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Whoa. It’s been a long time, folks.

I apologize for going dark. I wish I could give you a legitimate excuse for my absence, but it’s mainly due to laziness.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. :)

Speaking of New Year’s… Did any of you create New Year’s resolutions? Last year, I made mine general enough that I was able to obtain them. I’m finding that is the key. In 2012, I vowed to be more active and travel more. By the end of the year, I ran in a handful of 5Ks, one 10K, and a half marathon. Be more active, check. I also traveled to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Michigan. Travel more, check. This year, I’m still contemplating what I want to accomplish. I know I want to write more. I want to hike a trail for a couple of days. (The outdoor store REI sponsors these week-long backpacking trips. I specifically have my eye on the Shenandoah National Park one.) I know I want to accomplish more, but we’ll go with those two for now.

I’m still going to try and stay active. After all, I got new running shoes and new running pants for Christmas. :) I want to stay active enough that I can run a 5K no problem and eventually I want to do another half marathon. I doubt a 13.1-mile race is in my future for this year, though.

Today I tried on those new shoes and pants and took Dexter on a mini walk. I had originally set out to walk our smallest running route (about 3 miles), but it was WAY too cold (a frigid 30 degrees or so) to go any farther than a block or two.

Dex was at least happy we went out today.

Dex was at least happy we went out today.

The pants were super comfortable, but they didn’t keep my legs that warm. Then again, it could be a totally different story if I run in them. The shoes felt good. I sure hope they work out. They hit pavement, so they can’t be returned.

Although, it was a mini walk, we still managed to find a stray dog. I swear I run across so many of them. It’s like they are attracted to me. I, of course, don’t mind and I couldn’t just let this dog go about his merry way. If Dexter was out, I would want someone to pick him up and call me. Thankfully, David was with me at the time and took care of Dexter. (Dexter gets super excited when he sees other dogs. He can also get territorial about me and David and snarl at the other dog.) Dexter sniffed the yellow lab and was not happy with him because he was jumping up on me. The dog was very friendly and burly. I would say he must have been a hundred pounds or so. It took all of my weight (all my 125 pounds or so) to hold him. I’m sure it was quite enjoyable to watch me attempt to control this dog. I was able to hold him still long enough for me to call each number on his collar. No one picked up. A few moments later, though, the owner called me back. I told him where we were at and he replies, “He always goes to that spot and I have no idea why.” His owner was there within the minute. He also said the dog somehow chews off his chain and gets out through their fence. What a crazy pooch.

You know how I said I run across a lot of stray dogs? Well…one time, we basically ended up pulling a dog from her own yard. Accidentally, of course! My friend Jess and I were walking around one day and we saw this young golden retriever sitting in someone’s front yard. No one was around. No owner to be found. We didn’t want the dog to get hurt and we wanted to find her home, so we took her with us to my house and my mom called the number on her tag. Turns out, we didn’t do such a good deed after all. She was sitting in her own front yard when we found her. At least she was safely reunited with her family. :) That’s all that matters, right?

After our walk, David and I headed out and spent the afternoon at Starbucks. I planned out our meals for the week, while he read. It was lovely. Why are we planning out our menu for the week? For one, David and I go out to eat way too much and we need to start doing something about it. And secondly, we are so tired of sandwiches for lunch that we need to make dinner each night so we’ll have leftovers to eat for lunch the next day. I perused my Yum-o board on Pinterest and found some good stuff to try. If you’re interested in what recipes I’ve pinned, start following me on Pinterest! http://pinterest.com/mrstallmadge/

Tonight we made Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole. It was delicious.

Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole

Italian Sausage and Rice Casserole

I pinned the original pin from bigoven.com. Although it says casserole, you don’t bake any of it. Just put it all in one big pot.

Ingredients
1 pound hot italian bulk sausage (we used 1 pound mild italian ground sausage)
1 medium onion; sliced (we used a red onion and diced it up)
1 small bell pepper; sliced (as you can see, we used a red one)
1 uncooked long-grain rice
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar (we omitted this because the reviews suggested it)
1 cube chicken bouillon

Preparation
In large saucepan, cook sausage, onion, and pepper until sausage is thoroughly done. Drain fat. Add everything else, plus 2 1/3 cups water. Heat to boiling, then cover and simmer 20 mins, stirring occasionally, until rice is done.

Servings: 4

Next up is turkey chili.

Have a good week, everyone!

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