Tag Archives: date night in

Journey Journal: Days 25-28

Day 25: Friday, January 25, 2013

Today was likely the coldest day of the year so far. I got sent home early from work because of icy roads, so I had a chance to get in some R&R, including baking some multi-grain bread with flax, sesame, and poppy seeds. It turned out pretty good. Next time, I’m going to try soaking the oats before adding them to the dough though, to see if it will help make the bread more moist. When Bryan got home from work, we had a “date night in” of homemade pizza (light on the cheese; heavy on the vegetables) and watched a movie, before heading to bed early.

Day 26: Saturday, January 26, 2013

Woke early and sent Bryan off to ski with our Jr. High group from church. Never did fall back asleep. Finally rolled out of bed around 9AM and had a cup of coffee and some leftover pizza from last night’s “date night in” (I’m a sucker for cold pizza for breakfast…don’t judge.) Went to a workout with my friend Leigh at GOGA Studios–it was an interesting concept, working out on a vibrating platform, so your muscles have to work extra hard to stay balanced. I especially enjoyed the vibrating massage and sauna! It took a little longer than planned, so I ran straight to my next appointment without eating lunch (bad idea).

Today was the day we got our cow! No, we’re not becoming farmers; several families in our church went in on a cow and had it butchered. It’s a semi-hefty chunk of cash up front, but then I don’t have to buy beef for a whole year (we still have about 8 packs from last year, so we’ll try to use those up first). Last year, the friend who ordered the cow separated it all out himself; this year, several of us decided to pitch in and help with the heavy lifting (literally…grand total of about 1,460 pounds between 9 families!). Not sure if I’m more sore from GOGA or beef sorting, but it was a good day’s work…took about two hours to get it all separated out.

Had a quick (albeit late) lunch, then closed my eyes for about 15 minutes before the nephews arrived so my sister and her husband could have a date night. We had a good time, filled with Wii and Stratego and homemade hamburgers.

Day 27: Sunday, January 27, 2013

After yesterday’s extremely long and exhausting day for both of us, we declared today’s day of rest to actually include rest, so we went out to lunch using a gift card from Christmas at lunch. It was a nice break from cooking. Trying to eat no dairy at a restaurant is more challenging than I thought. Fortunately, the chef was happy to cook the green beans in olive oil instead of butter and to put the cream sauce on the side; besides, the grilled chicken was very flavorful without the sauce, so I’m not sure why I would want to add the extra calories anyway. Bryan had steak and shrimp with green beans and rice, and we both had salads too (we skipped the bread basket and dessert, and both of us brought half of our lunches home for another meal).  I thought about going on a walk, but after all the workouts we did yesterday, I opted to take a brief nap before evening service. Then Bryan made curry for dinner! And we were in bed by about 10:30!

Day 28: Monday, January 28, 2013

Tired today, which is weird since we went to bed earlier than normal last night. Drinking lots of water. Breakfast was sourdough toast with peanut butter and marmalade and a cup of hot green tea. Good 30 minute workout at lunch, followed by a meal of meatloaf, potato wedges, green beans, and a pear. A good day of work, but ready for another early bed time. We’ve been getting to bed earlier on these more active days, and it makes it easier to get up the next day, so I want to keep this pattern going while I can. Bible reading has not been quite as good this past week, so I’m excited to jump back into John and Exodus this week. I think if I can discipline myself to get to bed on time, I would be able to concentrate most effectively on the Word first thing in the morning–with a cup of coffee in hand. After a supper of curried lentils and a mixed greens salad with strawberries, leftover grilled chicken, slivered almonds, and avocados, three of my friends came over for our bi-weekly Bible Study and Fellowship. It was good to rehearse the works of the Lord over the past two weeks, and to pray together for His strength through the next two weeks and beyond. I was once again overwhelmed with my unloveliness and Christ’s great and unconditional love.

Journey Journal: Days 10-11

Day 10: January 10, 2013

Long day. Good walk with my friend Shannah at lunch today! It was exactly the break I needed to refresh and hit the ground running again at work. Had a yummy salad of mixed greens, vibrantly colored peppers, diced green onion and celery seed dressing, along with a delicious piece of pork tenderloin! I love it when my food is both nutritious and colorful! Spent a good chunk of my day in the Word, working on a Study Guide. For dinner, we made a big batch of jumbo stuffed shells, filled with lean ground turkey, cooked greens, and part skim cheese, onion, garlic, and plenty of herbs, and topped with homemade marinara sauce. Then we watched My Neighbor Totoro, which happens to be one of my favorite anime films! It was a wonderful and quiet evening for a “date night in”!

Day 11: January 11, 2013

Started the day with some baked apples, a banana, and half of a bagel. Got a good start on my assignments for the work day, and then had a lunch of that beautiful salad (same as yesterday) and leftover stuffed shells–yum! Very profitable day at work…always encouraging, especially before a weekend! Tonight is dinner with friends, and I made a special loaf of artisan bread that has whole wheat, oatmeal, flax and sesame seeds. Can’t wait to pair it with Rachel’s Tomato Tortellini Soup!

Another Fun Double Date Night In

Tonight was another random, last minute, double date night in. Our friends Leigh and Nate’s anniversary was yesterday, so I sent them an email and told them we should get together again soon. They suggested tonight, so we said sure! They came over for a healthful Lasagna (we use the recipe on the back of the Barilla No Bake Lasagna noodles box and substitute ground turkey for the beef/sausage; plus, every time it says to add meat, add meat AND veggies–we used 1 c. frozen spinach, 1 small zucchini, 1 small yellow squash and about 8 chopped baby carrots). Plus they brought garlic bread and we made a salad (see below).

Green Salad with Carrots in the center, surrounded by a Caprese Salad of roma tomatoes, mozzarella, capers and chopped fresh basil. Drizzle with olive oil and your favorite vinegar and sprinkle with salt & pepper or your favorite seasoning grinder. Yum!

For dessert, we had a rich cup of French Roast coffee and Double Chocolate Torte (gluten-free vegan recipe from Oh She Glows). Even the dessert is full of good-for-you stuff, don’t knock it before you’ve tried it. Seconds will be had…guilt-free! Delicious chilled, at room temperature, or my favorite way–frozen!

picture courtesy of Oh She Glows

After dessert, they ended up teaching us two new games. If you hadn’t noticed, games are one of our favorite things to do. We played a lot of games during our dating years, especially Settles of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Scrabble and Dutch Blitz. We even had game nights that we co-hosted weekly during our first couple of years of marriage. Six years later, the frequency of games has decreased, but we still enjoy board and card games quite a bit.

Last time Nate and Leigh were here, they taught us Dominion, and it became a fast favorite, to the point we “had” to buy it and have played it for date nights multiple times since then (good for 2 players). Tonight, they taught us Small World and 7 Wonders–both are very good games!

“Risk”-esque game of conquering territories. Only 9 turns per player, but has a bit more of a learning curve than 7 Wonders and takes a bit more time with strategizing.

A fast-paced, easy to learn game for 3+ players, with multiple strategies and outcomes.

Thank God for like-minded friends and lasting memories of fun nights together! And Happy Anniversary, Nate and Leigh!

My Funny Valentine, Sweet Comic Valentine…

We don’t go out for Valentine’s Day. And we don’t buy flowers or stuffed animals, or anything like that. But we did decide to celebrate and have a special “us night” in. We started with a special organic stir-fry dinner (recipe below), then went for a nice walk, stopped by Target and picked out Valentine’s Day cards, exchanged them, and promptly stuck them back on the shelves, laughing and smiling. Then we headed home for some organic strawberries and organic chocolate truffles (free from Earthfare this week), while watching a sweet & funny episode of Chuck (one of our favorite TV series). I love hanging out with my man!

He created a fabulous ginger citrus stir-fry tonight, using all kinds or organic goodness! Here’s the ingredients:

  • 2-3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 bunch of organic baby bok choy, chopped
  • 8 organic baby carrots, chopped
  • 8 organic baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2″ fresh organic ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • juice of 1 organic blood orange (and zest, if desired)
  • 1 organic rotisserie chicken, about 3 lbs., shredded (seasoned with butter, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and garlic powder)

Start with a wok at 250-300F, add butter and melt, then add vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes, then ginger, garlic and juice and cook for 1-2 more minutes, and finally the chicken, until warmed through.

Serve with the following accompaniment, sauteed over medium low heat:

  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 4 organic scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 organic red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 organic green pepper, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Kame all-natural sweet chili sauce

Definitely eat with chopsticks and dim the lighting! (Sorry, the dinner pics were taken on Bryan’s iPhone, which didn’t like the dim lighting as much as we did!)

Bon Appetit! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Back to the Daily Grind

Yesterday was my first day back to work after a two week break. The break was definitely worth it! A few years ago, I went to a conference for Administrative Professionals, and the keynote speaker suggested that you always try to take two consecutive weeks of vacation in a row. Her reasoning was that it takes you the first week to wind down and “detox” or “process” and the second week is your true vacation. The next year I tried it and decided she was absolutely right, so I did it again this year and plan on continuing the trend for as long as I work outside the home. It’s hard to wait for the two weeks to arrive, especially when you see your coworkers taking days off here and there throughout the year, but when it comes, it’s worth the wait! I feel relaxed and recharged and even my outlook at home and work has changed to a more positive one.

I also started back with one of my personal training clients last night. She weighed in and we set out goals for the next 6 months, with monthly mile markers within the goals. It was a really good session, in my opinion. I think part of why going back to work yesterday wasn’t as hard was because I had the training session to look forward to. I really love encouraging people to live healthy lives. It’s so much fun!

We had absolutely no food in the house after our time away (we were in TN and OH with my family for the full two weeks and cleaned out our fridge before leaving). We didn’t make it to the grocery store on Monday, so we decided to have a date night out with some of our Christmas money. We ended up at Ruby Tuesdays. I tried their smashed cauliflower for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. I also tried their vegetarian minis (little burgers made out of brown rice and black beans, topped with a tiny square of Swiss, lettuce, tomato, and bbq sauce). Yummy!! And it came with the salad bar. I ate all the cauliflower, 1 of the 2 minis, and had about 1 c. worth of salad leftover on my plate, so I had salad, apple salad, and a mini for lunch today. I didn’t even warm up the mini; it was delicious cold too! I also got my first free cup of coffee for the year from Liquid Highway today. I love Twitter Tuesdays!

Bryan picked me up from work at 5 and we headed for Publix (one of my favorite shopping experiences). I had looked at their ad online today and picked out some of the key items for our meals for the next couple of weeks and we stocked up! I got fresh beets, mustard greens, green onions, spinach, cabbage, carrots, apples, and baby bella mushrooms. Bryan picked out a whole grain bread, Boar’s head chicken breast, and Havarti for his lunches this week, and we got black beans and yellow rice. We also got eggs, almond milk, carrot juice, Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness juice (one of my special treats), oatmeal, and cereal. Publix brand really does have good prices and we scored several buy-one-get-one-free sales.

After we put the groceries away, I separated out the dough that Bryan had mixed together and put two in loaf pans and made the last third into pizza dough! I was so happy when I looked at the dough and saw that he had used whole wheat flour! We topped it with sauce, fresh mushrooms, ground venison, turkey pepperoni, and part skim mozzarella! Yum!!

And now he’s waiting for me to get off my computer so we can watch the latest episode of “Castle” together on hulu.com while we eat our pizza. Good night!