I Can’t Control It and I Don’t Care

I got a great surprise today.

No, I didn’t find money in the street.

No, I didn’t find out that my beloved Will & Grace is going back on the air.

(source)

Although I really wish it was.

So what was this surprise, you ask?

My boyf’ bought me a flight to LA for my birthday!

(source)

I’m so excited!  Not only do I get to have a quick, spontaneous vacation, but I get to see my long lost pal, Colleen! (Hi, Colleen!  I miss your face!)

Anyway, I was too excited to cook a real dinner (nervous energy sometimes works against my culinary ambitions.  Don’t ask me why.) so we decided to use up one of my favorite T. Joe’s frozen entrees: Mandarin Orange Chicken.

Nope, it’s not one of their healthiest options (the chicken is fried) but it’s so good I don’t care.  I’ll eat fried chicken if I want to and I’ll LIKE it!

I was in charge of picking up a veggie to balance out the meal.  Since I took the train to work today, I stopped at the Chicago French Market.

I love me a good French market.  I really love a French market in, well, France, but I’ll take one in Chicago.  The great thing about this place (besides its convenience to my commuter train- it’s literally inside the train station.) is that the vendors are locally and independently owned, offer a great selection of organic produce and (as some of the girls that ventured here during HLS learned) have some really interesting food selections!

I was on a mission to find broccoli.  To my credit, I did buy broccoli.

I also may have picked up a few other things…

Coconut water, couscous salad, pita chips, roasted garlic hummus and…broccoli.  At least I didn’t fail on my mission!  I could argue that I need the rest of my loot, but I’m not going to drag you down that road.

I clearly can’t control myself in that market.  And if my lack of control is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Plus, my purchases rounded out the meal nicely.

I roasted the broccoli (shocking, I know.  Try to contain yourself.) with some Tony Cachere (say! It really is great on everything!) and dumped out a little couscous onto our plates.  It was a highly technical culinary process, believe me.

And the pricey coconut water?  Well, I’m treating myself.  Because this weekend is…

My birthday!! Woot, woot!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go put my party hat on.

What are your grocery store weaknesses?  Am I the only one who’s like a kid in a candy shop around produce?

Back on the Wagon

I’d like to flatter myself and say that I’m sure you all missed me while I was away, but I’m not going to get a big head here. 🙂

In truth, I had a great time in Seattle (the wedding was really fun!) and got back yesterday morning, but I was too tired to put a post up last night.  I blame the children that screamed the entire time on my red eye back to Chicago.  I apologize for being away, but as Susan would say, I was out living my life so that I could come back with some great experiences to talk about!

On Saturday before the wedding, the guys went paintballing (I know- what??) so my friend Sarah and I went hiking!  We drove out to Ebey’s Landing for a quick hike and beautful views after our thwarted attempt to find something to pick. On the drive onto the island (the wedding was on Whidbey Island- north of Seattle) Sarah and I spotted some signs for raspberry/blackberry/strawberry picking and we wanted in.  Unfortunately, this was the only blackberry bush we could find:

Not exactly pick-worthy.   We DID stop at a lavender farm that had advertised a labyrinth (which made me think of Harry Potter so I of course needed to check it out).  While the labyrinth was kind of a bust, it was gorgeous!

While those pretty pictures are all well and good, the very best part about the random lavender farm was: ICE CREAM!

Chocolate-orange-lavender ice cream, to be exact.  It was ridiculous.  I almost crashed the car when Sarah broke into it and gave me a bite.  Ok, I have to stop talking about it because I really want another one and I might do something rash.

The wedding was lots of fun and the food was great!

This bread basket was insane.  First of all, it was bottomless.  Second, there was cheese in most of the varieties.  I was eating so many of the mini rolls that the server started putting them directly onto my plate when she was refilling it.  I’d pretend to be embarrassed by this, but you’d all know I was lying so why waste my energy?

The hors d’oeuvres were also really good.  My favorite was a citrus watermelon bite.

Dinner was served family style.  Here’s my plate:

And the cake was so cool and unique!

The setting could not have been prettier (and no one seemed to be too put off by the rain!)

This was all followed by drinks and dancing.  I certainly enjoyed myself!

Needless to say, I was definitely due to get back on my healthy wagon today.  I made a massive trip to Trader Joes yesterday and cooked up a great meal for dinner.  Turkey meatballs (with spinach, sundried tomatoes, parmesan and some other schtuff) alongside Jessica’s parmesan zucchini and brown rice pasta.

The zucchini weren’t very photogenic but they were very delicious and old school!  I’m so excited to have leftovers to pack in my lunch!!  (it’s the little things, everyone.  Yes, I really like leftovers and no, it doesn’t take much to make me excited about food.)

Speaking of leftovers, stay tuned for an upcoming post I’ve got in the works about making your groceries work for you.  Brace yourselves, it’s gonna be a good one.

HLS in three days! Woot woot!

Do you have any good wedding adventure stories?  Is everyone in your life and their dog getting married this summer??