Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that despite being ridiculously overwhelmed by my life right now, I can't bring myself to say "no" when people ask me to do/participate in things. This is a HUGE problem. No really. *HUGE*. :-/

I confess...that I spent an hour outside yesterday, helping with yard work...and got burnt to a crisp :( Of course even if I'd thought about putting sunscreen on, it wouldn't have mattered, because I'm super allergic to the stuff. Sigh.

I confess...that I did finally give in. I had too many blogs, so I've decided to combine my Greenville blog with my travel blog. Which, I swear, DOES make sense to do. Now to sit down and force myself to make a pretty banner for said combo blog...

Pin It

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Healthy? No. Delicious? Yes.

This recipe calls for a lot of ingredients that would make anyone on a diet cringe.

Of course...that's probably why it's so good.

I would say to pair it with a nice healthy side - a salad with a light dressing, roasted broccoli, steamed asparagus, or the like. Maybe that would make people feel better about eating it? Personally, though, I don't really care how unhealthy this is because it's still better than eating fast food or whatever ;)

BAKED CHEESY GARLIC CHICKEN

1/2 cup butter
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast *halves* (pounded thin if you are using thicker breasts)


- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

- Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat and add the minced garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn!

- In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, pepper, and salt.

- Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter, coating well, and then press them into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange them in a 9x13 baking dish and top with the remaining bread crumb mixture. Drizzle the rest of the garlic butter over that.

- Bake 30 minutes (make sure chicken is no longer pink/juices run clear - if the breast halves are small/thin enough 30 minutes should be plenty).


I have a feeling that this one is going to become a household favorite for us :) Quick, easy, delicious. And who doesn't love a bunch of garlic and cheese?
Pin It

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Favorite Things Thursday: A Favorite Food!



Okay. I'm the type of person that likes allllll kinds of food. Give me a dish of spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, a half-dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies, fresh strawberries soaked in cream, Snyder's homestyle pretzels and peanut butter to dip them in, an excellent cut of steak cooked medium-rare...I could go on and on.

But the one food I always come back to, the one that I feel I can never get enough of (be it homemade or eating out) is...

PIZZA!

(especially with plenty of Parmesan cheese on top)
Of course the problem is, I'm super picky about pizza. Wicked picky, if you want me to use New Englander terms. The only halfway decent pizza place I've found here in Greenville (so far) is Mellow Mushroom, and even then...their plain cheese isn't the reason I go there. In fact the best pizza placed I've found to this day is a place I grew up going to, The Pizza Shoppe in East Longmeadow Massachusetts...despite the fact that I almost always try some sort of local pizza whenever I can, when I'm traveling.

Honestly, I prefer it with just cheese, or maybe with green peppers and onions. Hamburger is okay too, but I don't do pepperoni (too greasy) or mushrooms (they're a FUNGUS, people. A FUNGUS.) I'll eat crazy specialty pizzas when they sound really good (I do love Mellow Mushroom's Chicken Caesar Salad pizza) but I'm of the mindset that when a pizza is truly good, it doesn't need a bunch of crap on it. That said, if I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life and I chose pizza, I think technically that means any kind of pizza and hey...the topping possibilities are endless ;)
Pin It

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: By 30

Today on Facebook, someone shared a link to an article that is now about 15 years old...and yet somehow still applies. This article was originally published in Glamour magazine (surprisingly. I'm not usually one to put stock in anything that comes from Glamour or Cosmo or anything else of that ilk) and was entitled, "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the time she's 30". 

As I'm trying to keep up with my "writer's block Wednesdays", I figured that a few posts centered around this list would be a bit of fun :) Not to mention the fact that I turn 30 later this year and darnit, I want to make sure I've set myself up for a great "next 30 years"! To keep them manageable, I'm going to post 5 "things" from this list at a time. So without further ado...

By 30, you should have ...

 1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

 I'm...honestly not sure that I agree with this. Possibly because I'm in a wonderful relationship and have no desire to think about past boyfriends and whether or not I'd go back to them. I suppose *E* is the only one who would sort of fit this "requirement", though I have changed so much since I loved him that I'm not sure we would work. Still, he's the most likely choice, I suppose, if this means that you should have one relationship that didn't necessarily end badly and led to dislike or outright hatred but rather ended because it ended and led to friendship.

*E* and I on a camping trip in the summer of 2009, over 9 years after we dated. Still buds :)
As for that ex who reminds me how far I've come, well...if you know me, you know who that is. If you're new to this blog...just check out the Ex tag ;)

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

Hey, this one I'm good on! I actually had my first decent piece of furniture at 20. Nowadays I would say that at least 70% of the furniture in our house has never been owned by anyone but us. My favorite is probably my dining room set. Which you know...never gets used, because we're not the formal entertaining type, but it's still beautiful.

Don't mind the Mardi Gras mask on the table, we had a theme party the same day I took this picture :)
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.

Phew, I'm good with this as well! I have a pretty, not-stuffy business suit that I love and that fits me well for the former, and for the latter, well...I'm not the most fashionable/fanciest person but I have plenty of nice, flattering outfits to choose from.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.

Okay...my suitcase is getting a BIT on the worn side, but hey, it's only one corner...

Umbrella, well, I'm always good with those because I'm always carrying one, which means I have to replace it every year or so. At least.

Purse...now...there's a problem. In general I just have too many purses, period! I never know which one to carry. A good problem to have, I suppose, though very few of them are really nice designer purses ;)


^^^ One of my favorite purses. It's just a little clutch and I bought it for $10 in the Old City Market in Charleston, but it's just perfect :)
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.

Oh gosh yes. Honestly I have *no* desire to be a teenager again, or 21 again, or even in college again. No desire at all. Did I have some amazing times back then? Sure I did! But despite all of the responsibility that I have now, scarily enough...I enjoy being an adult. I had to make a lot of mistakes - and learn from them - to get to this point, but I don't feel bad saying loud and proud, "I would take my 45[+] hour work week and my couple weeks of vacation a year and my mortgage payment and my bills and my solid relationship over classes and months off every year and being broke and that 'excitement' of a new crush any. damn. day."

Case and point, last year I had my 10 year reunion for my first Walt Disney World College Program. So many of us who were in Orlando for the CP in 2001 were babies. We partied too hard and went to work hungover (if we worked at all, though I wasn't one of those culprits at least). I met some lifetime friends, some fair-weather friends, and my future Ex.

CP party crew, December 2001
Last year when I went to the reunion(s) that were planned, I had a blast, don't get me wrong. It was nice pretending that we were back on the CP again...for a couple of days. I'm extremely glad that I went, that I got back in touch with more of my CP friends because of it. But I was far more happy to come home when the weekend was over, to my beautiful house and my understanding relationship and my cozy pets.


You see, I appreciate my past, even the parts I regret.

But I don't live in it.

Stay tuned for more "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know", coming to a blog near you (this one, duh) next Wednesday!
Pin It

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I've been slacking in my Forever Lazy.

Yes, it's been far too long since I made a post about my favorite cozy evening-wear...my Forever Lazy!

It's not that I haven't been wearing it - because trust me, I have. It's not even that it's gotten too warm for it - because we had a cold front come through the past couple of weeks and I've probably spent more time in my Forever Lazy on recent weekends than I've spent actually dressed up to go out. I just haven't been the best about taking pictures of me wearing my Forever Lazy, and I didn't want to go around posting a dozen one-picture entries of all the things you can do in said garment.


But without further ado...here is the third installment of Tara's Forever Lazy Chronicles!
(Part 1 & Part 2 can be found at their corresponding links)


First, you should admire the fact that the zipper pull on your Forever Lazy says Forever Lazy on it...while, of course, wearing your Forever Lazy! :D


You can Velociraptor in your Forever Lazy!


You can have (as Steve calls it) "Chewbaccan head" in your Forever Lazy!
(Wow, that sounds worse than I mean it to. Oops? By the way in case you can't tell that is a very furry and cozy Chewbacca hat that I'm wearing.)


You can be ridiculously Southern (even if you're not Southern at all, really - case and point) and sport flip flops with your Forever Lazy...if the weather permits, of course ;)


And last but not least (for this post anyway!)...you can walk your dog in your Forever Lazy!
Sorry for the blurry cell phone picture, first of all, and second of all...yes, I did this. And the best/worst part was...it wasn't the first time I walked Wendy in my Forever Lazy. Also, yes, my sneakers match my Forever Lazy. That was not on purpose.
...or was it? ;)
Pin It

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that apparently even at 29 I can't completely avoid internet drama. Nothing that I've caused, because I seriously avoid getting involved in dramatic stuff on any and all social media sites like the plague...but just constantly seeing it from my friends ("friends"?) is getting a bit tiring.

I confess...that the Joffrey/whores scene in last nights Game of Thrones episode was too much for me. In fact I just think it was unnecessary and too much, period. I know that HBO only has so much time to work with, but why be continually adding scenes that aren't in the books at all while cutting so much really important stuff???

I confess...that I'm really tired of these weather fluctuations. 45 degrees this morning, really?!?! Bring on the summer. (And no, you won't hear me complaining about the heat, because even when it gets a bit uncomfortable I still love it. I'm weird like that.)

Pin It

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Green Mac-n-Cheese

If you can get past the fact that this mac-n-cheese is, in fact, green...it really is delicious. I made it as a meal but we ended up having the leftovers a couple of days later as a side dish with burgers from the grill, and it was a big hit with our friends :)

GREEN MAC-N-CHEESE

*First, cook one pound of shell pasta per directions, but cut a couple of minutes off the cook time so that it is slightly undercooked.*

You will also need about a cup, maybe a little more, of Panko bread crumbs and about 1/2 cup, maybe a little more, of grated Parmesan cheese.

For the Green Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
3 big handfuls of arugula
3 big handfuls of baby spinach
About 10 basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram 
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

- Put all ingredients in a food processor (a blender may work but a food processor would be easiest/best) and blend until smooth.

For the Cheese Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons truffle oil (this is optional but if you can find the truffle oil I *highly* suggest adding it)
1 onion (small to medium), diced
1 stalk of broccoli, diced
Salt, Black Pepper, & Cayenne Pepper for seasoning
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups milk, warmed
2 lbs cheese - equal parts provolone, manchego, cheddar, and jack

- Add the onion and broccoli to a pan with the oil, 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook on medium, for 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook 1 minute, then add the flour and cook 5 minutes more until the flour begins to brown.

- Whisk in the 4 cups of warm milk, mixing well until it is smooth and hot (a few minutes) and slowly add in 3/4 of the cheese, leaving the rest for the top. When the cheese has all been added and has all melted, add the second tablespoon of truffle oil.


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
- Add the cooked pasta, green sauce, and cheese sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish and mix well.

- Top with the rest of the shredded cheese, the breadcrumbs, and the grated parmesan.

- Bake for 25 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for about 3 minutes until the top is browned. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

The great thing about this recipe is that it's a tasty and different mac-n-cheese dish, but all the veggies in it (the arugula but especially the broccoli and the spinach) make it nice and hearty and therefore meal-worthy. You could even add meat if you insist; I would suggest sausage if that's the case. But it's great without meat as well, promise :)
Pin It

Friday, April 20, 2012

Family History Friday: The Funny Names Edition

Oh, New England WASPs. The farther back I went on my ancestry.com family tree, the more ridiculous the names became. Well, either they were more ridiculous...or more simple. But the latter aren't very funny, so I'm sharing with you some of the better ones I stumbled upon...

From my tree:
Annis Chickering
Experience Sabin
Mercy Angell
Comfort Fish
Freeborn Moulton
Experience Leland
Freelove Seamans

From Steve's tree:
Experience Freeman
Freeman Gross
Experience Aldrich
Waitstill Rhodes
Azubah Pease

As you can see, they really loved the name "Experience" back in the day. I'm also amused by all of the "Freemans" and "Freeborns", but I suppose that's to be expected considering we're talking about people who were fleeing religious persecution and all.

Still, Comfort Fish and Freelove Seamans take the cake. I imagine they looked something like this...

Yeah, I don't know, I wanted to include a picture and felt like playing with Paint for the first time in something like 15 years.
Pin It

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Favorite Things Thursday: My Favorite Blogger(s)



I know that I've listed my favorite bloggers before, but hey, things change! Some of the people I followed fervently the last time I posted something like this don't even blog anymore...or at least, don't blog like they used to.

I know that I'm only really supposed to name ONE favorite blog, but argh, it's so difficult! Therefore I'm choosing my top three ;)

My choice for best overall blog, nowadays:


Why I love her: Her posts are never the same. She's often insightful and/or witty. And she uses cute nicknames for the friends and family she writes about. Plus, she's a great blogger in that she always takes the time to respond to comments that deserve a response :)

Best "new" blog on my reader:


Why I love her: "New" is in quotation marks because Tamara has been blogging off and on for a while...but she's really on a roll right now. Whether you want to hear about fun stuff to do in Brooklyn, check out her latest book review or see her favorite fashion picks, she's always on top of things. Plus she's a real sweetheart :)

In terms of "most meaningful" posts:



Why I love her: Caity is, in a word, real. She's not afraid to talk about her day or her feelings, whether things are going great or she's having a rough time. She even shares her creative writing once in a while, which I love :) She's a girl with big hopes and dreams and there are much sillier things you could do with your day than read about the steps she's taking to try to achieve them.

Now...go forth and check out these blogs! :D
Pin It

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: Demands

Have you been more demanding on yourself lately? Or less? Why? 
And do you think it's a good trend?

My answer to this question is yes and no.

I've been more demanding on myself in regards to taking on way too much, and expecting myself to keep up with all of it...

...but I've been less demanding on myself in regards to actually taking the time to make sure that the things I'm producing have some actual quality to them. With my day job, with things at home (cooking, cleaning, etc.), with my writing (both blogging and actual writing), etc. etc.

The problem is, I've had to shove some things (such as finishing the typing of my grandfather's memoir and learning to actually use the sewing machine that my mother gave me) off to the side. And truth be told...I've not necessarily been doing so in favor of more important things.

Obviously I realize that this is not a good way to go about things. Right now I'm really trying to focus on cutting back and re-organizing my life. For example:
  • I bought a pattern for a dress that I need to have made by the end of August and my mom is taking me to a fabric store this weekend.
  • I'm seriously considering just getting rid of my Greenville website, both because of the amount of money it costs and because I simply don't have enough CSS knowledge to make it what it needs to be. If I do get rid of it, I may make my travel blog a sort of combo. If I don't get rid of the URL, I'll ship my Greenville blog over there and just keep updating it as is rather than trying to deal with Dreamweaver and CSS.
  • I've given myself writing goals in regards to my original fiction. I already broke one this past weekend - oops - but it was for good reason! Basically I told myself that I would finish part 1 of what I'm working on before Monday, and that didn't happen...but it didn't happen because I had to add more chapters, which is a good thing! Technically when I made that goal I thought I only needed to finish 2 more chapters, but I got to that point and realized there was more to write, so at the moment those 2 chapters have become at least 5 and at the moment I'm about halfway through the 5 :)
  • I'm limiting my time online. Majorly. Not so much blogger because I wasn't spending that much time on here anyway :-/ But on social networking sites, my personal online journal, etc. I've slipped up a few times but in general I'm doing well with this...surprisingly!
  • I've decided to get my guitar callouses back. That sounds worse than I mean it to, but it needs to happen. It had been so long since I played that when I picked up Clara (that's my guitar) last night I was only able to practice for about 30 minutes before my fingertips hurt so badly I had no choice but to stop.
I could seriously go on and on, but I'm hoping you get the gist ;) Basically I need to stop procrastinating and getting distracted, and the best way for me to accomplish this is to tell myself "no, you can't do that, you have to do this" - and also to force myself to just. give. up. a few things (in this case, limiting my time spent "just playing" online, and making some changes with my blogs/the Greenville website).

Because otherwise, everything I do is going to be done half-assed, and I'm going to continue to be stressed and bothered.

And who wants that? Pin It

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that my goal for this past weekend was to finish part 1 of my original fiction. And though I did buckle down and get a lot more written than I normally would have...I did not meet that goal. :-/

I confess...that I can't exactly afford it, but I really really REALLY want a new dress for our Kentucky Derby Party in just under three weeks.

I confess...that my desk at work is very much "organized chaos", and when people come in to "clean" and mess with it, my whole day ends up thrown off course.

Pin It

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fictional Characters that begin with the letter "P"

I have a locked/friends-only personal journal as well as this one, and yesterday a friend posted a little meme and asked people to volunteer to participate. Well...as it fits with the theme of this blog as well, I figured I'd cross-post it :) (Plus, yeah, that makes it easier on me. haha)

1. Comment on this post with I VOLUNTEER!
2. I will give you a letter.
3. Think of 5 fictional characters and post their names and your comments on these characters in your blog.

I was given the letter "P".

1) Podrick Payne from the Song of Ice & Fire series.

source
Oh, Pod. Where do I begin? Honestly I didn't think twice about him until the end of Clash of Kings. I figured he was just a minor character created to be the brunt of Tyrion Lannister's snark. I don't want to say too much and then have to deal with spoiler-alerting everyone, but let's just say that good ol' Pod turns out to be way cooler than you'll think at first. If you read the series, he's definitely worth keeping an eye on, and I'm hoping that they give him the part he deserves in the show as well.

2) Peregrin Took a.k.a. Pippin from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Pippin is not amused. source
I love me some Merry and Pippin. Of course I couldn't choose Merry for this meme because, well, his name doesn't start with the letter "P". But really, what's not to love about hobbits and what's not to love about this hobbit in particular? He loves smoking his pipe weed and drinking his ale, but he's also a loyal friend. And he's funny. Pippin (and Merry, sorry, can't leave him out because they really come as a pair) are probably my two favorite Lord of the Rings characters. I mean, Aragorn is awesome, but he's just so SERIOUS.

This quote sums up Pippin so well, and honestly at the moment - with some personal things that are going on in my life - it means a lot to me, too: "I don't want to be in a battle, but waiting on the edge of one I can't escape is even worse."

3. Peeves the Poltergeist from Harry Potter

source
I'm sorry, but they screwed up by not having Peeves in the Harry Potter movies. They did. Peeves is freaking hilarious. He provides plenty of comic entertainment that was either cut entirely or given to other characters (including ones that didn't exist in the books - do we even need to talk about that awful shrunken head in the Knight Bus???) He has dozens of laugh-out-loud worthy quotes, and how funny would it have been to see this in the movie adaptation of Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix? -->

"But not even the users of the Snackboxes could compete with that master of chaos, Peeves, who seemed to have taken Fred's parting words deeply to heart. Cackling madly, he soared through the school, upending tables, bursting out of blackboards, toppling statues and vases; twice he shut Mrs Norris inside a suit of armour from which she was rescued, yowling loudly, by the furious caretaker. Peeves smashed lanterns and snuffed out candles, juggled burning torches over the heads of screaming students, caused neatly stacked piles of parchment to topple into fires or out of windows; flooded the second floor when he pulled off all the taps in the bathrooms, dropped a bad of tarantulas in the middle of the Great Hall during breakfast and, whenever he fancied a break, spent hours at a time floating along after Umbridge and blowing loud raspberries every time she spoke."

4) PROXY from the Star Wars: Force Unleashed video game

source
Yeah, how's this for an obscure character? Honestly though, when playing Force Unleashed I just couldn't help but be amused by PROXY. Droid could use holograms to look like tons of other creatures, and he was trained with a lightsaber. He ran around with Starkiller, but then once in a while he'd also turn around and try to kill his master. And maybe I'm just a bad person, but I found this totally amusing. I mean come on, it resulted in lines like this: "I had hoped using an older training module would catch you offguard and allow me to finally kill you. I'm sorry I failed you again, Master."

5) Patchface from the Song of Ice & Fire series

source
I both love Patchface...and loathe him. I mean...he's creepy as all get out. His face is tattooed in red and green motley. He's described as "soft and obese" and is subject to "twitches and trembles". Oh, and he walks sideways. I picture it being like a crab. ::shudders:: His antler/bucket helmet amuses me because I take it as a dig on either the Baratheons in general or Stannis in particular. I find it sweet that poor Shireen is so attached to him, but at the same time I find it worrisome because again, he's creepy.

The fact that he makes some fairly intelligent comments drives me crazy because I feel as if I can never know whether he's just rambling...or making a prophecy/prediction! My favorite so far is this gem: "Fool's blood, king's blood, blood on the maiden's thigh, but chains for the guests and chains for the bridegroom, aye aye aye."

Hope you enjoyed this! If you read my blog and have your own and want a letter, feel free to comment with "I VOLUNTEER!" :)
Pin It

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New blog hop: Favorite Things Thursday!


Today's theme for "Favorite Things Thursday" is 
Things I Love to Hate :)

Honestly, I love love love to travel. It may possibly be my favorite thing ever. But when you travel, you always have to get wherever you're going SOME way. And I really really really hate the getting there part.

~ I don't like driving, period, but especially not for long periods of time. ~


But then when someone else is doing the driving, it still sucks. Because I feel bad that I'm not driving, and because I still have to sit there for hours and hours. And in case you didn't know, it's pretty impossible to use a laptop in the car.


~ And then there's flying. ~

Having to get to the airport anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours before your flight, depending on the airport you're leaving from.

(And let's not even lie, it's the absolute WORST when you have to drag yourself to the airport when you're hungover.)


And then, after dealing with paying out the ass to check a bag if you're brave enough to do so and questioning the very existence of humanity due to the inevitable idiot or ten who is in line in front of you at security with their too-large toiletries and shoes that have laces and buckles AND velcro and then they forget to take shit out of their pockets and OH MY WORD all you want to do is collect your stuff and go sit by your gate and then you get there and they start boarding and you have a heart attack wondering whether there will be room for your carry-ons because no one but you ever wants to put stuff under the seat in front of them and everyone has a damn roll-aboard suitcase that's stuffed to the hilt and no one listens and puts them in wheels-first anyway and then there's the family with three children and every one of THEM has a roll-aboard as well and honestly how freaking unnecessary...you have to try to still be excited about getting where you're going.


Finally, I don't think I even have to get into detail about delays, whether due to mechanical issues or weather or just general airline ineptitude.


No seriously, the weather bit probably sucks the most. I harken back to our trip to Idaho in January, when we had to get up 2 hours early to get bussed to a bigger airport, only to get stuck on the tarmac for an extra 30 minutes because it was snowing too much to take off. And there's nothing you or the airline can do about acts of God. At least when stupid shit like them overfueling the plane happens, you can argue your way onto another flight...even with another airline, if you're really good at it. Which, by the way, I am. ;) (No seriously, I'm that person that gate agents hate, and I don't care.)

~ Can someone just figure out teleportation already??? ~
Pin It

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Writer's Block Wednesday: Vegas

Free Writing Prompt - Write for a few minutes (without editing, in any style) about a character named Vegas.

First Trip to Vegas, November 2007
Vegas is a fickle friend, a lady beautiful in her own right but often a bit temperamental.

She's bright, this Vegas. Bright, and not necessarily easy to understand.

If you can stand a high-maintenance gal, than Vegas may be right for you.

Just keep in mind that not one of her t-shirts has cost less than $20...

...and she prefers to turn the corner and find a Coach, Tiffany's, Burberry or Dior store.

I can say one thing about Vegas and my relationship with her...

...and that's that I never thought I'd fall in love with her like this.

Most Recent Trip to Vegas, April 2012
Pin It

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that I just returned from a weekend in Vegas with my BFF. I had an amazing time but I have no idea how I'm going to make it through the rest of today without falling asleep at my desk. Or possibly getting sick. (Yeah, I mean THAT kind of sick. Ugh.)

I confess...that I forgot my sunglasses and used this as an excuse to finally buy the pair of RayBan Wayfarers that I've wanted for quite some time now. I've never owned a $150 pair of sunglasses before. I love them and it scares me. haha

I confess...that I'm honestly too exhausted and distracted to even think up a third "real" confession. Sigh.

Pin It

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Game of Thrones Marathon, Part 3

Disclaimer: All recipes contained herein are adapted from Inn at the Crossroads

Yeah, I was shocked when somehow I was able to finish the ten episodes of season one of Game of Thrones in about nine and a half hours. Granted I only stopped twice for maybe 5 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively...but still. It shouldn't have happened. And I was really worried it wouldn't. But anyway.

Last but not least, I had a very, very special beer to enjoy - while whipping up my "Medieval Apple Fritters", while watching the season two premiere, and for quite some time after (which led to a way too late bedtime, my barely getting out of bed for work on Monday, and suffering through work with, well, a hangover...but that's not a story you really need to here, methinks).


Yes, my dears, that beer is called Son of a Peach and is in fact a peach wheat beer brewed at a local brewery. It's one of my favorite beers ever, period, but seriously, what better beer to drink for the premier of the Game of Thrones series that is mostly based on Clash of Kings? Although from the promos and pictures I've seen, it looks like Renly may not eat his peach...but dammit, he should. He should.

“'All this of snakes and incest is droll, but it changes nothing. You may well have the better claim, Stannis, but I still have the larger army.' Renly’s hand slid inside his cloak. Stannis saw, and reached at once for the hilt of his sword, but before he could draw steel his brother produced... a peach. 'Would you like one, brother?' Renly asked, smiling. 'From Highgarden. You’ve never tasted anything so sweet, I promise you.' He took a bite. Juice ran from the corner of his mouth." (Clash of Kings) 

Now, onto dessert! Or well...sort-of dessert.

 
"For the sweet, Lord Caswell’s servants brought down trays of pastries from his castle kitchens, cream swans and spun-sugar unicorns, lemon cakes in the shape of roses, spiced honey biscuits and blackberry tarts, apple crisps and wheels of buttery cheese." (Clash of Kings)

MEDIEVAL APPLE FRITTERS
(closest thing to "apple crisps" from Inn at the Crossroads)
1 1/4 cup ale/beer (I used Son of a Peach, of course! I think a nice fruity, sweet wheat beer of any kind would be perfect for this recipe, i.e. Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, which you can get most places)
1 TBS dry yeast
1 cup flour
3-4 apples (I used cameos)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
vegetable oil for frying
sugar for sprinkling

- Heat the beer to lukewarm. Separate 1/4 cup of it and stir the yeast into it; let sit for 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, egg, and remaining beer. Once your yeast beer has sat for 10 minutes, add it to the rest of the ingredients and beat until well mixed.
- Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for at least an hour (I put mine in the oven and heated it to the lowest temperature possible, which was 170 degrees. Once the oven was heated I turned it off, but left it closed so that it would stay warm.)
- Peel and core the apples and cut into very thin wedges. When the batter has sat for at leats an hour, stir the apple slices into it.
- Heat a thin layer of oil over medium and when it is hot, use a ladle to measure a large dollop of batter and apple slices into the hot oil. Cook for about 2.5 to 3 minutes per side (keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get darker than a nice rich brown like in the picture above) and set aside on a paper-towel lined plate while you cook the rest of the fritters.
- Sprinkle generously with sugar before serving :)

Now, these were good, and as you can see I munched on some more of that cheddar cheese with them as well. But they aren't super sweet, so if you're into that I suggest finding a more modern apple fritter recipe that uses raisins as well as apples and rum instead of beer, plus has sugar in the batter.

And that's that! As you could hopefully tell from the video I made just after watching the premiere, I really did enjoy my lazy marathon day, my food, and especially my beer ;)

I smell an all-day-Saturday season two marathon coming on once the season concludes. Thank you, HBO On Demand!

P.S. Dear Peter Dinklage, stop making me want to like Tyrion again. Just. Stop.

Pin It

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Game of Thrones Marathon, Part 2

Disclaimer: All recipes contained herein were adapted from Inn at the Crossroads

Phew. I seriously can't tell you my moment of panic when I joined a Game of Thrones chat (mind you, I don't think I've been in a chat room in a decade or more) and someone mentioned that there were only so many hours until the premiere. Let's say it was 4 PM and the number of hours was five. Regardless, as I said in my last entry - moment of panic! Especially as I still had to put my dinner - "Hen on the Wall" - together!

"'I never eat prunes myself. Well, there was one time when Hobb chopped them up with chestnuts and carrots and hid them in a hen. Never trust a cook, my lord. They'll prune you when you least expect it.'" (A Dance with Dragons)

At least I got to enjoy my glass of mead while I hurriedly fixed up my stuffing.

"Lord Nestor ignored the banter. 'As you say, my lady, so it will be done." Only then did he look at the dwarf. "See our lord of Lannister to a tower cell, and bring him meat and mead.'"(Game of Thrones)

HEN ON THE WALL

One whole chicken, preferably organic free-range
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper ("fresh ground")
1 cup rolled oats (uncooked!)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 regular-sized bag prunes
1 jar chestnuts
6-8 carrots, peeled
1 TBS butter
Large handful crunchy organic/all natural NOT FLAVORED granola i.e. Heartland

- Add the oatmeal to the chicken broth and allow to soak for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Dice 1/4 cup each of the prunes, chestnuts and carrots and mix with the butter and the oats and chicken broth, then work the granola into the mix as well.
- Halve the rest of your carrots lengthwise (if they are very large you may want to halve the thicker ends one more time) and cut into three-inch-long pieces. Set these aside in a large bowl with the rest of the chestnuts and prunes.
- Spread a thin layer of the olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and stuff your chicken with the diced prune/chestnut/carrot mix. Set the chicken in the pan and rub with plenty of olive oil, then sprinkle to taste with fresh-ground salt and pepper.
- Cook according to the chicken weight - my chicken was close to three pounds and I roasted it for 2 hours flat and it was perfect.
- ***When there's about 40 minutes left on the chicken, toss the bowl containing the whole chestnuts and prunes and the carrot slices with more olive oil, salt, and pepper and add them to the pan with the chicken to complement :) ***


 As you can see, by the time I had my dinner I had graduated from mead to beer. Like the sweetwine, the mead was just a bit too much for me. I'm just not a sweet-drink type of girl, what can I say?

The good thing was, I'd brought plenty of beer along for the ride ;)


"Jon opened a shuttered window, took the flagon of beer off the outside ledge, and filled a horn. Hobb had given him a lemon, still cold from the Wall. Jon crushed it in his fist. The juice trickled through his fingers. Mormont drank lemon in his beer every day, and claimed that was why he still had his own teeth." (Game of Thrones)

The beer in the middle is a German Hefeweizen, a beer with lemon notes that I'm sure Jeor Mormont would have appreciated! To be honest the rest of them were just random picks, mostly for their names or labels  ;) I mean...Black Sheep Ale for Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, the black sheep of the family; the Belhaven Wee Heavy for the Lannister lion on the label; the Dragonhead for the Targs, of course; and the Skull Splitter reminded me of Greatjon Umber and Tormund Giantsbane and even the Iron Islands, in a way, with the Viking theme. And many of them do harken back to beers mentioned in the text - for example, 

"A servant approached. 'Bread,' Tyrion told him, 'and two of those little fish, and a mug of that good dark beer to wash them down. Oh, and some bacon. Burn it until it turns black.'" (Game of Thrones)

Now somehow, some way, my timing ended up being nearly perfect with my marathon. Even with stopping to put together lunch and dinner, I finished watching season one a whole 45 minutes before season two started...which gave me time to walk my dogs and cook up a dessert/late night snack...but this installment has gotten long enough, I think, so I'll save the rest of my Game of Thrones marathon story for my next entry :) But I'll leave you with one of my favorite clips from the second half of season one, how's that?



Pin It

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Game of Thrones Marathon, Part 1

Disclaimer: All recipes contained herein were adapted from recipes found at Inn at the Crossroads

Let me just start by saying that Sunday was not the best day of the week for a marathon like this. Because, you know, it involved drinking. But it couldn't be helped, you know...what better time to do a Game of Thrones marathon than leading up to the premiere of the second season?

Also, nothing could be more awesome than starting one's day with this epic music...

Now...I had always planned on starting by 11 AM and in fact was able to start episode 1, Winter is Coming, about ten or fifteen minutes early...with "Breakfast at Winterfell", of course!


"There was much more than she'd asked for: hot bread, butter and honey and blackberry preserves, a rasher of bacon and a soft-boiled egg, a wedge of cheese, a pot of mint tea. And with came Maester Luwin." (Game of Thrones)


Breakfast at Winterfell

Egg(s)
Thick-cut bacon
Rustic Bread (I used organic whole wheat from Whole Foods)
Butter, honey, blackberry preserves
Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
 
- Cook the bacon as usual, slice up the cheddar, warm the loaf of bread in the oven.
- Spread the bread with the butter, drizzle with honey, then spread it with the preserves.
- I hard boiled my egg because I'm not a big runny egg yolk fan. Basically put your egg(s) in a small saucepan and fill to cover with cold water. Set on stove top and turn the burner on high until the water begins to boil. Once this happens, remove the pan from the burner and turn the heat down to simmer (like, the lowest of the low) and let sit for about 10 minutes. There are a million sites with instructions to hard boil eggs so all I can say is that this worked for me :)
- Fill up your plate with your bacon, cheese, bread and egg and chow down! (With mint tea if you like, which I don't - or if you want to be just as authentic, you could have a mug of good dark beer a la Tyrion Lannister!)


And then I settled in to watch a few episodes! Just before I stopped to put together my lunch, though, I panicked a bit. I was looking at the clock and thinking there was no way I would finish on time unless I didn't pause the show at all! And this was when I thought that the season two premiere was starting at ten...when in fact it started at nine! Phew. But I needed to eat my "Sansa Salad"!

Of course...it was a late lunch, and what's better than a late lunch with a glass of "Sweetwine"!

"Garin reined up beneath the willow. 'Wake up, you fish-eyed lagabeds,' he called as he leapt down from the saddle. 'Your queen is here, and wants her royal welcome. Come up, come out, we’ll have some songs and sweetwine.'"(Feast for Crows)

Mead on the left, Sweetwine on the right!
"All the while the courses came and went. A thick soup of barley and venison. Salads of sweetgrass, spinach, and plus, sprinkled with crushed nuts." (Game of Thrones)


SANSA SALAD

Baby spinach
Coarsely chopped pecans
Sliced green onions
Diced prunes
Raspberry Vinaigrette

- Spread a large handful (or two) of baby spinach on a plate, top with 2-3 sliced green onions and small handfuls of the pecans and prunes. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and you're good to go!
(And yes, I changed this a bit from the description, because I already had the prunes and they're just dried plums anyway...and I looked high and low for lemongrass and couldn't find it :-/)


My lunch was as delicious as my breakfast, though I wasn't too keen on the "sweetwine" (which was basically a red Greek dessert wine). It was good for what it was, but it was so thick it just sat on my tongue and so sugary that more than one glass definitely would have given me a raging stomachache.

As I finished lunch I was also partway through episode 5, The Wolf and the Lion, and feeling better about my timing because I didn't yet know that the new season started an hour earlier than I had planned. But my only pause had been brief - just to throw together a salad - so I figured I was good to go as I settled down to finish my sweetwine.

Coming up next - beer! And lots of it! Plus dinner, eventually...and one hell of a panic moment when I found out that I only had until 9 PM to finish my marathon!
Pin It

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Intro to my Game of Thrones Marathon...via VLOG!

Sooo I have tons of recipes and pictures to share from the Game of Thrones marathon that I had on Sunday...but for now enjoy a video of me wearing a silly hat and talking about Game of Thrones and the season two premiere. With a cat in my lap. Because I'm awesome like that. ;)

Pin It

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Confessions



I confess...that I watched the new Game of Thrones episode last night three times in a row. And I feel no shame.

I confess...that I was a "bad" customer Saturday and returned a shampoo to my stylist. It was a new one that she'd never sold before and it was just awful and she was of course really nice about it but I still felt bad.

I confess...that I really need to do a cleanup on Facebook and delete some people, but I've been putting it off because I'm partly just being lazy and partly just really bad at deleting Facebook friends because I get all guilty about it for no good reason.

Pin It

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Monthly 101 Update: March

Sigh. Another "slow" month for my 101 in 1001 list :-/ Honestly things have been quite crazy around here, so the fact that I accomplished anything at all is surprising. But I only finished two goals, and I didn't start any new ones. Sigh.

First (and best) dish on the Greenville Culinary Tour
Go on one of the Greenville SC tours - We did the Greenville Culinary Tour on Saturday March 24th. It was actually a really interesting tour, though a bit long...we ended up having to leave a bit early, and we were on it for two and a half hours!

Get another tattoo - I've actually been wanting to cover up an old tattoo for quite some time now. It wasn't that the tattoo wasn't quality - it was. And for being 11 years old now, it wasn't even that faded. But it was a symbol that meant something to me when I was 18 and hasn't meant anything to me for a long time (at least 4 years or so, maybe longer). Unfortunately, because it had a lot of black lines and bright colors, I knew that it would take something major to cover it...and I wasn't ready to get something that big. Until now.

Original tattoo from January 2001, a sacred heart
New tattoo/coverup from March 2012 - Martell sigil and words from the Song of Ice & Fire series
You can still see some of the lines from the original tattoo if you look really closely, but that's to be expected. I love love love my new tattoo :)

Anyway. Here's hoping that I can really buckle down and get some 101 stuff done...or at least started...in April. I feel like I've been saying that every month for a while now, though :-/ Pin It