Monday, October 24, 2011

I may not want kids, but....

I kinda want to offer to babysit someone's kid soon so I have an excuse to watch the new Winnie the Pooh movie when it comes out on DVD this week.

Or maybe not. I can't imagine I would be a very good babysitter with this kind of ulterior motive. And kids are not always reliable in their movie interests.

"You want to play outside? No-no, we are going to stay in here on the couch and watch Pooh."

"You don't like Pooh? Well, I don't like Yo-Gabba-Gabba. And guess who has the remote?"


Soooo, instead of losing friends I should probably just be a weirdo and Netflix it for myself. ;-)

Disclaimer: I am not actually mean to kids when I babysit. Just in case anyone was concerned.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

12 by 2012

How is it almost November already?? I saw an idea on a blog I started following called "12 by 2012." Basically it's a list of 12 things you want to accomplish by the new year. I've planned to do these things anyway, but putting them down and posting them for everyone to see will hopefully give me some accountability! So, here's my list!
  1. Get registered for school.This is a given, but registering for school is always a huge pain in the butt, so I've been procrastinating. And what happens when you procrastinate about registering? The good classes fill up!
  2. Finish organizing and decorating the house, specifically the office and master bedroom.
  3. Start learning Spanish.
  4. Establish a training schedule for the El Paso ½ marathon in February. My goal is to finish around 2 hours this time!
  5. Perfect the process of making lattes with my espresso machine, as well as my own flavoring syrups.
  6. Mercilessly pare down my book collection. If I didn’t love it and am not likely to reread it or insist someone else borrow it, out it goes.
  7. Read 25 new books (via the library or finally biting the bullet and buying a Kindle). The one I’m in the middle of now, The Whistling Season by Evan Doig, can count as #1.
  8. Do more weeding of my closet and wardrobe, and also attempt to finally pinpoint what my style is so I am more purposeful when I shop.
  9. Plan out a list of things I’d like to do for date nights. There always seem to be a lot of things we want to do that we never get around to doing, and then we regret it once we’ve moved again.
  10. Get involved in our new church. Right now we are just kinda “lost in the crowd.”
  11. Find more crockpot recipes I like in preparation for being busy again come January.
  12. Get organized for Christmas early, since we are going to be gone for part of the month. 
There you go! I'll keep you updated on my progress. =)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My first successful attempt at making a Mexican meal

A couple years ago I tried making enchiladas. I hated them. Not long after I attempted quesadillas. Whatever recipe I used must've been a crappy one, because the tortillas burned and the filling didn't cook. My conclusion: Mexican food is hard and trying it only results in wasting money thanks to ruined ingredients. Haha I still don't think I'll ever try enchiladas again; I've realized recently that I probably failed at them because I don't really care for enchiladas. I never order them when I go out for Mexican, so why bother making them at home? But ever since I ordered a carnitas platter at the first Mexican restaurant we tried after arriving in El Paso, I have been burning to recreate that meal. It was SO GOOD!

Here is how my attempt turned out: 

It was delicious! I will change a few things next time I try the meal, though. The pork and the beans needed the seasonings upped quite a bit. I was cautious with them because I don't like things too spicy or salty, but after tasting them in the context of the meal, I would probably double the seasonings on the pork and the beans just needed a lot more salt (I did add more when I reheated them and they were much better).

The pork was super easy. I basically combined a few different recipes from and this is what I ended up with:
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 small can chopped chilies    
Mix together spices in a bowl. Cut pork roast into 2-inch chunks. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place pieces in the bottom of a slow cooker. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture. Add chilies. Cover and cook on High until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 4-5 hours (or 10 hours on Low). Turn the meat halfway through cooking time. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Spread the pork in a thin layer on a baking sheet and add a few generous spoonfuls of the cooking liquid. Put in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until it is browned and the liquid has evaporated.

It may not look appetizing right now, but the smell sure is!
A peek during the browning process. Is it time for dinner yet?!

The recipes for the refried beans and rice I don't want to share here. They are from a friend's parents' restaurant so I'm sure they'd rather not have them published all over the web for anyone to find. =) But she did say I could share them, so if anyone would like them, just shoot me an email. But I did find similar recipes for the beans here and for the rice here that I'm sure would be just as delicious. After all, seasoning is always up to the individual person and that's really the key. Another key to the beans is not to rush them. They need to be cooked until they are VERY tender, or they won't mash well.

For my tortillas, I used the Pioneer Woman's recipe. I was pretty intimated upon reading how hard it is to get them just right, and pretty prepared for half of them to go straight to the trash. But I followed her recipe exactly, and to my surprise I didn't have a single bad one out of the whole batch. I didn't bother with trying to get them perfectly round though since I'm sure that just takes a lot of practice and it doesn't effect the taste so who cares? =)
One taste of these beauties and you'll never buy a tortilla from a store again! =)

Friday, October 7, 2011

3-41 Rifle Ball

Last night was our first ball with the new battalion.

From Blogger Pictures

It's so fun to get glammed up. But I didn't take many pictures this time.

From Blogger Pictures
Part of the grog ceremony, which is always one of my favorite parts.

From Blogger Pictures
Me with Marian, the Sergeant Major's wife. She is the awesomest person ever and we have several mutual friends from Lewis so it was SO cool we ended up in this battalion. =)

From Blogger Pictures
Hubby and me, although WHY does it appear that I'm not looking at the camera? And we decided not to do professional photos this time too. Sigh.

This ball was kind of an odd one for me since at our last one back in WA, I had so many friends there I barely had time to say hi to them all, whereas this one I only knew 2 people. And I was also the only girl at our table, but it was full of young Privates who were mostly from Andrew's platoon and they were quite entertaining. In some ways soldiers take a long time to grow up. ;-) Anyway, it was a fun night. I'm looking forward to many more events with our new battalion!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall TV

I thought I'd give food a rest and talk about what I think of the fall TV line-up. It's no secret I don't have much of a life right now due to not having a car or a job and school not starting til January, so my days consist of keeping the house clean, finding yummy recipes to cook and bake, organizing projects, and DVRing any show that sounds interesting. Heh heh.

So here are my opinions on what I'm watching these days, both new shows and ones I've been watching for years.


Dancing with the Stars
Other than JR, the former soldier who came back from Iraq severely burned after an incident with an IED and has become a well-known motivational speaker, this season has been pretty bleh to me. If JR doesn't make it to the end (and he should, because he is an excellent dancer, let alone amazing person), I'll probably stop watching because I don't like most of the rest of the cast. Horrible dancers like Chaz Bono, who looks like he's never done a lick of exercise in his life and doesn't deserve to be left on the show week after week just because he's had a gender change, are being saved and good ones are going home.

How I Met Your Mother
As legen--wait for it!--dary as ever.

2 Broke Girls
The amusing previews and unusual premise made me want to check this one out. I am really enjoying it so far. But it needs more plot development or it's going to crash and burn very quickly. A show can't survive on the main characters tossing one-liners at each other alone. The conclusion is that I'm going to keep watching but if it doesn't get more organized soon, I'll probably get bored. By the way, it's refreshing to see a main character of a sitcom who is neither extremely overweight or a size 2...because let's face it, that's nearly always Hollywood's only options. "America is tired of unrealistic skinny girls? Okay, let's have one who is unhealthily overweight to make them feel better about themselves!"

Two and a Half Men
We've always only watched re-runs of this show, but all the furor over Charlie Sheen's meltdowns and the announcement the show was continuing without him made us curious. So we checked out the premiere, and discovered the show can actually work without Sheen. Ashton Kutcher is hilarious. I'm sure it won't last forever but I'm glad the show sent a message to egotistical, self-destructive actors that they aren't as indispensable as they might think they are.

The same good show as ever! 

Raising Hope
My friend Amy got me into this show last year, and Andrew likes it too because the humor reminds him of one of his favorite shows, My Name is Earl. It's cute, wildly eccentric, and funny.

I seriously only watch this show because of the awesome singing and dancing. And occasionally it makes me laugh.

This is one of my favorites of the brand new shows. I love Poppy Montgomery and I love the show's premise, about a police detective with an very rare disorder that allows her to never forget anything she's ever seen. I got interested in it when I heard it's actually a real disorder: it's called HSAM (highly superior autobiographical memory). Another actress has HSAM and serves as a consultant on the show. Anyway, it's good and I hope it sticks around!

Body of Proof
This show is kinda dumb and tries too hard to be funny. But yet I keep watching it, mostly because I enjoy seeing the medical examiner side of things. Once I get super busy again it'll probably be one of the first ones I drop. 


Criminal Minds
What can I say? It remains my favorite show. I'm glad the crew is back together again. I do have one minor complaint for the show's writers though--why are they always showing us who the perp is from the very beginning now? I don't like that. I've been watching re-runs from old seasons on A&E and I preferred how you wouldn't know the guilty person until near the end. Oh well. It's still completely awesome.

Law & Order: SVU
I was upset when they announced Stabler was leaving and Benson was only doing a few episodes. However, I decided to give it a chance, and the result is that I'm sure I'll keep watching. They are handling the transition of the new detectives very well. I'll miss the Stabler/Benson duo very much, but at least the new duo is promising.

CSI (Las Vegas)
Another show I only watch if I have time. But it's entertaining, and the new guy is interesting.


Big Bang Theory
Love, love, love. As always.

Person of Interest
This is another show that caught my eye for its unusual premise. A super computer system that watches everyone and can tell they are going to be involved in some kind of crime. But it doesn't know whether the person is the perpetrator or the victim, and that is Jim Caviezel's character's job to find out and then stop the crime from happening. It's sort of sci-fi as far as the super computer is concerned, but the rest works out more like a crime thriller. It's interesting.


Gary Sinise is such a good guy. His show makes me roll my eyes very often. But it's probably my favorite of the CSIs. 


We got Showtime free for a few months with our new cable set-up, and since I was just finishing up the seasons of Dexter out on DVD, it worked out perfectly to start watching the new season. Dexter isn't for everyone, but I find it fascinating.

Pan Am
This show is so pretty. I'm enjoying it so far; we'll see where it goes.

So...that's it. Please don't judge my excessive TV watching during this brief period in my life. ;-)