Spring has sprung. So why is the weather so terrible right now? Just as we started getting used to the idea of flip flops and t-shirts, Old Man Winter reared his ugly head one last time. Well, at least I hope this is the last time. We went from 70-something last week down to the 30's today. Everyone is all up in arms about the cold weather and sleet, but I don't know why. THIS HAPPENS EVERY YEAR, PEOPLE. It's called "The Last Freeze" (or something like that), and the Farmer's Almanac says you shouldn't plant your Spring flowers until AFTER April 15th in Tennessee. And every year, hundreds of Home-Depot-Happy suburbanite families are gravely disappointed when their expensive blooms freeze to death. Well, NOT ME! Because I'm smart like that.
House News: The place is still a mess. The unpacking isn't going as quickly as I'd hoped, so for now we're just living amongst piles of junk. Thankfully, this past weekend was very productive for us. Sean tackled the garage and it's almost 100% organized! One of these days we'll be able to park our cars in it. Yesterday I randomly went to a second hand store and spotted an adorable breakfast table. It was exactly what I had pictured going in our breakfast nook. I think it's solid wood, and even though it needs a lot of TLC, we got the table and 4 matching chairs for only $90! I can't tell you about the illegal under the table deal we made with the employee...Let's just say I think she made a $90 tip yesterday. And I think she had done some serious time in the slammer. Anyway, I'm excited about refinishing the table. I stripped the stain yesterday, and Sean has been busy sanding it down. When it's finished I'll be sure to post a picture. Hell, if ANYTHING gets finished around here I'll be sure to post pictures.
Book News: I've been reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and much to my surprise, I've really enjoyed it. It's a coming of age story about 2 young boys living in Afghanistan. Their country gets invaded by the Russian forces in the late 70's (who knew?). Anyway, the boys go their separate ways, and the main character and his father end up San Francisco. I've really enjoyed reading about the cultural differences and they way he had to adjust to a completely different life. Since I'm not really into History (or current events either...), The Kite Runner has opened my eyes to the untold story of Afghan culture prior to Al Keida taking over. (Or maybe it was just untold to me.) When I first picked up the book, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to connect since I know NOTHING about Afghanistan's culture. I thought the book would be all, "Bla bla bla history politics bla bla bla wars wars wars." Nope - it's nothing like that at all. So pick it up and give it a try if you're looking for something different.
TV News: Medium is on right now. It's my favorite guilty pleasure during the week because it's quite possibly the worst show on television...but I LOVE IT! I don't watch a lot of TV, so I don't know why I spend my TV time with Medium. Mostly, I wish I was clairvoyant like Allison Dubois. And I'm continually impressed by the amount of sleeping and bed shots the writers cram into 1 episode.
Food News: For those of you who know me, you're probably familiar with my weekly ritual of meal planning. Every weekend I sit down with magazines and cookbooks, and I choose recipes to eat throughout the week. There are a few reasons I do it - 1) I work. And the minute I come home from work/gym, I make dinner. Since my schedule is pretty tight, the pre-planned menu keeps me from wondering what to cook every night. 2) Grocery shopping is a breeze. When I know what to cook, I know what to buy. Rarely do I find myself in the "Ugh - we don't have that ingredient" situation. 3) The weekly menu keeps us from eating out, which saves money and keeps us relatively healthy. When friends and family find out about my weekly menu for the first time, they're really surprised...like I'm some sort of organizational freak or something. People, I'm here to say that I'm most definitely NOT an organizational freak...I only aspire to be one. So for anyone who's interested, here's the menu for this week:
Sunday - Chicken Piccata w/ a small side of buttered noodles & steamed broccoli (I use Smart Balance instead of real butter. This recipe calls for garlic, which you'll see used again below. Garlic is a common theme in my cooking.)
Monday - California Turkey Patties w/ Corn & Tomato relish (this recipe calls for 2 celery stalkks, and the rest of the bunch I can eat as snacks during the week: Celery w/ Peanut Butter or Celery w/ Hummus. The recipe also calls for onion, which I'll use again on Tuesday.)
Tuesday - Mediterranean Tilapia (sauteed onion, garlic, tomatoes and Kalamata olives) topped w/ feta cheese and served w/ whole grain cous cous
Wednesday - Grilled Basil Chicken w/ Panzanella salad - look, more of those tomatoes!
Thursday - Marinated & Grilled Squash, Zucchini, and Eggplant on toasted Ciabatta w/ melted fat-free Provolone and lettuce
Friday - Fundraising party for MS! I'm bringing Orzo pasta salad w/ Spinach, Red Onion and Feta cheese.
Saturday - Hmmm...don't know. Any suggestions? I'm thinking about grilled salmon if the weather is nice. I like to try new recipes or lengthy recipes on Saturday & Sunday since I usually have more time.
Sunday - Easter! Ham and casseroles and coconut pie.
If you want any of these recipes or have any questions, just leave me a comment or give me a call. I'm happy to share.