Friday, March 13, 2015

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I'm a little late to the Five on Friday game, but here it is:

1. We're on Week Two of a Wellness Challenge at work. One of the goals I added to my tracker was to eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal. It's been pretty easy so far - I've only cheated and called yogurt or jelly a fruit at breakfast a few times when I got desperate. Most meals I find myself loading up on 2-3 fruits or vegetables. Last weekend we had some yummy veggie-heavy dinners including:

-Brussels Sprout Pasta Carbonara.
Brussels sprouts used to be near the top of my "don't eat" list, but the introduction of bacon grease and a re-emergence of brussels sprouts with chefs doing them right at fancy restaurants has opened a whole new realm of possibilities for this green vegetable.

 -Asian Chain Appetizer Night - we made the Bangin' Shrimp from Skinnytaste, Pork and Ginger potstickers, and lettuce wraps (also from Skinnytaste). Only major change for the lettuce wraps is we suggest using bibb (or Boston or butter - I really don't know the difference) lettuce for your wraps. Iceberg lettuce is too rigid and just cracks whereas the aforementioned "b" lettuce sort of stretches around the filling.

2. Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Brownie Mix.
These brownies are amazing. I'm truly in awe of how quick and easy they are. All you need is 6 ounces of non-fat vanilla yogurt and a box of the brownie mix. Mix the two until the batter gets shiny and then pop it in the oven for 25ish minutes. Minus the sugar there's no guilt at all. I've heard that these are the same as the No Pudge Brownies (in a pink box) but I've only seen those at a select few grocery stores. I'd call these brownies more fudgey than cakey.

3. We're spending the weekend tackling our Master Bedroom. After living with sample squares painted on the walls for months, we finally picked...none of them and will be painting the walls this weekend. We'd planned to do it last weekend, but I found a 30% off sale at Sherwin Williams that didn't start until last Sunday, so we pushed it back a week. I'm a firm believer in buying paint the very same day you're planning to use it. Why wait around while they mix it all up if you're just going to have to do it again at home. I did use some paint we had in the garage from our sunroom project last summer to give our pantry door a makeover. I'll share that soon.

4. New ottoman - about a year ago we got a dining room table from Pottery Barn. Since then we've been using rewards points to make some other strategic purchases. Around Halloween we bought two leather club chairs using up our rewards points, and the balance qualified for 20% back if we used the Pottery Barn card we applied for when we bought the table. Usually you get 10% back, but we waited and waited and it paid off. From the chair purchase, we ended up with enough rewards to get a matching ottoman and a few other decorative items. Yesterday the ottoman arrived...and there was a weird surprise inside!

Zipped inside a secret pouch on the bottom was a white brick-shaped object wrapped up in many layers of bubble wrap and other wrapping. The package was tied into the ottoman holding it securely in place. Turns out the package just held 4 legs for the ottoman, but there was no explanation of that anywhere that I could find. Although it was only for a split second, I thought we were on the way to becoming the next drug kingpins, thanks Pottery Barn!

5. Finally, my green thumb is itching (tingling?) I just can't stop thinking about what plants and flowers I want to add this year. Last weekend I picked up a donkey's tail succulent which is currently enjoying a spot in the corner of our sunroom. I've got big plans for a small raised bed herb and vegetable garden (shhh don't tell our HOA) next to our back patio.

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