Saturday, August 14, 2010

Great lake state

Our journey begins in a few short hours; several things left to check off the list before we split town. We are headed to home state for some much needed vacation, fun in the sun, and visit with family.

We will also picking up this little man, Charlie.

Charlie was my Mom's dog. She decided she was ready to be dog-free for a while and Matt and I are ready to be with-dog, so we offered to make our home his home. He has been staying with Matt's parents for the summer at their cottage (something I think will be imprinted on his little doggy brain forever as the most wonderful heaven-like experience of his life -water, trees, somewhat free-roam, squirrels- ...he'll probably be disappointed to move to our city apartment), and will travel back with us in a few weeks.

As I write before we leave this morning, I have a bit of a dilemma. I've just found out that I have a reader whom I don't know. I never intended that to happen. It's a little strange to have "readers" to begin with. And while it is kind of cool that someone who doesn't even know me is interested in reading about my life, I meant for this blog to be a way to keep up with friends and family. In fact, I purposely tried to make it something that would not be found on the internet. You "cannot" actually access it without knowing the exact web address. Now I realize that even with that "protection" the internet is the internet and everything is available somehow if you put it out there.

I mean no offense to those of you who may be reading this who don't know me personally, but it seems I have a decision to make. I will continue blogging because it is so much fun for me to write, basically journal, in this way. But I may have to be a bit less personal. So, if you don't know us, do you think maybe you could intentionally forget our names and identifying information? Haha, that sounds a bit silly. Just forget my husband's name and what his job is and what city we live in. Okay, that sounds good. Thanks! :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Recipes: dinner #3

Matt and I found this recipe in Men's Health magazine. I call it "Muscle Salad" because it's protein-packed and muscle-building. It's also very easy and tasty.

Muscle Salad


1/4 pound marinated steak, grilled and sliced (use any marinade you prefer - we used one with lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, sugar...)
1 tablespoon bleu cheese
1/2-1 cup sugar snap peas (steamed for one minute, then sliced diagonally)
1 tablespoon bacon, crumbled
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
1 tablespoon dressing of your choice (green goddess dressing was recommended, we used ranch)


Assemble ingredients into small piles on plate. Enjoy tasting the different flavor combinations: egg with tomato, bacon with bleu cheese, etc.

This salad was also wonderful with deli-sliced turkey in place of steak, poppyseed dressing, and sliced strawberries.

Recipes: dinner #2

I'm trying to carry on with my promise to share these great recipes, and this is one that you really won't want to miss! It is from the June 2010 edition of Cooking Light.

Grilled Halibut with Peach and Pepper Salsa


2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled yellow peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 1/3 cups chopped red bell pepper (about 1 large)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh arugula (we skipped this altogether...the package was about 10 times what we needed here, and we didn't have any other use for the rest of the arugula at the time)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray


1. To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients; toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

3. To prepare fish, combine 2 tablespoons juice, oil, paprika, and 2 garlic cloves in a large, shallow glass baking dish, stirring with a whisk. Add fish to juice mixture; turn to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

4. Remove fish from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place fish on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. (We discovered a grill pan worked better than putting the fish directly on the grill.) Serve fish with salsa.

This was naturally sweet and spicy; a delicious combination! And it's perfect for summer's peach bounty! Enjoy! Oh, and one more thing: be sure to use Pacific Halibut for this recipe. It is amazing and fished in ways that are eco-friendly.

Ransomed heart daily readings: I can't get enough of them

How and why beauty is essential. If this doesn't lift your heart, nothing will.

Ransomed heart daily reading

Real humility (not self-idolatry disguised as humility, which does nothing to reveal God's glory).

Thursday, August 05, 2010


It's already August! It's pretty strange to hear about people I know preparing to go back to school. Every August for 21 years I was preparing to go back to school. And this August...I'm preparing to go on vacation! Now the vacation definitely sounds better than school, but it's a little strange to get used to. Once we get back, I'm probably going to see about volunteering in a school (most likely Notre Dame as it is affiliated with our church).

As for other happenings, we got new bedding! It's actually been on the bed for two months now, but we were gone for the first month of that. Matt loves it so much that he has an even harder time getting out of bed in the morning. We never actually got new bedding when we got married (we just used the stuff we already had), so this feels pretty plush.

P.S. Thanks to Lisa and Marcy for that down comforter. It is located snugly inside the duvet.

We also got a new desk a few weeks ago. We gave the old table-desk away to a friend, and now we have this new one with tons of storage...just what we needed. It's perfect (and actually the same desk we wanted to get when we got married, but couldn't afford)!

There's so much extra space in our bedroom (ahem, I mean office-section-of-the-bedroom) now because the new desk is close to half the width of the old table-desk.

I've been baking and cooking a lot. It has been so nice to be able to cook without being stressed out, and also to have time to make "from scratch" recipes - my favorite thing to do! These are Tracy Elgersma's awesome chocolate chip cookies. They turn out perfect every time! Not sure if I'm allowed to share the recipe...

This is a picture I took myself (uh, can you tell?) to show how happily suprised I was to learn I have lost over five pounds now! It feels so good, so natural. It's wonderful to be able to make fitness a priority now. And it's amazing what eating right and exercise can do!

Starting this week I'm making time for one of my favorite hobbies: jewelry making. It's been a long time since I've made something really good. Over the last couple years I've mostly made things that I "needed". I didn't have time to be very creative.
In the forefront is the Silpada jewelry catalog. Do you think it counts as plagiarism to copy jewelry designs? I sure hope not, because I'd love to take a cue from their work. They make amazing things, but I don't want to pay $100 plus everytime I want a new piece of jewelry!

I love the colors and textures of these beads.
If you ever want anything in particular, just let me know and I'll see what I can do. I can also repair jewelry if you have a favorite that is in need of that.

Now for a bike ride, sorry no way I can get a picture of myself doing that!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Skinny Bs

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but Beth and I started -well- a club. Sorry, first rule of our club is we're the only members. Well, maybe unless your name starts with "B"? Our "club" -maybe we should call it an organization, that sounds much more sophisticated (as opposed to the Cool Cats Club I once started with a friend in elementary school, to which we were also the two sole members...I didn't know I was so exclusive with clubs, haha!) is called The Skinny Bs. Woo, I love run-ons, do you?

So The Skinny Bs is all about getting these two Bs (Brooke and Beth) in better shape mentally, physically, you name it. We're using the blog to keep each other accountable, motivated, etc. Feel free to stop by any time and cheer us on! And if you're also working on a skinnier you, please share your stories or tips or anything with a comment. Thanks!
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