t here yet.  “But J, it’s been 80 degrees outside this past week!”  Pish posh.  It’s October.  It’s fall.

A and I took the trailblazer to a little country store located on 46 that I had seen set out their fall squash display for sale earlier in the week on my work commute.  Little did we know that it was their Farm Fest day!  Bonus!!  Growing up on a farm myself, I don’t know why I get excited to see my barnyard pals, but it was a hoot!  They had out: fancy chickens, a duck, 2 baby ducklings, bunnies, miniature horse, turkeys, llama and goat!  Not to mention pony rides!  Seriously took all I had to not go and squee over the mass supply of ponies they had on hand.  The mini horse was a loud, nudgey brat.  I loved him!!!

The neatest feature was the horse drawn sugar cane mill.  I was thoroughly amused by it.  Even though it’s just a horse walking around in circles around the mill, I’m always intrigued by horse-drawn farm equipment.  I think it has to do with my equine background.  Even the drizzle that began while we were out on the farm couldn’t distract me.  Then again, we were there to pick out pumpkins!  So we got to work.  $25 and a dozen plus gourds and pumpkins paid for, we were ready to head back home.

Even though it was noon when we got back into town, it was still the weekend.  One of the best things of the weekend is there’s no limit on the amount of coffee you can drink!  We headed to Uel Zing for a cup of the glorious black liquid.  Uel Zing deserves it’s own post, but it’s delicious, and my latest coffee addiction.  That’s all the important info you need to know about it right now.

The remainder of the day was spent tidying up the apartment and placing all of our new pumpkins in their rightful places.  And enjoying the rainstorm that happened later in the evening.

Now it’s time for the important part of the evening.  It’s post-season baseball ladies and gents!  The Tigers and the A’s meet for game 2 after pulling a W last night in the ALDS.  Boy it’d be nice to have another long season this year for the boys!  Eat ‘em up Tigers!

What signifies the start of fall for you?

Do you have any fall traditions?