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To Do: Short Week! Yay!

This is a short week, thank goodness. The Fourth of July is on Friday this year, so we have a lovely long weekend ahead. No concrete plans–maybe a trip to The Old Orchard House in PA?–at this point, just relaxing and having fun.

I survived last week, too. It was easier than I thought, but it was different than what I expected, to be fair. I thought some things would be harder, and discounted other things. Of course, it was all flipped from that.

The big thing I couldn’t talk about last week went off without a hitch. My bff Hala had a birthday on Tuesday, so we–her boyfriend and I–threw her an intimate but very fun birthday party at a local bar. She was in on the party itself (ie, she knew we were doing something, and when it would be, and who would be invited, but nothing more), but I still didn’t want to spill any frijoles here.

Our 25 hour trip to RI was great, too. Fast, but great. We liked the train, but preferred the daytime train. The overnight train left us with cramped muscles, sore necks, and with too little sleep. The day train left us rejuvenated, relaxed, and maybe even a bit energized! As soon as we got back yesterday, we dropped our stuff at home and then hopped the Metro to the zoo. We got ice cream, walked the zoo (I named all the animals who did not have posted names…and renamed a few who did), and then walked to the next Metro stop to get home. We picked up the pups at the sitter around dinner time, and were greeted by very excited and tired gals. They had a great time, and I can’t wait to send them back to the sitter!

Given the whirlwind that was last week, and the short week coming up, my to do list should be simple and the pressure should be off. Here goes:

  • Sort through closets and pull anything I haven’t worn in one year. This is getting embarrassing. I will do this tomorrow, dammit.
  • Walk home from work on Tuesday, despite the heat. I STILL DIDN’T DO THIS! This week, I swear (I swore last week, too).
  • Hit the pool at least 3 times during the work week. Zero times. This week, I can make up for that, fer sher.
  • Put all my clothes, accessories, jewelry, etc. away as soon as I take it off. Ok, so I still have to work on this. I was so good for like 3 days, then it got cray cray and there are piles of outfits all over the place. I can fix this with a 5 minute correction, and then be good going forward. Will do.
  • Stop interjecting long, drawn out UMMMMMMMs into my speech. I think I did this, but let’s leave it on just to be sure…
  • Pick a book for our train ride. I did NOT do this, and I’m nixing it now because it’s irrelevant at this point. As I mentioned, the night train was no place for reading (drinking and passing out, perhaps, but not reading), and the day train was too much fun to watch out the window and listen to music (and sleep comfortably, somehow. The irony.) But I should probably still pick a book to just, like, you know, read.
  • Cook something new, and from an actual recipe (slight adaptations permitted, of course), at least once this week. I didn’t do this, but I will this week. I already made up a dish last night, but that wasn’t the challenge: it was to do it from a recipe. Tonight, bff Hala is making us dinner (mmm!), so tomorrow?
  • Dress in reds, whites, and blues to the extent possible. Dude, I love dressing in a theme. Check out my posts tagged with OOTD if you don’t believe me. Today, it’s navy skinny trousers, a royal blue silky belted tunic with gold buttons, gold snakeskin skimmers, and red red red lipstick.
  • Make lunch every day this week. This is a health and money goal. Today, I packed last night’s made up soup, a fresher than fresh peach, and a sparkling water, and I supplemented it with a veggie-packed grilled cheese from the cafeteria. Steve had leftover sangwidges from yesterday, a peach, and some Gatorade.
  • Wear makeup everyday this week. I was one haggard looking mess this morning, and without makeup looked like I belonged on the bad end of a Wife Swap deal. A 2 minute visit with my makeup, I looked like an alive professional woman. Boom. Easy. Added bonus: my new makeup is pretty humidity-resistant, so I won’t look like Gak later today.
  • Re-pillow the living room. I know, super important, you guise. But our throw pillows are looking sad, and they were cheap, so I either need to supplement them with something new so I am not bored, or I need to replace them wholesale.

Looking forward to that Friday freedom…what are your plans for the long weekend?

To Do: Crazy Cramming

This is the week of crazy cramming. I dunno if that’s entirely accurate, but it sort of feels that way. We’re taking the train overnight on Friday to Rhode Island for a 25 hour visit–literally. A quick nap at my parents’ house, then lunch with Steve’s mom, then the famous and always wonderful Neighborhood Picnic with our South Road family. That is actually the reason we planned the trip, because we’re crazy and we miss all our families–blood or not.

So this week, I have to get a lot of things done before the adventure, but I can’t talk about one of the things until next week…you’ll see!

Again, tacking on the new goals to the old list….

  • Sort through closets and pull anything I haven’t worn in one year. …uhhh…still didn’t do this. I will! I promise! Now that I have decent intel on where to donate or consign my stuff, I’ll be more motivated.
  • Keep on getting up at 6:30am, at the latest. I did it! Only one day this week did I “sleep in” until 6:45am…what a slacker, I know.
  • Make dinner at home every week night this week. I definitely did this! I stuck to my plans, and made some plans on the fly, and we only ate out once (Friday–that was just a date night). I made chicken and waffles (as you saw), homemade beet pasta with braised pork belly, a big simple salad, garlic scape pesto stuffed chicken, and more. So good. I have a Marcella Hazan Drunken Roast Pork simmering away as I type.
  • Walk home from work on Tuesday, despite the heat. This did not happen, not on Tuesday, not at any point during the week. I should have done it on Monday, because the pool is closed on Monday, and there’s no rush to get home (unless you forget this, rush home on Monday, change into your suit and grab your floaty ring, rush up to the pool like a goon, and find it closed. ugh). Tuesday, the pool IS open, and I did rush to get home, so that was a damn waste. Oops. THIS WEEK, I promise myself.
  • Drink about a thousand times more water. I mostly did this, but for one crazy hectic day when I forgot and only drank maybe two bottles.
  • Hit the pool at least 3 times during the work week. Once, guys. Just once. Boo.
  • Continue to develop a new series for my blog with my friend Hala We chatted about it, so that counts.
  • Put all my clothes, accessories, jewelry, etc. away as soon as I take it off. So hard to do, but it’s such an easy way to stay on top of the piles.
  • Stop interjecting long, drawn out UMMMMMMMs into my speech. It has been brought to my attention that I’ve been doing this, and it is awful sounding. Done and done, I will stop this. Ick.
  • Pick a book for our train ride. I mean, Amtrak does have free WiFi and plugs at every generously sized seat, but an actual book might not be a terrible idea.
  • Cook something new, and from an actual recipe (slight adaptations permitted, of course), at least once this week. My Marcella Hazan Drunk Roasted Pork doesn’t count…must be something else! Hm, what to make?

Here’s hoping I can get everything else done this week in time for our little adventure. Our train isn’t until late Friday, so we have time Friday after work to get the dogs to the sitter, wrap up any last minute details, and get to the station in time to perhaps find a book!W

What do you have to get done this week?

Chicken + Waffles at Home

I’m a fan of the chicken and waffles combo. I like fried chicken, I like waffles. I like brinner. Chicken and waffles makes sense. I would happily eat it every day.

Except for the fact that it’s a grease bomb, and it involves prep I just don’t do. I’m never gonna be caught dead deep frying anything at home. No thanks. Fear factor. And who has a waffle maker that they don’t curse for the space it takes up and for the pain it is to clean?

Well, when I learned that my super easy-to-clean Cuisinart Griddler had waffle maker plates, I instantly ordered them. And then planned a meal for the next day…chicken and waffles.


But, like I said, I’m deep frying exactly zero things at my house. So I set out to make a lighter version of chicken and waffles.

Which isn’t hard, I guess, given the original, but still.


For the burgers themselves, combine the following in a bowl:
1lb lean ground chicken
2 tsp maple syrup
4 tbsp diced bacon (I used a packaged brand from the salad section; don’t use bacon bits! they are hard soy pebbles, not good here!)
dash of salt and pepper

For a little juicy lucy surprise in the middle, unwrap two Babybel light cheese wheels, and break each in half.


Form four (4) patties, forming each around a half cheese wedge.

In a large, heavy bottomed nonstick/cast iron skillet, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Sear one side of the burgers, careful not to press. Once you flip, then you can press down for a bit of a Smashburger effect. Finish them off in the oven with the next step.

For the sweet potato fries, I’ve used and adapted an oil free recipe I found on Pinterest from Natural Noshing.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut two medium/one very large sweet potato into fry shaped batons.

Toss them in one egg white that has been beaten to a foam.

Toss with salt, pepper, and a dash each of garlic powder, cinnamon, and cumin.

Arrange neatly on a baking sheet lined in parchment (not foil…and definitely not unlined), and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and finish at 400F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with salt when they come out.

For the waffles,

I just used the Mark Bittman How to Cook Everything batter, the quick and easy version.



It was a big hit. The burgers were super satisfying and chicken-y, and the maple bacon mix ins were just enough. The waffles were clutch–super fluffy and a bit crisp on the outside. I served the burgers with a dab of sweet and spicy mustard, and the fries with a locally made chipotle ketchup.

Now that I have waffles down to a science (…and by that, of course, I mean I can make them at home, period), I’ll be incorporating waffles into everything. For sure. Waffles galore over here.