Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Husband and I usually spend a 3-day weekend on a road trip, exploring a new place. I’m not sure if we’re to the point where we’ve been to most of the nearby road trip destinations, or we’re just tired from work, but the prospect of spending the 3-day weekend just at home sounds wonderful. Maybe we’re just becoming an old, married couple sooner than we anticipated. We have a few fun things planned here, though. There’s a new restaurant we want to try, and we’ll probably spend Monday with our friends on their boat. We’ll also probably be making a few new recipes, including this jalapeno recipe from Pioneer Woman. (And yes, mom, you’re right. All of my blog posts somehow involve food!) Hope you have a wonderful weekend! We’ll remember all those that have served and sacrificed for our freedom.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Three Years of Yes

Technically, Husband and I never said “I do” at our wedding. Our rehearsal was pretty short, and we had never practiced the full vows. So, at our wedding ceremony, when the priest asked Husband, “Do you take this woman….,” he responded with “yes.” (I can see why he responded that way, since it sounds like a simple yes or no question.) I followed suit, answering “yes” when the priest asked me, “Do you take this man…” It continued, and we said “yes” a number of times during the vows portion of the ceremony. It was funny because a few people came up to us afterwards and said, “That was so unique to say ‘yes’ instead of ‘I do,’ ” as if we had carefully planned it. It was only then that we realized our mistake. But now I think it’s one of the more memorable moments of our wedding day, and I’ve come to see our mistake as almost endearing. We’re celebrating our 3 year wedding anniversary this week. I know I say this every year, but it really does feel like our wedding just happened. We still consider ourselves newlyweds. (Is there an expiration on newlywedism? I hope not.) I think it’s funny that the most important decision of my life – who to marry – was actually the easiest decision I’ve ever made. When Husband asked me to be his wife, I knew in my heart and gut that I was 100% sure. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I have a harder time picking out jeans in the mall than I did picking Husband. (Although, to be fair, it did seem like it took a lot of time to find him!) I never once felt “cold feet.” In a letter I gave to Husband a month before the wedding, I wrote: “I was thinking about how people say that they have “cold feet” before a wedding. I think that I have “warm feet” – or better yet, “hot feet.” I haven’t, for a second, had any doubts about us.” And it seems like every day, more and more, I realize what a good decision I made. Being married to Husband is even better than I could have imagined. So, if someone asked me if I’d do it all over again, I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I’d respond with a heartfelt “yes!”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Farewell, Lost!

I never intended to watch the show, Lost. Husband convinced me when we were dating that I had to watch it. I watched the first episode of season 1 on DVD and declared that it was a dumb show and I wasn’t interested. But here I am years later, and I’m somehow addicted to the show. We even made a pilgrimage to the "set" in Hawaii two years ago. (Well, we were already in Hawaii to see friends, and it was fun to see the beach where they film.) I have mixed feelings about the series finale on Sunday. On one hand, I’m dying to see how everything turns out. On the other, I’m a little bummed to think that Husband and I will no longer rush to the couch to watch another episode of the show together. And I will miss all the e-mails exchanged with our friends saying, “Did you see Lost last night? What did you think??” Husband and I are having our own Lost-themed dinner on Sunday to celebrate. There’s a chicken place in town that looks almost exactly like Hurley’s “Mr. Cluck’s Chicken,” so we’re going to get take-out from there. (This might just be my ploy to have an excuse to eat greasy-fried chicken.) We’ll drink some sort of island-themed drink, too. Yes, this dinner is random, but then again, so is the show. So maybe it all works. Farewell, Lost. We will miss you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


It seems like we haven’t hosted any dinners in our home for a while, so we had thought about inviting a group over this weekend. I had planned to make Pioneer Woman's lasagna (it is delicious!) and possibly this Dr. Pepper cake (I just found this recipe, and it looks so good!) for dessert. But then I realized that Husband has to work on a major project for his Master’s this weekend, and it probably wouldn’t be the best time to be entertaining. For the record, the guests wouldn’t bother him as much as my running around like a crazy person and cleaning before they arrived. Even still, I’ve got that lasagna on the brain, and I’ll probably make it anyway. It makes a LOT of food, so I plan to give some of it to friends. I’m convinced that somehow we will actually get to have our dinner party. Let’s just hope it’s sometime before we move!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Tasty End to the Week

This week went by fast, but it still felt like a long one. Husband had to go to a class for his Master’s program last night. Before he got home, I decided to make the Coconut Shrimp recipe that I spotted in this month’s Southern Living.
I figured this recipe might be a winner. Husband and I both love shrimp, and the recipe looked like it would have the crunch of fried shrimp without being fried or greasy.
Husband absolutely loved it. Usually high praise from him is, “This is Top 5,” meaning that it’s one of the five best recipes I make. (Truthfully, there are probably many more than just 5 recipes in the “top 5,” but who am I to argue with praise?) This time, he said, “This is Top 5…wait, no, it’s Top 3!”
The recipe had a nice sweet and spicy tang, and the shrimp were surprisingly tender. It was a little bit labor intensive, but definitely worth it.
And I can tell you that sitting down with Husband on the couch after a long week, eating this tasty shrimp recipe, was definitely the highlight of the week.
Without further ado, here is the Coconut Shrimp recipe:

Recipe and picture from here.


-1 1/2 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp (21/25 count) [Note: I used frozen shrimp that were cooked, and they worked just fine. I just let the shrimp thaw first in a bowl of cold water.] - Vegetable cooking spray - 2 egg whites - ¼ cup cornstarch -1 tablespoon Caribbean jerk seasoning [I didn’t have this, so I used a Mango Habanera rub we had on hand. I think almost any sort of spicy rub/seasoning would work.] -1 cup sweetened flaked coconut -1 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko) -1 teaspoon paprika 1. Preheat oven to 425°. Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein shrimp, if desired. 2. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. 3. Whisk egg whites in a bowl just until foamy. 4. Stir together cornstarch and Caribbean jerk seasoning in a shallow dish. 5. Stir together coconut, breadcrumbs, and paprika in another shallow dish. 6. Dredge shrimp, 1 at a time, in cornstarch mixture; dip in egg whites, and dredge in coconut mixture, pressing gently with fingers. Lightly coat shrimp with cooking spray; arrange shrimp on wire rack. [I actually just sprayed a cookie sheet and put the shrimp directly on the cookie sheet.] 7. Bake at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning after 8 minutes. Serve with Honey-Mustard Sauce. [We ate them sans-Mustard sauce, and they were still tasty!] Enjoy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Pretty Lady

One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was watch my mom get herself ready before an event. I used to sit perched on the lid of the toilet, and I’d watch intently as she put on her makeup and styled her hair. The makeup, the curlers, the hairspray – it was all a mystery to me. (And, since I’m not much of a makeup guru now, it still is!) Once when she was getting ready for a Christmas party, she turned to me and asked with a smile, “Who’s going to be the prettiest mom there?” Without flinching, I answered, “Pam Johnson!” I was too young to be trying to make a joke; I just answered the question honestly, and I happened to think of our neighbor, Pam. My mom just laughed. She never held it against me (even though the answer she was looking for was more along the lines of “You, mom!”). She still enjoys telling this story to this day, always adding, “Well, Pam Johnson is a very striking woman, so I can see why she said that.” Over the years, I’ve gotten to see many other sides of my mom. Yes, she still gets dressed up and goes to events. But, she’s also the lady that brought grocery bags of food over to her friend that just lost her son. She’s the one who sent me too many care packages to count when I was deployed. And she’s the person who never hesitates to say a comforting or encouraging word to someone who needs it. She’s truly beautiful inside and out. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. And I hope the rest of you won’t be offended when I say that my mom will be the prettiest lady on Sunday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cooking School

What do the following things mean? 1) Our living room has a large stack of cookbooks with post-it notes flagging various recipes. 2) My memory card on my camera is full of pictures of food that I cooked (with the hopes that one day I might write a blog post about the recipes). 3) I have bookmarked so many recipes on Internet Explorer that Husband has laughed and said that there are enough to last us the next 3 years. I think I have to finally admit that this girl, who once didn’t know how to bake chicken and subsisted on cereal-as-dinner for years, has finally found a hobby in cooking. I guess that’s the positive side of living in a small town with few restaurants. Now I’ve really come to enjoy cooking, and I actually look forward to it at the end of the day. I find it strangely stress relieving. (And any hobby where you get to eat after your efforts is a good one in my book!) This weekend I’m going out of town for work, and I’m so excited because I found a cooking class in the city! The class is going to focus on Italian food, which sounds so delicioso (ok, that’s actually Spanish, but you get the point). I somehow feel like I need to sign off saying, “Bon apetit!” (Again, not Italian.) (Let’s hope I’ll be able to make Italian better than I can speak Italian.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Newsflash: Plants Need Water

I hadn’t had my basil plant a full week when I started noticing that the leaves were wilting, and it looked like the plant was dying. (Sadly, I have plenty of experience with dying plants, so I know better than I’d like what that looks like.) I called my mom, who is practically a gardening expert and has a few blue ribbons from gardening contests to prove it. We both deliberated about what might be the problem. She thought maybe it was getting too much sun. I worried that it might have gotten too much water from all the rain. “Oh, I hope it’s not root rot,” she said. My concern turned to frustration, and I told my mom that I might bring the plant back to the store, explaining, “I’ve only had it for a week! There’s something clearly wrong with the plant!” Husband came home, and I told him about the plant, pointing in its direction. “Looks like it needs water,” he said. “Really?” I asked, genuinely curious, as if he had presented some sort of new, cosmic recipe for the plant’s care. I finally relented, trying to forget that I might be drowning the poor plant in water, and I gave it a good watering. The next morning it had perked up and looked like an entirely new, healthy plant. Who knew? Plants need water. Too bad I just figured out what every kid in 3rd grade science class already knew. P.S. My basil plant is doing so well now that the only “problem” I’m having is trying to find new recipes to use it all. Does anyone have any good recipes that call for basil??