Hot Ham Water

Hello!  Merry Christmas to all and an early Happy New Year! I hope everyone is having a safe, warm, and fantastic holiday.

We visited D’s family for Christmas and ate mounds of terribly tasty treats.  My contribution was this peppermint bark (of course, would you expect anything else?).

It is for holidays and special occasions like these, where people make splendid, high-quality goodies from scratch with real ingredients and lots of TLC, that I save up serious splurges and “letting go.”  And boy did I ever. 🙂  I’ve probably eaten five desserts a day since Friday.  I have some exercising to do to work off these extra couple of pounds but it was totally worth it.

Exercise this week:

  • Sunday – 4 mile run
  • Monday – 30 min. lifting, 10 min. stationary bike level 6 over 85 rpm’s
  • Wednesday – 30 min. lifting, 1 mile walk/run through snow (had to turn around halfway because the snow was too icy and packed for running), 2 mile run on a different path

Big news, everyone

I am officially registered for my first half marathon. 🙂  I am so excited.  I finally bit the bullet and decided to do the Nashville Country Music Half that I mentioned a few weeks ago.  I am road tripping with a group of friends and we will split hotel rooms to save dollaz.  I am not a country music fan but I know it’s going to be a blast nonetheless  And also my first time visiting Nashville. Aw snap!  No, I don’t ever actually say that.

I pushed my training plan out a few weeks but otherwise it looks just like this.  Week 1 is actually this week!  I’m currently running enough on my own to satisfy the first few weeks of the plan so I won’t officially be following it until late January/early February.

News, everyone

I took this week off from work to catch up around the house and take a breather from work.  It has been wonderful.  I have cleaned out and reorganized our master closet, put together a 1,000 piece puzzle with D, exercised several times, grocery shopped, run payroll for D’s company, returned some things, cooked, read, blogged, caught up on some TV shows, and on and on.  Happy sigh.  Monday is going to be a rude awakening.

My list for the rest of my time off includes cleaning and reorganizing our master bedroom, shipping a few packages, and more quality time with D, who has also taken this week off.  Tomorrow morning we are doing a Movie in the Morning, complete with snuggling blankets, peppermint coffee, and banana steel cut oats.  I can’t wait! 🙂

Onto foodier things

My company gives out holiday hams to employees each year.  I don’t normally eat ham as I find it to be too heavy, high in sodium, and generally too salty for my taste, but, hey, multiple free dinners. 🙂  For those I make a once-a-year ham allowance.

I received mine a couple of weeks ago but had refrained from using it until after we returned from our Christmas visits.  We got home late Saturday night so I decided to cook it on Sunday.  Well, reheat it, really, as it comes pre-cooked.  My goal was to avoid a trip to the grocery store and use up leftovers.  I wanted to see how far I could stretch it.  I did end up having to go to the store today for essentials but I think I will be able to stretch it to Thursday, or possibly  even Friday. 🙂

Weekly Menu 12/27-1/1

  • Sunday – sliced ham, stuffing, broccoli
  • Monday – ham sandwiches, stuffing, broccoli…these sandwiches were much tastier than we had anticipated they would be!  Definitely worth two rounds.
  • Tuesday – ham sandwiches, broccoli
  • Wednesday – ham, bean, and veggie soup
  • Thursday – tentatively leftover soup
  • Friday – tentatively ham & veggie scrambled egg sandwiches

The ham, bean, and veggie soup (a.k.a. hot ham water) that I made today is really delicious and uses almost all leftovers from my fridge and pantry.  The only things not left over were the zucchini and mushrooms.  I had two bowls tonight and semi-seriously contemplated a third.

I googled ham & bean soup and found this recipe.  It became my inspiration, and from that I created my own version:

Ham, Bean, & Veggie Soup

You’ll need:

  • 4 cups low sodium organic veggie broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 16 oz. mixed dried beans
  • chopped veggies – onions, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, fresh spinach
  • garlic
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano, no salt zesty seasoning to taste
  • leftover chopped ham – somewhere between 1/2 lb. to 1 lb.?  I just kept adding ham until it looked like a ham, veggie, and bean soup rather than a bean and veggie soup.

Directions:

  1. Cover beans with cool water in a large pot and soak for 8-10 hrs.  I set the beans out to soak this morning on my way to the gym.
  2. Discard water, rinse, fill pot of beans with 8 cups fresh cool water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 10-20 minutes to soften the beans a bit.  If you use dried red kidney beans, be sure to boil for 10 minutes to remove the phytohemagglutinin.
  3. Discard water, rinse, fill with veggie broth and water as directed above.  Add all ingredients except for spinach and ham.  Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce soup and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the ham and spinach.  Simmer for another 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender.  My mom called at this point so the time went by quickly.
  5. Serve and yum.

Kitchen Reorganization

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d spent an entire Sunday reorganizing my kitchen.  I thought I’d share pictures now that I’ve had some time to sit down and finish getting all of those pics resized and uploaded.  My apologies for the lack of before shots.  Just imagine your average mess combined with some poorly-utilized cabinets and you’ll be up to speed. 🙂  I had to use my flash in a lot of these since the cabinets are dark and my kitchen has terrible lighting.

Kitchen – Tidy me up, baby!

Lid rack used to organize my cake pans.  Plastic bag holder attached to the door, although it doesn’t see much action since I use cloth grocery bags in most stores.

Coffee/tea cabinet.  Filters & organic coffees on the bottom shelf, tea in the middle.

Random container cabinet.  Shaker bottles & lids for protein powder on the top shelf; plastic containers that are not used for heating or chilling food & their lids on the middle shelf; mugs and D’s cups on the bottom.

This spice rack sits in my baking cabinet (not shown because it’s hard to get a good pic).  It is organized from front to back by frequency of use.

My lazy susan cupboard for breakfast items/granolas and large pots.  Why three oats containers?  Two are old-fashioned (one is running out) and one is quick prep.

My pantry.  Looks so bare, doesn’t it?  This is what survived the pantry apocalypse.

I am okay with a couple of tidy groups of items on the counters. (The clay pot and trivet on the shelf to the right were made by D’s grandmother when she was young.)

The “landing station” in the kitchen for the current grocery list, cards to go out, etc.  Also a stack of magazines & catalogs that I need to read and recycle.

This weekend I also tidied up the fridge and freezer, although I only have pics of the freezer right now.

Veggie burgers and frozen meals that I keep on hand for D if I work late or don’t feel like cooking.  And bison!

Veggie drawer

This is what happens to bananas who don’t behave.

Ice pack shelf because icing cures all ailments except raging chocoholism.

Note to self: swap ice packs and top bananas.

It feels great to have that done! Next up: master closet.  I am so excited.

I like to move it.

Would you believe I’ve spent most of the last 48 hours at the offices?  Offices because I’ve been alternating between old and new.  I wanted to get the meat of the move done early on an open weekend to avoid having to cram it in around office hours and holidays later.   Moving two offices (mine + bossman’s) takes a little longer than moving one, and choosing lamps for both offices takes almost as much time as moving. 🙂

In this order, I bought lamps at: Staples (1), Home Depot (4), Pier 1 (3).  One of the Home Depot lamps won the boss’s office contest. For my office I liked qualities of two of the Pier 1 lamps and ended up walking out post-return with a final lamp that had everything I was looking for.

Outside of that the hours were spent moving boxes and boxes of things from old office to car (thanks for awesomeness, RAV4) and from car through three sets of doors into new office without getting locked out.  I also put a bookshelf together twice.  Building furniture with poorly illustrated instructions past midnight is about 0% smart.

Foodwise, I brought a bunch of snacks since I knew I’d be pretty active for a long period of time without access to food.  I packed two bananas, multi-grain Breton crackers with brie, leftovers of an unsalted mix of seeds, a couple of granola bars, I knew there was a LaraBar in my purse, grapes, pomegranate arils, and my 24 oz. Camelbak.  I went through one banana, the crackers & cheese, the grapes, and two waterbottles’ worth of water.  Moving counts as exercise and I have one thing to say about that – lift from the legs! Squat + lift saved me.

No moving tomorrow! 🙂  I’ll be spending the day with my husband boyfriend.  And doing laundry.  We are so out of whites.  Yesterday I wore embroided penguin socks to work.

Soupy.

We are in the thick of moving.  The moving truck came through two offices on Monday and picked up big ticket items.  The painters finished the walls finally.  It looks pretty decent.  The president of the corporate park we’re moving into came by to check on us and said he was going to bring his wife by to look at the space because he loved it and maybe she’d do their basement like that.

The electricians are cabling, the builders are finishing an additional office in the suite, and I need to finish packing up my desk here in the old office.  My boss  expects several of us to be working out of the new office by Friday/Monday.  That doesn’t give me much time to finish up The Pile Challenge!  Pile 6 is still untouched, but the rest of the piles are pretty much gone save for some filing and action items.

I went to the gym for more weights on Monday followed by an easy three mile run.  This run was a little less sluggish than Sunday’s.  I’m getting there. 🙂  Tonight will be more weights.  I’ll save my next run for tomorrow.  It will probably be around the 3-4 mile range.

Monday’s dinner began with my picking up strawberry-banana smoothies made with skim milk on the way home from the gym.  Then I made egg & veggie sandwiches with 6 eggs (4 whites + 2 whole eggs, so D and I each got ~ 2 whites and a full egg), zucchini, spinach, a failed attempt to utilize some very antiquated mushrooms, a bit of shredded cheddar, and a light dusting of pepper and sea salt – all on toasted sprouted grain bread.  It was yummy and super easy. I’ve never claimed to be much of a cook so that’s how I roll most of the time.

Last night I was out late and feeling the need for junky comfort food so I got Wendy’s for both of us – a spicy chicken sandwich with honey mustard instead of mayo, fries, and a Dr. Pepper.  I ended up tossing most of the Dr. Pepper as it felt too much like I was just drinking syrup water.

I followed that up with lunch at Panera today.  I have been craving salt and bread by the bucket for the last several weeks.   My choices were the veggie soup and smoked turkey sandwich, both loaded with sodium.  The soup was tasty, though.  (Btw, my very favorite item at Panera is the black bean soup.)  I had soup at lunch yesterday, too.  It’s been a salty, soupy week.

I’m not sure what tonight’s dining delight will be but it will definitely need to be light after all of this heavy stuff!

I also need to finally cut the cord with that limp asparagus in the fridge.

The Pile Challenge

Today is a To Dizzle day:

  • Work on packing up the boss’s office for our company move – mostly done before his meeting & then I did some of mine, too. Yay for empty filing cabinets and bookshelves!
  • Get some docs and emails out the door
  • Pick up company paperwork from the accountant
  • Make appt. for yearly physical…I tried yesterday but the phone wait was too long
  • Submit the parking ticket for which my appeal was denied for reimbursement since it happened during set-up for an event.
  • Rough draft of an article
  • Prep for meeting tomorrow
  • Go to the gym
  • Play softball? My friend wants me to stand in for her. This remains to be decided. I haven’t played since 1993?
  • Cross my fingers that my computer is ready by the end of the day! update:  Per tech guy, it’s deader than dead.  It’s getting a face lift right now but should be ready to go tomorrow.

My company is moving across town starting the first week of November. I will be in the first round of employees to move in. That means I have roughly two weeks left in my current spot.

Now, I am a piler. I make piles. This contract needs to be scanned and filed and I’ve got two phone calls, a bunch of emails to return, and errands to run? Into the pile it goes! In my mind I’ve got better things to do than walk across the office to the scanner, scan it, walk back, wait for it to arrive, create a shared folder in my boss’s computer files for the client, stick the document in there, share the folder with myself, sort the folder in my files, then locate my keys in my purse, unlock the filing cabinet behind me, and file the document. However, that also means that things eventually back up.

I have decided that these piles in my office are not going with me, at least in their current incarnation. Therefore, I am challenging myself to sort through and eliminate every single pile by moving day. As a result, I will be able to start out in my new office with a clean slate and some serious peace of mind.

The Pile Challenge

Behold the piles (ignore their file names, I reordered them).

Pile 1 – Light filing and some docs that need to go out. Out with you! (Not the daisy plant that refuses to flower, you can stay. )

pile 1

Pile 2 – Important docs that require action soon

pile 6

Pile 3 – Filing and tasks without due dates, aka this will never get done unless email and phone go down for a week and my boss ships himself off to an island

pile 3

Pile 4 – Odds and ends, mostly filing

pile 2

Pile 5 – Mostly items to be recycled but I want to go through this to be sure

pile 5

Pile 6 – Mostly filing, scanning, etc.

pile 4

Readysetgo!