Saturday, January 30, 2010

Award-Winning Bunny

This week I have been given not one, but two, blogging awards from friends. The first was from Bobs, over at his blog Bob Out. Bobs nominated me for (insert drumroll here):

The "rules" for Bob's award are as follows:

ONE: Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
Thank you, Bobs! You are the best BGFF a girl could have short of a gay plastic surgeon! (j/k)

TWO: Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
Done! (see above)

THREE: Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
Done! (see above)

FOUR: Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
Ok, some of these will be a repeat, but here goes:
  1. I have a fear of clowns and little people. Let's not even discuss little people clowns.
  2. My current dream is to buy a farm in Virginia and raise goats and grow vegetables.
  3. I am not a big sweet eater.
  4. But my favorite sweet by far is ice cream.
  5. And I don't like peanut butter or mint in sweets.
  6. I have an abnormal fixation on lip products. 
  7. I own a truck and love it. I just wish it were bigger.
My second award was from my friend E. over at Babbette's Book Blog. She nominated me for:

Thanks, E.! Her award "rules" are as follows: I must answer the following questions with one word answers. 

Your Cell Phone? Hate
Your Hair? Mess
Your Mother? Supportive
Your Father? Hardworking
Your Favorite Food? Italian
Your Dream Last Night? Weird
Your Favorite Drink? Beer
Your Dream/Goal? Lottery (stole this from E.)
What Room Are You In? Office
Your Hobby? Cooking
Your Fear? Clowns
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Happy
Where Were You Last Night? Couch
Something That You Aren't? Serene
Muffins? Chocolate
Wish List Item? Vacation
Where Did You Grow Up? Georgia
Last Thing You Did? Taxes
What Are You Wearing? Warm
Your TV? Movies
Your Pets? Dogters
Friends? Joy
Your Life? Better
Your Mood? Expectant
Missing Someone? Always
Vehicle? Truck
Something You Aren't Wearing? Jewelry
Your Favorite Store? Cooking
Your Favorite Color? Orange
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Today
Last Time You Cried? Yesterday
Your Best Friend? Mr. Martha
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Internet
Facebook? Unfortunately
Favorite Place To Eat? Home

And, finally, both asked me to nominate other bloggers for the awards. Well, since both of them nominated me, I cannot nominate them, but here are a few blogger folks I have been following for a while who I think are sorta coolio:

say la vee: classy and sublime
cooking for assholes: funny and irreverent
daily beer review: need I say more?
social primer: because good manners are a sadly lacking these days
jen on the edge: love her gardening posts

So that's all. It's cold, wet and icy here today and I am off to make dinner (soup) and watch a movie with Mr. Martha. Tomorrow will be mental prep for the return to work Monday. Oy. Later taters! B.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hump Day Recap

Holla, peeps! Yesterday, Bobs and I decided to spend one last day living it up before I head back to the land of the employed. First, we struck out to the happiest place on Earth: IKEA.

I loves me some IKEA. I purchased me a new floor and desk lamp for our home office (with two people in there now, we need more light) as well as some other small items for my new office at work. I also think I might need me a lamp for my desk at work, but I want to wait and see how the light is before I make that investment. My new office has lots of windows (yeah!) which may be enough to offset the glaring overheads that make you look all putrid. After IKEA, Bobs and I decided we wanted to eat lunch somewhere new, so we chose the nearby West Egg Cafe:

They serve breakfast ALL day, but alas, we checked the website too early because, since we checked, they posted that they are MOVING and they were closed for the move. So, this photo was in vain. We were foiled, but foodies always have a backup plan, so we regrouped and drove two blocks to:

The Real Chow Baby. This place is super cool--you get a big bowl to fill with your starch (rice or noodles), veggies, sauces and spices, then a separate bowl for your protein, and they stir fry it all up for you on this HUGE griddle thingy. Here is Bob's concoction:

So many choices, so many decisions, and so affordable! Technically, it is all you can eat for $7.99 at lunch but, trust me, one trip and you are too full to move. We gots some tips from the very nice fellow in line in front of us about "balancing your bowl" so we were like pros. They can also make your choices into a soup, wrap or salad. Cool. Cool. Cool.

After lunch, we decided to go see Avatar, which Bobs has been aggravating the shit out of me wanting to go see for a while. I was on the fence about Avatar--lots of acclaim but just wasn't sure I was going to be into it. We opted for the 3D version and, let me tell you, it was great! Esp. the battle scenes at the end. Some of the criticism has been that the story is weak and, yeah, it sorta is, but the effects are incredible, even if you are not into special effects. James Cameron is a mother-'effin genius. A very, very, very rich mother-'effin genius.

Even though I wasn't hungry when I came home last night after our gorge fest at lunch, I actually did manage to make dinner, and a new recipe at that, so there. The dish was Cuban Beef Picadillo from W-S:

This recipe was interesting--sorta like fancy Hamburger Helper or Cuban spaghetti. A friend asked me last year if I had ever heard of it and I had not but I found a recipe and decided to give it a whirl for kicks and giggles. The unique taste of the dish comes from the spices--it contains cinnamon and allspice as well as raisins.

First, you brown ground beef and onions, then add the spices. It's very fragrant, that's for sure.

Next, you add the tomatoes, red wine vinegar, raisins and beef broth, and let it simmer until it reaches a thicker, stew-like consistency.

The recipe suggests serving over rice, which I did. I will say that the flavors are subtle, and I think this is one of those dishes that may be better second day (once the flavors have more time to meld). Also, it made a TON--we both ate, I dished up three containers of leftovers, and then froze a quart baggies of the "sauce." I was trying to think if there would be any cheese that might be good sprinkled on top, however, with the sweetness of the raisins and allspice,I am not sure what that would be. Ideas??

Last night, I went out again looking for a laptop. I found one which I am going back to buy today. If all goes well, hopefully my laptop and new laser printer will be installed tomorrow. Cross your fingers and say a prayer for me to the computer gods. I hate it, but my history with most things electronic isn't so great.

Well, lots to do today, so I'm off. Be back soon with laptop reports! Later, taters! B.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do The Hustle

Oy, peeps! I have been running around for two days, trying to take care of all the little things that need to be done before I head back to work. Cleaning teeth? Check. Girls groomed? Check. Dry cleaning dropped off? Check. Pee in cup for pre-employment drug screen? Check. Damn, now THOSE dudes will treat you like you've been a drug-smuggling junkie your whole life. Sheez. I felt abused in more than one way when I left that place today. I am surprised they don't walk in and watch you. Seriously, bitch, I am too old and too tired to be trying to figure out ways to smuggle piss into your bathroom, 'kay??

And talk about abuse, I tried to go laptop looking today and, Lord, computer sales people are somewhere on the sleazy list between used car salesmen and bankers. They just want to talk you into something bigger/better/shinier. I was trying to tell this VERY ENTHUSIASTIC little sales person (who I could have given birth to) that I really didn't need a Cadillac. I just need a steady Buick. "No, no, Miss Bunny....LOOK A SQUIRREL! A SHINY SQUIRREL!" I am so confused, I wanted to scream. So I did. And also dropped the f-bomb in the middle of Best Buy. So there. And I still have no laptop.

Other than that, I am chasing my tail trying to finish up some freelance projects without killing the hubs. I, mean, would you LOOK at my office:

It's like the damn husband tornado touched down. Every. effin'. surface. is covered with books and papers. I don't do that. I keep a neat desk. I am a stacker/sorter. This shit drives my ape crazy. Seriously.

On a good note, the other night I made the most delish, cracktastic new recipe from Publix--Party Chicken. It met my two criteria--1) Easy and 2) Tasty. Oh, and cheesy. And bready. Here's how it goes down:

You can use tenders, but I butterflied some chicken breasts, lightly floured, S&P'd, and placed in a sprayed casserole.

Mix one can of cream of chicken soup (shut up! I don't want to hear it from you cream soup snobs!) and mayo; spread generously over chicken.

Mix panko, butter, cheese and layer over sauce. Bake until crispy golden good. And you know Bunny is never one to not change things up, so I added a little spice to it with a heaping tablespoon of red pepper flakes which gave it a nice kick.

I had some grape tomatoes about to go South, so I tried another new recipe for those--saute in 1 tbsp. brown sugar and 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. You were supposed to add fresh basil at the end, which I did not have, so I added a sprinkle of Herbs de Provence. Wow. This dish was simple and yummy.

I served the tomatoes over lightly buttered noodles with broccoli on the side. I will def make those tomatoes AND the chicken again. Yummers.

Tomorrow, I am going off with Bobs for the day, our last fling as it were before I rejoin the land of the employed. You will have to check back later about our adventures. Until then, be good! Love, B.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stealing 'Puter Time

Yo, peeps! Oy. It's been a week. First, I have to tell you that though I have WANTED to blog, the hubs and I have been in a war over computer time. You may remember me telling you that he started back to school a few weeks ago, so every waking minute he is home, he is on the computer. And, yes, we are one of those lame-o fams who only have one desktop. Which has not been an issue...until now.

But never fear....a laptop is looming in our immediate future. In order for me to continue freelance and Mr. Martha to continue his learnin', it's going have to be. I may even run out to Best Buy today to check out what they have on the roster. I really wish I could just go Mac, but that would require a $$$$ investment for me to change all my hardware AND software. Which, yes, I have a job, but we still have a hole to climb out of finance wise. We sorta blew through the savings+ the past year, as you can imagine.

Anyhoodle, THANKS for everyone who sent well wishes about the job. I am still swinging widely--and wildly--between high excitement and deep anxiety, but it's all gonna work out, I am sure. I know I didn't say WHERE I would be working, but I am going to be doing marketing and fundraising for the local Humane Society. I am all about the marketing, but it's the fundraising that sorta has me sweating. Esp. in this economy. So if you know any high-rollers who love the furry creatures, hook me up.

My gallbladder also has decided to rear it's ugly head in a different way after being better for several weeks--horrible abdominal cramps. At least that's what my surgical PA friends says it is. Yesterday, I was begging her to cut out the bitch with a sharpened spoon. She's all, "just have surgery." Well, see, I STILL don't have health insurance and won't for at least 90 days. So I am screwed until then. Oh well. It will be a great diet because I have no desire to eat since noshing = pain. Talk about effective conditioned response.

So last night, the hubs and I decided to take a break from our boringly dramatic lives and go on down to the ATL for a little night music. For Christmas, we bought a packet of cheapo passes for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and last night was the first concert. The celeb musical guest was Jean-Yves Thibaudet. JYT is an accomplished pianist and the hubs loved his work on the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack (the one with Keira Knightly). Here he is:

This was the promo photo....which apparently is from several years ago. Add about 10 years, 20 pounds and change the grey to blond and that is what he looks like today. Actually, he played the HELL out of that piano, though I think he was channeling Stevie Wonder with all the swaying and head rolling and such (no disrespect to Stevie, but JYT was a tad dramatic...someone has told me he was a diva and I believe it). Robert Spano conducted:

Robert Spano is the Mack Daddy of the ASO. I cannot remember that I have ever seen him conduct, but he REALLY gets into it. And he is a nice looking man in that bald, artistic man way. I liked that he wore this tunic thingy to conduct in rather than a tux. I suppose you need lots of movement to gesticulate so wildly. In two weeks we will return, this time to see one of my ALL TIME FAVES, Michael Feinstein:

I LOVES me some Michael F. That other Michael, while good, pales in comparison. This concert will be the 4th time I have seen him in concert. The last time he played with the ASO, he signed CDs in the lobby and I didn't stay. I have already told the hubs that, BY GOD, if he is signing this time, I WILL be staying and meeting him. I don't care how fat, geeky or acne-riddled I am or if my gallbladder is busting as I wait in line. He is performing, in part, his Sinatra songbook this concert. If you've never heard MF, he is a "standards" singer and his rendition of this song is one of my top three favorite songs he performs:

Ah. SO good. Cannot WAIT. Well, I am off like a herd of to clean and the gallbladder is starting to act up so I think this day will include some prone positioning on the sofa. Be good, peeps, and I will be back as soon as I can drug the hubs have a window of opportunity. Love, Bun.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Things are still pretty boring here at Casa Bunny, so I just have bits and pieces to share today. Here we go:
  1. The reality of my new job is still sinking in. I am starting to freak out ever so slightly at what I need to do before I start to work and how difficult in many ways returning to work is going to be. 
  2. For example, I need to pull out all my "office attire" (that hasn't been worn for three years) and make sure it is presentable (as in clean and not missing buttons or such). Today, I also went and bought 12 pairs of trouser socks because I doubt I have any hosiery worth a damn in my drawer.
  3. Getting up early is going to suck. Hard. I haven't risen before 7:30 a.m. in a LONG time. Yes, I am glad I have a job. That doesn't mean I have to like getting up early though.
  4. I am going to be working for a man for the first time in my life. I am glad from the perspective that men, in general, are direct and don't create drama. I am hesitant because men can often be unorganized and all "let the ladies do it." But I do respect my boss and think he is a good man (I sorta already knew him) so that's a good start.
  5. I am in a tailspin to get everything done and organized before I start back to work. I know. I have had a year to do all this shizz. But now it is a priority. What can I say? I work well under pressure.
  6. I am worried about leaving my girls at home all day. I have been working/not working from home for almost three years. Even though all they do is sleep all day, I am here to take them out and keep an eye on Savannah for diabetes-related issues. Yes, I know. There has been like two problems in 3 years. But, no, that doesn't make me feel better. I could take them to work, and probably will some days, but it is unrealistic to think I will do so every day.
  7. Thus, I think my initial excitement is now being tinged somewhat by "buyer's remorse." I suppose that is natural. Especially for me, since my last career move turned out to be sorta bad in many ways. 
  8. I am excited about this weekend though--the hubs and I are planning on going to a Symphony concert and dinner, a friend is taking me out for a celebratory dinner and I may be going out with Bobs. YEAH.
  9. I feel like my getting a job has been like my birthday. All the congrats. All the offers to celebrate. It's nice. Thanks, everyone!
  10. I am really glad I took that vacation last October because it will probably be late Spring before we are able to go anywhere. Oh, the joy of probationary periods.
  11. Someone asked if I was going to purchase a "go back to work" gift for myself. UM, HELLZ YES. I am still thinking, but I am leaning toward that All Clad skillet I have been coveting.
  12. I am worried my cooking is going to suffer going back to work. And my garden. Again, I know I should be worried about losing my house and having health insurance, but change is difficult, okay???
  13. And I should tell you now that I am not sure how things here at BGR will be. Def not daily anymore for a while. But I will be around. Because I loves you. You complete me, peeps. XO, B.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Which I Celebrate

Jan. 28, 2009 at 3 p.m.:
I find out I am losing my job.
But my employer agrees to keep me on part-time
doing some freelance work.

April 1, 2009 at 5 p.m.:
My employer tells me they no longer
need my services in any capacity.
I am officially, 110% downsized.

April 2, 2009 at 8 a.m.-Jan. 18, 2010 at 2:29 p.m.:
I cry 400 times.
I gain 50 new grey hairs through worrying.
I take 5 years off my life from stress.
I go to the DOL offices 8 times.
I apply for more than 200 jobs (I stopped counting in November).
I have 19 interviews.
I receive 0 job offers.

Jan. 18, 2010 at 2: 30 p.m.:
I am offered a fabulous new job which is a perfect match for me
professionally and personally with a great salary
and good benefits and 15 minutes from my house.
And casual work environment. And pet friendly.
I think about crying, but I decide to celebrate instead:

Yes, it's cheap champagne.
Yes, that is a pilsner glass.
Yes, that is my apron.
Sue me. I am celebrating.

I thought about writing a long, elaborate post about my job loss
and search of the past year, but instead I will make
a list of the things I know are true, looking back in retrospect:

  • Never fool yourself into thinking your boss is your friend. They are your boss. They will be the bearer of bad tidings. And there is a good chance they will throw you under the bus if they have to.
  • If someone tells you they will never throw you under the bus, they will be the first person to throw you under the bus. 
  • The DOL (Department of Labor) really isn't all that bad. They have good resources. The people, though terribly overworked, are willing to help you. They want to find you a job. Encourage anyone you know to utilize what they offer. 
  • Be kind and work hard. When you are down on your luck, people will remember you fondly and be willing to help you.
  • When people do help you, remember to be appreciative and thankful for their kindness. An email, a thank you note, a call. (And thanks to all of you, my bloggy peeps, for the support you gave!)
  • If you have a sabbatical from work, even if it is forced upon you, try to enjoy some of it. I finally realized "enjoying" my unemployment wasn't a sin. I tanned every Wednesday afternoon last summer. I occasionally took naps in the middle of the afternoon. I read lots of books. I spent time with friends and family. I worked in my garden. I only wish I had done more.
  • Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end. 
    THE END.

    Monday, January 18, 2010

    It's Monday. Again.

    Oh, peeps. I just don't know what's wrong with me. I just feel so tired, so full of ennui, so BLAH. And things around Casa Bunny don't make it any better. Trust me, it's BUSY here as I mentioned last post, but with un-fun stuff like taxes and school work. And it was just more of the same ol', same ol' this weekend topped off by gloomy, rainy, cloudy weather. Just BLEH BLAH BLUH. January doldrums, indeed.

    Anyhoodle, I hope this week perks up slightly. At least I can look forward to next weekend, which the hubs has off and we have a concert to go to Saturday night, and I have a movie date on Sunday. Whee. And today I get to go to WALMART! To buy meds, cat food and a paper shredder! OH BOY! Yes, I can see the fun is just going start today and keep on going!

    Anyway, I did manage to squeeze in some cooking this weekend, though it was not all successful. On Saturday night, I had pork chops, potatoes and onions, so I decided to do this layered bake where browned the chops, then placed them on top of sliced onions and potatoes and covered them with a sauce of milk, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup (shoot me, ok??) and thyme. It turned out, well, aw-ight.

    It was sorta BEIGE which I tried to jazz up with some broccoli. Unforth, that was a partial "fail" as well since it was some broccoli I tried to save from the garbage by steaming and freezing so it was a bit...chewy. On the stems. Yeah, this dish was just one of those that sounded great in conception but sorta failed in execution. Moving on.

    Last night, I was going to make shrimp chowder, however, I stupidly used my potatoes on Saturday night (that above was not my original planned meal--I am learning the hard way that I make a weekly menu FOR A REASON) so I had to step back and punt and the only ball I had was Bean Soup Starter.

    I bought this at W-S and like most things from there, it wasn't cheap but it was tres tasty. You can basically eat it out of the jar mixed with a little chicken broth OR you can "hearty" it up with macaroni and sausage. I did option B.

    This photo looks a little orange, but we both had a large bowl and two large containers left for lunch today. I would def buy this starter again. Or, if anyone has a great recipe for an Italian bean soup, please let me know.
    I served it with this:

    Again, in an effort to say some food about to go the way of the dumpster, I toasted some bread, sliced up some grape tomatoes and diced some mozzarella cheese, then tossed it all with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and dried herbs. Yes, a bastardized bread salad. Yes, it's better with fresh herbs and tomatoes. But this was pretty tasty and I felt virtuous for saving some food. So there.

    Last night while watching the Golden Globes (which I found sorta boring except for Ricky Gervais who I totally get and LOVE LOVE LOVE and Robert Downey Jr.'s speech which was at least slightly different. Oh, and Meryl Streep, who is always a little kooky but in a good way), I enjoyed a new beer I recently picked up:

    You know, I have been sorta laying off the booze thanks to the Gladys Gallbladder, but I decided I needed a cocktail last night. I was excited about this beer--Common Ground by Fort Collins Brewery--but not so much when I drank it. The beer is touted as an amber ale brewed with coffee, but all I got from it was a lot of bitter upfront and not much taste after. At least the carbonation was low, but I don't think I will be trying this one again.

    Anyhoodle, I need to get a shower, get busy and then get to WALMART!! Don't you wish you were me?? Happy MLK Day if you are off today, and I'll be back soon! XO, Bun.

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Hump Day Holla: Something's Gotta Give

    Peeps, have you ever heard the expression "like a cat covering up shit"? Yeah. Well, that's the way I feel up over here in Casa Bunny this week. Too many deadlines, not enough computer time, five hours of sleep last night. It's just changes and lots of work (for which I am tremendously grateful for, don't get me wrong) and personal shizz and, well, something's got to give and, that, my dear peeps, would be BGR. So here is my very short, speed post for today and then you may not hear from me for a few:

     This cab was a gift from a friend who is a big cab drinker. Me? Not so much. But this was REALLY GOOD. Quite tasty. Heck, I would buy it again. Two Bunny Ears up!

     This wine I picked up at a local bottle store and it was ok, but def did not match its price tag (which was about double what I normally spend for a bottle!). The flavor was all up front. No lingering notes. All talk, no substance. Have had much better wines for much less money.

     My oldest (in terms of tenure) BFF came Monday night for dinner and I did wine (see above) and a nice antipasto spread. I think I could eat cured meat, cheese and crusty bread every night of my life and be totally happy. Yeah. Thinking I need to move to Italy.

     I also made a new recipe--homemade Bolognase sauce from Williams-Sonoma. This shizz was AWESOME. Three kinds of meat, a cup of wine and five cloves of garlic? Say it with me...."What's not to love????"

     The snow is finally, almost all gone, but this funny photo I took late Monday. That would be the sunshine line in our yard.

    In other news, I have had these lingering spots on my glasses and I finally gots to the eye doc today and they tell me that the film coating my lenses has broken down and I will have to have my lenses replaced. To the tune of $250++. YEAH! The good news never ends! Ok, I just remembered those poor people in Haiti and my glasses rant really makes me an ass, right? I am truly grateful for everything I do have in my life. Including you, my bloggy peeps. Be good, send good thoughts to Haiti. And some cash. Hope to be back soon! B.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Lackluster Blues

    Peeps, maybe it is just the BITTER cold, or the post-holiday season time of year (or maybe both), but I have felt, well, a little lackluster lately. Plus, there is lots of necessary but no fun things going on around Casa Bunny. Here's a few examples:
    • Hubs started back to school to earn an MBA last week and he is a little overwhelmed. I won't go into all the deets, but he was going to start last year, then I lost my job and then, well, I told him he just needed to get started. And these instructors are a little psycho. I, mean, he has a one hour class that requires a 10-pg paper. RI-DIC-U-LOUS.
    • I spent ALL DAY Saturday going through our financial papers, shredding and filing and preparing for taxes and only gots about 1/3 the things done I needed to. My progress was hindered, in part, because I managed to blow up the motor on our shredder. Piece of crap. Who knew you could only use it for 10 minutes at a time or some craziness? What do you mean it won't shred for 6 hours non-stop?
    • I need to be working on my website, but I have had no time to since the hubs has been glued to the computer when he is at home, working on school work. I am thinking 1) we need a second computer or 2) I need to hire someone to do my website. But 3) first we need $$$.
    Anyhoodle, so you can see about how much fun I had Saturday. Also, Saturday, Little Kevin came and installed insulation under the floor of our new room. Recently, we found out that our other contractor, who was a little dotty, apparently "forgot" to do that one little step. No wonder we could hang meet from our ceiling fan in the dormer. But we are slightly toastier now. And Little Kevin took photos for me, because 1) he knows I blog and loves the pictures and 2) he knows I would NEVER EVER EVER go farther than two steps into my crawl space (I become a girly-girl right at the door). Isn't he great??? And look at my new insulation (before, during, after order):

    Pretty! Pink! But most of all, WARM. I loves it! And I loves Little Kevin (in a totally platonic way, wife who reads my blog!). Like a big sister/cousin. And he probably regards me like a big sister--annoying and bossy (but not you, wonderful older sis who reads my blog!). But if anyone needs a reputable, ethical, talented contractor/handyman, let me know and I will hook you up. He rocks.

    As far as eating, Saturday morning, I cut that damn mango. The "seed" was humongous and I wound up only getting about half the fruit. It was tasty, but I am thinking too much trouble. Yesterday morning, I cut the huge Asian pear, or apple pear--look at this thing:

    It was crisp and juicy, but had VERY LITTLE flavor. Really none. I also took a second stab at Croques Madames yesterday, using the French bread and cheese:

    Honestly, it looked about the same and tasted about the same. I did a few things different--cut back the Dijon, cooked the egg less so it was more runny, made sure the sauce was thinner--but about the same overall look and taste. Still very good, but not as pretty as the W-S photo. Look:

    I don't think mine will ever look like that, but then I console myself with the fact that I don't have a food stylist and professional photog taking my pics. So there. Speaking of W-S, I went to my first class yesterday (Braising) since before the holidays (they do not have classes over the holidays) and Little Jake is GONE. He has moved onto another store. I am so bereft. The new girl was okay, but she only made ONE DISH--Little Jake always made three or four--and she pushed the product too much and, well, I am a little sad. I am not sure about the future....I will try to give her a fair shake but it's just not the same. Sigh.

    Well, folks, I better get to getting and start the day. Plenty to do, a friend coming for dinner tonight, a new dish to make....I will be back later with deets! Have a great week! Bun

    Friday, January 08, 2010

    In Which I Am SO OVER the Cold

    1. This was the scene out our my bedroom window this morning. Ridiculous. And, yes, I just realized we still have a Christmas wreath on that fence.
    2. It has been super icy here--this morning the hubs fell and busted his inner lip while walking the girls. Poor hubs! It was deep and gross. I will do all a favor and not post a photo.
    3. People northward make fun of us, but we get ICE here. Lots of ice. And no one knows how to drive on it.
    4. And I am OVER OVER OVER this cold--it is 22-damn-degrees here. Scoff if you will, but that is freakin' cold for Georgia. And it hasn't gotten above freezing all week.
    5. And, no, I could never live in the North or Midwest, and, yes, if I did live in Fargo, I would just shoot myself. But I probably wouldn't bleed because my blood would be frozen.

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    So I Missed the Hump Day Holla....

    And I don't think I have enough stuff for a Thursday Thirteen, so I am going to do a general update post. All I have been doing is cooking and eating and going to the damn doctor anyway. Seriously. I haven't been to the doctor since last Spring (except my mid-summer boob squeezing) so I needed to go get everything checked out, top to bottom, if you know what I mean. So, I had an appointment on Tuesday and another yesterday morning and all seems to be well. So YEAH.

    Tuesday night for dinner, I made Pete's Famous Enchiladas, but this time I made them with ground beef, ricotta cheese and red enchilada sauce. Behold:

    Again, I was able to make two big 'ol casseroles full, plus Bobs came for dinner, and we STILL had four containers of leftovers. I will say that I liked the chicken with cottage cheese and green sauce better, but these were still mighty good. I also had 5 very ripe avocados so Bobs made a HUGE dish of guacamole. Yum.

    Yesterday, after my second appointment at which my doctor severely bruised all my internal organs while mashing around my gallbladder, I went to the ATL with Bobs. He, of course, had won a gift certificate to Uncle Julio's, where we had a lovely lunch....look:

    Mmmm....huge steak salad with the most awesome chipotle ranch dressing, on the side though in honor of my gallbladder. They also have the best chips and salsa here, which maybe my gallbladder did not think was as yummy as I did. Anyhoodle, after lunch, we hustled on over to the DFM, where I picked up some treats:

    I said I was going to try more new things, so I picked up a spaghetti squash, which is something I have never cooked before, believe it or not. Anyone have any good recipes? I also picked up some parsnips thinking I might make goulash in the near distant future.

     In the cheapie spice aisle, I gots all the makings to make my own dry brine. I will let you know how this works out or, if it's successful, you may just see "Bunny's Brine" on your grocery shelf soon.

     I also picked up French Batard (no, not BASTARD) and some Gruyere cheese so I could have a do-over on the Croques Madames and make it French style rather than Southern ghetto style. I noticed this cheese is unpasteurized--should I be concerned? Those lazy French!

     Again, in the spirit of trying new things, I picked up an Asian pear (left) and a mango. Yes, I've eaten mango before, but I have never actually bought one and cut it up and such.

     I also bought some "homemade" Puttanesca sauce, you know with capers, olives and anchovies, oh my. Ok, I just found out something interesting when Googling the sauce name. Apparently, Puttanesca is also known as "whore's pasta"--the name originated in Naples after the local women of easy virtue. LOL  I loves it even MORE now.

     This sauce was excellent and I bought fresh made spinach pasta to serve it with and some crusty bread, and made a huge salad of romaine, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella with a balsamic vinaigritte. Good eatin', peeps, good eatin'.

    They are predicting snow later today in the G of A so, of course, all the schools are closed and no store has bread or milk. Silly. Anyhoodle, I have lots of shizz to get done, so I will be back later. Be good, stay warm, wherever you are! B.

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    No More Christmas...for Nine Months

    Yo, peeps, by 2 p.m. yesterday all the Christmas decor had been safely tucked away and the house had been thoroughly cleaned of glitter. The hubs and I worked all day Saturday and Sunday, not even taking showers until late in the afternoon. I, mean, why?? Because you just wind up covered in glitter. Here was the scene Saturday morning:

    Boxes upon boxes upon boxes for ornaments. It took us all day Sunday just to take down the grove of trees...we saved THAT fun until last. But by Sunday evening, it was all tucked away in the Christmas closet:

    Except the one rouge gold ball which shattered on the floor. Dude, you cannot escape the Christmas closet! And, peeps, that thing is packed FULL. I can pack some shizz. It's a gift. I have a degree from Phi Cramma Jamma. It's like one of those clown cars where they just keep rolling just keep pulling stuff out. Seriously. Even I am amazed at how much shizz I pack up in there.

    Sunday night, my sweet hubs took me out to dinner...we had a BOGO coupon for the local Ruby Tuesday's. Hey, you do what you gots to do when you are living on the cheap. Then, yesterday, we gots up and had to clean the whole house because it was lousy with glitter, fake "needles", a few glass fragments and general dust. But everything is so clean and fresh and lovely now!

    Last night, I made a new dish for dinner....see, only a few days into 2010 and already I've made two new concoctions. This meal is a Publix Apron dinner...Monterey Shrimp. My sis turned me onto this recipe. She was practically orgasmic when telling me about it. And I will admit, it has it all...butter, blue cheese, wine. The only thing it doesn't have is bacon, but I believe the secret ingredient makes up for the bacon absence. Plus, it was easy to cook:

    First, place your shrimp in a bag with the flour and--I skipped a few steps here and just added garlic salt to the flour mix--toss around, then cook the shrimp until pink.

     After the shrimp are done, add sour cream, wine (actually, I did not have white wine so I added chicken broth; shoot me--I drink reds), blue cheese and pesto to make the sauce. Stir all this up and let it cook....the flour from the shrimp will thicken the sauce a little.

     Next, the surprise ingredient....peel and dice an avocado. Yes, there is a wedge missing...I had to taste test it, ok??

     Gently stir in the avocado and let heat through. When done, serve over your pasta of choice...I used whole wheat spaghetti because that is what I had.

    Voila! It's a pretty dish...def company worthy. And quite tasty. I think next time I would add more liquids because it wasn't quite saucy enough for me. This one is a keeper, fer sure. Tonight, I am going to be making Pete's famous enchiladas again, this time with beef and ricotta. I am trying to eat up several things in the fridge/freezer so meals may be more interesting over the coming weeks.

    Other than that, not a lot going on. It has been freezing--literally--cold here and I can hardly keep warm. Even the hubs is cold and he never gets cold. We still have not received our December electric bill which worries me that they are having difficulty delivering it since it is so massive. Oy. Anyhoodle, I am off to search for some work and do some work. Be back soon! XO, B.