Monday, back at it

It’s already Monday again? My weekend was so full of fun activities that it feels like I haven’t been to work in a week!

Thursday night, I was incredibly happy to eat a very summery meal of a half of a BLT with fruit, veggies and a few chips. See that sweet corn? It was my last ear from a batch I received from Iowa. Possibly the best sweet corn of my life. So sweet and tender it made my heart sing.


Friday night we picked up our wedding invitations and envelopes. Eeek! It’s coming so soon. I’m so excited! Brian and I grabbed dinner at Native Foods. He had a curry bowl and I had the indo salad. Both were amazing. We loved our own choices and each other’s so much that we switched bowls half way through. Sharing is caring. After running some more errands, I got home and collapsed on the couch for the night.

Saturday I got up early, did laundry, worked out and watered the garden before heading to a bridal shower in the burbs.  I had a surprise strawberry waiting for me when I got there to water:


Brian and I had a nice breakfast together before I left for the day. I made him cinnamon streusel French toast with caramelized bananas for breakfast. I had eggs and toast.


I got to hang out with some fun Hawkeyes at Sarah’s beautiful shower:


The rest of the day was full of bachelorette fun.

Sunday morning I slept in and headed to water aerobics. Only one more weekend left of getting to be in an outdoor pool and get exercise. Booo! I wish I could have this weather and schedule all year round. The rest of Sunday was filled with making food for the week and folding and putting away laundry. As much as I hate laundry, I love starting out the week with a full and clean closet.

I made another round of macro bowls(spinach, kale, zucchini, quinoa, lentils, beans and sweet potato) for us to have for lunches this week:


Took a break to have a lunch of leftover pizza, salad, tomatoes and chips.




I felt like I haven’t made us a proper dinner in a few weeks. When I said this, Brian gave me a strange look like I was a crazy person. I just felt like I hadn’t put a lot of time or effort into a meal lately. Which is the direct result of it being summer and using a lot more fresh food that doesn’t need as much preparation. Anyway, I having a strong yearning to do a little more cooking and use our early wedding gift. Look at her. She’s a beauty. I named her Camille, because she’s French, you know. And she can make honey, almond, rosemary roasted carrots with the best of them.


I also made a simple and quick tomato sauce, which had tons of great flavor:


With some seasoned green beans, the meal came together kind of like this:


Brian gave the carrots two thumbs up. I really like the almond carrot combo. Delightful. It would probably be a recipe better reserved for cooler temperatures, but those are probably right around the corner. And the tomato sauce on the chicken really jazzed it up.


Garden update

I have steadily been getting a few things from my garden this year: kale, tomatoes, strawberries, radishes, spinach, onions and herbs. Just a few things here and a few things there, so far.

I am eagerly awaiting my first cucumber and bell pepper. And my lone head of cabbage that I’m growing. Perfect for making homemade sauerkraut.

I had a tomato ready in one of my potted plants in the back yard, so I ate that for dinner on a veggie burger.

It never ceases to amaze me how much more flavorful homegrown tomatoes are than store bought.

After dinner Brian and I biked up to the garden where I got oregano, more tomatoes, some of my second planting of radishes, an onion, kale and some sort of peppery lettuce that is growing in our community garden community plot.

My tomato plants are doing incredibly well this year, just loaded with tomatoes. My carrots and fennel are coming right along and my kale keeps giving me kale. My strawberry plant has been much more productive than I would have guessed it to be and will have a few more strawberries ready tomorrow.

All of this makes me incredibly happy. How are everyone else’s gardens doing?

Best shish kabob marinade

Summer had officially arrived, then another cold front with lots of rain moved in, just as I was really getting into grilling. With hopes of good weather, I decided that shish kabobs were in order!

This marinade is delicious. I think I might start using it for most of my vegetables on the grill and it adds great flavor to meat.


  • 1/2 vegetable oil(or oil of choice)
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Meat(optional)
  • vegetables for grilling

Mix everything but meat and vegetables in a bowl/container. Not the prettiest picture, but you can see what the marinade looks like:


Place meat, if using, in a container for marinating. Place vegetables in a separate container for marinating. I always marinate the meat and vegetables separately.

Pour half of the marinade over the meat(I used a thin cut sirloin). Half over the vegetables. For vegetables, I used portabella mushroom, onions, bell pepper, canned potatoes, tomato and zucchini. Mix/toss to coat well.

marinade2 marinade3

Let marinate for 4-24 hours. Stir/toss every few hours to make sure everything is soaking in the good flavors.  I like mine marinated closer to the 24 hour mark.

Shish kabob preparation station:


You can see that I added some pineapple into the mix. I would have marinated it with the vegetables, but didn’t pick it up from the store until right before I made the kebobs. If using bamboo skewers, make sure you soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before putting the meat and vegetables on them. Next, put the meat and veggies on skewers. Leave a little space between things to allow air to flow while cooking.


Unfortunately, it was raining, so I had to broil these in the oven instead of grilling. I was sad to have to do this, but they turned out almost as well. When grilling I usually do 5-7 minutes on once side, then flip to the other side for 5-7 minutes. When broiling I did about 10 minutes on one side, pulled them out of the oven and 10 on the other side. They don’t get the pretty grill marks, but the marinade is super flavorful. Here are the kabobs being pulled out to be turned.


Be careful not to burn yourself.

And the finished product:


YUM! And as always, make a few extra to pack for lunches later in the week:


V Day: Part 2

Uh. I was cranky and feeling like crap this afternoon after indulging at work today.
I came right home and did a killer workout then made us a healthy dinner of oven baked mahi mahi and green beans with baby portabellas.

Heart healthy for Valentine’s Day!

Eating crap and sweet treats at work today was a reminder that I need to reset myself and refocus. At the beginning of the year I said that I was going to give up sugar. I initially did really good. Then I was bad, then I was better and I’m back to being bad. I always regret it and feel crappy afterwards. Blah! When will I ever learn?

So, I decided today that I’m not having any sweets or treats until Easter. None. Hopefully by that time I will have lost the taste for sweets and will continue on without a problem. It’s time to get the most out of every workout. Why am I sabotaging my hard work?

Week highlights

It’s been a wacky week here at Spatoola. I woke up not feeling well on Monday and got worse as the day progressed. I ended up leaving work at noon and spent a solid 10 hours on the couch until I moved to my bed. Intermittently spooning chicken wonton soup in my mouth from a local noodle shop.

I woke up feeling slightly better on Tuesday and returned to work. Unfortunately I missed a group work night at the community garden. With the heat, rain and illness I didn’t make it up to my garden until last night.

In the past week, my zucchini plant has tripled in size. It now takes up the back third of my plot and has suffocated my pea plants. It is well out of the boundaries of my plot and is starting to climb the fence of the tennis court!


My mystery plant that I bought unmarked on clearance has revealed itself to be a jalapeño pepper plant.


And my multicolored pepper plant has some good starts. I wonder which color this one will turn?


After work tonight I headed to the local farmers market. I had myself a very farmers market dinner. I love fresh, local food. So much more flavorful than produce at the grocery store. Oh, and some ripe tomatoes from my garden.


And in other exciting news…Whole Foods now has $3 wine! Feeling the pressure from Trader Joe’s?


Now onto one more day of work and a very exciting weekend. It’s the Big Ten 5k/10k which my parents are coming in town for. We will be representing in our Iowa dry fit shirts. On Iowa, Go Hawks!

Pots and plants

In the beginning of March we had a week of amazingly warm and sunny weather. The beautiful weather had me itching to get my potted garden going. Instead of just buying plants and potting them this year, I decided to start my own plants from seed. Look at the beauties in April:

In April I applied to be part of a community garden in hopes of getting a plot to plant all my fruits and vegetables. I found out that there were a lot more applicants than last year and I was 2nd on the waiting list. I haven’t heard anything since and the lady with park district isn’t returning my emails of inquiry. A very frustrating situation.

So, the plants that I started so long ago are outgrowing their containers and even some are starting to die. I decided yesterday that I need to bite the bullet and plant what I really want in pots in the back yard again and hope for the best. Last years plants did not produce much, so I am not holding my breath for this year to be any better.



Cherry tomato:

Brussels sprouts:

Heirloom tomato:

And some peas(with velcro tape):

And a peapod!

I did get the most awesome product this year though. It is a roll of velcro that helps stake plants up. Highly recommended.

Here’s hoping I have a bountiful harvest. And if not, I enjoy taking care of my plants.