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January 2011
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March 2011

Believe it or not...

I finished Steph's wedding album!  I know, it's a miracle.  I got a lot done this week so I'll actually be able to give it to her tonight.  Now how to figure out how to get it into the concert... lol.

Here are the rest of the layouts:

Steph Wedding pg 20

Steph Wedding pg 21

Steph Wedding pg 22

Steph Wedding pg 23

Steph Wedding pg 24

Steph Wedding pg 25

Steph Wedding pg 26

Steph Wedding pg 27

Steph Wedding pg 28

Whew!  I can't believe I made it.  I was feeling like I had my scrap mojo back this week, but we'll see if I burned myself out again.  lol.  Anyway, off to grab a snack and then get back to work so I can be ready to head off to the concert tonight.  I *heart* Linkin Park!  :D

Two days in a row!

I know... that's just getting crazy.  But don't worry, I'll be back to my usual lackidasical posting in the very near future.  lol.  I was actually able to get a few more layouts done tonight, which was great since I ended up on a conference call with one of my school teams to work on our big project for the semester. (Said project is the current bain of my existance.  I'd much rather work on stuff for my other class!  But c'est la vie, right?)

Steph Wedding pg 18 

  Steph Wedding pg 19

Only 9 more to go... think I'll make it by Friday night?  We'll see!

Just a few more random things... I've been really into these funky, cute necklaces on Etsy lately.  Here's one I got recently that I just adore.  Yes, I could easily have made it myself, but I figured I'd support someone else and let her buy all the cabuchons and vintage bits and put the whole thing together.  lol.  This one was from Tamar.

Esme Necklace

And this one I just found today and splurged on.  I can't wait to get it... (from caughtredhanded).  She hand makes all of the beads - it looks so cool!

Autumn Pebble Necklace

I also ordered a new messenger bag / purse to take on my school trip.  My last travel bag bit the dust.  I loved this one - it's durable, has lots of pockets and space and looks awesome with the added bonus that she made it to the dimensions I wanted so I can easily put my camera in it.  She's putting the finishing touches on it tomorrow and then dropping it in the mail.  (From KuhlBags.)

Messenger bag

I *heart* Etsy.  I try to stay away unless there's something specific I need, like that bag.  I think you can see why.  lol.  But I like supporting local and/or handmade where I can and it has the added bonus of getting me really unique stuff that no one else has. 

K.  That's it... time to call it quits for the night.

P.S.  Go Avs!  Way to break that 10 game losing streak tonight and actually win one.  lol.  It's all good... I don't have time to watch the playoffs this year anyway :D

P.P.S. My March issue of Cooking Light came today, along with my new Light & Healthy cookbook from America's Test Kitchen (I picked up 2010 at the lower price to see how I like it).  More yummies ahead!  I've already marked several new recipes.  Can't wait to pick the next one to test out.

Time is flying!

I can't believe it's already been another two weeks since my last post AND that February is almost over!  I've been busy as usual... crazy at work, trying to keep up and learn as much as I can at school and keeping it balanced at home as much as possible.   

First, the EMBA singles went back to Mazza on Friday and I drove up to meet them, but of course I totally spaced taking any pictures.  There were 5 of us and we met up with 4 more from the Salt Lake class of 2012 and it was great to meet new people and hang out and get to know each other.  The food was wonderful, as usual.  I ordered appetizers for the table and I have to say the tomatoes with bulgar, the labdeh and the little lamb pizza were amazing.  I also got a chick pea and fava bean dip that I really loved.  There was just enough for each of us to have a few bites of everything.  Then I had my lamb and rice which was drool-worthy; the rice was amazing.  And to top it all off, a date ma'mool.  I so can't wait for our trip to the Middle East.  I just hope our hotels have gyms to help me counteract all the awesome food.  lol.

Speaking of food, as usual, I've been cooking up a storm... three FABULOUS new recipes.  First, I made my very own homemade ravioli.  I made the pasta, filling and sauce all from scratch and I have to say, it was awesome.  The filling was fat free ricotta, fresh grated parmesan, salt and pepper, an egg, a few handfuls of rough chopped fresh organic baby spinach and some lean Italian chicken sausage (pre-cooked since ravioli don't cook for long).  I will definitely make this again... delish.

Homemade Ravioli in process

And the finished product...

Homemade Ravioli

Next, I made a beef and butternut squash tagine using a recipe from the latest issue of Cooking Light.  Wow was it yum.  Another recipe going into the "keep" pile!  I had leftovers tonight and it was just as fabulous.  Lots of fantastic flavor.  I just paired it with a light couscous salad that I got in a tub at Costco for $2.  You can't beat that!

Beef and Butternut Squash Tagine 2

And one more... this is from my Power Foods book (my health coach challenged me to cook a few recipes from it this month.  I also did roasted pears and brussel sprouts.  No picture, but also delicious).  This one is a paprika rubbed chicken with carrots, fennel, apricots and olives in a sauce made from chicken broth and fresh squeezed orange juice with cumin and more paprika.  Really excellent. I love fennel and the combination of flavors in the different ingredients was fantastic.

Paprika Chicken with Carrots and Fennel

k.  That's it for the food portion of tonight's blog.  lol.  Next, a little peek at something else I picked up recently:

Kickboxing Gloves

Yup.  I started kickboxing last month.  I LOVE it.  Right now I'm just going on Saturday mornings since that's about all I can fit into my schedule, but getting up after a long, frequently stressful week and going in to pound on a punching bag while sweating it out to great music is awesome.  It's at a nearby martial arts academy and it's definitely not a fluff class.  We do partner drills and bag drills with self-defense mixed in and it's a solid hour of hard work.  The first two weeks, I felt like I'd been hit by a truck the next day and I could barely move!  I'm really proud that I wasn't in any pain the next day after this last time... just a little stiffness in my shoulders from all the punching drills. 

And finally... ta da!  I did some layouts for Steph's wedding album.  My goal is to have it finished before I see her this weekend, but we'll see if I make it.  I still have 11 pages left and I have a feeling work and school might interfere with my plans.  But in the meantime...

Steph Wedding pg 15-16

And one more...

Steph Wedding pg 17

Whew!  That's it for now... off to get ready to get back into my regular schedule tomorrow.  Later!

What happens at Communal...

...stays at Communal.  Except for all the pictures I'm going to share, of course :)  Tonight I met up with a bunch of friends for another of our dinners which we love.  It was so. much. fun.  Seriously.  And the food?  Incredibly delicious.  All in all, a fantastic way to spend the evening.  We went to a fairly new restaurant in Provo that we'd all heard good things about and really wanted to try - Communal (sister restaurant to Pizzaria 712 where I went a few weeks ago).  It definitely doesn't disappoint!  We were thinking we'd love to go back for Saturday brunch sometime.

We had a reservation for their private room (it's a small restaurant) but the party before us was really slow finishing up so we were all hanging out together in the waiting area for like 45 minutes just having a blast (and starving.  lol.)  Then we finally got seated and they brought us out a few platters of their homemade bread and butter.  We told them we'd probably need a few more and they thought we were joking.  We weren't.  lol.  A few photos of the gang before the food:

Darren and Mindy (with Darren refusing to smile because of the new oral hardware.  Whatever.)

Darren and Mindy

Brandon and his friend Shana:

Brandon and Shana

Laura and Maggie:

Laura and Maggie

Maggie and Brent:

Brent and Maggie

Chad and I:

Chad and I

And the whole gang (I especially love Brandon and Shana's pose in the back.  Too funny.):

The Whole Gang

After this they brought us some fantastic artisan bread that they make in-house.  A little food was all it took for us to start to get a bit punchy.

First, me showing off the Kangen water they serve (they tell you on the menu to ask about it, so we did.  It's a special Japanese filtration system.  It still tasted like water, though.)

Me with the Kangen Water

(Seeing "freezer" written on my hand, which I did when they brought the bread to remind me to take the bread of of the freezer when I got home, reminds me that I still haven't done it.  lol.)

Exhibit B. 


We were having such a great time and just laughed all night.  There were stories, joking, and some jokes that came out of stories that had us near tears. We didn't take pictures through most of dinner, but I did get these gems before they brought the food.

Chad and Brent 2

Chad and Brent 1

And then, the food started to arrive.  Laura showing off one of the beautiful salads.

Laura with the Gorgeous Salad

Then the sides and entrees came.  I had a fabulous pork chop with saffron quince sauce.  I also ordered a side of gnocchi with a lemon thyme sauce to share with the table that was simply divine. Everyone ordered different sides and we passed them around to taste:  buttered barley with sweet potatoes, caramalized cauliflower with ham, spaghetti squash with hazelnuts... also a fennel and endive salad with feta and pomegranate arils.  It was all fantastic - I liked the gnocchi best, of course, with the barley coming in second.  I also got to try Chad's pot roast and it was delicious too.  Going back again I think I'd go for the chicken in mole.  Yum.

Then, of course, we all got dessert.  There was a lot of chocolate bread pudding delivered to the table along with a few apple and apricot crisps.  Chad and I both ordered the lemon custard with poppy seed almond cookies which you can see in the nicely modeled photo below:

Chad with the Lemon Custard

It was even better than it looks... the little strawberry sauce mixed with the custard (which was like the filling of a really fantastic lemon bar) and those delicious little cookies was fabulous.  And it was nice and light which was a perfect finish.

After we ate, we hung out for a while and just chatted and laughed.  I can't give details (because what happens at Communal really does stay there), but the Cougar Fight Song will never be the same for me again.  lol.  I'm already looking forward to our next dinner!  We'll have to get together soon and pick a date and another awesome restaurant.

I added all the photos from tonight (and as many as I put in the post, there are still more!) in an album with pictures of my EMBA buddies here.

And now, I'm exhausted... and I still need to go take stuff out of the freezer.  lol.  Busy day tomorrow so I'm off to defrost and get ready for bed!

Feeling oddly proud.

Because I did this:

Worn out treadmill belt

I completely wore out the belt of my treadmill.  The repair guy came today and replaced it for me and when I saw the backside of the old belt I was surprised it hadn't completely come apart while I was using it and super lucky I didn't hurt myself!  The duct tape did the job just long enough, I guess, but that sucker was totally frayed on the back.  I had ordered the replacement part and thought I would put it in myself until I saw the instructions... then I called Sears.  lol.  I'm pretty handy, but watching the guy replace it confirmed that I made the right decision - it took him an hour and he had to pretty much take apart the entire thing.  I'm looking forward to working out in the morning without worrying about stepping in that hole!

And now... drumroll please... I did a layout!  I know.  I haven't scrapbooked since before Christmas.  I'm not sure I've got my mojo back (let alone the time), but I've had insomnia this week so I worked on it a bit in between other things in the middle of the night.  This is from the first time I met Adorable-Niece-Aubrey back in October at the hospital in Virginia.

Hey There

And a little close-up:

Hey There Close-up 2

Hopefully it doesn't take another six weeks before the next layout.  lol.

Of course, even without the scrapping mojo, I've still been cooking!  I've made some really delicious stuff in the last month.  However, since I haven't posted anything in forever, I figured posting all the recipes at once would probably be a bad idea.  So here's a little collage of the yumminess.

January 2011 Cooking

From top-left down to bottom-right, we have my not-quite-world-famous Tex-Mex Chicken Soup which I can never get enough of.  Next, a fantastic olive tapenade that I made and took for the little snack buffet we had before our class discussion of Man's Search for Meaning last week.  It's made with kalamata and black olives, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice and a touch of olive oil.  Next, from the Lebanese cookbook I got for Christmas, stuffed squash along with some Muhamarra and endive lettuce (the recipe for that was from Ellie Krieger's book, The Food you Crave which is fabulous.)  Next, because I couldn't bring myself to throw out the insides of the squash, I made a soup with it.  It's pumpkin, squash and potato mixed with cinnamon, allspice, salt, pepper, honey and some greek yogurt.  Toasted pepitas on top and it was fabulous!  Then, another from The Food you Crave - a corn-crusted roasted ratatouille tart.  There's one word for that one.  Yum.  I'll be making that again.  Finally, this weekend I went back to Claudia Roden's Arabesque for a Moroccan recipe - chicken with dates.  It doesn't look like much, but it's in a caramalized onion sauce made with ginger, cinnamon, saffron and honey and there are some little dates stuffed with blanched almonds.  It was fantastic (and yes, I ate the onions.  Go me!)

Whew!  And since I'm already talking about food, I have to bring up a few things that I'm totally addicted to.

Medjool Dates Medjool dates.  I could eat them like candy.  In fact, I kind of do.  They're insanely good and I can get them in big packages at Costco.  Bonus!  Sometimes I stuff them with a light cheese, honey and chopped pistachios.  But I could just eat these all day long.

Justin's Maple Almond Butter Justin's Maple Almond Butter.  I love almond butter in general, but this stuff is sooooo good.  The sweetness from the maple is insane.  I have a very hard controlling myself enough to remember that it's 3 points per tablespoon.  It's expensive, but worth every penny - especially if you just eat a little at a time.

 Market Pantry Whip ToppingFinally, believe it or not, I'm addicted to the Target version of fat free cool whip (it has to be FF, not light).  I think it has way better flavor than actual Cool Whip brand.  I could eat an entire container in one sitting if I didn't watch myself.  It's my little trick for feeling like I'm indulging myself.  I may or may not occasionally mix a few tablespoons of this with a tablespoon of almond butter.  Just sayin.'  Reduced fat graham crackers may also come into play.

Okay, that's it for now.  I've got a full day tomorrow and I'm going to try and get to bed early to make up for some of the insomnia.

P.S.  I found out that my school trip includes a stop in Marrakesh!  I'm super excited.  It wasn't on the original list, but it looks like that's our first city.  Marrakesh has been on my top 3 list of places I want to visit for years.  For the rest, we're all keeping a close eye on the Egypt situation to see if we need to change plans.  For now we're not, but we'll see what happens.  I hope it all works out... I'm really looking forward to seeing the pyramids! Crossing my fingers.