Last day of January + the unsung hero in our house!

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Hi guys!

I cannot believe it is the last day of January. This year just started and it’s already zooming by.

Let’s catch up on the past couple days!

We woke up on Tuesday morning to find a light sprinkling of snow coming down outside. It only amounted to couple inches total but it sure did look pretty! Joel took care of the snow-blowing and shoveling before I even made it downstairs. What a guy πŸ™‚

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My breakfast per usual was cantaloupe πŸ™‚ I did not do a good job picking it this time (forgot to try the sniff-test you guys recommended) so it was slightly on the unripe side. If you had to choose, would you rather eat a cantaloupe that is unripe or over-ripe? I have consumed both types in the past week and I must say I would choose over-ripe. As long as it’s not going bad πŸ™‚

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Lunch consisted of these “bread pizzas” — whole grain bread, pepperoni slices, medium salsa, and cheddar cheese. It was fun to do something different for lunch and use up some random foods that have been sitting in our fridge. When we first got married, we used to make mini pizzas (with actual pizza dough) and pile on all kinds of toppings –> pineapple, mushroom, onions, broccoli, etc. Making these “bread pizzas” made me want to do our mini pizzas again!

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Remember our little painting project in the guest room? We have slowly been making progress on final touches. The window trim and baseboards needed multiple coats of white paint because the wood grain kept showing through, but I think we are nearly there. Joel peeled up the painter’s tape a couple nights ago. The window muntins need another coat or two and then we should be all done! The room has such a different feel now that the walls, window, and trim are a new color. It feels much calmer and more soothing in there now. It’s amazing what a difference a coat (or several hah!) can make! πŸ™‚

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Have I discussed my appreciation for steamed red bean buns? We bought a bunch of these in China Town the last time we were in NYC. I froze them and kinda forgot about them until I was rummaging around in the freezer for salmon a couple days ago. The steamed bun took only a couple minutes to defrost in the microwave and made for a nice snack! Maybe next time I will get some of the buns that are filled with pork — those are yummy too. πŸ™‚

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My friend Bernice and I went for a walk later in the afternoon. She is participating in a big challenge at her gym and has completely overhauled her eating and exercise routine. She had already worked out in the morning but our walk helped her rack up some extra steps! We happened upon a pretty little stream mid-walk. πŸ™‚

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Bernice and I hung out at home chatting over hot mugs of tea before she had to leave to run some errands. Friend time is always so refreshing!

After Bernice headed out, I did a quick workout at home. A couple sets of the following: leg lifts, clamshells, donkey kicks, fire hydrants, squats, hip hikes, and lunges! It’s been a while since I have done a home workout and it felt great! I need to dig out my dumbells so that I can work the ol’ arms too.

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Talking with Bernice about all the amazing changes she’s making to her meals inspired me to get my “cook” on! I love to cook in large batches so that we have plenty of leftovers for future meals. I try to do do all the cooking on Sundays so that we are good for the week. This makes meals so much easier, especially since we rarely want to cook after a long day at work.

The first thing I did was get some bok choy chopped up. I like how it looks like a flower πŸ™‚

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I added some olive oil and got it going on the stove! It cooks down quite a bit so this doesn’t end up being quite as much as it looks at first. We love bok choy — it’s such a tasty vegetable!

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This rice cooker is an unsung hero in our house. It never fails to cook our brown rice and quinoa perfectly! I normally do two cups of whole grain brown rice and/or quinoa (sometimes I mix both together) and four cups of water. The rice cooker has a button for “cook/steam” and another button for “brown rice” –> I have never tried the cook/steam button because I always use the brown rice button. Fun fact: my youngest sister Kabi gave my oldest brother David this rice cooker when she moved to Australia. Then when David moved to South Africa, he gave the rice cooker to us. It makes me wonder why we didn’t get a rice cooker years ago! We have been making good use of it! πŸ™‚ This one is super super old but HERE is one that is similar! πŸ™‚

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This is the quinoa we get from our grocery store. I sometimes see other colors of quinoa, like the red kind, but I have yet to give that a try. If you have tried the red kind, let me know if it tastes the same or different! It’s slightly more expensive than this regular white kind.

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I forgot to defrost the salmon until a couple hours before dinner. I haven’t tried the “defrost” setting on the microwave for salmon (I have no idea why I feel weird about that?). I usually let it thaw in the fridge. This time I just let it sit on the counter in a bowl. Probably not the best way to thaw frozen salmon but it worked and tasted awesome.

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The other veggie dish I prepped was carrots and broccoli! πŸ™‚ I usually don’t cook carrots because I like to snack on them raw, but decided to go ahead and cook these up. I first added carrots, olive oil, and minced garlic to the pan and let that cook covered on low heat with occasional stirring. Then once the carrots were partially done I added chopped broccoli and a little more olive oil. I covered it again (still on on low heat with occasional stirring). Once everything was cooked, I uncovered the pan and turned the heat up so that the veggies would get a light char going on. Tasted great! πŸ™‚

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Do you cook daily or in larger batches for leftovers? Have you ever cooked non-rice foods in a rice cooker? What’s your favorite homemade mini pizza tip?Β 

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6 thoughts on “Last day of January + the unsung hero in our house!

    1. I agree, rice cookers are awesome little inventions! I never felt like I needed one until I was gifted one — and now this is the ONLY way I cook my rice! It comes out perfect every time! πŸ˜„

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  1. Your little makeshift pizza was fun. I never thought to use salsa but why not. I have never had bok choy. Is it similar to cabbage. I heard rice cookers were handy. I also like quinoa. I had salmon and couscous last night.

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    1. Salsa on our bread-pizzas was Joel’s idea and it was really tasty! Bok choy is in a lot of asian dishes so to me the taste reminds me of Thai, Chinese, or Vietnamese food. We are on the same wavelength with our salmon! Yum!! πŸ™‚

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