Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Asian Noodle Salad

I am totally addicted to this salad I just started making.  I tried it last week and ate almost the whole thing over a three day period.  I made it again tonight and now my family loves it too, so I see I will have to make it again soon as there are only two servings left and one of those is going to work with me tomorrow.  

My sister has been telling me about this salad for years now as it is one of her favorites. I just never really was that interested - what was wrong with me?  It sounded like an odd combination and crunchy ramen noodles sounded weird to me.  Crazy weird - It just all works perfectly together and I can't get enough!
Crumbled Ramen Noodles

It is very easy to put together and that's another reason I like it.  You combine a bag of broccoli slaw, the one with the carrots and red cabbage, chopped green onions, almonds and crumbled Ramen noodles in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl combine the sugar, vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce, seasoning packet from the ramen noodles and salt and pepper to taste.  This is the dressing.  Pour it on the salad right before serving and toss to mix.   

The Ramen noodles are crunchy when you first make the salad, but by the next day, they have softened up because of the salad dressing, but taste just as good.  I like to top this salad with crispy rice noodles right before eating and that makes even the leftovers crunchy. Go make this now!! You won't regret it.

Asian Noodle Salad
Serves 6
1 bag broccoli slaw (12 oz)
5 green onions, chopped
1 - 3oz pkg Ramen noodles (chicken) 
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar (I use rice wine vinegar)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
dash of soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
crispy rice noodles for topping

Do you have a favorite salad or salad place?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegetable Cream Cheese

I have Trader Joe's envy because there is not one near me, not even close! I want one to come to Orlando. We love good food here, too!  On blogs and product reviews, I read about all these delicious foods you can only get from Trader Joe's. Every time I go to Atlanta to visit my sister, a trip to Trader Joe's is a must.  We have some favorites like the cereal bars, but we continue to try new products and there isn't one thing yet that we haven't liked. 

So you can bet when my daughter Cate went to Chicago last week, we asked her to bring back a couple of things from Trader Joe's.  She brought back the usual cereal bars, Joe-joe's vanilla sandwich creme cookies for a cheesecake recipe we will be making and we wanted to try their peanut butter so she bought a jar of that too. Little did we know  peanut butter is not allowed to fly on carry on luggage, so the TSA man took the jar and sadly it never made it back to Florida. What a bummer!
  But I will not leave you on that sad note. My happy ending Trader Joe story is about the yummy vegetable cream cheese I made using their whipped cream cheese.  Better yet you can make it with any brand cream cheese if you don't live near a Trader Joe's either. 

I used Ina Garten's recipe as a guide, but ended up gearing it towards my favorite vegetables and what I had in the house.You can vary the quantity and types of veggies to suit your taste buds.  It was one of those things I used to buy in the store until I realized how easy it is to make.  I like regular bagels, but know I shouldn't eat too many of those, so I eat bagel thins during the week.

Vegetable Cream Cheese
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons green onions, use green and white part, about 2 onion stalks
2 tablespoons, carrot, about 3-4 small carrots
2 tablespoons, celery, about 1/2 stalk
2 pinches kosher salt
3 pinches granulated garlic
Put onions, carrots and celery in mini chopper to finely chop.  Add vegetables and seasonings to cream cheese, mix until blended.  I store my vegetable cream cheese in the original cream cheese container. 

Do you have a Trader Joe's near you?  Which of their products is your favorite?
How do you eat your bagel?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break Staycation

I finally made it to spring break!!   I will be spending the week in sunny Florida on my stay-cation.
I know how lucky I am to have a spring break and will not waste a minute.   I hope to get some spring cleaning done and organize some paperwork, but mostly I want to enjoy some unscheduled time and the beautiful weather without spending too much money.

There are many days I am at work thinking of all the things I would be doing if I wasn't at work, so now I have the chance to do them.  So far so good...
a successful trip to the farmer's market

reading a good book

bought a new pair of running shoes, on sale!

completed my first virtual race hosted by Cook Train Eat Race 
I ran a half marathon over two runs and will be sending in
my results in hopes that I can win the cupcake prize!

All this and it's only Tuesday!!

How would you like to spend spring break?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why I Run

The other day a coworker asked me  if I was still running  and if I still liked it. My answer was yes, but it really got me thinking about why I run. 

 I know initially it wasn't the love of running that kept me going day after day.  It was the drive to achieve a goal I had set for myself to prove that had control over something.  When things in my life are going crazy and I am affected by things outside of my control I find that I really need to have something in my life that I can control and running is that for me.  

I first started running when I went through my divorce over 14 years ago.  It didn't start as running, it started as walking every day for an hour.  I had three young children and of course they needed to come with me, so I had the oldest one ride her bike and the other two in the double jogging stroller. It was a great, inexpensive activity for the four of us and we had some good times on those walks. It was a great stress reliever too and if you've ever been through a divorce  you know there is a lot of stress involved.  To speed up the walks without sacrificing distance, I began jogging parts of it until eventually I was able to run the entire length.  I never thought of myself as a runner even though I had played field hockey and basketball during middle and high school, but that running was part of the sport, not just for running sake.  So being able to run 2-3 miles nonstop was very empowering!  It gave me something to feel good about during these troubled times. 

As I settled into my new life as a single mother with a new career as an elementary teacher my time was tight. The daily escape of a run, became a luxury and one that eventually got squeezed out. It became more and more challenging to find time to run, as the kids got older and weren't as agreeable about tagging along and schedules filled up with all of their activities. I don't even remember it happening.  One day I realized I hadn't run in a while and then I felt like it would be too hard to start over. 

That is until 2 years ago when I decided to start running again. I had been walking and thought I would just walk the rest of my life and I would be satisfied with that, but I wanted to know if I could run  again.  It was much harder starting the second time, because you feel like you should be able to pick it up easier since you did it before, but it doesn't work that way.  My mind's expectations far exceeded my body's performance.  

Once I got past the initial struggle, I realized how much I missed the feeling of accomplishment I get from running.  It makes  me stronger physically and mentally.  Busy lives don't allow for much quiet time, or me time, but running does.  I do my best thinking while I out there hitting the pavement.  

Now don't get me wrong, I don't look forward to running everyday. I still like it better when its over, but I like all that I get from it. I have learned a lot about myself, it helps me stay physically fit and helps support my sweet tooth. I have met some great people and accomplished things I never knew I could do like running a marathon and doing a triathlon. 

Some days I think I keep running because I am scared of what will happen to me if I stop, but something has to keep me getting up and getting out there.  I have found a great deal of inspiration from other blogging runners who motivate me to be my best.  I feel like a runner now and I like that I can call myself that. 

What made you start running?  Why do you run?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two For Tuesday

Big Fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1. I love bookstores!  I like to visit them often to look through books before I buy them and to see the new releases.  I keep a running list of all the books I want to read and add to it at every visit.  I keep my list on my phone that way I always have access to it whether I am at the library or the bookstore.  I find most of the books I read through the reviews of coworkers, bloggers, People Magazine, NY Times Bestseller list or browsing the shelves. At a recent tent sale I found the cookbook big fat cookies at a bargain price.

The first recipe I tried was for my husband, his favorite - Big Fat Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!   He has dessert almost every night, sometimes it's a bowl of cereal, but usually it's a home baked treat.  He has never had a weight problem, so he can eat whatever he wants, unlike me.  But I do eat something sweet almost everyday, it makes me happy and I plan my activity and other eating so I can enjoy that indulgence.

This recipe makes 12 large chewy cookies.  It may make 13, unless you eat some of the cookie dough like I did.

Big Fat Oatmeal Cookies adapted from big fat cookies
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oatmeal (not quick cooking)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars together on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Add egg, and vanilla and mix until blended.  On low speed incorporate flour mixture.  Mix in oatmeal and then stir in raisins and pecans.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 14-16 minutes until the edges are light brown.  To keep them chewy, it is better to underbake than overbake. 

We made some of the cookies into oatmeal creme pies.  I used vanilla buttercream for the filling. They were great for lunch the next day.

2. So now that you know I eat a lot of sweets, I came across this new product and want to try it, Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Snack ice cream.  I haven't see it in my area yet, but maybe you have.  It sounds like the perfect combination of salty and sweet. It has rich vanilla bean ice cream with a salty caramel swirl and crunchy fudge covered potato chip clusters. I am a Ben & Jerry's fan and visited their factory when I went to Vermont.   I have had chocolate covered potato chips and I like them so I want to know how it works with the ice cream.  If you try this flavor, please tell me how you like it. Until then, I will be on the lookout for it!

How often to do you eat dessert?  Do you have a favorite?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ABCs of Me

ABCs of Me is something I have used in the classroom for students to get to know each other at the beginning of the year.  I don't give them a topic for each letter, but have them come up with it on their own. It is a great way to learn about each other. Now I get a chance to do it too!
 I have learned a lot about other bloggers  by reading their ABCs so I thought I would share something about me with you.

(A) Age: 47  Hard to remember cause I feel don't feel like I'm this old.  This is my mother's age, not mine.
(B) Bed Size:  King
(C) Chore You Hate: Putting away the clean laundry. I will wash, dry and fold all day, but I don't like putting it away. 
(D) Dogs? Grew up with dogs and I do like them, but don't want the responsibility of taking care of one right now. I have 3 cats who entertain me.
(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: Allergy pill - those stinkin' cats and Florida's pollen make it a necessity.
(F) Favorite Color: green - was I fated for that with the name Kelley?
(G) Gold or Silver? Silver
(H) Height: 5'6"  Shortest one in my family
(I) Instruments You Play: Started with piano lessons in elementary school, but my teacher asked me to stop because I never practiced. So I guess I was fired.  Regret that I didn't stick with it, but sports were my favorite pastime.
(J) Job Title: Elementary Literacy Curriculum Specialist 
(K) Kids: 3 - 2 girls, 1 boy  Ages 23, 21, 19
(L) Live: Orlando, FL
(M) Mom's Name: Geraldine (Geri)  All her siblings had old fashioned names too.
(N) Nicknames: Kelpit, Worm
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? One week after birth of 3rd child for blood clot in my leg. Not fun with a newborn baby
(P) Pet Peeve: People who use their hazard lights while driving in the rain!!  All those flashing lights just make it harder to see the road.
(Q) Quote from a Movie: "That's cool, baby..You know how it is...rockin' and rollin' and what not." Danny Zuko from Grease.  I say some form of this to my kids when they ask me how I'm doing.
(R) Right or Left Handed? Right.
(S) Siblings: Three older brothers, one younger sister.  Love being in a big family!!
(T) Time You Wake Up? 5:15am during the week, to get in a workout before work.
(U) Underwear: I believe in wearing it.
(V) Vegetable You Dislike: olives - are they a vegetable?
(W) What Makes You Run Late: I don't run late.  I like to be early.
(X) X-Rays You've Had Done: teeth, that's all
(Y) Yummy Food You Make: I like baked goods, so I make a lot of those.  Some of my favorites are Whatever Bars, Chocolate Caramel Coconut Cupcake, Banana Cake and Chubby Hubby Ice Cream
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Zoos make me sad for the animals, so I don't really like to go. 

What's a pet peeve of yours?

Would you like to win a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer?  She's Becoming Doughmesstic is giving one away.  Mention that I sent you and we can both win one!!