Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Not To Eat

I feel like I would be a bad friend on all accounts if, after trying a recipe that had great reviews, I did not tell the world how awful it was.

That’s right, folks – today we’re going to talk about my mistakes in the kitchen. Well, technically just one. Because I only made one (She’s got jokes!).

I found this really interesting blog post about low carb pizza. As my husband shouldn’t eat pizza at night because it runs his blood sugar up, I thought this would be a great alternative to ordering delivery from Domino’s. Plus, it CLAIMED to only have 7 grams of carbs in the ENTIRE PIZZA. That alone made me want to try it, because most meals don’t have just seven carbs.

Looks great, doesn't it? Looks can be deceiving...
To make the crust, which is where the carb problems come from, instead of using flour, you use flaxseed meal. I’ve used flaxseeds in cooking before, but never to create something like an entire crust. Usually it would be to add some fiber to my diet. Or just to make me feel better about eating a whole stack of pancakes. You get the idea.

Problem No. 1 arose when I discovered when putting the flax seed in that there were more than 7 grams of carbs in the 1.5 cups of flaxseed needed.


No problem, I thought. Maybe the writer of the recipe forgot to add a zero to the end, and she really meant 70.


Granted, in the end, there weren’t many carbs in the entire pizza – only about 100. That’s not bad, really, especially not for an entire pizza. Therefore, I was willing to keep cooking.

The pizza smelled great, too, from baking the crust to melting the cheese and meat. We were really excited. The crust looked a little more brown than the picture I had (it wasn’t burnt, it just was naturally that color, actually), but that’s fine, we said. We were willing to give anything a try.

And here’s the moral of the story: Don’t. Try. This. Pizza.

By distracting myself with watching reruns of “The Office” in which I tried to quote the entire episode by memory, I managed to swallow two pieces. Kyle, however, just couldn’t bear it. He tried, sweet husband, but I couldn’t blame him when he threw it away.

Guys, it was just bad. Just awful. Even now, two days later, I can still taste the bittery aftertaste in my mouth. The texture was fine, but it tasted very strong and bitter.

Some times experiments go wrong in the kitchen. This was one of those times.

But that’s okay. If you don’t try, how do you know it won’t succeed? =)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another food weekend

Actually, yesterday was really our only “focus on food” day. And it wasn’t on purpose that we focused on food. But I was off, the hubby was off, and the dog just wanted to lie in the yard, so why shouldn’t we heat up the grill?

Tanning all day tires this baby out!
Okay, first, to grill appropriately, you need a good drink. And this one isn’t going to do anything but make you fat and happy. But it’s the latter part that counts, right?

Recipe No. 1: Fake strawberry mojito

Oh, yes, and that’s my official Cheers glass from the Cheers in Boston. When I need a pretty, fun glass, I pull this one out.

1 can frozen limeade
1 cup frozen strawberries (TRUST ME, go unsweetened here)
Juice from two limes
Sprite. Sprite. Sprite.

The recipe called for one cup of Sprite (I used Sprite Zero), but because I used sweetened strawberries and frozen limeade, let me tell you: this sucker was SWEET. I was dousing it with extra Sprite every few sips because it was a little sweeter than what I preferred.

But it was soooo good. I fixed me up two of these suckers and have a spare in the freezer waiting for another great afternoon.

Recipe No. 2: Grilled chicken with spinach and melted mozzarella

I don’t have a picture for this because we gobbled it down before I could get a decent pic. That should tell you how delicious this chicken is. I cannot describe how much I want to make this again. Like tonight. But I can’t. Because I ran out of chicken and refuse to go to the grocery store this week unless I have nothing but a can of Rotel and a package of Ramen left in my cabinets. Because I hate the grocery store.

Anyway, I digress, but the recipe can be found by clicking here. Oh, and to offset the fake strawberry mojito, this recipe is actually healthy!

Recipe No. 3: Banana boats

Yeah, like I said, we ate a LOT yesterday. I got a craving for something sweet, and this was, ahem, relatively better than some other sweets I could have made. You just need three things: a banana, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Oh, and a grill. That would probably be helpful.

Open up the banana and stuff in as many chocolate chips and mini marshmallows as you can. Or, if you’re like me and did not have any mini marshmallows, dice the big ones up into four parts and then stuff them in. Roll in aluminum foil, toss on the grill, relax with your dog, cat, and fake strawberry mojito, and get ready to indulge.

It’s like having a hot banana split. It’s soooo good. And I can convince myself that it’s, um, yeah, healthy. Bananas are healthy, right?

So there you are! Three recipes that are perfect for this ridiculously hot end of May. If you try them, let me know how you like them!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Adventures of Puddin’

*Ghostwritten by the author of the blog

I can’t believe my dad left me here at this house…with these people…with that dog. He takes me everywhere! I bet his wife is to blame. She keeps complaining about my dog hair. But they shaved and bathed me yesterday, so I am a clean dog. So it couldn’t be that. They must have forgotten me…or that girl made them leave me. I bet it was her fault.

The girl gave me a treat, which I ate on the couch, and she scolded me. My owner WILL hear about this. I glared at her. She also got mad that I left crumbs on the couch. I don’t see the problem.

I whined on the couch for a while, trying to let the owners and their dog, Vicki, know that I needed to go home. They ignored me. So I jumped up in that girl’s arms in her reading chair. She held me and petted me, which was a surprise. I thought she didn’t like me.

The girl let Vicki and me outside to roam the backyard. That was so much fun! We saw a turtle, but Vicki was more interested than I was. It’s a turtle, after all. Slow-moving and hiding. Not much fun.

They have a cat, too, and Vicki and I LOVE chasing cats. Vicki said this cat has been mean to her, too, so I was happy to chase the cat with her. We treed the cat, who hissed and plotted her revenge.

That night, we went downstairs to watch TV, and the girl held Vicki and me on the couch. Vicki was not pleased that I took her spot, but she can deal with it. I’m the princess in this family. She’s just a dog.

It’s been a fun adventure, but I’m ready for my owner to come get me. I haven’t had a strawberry or piece of meat in nearly 24 hours, and if I don’t get human food soon, I may not be able to make it up those stairs in the girl’s house again.

And when he does come to get me, I’m going to tell on all of them.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I’m not sure if it’s a sign that I’m maturing or just lazy, but since I switched from a Droid to an iPhone last month, I have not set any specific ringtones.


With my Droid phone, I had a ringtone for everyone who frequently called me. Misti was Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” because she mentioned that her sweet baby loved Adele, and, frankly, so do I. My husband’s was basically any song that I liked at that moment – Incubus’ “Dig,” Bruno Mars or even (gulp) Nicki Minaj (I shake my head in disappointment in some of my music choices).  My mom was, by her own choice, “Bad to the Bone.” My dad had my favorite ringtone, though – Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue.” He used to sing me that song as a kid and then said he wrote that song himself because I couldn’t believe that song was actually a hit.

Believe it or not, there were some times when my ringtones have made me turn red. When I’m at work, I would usually try to keep my phone on silent or at least with a quiet ringer, but sometimes I would forget. So, naturally, it was a bit embarrassing when the "King of the Hill" theme song or Cake’s “The Distance” lyrics blared out of my phone at quite inconvenient times. Such as with a student. Or with the dean of my college. Sigh.

So that may be the reason why I have yet to add ringtones to this phone. It’s just simpler. And another reason may be because I have yet to learn all the fancy smancy apps on this new Apple product. Actually, that’s the real reason.

Plus, I’ve got to find the perfect ringtone for Kyle. I usually try to find a song we both like fairly well, as he’s the one who calls me the most. Due to my current fancies, my choices would go toward Florence + the Machine or Lana Del Rey. Neither are really his pick of the barrel. Maybe Civil Twilight…

Again…first I have to learn how to WORK the iPhone. Anyone want to help? ;)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coffee snob

I am an official coffee snob. I am also a coffee addict, which means that I’ll basically drink anything black and caffeinated if necessary. However, as Ginger asked me recently about my favorite Keurig flavors, I thought I would dedicate an entire post to my coffee snobbery.

My husband purchased me a Keurig as a surprise a little over a year ago, and first, I’d like to say that Keurig rocks my socks for two reasons: 1) You can purchase a little K-cup converter and have any of the regular brand coffees you desire (and is also cheaper than the actual K-cups) and 2) they’re customer service is ridiculously awesome. Seriously. I am actually on my second Keurig right now. My first one broke, and because I had registered my Keurig when I bought it, the company sent me another one free of charge. Granted, it was hard those few days without a coffee pot, but I’m a big Keurig fan thanks to their CS.

Anyway, this isn’t an ad for Keurig, but they are pretty amazing, so let’s first discuss my favorite K-cup varieties.

Non-flavored varieties

Caribou: This is a rich, bold coffee that is strong without being too overwhelming. Any variety Caribou has is automatically my favorite. It’s a little more expensive than the regular K-cup varieties, so I don’t buy it as often, but it’s well worth the price.
Dark Magic: Do not buy this unless you are a fan of extra bold coffees. However, as far as extra bold goes, this is a win.
Sumatran Reserve: Not only is this a fair trade certified coffee, but it’s also just awesome.  Like Dark Magic, it’s a bold Green Mountain coffee, but it doesn’t have the kick that DM does. This is my favorite extra bold coffee by far, though. I recently found a package of these in my trunk that had fallen out of a box during our move, and I nearly wept in happiness.
Coffee People’s Donut Shop Coffee: This is pretty good. I don’t get it every time I purchase K-cups (I buy in bulk – saves on shipping), but I do enjoy it. If you’re not a big bold coffee person but still like a full-bodied blend, this is the one to pick.
Flavored varieties

I do enjoy a few flavored varieties on occasion. I don’t drink them every day, but on a Saturday or Sunday morning, they’re pretty good.

Wild Mountain Blueberry: Okay, don’t freak out. I know, I know, the idea of blueberries and coffee just sounds awful, but it does not taste like blueberries. It does smell like blueberries, though, which, to me, is okay. It’s a good coffee, perfect for sitting on a porch while reading on a summer morning.
Island Coconut: Again, same with the blueberries. The smell is fantastic, too. It’s a very light coffee, and while I’m not a light coffee person, this one is still one of my favorites because of its smell and taste.
Cinnamon Roll: It seems that all flavored coffees are light blends, but that’s okay if they’re not an everyday coffee for me. This one is a little bit bolder than the other two I mentioned, and it could be an everyday coffee. Smooth, with a hint of cinnamon aroma – it’s great.
Of course, there are the regular coffees that I absolutely love and purchase as often as I get the opportunity, which include:

PJ’s Mardi Gras blend: Seasonal coffee and only found in south Louisiana (or at PJ’s Coffee shops), I try to buy this up when I run my yearly half-marathon in the late winter/early spring.

Kenya AA or Red Sea Blend: If you see anything labeled Red Sea Blend, LET ME KNOW. I very much miss this from my favorite coffee shop, FroMo, which has since closed.

This isn’t to say that I won’t partake in come CC or 8 O’Clock or even Folgers. I will. But these are the winners in my coffee addiction...for now. ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Food vacation

There's a group of us who enjoy traveling to eat. Our motto apparently is, “If it’s not more than two hours away, it’s not worth it.” This past winter, we started planning our biggest food vacation yet – a two-hour drive west of Dallas to eat supposedly the world’s best chicken fried steak. Or biggest chicken fried steak. Frankly, I’m still not 100 percent sure what the chicken fried steak claimed to be. It was good. It was big. So it could have been either.

So, yes, we drove six hours to eat the world’s best/largest chicken fried steak. Coupled with the world’s biggest bowl of gravy. And a really delicious fried pie.

Insulin and chicken fried steak
In the small town of Strawn, Texas, Mary’s Café is pretty much the only thing around. And, if you’re into food vacations, it’s worth it. You had an option of a small, medium, or large chicken fried steak. I’m not sure how many pounds (yes, POUNDS) the large was, but it was, as you can tell, epic.

I was the only one at the table who ordered a small. And I also was the only one who finished my meal and subsequently was hungry at dinner.

The remains of the large
Believe it or not, we did eat again. I did serve as ringleader for the ladies later that evening after our Mexican dinner. We headed to Grand Luxe Café at the Galleria to enjoy late-night dessert and coffee.

Mouth-watering mocha 
Sticky bun bread pudding. Yum!!!
And, ironically enough, the next day we headed to a more upscale grocery store to do some shopping. I nearly wept when I saw THREE ROWS of coffee beans, just lined up, waiting for me to buy ALL OF THEM.

I didn’t buy all the coffee. Promise. But I had to have some of this.

This is some of the best coffee in. the. world. It’s not Red Sea Blend (ultimate fav), but it’s outstandingly mouth-watering. Heck, I’m drinking Caribou from the Keurig right now, and I’m thinking how great a cup of Kenya AA would be.

And, after all the food (the chicken fried steak, the breakfasts at the hotel, the desserts, etc.) and our last stop being Central Market, I saw one last item that was necessary to consume on our food vacation: Lavazza coffee. Granted, I was full from total gorging over the past two days, but I fell in love with Lavazza in Chicago…and carpe diem, right?

See, folks? THIS is why I run. ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It was the best of times…

Yesterday had the potential to be one of the happiest days of my life or one of the worst. And I didn’t know which way it would go until about 2 p.m.

For a Ph.D. program, there’s a bunch of “major” hurdles students have to overcome. First, the classwork itself. Then you have comps – which vary from school to school and program to program. Mine, turns out, were some of the most intensive comps I’ve ever heard of a Ph.D. student encountering – seriously. I had a week of written comps then a day of oral comps. I remember the day I heard I passed written comps (October 24) and the day I passed oral comps (Halloween).

After passing comps, most universities declare you ABD – All But Dissertation (aka All But Done). However, Super Duper is different, as you are not declared ABD until you pass your dissertation proposal meeting, which, for me, occurred yesterday.

That’s right. I’m officially ABD.

The dissy proposal meeting occurs after you write your first three chapters of your dissertation – your introduction, where you discuss why you’re doing this study; your literature review, where you discuss the theory you’re backing your research up on and other research related to your study; and the method section, which tells how you’re going to do the research. Should be about 30 pages.

Mine ended up being 51 pages.

And I’m concise. I don’t write long papers, but this one turned out to be a beast. However, I’d rather be thorough than not ABD.

So, yeah, I’m ABD. I may repeat myself, because I’m just really overjoyed at this point.

What was really awesome, though, was all the support I received. My aunt sent me a card of encouragement last week. My husband prayed over me before I left heading south. I had multiple texts from friends yesterday morning saying they were praying for me. A friend accompanied me to Super Duper yesterday to keep me sane. My coworkers even sent flowers to Super Duper!! =) It was just really nice knowing that I had so much support for this endeavor.

After being declared ABD and holding the flowers from my coworkers
But the hard work, prayers, and support have paid off. I’m ABD.

Speaking of which, if any of you have friends who work at universities (not in the south region), I need people to help with my study!! So…yeah, let me know so I can move from ABD to Ph.D., lol!

Then we’re going to really party!