Twosday LXXXIX

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Twosday
Aug 262014

Dinner Locations in Schenectady I Want to Get Back to ASAP

  1. Marotta’s Bar-Risto.  I had such a great experience the first time I went, from the classicly-beautiful touch of decoration on my drink to the de-flippin-licious Tortellini Marotta. I’m dreaming of that eggplant, sausage, broccoli and sun dried tomato party dancing in the marsala pesto cream sauce.  My mouth is literally watering as I imagine that dish! Must get back there ASAP!
  2. The Van Dyke. It’s one of my FAVORITE spots in Schenectady, and I haven’t been in far too long.  I especially enjoy when we take a trip on Wednesday evenings, when appetizers are half price during happy hour.  We’ve made quite a few trips for work over the years to enjoy a dinner of shared starters – our favorites include the dip trio [I love the buffalo chicken, spinach artichoke and zesty guacamole!], mozzarella and pepperjack bites [the melba sauce is PERFECT], and the Olive & Cheese platter, which is my #1 favorite appetizer in all of Schenectady. Especially when enjoyed with my favorite Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka and soda – the Van Dyke is one of the only places I can find nearby which stocks it, and I like it 100 times better than Absolute Ruby Red. Plus, since the Van Dyke brews their own beer right on site and always has a long list of drafts flowing, my beer-drinking friends are always quite happy, too.

Dinner Locations in Schenectady on my CDNY Bucket List I Haven’t Tried Yet

  1. Zen Fusion Lounge. I basically just want to eat my way through the menu.  Apparently Zen hosts Trivia Night on Wednesday – let’s build a team and make our way through the sushi and mojito menus over time! Who’s in?
  2. Tara Kitchen. I keep hearing awesome reviews of this place, which is known for it’s Moroccan cuisine.  I’ve never gone out for Moroccan before and though I would have NO idea what to order, I’d love to step out of my comfort zone and try something completely new to me from this menu.


Schenectady Walking Tours in My Favorite Neighborhoods

  1. Stockade Historic District Cell Phone Walking Tour. I haven’t done this tour yet, but I’m planning to set a date to go this fall! [and locals want to join me?]  The Stockade was designated New York State’s first Historic District and is FULL of history – including some PRESIDENTIAL!!!
  2. GE Realty Plot Tour.  I’ve done this tour with a brochure and really loved getting to know a bit about the history of Schenectady.  The GE Realty Plot was originally an undeveloped area owned by Union College which was sold to GE in the late 1800’s to help the college pay off a debt. Executives at GE divided the land, laid out streets and built houses.  Each home was required to meet a minimum lot size and house value and two of the house were the first fully electric houses in the country which GE used as models.

Instagram Accounts to Follow for More Fun Stuff to Do In and Know About the Place Once Known as “The City that Lights and Hauls the World”

  1. LongLiveSchenectady
  2. SchenectadyDoesntSuck


Summer Fruits I Just Won’t Quit

  1. Plums! Is it just me, or do these little globes of deliciousness seem to be extra plentiful this year? ALL the varieties of plums have been on sale a lot lately at our local markets and I am taking full advantage. Just a great mid-day sweet treat, usually paired with almonds or cheese for a protein boost, too.
  2. Do these Outshine Bars count? I bought a variety pack of the outshine fruit bars in strawberry, wildberry and lime as a cool me down treat for after hot summer runs, and now I’m dreaming of a freezer FULL of them. I’ve had [and LOVED!] the creamy coconut fruit bars several times before and I’m especially excited to try the fruit and VEGGIE bars ASAP – look at all the flavors they offer!  There isn’t one of the list I don’t want to try! They ALL sound delicious: Outshine Fruit & Veggie Bars

Easy Ways I’m Getting Veggies in My Body

  1. Low Sodium V8.  On days when it gets to be 3:00 and I realize I haven’t had one serving of veggies for the day yet, I add a serving of the vegetable juice to my afternoon snack.
  2. Using canned veggies in weeknight meals.  On days I run after work, the last thing I want to do after stretching and showering is spend a good chunk of my evening cooking.  I enjoy my time in the kitchen, but it does still feel like work to me. [but maybe that’s just because I’m making a mess that needs to be cleaned?]
    Canned veggies are so convenient because there is little to no prep work, not to mention – you can shop sales and get great deals to stock up your pantry!  The American Dietetic Association noted in a statement released in January 2006 that “canned …vegetables are good substitutes for fresh produce and sometimes maybe healthier.” The statement further indicated that canned tomatoes, corn, and carrots provide higher amounts of antioxidants than the fresh variety as a result of the canning process. [this and other information found here: Vegetable Debate: Fresh, Frozen or Canned?]



Easy Weeknight Dinners Made Using Dos Mamacitas Taco Meat

  1. Breakfast Burritos. With scrambled cheesy eggs, frozen Trader Joe’s hash browns, and cheese.  I added a bit of my favorite barbeque sauce to mine for a flavor BOOM. Brinner for the win!
  2. Oven Quesadillas.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees while cooking and prepping your fillings of choice.
    Brush one tortilla with oil and place on baking sheet, oil side down.
    Layer cheese, other fillings of choice, and more cheese atop the tortilla.
    Brush another tortilla with oil and place atop the pile, oil side up.
    Bake in the oven until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.
    Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes before serving.  Easily slicable with a pizza cutter!

Oven Quesadilla Fillings of Choice

  1. Peppers & Onions. I’ve been going the uber-easy route and using the frozen mix from the grocery store.  It takes 2-3 minutes to stir fry the already chopped pieces of onions and peppers, with none of the additional time to slice, chop and clean to get there.  I’m much more likely to add these veggies to a meal on a weeknight having the prep work already done for me.
  2. Pineapple Salsa.  I added a generous spoonful of the jar currently in the fridge.  It added an awesome sweetness to the meal.  Highly recommended.



 Posted by at 6:00 am  Twosday
Aug 192014

New Habits I’m Starting for My Own Good

  1. Tea with TED. I’m using my morning solo time to watch a TED talk [I recently downloaded dozens of them through the Podcasts app on my iPad from TED and TEDhealth.] and have a cup of tea before starting my day. 
  2. Journaling.  That’s the second part of my morning solo time; just a few minutes of journaling.  I haven’t been in a regular writing practice in a long time and setting aside just a couple of minutes a morning is helping to ignite something new in me. 

Kitchen Items I’ve Been Using Oh-So-Often

  1. Ninja Ultima Blender. I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast or post-run refuel and am so thankful that this tool is in our kitchen. [I received mine as a gift from Ninja at the 2013 HLS.]  I can’t get over how well it blends EVERYTHING I put into my smoothies – the power is really impressive.  I love the individual cup feature so much, too! Easy to make and take with me to the office for a breakfast on the go.
  2. Sesame Oil. It’s my favorite ingredient at the moment because just a tiny bit brings SO MUCH FLAVOR to whatever I’m making.  Whether adding a couple drops to a marinade or using a teaspoon for stir frying veggies and proteins, the little bottle of sesame oil in my fridge is such a powerhouse.  My favorite dish to use the oil is using up leftover rice and veggies from a week of dinners to make stove top fried rice on the weekend!


Recently Discovered Songza Playlists of Awesome

  1. Singing in the Rain: Upbeat showtunes from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.
  2. C’mon, Get Happy! “Sometimes all you need is a rousing song to get yourself out of a rut.”

Summer Music Purchases I’m Still Majorly Enjoying

  1. Okay Go’s Upside Out EPThe Writings on the Wall is so good that I had to snag the EP.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars Soundtrack.  Even though I haven’t read the book or seen the movie. Yep.


Ways I’ve Been Taking Time for Self-Care on the Weekends

  1. Drawing, coloring, doodling, and letting my fingers do whatever the heck they want with my favorite art supplies. It feels good to just be free without a plan.
  2. Meal Planning. Taking the time to organize my meals for the week ahead really helps me to feel organized and prepared for the week ahead.  I allow for flexibility, but having a list and plan written out lets us avoid the “what do you want for dinner?” debate that often ends in neither one of us wanting to make a final decision.  I’ve been keeping one shelf of my pantry dedicated to ingredients I will need during the week, which I organize and fill as I writing out the meal plan on the calendar. This extra step is a great way to make sure I have everything I need or alert me if a stop to the store will be in order.

On the Meal Plan this Week

  1. Lots of Breakfast for Dinner.  Which is NEVER a bad thing in our home! Pancakes, sausage, scrambles, hash – so much goodness!
  2. BBQ Chicken Pasta. I’m making some substitutions to a recent Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese we tried and am sure our favorite BBQ sauce will work so well as a swap for the wing sauce!


New Blue Diamond Almond Honey Roasted Flavors I’ve Recently Been Sent to Review for the Blue Diamond Tastemakers Program

  1. Honey Roasted Vanilla
  2. Honey Roasted Chipotle

Impromptu Recipes I Created this Weekend Using the “BeeCause We Care” Almonds
check back Thursday for recipes!

  1. Chipotle Trail Mix
  2. Coconut Vanilla Pancakes


 Posted by at 6:00 am  Twosday
Aug 122014

Only One Season Long Television Programs Enjoyed on Netflix

  1. Mixology. I heard horrible reviews but I still managed to plow through the entire season in one weekend of being sick in bed.  It was cute enough.
  2. A Gifted Man.  I finished these 16 episodes in 8 days time and REALLY enjoyed this show.  If you like both Drop Dead Diva and Grey’s Anatomy [cough Kelly cough] – watch this show! Also, I’ve now loved Pablo Schreiber in three roles [He plays a great supporting role in this show and the other shows I know him from are both Jenji Kohan creations: Weeds and Orange is the New Black] and am actively seeking his other work – of which there is plenty. 

Docu-Series Enjoyed via Netflix

  1. Forgotten Planet.  So flipping oddly interesting to me. 
  2. Inside Man. I love most Morgan Spurlock projects and this television serious is no different.


Kevin Smith Specials on Netflix

  1. Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell. Love this Q&A where Kevin shares many hilarious stories.
  2. Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under.  We’re fans of the Jay and Silent Bob Get Old Podcast over here, and this video version of taking the podcast to Australia is oh-so-fun to watch.

Kevin Smith Films Enjoyed on Netflix

  1. Chasing Amy.  This was a college favorite and when I rewatched it recently, I remembered why.  Kevin Smith’s writing is exactly as I like it!
  2. Clerks. Classic cult favorite that started it all.


Procedurals on Netflix I Most Often Recommended

  1. Life. Two Seasons. So Good. A former cop gets exonerated after 12 years in prison and brings a new-found Zen perspective to his work.  It’s a beautiful show.
  2. Flashpoint. I love this show because every episode feels like a mini action movie. When I first discovered this show I was literally on the edge of my seat for the entire episode. 

Current Procedurals We’re Enjoying on Netflix

  1. Burn Notice.  I know this show is giving me an unrealistic picture of Miami and heightening my desire to get myself there ASAP, but it’s also teaching me how to be a spy.  So, you know…all is forgiven.
  2. Chuck.  This has been recommended to us so many times and being only a handful of episodes in, I can already understand why.  We are LOVING the comedy, which can only be explained as a sort of humor we totally weren’t expecting going into this show.  We are only watching one episode a night to try and ration the goodness a bit, and I love that feeling of WAITING to watch the next episode, which rarely happens in my life anymore.


Recommended Stand-Up Specials on Netflix

  1. John Mulaney New In Town. Watch this and become a fan just in time for his new show, Mulaney, to premiere on Fox this fall.
  2. Tom Segura Completely Normal. I wasn’t expecting to like this special as much as I did. Laugh out loud-able.

Stand-Up Specials Just Added to My List on Netflix

  1. Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special. Because brilliance.
  2. Ben Bailey Road Rage and Accidental Ornithology. I love Cash Cab, but I love Ben Bailey being a guest on my favorite comedy podcasts even more. I need to watch this STAT.