Monday, December 20, 2010

Buddy's 1 year passing anniversary

So, haven't been on here for about seven months. A lot of exciting things are happening in life...but this weekend whipped me back into reality. Buddy passed away a year ago this past Saturday.

So. Depressing.

I remember writing that blog last year with tears streaming down my face, but Saturday, I decided to do it up one more notch by watching "Marley & Me" on Sunday afternoon while doing laundry. SUCH a bad idea. What the hell was I thinking?

I have to say that a year went by quicker than expected, but it was as sharp a pain as it was last year. My dad sent the Buddy Smilebox picture compilation to my brother and me, which I watched for five minutes straight with a box of Kleenex by my side. Poor Mister Velveteen ears, I miss you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kitchen Tales: Blackberry - Orange Teacake

So, I bought the Cook Yourself Thinbook about 6 months ago after seeing the series on TV & hearing good feedback from friends, and I must say I am completely surprised and happy with the things I've made out of the cookbook.

As there is with any cookbook, there are favorites among myself and friends. The #1 choice for my new roommate is the teacake recipe. In the book, it is a raspberry - lemon; however, blackberries were on sale when I first made it. So, that's what I used. I did add a bit more sweetness to it by making a lemon glaze. Yes, I realize it's not healthy, but it made the cake shiny and sweet on top.

Here is the result of my second round at the teacake. For the glaze, combine 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon (or more until you reach your desired consistency) of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Stir, stir, stir. I promise you that it doesn't take a lot of liquid to thin out the powdered sugar.

Great Chicago bikini season starts.

The weather has changed this past week. No more of this half-ass Spring weather mixed with Winter cold/frosts. It has been above 87, consistently, since Sunday! Summer is here, people. Officially. Unfortunately, it makes me realize I am NOT ready for bikini season. At all.

This is getting out of control. 2 summers ago, I was walking around proud. Not right now. Time for some changes. Hence the weight loss challenge my friends and I are in right now. We've created our own separate blog, The Celery Stick, that you can go to & read up on our journey.

10% of our weight in 12 weeks. Through diet & exercise only. None of this diet fad BS. I'm ready for this. I'm ready to get back to where I was less than 2 years ago, before life, work and love stress hit me. No more excuses as I am the person of my own destiny!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My dad thinks of Buddy today...

So, our family isn't over our loss of Buddy this past December before Christmas. He sent me an email this morning that Bob, his friend who runs Dirks Fund Golden Rescue in the St. Louis area, has been subtly hinting that my dad should adopt Clifford.

Clifford is a cute golden with an angular face. He has recently gotten over bloat and now has a 13-inch scar on his tummy. My reservation is that when dogs get bloat and survive, they are much more likely to experience it again.

This is my dad's email to Bob and it made me cry (like anything does when I think of Buddy). I love my dad.

My Buddy would have been eight today. His family of humans, canines, and felines still miss him. He was one of God's great blessings in my life. When I walked the neighborhood with my three boys, I felt like the richest man in the world. Some of the angels God sends us walk on all four legs.
-John Ewers

Monday, May 3, 2010


So, I haven't posted quite a few of my foodie rants. Time for catch up.

Watching Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" solidifies that I need to start cooking with more organic foods. Furthermore, I need to use what I've got in the kitchen rather than going directly for processed, packaged items, which I've been doing more and more when I don't feel like cooking. On one of the episodes of FR, Jamie does a cooking class and he teaches people to make an easy stir fry. I make stir fry's all the time and decided to show Jamie what I got.

*Rule #1--use what you've got! I had celery, carrots, mushrooms, onion and pea pods in my fridge. So, that's what I used. Nothing fancy. But, use what you have!

Ingredient list:
Veggies &/or meat of choice
1 medium large orange--zested & juice from 1 half
2 Tbsp organic honey
1 inch grated ginger (I get fresh at the store, pop it into the fridge until I need it)
2 cloves grated or finely minced garlic
1-2 Tbsp peanut oil (or veggie oil/EVOO, I just like peanut oil because it adds another layer of flavor)
Soy sauce
Sesame oil (optional)

Let's get started...
Slice veggies
Heat a large skillet or wok over medium high to medium heat
Pour peanut oil (or veggie/EVOO) into skillet, swirl to coat bottom
Add veggies/meat and stir quickly (don't let the veggies stick) for 1 minute
Add orange zest, garlic and ginger (*You may need to add a touch more oil to the pan if there's not enough. If the garlic burns, you'll have to toss out the batch)
Cook veggies with ginger and garlic for 5 minutes until veggies get a more vibrant shade
Add honey, OJ, soy sauce & sesame oil to taste and bring to a simmer
Let simmer for 1 minute until soy sauce infuses with the veggies

Now, I had a half box of whole wheat pasta left in the pantry. I decided to add that to my stir fry instead of rice. Just cook the pasta as normal and have ready to add. After the veggies have been cooked with the soy sauce, add noodles and toss. Add a bit more soy sauce if you think it tastes bland.

This is easy for anyone to make and is great for using up veggies, pasta, rice and other random things in the fridge. I made a big batch and put the majority in the freezer for quick, healthy meal options. It takes less time than ordering take-out and goes a lot further for the money. Slice up the remaining half of the orange. Never let anything go to waste! Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you have them.

Adventures in redecorating

Since I moved into my current apartment over Memorial weekend 2009, I have HATED the color of my bedroom walls. Well, actually only three of the 4 walls, because the 4th wall is the "accent" color. The remaining 3 walls, though, were an awful brown...a mixture of what I call a poopy-orange. Definitely not my color palate or choice.

But, I didn't try painting my room because I knew that I might want to change my bedding at some point as it was time for an upgrade. Still, almost a year into our 15 month lease, I hadn't found bedding I liked nor did I paint the walls. That was until this past weekend.

My new roommate, Stephanie, moved in on Friday, and our first task Saturday was to get our living room decorated. Which meant we were painting our accent wall in the living room to fit our styles. While Stephanie and I talked about what color to paint the living room, I told her that I hated my room.

I took her back to my room, opened the door and showed her the gloriously tacky color on my wall. She sort of laughed and said it "wasn't that bad." To which I replied, "Yeah, for you! Try staring at the wall with that color on it." I also told her that part of my hold back in painting my bedroom was that I didn't want to paint it to fit my current bedding, because I was looking to get a new set but hadn't found one I really liked enough to buy. (Actually, I found one a few at West Elm but couldn't rectify spending $200+ on just a comforter when I could get a whole set at Target or Carsons.)

So, when we were out running errands at Target before heading to Home Depot to stock up on paints and supplies, we went through the bedding. And voila! I found a set I really liked. Just so happened that this set was the same that Steph had been deciding against the one she ended up buying. I'm learning we share a lot of the same tastes....

With the new comforter in toe, we went to Home Depot. We picked out a slate blue for the living room. And I then turned my attention to getting my paint picked out. I decided to go with Behr paint, because I've heard good things. And it was cheaper than the eco-friendly paint. (Why is all the stuff that is GOOD for the Earth up to 30% more expensive? I know we need to save THAT question for a Coffee Tawlk discussion.)

Roll this around on your tongue...Mushroom Bisque. "A yummy soup?," you might ask. Indeed, it is; however, it is now the color on 3 of my walls. It's a neutral, so the next tenants won't be shocked by a poopy-orange wall. As for my accent wall, I ended up using the same slate blue as we painted in the living room. And while it's a little darker than the seafoam blue in my comforter it goes...but it doesn't match. Ladies, you will understand this concept more than men.

Steph and I painted the living room that Saturday night, but I knew my bedroom would have to wait until Sunday. The bed room was a bit larger project scale after all.

Sunday @ 7:30am, I hop out of bed and start taping off my walls, door frames, window sills, outlets, vents and baseboards. 9:06am rolls around and I finally am finished. I couldn't believe it took me just over an hour and a half to tape off my room. I started to get scared at how large the project was. I still had a few things I needed from Home Depot. So, out I ventured again.

Coming back, I told Steph I was going in for the kill. It was party time. Sure, I had a few hiccups. Like when I thought that it would be a good idea to NOT paint the wall that was already the lighter shade already. I mean, the colors were so similar. Yeah, but when I went to put some touch-up paint on that wall where a crack was showing, it revealed the colors were NOT that close. So, I ended up having to paint that wall, too.

Or how about when I dropped my wet "mistake" cloth on the floor, bent down to pick it up and hit my head on the wall which resulted in THIS:

When I hit my head, all I could do was say an expletive, close my eyes, shake my head and keep going. I didn't look at my hair until after the entire room had been done, and all I could do was laugh. I consider myself to be a great painter, and I haven't had paint in my hair like this EVER. Just minor splish splashes.

The re-decorating was all worth it, because now, I live in THIS room....

I'm quite proud that I did it all by myself. I took ownership of it and got it done around 3pm that afternoon. It was fully dry and aired out by bed time. Going through this, I realized that one reason why I didn't hang out in my room more was because I couldn't stand the color in it. It's amazing how much our environment can influence our moods. But now, I don't think I'll be worrying about that. And yes, I realize I have only 4 1/2 months left in my lease, but I'd much rather do this now, enjoy the rest of my time and know what I will be doing in my new apartment if I move out at the end of August.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Traffic Halting Puppy on the Ike

For the past two days, there were traffic and news reports of a black pitbull mix puppy dog running along the Ike (290) in morning traffic. The dog wasn't hit yesterday and people assumed that he was back home or had been picked up by animal control.

Not so! This morning the little guy was back in his four-legged action running along side cars and weaving through the 2 lays of traffic. The worst part is that the Eisenhower is under construction and any reason to slow down on top of the already reduced speed limit can be frustrating for drivers. Thank God drivers on the road were willing to break for the pup.

When the police showed up, the puppy had been running for almost an hour and a half. I still cannot believe that the pup hadn't gotten hurt. Or any drivers for that matter. The pooch evaded police for about a half hour before they got him sandwiched between the concrete barrier and a couple police SUV's. One of the officers put out his hand in greeting and patted his leg. The dog, which has been rightfully named Ike, ran up to him and followed the direction of the officer into the back of one of the SUV's.

The follow-up story on the news this evening had him hooked up to an IV. Poor thing was in rough condition. Check out the link here. Read the story and watch the video!