Saturday, December 14, 2013

Signs that our blood has thinned....

As the Christmas holiday & winter season approaches, it brings back memories of Christmases past. And as I look back, it dawns on me how "weak" we've become.

1) About 7 years ago, I remember going for a run with my friend Marissa one night in December. It was -15 degrees out. We bundled up, and went running without question regarding the weather.
  • Last weekend I went for a run in 31 degrees (granted, it was an 2 1/2 hr 18 mile run)....but it wiped me out so cold that my entire afternoon was spent wrapped up in blankets with a fever!

2) Growing up, it was a yearly tradition to assist my Mom and Dad in hanging the Christmas lights. (one of my favorite traditions, in fact) We'd bundle up in snowmobile suits, warm hats and gloves, hefty water-proof boots...and hang lights all day sometimes in sub-zero temps!
  • Last weekend, Ryan & I opted to wait a few days to hang the lights. It was just too cold. It was 50 degrees F out. The next day, Ryan had taken a PTO day from work to get some stuff done around the house before he leaves for his next school. I came home to find him on the roof bundled up in multiple layers, hats, and gloves. It was 55 degrees out.
  • I used to don shorts and tshirts when the temps hit the 50's back when we lived in up ND!
3) Looking back at photos of Christmases past over the past 5 years that we've been in AZ, it is funny watching the trend. Our first Christmas, we were in shorts and tshirts year round. I didn't even own a winter coat any more. Now? I sport my light winter coat, sweaters, jeans, boots, and sometimes I even wear gloves at night! It does get to the 40's, you know. ;)

It's really amazing how your body adjusts over the years, as you acclimate to a new climate! I have to say I really do love our desert climate. I love that I got to clean my oven in December with all the windows open. Oh, and I planted a new basil plant in my herb garden yesterday too. But it does make it a tricky to get into the Christmas spirit. It takes more energy and hype to really "feel the season" when you're listening to Christmas music in the backyard and grilling steaks.....

But I'm okay with it!

Monday, December 9, 2013

What I've been cooking lately.....

I haven't done any recipe posts lately. Well, I haven't done much posting lately...period. I thought I'd share a few of the things that have been created in our kitchen lately! I've definitely been changing things up lately.

#1 Whole Chickens.....
I am temporarily boycotting buying chicken breasts! $2.99/lb is assinine for chicken, in my opinion. Especially since Ryan and I eat so much chicken. (Probably 4 nights a week). One Saturday night to impress Ryan, I roasted a chicken...and realized it's not that intimidating! Now we buy whole chickens, butcher them up during the weekend, wrap them in plastic bags, and cook them. Does it take more work? Yes. But $0.99/lb compared to $2.99/lb? Makes a difference. I'll take a little dark meat for that price comparison!

#2 I've been NUTs for butterNUT Squash!
  • I've been making tons of butternut squash soup. So hearty and good for you! Apples, onions, squash, cider, and broth all pureed together is quite the medley! Leftovers are great for lunch!
  • Also have made a butternut squash salad (squash, arugula, cranberries, walnuts, & a simple vinagerette)
  • One night I even tried butternut squash baked fries! So yummy! Great comfort food! But challenging to cut!
#3 Tons of baking!
  • I absolutely adore this time of year, as I love baking! However, not much stays in my household...or else I'd be rolling 18 miles instead of running 18 miles for my training (imagine Veruca Salt...giant blueberry....Willy Wonka...You get the picture!) So most of my baked goods get sent with Ryan to work!
  • I recently made these Reese PB Cup cookies, that you made in mini muffin tins. They are the most adorable cookies ever! Also have made ginger snaps, lots of pumpkin bread, and kiss cookies (aka peanut butter blossoms).
#4 What's next in my kitchen?
  • This week I plan on starting to take creative spins on grilled cheese sandwiches. My 1st will be a caprese sandwich (mozzarella, fresh basil, tomatoes) - I think I'll spread a little hummus on it too. Pesto would be better...but I don't have any on hand!
What have you been cooking lately?