Sunday, June 19, 2011

Never Under Estimate the Value of Pesto and Good Friends

It’s true, the two things you should never underestimate are pesto and really good friends. The pesto comes in handy for those really busy nights when you don’t feel like cooking and the good friends can be relied on to get you through the hard times along with the fun times.

It’s been just over a month since I have been a vegetarian and I am really enjoying it. I have heard said that being a vegetarian limits what you can eat. I really haven’t found that to be the case. In fact I have found it to be quite liberating. Over time I do hope to post more recipes from my cooking exploits. The latest experiment was smoked tofu. It is really good but extremely smoky. I think I am going to chop it up and mix it with some pasta for a nice summer pasta salad or maybe warm it up with some onions and barbecue sauce with some veggie baked beans on the side…The possibilities are endless.

I found a great blog called Meet the Shannons where this couple is cooking their way through the Joy of cooking making the entire recipe collection vegetarian. It’s a great concept that is absolutely fascinating, I can't wait to try some of the recipes. The blue cheese "burger" looks very tempting and they are the ones who gave me the initial idea to smoke tofu.

I am settling into life without Ryan. I have been able to chat with him whenever he can get to a computer. The last time Ryan was overseas I was by myself in Texas. The closest friends were 3 hours away which meant that I had a lot of alone time. This time around it’s already been a lot different. I have a job that takes up 40hrs of my week, the OCPA, the so cal herp club, family and a lot of friends. Though the feeling may be weird to me now, it’s good to know that I don’t have to go far to have a shoulder to lean on.I miss him terribly but I am pleased to hear from him when I can. For those of you who don't know, he is currently working as an independent contractor with a company in Iraq. He is settling into life there as well. Though, of course, there is no place like home.

On the flip side, life has been crazy busy. It doesn’t help that traditionally June and July are the busiest times for Ryan and I. I have been so busy that the dogs have been mad at me on the sheer fact that I have barely been home. As it stands, I do not have a truly free weekend until Mid August, which I think I am going to purposely schedule nothing. This weekend though was quite nice. Yesterday I had a lovely hike with Becky. My dad suggested that we try Crystal Cove. The trail was really nice, it had great views of the ocean, beautiful scenery and some paths that though they were a bit of a challenge were still fun. Here are some pictures of the gorgeous views and the little spring where Becky and I stopped for a quick lunch of Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Today I spent with family. My dad made some of the best salmon ever for our father’s day lunch. I love Sunday dinners, I always have. There is something to be said for getting the family together for a nice big meal and just enjoying eachother’s company. You don’t get that enough in today’s world. Everyone is off doing their own thing and family gets put to the side, often considered to be a pain in the ass.

Recipe of the week: Why Pesto of course!

One package of Pine Nuts

One fairly large package of fresh Basil

One cup olive oil

Parmesan Cheese

Put the pine nuts and oil into either a blender or food processor and blend thoroughly. Add the basil and blend. Mix in Parmesan to taste. Put over the pasta of your choice.

Left overs can be frozen in sandwich baggies for individual use later.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A saturday of Vegetables and Dreamtime Stories

It’s been a week since I’ve stopped eating meat, well at least all meat except fish (I just can’t give up seafood, I love it too much). But so far I am feeling great. It was a health decision, given that I have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease that for the most part runs on both sides of my family. I thought it would be a good time to start making a more positive choice. Likewise I am pretty much over meat.

I am having a ton of fun with the recipes though. I have been either experimenting with new foods or changing up some old favorites. Today I tried Summer Tomato Lentils. I kept mostly to the recipe but I used garlic powder and seasoning salt. Tonight I am going to make a low fat Eggplant Parmesan that I found on the vegetarian Tomorrow at a Jessica’s barbecue I’ll be trying Portebello mushroom fajitas, that one will be a recipe I come up with on my own, so I'll post it once I have it.

The little snakes are settling in just nicely. Vader is still afraid of everything. The other night he was contently being held by Ryan which is somewhat rare until I picked up a large red book. When he caught sight of it he reared back in a defensive pose. It was important for me to name Bahloo after an aboriginal moon spirit. I admire the way they look at snakes in their mythology, which is called the dreamtime, they aren’t portrayed as negatively as they are in western culture. Here are some links to Aboriginal mythology that I found:


The Australian Museum

Dreamtime Stories

Last night I got to spend some time with my sister. What was going to be just a quick little shopping trip turned into a 2 hour coffee and chat session. I love the person that she has become. I have to admit, I am going to feel a little lost when she goes to college but at least it’s in a decent driving range.

I intended the rest of the weekend to be much more productive than it has been so far. I did get some useful yoga in this morning, got almost caught up on dishes and went grocery shopping but after that….I fell asleep. I suppose that now that I am awake I should get myself back up and get some more things done on the to-do list.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The only thing constant in life is change....and really good friends.

The only thing constant in life is change which there has been much of lately. We’ve started to settle into the new place. Beginning the process of putting everything away and trying to make some sort of sense out of this chaos. I am not sure about our neighbors, apparently one of them already put in a noise complaint about us. Wednesday night, when we were finishing up moving in around 9:30 at night, we were apparently too loud outside when we were talking with Paul and Jessica. Which, for a reasonable person was not loud AND was not during the apartments rules for quiet hours. I have to say though that the quietness of this complex does unnerve me a little bit. There are some children that can be found playing and the periodic neighbor walking or playing with their dog but it’s so quiet that I am afraid if I make any noise of any kind it’s going to seem ten times louder than it really is. I suppose it will just take some getting used to.

The move itself was brutal and I have to say that it nearly killed us. Without the help of my dad, Paul and Jessica we probably wouldn’t have made it. So very glad that is over.

This weekend is all about fun, letting Ryan actually celebrate his birthday. So I guess you could say the weekend started on Thursday, with a fantastic dinner at Chris N’ Pits. Given the fattening nature of their entire menu that restaurant is a special treat. It was great being able to laugh and enjoy a good meal with friends. Yesterday was fair; Ryan, Angel, Mario and I braved the record temperature heat…and were beaten. It had to be at least 80 in the shade yesterday. It finally got to a point where it sounded better to be at Angel’s air conditioned apartment eating pizza and watching movies; which we fell asleep to. Shows what a good day at fair it was. It was a good laid back day.

Today it is the Orange County Pet Expo, we’re volunteering with the Southern California Herpetological association and I will be covering it for my column. I’ve heard that it is a mad house of people wanting to hold and take pictures with the reptiles. It’ll be my first educational volunteering experience. We’ll see how it goes, especially since in a few weeks we’ll be volunteering at a pediatric children’s benefit.

After all of this I am going to start studying again for the CLA test. I pushed the test back to May because not only was I loosing 2 weeks of studying from the move but apparently, I have to send in my own transcripts to NALA (I thought they were going to be requesting them). Given that nothing worth having in life is easy, due to internet issues, I wouldn’t be able to take the test when I want to (over the stretch of two Saturdays).

Well it’s time to get ready to head off to the expo.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wow, what a week...and more to come!

My, oh my; what a week it has been. Frankly, as far as I am concerned, this Prince William and Kate Middleton have nothing on Amanda and Chris’s wedding. It turned out to be a lovely event and the rain amazingly stayed away. It was an all together fun day with lots of pictures to commemorate the beautiful day and it was even a fun night afterward, hanging out with friends at the nearby Denny’s and enjoying some Baconalia goodness. Though I have to say it took me until Tuesday to recover from the wedding festivities.

I have recently determined that I need to lose some weight. I currently weight 156 lbs, I am hoping to get down to 135lbs roughly. I don’t want to be a stick figure but it would be nice to fit into my pants better. I also want to be able to do some more hiking. It’s an activity both Ryan and I can get into together plus it’s a great way to spend time out in nature.

Yesterday was my student section meeting at Santa Ana Community College. It by far a nice campus and the staff there was really supportive. The event itself was a hit. We had two recruiters from Adams and Martin came in to give some helpful training on how to create a resume and get noticed in this economy. We also had a panel of paralegals to discuss their experience in the legal field.

Not that those were enough, the next big item on the to-do list is moving. We found a cute little apartment here in Huntington Beach. The location is great, it’s closer to my office (not that I need to be any closer), it’s also closer to the beach, and we’ll only be 2 miles away. Now I just can’t wait to get this move over with. The place is going to be smaller but the grounds are nice. The only downsides are that we won’t have a dishwasher and we have to get a refrigerator, which is a total bummer because if we knew we needed a fridge I would have taken the one from our friends who were giving them away.

I suppose it’s a mixed blessing that we are going to be so busy. There are a lot of big things coming down the pipeline; like the OC Pet Expo, CLA exam, hands across California and some fun in between all the hard work. Amongst all these big events it’s the small things that matter. Like Italian Ice with vanilla ice cream and playing in the park with the dogs.

Today's Vocabulary word: Due Process which mean fundamental fairness.

Book of the month: Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Eventually I will take a queue from one of my favorite authors, Gail Carriger's blog and post infusions of cuteness (hers shows the cutest pieces of vintage clothing)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Rain Saturday! No Rain Saturday!

My current mantra is “No Rain Saturday, No Rain Saturday” Really it would be nice if we had a pretty day for Amanda’s Bridal shower. Well I suppose it’s better for Mother Nature to get it all out o her system now than to have a down poor on the wedding day (every bride’s worse nightmare). I am at least ahead of the game. All of the favors are put together (And are adorable if I do say so myself) and then tomorrow or Thursday I have to buy the cupcake mix and the ceviche ingredients. Friday night I am going to be a cupcake baking, ceviche mixing machine.

Sunday my sister and I made a fantastic three course meal. First course was marinated artichoke hearts, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and fried zucchini. Second course was a roasted leg of lamb with rosemary, tomatoes, onions and potatoes, which was very good but could have stayed in the oven just a little bit longer. Finally, the third course was a chocolate lava cake with whip cream and drizzled caramel. Last night, as part of our Valentine’s Day tradition, I made seafood alfredo. Alfredo Sauce can be pretty tricky. Your technique has to be perfect with just the right mix of parmesan cheese, heavy cream along with attention to stirring and heat. Mine, was fantastic.Tonight though, it was Ryan's turn to cook. So we went out to eat at a nice Mexican Restaurant.

The big dilemma facing Ryan and I at the moment is moving. Our apartment complex wants to raise our rent to a grand total of $1700 a month. That’s going to rough to swing if we stay here. As with many in the current economy, we’re afraid our credit score is going to keep us from being able to get something else. We love living in Huntington Beach. It’s the perfect mix of So Cal Beach and Urban life. Plus there is no way in hell I want to give up my 10 minute commute. I don’t even have to get on the freeway! It makes my 12 to 15 hr days when I have other daily commitments seem much easier because I can go home for a little bit after work. We have found an apartment that looks like it is going to be a good fit. It’s within a mile of the beach, 2 bedrooms, washer and drier in the unit, about the same distance to my office as our current office and is going to be $400 cheaper than what our current apartment wants. The only down side is that there is no patio which means that the hockey gear and no free reign for the pups. However, we are a few blocks from an off leash dog park. If we get the place we will be able to throw an awesome 4th of July party.

On the writing front, I got this great idea to write an advice article on keeping outdoor reptiles safe from predators such as coyotes, hawks, raccoons and cats. My only problem is finding reliable sources. At least my work in OCPA is going much smoother and in my next post I should be able to post some cool things going on.

Pumpkin is adjusting well. We discovered her two favorite things are hoodie pockets and her hiding rock. She’s getting used to the dogs being around but doesn’t really care for them. Bella is getting over her curiosity about her. Bocce on the other hand is annoyingly jealous and throws a fit whenever either of us is giving pumpkin any amount of attention.

CLA vocabulary word of the day: Amicus Curiae (friend of the court: as an amicus curiae brief filed with an appellate court)