Monday, June 30, 2008

My Version of Mashed Potatoes

Recently I went to a restaurant where I had "smashed cauliflower" instead of mashed potatoes. I decided that would be easy enough to is my version.

I began by washing one head of cauliflower and then began to cut it up. Several of the recipes I read said that there you needed to cut it up into one inch chunks. I left several larger pieces so that I could use it at a later time. (I ate lots of raw cauliflower and even steamed some more later on.)

I then filled my steamer with the cauliflower and steamed it until it was just beginning to get tender.

Every recipe I found stressed the importance of making sure that the cauliflower was not only drained but dry. This took quite some time. I not only used the colander, but eventually just patted it dry.

I began my using a fork to mash the cauliflower, but I wasn't thrilled with the results.

I then pulled out my handy dandy Kitchen Aid hand mixer (in my favorite color) and added some margarine (well, Smart Balance with flax seed oil and omega 3 fatty acids) and sour cream (you know the light stuff since I'm still watching that girlish figure). Of course I also added some spices- salt, pepper, Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning, and garlic powder.

Of course by the time that my mixture was cold so I threw it on the stove to heat it back up. I also realized that it was missing something. I adjusted the seasonings, but it wasn't right...I decided to add a couple of tablespoons of ranch dressing.

And since I was trying to convince myself that these were mashed potatoes, I added a little grated cheese.

I must confess it was very yummy and I will definitely do this again!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Maybe I Should Become a Pirate

All I am missing is the peg leg, the eye patch, and the parrot. I do have several earrings that would definitely work.

You see in the last three weeks I have managed to lose one earring on two different occasions. Both times I have been out and about and either reached up or seen myself in a mirror and realized I was looking like a pirate.

The question is what am I supposed to do with these random earrings? All I can think of is become a pirate or find Jack Sparrow and see I can sell him some sterling silver hoops!

Friday, June 27, 2008

House Hunt Halt

It has become an all-consuming task. The laundry is piled high. My room needs some serious attention. And I need to find the life that I have lost under the MLS listings and meetings with the realtor. I also need clarity. I've seen more houses that I can begin to count...some nice, some okay, some...well, there are no words. Houses without appliances, houses without floors, houses without air conditioners, houses that had been trashed, houses with the owners in the them, houses abandoned and full of junk. A couple that had actually been "staged".

What started out as something fun has become exhausting. Last night after looking at 5 homes, I almost felt physically sick.

I need time to clear my head, to regain some insight.

With all that said, I am taking some time off from the "hunt". A sabbatical, so to speak. This "hunter" is tired and a wee bit frustrated. I think a week or so should do it. I will tentatively resume my search on July 7th.

Until then, maybe there will be more compelling content on my blog...wait, who am I content is always thought-provoking and compelling! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Your Turn

It's your turn to speak...

1. What is the best advice you have ever received?
2. What is the worst advice you have ever received?

I'll start:
1. Personally I have been on the end of a lot of good advice. When I graduated from high school my dad's best friend told me to remember who I was and whose I was. A friend wrote in a email a couple of years ago, "Lead on in love and imperfect walk, but sustained pursuit." My dad use to come up with a different saying each year during basketball season. One of my favorites was, "Go for it, don't hold back!"
2. Recently someone I had just met asked me if I was married and had kids. I replied with, "No, I'm single." She then went on to tell me how lucky I was because I would not have to bury my husband. Yes! Something that I can cling to when I struggle with being lonely. :) Of course this all brought on the realization that it would be up to my brothers to make my "arrangements" some day. I have a feeling I'll get the cheapest option available at the time...which reminds me I should call those boys and tell them how much I love them! Or better yet, I'll call their wives!

Your turn...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dealing with Disappointment

I thought the search was over as of last night. I thought I had found it, my future home. The neighborhood was nice. The location was great. The condition of the house didn't even compare to many of the "interesting" places I have seen in the last two months. The price...well, it was good. It would give me room to do a few things after the purchase...including buying all new appliances, which it needs. I mean my realtor and I were talking numbers. It was as almost too good to be true. Almost...because by the time I arrived back at my apartment the status in the listing had gone from "active" to "pending". Apparently that is real estate talk for "we got a good offer so you don't even need to be looking here any more."

I thought about crying. I thought about wallowing. I thought about giving up. Instead I have decided to move on, to press on, and to continue my search. I have decided that this deal will either fall through or there is something even better out there waiting for me to buy.
(Imagine a great and encouraging verse of Scripture here...however, I am too tired to think any more.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to the going down of it and from east to west, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens!
Psalm 113:2-4

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Stuart and Michelle, my brother and sister-in-law, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary today! It's hard to believe it has been 10 years...sometimes it seems like just yesterday and other it times it seems even longer. I guess that happens when you can't even remember meeting your sister-in-law. I think I would have been somewhere around the 8 or 9.

Congratulations you two! May you celebrate many, many, many 50 or so! Thanks for setting an example to all those around you of what a godly marriage looks like.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lessons Learned Part II

I've lost track to a degree. I think I have seen almost 20 houses and two of those I have seen twice. I am also back to square one, but I will press on and continue looking. In the mean time I thought I would share some new lessons that I have a learned during this experience.
  • There is a reason there aren't any pictures of the interior.
  • You should never start off a listing with, "This is a sinkhole property..." Any sane person will hit the back button on the browser before reading any further.
  • If the price looks too good to be true, then it most likely is.
  • If you list "volumed ceilings" as an asset to you home, you should at least call it the correct term..."vaulted ceilings".
  • When a high selling point of your listing is that the single wide trailer on the 1/2 acre of land is surrounded by $400,000 homes on either, side...well, you don't want to be the person who buys said trailer. I am sure the neighbors would be ever so excited and friendly.
  • There is no such thing as the perfect house when you are on my budget...I will have to make compromises...the question is what should they be.
I'll keep everyone posted on this little adventure!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Three little letters, yet so much meaning. What can you really say about the man who has always been there for me and my brothers? This is the man who threw a paper route before heading off each day as a high school principal. He also refereed basketball in the evenings to help provide for his family. I am told that even in those years that I have no memory of, he made sure that he spent time with each of us by in charge of bath time each evening. Then there were the countless number of soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball games...the piano recitals, band concerts, choir musicals, school name it he was there. I honestly can't remember one thing that he ever missed. This is the man who came to my volleyball game and then drove like a mad man to the football game so that I could march with the band when I was in high school.

Thanks, Dad! You have always been there, always encouraged me, and always loved me. I love you!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lions, Giraffes, and Hyenas...Oh My!

WOW!!! At the beginning of my Lion King experience I felt more like a little kid than anything. With the animals coming down the aisle and the powerful voices from the stage it was just impressive. Words really can't even begin to describe it all. I will say that if you ever get a chance to see the Broadway production of The Lion King, you should. Until then, here is a small snippet that I found on You Tube. By the way, the giraffes and the cheetah were my favorite. The cheetah was amazingly graceful.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Tonight after work I got a haircut.

Riveting, I know.

I also had some partial highlights put in. Then I came home and fixed some dinner. Have I ever mentioned how much I like guacamole? Of course dinner was followed by the dishes.

I then became very ambitious and went ahead and packed my lunch for work tomorrow. With this little task already done and the fact that I still have half a grapefruit in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow morning should be a breeze.

Other than these exciting events, I have a load of laundry going. I mean it's exciting around here tonight! Thursday and laundry just seem to go together...not really, but I want my new skirt and top clean so I can wear them tomorrow night. I have tickets to Lion King and I am very excited. Hopefully I'll have something more exciting to post after that!

Since this is such a boring post, I will leave you with the following picture, but only after an explanation. Over the last several months I have noticed this "tree" at my apartment complex. It is basically a trunk with a few branches, but not a leave in sight. Imagine my surprise when I passed it earlier this week and found the following.

These bright pink blossoms and large leaves have burst from the ends of all those branches. I guess it just goes to show me that I shouldn't underestimate God's creation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Anatomy of a Sunset

Meet Mr. Sting Ray

I had two great posts taking shape in my head last night. I even took the time to take a few pictures to accompany these random posts. However, I got side tracked. I decided to take a walk and watch the sunset. It was a great one! By the time I got back to my apartment I need to finish up my niece's sonogram video so I can get it and the canvases in the mail. By the time I completed my tweaking (I have been known to be a wee bit of a perfectionist) and burned the four copies to put in the box it was late and there was no time for blogging. (It wasn't that late, but when you alarm goes off at 4:45 am, it was already going to be a short night.)

During my sunset gazing, I was surrounded by God's creation. Ducks and other birds that I will never be able to identify flew overhead. Fish were jumping out of the water...I can only assume that they were trying to get a quick glimpse of the colorful sky. Dragonflies skimmed the top of the water. Then this guy surfaced right under where my feet were dangling off the side.

I am not exactly sure how big he was, but let's just put it this way, I'm glad I wasn't in the water with him. Which ironically reminded me of when my friend Abbey came to visit and we went to the beach. She read the warning about the stingrays and how to do the "stingray shuffle". What was so funny was that she practiced it in the sand. Anyway, the barb on this guy was about 3 feet long!

As I walked back to my apartment four dolphins were swimming just a few feet away, but there were too fast for me and my little camera.

I'll try to post some of my sunset pictures later today.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Deals

Deal #1- Why You Should Purchase the Warranty

On Wednesday I noticed that my lap top had a crack in the plastic cover. At first I was distraught at my find since my computer is less than a year old. Then it hit me, it's less than a year old so it should be still covered by a warranty. After this nice realization, I also remembered purchasing the extended warranty.

It's been a busy week (Wednesday was church, Thursday I saw 6 more houses, and Friday was Bible Study) so today was the first chance I had to head to the mall and the Apple store. I also happened to be meeting a friend for lunch so I was able to save on a little gas.

I entered the Apple store and as always was greeted by some very nice people. I explained that I had a problem with my Mac to which they asked if I had an appointment. An appointment...hmmmmm...hadn't really factored that in so I acted all cool and like I knew I needed one and said no. I was very happy to find out that they had one at 5:00.

I met my friend and enjoyed a great lunch at Too Jay's followed by coffee at Starbucks. My friend gave me a tip on a new drink that I can enjoy without a side of guilt. Several months ago, when I kicked off my new healthy life style, I gave up my mochas and switched to the Americano. She introduced me to the nonfat latte...with a packet of Splenda and dash of cinnamon, it was almost as good as a Cinnamon Dulce Latte...but this not the point. We did a little shopping together and then split up. By the time I had made my purchases it was time for my appointment.

I found out that it was going to be no problem to fix and I would just need to return in a couple of hours to pick it up.

Now, I know you can't see the numbers in the picture below, but the receipt says the repairs coast $363.12 while the paper behind says that because of the warranty I owe $0.00. Sweet!

Deal #2- On Sale and They Have My Size

While waiting for my appointment I did a little shopping. When Stuart and Michelle were here a couple of weeks ago, I bought a couple of new skirts. One happened to be navy blue so I have been on a quest for navy blue dress shoes. I enjoy shopping, but I abhor shopping for dress shoes. Mainly because I wear a 10 narrow. Actually it's about a 10 1/2, but they don't make those, so I have to either buy a 10 or an 11.

Dillard's was having a shoe sale so I began the quest. I eventually found a pair that was okay. I asked the nice salesman if he had the shoe in a 10. He headed off. (Since I wear a 10, I know this can take some time. I have had several salespeople that seem to get lost at this point. Either shoe companies do not make a lot of 10s and 11s or stores do not stock very many.) Eventually he returns with 2 boxes. He explains that he as a 9 1/2 that just might work...I want to roll my eyes and wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard this. I humor him and try it on, and of course my heel is hanging off the back. He does hand me the second box which is a 10, but a little different. He ends up bringing out everything that he has in a navy blue 10 (only about 5 pairs) and I narrow it down to two. Both were nice, but one was one sale so I choose that one. What do you think about my choice?

I then went back to another store and purchased a navy and white skirt that I have been admiring for weeks since I finally have the right shoe to go with it. (Sorry, no pictures of the cute skirt and the blue top.)

Deal #3- And a Gift Card Too!

While killing the two hours before I could pick up my computer I headed to Target to do my weekly grocery shopping. One of the things on my list was razor cartridges. Earlier in the week I needed some and ran to CVS on my lunch break. I planned to grab a pack of refills for my Schick Quatro, when I saw the Venus Embrace which boasted of five blades. My head began to swirl...what could be better than four blades? Well, five of course! I picked up and have fallen in much love as you can with a razor.

However, my new purchase left me with only one refill and as a compulsive shaver, it just would not suffice. Imagine my surprise and delight to find the refills on sale, and to make the day complete, when you bought two packages you received a $10 Target gift card. So, now I have 8 refills and $10!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Gift for Madeline

It is finished...No, not a grand theological statement in this instance, however; my gift for Madeline is finally complete. I just put the finishing touches on it and thought I would share.

Over the last several weeks I have painted 8 canvases for her nursery!

Her bedding is white with green, orange, blue, and two shades of pink polka dots. I originally came up with this idea many months ago. At the time Stuart and Michelle had not picked out a name. I also wanted to surprise them, but decided I would at least check with Stuart. He thought it was a great idea, but asked what would I do if her name was long. I should have known they were thinking of some nice long names!

I decided the best way to "finish" the edges of the canvas was with ribbon. I bought the blue and green ribbon when I first began gathering my supplies. I was actually thinking of using several different types of ribbon. My goal was to find some pink and orange ribbon as well. However, the more I thought about it, I decided Michelle should have some say in the project. When they came to Tampa several weeks I ago I had the canvases pretty much ready, and let her choose the ribbon color.

She picked blue. We also decided that I would allow them to attach the loops for hanging so they could have them the exact length they wanted. I was very worried about having enough ribbon so I bought every roll that Michael's had. After I cut the eight strips to finish the edges, I still had a little left on the first roll...I think she'll have plenty and can mess up a couple of times or tie bows...maybe both!

All I did to finish the canvases was hot glue the ribbon around the edge.

There they all are! I must confess, I am quite pleased with the way they turned out.
It's also been fun to rearrange all the letters and see what other words that can be made out of her name.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Authentic Chinese Fried Rice

When I lived in China, three more mature Chinese women taught me how to make fried rice. These women were not only great cooks, had amazing stories to share, but were an absolute riot. I spoke very little Chinese at the time of my lessons, so there was a lot of pointing and I think my hand my have been slapped a time or two. :) I did think I would pass along my vast knowledge of cooking fried rice.

Begin by getting all your veggies ready. I normally use whatever I have on hand, so tonight's version featured onion (a must in my opinion), defrosted frozen peas, carrot sticks that I had chopped up. I have even used cucumbers before so the sky really is the limit.

You can always create a vegetarian version, but as a Texas girl, I like to add a little chicken or pork. Tonight it was chicken. I also minced a couple of cloves of garlic in my handy dandy garlic press.

I personally use a wok preheated to about medium with a little extra virgin olive oil. Once the wok is hot, add the onion, chicken, and garlic.

Once the chicken is cooked almost completely, add cooked rice. Technically, I broke a major rule when I used brown rice, but I am watching my girlish figure and have begun using only brown rice and whole grains. I also find it really helpful to use rice that is cold. This is actually some leftover rice from the weekend. I actually normally make fried rice when I have leftover rice in the fridge.

Add your veggies and stir the mixture to make sure it doesn't stick. Cook until the veggies are to the desired tenderness. The peas were defrosted so they cooked a little faster than the carrots. I happen to like my carrots a little crunchy so I add them all at the same time. If you want something a little more well done than you would just add it first.

Once everything is just about ready, then break an egg over the mixture and cook the egg until done. You don't have to add the egg, but I personally like it. The egg also causes the fried rice to be a little more sticky which makes it easier to eat with chopsticks.

Of course you have to use chopsticks to eat the fried rice.

It's not easy to take a picture with your left hand as you use chopsticks with your right....I think I may have to add this maddening new talent to my resume!