Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Healthy, Quick, Cheap & Oh So Yummy

This week is crazy.  I'm squaring away my lesson plans for next week, prepping my sub-plans for my meeting with my sub tomorrow, still trying to get into a groove with my class, packing for Molly's wedding and wrapping up the details for her big day...and keeping tomorrow night free to celebrate two years of marriage :)  Yes, FUN.

So when I made my grocery list last weekend, I planned quick and easy dinners for this week.  I just had to take a minute to share this one.  It was that good. 

I don't have pictures of the step-by-step cooking process (which in my kitchen, included dropping a bowl of black beans, shattering the bowl, and vacuuming up beans), but, if this isn't fancy enough for ya, you can check out the post that made my mouth water.  

Step 1:  Cook brown rice. 
I cooked 1 cup since it's just the two of us.  Actually...Jamie cooked it for us--so it was warm and ready when I walked through the door.  (He's so helpful...and he hates having to wait on dinner :)

Step 2:  Warm up a can of rinsed and drained black beans.  I hope it's as simple as that for you :)

Step 3:  Mix together:
3 large peaches, skinned and diced
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Step 4:  Layer rice, beans and peach salsa.  We topped with green onions because we had them and we are fans.  Enjoy!  

And now, because we feel so great, we're going out for a run. :)  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Weekend + Phoenix

This weekend, I was hoping that it would be cool enough for me to go outside to take some pictures of Lawton.  But the high today is 108 degrees.  If you want to see Lawton, you'll just have to come visit. 

So now, my fun weekend to-do list consists of 1) Learning how to walk in these...

and 2) Finishing this.  My list is short, but I'm sure you'll agree that I have my work cut out for me.  And just in case you were wondering, I can't seem to locate my not-so-fun to-do list.    

Since I don't have any pictures of Lawton to share, here are some pictures from my recent trip to Phoenix.   (I've already grown to love many things about Lawton, but rest assured that you're probably getting the better end of this deal.)

I was expecting Phoenix to have cacti, but I didn't realize that the city is in a valley, surrounded by mountains. 

We hiked up and around a few of the mountains.  There were times when I felt accomplished, and there were times when I felt like I was going to die.  I was there in late July and early August; it was dry, but H-O-T.

We loved chasing the sunsets.   

The week I spent in AZ was probably one of the most relaxing weeks of my life.  It was wonderful.  Just revisiting these pictures is relaxing me...or maybe it's the Korean food that I just consumed...all I know is ZZZZZzzzzzz.....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mattie!

Guess who's turning 8 today???

Madalynn Joyce Harmon.

We call her Mattie.

Mattie is the baby of our family,

but she has enough personality to keep up with the rest of us!

She's daring, 

she's a great sport, 

and she gives the best Christmas gifts.
(Will is wearing Mattie's gift to him, Christmas 2010)

We all love Mattie...

even when we aren't really sure what she thinks of us.

Dear Mattie,

We hope that you have a happy,

 Happy Birthday!

Jamie says, "Don't act wild and crazy!" 

We wish that we could be there to celebrate with you!  WE LOVE YOU BUNCHES!!!

Jamie & Laramie

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Past Two Weeks

Over the past two weeks, I've worked a lot of hours getting myself, and my classroom, ready for this school year.  I didn't take genuine before pictures, but I snapped these a day or two into the cleaning/rearranging process. 

Some days were like a blur...

and some days I just felt like it was a lot of work.

But tonight, I met my students... 

and I was so glad to be ready for them. 

Are you surprised that I'm teaching 2nd grade?  I didn't really see it coming either.  But I'm really excited about this opportunity--and I'm so thankful to my friends who have shared elementary ideas with me.  Now please, someone, grant me good penmanship; this writing in perfect print and teaching cursive business is scaring me!!!!  I love the staff at LCS, I really love (and am so thankful for) my mentor and fellow second-grade teacher, and I can't wait to build relationships with my students.  I'm looking forward to a great year. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good Eats in Arizona

It's Friday night, and Jamie and I just had a hot date with the 3-mile track.  Yes, my friends, it's that serious.  I recently spent a week with my aunts in Phoenix/Sedona, and we had some good eats and cool treats.  And now I have some serious chunk, compliments to the junk.  The trip was tons of fun, and I'm already looking forward to the next fun-cation. :) 

Some of these pictures are with my camera, and some of them are with my phone...I tried not to embarrass Kay and June at every meal by pulling out my ginormous-paparazzi camera and drawing attention to our party.  They think I might have missed my calling as a food critic.  The one thing that is certain, is that those two (with help from YELP) know the places to go and the things to order.   

We had a hard time narrowing down our favorite dishes, but here are the meals that made the list...

Forget the narrowing down, this was my favorite dish: Pollo Fundido from El Encanto Dos.  The meal as a whole was not the best--for example, after one bite of this dish, I regretted giving any stomach space away to the mediocre chips and salsa--but the dish itself was to die for.  If you've never had Pollo Fundido, it's a tortilla filled to the brim with chicken and chilies, deep fried, and smothered in a rich and creamy cheese-sauce.  And if you ever visit this restaurant in Phoenix, order it! 

Twice, we went out for brunch.  Our first stop was Postino, a wine bar that serves brunch on the weekends.  For our starter, we ordered a sampling of four different types of bruschetta.

The one on the left is a warm artichoke spread, then burrata, bacon, arugula and tomato, roasted peppers with goat cheese, and brie and apples with fig spread.  

Each one was absolutely delectable.  

 I will definitely be trying these out at home. 

And if I ever make it back to Postino, I will only order bruschetta so that I can try every single combination available on the menu. 

We also had a B.E.L.T.  (B.E.L.T. = B.L.T. + Egg)  Unfortunately for my love-handles, it was also delicious.

Our next brunch was at U.S. Egg.  They are known for their Protein Pancakes and Hot Skillets.  As you can see, I had the full experience.

Are you full yet?  We were....

On our way to Sedona, we stopped in Jerome for a meal at Quince.  This was probably our all-around favorite meal.  

The New Mexican Cheeseburger: A perfectly cooked burger with green chilies and chipotle-mayo.   

And Fish Tacos with Mango-Jalapeno Pico de Gallo, which were every bit as good as they look.

Pomegranate seeds were mixed into the guacamole (along with black beans and corn)...and sprinkled on top to make it look so purty--this is another something that I will definitely be trying at home.   

And when in Sedona, we received numerous recommendations for Elote

The Elote was the best part.  Elote=fire roasted corn with spicy mayo, lime & cotija cheese.  YUM! 


I ordered Carne Asada.

June ordered Smoked Pork Cheeks....it's okay, you can giggle! :)

And Kay ordered Lamb Adobo.  

You can see that each dish was absolutely beautiful, and good; but again, the Elote was the best part of the meal.  Some of the flavors in the main dishes were so strong that we, with our critical taste-buds, felt like they were competing with one another.  We're still waiting on the call to judge Top-Chef Masters.  Until then....

...you can trust us.  We like to eat. 

The Wildflower Bread Company was a Panera-type restaurant in Sedona.  We packed these sandwiches in a cooler and took them on a hike up a mountain.  

 Turkey Breast and Brie

Roast Beef and Gorgonzola

My sandwich won most original.  It was the Roasted Sweet Potato Sandwich, with fresh mozzarella, fig confit, tomato, arugula, fennel and Balsamic Vinaigrette on Herb Focaccia. 

And June thought I was nutso, but when I saw IN-N-OUT burger, I begged them to stop.  After all, ordering off of the secret menu was on my bucket list... 

Kay and June ordered boring old burgers.  I ordered mine Animal Style....oh yeah.  Check, and check! 

And that, my friends, is just about all that I can stomach right now.  I hope you enjoyed the pics, and possibly gained some culinary inspiration.  I can't wait to experiment  with the ideas that I gained...but for now, I must focus on the weight that I gained.  It's time for This Little Piggy to quit blogging and get back to P90X and Detox Tea.