Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun

Happy Halloween, everyone! It kind of felt weird for Halloween to be on a Sunday for some reason. I can't put my finger on why that is, but oh well...

My husband and I slept in until 8:15 this morning. We usually get up at 5:45 a.m., so anything after 7 is a real treat for us. We realized that we had a lot to do. He teaches kindergarten and had to attend a Halloween play that the kids put on today. Before that, we went to his school to organize his desk (we are both mildly obsessed with office supplies, so this was a fun task for us).

Later in the afternoon, we went to our dear friends' home for a fun Halloween party. We had a great time visiting with our pals, passing out candy, watching football, and eating (lots of pizza and candy...yum!). It was great to change up our usual Sunday routine.

What did you do to celebrate Halloween?

Friday, October 22, 2010

For the love of Veggies

On a whim, I bought some brussels sprouts last weekend. I've never  prepared them before and I decided to roast them. I posted about this on facebook a few times, and received enough responses that I thought a blog post was in order.

I started with some raw brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Then I drizzled some walnut olive oil & cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar on top...
We bought this oil & balsamic at a wonderful store called Old Town Oil ( My husband and I first went there on a food tour in Chicago. They let you sample the oils & balsamics so that you can find a combo that works for you. Enough about the toppings...
I put the coated veggies on a pizza stone & baked them for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
I put together a quick salad and added the roasted veggies to the plate:
In this mix, I also had fresh spinach, strawberries, cocoa-dusted almonds, gruyere cheese slices, and a touch of roasted red pepper hummus. I added a slice of wheat bread and chowed down!

I think I'll toss in some apples the next time I roast veggies.

What are your favorite veggies & how do you like to prepare them?

Monday, October 11, 2010

A little hint about mint...

We took a trip to our local Farmers' Market on Saturday. Our dear friends have purchased a share of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. They were out of town for the Chicago Marathon, so they told us that we could have this week's bounty.

We got some yummy peppers, garlic, mustard greens (which are surprisingly great raw), sweet potatoes, and a few sprigs of chocolate mint. I'm not usually a fan of mint, but it was either that or catnip. The catnip threw me for a loop, so we chose the mint. The farmer gave us lots of ideas of how to use the mint in desserts.

On Sunday, my nose was stuffy so we were researching natural decongestants. Somebody online said that they had used mint for this purpose. My ever-resourceful husband got the idea to make a hot drink with the mint. All he did was boil water and pour it into a cup over some mint leaves. The product was delicious! I took time to breathe in the steam before drinking it. I drank it like tea without any sweetner.

Now, of course, I'm hooked on this drink. I'll have to grow my own mint in a pot so that I can have unlimited cups of my new hot drink. Yum!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Is that a fake I.D.?

Yesterday, I was running errands around town. Towards the end of my journey, I decided to pick up a treat for my husband to enjoy after work. I've been on a bit of a "pumpkin kick" lately. I have stored up cans of it in my house. I've been hunting for pumpkin donuts and pumpkin beer. Doesn't pumpkin beer sound delicious? I was super excited about it.
I popped into one of our local liquor stores. I live in a college town, so there is no shortage of liquor stores (and pizza joints). One of the helpful employees helped me pick out a nice pumpkin beer. I took my purchase over to the register where another employee was waiting to take my money. There are signs all over the store warning those who are under 21 to  not even try to buy anything at this store. One sign even says that everyone gets asked for his/her I.D. and you may have to show more than one. To save the employee some trouble, I gave him my I.D. before he asked. We were making small talk as he was checking my I.D. He paused...looked at me...then looked at my I.D. again all with a very serious look on his face. I laughed and said "Do 31 year old people usually have fake I.Ds?". It was a dumb joke, but I was really surprised that this was taking so long. He then ran my I.D. through some machine that checks for the watermarks to prove authenticity.
Finally, he turned to me and gave me back my license. He said "I don't know how to say this nicely, but if you were any younger I probably wouldn't have accepted your I.D.". It turns out that the wonderful employees of the Indiana DMV did not print my driver's license properly. They cut off information at the bottom (such as the transaction number and my hair color). He compared my license with his to prove the error to me. He told me to take it back and complain since it looks like I made my license myself.
So, because the DMV in my city doesn't believe in doing quality checks, I'm walking around flashing a homemade-looking driver's license. I've been doing this for 2 years now. At least I now know, just in case I get refused service somewhere else.
By the way, the pumpkin beer was not great. I'm on a mission to find a better brand. I'm also still waiting for my local donut shop to start making pumpkin donuts.