Thursday, December 31, 2009

Super Sizing Proof

I went to grab a quick lunch yesterday.  Since I'm getting married in the next seven months I've decided...yet lose a little weight.  I do this from time to time.  I would love to lose 20-30 pounds, but usually what happens is I lose 5-10 and then give up.  We'll see how this works.  Especially since I'll be fitting into a wedding dress that is supposed to be form-fitting.  At least most wedding dresses are, right? 

Regardless, I went to grab a quick bite from the local Burger King.  Along with my boss' calorie fest order I ordered my Whopper combo with no mayo and side salad.  When they asked what size combo I wanted I said, "small."  Then, when I pulled around and paid, this is the drink they gave me.  Does this look like a small to you guys?  And yes, I'm holding it at the base with my pointer finger to steady it so that I don't tip it and spill tea all over my car.  If this is a true small...I'd hate to see a medium or large. 

This is a trend I'm seeing in a lot of fast food restaurants now, BK is not the only one.  Wendy's, McDonald's and others I've noticed are now asking if you want a small, medium or large combo.  Seriously though, who needs a monstrous order of french fries and drink?  This is a prime example of how our nation has definitely become super-sized!!  Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some iced tea...but, I didn't need this big of a drink by any means.  And other people order Dr. Pepper, Coke and other types of pop.  Why hello there, Mr. Dentist!  I don't know about you guys, but I'm not to keen on my teeth getting drilled...which, is a direct effect of too much salt and sugar. 

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve/Day. I'll be off to check out my top two choices of wedding venues on Saturday. Cross your fingers that I'm happy with at least one of them and make a successful booking!! After's on to finding a good photographer for engagement pictures. Fun times in this wedding-planning household!  I have about a million different things to plan and decide and am trying to attempt a checklist and order of things.  My New Year's resolution might be to not pull my hair out in the next seven months!

Dear John Review

As I've mentioned before, Dear John skipped to the front of my reading list.  My friend, Susan, and I have a date for when this movie comes out and we both wanted to read the book first.  So, over the holiday weekend I finished it up.  When I got to David's parents' house I had only read about 50 pages and it only took me another day or so of reading to finish it.  Translation: quick and easy read.  However, I will say that this book did not end like I thought it would.  I know a lot of Nicholas Sparks' novels do not end in the typical love story conclusions.  The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember and Nights in Rodanthe all have unorthodox romantic novel plots.

The novel is essentially about a couple that meets by chance and quickly fall in love, like within two weeks quickly.  John is a former rebel-type (with tattoos, drunken memories and one-night-stands to prove it) that the military has softened around the edges.  Savannah is the quintessential "good girl."  In fact, when John and Savannah meet, she is only in town for a couple months with a group that is building houses for less fortunate families.  Kind of like Habitat for Humanity.  She's a virginal, churchy, sweet, innocent girl that in many ways is very naive. 

Once the two fall madly in love within their two weeks that John is on leave, John is back off to Germany to complete his two year contract with the Army.  While he is overseas the two write each nonstop and fall more in love with each letter.  However, at this point their love begins it's biggest test...  September 11, 2001 and all it's horrific events unfold...  In addition to this huge calamity, there is no shortness of death, health disorders or cancer in this novel.  The couple experience a whirlwind of emotions along with their adversities.  I don't want to ruin the novel (or movie) for anyone, but be prepared for a...different...ending.  It's not what I would have thought, but it was a very good ending in it's own way.  A Nicholas Sparks ending.  I recommend this book, but keep a box of tissues handy...oh, and if you're planning on going to see the movie?  Yea, definitely bring a few tissues in your purse because if you cried in The Notebook (like I have EVERY TIME I watch it) then'll need 'em!

Just a side note...The Notebook is definitely one of those movies for me that is like a train wreck.  You love it and you know what's going to happen, but when you're flipping through the channels and you see it on TBS, TNT or any of those other movie channels you HAVE TO STOP AND WATCH IT.  You know you're going to ball your eyes out, but it is soooooo good that you can't stop yourself.  Other movies that have this same effect on me include Stepmom, Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Ugh!  Tear jerkers!  Anyone care to mention their train wreck movies that they can't change the channel from?

I Know, I Know, I Know...

Sooooo...I've been a little MIA lately.  And I know it.  And I feel a little bad about it.  But, between the holidays and an engagement...that's a pretty good excuse, right?  I feel like it is.

And it's not like I haven't had anything to blog about, because I have.  It's just the time.  Time is dwindling.  I usually have plenty of time in the afternoon to read and/or write blogs while I work.  You see, the system we have at work can be very slow when sending out notices to while I'm waiting on the system to slowly email anywhere from 10-300 applicants the appropriate notice, I read my blogs.  And there were a lot of blogs for me to catch up with when I finally got back to work this week. 

I guess I should start since my last blog entry.  Kinda...I didn't really have anything to blog about on Tuesday so I let that day slide.  And unless you live in a hole somewhere you've probably heard about the massive snow blizzard that swept the central states, specifically Oklahoma.  Now, David and I intended to leave for Kansas after work on Christmas Eve.  However...upon hearing the threatening news reports and weather reports regarding this storm, we decided to leave on Christmas Eve Eve after work.  Boy, am I glad we did!!!  There is no way we would have made it to Kansas if we had waited until Christmas Eve.  With a total of 14.1 inches of snow in the Oklahoma City area and all state highways closed...yea, a record-breaker for sure!!  Here is a pic my mom sent me from her iPhone after it was all said and done...there was nooooo way they were getting out of their courtyard, for sure! (Haha, but the reflection of their tree in the flash on the door does kinda crack me up!)

Regardless, we made it safe and sound to David's parents' house on Christmas Eve Eve and luckily, they only got a few inches.  So that was enough excitement for the Christmas holiday, right? 

I will say that while it was a very nice Christmas, it was also a little sad for me.  It was my very first Christmas without any of my parents and their sides of the family.  And I know this makes me a complete and total nerd, but it was also my very first Christmas without Molly.  Those of you who know me well know that Molly is extremely important to me (she is my "furry baby").  I'm not even kidding, I cried to David after I dropped her off at my mom's.  It was a very sad moment for me.  Of course, his response was to be happy that it was my first Christmas with Fergie, his parents dog.  And while Fergie is da bomb...she's no Molly.

While up at David's we announced our engagement at both Christmas dinners (his mom's and dad's families have two separate Christmas dinners-both at his parents' house) and at church.  Everyone was sooooo excited and wanted to congratulate us.  It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it, though David did his best to try and not make announcements.  He just wanted people to notice the ring and ask and then let the squealing and excitement ensue...which pretty much happened at both dinners, but not at church.  He properly made the announcement during the "sharing of joys" and his exact words were, "Uhhh...Crystal and I are engaged."  He was teased by more than one person after the service with jokes like, "David, if you would have just stopped talking, we would have been out of here over an hour ago."  Haha!  The members of his church were very jovial and congratulatory about the whole thing.

Moving on, I'd like to share a beautiful quilt that David's mother displayed at Christmas.  I sent my mom a picture of it and am trying to hint around about how I would love one of these.  The colors and fabric chosen caught my eye and are totally my type of Christmas decoration.  Hopefully my mom can borrow the pattern and make me one...hint, hint...

If you look closely, my favorite parts are the wood and hay.  The fabrics are wood grain fabric and wheat fabric!  How perfect!  Maybe Santa will bring me one next year...

I hope everyone had an enjoyable extended holiday weekend!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend...I know I did. You wanna know why? I'll give you a hint, I heard some of these over the weekend.

I got e-n-g-a-g-e-d over the weekend. Woo hoo! Friday night to be exact. I know that I'm in for a whirlwind of activity for the next few months...and I'm not sure I'm fully prepared! We'll see how things go as I embark on this adventure...I'll keep you guys updated on different happenings as they occur.

On to regular posting...

I didn't really prepare any food this weekend; I was too busy running around spreading the news.  My mom had to remind me that it was necessary to eat.  At four o'clock on Saturday she informed me that she needed to eat before our next house visit...she'd only had yogurt all day.  Poor woman.  But, she and I enjoyed every minute of that day! food post today.

And do you think I had time to read?  Yea, right.

So, I thought I'd talk a little bit about something else...something that bothers most everyone this time of year.  You see it's everywhere and it happens to everyone.  It's a little thing that is quite annoying and makes this product necessary, sometimes multiple times per day.

This stuff is a life-saver.  I've had to use it every stinkin' day this past week.  Gotta love this time of year!  Not.  I love winter...for the cute sweaters, boots, hoodies, scarves, heated seats, roaring fireplaces and cups of hot chocolate, just to name a few...but not for this reason.  It irritates me, especially when I wear skirts.  Which I wear to work every day. ::sigh::  Oh well, at least my hair doesn't look like this.

I hope everyone has a static-free week with no clingy skirts, crazy hair or ::ouch:: shocks! might be a good idea to at least purchase a bottle of Static-Guard just in case!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Devilled Eggs...My Way

Friday is finally here! Yay! This makes me soooo happy. Remember, earlier this week when I shared my friend's devilled egg recipe? I promised I would share my slightly more complicated recipe. And I'm going to follow through with my promise. My recipe isn't hard, but it's not as simple as Gordy's.

First I start out by putting a dozen eggs in a pot full of water. Make sure all the eggs are completely submerged and then throw them on the stove top. I always sprinkle a good amount of salt into the water. This helps the eggs to separate from the shell later. Set the fire to high and watch for when it comes to a rolling boil. Once it's so...set a timer for 10 minutes.

Once the eggs have boiled for 10 minutes, turn off the fire and let the pot sit for a minute or two. I'm not a big fan of pouring out the water and steaming my face, which is why I let it sit for a little bit.

At this point you'll want to grab your colander/strainer. Pour out the eggs and water into the colander. Set your faucet to cold water on low and start peeling your eggs. I hold the eggs under the water while I peel to help with the process. And I simply rap mine against my sink to get the peeling started.

Once all your eggs are peeled, slice them one by one and squeeze the egg white so the yolk dumps out into a separate bowl. Then arrange the egg whites in your serving dish.

Like my egg dish? Gordy bought it for me as a gift a few Christmases ago. Love it and it's the best egg dish I've got! Better than the Tupperware version.

Before I mix all the other ingredients into the yolk I like to mash the yolks with a fork. Then, I add in Miracle Whip, mustard, sweet pickle relish, paprika and pepper. I'm not super sure on the amounts, but I would guesstimate that I use about the same amount of Miracle Whip and relish, but half the amount of each of those would be the correct amount of mustard. And I use a good amount of paprika (probably a good 5-10 bangs on the bottom of the jar) and probably a teaspoon or so of pepper. The amounts in this picture are the exact amounts I used for the party additions were needed. Sometimes I have to add a little bit more of this or that to make it taste just right.

What most everyone likes about these eggs is that there's a "just right" mixture of sweet and tart. The pickles give a nice sweetness because I ALWAYS use sweet pickle relish, not the regular stuff. Plus, the mustard gives just enough tartness...but, not too much.

Then...for a surprising little extra.

This gives the eggs a nice, tiny crunch.

And most people can't place the flavor.

But, it is sooooo good.

It's one of those ingredients that's like white gravy or cheese-it makes everything taste better.


Well, I use bacon bits...the kind you put in a salad. But, not too much. Just enough for a crunch or two in each egg. Here's how much I added for today.

See? Not too much. You can't even see it when you mix it up!

Now, the egg yolk mixture is complete and just needs to be spooned into the egg whites. Some people squirt it through a tip. I don't have one and don't feel the need for it. These eggs taste just as good without the "prettiness" factor...and I'm not sure the pickle relish and bacon would fit through a tip...

After you've filled all the eggs whites, tap the back of the paprika jar some more...just enough to sprinkle a little over each egg.

Yum!! Can't wait to have one for lunch. OK, two...maybe three.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Scrumdeliumptious Forgotten Kiss Cookies

In my tiny division at work we're having a Christmas Party Food Day next Tuesday. I'm unsure as to what I'm going to bring as I was planning on a dessert...but, then two others volunteered to bring dessert. Really good desserts too.

Except, I don't eat one of them. It has nuts in it. I don't like nuts. They're gross. And I know I'm weird. But, I just can't do it. Both of my parents love nuts...walnuts, pecans, name it, they like it. Apparently I did not inherit that fondness. Soooo...I don't know where I get this weird aversion to nuts...but, I don't like them. People say to me ALL THE TIME, "Well, why don't you just try it? You might like them now." Like I haven't tried a nut since I was five. You know what? People sneak nuts into stuff ALL THE TIME. So I get a *surprise* taste every now and then...I would venture to say at least a dozen times a year. And you know how I feel about it? Each and every one of those times nuts taste just as disgusting and yucky to me as the last. ::shrug:: Sorry to all you nut-lovers out there.

You're probably wondering where I'm going with this...well, I'm still contemplating a side dish to bring. But, in the meantime a co-worker requested that I bring something like a pie in addition to whatever side dish I bring. This being because she's heard so much about my newfound gift of pie baking due to crusts being easier for me. But, I don't have all the ingredients to make a pie right now. So instead, I decided to make cookies. These cookies posted on Tasty Kitchen. They were so cute and looked like a good idea.

So I started out by purchasing a package of Hershey's Kisses. If you have a helper in the kitchen I highly suggest giving them this "project." I was sooo tired of these foils by the time I was done. And this pile doesn't seem big enough...the pile in my memory is bigger, I guess. But, if you have kids or an anxious family helper. Tell them to, by all means, go for it!

I mixed together all the ingredients to form the dough and was getting ready to dump in the mini kisses. But, these were so cute that I thought I'd take a picture. How cute is that tiny kiss? I love it!

OK, so now it's all mixed together and ready to go!

I will say that "rolling" the cookies into balls kind of threw me for a loop at first. In the picture on the recipe the cookies are all right-side-up and showing the kiss as sitting on it's bottom. Try sticking something inside dough, rolling it...and figuring out where the bottom is so you can set them on the cookie sheet. Hmmmm...toughie. But, to tell you the truth, it doesn't matter on these cookies. Mine didn't turn out perfectly shaped like the picture and I don't really care. They're good and that's all that matters!

While the cookies are baking, be sure to store the leftover kisses. They're a horrible temptation sitting out in a bowl! This picture was taken after I'd already snagged three.

At this point while the cookies are baking (in Wizard of Oz voice) pay no attention to the begging dog behind you...

After the first batch comes out of the oven and after you've transported them onto the cooling rack, be sure and sample while the second batch bakes. Mmm! Heavenly!

Once all the cookies have baked and are cool...what can you do to better a chocolate-filled chocolate chip cookie? Why drizzle it with melted chocolate, of course!

These cookies are great and have been a HUGE hit at work. Very festive and very chocolatey. If you didn't click on the link at the top of this post, click here and print out the recipe now!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Moving on with my experimentation of the blogs I follow had a very appealing recipe post earlier this month and I felt the need to try it. Last night, in fact. This recipe entailed stuffing chicken breasts with cream cheese, spinach and scallions. Mmmm...I love all four of these things. The blogger, Souffle Bombay, said the initial recipe she modified it from had things like mushrooms and water chestnuts as well. While, I'm not a big fan of water chestnuts (not a fan of nuts period), I do think I'll be adding mushrooms to the mix the next time I prepare this chicken dish.

To start out I mixed some cream cheese, chopped spinach and sliced green onions in a bowl.

Then, I sliced a pocket in two chicken breasts and stuffed them with the filling. The yellow sauce you see that I slathered on the outside is Grey Poupon mustard.

O...M...G. One thing the recipe blog does not mention is the SMELL. The mustard makes this smell so...darn...good. After 35 minutes in the oven, this was the result and it was awesome.

I ate one of the chicken breasts with some Tuesday night leftovers. Very satisfying meal, I must say. While both are good...I probably won't pair them together again. The flavors from each dish are going for a different effect on your taste buds.

And if you're wondering about the glass in both this blog and Tuesday night's...I always have milk with my meals. So, you'll be seeing milk glasses a lot around here. At least during mealtime.

If you would like to print out this recipe, the initial blog I got it from is here. Enjoy! I know I did!!

Pungent PW Pasta

David's been out in the field this you know what that means! Experimentation time! So...on Tuesday night I decided to try out this delectable Pioneer Woman recipe. Only...I don't like artichokes. Yick...they're gross. Something about the mushy consistency and the gross flavor. Not my cup o' tea. Soooooo, I decided to make this recipe sans artichokes and it turned out great! And by the way, I went a little crazy on the photos so just bear with me...

I started out by boiling some whole wheat pasta in some water (with olive oil and salt).

Then, to start off with the sauce I heated up some butter and olive oil.

Once that was nice and hot I added the requisite diced tomatoes, chopped onions and garlic. Mmmm...garlic. Have I mentioned how much I love garlic? And have I also mentioned I always double the garlic quantities in recipes? So while PW suggests three cloves of garlic, I added five or six.

After that cooked for a while I added the cream, broth and nutmeg. Mmmmmm...the nutmeg was a nice choice.

After that heated up I mixed about half the mixture with the pasta I had prepared. I'm not cooking for a husband and a handful of children, so there was no need for me to make five pounds of the stuff. So, I poured the other half of the sauce into a Tupperware-type container and froze it. I figure it'll make a nice quick meal or side dish (for David) next time around. All I'll have to do is cook some pasta and heat up this delectable sauce.

David does not consider a meal a...well, meal, unless it has meat in the starring role. His exact phrase has always been, "Something's gotta die." Nice, huh? So, while this was a savory meal for me on a wouldn't have worked for him. Which is exactly why I tried it out while he was off on business.

If you didn't click on the link for the recipe at the top of this post, here it is again. The PW has a nice link at the bottom of all of her posts to print out her recipes. And feel free to try it with the artichokes if that makes you feel better. Me...I'll continue to hold the stuff at arms' length.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gordy's Devilled Eggs

We're having our agency-wide "Winter Holiday Party" this Friday at my work. No rumblings of Christmas around here, we're always politically correct. Never mind the Christmas trees in each division... Anyway! I am always one of two people in charge of devilled eggs on my dad's side of the family's get-togethers. The other person that gets to make these wonderful concoctions is my wonderful, family friend, Gordy. That's short for Gordonna. She has a fun, short-cut version and they're just as tasty. Me? I like to go the old-fashioned route and do it the hard way...with a little kick. I'll give you both recipes. But today, I'm just going to give you the one...Gordy's. Since I'll be making my version on Thursday you may...or may reading it on Friday. You'll just have to wait and see.

Gordy's recipe is much simpler than mine. And if this is the first time you've made devilled eggs, I would recommend her version. Why? Because I can't give you exact measurements on mine. I just mix and taste until it tastes right to me. The same goes for when I make guacamole and mashed potatoes. I have no clue how much garlic powder I put in my guacamole, nor do I know how much cream I put in my potatoes... But, I will give you the ingredients and some approximations...just not today...maybe Friday...for the eggs anyway.

For now...Eggs. These are ALL Gordy's instructions and ingredients. I do mine a little different as you will soon find out.


Be very quiet...

Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder...

This may not be the exact brand...

But this is Gordy's secret ingredient...

There's numerous brands that make this stuff and I'm not really sure it matters, as they all pretty much taste the same. If you look at the basic ingredients on each one, it's essentially mayonnaise and pickle relish.

You'll want to take a dozen eggs and put them in a pot full of water. Make sure all the eggs are completely submerged. Place the pot on the stove and set the burner to high. Watch pot, but not too closely as you know the ol' saying goes, "A watched pot never boils." Hahaha, I crack myself up.

ANYWAY! When the water is at a full boil, set a timer for TWO minutes. Once the eggs have boiled on high for two minutes, turn the heat off and cover. Let them sit for ten minutes.

Drain hot water and run cold water over the eggs. This will make it easy for you to crack the eggs easily and they will "come out perfectly every time." And I quote Gordy. I love her. She's my "third mom." Have I told you that I've known her since I was five when threw up in my dad's brand new truck from eating too many goodies at her house during a New Year's Eve party? Ahhhh, dad loves that story, by the way. But, I digress...

If you've never cracked boiled eggs before, just rap them against the counter or sink and peel the shell off. Throw the boiled eggs in a bowl. When you're finished, slice each one and put the whites on your serving tray after squeezing out the yolk into a separate bowl. After that, simply mix the sandwich spread with the yolks until the consistency is correct. Then, spoon the yummy mixture into the egg whites and sprinkle paprika on top. Ta da!

Easy peasy and a crowd pleaser!


There's all different kinds of loitering, but some are in extreme fashion. Typically, loitering is annoying, but doesn't completely and totally irritate me. And a lot of time people aren't intending to loiter, they just are like that. I used to work at a bank and the guard told me how when he got married, while waiting in line at the grocery store, he noticed his wife was one of "those" people. You know what I'm talking about...the person that waits until ALL of their groceries are rang up (simply watching the check-out screen the whole time) and the cashier hits the "total" key THEN, they casually reach in their purse, pull out their wallet, search for a pen, open to their checkbook and begin writing a check. After that you still have to wait for the cashier to request their driver's license and write down all the pertinent information on the actual check. Said guard quickly remedied this situation with his wife because it annoyed him as much as anyone else. Normal people already have done all of this while the groceries are being rang up. In fact, my mom used to have everything on the check written out, except the dollar amount, by the time the cashier had a chance to push the "total" key. My mom liked to watch everything get rang up too, just to make sure she wasn't over-charged on anything. But, that's why she drug me along; to unload the groceries on the conveyer belt. All the while, she watched everything be rung up while multi-tasking with her checkbook. That's what kids are for.

Now everyone swipes their debit/credit cards, but the same premise still applies. You have your wallet out with card or cash ready to pay whether you're at the grocery store, fastfood restaurant, coffee shop, drug store or department store.

This didn't happen yesterday. I made a short trip to the local City Bites on my lunch hour to pick up a take-out order for myself and my boss. Everything looked very promising when I walked in. I was very hungry and I just LOVE their spuds, so I was practically salivating on my drive over between stomach grumblings.

When I walked into the restaurant there was only one person in line ordering. Sometimes when I go, there's a massive line of 10-15 so this made me happy. Why? Because it was friggin' cold yesterday and they're ALWAYS busy on cold days because everyone else has the same idea about their hot, tasty spuds. Regardless, I could see it was going to be a "quick" transaction due to the lack of other patrons. When I walked up the cashier had just given the customer in front of me her total, we'll call her Ms. Customer. Ms. C. started to pull out her wallet and proceeded to fish out a $10 or $20 bill (I wasn't paying much attention at this point) and gave it to him for payment. The cashier looked up and saw me and gave a, sort of, nod of recognition. I go there enough for the employees to recognize least the ones that work the cash registers.

At this point, I began to eye the cookie case. Have you ever had a City Bites cookie? They're the best and apparently they have a couple holiday flavors right now...yum! But, I'm trying to be somewhat good so I just looked longly into the case. The cashier quickly made change (cash and coin) and grabbed the receipt for Ms. C., then immediately looked to me expectantly for my pick-up order request. However, I wanted to wait until Ms. C. moved out of the way so I wouldn't be rushing her and could, also, easily hand him the payment for my transaction. Ms. C. started to fumble with her purse and wallet as she tried to hold both of these and her change. We both looked to her at this point as she appeared to be having some difficulty. I tried to distractly look back into the kitchen as not to make her feel rushed as she was obviously flustered for whatever reason.

Around this time I heard change hit the floor. Spinning my head back around, I was going to help her pick it up, but she had already hunched near the ground to pick up the two or three coins. At this point I happened to make eye contact with the cashier who had a slightly exasperated look. Then, Ms. C. proceeded to put the change in her little change section of her wallet...and then started to arrange her cash money in the correct order and direction in the bill section.

Quick Pause In Story: Am I the only person who just throws it all in the coin section and goes back later to fix it? Like I mentioned earlier, I worked in a bank before. For three and a half years. I'm probably the most OCD person anyone knows about the money in my wallet. All facing the same direction, in monetarily correct order, all right-side up, etc. Of course, this is when I have money. Like I've said previously, I almost always use debit or credit cards so it's rare that I have cash. But, when I do...this is how I am. Nevertheless, I never, ever, ever do this with people waiting in line behind me in a store or food establishment.

Back to the story, Mr. Cashier looks at me now with a somewhat apologetic look. He motions with his head towards Ms. C. who then makes a point to zip and snap her wallet shut and reach to put it back into her purse, throw her purse over her shoulder and head over to a table to sit and wait for her order to be called. This entire exchange took approximately 30-60 seconds after she was handed her change and receipt. This doesn't seem like a long time...unless you're the one waiting on it. Try it. Sit there for a minute and do nothing but pretend to watch someone fuddle around with their wallet.

While this did not ruin my day or greatly irritate me (slightly-yes, but greatly-no)...I just don't understand it. My mother always taught me to be mindful of other people and try not to get in the way. I can't tell you how many times I was told to 'stand back' or 'get out of the way' as a child. Ms. C., who by the way was probably a little younger than my mother, did neither. Granted this incident didn't really hurt anything, but perhaps it makes one think about how you are perceived by others in public. I walked away from the situation with no desire to meet Ms. C. (less desire than I normally would with a complete stranger) while she probably has no idea the impression she made (on me and the cashier).

Just a thought the next time you're in line at your local grocery store or other public establishment...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Priiiiitty Tree

Christmas trees are one of the funnest parts of this season. I love decorating my tree so that it looks just so. And I'll admit to being one of those people that moves the ornaments to and fro the first few days until it looks just right. I also set an automatic timer so that it's on in the morning when I get up, turns off when I leave for work, then back on again before I get home and then off again when it's bedtime. Maximizing lit tree time is imperative in my house. Recently, I've learned that I'm lucky in the pet department. My Lil Miss Molly has never displayed much interest in the tree and, if anything, appears indifferent to it. Maybe that's mostly a cat thing know, the whole pawing at ornaments and shredding the branches. One of the many reasons why I love dogs. She does not like present wrapping though...which I love (I know, I'm weird). Molly figures that if you're stretched out on the floor then you should be petting her, right? So, she's known for sitting right in front of know the spot I'm talking about...the spot you've cleared to roll out your paper and go to town. Yep, that's the spot.

Last year, when Christmas rolled around David and I had been dating for a few months and I was appalled to learn that he didn't have a Christmas tree. I know there are a lot of young adults that don't have Christmas trees because they "go home" for the season and figure that they'll just enjoy the tree that their parents put up. I was never one of these people; I love decorating too much. Yes, my little dinky tree isn't much compared to my mom's HUGE flocked tree, but it's mine and it makes me happy during the Christmas season. So, when I realized this about David, I immediately remedied it. We went to Michael's and spent money on a new tree, ornaments, garland, tree skirt and a star. I think it turned out quite nice. My main colors on my tree are red and silver, while David's are red and gold. Great minds think alike!

So, you're probably wondering why I'm bringing up Christmas trees. This isn't a book review, or something I baked/cooked or even a craft I've made. Well, there is a certain crafty tree I must share. It's gorgeous, although unconventional. And I'm beginning to think this might be the start of a trend here in my office. You see, this mini tree was created by a lady in my office, Sandie, and it was preceeded by another one last year. A purple one. Completely purple. But, this cute is this?

Apparently after last year's purple tree, Sandie had aspirations for a red, white and black tree. This tree is completely white (kind of that retro look from the 60s). Then, she purchased some black Halloween tinsel in the clearance bin this year. After ripping off the skeletons and such attached, she had the perfect tinsel for her tree. There's a scattering of white and black ornaments, but the red lights and birds really set the mood for this tree. For the leftover lights and tinsel, there's a makeshift tree skirt at the bottom. Like I said before, gorgeous. So, Sandie, whatcha got in mind for next year?

I hope everyone is enjoying all the conventional and unconventional Christmas decorations that others are sharing. This weekend I'll be looking forward to visiting the Chickasha light show. It is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and has received acclaim across the country for its magnificence...and rightly so! Unfortunately, David doesn't have the patience for this sort of thing. If it's not something he's "in" to his attention span is about ... ... ... that long. Isn't that a guy thing? However, I was able to get his parents to go with us last year (without telling David about how long it usually takes) and they've requested to go again this year. Yay! Wish me luck in the crankiness department when drive down there!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Da Vinci Code

I know I'm way behind the curve on this one, but sometimes that just happens. This book was published back in 2003 and transformed on to the silver screen in 2006. I saw approximately two-thirds of the movie a while back (don't ask me why not the whole thing) and it intrigued me. But then, Tom Hanks movies, if not intriguing, are always good. Can you seriously think of a bad Tom Hanks movie? Big, Cast Away, The Green Mile, When Harry Met Sally, Forrest Gump, A League of Their Own, Apollo 13, You've Got Mail...I could go on and on. The man doesn't make a bad movie. Anyway! I saw enough of the movie to get me to read the's just that it's taken me this long to get around to that. Maybe that should be another book project...move all the books that have been on my "to read" list the longest to the front of the line. Or something. I started this book the weekend before last and finished it on Saturday. Good book. Very good book. I'm excited to watch the ENTIRE movie via Netflix.

Basically, the gist of this story is that a curator of the Louvre is murdered in connection to a Holy Grail pursuit. The curator's granddaughter and an American symbologist get caught up in the murder investigation as suspects. The rest of the novel consists of their story, while on the run from the authorities. There's numerous twists and turns along the way including an interesting twist on what the Holy Grail actually is. Many people consider the book and movie blasphemous and after reading it...I can see why. Dan Brown does a very good job making a fictional piece of work SEEM believable...but, that's all it does. It seems believable; it's not truth. I'll definitely be continuing to read Dan Brown as this was an excellently played out story line.

Now, I'm on to Dear John so I can finish it and swap books with my friend...that way we'll both be ready for the movie come February! Unfortunately, that's the only book I have going right now. David and I went to Half-Price Books on Saturday to peruse the selection and there weren't any audiobooks from my "to read" list. ::sigh:: I'll try again later this week as their variety changes from day to day, luckily.

Friday, December 11, 2009

THIS Is What You Could Be Saving...

Remember when I talked about my step-dad's Christmas party? Well, that day we also played Dirty Santa. I love playing Dirty Santa, it is so fun and gets everyone all stirred up. The monetary limit on this game was $10. My step-dad threw two of these into the mix as two separate gifts.

They were the biggest hit EVER. Both rolls of quarters ended up being the first items to be frozen.

Last night was the Junior Hospitality Jingle Mingle and we, David and I, participated in that $20 Dirty Santa game. On Wednesday night we were talking over dinner trying to figure out WHAT to take. I know that's kind of waiting until the last minute, which I don't normally do, but hey, it happens. David joked about us just taking two rolls of quarters since the whole idea went over so well at the family Christmas party. Then...mid-salad David had an epiphany. He remembered a certain company's present commercial theme...

Needless to say, an idea was born. I went to Michael's to purchase the googly eyes that night. Then, yesterday on my lunch hour I went by the bank, withdrew $20 in ones and requested the blue money strap. This was the result and it was awesome.

I was a little worried that it wouldn't go over as well as David and I had hoped...but, no worries there. It was the first item frozen in the game. I would highly recommend making one of these if you have a Christmas party to attend that includes a Dirty Santa game. Heck, it might just be a funny way to give someone cash for Christmas rather than in a money envelope or as a check!

It was suuuuuper easy to make. I simply put two slightly skinner sheets of paper between each bill, just to make the stack thicker. Then, after strapping all the "money" together I took a small piece of cardboard and folded it in half to make the shape of an "L." (The package of googly eyes had a cardboard piece folded in half and stapled to the plastic bag containing the actual eyes...I used that piece of cardboard for this part.) After that, I taped the bottom of the "L" to the money strap and the front of the "L" to the two googly eyes. Ta da! Super easy and a crowd pleaser!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Chuckle...

Do you ever see those personalized car tags that just make NO sense at all? I'm talking about the ones that state "ADN23DS" or "B4WNPKN" or "AN POWE." Huh? It doesn't matter how long you stare at their plate during the two minute stoplight, you can't figure it out. And sometimes they stick with you for more than just a stoplight, sometimes you think about them for a good 10-15 no avail.

Then, there are the cute ones that kinda make you smile. Like, I saw an ol' piece the other day that had the tag "PAID 4." LOL! There's one I see regularly on my way home from work that says, "PLAY2DAY." Cute. Then there's always the little sporty cars that have something like "SEE YA" or "KEEP UP" or something to that effect. An email forward that goes around from time to time is a pic of a divorcee woman's plate which states "WAS HIS." Ouch...but, funny. I also have a friend who loves to go to Vegas, her plate is "LUV2BET." I always thought it was cute.

Other personalized plates include sports affiliations (i.e. "SNRSFAN" or "OU FAN") or a person's name. A best friend of mine drives an SUV and her plate states a shorten version of her name and looks like "***SSUV" to denote it's her SUV.

I don't find anything wrong for the latter two types of plates, but if the plates are soooo personalized that only two people in the world will EVER know what it means...that's just kind of annoying. Inside jokes are funny, but not an extra $100 funny. Because, isn't that about how much extra you have to pay for a personalized plate?

I can't ever think of anything that I would put on a personalized plate, but I don't begrudge others if they really feel the need to put something up on theirs. I enjoy them when I see them (or not when they're the above listed type). But...every once in a while I see one that makes me really smile. Luckily, I had my phone by my side when I saw this one today on my lunch hour. I snagged a pic really fast. Simple, yet to the point. I laughed, hope you do too.

In case you can't says "ACARTAG." ::chuckle::

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I consider myself a pretty decent tipper. It's rare for me to tip below 15-20% and the vast majority of the time it's 20% or more. Unless the service is so incredibly awful that I can't even justify at least 15%, then I will dip below...but I can probably count on one hand how many times that's happened.

I'm also totally a debit card girl and swipe for, literally, everything. It's rare for me to have cash, especially more than $20 at any given point in time. Because of this I've noticed all these new places that are putting tip lines on their credit card receipts as well as tip jars out. I am ALL about tipping someone who waits on me at a restaurant or brings my food out to me at a drive-in. These people check on you, refill your drinks, take food back if it's not cooked right and check with you throughout your meal. And those carhops will bring you food whether it's 72 degrees outside or 105 degrees...or 20 degrees like today! But, these places where I am standing at the cash register or sitting in the drive-thru...simply waiting on you to ring me up...really? Especially if I'm in a self-service type place (i.e. salad bar, fro-yo bar)

I was a cashier at a pool in high school...I didn't get tipped. I was a cashier when I worked at Home Depot...I didn't get tipped. I was a cashier at Express and Victoria's Secret...I didn't get tipped there either. And you know what, I didn't expect it either. If I, the customer, am doing all the leg-work, I just can't justify giving you 20% of my ticket.

Am I alone on this? Not to mention the fact that waitresses and carhops typically get paid just a few bucks an hour. If you're getting paid $8-10 an hour to ring up some sales behind a cash, I don't think so. So Starbucks, Java Dave's and all you fro-yo cashiers, stop giving me googly eyes and looking at me funny because I don't give you an extra $2 on my debit card receipt!

Books, Books, Books...and More Books!

I believe I've discussed my ever-present pile of books on my dresser. This pile is constantly being added to and shuffled. I try my best to put all new books on the bottom of the pile and read them in the order in which I receive them. First in, first read; last in, last read. However, certain situations arise where I have to "cheat" and throw a book on top. I did this with both Twilight books and I always do so with borrowed books. And I'm about to do it again. My friend that I went to see New Moon with...well, we're going to go see Dear John as well. Both of us want to read the book before we go and I told her that I already had a copy and was planning on reading it anyway. She is currently reading Eclipse and told me we could just swap when we're both done. As you can see below, Dear John was not the correct Nicholas Sparks novel that I already possessed. So...I'll be making a quick run to either Barnes & Noble or Half-Price Books shortly to remedy this situation. But, ugh, I have a love/hate relationship with going to the book store. Why? Because this picture is a perfect example of what happens.

This ever-present pile IS ever-present because of my trips to book stores. And I already know that I'll probably buy a new audiobook since I don't have one right now. Instead, I'm currently jammin' to some awesome Christmas music on my Sirius Satellite Radio. ::sigh:: At least this pile is nothing compared to my actual "to read" list that I keeps building. I'd be afraid to share the ENTIRE's looooong.

Did you notice the order of books though? I had these three classics from a previous purchase way back when...high school, I think. As you can see, this isn't the first time I went through a classics kick. If I remember correctly, I didn't make it through Anna Karenina, but the other two I read. It's been too long to be able to remember though...I don't remember any storylines. We'll see if I can stick to it for at least a little while. My three genre rotation is set in motion:

My Sister's Keeper - fiction
The Innocent Man - non-fiction
Mansfield Park - classic
The Luck One - fiction
Half Broke Horses - non-fiction
Anna Karenina - classic

I still need to get a couple to put before Lady Chatterley's Lover, but I think these will keep me busy for now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shrimp and Broccoli Packets

I really don't have anything to blog about today. Absolutely nothing. I live a boring life, I guess. Haha, I wish! I wish I didn't have anything to do all the time. But,, I'm trying to heal. Have I mentioned that I like indoor rock climbing? Well, you see...I went rock climbing last night with my fellow rock climber friend and...I hurt myself. You hurts a lot when you go for a hold and bang your knee into a lower hold...on accident. I literally had to come down and sit on the floor for a minute to recover. I saw stars. And today my knee has a HUGE cherry on it. You can even see it through my black hosiery. And did I mention it hurts? Bad. So today, instead of thinking really hard about something to blog about, I am simply going to share with you a favorite recipe. This is a recipe I stole from my mother a while back when I was attempting to organize her recipes. That was futile. Actually, I was just trying to organize them so that I could steal a few. Maybe more than a few. Maybe a lot. My mom's recipes look a lot better now, though. I think she has around 5 binders FULL of recipes. I wonder if she's adding to the pile the way we organized them...or just throwing them in the front flap of the binders like she was before. My money is on the latter. Not that there's anything wrong with that...whatever floats your boat. It's just that I'm extremely organized and anal about stuff like that. Maybe one of these days I'll share my recipe book so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. But today, I'm just going to share this recipe. It's a Dave's Faves. Very easy and very, very, very, very good. Homerun every time. Try it soon.

Shrimp and Broccoli Packets (from Reynolds Wrap)

2 sheets (12x18-inches each) Reynolds Wrap® Release® Non-Stick Foil
1/2 pound medium raw peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup instant rice
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning ***
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided (I always use 3-5 cloves, but I love garlic)
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
8 ice cubes
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450°F or grill to medium-high.

Center one-half of shrimp on each sheet of Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Foil with non-stick (dull) side toward food. Arrange rice around shrimp; sprinkle shrimp and rice with seafood seasoning and half of garlic. Place broccoli over shrimp; sprinkle with remaining garlic and top with butter. Place ice cubes on top.

Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and one end. Through open end, pour in water. Double fold remaining end to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Repeat to make two packets.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven or grill 9 to 13 minutes in covered grill. Stir rice before serving.

Serving suggestion: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over shrimp before serving. (I never do this, it doesn't need it-plenty of flavor from seasoning and garlic already!)

Reynolds Kitchens Tip: To pour liquids into packets, hold packets at a slight angle. After folding ends to seal, turn folded ends up to prevent leaking.

Number of Servings: 2

Nutrition Information:(Per Serving)
calories 410
grams fat 14
% calories from fat 30
milligrams cholesterol 254
milligrams sodium 1204
grams carbohydrates 44
grams protein 31

***Another recommendation: I use this seasoning as my "seafood seasoning" in this recipe. It's also pretty much my "go to" seasoning. Any time I'm in a rush and just want to quickly grill some chicken on my George Foreman grill or any other quick meal in which I want to add some extra spice-this is the seasoning I grab. I will say that a little bit of this goes a long way. While I don't recommend being sparse with it, just don't load the meal down with it gets to be quite much and very salty if you do.

*Yet Another recommendation: Be sure to drain the foil packets before you stir and plop them on your plate. This way, if you happened to add too much water/ice cubes, you don't get a puddle of lukewarm water on your plate (Yuuuuuk!).

I hope everyone is having a Terrific Tuesday and that your knees are bruise-free!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pre-Merry Christmas!

The Christmas get-together for my step-dad's side of the family was this past Saturday. I'm talking aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews...the whole lot! Typically, my mom and step-dad provide the meat and beverages and everyone else brings sides and desserts. This year my parents purchased a honey-baked ham and honey-baked turkey and they were both savory. Between the potatoes, devilled eggs, salads (potato, cranberry, broccoli), broccoli rice casserole and rolls (just to name a few items) the meal turned out fantastic. This year I decided my contribution would be Swedish meatballs and a couple pies. Well, like I had shared last Friday, I had a hot New Moon movie date on Friday night...with my friend, Susan. Haha, that's a fun joke amongst me and my three best friends. We love to go on "dates" with each other. Anyway, I soon realized that my time was going to be limited as far as preparation for each of these items. So! I decided to perhaps just make one pie and bake some cookies? I had purchased some Otis Spunkmeyer frozen cookie dough from a friend's child's fundraiser and I thought that would make it easy. What I ended up taking was the meatballs, two pies AND the cookies. I was also responsible for the wine...but, amongst all the food...I forgot it after making a special trip to Byron's on Friday after work. Sheesh...I'm sure I'll be able to find the wine a purpose eventually though.

My Swedish meatballs are suuuuuuuper easy. One, two, three, four steps and you're done. These are the best meatballs EVER.You can find them (Rosina brand) at Wal-Mart in the freezer section, or in even larger quantities at Sam's. There are a few different flavors; I use the Italian ones for when I make spaghetti. In fact, I had an extra bag of the Italian ones this past Saturday and just used them in this recipe. Yum! Grab a bag of these and empty it into your crockpot/slow-cooker. Pop open a can of cream of mushroom soup, blop that on top. Pour out a half cup of milk into the mixture. Sprinkle a good amount of pepper, then stir the entire set of ingredients. Cover and place your crockpot on high for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the meatballs are hot, you can lower the heat while friends and family make their way through the buffet line of scrumdeliumptious food! These are ALWAYS a hit and easy peasy.

Next on my list of things to make was pie. I tried to get my mom and/or step-dad to choose a flavor, but to no avail. My step-dad's favorite flavor is allllllways apple. It doesn't matter what kind of apple either. Apple crumb or classic. Deep-fried or turnovers. It does NOT matter. So, as I was thumbing through my new Pioneer Woman cookbook I found an interesting recipe. Flat Apple Pie. Very unconventional. I forgot to take a picture, but this is what it looks like.

This recipe makes two pies and they went over EXTREMELY well with the fam. The only recommendation I would make, is to make sure your crust is completely closed/sealed at the bottom. Both of mine had holes/cracks in the bottom and some tasty apple juice goodness came streaming out and bubbled on my jelly roll pans.

5 peeled & sliced Granny Smith apples
2 tbsp. flour
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 recipe Perfect Pie Crust
6 tbsp. butter

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the apples, flour, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt. Set aside.
3. Roll out two pie crusts into large circles. Place the circles on large baking sheets.
4. Place half the apple mixture on one crust and other half on the other crust.
5. Fold over the edge of each crust so that it covers 2-3 inches of the apple mixture. No need to be artistic - the more rustic the better.
6. Dot the tops of the pies with chunks of butter.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the filling is golden and bubbly. If the crust appears to brown too quickly, cover the edges with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.
8. All to cool slightly, then slice.

Of course, after this I just popped some Otis Spunkmeyer frozen dough in the oven to bake while I finished preparing to leave and transport my goodies. They went over well, also. If you get a chance to purchase some of this dough I highly recommend the cranberry oatmeal. Very tasty and holidayish.

I'm sorry that I didn't take any pictures of the goodies this weekend, but between the rushing around for the Christmas party AND preparing for mine and David's short trip to Kansas City (to watch the Chiefs lose to the Denver Broncos) I just plumb forgot. I'll try to do better in the future! Hope everyone had a marvelous weekend and got some Christmas shopping done!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Seriously, It Costs That Much?!

I love shopping. It's literally one of my favorite things to do. I don't know why, but it's calming and enjoyable with a tiny spark of excitement in the anticipation of the item's first wearing, first use or initial display, not to mention the look on one's face if you're giving the item as a gift. There is nothing better than the sparkle in a recipient's eyes when they open a much-anticipated present. That being said, this time of year is an excellent time to partake in the latter. I have a very large internal circle of family in which I exchange presents with. With three parents, four siblings (and spouses), seven nieces and nephews, two grandparents, two like-a-second moms and David...the numbers add up quickly. But, this is also one of my favorite times of year so I greatly enjoy the exchange of gifts and the delightful gleams on everyone's faces. That being said, I have approximately four of these people/couples left to buy for...of course, the last few being the hardest to buy for. But, I came up with this great idea. I first came across this idea a few months back when browsing through an antique/craft shop with David's mom. Then, I saw them again at An Affair of the Heart (my favorite Christmas buying excursion), but no real luck due to the cost. Soooooo...I thought that perhaps I might have more luck just googling the idea on the good old 'net. Wow is all I have to say.

Here's my gift idea...

...only the idea is to pick the letters of the recipient's last name. I would LOVE to have one of these for my house and even David's. I've actually considering buying one for David's house, but it seems kind of silly to buy a grown man decorations for his house when he'd rather receive Legos. Yes, Legos. Don't ask.

Another reason why I liked this gift idea is that it seems like something that one would never buy for themselves. One year my stepdad's parents went with an idea similar and it went over extremely well. Only, the premise of their last name hanging was a crocheted doily matted in a frame. They're gorgeous. My parents still have theirs. Regardless, the cheapest ones of the above pictured idea that I could find on the internet was around $100. Really?? Seriously?? It's a few pictures...framed...and that's it. I can understand if you pick an expensive/ornate frame, a detailed matting, an extra large (20x24) version OR if your name was 16 letters. But, for just a plane jane black frame, white matting with a 5-10 letter name??? Reeeeeediculous. About as ridiculous as the pet rock. Just my personal opinion.

Phew...glad my first "mud" blog is out of the way. Now I can get into the good stuff. For the past couple weeks I've had ideas, but they all have involved bathrooms. And I didn't want my first "mud" labeled blog to be about bathrooms. Especially when every other blog is about food. However, one of my ideas/inquiries was why women will breeze into a public restroom, try to push open a locked stall door, then get embarrassed and wait for that person to finish and leave rather than simply squat and check to see if there are feet under the other stalls. Then there's that awkward look exchanged between women when the occupier is exiting the stall. This happened to me last week and mine was the only occupied stall in the entire bathroom. ::sigh:: I wish I could say this was the first and only time this has ever occurred...but, it's not and I doubt it'll be my last.

I hope everyone has a fun-filled weekend. Tonight I'll be viewing New Moon in the balcony of the Warren Theater with one of my best friends. Then, Saturday I'll be participating in a potluck pre-Christmas dinner with my stepdad's family. I love getting to see all my aunts, uncles and cousins even if it only might be this one time per year. Next week I'm sure I'll detail what I bring...but, I'm not going to tell you what it is just yet. You can just live in the anticipation. Then, I'll be headed for a football game on the bitter cold. We'll see if I live through it.


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