How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds

I know I’ve done it before, but I couldn’t quite remember how to bake pumpkin seeds. The O Family bought a huge pumpkin this year, and sadly we did not carve it. Mr. O really loves pumpkin seeds, so we wanted to dig out the seeds and see if we could roast them.

Oh, and before I start, a quote from Mr. O. As we were looking online for a guide to follow, he says this: “Make sure the recipe makes them nice and crispy, or we won’t be friends anymore.” Threats!

IMG_5117.JPG

We used the awesome instructions at Oh She Glows as our general guide for how to bake pumpkin seeds, but because I can never ever follow directions, we changed it up a bit.

IMG_5119.JPG

First, be sure to clean out your pumpkin and get all the seeds possible. Once you have all the seeds you need, clean them well! Something suggested in the Oh She Glows post (which we didn’t try) was to put the guts and seeds in a bowl of water. As you separate the two, the seeds will float to the top, and you can just scoop them off.

IMG_5122.JPG

After the seeds are separated, the next step is boiling them in some salt water. Put them on the stove in a pot of water that has been brought to a boil. After you’ve submerged the seeds (they’ll keep floating to the top), you can reduce the heat to a simmer. After ten minutes, strain the seeds. Pat them dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Now you’ll want to preheat the oven to 325f.

IMG_5125.JPG

Now you’re ready to flavor the seeds however you like them. This is wear we strayed from the instructions. First, drizzle olive oil over the seeds. Do not drench them. Basically, you just want the seeds to have a light coating. I think we put a little too much on our seeds, though. They ended up tasting great in the end. We decided to flavor the seeds with garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne powder.

IMG_5131.JPG

 

Then it’s time for some baking! Bake the seeds for 10 minutes, and pull them out to mix them around. Mix everything well. Bake for another ten minutes. The total amount of time you need to cook the pumpkin seeds will depend on your own oven. My oven usually gets real hot, but it took about 25-30 minutes before I felt ready to take them out. Don’t just judge by the color of the shells. I’ve found the best way to test is by cracking the shell. They should be crispy, but the insides should be still a little soft. Having crispy insides means you’ve overcooked the pumpkin seeds.

IMG_5133.JPG

Once you’ve taken the seeds out of the oven, you’ll want to remove them from the pan – mine was extremely hot, and I was afraid leaving them there would burn the seeds.

After they’ve cooled down – which will happen super quickly – the pumpkin seeds will be ready to eat. If you still want more flavor, you can add any seasonings you’d like. So there really is no need to wonder how to bake pumpkin seeds any longer. It is a quick, and easy process. Not to mention that clean up is simple as well.

Enjoy!

This entry was posted in Cooking.

Thanksgiving Desserts

I’m going to be making desserts for my family dinners this year, and because there are going to be a pretty even mixture of adults and children, I thought it would be fun to make one “fun” recipe and another more “serious” dish. So I’m making my apple pie and I’m also making cake batter cookies and rice krispies treats!

Now with the amount of sugar and marshmallows in the two recipes, they may not be considered the healthiest treats around. However, I think we should all do what we can to make little changes, so in the following two recipes I am going to substitute I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (< MY FAVORITE) for regular ol’ butter. I also use Country Crock when I cook at home, but I just happened to use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter for these two desserts.

The apple pie is my favorite. I cooked my first apple pie by using this recipe in 2006. Since then, I’d say I’ve made probably about 5 pies, and every single time I change the recipe as I’m too lazy to look it up again. Here is what I used this time:

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.reinventingerin.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/IMG_20110417_133134.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]All Purpose Flour: 2 Tablespoons

8 or 9 Granny Smith Apples (this time I added about 4 or 5 red apples too!

Pie Crust (from the store!)

1 cup of sugar

Cinnamon: 1 Tablespoon

Nutmeg: 1 Teaspoon

Egg: 1

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: 2-4 Tablespoons.

One lemon (both the juice and zest)[/author_info] [/author]

 

So basically, you will peel and cut your apples. Next you can grate your lemon peel and juice it over the apples. Mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and about 1 tablespoon of butter. After you’ve got that all mixed up, you can literally toss it in your crust and cover with the second layer of dough.

 

Next, you’ll beat the egg and brush it completely over the dough. After that, I sprinkled some brown sugar and sugar on the top. Then I cut a little design in the top before I baked the pie. The MOST important part is that you stick some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter under the cuts you just made. I honestly don’t remember why, but my mom told me this years ago, so I’ll listen to her. Tada! All done. (Well, that technically isn’t true, before you stick it in the oven, you’re going to want to heat it to 400 degrees. Then cook for about 45 minute. You’ll tell its done when the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly.

Now, if you’re interested in the cake batter rice krispies, here is what you will need:

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.reinventingerin.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/IMG_2893.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]One Box of Rice Krispies

Funfetti Cake Mix: 3/4 cup

marshmallows: one bag

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: 3 Tablespoons

Sprinkles (A handful or two) [/author_info] [/author]

  

This one is easy. First, melt the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and the marshmallows in a huge pan. Once they are lumpy and mostly melted pour in the rice krispies cereal, but you must do this part slowly. It’s tough to mix this around, so if you put too much cereal in at once, it’s going to be even harder to mix. When you’re getting pretty well mixed, I’d toss in a handful of sprinkles. Then you spread the coated rice krispies into a pan and you’ll want to put a bit more sprinkles on the top. THAT IS IT, FOLKS! Simple! I haven’t decided if I am going to frost these or not. Maybe I’ll just glaze them with white chocolate. Yum.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I honestly love Country Crock and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. One of those two brands are always in my fridge, and I use them to cook all the time. Whether its simple as toast or mashed potatoes, or I’m cooking desserts for Thanksgiving…I’m a I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter FAN!

Thank you to Good to Know & Unilever Spreads for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

 

Who I am At 28

Note: This was originally drafted the week of my birthday, although I never finished it. I just read it in my drafts folder, and thought it was a good post to share, even if it isn’t fully complete. So here is something written last month, in my last few days of being 27.

hello-28

A few years ago, I would make some pretty stellar birthday lists. No, not as wish lists, but more like “lessons I’ve learned” or “goals for the coming year” kind of lists. Somewhere in the past few years (I blame grad school), I stopped making these lists. After reading Jenn’s most recent post about her 25th birthday (Happy Birthday, Jenn!), I decided to not let another year go by without writing something. Now, I have enough goals to last me, you, and your extended family a few years so there is no need to come up with any more. (I’ll just finally put some effort into my 101 in 1001 list!)  So here is a portrait of who I am (inspired by Nora from last year if you can believe it*) at the age of 28.

If you look at my hair, you will see that for the first birthday of my life, I am a brunette. There were days in the past 11 months that I missed being a blonde, but now I’m comfortably settled into the simplicity of brown hair. If you look at my face, you may notice the lack of glasses. I’m entering the first birthday of my life with perfect vision, and I see a great future in the distance. If you looked at my skin you’d notice many imperfections and scars. I’ve been cut into and biopsied and am eternally grateful to every imperfection because they prove that I am healthy and alive.

If you looked at my wrist you’d notice the only jewelry I wear: a Pandora bracelet from Mr. O with beads chosen carefully and purposely, beads that symbolize important moments for our little family. If you looked at my clothing, I’ll probably be either in work clothes or extremely comfortable clothing like pajamas or jeans and a tee-shirt. If you looked at my feet you’d see flip flops as I’m trying to get in every possible last day with them before it becomes boot weather. My accoutrements are various. If I am out of the house, I pretty much need sunglasses, my iPhone and keys; however, I will have much more on my person. I carry a huge black pocketbook, and if you dump it out, you will find: an agenda, a small notebook, at least 5 pens/markers, a wallet, a camera, many receipts, cough drop wrappers and a full bag of cough drops, a pill-box full of vitamins, eyeshadow, band-aids, tissues, finger puppets, paper clips, chap stick and lip gloss, and random other goodies.

If you watched me as I went about my day you’d notice I usually do multiple things at once. At work I seem to do four different projects at once. I’m not advocating this is a good idea (because it isn’t), but I can’t seem to get things done if I don’t multitask.

If you could peek into my brain you’d see that I most often think about my relationship with Mr. O, Wolverine, what I’m going to eat, my friends and family, Spry, work stuff and mundane tasks like getting gas or food shopping.

If you wondered what my life would look like in the near future, I’d tell you that I will be content. That I make the choice to be happy, and while I struggle from time to time, I still choose happiness over the alternative. I will tell you about Spry, the literary journal my colleague Linsey and I just founded. By this time next year we will have published two issues and be working on our third. I will tell you about Mr. O and Wolverine and how happy I still am with my two guys. I will tell you that this year of my life I plan on thriving and creating and relaxing.

Thank you, twenty-eight for the endless possibilities. I have faith that this will be an exciting year.

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.

20120217-115814.jpg

20120217-115824.jpg

20120217-115836.jpg

20120217-115850.jpg

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.

20120112-104404.jpg

20120112-104445.jpg

20120112-104520.jpg20120112-104505.jpg20120112-104552.jpg20120112-104617.jpg

*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!

20120110-194332.jpg

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.

20120110-194605.jpg

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.
20120110-194315.jpg

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!)
20120110-194440.jpg

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!
20120110-194412.jpg

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.
20120110-194351.jpg

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.

20120110-220609.jpg

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.

20120110-220710.jpg

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.

20120110-220846.jpg

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.

20120110-220915.jpg

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.

20120110-220939.jpge20120110-221201.jpg

Hungry?

Don’t get too overwhelmed but next week there is going to be a whole lot of yumminess on the blog. Monday through Friday, I’ll be posting pictures of recipes that I’ve tried.  There will be pork, cookies, Hasselback potatoes, Chicken mozambique, meatballs, lettuce wraps. It’s going to be a good time. Just thought I would warn you.

This entry was posted in Cooking.

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!

20120110-193820.jpg

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!

20120110-193909.jpg20120110-193947.jpg

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.

a look back, a look forward

Add Media

Happy New Year Y’all!

I hope you had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve. The lovely Angela Noelle was kind enough to share these 1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Polar Bear Plunge on 1/1/11. Broke my foot. Traveled to PA and VT. Ate pho. Got my first real grown up tree. This list could go on an on and on.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t really make NY resolutions. I followed a Cuban tradition of eating 12 red grapes and making 12 goals or intentions as I like to call them. I think I did really great with my intentions. I did the same tradition again this year with Mr. O. Thank you Daisy for bring that into my life.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, actually, I don’t think so. But I do have two nieces who turned one this year, and now I have three close friends to me pregnant, and another real good friend too!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My sister-in-law’s grandfather. He was close to our family, and I do miss him when we have family gatherings. Plus, I didn’t like to see her hurt.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the United States in 2011!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you didn’t have in 2011?
I have everything I need. But one thing I will get in 2012 (well, unless something goes drastically wrong) is a DIPLOMA!! I’ll have my MFA 🙂

7. What dates from 2011 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
The day I first saw Mr. O, and then every day between that and the first time he told me he loved me. It was the perfect beginning to a relationship.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
My 3rd semester project. I also felt very proud when I was elected by my peers to be our graduation speaker. Losing a little weight (to a # I hadn’t seen on the scale in a decade) although, I haven’t checked my weight in the past few weeks, and god knows I’ve gained a few pounds.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Failure? Hmm. Nothing. If there was any time that I “failed” I definitely learned from those moments, and I can’t consider learning moments failures.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I broke my foot on 1/4/11.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Vacations? I like the iPhone, although I wish I didn’t drop my Droid in the ocean.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Mr. O. He is kind and loving.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ha. I get appalled by people who are disrespectful. I sometimes feel sad FOR people when they act pathetically, but I’ve learned to not give any emotional response to people who don’t deserve it.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house fund. Or: school, vacations, Christmas and birthdays

15. What did you get really excited about?
Being in a happy, healthy relationship. Surprise presents from my guy. Our vacations, especially when Wolverine came with us. Learning how to cook.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
A song I love from John Legend

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier
b) thinner or fatter? 
Thinner
c) richer or poorer? 
Richer. House money safely in the bank and no credit card debt (well, after I get paid this week to finish paying the damn Christmas gifts)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Write more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Care about other people’s actions/thoughts. I only want to care about my own actions, and those of the people who are vital in my life.

20. How will you spend Christmas?
I spent it with Mr. O, Wolverine and both our families.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Oh, yes, yes I did. And if you couldn’t tell that from reading this blog, please get your vision checked.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I don’t like television that much, but surprisingly, I loved New Girl and XFactor.

23. What was the best book you read?
Oh goodness. I read so much for school, I honestly do not know. I think my favorite thing I read was an essay at school in a workshop. I’ll remember the name and edit the blog when I do.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
SAde and John Legend together in concert. YES!

25. What did you want and get?
Two fantastic guys: Mr. O and Wolverine.

26. What did you want and not get?
In 2011 I received more than I could possibly ask for.

27. What was your favorite film of 2011?
Tough one. Well, we went to the theaters to see Transformers and Hangover. Those were good.

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26 and went out with a bunch of great friends. Mr. O, my bestie and I went to lunch and the batting cages on my actual bday.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Buying a house is not as fun as it seems 😉

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?
Stop trying to look “pretty” and feel “pretty” in what you already own. I guess I’m learning to dress in my own style, and not feeling like I have to wear the same thing as everybody else? Does that make sense?

31. What kept you sane?
Having great people- especially Mr. O and Wolverine- around me.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Osama Bin Ladin getting killed. After you have a friend die overseas, it is tough to understand the “War” as well as you thought you once did. Then to have the #1 Most Wanted person killed, it’s kind of like…What Now? Does his death justify my friend’s? And I personally can’t celebrate easily in another person being killed, so I had mixed emotions about that in general.

33. Who did you miss?
I missed Mr. O while I was away at school. And Wolverine, especially him this time around. People talk about the quirky things their kids say and do and it really makes me wonder what he is doing, and how school is and what books he is reading at night etc. I miss Poppa (my SIL’s grandfather) around the holidays and family parties. I miss Robert a bunch. I miss my dog Khiva here and there even though it has been 4 whole years since she has passed away.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Every single thing is a choice. Everything.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
In this life, we all know
Friends may come, and they may go
Through the years I know
I will stay

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.

cookie monsters

13 Days until 2012!

Mr. O had some great blondie brownies at work, and we decided to see if we can replicate them at home. Here is our first attempt (from finished to beginning):20111219-162351.jpg

20111219-162400.jpg

20111219-162407.jpg

20111219-162412.jpg

20111219-162419.jpg

I’m posting this in honor of Erin’s Cookie Week. I’ll post the recipe of the batch that we actually really liked…

%d bloggers like this: