Sharing the Harvest + Weekly Workouts

“Honey, we should share some of this produce with our family and friends.”

You know the look an eight-year-old gives you when you tell him he has to stop playing video games with his friends and clean his room?  That is precisely the look I received from Andrew yesterday when I uttered those words.  It was a mix of, “Are you really speaking English right now?” and “I cannot even believe how unfair you are.”

Share?  We can freeze it!  How are we going to store up for the winter if we share?

Family, friends–we are working on it. 😉

zucchini2

As it turns out, Andrew’s reluctance to share only extends to the zucchini because he loves it, but he is more than willing to part with some of the other veggies.  On the flip side, I am happy to hand out zucchini to anyone walking by the house because 1.  I don’t love it, and 2. We have so much of it!  The photo above is today’s harvest, which includes three zucchini totaling 4.5 lb.  Each one is seriously bigger than my forearm.  Also today we picked three cucumbers, one yellow squash, and about 10 oz of cherry tomatoes!

Here’s our haul from a couple days ago:

harvest1

Cucumbers (which are now in the process of becoming pickles!), fantastic peppers, even more zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and the coolest looking, most delicious tomato I’ve ever beheld (<–That sounds like an exaggeration simply because I used the word “beheld” in reference to a tomato… it was very tasty. ;-))

The goodness just keeps rolling in.

In other news, I am rebounding from my cold that developed last weekend.  I’ve been limiting my workouts this week to easy walks, yoga, and light weight-lifting.  Yesterday afternoon I was feeling mostly better, so I went to the gym to do intervals on the Elliptical.  I pressed through–10 minute warm-up, 10 minutes of 30 seconds hard/30 seconds recover, 10 minutes of moderate intensity, 5 minute cool-down–but during the last bit I felt exhausted, and not in the I-just-had-a-great-workout kind of way, but in the I-don’t-feel-well way.  I probably should have given myself one more day to recover.  Oh well.

I have a busy day ahead–my family is coming in town this weekend for my grandmother’s memorial service, so in addition to work, I need to do some house cleaning, and, uh, finally put on paper what I want to say at the service tomorrow.  I have been thinking about it, but putting off actually doing it because I know I will need a few boxes of tissues just to write it.

What’s on your schedule for the weekend?
Do you workout when you are sick?
Zucchini: love it or hate it?

Advertisements

Independence Day, Yoga, and Laughter

Thanks to everyone–in real life and the blog world–for your kind words about my grandmother the last few days.  It’s been great to have what I know reaffirmed through so many: Grandma Tudor was a hell of a woman.  For those who didn’t know her, you’ll get to hear more about her in the coming weeks; don’t worry. 🙂

It has been a stressful week.  I leave tomorrow for a mission trip with the middle school youth at church, which I am so looking forward to, but there has been a lot to do related to the trip this week.  On Wednesday morning, hospice let us know that my grandmother was in her final 24-48 hours.  I think the anticipation of her death was, in some ways, worse than her actual passing.  I felt like, I am sad, but I can’t start grieving yet because I have too many other things that I need to do that will be much harder to do when I am actually grieving!

As Andrew walked through the door Wednesday evening, he made a playful jab about an email I’d sent him earlier in the day.  I immediately burst into tears and said, “I’m stressed, and I’m sad… can you not pick on me??”  (What can I say?  I am good at articulating how I feel and what I need… even if I word it the way a 6-year old might.  ;-))

After dinner that night we went to our yoga class.  I’d been looking forward to it as a stress reliever, but I didn’t anticipate all the ways in which it would help.  We set up our mats in the middle of the room; some people were already sitting or lying down, meditating.  The instructor entered the room and began setting up at the front of the class, but had not started the music yet, so the room was very quiet.  As I walked to the closet in the back of the room to get straps and blocks for Andrew and me, I heard a strange noise through the quiet of the room:

fsshh fsshh fsshh fsshh…

I turned around to scan the room.  Everyone was perfectly still… except my dear husband, who looked like he was trying to make snow angels on the floor, his socks making the fsshh noise as they moved back and forth.  I think from his position, he couldn’t tell how loud or obvious the motion was.

I hurried back over  to our mats and whispered,

Andrew!  Stop!  What are you doing?

The floor is so slippery!  They just redid it, and it’s SO slippery!

That’s great… but stop…you’re being a lot louder than you think!

Then we did our best to stifle our laughter.  What is it about laughing when you aren’t supposed to that makes it so hard to stop laughing?  The harder we tried to stop, the harder we laughed, and laughing is great stress relief. 🙂

(But seriously, we are the worst yogis.  Let me apologize now if you ever happen to be in the same class as us.)

On Thursday, after the news about my grandmother arrived and I spent some time crying and talking to family, we decided it would be nice to get out of the house rather than spend the day moping.

We harvested some veggies:

july4

…ate lunch at Burger Bach, by which neither of us were wildly impressed.  We were lured in by the gluten-free bun option and grass-fed beef.  The burgers come with side salads, which is nice, and you purchase fries and dipping sauces separately.  We were turned off by the fact that a small fry comes with one sauce, and if you wanted to try multiple sauces, you have to pay extra–that includes ketchup.  Come on… just put the bottle of ketchup on the table; people will still try the other kinds.  Also, the cooking options were “pink or no pink.”  Well, I don’t want it to be pink, but I also don’t want it charred, which is how my burger arrived.  To be fair, I was having a bad day, but don’t be lazy;  a “medium-well” option won’t kill you.

burgerbach<End Burger Bach rant.>

After lunch we went to Maymont to see the goats (I’ve mentioned this before, but I really love goats.  I regularly petition Andrew to let us get one as a pet.)

IMG_4323

Because it was so hot, they had all the animals inside, so unfortunately, I didn’t get to pet them.  Still cute. 🙂

That night we had dinner on the river and watched fireworks with our good friends Amanda and Diron.

IMG_4327

We love these guys. 🙂

IMG_4339 IMG_4340

While waiting for fireworks, we laughed about the insane flash on the iphone camera:

photo (24) photo (25)

😀

photo (27) photo (26)

It was a great end to a tough day. 🙂

What did you do for Independence Day?

Lemon-Thyme Chicken & Vacation

I may have reached my threshold for squash.  With the zucchini and yellow squash growing so quickly in the garden, we have cooked a meal with them about once a week and eaten the leftovers for at least one other meal.  Don’t get me wrong:  we are growing some delicious squash…I just might need to encourage the bell peppers and broccoli to grow a bit faster for the sake of my taste buds. 😀

I used this recipe to cook dinner last night, and taste-tester Andrew gave it two thumbs up.  Our modifications: instead of couscous, we cooked brown rice in the rice cooker, we used chicken tenderloins because they were on sale, and we added minced garlic to the squash saute.  

DSCN8521

The chicken was really good.  We will most definitely make this again… perhaps with another veggie. 🙂  Andrew loved the squash, and I certainly didn’t have any complaints about the taste.  As I said earlier though, I think I have reached my limit, so I just wasn’t thrilled about it.  Luckily, we have lots of leftovers to eat tonight. 😉

After dinner we headed to the gym.  I sweated for 40 minutes on the Elliptical–including 10 minutes of intervals–while Andrew lifted weights.   We booked our summer vacation on Sunday night (we are going to Jamaica in August!!) and I think as a result we are both feeling motivated to put in some tougher workouts. 😀  An evening stroll around the neighborhood, a Sunday afternoon leisurely bike ride are great for general health and basic fitness, but we are upping the intensity for the next month or so in order to get ourselves in fantastic shape for the Caribbean. 😀  I am SO excited.

What are your vacation plans for the summer?
Is anyone else tired of squash yet? 😉

Beach Day and Crazy Tomatoes

Life is about to be busy–a good busy–for a season.  Next weekend I leave for a mission trip with the youth group, will be home for a week, then leave for another mission trip (more on this later this week!), so this past weekend was somewhat of a “calm before the storm.”  Saturday we drove to Virginia Beach and met my college roomie Leah for a day of fun in the partly cloudy sun.  Other than a couple of brief rain showers, it was a wonderful beach day!

DSCN8500 DSCN8498

Andrew and I are not exactly “beach compatible.”  My ideal day on the beach includes lying on my back, taking a long walk, lying on my stomach, dipping my toes in the water, and repeating.  Andrew, on the other hand, turns into a giant 9-year-old as soon as his toes hit the sand.

“What do you want to do first??  Build a sand castle??  Dig a hole??  Body surf??  Throw the frisbee??  Dig a bigger hole??”

I say that with all the love in the world. 🙂  Because marriage involves many compromises, we did a little of both beach methods.  We sat, Andrew built a carefully measured, structurally-sound castle (you can’t turn off “engineer”), we threw the football and Waboba in the water, and we relaxed.

Before Leah arrived, Andrew was in the zone building his castle.  I thought it would be funny to turn on the self-timer on the camera, sneak up behind Andrew, and take a funny picture without him noticing.  Well, as I was walking over, raising our sand-diggers (yes, we bring toys to the beach), I noticed the woman on the blanket next to us looking at me like I was nuts.  I lost my nerve, and camera took the photo mid-sneak.  It’s not what I had in mind, but I look so awkward that it makes me laugh:

DSCN8507 DSCN8508

😀

DSCN8511 DSCN8509

We had a great time catching up with Leah just enjoying the beach!  On the way home, we met our friend Allison for dinner.  We miss her so much in Richmond, and was so, so good to share a meal and chat for a bit. 🙂

Things were productive on the garden-front this weekend as well.  Between the heat and the afternoon rain we’ve been having for the last few weeks, our tomato plants have grown out of control.  Part of the problem is that we planted too many too close together;  it’s hard to tell which branches belong to which plant now!  They’ve long surpassed their 4-ft cages and started flopping over on top of each other.  This weekend we had to stake them:

tomatoes2

Most of them are taller than their 6-ft stakes, and a few are even taller than Andrew now.  Despite the craziness, they are producing lots of beautiful fruit:

tomatoes

We are approaching an exciting point in which we are harvesting a lot of veggies.  I know it’s all relative, but we were thrilled to bring these beauties inside yesterday:

harvest

They were (we ate them all) the best cherry tomatoes I’ve tasted!  Thankfully, there are dozens more ripening at this very moment. 🙂

What did you do this weekend?
What activities do you like to do at the beach?

Squash, Tennis, and Homemade GF Cookies

Something tells me I will need to find an abundance of new squash recipes soon…and that something is that our zucchini and yellow squash are growing faster than the weeds surrounding them!  Yesterday we harvested (and ate) three, and we have three more that are ready to be picked today.

DSCN8443 DSCN8444

DSCN8447

Aren’t they beautiful? 😀  It is unbelievable how fast zucchini grow.  This particular one increased its size by almost 1/3 literally overnight.  We checked on it yesterday morning and thought, “Whoa!  Where did that come from?!”

For dinner, we kept the squash prep simple–sliced, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried thyme, and roasted in the oven.

DSCN8459 DSCN8457

…Plus baked pork chops and brown rice noodles with garlic and basil.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t love squash, but this was actually very tasty!  Again, I am fairly certain food tastes better when it’s homegrown.  It’s not too late to buy a few vegetable plants! 😀  You can grow them in pots, and you wont regret it.

After dinner we went to a local public school to play tennis.  My quad is still giving me trouble from our softball game ten days ago–fifteen or twenty minutes into my runs, it starts feeling really tight and achy.  I was happy to do a non-running cardio workout!

tennis2

My husband has skills.

We played for just over an hour, and as we were driving home, Andrew reminded me of my promise to bake him something.  Wednesday afternoon I’d baked a few desserts for a meeting at church, and when Andrew got home the house smelled like cookies, but there was nothing he could eat, so I promised to bake him something gluten-free and delicious on Thursday.

cookies

There’s a decent selection of gluten-free all-purpose flours and baking mixes these days, but the best stuff we have come across is Arrowhead Mills GF all-purpose flour.  The first few times I baked with it, I double checked the box to make sure the flour was GF after tasting how good the final product was.  More than once I did that!  We have even served GF baked goods made from this brand to our friends without them being able to tell they were GF.  That’s the true test. 🙂  Anyway, these chocolate chip cookies, made using Arrowhead Mills GF all-purpose flour, did not disappoint.  I’d need to do a side-by-side taste test, but I think I prefer these to regular chocolate chip cookies.  We may have eaten seven between the two of us (it’s okay… we eat our veggies too :-D)

Now, I’m off to pick some more squash before they grow too large to eat!

What’s your favorite squash recipe?  Do you have a gluten-free flour that you really love?

Jillian Michaels and Fresh Green Beans

I am officially bringing Jillian Michaels back into my life (her fitness DVDs, that is.)  Leading up to our wedding over a year ago I completed her 30-Day Shred workouts and really enjoyed them.  Well, perhaps “enjoyed” isn’t the right word;  I felt whatever it is you feel when you are successfully motivated by someone yelling, “Get up! Get up! Get up!  I have 400-pound people who can do this… so can YOU!” through the TV screen. 😉  Around the same time I purchased Jillian’s Ripped in 30 DVD.  I used it a few times, then fell off the wagon.  Yesterday I pulled it off the shelf, put it in the DVD player, and allowed my butt to be kicked.

I’d forgotten how much I love her workouts, and how much harder I push myself when, well, someone else is pushing me!  I am definitely feeling the good kind of sore today–like I worked hard.  Jillian is back in my regular workout rotation, and I am pretty excited about it. 😀

Transitioning from fitness to food, last night we cooked some green beans from our garden for dinner!


greenbeans5 greenbeans6 greenbeans4

We picked exactly thirty green beans.  Thirty beautiful, fresh, delicious beans.

Along with the green beans, which we lightly sauteed, we made mahi mahi, brown rice, and side salads.  We used this recipe for the mahi mahi, but we baked, rather than seared, the fish, and used a dairy-free buttery spread rather than butter for the sauce.  We also used fresh basil from the garden!

 greenbeans7 greenbeans3

It’s interesting how careful we’ve been to not waste food that we have grown.  Typically when preparing green beans, I snap off more of the bean than necessary for the sake of doing it quickly.  Last night I was so careful to only break off what was necessary.  It takes hard work to grow every centimeter of those beans!  I really think home-grown food tastes better too.  We have one zucchini and a few yellow squash that are about ready to pick, and I am so excited to eat them, even though they aren’t my favorite veggies.

After dinner we went to Ray’s for ice cream and DF frozen ice with our good friend Amy (she has an awesome blog you can check out here!)  She teaches in Florida and is town visiting for the week now that school is out for the summer.  It was so good to catch up, and made for a nice end to a great Tuesday. 🙂

Have you harvested/eaten any of your summer veggies yet?  Have you done any Jillian Michaels workout DVDs?

Father’s Day, a Retirement Party, and a Wedding

Andrew and I kicked off our weekend with a date night Friday at the Mellow Mushroom–a new-to-Richmond pizza restaurant.  We had learned they make gluten-free, dairy-free pizza, so Andrew was excited to try it (as excited as you can be about GF, DF pizza. 😉  Don’t tell Andrew I said that… I always tell him his pizza tastes delicious.)

mellow m mellowm2

Overall, the food was really good!  Andrew ordered their version of a supreme pizza, minus the ground beef that usually comes on it, and I had a cheese pizza with Roma tomatoes.  My only complaint is that I received a rather pitiful amount of tomato, as you can see in the photo above.  One thin tomato slice per pizza slice?  Come on, Mellow Mushroom… you can do better than that!  We both definitely enjoyed our meals though… and had plenty of leftovers!

On Saturday morning I went for my first run since hurting my quad during softball.  I kept it to an easy 30 minutes, and my legs felt good other than being a little achy from not running a lot lately.  Success!  I am going to take a break from our softball game this week, then hopefully play again next week (with a thorough warm-up and stretching.)

Saturday late morning/early afternoon, we worked in the yard (ah, the joys of home ownership. :))  I weeded the garden bed around the perimeter of the back yard, Andrew mowed the lawn, and we cleaned up the vegetable garden a bit.

DSCN8438

(Also, I think it might be time for me to buy a new camera.  All my photos have been blurry, regardless of the setting, lighting, etc.  Something is “off,” and I don’t think it’s just user errors.)

DSCN8429 DSCN8432

…And we picked and ate our first green bean 😀

That evening went to our good friend Erin’s wedding.  Everything was wonderful–Erin looked absolutely beautiful, and both she and Nick seemed so happy.  It was a joy to celebrate with them!

999273_10151611555683762_1975079904_n

(I may have borrowed this photo from Facebook…)

erin's wedding

Additionally, we were able to visit with friends who came in town for the wedding.  We don’t get to see them as often as we’d like, and it’s always great to catch up!

Sunday morning we went to church to hear our pastor’s final sermon before retirement.   John has served our congregation for 16 years!  It was a bittersweet day, full of emotion as John’s wife, Julie, escorted him out of the sanctuary at the conclusion of each service.  After the final service, we had a reception/farewell party in our fellowship hall.  The committee in charge of decorations went all out!  They created a “tailgate” theme and used the school colors from John and Julie’s alma maters:  Randolph-Macon, UVA, and Duke.

Petersreception petersreception2

petersreception3

For Father’s Day, Andrew and I were limited to phone calls with our dads–mine lives near Atlanta, and Andrew’s dad was at the Cape.  In honor of my dad, (Papa Walt, as he has been renamed since the addition of my nieces, the next generation,) I resurrected this photo gem to post on Facebook:

Papa Walt

This was taken at the preschool party for my 4th birthday.  Andrew pointed out that I still make that face, minus the green marker on my nose. 😉  Papa Walt is the best dad a girl could ask for;  I love you, and I’m so proud of you, Daddy!

Sunday afternoon, after an accidental nap on the couch, Andrew and I went to the hardware store, purchased supplies, and built a more permanent cage for our strawberry plants.

DSCN8437

We bent 2-ft tall chicken wire to make a box, secured the top with small wire pieces, and added a rope handle so we can lift the whole thing off.  Take that, birds.  I am 83% sure that our neighbors think we are nuts. 😀

And now, off to tackle Monday!

What was the highlight of your weekend?