365 photo catch up

So yeah, I fell a little behind posting my 365 photo project. Luckily, I didn’t fall behind on taking the photos. I am going to try to post about nine photos at a time, just so the format will be pretty. Thanks to San, I downloaded the Frametastic App for my iPhone, and that is what I am going to try for the time. Tomorrow there will be one more 365 catch up, and at that point, I will be all caught up ūüôā20120314-145408.jpg

From the top (clockwise):
Day 29: I take a bath with this wild animal
Day 30: My Memere’s chair
Day 31: Yummy Pho for dinner
Day 32: It is going to be a long day at work. Preparations.

365 Photos: Week Four

This week was quite tough to remember, but here it is (I edited this post as the pictures weren’t formatted correctly).

Day 22: Trying to perfect the guava mojito

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Day 23: Valentine's Day flowers that never quite made it

Day 24: Gloomy Monday Mornings

Day 25: Coconut Shrimp

Day 26: Onions Make Me Cry

Day 27: Bedroom Ceiling

Day 28: Lunch

365 Photos: Week Three

It isn’t easy to remember to take these pictures, but I am trying! I’m going strong with week #3. Can someone out there teach me how to pretty this up with Instagram or something?

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Day 15: Making frozen green apple margaritas for Mr. O and me

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Day 16: Octopus (hot dog) Mac and Cheese for Wolverine

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Day 17: Handwriting (Just a mini excerpt from a huge to-do list)

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Day 18: Just started reading The Happiness Project, a Christmas gift from my mom

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Day 19: My healthy lunch! Apple, Special K and yogurt

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Day 20: A peek at my planner. It says "Massholes Unite"... My writing group is called the Masshole Writers. Oh, yeah.

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Day 21: Getting together some prizes for a competition we had at work!

 

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 √ľber 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 Two

Another completed week!

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Day 8: This is not the kind of thing you want to see come out of your purse when you heavily rely on sunglasses

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Day 9: My February goal is to PURGE and today I tackled my closet

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Day 10: More purging. Don't need the stuff to fix my glasses anymore, and I don't need broken frames either

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Day 11: Thirsty, much?

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Day 12: Soooo much to do at work.

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Day 13: The gerbera daisy Mr. O's mom gave me for my birthday (in September) is flowering still!

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Day 14: Work, work, work....

What is your favorite picture this week? My favorite is the gerbera daisy!

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

Elf on the Shelf!

Days Until 2012: via

We have an Elf on the Shelf!!! Mr. O, Wolverine and I have been quite busy keeping an eye on Logan, our elf (Logan is Wolverine’s “human” name, hence how he got his name). I don’t have a picture of how we found him after the first night he came to us, but let’s just say we woke up in the morning to find him with the Xbox controller on his lap and his hands on the buttons! This next picture is him ironing Wolverine’s pants.20111210-204924.jpg

The crazy elf loves Super Hero Squad too. Check out his Hulk hands!
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P.s. Happiest birthday to Holly one of my closest friends in the whole world.

technically it was round two, but officially will be round one

 Days until 2012! VIA

A week in recipes??? So remember how I decided to start cooking weekly as part of my 101 in 1001 project? Remarkably, I have been doing just that ūüôā Since I have about 6 or 7 meals completed, I figured I’d spend the week posting about the food I’ve cooked.

The first meal was on 10/19/11; I made spaghetti and meatballs and foolishly didn’t photograph the meal. Since it is a pretty big deal for me to photograph ALL of my 101 challenge, I’ve decided to just start the “challenge”¬†with my first photographed meal, which was technically week #2.

Chow Mein on 10/24/11! I should let you know that I consider myself a Chow Mein rock star. I’ve improved my recipe over the past year, but it is a pretty easy meal to cook, and it is also something I can eat pretty regularly. Mr. O and I are pretty obsessed with our homemade dumplings, so we decided to cook those as well (Mr. O cooked them, while I watched).

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There isn’t much to tell you about cooking. I tend to eat my chow mein with meat. Usually pork or chicken, although I did make good use of my Thanksgiving leftovers by cooking turkey chow mein! So the first thing to do is cook your meat. While it is on the stove, I chop my vegetables and prepare my sauce. I usually put onions, bean sprouts and occasionally mushrooms in my chow mein. My mother puts celery in hers, but both Mr. O and myself aren’t fans of celery, so we don’t. We buy¬†our chow mein noodles and mix in bulk at Oriental Chow Mein Company¬†which is run by the sweetest woman who I consider part of my family. She is the person who taught my mom to cook so well when she was growing up, so I’m pretty grateful for her. The sauce is slightly tricky to mix, but once you get the hang of it, it’s no biggie. Basically you just mix the powder with water; if the water is too cold, the powder won’t liquefy¬†well. If the water is too hot, then the powder turns into a jelly, and it is a pain in the ass to turn it back into a liquid. So my trick is to start to boil water on the stove, but before it begins to bubble, I scoop out some water and mix my sauce. Once the sauce is ready, I pour it into the remaining water on the stove, and toss in my veggies and meat.

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From here on is a waiting game. I generally never cook my sauce higher than medium temperature, but I like to get the sauce to thicken, and also let the¬†add-ins absorb the flavor before I plate it. It worked out well this night, because we didn’t start making the dumplings until I threw all the ingredients in the sauce pan. This is a picture of the dumplings as soon as they went into the pan. Like I said, Mr. O cooked them, so I really don’t have much to remark yet about dumpling cooking. The final thing to do when everything is ready is fill a bowl with crunchy brown¬†chow mein noodles and then cover it with as much sauce as you like. I’m a HUGE fan of putting some balsamic vinegar in my chow mein, but Mr. O thinks that is gross.

Here is to the official week one, and to kicking off one of the goals on my 101 list. Check back tomorrow for another sneak peek at my cooking skills.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my very first giveaway on Reinventing Erin for a $25 gift card to Overnight Prints!. You do not want to miss it. Click here to find out all the ways you can enter.

sharing is caring…

So I’ve seen a few great posts out there in blogland of the items that are on people’s holiday wish lists, and I’ve decided to share a few of my own. In all honesty, there is really not very much that I want for the holidays this year. Ideally, I’d like to purchase The House (can you believe I want to GIVE the bank my money for my Christmas present?). That would make me the happiest this holiday season. But, besides that… well, I just don’t really need anything. Are there things I want? Of course! I want things all the time! I’ve just gotten better at differentiating between wants and needs. But for the fun of it, here is my “wish list” in no particular order… and no, it isn’t a complete list… but I didn’t overwhelm all¬† you bloggers that plan on buying gifts for me ūüėČ

When it’s chilly, there is no reason to look frumpy (I can pretty much 100% promise you that I DO look frumpy in the Winter- THIS could change that!)
Just so you know, I WILL own this stamp (or a similar one) after Mr. O and I HAVE our house. Sigh. Hopefully soon. This is GORGEOUS!
How cool is this instant camera that prints out credit card size photos immediately? Damn cool.
Way too expensive at $60, but uber cool.
Obviously, this would need to be E <3 “Mr.O’s Initial”….Now you all know his name doesn’t start with a B!
Ahhhhh-may-zzziiinnngggg
Pretttyyyyyy   
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