“I think the most significant work we ever do, in the whole world, in our whole life, is done within the four walls of our own home.” – Stephen R. Covey

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Biggest Loser, grr...

Dear Biggest Loser,

You are making me lazy! How can this be, you ask? Your ridiculously drama filled episodes (that totally sucker me in!) are 2 HOURS LONG! Most MOVIES aren't even 2 hours! I guarantee you that Bob and Jillian don't recommend watching 2 hours of TV in one sitting, especially since we know people tend to mindlessly eat while watching TV. Don't get me wrong, I love that show and I HAVE to watch it to the end to find out how much they lost and who goes home but seriously... you could mush that show into 1 hour!

End Rant,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I guess Fall is here, whatever...

I'll be honest, I seriously love Spring and Summer better. Spring is wonderful because you are just so dang tired of the cold weather that any kind of sun that actually warms you is a great thing. I love Summer because of the fun vacationing that occurs and general laziness the weather brings. I also get super excited to go to the farmers markets and find all kinds of great new treats. Fall is definitely upon us here in Green Country (local term for NE Oklahoma).

Below is a shot of my bounty got from the Cherry Street farmers market last weekend:

Aren't these flowers beautiful. Only $5 for the bunch. I wish I would have known they were only going to last about 24 hours though! I don't know what the weird fushia flower is but I know the other ones are zinnas. I'll have to plant some next summer!

Oh, if you live in the Tulsa area you MUST visit this winery out on the west side of town. We visited Whispering Vines winery back in June and got the exclusive tour from the owners. ...probably because we were the only ones there. Anyway, we ended up buying a mixed half case (6 bottles) and my favorite so far is below. It is there Cherry wine and it is delicious. You can actually taste some pumpkin pie flavors too. You know the full bodied tart flavor you get from drinking straight pomegranate juice? Yea, imagine the cherry version of that. Very delicious and tart!

Oh, also last weekend Whole Foods was having a great deal on their Salmon burgers. Basically you buy the burgers and you get all the sides for FREE.

For all of this our total came out to UNDER $20! Because the salmon is so low in fat the burger doesn't really shrink any it made a huge sandwich. I could basically only eat half of it for lunch.

Anyway, Fall is here and it has gotten cooler and this is what I made for dinner the other night:

Spinach Sausage Cheese Quiche

So gooey cheesy good and perfect for a cooler evening!
10 oz fresh spinach
1 lb ground breakfast sausage
2/3 C Parmesan cheese (freshly grated if available)
9 eggs
2 flour tortillas
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 chopped onion

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown sausage in large skillet. Set aside and drain most grease.
3. Toss in spinach and toss until wilted
4. Remove spinach and add onions, cook until sweated. Add back in the sausage and spinach.
5. Mix together eggs, cheese and garlic powder in large bowl.
6. Add sausage mixture to egg mixture and thoroughly combine.
7. Coat bottom of pie plate with butter or PAM. Layer tortillas on pie plate to cover bottom but create a crust on the edge.
8. Pour in egg/sausage mixture and cook 1 hour. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Daisy, our Westie, got her first grooming last week and she turned out so cute! It made her look a little smaller since they cut a lot of her fluff off but she looks like a real West Highland Terrier now! The place is here local in Broken Arrow and called Hairy Beast Grooming. The name cracks me up. Anyway, here are some updated pictures of her:

Anyway, the last big thing I have been working on is educating myself about updating some things around the house and in the yard and making a big purchase. See if you can figure out what I am talking about by this picture of my library books. (Shut up, I LOVE the Library.)

Yep, I'm working on decorating the house and being patient with finding the right things. I've had to learn that I can't do it all overnight or even in a few weeks. It takes time to find things that mean something to you and aren't just randomly pulled off the shelf at some big box store. Also we are working on trying to figure out what our next gardening steps are going to be. We want to do the right things now to ensure that we have a good landscape plan in the spring. Just imaging lots of graph paper and map pencils!

Lastly we are planning on purchasing a dSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. We are super excited about it and will be getting the newly released Nikon D3000. We also want to get the 55-200mm lens but right now I am waiting for Nikon to put them together in a package deal. Hopefully that won't be much longer!

Well this turned into a rather long post but I'm trying to get better at posting more often and this is what turned out!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Labor" Day

Labor Day activities

Today was full of very rigorous activities(insert sarcastic tone)! Actually this morning I did finish up some freelance work I've been doing for a client. It was nice to get it done and out the door! Chad did a wonderful job cleaning the vehicles and getting them all spiffed up from a summer of trekking cross country. I actually AM scared to add all those miles up! The wonderful thing is that on our last trip my (TEN YEAR OLD!) car got a whopping 31 MILES PER GALLON! No, that is not a misprint!

Anyway, I rented Frost/Nixon and we finally got around to watching it this afternoon. I love historical/biography/historical fiction type movies/novels and this did not disappoint. I usually consult Wikipedia to get a brief rundown before hand but I didn't this time. It was still great and I would totally recommend it if you liked movies such as Charlie Wilson's War.

After that we headed to the driving range to hit a few balls. Chad, of course, blew me out of the water! I needed a few pointers at the beginning but I started to get the hang of it once my form got better. First I started swinging the club like it was a baseball bat then I had my right arm cocked out like a chicken wing! Not the best way to accurately hit the ball! Once I got that all straightened out I hit a few balls over 100 yards!

We're finishing off the night with a cool cocktail! I bought a mango the other day and waited for it to ripen. Cutting those things is ridiculous - Imagine an avocado but 5 times harder! Anyway I made a mango-orange smoothie with vanilla rum. Below is the recipe!

Mango-Orange Rum Smoothie
1/2 C fresh mango, cubed
1/2 C orange juice
1/2 C crushed ice
2 oz. vanilla rum

Blend mango and orange juice until smooth. Add rum and honey to taste, blend. Add ice and blend on high until smooth. Serve in martini glassed with sugar lined rim.

I hope you enjoyed your day off as much as I enjoyed mine!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hungry Thursday

Here are a few of the delicious delights I've been cooking up lately:

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sauce and Mango Salsa

* 20 medium prawns, peeled and deveined
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 4 corn tortillas
* oil for frying
* shredded lettuce
* diced tomatoes
* sliced avocado
* cilantro lime sour cream (recipe follows)

1. In a bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt and cayenne pepper (if using). Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to give the flavors a chance to marry.
2. Cook shrimp in a skillet on medium heat until pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover to keep warm.
3. Use enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of a small pan, about 2 tablespoons. Heat over medium-high heat. Cook tortillas one at a time until soft, about 30 seconds on each side. Fold over to make a taco shell. As you cook each tortilla, place them on paper towels to absorb any of the oil left over.
4. Spoon 5 shrimp into each taco shell. Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado and cilantro-lime sour cream.
5. Serve.

Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

You will need:

* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin
* juice and zest from one lime
* salt to taste

1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.

(Recipe from www.lifesambrosia.com)

... I also made this Mango salsa as another garnishing option:


1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (about 1 1/2 cup) (See: How to Cut a Mango)
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 JalapeƱo chile, minced (include ribs and seeds for a hotter taste if desired)
1 small cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Also good with diced red bell pepper and jicama.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the salsa ends up being a little too hot or acidic for your taste, you can temper it by adding some diced avocado.
(Recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com)

Plum Gallete

(This was SO good and I actually ate it for breakfast!)
Serves 6

* 1 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
* 1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 1 1/2 pounds red plums, quartered, pitted, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1 large egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)
1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt several times to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Add 2 tablespoons ice water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed. (If needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Do not overmix.
2. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; knead once or twice. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Flour a large (about 16 inches long) piece of parchment paper. Place dough on paper. Using your knuckles, press edges of dough so it doesn't crack during rolling. Lightly flour top of dough to prevent sticking; roll out to a 14-inch round. Transfer dough (still on parchment) to prepared baking sheet.
4. Make the filling and bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together plums, sugar, and flour. Mound plum mixture in center of prepared crust, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold border over fruit in a pleated pattern. Brush dough with egg wash.
5. Bake tart until crust is brown and filling is bubbling (see note), about 45 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a rack; let cool 20 minutes. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
(Recipe from Everyday Food)