Friday, April 29, 2011

To All You Haters

Even if you didn't watch,
 you KNOW this is classic beauty.
Ahhhh, to be a princess.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royally Excited

It appears that my invite to the upcoming royal nuptials has been lost in the mail.  I guess I will be watching with the rest of the commoners out there.  I will say that the DVR will be set, I don't get up at 4:00 in the AM for anyone...well, maybe Ed McMahon and only if he were to be holding a huge check. 

I watched these two get hitched...
...and you can bet your boots I'll be watching these two.
I can't help but think that Diana is smiling down from Heaven wishing them well (and hoping Kate doesn't lose that ring.) 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What i Want Wednesday

Has anyone read Bossypants? I read the free excerpt that comes on iBooks and I almost bought the ebook.  Then I heard that Tina Fey is the reader on the audio book.  I absolutely love her and I want her to read to me!

Monday, April 25, 2011


I love fresh herbs.  I especially love growing my own.  The problem is I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening.  Last year, I planted several of my favorites and they literally all died within a few weeks.  Being able to kill basil and mint takes an especially black thumb, I do believe.  This year,  I am giving it another go.  We've got basil, mint, flat leaf parsley, rosemary, and something new...a stevia plant.  Stevia is a natural sweetener and we have been using a lot of it since we've been dieting. It comes in liquid and in packets like Splenda.  The liquid comes in flavors too, we have been putting the vanilla cream stevia drops on sliced strawberries.  The vanilla with the strawberries is reminiscent of strawberries with angel food cake. I am thinking I can use the stevia leaves to make a natural simple syrup, maybe I'll throw some mint in there too. Pretty lofty goals for a girl who killed last years crop so soon, huh?

I also ran across these boxwood basil plants.  I thought they were so cute I had to bring them home with me.  Are these a  new variety or am I just way behind?  They are supposed to grow into little mounds of basil with smaller leaves than the regular basil plants.  So let's all do a little dance to the garden gods and hope that my little herb garden makes it. It'll save me a fortune!
baby boxwood basil plants

Sunday, April 24, 2011

"Hoppy" Easter

I have wonderful memories of Easters past.  My kids are all grown up now and the days of little seersucker pants and frilly Easter dresses are long gone...sniff sniff. However, the Easter Bunny just couldn't forget about my "babies".
All dressed up for Easter

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Don't Mess with Texas

Picture this.  I know the new Friday Night Lights is on my DVR just waiting on me.  I get all cozied up in my pj's, get my iced tea and settle in.  I was worried that the weather reports would mess it up because it was pretty stormy 'round these parts last night.  However, much to my surprise, there it interruptions.  Or so I thought.  It just let me get good an comfy and all gaga over Coach Taylor and THEN the interruptions began.  I know you aren't supposed to go to bed mad, but...DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Girl Time

It's on the books, people.  My June girl's trip is on the calendar.  I am going to Dallas with 3 friends at the end of June.  Our prerequisites for the trip were 1.) that we wanted to stay in a swanky hotel with a great pool and spa and 2.) that said hotel was within walking distance of night life and dining.  With suggestions from Mojito Maven, Kate, and Slynnro, we decided on  ZaZa.  This is the first year in awhile we haven't had a big family vacation planned, so this is giving me a little something to look forward to this summer! I'm not a huge shopper so I can tell you that my days will be spent lounging by the pool, catching up on my reading list and giggling with the gals. Isn't that what girl trips are for?
This will do.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cracked Up

Have you all seen the new crackle nail polishes?  My daughter bought one recently and I have used it a couple of times.  It's a fun way to update my old polish without going out and buying up lots of new colors. My polish tub is abundantly full, showcasing my love of OPI.  I wonder if I only love it because of the fun names?  Who thinks these up and where can I apply for that job?
So, back to the crackle.  All you do is paint your nails with the base color that you want and when it dries you apply the crackle polish.  When you first put the crackle on, it looks like nothing is going to happen. Once it's been on for about 30 seconds, you will start to see the crackle effect. The first time I did it, I made the mistake of going back over a couple of areas.  Lesson learned: one thin coat is all you need of this stuff, any more than that and the crackle doesn't crackle and you have a big ol' mess.  This time I did a bright pink with the black on top.  I tried a turquoise last week and really like it as well. The crackle polishes come in different colors too, so the possibilities are endless.  What started out as a way to keep from buying too many new colors may just backfire; I'm thinking silver crackle is my next purchase. 

Opi in Don't Know...Beets & China Glaze Crackle in Black Mesh

Pardon the stretched out looking phone photo, weird.

Monday, April 18, 2011


My fabulous co-worker made these equally fabulous cupcakes.  She's so fabulous, in fact,  that she gave me these for my kids.  She's so fabulous that she knows I'm on a diet and can't eat one so she didn't tempt me by giving me an extra one.  I had the fabulous idea to send a picture to the kids showcasing the cuteness factor of these cupcakes.  This way, if I show up at home without them, I would be totally busted!

What's not fabulous is that I am looking at these darn things all day long.  Good thing I love those kids more than I love cupcakes...and that's a lot.

P.S. She made the cookies, too!  I told you she was fabulous.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate...this week

The eating around here has changed up a bit in the last week or so.  The hubs and I are on a hard core diet that lasts for 40 days.  I will share the details later, but for now my goal is to plan and prepare meals that meet our needs but that still taste delicious.  If the food ain't good, we won't be able to stick to the strict dietary guidelines. 

What I am sharing with you today is a simple method that will turn already delectable grape or cherry tomatoes into little gems of candy-like sweetness! Traditionally I would prepare this using olive oil, but in keeping with our diet I simply put the tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes this time) into a 450 degree oven totally naked, just like so...

This is a great way to use up tomatoes that may have seen better days
After about 10 minutes or so the skins really start to wrinkle and you will notice some dark spots.  I used a spatula at that point and carefully moved them around a bit, you don't want to squish them. 

See the dark spots?  That's where the sweetness is, no worries!
I let these go about another 10 -15 minutes then pulled them out.  I immediately sprinkled some sea salt on them and let them cool.  I squeezed some fresh lemon on them just before serving.  The lemon was a great balance to the sweetness of the tomatoes.  These can be eaten alone as a side,tossed into a salad, or even spread onto a sandwich.  Try these even if you think you don't love tomatoes.  The roasting brings out the natural sugars and changes the texture so much that you may find a new found appreciation for the humble tomato. I just bought some yellow cherry tomatoes that I will eat and eat while they are still fresh, but once they show signs of going bad, they too will meet the same fate as these little pretties.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

iPad iGnorance

I had high hopes of opening my long awaited iPad 2 and getting straight to the fun. FAIL! I spent the first night upon it's arrival trying to keep from throwing my new "baby" across the room. Nothing was as easy as I thought it was going to be. I literally spent hours just getting my work and personal emails to function properly. I'm no genius but I'm not a technology virgin either. I hate when I call a tech support person and the first things tell me to do have already been done...HELLO, that's why I'm calling you. Now that everything seems to be in working order and I've downloaded some apps that I love, I'm warming up to my new toy. I'm not in love with the smart cover that I got because it doesn't offer protection for the back. So, I'm in the market for a sleeve to keep it from getting scratched up since I want to carry it with me. I'm also looking at the cases with keyboards, although as I sit and type this I am wondering if a separate keyboard is really least for my purposes. I welcome all thoughts and suggestions from fellow iPad users.

My new baby really is like, well, a baby: it's kept me up late, taken away from other things I need to do, there are many accessories that while cool aren't really needed (not unlike wipe warmers, really?). I want my baby to look cute, so I am shopping for just the right case (outfit).  I think I may be having way too much fun with the analogies. I'll spare you the others that are floating around in my head. In all seriousness though, I would like to hear about what you can't live without as far as apps and accessories.  I am soliciting your parental advice on how I can best care for my baby.  SORRY, I just had to. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On Second Thought

Note to self: I don't NEED a tan
I really didn't like it when Emma Stone went to the blonde side. Until now.  Her stylist deserves a raise.  The skin, the hair, the LIPS! It just works for me.  I think this might be a look that you either love or hate.  Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What i Want Wednesday

 I have loads of dishes and serving pieces, so I have no plans to acquire new ones anytime soon...but, I sure do love Fiestaware! I currently have red plates that I love and yellow plates that I don't (not Fiesta. I have plenty of red ones so that I could rid myself of the yellow ones and still have plenty. The problem with my dishes is they can't go in the microwave. When I got the dishes about 5 years ago I didn't even imagine that an everyday set of dishes wouldn't be microwave safe. I found this out the hard way: they get really hot and the finish seems to almost crackle when used in the microwave.  I keep some Tupperware microwavable plates and bowls on hand for when we need to reheat a dinner plate, and Pyrex dishes for bigger microwave jobs.

I just love the colors of Fiestaware, no particular color, just all of them. The mixing up of the colors is what I love about them. Colors that I don't usually like, or that I wouldn't normally put together, just look so pretty. I love the look of open cabinetry that allows people to show off their collections, but truth be told, I'm not brave neat enough to work that look.

Maybe I should start using my plates in the microwave, I might end up "needing" a new set of dishes before too long.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let's Go to the Movies

I watched the HBO mini series Mildred Pierce last week and I saw Arthur last night.  Seeing both of these movie remakes really makes me want to watch the originals.  I have never even heard of Mildred Pierce and I saw the original Arthur way too many years ago to be educable in making any comparisons.  Now knowing that Joan Crawford (HELLO... MOMMY DEAREST) was the original Mildred Pierce, I put it on my Netflix que.  The original Arthur AND Arthur 2 are available to watch instantly so those are waiting for me when I am ready for a movie marathon. 

I am thinking that Joan Crawford will always be Mommy Dearest in my eyes.  Kind of the same way that John Travolta will always be Danny Zuko or Bud Davis, NO MATTER WHAT PART HE IS PORTRAYING. That's not all, although Holly Hunter is an Academey Award winning actress, she will always be Ed from Raising Arizona to me.  Sissy Spacek IS Loretta Lynn.  Do any of you have this problem? So as I'm watching Midlred Pierce I will secretly be waiting for the "Nooooo wire hangers" line.

I guess I am kind of on an old movie kick.  I've already added Breakfast at Tiffany's to my que, any suggestions as to your favorites?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ask & You Shall Receive

The delivery gods were listening, or reading this post.  I woke up Saturday morning to the awaited shipment notification email! My little pretty should be here by the end of the week...WINNING!
Bring it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate...this week

Drew cooked for us again, proving he isn't a one trick pony!  He made grilled chicken and since he had the grill going I threw on some romaine hearts.  Yes, lettuce...on the grill  (say that with the Sweet Home Alabama "you've got a a bar" voice.)  I saw this Grilled Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Reduction on Tasty Kitchen and thought it was interesting looking.  Mine wasn't nearly this pretty, but it was tasty.  I didn't have any blue cheese so I used goat cheese and it worked fine.  I had leftover dressing and it was good the next day on a spinach salad.  I think next time I make this I will put the dressing in the blender because the strawberries really don't look very good after they sit in the dressing, but the flavor is delish. So, next time you have the grill fired up, freak your kid out by putting lettuce on it. Go ahead, it was fun!

Photo from Tasty Kitchen

Friday, April 8, 2011

A What i Want Follow Up

You may remember the item at the top of my list was an iPad, I posted about it here.   Well, I ordered one over spring break.  I am still checking my email like a fool for the shipment notification waiting patiently.  A friend of mine ordered one just a couple of days before I did, and she got hers yesterday.  This is making me insanely jealous.  Cross your fingers for me that I get that shipment notification soon, my OCD email checking will surely interfere with my weekend. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What's in the Fridge?

We've covered the pantry, here's the fridge list.  Again, it's not all inclusive, but it works.  If you keep these items on hand, you are prepared for many a recipe.
  • milk, even if you NEVER drink the stuff.
  • eggs
  • sharp cheddar, I buy a block and grate it myself, but you can do it however you want.
  • American "cheese" (because you know us Americans don't make real cheese)
  • butter, of the real variety.  I buy salted and use it in everything (even when a recipe calls for unsalted) sue me.
  • sour cream OR plain yogurt, they are interchangeable.
  • salsa
  • hot sauce of some kind, my favorite is Frank's Red Hot because it has great flavor but not too much heat.
  • condiments; mustard, mayo, know, the basics.  I like a variety of mustards but I would say at the very least get some yellow mustard and a good Dijon or spicy brown.
  • worcestershire sauce
  • soy sauce
And since most produce falls into the "store in the fridge" category, here goes:
  • onion, I always keep white ones.
  • celery
  • bell peppers; green are the most affordable
  • green onions
  • carrots
  • citrus: lemons, limes, and oranges, for the juice and the zest
  • jalapeno peppers, if you like things spicy.  You really can't believe what a little fresh jalapeno will do to take your dish to the next level.
  • Fresh herbs: cilantro and flat leaf parsley (wash, wrap in paper towel and store in a ziploc); voila, fresh herbs at the ready.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What i Want Wednesday

I want some new shades and I am leaning towards the Rayban Wayfarer.

because some things just never go out of style
I dare say Miss Golightly would support my choice. This, however, is the I go with classic black or kick it up a notch with a fun color?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pantry Provisions

I will preface this post with the fact that I believe my husband proposed to me based on the fact that I kept a well stocked pantry.  The first time he opened up my pantry when we were dating his eyes lit up like firecrackers, like seriously, the dude was stoked.  I have been asked several times how I always seem to have ingredients on hand and don't have to run to the store every time I want to try a new recipe.  Well kids, it's all in the way you stock your pantry.  This is a list of things that I think every cook should have, novice and beyond, in their pantry. 
  • pasta; a bite size variety like elbow or bow tie and a long variety like spaghetti or fettuccine
  • rice; long grain white rice and a brown rice.  I also keep brown Minute Rice for quick week night dinners.
  • soy sauce
  • vinegar; balsamic and cider
  •  fat free condensed milk, because it can make a creamy sauce richer without adding too much fat
  • bread crumbs
  • canola oil
  • olive oil
  • crushed tomatoes
  • diced tomatoes
  • broth, chicken and beef
  • all purpose flour
  • sugar; powdered, granulated, and brown
  • sandwich bread
  • tortillas; I keep both corn and flour
  • beans; I always have chickpeas, black beans, and dark red kidney beans in a can
  • tuna, if you are so inclined
If you keep these essentials on hand, you will be able to prepare any number of meals without having to run to the store.  These are items that I never let myself run out of.  Of course a well stocked fridge also helps.  Come back later this week for that list.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate...this week

They had me at "Bloody Mary Bar"
I didn't do much cooking again this week.  I ate darn good, I just didn't have to cook!  This week, the best thing I ate was this. Since I already shared it with you, I thought I would share with you what we did for lunch today.  We visited Blue Rose, a new river front restaurant.  You locals know that Blue Rose isn't "new" around here, but the original Brookside biker bar has been closed for awhile and I sure have missed the Blue Rose Special, a blue cheese and bacon burger that'll change your life.  I had one today and it was as good as I remember.  The weather was perfect, the food was yummy, and the company was fabulous. 

Bloody Mary Bar

All doctored up, hot and spicy!

unnecessary...but delish

Somehow I got away without taking any pictures of our actual lunch orders, maybe because I was too busy daintily nibbling inhaling that Blue Rose Special.