Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Bit of Life and a Recipe Too- Marinated Pepper Salad

I have worked hard pretty much the entire day on VBS stuff so I would have a moment to actually sit down and give this poor little blog some attention! I am probably losing several of you as followers because I have been so lame. My apologies once again for my lack of blogging. Life has been happening around here too on top of my busyness!
(And it is now Saturday instead of Friday evening when I started this post!)

For example, my hubby turned 40 on Monday!!!!!!!!! I had no intentions of throwing him a surprise party. I told him long ago that I would rather buy him something then spend a lot of money on a big party. So that is what I did. However, I did surprise him with this........
A new road bike for triathlons!

The magic word here is carbon! Carbon = light weight and easier on your body.

I couldn't have put this little deal together without the help of my best friend's husband, Bert. He is a serious triathlete and marathoner and has been so helpful for Miles. I think Bert was almost more excited than Miles. The fact that Bert knew about it for so long and that he was gaining another biking buddy may have had something to do with his excitement. It was an amazing store to be in too. Probably like me at Williams Sonoma.

We also needed the help of Bert's cousin who manages Now Bikes in the Cities. He built the bike for Miles and gave us the best bike he possibly could for my budget. He is teaching Miles how to actually ride this bike above.

Miles had to practice learning to clip in and out with his shoes. This is probably the main reason I will stick to running. Can you say "Big Bike Wreck?" for Pam if I had to remember I couldn't just set my foot down. Plus this is a big boy bike with no kickstand.  He also got a  computer for the bike because of course you need to know how far and fast you are going! The very next day, yes on Mother's Day, I let him go for a ride with Bert. Bert tried to tell me they would start out slow and get him used to riding. Ummm........35 miles isn't really easing into things now is it???

The bike wasn't the only fun part of the day. With my kids at Nana's house we were free to leave for the whole day Saturday with some of our best friends and Bert made us the best CD full of 80's music, Nacho Libre, Napolean, Caddy Shack, and Dumb and Dumber quotes to listen to on the way!

Poor Miles thought he was going to have to endure girl shopping for the day when Bert chimed up from the back that we were in the area of his cousin's bike shop so could we just make one guy stop first? He promised he wouldn't keep us too long in the bike shop! He asked Jeremy, his cousin, what would be a good bike for Miles to start with and Jeremy brought out this winner! Miles looked at us and said, "What is going on guys?" He bought every lie we had told without questioning anything. I was relieved to not have to tell anymore!!!!

After all the bike fun we headed downtown for a few quick girly stops at LUSH and Marshall's before our big dinner! We had planned for quite sometime also to eat at Fogo de Chao for Miles' 40th birthday.
Once again I think Bert was more excited than Miles! He even asked Wednesday if I was thinking about what kind of meat I was going to have first on Saturday as he looked off dreamily in the other direction. He had been there before though so he knew what to expect. We had long conversations a couple times about how this Brazilian steakhouse worked. It was incredible! It lived up to all my expectations. Gaucho's, as they are called, roam the restaurant with their meat on a spindle kind of thing and if you have your special table coaster flipped to green they will be right at your table to slice you off a piece. The meat is cooked over an open flame and the gaucho's serving you have cooked that particular cut. They are meat experts! Sorry to my vegetarian and vegan friends. You would hate this restaurant!

But before we got down to all that meat business we had to take a trip through their incredible salad bar!!! This plate doesn't even do it justice so you should visit their website to see the beautiful pictures and also see how they do the whole meat experience. The salad bar had aged cheddars, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, aged balsamic, giant asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, mixed salads, fresh breads, crispy potatoes, I could go on and on and on!!! I would have been thrilled to have only eaten the salad bar actually. Those red pepper looking things in the middle of my plate were some kind of sweet red peperoncini that was like nothing I have ever tasted before! Unfortunately I was too full after all the meat to go back for a second trip. I really wanted more aged balsamic. I might have to fork over the $28 it costs for a good bottle at Williams Sonoma or put it on my birthday list!

Miles even got a free birthday dessert. He picked chocolate lava cake but he shared with me of course! Did I mention the incredible service at this restaurant? They work as a team so they are fast and incredible. Your dirty plate disappears like magic when you are ready for a clean one and there is always someone around to get you something if you need it. You have to be really fast turning your coaster from green to red to tell them to stop coming or you will have 5 gaucho's at your table ready to give you some of their meat. It was like they had a 6th meat sense that we would turn to green. It was completely packed in the restaurant. People know a good thing I guess!

I can't believe he is 40 actually! When we met we were pretty young. I was actually only 19 and 40 sounded so old back then. Now that he is there and I will be shortly it doesn't seem old at all. I am sure our kids think we are old fuddy duddies however!

Let's flip gears now and talk about Mother's Day! Did you see this funny thing I posted on Facebook that my daughter brought home for me?

Do you know what that says? That's right people. It spells quinoa in kindergarten spelling world! I laughed so hard when I figured this out! I totally love it!

This was maybe not as funny but later we noticed that on the computer screen she wrote, "Like me," Now that is hysterical. She has facebook completely figured out. For the record while I do like facebook it isn't my favorite thing to do! Faith has no idea when I am on facebook, or working on my computer doing VBS stuff, (ugh) or Blog stuff keeping all of you happy!

I also got a few exciting Mother's Day gifts and had a wonderful Mother's Day lunch with Miles' parents and his godmother who came all the way from Mexico for his 40th birthday.

Maybe you saw this on facebook too! I wanted it when it first came out months ago but they sold out right away. I can't believe Miles even remembered this because I had actually forgotten about it.

This is my new best friend! It keeps track of every step I take during the day, the calories I burn based on my height, weight, and movement, and I earn fuel points for moving. It is also a watch. I plug this into my computer (there is a USB when you open that silver part up) at the the end of the day and all my info is downloaded and stored at Nike+. I earn achievements and my fuel points accumulate there and my steps get translated into miles. I can compete with people online as well.

It has been very motivating. In fact I forgot to wear it Wednesday morning when I went to clean and I was so upset. I really wanted to know how many calories I burn when cleaning. So later that day because I wasn't happy with the numbers I had I went for a run so I could meet my 3000 fuel point goal for the day. These were my numbers yesterday at 4:20pm. They are very sad too because I sat in front of my computer most of the day typing VBS stuff. I did run 3 miles yesterday morning though so I wasn't completely lazy. The 8857 is the number of steps I had taken, 655 is the number of calories burned, and 2702 was the number of fuel points I had earned. In comparison, the day before when I remembered to wear it to my other cleaning job my steps were 15,469, my calories burned were 1263, I earned 5209 fuel points all of which equated to 6.35 miles walked. I didn't even run on Thursday. I knew cleaning was a good workout! I burned 900 of those 1263 calories just cleaning!!! I have found it to be pretty accurate in relation to my other Nike+ device I use with my shoe and ipod to track my runs. The calories burned come up pretty similar. Super fun to actually know how much I am moving and my brain likes that it is all stored online for me. It seems very organized that way and I love organized!

 I also got a fun surprise gift from my good friend Ka-Lee. You know the one who stole the blog giveaway basket from you. She was very thoughtful and picked me up a copy of this........

You know I was super stoked when I opened this little gift up! I sat at the coffee bar at church and poured over it with a friend. I think perhaps I should cook my way through it and blog about it like the movie, "Julie and Julia."

It has the best pictures all throughout which is how I like my cookbooks to be!

Plus who wouldn't want to try Salted Caramel Hazelnut Coffee Cake that was actually cleaned up and a healthy way to enjoy a dessert?

Slow Cooked Curried Chickpeas sounds pretty good to me too. This is going to be fun to start using when life slows down a bit and I am not throwing meals together in 2 minutes or less. I have missed being in the kitchen.

Whew, that was long! Now as promised a recipe. For Mother's Day I made several salads because I was meated out after Fogo de Chao and didn't really care for any of the steaks we had purchased to grill for everyone else who didn't eat meat the night before. My favorite was the marinated pepper salad. I found the recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen, which is one of my favorite recipe blogs.

I only have a couple pictures for you because I was doing this so quick Sunday morning but also because it really is a throw it all together kind of thing. Just chop up your peppers and toss them in a ziploc bag with 1/2 cup of balsamic, a bit of olive oil, and about 3 cloves of minced garlic. It is best if they can marinate over night but at least for a few hours if that is all you have. Mine only marinated while I was at church and I thought it was great. Then later or the next day you add 1 can of drained chick peas, some Greek olives, a little feta and some salt and pepper and give it all a stir. The original recipe said to drain all the marinade and just save a few tablespoons to pour back over but I used all the liquid and it doesn't get the slightest bit soggy even after several days. So whatever is your preference will be just fine. It makes a beautiful salad! I made it again this week with yellow and orange peppers too for even more color. Give it a try. It makes a great salad to share at a potluck for the summer time!

Hooray! I am done and it only took me two days to get this finished. Now I must go earn some fuel points and get back to the VBS planning again!

Marinated Pepper Salad
3 cups of sliced sweet mini peppers (or bell peppers)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place in a bag or glass dish to marinate over night or for several hours.

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 - 1 cup black or Greek olives, drained and sliced in half
1/4 -1/2 cup Parmesan or feta cheese
reserved marinade
olive oil if needed

If desired drain the marinade reserving a few tablespoons and add all the ingredients together. Add a little more olive oil if needed and the reserved marinade. Alternately, do not drain the marinade and just combine ingredients. (personal preference prevails!)


Jenny said...

I think I want one of those bracelets! It's funny that 40 doesn't seem old to me at all anymore, either. And I also have told Ryan I don't see how he does the clips. I feel like I would wreck for sure.

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