Ice Ice Baby…

Okay, so I was going to write a post about Restaurant Etiquette… and don’t worry, I will… after this. I just need to share a few fun tidbits from my weekend/day.

1.  I am super happy to report that ice skating, Take 2, was a success. We went to the rink on the other end of town and were pleased with the results; not only did they have the right size skates, but the ice was mostly smooth, the blades were sharp and people were paying attention. It was also a whole heck of a lot less crowded-perfect learning environment-I was even able to work on some spins without fear of taking out a five year old.  We were both able to get in a pretty good workout.

2. We made gluten-free pizza yesterday. Usually we make our own crust, but after work on Saturday night, Ben decided to sleep instead of starting the dough-not leaving enough time for it to rise. We decided to chance it and went to our co-op in search of frozen dough. They had a limited selection and only gluten-free. Not ready to give up, we went to a nearby grocery store to continue the search.  No luck. Maybe a mix?

After perusing the labels from Pillsbury, Jiffy and Betty Crocker, we were starting to feel defeated (let’s just say…EW!). But then I remembered that this store had a gluten-free/organic section. I picked up a box of Hodgson Mill and the search was over. The mix was still gluten-free but it had real ingredients and all things we could pronounce! I use some HM flours/pastas so I was glad to try another product.

I have to say, I was a bit skeptical because, well, it was a mix.  I was pleasantly surprised. The only complaint I had was that the dough was a bit sticky when spreading into the pan-this was remedied by flouring (or, for those who are actually GF, Corn Starching) our hands/utensils.
The mix was easy to make and turned out nice and light with just the right combination of chewy/crunchy. We kept our pizza simple; topped with olive oil, garlic, fresh basil and rosemary, fresh mozz and tomatoes. We even snuck in some kippers.
Anyway, in short, this was a lifesaver. Like I said before, normally we make our own dough, but if ever in a pinch, I can definitely recommend this mix, especially if you are gluten-free.

Also, sorry for the lack of photos.

3. I don’t really watch football, but man… that 49ers’ game was intense! The other games? Eh, not so much. I don’t know what’s come over me… but I can’t wait to see the 49ers-Giants match-up next week!

4. On this day, two years ago, I went on a date with some guy I knew… Now he’s my husband. I guess the first date went a little better than I thought. Anyway, shout-out to my amazing hubs; I love you, Benjamin! And sorry for stealing the blankets last night-I didn’t mean it!

At our rehearsal dinner (photo credit: my sister!)

5. I find this photo hilarious, partly because how ridiculous we both look and partly because it was taken in 2008…when we were just friends. Thank you to Tina for taking this… and letting me steal it. Sorry Ben!

Younger Years

6. I am making Ricotta Cheese tonight-I’ll let you know how it comes out. I’ll also be posting a super easy and delish pasta recipe.

7. It was 9 below this morning. My car, Zeke, was not happy. I didn’t mind so much-for some reason the sky seems to be crystal clear on cold winter mornings and I secretly love it.

8. I have been obsessing over Chocolate Soy Milk. I finally bought some. I am also going to make a TON of iced coffee sometime this week.  Hello extra 12 minutes of sleep!

More to come-stay tuned!


Some First Dates Are Better Than Others…

I remember my first date. It was the summer of 2001…I was 13, super awkward and had told the older boy I was hanging out with that I was 16. No big deal. His name was Matt and I had met him ice skating with my friend Fauna (Side note: I miss those days!) back in January. I had been stalking him at the rink and via AIM and we had even instant messaged each other a few times (Holy cow, this makes me feel so old!)! I found him so dreamy…

Anyway, it was now August and we had decided to “hang out” in real life! We went to a block party in the town where he lived. Again, I was super nervous and worried that he wouldn’t like me-or worse! That he would discover my real age… We ended up going and walking along the river, where he gave me my first kiss. I could have fainted. It was magical…until he tried to put his hand up my shirt. Because I was still an awkward 13-year-old pretending to be a cool 16-year-old, I just brushed his hand away…In later years, I would have slapped him. Boys, take note, don’t get grabby on the first date! Not classy!

Sadly, things with Matt didn’t last (we remained AIM buddies)… A few months later I met Marc, who would become my mostly on-again boyfriend for the next 7 1/2 years. Our first date was in December of that same year. It was still awkward but had a better first kiss… After all, I was 14 and had so much more experience (I was a bit delusional as a teen).

Looking back, I realize that I was NOT ready to date. But no one could have told me this at the time.

First dates-and first kisses- in my later (and off-again) years were a bit better, but there was always that awkwardness…and more fighting off unwanted advances. I was not impressed and I was not that kind of girl. I’m sure everyone has similar stories…

Fast Forward to January 2010. I was living in Arlington, VA as a totally together single gal but was talking to a guy from home. Ben and I had known each other for a long time through mutual friends but it wasn’t until now that we were really getting to know each other. We had been talking daily for about a month, but hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving. I happened to be going home for a few days to visit my mom and he asked me for a date. A date? Here I was again,  so nervous I could puke!

This date was different from the get-go. First off, I got ready at Vanessa’s house and he came to pick me up. I was expecting to just run out when he got there, but he actually came into the house, and opened every door for me. Not that I’m complaining, but this was something new. We went to the local pub for drinks. After sitting down in a quiet booth, we just sort of stared at each other. I was clutching my glass so hard I thought it would break…I couldn’t find a topic of conversation to stick with. We bounced back and forth from the weather, life in DC, the drive up, traffic, our friends and then just… unsure silence.

“Oh no,” I thought, “this is NOT going well…what should I do?!” 

So I did what any normal girl would do…I started to tell embarrassing childhood stories. Ben, by nature is a pretty quiet guy. This made me more nervous, causing me to tell more embarrassing stories. Most of these stories involved vomit, more specifically, me throwing up at inopportune times; projectile vomit down a long table full of my fellow classmates in the library during a story time, puking while sitting in a circle during show and tell, driving down the road in the family (two door) Ford Festiva and being trapped in the back,  singing in church on Easter Sunday, singing in church on Christmas Eve, during a presentation…

Yup, I went through my entire childhood collection of barf stories…I couldn’t help myself. When I find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I let out all of my verbal vomit. I just keep talking until I talk myself into a comfortable subject…on this night, that subject was barf. So romantic. But overall we had a great time and a lot of laughs.

I was feeling pretty tired (running on about 3 hours of sleep), so we decided to go to his house and watch a movie that we had been talking about. I made it through the first half hour and started falling asleep. Ben, being Ben, let me sleep.

At about 3:30 am I decided that it was time to go..unfortunately I didn’t have my car. Taking it in stride, Ben bundled up and went out in the bitter January night to drive me back to Vanessa’s. He then got out of his car and walked me to the door. Again, this was new.

The door.  It was absolutely freezing outside, but it didn’t distract me from how nervous I felt. We stood there, kicking at the snow and glancing around nervously. Finally we locked eyes and just looked at each other for a moment.

Then he smiled at me and said, “Goodnight, Noelle.” And walked away.

I stood there for a moment, completely dumbfounded. This had not happened before and I wasn’t sure what to think.

I hurried into Vanessa’s house, trying to be quiet as it was past 4 am. This was pointless as Vanessa and Tina were both still awake. We finally got to bed about an hour later.

I woke up at about 8:30 that morning, a message from Ben waiting for me. It said, “would it be selfish of me to ask to see you again?” He came over that morning before he headed to work. We saw each other that night-I guess you could call it a second date…and when he finally kissed me, it was perfect.

I remember driving home with a big smile on my face, thinking how crazy this was. But it was crazy enough that it just may work.