Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm sorry I didn't post a blog earlier. I didn't have time to post while I was at work today. No, not because I was working hard, but because I spent way too much time looking at pictures of dogs in costumes and then my boss gave me the afternoon off.


My boss mistakenly assumes I have an exciting life and told me it was necessary that I leave at 3pm to get ready for Halloween festivities. Given that I had a pretty hefty goal of wine and mass candy consumption while sitting on the couch tonight, I couldn't argue her on the fact that I did, indeed, need to leave by 3pm.

So here I am, at Brian's house, in charge of passing out candy to the children. All of zero children have come to the door, so I guess this bag of candy is for me.

I got a bag of Miniature Hershey's Cookies 'n Cream bars for the kids (now myself.) These are probably my favorite chocolate bars in the world, which I find odd because I'm not too keen on Oreos, milk and cookies, or Cookies-n-Cream ice cream. Very odd.

Similar unrelated story: Brian was licking a cake batter bowl last week and then announced to me that "this cake batter tastes like oatmeal" to which I said, "I never knew you liked oatmeal" to which he said, "I don't." (Insert fifteenth spoonful of batter into his mouth)

He's weird. I'm weird. And somehow we crossed paths. (To God give the credit, Amen.)

Back to my story, this picture of a Cookies 'n Cream bar broken in half equals 12 mini Cookies 'n Cream bars, therefore if I eat the entire bag, I will have consumed only two candy bars, which does not sound overly gluttonous if you ask me.

And as promised, I will share with you my Halloween party food. I guess these ideas will only be useful for next year, unless your party is going to be very, very last minute.

Bloody Mary Bar

  Candy Corn Jello Shots
 Caramel Apples
 BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalepenos
 Frankenstein Cake

More on the party tomorrow.

Have a happy & safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Not Exactly What I Had In Mind & A Potential Giveaway!

This week has not been what I thought it would be.

I imagined I would make a lot of progress on my October Goals (as in complete all of them since I've done zilch.)

I imagined that I would have a few date nights...date nights with myself. Dinner for one, wine for one. You know the drill.

I imagined that I would memorize the entire script for the Christmas play that I'm performing in because I said I would be ambitious and memorize the entire script. Yeah, no.

I imagined I would go on long walks with Colby, do some P90X Ab Ripper, and eat a little healthier. I'm on my fourth miniature Snickers of the day, and I think I'll wash it down with some candy corn.

I imagined for sure, by now, I would've written a blog post about my Halloween party.

I imagined myself constantly pestering Brian on Google Chat. Talking to him is one of the few things I look forward to all day. He's busy at work this week, refusing to sign on, and therefore avoiding me.

I definitely did not imagine that ONE SECOND AGO the ASDA (American Student Dental Association) email I received would've caught my eye because it featured a recipe from fellow blogger "Sweet Tooth" and now I think I must change my blog title.

My world is crashing down. This other "Sweet Tooth" has a million followers, or 785 to be precise. This brings me all sorts of emotions: jealousy, guilt, shame. I wish I had a 786 followers. I checked my stats and I appear to only have one hundred blog views per day (unless that's just Brian because I know he loves my blog and checks it regularly but probably not 100x/day, idk).

Now that this other Sweet Tooth has gotten so popular (she's giving away a KitchenAid Mixer and has created a FB page with over 1,000 likes) something must be done. If I too am going to be a dental student, dental blogger, and lover of all things sweet, it appears that I cannot also have a blog titled The Sweet Tooth, clever as it may be.

Two is not better than one.

I had my blog first.

No hurt feelings, but I had my blog first.

Any new ideas for my blog title, please place a comment in the comment section below. All entries acceptable until 12/31/2025. No late entries. No double entries. Ok, double entries are fine. Winners will not be contacted. Winners will not recieve a KitchenAid mixer.*

*Unless I win the giveaway on the other Sweet Tooth blog. And then I will be hosting a giveaway of my own. An Artisan "Blue Willow" KitchenAid Mixer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

You pay them $60 and they let you run 13.1 miles. Sign me up.

I've gotten behind on my One Month to Live Challenge that I started about two weeks ago.

I'm about two weeks behind.

At the end of each chapter of the OMTL book, there is a follow-up suggestion, something to ponder, or a short activity. If I remember correctly (granted it's been two weeks), my first day's activity was to think of five things I wanted to change about my life before my pretend death.

I didn't think of anything I wanted to change. I did, however, decide that I would try to run a half-marathon.

I haven't ran since last October's 5k, but I think a half-marathon is totally doable. I'm excited to have a goal to dedicate myself to these next few months. I'm in a waiting limbo with dental school, so now is definitely probably a good time for a half-marathon.

And in case you're wondering, I did not for one second contemplate running a full marathon. I have no desire to actually die, I just want to hypothetically live as if I'm going to die very soon.
And plus, marathons are for Africans. Baby, they were born to run.

So, I'm aiming for the Tobacco Road half-marathon, which takes place on March 18, 2012. I haven't registered yet, so I'm not 100% committed, as is the case with most things in my life. I'm a little worried because I don't want to start my training during the winter months. I also am a little hesistant because I don't want to lose my curves, if you know what I mean.


I will now go back to Microsoft Paint work, but I also wanted to show you a picture of the cake I made for a birthday dinner last night:


I am my own worst critic, but I was fairly pleased with how this Wisconsin Badgers theme cake turned out.
Until the Italian waiter sat the cake down on the table to be served and cheered "Go Wolfpack!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Beaver

I'm excited to tell you that  I stayed awake for an entire movie last week!

I'm sorry to tell you that the movie I stayed awake for was The Beaver with Mel Gibson.


Luck would have it that Brian slept through the entire movie, but miraculously awoke for the climactic, split-second beaver murder that happened when I walked out of the room to pee.

I watched the movie and missed the best part. Brian slept through the movie and awoke for the best part.

Luck would have it.

Don't waste your time on The Beaver, especially if you only have one month to live.

I've actually had a busy morning around here (I too am shocked at this statement!), so I had to make my blog post short and sweet. I was reminded of the lousy Beaver movie while perusing Blockbuster on Sunday. It was $0.50 movie rental day, so Brian rented six movies for $3. And then I bought a box of candy for $3. He got mad. I shrugged and ate a Mike & Ike. Such is my life.

Monday, October 24, 2011

OMG

I made a mistake. It's like I'm human or something.

Word on the street has it that I made an error in my Cake Batter Cookie Recipe.

Remember this blog: Let Them Eat...Cookies? Of course you do.

Cake mix, oil, and 2 eggs. That's all you need to make the cookies. Don't add the water it says to add on the back of the cake mix box.

Or else you might get what my sister got...
Straight cake.
She even said "straight cake" like it was a bad thing.

Perhaps when the cake batter was oozing all over the cookie sheet, she would've known she screwed up.
Sheesh.
Let them eat cake.

And if you're looking for another tasty cake batter cookie recipe, try this one out from my mom's co-worker:


"You won’t believe how easy.. you can do this with any flavor cake batter (dry)!"
-My Mom's co-worker

Lemon Snowflakes

1 box lemon cake mix
1 egg
1 8oz coolwhip
Powder Sugar
Mix – dry mix, egg and coolwhip together.. drop and roll ball in the sugar..bake 350 for about 15 minutes. You want them to crack – yet soft.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sexting

Sexting is the new thing. Or so I'm told.
Not that I'd be any good at it. I am the opposite of anything sexy.
The only fantasy I've ever had is to be buried alive in a bowl of parmesan cheese, and Brian won't even make that happen.

Either way, I was happy when I came across this website, which contains 25 sexting acronyms that I definitely must try. Oh man, I think they're pretty hilarious.

I remember Brian and I first exchanging TEXT messages back in Fall '07.

It went something like this:
Brian: "Do you want to go to the State Fair with me?"
Kelly: "No, I've already been this year." (Lie #1)
Brian: "Oh, well do you want to go again?"
Kelly: "No, I've actually already been twice this year." (Lie #2)

Lying is so much easier via text.

Some days I'm glad he didn't give up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One Month to Live

I'm secretly hoping that some people click on my blog link via Facebook and think that my title is in reference to a terminal illness. No, no. Just a runny nose and a sore throat at the moment--a battle I'm prepared to fight. Should be knocked out in a few days I hope.


Alas, I know you were expecting me to unveil my Halloween party food menu today, but hold your horses! I have a much better, more inedible story to share.

So I went to church unwillingly last Sunday (bypass other story) and discovered that they are doing a church-wide series called "One Month to Live." The concept is to live your hypothetical last month on Earth with a passion and purpose for Christ. I've been reading along in the One Month to Live book each day, but so far I haven't seen much transformation. Let's just say, if I were to croak right now while writing this blog, it would be sans passion and purpose. Thats because I have the common cold, of course, and feel pretty useless at the moment.

The "One Month to Live" concept did, however, inspire me to think of something better than One Month to Live.

I'm calling it One Minute to Live. I ran it by my family members and didn't get much response, but I feel it packs a more powerful punch. It's urgent and pressing. Makes me wanna live for the minute.

Since I have yet to officially launch my "Last Minute" campaign, I'll go along with the church and live out my supposed last four weeks.

Instinct tells me that this One Month to Live idea is similar to the recently popular idea of making a bucket list. Call me normal, but  whenever I decide I'm going to make a bucket list, I just can't come up with anything cool to put on it. Get educated, get a job, get married, get kids...get real! Those things aren't bucket-list worthy.

I should want to learn to belly dance in Hawaii, or conga line dance in Morocco.





Yep, that's dancing mucus.
But dancing isn't really my talent, believe it or not.

So right now I'm going to go take a heavy dose of Mucinex and try to think of something cool to do before I hypothetically die in 26 days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Spirits

Brian's Ghost Pepper Vodka has been steeping for approximately 3 weeks now. Last weekend I took the handle of a spoon, immersed it .000001 mm into the GPV, and then placed it on my tongue. I didn't really taste anything, due to the fact that my entire tongue went numb.



The featured drink of the Halloween party is going to be Bloody Mary's. For the Bloody Mary bar, I've got a selection of Bloody Mary mixes, vodka, optional Ghost Pepper Vodka, spices, Tabasco, worcestershire,  pickles, celery, and Bacon-flavored rim salt.

Should be interesting!

I'm also going to make these adorable Candy Corn Jello Shots.

Picture and Recipe Courtesy That's So Michelle

If you provide enough alcohol at a party, I'm pretty sure all other details become irrelevant. If you're anything like me, however, I tend to hover around the food table instead of the bar.

Stay tuned...tomorrow I will reveal the food lineup!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Carving of the Pumpkin

For reasons unbeknownst to me, one of our friends suggested I have the Halloween party on a Friday night. For me, the host, Friday wasn't exactly ideal as I will be at work all day and will have little time to prepare for the party. I decided that Friday would be fine, however, and with some careful planning I should have very little party set-up on Friday after work.

I have made my to-do list and am doing a little something each night this week in preparation for Friday.

For Halloween, there are so many different creative ideas for decorations! I decided to keep decorations to a minimum, because few in this group will probably appreciate cute Halloween decor, except me of course!

When it comes to hosting a party, your first stop should be here. Hostess with the Mostess blog is one of my favorites! There are so many festive party ideas on this site, it's incredible.

I did feel the need to carve a pumpkin this year. Last year, Brian and I had a pumpkin that wasn't carved and sat on the porch rotting 'til Christmas!
I tried to do a creepy grin on my jack-o-lantern, but apparently he just looks happy.

 And if you like the chewy taste of roasted pumpkin seeds, I created a pretty delicious recipe:
First, rinse and drain the seeds.
Dry the seeds after rinsing.

I poured a drizzle of honey over the seeds and then tossed in a spoonful of brown sugar. Roast the seeds for 30 mins at 350 degrees.


After the seeds have roasted, toss in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. I coated mine very liberally in the cinnamon sugar as you can tell from the picture! I thought they tasted great!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ghosts and Peppers

Remember my October Goals? One of my goals was to have a Ghosts & Peppers party in celebration of Halloween, and partly because Brian has grown an abundance of Ghost peppers this season.

(known as Bhut Jolokias in some circles)

Brian and I have invited a few friends over on Friday night and I am knee deep in party planning! As always, I am most excited about the food!

Let me give you an idea of what usually happens when it comes time to discuss my potential party menus with Brian...

Kelly: "Ok, I've made my food list for the party. I want to know what you think if it."
Brian: "Read me the sweet stuff last."
Kelly: (looking at list) "Um...um....Okay, back to the drawing board."


My sweet items typically outnumber my savory items ten to zero. That being said, I am really working hard on developing some creative goodies--some sweet, some savory.

This week on the blog, I will feature creative Halloween-themed party ideas each day as I prepare for Friday night. I live for the holidays--the cooking, entertaining and crafting--and am so excited we have entered into the holiday months!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Roll Cake

One of my goals for the month of October was to make three pumpkin recipes. One down, two to go.

This weekend I tried my hand at making my very first roll cake! I feared the roll cake. It had potential disaster written all over it. Much to my surprise, however, this cake was very easy to make! I adapted the recipe from this one I found with a Google search.

Step 1: Pour pumpkin cake batter onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 375.


Step 2: Cover a dish towel in powdered sugar.
Step 3: Roll up the cake in the towel.
Step 4: Let cake cool in the fridge for one hour. Unroll from towel and spead cream cheese icing in the center. Gently roll cake (without towel) back up and serve!....Preferablly not on a Santa platter...unless it's December.
Simple and gorgeous!

I added about half a tub of cool whip to the cream cheese frosting. I personally thought the recipe for the frosting had too strong of a cream cheese taste. I think I actually prefer the store-bought icing rather than making the homemade frosting from this recipe. You can decide on the frosting you want to use!

I think this cake would definitely be a hit at any occasion this holiday season! What pumpkin recipes should I try next?!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meatballs and Mondays

This morning was definitely a Monday. It was my first stressful day since I started two weeks ago, but I'll take it! I prefer having too much to do than too little.

After a fun Saturday night at the World Beer Festival in Durham, yesterday was spent on the couch. I was bored, lazy, and good for nothing.

Here is a self portrait of me yesterday:

Barely recognizable, I must say.

I did muster up the energy to cook one of my favorite meals- Spaghetti and Meatballs! This is a twist on the classic hamburger sauce. I used pork sausage for my meatballs instead of beef, and I actually like it much better.

For the meatballs
1 roll of mild pork sausage
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs
A dash of pepper and Garlic Powder

Mix all the ingredients using your hands and place on a hot skillet. Brown each side of the meatballs and pour in your favorite jar of sauce.





While cooking the sauce, cook the spaghetti noodles. My prefered spaghetti method is to pour the sauce over top of the noodles on my plate. I don't pre-mix the spaghetti and sauce before serving, but that's just me!

Not Pictured: The additional half gallon of parmesan cheese I added that buried my entire plate. :-)

Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Weekend Dish

What's on your plate for this weekend?

Why not get in the kitchen a bake up a Pumpkin Roll Cake?

Photo Courtesy Taste of Home

My first attempt at a roll cake will likely not look the same as the one pictured above. It will probably be more like a Pumpkin Crumb Cake. 

Maybe I will carve a really cool Jack o' lantern....


Tonight, I'm headed over to Papa Mojo's Roadhouse for some live music and New Orleans cuisine. I've read some great reviews and am excited to check out a new restuarant!

Now I just have to count down the hours here at work before I can get outside and start my weekend! The candy corn is being consumed at a faster-than-normal pace today. It's definitely a FRIDAY!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

I don't think I've ever had an enchilada I didn't like.

My usual go-to method for making enchiladas and quesadillas consists of shredding a store-bought Rotesserie Chicken, adding Taco Seasoning to the chicken, and topping it with Mexican cheese. I came up with this idea a couple years ago when I wanted to make quesadillas for me and Brian. I loved them, he loved them, and all was good.

Though you really can't beat that simple method, I wanted to try a different enchilada recipe to spice things up a bit. In a literal sense, I really did spice things up, almost too much for my liking. I adapted my recipe from this Tyler Florence recipe on Food Network: Chicken Enchiladas.

I started by slicing a chicken breast and seasoning it with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. I sauteed the chicken in a drizzle of oil until it was fully cooked.

While cooking the chicken, I used my food processor to chop a red onion and Chipotle peppers (these can be found in the Mexican aisle). I did not remove the seeds from the Chipotle peppers, which is what adds a kick to this dish! After removing the cooked chicken from the pan to cool, I added the onions and peppers to the hot pan and sauteed them for approximately 5 minutes. Next, I added one tablespoon of minced garlic, a small can of corn, and one can of stewed tomatoes to the pan with the peppers and onions.  


I tried to break up with tomatoes as best I could, but I later found out that I didn't do a very good job. Chunky tomatoes resulted in some complaining (not to name names).

Once the chicken has cooled, shred it and add it to the pan. If needed, dust the mixture with flour to help it get thick.

Microwave flour tortillas for about 30 seconds. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with enchilada sauce (I purchased this at the store). Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture and a handful of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it in the baking dish. I was able to fit 8 enchiladas packed tightly in the dish. Cover with more enchilada sauce and extra cheese. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


Enjoy!

Ingredients
1lb. chicken breasts                               1 small can corn
1 red onion                                            1 can stewed tomatoes
1 tbsp minced garlic                               1 can enchilada sauce
Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce         Salt
Cajun Seasoning                                   Pepper
Mexican cheese                                    Flour tortillas

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Another Day's Work

If you work 40 hours a week for one year and take two weeks of vacation, you will have worked for 2,160 hours. I did some number crunching and that means 24.7% of your entire year is spent at work.

Best to love your job, I suppose.

I've been adjusting to my new job this week. It's a lot different than what I'm used to. It's not fast-paced, there's practically no stress, and I have a lot of free time on my hands.

Yes, I am getting paid for this.

Today I decided to make my desk my own. To give you an idea, I have the huge desk that's in the main lobby of the Corporate Finance suite. The whole place is fancy and new -I love it! Next week, I think it will be time to bring in some festive fall decor, but for now, I just put up a few things to make it feel more like home.


 And my secret stash, which is totally necessary:
Brian and I had a romantic outing to Walmart last night. The picture frames were $3 and the candy was a dollar! They were practically giving it away. Can't beat that!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Let Them Eat...Cookies!

I decided to make Cake Batter Cookies for our book club meeting last week.

Simple. Easy. Delicious.


I used a Funfetti cake mix, which is my favorite, but I think the cookies would work well with almost any flavor!

To make the cookies, follow the instructions for the cake on the back of the box, but OMIT one egg. Spoon the batter onto a cookie sheet like you would any other cookie and bake at 350 for approximately 10 mins. Carefully watch the cookies in the oven, as these are best slightly undercooked!

Let cool and enjoy!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Goals


Cooler weather, a trip to Charleston, and the North Carolina State Fair---Hello October!

For me, Fall, Winter, and Spring are necessary seasons. Reason being, I would otherwise take Summer for granted. I will, however, appreciate the pumpkin lattes, the caramel apples, and the low humidity that Fall will bring.

I successfully completed my only September goal, which was to order my picture prints from 2011. My Walmart photo order was $76.00. At $0.09 each, that's a lot of pictures!

I am challenging myself this month to tackle a lot of things on my "to-do" list. Here are my goals for this month:

1. Organize and update my recipe books
2. Complete Jan-April of 2011 scrapbook
3. Bake and decorate sugar cookies with Royal Icing
4. Read three books
5. Bake three pumpkin recipes
6. Have a Ghost Pepper party*

*Ghost Peppers are the hottest peppers in the world. I'm not quite sure what a Ghost Pepper party entails yet, but I know it will feature homemade ghost pepper vodka courtesy Brian. I personally will not be ingesting anything hotter than a bacon-wrapped jalapeno.