Just another day at the office with the bomb squad outside….

Hello!

Can I just tell you how happy I am that it’s Thursday?

OMG.

I am so ready for the weekend.

We’ve transitioned over to a new case management system at work and this week is the first week using the new software.

(pretty sure I’ve mentioned at work at a Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in Virginia – if you forgot, that’s where I work and why we use case management systems!)

Luckily, the guys from the company are here for another week and have been walking around, helping out when we need them, fixing things we need changed, etc. We’ve (at least my team) has been adapting pretty well but it’s been a challenging week to say the least.

And then there was yesterday.

I looked out my window around 8:30ish and I saw firetrucks and police cars. Now, that’s not so unusual (there’s ALWAYS a firetruck and an ambulance pulling up to one of the buildings near me and no, it’s not a hospital) but then, I looked down more and discovered the bomb squad was on scene.

WHAT?!?!

Did a quick scan of the internet news and learned that a suspicious package had been discovered in one of the court rooms in the court house DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET!

No, we were not evacuated. No, I don’t know why not.

We watched the activity from our 5th floor window for a bit until one of the squad started donning his bomb suit.

Then, one of my coworkers and I decided we were going outside. I don’t know what we hoped to accomplish – mostly we wanted to watch and see if we could learn anything.

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putting on the bomb suit

We spent some time outside after he went in to the court house but no one ever evacuated our building and it was getting warm so we threw caution to the wind and went back inside.

Where we continued to watch from our window perches.

Work? What work? The court house was evacuated so…… :)

Then, they brought out the big robot.

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The bomb guy had sneaked out of the court house when we weren’t looking so he was suiting up to go back in. And, a couple other guys were putting on vests and helmets.

By this point, we’d learned that an unattended box had been left in one of the court rooms and when they (no, I don’t know who “they” is – I’m just repeating what I heard) tried to x-ray it, they couldn’t tell what was inside. So, the bomb guys needed the robot to figure it out. No, we’re still not evacuated.

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By now, though, they’ve taped off an area and our building was INSIDE the taped off area but nope, still not evacuated. WTF?

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never did figure out what that white thing was behind the bomb squad truck

Back into the court house they went.

(I apologize for the glare. I was taking pictures through a reflective glass window and the sun was on the court house side of the building.)

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They were in there for maybe 20 minutes before they came back out.

As it turns out, as is usually the case in these circumstances, it was nothing. A false alarm.

Which is MUCH better than a boom.

Apparently, a civil attorney brought in some projector equipment he needed for a trial and then, for some reason, left it in the court room and went … who knows where? What was he thinking?!

We seriously did nothing for 3 hours.

Okay, that’s not true. We worked. We just weren’t that productive.

Hey, we were afraid of being blown up! So, of course we had to stand at the windows FACING the building with the “bomb” and watch the activity and take pictures. :)

Okay, in all seriousness, we were watching to gauge the reactions of the bomb squad and the police officers. I feel confident that if we were in serious danger, they would have evacuated us. I’m just glad it was a false alarm and no one was hurt.

Talk to me: What’s the most exciting non-work related thing that you’ve had happen while you’re at work?

- jennifer

Wine Wednesday – 2011 St. Supéry Cabernet Sauvignon

Hello, hello!

Guess what day it is?!

wine wednesday

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During my normal trip to Harris Teeter, I just happened to be down the wine aisle (surprise, surprise) and I came across these in the Cabernet Sauvignon section.

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I know my normal grocery store budget is $20 or less but look at those discounts!!

It was definitely a sign!

So, which one do you think I took home? No peeking!!

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Did you guess correctly?

You probably think I picked it because it had the biggest discount but honestly, it was the label that really drew me in.

I know, I know. You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, or a wine by its label, but I do. I’m guilty. I’ll buy a wine with a boring label but it I think the label is ugly or ridiculous, I probably won’t grab it.

I need to not do that because I’m sure I’m missing out but…..there are just so many with really attractive labels AND if their marketing department is any good, they’ll make the label nice looking anyway because people really do grab wine based on the label!

And, we’ve actually been to Beaulieu Vineyards and I was meh about their cab and the tasting room experience. Haven’t grabbed a bottle of BV since. *shrug*

Anyway, I went with the St. Supéry and brought that baby home.

I knew my sailor would be happy because he loves him some cab! :)

We got the grill lit and ready to throw on a pork tenderloin and some sweet taters and we popped it open.

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One day, I will find the BEST spot to take this picture. Clearly, this is not it.

 

I’m going to do something new.

I’m going to give you the tasting notes as written on the winery Web page and then tell you what I thought/smelled/tasted. This way, instead of just my pedestrian opinion, you’ll have the winemaker’s notes as well. Besides, my taste buds are just that – mine – and you may pick up on different nuances than I do. I don’t want what I taste to potentially prevent you from trying a wine if you don’t like “earthy” or “cherry” or whatever. :)

So, per the St. Supéry page: “This Cabernet Sauvignon presents with bright hues of purples and red. Vibrant, youthful aromas of blackberry, plum and raspberry mingle with notes of chocolate laced with hints of vanillin and toasted oak. Fruit forward flavors burst with blackberry and black plum and are balanced by graceful, structured notes of oak combined with cocoa and a dusty sense of Napa Valley terroir. This is an elegant Cabernet Sauvignon that is finely textured with a solid frame.”

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I just have to say – I didn’t smell raspberry one little bit which is good because I would have probably put the glass down and never even taken a sip.  I am so NOT a fan of raspberries. What I did smell was plum, vanilla, and oak. YUM!

After swirling and sniffing (I should totally do a video to show you how to pretend like you know what you’re doing when you go wine tasting! We can all swirl and sniff together!!), my first sip was not overly fruity (they say fruit forward – I thought the fruit was more mellow than big and jammy, which is how I define fruit forward) but I definitely tasted berry, and I tasted the toastiness from the oak (think of toasted marshmallows).

At 13.5% alchohol, I was pleasantly surprised at how not “hot” it was. Wines with higher alcohol content can often taste “hot” and can leave sort of a burning sensation in the back of your throat. You’ll know it the minute you taste a high-alcohol wine. It’ll taste good and then when you swallow, it’s like it sucker punches your throat. Still delicious, though! Just be careful with the “hot” ones! Wine hangovers are zero fun. Anyway, this one didn’t have any of that – it was smooth, silky, and just right.

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And, it wasn’t too much for our pork tenderloin although I wouldn’t make it a regular pairing. You definitely want to pair a cab with heartier meats, like steaks, lamb, and some chicken dishes, stews, hearty pastas, and even a meat pizza.

Or, you could always do just Brie and a baguette and hang out on the front patio and watch the traffic go by. :)

Cheers!

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Talk to me: What’s your favorite dish to pair Cabernet Sauvignon with?

- jennifer

Tasty Tuesday – Pork Skewers with Pineapple-Scallion Rice

Hello, hello!

Welcome to the jungle Tasty Tuesday!

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For more food awesomeness, make sure you head over to Lean Lena for her Curried Chicken with Vegetables recipe (OM NOM NOM!!) and see what other goodies bloggers are linking up! :)

Today, I’m bringing you a blast from the past. My blogging past that is. Not some retro Betty Crocker recipe. :)

Before I was A Hungry Runner, I blogged at The Connoisseur Chronicles (holy cow, what was I thinking with THAT name?!) and briefly at Cooking with JenS.

This one is from my brief stint at Cooking with JenS. Enjoy!

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So, I get the Rachael Ray magazine and, mostly, I just page through it but sometimes I come across a recipe that strikes my interest.  She isn’t really the most health conscious of the celebrity chefs (but, of course, she’s no Paula Deen!) and I have to look pretty hard to find a recipe that both strikes my interest and I can manipulate, if necessary.  Sometimes though, I find good ones that serve another purpose besides feeding the family – keeping money in my wallet! (always an excellent thing in my book!)

Rachael (like we’re on a first name basis or something) has this section in her mag where the recipe cost comes in under $10 and would feed a family of four.  That’s pretty nice in today’s tight economy but, hello, groceries are expensive, right?  Well, this one pretty much keeps its promise and delivers a tasty meal to your table.  Pork skewers with pineapple-scallion rice.  How does that sound?  Well, the first thing I think is that it sounds kinda time consuming and maybe a little difficult.  But, don’t fret!  It’s actually pretty easy and the hardest part is finding something to do while the pork and scallions are marinating!  Okay, maybe that’s not the hardest part but, it made sense when I typed it.

Alright, anyway, super easy and her grocery receipt (just for these ingredients) totaled $9.96.  Mine was pretty close – depends on where you shop and if you buy store or name brand items.  Of course, this recipe calls for soy sauce and if you don’t have any in your fridge, well, your grocery total will likely go over $10.  Her total was based on the amount of soy sauce used and, as far as I know, most people have soy sauce already or, if you don’t, you should really get some anyway.  There were only 2 things I had to buy to make this dinner and that was the pork loin and some fresh ginger.  Um, no, do not use powdered ginger.  Not the same result.

So, basically, you marinate the pork and the scallions, thread the skewers, and then grill.  Make the rice on the stove, throw out some extra veggies (salad, steamed broccoli, steamed green beans, whatever floats your vegetable-loving boat), and dinner’s on the table in less than an hour.  No, sorry, this isn’t a 30-minute meal but it’s still super doable on a busy work night.  Put the kids and/or hubby to work!  Someone can chop the pork and scallions while you make the marinade.  Family dinners are WAY more fun when everyone is involved anyway.  Of course, if you can’t get them involved, have a nice glass of wine and some music playing and pretend.  It’s almost the same.  Just don’t talk out loud to yourself.  Bad idea. :)

Anyway, here’s the recipe and it’s a keeper.  Happy cooking, eating, and drinking!

dinner

Pork Skewers with Pineapple-Scallion Rice
recipe adapted from the Rachael Ray mag

One 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks in their juice, drained and juice reserved
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I subbed olive without any taste discrepancy. I’m sure you could use coconut oil if that’s what you want.)
Salt and pepper
1 1/4 pounds pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice

1. In a resealable plastic ziptop bag, combine the pineapple juice, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Add the pork and scallions and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 3/4 cup salted water to a boil. Add the rice, cover and cook over low heat for 18 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, thread the marinated pork and two-thirds of the pineapple chunks onto four 10-inch skewers and the marinated scallions onto one 10-inch skewer.

ready to go

Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

grilled skewers

4. Coarsely chop the remaining pineapple chunks and stir into the cooked rice. Remove the grilled scallions from the skewer and stir into the rice. Serve the pork kebabs with the pineapple-scallion rice.

pork rice

Serves 4 (well, maybe the pork and pineapple could serve 4 (I had 5 skewers full) but we have leftover rice and Thing 2 REALLY, REALLY, REALLY LOVES rice.)

No calorie/fat information. That’s the downside of a Rachael Ray recipe – you have to guess. But, this is really light on fat and high on protein. I recommend low-sodium soy sauce just to keep those numbers down. The rice? Well, yep, that does add carbs. Sorry. You know, carbs are not the enemy. Just don’t eat the whole bowl of rice. :)

Talk to me: Do you love skewer recipes? Do you call them shish-kebabs or kebabs instead of skewers? Am I the only one that thinks ‘skewer’ is a funny word?