Friday, January 29, 2010

High five live feed

Apparently the High 5 will be played next week. Problems with the live feed?

I could tell you about the sweet and sour chicken fried rice I prepared last night, but I'm tired of talking about food. Abra caBLABra, am I right?

So here are the shoes of the week:

They are Guess GWChief. TC found them for me when we were shopping around in Honolulu in December. I wore them to our fancy anniversary dinner there. I decided I wanted to feel fancy today, so I wore them.

This week at work has been long and full of manual labor and running around and sweating in a skirt and stockings. Unpleasant. Because of the manual labor I've only worn clothes that are easily washable (that means my boring old stand-in black skirts and knit tops for easy movement), I've been wearing comfortable shoes (flats usually) so I can run around as needed, and my hair has been pulled back to get it out of my face. My wardrobe has been practical. Blah. Today things have calmed down. So I'm taking a break from the utility-wear and I dressed up in completely impractical shoes and a dress that is equally impractial. Wee!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

She kind of enjoyed working for an idiot.

Just try to tell me that's not funny. Go ahead. Try.

This magnet was a gift from Amber, a coworker of TC's. She had heard some stories of my every day life, saw this, and thought it would make me smile. And oh my goodness it did. And it still does every time I pass by the fridge I have to stop and read this magnet.

On a different note, our house smells. Bad. It smells like food. I hate it when my house smells like food, unless it's bread or cookies. Gross. My hair smells like food. This has never really been a problem because I haven't really ever cooked this much. So, do any of you dear readers have any tips for de-stinkifying your home? I've tried candles (maybe they aren't the right kind of candles?), air freshener (Glade), running the stove hood fan at full blast while I'm cooking, putting baking soda down on the carpet before vacuuming, being vigilante about taking the garbage out, but still when we come home from work it stinks. Like last night's dinner. Help!

What I ate on Tuesday: Panini with artichoke

So I've been reinterpreting recipes a lot lately. I substitute ingredients, skip them altogether, add things... So this time I made a panini based on a Cooking Light recipe, but I added ham, took out the mayo, and kept the artichoke hearts.

The ingredients: honey mustard, sourdough bread, sliced ham, cheddar cheese, and artichoke hearts. Oh, and a bit of it's not butter, but it's not margarine, but it is low cal type spread. And if you look closely, you can see me in the reflection of the Kitchen Aid. Ha.

So, I assembled the sandwiches, "buttered" the outside of the bread and popped it in the Foreman for about 5 minutes. I figured that using the Foreman would mean I didn't have to flip the sandwich, which can get tricky when I have such a loaded sandwich. And it worked wonderfully. Who needs a panini grill, when I have the Foreman?

It was delicious. The cheese was melty. The artichokes gave the sandwich a bit of a tangy bite. Definite do-over, although I doubt I'll recreate this sandwich exactly. It's too much fun to play with ingredients. I have definitely fallen in love with grilled sandwiches.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

High Five!

This is my cute nephew Carter with his dad. Carter is smart, funny, bossy, handsome, thoughtful, loves legos, loves Clone wars, and admires his dad immensely. He's seven years old.

Last week Carter was watching TV with his dad. After seeing some of what has happened in Haiti he decided that he wanted to raise money to send to the people there to help. He came up with a plan, all on his own, to sell fruit ($1 a piece for apples and bananas) around his neighborhood and send the proceeds to Haiti via the American Red Cross. So, my sister and her husband offered to match any money he made selling fruit. And after some research they found out that my sister's employer would match any donations made to the American Red Cross. So each dollar Carter earns selling fruit turns into 4 (provided he doesn't break his parents' bank first).

So far he's had a lot of success. In his words, "They all (the neighbors) thought it was so cute that they gave me more money. And some of them didn't even take any fruit."

Well, he's been nominated for a KSL High 5. And they are featuring him on KSL 5 morning news on Friday morning at 6:30 am. I am so proud of him, that I just had to brag. But really, I'm not bragging because I have nothing to do with his sense of philanthropy. So props to Carter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What I ate: Spiced Chops with Mango-Mint Salsa

Photo from

Last night we had Spiced Chops with Mango-Mint Salsa. It was delicious, but 4 oz of pork per person is not a whole lot. I would suggest preparing some rice or something to go along with it. Overall, TC rated it 9 out of 10, with the caveat that next time we have something else to go along with it. Another hit.

I decided that I love mango. I mean, I already knew I loved dried mango. (Especially the stuff you can buy at Costco. I eat that like candy.) But I had not discovered the joy of fresh mango. Try it! It's delicious.

Friday, January 22, 2010

What I ate: Yumaroni and Cheese

Last night we had Macaroni and Cheese, based on a Cooking Light recipe. Since it's not really all that light, we had just the M&C for dinner, rather than as a side. Recipe is something like this:

1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp minced garlic

3/4 cup skim milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

4 ounces dried macaroni

Boil the macaroni until it's all soft and stuff.

Heat the olive oil, saute the onions for about 6 or so minutes until they're all tender and stuff. Then add in the flour and garlic and saute for another minute.

Add the milk and bay leaf, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until the sauce is thick. Then add in your cheese and stir constantly until all the cheese is melted. Then add the cooked macaroni and salt and pepper to taste and voila!

Now I would suggest playing around with your cheeses. Experiment. Try some cheddar, or havarti, or something else. The original recipe called for Gorgonzola, but that stuff is ridiculously expensive, so I just used the cheeses we had on hand. Also, my cheese measurements are not exact. I just put cheese in the sauce until it looked right.

Another thing that the original recipe called for was baking it for 25 minutes with breadcrumbs on top. But I was hungry right at the moment the macaroni and cheese sauce came together, so we skipped the baking. Phtt. Baking. Psh.

So there you have it: Macaroni and Cheese for two.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What I ate: Garlicky Pasta Something or Other

Last night we had Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil, kind of. I didn't use campanella pasta because I didn't have any; instead I used farfalle. I didn't have any fresh basil, so I opted for dried herbs instead. And, to bulk it up, I added some frozen mixed vegetables. All in all, it was good. A good solid repeater. It wasn't terribly exciting, but it was quick and tasty.

I didn't get punchy last night, so I have no silliness to share with you. TC and I did go down to the hot tub to warm up though. We are lucky enough to have an indoor pool and hot tub at our apartment building. This is great. What is not great is what has been referred to by former residents and (current) friends as bikini hour. And we got a little taste of that last night. We hopped into the hot tub (which is big enough to seat at least 8 people if they are all strangers, more if they know each other) even though there was another couple there. Shortly after we got situated on the far end of the tub from them, they started making out. It was pretty PG-13, verging on R rated. So that was a bit uncomfortable.

In other news, I'm determined to sew next month. I have several projects that I'm excited about in mind. I plan to post deets on the blog to keep myself accountable. I mean if I tell people I'm working on it, I'm more likely to actually finish, right?

Well, that's all for now. I hope all you readers are having a lovely day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A cat named Mandu, and Sloppy Joes

I'll get to the sloppy joes first because I like to talk about food. We had sloppy joes last night and they were pretty good. I loosely based my joes on a recipe from Cooking Light. No photos because I've never seen a joe that was photogenic.

This has been our dinner menu for the last few nights:
Friday: Cafe Rio (tradition)
Saturday: take out pizza
Sunday: Bowl of popcorn (me), glass of chocolate milk (TC)
Monday: Little Caesar's

Less than stellar. So TC and I hopped back on the wagon and got back to cooking every night (except for Friday nights, which are Rio nights).

Apparently the home cooking did me some good because I went from having a migraine and feeling horribly subdued to punchy within a few hours. So that's when TC and I started making up clever names for potential pets. Here are some of them so you can laugh with/at us, or shrug your shoulders indifferently. Your choice.
  • Cat: Mandu
  • Cat: Atonic
  • Cat: Aclysmic
  • Dog: Maddock (get it dogmatic?)
  • Horse: Radish
  • Hamster: Pork Chop
  • Frog: Anthony Hopkins
  • Bird: Brain
  • Ferret: Ferret Fawcett
This makes me want to have pets so I can name them.

Update: apparently some wise guy actually named his cat Cat Mandu. I guess we're not as original as we thought.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What I ate: Monte Cristo Sandwiches

So you know how I took photos of dinner on Wednesday evening? And then I promised to post pictures later yesterday? And then I never did? And remember how so many of you were disappointed and could hardly sleep past the deep disappointment you felt at not knowing what I had for dinner on Wednesday?

Well now your days and nights of disappointment are over! Here is our illustrious dinner from Wednesday evening: Monte Cristo Sandwiches with a side of salad.

I had never had a Monte Cristo, nor had I heard of it until I was flipping through my big old Cooking Light cookbook for inspiration. Then I saw a photo of a sandwich that changed my life. And I was moved. So I added it to my weekly menu. Here are the ingredients:

Bread (duh)
Swiss cheese
Honey mustard
Egg white
Powdered sugar

Here's what you do: you whip up the egg white and milk (like you're making french toast), assemble your ham and cheese sandwiches, dip each side of the sandwich in beaten egg white, then cook in a frying pan until it's brown. After that, you sprinkle it with powdered sugar. The last step, and seriously this is the most important: you enjoy the sandwich. I mean ENJOY the sandwich. You know what I mean? (I'm not sure I know what I mean by that...)

The salad is one of my typical concoctions: lettuce, Spanish olives, grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. This time I added some other goodies: feta cheese, kalamata olives, sunflower seeds and a touch of olive oil.

Last night's dinner was much less exotic. TC had a toasted ham and cheese sandwich with goldfish crackers; I had toast with honey and a Diet Dr. K. We were tired, and wanted to watch Bones and Fringe, and I didn't feel like cooking the chicken parmigiana I had on the docket. So there.

Also, remember the bullseye I mentioned? I mean the one on my head? Well I discovered a photo of it (and me) when I was downloading pictures from the camera. Here it is:

So it doesn't look nearly as impressive as it was. But believe me, that bullseye could have commanded an army it was so impressive. By the way, the remains still reside right between my eyebrows. Stupid resilient zits.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shoes of the day (make it week)

Today's shoe is Steve Madden Glamor, a Nordstrom Rack purchase who knows how long ago. I love these little suckers.

Here's a shot of them on:

So two things I would like to point out:
  1. In the first photo, the shoes are photographed on my desk. Yes, I took them off, arranged them on my desk and took a photo. Yes, I am a bit of a nut.
  2. In the second photo, you luckily can't see my toe nails which have chipped red polish on them. I need some toe nail maintenance. But I thought I'd point that out just in case any of you have x-ray vision and can see past the tan straps of the shoe.
I point out flaws so you don't have to. :)

Also, what I ate will be coming later today. I actually took photos! Yay me, right? But, the photos are still on the camera, and the camera is not with me. So I promise to all of you who are DYING to know what I had for dinner last night, what I ate will be posted later today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alphabet soup

A few months ago, I came across this print sold at Z Gallerie. Naturally, I was smitten. But the price and the lack of a need for an adorable alphabet zoo print deterred me from purchasing this little beauty. So, instead I decided to make my own. This is a long-term project (I'm thinking six months or so). I've done about 10 letters so far, and have tried to space out working on them so the art doesn't begin to look stale or repetitive.

Here's one little snag: I'm just learning to draw, and most of my drawings LOOK like I'm just learning to draw. So I've found line art of animals that I like and have used that as a base for each letter. Here's the line art before I get my grubby hands on it:

Here are a few samples of my work:

C is for Cat. A polka dotted cat looking at a dead fish.

G is for Goat, Billy. He's wearing a bow tie! Oh my goodness that's cute.

S is for turtleneck-wearing seal.

Z is for Zebra.

T is for T-Rex, a happy non-scary one.

What I ate: Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

Last night, TC and I had Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup, a Cooking Light recipe I found on It was all the the name suggests: creamy and sweet. It is a definite repeater. TC, who generally does not enjoy soups much less vegetable soups, enjoyed the soup, and requested that this one be added to the repertoire. Still no photos. I haven't learned to keep my camera close at hand while I'm cooking.

Along with the soup we had flat bread "crackers." I cut a few pieces of flat bread (we finally used up all 400 pieces we bought at Costco a few weeks back) into 2" strips, turned the oven on broil, and toasted them for about 3 or 4 minutes. Some were TOASTED and others were just lightly toasted. I sprayed the little suckers with cooking spray, and dusted with seasoned salt.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Apparently, I can use Google Docs to upload my menu planner for download. If you are interested, follow this link to download.

What I ate: Italian-Style Meat Loaf

Last night we had for dinner Italian-Style Meat Loaf and butternut squash mashed potatoes. Since the recipe can be found online, I won't share the ingredients or instructions. Also I didn't take any photos (maybe someday I will) since my little loaf actually didn't look all that appetizing. But I will tell you this: it was delicious. Especially after having to let it cook for 70 minutes and feeling famished, and getting that I'm-too-hungry-for-my-own-good nausea. I recommend it. And so does TC, who asked me to put this on my meal rotation plan.

This is's photo, and it is lovely. My loaf did not look so lovely.

The butternut squash mashed potatoes are made like so: peel and chop potatoes and butternut squash (I like equal parts, but if you like your potatoes more potato-y, make your ratio lean toward the potato side. It's probably not a good idea to put more squash than potato though. I think it might turn out a bit runny that way.), put in boiling water until both are soft, mash, add salt to taste. You can add butter, but the squash adds quite a bit of creaminess, so butter is really superfluous in this recipe. I decided that since squash is most decidedly a vegetable, we did not need any veggies on the side.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What I ate: Spanish Chicken and Rice

Photo from WW.

Yesterday the Huz and I had a trusty old WW meal for dinner. And it was delicious if I do say so myself. Here are the ingredients (serves 4 so I halved everything except for the canned tomatoes, peas and turmeric):

1 medium garlic clove(s), crushed
2 medium onion(s), chopped
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
2 cup(s) water
14 1/2 oz canned tomatoes, whole, peeled and chopped
5 1/2 oz uncooked wild rice, long grain
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp chili powder, or to taste
1/2 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped
1/2 medium green pepper(s), chopped
1/2 cup(s) celery, sliced
2/3 cup(s) frozen green peas

Brown the chicken, garlic and onion. And don't worry about how much onion you're putting in. By the time it's all ready to eat, the onion will be sweet. Your house WILL smell after cooking this.

Then add the tomatoes, rice, turmeric, chili powder and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

THEN add the peppers and celery and simmer for 10 minutes more. If you're me, you went back to playing around on the computer during these 10 minutes.

Then add the peas and cook for about 5 minutes more until the peas are defrosted and warm.

Then serve on cute little plates, say a prayer over the food, and eat! The chicken is tender, the onions and peas sweet, and the turmeric adds a bit of spice.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Adios Nonino

I'm listening to my Astor Piazzolla station on Pandora and I'm having a religious experience with this song, Adios Nonino. So I wanted to share it with my faithful readers (all six of you beloved readers). When you have 8 minutes to sit and listen take a seat and see if you don't feel moved. If you don't have 8 minutes, then at least listen up to the 2:30 minute mark, when Astor himself makes his appearance. It's beyond amazing.

(Oh and I promise it's not like when I posted Lou Rawls. Lou Rawls does excite me, but not like this. This is serious business. Serious musical business. This music is what dramatic scenes in our lives should be made of.)

I've got to take a deep breath after that one! Enjoy my friends and have a wonderful weekend. For reals. I'm not just saying that. I am thinking of each one of you and imagining you having wonderful weekends. So do it. Or I will be disappointed. Seriously.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cooking style

It's rare that I actually follow every direction, use every ingredient to the exact amount, in a recipe. I read recipes for inspiration.

In choosing a recipe, the following is my MO:

  1. How many ingredients do I have to buy? (More than five and the recipe is likely out the window.)
  2. How many ingredients can I substitute with items I already have without making the whole thing yucky?
  3. Are the ingredients I need to buy cupboard items that keep for a long time? (I can justify buying spices that I may use again more than I can justify buying a bunch of radishes that I may only use for one recipe before they spoil.)
  4. Is the recipe more complicated or time consuming than it's worth? (If there is any prep work to be done before I go to work in the morning, the recipe is off my list. I can't be trusted to get out of bed in time to get to work at a decent hour, let alone get up early enough to do prep in the kitchen.)
  5. Will I learn something new that I can use in other recipes? (This doesn't always happen, but is a bonus, as long as the learning goes quickly.)
  6. Is my kitchen prep and assembly time less than 30 minutes? (Unless it's a Sunday dinner, it really should be a short prep time. I get home from work famished, so long preparation in the kitchen leads to snacking which leads to overeating which leads to more Gordita than I can handle.)
  7. Are there steps I can skip?
So my above MO may give some indication as to why a significant percentage (20% or so) of my meals don't turn out. However, I've gotten smart. I've started writing in my cookbooks. I write the date I prepared the recipe along with any substitutions I made, suggestions for the next time (things like, use less lemon juice than it calls for), or a warning not to prepare again. With my bad memory, there's no guarantee that I'm going to remember what went wrong when I go to prepare something for the second time. Now I don't have to remember. It's all in writing.

Do you have a kitchen MO? Care to share?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I have a blemish, right perfectly centered at the top of my nose between my eyebrows. It's a bullseye. It's large and round and protruding. And no amount of concealer would conceal this puppy. I've had it since last week. Luckily, it's going away. Unluckily, it's taking its sweet time. It has definitely overstayed its welcome.

Here's another bullseye: I stuck with the dinner menu I set up last week, and it was fabulous. It's wonderful to have something to look forward to each evening. I set up another dinner menu for this week. Last night it was mozzarella and ham (the recipe called for prosciutto, but who has that stuff lying around?) paninis. Tonight: black bean quesadillas on whole wheat wrap (I bought approximately 83 of them at Costco, so I gotta use em up).

So where am I getting my recipe inspiration? Well, mostly from Cooking Light cook books that I've received as gifts (some of the best gifts ever).

One of my CL books. Some of the best recipes ever are contained in this book. AND, it's available for $23.07 at amazon.

I also have Weight Watchers recipe books, and access to their recipe database online, but here's what I've found with WW recipes: there's a trade off. It seems like their philosophy is that in order to cook healthy foods you have to sacrifice taste and texture. I've cooked so many duds from WW that I've nearly given up on them (their recipes. their weight loss doctrine is sound) completely.

But Cooking Light seems to put taste and texture first, calories next. So you end up with foods that you can't imagine are actually "light." I LOVE being tricked into thinking that something isn't light when it really is. I feel exhilarated because I'm being naughty, but I'm not being naughty at all.

Have you hit any bullseyes lately?