3/30/2013

GOMI

I was perusing my usual blogs early this week when I noticed a comment that struck me as odd.  Another reader was "sad" because he/she thought the blogger was editing the blog for GOMI lately, and that it was less interesting now.  What is GOMI?  I had no idea, but was really curious, so obviously Googled it.



Get Off My Internets (GOMI).  Hmmm...I quickly realized it was a forum to rag on popular blogs.  As much as I don't want to condone being mean, this site is hilarious.  The problem with blogging a lot is that it provides endless fodder for people to judge you.  The rags were pretty funny to read, but more importantly, it was extremely eye opening.  Even before discovering GOMI, there were a lot of things I was already not sharing because they were either:

  1. Embarrassing - No, I do not need to hear about your medical treatment or OBGYN exam, but thanks!
  2. Exhausting  - Some people take pictures of ev-er-y-thing they eat.
  3. Out of my expertise range - Opinions are one thing, but that can get tricky really fast too. Or...
  4. Other - There are probably other excellent reasons that I can't think of at this moment.

Even with these general rules in place, I probably should put a gigantic disclaimer about how...

I am not an expert at anything really. 
I was bad at spelling from the get-go (like 3rd grade), 
and I wouldn't count too much on my grammar 
(though I do try hard with there's and yours).  
This isn't my job, its for family and fun.

At the same time, I think people should be able to rag on me as much as they want.  I make spelling/grammatical errors all of the time, and not everyone will agree with the decisions I have made for myself.  I would prefer any criticism to be constructive so that I can improve and learn, but if I ever can't take the heat, then I will get out of the kitchen blogging (I love cooking and will never get out of the kitchen).  All's fair in love and the Internet.  Okay, enough with the nerdy quoting.

Anyway, Instead of bloggin, I've been spending my free time this week reading GOMI and thinking about what offenses I may have already made myself.  I'm back, but if you like a good laugh and happen to follow any of the bloggers being ragged on, check it out.

Final thoughts:

  • I am so glad we are just eloping.  That is lot of wedding crap I don't have to write about.
  • The posters on GOMI are rated by # of meows (comments) with cat names like, Kitten, Cat, Senior Cat, etc... They often refer to their own family members as HusCat and Kittens (husband and kids)...awe :)  I love cats :)
  • Why don't bashed bloggers just own their mistakes (or personal craziness) and say "hi" to everyone on GOMI?  There is nothing more buzz killing than getting called out, even if it is through a computer screen.


That's my two cents.  


What do you think?  Is this site heinous, or fair game?


3/26/2013

Chickpea Puppy Chow

A long time ago, I tried roasted Chickpeas.  This was before I got too much into recipe testing and new-to-me "healthy living" foods.  They were curry flavored based off some recipe and were good, but not good enough to stick with for that long. 

Fast forward nearly 6 years and I am at it again.  We love Puppy Chow in our house, but haven't made it in quite a few months.  I had gone on a brownie and girl scout cookie fix and we didn't always have the ingredients to make it.  It actually wasn't even in my thoughts until we simultaneously stocked up on Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips that I had the hankering again.  The only problem, we still had no Chex or Crispix in the pantry.  I did, however, have two cans of Chickpeas that had been collecting dust for a couple months. 

Have you ever Googled "how to roast chickpeas"?  Yikes, some of the results almost scared me away from trying this, with lots of steps and issues if they weren't followed just so.  Have no fear though, there is a super easy roasting method from Chow.com (how fitting...haha!).  400°F for 40 minutes. The rest was easy peasy, pretty much like the original Puppy Chow recipe, but this version packs in a powerful protein and fiber punch.  The roasted chickpeas give this treat a nice crunch too!



Chickpea Puppy Chow


Ingredients

2 Cans Chickpeas
Spray Oil
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Powdered Sugar + a possible 1/2 Cup for extra coverage

Instructions

Roast Chickpeas:  Heat oven to 400°F.  Drain and rinse chickpeas, then pat dry.  Line jelly roll pan with foil and lightly coat with oil.  Place chickpeas in a single layer on the foil and spray to lightly coat them as well. Roast 40 minutes.  Turning after 20 minutes and again at 30 minutes.  Allow chickpeas to cool.

Prep Chocolate Coating:  In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together.  About 30 seconds in the microwave, stirring 1/2 way through.  Mix cooled chickpeas and chocolate mixture.

Coat with Powdered Sugar:  The goal is to just get it all evenly covered.  The easiest way is to sprinkle 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into a gallon size bag, then add chocolate covered chickpeas and the top with the other 1/2 cup of sugar.  Seal bag and shake to cover.  Add more powdered sugar as needed for coverage.



Before roasting.


After.  Major shrinkage. 


Close up.  The darker ones are crunchier.


The good stuff!


Ready for poppin!



Happy Birthday to my very favorite Brother!!! 


3/25/2013

Badger Red Bathroom

I love our house.  Seriously, almost everything about it.  I have to sometimes pinch myself on lovely Friday evenings or Saturday mornings when I can't believe it.  Bret and I were incredibly lucky to find a house we both love that also did not require much fixing up.  The only room that actually had color was the main bathroom, and it was bad.  The walls were an ugly, untextured and dirty, sea foam green color of some sorts.  Not good; more embarrassing than anything else. 


The camera and lighting were playing tricks. 
The pictures do not do justice to the terribleness of these walls.




It doesn't help that there is no natural light in the bathroom.


The only thing making the bathroom bearable since January were these oldies but goodies.  I found them while unpacking a box to make room for Christmas decorations.  My laundry room walls are looking bare now, so maybe they will have to make their way over there.  :)


A real Survivor Buff.  From one of the worst seasons, but still real!

I love Mr. Darcy aka Collin Firth. 
Thank you BBC for creating such a masterpiece.

Bret attempted to get me to paint the bathroom a while back, but I was just not ready for picking colors or changing anything at the time and kinda flipped out.  We didn't talk about it for a few months and have been busy with other things until this Saturday morning.  The weather was crappy for Houston (cool and rainy), and we didn't have any specific project to work on, so we discussed painting the bathroom.  The original idea was a light brown color.  I've had a thing for lime/apple green lately, but that fell off the table pretty quick too.  Then, we saw this ad for "Coral Splendor" on Home Depot's website and went for it...but called it Badger Red of course!



The actual color is Indiscreet, and that sums it up pretty well!  It is only slightly more discreet than the Edgy Red we almost purchased.  To keep the color from being too shinny and blinding we added texturing sand to the paint.  Now our bathroom looks so cool!  It is seriously bright and makes me smile.  You can feel free to call me crazy, but it was really fun to just go for it.


Kapooya! Kapooya!!!






Next steps will be finding accessories to match.  The brown shower curtain and rugs really do not work with bright red.  Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!

Now, if only the Badgers would have played better this weekend...I only had them winning once anyway.  They've let me down too many times in the past to pick them for much.  Amy learns.  The rest of my bracket is pretty bad too...only 9 out of the Sweet Sixteen.   I'm still hanging on to my Final Four though!


3/23/2013

Wisconsin, Here I Come!


It's official.  My travel is booked, my Crazy Legs registration is in, and I couldn't be more excited for it all :) :) :)  If you can't tell, I'm doing a happy dance down here.  My mood was in super happy overload early this week after booking my travel.  I am so excited to see some family and friends again.  It has been too long.

Back to Crazy Legs, it is an awesome road race.  It starts at the Capital square winds it's way around the beautiful UW campus: up Bascom hill, out to the Lakeshore dorms (hi Bradley & Cole!), along part of the Lakeshore path (a fav of mine), past an Octopus Car Wash.  Then finally it ends (after a few hills) on the field of Camp Randall.  There is always a great cover band entertaining the crowd, but the best part is the free beer!  Well, it may not be the best beer, but it makes for some fun times either way (all you can drink until it's gone).



You know what else is CRAZY? 


These two fighting lizards.  I didn't get the camera out until they were already in the thick of fighting, but you get the idea.



And Pi's Face.



Happy Saturday!

3/21/2013

Three Things Thrusday

1.  Reality TV


I am painfully behind on my two favs, Survivor and Amazing Race.  I keep wanting to sit down and just enjoy them, but other things have just been getting in the way.  Good things, like warm weather outside, playing with cats, cooking, and running.  The Bachelor and Biggest Loser just ended too, so I felt more obligated to see those right away. I was going to say that I hate spoilers, but for the Bachelor, I "knew" who won before the show even started.  I do hate spoilers for all other reality TV though.  Bach and Biggest Loser require less commitment, so I can come in and out without missing anything too important.


Danni looked killer at the finale! She was awesome, as were all the finalists.
And, I want that dress! (source)


2.  Pi Lemon Bars on Pi Day


I made a second attempt at lemon bars last Thursday (also Pi Day [3/14] and the kitties day of birth).  I used the correct granulated sugar in the filling this time.  The bars turned out slightly better, but there was still some separation going on.  I think the recipe is off now, it's not totally my fault for the first flop.  This time though, the top cracked as the bars cooled.  No lie, it cracked in the shape of Pi!  It's like it knew what day it was ;)




3.  March Madness


I have been having a hard enough time with reality shows, that I had absolutely no idea what to pick.  Having not watched more than 5 minutes of college basketball this season, I'm not betting on anything.  Bad Amy!  Anyway.  Since my brother just posted his girl friend's bracket on-line, I made one too.  I played it pretty straight with a few deviations, and only picked Indiana for the win because Obama did. Thank for letting me know NPR :)


I see I left out on block in the East bracket.  Let's pretend I put Montana there.


 

Who's your pick for winning the tournament?


3/19/2013

Views of the Weekend

I heard it snowed in Wisconsin again.  People on facebook for the most part are pissed.  I don't blame them, but it was really hard to feel bad when we had views like this.



Anyway, it was beautiful out.  Bret has been working like crazy.  This month he works regular long hours plus has to cover a pager overnight.  Most nights it goes off at least once (often 3, 4 or more times) and he has to get up to work a bit.  It's better than not coming home at all, but still is not fun.  I didn't grow up around anyone with a pager to respond to, so this is all pretty new to me.  Luckily, the worst part of the month is almost over and we are pager free this weekend. :)

Even though he was working last weekend, Bret was able to make it home for Saturday's lunch and a new recipe!  I was inspired by a combination of our CSA box's cilantro bunch and this simple and tasty recipe from Daily Garnish.  And noodles sounded good (because they pretty much always do).  The original recipe called for parsley, but that's not what I had, so I just went for it with cilantro.  The combo of cilantro and lemon gave the dish a very refreshing flavor.  The almonds and garlic were just plain tasty.  I also used garlic olive oil again to amp it up.


Chopped almonds give it a nice crunchy texture and a little more staying power.
No mayonnaise necessary for this cold pasta salad.


It got a thumbs-up from Bret, so I'll make it again.


Lunch spread.  That's veggies with hummus, a huge bowl of pasta
and gigantic mug of water to share with my love.


With a view.  Visitors are always welcome :)


The only thing missing was a beer.  I wasn't going to indulge since Bret cannot while he is on call, but he was so nice and got one for me anyway.  True love, I tell ya!


St. Arnold's spring seasonal beer.  Very pretty flowers on the label.

Oh, and our pool is up to 74 degrees F as of today.  Now, if it can only get up to 80 by the time visitors arrive in April, then we will be set!


3/18/2013

Bloglovin Test

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


Edited:  Um, yeah, I am still a serious newbie when it comes to blogging.  I should probably have included some other information and just made it a  fun link for you to "follow" me with.  Anyway, apparently Google Reader will no longer be available sometime this summer.  Bloglovin is just another way to follow blogs and keep track of what you've read.  Everyoneblogger and their sister seem to be switching to it, so I might as well too. ...It's not like I had racked up many "followers" with Google anyway. ;)

3/17/2013

Happening Lately + St. Patty's Day Smoothie

It's been a good couple of weeks.  Nothing major happening, just life.

We went fishing on our lake the other weekend and caught a huge bass!  It was a combo of Bret, the boat and me all catching the thing.  He threw out the cast and handed the pole to me.  I set it in the pole holder next to me and we paddled along.  Then we looked up and the pole was bending, so I started reeling!  We were actually using pretty small bait in hopes of catching blue gills, but this guy (gal?) was hungry!


I really do not like touching fish, so this was hard for me!


CSA!  There is a local/organic produce delivery company in the Houston area.  Kind of on a whim we tried it out.  You can order once, or weekly, or at any frequency you desire.  So we tried it just once to see what came and if it was worth it (cost, fun, local-ness, lots of things factored in here).  






First thought, it doesn't seem like very much for the cost.  I normally just buy non-organic produce though, so that is probably what was throwing me off.  


The spread.
Cilantro, baby arugula, bok choy, cabage, easter egg radishes,
 lettus, spinach, and 2 of each Meyer lemons, oranges and avocados.
All from someplace in Texas.


But, it had good variety, and everything we have had so far has been of good quality.  It has also pushed me to try new recipes and veggies that don't often ever make it into my shopping basket.  We will probably do it again.

The bunch (bag) of baby arugula made me most nervous.  I am not a fan of the stuff.  It seems to often be in fancy salads, sandwiches and pizzas, but I just don't dig the flavor.  There are plenty of other greens I would much rather eat.  So, to use it up, I created a new smoothie recipe in honor of St. Patrick's Day!  Maybe one day I will be able to stand the arugula flavor to eat it in salad form.  Until then...



Mint Chocolate Arugula Smoothie





Ingredients:
1/2 bunch (bag) of Baby Arugula 
1 1/2 Cups Milk of Choice
1 - 2 Sprigs of Mint
2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
4 Packets of Splenda
1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed (Optional)

Instructions:
Toss everything in the blender.
Blend until the arugula is mostly blended to smithereens.
Enjoy!




Pumpkin's thoughts
 "Hmm.  It looks like it would work with my grain free diet,
 but I think I'll stick with meat in dried and canned form."





3/14/2013

3.14 Things Thursday

This post is sorta belated, as are a lot of potential posts this week, but here we are.  No apologies.  Life is just busy and that is that.

1.  Happy Birthday to Pumpkin and Pi!

Three years old.  That is crazy!  I love their cute and cuddliness.  They have a way of making otherwise normal boring days fun.  The other day, I was at the dentist getting a couple cavities filled.  It was the first time in a long time, and it was worse than I was expecting.  To get through it, I just thought of the cute and fluffy kitties waiting for me at home. Call me crazy, but it worked. 


2.  Pumpkin Playing on his Birthday

For whatever reason, he really likes this pop-up laundry basket.  Like we can't see him! ;)





3.  Pi Playing on her Birthday

She loves little bouncy balls and fake mice that she can bat around and carry around in her mouth.





How did you celebrate Pi day? 

 

More importantly, how will you be celebrating St. Patty's Day?



3/07/2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Lemon Bar Fail


It's almost spring!?!  I've mentioned before that my weather calender is all messed up, as I figure out what is "normal" Houston weather.  I knew January and February were flying by, but it didn't hit me until my new Eating Well magazine came in the mail. Subscription = Excellent Christmas Present.


Not so excellent...my interpretation of the Lemon Bar recipe.  I have never made lemon bars before and was really trying to follow the instructions.  I got all of the ingredients and instructions right, except the sugar in the lemon gel part.  The short bread crust called for powdered sugar and I, in the semi-frantic way I act when trying new recipes, totally missed the text that said "granulated" sugar for the lemon part.  So, in went the powdered sugar!

When the pan was pulled out of the oven, its top was a creamy yellow, not the normal jelly-like yellow you would expect.  I just chalked it up to the recipe, and didn't think much of it.

Then later, Bret was munching on it and said it was really weird.  Fail.  The lemon part had separated into three layers!  Of widely varying texture.  Still edible, but weird.  Luckily, there are four lemons left for a second (and third) attempt.







2. Brussels Sprouts


Nothing special here.  Just roasted them for dinner last night.  Only notable because it's only the second time ever.  I am still working up my Brussels sprout tolerance.  Looking good so far!



3. Driving around Houston


There are bad drivers everywhere I know, but there seems to be an especially high concentration in Houston.  The slow one's in the left lane kill me the most.  On my drive home from work I try not to zip around too much, as I listen to NPR, but some days I just cannot take it.

Here are a few gems I have seen on Houston Roadways:


Baby held in lap, sticking hand out window.


Gun decals on the back of a pick-up.


What are you up to this fine Thursday?


3/06/2013

A Little Bit of Color

For those of you covered in snow, here is a bit of color from Houston. 


Mint.  We stopped watering it for a while and it just popped up again.

More mint.  All over.  Mojitos this weekend?  I think so.

Not many flowers are out now, but I did find a few yellow ones on a vine.

Up close.


Agave!  We planted two agave plants in the back a few weeks ago.
Tequila anyone?

After making a few references to alcohol, I remembered one other snow cold weather-blues buster.

 

Coconut Rum



I felt compelled to pick up a bottle a few weeks ago.  And, let me tell you, it brought our average juice mixed drink to a whole other level.  Like you are on relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean.  Do it!


The Baths 2011 (I think it's Devils Beach, but don't quote me).


 

3/04/2013

Reality TV Overload

Hi All!  I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine was great and very much needed.  Friday I dropped my phone, shattered the screen, and then continued to have a pity party the rest of the day :(  Not cool, but a good night's sleep and long run in the sun the next day turned my poopy mood around. :)
 
I was also able to catch up on my reality TV (which may have also been a significant mood booster).  I was two episodes behind on Amazing Race (and now am behind on last nights!), and one on each of Survivor, Biggest Loser and the Bachelor.  Life is tough sometimes...I kid, but every week the episodes just keep piling up!  After tonight I will be behind on a another round of AR, Bach and Loser.  Overload indeed.
 

 

source

Thoughts on Amazing Race Epi 1 & 2

  • Blah cast.  They all seem fakey or over produced and I do not have anyone in particular to root for yet. 
  • It was interesting that all three teams who took the Road Block penalty thought they were all going to win.  I wonder how long they had been actively looking through sand castles by the time they quit?  I'm pretty sure I would not have taken that 4 hour chance.
  • Why do people sign up for amazing race knowing they have a fear of water.  There is always water, usually in an ocean, and usually requiring you to put your head under and swim.
  • I love the that Katie "just doesn't like people" or something like that, and that her husband totally accepts that!  Now, there are a lot of times where I could agree with Katie, but the extent to which they are playing that up is hilarious.  I hope Max & Katie stay in the Race for a while longer to keep their funny commentary.
  • Overall, the episodes have been interesting, but without having a team to route for, they get a bit boring.
 

 

Survivor Epi 3


I went into watching this episode without planning to write much.  Just enjoy and relax (and fold clothes).  Sherri's gem of a comment changed my mind quickly...

  • Sherri "I'm the best at dealing with teenage brats" (i.e. Shamar) because she deals with ACTUAL teenagers everyday at work.  Shamar, are you watching this?  If so, your face must be stinging a whole lot after that slap...
  • Phil is a BALLER.  He gets mistaken for a NBA player often.  You know, Larry Bird old-school-style.  That was probably the best clip of the night.
  • Malcolm finds the idol again!  :)
  • Loved Cochran's musings on how awesome Survivor is; as are the women in their underwear.  Can he be any nerdier/cuter?
  • Andrea v. Corrin.  Nothing happened yet, but as soon as the Favorites go lose again, something will be going down. 
    • Andrea made a mistake (and did not follow Phillips BR rules).
    • She should never have talked to Brandon. 
    • Never. 
    • Especially since she mentioned something about his safety.  If nothing else, she should have covered all of the skin before talking to him.  Now she is just a devil in his mind.
  • Cue the sad music for Shamar's feelings. 
    • How did he pass the psych test? 
    • I already don't like him, so any more "wanting to quit" or flip-flopping will not help his cause with me. 
    • It was awesome (and infuriating) how he turned himself into the honorable "Hero" for "un-quiting," in Reynold's own words, (thanks for that Reynold, and yes, I feel bad for you).
  • Did you catch Shamar's denial of a high-five to the Event Planner right before the challenge?  It was pretty funny.  Such a DB.
  • Is is just me, or was Probst extra animated during the immunity challenge.  He was all over the place and very excited about it.  I liked his extra effort.
  • Tip:  For those playing future Survivors, DO NOT make a "NO TALK" list.  It's just a bad move any way you look at it.



See ya later Hope!


 

Now, for another week of work, fun and reality TV.  TTFN!!!