Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seumas has a new best friend

Amber's First Video

Take One

Take Two

Take Three

Apparently the process of capturing a picture frame while also conducting an interview is quite complex for a 5 year old. Not bad for Amber's first video.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Don's Most Perfect Stir Fry Ever

We just had the most delicious stir fry. It's an improvement on a former recipe we tried from Epicurious called Stir-Fried Beef, Broccoli and Yams. Our additions and revisions are definitely for keeps and have earned this a permanent rotation in the early household. Wanted to write it down while it's still fresh.

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce*
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound Ribeye Steak (sirloin or flank would work nice too)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 3 Stalks Celery, sliced diagonally
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 1 teaspoon bottled ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon bottled ground cloves
  • 1 small box of Trader Joes Pad Thai Noodles (save sauce packet for another use)

  • Stir first 4 ingredients in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set sauce aside.

    Season Steak with salt and pepper.

    Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large wok over high heat. Add beef ; sear on both sides about two minutes until no longer pink outside. Transfer beef mixture to cutting board and let rest.

    Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add broccoli, yam, celery, garlic and ginger. Toss to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add sauce. Cover, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add beef mixture. Toss until sauce coats beef, and beef is to desired degree of doneness. Add noodles and toss until well coated. Serve immediately.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    4 for 4

    Today was our 4th morning of our new fitness challenge. Proud to say we are right on target and it's been quite an adventure. The 6:15 wake up call is not as hard as I thought it would be. I've figured out that the biggest challenge to getting up that early (for us Early's) is the mental challenge. So basically I just don't give my brain a chance to think about it and am up at the sound of the buzzer. It's such a simple act really. Putting one foot out of bed, then the other, and then shifting your weight and standing up. Once you're up and moving, my brain usually follows within a minute or two and I'm alert enough to start the day.

    The walks themselves have been quite the variety, mostly relating to weather and daylight, or lack thereof. We started with the worst of possible scenarios last Monday, rainy and stormy with quite the not-so-gentle breeze. But we aren't wicked green skinned witches and we didn't melt. Thanks to a great weather proof REI jacket handed down to me from Brie gifted when we moved back to Bellingham, I've kept both dry and warm. And I'm glad we started off with the worst because every day since then has felt like a treat.

    The walk we are doing is a 2.7 mile loop that circles Lake Padden. We start off from the trail head opening at the dog park and head clockwise in a Westerly direction. (I'm pretty sure "westerly" is not a word but I like the way it sounds so I'm sticking with it.) The western side of the lake is thickly forested with moderate hills. We get that part out of the way first of course. Our halfway point is marked by a great reward - a view point that breaks open from the trees with a dock going out over the lake. Here we have a full view of the lake and open skies and get a taste of what the day was going to be like. On Monday when it poured, we barely took a moment to shine our flashlights out. Yep, dock's still there. Keep going .... But Wednesday we were rewarded for our commitment with the clearest of skies displaying the stars and slivered moon in all it's glory. Friday was dry yet again but cloudy skies. So while we couldn't see the stars, we did at least get to see just the faintest glow of lavender sunrise reflection bouncing back off the water at the very end of the hike looking back. And this morning, with the shift in daylight savings, we actually had... dah dun duhhhh.... Daylight! The water shimmered like glass as the ducks foraged and we even caught a crane privately bathing among the reeds.

    So far only 1 out of 4 days have we had company. A grad student from Western joined us last Wednesday with her border collie and we had a good time chatting. But we've been garnishing interest and I think we may get some other people up and out of their beds to join us here along the way. We put a notice also in our church newsletter and have had one or two people asking about it who may join us once the holiday bazaar is over next week.

    The most precious part of the walks is the hour or so afterwords where I'm up and alert and have time to use how I see fit before I actually start my work day. Having a real breakfast, time to blog, showering and sometimes even putting makeup on before I start my work day, I can't tell you how well that does for my psyche. It's easy for those of us work-from-home folks to fall into lazy patterns.

    The early mornings have been harder on Don than they are on me. It goes a lot deeper against his natural body clock and his day demands a lot of personal energy. So he's still finding his way with that and some mornings he'll dip back in bed for a quick power nap and still struggle through his day in a bit of a haze. But I'm proud of him and his commitment. I hope by the end of this exercise his body will respond a bit kinder to him. I'm glad to know for the first time in our marriage, we are getting regular cardio exercise together, both for us and the dogs. We're being good to ourselves and good dog owners. I know a lot of people who have a lot more aggressive fitness goals than walking 3 miles three times a week. But this is the right goal for us, that fits the lifestyle we're trying to achieve, and I'm proud that we're doing it. Together.