Mother’s Day Weekend in Photos

Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend, and to all you mothers out there, I hope you had a special Mother’s Day yesterday. We kept it pretty low key for my mom this year, but I hope she knows how loved and appreciated she is!

My goal for this week is to get back on track with my workouts. I was having tummy issues last week so I went easy on the workouts {A quick jog home and dodgeball on Thursday, an easy elliptical workout on Friday, kickball on Sunday}. I want to be in fighting shape for Blend next weekend…there are a couple of Boot Camps and a hike planned and I anticipate that I’ll probably get knocked out quickly by the elevation in Park City!

Because of the aforementioned stomachache, the doc has ordered me to eliminate a few things from my diet for a few weeks: spicy food, acidic food {tear! my beloved lemons!}, dairy, caffeine and alcohol…I have mostly been good, but as you’ll see in the photos below, I definitely needed some liquid courage to get me through Saturday night, and then I had a few indulgences on Sunday… šŸ™‚ Definitely worth the belly ache!

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Weirdest workday ever on Friday: neither of my bosses were in, and my big task for the day was to pack up our 30lb postage machine and send it down to our Santa Barbara office. Half a roll of bubble wrap later, I got it šŸ™‚ {oh, the small victories of an administrative assistant!} To celebrate the weekend, I made a really random, but delicious! dinner: Coconut quinoa, roasted brussels sprouts & broccoli, Italian sausage, and T-Man brought some “Gorgonzola gems”, which are basically glorified Jalapeno Poppers. Yum.

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We then proceeded to our friend Danny’s housewarming pub crawl, which was themed Bros vs Hipsters. Landai & I were definitely hipster’ed out; Cedric’s shirt was a bit of an anomaly…memes are pretty hipster, but the outfit was pretty broish; and T-Man had to get in on the fun by stealing my {lens-free} glasses for a bit šŸ™‚

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On Saturday night, I did solo karaoke for the first time ever at Danielle’s birthday party. After submitting my 2 song requests, I was surprisingly really nervous, even despite the fact that I am always singing. If I know the words to a song that is playing, you bet your ass I’ll be singing! After the first singers took their turns and everyone was singing along, I was much more at ease!

Top photo: Richard and I singing “A Whole New World”.. except that the roles were reversed and he sang Jasmine’s part šŸ˜‰ Left: Danielle the birthday girl! Right: my song selection {kind of a lame song to choose cause it is slow and no one knows it, but I still rocked it!} and Reggie being serenaded by our whole group to “My Heart Will Go On. Don’t you see all the hands emotionally thrusting towards him?

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Sunday was rough. It was forecast to be 94 degrees around the time my kickball game was scheduled. So I hacked off the sleeves of my shirt, packed up my water bottle in a bag of ice {that I later poured over my head, haha}, and slathered on the sunscreen. I only missed one spot on the back of my neck! Pale person victory.

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While I was playing kickball, my family was off seeing the Jackie Robinson movie as part 1 of Mother’s Day festivities. Part 2 was my contribution: homemade pizza! I made the dough in the morning and told my mom to pick all her favorite toppings. She chose bacon, mushrooms, onions, and olives. I used some of her homemade tomato sauce and lots of mozzarella, and it turned out awesome! My brother bought the ice cream cake. We all clearly loved it.

{side note: that mother’s day card is the most perfect card of all cards that I could have given my mom. Fits our relationship to a T!}

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I also made a side salad using a few of my dad’s fresh garden veggies! He has lots of beets and chard at the moment, so they both made an appearance. But now I’m pretty sure my insides are dyed/stained red. It’s okay…all in the name of healthy eating right? Can’t wait to steal corn, tomatoes, and bell peppers from him this summer.

Have you ever done karaoke? What is your go-to song?

What did you do for Mother’s Day?

Aside

Sausage & Pepper Pizza

I think most peoples’ moms had a few signature recipes that they made when they were growing up. In the case of my family, we definitely had our share of Pizza/Fast Food Fridays, or Stouffer’s lasagna or packaged pasta nights (OK, lest you all think my mom is a bad Italian, I must mention that she actually always makes her own pasta sauce. Always.). But 2-3 nights per week, the meal that my mom would have us sit around the table for was all homemade.

Some meals she had in her rotation included awesome Italian stuff (usually stuffed shells), our favorite chicken and rice casserole (chicken cooked with cream of mushroom soup over rice ERMAHGERD), and something she still makes to this day: sausage and peppers.

Sausage and peppers is actually a pretty classic combo. It’s great on its own: saute up a couple of sausage links with some onions and pepper strips, and serve with some rice pilaf! Boom, done. You could also put ’em on a sandwich roll with some provolone or swiss, and boom. Sandwich.

When I won a giveaway at Lauren’s Latest for a free Al Fresco sausage voucher, my mind raced with all the fancy recipes I could make. Jambalaya! Gumbo! But with all the flavors that Al Fresco offers, I wanted the sausage to shine. When I finally found some Al Fresco at my parent’s nearby Nugget Market, I realized that they only had the pre-cooked kind, which limited my options a bit. I picked up a pack of their Sweet Italian sausage with red & green peppers, and when I got a half day on Friday I decided to use my extra time… to make a pizza!

For anyone who thinks it’s hard to make pizza (dough and all) from scratch, I’m here to tell you that I literally did it one-handed. Even with a broken hand, making pizza is really not too difficult if you have the time!

Feed the yeast, let it foam.

Roll it into a ball, then let it rise as the gluten expands.

Voila. Easy peasy, and takes about 1.5 hours total!

I added fennel seed (to enhance the sausage flavor) and a bit of basil and oregano to fancy up some store-bought tomato sauce.

Into the oven it goes, with some leftover giant zucchini, and…

Did I mention I made two pizzas with a broken hand? Seriously! Not that hard! And soo worth it:

Try it yourself:

Sausage & Pepper Pizza
makes 1 Pizza

1 pizza dough (this recipe is my favorite)
1/2-1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
2 chicken sausage links (I used al Fresco Sweet Italian)
1 medium bell pepper
1/2 large onion
cornmeal

Prepare pizza dough. I usually reverse the amount of all purpose and whole wheat flour, and have had the best results when I follow the recipe directions exactly and add dry ingredients to the yeast water (and not the opposite).

While dough is rising, prepare your ingredients. Cut sausage links into medallion-sized pieces and saute to render out some of the fat (there isn’t all that much in these pretty low fat sausages!). I also caramelized half of my onions before adding them to the pizza.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll (or stretch) the dough into a large circle. Sprinkle cornmeal on pizza pan or baking stone before you transfer the dough. Once it’s on, spread a thin layer of sauce and coat with half of the grated cheese. Next, add sausage, followed by peppers and onions. Top with the rest of your cheese and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is slightly browned and the cheese is melted but not yet burnt.

Once you remove it from the oven, let sit to cool (and take pictures). Then slice it up and dig in!

Another Wedding Weekend in Photos

Another weekend, another wedding.

OK, so I know that’s not actually a thing. But it feels like it! Just this summer, I’ve been to weddings in June, July, and now that we’ve hit August, might as well go to another! This time, it was a family affair…my oldest cousin Evan married his beautiful girlfriend Ashley, who has grown to be a part of our family these past 3-4 years — and my grandparents both got to see their first grandchild get hitched!

After getting a half day on Friday in honor of Fiesta, I went to my parents house and hung out with my mom while cooking up some stuff..

Lunch of champions with mom: tortilla chips, pita chips, hummus, guac, salsa, couscous… And a margarita slushie. — Pizzas for all! One special one for which the recipe is coming…& one half veggie half cheese (for my parents’ 6-year old godson)

Parents in the back — Little brother driving — the view from the backyard wedding — the entrance!

My youngest cousin, one of the flower girls — At the “altar”.. check out that dress! — First dance — Little brother sneak attack — Ashley and Evan’s dog, Mollie ā¤

It was a wonderful day for a wonderful couple. The setting was beautiful and it was all outdoors (the weather turned out perfect!) at a really nice home in Santa Rosa.

Back at home, where our evening bar TV choices ranged from the Mars Curiosity landing to Oscar Pistorius‘s inspiring race.

Hope you all had a fun weekend as well!

Homemade Grilled Zucchini Pizza

Nothing is better than homemade pizza.

I’m talkin’ mixed-the-dough-yourself, waited-for-it-to-rise, then kneaded-the-crap-out-of-it-homemade.

That was a lot of hyphens, so you KNOW this must be good

Now, I’ve made pizza from scratch before. I’ve used this recipe for dough twice, and it served me well both times. This time, I tried a new dough, and after nearly an hour of rising, it looked like a rock. This was not correct.

So I went back to my tried and true How Sweet Eats and used what I thought was that trusted recipe above. Oh no, no. It was this dough, which is more of a pizza-ish flatbread. So when I rolled it and stretched it out to put on the pan, it looked fine, but after cooking, it turned into a monstrously thick crust. Which was okay, because I have a good relationship with my carbs. Plus, it was whole wheat, so, you know…health food.

Do as I say, not as I do, children. Read on for what I’ve found (through the aforementioned trial and error) to be the most successful way to make homemade pizza:

Continue reading

Weekend in Photos

I don’t know about you guys, but the weather was just lovely in Northern California this weekend. It cooled down on Friday (and even drizzled a little!), which made way for a beautiful weekend in the mid 70’s. Made me feel like I was in Santa Barbara again!

Except that I’m not 20 anymore, I’m not in college anymore, I would not touch Natural Light beer with a 10 foot pole anymore, and I can’t just roll out of bed onto my bike to get to class or work anymore whoops, I still do that šŸ˜‰

Apparently I can still have fun, though, as evidenced by these photos!

Met some friends + T-Man’s coworkers at my favorite bar-that’s-2-blocks-from-my-apartment-&-has-over-200-beers! — There, we caught the end of the A’s-Giant’s game. The Giants had an awesome comeback in the top of the 9th! — Then we went to my place and played a 3 hour game of Carcassone. In-tense. Continue reading