Friday, July 29, 2011

Confessions of a Second Grader

I am a liar.  I feel like I need to come clean so I can clear my conscience.

I was in the second grade.  My teacher was going around the room and asking everyone what they wanted to be when they grew up.  Some of the answers included doctor, teacher, fireman, policeman, etc.  I was sweating bullets.  I was afraid of telling the truth.  All of my classmates were setting the goals high and they were proud of their answers.  The teacher even congratulated them for aspiring to have noble careers.

CRAP!

She continued to go around the room asking everyone what they hoped to be and I kept thinking “Why can’t I have the flu right now?!”  I was mortified to tell my beloved teacher what I wanted to be because it was not noble.  It was not going to benefit society as a whole.  It was not what a second grader should aspire to be.

So I lied.

Teacher: Julie, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Me: I want to be a nurse.
Teacher: That is a great profession!  You’ll be able to help several people who are sick.
I wanted to crawl under a desk.  Being a nurse is a great career and I wish I had wanted to be a nurse.  However, my true passion was far from the medical field.  Here is how that day in second grade should have gone if I had been honest with myself and the teacher.

Teacher: Julie, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Me: I want to be a punk rocker like Jerrica Benton!  Business woman by day and lead singer of Jem & The Holograms at night.  ROCK ON!
Teacher: Not appropriate or reasonable!  Go to the Principal’s office.
I feel better by releasing this weight off my shoulders.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Twilight Zone Dining

I went out to dinner with friends the other night.  The restaurant was having a training night for their staff so the entrées were half price.  Pretty sweet deal.  Our reservations were set for 6pm.

We arrived at the restaurant at 5:45pm, checked in with the hostess who informed our party it would be 10-15 minutes before they could seat us.  No problem.  We hung out on the plush furniture waiting for our table.  Plus, we kept giving various cocktails the “come hither” look.  The bar was within our reach.

Twenty minutes passed and the gentleman of our group was tasked with asking the hostess how much longer our wait would be.  He returned to the group of chattering girls and announced that he had bad news and good news.

The bad news was that our table would not be ready for another 10-15 minutes. 

The good news was that TIME HAD STOOD STILL!  Amazing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Women Have the Upper Hand

Women can get away with a lot of things that men can't.  For example:
1) Wearing a dress to the office.
2) Blaming a certain time of the month for speeding, acting like a jerk, eating ice cream for breakfast, etc.
3) Making the samba look sexy.
4) Telling someone "bless your heart" and leaving the receiver questioning how we meant it.
5) Using a smile, fluttering of eyelashes, and politeness to get free stuff from guys.  Even gay guys.
6) Drinking martinis with the pinky up.
7) Driving a pink car.
8) Telling a man "I'm so glad you are pretty" when he does something really stupid.
9) Playing Nintendo Wii for the exercise and not to kill the guy with the AK-47.
10) Painting our fingernails in all colors of the rainbow.
I could go on but since this is my blog you can clearly see that women will always have the upper hand.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Charts are Fantastic

I like charts.  They make everything so simple and pretty.
They clarify my life.
Charts help everyone get on the same page.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Legal Juicing

The boyfriend and I have experimented with juicing.  Specifically, juicing fruits and vegetables.  This is what happens when you watch too many documentaries about preservatives in our food.  I am slowly turning into a hippie.
The following is a list of the various produce we have tried and my review of each:
  • carrots - A bit earthy in flavor but sweet.  Not too bad if you add ice.  Or vodka.
  • blueberries - Requires an entire carton to make enough juice for two people.  The juice seems to be pretty diluted compared to eating the whole blueberry.  Would be great to add to a sorbet recipe.  Or make a martini out of it.
  • beets - The juice is VERY earthy and I highly suggest adding fresh lemon juice to the beet juice.  The lemon juice brings out the sweetness of the beets.  I'm determined to put the mixture in a margarita.
  • cantaloupe - Taste like pumpkin.  I bet it would be great with a Thanksgiving meal.  Or with rum.
  • apples - Pretty tasty because of the sweetness.  I'm almost certain the crew of 'Little House on the Prairie' drank this stuff.  Would make a killer appletini.
  • grapefruit - Super yum!  Fresh grapefruit juice taste like the stuff with the preservatives.  Mix with some triple sec and add ice ... love.
  • peaches - Taste great but would prefer to eat the peach instead of juice it.  However, add champagne and I'd change my tune.
Juicing is fun ... especially if the boyfriend cleans the juicer (difficult to clean).  I would like to juice a large quantity and freeze the liquid in an ice tray.  The veggie ice cubes could be used in soups and the fruit ice cubes could be thrown in smoothies.  Or your favorite cocktail.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dance Moves That Will Kill

I love bustin' a move.  However, my ballet classes have not encouragaed coordination between my feet, my body, and my brain.  Granted, I took those classes when I was five.  The only thing I got out of it was a leotard and pink tights.

So when I looked in the mirror last night during Zumba aerobic class I noticed how I dance.  I also noticed I had a stupid grin on my face.  The closest video that I could find that portrays how I Zumba is below.  Ed Grimley would be so proud.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Swing And A Miss

I was hanging out with my brother at the grocery store the other day waiting in line to check out.  And, yes, hanging out at the grocery store is cool.  Shut it.

There was a guy in front of us wearing dress slacks and a polo.  My brother and I were in deep conversation over the various gum that was available in the check out line when the guy in front of us did a golf swing.  A golf swing!  At the grocery store!  I looked around to see if there was a golf magazine that jogged the guy's memory into doing a practice swing or if he saw one of his golf buddies and that was their universal hello.  Nope.  The guy has golfing tourettes.
However, it could have been worse.  He could have done an imaginary lay up and dunked on the guy who was bagging groceries while yelling "This is MY house!"  Or worse yet, he could have tried to perfect his double axel near the "Wet Floor" sign.  Worst yet, practice his curling delivery using a frozen chicken down aisle 7.

Actually, all of those situations would have been so much better than the golf swing.  He was quite unoriginal and his golf swing wasn't that great.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If Pigs Flew

This is about to get deep.  Brace yourself for it.
If pigs could actually fly (I hear scientists are currently working on it ... right after they cure cancer) how many people would lose bets?  Or how many wars would end?  Or what would the White House look like at Christmas with Sarah Palin in office?  Just imagine Todd Palin showing off the White House Christmas decor to Today Show's Ann Curry explaining "Ann, I had this reindeer stuffed and his nose painted red to bring smiles to millions of children.  Plus, I loved tracking it down with my snowmobile.  That beast bled for a mile!"  And the world shutters.

Flying pigs are hazardous.  Pigs are not potty trained.  A bird taking a No. 2 on my car really irks me.  A pig taking a No. 2 on my car at 100 feet ... I'll be looking for a new car.

If pigs were able to fly then that also means they need a place to roost.  I would hope that they would go back to their farm for the night but more likely they will want to spread their wings and explore new places; new places that are not pig friendly.  Like Dallas.  Or, heaven forbid, my trees.  My trees will not hold a 300 pound pig.  And, again, I bring up the topic of pigs not being potty trained.

I understand the term "when pigs fly" is not meant to mean "I'll change my stance on the subject as soon as Dr. Crazy finishes splicing the pig and bird genes together successfully".  However, if you ever want to get deep and think about what would happen if pigs flew, hell freezing over, or (worst yet) monkeys actually flying out of your butt it will make you second guess yourself the next time you want to use one of those phrases.

Now, I have to go be productive.  Yeah, right, as soon as Sarah Palin takes office.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

We, the human race, have come a long way.  We have gone to the moon and hit a golf ball off it.  We have developed this thing called the Internet that answers all of our important questions (for example, What is planking?).  We have recycled our vegetable oil to produce biodiesel so our vehicles can take us to get more fried chicken and thereby completing the circle.  We have robots that can clean our floors while we take a nap (Love you, Roomba!). 

However, people still have a hard time figuring out how to get the perfect hard boiled egg.  On my quest to win the Noble Peace Prize I will share with the world how to conquer this task.  Actually, I'm just repeating what Jacques Pépin taught me on PBS. 

Noble Peace Prize committee, disregard that last sentence.

Place eggs in a pot so they are in one layer (this also works with one egg).  Do not stack the eggs on top of each other.  Add enough cold water to cover the eggs.  Place the uncovered pot over a medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.  This boil should be just below "rave party bubbles" but above "sissy bubbles".  As soon as the water boils take the pot off of the stove, cover it with a lid and let the eggs sit for exactly 12 minutes.  After time is up run cold water over the eggs until they are cool to touch.  Perfect hard boiled eggs every time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I need a vacation

I'm in need of a vacation.  However, that's not going to happen anytime soon so I'm just going to stare at a picture of Gerard Butler.  Yummy!
Helloooooooo

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quick Dish: Holiday Meal in One Bowl

Oh. My. Heaven.  I made this dish once before and it was great.  However, I had to make it again to share with my blog reading audience.  Plus, I love cooking in a slow cooker because that means I have dinner for the rest of the week. 

This dish tastes like a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal but only takes about 30 minutes of prep time to get it going.  WARNING: If you cook this slow cooker recipe either stay inside while it is cooking or leave until it is done.  If you leave during the middle of cooking and then comeback before it is finished the smell of the dish makes your stomach growl and mouth water but you won't be able to eat it right away.

First, cut a whole onion (cut it in half and then cut it in strips) and place that in the bottom of your slow cooker along with a healthy amount of minced garlic.  I used 4 cloves.
Next, add fresh green beans and carrots.  I used a bag of fresh green beans and 5 carrots that I peeled and cut diagonally.  Then add fresh sliced mushrooms, fresh basil and salt (about 1 tablespoon of salt).
Add two to three chicken breast on top of the veggies.  Make sure you salt the chicken.
Mix a box of stuffing mix (I used low sodium chicken stuffing), one can of cream of mushroom soup, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of chicken stock.  Spread the mixture on top of the chicken making sure the stuffing mixture completely covers the chicken.
Place the lid on your slow cooker and set it on low.  Cook for 4 hours.  After 4 hours the chicken will be done.  I tend to cook mine longer because I like the veggies to be a bit softer.  The chicken turns out super moist and you can cut it with a spoon.
The end result is a healthy meal that reminds you of holiday gatherings.  No need to make side dishes to go with this meal since the vegetables and stuffing are already cooked in.  Yum!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Care Bear Stare

I grew up watching the Care Bears.  They were awesome if you sat 6 inches in front of the TV, eating Lucky Charms, and wearing your Rainbow Brite nightgown.  I think I know what my next vacation will include!

However, the Care Bears' secret weapon was their Care Bear Stare.  Those fuzzy, non-mauling bears would combine their Buddha bellies to shoot out love and goodwill at their target.  And I know what you are thinking ...

WHAT THE WHAT?!

In case you grew up in a city and never watched the Discovery Channel bears do not shoot out love and goodwill out of any body part.  What they do shoot out you don't want it aimed at you (however, monkeys tend to throw it at you) and I don't recommend being that close to a bear anyway. 

Plus, staring at people and sticking your stomach out at them does NOT give you the effect that you would expect after years of Care Bear studying.  In fact, announcing "Care Bears ... prepare to stare" and actually trying to do one in a business meeting tends to suck the goodwill out of a conference room.  Awkward.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quick Dish: Black Bean Hummus

I was in charge of bringing snacks to a meeting and one of the attendees is vegan.  She is very cool and she inspires me to try things out of my comfort zone.  I have made this hummus recipe before and I made it again in her honor.  Bonus points because I love it, too.

Ingredients include:
  • 1 can of black beans, drained (reserve two tablespoons of liquid)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 of olive oil
These measurements are guesses because as we all know I am a rebel and follow no one's rules except my own!  Actually, you can adjust the amounts based on how you want your hummus to taste. 

Put the first 7 ingredients into a food processor (or blender if you don't have a food processor) and let 'er rip.  Once the items start to become combined (you may need to periodically scrape down the sides) slowly drizzle the olive oil into the running food processor until you get the texture you want.  Put the hummus into a storage container and let it set in the fridge for at least one hour.  This will allow the flavors to mingle and combine into something that is a happy mix of Middle East meets Mexico.  Serve with pita bread, pita chips, tortilla chips, and/or fresh vegetables.

I think the dip should be on the menu at the United Nations.  But what do I know ... I'm just a peaceful person who thinks food brings people closer together.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fool me once, Tivo!

While I don't watch a lot of television I do watch a lot of Tivo when I do sit down in front of the boob tube.  (HAHAHA ... boob.)  And I watch the same 'The Simpsons' episodes repeatedly.  I know I have a problem but this post is not about that.

It is about Tivo.  And how it falsely raises my hopes.
Let me set the scene for you: currently, Texas is in the middle of hell on Earth.  The news people say it is a drought and we are approaching the 20ish-something day of 100+ degree temperatures.  Not really sure why we need meteorologists because I can tell you what they are going to say.

"Viewing audience, as you can see on the map, we have no rain in sight.  However, we do have tumbleweeds the size of Volvos and local pool temperatures feel the same as human spit.  On the plus side, I work in an air conditioned studio!"

So, when I was watching a Simpsons rerun and forgot to fast-forward through the commercials the meteorologist popped up on the screen with "breaking news".  A green and red blob (also known as rain and thunderstorms for those of you who are not familiar with weather maps) was headed for the Dallas area. 

HOORAY!  WE ARE GOING TO GET RAIN!  MY PLANTS WILL NO LONGER PANT FOR WATER!

Then I realized it was a rerun from May.  Crap.  The really sad part ... I did the same thing two nights before.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good Looks Run in the Family

I bought my niece a pool toy yesterday before we headed out to get our splash on.  It was Disney’s Ariel that did pirouettes in the water.  She loves princesses and she loves dancing.  It was a win-win toy.

When I showed her the toy she said “She’s beautiful!”  I quickly told my niece that the toy was pretty but nothing was prettier than her.  Her reply would make Stuart Smalley proud.

“Yeah, I’m beautiful.  Nothing else is prettier than me.”  I love that self-esteem!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Hips Do Lie

Shakira did a song a few years ago called “Hips Don’t Lie”.  In her music video she shimmied and shook her hips in ways that if the normal American woman did that people would think a seizure was in progress.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Shakira.  I think she is talented; talented in a way that if I were able to do whatever she did with her hips I would need a hip replacement.
Which is why the other day in Zumba, when the instructor said to get our hips into the music more, I realized that I have no Latin influences in my moves even though I grew up in Texas (which is now called North Mexico).  My moves seem to come from C3PO.  If there were a cardio aerobic class that involved doing “the robot” then I could lead the class.

You would think I would be depressed or feel like a failure but I don’t.  I still love the dancing because I dance like no one is watching.  In fact, I should probably wear a shirt that states “WARNING: Watching Me Dance Will Make You Implode”.  I dance around my house, I dance when I’m in the car, I dance at the office (sorry co-workers), and I dance when I eat something good (best dance ever).

I hope you all dance because you feel moved to move.  I’m setting the bar pretty low for gyrating hips so you can only do better than me; unless you are trying to do “the robot”.  In that case, I’m the Shakira of dorky white girls.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Oh Mickey, You're Not So Fine

Freak out moment.

I noticed some mice droppings the other day in my garage.  Being the good homeowner that I am, I ran screaming to the store to pick up some sticky traps.  I’ve seen the sticky traps used before and they work wonders.  They catch EVERYTHING.  Including my finger but that’s for another story.

I placed the two traps in strategic places in my garage.  For a few weeks I didn’t catch anything in the traps.  I started to think I needed to add a dab of peanut butter to the sticky trap to lure the evil Mickey Mouse out of its hiding spot.  However, I’m not giving the bubonic plague carrying pests peanut butter as their last supper.  They can eat dirt and DIE. 

However, this morning after I got home from the gym I checked the traps.  I can easily see each trap without having to move stuff around.  Status of trap No. 1: still empty.  Status of trap No. 2: MISSING!  I might have severely pissed off some mutant rodent by not offering peanut butter on the traps.  CRAP!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Music Soothes the Mind and Gives it Rest

After not getting much sleep the other night it caused me to not have a good morning (or rest of the day).  To say the least, I was on edge. 

I listen to music while I’m at the office.  I pop in my ear buds and the music allows me to focus on the tasks at hand.  When I win my Nobel Peace Prize I will be thanking Pandora for getting me through these endless days of working at my computer and blocking out the world’s chatter. 

One of my favorite Pandora stations is ‘solo piano radio’.  I have numerous years of classical piano training and listening to piano music tends to soothe the voice in my head that wants to scream out “YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF MORONS!”  I listen to this station at home, the office, and on my walks around the neighborhood.  This station saves my sanity.  Music and I have a special bond and I find that classical piano music deepens that connection.
On the day that was on edge ... the day that I wanted to throw in the towel ... the day that I wanted to scream “MOMMA NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SHOES!” then walk out and never return.  (By the way, that would be an awesome way to leave a party.)  A song came on the ‘solo piano radio’ Pandora station that renewed my yearning to snatch up the Nobel Peace Prize and simmer my boiling pot of emotions.  That song was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ by Scott D. Davis (on Rockfluence).  Imagine the legendary Kurt Cobain song being played by a piano on a station that also plays Rondo For Piano No. 1 in D Major, Mozart’s greatest hits, and Escenas Románticas.

Yep, it turned out to be a GREAT day.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Two Left Feet Will Jump

If my friends jumped off a bridge I will be the person yelling “WOOHOO!  Look at me and say ‘CHEESE!’”  I’m all for people doing crazy and stupid stuff as long as I can sit on the sidelines and watch.
However, those days are over.  I have leapt off the edge.  I am a girl who has gone wild (clothes still on) and lived to tell the tale.  Specifically, I have Zumba’d. 

Zumba is an aerobic dance craze that requires no coordination.  The music is lively and the instructor lets some of the students showcase unique dance moves for the class to learn.  There is a mix of ballroom, salsa, mambo, and all sorts of Indian dances.  The attendees are just as diverse … young, old, curvy, thin, and a multitude of races.

I dived into a Zumba class last night in hopes that it would loosen some muscles from a previous aerobic class.  It loosened the muscles all right.  However, new ones are starting to get sore.  I poured sweat during the class but never noticed until a river of sweat hit my eye.  I didn’t even notice the new muscles getting a workout because I was having too much fun laughing at my uncoordinated self.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shout Out: Trailercakes

When it comes to sweets I don’t have that big of a sweet tooth.  However, I love exploring local places and sampling what they got cookin’.   If the local establishment has a write up about them in a magazine or newspaper then I want to see what all the hubbub is about and decide for myself on whether or not they are, in fact, delicious.

After reading an article about Trailercakes I knew I had to go visit.  Their kitchen is open from 11:30 am until 2:30 pm (times may vary depending on their schedule of evening festivities) Wednesday through Friday.  I made a date with a foodie friend to go sample Trailercakes’ goodies.  I also started following them on Twitter and Facebook which turned out to be beneficial because they post their daily flavors, any adjustments to their open hours, and where Bubbles can be found in the evening through social media.

In case you are out of the loop, Bubbles is their Airstream trailer.  She can be found at block parties, holiday events, and various festivities throughout DFW.

The big day arrived to go to Trailercakes.  They knew we were coming because I had posted it to my Twitter account and they respond back that they were excited to have us visit them.  Bonus points for the communication!  Their kitchen is a bit difficult to find because it is in the basement of an office building but the building’s security guards seem to be used to people wandering in with the “I need a sugar fix” look.

Upon finding Trailercakes I was welcomed to the establishment and presented the day’s flavors: Laverne and Shirley, Slap-Your-Mother Chocolate, and Hitched.  I picked up a dozen (two of each) for a co-worker who needed to sample them as well as buying the mini versions for my own tasting.  Each regular size cupcake is $3 and the mini size is $1.50.  I thought the mini versions would let me be able to taste each flavor without having tons of leftovers.
After sampling each flavor I came to this conclusion: VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA AND HE BAKES CUPCAKES AT TRAILERCAKES!  Each cupcake has a distinct flavor, texture, and decorated in a way that shows the love that the staff has for cupcakes and their customers.  “Hitched” tastes just like a wedding cake (I’m pretty sure William and Kate totally missed out), “Laverne and Shirley” allows the chocolate chip chocolate batter to play with the vanilla frosting in a mash up that is better than TV ratings gold, and “Slap-Your-Mother Chocolate” is so chocolaty that you have to slap someone after taking a bite.  If your mom is standing near you when you do take that bite make sure she knows to duck afterward.
Hitched on left, Slap-Your-Mother Chocolate in center and Laverne & Shirley on right.
Another bonus point for going to Trailercakes was the two free tickets to Taste of Dallas (notice of the ticket giveaway was posted to their social media sites).

There are many more tasty flavors to be had but I had to make myself not go two days in a row (one day is an adventure, but two days calls for therapy).  Thankfully, Trailercakes will be at Taste of Dallas and I don’t mind standing in line to quell the sweet tooth that is now growing thanks to their addictive cupcakes.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Productive Schmuctive

I woke up at 4:00am this morning.  Stupid. Sinuses.

So, I made the best of a bad situation.  I washed my sheets, cleaned my kitchen, went to the grocery store, folded clothes, put out my American flag, watered plants, and wrote this post. 

Yes, I am being productive.  No, I don't care for it; not at this time in the morning.

Who is up for a nap later?