Clean Your Microwave!

Ok, I know this is a totally dorky, OCD post, but I have to share with my dorky, OCD friends. I was playing around on Pinterest a few days ago and found this “clean your microwave with a glass of this” post. If your microwave is anything like mine, it looks like the inside of a room Dexter’s had his way with. I even bought this little thing that you put over the top of your plate to keep stuff from splattering all over, but most of the time it just gets left somewhere outside the microwave.

Then, when I finally get fed up enough, I stand on my tippy toes, cursing whoever I think may have left the lid off (totally never me) scrubbing as hard as I can.

Well folks, scrub no more. It really is this easy:

  1. Get a measuring cup or bowl.
  2. Add one cup hot water and one cup white vinegar.
  3. Put in the microwave and turn on for 10 minutes.
  4. When the microwave goes ” beep, beep, beep” wipe it out with a paper towel.

Seriously, wipe it. No scrubbing necessary. The way it works is that the water and vinegar basically steam clean the inside of your microwave. It’s so freaking easy!

You’re welcome.

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend we were invited to join our good friends the Waters’ and the DeBenedets at a beautiful cabin in the Sequoia National Park. We drove down on Friday morning and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out, enjoying some drinks, and cooking some of those awesome street tacos my hubby makes. I felt terrible that everyone had to put up with my post-Alcatraz cold all weekend – I alternated between Dayquil and Nyquil as appropriate and tried to contain myself.

On Saturday, armed with Dayquil, we headed out for a little hike. The view at Panoramic Point was stunning – you could see the whole valley, including Hume Lake:

Hume Lake
Hume Lake

I loved the cabin – it’s a real log cabin, with all of the amenities, with the exception of WiFi and cell service. It was kind of nice to be disconnected from the world for a little bit! My favorite part was the gigantic fireplace – we made s’mores every night!

LOVE This Fireplace!
LOVE This Fireplace!

Click on over to my Facebook page to see more pictures!

Finally, I want to reflect on the reason for having today off… it’s not just another day off work and a chance to spend time with family and friends. We need to remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we have the wonderful freedoms that many of us take for granted every day. So thank you to all of our service members who gave their lives, to all those who have served or are currently serving, and to their families, who also sacrifice. Happy Memorial Day!

Sharkfest!

Well, today was the big Sharkfest Alcatraz swim… I’m proud to say I not only completed it, but did it in 36 minutes and 42 seconds, much faster than I was anticipating! For those of you who don’t know, this is a 1.5 mile swim that starts at the Alcatraz Island, crosses the San Francisco Bay, and ends at the Aquatic Park.

Yesterday before we left town, I headed over to get a mani/pedi and decided to go with a shark theme. I think it turned out really cute, especially considering I had to explain what a shark was to the nail lady. I did get some compliments on the ferry this morning, so I consider them a hit!

Shark!!!
Shark!!!

After that, we dropped Shadow at the kennel and headed for the Bay. Little did we know until about a week ago, but today San Francisco hosted the Amgen Tour of California, Sharkfest, AND Bay To Breakers. No wonder we had a really hard time finding a hotel! We ended up at a shady place out in Alameda, but it was clean and we got there late, so all we did was sleep.

This morning started with a 4:30am wakeup. Those of you that know me know that I get really nervous before races. I normally have an upset stomach, a hard time eating, and sometimes a headache. This morning actually felt pretty good… honestly, the best I’ve felt in a long time about any race. We headed over the Bay Bridge (note to self: they don’t take credit cards, so if you don’t have the cash, you get a $30 toll violation) and into the city. One thing I have to give the race organizers credit for was being very clear on what roads were closed – they gave fantastic directions into the city and listed out the times that the different roads would close.

Once we got to the Bay and parked, it was time to walk in. We had about a mile walk to the check in, but it was along the shore and was really nice. The weather could not have been more beautiful today… clear (no fog at all!), warm, and calm. We stood in line to get our hands marked (you had to have your numbers on both), get our mandatory yellow swim caps, get our timing chips, and pick up the very important t-shirts. My favorite part of any race is the t-shirt/medal!

Swim Shirt
Swim Shirt

After that was the inevitable wait… the sucky part. We hit the porta-potties and then did what I’ve now termed as “the wetsuit wiggle”. Those of you who have ever watched someone try to put on a wetsuit know that there is generally a lot of wiggling, sweating, and pulling. Now imagine ~800 people doing that. It was pretty hilarious. We had the pre-race briefing and then it was time for what the organizers called the race “parade”, which basically consisted of all 800 people walking about a mile to get on the ferries (there were 2).

Once we got on board, we headed out to the Bay. Everyone was excited and talking – either asking questions about where to sight (you have to pick a point to swim at and stick to it – if you’re not careful you can get caught in this funky current that sweeps you towards the Golden Gate Bridge) or sharing past Sharkfest experiences. At this point, I still wasn’t that nervous. Once we got out to the island we had to wait for about 20 minutes and then they opened the doors. This was where shit got real – you made the jump from ferry to water. Mike and I were some of the first swimmers in the water. It was not nearly as cold as I had expected… my hands and feet were a little cold, but I had been expecting to feel like I had hypothermia.

We waited about 10-15 minutes for the rest of the people to jump and then the ferry horn blew. Everyone started cheering and screaming and swimming. The beginning was a little scary only because everyone was all bunched together and swimming over the top of each other. Once I got into my own space and my rhythm it felt pretty good! I even made a point to stop about halfway across to look back at the island and to look over at the Golden Gate – how many people get to see those things from the water in the middle of the Bay?

My sighting was almost dead on – I came in pretty darned close to where I wanted. The problem was that I was about 100 yards off and right in the really strong current, so for a minute I had to swim like hell to get away from it. I actually had the conscious thought “this is how people drown in the ocean!”. After that it was smooth sailing in… the finish was lined with people cheering and a bunch of guys dressed like prisoners (get it? Alcatraz?). I headed over to the refreshment area where I had the best cup of water and trail mix of my life! Then I met up with Mike (who finished about 2 minutes after me).

Post-Swim Car Shot
Post-Swim Car Shot

This race was so much fun! I’m so glad I did it and I might even do it again next year!

Bucket List Update:

  • Buy a house – completed 2007
  • Get married – completed 2011
  • Run a marathon – completed 2012
  • Ride my bike up the Alp d’Huez – completed 2012
  • Swim Alcatraz – completed 2013
  • Own a horse
  • Have babies
  • Climb Half Dome
  • See the Fall on the East coast
  • Visit Africa
  • Visit Australia

Favorite Song Friday – “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On”

It’s that time again, and this week’s song has seriously been stick in my head. It’s from the Pistol Annies album and is called “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On”. It’s one of those bluesy, all girl songs and I can’t get enough of it!

Unfortunately, there’s not a video yet, so we’ll have to make do with the lyric video below.

Muffuletta

Tonight we finally tried the panini portion of our favorite grill pan (Le Creuset). We have a great panini cookbook and I wanted to try the muffuletta recipe… it was so delicious… almost as yummy as the ones I had in New Orleans (almost).

Enjoy!

Muffuletta
Muffuletta

Ingredients

2 round Italian rolls

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Sicilian-style mixed olive salad (I made my own – oregano, black olives, green olives, and garlic chopped and mixed)

2 ounces mortadella, thinly sliced

2 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced

2 ounces capicola (or Italian ham), thinly sliced

2 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Directions

Preheat your sandwich grill or pan. Place the rolls, cut sides down, on a work surface and brush the crust sides with the olive oil. Turn, oiled side down, and divide the olive salad between the bottom halves of the rolls. Layer on the mortadella, provolone, capicola, and mozzarella on top. Cover with the top halves of the rolls, oiled sides up, and press to pack gently.

Place the panini on the grill and close the top plate. Cook until the bread is golden, the meats are warmed, and the cheese is nearly melted (3 to 5 minutes).

 

Annie Up

I know I said that I would be reviewing Blake Shelton’s new album, but while I was buying music, I decided to give the Pistol Annies new album, Annie Up a try.

Annie Up
Annie Up

I love, love, love this album. The songs are all written by some combination of the three girls in the band, which I love. The first track, “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On” is possibly up there as one of my favorite songs ever… it’s a bluesy and has some amazing harmonies. I love the lyric, “Give me tall, dark, and handsome, mix it up with something strong, I feel a sin coming on”.

The rest of the album covers everything from broken hearts to true love. I seriously love this album – I give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Favorite Songs: “I Feel A Sin Comin’ On”, “Blues, You’re A Buzzkill”, “Loved By A Workin’ Man”, and “Happily Unmarried”