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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Massacre in Cowan Valley ~ Wordless Wednesday

So the other day, we are hanging at the house and Tom mentions that something is going on in the garden. We look outside and notice there is a hawk or falcon or some big bird in the garden. There is something flying around it. We realized it was feathers. Since we were inside the house we couldn't see much. It was also raining she we weren't going to go outside.

After the rain let up, we walked out to the garden and came upon a mass of feathers and NOTHING else. No bones, no flesh, nothing. That bird did a fine job of eating the other bird.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Glazed Carrots with Thyme and Honey

This weekend we harvested a lot of veggies. For the first time we actually had carrots. They weren't the best carrots but they were so pretty. I had no idea what to do with them so I got in the internets and found a few tips on how to cook carrots. Some recipes called for sauteing and some for roasting.

In the end, I decided to roast my carrots. I peeled them, cut them up in bite sized pieces and then tossed them with a little butter, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. I put them into the oven for about 40 minutes on 400 degrees. Then I added about a tablespoon of honey and put them under the broiler for about 5 minutes so the honey would caramelize. They were delish!


Fresh from the garden


All washed!


Mix the carrots with shallots, butter, fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
Then add honey and roast for 5 more minutes.




YUMMO!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

What We Are Watching! It's Back.

It's been a while since I wrote about what we are watching. So here goes. I have quite a few since it has been a long time. I have actual movies we saw in a theater than I have our Netflix picks.

Movies 





Holy smokes what a stinker. Now Henry Cavill as the new Superman was not bad. I had no issue with him. I had an issue with a boring script and the fact that they changed the Superman story around. The charm of Superman is that we all know who he is but everyone around him doesn't. Sure it's hard to believe that glasses would totally disguise him from being Superman but that's all part of the story. This version outs him right away and that was a huge mistake. Plus, it goes on forever and after less than hour, no one cares. I thought Kevin Costner was great though.


Oh dear. From the first scene, I knew this was not going to be good. Talk about formula Hollywood movies. This is one of those. You knew exactly what was going to happen. The action was unbelievable. The characters were predictable. The writing was awful. The actors tried but nothing could save this stinker. It was worse than Man of Steel.

It went on and on and things got blown up right and left. Now don't get me wrong, I love when things get blown up. I am a teenage boy that way. I love action and violence. But it has to be good realistic action and violence. This stuff was dreadful I could have done better than the filmmakers.


I LOVE MINIONS!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! But this was a disappointment. It was not that great and not that funny. I thought when the minions came on, it was great. Those minions crack me up. I could watch them all day and night. But the rest of the script was just boring. Skip this and watch Despicable Me 1 and/or wait until the Minion Movie.



Netflix


My new favorite TV series. OMG this series is flawless. Great writing, directing and the acting is some of the best I have seen on TV. It was one of those series that you just want to see every night. I cannot wait for season 2. The series revolves around a Southern Senator and how he wheel and deals in Washington DC. There is intrigue, corruption, lies, deception, bribes just like the real Washington D.C. This series also proves that Kevin Spacey is one of the greatest actors alive today.



Oh this series has grown on me. It is about a little railroad town. But there are all sorts of shenanigans going on. Whoring, drinking, preaching, deception, killing etc. It is hard to explain it except to say that you need to watch it.


We rented this movie because Tom Hanks was in it. Now I LOVE Tom Hanks. Everything he does is great except this. Wow, I had no idea what the hell was going on. It was a hot mess of pretentiousness. It was actually more pretentious than Tree of Life with Brad Pitt. Five minutes in and I didn't care. Tom is more patient so he stuck it out for about an hour. Then he gave up too. It was ridiculous. Why Tom Hanks, why?


Walt White is back and he is really bad. This is such a great series about the evils of drugs and being a drug dealer. If you haven't watched this series, do so. It is one of the best on TV. I am sad that there is only one season left because I will miss it. It is amazing. Sure, it's about drugs and there is some violence but it is also about the downfall of a once ordinary man who encounters extraordinary circumstances.


This is one of those documentaries you watch and then vow to never ever eat processed foods again. I won't go much into it except that everyone should watch and then make up your own mind about how bad these food products are.


Sad, sad documentary about how there are people who are food insecure. Food insecurity or hunger is a huge problem in this country. This documentary focuses on how in essence we are paying to subsidize processed foods. Those same foods that are killing us. It was sad because there is no excuse for people going hungry. Plus, it made me mad when I saw how we can fix this problem but the government rather subsidize the makers of these processed foods than help the citizens of the US.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes and Gremolata

While trolling the internets for ideas on how to use our garden veggies, I came across an interesting recipe at a blog called Taste Food. If you want to see the original recipe with better photos, go check out the Taste Food blog. If you want the willy-nilly version, check out my recipe below.

More and more I find myself at blogs or Pinterest for recipes. When I see a delicious photo, I want to try it. I have to say it always amazes me how awesome some food bloggers are. You can find some real gems on blogs.

Anyway, I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes and Tom wanted pasta so I thought this would be a good recipe to try. Of course, in willy-nilly fashion, I could not follow the recipe and made a few tweaks to it.  Plus, I had always wanted to make a gremolata. I see this on the Food Network all the time but had never tried it. So I felt really fancy making a gremolata.

I stuck to the gremolata recipe as much as I could because since I had never made one, I didn't want to get crazy. Basically the gremolata recipe included bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and basil, salt, pepper and lemon zest.

The tomato sauce was easy as well. You need cheery tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. The recipe on the Taste Food blog used linguine but I like spaghetti.

Here is the recipe in pictures:


Items needed! 


Chop the basil or parsley, zest lemon.


Mix the basil, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese to make gremolata. 




Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato mixture to cooked spaghetti. 
Top the spaghetti with the gremolata. 



The pasta was delicious. The gremolata gave the pasta a nice zesty taste. The lemon zest and cheese made all the difference. I am not sure the recipe needed the bread crumbs. I read a gremolata can just be lemon zest, parsley and garlic. I think next time I will try a more traditional gremolata. It reminds me of a chimichurri without the olive oil. Tom loved the topping. 

Plus this recipe was so wicked easy and it was done in less than 30 minutes! Plus, it was delish and a good way to use my cherry tomatoes! 

Buen Provecho!



Thursday, July 25, 2013

I was on the radio!

The other day I received an email that asked if I wanted to be on a morning news show on WPTF based in Raleigh. I thought about and then though what do I have to lose.

So I did it. I was on the radio Tuesday morning. The anchor found me through my other blog because I am doing a campaign with Swiffer on those really cute Morty and Lee commercials. They are that older married couple who receive Swiffer products and realize that Swiffer makes their lives easier.

Anyway, we chatted about why the commercial works and the effectiveness of these types of campaigns. He also gave this blog a plug since it is my personal blog.

It was fun. I used to produce the noon news program when I went to Los Angeles City College. Every so often, the news anchors would not show up so that meant I would have to go on. I liked it but I liked producing better. Also, I think I have a great radio voice.

But during the interview, our call waiting kicks in. GRRRR I was like who the hell is calling me at in the morning. But I never skipped a beat although it kept interrupting my line. I looked at our TV because it shows who is calling and it was Tom. WTH? He forgot I was going to be on. Luckily, the interview was ending and didn't throw me off.

Anyway, that was exciting. I was also asked if I wanted to discuss any other subjects, I can come back and be a guest again. Woo.

Okay, the picture is at a TV station not a radio station but it is the only one I had. Sue me.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Scout

Out kitty Scout is 17 years old. She is sick and we know that we have little time with her. We are taking her weekly to get fluids but she is hanging in there and still in good spirits. As long as she eats and drinks, the doctor says she is fine.

When Tom goes out in the evenings to relax on the porch, Scout now follows him out. She used to be an outdoor kitty but then became an indoor kitty. We figured that at this age, she can become a semi-outdoor kitty.

Tom took this picture while she was relaxing with him outside.




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Atlanta Trip Recap!

I wrote a more involved and detailed post on my other blog: The Art of Random Willynillyness. So if you want more information on Atlanta, make sure you go read that post. This post is more personal and will have more pictures.

Now we only live 2.5 hours from Atlanta and have been there a zillion times but it is only to go to the airport and fly somewhere else. We have always wanted to visit and see the city but we never did until now. I have to disclose that thanks to the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Atlanta Hotel and the Atlanta CVB, we were able to visit Atlanta. The Hilton Garden Inn hosted us for two night and the Atlanta CVB gave us two (2) Atlanta CityPASSes to visit local attractions.

We left the house early Sunday morning to get to Atlanta early. We arrived at the hotel and the room was not ready but that was because we were wicked early. But we had planned to leave the luggage, go have lunch and head over to the Georgia Aquarium. We did just that. We found a Baja Fresh right across the street. And then headed over to the Aquarium.

The Georgia Aquarium was great. It was packed though but with the Atlanta CityPASS, we were able to go ahead in line and get in. There was so much to see. Our favorite thing was the Ocean Voyager tank. You walk in and then head to a moving walkaway that takes you through an underwater tunnel where you get to see all the animals in the tank. Then the best part is once you get off, you go to a room where you can sit and see the huge tank and everything in it. It was pretty amazing. I would go back just for that. The Dolphin show was really cheesy though although I liked the dolphins.

After the Aquarium we headed back to the hotel and checked in. The room was great and we had an amazing view from the 12th floor. I will have a whole post on my other blog so if you want to know more about the hotel, head over there. Because we had some time before dinner, we headed to the 7th floor where the outdoor pool is located. We were able to take a dip in the pool and hot tub before we had dinner
at Legal Seafood that was in the hotel.

The next day, we got up early and Tom went to get us some bagels and cream cheese before we headed out to the CNN Studio Tour. We walked through Centennial Park to get there. I loved that everything we did was walking distance although I hate walking.

The CNN tour rocked the house. It was so interesting. I am a certified news hound so anything news related is up my alley. Luckily, Tom had gotten the tickets for the  tour the day before. There were few people on the first tour but when we came back, there was a huge line for the next tour. We got to see how producers and directors get the news on the air. We saw some of the guests set to talk with Wolf Blitzer in the studio. We saw the newsrooms and saw some of the anchors in action. It was great and if you are ever in Atlanta, do this tour.  and headed over to CNN for the studio tour.

After the CNN tour, we headed over to Centennial Park and since we knew we would have oodles of time left after we went to the World of Coke, Tom found an electric car tour that would take us all over Atlanta. Since the tour wasn't for a few hours, we headed over to the World of Coca-Cola.

I can only tell you that unless you are a huge Coke fanatic, don't waste your time on the World of Coca-Cola. I am glad we didn't pay to go in because if we had, I would have been mad. It is one giant Coke Commercial. Now that's okay but not for $15+. Basically, you go in and they show you a 6 minute commercial that Coke that was geared toward kids.

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE Coke. I really do. If I could, I would drink it every day all the time but it is not good to do that. So I don't. I do indulge every so often and, when I do, it makes me happy. But it is my crack so I avoid it when possible. Anyway, there was not that much to do except see a few smaller exhibits and take your picture with the Coke Polar bear, who I love. I wish they would have had a movie about how Coke came about, that would have been cool. Anyway, you also get to go to the tasting room. But that gets old if you are not a Coca-Cocla and/or sugar fiend.

After Coke, headed off to find the tour place Tom found. We walked over to the Underground Atlanta area. We found ATLCruzers. The tour consisted of getting into a little electric car with a tour guide. This was the best thing we did in Atlanta. It was fantastic. The cars were comfy and we were only with one other couple. Our tour guide, also owner, Amir was fantastic. We toured all of downtown, the Sweet Auburn area, we drove by the Ebenezer Church and the Martin Luther King, Jr. center. At one point, our little car broke down.

This is probably me jinxing drivers. Remember, when I was in Cincinnati the car that picked us up at the airport broke down about 2 blocks before we reached out hotel. The best part of us breaking down was that it was in front of a little restaurant called LottaFrutta. Amir, called for another car and then treated us all to smoothies and fruit cups.

This place was funky and cool. We also were able to meet the owner, Myrna who is a Latina as well. She told us how she got started and how her business has grown. She was a hoot. The smoothies were delicious and a welcome treat on a hot day. By the time we ordered, our new car was already there. So we grabbed out drinks and headed out to explore more.

We headed to the Inman Park area which was amazing. We headed to Midtown and Amir gave us names of places to eat. He was great. This tour made me want to move to Atlanta. It was great. The customer service was wonderful. And if you are ever in Atlanta, look up ATLCruzers. We are so glad that on a whim, we did.

After the tour, we walked back to our hotel and stopped into Stats Sports Bar that is across the street to have a drink and a snack. Then we headed back to the hotel and went for a swim.  After the pool, we headed off to dinner at Der Biergarten. This was also walking distance from the hotel. The restaurant was funky and the food was delish. We headed back to the hotel to relax after a long day.

The next day we checked out and headed over to the High Museum. You all know I am not a museum
person but this one was okay. They had some interesting stuff but after an hour or so, my eyes glazed over. But Tom got his museum fix. Then we headed back home. But we made a stop to visit my friend Lizzy.

She made us guacamole, empanadas, rice and beans and we visited for a while. It was great. Then it was back home. Our trip to Atlanta was great.We definitely want to go back again. We scratched the surface and need to see more. I especially want to go back and do a foodie tour of restaurants. Amir also mentioned that there is an Atltanta Movie Tour that his friend runs. I am so there!

What a great town and it is only 2.5 hours away from our house!! Look below for a zillion more pictures!










































Disclosure: The Hilton Garden Inn hosted us for two nights and the Atlanta CVB provided us with CityPASSes.