Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"C" is for Contestant

Could all parents of tween and teenybopper girls please take away cell phones on Tuesday nights?  I'm so sick of seeing the American Idol contestant, Tim Urban, with his fake smile and shaggy hair on my TV not one but two nights each week.  Just because you look like Zac Efron does not mean that you deserve Zac Efron-like success.

                           Tim                                              Zac

Vote For The Worst isn't helping either.

"Tim Urban once again proved why he's such an amazing VFTW pick this week.  He performed a hilarious version of "Sweet Love" complete with off key vocals and deer in the headlight looks.  Ellen said it looked like he was creeping into her bedroom.  Kara hated it because it wasn't commercial.  Randy said it laid flat. And Tim just sat there and laughed hysterically at it all.  Now THAT'S a Worster.  Simon eventually just gave up and said, "I don't think it makes any difference what we say. You're gonna smile. The audience is gonna vote for you."


Monday, March 29, 2010

"C" is for Christmas Lights

So it's almost April.  I know.  I can only imagine the conversation John had with our neighbor, who was planting flowers, as John was taking down our Christmas lights this weekend.  In our defense, I did notice the house down the street still had net lights on their shrubs.  (I took those down at our house weeks ago.)

The good news is our Christmas lights are now resting comfortably in a garage sale box.  Although LED lights are energy efficient, and a few people did knock on our door to ask where we bought them, I've decided the trend for 2010 will be standard, perfectly-spaced, warm white lights.  Hopefully we can put them up and take them down in the same year.   The other option is to tell our neighbors we're celebrating Jesus' birthday every day in 2011.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 26, 2010

"C" is for Computers

If Windows 7 really was the idea of the actors in the commercials, I'm convinced my decision to purchase a Mac last year was the right one.

Apple eats, sleeps, and breathes "less waiting," "less clutter," "faster," "easier," "cleaner," and "simpler."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"C" is for Chops

Since I bought a family-size package of pork chops earlier this month for MmmBop Pork Chops, and my future posts are pending a) completion of any one of three house projects or b) receipt of a refund check from Continental, I figured I would share John's second favorite pork chop recipe, which I made up on-the-fly tonight.  John says this one is to die for.

Suicide Soy Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings.
Prep time: 0 minutes.
Cook time: 5 minutes.

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 8 splashes soy sauce
  • 4 sprinkles ginger
  • 4 sprinkles parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I highly recommend Misto® Olive Oil Sprayer for cooking and salads.)
  1. Add olive oil and pork chops to skillet over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of ginger and parsley to each pork chop.  (I grabbed the first two spices I could find on my rack.  Feel free to use whatever is available in your pantry instead.)
  3. Cook for 1 minute, then flip pork chops.
  4. Add another splash of soy sauce to each pork chop for moisture.
  5. Cook for 1 minute, then flip pork chops.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until centers of pork chops are white. (Thin pork chops took about 3 minutes.)
  7. Serve with a salad or rice.
Th-th-th-that's all folks!

Monday, March 15, 2010

"C" is for Cayman

John and I enjoyed eight, warm, rain-free days in Grand Cayman to celebrate our one year anniversary.

A Random Rocky Beach Near East End

Here are some of the high(/low)lights:

A word to the wise--don't choose seats in the middle of the aircraft.  They let people off from the front and rear of the plane in Grand Cayman.  We were the last people to deplane (darn you, recently expired elite status!) and almost the last people through customs.

"Crown" Island
Grand Cayman is a British overseas territory, which means the island is heavily influenced by the British, who, as everyone knows, drive on the "wrong" side of the road.  We survived the roundabouts, and John was proud to have the cleanest windshield on the island--every time he tried to use the turn signal, he hit the windshield wipers instead.

We also discovered that $1 US was equal to $ 0.80 Cayman Island (CI).  Awesome.  Not only are we going to pay tourist prices, we're going to pay "your-dollar-is-worth-less-here" tourist prices.  If Her Majesty had been visiting the island while we were there, we might have discussed infrastructure and finances over tea.

John found a day trip adventure for us on Trip Advisor:
Joe Tourist Cave Tour.
We loved it, and I would highly recommend this half-day trip for anyone seeking adventure and local cuisine.  After a short hike, Gilbert aka Joe led our group of six through many of the caves on the island.  We saw stalactites, stalagmites, bats, a lizard, and other un-named creepy crawlies--it was awesome!  We enjoyed dinner at Over the Edge and watched the sun set at a remote point near Savannah.

Showing Off My Amazing Spelunking Skills

Outside a Ground-level Cave

Sunset at Savannah

Before we left the island, we also visited Gilbert's store in George Town to check out his iguanas and to buy locally made souvenirs.

Unrelated to the cave tour/store visit, but equally as exciting, was the bird at our hotel.  Unlike John's mom's bird, Harold, this one doesn't bite.

We didn't see any incredible coral at Grand Cayman, but there were some neat fish.  The most exciting thing about seeing the marine wildlife is that we did it while scuba diving!  This was my first time diving.  I totally hyperventilated during the training session in the pool, but I quickly recovered and made my dive that afternoon.  We accidentally left the camera at the hotel, so I don't have any sexy pics of John in a wetsuit.  You'll have to use your imagination.

When we weren't out seeking adventure, we relaxed on the beach.  I think we both would have been happy with eight solid days of pina colada/beer drinking, reading, and beach napping.

Ristorante Pappagallo - Delicious Italian.  Local fish.  Pricey but worth it.  Great setting.  4.5 stars.
Edoardo's - More delicious Italian.  Great service.  Hidden jewel on the 7-mile strip.  4.5 stars.
Over the Edge - BEST local food - conch, turtle, and mahi mahi.  Great setting on the water.   4 stars.
Yoshi Sushi - Good sushi.  Great atmosphere.  Hostess gave us helpful recommendations for our visit to the island.  4 stars.
Coconut Joe's - Good "bar" food.  Fast service.  Our go-to place, which was reasonably priced and walking distance from the hotel.  3.5 stars.
Casanova's by the Sea - Salad, pasta, and veal were subpar, but the setting on the water was beautiful.  2.5 stars.
Eats Cafe - I can make better sandwiches in my kitchen.  2 stars.
Vivien's - There's a reason this home-kitchen-converted-to-a-restaurant is not on Trip Advisor.  The mahi mahi was terrible, and the tuna salad came from a can.   No stars for you, Miss Vivien.

Dinner at Casanova's

Our visit to Grand Cayman was well-worth the short flight from Houston, but I need to win the lottery before I can visit again--either that, or the Queen and I need to have the heart-to-heart I mentioned earlier.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"C" is for Cookies

Dear Girl Scouts,

In the future, you are not allowed to sell cookies to me, my husband, or our friends who will give us the cookies as a gift.  I would love to support your cause, but my waistline does not appreciate the two boxes of Thin Mints I devoured in less than four days.  I hold you personally responsible for my lack of self control and for any unflattering photos from the Grand Cayman posted to this blog as a result of your negligence.  If you don't come pick up the remaining boxes of Dulce de Leche and Samoa cookies in my freezer, I might finish all of those this weekend.

Sincerely yours,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"C" is for Crockpot

We received a crockpot as a wedding gift, and I have to say, along with tongs, it's probably the most utilitzed item in my kitchen.   My favorite crockpot recipe is barbeque chicken, and John's fave is pork chops, which he officially named "MmmBop Pork Chops" last Saturday morning.  I asked him to tell me word that started with "p" or rhymed with chops, and "MmmBop" is what he gave me.  I suppose it's better than Mushy Pork Chops, which is what I wanted to name them.

Hanson - MmmbopMmmBop Pork Chops

My mom gets credit for the pork chop recipe idea.  Thanks, Mom!  Makes 4 servings.
Photo courtesy of

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of onion soup
  • ½ can water
  • 1 box boil-in-a-bag rice (I use Success Whole Grain Brown Rice, 1 box = 3 bags of rice)
  1. Mix soup and water in crockpot.
  2. Add pork chops.
  3. Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.  Stir occasionally towards the end of cooking to break pork chops into pieces.
  4. Boil 2 bags rice, according to instructions.
  5. Serve pork chops over rice.

BBQ Chicken

I got the original idea from, but I changed the serving size and left out brown sugar for my recipe below, which serves 4.
Photo courtesy of GodivaGirl at

  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 bottle barbeque sauce (I use Head Country)
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Italian salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 Russet potatoes
  1. Mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, and Worcestershire sauce together in crock pot. 
  2. Add chicken.
  3. Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low.  Stir occasionally to "shred" chicken during the last hour or two of cooking.
  4. Wash potatoes, pierce with a fork in several places, wrap in saran wrap, and cook 3-10 minutes in microwave until soft.
  5. Serve barbeque chicken on baked potato along with all your favorite fixin's.
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