Sunday, September 30, 2012

Candy trifecta

We ran over to Cash & Carry this afternoon and while there we got the last bag of Halloween candy I'd been eyeballing.
 Abba-Zabas (my favorite), Big Hunks, and Look! bars. Apparently Look bars are just chocolate covered Big Hunks (nougat with peanuts). I told the Canadian that he's not allowed to have any of these due to their "chewy" nature and the fact that he has paper mache teeth. Having already lost a tooth to Mike & Ikes, we're not taking any chances.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hot Friday dates

We hardly ever go out to eat, but I ate out both lunch and dinner today. After weeks of planning, I finally had  lunch with Pam, our retired receptionist from work, at the Mennonite Cafe on Hagen Ln. I actually stopped there this morning at 7:00 am on my way to work and picked up some of their frozen dinners to take to a friend who is doing 24 hour care for her terminally ill father. Just throw them in the oven and you've got yourself some delicious chicken pot pies and cheesy chicken potatoes. The Mennonites are excellent bakers.
After a couple of hours of girl talk I came home and waited for the Canadian who was coming home from a job site in P-town for our dinner date at the super high-brow restaurant, La Comida.
I got all confused because Chico doesn't give you your chips and salsa at the counter like P-town does, they have a worker come by and hook you up. We had dinner early (i.e., 4:00 p.m.) so it was just us and our kind - the over 70 crowd. After dinner I talked the boy into going next door to the stationary/craft store so that I could ogle over all of the fall/Halloween decorations. While there I found some earrings that desperately wanted to come home with me so the boy bought them for me as an early birthday present.
The store has a rewards card for these brand earrings that when you've purchased a total of five pairs you mail in a post card (that has stickers from each of the purchases) to the company in VT and you get a free pair of your choice. And trust me, it won't be hard to find three more pairs that I want. There were two others on the display case that I would have gladly taken also. Free pair, here I come!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Death by cupcakes

I have a co-worker, Doug, who is notorious for bringing in treats to share with the office that are always out of date. One year for Valentine's Day he brought in day old donuts and wrote in sharpie on the box that they were fine if you nuked them first for a few seconds. I think a lot of the treats he brings are from his wife who works at their church food pantry and sends Doug with food they can't accept, like baked goods. Yesterday he brought mini cupcakes that were already four days past their "best by" date and once people realized who brought them the interest in the cupcakes waned. I even saved the life of a co-worker by damn near swatting a cupcake out of his hand when I saw him innocently reaching for one. And what do I get for my good deeds? I get stalked by those little clusters of moldy death. After I got back to my desk from working the counter I found this waiting for me;
and when I turned to answer my phone...
and when I reached up to grab my stapler...
There was no escaping their sinister stares. Once again, I blame one of the boys at work for trying to terrorize me!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My new little friend

One, possibly two, of my co-workers thought it would be heee-larious to stick a baby alligator lizard in my coffee mug last night after I left for me to find this morning.
Me - not so funny. I immediately employed the services of a big, manly co-worker to take it outside and dispose of it. Then I had to clean out the lizard cooties before I could enjoy some morning coffee. Boys!! (shaking my fist)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Back in the kitchen again

I've been holding on to a recipe for the past week or so that I thought would be a big hit at work and looked relatively easy to make - Peanut Butter Cup S'mores Bars. It's a bar made with a layer of graham cracker dough,
topped with full size peanut butter cups,
Then a layer of marshmallow fluff (or creme like I used),
Finally the whole thing is topped off with more graham cracker dough and then baked off for about 30 minutes.
After letting it sit for at least 2 hours to set up, you can cut it up into bars and serve to hungry Canadians.
A little too sweet for me, but I'm sure the little piglets at my work will love it!

While the bars were baking I was busy whipping up another recipe from my new Cooking Light issue - Maple Stout Quick Bread. As soon as the bars came out of the oven I slid the bread loaf in for about 45 minutes. After completely cooling I topped it with a maple glaze and cut us some pieces to try.
Hooooooooly crap, this was the most delicious bread I've ever made! I even swapped out all of the flour for the gluten free all-purpose flour (Better Batter) my mom got me at Christmas so I could eat the whole loaf without dying. It's got chocolate stout in the batter which gives it a wonderful aroma and the glaze gives it just the right amount of sweetness. Just looking at the photo makes me want to go back into the kitchen and get another slice it's that good!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A trip down cemetery lane

After a bright and early morning of bike riding and softball throwing, we had some (gluten free) biscuits and gravy and then headed over to the cemetery for a late morning walk. We've been wanting to go over and check out the headstones since the cemetery goes back to the early 1800's.

We were there for about an hour and only made it around the perimeter. The oldest gravestone we could find was from 1803. The old ones were really ornate with big family plots. As the temps continue to drop we'll definitely we heading back for more long walks.

While we were out and about we stopped at Cash & Carry and starting stocking up on Halloween candy because it's never too early to have hundreds of pieces of temptation in the house, right?
We took a sacred vow not to open the bags yet otherwise there'll be nothing left come Halloween. I've got my eye on one last bag that has Abba-Zabas, Big Hunks, and something else in a red wrapper I've since forgotten. I wish I'd let the Canadian hide them because I hear them sweetly singing my name and unfortunately I know right where they're at. Sweet baby Jesus, give me strength!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

When art and cars go bad

After church today we drove over to Durham for their annual Car Show fundraiser put on by the local Rotary. Along with cars they also had arts and crafts booths, tractor and engine displays, and pony rides. These were American cars, so not our favorite, but still fun to look at. Especially this gem;
After a lunch of tri-tip and brats, we hit the craft booths where I came across these little goodies;
They're nut and fruit mixes that are super tasty. I got a plain one and another that has some cayenne mixed in for a sweet and spicy flavor. I already mixed some in my yogurt for an afternoon snack. They have a website you can order from and they're just over in Forest Ranch so they could practically throw it to my house. Overall, an entertaining way to kill a couple of hours on a sunny afternoon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Something new

We tried a new recipe last night for sausage stuffed zucchinis that came together with delicious results.

I cut two zucchinis in half and spooned out the guts to create a zucchini boat (which I blanched in boiling water for 1 minute) while I sauteed diced red bell pepper and sausage.  Then I diced up the zucchini guts and added it to the filling mix before scooping it all into the hollowed out zucchinis. I put the boats in an 8x8 with a little marinara sauce in the bottom, then topped each zucchini with more sauce and some cheese (for the boy). Finally you cover it with foil and bake for about 35 minutes.By then the zucchini are nice and soft and everything is piping hot. I have a similar recipe for chicken enchilada filling in zucchinis that I'm going to make for bible study and I'm sure, if they're anything like these sausage zucchinis, they'll be delicious!

Last Sunday we had a fundraiser potluck dinner at church called "Stump the Pastor". I had to go ("get to go" as Chris always corrects me) because I'm on the church's finance committee, but it really did end up to be a lot of fun. I didn't make anything since I hate wasting my special gluten free stuff on mere commoners so I ran to Safeway and bought a pound of their Tuscan pesto salad which it way better than anything I could make anyway. Attendees were asked to bring quotes from either the bible or movies that we would take turns asking in an effort to "stump the pastor" who is a huge movie connoisseur.

I brought two movie quotes, both of which he nailed;
"Ok wait. If you guys are really us, what number are we thinking of? 69 duuuuuudes!" (Bill & Ted) and
"Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves" (Kelly's Heros)
The second one made him laugh and everyone in the (older) audience started reminiscing about all the actors in that movie. Of course one of the quotes that did stump the pastor was one that Chris knew before I even finished retelling it to him because it was from one of the world's worst movies - Dumb & Dumber. Am I surprised that the Canadian can quote almost that entire stupid movie? No. I mean, Jim Carrey is a national treasure to his people....and that's why they cannot be trusted.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It's that time of year....

...for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, fools!!
Slurp, slurp, sluuuuurp, so good. Even though my favorite barista at the Starbuck's kiosk in Safeway moved to Alaska so I actually had to verbally order my drink - how ghetto. I had a system with the old barista, Jennifer (the daughter of a co-worker), that if I came in after church during Pumpkin Spice Latte season I'd swing by the kiosk so she'd see me and then, when I finished shopping, I'd stop by and pick up my finished drink without nary a word needing to be exchanged. That's service!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saying goodbye

Two years ago there were 24 people working in my office. Now there are 13. Actually, make that 12 since one of my last comrade-in-arms' last day was Thursday. In celebration of her impending freedom we had a potluck lunch (that I brought bbq beef in a crockpot with buns to) plus an after work celebration at another co-worker's house that involved copious amounts of alcohol and Mexican food.
Party honoree Kelly, Kari, and me

We don't have any big plans for the weekend. I need to buckle down and do the August financial reports for the church and pay some church bills, but as usual, I'm dragging my feet because there's a million other things I'd rather do, like nothing at all. 

We did a small trip over to Old Navy this afternoon so that I could use my $10 off of $25 that my friend Lulu gave me. The Canadian found some cheap workout shirts and a zip up hoodie, so in his chivalrous fashion, he also picked up the tab for my new leopard print dress (meooow) and beaded long sleeve shirt. We also stopped at the brewery because my new co-worker works per diem (on call for special events) there and gets a substantial discount at the gift shop with which she's offered to pick us up stuff since she's ready to put in her notice of resignation at the end of the month. So we went and made a shopping list of t-shirts and a sweater for her to buy for us next time she's there. While there we also found a new style of  the specialty beers they're releasing with the monks out in Vina that I haven't seen in the regular store yet so we grabbed a bottle. It was a Belgian-style Golden, whatever that means.  

Fast forward an hour, now we're plopped on the couch, each with our own laptops open on our laps watching some PGA golf. That's how you show the weekend who's boss! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Figgy Puddin'

I've had more figs these last two weeks than I've had in my whole life. My co-worker, Dina, has two neighbors that grow both mission figs and strawberry figs. I recognized the mission figs, but I'd never heard of the strawberry figs she brought in today, but there were just as tasty.
As you can see the main difference is that the skin is bright green instead of the dark purplish/black that mission figs are. And I didn't think these were quite as sweet, but that's not a bad thing. I'd never had figs before last week and now I've probably had a half-dozen of each kind. Nom, nom, nom.

So, I've got three days left in my week long activity assessment with my clip-on exercise monitor. At the end of each day (that I remember) I download the day's activities to the computer and get a peek at what my activity levels for the day were.
It's interesting to see that I get way more constant activity at work than I do at home on the weekends. On the weekends I usually have a late night evening peak (like above) when we go to the gym, but the rest of the day is pretty mellow spent parked on the couch. On workdays I have a 5:00 a.m. peak when I exercise as well as constant activity during the day and another peak at night when we go on our walk. I've still got three more days to go, but so far I'm pretty happy with what I'm seeing.

Who wanted a new tea mug at work, but couldn't decide on one so she bought a small army's worth?
Because you can never have to many corny mugs, right?

Sunday, September 2, 2012


While I was at Holiday last week I picked up a couple of bags of chocolate covered nuts from Maisie Jane's. One bag was dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts and the other were dark chocolate chipotle almonds.
The first bite tastes like normal chocolate covered almonds, but the aftertaste is spicy like chili powder. We had spicy chocolate gelato like that in Seattle. They're so addicting in a confusing way. If you ever see something like these you should try it!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Braving the outdoors

Dear 3-day weekend, you are my best friend. We celebrated this glorious occasion by sleeping in until almost 9:00 a.m. this morning. But instead of wasting the entire day, we had breakfast and then headed out on our bikes to a neighborhood park about a 15 minute bike ride away to play catch until we got all hot and sweaty.
I wouldn't want to lose all my mad softball skillz by not playing again for another 15 years. Besides taking a rocket ship straight to the palm of my glove, we had some good tosses. I made sure to wear my new Weight Watchers pedometer that I got yesterday. You connect it to the computer to download your activity for the day so you can see what times of the day/week you're more active and adjust your lazy ass accordingly.
As you can see it's pretty small and comes with two style clips to clip to your clothes or belt or on a chain. For the first 8 days it's just doing an assessment of your normal movements and then after that it'll determine your baseline activity level and will light up in 25% increments to show you how close you are each day to meeting that minimum target with the idea being to go above and beyond that. I'm a little scared because I work out in the morning before work and again in the evenings so I fear that my baseline activity will be fairly high and therefore kind of hard to get my activity level above 100%, but we'll see.

I went to a new eating/drinking establishment this week in Chico with my lady friends (a mix of current and previous co-workers). It's called Wine Time and is located on the north end of Esplanade just before Eaton. It's a refurbished barn and is beauuuuutiful. Obviously their main attraction is wine, but they have an extensive    tapas menu to order from while downing, I mean tastefully sipping, your Moscato.
Each of us ordered a plate of tapas to share with the group. I picked the meat and cheese platter which had thin cut slices of pepperoni, prosciutto, and two different kinds of salami plus a variety of cheeses cut into little cubes. Dina, at my urging, got a mixed sampler platter that had dolmas (rice stuffed grape leaves), goat cheese stuffed red peppers (my FAVORITE), garlic olives, feta cheese in pesto, and almonds that had been coated in a tangy red wine vinegar glaze. And before Dina and I got there (we were late because of stupid traffic on 99 - the bane of my existence!!) the other ladies had already ordered a couple of the flatbread pizzas. All of it was wonderful and I'm sure the Canadian will love it when I make him put on a shirt with sleeves and take him over there.