Rain Ain’t So Bad

Maybe it’s because I was born in April (April showers bring May flowers, after all), but I’ve never minded rainy weather. Something about the pitter patter of rain drops on a rooftop and the cloudy skies make me feel comfortable and relaxed. 

Plus, whenever it rains, I get to sing my “Ducks Like Rain” song to Ryan.

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Ducks like rain,

Ducks like rain,

Ducks like to widdle wobble in the rain

Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack…

(Anyone else know that song? If you’re in the mood to learn this totally fun and 100 percent obnoxious song to sing when it’s rainy outside, click here! )

Though I like the rain, little Miss Sadie does not. When it’s raining outside that means she can’t do any of this…

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… and that makes her very frustrated, so she puts all of her energy into annoying me and Ryan. It’s a treat! 😀

Dinner

Since we couldn’t take Sadie on a walk after work today, we enjoyed an early dinner. I prepared broiled salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts (Yes, they actually were Brussels sprouts this time… Great catch last night to quite a few of you!), while Ryan chased Sadie around the apartment.

I really need to take a video of Ryan when he messes with Sadie. They both run circles around this one wall, trying to sneak up on each other. It’s hilarious and Sadie’s getting pretty good at it!

Within 15 minutes our dinner was ready for eatin’.

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The fish looks burnt, but it was just really crispy on the top. The fish itself was really tender and moist.

Before broiling the salmon, I seasoned it with a spice blend we received from Ryan’s dad a while ago.

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The spiced added a nice sweet flavor to the savory salmon.

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Now I’m off to make myself a mug of hot chocolate and do some wedding-related tasks. These wedding to-dos seem to keep piling up! I guess that’s what happens when you’re just about a month out from the big day!

Question of the Evening

Do you like rain?

Library Card

Guess what I did after work today?

I got myself one of these babies:

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My very own library card. 😀

As a kid and high school student, I loved going to the library. My mom is basically a library super-fan, and would take me and my sister to our local library to browse books, magazines, DVDs and CDs for hours. We loved it!

I walked to the Orlando Public Library and within five minutes of filling out a form and handing over my driver’s license, I had a library card!

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I’ve put off getting a library card for so long because parking downtown to actually go to the library is a huge pain. When one of my colleagues told me that our library actually delivers books to your home for free, I was singin’ a different tune. You can select books, DVDs or CDs through the library’s catalog system and ask them to deliver them to your doorstep. How cool is that!?

Plus, I work within walking distance of the library, so I can easily return anything we check out after work or during my lunch break.

I’m also excited to check out some of the free classes offered at the library. I sure could use some extra help when it comes to website design and html code. That stuff is way over my head and as a blogger, it would be very beneficial to gain some knowledge about the “behind the scenes” stuff.

With my spiffy library card in tow, I headed home to get crackin’ on dinner.

Dinner

Ryan and I have plans to head to St. Pete this weekend for some wedding-related appointments, so we had to use up the fresh veggies we had waiting in our fridge.

I prepared a veggie plate to enjoy along with a bowl of spaghetti, which did the trick!

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My veggies included roasted Brussels sprouts and parsnip fries, served with some ketchup for dippin’.

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The veggies were pretty filling and coupled with a big bowl of pasta, I felt very satisfied after eatin’ this meal!

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Of course Parmesan cheese made an appearance in the pasta bowl.

As Ryan and I headed into the kitchen to clean our dishes, we caught Sadie in the middle of some Brussel sprout thievery.

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What a little sneak!

St. Lucia, Here We Come!

Ryan and I are off to book our flights to St. Lucia for our honeymoon! Now that our hotel reservations are all set, we gotta book transportation to actually get to the island… 😉

Good news: Tomorrow is Friday!!!

Emotional

After work today I got a hair cut (nothin’ fancy, just a trim), but since I didn’t get home until later than usual, I wanted dinner to be ready in a flash! 

Thank goodness for the grill. 

Ryan got to work grillin’ up some chicken breasts that we marinated in Asian sesame salad dressing while we were at work today. 

Asian Sesame Chicken

I tended to the veggies and roasted some Brussels sprouts after tossing them in olive oil and garlic salt. 

My Plate

Chicken 'n' Veggies

 Ryan cooked the chicken perfectly and the leaves of the Brussels sprouts were perfectly singed. 

Emotional 

When it comes to emotions, I feel like I am a pretty consistent person. On occasion though, I feel oddly emotional. I think it happens when something sets me off… a sappy song, a loving email… something like that. 

Well, my mom has her final surgery related to her breast cancer treatment scheduled for the end of the month and after watching Robert ‘s dance to Coldplay’s “Fix You” on So You Think You Can Dance last night, I couldn’t help but feel moved. (If you liked that dance you must watch Melissa and Ade’s breast cancer dance from a past season. Tear jerker!) 

Seeing Robert’s dance reminded me of a gorgeous rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You” by the a cappella group Straight No Chaser that I heard a couple of months ago when Ryan and I saw them in concert

With the help of Grooveshark, I played the song on repeat for the last hour or so of my workday to help me get through some monotonous tasks (think Excel spreadsheet fun). (If you click the link to listen to the song, keep listening for a while. It really picks up and gets super intense! LOVE it.) 

As if I wasn’t in an emotional state as it was because of listening to this amazingly beautiful song over and over again, I received an email from Ryan that completely set me off. 

As part of our wedding ceremony, our pastor has asked each of us to write down the three things we love most about each other for him to read before we exchange our vows. Well, around 4:30 this afternoon, Ryan emailed me his three things. I was so moved. 

Ryan and I have joked back and forth about our three things for a couple months now and I half expected to see something like “I love Julie’s butt” as one of his three things. After reading his amazingly thoughtful list, I can assure you that my butt did not make the list… but three wonderfully romantic statements did, and I feel so lucky to be engaged to such a wonderful man. 

Me & My Hubby-to-Be

I apologize for being so mushy-gushy, but if you listen to that song on repeat for an hour, I assure you that you’ll be professing your love and emotions to anyone who will listen, too! 😉 

Question of the Evening

What song always makes you tear up?

Hello, Joe

Sloppy Joe, that is. 😀

Tonight’s dinner featured sloppy joes paired with roasted Brussels sprouts.

Dinner

Brussels Sprouts

I made the ‘joes using lean ground beef, a chopped onion, apple cider vinegar and ketchup.

Sloppy Joes

The flavors blended perfectly to create a tangy sloppy joe mixture.

I filled my bowl with the beef and Brussels sprouts and went back for seconds of the meaty goodness!

Tasty!

Post-Work Yoga

After work today I high-tailed it home to hit the gym for some post-work yoga.

For a girl who had not experienced a good yoga class in her entire life only a month ago, I have come a long way in such a short time. Now I find my body craving the good stretch of a yoga class.

Since I already worked out this morning, I wanted to take the class nice ‘n’ easy and just workout some of the kinks in my body. I had no idea how fantastic yoga feels on your hips. All the hip-opening stretches are amazing.

Question of the Evening

Do you incorporate stretching into your workout routine? (Be honest!)

Crock Pot, I Love You

I cannot decide what I like more about crock pot meals: How easy they are to make, or how moist and delicious the food ends up after cooking in a crock pot all day.

I think I’m leaning toward the yumminess of the food, but there’s nothing simpler than throwing meat in a crock pot with some broth before heading out to work. It makes dinner so easy, and you know that’s what I’m all about!

One thing I would always dread about crock pot meals was the clean up. Sure it’s all in one pot, but inevitably the food would adhere to the sides of the crock pot and clean up would be a bit of a challenge. No fun.

After discovering Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners, clean up became a breeze!

I just put a liner in the crock pot before adding all of my ingredients. Clean up is as easy as throwing away the bag filled with the food scraps. I buy them at my grocery store (Publix) in the aisle with the foil and Ziploc baggies.

(Just FYI, I am not Mr. Reynold’s daughter or anything. I just really love those liners!)

Dinner

I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now, but dinner tonight came straight outta the crock pot!

Crock Pot Pulled Chicken

Before leaving for work, I threw a bunch of chicken breasts into the crock pot and covered them with chicken broth. I let everything cook on low until it was dinner time.

As I chopped and roasted some veggies, Ryan pulled the chicken breasts apart with two forks and smothered the meat in BBQ sauce.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts + Squash

Dinner

I enjoyed the BBQ pulled chicken on an Arnold honey wheat sandwich thin.

BBQ Sandwich

I love how doughy those sandwich thins are. Yum, yum.

What is your favorite crock pot meal?

White Out

My lunch today was almost a complete white out!

  • Carba Nada egg fettuccine noodles
  • Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Cauliflower

White food overload! Fortunately I had some leftover Brussels sprouts to add a punch of green to my pasta bowl.

White (+ Green!) Pasta Bowl

Tasty!

There are so many things I love about food… the taste, texture, smell and even the color. A blah colorless meal isn’t nearly as appealing to me as one with fresh foods and vibrant colors.

I think certain foods are honestly beautiful.

I love the look of a plump apple or a bowl full of fresh, shiny cherries.

What food do you think is beautiful?

Craving Brussels Sprouts… What!?

When I asked you guys about foods you used to hate but you now love a couple of days ago, Brussels sprouts were mentioned and a craving was born. (Oh my gosh, did I really just say I was craving Brussels sprouts? I give you permission to hate me.)

Brussels Sprouts

I’ve only ever enjoyed Brussels sprouts after tossing them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them. I love the crunchy lil’ leaves too much to try them any other way. If anyone out there has other Brussels sprout recipe recommendations, feel free to send ’em my way.

Gettin' My Greens

Ryan and I enjoyed the veggie with Bantry Bay mussels in a tomato and garlic sauce. We bought these mussels when they were on sale (buy one get one free!) and we have been so impressed with how tasty these lil’ babie are. You’d never know they’ve been frozen.

Muscles

To keep the seafoodie theme goin’, Ryan and I also slurped down a hot bowl of light New England clam chowder.

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Delish dinn-ah!

Gourmet Caramel Apple Free Sample

Click here to receive a free sample of an Ivan Mog gourmet caramel apple.

Ivan Mog's Walnut Cranberry Caramel Apple

You may select from a variety of topping/flavors ranging from the classic peanut-topped caramel apple to the pistachio turtle dark (my choice) caramel apple.

Gotta love freebies! 😀