Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Make Blueberries Unhealthy!

It officially made it to 100 degrees in Alabama this weekend, but that didn't keep us inside! My love affair with summer fruits and veggies had us heading south to Jemison, AL, with our friends Eric and Jamie to pick blueberries. The day started with Jamie's homemade blueberry pancakes, then we stopped at a local farmer's market at Jamie's church to pick up some corn before heading to the blueberry farm. There had to be over a million blueberries ready for us to pick and though I wanted to hang around and eat them from the trees, it was just so hot! We picked just enough to top my vanilla yogurt every day this week and to make one healty salmon dinner, (I had no idea salmon goes with blueberries either) and one very unhealthy dessert (Michael's recipe)!

Yes, leave it to Michael to take one of the healthiest and most antioxidant rich fruits and turn it into one of the unhealthiest desserts I have ever heard of! So what was his idea for using the blueberries? Turning fresh blueberries into Blueberry Nut Crunch for our 4th of July Cookout. I don't have the exact guarded recipe to share, but I know it calls for a quart of blueberries topped 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, a yellow cake mix, and 1 stick of butter! This dessert is going to make for one Happy 4th of July!

I stuck to a healthier option for my blueberry recipe, and it made a very tasty Sunday Night dinner. I baked salmon fillets in the oven and topped them with a bread crumb mixture and homemade blueberry-sage sauce. I served the salmon with our farmer's market corn on the cob and a summer salad with roma tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and balsamic vinegar.

For a figure friendly take on using fresh blueberries, try my recipe below. Or learn from Michael on how to make blueberries unhealthy by adding add some butter, sugar, and cake!

Oven Baked Salmon with Blueberry-Sage Sauce

4 5-6 oz fresh or frozen Salmon fillets

1 cup garlic croutons, coarsely crushed

1/2 cup dried sage

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons (more or less) oragne juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 recipe blueberry-sage sauce

Preheat oven to 375F

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix crushed croutons, 1/4 cup sage, and pepper. Stir in orange juice and olive oil until lightly moistened.

Press crouton mixture into the top of the fish and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the fish flakes.

When ready to serve, top fish with blueberry-sage sauce.

Blueberry-Sage Sauce

In a medium bowl, mash 3/4 cup blueberries with a potato masher or fork. Stir in additional 1/4 cup of blueberries, 1 teaspoon dried sage, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

This recipe was adapted from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Playing Catch Up!

I think this may be the longest break I have taken from blogging since I began, and I am sorry. No excuses, other than I am so busy and all I want to do is crash when I come home. As busy as I've been here lately, it is a good thing because I'm liking my job a lot. I also love Birmingham!

So in the midst of working and doing other things in life, this is how last week went, spare is so unbelievably exciting!!!!

Last Monday
Filled my car up with gas
Made homemade pasta sauce for the first time
Heard more bad news about the oil spill

Last Tuesday
Attended my first-ever Food & Beverage Meeting
Had a conference call that almost put me to sleep (not a good impression to make on your first full week at a new job)
Heard more bad news about the oil spill

Last Wednesday
Witnessed Michael (who was trying to be a good samaritan) chunking an empty can of Friskies cat food at a Porsche on our morning walk because he failed to look before he threw it. The guy in the Porsche luckily did not kill him.
Attended my first Wine Tasting at the club
Sat around with my other partners in crime after the wine tasting and opened our own bottle of wine. I didn't get home from work until 11 pm....whoops!
Heard even more bad news about the oil spill

Last Thursday
Planned my first club event calendar
Crashed from my late night on Wednesday and saw Michael off while he enjoyed a night out with old friends. We are so poor that he drink Miller Lite on special! I think he feels really guilty about not working yet. He better enjoy it because Samford will have no shame working his ass off come fall!
Anticipated what new oil spill news would unfold on Friday morning

Saw some devastating pictures of Gulf Shores...the oil has officially made it to the Alabama coast
Gave Michael a tour of my home away from home and he was jealous of my view on the 32nd floor
Enjoyed a delicious pizza and glass of wine in Crestline Village
Watched a 20/20 special on Joran van der Sloot and then a recap of the oil spill

Got up early to hit the Macy's One Day Sale but it wasn't as pleasant as I thought because things were still too expensive for my budget and I'm fatter than I used to be
Slept all afternoon
Played Scattergories with friends and had awesome answers for the letter "d" when I was supposed to be coming up with words beginning with "b"....yeah I was pissed
Took a break from thinking about the oil spill

Celebrated Father's Day at work
Took another long nap
Walked Scarlett in a new park that she loves
Successfully completed all my ironing for the week
Had trouble sleeping

Started my car and was happy to see I've only used a quarter of a tank of gas in one week
Worked but didn't seem to get too much accomplished
Visited our local CVS, where I will soon find out how crappy my temporary insurance is
Took some suit jackets to get tailored and was told one shoulder is much lower than the other, then saw that my bill was $92! I bought petites!
I'm currently listening to the local news is in the background, and what do you know, they are talking about the oil spill

Sunday, June 13, 2010

1 Week Down & We're Making Progress!

Ahhhh! It smells heavenly in our apartment right now! I love summer for several reasons, but one thing I love so much about this time of year is the fresh fruit and veggies you can get at your local farmer's market. Yesterday, Michael and I got up early and headed to the Lakeview District in downtown Birmingham to the Pepper Place Farmer's Market. It was huge, but boy was it HOT!!! Elizabeth, if you are reading this, there was a lady pushing around two Bogarts in a puppy stroller, and they were about to die from the heat! We (or Michael rather) were planning to make our friends Jamie and Eric homemade Eggplant Parmesan and salad for dinner because Eric was awesome with helping us move into our place. We stocked up on fresh tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and delicious peaches and berries! I can't wait to take my mom to Pepper Place when she comes in July! Tonight we are making fresh Greek salads for dinner with homemade roasted eggplant yogurt dip. Michael is sauteeing the garlic right now, and it smells so good! For tonight's dessert, I made a homemade berry sauce with fresh blueberries and raspberries, and we bought miniature graham cracker pie crusts that I will bake and top with icecream and the berry sauce. I can't wait!!! It feels good to be settled in and to be able to cook and make fresh meals together. Speaking of settling in...I feel like we have made progress, but there is still a bit to be done. Especially in our kitchen! It is white, white, white, and it has no personality. It's just ugly! Michael and I were so upset last Friday when we moved in. Looking back it was no big deal, but the apartment wasn't exactly what we thought we were getting. On top of that, we had already lost two other places that we loved, so we weren't too thrilled about moving back into an apartment with carpet, ugly paint, and people living below us. It was just so dark and dull. There were no light fixtures in any of the bedrooms or living room, and it was dirty. By the days end, we got all the kinks worked out, and management had the apartment cleaned for us, and it is finally starting to feel like home. We picked this place after going through the adventure of losing two other places because it has a fabulous location, and we are close to everything. It's in an awesome neighborhood, and I feel very safe. Our apartment complex is small and has been converted from old condos, so there are lots of trees and we are the only apartments around, so I don't really feel like we are in an "apartment." I am less than 3 miles from 3 great malls, all of which are completely different! We have been here 9 days now, and I wanted to show you some before and after pictures of some of our rooms. Starting with the Dining Room: Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Living Room: Photobucket Photobucket Office and Spare Room (Still a work in progress): Photobucket Photobucket Master Bedroom: Photobucket Photobucket Master Bathroom: Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Kitchen: Photobucket I don't have an "after" picture because the kitchen is still ugly! Though it was pretty dull before, I am glad we picked this place...I'll post a picture when I finish the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm a Big Girl Now!

Needless to say, I've been a terrible blogger this month, but I have a good excuse! For the past few weeks, we packed up our lives in Knoxville and moved down south to 'Bama, and I am loving it so far. EXCEPT FOR THAT THING CALLED HEAT THEY HAVE GOING ON DOWN HERE! We moved in to our apartment on Friday, which was NOT the best experience, but I am saving that story for my next post and it will include my first before and after photos on this blog. Both Michael and I feel very blessed to be here and we feel it has all worked out for the best. The hiring process for my new job went very smoothly, and Michael got offered a job at Samford the day before we moved in! We really feel this is where we are supposed to least for the time being! I started my new job today at The Summit Club. I work on the 31st floor in the Regions-Harbert building, and I get to park in a garage with my very own parking card! Everyone who works in our building wears suits and high heels and carries briefcases and the newspaper. I feel like a true grown up! My head is spinning a little, but I did enjoy my first day. I have a lot to learn and so much growth ahead of me. But do you want to know what excites me most? I don't have to sit at my desk if I don't want to! It doesn't sound like a big deal, but the opportunity to move at work is awesome! I know every job has its honeymoon period, but I am really happy! Stay tuned for my next post on our adventure with finding a place to live in the great city of Birmingham!