Saturday, January 23, 2010

I heart Conan

Last night, Mark, Jackson and myself held a very small "Farewell Conan" party. It was just the three of us, and I think the shirts say it all, don't you?

I'll leave you with this:

"Please do not be cynical. For the record, I hate cynicism; it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and are kind, amazing things will happen." - Conan O'Brien

new lease, new 'do!

As I said in my previous post, I feel like our little trip to the mountains recharged my battery. I figured while I was still on my mountain high, I ought to follow through on one of the things on my to-do list for this month, which was get a hairstyle. For the past 6 years, I have grown my hair out and then whacked it for Locks of Love. You can read more about that oragnization HERE!

Locks of Love is basically harvesting your hair to make wigs for kids. I have done this three times. It's very rewarding, but it's hard to have a style when you're doing it. Anyway, I am ready for a style! Not that I am done with locks of love- I am sure that I will donate again in the future, but for now, it's someone else's turn. I went from this:

to this:

Holy hell, I haven't had bangs since 8th grade trip to D.C.! This should be interesting!
It looks pretty hot though, dont you think?

a cozy getaway

It's pretty much exactly what we needed. Mark and I get a little ragged around the holidays. Between parties, and running, and holiday stress, January is a perfect time to make our escape. We were able to take a long weekend, because Mark had Monday off for Martin Luther King Day. So we stayed Friday through Monday at a sweet little cabin in Pigeon Forge. It was about 7 miles from town. We didn't venture out much. Actually, I think we only left to eat, and one day we drove up to Gatlinburg and pulled off the side of the road on the way back to check out the river that flows between the the two sides of the highway. The rest of the time was spent in the hot tub.

Now that we are back, I feel extremely recharged. My battery is full again and I feel like the things that come at me, aren't coming at warp speed. I am getting itchy for spring. Cleaning, and the freshness and cool nights and warm days. Flowers in bloom, things hatching. And my birthday: the first time I turn 29! It's scary, but I think I have a new lease on life! It's amazing what a little time away can do for you.

my favorite author

Since I have been reading like crazy since Christmas, I can't help but share some of my favorite selections. Jennifer Weiner (pronounced Wy-ner), is one of my favorite authors. She write predominately about women, and most of her heroines are plus sized. -Score one for the big, curvy girls! I received her two newest books for Christmas, Certain Girls and Best Friends Forever.

Certain Girls I read first, and I just started Best Friends Forever, so more on that one later.  Certain Girls is a sequel to Good in Bed. Cannie Shapiro is married and her daughter, Joy is getting ready for her bat mitzvah. She's a little bratty and sort of hates her mom. Cannie has tried to keep her writing about Joy's "Bruce" underwraps, but Joy decides to read her mother's book and begins a bit of a quest for the truth about her family. A must read for chicks.


I have finally started my adventure with hobbits. I just finished The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and I loved it (as predicted). I believe I may have read this in 6th or 7th grade, but for some reason, I couldn't remember what the hell it was about, save the hobbits.

Anyway, if this sounds like you, you should re-read, and if you have definately never read it, go find it, or come borrow mine.

In short, it's the prelude to the Lord of the Rings. It's how Bilbo Baggins finds his love for adventure, the ring and even the shire. The style that The Hobbit is written in is certainly captivating. When I read aloud to Mark from it, I told him it sounded like I was reading to children. It's not all warm and fuzzy, but was delightful. It's about stepping away from your comfort zone and feeling pleasantly suprised with the end result.

Thank you to Jackson for gifting me with this classic for Christmas and for stringing me out on fantasy fiction again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cornish Game Hens with Cranberry Salsa

As most of you know, my husband is the better cook between the two of us. Tonite, he really out did himself. This dish is different and delicious! It makes an excellent Monday meal if you make the cranberry salsa the night before. The salsa is better the second day, anyway.

You will need:

4 (1 1/2 lb) Cornish Game Hen
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbs grated orange rind
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs grated ginger
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp horseradish

Rub hens evenly with salt and pepper, place in roasting pan. Bring butter and next 7 ingredients to boil in a sauce pan; pour over hens. Bake, uncovered at 375 for 1 hour or until hens are done, basting often with butter mixture. Serve with cranberry salsa.

Cranberry Salsa:

You will need:

1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup seeded, peeled and diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced and seeded
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Soak cranberries in orange juice in a large bowl for 30 minutes. Stir in cucumber and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. (We always make ours the night before and let chill overnight.

Chicken Cordon Bleu in Pastry

I have never been a fan of anything Cordon Bleu, BUT, Mark made this last week, and it's pretty awesome, and SUPER easy to make. Here's what you'll need:

1 tube (8oz) refridgerated crescent rolls
1/4 cup spreadable chive and onion cream cheese (or plain cream cheese with a little onion powder added for taste)
4 thin slices of deli ham
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices swiss (or pepperjack) cheese

On an ungreased baking sheet, separate dough in to 4 rectangles, seal perforations. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese lengthwise down the center of each rectangle. Place ham widthwise over dough. Arrange chicken in the center of each rectangle. Wrap ham aound chicken. At each long end, pinch dough together around chicken, forming points. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Top with swiss cheese (we only had papperjack) and bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and pastry is golden brown.

and serve with:

Autumn Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp orange juice (from concentrate)
1/8 tsp salt, pinch of pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (we didnt have these, so we left them out)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 cups spinach leaves (or mixed greens)

Combine first 6 ingredients in one bowl for dressing, combine last 4 in salad bowl. Add vinaigrette, and toss to coat. Serves 4, looks like you made a fuss. Total prep and cooking time is 35-40 minutes.

Nicotine Addict No Mo?

Hopefully. It's been 11 days since I quit smoking. COLD TURKEY, people. Like as in, no smokes at all and no supplements either. No Gum, no patch, no inhaler, no gross tobacco pouches to suck on (ew).  I feel... decent. The first day was ok. It was like being at work and having to wait to have one, or being out. I have really had to change my habits. The car is the hardest part, so I chew gum like a mad woman. The second and third days were ok... like I was getting used to not smoking. The fourth day was pretty bad. I guess it took that long for all of the nicotine to find it's way out of my system, because, man, I was a BITCH. Epic Bitch is what Mark was calling me behind my back, I'm sure. He was really supportive when I allowed him to be, but mostly, I was just HATEFUL. FULL OF HATE. MEAN. UGLY. NOT NICE.

I am not joking. Anyway, feeling better now, but it's weird. I don't have that urge anymore, but when I see people smoking, I think man, I would love one of those. However, when I smell people smoking I have a mixed reaction. It's more like: You stink like ass, here, give me that. Weird.


This Christmas I got about 10 books. I read the shortest one first, just to get into my groove. Man, if you can stand sexual deviancy and some seriously bad language, try "Snuff," by Chuck Palaniuk. It's weird and different, and something you should try.

Chuck Palahniuk didn't dissapoint this round. "Snuff," one of his more recent books, was well, totally dirty and sexually charged. There were seriously jacked up parts and parts that actually sounded a lot like discussions I've had with girlfriends. Not a read for everyone. It's sad and twisted. And dark. Did I mention dirty?

Things I'm Loving- January

Top 10 things I'm enjoying in January:

10. "The Hobbit"
9.    Hot Tamales
8.    Mark's Cooking
7.   'Cold Mountain'
6.   Cherry Lemonade Lifesavers
5.   Fallout 3 for PS3. (NERD ALERT!)
4.   Thoughts of Spring
3.   Snow
2.   New Boots and Furry Hoodie
1.   Not Smoking

What do you love when it's cold?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Traditional Feast

In the south, the traditional New Years Day Feast consists of Black Eyed Peas, Cornbread, Greens and Pork. Each represents something different, but are all considered to bring good luck to the coming year.

Above, are my black eyed peas. That thing floating in the middle is called Hog Jowl. I had a pretty good idea what that was, but I wanted to be sure. tells me that this is the cheek of a pig. (I was right!)

Anyway, it's salty and make the beans taste a lot less like dirt. I also added a little garlic to mine.  The beans are supposed to symbolize prosperity in the coming year because when they take on water, they swell.

Next up, Pork Ribs. Supposedly, Pigs root forward when scrounging for food. So, the pork represents forward progress in the coming year. No dwelling on the past!

We also had greens, and I know this picture only shows broccoli, but my camera died before I could get a picture with everything. The Greens are to represent money, and who doesn't need a little extra money? The cornbread was because no true southern meal is complete without cornbread and butter.

It's the first thing I crossed off my list of 100 things and that feels pretty great. I hope this meal brings us plenty of good luck, too! Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1, 2010


This year, I made three Resolutions.

Number 1. Quit smoking.
How long do you think it takes before you have "officially" quit? A month? A year?

Number 2. Join a Gym.
I am looking for something in the Kingston/Harriman area. Nothing too expensive. Ideas?

Number 3. Make my Bucket List.
See previous post.

So that's one down, 2 to go. I haven't smoked all day today, but my house is spotless. I took down my tree, unceremonious again this year, and started my black eyed peas. I may have to start over soon, because the need for nicotine is about to drive me insane!!!!! : )   Also, a gym......hmmmm

What were your resolutions?

One Hundred Things I Wanna Do

As promised, my Life List. Inspired by Maggie Mason, over at Mighty Girl, here is my life list: (in no particular order!)

run in the Race for the Cure / visit Hawaii / take a cooking class / have children / open an animal rescue / live on a farm and produce 75% of my own food / go backpacking through Europe / see the Pyramids / learn to sew / be satisfied with myself / read the Bible / skydive / take a girls only trip with Courtney / have a Margarita in Mexico / become as GREEN as possible / feel physically and emotionally healthy / study world culture / understand politics / swim with dolphins / write a book / find Mark a cuban cigar / take Mark to Jim Morrison's grave / gamble in Vegas / have a white Christmas / visit all 50 states / make a traditional southern New Years Day dinner / build my dream home / make a quilt / go dog sledding / make chocolate chip cookies from scratch / buy Mark a new computer / sleep curled up in front of a fire / see the ball drop in Times Square / wear yellow rainboots and slicker in London / start a food fight / dance naked in the rain / cook a holiday meal for both sides of my family / have a beer and hotdog a baseball game / make homeade wine / go deep sea fishing and eat what I catch / serve on jury duty / make a time capsule for 20 years and include this list / have a wildflower garden like my grandmother's / take dancing lessons / be a zombie extra in a movie / attend a ball / throw a costume party where eeveryone dresses up / have lunch with JK Rowling / go fly fishing / ride horses on the beach / learn sign language / watch the 10 greatest American movies of all time / go to a wine tasting / own a houseboat / learn to change a tire / donate blood / take a second honeymoon / become a vegetarian / have a library with leather bound books / see a fashion show / see all Oscar nominated  films before the Oscars show / Find inner peace /  have a mint julep athe Kentucky Derby while wearing a large hat / break a guiness world record / read the classics / ride with my grandfather to his birth place / make peace with people I need to / meet Heather Armstrong / reach out to my biological family / get my sister to read a book of my own choosing / get a tattoo / banish the need for anxiety medication / volunteer at a homeless shelter / visit Niagra Falls / get 2 comments from people I don't know on my blog / solve a rubics cube / involve and educate my community on recycling / create a kitchen compost / remodel my bathrooms / take photography classes / go to a Titans game / coach something / stop eating fast food / meditate daily / invent something / work with adopted children / see the lighting of the tree in Rockafeller Center / spend Christmas in a tropical place / sleep in a hammock on a warm afternoon / learn to love spiders / pet a tiger cub / get hypnoitized / quit smoking / make an apple pie from scratch / go to Bonaroo / try caviar / see my mother with companionship again / play baseball with fruit / play soccer again / take trip by myself /
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