Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Recipe: Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, Sausage, and Tomato Sauce

Yo homeskillets! It's Friday Eve! I am so ridiculously happy about this, for multiple reasons. The first being that it puts me one day closer to my much anticipated trip to Pittsburgh, the second and third being that it has been a reeaaaly long week (extra vowels and everything.) I'm very ready for the weekend. So I know that I usually do "Things I Love Thursday" an well...Thursday, but this week we're talking food; squash specifically.
Squash, in all it's varieties, is one of my favorite things about fall. I get way more excited than is probably normal when all the speckled, flecked, smooth, bumpy, gnarled, and multicolored squash start popping up in the local grocery stores. BFFMandy and I have been talking about having spaghetti squash for a few weeks so I finally got down to business and cooked up a batch.

Squashes ready for the oven (Please excuse the stained cookie sheet).
Out of the Oven and Out of the shell 
This dish was super simple and easy to make. The longest part was the forty-five minutes it took to roast the squash. 
Spaghetti Squash with Spinach
This recipe is adapted from here
1 small spaghetti squashes (or 1/2 of a larger one, whatever look best/freshest at your grocery store)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 bunch spinach (I used about 3/4 of a bag of fresh spinach)
1/2 cup of tomato sauce ( I used my favorite jarred sauce for time and ease, but use whatever you like)
1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.) Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and soft stringy center part. Place squash halves, cut side down, on a lightly greased cookie sheet. 
3.) Bake squash till done; a knife inserted into the squash should insert and remove easily with no resistance. Roughly 45 minutes to an hour. 
4.) Use a fork to scrape the squash into a bowl. Toss with Parmesan and fresh ground black pepper. 
5.) Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet until no longer pink. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Finish with tomato sauce and heat through. 
6.) Top squash with sausage mixture, garnish with extra Parmesan. 

This recipe makes about two servings; I'm taking the extras for lunch tomorrow (cause BFFMandy doesn't eat sausage.)
Smiles. =)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Today's Events

Woke up late
Went to work
Shopping at Wiregrass for "fall" clothes
Sushi for dinner
Roasted spaghetti squash for dinner tomorrow.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Best Burger in Tampa Bay: Why I Love Five Guys

Perhaps a better title for this post would be "The Best Burger in Tampa so far", obviously I haven't tried every burger in Tampa. I'm all for supporting the little guy, the independently run, the mom & pop, but honestly non of those places comes close to this burger. At least not in University/New Tampa area. I will throw out a disclaimer and say yes this is a chain/franchise and the experiences at each location are going to be different, but of the two that I have been to, the one on Fowler near USF and the one on Bruce B Downs in New Tampa, consistently turn out fresh, great tasting food, and have friendly well informed staff.
The number one reason to choose Five Guys when you need a burger fix is the...the burger. (Did you really expect anything else?) Five Guys burgers are hand packed and formed everyday from fresh ground beef. The burgers here miss that mass produced fast food chain burger feel and hit the backyard homemade family picnic feel. The burgers are always cooked to well done (restaurant policy) but I've never had one that wasn't still juicy and tender.
The second thing to love about Five Guys is the toppings. The menu is limited to burgers, fries, and hot dogs; but somehow the options definitely aren't lacking. There are something like 15 topping choices here ranging from the standard ketchup, mustard (yuck!), and pickles to the unusual jalapenos, BBQ sauce, and sauteed onions.I get cheese, pickles, and extra ketchup.
The other big highlight is the french fries. Cut fresh and double fried in peanut oil these fries are almost always piping hot. They come over flowing from a Styrofoam cup into the bottom of a paper bag; the same bag you pick your burgers up in (efficient). Add a little salt or Cajun spice, shake the bag to mix and you're in french fry heaven.
Obviously there are things that could be improved on, they could toast the buns for one. That would minimize sogginess and disintegration (for those people who are topping crazy). Mostly this is my biggest gripe/only complaint. I like that the burgers are simple (or are as simple as you make them). While I like an Angus burger with mushrooms, onions, and arugula as much as the next girl sometimes I just want simple. Cheeseburger in Paradise...or at least in Tampa.
Smiles. =)

Monday, September 27, 2010

A surprise gift from my Grandmother!

So I was all set to Talk about why I think Five Guys has the best burger in Tampa. I was formulating my reasons and I even e-mail my crappy camera phone pictures to myself so that I could compress/resize them (cause who knew that the pictures from a tiny cellphone camera are actually GINORMOUS).
That was the plan until I got home tonight and checked the mail.I'm checking the mail way more religiously than usual this week because I'm waiting for a delivery from Coldwater Creek. So the keys for the parcel container were in my mailbox today and I was all sorts of excited (umm...hello most perfect jeans ever, please fit when you arrive.) It wasn't my Coldwater Creek delivery, but it was a package from my grandmother/Grammy Morgan; my mom's mom.
I got the package home and started opening it. I finally made it through all the tape and found a latch hook mat. See Below...

I called my mom, perplexed. According to MommaBear this is something I picked out as a young child. Not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but I'm glad she sent it to me. I'm very excited that I'll get to thank her in person on Sunday evening.

Smiles. =)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Productive Sunday

So all the things I told you I didn't do yesterday, I did today. I did the laundry, vacuumed and mopped the floors, did dishes and cleaned the kitchen, cleaned/straightened up all the excess papers downstairs, had lunch with BFFMandy, dropped off a load of clothes at Goodwill, went to Barnes & Noble, got groceries/pharmacy items at Target, and started planning what I want to take to Pittsburgh. All in all I'd call today a success.

Tomorrow: Why Five Guys Burgers are the best in Tampa.
Side Note: I will be in Pittsburgh a week from today. So excited for vacation.

Smiles. =)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Saturday

I had big plans for today. My goals included finishing my new slow cooker cookbook, going to Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, dropping things off at Goodwill, and doing general spring cleaning at home (though I'm not sure it can be called spring cleaning in the fall). To bad very little of this actually happened. I did make it to Wal-Mart, but I was feeling kind of clammy and ill by the time I left. I haven't really gotten back to feeling up to par yet. I did manage to clear out some of the stuff on my DVR instead, I guess this means double chores/errands tomorrow.

Night. =).

Friday, September 24, 2010

On Food and Blogging

Honest Moment #1: I LOVE food; and cooking, and eating, and baking, and basically anything that puts me in a kitchen.
My extended family is large and loud and very Italian-American; at least on the side that bolstered my love of food. I remember standing on a dining room chair to help my mother make lasagna from still warm noodles or roll peanut butter filling into balls for Christmas candy. That has carried over to an obsession with cookbooks and cupcakes and kitchen experiments that sometimes go horribly awry (yes, I'm referring to you Cabbage Debacle of 2009).
Honest Moment #2: I wanted to blog about food before I even thought about start this blog.
Months ago I talked with my Mom about wanting to blog about food. Work had been particularly rough and cooking/baking relaxes me. Mom didn't quite get why I would want to spend my free time doing this. I was also worried and afraid. I am not a chef or any kind of a gourmet anything. I'm a home cook and one that is still learning at that. Do I know how to cook? Yes, but I'm not making kimchi or kefta or anything 8500 words in the name of the dish. I'm working on learning and sharpening basic kitchen skills; why on earth would anyone want to read what I have to say about food and cooking? So I let the idea go…
Then, over the summer I decided to start working on "The List." The one I made in college of all the things I want to do before I die. So I started this blog; about my life and my friends and things I love. Thus far I haven't talked about food much, the one post about cupcakes I made. That's actually been quite hard; partially because I'm feeling domestic lately and I'm wanting to spend all my extra time in the kitchen or reading cookbooks and partially it's because food and eating is such a large part of my life. I've been saying for a while I'm having trouble finding my voice and my point of view and I think it's because I've been doing my best not to talk about the new pizza place near USF or the new cookbook I got today. So I'm going to stop avoiding it and embrace it.

Honest Moment #3: I still hate doing dishes.
The general equation of my kitchen time goes something like this: Idea(Mom+Google)= Eight loads of dishes or some equal awful and larger amount. Like potentially the entire contents of my silverware drawer or all my spatulas and slotted spoons. Sometimes this is enough to make me hesitate, but I usually charge forward anyway. That's why there are dishwashers, right?

Here's what BFFMandy and I had earlier this week (that was fan-fab-tab-ulous leftovers tonight):

It Chicken Cacciatore! My Mom always calls this Hunter's Stew or Hunter's Chicken. I made this in the Crockpot and it was pretty much the easiest thing on the face of the planet.

So here's what you need:
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Green Bell Peppers, seeded
Garlic Salt

And here's what you do:
- Get some chicken (with the bones in and the skin on). You can use whatever you want or already have. For this I use a whole chicken that they cut up for me at Target.

- Salt and Pepper your chicken on both sides.  
- Coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet with Olive Oil, again whatever you have is fine.
- Brown the chicken on both sides and place in a lightly (and I mean super super lightly nonstick sprayed Crockpot crock. It's supposed to be non-stick anyway, but tomatoes can be a pain to clean if they stick…we'll get to that.)
- Roughly chop all the Onions, Green Bell Peppers, and Tomatoes. This should be a fairly rough chop; you want the vegetables to stand up to the long cooking time and not cook away or into mush. You can also add other vegetable like carrots or mushrooms if you have them. There are purposefully no specific amounts for this recipe because you can shrink or grow it very easily by adding an additional chicken breast or extra vegetables. Use what you need to fill your Crockpot. For reference I used two medium onions, two medium bell peppers, and six small-ish tomatoes; just because I like the tomatoes best.
- Place the vegetables over the chicken and sprinkle with Garlic Salt. Just use a little, the flavors will condense some during cooking and you can always add additional salt, pepper, or whatever other Italian spices you like at the end.
- Place the lid on your Crockpot and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours (I started mine at 7:30AM before I left for work and BFFMandy said it was done when she got home at 5:00PM.) Check it at the low end of the cooking time it you can, if the chicken's done you're ready to eat. You can serve the chicken pieces whole or shred the chicken. We served it over long spaghetti and it was fabulous. 

So that bring me to the end of my first post about food. I'm not sure yet that this will be a "food blog" but I will definitely have more blogs about food.

Smiles. =)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: TV Edition

I am a very lazy blogger. I really ought to start planning ahead, but until then I'll just keep winging it. I didn't have anything planned for this week's "Things I Love Thursday", but since today is the day of a zillion Fall TV premieres I figured a TV edition. So without further ado

My Top 10 Favorite TV Shows:
10. The Big Bang Theory. Hilarious. I love Sheldon.
9.The Vampire Diaries. Do not mock. It's totally better than Twilight. It's twisty and complex and angsty and I love it. Oh and Ian Somerhalder is all sorts of smoldery hot.
8. Castle. The mystery of the week is always more intersting than usual Law and Order type stuff and the chemistry between Castle and Beckett is just electric. Also Castle gets my vote for the world's best TV dad.
7. Criminal Minds. It feeds my procedural drama addiction.
6. NCIS. I love law/cop/procedural dramas.
5. How I Met Your Mother. NPH and it's crazy funny. Enough said.
4. Bones. The dynamic between Brennan and Booth is fantastic and the mystery of the week plotlines are more darn interesting.
3. Glee. I love this show. It's funny, dramatic, a little preachy, and the music is fantastic.
2. Grey's Anatomy. Oh soapy medical drama. I super stoked for the new season and the fall out from the season finale shoot-out. Side Note: Anyone else think Meredith looked a little like a cross between Mother Nature and Elvira at Christina's wedding tonight?
1. Lost. I love Lost; like ridiculously a lot, like the season finally is still on my DVR and I don't plan on deleting it. EVER. So I'm very sad that it won't be back this season. I'm hoping that The Event will fill my sci-fi/mystery show need, but It will not replace my love for Lost

There are also a few new shows I might try and watch:
Mike & Molly
My Generation
Raising Hope
The Event

That's all for this week's "Things I Love Thursday." Goodnight.
Smiles. =) 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Today is the first day of Fall; That's not what this post is about.

I am exhausted today.I don't think I've been fully awake all day long; like literally from the minute I had to physically/mentally drag myself out of bed until now as am about to crawl back in. I partially attribute this to lack of sleep, but the larger issue is that I've been much more sedentary than usual (which is saying a lot, because I'm not entirely active to begin with). I can't wait to get this boot off; I'm not saying I'll all of the sudden enjoy exercising, but I'm seriously more likely to follow through with walking/jogging/going to the gym.
Smiles. =).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

GLEE Returns!

Glee Season Premiere tonight! BFFMandy and I are ready.
Smiles. =)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer is Going Away...

The new fall TV season starts tonight, and while I'm however stoked for the return of HIMYM, this is not actually very big news in the course of my week. But it means the end of summer is right around the corner. I do live in Florida so we manage to hold on to summertime a little longer than the rest of the country, but eventually fall will roll in in full force. I am equal parts saddened and excited by this. I like summer; the lazy weekends, flip-flops, tanks tops, baseball and oh the summer food: corn, tomatoes, seafood, strawberries, margaritas, YUM-O. I'm sad to see all that go away for another year, but I'm also super stoked for small. I love fall, actually more than I love summer. I love the weather, football, Halloween, the colors, cozy sweaters, reading outside on a gorgeous day, and the food: butternut squash, cranberries, apples, pumpkin everything, cinnamon, root vegetable, homemade soups, So Excited! I know the true first day of fall isn't until later this week and the weather probably won't change here for another month, but fall is already on my mind.
Smiles. =).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cupcake Baking and The Great Red Spiced Apple Ring Search

Remember yesterday's early start? Today was a slow build. I was actually up very early, but I wasn't feeling very well. And I'm like the world's worst sick person, I'm cranky and whiny and I just want someone to take care of me; which doesn't work out so well when you're older than about 10. After relocating from my bed to the couch at about 5am because I couldn't breathe, stop coughing, and my back hurt I dozed off and on through the morning and multiple episodes of the Rachel Zoe Project (Thank you Bravo for trashy reality TV and not infomercials on Sunday morning).I have been feeling like I need to bake lately. I know I'm feeling stressed, but I'm not sure what about. But when I'm stressed I bake; it's something I learned from my Mom. So I've been thinking all week that I wanted to make cupcakes and today I finally got down to it. I usually make two kinds of cupcakes at a time and my plan for today was a vaguely conceived Oreo/Cookies and Cream and a Caramel Apple that I have a recipe for. Thus I underwent the The Red Spiced Apple Ring Search of 2010.  
My recipe for Caramel Apple cupcakes called for a can/jar or red spiced apple rings. This is actually something I never heard of so I contacted my resource for all things food related, my Mom, who said they should be in with the canned/jarred fruit or possibly pie filling depending on the supermarket. So off BFFMandy and I went to Publix. We searched high and low in the canned fruit aisle without success. A fellow shopper suggested we check the jelly aisle and while this made no sense and there were no red spiced apples we did find a very helpful stock-person. He knew exactly what I was looking for and he and I trotted Bck to canned fruit picking up additional assistance on the way. Eventually the produce manager came out and advised what I was looking for is a "holiday" item and would not be available until October. (Side Note: I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed by the 97 varieties of congealed cranberry sauce they carry year round or the fact that Publix considers October "the holidays.") So I have all the other ingredients and now I have to wait for the apples; I did find several recipes online, but that seems like a ton of work when I have scads of other cupcake recipes.

I did make Oreo/Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. Overall I'd call them a success. .

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
 The cupcakes are frosted with a cookies and cream frosting and topped with crushed of halved Oreos.
Smiles. =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Successful Saturday

Today was a good day.
Like most fabulous Saturdays, today started with me successfully sleeping past 7:30am. I have this issue with sleeping in on the weekends; during the week I feel like I could easily sleep until 9 or 9:30 every morning, but when Saturday morning rolls around I'm always up at the crack of dawn. Most people would use this time to be productive, I usually just  watch re-runs of Law & Order. Anyway today I was able to sleep in; which I am very grateful for. I did eventually pull myself out of bed to run errands (Barnes & Noble is my favorite place...I know I said it was Target, but today it's Barnes & Noble)
My work friend AB's baby shower was this afternoon. It was a lot of fun. I am not generally a fan of the "shower" as it's usually large groups of strangers starring at each other and the guest of honor, but AB's was quite fun. It was at Macaroni Grill so the food was good and it was a shower thrown by people at work so mostly everyone knew each other.
I had planned on making cupcakes tonight (Caramel Apple and possibly Oreo) but there were loads of dishes and by the time they were finished my ankle was hurting. Maybe tomorrow.
Smiles. =)

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17

Re-reading my earlier blogs I'm not sure how well this blogs shows "me." Hopefully I'll find my voice soon. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

100 Days till Christmas

I know that today is supposed to be "Things I Love Thursday", but that idea got scrapped this week when I realized that today there are only 100 days till Christmas (I actually counted on my calendar at work a while ago, but just saw my reminder note today). I do have a post planned about Christmas and my love/joy/excitement for the impending fall/winter/holiday season, but I probably won't write it until the weekend.
I still feel like I'm lacking a point of view, I mean I know I'm writing so there is a point of view; I guess I feel I'm lacking something that makes my point of view unique. As in "Why are the things I love/places I go/etc more important than anyone else's?" and doesn't that question sound all self-important/self-pitying. My goal for the  next week is to move my computer downstairs and start working on my blog posts before I'm literally falling asleep at the keyboard. Hopefully more well planned/thought out/written posts will give way to a more clear and unique point of view.
SideNote: Clearly I'm loving the backslash /// tonight. Lol.

Funny Story of the Day:
I was watching The Big Bang Theory this evening (not something I view regularly, but pretty darn hilarious.) Anyway BFFMandy came home and tells me this story, about her dad (Mr.BFFMandy) and how he has a beef with the lyrics of the theme song; because it says something about the autotrophs drooling. Our conversation went like this:
Me: You don't know they don't drool...
BFFMandy: Umm, Yes I do. Because I know they make their own food.
Me: So...they could still drool.
BFFMandy: It's like plants and photosynthesis...Have you ever seen a plant drool?
Me: You don't know they're not drooling on the inside; they could be saying to themselves "Yuuuummm Carbon Dioxide..."
Both of us: (hysterical laughter)

I'm glad tomorrow is Friday.
Smiles. =)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15

I am very tired tonight. I'm going to sleep early. No new adventures to report. =).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


BFFMandy text me today and said she wanted brownies. So I went to my favorite place, Target, and bought a box of brownie mix and a package of Reese's cups (because really what's better that peanut butter brownies) and I used my "Amazing Brownie Pan" for the first time tonight. I'd give the overall experience a B and the brownies a B-. My somewhat OCD side loves the perfectly cut brownies; I mean seriously clean cuts and perfect sides. However the pan is not nonstick (I could tell just by touching the surface) and I had to use so much nonstick spray that the brownies seemed a little oily. Also another note, I had to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to avoid brownie batter leaking all over my oven. It's a fun gadget and I'll  use it again especially when I want really clean cut brownies (bake sales, work stuff), but I think for the majority of my home brownie making I'll probably use a plain 13x9 coated with nonstickspray/butter.
Plus Side: There are brownies in the fridge. =)

Monday, September 13, 2010

352 Days to go

Pizza is following me. Seriously, for like the past ten days every time I think I'm hungry there's a pizza commercial or print ad saying "pick me, pick me." It's ridiculous. That's all. Good night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Presents from my Mommy

 I went home this weekend for my Dad's birthday. While I was there my Mom surprised me with a bag full of gifts. She got me replacement straws for my tervis tumbler (Thanks LittleBrother) and two cookbooks. One is all cupcakes; people who know me know I am cupcake obsessed. The other is all sorts of other desserts that start with mixes. I've read the Cupcake one cover to cover twice already, I'll get into the other one later this week. My final gift was the "Perfect Brownie Pan:" (See ad below)

That's right, I am the proud owner of one of these suckers. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's knock-off but I'm still super excited and I will probably make brownies tomorrow just to test it out. =).
I also did a fun paper mache crafting project today. It was a lot of fun and I'll definitely have pictures later.
Smiles. =)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday; so HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! We've had a great day celebrating as family. We started with lunch from Panera and the USF/UF. It was a great game even though USF lost in the end. Then we went to dinner at Mama Nem's; which has killer soul food. Then homemade carrot cake, presents, and a movie.

Smiles. =)

Friday, September 10, 2010


I have decided I'm not a fan of the short week. In theory it means less work, but in reality it's just the same amount of work packed into fewer days. It made this week really long, I'm sleepy tonight, that's all.
Smiles =)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things I Love Thursdays: The Music of the 90s

I had not planned this for this week's "Things I Love Thursdays"; I had planned to write about my favorite cookbooks (which is interesting to me and it's my blog so :-P), but I feel like I'm supposed to discuss 90s music this week.
Last weekend was "Throwback Weekend" on my hometown top40 radio station (XL106.7 out of Orlando). All three days they mixed classic 90s pop and hip-hop with their current radio mix. Then this morning on the radio they briefly mentioned that the lead singer of LFO (aka the Lyte Funky Ones) or "the guys who sing the Abercrombie and Fitch song" passed away. See the video below.

I actually remember the first time I ever saw/heard of LFO. My Dad took a friend and I to see and N*Sync concert in Orlando and there were these three guys and a local radio DJ on top of a bus throwing t-shirts and what not at people. It was right before "Summer Girls" started getting radio play and absolutely no one knew who they were, but they were nice to everyone and totally up beat. At least that's what I remember.
I've actually been thinking a lot about the 90s lately. It is the music from my childhood and I miss that whole era of music. There isn't anything on the radio today that compares. Don't get me wrong I love  music from the 70s & 80s (thanks Mom & Dad), but their is just something about classic 90s that makes me smile. I'm sure there is a point to all this somewhere, but I'm feeling pretty stuck in nostalgia. Anyway on with the list:

My Top Ten Songs of the 1990s:
10. Hold On- Wilson Phillips (Wilson Phillips/1990)
9. I Want it That Way- Backstreet Boys (Millennium/1999)
8. Wonderwall- Oasis ((What's the Story) Morning Glory?/1995)
7. One of Us- Joan Osbourne (Relish/1995)
6. Wannabe- Spice Girls (Spice/1996)
5. Smooth- Santana f. Rob Thomas (Supernatural/1999)
4.Learn to Fly- Foo Fighters (There is Nothing Left to Lose/1999)
3. One Week- Barenaked Ladies (Stunt/1998)
2. Don't Speak- No Doubt (Tragic Kingdom/1995)
1. God Must Have Spent a Little More Time On You- *Nsync (*Nsync/1998)

These are mostly in order and they are mostly all songs I loves as a child of the 90s. There are a few that I didn't appreciate until much later, but I forgive myself since I was a freshman in high school in 1999. I was not one of those cool middle schoolers who was listening to Nirvana and not Nsync and honestly; I'm okay with that. I still <3 JustinTimberlake!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Movie Night: The Other Guys

Went to see The Other Guys tonight. Overall I thought it was a good movie; standard humor though the "big case" was a little hard to follow. I'd say it's a solid B-. More details and a full review tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010: 358 Days To Go

I don't have much to write tonight. well actually I don't have the energy to write much tonight. I have a pretty terrible migraine and today was my first day back at work with "the boot." I'm almost 10 days into this and I feel like I've had more days when I'm writing because I have to rather than because I have something I want/need to say. Hopefully this changes life isn't all injuries and maladies. This is very disjointed....I will improve.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

For a lot of people I think Labor Day signals the end of the summer, but living in Florida our summer will stretch out for at least another month (possibly closer to 6 weeks). So I spent my much welcomed day off relaxing, resting my ankle, and having a Friday Night Lights marathon (thanks Netflix!). BFFMandy and I did have hamburgers to keep with Labor Day traditions; although we did buy our from 5 Guys. All in all I'd call it a good, though not very productive day. 
Smiles. =)
(I will get the bowling pictures from PZ's birthday up sometime this week. Promise!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

PZ's Birthday!!!

My friend PZ celebrated his actual birthday a few weeks ago and today he and his boyfriend, J-Dubz, came to Tampa so BFFMandy and I could celebrate with him as well. Our initial plan was to have breakfast at First Watch and then go to Venice Beach. But due to the weather the day didn't turn out quite as we'd planned. 
BFFMandy, C-Dawg, and I met PZ and J-Dubz at First Watch. It's one of my favorite breakfast/brunch spots. I actually don't think I know anyone who dislikes going there. Anyway the restaurant isn't far from the house or the interstate; so we met there and had a great breakfast. I had biscuits and gravy. It was quite good; the biscuits were hot and fluffy with just a bit of a crunch on the bottom (which is how I prefer my biscuits) and the gravy was smooth with nice chunks of savory sausage. After breakfast we made our way to Publix (the best grocery store on the face of the planet) to forage for beach supplies. I picked up PZ's birthday cupcakes; more on that later. We gathered chips, dip, ice, and we attempted to buy drinks too, but were unable due to the fact that it's Sunday.
 Eventually we (PZ, BFFMandy, J-Dubz, and I, C-Dawg had to work) made our way to the beach. We made a valiant attempt to enjoy the "last beach weekend of summer" but a thunderstorm cut our sunny day short ; PZ, BFFMandy, and J-Dubz did get to spend some time in the water (myself and my injured ankle stayed on the blanket and read). We actually attempted to go to another beach, but  to Blackberries and an iPhone later we accepted the storm covered pretty much the entire gulf coast in our area. After the beach be came home (where it was not thunderstorming) and spent the afternoon at the pool. Many hi-jinks and freeze pops were had. 
The pool was followed by some brief iPhone research and plans for Pit Boss and bowling. Pit Boss is a BBQ restaurant in New Port Richey. The BBQ is fantastic smokey and meaty. You can see the smoke billowing from several miles away and smell it as soon as you walk in the front door of the restaurant. The staff is friendly and helpful and the french fries are always hot and crispy. BFFMandy have actually gone out of our way to go to Pit Boss. The name of the restaurant is also the cause of some not common sense on both our parts (see below):

Me (25minutes into my first visit to Pit Boss, just noticing the decor): Oh, Pit Vegas and gambling...

Me (defending my initial lack of common sense): Yeah, but there's that show on the Discovery Channel called Pit Boss...
BFFMandy: What's it about?
Me: BBQ...
PZ and J-Dubz: (laughter)

Fabulous birthday dinner was followed by bowling. We went to Lane Glo also in NPR. 

Bowling was a much more interesting experience with only one foot. As you know, I was "booted" earlier this week and PZ's birthday excursion was my first outing. I actually did pretty well, I managed to get a strike and not to come in dead last at least one game. Plus, we all had fun.
Me and PZ, All Smiles!

Kissing the ball for Luck!
And Bowl!
Birthday Boy Bowls!
J-Dubz looking for a strike!
After bowling we returned to the house and had cupcakes. I usually would've made cupcakes, but I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to be on my feet long enough. I texted PZ earlier in the week and he asked for white cake and plain buttercream. Since I know Publix cake is fabulous (it's one of the reasons Publix is better than every other store on the planet) and I know PZ likes their frosting I ordered him a half dozen cupcakes. They were darn good.

Smiles. =)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pain in the Ankle

Apparently I have flat feet. I actually already knew this, but iy is the root of the crazy intense pain I've been having in my ankle. Wednesday morning I woke up and the inside of my left ankle hurt, but it went away as a moved around and started to get ready for work; at the time I figured I just slept crooked or that it was related to a new pair of shoes I got last weekend. Thursday morning when I woke the pain was about the same, but it didn't go away. I limped around at work all day long hoping that it was just a strained muscle and that it would work itself out. I stopped and bought an ankle brace Thursday night and spent the evening with my ankle propped up on pillows. Friday, when I couldn't limp anymore because the pain was so bad (and it was driving me crazy…the limping I mean) I finally went to the health clinic at work. The initial diagnosis is that my arch is getting flatter and shifting the bones in my foot/ankle; all of this is causing a tendon in my ankle to stretch. I have to wear a boot/walking cast for somewhere around 4 weeks. After that I'll have to be evaluated for inserts for my shoes. Worried would be the wrong way to describe how I'm feeling. Tired, frustrated, and irritated are all at the top of list and I'm hoping that will get better as I get used to the boot. I am worried that I'll have to wear orthopedic shoes for the rest of my life. That would be awful and I'm not sure I can do that. 
Night, All

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 3

I have a litany of complaints tonight; the top being my ankle hurts and wearing the boot feels like wearing shoes to bed. Goodnight.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Things I Love Thursday!

Thursdays are going to be all about things I love, things I’ve bought, food I’ve eaten, and places I’ve been.  This week it’s the iPhone app edition of Things I love. People who know me (and people who encounter me casually) know that I am one of those irritating iPhone people. You know the people, the ones who are constantly figeting with their phones and not making eye contact with the real world. I find that my phone is a huge time-waster/life-sucker and I LOVE IT! Anyway in all the time I’ve wasted on my phone I’ve found some super cool totally awesome apps.

My Top Ten Fav Apps (In No Particular Order):
1. Facebook: This does not really require an explanation. I find myself using this app much more since they blocked facebook at work.
2. Shazam/SoundHound: These are both music recognition apps and they work pretty much the same way. When you hear a song you like at a restaurant, bookstore, on the radio, pretty much anywhere you have cell service you open either of these apps point the speaker of the phone in the direction of the music and in roughly one minute you have the title and artist of the song. Both apps provide you a link to iTunes (of course) and both store your previous tags so you can review them later.
3. Words with Friends: Scrabble on crack. This is how I described this to BFFMandy not too long ago. It’s basically an extended Scrabble game. You begin a game with a friend (or a local opponent that the game matches you with) and you play until someone wins or resigns. You can have multiple games at one time and you can play a game in a day or over a few weeks depending on how fast you and your opponent respond to one another.
4. Urbanspoon: You’ve probably seen this app. It was featured in a set of iPhone commercials awhile back. I love love love love this app. It hasn’t really located much but chains (There’s a Chili’s…in Tampa…I had no idea…) but I went to Phoenix earlier this summer and it located a TON of great local places to eat. I keep checking it and hoping that more independently owned restaurants get added for the Tampa area.
5. Epicurious on the Go: I love to eat and I like cooking. This app compiles all (or at least most) of the recipes from There are lots of recipes for this I’ll never make, but there are also some really cool recipes too. My favorite thing about this app is that the recipe collections change seasonally; you can always search for a specific ingredient but the app gives you recipes for what’s seasonal upfront.
6. Trivial Pursuit: I’m a trivia fanatic so this app is right up my alley. There are two games “Classic” with the standard round board and “Pursuit” which includes a collection of long narrow boards. You can play against yourself, an opponent (real or over Wi-Fi), or the computer.
7. Colorized: Another totally addicting game. This one includes a screen full of tiny blocks in six colors. The goal is to turn the whole screen one color in 25 moves or less. You lose if haven’t completed the round in 25 moves…oh and it’s timed.
8. ESPN ScoreCenter: A must have for a sports fan. You pick your sports and your teams. This app shows you all the past and upcoming games with scores, stats, and line-ups.
9. Groupon/LivingSocial: These apps are both abbreviated versions of the daily websites and e-mails. Each app shows you the daily deal for your current city and how much time there is left to purchase. My favorite thing is that you can switch cities, so if you have family in other areas or an upcoming trip you can see what available.
10. Pandora: I really like Pandora and I have several radio stations that I rotate, usually at work. This app lets me play them on the go. My favorite thing is that I type in who or what I like and it plays that and usually some music I have never heard before.
I’m always looking for interesting new apps. These are my favorites so far.

Smiles. =)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Year in the Life

Back in college, but before The Bucket List, I started a list of my own. It's saved on my computer as "100 Things to Do Before I Die", but the list is really more of a collection of life goals than outlandish things I want to do before I die. Some of the goals I've already accomplished (getting my Master's degree), some of my goals are actually a little outlandish (Drive from coast to coast without taking the interstate), some of my goals are actually aspirations (Be influential), and most of them relate to travel of things I want to do (Visit every Disney Park in the World, Beat my Dad at Trivial Pursuit). One of my goals is to journal everyday for a year (it's #50).  

I'm actually a lifelong journaler; well I'm a lifelong journal abandoner. I've started and stopped probably close to a hundred journals since I was a kid. I usually start with the intention to journal regularly, even once a week, but I usually stop after a week or so. I keep journaling when I'm mad or upset or sad, but eventually even that stops. I decided to meet my goal of journaling for year with a blog for several reasons: 1. Blogging is free and eco-friendly. There a 365 days in a year and if I write a page-ish a day that's a least to paper journals, 2. A Blog is Public. My thoughts and words will be out there for people to see, hopefully that will make me more accountable, and 3. I've always liked the idea of having a blog and now I have a reason.

I considered starting my blogging project when I first started the blog itself back in August, but I felt like I needed a clear timeframe. I've decided to make today the first day of my blogging project to give myself that timeframe. September 1, 2010 to September 1, 2011. There are no rules about what I have to write; a post can be one sentence or one hundred sentences. My only self imposed stipulation is there has to be words; no unaccompanied cartoons, photos, of video blogs allowed. So here's to a year in my life!

Days to Go:364