Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Cooking is Like Love; It Should Be Entered Into With Abandon or Not At All." -Julia Child

As I mentioned, last night I hosted cooking class.  I'm heading to Texas in a few days, and I thought it would be fun to have a "Southwestern" theme!

I have recently become obsessed with Gina's Skinny Recipes.  I mean OBSESSED!!  She uses so many spices and peppers and onions and other things to make even the lowest calorie dish have so much flavor.  Now that I've moved past the very basics of cooking, I'm no longer intimidated to try some of her recipes.  Last night I went buck wild friends.  BUCK WILD. 

Before we got started, Daisy had a little surprise for us.  Last night marked our Six Month Anniversary of cooking class!  I can't believe it.  Looking back, I'm amazed at what I have learned in 6 months.  It's incredible.  But, in other ways I realize that there is so much I still don't know.  I even learned something new last night....DON'T USE YOUR SHARP KNIVES ON A GLASS CUTTING BOARD.  That explains why they keep getting dull.  Oops.

Anyway...Daisy was in the dining room doing this:

She had a gift for Marilyn Monroe and I:

This picture frame with a quote from Julia Child:

("Cooking is like love; it should be enter into with abandon or not at all.")

This is the photo I plan to put into my picture frame:

She also made us (yes, hand made) corduroy bags for our cooking class.  For each class we bring our aprons, a bottle of wine, whatever someone left at our house the last time we hosted, and sometimes our "accessories".  It's quite a bit to lug around.  Now we have our very own cooking bags!!  I'm so sad I don't have a picture to show you :(

After our celebration, I took over.  We had quite the menu to prepare! 

Hungry Girl Strawberry Daiquiri

Southwest Turkey Meatballs 
Creamy Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Baked Empanadas with a Cuban Picadillo Filling

(are you familiar with Hungry Girl Lisa Lillian? if not, check out her website HERE, or see her on TV.  i actually got this recipe off of her TV show - message me if you want it!  120 calories per cocktail, versus 600+ in a standard daiquiri.  just as delish!)


(Daisy took the Slap Chop for a spin...)

(24 Southwest Turkey Meatballs made from 97% lean turkey meat.  2 meatballs = 67.1 calories)

For some reason we didn't take a picture of the Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing, which is pretty funny considering it was our absolute favorite thing we made all night!!  We even  ate it as a salad dressing.  If you know me well, you know T loves her Ranch dressing.  LOVES.  Well, I think that this Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dressing is going to replace Ranch for me.  Seriously.  I think it would also be great as a veggie dip!

(borrowed this picture from Gina's website.  1/4 a cup of this magical sauce is only 43.3 calories)


(it scares me how Marilyn Monroe cuts tomatoes!)

(this mixture is called sofrito.  it consists of onion, garlic, pepper, tomato and cilantro)

(never seen this done before, but another new trick!  no draining the grease into a jar, and then throwing it out.  just soak it up with a paper towel!  it took us two paper towels)

(daiquiris while cooking...why not?)

(Cuban Picadillo with 95% lean ground beef, peppers, cilantro, cumin, etc.)

(Marilyn rolling out the Goya discs)

(after stuffing the discs with the Cuban Picadillo we brushed the top of the pastries with egg.  then...into the oven!)

(each Baked Empanada was somewhere around 250 calories. they were so filling, we each only had one!)

(me, Marilyn Monroe and Daisy enjoying our piece of the fancy cupcake!)

So there you have it.  Cooking class at T's house was a Southwestern Success!  I've linked to all of the recipes that we used if you are interested (message me for the daiquiri recipe). 

Overall, I was surprised at how "bland" the turkey meatballs were.  We put a jalapeno in there for heaven's sake!  I would definitely recommend making these, but not without the dipping sauce.  Then again...that dipping sauce could make cardboard taste good :)

The Baked Empanadas were out of this world!  I know there are many things you can put into an empanada, but I would make the Cuban Picadillo again any time.  We did each use a dollop of Fat Free Sour Cream with our empanadas.  I think we had eaten so much "spice" last night, that a little dollop of sour cream helped to cool our taste buds :)

Que Aproveche!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Sad State of Affairs

Today is a sad, sad day my friends.

My prized yellow wellies have officially died.

They have been with me through so much.

As silly as it sounds....I just can't imagine replacing them.

Some things just can't be replaced.

Just one more decision for T to make. I've got a few that I'm struggling with right now.

I saw this on Sunday, and it really hit home:

"A decision is followed by action. If you don't act you didn't decide."


Westie Wednesday

Things have been crazy here in T's world.  Just crazy.  I've got so much to update you on, and I'm hoping that tomorrow will be the day. 

But today it's all about Louis.  And his new haircut. 

If that's what you would call it? 

I went to the same groomer I went to the last time.  That time he came home looking like this:

I'm not sure what went wrong?  Because Monday he came home looking like this:

His back is SHAVED.  Literally shaved :(

Louis is not pleased.  Not one bit.  He has been giving me attitude all week.  

I can't say I blame him. 

I bought him some flowers, hoping it would cheer him up:

We're just waiting for them to bloom.
Tonight is cooking class, and I'm hosting :)  I've got something really fun planned, and I can't wait!  Here's a hint:

Louis is excited to wear his cooking bandanna :)

Westie Licks,

T & Louis


Friday, March 25, 2011

You Couldn't Get Here Soon Enough My Friend

Thank you Lord that it's Friday! 

I cannot take another day of this job.

I'm not one to complain about my job, but in the last few months I've decided it may be time. 

Time to move on. 

Time to move to greener pastures.

And I dread every moment I'm here.

But today is Friday, so let's not focus on work. 

Let's focus on play :)

Let's focus on the little bit of The Greenbrier that I brought back home with me:

Let's focus on the fact that last night TEN and I did a little bit of this:

Let's focus on the fact that tonight I am getting together with friends to play a few of these:

Let's focus on the fact that:

We plan to sleep in tomorrow, and then get up to join friends in one of Smalltown, VA's notorious Cocktail Crawls!  This Cocktail Crawl's theme is "March to the Madness", and we are all to wear our school colors in honor of March Madness.  Even if our team is no longer in the running. 

And so...I will break out my Hokie gear and traipse along in the rain (booo...) drinking cocktails.  And I will hold my head high, even though another thug from VT has been arrested.  For something terrible.  Ho hum.

Word on the street is that Smalltown, VA may get some snow this weekend.  I'm not sure how I feel about that. 

Then again, what could be better than a Sunday afternoon on the couch with my two main men?  A fire in the fireplace.  This little muffin handing out kisses left and right:

I'd say there not much I'd rather focus on :)

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Help Me Rhonda!

Happy Thursday!

I'm guest blogging over at Jess' blog Pigtails and Bowties today.  PLEASE take a moment to hop over and let me know if YOU know the answer! 

Even if your name isn't Rhonda :)



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Westie Wednesday

While TEN and I were at The Greenbrier, Louis stayed with his Auntie Daisy and her two pups.  She was also babysitting two teacup Yorkies.  Talk about excitement!  Daisy has a huge backyard, and the pups all stay outside and play most of the time.  Still...I don't know how she does it!  If I had 5 pups at my house I'm afraid I would lose my mind.

Louis was in heaven.  He is very good friends with Daisy's pups, and always has a lovely time when he stays with them.  He comes home exhausted from playing for 2 days straight :)  First things first....we got settled in to the house, and Louis needed a nap.

Then it was time for prizes!!  I think I have mentioned before that when I go away, and leave Louis behind, I always bring him a little toy if he is a good boy.  This time I brought him a stuffed monkey!

(do you see on his belly it says 'i belong to Louis'?)

The monkey's arms and head squeak.  However, his belly grunts!  Louis adores his new monkey.  I actually had a terrible time trying to photograph it because he didn't want to let it go:

(i set the monkey on the arm of the sofa to snap a picture, but Louis grabbed him!)

It looks like the monkey was an excellent bribe to get Louis to forgive me for leaving him for the weekend.  However, on Monday night he wasn't so forgiving :(

I told Louis that I was going to meet WIMP and Mr. WIMP for dinner.  I explained that he would need to be left alone for just a short time, and then I would come home and we could snuggle.  He was not pleased:

I sure wish Smalltown, VA had more dog friendly restaurants :(

There are quite a few of us that have westies that are now doing Westie Wednesday.  Please feel free to "link up" below!!  Even if your fur baby isn't a westie, and you would like to share your little one's life, please join us :)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Weekend Was - The Greenbrier

If you have no interest in seeing (probably way too many) pictures of our weekend at The Greenbrier, you will want to skip this post!

It's funny, I have been to The Greenbrier before for the Greenbrier Classic.  You can read about that visit HERE if you want :)  Anyway, I didn't take any photos on that trip because you weren't allowed to have your camera out and about.  This weekend I was snapping pictures left and right (can we say tacky tourist?!?!?).  I realized how much my camera is lacking.  Not that I have any great skill level when it comes to taking photos, but please know that the following pictures were taken with my point and click...and they leave much to be desired.

Our room:

We got lost, but we didn't mind....

(TEN relaxing in grandeur)

Friday evening TEN and I had dinner at Drapers with Barbie and Ken, who were also at The Greenbrier for the weekend.  We did a bit of walking around, and then headed into the Casino.

No pictures are allowed in the casino, but we didn't stay for very long.  I wanted to watch people playing roulette, craps and black jack.  I wasn't 100% sure which game was going to be "my game" yet. 

After a few cocktails, a bit of shopping, and more cocktails we headed off to bed.


Saturday morning TEN and I walked the grounds before our appointments at the Spa.  We also visited the President's Cottage Museum, and took a tour.  Very interesting!

(the Spring House.  there is a nice little plaque that i photographed with information about the Spring House, but it's a sideways blogger is not cooperating.  sorry.)

(TEN looking down into the spring)

(this is what he sees!)

(i loved this sculpture made out of golf tees!  couldn't resist posting...even if it is sideways :)

There are some other really neat pictures from our walk, but again...they are facing they won't load properly.  Booo....

After our walk we went to The Forum for an Italian lunch treat :) 

I had Baked Gnocchi Al Pomodoro.  It came out with the parmesan, fontina & aged provolone cheeses bubbling, and toasted bread on the side.  TEN had the Sunday Sauce Rigatoni with braised beef, pork and Italian sausage simmered in a red wine marinara sauce.  Both were out of this world!

We did a bit more shopping, and then attended a cooking demonstration by one of The Greenbrier's chefs.  It was great fun, and I ended up buying a set of The Greenbrier's cheese knives.  I've been searching for just the right set...and now I've got them :)

Off to the spa!  I sensed that TEN was a little leery of the spa.  He's had plenty of massages before, but any time I've mentioned a manicure, pedicure, or any other such thing he adamantly refuses.  I'm not sure why?  Anyway, I wasn't sure how this was going to go.  He had agreed to the Mineral Bath Soak.  I had a Mud & Mineral Bath Soak.  I thought this would be a good "step 1" for future spa visits :)

We didn't take our cameras into the spa, but I almost wish I had!  The soaks were in these OLD bath house type rooms.  You walked down the steps into the ground, which was tiled, and water came out from the spring.  It was heated, of course, but so neat!  The time flew by, and I continued to take my time in the women's changing room (showering, blow drying my hair, curling my hair).  There was plenty of the day left, and I didn't want to have to go back to the room before we could do something else.

I did begin to worry that TEN may be losing his patience, so I got myself dressed and headed out to the Spa Lobby.  What in the world was I worried about?!?!?  They had to go back and get TEN (after I waited/shopped for about 5 minutes).  He was having such a lovely time in the men's spa lounge room he wasn't in any hurry!  I couldn't have been happier :)  He went into the sauna, took a shower, and was hanging out in his robe reading the paper.  He met a man who had been there for 6 hours!  He said it was the only place he could go where he could get away from his wife & kids.  I'm not going to lie...that made me sad :(  I told TEN not to get any ideas :-o

After the spa we ran into Barbie & Ken who were enjoying an "original" Mint Julep.  Did you know that the Mint Julep was developed at The Greenbrier?  I had no idea, and I'll tell you what...they were the BEST Mint Juleps I have EVER had.  Hands down.

We all decided to take our Mint Juleps and head to the bowling alley for a friendly game of couple vs. couple. 

TEN and I won.  Not that who wins is important.  But I'm just sayin... :)

After bowling we headed back to the room to get dressed for the evening.  We decided to have dinner at Infusion (in the casino) with Barbie and Ken.  I did a bit more "watching" in the casino before we had dinner. 

I will say, our dinner at Infusion was our least favorite meal of the weekend.  The four of us were in agreement on this.  There wasn't much flavor.  It was rather drab.  And disappointing.  Oh well!  The ambiance somewhat made up for it...

I still wasn't sure which game I was most comfortable with.  I tried craps. 

Every time I thought I had the hang of the game, I was told "no, no...that's not quite right".  I finally gave up.  I took my $200 (or slightly less than), and headed to the roulette wheel. 

I proceeded to loose my next three bets in a row, and called it a day with this game.  There were various other games in the casino, but I decided that I would try black jack.  If that didn't work, I was done...

I have found my game :)  I started out with $200, and I walked away with:

(it should actually be $265.  I think one of the $20's is behind another)

I kept calling this the lucky clam.  I think it's actually a scallop?

We decided we needed a group picture in front of it:

And then it was off to bed!


Sunday we all met in the Main Dining Room to enjoy the Sunday Breakfast Buffet. was so much food!  And so good.  And I'm pretty sure I dreamed about the buffet Sunday night while I lay sleeping :)

(TEN and I after brunch, before we did one more bit of shopping and then head home)

Overall, an absolutely LOVELY weekend :)  We decided that the next time (yes..there will definitely be a next time) we go we will do a few things differently.  Not that this trip wasn't fantastic, but we picked up a few tips along the way...