Thursday, July 17, 2014

Trader Joe's Edamame Caprese Pasta Salad

Is it possible to really, truly appreciate something when it is readily available?  I knew that I would miss Trader Joe's, my favorite grocery store (besides WINCO) when we moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. But I had no idea how deep my attachment had become until it was really and truly three-hundred-seventeen miles away.  And yes, some tears were shed in the Trader Joe's parking lot of Chicago last summer when I thought I was leaving T.J.'s for the last time. However, it didn't take long to realize that pretty much any desirable shopping is three-hundred-seventeen miles away from Houghton Michigan, and long distance shopping trips simply have to be made for anything that can't be purchased at Walmart or online.

Despite the distance, somehow my sweet husband has managed to sneak in a quarterly trip to stock up on groceries at Trader Joe's.  Miracle of Miracles.  I really needed that fresh basil to get me through this lengthy winter.  Also the care packages containing candy cane jo joe's, and the grocery delivery from Columbus Ohio helped immensely.  Thank you, you kind souls.  You know who you are.

Here is a simple little recipe that I threw together when we got back from our latest raid of the Minneapolis Trader Joe's.  I was especially grateful for these groceries because our refrigerator was completely empty. Below you will find a beautiful, easy, quick, and delicious complete vegetarian meal in salad form.  Voila.

Edamame Caprese Pasta Salad
(Good luck finding all these ingredients in once place unless you are looking at Trader Joe's)

-1 package raw fresh Edamame (which is a complete protein by the way)
-1 package heirloom cherry-sized tomatoes, quarter the larger ones
-1/2 of a log of fresh mozzarella large diced
-2 bunches of fresh basil, chopped
-1 package of fresh tortellini (mine was cheese and spinach I think, but any kind would rock in this salad) cooked according to directions on package and drained.  Look in the refrigerator section.
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup olive oil

Place vegetables in a medium sized bowl.  Add pasta. Sprinkle with olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper.

Trader Joe, if you are reading this, know that I love you and miss you, very much.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Here is our new baby girl.  She is just a few days old and we are so extremely happy that she is here. 6lbs 15ounces and as sweet as any baby could be.  Actually sweeter.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I have a resolution to choose, more often, to be happy.  My resolution has come in pieces. Piece by piece, from uplifting conversations with friends, inspired writings (some of your blogs), and witnessing friends and family go through very difficult and trying times.  The moment that I realized that I needed to start making this choice to be happy was when I heard the powerful and simple words of one of my church leaders, President Uchtdorf.  He talked about a few common regrets that people have when they are anticipating death, and the ones that stuck out to me were, " I Wish I Had Let Myself Be Happier," and, "I Wish I Had Spent More Time with the People I Love."  I am determined to narrow my focus to these important things.  When I am successful, I am certain that my family will be happier and home might be a place where a little more peace can be found.

A friend from church shared this message with my family today that made an impression on me as well.  Again, I'm quoting words from President Uchdorf, "I have discovered one thing that most [happy families]have in common: they have a way of forgiving and forgetting the imperfections of others and of looking for the good."

Take home message: try to choose to be happy, freely forgive, and spend time with those you love.  I can't think of anything more challenging for me at this point in my life. If anyone wants to join me in this challenge, I would love the moral support!

Side story:
Recently I realized that my phone was dying and needed to be replaced.  Among other problems, it started making phone calls, all by itself, to the most recent person in my call logs, over, and over and over again every few minutes in the early hours of the morning.  So, now I am a smart phone user (I resisted this as long as possible because I've heard that there is no going back).  I can already see why.  My tech-savvy husband has my new phone all linked and connected to my e-mail so that my phone knows what I write and will predict text for me in my writing style, which he informed me was, "Pretty cool, but kind of creepy."  I agree.  If you push the space bar button using this cool but creepy technology, then it places the predicted words into your message composition.  Curious about this feature, I found that when I pressed space bar over and over, this is the message that it predicted I would write:
"I am so happy to watch your kids. I am so happy to watch your kids."  Tech-savvy-hubby and I had a good laugh.  I've only had my new phone for 2 days and already it knows me too well.  Yes, Ace, I agree, "pretty cool, but kind of creepy."

P.S. We are expecting a surprise gender baby in January.  This blog has been very neglected lately.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

summer is coming

Summer is coming.  It's so close that I feel like I can smell it. Think of all the adventures we will have
going to disneyland,
In-N-Out burger,
 and the beach with friends.
I am anticipating an especially thrilling summer because baby girl decided to be potty trained,
and I'm done with school!!!  No more online or late, late, night-classes!!!  Here's a big shout out to all the people who helped me on my way.  Thanks for all the babysitting, you dear friends.  And thanks to my parents and sweet husband who supported me through the long nine years that it took me to get my Associates degree.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Sometimes, when I'm working on something very late at night, or very near a rapidly approaching deadline, things start going badly and I get really frustrated.  I wish that I could laugh in these moments, or take a step back and realize that everything will be fine.  But in those moments, I feel like a complete failure.

I took this first picture the night before my daughter's birthday party.   I was trying to make cupcakes, but it was just too hot.  The frosting kept melting, and they literally kept falling apart.  I took this picture (I couldn't even get the camera to focus properly, that's how wonderfully my night was going!) because in that moment, I was certain that I would not be able to finish even one decent looking cupcake before the party the next day.  I was a failure.  A true Culinary School Dropout who didn't have it in her to finish anything.  I kept thinking about how tired I was going to be the next morning, and wishing that I had gone to bed earlier so that I could have had the energy to wake up early and finish assembling the cupcakes.  I took this picture as a challenge.  Though I was feeling real despair, in the very back of my mind, I vaguely remembered that somehow, everything would be ok.

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But the morning always brings a special gift: a fresh start.  When my brain is a little more clear, I can a step back to look around, formulate a little plan and then dig in.  Things always turn out okay, not the perfect picture that I had constructed, but good enough.  Through each disaster, I always learn something significant and important.  Maybe someday I will be able to appreciate the my trials when I am in chest deep.  Maybe?

P.S. I ALWAYS cut myself on those little foil seals that they put on containers of pre-made frosting.  Am I the only one?  I only have to look at them from across the room and I wince.  I try to be really careful, but it never helps.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I know a great place to get prescription glasses!  They have a big selection, so it is easy to find a style that you like.  Their prices are so good that you wonder if they are too good to be true.  And on top of that they send out e-mails frequently with a 72 hour coupon link or sale code (try "BigSale").  This electric blue pair, I got not too long ago, when all was said and done for about $15.  That includes everything- even shipping.  The site is called  Check it out. 

And just for laughs- here are some pictures of me sporting different pairs of glasses that I have gotten from their site over the last few years.  I had to dig deep through my pictures to find them.  I don't usually let my personal photographer take pictures of me when I don't have my make up and contacts on.  And sometimes he just pretends not to hear me. Here I am in:

blue metal


 and brown.

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You'll need to scan and e-mail, or fax them a prescription from your eye doctor for glasses (which expires every 2 years), and ask them to give you your pupilary distance, or P.D. It is just a measurement that the website needs. Just have them write it on the back of your prescription when they give it to you at the office, or just call your dr. office and ask them to give it to you over the phone.

I also found it helpful, when I ordered my first pair, to measure the height of my frames, so that I could have a reference when I was shopping, for relative size.  I usually search for frames that are less than $10.