Monday, August 30, 2010

Two Courses

Here are a couple of meals I have made recently that went over very well in my Happy Household.
Not a lot of work!

Clam Sauce over Thin Spaghetti

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Butter
Pinch of saltWhite Pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch parsely, diced (or as I like chiffon)
2 servings Whole What Thin Spaghetti
1 can o'clams
Shredded Parmesan, to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions (usually boiling 5-7 minutes). Drain and put aside. Sweat your onion and garlic in pan with 1/2 T. butter. When become translucent add in clams, oil and remaining butter. Reduce (if too watery, wisk in some all purpose flour until become more saucey). Toss in your pasta, coating in all of the buttery and garlicky goodness. Sprinkle in parsley. Dump your portion on your plate, garnishing with remaining parsley and shredded parm. Slice up a hunk of french bread for sopping up the sauce and serve it on the side.
There you have it! Dinner in 10 minutes with little to no effort, but always sounds impressive.

And for dessert...

Delicious Summer Treat!

Kiwi-Strawberry Tart

A sleeve of Graham Crackers, crushed into dust ;) (should yield about 1.5 c.)
3 T. melted butter (or nonfat plain yogurt, for you health conscious ones)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix above ingredients and press into 9 inch pie pan (might help to dip your spatula into water before using it spread into pan as the mixture will be a bit sticky. Bake 5 minutes.

Mix 2 c. skim milk (or almond milk, yum!) into Jell-o Instant French Vanilla Pudding (I also add in 1/8 tsp vanilla for extra oomph). Mix and let it st up. While waiting for that, slice 1 kiwi and approximately 10 strawberries. Once the pudding is set, spread evenly into crust, topping with rings of strawberry and kiwi.

Use whatever fruit is in season. I made this during summer so the farmer's markets were bursting at the seams with fresh berries.

Bon Appetite!

Listening to: "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hair Miracle

Behold! My new favorite shampoo/conditioner combo!

My hair, skin, and nails have become very dry and brittle (well maybe not my skin, but I bet if skin could be brittle, mine would find a way) over the past five years. Shiny, lustrous, healthy... are not words to describe my hair. I have tried many hair care products that promised me beauty, but delivered beast.

I envy women with styling talent. My style is a wash and go (wet and stringy). I am a low maintenance girl whose hair will find its way into an ouchless ponytail or bun at least three hours from waking. My latest foray into products left me miserable. My straight hair turned haggered and lifeless. If a baseball cap were acceptable sales office attire, it would never leave my head.

A lunch break of hair care product reviews later... I found what I had been waiting for! Argan Oil! Sally Beauty Supplies offers Proclaim Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. I called the store down the street from my place of business, had the associate hold it for me, and purchased it ($13 total!).

Glorious! My hair finally feels soft and looks luminous. Love!

An adorable note: Happy Husband, to my great suprise, listened to me sulk over the possibility of shaving my head, picked up several product samples at a friend's salon to surprise me. He said he would love me bald if it came down to it, but prefers me happy with another arsenal of beauty supplies (even if they take over the entire bathroom vanity). He listens and he loves. I am truly blessed.

Progressing toward the finish line

I have been mute on my blog as of late. I have a few drafts saved up, but am having issues with loading photos from my camera. Sincerest apologies, dear reader.

I have maintained my running schedule. It has been three weeks now, and I am "running" more than ever (meaning: longer distances with shorter breaks and wishes for a swift and painless death before complete lung combustion). Feeling good. I have actually lost a couple inches off my body already (that's saying something with all the butter consumption recently in the Happy Household).

Discovered a seriously simple recipe for Easy Beef Wellington... life will never be the same. As long as I stay active, I hope I can outpace the Wellie's calories.

Reading: Been more obsessed with Bravo's The Real Housewives than my real books lately (Shameful)
Listening to: New in Town by Little Boots

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Arizonans Love it When It Rains

Ahhhh... the glorious monsoon is upon us! The great Copper State averages about 8" of rain a year. Truly, we live in dry, dry desert. When it rains, but especially when it pours, one can find many Phoenicians on patios gazing lovingly at the blessed wetness. Does it matter that our socks dampen and furniture flies around the yard? Heavens, no! When the rolling thunder makes it's initial roar and the first crack of lightning brightens the navy sky, floods of my fellow desert-dwellers emerge from the air conditioned living rooms.

My little spot in Chandler was drenched last night. I went for a run (that's right, friends, I am two weeks strong and slowly improving). While I was huffing and puffing my way through two and a half miles of sidewalk, Happy Husband continued the tradition of photographing each rare storm cloud. For the record, I made it home moments before the floodgates opened.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Run Like the Wind

I am making a (rather pathetic) attempt to become a runner. I have had dreams of running and getting the surge of endorphins, feeling the wind in my hair, and the freedom to just "go." Thinking of dreams as inspiration, I began a "running" on Sunday.

Instead of endorphins I got a surge of pain from shin splints and tummy cramps (apparently my 26 years of breathing have been done incorrectly, my bad. Instead of wind in my hair I got stanky dead-fish small in my face and possible heat stroke owing to the record breaking heat Chandler, AZ is experiencing (110 degrees at 8pm is a trifle warm, don't you think). And to make matters worse, I don't necessarily "go" anywhere, and certainly not fast. I am more of a walker than a runner.

I am powering through the pain and exhaustion and making my dream of being a tip-top runner (and trying not to burst my lungs in the process). I have put arch supports in my cheap trainers, stretched myself to a Gumby-likeness, and wore more than one sports bra and find myself improving. How long will this inspiration sustain itself? I have hopes that I will go the distance and carry on for as long as I can do it.

What keeps you motivated?

Listening to: "Wash U Clean" by Beth Thornley
Reading: "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Miracles of Miracle Whip

I stumbled across a website listing the many uses of Miracle Whip, the mayo-like salad dressing. Happy Husband purchased some a while back, and we rarely if ever use it. Today is the day I discovered one of its non-edible uses: polishing silver!

I slimed the white stuff on a silver spoon we use to dish coffee grounds into the coffee pot or espresso press each morning, and massaged it in, followed by a quick scrub with baking soda (I am already a Power of Baking Soda convert) I made into a paste. The spoon looked like brass (way gross) and now it shines like new.

Its the tangy zip that does it.

Vegetarian Delishes

I have resolved to eat Vegetarian dishes a few nights a week. I refuse that mean "salads" so I dove into my favorite website,, for some inspiration.
Vegetarian Korma! Happy Husband said he missed the chicken, but still fell in love with this dish. I used too much coconut milk (never thought one could ever use too much of this treasure) so I tripled the amount of curry powder. Next time I plan on using the more powerful Madras curry powder for some kick.

2.25 tsp canola oil
1 small onion
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger I used a full tsp
2 cloves garlic
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 T. crushed cashews
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp curry powder (I used 2 T.)
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. coconut cream (I did a full cup... a very sweet whoops)
1 bunch fresh cilantro for garnish (essential for maximum flavor)

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until tender. Mix in ginger and garlic, and continue cooking 1 minute. Mix potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, and tomato sauce. Season with salt and curry powder. Cook and stir 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Stir peas, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and cream into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.
We have also enjoyed Chunky Summer Tomato Soup (cold and garden fresh) and Meatless Confetti Chili (using leftover peppers from the Korma). Tonight we'll have Zucchini Crab Cakes (use shredded and drained zucchini instead of crab) and bake, not fry.

If I ate like this all the time, I might not miss meat (for long).

Enjoy, my veggie friends!

Reading: "Pride & Prejudice" by Jane Austen
Listening to: "I've Just Seen a Face" by The Beatles