Thursday, October 28, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: I heart pumpkin

Any excuse I can find to bake with pumpkin, I usually take. Soooo, I was extra excited to find a recipe for Pumpkin Shortbread Squares on Tasty Kitchen.

Check out this recipe:

  • FOR THE SHORTBREAD BASE:
  • 1-¼ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar (heaping)
  • ½ cups Softened Butter
  • 1 dash Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • _____
  • FOR THE PUMPKIN FILLING:
  • 1-½ cup Pureed Pumpkin
  • ½ cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • _____
  • FOR THE TOPPINGS:
  • ⅓ cups Chopped, Toasted Walnuts (or Any Other Nut)
  • ⅓ cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ cups Prepared Caramel Sauce

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8×8 square dish with parchment paper or foil (if desired) and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for shortbread until moist. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
In different large bowl, whisk together ingredients for pumpkin filling. Stir until smooth. Pour over shortbread and smooth the top. Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over top and press lightly into filling. Drizzle caramel sauce over the top of the entire dessert.
Bake 45 minutes-55 minutes or until pumpkin filling has set. Cool completely before removing. Cut into 16 equal squares and serve.
Note: I happened to put mine into the fridge and ate a piece cold and actually preferred it that way! So maybe give that a try to see if you’d like that better than warm or at room temperature.
I didn't use caramel in mine, so technically they were low fat! I'm SO healthy. ha.
Next time I make them I think I'll scratch the whole walnuts and chocolate bit and just do a Streusel Topping.
here's a streusel topping recipe: (this was in the pumpkin bread recipe I made earlier this month) - also courtesy of Tasty Kitchen!
  • FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING:
  • ¼ cups Butter, Softened
  • ½ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cups Oatmeal
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed
  • ¼ cups Chopped Pecans (optional)

How did people find recipes before the internet? Oh yeah, they talked to each other??! Weird!
Thanks to my Bible study girls for trying out my inaugural pumpkin shortbread squares!!

Go Judds!!!

Shout out to one of my favorite couples of all times and by far my favorite Tulsa citizens.....The Judds!!

They're running a 9 mile race on Saturday in preparation for a half marathon. So proud of them and the hard work they've done...that biz isn't easy!!

Love you guys!

As Hot Sundae would say, "Put your mind to it, go for it, get down and break sweat."


sorry about the shotty quality of this video. how sketch is that? all you tube had to offer me.

This is neat

(the following said in my best used car salesman voice)

Did you just start a company??

Do you need a logo??

Do you not have the Benjamens ($$$$) to hire a super cool design firm to crank one out??

Well, that's okay.

Just go to Logo Design Guru!

(car salesman voice stopping now)

So, guys, how cool is this? You put up a the amount you want to pay for your logo, say $100, and lots of graphic designers compete for your business and you get to pick from however many logos are submitted. Then they send the files to you so that you're ready for business!

Is this cool or what?

Should I put up like $10 and see if anyone will make a logo for ppppffffftttttt? HA.

Role Reversal

This whole Cody Ross/Rangers World Series bit is turning me into quite the sports fan.


Pop Quiz: Who insisted on staying up last night and watching the 9th inning? Robert or me?


go ahead. guess. 

The correct answer would be me. Alexis - the sports fan. Role reversal in the Scarff home last night.

This is so odd. Baseball on television used to get me an immediate case of narcolepsy. A major shift has happened since these play-offs have been going on- I'm engaged in the game, the innings fly by and I'm constantly asking Robert about the rules of baseball. (He's shocked at how much I don't know.) Also, I somehow didn't know that someone sang "God Bless America" between the 7th and 8th inning during every game. I don't know how I missed this, probably the narcolepsy? (btw...good job last night, Tony Bennett).

I love sports, Alexis

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cody Ross Day

Yes, New Mexico is really this excited about Cody Ross.

I love it.

Rangers Pandemonium

It can be seen on the streets of Dallas and it is definitely in the walls of my office.

One of my bosses' is wearing a Rangers hat AND shirt. (Mary, guess who? ha.)

To this I say....at least try play it cool, Rangers fans. At least act like this isn't the first time in franchise history the Rangers have see the world series. I mean, maybe save your gameday gear for the actual game??

Then again, what do I know about being a diehard baseball fan? Not much.

My gosh. The postman even has a Ranger cap on. Is this a uniform violation?

Maybe my problem is that I have a deep dark secret......I'm rooting for the Giants. Sorry, Texas, but I have to stay true to my roots and cheer on my Carlsbad, New Mexico hometown boy and MVP of the NLCS, Cody Ross!!! Plus, they have the pitcher that looks like the kid from Dazed and Confused and that's fun. PLUS, I'm really happy from my new blog friend, Amber, who is a big Giants fan. (Thanks to HipLip for exposing me to new blogs and Amber :)!)


Robert told me that he's a big deal because he's so skinny, yet throws SO HARD. 

Yes, I've lived in Dallas for 4 years and yes, I'm excited for the Rangers. But, I'm way more excited for Cody, his wife and adorable kids and his whole family! Carlsbad Cavemen for LIFE!!!


Go Giants and Go Cody!!!!

and when I die I'll be Sooner dead.....

Literally.

This gentlemen took these words to heart.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

music while driving thoughts and feelings

I had one of those, "ugg, I'm not in college anymore" moments the other day.

It crept up on me unexpectedly. I was leaving Cafe Express with my black bean soup a couple Fridays ago. Windows down, beautiful day, driving back to work and Lady Gaga comes on the radio. YES! I turn up the radio and I'm singing loud, dancing a little. Then I got a little sad. I sincerely wished that my car was full of my friends so they could have a Lady Gaga sing-a-long with me.

Remember in college when you pile in the car with like 8 of your friends and go to lunch, go to class or go out and you're all in the car together, jamming out, just feeling every word of the newest cult classic on the radio??

Man, those were the days my friends. Those were the days. Not a care in the world.

Presently, most of the time, I'm in my car alone driving my short commute to work Flying solo.College is so fun because you're with your friends all the time. There's just not another time like that in your life, you know.

Sigh, the passage of time.

On another note....

Robert and I heard this song on Sunday on the way to the grocery store.

It's really hard to feel cool on Sunday when you're on your way to the grocery store.

UNLESS....

Unless, you hear this song.

This song=sure fire way to feel cool.



Stay hungry, my friends. - Dos Equis commercial (??? no idea what that has to do with anything)

If you in any way are amused by Antoine Dodson in the way I am...

Please see Julia's blog. OMG. I'm dying.

Ten Things about The Social Network that made me feel dumb


Disclaimer: I loved the movie. Also, Robert loved the movie and he's not an easy sell like me :).

Okay, here it goes: 

10. I didn't go to Harvard. Okay, I didn't apply to Harvard, but it's probably a good thing because someone in the Admissions office might have choked from laughing due to glancing at my ACT score.

9.  The way Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) talks in the movie. Very direct. Very sharp. Brilliant vernacular under pressure. I'm totally opposite. I'm a bit of a mumbler, a bit of a repeater, a bit of a horrid story teller and tend to cry under pressure. I wonder how Mark Zuckerberg and I would fair in a conversation. Some one get me a thesaurus and possibly a speech coach.

8. Internet Code Stuff. All of those dashes, 1's and 0's?? What?? Mark Zuckerberg made Facebook out of that? HOW? That's a subject I try never to think about. It's far beyond my mental capability and I accept that.

7. Logarithms. At the beginning of the movie Mark calls his best friend, Eduardo, because he needs a logarithm because he is programming a site called Facemash which ends up being the precursor to Facebook. Why does he need a logarithm?? What IS a logarithm?? Should I know this?

6. Mark's character is portrayed to be sort of emotionless. He makes ruthless decisions and Facebook ends up being the success it is (remember this movie is fiction, who knows what really happened). Anyway, in contrast, I am a ball of emotions. I make decisions based on emotional reasons all. day. long. Hmmmm.

5. In the movie, Mark Zuckerberg has a blog. This is in 2003. I had NO CLUE blogs existed in 2003. Maybe by 06-07 had I discovered this? I feel like a Mom that just learned about skinny jeans.

4. I didn't go to Harvard. Covered earlier.

3. The mind of an inventor. Think about it. Facebook was in Mark Zuckerberg's mind and then he executed this. I can't even make up a cookie recipe without a breakdown. "Wait, where's the cookbook??!!! How much butter do I need?????"

2. In the movie Mark looks out for himself first. He has no problem taking credit of Facebook. I am just now learning to say, "Thank you" if someone tells me that they like my shirt and not vehemently trying to disagree with this person or give credit to another entity. "Oh this, please it's so ugly." or "Oh this, it was on sale at the Gap and ____ had it on a month ago, so I bought it."

1. Basically, the fact that someone invented and built Facebook puts me in state of wonderment. It really has changed the world and they way people communicate and connect. I mean, I don't think Mark Zuckerberg is Jesus or Mother Teresa or even John Lennon status, but would life be different without Facebook? I think the answer is undeniably yes. Throughout the movie, Mark focuses on trying to keep Facebook "cool". Who knows if this is true. Still, somehow Facebook still somehow remains fairly cool. Even with Moms joining, and people you've never met asking you to be a friend and advertisements on the sidebars...Facebook is still something I and millions of others check everyday and see what's up in their social web. Insanity.

Here's the trailer. Hope you like it as much as we did. Oh facebook, you'll find anyway to occupy my time, won't you.....

Friday, October 22, 2010

Antoine Dodson - Most Wanted Halloween Costume of 2010

If you don't know who Antoine Dodson is I suggest you leave the country.

Just kidding.

But do watch these two videos right this second. Rightnow. Donotdelay.





You're welcome. I know. It changed my life too.

Okay, anyway. I was emailing my amigos yesterday trying to get their guidance on what I should be for Halloween. I have a bachelorette party Halloween night so it needs to be good. Good as in funny or really weird. That's where I like to take Halloween costumes. Jamie over at Velcro Dog was looking up funny costumes and came across the idea that I could be Antoine Dodson. Hilarious. Black fro wig, red bandana and black wife weather that says "Hide your kids" on it. I know I'm a white girl, but whatever it's Halloween. I've since vetoed the idea, but I saw this on Facebook today and had to share.

Antoine's promoting the costume of himself. A-mazing.



This just gets better.

What will Antoine be next?? I can't wait to see.

My head hurts

Day two of a headache and I'm blaming the Halloween candy that was brought to the office yesterday. I can't refuse chocolate at the office. Zero will power there.

What's concerning me is actually having a headache (aka I'm in PAIN) and still having no will power to ingest the superfluous chocolate that I'm 90% sure is causing this headache. I mean I just had another fun size kit kat????

I'm even more disturbed that my candy intake has been a subject of office chatter.

I told one of the women here that I thought the excess chocolate might be making my head hurt as I downed 3 Advil this morning and she said "Yeah, I told Kay that you were having a good time with the candy in there."

Were you? Were you really talking about my candy consumption???

That's not embarrassing. AT. ALL.


candy, please go away and leave me alone.

TGIF



Remember TGIF on ABC? Like the real TGIF?? 

Sigh, it makes me want to be little again. I could not wait for TGIF every Friday. I would order a pizza and watch it all.....these were my faves:

Good times at age 7. I think that's about how old I was...7 or 8. Twenty years ago those were my Friday night plans. 

I was just thinking about that earlier today for the silliest reason....completely unrelated to early 90s TV.

I rode with 3 of my work peeps to a 10th anniversary party for the bank we use. I rode in the back seat. I can't remember the last time I was riding in the back seat. I found myself letting my eyes gaze out the window and stare at the clouds, watch the buildings and the landscape passing by us. Something about it made me feel like a little girl. I remember riding in the backseat and just staring out of the window for what seemed like hours looking at the clouds and just thinking...daydreaming. I wondered to myself, when is the last time I allowed myself to do this? To just think and stare at something beautiful for no reason whatsoever. 

I know it's silly. But, it made me miss being little and it made me wish that life gave us more time. We all wish for "more hours in the day". I wish once a while we would have those extra hours to just think and maybe to just become inspired.

Since, we're most likely not going to be getting any more hours tacked onto our days anytime soon, I'm more motivated to make sure I have time once and awhile to just be. For example, staring out the window on a beautiful fall day.  Except, instead of berating myself for not getting anything done applaud myself for taking in one of life's simple pleasures. 


Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: Cook Like an Iron Chef Strikes Again

We made this on Tuesday and it was good. Like trying to impress somebody good.

It did leave our house smelling like halibut the next day. eeehhhhhhhh. But a quick air out of the house fixed that issue right up and is probably a healthy thing to do anyway.

Here's the recipe.

Yes, I agree that Pan-Roasted Pacific Halibut, Sicilian Cauliflower, Capers, Raisins, Orange Brown Butter sounds like a little intimidating at first. I promise that it's easy and if we can do it, literally anyone can.


I'm realizing that I'm the worst at food pictures, but here's a pic anyway. 

really good and i didn't even think i liked capers

In other culinary news worth mention. Robert made up a Sweet Italian Chili Recipe that we did in our slow cooker on Sunday. It was really good too. Yes, he seriously made it up. Bobby Flay. Watch. Out. 

Ingredients:

1 can of canelli beans
1 can of great Northern beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 red onion chopped
3 bell peppers chopped
Bacon - as little or much as you would like chopped
Italian Seasoning (in the spice section at the supermarket)
Salt and Pepper
A sprinkle of brown sugar
A splash of maple syrup 
(am I missing something, Bob?)

Slow cook it all for 5 hours, about 30 minutes til it's done add a can of sweet peas. Great with a crusty garlic bread and salad! (We did the bread, not salad. Bob doesn't do salad) Anyway, it was delish. Dinner for us for two nights, which makes it even better. (sidenote: If you want the bacon crispy, fry or bake it before you throw it in the slow cooker.)

While it was cooking, Sarah came to pick me up for a Sunday afternoon outing. When I got in the car she said, "You smell like good food." Ha. Bacon=good food. Glad I had on that good "slow cooker" perfume on Sunday. 

One last tidbit of culinary delight in the Scarff house. Halloween candy has been purchased. When Bob saw this, he said, "who is this for?" We don't have trick or treaters in our neighborhood or at least we didn't last year. I replied, "they're for us! Halloween candy makes me happy, okay!!" So defensive. Yikes. Come on over for fun sized Snickers and dums dums - we've got them! I'm already 3 Snickers down and it's been less that 24 hours. Happy Halloween to me!! 



I feel smarter after reading your blog.

These are the words I typed to my new friend, Julia, after reading her blog.

I can't explain why I feel this way exactly, but I just do. She's hilarious, informative, dry, witty and finds the best articles.

Just read (from the beginning if you can):

Here it is: Pomp and Happenstance.

I was going to be subtle about my new blog crush and just put it on the "Blogzzz I Read" list. But, the link wouldn't work for me, so now I have to give it a full blown post.

Sorry, Julia, it had to be done.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rosstober is here

The Carlsbad Cavemen are representing on the San Francisco Giants and it's so exciting.

Cody Ross is the reason. He is on the San Fran Giants and is seriously blowing up!

Check out this article about him is the WSJ!

Cody Ross went to my high school and dominated baseball. After high school, he played in the minors and got drafted to the majors. I think first to the Dodgers, then Marlins and recently was transferred to the San Francisco Giants. You can read more about him here.

He is doing AWESOME in the playoffs against the Phillies. I'm not a huge baseball person, but it's really fun to root for someone that you know. From what I can tell in facebook status updates our little town is blowing up with excitement about Cody's success.

Also, a rap song has been posted about him, which I find pretty cool too.



Awesome.

Go Cody Ross!!!! Hope you're having the time of your life!!!

The Rules of a Bobby Flay Book Signing

This may make me sound like a complete idiot, but I think I stopped caring about that a long time ago.

Did you know that you are required to BUY the book being promoted at a a book signing? You cannot bring a book by the same author that you have purchased previously.

Or at least this is what went down yesterday at the Bobby Flay book signing.

We were in line with our Boy Meets Grill cookbook in tow. Luckily, Robert asked a Borders employee if it was okay if we had another cookbook for Bobby to sign that wasn't his new "Throwdown Cookbook". He told us that it was NOT okay. Bobby requires that you buy this new cookbook for him to sign. pppppfffffffttttttt.


I don't want a free ride. I obviously support Bobby Flay which is evident in the cookbook that I currently own. We did consider buying his new book and standing in the ridiculously long line, but we didn't for several reasons.

1. We're not cheap (okay, maybe sometimes we are) but there are MANY other books that we want to buy before we get Bobby's new cookbook. 

2. I've no doubt that it's good cookbook, but I also know those recipes can be found on foodnetwork.com. 

3. This particular book signing kind of made Robert and I feel bad about ourselves. Looking around at the crowd, you think am I like them? eeeeeehhhhh. Are we judgmental? We are human beings, so yes.

After the decision was made that we weren't going to hop on the Bobby Flay bandwagon, we thought that we would still stick around to just see Bobby and maybe snap a picture of him from afar. I mean, might as well, we were all the way at Preston and Royal. While we were waiting for him to come out, we started wandering around Borders and lo and behold who should we see being interviewed by someone?? Bobby Flay himself. 

This is when I started getting weird and kind of nervous. I wanted to get out my camera and just paparazzi everywhere, but I decided to "stay cool". Pretend I was looking at books while still lingering in the vicinity. It was so odd to hear his voice in person. I think that's what got me! I mean, I hear his voice a lot, since we watch him so much. I was standing behind a tall bookshelf just listening to him being interviewed where I couldn't see him and violently whispered to Robert to come over by me and hear his voice. Robert wasn't really geeking out the same way that I was. 

After Bobby was done with his interview, he was ushered over to the side, right in front of Robert and I by his publicist to sign a book for a mentally handicapped boy and his mother and sister. This is when I snapped this picture. 

Back of Bobby Flay in the middle. Robert's blurred chin and polo shirt to the left. Mentally handicapped boy to the right.

I watched Bobby sign his book, chat briefly with the family and take a picture with them and go into back room of Borders. That about concludes our attempt to meet this culinary giant. Robert said at best what would have happened is that we bought the book, met him, had witty conversation with him and took an awesome picture with him. The odds of all of that happening had we given ourselves that chance are probably not so good. I don't regret our decision to bale on Bobby and I'm not peeved that it was required to buy the book. I mean, I'm sure he deals with enough weirdos who feel like they know him. So at least he knows that the weirdos at the book signings are making him richer? I don't know how that works? One last thing, Bobby is TINY! Yes, TINY, I said it. Probably as skinny as Robert but a little shorter than me! They make him look so much taller and bigger on TV. Not to shocking, I suppose, but just weird to see him and not be what you expect!

Keep you posted on any other celeb sightings we encounter :)


Monday, October 18, 2010

To tweet or not to tweet....


that is the question....

Lately, I've been thinking about tweeting under the pseudonym, ppppffffftttttt. Is pseudonym used correctly there?? Idk. Some of my friends have twitter and say that it's fun. Do I need more social networking? I mean, I have a blog and I'm on face book, so I just don't know. Oh the hard life-altering decision I have before me..... 

Things you should NOT do with me

1. Ask me if fall decor is necessary when you are on a budget.

I will reply that it is DEFINITELY necessary and you will purchase the fall decor even if you can't afford it.

Sorry, Sarah. But how happy and fally does your home feel now?? Plus, you HAD to get that pumpkin anyway. 

pumpkins+candy corn are necessary for fall. duh. NECESSARY. 

I've already gone through two bags of candy corn. After the first bag was gone, Robert said, " I didn't get any of the candy corn."

I said, "You snooze, you loose."

But then I felt bad/fat and redeemed myself by buying a second bag of candy corn that were only for him. Of course the "only for him" part lasted less then a week and I ate most of those too. ppppffffftttttt.

Which brings me to the second thing you should not do with me

2. Share candy corn 

You know there are a lot of people out there who don't like candy corns?

Who are those people? Why do I not fall in that demographic? You can tell how bad candy corn is for you. It's pure sugar and I don't count calories, but I'm pretty sure they're high up there. Let the holiday weight commence! 

Good thing, I don't have to fit into a bridesmaid dress in less than 3 weeks. Oh, that's right, I DO!! Trick or Treat!

Okay, well, those are all the only things I can think of at the present moment that you should NOT do with me. I'm sure there are many many many more....... 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Another Anniversary

My blog, www.ppppffffftttttt.blogspot.com, and I will mark our two year anniversary tomorrow.

It hasn't always been a smooth road. We've had our ups and downs, our trials and tribulations. But, we're figuring out how to live and coexist together.

Through the moody days, who's been here by my side? ppppffffftttttt.

Through the happy days, who has been there sharing all the joy? ppppffffftttttt.

It's not easy finding a blog your compatible with.

And to you out there who read this. Thank you. Really. It's weird that it means a lot to me, but it does. You just put this random personal stuff out there and you ask yourself, why am I doing this? Especially with my struggling grammar and spelling. Well, I think I do it simply share my life with you. I started this blog so that instead of the group emails from me, my friends could just come read this blog and hear my ramblings. I'm not sure what it's evolved into, but I'll keep writing if you keep reading. I'll probably keep writing anyway, even if no one is reading. Even if you stand in front of my duplex and picket that I stop writing. I will still keep effing writing. Okay, maybe then I'll stop.

Happy two years, ppppffffftttttt. You're crazy, but I love you. Don't ever leave me.

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: Impromptu Baking

I love when baked goods are out when you walk into someone's house. It just feels welcoming.

So, when the Bible study girls were coming over on Wednesday I thought I should bake. I hadn't planned ahead, so I tried to think of what I could throw together with the stuff that I already had.

Sugar cookies came to mind. Here's the recipe that I used.

Here's a list of ingredients to keep these in your arsenal/pantry to be prepared for impromptu baking. Or maybe late night baking? You never know what the body wants after a long night at the bar? (Sarah, I direct this at you and your late night biscuit making.)

-flour
-baking soda
-baking powder
-butter (unsalted)
-sugar
-eggs
-vanilla

Have that and you'll always be good to go.

Dallas girls, if you want to come to Bible study, the invite is always open!  Some girls have moved away in this past year, so we're feeling a little skimpy lately. Our Bible study is a great time, a growing time, a time of letting down your guard. Last week we just had wine, cheese and cookies and chatted. I feel like I'm promoting it right now. Ha. Jenny likes to bring up that I go to Bible study at social events where I don't know anyone. "Alexis goes to Bible study!!" Oh, good times meeting Sanders Campbell for the first time. At least he'll always remember where I stand religiously. Good grief. haha.

Back to baking....here's a pic of the finished product

Sugar Cookies with a fall swagger. 

All for now....happy baking!

Time flies when you're having fun!

Time also flies when you aren't!

:)

On that note, I deliver the news that tomorrow marks my four year anniversary at my job. Fourrrrr yearssss.

I won't bore you with the likes and dislikes about my job. There are many on both sides of the fence. More on the dislike side lately. I digress........................

I just find it positively shocking that it's been four years since I had my first day here. I was so intimidated, so excited, so nervous to begin my job as an executive assistant in the commercial real estate world. I remember what I wore my first day. I remember conversations that happened that first week. Crazy thing is, I'm still wearing the same clothes that I was four years ago. Not joking. Same stuff is in the rotation. And now, instead of being so nervous and so excited, I'm so on auto-pilot. I could do my job in a highly sedated state and I doubt anyone would notice. (I don't Mom, don't worry.) It also seems I'm having the same conversations.

"Alexis, can you print this out for me?" - highly tense boss acting as if this printing these documents is the life or death for the company
"Yes, I can print that out."

I can do a mean printing out. You have no idea. Ctrl P and the paper starts flying. It's insane how good I am.

Don't get me wrong, with the way the economy has been these last two years, yours truly at ppppffffftttttt, is thankful to have a job and printing out things for my bosses.

Yay paycheck. Yay paying rent. Yay for health insurance. These are good things. I don't take that biz for granted. Also, can't take the people for granted. I love my work family. In the same way you love your weird dysfunctional family members. God has a great way of weaving people in and out of our lives, you know?

Regardless of my lasting relationships, I do worry about my brain cells. If they're not reactivated soon, I think they all might disappear into the abyss. The abyss of deactivated brain cells of overpaid assistants. I've decided that I'm overpaid for the amount of work I do. I still want a raise - FOUR YEAR MILESTONE. hello, value me! ppppffffffttttttttt. Not happening.

Happy anniversary to me. I'm praying about my future. I know I need to figure out a new direction, just not sure where it is yet.

An old Friday tradition here at the office that is being brought back today. Haven't done this in a while. M and M's, wine and stuffing statements (lots of envelopes) - Don't be jealous, Mary.

Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you'd do if you had a million dollars and you didn't have to work. And invariably what you'd say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you're supposed to be an auto mechanic.
Samir: So what did you say?
Peter Gibbons: I never had an answer. I guess that's why I'm working at Initech.
Michael Bolton: No, you're working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there'd be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.
Samir: You know what I would do if I had a million dollars? I would invest half of it in low risk mutual funds and then take the other half over to my friend Asadulah who works in securities...
Michael Bolton: Samir, you're missing the point. The point of the exercise is that you're supposed to figure out what you would want to do if...
[printer starts beeping]
Michael Bolton: "PC Load Letter"? What the f*** does that mean? 

Oh, PC Load Letter. Office Space becomes more and more relevant to me every day. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: Bob and Al plan to meet their idol


Bobby Flay has a new book out. That's it right there.

He's going to be at the Borders at Preston and Royal at 5:00 next Monday signing it feeding his culinary empire.

Guess who's going to the signing? Bob and Al. I've never been to a signing. I wonder what it will be like, who will be there and how many people will be there??

If I meet and get to talk to Bobby, will I get the courage to tell him that he mispronounces "chipotle"? Probably not. I predict I will be star struck. Even though I feel like I practically know this man. We watch all of his shows on the Food Network. We are pretty tight with Bobby. He's unaware of this, but we are.

When we were shopping around in Nantucket, we got into a conversation with a girl that works in one of the boutiques. The girls' boyfriend happens to be a chef and somehow Bobby Flay comes up. As soon as he was mentioned she said that "she's met him and she hates him and that he's arrogant." She said that the night that she met him he kept telling her that she was saying "guacamole" wrong, that it is pronounced "wa-camole". She said she kept purposely saying guacamole just to make him mad. Hilarious. Even more hilarious/sad, being the avid fans/psychos that we are, we've actually seen the episode where Bobby's wife from Texas (Dallas, actually!) is on Boy Meets Grill and they have the "guacamole vs. wacamole" debate. His wife insists that it is wa-camole and since she is from Texas, I guess he believes her? I'm no culinary mastermind, but I grew up in New Mexico probably the birth place of guacamole in America and I've only heard guacamole. Tomato - Tamahto, Bobby.

Keep you posted if we stick to going and if we meet Chef Bobby Flay. Maybe I'll whip him up some cookies? No, that's pretty nerve-wracking, think I'll just stick to showing up and avoiding the word guacamole.....

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate." - Julia Child

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hi Mom!!

This is weird, but after all of this time of having a blog, I just told my Mom about it last Friday.

Heyyyy, Mama, giver of life!! 

I just wanted to give her a shout out since she's been mentioned in many posts, including my first one and I've posted pictures of her without her knowledge or consent. (All good pictures and good things about you, Mom, don't worry :))

Why haven't I told my mom yet? Mostly because I usually write my blog at work during my free time here. Which is ample. I have AMPLE free time at work - I repeat. My Mom believes in working when you are at work and nothing else. She is totally right, I guess I should be cold-calling for our vacancies instead of blogging? I don't know? My life here at the office is a bit complacent or maybe I'm complacent? That's for another post at another time -- (Complacency, Who's to Blame?)

Anyway, I'm pretty crazy obsessed with my Mom. I love her more than anything and hope I can be a 1/10 of a human being and a Mom (someday!) that she is. I miss her so much today. Move to Dallas, Mommy and Daddy.

sidenote: I hope I did a good job at explaining what a "blog" is to her. I think her mind was a little blown at this whole new world of blogs I've introduced her to. "Sarah and Ande have one! and Jamie has one! and Kendall has one!! A lot of people have blogs!" Mom approved of this. She thinks it's good and very therapeutic. She's always been my biggest life cheerleader and now she is my biggest blog cheerleader :) 

Welcome to ppppffffftttttt, Franni!! 
(I had a headache this day, please don't judge. In the midst of wedding planning...you understand.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Culinary Adventures with Bob and Al: Cook Like an Iron Chef

I've mentioned that Bob and I like the Food Network. We do a lot. It's up there on one of our most watched channels for sure. So, imagine our excitement when the Food Network launched a whole new network: The Cooking Channel!! Life is complete!

One of the shows we really like on an unhealthy level is The Iron Chef on the Food Network. We're familiar with the Iron Chefs, the judges, we have inside jokes about this show. Like I said: unhealthy. Well, on the Cooking Channel, the have a new show called "Cook Like an Iron Chef" hosted by one of the Iron Chefs, Michael Symon. We immediately started watching.

On the show Iron Chef, there is secret ingredient that the Iron Chef and his opponent must use and highlight throughout a four course meal. The chef who does this the best according to 3 judges prevails. On the show Cook Like an Iron Chef there is a secret ingredient cooked in different ways by Michael Symon, no judges just creative ways to make a certain ingredient.

Robert and I found success with one of his recipes and I thought I'd share.

Secret ingredient: Scallops

Ingredients:
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1 cup bay scallops
1 shallot minced
2 to 3 cloves of garlic minced
red pepper flakes to taste
2 Tblsps of flat leaf parsley thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
1 tsp butter
1/2 fresh pasta (i can't make pasta - i bought it at whole foods in the cheese section.)

Directions:
Bring a large post of water to boil over medium heat.

Put a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and pancetta and cook until rendered and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Season scallops with a little salt and add to the pan. Cook until slightly golden, about 1 minute, giving them a quick flip.

Heavily salt the water so it tastes like the ocean (that's really what he says..ha), and then drop in the pasta and cook for about 1 minute. Add the shallots, garlic and red pepper flakes and give the pan a shake. Transfer the cooked pasta directly into the saute pan with the scallops reserving the pasta water. Add about a 1/2 of pasta water to the pan to create a sauce-like consistency, and reduce heat. Stir in the parsley and drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil, then swirl in the butter. Taste and add salt if necessary. Transfer the pasta into a serving dish, give the pasta another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

That's it!!



It was super good and super easy!! I think the fresh pasta is the secret? It was soooo good! Give it a try, it won't let you down.

There were some Bob and Al adjustments. In Michael Symon's recipe, he called for guanciale instead of pancetta. What is guanciale, you ask? Well, I will tell you - it's an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with a pig's jowls or cheeks. Not in your local supermarket, plus kind of freaks me out. Also, I wanted the taste of the pancetta in my pasta, but didn't want the actual bits of pancetta, I passed those to Roberto being the semi-vegetarian that I am. Actually, I take that back. I don't like labels. Especially since I'm going home tonight and my dad will probably make me eat a T-bone. The point is, I didn't eat the pancetta if you don't want to eat that part, it's easy to dodge.

Out next Culinary Adventure could be inspired by Cook Like an Iron Chef again because the last one we watched seemed to have a yummy recipe. I'll let you know the secret ingredient later. Since it is a secret and all...shhhhhhhhh, it's a secret. ha.

p.s. Finally made that pumpkin bread last night. It definitely satisfied my fall/pumpkin craving! Highly recommend this recipe :)

7:00 a.m.

So, I have a bit of a problem waking up in the morning. The alarm goes off at 7:30, I tell Robert to hit snooze. It goes off again, I tell Robert to hit snooze again. Somewhere around 8:00, Robert gets up. Yes, Robert, who works from home gets up before his lazy wife. I usually unwillingly pry myself out of bed about 8:15-8:20 and I still make it to work at about 8:45. I hope that paints a picture of how I usually look at work. I'll describe it for you in more detail - awful - that encompasses it. Anyway, no matter what time I get in bed the night before the mornings are a rough time for me.

There are exceptions. I can pop up at 5:00 a.m. if I know that I get to travel somewhere fun. No big deal, I don't even need to hit snooze. Maybe it's just the dread of going to work that has me dragging in the morning? I'm not sure.

Today, I'm traveling home to Carlsbad, not exactly Fiji, but it's fun for me, so I miraculously got up between 6:30-6:40 and made it to work at 7:00!!

Me - Alexis - at work at 7:00 a.m., yes you read that correctly. I think Robert was skeptical that I'd do it, but I did. I've been here almost 3 hours, I can scarcely believe it myself.

Now, of course, I've decided after one day of getting up that I want to become a morning person. It's so peaceful in the mornings. The roads are peaceful, the office is peaceful and if I had any work, I'm sure I'd get a lot done. ppppfffffttttt. So, that just leaves me with ample time to blog about home. Yay!

I love home. It's where I want to be, lift up and turn me round - name that tune :). Once and a while you need a healthy dose of home, it does a body good. The last time I was home was in July, so it's been about 3 months. That's a long time if you're a girl. Living with Robert, I'm seeing that guys don't really have the "homesick" gene. That must be nice, along with the "pregnancy" gene that guys are also missing. I know that doesn't make since, pregnancy is not a gene, but you get where I'm going. Wow, I sound like such a feminist today. Hilary for President! JUST KIDDING. (If it were up to me, women would still wear dresses every day (think: Gone with the Wind) - so I don't think I can fall in the feminist category.)


why would i want to wear something like that? because it's pretty! 

Anyyyyyway, I can't wait to be home and hear my moms little dogs scampering all about, see the view of the Pecos river and know that it takes 5 minutes to get anywhere in Carlsbad. We've lived in the same house since I was 9 years old with a perm. Oh the phases that house has seen me through. Middle school, when I looked like a golden retriever, high school when I had the mushroom hair cut, college when I was a little fluffy from all the beer consumption. If those wall could talk....


Mom and I outside home last time we were home. Yes. I live in an adobe pueblo. Actually, it's stucco. There's a home in Santa Fe that it was modeled after: file in fun facts about Alexis.


saying good-bye to my pugs. can't wait to see them!


i made Robert take this picture holding this kitten. the Neal home is like an animal shelter, you never know what new animals will be there when you pull up. not exaggerating!

 Happy weekend everyone, whatever your plans may be! Especially to my best friend, Lauren, her wedding shower is tomorrow in Carlsbad. So glad to have a reason to come home and celebrate her upcoming marriage with our families!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

There is never a cloud without its bright light

This is on the back of a little devotional book that I have called Hope for Each Day, Words of Wisdom and Faith by Billy Graham.

This felt right as a title as I think about this next post. This next post is a little serious and a bit sad - sometimes life takes this turn, so ppppffffftttttt must as well. There is a rainbow at the end, like most serious and sad things in life too. :)

The last couple of months my life has been flooded with case after case of the c-word. Oh how I hate the c-word. Cancer being the c-word. After loosing an extremely healthy and active Granny to cancer in December 2008 and seeing first hand what it does to the body, it's changed the way I feel when I hear of someone being diagnosed with cancer. I really hurt for them and their loved ones. Before I felt for them, but I don't think I realized the hurt of losing someone to a disease that you can't control until my Granny.

One of the cancer stories I've heard and become moved by is Sarah Chidgey's journey. A friend of mine posted her blog on her facebook page and said that she was praying for her. Well, you know I can't resist a blog, so I immediately clicked and read from the beginning. Creepy because I don't know Sarah, yes, a little.

Here's her blog: Just Some Thoughts

Something about her realness, her faith, her spirit completely captured me. I've been brought to tears and been incredibly inspired through her posts. If you have time I highly suggest going to the beginning of the blog and reading all the way through.

On Labor Day, I was at home catching up on some of the posts. Robert looked over my shoulder and told me that he knew Sarah. She used to date a friend of his and graduated from Texas. Small world. I summed up her blog and diagnosis to Robert and we listened to one of her posts (she does video posts a lot). Robert looked at me and said, "We need to pray for her." She doesn't know it, but her life is touching a web that she couldn't imagine. I want to make time to pray for things with Robert, our jobs, our future, our worries and stresses,  but life happens and we don't, but when we see that someone needs a miracle and needs God on a physical level we are led to pray. (sidenote: The most intimate thing you can possibly do with your significant other is pray, it's simply amazing.)

But, I've realized that we are so fooled because we think Sarah needs God and prayers more than we do. We need God just as much.

I'm a master at putting everything in my life before prayer and meditation with God. I want to make it a priority, but I don't. How sad that it takes something of this magnitude to actually shake me and get me back to how important prayer is. I'm so thankful that I am shaken to pray for Sarah and now reminded to pray for everything. There's nothing God doesn't want to hear from us. Our doubts, our praises, our requests, our anxieties. Just as we are is all God wants from us. By not praying I realize that I'm telling God that I don't need him and that I've got my life figured out. ppppffffffttttttt. Yeah, that's never going to happen, I'm always going to need God - it's just whether or not I'm recognizing it.

We all look every now and then at what our purpose is. Why are we here? What's the point? When you hear a story like Sarah's and see someone who's unsure of her time on this earth, it makes things that aren't important melt and away and forces you to get to the heart of what truly matters. It's a nice reminder, it's a freeing reminder.

Love to each of you today.

Colossians 4:2 - Devote yourselves in prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Retraction

On Monday, I posted that Robert did not say "OU sucks" during the Texas fight song out of respect for his grandparents. In retrospect that was a very naive statement and I can't believe I actually typed it and believed in my heart that it was true. 

Let the record state that it is very FALSE. 

Robert informed me that he has said, "OU sucks" MANY TIMES. 

Especially during pledgeship when he was forced to sing the fight song over and over and over. So basically, he's screamed "OU sucks" over and over.  

ppppffffftttttt.

Still, love conquers all, because I still love my longhorn husband even after this illusion of him editing out the "OU sucks" is brought to light. 

Also, let the record state that OU does NOT suck. 

Peace, Love and Boomer Sooner, alexis



Unfinished

So, we're about to renew our lease to our home in Lakewood. I love our little spot. It's just the right size for us and it's become home. What will always make it special, of course, is that it's Robert and I's first home together. Yay for being newlyweds at casa de Roberto y Al. I'm sure that we will regale our future children with the stories of our duplex. They won't be as good as my parents stories about living in a trailer in the middle of a state park in New Mexico, but we'll still have some strong material....the tiny kitchen, the mini dishwasher that roars like an animal and runs for over an hour, the fact that we can't use the washer and dryer at the same time because the power turns off, my clothes spread out in three closets, the wall that won't allow nails to go through it in certain spots, the pink and gray tile in the bathroom, the blue light fixtures that HAD to be left by a gay man that lived there before us and last but certainly NOT least our friends the cockroaches (which I finally think we've got rid of). Never a dull moment, right? I can't believe that at the end of this month, I will have lived there a year.

The decor of our place has come a long way in this year. Making the transition from the maroon couch and purple chase lounge chair (Sarah LOVES those.) - to a tasteful cream couch. Also, going from a room full of boxes to a small dining room with a beautiful table and chairs, thanks to my brilliant interior designing mother-in-law. She's also provided us with other details throughout our home that I adore. Interior designer mother-in-law = amazing, by the way. Especially since I'm a little challenged in that department. (Maybe, I'll start posting little details that she's helped us with. They're kind of fun.) It's also key that I love her style of decorating, if I didn't that would not = amazing. I did make Robert lie once that HE didn't like some candle stick things with a branch on them that she gave us, that I truthfully didn't like. I know, I can't help it, I'm really non-confrontational.

Norton and I pre OU vs. FSU game. see blue light fixtures.  they've oddly grown on me?

dining room table and chairs all dressed up earlier this summer when we had Robert's friends to dinner

Still, with all the work we've done, I still feel that certain areas are incomplete, unfinished. I'm okay with it, but now that I've been here a YEAR, I wonder if I'm just going to let these things go unfinished another year.

sigh. a finished room. a sight unseen at the Scarff house.
sigh. a finished wall. if only our walls didn't have issues. 

The answer is yes there will be things that go by the wayside and not be finished simply because we're renting and we're not going to invest to custom things for this space that we could be leaving in another year. Some days it drives me crazy wanting to get the perfect piece of furniture for a certain space or wishing that the picture frames and books stacked on our dresser looked less like a college dorm room and more like a "grownup house". I think I just want to feel like our home is finished and complete. But, maybe I shouldn't be in a hurry. It's the journey that's the fun part, right? 

I especially feel this way today because of an unrelated topic - the books I've been reading. I was encouraged by Sarah and Rhonda and really everyone else on earth to read The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo series. I finished the second book and just have one more to go. I can't wait to read it, but at the same time, I don't want the series to end. Finishing is fun, but it can also be kind of sad. You know, like graduation a little. 

Sooooo, with those very deep thoughts, I'll say cheers to Lakewood for another year AND a special shout out to Lakewood's newest and cutest homeowner, Miss Kendall Simpson, right now the street from us!

p.s. The photobook I plan to make of our wedding is still unfinished and the one of our honeymoon too. I can't enjoy the journey of making those if I haven't even began them yet. :) ppppfffffttttt.