The End of an Era

Well, I figured out why I can’t upload pictures anymore–I used up all of my 10gb space upgrade already! It was $20, and the next space upgrade is $50, then $100, and so on.

I really love writing this blog, but I don’t know if I want to spend that much money every year funding it when I clearly haven’t turned out to be a well-paid food blogger. (My new dream is to be a food critic–how awesome would that be?!)

So I guess this might be the end of my blog. I think I’ll try to transfer all of my good recipes (like the pretzel dough pizza crust) onto my Facebook page and keep that running.

It was wonderful to be part of the food-blog community, if only for a little while. Thank you to all of my readers!

GOOD NEWS!

I had to post again today, because it feels like the day he-who-must-not-be-named was vanquished!

I got a call about an hour ago from our apartment manager saying she approved an application, and someone will be moving into our apartment. Huzzah! At the worst, we’ll have to pay one month’s rent for the place we’re leaving, but she’s trying to convince the guy to move in mid-October so we can split the cost.

This means we don’t have to give up eating, health insurance, or our phones! Gosh, I am so relieved.

This whole situation was causing a lot of stress on me and Dave, and I’m glad we can just deal with the stress of moving without all the other stuff mixed in.

Thank you to everyone for your well wishes, status shares, vent release , and jars of mustard.

I don’t want to advocate being irrational, but sometimes unexpectedly good things do happen. So take that, world. I’ve got you on a string right now.

Thursday Things

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to post since I’m not allowed to upload any more pictures yet (boo. hiss.), but I can’t stop talking. It feels like I’m talking to friends when I type everything out. So I’m just going to babble.

1. Last night, I made two delicious pizzas. One was sweet potato, caramelized onions, and kalamata olives with a pureed tofu and mozzarella base seasoned with thyme and fresh rosemary. << Make this.  The other one was pesto, diced tomatoes, zucchini, and caramelized onions. Yum.

2. I went for my HRA for my new job yesterday (for those of you not in the medical field, it stands for “health risk assessment”). We went over all of my medical history and medications, and then she stabbed me.

Once for a tetanus shot, once for a tb skin test, and once to draw five vials of blood for lab work to determine if I have any presence of heptatis, hiv, measles, mumps, chicken pox, etc. Then I had a flu nasal spray (instead of a shot). Then I had to get fit tested for a surgical mask, which included six minutes of breathing exercises. I can hardly lift my right arm because it’s so sore, but I still feel invincible.

3. My sister Emily called me while I was at the hospital in Appleton to ask if she could borrow my pin-up girl swimsuit for some sort of zombie photoshoot. Whatever people say about the Leahys, we’re never boring!

4. Davy came home yesterday! I hadn’t seen him since Sunday night, because they kept him on overnight routes for two days in a row. Home isn’t as much fun without him.

5. Dave took off next Thursday and Friday to move. Looks like we only have one more week in Green Bay.

Getting Creative

My meals are going to get real creative this week. We haven’t made a grocery store run in a few weeks, and I’m trying to use up what we have to save money and the hassle of moving it.

Last night’s dinner was a crab salad wrap made from some thawed crab chunks Dave must have had in the freezer for crab rangoon (mixed with minced red onion, celery, dijon mustard, tabasco, miracle whip, salt, and pepper), mashed potatoes made from a box of flakes I bought to make soup two years ago, and roasted balsamic green beans from a bag I found in the freezer.

While I was making dinner last night, I was also prepping dinner for tonight, because I have to hightail it to Appleton after work for an HRA. I found a “suggestion” in my Vegetarian Times magazine for a pizza with tofu, sweet potatoes, caramelized onion, and kalamata olives that sounded pretty good. I caramelized the onions last night and roasted the sweet potatoes along with the green beans.

I also shredded the cheese, because pizza needs cheese. I like tofu as much as the next adventurous eater, but don’t take away my cheese!

While I was cooking up a storm in the kitchen, wearing my see-through yoga pants and a baggy Flogging Molly t-shirt, the doorbell rang. Apparently I have no concept of time, because when I came home from work to see a sign on our door saying maintenance was coming on the 24th, I thought that was Wednesday. No such luck. The maintenance man got to see me and my boxed-up apartment in all our glory.

On another note, my photos refuse to upload to the blog anymore. And since a blog is boring without pictures, I think I’m going to take a break so I can figure out my computer. And my life. 😀

If you want to know what my next post is, “like” Designs on Dinner on Facebook or enter your email to subscribe! Otherwise just check back in a week. I’ll probably be here.

Keep Swimming

I upgraded my phone to the new ios7 program last week. Since I don’t know much about smartphones, I didn’t find out until afterwards that it’s smarter to wait a few weeks until all the kinks are worked out. Noted.

Fortunately, I wasn’t having any problems with my phone until this morning when I tried to upload all the pictures I took this weekend and received plenty of “ERROR: INCORRECT FILE FORMAT” or “ERROR: UNABLE TO SAVE.” Boo. Hiss.

I was able to salvage three pictures from the thirty I took. I really hope this problem goes away. A life without pictures is a sad life.

Look who made us dinner Friday night!

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Shelby invited a few people over Friday night for a delicious honey-mustard marinated, roasted chicken.

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And potatoes with garlic and herbs.

Because it’s physically impossible for me to arrive empty-handed (and I was really bored sitting alone by myself Friday afternoon), I brought a couscous salad.

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Our apartment is a mess. I’ve packed up all my books and removed all the artwork from the walls to spackle and clean. We still haven’t heard for sure if anyone is moving into our apartment, althought the apartment manager told me yesterday that she has a very promising application.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep my head about me. It seems silly to hope for something good to happen when almost nothing unexpectedly good ever happens to us. And our apartment is far from cozy while I wait to find out my future.

Luckily I’ve still got my friends and my Davy to help me keep swimming.

I’m Bound to Pack it Up

Guys, I cooked last night!

After doing three loads of laundry, emptying the dishwasher (one of my least favorite tasks ever, and I have no idea why), and packing up all of my books.

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Dave said he was waiting for a definite sign that we’re moving and that this is probably it. When Chel packs up her books, she means business. I could have easily used all the boxes I had just to pack my books, so I started putting them in plastic grocery bags from all those times I’ve forgotten my tote bags at home.

The kitties think it’s a jungle gym.

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Now I just have to hope Artemis doesn’t view it as a giant litter box and start peeing on all of my books.

I packed up my books while re-watching Downton Abbey. That show is so good! I really want Dave to watch it with me, because I think he’d like it. I love BBC.

For dinner, I had to use the pollock that was thawed in the refrigerator. Dave took it out the night before, and we each tried to convince the other one to cook dinner before we ended up ordering Jimmy John’s.

In an effort to use up the food in our pantry, I pulled out a can of crab and decided to make crab-stuffed pollock. It wasn’t really stuffed, since there was more crab mixture than pollock, but I’m counting that as a win.

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I keep buying crab to make crab cakes, and I always end up using it for something else. I swear, one day I will make crab cakes for dinner.

I also chopped up a small red onion from my Dad’s garden.

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Then I just started throwing things together in a bowl.

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One can of lump crab meat, one small chopped red onion, some truffle oil and breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Then I grated the last of the parmesan cheese into the bowl and mixed it all up with my hands.

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I had three fillets that I cut into nine pieces. I put five on the bottom of the casserole dish, layered the crab mixture, then topped it with the remaining four pieces.

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Along with the fish dish, I roasted some veggies: broccoli, two peppers from my dad’s garden, tossed with five cloves of sliced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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I roasted the veggies at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and the fish at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

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After I pulled the veggies out, I added a little lemon juice and a big handful of chopped cilantro.

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While the fish and veggies were cooking, I fried some capers in a tiny bit of olive oil on the stove and added them on top of the fish.

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I served my dinner with a chunk of sourdough bread leftover from the French bakery at the farmer’s market last Saturday. The whole dinner was just delightful. I loved the cilantro with the veggies, something I always forget to use in anything not Mexican-themed. And the pollock mixed with crab, capers, and parmesan was wonderful: a perfect combination of textures and flavors.

I feel like I haven’t seen Dave at all this week, so I’m really looking forward to the weekend!

Moving Nightmares

Apparently I’m interfering with Dave’s routine by not posting regularly, and I certainly can’t have that. That man is committed to his routine like no other.

This week has been nuts to say the least. Since this whole moving thing happened relatively quickly, we didn’t have a chance to talk to the apartment manager about moving out until a few weeks ago. Apparently they really like us and don’t want us to go. The apartment manager told me Monday that we could give our sixty days notice, but we’d be committed to paying our rent every month until May unless they found someone to move in.

So, yeah, I had a bit of a meltdown. For a few days, I felt like I was hanging precariously in between two places: a job I’ve resigned from and a job I’ve accepted, an apartment in Green Bay, and a house in Stevens Point.

The apartment manager, Sarah, finally agreed to let me see if I could find my own tenant, and I posted on Craigslist with two responses. One girl didn’t show up, and the other couple came last night. Sarah sent me an email saying the last one bedroom apartment just rented out after only a week, so ours is the only one left. Huzzah! We signed our sixty days notice. So now we play the waiting game. But I’m committed to this game, and I intend to win.

Yesterday, I started the dreaded task of cleaning out my closet. It always turns into a fashion show when I do that. If I haven’t worn it in six months, it goes into the “giveaway” pile, but if I’m not sure, I try it on and decide if it’s still my style.

Artemis was a great help.

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Whatcha doing, Mom?

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How come you didn’t invite me in?

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Can I come in yet?

I finally ended up with five grocery bags of clothes to donate to Goodwill.016

 

Since I gave away a lot of work clothes that I didn’t like anymore, I headed inside after I stopped at the Donation Drive-Thru.

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I walked out with $30 of new clothes. Dave thinks it’s incredible that I can spend that much money at Goodwill. I think it’s because I’m an experienced thrift shopper, and he should be glad I shop at Goodwill instead of Chanel.

I headed over to a place I worked for five years to pick up some moving boxes. My old boss Steve graciously had everyone saving boxes for me. 😀

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Kitties love moving.

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So, what else have I been doing? Spot cleaning (I asked my sister Moriah to help me with the real cleaning). Pulling out all the nails and spackling. Hanging out with my friend Shelby and her two cats, Kaylee and Zoe.

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Rummaging through my old paperwork. I found this gem in my marriage license folder.

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I haven’t cooked yet this week, but Dave did.

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Yummy pizzas with avocado.

We have pollock thawing in the fridge for dinner, so I’m debating between making fish curry or just slathering the pollock with my creamy caper dill mustard.

My brain is still kind of a mess, but I’m trying to forge on. Today I’m going to pack up my books in such a way that Dave thinks they’re really light and lets me have more.

Adventures of the House Hunters

For the first time possibly ever, the weekend feels longer than normal. Saturday was like two days rolled into one.

Our adventures started Friday afternoon when I raced home from work, hopped in Dave’s car with him and a couple overnight bags, and sailed to Appleton for a drug test for my new job.

Passed with flying colors! I’ve never had a urine drug test before, only a hair test, so it certainly was an adventure. We hopped back on the highway and made the trek (for the five hundredth time) to Stevens Point.

Emily had a meeting with her co-workers at a local bar, so we met Dan there and had a couple drinks while they talked music (Em is a music teacher). Afterwards, we headed to Schmeekle Reserve for an evening walk.

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I plan to make this my running trail.

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The rest of the night was spent at Dan and Em’s house doing our fabulous foursome thing.

Saturday morning we awaited the arrival of Dan’s mom Ceci so we could all go to the market together.

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Guess what? It’s boot season!

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The market is still going strong! I really wanted to pick up some bread from the market, and we were in luck. Both the Amish and the French baker were there.

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Just look at that beautiful bread. We bought a sourdough bulle and a French baguette from the (obviously) French bakery and a loaf of Rosemary Garlic bread from the Amish family. Dave and I only stayed at the market a little while, because we had an appointment at 11:30 to meet at an office regarding a duplex we thought we were interested in. Key word: thought.

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This was the “office.”

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This was the landlord’s house next to the “office,” pigeon coop and all.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the duplex. Pros: nothing. Cons: EVERYTHING. It was in the sketchiest part of town, and the duplex was completely ripped up despite the fact that it was “move-in-ready” two weeks ago. The toilet, which was perched on top of the sink instead of on the floor, threatened syphilis if we ever sat upon it. We took all of five minutes looking at the place, before Dave checked his phone and said, “Oh, honey, we better get going so we can get to our next appointment at noon.” True love.

We were five feet outside the door when I said, “Is it too soon to start laughing?”

It was not. We laughed our way all to Graffiti’s, where we promptly ordered Bloody Marys.

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Dave said, “I would rather sleep in a tent than live in that duplex.” My husband is not an outdoorsy person, and sleeping in a tent is one of his versions of hell. That’s how bad the duplex was.

Dan, Em, and Ceci met us back at Graffiti’s and we shared some appetizers while we waited for our next appointment (which was actually at one).

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Crab roll-ups.

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And cheese curds.

Then we made our trek to look at a small house for rent. Pros: good neighborhood, inexpensive, has a yard (with a garden for Chel!) and a fire pit, and has a guest bedroom. Cons: the house needs a little love (hem, work), it’s not very attractive on the outside, and the inside is set up a little wonky.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of time to keep looking, so we decided to apply for the house. I’m more excited than Dave is, but maybe that’s because I have a big imagination. I did not have a big enough imagination for that duplex. *shudder*

Stevens Points has a lot of really great antique shops, and we had fun looking at all the treasures.

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And trying on hats.

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I love hats!

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After a few hours of antiquing, we started to head back to Em & Dan’s house, but first we stopped for ice cream.

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Ice cream within walking distance? Win.

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I ordered a small chocolate malt.

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When I worked at Nicolet Restaurant in high school as a toast girl and runner, the waitresses hated making malts and shakes, so they’d pay me $2 to do it.

We brought our ice cream back to the house and chatted for a few more minutes before making the drive back home.

My friend Shelby and her mom came over for a visit, then Tyler.

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We shared a few Harvest Moon beers, pointed out plot holes in Beauty and the Beast, and made sandwiches for dinner.

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Tofurkey, swiss cheese, muenster cheese, pickles, romaine, tomatoes and creamy caper dill mustard on rosemary garlic bread. A perfect sandwich.

I was falling asleep on the couch and finally put myself to bed.

It’s Complicated

I think I am part of the generation that was born just on the cusp of it being simple to get a job. You walked in, filled out an application, had an interview and bam, “You’re hired.”

Now you go into a place of business and are told that applications can only be filled out online. After you access the online job portal and fill out a ten page application, giving all information about yourself that you could possibly give short of what you intend to name a future pet, you receive a phone call to set up a phone interview two or three days from now.

Then you have a phone interview with the same person who called you earlier. (Why couldn’t we have just done the interview then? you wonder). They give you a detailed job description down to what kind of coffee they serve in the break room, explain the benefits offered so you know exactly how many hundreds of dollars will be taken out of your paycheck, and ask about your education. (College, hmm? Well, that’s nice). (Nice? you think. Nice?!?!)

Then you have an in-person interview where they love story time. “Tell me about a time you made your company look like the best company that ever existed.” You stutter for a few minutes before telling a story you think will pass and immediately forget what it was.

Then you have an interview with three to eight employees who sit across from you interrogation-room-style and ask, “What would you do if a customer punched you in the face?”

“Well, I’d thank him for taking the time to punch me, of course.” They’ll smile and jot something in the notebooks they’ve been scribbling in for the last half hour. (Good answer, you hear one of them whisper to another).

Then they offer you a job, but it’s not over yet. First you have to do a drug test in a town 40 minutes away. You can’t be late for your appointment, so you have to race from work on a full bladder. Even if the most deadly drug you’ve ever had is caffeine, you’re still paranoid that they’re going to find cocaine in your system. You start to feel sorry for the guys on Cops. (They really were wrongly accused!).

 A few days later, you fill out a health assesment and drive back to have a complete physical (even though you had one with your regular doctor a few months ago), and document all your medical and personal history. Now they know all the medications you take, that your grandpa died of heart disease, and that you’re currently reading Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts (because reading is one of your hobbies and you have to prove it).

You need a background check too, so you give them your driver’s license, and they find out you got in a car accident seven years ago because you had a bad day at work and the car in front of you had broken tail lights, so you couldn’t tell they were braking and turning in your state of distress.

You give them the year, make, and model of your current car so they can check to see that it’s not a stolen car and find out how you spend your money. (Guess they didn’t pay her well at her last job or she has too many student loans from her “college“).

Before you sign up for health insurance, you need a biometric screening so they can collect blood pressure, cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, fasting glucose, and a body composition measure. Now they know if you eat too much meat, how much you exercise, and how much you weigh. Smokers get a slap on the wrist and a $25.00 charge per paycheck. If you weigh too much, you have to sign up for Jenny Craig or get a $40.00 charge per paycheck. Better put down that cigarette and cookie.

Dinner was easy last night.

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MorningStar veggie burger on an everything bagel with sharp cheddar, spinach, pickles, and creamy caper dill mustard.

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And a side of leftover roasted veggies from the day before.

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I texted Dave while he was at the store to let him know I was having a chocolate emergency. He doesn’t mess around.

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Two “loaded” cookies, which I originally thought were doughnuts.

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An oreo cupcake and a snickers cupcake.

I had a quarter of each of the cupcakes and broke off a small piece from each cookie. Chocolate crisis averted.

I think I’m going to change my job status to “it’s complicated.”