Dec 21, 2012

chocolate peppermint crinkles

So, I guess it's officially.  We're here.  We're (semi-)settled.  Most of the boxes are unpacked and we know where the cutting boards are.  So, it's time to get back into the kitchen, I suppose.  At least between fresh coats of paint.

We know it's official because earlier this week we were surprised to find an invitation in our mailbox for a neighborhood holiday party.

Another neighbor stopped by the next day to give us his copy of the invitation to be sure we knew we were invited.  I may have been donning pajama pants and an old college t-shirt, with my hair all a mess with a howling dog who didn't know how to react to a man coming to our door.  I may have had wallpaper scraps sprinkled across the newspapered floor as well, as I was un-wallpapering the foyer at the time.

Dec 10, 2012

whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip bars and celebrations

Can I tell you something?  House buying is stressful.  It's a bit of a mind game.  No matter how simple the buying-selling situation may seem, it still results in a roller coaster of emotions reminiscent of the high school dating scene.

Don't get me wrong, it's totally worth it in the end, but be prepared for some serious ups and downs.

We were planning on getting our keys on Friday.  Our loan had gone through with time to spare, and we were on top of the world.  "Home buying must be more difficult than this," we said.

Well, we were right.

Dec 4, 2012


I learned something this week.

 I learned that waiting is hard and distractions are good.  We're closing on our house tomorrow and should *hopefully* be getting keys on Friday!  That's awesome, but in the mean time, it makes life move in slow motion.

Wouldn't the sellers appreciate us going to rake the leaves on a 60 degree December day?  Wouldn't they be happy to have us put up a mailbox and clean up the yard?  No, no, and no.  So, rather than getting arrested for trespassing, we wait.  Until this weekend.  When it's 40 and raining.

Patience, patience, patience.

Dec 1, 2012

hearty vegan chili

And, we're back!  So apparently if you blog and blog and blog, at some point you run out of storage.  That was the case all of a sudden last week as I was trying to post these pretty pictures of my chili.  So, after figuring that out and getting a new website ****, we're up and running again.

It's a good night.  I'm finally posting my chili, we're watching the Georgia Dawgs play for the SEC championship with our pup in his jersey, and in approximately 6 days (but who's counting), we'll be homeowners!!  Life is good.

Nov 20, 2012

mexican hot chocolate

I've been more more ADD than normal lately.  I pull up my work email and realize that I got an email from the house title company.  Work email clearly lost out.

I start grading an online quiz and have a decorating brainstorm and suddenly the quiz is left half graded.  Pinterest has been taking over my life a little.

This morning I was doing laundry (in order to avoid doing real work for as long as possible), I started doing some lesson planning, and suddenly I realized that I hadn't yet come up with a Mexican hot chocolate recipe.

Nov 11, 2012

butternut squash and acorn squash soup

Tuesday was election night.  It was a real battle of wills.  Who would win?  Me or my squash?

My squash won.  I may have cried a little over the sink.

I know it sounds silly, but it's true.  I lost in an epic battle of woman vs. squash.  Squash are tough.  They're nearly impossible to peel and cut in half.  Maybe we just don't have very good knives.  I don't know.

Either way, after struggling with my 5 squash for over an hour, coming within a half a squash of finishing, my body gave up.  My arms were shaking, and I couldn't cut one more square inch of squash.

Nov 6, 2012

pan de muerto (orange rolls)

The past week has been pretty exciting.  First of all, on Friday, I got to celebrate Día de los Muertos with my students.  (Okay, it's a bit of nerdy excitement, but what can you expect?)  It's a holiday that began in Mexico to celebrate the lives of family and friends who have passed away (our All Souls Day).  It's always a fun day for a Spanish class as we talk about the traditions and enjoy pan de muerto.  It's the traditional bread prepared for Día de los Muertos.  It's got a light sweet, citrus flavor to it; it actually kind of reminds me of apricot rolls.  I made it last year for our not-so-traditional Thanksgiving that included smoked salmon, pan de muerto, and pumpkin pie.  It was pretty much the best of all holidays.

On top of Día de los Muertos, it was the daylight savings time weekend, so we got an extra hour to sleep.  And, on Monday morning it was slightly less pitch black when I left for work.

Okay, I can't hold it in any longer...

Nov 3, 2012

twice baked fall veggies

I think it's seriously fall now.  Before, it was kind of fall, with the pretty changing leaves and the orange-dotted pumpkin patches along the highway.  Now there's that mid-fall changing to winter thing seriously happening.

Fresh Fork ended last week.  It was a very cold and rainy night to pick up veggies.  It might be best that it's over for now.

Hubs and I have been craving carbs and sugar, rather than the normal veggies and fruits.  I think our bodies are telling us that the fresh stuff at the grocery isn't quite so fresh anymore.

Oct 30, 2012

nacho dip

Life has been a little bonkers lately.  Things like a marathon (or half marathon walk, in my case), seeing sister's new (future) home, grading mountains of exams and compositions, and the continued house hunt have gotten in the way

Do you ever feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off combined with a recluse?  That's kind of how it's been.  It's been crazy, crazy, crazy, but I still haven't had enough time to stop and visit and enjoy the company of friends and family.

After I down just one more cup of coffee and finish grading these exams, though, life should slow down a bit.  Unless we put an offer in on a house.  Like tonight.  We must subconsciously be enjoying all of this locura.

Oct 16, 2012

healthy apple cobbler

It's been a distracted kind of few days here.  When I should be thinking about ways to explain direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish, I find myself daydreaming about a house.  It seems silly, but it's something we've been saving for, searching for, and waiting anxiously for for the past several years.

We went to tour six houses on Sunday.  The first three were bad.  Really, really bad.  There were bad stucco jobs to cover wallpaper (that clearly didn't do the job), a house that had no room for a kitchen table or a dining room table (or really even a tv tray), and another where the highlight was a big closet with a shelf (but because of the creepiness of the place, our realtor was joking that "a small coffin could fit up there").  Not good.

Oct 12, 2012

pumpkin spice latte

This week has been going much better than last.

My aunt is still in pretty serious condition, but she's doing much better than last week.

Work is calming down a bit, for the moment at least.  I'm pretty caught up on grading and planning.  I had 20 students come to my Spanish conversation table on Wednesday!  Granted, most of them came for extra credit or to get conversation hours in for their classes, but it still made me smile.

Hubs is on fall break, yesterday and today.  Okay, originally I was a little bitter, because I don't get a fall break, but then I realized that him being home means that the dog will be walked, dinner will be on the stove, and the apartment will be clean when I arrive home in the evening.  I got over that bitterness pretty quickly.

Oct 9, 2012

broccoli cheddar bake and healing

Sorry to be missing the past couple weeks.  Life's not been too easy here lately.

Last Monday, we got a call that my aunt was in the hospital in critical condition.  Since then, it's been calls and updates and prayers.  She's been fighting through and will (hopefully) have surgery later today or tomorrow to help stabilize her.  Any extra prayers you might have sitting around should be sent her way.

On Thursday morning, I got another call that a good friend's mom passed away Wednesday night after a very short, very tough battle with cancer.

Sep 28, 2012

chewy granola bars

It has been yet another crazy woman week.  I'm teaching one more class than last year and have more lesson preps, but honestly I can't even figure out how it's possible to get everything done.  Once upon a time, I taught 7 classes at once (okay, I was a serious crazy woman back then).  Now I can't quite keep up with my 4.  I think I'm moving from crazy lady to crazy old lady or something.

I found a few ways to forget about my craziness, though, even if just for a moment: yoga, walking while enjoying the pretty fall trees, watching the season premiere of Modern Family (even if I fell asleep halfway through...following a majorly crazy day that started hours before the sun came up) and eating homemade granola bars.

Sep 22, 2012

pumpkin coffee cake and fall

So, the plan this morning was to wake up early and work on grading/planning/emailing.  That didn't so much happen.  We slept in (even if sleeping in means 7:45 am), I made coffee (first things first), and did the dishes (it was a serious situation).

At that point, I decided that bad Spanish grammar might ruin my coffee.  And, I decided that in honor of the first day of fall, I needed to share a delicious way to ring in the season.

I may be a bit of a pumpkin addict.  Come about December, I stockpile our pantry with a ridiculous number of cans of pumpkin.  I wouldn't want the stores to run out (as I learned the hard way in Georgia).

Sep 18, 2012

homemade hot dog wraps and baseball

 It's been a bit of a (vegetarian) hot dog kind of week.  Between keeping up with work while also (trying to) have a life, hot dogs have sounded better and better.  They're fast, easy, and pretty darn delicious.

This past weekend, we also happened to go to an Indian's game (aka the Hot Dog Capital of the World).  We had some pretty good seats...

It was pretty much the best game ever, besides the terrible Indians' loss (of course).

Sep 13, 2012

kohlrabi and potato hash browns

Life is starting to settle down a bit here in the Chookie Chookie household.  Husband and I are well into the fall semester and we're getting used to his new schedule.  Two nights a week he works into the evenings, so we don't eat dinner together those nights.

Instead, I put together something like this and call it dinner.  (Although last night, I believe my sad little dinner consisted of leftover homemade bread, a slice of cheese, and some granola.  So, I guess it could be worse than hash browns.)

Sep 10, 2012

thai basil eggplant and seasons

My internal clock is screwed up.

All of a sudden, I feel all sorts of hope and excitement for the future.  Those are spring feelings normally, right?  Yet, it's the beginning of the season of changing leaves and lots of pumpkin.  Maybe it has to do with new students?  Or starting the house hunt?  Either way, I'm a little bit all over the place at the moment.

Sep 8, 2012

whole wheat pretzel bites in a white beer cheese sauce


I've been pretty much the worst blogger ever last week.  I know.  But that streak is about to end.  I've come up with quite the pretty little list of tasty treats to make.  It's really all about the recipe ideas.  They're either there or they're not.  They're finally back after a crazy beginning of the semester long vacation.  I hope they went somewhere nice.

Anyways, here's a different and much healthier version of these.  (Although, enjoying these in a healthy quantity can get a little tricky.)  They're just as good as the less-than-healthy original and maybe even cheesier.  They do take a little time to make, but the recipe is pretty much foolproof.

Sep 3, 2012

raw oatmeal "cookies"

Happy Labor Day!  I don't know if it's socially acceptable to wish a happy Labor Day, but it seems appropriate today.

Being a long weekend, my husband and I got to travel a bit, go to a wedding, see some friends and family we haven't seen in a while, and just relax.  Needless to say, we ate lots of (unhealthy) delicious food.  We're in a bit of a detox mode now.

Aug 30, 2012

whole wheat applesauce muffins

It has been quite the week.  It's the kind of week that calls for muffins.  And hugs.

It's been pretty stressful with the semester just getting underway.  But, there's so much fun just around the corner.  Between me and the weekend, there are just a few more crazy hours of students wanting to join my classes late, total online workbook confusion and watching panicked 101 students as I speak to them in Spanish (in a Spanish class...crazy, I know).

Aug 28, 2012

bean casserole (without the can)

Classes started yesterday.  I'm always excited to get started, greet the new faces, plan some new lessons, and get back into a routine.  But, that excitement tends to be short-lived.

I really struggle at the beginning of a new semester.  I want to stay home, to cook, to walk the dog, to keep the apartment clean, and to have a moment to breathe.  But, I also want to get out and work.  It's a little bit of an internal war every August and January.

Generally the pre-semester breakdown happens a few days before classes start.  This time, though, it held off until day one, actually the end of day one.  Weird, I know.  Needless to say, I'm a little miserable to be around during those transition days.

Aug 23, 2012

peanut butter granola and planning

Some days require more planning than others.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I knew I was going to be going to the doctor to get cortisone shots in my knees.  And I knew that I would subsequently be hobbling around for a day or so afterwards.

So, I went into planning mode, taking care of the next 24 hours' worth of business yesterday morning before the appointment: vacuuming, walking the dog, cleaning the kitchen, ordering pizza for dinner, and of course making granola.  All of the most important things were done.

My husband's been guzzling granola for the past couple of weeks, and in the process saving a lot of cereal/snack money.  So, I decided to feed into his granola kick by switching it up a bit.  And, needless to say, it was last night's snack.

Aug 21, 2012

peach blackberry crumble

I love fruit crumbles, pies, buckles, crostatas, and cobblers.  Pretty much any excuse to use fresh fruit, sugar, and butter is a good one.  My current excuse: Fresh Fork provided us with peaches and blackberries that weren't going to last very long. 

Let's call this the end of summer celebration.  Fall planning is in full swing, pumpkin-flavored everything is starting to appear, and my mom swears the leaves are starting to change.  I may be in denial, but they sure still look green to me.

Aug 18, 2012

grown-up mac and cheese

I, like every other kid to ever live, was always jealous of grown-ups.  Being a grown-up meant things like staying up past Full House, snacking without "ruining" your dinner, and getting out of flag football in gym class.

Now it means things like paying bills, drinking coffee to wake up at 5 am, and vacuuming. 

But, the good news is that it can also include fancy cheese and beer.

Aug 15, 2012

healthy {vegan} chocolate cupcakes with brown sugar frosting

I have discovered the secret to lifelong happiness.  Would you like to hear it?

I thought you might.

It's healthy cupcakes!  For reals.  A couple of weeks ago, my parents took us to a new cupcake store in town (a it!).  Anyways, they only use whole wheat flour and unrefined sugar, while being organic and low fat (and some are even vegan or gluten-free).  They even post the calorie count next to each cupcake (from about 180-250 per cake).

Sounds too good to be true, huh?  It's the kind of thing that sounds great in theory and then tastes like cardboard, right?