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Me, my thoughts and my life

A Day at Universal

After an insane week at work I got to have a fun day on Saturday.

imageOne of the perks of living in Orlando is that if you use your connections you can probably get into the theme parks for free.  Now, I love Disney so  choose to pay for an annual pass every year so that I don’t have to impose on friends.  One year I bought a Universal pass as well but didn’t find myself using it so didn’t buy it again.  Since I have not been to Universal in a few years I jumped at the chance to go for a day when one of my friends said she had tickets.

imageNow my friend knows that I like Harry Potter so she was excited to show me the Wizarding World of Harry Potter section.  I had previously visited but it had been a few years and it was back when the attraction had just opened so the lines and crowds were ridiculous.  One of the employees told us that on the day it opened there was a 9 hour wait to get into Hogsmeade and a 15 hour wait for the Forbidden Journey.  This times the lines were much more reasonable (30 minutes) though we didn’t ride Forbidden Journey since we both get motion sick on that ride.

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imageWith all of the themed snacks you can experience in Hogsmeade my favorite is Butterbeer.  It is offered cold (like a fountain drink) and frozen.  My personal preference is frozen.  It is so popular that there is a dedicated stand in the center of the village and it is sold in the Three Broomsticks.  Just a tip, the line in the Three Broomsticks moves faster and if you take your purchase to the back patio you can take a picture with Hogwarts in the background.

imageAfter we were done in Hogsmeade we went on Poseidon’s Fury, explored Seuss Landing and had lunch at Mythos.  According to their advertising Mythos has been “voted the #1 theme park restaurant for 6 years.”  Now, I am not sure who did the voting or what restaurants were in the running but I disagree.  Now, granted I am comparing to Disney restaurants but I found the service okay but not exceptional.  It was the same with the food.  I ordered a burger and it was good but not exceptional, though it was reasonably priced.  My friend was on a mushroom kick so she got a mushroom cassoulet to start and the mushroom meatloaf for her entrée.  Her report was that the cassoulet was very salty and the meatloaf us rubbery.  We did both enjoy the atmosphere and decorations though.  I especially liked the light fixtures.  Overall we liked the restaurant just did not see how it was the #1 theme park restaurant.

imageAfter lunch we changed parks and went on the Minion ride and on Shrek.  Both of these rides take place in theaters with motion seats and both are 3D experiences.  While we were waiting Shrek experienced some “pixie tampering.”  Now both of us had the same thought and said that they should have invited the students of Hogwarts over to practice their Defense Against the Dark Arts (peskipiksi pesternomi, anyone?).   A few years ago my friend worked on this ride so she kept pointing out all of the differences.  After the Shrek ride we decided to call it a day and go back to her house so I could catch up on Haven (one of my favorite shows on Syfy).  We had both had a busy week and another one planned so didn’t feel bad cutting the day short.  Oh, I should mention that during our theme park adventure we walked 4.7 miles and took about 10,000 steps.  Not a strenuous workout but a pretty good stroll.

 

What I am currently reading:  Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd

 

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Healthy Lifestyle Goal

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to break a good habit and how hard it is to break a bad habit?

Last October I decided that I needed to lose weight and have a healthier lifestyle.  I have made significant progress on my food choices (most of the time).  I don’t usually crave sugar or desserts (unless it involves the combination of mint & chocolate), for me the foods that are hard to resist are chips and bread.  The aspect my healthier lifestyle that I am having a problem with is exercise.  I would rather curl up on my couch (or bed) and read a book or watch a movie.  I don’t get the endorphin high that people talk about from working out.  I just get bored, sweaty and sore. This week work has been so crazy and my schedule has been different everyday and unfortunately I let this be my excuse for not doing anything to promote my healthier lifestyle.

This October my goal is to do some kind of physical activity at least 3 times a week.  In August I was doing pretty well at going to my apartment gym and working out for at least 30 minuets.  Granted my version of working out is not as intense as most people’s definition but at least I am moving.  I have found a few interval workouts on the treadmill and elliptical that I like (or at least tolerate).  If I could find an affordable yoga studio I would do that but they are all so expensive.

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Last November when I visited Michigan my Frusin (friend+cousin=frusin) told me about a cool device called a Fitbit.  She had started a running regimen with the goal of running a 5k (she meet her goal and is continuing to beat her time) and learned about this device from her running friends.  We both have the Fitbit One which tracks your steps, distance, floors, calories, active minutes and sleep.  The device links wirelessly with the account you create and you can compete and encourage your friends and family who have a Fitbit.  So far she has taken more steps than me every week but one week I will win!!

Okay, enough rambling for the night.  I am pretty sure I am brain-dead from work this week.  The good news is that I have some things to look forward to next week.  On Saturday I am going to Universal with one of my good friends.  We both get to act like little kids when we go to theme parks together.  Then on Tuesday Vicki arrives and our week of Disney begins!!

 

What I am currently reading:  Into the Shadow by Christina Dodd

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Busy Work Week

Do you ever have those times when everything seems to happen at once?  These next 2 weeks are like that for me.

It is a really busy work week for me this week.  My hotel is small so any amount of overtime is frowned on.  This week that is not the case.  We have a unique group in house that we host every year (hopefully twice a year if this week goes well).  They are both a complicated group logistically and extremely needy as individuals.  So far in my 2 days of working I have about 3 hours of overtime.  It would probably be more but I had a check up yesterday afternoon.  By the end of the week I will have over 12 hours of overtime.  I’m not complaining, I enjoy my job and am finding this group fun.  It has taken a lot of prep work and I have never seen as much activity in the hotel today in the last 3 months combined.

In addition to work there are several events happening in the lives of my friends this week.  While I am not directly involved in these events I still am keeping track and need updates.  In this area I have also started to create lists of their favorite things.  Go ahead and laugh, my friends do.  I figure though that this is good information when it comes to gift times or possible care package.

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Next week is also busy but in a fun way.  One of my best friends is coming to Orlando to visit.  She moved up north in late December and this is the first time I get to spend a significant amount of time with her (being an adult sucks).  We both love to visit Disney and in the 6 full days she is here we are most likely visiting the 4 main parks here.  That doesn’t include all of the other activities we have planned, most of which revolve around food.  You don’t realize how different restaurants are from state to state until you live somewhere else.

 

What I am currently reading:  Into the Shadow by Christina Dodd

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Work Potluck

Last week we had a potluck at work.  The theme was Diversity and we were asked to bring a dish that represents our heritage or reminds us of home.  My heritage is German but I don’t like the German foods that I have tried.  Admittedly I haven’t tried that many.  I think on one o my next trips to Epcot I will have to eat at the restaurant in Germany.

imageAnyway back to the story.  My family does potlucks a lot.  When we all get together there are usually 15-30 of us depending on who is in town.  That’s a lot of people to feed so we always split up the cooking.  One of my Aunts always brings a specific salad.  She got it from a member of her in-law family and brought it to us.  I am not sure if it has a real name but we always call it Aunt Pat Salad.  It is fairly simple but we all love it.  A few of us even “fight” to take home the extras, if there are any.  Since this dish reminds me of home and family this is what I decided to bring.

 

Ingredients

2 heads of Iceberg lettuce

1 package of hard salami

Tomatoes (grape tomatoes work well)

Onion (use sparingly)

4 cups mozzarella cheese

1 container Good Seasons Italian dressing (the kind you buy in a packet and mix yourself)

Directions

Chop everything up and mix together.

Tips

If you are taking it for a pot luck keep everything separate until about 10 minutes before you serve.   While the leftovers are wonderful they tend to be kind of soupy.

The amount of onion and tomatoes are a personal choice.  For example I don’t like either so tend to leave them out.

The dressing helps to combine everything and “condenses” it.

 

Most of the people I work with are from Latin America or are Creole.  They make some fantastic food!  Even though food wise their culture is similar the dishes are still different.  For example, we had about 4 different versions of chicken and rice.  Everything was so good that I ate 2 plates full of food (everyone else did too).  Also, I wasn’t hungry the rest of the day.

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What I am currently reading:  Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd

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Kobe Copy Cat

Have you ever been to Kobe Japanese Steak House?  It is a Hibachi/Teppanyaki style restaurant.  One of the things that I love is that you get to watch the chef prepare the food right in front of you.  It is kind of like dinner & a show.

kobe1With your entree they include clear soup, a salad with ginger dressing, fried rice, butter noodles and sauteed veggies.   I love all of these extras.  I always try to wait until the meat is done before I eat them all but it never works.  Anyway the point of this plug for Kobe is that because of them I have discovered that I like zucchini.  Now to me this was a revelation.  When I was little my mom had a beautiful garden and had all kinds of veggies.  The only dish I remember her making with zucchini never appealed to me.  It had zucchini (of course), onions and tomatoes.  At least that is what I remember.  Anyway, as I have mentioned before I am not a big fan of onions or tomatoes so I never liked this dish.  The first time I tried the sauteed veggies (zucchini, carrots & onions) at Kobe I was surprised to find that I liked them (not the onions but the rest).  So this weekend when I was grocery shopping I saw a nice package of 3 small zucchini and decided to buy it and try cooking it.

imageI decided to try and recreate the sauteed veggies from Kobe and then add some chicken and noodles to fill out the meal.  Now when I have gone to Kobe I have not paid close attention to the cooking steps so I texted my mom to make sure my idea would work.  I was delighted to find out that not only would my idea work but that my grandma used to eat zucchini this way.  Having never met my grandma (she died before I was born) it was comforting to hear that we share something (other than my middle name).  So here is my copy cat and modified version of Kobe’s sauteed veggies.  These proportions would probably feed 2 but I was hungry (another starvin’ marvin day) so I ate it all.

 

Ingredients

1  small zucchini, halved and sliced

10 baby carrots, sliced

1 clove minced garlic

3 tablespoons butter

2 servings of noodles

1/2 cup shredded chicken

 

Directions

1.  Start your pasta water to get it boiling.  Once it is boiling add the pasta and cook to preferred tenderness.

2.   Melt the butter in a fry pan or wok

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3.  Once the butter is melted and sizzling add the carrots, zucchini and garlic.  Saute till zucchini and carrots are tender

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4.  Add shredded chicken for about the last 5 minutes just to warm through.

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5.  Mix the noodles and veggie mixture together.  Serve.

Kobe serves it with your choice of a ginger sauce or their “yum yum” sauce.  I like the ginger best but didn’t have any at home so I just ate it plain.

 

What I am currently reading:  Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd  ( I seem to have a werewolf/shape-shifter theme going on)

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