Monday, September 30, 2013

recipe: pumpkin spice cream cheese muffins

the below recipe for pumpkin spice muffins is great - and pretty darn healthy - on its own. but in celebration of fall, i decided to throw something decidedly unhealthy-but-delicious in the mix. and oh, baby. pumpkin spice cream cheese muffins? yum. don't blame me if you eat them all in one go.

full disclosure: the photograph is of a mug-cake version of this. this is because for my first attempt at these, i followed someone else's directions and kept the batters separate. while that might work with a more traditional pumpkin spice batter, it wasn't quite the thing for my coconut-flour based batter. so, i experimented the next night with a mug-cake portion, mixing the two batters. much better. the recipe for the pumpkin cream cheese muffins reflects that tweak!

Friday, September 27, 2013


people. i went fishing. like, cast the rod and hook a fish, fishing.  i did it for the light in this guy's eyes when he asked if i wanted to add eight-plus-hours of driving to eight-plus hours of flying get away for the weekend to fish.

i definitely had not packed for a fishing trip. unless you consider sundresses fishing gear. my guy is lucky i find him irresistible - woefully unprepared as i was, friday morning still saw us on the road to our fishing destination in wisconsin.

first step was to put our poles together.

then it was off to what i like to call the training lake - a small lake, one with miniature docks perfectly made for standing and teaching a newbie how to fish.

i learned how to cast, sort of - the details became clearer as the day went on. and then, i caught two fish! a rainbow trout and a brown trout. and i cringed at the idea that i was causing them pain and implored my guy to "get it out! hurry!" no hardened angler here - i honestly think i'd prefer to fish for eating, than catch-and-release, even if studies do say fish can't feel pain.

dinner was friday fish-fry at the dining room. as a concession to my presence, we skipped the rush-dinner-for-one-more-round-of-fishing routine, and instead wrapped up with hot chocolate and st. elmo's fire back at the cabin. saturday morning was an early start, so we could fully experience the early morning chill. still, the morning light and stillness was a moment i was glad to share with my guy.

we spent the morning without seeing anyone else, casting and occasionally catching, and watching. well, i was watching - because sometimes, watching someone you love do something they love, is really the most enjoyable thing to do right then.

we picked up a picnic lunch and moved over to the dam so i could learn a bit about dry fly fishing. i made a valid effort, caught a chub {which, apparently, is what you call a small fish that is good for bait but not a good catch} and then spent more time watching my guy enjoy himself.

the afternoon saw us on another lake, with a goal of catching some bass. the sun was shining so the fish weren't biting in the middle of the lake. which meant that i got the enviable job of rowing us around the perimeter of the lake so that he could cast into the weeds and catch the baby bass. arm workout for the day, check.

the day could not be complete without a stop by one last lake before dinner, where my guy caught a trout using a frog {a large fly designed to look like a frog}. this was apparently a first and very exciting. a fine cap to the day!

we finished out the evening with a prime rib dinner and a valiant attempt to watch, listen to or get updates on the notre dame football game, but the combination of terrible internet, low cell reception and 3 stations of pbs were not on our side.  sunday morning saw us back on the road, with a wonderful weekend under our belts and a new skill set {sort of} under mine!  i think i missed that haven of cultured wilderness the minute we pulled back onto the highway...

another round?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

quick takes

fall tv is back! almost all of the shows i watch started prior to my entry to law school - current favorites are big bang theory, bones, ncis & ncis:la, and doctor who - but if you can show me something fantastic i might consider giving it a shot. maybe.

ginger beer. i love it. you might too. it's non-alcoholic, spicy, and delicious. it's hard to find a good ginger beer here in america, which, honestly, i find a little strange. how did boring ginger ale trump ginger beer on the american market?! anyway, this brand - fever-tree - is a pretty solid option. according to the magical internet, you can find it at amazon or bevmo. guess where i'll be getting mine? that's right. delivered to my door, thankyouverymuch.

can anyone explain to me why stamps cost such strange amounts? i just read they're going up $0.03, from $0.46 to $0.49. why do they not increase in reliable intervals, like $0.02 or $0.05?

this. this is, well, almost anyone who trudged through three years of law school. social dysfunction for the win?

there are some really thought-provoking posts going on this month over at blessed by brenna. courtney has dedicated september to posts designed to help people "celebrate visual difference". i think, though, that the words there speak a deeper message than that even, and are worth a read.

i'm not making it to seven quick takes today. the end!

Monday, September 23, 2013

recipe: vanilla mug cake & toffee sauce

who can resist a double dose of dessert? this is one of my favorites since i made the effort to eat healthier...vanilla mug cake & toffee sauce! this mug cake may be one of my favorites i've made. it's only seven ingredients - six if you skip the optional baking powder - and it is full on delicious. throw on those berries and it's like strawberry shortcake, but without guilt! what's not to love? oh, do note that step re greasing the mug - it's crucial when it comes time to clean up. and the toffee sauce... ahh. i adapted tastelove&nourish's recipe for this glorious sauce {so good you can eat it off the spoon!}.  this sauce, on top of this mug cake, is exactly what i have been looking for to create the ideal- almost-clean yet still delicious -sticky toffee pudding stand-in to appease the cravings for that divine dessert that have been plaguing me since i left london. mix the two and enjoy!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

building habits: update 2

monthly update on my micro quotas and macro goals! like last month, i'm getting somewhere with a few, and nowhere with others, but most of my choices are a bit more intentional this time around. so, the update goes a little like this:

quota: thirty minutes of rosetta stone per day // goal: learn spanish
progress: i joined as a back-up method, a supplemental practice option, for those days when i'm not around my computer or can't seem to fit it in to sit down and do a few lessons.  that has helped me practice at least a little bit of spanish nearly every day, which is great, and definitely goes toward my overall goal.  for the next month, though, since things have been a bit heavy on the practice and a bit light on the learning, i'd like to focus on getting in some solid time with the rosetta stone lessons at least 3 times a week.
verdict: met, but always with room for improvement!

quota: two hours per weekend documenting // goal: digitize memorabilia
progress: oh goodness. i did actually make it to fedex-kinkos this month, but the experience caused me to totally re-evaluate how i want to make this goal happen. spending over an hour, and $4.99, to digitize 100 photos is neither cost- nor time-efficient. so! i started digging around the internet for a good flatbed photo scanner, and put it on my birthday list. this way, i can scan to my heart's content from the comfort of my couch. and! once i've tackled my personal stash, i can get started on ditigizing my parents' photos. waiting on the birthday means i haven't really made any progress on this goal, but i'm looking forward to getting this done with my new plan!
verdict: postponed due to a plan change {which, if i'm being honest, means: needs work!}

quota: one hour article work per week // goal: write an article by october 2013
progress: ohhh heavens. this one seems to be a struggle for me.
verdict: try again?

quota: go to bed/wake 15 minutes earlier daily turn off electronics by 11pm // goal: reasonable hours
progress: well. some days i turn off my electronics by 11. and on those days, i keep some pretty reasonable hours - generally in bed and asleep by midnight. but some days i don't. not as many days as when i was back in school, or even earlier this year, but still, too many days. and those days make for less than friendly mornings. and awful dark circles. vicious cycle, folks.
verdict: keep trying!

new quota: 3 green smoothies a week // new goal: healthier eating
progress: oh my. i seem to have dropped even the one a week i was managing last month.
verdict: rubbish. try again.

new quota: 3 workouts a week // new goal: healthy living
progress: this i am succeeding with! well, mostly. i just started running again, but before that i was rocking a bit of jillian. and i've added on a squat/sit-up challenge with my sister and her fella. i could probably use a little more variety in my work out, but since i seem to work out in waves, i think i'll try for consistency first.
verdict: mostly met...with room for improvement

next update in a month!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

i was supposed to wake up at 7.

i explain "choose: peace" as the age-old change what you can, let go of what you can't. there are a lot of places where i run with this idea, and it's fantastic. and it really is the ultimate in advice for how to deal with your relationships and interactions with others, because when you have to account for more than you, there's a lot of letting go and making peace.

however. because i am {apparently} and adult, and adults {apparently} must work real jobs to pay for their real lives, i {apparently} must learn to change my sleeping habits.  oh, how i wish i could just "let go!" and forever be not-a-morning-person. but no, the powers that be are holding steady to their assertion that this is one of those things that falls under "change what you can must."  so! this morning, in a fit of ambition, i actually left the bed when the alarm went off at 7 am. and by left, i mean, did not get up to simply reset the alarm for later and immediately crawl back into bed. but! back to the ambition. i turned off the noise and dragged my barely-open eyes to the couch, where i powered up my laptop. the plan was to read the news and blogs, in an effort to do the whole "accomplish things in the morning and get to work at a good time" goal.  like i said, ambition.

anyone want to guess how well this worked out for me?

i fell asleep on the couch. that's right. i left the bed, dragged myself to the couch, opened up the {bright! glaring even!} laptop, and fell. asleep. ambition = 0. habit = 1. but you know what? i'm going to classify this as progress. because i actively did not crawl back into bed. baby steps, people. and lest you worry i slept through work, let me reassure you i did not. i know myself better than to trust that ambition would win the day, so i set a second alarm that got me dressed and out the door at an almost-respectable time.

in case there was any question about whether i was a morning person {not that i ever questioned it}, i'm pretty sure this little adventure confirms i am not.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

quick takes

running with this idea from camp patton {via somewhere else?} although i think i'll keep out of the linky parties and just leave it here. partly because they demand seven takes and i don't know if i can meet that high a standard, and partly because they do it on fridays but really, isn't wednesday a better day for some spirited rambling?

in recent news... my {very} little band of followers can now follow my blog with bloglovin. which is presently my favorite way to skim the too-many blogs i follow and sort out what i actually want to spend time reading {instead of losing 3 minutes to typing in a blog's address and trying to remember if i read the entry or not}. try it! maybe you'll like it.

potato chip s'mores. this is a thing, apparently. my mother, in an act of utter sabotage, forced one on me after dinner last night. i say sabotage because obviously after one i needed at least two more and can i just tell you how hard it was to walk away before i accidentally ate a fourth!? i'm pretty sure my guy will no longer shrug his disdain at the idea of s'mores when he tries this magic because really, who can resist  a few bites of marshmallowy, chocolatey, salty crunch? and in case the name wasn't clear enough, potato chip s'mores come to life like so:

lay out two mid-sized, plain potato chips
    {use ruffles for increased sturdiness}
put some chocolate on one chip
toast your marshmallow
smash it all together
devour in less than 15 seconds, then repeat. twice.

to my everlasting wonderment, i might actually be softening my stance on birkenstocks. my guy loves them {he's a wilderness-wandering, philosophizing hippie at heart} and raves about the joy of birkenstocks and wool socks {shudder} and i stand firmly against the wearing of that combination in public. but i may have inadvertently conceded that the combination could be tolerated in the {deepest! darkest!} wilderness, and this ridiculousness has me rethinking my abhorence altogether. what. is. happening.

i'm curious as to why airports think its a good idea to have carpet. like, anywhere. because how is that possibly hygenic or really clean-able? and while yes, i am absolutely one of those people who sits on the airport floor - because germs are everywhere and i have no kids at home who might get sick, and i'd rather sit on the floor than in a chair next to someone who ignores the imaginary walls separating their chair and mine. whatever. - really, when you stop and think about it, how did they ever choose carpet over, i don't know, linoleum? seriously, it would go better with their lighting scheme.

new add to my favorite reads list: manhattan nest. love his style and what can i say, i'm a sucker for reno blogs. a home reno is definitely on my list of maybe-somedays. anyway, point is! give it a whirl and see if you don't find yourself wanting to read it all from the start too.

restoration hardware has plates/coasters with quotes from literary figures. i want. specifically, the oscar wilde set, because who wouldn't love to see one of the following snippets of glorious wisdom below their beverage or food of choice? "be yourself; everyone else is taken." "bigamy is having one wife too many. monogamy is the same." "i like men who have a future and women who have a past." "i don't want to go to heaven. none of my friends are there." maybe i'll just type the quotes out on pretty paper, cut them in 4x4 squares and laminate them. that's a lot like ceramic coasters, right?

i've mentioned this in my goal posts but i'm doing rosetta stone {spanish - latin america} and i legitimately enjoy it. like, to the point of wanting to buy other sets when i see the constant sales going on for 5-level sets. but i restrain, because i should probably be able to fake a spanish conversation before i jump into learning german. it seems to be working though, because lately i can ask what time is dinner in spanish. also probably the most amusing word i've learned so far is "inodoro" - how can you not laugh when the word for toilet includes "odor"??

oh my stars, i actually managed all seven. maybe it's a sign that wednesday will go well!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

love flash mob

do you read glennon's words over at momastery? if not, you should try it. glennon's words have provided me much food for thought, and even more, a constant reminder of the magic of love. love can move mountains, lift up a broken and weary soul, bring together distant strangers, and shine a guiding light in dark moments. glennon and her monkees have built a network {using the equally magical internet} where strangers join {e-}hands to do hard things, stories are shared, mistakes are accepted, individual quirks are celebrated, and love wins.

today, glennon and the monkees are tapping into that network of love, joining e-hands to show four families that love wins. today is a LOVE FLASH MOB day, where the momastery world donates what they can to give to those who need. today, momastery {through their charity arm, monkee see - monkee do} is helping four little ones {and their families} to get guardian angel service dogs that, due to special conditions, the little ones dearly need to monitor their health and/or safety.  no pressure here - really! none, at all - but if you are interested in being a part of today's magic, click on over to read glennon's words about compassion and the four little ones in need of it today. donations are limited to $25, and every penny goes directly to those in need.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013