May 25, 2010

Taco time warp

Doug and I had a mini-road trip to Charlotte over the weekend, where we kicked it with college friends Tanya, Marianne, Cliff, and Jill -- and Jill's kickass blues band!

NOTE: We had so much fun I'm just gonna milk it for two separate posts. Stay tuned for more about the music...

We got to see two (count 'em) two! Jill Dineen Band shows on Saturday, with tacos and beer in between. Yu-hum, yu-hum.

Appetizers and everything! Is this heaven?

The band played its first set at an outdoor venue where we got down on some local pale ale. After almost two hours of beer in the sun, I was prepared to destroy this watermelon. We also had pineapple, strawberries, cucumber, and chips and salsa to tide us over.

Predictably, this pile of fresh vegetables gave me an itchy shutter finger.

Step away from the peppers, Misty. Step. Away.

We started by browning some ground turkey, then added a little water and prepackaged taco seasoning. Never satisfied with those packet things, I suggested we throw in a diced jalapeno. Thankfully Tanya has asbestos fingers. Delicate flower that I am, I gotta use gloves to chop peppers.

The Lady Tanya makes the magic happen.

I had mine with some lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheddar, black beans, and pico de gallo. Heaven in a crunchy corn shell! I totally went back for a soft-shell round two, but by that time had lost my photo-mojo.

Cliff was extremely proud of the Old El Paso flat-bottomed taco shells.

Marianne fired up the Classic Get Psyched Mix playlist (from How I Met Your Mother, she tells me), and we sat around with the band and band's spouses, drinking Bud Light from the can and generally just living large. Nothing says extended family lovin like taco night!

Thank you my friends, for everything. Can't remember when I had this kind of fun.

May 21, 2010

Spin the wheel, cuz I don't...

If you know how to finish that joke you are old school.

It's my way of saying I'm amazed I let this blog go for 10 days. No excuse really. Doug and I went out to dinner with college buds Alex and Lori last Saturday. Back in the day, we used to mooch their HBO to watch the Sopranos. It should go without saying we all did some ridiculous drinking together.

Ain't they cute?

I was gonna write up a real review, with details and pictures and all. But we all got to talking and sipping on mojitos, and once again that 3-D person thing kicked in. Seems I'm only a faithful blogger when I have no life. Heheh...

So we ate at a place called Eclipse di Luna, a Spanish tapas place on Miami Circle in the city. We shared all kinds of deliciousness: lamb, calimari, and these crazy good seafood and chicken puff pastry things.

Kinda has a Miami vibe, no?

Like proper carnivores, Doug, Alex and I were most impressed by the carne asada and the ribs. OMG the ribs. Spicy, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Lori's not much of a red meat eater, but thank goodness for that! She and I shared a yummy sliced tomato layered with mozzarella and basil, which both boys turned up their noses at. There were cheese plates and prosciutto slices and some kind of shrimp dish. And those mojitos. To. Die. For. And I don't even like rum that much.

So yeah, that was last weekend. Tomorrow we're having a mini-roadtrip to visit even more fabulous college pals. I'm going to give myself a stern talking to while we're in the car, so I don't forget to take pictures and notes for a lovely post next week.

That said, I really do have a valid reason for not blogging these last few days. I've been busy with something else. It's a good something else. I'm just not quite ready to go public with it yet. Stay tuned...

May 11, 2010

When is a food blog not a food blog?

When the food blogger can't think of anything yummy to say. Sigh...

I'm pulling a meme off my other blog hangout, All Kinds of Pretty. Shout-out to PrettyStephenie for getting it started.

Tanya took this picture of me, sans makeup, last summer. Shine on lady. Shine. On.

1. When did you start wearing makeup?

Um, yeah... I totally don't remember. Middle school? If I had to guess? And, I kinda struggled. My mom taught me application skillz, which are awesome. But, I also kinda looked like my dad, so her colors weren't always right for me. (I'm looking at you, frosty blue eye shadow.) Granted, I only realized this years later, which explains some very silly pictures from junior high.

Look What the Cat Dragged In album cover.2. Since that time, have you always worn it?

Nope. Following a hair metal phase featuring heavy, Poison-esque eye shadow, I did the makeup-free grunge thing. In college (and grad school), I found I preferred an extra 10 minutes of sleep to dolling it up. Then I was a telecommuter for about 3 years. And in those days, it was a miracle if I put on pants, let alone mascara.

3. If you could only wear one item of makeup, what would it be?

Mineral veil. I got a face oilier than Texas over here, which means I forever have to minimize pores, cover zits, and battle shine. This stuff, paired with an oil-free tinted moisturizer, gets the job done in about 5 seconds.

4. What is your favorite makeup “trick”?

Using green to cancel red. For me, this typically means a green concealer to hide blemishes, but it's also great for a sunburnt nose. Got inappropriately rosy cheeks? Mix a touch of matte green eye shadow with loose powder. Perfect blush!

5. How often do you wear makeup?

No more than a couple of times a week these days, which if you read above, is a lot for me! If I'm going out with my husband, or taking pictures for this here blog then yes. Otherwise, generally no.

6. Do you let others see you without makeup?

Yep, as long as they don't have a camera. I know that sounds incredibly vain! I think I look washed out and haggard in pictures when I'm not made up. I don't feel that way in real life. Weird, huh?

7. Do you ever find yourself critiquing other women’s makeup practices? “She would look so much better with a little mascara and lipstick.” Or even, “She would so much prettier without all that gunk all over her eyes!!!”

You know? I don't really think so. At least, I can't remember the last time I had a thought like that. I guess if it were totally off the wall I would notice.

8. Would you go a week without makeup – not a speck, no matter where you were going?

Not counting the tinted moisturizer, I've been known to go months.

9. Who or what most influenced your makeup “identity”?

Theatre. No joke. I met a woman in a community play who could have been my long lost aunt. I watched her put on her stage colors, and copied her shamelessly. The show was Camelot, so the idea was to define our features without looking "made up." I still abide by that philosophy.

My makeup identity goes like this: I'm not looking for people to think of me, "her eye makeup looks beautiful." I'm going for, "she has beautiful eyes."

10. Do you think your makeup makes you “prettier”?

Prettier? No. But surely more socially acceptable.

Updated to add: I'd love to hear other women's answers! Feel free to respond in the comments, or if you have a blog, leave us a link!

May 07, 2010

Poor, neglected Popcorn

I am struggling with this blog. I've pretty well run through my cooking comfort zone, and I'm only so brave when it comes to experiments. I had this brilliant idea that the KitchenAid would spark a whole series of baking posts. Really? Right at the start of a Hotlanta summer? I'm a doofus. Already the A/C has reached its limits; our place is hitting 80° in the afternoon. Without any cooking. And it's May. So, yeah... The oven and I are on a break.

But what of my road trip? Happily I didn't have to eat crappy food the whole time. My dear friend Dan invited me to chill at his place for a few days, and Dan has a Magic Kitchen. Counter space. Dishwasher. Pots and pans that heat evenly. It's on.

I hit the grocery store and bought supplies for some dishes faithful readers will recognize. Pork chops, green beans, fried chicken, assorted salads. Then came the day before I would leave. I had a random mess of remaining ingredients.

What on Earth will I do with this?

I know! Pasta! 

I set out to fix myself...

Loaded Mac and Cheese

What I used:
  • Shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
  • Extra sharp cheddar
  • Buttermilk
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cooked bacon
  • Butter
  • Pasta shells
(Note: all quantities are unknown. This was a total chuck-in-whatever's-around kind of dish.)

I started by putting salted water on to boil, and coarsely chopping the broccoli, onion, and garlic. And, as many garlic cloves as I've chopped in my life, I have never witnessed this:

Rare blood garlic? Or just a massive grossout?

I seriously dry heaved. When I recovered, I melted about 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.

I don't know who invented butter, but bless 'em anyway.

Then I sweated down the onion and garlic before dumping in everything else. I let that simmer on low while the noodles cooked. As with any pasta bound for the oven, I parboiled, reducing the recommended cooking time by about 1/3. Then I mixed in half the noodles.

Say, this is lookin delicious!

Finally I dumped it all in a casserole, and baked it uncovered at 400° for probably 30-40 minutes.

Ah yes. A brown dish in a black stove. My camera hates me.

Only when I set the dish on the counter did I realize: This was no mac and cheese. It was macaroni and butter.


Mercifully I still had some broccoli left. I steamed that up real quick and used it as a bed for the pasta. So I guess this was technically macaroni and broccoli in a cheesy butter sauce. Not something I'd serve at a party, but just for me, totally tasty.

Oh. And what became of the other half of that box of pasta shells? I let it finish cooking and mixed it with some lettuce, Italian dressing, and the remains of a deli chicken salad.

Now this... Was DELICIOUS.

I was all set here to beg for forgiveness, but I've got a better idea. Instead I am begging my readers for help! Got a favorite recipe you'd like to see featured here? Please, please, PLEASE share! Comments or emails, I'll take 'em all. Just no ovens. Deal?

May 05, 2010


I seem to be getting a little old for this epic road trip shit. At least, the recovery time keeps getting longer. Could I really have left Georgia nearly a month ago? Oh yes. Add a raging case of PMS (thanks crappy road-trip food), and I just want to hide under the covers for another 2 weeks.

Bah. Enough with the self-pity.

Today my thoughts are with the flood survivors in Tennessee, Kentucky & Missouri. Loved ones lost, homes destroyed, lives upended. I'm most shocked because I learned about this disaster? On FACEBOOK. And it's not like I avoid the news. I read the New York Times and Washington Post almost daily. I'm addicted to the BBC. But between the would-be Times Square bomber and the crude oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, it's no surprise the mid-South is getting the short end of the news-cycle stick.

Just look at this slide show from the Tennesseean newspaper. My family in Nashville is safe and dry; we've been blessed and I am thankful.

Want to help? Text 'REDCROSS' to 90999 to contribute $10 to the relief effort.

May 03, 2010

Look what I came home to!

A month ago I was afraid my sweet tater experiment was failing. Then, I left the house for 3 weeks and look what happened! Thriving vegetation in my absence? Maybe mere coincidence. Or maybe I really am plant poison.
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