I might just make you not want to look at one more flower today (if that's possible), because I have tons here and not much else in the photo department. Tuesday I had to go to the doctor way out in the southwestern suburbs and there is a Trader Joe's that I love to hit on the way back. I like the prices and some of the "not your everyday" flowers and plants. I bought 2 bunches and broke them up among three vases. And I couldn't help but get tulips, of course. Mine in the garden are just peeping up, I can see them when we don't have snow on the ground. We've been getting the white stuff here and there and then it melts during the day with the much needed sun. Today is a little frigid...of course, Mother Nature guessed that I had a zillion errands to run and made her self known with a wink and a nod.
It's odd looking at the pictures I take on the glass coffee table, a little surreal. Everything looks like it's floating. I have so many pretty spring pieces that I keep putting out, there's no room for a mug of coffee or a book. I've never been called a minimalist. :)
I went to my doctor in follow up of some blood work she had ordered back in December at my last annual exam. Yes, I got a courtesy call reminder (she wasn't really happy), so I rushed and got the ordeal over with and then saw her Tuesday. And I have good news, I have a huge deficiency of vitamin D! This isn't about seasonal depression or anything you may have or may have heard about. She wanted my levels checked because vitamin D is being linked to everything and anything from cancer, to Alzheimer disease to autoimmune deficiency. I have very severe asthma, as well as eczema that has plagued me my whole life. She thought it was worth looking into and...my levels are at less than half of where they should be. I now have a prescription strength vitamin D supplement that I take once a week until June, then I will be tested again. I really can't tell you how happy this makes me...this sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I have had many doctors from all sorts of university hospitals tell me over the years that my breathing and skin issues can't be cured, not even treated...just managed. So I have hope. My doctor also said that with a level this low, it's quite possible I've always been deficient and will have to take a supplement the rest of my life. Did you know that only about 20% of your vitamin D comes from food? The rest is sun and supplements. Amazing.
I hope I didn't bore you with all that info. I'm feeling good about my health, working out everyday and just moving. I really love the DVD I'm using. It's called Denise Austin's Daily Dozen. I used to do her "video's" years ago and the woman still looks fantastic and I love her personality. What is so cool about this workout is that it includes five 12-minute workouts. For example, I usually do the 12 minute cardio-fat blast. This gets me totally winded and panting, and then I move on to something like lower body sculpt or cardio kickbox, yoga stretches...whatever I want. I try to do three 12 minute workouts a day, and believe me, each is like 12 minutes of boot camp. The premise is about time, not ease. Then I plop on my bed for a 30 minute cool down.
Enough about health, I just sort of feel that spring breeze saying, "Come out of hibernation, Jane. Breathe in the fresh air, breathe out. Holds those abs in and raise your arms over your head..." Oops, I drifted off there.
I'm excited about Easter. At last count I have 14 people coming for dinner. Next week I'm going to make a tablescape and I'll put it on here. I mentioned that I'm going to do a lot of mixing and matching so it's probably a good idea to see how it all looks. And I hadn't realized the day was creeping up so quickly.
I sometimes feel like my grocery shopping trips are like my sort of "Club Med". Who needs friends when you can be surrounded by multiple chatty strangers while checking out artichokes? Seriously, I casually asked a woman how she prepares them, I've had them in restaurants and only have a vague idea of the clipping and trimming and removing the "choke". So she started to explain her method of steaming them when another customer, a tall slender man with wire glasses, a beard and a French accent, suddenly appeared and said. "Garlic. Garlic is the key." And the woman looked at me as if he had never interrupted and said, "Lemon juice." As if this wasn't enough, the boy stocking the cauliflower at the end of the bin called out. "Parmesan cheese!" Well, this went on for awhile as I made the mistake in asking how to pick the best ones. We now had six hands grabbing and squeezing artichokes and chattering about ripeness. So tonight I'm making steamed artichokes with lemon, garlic and Parm. I'm wondering how my little Artichoke Group is doing. :)
I had the nicest lady helping me at Trader Joe's the other day, it was like having a personal shopper. One of you girls mentioned these little crunchy pea snacks they carry, so I asked an employee about them and she insisted on walking me right over to the snack aisle to show me what they had. Then I asked her where the ricotta cheese was and she had me follow her right over to that area. She glanced in my cart and saw that I had the pizza dough that the store makes up fresh, and her eyes sort of lit up. "Oh, you're going to make a pizza with the ricotta? Good choice!" So we chatted about that, she makes something similar and we exchanged ideas. And then she saw some fresh Eucalyptis in my cart as well, and started to give me ideas for crafting with it (a bit involved), and she also said that she keeps a few stems in her bathroom and the steam from the shower makes it smell heavenly. Lovely lady. And really, sometimes you may smile at strangers and they may just look away, this happens quite a bit to me because smiling is like a reflex for me. And last Friday? You would have not wanted to be around me when I was trying to order fish at the grocery store and the employee behind the counter got a little snarky with me. I wanted to just cancel the order and walk away in a serious huff. But it was Friday. And it's Lent. So I was nice. I did however, suggest they take one of the girls away from the smoothie bar and get her behind the seafood bar. After all, it's Lent.
I'll explain quickly how I threw this pizza together after reading a post at New House New Home. Feel free to check out her recipe. Doesn't this look exceptional? I used the pizza dough from Trader Joe's, and as the nice lady there advised. pre-bake the dough crust for about ten minutes or it will just get soggy (this has happened to me).
I did things differently than the original recipe. The ricotta cheese must be as dry as you can get it, so I lined a colander with a paper towel and then plopped in one cup of ricotta.
Place a small plate or saucer over the cheese and then weigh it down with a clean heavy can. I let this drain for about a half hour. After, I rolled the glob of cheese up in another paper towel, getting out as much of the moisture as I could. This is about as difficult as it gets. Spread the cheese on the pizza crust, using your clean bare hands works the best to smoosh it around to all the edges. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella cheese, about 1 1/2 cup, and then top with your choice of spring veggies. I followed the original recipe and used asparagus and spinach. I did let the asparagus spears hit a pan of boiling water for about 2 minutes, I had the feeling they would just harden up if I didn't. After the veggies, sprinkle a little more mozzarella over as well as some Parmesan, some S & P, whatever you'd like. Some garlic? Italian seasonings? I like the "springtime" aspect of the recipe so I had a little restraint. Add a few dashes of olive oil over the whole mess and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. Simple, tasty and impressive looking, don't you think?
I posted this picture on Instagram, took it in the car where I seem to live. I'm not really huge on selfies, I guess I don't want to act vain. And if I had 1000 pictures of myself, I might only choose just one that I thought was okay-I'm very self critical. Do you see that right eyebrow, how wonky it is? It drives me crazy. My brows are naturally thin and they are getting even thinner as I get older. I have bought a zillion brow pencils to try to make that right one "normal". How silly can one be? Ha! And I have lots of freckles, including one on my top right lip...see that? Drives me crazy. Yep..self critical. I need therapy for sure.
Anyway...what I'm leading up to is how much I pass the time listening to music in my car. I really like the Top Forties. I guess I just love Pop Culture all around. As Oscar Wilde said~Youth is wasted on the young. Not that I want to be young (and foolish) again, I just enjoy the heck out of so many forms of entertainment. No, I never watched Masterpiece Theater, (although I spent my fair share of time watching Monsterpiece Theater, hosted by Alistair Cookie, on Sesame Street back in the late 80's and early 90's). But I'm not ashamed to say that I watch some reality TV and never miss Jimmy Fallon. Enough...I just want you to have a look at one of the most popular British singing groups with fans all over the world. I've always loved them, the "boy band" insignia and all. I'm not a fan of looking at videos on blogs or social media, but this is worth it. Turn your volume up, sit back and then enjoy this wonderful performance from Saturday Night Live by the fabulous group, One Direction.
See you gals soon!