Sunday, March 28, 2010

You have to try this!....

I recently went out to dinner with some friends in Cleveland. I had never been to or heard of the restaurant before that night, but i am sooo going back soon.....Reason #1- If you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember me making reference to one of my favorite snacks: Popcorn dipped in balsamic vinegar with hot sauce.....yep. I love it. And i thought i was the only one. Well much to my surprise this restaurant - Crop Bistro- had an unbelievable gourmet version of this little munchie on their appetizer menu. I could have eaten 10 pounds of this stuff it was so good....and as if that weren't amazing enough, when I complimented the chef on this delicious concoction, they actually came back and gave me the recipe!

So lucky for you....I am sharing.
I will say, that i have a feeling this one will be hard to replicate, but it is worth a try. It is so fresh and light and the flavor is spectacular!

3 cups freshly popped plain popcorn
1/2 cup thinly sliced red and green pepper and red onion
pinch of salt and pepper
2 T fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh arugula
2T sun dried tomatoes
1T vegetable oil
3T balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 shredded asiago

Ingredients for Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 T Dijon mustard
1T fresh basil (finely minced)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Dressing instructions:
Combine the oil, balsamic, Dijon, basil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Using a whisk, vigorously mix until the dressing is completely blended and deep mahogany in color. Set aside in clean container or refrigerate until needed.

Popcorn instructions:
Prepare the balsamic vinaigrette and pop the popcorn. In a 14" saute pan heat oil until it begins to smoke. Add pepper and onion mixture, sun dried tomatoes and salt and pepper - saute for 20 seconds. Add vinaigrette to the pan.

Immediately add the arugula and popcorn to the pan. Remove from heat. Toss in pan until well mixed. Pour into large bowl and garnish with roughly chopped basil and asiago cheese. Drizzle with reduced balsamic syrup (optional)

TIP: Think super fast stir fry. Do not keep popcorn on the gets soggy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rrrrrandom Cell phone pictures (with explanations)

Ever get bored and take really random pictures with your cell phone? I do.
Want to see the pictures i take? Okay.
Here they are with a little explanation....and just FYI, when these were taken they were all going to be separate (amazing) blog posts that i created in my head .
Funny how things don't always happen according to plan.

This interesting picture was taken to show my ever-curious readers that (just in case you were up at night wondering...) I have a freckle on the inside of my lash line on my left eye. I think my mom has one too in the same place except hers is just below her lash line. I think. Maybe i made that up.

This picture was going to be a much longer post about how much i hate people that put their seat back on airplanes. I was in the very last row....i didn't have the option to put my own seat back and this guy totally pissed me off. I actually resorted to the equivalent of a 2 yr old tantrum and literally shoved my knees into his seat every 2-3 seconds until he put his seat back up. I was kind of joking around (we were traveling with friends) but then i was kind of embarrassed by how psycho i acted. Ohhhhh well. He did put his seat up (eventually)

Which was a relief because clearly my knees needed a little breathing room :)

...and here is the lovely ocean that i felt the need to take a picture of as we approached our destination: Naples, Florida

And here is me a few days into the trip....and a fewwww drinks into the night. Once again I find myself with my cell phone in hand thinking "oh hell, i haven't taken any pictures of this trip at all yet. Why don't i remedy that by making a weirdo nut job face and capturing a shot of me brushing my teeth"
I am clearly very sentimental.

ANd then there is this one. I truly risked my life to capture this moment for you.
I nearly came to a complete stop in the middle of a free way just to prove that....
Drumroll......Amish people exist.
That is a horse and buggy crossing an overpass.

I took this shot for those hungry readers out there. I am newly obsessed with this little sanddweeeesh and let me tell you, if you had one you would be too. Roasted red peppers, grilled asparagus, portabella mushrooms, sauteed onions and goat cheese. And if those ingredients weren't enough for me to love this delightful is also called "the Californian" which makes me like it even more. I even feel kind of snobby eating it like when i order it i think..."oooooh i bet i am the first REAL Californian to order THE Californian today suckaaaaaa"

there is a great wine section at the market where the Californian lives.

...and a cheese section that reminds me of a fancy adult Costco. The samples are TO DIE FOR. i am shameless about trying every single one like 3 times over (while i wait for my sandweeeesh of course).

Ohhhh....and this pic.
Lets be honest. I posted it because i think my hair looks absolutely fabulous in it :)
I wont pretend that there is another reason.
I want my hair to like like this every single day....but it never does.
Happy St. Patricks Day.

Friday, March 5, 2010


You know how people say TGIF all the time?
Well don't you think it should really be TGIFA5?
(ummm a5 is for "after 5")
Because honestly, it is Friday....and i am not feeling that thankful -yet.
4 hrs and 45 minutes from now - that will be a whole different story though.

Lots of fun plans this weekend! Maybe i will even take some pictures to document it all? That would be new and different.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It was obviously going to happen sooner or later....

I got my first "anonymous" hate message today. It made me laugh for a couple reasons....

The first reason being that it amazes me that someone would call me " a snot" for not wanting to be surrounded by a bunch of pedophiles. Truth be told, you "anonymous" blog commenter would REALLLY think i was a much bigger snot if i had gone into even more detail about how not only do i want pedophiles OUT of my neighborhood - In reality I wouldn't mind if they were completely wiped off the face of the planet all together. Call me a snot all day long......sure sounds better than a pedophile apologist.

Then there was the part about me being "sheltered from the real world." I certainly wouldn't classify myself as that -I am not even a little bit naive, but maybe the anonymous commenter knows more about me than even i do?...I thought about this one for a few minutes though and I realized that based on all of my previous posts about Doritos, and baby showers, and vacations and liking my friends ummm maybe i do give off a "nice person, never seen the dark side of life" kind of vibe. I guess she missed that post about "Inmate mingling" where i was also (once again) chilling with criminals......pshhhhh "sheltered from the real world" my ass.

And then the last and funniest part about the whole "anonymous" comment was that it really wasn't anonymous at all. Pretty much every blog has some kind of tracker that shows where people are reading from - i guess you didn't know that part.

Sooooo Miss "You are such a snot and so sheltered from the real world." I guess I must have missed that part about not being "sheltered from the real world" when we both attended the same "school of hard knocks" all girls catholic college :)

If you don't like me - don't read my blog, but i will also say that I think you misunderstood my intention with that last post.

Thanks for the laugh though...i'm not going to take it too seriously.

"The Creeper"

I can't believe that i have never written about this before- I guess watching the news lately made me think of it again. Some of you readers may already know this story, but for those of you who do not - Please take this as a little "lesson learned" that you should always be very aware of your surroundings and that you can never be too careful....

So anyways, this story goes back 2 years to when Pat and I moved into our very lovely apartment in Ohio. We looked and looked and looked for a nice apartment which was surprisingly hard to find. Nonetheless, we did find a really nice community that was part of a country club and larger neighborhood that had really gorgeous houses in it. Most people in the development were older and owned their units so it seemed like a nice safe place to live.

When we got settled in, a few of our neighbors kept telling us how "we have to meet the young couple across the hall from us".....the girl had my same name and they were our same age so it sounded promising. I did end up running into the guy in the hall one day and although he was a little nerdy he seemed "nice." He was this huge guy( like 6' 7")...and every time I was coming or going from the apartment he seemed to be leaving for the gym. Even when i would come home at noon to eat my lunch he was always in his car sort of waiting to walk in and have a conversation with me.

Our little meetings got to be too ironic and so Pat and I started to call him "the creeper" and Pat was pretty insistent that I just avoid him at all costs. Something that -lets be honest -is pretty hard to do with a clingy neighbor unless you completely resign yourself to being a giant biotch and walking past him when he speaks to you (all the time). I hate to say it - but even though he weirded me out, I was nice to him because i didn't want to be mean.

Another weird layer to "the creeper" was his mystery wife. I had met her once and she invited us to go to the movies with them. We declined and then I never saw her again. Months went by without any other appearances from her - despite the fact that the creeper would often talk about her like she actually lived there. Pat and I decided that he had probably killed her and put her body into the scary storage area that was in the garage. I know that isn't anything we should have joked about, but it was just too weird......THEN the very next day after we had had that conversation inside of our apartment behind many layers of drywall and insulation - The creeper (once again magically "running into me" in the hall) told me " I know you think i killed my wife - ha ha"......i nervously laughed it off - but then began to think that he had one of those creepy listening devices that went through walls that you see advertised on infomercials....and the scary part was he probably did.

So fast forward a few more months when Pat and I were eagerly house hunting. We had found a great house in a nice neighborhood and I was telling my boss all about it. He asked about the school system in that area and I realized I knew nothing about it. Well, during my google search I came across a link to the national sex offender registry. see where this is going right??? SO i entered in the address of the prospective house we were looking at and it was totally in the clear. Then i casually entered in my California house (safe), my sisters houses, our rental property in florida, my parents house, and then my current address in the apartment complex (in the country club, near daycares, and lots of children playing in their gigantic backyards).....and you guessed it - There was a big RED DOT right in my hood. I clicked on it for more information and much to my horror it was the unit directly across the hall. The creeper - was actually 100% a real life creeper. No more joking.

He went to jail for 2 years for soliciting a minor online. He had gotten out a while before we moved in, but I genuinely do not think that anyone else in that complex knew about his past. It pretty much scared me to pieces when his picture showed up on my screen. How the hell did we end up living next door to a pedophile - and how was he so under the radar that no one knew? I felt like i should have been notified - and i really struggled with whether or not i should out him to all of the neighbors.

Before this, I really only pictured sex offenders living in slummy gross areas. I was so mad because I just felt like he absolutely did not deserve to live amongst normal people like myself. In my mind he shouldn't have been out of jail....and it was sort of embarrassing in this weird way that he had made the same living arrangements that we had.

If we had any kids I know we would have moved out that second, but because we didn't and because we knew we were moving, we stayed put a few more months. He actually moved out before we did - his wife finally divorced him and kicked him out, but he definitely knew that we knew and pretty much stopped talking to me thank God.

I did a scary amount of research on him and actually even contacted his parole officer to find out more about the actual case. When he got caught - there wasn't an actual victim. The minor he solicited online was actually an undercover cop and I pray to God that this was his only offense, however it seems hard to believe. Regardless, I followed him online to see where he moved - and just as you guessed it - It was another nice-ish neighborhood where tons of families live.I urge anyone to check out this registry if you haven't already. It is unbelievable to see how many offenders there are and to know that you are not sheltered from them by living in a nice family friendly area. This guy was 27, went to college, had a very pretty and successful wife, he drove a nice car and was absolutely not who I had pictured to be a sex offender.

Be safe and check it out today if you have not done it already.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


so you know how i like to post recipes on here? Just to be fair I thought i should probably also post that sometimes I eat dinners like these: Diet Coke, Doritos.....and a few mini pickles.
tres gourmet!...thats how i roll.
Maybe i should invite my gal pal B-Spears over next time I prepare such a masterpiece meal?