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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Black Eyed Pea Salad

2013 was something else.

We moved.

Grandpa passed away.

I trashed my ankle.

Major appliances kicked the bucket.

I’m not superstitious. I walk under ladders, and black cats don’t concern me.

Still, it never hurts to be on the safe side for 2014.

There are a couple things that are supposed to bring luck into the new year:




And black eyed peas.

We ate both tonight.


Luckily, we found the 2013 countdown on YouTube because even if the kids had been capable of staying up til midnight, their old, gray parents aren’t. Yes, it’s 9:45 PST. We’re in bed, having done the countdown at quarter to eight..


Luckily, my kids are thrilled with a veggie tray and crackers for dinner. Luckily, Dominoes is open New Year’s Eve so Matty B didn’t starve.


Luckily, I had coffee for lunch. a) I thought it might help me stay up, (no such luck) and b) I wanted a good appetite for the feast.


Veggies and hummus, Brussels sprouts dip and baguette, black eyed pea salad with crackers, stuffed mushrooms and…



Luckily, Miss Rae had a chance at the piñata before J Man got to it…



Luckily, I had the opportunity to wear my red sparkle shirt. I think the only other day this is acceptable is my birthday.


Luckily, I’m sharing this recipe.


Lucky you!

Best of luck for 2014!

Black Eyed Pea Salad


3 cans drained, rinsed black eyed peas
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped orange bell pepper
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBS sugar
Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Food and Fitness Plan

I’ve never been that girl who eats half of a salad and then pushes it away because I’m “too full.”

Nor am I one of those girls who obsessively watches the scale. Unless we’re talking about the Biggest Loser scale and I’m totally addicted to this season and watch it on my iPad in the morning on the treadmill. I love Bob Harper. Also, Jillian scares me.

December 29 is National “Get on the Scales Day.”

I obeyed.

It wasn’t horrifying, but the fudge, Waffle House, and snowball cookies took their toll.

Running with Racheal

You know how much I love lists.

So here’s my plan for this week.

Sunday: run 3 miles outside
Monday: elliptical – 30ish minutes
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: run 5k outside
Thursday: maybe I’ll convince my mom to go for a walk with me?
Friday: elliptical – 30ish minutes
Saturday: rest



Slow, but it was pretty icy outside and I wasn’t taking any chances…


Sunday night: English Muffin Pizzas, salad
Monday night: Pesto Tortellini with broccoli
Tuesday night: New Year’s Eve snacks
Wednesday night: Vegetable Calzones
Thursday night: Curry and Rice, peas
Friday night: burritos
Saturday night: game night snacks with friends


I love having a plan.

I’m totally that girl.

P.S. I’m also the girl who wears three pairs of sunglasses at the same time. Classy, no?


Sugar Doughnuts

There is a very small window of time where it is acceptable to make and consume these doughnuts.


It can’t be anytime after January 1 because 99% of the planet has some sort of healthy New Year’s resolution to keep. Don’t be the girl who shows up with warm deep fried doughnuts when everyone had kale juice for breakfast.


That’s right, I said deep fried. No baked doughnuts today.

But you can’t make them anytime before Christmas unless you want Santa to put coal in your stocking. These doughnuts certainly fall into the “naughty” category.


Basically, you have from December 27 (because we’re still in food comas on the 26th) to December 31 to make these doughnuts.


5 days.


Forget taking down the Christmas tree. You don’t have time. Besides, if your house is anything like mine, you’re still doing a daily countdown to turn on the lights. We don’t give up holidays quickly. Remember the picture of us wearing Halloween costumes while reading Christmas stories?


The kiddos liked the powdered sugar versions best but this is only because the other version doesn’t make as big of a mess. Also, J Man had a terrifying experience with a sizzlin’ cinnamon Jelly Belly and now anything with the word “cinnamon” in it is immediately vetoed.


He’s very startled by how good these are, apparently.

You can attempt to make these in March, maybe even February if you miss this golden opportunity, just don’t call them sizzlin’ cinnamon doughnuts or pair them with kale juice. Either choice will definitely get you off of the “nice” list. It’s important to plan ahead.


Sugar Doughnuts


1 cup almond milk
2 TBS earth balance vegan butter
2 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 packet yeast
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 TBS egg replacer powder

Canola oil for frying
Cinnamon/sugar, powdered sugar for topping


Heat milk in a small sauce pan until steaming. Add butter and sugar. Remove from heat. Once butter is melted, add pumpkin.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients. Mix with a hand mixer for about a minute until smooth. Dough will be sticky.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, roll dough out onto floured surface and cut into 12 squares/rectangles. Cover and let sit for another 30-45 minutes.

Heat oil until hot (I used a fry daddy and there’s only one temperature. Fry doughnuts one at a time, 45 seconds on each side. Cover warm doughnuts in your choice of sugar. Eat warm!

Thursday Thoughts, Part VIII

1. No. Just, no…


2. I won a spelling bee in 8th grade, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert. These worst spelling errors of 2013 make me laugh and cry all at the same time.

3. J Man got what he asked Santa for.


Yes, this is a Vikings jersey and a Broncos helmet. Today he told me that his favorite QB is Wilson of the Seahawks. He’s a little confused. Also, to contradict the picture, he does not have a unibrow.

4. I also stayed on Santa’s good side this year…



+1000 more things, but who really wants to see photos of other people’s Christmas gifts?

5. Your fashion tip of the week: Santa hats look good on everyone.



6. Is it too late to make these Peppermint Mocha Waffles? What about these Pecan Pie Bars? Because if Matty B continues to hum “Frosty the Snowman” all the live long day, I’m gonna scream, but I still want peppermint and pecan pie.

7. I’m making aebelskivers for New Year’s Eve. Who’s in?


Christmas Survey, 2013

I took a cue from Amanda at Running With Spoons and went for this Christmas Survey.

P.S. This is merely an excuse for a plethora of photos that have only Christmas in common… Be warned.


How soon do you start shopping?

I used to love Christmas shopping. And then I had children and got old. Now the crowds stress me out and I never know what to get people! This year, it was Amazon wishlists all the way! One night of internet browsing. Poof. Done.

Do you bake cookies?

Yessiree. This year we made snowballs (Russian tea cakes), pizelles, Santa cookies, and fudge. Is fudge a cookie? I don’t know but it was delicious!


Do you put up a Christmas tree?

Always. Even when we’re going to Florida for the holiday!


Real or fake?

My preference is real and in a perfect world, we cut our own tree. However, an artificial tree is so easy and especially convenient because…

Do you put lights on it?

…the tree comes prelit:)

Cranberries or popcorn?

Both delicious to eat, but what working mother of two has time to thread cranberries on a string? Do you know how long that takes?

Do you use tinsel?

Absolutely not. There are stale Cheerios, Mickey Mouse stickers and random Polly Pocket dolls in my carpet. Do I need something else?

Homemade or store bought ornaments?

Mostly store bought, but I have a feeling as J Man and Miss Rae’s school careers progress, that’s gonna change.

Do you put up lights outside your house?

Do good intentions count? The issues are many, but the most important ones being time (limited), ability (Matty B, alone) and pickiness of performance (me).

Do you celebrate Christmas Eve?

Fondue dinner, Christmas talent show that ALL are required to participate in, and usually presents.

Do you hang up stockings?

They are typically bulging and falling off of the mantle. Someone usually puts chocolate in the toe and then turns on the fireplace.


Christmas movie:

Home Alone. Just not sure if 1 or 2 is better.

Christmas song:

Sacred: Go Tell It On The Mountain. I don’t know why, I just love it.

Secular: The Christmas Song. You know, “chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”?

Christmas cookie:

It’s a toss up between peanut brittle and snowballs, but you might argue that peanut brittle isn’t a cookie. You know what I hate? Divinity. Sorry, mom.

This or that:

Give or receive:

Would you judge me if I said receive?:) I think watching my kiddos open their gifts is the best!


Ham or turkey?

How about Tofurkey?:) Actually, Quorn makes an awesome “dinner roast”.

Star or angel?



White or colored lights?

White. No exceptions.


Still or blinking?

Still. No exceptions.

When do you open gifts?

Usually Christmas Eve, but this year we’re rocking Christmas morning. Maybe my dad will be able to stay awake through the festivities this way:)

What’s on your list this Christmas?

Compression socks. And ShaSha already came through! Yay!

What’s the best Christmas gift you ever received?

Cricket, the talking doll. (Kinda like Teddy Ruxpin. Remember him?)


The worst?

I’m not sure I’ve ever received these as a gift, but please never get me Aplets and Cotlets. Gross.

Do you like wrapping gifts?


Circumstances must be perfect. If children are in bed and Christmas music is playing and I have good materials to work with and hot chocolate is within arms reach, yes. Otherwise, no. Side note: I get a lot of joy out of using up a roll of wrapping paper. Is that weird?

Can you name all the reindeer?

Yes. But more importantly, is it Donner or Donder?


Have you ever gone caroling?

We used to when I was a kid and I loved it and I wish someone would carol with me again. Matty B…?

Do you drive around and look at Christmas lights?

For sure. Matty B says that this was one of his favorite things we did this holiday season. We made Unk C come with us and we bundled the kids up and took hot chocolate and drove around looking at lights. The. Best.


Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I’m a northwest girl- you bet!

Do you do pictures with Santa?

Evidence below. When we were kids, my mom took my brother and I. Imagine the same picture, but I’m J Man and my brother is Miss Rae.


What part of Christmas do you look forward to the most?

Seriously can’t choose. I love all of our traditions, old and new. I love all the food! I love seeing Christmas “new” again through my kids.



I’ve Never…

Have you played this game before? “I’ve Never…”?

Certainly there are different names and variations, but the game I’ve played involves a group of people sitting in a circle while one person in the middle makes an “I’ve Never” statement, such as…

I’ve never ridden in a helicopter.
I’ve never had chicken pox.
I’ve never eaten escargot.
I’ve never been buried in snow.
I’ve never totaled a car.
I’ve never eaten at a Waffle House.

All the people in the circle who have, in fact, done those things, have to jump up and trade places.

For the record, for each of the above statements, other than THE LAST ONE, I would be tearing around the circle looking for a chair.

And now, today, on this 23rd day of December, I’m proud to say that I have eaten at a Waffle House.


I don’t think that Waffle Houses are a northwest thing. I’m told by the Florida Bryants and the east coast Bryants that it is a “cultural breakfast experience”.


I was anxious to be one of the cool kids, so we ate 2nd breakfast (yes, that’s how we do it) at the Waffle House. Is it THE Waffle House or just Waffle House? I’m new.


Photo narration: this is Matty B pretending to cut a plastic farm animal in half with a chainsaw carrying Bob the Builder. All of the above mentioned items were found in my purse. You must always be prepared when attending (A? The?) Waffle House.


Each of our waffles was $3.60. We paid $0.25 extra for chocolate chips. Totally worth it.


And now my life is complete.

Next step: therapy to help me deal with the trauma of tasting escargot, totaling my car, and being buried in snow…

I’ve never been to a therapist…

Running in FL

I’m not one to pass up a cupcake.



Or apple pie…


Or a cake pop…


Or biscoff cookies, animal crackers, or goldfish…


I did pass on the pacifier…


Although Miss Rae capitalized on this rare opportunity…

And because of my willingness to embrace every delightful taste of Christmas, I also embrace most opportunities for a good run.

Running in Florida is another story. I got up early to avoid the heat. It was still 66 degrees.


This is how I dress for a winter run in Washington:


This is how I dress for a winter run in Florida:


I’m not sure what’s wrong with my lips. Maybe it was the fact that I had just finished running in a sauna. Typically, it’s hard for me to breathe because my lungs are frozen. Today’s run felt like I was breathing in giant mouthfuls of steam. I choked through 2.8 miles. That was enough.

In general, it’s impossible to please me.

I take that back.


Running past rows of palm trees was pretty fabulous. And then I went inside and ate a giant Einstein bagel.

I never pass up a bagel.

P.S. I’m 29 miles into my Holiday Running Streak! Only 6 miles to go before January 1st!