Category Archives: Recipes

Holiday Kale Salad

Over the weekend, I started the process of testing out one of the recipes I will be making for Thanksgiving.

On Sunday, I tackled trying out the Holiday Kale salad I found in the November 2012 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I cut the recipe in half and it still made a large salad.


Roasting the cranberries and garlic was fairly easy. I think I cooked the cranberries a bit too long though or did not coat them in enough olive oil, because they did stick to the aluminum foil.


The salad took me about 30-45 minutes to make, which is more intensive than any other salad recipe I have ever made.


In the end, I found the Holiday Kale Salad to be delicious and healthy tasting. I have to admit that I did grow a little tired of the flavors and “chewy” aspect of the recipe. I can still see this being a pretty good side salad to include with our Thanksgiving meal, so I will likely go forward with making it.


Holiday Kale Salad (Better Homes & Gardens, November, 2012)

2 cups fresh cranberries
4 – 5 cloves garlic unpeeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
4 cups chopped kale
2 cups cooked wild rice cooled
1 small bulb fennel cored and shaved or cut into very thin wedges
1 cup chopped walnuts toasted
1/2 cup thinly sliced red sweet pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

Zucchini cakes

It’s only Tuesday, but I am keeping up with most of my weekly goals so far. Last night, I went to the gym, took a walk with Craig after and I read my book on the bus ride to and from work.

After work tonight, I ran to the mall to return something and to use some coupons at Bath and Body Works. I bought six wallflowers, mostly in wonderful fall scents like Autumn and Leaves, since I have found myself quite dissatisfied with other home fragrance products we use. With having our cats’ litter boxes in our kitchen and entry way, I needed to take away that disgusting smell I experience when walking into our house.

wallflower bath and body works

I made zucchini cakes for dinner tonight. I saw this recipe pinned on Pinterest and it looked simple enough.

The most time consuming part was just grating the zucchini.

pre-mixture zucchini cakes

They fell apart a little when I cooked them.

cooking zucchini cakes

The taste was delicious! I am sure they would have been great with some greek yogurt or marinara sauce on top, but I wanted to taste them without covering up the flavor too much. I’d definitely make these again!

zucchini cakes

Dessert was a few bites of Chobani vanilla chocolate chunk, which I finally tracked down at the store. I find this to be much better than ice cream.

Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk

Time to go read some blogs and my book. Night!

Making greek yogurt and Lemon Asparagus Salad

Tonight, I was in the mood to cook. Maybe it was the last two days of being around food bloggers and eating fresh food. I also needed to use the asparagus I bought at the Madison farmers market.

I used regular Stonyfield yogurt and Paige’s method to make my own greek yogurt. It still needs to stay in the fridge overnight, but I can’t wait to try it for breakfast tomorrow morning!


Dinner was a Lemon Asparagus Salad I saw in the Journal Sentinel a couple of months ago.

cooking up the asparagus, garlic and herbs de provence

Lemon Asparagus Salad
from April 17, 2012 Journal Sentinel, Tallgrass Kitchen
Makes 3 to 4 servings

1 cup farro

4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1 pound asparagus, chopped, tips left intact

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt to taste

Rinse farro, and place in saucepan with 3 cups lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes until tender and chewy. Drain.

In a large skillet, gently heat 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add herbes de Provence, chopped asparagus and asparagus tips, and a small pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until asparagus begins to turn bright green. Add garlic, lower heat and cook an additional minute until garlic is fragrant and asparagus is tender.

Remove from heat, stir in cooked farro, lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Taste and add salt, as needed. Can be served warm, room temperature or chilled.

Lemon Asparagus salad from Journal Sentinel

Lemon Asparagus salad

It was my first time cooking with farro and I loved it. This recipe is definitely a winner! I followed it exactly and probably would not change anything about it. I am looking forward to having leftovers for lunch on Monday.

And now the weekend is over, but I am looking forward to a fun weekend out of town in Door County!

Checking in

Interviewing for this job has been consuming all of my time and energy lately! I got through to the second interview, so it’s back to studying some more.

Over the weekend I studied in the sun…


Made this dessert from She’s on the Run for a cookout my sister-in-law hosted on Memorial day.


Saw a Today show segment on acing a job interview about two hours before my actual interview. I know I tend to be too rehearsed with my responses and that was one of the negative comments the interviewer had about candidates.


I setup my interview station, complete with my resume taped on our computer monitor, the job description taped on the desk and my notes down below. Oh and some water to sip on throughout, which I needed desperately!


I snacked on a sample of these that came in the mail–they were pretty tasty!


And I got my thank you card out to my interviewer right away. I don’t believe e-mail thank yous are appropriate, even in this technology savvy society we live in. I did thank my interviewer when confirming the second interview time, but I hope she’s impressed when she gets a card from me this week.


Anyone have a funny job interview story to share? I could use some humor since my life has been so serious lately!

I won’t be checking in again until Sunday or Monday. My Friday and Saturday will be spent in Madison on a Wisconsin Cheese tour and I can’t wait to recap it on the blog and share what I learned and ate with all of you lovely readers! I am so thankful to the Wisconsin Cheese Board for sponsoring this trip. I get to meet some fellow WI bloggers too. 🙂

Three day weekend

I’ve got a three day weekend ahead of me! Hip hip hooray!

Last night, I indulged in an Indian taco for dinner. I was working off-site and the place we were at provided us with Indian tacos for our meal. I was surprised that my co-worker hadn’t had one before, but she’s a southern girl. Have you had an Indian taco (Native American)…fry bread and the regular taco fixings?


This was my view. I spent the afternoon and early evening in the most gorgeous school I’ll probably ever set foot in. I was jealous I didn’t get to go to school there!


I came home to my #photoadayapril, otherwise known as “someone who makes me happy.” I missed his smiling face!


On my lunch break, I saw Paige’s post for homemade pizza crust and I knew I had to make it for dinner tonight. It was really good and exactly what I wanted.


Today’s photo a day is “tiny.” Earlier in the day, I couldn’t think of what to take a picture of. At home, it dawned on me that an earring would be perfect! My brother and sister-in-law gave me these diamond earrings for Christmas when I lived in California. I even remember that they were from Macy’s (I have a very good memory for things like this).


I have that meeting with a personal trainer/recruiter tomorrow morning, so I better go meditate, iron my shirt and prepare my questions (I did some prep on my lunch break today, so I feel pretty set).

A Good Tuesday

It was one of those days where I was just happy all around, which feels good. I am excited as I heard back from someone at a local gym and we’re going to meet on Friday morning (I am taking off of work, yay) to talk about becoming a personal trainer. I am still in the research phase, but that is one of the things I am considering doing if I change careers.

Color was the theme for yesterday’s photo a day for April. The brightest thing in my office was this picture of the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire from a calendar.


Mail was the photo of today and this is what we received in our mailbox and on our doorstep. I ordered some things from Alice (gotta support Wisconsin businesses) and then we got a magazine from our animal hospital. Love how it says “Top Ten Tips for Karma this spring.” Craig took Karma there when we initially learned about his lung problem.


So what did I order from Alice? Some rise bars I have never tried before, two Annie’s Naturals salad dressings, eco friendly dish soap, a deodorizer to place by the cats’ litter boxes and coffee. I think the prices were great for these items, especially for the bars. I had digital coupons from their site for each item, so my overall total was pretty low.


I am very excited to try this coffee because it’s low in acid. With having colitis, I seem to get acid reflux problems and coffee doesn’t always help that, especially any acidic kinds. I need my coffee, so I am not willing to give it up (yet).


I was in a rush after I got home from work tonight. I had to meditate, then started dinner right away because I knew I had to eat before I got to the 6:30 yoga class.

I made some Gardein fake chicken tenders and cut up a sweet potato for some fries.


I followed Tina from Carrots ‘N Cake’s instructions for making sweet potato wedges, which made it really easy to throw together in no time.


Dessert was a plum, which is one fruit I need to buy more often!


Yoga tonight felt wonderful. My muscles felt huge for some reason and looked that way in the mirror. Definitely have built up some decent arm muscles lately. 🙂

Time to get some dishes washed before bed! I also want to squeeze in some time to read The Violets of March because I am halfway through it and it’s getting really interesting.


I have a different work day tomorrow as I am promoting some programs at a local fair from mid afternoon into the evening, so I get the morning off to sleep in and hit the gym. I am just glad to get a change of scenery for a day!

The rest of the weekend…

…I watched Mildred Pierce. I liked it! Another period drama to help me fill that Downton Abbey void.


I knew Saturday’s workout challenged me when I woke up sore on Sunday. I couldn’t quite place what made my arms so sore in a particular area.

Yesterday, I went to do more push ups on the BOSU (ball side down) and the pain hit in those exact areas. I guess that move is working, so I’ll keep doing it! The cardio portion of our workout included walking around our YMCA, enjoying the sunshine, perfect temps and gravel trail.

Banana soft serve (frozen bananas grinded with a bit of milk in the food processor) was mixed up when we got home. I added chia seeds and sunflower butter to mine. Yum!


Sunday lunch was quinoa with roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, dried basil, kalamata olives and red pepper.


March photo of the day was a corner of our house. Here is our front door with Buddha. 🙂


I crammed a Target and Marshall’s trip into the afternoon. When I got home, I sat outside and gave myself a mani and pedi and then read the latest Glamour issue that features Jennifer Lawrence on the cover. Can’t wait for The Hunger Games to be in the theaters this week! I haven’t been this excited for a movie in a while.


Dinner was a small tortilla (that ended up being hard to pull apart so it is holy) with romas, avocado, jack cheese and Frank’s Red Hot.


I was in the mood to bake and I had known since Friday what I was going to make. I saw this recipe for Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars with Brown Sugar Glaze randomly on a blog or website and printed it out.


And then I ended my evening by watching The Amazing Race. They went to my favorite place, Germany! They had a challenge at Neuschwanstein, which is the gorgeous castle we went to on our honeymoon.

Aaah, to be there on vacation right now instead of starting another work week.

If you are looking for a great giveaway to enter, check out Laura’s blog to win a case of Vita Coco. Giveaway ends tonight!

Life is Precious

I had something very scary happen to me yesterday as I left work.

I walked to my bus stop as I normally do. The walk signal came on and I crossed the street. As I was halfway through the crosswalk, I saw this white car come out of nowhere and the driver was turning left right into me. Her car actually did touch my leg. The next moment was one of the weirdest I have experienced in my life. I told myself that if I didn’t get out of the way really quickly, I’d end up under her car or thrown into the street. I literally hopped to my right and looked back at the driver and gave her a look to communicate “what the hell are you doing, watch the road” and she mouthed “sorry” as if it was nothing, but I could see the shock in her face. She almost hit someone because she came down the hill too quickly, saw the green light and probably was only focusing on that, not on the pedestrian crossing in street.

I got to the corner safely, unharmed obviously, and a woman about to get on her bus asked if I was ok. As that bus pulled away, I started crying from the shock of almost having been hit. I was mad at first, but then realized that I could have been that driver and we all have close calls like that in life. I was shaky and really emotional about the fact that it could have been worse. Life is precious and in a split second, an action that you can’t control can change it.

As I sat on the bus and tried to relax, I couldn’t help but think of Emily from The Daily Garnish. She got hit by a car a year and a half ago and retells her story here. She will deal with the effects of that driver’s actions for the rest of her life.

Next time you are driving and there are pedestrians crossing, please be careful. This is why I prefer not to talk on the phone while driving anymore. I just feel too distracted.

I appreciated the fact that I could get up this morning, make my coffee, read a book and make these yummy pancakes. I could have been lying in a hospital bed instead and I am so thankful for being safe and unharmed.



Love this fluffy pancakes recipe. It was the first time I used vinegar and milk in homemade pancakes and that was definitely the trick to making them fluffy and delicious! I also liked that there wasn’t a lot of sugar in this recipe.


I’ve got to get to the gym today and watch lots of Downton Abbey! Have a lovely Saturday.


Most boring blog title ever, but I am not feeling the creativity flowing today.

Here’s what my weekend looked like:

Had the passion fruit flavor of Chobani yesterday. Good thing I read warnings of how odd the yogurt looked because otherwise I would have thought it was moldy.

Not my favorite. I definitely liked blood orange best out of all three new flavors.


I worked until midnight on Friday. For my dessert, I mixed this Fig spread into plain greek yogurt and granola. It was a tasty combination!


Since my sleep cycle was off, I was so tired and achy on Saturday. I tried to read part of The Tiger’s Wife but ended up napping after a while.


To get rid of some produce, I blended up a smoothie consisting of spinach, a banana, blueberries and almond milk. This, along with the chobani yogurt, was pretty much my lunch on Saturday.


I felt like making something simple this morning and these Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookie Dough Bites had been on my mind all week.



They turned out pretty good. I probably could have added a bit more of the wet ingredients to help them stick together better.


And sadly, we didn’t win the big Powerball jackpot, so it’s back to work tomorrow instead of living out our/my dreams of quitting my job, moving to Hawaii, and retiring for the rest of our lives. 😦


This afternoon, I’m off to Iron Cupcake Milwaukee with my friend Kim and Whole Foods afterward! Be back later with a recap!

Meal planning success

This week was the first in a long time that I officially planned my meals, bought ingredients for those and followed when I would eat them. It feels great to make dinner and have leftovers for my work lunch the next day!

I kind of even meal planned my breakfast by switching between this addictive Cheerios Peanut Butter cereal every other day and the Better Oats oatmeal.


Came home to find this French cheese on my back step! I won it from a blog and I can’t wait to dig into it.


After meditating, I started making dinner. Tonight was cheese ravioli with parmesean cheese, toasted walnuts, garlic and asparagus.


It was another Woman’s Day recipe! I felt like it could have had more flavor. Maybe I would have added mushrooms and spinach to get more veggies in and change the taste ever so slightly.


Dessert was Brown Cow maple yogurt. Love having that as a sweet treat after dinner.


Before we left for the gym, Craig had the kitties doing their own exercise! Tanzi was chasing him back and forth down the hallway and Karma was watching it all happen and sort of running towards them (he’s excused because he has a collapsed lung). Below is them playing with/in the box my cheese came in today.


The gym was entertaining tonight. Craig witnessed a nasty fight between twin sisters and the “usual” gym characters were there to watch. While watching people, we walked the track, did the elliptical, lifted weights and I rowed.

I’m almost done with the book I started earlier this week, so my goal is to finish that tonight! Time to turn into a bookworm.