Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Heart Crockpoting!

It has taken me a long time to making this but I finally did and it was GREAT!
I made Crock Pot refried beans! Yeah!

I am very into cheap and/or free food and making my own beans seamed to make "cents"!

I always fallow CrockPot Lady's blog and have been wanting to try her recipe for refried beans for some time now.

I always try to make in bulk and felt that 2 cups was not enough for my 6qt. but I did it anyways.

FYI- 2 cups dry beans = about 4 cups soaked (24 hours with 3 water changes) and around 4 cups of finished beans.

L and I washed and sorted the beans as the boys played outside working on bicycles, or model rockets, or some other big-boy toys. (Pasta bake was cooking in the oven!)

I let them soak overnight and then all day and cooked them overnight last night. In all they cooked on low in my Crock for about 9 1/2 hours. I didn't have any onions or garlic in the house so I used
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
I used the blender as someone in the comments suggested and started with a good amount of beans and 1/4 cup or so of cooking water. Started blending and that was VERY watery. I added more beans until most were used and it was a great thick uniform constancy.

I poured them into a container and mixed in the rest of the whole beans for thickness. Stuck the container in the fridge and headed to work!

I ate a cup tonight with 1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a bunch of leftover tortilla chips! Great full dinner! Tomorrow we might have bean and cheese burritos, or maybe some taco bake, or maybe taco pizza!

Next time I will use 4 cups of beans and double the spices. For all the work I did I should go ahead and make a full crock worth. I had to buy a 8 lbs. anyways and now have 2 huge pickle jars waiting to be crocked!

On a side note:
S was a little worried about fat content after we figured out the waffles I made this morning had a LOT (14 grams or so!). Pinto beans are fat free! Yeah pinto beans!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wow! Time moves so fast!

I just read my last post and couldn't laugh more! The goals for that weekend are strangely similar to today! I have had Saturday, Sunday and now today off.

Saturday was the TREK Breast Cancer Awareness Ride hosted by the bicycle shop S works at. Some ladies from the club have been working on this since March! I have been helping a lot and did a lot of the last minuet work. My mother, a 4 year survivor made the 8 hour drive up here for the even. It was so much fun and we raised right around $2,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Fund. I am so proud that it all came off so well!

Sunday, my mom was still in town and we celebrated S's birthday which was on Thursday.

In reality- today is my day off.

I have already
Done 2 loads of laundry
Gone and opened my store for the traveling Manager
Ran/walked 3 miles
Filled my car up with gas ($2.54 a gallon! Yeah!)

Things I still need to do
Bake bread
Cook dinner (thinking my super easy pasta bake)- L&J are coming for dinner
Clean the ENTIRE house
Wash sheets/ living room blankets
Take the trash out
Tackle the mountain of dishes
Cook pasta (for lunches this week)

From last (months) post I still haven't tried to make refried beans in the crock pot, I might do this tonight! I also have 2 *NEW* sweet potatoes to try the recipe I wanted to try last time!

Oh how time flys!

And in an update in life--- I QUIT MY JOB!!! My last day will around the end of the month. Oct. 25th is my 6month anniversary and I get 1 week of paid vacation so I am sticking it out till then an then I AM DONE!

- Have been looking for new jobs at some non-retail places to get us though the holidays! yeah!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I have today off from work, and as a mater of fact I have tomorrow off also. The last day I had off was Aug. 17th and 18th and I am more than ready for the time to relax and be productive.

My DM has been in my store twice this week and is coming back on Monday. It is actual great because the week before she wouldn't even return my phone calls! I never realized how much better work is when I feel I am getting the appropriate amount of support!

But I have some very defined goals for these days off and they include quiet a bit of work but I feel it will be worth it!

Work on the puzzle I have started (so relaxing!)
Work on my knitting project (I have my next one picked out and am so excited about it also!)
Grocery shop for the week
Bake bread
Bake muffins for breakfasts this week
Cook lots of lunch-overs to get us though the week
Attempt a few new crock pot recipes (a sweet potato recipe and refried beans?)
Wash our sheets
Hit the laundry mat to wash our blankets (in prep for WINTER!)
Watch a chick flick (S owes me!)
Clean and pick up our ENTIRE HOUSE
Have S's parents over for dinner (they are in town till Wednesday- I love them!)
Clean out my purse
Work out every day- run, bike, kayak, etc.
Apply for 3 out of state jobs!

I am planning on copying this list into my new notebook that I got from a community festival this week. I was WAY to pumped about it for any normal person.

On a side note- I am feeling a little better. It is amazing how small my stomach is after being sick- I get super full, fast! (leftovers from Texas Roadhouse for lunch it is!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Too much time? Now I only wish!

It feels like I don't have too much of anything these days! I feel like I work non stop! It should clam down soon with a new hire, or then again I might just put in my 2 weeks soon.

S has his final test tomorrow for school and then he is done! They mentioned interviewing him for a teaching spot after his test, but he isn't thinking about that right now.

I am once again realizing how small this town is and how much I need that uncertancty that comes with moving. In some ways I feel our relationship needs that time when all you have is each other.

Right now I am spending a lot of time evaluating my priorities. Which ones have I outgrown and witch ones to hold on to.

I used to one to be a career woman who was at the top of her game with a wonderful, community serving husband who took care of the kids. Most of me still wants that but with the heart break of not finding a job right away my spirits are a little dashed and I have almost slipped into the fall back plan of being a stay at home mom.

Right now my fantasies are on mundane and fluffy things such as baking, knitting and yes, even completing this puzzle I started. I want a nice house, one to decorate or to work on. One that I can cook and clean to provide for my family.

I am no longer a college student and not being the career woman I thought I would be is causing some internal turmoil.

I have got to find a job or move (hopefully both!) before I go stir crazy!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A little recognition does wonder for the soul!

I always check PaidTwice's blog. Literally- just about every day. She is the one that got me going on the financial side of life as well as into the idea of blogging.

I know I have neglected my little blog here for quite a while so I decided that in honor of my recognition on her blog (I let her in on the Walgreen's free 8x10 photo that is going on JUST TODAY) I would update mine.

I graduated from college on Saturday and S and I are now into that awkward phase of life where you are no longer a student and struggling to get your first hand-hold on life. For the time being we are going to stay here in this little college town that I so desperately despise, but the truth of the mater is that if we stay here then we have a free house, and free utilities (thank you in-laws!). The pressures of living in a family house on family land can be daunting, but they are less bothersome than the $500+ in expenses of living in town.

I have also taken an Assistant Manager poisiton at a local clothing store. I like the people and for the most part it is mindless work with lots of people interaction- the problem comes when you don't really control the people that walk in your store! Ah! Horor stories I could tell! It is not my dream job, or even something I think I can do for a year, but it is money- and health insurance!

Other than that life is going well. We are thinking about selling our truck and buying something fuel efficient- S wants a Toyota Yaris. We will see.

I plan on posting a lot more about my crazy transition time of life in the coming days. I have a lot to figure out and a lot I could use advice on (student loan repayment plan anyone?). This will be the first car I have ever bought and I am continuing to look for that dream job that gets me out of this state and farther away from my family (yes, they were ALL here this weekend! Ah).

Thanks PaidTwice for the props, and welcome anyone who came to read my little space of blogging heaven! I hope to have more entertainment in the coming days!

Seriously, any advice on the loan repayment stuff? I have to do my "exit counciling" this week! I don't want to grow up!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sooner than Later

Well I kinda did it a whole lot earlier than planned!

On Friday at the gym, after my workout, I noticed that they were holding the indoor triathlon on Saturday. The entires had already closed by one of my friends who works for intramurals told me to go ask if there were still any spots open. I went in and somehow signed up for the "recreational" division with a 10:30 am start.

I immediately headed to the bike shop where S was at work and told him. He turned around and asked if he could have 2 hours off the next morning to come watch and she said with a huge smile on her face "If its important".

The distances were:
  • 450 Meter swim (9 laps in a 25 m lane)
  • 8 Mile bike (on the worst stationary bike ever! Huge seat)
  • 2 Mile run (22 laps around the tiny indoor track)
I did it!

The gym opened at 10am so I only had 30 min to set up. At breakfast S made a new playlist for me on my iPod and I went to work with him to get a cycling jersey to carry my iPod and GU in. S rode his bike over from the shop a few min before the start time and I was so excited to have him there. My friend L that works intramurals was working the triathalon and everyone was really nice.

On the swim I started a little to fast with no warm up. I tried to keep pace with the guy next to me and after 1.5 laps it became obvious that I could not keep it up. I had to stop and tread water for a min to catch my breath. But then I slowed down a bit and breathed a lot more often and it wasn't that hard, just wore me out pretty good. I looked like a fool trying to get out when I was done. Oh- and I was the last one out in my group of 4. I think I was still only in the pool for around 7 minuets.

On to the bike! They only guy in my group got out of the pool a little before me and was still putting on his shoes when I got to mine. He sat down to do it- rookie mistake (I know I am a rookie- but at least I have read the books!). I beat him onto the bike by a few seconds. I was pretty bummed we were using the exersize bikes instead of the spin bikes. The seats were so huge that I sat on the front just so my legs could move freely! I at a pack of GU (mint chocolate- um!) after about a mile on the bike. I put my iPod on and just zoned out and kept my cadence up. S and L brought me new water bottles and keep to motivated. When I got off after 28 minuets everyone was cheering as I ran up the stairs to the track on the 3rd floor.

Running up the stairs was not as hard as I thought it would be. It was just like being on the bike! I was the only one in my group to run up the stairs. They laughed because they said I was "bouncing" up them. Then started the 22 laps. I just turned my music up loud, laughed at the songs S had chosen and gave a big smile every time I passed my counter and S. I know I ran pretty darn slow, but I didn't walk at all! That was my biggest accomplishment. The day before I had not been able to run 1.5 miles! I think having people cheering was the biggest motivation. The counter would tell me how many I had done when I came around and I would just calculate fractions. I don't even remember the first 4 but at lap 5 I was like- almost a quarter of the way done! Then, 2 laps later at lap 7 I was almost a third of the way done! At 11 I remeber being like "only half way!" and getting a little stressed, but at 14 I was two-thirds of the way done! At 18 I knew I had done it and started to get really excited. On the last lap I picked up the pace and zoomed around to the home stretch where S was standing and L was there counting my total time. They cheered and I sprinted to the finish. S and I then walked 2 laps and laughed and I almost cried.

It was an amazing feeling that I am so much more motivated to work towards now. My sister-in-law G and I laugh that working out is our Crack- we are hopelessly addicted and cranky if we don't get some. (Not like I know what doing crack is like, just a silly joke).

Best of all- it was all FREE! S took about 1.5 hours off of work ($12) but is going to be putting in some extra time this week. We already had my shoes, the GU and all the water bottles anyone could ever want. I did by the jersy for $30 at the shop (regularly $60 before S's discount) and lunch by myself as a congratulations (soup, I was so hungry!)- $5.

Well worth it, so much fun. I have a lot more confidence in myself now. Looking forward to todays workout!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

(Almost) Free Motivation

One of my goals is to do a sprint length triathlon before this year is over. I really would like to do it before July, so we will see how that goes.

Sprint length triathlons are normally
  • 500 M Swim
  • ~20 Mile Bike Ride
  • 5K (3.1 Mile) Run
I have been swimming every so often since November or such. Being in college I have free* access to a great indoor pool with lap lanes that is open every day. I even have a locker at the gym which makes all of this much easier. I have a good racing style swimsuit that I bought a few years ago and still fits great.

For Christmas I got my road bike! I was so excited! S had told me I wouldn't be able to have it until February because they were so popular but the owner of the Bike Store where he works pulled some stings and got it mid December. Honestly I wouldn't have minded waiting till now to get it because it is still too cold to ride outside. I have been using it on the trainer at home with the workout videos S borrows from the bike shop.

The last piece I had been needing was some really great running shoes. I have such picky feet so for Valentines day S took me to the "nice" shoe store where they measure your feet and help you pick out what you need. So in we went with no budget in mind and out I walked with some orange and white Asics for the not-so-responsible price of $135.

I had a little bit of sticker shock at the price, the most I have ever paid for running shoes was about $110 and I was hoping to get off with around $90. But I have realized there are some advantages to spending more up front for these shoes.

  1. The shoes cost so much I HAVE to use them of I feel guilty! I ran a little under a mile on Monday and yesterday did 2 miles of run/walking!
  2. I can't bring myself to use them for anything but running! S told me when I bought them that I could not mess with horses or go to the store or anything in them. They live in my locker at the gym so I have to actually GO to the gym to use them!
  3. They are very comfortable and fit really well so I think the money was worth it. I am keeping track how many times I run in them and it makes the money feel worth it also.
Another thing about the money. We went to another shoe store in town that focuses mostly on dress shoes but the do have athletic shoes (but don't really know a thing about them) and my shoes were the same price there. I know that the service was worth it, but if they would have been $30 cheaper, I would have felt a little bad!

So I figure if they last me several months and into a triathlon or two they will be great shoes, plus they are orange! Yeah!