Tuesday, May 31, 2011

With an Open Mind

This post is dedicated to a certain aunt of mine that has been slow to come off the box...the wine box, that is.  Lets call her Aunt X.  It is no secret that my family (especially my mom's side) is a bunch of bonafide winos.  You know, it is good for the heart.  We've all done it.  At some point or another, you can think back to a time when you looked in your fridge and saw a gallon of milk, leftovers from the night before, some fruit, and a box of wine front and center.  However, there comes a point when you forego the box and graduate to the bottle.  You may even start to care about what notes it has and the vintage.  All sounds so fancy, right?  Well, Aunt X couldn't let go of the box.  She was always given a hard time, but she stood loyal.  Now Aunt X can throw in our face because watch out, boxed wine is back.  Apparently, the new trend is all about the box.  Less waste, stays fresher, and more cost efficient.  I was skeptical, but I figured it I would give it whirl and be the guinea pig for all my wine lovers.  Plus, our family is huge and all my millions of cousins are becoming of age to drink so it seems that we are having to buy a lot more wine then we used to.  Even though it doesn't seem as refined, the lack of cork and pour spout are pretty convenient.  I think I may even use it at my next Bunco.  It gets pricey to keep those ladies fueled with the golden grape.      And so it goes, I decided to try Bota Box Cabernet Sauvignon.  Its actually not that bad.  It almost tastes like a wine that has been open for a day, no bite, just smooth.  One box equals three 750mL bottles of wine and will stay fresh for up to a month (like wine lasts that long in this house) and is roughly $18/box.  At the average price of $6/bottle for wine that doesn't taste like rot gut moonshine, I give this a definite thumbs ups.  Winos everywhere (especially Aunt X) rejoice!!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!

All of us in the office have been so busy that we almost forgot we have a three day weekend coming up.  We will busy busy this weekend.  We are going to celebrate a friend's birthday tonight with dinner and a movie (Hangover 2) at Alamo Drafthouse.  Then, tomorrow it is off to Fort Worth for my oldest goddaughter's confirmation and cousin's high school graduation.  By Monday, I'm not sure if we have anything planned and that might be the best plan of all.  I hope your weekend is full of grilling (especially for the ladies), sun, and fun. 
Let's all remember what Memorial Day is all about, those who have died serving our country.  They made the biggest sacrifice of all.  Lots of prayers to all the families missing their loved ones.

Next week is going to be full of posts.  June is already filling up quickly with parties, events, etc.  My littlest goddaughter, Lily, is already turning one!  My BF is coming over next week so we can start crafting for it. Then, it's time to crank out some vacation bible school murals for church.  It always sneaks up on me!  Hopefully, I can start crossing things off that LIST last seems to be looming over my head.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Long and Short of it

Have you ever cheated on your man?  And as in man, I mean your hairdresser.  Why do we feel dirty if we go somewhere besides your regular stylist?  Well, here is the story.  About two weeks ago, I decided to finally cut off my hair.  The appointment before that, he cut off 4", but this time I was ready for the whole sha-bang.  I had a picture in hand and took a deep breath as I saw chunks of hair fall to the ground.  You have to realize that I haven't had short hair in 11 years.  Its kind of my thing to have it really long.  But, it is already hot, and it will only get hotter and I needed a change.  Clay always tells me to cut it, especially when he can see me glistening (a.k.a profusely sweating) under all that hair.  Well, I hated the cut.  I thought it would grow on me, but it didn't.  I called back and asked if he could squeeze me in to take some more off the bottom and shape it.  So I went in again only to get another inch whacked off the bottom.  I left with it wet and went home to fix it.  I came out of the bathroom in tears.  I looked 10 yrs older...at least.  After two tries, I asked a friend of mine the name of her stylist since her hair is always super cute.  I couldn't wear mine in a nub day after day.  So, I went yesterday for the fix.  Even the new stylist had that look on her face like oh my, you're hair is a hot mess.  She worked her magic and three cuts and almost 10" later I went from this:

To this:  I have to admit, even though it still takes just as long to fix since now I have to round brush it, it is a lot cooler on my head!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Grilling with Martha

I was listening to Martha Radio in the car the other day (p.s., Clay loves it when I borrow his car and gets in it only to hear Martha).  They had a group of pitmasters on answering questions about grilling.  One of the guests guessed that in about 90% of homes, the men do the grilling, the women do the inside work.  He suggested that for one meal, switch places.  There are a lot of women that are scared of grilling and a lot of men that don't know the first place to find a measuring cup in the kitchen.  To make it even easier for us ladies, Martha and some of her chef friends put together a free grilling cookbook that you can download from this link:
http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2011Q2/radio-grilling-cookbook.pdf
It is a 52 page pdf file full of appetizers, main courses, sides, and even desserts that are almost all done on the grill.  There are a ton of recipes in here that I can't wait to try.  Now as far as getting Clay to do the inside cooking...stay tuned. 
Ladies, get grilling...just don't burn off any eyebrows :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Practice What I Preach

I've written before about my last ten pounds that I can't seem to shed.  I go up, I go down, I go up, I go down.  The scale is not my friend.  In fact, there are days that I want to through it out with the trash.  The worst is when my husband gets on it and says, hmm...weird, I've lost five pounds.  Ahhh, why is it so easy for them?!  Anyone who is working out and not losing weight has the same complaint and I've always told them not to look at the scale, but at the way your clothes fit.  Umm, guess I should listen to myself.  So, I made a spreadsheet with a row for each week for the next 16 weeks.  The columns are for measurable body parts (waist, calves, thighs, hips, biceps, neck, shoulders, and chest).  Each week, I will measure each part and mark it on my spreadsheet.  I do have a column on the end for weight because hopefully it will eventually get lower.  But again, just like I tell everyone else but don't listen to myself, the more muscle you gain, the heavier you will be.  Muscle is much heavier than fat.  However, at some point, the weight number will come down.  So, yesterday was my second time to take measurements.  Not sure why, but I started off with weighing myself.  I was 3 lbs heavier!!  Seriously?  Did I eat a side of cow the night before that I don't remember?  After the initial shock, I continued with the measurements.  Funny thing, they were all going down.  Go figure.  Overall, down 12 inches in week 1 (a half inch there, an inch there, it adds up).  So ladies (and gents, if any read this), here is the bottom line:
Use this:
Not this:


Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm back...for real


















Belize was UNBELIZEABLE!  If you want a tropical vacation where the people are so nice, it isn't over touristed, the diving is out of this world, the food is delish, and the first language is English...then Belize is your place to go.  I loved it.  The barrier reef is the 2nd largest in the world and that alone made the trip.  The reef isn't that deep in most places so our half day snorkeling trip was way more than I expected it to be.  I think the deepest water where we were was about 25 feet and most of the coral and "action" was actually much shallower than that.  We saw (and touched) nurse sharks, stingrays, angelfish, eels, and tons of bright tropical fish.  We then went into the mainland and through the jungle to see Mayan ruins.  What an amazing sight.  To think that they are a thousand years old is pretty crazy to comprehend.  And talk about a leg workout!  Clay and I bounced up those narrow stairs all the way to the top and then turned around and thought...whoa.  It was really steep and really high, but talk about a great view.  I can see why everyone that I talked to fell in love with it.  We also celebrated our first anniversary while we there with a rooftop dinner at the resort restaurant.  It was perfect.  I can't believe a year has gone by so fast.  It feels like we just got married.  I had to laugh that Clay was actually the one to bring up eating wedding cake when we got home.  We actually had a couple of blackberry cobbler cake balls from his groom's table in the freezer.  I thawed them out in the fridge and we both had one just to say we did it.  I have to admit, they weren't too shabby for being in the freezer for a year!  Those suckers have some staying power.
So, in honor of Belize (and for my new love of their food), we are having a traditional Belizean dinner tonight.  A simple dish of rice and black beans, plantains, and stewed chicken. I made some short grain brown rice and once it was done, mixed in some rinsed black beans and warmed them through.  For the chicken, I just had to guess how it was made.  I took a whole cut up chicken with the skin on and put it in my big pot with a little olive oil.  I HEAVILY seasoned it with some fry seasoning (a blend from the local Cajun market because I knew it had a lot of the spices I would be using anyway), a red Cajun blend from the grocery store bulk section, and black pepper.  I'm guessing the spices blends consisted of a little oregano, chili powder, garlic, a little salt, paprika, and red pepper.  I browned the seasoned chicken and then put the heat on low and added a half of a chopped sweet onion.  I let it slow cook for about an hour.  It was falling off the bone by the time it was done and nice and stewey just like I wanted. Once all the main stuff was done, I sliced up a plantain and cooked them in a skillet with a little olive oil until they caramelized on the outside.  I think I'm in love with plantains...seriously.  I have one more I need to cook and I'll either make it with the leftovers or maybe cook them and put them on top of some oatmeal with a little agave nectar for breakfast.  This is a pretty simple meal and sooo good.  Definitely a keeper as Clay would put it.  He did say the rice was a little bland which is an easy fix.  I'll just use chicken stock to boil it the next time.
















And, just in case you've missed them, the duo of Ruby and Bruiser.
















So, I'm back.  Really.  It may not be everyday, but definitely on a regular basis.  I've missed it and missed being amongst so many great bloggers with their inspirational ideas.