No More Butterflies

One thing I realized when I was flying home this last trip was that I no longer got butterflies in my stomach.  I got butterflies every time I was coming home to see Tony.  It didn’t matter if I had been at work all day or away on a trip without him for several days.  This time I was just. . . coming home.  I can’t believe that on Sunday Tony will have been gone nine months already.  It seems so long ago and like yesterday, all at the same time.

I am leaving town again!  This time just for the weekend.  My cousin on my Dad’s side of the family has a son who is having a graduation party.  Her Dad, my Uncle, died when I was a freshman in high school, and my Dad died 18 years ago and somehow with those brothers gone, we never really kept in touch all that much, other than by Christmas cards.  I am really excited to see all my cousins and my Aunt.  We will be driving to Michigan for the weekend – a quick turn around too because it’s a 7 hour drive!  Pretty sure Hannah will be doing most of the driving – that girl loves to drive.

Yesterday’s breakfast was what I call an inside out omelet.  I scrambled egg whites and baby spinach and tucked it into a slice of honey ham, then sprinkled with Cabot cheese extra light sharp cheddar and stuck it under the broiler.  So delish!

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Usually around 11:30 I’ll check not only my blood sugar, but also how many steps I have so far for the day.  My blood sugar was 232 – perfect for walking.  I reached down to look at my Fit Bit.  It was gone.  I looked all around my desk and office.  I thought maybe it fell out at home, or in my driveway?  I was so bummed because that’s the last gift Tony ever gave me.  The plastic that holds it in is torn and I need to replace it – but the cheap me is like $15 for a replacement?  I guess it’s better to fork over that than to pay $50 for a new one.  So I went to my car to get my walking shoes, and there it was – right outside my car door!  So it didn’t capture my steps for a few hours, so it was probably closer to 13k.  It was really warm yesterday – maybe 86 when I walked, but I got my 3 miles in.

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Earlier in the morning my brother Charlie sent me a funny text – I love him.

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So lunch was a bit of a mystery!  I threw a bag of frozen soup in my bag and a can of green beans.  When I lost 70 pounds back in 1999, I added a can of green beans to almost every meal – a whole can is like 70 calories and it bulks up your meal and keeps you fuller longer.  I ended up adding 1/2 a can of green beans to my soup – which my guess was tortilla soup.

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I will be so sad when cherry season is over because I won’t have my grilled cherry salsa anymore.  But I have a BIG giveaway tomorrow, so you’ll have to come back tomorrow and check it out.

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Since there was salsa, it was only fair to make taquitos for dinner.  I did ground beef and cheese.

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So here is the continuing saga of my contractor.  First off, I had another contractor come in, and Jacob and I both felt that he completely understood the project.  And he basically said everything the first contractor did was wrong.  Not the right wood, not the right insulation, the supports he built weren’t correct because they didn’t properly distribute the weight, etc.  I have another contractor who is a preferred contractor with Home Depot coming today and we’ll make a decision between the two this weekend.

Meanwhile the first contractor was supposed to come last night with his receipts.  And he was a no show.  But he doesn’t understand what I am capable of doing.  This is just a sampling of texts I plan on sending him in the coming days.  He has a four year old daughter so I’ll text him “is this the example you want to set for your daughter of being a cheat?”  Oh, and then there is social media.  If he still doesn’t respond after a week, I am putting his business card on Facebook every day telling everyone in McHenry county to stay as far away from him as possible.  My being nice is so over and you have to look out when I get mad.

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Game on!

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So I know I don’t normally post on Saturday’s but you’ll want to check it out – BIG giveaway!  Here’s a hint!   Follow me on Instagram over the weekend – My Bizzy Kitchen – have a great weekend!

International Can-It-Forward Day! Giveaway!

Depending on your age, I think almost everyone in the 40s, 50s and 60s grew up with someone in their family canning.  For me, it was my Grandma and my Mom.  My first experience with canning was when we would pick my grandmas almost black purple grapes into a big basket and would carry them into the kitchen of my Grandma’s house.  There she would dump all the grapes into her sink and sift through them all, pick all the stems off before putting them on the stove to cook down.  The sweet smell of grape jelly being cooked will always take me right back to my Grandma’s kitchen.  After the grapes cooled down, she would let us stick our hand in the pot and squeeze all the grapes out of their skins until our skin turned purple up to our elbows.  Then the mash was hung over a pot in cheese cloth for what seemed like days, but I don’t actually remember.  THEN it was finally time to make the jelly!

My Mom canned lots of veggies growing up.  Mind you, I was a picky eater as a kid.  The only vegetables I liked were cucumbers and carrots because those weren’t cooked.  I distinctly remember I was in high school when my Mom was sick with a cold right when the tomatoes needed to be canned.  You had to blanch them in boiling water, then peel off the skin before slicing the tomatoes.  I had an aversion to tomato seeds back then!  I remember yelling to my Mom “you know I love you because I am doing this for you!”  Well, that, and I am her favorite child.

Now that I’ve opened my eyes to all the goodness of fresh vegetables the color of the rainbow, I love canning.  Especially my salsa.  There is nothing like opening a can of salsa in the middle of January in Chicago and have the taste of summer on your lips while there is six inches of snow on the ground.

So I was thrilled when Jarden Home Brands asked me to join them in celebrating their 5th Annual Can-It-Forward Day to share the joys of home canning.  Not only is it economical, but I actually really enjoy the process.  With everything moving so fast these days, it’s nice to take a step back and spend time doing something healthy and nutrition for your family.  But because we do live a fast paced life, you will love their new canning system!

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Not only can you can up to 8 pint jars at a time, but this is also a multi-cooker.  You can make everything from soups and stews, to using it to boil water for pasta.  And it’s huge!  If you go to pot lucks or have big family gatherings, you could fit a ton of chili in that pot.

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The top right picture is a steamer rack that sits about half way through the pot – I can imagine us cranking out a ton of potstickers in that pot.  Another awesome feature is the spigot on the side of the canner.  No longer do you have to try to dump what seems like ten gallons of water from your canning pot, simply put this pot on the side of your sink and drain the water away.

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One of the first things I knew I was going to can is my grilled cherry salsa.  I have Tony to thank for that idea, and still need to try grilled pineapple salsa, grilled peach salsa, etc.  I love the sweet/heat combo of this salsa!

Grilled Cherry Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes, divided
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cup cherries (I used Rainier cherries since they are in season, but regular cherries work well too)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • juice of two limes
  • zest from two limes
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

I did this on my gas grill.  Just char three tomatoes, the garlic, jalapeno and cherries – it took me about 15 minutes at a temperature around 350.  Let the cherries cool, then pit the cherries and add all the ingredients to a food processer and puree.

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The wonderful people from Jarden Home Brand are going to share the love with my reader – one lucky reader will win this!

    1. FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner + Multi-CookerIn 2015, Jarden Home Brands launched the third appliance in its FreshTECH family. The new FreshTECH Electric Water Bath Canner + Multi-Cooker is a plug-in, countertop appliance that eliminates the need for stove top heating.  This removes the concerns of ceramic-glass stove top owners and makes it more convenient to handle than traditional water bath canning pots.  The appliance enables users to multi-task during the canning process, eliminating the need to monitor boiling water or move the pot to fill and drain. (Retail value: $149.99)

 

  • Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving: The new 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is the most trusted resource in home canning for over 100 years and this new 2015 release is its largest update since the first edition in 1909.  Expanding 56% from the previous edition, the 37th edition of the Ball Blue Book includes 75 new recipes, pictorial step by step

 

 

 

All you need to do is leave a comment with a canning memory you might have had, or if you won the canner + multi-cooker what would be one of the first things you’d make in it.

I would also think that this would work if you were camping where there was electricity – what are your thoughts on that Marcia?   I also know that this will come in handy during holidays, where you just need one more burner – it’s like having your own separate stove top on your counter!

Check out this video below – you will discover:

DETAILS:

  • Tune in to the live webcast of canning demonstrations from 11:00am – 4:00pm EST, featuring an integrated chat function to submit your home canning questions to be answered in real time. New this year, there will also be an exciting celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the webcast!
  • Share what Made From Here means to you by hosting a home canning party on Saturday, August 1!
  • Share your home canning creations, tips and tricks via social media with the hashtag #canitforward.

http://www.freshpreserving.com/community/events/can-it-forward

Running Club and . . . Salsa!

So after doing a tiny bit of research, turns out EOS brand lip balm has no SPF except for the yellow/lemon version.  So while I kept reapplying EOS to my lips all day Saturday, it did nothing to protect my lips.

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That is a comparison from Tuesday to yesterday.  This morning I have two more scabs on my upper lip, but I’ll spare you the details of that!  The swelling has gone down, so that’s good.  Hopefully in a couple days the scabs will heal and fall off.  Just don’t want anyone to go through this – it’s painful!

I love when leftovers from dinner can turn into a wonderful breakfast.  It was almost like I was eating at a diner on a Sunday morning.  3 ounces of beef, egg white scramble with Cabot cheese, baby new potatoes and cherries.  This was so filling!

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I opted out of my walk at lunch since I was going to my first session of my running club.  I ran some errands, put gas in my car, etc.  Lunch was pretty ballers too.  I love stretching out beef with refried beans in these tacos.  Just 3 ounces of beef mixed with 1/2 a cup of fat free refried beans, then I topped them with chopped red cabbage, baby spinach, shredded extra light Cabot cheese and these tri-colored organic carrots shreds that I bought at Mariano’s.  Such a colorful plate of food!  On the side I had mango, which I totally butchered while trying to cut it up – and more cherries.  I’ll be so sad when cherry season is over.

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So I was prepared with sunscreen stuff before my run!

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And I had spf 50 for my arms, neck and legs.

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So my co-worker and I decided to join this running club – it meets once a week and whatever we do that week we have to repeat it twice before the following week.  So I think my schedule will be Wednesday – group run, then Friday and Sunday complete my other two walk/runs.  Yesterday was only 30 minutes long – walk 5 minutes, then run 1 minute.  The “leaders” had whistles to let us know when to start or stop.  My friend as a Couch to 5k app that she’s going to tell me about today that has a similar feature, when I find out what it is, I’ll let you know.

So I get there at 6:20 and it starts at 6:30.  I text my friend and say “hey, let me know when you get here.”  I wait until 6:25 – no response.  Then finally at 6:29 I just said “go inside by yourself!”  Not going to lie I thought she got tied up at work and I contemplated leaving!  Turns out she was already in the store and left her cell phone in her car.

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What I liked about it is that there were all sorts of people – high school kids, fit runners and every level in between.  See the woman in the red shirt on the right hand side?  She walked with me and my friend for a while.  I was wearing my Spartan shirt and she asked what that was about.  I told her that I had gotten a free admission so I felt I had to do it, and my friend told her that I had a successful food blog.  She said “I love food blogs!”  I said, why don’t you check mine out and told her it was My Bizzy Kitchen – to which she said “I follow your blog and Pinterest page!”  Small world!  I will miss next weeks group run because I’ll be in Denver, but other than that, I don’t think there is any conflicts.  I believe our 5k is around September 27 at which time I hopefully will be able to run a 5k again without stopping.

So by the time I got home it was almost 7:45 and I was hungry!  We decided to make a vegetarian lo mein.  Guys, this could not be simpler:

  • 2 cups of any chopped veggies – we used mushrooms, baby bok choy, the tri-colored carrot shreds and peapods.
  • Cooked lo mein – my store sells lo mein in the Chinese section and it had three pre-wrapped bunches – best part is that it only takes 4 minutes to cook
  • 2 tablespoons good Teriyaki sauce – we used Kikkomen

Saute veggies in a bit of olive oil and cook just until the bok choy starts to wilt and the mushrooms start to brown – about 3-4 minutes.  Once the lo mein is cooked, I simply used tongs to drop the cooked pasta into the pan with the veggies.  Then added the teriyaki sauce and topped with chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts. 

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So simple, light and tasty!  At first Jacob was like “where’s the meat?” but he had two servings and didn’t miss not having meat at all.  I did pretty good on my steps yesterday!  I had time to kill after work before the running club started, so I went to the gym and walked 2.5 miles and stretched for about 10 minutes.

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I love it when blog readers send me stuff that remind them of me – it can be hot sauce on a shelf, or a goodwill find.  Yesterday blog reader Kris who I met in Milwaukee when I had my Spartan race sent me this text message – she said there was a heart in her watermelon and it made her think of Tony!  So sweet Open-mouthed smile

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More vacation stuff!  My Aunt Cele is the matriarch of our family at age 85.  She is a very proper Southern lady from Hilton Head and you will most likely never see her without lipstick.  A couple times at the family reunion she would whisper to me “darlin, is my lipstick still on?”   Her daughter Pam died a month after Tony, and we both helped each other through phone calls this past spring, even if it was just to cry to each other over the phone.  I love her so much.  She also gave me a check to buy a tree to plant in my yard in memory of Tony.  Love.

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This is Weare, Pam’s husband.  He and I were in the same boat as we both lost our spouses, however he had been with Pam for 34 years to my 14 with Tony.  It doesn’t make the grief any different, but when he talked to me he said more than half is life was with her and it’s kind of hard to imagine what kind of life he was going to have with her not in it.  He’s a psychiatrist, so we were talking about stages of grief, etc., but I really didn’t want to talk all that much because I would have been a pile of tears. 

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This is me and my Aunt Martha.  I am pretty much her favorite niece – duh!

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When I was at her house earlier this summer, since we drove I made a dozen quart jars of salsa to share with her and my two cousins.  I canned them so they would last a long time.  Well, Aunt Martha was already down to her last jar!  When I make salsa like that, I call it my “company” salsa – just a little bit of heat.  My Aunt Martha has a new friend in her life – his name is Will.  They ate the salsa one night and he said “does she make a spicier version?”  Yep!  So Sunday after the reunion I showed my Aunt Martha how to make it and we drove to his house to drop it off.  This is the longest hand delivery of salsa I’ve ever made!

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He seems very nice, down to earth, and I was glad that I had the opportunity to meet him.  I am running out of vacation days at work so that will probably be my last visit to Virginia this year.  But it’s a record year – I went there three times this year!

I guess I’ll get my shit together and go to work.  I checked my lottery tickets and um, I didn’t win so I guess that I have to go.

Oh, UPDATE ON THE CONTRACTOR!  I told you guys that he was supposed to meet me Tuesday night at 6.  Well, by 6:30 he wasn’t here, I texted him and he said he was in Chicago “working” on a job and that he was going to be another hour or so and with traffic, it would be best if we met a different night.  I had the running club last night so he’s supposed to come over tonight and bring his receipts.  I’ll probably never see him again, but who knows!  Jacob’s grandfather works at Home Depot and put me in touch with their licensed, bonded, and insured construction guys who should be coming over to give me an estimate in the next couple days.   Fingers crossed!

Family Reunion Part 1

So not surprisingly, Hannah and Jacob didn’t cook much while I was gone and obviously if you don’t cook, you aren’t going to be doing any grocery shopping.  I had about 15 minutes yesterday morning before I had to leave to figure out what I was going to eat, and after about a minute of seeing what was left in the fridge, I honestly was going to just throw in the towel and just get McDonald’s for breakfast or Jimmy John’s for lunch.  But I gave it another minute, and turned around and saw that I had granola that I bought at an awesome farmers market in Richmond.  I reached in the fridge and found a Chobani that expired on July 17 – no big, it was still good.  Then opened the fruit drawer and saw blueberries – done!

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This was delicious – while granola is a calorie bomb, this was was super filling, and I love that the granola is not overly sweet.  Now lunch?  That was a bit of a stretch.  Seriously I put this in my lunch bag:

  • leftover cooked white rice
  • 2 ounces leftover Greek chicken
  • 1 Aldi chicken sausage link
  • baby spinach
  • shredded carrots
  • leftover cooked zucchini

I laid out everything on my counter at lunch and just started heating things up:  the chicken, the chicken sausage, the zucchini and rice.  I knew I wanted some texture so I left the carrots and spinach raw, and ended up putting it all together in a giant bowl and tossing it with a tablespoon of Newman’s Own light balsamic.  As weird as this combo sounds, it was actually really good – some of it was warm, some of it was crunchy and somehow the dressing pulled it all together!

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I actually ended up going to the grocery store at lunch to stock us up for the rest of the week.  I knew there was no way in hell I could meal plan with what was left in our fridge.  So a quick trip to Mariano’s and I was all set.  Dinner last night could not have been simpler.  While I don’t mind the challenge of a recipe with 20+ ingredients and 15 cooking steps, sometimes simple is best.  I bought a 1 pound certified angus beef sirloin steak for Jacob and I to split.  While he can eat a half a pound of meat no problem, I portioned out 4 ounces of cooked steak for my dinner and will have some for breakfast tomorrow.  I bought some baby new potatoes and cooked them in the microwave for 5 minutes, let them cool slightly and then pan fried them in a bit of olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper until they started to brown.  Once browned, I took cut corn off of three cobs of corn and tossed that in the pan with a teaspoon of butter, salt and pepper and cooked until the corn started to brown.  Once off heat, I added just a couple tablespoons of chopped cilantro. 

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I topped our steaks with sautéed baby portobello mushrooms that cooked down while the steaks cooked on the grill.   This is such a simple, yet delicious meal – pretty sure this will be on my food truck menu, except I’d add a chimichurri drizzle over the top to tie it all together. Open-mouthed smile

Okay so long time readers now how I burn in the sun like nobody’s business.  Since I knew we were going to be in the sun a lot on Sunday I applied sunscreen all day long.  The one part of my body that I forgot?  MY LIPS!

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You’re probably eating your breakfast now, so you are welcome!  During the day my lips kept feeling chapped so I kept applying EOS to my lips, but I think that was the equivalent to putting baby oil on my lips.  That’s how my lips looked yesterday when I went to work – so pretty!  Gah.  I need to find the highest SPF lip balm!  On the positive side?  I found that green necklace at Goodwill and paid $1.99 for it – score!

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So one of the things about only visiting family once a year growing up when I was younger was that it was really hard to remember who belonged to who.  It would seem I would spend half of a family reunion back then just connecting the dots, only to forget over the course of a year and have to start all over!  That’s where Facebook is amazeballs.  We have a family group Facebook page, so I can easily check in and see who is who, especially my second cousins who are about 12-15 years younger than me, and actually have relevant things to talk about – job transfers, school, etc.

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We were 40 strong!  It’s awesome to see the new generation growing up too – we must have had half a dozen kids under the age of 11 and it was awesome.  My one cousin Shannon has a 4 year old Zach that I was playing whiffle ball with and holy balls could he pitch and hit!   I made him shake on it that when he makes it to the big leagues that he’s have to save me some tickets.  She also brought a baby pool which was a big hit with the little kids too.  There is no structure to our reunions at all – simply come in, drop your dish, grab a drink and start mingling!  It’s always a bit awkward at first trying to get reacquainted, but soon everyone is just laughing, talking and having a good time.   And our weather could not have been better!  I took 446 pictures in 3 days!  I’ll spare you all of them, but I’ll share some more tomorrow.

I am excited because tonight I am joining a running club with one of the attorneys in my office.  It’s a couch to 5k program that meets literally 5 minutes from my office on Wednesday nights.  I think it’s 10 or 12 weeks long – the goal being to run a whole 5k without stopping.  Shelley, I couldn’t help but think of you when I signed up!

Alright, off to pack my gym bag – make it a great day!

Top 7 Reasons to Fire Your Contractor and I’m Back!

Wow, what a whirlwind weekend I had!  I knew it was going to fly by but it literally felt like a stepped off the plane and before I knew it I was getting back on one!  I am happy to say that now that I have more flying under my belt, I am not nervous at all about flying.  Nice!

The first day I got there it was just me and my Mom and Aunt.  We basically just needed to do some last minute things before the family reunion Saturday – go to the grocery store, prepare our dishes, finish cleaning the house, putting all the chairs out from the shed out onto the patio, hosing off some of the bag chairs so they could dry before Saturday.  We did find time to get our nails done – 2 generations of feet!  I am pretty sure long time readers will recognize which feet are mine!

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We ended up snacking a bit before going out to dinner – the damn pimento cheese was there but I managed to limit myself to a few crackers – that stuff is literally like crack – especially this brand.

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Here’s Mom with her favorite child, she probably told me at least a dozen times over the weekend that I was her favorite.  Ha!

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The part of the world is so pretty – I could look out over the river all day long.

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As I was prepping veggies for our vegetable tray, I poured out a whole bag of radishes on a tray to rinse and cut up – when I got to the last two, they formed the shape of a heart – I’ve seen random hearts around since Tony died – I like to think that was a hug from above.

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I took 446 pictures guys!  I didn’t get home until about 9:15 last night and spent the evening catching up with the kids.  I’ll be sharing pictures of my vacation during the remainder of this week. 

The kids were productive while I was gone.  They bought a power washer and power washed my back patio – it was nearly black over the years, you know how you don’t notice something because you see it every day?  It looks amazing!

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And they refinished our back table by sanding it and staining it.

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So. . . here’s the deal about the contractor I hired.  I am firing him today.  Here are the top 6 reasons why:

  1. Friday when I was traveling he got dropped off at the house.  Since he didn’t have a car, he asked Jacob to run to McDonald’s for him.  When Jacob came back, the contractor was coming up from the basement and when Jacob asked why, he said he needed a drill and he didn’t have one and wondered if we had one.  Huh.
  2. He texted me Friday afternoon asking for a $200 labor advance because he realized his brother never returned his saw to him because he broke it and needed to buy another one.
  3. He texted me Saturday afternoon asking for a $300 labor advance because his cell phone was about to get shut off.
  4. Every day he was here he asked Jacob if he would be helping him.  Um, no – I hired YOU to do the work.
  5. While talking to Jacob he said that he texted his girlfriend to see if she’d put out that day so he could have sex – it had been a couple days because his girlfriend was mad at him.  When he got the text back that it was thumbs up, he told Jacob he was going to get lucky that night.
  6. Another conversation with Jacob – he once dated a woman in town who was a hoarder and he said when he cleaned out a portion of her bedroom, he thought for sure that a blow job was a good reward.
  7. Turns out we did have active carpenter ants, not termites, and I guess when the Orkin guy and Chris were removing the last panels of insulation and pulled that down, it was raining ants on them – so glad I wasn’t here to see that!  Hannah felt bad for him and said that she would buy him lunch.  He wanted a philly cheese steak sandwich at Subway and asked if we had any A-1 sauce.  Hannah said no and he said “could you stop by the store and pick some up?  Who can have a steak sandwich without A-1 sauce?”

When I hired him I could tell he was desperate for work so I pushed away my red flags and thought I was helping out someone who needed work, and I needed work done – win/win.   So I am having him come over tonight to pick up what tools he does have and bring me receipts so I can match up what was advanced to him and what materials I actually have in the house.  Since Jacob worked at Home Depot he has a pretty good idea of what the materials I do have total, and it doesn’t come close to the amount I advanced him.  Should be an interesting night!

While I was gone Jacob was calling a bunch of other contractors that he works with at his job now at Sherwin Williams, and one of them asked if I had contacted my insurance company to see if the work would be covered under my homeowners insurance.  Guys – I never even thought of that!  So fingers crossed when I call my State Farm agent they say that the work is covered – that would be amazeballs!

Alright, I have to get my stuff together.  Jacob really missed my cooking!  I think Hannah made dinner once while I was gone and the rest of the time they ate out at fast food places.  Not even sure what’s in the fridge for me to put together for food today – it should be interesting!

Make it a great day!

Sweaty Balls and Madison Farmers Market?

Yesterday I felt like I was sweating balls all day.  My co-worker and the husband of one of the attorneys spent four hours moving boxes in and our of our storage unit.  In those four hours I drank four 16 ounce bottles of water and never felt the need to pee because I just sweat it out.  Worse though was that I forgot to bring a change of clothes when I went back to work and pretty sure everyone stayed away from me because I was even offending myself!

My fuel for that job?  My guilty pleasure – Sausage McMuffin with egg:

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With the combination of my strength workouts on Monday and Tuesday, and moving all those boxes, well today I am just one word:  SORE.  I feel it in my back, shoulders, etc.  I sometimes have to remind myself that I am a lot closer to 50 than 40!

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I didn’t pack a lunch and by the time I got back to the office around 1:00 p.m. I was so hungry.  My favorite Jimmy John’s sandwich?  The Vito – no onion or tomato but extra cherry peppers please.

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Long time readers will remember that Tony made me promise right before he died that I would get the roof replaced.   And I did!  It was such a relief this spring and summer not to cringe every time it rained.  It’s solid as a rock.  Well, as you would surmise, with a leaky roof comes a damaged living room ceiling.  I had a contractor start work on it yesterday.

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So that’s part of the living room – you can see the dry wall that’s fallen and the cracks underneath the window.  So just as I was finishing up the job at the storage unit, I get a call from Jacob and he’s said “Biz, this is a much bigger project than once thought.

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Yep, all that insulation?  Wet.  All the beams that were above the wet insulation?  Totally rotten.

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There was also Styrofoam insulation that my contractor said hasn’t been used in many many years – he assured me that when he was done we would notice the difference in how warm the room is.  What I don’t understand and what I am trying to figure out with my roofer is why did they not notice and replace the rotted beams when they installed the roof?  You can see the new wood they had to use on my roof!

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Oh, and I have termites too.  Lucky me!   So I have an exterminator coming over this morning – luckily both Hannah and Jacob are off today – they have been such a big help to me lately!  So the contractor texted me last night and said if I wanted to save money, I could remove all the blue Styrafoam insulation.  Gotta love sweat equity!  I had my partner in crime helping me though – Hannah!  I love her demo outfit!

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It took us an hour to demo it and bag it all up.  I have never wanted to take a shower more in my life after we were done!  I had dried sweat from moving the boxes, and just dirt and debris kept falling down with each piece of insulation we pulled down.  So gross.  In the back of my head though I kept wondering “would Tony approve of what I am doing?”   I am just happy that it is being rectified before going into winter – I can’t imagine what would happen if we had a huge snowfall and the roof caved in! 

So you can imagine I had NO desire to step one foot into the kitchen after I showered so, this happened.

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This cold Fat Tire was absolute perfection.  I had four squares of pizza and then boxed it up.  I was so tired last night I think I fell asleep in 30 seconds.

So two things:

  1. Who wants to meet up at the Madison Farmers Market for walking around and lunch?  It would be either Saturday, August 15 or Saturday, August 22.   Just leave a comment or shoot me an email.
  2. I am leaving on a Jet Plane tomorrow!   I am headed back to Virginia for a family reunion this weekend.  I am sure the kids are more than happy that I am leaving them with the living room mess while I am gone!   So I am taking another blog break and will be back next Tuesday.

Alright, time to get my shit together for the day – make it a great day and have a great weekend!

Naan Bread

Greek Chicken Gyros with Homemade Za’atar Naan

I can’t really say I truly live in the “sticks” but it’s the sticks from where we moved from.  Oak Park is a bustling town, houses are close together and the last house I lived in was on a pretty busy street.  I can still see Tony’s expression when we were sitting in the living room and could hear the cars and motorcycles go by, or ambulances, and his reaction was “how the hell can you live with all that noise?”  Easy – it’s what you grew up with so you are used to it.

So when we moved an hour away fourteen years ago today (wow!) it was so . . . QUIET!  We have no sidewalks, street lights and the sounds of the birds chirping in the morning took a while to get used to.  One thing I do love about where we live?  I can walk in the morning in my pajamas. Open-mouthed smile

PicMonkey Collage - walk

Another glorious walk before work.  I passed over a bridge over the channel of the river – that second picture on the left is of a giant carp.  Again 63 degrees and no humidity!

The other night when I was out and got pulled pork sliders, I actually only ate one of the three.  I pulled off meat from one of them and weighed it – 2 ounces of meat!  So I made open faced pork bbq egg white scrambled sammies.  Holy balls was this good – the slight sweetness from the bbq sauce, and then the peppery bite of the shredded radish. This whole plate of food was 430 calories, 13 fat, 39 carbs, 4 fiber and 36 protein – kept me full so long.  And all that delicious fresh summer fruit is totally insulin worthy!

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I had a meeting after work so I switched up my workouts.  I ended up doing my strength at lunch.  All I can say was that when I got back to the office, I found it difficult to move my arms to type anything.  This took me 40 minutes to complete.  Only thing I wasn’t able to do?  The inverted row – it’s like laying down under a barbell and pulling yourself up – I could only pull myself up 5 times before having to admit I wasn’t strong enough to finish the sets . . . yet.

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Does anyone know how many pounds the actual barbell is?  I only had 5 pound weights on the e-z bar curl, but holy balls that was hard.  I will tell you that I wanted to just half ass it and do half the reps, or cut one set short – but I stuck with it.

So I had more balls in my mouth for lunch yesterday.  Smile with tongue out My take on Half Baked Harvest’s Vietnamese meatball lettuce wraps.  I even made her delicious green cashew sauce only to drop the jar in the office kitchen as I was putting my lunch away.  And I forgot to the mango and peanuts over the top.  Since I knew it still needed some kind of “sauce” I ended up mixing a couple teaspoons of tzatziki sauce with sriracha – not as good as the other sauce, but it worked.

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My store sells marinated Greek chicken kebobs for $1.99 a pound.  I love that they are already marinated and all I have to do is throw them on the grill.  Over the weekend I made naan dough – you can make it way ahead of time and I love that I could just pull off a portion of the dough from the fridge and cook just one up at a time.  I first learned of za’atar seasoning from Abbe at This Is How I Cook.  When Jessica and I went to the Spice House in Milwaukee (hi Jessica!) I bought a 1 oz. portion.  It was sumac, thyme, sesame seeds, hyssop (don’t know what that is!) and oregano.  I knew it would be perfect on the naan bread.

 

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I just realized that I did a couple plain ones and those happened to be on top – but I definitely loved the flavors of the za’atar.   The stats are pretty good too!

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I just chopped up some carrots, cucumber and red cabbage and topped my gyros with some tzatziki.

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So good!  The naan is so fluffy and chewy, and then you have the charred bits on the tender chicken.  Okay, I really want another one right now and it’s only 7:45 in the morning!

I got my steps in too!

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Sadly I have to spend my morning at our office storage unit moving boxes.  I opted out of my morning walk this morning because I know it’s going to be very tiring.  My boss said to me “don’t lift anything too heavy.”  Um, not sure how that’s going to work since we are moving dozens and dozens of bankers boxes full of paper.  Not sure that manual labor was part of the job description of a legal secretary?  I am looking at it positively though – strength training and getting my steps in!

Make it a great day!