These days

Today’s post is a list of random things I’m doing/thinking about/loving right now.  Thanks to Heather and Clare for the inspiration!

1. I can be found mouthing the lyrics to these songs at the gym.  Though they make me want to sing out loud, I reign in my excitement at the gym.

      It’s My Turn Now, Keke Palmer

Favorite lines: “I’m strong, yeah I’m steady” and “In my heart I’m believing that I can see how I can live what I’m dreaming” Perfect mantras for the gym, and for life.

      Somebody to Love, Glee Cast

(I love the Justin Beiber version too.)

Favorite lines: “Step to the beat of my heart” and “Smile for me.” Make my heart melt. And great for the gym.

2. I’m loving smoothies right now.  In November one of my goals was to eat one fruit and one veggie per day. Check off that fruit!

Favorite recipes:

  • Mixed berry–1 cup low fat plain yogurt, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/2 tbsp sugar (though add to your taste) in the blender.
  • Strawberry Peach–1 cup low fat plain yogurt, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen peaches, 1/4 cup milk, and honey to taste (my taste is 1 tbsp) in the blender. Each of these makes one.

3. Inspired by Jess‘ post about writing a letter to herself, I’m working on my intentions for 2012, thinking about where I want to be come January 1, 2013, and what I want my life to look like.  I’m really enjoying this exercise; it makes me hopeful for what 2012 will bring.

4. I’m looking forward to driving home with Mike today and belting singing Christmas songs.

5. I really want to make this pomegranate vanilla sangria.  I’m brainstorming events I could make this for. Any ideas?

6. One of your intentions for 2012 should be to make some of Jessica’s recipes.  I’m not kidding.

7. I’m about halfway through The Hunger Games and I’m really enjoying it so far. I just got to the part where the games begin.

8. This tea is my go-to when I feel like I’m getting sick.  It’s like a miracle worker. Knocks a cold right out.

9. I’m loving all of my readers.  Thank you for reading and commenting!

10. Speaking of my readers: Before we knew that our bites were coming from bed bugs, I wanted to post a picture of the bites and see if any of you knew what they might be. Mike said that was gross and unless I could prove there were some doctors in my readership, he wouldn’t let me post pictures of his bites. So, who are you? What do you do? Any doctors out there?

I’d love to know:

What are you up to? What are you excited about these days?



What’s for dinner?

What’s for dinner? must be one of the most frequently asked questions between a married couple.  It’s definitely one of Mike’s favorite questions.  During high school, he’d call his dad at work almost every day after school to ask him what was for dinner.

What’s for dinner is also the title of a new series here on Things After the Rings where I’ll share what we’re having. And you’re in luck, today I have two meals to share.

Tuesday night we had grilled cheese and tomato soup, a quick, easy, comforting meal that is perfect for a chilly fall night.

Must use Land O’Lakes American Cheese, the taste is just so much creamier than other American cheeses. [Please do me a favor and give up on Kraft singles.  They’re not even real cheese and they taste terrible.  Believe me, you’ll thank me for it.]

I like mustard on the inside of one slice of bread.  Real butter is a must too.

Last night we had curried chicken and rice.

I was tutoring one night and this dish was cooking on the stove as worked.  It smelled amazing so I asked the mom for the recipe. Here it is:

Fast Curried Turkey with Rice serves 4-6, total time about 30 mins

  • 2 T butter, margarine or oil – your choice [of course I vote butter]
  • 2 tsp curry + ½ tsp cinnamon + pinch cloves
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 1 lb. boneless turkey or chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced (or use a green apple & don’t bother peeling)
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup long grain or Basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water, or combination
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt, then add the curry mixture.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, until spices become fragrant. Add the diced onion and sauté until soft and golden.  Add the turkey, apples and raisins and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the rice and stir. Add the stock/water, bring to a boil and cover. Cook on medium-low heat until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes.  Add the peas during the last few minutes to heat through, then toss and serve.

Notes from the recipe I received:

You can eat the peas separately if you prefer. Another tip: if you cook it too long with the peas, they’ll get dull green and mushy. If you prefer green and crisp, add them right before you’re going to eat.  If you are a fan of Indian food, this dish goes well with yogurt and cucumber raita, or Greek tzatziki.

My notes:

Though it’s not spicy, it has a nice heat to it. I would definitely recommend serving it with raita or tzatziki on the side as suggested above. The first time I made this I let it simmer too long and it was a bit dry.  Last night I let it simmer for 15 mins plus a few more mins for the peas and it turned out better.


I’d love to know:

What else would make the list of Most Frequently Asked Questions Between a Married Couple?

What are you having for dinner this week? 

girlfriend goodness

in the last couple of years i started craving girl time.  time to catch up, to laugh, to vent, to chat about things. i’ve had a lot of girlfriend time in the last month with 3 girlfriend weekends in a row.  i’m so lucky to have such amazing women to call my friends and so grateful that they came to DC to visit me.  here’s some snapshots from the last 3 weekends:

there is nothing like catching up with a girlfriend over a good meal.

i believe that time with girlfriends is good for the soul.

and so are cupcakes.

sending love to all of my girlfriends. send some to yours too.

(photos from top: breakfast at open city, margaritas at cactus cantina, pizza at  2amys [shouldn’t all girlfriend weekends have great food?], organizing our closet buy putting christmas ornaments in our suitcases (brilliant, bridget!), more margaritas at cactus cantina, dessert pizza and steele pinot noir at matchbox, shopping, made cupcakes from one of our favorite blogs)

breakfast of champions

chocolate chip pancakes are my favorite breakfast.  they have been for years. so i was thrilled when the abs diet cookbook had a recipe for chocolate chip flapjacks. pancakes on a diet?  yes, please!  

we have these pancakes at least twice a week (the batter stays good in the fridge overnight for one night). and the best thing about these…you won’t crash and/or be hungry 30 mins after eating them.  

chocolate chip flapjacks (adapted from the abs diet cookbook)

makes 10-12 pancakes

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup instant oatmeal

1 1/2 cup 2% milk (1% works fine)

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs, lightly scrambled

1/2 cup semi-sweet choc chips

Preheat skillet on medium-low to medium heat.

In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and flax.  In large bowl, combine oatmeal, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs.  Add flour mixture to oatmeal/milk mixture, stir until combined.  Add chocolate chips.  Stir. 

Pour 1/4 cup mix onto skillet.  Cook for a few minutes on each side.


(i find that two is plenty.  mike needs at least three. four on hungry mornings.)

these pancakes are absolutely delicious on their own, with a little butter, with a little syrup, with fresh fruit on the side, with a nice berry sauce or with any combination thereof.  add some extra protein with a little crunchy peanut butter.  mmm mmm mmm.