Archive | March, 2015

Five Friday Things

27 Mar

Things I Used To Hate But Now I Love

Sometimes, we convince ourselves we have ourselves all figured out. We like what we like, we don’t like what we don’t like, and that’s how it is. You can’t make me like mushrooms, and no, it isn’t because I haven’t had the right mushroom.

But there are exceptions. Maybe something you don’t like keeps popping up in your life and you think, “If I just keep trying this thing, I’ll stop hating it.” Over the last 5 or so years, I’ve been trying things I hate, just to see what would happen. It occurred to me in the bath today that there are actually several things that I used to hate, but now, I I’m into them. My theory worked!

1) Baths: I don’t like being in water. Bathing to me is like a get in-get out situation, I think mostly because I have to fix my hair and get ready all over again. And baths were always…not enjoyable. I felt like I was just sitting in a puddle of rapidly cooling water.

But people love baths. And in a bath, you get all these cool little accouterments, like bath bombs and melts and bubbles and beads and salts. I wanted to have that spa-like experience, and let me tell you, that’s tough to do in a 10 minute shower. So I broke down and bought some sweet bath bombs and other little goodies from Moon’s Harvest. The bath bombs are the size of softballs and turn your water into a magical fizzing pool of goodness. I can get down with a bath now, but now I’m obsessed with finding things to put in my bath, and I now require a huge soaking tub in my future dream house.

2) Broccoli and Cauliflower
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Growing up, we never had broccoli or cauliflower. Fresh or frozen, raw or steamed, it just never showed up on the table. I wasn’t use to the taste or texture, and I was just generally not a fan. I blame a lot of this on the boiled frozen or mushy, gloopy “cheese” covered versions I was given. It’s not appealing.

I didn’t like either of these veggies until probably two years ago, just because Brent likes them and I wanted to try new foods. I still am not a huge fan of them raw, but we probably have either of these guys at least once a week. I’ll make roasted broccoli with garlic and lemon with a sprinkling of parmesan, or a nice cauliflower puree or a “risotto” with cream and parmesan. Tonight I made a super tasty broccoli and cheddar soup with ham. I cannot get enough! The crazy cauliflower above is from our CSA last summer, and I hope I more this CSA season. I’m thinking this recipe is coming to our table soon…

3) Electropop

Maybe you don’t even know what electropop is. It sounds stupid. and I thought it was. It’s generally happy, upbeat music driven mostly by electronic instruments, like keyboards and synthesizers and drum tracks mixed on a computer program. It never seemed like “real” music to me, and the singing was sometimes a bit too saccharine sweet and just not serious enough. I used to make faces and request the song be changed.

Now, I kind of can’t get enough of it. I love strong female vocalists and imaginative instrumental tracks and hooks that are really hard to get out of your head. It’s an addiction. (Listen above)

4) WINE
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This picture is from my 21st birthday, drinking out of my personalized goblet from Jena, and in it was a super sweet, super fruity moscato that I just absolutely loved. It was the only wine I drank, and I definitely didn’t consider myself a wine drinker. Red wine was gross and made my tongue feel weird and it tasted like sour grapes.

I worked at a coffee shop/ wine bar, and I couldn’t give any customers any recommendations or help because I hadn’t had any of our selection. My only comment on my performance review was “Needs to drink more wine.” Well, if you insist…

So, I started going to the weekly wine tastings that were hosted at my work, just sipping and deciding whether I liked it or not. I started to discover that there actually were differences, and I had preferences. I started out loving Pinot Noirs, and slowly started to branch out. Now, you can pretty much give me any wine and I’ll find something I like about it. I love the flavors, I love the low-volume, low-sugar aspect of wine. It’s the perfect drink.

5) Exercise
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Okay, I know what you’re thinking…everyone hates exercising. It’s boring and sweaty and hard and gross. Yeah, it can be. I always thought so. Sometimes I still do. But when you sit inside staring at a screen all day, you start to get antsy.

If you’re like me, the antsy feeling turns to anxiety since you haven’t done any more than walk to the kitchen a few times. I joined a gym. I didn’t use it much for the first year, going in spurts but always finding excuses to skip working out. Then Julie made me go to yoga with her. Yoga…BORING. But then i thought “You’re already wearing yoga pants, Jenny…you might as well do some yoga in them.”

I found out that yoga is fun. Like, really fun, and challenging, and centering. (yeah, I said centering.) I also get to wear yoga pants with a purpose. The gym can be fun, too, because the gym has elliptical machines and cable (yay, tv I don’t have to feel guilty about watching!) And the gym gets me out of my house and out of my weird computer screen funk. Exercise also makes me feel strong and healthy, which is good on many levels.

So, I’ve flip flopped on some things in my short 25 years. Maybe I’ll start trying mushrooms more often. Or maybe not.

Is there anything you used to hate, but now you love?

Lunch Break!

24 Mar

I always envied people who would actually take their lunch break. They would go outside, take a walk around the block, eat their sandwich, maybe check Facebook, and go back to their desk. This seems nice and constructive and gives your brain a needed break.

I usually just eat mindlessly at my desk while reading random articles and scrolling through Facebook for the 4987th time. It’s not great. Nor is it really a break. My brain is mushy by lunch time, and even if I’m not focused on work, I’m still in “work mode.”

And then, quickly after my lunch is gone, maybe like an hour later, I do need a break. I need to like…get up and stretch, read a magazine, just anything to get away from my desk. So, I decided to actually start taking a lunch break.

So, I actually started making lunch. Brent always gets the leftovers for lunch (lucky) and if there are actually more left, I get the scraps. But a lot of the time, there are no scraps. I would eat frozen meals or weird soup from a plastic microwave bowl. You know the weird metal/plastic bowl that doesn’t seem allowed to go in the microwave? It was not very exciting or inspiring.

I’ve been trying to keep lettuce or spinach around, and some tortillas, so I can at least start from there. I made a pesto, spinach, and cheese quesadilla the other day that rocked my world. Thats really only 3 ingredients (4 if you count the butter i threw in the pan), and it was incredible. Why have I not been making lunch for myself this whole time?

Have you seen those crazy bento box lunches? I’m so into these. I want to get a bento box and fill it with amazing things and then take it somewhere. Look at those cute toothpicks and the organized little cups of food! Those interesting combinations and sections of food! Makes my sandwich/granola bar/fruit cup of the past pale in comparison (Don’t worry, mom, I still loved your lunches even though there weren’t any pizza lunchables or little debbie brownies…)When we were in Japan, there were whole aisles in the dollar store dedicated to bento boxes. Tiny cookie cutters to make flower shaped carrots, themed toothpicks and adorable little containers…So many accouterments. I could definitely get obsessed with packing school lunches.

Well, I think it’s obvious what I did on my lunch break. I wrote this and then looked at bento box lunches. Whoops. How do you make the most of your lunch break?

I’m Back! (Again. Hopefully for good)

17 Mar

I’m sure you never really noticed I left, but, here I am again.

I’m sort of… “re-branding” this thing. Instead of a food-focused type blog, which is what I was going for last time, I think I’m just going to talk at you. Just my musings and ramblings, with some food stuff, life stuff, etc., etc.

Since I work from home, I don’t get to do that office chatter that comes with a normal job. I like office chatter. I like telling someone about the random, funny, odd, and just even normal things that happen in my day-to-day life. So, that’s what this will be. Me, pretending you’re in my office with me. Except…I’m still by myself and you won’t answer.

Things I’m thinking about today:
1) It’s crazy warm here for mid-March. Like, 70 degrees. Of course, tomorrow it’s going to be barely 50. And then, it might snow later this week. But, regardless, I didn’t wear a coat today, and I broke out the white wine. That’s right, everyone, it is white wine season! It’s official; I’ve officially decided.

2)I listen to way too many podcasts, but like I said, I have no office chatter. Podcasts are cool. I like to just listen to people talk about stuff, and pretend I’m just an eavesdropper. I then tell Brent about what people said “on the podcast today.” Like, “today, on the podcast, so-and-so was talking about xyz, and I was like yes, I totally agree about xyz!” and he’s like wait…who? what? It’s probably annoying.

I found a super great one today, and it is like the holy grail of podcasts for me. I’ve been searching for a podcast that is sort of geared towards a topic I really like, but not so structured. I like when the podcast hosts go off on random tangents and just chat on like friends do. The Joy The Baker Podcast is it. Two food/lifestyle bloggers just basically talking. I love Joy’s blog, she’s a wonderful writer with a bright spirit and takes great pictures. She also has a fluffy orange cat and I have two fluffy orange cats. We could probably be friends.

Do you guys listen to any podcasts? Any recommendations? I’ll probably write a post in the future all about podcasts and that might be really boring.

3) My brother is coming into town this week. He’s in law school and I’m assuming he’s on spring break? That makes sense. But i’m excited to host him for a few days, and then we’ll take him to the airport and explore Milwaukee and drink beer probably and probably go into a bar and watch some basketball which I will pretend to watch but not watch. It will be fun!

Okay, that’s enough. Off to inflate the new air-bed for brother, watch some (more) Top Chef, and drink my long-anticipated, now appropriately seasonal white wine.