Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring Fever Countdown!

Don't forget that the last day to enter my Spring Fever giveaway is this Saturday!

My new car!

I posted a while back about my afternoon spent test driving BMW 3 series. One of my caveats to this adventure in purchasing cars was that I wanted a manual. So after much searching on their part, my salesperson (I'm calling him my salesperson because he worked so hard to find this car!) called me on Wednesday to let me know they had found a car that met my specifications. They received the car yesterday and I test drove it last night. After some haggling on Mr. Potts part (I sat back & observed) this is my new car!


I love it!!! I had so much fun driving it to work today!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler - Let the Good Times Roll

The last day of Carnival is today with tomorrow being Ash Wednesday - also the beginning of Lent.

Since I lived in New Orleans for a while & love, love, love the city and the people, I wanted to share a little of Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras with you!

From Orpheus

From Proteus
From Zeus
From Muses
From Endymion
Dinner tonight - my red beans & rice with friends over to celebrate Fat Tuesday
A little of this to finish everything up - King Cake from Randazzo's!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring Fever

Don't forget to enter my Spring Fever giveaway! you have until Saturday, February 28th. Send your followers over - we all need cute toes!

I'm disappointed in myself.

I have been very honest with myself about my health goals and weight loss goals. I know that I love food. I mean, I can sniff in a kitchen & pick out different spices. I can almost taste things when the aroma is strong. Knowing how much I enjoy food, I decided to start a food diary. It was so eye opening! I often will snack the most at work & the other major time is when I'm bored. This does not assist in my weight loss goals.

I've also been getting up at 4:40 am every day during the week to get to the gym by 5am so I can have plenty of time to get in both cardio & weights. So far the scale has not budged. I want to cry each time I step off of it, but I don't. I keep telling myself that this is a challenge for me. I'm very competitive, even with myself. I can do this!

This last week while in Vermont, I was exhausted. We left the hotel by 7am most mornings and didn't get back until about 8pm. I did not work out the entire time I was there. It was such an overwhelming week that the thought of working out at 9pm (after we'd eaten dinner) just did not appeal - plus the fact that any exercise after 8pm tends to keep me up forever. I mean, I set the alarm, but I just didn't get out of bed.

So I'm disappointed in myself. I want to be healthy. I want to lose weight. I want to lift like I used to be able to.

What I reminded myself yesterday was that we all experience setbacks. A setback doesn't mean failure, it doesn't mean give up. It tells me to take a look at what I did (or in this case didn't do) and figure out what happened to cause it.

I think that God leads us to these challenges. I also think that he is our head cheerleader and often is that force we feel beside us when we are struggling to get out of bed, or finish that last mile or even to turn away from the bacon cheddar peanut butter burger (yeah, I've got a major craving).

What challenges are you facing right now? What do you do to help you through them?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Travel Restaurant Review

I have been a traveler for most of my career. I have been to most of the US continental states in my travels. I've traveled so much that Mr. Potts and I will be heading to Hawaii for a full week (maybe two) in 2010 and staying completely on points.

When I travel, I try to eat sensibly, I mean, you never know exactly how things are prepared, how it will impact your diet, etc. I do, however, attempt to eat a nice meal at a nice restaurant. Last night in Burlington, that dinner was at Trattoria Delia. If you ever travel to Burlington, take a night and have dinner here. Especially if you are with your husband, fiance or boyfriend - best girlfriends, close friends or even casual acquaintances. Eat there by yourself! You're worth it!!

My dinner consisted of wonderful, homemade bread and this:

Gnocchi alla Gioverde
Our handmade potato gnocchi in a light tomato basil butter sauce, with organic Reggiano cheese.

And THIS:

Panna Cotta
The original Piemontese custard-like dessert of thick cream, sugar and vanilla bean, served with an Amaretto zabaglione and topped with fresh raspberries.
This was so wonderful, I wish I'd ordered two and only eaten that!

I'm traveling home this evening - sitting currently in the Burlington airport & hoping that my flight will not be delayed. I'm flying through Philadelphia (which I really don't like to do) and should be landing in Charlotte around 10:30pm. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed with my own pillow. Thank you all for entering my giveaway & don't forget to let others know about it!

Happy Friday! I hope you all have had a great week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thank you Ladies!

Thank you all for the response to my first giveaway. I really appreciate your enthusiasm...especially since I'm in snowy Vermont and won't be getting home until 10:30pm Friday. Seeing the responses really makes me ready for Spring to be here - even with a high of 35 today! I'll catch up later this evening. Have a wonderful Thursday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spring Fever!

I've left some teasers over the past few days about my giveaway celebrating my 75th post (which happened to be a wonderful enchilada recipe!). We had 70+ degree weather recently for a few days & it really put me in the mood for spring. Here it is, your chance to join in on my Spring Fever!

Half of the giveaway is pictured above. Three Essie polishes (colors as described in this post), a set of Spring notecards (this picture really shows off the sparkle of the cards) and some nail polish remover pads. What is missing is a set of recipe cards with some of my favorite recipes on them! In addition, I'm throwing in a small Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco masque (as mentioned in this post).

To enter:
  • 1 entry for posting a comment - you MUST do at least this step to be entered!
  • 1 additional entry for becoming a new follower (2 additional entries to thank my already loyal followers!)
  • 1 additional entry for posting on your blog - make sure you let me know you did this!
Deadline to enter is Saturday, February 28th at midnight - leads us into March. Friday, March 20th is the first full day of Spring, so you'll have some prep time. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas in Salsa Verde

Mr. Potts and I love Mexican food. It is a favorite night out for us - finding a little, cheap Mexican restaurant. When I made the chile chicken tortilla bake the other night, he brought home two large bags of tortillas, so I told him I'd make some enchiladas for him. They turned out wonderfully - so here is the recipe! Mr. Potts, is that AVOCADO on your plate?

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bottle salsa verde (such as Herdez brand)
  • 3 shredded cooked chicken breasts
  • 8 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • Corn tortillas - I ended up using about 14 tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled queso fresco - I couldn't find this, so I used Monterrey jack cheese
  • 4 lime wedges
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Combine chicken and cream cheese in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 salsa mixture. Reserve remaining salsa mixture.
  • Bring broth to a simmer in a medium skillet. Working with one tortilla at a time, add tortilla to pan; cook 20 seconds or until moist, turning once - this really only took a few seconds so the tortilla didn't tear. I also used a large spatula to remove the tortillas. Remove tortilla; drain on paper towels.
  • Spoon chicken mixture down center of tortilla; roll up.
  • Place tortilla, seam-side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, broth, and chicken mixture.
  • Pour remaining salsa mixture over enchiladas; sprinkle evenly with queso fresco (monterrey jack cheese).
  • Bake at 425° for 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with lime wedges. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Served with black beans made with jalapeƱos & banana peppers & sliced avocado. Yum!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

I changed my mind.

I went yesterday after my periodontal cleaning to pick up the One of a Kind Essie nail polish for my upcoming giveaway. It was described as a Poppy Red Kiss. It was cute online in the picture. Not so much in person. So I changed my mind. I couldn't include an ugly nail color in my first giveaway! I'd probably lose some readers!

So instead of One of a Kind, I'll be including Forever Young - described as a Fiery Tango Red. This is a great red - one I think that many skin tones can wear.
In addition, since I may have gotten some hopes up, I'll also be including Lacquered Up - described as a Red Hot Crimson (but this is definitely more pink).
I also was thinking that some readers may be stuck in cold weather confines and may not be ready to sport any pink or red. I don't want to leave them out - so I'll also be including a darker color - perhaps Bold and Beautiful? Doesn't everyone need a good dark polish?
I'm really excited about my first giveaway - and these are only a few things that will be featured in my quest for Spring!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I made it!

I made it through the exercise class last night. I walked out with my face looking like the picture above. My face turns so red when I work out; it always has. I've been working out regularly - doing cardio, lifting weights - but this was HARD! And I had a great time with my co-worker A. We laughed quite a bit at ourselves, but kept a positive attitude & cheered each other on. "You're totally rocking those leap frogs!" "You did a great job with the side shuffle!" At the end of class the one that cracked us both up: "Wow! Your hair looks awesome!" So we're going to make this a weekly thing where we go every Wednesday night after work. I think that breaking up my work-out routine has the potential to really help my fitness level.

Just curious - does anyone else get work-out hair? Mine gets all sorts of kinky around my face thanks to natural waves/curls that come out when I sweat & get hot.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"I'm a little nervous."

"I'm a little nervous," was my comment to Mr. Potts today when he asked about the class I'm going to tonight. I'm going to a class called Cardio Sculpt with one of my co-workers at 6:30pm. I'm nervous because I haven't been in a group exercise class since I was 18. Have I told you before that I'm clumsy? I've tripped on nothing walking down the aisle at work. I have fallen in bathtubs while traveling & torn muscles. My middle name is NOT Grace.

So, "I'm a little nervous," was a very light description of the terror I feel gripping my heart. I hope it lets up enough that I don't pass out in the class. Trip over the step, fall across the dumbbells - Possibly. Pass out from a panic attack - hopefully not!

Hopefully, I'll manage to stay on my feet, not pass out & look like this. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 9, 2009

A little more of what you can expect

Do you get as excited as I do when you get a letter or note in the mail? I am like a little girl and must take it inside to savor it. I love email, I enjoy blogging, but I adore receiving notes! Who wouldn't love to receive a note in the mail and open it up to find this?

Super cute Spring stationary.
Would it bring a smile to your face?

Stay tuned - even more to come!

A Hint of Things to Come

Giveaway Item 1
All things to do with Spring!
Essie One of a Kind - a Poppy Red Kiss
Can't you just imagine this on your toes for your first peep-toe outing?
Stay tuned for more items!

A special Thank You

I recently won a give away that Sassy Engineer was hosting over at A Sassy Engineer. I was so excited to receive this in the mail. It was a little like when Mr. Potts and I were engaged and receiving wedding presents. I would go home and there would be something on my doorstep waiting to put a smile on my face.

I told her that I would post pictures when I received it & she did such a great job packaging it that I'm excited to show you!

All wrapped up & pretty as can be! The little white thing in the lower left corner is a super cute bath scrubby! How did she know i needed a new one?

All unwrapped! The yummiest candle & super cute matches along with 2 yummy soaps! I can't wait to get started with the devotional.

Thank you Sassy for the super cute give away!

This reminds me - I've got a cute Spring Give Away coming up soon!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Spring is in the air!!

Has anyone else experienced 70+ degree weather this weekend? We have enjoyed Spring like weather the last two days and my itch for Spring has started!I could wax on and on for my love of spring in the South. The blooming tulips and daffodils put a smile on my face. The Bradford Pears lined up with their beautiful pink and white blooms remind me of driving down those grand old tree lined streets. The Dogwood trees take me back to growing up as a happy child with my mother and brother. Playing outside in the spring and watching the trees begin to open up their blooms and get ready for a beautiful season.

I'm ready for cold weather to be over, for warm weather to be here for good and to be able to wear all my cute Spring clothes. I'm thinking of a Spring themed giveaway in honor of my 75th post. I'll definitely give you hints along the way, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Few Drool Worthy Pictures

**Warning**
If you are hungry right now, you may want to have a snack before you scroll down.
Better now? Ok!

I have been making all these wonderful, yummy dinners for Mr. Potts and myself lately. I've been taking pictures too - just to document that I actually can make roasted butternut squash soup from scratch. I finally, just now downloaded (or uploaded - which is correct?) the pictures. Enjoy!!

Note: If you would like either of these recipes, leave me a comment & I'll be happy to email them to you. I'd post them, but this post is already so long.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina "Grilled Cheese"
The roasting of the squash
The end result
The "Grilled Cheese" Aren't our dishes pretty?

Spicy Chile Chicken Tortilla Bake
Into the oven
Finished productThis is so good, even though it looks really ugly! It has green chiles, a secret hot sauce (given to us by a neighbor), shredded chicken, corn tortillas, cream of chicken & some other things. Kind of like a Mexican lasagna - which is good for me, since I've been craving Mexican food & it isn't really diet/health friendly. At least not what I've been craving.

Side note: I follow Living in Dallas & Loving it! (you should too - she's wonderful!). Kimmie loves cupcakes and on Sundays posts pictures of various yummy ones. She also posted 2 super cute ones for Groundhog's Day. Since she's been posting the yummy goodness, my desire for a cupcake has multiplied 100fold. So yesterday for lunch I went and got one. That was lunch. Oh, and an apple - you know, to make it healthy. These are the cupcakes I picked up (I got one for each of my department members also) - I had the carrot cake (bottom left corner of the picture). I'm going back on Friday for Strawberry. MMMMMMMM
Are you hungry now?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A little red beans & rice

I have not been the best at posting pictures of the dinners I make. I have been taking the pictures, I just forget to download them into my laptop. I'm going to rectify that this evening. I've taken pictures of the butternut squash soup & fontina "grilled" cheese, the chile chicken bake, etc. So come back this evening for some pictures of the yummy foods I've been crafting.

Having lived in New Orleans for a while I had the opportunity to have wonderful red beans and rice, but had never tried to make it myself. My thought was that if someone's mother was going to invite me over to eat hers, it would rude to not go - right? Plus, there were several, um, restaurants that served some of the best around.

Mr. Potts has always professed to a love of red beans and rice, but had never had it from New Orleans. On our first trip there, that was our mission - to get him some authentic red beans & rice. We hit the motherload! We definitely had the best I've ever had! Since that trip, he understands my aversion to variations from our area. It just isn't even close.

Since Fat Tuesday is coming soon (February 24th), I decided that I needed to find a fabulous red beans and rice recipe so that we could enjoy it then. I found a version in one of my new cookbooks and was eager to try it, although it was quite a bastardized version. It turned out wonderful! We both were so happy with how it turned out & considered going back for seconds - even though we weren't still hungry - we loved how yummy it was!!

So, if you're interested in an easy Red Beans & Rice recipe, here it is. I also used andouille sausage (both a chicken & a regular kind to taste test the difference in the two).

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 (3-ounce) chicken andouille sausage links, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning - I used a dash of this instead of 1.5 tspn
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups hot cooked long-grain rice

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to pan. Continue to turn using tongs until cooked through.

2. In a medium pot combine beans, 1/2 cup water, cajun seasoning and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in pepper. Serve over rice.

Oh yum!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Vote for Clyde

One of the blogs that I follow is Wearing Mascara. She is a delight to read - you really must check her out. She is a rat lover & lost her beloved Clyde last year (she highlights some of her photographs [an aspiring photographer, natch] here, including some of Clyde).

Her post today is a must for animal lovers! The Humane Society of the United States' and Humane Society International's Spay Day is annual event to inspire people to save animals' lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats. Spay Day officially takes place on the last Tuesday of February - but events will be running all through the month! The 15th annual Spay Day will be Feb. 24, 2009. Spaying and Neutering is a must, just Sunday Mr. Potts and I saw a dog roaming in a field. In her post, Mascara has given us a great opportunity to help the Humane Society spay and neuter pets by voting for Clyde in the online pet photo contest. Take a moment to Vote for Clyde in the online pet photo contest. Every dollar you donate helps this wonderful cause.

Update on Giveaways

Is it really only Tuesday? Wow - so many wonderful giveaways already this week. Last night I commented about Misadventures of a Newlywed's Lilly stationary giveaway.

Today, I have to let you know about Blue-Eyed Bride's Hanky Panky giveaway. Super cute - she said her's still fit her even though she is pregnant. The little leopard box they are packaged in make the gift even better! Make sure to go & enter - the deadline is February 9th (can you believe it is already February?).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Don't forget!

Don't forget to enter Misadventures of a Newlywed's Lilly P. stationary giveaway! I like the Patchtastic best. :)

What has been your favorite giveaway that you've seen/entered so far?

New Title?

Mr. Potts asked me recently why I named this blog Experiments in a Galley Kitchen. I explained that I originally began this to document my love of food & cooking. Also, to describe the size of our kitchen (very small). He told me that since I was writing about other things, I should think about changing the name of my blog to something different. I'm thinking that I agree with him, but am not sure what I would re-name it.

What do you think?

"Not Me!" Monday

Littlesack over at Navigating the Quarterlife turned me on to "Not Me! Mondays". The general gist is that you list things you "didn't" (read: actually did) do this weekend/past week. All in the name of admitting that we all make mistakes and aren't perfect. Now, I'm far from perfect and I'm all about being honest & admitting my mistakes, so this is a great way to do it!

  • I did not go to a SuperBowl party and eat too much. I did not sample the smoked wings, the meatballs, the nachos, the party sausages wrapped in bacon or my sausage balls. No way!!
  • Mr. Potts and I did not go to one of our neighbor's house for dinner (yummy homemade curry!) and stay until almost 2am drinking & laughing. Nope, no way!
  • I did not break down & cry (just a little) over Betsy. I mean, she's fine. She totally served her purpose - I needed her to take Maddy to vet appointments. But me? I would not cry because I'm so unhappy with her. Uh uh.
Sad, but that is all I'm really coming up with right now.

What have you "not" done that you want to lay claim to?