Archive | March, 2011

The wise man reads both books and life itself

30 Mar

First and foremost, thanks everyone for the encouraging words, thoughts and experiences of your own from  my last post.  I have so many emotions about quitting my job but feel like it’s the right thing to do for me and was relieved to see that others have been in the same boat. I was also pleased to see some haven’t been in the same boat and it hasn’t been all butterfly farts and rainbows so I appreciate the honest feedback!

Today was a pretty slow day for once, maybe it was because of the nasty weather outside? I woke up to rain hitting the window and knew it was gonna be one of those days. Lincoln didn’t even want to step foot outside and I begged him to just go potty for momma, I didn’t even care if he went #2 inside (he never does but I would make an exception for rain). And of course, it was one of those days where my hair looked awesome without even running a brush through it but once I stepped outside-hello Diana Ross! I felt productive in the morning but maybe that was due to this breakfast of champions?

And of course, I forgot my milk. I contemplated pouring the Red Bell &Cola into the cereal for a nano second but figured it would be the worst of the worst so I kept separate like a normal person. Because normal people drink Red Bell & Cola’s and eat cereal without milk for breakfast right?

But after a little trip to the library, all hopes of productivity went out the window. Maybe because I was really excited for the new reads I got?

And has anyone else seen Awkward Family Photos: The Wedding Edition? I was looking at this at work and I was dying from some of the pics. The girls holding up their dresses and the one with the coffin in the background are my personal favorites.

A preview of dinner since dinner is going to get an entire post of it’s own.

Those are fried risotto balls. Takes a guess as to whether I ate only two or not. Here’s a hint-I have a fried risotto food baby sitting inside of me.

What are your favorite books? Three favorites off the top of my head are

1) Bitter is The New Black (and basically anything by Jen Lancaster)

I rarely buy books anymore but make an exception for Jen Lancaster.

2) Smart Women Finish Rich

I read this two or three times a year

3) Affluenza

Did you participate in the Book It program back in the day?

Sometimes when I read, I still crave pizza. Hot, cheesy, pepperoni topped pizza. I blame this all on Book It.

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A leap of faith, y’all

30 Mar

 I have been all about the comfort food lately. I love going out-of-town and trying new places but with that it brings bigger portions, unhealthy grub and an upset belly. After my weekend of yummy eats, I am happy to be back home cooking and eating healthier than I have been. But that doesn’t mean  everything is boring and plain-I was all about the down home cooking on Monday night! And the inspiration for this?

Paula Deen y’all!

(source)

Oh Paula, you ride random men like a horse, are very orange and say y’all as much as you use butter but I really do heart you. I found this Paula Deen Southern Peach BBQ Sauce for only $1.80 at Big Lots while in Pittsburgh. I love bbq anything so I was excited to try out a peace bbq sauce.

I marinated two chicken breasts in the sauce for 20 minutes then cooked both on the stovetop

 

While that was cooking, I chopped up half of a white onion and baby bella mushrooms and cooked with extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and my new California Crushed Jalapeno spice from Penzey’s.

I sliced a sweet potato and let that bake in the oven at 400 degrees for a little over 20 minutes. Since the mushroom/onion mixture had some spice to it, I countered the sweet potatoes with sweetness by sprinkling with cinnamon

This was an interesting and fun meal since each bite had a different taste! In a perfect world I would be able to eat The Lady’s Cheesy Mac every day without consequence of weight gain or clogged arteries but I was equally happy with her sauce.

 Dinner on Tuesday night was another comfort meal-breakfast for dinner! It’s been such a long time since I’ve embraced BFD and Tuesday was an especially rough one at work so I headed home to make a quick, hearty and protein healthy dinner.

The idea was to have an omelet and toast. I cooked some onions and mushrooms for about 10 minutes then added to the egg mixture along with shredded cheese.

My omelet attempts usually end up a fail due to the flipping but hello omelet success this time around!

As for my lunches, they have been Lean Cuisine all the way! And to make it even better, I’ve actually been enjoying them. They usually lack flavor or taste to me but I enjoyed these from the past two days.

And now for breakfast but before I begin you should head to Olie Pants for a Love Grown Foods giveaway!!! I’ve been indulging in cereal for the past two days-Kashi Island Vanilla Cereal. I hate cereal so for me to be crazy about cereal means it must be good!

I am not a huge fan of vanilla scented or flavored foods due to this

(source)

Ugh, Vanilla Fields takes me back to 1996 when I was working my first job at Walgreens. I was restocking the perfume and there was a nasty spill and the cosmetics section reeked of it for days. I get ill when I get  a whiff of someone who is rocking it. Thank God not many people wear that crap anymore.

Oh yeah, I didn’t mention how I put in my months notice at work today did I? Yep, April 29th is officially my last day with my company. I’m excited/happy/scared/nervous all rolled into one. I am completely miserable in my job and who knows what life will throw my way next but I am sure going to try to enjoy the ride!

Anyone out there ever quit their job without having something lined up? I make good money and it’s nice knowing I have a steady income but the money just isn’t worth my unhappiness at this point.

Road reflections

28 Mar

*Marvin Gaye puts Lincoln to sleep. I’m not exaggerating when I say we listened to Marvin for a good two hours so Lincoln would stay asleep

*And the Spice Girls perk him back up

*It’s very sad that Marvin Gaye’s own father killed him yet another artist to go too early.

*While driving through WV, I was trying to think of the governors name when I was in college. I kept thinking it was Cecil Fielder

Um, it was Cecil Underwood. No resemblance whatsoever.

*I wish there was some sort of contraption that would tell you where the other cars that are driving beside you are going, I’m always curious about that

* I stopped at three Sheetz on the drive back. I was three Sheetz to the wind! We don’t have any in Charlotte so I figured I might as well get my fill in and I scored some really good creamers.

You can’t take me anywhere

*I think cars should be offered two-way radios,  I wanna chat with my neighboring cars!

*Seeing the snow-covered hills of West Virginia really made me crave a Shamrock Shake since they were green with a hint of white

*I miss my SUV but not how much it cost to fill up my old Isuzu Rodeo, Moishe.

*Walmart has really cute  team apparel out there…..and cheap too!

*My stomach hates me for eating so much crap this weekend but it was worth it. Hence this post, I was sure you all would not want to see what I ate on Sunday ( a beautiful collection of sausage Biscuits, Sheetz subs and coffee and pretzels)….or would you?

*I like that Pittsburgh has so many different neighborhoods, it reminds me of some areas in NYC.

*I don’t like how most of the neighborhoods near the city don’t have set parking, it seemed to be all metered parking. What has two thumbs and doesn’t carry change on her? This girl!

*I’m too old to drive 8 hours straight, even with the company of a great co-pilot. I had a coffee, 32 oz diet coke, another coffee and a Mountain Dew to stay awake (a failed attempt) on the way back home and nothing worked

*I wish WV had more of a booming economy, I would move back there in a heartbeat

*If watching a Penguins game in Pittsburgh was crazy, I want to see real crazy and watch the Steelers play, even if it is just in a bar

*I feel like I’ve wasted five years of my life in Charlotte and am pissed off about that. I’m not a religious person but I like to think that God put me in my current position at the bank to really give me the push to leave this city.

*Zak Bagans is my new crush

For some more hotness, I highly encourage you all to see Kelly Olexa’s  Monday Manjoyment!!!

*I’m diggin’ The Strokes new cd more than I thought I would. It has some reggae and Brazilian sounds to it and it reminds me of late 70’s, early 80’s rock like The Ramones and The Cars

 *I smile when I hear people say Yinz, y’all not so much

What do you do to pass time on the road? My drive home seemed to drag even though there was no traffic but I like to listen to music, talk to Lincoln (you other pet owners there know you talk to your pets) and take breaks frequently to stretch my legs.

South Side Shenanigans

27 Mar

I spent a good deal in South Side Pittsburgh on Friday and Saturday. On Friday night, we went to the Hofbrauhaus.

 I’ve never been to a German restaurant before so I was looking forward to both the beer and the grub. When you walk in there is a main dining hall that has long tables set up in the middle, booths along the sides, an outdoor patio and stage in the front for the house band.

We started off with the soft pretzels with homemade  bier cheese.

I was a bit full from the appetizers and beer so I got the potato pancakes for dinner since I wanted something more in my tummy to soak up more beer for the evening.

I wasn’t sure how to eat these, do you put both the apple sauce and sour cream on them or just one? I had no idea so I just double downed and went with both. And you know what? I now love potato pancakes! I need to make them sometime at home.

The cool thing about this place is once the band starts playing, people get up and stand up on the chairs and sing, dance and drink along!

It was so much fun watching everyone and singing along to the songs. Any establishment that plays Neil Diamond is a wonderful one in my book. Plus it was total sausage fest, men everywhere, mama like. The Penguins game was also playing and the whole place went wild when they scored a goal. And I mean wild, I’ve never seen anything like it before since Charlotte is very transient and there isn’t a lot of team loyalty. At first I wasn’t sure why everyone was going crazy but then looked overhead to see the game and I thought it was awesome that a sport could bring people together like that.

Then enter the creepers.

We were getting ready to leave and the men at the table next to us offered to buy us a drink. We all pondered the idea for a minute since on one hand they were older men who we would have to then talk to but on the other hand, free beer! So yeah, we stayed. One of the older men took a liking to me and kept rubbing on me with his booty. I kept yelling out “No butt rubs!” then I started yelling out “No dancing, no babies” since apparently I thought our dancing would soon lead to Lambada, which  in turn with me getting impregnated.

 

Then I started crying because I was laughing so hard. I think I was crying for real though because dude would not leave me alone. He put his hands on my shoulders from behind then stroked my hair *shivers* Oh, have I mentioned he was old? Yes. Oh, have I mentioned he had a wedding ring on? Gross.

On Saturday, we heade back to South Side for  a Pittsburgh blogger meet up. You know I’m not going to visit a city without meeting some local bloggers and I was stoked to meet Whitney and Natalie! We went to Fat Heads in the South Side along Carson Street.

Me & Natalie

Whitney & my friend

I ordered the Mo Betta Beef & Chedda with potato chips on the side.

So Whitney warned me that the sandwiches were the size of your head and she wasn’t kidding! Enter Tiffany vs. Food

 And I failed because I could only finish half of the sandwich but took the rest home with me!

Natalie, me & Whitney

We were all near food coma after that and headed to the Beehive to get some java goodness.

OMG can I say how happy this place made my inner hippie? All the funky, eclectic decor was just what I needed to see tucked away in Pittsburgh, I loved this place! I ordered a large skim latte and they serve it to you in large mugs (probably bought from a thrift store, which made me love it even more)

I had such a fun time in the South Side, it was my favorite area of Pittsburgh! We really don’t have any areas in Charlotte where you can walk to restaurants, bars and shops on end so this was a pleasant 180 from Charlotte. There was a mix of people from young to old and no one looked the same like how they do in Charlotte.

South Side Pittsburgh-you had me at hello.

Any good creeper stories out there??

(not so)Frugal Friday

25 Mar

So there is no Frugal Friday post this week.

Why you ask?

Because I’m on vacation and didn’t have a set Frugal Friday post ready to go so this is going to be a normal post with a hint of frugality.

On Thursday, both my friend and her boyfriend had to work so I was on my own. I found my way to Squirrel Hill and stopped at Crazy Mocha Coffee Company after hearing good things about it. I am all for the java and any chance I can get to check out a non-Starbucks establishment is a good one. I ordered a skim latte then enjoyed their free Wi Fi, I could have stayed for hours but the parking gods weren’t so kind to me with my lack of coins for parking.

I stopped at Sheetz for lunch. I haven’t been to Sheetz in a year but for gas station food its the bomb.

 I was sad to see that they now offer too much of a selection—breakfast sandwiches, wraps, Mexican food, subs, salads, pizza, hot dogs, etc. Can we say overload? I would love if they would’ve kept their menu on the small side because I stood at the computer kiosk for a good three or four minutes deciding what to get. It was that weird time of 10A right in between breakfast and lunch but didn’t feel right about getting a sub so I ordered an egg, cheese and bacon breakfast melt on a pretzel roll.

Heaven

When I got back to the apartment, I did nothing the rest of the day. Seriously. By the time noon rolled around, I was thinking “It’s only noon? Why is this day going by so slow??” So I proceeded to watch re-runs of 30 Rock, nap and have a late lunch of a loaded sandwich and chips.

We stayed in for dinner so I offered to make stuffed chicken with feta, spinach and onions while my friend took care of the sides. I love cooking but always feel out-of-place in someone else’s kitchen. I don’t know where anything is, if they have certain items and just feel awkward. But I soon got to cooking.

I chopped up some baby spinach and onions and let cook on the stovetop with oil and black pepper.

Once they were cooked, I added to a bowl of feta cheese

While this was cooking, we enjoyed some rye beer from North Country Brewing Company

I beat down the chicken breast the best I could then spread the mixture on one half of the chicken then folded over

There were no toothpicks around and I didn’t have any stolen ones from Chipotle so I folded the chicken over and rubbed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and hoped for the best.

I baked these at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and broiled for five minutes afterwards instead of cooking on the stovetop in oil so everything wouldn’t spill out.

It smelled scrumptious while cooking and Lincoln was waiting on the sofa and licking his lips. Poor pup thought he was actually going to get some stuffed chicken.

It turned out perfectly this way, I will definitely be sticking to the baking method in the future!

We walked around downtown Pittsburgh today. I’ve been downtown before but never walked around that much so it was exciting to see everything up close.

We found Prantl’s Bakery, which my friend had heard of but never visited. I demanded that we stop in and get a quick treat

This place was bumping for a Friday morning!

I got the German chocolate cake torte, it was the perfect, small treat….devoured in two bites! I was trying to be a lady because I could’ve downed it in one bite but wanted to savor it.

My friend got the burnt almond torte

We went to Macy’s because they have a Lush store in there. I’ve only been to Lush in San Francisco and love their products but unfortunately, it’s a bit pricey for my taste. I found a couple of cheap goodies though!

Solid perfume “Lust” and *gasp* Mint Julips Lip Scrub! I’ve never heard of lip scrub before but the Lush employee told me you lick your lips, put it on, then lick it off. Edible and moisturizing? Sign me up!

We tried on some ugly hats while warming up since it was so chilly outside

Soon after, we met up with one of my friends from WVU for coffee. I love seeing friends who I haven’t seen in years!

And then the highlight of my Friday—Primanti Brothers!!!

I can’t imagine going to Pittsburgh and NOT having Primanti’s since it’s a Pittsburgh establishment that has been there forever. They serve monster sandwiches and their claim to fame is that they put cole slaw and fries on every sandwich.

Awwww yeah!

I got the cheese steak sandwich.

 Um, dear Jesus, I’m sorry. I know it’s Friday during Lent and I gave up french fries but c’mon it’s Primanti’s! I still love you though,

Kisses, Tiffany

Out of this world goodness! I ate up every last bite, I think Jesus would want it that way.

We were rolled out of Primanti’s then strolled over to Penzeys Spices because, you know, I love anything food related.

This place was adorable and prices were reasonable for it being a speciality store. I picked up two jars of spices and can’t wait to use them!

We walked around the Strip district for a little after that but decided to make our way home since it was getting late in the afternoon, we didn’t want to battle traffic and our bellies were at max capacity.

What’s your favorite coffee-house?
While on vacation do you work out or take a break?

Why hello there Pennsylvania

24 Mar

Greetings from the Keystone state! Lincoln and I made it to our final destination (read: Pittsburgh, not death) last night around 830P and it was one long day!

I woke up earlier than planned on Wednesday so I packed the car, made sure everything was turned off (because even though I have an awesome memory, I can’t tell you if I turned my curling iron off or not) and were soon on the road.

I picked up a bagel + cream cheese from Brueggers with my free coupon and a Death charge from Caribou. A death charge is basically a redeye-a coffee with a shot of espresso also with it. Plus I like saying Death charge, I feel really bad ass when doing so (or feel like I am a Star Wars fanatic)

I love the marketing person for Caribou, their napkins and cups always bring a smile to my face

As soon as I knew it, it seemed like we were in WV, the border is only three hours away but I always feel like it should take longer. Lincoln was relaxed, I had some good jams playing and it was an all around gorgeous day.

Lincoln and I stepped out at the New River Gorge Bridge Visitors Center  to get some fresh air and take a look at the scenic view. I’ve driven by this a number of times but I’ve never stopped so no time like the present, right?

And it was a bit windy out

Soon, we were in Summersville, WV to meet up with one of my friends from college who lives there. Um, there’s not a lot going on in Summersville so when I suggested meeting up for lunch, she asked if Bob Evans was ok. I am not a huge fan of the chain restaurants but A) They aren’t too many non chain places in Summersville B) I haven’t been to Bob Evans since my college days and was excited to me reunited with Bobby.

I got the same thing I got eight or so years ago, the Wildfire Chicken Salad.

It was as delicious as I remembered it and I really like how they offer a savory size if you don’t want a full salad.

I got schooled in the bathroom

Seriously, how I am 31 and didn’t know this? You bet your ass I’ll be singing this from now on!

After that, we stopped by Wal Mart so I could find some WVU gear for cheap. I refuse to go to the bookstore in Morgantown and spend $30 on a t-shirt. That is just insane. So I stuck to my frugal ways and checked out Wal Mart but sadly, they didn’t have anything. I did find some nifty Nicholas County gear (the county where Summersville is located) and was nothing short of excited

Lincoln and I hit the road yet again after that and our next stop was Morgantown, where WVU is located and about two hours north of Summersville.

I went to Morgantown and was happy to see it was a ghost town. Hooray for them being out on spring break because I honestly could not deal with more traffic at this point. It was so surreal, driving around and seeing how everything had changed from the time I’ve been there. The old, crappy house I used to live in was finally condemned and driving down frat row brought a smile to my face. Oh to be young and very stupid again!

I met up with one of my sorority sisters who lives in town and we went to Lavender Cafe. This is a newer place and is located where a Chinese take out place used to be. It’s very unassuming but quite cozy when you walk in, decked out with a lavender door and all and was hopping for a Tuesday night in Morgantown while the area was under a tornado watch. Oh, I forgot that part, didn’t I? Yeah, we just won’t even go there with how the driving went. 

I liked their menu because not only was it one type of Asian cuisine–they had Thai, Chinese and Japanese food. My friend said their sushi was amazing and as you all know, I am team sushi all the way however I didn’t feel so confident about ordering sushi in Morgantown. I’m a sushi snob, there I said it! Not feeling like a gambler, I stuck with old faithful and got the Chicken Pad Thai.

It doesn’t look like much but the portion sizes were out of control–so much food in such a small plate. I ate every bite up and couldn’t have been happier. It was one of the best pad thai’s I ever had and they even listened to me when I said I liked it spicy. The spice was there but didn’t overtake the peanut flavor which happens most of the time with me.

My friend got the Godzilla Roll and I admit, when I saw it I had a bit of food envy. I tried and roll and again, it was fabulous. In the off chance one of you is ever in Morgantown, WV, I highly suggest Lavender Cafe!

About an hour and a half later, we were finally in Pittsburgh at my friend’s apartment and greeted with a much-needed glass (ok, three glasses) of homemade Sangria

The flowers on the glass matches her tattoo if you’re wondering about the picture.

And mimosa cupcakes! The way to my heart is via coffee, sushi or sweets so I had to try one. If I didn’t I would be a rude guest and I am all about the manners. Plus combining two tasty items like mimosas and cupcakes doesn’t hurt either.

They fantastic with a moist cake and sugary sweet frosting. My friend is an amazing baker and I seriously need to take some tips from her. She does birthday and wedding cakes on the side so if any of you Pittsburgh peeps need someone to baker some goodies for you, let me know and I’ll get you her info.

After I scarfed down the cupcake, I had to check on little Lincoln to see how he was doing with his surroundings. Lincoln is very skiddish (but not Yiddish) and gets nervous around new folks and places. I looked and found him prancing around sniffing the heck out of everything and getting used to his new home for the next few days.

As for this morning, even though it’s my “vacation”, I woke up at 5A. WTF? I couldn’t get back to sleep so figured I may as well roll with it and start the day. Lincoln was right by my side and did his early morning stretching to wake up

And then that is when my life changed forever thanks to this contraption.

*Enter in a choir of angels singing*

Ok, so I’ve heard about the Keurig, how amazing it is, blah blah blah but just thought everyone who told me that full of it. My friend showed me how to use it last night and I needed some coffee this morning and here we were. She had a nice selection of coffees o try ranging from Caribou to Kona to Emeri’s coffee but I settled on this

I waited for it to warm up, dropped the coffee cartridge in  (not sure if that’s the real name but I like how that sounds) and pressed the button and it started brewing

Less than two minutes later, I had a cup of hot coffee in my hands

Bottom line: I need a Keurig in my life. STAT!

Do you have a Keurig?
Is there anything you’re a snob about? For me, I am  definitely a sushi snob and kind of a coffee snob as well.

 

Road trip essentials

22 Mar

Hello all in less than 12 hours, I will be leaving for spring break 2011!

Not to be confused with spring break 2001 Negril Jamaica….the best spring break ever!

Dear skin: I’m really sorry for not using SPF in my younger days

But spring break this time around doesn’t consist of free shots, all you can drink from 8 to 11P or endless hours of tanning and frolicking in the Caribbean. Oh no, this is spring break Pittsburgh style!

(source)

Yes, spring break Pittsburgh style. Ok so maybe not your traditional spring break but I’m not a traditional girl nor am I a college girl anymore. Just taking a break from the norm to see some friends and check out a potential city.

Before I start with listing my road trip essentials just wanted to say thanks for everyone’s input on my Creative or Weird post. It’s interesting to see what people make and use (or don’t use out of their kitchen) and it seems like Mexican food was the overall winner of creative meals.

I agree, especially since I made one last creative, use-everything-up-that’s-going-to-go-bad item in my fridge, like this wonderful Mexican bowl!

 

With this, I’m going to have all the essentials with me!

*Coffee

Need I say more? I usually make a half pot at home and will down a cup while getting ready and take one for the road. If I’m feeling really saucy (which I usually am), I will stop for coffee a few hours later.

*Music–I got some cd’s from the library and will be ready to jam!

I was planning on having this side with me as well

It was my hands, I was ready to go. And then an incident happened at the GPS section of Best Buy. Combine said incident with a long wait with a dash of disappointment when the one employee in Best Buy was assisting people  with an ill fated trip to Target. At Target  some lady cut me in line when there were only two cashiers at 7P at the one Target in me area, I *may* have called her a “protein whore” since she cut me off with a cart full of canned protein shakes. But it was my stomach talking, as soon as I got some food in my tummy, all was right in the world. Sorry protein whore. Anyways, I forgot the cd at Target as well and refused to go back into Best Buy because the parking situation is horrible at the location I go to. I am planning on picking up the cd somewhere along my travels tomorrow though! Five years since they put out their last cd and I got that one on the first day. Fail of a fan I tell you.

*A companion-Lincoln is hitting the road with me and he is a great and calm travel mate.

Even though tonight he was looking a bit skeptical about our trip

*Food-I try to bring as many snacks as possible so I can reduce the amount of money I spend on road food. This usually consists of chips, fruit and Crystal Light to drink.  I’m going to be grabbing a free breakfast tomorrow thanks to Bruegger’s Bagels to start my day off on the right foot.

*A good nights sleep-This is difficult for me since I’m so jazzed up for my trip but I try to cut down my caffeine intake the day before so I won’t be all wired vacation eve.

*Comfy clothes-there’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable while driving so I usually drive in yoga pants and a hoodie my uniform in life) and change right before I get to my final destination.

*Breaking it up-I used to drive 18 hours straight from WV to FL but now? No way in hell, my back is not having any of that! I like to break up the trip by stopping every three or four hours to get out and stretch. I’m going to be meeting up with one of my friends from college lunch in Summersville, WV then a few hours later will be stopping in Morgantown, WV to see some of my sorority sisters. Pittsburgh is only an hour away from there so soon enough, we will have made our final destination!

There is so much to do when I’m there and so many people to see–I can’t wait! We have a lot of plans and one of them….well let’s just say it involves one word: midgets. It’s so on.

What are your road trip essentials?

What was your best spring break?