I know I said I would post the giveaway winner on Thursday, but ... Thursday was busy. After work, I got ready for my weekend, went for a run, went for a walk, and then met my friend Becky for dinner, drinks and Sex and the City!!!! Has anyone else seen the new movie yet? I want to talk about it. But I'll wait until next week - maybe more of you will have seen it by then. :)
So then yesterday, I got up and drove to Michigan - I'm at my parents' house for the long weekend. Plus, tomorrow is my mom's birthday! Today, I am taking her out for lunch and
pedis, and then I think we are going to do some shopping. ANYWAY. So, long story short, I've been busy.
That being said ... I am sooooo very happy and excited to announce that the winner of the $40 CSN Stores giveaway is ...
What? I didn't mention anything about a giveaway? You're right. I wanted to keep it a surprise. Because Mondays suck pretty bad, I felt like posting about a giveaway on a Monday would maybe perk you up a little bit. Yes? I thought so.
Without further ado ... the totally awesome CSN Stores has graciously offered to give away a $40 gift certificate to one of my lucky readers. If you're not already familiar with the online powerhouse that is CSN, check it out! They have everything you can think of under the sun, from sectional sofas to kitchen gadgets to luxury items like designer purses. This is a pretty neat opportunity ... I would really like to have $40 to spend there. Or more.
Anyway, here are the deets!
To enter, you MUST go to one of the CSN websites and let me know what you want to get if you win!!!
For additional entries:
1. Become a follower! Bring on the love. (1 extra entry)
2. Blog about this giveaway and/or stick it on your sidebar somewhere. Make sure to leave me a link! (1 extra entry)
Please let me know how many entries you have in one single comment. Thanks! The giveaway ends Wednesday night at 10pm eastern - this is a quickie! And I'll announce the winner on Thursday. Good luck!!!
On Saturday, I babysat for one of my very favorite dogs (besides Oscar, of course!) - Jolie. Jolie is Oscar's BFF/girlfriend/wife/life partner/fill-in-the-blank. It's super duper hard to take photos of dogs playing (as I've stated about 800 other times), so here are a few photos:
After a fierce day of playing and a long walk in the heat, they passed out together. So cute!!!
No pictures again this week ... because it's mostly lettuce again. Lettuce, spinach, mustard greens and pea shoots, I believe. My special fare share this week is tofu! I have to admit that I was a little scared ... I mean, I love getting pad thai with tofu, but I've never actually made anything myself with tofu. Not to mention the fact that I got two large containers of it!
So, today I was hungry for a big salad and thought I would investigate this tofu situation. I looked up how to fix it on the internet, and this is what I came up with. First, I had to "drain" the tofu (it came packed in water) by squishing it in between some paper towels. I put a plate on top of the paper towel stack, and put a can of soup on top of the plate to really squish teh water out of it.
After a few minutes of squishing, I diced the tofu into little pieces. I threw it in a pan with olive oil and some chopped shiitake mushrooms that I picked up at the farmer's market this morning.
After sauteing the tofu with the mushrooms until they were a little bit brown, I added about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar to try and caramelize the tofu-mushroom mixture. I let it cook a bit longer. In the meantime, I tossed some lettuce mix with spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado and some olive oil and honey with sea salt. I added the tofu-mushroom mixture, and ... voila! I was really skeptical about the tofu, but it was DELICIOUS. Tonight for dinner, I'm going to try making an omelet with tofu, mushrooms and spinach. Wish me luck!!!
Today is a very special day!!! It's Matt's 28th birthday. Matt really isn't a birthday person, and yesterday when I said something about today being "the big day," he admitted that he forgot and didn't know what I was talking about. That being said ... I thought it would be fun for the blogland to wish Matt a happy birthday!!! I made this special birthday picture of him specifically for this special occasion.
He's wearing a birthday crown, in case you're wondering. Also, I would have had to pay money to get a birthday hat. The crown was free. Thanks, Picnik! :)
I sent Matt a Very Special Birthday Box (VSBB) earlier this week, and being the Worst Wife Ever (WWE?), I did not mail it in time to actually get there by today. Sadness. Hopefully, I will regain Best Wife Ever (BWE) status when the box arrives, though. We shall see! In the meantime ... happy birthday, babe! I hope you have a great one. We will do lots of celebrating when you get home!!!
A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to start my 1/2 marathon training. After all ... when I registered for the race, I had about 11 months to train. So I did nothing. And then, suddenly, I only had 5 months. How did that happen??! Anyway, I went through the Hal Higdon novice 1/2 marathon plan and the Hal Higdon novice 5k plan and wrote out 19 weeks of training in my calendar. IN PEN. Every single day from May 3rd to September 12th has some sort of workout (or, you know, rest day). So far, I have stuck to the plan every single day!
I started very slowly - at around 1.75m. I am now up to 2.25m runs. Like I said - starting slow. But I have been feeling great, and strong, and I'm staying steady at around a 10 minute mile - which is HUGE for me. Last summer when I did the running training group, I was at a pretty solid 12 minute mile. I know it might not seem like much difference (I know - they are both SLOW!), but for an incredibly un-athletic person like me ... it's a big deal. :)
That being said, I think I'm going to run a neat trail run 5k at Brown County State Park in a couple of weeks. My friend Becky told me about it this morning, and it sounds pretty neat and different than my usual runs around the neighborhood. I have a 2.75m run scheduled for that day, so it will just be a little more of a stretch at 3.1m. I'm a little intimidated by the description of the course - the first mile is apparently uphill, then some rolling hills, and a gradual one mile downhill. Whew. But the biggest challenge to me is that headphones/ipods are prohibited. I NEED music when I run - it really gets me through. So I'm definitely a little nervous about running without music. I think I'll give it a shot on my run tomorrow. For those runners out there - do you run with or without music? What are your strategies for non-music running?
This is the newest Forerunner - it's pretty basic, but I've been told it still has everything I need. Sidenote: why is the basic Forerunner still $250??? Not cool, Garmin. Not cool. They are literally brand new - I think they came out at the end of April. Or March? Can't remember. I'm hoping that after a couple of months, they'll start popping up on Ebay. Fingers crossed!
So anyway, that's what's going on with running. I'll keep you posted as my mileage increases!
-Matt left for Kuwait a few days later, and has been there ever since. He will be staying there for the time being.
-The day I returned from Florida, I successfully got 44 high school students to an employment fair. Yes!
-I got my first CSA share - and have been enjoying wonderful fresh veggies ever since!
-I ran the Coach Hep 5k - with a pretty slow time, but I wasn't ready for it AND I still beat my time from last year. I think I finished in 37:44 with several, SEVERAL walk breaks. It still felt good to get out and run!
-I started volunteering at the animal shelter with my Little. Once a week, we walk and play with the dogs. It has been pretty fun so far - except for Monday, when I had to go alone, and it rained the whole time. Wet dogs + excitement + mud = muddy, dirty Shaina. Oh well - that's what laundry is for!
-I have been able to Skype with Matt once a week since he left. This has really been fabulous - it's so nice to be able to see his face once a week! Thank goodness for Skype, and the internet. Sometimes we are able to gchat before he goes to bed - but the time change definitely sucks. In other news, Matt's unit is supposedly going to be home by Thanksgiving!!! This is very exciting. The bad news is that he's pretty doubtful that he'll get R and R. But that's okay - I would much rather have him home before the holidays. November is only six months away!
-I started my 19 week training for the Chicago Half Marathon (more on this to come) and so far, it's going great!
Hmmm ... I didn't really think that this month was that busy, but I guess some more stuff went on than I remembered!
Happy Saturday night, friends! I hope y'all are out doing something fun. I, on the other hand, am sitting at home surrounded by copious amounts of laundry (both clean and dirty), and I just watched The Bourne Ultimatum on CBS. Now I'm trying my very hardest to stay awake until the season finale of SNL starts.
Yesterday, my friend Kyle and I walked to pick up this week's CSA share. Lots of fun stuff there - and some weird stuff too. I didn't take any photos because ... I didn't feel like it. So imagine beautiful, green photos of lettuce mix, spinach, this weird asian green called Yukina Savoy. Have you ever heard of it? I haven't. I also got a dried bean mix for soup and a dozen eggs. I think that the eggs might have been a mistake, but ... oh well! We pick up our shares in someone's backyard, so there was nobody I could really ask about the eggs. So I took them home. And now I will enjoy them!
I made a salad tonight for dinner using the lettuce mix. Also, I got a salad spinner today!!! And wow, what a difference it makes. I washed my lettuce, drained the water, and then spun it around about 800 times. And yay! Dry lettuce!
In other news ... I was able to Skype with Matt today for awhile which was fabulous. Have I mentioned that he reads the blog now? Everyone say hi! He didn't end up going to Qatar, so he's still hanging out in his pod in Kuwait. I have a lovely birthday present for him that I am sticking in the mail on Monday - can't tell you what it is because I don't want to ruin the surprise for him. But I am really excited about it, and I hope he will be, too!
Annnnyway. That's about all I've got right now ... boring stuff these days. I'll try to think of something more exciting for the next few days!
I've been making lots of veggie stuff from my CSA share (Matt informed me I should stop referring to it as "my box." Giggle.) and I thought I would post a couple of things!
First of all ... the world's most boring looking plate. Sauteed spinach with garlic, olive oil and a touch of sea salt, and roasted radishes. Yes, this is what I had for dinner the other night. I have decided that radishes are better raw - they had a great little kick to them. But then I roasted them and they turned kind of ... boring. And mushy and tasteless. So, that's a bummer. For future reference ... just eat them whole, or sliced in a salad. :) The spinach, however, was fabulous.
Last night I made something really tasty, I thought - pasta with arugula pesto and cherry tomatoes. I had a ton of arugula and found a few great recipes for arugula pesto. I combined them and came up with this: Yum! Pretty, right? Here is how I made the pesto:
4-5 cups of arugula, trimmed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh parmesan, shredded
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I just cut a lemon in half and squeezed the juice out of only one half)
salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil with some water
Throw everything but the olive oil/water into a food processor and combine until well minced. Then, through the little food chute of the processor, pour the olive oil and water in slowly while the ingredients are still mixing.
Um, that's it. It is seriously that easy - and WAY delicious. My friend Kyle came over for dinner and we (unsuccessfully) attempted to make gluten-free pasta. It failed and we had to make regular pasta. Oh well! I tossed the pasta with about 3 tablespoons of the pesto, added a little more fresh parmesan, and about 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes. DELISH! I highly recommend!
I have also been making this tasty salad - I got the idea from my new favorite food blog, Kath Eats Real Food. Everything this girl eats/makes looks so fresh and delicious! I stole one of her salad ideas and I am a little obsessed.
First, make some simple salad dressing - combine olive oil, honey and sea salt (I also throw in some pepper). Then, toss it with some salad greens. Add some tomatoes, avocado, and sauteed mushrooms. And that's it. Great, delicious flavors in there!
So, that's what I've been eating these days. Do you have any tasty recipes for me to try?
...to my Mother-in-Law (I don't have a photo of just the two of us - everyone in the Smith family hates having their photo taken!!), ...and to a few of my friends who have become mothers in the last year-ish:
Amber (with Jaida, born 9/2/09), Cassie (with Charlie, born 4/22/09), Anna (with Mae, born 1/30/10), and Jenna (with Corbin, born 4/28/10).
I hope you all are having a wonderful day!!!! Love you!
Yesterday, I picked up (or rather, my friend Kyle picked up and brought to me) my 2nd CSA share. So exciting!!! My share from last Friday lasted through the entire week, and I ate something from my box every single day. It was fabulous! I started looking forward to my new box on Wednesday - wondering what would be in there, if it would be as tasty and fresh as last week, what I would make with it ... yadda yadda yadda.
So! Without further ado, here is a pretty green photo of this week's CSA share!
Some more beautiful, tasty spinach - this was SO AMAZING last week and I can't wait to make lots more this week! Arugula. DELICIOUS! Arugula is one of my absolute favorites - it's so great in a sandwich. This arugula in particular is really really peppery - I had a little piece last night while I was cleaning it up, and it really packs a punch! More salad greens. Yum! Radishes. I have never been a huge fan, but I found a great recipe for some roasted radishes that I think I will try. A few stalks of swiss chard - these were in Kyle's box, but she graciously shared with me. Yum! I also got a great wedge of cheese called Flora from The Swiss Connection, a dairy farm in Clay City, Indiana. And no, I have no idea where Clay City is. But I checked out their website, and here is a little blurb about why their cheese is different:
In the early 90's we began converting our farm to a more natural, pasture-based system. We carefully monitored the cows' grazing habits to produce the highest quality pasture, and the animals' calving cycles were moved to the springtime, maximizing the use of lush spring grasses.
Unlike most dairy farms, we use only pasture to feed our cows. We use absolutely no grain supplementation. All milk cows are moved to fresh grass two times a day. The lush spring forage growth coincides with the cows' high nutritional requirements at calving, and the "dry period" is during the winter when forage quality is lower. The cattle graze all year, even in the winter when hay supplements their diet.
I got a cheese they call "Flora." From the Swiss Connection website, again: We have renamed our Gouda cheese to reflect the living nature of soils unique to our farm. The many different microorganisms, fungi, earthworms, etc. that populate the soil are termed "flora." The name Flora is a reflection of where this wonderful cheese flavor comes from.
So, basically it's fancy gouda or something. I had a little bite last night, and it is SO SO GOOD.
Anyway, after spending half the night washing and drying my new produce, I realized that I really, REALLY need a salad spinner. Because this is what my kitchen looked like:
And it's really hard to dry lettuce with towels. End of story.
This week, I promise to do a better job taking photos and recording what I make with everything!
I usually don't blog about giveaways - I put them over in my sidebar so you can check them out at your leisure. But when I saw that Suburban Housewive-In-Training is giving away a pair of diamond earrings from Kohls ... well, call me crazy, but it seems like diamonds always deserve their own post. :)
I've been meaning to blog all week, but ... for some reason it just hasn't happened! So, here is a bunch of random stuff that's been happening this week.
1. I'm way behind on my tv watching this week (too much walking and reading, bad Shaina! ha!), but can I just say how much I LOVE Parenthood? And Glee. And Modern Family. And Cougar Town. And Parks and Rec. These shows are all really really fantastic. Do you watch any of these? Which one is your favorite?
2. I guess it's been awhile since I've updated you about Matt, but he's currently in Kuwait and has been there for about a week now. We have been able to video Skype once and talk on google chat a few other times. It's a little crazy how far away he seems ... plus there's the whole 7 hour time difference. Communication is definitely a little challenging, but I think we'll be able to get used to it. There's still a possibility that he may be able to get R and R in August, but it's not for sure. Think some happy thoughts that I will be able to see my husband in another three months!!!
3. My 1/2 marathon training has officially begun, and I'm feeling great. I had a great run today and I'm really feeling confident that when September 12 comes, I'll be ready!
4. I went to a hippie babycatcher the other day (one might call her a midwife) because I have been looking for a new ob/gyn-type, one that I would feel comfortable with delivering my as-of-yet-unconceived baby. I have been really unhappy with the two ob/gyns I have seen since moving to Bloomington, so I thought I would go in a different direction. The doctors I have seen have been very negative about my endometriosis and my chances of getting pregnant. They have admonished me for not trying to get pregnant two years ago - when I was neither married nor ready to even think about babies. So anyway, a lot of people in Bloomington recommended this particular midwife (perhaps because everyone here is a hippie?) so I thought I'd give her a shot. Turns out, I love her and she is my new "doctor." She was very positive about me getting pregnant, and suggested a couple of dietary changes to help things along. First of all, she suggested cutting down on dairy - and making sure that whatever dairy I eat is organic. I love milk - and I refuse to cut down on that. So I'm currently drinking organic milk and trying to cut down on cheese and yogurt. She also recommended that I cut out all gluten/wheat/flour - and informed me that there is a strong connection with gluten allergies/sensitivities and endometriosis and infertility. I looked it up on the interwebz - it's supposedly the real deal. Now ... cutting out gluten seems extremely difficult to me, so I'm not going 100% gluten-free. But I am going to try and make a serious effort to avoid gluten when possible. We'll see how it goes!
5. Tomorrow is Friday, thank goodness, which means that it's time for CSA Box #2! I can't wait to see what we get. Although I'm pretty sure we'll get more salad stuff, since it's kind of like ... salad growing season. Or whatever. Either way, I'm excited for new fresh veggies!
Well, that's all I can think of right now. Hope everyone is having a great week!
So after posting my pretty vegetable photos, b.e.g. wanted some photos of things I have cooked with said veggies! Sadly, I didn't take any photos ... up until tonight. When I made the (second) best omelet ever.
When I went to Michigan for spring break in March, I went out to a great little breakfast spot in Ferndale with my parents called Toast. While I usually order sweet breakfasty/brunchy items, for some reason that day I was really craving an omelet. So, I ordered what ended up being the best omelet EVER. MMMMMM. I think it was called the Parisienne (but I could be totally wrong), and the filling was: caramelized onions, sauteed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese. And oh my gosh, every bite was like heaven! Since then, I have attempted to recreate this omelet several times in my own home, but I never have the right ingredients.
And, I still didn't tonight. But I had most of them. My ingredients: caramelized onions and shiitake mushrooms, sauteed spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and one wedge of Lite Swiss Laughing Cow cheese. Sidenote: veggies from my box included the spinach and the mushrooms. The remaining ingredients I already had in the fridge/pantry.
First, I caramelized the mushrooms and onions by sauteing (that just looks weird!) them in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. After the onions were soft, I added 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and a dash of sugar. I let them cook on low for awhile. Then I added the spinach right at the end of the omelet-making process - because it cooks so quickly. Oh, and I tossed in some sun-dried tomatoes too after rehydrating them for a few minutes in a cup of really hot water.
I whisked 2 (brown, organic) eggs together with a little bit of water and threw them in another saute pan. This is where I usually eff up the omelets - I always flip too soon and it is a total disaster. I tried to let this one cook slow and low for awhile, and then put 3/4 of the filling in, along with one roughly "sliced" wedge of Laughing Cow cheese. And then ... I flipped. Hmmmm. I guess I still haven't figured out how to make an omelet. Okay, so it's not pretty, but ... it's cooked. I threw it on the plate and topped it with the rest of the veggies. Still not pretty. And don't worry, that is a small plate, not a dinner plate. It wasn't that big. But OH MY GOSH it was amazing!!!!!!! If you like these ingredients ... go out. Buy them. Make this. Your taste buds will thank you!
On Friday afternoon, I picked up my very first CSA box! A couple of months ago, I signed up for a 25 week share of veggies from a local organic farm - and I have been (impatiently) waiting for the spring season to begin. I thought this would be a fun (?) weekly blog feature, so here goes! In this week's box was:
Pea shoots... Shiitake mushrooms... Green onions... ...and salad greens. Doesn't everything look beautiful? There is nothing like fresh veggies straight from the farm. So far, I have made pea shoots sauteed with olive oil, garlic and vinegar, wilted spinach with mushrooms, a big beautiful green salad with caramelized mushrooms, and sauteed spinach with garlic and golden raisins.
I will be picking up my veggie box every Friday afternoon - cannot wait to see what I get next!