Category Archives: My Life

Heading to Pella


I love notes like these from my husband in the morning:

We haven’t done much today, but we’ve got plans tonight! Breakfast was uninspired, but good.

Lunch will probably leftovers from last night. Can you tell I’m trying to eat up all of the dairy in my fridge?

Tonight, Kayle and I are headed to Pella to meet some family for dinner. Also, we may be making a trip to the library. I need to get a library card and start to enjoy some summer reading! We are very excited for tomorrow – we’ve got some BIG plans!

I’ll have a recap when we return! πŸ™‚

P.S. I have a BIG announcement. Stay tuned!!!

Egg Frittata with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Peppers


Today has been a good day (besides the storms this morning!). I woke up to a very clean house apartment. Micah woke up extra early this morning to clean. I have no idea why – he’s such a great guy! I made breakfast for lunch today for all of us when Micah returned from classes. This is such an easy recipe, and when used with egg whites instead of whole eggs, it’s actually pretty healthy. It was definitely a hit here! πŸ™‚

Egg White Frittata with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Peppers

Ingredients:

1-1/4 C. Egg Whites
2 TBSP Milk
1 C. Asparagus, chopped
1 C. Mushrooms, Chopped
1/2 C. Roasted Red Peppers, chopped
1 TBSP Olive Oil

Procedures:

1. In a skillet, saute the vegetables in olive oil.

2. Mix egg whites and milk together. Add s & p if desired. I also added some fresh basil – love that stuff!
3. When vegetables are done, add egg/milk mixture and cover with tight lid.

4. Set timer for 6 minutes – DO NOT remove lid until 6 minutes is up!!!
5. Enjoy!!!

My sister and I have been having lots of fun! So glad she is here! This afternoon, Kayle and I took a little trip to Borders, and it was awesome. I sipped some lovely herbal tea and read up on veganism. And, made this small purchase:


I immediately added the book to my collection:

Oh, and the best part of the purchase was this:

I would really like to purchase Veganomicon, but we shall see about that…

Dinner was something quite similar to this (Kayle’s request!). We are relaxing for the rest of the evening, and who knows about tomorrow. πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with this thought from my tea the other night:

Enchiladas


I made these enchiladas last night. They were so fast and easy to make!

Ingredients:
2 cups rice
1 medium red onion
1 medium red pepper
1 can tomatoes
1 can green chilies
1 can enchilada sauce
6 tortillas
Cheese (if desired)

Step 1:
Prepare rice. I used a pre-made rice since I did not have enough time. However, in the ideal situation, I would have made my own. Next time.


Step 2:
Saute red onion and red pepper. When onions are browned, add in tomatoes and green chilies.

Step 3:
Preheat oven to 375. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour 1/2 of the enchilada sauce. Then, fill tortillas with rice, tomato mix, and cheese (if desired). Top enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce, remaining tomato mixture (if any), and cheese.

Step 4:
Cover with foil and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Top with jalapeΓ±os, hot sauce, or any toppings of your choice!


I had some great suggestions on sleep a few days ago! Off I went to the store in hopes of finding something worth trying. Success! Many of you know that I do not drink coffee. Here is just part of the tea stash (I have over 15 tea varieties – most of which come from Tea Forte, and I HIGHLY recommend their teas):

I drank 1 cup of this tea 30 minutes before I headed to bed. And, it really worked! I was asleep within about 10-15 minutes of going to bed. I’m going to continue drinking this each night for now.


Kayle and I had a great time today! We purchased just a few things, and were able to scope out downtown Ames. And now, I have the PERFECT idea for our anniversary! I’ll be sure to let you know what it is when the time comes. Our plans tonight may include a walk around the ISU campus. Kayle is also doing a campus visit early next week at ISU – it’s the only school so far that she’s found where you can double major in Physics AND German (and she’s pretty picky about her college choices). We’ll see!

Have a great night! πŸ™‚

Veganism


I’m finally back – after what seemed like a week away from Micah! I also headed to St. Louis on Monday to pick up one of my sisters. She is staying here for a week – yay! We have some exciting things planned….stay tuned!

Last night I met up with blogger Lindsey from Candy to Carrots. She lives in Ames and was able to tell me more about the town, places to go, etc. Awesome! We met up at Cafe Diem for some tea and talk. πŸ™‚ She also made some donut holes for me to take home. You can find her recipe here. These are so yummy, and I am definitely going to try to make these myself. Check these out:


Lindsey is vegan, so I was able to ask her some of my questions regarding veganism. I’ve been considering the option (health reasons), but do have some reservations about it. We shall see what happens. I may try it for a week, then evaluate. #1 thing I would miss: CHEESE!

My sister and I are off to do some thrift shopping (she is the BEST thrift shopper I’ve ever known!). I’ll be back later with a recipe! πŸ™‚

Do you have any thoughts about veganism? Please share!

Whirlwind!


The past 3 days have been a whirlwind! I have so much to get caught up on….let alone blogging! So, until tonight or tomorrow (morning), I leave you with this. This is a note Micah wrote on Facebook – and I think it’s worth posting on here! He’s the best!

“So, it’s summer time and you wonder what else you can eat besides greasy burger, correct? Well, Amanda made some awesome chickpea patties for me last week, and I’m not a vegetarian or anything, but I do like snack food, and that’s what it is, snack food. Today she left for Burlington/Ft. Madison, and I was alone with the kitchen to myself… now, anybody that knows me knows that I am not a cook by any means, not even close. I was looking for something to eat and in the pantry sat two lonely cans of chickpeas calling out my name. Couldn’t be hard, right? I was wrong. I drained and boiled the chickpeas and then drained a few more times with cold water to get as many skins off of the peas as I could (just a personal preference, not necessary though). Then I used the food processor to chop them up into fine pieces. Next, I mixed that (in a separate dish) with a blend of two (melted) heaping tbsp of healthy butter (total of 3 tbsp probably), 1/4 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of cumin, a ground clove of fresh garlic, and a few small handfuls of brown sugar to complement the salt. Then, I buttered and browned the insides of a plain hamburger bun. Next, (using the same pan) I coated the pan with olive oil and tried to shape my chickpea patties. The patties shaped, but while in the pan they broke apart really easily. I browned them to my desire, and then using the buns I prepared earlier, I added the chickpea “patties” to each section and basically molded the “patty” with my spatula until I had one “patty” on each half of hamburger bun. Then it was the moment of truth. And while I can’t say my chickpea patties were as good as Amanda’s, they were good in their own way. The flavors and the crisp outer patty and the crisp inner part of the bun were all perfect complements of eachother and tasted scrumptious. So, there you have it. If I can do it, so can you!”

Ok, all together now: Awwwwwwww! πŸ™‚ See you later – with lots of updates!!!

And, I’m off!


Quick post here! I’m leaving for Burlington for a short trip (am meeting with a bride for a music consultation and the father-in-law is doing some work on a car).

Dinner last night: Veggie burritos with homemade guac & salsa. YUM.

Here is how I made the taco filling:

1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (I like the canned mexican tomatoes – at least for this recipe)
1 can black beans
2 TB homemade taco seasoning

Saute the red onion and red pepper until brown-ish (of course that’s the proper term – ha!). Then, add in the tomatoes, black beans, and taco seasoning.

I also made up some brown rice and then topped the burritos with jalapeΓ±os and hot sauce. YUM.

You can find my recipe for guacamole here and my salsa recipe here.

And, I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking:

I’m off to Burlington! Not sure when the next post will be…..stay tuned! πŸ™‚

A very bad recipe


Good Afternoon! I had a late start to the morning. Confession: Ever since we moved, I have had a REALLY hard time getting to sleep at night. I don’t know what it is. Last night was the worst yet – I didn’t go to sleep until 12:30. I tossed and turned for what seemed like a few hours!!! How frustrating…

I set off on a ride later in the morning, but I didn’t do well. I had great intentions, but I think the lack of sleep played a big role in my ride that was MAJORLY cut short. I only got in 10 miles. Boo. Check out my riding gear!

I would say that was $25 very well spent – the shoes and jersey are in brand new condition! Happy Micah & Happy Amanda! πŸ˜€

Preride snack:

Postride snack:

Last night I started making a lemon tart with blackberries and blueberries. Very yummy, but not healthy AT ALL. I don’t know why, I just had an itch to bake – crazy, I know (I am totally not a baker, if you know me well). Plus, why would I bake something sweet when I don’t even really have a sweet tooth? No clue. But I’m going to give some to some neighbors we haven’t met yet….or something – because we aren’t keeping it. Here is my recipe. Now, I like to keep things pretty healthy around here. Here is your warning: THIS IS NOT HEALTHY!!!! But Micah and I shared a piece this morning, and it was very good. Also, I do not have a tart pan (like I said, not much of a baker), so I just used a 9” round pan, and it turned out fine.

Lemon Tart with Blackberries & Blueberries

Ingredients:

Lemon curd:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar (I cut this down – I couldn’t put that much sugar in, I just couldn’t do it!)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Topping:
2 6-ounce containers fresh blackberries
1 6-ounce container fresh blueberries

Crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour ( I used a combination of ww and ap flour)
1 large pinch of salt

For lemon curd:
Set fine metal strainer over medium bowl and set aside. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in another medium metal bowl to blend. Whisk in lemon juice. Set bowl over large saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until curd thickens and thermometer inserted into curd registers 178Β°F to 180Β°F (about 6 minutes). Immediately pour curd through prepared strainer set over bowl. Add butter to warm strained curd; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until blended and smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd, covering completely (this prevents a skin from forming on the top). Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. This can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

For crust:
Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in medium bowl until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg yolk; beat to blend. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until mixture resembles large peas. Using hands, knead in bowl just until dough comes together.
Transfer dough to 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Break dough into pieces, then press dough evenly up sides and onto bottom of pan. Cover and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Uncover crust and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

For topping:
Remove sides from tart pan and place crust on plate. Spread lemon curd evenly in baked crust. Arrange blackberries and blueberries on top.

Don’t worry, I’ll be back later with something MUCH healthier! And hopefully that tart will no longer be in my home (because I gave it away – NOT because I ate it). πŸ˜€

Do you have any suggestions for my sleeping problems? I need help!!!

Change is a comin’


Tonight has been….very uneventful. We relaxed and enjoyed it. πŸ™‚ Dinner looked very similar to lunch…..hmmmm.

Earlier this week, I picked up some organic zucchini and yellow tomatoes from a local producer. I finally decided to roast these in the oven tonight. They were so GOOOOOOOD!!! I wish I had more. 😦 …maybe another trip is in store…

I’m sure you are all wondering what the title of this post is about. I’ve taken the plunge. I have decided to get my own domain for this blog. Along with the new domain name comes a new title (but that’s my secret – for now!). This change will take time, and won’t be an overnight change (at least for me), but I wanted to let you all know. And, when the blog does move over permanently you will know! For those of you that have an email subscription, you will have to change it, but have no fear (steps will be provided, and if you need help – contact me!)! Don’t cancel your subscription yet though – there will be plenty of blog posts here before it happens! I’m anticipating this change happening sometime this summer, but I don’t want to put a date on it yet. I’m really looking forward to getting my own site. Exciting times, my friends!!!

Tomorrow, I will have a dessert recipe for you – something I rarely have on this blog. And yes, it’s completely unhealthy. Everything in moderation, right? πŸ˜‰ Okay, here is your hint:

Enjoy your Saturday!

Quinoa Cakes!!!


See? I told you I would have a unique recipe! πŸ™‚ I originally got this idea a while back from Herbivoracious – LOVE that blog! However, I did change this recipe after having an abundance of spinach that I needed to use up. Plus, I’m all for combining 3 of my absolute favorite foods! You can read about the health benefits of quinoa here. Here you have it:

Quinoa Cakes w/ Spinach and Goat Cheese

Ingredients:
2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked quinoa
4 ounces goat cheese
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

Procedures:
1. Wash and chop the spinach, pat dry. Mince the garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon
of olive oil in a small skillet. Cook the garlic until lightly browned, about a minute, then add the spinach. Cover, and cook until wilted. Set aside and let cool.

2. In a small saucepan, mix the quinoa and the goat cheese over low heat (to help melt the cheese). Remove from heat when well combined.

3. Chop the cooked spinach finely, mix with the quinoa and goat cheese. Beat the egg and mix in until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Form the quinoa into 2β€³ patties about 1/2 inch thick. Cook until well browned on one side, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, then set on paper towels to drain.

I like to eat mine with some hot sauce…..or maybe I like some quinoa cakes with my hot sauce? πŸ˜€

My day was much better today. I must say I have a pretty awesome husband and great friends that lift me up when I need encouragement. Thank you so much! I’m now making a list and submitting session proposals to present my thesis research at various conferences around the county. And if I don’t get employment as a teacher, I plan to continue research in music education on my own, because I truly believe in music education. Like I have said to many people – I didn’t go into education for the money (obviously). I wanted to make a difference, and there is no doubt I will no matter if I have my own classroom right away or not. AND, there are still 4 positions that I am waiting to hear from and 1 other bigger position one that is a big secret (it’s nice to wish – right?)!!!!!

One more thought: In 20 days, we will have been married for 3 years! Each year is a milestone, in my opinion. Micah and I have our own anniversary traditions (which you can see here).

I can still remember our wedding like it was yesterday. Yes, even the moment when my phone rang (it was a wrong number). In my defense, I gave my phone to someone else for the day and they left it on the front pew during pictures…and then forgot about it. πŸ™‚ We still laugh about that! And for your viewing pleasure, one of my favorite wedding photos:

Do you have any birthday or anniversary traditions in your family? I’d love to know!

Check it out!


As many of you probably saw on my facebook or twitter, TRADER JOE’S IS COMING TO WEST DES MOINES!!! This is no doubt a dream come true. I always had to stock up when making my Chicago trips to see one of my best friends (right, Danielle?).

Today was pretty crazy. And to be honest I don’t want to talk about it. Right now, I just need lots of encouragement and I’m quite frustrated with the K-12 public education system in our country.

Food today. We’re not going there either. Sorry for the lame post. I’ll be back tomorrow in full swing with a very unique recipe for you!

Amanda

P.S. How do you deal with life situations that are what you did NOT expect? I try to exercise like crazy to let out my frustration (and as a result I burn an INSANE amount of calories). Today I didn’t. Micah was home and was able to help me though it. We talked, and yes I cried. No shame here!!!