Tuesday, July 26

I've moved!

Thanks for these posts, I have taken the plunge and moved over to Wordpress (you'll be redirected in 6 seconds).  I won't be deleting here, but if you want to post comments and see new posts, be sure to update to http://www.sweetsbysarahblog.wordpress.com/.  Thanks for all of your support and for reading this little ole blog of mine!  I'll be continuing to update the blog on Wordpress over the next week or so, so keep checking in!

Why did I wait so long?

Oh my word...

There is a reason certain recipes spread over the blogosphere like wildfire.  It's because they are amazing.  Such was the case with roasted chickpeas.  I saw them everywhere and thought, "oh, those look interesting."  Never did I try them myself.  Until now.  And now there is no going back.

My version was a take on my favorite dressing...a homemade lemon dijon vinaigrette.  The resulting chickpeas are crunchy, spicy, and addictive.  But, I also learned a valuable lesson while making these.  Eating an entire can of chickpeas in one sitting will give you a stomach ache.  Share or portion these out when you make them so you don't run into the same issues!

The great thing about roasted chickpeas is the fact that they are so versatile!  Any flavor combo you can think of would probably be good.  Just play around with it and go wild...just don't eat the entire can by yourself.  Trust me on this one!

Photo shoot didn't take long...I wanted to snack!
Lemon Dijon Roasted Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, juiced
1 T olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and cayenne.  Add chickpeas and toss to coat.  Let the chickpeas sit in the marinade for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375.  Place marinated chickpeas on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.


Monday, July 25

What to do?

About 10 days ago, I did something I never imaged myself actually doing.

I met with the admissions folks from the Art Institute in Washington about their Culinary Arts program, specifically their Baking and Pastry Arts program.

Before you think I have lost my mind, let me give you a little background.  Culinary school has always been something that has lingered in the back of my head.  I always thought that it might be fun to open a bakery once my time in the Marine Corps was through.  But I knew I needed to have some training, be able to come up with my own recipes.  I've been so focused on my career and everything that needed to be done with it that things like "going to culinary school for the heck of it" never ranked too high on my list of priorities.

Now, things have changed.  I have my Masters degree complete.  My required professional military education will take up one night a week (for two hours) starting in October to June, and then I'll be done with that.  I don't have any possibility of deploying while I am stationed in DC.  My job is going to be somewhat busy, but predictably so...if that makes sense.

So, I bit the bullet and contacted the Art Institute.  I'm impressed with the program and the diploma program (which would result in my not being a chef when it is all said and done) is offered in the nights/weekends, so it is a feasible option.  The associates program (which would result in my being a chef...how cool would that be?!) is a few more classes, to include some general education classes (which I should be able to get waived...you know since I already have a Masters degree). 

This isn't a cheap endeavor, but I could probably use my GI bill to cover most of it.  The fall classes start in October and I'm told I should apply earlier than later...since the night/weekend classes fill up quickly. 

So, what do you think?  This is something I really want to do and I know it will take up a lot of my time, but it would be so much fun.  The diploma program is a year program.  Maybe start on the diploma track and see if it is an option to transition to the associates track later on?  I'm actually thinking about maybe starting in the spring, vice the fall.  That way my professional military education will be about 1/2 way done and I'll have a better handle on my schedule. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts...and if you think I should go diploma or associates programs.  Being a chef would be pretty cool...

What was the last dream you followed?

Thursday, July 21

Personality Tests...

Work has been crazy.  With a big C.  It's hot.  I'm outside.  I'm on my feet.  I'm tired.  What can I say, I haven't had a lot of time to blog, much less sleep.  By the time I get home at night, all I can muster the energy to do is eat dinner (english muffin pizzas are my new to-go meal), shower, and stare blankly at the TV while laying on my couch.  You're jealous of my life, aren't you?

On Tuesday, my CO asked if I was an extrovert or an introvert.  I think he asked this because I have been relatively quiet since checking in here.  That is just how I roll.  I feel people out before I let my true self come through.  He then asked what my Meyers-Briggs was.  I didn't know, so he told me to Google it and take the test.

Being one to follow orders, I did what he said.  I found two free "interpretations" of the test.  I'm cheap and wasn't about to take one that I had to pay for.  I decided to take both and see what the results were, if they were the same.  Low and behold, they both came up with the same results.   

ESTJ - "Administrator". Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 8.7% of total population.

So, apparently I am a ESTJ (Extroverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging).  The exact opposite would have been INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving).  I think this is a pretty good assessment of my personality and I was impressed.  Also, it told me that Colin Powell, Lyndon Johnson, and George W. Bush share my personality type.  Who knew? 

The two tests I took can be found here and here

I am curious...what are you?

Monday, July 11

Run #1 - Done

This isn't pretty...

Today was my first run of marathon training, per my training plan.  All that was on the plan was a 3 mile run.  I am following a plan to train for a specific time on the marathon, so my training plan gives pace guidelines as well.  Today's pace was almost laughable at 11:15.  I knew I couldn't run that slow, but it was nice to know that I just had to relax on this run.

Since I have moved to Virginia, I have ran many times.  Only once has it been outside.  The rest of my runs have been completed on the treadmills in the gym at my apartment.  In the air conditioning.  This is because I am mildly afraid of the humidity around here.  It is horrific.  To me, anyway.  But I have decided that I am going to run as many of my training runs outside as I can possibly can.  

I decided to head out on my run after work.  I know, I know.  Dumb.  It was about 115 degrees and 827 percent humidity when I went outside.  Okay, maybe not that bad, but it was hot and humid.  I got my three miles completed and I didn't walk once.  The last 1/2 mile was painful.  My legs weren't bothering me, I wasn't breathing too hard, but holy crap had the heat kicked my booty.  

I'm not going to post the time it took me to finish these three miles.  It was slow.  Not as slow as my training plan, but still pretty slow.  And as you can see from the picture, I turned a pleasant shade of pink after my run...almost matching my shirt.  It was awesome.

Here's hoping I can get used to this soon.

What do you do differently when you have to run in the heat?

Sunday, July 10

Out of retirement

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Today has been a good day.  My beautiful yellow KA mixer came out of retirement today.  Nothing too extravagant, but she performed just like I remembered and it was awesome!

A beautiful scene

I have been craving oatmeal scotchies for a while, so when I was at the grocery store on Friday, I picked up a bag of butterscotch chips.  I didn't use a secret recipe, just the recipe on the back of the bag.  But sometimes those are best.

Perfect sizes

There is something so calming to be about the mixing and measuring of baking.  I love the exact science of it.  I love the way everything comes together.  One thing I didn't love was working on figuring out my new oven.  It works fine, but every oven has a specific personality that needs to be figured out.

Cookies, cookies, everywhere

A perfect Sunday morning...baking some cookies.  Now, who wants some?

Oatmeal Scotchies
Nestle Tollhouse 
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 1/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
3 c old fashioned oats
11 oz pkg butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in oats and chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake cookies 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies, 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies.  Cool on sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Friday, July 8

It's Marathon Time

Remember when I signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon?  Well, it is finally time to start training.  My training plan starts on Sunday...with a rest day.  How awesome is that?! 

  I always start out with a training plan but I have a horrible time following through with them.  I allow everything else to get in the way and I never finish what I start.  Then I run the race and want to kick my own ass for making life so much more difficult for myself.  I have never been able to keep a training plan for a half marathon, which may be why my times are generally always the same for every race!


The last time I ran the Marine Corps Marathon was in 2005.  The longest I had run before the marathon was a half marathon I did the month prior.  I was ridiculously unprepared for the monster that is a marathon.  If you are moderately in shape, you can fake the funk in a half marathon.  You can't do that in a full.  I was left with some serious IT band issues that plagued me for months following the marathon.  Not smart.


This time around, I am vowing to do things differently.  I am going to get my long runs in.  I am going to get the mileage I need.  I have a time goal for the marathon this year.  Actually two...I have my "must beat this time" goal and the "if I'm having a good day, work towards this time" goal.  Both are within my reach...if I train!


I plan on incorporating some strength training into my schedule, as well as yoga and Pilates when I can.  I am not going to beat myself up if I can't follow the plan to the letter, but my goal is to do as well as I can. 

Now if only I can get used to running in humidity...that would make this all a lot easier!

Do you struggle with following training plans?

Wednesday, July 6

My thoughts

Have you heard of Casey Anthony?  Yeah, she has been in the news...a little...in the past few years.

I haven't followed the case.  This past weekend, my mom was visiting and she has been a tad addicted to the trial coverage.  Because of this, I watched more about Casey Anthony than I ever expected to.  Needless to say, I then was curious what the verdict would be.  When I heard that she was found not guilty, I was a bit shocked.

I don't know if she killed her daughter or not.  I don't think anyone will ever know how her daughter died.  But I find it sad how people are reacting to the decision.  We have a fantastic justice system.  A system that works.  A system that is fair.  You are innocent until proven guilty.  You don't prove innocence, you prove guilt.  I think this is something that many "armchair lawyers" are forgetting.  At the end of the day, the jury listened to the testimony that was presented and had to make a decision based only on that information.  They didn't have access to the media and all of the legal talking heads for hours on end to help make their decision.  And they had to make their decision based on the concept of reasonable doubt.  This is what makes our system work.  If the prosecution can't prove without a doubt that she is guilty, the jury can't convict her.

Our system isn't perfect.  No system is.  There are numerous examples of people who are convicted who are innocent and vice versa.  But Casey Anthony's defense attorney said it best, there are no winners here because at the end of the day, there is a little girl who lost her life.  But justice was performed.  Whether or not your like the outcome or agree with it is irrelevant.

I would never say that Casey Anthony is innocent.  But she is not guilty.  Only she really knows what she did or did not do.  But to blame the defense team or blame the jury isn't the way to go.  They did their jobs.  That is what makes this country so great.  You are entitled to an excellent defense.  You don't have to testify in your own defense if you don't want to...and if you don't, that doesn't mean that you necessarily have something to hide.  And you are given the opportunity to have your trial be in front of a jury of your peers.

My opinion is not the most popular right now, but I felt like putting it out there.  This country is getting so wrapped up in the emotions of this trial.  But Casey Anthony wasn't on trial for being a bad parent.  She wasn't on trial because her priorities were not like others.  She was on trial for the murder of her daughter and at the end of the day, the prosecution couldn't prove without any reasonable doubt that she did that.

Did you follow the trial?  What do you think of the reaction to the decision?

Monday, July 4

Dude, it's the 4th!


It's the 4th of July!  This is the first 4th of July I have spent in the states since 2008!  2009 I was in Iraq and 2010 I was in Afghanistan.  I am going to take advantage of this day and live it up.  I have plans to see fireworks tonight, which is exciting.  I saw fireworks Saturday night over the Potomac and last night from my apartment window, so this has been a firework heavy holiday for me.  And I love it!

Hope you all have a great 4th of July and enjoy however makes you happy!  :)

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