Sunday, October 30, 2011



The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: "a fortunate stroke of serendipity.

Today after church when the little guy asked what was for lunch, I found myself reluctantly saying, "How about pancakes?" You see, pancakes (+ eggs or chicken sausage) are one of my go-to, last-resort, cupboards-are-bare meals. I can mix them up on a moment's notice, probably even in my sleep. Goodness knows I stopped using a recipe for them ages ago. While I try to mix up the mix-ins and toppings so we never really eat the same 'cakes twice, today I was really, really not looking forward to another stack.

I started rummaging through the freezer to see if there was something, ANYthing, I could put into those pancakes that would make them remotely more interesting. That's when I unearthed a bag of frozen cubed potatoes. I had utterly forgotten about it! My wheels started turning... I had potatoes, onion, bell pepper... I hate the word, but could I come up with a decent hash?

Oh yeah, baby. I ran the potatoes under water for a few seconds to start thawing, then added them to a hot skillet with grapeseed oil and diced onion. A little of this (kosher salt, black pepper, dried dill) and a little of that (diced ham, red bell pepper, fresh tomatoes, salsa, garlic-and-chili-infused macadamia oil) made its way into the skillet. When I was happy with how that looked and tasted, I quickly cooked a few eggs in another non-stick skillet and slid them on top of each serving.
With a little dash of Frank's, my one true love, this meal was complete. And gooooood. So good, in fact, that I didn't even miss the white cheddar I had forgotten to grate on top. It didn't even cross my mind until I was cleaning up the kitchen and saw the cheese on the counter.

With a scrambled egg instead of a runny one, this would make a great breakfast burrito. This meal can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the ham, and could be vegan-ized by omitting the ham and topping with scrambled tofu instead of eggs.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Meal plan

Sunday - leftovers
Monday - cilantro-garlic shrimp from Clean Eating Magazine
Tuesday - chili (or similar) in the CrockPot after running group
Wednesday - portobello gnocchi with marinara sauce, roasted brussels sprouts
Thursday - lentils and quinoa
Friday - pizza? It's a known pre-race meal for me and we're doing a 5K on the 29th!
Saturday - TBD

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Old Town Alexandria, 3-year-old style

Here's how we spent our day:

Playing ghost
Petting moss 
 Cheesing for the camera while acorn hunting
 Watching a construction site (he loves the cranes)
 Taking a coffee (for me!) and cookie (oatmeal raisin) break
 Hanging out at the fountain near the train station
 Observing the bubbles and money in the fountain
 Playing with (antagonizing?) one of the tiniest dogs he's ever seen
 Bumming around a farmers' market we found a block from our hotel
 A brief cuddle with his oh-so-tired mama after dinner
 Gelato date! He chose pineapple-basil. :)
He also spent time in the pool with The H, but I didn't document that. It's slightly different than how it might look if The H and I were here by ourselves, no doubt. But it was fun and tired him out, so I'm a fan.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kid-friendly beef vegetable soup

This recipe is another Squeaky Gourmet gem. While I can't post the recipe, I can tell you this: watching the little guy eat several bowls of this (twice--it makes a lot!) without complaining about the veggies is more than worth the cover price, had I actually paid for this book. He claims to not like zucchini, onions, or mushrooms, all of which are in this soup, but once I had him close his eyes and eat it, the complaints ceased and all I heard was "YUM! I LOVE it!"
We called this "taco soup" because the seasoning is slightly reminiscent of Mexican food--and because tacos are fairly familiar to the little guy. Once he chowed his servings, I told him what was in there and said now he couldn't tell me he didn't like those things anymore. In addition to the zukes, 'shrooms, and onion, this hearty bowl contains ground beef, wild rice, grape tomatoes, and celery. That'll bring your veggie intake up for the day!

Since it does make so much, we had leftovers another day. I'm pleased to report that this freezes and reheats very nicely. I dumped a semi-thawed brick of soup into a slow cooker one afternoon before running group, and we came home to savory simmering goodness that was perfect for warming up on a chilly fall evening.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ten things

1. I'm running the Army Ten-Miler in DC next Sunday.

2. The little guy, who claims to not like zucchini, happily gobbled his entire bowl of beef & wild rice soup (which contains zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions) with his eyes closed so he didn't have to see them.

3. My sister, who blogs at, got some nerve-wracking news recently. If you have any good thoughts, prayers, or "best wishes" vibes to share, please send some her way.

4. My parents are in Kashmir for a few weeks.

5. I ran an average of 8:02/mile for my four-mile tempo run Friday. In 28mph winds on a not-entirely-flat route. Lots on my mind, apparently.

6. Yesterday was the busiest I've been in a long time--up at 6:30 for a run, ran 8 miles, prepped for a bridal shower, hosted said shower at my house, cleaned up, started packing for our DC trip, went out for coffee with my sisters (one of whom stayed with us last night, 9-month-old in tow), came home to finish packing, and conked out sometime before midnight (I think).

7. We recently revisited this meal for dinner. It was a great way to warm up on a blustery, stormy, power-blinking night.

8. I *adore* fall weather, including the kind mentioned above. LOVE love love it.

9. As much as I love my shorts and tanks, I've been itching to wear my colder-weather gear again. 

10. My first blog giveaway is coming soon!