Tuesday, March 30, 2010

#27: Read 50 non-crime books

I just finished reading The Help. It was recommended by my nesties. It is seriously one of the best books I have ever read. I woke up early and stayed up late to read it. It is based in 1960's Mississippi and is about a white woman writing a book on the delicate balance between white women and their maids. It is told from the point of view of the maids and the woman writing the book. I have to put this up there with To Kill a Mockingbird. Seriously, everyone should read this book.

Friday, March 26, 2010

#22: Make 10 New Recipes

I am on a roll right now with cooking, well for me anyway. Two weeks in a row, that is a roll for me. Ha ha. So tonight I turned to my Food Network recipe box once again. This time a Giada DeLaurentis creation.

1 lb. fusilli pasta
1/4 c. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (9-oz) bag of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
8 oz (1/2 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but slightly firm to the bite (8-10 minutes). Drain pasta reserving 1/2 c. of cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (2 minutes). Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts (2 more minutes). Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.

Notes: I used mini fusilli because it was all I could find and it was not wheat. I have not had regular pasta in a while. I used organic spinach (one of the dirty dozen). I used Romano cheese instead of Parmesan because that is what I had. I also added a little more salt for taste at the end. Just a pinch.

Verdict: Yummy. I had to reheat it because the Hubs got home about an hour after he said he was. But I will definitely be making this again. Also next time I will add more tomatoes. I was thinking about it when I was cutting them, but decided to follow the recipe. Next time I will use the entire pint.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Battle with my Skin

Back in February about a week or two into the Blizzard of 2010 my forehead started breaking out. I have never really had issues with acne so this was new to me. I mean, I have gotten the occasional bump here and there, treated it, and it was gone. But this was different. My entire forehead was breaking out and no matter what I did it would not go away.

I knew it had something to do with my anxiety over all the snow. I don't know what my issue was, but I just felt like it (meaning the snow) was never going to go away. I started thinking maybe I had SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) or whatever that commercial is about how the cold and winter affect your mood. I don't know, maybe I do. But anyway, my forehead was breaking out and it was not going away.

So I had to think of something. Several of my nesties use the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) and they say it is great for acne so I thought I would give it a try. The method involves mixing oils to clean your skin. I know it sounds kinda crazy, but it does work. Anyway the method calls for using sunflower oil and of course I am allergic to that so I had to try something else. Several nesties said that they used jojoba oil instead. Bet, I had that in the house anyway. So I used the jojoba oil a couple of days to clean my skin. OMG, what a mistake for MY skin. The rest of my face looked great, but my forehead got even worse. It was not the substitute oil for my skin. Huge no no for me. I was about to give up this method, but I thought I would give it another try. So i mixed EVOO and castor oil and added a couple of drops of tea tree oil. OMG, wonders for my skin. The acne started drying out and clearing up.

I also to some micro-retin-A from the Hubs that he got from the dermatologist and started putting that on the affected area.

I also was coming to the end of my conventional moisturizer for my face, so I went ahead a bought the number 1 rated moisturizer by the EWG from Keys. While there I also bought their Healing Foaming Face Wash. I have started using both every day and my skin is 95% back to its old self.

So now I am a person with a face regimen. So every day I clean my face with the face wash and moisturize. Then once a week I do the OCM. It works for my skin. I will go into more detail about my version of the OCM soon. I am so happy to have my skin back. It has been a little over a month, but it has finally happened. So that has been my battle. I have made some mistakes but now I have products in my life that will be there for a long time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Sunset

This is for the Hubs. He is so frustrated with where we live and most of the time I don't blame him. We moved to this condo thinking it would be a great investment opportunity and a nice starter home. It is a revitalization area and because of the nationwide economic turndown, it has taken a little longer to become a nice area that either of us anticipated. They are still building in the area, which is a good sign, but some of the bad parts have not turned around as quickly. I still believe that this home was a good investment. It is close to the Metro and close to DC. Those things are always a plus. But the Hubs is not impressed. And he is getting frustrated. But sometimes when I look out the window I do not see all of the negatives. I see this.

Yes, I know if the nasty building outside my window was gone the view would be 1000 times better. But it was still a beautiful site. Watching the sun disappear behind the trees, ah, you just know that something so beautiful did not happen by accident. And yes if I were a better photographer the true beauty of the scene could have been captured. But this reminds me that sometimes life isn't as bad as we think. Because I did not "plan" to view this sunset. It was just a beautiful night and I happened to look out the window and there it was. It was just what I needed right at that time. I will have to remind the Hubs to take a look up sometimes and not always look down.

And it just happens to check off another item on my list.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

#22: Make 10 new recipes

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini

taken from the Food Nework recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

I love seafood and I love easy recipes. Something about spring has brought me back to life. While I do not love cooking I just feel like doing things in general. So for dinner I decided to pull open my Food Network recipe box and try something new. Hopefully this will be as successful as my last new recipe. I want to have a couple of easy go-to recipes in my arsenal.


  • 1 pound linguini
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 20 large shrimp, about 1 pound, peeled and deveined, tail on
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta and reserved pasta water. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

My edits:

I used whole wheat linguini and I forgot to get some parsley so I just used some dried. I also followed the pasta instructions on the box because I knew the Hubs would complain about al dente pasta.

The verdict: It was good. When something does not taste as great as I thought it would, I have no idea where i went wrong. Was it the wine I chose? Did I cook it too long or not enough? I know one thing, I had leftovers and it tasted better to me than it did after it was immediately cooked. So maybe the flavors needed to settle. I know I will make the shrimp scampi again because that was delicious and flavorful.

To check out the rest of my 101 in 1001 click here.

#4: Get educated with books and documentaries

You gotta love Netflix. I was on a documentary kick, so not only did we watch Food, Inc., we watched Good Hair. Every time I hear those words together I cringe. I have been natural since 2004, so I am used to hearing the stereotypes. I also have learned how to do my own hair (which is actually not common in the black community). And for the most part I make my own hair products. So nothing said in this documentary was new to me, but it was interesting to see the billion, yes that is with a "B", dollar industry at its finest. It is amazing to me that people will go without food to have their hair looking good. It was sad to see black children and teens thinking that they had to look like the white people on tv to look "good". And to see how this idea carries over into adulthood. But delivered by Chris Rock, you have no choice but to laugh.

#30: Watch 5 documentaries on eco-friendly living

A couple of weeks ago, the Hubs and I watched the Academy Award nominated documentary Food, Inc. I told the Hubs I would not send it back to Netflix unless he watched it with me, so FINALLY i got him to. I had already heard a lot of the information presented in the documentary, but I really wanted the Hubs to see it so he could get a better understanding of why it is important to me that we eat better. I think his eyes were opened a little, but I think he is still skeptical. I also think he feels that eating conventionally is just more convenient. But since I do 98% of the grocery shopping I am not worried.

He was convinced that I was trying to turn him into a vegetarian, but that is definitely not the case. I just wanted him to understand where the food he buys from the grocery store is coming from and what is actually done to the food to get it from the "farm" to the store. I call it a "farm" because if you see the documentary you will realize that it is not a farm in the sense that most people think of a farm. I will admit that something like this is what turned me vegetarian, but that honestly was not my intention.

I just think everyone has a right to know where their food is coming from and whether or not it is truly safe to eat. Once you have the information, what you decide to do with it is up to you. To find out more about this documentary, go here.

To view my 101 in 1001 click here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I didn't even know I had a...


How long have I had one?? No idea. I think my mother-in-law got it for us when we moved in, so that would be 2007. Yeah, that long ago. I was recently telling the Hubs that I wanted to get one so we could start having more home cooked meals. And everyone was telling me how easy it was. I was about to go buy one. Then I come home the other day and apparently the Hubs found it in the closet. Then he asks if I knew it was there. Um, no. So I am off to find some recipes.

Another great thing is I have been wanting to get away from canned beans. I have been reading that a great way to cook dried beans is in the crock pot and then freezing them. So yeah, I am excited. On my way to being a domestic wife...well, maybe.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

#28: Read 100 books

I have actually read a couple of books, 3 to be exact. I have been busy and haven't had time to update. The 3 books I read are all by Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series.

Part of the reason I have not updated frequently is because my laptop bit the dust. So I have been using the Hubs' Mac and I honestly do not like it as much. One I do not know how to use the functions as well as I do on my gateway. One of the things I can figure out is how to copy and save the book covers for reviews. So here are the reviews, but with no pics. If I ever figure it out, I may add them.

This was my least favorite of the Linda Fairstein books so far. I just did not like the story and it took me a little longer to read. If it were not part of a series I probably would have put it down and moved on. I found myself more invested in the main characters than the story and that is why I finished the book. I wanted to see what would happen with them.

I was praying that the Alexandra Cooper series was not taking a nose dive after reading Death Dance and not being thrilled. Well, I liked this book. Back to the old Linda Fairstein. This is book nine of the series. I am more invested in the main characters than the story. I just want to see what happens with them. It is nice to have an interesting story as well.

Yes, more Linda Fairstein. Did I mention before that I love a series. I think I am going to read a non-crime book next though. Take a mini break. One of the reasons is this series is almost over. Then I will not know what to read.

If you want to see my 101 in 1001 list, it is here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

#22: Make 10 New Recipes

It has been a couple of months since I started my 101 tasks and this is the first new recipe I have made. I have been cooking, occasionally, but nothing new. So last night the Hubs says that he wants some stir-fry. I have never made it before and was just winging it. No recipe to follow or anything. Definitely not my normal style, but I think I was creative and it tasted good, according to the Hubs. I was not hungry, so I did not eat any. It smelled very good though. Basically I just used what we had in the house. And I did not measure anything.

Shrimp Stir-fry


organic carrots
yellow pepper
frozen broccoli
frozen green beans
frozen organic corn
large frozen shrimp
olive oil
organic vegetable broth
salt and pepper

Since the carrots were fresh, I cut those up and sauteed them in some olive oil and minced garlic cloves. I let that go for a couple of minutes. Then I added the chopped yellow pepper. I added the broccoli, green beans, and corn and let that cook for a while. After that cooked for a couple of minutes, I added the shrimp. I added the vegetable broth and let it simmer. I added salt and pepper to taste. Then I made some basic white rice. Put the stir-fry on top and Voila! a good dinner. Very simple, healthy, and yummy. I must say I am impressed with myself and will be adding this to my list of future dinners.

I hope this makes the Hubs realize that if he TELLS me what he wants to eat I will cook it and generally with decent results. I am just terrible at meal planning.

To check out the rest of my 101 in 1001 look here: My List

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have been so busy lately I have not been updating my blog. I don't think it is that I have been very busy, just not managing my time very well. Ever since the snow in the beginning of February I have not felt like myself. I cannot wait for Spring. I feel much more alive and ready for the world when the weather is nice. So what has been going on...

After 1 year of having different hours and different days off than the Hubs we will finally have the same hours...we may even have one day off together, don't know yet. I will miss the people I currently work with and I know I will not enjoy my work life as much, but this will be great for my life outside of work. The Hubs has been trying to be positive and act like the different schedules was not bothering him (one of the reasons I love him), but he could not hide his excitement when he found out. So I am happy about this change coming.

I have not been working out consistently. I know my weight is up and for the first time I do not want to get on the scale. I have got to get my motivation back I just don't know how. I am hoping that with the coming of nice weather my motivation will return. I have definitely decided that I am going to get back into swimming. It is the one exercise I think I can stick with. I found an online training site that does speed drills and stroke drills, etc. so I am excited. Especially since one of my goals for 101 in 1001 is to swim 300 hours and I have not done 1 minute, not a one.

My skin and I are having a battle. I have never had acne or bad skin so this is new territory for me. I have been trying different things and I see progress being made and I have come up with a new routine for my face and its cleaning and will be updating that. Luckily it is only one section of my forehead I am battling with, but it is enough. And in my process of trying to make it better, I initially made it worse. So I will discuss the good and the bad.

I have been reading books, so I have some updates on what I have been reading.

I bought some green products and some ingredients to make my own and will be updating that.

I have been slacking on school. This is part of my all around lack of motivation. Luckily I am in an online program and they are very understanding of working schedules so it has not impacted my grade even though I have been submitting late assignments, but this is not like me. I am working on improving this as well.

So what is my explanation for my overall slackdom and lack of motivation... I am blaming it all on the Snowpacolypse, the Snowmaggedon, the 55+ inches that have poured down on the DC area in the last couple of months. I felt like all that weight of the snow was on me and I could just not get from under it. But as the snow melts, the heaviness and lack of life I have been feeling is melting away as well. New life. Yes. And that is what has been going on in a nutshell.