Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fish Tacos

The fish man at the grocery store convinced me to get a couple of Mahi fillets and said they were GREAT for fish tacos! I'd never cooked Mahi before but because it was Fish Friday (buy one get one free) I decided to go for it!!! And boy o boy I am glad I did. These are probably the best fish tacos I've ever had. The type of fish really makes a difference and Mahi is an excellent choice! I used a marinade recipe from a brochure at the seafood counter and made my own "slaw" topping and special sauce. You've gotta try this one!

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Mahi fillets
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Roasted red peppers - about 1 tablespoon chopped (from a jar)
  • lime zest
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Raddishes
  • Avocado
  • Raw red bell pepper
  • corn tortillas

FISH: In a small bowl, combine oil, lime juice, cilantro, 1 tsp cumin, and chili powder. Place fish in shallow dish and pour marinade over fish. Let stand 30 minutes.

Remove fish from marinade and place fish on broiler pan sprayed iwth non-stick cooking spray. Broil 4 inches from heat until fish flakes easily. (Tip! While broiling, open oven to first notch (so it stays open by itself. This helps prevent fish from burning and smoking up the entire house but does not effect cooking.)

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, more lime juice, more cilantro, remaining cumin, roasted red peppers, and lime zest and salt and pepper to taste.

I chopped up iceberg lettuce very finely and added alfafa sprouts, finely chopped carrots, radish, avocado, red bell pepper. Squeeze some lime over the top and add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Mix up gently as to not squash the avo and ta da!

Break up fish and divide among tortillas. Top with sauce and slaw and DEVOUR!

Bulbous Freak

This is what happens when I wear flats that are open on top...BULGE CITY! I am praying to the shoe gods that I won't be stuck in "sneakers" for the rest of my life. Gym shoes wreak havoc on my cute outfits.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sneak Peek

I've been slow to post lately, but we've been REALLY busy! Work has been insanely busy and surprisingly our social calendar has been filling up lately! But, really, we've been making progress on home projects!! Whooppee! 

Steve has been very busy crafting beautiful window sills and trim for our guest room and office. It all came about when we decided to replace a few old windows with new ones and the installer suggested we put in new window sills prior to installation of the window. So Steve went to town, grinding off the old sills (not really even a sill - just drywall and texture stuff), and quickly learned that grinding off drywall makes LOTS of dust. The entire office was covered with a layer of dust. So for the next room he built a bubble around the window to work in. Even then there was dust everywhere. The new grasscloth wall paper was caked - Steve spent quite some time vacuuming off the dust!!  Finally, when he got to the window in the living room, we bubbled off the window and then double-bubbled the entire living room! This took an entire night to prep..we had to remove everything from the room, tape up the plastic with a complete seal and then we put textbooks down on the bottom of the plastic so that the dust wouldn't creep up underneath and spread throughout the house. Phew! All that work for about 5 minutes of grinding. 

All of my patience is paying off because Steve's sills and trim are GORGEOUS! Absolutely gorgeous!!! He isn't quite done so this is just a sneak peek before my official before and after photos :) 


Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Favorites - Oryx and Crake

One of my favorite books of all time is Margaret Atwood's, Oryx and Crake.  I first read this book junior year of college for my english class and fell in LOVE. And the other day I was out of things to read so I dusted it off and read it again!

This book is a futuristic take on the everyday lives of Americans, from the eyes of one character, Snowman. But, it isn't sci-fi and outlandish. It's actually a story that could come true and in fact, many times I would stop and reflect on the similiarites between this futuristic chaos and the world as we know it today. Think Fahrenheit 451 but instead of banishing books, this story wipes out the human soul and devastates science. Snowman's story is one of fighting through the artificiality of his old life and learning how to cope with his new, more solitary life among the Crakers. If you want to read about the effects of cross-breeding pigs and racoons (Pigoons) and rats and skunks (Rakunks), you should read this book! And if you think chicken nuggets are gross, how about chiki-nobs?!

Everyone should read this book! It is a serious page turner!!! Let me know if you want to borrow it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Love Letter Sunday

I always have a difficult time throwing away notes and cards when there is something sweet written inside. I love that most of these letters are HAND written when these days handwritten letters are so rare. I've been stashing these gems for years and I've decided to showcase them here on my blog for all to see. These thank you notes, birthday cards, valentines, postcards, and my personal favorite,"letters just because" are so special to me and I hope you enjoy reading them.  

Apparently, I'm the shit ;)


Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday Favorites - Hooky bobbers

One of my favorite little details in the house are these cute little hooks that we got from Cost Plus. They add the perfect touch of color and fun to an otherwise boring laundry room/pantry. 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Isn't it Ironic?

Last year at my "Favorite Things" bridal shower, I received a gift from a woman who's favorite thing was a battery operated screw driver. She said it makes life much easier if you have some handy tools to hang pictures and do chores around the house that normally you'd have to wait for a man to do. Since being a home owner, I've learned that home projects, whether they are simple tasks like hanging pictures or big events like installing windowsills, take time. Too much time. Much more time that I am comfortable with. But, I never try not to complain too much because its usually Steve who has the tools and the muscle (and usually the brains) to get the job done. But Sunday I was determined to hang up some decorations that had been sitting sadly on the bar just begging to be hung! I'm a pro at hanging things with thumbtacks and tiny nails, but this called for something more heavy duty. And then I remembered my fancy schmancy screw driver from the shower and I got to thinking about how I can use MY tools to get the job done! Ah ha!

The screwdriver came in that awful plastic packaging. You know, the kind that is IMPOSSIBLE to open! Yeah, I know you know what I'm talking about and I can bet that you probably just winced in horror at the thought of the last time you attempted to open one.

Now it gets good, trust me.

So, right next to the screwdriver package is my "Ladies Mate" - my very own personal toolkit. Hammer, nails, tape measure and lots of other useless stuff. But, lookie here! A box cutter! Nearly new! This should do the job!

I am slicing and dicing the plastic and need just one more tiny cut before I can even attempt to pry open the package. And that's when it happened. The blade flew off the plastic and directly into my left index finger. I took one look at the cut and knew it was BAD. Like, worst cut ever! Like, you could see my finger's innards! Must. Apply. Pressure. IMMEDIATELY!  Go directly to Steve, do not pass go!

Yeah, sure, now I am in dire need of a MAN to help me out. Even more, I needed a MAN to help me open that damn package ten minutes ago! Instead, my ladies mate and my super cool screwdriver and the words from the lovely woman, "you don't need a man!" went whirling through my head and I convinced myself that I could do it! I am determined to get things DONE. I am woman!!

I calmly, I got up and grabbed a paper towel, wrapped it around my finger, walked outside, and gently called out, "Oh Billy! I think I have an emergency here. I think I might need stitches." That's right, no exclamation points, no high pitch squeal, no CAPS LOCK. How weird is it that I was as calm as the morning sea? In fact, as I was walking outside, I kept telling myself, stay calm, do not freak out, breathe. And then my brain was like, "umm hello, are you serious? Where's the tears? Where's the screams? Why isn't this hurting?? Why are you being so calm? Who are you?" Seriously, I was pretty freaked out that I wasn't freaking out. So not me.

I get to Steve and he takes one single look and says, "let's go!", grabs a bazillion paper towels and jumps in the car. Off to the ER we go! Turns out I didn't need stitches after all. Pretty lucky huh? Just a tetanus shot and some dermabond (prescribed by hot doc!). Yep, skin glue! Which also means I cannot get my finger wet for a week. Here we go again...

In summary:
  1. I need Steve. I am so happy to have him and I am so lucky that he enjoys doing projects in our house to make it beautiful.
  2. I am also glad to have my handy Ladies Mate and that cool screwdriver, but from this point forward I will ask for help when I need it!
  3. Do not use a box cutter to try to open those stupid plastic packages!!!
  4. Rebel against said plastic packages and refuse to buy items wrapped in them!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A Cookie Inside a Cookie!

Once again, I found a delightful recipe from my favorite food blog, Buns in my Oven, and put it to the test! The original recipe calls for regular chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Double Stuf Oreos, but I thought that might be a bit much, so I used the chocolate chip recipe sans chocolate chips and Single Stufd Oreos :) Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly. These cookies were sooo freaking good. Especially warmed up. The next time you're in the mood for a whopper of a cookie, try these because they're easy to make and sure to satisfy your craving!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Picky Palate
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package Oreo cookies – I used Double Stuf
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to the wet mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with and to keep the dough from spreading when baking.
Using a cookie scoop place one scoop of dough on top of an Oreo cookie. Place another single scoop on the bottom of the Oreo to create a cookie sandwich. Seal the edges together to completely close in the Oreo.
Place the balls of cookie dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 9-13 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

I am a professional hoop jumper

Once again, I am back to the books. I am taking my fourth environmental engineering course at Cal Poly and this time its an easy peasy class that has the same title as my job but with "for engineers" on the end of it. I chose this class because a) it will be relatively stress free, b) I'll probably learn at least one thing useful c) the units will go towards my masters degree, and d) its during lunchtime so I don't have to miss much work!

Nerd alert! Look at that organized list! That's how my life is planned out in my head, BTW.

Okay, all of that sounds very simple and matter-of-fact right? Well, we are in the second week of the quarter and I still have not officially registered for the class. They make it nearly impossible for an outsider to take a class at CP. I am enrolled through the Continuing Education system so I have to follow a special set of rules with a special application and lots of wonderfully special hoops!!

First, I have to wait until school starts before I find out if I can get into the class. By this point, most of the classes are completely full with huge waiting lists. This quarter I was interested in three classes and got my second choice, not bad. So, on the first day I showed up to class, hoping and praying that the instructor would let me in. Meanwhile, poor Steve is waiting just off campus to hear if he should come back and pick me up or not. Luck was on my side that day because the class got moved to a larger classroom so he was able to accept more wait-listers. Also lucky (smart) that I picked a class with a professor that already knew me, so my chances were even better. I was in!

Second, the instructor must sign the application form. But of course it doesn't end there. Now, I have to get the Dean to sign the form. A dean that I have never spoken to before, nor do I think even exists. But, this is my fourth class, so I am good at this process now, right?. All I have to do is go to the ENVE office and have the secretary take the form, have the Dean sign it and they'll send it to the Continuing Education dept.!WRONG. Steve picks me up from class and we have to drive around campus through the hoards of students (its 2:00 on a Tuesday - prime class time) so it takes about 20 minutes to get to the ENVE building. Steve waits hesitantly (and annoyed, rightfully so) in the staff parking lot while I hobble (yes my foot is still not working) up to the office. The secretary says that now I have to take the form to the advising center to have it signed. Building 40 far far far far away from this building. So I run (gallop) back to the car and all I can do is huff and puff and clench my fists at that ENVE lady in that damn ENVE office.

So, after the terrible time trying to navigate the car through campus, today I decide that I am going to just suck it up and buy a parking permit for the quarter so that Steve doesn't have to stress. Getting a parking permit is not so easy either. I attempted their new online purchasing tool, but the Universe hates me so "error! error!!" popped up and it wouldn't let me buy the dang permit. Okay, breathe. Plan B: I'll just go to the police office to buy the permit today at lunch. But, I will need some change to park at the meter near the office. Wallet, empty! Change from Steve, check! Permit, check! (Oh, and no credit cards accepted, thanks! Thank god I brought my checkbook with me today otherwise this post would have been drizzled with blood!)

Since they conveniently closed off the center of campus to vehicle traffic, it is now an all day event to get to where I need to be to get the damn signature! I finally park, feed more money into the meter, (because using my new permit is impossible when I'm in a hurry on my lunch break and have a hurt foot - any available parking at this point would be far, far, far, I mean like BFE. So, meter it is!) and I'm on my trek up the hill to the advising center. Ah, finally.

Now, all I have to do is go back on Friday to pick up the signed application and take it to the Continuing Education building to pay! Ay dios mio, the hoops just keep on comin'!

Sidenote: They completely re-did the UU plaza. It looks AWESOME. And there's quaint patio seating and music blasting over speakers, and frozen yogurt and a giant salad bar at the Avenue! Oh, to be young again.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Pork Lettuce Wraps

I was going through my freezer trying to plan the week's dinners and found a butt-load of porkchops that I needed to use. I wanted to cook them all and then eat various pork dinners over the course of the week. So, I cooked the chops in a crock pot with an asian marinade and the first night we had pork chops, rice and applesauce. The next night I decided to get creative and use the asian marinade as inspiration to make pork lettuce wraps. I used P.F. Chang's chicken lettuce wraps as a guide (I mostly ignored the procedure but used the ingredients).

Crockpot Pork Chops (from recipe)
  • 6 pork chops (1/2 inch-3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbls minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger (I didn't use this)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I don't really like soy sauce so I only used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • black pepper
  • I also added a couple of Tablespoons of honey and a splash of sesame oil
Mix all ingredients, put chops in slow cooker and pour mixture over chops. Put on the low setting and cook for 7 hours.

Lettuce Wraps:
  • water chestnuts
  • mushrooms (i used brown baby bellas)
  • yellow onion
  • minced garlic
  • iceberg lettuce
  • leftover pork  (After the pork was cooked in the crock pot, I shredded the leftover pork and let it sit in the leftover sauce in the fridge overnight
Lettuce Wrap Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce
  • 2 Tbls rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbls ketchup
  • 1 Tbls lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp sesame oil 
  • 1 Tbls hot mustard (I just used a cheap dijon)
In a saute pan, heat up 1 Tbsp vegetable oil and then add minced water chestnuts, mushrooms, garlic and onions and saute. Add rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil (I used less soy sauce and more sesame oil), sugar, water, lemon juice, ketchup, and hot mustard to the pan and saute into the vegetables. 

Add the pork into the mixture and let absorb the flavors. 

I washed and set out the iceberg lettuce and shredded some carrots as a topping. Put the pork on a dish and serve family style!

Love Letter Sunday

I always have a difficult time throwing away notes and cards when there is something sweet written inside. I love that most of these letters are HAND written when these days handwritten letters are so rare. I've been stashing these gems for years and I've decided to showcase them here on my blog for all to see. These thank you notes, birthday cards, valentines, postcards, and my personal favorite,"letters just because" are so special to me and I hope you enjoy reading them.  

Some good advice from my parents:

And its true!
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