Monday, December 15, 2008

Somehow, "cold" just doesn't say enough

Last night, at around 2:30am, the temperature in Denver was -19. Yes, that is correct, negative 19. When I left for work, it was -9. The high today was in the teens, until you factored in the wind chill, of course.

Holy crap, I never thought I could be so cold!!

I'm driving a new (to me) car, courtesy of my sister. It's so much better than my old car, but even this car couldn't get warm enough to melt the ice off the back windshield. The defroster was running, but heck, it's only a machine!

On Saturday, I baked a bunch (all day) with my neighbor. One of my friends came over and delivered a tree that she was giving me. I felt so special that she shared a tree with me, because it came from her yard and was one of about 10 that her dad had planted years ago. Her father passed away quite a while back (years), so it was a truly special gift.

I recently read the first two books in the Twilight series and loved them. I know I'm late to the game in reading these, but I'm glad I'm late. Here's why. I get to read a bunch of books in a row and don't have to wait! The second book I read in 2 evenings. I am on the waitlist at the library for the 3rd.

You might like these books if you love the feeling of being SO in love, like you'll just die if you can't have that person. It's very 15-years-old, but I just DON'T CARE! It's fun to have something young and fun to get me excited.

This Christmas, I'm really only shopping for my son. I decided early that I didn't want to exchange gifts with other people. Mostly because I just don't want to spend all the money and time. I'd rather visit with people and let them relax instead of trying to find some knick knack that I won't want to dust. It's funny how things change as you get older and start accumulating all the stuff you want.

My 'baby' turned 9 years old last week. Wow. It won't be long now. I'll blink and I'll be turning 40 and he'll be turning 18! I guess that's the way it goes. I better try to have more fun, and fast!

I'm looking forward to time off, but really just wish that my son and I both had the flu so we could skip school and work and stay home and cuddle up. Oh well, I better be careful what I wish for!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Buttery Soft Crescent Rolls

Since my friend gave me a bread machine, I've been looking for and trying new recipes that use it. Many of the times when I've searched online, people say that they like to use the machine to make their dough, and then bake in their regular oven.

I started thinking about it and realized that this is a great idea. Mostly because my kitchen usually isn't warm enough in winter for dough to rise. And the other great thing, is that you can make all sorts of bread items, not just loaves of bread.

I found this recipe on Recipezaar...and my 8 year old son gives them 4 out of 5 stars. It was very simple and the rolls really get large when you bake them. They fluff up and have a nice buttery taste.

Buttery Soft Crescent Rolls

1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. warm milk
1 egg
1/3 c. butter (softened)
1/3 c. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 pkg (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast...about 2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 c. butter (melted)

1. Place ingredients into bread maker in order recommended by manufacturer: water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast. Reserve additional butter butter (1/4 cup) for later.

2. Select dough/knead cycle and start. This cycle should mix dough and allow it to rise for 1 hour.

3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush with additional butter.

4. Cut into 16 pie shaped wedges. Roll wedges starting with wide end into crescent shapes.

5. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and allow to rise for an additional hour.

6. Bake for 10- 15 minutes at 375°F or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Making pasta using what's at hand...

I need to go grocery shopping. Really badly. You can tell when you open my refrigerator and see the back of it! So, when it was time to make dinner last night, I had to figure out something new.

I started with thin spaghetti, and the thought of olive oil and garlic. Then, I remembered that I had some spinach that needed to be eaten. It all took off from there.

Pasta with Garlic Spinach Cream Cheese Sauce

Boil your pasta in salted water till al dente.

Meanwhile, use about 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and saute your fresh spinach. I used about 3-4 cups (it really wilts down to nothing). When the spinach is almost all wilted, add in 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic. Add a half cup of chicken broth. Simmer, reducing by about half the liquid. Add in about 1/3 block of cream cheese. Stir until melted. Toss hot pasta in sauce. Serve!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Took a little advice and made something good...

I took Ilva's advice and made something yummy for myself last weekend. I haven't been doing too much real cooking or baking lately, but my son perked up when I suggested that maybe we should bake a pie.

I used a couple of recipes from America's Test Kitchen...their all butter pastry for the crust and their recipe for Deep Dish Apple Pie. It turned out well, and I even liked it better cold!

All-Butter Pie Pastry

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus additional flour for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and frozen for 10 minutes
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup ice water , or more if needed

1. For Pastry: Process flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and pulse until butter is size of large peas, about ten 1-second pulses.

2. Using fork, mix sour cream and 1/3 cup ice water in small bowl until combined. Add half of sour cream mixture to flour mixture; pulse for three 1-second pulses. Repeat with remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch dough with fingers; if dough is floury, dry, and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water and process until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, three to five 1-second pulses.

3. Turn dough out onto work surface. Divide dough into 2 balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk; wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm but not hard, 1 to 2 hours, before rolling. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.)

Deep Dish Apple Pie

Use a combination of tart and sweet apples for this pie. Good choices for tart are Granny Smiths,
Empires, or Cortlands; for sweet, we recommend Golden Delicious, Jonagolds, or Braeburns.
Wrap leftovers tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours. To reheat, remove the wrap and warm the pie in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

1⁄2 cup (31⁄2 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup (13⁄4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon juice and 1⁄2 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
21⁄2 pounds firm tart apples (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices (see note)
21⁄2 pounds firm sweet apples (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices (see note)
1 recipe Foolproof All-Butter Pie Pastry
1 egg white, beaten lightly

1. Mix 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, zest, and cinnamon in large bowl; add apples
and toss to combine. Transfer apples to Dutch oven (do not wash bowl) and cook, covered, over
medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold
their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. (Apples and juices should gently simmer during cooking.) Transfer
apples and juices to rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. While apples cool, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place empty rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out between 2 large sheets of parchment
paper or plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about 1⁄8 inch thick. (If dough becomes soft and/or sticky,
return to refrigerator until firm.) Remove parchment from one side of dough and flip onto 9-
inch pie plate; peel off second layer of parchment. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, roll second disk of dough between 2 large sheets of parchment paper or
plastic wrap to 12-inch circle, about 1⁄8 inch thick. Refrigerate, leaving dough between parchment
sheets, until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Set large colander over now-empty bowl; transfer cooled apples to colander. Shake colander
to drain off as much juice as possible (cooked apples should measure about 8 cups); discard
juice. Transfer apples to dough-lined pie plate; sprinkle with lemon juice.

5. Remove parchment from one side of remaining dough and flip dough onto apples; peel off
second piece of parchment. Pinch edges of top and bottom dough rounds firmly together. Following illustrations 1 through 4, trim and seal edges of dough, then cut four 2-inch slits in top of dough. Brush surface with beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with remaining teaspoon sugar.

6. Set pie on preheated baking sheet; bake until crust is dark golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes.
Transfer pie to wire rack and cool at least 11⁄2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Time flies...

I guess that I must have been busy the last 2 months!

I have been thinking about so many things lately.

I went out on a few dates with a guy. They were fun, but it just didn't feel right. However, it did remind me that I want and need some sort of connection with a guy. Now, to find the right guy. And soon, I hope. The memories of the few kisses we shared makes me start daydreaming at work.

My car has been having issues off and on (yeck), and right now my muffler is hanging about 6 inches from the ground. I know this isn't good, but I think it is too rusted and old to be reattached, so if I take it in, they'll be selling me a new muffler. So, I haven't taken it in. This is on top of two front tires that keep losing air (and two flat tires about a month ago). Damn car.

My work has been pretty stressful as well. I am SO busy, too. Maybe I'll get lucky and next week will be slower.

A couple I know is having serious relationship problems and I feel like I'm stuck in the middle. It's been more stressful than dealing with my own divorce.

I've been staying quiet around my friends because I'm just feeling a little stressed out and down lately. I wonder if it has to do with the arrival of the first cold days of autumn.

Well, this is kind of a blue note to finish on, but I guess that is appropriate.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Stuffed Tomatoes

I will admit that I've never really thought that stuffed tomatoes looked very appetizing. But lately, I've been trying to eat better and that mostly means eating more veggies and fewer carbs (I LOVE carbs!).

My friend Mike at work brought me in several tomatoes and a fresh peach from his garden. I ate the peach at lunch - it was perfect. I brought the 3 tomatoes home, not knowing what I'd do with them. I've never been a huge tomato fan, but I've been enjoying them more as I've gotten older.

With my limited supplies (grocery shopping tomorrow is a must), I decided to make baked, stuffed tomatoes. From what I could tell by looking at other recipes online, stuffed tomatoes can contain anything you want. I saw some with ground beef, but I was looking for something simpler.

I used a 7 grain rice blend, crushed red pepper, basil, fresh garlic and cheese.

They were juicy, flavorful and filling. A vegetarian dinner that was delicious and satisfying.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Say what you want about me, but don't mess with my grill.

The homeowners' association sent me a letter this weekend. Telling me to remove my grill from the property.

I'm pretty sure they're in the wrong, and cannot require me to remove the grill, but can make me remove the propane tanks (fine, I understand). And I am removing them.

But the thing that pisses me off is that I am pretty sure the HOA is retaliating against me for writing a letter for a neighbor. This particular neighbor is a disabled American and she needs to try to regain some of her small motor skills. One thing her doctor suggested was to garden. So, she had a little garden when I moved in last year. One day, she comes and tells me that she had to remove it all because the HOA sent her a letter stating that she couldn't have it. The garden was pretty cute, too.

So, the local office for disabled Americans told her that the HOA was violating her rights and interfering with treatment prescribed by her physician. So, the HOA lady (it's just one lady out to get people) finally relents and tells her she can put her plant stand back out front if it's okay with her neighbor...hence my letter. BUT then, after she sends my letter, she's told that she can't put any plants on it.

And about 2 months later, I get a notice about my grill. Mind you, I'm on the second floor and you can hardly see my grill. And, other people on the first floor have grills sitting on their patios. Ugh. I hate it when someone has no life and has to go about making others as miserable as possible.


Now, I'm waiting on my local fire department to get back to me so that I can confirm I'm in the right and send a written response. And, I think I'm going to have to start telling ALL of my neighbors about her tactics. I heard a rumor that another neighbor actually DID get rid of her grill when the HOA told her she had to. If I can help it, that will be the last person to make that mistake!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mr. Men and Little Miss

I love it when something you loved as a child (but has since disappeared) reappears. I could never remember what these guys were called, but when I was younger, I colored in Mr. Men Little Miss coloring books. With my wonderful scented markers. I liked them all except black (which was scented black licorice). I think I also used to have Colorforms for these guys, too!

Seems like there is a resurgence in popularity for these items. They have a website and other folks are selling stuff with their characters, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quote of the Day

If you were arrested for kindness, would there be enough evidence to convict you?


Monday, August 25, 2008

How to eat smaller portions

I've never been good at any form of dieting. To be honest, I don't really believe in eat what you eat. If a diet is temporary instead of a permanent change to your way of eating, then any loss you may accomplish will most likely be lost when you resume your normal diet.

However, that being said, I'm trying to change how I eat. I need to add more green vegetables into my diet and I need to stop going back for seconds!

Today, I managed to eat the right amount of food at lunch. The trick? I measured out what I wanted to eat this morning (while I still had all sorts of noble ideas stuck in my sleep-riddled head) and took my lunch to work.

And ya know what? When you have no other food to go grab from the stop eating. It's weird, but works. :)

But seriously, it was a relief to bring my own lunch to work, in the right portions, heavy with green veggies. I ate like a pig (always do), but in the end, hadn't sabotaged my inner self's desire to flatten, smooth and firm up particular body parts.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Of all the things to worry about!

I had a dream this week that I was with a man. The dream was going along and was good. That is, until I kissed him.

It was terrible. The kiss was a lot of bumping teeth and lips that didn't connect. It was terrible!

I actually woke the next morning wondering if that's what my next kiss would be like. If I weren't a little nervous about dating before (I was), then I would be after that dream!

What a strange thing to worry about, I think. I guess it's just another way that I'm worried that I am out of practice or somehow not good enough for the ideal man I'm chasing. I know that's silly, but I guess those little insecurities sometimes pop up.

Besides, Mr. Right will fit me just great. I know it!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reading Like a Fiend

I started to think this morning about all the books I've read in the last 10-12 months. From what I can remember:

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Digital Fortress, by Dan Brown
Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (re-reading this series)
Dragonfly in Amber, by Diana Gabaldon
Voyager, by Diana Gabaldon
Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon
The Fiery Cross, by Diana Gabaldon (in progress)

Friday, August 15, 2008

First day down!

So, I went in and did my first day at the gym. Sam showed me how to use the circuit training machines and I did a circuit. It was pretty quick and easy!

I learned that my arm muscles are much weaker than I thought! My legs did much, much better. Tomorrow I'm going to try an elliptical machine and do my calves & abs again.

I'm so glad to get over the first time, and to feel a little more comfortable there than when I first walked in. I'll have to try to remember to weigh myself tomorrow. Not that I'm trying to lose a bunch of weight or anything, but just that I'm curious. I don't own my own scale and so I usually only find out how much I weigh once a year at my annual physical.

It has been cold and rainy all day today! It is awesome. Considering that Monday it was about 90 plus degrees, and that today it has been in the 50s and 60s, it has been a bit of a shock. But a good one. We've had a lot of hot days this summer, so I'm really loving my first early taste of fall.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Exercise, here I come!

I signed up for a one week trial at a local gym. The trial week starts tomorrow.

I've been thinking about this for a while, but just hesitated about actually doing it. I'm not sure how other people feel, but I have a certain amount of fear associated with going to a gym and learning all the machines and being around other people who know what they're doing.

I'm not sure where this fear came from, but it's time for it to go! I have a goal of going to the gym at least 3 times in the next week, starting tomorrow. If I end up liking it, I will sign up for a monthly membership until I feel like I can make a 6 month commitment.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

White Lasagna

White lasagna is one of those foods that I've always wanted to try making, but never have. Until now.

I have friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night and I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to make. My friends are awesome, a really nice couple who are fun to hang out with. Their house is so cute and designed in a style that I love (it's like straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog). They have hosted the last few times we've gotten together.

They like food, but their tastes are pretty simple. When I thought back to the last few meals at their place, they included steak, steak, hamburgers and tacos. I started asking them about their likes and dislikes so I could figure out what to make.

Their dislikes between the two of them include eggplant, raw onions, citrus, mushrooms and raw tomatoes. And those are just the ones that my friend thought of when we were talking.

So, I'm trying to play it pretty safe because I want them to be happy with the food. But I also wanted to try making something new and different, partly for me and partly for them.

This white lasagna recipe includes chicken, spinach, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and a white sauce made from butter, onions, garlic, milk, chicken broth, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.

The other thing I'm going to make is Caesar salad, with fresh dressing. We'll see how much anchovy I can sneak into the dressing without making it too fishy.

I'll post some pics of the finished products and report on whether or not they liked the food.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Survival Italian

That's the name of a book I've borrowed from my local library. It covers the basics, simple stuff you'd need to get by in Italy.

Which makes me wonder, is there a Survival Dating?

I actually asked my neighbor's 13-year-old daughter where to go to meet cute guys. She replied, "The mall?" So, I asked, well if I see a cute guy at the mall, how do I meet him? She said, "Drop your purse?"

Which, of course, reminded me of the "bend and snap" scene from Legally Blonde!

After doing some searching on Amazon, I realized that there are a ton of books out there that I might do good to read. Everything from, Why Men Marry Bitches to How to Be a Super Hot Woman to Stop Being the String Along: A Relationship Guide to Being THE ONE. There are Christian versions of dating books. There are books with commanding titles, such as The Rules.

As for me, I'm going to check out How to Be a Super Hot Woman. I'll let you know when the boys start banging down my door!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My Favorite Food Porn

I love beautiful pictures of food.

To imagine what flavor might flow forward upon consumption, what texture might surprise you. A picture leaves all the right things up to your imagination. What I imagine probably tastes better than the reality a lot of times!

My favorite place to spot food lately is someplace I stumbled upon, called TasteSpotting.

If you love seeing beautiful food and get inspired to cook based on photos (like me!), you should check it out.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ahh, now I understand.

I've tried baking bread several times, with moderate success. I love my hardwood bowl and wooden mixing spoons. I have read the 10 Tips for Better Bread post that Farmgirl Fare posted in 2005. I would have assumed that I'd be a purist at heart, because of my love of the special, the artisinal, and the handmade.

Then, my friend gave me a bread machine.

I didn't know if it even worked, so my son and I tried it out yesterday. We used a recipe for French bread that came in the manual. I measured and dumped ingredients in. I pushed a button. And I walked away.

Three and a half hours later, the bread machine beeped three times and I had fresh bread.

My house smelled good and the bread had a good crunchy crust on it. I wasn't cooking tons of fresh bread by hand before, and now....I'm not sure when I'll do it again!

I'm on the hunt for recipes to use in the machine. I've found a few that I want to try so far.

Now I think I understand the appeal of bread machines.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sausage Meatball Subs

When I was a teenager, I liked going to Subway occasionally to get a meatball sandwich. But sometime between then and now, I realized that the Subway sandwiches I thought were okay, really weren't that tasty.

Perhaps my palette became more refined...maybe their food got worse? I'd like to think that it's the former and not the latter.

So, I always figure that if you have a very specific taste memory in mind, you need to go recipe hunting. I was lucky enough not to have to look too far. I found this recipe on my favorite site for recipes, Allrecipes.

I recommend finding a sharp provolone for topping these...mozzarella doesn't seem to be strong enough to taste compared to the meatballs. Also, the bread is a very important factor. You'll need to find one that crusty enough to stand up to being gnawed on, but tasty enough to bring something to the party. Fresh baked is a MUST.


  • 1 pound Italian Sausage Roll
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 6 hoagie buns (try a good baguette!)
  • 6 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese (I recommend sharp/aged provolone instead)


  1. In bowl, combine sausage, oatmeal, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Shape into 1 inch balls. In skillet over medium heat, cook meatballs until browned and cooked through. Reduce heat to low. Add spaghetti sauce and cook until sauce is hot. Spoon meatballs and sauce into buns and top with mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Meme to Revive the Nonblogger

Michelle over at The Accidental Scientist has been kind enough to keep me in mind. Even though I haven't blogged much this year (and very little of my blogging has been about food), Michelle reminds me of the connections I first made when I started blogging a few years ago.

This meme is a getting-to-know-you type, so here goes, for anyone who's interested in reading!

1. Last movie I saw in the theater?
Wall-E. It was different than I had expected, but enjoyable over all. The most notable thing about this movie was that something in it touched my son and made him sad. As we were walking out of the theater, up the little ramp, he started to cry. He wouldn't (or couldn't) explain it to me, but he did acknowledge that it was the movie. It was the first movie that's ever made him cry.

2. What book are you reading?
Well, last night I just finished reading Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. It's a book in a series and the whole series is wonderful. I'm also in the process of reading How Full is Your Bucket and Digital Fortress.

3. Favorite board game?
Hmmm. I like a few that I've tried in the last year, thanks to my sister. Circus Flohcati is fun. I also like Incan Gold.

4. Favorite magazine?
Wow. I don't think I could pick just one. I love a variety of food magazines, but my favorite probably changes...depending on who's got the most mouthwatering pics. Right after food magazines, my favorite is probably GQ. That's because I'm single, ladies. And if you still don't understand, go flip through a copy next time you're at the store. It's wonderful.

5. Favorite smells?
I agree with Michelle on one of my favorites...bread! Other favorites include sweet peas (flowers), citrus and the ocean air.

6. Favorite sounds?
My son's breath while he sleeps. Nothing much compares to that one.

7. Worst feeling in the world?
Not being able to help my son when he's gotten hurt.

8. First thing you think of when you wake?
What time is it?! Hurry, get up, close the shades and turn on the fan to bring in as much cool air as possible before the sun comes up and brings the heat!

9. Favorite fast food place?
Easy. In-N-Out.

10. Future child's name?
Not applicable. I stopped having kids when I reached perfection. His name is Evan. :)

11. Finish this statement: If I had a lot of money...
I would travel the world in style and then settle down to try my hand at a neighborhood restaurant. My goal would be to win an award for best local cheap eats.

12. Do you drive fast?
Gosh, I'm not sure. My current car doesn't really have the ability to drive fast! I'll let you know when I get a better car!

13. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
Nope. That bed is mine, all mine. If only it weren't a twin!

14. Storms, cool or scary?
Cool. Love rain, thunder and lightning. As long as I'm not out in it!

15. What was your first car?
A 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit. I can remember one time when I went to open the little triangle window on the driver's side door and it fell out! Clank-clank-clank! on the street. I was so embarrassed (good thing it was late at night), but when I went back to get it, it hadn't even chipped. I got some metal to glass glue and fixed it.

16. Favorite drink?
Ok, I realize now that I'm terrible at picking out favorites. Especially when it deals with food. It all depends on the mood. I like a nice beer on a hot summer day. A glass of wine with a good meal. I need my one cup of coffee each morning (for ritual more than anything else). I love green tea in winter. Bloody mary's rock, too!

17. Finish this statement - "If I had time, I would.."
Finish school.

18. Do you eat the stems on broccoli?
Yes, that's the best part! I like the stems and stalks.

19. If you could dye your hair any other color, what would it be?
When I was younger I dyed my hair many different colors (what a blast), and it gave me the knowledge that, ultimately, I like my own hair color was so much better than what comes out of a bottle.

20. Name all the different cities in which you have lived.
Naples, Italy; San Francisco, CA; Jacksonville, FL; El Toro, CA; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; Costa Mesa, CA; Tustin, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; Newport Beach, CA; Burbank, CA; Superior, CO (by the way, it was so distinctly NOT superior); Louisville, CO

21. Favorite sport to watch?
Basketball. Then tennis.

22. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you.
She has done one of the harder things that a friend needs to do, she keeps in touch and keeps reminding me of the folks and foods that are out there.

23. What's under your bed?
Moving boxes. Apparently, according to #20, I better be prepared to move, because you never know when I'll do it again!

24. Would you like to be born as yourself again?
I feel lucky in my life, but I would want to try a new adventure.

25. Morning person or night owl?
At this point in my life I'm probably not "better" at either one. I think that I enjoy my mornings now more than I have in the past, though.

26. Over easy or sunny side up?
The whites must be cooked all the way. Although I'd usually rather skip the eggs altogether.

27. Favorite place to relax?
Home. Although I'd rather change this one to "my vacation home in Tuscany!"

28. Favorite ice cream flavor?
I am not sure that I have one! But I do really like when you get mochi ice cream at sushi restaurants.

29. Of all the people you've tagged, who is most likely to respond first?
I've been out of blogging so long, I can't think of who I can tag!!

Because I know that she still blogs occasionally, I'll reach out to my sister Steph to do this meme. She loves food with the same kind of crazed enthusiasm as me. And I always know that I can trust her taste. She is always off on some kind of adventure, trying something new.

BTW, Steph, you should tag 4-5 bloggers (if you can!)...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Favorite New Toy: My Grill

I bought a grill two weekends ago. I found it on Craigslist and it was more money than I wanted to spend. However, it was a far superior grill than I ever thought I could buy.

It is a Vermont Castings grill, with a lovely dark blue enamel cover and lower portion, stainless steel all over, and enamel covered cast iron grates.

And I'm in love with it!

I always cooked on a charcoal grill before. The flavor and heat is wonderful with charcoal, but the time to prepare the coals and the mess they create can cause a little more work overall.

With propane, all you have to do is twist on the gas, turn on a burner and twist the starter. Voila! A fire is started.

Since I bought it 9 days ago, I have cooked cheeseburgers, chicken, steak, portobello mushrooms and zucchini. Tonight I'll use it to cook some pork chops.

I'm so in love with my new grill!!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Fastest Passport Ever

I applied for my passport Friday before last, on May 30th. Eight days later, on Saturday June 7th, I received my passport.

I didn't pay for expedited service, but apparently with travel prices the way they are, I'm the only one who's applying for a passport. It rocked!

When I put in my passport application, it sort of encompassed a lot of my dreams and hopes for my future. The guy at the post office asked me when I needed it by, and I told him that I had no plans for travel.

What I have is dreams of future travel, especially with that special someone. I have hopes for exploring and learning, and seeing and doing. And without that passport, I can't do so many of those things.

So, fate, I am now ready to meet that special someone. I welcome the love that the universe has to give me (god, I sound like I've been living near Boulder too long)...send him my way...preferably in a very nice package!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Good Dreams

Last night I was having such good dreams. I was getting what I wanted, or more precisely, I was about to get what I wanted.

In one of my dreams, I was taken to an indoor marketplace that housed multiple businesses. Inside there was an amazing Korean restaurant. The menu was amazingly extensive, and you could tell the food would be amazing.

In another of my dreams, I was talking to someone about college. They were commenting that they thought they could help me pay for college. Then they put me on the phone with another person who could also help me pay for college.

I rarely have good dreams, let alone awesome dreams about things like this. And since I've been watching BSG (I finished season 3 last took all of 1 1/2 weeks to watch), I find myself wondering if visions really are possible. Or hoping that they are.

I guess I better keep my eyes open for these opportunities!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I think that I've just discovered the best motivation ever for getting my degree.

I hate being a secretary. Most of the time, people are very nice and don't look down on you, but I'm facing the most difficult thing right now, where I feel that my opinions are not valued and that I am being looked down upon. By my boss.

He doesn't go out of his way to be rude or anything like that. Normally we get along swimmingly well. But little things here and there remind me that a person in my job can expect to be disregarded from time to time from people like him.

I feel so pissed off right now, just frustrated really. But again, this is really the motivation that I need to make myself get the degree that I want. Just so that I can do something completely different and never have to be the low man on the totem pole.

Plus, it doesn't help that I'm always the lowest educated and employed person in almost all social groups I've been in since I moved to Colorado. It is a highly educated area and I feel it.

Ok, enough whining!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


So, I'm having a little dilemma. I realized this week that I could take college classes and finish my college degree in the next three years (while I work) and even be able to afford it. The catch? It would be a degree in either Social Science, Sociology or Sociology/Criminology.

I have always figured that I'd study business. Not because I have a particular career path that I'm dying to follow. But just because I have a lot of experience in offices and figured it would be a natural, especially since I don't know what I want to do.

But, there are a few reasons I haven't returned to college yet. I work full time, and taking classes at my local college/university would take forever, because I could only really sign up for maybe 2 classes at a time because of work. I also have my son half of each week and studying when he's here will be more difficult, so my studying will be isolated either to late evenings or the half of the week I'm alone. The cost is another reason I've been hesitant. But, the university that I can do an "external degree" from would only cost me about $11K plus books to complete my the rest of my degree.

I think that is pretty good, considering it's the only option that I could start pursuing while my son is this young. I've also been waiting because I'd like to buy a home of my own first, and then save/spend on my education. If I end up doing that, it will take at least another year.

Ugh! I wish, I wish, I wish! But somehow the wishing doesn't help! I have to just start doing for myself and stop waiting. I guess that I should really pursue a Saturday job to bring in that little extra to save for a house.

The good thing is that I feel like I have a viable plan that I can go after now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Kid Cracks Me Up!

If you have kids, then you know the amazing comedy that can sometimes erupt spontaneously. If you don't have kids, there is no way to really explain what it's like. You'll just have to wait and see.

Tonight, while I was talking to my son and tucking him in bed, our conversation rambled from one topic to another. We started talking about vocabulary, and long words. I mentioned the word sphygmomanometer. If you're not familiar with the word, it is the blood pressure cuff that they use in your doctor's office.

So my son comments that a lot of those medical words are long. Like thermometer. Ther-mom-eater! Grrrr! Well, he explains, that's what it sounds like. Hi, I'm Ther, a mom eater!! He starts snapping at me. We're both laughing, it's a good one!

Nobody can make me laugh like my son.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best Biscuits


I love this biscuit recipe. I am a little picky when it comes to biscuits, but this recipe is on my top ten homemade biscuits list. For a couple of reasons. They are simple to make. In about 10 minutes or less, you can be sliding these into the oven. They rise beautifully and have a flavor that is nice enough for both sausage patties or some nice jam.

I brush some butter on the top of these when they're just about done baking. Be careful not to over bake these, they'll be a little light on the top but more done on the bottom if your oven is like mine.


* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon white sugar
* 1/3 cup shortening
* 1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

Friday, April 11, 2008


This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. If you love bacon like I do, check this out:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blast from the past

A few months ago, I was at a friend's house for dinner and suddenly a song from a TV show popped into my head from out of nowhere. I couldn't quite remember what it was from, just that it went '3-2-1 Contact.'

Of course, with the internet being what it is today, I was able to find what I was looking for immediately. If you were a kid in the 80s, perhaps you'll remember this song, too.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Restaurant in the Sky

Someone sent me an email with all of these pics and asked if I would eat answer? NO! Ok, more like hell NO.

This place hauls up a table and chairs (that swivel 180 degrees) by a crane and serves dinner. Go check out the other crazy photos at their website.


Also, go check out Forbes' Most Unusual Restaurants in the World slide show. (click on the spot where it says "In Pictures.")

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cute Websites

I know that some people know about these websites, but just in case...

These are my 2 favorite cute websites to look at. Stuff On My Cat. The name says it all. And Cute Overload. Again, appropriate name! Go check them out. New stuff every day to make your day a little brighter.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mini Food

I'm always like a big kid when it comes to mini stuff. I love huge food, too, anything that is good enough to get into the Guiness World Book of Records. But I've got a real soft spot in my heart for mini food.

This was something made by hercuteness over at Here is a link to her project.

It was inspired by an article in the Martha Stewart magazine. Of course, I think that the things that I frequently see in the Martha Stewart magazine are impossible to make at home (at least it won't look half as good!). So, it was nice to see these pics...the real thing.

Isn't is amazing?

2 Million Minutes

I found this on YouTube. I think that this would be a very interesting documentary to watch. It compares and contrasts American high school students to students in India and China.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mio fratello ti chiama Giovanni.

I've been having fun lately listening to podcasts designed to teach you Italian at Learn Italian Pod.

They have a beginner's section, which is definitely where I am skill-wise, and the recordings are about 10 minutes long each (some are a little shorter). I go in and listen while I work, absorbing as much as I can and sometimes listening to the same recordings a few times.

I am trying to stretch this brain of mine! I've also found that it is fun to go to Italian food blogs and try to figure out what they are saying. And I've also found a good online dictionary to help with my interpretations.

Here are a few Italian food blogs (lots of transplants to Italy from other European countries it seems, I keep finding Italian food blogs where the owners are Swedes, Germans, etc.):

Un Tocco di Zenzero (A Touch of Ginger)
Il cavoletto di bruxelles
Cuoche dell'altro mondo (A Cook From Another World)

I find it very entertaining to see Italians cooking Asian food and how many other Italians reply with enthusiasm to those types of recipes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Creamy Potato Soup

I tried this recipe from Recipezaar this weekend. I think that I should've boiled my potatoes a little bit longer, but overall the flavor was good. Next time, I'm going to add a sprig of fresh rosemary and some parsley for extra flavor.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What if...

What if you could take a big risk in your life, without the risk? What if I told you that you could try doing something that up until now you were afraid to do because of the possibility of failure but that it would be a success...guaranteed?

I guess that is the crux of risk, that there are no guarantees. But I think that it's an interesting way to free your mind to start really dreaming big, if only to see what your big dreams truly are.

If I could try something without the fear of failure...I think that I would change jobs and do something completely different from what I've been doing. Maybe interior design or criminal forensics. Something that holds the promise of excitement and new experiences.

I've always been drawn to color and shape, the joy of beauty for the sake of beauty. I also really thrive in cold, hard scientific facts. Things that can be relied upon, researched and referenced. Somewhere in this mix of art, criticism and detail is a joyous career awaiting to be discovered.

I think that a lot of problems in the world come from the paralysis that some of us suffer from. We get locked into our little lives, our little problems and forget how much of a difference our efforts can make. I was watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition last week and the family that was selected made an incredible difference in the lives of so many people in their community. They had 7 people living in a house that was less than 600 square feet. Yet, they made a difference to other people, even having so little. With no promise of reward, they contribute to others because that's what they believe in.

If I had nothing to fear, not only would I dream of living a great life for myself, I would also pursue a purpose driven life.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Recipe that I must try!

My sister blogged about picking up some yummy pepper shooters at a hoagie shop in Philadelphia. Pepper shooters are cherry peppers (hot) stuffed with a hunk of sharp provolone cheese wrapped in prosciutto. They also had salamancinis, which are pepperoncinis stuffed with a hunk of sharp provolone wrapped with salami.

Her boyfriend asked her to try to recreate the peppers at home. So, of course, my sister tried to meet the challenge and moved forward. Her shooters looked like this. However, she did say that they didn't turn out quite how they were at the store, so I started looking online for a recipe to try.

Here is what I found:

16 cherry peppers
1/3 pound grated provolone cheese
3 to 4 ounces prosciutto
Salt and white pepper to taste

For the marinade:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
\ cup red wine vinegar (don't know what this measurement was supposed to be, so I figure just add to taste)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
{ cup chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme, marjoram, oregano, etc.)

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl and set aside.

Remove the stems and cores (with seeds) from the peppers using a sharp paring knife. Quickly blanch if desired, and then dry the peppers well with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix the cheese and prosciutto with the salt and pepper. Carefully fill each pepper with the cheese mixture and place in jars or a shallow non-reactive casserole dish. Refrigerate.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Late New Year's Resolutions

I'm like many people. I resolve not to make resolutions each New Year's Day. I think that people should have an ongoing desire to improve themselves.

But regardless of what I say, I find that the beginning of a calendar year is a good time to look back and decide what needs to be changed as I move forward. Even without meaning to, I find that I give myself goals every year.

So what is it this year? Well, oddly enough, it's not too different than every year before this one.

(in no particular order)

1. Spend meaningful time with my son.
2. Get regular exercise, to improve my shape and feel better, stronger.
3. Eat better...same reasons as above.
4. Find happiness and joy in a relationship with a great guy.
5. Work in a fulfilling and rewarding job.
6. Save towards buying a "home" of my own.
7. Learn more Italian.

and last, but not least, and possibly the most important

8. Take more risks to get what I want out of life.