Friday, July 25, 2014

Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup

Well I guess it's become time to turn this into mainly a food blog...I think I might post some house projects as well....later....much later. I love cooking and a bunch of people have asked me for recipes and my boyfriend keeps telling me I need to open a restaurant (not ever going to happen).
We both work long overnight shifts on the weekends and have very little time in between our very long shifts so I like to make big pots of food on Friday so we have chow in the fridge to heat up in the microwave at home or at work. Even better is if I can make the chow in the crock pot that way I can nap while it is cooking before my long overnight shift on Friday night.
Most recipes I make I try and just use an entire container of something rather than using measuring cups that I have to wash.
First post will be this soup that I found a recipe for on Pinterest and tweaked until I think its perfect. It is a copycat recipe for that incredibly delicious Zuppa Toscana they make at Olive Garden. This is the fourth pot I've made and this one will be perfect!

One pint heavy whipping cream
One box of chicken broth
Four 2-3 inch diameter red or yellow potatoes
Large bag of chopped and washed kale
One package of spicy Italian sausage

Dice potatoes and put into bottom of crock pot
   I would suggest placing all of these items into the crock pot in the order I have them in. I tried many different ways and this way is the neatest and it keeps you from having to touch the crock pot until the end.
Pour pint of whipping cream over potatoes.
Pour box of broth over cream and potatoes.
Put 5 large handfuls of kale into the pot, it should practically fill the pot
Brown and crumble sausage then place on top of the kale, this will weight the kale down into the soup as it cooks.
Turn the crock pot on high and leave it alone for 4-5 hours until the potatoes are done.
At the end you have a nice pot of soup. It is delicious! My boyfriend devours it meal after meal until its gone every time. I like to add some shredded Parmesan cheese and shake some crushed red pepper on it before I eat it. It's also delicious with some French bread.
This is what my crock pot looks like with a double batch in it at the beginning of the cooking process.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chromebook Might Help!

This week, well actually today, I received my HP 14 Chromebook.  I have to say so far and right this second I love this thing!  Now I should mention a couple of things before I tell you that if you are in the market for a new laptop you should get one.
First, I am a Google addict.  There, I said it. I have at least one if not more of every one of their devices. I have a Nexus 4 for a phone and a Nexus 7 and a Nexus 10. I have a Chromecast connected to all of my televisions and I am seriously thinking about a Nest, to try and temper my energy consumption. I saw my first Chromebook about two and a half years ago when I was flying to San Francisco to visit my brother, his wife and my brand new niece. They were letting you borrow a Chromebook on the flight and for using it you got to use the in flight WiFi for free. I am a sucker for entertainment on an airline flight. I tried it out and thought it was a cool little thing.  At the time I was a student and incredibly poor so I put it out of my mind and mostly forgot about it. Since then I have graduated from school and acquired a coupe more degrees and MANY new Google devices and the APPS!!!! I can't live without my Google drive, keep, Chrome calendar, gmail, maps, photos etc...!
Second, I did my research before I bought this thing. It is not your typical PC. It doesn't have a big hard drive in fact it has 16GB of storage. Everything is stored and accessed from the Google cloud. This particular model has an SD card slot 3 USB ports an HDMI port and a place where you can plug in your head phones. There is no disc drive at all. The OS is Chrome, not Windows, not iOS. It was really easy for me to learn but then again I have had Google devices for quite awhile and use them quite a lot. You have to be online to use most of the features on this machine, there are some offline features and of I ever find a place where I am unable to get online I will try them out and let you know how that goes. I did not buy this to replace my desktop PC or even my laptop PC. The Chromebook will not run Microsoft Word or any Office programs unless you get them from Microsoft for use online only, but it does have its version of it called Google docs, for the last two years I have been saving all of my documents to my Google drive that I have saved on my PC's (both of them) I can then access the drive form any of my devices, including my phone, open them, edit them and then re save it to my drive and then open it in windows on my laptop and work on it there. This might sound confusing but once you do it you will see.
I expressly got this to haul back and forth to school.  It weighs only 4 pounds compared to my laptops whopping 7 pounds! I am starting graduate school in August and twice a semester I have to go to Wichita Falls and stay in a hotel for the weekend and go to class for 12 hours Friday and Saturday and half the day on Sunday. I wanted something light I could slide into my briefcase and take to class with me to take notes, or work on what will undoubtedly be a couple of huge papers and projects per semester and a thesis I will have to finish to graduate. The keyboard took a few minutes to figure out and there are some shortcuts that I will need to learn but so far it has done exactly what I want it to do. It starts in a crazy fast 7 seconds, my laptop takes longer and longer to start as it ages.
The best thing of all about this little computer? It cost 313 dollars. A new laptop would cost me a cool 600 bucks and honestly I don't need a new laptop, they are big and bulky, I have a bad back and don't need to haul that around with me to school when this speedy little device is small, fast and ready to work on some papers and maybe even a blog once in awhile!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Week in the Life

So this past week was alright I guess. I took Miss Victoria to radiation treatment every day this week and on Tuesday we went to see the plastic surgeon so he could look at the melanoma site and come up with a plan to reconstruct her arm. She will have a "shark bite" after surgery and she has to have a skin graft.
The dogs are doing well other than the little one tearing up some stuff and waking me up when I am sleeping.  Stan seems to be doing better after the loss of Suki. He is quieter in the kennel and seems a tiny bit less mopey.
Marky is having some insomnia and is keeping me awake at night. I feel bad for him, I know how frustrating it is to not be able to sleep. I think he needs to go see our doctor but he probably won't. He did the cutest thing this week, I was showing him my mothers senior picture ( I have included that as well) from high school to show him that her and I look alike, he agreed and then he wanted to see a picture of my mom now so " he knew what he was getting himself into" I thought it was sweet that he knows we will be together when we are 63. I like that.
Tuesday night we took Gramma Theresa to dinner at Babes was so good and we were ridiculously full when we left. It was stormy that night and the sunset when we left was amazing.
I don't know if I want to continue doing makes my life seem a bit boring, even though it is not.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


I have been thinking a ton lately about my blog. I have been far too neglectful. A bunch of stuff has happened but I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about what is going on now. I want to try and pick a day to just relax and put my week in perspective or share the rantings of the week with you.
This last week was my second week of taking my Mom to her appointments. She had several this week at the Cancer Center but no chemotherapy. Her dental surgery and remaining stitches from last week are preventing that from beginning. Her stitches were removed from her mouth on Thursday, she was less than happy about that but was a trooper as usual. After they did the adjustments on her dentures she was much happier with the fit and was slurring her words less.
Stan the dog seems to be missing Suki. He has been quite mopey and it is the only thing I can figure out. I feel bad for him because I miss her a bunch too! But as long as he keeps eating I'm not gonna get too worried about him. I am sure that he will eventually work it out. Brinkley and Daddy seem unaffected and are becoming best buddies.
Mark and I were lucky enough to be able to see two movies this last Wednesday at the Angelika in Dallas. We saw Under The Skin and Only Lovers Left Alive. The first was a weird Jonathan Glazer film about aliens that steal skin and seduce men into a black goo and feed off of it. It is exactly the type of movie Mark likes to watch. I didn't think it was that great, neither did Marky I think. The second one was the new Jim Jarmusch film, there was not one single thing I didn't love about this movie!!!!! In fact I can't wait for it to come out on blu ray so I can watch it again! It is about vampires.....I know, you are probably tired of vampire movies, but you should go watch this one!
After the movie we went to Campisi's Egyptian Lounge to eat the combo plate and the lasagna was exactly what I was craving! So delicious, if you have never been there I highly recommend it! They are famous for their pizza but we always get the pasta, they make it fresh and the marinara is the best I have ever had anywhere... I wake up craving this stuff sometimes!
I am not sure really where to go with this I mostly just wanted to get something down and hopefully keep posting!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three Driving Rules I Think Everyone Should Follow

I have been driving for many years now and I have recently come to the conclusion that they will give any one a drivers license no matter how bad they are at driving.  Every time I drive anywhere I have at least one encounter with some Bozo that is clearly unaware of three basic rules that we all should follow.  I have compiled this list here for all to view.  I hope that each and every one of you already know and follow these basic rules but in case you don't know them please take note and adjust your driving habits accordingly.

Number One:
The left most lane on the freeway is for driving fast.
Now I know we all have our own ideas about what driving fast is so here are some simple guidelines to follow when you find yourself driving in this lane.  The speed limit on most highways is 65 miles per hour.  If you want to drive this slow that is no problem however, the left most lane or "Fast Lane" as it is fondly referred to, is not the lane to drive 65 in.  If you want to drive 65 please pick a nice middle lane.
If you find yourself in the fast lane and you are driving 70-78 miles per hour and there is a car close behind you either speed it up or get out of the way.
I personally believe that the max on the freeway should be 80 miles per hour.  However, if someone wants to   be truly dangerous, guzzle gas and drive 90 and I can move over without breaking my 80 miles per hour I do so . Otherwise the maniac driver needs to just go ahead and be as reckless as possible and weave themselves in and out of traffic in order to maintain their 90 miles per hour.  On another note if you are going to drive in the fast lane at 80 miles per hour it is safe to say that your attention should be on driving, not your phone. Don't weave in and out of the lane and vary your speed like a jerk.

Number Two:
There is a stick that sticks out of the side of your steering wheel.  Usually it is located on the left side of the wheel.  If you move it up and down it turns on lights on the outside of your car that blink and indicate that you are planning to turn your vehicle one way or another or that you would like to move over a lane on the freeway. Please for the love of all that is holy USE IT!!! EVERY TIME YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE POSITION OF YOUR CAR!!! That is what it is there for, everyone else that is driving around you needs to know what your plans are...which is why those crazy car making guys put blinkers on cars.
On the same note, If you see a blinker blinking, that means that the person with it on needs to get over a lane. Please for the love of all that is holy let them get over!  Don't be an asshole, speed up and not let them over.

Number Three:
If you are one of those people who are very poor at planning and decide that it is appropriate to block off an entire lane at a busy intersection you will be deemed an asshole forever.  Please don't do this.  Drive around the block or figure out some other way to fix your fuck up wthout inconveniencing up to 30 people behind you.  Also if you are an asshole and do decide that blocking a lane of traffic is a great idea please do not become distracted by a device in your car and then sit in your spot after the light changes.  Get the fuck out of everyone's way as soon as humanly possible.  Seems fair right?
So there you have it.  Three little old rules.  I think we can all follow these with little or no effort at all and make everyone's driving experience better.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I am looking at my blog and I cannot believe that I have not posted anything since October!!!  This seems disgraceful to me.  Well, hmmm. Quite a lot has gone on since then.  I met Mark....and I graduated from TCC.  I am now officially a RT(R).  As of right this minute I do not have a job, other than the one I have had for nine years.

My dogs turned a year older.  Lily and Suki are 13 and 12, respectively.  They are however doing quite well for their age.  They both are suffering form some back pain and arthritis but they still eat every day and their favorite things have gone from playing ball and walking to sleeping the day away in their beds.

I am a nerd and cannot control myself so I am adding to my school debt and starting at Midwestern State University on August 25th.  If I can hold down 12 hours each semester I will have my bachelors degree finished in three semesters.  I am also hoping to get certified in CT when I am done as well.

I quit smoking in January...the 21st to be exact and apart from a couple of drunken cigs I have been good.  It was hard but I had some great support and a great reason...kissing someone who smokes when you don't is unpleasant.  Mark is such a great kisser, I didn't want to ruin it.  Plus it is really bad for me.

I have fully embraced my love of beer and am trying new ones whenever I can.  Stouts are my favorite and I can't wait for winter to come back so I can try some new ones.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Aching Back!

I thought I would write a little blog about my back.  First I want to say thanks for the outpouring of concern for my well being. 
My back trouble started when I was 18 and my brother Stephen got us into a pretty bad car accident totaling the car and initiating my low back trouble.  Ever since then I have had intermittent pain and discomfort that got worse with over exertion. Over the years the pain waxed and waned but for the most part was completely manageable. 
 In the last year it has become manageable most of the time with meds and rest.  My job wrestling with and lifting large dogs has not helped the situation any either.  In the last month my pain has become unbearable.  I am not able to sleep most nights without a handful of medications and working has become a new and exciting experience in pain. It has even affected my mood pretty drastically as chronic pain will do.  
Lately I have had a pain radiating down the back of my right leg whether I stand or sit and it goes from dull and burning to sharp and stabbing.  Change in position does little to help.  So, as it was time for my yearly physical and TB test I thought it was high time I spoke with a doctor about my back pain.  After listening to my story and hearing my symptoms he said it sounds like a herniated disc that has bulged out to pinch a nerve namely my sciatic nerve which is the largest nerve in the body and runs from your low back down the back of your leg to your foot.
The plan is to try to manage it with medications: steroids, an NSAID and some Prilosec to protect my tummy from the combination of these two meds and some crazy person drugs to counteract the hyperactivity that I experience when on steroids.  I think this will be fun.  He also wants me to have some physical therapy as well as continued weight loss.  If these things fail to work then he wants me to have an MRI to identify exactly which disc it is and then possibly an injection of steroids in the disc space.  If that still does not work then he wants me to possibly consider back surgery.  Surgery is a long way off and he wants to avoid that at all costs, he says I am too young to have surgery.
At least now I am more sure of what I have been suspecting all along and have a plan of attack.  Hopefully these things will bring me some relief and I can avoid surgery until I am at least 50.  Thanks again for all of your love and concern.