Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mr. Bento

I got a Mr. Bento last week! It is so cool, and will be great to take my lunch along on our many work road trips. This really holds A LOT. This is my lunch and breakfast. From the top left, I have garbage bread, sweet potato salad and olives, Fage 0% Greek yogurt with mango butter, and tamajoyaki.

What is garbage bread you ask? Well, it's pizza dough- I prefer whole wheat-rolled into a rectangle, topped with whatever ingredients you like, rolled up, baked at 350 for about 40 minutes and then sliced. True to it's name, mine had ingredients I had to really get creative to put together. I started with sun dried tomatoes and bacon, but thought it needed more substance. I then smashed up a can of great northern beans, added some fresh garlic and just a tiny bit of water to thin it. I first spread this on the dough, then topped with the tomatoes and bacon. I also added some black pepper and crushed red pepper.
Surprisingly, the beans "disappeared" in the final product. I couldn't see them or taste them, but I didn't feel as guilty knowing that bit of healthy goodness was hidden away.

I've already made my bento for tomorrow. I doubt I have time to post again until next week, so I am posting it here. Tonight after visiting a sweet little old lady and then some last minute Christmas shopping, I decided that cooking was not in my plans, so I called in an order to O' Fusion, one of my favorite new restaurants in town. I tried something new--Garlic Pork, which was described as "fragant vegetables with meat of your choice (pork!) in a spicy red garlic sauce." Now, I like vegetables. I do. But this was the first dish from there that I have been disappointed in because those fragrant vegetables consisted of broccoli. Had I eaten in, I would have complained, but didn't realize until I was home. Oh well. I ate some anyway, and have enough for two meals left over! I also got an order of Tom Kha Gai soup. This is chicken in a coconut broth with vegetables. Very rich and flavorful. However, mine is better.
Here is tomorrow's breakfast and lunch. Garlic pork with broccoli and garlic rice, yogurt with pineapple/mango preserves, more sweet potatoes and olives, and Tom Kha Gai soup.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Who is currently working on his prepositions--on vs. in. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Name That Dog!

After much careful consideration, I've narrowed the name possibilities down to four. They are none of the same ones I have considered since meeting this little guy on Sunday. Go figure.
Anyhow, isn't he a cutie? He is just the sweetest thing, and I think the medicine my little Peanut needed after losing Harley (I may post on that later). Anyhow. Read on for the choices.
Cosmo, Copper, Ember, or Zephyr. I have a favorite, but I'm not telling yet!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Three in a Row!

Wow, three days in a row to Bento AND to blog? Amazing! So for tomorrow's lunch, I have some broccoli and bok choy cooked in a bit of sesame oil with garlic and soy sauce, marinated flank steak, brown rice, more sweet potato goodness. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this salad? Have I mentioned that I bought 8.5 lbs of sweet potatoes yesterday? Also some more cranberry salad and a couple of my favorite blue cheese stuffed olives--pure goodness.
About the flank steak. Remember the sweet potato/peanut butter sauce I made for the noodles for Bento #1? I have some left over. I HATE wasting food. So, I thinned it with water, added sesame oil, lime juice, Sriracha, a bit more peanut butter, and marinated the steak overnight. Then I pan broiled because my grill is out of gas for the time being. I like my flank stake on the rare side of medium. Not quite rare, but more so than medium well, otherwise is gets too tough and is difficult to eat.

I got several interesting comments on my Bento today. The cold tamagoyaki turned one person off. Truly, I would have me too until I tried it. Something about adding the tiny bit of sugar makes it taste so much NOT like an egg. Not that that makes any sense. You just have to trust me on this. Try one. You'll like. I'm not crazy about eggs, and I actually LIKE this.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Bento!

So, two days in a row! I have the same sweet potato salad, but made with white balsamic vinegar and not as much so hopefully I don't drown out the sweet potato flavor again. In the silicone cupcake cup, I have a simple cranberry salad. The bottom layer is roasted broccoli with a dusting of Parmesan, blue cheese stuffed olives, and another tamagoyaki that is sort of hidden under the broccoli. I have to admit-I don't like broccoli. I buy it because I know it's good for me and with hopes that I'll find a way to incorporate it into my diet. I ate some tonight for dinner, along with an egg tamagoyaki because what is easier than a two minute egg?

Monday, December 14, 2009


OK, so it's been a while. I'm back. I don't know if it will be permanent, but as for right this instant I am here.

I made my 2nd Bento tonight. The 1st really shouldn't count though, because it was more of a snack/breakfast. Not lunch. Tonight I made lunch. For tomorrow. I may try to do this a couple or three times a week. We'll see.

So. What did I put into my bento? Sweet potatoes. Lots and lots of sweet potatoes. I shredded a sweet potato, mixed it with a homemade balsamic viniagrette spiked with some cayenne and chili powder, added some chili-toasted pecans and golden raisins. Next, I shredded a sweet potato (do you see a pattern here?). I boiled it until tender. I pureed it with some peanut butter, garlic, S&P. I mixed this with some organic brown rice udon noodles. It looks ugly, but it tastes good so I am happy. That is the big layer. The small layer is made up of 5 blue cheese stuffed olives (my latest guilty pleasure-I can't get enough of them), some Food Should Taste Good sweet potato tortilla chips, and a 1 egg tamajoyaki (Japanese omelet). There was also room for one hershey's kiss mint truffle.
Oh, and here is a picture. I must say--it doesn't look appetizing. The pretty sweet potato orange is covered up by other things. Oh well. As long as it tastes good, right?

And many thanks to Avie at Avie's Bento for giving me my very first bento and answering all of my questions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grilled PIzza

The best thing I've tried in a LONG time.

I use Eating Well's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough. It's a quick and easy one to make, even on a busy week night. The only things I do differently are to use honey instead of sugar, and I also don't use the quick yeast. I use Fleischman's Active Dry yeast. I dissolve it in the water with the honey before adding it to the other ingredients.

I wanted simplicity, so made a Pizza Margherita. It's divine! Plump juicy tomatoes (unfortunatley not home grown), fresh basil, mozzarella, olive oil, a dusting of finely grated fresh Parmesan. Did I mention that this was most excellent?

The method? Use your favorite pizza dough recipe. Roll it out thin. Get your grill super hot (mine was fluctuating between 450-700). It would have been hotter but I work I slow. Put it on the grill, close the lid for a few minutes. I used direct heat. For a thicker crust, use indirect, but I'd put the dough on the hottest part of the grill, turn that part off and then turn the other burners on (assuming a gas grill).
Flip dough--it should have some little bubbles forming.

Quickly add toppings. Shut for 2-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. I added the basil and Parmesan after turning the heat off.

If you are using vegetables, cook and/or drain them first to prevent a soggy pizza. I drained my tomatoes--they were juicy! I prefer the mozzarella that is in little balls-bocconcini.

I can't wait to make more grilled pizza!

Sorry about the picture quality. They were taken w/ my phone.

This is how pizza should be--thin and crispy so you can hold it!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


First of all--Tammi got it right, and no wonder since I know we've both been making this cake for years! The green cake is made that way by the addition of Midori Melon Liquor. It's good stuff. The recipe also calls for a box of instant pistachio pudding. I forgot to add it and it was still good, just not as green as it normally is.

On to today's entry.


The weather is getting warmer. I'm yearning for more fresh vegetables. One of my favorites is the simple tomato (OK, it's really a fruit. I am aware of this). These days, it's difficult to find farm fresh tomatoes, which saddens me greatly! I am growing some myself this year. If that is a FAIL, my dad has some started that look incredible. At any rate, I took a gamble last week and bought a couple at my local grocery store.

Tonight, I coarsely chopped one of them, along with a peeled and seeded cucumber. I added a handful of chopped mint (that grows profusely next to my hosue), some basil, the juice of a lemon, the zest of half a lemon, toasted pine nuts, freshly ground pepper, and parmesan cheese. Heaven in a bowl!

If you are cooking for someone who needs a bit more protein, add some leftover chicken. Mix and match your herbs. I used mint and basil because that what I have, though I don't yet have much basil. Add some garlic or other vegetables. You can't really go wrong. I intended to use chickpeas instead of pasta, but realized I am out. I like the Barilla Plus pasta because it has fiber and protein in it and tastes good too. You could also omit the pasta and just make a veggie side salad to go along with your main dish. I love spring/summer and the bounty of fresh produce that comes along with this time of the year!

Here is the recipe.

Pasta, Tomatoes, and Cucumbers with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

Barilla Plus Rotini, 4 oz dried (2 servings)
Red Ripe Tomatoes, 1 large whole (3" dia)
Cucumber (peeled), 1 medium
Parmesan Cheese, grated, 15 grams
Lemon Juice, 1 lemon yields
Pine Nuts, .5 oz
Lemon Zest-from 1/2 of lemon
Basil, 8 leaves
Fresh Mint, handful
Freshly Ground Pepper

Peel and seed cucumber.
Toss with chopped basil and mint, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Run under cool water.
Toss with vegetables. Top with toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and more herbs for garnish.

Number of Servings: 2

I even entered this into a recipe calculator. Not too bad. . .
Per serving:
Calories 329.6
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 5.9 mg
Sodium 175.4 mg
Potassium 427.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.7 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 4.2 g
Protein 15.6 g

(I actually got 3 servings out of this--220 calories, 6 grams of fat).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


What could this be? Any guesses?

It's a GREEN cake! OK, this was back in February I think. Or March. Any guesses on what flavor it is? Why is it green?
I forgot to add one of the "green" ingredients, so it wasn't quite as bright as it usually is. The ingredient wasn't missed, so I'll omit it from now on.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Do You Get When You. . .

Mix 2.25 lbs of ground beef, 1+ lbs. of Italian sausage, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 lb. of mozzarella, onion, 2 eggs, lots of garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and crackers for binding?

Homemade meatballs, which I made for my mom for Mother's Day today! I haven't made them in quite some time, and totally winged it, but they turned out pretty darn good. I put a tiny piece of mozzarella in the middle of each for a bit of cheesy goodness in every bite. Of course, I made about 100 meatballs (so it seemed). I was feeding six. We had plenty of leftover, so I brought home at least 2 more meals worth.

My only negative? I didn't have time to make the marinara. I used the jarred variety. However, it was good. Classico is my jarred brand of choice, for those time like today when there is no time to do it the old fashioned way. We decided on meatballs at 1, and still had to go to the store to get the ingredients.

This makes me want to make a big batch of meatballs here at home and freeze them. Of course, if I do that, I'll also have to make a big pot of marinara. YUM.

Oh, and I almost got enough protein today. Yes, I had a meaty dinner, but I skipped lunch because I was either driving or cooking.

At any rate, tomorrow I have leftovers, plus I bought more cottage cheese to dig into for breakfast.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Food Watch and More

So, I realized today that if I eat 1 cup of cottage cheese a day, I'll get almost half of my daily protein needs! I do like cottage cheese. Do I like it enough to eat a cup most every day? We'll see. Tonight I had it as my part 1 of dinner with a cup of pineapple chunks (drained). I had been working outside after running errands, and after I came in the house and showered, I realized I was shaking because I was so hungry. That was the fastest thing I could find (that was also healthy). Never mind that the cottage cheese was a full 8 days past its expiration. It passed the smell test, so I ate it.
The rest of dinner, after I scarfed this down? Two homemade corn tortillas, heated in a cast iron skillet until crisp, then topped with a very slight drizzle of melted butter and about 1/3 cup of avocado salsa each. Quick, easy, and very tasty. I had some salsa that I made last week-more like a hot sauce actually, in that it only has jalapenos that are boiled until tender, and processed with a can of fire roasted tomatoes with salt and garlic powder to taste.
The tortillas came from this little tortilleria in the old Capitol Hill neighborhood of Oklahoma City. They were hot when I bought them! Yum, so fresh. I also got some flour ones.
Anyone have any more ideas for how to eat cottage cheese? I also like it with salt, pepper, and fresh tomatoes. I've still got a bit of time before I'll have fresh tomatoes, and supermarket tomatoes just won't do (yes, I'm a "tomato snob"). I suppose I can try it with just s&p. But every day?

On another note, here is a super COOL website that Mark Bittman wrote about in his blog (see a link on the right side of this page for his blog). It's called Food and Water Watch. You visit a virtual supermarket, click on any food you like, and find out, for example, that processed garlic is just as likely to come from China than from the U.S. Avocado that you buy in the U.S. is more likely to come from Mexico--3 out of 5 avocados consumed here are imported. The odds that apple juice that so many kids love is from here in the U.S.? One in five. It's much more likely to come from China. Interesting stuff. I try to eat local as much as I can, but I know I don't do enough. And there are some things, like the pounds of apples I eat in a week, that I can't get local, and I am unwilling to give them up!

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I grilled a chicken breast for dinner tonight and managed to eat half of it. It was OK. However, I still ended up low for the day on protein. I forgot to take a picture of my dinner, but I'll describe it.
I pounded it as thin as I could, drizzled it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and rosemary. I let it marinate for about 20 minutes. This was plenty!

I also cut up 2 zucchini and a yellow bell pepper. I also drizzled them with the same mixture, plus a touch of cayenne.

I grilled all of the above and tossed with 1 oz (pre-cooked weight) of Barilla Plus pasta and 1/2 oz. of Parmesan cheese.

Not surprisingly, the 2.5 oz. piece of chicken was the last thing left in the bowl. Sigh. But I tried. And I'll have the same for lunch tomorrow.

I did splurge on dessert tonight. My latest addiction is Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. OMG, it is phenomenal! I could eat the whole pint (actually, I have before). I only had a small serving tonight. I have to stretch it out over at least a week. :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Food Woes and other Musings

So I've been trying to drop a few pounds...watching what I eat (portion control), and have started going to the gym more.

Nothing seems to have changes over the last month, so I started tracking my food intake again, just to see what gives. After 3 days (one of eating out for lunch and dinner because of work), it looks like I am not eating enough! GRRRRR. Plus I am not getting enough protein. Really, this isn't a surprise. Last year when I tracked for most of 3 months, I struggled with that. I've realized that while I like red meat-there's nothing like a grilled steak cooked medium, I'm not crazy about many other meats. I like chicken--if it's fried. I like sausage. I LOVE bacon. You see where this is going? I'm not a fan of just plain white meat, the healthy kind. . . Sure, I'll eat it if it's there, but I don't crave it. I don't come home and cook it. So, I'm needing to step back and reevaluate my eating habits. Protein is needed to build muscle. Did I mention I've been hitting the gym? I'm actually enjoying the body sculpting class I've been attending. I like that for a few days after, I can feel the muscle group where we really focused (calves this week). I feel like I am doing my body good! However, if I'm not giving my body enough of what it needs to be stronger, then it's almost like I'm wasting those gym efforts!

I'm going to try and menu plan next week and incorporate chicken and/or shrimp into more meals. I'm not excited about it, but maybe if I surround the meat with yummy vegetables and delicious seasonings, I'll do my body good.

I also bought some weights and a stability ball today, so on those days when I can't make it to the gym, I can recreate some of our class here at home. For the first time, I am WANTING to work out at home! Now I just need to make sure they don't just end up just accumulating dust.

Oh, and I do think I can see a bit more definition in my arms. YAY me!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Shower Time!

Saturday was exhausting! I think I am still recuperating!
The big hit of the day was the cake, made by a friend of mine. Isn't it amazing?
Next up was the BL-Tea Sandwiches. I'll post the recipe at the bottom.

Look at the detail. You can see the stitching.

Yum-Sangria! Hiccup. I may have gotten a bit buzzed at the shower--that's a first for me!

The fruit bouquet my boyfriend got for the occasion. Awesome!
BL-Tea sandwiches. Half on marlbe rye and half on mini-wheat.

Cucumber sandwiches in the middle and chicken salad on the sides. I was disappointed in my chicken salad. I think I've lost my touch.

The other punch--orange-y, pineapple-y. I bet it's good with vodka.

Tortilla roll-ups

And the recipe, with my edits in red.

B-L-Tea Sandwiches

1 1/2 pounds of thick-sliced hickory-smoked peppered bacon (I didn't use peppered bacon. I used thick cut though and made more like 2.5 lbs)

24 (4 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes (I used a 16 oz. jar of tomatoes packed in oil, drained and patted as dry as possible. I then didn't have to soak them in hot water because they were already nice and soft).

1 cup homemade or prepared mayonnaise (yeah, I don't do the homemade!)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

24 1/4-inch-thick slices of rye bread

6 ounces lamb's lettuce (mache) or other baby lettuce leaves, enough to make about 2 loosely packed cups

1. Heat the oven to 375F with the rack in the center. Arrange the bacon strips in a single layer without touching on 2 baking sheets and bake, one at a time, in the oven for 10 minutes each. Remove and drain off the fat.Continue to bake until the bacon is crisp, another 10 minutes. Drain and let cool on paper towels. Crumble the bacon into small pieces, about 1/2-inch each. Set aside.
I cooked it in my cast iron stove top in 3-4 batches. I cut it up before hand too.

2. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of water in a small saucepan until almost boiling. Place the sun0dreid tomatoes in a medium bowl and cover wih the very hot water. Allow the tomatoes to soak until they are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and finely chop. Combine the tomatoes and the mayonnaise. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Hmmmm....think I forgot to add salt or pepper. Oops.)

3. Spread each bread slice with the mayonnaise mixture. Generously sprinkle half the bread slices with the bacon. Arrange the mache over the bacon, sprinkle with pepper, and top with the remaining bread. trim the crust. Slice each in half and serve. (oops. I only put the mayo mixture on one side of the bread. Like it matters :-) )

Makes 2 dozen.

From Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook (Clarkson Potter, 1999)

Friday, May 01, 2009

What I've Been Up To

I've been insanely busy with work, getting back into a gym habit, and just life.

The latest twist on this is a baby shower I am cohosting tomorrow-I am doing the food (I volunteered). Because of crazy work, I ended up doing 90% of my shopping for it today after work. Ugh. That's too much.
Anyhow, here is the menu. Recipes/pictures to follow later.

Fruity Punch
Spicy Tortilla Pinwheels

Trio of Tea Sandwiches:
Chicken Salad
Cucumber Dill

There will also be a fruit bouquet, vegetable platter, and of course CAKE.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Life Haiku

Much too tired to post.
Gym is kicking my arse hard.
Oh my aching quads.

I don't want to cook.
Too much effort, I say no.
Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Market Finds

Last week, I made a trek to Cao Nguyen in Oklahoma City. I bought all of this produce for like $14! Seemed like a bargain. Granted, some of it I have no idea how to use, but that makes it all the more fun!

Lemongrass--I sense Tom Ka Gai Soup coming soon. Some of the greens are interesting; I imagine I'll just cook them in broth until wilted. The brown thing on the left is taro root. Lemons and limes are so cheap there-I stock up to use them as a finishing touch to soups and salads. Jicama is great in salads--it adds texture and I like the crunch! I've already used the eggplant. It became this:

Steamed in my awesome bamboo steamer that Avie gave me, topped with rice noodles, cilantro, and a shoyu sesame sauce. It was good, though I over steamed the eggplant a bit. Next time I'll know. . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bubble Tea

I first had bubble tea in Chicago about 5 years ago. I'd heard of it, but never seen it anywhere. I was walking down a Chicago street--can't remember the name, but it was NE of where my friend Jackie lived in Lincoln Park. I can still see the street. The shop owner was a friendly man--I promised to come back if I ever visited Chicago again!

Anyhow, I've been on a bubble tea kick lately. I've bought the tapioca pearls. I have the instant boba milk tea mix. It's good. However, when I looked at the ingredients...well, it's not something I can allow myself to have all the time. Yeah, no fun. It's just instant tea, powdered milk, sugar, and sometimes flavorings/colorings. The tea shops have flavored teas--mango, taro, coconut, . . . really just about any fruit you can imagine and then some. I decided tonight to dig around in my tea stash to see what sounded good and found some Thai tea I forgot about. It was perfect! It's called Sweet Thai Delight and is by Yogi Tea.

The ingredients are organic redbush leaf, organic cinnamon bark, organic anise seed, carob pod, stevia leaf, natural coconut flavor, and natural butterscotch flavor.

To make the bubble tea, you add the tapioca pearls to bowling water, boil for about 3 minutes, turn the heat down to medium and cover for another 8-10, until they are the texture you like. Drain and rinse.

Make your tea, whether the instant stuff or leaves you steep yourself. I added some agave nectar to make it a little sweeter without a ton of calories, and topped it off with some milk. The instant stuff is already very sweet and had milk powder in it.

Add your bubble tea straw and you are set!

I have some black tea with blueberry flavorings that I may try next.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A tumor???

So, Harley had surgery today to remove a tumor of some sort! Poor guy has been through so much! Getting him in the house was a comedy in and of itself. You just had to laugh. Determined dog whose hind legs wouldn't work, his owner who made the poor decision to dress in BLACK today, and a towel. He finally made it in thanks to my boyfriend coming to the rescue!
We'll find out soon if the mass was cancerous or not.
In the meantime, here's Harley thinking about getting out of my car (I was waiting to catch him) and then when he finally made it to his pillow.

And yes, he has drool hanging out of his mouth. Darn anesthesia does that to him every time!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Finding Humor at Harley's Expense (and Peanut's)

So you'll have to read down to the bottom for the funny part. I have to provide the back story. Harley dog (138 lb. Alaskan Malamute/St. Bernard mix) has quite an extensive medical history. Things have been sort of quiet on that front (thankfully) for the last 1.5 years or so. Well of course he was due! A few months ago, I noticed this black thing on the top of one of his back legs. It didn't seem to be bothering him, so I just made a mental note to let the vet know on our next visit.
Well, that plan changed today. Yesterday, Harley was messing with it, and this morning it was bleeding and he was obviously not feeling well. Off to the emergency vet we went. Sadly, this is a fairly familiar routine for us.
We didn't get any answers at the vet, but we did get this awesome halo for him to wear so he won't be able to gnaw at his sore. I am taking him to his vet first thing in the morning where he will spend the day.

When we got home, I took my stuff in and then Peanut followed me outside. I have to help Harley out of the back of my SUV. So as he's at the edge, about to gingerly jump down (while I pick up his tail end and let him down easily), Peanut decided to jump into the back of the car.

However, the halo is clear...and she didn't see it. Also notice that it is rather large, so its span was wide. So she jumped up and directly into it and promptly fell back down to the ground (landing on her feet). She did this twice before looking at me confused like. I was cracking up. Harley is just standing there and if he could talk, he would have been saying, "Get the f$%# out of my way. I want OUT NOW."

You can see the boo boo on Harley's left hind quarter. They cleaned it up but it continued to bleed a bit. Poor guy. :( I think they will do a needle aspiration and depending on what they find, decide where to go from there. Sigh. A dog's life isn't always easy, is it?

School Days

I used my day off work on Friday to visit my former students and school. I got there when they were at lunch. I got some hugs, smiles, and a cold shoulder. Yes, a cold shoulder. The student I was most worried about dealing w/ another transition actually handled it pretty well and has adjusted with no major problems. I've talked to her on the phone a few times. She's a hoot. Anyhow, she looks over at me when I walk in, and then quickly looks away. No reaction. A minute later, she says to the girl across the table, "Did you know Ms. B got a new JOB?"
It took her about 20 minutes to warm up to the fact that I was there to see her. I was cracking up. It's sort of what I'd expect from her. She just needed some time to process is all.
Anyhow, it was good to see them and get those hugs and smiles. I miss that.
I also was surprised that my advisory class (homeroom 6th graders) slowly came up one by one until I had about 8 or 9 of them around me, but none talking. I felt like a celebrity! LOL. I had some good kids in that group, and it was good to see them as well. The boys would come up and say, "Hey Ms. B." The girls came up and hugged me. I did get a few, "Are you coming back?"
Sorry kids. I'm not.

I also got to visit with former coworkers a bit. It was about a 3 hour visit all together. Fun times.
Do I miss it? I don't miss teaching. I do miss my kids and the daily interaction with them, the chance to see them grow and shine, to "get" new things. I don't miss the stress of feeling like you are never doing enough, juggling so many things and wondering when exactly you're supposed to do them, dealing with some teachers who don't want spec ed kids in their class (fortunately, I didn't experience this often), and working till 6 or 7 regularly. No, I don't miss it. My current job has its own set of stresses, of things you just have to deal with, but all in all, it's a much easier job. Yes, I do leave exhausted some days, the travel can be difficult, but it's nothing like the trenches.

Beavers Bend Restaurant

This restaurant was located off of 259A----somewhere. It's a loop. If you enter the north loop of 259A, you make 3 left turns and you'll see the restaurant. Just keep turning left as you can.
It's on the river south of the dam of Lake Broken Bow. Beautiful area. It was a little to chilly to sit outside, but we tried. We lasted for about 10 minutes. Long enough for a little squirrel to come check us out and see if we had any food to share. We didn't at that point.

The view from outside.

Anyhow, we were the only people in there, though it was a little early.
We both ordered the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, and a salad. Yeah, and you've heard me complain about putting on a few lbs. with so much travel recently? I wonder why? That is something I rarely eat, so will order it every now and again. Unfortunately, it's been years since I've had any as good as my own. Unfortunately, I never make it anymore because of a) guilt because I SEE how it's made firsthand and b) I make the world's messiest kitchen when I make CFS. No really. I do. Flour EVERYWHERE. Grease splatters. Ugh.
Anyhow. I think I will just refrain from ever ordering it again, unless I am at the Del Rancho. It's just not worth it if it's not super- super- better- than- mine- good. And it's not. Ever. And this one was about $12. It wasn't really crispy. It wasn't hand battered at least 2 times like I like it. It was OK, but. . . not all that.

Oh, we also each had an order of cake to go. It was homemade and it WAS worth a trip back. Hummingbird Cake, made by grandma. It had pecans, bananas, cream cheese frosting, 3 layers. Yeah, good stuff.

Here's a branch of the river downstream a little bit.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Banh Mi

What do you get when French cuisine collides with Vietnamese? You get Banh Mi--Vietnamese sandwiches and we have a great place for them in OKC! For those of you out there familiar with the Asian district in OKC, Saigon Baguette (Banh Mi Ba Le) is the sandwich shop underneath the Braum's milk bottle on Classen.

The sandwich is comprised of pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro sprigs, sliced jalapeno chiles, pate, and pork or chicken. I had the #1--with everything. This sandwich, with tax, is $2! How amazing is that? I shared it with a coworker. It was plenty for 2. Granted, it's not stuffed full of meat like many American style sandwiches, but it was just enough.

Another one of my new favorites are Vietnamese style spring rolls with peanut sauce. They are awesome! So fresh tasting and light. They had these by the checkout stand, so I had to buy them. I think they were $3. I ate one and shared the others and converted some coworkers with my "weird" food.

Saigon Baguette features six versions, including one with the traditional pate. But don’t think deviled ham; the pate is more akin to thin-sliced bologna. Other fillings include chicken and pork either barbecued, sliced, grilled or in meatball form. Not on the menu but available is an all-vegetable version.

Catching Up!

I am so far behind! I have so many places to blog about, so little time. I really can't remember who I need to blog about next. I think I'll just do one big post on my Broken Bow trip last week. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

So my coworker and I headed to Papa Poblano's for dinner the afternoon we arrived (that is, after getting some wine at Girls Gone Wine winery). She had the tacos al carbon; I had the carne asada. Their salsa is a simple one with just tomatoes, peppers, salt and maybe a touch of onion. We got some white queso and it was Oh so good.

My carna asada. It tasted good, but the very thinly sliced meat was overdone so the texture was akin to beef jerky. Not quite what I had in mind. I was jealous of my friend's al pastor.

McCurtain County (a large county in the southeastern corner of the state) is a dry county. This means no liquor can be served in restaurants. For shame, right? I had to explain this to my coworker, as I grew up in a dry county. So instead of a good margarita, we both had a tecate in a chilled glass with salt and lots of lime juice. So refreshing! The decor of this place was cute and lively.

I was in town by myself the next night, so guess what I had? Yes, I could not get the tacos al pastor out of my mind, so I went back for another beer and a meal by myself. I actually only ate one taco and saved the rest for lunch the next day. If I go back to this place, this is what I'll get. Simply flavorful, spicy pork, garnished with onions, tomatoes, and cilantro and a bit of lime on home made corn tortillas. Simple. Delish. For a while, I have been "sick" of Mexican food. It just doesn't appeal to me like it used to. However, I think I've realized I'm not a fan of the Americanized Mexican food--the enchiladas heavy with cheese and sauces, the fried things, the gobs of rice and beans. I like simplicity. Even with this meal, I could do w/o the rice and beans. Just give me some flavorful, tender meat on a tortilla and garnish it with fresh veggies and I am a happy girl.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dallas Wrap-up

OK, I need to get the Dallas trip wrapped up, because I have SOOO many other interesting things (OK, I realize that is completely debatable) to blog about.

After the Hong Kong Market, we headed further north to have some dumplings. YUM! Jeng Chi, in an Asian themed strip mall on Greenville in Richardson was recommended to us by my long time Tish. She told us exactly what to order, and I'm glad we listened though we were both so stuffed! We had hot juicy dumplings, potstickers, green onion pancakes, and the big hit--snow pea shoots! The shoots were bright green, tender, cooked in a bit of garlic and delectable! Everything else was good as well, but we just scarfed the green stuff down!

We also checked out some interesting stores in the strip mall. I got some bamboo cheap. Anna picked up some little cat figurines (for which I'm sure there is a proper name, but I'm unaware of). We also saw a Japanese book store that also had a porn selection! We didn't check any of that out though. LOL.

Next up was Central Market, complete with live music!

On a Saturday late afternoon. Yes, we are brave. I love that store. The produce is heavenly. The fresh meats are inspiring (though because of the distance to travel, we didn't get any). I stocked up (haha, understatement) on my beloved tiramisu cordials. They are my big vice, and probably a huge reason I feel like I've gained 5 lbs since that Dallas trip! Haha. My other favorite CM staples are the flour tortillas, olives, their own brand of olive oil, and the bulk food section.

Anna was ready to check out and get her goodies HOME.

Oh, and you have to love cut-outs of bunnies sniffing arses. At least that's what WE saw when we looked at this, so of course I had to get a picture!

We're already talking about the next time....

I love this artwork that was near the check-out. So colorful!

After this stop, we hit one final Asian store in Plano just off of Legacy before coming home. We got home at midnight. A full day--but so much fun!

Some interesting things at the last store follow.

Fruit flavored beef jerky? That just doesn't appeal. At. All.

And tongue flavored cookies? Wow. Maybe next time I make cookies. . .
Various fun treats

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Brief Interupption

I'll do the concluding post of the Dallas Road Trip soon, as well as some reviews on my recent work trip.
For now, I want to share some photos from the Medieval Fair held every year here in town. It's....interesting. Enjoy the pics!
Because there are so many pics, I made them smaller...so if you want the full thing, just click on them.

Nice. I love the tail.

I always wanted to wear wings. Maybe I'll try this next year.

She was holding the child earlier. Brave mama!

A joust!

Are those....mouse ears?


She looks deep in thought.

The duck is wearing a diaper.