Monthly Archives: November 2012

Fun Times Friday: Pottery Painting

As I mentioned in this post. Last week was my turn to organize our date and I took Mike pottery painting. Hahaha. I kept it a surprise because I knew he wouldn’t look forward to it, in fact I was sure he would dread it. So we drove up to the place (Fired Up in Peoria, IL) and I told him what we were doing. I asked if he was excited and, being the wonderful man he is, he answered, “Yeah.” No smile, no kiss, no jumping up and down in his seat. He was dreading it. I told him to keep an open mind and that I would still love him if we walked out and he still hated it. Just in case, I had steak marinating in the fridge to perk up his spirits.

Spoiler alert: he LOVED it. The painting part was really fun. He messed up on his beer mug a few times (thank goodness for the owner because she fixed it for him) but finally got the hang of it. I painted a bowl to use as our centerpiece on the dining table (practical as ever). But when we left, he still didn’t love it. HOWEVER, when we went back to pick up our goods a week later, he realized how awesome it was that we had actually painted a useable piece of pottery. Victory!

I will say that because we picked such practical (see: expensive) pieces, it ended up being a very costly date. But it was worth it because now we have something around the house to remember it!

Of course, I forgot to take photos while we were actually in the studio so see below for the three-picture montage. I love my man 🙂

photo 1

 

^ He didn’t want to take a picture. It may have been the manly side of him. The same side that resisted the pottery painting.

photo 2

^ Yep, that would be an swirly bowl and a dinosaur mug.

photo 3

 

^ Finally a smile! He’s so handsome 🙂

photo-1

 

^ And my bowl in place on our dining table.

Have you ever done something like this? What would/did you paint?

Happy Friday!!!! 🙂

 

Just-Try-It Thursday: Frittata

This recipe is really flippin’ easy. And cheap! (I got it from an awesome blog I read regularly: Once A Month) I cooked it immediately after my workout and was eating within 20 minutes. It is a pretty basic dish though so I also had a couple of pieces of toast. One with almond butter, one with honey. It would be delicious with roasted potatoes though.

Veggie Frittata (serves 4)

Ingredients

8 eggs – keep the yolks! They’re a healthy fat.

Whatever veggies you have – I used green peppers, mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, and a bit of spinach. Onions would be really good too.

1/2 cup almond, coconut, or full fat milk

salt and peppa

1. Chop up all the veggie and sauté the hard veggies (peppers, mushrooms, garlic, onions) in a Tbsp of oil. Medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. While they’re cooking, scramble the eggs and milk together. Use a big bowl and a whisk. Don’t stop until the eggs get frothy.

3. Add the soft veggies (tomatoes) to your sauté and spread everything out evenly.

4. Pour on the eggs. And top with any green leaves you have. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then transfer to the oven to broil for another 5 minutes.

5. Take it out and cut into it! I kept mine covered for a few minutes before eating it and it went from pretty and fluffy to sadly deflated. But it was still delicious!

Let me know how it goes! (< do this by clicking the title of this blog post and entering your message under “penny for your thoughts)

Workout Wednesday: Sore Wrist Is No Excuse

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling like I had a helium balloon in my stomach and a woodpecker in my head. Haha. I don’t know. I just didn’t feel great. Also, as mentioned on Thursday’s post, I have a bum wrist and was making that excuses for the last couple days. No more! So before I climbed out of bed, I thought of my six exercises. As soon as I was out of bed, I put on my workout clothes and wandered up stairs to see who in the house would join me.

Mike’s mom, Bonnie, AND his sister, Kristen, did this workout with me. AND I have a brace on my wrist. Just goes to show that there are NO EXCUSES.

Structure:

– 6 exercises

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times

– total 12 minutes!

– PUSH YOURSELF or it won’t work

Exercises:

^ 1. high knees

^ 2. calf raises

^ 3. crunches

^ 4. plank  < because of my wrist, I did these on elbows and stayed in position through the “20 seconds off” as well.

^ 5. jump lunges

^ 6. low jacks

Let me know how it goes!

And as always, have a happy day 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Winter Soup

We had some friends over for dinner the week before last and it was just starting to get cold out. One of the guests was vegan which I actually love because it’s a challenge! So I made this delicious AND vegan Winter Soup in my slow cooker. Thanks to Oh She Glows for the base recipe!

Don’t be scared! It seems like a lot of ingredients but you just chop them all up and throw them in.

Quick tip: I doubled this recipe and it fed 7 of us at dinner and there were leftovers for another night. Always make enough for leftovers! It means less time cooking.

Winter Soup (serves 4-5)

Ingredients:

1 large carrot

1 cup red quinoa, uncooked

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion

1 medium zucchini

3 cloves garlic

1 vegetable bouillon cube (not low sodium)

6 cups water

15oz can diced tomatoes

15oz can black beans

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of black pepper

2 cups baby spinach

Instructions

Chop carrot, onion, and zucchini. Heat the oil then sauté onions over low heat until translucent.

Add the carrot, zucchini and garlic and continue to sauté for 5-7 minutes.

While that’s cooking, in separate pot, boil 6 cups of water and add bouillon cube. Stir until dissolved. Combine sautéed veggie, bouillon water, and all other ingredients, except for spinach, in a large pot. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Chop spinach and add to pot. Simmer for 15+ minutes. The longer the better.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Winter Recipe?

 

“Use This” Monday: High Heat Oil

Canola Oil was originally popularized in the US, in the form of rapeseed oil, to aid in the building of ships during World War 2. When the war ended, demand dropped, and the main producer of the oil (Canada) began to look for a form of rapeseed oil edible by humans. The new invention was lower in erucic acid (which is linked to heart disease). The Canadians came up with the very clever name Canola: Canadian oil, low acid. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CANOLA PLANT.

At the time that Canada was going about inventing Canola Oil, American food manufacturers were looking for a cheap alternative to polyunsaturated oils like olive oil and healthy unsaturated fats like butter and coconut oil. Perfect! Canola Oil fit the bill and the Canadian producers began the expensive road to FDA approval and marketing to manufacturers.

The original Canola Oil was created through basic breeding and selection, however in 1995, there was a massive genetic modification in Canola Oil. The new oil was so genetically different from the original rapeseed oil that it could be patented. The modification succeeded in producing a bacterial DNA in the oil that makes it impervious to the toxic herbicide, RoundUp. This means that the patented oil is regularly doused in RoundUp to combat the growth of other plants. Yummy!

Canola oil is about a third polyunsaturated fat which is incredible unstable in high heat. This means that every time you cook with the oil, then eat whatever you cook (duh), they increase inflammation in your body (ouch) and contribute to heart disease, cancer, weight gain, and other degenerative diseases.

The way your body reacts to Canola Oil is the same with other industrial oils like CORN OIL and SOYBEAN OIL.

In other words:

EAT THIS

– organic and grass-fed is best. Yep, full fat butter is good for you! When shopping, the lesser ingredients the better.

 

OR THIS

– organic and unrefined is best < MY FAVORITE. More on the amazingness of coconut oil later.

OR THIS

– organic and extra virgin is best (low heat only)

NOT THIS

 

^ BOOOO!!! HISSS!!!!

This is a very short version of an awesome article by the blogger, Small Footprint Family. See the article here.

So when are you going to make the switch?

HAPPY MONDAY! 🙂

 

Fabulous Friday: Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Why and when do we stop being thankful? No doubt we will arrive at this day next year feeling like we  take all the goodness in our lives for granted. How do you prevent that from happening? You learn to appreciate all the people in you lives! The cool thing is, if you say enough nice things, you’ll eventually start hearing nice things back! It’s like an endless circle of happy.

I know I sound like one of those annoyingly joyous people who walks around smiling strangers and complimenting their sweaters. Well I admit that I sort of am. But I wasn’t always like this and I can testify that it feels a little odd at first. But it turns out that when you live like this, and you’re having a rough day, someone will return a compliment and make your hour! The return on investment is awesome!

On that note, I’m going to publish the comments I’ve been getting from readers to their loved ones. Thanks to everyone that commented. It’s been wonderful to hear all the positivity. And don’t forget to pass them the link to this blog OR just tell them in real life.  I will definitely be doing this again sometime soon so, if you didn’t you should participate next time?

Format:

Who it’s dedicated to – The compliment. – The sender

Jordan C. – I love your intellectual curiosity! The way you like to take puzzles apart, piece by piece, until they make sense has made our house a more fun place to be! – Ben

Nikki M. – She is smart, funny, beautiful and my best friend in the world. – Katy H.

Ryan D. – You are understanding and (mostly ;) patient when I can be a handful. Your smile brightens the room and make others feel welcome. I love how you are so goofy & not care what others think when trying to make me smile. – Alana T.

Ashley H. (that’s me!) – You are a brave young woman who inspires me with every blog. -Sue G.

Susan S. –  A mom, a mentor, and a perpetual chaser of her dreams. To see the determination to try new things and always follow your dreams until you attain them, no matter how long it takes, is a life lesson one can only learn from witnessing. So, thanks for keepin’ on Mom. – Maggie S.

You Every time you take the time out of your day to read A Happy Lass, you increase my confidence and love for blogging. Thank you! – Ashley H.

 

Happy Snowboard, Turkey, Stuffing, and Football Day!

Happy Day Ya’ll! I have the good fortune of being a guest at Mike’s family’s place in Sugarloaf, Maine; and some awesome bosses that gave me a few days off. This morning we all went skiing/snowboarding. I somehow managed to fall while getting off the lift and did a number on my wrist so I am now typing with one hand! Haha. It’s making me super thankful that I have both my arms! So today, you just get one awesome photo.

I’m the one in the red jacket and blue pants. At this point I was asking photographer to count to three so I could open my eyes. Haha!

Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂