Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

I love potatoes in most any form.  When I send Andrew a text mid-afternoon that says, “Thoughts on dinner?”  and he replies, “Whatever is fine,” there is a very strong chance he’ll be eating potatoes that night.  Yesterday, to jazz up our go-to oven roasted potatoes with salt, pepper, and olive oil, I created what turned out to be a really delicious seasoning mix.  If you are a fellow lover of potatoes, give this a try:

Perfectly Seasoned Oven-Roasted Potatoes

-5-6 small red potatoes
-1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/4 tsp pepper

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1. Preheat oven to 350.  Begin boiling a large pot of water.  2. Slice potatoes into small chunks.  3. Boil potatoes for 5 minutes, drain, then transfer to a bowl.  4. While potatoes are boiling, combine all the spices and mix well.  5. Add olive oil and spice mixture to the potatoes, and stir, making sure all the potatoes are coated.  6.  Spread potatoes on an aluminum foil-lined baking pan, and place in oven for about 30 minutes, flipping potatoes with a spatula halfway through.

DSCN8551Oh man, they were good!  Boiling them first ensures that they are soft, and putting them in the oven makes the exterior crispy.  I could eat these every day!  They did have a little kick, so if you don’t like spicy food, make sure to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper (or eliminate it completely.)

In addition to the potatoes we had steamed broccoli and baked chicken breasts, marinated in raspberry-walnut vinaigrette (which explains the pinkish color. :))  With all the goods coming out of the garden, we have been eating a lot of salad;  last night I needed something that wasn’t raw, and the steamed broccoli hit the spot.

Enjoy!

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The Weekend: Family, Vegetables, and a Police Report

What a weekend!  I may need a few days to recover from the busyness.

I kicked things off Friday evening by filing my first police report after being stalked in the grocery store and parking lot.  I’ll write a full post on this either later today or tomorrow, but suffice it to say that it was a very scary experience, and I’ve been a little bit on edge ever since.

On Saturday, we held a memorial service for my grandmother, and it was all that we wanted it to be.  After the service and wonderful reception put on by the Bereavement Committee at church, family gathered back at our house.   We had a veggie tray with a lot of goods from our garden, as well green salsa that Andrew made from our tomatillos!  It was a lot of fun to show off the garden to our family members who had heard about it but never seen it.  After the weight of the day, it was so nice to relax with family, share the Grandma Tudor stories that weren’t appropriate for non-family, and laugh.

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The nieces and me before the service 🙂

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My brother and brother-in-law passed out in my living room 😀

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Andrew, Ross, and my dad in the back;  Aunt Ann, Kendall, Lauren, Whitney, and me in front (Charles behind the camera!)

On Sunday, we slept in and skipped church (I know.  Sometimes you just need to be a recluse for a day, and yesterday was one of those days for me.)  Andrew and I went for a walk, then spent a few hours working in the garden–harvesting, weeding, pruning.

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We finally harvested our beets and carrots and had a good laugh about it:

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Five tiny carrots and a toothpick, and a bunch of beets… the largest of which is roughly 1.5-inch in diameter 😀
(Side note: I just started using Instagram!  Follow me @ctstorey)

You win some, you lose some, right?  Well, what we lost in root vegetables, we are winning in squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers…

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Yesterday’s harvest (minus the beets and carrots) + the crazy-tall tomato plants (those are 6-ft stakes!)

After gardening, lunch, and a few episodes of New Girl, Andrew went to the gym, and I stayed home to lift weights in the living room (again, the recluse thing.)

In the evening we went to Bonefish Grille to celebrate my mom’s birthday!  We love Bonefish.  Four of us split an order of Bang-Bang Shrimp (which I’d never had before because I always go with Andrew, and he can’t eat it… it’s delicious!) and an order of Saucy Shrimp.  (My mom’s friend Bill then ordered another Bang-Bang Shrimp for himself…before his entree. ;-))  For dinner I had the grilled scallops and shrimp with steamed broccoli and garlic whipped potatoes.  Mmm. 🙂

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We loved celebrating with my mom (and we missed you, Whitney and Charles!)

The weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but held more smiles than tears.  I was able to see so many of my favorite people all at once, and for that, it was awesome. 🙂

What did you do this weekend?
Any tips for growing full-sized carrots and beets? 😀

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. 😉

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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:

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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?

MyFitnessPal and a Sweet Question

I consider myself a fairly healthy eater.  Yesterday, out of curiosity, I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app, entered my height and weight, set it to “maintain current weight”, and recorded my exercise and food to see how I measure up nutritionally.

Here’s my report card from the end of the day:

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I fell short in a few areas–fat, calcium, iron–and really nailed a few others–protein, fiber, and vitamins A & C.

What stuck out the most was that I’d exceeded their recommended sugar intake before lunch.  Hah!  What sugar bomb did I eat before noon, you might ask?  Blueberry muffin?  Cinnamon roll?  Nay.  I had a bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with blueberries, raw almonds, and unsweetened soy milk, coffee with the same unsweetened soy milk, and after working out, a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter.  Somebody stop me; I’m out of control.  😉

This prompted me to do some research on sugar, and I found a lot of conflicting information.  From what I can tell, the recommended amount refers mostly to added sugar, rather that those occurring naturally in fruits and dairy products.  Why, then, doesn’t MyFitnessPal differentiate?  Two-three servings of fruit can easily put one over their limit!  On the other hand, with very limited knowledge of chemistry/biology/etc., my understanding is that our bodies cannot tell the difference–sugar is sugar.

So what do we do with that information?  I say (again, with very limited knowledge on the subject…this is purely my experience), take a step back, don’t hyper-focus on how many grams of this or that, and just eat real food.  I know there are many popular diets out there that limit (or eliminate) fruit, but are you really telling that a highly processed protein bar with who-knows-what as a sweetener is better for my body than something that grew from the earth?  I don’t buy it.  Intuitively, I just don’t buy it.  I feel certain that the benefits of eating an orange far outweigh the grams of sugar it contains.

I am not criticizing MyFitnessPal for this–it’s a helpful tool that prompted some research.  Near the end of the day yesterday, the app showed me that I’d fallen pretty short on fat, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron, so I made myself a kale salad with Balsamic vinaigrette (umm, raw kale is disgusting, but I muscled it down for the sake of my health. ;-))  That helped close the gap on most of those nutrients.

Ultimately, it all comes back to my very basic belief about nutrition–just eat real food.

Do you use the MyFitnessPal app?  What do you think about it?
Thoughts on sugar?

Impromptu College Reunion

I am currently experiencing a post-exhausting-week cold.  My throat began itching on the drive home Friday, and now I am in full blown green snot mode.  (You’re welcome.)  Andrew woke me up in the middle of the night and said, “Catherine… roll over.  You’re making funny noises….and you’re right in my face.”  😀  I consider myself to have a strong immune system, but I know I am highly susceptible to getting sick when I am stressed and/or overly tired.  Oy.

I spent most of Saturday recuperating, and on Sunday I met up with with my college housemates for an impromptu reunion.  We met at Kate’s apartment in the Fan and walked to Garnett’s Cafe for lunch.  I’d never been, but it was delicious, and they have gluten-free bread, so I will have to go back with Andrew very soon!  From there we walked to Kuba Kuba for their iced cafes con leche (by the way, I have been far too lax about the amount of dairy I’m eating…)  By the time we arrived back at Kate’s after two hours of talking, eating, talking, and walking, I was exhausted and had a bad case of medicine-head.  I drove home to take a nap, and the girls went to the river, with the plan to come over to our house later for dinner, prepared by Chef Andrew.

The meal included a salad with lots of fresh veggies from our garden, plus spinach and arugula from the store.  I was thrilled to be able to share the harvest with our friends 🙂

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In addition to salad, we had baked chicken with a roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade (the tapenade was from Trader Joe’s) and a lemon-basil quinoa.

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It was all pretty delicious. 🙂

The girls were concerned that I was taking this picture because they’d come straight from the river/being out in the sun all afternoon, but I think they all look beautiful:

dollhouseI love these people 🙂 

We ate and talked and reminisced about things we did in college.  Andrew informed us that the more he hears about our college experience (mostly the pranks we pulled and the weird things we did that we thought were hilarious), the less he wonders why none of us dated very much 😀

We ended the day with a trip to Ray’s for ice cream and Italian water ice.  As always, it’s so good for my soul to spend time with this crew, even when I’m not feeling well!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

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:

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…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.

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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.)

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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.

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We love these guys. 🙂

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

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😀

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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.  

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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? 😉