Sushi Night

Last night after work, I took a shower and got all dressed up with no place to go. It was the first weekend that we haven’t had visitors (although my sister Emily is coming tomorrow!) and we weren’t sure what to do. I almost forgot that we don’t need a whole host of people around us to have fun–Dave and I are fun!

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So I suggested a sushi date night.

We’re still figuring out the nooks and crannies of Stevens Point so we googled two sushi restaurants: Matsu Ya and The Bamboo House and decided to try the former for dinner.

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We took a seat at the bar and waited almost ten minutes before anyone came to ask us if we wanted a drink. We ordered a bottle of warm sake to share, which was delicious, then each ordered a beer.

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There’s definitely a lot of Point beer available in this town.

The restaurant wasn’t more than half full, so it was crazy how slow the service was. Everyone working there looked very sad and tired, including the sushi chefs.

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Dave and I have both worked food service before, so we know it isn’t all fun and games, but the staff was barely speaking to each other, much less joking around.

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We noticed a pattern while perusing the menu: “broiled eel,” “fried shrimp,” “smoked salmon” —-almost the entire menu was cooked fish! We weren’t sure if that was so they didn’t have to order sushi-grade fish, but the prices definitely reflected it as it was pretty affordable.

We ordered three rolls to start: a spicy tuna roll, a mackerel roll, and a seaweed salad roll. I was really interested in the seaweed salad roll even though it was vegetarian, because I love the salty, slippery taste of seaweed salad.

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I usually love spicy tuna rolls, but this one was just….weird. I wasn’t entirely convinced the tuna was even raw, because it was chopped up so finely and mixed with a bunch of stuff that I couldn’t really pick out. Dave thought they just did that to stretch the raw tuna, so who knows.

The mackerel roll was average, but by far my favorite was the seaweed salad roll, which I was surprised by, since it didn’t even have any fish in it. As we were eating our sushi, I noticed one of the chefs pour himself a huge tumbler full of wine and start drinking it right behind the bar.

When our glum waitress came back to ask us if we wanted to order more, I said, “No, I’m fine.” Dave later asked, “Do you not want to order more for the same reason I do?” and we shared a knowing look. We’re foodie soulmates. We usually spend almost a hundred dollars when we go out for sushi, so it was shocking when our bill arrived for $26 something, which included our sake and beers.

Since we’re 0 for 2 on sushi restaurants, we decided to stop at the Copps in town to see if they sell grocery store sushi. They do! What a relief.

We were both still hungry when we got home, so I filled myself a wine glass full of Cheez-Its and hunkered down for an episode of Modern Family before turning in early with my book.

The sushi wasn’t great, but at least I had some one-on-one time with my Davy! He turned 27 last Monday and we celebrated the weekend before with a pajama party, cards, The Birdcage, and baklava. I’m still waiting for his birthday present to arrive: a Ghostbusters iPhone case. I guess we should just keep celebrating his birthday until it gets here.

 

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My Bags Are Packed, I’m Ready to Go

Yesterday’s exercise: “running” errands. It counts if I say it does!

As soon as I left work, there was a torrential downpour, complete with lightning. Fun! We haven’t had a thunderstorm in awhile, and I love them. Plus it gave me an excuse to try out the rain jacket I purchased for Alaska.

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It’s a Columbia Women’s Switchback Rain Jacket: the cheapest one I could find at $39.99 that still got decent reviews.

It’s surprisingly warm for how light it is, and it fits like a glove: really not a lot of wiggle room in here. I’m still used to the rain jackets we used to wear up at our cabin.

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Either thick, heavy plastic in bright pink and blue or one like my sister Moriah is posing in, which drowns you before the water gets you. Mine is much classier, at least according to my mom who I ran into at Target: “You look so stylish!” “You mean in my flip flops, rain jacket, and hat?” Apparently it doesn’t take much to make me stylish. I must look like a scrub most of the time.

Errands yesterday included:

  • Picking up prescriptions
  • Calling Cellcom to add roaming minutes
  • Calling my bank to let them know I’m using my debit card in Alaska (which apparently you only have to do if you’re using a credit card or traveling internationally–I heard Russia was right next to Alaska, so I just wanted to give them a head’s up in case I ventured over unexpectedly)
  • Depositing checks at the bank
  • Going to Target for Dramamine, gum, and snacks for the plane

And then I followed my mom’s advice and started packing whilst drinking a glass of wine.

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Look how much room I have left in my suitcase! Plenty of space for someone who wants to hitch a ride or to fill with souvenirs. Hopefully that doesn’t mean I’m forgetting a lot of things.

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Artemis and I developed a special bond when we went to the vet together, and now he doesn’t want me to go. “Papa can’t clean my puke like you can, Mama! Stay! Stay!”

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Meanwhile, Athena gave me the cold shoulder. “Oh, you’re leaving? Fine.”

Dave and I never really decided to do anything last night, so we feasted on a heap ton of sushi and watched I Love Lucy.

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Dave fell asleep with his head on my lap around 9:00pm, and then I went to bed. We’re such party animals.

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I haven’t always been a cat person. Four years ago, I lost one of my best friends. I still think about Sage quite often and remember his funeral like it was yesterday; my family sat in a circle around Sage’s body in the blanket-covered Red Rider wagon, raised a shot of whiskey and drank to the life he had with us, and I finally kissed his furry head and blessed his death with my tears. I miss my little fluffernugget.

Sushi Wednesday

You know what sucks?

Image source: saturdayeveningpost.com

Doing dishes.

We never had a dishwasher growing up, so my first experience with one was while working at Nicolet Restaurant with a commercial dishwasher that had the dishes clean in three minutes flat. When Dave and I moved into our first apartment together, I insisted the dishwasher was broken–“It’s been on for almost a half hour! I think something is wrong!” Dave laughed at me.

I actually don’t mind doing dishes by hand once in awhile and, when I’m baking, I do dishes as I go so it’s a piece of cake. But it is quite irritating that no matter if you’re cooking for two or twelve, you use the same amount of pots and pans. And who has the energy after cooking to wash dishes? Pfft.

Thursday night’s dinner was a two-pot meal: one for the pasta, one for the chicken and sauce. Then the colander. And the tongs. And the spoon. And the spoon rest (ramekin). The plate for the chicken to rest. The dinner, plates, the glasses, the utensils. Sometimes it just seems like too many dishes for only two people!

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Now, Wednesday’s have become one-person days. Dave took a new position at his job which includes an overnight route in the middle of the week. That means I see him Tuesday night when we go to bed, and then I don’t see him again until Thursday afternoon. I thought I would hate it at first, but it actually makes the week go by much faster, and then Dave and I have the weekend to do fun things together.

So what have I been cooking for myself on Wednesdays? Nothing.

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Wednesday is “Sushi Wednesday” at our local grocery store, so it’s become “Sushi Wednesday” for me! The specially marked packaged sushi rolls are only $5, so I’ve taken to buying three rolls and then having half for dinner Wednesday nights and half for lunch the next day.

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I usually buy one specialty roll, one roll with brown rice, and one spring roll. Last night I had a Black Dragon Sea Roll (with eel), a brown rice Spicy Inari Roll (with crab), and a veggie spring roll.

009Then I whip up a quick peanut sauce for dipping the spring roll into–it is my favorite dipping sauce and stir fry sauce. It is so friggin’ delicious, I cannot get enough of it.

  • 2 tbsp powdered peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • pinch of ginger
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • dash of red pepper flakes

* This makes just enough for my dipping sauce, but I usually triple it for stir fries.

Dave loves sushi, so I feel kind of guilty enjoying it without him. Perhaps I should take to making things he doesn’t like but I do on Wednesdays, but those are few and far between: the only things I can think of are mac n’ cheese and cauliflower. I’ll have to ask him for suggestions.

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In the meantime, Wednesdays will be “Sushi Wednesday” for me, and it will give me something to look forward to on a day that might otherwise be lonely.

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The best part? No dishes.

Gym Workout

Yesterday, I did something new. I went to the gym for the first time since college to work out. Crazy! I’m used to using my living room and the Great Outdoors as my exercise space, so this was a nice refresher for my routine.

My sister Emily asked if I wanted to join her at the YMCA so I bought a $10 day pass for the one she attends, which is about eight miles from my apartment. Em is used to using the jogging track, but I wanted to workout like I did in college–with ellipticals! The staff was all friendly and very eager to help us, so after we dropped the little moonbeam off in the childcare section, she showed us to the second floor of the gym. I love that they have a relatively inexpensive childcare section so people like my sister can exercise without worrying about their little ones.

There is a workout room filled with ellipticals, but they had just put them in that day and weren’t quite up and running yet. So we used two of the older ones which were set up on the second floor of the gym, right in the corner of the jogging track.

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It took Em no time at all to get accustomed to the elliptical, and it was fun seeing how long we’d been on it, how many strides we took, and how many calories we burned. I love people-watching (not in a creepy way), so it was also kind of nice having people running around the track and watching people on the first floor do a Cardio Kickboxing class.

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My sisters and I were thinking about taking a kickboxing class together, so it was nice to see that the Y offers them as part of their membership. I love kickboxing with Jillian, but this class looked more cardio and less kickboxing than I’d like, although I did miss the end of it. Still, it would be really fun to do with my sisters. I loved having a workout buddy today.

After 35 minutes and 260 calories, we stretched for a few minutes, then hightailed it back to the Kid’s Corner to pick up Aurelia, where the caregiver informed Emily that she didn’t make a peep, just played with toys on the floor. Best baby ever.

Now I’m on the fence about getting a gym membership. I’ve never had one before, because I hate the idea of how much money I would pay every year to exercise when I can do it for free. On the other hand, it was so much fun going with my sister, and it was awesome seeing such a large group of people be active around me–very inspiring. The membership is $42 dollars a month which includes access to a pool, gym, the workout rooms, locker rooms, and any classes that I want to take. (Forty two dollars seems like a lot to me–I think it’s more expensive than most of the other gyms around me).

I can’t make up my mind, but it’s definitely something to think about. It would be really nice to have the opportunity to jog inside this summer when it’s too hot to run outside, though.

When I got home to my Davy, he had just started the newest Star Trek movie, so I showered, grabbed some food, and plopped down on the couch to relax. First, I started with a mug of Miso.

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I love miso soup It’s much better when you get it in a restaurant, filled with chunks of tofu and seaweed, but the packets are still delicious, too.

After miso….sushi!

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Spicy Tuna, Bagel Roll, Tuna, Salmon, and Eel Nagano, and Veggie Goyza. With a little heap of pickled ginger on the side.

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Along with my sushi, I tried some beer that my friends Dan and Em brewed themselves. Since we’re going to visit them this weekend, I wanted to be able to give an opinion on it.

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(Yes, I took the picture before the foam finished settling). I was so impressed! The beer tasted like…beer! It was really refreshing with a bit of a sharp taste that Dave attributed to us leaving it to ferment longer than necessary before refrigerating it yesterday. Now Dave and I are both eager to try to make our own. And we know just who to go to for tips.

Do you have a gym membership? Is it worth it?

Who Moved My Cheese?

Like every good Wisconsinite, I love my cheese. And I don’t just believe cheddar is better. I adore everything from feta to bleu, gouda to muenster. The older and stinkier, the better. When I was younger and was asked what my favorite foods were, I recited in a sing-song voice “Pickles and cottage cheese.” Not much has changed.

I was a vegetarian for four years (during high school), but instead of eating more vegetables, I simply doubled the amount of cheese in recipes to make up for the lack of meat. So healthy. The only cheese I actively dislike is goat’s cheese. I’ve tried it every which way under the sun and, believe me, I want to like it. Especially when people rattle off such foodie things as “goat cheese crostini with fig compote” or “prosciutto and goat cheese pizza.” But some things are just not meant to be. I can’t force myself to like country music, and I can’t force myself to like goat’s cheese.

Dave and I have a cheese drawer in our fridge, which generally holds at least three different kinds of cheese. Right now, it contains fresh mozzarella, pesto gouda, monterey jack, sharp cheddar, and parmesan. We usually have some cottage cheese, too.

To say I’ve been on kind of a cheese kick lately is an understatement. I have cheese as part of every lunch and dinner, and one of my go-to snacks is cheese and crackers. I went to town on a box of whole grain Cheez-Its last week, too. They’re really good for you when they’re whole grain, you know.

Yesterday, I started doing a mental tally of how much cheese I had consumed the previous week. Possibly a little more than medically allowed. So I decided to take a day off from cheese.

Breakfast was a PB&J on raisin honey wheat, and lunch was tuna with wheat crackers and applesauce. Dinner is the tricky part. What is this cheese-loving world is there to eat for dinner? There’s only one solution.

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Keep Walkin’

It’s official. I’m a shoe pansy. I walked around in my super cool, super high heels for half an hour yesterday morning, then promptly took them off to return them.

I knew if I couldn’t last a half hour in them, there was no way I was going to last through an entire wedding from the beginning of the ceremony to the end of the reception. Dancing? Fuhgeddaboutit. I was sad to see them go, but I can’t subscribe to the ‘beauty is pain’ mantra yet.

I tried a few other shoe stores in the mall before ending up with a pair I tried at Payless yesterday. (The ones I got were black, not fuschia, but I couldn’t find a picture online).

I don’t feel nearly as tall and powerful in these, but hopefully they will be much more comfortable. When I got home after running errands yesterday, I tried on my shoes with the whole getup and was just as happy with my dress choice today as I was yesterday.

Here’s the one I came home with.

The collar of the dress eliminated the need for a necklace, so instead I picked up these cool chainmail-like earrings to go with it.

 

Now I’m all set to go! I still had energy to burn when I got home, and I really wanted to go for a walk while listening to one of my audiobooks. Unfortunately, after playing around with Itunes, I still can’t get my Nano to upload any of them. Grr. I was so frustrated I ended up staying home and organizing my closet instead. (Does anyone else have a Nano with audiobooks on it? If so, I need your help)!

After turning my closet into a somewhat respectable location again, I finally completed another task I’ve had for the past year–tracing our wedding guestbook with a permanent marker. See, I had this idea to use a huge log slice as our wedding guestbook, which Dave and I engraved a tree with our names and wedding date on. We bought paint pens for the guests to sign with, but they unfortunately did not show up as well as we hoped.

 

I even traced over the indecipherable comments like ‘SLER.’ I thought this might have been an acronym for something, but after a quick Google search, I don’t think anyone meant to write ‘Signal to Listener Echo Ratio’ or ‘Soil Liner Evaluation Report.’

Although I was ready to cook something for dinner last night, I went into indecisive mode and could not figure out what I wanted. So after Dave got home from work, I poured myself  a drink instead and watched Friends until we finally decided to go pick up grocery store sushi.

 

Festival is getting so much better and more adventurous with their sushi. So am I–I tried some of the octopus salad Dave picked out even though octopi freak me out. The flavor was actually quite good, the texture very firm and chewy, and had I not envisioned whipping tentacles, I may have eaten more.

Question of the weekend: What do you think SLER stands for?

 

Any and all answers will be considered.

 

Saturday Splendor

Saturday evenings like tonight require very few words. Mostly because our last guest has just left now, at 4:15am, and I am fairly exhausted yet completely content.

The night began like this, at a place called Little Tokyo.

Warm sake. Mmm.

The newly betrothed, Dan and Emily.

Sparkling sake. So refreshing! This was the first time I had it, and I would definitely order it again.

There’s always room for crab rangoon.

Starter: cucumber salad. Not nearly as good as Koko’s shaved cucumber salad. This one was basically just raw cucumber and some diced onion.

Is this a dream?

Most delicious dream ever. Two thumbs up on the sushi. I must have had about 12 different pieces, each one more delicious than the next.

With the best of company.

Aurelia decided when we should (maki) roll out of the sushi restaurant.

Time to watch The Two Towers.

Good night morning.

Friday Haikus: Part Two

Sought new yoga pants
Ragged ones won’t help achieve
Bird of Paradise

My love’s Friday face
All week long I have missed it
Lyrics to my song

Payday, second love
Night out to rejoice
Hard work forgiven

First time at Koko’s
Virgin lips to their sushi
Best first time ever

Miso, Sumonomo,
Nigiri, Sashimi, Maki
Worth the syllables

Night arrives quickly
Enjoy every drop of time
Sleep always comes soon