food, lovely food

Thai green chicken curry with onions, zucchini, green beans, green chiles, fresh Thai basil, and garlic. Everything is just simmered in a mixture of green curry paste, light coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, and soy sauce.
Tonight Ricky wanted to grill brats and hot dogs, and so he asked me to make potatoes. Why potatoes? I don't know. He wanted me to make our favorite gratin, but I was short on time, so I came up with this instead. I just boiled and then mashed the potatoes with all of the gratin ingredients. Cream, parmigiana reggiano, rosemary, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. How could it not be delicious? Then I sprinkled the top with more cheese and black pepper and out it under the broiler for about 10 minutes. Nice hybrid potato dish if I do say so myself.

Last night I went out with some people from work for Amanda's birthday. We had an awesome time. There may be some pictures posted soon...


Dinners and Decor

My signature fajitas with pepita salsa, this time with rice and black beans.
I fell in love with rice and black beans while we were in (on?) Key West. I could eat them for every meal.
Two tasty ingredients for my pasta sauce. Nice thick pancetta and fresh oregano from my garden.
Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. How red checkered table cloth of me.
The sauce was simple. Ground pork, pancetta, San Marzano crushed tomatoes, fresh oregano and basil, and seasonings.
Never rinse your cooked pasta under cold water. It's a pasta sin. It removes all the lovely starches that help sauces adhere to the noodle. I just drain mine, and then toss it with the sauce. None of that silly "pouring sauce over the naked noodles" nonsense in my kitchen.
Dinner tonight was pork, again. Bork bork bork.
Pork chops that I brushed with dijon mustard and then coated in seasoned bread crumbs and rosemary, roasted red potatoes, and zucchini and yellow squash from the garden.
Speaking of awesomeness, how about my new chalkboard? I've been looking for one forever, and I finally found this one at Target, of all places. I love it, and it was only $20!
I also got this super cute Buddha for my entry way.
Here's our Pergo progress. Just the office is nearly done. It's hard! Especially when you don't take time off to do it. I love love love they way it looks! I think the color is just right. Not too dark, not too light, not too cherry. I'm not a fan of super shiny cherry floors. This is called Hand Scraped Hickory. I can't wait until it's all through the house.
...someday in the future.
I'm off to work out again, do tonight's dishes, and finish some random house stuff before work tomorrow.


Paraben Free

I recently switched from Philosophy's Purity cleanser/makeup remover to this similar one from Clinique. The change came about because the Navy Exchange was out of mine, and I don't have a Sephora close by, and I hate ordering online. I love it so far. A friend of mine says that she has fewer skin issues when she uses paraben-free products, and she's on to something I think. It's only been a few days and I already notice... something. I'm not sure what it is, but something is different. My skin looks and feels healthier.
On another note, I'm starting The 30 Day Shred again. I'm at a good weight, but I'd like to lose about 15 more pounds. I know that sounds like a lot, but I gained a few on vacation. I'm right around 128 now, and I've weighed 115 before, and I was fine. I'm short, so it works, haha.
I'll be doing The 30 Day Shred, Jillian Michaels yoga workout, and the P90x Ab dvd for the next 30 days. I don't want to be skinny, I want to look healthy, and I'd like to build some muscle. I wish I could start to like running, but I hate it. My chest is so big that running is so uncomfortable, and my sports bras make it hard for me to breathe. Any cardio suggestions?


Vacation! Probably my longest photo post yet.

Right then. As you know, Ricky and I took a vacation last week. We went to Cape Canaveral, Tampa, Key West, and West Palm Beach. Kind of a little tour o' Florida. Here are pictures and brief descriptions. They won't be in very good order... but you all know how annoying it is to move things around on Blogger.
We saw the last launch of the shuttle Atlantis. It was amazing. After about 20 seconds of it ascending into the air, we suddenly heard and felt the huge noise it made. Incredible.
There's me looking really goofy. I was excited about the shuttle, and the critter below...
...okay, so it's not very clear. But that little dark dot on the far right is a manatee! My first manatee! I was so happy.
We drove through Springfield and saw the Simpsons. =)

On our way down the Keys we stopped in Key Largo and went into the club where Key Largo was filmed. It's one of my favorite Bogart movies.
He still hangs out there.
The world's largest Florida Lobster!
There's me at Busch Gardens.
These little guys were everywhere. Everywhere.
Our hotel room in Key West, complete with a diagram of a flux capacitor. For safety's sake?
Best fish tacos ever! Bad Boy Burrito on Key West. Go there. It's a tiny little hole in the wall place, they only take cash, and there are only 2 bar stools. It's amazing.
And it sports excellent wall art.
These trees made me think of fireworks. Aren't they gorgeous? I don't know what they are, but I want one in my yard!
Key West sunset.
Key West coconut victory!
Mile marker 0.
The southernmost point of the continental United States. Pretty cool.
Kayaking in Key West.
Aren't those mangroves awesome?
I apparently love kayaking.
These were all over the island! Chickens and roosters!
Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West.
His kitchen.
Me making friends with one of the over 60 cats that live on the grounds.
A giant black snake that I got out of the car to chase. Yes, I might be crazy.
(But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for.)
The very rare Florida panther did not cross the road. Bummer.
The Everglades! I've always wanted to see them.
My first alligator sighting. He's just a little guy. I spotted him from a bridge as we were driving along. I should have a show on Animal Planet.
My first time on the Atlantic coast!
Flamingos at Busch Gardens. Did you know that they're only that bright pink color because of their food? Read about them here.
I leave you with this. This picture captures exactly how I felt about riding a wooden roller coaster for the first time. I was terrified, and look how happy Ricky is! I cried, needless to say.
All in all our vacation was great! Happy to be home though, I missed the pets. And my job... how strange to say that. I've never had a job that I missed! This is a good thing, right?

This will be impersonal.

My computer is finally back up and running (no, the floors are not done yet) so I have lots and lots of blogging to catch up on. Here goes.
*Deep Breath*
Chicken Vindaloo with basmati and naan.
Apricot tart with almond pastry cream.
French onion soup with pink peppercorns and Gruyere toasts.
Chicken and broccoli stir fry (homemade sauce, a-thank you) over noodles.
Steak-frites with chives. Now there's something I should have planted in my garden.
So dark! Lashings of apologies! My goat curry I had at a restaurant in Tampa.
Ricky's chicken tikka masala. How do they get it so orange?
Calamari at Hemmingway's avec Wandi Haddow.
Petite Chai teacakes with honey buttercream.
Chicken, eggplant, and tomato curry.
My Cinco de Mayo meal! See how old some of these pictures are?
Garlic and jalapeno (that I grew) shrimp, white rice with peas and cilantro, and a salad of mango, radish, and cucumber with a honey-lime dressing.
...and for dessert....
Individual caramel custards with fresh whipped cream.
I have no excuse for those messy ramekin rims, other than my unsteady hand.
If you'd like any of these recipes, just ask and I'll post them.