Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alton Brown's Turbo Hummus

The other day I made Alton's Brown's recipe for Turbo Hummus. You can find it here on the Food Network website.

Here's the ingredients you will need. I like recipes that don't require too many ingredients. And, you know me - I rarely follow a recipe exactly. In an effort to reduce some calories, I only used 1 tablespoon of olive oil and instead used more of the bean juice. Also, as you can see, I used reduced fat peanut butter.

I put the garlic in the food processor all by itself and gave it a whirl to help chop up the garlic finely. I put in 2 1/2 cloves of garlic and that ended up being a bit much. I think I just had really strong garlic this time.

Here's the somewhat finished product. It might not look too appetizing, but it is good.

And it's an excellent way to use up the other half of the jicama from the other day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More of David

This post is brought on by my brother David's comment, to the post about his birthday on Monday. In case you missed it, this was his comment:

Thanks! I can't believe you didn't include any pictures of how cute I am now!?

I think now is an appropriate time to tell this storey. If you are a member of my family, then I am quite sure that you have heard this before. Please humor me while I tell it again.

Back in the days before digital cameras, whenever David would come to visit us he would always sneak my camera away and take some self-portrait. It was a running joke to see what extra pictures we would have mingled in between our family pictures once we got the film developed. They were always of David holding the camera out at arms length and him making some kind of a funny face. He was quite good about taking the pictures as well. I never actually saw him sneak the camera away - we would just see the evidence that he had done it again once we had the film developed. And, because his visits were only a couple of times a year, I would forget about his little habit and would be surprised once again each time I picked up the pictures.

After one of his visits, I dropped off the film at our local grocery store for their one-hour film development. I had more errands to run that day, so I asked my husband to pick up the pictures. Bad idea. Apparently, David had decided to up his self-portrait activities to include a picture of his derriere. I couldn't help but giggle, but Rominal did not find it so funny. He started into a rant which included things like, "anyone could have seen a white guys ass coming off of the photo developing machine," and "there are children at this store!" and "I can never go into this store again!" and "why would a black man want a picture of a white man's hairy ass," and "what is wrong with your brother!"

Luckily, Rominal can now laugh about this and see the humor in it. It also doesn't hurt that we now have a digital camera.

I've kept the aforementioned picture all of these years waiting for just the right time to unveil it to the public. I felt I really took the high road when I did not bring a poster size version of the picture to his wedding last August. I should get rewarded for that.

But now since David is now asking for another picture of just how cute he is, I'm thinking that this might just be the right time.

To unveil

THE picture

Look away if your squeamish

Last chance to look away . . .

Nah, I couldn't do that to you. Here's David at his wedding. You owe me one David.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy Birthday David!

Today is my brother David's birthday. So, in honor of his birthday, I thought I would post a couple of old pictures of him.

This was taken when David was 7 years old. Look at how cute he was!

And here's him and me, on his second birthday.

Now, all together please -

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday Dear David!
Happy birthday to you!

Grapefruit, Jicama and Olive Salad

I made this salad Sunday night. It is a recipe that my Weight Watcher's leader put up in our meeting. I love jicama, have you tried it yet? I wasn't sure about the olives in it, but it turned out pretty good.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 Tbs lemon juice

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

  • 1 24oz jar of red grapefruit sections, in light juice - drained

  • 1/2 jicama, peeled, sliced into thin strips

  • 10 pitted kalamata olives - sliced (I used green, because I forgot which kind they were supposed to be when I was at the store)

Combine lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and beat with a whisk. Add the grapefruit, jicama and olives and toss.

4 Servings = 1 point each

If you have never tried jicama before, here's your chance. I should have taken a picture of it before I started to cut it up, but this is after I have cut it in half and sliced off the outer peel. It's very crunchy and somewhat sweet.

Here's the grapefruit and jicama mixed together, before I realized that I had forgotten the olives. I'm really not one to follow a recipe very carefully.

Ok - crisis averted - I have added some olives. Only to find out that they were the wrong ones. Oh well. Again, me and following directions. I'm not going to have some recipe telling me what to do, I like to be in charge.

And here's a close up for you. I'm curious to see if the tastes mingle more in the fridge today. Overall, I liked it. My family wasn't quite as enthusiastic about it though.

Have a great day!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Denton Jazz Festival

We went to the Denton Jazz Festival yesterday. It was a beautiful day, partly cloudy and a pretty good breeze - so it was perfect.

I took this picture because I have no idea what elephant ears are, and I wasn't about to try them. I hung around this booth for a bit to try to figure it out and no one ordered one, so it remains a mystery to me.

Lots of people had their pets out there, and this guy let me take a picture of his birdie.

However, the highlight of the day was when we passed a woman holding this adorable puppy and she let Bailey hold it too. Oh dear, here we go. Que the cries of, "Mom - why can't we get a dog?"

This little guy was adorable. He slept through the entire photo shoot. He just couldn't be bothered to open up his eyes.

How cute is this!

And no, for the record, we did not cave - we did not bring home a puppy. The cats are thanking us.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I promised you some pictures of the girls before I took them to the dance, so here they are. From left to right we have Kenzie, Tiffany, and Bailey. Aren't they beautiful!

Kenzie has been in my Girl Scout troop for a long time and I have many pictures of her, but it's very rare that I will catch her in a smile, so I'm extra pleased to have gotten this shot below.

And another smile!

The girls were quite excited about the dance. I can't wait to hear all about it.

Hopefully, it will get two thumbs up!


I don't know how people who routinely travel for business do it. I was out of town Sunday through Wednesday and I'm still trying to recover from the lack of sleep, the time zone difference, and just the general change of routine. Three days of sitting in intense meetings can really wear a person out. As I get older it becomes more and more apparent that I do not function well without much sleep. Boy, I sure do sound like a whining baby, huh?

Well, yesterday was my first day home and you'd think that I would have been able to go home after work and relax. But no. Tonight Bailey has a dance, and not just any dance, but a dance at the high school that she will attend in another year. And, it won't just be her middle school going, there will be another middle school in attendance - since both middle schools feed into the high school. This dance is somewhat dressy - they were told no jeans. So, last night as soon as I got home I had to leave the comforts of my home and take her shopping. As much as I would have preferred to stay home, I certainly remember the excitement and jitters of a big dance and how necessary it is to have "just the right thing to wear." Bailey had even texted me while I was in Phoenix to ask me if we could go shopping on Thursday. It was that important.

We met a friend of hers and her mother at the store and the girls tried on dresses until they each decided on the perfect one. Then it was on to the shoe department to pick out the perfect shoes to go with the perfect dress. (Side note - they had a sale, buy one, get one for $.88 - so I snagged a cute pair of sandals as well - yeah me!) Anyway - when did the girls grow up so much?

I'll be taking pictures tonight, so I'll post some over the weekend - after I sleep in really, really, really late tomorrow. Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mass Ensemble

I'm traveling now for work - I'm in Phoenix, and wouldn't you know it, today they are supposed to hit above 100 degrees today for the first time. That's just too hot.

So - since I'm pressed for time, here's some more from last weekend.

At the Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth on Saturday, we saw the group Mass Ensemble perform. They play an instrument called the earth harp. Three people were actually playing it when we were listening.

The strings of the earth harp went way out above everyone's heads. They had weights on them at different places on each string.

Unfortunately, you can't see the strings in this picture, but they are connected to the top of the 3 story white building.

The music was very interesting, and the harp just catches your interest. Here's a YouTube clip of one of their performances from another show.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth, Texas

Today we went to the Main Street Arts Festival in Fort Worth. We decided to take the train into downtown Fort Worth and that was an adventure. These trains are two stories. It was nice to sit back and watch the cities speed by.

Once we were in downtown Fort Worth, we saw some wild animals.

Some wilder than others.

This is the front of the Bass Performance Hall. It's beautiful.

These figures were sculptures that were made out of metal by one of the artist at the festival. They moved and swayed in the wind. We saw so many creative works of art.

On the way home, we saw tons of bluebonnets. They are everywhere this time of the year in Texas.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

My New Banner!

My ever-so-cool sister Erin made my my new kiss-that-frog banner you see above! This was her first project on Photoshop and didn't she do a fantastic job! There's even 3 frogs up there, one for me, one for Rominal, and one for Bailey.

Thank you so very much!!!!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

NOTE - Yes, this is a cookie recipe. Yes, I have recommitted myself to focusing on my diet. No, I'm not straying away. I just love this cookie recipe and I wanted to share. Thank you for listening and you may continue with the regularly scheduled blog.

I love cookies. They are one of my favorite desserts, and they are even better if they have icing. And cookies for me must be soft. I'm not a crispy cookies girl - give me a soft chewy one please.

This is my "go-to" recipe for chocolate chip cookies. The recipe is really easy and it makes a ton of cookies. The only change I have made is that I add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. The cookies really need the salt to balance the sweetness. This recipe calls for instant vanilla pudding, which gives a deep vanilla flavor. I have sometimes changed the recipe to add chocolate pudding and white chocolate chips, or white chocolate pudding and chocolate chips - both have turned out well. You can use your own favorite combination.

I took these to Rominal's family's house for Easter and they were gobbled up. Also, as a special request, I made some without any chips at all.

Here's the recipe: Award winning soft chocolate chip cookies

And here's some action shots - first the cookies all ready to be baked.

And the finished product. The two cookies in the back are without chocolate chips.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Smoothie Post Update

I'm hoping by now everyone has made the smoothie recipe that I posted the other day. Today Bailey and I made a banana one that was so good I just had to tell you about it.

First of all - I have a tip!

I had several bananas that had all turned brown on the outside (perfectly ripe on the inside though) and I knew we wouldn't get around to eating them before they passed their prime. My family was already turning their noses up at them. I didn't want to make banana bread, because that would hurt my diet efforts so I needed to come up with something else. I had tried to freeze bananas in the past and it didn't work out. The peel was impossible to peel off. So, I had this wonderful idea - I peeled the banana and wrapped it up in plastic wrap, then I put it in the freezer. The next day the frozen bananas are the perfect color - they didn't turn brown or look gross. Perfect for a smoothie!

So, today for our snack I took out 2 frozen bananas and tossed them into the blender, added my skim milk, a couple of packets of Splenda and some vanilla. Set your blender on whirl and you have a glass of goodness! I think this is my new favorite smoothie flavor. Bailey loved it as well.

Black-Bean Burgers

This is a recipe I got from Gourmet Magazine, February 2009 issue.

I chose this recipe because I love black beans, and the recipe didn't have too many ingredients. It has 7 Weight Watchers points (not including the hamburger buns).

I often chose recipes based on how many ingredients it calls for - and if there are too many I have been known to edit some out.

This recipe was super quick to make and I really liked it.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 (14oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs (I found that it needed double this amount)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (I'm too lazy to chop cilantro, so I tossed it in when I put the beans in the food processor.)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 hamburger buns

Pulse 1 can beans in a food processor with mayonnaise, bread crumbs and spices until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cilantro (if you hadn't already added it to the mix prior like me) and remaining can of beans. Form mixture into 4 patties.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet and cook the burgers until the outsides are crisp and lightly browned, turning once, about 5 minutes total. Serve on buns.

Here's some play-by-play pictures.

The rinsed black beans.

This was the mixture before I decided to add more bread crumbs. It was way too wet.

Here's a picture of my 4 patties prior to cooking.

And here's the finished product. For the record, I added a slice of cheese to mine, well, because, everything is better with cheese on it.

And even though I really liked it and ate all of mine, my family didn't agree. Rominal had about 3 bites and Bailey - well this was her only bite.

Something tells me she won't be asking for this meal again any time soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I haven't posted about my weight loss efforts in a while for many reasons. I've been on a plateau for quite a long time now. It's gotten embarrassing. I've gained and lost the same 3-4 pounds since the beginning of the year. My weight loss chart looks like it has flat lined.

I have lots of excuses for why this has occurred, some good ones even.

  • I lost a dear family member
  • We went on vacation
  • I had family visiting
  • I've gotten out of the habit of exercising
  • My taxes were due
  • Food just tastes so good
  • It's not fair! (whinny voice) Why do some people get to eat what they want and never gain and why can't I be one of those people
  • It was Easter and they only sell Cadbury Cream Eggs and Brach's Chicks and Rabbits once a year, and therefore I must eat all I can now when they are available

However, I know that these are just excuses and it was these excuses that got me the 50 pounds that I have worked so hard to get rid of. Today is my weigh in day at Weight Watchers and I'm afraid I'm going to have a gain today (mostly thanks to Chicks and Rabbits).

As I was getting dressed this morning I reached out for my favorite pair of jeans and I found that they were tight - a tad uncomfortable even. This is new to me - they used to fit so well. In my pre-Weight Watchers days I would have blamed this on the clothes dryer. Now, however, I must admit that the jeans didn't just shrink and it's me who has grown. I like it much better when I put on my clothes and there is room enough for me to move around. In the previous months when I was losing weight that became a sensation that I loved and now I crave. I would put on a pair of pants and show Rominal how much extra room there was in them. To see that visual evidence of what I had done gave me motivation to keep on going. I need to dig down and find that motivation again.

I have been thinking a lot lately about how this is not a weekly battle or daily battle, but rather a minute-by-minute battle. Meaning that as I'm about to put the Chicks and Rabbits into my mouth I have to stop and think right at that very minute. "Will this Chick or Rabbit taste good? Yes, of course it will. Fantastic even. But will it help me go my goals? No."

So, today, in front of everyone, I am standing up and recommitting myself to my weight loss goals. This means exercising and watching what I put in my mouth. I might post more about this in the future - maybe that will help me keep on track.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Almost time! This is the first year that I haven't already sent mine in by now. I'm not sure why, but I have a very relaxed feeling about doing them this year.

They are basically done, but I just like to sit on them for a day or two so that I can mentally go through the last year one more time just in case I magically remember that we have another baby, or some other huge deduction that I forgot to itemize.

So, you can guess what I'll be doing tonight. I just hope that everyone else in the United States hasn't waited to file until now - thus making all of the interwebs* clogged when I try to e-file.

*I can't take credit for the word interwebs, but I do love that word. Thanks Cherie for introducing it to me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I made Bailey a smoothie the other day and she liked it so much that she has one almost every day. I happen to think that they are pretty good too, so I thought I would share it with you.

On this day, we had run out of peaches which Bailey prefers, so we had to use strawberries, but any frozen fruit will do.

You will also need about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. It makes it taste so much richer.

You will also need some milk - I used skim milk. Also, add Splenda to taste. Anywhere I go I leave a trail of Splenda packets. The picture below shows the milk, frozen strawberries, Splenda, and vanilla - right before I turn on the blender.

And here's the end result. It helps if you have bendy straws. Makes it taste better. Enjoy!

Guess what my car did today?

Look what my car did today! It went from this:

To this:

Sorry these pictures aren't very clear - they were taken with my cell phone. And, not to worry, Rominal was driving when I took the pictures.

It's hard to believe my van has reached 100,000 miles. It's been a long time since I had a car reach that high in mileage. It's been a good car for us, so I hope to see 200,000 miles in the future.

Delicious Raspberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars

Happy Easter!

I thought I would share a recipe today. I am bringing these to my husband's family's gathering today. These bar cookies normally get pretty good reviews, and I was specifically asked to bring these.

I found this recipe on, and I have only made slight changes. I normally double the recipe and use a 9x13 inch pan. Also, I always use Kosher salt, I just think it tastes better - and it's the only salt I have in the house.

For this batch, I actually tripled the recipe. In the past I thought that the amount of "bar" under the jelly wasn't enough to hold the bar together. So, I tripled the batch and I think this worked well. Also, I would recommend putting the pan in the fridge before you cut the cookies into squares. The butter needs to harden up to make the cookies cut easier.

The original recipe is here - Delicious Raspberry Oatmeal Cookie Bars. Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Things on my desk.

Not sure what this says about me, but here are some things on my desk that I thought I would share. I've had these two "things" for many years now. They travelled with me from my last job to my current one. The gorilla will spit sparks when you wind him up. And R2D2 makes his famous sound if you push his head in.

This is my fish. He normally doesn't move, but he is apparently scared to death of my cell phone camera. This was the best picture I got of him because he was moving around so much. I've had him for over a year now. He still doesn't have a name.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Rominal and I were talking the other night and he said something that has been going through my head since then. It's such a valuable piece of information that I thought I needed to pass it along.

Some people are a-holes. We all know which ones they are. And what happens when you poke an a-hole? You get poo'd on.

I will have to repeat this to myself prior to dealing with any a-holes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Ok - I'm testing something here. I turned on the ads on this blog - as you can see. I'm incredibly curious as to how much (if any) money this would make. Don't hate me please, I have bail money to earn back!

So, please be a dear and don't complain too much. Also, feel free to check this blog daily, even hourly - hee hee.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Don't worry - you're safe

Yup, that's right folks. You can all rest easy now. A hardened criminal has been caught. Who or whom do you ask? (I can never remember the rule for which one we are supposed to use, who or whom.) Anyway - the person who was caught was none other than my husband. He's been caught and the world is once again safe.

Here's the story, but first I have to tell you that last week he was pulled over for speeding and given two tickets - one for speeding and another because he didn't have his proof of insurance with him in the car. We have insurance, he just didn't have the card in the car with him - we think it was lost when he got his inspection sticker. In this part of the country, you have to show proof of insurance when you get your inspection sticker. We weren't too worried about that ticket because we can get it waived by showing the proof of insurance. As for the speeding ticket, we have until April 22 to pay it, so we weren't worried about that either.

So, now on to what happened today. Driving to work today he was pulled over for speeding. Same spot. Yes, I agree he should know to slow down in that area, but you try telling him that. He called me around 7:30 this morning to say that he had been pulled over and he was waiting for the police officer to come talk to him. He said that he would call me when he was finished to tell me the damage. I continue to get ready for work and finally leave the house and I still haven't heard back from him. I try calling his cell phone and there's no answer. This is when I start to get worried. I decide to drive along the highway where he got pulled over to see if I can see him or his car and I don't see anyone, so I go on to work. At this point I'm thinking that his phone has gone dead. Another side story - my phone battery keeps dying. I don't know what I do to phone batteries, but I kill them. I've had my new phone since December and I'm already on my second battery. Yesterday, he and I decided to switch batteries to see how my battery does in his phone, so it is quite possible that his phone battery is dead and he can't call me. I'm thinking that he will call when he gets in to work, which is a long commute. I arrive a work late and a bit frazzled worrying about him.

Then I get a phone call. It's a computer saying it's from the county jail and he has two seconds to say he's been arrested. For some reason, the phone call that jail inmates are allowed to make can't be made to a cell phone, so when he would call it would only let him talk for 20 seconds, then it would hang up on me. Needless to say, he didn't get a lot of information to me in those 20 seconds. I start talking to people at work as they help me figure out which county building I'll need to go to in order to bail him out. I leave work and run home to pick up a copy of our insurance policy to prove that we do have insurance on the car he was driving. I arrive at one county building and they tell me the bail is $250.00 and where he is located. I go get cash and then head to that building. I arrive there around 9:00am where I sit, and wait, and wait. Finally he is released around noon. Clearly customer service is not their first priority. Where is my comment card to the manager?

So, what was his offense? Apparently, they think he wrote a bad check. But he hasn't written a check in years. Turns out the check in question was from 1992 to a local grocery store. Yes, I said that correctly. 1992. 17 years ago. It was on the same checking account that we had up until about 3 years ago - so if there was a bad check, I should have known about it. So, he's had this warrant for his arrest since 1992 and they just now caught up to him. Which makes me a tad concerned. He's been pulled over before - why, even last week. Why now? We lived at the address on the check for several years - why didn't they come get him when we lived there? We have bought and sold houses since then, you would think the matter of a warrant for your arrest would come up. Why is this just now being discovered? And, how much work is it going to be to show that we don't have a bad check out there? Who has records from 17 years ago? This $50.00 check written in 1992 has now cost us $250.00 in bail, and $250.00 in car impoundment fees. We are not amused. Actually, I'm able to see some humor in it, but Rominal isn't laughing yet. Give him time, he'll come around. Maybe after a while he will be able to smile at this - his mug shot.

So world, you can rest easy tonight. Rominal has been caught.