Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Promise I am not Dead!!

Well, I spent all weekend in Hot Springs Arkansas and then the next few days curled up in bed, sick with a cold. However, I am functioning almost as good as new but forgot to bring my pics today to share with all of you! So check back tomorrow and I will have lots of good stuff for you! However, I already had What's Cooking Wednesday ready so you will get that today!

Thanks for checking in. It's good to be back!!

What's Cooking Wednesday - Balsamic Artichokes

Growing up, I don't recall eating that many vegetables, mostly because my Mom didn't like them. Sometimes she would put vegetables on the plates of me and my sisters that she had no intention of eating herself. Now that I am a little more health conscience than I was was in elementary school, I am currently working very hard to make myself enjoy certain vegetables, especially raw ones. I have just mastered carrots and celery, and I think I am ready to move on to broccoli and bell peppers.

However, one of the few vegetables that my Mom would eat was artichokes. They just looked suspicious to nothing I cared to try. I think I finally tried artichokes in college inside of an artichoke/crab dip appetizer. So good. And ever since then I have tried to find new ways to cook them.

One of the advantages of living in Texas is our grocery store called HEB Plus. I love that store and they have so many unique items. As it turns out, frozen artichokes are one of those unique items. So I tried to find a way to cook with them and this is what I came up with.

Just a small note...the store was out of frozen artichokes when my mom came for Easter so we used canned ones that had been drained. They turned out just as good but didn't need as long of a cook time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday - BBQ Muffins

I recieved a cook book from Tate Farms in Huntsville as a wedding present. About the time I decided I wanted to learn to cook, I spent one Saturday looking through all of my cookbooks trying to find recipes that I wanted to try. This one seemed so familiar, like I had eaten them before but I just couldn't recall. Super easy and super good comfort food. Enjoy!

A few tips, flatten out your biscuit dough and lay them into your greased muffin pan like the picture shows. Also, don't use fat-free cheddar. I've tried this recipe several times and everytime I use fat free cheese, they don't come out right. It makes 20 muffins and they are perfect for freezing after they have cooled.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The 100th

Say Happy Anniversary to me!!! Marriage??? No! Birthday?? NO! First date?? NO! What is my anniversary? This is my 100th post anniversary. Who would have thought this blog would have survived 100 posts. It really doesn't seem like alot though but I guess it has been 7 months since I started this.

We've come a long way from mile marker zero!

Gone Camping

So while I was in San Antonio, E was going to take Maggie on a camping trip with our Sunday School class. So the weekend before, we were cleaning out the garage and decided to go ahead and start getting all of the camping supplies together. When I came outside, E had setup the tent to make sure all of the parts were there. After one look at the tent, we decided to campout into the backyard since I wouldn't be able to go the next weekend on the trip. We made homemade ice cream and threw some steaks and veggies on the grill. E started a fire in the firepit and we threw out some folding chairs and sat by the fire for a while.

The funniest part was trying to persuade Maggie that it was OK to come into the the tent. She was so scared. She barked all night at every little noise she heard. The next morning, she was a little disoriented and afraid to get out of the tent because she didn't know we she was. It was so funny!!

Back in the Saddle

With all of the distractions lately, me and E have been exhausted and overworked. So we agreed to start eating right, sleeping right and exercising again. So I went to the grocery store and got plenty of food to cook all week and make our lunches for work. We went to the gym last night and then came home to walk Maggie. Afterwards, I made a very healthy dinner of salmon and sauteed artichokes.

However, we both have a nasty habit of eating junk if we feel like we worked hard enough at the gym for it. I left to take some movies back and E yells "Why don't you stop and pick up some cookies on the way home?" That sounded SOOOO good to me..... so I did!

I came home threw the first batch in the oven. They came out WONDERFUL. Me and E gathered in the kitchen to pour the milk and pile on the cookies. We got our treats and then retreated seperately. Well, Maggie got quiet...and when she gets quiet...that's never good. All of the sudden, E starts screaming at her to go and get into her kennel. She came running into the bedroom and went immediately into her kennel. I guess I had a puzzled look on my face because E just immediately started explaining that Maggie had eaten almost all of the cookies. This is starting to feel like deja vous. Here's what was left...

Monday, April 21, 2008


Well, once I returned home from my trip, that was it for me. I was so exhausted and wanted nothing more than life to return back to normal. What is normal though? I don't think I ever got a chance to figure that one out before I was buying a plane ticket out to Arkansas this weekend. Yes, I have to travel for work AGAIN this weekend. That's 2 out of three weekends. I am growing weary just thinking about what next weekend holds for me. I don't think I would mind the trips as much if they came with a day off when I got back. But we work 10-14 hour days all weekend just in time to go back to work on Monday morning.

So Hot Springs, AR??? Anyone have suggestions for fun things to do while I am there?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Office Party Time

To celebrate the end of the television writer's strike, we threw an office party. No, not an office NBC's "the Office" party. There's a few of us from work that really love that show and since I had to go out of town last weekend for the first episode of 08, we celebrated last night with 2 new episodes. We had office themed food such as Jim's "Big Tuna" Appetizers, and ...

Pam's Fudgey Brownie Cake

Micheal Scott's "Carb up ...for the cure" pasta

Along with many more...Did I forget to mention that it was a costume party? Oh yeah...I went as Kelli Kapoor and E went as Ryan the Temp...(I just tried to wear something highly inappropriate for work, lots of purple eye shadow, and jeweled hair pins.

Our friends Andrea and Taylor came as Angela and Andy Bernard. So funny and so classic.

But no office party would be complete without office olympics and an awards ceremony. First we played the M&M many M&M's can you shove into your mouth...

(I beat E by 10 M&M's...not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!!)

Then me and Taylor squared off for the finals in the coffee cup races...(I won that one too)

Jason, the office olympics chairman, awarded me and Taylor our medals in the closing ceremonies.

And here is one of the five posters we made for the party...

By the way, if you haven't ever seen the Office... go to and you can watch the last season for free. So Funny!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday - Eggs in a Basket

A few weeks ago, I found this recipe that was very pleasing to the eye. I always love going to restuarants that have soup in a bread bowl. I realize that I am easily amused but still...That's awesome that it will actually stay in the bowl. Now it was my turn to make things stay inside of bread.

I have become addicted to the Everybody Likes Sandwiches blog (on my favorites) and she made Eggs in a Basket a few weeks ago. Well, I finally got around to making them and I had such a good time. You can visit her site for the recipe. The only thing I changed was the ham for bacon. I could only find HUGE buns unless I somehow found the time to make my own (which I didn't) so I had to add extra eggs and filling to each bun. Delicious!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Maggie is starting to get the hang of things around house. Disciplinary issues aren't what they were 3-9 months ago. We decided to start letting her sleep with us again. This is a very special treat for her. She loves to get in bed with us in the morning and practically bathe us with her tongue! Ekkkh! I always direct her "kisses" towards E.

This special treatment comes with rules though. She isn't allowed on the bed unless she is invited by someone who is already on the bed. This has worked very well over the past 2 weeks until this morning.

Look who I found asleep on the bed while I was in the shower!!! She actually had her head on my pillow until she heard me coming.

The Rest of My Trip

Here is the MUCH anticipated (HA) sequal to yesterday's post!!

Friday night, our speaker had given me quite a scare. He left so quickly trying to get to a baseball game that I thought he didn't notice that he had accidently taken the hotel's clip-on microphone with him. I completely ravaged our conference rooms looking for the mic. Nowhere. So I started making phone calls. I called the director (who has a habit of loosing things). Nothing. I called the speaker. Voicemail. Ahhhhh! I was screaming inside by this point. A microphone couldn't have just gotten up and walked away on it's own.

While you would think there is a happy ending to this story, in fact there is no ending to this story....When the speaker finally called me back 2 days later to tell me he didn't know where the mic was.

Saturday was the longest day. I got up at five to make sure I was downstairs working before 6 so I could have more time to look for the missing microphone. I really think I drove myself crazy about this. The hotel had already brought another mic for us to use just like we never lost the first one. I just kept my mouth shut. The last thing I needed was to have to pay for a microphone that they were charging 140 bucks a day to rent. There was alot of sitting and waiting for things to go wrong on Saturday. Once we got the all clear sign around 4pm, we quickly cleaned up the rooms and headed out to the Riverwalk. My travel mates chose a mexican restuarant on the Riverwalk that was the worst food I had ever had. So note to self...they don't get to choose anymore. So I made is a reservation at a restaurant called Pesca at the Watermark Hotel. I couldn't have chosen a better place. Cheers to me! I had a coffee, cocoa, and chayenne blackened swordfish steak with a side of mixed roasted corn, cilantro and roasted sweet potatoes. It was like being back in Key West again. The food there was always awesome and we have seriously been lacking that level of eating out since we moved to Beaumont. So this dish really went a long way in my book. Suddenly, alot of the home sickness was gone. It's amazing what food can do for you! This is a picture of all of us over the Riverwalk after dinner while walking back to the hotel.


I crashed early that night so I could go ahead get my stuff packed for the next day. As soon as the session was adjourned on Sunday, we packed the car and headed back towards the market (sigh! I really didn't like the market...more pinatas, jewelry and t-shirts) so one of the ladies could pick a few things up along with a few more pastries.

After spending a good hour and a half in the same market we were in 2 days earlier we finally left to get food at one of the vendor stands. (BTW, I don't recommend this) I let Rosemary talk me into getting a gordita off of the street.

When she showed up with one full of chicken and ground beef, I tried my hardest to eat around the meat. Sorry, I just don't trust meat from a festival vendor anymore. I've been burned too many times. While they were in line for gorditas, I wandered over to another vendor and bought a glass of watermelon juice. Sooo Sweet!!!

Before I tell you where I wandered next, I need to preface these comments by saying that I am a city girl who eats normal things. I don't eat weird things so I don't pay attention to the names of things I don't eat. So I went over to this vendor.

Curious as to what these were, I walked over to the vendor and watched her cook a large pan of these mystery taco fillings. I watching for a while, I still couldn't figure out what they were. They looked kind of like mushrooms but more like squash. I was racking my brain and finally came to the conclusion that this must be a traditional mexican vegetable that I have never heard of. So I asked the old lady what she was cooking. She answered "Tripes Tacos." Well, I already knew that. That's what the sign says. About that time her english speaking daughter poked her head from behind her mother and said "Intestines!" I felt my lunch coming up very quickly. I felt so stupid for standing at her stand for a good few minutes eying these delicious looking "vegetables." I politely declined and returned to my group.

We walked across the street to YET ANOTHER market. Where the little girls were performing. They were so cute and I just had to snap a picture of them.

While we were in the second market, the strangest thing happened. I only know 2 people that live in San Antonio. My friend Erika's parents. And of all the people to see while we were there, I saw Erika's dad (click the link and go to the last picture. Hugo, her dad, is the one pointing towards the camera) in that second market. Hugo has a few shops in that second market. I heard his voice and was aware that I had heard that voice before but I wasn't sure where. I couldn't see his face for the longest time and then finally when I was able to catch a glimpse at him, I recognized him right away! So weird.

Well, we finally left and did a little normal shopping on the other side of town before heading back home. And boy was I ready to go home. I had fun, yes, but I honestly didn't know any of these people. These trips are much more fun with your friends, family or spouse.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Trip

So when I signed on for my new job, I knew I would be traveling a little bit. Our San Antonio trip was coming up and my boss's husband has been ill for a while now. Well, things took a turn for the worst when he was hospitalized the day before we were to leave for our conference. So I (having only been working there for a month) had to pretend like I knew how to run a conference that I knew nothing about!!! I spent a few long nights working and stressing about whether I had packed enough legal pads and printer cartridges. I know...stupid!!!

The meetings with the hotel staff were brutal mostly because our director is VERY DIRECT, quite demanding and 100% to the point about everything even if that means being rude. And if you know me, you know very well that I don't deal with confrontation and I am probably TOO nice most of the time. I will just find a way to work around it. But this whole weekend was about me dealing with problems and confronting our staff and the hotel's staff about those problems. I did not enjoy being in charge!! All turned out ok once I got over a few rough patches like a broken printer, keys that didn't work, not enough food, a broken projector and the fact that no one had reserved me a room.

So for those of you that keep up with my blog regularly, the insanity started last Sunday and hopefully ends today!!! That's why I have been MIA for a week. I also just couldn't bring myself to pay $20 a day for internet at the hotel. But hopefully a few pictures from my trip will make up for my lack of posting.


We pulled into town and Rosemary (having worked this conference before) knew exactly where she wanted to have lunch. Mi Tierra. So we went and as I was walking into the door, the decorations overwhelmed me. There were so many and they were everywhere. The first picture is the ceiling of the bakery. The second picture is the ceiling of the dining room.

As we walked into the door, my eyes went to the ceiling first and then quickly moved to all of the glass cases full of mexican pastries and treats of all kinds. This picture just shows one of the cases and there were 5 in all. I bought a pecan praline and Vanilla Creme Campechana. Once all of the work for the day was over, I retired to my room and gorged myself on my treats. Before we left to go home, we made one more stop to get a few more pastries to take home to friends and family. I bought a pinapple campechana, another vanilla creme campechana, a strawberry empanada, and 3 churros (plain, carmel filled and vanilla creme filled) MMMMMmmmmm.

We bought treats and had lunch at Mi Tierra and then headed over to the market. I assumed it was going to be really cool stuff but I honestly got bored really fast. Each market store had the same mexican pottery, pinatas, jewelry and San Antonio T-shirts. It was SO touristy!! Here is Rosemary and Diane leaving one shop and going to another within the market place.

After lunch and shopping, the meetings started. First with my staff, then the hotel staff, then the hotel event staff, then our combined staff with the director. Whew!!! I was exhausted by the end of the night. The director of our program took us all out to dinner to a German steakhouse called Little Rhien's on the Riverwalk. OMG!! I had a filet and grilled shrimp with a ceasar salad, asperagus and mushrooms. I don't think I have ever had a filet that delicious!! On the way to dinner, we found a stone sculpture in the sidewalk of the United States. I couldn't resist. Sweet Home Alabama...I miss you!!! Relax...I got a picture of Texas too. The second picture is Rosemary standing on the Capital.


The next day, we all had breakfast and then worked our tails off getting things ready for the students and speakers to come in later on that night. After the sessions were over, we decided to take a tour of the Riverwalk. We hopped ont he first river boat and learned lots of cool stuff. We saw the bridge where Jennifer Lopez cried in the movie Selena, we saw the hotel where John Edwards and George Lopez were a few weeks earlier, we saw the hospital where Carol Burnett and Tommy Lee Jones were born, lots of baby ducks and so much more. Here are a few pictures I took while in motion (sorry) of the views.

Here is a picture of the stage where Sanda Bullock performed her talent int he preliminaries in the movie Miss Congeniality.

...And the rest I will tell you tomorrow. Make sure to check back in!!

Birthday Blues...

Well, Thursday was my birthday and just to recap the past few years of birthdays...

23 - At home alone; E was away at school.

24 - E had just left a day or two before to join the boat in Maryland.

25 - Spent half of the day sick at work, and the other half depressed at home alone since E was underway on the boat.

26 - Spent the evening at home alone after a long day at work; E was underway on the boat.

I think you can start to see the pattern that seems to take over all of our life's activities!! However, I just KNEW that things were going to be different this year...ahhh no!! Now it's my turn I guess.

So instead of a quiet evening with my husband and pooch and the dinner of my choice, and then getting ready for our awesome camping trip together, I will be stuck in a mini van driving 2 old ladies to San Antonio. Why? Because I got a new job which requires me to attend and setup a conference in San Antonio. Yay? And I am missing the big camping trip I had been looking forward to. E is still taking Maggie but I really wanted to go. Well, at least the paycheck is good and everyone leaves me alone. Now I guess I am the one who is going to flake out on birthdays because of my job!

27 - driving Miss Daisies

This is the countdown farewell tour of my twenties!!! For all of you who sent me birthday wishes...Thanks for thinking of me and I am still catching up on emails and phone calls so bear with me.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Military Monday - Kim in Beaumont, TX

Kim is a friend I met here in Beaumont a few months ago in a class at church. I don't even think that we would have even known each other if her husband hadn't shown up for class in his uniform one day when he was running late. We started talking after class and ... a short drive and a cup of coffee later, we were all friends. Kim and her family are about to transfer out back to Maryland next month and I will miss them very much. Here is what she has to say on Military Monday...

"The first word that popped into my brain as I pondered the term military was "militant". I keep a dictionary by my computer for times when I read something but can't quite determine what the writer really intended from the context. A quick look tells me that the term militant means 1. fighting, and 2. ready to fight, esp. for some cause.

It is no wonder that 'militant' immediately came to mind. I don't know that I love or hate military life. I don't know that I want or resent military life. I do know that it is here, right alongside the man Il ove and the man who is still my dream. And I know so very well, with uncanny certainty that the military life has been a true grit, to the bone fight. It has been a fight to discover, recreate and redefine myself with every transfer. It has been a fight to keep my heart softened and able to love new people as we've felt the gnaw of all of those we've met and loved and then driven away from not knowing if we would see them again this side of heaven. It has been a fight living so far from our families of origin and wondering what it might have been like to have lived closer, or at least have the power to choose. It has been a fight to see some of them die, knowing that the possibility of having them in our everyday lives is gone.

Why do we fight, after all? One reason we fight is that we want to live! And not just that, we want to thrive! As military wives we have just as much of a right to thrive as anyone else. The difference lies in our ever present and ever changing challenges. I feel that the rewards and benefits of the challenge and the fight are truly beyond measure and sometimes beyond comprehension. My will to fight and resilience was alot stronger during the first 5, 6 or 7 years of transitions. Maybe the reason for that is that I was naive, ignorant or just so simple that everything else didn't matter much. Or maybe I was better off not knowing what fights would lie ahead. I don't guess that I will ever know all of the reasons. I also don't guess that it matters that much. The glory of the fight lies in the fact that we can grow and mature and become someone we never thought we could through the fights we face.

Today we are one month away from my husband's twentieth year in the Coast Guard. We've been married for 15 years and have two healthy and unbelievable daughters. We've lived in 14 different homes, six cities and had countless, powerful friends. I don't know how many thousands of miles we've driven to visit our families in Kansas but I am certain it would be astonishing if we could add them up... possibily rivaling a trip to the moon and back? I've cried over friends who mended my heart and friends who broke my heart with the truth. I've leapt for joy in my soul at the amazingness of people I never would have had the chance to encounter just sitting still in Kansas. I've looked at my husband and hung my jaw at how this has all happened. Can I offer advice? Yes... I definitely can. For those who are willing there is great peace and joy on the other side of the fight, and even through it. Our military life has been a journey through a career path but it has more importantly been a journey along the path of my salvation. The greatest thing that could have ever happened to me, to my husband and to my daughters happened to us through the fights and challenges of military life. We found the end of ourselves and discovered salvation in Jesus Christ. THAT has been the one and only thing that has kept our hearts thriving and our marriage alive. It is the only thing that gives hope and strength to our children. Yes, I could have found Christ outside of military life but I didn't. If you want advice from a military wife who has been around for a while this is it: seek Christ with all of your heart. He is the only solution to the things we will fight all our lives both in the military and beyond. God will use every experience you have for good, but you have to let Him."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lunch on a Limb!

A few of you may remember the post I made about the Mediterranean deli/RV Parts warehouse. I guess anything goes in Texas. I was very weary about visiting this quality business establishment because...well...let's face it...nothing says "class" like a toilet valve dangling by your face while you eat a Gyro! OK OK we were proved wrong.

The food was excellent and I barely remember seeing any RV parts. Abbie is from Iran and he wife is from north Mississsippi. As soon as we walked into the door, they practically started shoving food down our throat. Abbie's wife gave us samples of two different kinds of cheeses, a delicious vegetable spread, some tabbouleh, some ginger cookies, and we were even offered some hot tea. Oh we had such a good time. Abbie is a 1975 chemical engineering graduate of the university I work for. As soon as he found out we worked there, all bets were off and we were automatically best friends. Andrea played a game called "Guess my accent!" with a little old Argentinian Italian lady while I was submerged into the politics of the Southeast Texas school systems. It was fun...they treated us like we stop by there everyday.

I had a small pizza with goat cheese, ham and olives. Here is what Andrea had. And these are the treats I bought for me and E from the little grocery store inside the deli.

I am excited about trying this on sandwiches instead of mayo.

Cappucchino Cookies...and three days later, I only have 4 left. No wonder all of the running I have done this week seems to be causing weight gain.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Because I am Young!!!

Do they even make cassette tapes anymore??? And I think that Polariod discontinued making those refill packs for the time delayed pictures. Oh and don't even get me started on 5 inch "floppy" disks and drives. But my place of work feels the need to hold on to these things..."Just in case!" Sigh! I really have my work cut out for me.

So I have 2 pack rats for bosses and former coworker (whose position I filled) who was also a pack rat! There is....STUFF...EVERYWHERE!!!!! None of it has been touched in 10 years...but we may need that someday. But because I am young, I evidently don't know the value of these items!

It's taken me 4 weeks but I have finally convinced them that they need a DVD player (we compromised on a VCR/DVD combo), flat screen tv, USB flash memory and a digital camera. These are a few things that I am working hard to rid myself of for the next few days. So far it has really been a fight to the death...they really want to keep their STUFF!!!

When I was told they wanted to keep this, I honestly thought it was a joke. But just in case they find a tape they want to listen to somewhere...

They didn't win this arguement. There isn't even a way to use these anymore...but they still wanted to keep it.

What is this and why is it in my computer closet?

It doesn't even work...why are we saving this???

Chocolate Anyone?

So I am all for being environmentally conscience. I don't throw trash out of my car onto the highway, I refill my water bottles several times before I throw them away, if my city participated in recycling, I would recycle, many of the bulbs in my house have been changed over to environmental bulbs, I try to buy local produce, I turn the air conditioner/heater down when I leave the house, me and E carpool to work a few days a week, there are lots of things we do...and I feel like I do my part.

I'm no environmental FANATIC though. Remember this article about the girl who sterilized herself to reduce her carbon footprint? I am not ... nor ever will be that HARD CORE about my carbon footprint. But I did see this yesterday in the campus bookstore and couldn't resist to blog about it and then give it to my ever so politically outspoken husband as a gift.

Climate Change Chocolate

"Reducing your Carbon Footprint just got a whole lot tastier!"

Is it just me or is alot of this global warming idea more marketing than anything else? There seems to be alot of people getting rich off of global warming. Well, in comes one more looking to get their hand into that pot.

Yes, by buying this chocolate bar, the company will offset 133 pounds of carbon offset. What does that mean? I don't really know but I will say that I don't really feel the need to pay $5.50 for a chocolate bar!! Come on!!! And since I don't have any guilt about the way I treat the planet, I don't feel the need to buy a clean conscience by purchasing carbon offsets. If you do feel guilty...well...go buy some chocolate than I guess!!

BTW, I just read the wrapper around the chocolate and it has lots of "tips" for saving on carbon emissions. While all of them are ...well, pretty much common sense, one particularly jarred me. "Eat more vegetaran meals and less meat. It reduces your carbon emissions and gives you an excuse to try new recipes." Give me a break!! So now in order to go green, I need to be a vegetarian?

(And, Yes, the chocolate was better have been for 5.50)