Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime...Well Sort of

I love Christmas. I love the lights and the decorations and the music. I love the weather and the joy and all the general good cheer people have at Christmas that seems to disappear sometime around mid-January. I'm "the Christmas girl" or the one with the crazy lights/decorations/jewelry. My officemates actually joke about my abnormal love of Christmas and the fact that I knew in October how many days there were until the holiday. Despite all of this I'm finding my Christmas spirit a little lacking so far this year. I'm not sure if it's weather related, it has been abnormally hot lately, or if it's something else. Hopefully I'll find my Christmas spirit soon.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

I was at Publix tonight and it totally smelled like Christmas trees. That's the first time that's happened to me this year and it was so unexpected. I absolutely loved it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Today was Christmas decoration day! It's our first holiday season at my parent's new house. And I don't generally do well with changes to my holidays. Mom and I spent a lot of the day putting up decorations and just figuring out which decorations we can use in the new house. The grand finale of course was when we decorated the tree.
 Our tree is awesome! It's not very chic, but it's full of ornaments from places we've been and the ornaments YoungerBrotherGreg and I made when we were in preschool. And the whole thing sort of sparkles. Like I said Awesome!
I'm going to work on getting the decorations up around the townhouse later this week.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today's Highlights

Today was good and very busy:
- Dad, YoungerBrotherGreg, and I went to the International Auto Show. Highlights included the Ford Escape, Nissan Juke, Nissan Murano, and Hyundai Tuscon. Also a very snazzy Acura convertible.
- USF beat Miami! WOOHOO!!! GO BULLS!!!
- FSU beat UF, yay Noles!
- Christmas decorating
That's all for now. Goodnight.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving, Redux!

Happy Black Friday! I hope those of you who are bargain hunters got some good deals. I did manage to get a little shopping in today, but not crazy 3AM shopping. So I live in a family of two Thanksgivings, not in the traditional eat two meals on Thursday till you're so full you're ready to burst way. But Mom, Dad, YoungerBrotherGreg and I have a second Thanksgiving on Friday. We have done this for as long as I can remember; some years it was actual Thanksgiving leftovers and some years it's a totally separate meal. This year was no different, we had full on Turkey (that my mom made yesterday) and stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole.
Clockwise from the Bottom: Mashed Potatoes. Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallow Topping, Mom's Stuffing, and the Turkey.
It was fantastic!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving is almost over...
The parade has been watched, the turkey has been carved, cooked, and eaten. There was family and good wine and more food than should ever be consumed at one time. I would show you, but I'm still suffering from the lack of a camera. Thanksgiving always gets me to think about all the blessings in my life and the things I really am thankful for (I actually do this throughout the year; I often keep a running list on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker.) So this week's Things I love Thursday is actually a Things I'm Thankful for Thursday. It's also an extended edition; from my usual ten to twenty-five (This idea is loosely based on a post I read this morning by Rachel @ The Avid Appetite, she probably doesn't know I'm linking to her, but I lover her blog and she's awesome.). So here we go...

Things I'm Thankful for in 2010:
25. Philosophy Peppermint Bark Lipgloss. This just barely makes the list cause it was a recent purchase, but it's freakin' awesome. 
24. iAnything
23. Cupcakes.
22. Music of any kind. The radio, Ipod, Pandora, etc.
21. That no one was seriously injured in my recent accident.
20. My favorite pair of jeans. I wear them all the time. In fact I wore them to dinner today.
19. Publix. Especially the fact that there are two of them within 5 miles of my house. It really is the most awesome grocery store on the face of the planet.
18. Football on the weekends. Go Steelers!! Go Bulls!!!
17. Lunch with the Ladies. Great Food, Good Company, Awesome stories.
16. My job. The fact that I have a job and that four days out of five I really like it.
15. My superfly, totally awesome family and great friends
14. Christmas Music. It’s my happy place.
13. Eyeliner. If I was ever stranded on a dessert island, I’d want Jack Shephard and eyeliner.
12. Book Club. It’s opening up new experiences and making me read books I probably wouldn’t pick-out for myself.
11. The ability to travel. I love exploring new places.
10. Starbucks. Two Words: Peppermint Mocha.
9. Blogging. I’m still learning and finding my voice, but I’m learning about myself and about life.
8. All-You-Can-Eat Sushi @ the place near my parents. And of course my Sushi partner, YoungerBrotherGreg.
7. Sunshine. And the way a sunny day can make me smile.
6. My partner-in-crime. =)
5. Cozy PJs on cold nights.
4. Dad’s Sunday Breakfasts
3. Cooking lessons with my Mom. It’s really just me pestering her with questions anytime she’s in the kitchen, but I’m glad she’s patient.
2. Support from my family and friends.
1. That everyone I love is healthy and safe.

Well, that's my list. Some things are big things and some are little things. I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!


Pie Night, Part 2

Here's the first of today's two promised posts. So Pie Night was last night, it's our annual Turkey Day Eve celebration and the official kick off of our family's holiday season. I don't think this is new information though; since I've been talking about pie night since about November 1st. This year's party was a blast and I'm going to go ahead and call it a success. I don't have pictures because I'm lame and I left my camera in Tampa, but I'm going to do my best to tell ya'll about the party anyway.
The party is at my parent's house and this was the first year in the new house. I left from Tampa straight from work and got to Winter Garden at about six. The party always starts at about 7pm, so I got de-worked and was able to help finish setting up. The guest list is mostly people that work with my Dad, a smattering of family, and a collection of assorted friends. The first few guests arrived right around 7 and we went from zero to a zillion people in about 10 minutes flat. The highlights for me were Mom's Sangria, a fruity concoction that's equal parts tart and sweet, also a killer Chorizo and Goat Cheese Quiche with Jalapeno Pesto, in regards to sweet pies someone brought a great Blueberry Pie and there was also several variations of Peanut Butter/Chocolate Pie. We also had two great cranberry pies, a Cranberry Raspberry Mousse Pie and a tart two double crust Cranberry Walnut. It was a great night, with good food and great friends.

Look for a special Thanksgiving edition of Things I Love Thursday later today.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pie Night...finally...

And the holiday season officially starts with a bang. This year's pie night festivities were a resounding success complete with fantastic food, good friends, and plentiful wine. I'm so exhausted after the party (and clean-up duty) that I was falling asleep on the couch talking to my parents. I promise a full recap (though no pictures cause I left my camera in Tampa) tomorrow along with a special Thanksgiving edition of Things I love Thursdays in a second post.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pie Night Eve!!

Well this week is already better than last week. Let me tell you why:
-There are only 31 days till Christmas (technically it was 32 today, but since it's almost midnight I'm rounding)
- I found out they can in deed fix my car and I'll have it back in about two weeks.
- Four Day Weekend!
- Pie night tomorrow


Monday, November 22, 2010


I know I promised my posts would get better and I really have a lot of things to post about. But my head is really hurting tonight. This goal is going to be harder to meet than I originally thought.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Beginning of a New Week

I know this week's posts have been lacking. I will do better this week.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Sick

Apparently on top of everything else this I picked up some sort of grotesque stomach bug. I'm feeling a little better tonight than I felt last night or today, but still feeling ill-ish.

Friday, November 19, 2010

blogging then bedtime

finally made it to Orlando. Hopefully I'll have a restful and relaxing weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Still recovering from yesterday. I did make it to my book club meeting though. It was a good time; just like always. Our topic tonight was a book you're thankful for, my book was Anne of Green Gables. Goodnight.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I was in a car accident today. Someone rear ended me. It was a long, stressful day; and I have to deal with the insurance company again tomorrow. Also, the medicine for the pain in my neck/shoulders makes me very sleepy. Goodnight.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Red Robin and Christmas Shopping

Restaurant Update: Those of you who live in New Tampa/Wesley Chapel, Red Robin @ Wiregrass Mall is finally open!
I know this seems like a ridiculous amount of excitement for a chain restaurant opening, but Red Robin (despite all the commercials) doesn't feel like a chain to me. This is mostly because I have never been there before in my life (until tonight) and I'm pretty sure there are only like six in the whole state of Florida. Anyway, I was not expecting a trip to Red Robin and thus did not have my camera. The food was very good; much better than I expected. I'll definitely go back.

BFFMandy and I also went up to Ulta tonight. I did a little more Christmas shopping.Every gift I buy I get a little closer to being done shopping. Happy Almost Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Un-Chosen

Jury Duty Today. I'm pretty sure I'm not actually supposed to talk about it so I'll leave it at this: it was long and boring and I didn't get chosen. Which I'm mostly happy about. Now I'm going to bed early since I had to be up early to get downtown on time. Goodnight.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'll need better shoes for that...

I always say that if I ever win Powerball I'd like to go to culinary school. This is still a true statement, but I'd definitely have to invest in better shoes. I spent most of this afternoon in the kitchen and even though I had my sneakers on at about the two hour mark my ankle was really starting to get sore. But I did make some yummy eats. Falafel, from scratch, with Tzatziki and Pasta Fagioli. Pictures and recipes to come, but I have jury duty tomorrow and soup to get into the refrigerator so goodnight.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things to come...

I'm leaving posting till the very end of the day again. I'm usually trying to type up my daily post while I'm laying in bed falling asleep. I moved the computer upstairs so I could watch The West Wing at night (or actually early in the morning before work), but it's affecting my blogging. I'm going to work on being better. I have a lot of posts in mind; mostly food/holiday related since I had Food Network on all day while I was doing stuff around the house. So here's what I'm planning:
- Canned Pumpkin vs. Homemade Puree
- Why it bugs me when they make pie crust in a food processor
- Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (I made these awhile ago, I just need to find the cord for my camera.)
- My thoughts on Stefano's Italian Grille in Winter Garden.
- Holiday Shopping
- And my excitement about the impending Holiday Season.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Point of Interest

This is totally ridiculous, but have you ever thought about the number of syllables in numbers. It makes no sense; you would think the number of syllables would go up as the numbers go up, but they don't. I think it's very interesting, that's all.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

This made me smile...

I had a pretty awful day at work today. Well not the whole day, mostly just the last two hours or so. Anyway I got home late and was watch Jeopardy (see yesterday's post) and a commercial came on for Pacific Life. It was actually a crappy commercial because if you don't already know what Pacific Life does, the commercial doesn't really tell you. Anyway, the music was sweeping and grand and I knew it somewhere in the back of my mind, but couldn't remember where from. Enter my iPhone and Shazam. The music from the commercial is the theme from a mid90s movie, Dragonheart. I actually remember going to see this movie with my family when I was 10 or 11. I remember really liking it for a long time. Anyway, it made me smile.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jeopardy and The West Wing

I watch Jeopardy pretty consistently. I do this mostly because I'm a nerd and I like trivia. So once about two years ago I was watching Jeopardy and Alex announced the Final Jeopardy Category (It was something like American Short Stories or something very similar). I was sitting in the dining room writing a paper for grad school and being a smart ass looked at up and said "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." I was right (and very shocked). Now I always try to guess the final Jeopardy answer before they read the clue; I have yet to be right a second time.
That brings us to The West Wing. I have recently become OBsessed with this show. Tonight's final Jeopardy category was U.S Presidents. My first thought was "Bartlett" then I changed my mind and settled on Andrew Jackson. I was wrong on both counts. The actual answer was Carter.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Making my list, checking it twice

I know technically the "holidays" don't start until Thanksgiving, but my Christmas loving heart feels like the holiday season begins in well June. I'm totally one of those irritating Christmas people; you know the ones, the people who bop around during the holidays all smiles, jingle bells, and Christmas cookies. That's totally me; I'm never happier than at Christmas. So welcome to the holiday season folks!! Thanksgiving is roughly two weeks away (Pie Night is exactly two weeks from tomorrow night) and Christmas is less than 50 days from now.
All this being said, I'm totally on the hunt for the world's best Christmas presents. I love love love finding just the right gift for people. I usually at least have an idea, but this year I'm totally blank. I've been trolling Amazon, Red Envelope, and Overstock for two weeks already and no inspiration. Hopefully I'll strike on something soon. Hope you are enjoying the crispy cool weather (me I've got three blankets on my bed, Yay cold weather!!)

Monday, November 8, 2010


I'm totally at a loss for something to write tonight. I'm not sure why. Oh well, I'll come up with something eventually.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Night Thoughts

Sunday Night Thoughts:
- I'm having trouble coming up with something to write about tonight.
- Kenny Chesney is coming in March. I want to go...
- Everyone should watch this video, especially if you're a Disney fan!
- I'm totally ready for it to be the holidays

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I planned a different post, but my back hurts so bad I can hardly breathe or think. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Recap Three

Ok so, I'm down to the last three countries from my first trip to the Food and Wine Festival. Tonight I'm covering South Korea, Poland, and Puerto Rico. I'm just gonna get right to the food.

South Korea:
Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw. Damn good was my first thought, HOLYCRAPTHAT'SHOT was my second. The heat wasn't right up front it sort of hid and hit you in the back of the mouth. I gave the second half of my wrap to BFFMandy cause it was too hot, but overall it was fab. I also had Honey Ginger Tea. It was cool and refreshing. It tasted a lot like the flavor of chai tea. B+

I love Pierogies. I especially love this pierogie; which was serve with kielbasa and caramelized onion. The dumpling was hot and crispy on the outside and smooth and creamy on the inside. The onions were my favorite parts, they were perfectly caramel-y sweet with a sour finish. Yum-O! A

Puerto Rico:
I did not eat in Puerto Rico, I drank. The Bacardi Frozen Torched Cherry Colada. It was cool and creamy with coconut and cherry flavors. It was out of this world. Probably my favorite drink of the day. A+

That's all of the reviews for the first round this year, but I'm going back tomorrow.


Thursday, November 4, 2010


I don't feel very well tonight. On the plus side it's been raining all day , so hopefully we'll finally get some chilly fall weather. That's all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Recap 2

So I previously covered, Greece, Canada, and Ireland. Tonight: France, Australia, and South Africa. Let's just get right down to the food.

Escargot! There a a bunch of other French words in the name of this dish, but it basically comes down to escargot with butter and parsley over brioche. If you're rolling your eyes at my excitement or internally cringing; STOP! I mean it do not write this off until you've tried it. The escargot come in little bread bowls and are topped with butter, garlic, and parsley. This is the dish that made me love escargot and I don't lie about good food so just try it. I also had the Cosmo Slush. It was pretty good; equally sweet and tart. A+

I have previously always skipped Australia, but this year we stopped by and had Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Lemon Oil.  The fish was good firm, but not dry, and lemony. The fish was extremely good, but the salad was odd. I expected the salad to be warm, what with the whole blistered tomatoes thing, but it was cold. It was ok, just odd. B-.

South Africa:
South Africa had one of my favorite plates of food, despite the fact that I couldn't finish it. We had the Seared Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Puree and Mango Barbecue Sauce. The beef and the sauce were well paired, but very spicy. The sauce was sweet to start but had a definite kick at the back end. The sweet potatoes were smooth, creamy, with just a hint of a spice I could identify ( I found out later it's ginger.) A-

Only three countries left in my first foray into this year's festival: South Korea, Poland, and Puerto Rico.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Getting Ready for the Holidays

In my family the official kick-off of the holiday season happens the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We have Pie Night! We get together with all our friends and family and have pie. So the basic theory is that you over eat on Thanksgiving and you can't enjoy your pie because you're so over full. So the night before everyone brings pies to my parents house and we eat, drink, and be merry. It's a fab way to kick off the holidays. I bring all this up because I finished making the invitation for my parents this evening. Woohoo! Yay Pie Night!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy 15th Anniversary Food and Wine Festival!

So as previously mentioned, BFFMandy, BFFMandy's Mom, PZ, and I went to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This was not my first time at Food and Wine, my family and I have gone since I was in college, but the is the 15th anniversary, so there are new kiosks and tons of options for fun. Now, let me state up front that I am lame and I forgot my camera. I didn't realize until I was almost to the theme park. So no pictures, but I'm going again this weekend so there will be pictures eventually.

Ok so I know that all the maps of Epcot start the World Showcase in Mexico, but I'm a rebel and I prefer to start in Canada. I'm not actually a rebel, I do this because the World Showcase usually opens around 11AM and if you start in Mexico you spend all afternoon with the sun in your eyes; if you start in Canada you're walking with the sun at your back (or side) in the afternoon. This doesn't have anything to do with my recap of The Food and Wine Festival except if you're looking at the festival guide I'm recapping in reverse.

First up:
Greece is a perennial festival favorite. This year PZ and I had Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki, though I seriously considered the Spanikopita because it is to. die. for.  But back to the chicken. They were making it fresh as we ordered (we were just lucky), so the chicken was piping hot. The tzatziki was cool and garlicky and the pitas were warm and perfect for folding around the chicken or sipping up extra sauce. All in all an A.

You know what I had in Canada. The Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. This soup is deliciousness in a bowl; it doesn't matter that I've had this soup at home at least a dozen times there is something about having it at Epcot. I'm actually fairly certain the published recipe isn't exactly the same as the restaurant recipe. The texture at the park is ridiculously smooth and creamy. I also had a glass of Chateau des Charmes Riesling, it was light and fruity it would;ve been a better match for the Maple-glazed Salmon, but what-evs. A+ 

Lobster and Scallop Fisherman's Pie. Does that say enough? No? It was very good, the potatoes were creamy, peppery, and just the right amount of crispy on the top. The inside had a good amount of seafood in the relatively small dish, I got two scallops and several large pieces of lobster in a creamy tomatoey lobster bisque. Accompanied by a perfectly poured Guinness and eat in the shade next to the World Showcase lagoon, we couldn't stop talking about what great weather we lucked into. A

That's all for tonight. Up later this week, France, Australia, and South Korea.