Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hey Y'all I'm Back

I am finally back after nearly a year off. But I am back as the Tattooed Modern Ex-Wife. My marriage fell apart last September shortly after I started back at the bank I love (where I still work). I will not provide the details of the divorce but lets just say it had to end. The ex and I still get along but what happened was beyond repair. I hope to start writing more again about my experience over this past year and the struggles I have gone through with being on my own. Look out for more to come!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Job Again!

I have great news. I am back working at one of the banks I loved. It was hard for me to leave the position I was in at the current bank I was at but I could not turn down an opportunity to go back one of the best places I ever worked for. Hopefully this is my last stop for a long time. I am three days in back at my old place of work and I am very happy. I also came back as a project manager instead of an analyst so it is a promotion for me. I should have more time to write more now. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Fat Ass Update

I started counting weight watcher points again...you all know by now. Every time I need to drop a few I start counting points. I made it to my goal weight of 131 in a few weeks. Down from 136. Not sure if it is due to organs being removed from me during my surgery but hey...I will take it.

Southern Style Banana Pudding

I completely forgot to take a picture of this! I made my famous Southern Style Banana Pudding for a work picnic yesterday. 

First lets discuss what should NOT go in banana pudding. Never actually use banana pudding mix. It should be French Vanilla...not vanilla...French Vanilla.

OK now that we are clear on that part lets discuss just the name itself...Banana Pudding. It really turns out more like a mouse than pudding which is why people tend to screw up the recipe when they make it. 

Here is my recipe I received from a lady I worked with. This is the true Southern Style Banana Pudding recipe. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. You can make this using a lasagna pan or layer it in a trifle dish. You also can use light, sugar free, and fat free ingredients on the items available and it will not greatly impact the flavor.

Southern Style Banana Pudding

1 box vanilla wafers or Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies
6 to 8 bananas sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5oz) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12oz) cool whip

Line the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch dish with vanilla wafers and then layer bananas on top.

In bowl combine the milk and pudding mix. Blend well with mixer. In another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk. Mix until smooth. Fold cool whip into the cream cheese mixture and add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture. Stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over cookies and bananas. Cover with remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Tony and I did still take our trip to Savannah since we already paid for a night at the bed and breakfast. This was our first time ever staying at a bed and breakfast and we really enjoyed it. The food was amazing. 

Our in keeper baked fresh pasties and delivered three different types to the room the night before. Most of them did not make it until breakfast. In the evenings she made appetizers and served drinks. We stayed at the Zeigler House Inn off of Jones Street. The location was perfect. I highly recommend staying here.

Tony and I took a dinner cruise. We see them all the time in coastal cities we visit so we decided to give it a try. Price was $50 a person and that did not include drinks. The food was catered by Paula Dean's catering company. My review....This blew and was a total waste of money. The food was awful. It was served buffet style and as soon as everyone went through one time they started pulling the buffet down. The meat was dry and their side items were nothing special or good. The dinner cruise went back and forth on the shoreline. For two hours we had the same scenery over, and over again. Part of that scenery being an ugly shipping port. We did meet some nice people on the cruise and the band they had was pretty good.

After our horrible dinner we went to The Pink House which is known to be haunted. We had drinks in the basement. I wish we would have skipped the dinner cruise and had a nice dinner at The Pink House. I asked the bartender where the bathroom is and he informed me the women's bathroom is haunted. Still not thinking much of it I went along my business and was disappointed nothing happened to me in the bathroom. The second time I had to go there were two other women in there and only one stall. The one lady looked at me and asked if I knew the bathroom is haunted. I replied, "yes, but I was in here earlier and nothing happened to me." I am NOT kidding when I say right after I said that the door handle on the women's bathroom started shaking and the door was pulling. The lady opened the door and there was no one on the other side. She was pretty spooked. Finally my turn to use the bathroom and they asked me if I wanted them to wait for me. I said , no I will be fine. When I returned back to my bar stool the bartender said to me the women came out with spooked looks on their faces and knew something happened. My response, "that was awesome!" Only I would think an encounter with a ghost was awesome. I researched the history behind the haunting of the women's bathroom at The Pink House and it turns out the ghosts of children try to lock the women in the bathroom as a game. The bathroom used to be one person at a time but they had to put a door up in front of the toilet and take the lock of the door to get in because so many women were ending up locked in the bathroom. Even though the lock is gone the ghosts still try.

Here are some pictures from our trip.

Scary Statue of Marilyn Monroe - I grabbed her ass in front
of a lot of people.

Picture on the front porch of the Inn

The famous Savannah Water Fountain

There were two guys singing to me "She's Some Kind of Wonderful".
It was rememberable yet embarrassing at the same time.

Love this fountain. It is in one of the squares.
On board the dinner cruise. That is the only scenery we saw the whole night.

That band aid is covering another dysplastic mole that was found on Tony.
Our dreams of living in the Caribbean are being wilted by skin cancer.

Back on a Budget

It has been a while since I complained about being on a tight budget. Well we are back on one. Just when we were getting ahead Sydney got cancer, I got skin cancer and had a hysterectomy, and while we were hoping to have a tax refund we ending up owing...a LOT! Tony and I are fortunate we do not have credit card debt so when things like this happen it is not completely devastating. We were very lucky while all this was going on we received a zero percent interest offer through my discover card so we used one card and then transferred it all to discover, interest free for a year. 

So now we do carry a balance but are anxious to pay it off as quickly as possible before the year is up. I could not imagine all of this hitting us if we carried a credit card balance. The last statics I read was the the average household credit card balance went up from $7k to $10k. That is a lot of money to have on a credit card! I strongly encourage people reading this blog to focus on paying off your debt as quickly as possible. It is such a great feeling when the cards are paid for and it is going to save you so much money in the long run. 

We cancelled two of our trips this year. I really did not want to because we were going to go to NYC to celebrate my 30th birthday. NYC will always be there and even better is my friend Tanya will be flying in from Florida for my 30th so Tony will be throwing me a party. We still are going to go to St. Croix in November. Of course we bought those plane tickets just a week before our financial melt down. 

Alright the fun challenge for me. How long do I go before I buy something I don't need. We will have to see....I am pretty determined this time until I see a pair of Michael Kors shoes on sale.

More Black Belt Pictures

Here are more pictures from my promotion ceremony.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Harley Ride

It has been a while since Tony and I went on a Harley ride. We did the Got To Be NC ride and had prime parking inside the event. One thing I do hate about the name of the event. "Got to be NC". Way to go NC for having an event with poor grammar in the name. The kids in the state are screwed when it comes to English. 

Life Changing Event

Earlier this week I had a hysterectomy. Tony and I thought about this decision long and hard and decided it is the best thing to do for my health. About three years ago we decided not to have children but it still is hard when now our ability to change our mind is taken away. I am looking forward to feeling like a woman again and so looking forward to not having any more pain or massive bloating. Tony and I did discuss if we ever feel like we are missing out on a family we can always adopt. I will say I am so in love with my furry children I am fine continuing to save dogs from rescue organizations as mine pass on. Hey....they are cheaper too. :)

Jack using Stella as a pillow.

Black Belt

Last Friday I earned my black belt! It was a long road and I cannot believe it happened. Tony did not see me practice much and he said during the promotion he felt such a sense of pride in me.

Meet Stella

Tony and I were looking for a German Shepherd but we ended up with a Bull dog mix. We found the rescue groups way too difficult to work with. While we like their philosophy behind their method, it just did not work for us since the person who decided where the dogs were placed was the foster parent. The puppy we really like was being fostered by a woman that was way too attached to the puppy and was very discriminating against Tony and I and our dogs with their behavior. She did not listen to how we know our dogs will react. We started looking elsewhere and fell in love with this cute little bull dog/boxer mix puppy. We are pretty sure there is some pit bull in her as well. 

Tony and I seem to not do anything in the proper order. We adopted Stella three days before we left for Savannah. I hated to have to take her to a kennel right away but it ended up working out really well. Stella was boarded at our vets office so she received all her booster shots she needed as well as her exam. Jack and Oscar went to their place for boarding and doggy daycare. It gave them a break from the puppy to help them adjust.

It took a few days but Stella is part of the pack now. She is such a sweet, submissive dog that Jack and Oscar needed. Potty training is going OK. She does not know how to ask to go out but understands she should be going outside. Tony and I just love her and are so happy she is part of the family. Our house is back to being crazy with animals and I would not have it any other way. Stella is just over four months old right now and in the last two weeks already put on 5 pounds. She weighs in at 33 pounds and is expected to get between 50 and 70.

This was the picture online that stole our hearts. She is three months old here.

Stella likes to steal the pillows during the night.

Pack nap

Our baby girl

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spider Vein Treatment - Laser vs. Needle

I started getting spider vein treatments about two years ago with the needle injections. Earlier this year I bought a groupon for spider vein treatment by laser. I had my first laser treatment a few days ago. I am NOT happy. 

Sure the thought of a needle may freak some people out but the vein dies right away. They also hit so many veins in a short period of time. With the laser they have to numb the area and it takes just sooooo much longer. I would have to say one 30 minute treatment with the needles is equal to four to six 30 minute treatments with the laser.

Now there are some benefits to the laser. There is no massive bruising if you are going for the deeper veins. The small purple ones on the surface do not bruise. The deep blue veins do sting afterwards for a few hours. With the laser there is no stinging afterwards. However I just cannot justify the amount of time and money for the laser. Going forward I am only going with the needle injections.


I finally tried Botox...and I love it. 

So if you never had Botox before here is what to expect. The injections do not hurt. If anything there is a little stinging which does not last very long. When you leave the office there will be lumps on your faces that quickly go away. The muscles do not start paralyzing until 3 to 5 days after the injections. It was kind of fun trying to move the muscles and I could not. I no longer can make a mean face so Tony does not know when I am mad at him. I can't make that face no matter how hard I try. Full effects of Botox show in two weeks which is this coming Friday for me. The wrinkles in my forehead really have disappeared. Tony...every birthday, Valentine's Day, and Christmas, please get me Botox!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ocoplastic Surgery

The chef of ocoplastic surgery at Duke performed the closure on my face. She did a wonderful job cutting the skin in a certain pattern so it heals with minimal scarring. The first picture was from right after the surgery and the second was from this morning. You can hardly tell from a distance and with a little makeup. The stitches come out in a week. Right after the surgery some Bitch at Steinmart (where I was shopping waiting for my prescription to be filled) had the never to say to me "It looks like someone gotcha good." I looked at her and said "yeah...skin cancer." Next time I get a comment like that I suppose I should say "You should see the other guy."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mohs Surgery

I had the Mohs surgery today to remove the basal cell skin cancer. I am very lucky because they only had to cut once and were able to get it all. A lot of people end up being in the office all day with constant back and forth cutting more out until they get it all. They also did not have to go very deep. With basal cell skin cancer it typically goes down to the bone. Let this be a lesson to all you reading to not ignore bumps and lumps on your body. This was only there for six months before I went in. Some people wait years and end up with extremely large areas taken off their face. Here is what it looks like now. Tomorrow I see the ocoplastic surgeon to close it up.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We're Adopting....a dog :)

Jack has been terribly sad since loosing Sydney. Tony and I decided to adopt another dog for him. Right now we are working with a local German Shepherd rescue group to find him the perfect girlfriend. I never worked with a rescue group before. It is a bit more than adopting from a shelter but we are going to make sure we get the perfect fit for our home. Since Jack has aggression issues with other dogs when I am around it makes perfect sense to work with a rescue group that also has dog trainers that volunteer too. Right now we still are in the application phase. Next is the home visit. The process can take a few weeks to a few months until the perfect dog is found. I am extremely excited to get him a new girlfriend. I still miss Sydney dearly but we are saving another life in her honor.

I never fully understood what the appeal was to German Shepherds until we adopted Jack. They are so incredible intelligent and trainable. I think Tony and I will always own them going forward.

On a funny note Tony taught Jack how to howl like a wolf. It is freaken hysterical. I will post a video one of these days. Extremely funny when he gets his snout in the air to howl and nothing comes out.

Tony Joins in on Skin Cancer

After I found out about my skin cancer I sent Tony into the dermatologist for a full body check. He got is results back today for one of the moles sent off. The mole came back as dysplasia - the pre-stages for melanoma. I am so glad they caught is in time. He goes back in a few weeks to have more skin dug out of his leg to remove all the dysplasia. We sure would have looked like a funny couple if we had not gone into the doctor for the spots that just did not look right on us. We would have looked like pirates. Tony with a peg leg and me with one eye. I think when I go back to work after my surgery I am going to have to borrow Tony's Jack Sparrow wig since I will have an eye patch on.

I did find out I will need eye lid reconstruction. The first day is removing all the cancer and doing what plastic surgery they can to fix my face. My eye lid will still be an open wound until the next day so I get to sport the awesome eye patch. The second day I will be at Duke Cancer Center getting my eye lid reconstructed. Fun stuff. If only they included Botox in the price.

If you are reading this please schedule a full body check with your dermatologist!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good-Bye Sydney

Almost two weeks after Sydney's surgery she died. Her blood levels are what gave us hope through the process that she would survive. Tony and I took her to the emergency hours at our vet's office. She had not eaten for three days and was throwing up water. Her blood work showed the worst. The cancer moved into her blood stream and she did not have much longer to live. Tony and I decided to put her down peacefully that night rather than her suffering for a few more days.

When we put Otis down over six years ago we did not stay with him and this is the biggest regret of our lives. We knew we had to stay with Sydney until the end. The vet's office did a very nice job making it comfortable and peaceful. They also sent us flowers and a card the following week. 

It is so terribly hard loosing her so fast. I think it was even harder loosing her than it was Otis. Otis was old and we knew his time was coming. Sydney was a completely normal dog and then in less than three weeks cancer took her. I still tear up driving home because she is not going to be there. It is a different feeling walking into my house. I am used to three dogs storming at me, each one pushing the other aside to greet me and whomever else visits. Jack and Oscar still greet us but my big girl is missing.

I don't remember how long it took me to get over Otis dying. My brother died a month after he did so my sadness turned to my brother. It is going to take a long time to get over her.

Mom and Dad love you baby girl. Take care of Otis and my brother in heaven.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Skin Cancer Sucks

Two weeks ago I found out I have basal cell skin cancer below my eye. This was traumatizing to me given they will have to cut out my skin below my eyelid and possible reconstruct my eyelid. This type of skin cancer is not the kind that transfers to the organs. That is melanoma. I went into the doctor thinking I had a skin tag. What I have is not what you think skin cancer looks like. This was not a mole. It was a very small skin colored bump not even a half inch below my eye. I thought it was a skin tag which is what I originally went in for. While it does really suck this is on my face I also am very fortunate it is on my face otherwise I would have ignored it. My surgery is scheduled for April 9.

The following day after finding out about my skin cancer I received deviating news. My dog Sydney has melanoma skin cancer. I took her in for a bump on her skin about the size of a quarter. Who would have thought dogs get skin cancer. The day of her surgery they found another spot of skin cancer starting. It also traveled to her lymph node. The lymph node in the groin on a dog is about the size of the tip of your pinkie finger. Hers was about the size of a soft ball. This all took only a matter of a week and a half. She was a normal dog before. I cannot believe how fast it grew.

The day we brought her home from surgery

She had her surgery to remove the cancer. It came back at stage three which gives her about 6 months to live. I have been so worried about her that I really have not even paid too much attention to my skin cancer. I am having a hard time getting her to eat. She looks so depressed. I just cannot stand seeing her like this. Right now I am focusing on getting her healed from her surgery and then keeping her comfortable for the remainder of her life. 

Jack realizing what is wrong with her

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes

Nothing says comfort food to me like Cheesy Potatoes. Just because they say Cheesy does not mean it has to be high in fat. I made some modifications to this classic Kraft recipe.

Cheesy Potatoes

1 can (10 3/4 oz) low fat condensed cream of chicken soup.
1 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 package (32 oz) frozen southern-style has browns, thawed
1 package (8 oz) reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
20 light ritz crackers crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix soup and sour cream in a large bowl. Add potatoes and cheese. Stir until well blended.

2. Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with crackers (original recipe calls for mixing the crackers with butter).

3. Bake for 50 minutes or until heated through.

Jamaican Jerk Roasted Chicken

This is one of my favorite roasted chicken recipes. It is from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine. The best thing about roasting chickens is you can make chicken salad sandwiches the next day. All you need to do is cut up the chicken and add some honey mustard, mayo, and nuts.

Jamaican Jerk Roasted Chicken

1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
¾ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄3; cup chicken broth
1 (7 -8 lb) whole roasting chickens
1 small onions, cut into wedges Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine garlic salt, allspice, thyme, black pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture to chicken broth, stirring well.

2. Fill a turkey marinade injector with broth mixture; inject mixture at 1-inch intervals into breast, thighs, and wings of chicken. Rub remaining spice mixture over chicken skin. Let chicken stand for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Place onion wedges in chicken cavity, and tie legs together with kitchen string. Tuck wings under, and place chicken, breast side up, on a V-shaped roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Bake for 2 hours or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh reads 165°; loosely tent with foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Carefully transfer chicken to a serving platter or carving board, and let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Potatoes with Paprika Sauce

This recipe is from Every Day food with Martha Stuart.

Potatoes with Paprika Sauce

4 medium golden potatoes cut into one inch cubes
1 tbs EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup mayo
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove minced
3/4 ts paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. On a rimmed baking sheet toss potatoes, EVOO, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and roast until potatoes are tender - about 35 to 40 minutes.

2. While potatoes are cooking mix remaining ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with potatoes.

Herb Roast Chicken

Tanya this is the chicken I made for you!

Herb Roast Chicken

1 4-5 pound chicken
1 1/2 ts salt
1 lemon half (or lemon juice)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tbs EVOO
1 tbs butter melted

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove giblets and other crap from inside the chicken. Rinse chicken and cavity well. Pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle 1/2 ts salt inside cavity. Place lemon half inside.

2. Stir together pepper, rosemary, thyme, and remaining salt. Brush outside of chicken with oil. Rub 2 1/2 tsp pepper mixture on skin. Sprinkle remaining mixture on both sides of the breast. Place chicken breast side up on a lightly greased wire rack in a shallow roasting pan. Add 3/4 cups water or chicken broth to the pan.

3. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake for 30 minutes. Baste chicken with pan juices and drizzle with melted butter. Bake 15 to 25 more minutes or until a thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Remove chicken from oven and baste with pan juices. Lest stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shimp

Tony loved this recipe!

Bacon-Corn Chowder with Shrimp
Cooking Light July 2011

6 slices center-cut bacon, chopped
1 cup prechopped onion
1/2 cup prechopped celery
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1/3 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add bacon to pan; saute 4 minutes or until the bacon begins to brown. Remove 2 slices bacon. Drain on paper towels. Add onion and next 3 ingredients (through minced garlic) to pan, and saute for 2 minutes. Add corn, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to a boil, and cook for 4 minutes.

2. Place 2 cups of corn mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in the blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Return pureed corn mixture to pan. Stir in shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done. Stir in half-and-half, pepper, and salt. Crumble reserved bacon over soup.

Seared Filet Mignon with Chive Butter

Things have been extremely crazy in my life this past month. You will soon find out why. Unfortunately I failed to take pictures of some of the recipes.

For Valentine's Day I made Seared Filet Mignon with Chive Butter from Paula Deen's magazine. I do find Fillet Mignon a hard to cook with how thick it can be. I am not particularly fond of rare meat either.

Seared Filet Mignon with Chive Butter

2 TB butter, softened
1 1/2 TB minced fresh chives
1 1/2 ts lemon juice
3/4 ts salt
3/4 ts black pepper
1/2 ts minced garlic
2 6-oz Filet Mignon

1. In a medium bowl, stir together butter, chives, lemon juice, 1/4 ts salt, 1/4 ts pepper, and garlic. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

2. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle steaks with remaining salt and pepper. Add steaks to skillet and cook for four minutes per side or until the meat thermometer reaches 130 degrees.

3. Divide butter mixture in half and let melt over hot steaks.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weight update

Well thanks to the nororvirus I am back down to 130. Unfortunate way to lose weight but I hope I keep it off.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Fat Ass Update

I haven't written about my weight in months! I was able to keep off all the weight I lost last spring up until Thanksgiving. I put on five pounds since. No surprise to me but I am glad it is not the 10 pounds I put on last winter. I am starting to work at getting it back off. Right now I weigh in at 135 pounds and I would like to get back to 131 - 132. If I cannot get it off in the next month I probably will be back on weight watchers. As if you all probably could not tell my recent recipe posts do not include weight watcher points or nutrition information!

The last month has been very exhausting for me with work and I really have not been exercising like I normally do. I found out I broke four ribs straight down the front from karate. It did not hurt like a break does on the side so I did not even know I did it until I went to the doctor to have him check a lump on my chest. The break was already a month old. After he told me there are four broken ribs I felt a little lower and found a huge lump under my breast tissue from another break. After I broke my ribs I was really sick and tired. I did not go to class as much and did not exercise so I did not feel the break. Once I started feeling better I went to class and offered my ribs up to a teenager that was training. That aggravated the breaks and shortly after I went to the doctor. I could not do crunches the last month and just started again. It hurt so badly! That was just before Christmas so it put a damper on my exercise plans for the holidays.

Hope your weight loss goals for the year are successful!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Herb and Garlic Crusted Pork Roast

This recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens. I normally buy pork roast already marinated. This was amazing! First time I ever soaked pork over night in a brine. Makes a huge difference in the flavor all the way through the pork. The original recipe is below however I do suggest making double the bacon and crust mixture. It just did not seem like enough. I thought the pork looked lonely so I added bacon on the top.

Herb and Garlic Crusted Pork Roast


1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 cups cold water
1 center-cut, boneless pork loin, about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds
3 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
4 slices desired bacon,  (uncooked)
1 Tbsp. apricot preserves
2 Tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
3 Tbsp. melted butter


1. For brine, in large bowl dissolve salt and sugar in 8 cups cold water. Transfer pork to brine, making sure it is fully submerged, cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to two days.

2. Remove loin from brine and blot dry with paper towels. In a nonstick skillet heat oil then brown roast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set aside for 5 to 30 minutes to cool slightly.

3. In food processor puree uncooked bacon to a smooth paste. Transfer half the bacon to bowl. Stir in apricot preserves, chopped garlic, and 2 Tsp. of the chopped rosemary.

4. Place cooled pork loin on waxed paper. Spread thinly with bacon mixture. In separate bowl mix bread crumbs, remaining rosemary, parsley, melted butter, and 1/2 Tsp. each kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss well to mix. Press crumb mixture onto roast (except ends), applying enough pressure for the crumbs to adhere.

5. Position oven rack in lowest position; preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Transfer roast to wire rack in foil-lined baking dish or roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for 45 minutes more or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees. (If crust begins to brown too deeply, tent with foil.) Remove roast from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes in warm place.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

I found this recipe in Martha Stewart's cooking magazine. I served Christmas Day with the Honey Glazed Ham (see main course tab), stuffing, and other items my guests brought. To my surprise this was so good. I knew the recipe could go either way since it has goat cheese in it. I love goat cheese but it also can be too much of a good thing. I topped my potatoes with Cinnamon.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

5 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
4 oz goat cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped chives (I used parsley)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375. Prick potatoes with a fork. Place on a large sheet of foil on a baking sheet. Bake until tender. About 1 hour. Let potatoes cool.

2. Halve sweet potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out potatoes from flesh and place in a mixing bowl. Arrange skins on a single layer on the baking sheet. Add goat cheese, butter, salt, and pepper to mixing bowl. Mix on medium high speed for about three minutes. Add chives and then mix again for about a minute. Scoop potato mixture back into the shells. Discard any remaining shells. Top with bread crumbs and chopped pecans. Bake for 10 minutes.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

This recipe is from Southern Living Magazine. I made half the recipe and it still took up a 9x11 pan. I skipped the water chestnuts because Tony and I are not fans of it.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Ingredients 1 (2.25-oz.) package sliced almonds
2 (6.2-oz.) boxes fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice mix
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 (10 3/4-oz.) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (8-oz.) cans chopped water chestnuts, drained
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 4 to 6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Prepare rice mixes according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onions. Sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, next 6 ingredients, rice, and 3 cups cheese. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch baking dish or 2 (11- x 7-inch) baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese, and top with toasted almonds. Bake 5 minutes.

To Make Ahead: Prepare as directed in Steps 2 and 3. Cover with aluminum foil, and freeze up to 1 month. Remove from freezer, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Toast almonds as directed in Step 1. Bake casserole, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 55 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese and toasted almonds. Bake 5 more minutes.

Served with Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese

Harley for Christmas

It has been a hard year since Tony's accident and I am amazed he wants to ride again. I bought him a Harley Davidson Road King for Christmas. I financed it, took out insurance, and worked with one of his friends to get it over to a neighbor's garage to hide it until Christmas. Tony got it a few days early after I found out someone he works with hinted to him. It was a beautiful day though when he got the bike and I am glad he was able to ride that day.

Tony was good to me for Christmas. I had a list of Michael Kors items I wanted. He threw in a purse as well. That was a nice surprise for me.

Christmas day we had friends over for dinner. It was nice to have people over at our house on a holiday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'll be Back

Work has been killing me lately and I have not had a chance to try any thing new. I do have some ideas for Christmas. You should hear back from me soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


In October Tony and I went to Florida for a few days. We met up with my friend Tanya for two of the days. It was nice to see each other again and catch up. Tony and I went to Busch Gardens. We did not go on any rides because of Tony's shoulder blade. It was really neat to see all the exotic animals! More Pictures on facebook.

Ybor City

Cranberry Fruit Conserve

I found this recipe in Good Housekeeping magazine. It is a change to the normally cranberry sauce. It calls for regular sugar. I used splenda for baking and wish I would have used regular splenda. The berries make it sweet enough so not a lot of sugar is needed. Makes 4 1/2 cups.

Cranberry Fruit Conserve

1 bag(s) fresh cranberries, picked over, rinsed
1 3/4 cup(s) sugar
1 cup(s) water
1 orange
1 lemon
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
3/4 cup(s) raisins
3/4 cup(s) chopped walnuts or pecans

1.In 4-quart saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, and water. Cook on medium 5 to 10 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally.

2.Meanwhile, into small bowl, finely grate peels of orange and lemon, then squeeze juice. Stir into cranberry mixture, along with apple. Cook 15 minutes longer.

3.Remove from heat and add raisins and nuts. Let cool, then refrigerate up to 1 week. Serve chilled.

Pizza Time!

Tony and I had pizza night last week. I made a Chicken Burrito Pizza I found in Shape Magazine and I made a Margherita pizza. Recipes Below! Enjoy.

Chicken Burrito Pizza

2 T. salsa (more if desired)
Pizza Crust (use your favorite recipe, or store-bought)
1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 chicken breast, grilled and diced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

For the Pico De Gallo
1 large tomato, diced
1 small green chili, diced
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 red onion, diced

For the Guacamole
1 large avocado
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 red onion, diced
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread salsa over the prepared dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with the chicken, black beans and onions. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown. Meanwhile, combine tomato, chili, cilantro and onion in small bowl. Season with salt. Set aside. Halve an avocado, remove the pit, and scoop out the flesh into small bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado. Mix in cilantro, onion, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice pizza and top each slice with a spoonful of guacamole and pico de gallo.

Margherita Pizza

IngredientsRomano Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese
Olive Oil
Fresh Basel
Two small Romano tomatoes

I really did not follow any directions but here is what I did. Cook pizza crust according to directions. Over cooked dough, brush olive oil and top with Basel. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of the pizza to your liking. Place sliced tomatoes over the top. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.