Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Funny

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I want to write a blog. I really do. But instead I'm:

going to work early
leaving late
trying to finish watching a movie with the hubs
hanging out with my baby girl
being a foodie
watching Top Chef/Walking Dead/Spartacus/Top Shot/etc.
cleaning/washing dishes/doing laundry/cleaning up

But to hold yall over, I have a few picture for ya...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Secret Ingredient

"Chili is not so much food as a state of mind. 
Addictions to it are formed early in life and 
the victims never recover. 
On blue days in October, I get this passionate 
yearning for a bowl of chili, and I nearly 
lose my mind." by Margaret Cousins 

Throwing in a [successful] secret ingredient into a recipes makes me feel like I'm the queen of the kitchen. I get on this foodie high that is probably quite annoying. I want to feed the world! And I want them to know they are missing out, unless they eat that particular dish.

But really, chefs slip "secret ingredients" into their dishes all the time, in an effort to raise the bar, add interesting flavors, discover new pairings.

Last night I took a chance on chili. I added two tablespoons of cornmeal, and then two tablespoons of hot cocoa mix. Cooked in the slow cooker, eating the next day = divine. And it makes sense. I think about mole, the Mexican chocolate sauce. It's a tomato based sauce, with the same kind of heat, and chocolate peices thrown in for depth. The hot cocoa added the same type of depth to the chili, which was also tomato-based with heat. From what I read online adding a hershey's kiss or square of chocolate all would be adequate for this chocolately chili. As far as cornmeal goes, it is a go-to thickener for me, when flour's bland flavor isn't gonna cut it. 

But then I got to thinking. What other secret ingredients am I aware of? What do I need to try?

-A few pinches of baking soda, in sweet tea. Adds smoothness.
-About half a teaspoon of nutmeg in spaghetti sauce.
-Pepper to the egg, milk mixture used to soak bread for french toast (thanks to Papaw Boyd for that one).
-Shredded sharp cheddar to apple pie crust.
-Lemon zest to almost anything.
-Sea salt to chocolate or caramel (candies, cookies, cakes, etc.)
-Paprika to chicken, potatoes, pork, salmon... anything that needs color. You're not gonna get too much flavor but the dish will be a pretty, appetizing reddish color.
-Boiled, salted, and mashed carrots under the layer of mashed potatoes in shepherds pie.
-An entire jar of grape jelly to the BBQ sauce smokies.
-Can of tomato soup, when making ground beef tacos.
-Finely chopped pistachios to bread crumbs (for breaded chicken).
-Creamed corn to cornbread, instead of buttermilk. Still get the same creamy, moistness, but now you've got flavor too.
-Cinnamon and white sugar dusted in bread pan before pouring pumpkin or banana bread batter in.
-Vanilla pudding mix to fat free whipped cream.

-Pumpkin puree in pancake mix
-Cinnamon or curry powder in quiche crust
-Curry powder to whipped cream
-Parmesan reggiano rinds to soups
-Bacon grease (again, thanks to Papaw Boyd -- I need to start saving my bacon grease)
-Pickle juice in egg salad
-Sour cream, mascarpone, maple syrup, or chive cream cheese in scrambled eggs.
-Pesto sauce to quiche or store-bought tomato sauce.

And finally LOVE.

I want to start a tradition with B, once she is old enough to help me in the kitchen; to send off all of our meals with love and a blown kiss.

What secret ingredients do you use in your cooking?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Follow Me on Pinterest

Pinterest Weekend

This weekend's PINTEREST WEEKEND is a little different. Instead of displaying one pin per board, I'm doing a Wedding theme.

M and I don't have a definite date yet, on when we'll be hosting our reception, or vow renewal, but we do know it's something we want to do. We missed out on that part of our relationship, so when the time is right, and things fall into place, we want to host a get-together that encompasses everything we want in a party.

One thing I'm all about is fun. I want our guests to have fun, whether that means eating delicious food all night, drinking the signature cocktails, dancing to great music, or... playing games...

We're looking at all of our options, and in doing so we're aiming for an autumn wedding, so hosting an outside wedding is definitely in the cards. We're also thinking there could be a good number of kids (ahem, we have our own!) so adding games to the mix kind of makes sense. Check out these idea:

Fans with couple-themed crossword!
If we WERE crazy enough to do a summer wedding
in Memphis, this would work.

Table game! I SPY. Supply each guest with a disposable camera
and give them a list of I SPY's. Have them drop off the disposables
before they leave. Get ready to develop a ton of great pics!

Some of the I SPY's if you can't read them: Group photo of everyone
at your table, Someone making a toast, Bride and groom kissing, favorite decoration,
a little kiss, a great big hug, holding hands, laughter, etc.

We love Words with Friends, so why not bring it to life in
a big way?

Fun. And possibly even more fun after a few drinks?

Even cornhole can be classy.

I love the idea of a photobooth. If the weather is nice, why not have a couch,
as backdrop in the photo booth? Get a box with props,
and let the fun begin.

More outdoor photobooth ideas.

Finally, miniture golf. BTW, I also like the look of
that bride's short wedding dress. LOVE!

You can tell a lot by looking at someone's Pandora stations. I have stations set up for any of my musical cravings. From music that will help me concentrate at work, to getting pumped up and cleaning the house. I need a different type of music for the different hats I wear.

Some of my stations are: Beatles radio, Antonio Vivaldi radio, Katy Perry radio, Mumford and Sons radio, 1990s radio, Jason Mraz radio, The Four Tops radio, Film Scores radio, Ambient radio, Black Eyed Peas radio, and Yann Tiersen radio (plus a few more).

I was content switching and forth between my long list of stations.
Until I thought of something.

I sing and dance with Brianna when I can.

And isn't music good for her development? ...or something like that...

I did a little research.
Turns out there are baby-targeting stations on Pandora too! I did a little happy dance because I totally felt like I discovered a little-known treasure. And the more I searched for baby-targeted tunes, the more stations I found.

Now I'm a subscriber to some new stations like...
Disney (children's) radio, Toddler radio, Rockabye Baby radio, and Raffi radio.

Disney is just that. Songs from The Little Mermaid, Lion King, Mulan, etc. So of course you'll get some classics like Hakuna Matata, Supercalafragalisticespialadocious, and Two Worlds of which you can sing and dance along to. For those of us who wanna reminisce about the good ole Disney days, this is a fun station.

Toddler radio has kid songs that you know, and some that you don't. Think If You're Happy and You Know It, and She'll Be Comin' Around The Mountain When She Comes, and others that are in the back of your brain hidden somewhere in the info you haven't thought of in years.

Rockabye Baby plays a miss mash of lyric-less lullabye versions of your favorite songs, and then good ole rock songs you enjoy (originals). Think a lullabye version of Mr. Brownstone by Guns n Roses, followed up by the original Knockin' on Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan. This is a good compromise for baby and parent. But don't expect up-beat tunes. This is definitely my go-to for laid back, background music.

Raffi radio is music of the artist Raffi, and others like him. Raffi is "children's entertainer". Raffi has his own versions of classics like Wheels on the Bus, but he also has many originals. If I were to describe his style, I'd call this Raffi dude the Jack Johnson of kids music. Strumming guitar, pretty sounds, and a something is just beachy about it.

The Lullaby station is another good go-to for laid back, softer tunes. Thing melodic, harmonic, Enya-ish (with some Michael Buble thrown in here and there!). Probably good for bed time or nap time, or just chill-out time.

Enjoy, and happy listening!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

According to and the Heigh calculator...

Brianna should grow to be 5'4.5" tall.

Just figured I should tell ya.

Check it out here for kicks and giggles.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm proud to announce I am officially Facebook-less!

Last Monday I decided to turn the daggum website off. And it has been very enlightening. That's not to say I have spent dramatically less time on the computer (ahem -- two blogs in one day?!), but I really don't see a downfall to having one less website consume my life.

When you're trying to be a deliberate mother, cutting out the fluff can truly help to clarify your time.

Also, it was brought to my attention that my sweet husband and I have only had two dates since Bria was born in July. Let me break that down for you: TWO dates in SEVEN MONTHS.

This must be changed.

If finances allow, I hope to enact a bi-weekly date schedule. I miss my hubsand (fyi, that was on purpose).

Texas de Brazil for Valentine's Day, 2011.


He cracks me up!

Music Fest 2010.
Getting to know Bria.
Our sweet daughter is 6 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days old today. I just can't believe it. Time doesn't exist anymore when you think about long term -- it seems like so long ago, and just yesterday, that she was born. Since that day she came into the world I have been striving to know her. As she grows, her personality is revealed more and more. It's a wonderful thing getting to know your children and I am looking forward to the day she begins to talk (I know, I may regret saying that later). I can't wait to know what's on her mind.

Here are a few quirky little things I've noticed about my dear daughter, so far:

-Sometimes I tuck her under my left arm when I feed her, which means her right arm is tucked behind me. She loves to keep her free, left arm out in the air.
I'm wearing shorts. You just can't see them. :\

-She looks like her dad but acts like her mom. And this includes my good AND bad personality traits. One major similarity is that she has "pata de perro", which translates to "foot of the dog". My hispanic grandfather would say this to describe someone who is always on the go, and who could never sit still. "You only come home to eat and sleep", he would say. B is like this in that she is always going. She is definitely not an easy going, laid back, child. She is bouncing, skooting, rolling, or crying because she wants to go somewhere.

Always on the go!

-She just recently started getting up on her hands and knees (YAY!),


but she has been sleeping on her knees, butt in the air, for a few weeks now.

-She is allergic to cinnamon. But she has decided she loves bananas.
Snacking on 'nanas.

Wasn't sure at first.

We've got a smile!
-She wasn't sure about Cheerios at first either, but now she likes those too.

-Her favorite TV show (which usually populates our television in the early morning when she is wide awake and daddy/mommy are still trying to wake up) is Bubble Guppies.

-She has learned the manipulative cry. And she also used fake coughing to get attention (drama queen!).

-She is measured as above average length, which means as of 6 months of age B is pretty tall.

-She loves her books.

LOL. Funny face.

-Her hair fell out but then grew back again. It's a medium brown and can look blonde or dark brown, depending.

-Bria's parents are a little wacky.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Follow Me on Pinterest

Pinterest Weekend

(All things that I love)

What a great idea. M and I hadn't gone on too many trips pre-baby but I would like to start this tradition with B.

(All things for Bria)

I think I'd like to try this with B within the next few months; once she starts to sit on her own, and then stand on her own. I remember loving the ball pits at Chuck E Cheeses, so why not make our own [more sanitary] ball pit at home??

(All things related to my imaginary dream home. Michael and I love the classic, rustic, repurposed, and slightly eclectic look.)

A warm room, right outside of the shower, with a warming light, towels, heated floors, etc. This would totally be on my wish list if I were to have one related to a dream home.

MR. & MRS.
(All things related to Michael and I)

"They actually tied a knot. They tied a fisherman's knot and it's the strongest knot. The rope will break before the knot becomes undone and the knot only gets tighter with pressure". I love this idea.

(All things for the holidays. thanksgiving to Easter. Halloween and Christmas. I love 'em all!)

What an easy costume! I'd love to make this for B just so she can use it during playtime.

(This pin board has to be my largest to date. I scrolled all the way to the bottom to grab something fresh and found this one.)

What a great way to encourage knowledge. I hope M and I are blessed enough to have another baby or two, down the road. When they are all older I'd love to have this in a hallway. No points calculated, just the challenge.

(All things decorate.)

Such a small detail, but it packs a big punch. Love this idea!

(Creative and clever ideas to make my life easier.)

I really need to do this: add velcro to kitchen towels. No more sliding onto the floor!

(All things digestive. If I had the chance to live a double life I wouldn't do illegal or immoral things. No, with no holes barred I would go to culinary school, move to Italy or France and chase after the culinary dream.)

Who doesn't love bacon? Try baking them in the oven, covered with foil -- no grease splattering! And easy clean up if foil is used. 

(All things worth remembering. I reference this page a lot.)

Isn't this awesome?! Need to remember this. 

(All things pertaining to photography.)

I need to make this, if photography is still in my future...

(All over. every place. every where. This world is amazing.)

Borneo Rainforest Canopy Walkway. AMAZING and I want to walk it!

(All about getting in shape and staying in shape, the right way and for the right reasons.)

(All animals. they are all beautiful. But you'll see a lot of elephants on this pin board -- they're my fav)


(Because you gotta laugh.)


(A place for all the weird and random stuff.)