Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jack-o-lantern Spectacular

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, this year however I did not do terribly much. No dressing up, and we did not even buy candy. Last year we bought candy and didn't get any trick-or-treaters, so of course this year we didn't buy any, and low and behold – we got a group! I told Jordan to stay away from the windows/ doors so they wouldn't bother to come to our house (since there are three houses at our driveway)—so of course he kept sticking his big-old-head right out the window. Doh! Nonetheless the kids departed without knocking on our door… I had managed to find a bag of unopened raisins if need be.

No one else made the long trek up our driveway, thankfully.

My best friend from home, Ariane, who I've known since kindergarten, is an artist, and was hired to help decorate and carve pumpkins for the great jack-o-lantern spectacular at the Roger Williams Zoo. I had never heard about it before, but apparently it is a big deal. My sister (who lives in Rhode Island and went to Roger Williams University) said it is quite the happening time and people wait for hours to get in!

Since we were “with the artist” we got VIP treatment and got to skip the 2 hour long line! We also got to go in a back entrance and snuck a peak at some of the sleepy zoo animals (which were not technically on display at the time.) I haven’t been to a zoo in so long! It was very interesting hiking off the beaten path of the zoo walk ways (Though my sister kept referencing that it seemed like the beginning of a bad horror movie, trucking through the pitch black woods behind some angry goat creature’s (Aoudads) lair.) 

For the past month or two she had been working at “The pumpkin house” where they get 100+ pound pumpkins and draw on them with sharpies (which when you see the size of the pumpkins and how much black is on some of them – its pretty amazing all they used was sharpies, and of course the carving). So anywhere you see black, they had colored it with sharpie, versus anywhere light looking was carved out and that is where the LED lights shine through.

Here is a 100+ pound pumpkin pre carving! 

This year’s theme was Hollywood so the zoo was set up by movie categories including classics/ musicals such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone with the Wind” and “The sound of Music” followed by comedy with Betty White, Bill Cosby, Eddy Murphy etc,
Here are some of Ari's Chicago Pumpkin that she was just working on when I harassed her for some pictures! 

Then horror with Pan’s Labyrinth, Jason, Chucky, Freddy
There is Alien or Predator or one of those movies I have never seen
 and kids movies and lots of puppy pumpkins that I am not sure what they were representing but they sure were cute! My sister requested a Snuggles pumpkin be made. Whether that will happen or not is yet to be seen.

This was a Hyena from the Lion King group of pumpkins, you can see the monkey in  the back ground 
Along the road there were also lots of regular old jack-o-lanterns lighting the way.

 In Ariane’s case she was in charge of creating “intricate” pumpkins versus just jack-o-lanterns, so she was drawing and carving out faces, and scenes.  Another fun fact I would not have thought about, is since they are jack-o-lanterns, they do start to rot, or sometimes people poke them, or they somehow fall down and break. Considering it is a month long exhibit, many of the pumpkins need to be re-carved many times. Ari mentioned that it obviously gets boring the re-draw and re-carve the same thing, so she had 4 different Bill Cosby pumpkins carved throughout the month.

Jello Pudding! 
This one was on display when we went to the show 
So many pumpkins!

Jordan decided to use some of the pumpkins in his Halloween video too…

Any fun Halloween plans for you?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thai Shrimp Stir Fry

As part of our "Hurricane Sandy Preparation" we decided to make some kind of food that we could eat even if the power went out... and then we failed miserably at that and decided to make a pasta dish instead, which I guess could be eaten cold, but it was not exactly what we had in mind originally. 

Thai Shrimp Stir Fry

  • 1/2 box angel hair (I used Barilla Plus) 
  • 1 pound frozen or fresh shrimp 
  •  2 Tablespoons peanut oil 
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds 
  •  2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter 
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger (I only had dried, fresh would likely be better.) 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil 
  • 1 bag frozen vegetables (I used a 2 pound bag of mixed green beans, corn, peas and some spinach), defrosted
  • 1 can mushrooms 
  • 2 jalapenos, diced  
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts

1. Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Steam shrimp in a separate pot.
2. While pasta and shrimp are cooking, in a wok or skillet heat peanut oil. 
3. Add in onion, garlic, and sesame seeds and cook for about 2 minutes. 
4. Add in soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and peanut butter. Stir well over heat until peanut butter starts to blend/ melt. 
5. Add in vegetables (whatever ones you choose to use), mushrooms, jalapenos and spices (ginger, basil, red pepper). Stir well. 
6. Add cooked and drained pasta and shrimp. Mix well.
7. Serve topped with crushed peanuts.

I usually do not like shrimp, but I found this quite tasty. 

As usual, the children need a cameo.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prepping for Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has been roaring up the East coast. I actually wound up with a surprise day off today (which I was shocked about since generally working in hospitals = never having days off-- though working in research in one location does help out.)

Since developing a slight obsession with Zombie movies/ and post apocalyptic shows such as The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Survivors, Zombieland, and most recently starting to get into Revolution, it has made me a bit of a doomsday-prepper - which I personally consider to be a good thing. I am not a crazy doomsday prepper, as in I still have a life outside of prepping, I just consider it a good idea to keep things on hand for an emergency and to have a plan. So overall, I suppose I am just prepared. Prepping for Zombies and the apocalypse is slightly more entertaining than preparing for a hurricane, earthquake or fire. Nonetheless, there is a lot of overlap in the items needed.

Prior to Sandy starting up, I did some googling of what to have prepared.

  • We moved all movable objects inside or tied them done
  •  Filled our gas tanks with gas.
  • Made extra ice/ put freezer packs in the freezer in case we lose electricity.
  • Made sure to have water and non-perishable food on hand. 
  • Prepped candles/ flashlights/ batteries etc. 

 I also put my "Disaster Preparedness Kit" Out which includes emergency water, food, thermal blankets, poncho, first aid kit, etc. I also added in a handcranked radio/ cellphone charger/ flashlight, some extra storm proof matches, and of course my Doomsday Survival Guide!

 Is it weird that this was actually on my wedding registry?! Thanks to my Aunt for buying me the bag, and my friend Alicia for the Doomsday book and radio/flash light thing!

One of the other recommendations for prepping for a hurricane was to wash all of the dishes/ do laundry and take a shower.. so I did all of those things including washing the bird!

Leo and Ghreylin seem to know the storm is coming and they are all cuddles up and hunkering down for the storm!

It is certainly getting blustery out there!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ugh! Domain… and healthy competition.

I have been trying to get on board and be all cool with my own domain. I wanted to be all like “surprise- yay! No longer at blogspot!” But it turns out I am not as computer savvy as I would like to pretend.

I bought a domain name and now have NO idea how to use it… So while I usually spend my time writing my super exciting blog posts- I have been trying to figure out how to convert my domain. ::Sigh:: so that is my excuse for my lack of fantastic content lately.

Anyways…. Someday.

On another note… I have become moderately obsessed with my mapmyrun numbers. I don’t even really run! And to any runner, my mileage is laughable, but for the past 3 weeks my weekly mileage has steadily increased and I feel like I have to keep up the trend!

This past Sunday was a VERY welcomed day of rest, physically. It was not even officially a rest day in my opinion because I had to work at Newton Wellesley this weekend and we were a “Code Orange” aka- busting through capacity! So we were busy. I was running around giving nutrition education to anyone I could get my hands on! It was 8.5 hours of nutrition-goodness to the brim! (They are very strict about hours there so I couldn’t stay late to make it less compact.) By the time I got home it was couch time.. I honestly do not even remember what I did when I went home. There may have been laundry involved. I know the night ended like a usual Sunday night, watching the Walking Dead.

BUT the point of that paragraph was that I did not map any walking/ running since I had only been running around the hospital and failed to do much moving once I got home. Consequently, Sunday started my week with a big fat 0 mileage. Now, in order to break my record from last week, I will need to walk/ run at least 6 miles a day.

Unfortunately, so far this week, if I choose to go for a jog to keep up my mileage, I have not been doing an additional work out, hence not getting in my workouts for the week! Whats a lady to do? I can't have it all!

Hows your week progressing so far? How do you deal with conflicting goals?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up 10/14 - 10/20

 Review of Octobers goals: 

  • No alcoholic beverages during the weekdays = Not so successful, but not terrible. Sunday I went out with my mother in law and some of her friends and had a glass of wine. Tuesday was Supper club and had two glasses of wine. Thursday I had 2 Shipyard Pumpkin beer with Jordan and Friday was a couple of glasses of wine with Jordan with dinner... so yea, definitely failed at drinking on day a week, but I did not really go in excess any days so I am ok-ish with it. 

  • Eat more mindfully: better than last week! 
    • I did a pretty good job eating the small, frequent meals. 
    • I have been eating breakfast- or at least drinking smoothies, which seems to be a good start to the day. 
    • Candy has still be an issue... Halloween candy is everywhere and I love candy... but I have not bought any so I only have a little treat every now and again. 
  • Working out at least 4 days a week:
    • Yep- I kicked this weeks butt! I worked out 6 days this week, some days more than once. I will tell you though, I am so sore. 

  • Walking at least 4 miles. 
    • This gets fuzzy... but I think I accomplished this. Again, I wasn't mapping everything, and I hadn't been counting what I ran during WODs which was sometimes 2 or so miles. Its also a lot harder on the days I work at Newton Wellesley, since I walk around the hospital a lot, but I drive to and from work and do minimal walking outside. I decided to order a fitbit one- and excited to see how much I actually move throughout the day - not just outside! I also hope it helps with my sleep issues. It doesn't come out until next week - but excited to give it a try! Hopefully it is worth it. 

    Unrelated, but Leo looks evil in this picture... 

    And a sweety 

    And cute... 

    So, on to a new week! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Good Bye Crossfit

Friday was my last day at Crossfit with my livingsocial deal. It was an awesome 7 weeks, and one of the best Groupon/ Livingsocial like deals I have ever bought. I really hope to be able to join a Crossfit type of gym again soon, but right now it is unfortunately not in the cards. 

I hope to keep up with my work outs, though I will not have the coaching or equipment, and most importantly, I will not have the motivation of other fitness focused people around me.

Since I knew this day was coming, I decided on Thursday to try to make Jordan work out with me in a WOD fashion. I set up this workout:  

3 rounds of: 
60 second plank
40 squats
30 butterfly sit ups 
1000 meter run. 
For time. 

Jordan was agreeable to joining me, but it was not the same as being at crossfit. He gave up after the first round and complained the whole time. I had to be the motivator. It was still better than doing it alone, but not ideal. Hoping we can both get better at making the most of our at home workouts. 

Friday's WOD at Ironspider was

Strength: Pull Up 5x2^  -- I still cannot do pull ups on my own, so I got up to 2 pull ups with a thin red band (2nd to least amount of assistance). 

Skill: Hip Flexor Mobility and Flexibility

WOD: 12 Minute AMRAP
7 Burpees
21 Double Unders (or double under attempts).
7 Handstand Push Ups (I modified, I did ~ half handstand pushups and used 3-10# plates as a marker of how far to go down)
21 Double Unders (I suck at double unders, so I pretty much did 63 single jump ropes)

Mobility: Stretch and Roll lower legs

I just made it through 5 rounds in 12 minutes! Great workout. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Supper Club: Baraka Cafe

The supper club ladies used to meet up roughly bi-weekly at one of our house and took turns hosting at our various abodes. We even had a blog of our exploits!

Sadly one by one members moved away

First, Fiona moved to New York(?) or some other state, and then back to Ireland!

Then Rachel Moved to California and then to Kansas city....

Then Sarah- our resident tiny -awesome-Japanese supper club-ee moved to California!

Then Laura moved back to California! (Whats up with that California?!)

There are still some of us in the area- but even smaller moves, like me moving from Cambridge to Gloucester have made supper club less feasible. But a few of us decided to get together nonetheless this Tuesday! Instead of our usual cooking escapades, we decided to meet up at a local restaurant, Baraka Cafe in Central Square, Cambridge.

The place was very tiny, cozy and cute! Jen had been there before and recommended we meet early, as it fills up fast!

Baraka Cafe "offers traditional Algerian-Tunisian and North African cuisine in a cozy space reminiscent of eating in the chef's home kitchen in the Mediterranean." None of which I was familiar with so it was all new and exciting! I decided to be that obnoxious person in the restaruant with a camera.

The 4 of us split a couple of appetizers and entrees.

For Appetizers we got:

Special of the night: Dates with Cheese

They were quite good! Just plain old dates with African cheese, which tastes a bit like ricotta cheese.

M'Chermlat El Sanaria :: spicy carrots in m'chermla sauce with oregano, raisins & onion jam
Very good! I wish there had been more if.

Zaatar Coca :: traditional Bedouin galette of sage, thyme, sesame seeds, lemon juice, caramelized onions on hand-stretched grilled Berber bread
I was not a huge fan of this item, it was a bit to hard and not too exciting. It could have used something for dipping.

and we didn't order this.. but they brought it anyway so we ate it

Karentika :: Oran famous savory chickpea custard with harissa tapenade
We were all quite happy with this order mess up- it was one of the better apps we got!

This was my tasting plate of chickpea custard, bread and carrots.

For Entrees we got:

Melfouf la Kasbah :: grilled marinated varieties of white & red meat with tchektchouka & pommes frites drizzled with h'rissa vinaigrette ::
A very interesting combination! I really liked the salad it came with and the french fries-- the meat was good too, though split 4 ways it was pretty small portions.

M'Katef :: New Zealand baby lamb chops delicately marinated in ras-el-hanout served with "ehbah essoufra," an Arabian almond tartlet layered in sweet saffron shallots, mint sauce & leeks spinach t'biykha ::
The leeks and spinach were the best part in my opinion, the lamb chop was a bit too fatty.

For Drinks we split a pitcher of their famous Rose Petal infused Lemonade. It was AMAZING. I could have drank the whole pitcher... but I am glad I did not.

All of the food was very good, but the portions were modest and we all left feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

We headed to Green Street Grill for a drink.

I first had a Malbec which was much too earthy for my taste, followed by a glass of Syrah, which was sweeter and more to my liking.

We all split a piece of pumpkin cake with mascarpone.

The fact that we were out and about led to much less drinking than our group usually does, which is probably for the best! I slept over Phoebe's in Fenway anyway to avoid my excessively long commute home. All in all, another very successful supper club night!

How do you like to spend your girls nights??