Spousal Miscommunication and The Resilient Fish Tacos

Have you ever had a meal in which the individual components tasted just okay, but the combined result tasted rather fantastic?  Food synergy.  We had such a meal last night–one that was almost disastrous thanks to a spousal miscommunication (spoiler alert: it was Andrew’s fault).

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Fish tacos.  Simple.  Small pieces of fish, seasoned and baked + coleslaw + mango salsa.  I put Andrew in charge of the fish because he’s good at seasoning food, and I hate working with raw meat; I started the mango salsa, which we typically make with mango, red bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and a little salt–just something to sweeten the tacos.  We have a lot of tomatillos from our garden in bags in the freezer, which I thought would make a great addition to this salsa.

I mixed all the ingredients, ate a spoonful, and…

“This just does not taste great.”

“Really?

(Andrew takes a bite of the salsa and makes a funny face.)

“Yeah, that’s not good.”

“Right?  I thought the tomatillos would taste so good in this.”

“That’s just not how tomatillos usually taste… Oh.  Uh oh.”

“Uh oh, what?”

“Umm, I think you may have used unripe tomatoes.”

“Why are there unripe tomatoes in our freezer?”

“I didn’t want to waste them!”

That’s right–when we said goodbye to our tomato plants in September, Andrew couldn’t bear the thought of wasting the green tomatoes still on the branches, so he picked and froze them.  Why?  How would we use them?  Friends, I have no idea.  Unripe tomatoes and perfectly ripe tomatillos look dangerously similar, but taste very, very different.

Because couldn’t bear the thought of wasting the mangos and red peppers we’d already put in the salsa (and because I have just a touch of OCD…) I picked out all of the little green tomato pieces, rinsed what was left in a colander, and added actual tomatillos.

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<Sigh.>

The fish was a little bit dry, the salsa tasted okay, but I couldn’t get the memory of the original batch out of my head, and the coleslaw tasted like mayonnaise.  But together?  Together they tasted awesome.  Beautiful food synergy, in which the end result was greater than the sum of the individual components.  They even managed to survive a serious spousal miscommunication.

You go, fish tacos.

-Please tell me any hilarious miscommunications you’ve had with your significant other.
-Now that I know we have unripe tomatoes in my freezer, does anyone know how we can use them (if at all)?

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Late Wedding Photos + This Week Randomness

This week has been a bit hectic, so I haven’t had much time to blog.    Here’s a quick recap of our week, as told mostly by the photos on my phone:

1.

Jenny1Andrew’s sister, Jenny, is in town from Denver this week, and it’s been so great to spend time with her!!  In the photo above, Andrew is giving her the extensive tour of our garden.  We’ve also been able to do dinner a few nights, and we convinced her to come to yoga with us last night. 😀  We love you, Jenny!

2.

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For date night dinner Saturday we opted for (mostly) convenience– Applegate Farms chicken tenders (GF nuggets for Andrew), Alexia spicy sweet potato fries, and roasted beets.  Mmm.  I love to cook, but sometimes you just need to pull a box out of the freezer.

3.

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I’ve been having weird heart palpitations the last few weeks, so I went to the doctor on Tuesday to get it checked out.  It’s probably nothing serious, but they hooked me up to this lovely heart monitor (there are five more electrodes stuck to me in places you can’t see…all I can say is, “TGISS”–thank God it’s scarf season. ;-)) I had to wear it for 24 hours and record when the palpitations occurred and very specifically what I was doing.  How did my dear, loving Andrew respond to this?  He tried to do as many weird things as possible so that if a palpitation occurred I’d have to record, “Having my face licked,” or “Watching my husband dance with a shirt tied around his head.”  (He did not succeed, so I did not have to write anything weird :-D).  Anyway, I should get the results within a week, but, again, I’m not super worried, so you shouldn’t be either (I’m talking to you, Daddy ;-)).

4.

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If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I love goats and that there is this beautiful park in Richmond (Maymont) that has goats and other animals.  My friend Kate and I walked there yesterday for exercise and to enjoy the fantastic fall weather.  In addition to the goats, we were able to see the bobcat, which I had never seen there before!  It usually stays in the indoor part of its habitat.  Very cool. 🙂

Kate took our late bridal/wedding photos a few weeks ago, and she gave me the disc with all the photos yesterday when we got together.  They. Look. Awesome.  Here are some of my favorites (sorry in advance for the photo overload) :

Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey  Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey Catherine & Andrew Storey

Catherine & Andrew Storey

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A huge thanks to our friend Katie for giving us this photo shoot as our wedding gift, and thanks to Kate for being so talented and working with us!  After doing this, I think everyone should take after-the-fact wedding photos–no wedding day stress, no rush to get to the reception so guests aren’t waiting, a chance to put that dress back on… 🙂  Yeah, we waited a while to actually take them, but we don’t look that different from our wedding day, and I know ten years from now we won’t be able to notice the 1.5 year age difference.

You can check out more of Kate’s work here.

That’s been our week (so far) in a nutshell.  Have a great Thursday!

-Has anyone else taken late bridal portraits/wedding photos?
-Heart palpitations: have you ever experienced them?  Were they anything serious?

Goat-Feeding, Photo Shoots, and Pumpkins

Andrew and I had a relaxing day off Monday.  It was a beautiful day, so we decided to spend most of the afternoon at Maymont.

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We fed the goats:

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In case you don’t know, I really love goats and regularly ask Andrew if we can have one as a pet (“They’re just like funny little dogs!“)  I think he takes me to Maymont somewhat often to satisfy that desire without actually getting a goat.  (“Yeah, funny little dogs that have horns and eat everything.“)  😉

After feeding the goats, we looked at the other animals, walked around the park, and just enjoyed our time together.

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Monday evening we did something that was long overdue and also a lot of fun.  When we got married a year and a half ago, a good friend of ours, Katie, paid for me to have bridal portraits done with another good friend, Kate, as her wedding gift to us.  It was an incredibly generous gift!  Kate and I were relieved that, as good friends, we could schedule the photo shoot on our own time and not worry about being super professional.  Well, to make a long story short, we finally took my bridal portraits Monday!  To make it more fun though, I convinced Andrew to dress up so we could do some couple’s shots in addition to just bridal.

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I put my wedding dress back on (it’s a little snugger than it was a year and a half ago, but it still fits! :-D) with my cowboy boots, Andrew put on a light blue shirt and khakis, and Kate drove us out to a random field in the country where we had the most beautiful photo shoot!

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Kate is insanely talented (obviously); I have no idea how to pose for pictures like this (and neither does Andrew), but Kate was awesome and told us exactly what to do!  I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos!

The week since Monday has been consumed by…. PUMPKINS!  As a fundraiser for mission trips, my youth group has a pumpkin patch on the front lawn of our church during the month of October.  The semi-truck full of pumpkins arrived early Tuesday morning:

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In case you can’t tell by the photo, that’s a whole lot of pumpkins.  It took a large group of us about three hours to unload them all;  I did more directing than lifting, but I am still really sore!  If you live in the Richmond area, consider buying your pumpkins from Trinity UMC… the money goes to a great cause!

Other than hauling pumpkins, I have been pretty lazy about working out in the last week.  Andrew and I walked for an hour last night after dinner, and I’m going to  do some lifting today (now that I’ve typed it I can’t back out :)).

Have a great Thursday!

-Goats: love them or fear them?
-Has anyone else taken bridal/wedding photos long after the wedding??
-When are you stopping by my church to buy your pumpkins? 😉

Sleep Deprivation and Why My Husband is the Best

Good morning!  The last week has been slightly hectic, and I apologize for my subsequent blogging hiatus.  Every time I started a new post I thought, I got nothing.  Don’t worry… I have returned :).

On Friday night our youth group had a lock-in at church–50+ people, all night, no sleep.  The night was full of: manhunt (similar to hide-and-seek), dodge ball, movies, a ghost tour, duct tape games, and lots of food.

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The object of the duct tape game was to tape someone so that they hang on the wall for the longest once the chair is pulled away.  The winner (the girl on the right in the above photo) said her winning strategy was simple: wear pants.  Great life advice as well.

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Part of the “ghost tour”… it’s not everyday you get to wear a gorilla costume 😀

 I had a blast, and I think all the youth did as well, but I spent the rest of the weekend recovering from the lack of sleep!  Spoiler alert: when I don’t get enough sleep, I become helpless, and Andrew is a saint.  I crawled into my bed around 8:45 AM and slept until 12:30 PM Saturday.  When I finally shuffled myself downstairs to the kitchen, my sweet, sweet husband handed me a bowl of overnight oats.  Before he’d gone to bed Friday night, Andrew prepared my breakfast knowing I’d be too exhausted to function Saturday morning.  How sweet is that?

After very slowly eating breakfast, I was ready for a nap.  (Yes, one hour and the process of eating oatmeal zapped all my energy.)  I hobbled back upstairs, crawled back into bed, but could not seem to fall asleep.  I started thinking about soup.  It was a little chilly, and I was so tired, and soup sounded like just about the greatest thing in the world.  But how can I get this soup?  I’m upstairs in bed.  Do we even have soup in the house?  I decided my only option was to call Andrew’s cell phone (he was still all the way downstairs at this point).  I called and sadly heard his phone vibrating on his bedside table.  Dang.

I hobbled back downstairs and stood in the kitchen, where Andrew had pulled out the rubber gloves and was deep cleaning the sink and counters.  After a minute he turned and looked at me.

“Hi honey.  How are you doing?”

“I’m tired.  Let’s make soup.”

“We can make soup, but I don’t think we have everything we need.  Do you want me to go out and get you some soup?”

“I don’t know.  I think I need a shower.”

Andrew went back to cleaning because he’s an awesome husband, and I made the trip upstairs to take a shower… where I fell asleep.  When I finally got myself ready to leave the house (it took longer than you might think), Andrew walked upstairs to change clothes.  He picked up his cell phone.

“Did you call me at 1:30?”

“Yeah.”

“Where were you?”

(I patted my side of the bed.)

“You called me from the bed?”

“Yeah.  About the soup.”

“What about the soup?”

“That I wanted some.”

“I didn’t have my phone with me.”

“…I know.”

Sleep deprivation at its finest.  God bless that man for being patient with me. 😀

We ran a few errands, acquired all the ingredients for this soup, and made my sleepy dreams come true:

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Mmm.  Soup.  🙂

Sleep was the theme of the rest of the weekend:  fell asleep on the couch Saturday night, slept in Sunday morning, fell asleep on the couch again Sunday afternoon…

Andrew and I both took off work today because my lack of sleep stole our weekend, and we have some good things planned for the day (that’s not entirely true… we are planning to plan some good things for the day, but so far we haven’t made it past, “Sleep in and eat breakfast.” 😀

Have a great Monday!

Sleep deprivation:  do you become as helpless as I do?
What did you do this weekend?
Have you ever worn a gorilla costume?

 

Milkshakes, Vineyard Tour, and Youth Group (Weekend Recap)

Happy Monday to all!

We had a full, yet relaxing weekend here at the Storey house.  Friday we had one of those night that made me think, “27 and married is so, so different than 22 and single.”   It started when we decided to go out to eat, and I said, “I need a few minutes to get ready,” which meant brushing my hair and reapplying eyeliner.  Same clothes I’d been wearing all day?  Why not?  😉  We went to a restaurant called the Silver Diner, which is a small chain in Virginia and Maryland.  Although it’s a chain, each restaurant works with local farmers and creates seasonal menus with lots of gluten-free, vegetarian, and heart-healthy options.  It’s pretty great.

While browsing the menu, Andrew noticed the dairy-free milkshake option and suggested we split one at the end of our meal.  When the waitress asked us if we needed anything else, however, Andrew simply asked for the check.  After she walked away I said, “Did you not want to get a milkshake?”  He replied, with a little bit of crazy in his eyes, “Let’s go to Kroger and buy the ingredients, and then we can make LOTS of milkshakes!”  Done and done.

After acquiring the necessary ingredients, driving home, and blending, we parked ourselves on the couch with our milkshakes and watched a few episodes of Once Upon A Time on Netflix.  (Does anyone else watch this?  We are hooked. [Pun intended, for those of you who are watching season 2.]  Season 2 came out on Netflix about a week ago, and we finished it Friday.  Oops…)

So that was Friday: dinner at a diner, homemade milkshakes, and Netflix on the couch.  Yeah–27 definitely beats 22. 😀

I wrote about Saturday morning here, but the gist of it is: slept in, ran 6 miles, and ate brunch.  After that we worked in the garden–we planted more kale, lettuce, and spinach–and watched most of the VT football game.

Later in the afternoon we made a trip to the New Kent Winery for a tour and wine tasting.  Oddly enough this was Andrew’s idea, and I had to convince him to watch some of the football game (“I don’t need to watch every single game.  Do you want to go wine-tasting?”  Who are you, and what have you done with my husband?)  It was my first time at a vineyard, and it was so cool!

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As an engineer, Andrew always loves tours like this and learning how things are made.  The wine we tasted was pretty good too 🙂  After one particular wine I said to Andrew, “Wow, this is unique.  I’ve never had wine that tastes like this.”  Andrew replied, “It’s not unique;  we just don’t buy $25 wine.”  Hah!  True.

We sat on the porch for a while, then walked around the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

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The highlight of Sunday was having our first youth group of the school year!  Like last weekend at our kickoff picnic, we had quite a crowd, and it was so much fun (at least I thought so… but I planned the whole thing, so maybe my opinion is skewed ;-)).  It was a great end to a great weekend.

And now… Monday.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
Have you ever been wine-tasting?

Jamaica Part 2: Fitness and Adventure

While it may be tempting on vacation to lie on the beach all day–especially when a waiter walks by at regular intervals and says, “Hey Princess!  Are you doing okay?  Can I bring you a drink?”*–it’s also exciting to explore all that the activities the area and resort have to offer.  And you’ll feel better if you move a little bit between those buffets and fruity drinks. 😉

(*After this happened a few times, I requested that Andrew start addressing me as “Princess” and offer to bring me drinks regularly;  he declined.)

Here’s how we stayed active in Jamaica:

Snorkeling
When we were on our honeymoon we purchased snorkeling masks, which we brought with us last week.  The resort offered snorkeling trips, which we did once, but most days we also explored on our own just off the coast.

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A huge thanks to our friend Kevin for letting us borrow his waterproof camera for the week!

Sailing
The resort offers a variety of water sports, so we went sailing one day!  The culture difference related to this cracks me up:  In the US, in order to take out a sailboat you’d probably have to take a class, sign a waiver, pass a test, etc.  In Jamaica they said, “You know how to sail?  Have fun!”  😀

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Beach Volleyball
This was more Andrew’s thing, but I played one day too!  Every day at 4:00 the resort staff organized a volleyball game, and Andrew played most days.  Also, if I may brag on my husband for a moment, Andrew is kind of awesome at volleyball.  I had no idea (he never played on a team or anything), but I supposed I should have realized, considering is good at most sports.  The one afternoon he didn’t play, all his teammates kept saying, “Where were you??  We needed you!”

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Also, minutes after the above photo was taken, the guy on the right dove into the water to cool off and came up screaming expletives, his foot gushing blood.  We looked in the water and saw that he’d stepped on a stingray, which then pierced his foot!  We talked to him the next day after he’d spent a good portion of the night in the medical center; he was in some serious pain, but he’s okay!

Offsite Adventure: Ziplining and Waterfall Hiking
The only thing we did that was not included was an excursion to Ocho Rios (about 90 minutes from Montego Bay) to zipline and hike a waterfall.  The trip was absolutely worth the extra cost!

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The view from the sky lift

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Dunn’s River Falls is a series of 3-4 ft waterfalls with big pools at the bottom of each.  We hiked from the ocean to the top of the falls.  It was awesome (and provided some great photo ops! :-D)

The Gym
In addition to staying active outside, we did hit the resort gym a few times–once for Andrew, twice for me.  Each time I completed 20 minutes on the treadmill (intervals + a short warm up/cool down), and 20 minutes of weight circuits.  I wanted to make the workouts count without feeling like I was spending too much precious vacation time at the gym.

That was our Jamaication!  I’m still not sure about this whole, “not on vacation, back in the real world” thing, but I am slowly adjusting.  Yesterday afternoon I made myself a “transition from paradise to reality smoothie”: pineapple, mango, and strawberry.  I compromised by not including spinach, flax meal, or rum. 😉

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Not bad, but not Jamaica.

Have a great Tuesday!

Where did you go/are you going on vacation this summer?
Have you ever been to Dunn’s River Falls?

Jamaica Part 1: Food and Relaxation

Jamaica was all we’d hoped it would be–a great mix of adventure and relaxation.  This morning I will focus on the food and relaxation aspects of our vacation, and tomorrow I’ll dive into the adventure and activity aspects.  Overall, I think Andrew and I both did better in terms of being active and not stuffing our faces than we did on our honeymoon. 😀

First, I must say that Sandals handled Andrew’s food intolerances incredibly well. During our check-in process Saturday (which included a damp towel to cool off, a glass of island punch, and a comfy couch,) the sous-chef met with us and talked about what he could eat and how the food is prepared.  Anyone with a food allergy or intolerance knows that it can make you nervous to go somewhere like this and have no control over how the food is prepared; it put our minds at ease to have the chef take the initiative to speak with us and let us know that he is on top of things.  In addition to the plethora of naturally gluten-free foods, they provided a GF bread basket upon request at dinner as well as a GF pizza crust at the beach-side pizzeria!  Point one of a million for Sandals.

After checking in, we settled into our room and enjoyed our complimentary fruit and cheese plates on our balcony.

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We ate our weight in fresh fruit this week.  It was a-mazing.

The resort has five or six restaurants, with a few different breakfast options.  We decided to park ourselves at the breakfast buffet each day, partly because we didn’t go to an all-inclusive resort to eat like birds, and partly because this was the view from the restaurant:

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No big deal.

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Fresh fruit galore!

After breakfast most days we hit the beach.  The resort where we stayed sat on the mainland but had its own private island just offshore, with boats taking guests back and forth throughout the day.  We spent most of our sun time on the island.

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I have a feeling that being on the island all day is what kept us from being total gluttons.  While there was a bar as well as a husband who heard, “No, thank you, I’m fine for right now,” as, “Please bring me a pina colada ASAP,” the island restaurant served a much lighter lunch buffet.   Our lunches typically looked like this:

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Salad, jerk chicken, and a few frozen beverages 🙂

Dinners provided more of the face-stuffing opportunities.  Each restaurant created a signature drink, which the server brought to the table upon your arrival.  (Would you like this pineapple-garnished blend of delicious fruit juices and rum that I’ve already made and have for you right here?  Yes.  Yes, I think I would.)

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I failed to take any entree photos, but our dinners included dishes like Caribbean lobster, coconut-encrusted trout, garlic tiger shrimp, and filet mignon.  Yep.

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Desserts included beauties like this:

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Mango mousse and strawberry cheesecake

Between meals we filled our time with a lot of this:

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And this:

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And this:

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Pulling the lounge chairs into the shallow water?  Yes, please.

…And enjoyed views like these:

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<Sigh.>

We didn’t, however, spend 100% of our time eating and otherwise doing nothing.  Tomorrow I will tell you all about our active adventures and how we worked out more than once during our vacation. 🙂

I hope you have a great Monday!

Have you ever been to Jamaica?  A Sandals resort?  What’d you think?