Friday, February 28, 2014

Finish The Sentence: A Link-up

Broken record here, but it's freezing out and I think my brain is now frozen over too. So to make this a bit more simple today, here's a link up from Holly and Jake.

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1. I always pick...the bunch of bananas that has the exact number I want because I don't want to be 'that girl' that pulls one banana off the perfect bunch and let it just sit there all alone.

2. Look at the size of those...pizza slices. The MPLS skyway has some of the best pizza, but you can only get it M-F during business hours. Ginelli's is so cheesy and greasy you'll say 'Mmm' after every bite. Andrea's they pop back in the oven while you pay so it gets all gooey and crispy crust. Que drool.

3. I recently learned...that cars can die a slow, agonizing death due to freezing temps. I'm taking my lady in to the tune up Dr. tonight in hopes she can clean off her windows and allow the (hopefully) soon to come Spring air waft through her grey upholstered insides (aka her wipers no longer work and the windows don't work...oh, just found out my passenger side lock doesn't work any more too. Awesome.)

4. Only when no one is looking...do I totally rock out in the car to whatever is playing. I don't want to embarrass myself.

5. I lost my...mind.

6. I was certain I'd...be living on my own. Not like an 18 year old dreaming of one day living on her own, not having to listen to mom and dad and check in every time you go somewhere. Here I am. 29 and living under the same room as ma & pa. The time will come. Let's hope it's relatively soon.

7. There is not enough liquor in the world for me to...give up meat. Is there such a thing as a meat-terian?

8. I just finished...a medium caramel latte and my legs won't stop shaking. I need to remember espresso and Ali do not mix. Heck, caffeine and Ali don't mix. When will I learn? Probs never.

9. Why does everyone have to be...so rude. Seriously. The level of rudeness has spiked recently and I'm going to let it slide because everyone is going cray cray being stuck inside for so long.

10. It's very rare when I...post about something interesting.

11. If I were a dog...I would take full advantage of being able to sleep all day.

12. I don't believe...pizza will make me fat. It has something from all the food groups. My fav is pepperoni and pineapple. We have the crust = bread, sauce = veggies, pineapple = fruit, cheese = dairy, pepperoni = meat. How is that not healthy??

I'm off to get some pizza now.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cabin Fever

It appears as if I have forgotten about this space this week. My work usually isn't very busy, except 4 months out of the year when everyone is traveling at once and I have a Board book to send to the printers and meetings to schedule and lunches to coordinate. That time is now. I forget to even check Bloglovin and read my favorite blogs. (sad face)

I can't just blame work for not sharing my super exciting life with you. Frankly, I blame this never ending Winter. I'm sorry, I'm beating a dead horse here, but I just want this winter to end. I'm craving sunshine on my face, toes in fresh cut grass, a warm breeze across my skin. I want to sit at the end of the dock with my feet skimming the water as little fish try to nibble at my skin (pedicure?). Cruise across the lake with chilled water hitting my back to cool me down. Sit in front of a roaring bon-fire with a cold beer in my hand because said beer just came out of the fridge, not because it's been sitting outside. I want to smell burgers and hot dogs on the grill wafting through the air.

I guess I have to confess that I've been diagnosed with Cabin Fever.

cab-in fe-ver
noun informal
1.  irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter.

I have it bad, so don't get too close. I would hate for you to suffer through this with me.

The only thing that's been slightly boosting my mood has been running and getting in little work outs. I was supposed to have a 5k next weekend, but alas, this winter had to interfere with that as well and the course is too bad that they are postponing it until next year.



The following weekend is the Get Lucky 7k though, and regardless of if the race is still on, I have a hotel downtown and I can't wait to either use it as a place to rest my head after a day of running and celebrating being Irish, or use it to enjoy the 10th floor hot tub that looks out over the city, drink champs and watch lots of hotel TV.

treat trays also help me feel better. then I feel fat and I feel bad again.

GO AWAY WINTER!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weekend Review: ice, ice baby

If you live anywhere near the upper MidWest, then you know we've been having one hellish winter. With Spring right around the corner, Winter is fighting its hardest fight to stick around.


See, last week we got the biggest tease of the season and hit 40 on Wed/Thur. Then the rain came. The temps dropped. And golf ball sized snow flakes started dropping and it did not stop until the wee hours of the morning.


I wanted to document the snow fall. Easy entertainment. All you need is a ruler, some fresh snow and a bad camera.

I woke up to cars spinning out and neighbors rushing to their aid with shovels in hand. All the area schools were closed and there was a travel advisory, so I did what any girl would do who had a soft cuddly puppy at home, and I stayed in my sweats, and watched the fifth season of Drop Dead Diva while getting the most out of a sleepy fur ball.


Then the hunger pangs started and they were mad. I knew I should have picked up some mac and cheese, because nothing is tastier or cheesier then the blue box of magic I did have the makings for some home made mac n cheese though.


I lived off this and grilled cheese sandwiches and pickles for nearly three days. I did not complain.

Saturday afternoon I took a leisurely stroll down the interstate at 25 mph to go see Crashed Ice in St. Paul. We started at the Happy Gnome and got cozy around their outdoor fire and ice bar before making our way to the show.



I felt like a kid going to see Santa. It was so cool, the energy, lights, people, music. There was so much excitement!



When we couldn't feel our toes, we headed over to Eagle Street for some more beers. The night was going swimmingly until some ass bag locked himself in a bathroom stall with my cousins fiance and threatened to kill himself. Tony pulled us out of the bar and we wandered down to McGoverns to get some food and try and wrap our heads around what had just happened. (Side note: to our knowledge, the ass bag did not kill himself, but he did kill our moods for the night.)

Sunday flew by in the blink of an eye. My family gathered at my cousins for a birthday brunch and before we knew it we had to get going because they were heading to an evening play of Mama Mia.

Finally, it's Tuesday, although I keep thinking it's Wednesday, which is never a good sign about how the week will go.

Friday, February 21, 2014

I'm the kind of girl who...

The other day I was told to make dinner using ground beef. I really dislike ground beef unless it's in meatball or hamburger form, but the parental units didn't want that. I finally settled on Baked Ziti Penne.


It's super easy and was quite delicious.

1 lb. ground beef
1 cup onion (1 sm onion chopped)
2 garlic cloves, minced
32 oz jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
16 oz package ziti, cooked and drain (any noodle works, really)
1 mozzarella cheese, shredded (used Swiss because it's what I had)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onions and garlic over medium-high heat until beef is browned


Stir in spaghetti sauce, chicken broth and oregano


Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the cooked ziti noodles
Spoon 1/2 of the ziti mix into a 13x9x2 inch baking dish
Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Top with 2 cups sauce, then remaining ziti mixture and remaining sauce
Cover and bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and cook uncovered 10 min.

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I'm the kind of girl who...

*comes to a link up days later because she couldn't think of anything to write about

*Googles a phone number before answering an incoming call

*laughs at my own jokes/thoughts way too often and feel sorry for the people who don't think I'm funny

*absolutely dislikes having my picture taken, but get really bummed I don't have many pictures of my self or humans in general to look back on

*is obsessed with crime shows and try to place my self in the detectives shoes and realize I would never be a good crime scene investigator. My stomach is too weak

*give others the benefit of the doubt regardless of what others think. First impressions are important. Second impressions tell me if you really are worth it

*wishes I had something I was extremely passionate about. I've never been an all or nothing girl. I like to dabble

*has an unhealthy relationship with pizza

 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Speed Bump Ahead

The other day I mentioned I went apartment hunting and found the perfect apartment. Well, it wasn't meant to be. Not at this time at least. I found out I didn't get it, but to keep an eye out for when they have another unit come available.

I was a mess and shed a whole lot of ugly tears. My dad bought me some wine because that's what makes me happy and that's what good dad's do when their daughters cry.

I had my heart set on this apartment, the complex, the location, the open floor plan and insane closet space.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. We are never given anything we can't handle. I'm starting to think that's my life motto.

I'm set on living in this complex so my parents said I can stay with them for a few more months, even though I know I'm wearing on them, and them on me.

The bonus is I get to throw a ton of money into savings and paying off my debt before 30!

And, I get to spend more time cuddling with my little lady.


Since my mom and I are both on a mission to get healthy, she put me in charge of putting together a menu for dinners that are affordable (no filet mignon here), and healthy.

What are some of your go-to healthy and wallet friendly week night meals?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Runnin' Runnin' and Runnin' Runnin

Temps rose above freezing yesterday and snow started to melt (of course that was after a treacherous icy drive in to work), which means that laces are being tied up and runners are hitting the snow/slush covered paths here in Minnesota.


So far for 2014 I'm registered for two races. Short races, but I'll be getting out there non-the-less.

I've officially booked up every weekend in March by registering for the Hockey Hair Run on March 8th in St. Paul on Harriet Island. The Hockey Hair Run is working with Defending The Blue Line to help ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey.

They accomplish this by providing free hockey equipment, access to hockey camps at no cost and grants to help with local association fees. In addition, they provide unique experiences for military families including attending National Hockey League, minor league affiliate, and collegiate hockey games.

The following weekend I will be jumping over the river to run the Get Lucky 7K in Minneapolis. I guess I'll be crossing the river a couple times during the run too. I've never been able to run the Get Lucky before because it's either been sold out by the time I got my rear in gear, or I've been out of town (laying on warm sandy beaches).

I picked up my packet a couple weeks ago and have been getting plenty of wear out of the awesome sweatshirt you receive. You also get two drink tickets to use at The Liffy, Kierans, Coopers, or The Local. I decided to make a weekend out of the run and the fact that it'll pretty much be St. Patrick's Day by using my free stay voucher at the new(er) Hyatt Place Downtown Minneapolis. After the run I can go to my room, get my green on and head to Kieran's or The Local and celebrate my heritage.

If you are participating in any of these runs and want a running buddy or a post race celebratory beer drinking buddy I'm your girl!



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dating Tips From Lilly (the dental hygienist)

It was a snowy afternoon and I was escorted to my room by Lilly, the dental hygienist. She introduced herself, and said, "I have a little accent, if you can't understand, I'm Chinese".

Lilly was probably in her upper 30's (imagine Ms. Swan from MADtv) and loved to chat and ask questions while scraping tarter off my permanent retainers.

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After we shared some laughs, Lilly asked if I had a boyfriend. I shook my head no. Lilly asked if I had a husband to take care of me. I again shook my head no. Then Lilly told me that I need to take action and find a husband who will take care of me.

Here are the best dating tips from Lilly the Dental Hygienist
1. Ask your co-workers to set you up. They know more people then you do.
2. Tell your friends you are single. They will want you to be married soon (I'm pretty sure my friends know I'm single).
3. Have your parents set you up (Lilly was set up by her daddy as she called him, who was a professor). Parents know best what you need.
4. Find a young couple who is renting a room and move in with them, then ask them to set you up (Sounds kind of sketch to me).
5. Throw a party with the girls from the all girl school and boys from the all boys school (I'm not sure that would be legal).

Lilly asked that I come back in six months for my check up and to report to her that I've found a man to take care of me. 



Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Review: Cough, sneeze, tissue, repeat

It's a darn good thing I was single this year for Valentine's Day because as the day went on, I was attacked by a pretty severe head cold/sinus infection. Unfortunately I get this pain in the face all too often and can detect it coming before the first sneeze hits. I self medicated myself with wine, because as we learned growing up, alcohol kills germs. I don't think my wine had enough alcohol because Saturday came and this bug was attacking as if it were on the front lines.

I had to toughen up and pop some pills because I had some apartments to check out. Yes! I'm officially looking at apartments and move out day is going to be here before I know it. I think I found the perfect place. My ears unplugged just long enough for me to take the tour and fall in love. Then they plugged back up when we went to look at another apartment. I took that as a sign I must go with the first one. Fingers crossed everything goes well and I find out if I get it this week!

My mom and I spent the day lazily walking the aisles of Big Lots, Dollar Tree, and Home Goods for some steals. The only steal I found was $1 throat lozenges and $1 Severe Sinus pills. I guess that's a win. Patrick's Bakery and Cafe opened up near us so we gave it a try for dinner. It was really delicious and just the type of restaurant our city needs. We are known as 'Chain Food Hell' because we have practically every chain restaurant you can think of.
I got the Steak Frites and my mom got the Shrimp Eiffel. For dessert we shared a Ryan Cake. It was delicious!

After dinner I tried to battle the war in my sinus cavities with more wine to no avail. I woke up Sunday feeling worse than I had 24 hours prior. I took a hot shower and dreamed that my head would clear up so I could fully enjoy the baby shower I had to go to.

I was feeling pretty prime while getting ready to go, but once I ventured outside with the glaring sun on the fresh snow I was attacked with sneezes and watery eyes. I'm super excited that my cousin's wife is having a baby, but not to the point it would bring me to tears.

We got to the shower and played some games, ate an antipasto plate, lasagna, toast and caesar salad and finished with cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake and key lime pie.

This year is going to be filled with baby and wedding showers. I just hope that rain and snow showers stay away. I'm demanding a wind-less, warmer than average, sunny Spring and Summer.

Friday, February 14, 2014

V-Day!

Happy Single's Awareness Day! Valentine's Day!


Whether you're spending it alone, with your single pals, or your one true love, have a happy Valentine's Day!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Chips and Cookies

I'm back with two recipes for you. How many times have you purchased potatoes that ended up sitting around for a tad too long. No one wants to waste food, so whip out your mandolin and slice up your potatoes to the thickness of your liking.


 I made two versions of these 'chips'. The first was a 'loaded potato'.

Cook potatoes in cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes.


Drain and pat dry with paper towel. Toss in olive oil and spread out on baking sheet.

Cook in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. Toss, add shredded cheese, and pop back in the oven for another 3 minutes.


While eating, the only requirement is to watch My 600 Pound Life.

The second version was more chip like. Again, slice the potatoes, but don't boil. Put sliced potatoes on lightly oiled baking pan. Top with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.


Cook in the oven at 375 for 15 min. Toss and cook another 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked to your liking. This should make them slightly crispy.

Dipping sauce:


3 spoon fulls of sour cream
1/3 packet ranch seasoning
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp Slap Ya Mama

Combine and serve with you fresh out of the oven potatoes.

To counteract the potatoes and sour cream you just ate, mix up this batch of cookies from the Tone It Up Gals with an Ali twist.

2 ripe bananas (mashed)
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1/4 cup gluten free chocolate chips
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup oats
almond milk to get to the consistency you desire.

Mix all ingredients and use a spoon to put on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes.

I brought these to a Superbowl party and were surprisingly a hit.

Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Predict...You Will Click HERE

This here little nook of the interwebs has been turning in to a place where I just mind dump. I sit in an isolated reception area all darn day and I have some great thoughts that I need to share. And if it is only with you fine people that enjoy rambling, then so be it.

I've never stepped foot in a Lululemon store because I know I wouldn't even be able to afford a speck of dust resting on a clothes rack let alone a shirt or a pair of capris. This month Lululemon sponsored classes at Pure Barre. Each person is allowed one free class per week for the month. I've always wanted to try a Pure Barre class so I signed my self up for a class each week. I went to my first class last night and it was so different than what I expected.

First off, the girl that greeted me at the desk was incredibly friendly and showed me where the equipment is and where I can put my shoes and coat. Then I was introduced to the instructor who again was incredibly friendly and helpful. I imagined most of the class would be standing by the bar drinking dirty martinis toe tapping. When you look at a class from the outside it looks so simple. Until you are actually in the class and doing the moves, you realize it's a lot more complex than it looks. You have to remember to have a slight bend in your legs, keep your pelvis tucked and abs engaged on top of whatever move you are doing. There's a reason dancers have kick ass bodies.

If you have a Caribou where you live then I'm sure you've noticed the chalk board that has a question and guests can share their thoughts/answers. This morning my Caribou asked 'What is the Best Sport in the Winter Olympics?' Can you find my favorite sport?


You rascal you! You probably thought I said 'Atomically correct snow man competition'! With the warm weather I'll bet that snow is nice and soft it'd be perfect for snowman making. However, my favorite sport would be anything to do with snowboarding. I've never gone and I've lived in MN almost all of my life. For shame, Ali. For shame.

While at lovely 'ol Caribou I crawled out from under my rock and discovered they have a perks card and you get a free medium bevy when you register your card. If I were a fortune teller, I'd predict that a medium caramel late will be in my very near future.


One of my co-workers has a couple daughters who are Girl Scouts and it's one of the happiest times of the year. Girl Scout Cookie Season! From one Girl Scout to another, I had to support them and order a box of my favorite Samoas and Thin Mints. They even came with a special note. Did you know hearts and triangles smiled?


I was a Daisy, then a Brownie, and I can't actually remember if I was a real Girl Scout and had the green sash, but I do remember how much fun being a Brownie was. My mom was one of our troop leaders and we would put on puppet plays, make endless arts and crafts, go visit the elderly, etc. We also went to camp at Camp Ehawee. It always reminded me of Salute Your Shorts. I can still sing the theme song and it makes me miss Nick at Night. Who's Afraid of the Dark, Clarissa Explains it All. Oh, the good old days.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In the spirit of V-Day

Valentine's day is quickly approaching and flower deliveries have begun. I don't have a Valentine this year, and I'm ok with that. It means I get to treat myself to a delicious dinner and a bottle of bubbly. Plus, I don't have to share {not that sharing would be a bad thing}.

I'm getting in the 'holiday' spirit with a little nail color.

Definitely not a pro. 
I remember last year I painted my nails in a similar fashion and went on a date around Valentines and he kept criticizing the fact that I painted my ring finger red and the rest pink. Insisting that I wanted him to ask me to marry him. Looking back, that should have been my red flag and not 8 months later. Live and learn, right?

When you do this 'style' of nail painting, what finger do you choose to stand alone?

If you're looking for a relationship this year, check out this Tinder couple. They are looking for a third mate to join their lovely little duo. Look how motivated little Duncan has been in the last 6 months.

Tinder people are getting weirder and weirder. This doesn't quite compare to the fella I was going to meet for dinner one night. Something in my gut was telling me I shouldn't. I asked if he was married, had any kids etc. Guess what. HE DID! He was both married and had a child. But, it's ok. They are swingers. He still wanted to meet and offered to let me call his wife and make sure this was all a-ok. I said no thanks and had dinner with some girlfriends instead. 

One thing I know and I know for certain, I'm a one man woman. Please no wives or girlfriends.

For you lovebirds out there that are on a bit of a budget, some fine fast food establishments such as White Castle, Chik-fil-A, McDonald's and Waffle House are offering fine dining on the day of love. This includes real servers, table cloths and cloth napkins, candles and flowers. I'm thinking about making a reservation for 1 just to check this out.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Selfie World Record

If you had to guess, what event do you think would break the world record for the most 'selfies' taken?

I'm 100% positive it happened this weekend at the WOW cheer and dance competition. My friends from Sioux Falls have two daughters that cheer and dance so they were in town for this event. You have hundreds of girls from 5-25 all admiring themselves in their phones just snapping away.  At one point we were sitting in the midst of a high school cheer team and their coach was trying to tell them to warm up because they were going to perform soon. Not one girl listened as they huddled together for a group selfie.

I'm glad cell phones and digital cameras weren't around when I was in school like they are now.

Anyway, I spent Friday evening watching girls dance and cheer while catching up with old friends.

Saturday I picked up my packet for the Get Lucky 7k I'm doing in a month. I haven't run in weeks. Guess I better get back on that wagon, eh?

Miley and I had a super lazy Saturday afternoon and I took my time getting ready to meet some friends at Kari's for drinks and games. I stopped by Kowalksi's and picked up some jalapeno hummus. That stuff is basically the bomb-diggity of hummus. Highly recommend it. Since we were getting together to celebrate Bridget taking her GMAT I found it fitting to grab a bottle of bubbly. Who doesn't like a little bubbly (or a whole bottle) on any given night?


Sunday I woke up in a daze on Kari's couch, collected my things and made a necessary McD's stop on my way home. Fact: McDonald's cures all hangovers. Since I felt bad that Miley had to be in her kennel while I was gone, we napped from 9AM-3PM. It was rather glorious. Except when it was time to go to bed at 10. My brain was not having any of it.

Now it's Monday and miraculously the day is flying by.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ali's Homemade Beef Stew

Alright. Finally! I'm here with a recipe that is so good, no matter where you are in the country right now, you're going to want to make it. Dallas is getting snow. Minneapolis is so cold we are now negative, negative. Is that a thing?

Without further ado, here is Ali's Homemade Beef Stew

Ingredients:
1 lb stew meat (I got mine from Aldi. On a budget here!)
2 tbsp olive oil
6-10 Red (yellow, new, purple) potatoes
3 carrots
1/2 small yellow onion
1 cup chicken (or beef) broth
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup flower
2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Lawry's

Cut meat (if not already) in to 1 inch cubes. Heat olive oil in 12 in pot for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add meat, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally for about 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Add water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.

This is a good time to prep those veggies.


When the meat is tender, add your veggies, and bay leaf. Cook on medium until veggies are tender, roughly 30 minutes.


Yes, my friends. Those are purple potatoes!

Whisk flour with 1/2 cup water until the mixture is smooth then add to the pot. This will thicken the broth and make it a stew.

Here's where we add all the delicious flavors.


Add remaining spices and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and serve.


Nutritional Information for Ali's Homemade Beef Stew
Per Serving
Calories: 246
Carbs: 11
Fat: 16
Protein: 14
Sodium 720
Sugar: 2

Bon Appetite!