March Observations

March Highlights:

  • Vacation! Mr. O, Wolverine and I went to New Hampshire for a long weekend. I love vacations.
  • The Emerson’s came up from GA for a week, and Mr. O finally got to meet the Mr. and Mrs. I wish I could have spent some time with Toddler Emerson seeing as how it has been over a year since I’ve seen him, but I can’t complain. It was amazing to see my friends. I love them so much.
  • Actually writing new material for my thesis. Not only that, but I’m pretty excited to find new uses for old material which I wasn’t planning on including. Even if the essay doesn’t appear in its original form, paragraphs have been brought to life in new essays.
  • My eye doctor is extremely pleased with my healing after the Lasik surgery last month. I’m pretty pleased with it too.
  • My friend Doodles (not her real name) had her baby! A healthy little baby girl was born on 3/22/12.
  • I’m actually keeping up with my 365 photo project. As of today, I am on day 57.
  • I went to the Blog Better Boston Conference at the Google offices and FINALLY met my blogger friend Kate. I also met new friends like Sara and Lindsay and Germana.

Stinky March Moments:

  • My boss’s husband passed away…and her dog too. Her husband was young and healthy and loved and he died too quickly. I was incredibly moved by his death, and wish there was something I could do to change the past few months in her life. I can’t. Then her dog died. This sucks.
  • A few other acquaintances–family friends–passed away.
  • I got a vicious migraine at the beginning of the month. I haven’t had a bad one like that in quite some time, so it was very scary.
  • This is my thesis semester. Boo. It is a lot of work. (I’m thinking this might be here every month until I graduate).
  • I had to get an old filling fixed. I like my dentist, but I don’t love dental procedures. Actually, I had a whole bunch of doctor appointments. Same goes for them. I like my doctors, but I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • March 12 made one year since I was hit by a drunk driver. I’ll be honest. I was happy to make it home unscathed that day. I’m proud to admit no one under the influence has driven into me this year (so far- fingers crossed.
  • My god-daughter/niece turned two years old this month.
  • My wonderful friends Ashley, Michaela, Jessica, Jim, Gail, Mr. O’s mom and three of our friend’s children also had birthdays. This month was full of birthday parties and baby showers.
  • Mr. O did my taxes for me. I mailed them in, and then they mailed me a refund! Woot Woot.
  • Wolverine built a pretty fancy Leprechaun trap. We actually thought it worked and we caught a leprechaun, but when we opened up the trap door, we realized the leprechaun was too smart for us. He somehow stole all the gold and escaped! We will get you next year, Lucky!
  • I finally got a massage that Mr. O’s family bought me as part of my birthday present (in September). That was nice.

I’m looking forward to____ in April:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I are going to the Museum of Science in Boston. I’ve wanted to go for a very long time now. It even found its way onto my current 101 in 1001 goals list.
  • Another one of my pregnant friends is due to deliver in April… on my brother’s birthday actually. There are a lot of birthdays coming in April.
  • I will be reviewing my first book for TLC book tours. Look for it at the end of the month.
  • Finishing my thesis. Or at least being SOOOOO CLOSE to being finished. It needs to get approved during the month of May, so I pretty much need to be 100% done editing my creative writing and my critical introduction before I turn it in for approval. I can do this (fingers crossed).

Overall Thoughts:

Like February, March was just an okay month. I felt pretty overwhelmed all month, but I survived. I am so thankful that winter is over. I love Spring and I look forward to the days getting longer and the temperature getting warmer. I’m actually so done with this month. It’s not like I hated February and March, I just didn’t enjoy them. I loved cuddling on the couch with Mr. O, building the leprechaun trap with Wolverine, going to the hospital to meet and hold (I love holding newborns!) Doodle’s new baby and the Blog Better Boston Conference. It’s not like there weren’t good moments. I’m just glad the month is finished. I’m ready for April.

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Want to know more about my year? Check out the previous months: January and February

Pulling Back the Curtain

So I am participating in The Scintilla Project, and today is day one…One of the prompts was to pull back the curtain and introduce our true self. Now, I think I do a decent job of baring all on the blog, but what if you’re new? What does this blog really tell you about me?

I snuck a peek at my About Me page, and BOY is it outdated. It states that I am in my first 101 in 1001 goals challenge. Not true, In October of 2011, I started my second 101 in 1001 challenge. I honestly love this challenge. It gives me space, yet still keeps me accountable. The only issue I have with it right now is my lack of update. I have not posted one single thing yet about challenge #2. I think the goals are listed on the new blog, but I do not think I’ve even updated it. The first 101 challenge was fun. I didn’t complete as much as I’d like, but hey, I tried hard. The same goes for updating my first challenge’s blog. I started to write the items I failed at, but I still haven’t cleaned it all up and tied it with a bow. I really hope to do that soon, and I am sure when I do, I will announce it on this blog.

This year, I am  trying to recap every month– here is January and February— at the end of the month so that I don’t have to scramble and try to remember what happened during the year in December. I like the monthly check in so far.

I’m also participating in the 12 Months Challenge. Every month I pick a goal and try to work on that one goal for the month. Then I check in on this blog and let y’all know how I am doing. In January I worked on wasting less. In February I worked on purging unneccessary material goods from my life. I kicked ass these two month. March has been difficult for me so far. My goal is to write for thirty minutes a day. You’d think this would be easy seeing as I am working on my thesis right now (more on this in a second), but nope. I’ve got a case of semi-writer’s block, totally the wrong time to have writer’s block. So I’m trying. I think I’ve done thirty minutes for 7 or 8 days so far, which isn’t too bad. Be sure to check back in the beginning of April (or end of March if I’m caught up with life) to see how I did.

So, thesis… I am a graduate student at Fairfield University. I am studying Creative Writing and I am in the Nonfiction Genre. I graduate in July and I was chose by my peers to be the graduation speaker. I am pretty excited about that and consider it to be such an honor.

While there still is a lot to know about me, that is it for the time being. You can check out this post for a little more info, but I’m sure with this Scintilla Project, you’ll all get to know me well.

February Observations

Can you believe February is over? I honestly cannot. I feel as if it was just New Year’s Day, but two whole months have passed. Last month I promised you that I would be recapping my months for all of 2012, so since I like to keep my promises, here is February…

February Highlights:

  • I got LASIK eye surgery, and everything went so smoothly. I can see! This experience has been incredible, and I feel so fortunate for my great vision.
  • Getting my first thesis packet back from Kim Dana Kupperman. She is an incredible mentor to work with, and I am so pumped for this semester.
  • I signed up for Statejoy’s Fierce Love Course. I know I barely have time to sleep, and this is another thing I will need to make a priority, but you know what? I think it is a great decision. It is about time I make myself a priority in life. Plus, the lovely San and I decided to be Fierce Love buddies and keep each other in check.
  • Mr. O and I ate lobsters again for Valentine’s Day, but this year we shared the meal with Wolverine and my parents.
  • I started my 365 pictures goal for my 101 in 1001 challenge.
  • My resolution for the month was to Purge! I kicked ass at that goal this month. I can’t wait to share all the pictures with you next month.

Stinky February Moments:

  • Mr. O’s car has been giving him a bit of a hard time.
  • This is my thesis semester. Boo. It is a lot of work. (I’m thinking this might be here every month).
  • I feel like I did quite a bit of laundry this month. It isn’t so much that laundry is a bad thing, the problem is that Mr. O has pointed out to me (quite fairly) that my ironing skills are so-so at best. Que sera, sera. I tried.

Other Mentionable Moments:

  • My grandmother turned 101 years old this month.
  • My wonderful friends Sarah, Monica, Jim, Jenn, my cousin Briget, Mr. O’s sister, and my best friend’s mom all celebrated their birthdays.
  • It is a Leap Year! I’m obviously unsure of what today will have in store for me, but I’m planning on making the best of it. I think Mr. O and I are going to write a note to us to be read the next leap year. That should be fun.

I’m looking forward to____ in March:

  • Mr. O, Wolverine and I will be taking a weekend away in New Hampshire.
  • Going to the Blog Better Boston Conference and meeting my lovely friend Kate (and new friends too!)
  • Kicking ass with the new writing I need to do this semester.
  • Putting effort into the Fierce Love Course.

Overall Thoughts:

February was an okay month. Everything seemed so busy. I have a lot of work and a lot of schoolwork to get done. Not sure how I am going to accomplish it all. Mr. O and I have been settling in quite well, and I love our routines and everyday life stuff. I’m worried about my friend whose husband, sister and niece are all extremely ill. I can’t wait until all my friends start having their babies! I’ve got one coming in March, one in April, another in May, one in July and one in September! I love infants. I can’t wait to hold one. Not much more to really say about February. It was a busy month. I felt a bit overwhelmed all month. It was a nice month though, not bad at all…just looking forward to March. I can’t wait until Spring is officially here.

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Want to know more about my year? Check out the previous months:
January

Asian Meatballs

I let Pinterest dictate much of my cooking. Since there are a billion recipes I’ve never made before, this works really well for my 101 in 1001 goals challenge of cooking weekly for 52 weeks*. Mr. O and I make our own pork dumplings and eat them way too often, so when I saw a recipe for Asian meatballs, I thought, “Perfect idea! It’s just like the dumpling, but without the wrapper. And in a meatball form!”

There is a good chance I tweeked the recipe a bit. I started off using this recipe, but the meatballs ended up being a mixture of these recipes as well. They all seem very good. Maybe for the first time I should have just chosen one recipe and stuck with it.

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Yummy Lettuce Wraps

Did you know that Mr. O bought me a bib for our first date?

 I mentioned that I was going to make a big hot mess when I ate (I was planning on getting lettuce wraps, which is how this whole side story actually relates to this post), so he bought me a bib and presented it to me (along with a few other gifts, because he is über charming) when he picked me up. Yes, I did mention how messy of an eater I was. Sexy, huh? I’m one classy first date.

Anyway, I love lettuce wraps. Some of my favorite are at Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Changs. I was lucky to find this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats, and both Mr. O and I were huge fans. It tasted great. By the way, her website is awesome. You’ve got to check her out.

However, something huge felt missing from the recipe. I was bummed, because the recipe really tasted great, and I couldn’t figure out what was missing…until last week! Mr. O and I went to the Cheesecake Factory, and of course, I ordered the wraps. The additional fillings were missing! Bean Sprouts! Shredded Carrots! Rice Noodles! Cucumbers! Oh, and cabbage shells. The Cheesecake Factory uses cabbage leafs as decoration to hold the fillings I just mentioned, but I use the cabbage leafs just like I use the lettuce leafs: as shells for my yummy food. Now that I’ve figured that out, I’m sure to use the same recipe as before, but prepare some of those fillings as well.20120112-105537.jpg20120112-105613.jpg20120112-105550.jpg20120112-105544.jpg

Oatmeal Cookies

So one day Mr. O decided he wanted oatmeal cookies. We went online and found a recipe*, bought the ingredients and made the cookies together. The pictures that follow are from that cooking experience. These cookies were alright, but we didn’t plan on making them again. Since then, we have found an amazing cookie recipe that Mr. O tweaked a bit, and if he’ll let me share, I’ll write a post about it later on.

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*Since we didn’t really like round one of oatmeal cookies, I thought it was best to not link back to the recipe. They weren’t bad cookies, and I didn’t want a negative review to link to a blog post that someone carefully crafted.

Chicken Mozambique

So, I showed you how to make Shrimp Mozambique, so now let’s move on to Chicken Mozambique. I’ll be honest. There really is very little difference between the recipes, besides the obvious: one has shrimp and the other has chicken. So the first thing I did was to cut my chicken into small little sections. Its going to fall apart a bit, so don’t cut your chicken too small. I’m going to approximate that mine were about an inch or two long, and maybe a little less than an inch thick… Who knows. You don’t have to worry about this too much, because I just cut them however I could to keep them small and get the fat off. If you want tiny itty bitty little pieces of chicken then go nuts and chop it up!

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Now, I made this dish for the holidays, so I made a LOT of food. You don’t need to make as much, unless you have a small army to feed. I basically tripled my recipe from last time, but I also increased a few things. I’ve made a whole bunch of Chicken Mozambique since this first recipe, and Mr. O seems to think I’ve perfected the recipe, so I’m going to do a post in the very near future with my own fancy recipe for y’all.

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Wolverine loves to help out cleaning and cooking, so he helped me mix the ingredients. While your butter and onions are cooking, you’re going to want to mix the garlic, wet crushed red pepper, Goya, tabasco sauce, parsley. He did a fantastic job of trying to keep them all a little separate so that I could take a picture.
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Basically, after you get the ingredients together and the onions are a bit softer, you can throw them all into the pot and mix them around. Oh, and don’t forget to pour all the beer in at this point as well. (This is an easy step!)
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Alright, so now that you’ve mixed up everything, you can toss your chicken into the sauce. At this point, you’ve got nothing to do but cover the pot and let the chicken cook!
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I took this picture to show you what everything looked like when my chicken was done cooking. You’ll know your chicken is ready when it turns “white.” You don’t want to see any pink inside the meat. However, it’s actually going to take the color of the sauce, so it will be a tad orange-colored. The meat doesn’t take too long to cook, so technically you would be free to serve this right away, but I prefer letting it sit a while to really absorb the flavors. That is up to you. If you let it sit, you’re obviously going to need to reheat it before eating.
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You can serve this anyway you please. For this meal I made a whole lot of white rice, and we just scooped the chicken and sauce over the rice. You can also serve it over pasta. You can serve it as is too, especially if you’re got some nice bread to dunk in the sauce. Enjoy!

Honey Garlic Pork and Hasselback Potatoes

I cooked Pork for the first time in January. I also tried to recreate these Hasselback Potatoes as well.

The first thing I did (which was suggested to me in a cooking conversation with a real life friend) was to line the bottom of the pan with apple slices. I can’t remember her reasoning, but I did it anyway, and then I threw in a bunch of dried cranberries for good measure. If there is anything I have learned from this cooking experiment overall, it is that I have a strong urge to add items to recipes.20120110-220547.jpg

After I covered the bottom up, I made little slices in my pork and stuffed a bit of garlic in, and then just put it in the middle of my pan. Then I made a juicy little mixture to cover up my pork. I put two parts honey, one part lemon juice, and then topped it off with about 4 cloves of garlic, a tiny bit of salt and a little bit more pepper. After I whisked the mixture together a bit, I poured the whole thing over the pork and stuck it in the oven.

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While the pork cooked, I carmelized some onions, because obviously I can’t seem to cook anything that doesn’t have a heap of onions and garlic in the recipe.

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The apples also seemed to melt away when cooking, so to keep the flavors and juices mixed, I just made an effort to keep moving the meat and cranberries around in the pan. I found that they crisped a bit when I didn’t do that, which was not my plan. Checking on it regularly and moving it around kept it nice and juicy.

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So I also attempted Hasselback potatoes. I didn’t get the best pictures of them, but they were a huge hit with both me and Mr. O. They were also easy as hell to make. Here is the recipe I followed, but basically, all you have to do is wash your potatoes well. Then thinly slice them almost all the way to the bottom (but not all the way!) Then drizzle olive oil over them, slick tiny slices of garlic in between the slices and stick in the oven until they are cooked. Again, I can’t follow directions so I shook a bunch of dry red crushed pepper over my potatoes. Yummmmm. Good decision.

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And that is it folks! I can’t say the whole thing was my favorite meal. It was all cooked well, and I enjoyed it, but I liked a few previous recipes better. The potatoes were incredible though, and I’m sure I will eat them again in the near future.

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365 Photos Week One

So, one of my goals on my new 101 in 1001 challenge was to complete the 365 day photo challenge. The point of it is to photograph an entire year of your life… And if you know anything about me, I’m sure you know how much I love pictures. I originally wanted to start this on my anniversary as I thought that would be a great way to frame the project, but the anniversary has come and gone, and I forgot about the original goal.

But that is okay. I’m kind of glad it didn’t work out, because I think I have a much better frame now for my project. I started my 365 picture project on February 4, 2012, which was the first day I was able to see. Yes, I could see with glasses prior to the 4th, but I got laser surgery on February 3rd, and I can’t tell you how much it has changed my life so far. I won’t bore you with these photos on a daily basis, but I think it would be nice to post them weekly. So here is week one (I’m a few days late for posting this)!

Are you doing (or have you done) a 365 day challenge?

Also, I wanted to send a HUGE Happy Birthday shot out to Sarah, one of my absolute closest friends in this whole wide world. I love you so much and I hope you have an amazing birthday!

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Day 1: My eye the day after LASIK

 

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Day 2: The cutest hat I saw advertised in Real Simple (Yes, I take photos of items I like in magazines instead of ripping them out like I used to!)

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Day 3: Learning how to make meatballs…

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Day 4: Getting ready to do some baking

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Day 5: My yummy smores pops I made the night before

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Day 6: The important things in life right now. Sunglasses and eye drops

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Day 7: End of the week wind down dinner- Asian Mojito

resolve

I really loved San’s post on the first of her twelve resolutions. It was really bothering me for about a week after reading the post, because I too wanted to be involved in this 12 Resolutions project. But I lucked out folks. The other day when I was sharing my leftovers with my mother, I remembered one of the resolutions I set out for myself: to waste less.

I won’t lie folks, this is something I really kicked ass at in January. Between school and moving and cooking and shopping and birthdays and anniversaries, I let very little go to waste. I started thinking about this resolution in 2011 when I realized just how much food Mr. O and I were throwing out after dinner. It drove me nutso, so I vowed to change this in 2012.

And I really, really did in January. So count me in! I’m going to work on a new resolution every month and share my journey with you.

My goal for February is to PURGE! Isn’t that slightly strange to follow my month of trying not to waste? One of my new 101 goals was to purge 101 items from my life. Why not get it done this month?! I have boxes to sort through from the move, so there is no better time. Plus, I was inspired by Ashley’s organization project last month. Since this is going to be a monthlong challenge for me (one that already started!) I will maybe do a whole week of organization posts with pictures in the beginning of March.

new around this neck of the woods?

Bonjour!

Have you recently found your way over here from Erin or Ashley’s blogs? If so, welcome! Make yourself at home. I bet you’re wondering, “Who is this Erin character?” Now, that is a good question. The easiest way to get a brief overview of who I am is to check out the “About the Girl” tab at the top of this page (which really does need to be updated, sigh). However, I’ve provided a short list below because I like to make things nice and simple for you.

  • I’m afraid of bees. However, alligators are my favorite animals.
  • I am a graduate student studying creative nonfiction and I do a lot of whining about how I procrastinate too much. (I also don’t have good grammar on this blog, beware!)
  • Besides my day job, I have a part-time gig as a relief worker for adults with mental illnesses, and I also coordinate and plan events such as weddings and concerts. (I’m available for hire! Wink Wink)
  • If I told you that I was a great cook then I’d be lying to you, and I really am an honest person. I can however tell you that I want to be a good cook one day. My boyfriend makes fantastic meals; he’s teaching me what he knows, and the rest we plan on learning together. I’ve been updating this blog with all the cooking I’ve been doing. I cook every single week. Occasionally I’ve been recooking some previously attempted meals, but I like to try new things best.
  • I think everyone really should have a lucky number and a favorite color.
  • I also really want to know people’s middle names. I try to imagine what the middle names might be if people don’t tell me.
  • If it wasn’t for 20 Something Bloggers, I don’t know if I would have continued to blog since I first started in 2008. I also owe a lot of my blogging gratitude to my 101 in 1001 goals list and NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo and Grace in Small Things as well.
  • I love everything about home improvement. However, I still do not own my own home. Still, I fantasize about home design projects and knocking down walls and painting and everything that could have to do with houses. Mr. O and I are trying to buy a house right now,  but the process isn’t as glamorous as it may seem.
  • I love to travel. Anywhere.

And here are some of the key players on this blog:

  • Mr. O: The most wonderful man in the world (at least in my eyes). As corny as it may sound, Mr. O is my boyfriend and my best friend. I tend to profess my love for him on here.  I’m apologizing for that ahead of time.
  • Wolverine: The most wonderful boy in the world. Wolverine is Mr. O’s son, and he truly makes every single one of my days better by just being in it. I try not to write too much about him on the blog, but I occasionally profess my love for him as well.
  • Fairfield University MFA Program: I write a LOT about my grad school experiences, and on top of that, you have the chance to get to know some of my classmates, like Phil and AJ and Reuben (who was a guest blogger twice!) and Brooke and Ioanna.
  • Fenway: My Chihuahua/Terrier mix. She’s a rescue dog I adopted while living in Virginia. She definitely keeps me on my toes.

Oh…and these things happen often around these parts.

  • The Defining Moments Guest Series: So far Amanda, AJ, Phil, Brooke, Reuben, Heidi ,Kat, Micaela, Justin, Michaela (with an ‘H’), Holly and Ioanna have all posted about moments of reinvention or inspiration. This series has been a big hit for my readers, and I am always looking for more people to write a guest blog on this topic. You don’t have to be a regular blogger to do this. Kat wasn’t a blogger when she first wrote her post for me… now she has a Tumblr. Micaela still isn’t a blogger, but enjoyed the experience.
  • My Lessons- The Thoughts on Love Series: Now, I’m not an expert, but I’ve been thinking a lot about love this year…what it takes to be in a relationship, choices people make, how other people can affect your relationships, etc. I started this series to share my observations, thoughts and feelings.

So… That’s all folks! I’d love it if you introduced yourself, because I love to check out new blogs. Have an amazing day!

spicy noodles and beef

Week #7

So I found this week’s recipe by googling “ground beef”. I had some in the freezer and I found a recipe which looked pretty easy called Spanish Noodles ‘N Ground Beef. Now, I haven’t been able to figure out what was so Spanish about the recipe, so I just renamed my version Spicy Noodles and Beef.

Like all my recipes I tweeked it a bit. Not much though. When it called for Chili Sauce, I used Sriracha Hot Sauce (which is an Asian chili sauce, pretty much). In the first picture, it is the bottle which is on top of the diced tomato can. This definitely gave the recipe a bit of a kick. I don’ t know if it is spicier or what. Maybe I’ll try it with Heinz Chili Sauce next time. I also didn’t use a green pepper. I had a bunch of sweet mini peppers (red, orange and yellow) so I used those instead. I also increased the amount of peppers and onions the recipe called for,  because…. well, I simply don’t follow instructions!

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This recipe was super quick and easy. I think the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the bacon. I like turkey bacon, and even though I tried to make it crispy, I found the crumbles to be a bit chewy and the texture was strange. I don’t think the bacon did a lot for the dish as a whole, but maybe the next time I make this, I’ll give it a go with real bacon. Who knows.

I did try to be extra vigilant when I cooked the noodles in the sauce. I didn’t want them to be over cooked, and I also really didn’t want undercooked noodles. Luckily they tasted just fine, but I was a bit concerned with this while they were cooking. I’m used to boiling all my pasta. I’m not used to cooking it in the sauce. It did taste super fantastic though, and I’m sure that has something to do with how it was cooked.

That’s it folks! Easy as pie. Check out Taste of Home for the original recipe. I’d post it here, but I didn’t change how it was cooked at all. I just altered the ingredients a bit. You’ve gotta give credit where it’s due!

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blogging to do list

There is a lot I would like to do here on this ol’ blog. Like, for example post more often… I can’t fault myself though. I successfully completed NaBloPoMo in December of 2011, and I can understand that after posting every single day for the month, there is only so much I can write about afterward.

It seems like I always want to do a year-end recap, but never get around to it on here. I’m going to have to work on that. Who knows, maybe in February I’ll share my highlights of 2011! I always get to things late, but you know, I’m okay with that. There are no rules on the blog. If I want to post a recap of 2008 on here, I don’t see why I can’t do that either.

I’m lucky to live near one of my friends from my MFA program (who happens to be in the same semester as I am!), so we try to meet weekly to help each other with the semester. I wish we did this during our first two semesters, because I can’t stress how helpful it is to meet with her. Last night I was worried about what I was going to discuss. I have so much to write this semester (it’s my thesis semester), but I didn’t have any ideas really before she came over. When we meet, we talk about our ideas and we help flesh them out. Anyway, when she left last night, I had three super fleshed out essay ideas. How amazing is that?!? I can’t stress how helpful it was to have her help last semester, and this one is the big one, so I’m even more grateful for her now.

Hmm, what else is on my to-do list for the blog? Well, I’d like to do another giveaway. That was fun. My first giveaway was this past December, so I think next month I’ll have giveaway #2! Keep your eyes posted.

I’m also inspired by the marvelous Kate at Suburban Sweetheart to start posting more “reviews” here on the blog. There are a lot of products, and also customer service, that I think are both good and bad, and I’d like to share my thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried out products from fellow blogger’s suggestions, so I think I should step it up and share my favorite (and not so favorite) products.

I desperately need to update my 101 challenge. I recently registered my own domain for it (I’m on my second 101 list), but I haven’t updated that- or the original blog- since mid 2011!!!! My new list started on 10/2/2011! I don’t even have any of the new stuff posted yet. Yikes! I need it to be posted to hold myself accountable, and I can’t do that if it isn’t updated.

Oh, I’ve got quite a few recipes to post as well! Don’t you worry… I’m still cooking weekly. The only time I didn’t cook was when I was away at school for 10 days, and I’m totally okay with that. When I was home on my day off I think I made cookies with Mr. O, and I’ve already repeated recipes, so I’m totally covered on that goal.

survey says!

Days Until 2012: viaIt is time for a MEME! I used to love filling out those silly survey emails when I was a kid. The other day I got a tweet from Erin that just said Tag! I was like huh? Then I read her blog and realized she tagged me in the meme she completed. Holy, super excited batman! I’m in!

Here’s the rules.

  1. You must post these rules.
  2. Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
  3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
  4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
  5. No tag backs and you legit­i­mately have to tag 11 people.

11 Facts About Myself

  1. I am afraid of bees.
  2. I quit smoking on November 1, 2007. Woot Woot.
  3. I’m learning how to cook now by cooking once a week and I have LOVED it every time.
  4. I love anything crafty. DIY projects are the highlight of my day (when I have time to do them).
  5. I’m trying to buy a house. This process is not as fun as I assumed it would be.
  6. However, decorating for my future house on Pinterest IS ABSOLUTELY so much fun.
  7. I just did a critical project on Facebook and Writing. Check it out.
  8. We have an Elf on the Shelf named Logan. I fricking love this thing.
  9. I thank the universe every single morning for the amazing relationship I am in.
  10. I just started my second 101 in 1001 project (You can check out the blog, but it hasn’t been updated in FOREVER!)
  11. I plan weddings and other events. Hire me. Oh, and I create flower designs too.

And the questions from Erin.

  1. Where is one place (city, state, or country) that you are dying to visit?
    I don’t think I could fairly narrow this down. I’d love to go to Italy, Ireland, Vietnam, ehhh. I’ll stop here, but basically, I want to go EVERYWHERE!
  2. What is your bed time?
    Damn, I wish I had a set bedtime. Honestly, it is whenever I fall asleep. For the most part, that is between 10:30 and 12:00 usually.
  3. What is one resolution or goal you have for 2012?
    I try not to set specific resolutions, and I always have goals going, but I do have loads of intentions. I’d like to be a better student. It is my last semester, and I have so much writing to do. I’d like to be a more patient person, I’d to let other’s actions/moods affect me less than I currently let them. I’d like to blog more, and with better content.
  4. What would be your last supper?
    Lobster, oysters, dumplings, pho, ice cream cake, sour patch kids, banana cream cheesecake, and some steak
  5. If you could eat a meal with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
    A bunch of people jumped to mind, but I think in this very second, I’d like to meet Martin Luther King Jr. and just chat about our beliefs.
  6. What is your favorite animal?
    Alligators
  7. What is your dream job?
    Professional napper or stay at home mom(who got paid for it) or college writing professor or writer
  8. Who is your hero?
    My mom and my boyfriend
  9. When you need a snack, do you reach for sweet or salty? (Bonus points if you list your favorite snack.)
    Sweet. Favorite snack is just about everything. I do love ice cream. Oh, I just made some smores pops (marshmallow covered in chocolate–the white chocolate ones surprisingly taste best!– and then smothered in crushed graham crackers). But if I wanted a mix of both, I do love me some chocolate covered pretzels, and some chocolate covered potato chips.
  10. Does your style have a signature? (For example, I’m known for bold colors and loud prints.)
    Hmm, my signature varies through the years. If you ask my best friend, she’d say that I love prints. I guess I can admit to liking low cut shirts, but I can say its has been a while since I’ve worn one!
  11. What is your favorite book?
    Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Okay here is where my questions come in!

  1. Where was your best vacation?
  2. Do you have a lucky #? What is it? If not, why?
  3. What is one job you’d never want to do?
  4. Favorite household chore? Least favorite?
  5. Who’s style do you admire most and why?
  6. Do you fall asleep with the music or tv on (or anything else?)
  7. Favorite fast food meal?
  8. If you could have any animal as a pet (esspecially the kind that aren’t usually pets though) what would you choose?
  9. If you won 100 Million in the lottery what are the first 5 things you would buy/pay off?
  10. Do you like receiving gifts? What was the best present you’ve ever gotten?
  11. Can you keep plants alive?

I’m tagging…Erin, Elizabeth, Angela, Kate, Phil, AJ, Holly, AshleyLexah, Daisy, and Lisa!
If you play along, be sure to let me know. I’d love to see how you answered my questions.

thoughts, but mostly questions…

Days Until 2012: viaSo there have been a bunch of food, pictures and Christmas trees on the blog in the past two weeks. It’s time for some words.

  • I think I completed my goal this year in regards to buying all my presents before my brother’s birthday (12/13). I’ve got 6 important birthdays and Christmas all within one month. It is not easy financially. I’ve got to be organized when it comes to shopping.
  • I think I mentioned that I finished my 3rd Semester Project: The Story Behind the Status. I was so excited for it to be complete, but I felt so strange the next day. Like, “What now? What do I do now that is complete?” Well, I have quite a bit that I can do now, so I’m not concerned, but it is sad to see the project completed. I know I can do more with it in the future, I just need to buckle down and finish my thesis now.
  • Thesis? Ugh. What shall I write about in my thesis? Here are a bunch of possible ideas that I have: 1) I could have written a memoir if I didn’t spend my time doing ________. 2)The process of buying a house 3)The important of integrating grapefruit, yogurt and cookies and cream chocolate into your diet. I could really use suggestions. What would you guys like to see me write about?
  • There are a lot of blog related things I need to do, like redesign this blog, or launch my new self hosted 101 in 1001 goals blog. Who wants to help me?
  • Also, does anyone have any suggestions of things I can try cooking for dinner? How about a chicken or pork recipe? I haven’t cooked with those much, so send them my way!
  • Anyone have freelance writing opportunities they want to share with me? I need to beef up my income a little, so point me in the right direction guys.
  • My anniversary with Mr. O is next month. What should I get/do for that dreamboat?
  • I love the tv show The New Girl.
  • I miss me some Gray’s Anatomy. I haven’t watched it once this season.

Shrimp Mozambique

Days Until 2012: via

I’m a little bit excited to tell you all about week #5. I grew up in a very multicultural area, and I eat a whole lot of Portuguese food. However, I’ve never cooked any Portuguese dishes in my life. I’m grateful for my mom, my best friend’s mom, Mr. O and all the excellent restaurants in the city for the Portuguese food they make me. Now I can finally report that I am no longer a Portuguese food cooking virgin! Last week I cooked Shrimp Mozambique which is tied with Portuguese Steak as my favorite Portuguese meal. I usually order the Surf & Turf when I go out so that I can get the best of both meals.

So here is what things usually look like when I start cooking, especially if I’m following a recipe online. I did follow one recipe pretty much straightforward, but it just wasn’t spicy enough for my little Portuguese tongue, so I kept adding more hot sauce and wet crushed red pepper (but this was at the total end).
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First thing in the pan was the onions and butter. I’m kind of in love with onions lately (well, I’ve always been in love with them). I just love cooking with them. I don’t use a lot of butter in my cooking, but this dish calls for mucho butter.

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Look at the fun mix of spices and stuff! Next time I will add more than two Goya packets. I’ll probably do 3 1/2!

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Mr. O was kind enough to photograph me in the act of mixing the shrimp in with the sauce. He’s so great 🙂

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Yum! At this point, I just want to put my face in and eat like a maniac. Good thing I have enough sense to understand it will burn the shit out of my face. This is the point where I added more hot sauce and more wet crushed pepper to taste. I think by adding more Goya packets, I wont have to do this next time, but we will see.

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Tada! Final Product! I’m really proud of myself; it was so good. Traditionally, Shrimp Mozambique is served over fries and rice, but we decided to plate it over some spaghetti. We also made some garlic bread, which was super awesome to dip in the sauce. I think we made three pieces of garlic bread (two for Mr. O and one for me), but I ate his second piece. Yum Yum Yum.

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