Posts tagged ‘work’

July 1, 2013

Ten Things to be Happy About 7/1

I need a healthy dose of gratitude today. It’s been one of those days where every nerve in my body seems to be agitated. From large life issues to the post office changing their lunch hour, everything I do today seems to challenge me.

So I think it’s time to sit back and find a little thanks. Life is beautiful and often far too short to be taken for granted.

 

1. Tomorrow is my last day of work this week! I’m very excited about this. Short weeks are the best!

2. Wednesday, Husband and I head to Alaska to celebrate a birthday, a wedding and the 4th of July! Below is a photo of beautiful Prince of Wales Island.

alaska1

3. I got pretty new rain boots for our trip! I just hope they fit! Cute, right? You need rain boots on the boat. It’s wet and miserable if all you have a tennis shoes.

rain boots

4. My freezer will soon be filled with fresh, wild salmon, halibut, shrimp and crab! The best part about having a family fishing lodge in Alaska is you pretty much have access to really good quality fish whenever you want it, all year round.

5. We have so many tomatoes on our plants! And we harvested two cucumbers and two jalapenos this weekend…oh, and one strawberry last week that went right into my mouth! These were the first tomatoes that popped up on our Early Girl. The plant is full of them now!

tomatoes

6. I get to see my mommy this week! I haven’t seen her in almost a month.

7. I have the most amazing husband ever! Just saying… )

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8. I am alive. I’m going to stop at number eight today. Because what more matters? I have this day. I may not have tomorrow, but I have today and I’m going to stop writing now, and go out and enjoy the heck out of it!

April 25, 2013

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles and a little update

I love Thai food. Jim does not. I mean he’ll eat it every once in a while, but we don’t go out for it nearly as much as I’d like to. So when I decided to make a Thai-inspired dish for dinner last night, I was a bit apprehensive. I needn’t have worried, though, because Jim loved it. And I think you will too.

thai noodles1

This really is the simplest dish to make. Which is a good thing because Jim and I got home late last night. And honestly, I’m super proud of myself because in the past, after an hour and a half yoga class followed by grocery shopping and returning home after 8 p.m., I would have abandoned my dinner plans and picked something up while we were out instead of cooking. We would have spent more money and inevitably put crap into our bodies that we didn’t want there.

I must be making progress. This new lifestyle Jim and I have been living must be working. That alone is proof of it.

Anyway, I promised you a recipe and taunted you with a photo, so here we go! The update can wait.

Mr and Meatless’ Thai Noodles

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (you can use whatever oil you want, I just like the sesame flavor for this dish)

1 tbsp red curry paste (more if you want…or less. But don’t worry, it’s not that spicy)

1 heaping tbsp peanut butter

A few squirts of Sriracha sauce

1/2 can coconut milk (I used full-fat for a creamier texture, you could probably use lite too if you wanted)

1 1/2 cups veggie broth

As many veggies as you can stand, cut into spearish shapes (I used carrots, zucchini, little mushroom guys, broccoli and spring onion)

Handful of rice noodles (again, use as much or as little as you want)

Water for boiling

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add noodles and leave them while you do the rest of your preparations.

Heat oil in a large pan. Add red curry paste. Mix it all around and let them mingle for a moment. Add your firmer veggies (carrots, onions and broccoli for me). Let them saute for a few minutes. Add more oil if you need to.  Add the rest of the veggies and saute for about a minute. Add veggie broth. Cover and let the steam cook your veggies a little bit more, maybe 2 minutes. Remove lid. Add coconut milk. Let the milk warm, about a minute. Stir in the peanut butter and Sriracha. If you like it a little thinner, add more  broth.

Drain the noodles and divide them between your bowls. Spoon vegetables and sauce over noodles. Enjoy!

 

thai noodles2

*Note: This recipe is very versatile, and you’re not going to mess it up by changing things, adding things, etc. Jim likes his extra spicy, so he added a bunch more Sriracha. If I’d had some cilantro, I probably would have put some on top to garnish. You could add shrimp or chicken if you feel it lacking in protein. I actually sprinkled a little bit of salt into mine. You could add soy sauce. It’s not terribly Thai, but then again, I don’t think salt is either. I don’t claim to be any kind of an ethnic cook. That’s why I said this recipe is Thai-inspired.

We both thoroughly enjoyed this meal. There was some sauce leftover, so we’re excited about using it with some brown rice and veggies on nosh night this weekend.

A Little Update

As of April 18th, Jim and I have been juicing, eating mostly vegan, avoiding caffeine, working out weeks we don’t juice, getting enough sleep, I’ve started doing yoga, and overall putting our health before anything and everything else. Mostly. Hey! We’re not perfect! And honestly in those moments of imperfection, I’ve paid dearly. For the pizza and alcohol I consumed last weekend, my tummy paid all Saturday night and most of Sunday. For the hash brown casserole we ate all day the Saturday before, I paid dearly. And when I finish this lovely soy latte my amazing little brother brought me at work (and forgot to get decaf) I’ll be paying dearly this afternoon with jitters, a racing mind and a need to run nine miles. My body is losing it’s ability to handle having crap inside of it. I’m healing!

But mostly, I feel amazing.

I have energy. And without a daily morning latte!

I have a clear mind. I have control over my mind.

I have motivation. To workout. To eat well. To write. To work on my business. To do crafts and hobbies I lost the will to do long ago.

I have a positive attitude. Even about this job which drives me mad but is necessary for, well, every thing.

I have confidence. I KNOW I can succeed. At yoga. At photography. At getting my novel published (you know, once it’s finished).  At losing weight. At being a good wife. Maybe even someday a good mother.

I’ve lost 12 lbs.

I’m happy. Content. Looking forward to the rest of my life. Looking forward to seeing my husband tonight, to going fishing with him on Sunday. To my lovely friend Stephanie’s bridal shower this weekend. And her wedding in June!

I’ve never felt so good in my life.

And that’s your little update for today.

And while I’m feeling so damn positive, what’s your favorite thing about life right now? Anything. Tiny or huge. Share with me!

January 21, 2013

Granola Balls!

I think we’ve got it all wrong. We should be working two days a week and have five days to play and having fun and work on our projects and bake and whatever else we fancy. I know that’s more or less a ridiculous idea, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about work lately, about how this job was always supposed to be temporary, something to get me to the next phase of my professional life, which, in seven and a half years since I graduated from college, just hasn’t happened. After contemplating it a little (and freaking out a lot), I came to the conclusion that there are three reasons why I stay at this job, which doesn’t satisfy me in the least: #1. The money. Isn’t it always a little bit about money when you dislike your job? #2. I DO enjoy working with my brother…most of the time…when he’s not throwing office equipment. and #3, the biggest of them all: I don’t know what else to do.

Sure, I enjoy certain things that have the potential to become money-making endeavors: photography, writing, baking. But none of them are go-out-and-apply-for-the-job type careers. They take time to cultivate into something that can translate into our mortgage payment. And I’ve never been patient. And honestly, I have a hard time taking an idea and converting it into action. I get the brilliant beginnings and then they fizzle out, seeming to hit a mental brick wall in my brain.

And now I’ve started ranting about it and you probably think I have some profound conclusion to present to you now. I’ve figured it out! Right? But alas, I haven’t. All I got for you is a pretty cool recipe for what I’m calling “granola balls.” Jim helped me come up with the name. They’re kind of my take on like protein or energy balls, but Jim likes to eat granola bars for breakfast, so I told him they’re granola balls so the transition would be easier for him.

granola balls1

Granola Balls!

(yes, they do have an ! at the end)

makes approximately 16 balls…if you don’t eat about a ball’s worth while you’re mixing

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tbps honey

3 tbsp protein powder

handful of chocolate chips

handful of shredded coconut

Mix and mash and smush it all together. Roll into balls. Enjoy!

As for that other stuff we talked about today, I’ll keep you posted. I think I’m beyond the freaking out phase and into the lets-get-something-done phase. It’s hard for me. But I can do it. Just keep telling myself that, right? I can do it!

 

Any photographers, writers or bakery owners out there have any advise for me on how to run a successful business in those fields?

December 31, 2012

Carrot and fennel soup

As I was going through my refrigerator last week searching for things to make for dinner, I came upon a realization: I had a ton of carrots! And I had just gotten my Farm Fresh to You box which had even more carrots…and fennel. So the creation of this soup was pretty much inevitable.

carrot fennel soup1

Carrot and Fennel Soup

A bunch of carrots (I had three large and about twelve smaller ones)

1 large onion, chopped

2 small fennel bulbs, chopped

Garlic, chopped (I used about six cloves, but measure on your own taste. Garlic is kind of personal)

3-4 tbsp olive oil

Sprinkling of sugar (maybe 2 tbsp)

5 cups vegetable broth

Thyme (Again, to taste. I just sort of sprinkled a small pile in the pan)

Salt and pepper

1 cup heavy cream

Heat olive oil at the bottom of a large soup pot. Add carrots, fennel, onion, and sugar to the pan and caramelize the vegetables. After about five minutes add the garlic. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and let cook, stirring frequently for another five minutes or until veggies start to soften. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let it boil away for about 30-45 minutes or until all veggies are soft. Transfer in small batches to a blender and whip until it’s all a big pile of orange mush (or use your fancy immersion blender…you know, the one I got rid of because I didn’t think I needed it anymore?). Return it to the pot and gently bring it back to an edible temp. Mix in heavy cream (you can skip this step if you want. It’s not necessary but it sure makes it taste more substantial). Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a personal-sized baguette (courtesy of Trader Joes…as in I bought it there, not as in they donated it to my cause). If you have the energy, which I did not, make up a nice salad to go with it. Or grilled cheese when you serve the leftovers for lunch the next day.

carrot fennel soup2

I hope everyone is having a wonderful last day of 2012. My day would be better if I wasn’t working, but so far I have no complaints.

Does anyone have fun New Year’s plans tonight?

July 11, 2012

Oh what a day

I am just sitting down to my desk for the first time today. It’s almost 2 p.m. This morning I had to go down to El Dorado County’s building department to handle some things (in my dad’s absence) regarding our second shop building. It’s boring, so I won’t go into details. But I was there for almost three hours.

Breakfast this morning was delicious. I was totally channeling fall on this one. I had a little bit of extra time, so I decided to make some oatmeal. On top, I put some pumpkin butter, some toasted pecans and a small handful of chocolate chips. It was so yummy. The chocolate added just enough sweet. I definitely felt nostalgic for fall.

I love Cold Hollow Cider Mill. They’re in Vermont and I was soooo happy to find out that they have a website where you can order their stuff. I loooove this pumpkin butter. Their maple syrup is to die for and pretty much everything else they carry is delicious as well.

So after breakfast I rush down to the county offices and wait while my architect is 1/2 an hour late. And then sit in various offices for two and a half hours, filling out paperwork, signing checks, listening to the architect talk with whoever about whatever. Then I had to deliver plans to the fire district as well as the water district (hey, at least we’re covering our bases!) before I could finally come in to the office. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about the time away from my desk. If it wasn’t hotter than Hades out there, it would have been fine.

Anyway, so to back up the bus a little, the offices for El Dorado County are in Placerville, about a 20-25 minute drive from my office. Since I got out just before lunchtime, I decided to grab some chow from one of my favorite places in Pville.

They serve all sorts of fresh, organic foods and yummy beverages. I got a dirty chai…which is a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso…with almond milk (how many other places offer almond milk?!). For lunch I ordered their “Righteous Rice Bowl” with tuna. I ordered it to go, but here’s a photo of the same rice bowl I ordered with my mom a few weeks ago.

It had rice, beans, cheese, tuna, avocado, carrots, cabbage, red onion, sprouts, cilantro, two different kinds of sauces and probably all sorts of stuff I’m not remembering at the moment. It was so good.

And the Cozmic Cafe is super cool. It’s in this really old building and has a mine shaft at the back…

And I just learned today that there’s seating back there!

Yea, it’s a little creepy. But it was the coolest place in the entire restaurant!

So now I’m at work…and since I’ve been writing this (okay, and browsing Pinterest), I have 45 minutes before it’s time to leave. And then I’m off to the gym for my daily 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and home to make dinner…which I’ve yet to make a decision about. I’d better get on that.

What are you having for dinner? Anything corn and wheat free?

April 23, 2012

I have a confession to make….

…I hate exercise.

There. I said it. Phew, I feel such relief!

But now I suppose I must explain before someone starts ranting about the benefits of staying active.

My biggest Don’t-judge-me-I-have-good-excuses reasons are as follows: I have always had bad ankles and any amount of running, walking, skipping, etc will leave them the size of golf balls. And I’m convinced that my lung capacity is about that of a 4 year old. I start to feel out of breath so easily and then I get a headache, a stomach ache and feel like I’m going to pass out. And that’s just jogging, my friends.

I know that the most obvious answer is “Well, Steph. If you exercise more your body will get used to it and it’ll be more happy with you.” And I know, I know. I don’t not exercise. Don’t get me wrong. I get my butt moving as often as I can, especially knowing that I will probably justify my way out of going to the gym: Jim’s home so I want to spend time with him. I have to cook dinner. The apartment needs cleaning. I must catch up on my correspondence.

And I do go to the gym…sometimes. And we do ride our bikes….sometimes. And take walks after dinner….sometimes. And I have Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred…which I haven’t done in, well, months, to be honest.

But I try. I know I don’t try hard enough, but I do. I am loving cruising Pinterest for inspiration. This is one of my current faves:

To me, it’s far more “doable” than spending an hour at the gym doing cardio and weights and whatever else. And these are easy to spread out. Sometimes I’ll do them in my office at work (when no one else is around, of course!). Sometimes I’ll do them while I’m waiting for the washing machine to finish its cycle because if I leave and start something else, I know I’ll completely forget about the laundry.

This morning I woke up, did some stretching, some crunches, some pushups, a few yoga poses. Mornings are SO hard for me, I can barely get myself to the bathroom right when I wake up…and all I have to do to get there is swing my feet off the bed and take two steps!

But I still feel guilty for not putting in a good amount of time sweating my ass off. And I’m starting to think maybe that’s more me not giving myself a break than me not doing anything good for my body. I mean, at the end of the day, I can only do as much as I can do, right?

I’m still hoping that when I get this fatigue thing figured out, I’ll be able to do more. The #1 reason I hate exercise is because I always feel so exhausted…at the end of the day…at the beginning of the day…and pretty much every moment in between. And exercise doesn’t seem to give me energy like it should. I finish a workout and feel more sleepy than when I started!

Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get in to see my mom’s doctor and start to get some answers. Until then, I suppose I’ll continue doing pushups and lunges in my office when no one is looking.

 

April 3, 2012

Ten things to be happy about 04/03

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

It’s a lovely morning here in Northern California, and like most lovely mornings, I’m stuck in a small office with nothing but a sliver of natural light and the sound of air hoses and large machinery to illuminate my day.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to be happy about!

1. I get to leave work early today! And that’s going to segue into….

2. I am going to see the endocrinologist today. Hopefully they can give me some insight on my fatigue issues. Hopefully today I will have some answers as to why I’m always so tired.

3. Jim got a job! He started yesterday, and I’m really excited for him. He seems like he’s going to enjoy it. I’ll miss having the house cleaned for me, but I guess it’s a good trade off.

4. Jim and I had a fun-filled weekend with family and friends!

This little one turned 6, and had an adorable cowgirl party on Saturday.

Sunday we went to the vineyard and helped teach a new baker how to serve wedding cake.

5. I’m going to have a photography business! I submitted about half of my paperwork last week, so now I just wait to get it back. And I have my first wedding booked in May, so everything is really coming together. I’m super excited!

6. I got to get back into my wedding dress! Jim and I posed for a promotional photo shoot for the vineyard. Some of them turned out really great!

7.I get to make my nephew’s first birthday cake!His party is going to be fishy themed, so I’m going to make a goldfish bowl cake, I think. I’m not the greatest at decorating, but I can make it work. And I’m making cupcakes for everyone else.  With fishies too.

8. My little brother is coming home for Easter!He is going to school in Reno, which is not terrible far from home, just far enough that I don’t get to see him too often.

He’s the one on the left. The one on the right is my other bro, who I’m fortunate enough to see every day at work.

9. Looking at the photo of Jim and I from the other day, I’m realizing I may just get some good wedding photos after all. I’m plagued every time I think about it by the knowledge that I chose the wrong wedding photographer. Of everything about my wedding, I regret that choice most. In fact, it’s about the only thing I regret. She had an amazing portfolio, but somehow we just didn’t get the quality she’s capable of.

10. That being said, I know I am a good photographer. I set up and posed the shot of Jim and I from above. I did everything but hit the shutter button. I CAN take good photos, and I will be a great photographer. I care enough about people not to leave before the bouquet is thrown and to recognize that direct sunlight is harsh and will cast obnoxious shadows (see my face in the photo with my brothers). I can only hope that in 20 years, I will still care as much and won’t become jaded enough to let a bride pay for shoddy photos.

I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday and an amazing week. Oh, and if you need your wedding photographed, shoot me an email!

March 19, 2012

Ten things to be happy about 3/19

I have a lot to be happy about at this point. The last few weeks…last week especially….were hellacious! I am so glad to be on the other side of them.

1. My to-do list at work is empty! Well, not entirely empty, but the four  major projects I HAD to get done ASAP are done. Check!

2. I got to wake up to this view this morning!Sure, we were snowed in all weekend. But we were at the vineyard, so we were in good company and we should be able to get the car out and go home tonight.

3. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight! I totally take that for granted when I don’t have it. And it’s not that I don’t LOVE mini-vacations, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of falling asleep in your own bed.

4. I tried a few recipes from my new cookbook! I know, I’m lame for forgetting to take a photo, but I made the coconut orange bread pudding from my Blissful Bites cookbook. I also made the sweet polenta porridge and Jim made the hearty lentil soup. All of them were fabulous, but my favorite had to be the bread pudding. It was such a unique take on a classic dessert. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone contemplating going vegan.

the book

5. I got the cutest new shoes! I haven’t bought anything for myself in a long time. And in the shoe department, I am seriously lacking. I have no shoes to trompse around in the rain in, nor did I have any cute shoes for spring. So, like any girl would probably do, I went for cute over function. Winter is almost over, afterall! I’m not so sure I love the bottoms of them…they’re kind of weird, but I’ll wear them around the house a bit and see what I think. Aren’t they adorable?!

6. My husband is at work with me today! Part of being snowbound all weekend was that he was stuck with me, which means he is still stuck with me. He’s just sitting there watching YouTube videos while I work, but it’s still kind of nice to have him here.

7. I get to see my sister-in-law tonight! She doesn’t know it yet, I don’t think, but her husband is cutting Jim’s hair tonight (before his job interview tomorrow!), so we’ll be over there for a little bit tonight. I’m excited. We have a good time together. 🙂

8. As a result of #1, my office is getting very clean. It’s so much nicer to work in a clean office, and having nothing else to do, I have time to CLEAN!!

9. I think there’s a delicious slice of pumpkin pie on its way for me! I made chicken pot pie for dinner last night, and Ashley made the crust. Well she used her grandmother’s recipe, which is one of those that can’t be cut down in size, so with an extra 6 crusts, she made a pumpkin pie for dessert. And I’m not sure anyone makes better pumpkin pie than Ash does!

10. I have a massage tomorrow!I haven’t had once since, I believe, the last time I included it in my ten things post. I’m so excited! I need this like crazy!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday. What are you happy about today?

January 12, 2012

10 things to be HAPPY about

I used to make a list in my journal every morning of 10 things I should be happy about. At the time I was suffering from pretty serious depression (mostly the kind that made me want to sleep all the time. I want to be clear that it was never bad enough to contemplate ending my life…just sleeping it away), and it was a way to try and bring my spirits up first thing in the morning. Start the day right, if you will.

I’ve since stopped making the lists….I’ve actually only recently started writing in my journal on a regular basis again. It’s quite theraputic…but it takes up a lot of time sometimes if I have a million things to say, which I usually do.

Back to the list. I love reading things like this on other people’s blogs, so I figured rather than writing mine in my journal, maybe I’d write it on the blog instead. Not every day of course, maybe just once a week so I can share what’s going through my head.

#1: My husband

I know that’s probably an obvious one, but I can’t help myself. I still look at him almost every day and think “Wow, I am actually married to that man,” and a little tingle of joy creeps up my spine and fills my heart with happy.

At Bryce Canyon during our month and a half journey around the country

 

#2: Going to tea with my mom tomorrow

In a particularly bad time in my life, my mom and I stumbled upon a cute little tea room not too far from her house. That tea room has since closed down, but we still make a habit of getting together for tea once in a while to relax and forget about the outside world for a couple of hours.

At the Russian Tea Room in NYC for Mom's 50th birthday

 

#3: I got to see my nephew today!

Love this little guy!

#4: I got my name change started!

I’ll have my new social security card and driver’s license in about 2 weeks. Then I’ve got to get started on changing my credit cards, insurance, etc, etc, etc.

#5: We FINALLY got our Christmas tree taken down.

I know, I know, the tree is supposed to make you happy. And it did. But now it’s time for Christmas to go back into its boxes until next year.

#6: Our bikes are done.

We took them to the bike shop to be “tuned” and they’re finally ready for us to pick up. We used to go for a ride every Sunday morning, but something happened to mine and the first gear wasn’t working, and let me tell you, hills are no fun without it!

A Sunday ride from about two years ago

#7: I’ve gotten my photography business started.

Okay, I haven’t actually shot it out into the world, but I’ve gotten my paperwork for my business license (I want to go by Stephanie Sutherlin, but it has to be a legal name before I start using it for business) and I have my website all ready to launch as soon as the business is ready. I also have business cards started and I’m working on pricing and policies, etc.  I’m beyond excited!

#8: I finally watched Something Borrowed!

Okay, so the movie wasn’t as good as the book. I wasn’t expecting it to be. But I went over to Jim’s step brother’s house and watched with his wife and daughter and ate a ton of crap I shouldn’t have eaten and drank just a tad too much wine and had an amazing time with a great friend. So I consider it a success.

 

#9: By the time I finish this post, it’ll be a reasonable time to go home.

I feel like poo, and all I want to do is curl up on my couch with some tea and a box of tissue and do some high quality resting. I may even trade the couch out of this equation for my bed. That’s how ick I feel right now.

 

#10: I checked everything off my to-do list today.

I made all the calls I’d been putting off. And I addressed all the difficult things at work that I’d put into a stack mentally labeled ” to do later.” And for that reason, I believe I have earned my early leaving.

If you need me, I’ll be the lump under my favorite fuzzy red blankey.