Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday!

What's Cooking Wednesday did not get off to a good start this weeks...if you actually checked on Wednesday, you will know what I mean since I am not actually posting this until Friday. But I wanted to share a 100% favorite of mine.

Let me give you a few reasons to make this:
1. It's SO YUMMY!!!
2. It's one of those meals that you can make on the weekend and then put in the freezer for 3 months and eat as you need a quick dinner. Me, personally, I put single servings in tupperware containers so if I have plans and need to something for E to have for dinner, he won't eat everything in the container just because it's there. (But then again, I have a large, fairly empty freezer)
3. You can use whatever leftover meat you have. We make roast turkey sandwiches for our lunches and always have alot left. So sometimes we will use shredded turkey, ground beef or chicken or turkey, cut up chicken breast, whatever you have left.
4. It makes like 100 servings. Seriously, depending on how much meat I end up putting in there, I can get anywhere from 6-8 servings. That gives me alot of quick meals waiting in the freezer to put over some chips and top with sour cream and cheddar.

Back in the Saddle

While I exercise regularly, the cold is killing my good habits. There is nothing inticing about running 5K on the treadmill at the mall...yes, you all heard me right, we have a free membership to the YMCA at the mall. So while you are shopping, stop by and give me a little encouragement.

Speaking of encouragement, I needed something to work towards instead of running because it is good for me. So...does anyone want to join me for the Spring Fever 5K walk/run in the Woodlands on March 1st?

I could use some team members...Register here!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Maybe you can Teach an Old Dog...

Not that I consider myself an old dog by any means, but there are some days that just make you feel like you are in rut! I visit alot of blogs and websites (as I have nothing else to do at work) and see so many beautiful things that so many people are making and all of the good ideas they have. Knitting, Printmaking, painting, illustrating, graphics, web, cooking, there is just so many things out there for people to turn into hobbies. On this note, I stumbled on a website this week that feeds off of this part of the human spirit, "To learn new and amazing things, to be creative and wonderful!" Why not learn how to do something you have always yearned to do. Kate Spade's company is realizing this with their new campaign "I've always wanted to..." (click on "I've always wanted to...")

This quarter focuses on things like learning to knit, learning to play a musical instrument, learning to bird watch, and a few others. They have lots of interesting ideas and items to get the brain working. If it inspires you, I am thinking about learning to knit and bird watch.

By the way, KS's website is all flash so I couldn't copy the bird watching image I wanted, but I was able to copy the cakes, and they look, oh, so yummy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Getting to know you...

Since I am stressed out majorly working on a report for work, I haven't had time to work on a blog these past few days. So I got this email and I haven't done one of these in a while (and I could always use an end of the day wind down exercise). Enjoy and send it back if you want.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 5am
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies? Juno

4. What is your favorite TV show? Lost

5. What did you eat for breakfast? Bagel w/ peanut butter and honey
6. What is your middle name? Dinai
7. What food do you dislike? fried food
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? no favorites, however, I am addicted to the Snow Patrol station on Pandora
9. What kind of car do you drive? 4-Runner
10. Favorite sandwich? spinach panini with pine nuts from Jason's Deli
11. Favorite item of clothing? any shirt I got from a 5K race in KW
12. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? Australia
13. What color is your bathroom? Blue
14. Favorite brand of clothing? I love Limited and have a sad "Life is Good" addiction
15. Where would you retire? Maybe Key West, maybe the Carribean, maybe I could be a snowbird

16. Where did you meet your spouse? first day of school at UAH
17. Furthest place you are sending this? depends on who checks my blog, probably Cherrye in Italy though.
18. Favorite saying? "Holy Cow"
19. When is your birthday? April 10th
20. Are you a morning person or a night person? Morning
21. What is your shoe size? 9.5
22. Favorite food for Dinner? Southwest Chicken Chili
23. What did you want to be when you were little? Judge
24. What are you doing today? Someone else's work
25. What is your favorite candy? Gobstoppers
26. What is your favorite flower? tulips
27. What day are you looking forward to most on your calendar? My mom is coming to visit in March
28. What church do you attend? Calvary Baptist
29. What are you listening to right now? Reliant K
30. What was the last thing you ate? Blueberry yogurt smoothie
31. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Green
32. What is your pet peeve? People that make up words and use them like they are legitimate (irregardless; supposibly)
33. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Emerson, Beth and Grant
34. Favorite soft drink? Sprite
35. Favorite restaurant? Square Grouper in KW
36. Siblings? 2 sisters - Blake, Britanie
37. Chocolate or vanilla? vanilla
38. What is under your bed? Plenty of Maggie's toys and fur
37. Who is the friend you've had longest? Ashley Kelley since 3rd grade
38. What did you do last night? Made a Greek dinner and watched "The Ghost in the Darkness"
39. Favorite smell? cookies
40. What are you afraid of? snakes, the unknown, where the military will send us next, birthing children, (is 4 answers enough? I have way more)
41. How many keys on your key ring? too many to count
42. How many years at your current job? 7 months too long
43. Favorite city to visit? I love going to Houston (IKEA) or Gulf Shores
44. Favorite dessert? apple dumpling, anything from the Cheesecake factory
45. Do you have a special talent? I can cook, I can pop my rib like some people pop their knuckles (Is that really a talent though?)

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Being a Grownup...

Well, Maggie has reached that point where it was time to make a decision whether or not she was going to have babies or not. Me and E have been debating whether or not to breed her or not. She's not a gorgeous dog but she's is very loving, playful, smart and obediant, and one seriously faithful companion. In the end, we made the decision not to breed her.

I made an appointment with the Vet a week in advance and stressed about my decision for the whole week. I know she's only a dog, but she's my dog! Eric has been making jokes with Maggie and me all week like this one directed at Maggie "If you don't eat all of your dinner, Mommie is going to take you to the Dr. to have your reproductive organs taken out." Break my heart, why don't you! I know he's only kidding and he's trying to make light of the situation, but come on! After about 5 of those zingers a day for a week, I was feeling pretty guilty about elective surgery. Just the thought of her not eating for the day, a new Vet she doesn't know, her waking up from surgery in pain and not knowing what just happened, having to spend the night in the kennel without us or her bed, and then of course..the big what if...I was getting a little teary eyed. (like it actually takes much effort these days)

I told E the night before her appointment that he was going to have to drop her off because I was going to be a basketcase if I had to be the one...So he was gracious enough to relieve me of my duties and drop her off yesterday. Since she had to spend the night, he sent her favorite toy (Duckie) along for the night. He even offered to take today off to pick her up as soon as she could come home and keep an eye on her. He redeemed himself from all of the pre-appt hazing with those 3 things in my book. But if it's this hard with my dog, I had to admit that I am going to need some help when I take our kids to get vaccines and checkups, etc. Whew! I have been a mess.

Maggie's home and all is well. She is a few stitches and a shaved belly. She is back to her old self already. Just a little more tired than usual today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday

Well, I spent all weekend cooking. Go figure...I realize that's what you are all thinking. But I am on a mission to have a neighborly relationship with those that live around us. Me and E both think that since we all have fenced in backyards now, no one sits on the front porch and gets to know their community as they walk by.

It was also depressing when we moved here 8 months ago and no one came by to see us. So I am an agent of change for the next few weekends. E has been more resistant to the bold social change, but if I only do one neighbor a weekend, he is not as hesitant. So I baked Apple Pie cupcakes to take across the street to the neighbors who just moved in. We took Irish Cream Chocolate Pound Cake to 2 other neighbors last weekend. 3 neighbors down...too many more to go.

They turned out PERFECT! So good. However, if you don't have much of a sweet tooth, leave off the icing and maybe dust the tops with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar. Me and E, well, we aren't really sweet tooth people, so I think that next time I will use my ramikins instead of cupcakes and more apples cooked in brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Muddy Muddy Magpie

We had one of the RAINIEST weekends ever. With cloudy days and cold temperatures for the past 2 weeks, and nothing but rain as far as the forecasters can see, Maggie was getting cabin fever. So finally, I just let her loose and told E I would give her a bath later.

It was probably more entertaining for us to watch her play in the rain and mud than it was for her to roll around the backyard. As I look at this picture, I am reminded of a book title called "I used to me a good Mom until I had kids," and I think to myself, I used to have a descent backyard until I got a dog!! My garden now has a deep hole right in the middle of it, my yard has a hole right in the middle of the walk path, and the back yard now has a section about 5x5 feet in the back that Maggie has completely demolished. Exhibit A...

All Locked Up Inside

After a cold, wet weekend, we finally got some dry weather on Monday allowing us to leave the house for a while. So E started a fire for us all and me, E and Maggie roasted marshmallows and made S'mores around the firepit. (Maggie really didn't do much roasting. She pretty much just kept stealing the skewers and chewing them to pieces.) They were so yummy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Looking Forward

I had so much to do in 2007 that I thought this would be a good time to look backwards at everything that has happened this year.

E started his Master's of Management Information Systems
We bought a car.
I ran my first 5K.
I learned how to cook.
E signed on to work with his employer for the next 6 years.
We took our first vacation to my parents beach house.
We moved halfway across the country.
We bought a house, a washer, a dryer, a refrigerator, lawnmower, and a giant tv.
We are the new dog parents of Maggie Bailey.
E and myself got new jobs, new friends, new church and new lives.
We were both able to make it home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Wow what a year!!

Well, I have hit a point this week where I am officially not working towards anything...I don't know if that's good thing or a bad thing...I am leaning a little more toward the bad thing side though. Having no objectives, challenges, or projects at work to help me feel fulfilled with the things that I do, I am now in search of different activities to work toward and finish just for that feeling of accomplishment. Cleaning my house and cooking only goes so far.

With this in mind, my brain has been racing all week trying to come up with things to look forward to. These are the things I came up with:

-I have asked a few friends to train and run a 5K in the Woodlands with me in March. I need a reason to run other than "It's good for me!"
-I organized 2 of the closets in my house and still have 2 more to go.
-I am starting the decorating plans for the office space E is building me soon.
-I am reading a book to teach my puppy new tricks. I am secretly hoping it will make her into a much more obedient puppy too.
-My mom and grandparents are coming in March to help me re-upholster 2 of my chairs, paint a few canvases for my kitchen, make some pillows, and decorate my guest room.
-E wants to take me out of town to a resort for the weekend of my birthday.
-Valentine's Day is coming and I have a small project I want to surprise E with.
-We are still in the middle of renovating the den/laundry room. I can't wait to see that finished.
-I am spending this long weekend with my nose in books relearning different creative software packages to get my brain cells firing yet again.
-My friend and future business partner, Ashley, is coming to visit next month with her dogs, so we can get the ball rolling.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Because I never explained a few things...

Well, I had the epiphany this morning that some things on my site are unclear, like "Links I am Loving." I know...they just all just appeared randomly and change randomly. So I want to take this post to explain some of my favorites and why they are my favorites.

Links I am Loving...

--See Jane Work - a little self-explanitory since I wrote a post about that one yesterday.

--MOO - MOO goes along with the paper addiction that I have already fessed up to. MOO lets you create custom designed stationary, notecards, envelopes, business cards, and EVEN STICKER BOOKS!! The sticker books are my favorite parts. Some of my favorite blog owners design for this site. If I only had lots of money to spend here...

--Local Harvest - I have personal and political opinions that inspire me to help my community and myself by buying the food I cook and eat straight off the vines of my neighbors and neighborhood Farmer's Markets. The food tastes completely different and you are supporting the community and people you live in and the small farms that these people own and work. In Beaumont, we only have one Farmer's Market close by and it is only open during the summer. I long for the days of summer again...Local Harvest helps you locate the farmer's markets in your area and some farms have online stores.

--Pandora - The musical genious's of the Pandora site really found a good thing and seem to have capitalized greatly upon this idea. You type in the name of an musical artist that you like, and Pandora finds other music similiar to the type of music you entered in. You can listen free of charge and commercial free for as long as you want. If you like the song, click the thumbs up on the album cover. If you really hate the song, click the thumbs down. I listen to this site daily at work and several different stations on my list.

...I will tell you more about the rest at a later date. Otherwise this post gets long.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesdays

Ok so with the first week of posts, I have already become a slacker for the weekly recipe post. I made so many good things over the weekend, but did I take a picture of anything???? Of course not, that would make too much sense. I made Salsa Mole', Lucy brought over Banana Pudding and the recipe for me to post, Chess Pie, Grilled Chicken Stirfry...uuuuuhh there was just so much. I can't believe I missed them all.

Anyway, I love this one and it has been up on my recipe Wall of Fame for a few weeks now but I am highlighting it this week with the original picture that came with it. That's a good substitute right? And it's actually one of the recipes that comes out looking like the pictures.

The Skeleton in My Closet

My name is Brooke...and I am an Addict! Yes, this is for real. I have been struggling with this serious addicition for several years now and it has almost shifted the course of my life several times. All of you get your minds out of the gutter!!

I have a serious addicition to paper! And by paper I am mean, cute, interesting paper products, designs, textures, stationary, notepads, and the notecards, OH the notecards!! I find myself standing, staring, and drooling in the stationary isle at Target and Barnes and Noble like a fat man on a diet stares at a twinkie! One of my goals when I left college was to start my own paper design company and I think one day I still may do it!

For those of you wondering where all of this life reflection is going...I found a new office supply store. See Jane Work. There are a few brick and mortar locations in big cities but they carry LOTS of good stuff on their website. Just a few of my very favorites...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On FIRE!!!

With one of our gift cards and some cash we got for Christmas, Eric decided he "NEEDED" a fire pit. I reluctantly succumbed to the pressure and assisted in picking out a stylish looking one for the back patio. The pit is huge and works SO well. Eric has been a burning fool lately. And Maggie has been terrified of the bright light for days now. Don't laugh at my pitiful looking winter patio. Just remember I haven't been here long, plus my family size hammock wouldn't fit on the patio!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Is it me or does it seem like we all have the same New Year's resolutions??? Save more money, spend less, eat healthier, and exercise more. BORING!!!

Me, yes, I have a few of those boring ones as well. I plan to budget the same but try to spend less, continue to eat healthy, try to exercise more regularly (it's just TOO darn cold in the mornings, I don't own enough warm clothes to combat those kinds of temps...and I don't even think Maggie would go with me on days like that), I want to get our business off the ground, I want to committ more time to church and community/volunteer activities, find a new job, and try hard to play well with my co-worker (which is actually the hardest resolution of all).

However, one of those resolutions cancels out another one. While trying to cut back on grocery money, I brainstormed to come up with a way to spend less, but yet, eat just as healthy, if not healthier, than usual. We typically spend more time and money in the produce department rather than any of the other departments combined. Fresh ingrediants are EXPENSIVE!!! But they are so much better for you. And for someone who cooks everynight...I need some alternatives to expensive healthy meals, and peanut butter sandwiches and cereal don't count? This is where I need a little audience involvement!!! Anyone out there have a healthy cheap meal?

Just because I think blogs without pics are boring...(and because my sister, Blake, is always whining because she never makes my blog...Blake, this one's for you!!!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Maggie's Wild New Year's Eve

After getting up at 3 in the morning to get ready to leave ...and then driving 10-11 hours home from Alabama, our new year's eve plans weren't on the top of our list of things to do when we got home. SLEEP!!! Please!!!! We ended up ordering out food from Carabbas and watching "Gattaca." If you have never seen it, you are really missing out. Excellent movie!

However, little did we know, our little Magpie, evidently, spent the whole night out on the town boozin' it up. She woke up New Year's Day, groggy, and curled up on the couch with a pillow and a very large bottle of water. I guess we are going to have to tighten her leash a bit!!

Recipe Wednesday's???

This was a weekly blog idea from a fellow blogger/new friend, Cherrye. Cherrye just got married and moved to Italy. Cherrye and her husband, Pep, own a bed and breakfast in Italy called Il Cedro. If you are going to Italy or just like cool pictures, check out her website or blog. Back on topic here!!! Cherrye suggested Recipe Wednesdays, and so far I am on board. Forgive me if I have to rehash some old ones just to get through the week.

This week we are having, .....drum roll please....... Veggie Skillet Quiche

I love this recipe. It is a Brooke Bailey original from scratch. There aren't many of these. I tend to start with someone else's recipe and alter it to match what I think it needs.

Me and E had it for dinner Sunday and, since it gave us enough leftovers, Monday night too. To reheat, just warm it up in the microwave for about 45 seconds for 2 pieces.

Let me know how it goes if you try it or if you have a recipe you want to share. Sometimes I get busy and don't cook somthing unique every week. Ideas, ideas...I need your ideas!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Christmas with the Girls!!!

Sorry this Christmas blog is so late. I had a report to get out this week that has taken FOREVER!!! As well as a Sunday School social to fix up my house for. More about that later on.

Back on track now, BB!! Bailey Christmas was lacking with Pam being gone alot. She had to help her parents who were sick and then work as well. She was definately missed. But with Pam out of the loop, Dennis stepped up tot he plate and was the hostess with the mostest. We got alot of good stuff. I got some lotion, cash and giftcards, my very first Texas star platter, a magazine subscription, and a coffee cup (you know the red Starbucks mug you have all been lusting after too, don't act like you don't know which one!!) Eric got a scarf, sweater, magazine subscription and some cash and gift cards to use on the house. Eric, Chris and Dennis received remote control airplanes from Santa and spent the rest of the evening mastering the controls.

Beth and Kayla tied up our time with shopping, eating out, and playing dominoes and Cranium, as usual. And as usual, the girls didn't know half of the characters they were supposed to guess (JFK, Tina Turner, the Beach Boys). Here is a pic of Eric doing a blind drawing...

Here is one with me and Beth trying repeatedly to guess the word puzzles (Bob, the dog, tried to help when he could)...

Me and Maggie reconciling after some quality time in timeout for chasing Bob all over the house...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Merry Matejka's

Being in Beaumont is a little scary. Being a military wife is even scarrier!!!

Growing up, I was always cautious who I was friends with. Your friends say alot about who you are and having learned that lesson the hard way, I have remained cautious in my old age. (HA!) But being a military wife speeds things up tremendously. All of the sudden, you are dropped into a far away place, where you know noone, your family and friends are hundreds of miles away, your job situtation is questionable, and then, to top it off, your husband gives you a big hug and kiss and says "See you in 2 months!!" Talk about Terror!!

But I am glad I let my guard every now and again. Me and Ashley hit it off immediately in Key West having both been stranded there with no hope. I love my friends here, but I miss my seasoned friendships. Yes, my friends here in town are great, but none that already know how I think, none of them already know the things that get on my nerves, none that have already seen me have a total meltdown, none that think very similiar to the way I do.

Me and Ash and our husbands had dinner over the holiday. Having found no luck moving from state to state and finding the perfect job immediately (or at ALL), we have to decided to start our own business. We are going to work out of our homes marketing and creating and maintaning websites. You can't beat going to work in your PJ's, taking off whever you need to, getting to stay home with your kids (whenever we get to that point), and not having to put up with all of the political fanfare that have overrun our jobs these days.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Home at Last

Well the Christmas festivities just WOULD NOT END!!! But we are finally home after a 10 days road trip with a 50 pound dog. It was wonderful to see everyone but our house was a sight for sore eyes when we pulled the car in Monday afternoon. Too pooped to celebrate New Year's Eve properly with all of the pomp and circumstance it deserves, we ordered take-out from Carraba's, watched a movie and we were asleep before 9pm (that may have had something to do with us getting up at 3am to drive home though).
First we went to my grandparents house in Mobile. If a visit with my grandparents came with instructions, they would look something like this "Sleep, Cook, Eat, Shop, Repeat as needed" (and BOY do we repeat). It all comes complete with the Christmas Eve Seafood Extravaganza, Christmas Eve embarrassing slideshow, the mass entrance and exodus of relatives, and politics over coffee and cake. More about the rest of Christmas later....
*Just to give you an idea of how many people get involved with these festivities... (the poster is a place holder for Uncle Billy)

*There is always room for one more on the cousin's couch...

*Laurel missed her Uncle Pat...

*Mitchell trying to figure out why this lovely piece of art work has been in the yard for the past 30+ years???

*But Tara's not afraid to pose with it!!!

*The ever famous after Christmas nap! Sleep where you can, when you can!! (that sounds like one of those slogans they used to have on Abercrombie shirts)