Sunday, January 30, 2011

COOKED Sushi For My Lauren!

A lot of people don’t like raw sushi and for some, they aren’t allowed to eat it because they can’t have anything raw in their diet.  I myself have been told that due to my hypoglycemia, I am not supposed to eat raw foods, but I manage to get around that pretty regularly.  I love sushi so much that I will take it however I can get it, including no preference between restaurant and homemade sushi. As a matter of fact, I really enjoy making it at home.  Whether it’s just my husband and I or a group of friends, it’s such an awesome way to bring people together around the dinner table and to not have one person stuck in the kitchen while everyone else socializes.  I know my friend Lauren loves it just as much as I do, so I dedicate this to her in hopes that she may still be able to enjoy her favorite treat and may even learn a new appreciation for it!

Here are the basics-

Tools you need:
Bamboo mat (to roll the sushi) 
At least one, but it’s better to have enough for each person, so that you can all roll together.
Flat wooden spoon
Sharp knife

Soy sauce (Always use low sodium)
Spicy mustard/mayo**
Pickled ginger**
**If you are not allowed to have anything that is raw then make sure that the sauces have been cooked.  In particular, I do not believe that wasabi is cooked. It usually starts as a powder and is mixed with a liquid, so I would check with your doctor**

Sushi rice
Rice wine vinegar
Sesame seeds**
Vegetables -Choose ones that will remain crisp when cooked, i.e. asparagus or carrots.
Meat or fish -You can use cooked chicken or steak, but it will be a little tough. I suggest shrimp, crab, tuna, or just use veggies.  I had veggie rolls the other day and I didn’t miss the protein at all.  You could shred the chicken slightly, though, and that might be a good alternative tossed in teriyaki sauce!  I recommend Soy Vay Teriyaki.  It’s yummy and better for you than others.
**Nori is NOT cooked. It is dried.  If you can’t have raw food I do not think you should use this.  It is a key component to keeping the sushi held together, so it will make it more difficult to keep intact, but it is possible.  Other alternatives would be to make sushi rice balls and place the meat on top or if you’re really having issues, just throw your favorite ingredients in a bowl, mix in wasabi, spicy mustard, soy sauce and call it a day!  (All that matters is it makes it in your mouth ;)

Cook rice as per bag directions and then let it cool.  It needs to be at room temperature to have the best consistency to work with.  Mix a little rice wine vinegar and equal part water in a small bowl and wet your hands with it before you handle the rice.  This mixture will make the rice less sticky on your hands and thus easier to work with.  Using your hands and the wooden spoon (also dipped in the mixture), spread out a rectangle of rice on the bamboo mat, approximately 3 inches wide and 6 inches long.  With the mat horizontally in front of you lay your protein and veggies on the length edge of the rice closest to you.  Then very carefully begin to roll that edge away from you with the mat.  Once the rice is rolled over and touching, you continue to roll but let the mat keep going straight instead of rolling under the rice.  When you feel that the rice has made a nice little roll, rock the mat softly back and forth to make sure it all sticks together.  Finally, I like to put them back in the refrigerator or freezer for a few to chill them, let the flavors meld and seal ‘em tight.  When you are ready to eat, pull out, slice and voila!!

Some websites that may be helpful:

**If you are on any dietary restrictions, MAKE SURE you consult with your doctor beforehand!  Your health is #1….

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunny and 64 in JANUARY!!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I DO NOT enjoy cold weather.  
Yeah, yeah, yeah...snow is beautiful, but it is just as beautiful in pictures and those don't come with having to wear snow boots, too many layers, bad drivers and bitter cold. 
 I am a Florida girl through and through, so living with cold weather and snow is a challenge for me.  Thank goodness Colorado is not like the cold, wet, east.  It has it's moments, but when it snows it only sticks around for a few days, it's a dry cold so it doesn't chill you to the bone and then miraculously you'll have a few days of 50-60 degree weather in the MIDDLE OF JANUARY!! WOOHOO!

That is exactly the case this weekend. 
 Perfectly warm, sunny, gorgeous days that make it all worth while, and of course, we are taking full advantage and enjoying the outdoors ;)  Yesterday we took the pup to hike Red Rock and today we are going to walk to the library and possibly the dog park.  
For now, I'll just show you the Red Rock pics. They are A-MAZING!  They can't even do the park justice, but hopefully they will inspire you as they inspire me.


My boys!




loved this tree



 Enjoy the rest of the weekend! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Hubs had a Birthday!

Last Saturday was Will's 26th BIRTHDAY!! 

 Initially we didn't have big plans and were happy to do a romantic dinner and just relax, but miraculously we started making new friends and a whole Birthday extravaganza was born!  In a nut shell, two girlies from work, Erin and Grace, bought decorations, planned a party, got a card for everyone to sign and gave us one of the best nights we have had in Colorado so far.  We were both a little rundown the next day, but boy was it worth it!

After a few days of recouperation, we continued the celebration into the next week by going to the Coors brewery in Golden, dinner at Benihana's in Denver and a hike out at Red Rock followed by pizza at Costco! (he loves getting pizza after shopping there ;)  It's been such a blast and so nice to spend time togetha'...
Here is a short recap in pics:


so fun, free tour and FREE BEER!



I'll put up the Red Rock pictures next time. They deserver there own post!! Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Healthy Shepherd's Pie..I know that doesn't sound possible ;)

I decided it was time to make Shepherd's Pie again.  Although, this is not your typical, full of fat, full of bad carbs, full of butter and grease, smothered in cheese, heart attack in a "Pie".  No no my friends, this is the new, healthy, light, yummy, good-carb filled-eat a large portion and still feel good- treat!  Hope you all try it and love it as much as we do!

Healthy shepherds pie

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1 onion chopped
2 cups vegetables – chopped carrots, corn, peas
2-3 lbs cauliflower
8 tbs butter (I substituted olive oil and butter/yogurt blend)
1/2-1 cup beef broth (use low sodium)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Splash of milk
Sea salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice {I also used horseradish, minced garlic, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning}
Plain or Greek-Style yogurt (use fat free!)


1. Steam cauliflower so you can mash it or put it in the blender so they resemble mashed potatoes. {you’ll probably have to steam it more than usual, so that it’s soft to the touch and easy to mash. Also make sure to add a few drops of milk or lemon to the water to keep the color in the cauliflower}
2. While the cauliflower is cooking , melt 4 Tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick) in large frying pan. {This is where I subbed the olive oil. I'd rather have the "good" fats than bad ones}
3. Sauté onions in butter until tender over medium heat (10 mins).{I chopped them fine, sautéed them and then added the carrots. Once they were pretty good I added the corn and the peas with a little bit of the juice from the peas and corn, (but you probably won’t need all of the juice). I used all of both cans} If you are adding vegetables, add them according to cooking time. Put any carrots in with the onions. Add corn or peas either at the end of the cooking of the onions, or after the meat has initially cooked. Then just turn them off or down}
4. Add ground turkey and sauté until no longer pink. Add salt and pepper. Add worcesterchire sauce. Add half a cup of beef broth and cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth as necessary to keep moist.{I used barely any salt, but was very liberal with the pepper. I also added crushed red pepper, garlic powder and some Italian seasoning to taste}
5. Put cauliflower in the blender or use a potato masher until they resemble mash potatoes.  Add remainder of butter, yogurt and season to taste.  {I just mashed with a large spoon and since we like horseradish mashed potatoes I used horseradish, minced garlic and Italian seasoning. Just start slow and add to taste. I found that the horseradish really brought the dish together. It’s missing the richness that mashed potatoes bring, so the horseradish negated that loss. But if someone doesn’t like spicy I’d go for more garlic, yogurt and butter}
6. Place beef, veggies and onions in baking dish. Distribute cauliflower on top. Rough up with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. You can use the fork to make some designs in the potatoes as well.
7. Cook in 400 degree oven until bubbling and brown (about 30 minutes). Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown. Watch this carefully, as your cooking time will be less because you are using cauliflower.

Bon apetit!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Almost The Weekend!

So....guess who's not leaving me next month...
Yep, that's right Will is not going ANYWHERE!!

 They're sending the other two idiots instead ;)  That means we get to celebrate this weekend!  I'm going to finally drink that bottle of champagne from New Year's (this was the first New Year's that I didn't drink a drop), I want to use our fireplace for the first time, roast some marshmallows and enjoy each other's company <3

This picture is from my first trip to Colorado.  We we're in Aspen on a work trip and we frequented a restaurant in Snow Mass where they served a SMORES PLATTER!! It had everything you could possibly imagine putting on a smore. PHENOMENAL!
{Also great idea for a party or dinner party desert.}


Since I can't even tell you when the last time I drank was, let's hope I'm not to hungover afterwards to enjoy the rest of the weekend....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Alone for the Evening...Jus' me and mah dawg...

So far the New Year is shaping up pretty nicely considering... ;) 

We've FINALLY begun to make friends, we've gotten a little more situated in our jobs and are spending as much time together as possible before Will leaves for a month at Fort Polk.  Obviously, the fact that Will is going to be gone is not part of the good of the new year, but reguardless of the circumstances I am always happy with our quality time together. I will enjoy every bit of it, so that I can hold onto it when I am stuck home alone while he is sent off to help train some random soldiers.  (It is kind of funny that he will be playing a "bad guy" and that they are flying him down there for just that purpose.)
I can already tell you that I am not going to be having this situation while he's gone.  I'm in a trial run right now because he's on post tonight for 24 hour-CQ Duty (basically security) and I am already aggravated without him.  My whole schedule is messed up because I'm used to "our" schedule.  Even Weiser is confused as to why he is not here.

I guess all we can do is catch some ZZZZ's and await his arrival in the morning. 

Our new view

Good Night World...sweet dreams ;)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010: Top 10...So hard to narrow down!

Well, we started off the year in Williamsburg, Va. where I also experienced my first "real" winter.  Williamsburg was not my favorite place to live, but we definately made some amazing memories with some amazing people <3


I had to choose this picture because it highlights how crazy and wonderful my life is.  I absolutely love that I have amazing friends and family that enjoy the randomness of life.  This particularly random evening, Todd Butler and I dressed as Austrian Royalty for a charity event and then wore these outfits Downtown Ft. Lauderdale, pretending to be out of towners.

ya dig?

This is Will and I on our cruise in February.  It was Will's fisrt cruise, our 2-year anniversary and the trip we will always remember as the trip he proposed to me while I was dressed like Britany Spears...You should hear the whole story..It's a riot.

he competed in yet another competition and one a &quot;piece of ship on a stick&quot; haha

This is from our engagement photo sesh with Thomas Fields.  He just happens to be the most talented photographer EVER, and even more importantly, he is one of our best friends!

This one here, is our sweet and simple wedding with some amazing family and friends.  We were very sorry to exclude the rest of our amazing family and friends, but this is exactly what we wanted until we had the time and energy for the "real" thing...I will never forget how beautiful the setting was for this day and how much love I truly felt from my family, our friends that were able to be there and my wonderful husband <3  I can no longer imagine my life without him...


This picture really doesn't do this particular weekend justice, but I title it "Tu-Tus and Tiaras."  I chose it because it is another picture of our random and zany times.  It was Dani's birthday (only one of my best friends in the entire world), we rented a hotel on the beach and partied it up at the Bahia Cabana's- Bartender's bash.  My second Bartender's Bash of the year lol. My favorite quote of the night was from some random guy, who said "I love me some Jack drinkin', tutu wearin' gals."
 Yep, that pretty much sums us up ;)

we looked ridiculous, but everyone LOVED IT!

Another momentous event of the year, was Will's enlistment.  My man became a soldier, and I am pretty darn proud of him!  He is what you call a 94 Fox, which is Computer/Detection Systems Maintenance.  That means: A) he did really good on the ASVAB and B) he didn't let them give him some stupid job like "tank driver" even though that job does offer a huge bonus lol.  Needless to say, I am extremely proud to be married to someone who is dedicating himself to support our country.  Those of you who know him, know that he's not some dumb guy joining for the wrong reasons.  He's the kind of person our military needs.  Strong. Smart. Loyal. Dedicated.
And pretty much just amazing all the way around ;)

He already looks the part ;) My Soldier

So after Will graduated from Basic we moved to Augusta, Ga.  We decided that a trip into the Georgia mountains was a must, and surprisingly, some of our very best friends thought it was a great idea as well.  Georgia was definately a great time, but this particular trip will stick with me forever.  Not only was it the PERFECT weekend vacation, but somehow they all kept a secret from me.  Apparently, while I was planning the trip, they were planning a birthday surprise party for me with costumes and all! (my birthday is Halloween)  I was so absolutely overcome to walk into the cabin decorated, presents strewn about and patron shoved in my face (Dani), and then on top of all of that every one brought costumes and we had our very own Halloween/Costume/Birthday party in the middle of the mountains in Georgia.  It was Epic.
sickest pic!

As Will was awaiting graduation from A.I.T (Advanced Individual Training), we were very anxious to find out where we were being stationed and what that station would bring.  I had it in my head that we were getting shipped off to Alaska and that as soon as we got there Will was going to be deployed.  Every day was agony, and then finally we heard we were going to COLORADO!  That sounded MUCH better than Alaska, but that was still only half the battle.  We packed up our life, said goodbye to our friends, family and all we once knew and made the cross country trek, hoping that there wasn't a deployment waiting at the other end.  Well, I can happily tell you that as of right now, Will is not scheduled for deployment until middle of 2012!  So for now, we will be enjoying all that Colorado has to offer and its blessings of safety.  Check these mountains out!


Last, but certainly not least, we rounded out the year by moving into our first house, rescuing the most amazing 3 year-old Weimaraner mix whom we named Lord Weisenheimer, the Weimaraner (Weiser for short) and celebrating the holidays in Colorado for the first time as a married couple. 

finished product and our lil fam for our first Christmas photo!

I can honestly and truly say, that I have never been more happy and fulfilled in my life.  I love my family and friends so much and cannot be thankful enough for all that they bring into my life!  2011- You've got a LOT to live up to ;)


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