Saturday, March 24, 2012

March Madness

Although avid basketball fans, March Madness applies to our lives even more this month. We have had job changes, trips to New York city, and St. Patrick's day among other things. Stephen and I feel like we have barely been able to catch our breath.

Last weekend my parents and their best friends came to town for St. Patrick's day. We served them Rubens and Guinness and showed them the chaos that is St. Pattys day in Milwaukee, on a Saturday, when it is 75 degrees. All in all, a wonderful day.

5 years ago Stephen and I celebrated our first St. Patrick's day together in Ireland, in Cork and Limerick. Our trip was cataloged by endless self-portraits. So, we kicked off our celebrations this year with our own self-portrait. We've still got it! Erin go bragh.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Monday night post

I have been a little busy, so I am dashing this post off during Smash--my Monday night guilty pleasure. Today was a beautiful day, especially for March. My husband and I had a wonderful dinner (if you count leftovers and no dishes as wonderful) and walk. A pretty ordinary day, but relaxing.

The un-ordinary part: it was my first day at a new job. I am now at Research Writer for a company that does research on the revenue cycle for health care and solution providers. My first day wasn't all that exciting, my direct boss is out of town. I did a lot of self-directed online modules and quizzes on HIPPA and Medicare. I am excited about my new opportunity.

Here's to a great week, with great weather, and hopefully a few new recipes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bon Voyage and Welcome Home (Citrus) Food

In my last post I mentioned a citrus salsa I made for dinner, so here are the details. I made the citrus salsa salmon dish as part of a nice send-off dinner for Stephen. My husband went to New York City last week to cheer on Marquette at the Big East Basketball tournament. He also took in the sights and sounds including the Today show and Philip Seymour Hoffman on Broadway in The Death of a Salesman. (Oh yes, I am a a little bit jealous, but he had a great time! Even better, he is home now.).

Anyway, the recipe. By way of a disclaimer, let me say I am not the biggest fan of fruit (except when it is in a smoothie or in its simplest, most segregated form). I don't like to mix fruits in salads a lot nor add them into main entrees. Don't ask me why, that's just how I interact with fruit. My point is, however, that something about this citrus salsa appealed to me and it turned how that should say a lot about the flavors and the recipe.

You can visit the recipe online from the Food Network and it includes directions for preparing the salmon. I will lay out the ingredients here for ease:
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Basically, mix all of that together and you have a citrus salsa to accompany the salmon. You can play with plating it (piling it on top of the salmon, etc.) for fun. I will also let you know that I forgot to get fresh parsley, so I can only imagine how much better it could take with fresh, not dried, parsley flavors. Also, I am rarely a fan of capers, so we left those out. My favorite part of the recipe was the red pepper flakes, it added a little bit of spice that really brought together the citrus flavors with the salmon. I can't wait to make it again!

Yesterday, before racing off the airport to pick up my love, I made a Raspberry Lemon Bread. My husband and I have been struggling at breakfast time for a bit, and the recipe seemed simple, nutritious (well, there is fruit here), and the perfect trick to make the house smell all yummy and homey when Stephen came home.

I found the recipe on Pinterest: 

It was a very simple recipe and one of the first breads I have made from scratch. Baking is not my favorite thing in the world, but there was not much more to this than mixing the few ingredients. I didn't need to use a mixer, just a whisk. I did use frozen raspberries because the $ value and the flavor is a lot better this time of year when raspberries are scarce. All of the lemon flavor comes from lemon zest, but was not too overpowering.

We had our first slices this morning. It was delicious and filing. It is 10:30 and I am still satisfied and not yearning for lunch...yet. The recipe includes directions for a glaze and a topping. I did neither...I went for less mess. Aside from remembering to pick up buttermilk at the store, the ingredients are simple and I will be making this again!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sometimes you just need to focus...

In a job interview, and in many other moments in life, "multi-tasking" is deemed good thing. Quite a few times I have responded to a question about my strengths and enumerated on how can I manage multiple tasks at one time. I am not doing a 360 and saying multi-tasking is bad, but it is not something that always needs to be done. As a beloved English teacher repeatedly told the class, "Know when and when not to."

In a work place, it is good to balance multiple projects. I know I could not have survived graduate school if I did not keep multiple research projects and reading assignments going at one time. In fact, I remember being in high school and reading 3 or 4 novels at a time--a few were for class and a few I read simply because I couldn't wait to read them. Lately at home, multi-tasking has started to look like me grabbing the laptop or iPad, sitting on the couch and then wondering where the night has gone and what I have actually accomplished. (Being updated on Facebook gossip does not count as an accomplishment, in this case.)

Whenever I need to relax, I think of this moment, and shirt from Friends.

Tonight, however, I am trying to focus on doing one thing at a time. My husband is gone on a little trip to NYC and I have a few nights to myself. I made myself a list of things that I want to get done and was about to take the laptop to the couch, turn on the TV and start checking the list off. Then I asked myself, why do I need to watch TV while I pay the bills? If I want to blog, why don't I focus on blogging? And really, as much fun as eating in front of the TV is, it is messier. I realized that I might get a lot more out of my relaxation time if I am actually able to do simply that...relax.

 Originally, I was not going to blog about multi-tasking, but I started writing and it felt cathartic. So, I have two posts in the works for all you readers. Stay tuned for:

1. A recipe for a citrus salsa to accompany a salmon entree.
2. Exciting news from my professional/career life

I hope to work hard on balancing many tasks, but also devoting adequate time to each and everyone of them. Call it a Lenten resolution--along with giving up soda...and ironing my clothes.