Sunday, February 19, 2012

~ Valentine's Day ~

For all of those who know me, you are aware that I considered Valentine's Day to be a pretty stupid holiday. I hadn't celebrated this holiday in about five years, so it was just another day to me. I still kind of think it's pretty cheesy, but if it's that one day where people feel extra special and romantic, have fun with it. It's pretty funny to think about how a day that used to have no meaning to me at all has SO much meaning to me now. I met my boyfriend in January of last year. We met at our apartment complex on eHarmony (wow, that's the first time I have "said" that for the entire public to know)! It's actually a pretty crazy story. I know I'm getting off topic, but since this is what lead me to have a memorable Valentine's Day, I might as well share how it all started. I had been having a really hard time meeting someone in Atlanta. People always say it's super easy to meet someone, but in all honesty it's not. Meeting at the grocery store is so cliche and  I'm there to shop, not pick up a sweet dude while picking out  the perfect squash. I am certainly not going to meet someone at the gym. Unlike some girls, I do not do my hair and make-up before working out. If anything, it's the opposite. I have one mission at the gym: work out and leave. All the friends I have I've known for a while, so the chances of meeting a friend of a friend were a little slim. I did meet one guy at the dog park, which is also pretty cliche, but he turned out to be quite lame. After the failed attempt with the dog park guy, my sisters insisted that I get on eHarmony. After much hesitation, I decided why not? For the first week or so I was matched with some really interesting people (not in a good way). I know it's not supposed to be about looks, but I'm pretty sure you have to be attracted to someone for it all to start out positively. Feel free to disagree with me if you would like. I was certainly not getting matched with any potential suitors and figured all the attractive men out there were taken, like usual. Enter Greg, an environmental scientist who enjoys art, rocking climbing, and music. Did I mention he was good looking? I figured I would go ahead and begin communication- best decision of my life! To make a long story short, when we finally talked on the phone we realized we lived in the same apartment complex. How crazy is that?! Who knew the guy I was going to fall in love with was right under my nose for 5 months?! Since neither of us were comfortable enough to tell people how we met, we told people we met in our complex. I mean that's not that much of a lie! So how does Valentine's Day tie into all of this??? Well, we actually shared our first kiss on this day last year. We celebrated two things on the 14th: the typical cheesy holiday and being together for one year! Last year, Greg invited me over to his place and we went to the store and he cooked dinner for me. Needless to say the butterflies in my stomach were really fluttering before we shared our first kiss. This year, he cooked me dinner and I took care of dessert. It was really nice to reminisce on the memories we have shared the past year and to relive that day a year ago. It was great to be more relaxed and not be shaking with nerves! Greg cooked a delicious meal of chicken, Israeli couscous and salad.
Yum! And yes, that is a heart-shaped pepper :)

I was going to surprise him with the dessert I was making, but inviting him to the grocery store while I bought the ingredients wasn't the best idea. There aren't many desserts that call for 3 8oz. packages of cream cheese that aren't cheesecakes. This is Greg's favorite sweet treat, so I knew I was kind of setting myself up. I was planning on trying it before giving it to Greg to see if it was good, but it looked like it came out OK so I waited. This was a turtle cheesecake. It was a mixture of regular and chocolate cheesecake then garnished with different toppings. I was very anxious right before Greg took a bite. The verdict- he thought it was great!! He even posted the picture he took on facebook with the caption that I make the best cheesecake. What a cutie!
I have to say that it was pretty tasty.
We really enjoyed this special day and I can't wait to spend many more with Greg! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Good Food.

I don't meant to "toot my own horn," but I have been making some pretty tasty things recently. The first in the series of good eats is a delicious smoothie. Greg has always spoiled me with fantastic and nutritious smoothies. He will usually throw some things in there that I would never add to a smoothie myself (almonds, dried cranberries, and even kale!), but, to my surprise, I can barely taste those ingredients. I always thought these frozen drinks were best made with ice, fruit and juice...wrong! The key to a perfectly blended beverage is no ice at all; frozen fruit is the key. I decided I wanted to try and rival one of Greg's smoothies, so I bought a bag of frozen classic fruit medley complete with strawberries, pineapple, red grapes, mango, and peaches. I added some reduced sugar grape juice, water, and fresh mint leaves. I'm on a fresh mint kick and this is such a great addition. I have to say, the finished product was AwEsOmE!! Greg thought it was good, but I think he wanted to still have the best smoothie, so his only comment was that he doesn't really like pineapple in the ones he makes.
All the tasty ingredients.
Finished product.

The next things I made that were pretty tasty were strawberry and nut pancakes. I would have never thought to put nuts in pancakes. I really like Arrowhead Organic Buttermilk Pancake Mix and on the back of the package there are ingredients that you can add in to amp up the flavor and texture. One of those items was nuts. I just happened to have some chopped peanuts and pecans on hand and decided to add them along with strawberries to the batter. Wow! The crunch the nuts add is great and the strawberries I have been buying recently have been so sweet and tasty. I certainly started my day on the right foot.
So, the previous two food items are pretty healthy (minus the small amount of butter and syrup on the pancakes), but my last item is a bit of an indulgence. I definitely cannot say that I made this particular food either, because all I had to do was break and bake. Do you all see where I am going with this? You guessed it...cookies! These are not your typical Tollhouse break and bake, these are Limited Edition Oatmeal Butterscotch break and bake. I don't typically like butterscotch, but I just had to try them. What a dangerous success! I will have to fight my grandest temptations to not eat them within 48 hours.
Now you see them...
I hope that I have provided you with some good food ideas. I will return with more posts about delicious food and of course, my oh-so-exciting life! :)