Christmas tree, before and after.
The husband and I ventured to a local tree farm on Sunday morning, cut our own tree, and had it in the house and decorated all before noon (which gave me lots of time to be lazy, write my Christmas cards, spend a few hours working on a presentation for this week, and take a nap). I love December weekends!
(And yes - our tree is decorated in hot pink and gold colors, with lots of glitter and snowflakes.)
Q: Hey there! Just wanted to say a quick hey from your tumblr Secret Santa! I have been having so much fun picking out great gifts for you. Have a great Thanksgiving! (and hopefully you didn't get a variation of this message multiple times--it was acting weird for me!)
Hi! Now that Thanksgiving is over, I’m officially getting in the Christmas spirit. I can’t wait to start busting out the holiday songs, decorating the house, getting our tree, and I’m so very excited to find out who you are! Hope you had a great holiday too!
If you invite my sister or me to your wedding, you can guarantee we will be tearing up the dance floor all night long. It must be the genes, right?
Oh - it’s not that pumpkin pie in general is hard to make, it’s just the Smitten Kitchen recipe (which is my fav) has you strain the pumpkin mixture before baking. For some reason, this task seems extra tedious (I mean c’mon - can’t I just eat it already?) but it does make the silkiest texture (and lots of mess!)
Thanksgiving is the one holiday per year that we host at my house.
(Thank goodness for parents and in-laws and grandparents that still like to cook and clean and entertain ‘cause man, even though I don’t mind the planning and the prep, it always seems like the day is a blur - filled with anxiously stirring pots, checking the oven, shooing people out of the kitchen, and making sure there are enough chairs to hang out, watch football, and eat dinner.) There will be 20 or so of us this year at my house and since I want to get all my shopping done this weekend, I’ve spent the last hour at work going through all my saved recipes to cobble together this year’s feast, which includes:
- Crudité platter (with caramelized onion dip)
- Cheese plate (cheddar, goat, brie, manchego) with tomato bacon jam and Trader Joe’s mango chutney
- Shrimp cocktail (not necessary, but my brother refuses to have a get together without it)
- Deep fried turkey (a la Paula Deen) with porcini mushroom gravy (although this umami gravy sounds pretty tasty)
- Sweet potato pie
- Mashed potatoes (skin on, duh)
- Sauteed green beans with mushrooms and cipollini onions
- Stuffing with sausage and sage
- Creamed cauliflower
- Oyster stuffing (this combination of oysters, crackers soaked in milk, and other random things makes me queasy - but my Nana always brings it since my mom can’t get enough of it)
- Cranberry sauce (not from a jar, but this simple recipe with lots of orange zest)
- Pumpkin pie (which ugh, is such a pain to make - but it’s dang good) and misc. desserts that the guests will bring
The menu seems pretty easy and much of this can be prepped in advance, so maybe this year I’ll actually take off my apron prior to the meal and relax a little.
This is my Nana. And my dog.
Every time she’s around, Chuck hops on her open lap and she hugs/squeezes him dearly.
These two are my favorite.
Q: Re: your commute. Do you think audiobooks or podcasts could make it more bearable? Turn a waste of time into something positive?
I’ve tried audiobooks on my commute in the past and I’m not opposed to them (in fact, I listen to them during most of my long runs to keep me running slowly and so I don’t overuse my music/lessen the effects of awesome running songs), but haven’t listened to them in awhile. I love the sentiment here - you’re right. I should stop considering my commute a waste of time (which is, ugh, so hard to do!) and actually try to make it as productive as possible. I typically listen to Elvis Duran or some other misc. radio station which tends to be mildly entertaining, but doesn’t distract me enough to keep me from cursing the 60 minutes I spend in the car each way. Thanks for the suggestion!
Don’t forget to use Ebates for extra cash back!
PSA of the day!
Get on it!
There are big things in store for November, including a major work presentation, we’re hosting Thanksgiving for my family + my in-laws, the last month of training before my third marathon, and lots of life things.
Here’s an update on my October goals:
- Drink less Starbucks coffee drinks: I went about twice per week. While this still is an expensive habit (iced coffee with one pump of pumpkin syrup, I just can’t quit you), it’s scaled back from previous months.
- Get back into my groove at work: Eh. I’ll give myself a B- on this. I wanted to stop resenting my commute (which is 3x as long as the commute I had for nearly 5 years), but sitting in an hour of traffic each way every day is just too much for me. I also need to learn to tackle my to-do list daily and stop putting things off.
- Tackle some financial goals: This is another one where I could have done better. I wanted to pay off our 0% credit cards, review my 401(k), and move money into savings accounts, and while I’ve accomplished some saving, it’s not nearly what I had planned. Hopefully my meeting with my financial advisor next week will set me straight.
- Take my vitamins and eat a fruit or veggie at every meal: Yes! The husband has been great about reminding me and I keep extra vitamins in my desk drawer so I did pretty well at this.
- Give a great MOH speech and let the bride vent/judge on all wedding stuff without having it stress me out: I didn’t write my speech until the day before while on a plane home from a work trip, so needless to say, it wasn’t as memorized or rehearsed as it probably should have been, but eh, whatever. I did my best.
- Make (and stick to!) a holiday budget: I love shopping. Lots. I love buying presents for other people and I love wrapping them. I tend to go overboard with my Christmas gifts, so this year, I want to make a rational/fair holiday budget and stick to it. I need to remember the reason for the season, right?
- Tackle four major household projects: I have a few things in process, but I want to finish up. We’ve lived in our house for four years and it seems as soon as I fix one thing, another breaks. Ugh - the perils of being a homeowner.
- Run 100 miles, take 4 yoga classes and do 4 strength sessions: Self explanatory. I want to work on my (well-rounded) fitness.
My November goals are simple. But that’s what I need. Simple, attainable goals which fit in to my life.
I just need to throw this out there today because major things are on the horizon.
Hump Day Happies:
Perhaps the most annoying Starbucks order ever (a venti half-caf iced coffee with nonfat milk and one pump of pumpkin spice) and a keychain in the shape of my dog.
It’s the little things, right?
This Week in Food (10/27)
- Monday: Shrimp Stir Fry
- Tuesday: Carne Asada with Butternut Squash Risotto
- Wednesday: Beef Stew (with modifications made to make this crock pot friendly)
- Thursday:Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe (and I’ll add some mushrooms to bulk it up and add some protein)
- Friday: take out or some random combination of leftovers