Monday, June 25, 2012

Trying out a new format here …for the first time ever. Woo. Lets see if this sticks. I'm going to talk about: the things I'm eating, reading & doing on the weekends, because if I'm blogging once a week, I'm almost guaranteed to make at least one awesome meal, read at least one awesome book and have some awesome adventures!

Other AWESOME things that happened this week include Germany's victory & advancement in the Euro Cup. They'll take on Italy next, which will be a tough game. I've been cheering for and keeping up with the Deutscher Fussball Bund ever since studying in Stuttgart during the World Cup in 2006. I have such great memories from that time, and watching soccer makes me extra happy!

I skipped my long run, which I'd been planning for the end of last week. Now I'm hoping this Wednesday will be the day I run 11 miles. The more I talk about running long distances, the crazier I feel. But running feels good, so what are you gonna do?

Now on to the good stuff….

Amazing recipes of the week

Stuffed Zucchini

Made this for Wednesday dinner and it was delicious. While I've been a long-time lover of squash, for some reason, I never liked its green brother until about a year ago. I've been roasting a lot of zucchini since then, and one of my favorite ways to eat it has been Rebekah's zucchini-potato fritters. Delicious. But, I'd never stuffed zucchini before this week. I adapted the recipe a bit, and it mostly reminded me of making an old favorite, twice-baked potatoes. I think we will be doing this again. Served with some plain couscous, this was a filling & delicious meal.

Now, moving on to Friday's feast…

Chicken Echiladas

Enchiladas were something I didn't grow up eating at home for some reason, and I decided to try my hand at this for the first time a month or so ago. I did this the easy way: chicken cooked in taco seasoning lumped into tortillas with canned enchilada sauce over the top. Sometimes I enjoy doing things the easy way. And sometimes I do things like this --- the really hard way! This is one of the most labor intensive recipes I've ever undertaken. Let me just skip ahead & give you a giant spoiler: it was so, so worth it. But, everything is from scratch in this recipe except the tomato sauce and the tortillas themselves. I even grated cheese, people. I never grate cheese, and I've never been so impressed with myself for cooking something so delicious before. Thankfully, we could barely finish one large enchilada a piece on Friday night, and since we were mostly out of the house all weekend, there are still some of these bad boys left to be enjoyed today. I can't wait for lunch!

Blackberry pie bars

Blackberry cobbler is one of Aaron's favorite desserts, so when I saw this recipe pinned by Flickr, I knew it was only a matter of time before it would be in my belly. It looked too good and too easy …and it was. I whipped this up while the chicken for the enchiladas were cooking. I was worried about the crust. I don't think I've ever been instructed to cook with chilled butter. Instead, It's always at room temperature for cake, cookies, frostings, etc., and I was worried about the texture of the crust. But, duh, the butter globs in the flour just makes it extra flakey & crispy & awesome. We ate this pretty much right out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream, so there wasn't too much "bar" about it, but now that they're cool, I may try to chop them up into serving sizes. …or, you know, just eat them out of the pan.

What I read…

Did I mention I've been reading a lot? I joined Goodreads awhile ago, so you can keep up with me there. For some reason, something has gotten into me, and I've already read over 50 books this year! I started the A Song of Ice and Fire series on the beach this weekend, and I'm also currently reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, which is amazing & yes, beautiful so far.

But, here's a bit of what I read last week…

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

A fun little book about a girl traveling in South America. She's fresh off a recent breakup and uses traveling and meeting interesting characters as her therapy. This was no great literary feat or anything. To be honest, I've been reading a ton of pretty trash young adult fiction lately, and I'm perfectly fine with that. This was, however, a great, light summer read. It would be great for the beach.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This is another "I-broke-up-with-a-boy-so-I'm-going-to-travel" book. Except this is a true story of a badass woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I've been looking forward to reading this for awhile, but I have to gear myself up for non-fiction. This book reminded me of a much more literary, much more serious version of A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, which, I learned while reading in May, everyone freaking loves. I'm not sure if I'm made for long hikes, but I do love reading about them. This author has a great voice. I loved the way she intertwined details from her past through her journey forward on the trail.

Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi

I read this book in one sitting on the way to Birmingham on Thursday afternoon. The only other graphic novel I've ever read was Satrapi's Persepolis. I loved it, and I heard Chicken with Plums is being released as a film this summer. I'd love to see another film like the adaptation of Persepolis, and this author is great, so I decided to check it out. I can't say too much about the story because it's so short, I might spoil it, but trust me when I say that it absolutely blew my mind. This 80-page story is totally worth a read. It's a beautiful book.

Weekend adventures

After a much-needed night in on Friday, I was excited to head to the beach on Saturday. We'd talked about going to Dauphin Island, which is apparently dog friendly, but we rethought our plans and kept Boone at home for this trip to Orange Beach instead. The drive felt longer than the last time we made it in November …probably because I was excited to get there. Though, actually, I like the gulf coast better in November as well. Quieter, cooler. Still, I had to dip my toes in the ocean just once this summer.

We made it to the beach at about noon and went for a swim. The tide was high, and I got a little beaten up by the waves and had a blast. A few kids on a church trip were handing out free freeze ice, which was amazing! Besides swimming and walking along the coast, we laid down in the sand to read for a bit. I started Game of Thrones, and Aaron started The Curious of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This made my heart happy because Aaron isn't a reader, but he was giggling at this narrator's amazing voice the whole time he was reading. I hope he'll finish it soon, because I loved the book myself.

All in all, we were on the beach for three hours, and even though we applied sunscreen, we're still a little crispy today, unfortunately. After our beach experience, we had dinner at a beach bar-type place, and I ate crab! This is a big deal. This is the first sea food since I was forced to eat fish sticks as a child that I actually enjoy. We'll see what happens from here. Aaron says his goal is for me to be sucking on crawdads in the next few years. Yuck!

I was happy with my crab on top of fried green tomatoes, salad and a pina colada while I watched folks roll in from a red snapper tournament earlier that day.

Saturday we climbed at Sand Rock, which is becoming our new favorite crag. This time we took a couple of new friends along, which was fun. I'm happy to share our rope with people who have as much fun climbing as we do. Probably the most exciting part of the trip, though, happened as soon as we were pulling up. A hot piece of glass near a bush had sparked a wild fire, which we and four other climbers put out with dirt and water. It was a very valiant effort, I must say.

I'm dragging so far this Monday morning. Hopefully my coconut water will help. I think I'll feel much more settled as the week goes on, as I usually do.

No comments: