June 26, 2012


This past weekend I traveled to Pennsylvania to meet up with my mother and visit my grandparents.  We also attended a (very) large family reunion, did some shopping, yard saleing and ate at possibly the best ice cream shop ever!  
Here are some pictures from the weekend.
The day after the verdict.  My grandparents live about a half an hour from Bellefont and the entire area around where they live is practically Penn State country so the verdict was a big deal.
Apparently everyone in my family has a thing for chickens - of any kind.
The name of the 'farm' where my grandmother grew up.
The farm has been in my grandmother's family for years - no one lives there now and in fact it is quite creepy/interesting inside - dirty floor basement, old appliances and ghost stories!
I would say that there were about 130 people at this reunion and I knew about 8 - I'm not necessarily related to all of them, more a relation via multiple marriages - but nonetheless it was interesting to see so many people.
And my mother found a puppy - my father and sister begged her to bring it home.
 Yesterday I had jury duty and it was really a lot of fun!  I wish I would have been picked because it would have been a pretty interesting case.  Maybe next time.

Happy week!

June 22, 2012

A Somewhat Vegan Dinner

I have been trying very hard to get back on track with eating healthy so last night I decided to make a somewhat vegan dinner that actually turned out really well!  I say 'somewhat vegan' because I ended up using chicken stock instead of vegetable stock.  

Couscous & Garbanzo Bean Stew 
1 cup couscous
1 can garbanzo beans
1 carton chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 onion
3 - 4 cloves of garlic
1 large sweet potato or yam
 Olive Oil

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pan - chop the onion and garlic - add to the pan and cook until translucent - once cooked add the sweet potatoes/yams and allow to cook for a few minutes - add the stock, couscous and beans - bring to boil - reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about 25 minutes.   

Sauteing the onion, garlic and yams
A somewhat vegan dinner!
 The dish was super simple, healthy and pretty tasty!
Soon I will be off to Pennsylvania - hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

June 20, 2012

Southwest Chopped Chicken Salad

I have been on a salad kick lately - experimenting with different salad concoctions and various dressings and last night's salad was definitely a winner!  I found the recipe on Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour (love her blog - so many good recipes) and once I saw it I knew I had to give it a try.  The salad was super easy to make and the salad dressing was hands down delicious! 

Southwest Chopped Chicken Salad
Chicken (about 1 LB)
1 can black beans
1 can chick peas
1 can of corn
Green peppers
2 avocados 
Doritos (taco flavored) or tortilla chips - depending on your preference

Salad Dressing
2/3 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 mayonnaise
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning (packet used to make ranch dressing)

Make the salad dressing first and set aside to let the flavors really combine.  Grill the chicken (I used my George Foreman grill) and set aside to cool.  Chop and combine all the veggies.  Drain the beans and corn and add to the salad.  Rip the chicken into shreds and mix into the salad.  You can either mix the dressing into the entire salad but I chose to leave it on the side as some may like more (or less) dressing than others.  Once the salad has been served crush some of the Doritos or tortilla chips and place on top of the salad.  Serve and enjoy!  The salad dressing is amazing - the combination of the taco and ranch seasonings really give it a kick; first all you taste is ranch but then BAM! the taco seasoning comes in on the back end.

Southwest chopped chicken salad!
Taco/Ranch (a.k.a. - completely awesome) salad dressing!

June 16, 2012

A Few Snapshots of Downtown Albany

Friday night after some absolutely delicious Mexican food from El Mariachis in downtown Albany I took a walk to the Empire State Plaza.  It was such a pretty night and I was able to get a few good pictures of the plaza!

Steps of the state library with a church in the background.
The New York State Cultural Education Center which houses the NYS library.
New York state capital and reflecting pool with 'The Egg' to the right.
Oh hey - I found a cool sculpture!
It sort of looks like an eyeball.
Yay random yellow sculpture!
Definitely a fun night and a fun weekend taking advantage of downtown Albany and some really nice weather!

June 14, 2012


It's pretty much official now that at least legally I am a New Yorker; NY address, NY license, registered to vote in NY and as of yesterday the final thing ... NY licenses plate.  Ugh!  I was very reluctant to give up my Virginia plates as it seemed to be the last semblance of "hey I'm not from here!", but alas it had to happen.  

The process of registering the car at the DMV was not all that painful, but there was a lot of paperwork and can we say expensive!  So yesterday after work I reluctantly got out the wrench and switched my plates ... it was a sad day.  
'R.I.P. Virginia License Plates'

Here's what my NY plates now look like (obviously not mine).

June 11, 2012

My Weekend ...

Consisted of ...
The Delmar Farmer's Market - can you say holy empanada and delicious yuca!
Some new workout DVDs that kicked my butt!
And a little sci-fi action thriller!  (For someone who is not normally big into the sci-fi/alien movie genre Prometheus was actually really entertaining!  (Friday night I watched 'Alien' to better understand the direction of the movie.)  The end definitely opened the door for a sequel - overall not a bad way to spend 2+ hours on a Sunday night.)
Happy Monday!  This week is shaping up to be a busy one!

June 8, 2012

Cornbread & Salad

Last night's menu - grilled chicken salad with a creamy dijon mustard dressing and homemade cornbread made in a cast iron skillet!  Previously I blogged about attempting to make cornbread in the cast iron skillet and it turned out seriously less than desirable - that is mainly because my father makes AWESOME cornbread and always has, so anything less than cornbread that tastes as good as his simply will not do.  Well I discovered the secret to amazing homemade cornbread ...

 'House Autry Yellow Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix'!  Now I have only ever been able to find this below the Mason-Dixon line (note the package says 'The Choice of Southern Cooks') so last time I was in Virginia I stocked up!  And even better the recipe is super simple!

Homemade Cornbread in a Cast Iron Skillet
1 cup 'House Autry' corn meal
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk 
(That's it y'all!)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees - coat the skillet with some oil and place in the oven (sans cornbread mix) - after the skillet is well heated remove from the over (use an oven mitt!) - pour the mixture into the skillet (by pouring the mixture into the skillet it gives the bread a crispy and delicious crust) - bake the bread for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

 Now, since (unfortunately) you cannot eat just cornbread for dinner I also made a grilled chicken salad - grill strips of chicken on a George Foreman grill and place it over salad, but I wanted to make a fun dressing so I found an awesome recipe a creamy dijon mustard sauce/dressing - which is also super simple!

Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce/Dressing
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon tarragon

Heat the chicken broth - whisk in the cream - add the mustard and tarragon - bring to boil and then allow to simmer on low.  
(I ended up adding a little bit of flour to thicken the sauce since I planned on using it as a dressing.)  
This could easily be used as a dressing or sauce topping over rice, pasta or chicken!
Today I am "off" of work!  However it will be filled with laundry, appointments, DMV and possibly cleaning my old apartment - one day I will take a day off to do something fun!

June 6, 2012

Things that are super cool!

Here are a few things in my life that I think are super cool at the moment - aside from myself and my awesome new apartment!

Working from home!  Man it is nice to get away from the craziness of the office and work in my quite home office.  And when I work from home that means I get to make yummy and healthy lunches such as a peanut butter and banana sandwich with sliced apples!

Key tags!  My yoga studio has moved from signing in for class in a large binder to super cool electronic key tags!  Yoga also completely kicked my butt tonight too - was literally dripping sweat by the end.

Salmon is also super cool - especially when you can bake it with lemons!

And finally having cable and internet again is super cool!  I do believe I was experiencing Real Housewives withdraw, now I am taking tonight to relax and catch up!

June 3, 2012

Running & Moving

Wow this weekend has been busy, but also very exciting!  I am officially moved into my new apartment and I ran Freihofer's Run for Women with a 4+ minute PR!  Friday I attended the Health & Fitness Expo that is sponsored by Freihofer's (Freihofer's is a big baking company in the Northeast - mainly known for their breads and cookies - which are way too delicious).  It was a lot of fun to walk around, get free stuff and I picked up my bib number and free box of cookies.   

Bib number & cookies!
I woke up Saturday (race day) to RAIN!  Luckily it only drizzled prior to the race and more or less stopped during - it was just wet - which luckily kept the temperature down but the humidity up.  There were approximately 4,000 women that ran the race, including a ton of Olympians!  I ended up running the 5K in 33:53 which was a 4 minute and 25 second PR from last year.  Still not great (I have off my working out game these past two months) but I was still happy with it!  (More pictures of the race to come later!)

After the race I went to pick up the UHaul cargo van for the second part of the day - MOVING!  I had pretty much moved everything into my new apartment except for the 'big stuff'; but with some amazing help we were able to move all the big things (chair and a half, bed, dresser, etc ...), pick up a second chair and a half and deliver a couch all in 4 trips!  The move took the majority of the afternoon and of course it rained and/or misted the entire time but I am so happy to have everything moved!  Once everything was into my new apartment I spent a couple of hours setting up and putting stuff away - I still have a lot to do but here are some pictures so far!

Living room with the two half and a halves.  The couch would not fit up the steps so I decided to keep the chair and a half and purchase a second one.
Kitchen!  Not as much counter space as the old place but the appliances are MUCH nicer.
Kitchen with the table and cute window.
IKEA desk for my home office - in near perfect condition, bought used for $50 off of Craigslist - what a deal!
And happy 100,000 miles to my car!  I missed the actual rollover but this is pretty close.

I am going to continue to unpack/put away and then later I plan on seeing Snow White and the Huntsman!  Happy Sunday!