30 September 2011

Recipe: Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

1 lb chicken breasts
1 c salsa
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c sour cream

Put the chicken in the crockpot, pour the salsa and soup over it, stir it up a bit. Let simmer for 6 hours on low. When it’s done, remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.

Serve over brown rice with peas.

Notes: I cooked for 8 hours because I used frozen chicken, and I like to be able to fork shred my chicken, rather than serve it whole, which it does nicely when it's been cooked just a bit longer.  I also had a thought after I ate it that this might be nice with Trader Joe's queso sauce added in at that end (with the sour cream).  Their queso is smooth and just SLIGHTLY spicy.  I happened to drop by TJ's and got some queso and used it for the leftovers.  It's definitely being used the next time I make this!

List #29: My Future Children's Names

1.  Michael
Do I really need to explain this one?  Have you not been paying any attention at all to this blog?

2.  Charlotte
For those of you who don't know why I don't eat pork, two words: Charlotte's Web.  Since I read this book, I've always told my mom that I would name my first daughter Charlotte.  And I would name my first son...

3.  Wilbur
I think she thinks I'm kidding.  We'll see.

4.  Jonathan
It's a bit of a story, but I used to be friends with a family (he was a pro athlete, she was a friend of mine and his girlfriend) who had a very special kid.  It was actually the little brother of my friend, but because of the age difference and because their mother was - ahem - incapable of taking care of him, my friend had legal custody of him.  I nannied for him until he needed an actual nurse, because he had juvenile Huntington's Disease.  He passed away at the age of 10.  Because of him and Jonathan Larson (writer of "Rent" and "tick, tick... BOOM"), I've always thought I might name a son Jonathan.  Plus, I just like the versatility of the name - John, Johnny, Nathan, Nate... 

5.  Ben
This one is for personal reasons.  Some of you know this story.

Then there's the day I was having supper with Mom and threatened to name all of my kids after Michael Jackson songs: Diana, Annie, Billy Jean, Ben, Liberian Girl...

28 September 2011

Medical Update

I saw my most excellent doctor today.  She suggested that my next step be a sleep study.  At this point, she (and the rest of my medical team) have identified and fixed all of the obvious, known causes of fatigue (my thyroid, my Vitamin D deficiency), so it's on to finding new and more interesting things.  There's still the possibility of this mystery thing that I keep alluding to (I've told a scant few of you about it in person), but she wants to rule out sleep disorders first, because she thinks the first question the specialist she wants me to see about the potential mystery cause will be whether I've had a sleep study done.

She said it's possible that fatigue COULD be stress-related (as the NP had suggested), but that this has been ongoing for so long, she thinks we're beyond that at this point.  That's when I told her about Orin, which is when I started crying.  I seem to do a lot of crying in her office lately.

She and I had a really wonderful talk.  She told me that it's been her experience that people who are facing death don't change (I kind of figured that - that only happens in the movies) and that they often cling more rigidly to their behaviour.  She said when she worked with cancer patients in the hospital (in rotations and such), she heard a lot of near-deathbed confessions and regrets, and she often wanted to shake the person and say, "Why are you telling ME this?  Call your mother/ex-wife/ex-husband/daughter/son/brother/sister and tell THEM this!  You just met me!"  But since the person never got the tools to handle these things, they won't suddenly get them just because they're dying.

She also advised me to think about the fact that I don't want to live with regret - and not in the "you need to be nice to him because you'll regret it if you don't" kind of way, but her advice was more "his pain is going to end - the physical pain and the emotional pain.  And it's going to end soon.  But this cross will be yours to bear, so do what you need to do for yourself, not for him, because you'll regret it if you act for him."

We had a really good talk, and she made sure that I've been talking to my therapist and that my therapist is aware of everything that's going on.  She asked me if I wanted some Xanax or Ativan, because she thought that it might be a good thing for me right now, but it's not something I'm ready for.  While I can see that it might be helpful, at this point, it feels like admitting defeat - like I've somehow let life's pressures get to me or something.

27 September 2011

In the past week

I found out that my father is dying, a friend of mine hurt my feelings by calling me petty, I found that good friends of mine are moving across the country, and the first question my new physiotherapist asked me was whether my doctor has discussed surgical options with me.

There are only a few days left to September, and I'm rather thankful for that.

26 September 2011

Book Review: To the Moon and Back

In keeping with the spirit of most of the other books I've been reading lately, this one is about a young woman who loses her husband.  This time, it's to a fatal car crash.  After her husband's father urges her to leave their apartment to a nicer house, Ellie slowly begins the process of moving on.

Ellie can't imagine living without Jamie, so she doesn't.  She has pretend conversations with him, complete with his dialogue, and this makes his loss easier.  Still, she tries to carry on as normal a life as she can without having a husband anymore.

This book was touching, heart-breaking, and witty, usually in unexpected ways.  Read my full review here.

25 September 2011


I have things to do.

My mom needs me to write a short note for a thing she's putting together for my Grandma's 90th birthday luncheon.  I'm happy to do this, but I'm just mentally and emotionally exhausted.

A friend of mine has a huge job interview coming up, and I've been doing all I can to try to prep her for it.  I hope it works out.

I still have medical issues going on, and it's exhausting me.

Also, this weekend was heart-attack inducing sports-wise.  Don't these people know I need a little less excitement in my life right now????

24 September 2011

The Decision (Sorry LeBron)

I've decided to send Orin a card letting him know that I know about his situation, I'm sorry to hear about it, he's in my prayers, and that if he wants to talk, he has my phone number.

I'm hoping to accomplish a few things this way: he'll figure out that it was never my intention to cut him out of my life (which I never said anyway), so it's fine for him to call me; it puts the ball in his court, and if he wants to talk, he still has to find his balls and pick up the phone and call me (rather than keep putting other people in the middle); it will let him know that I care about what he's going through; and it will give him a chance to think about what he wants to say before he calls (I hope), rather than him merely reacting when he hears my voice on the phone if I were to call him, which could lead to who knows what.

23 September 2011

List #28: My Favourite Stores

1. Target

If you combine those stores into one, I could live there and be completely happy.

3.  Victoria's Secret

I'm not that girly about many things, but I do love my VS underwears.  Plus, they're one of few places that sell scented lotions and body mists that I'm not allergic to.

4.  Lush

Funnily enough, I don't use many of their products, although I buy a ton of them.  I shop here often for birthday, Christmas, special occasion, and just because gifts.  But now that I might be able to spring for some stuff for myself, I might splurge for myself every once in awhile.

5.  Barnes & Noble

Tons o' books.  'Nuff said.

6.  CVS

I don't know what it is about this place, but I love it.

7.  Staples

Who doesn't love office supplies???

22 September 2011

My Big News: Orin

On Tuesday, after the debacle with PGW ended, I was talking to my mom.  Somewhere in the middle, she tells me that she needs my father's phone number.  For those of you not in the know, she and my father divorced when I was two (that's well over 30 years ago).  It was NOT an amicable split, and things have happened since that validated my mom's decision to leave him.

So, this was rather odd.  I asked her if I was allowed to ask why she need it.  She said I was.  Apparently, Orin had called and left a message with her husband Dale.  He said he has cancer and wanted to talk to her.  Dale asked Orin for his number, and Orin told Dale that Mom could get it from me.  So Mom and I really think that this is really just Orin's way of letting me know what's going on; he doesn't ACTUALLY want to talk to Mom (or he does, but just to ask her to tell me).

I'll cut to the chase here - through a series of events, I have found out that Orin has cancer of the lungs, which has metastasised to his brain.  I still haven't spoken to Orin, so that's really all I know, except that when he spoke to one of his oldest friends Denny (who is the brother of my mom's best friend Juliah), Orin was apparently crying so hard he couldn't speak.

Now, those of you who don't know me well or who haven't known me long might be asking why Orin and I aren't communicating directly.  Well, we've been through several periods of estrangement, and this is the latest.  Two years ago, I asked him to stop sending me racist emails because I got tired of it.  He continued.  I thought "maybe he doesn't understand what's racist and what isn't."  So I simplified the directive and asked him to limit his email communication to only personal correspondence, such as talking about each other's lives, what the family is doing, what's going on, etc.  But he continued to send hateful things.  I told him if he sent anything else, I would change my email address.  When he sent something else, I reminded him of my earlier message (telling him that I would change my email address and he would no longer be able to contact me via email), and his reply was "I have a delete button - don't you?" which told me that he didn't care at all about my feelings about the issues (let alone about the larger issue that he's sending racist emails to his daughter who happens to a minority member).

Since then, I've never heard from him.  Bear in mind that I haven't moved and my phone number remains the same.  At no time did I say that I wanted him out of my life completely.  I only wanted to stop receiving racist bullshit from him.  He's the one who didn't call me the next month at Thanksgiving, the month after that at Christmas, or the month after that on my birthday.  But now he's telling Juliah that she or Mom need to let me know that he's sick because I cut him out of my life.  I don't respect the way he's trying to put people in the middle of our crap, for one thing.  I feel like he needs to stop being a coward, man-up, and pick up and phone.

He's proven (not just by these recent incidents, but throughout his entire life) that he's selfish, he's abusive, and he's incapable of processing how others feel about a given situation.  I've also come to realise (as an adult) that part of this is due to his alcoholism.  So I'm stressed and confused because while I DO care about him and what he's going through, I also NEED to maintain some healthy boundaries to protect myself.  How do I do this while showing some compassion for his situation?  How can I handle this situation as a good Christian, but not blindly be pulled back into drama-land?

21 September 2011

A hell of a day

Last night was a hell of a day.  It started out fine.

The middle was me getting accused of knowingly stealing gas from Philadelphia Gas Works for the past three works.

And the end... well, more on that later.  And, I'll apologise in advance, because you'll probably be hearing a LOT about it in the coming weeks/months.

20 September 2011

Dr. Gary A Boring

Rachel and I went out for supper last night.  Somehow, we got to talking about how back home, there's a man named "Dr. Gary A Boring," and he's a chiropractor.  So the big, brown sign in front of his building reads "Dr. Gary A Boring" and under that "CHIROPRACTOR."  So, naturally, you get "Dr. Gary A Boring Chiropractor."

We got to laughing about all the various occupations that Gary probably shouldn't be - a professor.  A comedian.  A dentist (since they bore holes with their drill).

Any other ideas?

19 September 2011

Book Review: Angelina's Bachelors

Angelina D'Angelo lives in South Philly with her husband Frank and has a comfortable, happy life... until he suddenly dies of a heart attack.  She isn't sure how her life will continue, but she know it must, and her close-knit Italian family and neighbours prove helpful in this regard.

Angelina has always found solace in food, and she once again turns to cooking for comfort.  Over time, she eventually starts cooking for various bachelors in the neighbourhood, and she forms a sort of "food club" out of her home.

This book was excellent, and chock-full of recipes.  My full review is here.

18 September 2011

Emmy Night!

I'm quite the awards show whore.  It doesn't really even matter which awards show it is, if there's an awards show, I'm there.

Tonight is the Prime Time Emmys, which means I'm glued to the tv.  While some people watch for the fashion, I'm totally in it for the competition.  I have my favourite shows and actors, and damn it! they better win!

My mom knows better than to call me during an awards show.  In fact, tonight, as we were talking, I gave her a warning, "The Emmys start in exactly one minute."  "Oh, okay."  Then a little later, she told me to have fun watch the show.  "'kay."  "Oh, they must have started already, haven't they?"  She got a distracted, "Uh-huh" in reply.

She laughed and bid me good-bye.

17 September 2011

My Latest Medical Issue

Beginning last Saturday (a week ago today), I began having left upper quadrant pain.  It was a sharp, stabbing pain directly under my ribs, not unlike the pain I got with my pancreatitis/gall bladder episodes, but the pain never moved to where my gall bladder (right upper quadrant), and it wasn't related to when I ate.  Since it continued throughout Monday, I called my doctor and described my other symptoms (extreme fatigue and headache).

Now, I expected that once I started work, I would be tired, but this wasn't getting any better as time went by.  If anything, it may have been getting worse.  And I kept getting obnoxious headaches from not eating.  But it wasn't that I was intentionally not eating - I just wasn't hungry or I'd go to eat and then I'd just pick at it because food wasn't tempting.

I got a call back from my doctor that I should see her NP that day for an urgent care appointment.  I was able to see the NP that I prefer, and I got an appointment for right after work.  I went in, talked to the NP, and we talked for a little while.  She said, "From what it sounds like, you've been out of work for awhile.  It's not that you just switched jobs, right?"  "Right."  "Well, I think you have a kind of post-traumatic stress thing going on.  Let me explain.  I'm guessing that when you were out of work, you were pretty stressed and anxious."

And I said, "Yeah," and then I just started crying.  And not just a regular cry, but one of those mortifying, messy, snot cries.  She handed me some tissues, and said, "See, that's what I mean.  You're obviously still carrying all that stress and anxiety and negative energy around."  At first, I thought she was a whack-a-doodle, and I was going to take back every positive thing I'd ever said about her.  Or I thought maybe she'd misunderstood me and thought I'd just LOST my job or something.

But she explained that she sometimes sees this when people have been out of work for a LONG time and then return to work.  The brain is all "Yay!  I'm relieved and don't have to worry anymore!" but it takes awhile for the body to get the memo.  And I explained to her the whole thing with me thinking I might have to move to Missouri, etc.  So she said that all kind of furthered her theory.  PLUS, the added stress (even though it's the good kind of stress) of starting a new job, training, meeting new people, etc. 

She still scheduled me for a few tests for the next day, just to rule out a few of the more obvious things.  But in the meantime, she wanted me to "be more forgiving of myself."  Nap after work if I felt exhausted, even though I typically hate to nap on a work day because then I won't sleep well that night and will be cranky at work the next day.  She told me to not feel pressured to eat regular meals, but do try to nibble throughout the day so I can at least get some calories in me.  So we talked about my nutritional needs since I'm SUPPOSED to be low-gluten, low-carb, and sugar-free.  She said that she wanted to me to still be conscious of those things, but JUST FOR NOW I could have a bit of a flyer on those because she really wanted me to just make sure I ate.

She also recommended Mylanta for when the pain bothers me.  She thinks that my acid reflux is just acting up since my stomach is mostly empty, but instead of being all heartburn-y like usual, it's hurting me in my stomach.  Then since I feel like I'm being stabbed, I don't feel like eating, and it becomes a vicious cycle.  Plus, the headache doesn't help.

I called my therapist that night to make sure this all sounded right to her.  She confirmed that from a therapeutic standpoint, it did.  Although, technically, she said it would be more of an acute stress disorder, not PTSD, but that was just a technicality on her part.  She recommended a massage and an occasional milkshake.

I seem to be doing BETTER food-wise, but I've got a ways to go.  I made my veal parmigiana left-overs from Thursday last two meals -- lunch on Friday and supper Friday.  I had a granola bar for breakfast, and some snack crackers for an evening snack.  Today, I had some more snack crackers for a morning snack, I noshed on a Godiva bar all day, and I managed to get down an entire box of mac and cheese throughout the day.  I'll probably have some cheese and crackers for my evening snack.  I'm getting there!

16 September 2011

List #27: Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

This is not an all-inclusive list, and it is in no particular order.

1.  The Karate Kid.  I didn't realise this until I watched it about four times in the past week alone.  The mystical meaning of "wax on, wax off" holds up after all these years, as does Mr. Miyagi's wisdom.

2.  Titanic.  It's a difficult one to pass up when one has crushes on both Kate and Leo.  And no matter how many times I watch it, I still cry every time when Rose jumps off the life boat and Jack tells her how stupid she is when they find each other.

3.  Notting Hill.  "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."  EW once named that line as one of the most romantic movie lines, and I think they're right.  For those who don't know, it's a movie about a celeb (Julia Roberts) and a "commoner" (Hugh Grant) who try to make a go of it together.

4.  The Shawshank Redemption.  Any movie with Morgan Freeman in it is bound to be damned good.  And some of you know I have an obsession with prisons.  Put them together, and you have a movie I'll watch over and over.

5.  Kissing Jessica Stein.  A movie written and produced by two friends.  It's about what happens when a woman (Jessica) just happens to answer a personal ad written by a woman.  It's adorable, funny, and stars some amazing people who have gone on to some pretty awesome careers.

6.  Mambo Italiano.  Childhood friends renew their friendship, which becomes more than a friendship when they start a relationship -- a gay male relationship.  One is a cop and the other works at a travel agency.  They have radically different ways of dealing with the relationship.  Set in Little Italy in Montréal, Canada, this is a hysterically funny movie.

7.  Any Mae West movie.  She was glam trailblazer who didn't take shit from anybody.  She was accepting of black people and gay people WAY before it was acceptable.  Plus, she's just gorgeous and wicked smart.

15 September 2011

Restaurant Week Night

No recipe to share this week since I haven't been cooking.  But tonight I did go to La Fontana della Citta with one of my new co-workers for Restaurant Week.  Usually, you get three courses for $35, but this is one of the places that was going above and beyond.  We got four courses - yay us!

My first course was a seafood soup; she chose an arugula salad.

The second course was standard for everyone.  A trio of pasta which included gorgonzola gnocchi, penne putanesca, and a ravioli with pink sauce.

For the third course, I had veal parmigiana, while she chose the pollo marsala.

And for dessert, we both chose the tiramisu.

We had a fun time choosing the restaurant, as there are a TON of places to choose from.  I initially gave her a list of places, she narrowed it to five, I narrowed those to three, and then I let her pick the winner.  We found out over supper that we each used the same criteria -- we each wanted to go somewhere we had never been before and would usually be a bit out of our price range.

And - bonus - we each took a doggie bag home!  As per usual, I didn't eat much throughout the day (two granola bars, and a vending machine bag o' chips), and I was able to put away the first, second, and fourth courses, but only made a tiny dent in the entrée.  When I looked, what I took home filled the entire take-home tray.  Sigh.

But I had a great night out, great food, and excellent company. 

14 September 2011

Back on Track... maybe?

Yesterday and today, I managed to have regular suppers.  This is quite a feat after the past week-ish where it's been a struggle to eat a regular-sized meal in an entire day.  Breakfast and lunch are a struggle, but as long as I nibble on something during the day, the doctor said she's happy that I'm getting calories, even if they aren't entire meals and as long as they aren't high-sugar.  For right now, she doesn't even really care if they're empty calories since I just need to eat.

I don't mean to be circumspect, but I really am too exhausted to write about the whole "what's wrong with me" thing right now.  I have plans for after work tomorrow, so maybe this weekend I'll get around to it.  And maybe by then, I'll be blogging about what WAS wrong!  (Nothing wrong with a little optimism, right?)

13 September 2011

Health... again

Here we go again.

I had an urgent care appointment yesterday.  I followed that up with lab work today after fasting at work all day (no great sacrifice as I haven't been eating much anyway).  And I have an appointment on Thursday.

After this, I need to start making appointments with all of the doctors I missed out on all summer.  I'm glad that my job offers a VERY generous flex-time policy.

I'll give more details on this week's mystery illness later when I'm not exhausted.

12 September 2011

Book Review: Pie à la Murder

In this cosy, local celebrity chef Della Carmichael gets a surprise when her boyfriend tells her that he has an 18-year-old daughter.  Although they've been dating for quite awhile, this is a part of his life he has kept secret.  And he's telling Della this because his daughter is coming for a visit.

However, Celeste (Nicholas' daughter) arrives to Hollywood with dreams of being an actor.  When she meets a photographer who promises to do some publicity pictures for her, Nicholas sees that some of them went too far and flies into a rage.  Days later, he is found standing over the photog's dead body.

Della springs into action as soon as she realises that the police have little to go on other than looking at her boyfriend as their prime suspect.  How can she prove him innocent between helping run a store, teaching cooking classes, and working on her show?

Read my full review here.

11 September 2011

Sports: A Blessing and a Curse

I'm sure you know by now that I love sports.  A lot.

I particularly love this time of year.  Baseball, football, NASCAR are all going, and hockey is just around the corner.  And for the past week, the tennis US Open has been going.  It's so exciting!

But that's where the curse comes in.  I can only watch so much at a time!  On any given weekend, there are usually two NASCAR races (usually one on Saturday afternoon and one Sunday afternoon), and now there are college football games on Saturday and pro games on Sunday.  This weekend, there was all tennis 'round the clock, more so than usual because of all the rain delays (thank you, NY weather).

This time of year is also so full of optimism.  Raider Nation likes to tell ourselves that every year is going to be The Year because the year before was a rebuilding year.  (We've currently been rebuilding for so long now, we should have a freaking mansion.)  Everyone is undefeated, and even if you drop the first game, well, hey - it's just the FIRST game.  There are still fifteen to go!

And this is the weekend NASCAR set the Chase field, which means we know which drivers have a chance to win the championship.  Again with the optimism.  I love it!  Of course, that came with a flipside, too.  With the good, I had to take the bad - a driver I hate won this weekend, and two guys I hate got into the Chase.  Boo.

And speaking of weird sports goings-on - well, I don't want to tempt the universe by naming things specifically, but some odd things were happening this week.  It made me wonder if I had landed in a parallel universe!  That whole blessing/curse thing CAN go too far, you know!

10 September 2011

Where Have Manners Gone?

Today, I went to TJ's to get the rest of what I needed to make chicken quesadillas (thank you, Ria) and chicken tacos (Mom's idea).  Although I've never had chicken tacos and Mom was too busy going "You've NEVER had a chicken taco?  EVER??????  As many tacos as you've eaten, none of them have been a chicken taco????  You eat TEN AT A TIME!!!!!!!" to be helpful as to what to get, so I had to wing it.  She's helpful.

On the way back, as the trolley rolled up, I noticed that there were some standees in the aisle, and I thought, "Ah well.  My bag is kind of heavy, but I'll deal."  But as I got on, someone who had been sitting in the second row got up and exited.  I thought, "Sweet!  My lucky day!  I can sit there!"  And JUST as I was about to claim the seat as mine, some little twerp (I'm bad with kids' ages, but he was definitely no more than ten years old) jumped off his mom's lap (I'm assuming it was his mom) and slid into the the seat.  I sighed loudly and rolled my eyes.  I took my place down the aisle (courtesy dictates that you walk down the aisle as far as you can so that other people can get on, although not everyone does this, so the trolley driver ends up telling everyone "Move back so people can get on, please!") and glared at the back of the mom's head.  That's when I noticed - wait, she has another kid beside her.  And wait!  There's another kid across the aisle!  There are all of these people standing and she has three kids spread across the trolley taking up seats!

There's no way in hell my mom would have let me sit down when I was a kid when grown-ups wanted seats.  I don't blame the kids; it's the parent's job to teach them this level of courtesy and respect.  So I continued to give my best death glare to the back of the mom's head.

At the next stop, an older gentleman got on carrying an obviously heavy bag.  He got on, looked at the kids, sighed, and took his place on the standee line two spots from me.  We made eye contact, I looked at the kids, the mom, rolled my eyes, and shrugged my shoulders.  He kind of gave me a rueful smile and shrugged back.  And then I continued my death glare.  (If you're familiar with my Looks, you know the death glare is not to be messed with!  lol)

When we got to the 40th Street Portal, a lot of people exited the trolley, and a two-seat row by where the man was standing emptied.  He sat his bag on one seat and sat on the other.  He motioned to me and yelled back, "You sit here?"  I asked him if he would be sitting, just to make sure that he would also be sitting - not just saving a seat for me.  He said yes, so I made my way up and sat by him.  I told him, "I'm sorry you had to stand while those kids had seats.  It's embarrassing."  He asked me where I'm from, and I told him, and I found out he's from Mozambique.  Then it was time for me to get off the trolley.

But - really.  I can't imagine raising my (thus far non-existent) child(ren) in such a way that they would feel entitled to a seat while someone (1) older and (2) carrying something had to stand in the aisle.  That's just incredible to me.

09 September 2011

List #26: My Favourite Desserts

1. Tiramisu
But I'm not crazy about Olive Garden's.  It makes me sad.

2.  Créme brûlée
A really nicely done créme brûlée makes me EXTREMELY happy.  The perfectly burnt top with the custard under.  Mmmmm.

3.  Red velvet cake
I can take red velvet in any form.  Lately, I've been stopping at Wawa WAY too much for a red velvet muffin for breakfast.  And then one the days I go out for lunch, I've been getting red velvet frozen yoghurt at Kiwi Yoghurt for dessert.  But I was sad yesterday when I was told that yesterday was red velvet's last day so they could make room for the seasonal flavours.  As if red velvet knows a season!

4.  Fried ice cream
I love this.  SO. MUCH.  The crunch outside against the creamy inside.  Oh yeah.

5. Soft-serve ice cream
I mean the old-fashioned soft-serve ice cream that had that gritty texture to it.  Yum.

6.  Mint chip ice cream
The best.  Period.

7.  The corner of brownies
Especially if the brownies are crunchy.  I bake my brownies until they're crunchy as all hell.  I don't like those soft brownies.  I like 'em hard and crunchy.  (Yeah, I know.  Shut up.)

08 September 2011

Recipe: Crock Pot Chicken in a Pot

a few carrots, sliced
a few celery stalks, sliced in 1-inch pieces
a few onions, sliced
a whole chicken
1/2-1 c water (see note)

1.  Place carrots, celery, onions in bottom of Crock Pot.

2.  Place chicken on top of vegetables. 

3.  Cover chicken with seasoning to taste.

4.  Pour water over chicken.  (If cooking on low, use 1/2 c of water.  If cooking on high, use 1 c.)

5.  Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 3-1/2 to 5 hours.

Notes: I'm not that fond of basil, so I used salt, pepper, and a few other random seasonings.  I broke down the chicken and then reserved the resulting broth and veggies to make chicken noodle soup.

07 September 2011

Whew! Gettin' It Together

I woke up this morning and made chicken salad.  I managed to wear an outfit that didn't look ridiculous.  My outfit yesterday looked fine theoretically, but when I put it on, the pants were a bit too bit (despite the fact that I had them taken in back in July!) and the sleeveless top that I was wearing under the yellow shrug made me look fat (in my opinion - no one else thought so - or at least was tactless enough to say so to my face).  And then with the white top being a tiny bit snug, and the pants being too loose, the whole waistband area was just ... bad.

Then, my lunch yesterday was awful.  Since I hadn't had time yet to make any of the stuff that I had planned, I threw two chicken legs and a few of the larger chunks of chicken in a container and called it "lunch."  Yum.

But today, I woke up and managed to make chicken salad before work.  And I wore an outfit that didn't make me uncomfortable all day.  Go me!

06 September 2011


Yesterday, I cooked a whole chicken (recipe coming Thursday) and broke it down.  I'm tentatively planning on a chicken salad, chicken noodle soup, and chicken tacos.

What are some of your favourite recipes to use up chicken?

(Let's not get started on my poor excuse for "lunch" today.  Or my poor excuse for a work outfit.  Blech.)

05 September 2011

Book Review: Veil of Night

 I wish this book had a different cover, because I think the book is much more fun that the cover denotes, if that makes sense.

Events planner (who more often than not ends up being a wedding planner) Jaclyn Wilde ends up having a crazy week - six weddings in five days.  On top of that, she needs to deal with the über-bridezilla Carrie Edwards (she's already fired her one of her bridesmaids after a public fight).  Carrie's wedding isn't during Hell Week, but having to deal with her isn't making the week any better.

After a horrible meeting in which Carrie slaps Jaclyn, fires her, and threatens to fire the other vendors, Carrie's body is found in Jaclyn's parking lot.  Jaclyn becomes the prime suspect, which is complicated by the fact that the detective investigating the case is someone Jaclyn hooked up with the night before the murder (don't worry - the "Really?  Is he the only detective in the city?" factor is plausibly explained in the book).  As the investigation moves forward, so does the killer, whose attention turns to Jaclyn.

Read my full review here.

03 September 2011

A fun day

Today I ran some errands in the city.  I needed to get some prescriptions refilled after I (get ready from all caps) PRINTED OUT MY TEMPORARY HEALTH INSURANCE CARD (yes, that's right, folks!  I am now insured again!), get some office supplies (the company supplies things, but I'm really picky about which pens and pencils I use), and Victoria's Secret was having a sale on underwears (I have no idea when I decided it was fun to pluralise that word, but I did and it stuck.  I even have Mom using it now).

I texted Ria's daughter Angie, and we decided to meet for lunch at Ruby Tuesday, which is tucked in the same building as Victoria's Secret.  At VS, I scored seven underwears for the price of 5, which brings me ridiculously close to having 175 pairs of underwears.  Now, let's pause for a second while we consider which is MORE ridiculous - the fact that I have much underwears or the fact that I know many I have.

From there, I hit Staples to buy my favourite pens (the Staples brand of roller ink pens), my favourite pencils (Bic mechanicals in 0.5 mm), the long clickable erasers, and some self-adhesive envelopes.  After that, we hit CVS so I could get my meds, knee highs, and a lint roller(most of my clothes are black, brown, and grey, and I live with a white and grey cat).

I came home, did some laundry, and laid out my clothes for the week.  Although I just realised that I laid out five days' worth of clothes and I only work four days this week.  Oh well, I guess I'll just be really prepared for the week after.

02 September 2011

List #25: Natural Disasters I've Been In

3 Hurricanes:
  • Hurricane Danny (1985): We were vacationing in Lousiana at the time.  The only specific memory I have is that our motel room had a small step up into the room from the outside sidewalk.  We were travelling with a couple that we were good friends with, and the guy (Mark) joked, "We won't worry until the water comes up the door."  Well, not very much longer, the water was nearly there.  Our ultimate goal was Florida, and as we travelled from LA to FL, Danny seemed to want to chase us.  Not cool, Danny.
  • Floyd (1999): This was my second year in Philly.  My first floor flat kept leaking water down one wall, and one particularly troubling spot was where the water kept trickling over an electrical socket.  I kept calling my landlord to let him know, and he kept assuring me he'd send the painter out as soon as the rain stopped.  Gee, thanks.
  • Irene (2011): I don't think I really need to say a lot about this one.
2 Earthquakes: I blogged about my earthquake experiences the other day, so I won't bore you again.
Multiple ice storms (I'm from Missouri)
Multiple blizzards (I'm from Missouri)
The Great Flood of 1993 (I'm from Missouri)
Microbursts (they're the opposite of tornadoes, meteorologically-speaking)  (seriously, people, I'm from freaking Missouri!)

01 September 2011

Recipe: Curry Tuna Salad

7 oz white tuna, drained and flaked
6 T mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 T Parmesan cheese
3 T sweet pickle relish
1/8 t dried minced onion flakes
1/4 t curry powder
1 T dried parsley
1 t dried dill weed
1 pinch garlic powder

In a medium bowl, stir together the tuna, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and onion flakes. Season with curry powder, parsley, dill and garlic powder. Mix well and serve with crackers or on a sandwich.  

NOTES: I had a can of tuna and a can of crab meat, so I used both and doubled the rest of the ingredients.  I also added two hard-boiled eggs.  After I mixed it all up, it didn't taste curry-y enough for me, so I put just a tad more in.