Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tomato & Fresh Greens Pizza

I think I’m going to start a new series on the blog … Food You Shouldn’t Eat on a First Date! It’s messy … and it sure isn’t pretty when you’re eating it. J and I are on a mission to create a tasty homemade pizza dough from scratch. So … while we’re experimenting with pizza crust, we are naturally a little experimental with the toppings as well. This is the perfect summer pizza!

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat pizza dough. I use this recipe.
  • 2 big handfuls of mixed greens (we love arugula & baby spinach)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (torn into small pieces)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Dash of lemon pepper seasoning

How to make:

  • Follow the instructions for making your pizza dough. Most recipes require a few hours to let the dough rise.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Shape your pizza dough into a ball, then use your hands to pick up the ball. Stretch into an even circle (to your desired thickness).
  • Brush with a bit of olive oil.
  • Put in oven for 5 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, remove the dough (it will not be completely cooked). Flip the dough, brush with olive oil then sprinkle with salt.
  • Continue baking until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven to cool for 2 minutes.
  • While crust is baking, mix greens, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, cheese and a drizzle of olive oil in a bowl.
  • After pizza comes out of the oven, and cooled for two minutes, cut into squares. Then top pizza with salad mixture & serve immediately.
Enjoy!

 

 

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The Bad News …

Did you see our good news? Well, in true Jim & Ravyn style … we knew something bad was coming our way. After signing the contract on Friday, we were faced with a broken oven. After thinking it might just be the coils, it turned out, it’s more than likely the computer. A pricey repair.

Then, this morning, we woke up to a ‘drip, drip, drip’ … Our 20-year-old water heater was leaking. In all fairness, that thing has held up way longer than it probably should have. Jim took the day off and went to the hardware store to buy a new, beautiful water heater. We just turned her on and fired her up. Soon, we’ll have hot water. After sitting the old water heater out by the curb, it was gone in about 4 minutes. We immediately wondered if we should have taken it to scrap for the $ … Obviously it’s worth something considering it wasn’t even on the curb for 5 minutes!

Of course, both of this things were expensive to fix. In a time that every dollar in our bank account should be going towards our road trip and new apartment, it’s frustrating when we have to keep spending it on things on this house. Like I said, whenever we have super awesome moments in life, there’s always that one thing that keeps us humble. One step forward, two steps back … But guess what, next time, we’re jumping forward … maybe even hanging on the back of a truck while riding a skateboard. That means, the two-steps-back won’t be so bad in comparison.

Cheers,

R

The Good News …

Sorry we’ve neglected to update everyone on the status of the selling situation. First of all … we have to say THANK YOU to everyone for the prayers and good thoughts over the past few weeks. Selling a home is emotionally draining, and the fact that our family and friends have been there to support us, has meant the world. So thank you!

And … now for the good news: As of last Friday at 5:00 PM, we are officially under contract to sell the house. We accepted the buyer’s 4th counter offer, and we couldn’t be more excited. Well, we would be more excited if we were making money at all … but all in all, we’re just so excited that the hardest part is over.

We’re just waiting to get the inspection scheduled. After the inspection, we can get really excited, as that’s the point where they could back out if something major showed up. Fortunately, we just bought the house 3 years ago, and all of the hazardous things that were found by our inspector were fixed before we moved in. **UPDATE: Turns out our inspector sucked. The inspection wasn’t as great as we thought.**

So now, it’s just a waiting game. We wait for the inspection, then we wait for closing … which is on or before September 30th. In all honesty, it still doesn’t feel like it’s 100% real. I am sure once we start packing and getting ready to sell everything, things will start feeling like a wheel rolling down a hill. We can’t wait!

PB2 :: Powdered Peanut Butter

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a reaction to a post on Facebook/Twitter as I did when I mentioned we’ve been eating powdered peanut butter. I mean, I had never heard of it until I was going research on the best smoothie ingredients. But, once we found it, we were hooked.

So, basically … this is just like regular peanut butter, only, you have to add a little water to make it creamy. It’s perfect for smoothies & baking, because working with it in its powdered form is much easier (and less sticky).

When you’re in the mood for some creamy peanut butter goodness, all you do is mix with a little water … a 2:1 water:peanut butter ratio. It’s simple.

There might be other brands out there ??? Not sure, I didn’t look anywhere else because I heard PB2 was the end-all-be-all for powdered pb. So, you can find it here. The have the regular pb and chocolate. I opted for the regular. The smallest order is 4 jars, and costs $25 including shipping. That might seem a bit pricey right outside the gate, but it comes down to $6.25/jar including shipping, and it goes further than a jar of regular pb. The site has tons of recipes too if you’re wondering how you can use it!

If you order it, let us know what you think!!! I think we can start a PB2 movement … whether my dad (a dedicated JIF man) likes it or not! ;)

Dreaming of Oregon

Last night … I had a dream about Oregon. Is that a good sign of things to come? In this dream, we had the cutest little home with a picturesque yard to photograph. Our dream is so close we can almost reach out and touch it. Just a few more faxes, signatures, emails, negotiating. We’re so grateful for these people who are wanting to make our current home theirs, and we’re hoping we can all come to a compromise that will make both sides happy!

I thought it would be fun to share 11 (I couldn’t narrow it down) of my favorite iPhone images/memories from our last vacation to Oregon:

Obviously, the flight(s) to Oregon are always awesome. I’m always slightly buzzed on Xanax during the flight (hey, I’m a nervous flyer … it takes the edge off and makes the day really enjoyable), and we always leave early in the morning, so we get to see the sun rise from the airplane .

Our last trip was especially awesome because Amy (our BFF) had NO idea we were coming out. Rob (our other BFF and her hubby) and I planned the whole thing without Jimmy or Amy knowing. I told Jimmy 4 days before we left. Amy found out when we showed up at her door. Rob took a video … I still need to get my hands on it!

Exploring the city of Portland is always fun. This is near Washington Park on the something-something viaduct bridge. I think. That is a mental-notes fail.

The Oregon coast is long and is a mix between beautiful sandy beaches and huge cliffs. We stopped in Oceanside (I think! Again, memory failure) one day … this lighthouse was the first I had ever seen up close. Some little jerks shot the glass with bullets, so it was under repair, but it was still so cool to see.

Instead of sand, some of the beaches are covered with potato size (or bigger) stones. As the water from the ocean rushes in and out, the rocks are turned and tumbled, creating a beautiful, peaceful rumble. That little spot was amazing.

Another shot of the coast. I wish I could build a little cottage and perch it right there on the top of that cliff.

Then, there’s the food! From the food carts downtown, to the microbreweries, to the vegan/vegetarian restaurants, to the old diners … Portland’s food selection cannot be beat. Before heading up to Mt. Hood, we stopped at Fuller’s Restaurant downtown. It was old. You took a seat where you could. The coffee was hot. The food was greasy. It was spectacular.

Mt. Hood was such an amazing adventure. The day we went up the mountain was perfect. At the top, they had just received 36 inches of snow the day before. Since it was warmer at the bottom, there was this fog that blanketed us as we climbed. Right near this spot was a pioneer woman’s grave. They found her remains (and wagon) while building the road … They relocated her next to the road, gave her a proper burial & headstone. Now, travelers stop, give their respects and leave tokens/trinkets at her grave. It was so cool to think of all of the people that had to give their lives to follow their dreams in the Pacific Northwest … It was once uncharted territory. Stories like that give me goosebumps!

The higher up we got … the foggier it got. The snow was deep, but the roads were perfectly clear. I’m sure they would laugh at the 6 inches of snow that bring the midwest to a halt at times. It was the first time we saw snow last year.

We got to the Timberline Lodge in time to grab a cozy seat by a huge window … We all drank hot coffee with Baileys and soaked it all in. This lodge was built by hand. Huge beams were fitted together around a towering stone fireplace, and every corner of it was filled with history.

Then, there was the trip home. Of course it was sad … But in the sadness, there was happiness. At that point, we knew for sure that we’d be moving. Also, the day was clear, meaning we had a beautiful view of the mountains as we were taking off. It’s still hard for me to fathom that we’ll be living amongst this beauty in a matter of months.

Every time we tell people we’re moving to the Northwest, we get the same question: Why? Hopefully this helps you to understand a bit.

Making Our Own Protein Powder Mix

It’s been a little over a month since we started making protein smoothies each morning for breakfast. It’s amazing that a glass of fruit (and some other good stuff) is enough to keep us full all morning and into the afternoon. Since we started our smoothie adventure, we’ve been looking for ways to make them even healthier. My searches kept leading me back to this point: we needed to make our own protein powder mix. That’s where the oh-so-awesome Emily (Daily Garnish) came into play. When I Googled, “How to make your own protein powder mix” … Her blog popped up with an amazing post about this topic. Her mix is a little different than ours, so be sure to check out both!

After I knew what we’d need to put in our protein mix, I went to Nuts Online to buy most of the ingredients. If you’ve never shopped with them before, you have got to visit their site. Their customer service is amazing … they even sent us little samples of other things they thought we’d like. Everything was personalized, and it was just a great experience.

Okay, let’s get to it!! Our protein powder base is the Organic Hemp Protein Powder from Trader Joes. It’s vegan, organic and yummy. At just $10 for 16 oz. it’s a great buy. Other than that, we bought almost everything else from Nuts Online. Keep in mind, the protein mix we made didn’t use all of any ingredient (or even close), so we’ll only have to buy a few times a year … meaning it’s a HUGE savings in the long run!

So here’s what we put into the main mix:

  • 2 cups protein powder Next time around I might add a 1/2 cup more protein powder. I love this stuff so much!
  • 1 cup ground brown flax Full of fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids … It’s a great supplement in a vegetarian diet.
  • 1/3 cup maca powder A root from South America. Great for a little energy boost, full of calcium, iron, and amino acids & even has been known to boost libido … bow chicka bow wow!
  • 2 tbsp & 2 tsp chlorella powder A green algae that’s packed with 10 times as much chlorophyll as alfalfa and wheatgrass. Tons of protein. It’s full of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B12, C, and E. It smells like … algae, or something really green.
  • 4 tsp spirulina Another algae. It’s a complete protein, and it’s more easily absorbed than protein in meat or soy. That’s not it. This algae has been known to help seasonal allergies, work as an anti-inflammatory, and lower cholesterol & blood pressure. It also packs vitamins A thru E, potassium and calcium. This one smells like fish food. It was a little rough at first, but you cannot taste it when it’s mixed into your smoothie!!!
  • 4 tsp cinnamon Jimmy likes to add cinnamon to his smoothies, so I thought I’d add it to the entire mix. It tastes amazing, and cinnamon has great effects on your metabolism.

I just put everything in our food processor and combined.  After it was mixed, I put it in a container and will store in the refrigerator (which is also where I keep my ingredients to store them). 

So … to make our smoothies, we add:

  • 1/4 cup of protein powder mix
  • banana (or avocado)
  • a handful frozen fruit
  • 1 squirt of agave nectar (this adds sweetness)
  • a small bunch of fresh spinach
  • a little soy milk
  • water to cover fruit
  • Jimmy puts a scoop of BP2 (powdered peanut butter) in his instead of the fruit … Though, I’m trying to convince him to use mango, too!

Here’s my smoothie from this morning. I’ll be completely honest: It tastes different than it used to. Adding the maca and algae gives it a more earthy taste, but not in a bad way at all. It’s 2:30, and I still haven’t eaten lunch … this little smoothie is keeping me full, alert and I have a ton of energy.


If you’re active … an athlete … or often skip breakfast, you should start making these smoothies. The health benefits are amazing, and I feel so great all day. Let me know what you think!!

America’s Funniest Videos

I saw this video montage today and it made me laugh. Out loud. J and I have always had a thing for the montage clips from AFV. I thought this one was particularly appropriate considering it’s nice and warm outside.

Selling Our Home.

So, good news: one of our showings from yesterday is at the house as we speak for a 2nd showing. Such exciting news. Thanks to all for your prayers. Keeping our fingers crossed!! Updates soon.

UPDATE (8/22/11): So … the couple came through the home for the 2nd time on Saturday. After hearing the feedback, we know they are seriously considering our house. Today is the day we were told we’d hear from them. It was hard to sleep last night … and today, we’re ridden with anxiety. The thought that an offer could be on the table by the end of the day is hard to even comprehend. We do know from their feedback that they think the home is ‘slightly overpriced’, so who knows if the offer will be something we could work with … that is, if there is an offer. We’re really hoping to have an update for everyone soon! I’d like to thank everyone for their prayers & wishes … We had a great weekend of showings & our open house went well. We still have time if this particular couple decides to move on, but it would be absolutely amazing to get an offer today.

UPDATE (8/23/11): Just got off the phone with Ron (our amazing realtor). He said he spoke with the buyer’s agent, and …. DRUMROLL …. We’ll be getting an offer this evening. We have NO idea what kind of offer it is. Apparently, all cash, not asking for closing costs, which is nice, but it leads us to believe it’ll be a little lower than we’re hoping. But, we can negotiate. Hell, if it’s even close to our asking price (or our range), we’ll probably just say YES! This just became so real. Again, we’ll be updating SOOOOON with what happens. SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY!!!! *And yes, we know anything could go wrong with the inspection or contract or whatever else. We aren’t getting overly excited … but this is amazing news and we’re pretty happy!

UPDATE (8/24/11): Forgot to update yesterday. So, we did receive an offer on the 23rd. It was much less than I was expecting, but our realtor said it was spot on for the typical percentage. Good news. So, we countered … then they countered … then we countered again last night. We’re hoping to hear back from them this afternoon. We’re already below what we were hoping for (just a little bit), so it’s just a matter of bringing them up ever so slightly! Fingers crossed that they are still as engaged as they were 3 days ago. This couple seems very nice and easy to work with (this far, at least). Hopefully, we’ll have this house sold by the weekend.

Black Bean Burger w/ Salsa Blanca & Rice

Everyone stop what you’re doing … Grab a pencil, write this recipe down, then go to the store. This is probably the best thing I’ve ever made. Seriously … even better than the beef wellington I made before I went veg. We love Mexican food in this house … it’s so easy to modify recipes to make them vegetarian. It’s often very fresh, too. I first saw this recipe over on Hello Giggles. I modified it JUST a little bit to use a few ingredients we had at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (I just typed evoo, then refused to be ‘that girl’)
  • 1 tomato (sliced)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp mayo (or veganaise)
  • 2 tbsp plain, greek yogurt
  • 1 chipotle pepper (in adobo)
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (we love Tobasco)
  • 2 limes
  • 1 cup prepared rice
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • salt & pepper

How to make (makes 2 servings):

  • Preheat oven to 350 (or, in my case, warm a saute pan. Our oven wasn’t working for some odd reason, so I had to cook them in a  pan)
  • Cook rice according to directions on package.
  • Put black beans in a bowl. Use a fork to mash beans … You don’t when them completely mashed, so maybe 3/4 mashed. Then, add breadcrumbs and 1/2 of the oil. Stir together, add more oil & bread crumbs if needed. Consistency should be thick enough to make patties.
  • Split mixture in two. Make two even patties. Put in oven for 20 minutes (or saute in pan for 7 minutes on each side, medium heat).
  • Once rice is done, stir in a little olive oil, juice from a lime, cilantro, and s&p. Stir together, remove from heat.
  • In small bowl, mix together avocado, juice from 1/2 of lime, and s&p.
  • In another small bow, mix together mayo, yogurt, juice from 1/2 a lime, chipotle pepper, and hot sauce (if you’re not into really spicy food, you should omit the hot sauce … you can always add more later if needed).
  • Once everything is done, you’re ready to assemble: black bean patty on the bottom, then place sliced tomato, 1/2 of the avocado mixture and 1/2 of the salsa blanca on top. Serve with cilantro lime rice.
Enjoy!

A Wish & A Prayer

“A goal is a dream with a timeline” … I saw that last week, and it stuck with me. J and I have never really wished for much. Since we started dating, we sort of took our lives into our hands and made it what we wanted it to be. Now that our house has been on the market for 118 days (and counting), we’re realizing more and more that our fate is currently in the hands of someone/something else.

There’s much more riding on this move than the move itself. Since we decided we were heading to Portland, things have sort of been on pause. Besides the love we have for each other, neither have us have ever felt a feeling so strongly as we do for Oregon. Every ounce of our beings knows that this is the place we’re meant to be. So, each day that the house sits on the market, without an offer, is a little bit heartbreaking. J’s architecture certification is in the balance. The start of our own family is in the balance. And, if we’re keeping it real, our complete happiness is in the balance. We belong there.

With that said … we were hoping we could ask everyone for a wish … or a prayer … whatever it is you do. We lowered the price of the house last week and since then, we’ve had a crazy amount of interest. This weekend (starting tomorrow afternoon), we have 3 showings and an open house.  This is huge! We’ve never had so much traffic through the house. So, if you could all say a prayer for us, we’d really really really appreciate it. We think this weekend might be IT!

Plus, we’ve been saving a bottle of bubbly since the house went on the market a few months ago … and we’d love to drink it!