Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cupcakes For Grief

This weekend was one of needles and nice evenings, sports and sugar.

Friday night saw Jack and I taking his mom and Don out for dinner.  Earlier this week a dog from Jack’s childhood passed on so it had been a rough few days.  We figured coming up and spending some time, as well as providing sustenance, would be a nice “thinking of you” gift.  After my massage and chiropractor appointment, the four of us went a local restaurant.  I had been to the downtown location but on a restricted menu so I was interested to see the whole of their offerings.  I ended up getting the steak avocado salad which came with a slice of the establishment’s famous coffee cake.  No picture, sorry, but I wasn’t about to whip out my camera during the dinner.  I can tell you though that it was a bed of crisp romaine topped with bleu cheese, cucumber, tomato, scallions, avocado chunks, black bean salsa, and perfectly cooked (medium) steak nibs.  It was served with an avocado ranch and I couldn’t get enough of it.  I loved the entire bowl of greens and goodness.  On the side, the coffee cake slice was beyond delicious and moist and nutty.  I wanted the whole cake.  Haha.

We had gone to dinner early, according to Jack’s family’s typical timetable, because I had to fast for at least twelve hours before my blood draw Saturday morning.  We finished up around 7:30, right on time, but then we got home and these consolation, sorry-for-your-loss, cupcakes happened –>


There was a salted caramel, chocolate chocolate chip, wedding cake, and carrot cake spread.  We couldn’t help ourselves and split each of them into four pieces.  My plate had a bit of every flavor and boy, they were totally worth having to start my fast at 8:30 instead of an hour earlier.  All of the cupcakes were delicious.  The carrot cake was moist, the chocolate chocolate was nice and rich, the wedding cake light and perfectly vanilla, and the salted caramel was like Heaven on a plate.  You could give me a vat of that frosting any day!


We departed a bit later after dessert and got some sleep.  I woke up at my regular early time to get some sweaty gym time in.  I did 20 minutes on the elliptical followed by some weights.  I would totally write down what I did but I started to and I couldn’t remember everything.  I know there were some decline push ups, some “stir the pot” ab work, exercise ball crunches, Olympic presses, and bicep curls.  Anyways, we came back to the apartment and showered.  On the way to the blood draw lab, Jack ate breakfast and I didn’t.  Silly fasting.  We were told to expect to be there about three hours.  This blood draw was meant to clarify some of the truths that came out at the doctor’s office on Thursday.  My first draw was at 8:45am and it was six tubes of blood.  The last two seemed to be incredibly hard to fill and I honestly got a little woosy.  I was then bandaged and sent out into the waiting room to dose myself with 75g of sugar.


This test is very similar, if not identical, to the traditional gestational diabetes test given during pregnancy.  The phlebotomist even asked me how far along I was, which made me giggle.  I obviously told her I wasn’t pregnant and then went on to explain why this test was ordered.  Back to the drink though, I had five minutes to get it all down then the hour waiting period would start.  I had heard some bad things about the flavor and such but it wasn’t awful that way.  It was just incredibly saccharine and almost made my teeth hurt.  And that never happens…  In the following hour some interesting things happened: 1) I got tingling in my fingers, toes, lower legs, and arms. 2) My stomach felt like it had a rock in it for like 15 minutes. 3) My whole body felt warm and sort of heavy. 4) I continued to get a little light headed on occasion but I was sitting down so it wasn’t awful.

My second draw came at 10am and they had to use another vein in my arm.  Only two tubes this time around.  Back out into the waiting room I went.  This time, instead of reading and watching the Olympic men’s cycling road race on TV, Jack and I played gin rummy.  He beat me several hands in a row but I beat him eventually in a single hand.  It was conveniently timed too because I was called back for my final draw right then, at 11am.  With two sticks already behind me, the next needle had to use yet another vein.  Another two tubes of blood later, my arm looked a bit abused.


Thankfully though, we wrapped it up with some cotton and Jack and I headed out to get some food.  I had fasted for twelve hours then had a massive dose of sugar so I was really wanting some real grub, and fast.  We stopped off at a local Walmart to pick up a prescription and then parked at a Hotcakes Emporium for a late brunch.  We had been told to try out the black forest pancakes so I ordered that and Jack got the western skillet with two eggs sunny side up.  We also split an order of loaded hash browns.


The review: nomnom!  The black forest pancakes were fluffy as all get out and had the perfect ratio of chocolate, cherry, and salty butter.  The western skillet could have used salt and pepper but otherwise was a nice dish but the loaded hash browns were seriously yummy.  I probably scarfed down half of them before I came up for air.  After all that sugar earlier I wanted salt and savory!  The gravy was perfect for that.  We both chased our food with cups of coffee.  I used amaretto creamer in mine.


The rest of the afternoon was spent at home, watching some Olympics and going through various blog posts on my Google Reader while Jack took a two and a half hour nap.  Around happy hour time, 5p, we were getting hungry so we meandered down to BRU and took our seats on the patio.  It was about 75 degrees outside and sunny which made for the perfect weather to enjoy a lazy evening.  When we sat down, Jack ordered a local beer and I got a pear cosmo (my favorite drink from their bar).


To knock the edge off the hunger as we decided what we wanted, we ordered the goat cheese plate to start off with.  It came with creamy goat cheese, roasted peppadew peppers, arugula pesto, some grilled baguette slices, and a balsamic reduction.


I constructed my toasts with pesto on the bottom, a layer of peppers, then a smear of goat cheese and balsamic scraped from the plate.   I was really impressed by how well all the flavors worked together.  It was probably the lightest appetizer we have ever had there but perhaps one of the best.  You know I’m a sucker for goat cheese after all!  In terms of main dishes, Jack got the BRU burger (one of my favorite ones they do and the first one I had ever had) and I had the Pacific Rim burger with shrimp, bacon, guacamole, swiss, pineapple, and a sweet chili mayo.


I definitely liked the guacamole on the burger and the sweet chili mayo was just enough kick to light up your taste buds.  All in all, a very good meal for us, though, we have yet to be disappointed at BRU.  After we finished our second drinks, another beer for Jack and a glass of cabernet for me, we walked home in the setting sun.  The couch called us and we hunkered down for Olympic coverage until midnight.  Then it was time for bed.  Nine hours later, I woke up and turned on more sportage.  The women’s cycling road race was on followed by some gymnastics and volleyball.  Breakfast was a joint effort: blueberry-bacon waffles.


I topped mine with maple syrup, butter, and some flax seed for good measure.  The batter was a bit thin so the waffles seemed slightly anorexic in some spots but they were all sorts of packed with flavor.  The sweetness of the blueberries mixed with the saltiness of the bacon was almost more than I could handle.  Perfect way to star the day, if I do say so myself.  Not that we really needed a boost because we sat around all morning watching the Olympics.  We were bums but seriously, this kind of competition only comes around every two years.  Lunch came just short of two o’clock.  Jack made a peanut butter and jelly to keep him awake and alert on his drive home and I had a goat cheese and fig & ginger jam sandwich with some sourdough pretzels on the side.


I spent the remainder of the afternoon watching beach volleyball and men’s gymnastics.  I also cleaned up my room a bit and thought about what I needed to pack for our trip this weekend.  Despite not doing too much, toward dinner time I was hungry again so I made myself a salad (light on the lettuce since I didn’t have too much left) and a half red curry tuna salad sandwich with cheese.


The sandwich was actually my favorite of the two items for dinner however, dressing my salad in BBQ sauce and sweet/hot mustard was a stellar idea on my part.  Now I’m off to catch the women’s 3M synchro diving event and some more gymnastics, this time the women’s events.  Can’t get enough!!  I love these summer games.

Questions: What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch?
Do you DVR the games or follow it live online?


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