Bracing the Self

January 26, 2014

I think most of the inhabitants of North America would agree –

Winter is absolutely whack-a-doo this year.

The change from warm, sunny days to a thirty-degree-ice-rain-of-death day was almost too much for this poor Texan to handle.

My husband and I stayed home from work on Friday during Icemageddon. He played computer games, while I was chained to the kitchen table, participating in a work-related conference call.

Skeleton Sketch

That went well.

Beignet kindly kept me company during the day. I’ll admit, working from home is so much better with a warm, fuzzy dog near your feet.

And a Keurig brewer ten steps away.

Work Buddy

I haven’t been really feeling myself lately. I’ve been extremely tired during the day, despite a solid eight to nine hours of sleep each night.

And then there’s the brain fuzz*. Do you know the sensation of one of your limbs “falling asleep”? Imagine that sensation in the brain.

*I may have accidentally locked Beignet in the garage for fifteen minutes this morning. Gah. Sometimes I am the worst parent ever.

Maybe it really is the weather. Maybe not.

But this I know – Cookies heal the soul.

So, I made two batches: snickerdoodle and sugar with sprinkles.


Both of these cookies are phenomenal, especially with a small glass of cold milk.

Cookies and Milk

Armed with these cookies and a fresh carton of milk, Jason and I are bracing for the next cold front due Tuesday. I can only hope the cookies hold out.


Gonna Roast a Chicken

January 26, 2014

Places, Everybody!

Okay, so the title of the song is actually “Gonna Stuff a Chicken,” but there’s gonna be no stuffin’ chickens here. It would be… unsouthern.

Jason and I have been on a roast-chicken-kick for a few months now, and unfortunately for him, this song gets sung in our home every time.

“Gonna roast a chicken…”

He seems to handle it pretty well.

“Like my mama taught me!”

At least he hasn’t cracked in front of me. Not yet anyway.

You know what really irks me though? Roast chicken has a rep of being so difficult to prepare. Puh-lease! How hard is it to slap a bird with butter, shove a lemon up its butt, and throw it in the oven?

I blame this article from Glamour. The perfect roast chicken recipe to spur your guy to propose?! That’s a lot of pressure on a chicken!

No wonder those roast chickens from the grocery store are so popular…

I like Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Chicken recipe, but I’ll admit, I’ve never made it to the gravy in Step 4. All bets are off once this bird is out of the oven, especially when you live with the ultimate chicken connoisseur*.

*I had to drag so-called connoisseur away from a 10-lb. bag of chicken wings at the grocery store today.

The great thing about this recipe is that it allows for lots of freedom. Sage (my favorite!) and rosemary are amazing additions to the four sprigs of thyme.  Also, there are no rules against sprinkling chopped herbs over the buttered skin with the [kosher] salt and [fresh ground] pepper prior to roasting. It just makes the skin that more delectable.

Roast Chicken Prep

[roast chicken prep]

And no, I didn’t use 2 tablespoons of butter to coat the skin prior to roasting. Of course not. I used 1/4 cup or 1/2 a stick.

According to Martha, the chicken is done when the breast registers 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and the thighs 190 degrees Fahrenheit. I wrap aluminum foil around the wings and drumsticks during the roasting process when the skin starts crisping too much.

Perfect Roast Chicken

And ta-da! Roast chicken!

Please don’t make fun of my trussing skills.


Getting better?

August 20, 2013


Oh, hi there.

This year has been a doozy so far.

Lots of neat trips…


WDW Summer 2013


Very special occasions…

Jason's Birthday Cake 2013

Pink Birthday Cake Martini

Funfetti Cupcakes

And happy family time…

Color Run Spring 2013


It’s been practically eight months since my very first blog post. Perhaps I will get better? Maybe there is an adjustment period? *big shoulder shrug*

What I do know is this: Spicy cauliflower, bok choy, and shrimp stir-fry with coconut is delicious. And simple. Well, simple if you cut and prepare the bok choy and cauliflower prior to cooking, which Jason did so kindly for me.

This dish comes together so quickly and behaves well with substitutions. Sadly, Jason is allergic to shrimp, so I substituted half a block of firm tofu (pressed and dried) in the recipe. No need to greatly alter the recipe if you choose our route- just substitute “tofu” for every “shrimp”. I also used sriracha instead of sambai oelek, and I omitted the fresh basil leaves. Serve with rice or soba noodles if you like.

One quick note: Don’t be alarmed by the dish’s odd smell once you add the chili sauce, agave syrup, and fish sauce to the garlic in the sauté pan. The smell my be off-putting, but the taste is phenominal – hint of spiciness and yummy Asian flavor.

Oh, and the vegetables… this dish will convert the cauliflower haters. Or at least silence them. And thhe crisp texture of the bok choy is heavenly and satisfying to much.

Cauliflower stir-fry

Try it. Double dare you.


New Beginnings

January 1, 2013

1 2 3 … 1 2 3 …

Is this thing on? Right. Well, here we go…

2012 was an amazing year. I ran my first marathon, married my best friend, and travelled cross-country to visit friends and family, and sadly, I did not document any of these adventures. A wise person (Hi, Mom!) told me to keep a journal about my life, so no memory, no matter how small, is ever lost. So, this blog is my feeble attempt to better record my life. You’ll see a lot of stuff about my husband Jason and my passions for running and cooking. You’ll probably see some pathetic attempts/frustrations at/with speaking the Russian language. And there’ll probably be tidbits of acoustics and physics thrown in. But I’m not going to lie to you. The blog is really about her-


This furry monster is Beignet. Beignet is an integral part of our little family, the crazy glue so-to-speak. I adopted Beignet in April 2010, exactly one month after my cross-country move to Houston. I found Beignet, or rather, Beignet found me through the Houston Collie Rescue. It was love at first sniff. Beignet and I have been through a lot together. Beignet is a heartworm “survivor”, and she overcame two very frustrating and sometimes excruciating months of heartworm treatment.  But fret not. She is a very  happy albeit obnoxious girl, and since Jason, a.k.a. Dad, moved-in during September 2011, she couldn’t be any happier.

There you have it! A girl. A guy. Their dog. Let the adventures begin!