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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

California Dreamin'



So my uncle is coming for a visit. This is a BIG deal, just so you know. The last time he was here was right before my grandmother died, which was oh, maybe 5 years ago or so. A while. Long time.

He lives in L.A. (not Louisiana) and is super cool, but it's hard for us to stay in touch. I'm really excited he's coming, but I think the circumstances are funny.

The facts:
1. Lately every new friend I make is either from CA, or is living there now (examples include of course Jamie, Kim, and Jessica- shout-out hellos to you all!).
2. My current friends have just returned from seeing CA (where they're from).
2. The fashiony fashion I'm finding myself drawn to is all CA-driven. Super cute, by the way.
3. My uncle from CA is coming!

Anyhoo. I know it's a long shot, but I think it's funny that everything seems to be revolving around CA lately.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stranger Danger!

I meant to post this photo yesterday and forgot. We were driving around Saturday and saw this very real van. In a grocery store parking lot. Where little children walk by. Crazy, right?!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Catching Up

Today I'm at home, hanging with the Schnuzz, since I decided I needed recovery from last week. I know folks with kids won't sympathize, but when you don't have children and you're not used to that much energy, hanging out with 300 kids all week gets to be a bit much! (Also since my boss is still on sabbatical for only two more weeks, it seemed like the right time to take a mental day.)

So today the hubby's at work and I am home, pretending this is what I get to do all the time. I have discovered the happiness that is Instagram, but am still trying to figure it out. So with that in mind, I have iPhone photos and real camera shots to tide you over until I get with the program! :-)

This morning I pretended I was friends with Ree (THE Pioneer Woman. Who is about to start her own Food Network show that I am super stoked about! I bet her first recipe will be iced coffee goodness!). I made her monkey muffins and had me a glass (or two. or as I'm writing this, three. Or is it four?) of iced coffee. I only feel lots jittery but I switched to the decaf, so I might sleep tomorrow. We'll see. Anyhoo, I also made eggs in the muffin tin (I got that one off Pinterest, but it still felt PW to me.). Yum-ola!



Then I had lots of snuggles with my little Scout. Or is it Schnuggles? Yes, let's say that! Here is my photo montage to my furbaby.





Aren't you loving her groom? I am not, which is why I'm looking for another groomer. Please let me know if you know of someone.





Aren't you just as in love with her? Yes I know you are.

I would like to interrupt myself to let you know that I am wearing a dress today. You may not realize exactly how big a deal that is, but it's a very big deal. I have been wanting to wear a dress lately (because it's so stinkin' hot you just don't want to wear anything, but you have to!), but every time I wear a dress to work, everyone thinks I'm interviewing somewhere else (as if!) or someone died (not their fault, there usually is a funeral happening if I'm wearing a dress.). I pretty much live in my t-shirts and jeans, but I'm trying to expand. So anyway, I'm wearing a dress. Yay! Nobody's here to see it but Scout is enjoying it, I just know it!

Okay so where were we? Oh yes, we were here...



I know right! Doesn't it look delicious? I was thinking of doing cupcakes, because then I could take the leftovers to work tomorrow. The bad news? I'm out of eggs thanks to this morning's pioneering dream. Sigh. Maybe I can buy eggs tomorrow. I refuse to go out today since I'm at home. Some days you just need to stay home, you know?

I'm a foodie. If you know me at all, you know this to be true. Food Network Magazine, Martha expensive (Martha Stewart Living), Martha cheap (Everyday Food), People, Real Simple, and on and on goes my magazine subscription list. (Have I mentioned I also love magazines?) Okay well all that to say that sometimes a food magazine will show inside a person's fridge and I have fun with those. I'm always curious-- it's like looking into shopping carts at the store, maybe it's my Psych degree I never use, but I love it. So here's something for you- my fridge!



Now keep in mind this is the cheap apartment fridge we now have, not the one we used to have in our old house that I'd dreamt of owning for over a year. Yes, I told you I'm obsessy-sessed with the iced coffee. The gallon jug holds the liquid gold for the mornings, the lame pitcher holds the decaf. The pitcher on the right is holding the sweet cream goodness (one of my yard sale finds from last week!). And yes, I see that my baking soda needs to be replaced. I'm getting right on that... right now...

Anyway, there you have it! A little more about me and my day today. I'm itching to get back to work tomorrow so that's good. Two more weeks until sabbatical's over! Yippee! And less than three weeks to go before my birthday! Double-yippee! (CC, you better get on that birthday season planning! We should be partying already!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Soooo Tired!

This week has been insanity to the infinity power! Among normal life, VBS is this week (I refuse to call it Camp Adventure. VBS holds so many wonderful memories for me, that VBS it shall remain.). VBS entails 300 active children, about 175 volunteers attempting to wrangle said children, lots of friends to talk to while I should be doing other things, and on and on...

Needless to say, I am taking the next two minutes to breathe (and type).

Here's the quick little update for those of you curious... (in no particular order except as they come to my mind)

1. We've been playing keep-away with Scout and her ball this week. This makes for one well-exercised, very snuggly puppy. Schnoodle love abounds! Also, she got groomed today so now she looks like a rat. A dry rat. Eww. But she's still adorable.

2. I have now become obsessed with iced coffee, nail polish, and earrings. My husband is very afraid for himself that his wife is turning into the biggest girlie girl in the history of girlie girlness. Oh and Pinterest is also my latest obsession (see I am OCD to the max!). I need a Pintervention for sure.

3. Our church's yardsale-turned-thrift-store opens this weekend, but the staff got to shop early today. I got some good loot (and by that, I mean, I bought some fun junk that will see spray paint in the not-at-all-distant future!). Yay!

Sorry I have no photos to share, but I thought it was time to stop subjecting you folks to my awful iPhone photos. Maybe if I had the iPhone 4 with the flash and the 5 megapixels...(dear, sweet hubby? are you listening? my birthday is coming up!)...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Iced Coffee Amazingness

As I think you may know, I've been searching high and low (and online) for alternatives to my very expensive, obsessive, addiction known as the Bux (Starbucks). Well, (of course) on Pinterest I found a recipe that I thought was different from the PW's recipe, but it's extremely similar. (It might be the same, but I want it to be different, so it is.)

After staying up late Friday night to play cards, I of course could not sleep in Saturday and woke up at 8am to get coffee to make the coffee (you with me?). Scouty and I went to the HT and got the supplies, then hit up the Starbucks to get the coffee. I may be trying to break my Starbucks habit, but baby steps, folks. Baby. Steps. Scout was disappointed she didn't get any coffee (She really loves it! We know this because we found her buzzed on caffeine a few too many times after getting into my mug on the coffee table. Guard your coffee carefully if you're at our house!), but I of course had to get one to emulate.



Anyhoo, here's the recipe that I did (I'm pretty sure it's exactly like Ree's except for the sweet cream part.):



Ingredients/Supplies:
*1 lb. coarse coffee grinds (I used Starbucks' new Iced Coffee, ground for french press.)
*1 gallon water (not hot)
*Something quite large to hold the two ingredients above (I re-used the gallon water jug.)
*Cheesecloth
*Mesh strainer (the finer, the better)
*(Recommended) Another pitcher to pour back and forth with

Directions:
*Mix together the coffee grinds and the water. Let it "steep" together on the counter overnight/twelve hours/as long as you can stand it. (I waited ten hours and gave up.)
*Strain the coffee/grinds through the cheesecloth on top of the strainer, into a pitcher. I did this 3 times roughly.
*Refrigerate the coffee. Most folks I see are calling this "concentrate," which I'm not sure why, because unless you add milk and sugar, you're not diluting it. They also say this gallon of coffee concentrate will last you a month. No it won't. :-D

While you're coffee is brewing, mix together 1 can of evaporated milk and 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. This is your "sweet cream" concoction. This is where a lot of the goodness comes from. Okay, all of the goodness. Now I like a little bit of coffee with my milk and sugar, so this recipe was right up my alley!

Here's the finished goody-goodness!



Sunday morning, I woke up SUPER early and could not wait to make this before church. Well, I did a 75% coffee to 25% sweet cream/milk ratio. This is where my recipe differs a bit, from the Pioneer Woman's and from the recipe on Pinterest. I added regular milk to mine in addition to the sweet cream. I didn't want to load up on the pure sugar from the sweet cream mixture, so I added the regular milk to help with the natural sweet creaminess I was going for. It worked! The only problem was I did not have near enough to get me through the morning. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was completely gone before we even hit the church parking lot. Sadness. But oh so good! I raved and raved and raved about it, and now all my friends think I'm crazy for coffee! (Which I am but I never want them to KNOW.)

Let me know if you try this. I love love love this and I did NOT go to Starbucks today for the first time in a L-O-N-G time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fun! Fun! & More Fun!

Friday night was such a blast! I told you my team would dominate in cards, and I was right (Yay for being right!). ;-) I had grand plans to get lots of photos but alas, here's the only one I got:



I know right?! One of our friends that came to play caters and we wondered what she was going to bring. KEY LIME CUPCAKES! Sooooo good! They had key lime pudding in the middle, and the frosting was key lime, and oh, so good! Yeah, she's amazing. She totally whipped these gorgimous, magazine photo-ready cupcakes together after a full day of work. Oh yeah, and she made some killer salsa. And she was my partner so she also was a winner big-time that night. Happy sigh.

Saturday we went to see the final Harry Potter movie (no we didn't cry though some reviews said we would- hearts of stone, people) and ate at the new Wich Which at Brier Creek. Yummy! I love that place. They have one of the best strawberry pineapple milkshakes EVER. No exaggeration there.

It was nice to have a fun relaxing couple of days. It's been so nutso this summer that it was nice to just play.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Think I Could Live On This...

Tonight we are having friends over for dinner and cards. If you don't know what Hand & Foot is (similar to Canasta, I'm told), then get over here pronto! It's a very fun, addictive card game that we play ALL. THE. TIME. It's going to be an awesome night-- good food, fun friends (who all happen to serve with us in ministry), and an epic card battle that my team will win. (Do not argue with me on this; my winning streak of one game will continue tonight!)

Anyhoo, we have about 13 folks coming over or so, and this is what I made for din-din. Everyone is contributing to the meal, but with the insanity that was triple digit temps this week, I wanted to do something that 1) didn't require the oven or stove during said night, and 2) could be made in advance (no clean-up after the fun). After having this yet again today (I snuck some, you know, to test it and make sure it wasn't poisonous.), I am pretty sure I could live off of this salad. It's got the protein, the fresh veggies, the pasta, the lemon, and the cream. Oh the goodness that is the lemon and the cream! Yummy!

Okay so the original recipe is from Ina (aka- Barefoot Contessa to you, to me she's better known as my BFF): Lemon Fusilli With Arugula.



What I do differently is that I use baby spinach instead of the arugula (easier to find and usually cheaper), and I add chicken (about a pound of cooked chicken with s&p) to make this more of a light entree.

So here are the lemons (Because I love them so!) and two of my very favorite kitchen tools: my very beloved Microplane and Reamer. Can you feel the love?



Mise en place:



And some fun photos of the process (remember, these were taken on my apparently old school iPhone, so please forgive that they aren't beautimous)...

This is the lemony creamy goodness that makes the pasta for me:



The goodness and the pasta together:



Adding the rest and mixing in the biggest bowl I have in the house!



See how small my gigantor bowl looks compared to the food? This is why Ina and I are besties-- because every one of her recipes makes enough to feed an army. Which is good when you are, in fact, feeding an army. An army for Jesus. (too much?)



And here's the finished product... which is now in my happy tummy.



Ta Da! Now did that make you hungry or what?!

And because you like photos and because I can, here are my loves from last night... a great start to Friday I think!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recipe Randomness

Yesterday I had to go home for lunch and was trying to think what we had at home to cook that was fast. I found a thought on Pinterest (I told you- I'm addicted!) about baking eggs in the oven, so I thought what sounds better than a bacon egg sandwich?

You see, I love love love bacon and eggs together. To make at home is a lot of work, so usually if I have a craving I'll hit up the Mickey D's. The problem: I hate McDonald's. Passionate loathing, in fact. I won't expound on their faults here, but suffice it to say I hate giving them my money. Well this idea on Pinterest was to make the sandwich at home. Score!

I greased a muffin tin and cracked an egg in each spot. I scrambled the egg together with crumbled bacon (already cooked- of course extra crispy!), and salt and pepper. Baked at 350 for 20 minutes. Perfection! It was a delicious lunch and quite satisfying. Supposedly you can make tons and freeze them for later, but I haven't had time to test that theory yet.

Here's my finished product:



This is the one I reheated at work for today's breakfast. Unfortunately I over-reheated (is that a word?) it, so if it looks dry it's totally my fault. Don't you love the giant sandwich thin it's sitting on? Yesterday I made a Nutella sandwich with the leftover bread. That was also yummy!

Here's more randomness for you. I am obsessy-sessed with bags. I haven't been happy with any I've found in over a year, until this gem caught my eye at Target last week. I am super thrilled, and look how fun and summery it is!



And now, just to make you all jealous...



(Obviously a dude wrote my name. Didn't make it look cute at all. Oh well, at least it tastes good!)

And yes, that is hand sanitizer on my desk. Because we all know you need it. All the time. Every second of the day. Purell and I have a love-love relationship. Don't be jealous.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Randomness

So last night my poor hubby had a work release (some kind of tech lingo that I try desperately to keep up with. Sometimes I do better than other times!), which to me basically means I don't see him all day or night since he works until the wee hours of the AM.

My night was spent in the following ways...




This is most definitely what professionals are for.

By the way, if any of you know exactly where to find the OPI Teenage Dream (yes, sadly, the Katy Perry line) nail polish, please let me know. Target didn't have it yesterday.




Then I made this in hopes that my hubby would come home before I fell asleep on the couch... yummy, but definitely nothing made from scratch.




After this it was mostly reading this, which I finished and can move on to book 3...









And hanging out with the adorable cutie cuteness that is my furbaby.. I mean really, how could you not love this face?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Looky Look!

I have been freaking out now that my dear bloggie's readership has now increased! I am so excited that anyone would care about my blog! Thank you to those that read it!

Due to the excitement (and the fact that I get bored so easily), Hubby and I changed the look of Bloggie last night. I think it's a bit more contemporary, but what do you think? I do love what CC did with the title of my blog. I think it looks really awesome! Thank you, Babe! We also changed some of the settings so hopefully if you're trying to follow me or use Google Friend Connect, that will hopefully be working now.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Pinterest

I am now officially obsessed with Pinterest! My friend Andrea recommended it after I'd heard very little about it. I signed up and now I am addicted!

The thing I like about Pinterest is that every possibly crafty, DIYer, food and recipe lover like myself is on there! This means I am constantly inundated with fun, lovely, colorful, and awesome ideas for recipes, crafts, sewing, you name it, that I would ever want to do! Love! Love! Love!

Check it out for yourself and see if you don't get sucked in.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New Recipes



I love trying different recipes and this weekend was no different. To celebrate the 4th, Hubby and I did absolutely nothing. He wanted (needed) a day of total rest, or as he calls it, "doing nothing." I usually have a hard time with this, but managed pretty well... until I realized I cleaned the kitchen several times, baked three different things, and read three books in one day! Oh well. Baking and reading are pretty much my ideal dream day, so I ended the day pretty content.

Sunday we went to a friend's house for a cook-out and cards, to celebrate the 4th. I made Sopapilla Cheesecake for that. Yesterday I made cranberry orange muffins and Fudge Pie Tarts. The muffins were delicious for breakfast, and the fudge pie tarts came about because I had a craving for fudge pie, but had no pie crust (and didn't want to take the time to make any). I only had puff pastry, which I turned into tart dough. This was by far my favorite thing I made over the weekend. LOVE this recipe and never make it enough. Hopefully that will be changing soon as I am pretty sure I could be happy eating just the batter, no baking required. :-P

The Sopapilla Cheesecake was a different story for me (I found the recipe on Pinterest.com.). I preface this by saying that I do not like cheesecake as a rule. However, I do LOVE sopapillas (the Mexican dessert that is fried pastry dough with cinnamon and sugar, and usually honey). This recipe was super easy and I knew I had to test it out though.

I loved the sopapilla part, but of course not the cheesecake part. It was super easy to make, but I can't decide whether or not to keep the recipe. Some people are like me and don't really care, but others are raving about it. My own hubby who was nervous about the cream cheese in it, ate TWO pieces! I was surprised to say the least. He ate it with fresh, in season strawberries and blueberries, and said the cheesecake part became more like a fruit dip, which is why he liked it. Good thought, CC!

Here are my notes from making it:
*I only needed two cans of crescent rolls, not three.
*I added about a half teaspoon of fresh lemon zest to wake up the flavors and add a bit of freshness to the cheesecake flavor.
*My cinnamon sugar ratio was 1 tablespoon cinnamon (I used organic since I had it.) to 1/4 c. sugar.
*I used a 9x13 pan and sprayed it with the flour baking spray first so it'd be nonstick.

Anyway, if you try this, let me know what you think. I'd love some input on whether or not I should hang on to the recipe. (Recipe below)

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Ingredients:
3 cans pillsbury butter crescent rolls
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter (melted)
Cinnamon & sugar

Instructions:
Unrolled and spread 1 & 1/2 can crescent rolls on bottom of un-greased pan. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescent rolls. Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture. Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.