Monday, April 30, 2007
I have been trying to wait to cut and color my hair, but the warm snap going on here is making me re-think this decision. I really want to wait, and in fact, I had already decided to wait until mid-summer to get some highlights and chop off the hair, but I don't think that's going to hold up. I am so incredible sick of my hair being in a pony tail - I hate it so much, in fact, that I am thinking of taking a pair of scissors to it tonight. However, I am not sure I will get the desired result if I do this.
The picture above is something like what I want this time around. Right after the wedding a couple of years ago, I chopped off my hair pretty drastically and loved it. Not sure why I decided to grow it out again, but inevitably I have. I think this is because I don't want to deal with my hair. I want to get up, blow dry and go. And, if I maintain a hairstyle, that means that I need to think about it every couple of months or so......but I simply don't wanna!!! And no one can make me (is this reminiscent of tantrums when we were younger?). :)
So, I am chopping it off. I do still need to think about this for a couple of week, so it's not going to happen soon - but I kinda want to get it done before my birthday.......ahem......my 30th birthday that is. I am feeling like I need to shed off my 20's, and a way to do that is redefine myself for a period of time with a new style (because of course hair grows back right?). What do you think????
I am aiming for the hairstyle above - not just because Charlize Theron is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen (and yes, if I were a lesbian, I would totally do her....lol), but because my hair is already the base color - so some highlights will do well in my hair. In addition to the color, I have already had my hair that short and it looked fairly cute - so....I think I am gonna go for it soon.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I got a call from Sierra College today on the way back from said Asparagus Festival, Sierra College in Rocklin is offering me 2 classes for the Fall. One of them is Public Speaking, the other is Small Group Communication. Oh what fun!!! :) I can't wait to teach Small Group....it should be a really good class. Though, every new class I teach takes TONS of prep time, however, this will be worth it. It will expand my repitoire of experience with different subject matter. So, if you are ever in the Rocklin area of California, please feel free to come and observe a class of mine...I am teaching Monday and Wednesday, 3:30 - 6:20! The best part about it is, the classes are back to back. All of my teaching is over in about 3 hours....happy happy joy joy happy happy joy joy!!! God is good isn't He???
More details later about the Asparagus Festival..... :)
Thursday, April 26, 2007
This is one of the surprises for this week. I do not think that I will get to baking my other surprise, but I should get to it next week at some point. In any case, the two at the top ARE NOT what I baked. The tiny one in the front is though. I tried to replicate the taste of the blueberry cake located at the upper right, but didn't even come close. I have no idea how to do it. If you will recall, I am NOT a baker. I don't like baking, don't think I ever will. But in my meager attempt, I made the upside-down blueberry muffins. They are small (I like baked things small - well, simply because if I have a whole big cake sitting in front of me, I am likely to eat it ALL.....but not cake with frosting, because I don't like frosting very much). So, I have decided to make smaller versions of the BIG mama cakes sitting in the back. The pineapple upside-down cake is simple enough - but how do I make the blueberry ones? Look at the marbling of the blueberry upside-down cake - how does that happen in baking??? The best I could come up with last night was the little thing you see in front - it's not even close to tasting like the big ones in the back, but they did come out pretty darn good. So simple if you want the recipe:
1 box of cake mix - I used pound cake mix, but don't think I would use that again. (Maybe yellow next time).
Prepare cake as suggested.
In a saucepan, heat a no cholesterol butter substitute and some brown sugar.
In a muffin tin, place frozen blueberries at the bottom and about a tablespoon or so of the brown sugar mixture and then the cake mix on top of that. Fill about 2/3 of the way up. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. While still warm, flip the pan over to reveal your blueberry upside-down muffin. The taste really good, but are NO WHERE NEAR completed. I will be experimenting again tonight with a recipe like this. (This is why I HATE BAKING!!!!)
To continue on with my restaurant quality cooking, I decided to make Jambalaya last night. As Rachel Ray would say, "Yum O". I can't believe how good this came out. Don't be discouraged by the amount of ingredients, it's not hard to make. Here's the recipe:
Creole seasoning (recipe below)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used 5 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used a can of chopped tomatoes)
6 cups water
2 cups rice
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Monday, April 23, 2007
In addition to the baking, I am going to make a special dinner at some point this week - probably later on in the week at some point. But again, I will post pics as soon as I do it. :)
Too many surprises this week, I'm so excited!!! :)
Saturday, April 21, 2007
2 - 15oz cans of Black Beans rinsed and drained
2 - cups of frozen corn kernels thawed (sometimes I used cans of corn rinsed)
1 - red or green bell pepper chopped
1 - 4oz. can green chilies
1 - pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
3-4 scallions chopped
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
Savory Salad Dressing
1 teaspoon - Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup - red wine vinegar
1/4 cup - H2O
1/4 cup - Soy Sauce (or soy amino alternative)
Several dashes of Tabasco sauce
Please take note though that this recipe yields a very large quantity. Of course it will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, but I find it's way too much for one person. So, cut the recipe in half if you are unsure about it just to test it out.
(Again, these are not my pics - but the dish looks VERY close to these)
Friday, April 20, 2007
This is not my photo - but it looks close to what I made last night.
- 4 Chicken breasts (skinless - pounded flat)
- 1- 20 oz. bottle of Marsala wine (I used dry - but sweet would be wonderful too)
- 2 oz. olive oil
- 1/2 c flour
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 c butter
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms (sliced - I used crimini's)
- 1 cube of chicken bouilon
Wash chicken breasts and pat dry. Lightly pound into about 1/2 inch thickness.
Turn the burner on to medium temperature and put a pan on it. When the pan is starting to produce heat through, pour in the olive oil spreading it around until the pan is fully coated. Add some butter. (Keep the pan on medium or the butter will burn).
Make a powder mixture by combining the flour, salt, and black pepper. Coat the chicken breasts with this flour mixture.
Pan the chicken breasts. Flip them onto the other side when one side is golden brown. When both sides are golden brown, take them out and put them on a plate.
Pour in 10 -15oz. of Marsala wine and add the chicken bouillon cube. Add the sliced mushrooms. Start cooking and continuously add butter until the sauce begins to thicken. (I added a wondra flour mixture to thicken the sauce). You may have to add more or less Marsala wine to get this to proper thickness. Play around with this part of it.
Cook until mushrooms are reduced down and sauce it thickened.
Serve hot, immediately after preparing.I must say - I have never been so impressed with a recipe off of the internet. Like I said, I tweaked it a bit, so play around with it. I thought the sauce could have used a bit of herbs - not chunky herbs, but some herb flavor. So maybe next time I will infuse the sauce with herbs and then take them out before serving.
With this I served my famous garlicy-cheesy mashed potatoes (recipe on a previous post) and some steamed broccoli sauteed with a bit of butter, salt and then sprinkled with some fresh grated parmesean cheese.
I don't normally cook with soooo much fat - especially butter, but I really wanted to go all out for Shawn last night. This is a recipe I will definitely make again and again (but since it's got so much butter in it, I will probably only make it for special occasions).
My next conquest - - - lightly crispy chicken breasts with some kind of lemony sauce - - - and of course I have always wanted to make a really good chicken piccata recipe. :) Happy cooking!!!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
As of today I am a college professor again. Who knows what this crazy world is coming to when someone like me can claim to be a college professor and sometimes even be good at it. :~) I have 2 more months to prepare for my class, not sure if I have enough time......lol.......I could prepare this class in about 5 minutes. But hey - at least I have 2 more months to do tons of reading.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
After church on Sunday Shawn and I decided to go out for lunch. We drove down to Folsom to see what looked good and noticed that they had just put a Ruby Tuesday in a local strip mall area. Shawn has been talking about trying out a burger at Ruby Tuesday for months. We have Tivo, and rarely ever watch commercials, but of course this is the one commercial that we have seen and it has eaten away at him for months. So, we decided this was the place we were going to go. We walked up to the door and were told that they didn't officially open until Wed (today). That was fine, we ended up eating at a cheesesteak place that was really good (another good find). We planned on going back to Ruby Tuesday today for burgers during lunch time. So that's what we did. Shawn had a really good burger, I think it was called the smokehouse burger. I had the mini burgers and salad bar - a very good choice. I think I have found my favorite burger place. You can't go wrong with a couple of mini burgers and all the vegetables you can cram down your throat for $9. Lovin' it!!! I have a feeling we are going to eat there anytime we get a hankering for burgers.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Back to my point - we woke up knowing what our day was going to be like - lots of paint, lots of physical labor. Well, at about 2pm I called him into the "Red Room" and decided we should talk about this a bit. Neither of us was in a good mood and neither of us wanted to remodel - so I suggested that we take the rest of the day off, go get some movies and just relax. Then I mentioned that we should take Saturday off too because I am stressed about not having a job, and simply life in general. So we decided to take Saturday and title it "SHAWN AND CAROL'S DAY OF FUN". (This is not an original title - every time we take the day off and have some fun, this is what we call it - and at random times throughout the day we repeat this saying to each other......just for fun).
So we called Jonathan and Sharon to see if they wanted to come with us. They were game! Joy joy joy!!! So, come Saturday morning we caravaned down to Sonoma (I wanted to drive separately because Shawn and I have some of our best conversations in the car on long trips....something we haven't really gotten to do since we moved up here and there are no more long trips. Plus, when I get stressed, I need to vent a bit and talk about life - so that's what we did. Not so conducive when there are other people in the car.)
Our first stop - the SONOMA CHEESE FACTORY.
While this place is no longer a cheese factory, you can still cheese taste, and that's what we did. Sharon and I wine tasted and all of us sampled the cheese. It was a short, but fun visit.
Our second stop was a restaurant about 2 blocks away called Deuce. It was a nice place, but I am not sure I would ever eat there again. We really wanted to go to a different place (can't think of the name of it, but Shawn and I went there about a year ago and it was FANTASTIC). However, we found out that it was closed for lunch on the weekends. Bummer - but we had a good time at lunch anyway.
The third stop was the Budweiser Factory in Fairfield. We have been here before, but Sharon and Jonathan had not - so we decided to stop and take a tour. During the tour they give you free drinks. A nice gesture! So Sharon and I had a beer each with some interesting flavor added (can't remember what they are called right now). They weren't in production that day, but we still got to tour around a little.
Stop #4 was the Jelly Belly Factory. Again, no production that day, but interesting nonetheless. I have been to the factory twice before, and to my amazement, Shawn never had - neither had Sharon and I assume Jonathan. So, we had a good time walking around to see the different process areas.
After the tour we went down to the sampling areas. Nothing too notable there except you can sample whatever you'd like. They now have Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. Ok, when they mean every flavor - they aren't kidding. I tried a dirt flavored jelly bean and promptly spit it out. I have, sitting at home a vomit flavored bean, an earthworm flavored bean and a bacon flavored bean.....all of which I am a bit too scared to try. If I do try them in the next day or two, I will let you know how they are. But, judging by the dirt flavored one, they are RIGHT ON in their flavors. I have never eaten an earthworm - but one could imagine...and don't even get me started on the vomit flavored one....yikes. I guess I would have to be a 10 year old boy in order to fully appreciate these beans.
After the Jelly Belly Factory we were going to head home. However, we noticed a sign that said "Olive Oil Tasting" (a sign that I had noticed every other time I had visited this area but had never stopped). I had mentioned to Shawn a number of months back about how there is an olive oil factory in Placerville and they have tastings daily (I think). I mentioned to him that I would like to stop by there to check it out and taste some really good olive oils. Sharon and Jonathan also noticed the sign and asked us if we wanted to stop. Of course I said yes....Shawn was not to happy about that - but we had a good time tasting a number of different Olive Oils and a bunch of REALLY GOOD balsamic vinegars. We ended up buying Black Currant Balsamic and a really good Black Aged Balsamic. We didn't buy any oils because, like I mentioned, there is a place up here that makes olive oils. But I think Jonathan and Sharon ended up buying some.
Overall we had a good day. By the time we got home we had no energy left. We sat down on the couch and didn't get up for the rest of the night. So much for a relaxing weekend right? But at least we had tons of fun!!!
Friday, April 13, 2007
From: Placerville, CA 95667 (where I live)
To: Paris, France
Take a look at line# 37........WOW - I would surely be tired once I get to Paris. :)
(No I did not tke this picture...but if I did go to Paris, I would probably take a similar one).
(Thanks for the idea Natalie!!!)
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Friday, April 6, 2007
This one is from the Soul Tracker series. I really liked the first two, so of course I have to get the third in the series. Bill Myers is one of the more intelligent Christian authors I have come across (is that bad to say?).
The next set of novels are written by Brandilyn Collins. I have never read anything by her, so if the books aren't that good, it's gonna suck for me because I just bought all 4 books in the Hidden Faces series. A bunch of people on Amazon reviewed the books and said they were really good. So, until they arrive, I shall trust that they are amazing books and wait in expectation.
More work on the workout room/office today....I am patching and re-texturing a wall today. If all goes well, I will be painting the remainder of the wall tomorrow, then the workout room will be finished. Can't wait until it looks really good. :) Once I am finished with the room I will post a final picture.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
In addition to NEVER painting with flat paint again, I will NEVER wallpaper a wall. Nope, not gonna do it, never! Having said that, here are the before and after pics of the room so far. I am still working on the wallpaper wall, so it's not pictured, but at least you can get the idea of what the colors look like. Enjoy!!!
The before picture:
(Take a look at the felt panels on the right side of the room. Check out the cabinet to the left - yikes)
The after picture:
(The wall color has changed, we ripped out the carpet, painted the walls blue - the picture does not do the color justice, and painted the trim and 'accessories' white. Everyone kept telling me to rip out the cabinet, but after removing the nasty old hardware and painting it white - which took about a million coats and is still not done, I think it looks mighty cute. What do you think?)
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Like I mentioned in a previous post, I have an interview with the government agency in a week and I hope I am offered the job. I will definitely take it if it's offered. That is, unless a better offer comes along.
Oh what is a girl to do? I think having a Master's Degree in a place like Placerville is working against me at this point.
NOTE: A new recipe review is coming soon: Chicken Cattiatore. Keep an eye out for it. :)
Pictures courtesy of Inko's Tea - https://www.healthywhitetea.com/ (visit the website - you will be glad you did)
I have to tell you about a tea that I used to drink in the Bay Area many many many moons ago. I was conveniently shopping at Trader Joe's, by far my favorite store. I sometimes walk up and down the aisles to search for new products to test out and innocently came across a bottled tea called Inko's. I had been reading information on the internet for quite sometime about the health benefits of white tea and how good it can be for the human body. I love tea, but sometimes can't handle the harshness of black and green tea. There are a few products on the market that have about a million calories per serving and at the same time have a harsh taste. I was looking for something a bit different. So, at that moment I decided that Inko's tea was worth a try. I picked up a White Peach and Honeydew, made sure the top of the bottle was not "popped out" - because as each bottle of Inko's will tell you, "Button doesn't pop? Don't drink a drop!". Catchy little saying if you ask me.
I got the tea home and put it in the refrigerator and forgot about it. Little did I know I had struck gold. A few days later I was scanning the refrigerator for something cold to drink and came across my new find. I stood at the refrigerator, opened the bottle, took a drink, and it was as if a light shined down upon me from the heavens. I had never tasted anything so delicious and refreshing. The smooth flavor danced around my taste buds. I knew instantly I had found my new favorite drink.
Since moving a few months ago from the Bay Area I had been unable to find the wonderful tea....until a couple of weeks ago that is. Inko's tea sells a number of different flavors, currently my favorite flavors are Honeydew and White Peach, but I have been itching to try out a few other flavors. They also have Cherry Vanilla, Apricot and Lychee, all of which I am hoping to try very soon. The best part about the tea is that it's only 56 calories for the entire 16 oz. bottle. Lovely, just lovely!!! It has a slightly sweet flavor, but not overpowering - it is simply the perfect drink!
So, if you are looking for a new beverage to try out, check with your local grocery store to see if they carry Inko's tea. If they don't, by all means contact the company - Andy from Inko's is incredibly nice and will help you out with anything you need.
Monday, April 2, 2007
If I never see another can of paint it will be too soon. The last three days, plus last weekend and countless weekends before, Shawn and I have painted. I am so sick of paint.....sick sick sick sick sick sick sick of paint. I don't think this blog will do it justice, but I can certainly tell you that I hate painting. As you probably know, we purchased a house that hadn't been painted in 16 years. That's 16 years of sun on the outside of the house (which wasn't properly painted in the first place) and 16 years of cigarette smoke residue soaking into the walls, and 16 years of hand smudges gathering on the walls and doors. Uggghhh!!
Jonathan and Sharon came over last night and helped me paint the workout room/my office. I must say, it looks really good. I picked a very nice blue color...and as soon as I get finished painting all of the trim and finish the walls I will post a pic. The walls are a brighter blue color and the trim and doors are bright white. We used semi-gloss paint. There is only one room in the house that has flat paint (we used flat upon the suggestion of someone we know) and will seriously NEVER do that again. Flat paint is the worst!!! Some people love it and will only use flat - but I can honestly say that I will not use paint without some kind of sheen to it - whether that be high gloss, semi-gloss or egg shell. Nope, never, not gonna do it!
But, in a few days I will be able to resume my workouts since my workout room/office will be finished.
Only one more coat on the trim and I will be done.