Sunday, September 27, 2009

Twin Cities Wedding Weekend

I met some awesome girls my freshman year in college. We all lived on the 7th floor of Ogg West (a dorm) at UW-Madison. We have seen each other through a lot - bad dates, crazy vacations, graduations, new jobs, and weddings - three of 'em so far! 

This weekend we gathered from all over the country (literally - Washington to Maine) to celebrate Kristin's wedding. She was beautiful of course, and we had a wonderful time. It's a special thing when you have a group of friends you can meet up with a few times a year and have an absolute blast with.

I'm so thankful for these beautiful women!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekend Photos

My dad made delicious tomato, pesto, mozzarella and balsamic tasties. 

Nana made really good mushroom and swiss bread.

I made a delicious chocolate cake with chocolate whipped cream frosting and strawberry filling.

Whenever my family is in town we have scotch before bedtime. A nice family tradition!

This last picture is from this morning after my three-song Tuesday run. Yes, I'm sweaty. But I also feel great! I love a good sweat, especially when it's actually from physical activity! 

Three Song Thursday

Camera is still busted! Well, the camera works, I just can't get the photos from the camera to the computer. Bummer! But I did capture some Ironman pics on my iPhone.

Here is my amazing uncle:

Finish time 13:54:42

The Ironman is one of the most inspirational events I go to each year. These people are amazing athletes and have incredible drive. I cried. A lot. One of the most inspiring moments was seeing the very last swimmer come out of the water. He had been swimming for over two and a half hours and was automatically disqualified from the rest of the race (2:20 cutoff). He was struggling. He was probably 50 yards out and kept bobbing up and looking at the crowd, looking at the 70 volunteers in the water (on bodyboards, kayaks, boats). We were going crazy, cheering him on, pulling him in with our hearts and thoughts. He eventually made it to shore. He stood up with a huge grin, smiled at the crowd and turned around and said "thank you!" to all of the vounteers. What a strong, gracious man. Talk about waterworks!

This morning I went for a run with three songs inspired by the weekend.

The (original) playlist:

Stronger - Kanye West
I Got a Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
So What - Pink!

However, after the VMA controversy involving Kanye West and Taylor Swift, I just couldn't bring myself to run to "Stronger." All I heard during the song was "Wahn, wahn, wahn, I'm a jerk, blah, blah, I step on kittens, wahn, wahn."

So I changed it up a bit and ran to this:

I Got a Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
So What - Pink!
Single Ladies - Beyonce (now she's a class act)

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Love My In-Laws (thank God!)

Yesterday Mr. Z was working, so I took the day off to spend with our visitors BIL and SIL. We went out for lunch with Mr. Z's littlest brother, Brent at his place of employment, Capitol Chop House. This is the fancy shmancy restaurant located inside the Hilton on the Capitol Square. It was a very tasty lunch. I was happy to find out that SIL likes to split things as well (Mr. Z isn't always a good splitter).

So SIL and I split the seared tuna salad:

And this amazing flat bread concoction:

It was whole wheat flat bread with a goat cheese, cranberry spread topped with butternut squash and sage. To die for!

After lunch Brent went to work and BIL, SIL and I walked around downtown for a bit. Madison is hosting an Ironman competition this weekend (on Sunday) and the air is electric with anticipation.

For those not familiar with Ironman stats, the event consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race and 26.2 mile run (yep, that's a whole marathon!). It's an amazing challenge and every year I try to make it down town to cheer on the athletes. It's hard to explain, but I always get emotional, it's such an accomplishment for these people. Don't get me wrong, I have no desire to compete in one myself, it's just an inspirational thing to witness.

And BEST of all, this year my UNCLE MIKE SMRZ (another loved in-law) is competing! Much of my family is coming to town tomorrow and we will be out in full force on Sunday, cheering him on.

Tomorrow I'll be fixing a spaghetti dinner and chocolate cake (carb load!) for the family. What a treat! I LOVE cooking for family.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This is only a test...

Photos are back online (my camera is still not working) but at least I can upload the photos from the weekend! I'll be back tomorrow morning. Have a good night!

This is a test.

When technology fails...

...the bean blog is boring.

Something is terribly wrong with my camera/computer relationship and with blogger's photo upload process, which makes for a very boring blog. Here's a picturless recap of the last couple days.

On Labor Day Mr. Z and I drove to Wauwatosa to visit our friends Erin, Sachin, Violet and Hazel. We had never met Miss Hazel (she's only been on this little blue marble of ours for 3 months!) and we hadn't seen the rest of the family for over a year! So we had a wonderful time catching up and telling stories.

Erin and I even squeezed in time to bake a cake. We used to make amazing cakes back in the day (again, photos here would be lovely right?).

Yesterday we welcomed two very special visitors to Madison. Mr. Z's brother Brad and his wife Laura are staying with us for a week. They currently live in Maine so it's a real treat to have them with us for a week. They have a pretty packed schedule, but I think we'll be able to fit in some quality porch, beer and food time.

Last night after we picked them up from the airport we headed straight over to Mr. Z and Brad's sister's house for a photo session. She also has a little three-month old and we had a great time taking family pictures, eating pizza and spending time getting to know our new nephew a little better. He is so cute!

Hopefully I'll get this picture thing figured out soon!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Today Mr. Z and I made the trip over to the west side to run some errands. We hit up the Labor Day sales at all the outdoorsy shops: Erehwon, REI and Fontana. I got some yoga tops, Mr. Z got some shoes and we both loaded up on tasty energy/snack bars. I even found some more almond butter packets at REI! 

Since I new we were going to be gone for most of the day, I packed a lunch and we ate it outside of REI. 

A little parking lot picnic. We had crackers, humus, peppers, cheese, fruit and granola. 

My little sandwich. 

Our final destination was COSTCO!

We'd never been and of course now we're members. They totally suck you in. But I swear we made up the cost of our membership in savings in this trip alone. Some of the prices were unreal. 

Here's a picture of our cart as we left the store.

My favorite Costco purchase? Probably the mini Naked juices. It's a variety pack with berry blast, superfoods and might mango. YUMMY! 

When we finally got home I whipped up this plum torte. A very special lady sent me this recipe in the mail this week. Thanks Nana!

This is before it went in the oven:

And after:

I have to let it cool off a bit, but I bet this will pair perfectly with the vanilla custard I have sitting in my freezer. Tasty, tasty! 

Pixie & Red

Red and I went to spend some quality time with Pixie at the barn yesterday and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful afternoon. 

Of course, Red got to meet the poodles. 

Then I worked with Pixie a little bit. 

After we got our work out in, Red helped me groom Pixie and give her a bath. 

Then it was snack time!

What a wonderful time with two lovely ladies!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Busy Little Bean

What a great sleep in this morning. I didn't get out of bed until 10:00! But I've been a busy little bee ever since. 

Mr. Z and I had waffles for breakfast. I topped mine with fruit and almond butter. And he put butter and maple syrup on his. I commented that our waffles probably have similar amounts of fat and sugar on them (in completely different forms) but mine would probably be more filling.

Then I made granola. My friend Susanna sent me four granola recipes in the mail and I was so excited to try them out! I made a tasty base using our new sunflower oil, honey, oats, wheat germ and powdered milk (weird ingredient, huh?). When it was finished, I separated the batch into two containers and added craisins to one, and cherries and chocolate to the other (below).

Then I made chocolate chip cookies for a very tasty care package.

I'll be spending the afternoon with Red and Pixie at the barn. Can't wait to take some fun pics!

Biggest Fan Friday (a day late!)

One week in, and I forgot about Biggest Fan Friday. Shame on me! Well since you should be your biggest fan EVERY day, I suppose it's not that big of a deal to do Biggest Fan Friday on Saturday. So use the comments section to give yourself a pat on the back!

I had a good Friday, kicking it off with some tasty almond butter for breakfast. 

Then I met a friend for coffee at the Memorial Union. I'm parking at a new spot on campus, so I got to walk along Lakeshore Path to get there. Isn't it beautiful?

My Fabulous Friend, who is always her own biggest fan, put at least six sugars in her triple shot cappuccino! Holy moly! I told her I had to get a picture for the blog. 

After work, I headed to the stable to work with Pixie a bit. Propel is my drink of choice while I'm at the barn.

Then home for a tasty dinner of leftovers. I made a quesadilla with the ingredients from Wednesday night's taco bar. Tasty!

Mr. Z was working all night, so I picked up a movie. I watched, "I Love You Man." Wasn't a huge fan. It's one of those movies that makes you squirm with embarrassment throughout. I'm usually not susceptible to that kind of thing (I LOVE The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm) but this one got to me for some reason. I spent half the movie hiding behind a pillow... and I was the only one in the room!

Now don't forget to use the comments section below to ring your own bell! Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More Almond Butter

This morning after my "run," I whipped out the other pack of almond butter - maple, yum!

I added it to hot cereal mixed with yogurt and topped with peaches.

For dinner I made roasted veggies with pasta and pork chops.

Very tasty. I'm saving the plums for this weekend and a plum cobbler dish.

After dinner Mr. Z and I went to Java Cat for some gelato. I got pirates' booty (everything) and chocolate malt. The lady behind the gelato counter is super nice, but I'm kinda embarrassed that she recognizes me so easily!

Three Song Thursday

I had a great workout this morning. I ran for three songs and did 20 minutes of yoga.

Today's set list:

"Come on Get Higher" by Sugarland
"Come on Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson
"Ain't Nothin Wrong With That" by Robert Randolph & The Family Band

Yes, I love the song "Come on Get Higher" and it's a great running song! "Ain't Nothin Wrong..." is one of those songs that makes you want to dance. I really picked up the pace to this song (meaning I went from someone barely running, to a slow jog).

Tonight I'm making dinner for Red and Mr. Red. Pretty sure it's going to involve some of those plums and maybe pork chops. I'll be dreaming up recipes all day!

Time Flies (so fast!)

Remember Emma, the almost 13-year-old that I spent a super fun Friday night with a few weeks ago? Well her whole family came over for dinner last night and we enjoyed a tasty taco bar. 

I made fresh pico de gallo and guacamole. 

This guacamole was so good!

Now to give you a perspective of what crazy things time and life are, here is a picture of me, Susan and the kids at my 21st birthday NINE YEARS AGO! (not a great picture of me, but it's one of the only ones I have of us!)

And here we were last night. WOW! So grown up! 

I love these kids. They are polite, interesting, funny, and talented people. And I'm so lucky to have them in my life!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

P.S. Plums

I think I know what I'm going to do with the plums...

I found this recipe...

In this cookbook...

I'm not sure how long plums last. I'll probably have to attempt this by the weekend. 

We still haven't dug in to that peach pie yet. I'm having peeps over for dinner tomorrow, so it will be a grand dessert. I can't forget to pick up ice cream!