Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

With N being in school and me working for a school we still get the luxury of Spring Break! It officially started for us this weekend and we spent our time enjoying the warmer spring weather, the company of good friends, and celebrating the Irish with some good beer.

Here is our weekend wrap-up:
1. Went to Rendezvous twice for coffee with friends.
2. Did a Hiit circuit workout.  Six pack I'm coming for you!
3. Watched this movie. Sooo good!
4. Made this stew. Yum!
5. Celebrated St. Patty's day with Guinness and dancing with my favorite guy.


Irish Stout Stew... even better the next day! [It is also really hard to take an attractive photo'll just have to trust me on this one - it's REALLY good.]

In honor of my husband's Irish heritage...yes he is actually more Irish than Mexican if you can believe it...and of St. Patty's day, I make this delicious stew. This is the first stew of our married life and based on the reviews of a man who loves stews and pot pies it turned out pretty darn good.

It's a pretty basic recipe, and though we rarely eat red meat in this house, the beef stew meat was pretty tasty after simmering in beer and garlic for a couple hours.

I found the recipe here and adjusted it a little...I didn't add the mushrooms because neither of us have come to like them despite being told "When you grow up you will love them."[I guess we're not grown up yet because we are not fans.] I also only used 1 lb of meat and used unsalted vegetable stock to make it a little healthier and control the saltiness.  The rest of the adjustments you can see below...

Irish Stout Stew
adapted from Edible Ireland's recipe

1lb of cubed stewing beef
4 carrots cut thickly
1 med onion cut thickly
2 med potatoes cubed
2 tsp of chopped garlic
2 Tbl tomato paste
1 Tbl soy sauce (or Bragg's Aminos)
1 Tbl thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 bottles of Stout beer (or Guinness)
3 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Pat the meat dry and sprinkle a little flour on it before browning it in a large pot with olive oil. Once browned remove the meat and add the vegetables with a little salt. Let these cook until the onions begin to look soft. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, and thyme with a good amount of pepper and stir to coat the vegetables well. Let these cook for about 2 more minutes and then use a bit of the beer to deglaze the pan. Add the meat back in, 1 bottle of beer (save the other half bottle for the end), the stock and the bay leaves. Bring this to a low boil covered and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it simmer for 2 hours uncovered. As it is simmering, stir it occasionally and add a little water or more stock if it starts to look dry. You will know it is done when the meat pulls apart easily and it is thick. At the very end add the last 1/2 bottle of beer, let it get hot, and then serve.

What did you do for St. Patty's day?


Thursday, March 14, 2013

It's a Good Day for Pi[e]

Happy Pi Day!!! It's the best excuse to make a's the one day of the year that the date matches up with the standard rounding of Pi - 3.14 [wait, next year all of March can be abbreviated to 3/14 so does that mean it's Pi month?!?! 31 days of PIE! What?!?!? Oh it's happening.]

So in honor of Pi[e] day and my mother who is the Princess of Pie (my grandmother is the Queen) here is a blueberry pie recipe for you:
(I wish I had a picture for you but it got lost...I will take one and load it soon. For now use your imagination... A glossy delicious chilled blueberry pie with fresh whipped cream....)

Blueberry Pie
makes 1 9"pie

9" baked pie shell (use your favorite recipe...I have one but that's for a different time)

5 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbls cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cranberry/cran-apple/cran-raspberry juice [you can use water too]
1 Tbls butter
1 Tbls lemon juice

In a microwave-safe bowl or a sauce pan mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and juice. Add 2 cups of blueberries and stir well.  Microwave or cook 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and glossy.

Once removed from heat stir in the butter and lemon juice.

Spread the other 3 cups of blueberries in the pie shell. Pour the hot blueberry mixture over them evenly.

Let the pie chill until firm before serving with LOTS of whipped cream.

Cheers. [and Happy Pi(e) Day!]

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekend [wrap-up]

Welp...winter's back...

...and I'm not sure how I feel about it. It was beginning to be spring last week - in the upper 50's and such- now two days of heavy snow. Oh well. It's supposed to be back in the 50's tomorrow so there is hope of spring yet!

Here's the weekend wrap-up:

1. Was sooo very thankful for our tire cables (though I still don't know how to put them on by myself...that's what husbands are for).

2. Dreaming of here and doing this.

3. Took naps.

4. Kicked my own butt doing this .

5. Made these muffins.

6. Had a date night with the hubby and saw this movie.

7. Dyed N's hair blue (pictures to come).


Whole Wheat Apple Flax Muffins [recipe]

Made these for breakfast... should too. They're DELICIOUS [and healthy]!

Whole Wheat Apple Flax Muffins
(These are based loosely on a Flax muffin recipe I have that I add to and change all the time. They are Vegan too!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup White Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
Then add:

3 Tbl Water
3 Tbl Oil
1/2 cup Almond Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Fold in:

1 Chopped Apple

Put in greased muffin tin. Sprinkle oats on top if desired. Then bake for 10 minutes. 
Makes a dozen muffins. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

interesting thoughts

Did you know today is International Women's Day?!? 

I had never heard of it until I spent time over in Eastern Europe a couple of years ago. It's just beginning to be recognized in the U.S. (thanks Google for the shout out this year), but in other places around the world it's like mother's day but for ALL women . Women get flowers and cards and are recognized for all the amazing work they do socially, politically, and individually. It's a pretty neat holiday.

This is a picture of my first Women's Day experience... I was in Russia where Women's Day is a big deal and all of us ladies got flowers and compliments. 

Though the flowers and compliments are great, the cool thing about Women's Day is the awareness platform it provides. Whether that be awareness of how woman are being oppressed or awareness of how women are positively influencing our world, it's a awesome opportunity. 

As I have mentioned before in my post on The Good Woman Project, empowering women is a topic very near to my heart and a passion of mine... so when I came across this article on a friend's facebook page and thought I would share it today. It's an article from Relevant magazine and to read it click -->> here

Cheers [and happy International Women's Day!].

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up

Here is the Haystack 2.0 weekend wrap-up...

I got to hang out with my little buddy and play legos and wrestle with him. He is our godson and my best friend's oldest. I also got to meet her new little princess (and our new goddaughter). And best of all I got to spend most of the day with my BESTEST friend Brittany! We got to go for a run together and catch up on life. It was so refreshing to spend time with her. I wish we lived on the same coast.... someday we will. 

Then N and I went down to Sedona for a Sunday adventure...he explored some crazy mt. bike trails and I hiked/ran. We stopped for Dairy Queen on our way home to some delicious fish tacos.

Cheers to neon shoes and red dirt.

RAGNAR [a.k.a. crazy race]

Two weeks ago I was in the midst of what felt like death in the form of a nasty virus called "The Crud" (at least that's what my doctor called it)... not the official FLU but it might as well be it's evil twin... Think fever for 4 days, achy everything, then when that goes away a stuffy nose that turns into a cough that lasts for 10 days...

I'm so glad I have a job that lets me take sick days and that we had a snowday and a short week that week BUT I was even more happy that I was feeling better by the end of the week (despite the cough) because I had RAGNAR (a.k.a. A crazy race).
 These pictures pretty much sum up the event.... its a 202 mile relay race all over Arizona with 12 people per team and everyone runs 3 times. It took us 31 hours total. With that much time in vans and very little sleep we all get a little crazy. Tutus are the look of choice and everyone's vans are decorated with funny sayings.

This one was a favorite...

 We had hula hoops for cheering and you have no idea how encouraging it was at mile 5 to see everyone "hoopin'" and hollering for you...even if it's not your team. This is most of our team (1 is running when it was taken)

Getting ready for my first 6.7 miler...thank God for the inhaler someone had in the car [remember 10 day cough?]. I was surprised at how well I rocked it. I guess training at 7,000 feet has it's advantages.

So happy to see these signs every time...

Me and my rock-star Mother-in-love who got me into this crazy thing! She's amazing!

ALL FINISHED!!! It was sooo much fun with the right amount of crazy.... next one is Las Vegas in November as an Ultra team [6 people and you run double!!!] Watch out I'm gettin my Duces Wild medal! I'm also planning on a SoCal birthday run next year with some girlfriends. 

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