Thursday, December 31, 2009

Love the one you're with

Well, when it comes to workout machines, I'm TRYING ;p I have to admit that when I went downstairs this afternoon, both elliptical machines were occupado so I decided to walk on the treadmill until one was open. That walk got me itching to jog and I totally started upping the speed when a machine opened up. Coincidence or sign?? HMM??

This morning I was catching up on blogs (still WAY behind) and noticed Kelly's Elliptical Challenge 2010. Perfect timing! I signed my broken self up and am psyched for this extra bit of motivation! Here's the quick rundown:
  • Challenge runs December 27, 2009 to January 30, 2010.
  • Each participant sets a personal goal - mine is to do at least 3 workouts (at least 40 minutes each) a week.
  • Goals are logged in a shared spreadsheet and if you meet your weekly goals, you'll be entered to win a $10 iTunes gift card.
This afternoon's workout brings me to 80 minutes of elliptical fun. Yowza. I got a little sweatier this time around since I tweaked Tuesday's workout a bit. This time, instead of focusing on how much I dread the machine, I decided to focus on ways I could make it work for me/ways to keep me distracted haha.

I went with a higher crossramp level (10) and lower resistance level (1) for my warm up, recovery and cool down. For the tougher parts, I brought the crossramp level down to 6 and upped the resistance to 7. I'm sure those are really dinky numbers to the advanced elliptical lover, but hey, I'm trying!

Numbers ALWAYS distract me. Sometimes during a really tough long run, I'll find myself trying to do math in my head (usually calculating how far we have left or how much we've already run). It's not easy, but the minutes and miles FLY BY. Anyway, I nerded out and decided to pay attention to my strides per minute.
During the tough parts, I made sure I stayed between 185 and 195...sometimes jumping up to 200 if a good song was on. Recovery strides were between 165 and 175.

All I have to say is that nerding out made the time go by super fast. I think the hardest part was the 10 minute cool down! haha. Closed my workout out with some calf stretching and instead of toe taps, I did this other exercise recommended by my PT that has me doing laps in my living room. Basically I squat and walk on my toes. Quite a sight.

Sorry for the lack of pictures! I'm off to prep some appetizers for a NYE party I'm headed to this evening in Arlington. Definitely remembering my camera!! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year's! Mine's going wonderfully so far...especially after getting a mid-morning call from the birthday boy Okinawa! Yaay :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mix it up!

My original Wednesday plan involved taking my tree down, doing laundry and crashing early. Around 4pm I decided to change it up and skip the tree trashing for some sushi at Sakana with Susan. Of course, things changed once again before I made it home and here I am hanging out w/some laundry, dishes and a messy dinner bowl
Sometimes you need a good bowl of comfort and that is exactly what this was! I snagged a box of these at the Giant because I must admit, I actually do love a fake-meat product...
Usually I can't find the Boca Flame Grilled Burgers, so I get really excited when I do see them in a store. They smell and taste (well, sort of) like a smoky, grilled burger. Two thumbs up in my book! I chopped 2 patties up and tossed them into a bowl of Fiery Fiesta Kashi Pilaf
along with some corn, black beans, pepperjack, spinach and arugula before nuking it for 2 -3 minutes. Put some in a tupperware for lunch tomorrow, and then added some avocado and hot sauce onto my dinner bowl. YUUUM. Much cheaper than a night of sushi! Or at least that's what I'm telling myself ;p

I needed something comforting after today. I had PT this morning and I FINALLY got a 10 minute jog in on the treadmill as my PT watched and informed me I run all screwy which is probably why I'm broken. Sad. I am impressed that I made it 10 minutes with only some tightness on the outside of my ankle. Wooo. Baby steps!

After that I had a doctor's appointment that concluded with an 'oh, it's been about 10 years since your last tetanus vaccination. You should probably get one today.' Do you know how long it's been since I've gotten a vaccination?? I don't even get flu shots. I found myself getting super anxious as I waited for the nurse. GAAAHHH! I felt like such a little kid!! The actual shot was painless, but now my arm is sore. Yes, I'm a big baby ;p
After dinner I turned on the TV and this was on:
HA. I thought it was kinda fitting to watch since I did just skip my high school reunion. So, does anyone else think it's crazy how much older 28 seemed back then? Or at least how much more mature/old 28-year olds were portrayed in the late 90s? Random thought. Moving on...

I'm making some fun food for NYE and I can't wait to share it with you guys! First fun kitchen experiment since PTT Dinner! Woo!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Arch Nemesis

O yes, I dread this machine. I hate it. With a passion. I'd even take a run on the treadmill over this!

I was in desperate need of a good sweat session so I listened to a friend's suggestion to do intervals to keep things interesting. Plan was an easy 10 minute warm up followed by 6 sets of 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery and a 10 minute cool down. I ended up only doing 4 sets because I didn't feel like eating a late dinner ;p Followed it up with my toe taps (per PT's instructions to strengthen the achilles), some bended knee calf stretches and foam rolling (to loosen up my freakishly tight soleus muscle). Feeling good!!

I've had this turkey sammich craving for a couple weeks now and I finally grabbed some Boar's Head Low Sodium Turkey Breast and sammich fixins at the Gigante on Sunday. I toasted some Flax & Grain bread with some pepperjack cheese and then smeared it with Spicy Apple Mustard (obsessed!) before piling on some turkey, cucumber and avocado.
I was hoping to get some red in there, but I couldn't find any roasted red peppers in the house. Could have sworn I had a jar stashed somewhere! Grr. On the side, a mix of 'tropical fruit' and pineapple from Whole Foods.
I don't know why, but fresh (not canned - yuck) pineapple always makes me's up there with watermelon! I think this was also my first papaya experience. Usually I stay away from papaya because I don't really like mushy fruit. This was actually pretty tasty. Not too sweet and not offensively mushy. Yum.

So I'm going to work backwards to Christmas since I've been a terrible blogger :[

I checked the mail as soon as I got home on Saturday and sure enough there was Jamie's package of goodies! He said he was sending over this crazy Korean instant coffee he's been drinking but I didn't expect this:
A giant sack of 100 individual coffee packs! Jeebus!
I must say this definitely came at an appropriate time. We're in temporary office space right now and there's no coffee machine! I brought a couple packets into work today and tested it out. Nuked a mug of water, poured the contents of the packet in and stirred. Poof instant coffee. I mean, it's on the weak side (mostly creamer with a hint of sweet), but I'll take caffeine in any form in the morning. I may save the rest of the bag for Jamie's return.

Christmas brought some fun new things to my home, including this guy:
O yes, a measuring cup man. He's super bendy and has suction cup feet. Cannot wait to use this...or at least prop him up in the kitchen. Hello stress man!

Before there was Christmas, there was Christmas Eve! In my family, we do the big hurrah on Christmas Eve at my uncle's house in Long Island. Usually it's a big gathering (my dad is one of 7 and I have at least 19 first cousins, some who have sprouted a ton of children of their own) with tons of food. This year was a bit tame since a few family members were out of town. That didn't stop the food from flowing! There was a mix of Italian and Filipino food, catered and made by family members. My mom brought some roast beef, I made a fennel and mixed green salad and my sister made a ton of cookies. Unfortunately I once again forgot to bust out the camera :( I did rock the camera phone though ;)
The heaviest cake known to man. I'm still trying to figure out why it was so heavy - we're talking at least 5 pounds...and it wasn't even that big of a cake! Poor brother-in-law had to wait in a line of like 100 people to pick it up! It was yellow and chocolate cake layered with raspberry and chocolate mousse. Maybe it was the layer of chocolate mousse? It was pretty

Every year there's also a huge, gorgeous tree:
Perfect shape, right? Makes me a little sad my tree is dead and shedding needles :( I got a package on Tuesday night from Jamie's uncle filled with ornaments to add to the tree. I was so psyched to make it look less naked, but when I went to put one on the needles just fell to the ground :( I think it's time to take it down *sigh*

More news in the world of plants - Red is dead. Well, not totally dead. The leaves are still green, but the redness has gone brown. Even with water, plant food and sunshine (well, as much sunshine as we've gotten lately)! Eleven whole days...I think that's a bit of an accomplishment for me! Woo!

How was everyone's Christmas? Any fun New Years plans? I'm keeping it low key - something I've come to appreciate as I grow older ;p A certain someone is celebrating NYE/his birthday in Okinawa this year...hopefully we'll get a travel report? *hint, hint*

Monday, December 28, 2009

Still here!

Hey all! Just wanted to squeeze a quickie post in to say hi.

It's a quiet Monday in the office so I thought I'd catch up on blogs. The past week has been a bit nutty and I'm trying to get myself into a groove...and back into the gym - ugh, I really do hate everything but running. Dinners are boring (one, two, three - SALAD!), but I'll try to make at least one fun thing this week! Promise!

I picked this book up on Wednesday for some fun train ride reading:

Ok, I think it's fun train ride reading. Basically Michael Ruhlman (you may remember him from such TV shows as Iron Chef America, No Reservations, and A Cook's Tour - yes, I typed that with Troy McClure in mind) writes about his experiences as a student at the CIA. You know how Kitchen Confidential gives you a glimpse of what it's like in the restaurant/professional chef world? The Making of a Chef gives you a detailed look into what it's like to be a culinary student. Who knew there was a class just for culinary math? I certainly didn't...but now I do and honestly, that's the sort of math I might be able to handle.

I'm less than 100 pages in and am hooked. Will keep you posted.

Hope everyone had a delicious and fun Christmas!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

C is for cookie...

I'm not much of a baker. In fact, I'm terrible at following directions...which is why I usually steer clear of baking. For some reason, I felt compelled to bake last night. Compelled to bake not one batch of cookies, but THREE different kinds. Holy potatoes.

I picked up 2lbs of butter, a tub of shortening, a container of sugar, a bag of flour and a crapton of chocolate chips. It was a party in my shopping cart.

I decided on Monday that I was going to lay off the sweet treats for an entire month (I tend to eat a ton of sweet treats during the holidays for no apparent reason - I don't even like sweets!), but the Betty Crocker in me was triggered and I thought I should bake a bunch of cookies for my coworkers - running store and office. It seemed like the appropriate holiday thing to do.

I browsed Foodgawker and found three cookies I really really wanted to make (note, these are what they are supposed to look like):

Chocolate Chip Shortbread courtesy of Not without Salt
Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies courtesy of The Recipe Girl
Pudding Cookies courtesy of Taste and Tell
How did mine turn out?? Um, I think they were pretty successful...considering I'm a novice baker. My hand mixer is from CVS. My arm got sore after the first cookie. I only own spatulas that come with gift packs. I had to pick up cooling racks at the Giant because I don't find them to be a necessary item in my home.

First cookie up - Chocolate Chip Shortbread.
These were pretty easy to make. Very few ingredients and I think the hardest part was rolling it in parchment to chill. My cookies are a bit misshapen as you can see ;p. The final product was a little greasier than I expected...but I guess that comes with all the butter that was used hehe.

This guy had to chill for at least 30 minutes so I got started on the dough as soon as I devoured a bowl of this, which btw, was delicious for canned soup. It also had the least amount of sodium of Amy's Organic canned soups:
I scarfed the soup down pretty quickly because I hadn't eaten since noon...and at noon I only had a salad. Totally had the shakes. It was a little sweet for a black bean soup, so I tossed in some extra corn (can't go wrong with extra corn!) and some Texas Pete for a li'l kick.

While the Chocolate Chip Shortbread chilled, I started on the Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies.
Apparently I own the last bag of Candy Cane Kisses on the planet. I went to THREE stores and couldn't find them anywhere! Luckily I had grabbed a bag for home decor last weekend and didn't touch them. Score. I unwrapped the entire bag of Kisses before I realized the recipe only called for ONE CUP not ONE PACKAGE. Oopsie!
So I chopped those suckers up and sprinkled them on top and then drizzled only a portion of the bag of white chocolate chips. SO YUMMY. The rest of the white chocolate chips went into these bad boys (my second favorite of the bunch)
These Pudding Cookies were pretty delish. I prefer white chocolate chips to regular chocolate chips any day and these were fantastic with the pudding mix, which is used to keep the cookies chewy. Do you prefer crispy or chewy cookies?

I have you know that I sampled one of each before packing a few up to send to Jamie and distribute to coworkers. :)

I had a mini snow day today and got lazy with dinner as I chatted with Jamie on the phone. I grabbed a small butternut squash, a bag of spinach and a wee ham (we're talking like no wider than a CD case. I was going to get fancy and saute things, but I ended up just roasting the squash with some salt, olive oil, nutmeg, thyme and sage. Since I was on the phone when the squash was done roasting, I threw some chopped up ham and all the spinach into the roasting pan with the squash. Tossed it with the squash, added some garlic powder and put it back in for another 15 minutes.
Final product was not pretty, but it wasn't inedible. Could have been better though. Scooped some in a bowl,
poured a glass of wine and turned on Empire Records - LOVE DVR and I forgot how much I loved that movie AND the soundtrack...even to this day! Great end to a snow day! Hope everyone is staying warm!!

hello hello hello

Well people, I thought I would send this week's update out on Karena's blog. Maybe I will start using it more so that there's a record of what I have written about while I am in Korea.

A lot has happened since last week! Originally, I was staying in ramshackle base lodging and my reservation was set to end 16-Dec. Click the link and look at the picture for "building entrance." That is where I was staying, the only difference is that there is no parking lot. It is a dirt/mud patch for all of the contractors working on the new lodge. Fortunately/unfortunately, my reservation was cut short for a Distinguished Visitor (DV). It seems there are a lot of these coming to base since the new lodge is nearing completion and is half a year behind schedule (at least). I pity the person moving out of the main lodging buildings because they will be welcomed by a shared bathroom, wind shooting up under the front door, no internet, and five TV channels. I was a little worried because I have been unsuccessful in all of my attempts to find off-base lodging. Lucky for me there was a nice civilian working on Sunday. I told him my problems and he immediately knew of a place. I'm now staying at the New Motel Fox for 50,000KRW a night (or about 44USD). I pay weekly and it is about 310USD which includes tax and my credit card's "foreign currency charge." Motel Fox is a "love motel" but it is not seedy or anything. In fact, it is probably 10 times nicer than base lodging I was in. I have a heated queen size bed, 50" flat screen HD TV, internet, HUGE bathroom with a two person whirlpool tub, stand-up shower, and nifty robotic toilet (I love the heated seat). The TV gets about 70 channels although only about 10 are in English. I can even watch soccer (EPL and Serie A)!! I have gotten hooked on this Korean feudal drama. I don't understand anything about it but I love the costumes, settings, and action. There is a lot of butt kicking going on. They also have free movies in English. Hard part is that the titles are all in Korean, so if I can't identify the movie by the actors or the cover I have to start watching it. There are also a lot of small convenience stores and restaurants around my hotel. I have explored a bit, but am trying to conserve money since I'm not on per diem. I wish I could go hog wild though because there are lots of great smells outside of my hotel. Downside to my new room is that I don't have a microwave. So thank you to everyone who has sent me food from home, but it looks like I'll have to try and cook it at my office (they do have a microwave). I have been contemplating buying a hot plate, pot, and pan but it seems like an extra expense that I don't want to incur. I will be making a trip to the commissary today or tomorrow to get some stuff like bread, lunchmeat, milk, cereal, fruits and other stuff that doesn't require cooking.

My first night at the Motel Fox I went to the convenience store on the corner (GS25). I bought a tub of ramen and discovered the holy grail of a "Pitcher in a Bottle; a 1600mL bottle of yummy beer. For those conversion challenged folks out there, 1600mL is 1.6 litres or 54 ounces. Everything totaled 5500KRW (about 4.69USD) and it included almost all of Jamie's Food Groups: beer, salt, dehydrated meat and veggies, grains, and MSG. The only two missing were candy and fried goods. I didn't realise that my pitcher-bottle would go down so easy so I woke up with a bit of a headache on Monday. As for restaurants, the only one I have explored is called Chicken and Beer...or that is what I think it is called since I can't decipher the Hangul on the outside of the building. At C&B you get a plate of Korean fried chicken pieces (they only had wings when I stopped in) served with sides of salt/pepper, a sticky/sweet/spicy sauce, pickled radish cubes, and tasty Korean bar snacks. The Korean fried chicken is different from the stuff back home. Don't think of Popeyes, Chuch's, KFC or Bojangles here. The batter is light and crispy and I think is only seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper. It was very delicious and hit the spot but it was not an earth shattering meal. I'm not running back to C&B every night for fried chicken. I do have a funny story about my visit to C&B. I sat down at the table with a menu and ordered one of the three things they had pictures of. I also mistakenly pointed to the 1700mL that was LARGER than my pitcher-bottle from the previous night. The woman gave me a real crazy look and made lots of hand gestures to cheaper options. I just kept nodding and saying "Yes. Beer." I didn't realise that I was trying to order 1.7L of beer for just myself. Yes, I know some of you are going to think "Jamie, I'm disappointed. I thought you would never back down from beer of any kind." After a few more hand gestures on my part the waitress left. "I guess I got my message across" I thought. She came back a few minutes later with a one litre mug of beer. At that point I figured out what the whole scene was about a couple of minutes earlier. I smiled, nodded, and thanked her in Korean. I'm sure I could have finished the 1.7L but I think the walk across the street to my hotel would have been interesting. I was telling this story to a coworker on Tuesday and he asked me what I would have done if she brought the 1.7L bottle. I laughed and said "I don't know. Part of me would have probably tried to finish it. Also, this is Korea so I could probably get away with just taking the unfinished bottle and walking out of the restaurant. I haven't heard any warnings for open container laws here."

One funny observation about heating in Korea. They don't seem to enjoy using heaters in restaurants or bars. Everytime I go into one, it is freaking freezing. At C&B they had a portable heater and it was only up at halfway. I had to sit there eating my fried chicken with my full winter coat on and a sweater. I almost resorted to putting on my knit beanie but then I thought I would look ridiculous. It was a bit much whenever somebody walked in and the cold air would blow into the restaurant. The cooks/waitress was lucky. If she was cold she could just run back into the kitchen. I didn't have that luxury. Maybe next time I go in I will sit as close to the back as possible.

So let's see, what else is going on? Well on Saturday my team and I worked across the runway since neither the Air Force or ROKAF were flying. There were a couple of commercial flights during the day, but nothing serious. We just had to make sure we weren't near the runway when the planes were landing or taking off. It was pretty cool being so close to the runway when those things are landing or taking off. I'm glad that no military planes were flying though. My ears would have hated me. The subs would also stop work and wave whenever a commercial flight came by. It was pretty entertaining. It has been neat here recently because there are some planes here TDY from other bases so we have had the pleasure of watching them zoom around base.

Wednesday night we started getting hit with snow and it did not stop until today (Sunday). We were not able to work outside on Thursday or Friday. I was able to drive to base on Thursday and do some office work though. Friday it was just too bad. I thought it was going to let up eventually but I was totally wrong. I think we got about two feet total accumulation. It is supposed to rain today and wash some of this stuff away. Hopefully it doesn't freeze overnight though. With all of the snow I have been doing some driving in what we would call inclement weather back home. You would think that snow conditions would make people start obeying traffic laws a bit more, but it doesn't. It just makes cars travel slower. Buses seem to drive faster. They don't plow over here either which makes life interesting. You actually want to get out and travel in traffic because then it loosens up the snow and ice and turns it to slush...much easier to drive in. The main roads aren't too bad and I have not had any trouble. I have been running some red lights though! I'm not as gutsy as the drivers around here. I can't just blow through the lights. I actually slow down and treat them as yields now. Some day I hope to attain the level of the Koreans around here. It actually feels a bit liberating when you run a red light. Things will be fun when I get behind the wheel back in the states! At least I won't have to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road like they do in Okinawa.

I can't believe this week is Christmas. I miss all you friends and family back home; especially as a lot of you are getting together for drinks and socializing. It is also too bad that I missed Karena's Third Annual Post Thanksgiving Turkeyday. I heard everyone had a great time though. The food looked amazing. I read about it on the blog. My favorites were probably the sausage stuffing and the pumpkin trifle (good work Jorge)! If I was home I'm sure there would have not been a problem with excess leftovers. I was also envious of the appetizers. They looked delicious too. Maybe on Christmas I will find some place to grill up some galbi for myself. There is rumor of a comm. party so I might try to wrangle an invitation. I tell you, these comm. guys have been great to me. They are always friendly and take time to talk to me when they see me on base. None of them have hesitated to help out when I have needed it. It is really different from when I traveled to bases with SAIC. I guess back then we were doing compliance assessments so people where hesitant whenever I showed up. Here, everyone knows that I am trying to help them. They know that helping me will make their jobs easier in the future. Plus they've been ordered by the comm. CO so that helps :)

I hope everyone has a good Christmas and New Years. As most of you know I will be making my triumphant return to Okinawa for my birthday!!! Yay, I'm so excited to be stuffing my face with Okinawa soba, butteryaki, yakitori, and all sorts of delicious Okinawan food (think pork, kalamansi chu-hi, awamori, and Orion - YUM). No bitter melons this time! I'll probably write a couple of times after New Years about things here and my mini-vacation.

I want to thank everyone who has sent cookies, candy and stuff like that over. I share all of that stuff with my subs. They are great to me so I do all I can to let them know how much I appreciate them. I know it may be asking a lot, but if you feel like you want to send me treats, please consider that I will want to share them with my guys. I will tell you that they have enjoyed everything sent so far! In fact, I caught Mr. Cho (the old yoda) eating six sugar cookies one day. Every time I turned around he had a cookie in his hand...hahahaha! Mr. Cho is the guy who directs me along the tone paths and also teaches me to say things in Korean that everyone else laughs at.

Anyways, that is all for now. Everyone have great holidays and stay warm/dry/safe if you're in DC. I hear yall are getting rocked with the blizzard of 2009!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Squash, flowers and beets?

I may have devoured an entire spaghetti squash.
Whatever. Don't judge ;p

Tonight's dinner was inspired by Val's spaghetti squash post a couple days ago...I present to you spaghetti squash experiment numero dos!
I stopped at Whole Foods after work to pick up a few necessary items...squash, some grape tomatoes (um, tomates raisin?? hehe)
and some marinated fresh mozzerella.
I totally took a chance with these guys because I didn't read the label before buying. They just seemed like a good idea...and o boy were they! I ended up dumping in some of the seasoned olive oil and it added a great and subtle garlicky taste!

What else did I add to my DELICIOUS and light dinner? Check it out:
Caprese Spaghetti Squash
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise
marinated fresh mozzerella, quartered
handful fresh basil leaves
handful grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Drizzle spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 minutes at 425 degrees. While squash is roasting, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl (including oil from mozzerella). Scrape squash after removing from oven and immediately toss with vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I may regret my decision to consume that much squash tomorrow :\ Though, I will say I prefer the roasting method to boiling...I like when my squash isn't so squishy. Yuuum.

While I was at Whole Foods I also picked up this guy
Blogfriends, meet Red, my random type of daisy from Canada (at least that's what the sign said). I'm really not a flower kind of girl, but I found myself smiling every time I passed by these (yes, I go to the grocery store too often). I also can't take care of plants to save my life - I killed bamboo. BAMBOO! I'm going to try my best to take care of this one...mostly because it's so happy looking. See??
Pretty. It goes so great with the rest of the table decor:
That's my 'christmas smell factory'. It makes up for the tree's lack of pine-y smell. I'm actually impressed that I put that together. BIG step for me.

Another addition to the random holiday table/area:
God, I need to be stopped. I grabbed this mini-gingerbread reed diffuser at Pier 1 while checking out the other day - did I mention I'm a sucker for packaging and random doodads??
Eh, he's cute and smells yummy.

Enough about home decor! Hm...what else is going on...OH so my injury (remember that?) still has me sidelined for the rest of the year. My calf has been super tight lately and apparently that is contributing to my achilles pain. Who knew. So I've been foam rolling and doing all the exercises and stretches my PT has recommended in addition to my weekly visits. I've got my fingers crossed that I'm ok to run by January since the National Half training crew has grown to include running buddies Susan, Sparky and V! All first timers!! Can't let them down :)

Off to clean my mess and think about what to do with a fun package I received today! Details soon ;)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Third time's a charm!

It's late so I'm going to make this a quickie post...third today woooo!!

So two friends came over for some tree trimming cheer! I made a couple lavash pizzas and tried to make a batch of kale chips. I've read about these on a few blogs so I figured I'd give it a shot.
Tore some bits up, sprayed them with olive oil, a couple sprinkles of salt and in the oven they went for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I must say they weren't exactly what I expected. It is a quick way to get your daily dose of leafy green, but I think I prefer a sauteed kale. Ah well. Onto the main event!

I made a couple pizzas out of lavash for fun. First was a Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato and Arugula Pizza and the second was a Troasted Tomato, Manchego and Arugula Pizza.
Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato and Arugula Pizza
1 piece lavash
1/2 (4oz) log goat cheese
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
6 slices sun-dried tomato halves
handful arugula
fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Sprinkle some goat cheese and black pepper on the lavash and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter sun-dried tomatoes, remaining goat cheese, lemon zest and arugula on top and bake for another 5-8 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.

Troasted Tomato, Manchego and Arugula Pizza
1 piece lavash
1/4 c grated manchego cheese
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
handful troasted cherry tomatoes*
handful arugula
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Sprinkle parmesan and black pepper on lavash and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter half of the manchego on the lavash. Add cherry tomatoes, arugula, black pepper and remaining manchego. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Slice and serve.

*Slice cherry tomatoes, scatter on a toaster oven pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast for 5 minutes.

For bevvies, I attempted a mulled apple cider (threw some cloves, all spice and cinnamon in a tea strainer and simmered it in the cider with a splash of brandy) and I think it turned out would probably be better with whole all spice and cinnamon...less floaters.

After feasting, we got to work on decorating! The tree all lit up and decorated:
So I got some 'cool white' LED bulbs and in the picture they look blue. Hm. And here's the rest of the home decor:
Since my tree was lacking in piney smell, I grabbed a bouquet of pine needles and some cinnamony pine cones from Whole Foods. The majority are in a long bowl, but I had some extra that I scattered around the house for that extra Christmassy smell. I also picked up this shelf snowman for some extra holiday cheer:
It's showcasing the TV and pinecone display in case you didn't catch it ;) Bed time!!

Can't Escape!

So after waking up not well rested, post-minor panic attack, with a slight head pounding, I told myself I would call out of work completely. None of this 'do some work at home' business. Fail. After hitting 'publish' on my last post, I popped into my work email and stressing ensued. You know it's bad when just the sight of your inbox causes your entire body to tense up.

It's not that there are any pressing deadlines or anything like that...I think I'm just severely stressed out in general. Ugh. Need to decompress. Anyway, I'm trying to keep the work to a minimum and maximize the next few hours to catch up on everything I've let slip over the past couple weeks. Unfortunately, Google Reader takes lower priority :( The pile of laundry and general clutter is starting to get to me...OH and Christmas shopping - that little thing that is looming over me. Yikes!

I just had to quickly blog about breakfast/brunch since it's kind of a big deal for me:
Peanut Butter and Bananas on Pita. Why is it such a big deal? Generally I don't like my bananas with anything. I think my hint of green bananas are great on their own. Since I have a bunch of bananas in the kitchen (har har), I figured I'd give it a try. Why the pita? I have pita in excess and sometimes pita is a nice sub-in for bread :) Verdict - I think I'm going to stick with bananas on their own.

I'll leave you with this for the rest of the day:
My un-trimmed tree! Some friends are coming over tonight to help decorate so stay tuned for the results!! Time to be productive! Lates :)