You’ll never believe it!!

Hello, lovelies! You will never guess what I had the sheer LUCK of getting today!! I’m so excited to tell.

But first I would like to introduce you to some of my daily interactions.

Meet TJ!

She’s my not as fat as she used to be kitty that I switched to weight controlled food. She’s my 6 a.m. snuggler and one of my favorite cats, ever! Though nobody else but me sees her personality, it’s quite colorful ;)

Meet Mo.

His butt gets filthy. It's quite a pain!

Named after this cutie from Wall-E by my BFF Sara.

Mo is currently breaking. Oh boy, is he breaking. The front wheel bearing is sooo loud and needs to be replaced and his poor little exhaust pipe broke off a few weeks ago. Broke off and made my car sound like a motorcycle/semi truck! Poor Mo.  I hope my grandpa can fix him!

Not to mention he has some problem where he constantly smells like burritos! (I don’t eat burritos!) Hmmm.

Meet my Skates!

It's okay to have a waffle iron in your car with your skates, right?

These are my skates that are in my car to use at any given time I feel like roller blading. I planned for them (or my bike) to be my main source of exercise until I can run again. However, I’ve been quite a slacker. Not only have I started eating terribly but I’m pretty sure I can win an award for the amount of excuses used to not exercise.

I’m hoping this bloggy can help keep me motivated to use them! :) They’re dying to be used!

Meet my tard foot.

This is tard foot. You can see one of the two scars from my surgery. What you can’t see is how much of a pain in the butt this foot is! The weather changed and my tendons decided that they didn’t want to stretch so I was in agony for about 2 weeks! Eeesh.

It’s okay though, exercise will help it! :)

Meet my Mother’s chickens.

Little beasts, I call them!

Hear me out.

One of those two roosters (the other hens are sitting away) is out to get me! He attacks me all the time.

And let me tell you, it is not very easy to kick a rooster. They are much heavier than they look!

Meet my Hanson.net Fan Club Member Card!

This card got me to my exciting news today!!

I asked BFF Sara if she wanted to go to a Hanson concert in Ft. Lauderdale and she said of course she would go with me (she just started digging on Hanson!) Anyway, I bought the tickets a few weeks ago and clicked the special fan club “request a meet and greet” button and didn’t think anything of it.

Low and behold, I got an email today saying I won a meet and greet with Hanson!!!! AHHH!!! You have no idea how pumped I am!! I’ve been in L-O-V-E with them for 13 years and have never met them! I can’t believe it, I’m so pumped up. It’s surreal :) I cant’ wait to share the pictures with y’all!
Hopefully I can find some time to cook some food in the next few days. I miss cooking but I’ve been so swamped with school that I may just need to make quick and healthy meals instead of time consuming tasty treats ;)

Picture update!

So over the last few months of my non updating I have been up to a few things.

Including an AMAZING trip to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga. We also saw “Love” the Cirque Du Soleil show and it was one of the best things I have ever seen in my life. Not only did it reignite my love for the beatles, but it was so wonderful that I insisted we see it again. The food we ate was so delicious! It was such a great spur of the moment trip, I still cannot believe it happened. I also fell in love completely with one of the performers in the cirque show. Sad that he will never know it! (If you ever see it, the guy with the flowers /swoooooooooooon!!!!)

Covered in streamers from the end of the Love show!

We hit up the Bellagio buffet and check out our dessert haul, hah!

Lady Gaga was one of the most amazing concerts I have seen or will ever see, hands down. It was like a crazy amped up theatrical performance, I loved it!  She also said how much she loved her fans about 50 times and it made me love her even more.

our VIP tickets were so great! :)

We also ate at the most A-MAZING burger place I have ever tasted called BLT Burger. Omg. If you are in vegas, go to the mirage and eat there. The burgers are to die for, as are the milkshakes and the sweet potato fries. Nothing was bad! Oh my. We ate there twice!

Such an amazing trip! Though we didn’t win big at all, which was upsetting. :(

 

We did see a guy walk right into a fountain and start stealing change….we named him Water Coins. Hah!

 

Since then there has been a lot of fantasy football (my team BLOWS), lots of sleeping over at Kevin and Alex’s house, and lots and lots and lots and lots of homework. Planning to go to a great grad school I’m super focused on my grades so I’ve got lots of work to do always. Sadly this makes for not a lot of cooking time :(

 

I’ve also taken to absolutely hating my face-greased iphone 3G because it is the SLOWEST most awful phone ever. It keeps freezing and not loading anything about 50% of the time.

 

I may just smash it.

 

I’ve taken to using my amazing Love blanket I got in Vegas. :) I couldn’t decide what to get at the store but decided on a throw at the last minute because I’m perpetually freezing.

 

The same BFF of mine that got me the awesome lady gaga seats also got me a ticket to a great Rays/Angels game. :) He’s pretty freakin fantastic :) And he’s supposed to be here at the end of the month! I’m so excited!! I hope he has fun here in the O, we have plans for Universal and lots of movie watching!

 

The family next to me left when the Rays were down in the 6th.

Ahaha, my mouth looks crazy! I love it!

My moms chickens are also starting to lay eggs! Our fridge is filling up! She’s super excited. She actually just got 10 more chicks that lay fancy eggs. By fancy I mean they are dark chocolate brown eggs and sell for some serious $$.

 

Since a few months ago when I started using our cast iron pan to start seasoning it my Dad took an interest in it. Then when I made my restaurant steak he got REALLY interested in it and wanted to get some more pans. He took a trip with my mom up to North Carolina a weekend or two ago and they had a mission to find used cast iron pans at a flea market. They ended up finding quite a few and brought 3 back home in different sizes. Super exciting! They learned a lot about which ones are the best to get and which are the oldest American made ones and also how to tell if they weren’t made in America.

He’s really excited that one of the pans, which was really rusty, needed to be scrubbed and seasoned so he did that tonight.

 

The boys were really interested because of the...

Lard! Yum.

 

Phew! I think I covered mostly everything. If not, c’est la vie. :) It’s great to be back, my darlings.

Postings.

I never write in this thing. I just got home from a birthday party for one of my friends (and being home for the first time since Thursday) and I’m warm and in my own bed and I’m thinking. Thinking. All I can think about is how I don’t write in this thing. There are so many things in my head tonight that I want to talk about and I want to discuss! I’ll have to make a list and make sure I keep up with this because I really love the idea of blogging. Reading so many different ones and seeing the fun that bloggers have when they meet each other (and experiencing it somewhat at a birthday party for Healthy Ashley) was so much fun!

Another reason I feel the urging to post is because one of my favorite public speakers (who I mentioned slightly in my very first post) is having health problems and it is very upsetting to me. I won’t name who it is because they are controversial but they teach me a lot about life and how to live it and they inspire me constantly. I made a promise to myself that I would actively pray for them daily and, in complete honesty, I have yet to do so. I still need to find my faith. I have a door to it via my favorite college professor and I haven’t walked through it yet and I still can’t figure out why, maybe because I’m scared to do it alone. However, I am blessed enough to have a wonderful friend named Dante who said he’d accompany me to church and help me find what I am looking for so I’ll have to take him up on it. I particularly want to go to the church that my History professor, the professor I just mentioned, is a pastor at. Though I haven’t brought that up to Dante yet, perhaps I will.

Coming around to what I was getting at, my favorite public speaker always says to write everything down. As a lover of history, I really believe in it. This is one of the reasons that they (the speaker) says it is so effective. Our forefathers did it and we have learned so much about them through their writing and their words, and I think it’s so important to this day. So I plan to write more, in honor of one of my favorite people in the world and in honor of myself.

I’ve been busy with homework and trying to be social. Rekindling relationships with best friends that I strayed from, mainly because they lived on the opposite side of town and it would take me an hour of driving to see them. It has been so much fun! However,  I do miss home. I don’t know if that makes me immature or not, loving to be home with my parents and in a house that I love. Maybe I just am ready to start a family. Who knows. I just know that I love being home and I really miss it. I also can’t take my darling cat TJ with me when I stay over which breaks my heart.

I’m still focused on school but not nearly enough. I need to keep at it. I’ve managed to keep an A in each of my classes so far, I hope I can keep it up. Things are starting to pick up the pace even faster and time is going by so fast. I have another school I attend online for job training, in medical coding, and I need to finish it by February. I really hope that I do so I didn’t waste a bunch of money. That and it will be really helpful in future training for databases and library systems.

I’m unhappy with quite a few of my life choices and I need to fix them. Some of them being my absolute gluttony and laziness as of late, I’m really frustrated. That and I’ve been spending money like a fiend and need to stop, it’s making me unhappy. I don’t like being wasteful and I definitely have been so I need to rectify it. The easiest way for me to do it is to stay at home and enjoy what I have here. I have more than enough things that I need.

I’ll elaborate more on these things for sure as I keep posting and updating about my life. I need to get back to my cooking soul when I’ve got the time and my training of being a southern belle. Boy, do I love the south. It’s an overwhelming love that I have felt so much lately driving around in gorgeous Florida weather.

Darlings, it is time for me to go to bed. Now that I have posted and gotten these thoughts out I am ready to relax and sleep. I look forward to this again :)

Restaurant Steak

Hello, beauties! :) I have spent my day redoing so many things on my computer because I had to format on a whim the other night. Thank you, pop up ads! But everything is fine and I didn’t lose anything (that I know of…)

So after the chocolate pants cake fiasco the other day, I haven’t tried baking anything. I have been cooking delicious meats! Since my Mama is out of town I’m in charge of feeding the Papa bear so I’ve had a bit of leeway with cooking this week. I don’t mind cooking for my Mom at all, but it is easier to cook for 2 than 3. You don’t have to double recipes and other things.

 I have a brine for porkchops that is seriously to die for, I’ll make a post on that soon. This post is about steak :)

Last year, Adam of The Amateur Gourmet posted a link about making the perfect steak. I’ve been dying to try it and finally gave it a whirl tonight.

Two things to start off with:

  • I did not use a New York strip steak, those are astronomically priced so I just cut up a sirloin we were going to use.
  • I would probably triple the amount of seasoning I put on as I didn’t get a “crust” on my steak like I was supposed to.

Get your steaks out, your seasonings ready (salt and pepper), a cast iron pan (or any pan but get it very very hot, but preferably cast iron or stainless steel), and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Also take out 2-3 tablespoons of butter per steak and 2-3 cloves of garlic per steak. You will also want a few sprigs of fresh thyme, however, I had none!

Once your steak is cut up (or if you bought it pre-cut), time to season!

According to the video, you’re supposed to use pepper that is not finely ground and then top it with salt. This keeps the pepper from burning.

As you can see, I went really light on the spices. Should have been a bit heavier. Primarily cover the large sides and any that has spilled around the steak, roll the sides of the steak in.

Now here is one of my biggest tips I have learned so far in my short jaunt into cooking: cast iron rules. So get yourself one ASAP! I use my pan for so many things, it works so well. Lodge is my favorite since it’s made in good ol’ Tennessee and has been for over 100 years.

Now, Make sure your pan is scorching hot*. You want the crust to happen so everything needs to carmelize and create that very quickly.

*A friend of mine just tried this and says I advise it should not be scorching hot. So make it very hot! I don’t want you burning your house down. :)

After your pan is hot enough, add some oil (I used olive and I think I put a bit too much.)

Once your steak has sizzled for a few minutes, check it to make sure the crust is forming. Since mine didn’t really form one because of not enough seasoning + too much oil, I jus waited til my fat started to turn golden brown, then flipped.

This looks more like pork than steak! Woops ;)

 

While the other side is sizzlin’ make sure you tip your pan and use a spoon to ladle and baste some oil to the top of your steak since it’s about to go into the oven.

Remove from the heat and place your butter, garlic, and thyme into the pan. I felt like there was too much oil so I drained some of it before I put the pan into the oven.

 

Also, I love butter. So…I used 3 T for each steak ;) mmmm. Cholestorol!

Check until the meat feels a little firm if you want a medium rare steak. It took me 6-8 minutes to get mine perfect.

Shiny steak is delicious steak :)

Not usually. I have never thought that before but hey…I’m sellin ya on this!

 

The steak, despite my failure at making a crust, tasted freaking awesome. If I had made a crust and had the thyme in there, it would have been freaking fabulous. I really cannot wait to try it again now that I know what I did wrong.

One of my main problems is that I’m really worried I’m going to over season something. It gets scary sometimes! I don’t want to add too much salt! But on the other hand…I could care less about adding too much butter ;)

I really wanted to have time to make another recipe post, Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run just posted a cookie recipe that has 14 tablespoons of butter in it and I swear to God I swooned when I read it. I’m also remaking her chicken and biscuits recipe soon for my Mama once she is back in town. So there’s two things to look forward to! :)

As for this weekend, I have 2 VIP Lady Gaga tickets to use! One of my best friends surprised me with them and I had to throw together an impromptu trip to Las Vegas at the end of last week. Two of my best friends here were able to make it work to come with, and it works out because Alex is the biggest Lady Gaga fan I know! :) Huge post on that when I get back (or possibly while I’m there?), and a huge post on the buffets ;)

Chocolate Pants Cake

Intrigued by the title? I sure hope so!

So remember a few posts ago (I tried to find it to link it but alas…I cannot! I type too many words per entry.) I told y’all I would be documenting my cooking triumphs and failures?

Well, I have another failure for you! ;) It seems like I post those more than I post triumphs! However, I think it’s more fun this way. I’m still learning! I know a lot of others out there in blogger/internet world are, too. I also know that I get frustrated and scream to the heavens (in my head) that these people who wrote the recipes never had to deal with these failures!!! Why me!?!?

Which of course we all know is false. Still. I wonder it.

Onward we shall go with my tale of chocolate pants cake.

The other night I was in my amazing google reader and I saw that Smitten Kitchen had updated. Now, I love that blog. It drives me to go bake things all of the time because her pictures are beyond amazing and she is so fun. So, she posted a wonderful chocolate cake recipe and I was amazed that I had the book she had gotten the recipe from! Hooray, so exciting!! So I vowed to make it the next day.

Her directions are very simple and require a very small amount of dishes so I was even more pumped up. That’s my least favorite thing about baking.

So here I am, mixing my ingredients, looking smug about how great the batter tastes and how it’ll be done before it’s too late in the evening.

Also smug about the batter I got on my counter.

I popped it into the oven and was ready to kick back for an hour when I realized….I forgot to add baking soda.

Well, poop.

Quickly, I whined to my Papa who told me to toss it and start over otherwise I’d just be more upset.

Onto cake numero 2!

Added everything!

Kicked back.

Chilled.

Wondered to myself “I wonder why the middle isn’t rising? Oh well. It will, it’s only been in for 30 minutes.”

Wondered again “There’s only 15 minutes left and it’s still not rising.”

Papa says “Your cake fell.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I cried. (In my head)

And this was the result.

:(

Sinkhole Cake

How upsetting!

I thought maybe I could get away with frosting it and covering the hole.

My cat judged me.

To the icing!!

See?! You can’t even tell. Kind of. Just that it bends a bit with the plate. Hrrm.

The foundation is crumbling!

Now, just because a cake doesn’t rise doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! This cake honestly tastes like rich brownies and I’d recommend baking it. However, mine cooked a little too long because my oven runs very hot. So keep a check on it after about 40 minutes.

And if your cake falls and you cover it in icing then eat a piece? Be prepared for a plateful of chocolate cake pants. ;)

I really am the worst blogger ever.

I started this blog with full intentions of updating it ALL the time. But I’m awful at it!

So this entry will  be bulleted and nice and hopefully return us to our regularly scheduled blogging. ;) (Don’t mind my cell phone picture updates!)

I would like to start by announcing that I am 100% debt free! Wow! :) Very proud moment for me and I’m so psyched about it. I should be able to complete my undergrad schooling with no debt accrued. Hopefully the same will be true with grad school but we’ll see. That can be quite expensive…eeep!

I had an amazing 4th of July with some of my very best friends!! A few were missing like our friend Jimmy but it was still lots of fun. :)

I bought a Macbook Pro and took a trip to Miami with a good friend who was in from Las Vegas. He’s best friends with me and my best friend Sara, who lives there! So him and I ventured down there after I picked him up from the airport. It was super fun! I wish she didn’t have to work so much but it was still worth it.

We ate Primanti Bros! It’s a restaurant that is always and forever on food countdowns that are on TV so we made a point to go. The pizza was to die for and the sandwiches were pretty fantastic. I could definitely go there for pizza alone!

The day we were leaving I cooked them croque-madam with a different recipe. I made a cheese sauce to go on the top layer of bread and used a strong swiss cheese. Sooo worth it! It came out fantastic!

Came home and worked on a project for my Oceanography class. Good thing I live on a lake. :)

Returned the Macbook Pro and am now having a vendetta with Apple.

Upgraded to a really amazing lens (24-105mm) on my camera and got a separate flash. I’m in love.

Loved my pets, wore uggs in the dead of summer since I’m always freezing, covered my bike in towels because I’m an exercise slacker, was judged at a distance by my cat, been grossed out by my medical coding book, and came to terms with the fact that my cat has quite a large belly that probably will never get smaller.

Got my electrode machine in the mail and am addicted beyond belief. So much foot pain relief.

For BFF Sara’s birthday I took another trip down to the M-I-A and baked her a chocolate pumpkin cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing. Ate a huge burger with 2 eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon on top. Made a pulled pork and cornbread dinner for the two of us and had a wonderful night with Miss Sara setting off sparklers.

Found out I’m getting an A in Oceanography, very excited!! :) My GPA goes up to 3.64 once the grade goes in. Studying for the GRE in preparation for UNC applications a year from now.

Saw Inception 4 times. I’m in love.

and I am completely obsessed with the new Hanson album.

Check it out. It’s fabulous!

And that concludes the last month of my life. Relatively…:)