Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Sister's Keeper

I seem to have a thing for sad books right now, I don't know why...I really should break this pattern.  They seem to all be in my list of "to-reads" and I'm just trying to plow my way through.  Though, this being said, I LOVED this book, My Sister's Keeper.  Within my reading rotation, this books falls under my fiction section.  If this had been a true story I might have lost it.

The familial turmoil that heart-breakingly includes cancer within this novel gets your emotions flowing and I felt that tickle in my nose more than once.  You know what I'm talking about, that tickle you feel right before your eyes tear up and you start balling?  Yea, that one.  I never actually cried though.  It's weird..I'll cry at a sad movie, many times even if I've already seen it 257 times.  Fried Green Tomatoes...Stepmom...The Notebook...every stinkin' time.  But, I can read a book and not cry...I'll get the tickle, but no actual tears.  I think the reason for this is because I can stop, close the book and come back to it later.  If I just pushed on through...yea, I probably would have cried.  I'm a typical girl, I know it.  I cry at sad movies and tv shows. 

In essence, this book is about a young girl, Anna, who is filing for medical emmancipation from her parents.  This is because her sister, Kate, has cancer and since Anna's been born she has been Kate's lifeblood...literally.  Anna very existence began with being genetically engineered to save her sister's life and she started off her life by giving Kate her umbilical cord blood.  And it doesn't stop there...but, Anna is now prepared to make it stop, legally.

Throughout the book you learn how everyone in this family feels about the situation and the effects of Kate's illness.  Sara, the mother, is too busy trying to keep Kate alive to stop and consider how anyone else feels.  Jesse, Anna and Kate's brother, has become the epitome of a "problem child" by setting fires, drinking, taking name it.  Brian, the father, is simply trying keep his mind straight and do the right thing to save his marriage and all his children.  Within all of this turmoil, there's also a side story...a complicated love story between Anna's lawyer and her guardian ad litem. 

The way that Jodi Picoult manages to capture how everyone feels and why they act and do the things they do is captivating.  How she manages to do this amazes me and I love her writing style.  A lot of times when authors jump back and forth between character's minds and thoughts...things get confusing...I didn't get lost or thrown off track at any point within this book. 

I currently have the 2009 film version of this book on que with Netflix, but I'm already preparing myself to be disappointed.  Everything I've read about the film states there are major changes in the plot, including a completely different ending...ugh!  I hate it when movies do this.  I mean, I totally understand when you have to change and combine certain scenes because you're trying to condense and film a 500 page book.  But, altogether changing the entire story line?? ::sigh::  We'll see!

If you haven't already read this book, I highly recommend it...just be sure and keep a box of tissue handy...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

While I was off of work yesterday (being sickly) I was able to catch up on a little bit of reading.  That's about the only good thing that can occur when sick.  Regardless, I was able to finish 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Obviously, this falls within my reading rotation under the classics category. 

This book was originally published back in 1869 and there have been numerous television and movie versions adapted to this original Jules Verne work.  I currently have the 1954 version with Kirk Douglas on que with Netflix.  This should be interesting because there is a lot of technical and specific details in the book that I'm not sure translate well to the silver screen. 

Basically, the gist of the book is that there is a mysterious sea monster, referred to as a narwhal, that has been sighted by numerous sea farers and has actually damaged a couple of ships.  An expedition is planned and there are three main characters included within this excursion by sea: Professor Pierre Aronnax, Ned Land and Conseil (Aronnax's assistant).  Everyone wants to catch this massive narwhal and be credited with ridding the oceans of this horrendous beast, no more so than the harpooner-Ned Land.  Little do these men know they are biting off more than they can chew...

Once this narwhal is "found" and they have begun trying to harpoon her...these three main characters are thrown overboard and discover that the narwhal is actually a large, metal submarine.  Once they are captured and brought inside they discover that this submarine, the Nautilus, was built in secrecy by a reclusive man, Captain Nemo.  Captain Nemo has a reclusive attitude toward society due to a handful of reasons that are never quite fully revealed...though some of his anger issues do appear to surround his wife and children whom are heavily suggested to be deceased.

Once onboard the three men are kept as "free" prisoners.  They are allowed to roam the Nautilus, but not leave lest they reveal to the world all the secrets of Captain Nemo and his Nautilus.  While onboard Professor Aronnax begins to enjoy Captain Nemo's presence and appreciate the myriad luxuries onboard the Nautilus.  The chef prepares wonderous seafood fare and there is an enormous library just to name a couple of extravagances.  However, Ned Land is never content as a to explore in and around the ship or not.  Throughout the book there are several adventures...such as, the submarine getting stuck in the ice near the South Pole and a shark hunt with specially designed guns that can be used underwater.

***Normally I wouldn't reveal the end of a book, but since this is a classic and most have either read this book or know of the story via movie or television...why not.  If you prefer me not to do this...just leave me a comment and I won't do it on the next classic. 

An escape is plotted at the end of the book where the three captives finally are able to escape.  However, the way this is done the reader (nor the other three) are aware of whether or not the Nautilus and it's inhabitants survive.  The reason being...Ned Land successfully brings to shore Aronnax and Conseil after battling a whirlpool off the coast of Norway where they "abandon ship." one knows if the Nautilus is sucked into the whirlpool or it escapes... In the end, Aronnax, who narrates the entire novel hopes that someday Captain Nemo's journal of all his experiences under the sea and onboard the Nautilus will someday be discovered.

I have to say that it took me a little while to get in to this book, but once I was in I was hooked.  Very exciting read and I can see why it has stood the test of time.  If you've never sat down and read it all the way through, or only seen one the movie versions...I recommend!

Things Happen

There are certain things in life that are unexplainable.  Some big.  Some small.  In the grand scheme of things, this one is pretty small.  But, it is rather irritating.  Especially since there's this big thing called an ice/snow storm headed our way within the next 24 hours.  When David got home from the field last week he decided to make himself one of his standard "man meals."  These are meals that are quick and easy for him to make that he loves.  These meals usually consist of chicken strips, brautwurst (which he calls "heaven on a bun") or frozen pizza.  Is anyone surprised that a man makes these regularly while living in his bachelor pad?  Me neither.  Anyway!  While his chicken strips were in the oven baking he was happily watching TV...sports, I'm sure.  Then... ::snap, crack, BOOM:: ...David got up to investigate and found this in the kitchen. 

Nice, huh?  Apparently this is a relatively common problem with GE least that's what David discovered after looking up this issue on the internet.  Though, the repairman that came out yesterday said he has rarely seen this... ::sigh::  We'll be looking forward to this glass coming in next week...too bad it couldn't be fixed before Ice/Snow Storm 2010 here in Oklahoma City!  Looks like it'll be all stovetop and microwaveable meals for us...that is unless David feels adventuresome enough to bust out the grill on the patio.  At least he did purchase a you know where'll I'll be if and when the power goes out!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Little Bit of Nostalgia...Providing a Future Book Review

Last night David and I were updating our Netflix que.  We have the option of either having movies sent to us via snail mail or having them synced over the internet to his Blue-ray player.  What we have discovered is that the movies you can que immediately over the internet are NOT usually the new releases and blockbusters that everyone wants to see.  Well, last night I decided to just browse the options and we found quite a few oldies, but goodies. 

This movie, Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, I have not seen since I was probably 13 years old.  My mom actually forbid me from renting this from our local video store around that time period because I had seen it so many times that she didn't want to pay to rent it again.  I think we've all gone through that stage with one movie or another.  Heck, David and I watched The Hangover three nights in a row a couple weeks ago.

Do you ever watch movies from your childhood and have a completely different reaction?  After watching them you say to yourself, "What in the world was I thinking?"  Obviously, there are classics that you love as a child and as an adult...i.e. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Top Gun, Dirty Dancing, etc...but, then there are always ones that you watch as an adult and can't even make it thirty minutes into.  This is NOT one of those movies.  I loved it just as much last night as I did as a little girl.  I will say there were some rather hokey/corny parts, but hey, it's a Disney movie!  David made the comment that it is suuuuuch a girl movie and not only that, one with the target audience of 12 or 13 year old girls.  OK, I'll give him that.  But, I will also mention that when the movie was over, he did say that he enjoyed it.  So ha!

One thing that I didn't realize when I watched this movie the first 537 times was that it is actually the true life story of Sonora Webster-Carver.  That's probably because, as a 12 year old girl, I wasn't interested in reading those first few lines of the movie like most adults do.  Ahem...anyway!  If you are interested in seeing this movie I would suggest NOT googling (or clicking the link I've provided above regarding) Sonora Webster or the movie.  There are a couple unexpected plot twists in the movie and if you read about her...well, you'll know what they are before you even hit the play button on your remote.  Needless to say, this movie is about a girl whose wild heart cannot be broken by any obstacles that come in her way.  And one of them is LIFE-CHANGING.  I've cried every time I've watched this movie and last night was no exception, but don't worry...there's a happy ending, just like in all Disney movies!

Because this movie was based on a true story I decided to google Sonora Webster-Carver last night after the movie.  Wow, was I surprised to learn that Mrs. Carver was not happy with how the movie portrays her life!  Apparently, there's only three items of truth in the movie...only one of which I can share without revealing what I've tried so hard not to share above.  That one item is that she rode diving horses.  Needless to say, I've added this book, A Girl and Five Brave Horses, to my to-read list!  Hopefully, I will enjoy the TRUE autobiographical story as much as I have enjoyed the Disney-ized version all these years!  Be on the look-out for a review of this autobiography...and BTW doesn't this fit nicely into my non-fiction section of my reading rotation?  I always thought that would be the hardest part for me, but it's turning into the easiest right now!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Doesn't this chocolate cake look good?  Cake is one of those things in life that makes eeeeeeeverything better.  Or at least I like to think so. 

Isn't it funny how, in a workplace, that you won't see some of the other employees for days, weeks or even maybe a month or so...but then, someone has a birthday...or retires...or has a baby...and see the masses come'a runnin'!!  Everyone's chitty chatty with a jovial attitude while they're smacking their lips and licking their forks.  All because of cake.  Cake, cake, cake.

Have I mentioned that I hosted a birthday party this past weekend?  It was one of my greeaaaaaaat friend's birthday and we had her party at my house.  And I was in charge of the cake.  Sooooo...I decided this was as good a time as any to try THIS cake.  This thing is divine.  I am so glad that I sent most of it home with the birthday girl and another friend.  They have husbands and children that could eat this cake.  Otherwise, it was just going to sit around on my counter all week with only lil' ol' me to pick at it.  Yea, right.  I'd eat the whole darn thing, who am I kidding?  And have I mentioned that I'm trying to lose a little weight for the wedding?  Yea, not a good idea.  So, I just left myself three pieces, the above picture being one of them.  Yum.  Try it.  'Tis good.  Very, very, very good.

Also, another little wedding update. I got my dress this weekend. Yay for me! Also, starting today I've made appointments with two different bakeries to taste cakes, look at pictures and talk price with the cake baker.  Everything is starting to come together quite nicely!  Dum dum da dum!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meat Loaf Experimentation

Is this picture not the funniest thing?  This is a meal loaf cake that was made for my director at work.  In our office the birthday person gets to pick the flavor of cake they want, after all it is THEIR birthday.  Tom picked a meat loaf cake.  This all stemmed from a visit to the website,  Seriously, you need to go visit this website, there is some diiiiiiiisgusting things on there.  But, I will say this was actually very tasty and pretty too.  It looked like carrot cake!

Now, back to my kitchen...I have been experimenting with meat loaf for a couple months.  This is an awesome, southern comfort food and is a nice change from time to time.  The bad thing is that I've never had a GOOD meat loaf recipe.  My mom's recipe is in her head and I know my grandfather's "secret ingredient," but no actual recipe.  Well, I think I've finally made a meat loaf that I will repeat because it was sooooooo good!  David loved it too, so I'm adding it under the category of "Dave's Faves."  This recipe is a combination of a couple recipes I had in my book (one from the back of a Redbook magazine and one from an email chain) and both my mother's and grandfather's recipes.  Try it and enjoy!

Crystal's Meat Loaf

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/4 c. onion, finely diced
1 1/4 c. mushroom, finely chopped
1/2 celery, finely diced
1 whole red bell pepper, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
4-6 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 eggs
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
12 oz. package of hot sausage
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large skiller heat butter until melted and foaming.  Add onions, mushrooms, celery and red bell pepper.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook a few minutes, being careful to not brown.

Sprinkle thyme over onion mixture.  Add garlic.  Cook and stir until onions are tender and translucent.  Stir in chopped carrot; remove from heat.  Cool completely.

Meanwhile, soak bread in half-and-half. 

Beat eggs.

In large mixing bowl combine meats.  Once mixed, combine with cooled vegetables, bread crumb mixture and eggs.  Add the salt and pepper measurements listed above.  Using hands, mix until well blended.

Turn mixture into baking dish, shape into loaf. 

For ketchup topping: combine ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar.  Spoon over top of meat loaf.

Bake on middle rack for one hour.  Let rest for ten minutes before slicing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Man-Friendly Taters

When David was out of town a couple weeks ago I decided to cook these potatoes.  They were starting to sprout (as you can see) and I didn't want them to turn mushy and gross or sprout into a plant.  Neither would do.

So I decided to try this recipe.  You'll have to scroll down a little bit, it's the second recipe.  Though, the top recipe looks tasty too...I might have to try it as well.

Once I sprinkled the potatoes with the "stuff" they looked so yummy..even raw!

I will say that I had to cook them for longer than what it says on the recipe.  A good 15 minutes or so more.  I don't know why or how or what, but I did.

These were very tasty and I'll make them for David some time.  They were very "man-friendly" tasting!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Crockery Pot Peach Cobbler

I was craving some cobbler and had a little bit of evaporated milk left over from a certain recipe.  I was incapable of finding two 5-7 oz. cans of evaporated milk like the two recipes called I just decided to make these two things on the same night.  That way I could use the whole can all at once.  That's me using my noggin! 

You know those crock pot recipes that get forwarded around on email?  The ones where there's about a gazillion links and they all lead to different recipes that utilize your crock pot.  These recipes could be anything from brisket to meatloaf to soup to cobbler to pudding to a casserole.  Remember?  That's the one I'm referring to.  There's also an email forward that makes it's way around every holiday season that does the same thing, only with cookies.  Well, one day I was bored and decided to rifle through that crock pot email and found a few I actually was interested in trying.  This was one of them, and I have to say it's not bad!  Not as good as the made from scrach versions that I LOVE in the summer, but not a bad alternative when those home-made options are not available. 

I will say, that since fresh peaches aren't exactly in abundance during the winter, I decided to use a can of sliced peaches instead (with the juice drained, of course).  This turned out fine, but when I try this again I will use two jars.  ***Also, I had this on high for two hours and it was DONE.  Bubbling and steaming done.  So, this isn't something I would recommend leaving at home all day on low while you're at work.  It would be burnt to a crisp by the time you got home! 

Crockery Pot Peach Cobbler

3/4 c. Bisquick baking mix
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 can evaporated milk
2 tsp. butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
3 large peaches, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Lightly grease crock pot or spray with non-stick coating spray. 

In a large bowl, combine sugars and baking mix.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir.  Pour in margarine and milk, stir.  Mix in peaches and cinnamon, until well mixed.  Pour into crock pot. 

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. ***See notation above.

Serve warm.  Top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Cheesy Broccoli Tuna Bake

I was wanting to try a new casserole the other day and found this one in my recipe book.  I have no idea where I got it from because it was just on a typed-up sheet of paper with no notations...oh well, I've made a couple changes based on how this recipe turned out. 

Overall this recipe turned out well; David gave it a B+.  However, one suggestion I would make is to cut up the broccoli pieces smaller than normal (less than, say, in this pic).  These turned out a tiny bit too crisp for my taste...though David thought they were just fine.  I don't like mine mushy, but I also don't like a cooked broccoli to be crispy either.  Your choice based upon your preference!

Cheesy Broccoli Tuna Bake

6 oz. home-style egg noodles
1 11 oz. can cheddar cheese soup
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon instant minced onion
1 12 1/2 oz. can tuna, drained (I always use the tuna fillet in water)
4 oz. mushrooms (optional) (I sooooo used them, yum!)
10 oz. chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook noodles in boiling water for 20 minutes.  Blend soup and milk into a smooth sauce.  Add onions and mushrooms.  Drain noodles.

Layer half of noodles, then half of tuna, then half of broccoli in a 2-qt. casserole dish.  Pour in half of sauce.  Repeat layers.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Add cheese on top and bake 15 more minutes.

Makes six servings.

Be Careful What You Wish For...

I'm back today after an uncomfortable dental appointment yesterday.  I had two small cavities that needed to be filled yesterday...however, one was entirely too close to a nerve.  This caused me to receive two extra shots to numb me up after attempting to drill out the second cavity.  That was fun getting a little nerve shock...twice.  Anyway, after being numb for multiple extra hours afterwards and a nice, dull headache ALL DAY I finally feel better.  Yay!  Onwards and upwards toward this wonderful three-day holiday weekend...which just also happens to be the weekend my friends and I are going to celebrate my matron of honor's birthday.  We'll be some wild and crazy girls for the next couple days!

Anyway!  Back to earlier this week...ever since I've known my fiancé he's had the cute little boy haircut.  I'm talking the George Clooney, mid-90s, boyish haircut...something like this.

There's nothing wrong with that.  However, I've noticed that he's had the exact same haircut since he was about....oh, nine.  I've seen little kid pics and they're all the same.  The hair has gotten progressively shorter over time, but the virtual look is the same.  And he REFUSES to put product in it.  No gel, no balm, no spritz, no hairspray, no nothing.  A few months ago I tried to persuade him to try a little spikeyness (I know, that's not a word) or at least pushing the front bangs up...or just something.  Something to make him look like the 28-year-old he is.  All of this to no avail.  Nope, nope, nope.  He's very stubborn and I just figured, "oh well, I tried."

David gets his hair cut by the same guy EVERY TIME.  He's been going to this same guy for years and years and refuses to alter either the barber or style of cut.  Weeeelllllll, earlier this week the barber was out, but the girl that works in the same shop (for the barber/owner) was there and she cut David's hair.  Yeaaaa...have I mentioned that David isn't very vocal in public and just kinda goes with the flow?  Afterwards, he came over with his hair looking something like this.

Completely and totally freaked me out.  I don't need to tell you that David didn't like it either.  It even freaked me out when he leaned in to kiss me...this person just wasn't the same!!  So...I learned via personal experience that the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it" is very, very, very true.  I love my fiancé exactly the way he is.  Please don't change!  Not even a little!  Not even your hair!  Though...I am glad that his sister and I were able to get him in some non-straight-leg jeans this summer.  But, that might be as far and experimental as we need to go...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nice...Real Nice

People really are inconsiderate sometimes.  And it amazes me how some consider your stuff theirs and treat it like trash.  It's no big deal to them.  When I got home from my Christmas trip to Kansas I had two sets of car tracks driving THROUGH my front yard.  These tracks lead directly to my neighbor's front yard, then back out.  Obviously, they felt the need to drive through my yard to park in front of their house (not in their driveway) during this time period.  I have no idea what snow drifts looked like at my house during the storm and, who knows...perhaps there was a huge drift in front of their driveway that impassable. 

I haven't said anything to my neighbor about this yet because I was waiting to see how bad the damage was once the snow melted.  This is what it looks like.

Nice, huh?  And by the way, those footprints are from my mailman, not my neighbor coming over to apologize. 

I guess what irritates me the most is that I know the repercussions of this act.  I'm going to have to look at those tracks for THE REST OF WINTERPlus, the grass will more than likely not grow in those ruts...immediately anyway.  Unless I plant some grass seed.  And even better...when I mow, the blades on the bottoms of my lawnmower will probably get caught on the edges of the ruts.  How do I know all of this?  Well, I know that grass does not grow in the winter, first of all.  Secondly, I had a roommate when I first bought my house...while I was gone one day, she decided to park her boyfriend's SUV in my front yard.  Then, it rained.  And she attempted to drive somewhere else.  I think you get the picture. 

My neighbor appeared to be a really good neighbor before this.  But, her lack of contacting me regarding this issue irritates me.  Dang inconsiderate neighbors.  Just sayin'.

A Dang Quesadilla!

When David was out in the field a couple of weeks ago I decided to make myself a "dang quesadilla."  My friends love this Napolean Dynamite term and one of my best friends ONLY orders quesadillas when we eat at Mexican restaurants.  She has a quesadilla addiction.  We're going to try and get her help...soon...or maybe not.  Is a quesadilla addiction really all that bad?  I have a cheese addiction and I don't think it's a problem...

Anyway!  I decided to randomly whip up these quesadillas and they were very good!  I started off with about 1/4 pound of hamburger meat.  This turned out to be a little more than I would have maybe start with between 1/4 and 1/8 pound.  It just depends on how "meaty" you want your quesadilla to be.  While browning the meat, I added some chili powder and cayenne pepper to flavor the meat, then I added in a few home-grown red pepper flakes (courtesy of my farm boy fiancé).  You can decide how much of each spice you want based upon your flair for the spicy...I probably added a 1/2 teaspoon of each.  I love, love, love, love spicy food though...and this wasn't too terribly hot to me.  But, that's just me.

After the meat is fully cooked, drain grease and remove from pan.  Using the same skillet, place one whole wheat tortilla to start warming on a medium-low temperature. 

*Side Note: Has anyone tried whole wheat tortillas?  They're wonderful!  Now, regular flour tortillas have their place and are a requirement when visiting Mexican food establishments, such as Ted's Escondido.  But, if you're trying to stay healthy while preparing a dish at home, I highly recommend them!  They've got a little bit of a sweet taste to them, which I really like.

After you throw the tortilla into the skillet, add the meat on top then some onion (about 1/4 cup or less).  I would have used a regular white or yellow onion, but I had some green onion in the fridge that I wanted to use up, so instead I chopped that up and added it.  After that, sprinkle a good amount of cheese over it all.  I used cheddar, but if you have a mexican blend that would be even better!

Immediately place the second tortilla on top so that as the cheese starts to melt, it'll melt into the tortilla and make it all a yummy, gooey combination.

After a few minutes, flip the quesadilla so that the top has a chance to warm and brown for a moment.  Then, place the quesadilla on a plate and cut so that you get a total of four quarters.  I poured some salsa on to my plate, but feel free to add sour cream or guacamole if you have some.  These were quite tasty and it was a quick and easy meal for one person!

I'll definitely be making these again soon...probably when David's out in the field again.  Next time I might add some bell pepper or jalapeno!  Scrumptious AND relatively healthy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy Bee!

I've been so busy lately that I really haven't had time to prepare any blogs.  But, I've had plenty of things to blog about and starting today I'm going to try and catch up. 

First of all, I now have a photographer for the wedding.  Woo hoo!  The three big things that can be a pickle to arrange (or so I've read) are the venue, officiant and the photographer.  As you already know, the venue has been chosen and booked.  There are one of two people that David realllllly wants to perform the service...and both are actually already planning on coming to the wedding, so that's no biggie.  I've given David a deadline of the end of the month to ask and receive confirmation from the person he wants.  Both of these people mean the world to David, plus I love them both and think either would do a great job.  Soooo, just waiting on David to follow through.  Lastly, I booked the photographer this past Saturday.  My mother and I asked the normal questions, chitty chatted about a mutual friend (the friend who referred me to him, actually) and discussed some of the ideas for the engagement and wedding pictures.  I walked away with a good vibe from the photographer and his wife (both will be shooting the wedding) and booked them!  One more thing ticked off my list of "to-dos!" 

I have been cooking and baking a lot lately, but I just haven't had a chance to upload all the pictures to my goal is to do that tonight...  On Sunday night I baked some of these muffins.  I highly recommend them and they're a Dave's Faves!

Also, I finally made it by Half Price Books and was able to pick up a couple of audiobooks, Running With Scissors and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.  Both fit into my rotation (non-fiction and a classic).  Hopefully, I'll be writing a review on one of these soon as it's taking me forever to read My Sister's Keeper...not because it's slow or boring, but because I just haven't had time!  And have I mentioned that I've missed my reading time?  Maybe I'll be able to squeeze some time in over the holiday weekend.  That is one of the nice things about working in a government entity...all the paid holidays off!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm A Little Obsessive Compulsive...But, At Least I Admit It

I'm one of those people that color-codes, tabs and micro-organizes everything.  So, yea, you could call me a little obsessive compulsive.  Not to a point that I can't function in normal life, but enough that it makes people laugh sometimes.

Luckily, my matron of honor knows about my "issues" and accepts me despite this.  She's has some obsessive compulsive issues too...about cleaning...but, that's another discussion entirely.  We like to joke in our little group of friends about how she likes the lines in her carpet from her vacuum cleaner.  Haha, I love her.  I wish I was that clean...really, I do!

Regardless, this past Saturday when we went wedding chapel shopping she showed up on my doorstep bright and early...bearing a gift.  An awesome gift.  An obsessive compulsive person's dream.  This is what it was:

A wedding organizer.  Susan scoured the web to find the wedding organizer that had the best reviews and was the most tabbed and preparation-friendly.  Have I mentioned that I love her?

This thing has not left my side; I'm fiddling with it constantly.  Between finding a photographer, looking up bouquets (and printing pics), scouring for DJs, looking up cakes (and printing pics)...this thing has come in SOOOO stinkin' handy! 

Alrighty...that is all for now...just wanted to let you know that this thing is permanently attached to my person right now!

Veggies Are My Friend

David and I currently have an agreement.  Well, I'm not sure you could call it an agreement, more of an edict from me.  This edict states that I will not cook in his house until it is "our" house.  I just got too tired of keeping two kitchens stocked and not having enough utensils for use at his house.  No garlic press, no get the idea.  Typical bachelor pad.  Currently, we eat at each other's house in an even-Steven schedule.  He really does not like this existing situation and it might be part of the reason why I got my ring.  I don't think two months passed between my edict and receipt of the ring.  Haha, apparently he really likes my cooking! 

Earlier this week David purchased some steaks to grill out.  On Tuesday, I talked to David after work (like always) and he asked that I stop on my way to his house and pick up a beans specifically.  When I stopped there were some red bell peppers on bell pepper...tasty.  So, I purchased a particularly bright red, ripe and shiny one.  When I showed up at David's he just looked at me with a blank expression.  He had nooooo clue how to roast a bell pepper.  I believe my exact words were, "You don't know how to sliced a bell pepper and throw it into a skillet?"  He shook his head. ::sigh::  Men.  So, he was in charge of the grilling the steaks and steaming the green beans.  In the meantime, I sliced the pepper and grilled it.

All I did was slice the pepper lengthwise, heat up a little bit of olive oil in the skillet, then sprinkle my favorite seasoning on top (just a tad).  Do you remember my favorite seasoning?

This is what the peppers looked like grilling.

Mmmmmm...don't they look delish? 

After the steaks were ready and the beans were steamed, I slid half the peppers on my plate and half on David's.  I mixed them with the beans on the plates.  David was not super excited with this endeavor...I believe his exact words were, "Whoa...I don't need that much."  I told him that if he didn't eat all of his peppers that I would.  He gets very skittish around anything that's not a) broccoli b) green beans or c) corn.  But, do you know how much of his peppers I ate?  None.  He loved them!

Just a quick, easy and yummy addition to our meal.  Try it if you're pressed for time or simply want more than just some plain ol' green beans.  Which, by the way, beans and pepper went perfectly together!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Have I mentioned that I am deathly afraid of road debris?  I have had multiple instances of flying debris on roads and highways.  In my second year of college I had a horrific accident where a brush hog ran over a pipe in the median.  The blade that struck the pipe catapulted the pipe through the air...aaaand my windshield, breaking my collarbone smooth in half.  If the pipe had struck one inch below it would have gone through my heart.  Or if it had struck one inch above, it would have missed me completely.  My whole family was completely and totally wigged out by this freak accident.  Oh yea, and those eight weeks of healing...they were awesome.  Anyone ever broken their collarbone?  I'd never broken a bone before and haven't since. ::knocking on wood::  At the time I was told that is the most painful bone you can break because it is your center of gravity.  Think about it.  You can't do anything without moving your collarbone.  Sit down, lean over, reach for name it.  At the time, the only thing I found that didn't hurt was simply standing up straight.  And then your feet hurt after a while.  I cringe in memory.  However, after witnessing my mother break her hip a couple years ago...I don't know which is worse.  It's a toss up.

The year prior to this incident I had a double blowout on the highway.  There was a washer-sized box and the car in front of me zigged at the last minute.  I guess you could say that since I didn't have the reaction time to zag at the last minute either, that I had been following too closely. get the idea.  Two tires.  Flat.  You could see the inside of the tire, it was that bad.  That was fun.

I've had other incidents where I've gotten a box caught in the wheel well of my car and a couple flats too.  Last year I had an incident with a huge sheet of ice.  I was driving to meet my mom for lunch and was following a semi on the highway.  FYI, this time I was following with enough distance.  But, when a huge sheet of ice flies off a doesn't really matter how far back you are.  WHAM!  A nice, big, two foot long, horizontal crack in my windshield.  Luckily, I wasn't hurt and the windshield wasn't too expensive to replace.


So, you're probably wondering where this is going.  Well, yesterday I had lunch with my mom.  And on the way back to the office I saw this.  And it made my heart beat faster (not in a good way) and I couldn't take my eyes off it.  Can you see it?

Look closely.

Yes, that is a HUGE chunk of frozen snow on top of that semi.  I'd say a good foot or two of snow still hanging around after our 14.1 inch snow storm on Christmas Eve.  This has apparently stuck around and gotten scarily frozen and hard on top of this truck.  I just pray and hope someone doesn't have the same luck or fate that I have had in the past.  Please, please, please watch out for things like this!!  I always do simply because I'm prone to them!!  And the sad thing is, if ice or snow falls off trucks or other cars, they are not liable for least that's what I heard on the news last year right after my windshield was busted.  Not that I could have sped up and gotten the truck's license plate anyway.  I was too busy shaking and trying to get to the restaurant to meet my mom and cry to her about it. 

**Please completely clean off your car in this weather if possible (obviously if it's frozen solid then you can't) and watch out for things like this!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gooooooooin' To The Chapel and We're Gonna...

I totally do not want this blog to turn in to a wedding blog, but at the same time this wedding is consuming alllll of my time.  And because of that I haven't had much time to do anything read, cook, sew...anything! 

I know it's seven months out and all, but you wouldn't believe how quickly stuff gets booked up.  I was lucky to get the date I wanted at the venue I picked.  Now, while I am looking for a photographer I can tell you that I have run across a couple that already have my wedding date booked.  This is insane!  And also, the more I learn about weddings, the more I see that other couples have loooooong engagement periods.  Like over a year long.  Maybe that's because it can be difficult to book things within short periods of time.  Or the cost.  I feel that when you put the word "wedding" or "bridal" in front of anything, the price automatically rises by 50% or more.  Wedding photographer, wedding dress, wedding shoes, wedding anything.

But!  To give everyone an update, here's what I have to share.  The venue will be The Dominion House in Guthrie.

Initially, this was not my favorite venue on my list to check out...but, once I saw the grounds.  Wow...even covered in snow.  Wow.  That's all I have to say.  My mom and I fell in love.

As for my colors...

Quick little sidenote: If you are in Guthrie any time soon I have to recommend the little restaurant Granny Had One.  I went with my mom and two of my bridesmaids after my mom and I signed our lives away at The Dominion House.  It was very tasty and had a cute, little quaint atmosphere and the food was delish!  Plus, you get a souvenir cup to take home with you (kind of like the Eskimo Joe's cups-to give a reference for all you Okies).  The logo on the cup is...

If you make it to Guthrie any time soon try it!  I had their tilapia and green beans and I made a happy plate! (P.S. the green beans were da bomb!!)  One of my girls got their club sandwich and if you intend to only bite into half the height of the sandwich, go for it!  Just forewarning you!!

More updates to come, I'm sure!


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