Friday, January 30, 2009

Calphalon Baking Mat

I received two sifters and two bash and chops for Christmas, so with the money I had from returning one of each of those, I bought a pink baking mat. When I first went to use it I really didn't think it would work - it didn't seem likely that the cookies would just slide off the mat, but they did! It works great. I recommend a baking mat because it's a lot easier to clean than the big cookie sheet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I posted this on Facebook, and since I spent so much time and brain power coming up with 25 random things about myself, I thought I would post it here too:

1. I hate forwards and things that insist you perpetuate the forward

2. I've been pulled over three times, but never received a ticket

3. My favorite color is purple

4. I love to wake up on my own in the morning or from a nap. It's the most glorious feeling.

5. Maya Angelou is one of my favorite authors

6. I love to bake and eat what I've baked

7. I'm not very creative, but I'm good at copying other people's ideas

8. I only play the piano at Christmas time

9. Song of Solomon is my favorite book in the Bible

10. The idea of hosting events at my house freaks me out

11. I love to follow the rules

12. My laptop doesn’t fit on my lap anymore

13. I judge a book by its cover, which means…

14. I read a lot of romance novels

15. My mother is moving to a third-world communist country

16. I’ve been stuck skiing on a mountain after it closed due to a blizzard

17.  I’ve been stuck on a Ferris wheel in a thunderstorm for 45 minutes

18. I’ll watch The Bachelor but I won’t watch Grey’s Anatomy

19. I nursed my son for 15 months

20. I’ve been to Washington D.C. twice for work

21. I grew up in a double-wide

22. Listening to Yo-Yo Ma makes me want to learn to play the cello

23. I love to play tennis and watch it on TV

24. I’m scared to buy the Costco-sized bag of chocolate chips for fear of having to confront how quickly I’ll go through the whole bag.

25. I had a dog named Fluffy growing up. After having her for eight years, I didn’t notice for days when she went missing. I’ll never forget you Fluffy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My New Purse

I got this new purse from Target with the hopes that I can shove a diaper and a binky in it if I need to. I think it will work. It's bigger than my previous purse, so I even with all my things in it, I still have room. I love the color of this purse - I call it coral. I also love that it is a wrap around purse - I can wear it across my body. This is my favorite style of purse. Of course, I do miss my purple purse, especially when I wear my favorite purple shirt. I used to match. Oh well.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Bachelor

Another night of quality TV. I'm naive. I know Molly and Jason spent the night together. But, I don't want to think that they did it! If they did, which they probably did, but I'm naive so I have to say "if," then I'm SO disappointed in Jason. But, I have to say if I were Molly, I'd be jacked. I know Jason will spend the night with the final three girls, but everyone knows that. They signed up for that. No one expected him to spend the night with one girl this early, and I'm afraid it will give Molly an edge and not allow Jason to really take a look at the other girls. Oh, Jason, you've fallen in my eyes. I think it's absolutely disgusting that the bachelor or bachelorette spends three consecutive nights with three different people, but I know that episode is coming and I prepare and just get over it, but to have to deal with it this early in the episode...yuck!

Shannon, you're a suck up. She needs to end up with someone who will adore her like she adores him, and that person isn't Jason.

Lauren, yes, your song was good, but get over yourself! I can't believe how conceited she is. No one likes to be around a person like that.

Nikki, you some serious issues that need to be resolved...I bet she didn't have a good father figure growing up; I don't think it's just the scarring from her previous relationship that is her problem.

Molly, good job for not complaining about how tough it is to date Jason along with the other girls. I like her you more this episode than I have before. She just seemed too forward before, but on the date with Jason, she just really seemed her natural self, and I approve.

Megan, you just threw yourself at Jason at the GH set...not my style. How can you tell everyone else to "man up" and then you go and cry when you're with Jason because it's hard? I didn't like how she closed up when Jason asked her what was wrong. I think she would have gone further in her relationship with him had she opened up.

Poor Jason has to deal with all these weepy women! He's too nice. He needs a woman who doesn't have all this emotional baggage. So far, I still think the best two are Stephanie and Jillian. And maybe Molly.

Lots of surprises in tonight's episode. Till next week!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Susan Wiggs Answered Me!

A couple of weeks ago Susan Wiggs, one of my favorite authors, posted an interesting blog post about the dilema of the reader. For the author to get royalties and get paid and therefore keep writing, the reader must purchase a full-priced book. But, many people purchase their books used and the author does not receive royalties for this. Wiggs refers to an article about this from the New York Times and asked for readers to comment on how they get their books in her comments section. I posted this comment: 

"I get all my books from the library. With reading 2-3 a week, I couldn’t afford to buy them, and I would have no place to store them at home. Sadly, the county Library, only one or two counties away from you Susan, does not carry all your books, and they only purchase recently published books. So I would be tempted to use a swap website where I would not have to pay very much. The library only had one book of the Chicago Fire Triology, and I really want to read the rest. How can they tempt me with carrying only one book of a series?

Awhile ago, you posted about NoveList, a service available at the library, and I have used this to find other authors I like once I read all your books that the library offers. Thanks for the tip!"

Susan Wiggs responded to me with this comment:

"Some libraries will take a “request for purchase” form. I’ve put up a handy one on my web site here also found a few online:

Not sure if it will help with older books. So that’s why I’m not screaming TOO hard about used bookstores. Sometimes they’re the only source for older books.

I am out of Chicago fire books myself! Otherwise, I would send them to you. I believe they will all be repacked and reissued in 2010. I need to lay in a lot of spare copies!"

Isn't that great? She offered to send me the Chicago fire books herself if she even had any left! Thanks, Susan, that made me feel special. That's probably the closest I'll get to "talking to" a celebrity.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hubby's Carne Asada Recipe

Hubby has a weight loss blog and has posted his recipe for Carne Asada. He's made it for me three times now! I'm so lucky! Now, don't be misled; it's not a low-calorie or low-fat recipe. In fact, when Hubby makes it, he hardly eats anything else all day because he doesn't have any calories left, and because two carne asada burritos is pretty filling (I eat one burrito). So go check out Hubby's site.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Biggest Loser

I'm sure no one can believe that Joelle is still on the show. Wow. That was a shocker. I think it's too bad that the black team lied about how they were going to vote. They should have just said nothing at all. It will certainly be interesting if Carla, the other part of the silver team, gets to come back. I don't understand how Joelle and Carla are even friends.

They didn't show the orange team at the food challenge, and I thought that the orange team member at home would eat the food from what they've shown about him these last two weeks. I hope they're just slanting it to look like he's doing bad. I hope he's actually loosing weight. 

Looks like next week's show will be a tough one at the end.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Bachelor

Stephanie, the widow: ohh...she's going to fall in love with him, but I just don't see her being THE ONE, and it's going to hurt.

Shannon the dental hygentist: can't stand her; looks like she forgot her makeup at the rose ceremony - or maybe it was due to her sickness.

Erica: can't stand her; plus she always loooks dishelved

Nikki: getting more annoying with each episode; her hair up like that on the group date really brought out her double chin, and that dress at the rose ceremony? Definetly fake boobs. She looked like a produce stand.

Megan: Most defininetly have to add her to my fake boobs list - they're huge...but they might be real; we'll never know. Of course we learned tonight that Melissa doesn't have fake boobs due to her breast reduction surgery from a 20 FF...did I hear that right? Holy Smoke. Random fact: my mom does the pre-authorization for breast reduction surgeries at the insurance companies she works for, which means she sees the big-before-boobie-surgery- pictures...oiy...

Molly: don't like her

Jillian: I still really like her; she's so real.

Natalie: I don't think she's hot like Jason Too much fake: fake blond hair and fake tan. Jason, I'm so proud of you for not giving Natalie the rose. I think the way she acted afterwards was really telling of her true nature.

Naomi: she's very forgetable and she didn't get the memo that colored lipstick is back in.

Tiddleywinks' dress tip: don't wear a strapless dress unless you can wear it without hitching it up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Review - Sizzling by Susan Mallery

Mallery delivers again with Sizzling, third in the Buchanan series. Playboy Reid Buchanan finally meets a woman he’s interested in for more than a night, but can he change his bad boy habits enough to attract Lori Johnson?

I liked the emotional conflict of this story. I thought both main characters were very real. The side story about younger sister Dani Buchanan seems a little out of place if you were just reading the book on its own, but as part of the series, her little stories are understandable. A good read!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Book "Review" – Hero Under Cover by Suzanne Brockmann

Oooh…I’m going to be real lazy on this one. Hero Under Cover is another good Brockman book. This one, however, doesn’t involve a military hero, but an under-cover CIA agent sent to investigate and eventually protect our heroine from the bad guys. True love results, of course.

I get an "A" for effort on this one, I know.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Starts Tomorrow!

Battlestar Galactica is one of my favorite shows. The new episodes, which start tomorrow on the SciFi channel, are the last half of the fourth season...then there will be no more. Since we don't have cable, I'm hoping will post the episodes the next day, otherwise we'll be dependent on hubby's dad for taping it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Biggest Loser

I'm so bummed that one member of each team got sent home for 30 days. I would be really bummed if that happened to me. I feel really sorry for the member of the orange team that went home. From what they showed, he still doesn't have a clue and he desparetly needs to be on the ranch.

The contestants all seem so nice this season, so far. I was really glad when the green team girl won the challenge, and that was very sweet of her to give away the phone call home.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Bachelor

I like the hot dog girl from Canada, Jillian. She's so real. There's no bimbo there. Her kiss with Jason was so real as opposed to the other girls who pushed it.

I'm going to start a preliminary fake boob list because fake boobs bother me:
1. Stephanie, the widow
2. Shannon, the hygentist
3. Nikki, the vulumptuous version of a Sandra Bullock look-a-like
And if I'm wrong in my presumptions, sorry ladies; I guess you were in the front of the line when God was handing out the cleavage and firm breasts; more power to you.

Shannon: guys don't want to be called cute. Cute describes fluffly bunnies (as my husband says).
Molly: too forward
Naomi: she doesn't do it for me; I don't think she will click with Jason
Nikki: why does she spend all her time with Jason talking about the other girls?
Erica: oiy
Raquel: she totally put Jason on the defensive by cornering him in his car. Couldn't she have started out with something fun? She attacked him right off. Not what I would suggest.

Secret: my husband says he doesn't watch The Bachelor and will deny watching it until his dying day. But guess what...tonight and last week, he's "watched" it with me as he does other things like work on the laptop. Don't tell, okay? I'm just glad he chooses to be in the living room with me rather than in his office while I indulge in some quality television.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Normally I make my own wheat-free cookies from scratch, but my local discount grocery store has started carrying more and more of Bob's Red Mill gluten free products, so I wanted to purchase this mix and support gluten free items in the store. Plus, it's TONS easier than making cookies from scratch.

They turned out like little cookie balls. They were pretty good, but not as good as mine from scratch. But that didn't stop me from eating the whole recipe in 24 hours - hey I can do that, I'm pregnant, (well, and my Little Guy had some too).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Carne Asada Burritos with Pico de Gallo

My husband is a much better cook than I am. Most of this is due to the fact that he likes to cook, and I do not. I like to bake. Last week he made Carne Asada burritos. I was just glad that I didn't have to cook the meal, but when it was time to eat dinner and I got to see his creation, I was blown away! He had a professional presentation and everything, and the burritos were DELICIOUS! So, I requested the burritos again today for lunch, and hubby indulged me. This time he even made his own pico de gallo. Thanks honey, it was very good!
P.S. this is my burrito, with a corn tortilla. Hubby's, of course, was made with a flour tortilla.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Book Review - Rough Wrangler, Tender Kisses by Jill Gregory

Eastern socialite, Caitlin Summers, travels to the Wyoming Territory to sell Cloud Ranch, which her father left her upon his death. However, Caitlin learns that at the end of his life, her father left half the ranch to his foreman. Caitlin, in dire need of the money from the sell of the ranch, finds she must comply with her father’s wishes and live at the ranch for a year before she is legally allowed to sell her shares. Of course, Caitlin and the handsome foreman, Wade Barclay, fall in love, but both are stubborn and unwilling to admit it. When Caitlin’s enemy’s plan her demise, she learns just how much Wade loves her when he sacrifices himself and the ranch to save her.

This is the first Jill Gregory book I have read, and I absolutely loved it, despite the VERY cheesy title. Rough Wrangler, Tender Kisses was face-paced and well written. Gregory has strong secondary characters and paints a vivid picture of the Wyoming Territory without boring the reader. I will definitely be reading more Jill Gregory books.

Book Review - A Promise for Ellie by Lauraine Snelling

Lauraine Snelling was recommended by a family member of mine. She has many series, and what I picked up at the library was the first book of Snelling’s Daughters of Blessing Series. This series is the fourth set of related series. The stories center around Norwegian families that have immigrated to the Dakota Territory in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

A Promise for Ellie was very enjoyable and engaging. However, there did seem to be a couple of loose ends that were not resolved by the end of the book. I will probably read the rest of the series at some point, but I’m not rushing out to get the books right now. So far, I would call Snelling a good fall-back author for those times when I’ve already read everything by my more favorite authors.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Book "Reviews"

I haven't done book reviews in a while, mostly because it involves critical thinking, and I don't want to put too much presssure on myself (-; I'd rather just start reading another book! But, for my sake, I still want to keep track of what I've read, so here's the list of what I finished out 2008 reading:

Susan Mallery
Sweet Spot, and Sweet Trouble: the last two books of the Bakery Sisters series; both good.

Irresistible, Delicious, and Tempting: three of four of the Buchanan series. I very much enjoyed these books.

Debbie Macomber
Small Town Christmas. Two Christmas novels in one: Return to Promise and Mail Order Bride. Return to Promise is about a separated marriage, so I didn’t enjoy that one as much. It’s my least favorite when the author uses the stubbornness and stupidness of the characters to create the drama in the story. Mail Order Bride was cute and enjoyable.

Janet Evanovich
Foul Play: typical early Evanovich – a far-fetched plot and shallow characters.

Robyn Carr
There’s Always Plan B: totally original and enjoyable. A story of a woman with a teenage daughter who has to make a new life after divorce. The story is very enjoyable, and Carr does not force the main character“fall in love” by the end of the book.

Never Too Late: totally loved it! As always, Carr has deep secondary characters as well as main characters. We even get to see one of the secondary characters fall in love.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Bachelor

I'm so excited for this season of The Bachelor. Of course, everyone loves Jason and wants to see him find true love. This is why it is so painful to watch the beginning of the show with all the silly women still in the run.

Quick rundown: Shannon the Stalker was too weird. Did you see Jason's face when she was telling all she knew about his life? He was freaked out. The Vision Board Jewelry Designer was weird, glad she went home. What about the teacher who resigned to be on the show? Pathetic. Don't like Molly. Stephanie, the widow, seems too old for Jason. Her voice even makes her sound old.

I loved how Jason could not take his eyes of Nikki from the moment she stepped out of the limo. He was taken! I'm glad he gave her the first impression rose. She's beautiful and she seems genuinely nice. But don't you think her boobs look too perfect? They look like Kim's boobs on Dancing with the Stars, and I'm sure hers are fake. What do you guys think? I want to think Nikki is the kind of woman who wouldn't get implants, but...they look fake...they don't move. What do you think?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

The other night, hubby (in his effort to eat better) made our dinner. In fact, he made dinner both nights this lasts weekend! Whoo hoo! Saturday's dinner was a skirt steak with kale and the Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower you see here. I'll try to get the recipe for the kale from him and share that with you later. The roasted cauliflower was a great new way (for us at least) to prepare an old veggie. Try it!
Insert photography lesson: using a flash while taking pictures of food drastically changes the color of the food and makes it less appetizing. So I have a hard time taking pictures of the dinners we eat because it's already dark out when we eat dinner and there is no natural light left. That leaves me with the Tungsten light that the indoor lights produce. This light is yellow and also does not make for an appetizing picture. I don't own Photoshop, so I can't shoot in RAW and fix my white balance using a program. BUT! I was able to take my pictures (in jpgs) and simply use Picasa's "I'm feeling lucky button." Wham. It changed the color temperature of the picture for me. Thanks Picasa!
Back to the regularly scheduled programing:
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) cauliflower florets
2 teaspoons grated reduced-fat Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, cheese, parsley, garlic powder, and pepper. Season with salt. Toss to mix. Drizzle on the oil and toss again. Transfer the mixture to a small nonstick baking dish.Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, tossing once, or until lightly browned and crisp-tender. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Holiday Bokeh

I took our Christmas tree down yesterday, and before I did that, I wanted to try Holiday Bokeh one more time. Here's our Nutcracker:
And here's the little ducky given to us this Christmas in honor of Baby #2, who's still cooking.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wheat-free Pizza

We wanted to have pizza night for New Year's Eve, so I bought (for myself) Amy's Cheese Pizza made with Rice Crust. It is expensive (over 7 dollars), but it is so much easier than making my own wheat-free crust. But, the crust is not nearly as good as my home-made kind. Still, it was lovely to not have to cook dinner, and to have hardly any dishes to clean up. My back thanked me.
As you can see, the pizza comes with just cheese on it, so I added Canadian Bacon and pineapple and my own cheese (all I had was cheddar). Please ignore the burnt crust. It wasn't as bad as it looks. My oven has a hot spot.
Overall, I recommend Amy's Pizza.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Favorites

Favorite new author: Robyn Carr

Favorite book: Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Favorite dessert: Grammy's Cream Cheese Pie

Favorite dinner food: Emeril's Cocktail Meatballs

Favorite picture:

Happy New Year!