Strawberry Salsa-ish Chicken

I’m just going to write about food a lot.  Let’s face it, I think about food a lot, so that makes sense.

Today’s food excitement was a carry-over from yesterday.  I mentioned a recipe that I love a week or so ago, Scott not so subtly hinted that I should make that sometime soon, and I did.

The beauty of the recipe is mostly in the delicious outcome, but it’s also in the 20-minute prep/cook time.  That’s a total guess.  I haven’t ever clocked the time it takes me to make the recipe.  What I do know is that I get home a few minutes after 6, then I hang out with my dog for a while and do next to nothing.  After that, I start dinner.  This one particular recipe was ready to go by 6:35 yesterday, then I cooked the very last item for a few minutes once Scott got to my house.

Another important thing about that cooking time is that when a recipe says “20 minutes prep time,” that usually translates to at least 40 minutes for me.  I’ve got to be one of the world’s slowest cooks.  When I find a recipe that actually takes 20 minutes to prepare instead of 20 or 30 or 40, I’m super happy.

photo by Deannster

Anyway, here’s the story, morning glory:

Salsa

  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries, washed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped (or something approximating that)
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 avocado, diced

Chicken

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper (or as my friend who gave me the recipe originally wrote, “salt ‘n peppa'”)

In a medium bowl, add strawberries, onion, feta, lime juice and olive oil.  Set aside.  Prepare grill or grill pan to medium heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill for 6 minutes per side.  Or you can cook the chicken any old way you’d like.   Add avocado to salsa, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top chicken with salsa and serve.

Look at that, done in one paragraph!  Before I stop writing and tell you to go to the grocery store immediately and snap up some fresh strawberries, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t in any way “my” recipe.  I have no idea where it originally came from.  For now, I’ll say, “Thanks for sharing, Emma!”  What I do know is that this meal is healthy and fun to look at.  Most importantly to me, it has enough fat and deliciousness to trick me into forgetting that it’s healthy.  There’s nothing worse (okay, there are lots of worse things) than eating something that tastes “healthy” first and good somewhere lower on the totem pole.

My only warning about this meal is that it looks kind of gross as leftovers.  Still tastes delicious, but the strawberries get squishy, and the avocado turns a not-so-appetizing shade of brownish green.  Now I will leave you to contemplate brownish green diced avocado.

Unbridezilla

I’m among the world’s least likely to have a camera with me at any given moment.  My phone has a camera, but I forget that.  So maybe I should say that I’m among the world’s least likely to take pictures.

Thankfully, there are other people who don’t share my photography problem.  Two of those people at my friend’s wedding last weekend were her engagement picture photographer (who is also a friend and took great pictures at the wedding just for the heck of it) and the actual wedding photographer.  I’m grateful to them, because they’ve provided a bit of visual documentation that I can share with you.  If you want to check out their blogs, you can click the pictures below.

photo by Jeanne Damoff

This is the bride being herself.  She picked these awesome sky-high heels to wear down the aisle, but switched to her cowboy boots at the last minute.  It made me happy, and I’m pretty sure her feet agreed with me.  It also shows you how Jennifer behaved about all things wedding-related.  If one plan didn’t seem all that great, she switched it.  It didn’t matter when the plans changed, she was relaxed and okay with whatever happened next.  If they tried to put that on reality TV, nobody would believe it.

photo by Jeanne Damoff

This is the bride and groom being generally blissful a few minutes after the ceremony.  You can see some of the sunset reflected in the window.  That doesn’t do it justice though.  I’ll post some pictures of that amazing sky tomorrow.

photo by Rachel Robinson Photography

And this is their first dance at the reception.  Jennifer and Landry aren’t big fans of being the center of attention, so the fact that they’re both super happy looking says a lot.  The wedding was truly wonderful, and the expectation of their future life together still is wonderful.  I hate to be borderline cheesy, but this occasion totally calls for it.

Everything’s [Better] in Texas

Technically, everything is bigger in Texas, but I think it’s better, too.

One of my favorite people in the world is getting married this Saturday, and I have the honor of being her Maid of Honor.  Redundent, I know, but it’s important to emphasize that I feel extremely privileged to stand next to this lady while she gets married.  I could go on about that.  I think I’ll wait until after the wedding to do that, so I can regale you with funny wedding stories that go with the “she’s so great” commentary.

This is my second tour of duty as a MOH, and I’m not sure I would hire me if I were a friend of mine.  I’m not terribly organized or wedding planning helperish.  I can do a mean “talk you down from that ledge of planning tension” phone talk though.  Maybe that’s a valuable MOH skill.  It helps that my friends in question have been incredibly relaxed, so they don’t have as much need for help as some of the super scary brides I’ve seen on TV.  (Bridezillas, anyone?!)

Anyway, back to awesomeness.  Said friend (the one on the top of the pyramid above) is getting married about an hour from where we went to high school in Texas.  If seeing old friends and almost family wasn’t enough to make this weekend a thrilling prospect, I also get to show Scott around the closest thing I have to a hometown.  (I love where you live, parents, I just didn’t grow up there.)  Let me tell you, there’s a lot to show someone in a town with one stoplight.  I hope he’s prepared for all of the bright lights and sights.

Even though my blog will be quiet for the next few days, I’m sure I’ll be storing up lots of good things to tell you about.  You can’t go to Texas for five days without gathering awesome stories.

Grown-up Christmas List

I haven’t forgotten to tell stories about Thanksgiving, I’m just making a brief detour to the topic of Christmas.  Part of the weekend conversation did revolve around Christmas shopping and getting ready for the season.  Black Friday happened.  I thankfully went to the mountains instead of the mall.  Whew, another shopping stampede avoided.

Do you remember Amy Grant’s Christmas albums from back in the day?  Man, I loved that music.  Home for Christmas was one of my first CD’s circa 1995.

One of the songs on that album was titled “Grown-up Christmas List.”  In that song, Amy wishes for all sorts of good things–justice, peace, etc.  But you can’t exactly wrap those up and put them under a tree for your loved ones, now can you?

My desire to buy tangible gifts for the people I care about doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas as it should be.  That’s true.  It’s like giving presents to everybody except the person whose birthday you’re celebrating.  But still, I can’t make myself stop.

So if you haven’t guessed, my grown-up Christmas list doesn’t include world peace.  My list is, however, in existence as of today.  For that, I’m grateful.  Even if the concept of major Christmas shopping isn’t theologically sound, I stand by the list.  It includes the names of people I love, and it shows me small ways that I can express that to them.  What’s not to like about that?

That’s all.  I made a Christmas list, and I’m happy about it.

More Halloween and a Scary Monday Morning Moment

I ended up being too lazy to make a shark costume for myself this weekend, so I went as a ballerina instead.  I’ll be creative next year, I promise.

Then after a morning of church and a shift in the nursery, last night was my turn to dress up as a homeowner with candy while little kids paraded by in their costumes.  It’s too bad you can’t average your candy purchases out over a couple of years.  I ran out in no time last year, and I have a couple of bags of candy left this year.  That’s going to be awesomely healthy for  me.

Photo by kennymatic

Here are some other highlights from the past few days:

  1. Scott and I ate leftovers on the porch while handing out candy.  Delicious and fun.
  2. My current surgeon-in-training roommate joined us for most of the festivities and made butternut squash soup and pumpkin bread.  As far as I’m concerned, she never has to wash another dish at our house.  Oh, and having bowls (for soup) that don’t contain candy is somewhat confusing for little kids on Halloween.  Fun to watch them reach towards butternut squash soup though.
  3. Other friends dropped by as kids were finishing up their trick or treating last night, and we feasted on pumpkin bread together.  It was good.  Sometimes impromptu friend hangouts are the best.
  4. Monday started off with a mini heart attack.  I was pulled over by a policeman a couple of blocks from work and got off with a verbal warning for not putting my new stickers on my license plates (for several months).  I’m pretty sure that my horribly disorganized purse made the cop believe me when I said that the sticker was in a stack of papers at my house.  Which proves that disorganization is my friend, right?

And that gets us to the present.  I’ve decided that this is my week to get a few good habits back on track.  Finding those license stickers might be near the top of the list.  Other goals for tonight include going for a legitimate run and preparing for tomorrow like a grown-up.  Instead of grabbing four instant oatmeal packets on my way out the door tomorrow, I’m going to make lunch tonight and do all sorts of responsible things like that.  I know I live life on the edge.  I like my life though, and I guess that’s the important thing.

Thermotaxic Thursday

It’s time to let one of my friends entertain you for a few minutes.  The friend of choice is one of my college roommates.  She’s an engineer who totally breaks the typical engineer mold.  One of those mold-breaking elements is that she loves to write miscellaneous poetry (almost always funny, not usually sappy or hard to interpret… much more to my liking than most poetry), she can paint up a storm, and she makes small, fuzzy creatures for her friends.  She’s pretty darn creative.  This is my most recently received creature:

 

Creature (L) and Argyle (R) hard at work

Since both of us spend lots and lots of time in front of computers, we’re email buddies these days.  We manage to cover a broad variety of topics by email… spiritual check-ups, rants about whatever happened five minutes ago, e-nudges to keep each other awake during hard days at work.  It’s a good buddy system.

One of the entertaining elements of our e-relationship is Julie’s subject line habit.  She started naming her days a while ago as a part of her to do list motivation.  For a while, the days were named according to goals (can’t remember any examples, but it’s true).  Then the names got funny, and now it’s a mix.  Today’s name, if you hadn’t guessed from the title of this post, is Thermotaxic Thursday.

I think that having thermotaxic issues is a side-effect of living in Texas, where there’s freezing cold air-conditioning inside and it’s almost always sweltering outside.  That’s just my opinion.  The official word on the street is that thermotaxic stuff is related to the regulation of body-temperature in animals.

In the fine city of Houston, you often find yourself hot outside, cold inside, hot outside, cold inside, and so on.  Just like Katy Perry’s man–hot then cold, up then down, very disconcerting in general.

So I hope you’re celebrating Thermotaxic Thursday in your own place of work.  I know I am.  That’s why all librarians look like old people.  It’s not because we’re nerds.  They just try to freeze us out all the time, so we’re forced to wear sweaters that are five sizes too big and don’t belong anywhere in the state of Virginia.  It’s true.

Soaking It Up

This post needs a really quick disclaimer: I’m fully aware that skin cancer is a real and dangerous possibility.  With that in mind, there aren’t many things that feel as good as some quality time in the sun.  The heat soaking into your skin just feels healthy.

A friend and I were talking about that as we walked away from the beach on Saturday.  Sure, three hours in the sun got us one step closer to skin cancer, but we felt like we’d been on a good run.  A dip in the ocean definitely helped with the fake health factor, too, since there’s nothing like salty skin to make you think you had a great workout.  There’s at least some value in extra Vitamin D, right?  Add a sandwich with lots of green stuff, a few grapes, and a light breeze, and sitting on your bum in the sand never felt so beneficial.

The rest of the weekend included wearing my favorite summer dress on Sunday, some grilling action that evening, and a long afternoon nap wedged neatly between the two.  If Car Talk and some time on the porch had been added to the Saturday morning docket, all of the perfect summer bases would have been covered.  All in all, it was a great weekend for saying goodbye to the height of summer.  There are still plenty of warm days left in Virginia this year, but the sun is setting earlier, football season is a few short days away, and the U.S. Open started today.  All signs point to fall.

Other weekend tidbits include a dream about a serial killer attacking me in a sauna that was conveniently connected to the grocery store.  He was planning to kill me with a scalpel, starting with my feet.  He thankfully only got one or two slices into the job before I woke up.  I knew there was a good reason to not like saunas.  Also, I was reminded that I talk in my sleep.  Good thing the room-sharing nights didn’t coincide with the serial killer night, as that probably would have made for weird commentary.

Finally, in canine news, my parents added a new dog to their household yesterday.  Welcome to the family, Moresby!  And my much-loved dog turns 5(ish) years old today.  Or you could call it our third anniversary.  I technically have no idea how old he is or when he was born.  It’s somewhat miraculous that I remember that date at all, since I haven’t ever for the life of me been able to remember that type of thing with boyfriends.  I think it might have to do with the heartworm pills I give him on the same day every month (dog, not boyfriends).  If I get married someday, will I have to give my husband heartworm pills so I won’t forget our anniversary?  At least he’d be extra-healthy.  Then I’ll send him out to get some sun (and it all comes back around).

[Thanks for the flip flops picture, JosieRodgers.]