Bits and bobs

  1. No more stretchy pants!: I have mentioned before that I’ve been working on my fitness and some of my pants that had gotten tight around the middle are fitting better. I’m going to keep the winter weight at bay by pledging to wear fitted pants in the colder months. I love me some leggings (and passed up on buying a super cute plaid pair) because they stretch with you through all the beef stew, grilled cheese sandwiches, turkey & stuffing, and mashed potatoes and come March you gotta go on a liquid diet to get summer ready. Not me, not this time!
  2. White feminism & power: I listen to some liberal media podcasts and sometimes they are just so damn privileged sounding. This episode of The Waves was talking about how women are naturally uncomfortable with having power, and some lady wrote a book about making power a verb instead to make it more palatable. Excuse me, what? All I ever wanted was power. The power to control what I do with my body, my career, my family, my life without someone who doesn’t care anything about me telling me what I have to do. Just like how white women scream #MeToo and then waste the power they do have by voting for a p*ssy grabbing, chronic sexual harasser. :/
  3. Why do you care?: I think I was born with too few f*cks to give and they all got spent early. People say you stop caring about little shit when you turn 30. I stopped caring about little shit at 21 and now I’m just plain disgusted by grown folks who live their lives based on what other people think. “THEY” don’t care about you! 🙄 So why would you waste all your energy? Listen, I work a 9-5 job. I play the game but only to the minimum extent necessary to secure my bag. The truth is that you can be the most agreeable, talented, people pleasing, hard working employee but if someone really has it out for you they will find a way to get you gone. I can’t control how other people feel about me and I can’t stop anybody from screwing me over. So I’m going practice self-care by not completely repressing myself to be Employee of the Month™.
  4. Your bad kids: I am officially a grumpy old lady because I get so tired of children in public places. I know that they will be loud and running around but I can’t take your offspring all in my personal space. Please teach your kids how to form a line, say “excuse me”, etc because I will elbow little Danny in the face if he doesn’t get from behind me when I’m at the checkout counter! Also, stop bringing your kids into fast food establishments and letting them order. My parents told me what I wanted to eat, they didn’t let me waste people’s time trying to read the menu when I didn’t know my ABC’s yet!  
  5. Currently loving: Grocery delivery (Hello Fresh meal kits and Prime Now for my Whole Foods fix), sweater weather (boot game proper!) and Aquaman (more shirtless Jason Momoa, please).

 

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Home for the holidays

Our Christmas tree was the first thing we unpacked.

It’s official–we’re homeowners! My husband and I closed on our house on December 21 and started moving in that night. By December 23, all our stuff was out of the old rental. This is our sixth move together and in some ways it was the easiest because by now I know G’s routine. He hates clutter and being uncomfortable so he literally will not sleep until he passes out in the middle of packing boxes. I was prepared to lose my husband as a sane man for the next week. This time was hard because I came down with a bad head cold literally the day after we closed. Normally I would lay around the house until I felt better, but I had taken 2 weeks off work and I wanted to be able to relax for at least one of them. So that meant front loading the move to finish by Christmas. It majorly sucked, but we did it. Everyone told us to pace ourselves. But the last thing I wanted to do when I go back to work is to come home and pull a second shift unpacking. We did it, because the one thing I love about my relationship with my spouse is our ability to laser focus on a singular goal.

It was only this week that I’ve been waking up in the morning and feeling settled in. We’ve been in a frenzy of unpacking, cleaning, organizing, and various projects. We ran some errands, went by Marshall’s (where I bought half off Christmas decorations, two accent tables for the living room, a storage bench for our bedroom, and discounted bath & body products) and then back to the house. We binged this season of Vikings, Cloak and Dagger, and Runaways because, what the hell is a Bird Box? It’s been a good week, all in all.

Cozy vibes.

I’m spending the rest of my break being lazy as possible, and we rang in the New Year at the house with a glass of Martinelli’s finest sparkling apple cider. Why leave? I have to get $220,000 worth of enjoyment out of this place. LOL. I have a brand new stove and refrigerator and finally sprung for an automatic trashcan. It’s the little things that I enjoy. It’s rainy and cold today so I have the fireplace going for maximum cozy vibes. We aren’t fully furnished and there are still a few stray boxes, but finally we have a home of our own.

Foyer
Dining room
Currently blogging here. My office is the last thing I need to unpack!
Upstairs den
My kitchen, with cabinets for everything and a magic trash can.
My kitchen nook is a work in progress.
Coffee bar
Living room
Bedroom with a view
My dream closet in the master bedroom

His & hers sinks and a gorgeous bathtub

Wife Life: Savory Sausage Scramble recipe

I am making a lifestyle change and part of it is seriously limiting starchy carbs and junk food. You know how most diets have cheat days? Well I’ve had a cheat LIFE, and it’s time to hunker down. But I love breakfast and everyone knows the best part of breakfast is carbs. I usually have a big breakfast on the weekend which typically includes a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, or some Eggo waffles and bacon. I’ve already been incorporating a green smoothie several times a week, so making that my Monday-Friday mainstay isn’t a big deal. And I do love oatmeal topped with fresh berries & a splash of cream, or sliced banana, shredded coconut, and honey. But what about when I want something savory instead of sweet?

This recipe is actually adapted from my brother in law. He made it the last couple times I came to visit my sister and it’s not only delicious, but satisfying. I prefer chicken sausage and included my favorite brand, but of course you can sub out turkey sausage or even a meat substitute. Same with the cheese. You can also change this to make it an omelette. Have fun with it!

SAVORY SAUSAGE SCRAMBLE
Serves: 1 
Ingredients:

2 eggs
2 links Applegate Farms chicken & apple sausage
2 mini sweet bell peppers
1-2 tsp shredded Mexican cheese blend
Salt
Pepper
Butter

1. Cut of stems from peppers, remove inner seeds, and chop to your preference. Cut the sausage into bite size pieces. 
2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add pepper to taste. Whisk until well mixed.
3. Melt some butter in a small pan over low heat (you only need about a teaspoon).
4. Pour in the eggs, sausage, and peppers. I don’t like my cheese to stick to the pan so I sprinkle it on in the last few seconds, but you can add it at this step. 
5. I like a soft scramble so I keep the heat really low and the eggs are on for a minute or two. If you like more solid eggs, 30-60 seconds on low-medium heat will do.
6. Plate and enjoy! 

I love this recipe because it tastes similar to the egg skillets I sometimes order at brunch, but without the potatoes or too much cheese. If I don’t have the peppers, I’ll do just the eggs and cheese but add a sprinkle of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning. I don’t like Mexican for breakfast (weird, I just have a mental block) but you could also do this southwestern-style and add avocado & salsa.

Wife Life: Southern Vegetable Soup recipe

While you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to think about the weekend! You don’t want to be fighting the shopping crowd at the drive through, and the leftovers always go quicker than you think. During my cleanse at the start of the month, soup was my dinner for the day. I hate soup normally because it’s not hearty enough. Especially vegetable soup–the canned version tastes like baby food! So I had to adapt this to be hearty and satisfying. It’s perfect as is for the day after Thanksgiving when you’re emerging from a turkey coma and want something a bit lighter. I plan to make this ahead of time so I have a few quick and easy meals ready for after Turkey Day.

Roll that beautiful bean footage! Actually, the soup does not photograph well but it’s delish.

SOUTHERN VEGETABLE SOUP
Makes 6-8 generous servings

Ingredients:
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1/2 lb okra
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch collard greens
1 bunch scallions
28-oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium
32 oz chicken stock 
1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
Pepper
Italian seasoning

Note:  Frozen veggies will do if you don’t have fresh, but I encourage you to buy fresh if you can. If you have leftovers, the fresh veggies won’t get mushy as quickly. 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash and chop all your veggies, as small as you want. I like larger pieces so I have something to chew. The collard greens will be a bit unwieldy, just make sure you run the water over both sides of each leaf (perfect time to use the hose attachment on your sink) and wipe down the leaves to dry them. This will take care of any dirt that is hiding in the nooks and crannies. If you like, you can save all the spare veggie bits to make vegetable stock (I’ve never done this but I saw this tip on Facebook).

2. Heat up a tablespoon of your preferred oil and toss in the minced garlic and scallion whites. This will caramelize them a bit and give the broth a richer, more roasty flavor.

3. Once the garlic and scallions are fragrant, add in chicken stock, tomatoes, and all your chopped vegetables. Season with a generous amount of pepper and Italian seasoning. I use Italian because it’s a nice mix of several herbs like parsley, rosemary and thyme so I don’t have to buy individuals of those.  With the chicken stock, you really don’t need any salt.

4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.

5. Serve and enjoy!

VARIATIONS

This is just a base but you can make any soup with a combination of chicken, beef or veggie stock and your favorite vegetables. You can add shrimp and link sausage to this one for a sort of jambalaya stew. You could do a crab boil soup. You could sub out the okra for zucchini and add some meatballs for an Italian stew. The possibilities are endless!

 

Wife Life: Pesto Parmesan Salmon Recipe

Since fall hit I’ve been a real domestic, cozy mood. I had so much energy  this week from that hour of extra sleep that I tried something new. Salmon is one of my favorite foods but I usually make it one of three ways–sauteed with salt & pepper, with a honey ginger soy sauce, or crumbled up in fried salmon croquettes (one of my favorite childhood recipes from my mom). I was coming off a 3 day vegetarian cleanse so I just wanted a different taste. Pesto sauce is one of my kitchen MVPS and it didn’t disappoint. I served this with a lemon orzo and roasted brussels sprouts. Very Italian, but no bread in sight! Best of all, G-Dub even liked it. Salmon is his least favorite fish (unless I make the croquettes) because “it always tastes like salmon” but the strong flavors in this dish made it more palatable for him. It’s a win win! 


PESTO PARMESAN SALMON WITH LEMON ORZO

Gorgeous crust on that salmon, nice char on the brussels sprouts and you can see the seasoning on the orzo. Yummy! (P.S. Don’t come for me and my paper plate. I recycle!)


Servings: 2 
Prep Time: 2 minutes    Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
2, 4oz salmon filets 
1 cup orzo
2 tbsp panko crumbs
2 tsp basil pesto sauce
2 tsp parmesan cheese
2 tsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
Olive oil (spray or bottled, either is fine)
Italian seasoning
Pepper
Salt
(Note: I don’t measure spices because I just sprinkle until it looks seasoned)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small pan or oven safe dish with just enough olive oil to coat it. You don’t need more than 1 teaspoon of oil if you’re pouring from a bottle.
  2. Put on a pot of water (about 2 cups). Lightly salt the water and put on medium high heat to bring to a boil.
  3. While the water is on, mix together the panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Season the salmon to taste with the Italian seasoning. Place the salmon in the pan skin side down (if your salmon has skin, otherwise don’t worry about it). 
  5. Spoon the pesto over each piece of fish in a thin layer. Top with breadcrumb mixture and sprinkle any leftovers into the pan then put in the oven.
  6. Set your timer for 20 minutes if you like your fish well done, 10 minutes if you like it medium and 15 for medium well.
  7. When your water starts to boil, add the orzo and then lower heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Pasta should be done in about 10 minutes.
  8. When the orzo is cooked, drain the water off like you would spaghetti. Return to the pot and add lemon juice, butter, and Italian seasoning to taste. 
  9. Serve pasta alongside orzo and your vegetable of choice. Top the orzo with the breadcrumbs from the pan. Mangia!

As you can see, we had our dish with roasted brussels sprouts. I didn’t include them in the recipe because it’s literally throwing them on a sheet pan, sprinkling on some salt and pepper and a couple sprays of olive oil PAM. They’ll cook in 20 minutes along with the salmon. Super easy, super quick and super tasty!

Bits and bobs

  1. Life update: Things have been pretty busy lately. August I was deep into my introvert bag and trying to unplug. September was back to business at work, and it’s going to be a busy fall for me. I have four lawsuits to file before Christmas (a divorce, a bankruptcy, and two actions for quiet title) and this week at work we’re being audited. So everything is weird and kind of tense because even though the auditors gave us a list of people they’d be interviewing and cases they’d be reviewing, they’re still lurking around the hallways so people are spooked. 

    2. This month my brother, Sunny and Maya all came to visit so it has snowballed into a social month for me. There’s an end of audit work happy hour on Friday (ugh, I haven’t RSVP’d yet); I met Diana for brunch last weekend and we’re doing pedicures this weekend, and I’ve caught up with Jaleesa and Maxine on the phone. It’s been good to touch base with everybody, I have some pretty cool friends. 

    3. I’m making progress on the wellness front too. I haven’t met all my goals (which is more a function of me making unrealistic goals than actual failure) but I am set to exit age 30 better than I entered it. Yesterday I slid into a pair of work pants that I could barely button up six months ago. My strength and stamina are consistently improving. I have a three month streak of working out at least 3 times a week. I’m finally starting to feel like having a healthy lifestyle is something that is attainable for me. I’m contemplating doing some kind of clean eating boot camp going up to Thanksgiving to kind of kick start things before we go into the season of sweets and starches. ( I started to say Whole 30 but if you can’t eat bread, grains, beans, sugar, or dairy, life is just not worth living).

    4. Michael Kors bought Versace (did you know he bought Jimmy Choo last year?) and I’m ready for a VERSACE Versace diffusion line
    at Macy’s (see also: MICHAEL Michael Kors, RACHEL Rachel Roy, and LAUREN Ralph Lauren). I will be the first in line to buy a tacky blouse. And yes, it will be for the sole purpose of a IG picture of me wearing said blouse in front of the gate at my house captioned “Versace, Versace, Medusa head on me like I’m ‘luminati/This is a gated community, please get the f*ck off the property (GATE!)”

5. My husband and I have been trying to save money to pay off debt, buy a house, and other adult things so we’ve been bringing lunch from home at least once a week and cooking dinner one more night a week (4 meals instead of 3). We have saved so much money that I’m ashamed to say how much! I honestly cringe when I think about how much we could have saved have we started earlier, but c’est la vie. The reduction in fast food and Chinese takeout didn’t hurt my waistline either. The “we got food at home” budget will change your life, even with a seemingly minimal change so I highly recommend it. 

6. Went to the movies two weekends in a row. “A Simple Favor” was better than expected! It had “Gone Girl” vibes, but a little more comedy. I was a little reluctant to see “Venom” because the trailers had such a horror movie feel and jump cuts make me jump out of my skin. But it was a weird sort of romantic comedy and somehow, it worked. I wouldn’t even be mad at a sequel.