Nov 30, 2012

high 5 friday

well it's the last friday of november

and i really wanted to post this picture again

so high 5 friday/thankful november for the record books

1.  instagram is so awesome - i don't know how it happened but i currently have 745 likes on this photo

so if you're new to the blog from instagram - HI!  and if you don't follow me on instagram, you can @ racholiver

i don't normally take such awesome photos, but i have to admit - everything in the keys was just so pretty to capture.

2.  i posted about this yesterday

but it's the best thing ever, and i don't think i can ever purchase ice cream again after this experience.  i'm heading to kroger this weekend to buy more flavors. 

3.  i'm a little christmas obsessed this year.  and i'm not ashamed.  i currently have 3 trees up (in a 2 bedroom condo) and i am threatening to go get another tree for the kitchen.

something with baked good-ornaments on it?

i'm not going to even front.  this is probably happening this weekend.  i'm thankful for an extra week of november after thanksgiving to really decorate the house before december is even here!

4.  green bean deliveries. 

i have a healthy bunch of brussels sprouts that are going to get cooked down with some onion and asparagus this weekend. i'm salivating just thinking about it.

5.  as per usual.  bath and body works.  they are having an awesome coupon right now.  one free item ($13 value) with the purchase of $10.  it's so easy to spend $10 - so load up on stocking stuffers and get a free item for yourself!

Free item of your choice with any purchase of $10 or more

o tannenbaum

christmas tree number 3 is up at the ottman house!

i hate that carpet - phantom dark spots?? new flooring in 2013!
this is my first real tree and i just love it already

we went to lowes and decided a douglas fir and short needles were ideal

the lady trimmed the lower branches down, cut the end of the trunk, and wrapped her up!  we even kept the cut piece from the trunk to make an ornament with (i had seen this on pinterest, and the lady at lowes suggested it too)

our lovely sheet covered couch....
bill wrapped the tree with twinkling lights

i supervised with the winter edition woodchuck (the fall is still by far my favorite)

and cooked bean burgers - these bean burgers - it's my go to bean burger and i usually doctor it up - this time with corn and red pepper flakes

after eating we went ahead and added ornamnets

we probably could have gotten a tad bigger tree, but i think this guy is just so cute - and full - the perfect roundness

we enjoyed the tree for a few minutes with the lights off

and then it hit me - it was passed 10 o'clock - the time i hit the hay

ugh...such a busy night

but i really wanted to get the tree up since we're having people over tonight for game night

and i promised to make i also spent some time making a double batch of dough

luckily it's friday!

Nov 29, 2012

i won - just not the jackpot


it looks like i'm keeping my day job

i was in a pool at work, bill bought tickets, and i bought tickets - i also purchased a scratch-off

you know

spread my investments around

i may not be a multi-millionaire

but i did win $3 on a $2 scratch-off

so i celebrated/drowned my sorrows

with this deliciousness

omg.  i don't think i've ever had gelato

but after seeing a friend post pictures of this brand and how obsessed she was

i decided to give it a whirl

and at about $5 a pop...i just bought one

lottery winnings well spent, though.

it's a good thing they are priced so high, otherwise i would have just ate the whole pint and called it dinner.

did anyone else have high hopes of winning?

i was prepared to take a vacation first

then i was going to start designing my new home

that would be positioned on a few acres

so i could start my own dog rescue

and i would share my winnings with my close friends and family - make sure everyone had a house and a new car all paid for

and then travel for a year.

maybe next time :)

Nov 28, 2012

green bean delivery

such a stressful time of year

our fiscal year end is november

which makes the last 2-3 weeks in november a nightmare

i'm currently working through lunch to play catch up on emails and miscellaneous tasks

last night i played catch up on the walking dead - i totally slept through sunday night's episode.

and of course

my biggest fear is coming true- that there is only one more episode before they go on a 3-ish month break.


you just know that both camps are going to meet up and discover andrea and merle at woodbury and daryl in rick's camp.

and that's where they'll leave us - with nothing resolved.  ugh.

on a positive note

after a few months hiatus

i received a green bean delivery!

if you're not familiar

green bean is a type of csa that offers fresh produce on a weekly or every other week basis

they operate in the southern indiana-louisville region as well as operations in northern ky/cincinnati, indianapolis, muncie, ft wayne, dayton and columbus

their bins are completely customizable and come in different priced sizes.

besides JUST produce, they offer an online grocery store with SEVERAL kitchen staples as well as bulk items at competitive prices.

the best part about it...well ok, one of the best parts about it is that they deliver directly to your front door!

my other favorite part is the flexibility.  i subscribe to an every other week delivery, but, say for instance, i'm going out of town, i can cancel my delivery up to the day before my scheduled delivery.

you are also only charged for the deliveries you receive on the day of - no membership fees or automatic renewals.

another perk is that everything in your bin is listed as local, organic, conventional grown, tropical, from the united states, or sustainably grown item.

each week that i am scheduled to have a delivery i put my green bin out on my front step (you will receive your bin on your first purchase)

i then come home to this

there is an ice pack in the bin so no need to worry if you don't get home right away (i think my delivery is usually around 4ish on tuesdays)

i opt for the produce-grocery bin.  it is $28 and is described best for 1-2 people.  i sometimes don't cook as much as i should so these veggies are plenty without being wasteful for bill and i.

your order must be $35 or more (the other bins reach this requirement), but since my bin is $28 i pick out different products from their grocery store to supplement my order.  if you do not make it to the $35 threshold you will be charged the $35 anyways.

this week i received three stalks of romaine, three navel oranges, i added a can of coconut milk - for a curry recipe and some stir fry noodles - perfect for cooking veggies with

i also supplemented my order with cheese....mmm...cheese..

a bag of brussels sprouts (cannot wait), an english cucumber, and rainbow chard - i've never cooked chard but i'm excited to cook some down or make a soup

also, hiding in a paper bag, there were apples and pears...mmm!!!

in the past i've discovered some amazing brands that were new to me, including

frog ranch pickles

they also make salsa - which i plan on ordering next

but their pickles are crazy good.

fresh, crunchy, and the hot ones are SPICY and addictive.

they're ohio based, but before green bean i had never heard of them - but did see their products in my kroger store a few weeks later.  (and the prices were exactly the same)

i love green bean delivery for exactly this reason - i get to discover new products - and whereas in a store setting i would hem and haw about putting something new in my basket, online i need to reach $35 so i feel obliged to try something new (and local)

secondly, i love that new vegetables make their way into my kitchen (chard) and because i hate to waste food - i'm forced to sit down and find a recipe to try.  broadening horizons - one food at a time :)

if you're even a bit curious about the delivery system, the most you would be out is $35 and you can cancel right away - no hidden fees.

i am definitely not an ambassador of green bean delivery - just a very satisfied customer. 

so if you're located in any of their delivery radii give them a try and support local farmers and businesses as well as organic and sustainable growing practices. 

on that note, i didn't have time to plan last night's meal around any of my delivery items - like i said earlier, i had taken a few months off from deliveries (summer produce is so abundant that i still prefer going to farmer's markets during that time of year)

so bill and i chowed down on

raviolis and salad.

delicious carbs.

has anyone else used green bean or a similar service?


Nov 27, 2012

decking the halls

i'm SLOWLY trying to get back in the swing of things

i took monday off

after traveling sunday to and from the football game

i wanted a day to myself.

to sit and relax

watch christmas movies

maybe pull out a few decorations.

bill had other plans

which included ripping apart the closets + spare bedroom

which stressed me out.

but bill was so sweet.  he wanted to make the spare bedroom more craft friendly for me. 

you know

so i could actually get in the room to work.

my sewing table had become cat feeding central - and behind it were boxes of...stuff...and i basically never went in here to do anything.

after several hours of cleaning, reorganizing, and creating goodwill/consignment piles

the spare bedroom was looking inviting

the living room however...

was being consumed.

i also found two bags of beanie babies.

an extensive collection of mcdonalds varieties as well

how cute is this guy?

too bad the hundreds of dollars these bad boys were trading for are now worth zilch.

so a trip to the consignment store, goodwill, and half priced books (instantly $25 richer!)

i returned to a clutter free spare bedroom (why i didn't take an after picture, i will never know)

and funny thing.

now that my craft supplies are accessible

i actually busted out some knitting needles and started...AND FINISHED...a project!

it's a gift.  or i'd show you my finished product.  i'm pretty excited about it.

so now that our home, at least the spare bedroom and living areas, are decluttered - we can make way for christmas!  and christmas decorations!  another tree! (we have 2 up already in our 1100 sq ft tiny home) and...well new stuff to take up space! 

does anyone else do a massive declutter before the holidays to make way for new stuff?

thankful november

it's been so long!

thanksgiving/black friday/small business saturday/cyber sunday-monday really kept me busy

so let's get caught up on what i'm thankful for

pitiful puppies that are sad about missing out on turkey.

turkey trots and ridiculous hats.  warning: if you wear said hats you WILL be interviewed by the local news.  i was too embarrassed to watch- but i've heard it's on whas11 's website after it aired on the noon news. also, in the past 3 years, this is by far the best weather we've had for thanksgiving.  we've battled cold and rain previously.


post run starbucks - per tradition.


oh and post run, pre-thanksgiving mimosas.

Vanna Speaks
this book.  which i discovered sitting in the in-law's sunroom.  i'm sure it's an inspirational read.  and the reviews on amazon are off the charts:

4.0 out of 5 stars Turns letters, write books, does sit ups - I LOVE HER!!!, December 7, 2003
"idioteqnician" (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vanna Speaks (Hardcover)
I bet that at any given moment, somebody, somewhere, is writing a Master's thesis called something like "I'd Like To Solve the Puzzle: B-Celebrities and Why We Love Them".From the very get-go in chapter 1, when Vanna tells you how she does her sit-ups then gives you instructions to make her favourite afghan, right to page 190, at the very end, when Vanna shamelessly plugs McDonald's, Spring Air mattresses, and Nestle's chocloate (and including more than 32 pages of photos inbetween!), I thought this book was brilliant and brainless. Apparently, just after this book was shortlisted for the Man Booker in early 1987, some scandalous, unauthorized photos of Vanna were published in Playboy.


black friday shopping.  and crazy people.  for everyone who thinks their too good to go out shopping and that we're all just a bunch of consumerist freaks.  you're right.  and you're also boring.  there's something humbling about standing in line for 30 minutes to buy sweatpants for $5.  and how often do you get to talk to complete strangers who have been up for 22 hours and are wearing antlers and pajama pants?


 margaritas - for after talking to grown women wearing antlers at macys while wearing pajama pants


covered football arenas.


and  friendly fans...who even though you're rooting for the away team (buffalo), don't heckle you when your quarterback can't throw a touchdown pass to save his life.


a husband that drives all the way up and all the way back in one day while i can lay back and read buzzfeed.


friends who are willing to watch our little bundle of brittany spaniel while we're out for the day.  bless his heart he was so tired when we got home - he ran us over to get in his crate to sleep.



i'm thankful for my health, bill's health, family and friends to get together with, friends that are far away but keep in touch, opportunities and blessings that are occurring in our lives,


pie.  thank you jesus for pie.

Nov 21, 2012

turkey day eve and pizza

happy turkey day eve!

anyone else goofing off at work today?

i'm biding my time until i can go home and get on my sweats running clothes - i need to get a couple of miles in before tomorrow's turkey trot.

it's crazy how just a couple of months ago i was running 16 miles on the weekend and 30+ miles in one week.

but now

6 miles seems like labor.

per tradition i've ran the 6 miler, but i just haven't prepared to do that.  and i really don't want to walk 6 miles.

so i dropped down to the 2 miler - which means i can bring woodford with me!  he's going to need to get his ya-ya's out anyways since we'll be traveling and not home all day.

in other news

i made pizza again last night.

i didn't get to try any of my veggie pizza last weekend - it was gone when i sat down to eat, so i just had a mozzarella and tomato mini pizza i had made.

oh my goodness.

 this is some of the best pizza i've ever had.


if you're a fan of papa murphey's then you have to make this - it's so easy and tastes even better than papa murphey's

if you would like to recreate this for when you're tired of turkey this week

make some dough

followed exactly - except i don't have the dough enhancer :( - my birthday is coming up....

even though the dough enhancer probably does make an even more delicious crust - it really isn't necessary.  also - i used 3 cups all purpose flour.

the dough says it will keep in the fridge for 3 days - and it's best to make this at least a day in advance anyways since the flavor will enhance as it sits in the fridge.

ok.  so the day after you make some dough...or maybe 6 hours after you make some dough.

deflate and divide into 2 balls.  (if you want really thick crust just leave as one ball - but half of the dough in a cake pan will rise and still make a "hand tossed" style crust)

since i am limited on pans - i made one thin crust and one hand tossed - if you have a fancy pizza stone you could use that as well.  i don't have a pizza stone.  but my birthday and christmas are right around the corner...

knead and press your dough into a 9*13 pan and gently stretch and toss your other dough ball into a circle-ish shape.  we're not going for perfection here.  just try and pinch any holes closed and do your best to form...a shape.

now preheat your oven to 450.  this will let your dough rest and rise some more while your oven heats up.

ideally you want your thicker crust to rise 30-60 minutes while your thinner crust only needs to rest 15-30 minutes..

if you forget this step - it's ok - everything will still turn out fine.

now.  i pop my thin crust in the oven to bake first so my thick crust can rise some more.

bake for 6-8 minutes and then remove.

add your toppings:

about a cup or so of good spaghetti sauce.  <-this is key.  you can beef up your own tomato sauce or buy pizza sauce - but i think buying the "fancy" flavored spaghetti sauce (preggo, newman's own, kroger private select)  is what made my pizza taste great

sprinkle a healthy dose of shredded mozzarella

top with diced green peppers and thin red onion strips.

you could of course create your own flavor combinations - but i'm pretty simple

then - this is also key

top with another healthy dose of mozzarella or a combination of mozz and cheddar

*while you're adding toppings to the first pizza, you could be baking the other one for 6-8 minutes and then switch them out when the time is up and add toppings to the second

now pop your 1st topped pizza back in the oven for an additional 8-12 minutes - until the cheese is bubbly and browning slightly.  your crust will get somewhat golden but not overly - unless you brush it with butter or olive oil.

repeat with the thick crust

and serve!  i dare you not to eat a whole pizza.

i hope you have a happy thanksgiving tomorrow!

please travel safely and not get in too big of a hurry on the interstate - we'll all get there when we get there!

Nov 20, 2012

baking season

the baking mood has struck.

i whipped up more pizza dough last night. 

i still have lots of chopped onions and green peppers that i don't want to go to waste - and a sure fire way to get rid of them is to make more pizza!

and because dough is so easy to make...

i decided i wanted pretzels.

homemade pretzels and bagels are a tad bit time consuming - but the end result is mighty tasty. (both take a baking soda bath before baking - to ensure browness)

i also gave up on trying to make the pretzel shape.  once you dip the pretzel in the baking soda bath - the dough gets really sticky and hard to handle and my pretzels were all over the place.

so pretzel rolls it was!  i had some mini ones last night with mozzarella and one this morning for breakfast.

so clearly i like to bake - i would say if i'm following a recipe everything usually turns out pretty tasty, too.

with that being said - for the second year in a row i have been asked to bring rolls to my in-laws for thanksgiving.

not a vegetable, not a baked good, not an appetizer.


just some rolls from kroger.

i'm not sure if i should take offense or just...ahem...roll with it.

part of me is like eff it - i'm going to make some homemade rolls - especially since i've been on a dough kick - and they will be the best damn rolls ever!!!

the other part of me is pretty "ehh" about it.  i found out last minute that the in-laws are doing thanksgiving at 4, and i made plans with my family to do dinner at 5 (and my family is about 45 minutes away).  so, i'm not even sure if we'll be eating dinner at the in-laws.  and i'm definitely not going to bake fresh bread to sit around for hours until dinner time.  kroger rolls it is!

besides - i'll be baking for my side of the family.

if you're looking for a dessert to take this thursday - may i suggest this pumpkin crunch recipe.

i'm not sure where it's from - a co-worker brought it in a couple of weeks ago and i had to have the recipe.

it sounds so easy to whip up too

and it tastes like pumpkin heaven.

pumpkin crunch

1 package yellow cake mix
1 15oz can solid pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup pecans - chopped
1 cup melted butter
cool whip - optional

preheat oven to 350 and grease the bottom of a 9*13 pan

combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  pour into pan

sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.  top with pecans.  drizzle melted butter over pecans.

bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown.  cool

serve chilled topped with cool whip

my co-worker said that the mixture looks really runny when combined - but that it sets up well after baked.

ok, so...

thanksgiving grocery list:

got it.

Nov 19, 2012

non traditional thanksgiving

let's talk turkey

i love thanksgiving.


i love the idea of thanksgiving.

thankfulness, naps, football, a parade

traditional thanksgiving meal?


after a brief hiatus, i'm back on the vegetarian bandwagon (which i have been for several months now) - the grass wasn't greener on the carnivore side.  actually, my meals were missing a lot of greens.

and well...things weren't regular.

so let's go ahead and cross off the main centerpiece of the meal - the turkey.

so that leaves us with dressing.  which, even if it's not made with turkey flavorings - it's still pretty mushy.

mashed potatoes?  green bean, sweet potato, broccoli casseroles? - all mushy and overly rich.

and don't even get me started on cranberry molded in the shape of a can.

i'm not trying to be a scrooge about the meal - because honestly - i don't have to cook, and i'm definitely not volunteering to do a whole thanksgiving meal - so i should just shut up right?

i'm just laying it out there - that when bill and i have our own family, and i venture out to do a thanksgiving day meal - it won't be traditional.

i can already tell you bill is shaking his head and saying no way - there has to be turkey and potatoes - and he better hope someone else is fixing them.

because this is my thanksgiving meal taking place sometime in the future - and i want tofu pad thai.

or a create your own burrito mexican thanksgiving.

i can compromise if needed

we can have a non traditional symbolic thanksgiving day meal

but it will include

field roast hazelnut cranberry roast en croute

field roast grain meat is probably some of the best meatless main dishes available

and i want lightly blanched broccoli

roasted potatoes

and roasted carrots.

and for heavens sake i will cook my own cranberry sauce -> this one to be specific

but i'm definitely not fixing that this year...

so that leaves the question what will i be eating at our family's gatherings?


i love pie.  and i'm not ashamed to say that i will get my yearly fill of pumpkin pie and hopefully a couple of other desserts.

i mean, it is a glutinous holiday and i don't want to disappoint... 

please tell me i'm not the only one who isn't a fan of traditional thanksgiving food?


weekend update

good monday  morning!

can you believe thanksgiving is this week?

3 days at work for me and then a nice long weekend.

i honestly don't mind being here for these 3 days - most people have taken off work the whole week - so traffic is light and the office is pretty empty which = total goof off time.

well maybe not total - i have year end to prepare for.

this weekend i was feeling festive.

and i was craving a fruit salad

nothing screams holidays to me more than a fruit salad - my grandma always whipped one up and i think i single handedly ate most of it.

clementines, grapes, apples, bananas and a healthy scoop of sugar.

and since i was feeling festive, bill and i decided to put up our "fun" tree - our tree with all of our childhood ornaments on it.

it was fun going down memory lane while going through the ornaments

this little nest - i've had since kindergarten.

and this cookie plate i've had since i was little - from louisville stonewear - it's just begging for cookies to be made.

so while the christmas music was blasting and the lights were being untangled

i was mixing up a new to me concoction.  i've never bought prosecco - and when i read somewhere to pair it with juice - to tone down the sweetness of the juice and add sweetness to the otherwise dry sparkling wine - it sounded like the perfect holiday - lower cal - drink option.

trop50 has a ton of flavors out - and this pear and lychee tea was so good!  and i can feel less guilty about drinking juice with just 45 calories per serving.  mixing it with the prosecco is pretty much a different flavor variation on a mimosa - this mix would make a wonderful brunch punch.  i mixed in a glass 1-1, but you could play around with it depending on how sweet or sparkling you prefer.

i even busted out the christmas glasses

we have a nice couch under there - we just keep it perpetually covered due to cute animals who run the house
and woodford would not leave the couch.  when i popped the cork on the sparkling wine he tucked his little nub of a tail and ran for cover.  bless his heart.

there are several more decorations i cannot wait to pull out - but i'm holding out until this weekend.  i am also planning to get my first real tree.  i'm fairly scared that woodford will eat the branches and the cat will climb to the top of it - but for years i've wanted a real tree and so i'm just going to do it.  i have no idea how far in advance i can put one up though - any ideas?

sunday morning was typical

lots of coffee
and a walk with my guys.

i hadn't seen bill's family in a while and we decided to have everyone over - and homemade pizzas sounded fun

i whipped up the dough

(and got ready for some football)

chopped up several veggies and when everyone came over we started creating!  i wish i had time to take a picture of all the lovely veggies and the actual finished product

but everything was ate and gone so fast

i'm going to take that as a compliment

i also discovered how easy homemade pizza is -  i think this will be a weekly menu edition.  it has to be a lot healthier than take out and frozen-  all fresh veggies and no butter or sugar!

bill and i had the evening to ourselves...

to watch santa baby, arthur christmas...and or course...

the walking dead

those are spiderman argyle socks...he couldn't wait for santa to bring them...
i can't get enough of the walking dead - i'm also starting to panic about how many episodes are left in the season and where they will leave us hanging! 

i'm curious as to why michone can walk freely among the biters, and i'm anxious to see how the merle and darryl  relationship will play out when/if they get reunited - i think darryl is a big softie and is totally going to hookup with carol. i'm also suspicious of andrea - i feel like she's going to give her allegiance to the governor, along with her lady goods, and betray her old group somehow.


and after an hour of zombie guts

 i fell asleep watching the grinch.  i remember thinking as a kid that this cartoon was so long - and now it seems so short.

i guess that's how i feel about the holidays too - as a kid it seemed like christmas was so far away after thanksgving - but now the weeks are flying by too fast.  which is why i said the heck with enjoying christmas before thanksgiving - it'll be gone before i know it so i might as well just take in the spirit!

here's to a short work week!!