June 27, 2013

I Heart Paula

I just have to get this off my chest:
Sure, she uses more butter in a dish than should be consumed in a month.
Sure, she makes "o's" sound like "a's" and unabashedly abuses the word "y'all".
Sure, she might have used a racial slur in the past and gotten caught.  But who hasn't made mistakes and said something they wish they could take back?  No one I know!
I think Paula Deen is a charming, inspiring, loving, generous woman.  And I used to watch her everyday at the gym on the Food Network.  I know, it seems counterproductive to watch someone make cookie dough truffles and mayonnaise pies while you are getting your cardio on.  But damnit, she kept me entertained and she kept me pushing on that elliptical. 
Now all I have is the Pioneer Woman who makes dishes that are in no way recipes and that do not at all require a television show.  Like club sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies, to name a few recent examples.  And oh, by the way, Ree, you are great but I don't give a rat's ass about your horses.  Give me Paula back! 
If we can forgive Bill Clinton for having an affair with a homely intern and Chris Brown for beating a woman (sidenote: I have and never will forgiven him for this and despise him), than FOR THE LOVE, can we please forgive this Southern teddy bear of a woman for a past mistake.  If we don't, there could be many butter farmers out there that won't be able to give their kids Christmas this year. 
You aren't just hurting my gym entertainment Food Network, you're hurting the kids.

Well, that's different

I had to look at this one a few times to decode it:
But now I see.  Either this person is very forgetful and needs to remind himself to piddle.  Or he just really, really cares about the urinary health of today's drivers. 
Thank you kind sir.

June 26, 2013

Target for Lunch

Sometimes I go to Target and I look at the food court that greets you immediately upon entering, and I can't help but wonder -
Who are the people that come all the way to Target just to have a meal?
And better yet, who are the people who come to Target and can't make it all the way through a 30 minute shopping trip without a giant bag of popcorn to carry around in their cart?
I get that Targets have everything except cigarettes because they are awesome and wholesome.  But I really don't get the consumers who go there to get toilet paper, Tide, and a personal pan pizza on site.
 But maybe, more than anything, I just don't want to be tempted by greasy and fragrant foods right by the bathing suit section, and in the land where disposable income goes to die.  It's like going to the grocery store hungry.  Not safe.

June 25, 2013


I knew it.  I just knew it!
I can be an athlete after all.  My friend just tipped me off to a sport called "Gurning".
"And the point of this sport is literally to stick your head through a horse collar and make the most grotesque face imaginable."
Done and done.
It dates back to 1267 and, in a nutshell, it is the most awesome sport ever.  The British are positively brilliant I tell ya!
So there's this sport in the U.K. called "gurning."

June 24, 2013

Oh, Monday

I wish it was a viable excuse to say,
"I can't come to work today because my dog is being too cute."
Today would definitely be one of those days.

June 19, 2013

Manna Avenue - A Must in Wimington, NC!

Last Friday night I had what was the best meal I've ever had in Wilmington, and the best steak I've ever had in my life.  Thanks to the kindness of some very generous friends, Grant and I got to dine at Manna Avenue in downtown Wilmington as a treat!

Let me start by saying, if you ever want to make anyone excited and happy for the rest of the week, even on a Monday, email them in the morning and tell them you want to treat them to dinner.  If they are anything like me they will be giddy and filled with the spirit of generosity until said dinner arrives.
Now on to the meal.  When we first arrived I saw we had a star next to our name on the reservation list.  So VIP!
The owner and the waiters at this restaurant are in a class all of their own.  Our waiter was helpful, hilarious, knowledgeable, patient, and as non-pushy as a waiter could possibly be.  He recommended a glorious ride wine for us:

We figured since we were being treated to such a nice dinner we were going to live it up and take a cab to dinner.  Good thing we did because we savored every last drop of the bottle of wine.  And we shared an Old Cuban at the beginning of dinner.  How cool is this glass?  Everything was presented to perfection.

Everything on the menu has really clever names.  As if eating beautiful food isn't fun enough!  We started off with some delicious salads, I had the Great Lettuce Debate and Grant had the Strong to the Finish salad.  Mine tasted so light and refreshing and had perfect crunchy little pistachios on it. 

Grant's had homemade fried cheese curd!  But he wouldn't let me take a picture, even though I was being very discreet, hence the sub par quality of the photos.  Here's a picture of the menu though, so you can get the full description:
While we were waiting for our meals the waiter also brought us this, because we "had to get the full experience":

That is a honey, basil, thyme compound butter!  And a rhubarb compote.  This was my first time eating rhubarb, and I'm sure not all rhubarb tastes this great, but this one was so sweet it almost tasted like dessert.  So yummy!
Enough about all that, let me tell you about the pis de resistance - Iron Chef: Bobby Filet:

Hello gorgeous
It was cooked to absolute perfection.  I like my steaks medium.  The shitake mushrooms were so tender and big I didn't even think they were shitakes.  I thought they were some mythical forest mushrooms I'd never seen before.  But I asked and, indeed, they were just really amazing shitakes. 
What really made this dish out of this world was the green peppercorn jus.  It was decadent but not overpowering.  And there was just enough to savor it on every bite but not drown the steak.  Absolute perfection.  I will be going back again and again to have this steak.  It was that good.  Every bite was like a taste 'gasm of flavor perfection.  It basically melted in my mouth.  Which was probably hard for the steak to do since I wouldn't stop talking about how good it was with my big mouth.
Grant ordered something delicious as well.  It was called the Reel Deal with Sheep's Head Fish, which was the local fish of the day.  Manna uses all fresh ingredients, thus their menu changes often.

Love these colors!
This dish had a lot of broth in it so he was able to use the rest of the crusty bread from the butter and rhubarb compote to sop up all of the smoked mushroom and poblano broth.  So Provencal!
Finally, we had dessert.  We were instantly drawn to the chocolate, hazelnut dish.  We had been told by our friends that dessert was not to be missed because of the talent of the pastry chef at Manna.  We had been told correctly, my friends!
It was like artwork:

I love beautiful, perfectly petite, flavorful servings.  It was heavenly, as I'm sure the picture conveys.  And the After picture:

Hell, even the spoons were cool at this place!  I would give this dining experience a 110%.  We left beaming.  Not just because the food was so incredible.  But also because the wait staff was top notch.  And mainly because the whole experience was born of such a wonderful and generous offer from such giving people. 
We decided to pay it forward by giving all of the rest of our money, less $5, to the waiter.  We then spent the remaining $5 on beer at a bar called the River Rat.  We had to do something low brow to take us back down to our roots after such a luxurious experience.

I want to go back already!

June 18, 2013

Mini Peanut Butter Mousse Pies

Last weekend we got the urge to make ourselves pretty looking desserts on Saturday night.  It was probably inspired by our unbelievable dinner on Friday night, which I'll get to later.
I had peanut butter on the brain (which I do about 90% of the time), but I had two issues to overcome:
1) I didn't want to make a whole gigantic pie for 2 people
2) All of the peanut pie recipes online called for too many ingredients, like corn syrup, chocolate chips, black bottom crusts, ganache, etc. 
I wanted simple.  So I simply put together 4 foolproof ingredients:
- 4 ounces of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup of reduced fat peanut butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
I beat those ingredients together until smooth.  Then I folded in 1/2 cup of whipped cream that I whipped myself, but you could totally do store bought to make it even easier. 
Once that whole concoction was well mixed I placed the mixture into 6 mini graham cracker crusts:
These things are so cute, convenient, and controlled as far as portion size. 
(Don't you just love a dessert alliteration?)
Then I put them in a tray with some plastic wrap over each tart so that they wouldn't form a skin, and I let them harden in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. 
For the final touch I topped with No Sugar Added Hershey Syrup and some chopped salted nuts.  Each tart was the perfect dessert for one.  And with 6 servings we had leftovers to look forward to the next day...for breakfast :)
These would also be amazing frozen and/or topped with additional whipped cream and/or Magic Shell topping and/or they would be amazing with anything.  Now I'll stop.

June 17, 2013

Auto Fill

Wow.  It's a disturbing world we live in:
Priorities people.
And for the record, I was looking up "how much does an electric fence cost".  Yesterday Grant took his eyes off of Rosie in the backyard for a few minutes.  He looked up and she had vanished.  After a frantic and unsuccessful search, she casually came sauntering up the driveway with a bagel in her mouth as if nothing had happened. 
We don't have bagels.  And we still have absolutely no idea how she procured the breakfast treat.  She's a mysterious creature, that one!

Family Decals

Finally, a decal I can get on bored with.
Because the only thing I love more than sitting on my ass in a recliner is my awesome little dog!

June 14, 2013

Dog is My Copilot

And Jesus is among us.  In this dog's butt:

Dog Butt Jesus

Happy Friday :)

Look No Further

I've got the perfect Father's Day gift for you and yours:
It's black based so it goes with everything.  It's encrusted with 100 diamonds.  And it only cost $30,000!
And if that doesn't tickle your fancy this article also shows you where you can get:
- $75,000 set of golf clubs
- $190 bottle of beer
- $500,000 television
All  your bases are covered.  Happy Father's Day!

June 13, 2013

Oopsie Daises

I would never try to make light of such a tragic event as the Boston Marathon bombings, but have you ever seen a more unfortunate placement of the address box on a magazine? 
Haven't these ladies lost enough?  Now you take away the bottom of one woman's remaining leg and the top foot of another.  Not cool People.  Not cool.

June 12, 2013

Extra, Extra Bucks

Help!  I'm stuck in a vicious cycle of Extra Care Bucks at CVS and I can't get out!
Recently I spent a bunch of money at CVS stocking up on sundries to take to my parents' beach house so I didn't have to pack up my over-the-counter life every time I wanted to spend a night out there. 
Well, apparently that put me over some threshold in which I can only receive a minimum of 10 coupons every time I buy so much as a pack of gum.  The last 5 times I've been to CVS I have received at least $5 extra bucks and coupons to receive $3 off a purchase of $15 or more.  That's a potential savings of $8 folks.  Big money!
If you know me, you would know that the only thing I hate more than wasting a free money opportunity is having coupons floating around my purse or car.  So naturally I feel the necessity to get rid of all coupons immediately.  It's like I am an anal robot and someone has detonated a switch in me to save money and declutter ASAP.
Today I'm going to use my extra bucks and coupon to buy some Drano and toilet brushes (seriously, what is the deal with Wilmington water and toilet rings?!).  See!  I told you I need help.
So help my God if they give me more extra bucks this time I am going to have to switch to Walgreens or Rite Aid where you get no coupons.  I cannot handle this money-saving, subsequently money-spending, cyclone I'm in!
*Recently I told my dad a story about a mole that had a hair growing in it for about a month and then the hair disappeared.  I'm fully aware that this is on par with that story as far as entertainment value.  My apologies.  I just had to get this off my chest.

June 10, 2013

Just, no

I saw this yesterday, on the high holy day, after getting my butt lifted, toned, burned, and handed to me at Pure Barre.  I had to muster all the strength left in my shaking legs to get in the opposite lane I needed to be in to snap this pic at the red light:
Women Love Me, Fish Fear Me!!
Fish Naked
That's What She Said
Part of me hopes this is a joke, because it makes no sense.  A play on words is only as good as the words that exist before it.  Which in this case, is not the case.
The other, more redneck part of me, really likes the gusto with which this truck driver just went for it with rapid fire succession of expressions that reflect his love for fishing and unoriginality. 
And that last little part of me is just really, really sore from Pure Barre.

June 09, 2013

Ice Cream Sundays - Coffee, Coffee, BuzzBuzzBuzz

This week's flavor is another new flavor!  It's coffee ice cream with Espresso Bean Fudge Chunks all throughout.  It is rich!
And it is wonderful.  I absolutely adore coffee ice cream so there was no way I was not going to love this.  I also love the espresso fudge chunks, but perhaps only in small doses.  Espresso be mad strong yo. 
Short and sweet recap - I thought it was wonderful but I'd rather just have plain old coffee any day of the week.  Perhaps slightly softened with a splash of milk!  That is how I used to eat my gallons of coffee ice cream after school when I was a preteen with the metabolism of a race horse.  Now it's one spoonful a day and my damn pants don't fit. 
Makes me think of this:

Flavors Tried - 42

Favorite Flavors  - Chocolate Peppermint Crunch!

June 07, 2013

Grab a Tissue

After a few unsettling stories about local North Carolinians recently (this and this) I was so delighted to see this touching store on Good Morning American today:
So delighted in fact, that I cried on the elliptical, but pretended it was just a runny nose.  ;)
This makes me want to be a better person.  Thank heavens for Earth Angels!
Also, thank heavens for Lionel Richie on the Today Show.  That man has the voice of an angel with the moustache of a serial rapist.  God love him!

June 06, 2013

Garden Growth

Are you growing a garden this season?  We are!  And it's currently in beast mode.  Everything is growing so fast.  I love it!
Yesterday morning I picked green beans and by that evening a whole new round had grown big enough to pick.  It must be all the rain and humidity.  I bet this tropical storm coming up is going to be like a spa day for our gardens.  They love to drink up water almost as much as Grant loves to drink Daiquiris.
Let me show you what's happening in the garden!

Camera 1 - Look at those tomatoes in the forefront.  Last year we got like A tomato.  This year they are growing like beautiful crazy babies!

Peekaboo.  I see you.  Now turn red!

Next on tap - Squash.  And lots of it.  I had no idea this is how squash grew until this summer.  It's quite beautiful.

Fun Fact : My Indian Princess name when I was younger was Squash Blossom.  Thanks dad, for the most random name humanly possible!  I still have the leather medallion somewhere in my keepsakes to prove it.

On to my favorite, most versatile garden growth.  The Cucumber!

Last year we made so many jars of pickles with these cucs and they were a hit.  This year I'm going to try a different recipe.  Gotta keep 'em guessing!

If there is a faster growing garden vegetable I'd really like to know what it is.  These things grow like delicious prickly weeds.

Finally, a second view of the garden to show the lettuce.  I l'trally cannot use this lettuce fast enough.  It grows so well!  We have butter, spinach, and a few hybrid variations.

We also have a flourishing herb garden on the side of our house, but I didn't take a picture that and I'm assuming you know what herbs look like.  So, picture that!

I can't wait to harvest more green beans and the first batch of squash next week.  Pretending to be a farmer ROCKS!

June 04, 2013

The Price is Wrong Bob!

What a bizarre and positively idiotic way to get busted for fraud:
Postal worker claiming disability benefits busted after appearing on The Price is Right - and spinning the wheel twice

Another person shaming the great state of North Carolina was found guilty of fraud after claiming that she could no longer work because of a disability...then appearing on the Price Is Right and getting caught red handed spinning the "big wheel". 
Oh, and she was caught zip lining.  That is just blatant disregard for the law.  And for one of summer's greatest pastimes, as long as we are pointing fingers.
Bob, what's behind curtain #1 - A DUMBASS!
It doesn't say if she won any prizes on the game show.  But we will see if she wins any time in prison in September when she is sentenced.
Kids, don't lie.  Don't cheat.  And don't go on national TV to spin a big wheel if you have already conned the Government to pay for your disability.  You can't have your cake full of lies and win a free car too.
Fun fact - My 8th grade History teacher really did win a free car on the Price is Right!

Makes No Sense

Does this perturb anyone as much as it does me?
Sure, tonight could be your night.  And today could be your day.  But tonight could certainly not be your day...Because it's a night.  Don't get it twisted.

June 03, 2013

Brilliant Idea

I could have really used some chalk for my friend in the parking lot last week: