Oh Oh Something Shiny!!!

No Theme Required – Just Whatever comes up in my Brain

Homemade Pizza Night  — March 9, 2016

Homemade Pizza Night 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of changes in our house.

1. My daughter announced she is pregnant. In anyone’s world this would be life changing but for me it is Quadruple life changing. Why? Well, she was a virgin one day talking to me about her options for B.C since she has a boyfriend and telling me she had made an appointment to being pregnant a week later. Obviously, she did not wait until her B.C. appointment came around.

I mean, you waited 19 years and 8 months, could you have waited 30 more days or at least worn a condom?

But, whatever! It’s done and a great thing is going to come from this.

2. The boyfriend’s (aka “Baby daddy”) father kicked him out when he found out my daughter was pregnant

3. We had to move him in as well

4. Three days after moving in Dustin lost his job so now he is there full time

5. Did I already mention my daughter is a junior in college and is pregnant???!!!

After I have all that out of the way, I guess it is obvious to anyone who reads this that our life has turned upside down. Not only do we have a baby coming into our lives but I have also inherited a 20 year old boy. I have never had boys before!!!! I have no idea what to do with them. Heck, I barely know what to do with my husband I surely don’t know how to treat a kid living with us !!!!

As we discussed in a our family meeting regarding the living arrangements, there would be crazy times coming into the near future. Some days we will love each other, some days we would  hate each other, etc. The point is the ending result which is this cute little (girl) baby coming into our lives.

Last week was one of those weeks we hated each other. Well, not hated but was very very angry with each other….. After arguing all day on Friday and crying all day on Saturday I decided it was a night to Shake it off.

(Please feel free to job in place and sing the Taylor Swift Song here).

While the guys worked in the yard I started whipping of my favorite  pizza dough recipe .  What brings the family together more than cooking (and drinking) together in the kitchen?

Greg and Dustin got into it more than I thought they would.  They rolled out the pizza and helped me cut up the veggies for the pizza.  We turned on the music and “knocked it all out” together.

 

Now I will be honest here…  Greg rarely (never) helps in the kitchen so this was a huge shock to me.  We were discreetly letting Dustin know that we would appreciate his help around the house and Greg was demonstrating how we all “knock things out” as a family.  When he didn’t know where the cheese grater was nor the pizza pans, I think Dustin became skeptical that this was all a trick.  At one point Greg tried sneaking off but I quickly found him and made him continue to help.

Several times during the process, I would remind them that I do this every  meal 🙂

Dustin specifically requested to “decorate” all the pizzas.  Go for it!

For the Italian pizza, I did slightly cook the bell peppers and mushrooms before putting them on the pizza.  As soon as we cooked the crust, Dustin covered them with sauce, the cooked veggies, Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, salami, and pepperoni.

For the taco pizza, I (Dustin)  put some homemade salsa for the sauce, cheddar cheese, conjita cheese, the bell peppers and jalapenos.

While the pizzas were cooking and  the guys were cleaning, I made margaritas.

By the time I bought the stuff to make everything I think I spent about $150 on for three pizzas and four margaritas.  Talk about a cheap night in right?

When I think about it that way, it is almost frustrating.  I mean, anyone who has made pizza dough or anything that needs to be rolled out, knows it is a mess.  Then there is the money and time cleaning, chopping, etc.  But if we had ridden down to the restaurant, had pizza and margaritas we would’ve been done in an hour.  After we came home, we would’ve laid on the couch and watched TV or played on our phones or whatever.  I think after a rough two days, this was the perfect way to bring us all back together and make us remember that we will always put the fun in Dysfunctional.

Both turned out really good.  I remember taking the girls to CiCi’s pizza when they were little and loving their Taco pizza.  I have been craving one so that was the reasoning behind that.  Well, my ground beef was starting to turn brown too. I had to do something with it.

CiCi’s PIzza?  No…..  CiCi’s Castle!

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The Indian Family Kitchen — February 27, 2016

The Indian Family Kitchen

I love Indian food there is no doubt about that. I received this cookbook today and cannot wait for my Sunday Funday of cooking meals to cook a few of these up! 

Anjali Pathak is the author. Honestly, I have never heard of her (should I be embarassed about that). The book is full of recipes she enjoyed growing up with. I like it because it is not full of your traditional Indian recipes you get in a restaurant. It is full of recipes that I actually grew up on but with Indian spices (not just curry added in) . 

If you are bored with cooking the same thing but your family isn’t into true Indian cuisine I would recommend this cookbook. It’s just different techniques to everyday food. 
   
   

Once Upon a Secret — February 25, 2016

Once Upon a Secret

I am always listening to audio books at work.  It helps me try and block the stupidity within my office.  🙂  Today, my boss was gone so I was able to listen to an entire book in one day and get tons of work done!! Yay!

 

I have always been interested in President Kennedy.  Not that I care about politics but because he was cute.  🙂  Also, because there are so many books about him, more than other presidents anyway. I downloaded Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with John F. Kennedy and its’ Aftermath .

At first, I was kind of bored with hearing about how she was raised but once she got the job at the White House it was very interesting. She got hired making $67 per week her Freshman Summer of college in 1962.

Isn’t that a good salary for an intern back then?

The President didn’t waste anytime. Within the first week, while issuing a tour of the The White House, the president takes   Mimi Beardsley for a detour and shows her his bedroom (Yes, him and Mrs. Kennedy had separate rooms).  While showing her the room, he proceeds to have sex with her!!!!  She was a virgin!!!  I am not saying it was rape.  She explains how at that age how influenced you are.

I mean, this is the President of the United States. What would you do?

Over the next 18 months, they had a secret affair.  Through his assistant, Dave Powers, they would meet up, go for afternoon swims, etc.  When traveling, she would play the “waiting game” in a hotel room.  When he had time away he would have Dave let her know where to go for their hook ups.

I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes.  I had a few uncomfortable situations growing up with “powerful” men.  I was young though. At 19, I am sure even though she was innocent, she still had to be star struck as well.  No it wasn’t right but he should have been more ashamed by using his power to control these women he was having affairs.

They were still seeing each other the day of the shooting. They had actually had plans to meet up after.  While everyone was in shock, she was grieving but couldn’t tell anyone.  At her age, I am sure she was in love.  She explains for years that the media was always sniffing around trying to figure out who all the women were that he had affairs with.  That is her reasoning for writing the book after all these years.  She wanted to bring it to the surface before the media did. None of her family had known. She kept the secret all those years.

 

 

 

Thai Tea at Home  —

Thai Tea at Home 

The Hubs and I were riding around trying to figure out what to eat one evening.  Finally, we decided on Thai food.  I got on yelp and found the nearest restaurant near us.  I can’t remember the name of it now but it was a Maw and Paw place off the beaten path in Houston.

We had eaten Thai food many times before but had never had Thai Tea.  The reviews on Yelp were all raving about this particular tea so we had to try it!  For $2.99 you get a huge mug of it.

Unfortunately, there is no refills but after googling the recipe while there, that is probably a good thing:

  1. It was 7:00 pm and I don’t need that much caffeine that late
  2. It has tons of whipped cream!
  3. Has lots of sugar also !

But it is ssssooooo good!!!!!  If you have never tried it, I highly recommend.

For the record, I do not like Chai tea. This tastes nothing like that.

When I googled Thai Tea Recipes, they were saying to buy this tea.  Immediately, while at the table, I hit purchase.

There are lots of recipes but from what I read, they’re mostly all the same. You adjust the cream, sugar, and tea ratio to your personal taste.

The tea is loose leaf tea.  This was a huge problem since I don’t know how to make tea from loose tea leaves, much less a large amount.   I finally  just decided to try it out in the coffee pot which worked out great!!!!!  I filled up my coffee bin with the tea leaves and waited on it to fill up.

Some recipes said to make it while its’ hot, some said its’ best the next day, etc.  To me, I like to make it then divide into mason jars and add the sugar so it will dissolve.  When I am wanting the tea, I just open up a jar, add some ice and my cream.

The pictures below are me making it my first time.  I was very upset I didn’t have the fancy layering the restaurant had. I was thinking surely it was the order the drink had to be poured.  Then I saw in one of the recipes that the layering comes from the sugar in the tea. Therefore, you can’t substitute the sugar if you want the layering look.  I tried this method the next time and I had my layers!!!!

My first attempt…. no layers 😦

No matter what if you start out with layers or not, it eventually turns orange no matter what

Here is a recipe along with some interesting facts as to why the tea is orange, different options you can try, etc.

Fat Girl Problem # 26554466544 —

Fat Girl Problem # 26554466544

I know! I know!  By my Featured Image I appear to be a classy, well put together individual headed to work at my classy job.

Yea right! This is an everyday occurrence for me I swear!  People often ask me why I am so perky and hyper (Isn’t that a nice word for annoying?) all the time.  The answer is simple:

I have to laugh at myself.  I am a hot mess.  There is no other way to describe my disFUNction.  Since 12:31 AM (Well, I didn’t have my glasses on. That is the time I saw on the microwave), my morning has been…..  well, normal (for my life).

At 12:30 AM, Hercules is crying.  We have him on a leash next to our bed because he likes to roam at night. When he roams, apparently he gets bored and likes to poop in the house.  Therefore, now when he gets bored (or actually wants to poop) we have to let him go outside and either do his business or just walk around for a few minutes while we are annoyed.  Usually, the Hubs gets up with him since Hercules is on his side of the bed.  Plus, I have a huge fan blowing right by my ear so I “can’t hear” Hercules when he cries.  Last night, Hercules kept crying and the Hubs kept saying, “Go to sleep”.  Finally, after the fifth “Go to sleep” I decided it was pretty boring laying there pretending to still sleep while they were having their argument. I got up and let him out.

Five minutes later, I call for him to come inside.  Of course, he has to go through the kitchen to make sure someone hasn’t accidentally left the trash can out or some food on the kitchen counter tops. After he is done with his patrolling I get him upstairs and put him back on his leash.

Now that I am wide awake, of course, I get on Pinterest.  Of course all these fitness and weight loss ideas are showing up in my feed.  Yep at 1:00 AM I am hyped. I am going to wake up at 5:00 AM this  and do one of these Cross Fit work outs!  I am going to get up every morning. According to this blog it is easy and only takes 15 minutes per day.

1:45 AM – Turn off phone and think about how hot I am going to look now that I am going to wake up at 5:00 AM and work out from now on

2:00 AM – staring in space thinking, “Well maybe I will wake up at 5:30 AM”

2:15 AM – Okay, I will still wake up at 5:30 AM but hit snooze JUST ONCE

6:00 AM – Pops come to tell me bye and says “Your alarm has been going off”

7:10 AM – Crap I should get in bed

When I am in a rush, I can always depend on my leggings to make it appear as if I actually tried to look cute.  I put on my trusty Denim (Or Chambray whatever ya’ll call it) shirt on with my leopard leggings. I couldn’t find my black scarf so brown had to do which meant I had to wear my brown boots.

Curl the hair and grab the boots.  Yes, its’ 7:20 I am good !

I put my left boot on and of course my boots have shrunk!  So I get the trusty hanger out and manage to pull them up.

IMG_5434[1]

Then comes the right leg.  Well, these come up much easier.  Whew!!!  I still have time to get out the door by 7:25 AM.

When I stand up

“Can I call and say I will be a few minutes late I am having fat girl Problems”

No!

So, I just head on to work! I am a trooper like that!

But of course, once I got to work, my friend helped me!  The boss can never say we do not work together.

While he is helping me, I remember I have a hole in the crotch of these leggings.  Don’t worry, I won’t show a picture of that.

 

 

“I will hold it while you pull”

 

Then I realized I could take the boot (and remembered the crotch thing) off and it would probably be easier.  He takes my boot to the back and gets the zipper back on track.  Dang cheap boots!!!

 

Finally!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucky Rice Cookbook Review — February 18, 2016

Lucky Rice Cookbook Review

One night last week, I clicked on some link and found this website Blogging for Books .  I wanted to check it out because my book addiction is interfering with my alcohol addiction.  There has been a few times I couldn’t go out for margaritas because I spent too much on Amazon buying cookbooks or buying the “daily deal”.  Really???  They just do that to women to make us have to back out of GNOs.

I was really excited when you could request a book and it is a REAL PHYSICAL BOOK! I have been asked several times to review free books but had to be read through their website on my Kindle.  Yes, I am a huge Kindle fan and read most of my books on an electronic device but I do not like cookbooks on electronic devices. I want to make notes, fold the pages, make lists, etc.

This cookbook is great!  It is broken up into several categories such as Street Foods, Weird Foods, etc.   A lot of the ingredients will need to be bought at an Asian Grocery store.  I happen to love going to the one close to me but it is a Saturday kind of thing I Have to admit.  If you have never been in one, it is an experience.  I live in Houston.  When I go to the Viet Hoa in China Town here it is always an experience.  Well, you can look at it like an experience or you can go in a rush, get upset( cause they shop like they drive), or just enjoy it all.

If my post convinces someone to buy this book and go for an Asian Grocery shopping field trip just go with open eyes.  I love it!  Some weeks I buy all my groceries at the Asian grocery store. Warning:  They do not like white people in their store.  At times, the short older man in the meat market has refused to help me.  Its’ actually quite funny to me so if you’re the type to get upset and take things personally, don’t go.

Now back to the book…..    sorry I am sort of excited about going this weekend can you tell?

Danielle Chang is the author of the book.  In the book, she tells about her family moving to Houston and her trying to fit in by hiding her Asian heritage at first.  I also like how she includes the English version or explanation of the Asian names as well.  The photography is nice as well.  There are a few “out there” recipes like 1,000 year old eggs but for the most part, I would make everyone of these recipes.  I didn’t see any chicken feet listed 🙂

My favorite part about the book is in the back she has Party Menu ideas!  I am a sucker for having friends over for dinner, etc. so when I do It is always themed.  This makes it great and may even make me try something I normally wouldn’t make.  I do know Thai Beef Salad is on the menu for tonight!

 

 

 

 

 

Gumbo – John Besh Style — February 1, 2016

Gumbo – John Besh Style

gumbo 1

 

I am from Southeast Texas.  It is about 30 minutes from Louisiana.  Therefore, I consider myself on fleek when it comes to  Cajun food (notice I didn’t say eyebrows), especially gumbo.

 

I grew up with every mom knowing how to make gumbo. They were all basically the same.
You boil a chicken
Make your roux
put in your onions, parsley, etc and cook for awhile
Add the chicken and sausage later then simmer some more

Don’t get me wrong… this is probably still my favorite way. It is delicious and it just reminds me of home.

However, I have recently been on a cookbook kick. I swear I have ordered like 25 just this year. That may actually be down scaling it quite a bit honestly. I heard of John Besh, a Louisiana Chef, so I wanted to try his cookbook. I ordered his Louisiana Restaurant one but surprisingly it did not have gumbo in it. Really? That is just weird. Thankfully, his home cookbook did. It had an entire different technique as well.

Yesterday, when I was making my meals for the week, I started boiling a chicken and decided I was going to try John Besh’s recipe. Well, after I already started boiling the chicken I realized that his technique was totally different. He browns the chicken and sausage in the roux before even adding any chicken stock!!!! Weird!!!! Has anyone else ever heard of this technique? Thankfully, I had taken out some chicken thighs as well so I threw those in the roux and browned them. I was scared the entire time the roux was going to burn since I hadn’t added any liquid yet. All went well though.

After browning the chicken thighs I added the sausage and browned that as well then added the chicken broth from the chicken I was boiling along with some store bought broth. Yes I know that isn’t the proper way to do things but like I said before, I had intended on boiling the chicken for my gumbo.

Surprisingly, this was the easiest way I have ever made it before. It didn’t make as much as usual but I didn’t have as much chicken as usual and I didn’t want it t be all broth. So, it was just extra thick. I am on the fence as to which way I like it….. it basically tastes the same but a different texture because of the thickness. I made a batch of rice and packed them all up for our lunches this week. Here is his recipe.

Now I actually do not have the recipe in front of me so I am going to type it as close as I remember.   It is more about the steps than the measurements so here I go:

 

Heat one cup of oil in a nice dutch oven.  I personally like Magnalite.

Let it get hot but not too hot

Add one cup of flour and stir consistently not letting it burn

It will thicken up and turn dark brown. you want it on the verge of burning

Add one onion and let it caramelize

Add one bellpepper and brown it also

Add your chicken pieces.  I used thighs and brown, cooking until it is done.

Add your sausage and do the same

Add your salt, pepper, cayenne, and some file to your taste. Let it all simmer

Add chicken broth to the thickness you want.  It will thicken up a little since you still have to simmer but not too much. you can always add more is my theory.

Let it simmer for about 45 or more minutes.

Adjust spices again

This method is easier than what I was raised doing.  I also like the option that I can use only thighs!!!  I have never been a boob fan.

The picture enclosed is a picture of just the roux, chicken and sausage before adding the liquid.  I would guesstimate I probably added about 6 cups of chicken broth.  It was not quite half way full but not at a quarter either.  I really did enjoy it.  I felt guilty for not staying with the tradition but everything needs to evolve a little right?

I just won’t ever tell the family.  In the meantime this method is easier for sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas and OCD  — January 21, 2016

Christmas and OCD 

Just a little OCD

It’s Christmas Eve and I finally sat down to wrap everyone’s gifts. I do this every year . Of course I always have to run to the store and buy one or two cheap gifts for one of the girls because even though Avery is 18 years old she has to have the same amount of gifts as Jordan. She still doesn’t care I spend the same amount. I keep hoping one day she will get past this. Until then , I try to make sure she has more gifts. Even if it’s gum , she has to have more.
But that has nothing to do with my topic….

Today I spent three hours wrapping all the gifts. I wrapped everything ! Even gum in their stockings? Why? Because I have a budget of $200 plus dollars for each child. When they’re as old as my kids that is approximately two to three gifts. Mostly of that ugly Karen Scott jewelry too so Christmas isn’t fun as it use to be. Since there isn’t much, I try and focus on presentation. I am no professional of course but I try to make the presentation pretty.

Today I finished everything and stepped back to admire my tree. I was pleased with the color coordination .
Jordan comes home with her gift for Avery . I am sure you can guess which one. Now every time I walk in the living room I see one present. It yells at me !!!!! I am laying in bed fighting the opportunity to go wrap the gift in my coordinating paper. I feel as though I did three hours of work for nothing 🙂

 

Fish and Chips  — December 7, 2015

Fish and Chips 

One weekend morning, I woke up and checked my Facebook page and saw my friend was in England having Fish and Chips.  I was very upset by this since the closest place for me to get Fish and Chips is The Red Lion Pub in Houston. By the time I would get dressed and head that way a few hours would already go by.  Plus, at $22.00 per plate, it would take some convincing to the Hubs.

I remembered I had some fish in the fridge so I started googling recipes.  Of course my man Alton Brown is always my first choice.  Here is his recipe.  As always, he never disappoints.

Of course, I had to cut up an onion and try that out also. I used the same batter I used for the fish.  I swear I will never pay $22.00 per plate again.  Besides double frying the fries, everything was pretty quick.

I was so proud when the first batch turned out like it should!

 

Don’t forget the Malt Vinegar!!!

 

Now isn’t this a healthy breakfast!  I don’t know why I can’t lose weight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower pizza  —

Cauliflower pizza 

 

I haven’t jumped on the crazy Cauliflower craze full heartedly but I have tried a few things.

My favorite thing I have tried has been the Cauliflower biscuits.  Those were great.  I don’t have any pictures of them but I do recommend them.  It isn’t like you can pour some gravy on them and you’ll never know but you could make a breakfast sandwich with them easily and have a healthy on the go breakfast.

Another thing I have tried is the cauliflower tortillas .  Surprisingly, they were pretty good.

I tried both of the above recipes before watching Chef Buck’s video .  Before, I just strained the cauliflower with a bunch of paper towels which was extremely messy.  I followed his recipe in the video and the pizzas came out great.  Now the people saying you can’t tell a difference…………  they’re lying!!!!  You can tell a difference !!!  If you’re craving pizza though and you are watching your carbs this is a great alternative though. It really isn’t bad at all.  I have made it several times since then and we enjoy it each time.  I did try another recipe since using the tea towel draining method and this technique worked better for me for the pizza.  It does take some patience but its’ still quicker than making real homemade dough.