Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nom :: Banaynay/Paleo (?) Mug Cake!

Who doesn't love a mug cake?  If you haven't tried one, please do.  They are so good, and so easy and hit the spot when you're like, "damn, I want a warm dessert right now".  The only thing that annoys me is that most of the recipes I see call for 3-4 tbl. of flour, sugar, and require a lot of measuring.  I have nothing wrong with flour and sugar-we have tons of it in Oxo containers and all over the place, but basically I'm really impatient and too damn lazy to be hauling all of that out for a mug cake, which should be simple.

So I scoured the interwebs, which means I searched "mug cake" on Pinterest, and found a recipe for a Paleo Mug Cake.  I don't know a lot about the paleo diet, but I knew enough to know that this means "no flour".

world's worst picture of a mug cake, ever.
Here is your link to the original recipe, found at The Wannabe Chef.

So here's what it called for:

1 small banana (ripe, so it's mashable)
1 egg (you could get away with egg whites too probably)
1 1/2 tbl. of almond butter or any nut butter (ok I had peanut butter, so cool--I keep meaning to buy almond butter and then forget)
2 tbl. cocoa powder
Sweetener (optional--I used a packet of Truvia since I keep that around for my coffee)

Any add-ins you would like-chocolate chips (k, now is this paleo? no, i'm sure there is tons of refined sugar.), nuts, etc. whatever

Instructions:

1.  Mash up that NAYNAY (you guys know I love the naynays) in your mug! (Also, use a larger mug if you have one, not that cutesy little one that's good for taking artsy pics.)
2.  Add in your egg, nut butter, and mix that up well.
3.  Then add the cocoa powder and your sweetener if you're using it, as well as the add-ins.   I did put a few chocolate chips in, but it was honestly unnecessary.
4.  Microwave that bad boy for about 2 1/2 minutes.  Mine was set up nicely in the middle after that time, but this could vary.

Umm...the next step is fairly obvious, but go back to your couch, put on your Real Housewives, and eat a mug of delicious, warm chocolate cake.

Readers:  Can anyone confirm/disprove the paleo-ness of this mug cake?  I have no idea if I made it un-paleo by adding my peanut butter vs. almond butter.  I know the sweetener isn't ideal of course, but I do think it added just enough sweetness and is worth it!  

Linking up all over the place!




Monday, April 29, 2013

The Weekender :: Vol. 3

What did we do this weekend?  It seems like it was pretty low key sitting here on Monday morning.

Friday night:

  • Went to BRC for a happy hour-snack when Bryan got home from work.  Had some really good cabernet sauvignon, and we got brisket queso.  Yes, brisket queso. Um, yum.
 

Saturday:

  • Had a couple errands to run, non-exciting things like the post office and getting laundry detergent.
  • We both ended up taking a nap from about 4-7 pm, which was perfect since we had a dinner reso at 9!  
  • Dinner at Hugo's--an amazing restaurant here in H-town
  • Came home and watched Taken 2 on our floor bed that we made in the living room from couch cushions
apps we got-sopecitos and tacos dorados de papas
boozy tequila/prosecco cocktail
Sunday:

  • Slept in late
  • Cleaned out the closet and came up with a few bags of donate-able clothes :) 
  • Ordered Chinese food (lazyyy!) and watched Mad Men and What Would Ryan Lochte Do? which continues to be a really ridiculous show.

so many kroger bags of clothes!

Linking up this weekend with:


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday GIFs #1



When I'm trying to get ready to go out for date night and drinks

via

via

I really do love getting gussied up for a night out, but sweatpants are still amazing. And sometimes I feel like I'm curling iron challenged.

Tonight we're going out for dinner at Hugo's & I couldn't be more excited--I'll let you know how the outfitting goes.

Happy weekending, y'all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday FTW :: H54F

So, uh, April is basically over guys.  How did that happen?

1.  Well, I had a great interview on Monday morning.  I know I've been pretty vague about the whole thing, but that's the way it will have to stay--I'm not one to interview or work and talk about it on the internet.   I have a follow-up scheduled for this afternoon, so this is a pretty exciting week for me as far as "job things" go!

parking garage selfie pre-interview Monday
2.  Been enjoying bites of this deliciousness all week:


3.  This song:  

can't get enough
4.  Ran a mile on Wednesday in 10:09! Best yet, very excited about that. I will definitely be jotting up a post about my running mantras in the future.  This was my big goal before I started working on endurance building and my distance.  Prior to this, I'd gotten 2 miles done in 25/23 minutes, which is good too, but I really felt that I hardly had to push myself Wednesday, which was nice progress.

5.  B downloaded the Alabama Shakes album and we're pretty obsessed.  Here's a vid of their Austin City Limits performance. 

Watch Alabama Shakes "Hold On" on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.


Happy Friday everyone!  Linking with H54F at The Lauren Elizabeth as usual!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Selfie :: A Self Interview


A Selfie Blogger Interview

The lovely ladies over at Texas Women Bloggers are hosting a self-interview link party and I had to jump on the wagon, so here we go:

1. What part of the state do you call home?  We live in Houston-in the loop to be slightly more specific.  One month from now will be our one year mark-when B will have been living in TX for a full year! Can't believe how quickly time flies.


2. How long have you been blogging?  My first post was in October of 2012, but I feel I really hit my groove with it in January.

3. Why did you start blogging?  I was looking for a creative outlet, and B said he thought I would be funny and have interesting things to share, plus it lets family & friends back home keep up with us.


4. What do you hope to get out of the Texas Women Bloggers community?  I would love to read more about all of the other great cities and places around Texas!  Being new to the state, I know nothing about other regions and areas.  I think it's also a fun network, because after living here for a few months, I noticed that Texas is really it's own place.  I read somewhere that Texas isn't really "the South", and it's not really the "the Southwest" either, it's just Texas!  And I've seen that in so many ways, and love that a lot.


5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  I would like to be settled into my career, we would own our first home, and probably thinking about children.  I also think we will still be living in Texas.


6. If you could choose an actress to play you in your life, who would you choose and why?  I would choose Jennifer Lawrence, because I think she has the same sense of humor and honesty that I do about life.


7. Name 5 things on your Bucket List that you hope you’ll check off before you die?  I want to accomplish my whole 30 for 30 list!  The most important goals on there for me are:  run a half-marathon, visit Europe again, to buy a home, re-learn Spanish, and learn to sew.  


8. If you could be known for one thing, what would it be and why?  I want to be known for my cooking and hosting skills.  This seems pretty superficial I guess, but I think this is because I associate so much love growing up with my mom's cooking, especially at holidays, and I would love to follow in that tradition.  


9. Describe one “wow” moment in your life.  
When I walked down the aisle at our wedding.  I was looking at B, but there was an overwhelming moment where I saw all of our friends, family members, and the most important people in our life, basically watching us do this.  It was amazing, and you could really feel all of the love at that moment.  I will always remember making eye contact with a few people and the waves and big smiles I got back. I'm so happy I have such a vivid memory of this.  


10. If you could “be” anything (no consequences, no fear), what would you “be”?  I would like to be someone who has it figured out, as best as she can, for this moment in time.  If there is anything I know now, it's that your life can change in an instant from a simple phone call.  And I would like to be the sort of person who learns to quell the worry and just tackle what is actually happening right now.


Nom :: Chicken Gyros

I found this recipe a LONG time ago on pinterest (of course), and we always said we wanted to make it, and naturally, we just never did.  Reallyyyy regretting that right now because these are delish. 

There are two components to the meal--well three because we had a salad--you have the chicken which you marinate and the tzatziki sauce made with greek yogurt.  

The recipe originates here at "The Girl Who Ate Everything", with her post linking back to Annie's Eats.

Here's your ingredients list:

Tzatziki sauce:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt 
1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (We didn't have this! So I used red wine vinegar)
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (I used about a teaspoon)
Extra virgin olive oil (just a drizzle on top)

For the chicken:
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 Tablespoons)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

To eat:
Pita bread (we actually used flatbreads)
Tomato, diced
Red onion, sliced or chopped, however you prefer
Shredded lettuce

Instructions

Shred the cucumber or chop in food processor. I put the slices of cucumber into my Cuisinart Smart Stick which has a chopping attachment.  
everyone should have one of these smart stick hand blenders with all of the attachments! 
My cuc was pretty pureed by the time I was done with it--sorry for the blurry photo
Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

For the chicken marinade, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.  Note:  We pre-sliced our chicken up into "gyro" sized pieces so that the marinade would really soak into each piece.  The original I read said to just put the whole chicken breast in and then slice/cut it up afterwards. 

Cook the chicken as desired--we just put ours into a saute pan on the stove and let it go until it was done.   There were a lot of juices from the marinade, so let those stay in to keep flavor but drain them off before creating your gyro!
yummm
While the chicken is cooking, preheat your oven to warm up those pitas, and get your tzatziki out of the fridge.

 Final product:
his
hers

So I'm not really a a big "sauce" person--I hate mayo, ranch dressing, and most other creamy-based sauces, and therefore I did not use any of my homemade, hard-worked tzatziki!  But B had it and loved it.  I drizzled a little Greek dressing on top of my pita for some extra flavor and added lettuce!  We ate these with big Greek salads on the side and had them again for leftovers-they were just as great as the first time, huge win in my book.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Furbaby Search 2013


I mentioned on Friday that we are on a search for a little furbaby of our very own!  Obviously this is really exciting, and we're doing a lot of research.  Here's what we know for sure right now:

1.  New apt. is much more friendly for larger dogs.  Our current building allows up to 30 lbs. or something if you're on floors 2-4, and we're on 3.  Our new place itself will be larger, (woo hoo to 100 extra sq. feet!!) and the building's management company allows up to 100 lbs.  We are definitely thinking a dog in the mid-range.

2.  We would probably like a dog that I could run with (for no further than 4-5 miles at a time probably), and that would enjoy going on long walks around the park with us.  So an active breed!

3.   However, I have always wanted a pup that is large and fun, but also thinks he is a lapdog.  I hope when we have a house that we will end up with two pups-one true lap dog and one bigger dog!  But for now, we would both really like a more active dog.

4.  There are certain breeds that our building won't allow-even if the dog is half of one.  I know pit bull, rottweiler, doberman, and a few others are on their no-go list.  Not our rule, so no snark on the comments please, we love all dogs! 

Here are some of the breeds & mixes we are really into:

german shorthair pointer puppy via

lab/pointer mix-via
lab/collie puppy via
grown up pointer via
So what does everyone think?  You can probably tell we'd like a dog with some lab in it. B's mom has a 3 year old Australian Labradoodle that we surprised her with almost three years ago:

fin the day he came home--imagine walking into this puppy ambush surprise!
posing for pics after a Christmas haircut
2 years old!
We love Finley, and I think one day we would love to have one pup just like him from the same (very reputable) breeder.   

Does anyone have any breed suggestions?  Tips on adopting a dog?  We are planning to pay our pet fee and deposit to our management company before we even start looking at physical locations (& not like crazy people online), so that when we fall in love with a dog we won't have to scramble to get that all taken care of!  If you've adopted a dog in the Houston area, what shelter did you work with? 



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"I used to spin them all the time"

Watch this & thank me after--so hilarious.

Thank you Coachella, thank you Jimmy Kimmel




Nom :: Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Cheesey Pepper Sauce

This is one of my go-to recipes mostly because I have it memorized.  We don't have this all that often, but I've been making it since college & everyone who has ever had it has loved it.  Warning :: This is not a skinny recipe. It is just delicious & that is all.

Ingredients:

About 1 lb. of chicken breast tenderloins or chicken breasts, sliced into tenders (below are about .8 lbs.)
Bacon--enough slices to wrap around your chicken
1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/4 c. skim milk
1 tsp. red pepper flakes OR 1 can of diced green chiles (adjust this to your tastebuds and how hot you like things!)

Steps:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Do any trimming of your chicken, and spiral wrap a piece of bacon around each tender.  It should look like this:

perfect wrapping done by b
2.  Once you pop your chicken in the oven, set the timer for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  This will vary depending on how large your tenders are cut/if you cut them yourself from chicken breasts.  Usually 15-20 minutes is right on the money.

3.  With your timer going, begin the sauce.  In a small saucepan, combine the cheddar cheese soup, milk, and red pepper flakes or green chilies over low heat (3-4).  You want this to slowly meld the pepper/chile flavor and cheesey goodness together, so leave it on low and adjust as necessary.


4.  Once the timer goes off, take your chicken out and preheat your broiler to high or in my case, 500 degrees.  When the broiler is hot, the chicken goes back in so the bacon can crisp up!

:: I can't emphasize enough how much the time will vary on this part ::

I broiled mine for about 5 minutes on each side, maybe 6 or 7 sometimes if we thought it wasn't crispy enough.  In other ovens where I've made this recipe, it's been more like 3-4 minutes.  Bottom line is just to keep an eye on it at this point.

5.  Once the bacon is crispy perfection, take it out of the oven, and serve 3-4 tenders covered in delicious cheesey pepper sauce!

my #1 husband pleasing meal (bacon+cheese+spice=love)

Linking up for Taste of Tuesday!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Weekender Vol. 2

Well our weekend is going into Monday since B has off today & well, we all know I'm transitioning right now to something new.  It is San Jacinto Day!  For all of you out there outside of Texas, here is a little snippet from Wikipedia for you:

"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."  Wikipedia educates me again!

So basically, that is why he has off today-it's an official state holiday.  Also learned that on Wikipedia, my friends.  One day when we have kids in school here, I imagine I will need to read several books on TX history to learn about all of the things that you never heard a lick about in the Midwest.

Here's what else this weekend has brought us:


:: I spent a ton of time prepping for my big interview (that is probably going down as you read this)--reading up and doing my homework on the org, and reviewing my resume and cover letter that I had submitted, as well as the job posting itself.  Always best to be as prepared as possible--and I'm a type A prepper. 

:: Bought a bunch of really cute clothes for our niece's birthday next month.  Thanks for all the Hello Kitty merch, Dillard's!


:: I am hooked on getting myself one of these babies: 



via
One of my besties in Chicago who has run multiple half and full marathons recommended just going for the Garmin, and now I'm bound and determined to get my hands on one.  So basically, get the super cool job and then get awesome running Garmin Forerunner.

:: We watched Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and it was exactly what you think it was.

::  I drank a couple of big ol' Texas-sized glasses of brandy Friday night :)


:: I went for a run Saturday morning after all that brandy Friday night :) and I got my mile down to 10:46, which is great. 

::  After my run, we delivered a bag of food to the Houston Food Bank for their emergency drive for the explosion in West.  It was a long week to feel helpless last week, and I was really happy to help out, even if it was something so simple.  HFB is right near B's work, so I got a decent picture of the brewery and jazzed it up on Instagram:

brewing beer for texas 24/7


:: Mad Men was great this week, and I'm so glad Peggy dominated her Heinz pitch.  #YouGoGirl  Also, the Ryan Lochte show debuted on E!.  He isn't very bright, but he's nice to look at and the whole thing is hilarious!  #YouGoRyanLochte

::  We made some delicious recipes this weekend--chicken gyros with homemade tzatziki sauce made with Greek yogurt, and Bryan got the genius idea to make homemade crunchwraps like they have at Taco Bell.  I've actually never had one there, but he loves them, and so why not?  They were actually 100% awesome, and we made our own taco seasoning too.  Recipes to follow soon.

::  Oh, also killed it on my DIY project for above our bed.  Although now we are thinking it belongs over the couch.  Either way it looks great and I will share it when it's totally finished.  

Linking up this weekend with:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weekly Five :: H54F



1.  I am brewing up a really cool DIY  to go above our bed....it involves newspaper, canvas, and paint :)  Also, this one is an original--not from Pinterest, not from another blog--totes my brainchild with input from the mr.
me no likey so much empty space
 2.  I got glasses!!  Ok, well I've actually always worn contacts and/or glasses (my eyesight is pretty sketchy).  But I've had the same pair for the last 3 years and they aren't very cool anymore, and frankly they were probably never cool. So I am very, very excited to have a pair that I would actually wear to work/out/etc.  They will be here in a couple of weeks!
turns out it's super awkward to take pics of yourself in the optometrist's office!!

3.  With the help of Adriana over at Dog Hair is An Accessory replying to my desperate tweet for a comment, I finally got my comments situation straightened out.  Before, I was replying "on the blog" and not via e-mail (sorry guys, if you didn't get a reply/didn't think you did, now you know why & in the future, all will be different!!)--because comments were getting lost in my personal e-mail account, and not going to my blog account!  So, it's straightened out now, and FYI, definitely check out Adriana's blog, it's hilarious.

As a side note, I have three gmail accounts open at any given time--my "maiden name" account, my "married name" account, and of course, the blog account.  #thatshitcray

4.  We have begun looking for our furbaby to join us at our new apartment!  This is so exciting, and we could not be more excited to get a little guy or gal pup to join our home.  We have been wanting to adopt a dog for a really long time, so it's exciting to know that in a couple months we will be there!

If you want to feel some of the total joy we have felt looking at adorable pups, watch this for like five minutes:

from buzzfeed
5. I got a call for a *very* exciting job opportunity and have an interview on Monday. This is a "dream job" situation, folks,.


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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birchbox Time!



Well, well, Birchbox...we meet again at the mailbox.  I know I say this almost every time I get it, but I love my monthly mailbox surprise! For April, Birchbox teamed up with Women's Health Magazine...wasn't really reflected in the box (I guess I was expecting a resistance band or something??) but we all got a year's subscription to the mag!  Which I'm pumped about.  I get Self right now, and have had it for about four years and I think after reading the same fitness mag for so long you tap out on the tips and tricks they offer.


Here's my haul:

Oribe shampoo and conditioner ::  I lovedddd these two products.  I think I got 3 or 4 of the sample packets in my box, so luckily I can hoard it a little.  The smell is amazing, the lather is great, and my hair felt clean but very soft and style-able after using it over the last few days.  I might honestly consider splurging on these.

Skin & Co. Bangnodoccia Body Gel :: This body gel.  I was super excited about it when I opened my box.  And then I showered with it.  And the smell.  It was so overpowering.  Very floral, and almost smelled like something you would get at a hotel.  The later was great though, and once I was out of the shower, my skin smelled amazing and it wasn't so noticeable!  3 out of 5 stars.

Mirenesse Glossy Kiss :: I got this color, which is an orangey-red with maybe some blue undertones--my teeth looked very white when I put this baby on.  It's kind of scary at first.  It's pretty bright, and I think if I had a nice tan, this would look good....at night.  I'm just not one for bold lip color, at least yet.  I was flipping through reviews on the site, and some women had used theirs as a cheek stain--so I plan on trying that out.  I was bummed a little since it's a full-size product so it would be awesome to *love, love* this one.

via

Kusmi Love and Boost Teas ::  This is a loose tea.  I don't have a tea strainer...so I basically can't try these. I'm not a huge tea person, so I'm probably not going to run out and buy a tea strainer for these guys either.  If someone has a DIY way to enjoy loose tea that doesn't include cheesecloth, or something else I definitely don't have "laying around", please share!

Supergoop! eye cream ::  SPF 37, good texture, etc.  I use the Smashbox BB cream every day that has SPF 35, so for me this wasn't super exciting.  I'm not very familiar with eye creams, but this was something new to try, hence the whole point of Birchbox!





Wednesday, April 17, 2013

30 for 30 Update #1

Ok, so what's been happening in regards to my 30 for 30 list?

Well, not a whole lot. 

Dining Out:
Here is my ever-evolving list of restaurants in Texas we'd like to try:

Houston
1. Da Marco
2. Patrenella's  3/19/2013 :: We had eggplant parm, big salads, lasagna, and grouper for Bryan.  Annnd a bottle of wine.
3. Uchi
4. Americas
5. Ibiza Food and Wine Bar
6. Churrascos
7.  The Breakfast Klub
8.  Hugo's

San Antonio
1. Biga on the Banks
2. Las Canarias

And now I will make a call for suggestions!!  My blogger ladies who live in Texas-what's your favorite local spot?  For dinner, lunch, brunch, whatever!  It can be a hole in the wall, or five-star.  Just send everything my way and we will weed through it!  

Eating/Baking/Cooking:
I bought a macaron baking book--very basic and easy to understand, so I'm excited about working on that.  Our new kitchen will be a lot more conducive for undertaking the elusive macaron.  Plus I need to get to Sur la Table and get some pastry bags.

it was on the bargain rack at Barnes & Noble, clearly
This is likely the cookbook I will cook and blog my way through.  120 recipes, so very doable.  And French food and French method is something I've never really delved into.  And I've always enjoyed meals at French restaurants.


Books:
I have started a couple.  World War Z by Max Brooks, The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult, and If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster.  I'm starting to think I have no idea what type of books I enjoy anymore, so this will be fun to try out a lot of new stuff.

Movies:
We have seen 52 of the IMDB Top 250.  We would probably be closer to 100, but there are some I haven't seen that B has, and some he's seen that I haven't.  We have all of them in our Netflix queues, instant and mail.