Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Belated Birthday Dinner, Water for Elephants Review, New Recipe!

THIS IS RANDOM, but I was starting a new post and found this paragraph in 'draft' form - I totally didn't publish my note about Austin's birthday dinner - oopsie. So I copied it in. hehe Sorry, Austin - you know I wouldn't want to miss documenting your birthday! :)
Wednesday (August 10! haha)  was a wonderful day! First, I got up early and ran 2.5 miles at 6.3 mph, walked 1/2 mile at 4 mph. Yessss. Then I worked. Worked through lunch (again.... grrrr). Worked more. And then headed straight home to start Austin's birthday celebration. He officially turns 31 on Friday, BUT, we went ahead and did a dinner tonight since this weekend is already shaking out to be a little busy. So we went to our favorite, Pampas Steakhouse. Two salads, filet mignons, and sides of asparagus, with a bottle of Cakebread (half off!) followed by a shared dessert (which was essentially a ramekin full of warm chocolate fabulousness, chocolate syrup, raspberries and vanilla gelato. The BOMB). 
And back to the present! lol First, I want to share a new recipe! I made it a few weeks ago but haven't shared it - eek! Yes, i'm now 0 for 2, CLEARLY off my game. :)
Spicy Chipotle Meatballs with Rice
Recipe adapted from Real Simple
Makes 4 Servings
Nutritional Information: 426 calories, 53 carbs, 8 fat grams and 31 protein grams.

We really liked these! Very filling, good nutritional values for the amount you get and a great, adobo-spiced flavor. I will say 'spicy' was RIGHT, if you're not into spice, I'd simply take out one pepper and you'd be good to go! I thought the cilantro added a lot, and I liked that it was over rice, almost like a jambalaya (but without the cajun seasonings!). Check out the recipe on Healthified Kitchen!

Also I MUST share a book review, Sarah Gruen's Water for Elephants. Yes, this took me forever to post. eek! This book takes place during depression-era America and focuses on a traveling circus with a mix of mystery, character study and romance. It's a major page turner, very suspenseful - I seriously couldn't put it down even though the subject matter (the big top? not for me) wasn't my style. That didn't stop me from being interested. I also liked learning about the world through the main character, Jacob's, eyes - we learned with him, which gave it a nice context. I also thought it was interesting how, even in carny life, there was a caste system and name calling - they discriminated against each other.Another interesting point - the way the story was told, parts as Jacob as a 90-year-old man, and parts in his circus life. SPOILER ALERT: I loved figuring out who the true murderer was. I love that they got to keep so many of the animals in the end. I love that the elephant wasn't really unable to learn. I didn't love how no one went back to see if Walter was okay - this depressed me. It was very eye for an eye - interesting. I had a very hard time reading through the parts about animal abuse - especially the cigarette... The jake leg was super sad, too, and of course the red lighting was just crazy. I wondered if at the end he was dreaming, thoughts? All in all, as you can probably tell, I loved it. I loved how engaged I was, truly interested in learning more about the time period and several of the subjects she covered. It was one of those books that I poured through the forums after reading.I give it a 5/5 - great novel!

And QUICK update: Monday: 2-mile run in the a.m. + 1/2 mile walk + abs, work, more work, home to the fam and dinner! Tuesday: TWO-A-DAYS! 1-hour spin class in the a.m., work, 3--mile walk during lunch, more work, then home to the fam exhausted though - worried I was coming down with something. Wednesday: Felt badly (cold/sicky/congested) so skipped workouts and just worked, worked through lunch, headed home to the poodles (Austin in Philly and then to book club to discuss Water for Elephants at Shana's. LOVED seeing the girls - always do! Tonight we had Devon, Ashley, Sharon, Emily, Shana & Me - great group and Shana made fabulous stuffed shells. Loved it! And then I got home and Austin was already back from Philly - hell of a day trip but great to have him back at the casa!

Q: Ever read Water for Elephants? Are you a fan? Have you seen the movie? I just LOVED the book and now I plan to see the movie although I worry I'll dislike it.

Q: Ever had meatballs & rice? Austin was like wha? Where's the pasta? (such an Italian) But this really went well with the rice and i'm glad we prepared it this way.

Q: Do you like Cakebread? I've only had it a couple of times but think it's a great wine, at least the Chardonnay as that's my beverage of choice in the summer!

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