Monday, February 28, 2011

Orange Crush

JHud gets my vote for best dressed on the Red Carpet.
The color of this dress is perfection, and I love the way she looked in it.

The hair I wish I could wear:
I love these pixie cuts, how do they still look so girly.  I'm brave enough, but just don't think I could pull it off.

Only a woman with this body...
  could work this liquid silver number. 
It wasn't my favorite dress by far, but it looked great on her. I just feel like that fabric would highlight every bump and imperfection.  As evidenced by the photo above, she really doesn't need to worry about that.

My last words on the matter of the 2011 Oscars:
Anne Hathaway > James Franco

Mommy's Been Sick

Thursday morning I woke up feeling fine and by lunch...not so much!  It is not lost on me that no one likes to be at work when they don't feel well. However,  I really want to impress upon you how NOT FUN it is to be at work when you work in a room with 24 second graders.  By the end of the day I was literally laying my head down on my desk letting them just run amuck.  When I got home I was achy,had a headache, chills and fever. I was convinced it was the flu, but it ended up being strep. Lordy, I haven't had strep in years and didn't realize how sick it  made you.  My doc prescribed a Z Pack and 3 days later it's finally making me feel human again. 

I'm lucky that my family took very good care of me and the house didn't fall down without me.  I need to muster the strength to get out of this bed and figure out how to get back to it.  At this moment my dog's hair is fluffy and gorgeous because she had a bath this morning.  Mine is the opposite of fluffy and gorgeous and I think my first order of business is a shower.  I don't love it that my dog looks, and probably smells, better than me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Best Think I Ever Ate...this week

I love fried fish, but I hate the idea of taking a healthy piece of fish and turning it into a fatty meal by frying it. I bought some huge Tilapia fillets at Sam's Club and went in search of a recipe for a quick week night dinner.  I ended up using a couple different recipes and making my own. 

6 Tilapia fillets
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 T Honey Mustard
2 T Low Fat Mayonnaise
Old Bay Seasoning
2 C Panko Bread Crumbs

Rinse the fish and lay it on paper towels, pat dry.  Sprinkle both sides of fish liberally with Old Bay Seasoning.  If you don't have Old Bay on hand, just use what you have; maybe some seasoned salt and lemon pepper.  The thing is to just make sure it's seasoned, because the fish can be bland. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use 2 pie plates for easy breading.  Mix the mustards and the mayo in one plate and put the bread crumbs in the other.  Here's where it gets messy, you really need to use your hands and spread the mustard mixture all over the fillets then coat them in the bread crumbs.  Lay the breaded fillets onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.  Mine actually took longer to cook because the fillets were huge, plus I wanted the breading to get really crispy.  Just keep an eye on it.

Panko bread crumbs used to be harder to find, but now you can get them anywhere and they are key to making oven "fried" foods crispy.

Old Bay is usually found in the spice aisle but can also be found by the meat counter where fresh fish is sold. 
Leftovers from this meal would be great for fish tacos!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I have hopped on the C25K bandwagon.  Have you all heard of this?  It's a training program that is supposed to take you from being a Couch Potato 2 running a 5K in 9 weeks.  I wouldn't necessarily call myself a couch potato, but I would absolutely not ever call myself a runner.

Back in the fall I quit my swanky gym due to the fact that swanky gyms come with swanky gym monthly fees.   I just wasn't going enough to justify said fees.  I hated going and when I wasn't going I felt guilty.  So, to alleviate the guilt, I quit.  Guilt gone. Pounds not.  I have always secretly longed to be a runner.  The convenience of walking, I mean, running out the door and your workout has begun!  Don't even get me started on runner's bodies...such long, lean muscles & tight, taut tummies.  I had heard from some of my friends that C25K was totally do-able.  I asked around and never heard any negative comments about it. So, I threw on my running shoes and off I went.  The program is a 9 week program with 3 runs per week.  After completing the first week, I really liked it.  I had some knee pain and my hips and lower back ached, but I hadn't run before and I just figured that was normal.  Well, folks, it's not.  I went into the second week and just ran through the pain.  Instead of getting better, things got worse.  By the third week I could barely walk, much less run. 

I never had any interest in chiropractic care, but I needed relief.  I went in thinking he would "adjust" me and I would be as good as new.  I ended up getting some scans done and was pretty enlightened as to why I had so much pain.  I will spare you the details other than to say I was very out of alignment and had an exorbitant amount of muscle tension all through my back, neck, and shoulders.  So, not only was I not a runner; I was darn near a full fledged gimp!  I began getting three treatments per week and after about 6 weeks, I was getting two per week. Now, after 4 months, I  feel ready to run again. 

I took suggestions from my friend Deanna about shoes.  She has had bad knees and highly recommended Nike Lunarglides.  I'm not saying that these are the perfect running shoes for everyone, but for me and my wonky gait, these are money!!! Between the right shoes and being in proper alignment I am amazed at what I can do without pain. I realize now I had been living with knee pain, that for the most part, was really more of a nuisance than actually painful during normal activity. But, I began to also realize how many things I couldn't or wouldn't do because of it.  If I did anything to strain that knee, it would hurt for days. I learned to avoid activity that I knew would irritate it. 

So, with my new shoes and a group of friends that I have recruited, I am again into week 3.  I have virtually no pain and am hopeful that in 6 more weeks I will be a runner!  Long, lean muscles & tight, taut tummy?  Not sure.  Running a 5K this Spring?  Very possible.  If for no other reason than beer at the end and a free t-shirt I will feel so accomplished.

So peeps, download the C25K App and run with me.  Even if you think you would only run if someone was chasing you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What i Want Wednesday

I have been wanting a Keurig for awhile now. 
 My chiropractor has one along with this cute little carousel full of coffees.
My husband thinks the Keurig is not "practical" for us. Ummm, yeah, he's that guy.  He's the practical one, someones gotta be I suppose. This is why I keep him around love him.
Here's his reasoning:
He makes a pot of coffee every morning.  He guzzles 2 jugs drinks 2 cups and fills my thermos to take to work.  My daughter also takes a travel mug with her to school everyday.  Basically, we go through a pot a day.  Since this machine makes one cup at a time, we would be going through way too many of those cute little coffees to make this be price effective.  I really can't argue with this fact, but I still kind of want one.  But, since he's nice enough to make the coffee every morning and pack mine up for me so all I have to do is grab it on my way out the door, he wins.  I guess I will have to get my fix at my chiropractors office, they always have lots of yummy flavors to choose from too!

Do any of you have one of these?  Do you love it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Forever Friends

We celebrated my "oldest" friend's 40th birthday this weekend.  I met Caron when we were just 5 years old.  We had just moved into our new house and Caron and her mom were on a walk.  Caron's mom saw me playing outside and sent Caron over to introduce herself.  Here is how it went...

Caron: Hi, I'm Caron.  What's your name?
Me: Gretchen
Caron: HEY, that's my dog's name!
Me: turns and runs into the house crying

In hindsight, she really was just breaking me in.  Since that day, I have met more than a handful of people with dogs named Gretchen...almost always German Shepherds.  
Of course Caron's mom was mortified.  She rang the bell and explained to my mom what had happened.  I obviously got over it because we have been friend's ever since!  Her house was directly behind mine, so we walked around the block (or hopped the fence when we were feeling lazy) countless times over the years. I can't tell you how many memories we have made ( well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you).   

I asked Hallie if she would paint something for Caron's birthday gift.  We went to Hobby Lobby to pick up supplies and this is what she came up with.  I loved it so much and just couldn't wait to give it to her.  Now that she has it, I can share it with all of you. 
Because my awesome phone photograph makes the words hard to read, inside the heart it says
 "around the corner and over the fence"
 Thanks sis, for making it for me. 
Thanks Caron, for being my Forever Friend!

Here's to 40 more. 
Hey, won't it be fun to find an age appropriate, yet still fabulous, outfit for that party!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate...this week

 What's so special about spaghetti? The thing that's special here is; get ready for it...
While this looks like a good old carb loaded spaghetti dinner, it's so not. I recently read an article on pasta swaps, and this one sounded so crazy I just had to try it. 

The "noodles" are actually this stuff:

Have you EVER?! 
  Well, I haven't!
But, let me tell you, I will do it again (and again, and again...)

To be honest, when I started to make this I thought it was going to be a disaster.  I was following this recipe and about 5 minutes in I actually told the Hubs he might be making a run to pick up a pizza.  I decided to stick with it and I made a few tweaks to make it my own.  We both really liked it and decided we would be having this often. If you want to try it, follow the basic recipe and I'll share my "tweaks".
  • I found that the slaw needed to cook about twice as long as what the recipe suggested.  I did double the recipe so maybe my skillet was too full.  However, I would say in this case it would be better to err on the side of overcooked vs. undercooked.  Unlike real pasta, al dente is not your friend here. 
  • I used a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes for 2 bags of slaw mix.
  • I didn't have onion powder, so I left it out.
  • I added about 1 tsp. garlic powder and 2 T Italian Seasoning
  • I also added more crushed red pepper flakes because we like things spicy over here.
  • Once I added all the ingredients to the skillet and mixed them well, I reduced the heat and put a lid on it.  I let it cook for about 5 more minutes to insure the slaw was soft.
  • I added about 1/2 c. shredded Italian Blend cheese after it was done cooking
I treated this just like a regular spaghetti dinner and served it with a salad and bread...bonus being that I didn't feel guilty about eating the bread since my spaghetti was, well, NOT spaghetti!

I think the next time I make this I may throw in some chicken to add a little protein to the meal.  I also considered keeping it totally veggie and throwing in some Boca Italian "sausage" crumbles.  The possibilities are endless!  I am willing to bet that you can pass this off on your families. My kids weren't home so they didn't try it but I think they would have eaten it (if I didn't TELL them what it was), and Hubs is not really adventurous in the vegetable department.  Let me know if you try it, and especially if you are able to SNEAK it by your own picky eaters.   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Perfect Pout

I wear lip gloss.  Rarely do I wear actual lipstick.  Some of my favorite glosses are by MAC and Victoria's Secret. These both give me a wash of color without being sticky.  Recently I have gotten the itch to try lipstick again.  My goodness, it's nerve wracking! The colors on the display look totally different from what I see inside the tube and don't get me started on how to pick the right color for ME.  Just because I love a color on the model, doesn't mean it'll look right on me. 

Reds can look too harsh on me.  I finally found one I thought I liked but about an hour in, the color turns a garish hot pink on me. The lighter pinks that I like on other people make me look too washed out or like Barbie.  My fair skin and dark hair don't beg for a nude color either. 
Until now...
I don't like to buy fancy brands because I never think I am going to wear it enough to be worth the price tag.  I picked up this L'Oreal Fairest Nude at "the Wal-Mart" this weekend.  I really have liked it because it has a touch of color in it so unlike most nudes, it doesn't make me look dead. The texture is nice too, I hate dry feeling lipsticks. So I guess this might be considered my "training bra" back into the world of lipsticks. Now I am all kinds of obsessed with finding others that I love. In my search for more perfect shades, I have but one wish:
May this...
...never. be. me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

MMMMediterranean Munchies

We love to snack on hummus at our house.  I like to make it at home and have played around with different versions.  This one is a little healthier because I didn't use the tahini (sesame paste) and I used very little oil.  I read a trick once where you reserve some of the liquid from the can of beans and use it to thin the hummus.  It kind of grossed me out, but I tried it to cut calories.  It worked and it was great, but I do have to drain the liquid into a cup, not a glass.  I don't like the looks of it and the cup keeps me from having to see it.  I just set my colander right over a cup and dump in the beans.  All the liquid goes into the cup and I can use what I need and dump out the rest.  Using this liquid instead of olive oil means you aren't getting much flavor, so you have to add more to the dip to get a flavorful punch.  I came up with this roasted red pepper and sun dried tomato version that was really good. 
Roasted Red Pepper and Sun Dried Tomato "Hummus"  
1 can Garbanzo Beans (sometimes called chickpeas)
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lemon
2 T Mediterranean seasoning (*see note)  
2 pieces of the roasted red peppers from a jar
About 2 T of julienne cut sun dried  tomatoes and about a T of the oil from the jar
2 whole garlic cloves
1/4-1/2 c of crumbled feta ( I used fat free)
salt and cracked pepper to taste
*NOTE: I picked the McCormick Mediterranean spice mix up on a whim and it's good, but if you don't have it or can't find it, just throw in some red pepper flakes, oregano, rosemary, thyme and paprika.  The seasoning really is to taste so use what you have and skip what you don't.
Put all ingredients except feta into food processor.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.  It will seem a little dry; this is where you want to add the olive oil OR reserved liquid a little at a time and pulse until you like the consistency.  I used about 2 T oil and a little less than 1/4 c of liquid.   Once you get it how you like it, add the feta and pulse a couple of times to distribute it throughout.  You want to still be able to see the cheese, so don't get carried away.  I actually had some flat leaf parsley that needed to be used and I threw it in with the cheese.  Delicious, but not necessary.

This dip is great with celery sticks, baby carrots, pita chips, or warm pita bread.  I used it as a spread on our Mediterranean chicken pitas the night I made it and that was delish!  I hesitate to share the picture with you because it really didn't photograph well, but it'll give you some idea of what it should look like. The color from the peppers and tomatoes is great and you can see little flecks of color from the seasonings and the parsley. The feta is still visible since we didn't pulse it to death, remember?  So, don't judge this dip by it's poor picture.  Whip up a batch so you can see it (and taste it) in real life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What i Want Wednesday

My next perfume purchase will be this.  It's heavenly!  This is one of those perfumes where a little dab will do ya!  I discovered this perfume because it's half of the combination that makes up my favorite scent at Bath Junkie (the other half of it is Pink Sugar).  The MADEMOISELLE is a little bit fruity, a little bit floral with a hint of something musky.  I would say, for me, this is a winter or special occasion scent.  It's pretty strong and really sticks with me when I have sampled it.  It's a little pricey compared to perfumes I usually buy, but I think it would last a good long time since it is such a strong scent.  Although the scent notes are totally different, the way it lingers reminds me of another one of my favorites that I wear mostly in winter:
What are your favorite perfumes?  Do tell!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Until last Saturday, I had never been to a masquerade party.  Now that I have been to one, I really need someone else to have one and invite me.  It was so much fun seeing all the masks that people were so creative with! Some added feathers, beads, or just out and out bedazzled them! Some masks were scary, and others were just down right creepy! But, overall there were some dang impressive masks. The event was a Valentine Masquerade Party held at Il Bacio.  Some dear friends of ours own this upscale wine bar.  If you haven't been there yet, you really need to add it to your to do list.

 It pays to know people

Our fabulous  hosts

The suit, complete with a pocket square was sooooo Chuck Bass (forgive me, I do love Gossip Girl)
  good friends and good times

Love her, love her mask and you should have seen her boots! 

With the Hubs

Us Gals

If you ever get the opportunity to go to a masquerade party...GO! 

Monday, February 14, 2011


May your day be filled with foil wrapped chocolate hearts, mylar balloons, and sprinkled cupcakes...
& your night be filled with chocolate covered strawberries and pink champagne! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate...this week

I love Reuben Sandwiches.  I'm particular about my Rebuens, I mean, I take these things pretty seriously.  I would rather make one myself than order a bad one.  With Reubens you just never know what you are going to get.  One of the best I ever had was here.  Since I live about 150 miles from there, it's more convenient to make my own. 

According to Wikipediea: The Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of layered meat, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, with a dressing. These are grilled between slices of rye bread. The meat is either corned beef or pastrami, and the dressing is either Russian or Thousand Island dressing. Several variants exist.
In my opinion, a Reuben just isn't a Reuben unless it's made with corned beef, not pastrami; Thousand Island, not Russian dressing. 

**Even if you don't like some of these ingredients separately, you may find that you love them together. Case in point: 
  1.  My kids are both picky and they will eat this sandwich (one does it without the sauerkraut) which is a sacrilege. 
  2. I would never choose Thousand Island for a salad, but wouldn't dream of leaving it off this sandwich.
Here are my tips for making Reubens at home:
  • Use a dark or marbled rye
  • Before putting the sandwich together, throw the meat in the pan to warm it up, this helps insure the cheese gets extra gooey.
  • Drain and rinse the sauerkraut.  Rinsing gets rid of that "tinny" taste from the can.  Draining it keeps your sandwich from being too soggy. I like to dump it into a colander and run cold water over it and just let it drain.  
  • For the least soggy sammy: layer bread, meat, kraut, dressing, cheese, bread.  Building your sandwich in this order keeps the dressing and kraut from having direct contact with the bread. 
  • Generously butter the bread so that it gets nice and toasty.
  • Don't let your heat get too high, otherwise the bread will burn before the insides are warm throughout.
Generally, I don't like plain potato chips.  In this case however, they are the perfect accompaniment (with a little extra dressing to dip in) along with dill pickles.  So, unless you plan to make the 150 mile trek to get someone else to make this for you, run to the store and pick up the ingredients and make it yourself. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011


A sneak peek at what's on the agenda for this evening.
 More to come!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm Gonna Miss This

Since it appears that Snowmageddon is over, I guess it's back to life...back to reality (sing it sister!) I sure will miss sleeping late and sipping coffee on the couch then making breakfast.  I'm not a breakfast skipper, but I don't cook breakfast during the week.  It's usually Greek yogurt with blueberries, Kashi, or oatmeal at my desk. Hallie made a request for French Toast before we go back to school next week...her wish is my command ;) 
Growing up, we made French Toast with regular bread.  Nowadays, we like to use a loaf of French bread.  Just slice it to your desired thickness, not too thin. TIP: Use a serrated knife to keep from squishing the bread. 
In a shallow dish:
 beat 4 eggs
 2 cups of milk
1  t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1 T sugar
2 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
*if you aren't making this for your sweet 16 year old that doesn't like anything out of the ordinary, add a couple T of orange liquor and some orange will be in french toast heaven.  TRUST!

These measurements will make more than you will use, but there is nothing worse than having your liquid all seasoned and ready to go, then running out before you have dipped all your bread.  Well, there probably are worse things, but at the time, it's a real bother. 

Use a whisk or fork and make sure the egg is all incorporated into the milk, otherwise you will get egg-y globs on your toast.  I sound so professional, "egg-y globs" is a technical term. Dip your bread slices into the liquid.  Dunk them quickly on both sides, don't let it sit in the liquid otherwise your toast will be soggy.  Lay bread slices on a hot griddle.  Be sure to spray the griddle so the toast doesn't stick.  Don't be tempted to move the bread around.  Let it do it's thing for about 3-5 minutes.  This will give the liquid that was absorbed time to cook through and will develop a nice color on the toast.  It's better to err on the side of cooking it a little too long, otherwise the sog factor will render your breakfast inedible. It should look a little something like this..
Once both sides are golden brown, put the toast on a platter and butter them immediately.  I like to use real butter.  If you set on the counter before you start it'll soften enough to spread.  As soon as the slices are all buttered, sprinkle powdered sugar over them.  The sugar will melt into the butter and  make a sort of glaze.  I use this handy dandy shaker for my powdered sugar, but you can use whatever you have, including your fingers. 

See how the sugar and butter are melting?  MMMMMM!
We use Griffin's syrup because it's yummy and made right here in Oklahoma.
This is an easy breakfast that can make you look like a real fancy pants.  It's delicious with some fresh berries and  you really must serve bacon with this (center cut, thick sliced please.) I just love the salty bacon with the sugary, syrupy toast.  Impress the family and make this French Toast instead of your old stand by pancakes. Valentines Day breakfast in bed, maybe?!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Who Drinks PINK Wine?

Lisa VanDerPump drinks pink wine. If you are asking yourself "who?", then you obviously don't have a penchant for quality television. I'm willing to bet that Miss Lisa's pink wine isn't wine for old ladies or beginners white zin. So anyway, I'm not as rich as Lisa VanDerPump (isn't that fun to say?), but I am no less fabulous me thinks! I love pink wines, especially in the summer. Lots of people think pink wines are created equal...they are not. Make no mistake, I am not a sommeleir. I am simply telling you that pink wine can be yummy. It's not all cloyingly sweet like what you might think. This list from Rachael is a good one to refer to if you want to sample a few "pink" wines (fancy folk, like Lisa, call these Rose') The link has some fun party ideas but if you just want the list, here ya go:
"Marqués deCáceres Rosé (Spain)
This dry wine from Spain's famed Rioja region is easy drinking—subtle, light and ideal for the rosédrinking novice. Do as the Spaniards do and drink it with foods that won't overshadow it, like mild cheeses and the tortilla.

Ortman Family Vineyards Syrah Rosé (California)
Just one look at this gorgeous, garnet-colored rosé from Paso Robles and you know it’s going to be the richest of the bunch. Perfect for red-wine lovers, it’s a great match for strong flavors like the tuna, olives and capers in the tea sandwiches. Treat it like a Syrah.

Château Marouine Côtes de Provence Rosé (France)
This light, orange-tinged wine is certified organic. It works well with simple flavors, such as pasta, white meats and the tortilla.

Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé of Malbec (Argentina)
From one of Argentina's premier winemakers—and made with the country’s star grape, Malbec—this wine tastes like strawberries with a hint of sweetness. It quells the heat of spicy popcorn.

Mionetto Il Rosé (Italy)
A little sweet, a little effervescent and totally delicious, this Italian sparkling wine is part of Mionetto's casual 'Il' line. It was made for the strawberry and ricotta dessert but works well as a digestif, too.

Turkey Flat Rosé (Australia)
This wine is dry, sophisticated and complex— a wine for serious rosé fans. It can stand up to a lot, so pair it with grilled meats or other hearty fare.

Bonny Doon Ca’del Solo Big House Pink (California)
This zippy blend of four varietals packs a fruity punch. Drink it with light desserts."

I like this list because it's short enough that you can try them all, and it has something for everyone's taste.  So try some pink wine and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What i Want Wednesday

Paying homage to the name of this here blog, I give you another new feature...What i Want Wednesday.  Let's call it WWW for short, k? The items that I want may or may not be items that I need.  They may be frivolous one week, and very pracical the next.  You just never know what might strike my fancy. 

Right now, at the very tip top of my lust list is this:
I don't believe this really needs any commentary.  I just want it.  I wanted you to know that I want it. I feel better just getting it out there, and you know, if someone happened to read this post and feel particularly generous, then so be it.