Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Blast from the Past

I know I know, I'm not very good at updating regularly, but I'm back! The past week or so I spent visiting family in Friendswood and Deer Park and attended Amanda and Landon's lovely wedding. They got married at the the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Houston and are now celebrating on their two month long honeymoon in Europe! Their wedding was beautiful, and I know their marriage will be as well. Here are a couple of pictures of the sweet couple:

One of their engagement pictures

First Dance

Leaving the reception

After their wedding, Micah and I continued to visit family and I also spent a significant amount of time cleaning out my room at my mom's house as she will be moving soon.

In the midst of all my cleaning, I came across some very interesting stuff. Old books, notes from friends, every piece of school work I've done since preschool (I'm not exaggerating...this collection includes high school and college and only excludes dental school). Most interesting of all was a book "series" I wrote when I was 10 (or should I say "siris" because that's how I spelled it). I wrote literally hundreds of pages in my 2 volume book series detailing the trials, tribulations, and joyous times of a 6th grade gymnast, Katiana Alverado (although I spelled her last name slightly differently every time: Averado, Averlrado, Avereado, Alveareado, etc.). These books include chapters with very amusing titles, and an "about the author and 'illistrator'" section.

Micah was highly amused upon reading these books and seemed to think that my attitude and writing style haven't changed very much in the past 13 years. Here are a few exerpts from my books:

Book 1-Katiana's Troublesome Birthday

Chapter 1: Dentist

"Katiana come down stairs! We're gonna be late to the dentist." That was my mom calling me. I was putting on my bow. I was about to go to the dentist to get some braces on my teeth. I couldn't wait!!!!

Me? I'm Katiana Averotto. I live in San Francisco, California. I just moved from New York City 6 months ago. I really miss New York and my friends there. But I have alot of friends. I go to Palm Junior High. I'm in 6th grade and 11 years old. I have 3 best friends and we all go to Palm Junior High (PJH). My 3 best friends are Jennifer Kater, who is not agreat student but adores soccer, Clarissa Grant who is a math whiz and when it comes to clothes she has style with a capital "S", and my other best friend is Amy Smith who is in love with sports and unlike Clarrisa, doesn't care about clothes. Her "uniform" is usually a Tshirt and a pair of comfortable shorts. I love art and gymnastics (I even have this shirt that says Gymnastics is life THE REST IS JUST DETAILS). I'm pretty good at art but I don't take lessons. Together Clarissa, Amy and Jennifer and I make a great team. But don't think we're one of those goofy cliques who only hangs around each other. We hang around other kids but everyone knows we're best friends.

My sister's name is Tanya. She (you have to admit) is a very lame student (for a 15 year old).

I looked at the reflection of myself with my pink and wight poka dotted bow and my pink bathing suit and my white shorts with pink socks and white suede button up shoes.

"Come on!" Called Tonya.

"Okay," I said.

We drove to the dentist.

"Come on Katiana. We have a lot of work to do." Dr. Simon (my dentist) said. He took me to the "braces room." It would have suited Clarissa beautifuly- but not me- nope I prefer solid colors. This room was kind of weird. At least I thought it was.

Dr. Simons said, "Ok now Katiana hold still. This might take up to 2 hours."

"Oh great," I thought sarcastically.

Dr. Simons put my braces on. I read for awile. Then I got tired of that so I braided my curly, blonde hair.

Soon my yellow and green braces were on my teeth. I smiled.

Chapter 2- Tanya: Traitor

I walked up too my locker and pulled out my math stuff. Then I slammed my locker door shut. I heard some shuffling in my locker. I knew it was my poster of NYC (New York City) falling off my locker door. See, at PJH we can't have tape in our lockers so we use chewed up gum (OK, it sounds gross but its not really). I replaced my old gym with some sticky tack I just round on the floor.


See, Clarissa and I are extra best friends and Jennifer and Amy are extra best friends. So Clarissa and I usually find each other before we found Jenn and Amy so we said "Hi" as usual and found Amy and Jennifer talking to one of the science teachers (they are in mostly the same classes all day so sometimes I think some people have all the luck). Mr. Sizeiemore was saying "Amy you have been acting in a very sly manner lately, what's it all about?"

"I don't know," Amy said.

"And Jenice," (that's her real name we just call her Jennifer), "you are usually so well behaved. I'm sorry girls, but you are going to have a severe punishment which is going to be a call home."

After that Mr. Siziemore went to the teacher's room. Clarissa and I ran to Amy and Jennifer.

"What happened?" Amy was tearieyed and so was Jenn.

"Cory Fowls found out about my strike out at last night's softball game. And he started a rumor that I did it because Mr. Sizimore has a dauter who is on my team and Mr. Sizimore gave me a C on my report card and the rumor spread to Mr. S"

"Well how did Jennifer get involved?"

"Oh I just kiked someone who told me the rumor. Oh Katiana your braces look great!"

.....And scene. In a later scene at gymnastics, Katiana gets angry at her sister's seemingly disloyal behavior:

That night I took a shower and went to bed but I coudln't sleep I could only think about: Tonya Tonya Tonya. I even made a poem about her:

Tonya a trator.

Tonya we hater.

Traitor Traitor.

Tonya we hater.

Can we say dramatic?? My second book, which seems to be lacking a title, is filled with more dramatic inciences such as that one. I also seemed to be VERY fashion conscious as a youngster as exemplified by the following exerpts:

A note writted by the protagonist to her friend Jennifer:

Dear Jennifer,

Wuz happenin'? Don't you think Alexandra is a jerk? Check out her purple and green carpender boots....


Jennifer's reply:


Sorry that my paper is so ripped up. I tore it out of my spiral. Alex needs a fashion check up to her neck up. Those boots are craayyyyyy-Z. Purple green checked tights don't go with a yellow vynal skirt. That skirt is against dress code! It's toooooo short! And that matchin' vest over that silver sequined shirt is tottally pathetic! She looks like a model from a BAAAADDD fashen 'zine!

P.S. Tell Alexandra to lose the red beret.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fun Food Friday

This week I had planned on blogging on Fun Food Friday about a delicious, healthy, vegetable-rich dinner that I made the other night. I took pictures and everything. However, that will have to wait until next week as something more pressing and possibly more delicious has arisen.

Yesterday I made peanut butter cookies for Bible Study. I saw a recipe online and it caught my attention because it used an entire jar of peanut butter. I thought it sounded interesting and it got pretty good reviews so I decided to try it.

I hate to brag on my own creation, but these were the most amazing peanut butter cookies I have ever made and possibly have ever eaten. Soft, chewy, peanut buttery. I can't even explain it. Just make them. Or tell me to make them for you and I will because these cookies are something everyone should experience.

Oh and guess what!?!? They are healthy too!! Yeah right....they will probably give you a heart attack within 12 hrs if you eat too many of them, so watch out. Here's a copy of the recipe, which I found at allrecipes.com.

  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks...yikes)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (you know, because this recipe really needs some more fat in it...)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (18 ounce) jar peanut butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour-NOTE: I used more like 2.5 cups...more flour= thicker, chewier cookie. Just don't go overboard or else your cookies will taste flour-y.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts- I didn't use these but I'm sure they would be good.
In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Stir in peanut butter. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. If you add extra flour, the dough will be pretty tough to stir/mix (I had to stir because my mixers are broken). Your efforts will be rewarded with thick, chewy cookies....mark my words.

Finally, stir in the peanuts. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Take these cookies out of the oven as soon as they stop looking wet on top. They will still look raw- it's okay! If you wait till they look done in the oven they will be overcooked and won't be soft and chewy. I learned this from experience. Seriously, take them out even if they look raw. They will continue to cook a little after you take them out of the oven- that's why it's important to take them out before they are done. DO ITTTT!

Another yummy variation would be put a little Hershey's kiss on top of each one right when they get out of the oven. That's what my mom used to always do. Yummmmmm.

These cookies may have taken a few weeks off my life, but I don't care...it was worth it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Strange Happenings

So last night something weird happened....

I took Disco outside to go potty before we went to bed. While we were walking around, I noticed an unleashed dog wandering around in the same area of grass as Disco was supposed to be going potty. I payed no notice and assumed the owner was around somewhere. Disco continued to smell every inch of grass, dirt, and rock and not go potty as I continued to hope he would go potty and kept my eye on the other dog. Eventually we caught up to the dog and I let him and Disco play. I scoped out his tags and noted that this dog had the unfortunate name of "Raider," and there was a phone number on his tag. Disco and Raider played for quite a while, and no owner showed up. I decided to go get my phone and call the owner.

I went up to our apartment and retrieved my phone and my husband, and we went back down to call the dog's owner. Here is an approximate reproduction of my conversation with the person who answered the number I called:


Person on the other line, sounding sleepy: ...hello....
Me: Hi, I think I found your dog.
No response.
Me: Umm....do you have a brown dog named Raider??

Sleepy person: Yes.

::pause while I expectantly waited for some sort of inquiry or sign that this person was interested in this conversation::

Me: I think I found him outside at Broadstone Apartments.

Person, no longer sleepy, just indifferent: Well actually he's not really brown, he's brown and black.

Me:Well it's dark, I can't really tell exactly, but is your dog's name Raider?

Person: Yes.

Me: Ok, I have your dog. Do you live at Broadstone?

Person: No.

Me, getting a little frustrated with this person's lack of conversation skills: Ok, well would you like to tell me where you live so you can get your dog back?

Person: No.

Me: Ummmmmmmmm do you want your dog back?

Person: No, you can keep him.

Me, in disbelief: Why don't you want your dog back?????

Person: Because I'm only 12 years old.

Me: Is this your phone or your parent's phone?

Person: Mine.

Me: Don't you think your parents will be upset if you don't get your dog back?

Person: No, we found him and apiejk fasd; jfwuraj kja;fsdkljfasdkf uriuew jfdakjjiw bbjaksls;;qq (not sure what he said, but it didn't make sense)

Me: Okay........

At that point, our conversation was ended as this sweet, animal loving little 12 year old hung up on me.

Micah and I spent a few minutes debating as to what we should do with this dog, ascertained whether or not the dog was male or female and if he had been fixed, and debated if we could or could not manage another dog in the family (that's a negative). When we had finally decided that we would keep him for the night and call the Humane Society/Animal Shelter/whatever in the morning, a young couple appeared in the distance. For a moment I hoped that somehow they were the owners of this dog, as I was not looking forward to keeping an animal which may or may not use my carpet as a toilet all night, but was immediately disappointed when the couple saw the dog and didn't react at all. Just in case, I asked them, "Is this your dog?"

The female, dressed in a TEENY WEENY bikini (why? I do not know! It was about 11PM and her male counterpart was dressed in normal clothes and they did not appear to have been swimming or engaging in other water sports), stayed quiet, but the male answered, "Yes, come here Raider! Sorry about that, *she* got out."

I replied, "It's okay, but just so you know, I think the number on his tag may be wrong..." and proceeded to tell him an abbreviated story of my phone call.

The male got VERY defensive: "No, really, it's my dog, I'm sorry, she just got out....look I'll show you my driver's license."

Me: No, it's okay, I believe you...I just wanted to let you know in case the number was wrong.

Male, pulling out his wallet: No, really, I want to show you...she really is my dog.

Me: It's okay, I trust you.

Male: Look.

I looked at his driver's license and sure enough, his last name matched Raider's last name on his collar.

We parted ways, and I presume the scantily clad female went on to her photo shoot for Victoria's Secret or something; meanwhile, Micah and I discussed all the weird things about this event, which I will recap.

1. The phone call of course
2. Why didn't Raider's owners seem more interested in retriving their run away dog? They didn't seem to care at all until I asked them.
3. Poor Raider may be a little gender confused. You see, Micah and I both verified upon physical examination that Raider was clearly A BOY!!!!!!! Yet Micah and I both heard his owner called him a GIRL several times! Whhhaatttt????? I know people get other dogs' genders confused, but most people can keep their own dog's gender straight!!

Some people are weird....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun Food Friday

I know I just posted about food, but my friend and fellow blogger, Maegan, started doing Fun Food Fridays on her blog, and I thought it was a really good idea. Basically every Friday you post a fun and healthy recipe, tip, idea etc.... seems like a good way to get new ideas from each other.

The other night I tried a new recipe for Spinach Stuffed Chicken. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to take pictures, so just imagine a chicken breast stuffed with cheesy, spinachy goodness, topped with a chunky tomato sauce. Got it? Okay, here is my modified version of the recipe:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 oz. oz. fresh, washed spinach
  • 6 oz. grated mozzerella cheese, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)-- NOTE: I seeded the jalapeno but it was still too spicy for me, so I would recommend NOT using a jalapeno or using less
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube or equivalent bullion
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add half of the chopped onion. Cook until soft.

2. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. You may have to add a little water to get it to cook all the way.

3. Take the spinach and onion off the heat and let it cool until you can comfortably handle it. Add about 2/3 of the mozzarella cheese and mix. Set this mixture aside.

4. Begin preparing the sauce by heating some olive oil in a saucepan, then adding the remaining onion and the jalapeno (if you're using it). Cook until soft.

5. Add the cans of tomatoes (I drained one of them and added the second undrained), oregano, bullion, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, cut slits in the chicken breasts lengthwise. They should be almost all the way through the breast, but don't cut them in half; leave a little pouch for the stuffing.

7. Stuff each chicken breast with a quarter of the spinach/onion/cheese mixture. Place them in a 9"x13" baking dish.

8. When the sauce is done simmering, add the Parmesan cheese.

9. Pour the sauce on top of the breasts and along the bottom of pan. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

10. When the chicken is almost ready, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Bake it long enough to melt it, but not long enough to burn (5-10 minutes).

It sounds complicated, but it really isn't; just takes a little time (took me about an hour to prepare it for the oven). It's worth the time--very tasty dinner! We ate it with a green salad.

If you are a South Beach dieter, it is a yummy part of a phase 1 meal if you use low fat versions of the cheeses. It may be wise to reduce the amounts used as well. The original recipe didn't call for Parmesan cheese in the sauce; I just thought it would be a tasty addition and would thicken it somewhat. A healthier plan would be to just add it to taste right before eating it. You could probably live without adding the second dose of mozzarella at the end as well.

Weight watchers people, sorry. I don't know how to calculate points and all that, but I'm sure it wouldn't be that bad...you will probably want to reduce the amounts of all the cheeses, though.

That's all, folks! I hope you other bloggers out there post something for Fun Food Friday!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adventures in Poultry

Last night I made my first attempt at roasting a whole chicken. While I love to cook, meat is probably my least favorite thing to prepare. Don't get me wrong; I love feasting on animal carcass (that's for you, Ryan), but I'd much rather be baking some dessert or bread, or cooking something that doesn't resemble a creature you'd see at the zoo or on the side of the road driving through Texas.

Anyway, I decided it was time to cast away those oh-so-easy-to-prepare boneless, skinless chicken breasts I'm so used to and do things the old fashioned way. First, I had to remove the gizzards and neck of the chicken. This may seem strange coming from me, but I was less than thrilled about reaching my hand into the dark chicken hole (read: cavity of the chicken) to remove the aforementioned items. Micah could not understand how I managed to dissect a human cadaver in gross anatomy without complaining (at least about the grossness factor), yet was so squeamish about pulling out chicken parts.

I'm a complicated woman.

Once our chickeny friend had been robbed of his heart, liver, and other vital organs, it was time to spice him up. I haphazardly composed a mixture of garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper and rubbed it all over him. I say haphazardly because anyone who has spent any amount of time cooking with me knows that I don't like to measure things (except when baking; then it's definitely neccessary), and I generally don't like to follow recipes exactly; I always have to change something to make it more interesting.

Byebye chicken. I also put some squash and carrots in the bag to keep him company.

While the chicken was roasting, Disco wanted to do one of his favorite things in the world- a little something we call "play octopus." Here is how one plays octopus:

Step 1: Disco brings you his new octopus squeaky toy, so lovingly given to him by his sweet grandparents.
Step 2: Throw the octopus across the living room/into the kitchen.
Step 3: Disco retrieves the octopus, squeaks it about half a million times, and brings it back to you to throw again.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 approximately 257,849,435,647,383,920,300,994,732 times.

To combat the annoying-ness step 4, Micah and I often try to throw the octopus into one of our artificial trees. The time it takes Disco to get his octopus out of the branches increases the time between throws and gives us a few minutes of squeak free time.

However, Disco is a very astute young pup and has gotten really good at pawwing his toys out of our trees.
Here he is trying to reach it so he can paw it out of there. Micah and I are clever enough that we often try to get it stuck higher than he can reach with his paw. Disco, however, came up with a great counter-attack; he has figured out how to shake the branches to release his toy. When that doesn't work, he does something even more devious....

Here he is trying to pull the tree to the ground. At this point one of us usually gets his toy for him to protect him from the falling timber.

Back to the poultry...

Here's a picture of the chicken out of the oven. It did look appetizing, despite the plastic bag.

Our dinner, minus the squash, which is a little camera shy.

The roasted chicken turned out pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. So if you want some chicken, come on over. We have leftovers!

Light Orchid