Today’s agenda:

1) Position pitcher in direct sunlight to make sun tea.

Food 004

2) Make candied pecans.

Food 002

3) Make Copper Carrots.

Food 007

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been making a lot of things with carrots lately.  I had a HUGE bag from Costco that I needed to use up.  When Kyle saw the Copper Carrots, he almost looked too scared to even try a “no thank you bite”.  Good thing we’re planning on going to a 4th of July party this weekend.  It’s a lot to try to eat all by myself!

4) Make dinner.

Kyle's salad

Kyle's salad

Kyle’s was a Chicken Cesar Salad.  (I made blackened chicken as per my dad’s instructions.  I still think his is better, but since it’s a loose recipe, there’s always room for improvement.  I’d say it was a pretty tasty attempt, though!)

Amy's salad

Amy's salad

My salad was an Amy original.  I haven’t come up with an official name yet, but it’ll be something along the lines of “Sweet and Spicy Summer Salad”.  The sweet comes from the candied pecans I made earlier.  The Spicy comes from the blackened chicken.  The summer comes from the fruit.  (I used apples and blueberries.)  In addition, this salad had onions, feta cheese, and a vanilla pear vinagrette I had hanging around from a dinner party with friends awhile ago.  I don’t think I’d necessarily make the dressing again, so if I make this salad in the future, I’d probably switch up the dressing options.

Oh, also, just to clear things up, I made the sun tea to have with dinner.  It was a perfect match for my eclectic salad.

And, to add a sweet treat to the end of our evening, Kyle and I walked to TCBY for a dish of White Chocolate Mousse.  Boy does that flavor bring back fond memories for me. 🙂

Upcoming agenda items this week:

1) Eat breakfast at Neptune Coffee with my friend Emily and walk Greenlake

2) Make Banana Date Muffins

3) Meet Kyle at work for lunch and to hang out downtown

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Carrot Cake and other summer delights

Kyle and I had another relaxed backyard BBQ last Friday.  It ended up being a mis-mash of Kyle’s work friends, old high school friends, and a couple of my girlfriends.  One of the highlights was a contraband game of lawn darts.  It’s true…lawn Darts have been prohibited from sales in the United States since 1988, but they made it to our BBQ!

Another thing that made it to our BBQ was a one year old chocolate lab named Crosby who was ready to eat anything in sight.  Needless to say, we all had to be on call at all times.  Also, we were pretty sure Crosby had his first ever interaction with a cat when one of our neighborhood cats dropped by for a visit.  That was a pretty interesting sight to behold. 🙂

My personal favorite highlight was my dessert contribution.  I made a Carrot Cake from scratch (including the cream cheese frosting).  It’s the first cake I’ve ever made from scratch and I think it turned out pretty well.  What do you think?

Yumm!

Yumm!

Two other highlights from our weekend:

1) We took an epic bike ride on Saturday and ended up at Molly Moons.  I’ve decided Molly Moons is my favorite ice cream shop in Seattle.  (And I’m pretty certain that would be true even if it wasn’t the only ice cream shop in Seattle. :)) Oh – Kyle had a cup of Birthday Cake ice cream and I had Salted Caramel on a sugar cone.  I might try the Honey Lavendar next time.  We’ll see.

2) It was warm enough and sunny enough to lay outside in my bathing suit for a little while today.  I even got a bit of a burn!  (Don’t worry though – it’s the type of burn that will just make me look like a nice toasted marshmallow by the time I wake up tomorrow morning.) 🙂

Here’s to a fun, summery weekend!

(Also – congratulations to Holly (my sister-in-law’s sister) who got married on Saturday!)

Summer for an introvert

It’s hard to find a dictionary definition of introvertedness that I agree with, but I did find this website that gives a more thorough description that I think does a good job of explaining introvertedness.  If you don’t have time to read the article, the main idea is that being an introvert means you get your energy from being by yourself.  (On the other hand, if you’re an extrovert, you get your energy from being with other people.)  So, it’s not necessarily about being shy or lacking social skills; it’s more about need alone time to rejuvenate.

Based on this definition, I’m an introvert through and through.  My exciting discovery this summer (since I’m not busy moving and getting married) is that the life and rhythm of a teacher is really good for my introvertedness.  I can picture some people going insane already with my lifestyle even though I’ve only had 1 1/2 days of no schedule.  But, I am loving the break from my chaotic and crowded school environment.

I’m a person who needs a lot of alone-time to think and reflect and contemplate.  This morning I’ve done that while taking a walk, making Flaxseed Muffins, doing dishes by filling up the sink, and doing laundry including the folding and ironing.  All of those things are really methodical and can be seen as tedious, but for me, they are energizing and rewarding.

Sometimes this personal characteristic makes me think I was built for simpler times and it makes me feel kind of old-fashioned.  But, the fun thing is that some of those “simple” and “rustic” ways of life are coming back and almost becoming trendy.  It’s that earthy kind of lifestyle that includes growing your own fruits and veggies, shopping with reusable bags, diapering with cloth diapers, making your own granola, and hanging your clothes out on the line that is becoming attractive to more people than just me.

I wonder how many of those other “earthy” people are introverts like me?  There’s just a great built-in chance to recharge when you are doing those methodical tasks.

Oh – by the way – we had our home-made pizza last night and I’m eating my leftovers for lunch right now.  Mine became more than just a Margherita Pizza.  I added onions, green peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, and black olives to the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.  Yumm…so good!  Kyle  had pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, and a few artichokes and he thought his was so good that he ate the whole thing for dinner.  No leftovers for Kyle. 😦  I had to send him to work with PB&J and an apple for lunch.

2 new things

So, school is out for the summer.  Oddly enough, I had to go up to school yesterday and need to be back today, too.  (I’m a co-department head so there’s a lot of administrative things that happen during the summer that I need to be a part of.  I don’t mind being involved in those things right now since it’s so recent to school being in session!)

In any case, I’m really looking forward to the unscheduled nature of my summer vacation.  Already, on my 1st (partial) day off yesterday, I did two things I’d never done before.

1) I made my own vegetable cream cheese.  If you’re a person who doesn’t mind a savory flavor to your breakfasts, I’d highly recommend a bagel with veggie cream cheese.  You can certainly buy a pre-made version in the store, but I think it’s more fun and personal to make up a batch of your own with things you enjoy.  I put shredded carrots, radishes, diced scallions, a tiny bit of garlic, chopped fresh parsely (b/c I had some around), a tiny bit of salt and some freshly ground pepper, and a couple dashes of hot sauce in mine.  You simply soften some cream cheese long enough to be able to mix in all your veggies, and stick the final product back in the fridge in a container.  I had some on a bagel this morning and it was great.  So, it’s easy, and you can get creative with what you put in it.  (By the way, I got some of my ideas by looking at recipes online.  I didn’t actually follow any of them, but rather just determined amounts by what looked like a good ratio to me, so this isn’t something you can mess up if you try it!)

2) We acquired a couple of leeks from Kyle’s aunt (is that my aunt-in-law?) at our Father’s Day celebration on Sunday.  I have always heard of Potato Leek Soup, but had never made it, let alone eaten it.  🙂  So….I made some, and then we ate it for dinner. 🙂  The consensus was that it was good.  The only drawback was that it was a little thick, but that’s something that’s easily fixed.  I think I used too many potatoes, so when I blended up some of the soup and returned it to the pot, as the recipe called for, it made the soup look a bit like mashed potatoes.  But, the flavor was good.

So – here’s to unscheduled time and all kinds of new recipes to try.  Sometime this week we’re having Margherita Pizzas to use some of the fresh basil we were given recently.  If you have any recipes that call for fresh sage or fresh oregano, let me know!  I have those, too! 🙂

(And by the way – this is totally unrelated – but if you know someone who knows me and Kyle, but doesn’t have a link to our blog, please feel free to pass it along!)

Our first backyard BBQ

Today was the last day of school and Kyle and I invited my work friends over to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of summer.  When I first put out the invitation, we had been experiencing A LOT of really warm summer weather.  In fact, it was the beginning of the streak of Seattle’s record-tying 29 days of no rain.  With that dry and warm weather mindset, I said very specifically in the invite that people should think about bringing an outdoor chair and that we should hope for good weather because our house is quite small… –

Do you see where this is going??

No?  Not yet?  Well, let me help you.

Wouldn’t you know, that this – being the 30th day – it rained.  In fact, it poured this morning and then remained damp and overcast as if the sky was ready to open up again at any minute.

So, I got home early from school to get things set up (inside!) for the party.  If you haven’t been to our house, you should know that we have a small kitchen and no dining room.  The kitchen opens up into one living area.  Then there’s our bedroom and an extra room that serves as an office.  In order to set up for the party, I placed all of the chairs we own on every border of the main living area, and added a few folding chairs to the office thinking we would have to cram 20 people inside.

But – the LOVELY thing is that it began to clear just before things were about to begin.  The sun came out and the clouds broke enough to reveal some blue sky for awhile!  So, our party of 20 was able to spread out to the backyard, as was originally intended. 🙂

We enjoyed a large spread of burgers, salmon burgers, and veggie burgers with salads and dips galaore on the side.  I served my famous Sangria and we had a sampling of summery beers.  There was even a Blue Ribbon Award Winning chocolate cake and an apple pie cheesecake for dessert.  Yum!  (Fortunately for me and Kyle, we ended up with most of the leftovers, so we can just keep on partying our way into summer.)

It was an all around fitting entrance to the summer.  And I must say…it was perfectly timed because just after the guests left and Kyle and I began cleaning up, it started to pour again!

The Kid

So, I forgot to share this in my last post….

Ken Griffey Jr. and me

Ken Griffey Jr. and me

That’s right baseball fans…I got to meet Ken Griffey Jr.  We take our students to a Mariner’s game every year and this year, we got to meet The Kid.  🙂

Speaking of students, I only have 2 weeks left.  I know the kids are looking forward to the summer, but I can’t wait!