Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

While sitting at work today, one of my co-workers and I discussed how freakin' happy we were that tomorrow is a half day for us. And that such joyful moments deserve celebration ...hence the Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

I was going to make egg shaped sugar cookies as well but I drove all over looking for an egg shaped cookies cutter without any luck. So I came home and made these instead.

I'm pretty excited to chow down on them in tomorrow morning's meeting!!

What You Need:

1 cup Butter softened

1 cup Sour Cream (best if cold cold cold)

4 Extra Large Eggs

2 1/4 cup Sour Cream

1 TBS Baking Soda

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 Tsp Salt 1/2 Tsp Vanilla


1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Flour

2 TBS Cinnamon

1/4 stick butter, melted

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 375 Grease and flour the cupcake pan....unless your using muffin tins Mix sugar, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and butter until well blended
In a second mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until smooth Fill the muffin tins halfway full

To make the topping

Mix all ingredients until they look pebbles. Sprinkle the yummy goodness on the uncooked batter Cook the muffins for 10 min. But keep an eye on them. They will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Extras !!!
*Instead of vanilla in the batter try almond or orange extract

*To glaze the muffins, I used a mixture of powdered sugar and milk. Whisking it together with butter flavoring and vanilla.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Potatoes

I had made plans to meet up with Butterfly Guy... I know I know.
But per his usual deflection, he had 'this thing' and just didn't happen. The nice thing about his losing his shine is that tonight, I didn't really care that much. Instead, I texted my sister to let her know I was going to make dinner. And then spent my commute home wondering what I was going to make. I realized I had a few things in my fridge that I could use. One quick trip to Trader Joe's for some sour cream and chicken and voila! Buffalo Chicken Potato's!

Creamy sour cream, tangy spicy chicken, potatoes and cheese! It was easy easy easy!
And just for some nutritional value I baked some brussel sprouts.

What you need:
2 Chicken Breasts
7 Yukon Gold Potatoes (cut in fourths and boiled)
1/3 cup hot sauce (I used Paula Deen's)
2 Tbs Ketchup
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp Celery Salt
Salt and Peeper to taste

What You Do:
Turn your oven to 350
Boil some water and toss the chicken in, cook until done and then shred the chicken
Toss the shredded chicken with the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper and celery salt
Spread the chicken mixture over the potatoes and bake for 20 min
Sprinkle cheese all over the yummy goodness and let melt until bubby and yummy

Serve it up with sour cream and chives
Its sooo good!

Afterward my sister and I rode our bikes to the market.
What a wonderful night!!

Spring is here....

How do I know this? Because there are so many yummy things at the Farmer's Market that I can nosh on. This past weekend, I went to the market to get some veggies for the next week and ended up with a full basket of goodies. For lunch, I ended up making a huge plate of salad. I cut fresh tender avocados, firm spicy radishs, juicy cucumbers and ripe tomatoes. I covered the whole thing with a few pepperonis, some hearts of palm and salty feta cheese.

It was the perfect salad to end the weekend on.

As I was cutting up the tomatoes, I was hit with a powerful scent memory from when I was growing up. Tomatoes and I have a long and serious relationship. From the first time I convinced my little sister to go out to my mom's garden with a salt shaker to now when I walk into a farmer's market I have loved the little jewels of tender flavor.

There is something earthy and homey about the scent of the tomatoes. They are so very tender but surprising resilient. It doesn't take much to bring out the flavor either. Just a tiny touch of firm pressure, a little seasoning and your hit with such strong wonderfully developed complex flavors. It really doesn't take much to open up the array of possibilities that a simple tomato offers.

When I was young, my mom planted tomatoes every year. There was nothing better than taking a salt shaker out to huge fenced in garden, stepping gingerly past the rows of squash, beans, corn, bell peppers and cucumbers to walk barefoot in the warm dirt to the tomato plants. Plucking one ripe, robust, red tomato straight from the vine, licking the warm flesh so the salt will stick and the biting into it like it's an apple is the definition of summer.

So when I got my veggie treat's home.... I couldn't help myself. I indulged my inner child, closing my eyes to imagine myself back in my childhood home. Where the air was sweeter, summer was infinite and my biggest concern was the tomato juice dripping down my chin in the garden at dusk.

I need to make now!

Oh man oh man!! This looks so freakin yummy!! It hits all the right spots.

I really think I should make this as soon as I can.

Link to the orginal

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Losing his shine

I like to think that in a world full of chaos and disorganization, I can at least try to control my little own universe. When I want to feel pain, I feel pain. When I want to feel joy, I feel joy. I'm fairly decent at allowing what ever emotion it is that I want to feel, allowing it to bubble up and overflow.

I wasn't always like this as people who knew me when I was younger can attest to. I was an emotional ball of confusion. I didn't know what to feel, when to feel it and how to express it. I don't know how many of you have felt this way. That your own feelings can betray you in any situation. That the way you think and feel can be used as a weapon against you. Do you realize how often people do this? How often people can manipulate you based on your emotions? You all do it, even the most pure soul you know has used your feelings in order to manipulate someone at some point.

Parents use emotion to control behavior, bosses use emotion to manipulate an outcome, partners use emotion to get a certain outcome. Every where you look, someone is using your feelings for their gain. It's hard to stop. It's hard to realize that you do it too. And you do. Don't pretend like you don't. Your only lying to yourself. Watch yourself today and see if and how you do it. It's surprising how often it happens. I think that at some point we all become partially aware of this and allow it to happen.

The love I feel for my family will reflect in my decisions based on how they will react. The approval I seek out at work will reflect in how I interact with co-workers and managers. The quest to find something that moves me to my core will reflect in how I treat partners. Really think about have more control over people who care about you then you realize. Once you know about it, you see the power that you have and you should be very careful on how you use it.

As I said, when I was younger my emotions were very confusing. I didn't know how to feel them. I know that sounds strange but it seemed to me that my feelings were kind of like bubbles. They floated up from someplace and hovered in my sight. They would easily break, exploding a shower of feelings all over. I learned how to control the confusing burst but not before I learned how people can use that confusion to judge you and control you.

As a sort of side note, I will never understand why people feel it is their place to place judgement on you. Anyway, the whole point is that I learned how to control those bubbles. But every once in awhile someone comes along and I forget how to gently hold the bubble of feelings. Then those bubbles come up and they burst all over the place, sending me into a panic to control my world and my place in it. I hate for someone to have the upper hand over me.

Butterfly guy really screwed up my bubbles for awhile.

All of the sudden all these bubbles came from everywhere and I didn't know what to do. There where way too many of them.

Anger, confusion, lust, happiness, fun, joy, attraction.

I simply didn't know what to do. And I think he knew it. I think he knew what an effect he had on me. He knew how I felt because I would tell him and he simply chose to use my emotions against me. I don't know if he did it consciously but he did do it. I'm sure that having me try my damnedest to get him to fall for me was a huge ego boost for him. It took me awhile but the shine is starting to leave him. That little spark that I felt is being extinguished. It started to really happen this weekend. There's no real reason, I just woke up this morning and realized that he doesn't seem so ... so .... Butterfly Guy anymore. That what ever it was that made him sparkly and shiny is disappearing. I feel sorry for him too, because I know how great it would have been. And how much fun it would have been but then I realize that it was all in my head and in reality would have been decidedly less fun. I want to make this clear,

Butterfly Guy is not a bad guy.

He's funny and nice and caring. I think he would be the type of guy that if you called him and needed help, he wouldn't ask questions, he would just come help. He tells good jokes and is the kind of person you would want on your side in a game of dodge ball. He's the kind of guy that would have your back but only if you scaled that wall that he's so intent on keeping around him.

He is a good guy... but he's just a guy. He's not the guy. He's not the guy that sees me for who I am. Not for who he thinks I am. He's not the person I would trust to give my most precious possession to.

The great thing about me is that I can easily make this transition. That once I am able to firmly place all of Butterfly Guy back into his bubble (his one single bubble that I will allow him to have in my world) and black sharpie mark it 'FRIEND' he will stay there. Forever.

....and no..... I never went full monty with Butterfly guy. Not that I didn't want too ... but some logical part of my brain knew that it wouldn't be a good idea.

I'm thinking that Butterfly Guy needs a new moniker. Any ideas?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not the guy I want....??

Its been a while since I posted about my quest for Risotto Man, who seems to be more and more elusive. I know searching for him, doing this whole 90 days sober thing, getting my degree and getting to the gym seems like it would be a lot. So maybe I've fooled you all into thinking that I’m so busy that I’m just not interested in anyone .....but that’s a lie. I have been completely and totally smitten with someone. There are two very simple reasons for this being the first you are hearing about him….

1- I like my privacy. (I understand this is contrary to this whole experiment)

2- In my infinite wisdom, I told him I wrote a blog and then gave him the name. I stupidly thought that he wouldn’t be interested but it turns out he spent a few moments reading it.

Anyway, in pursuit of truth in life my life (and crossing my fingers that he forgot the name of my blog or lost interest in reading about it) I have been smitten with this guy for.... well awhile. I really hate that he gives me butterflies. And he does. He really gives me butterflies in a stupid kind of way. And I hate that I get happy when I see a text from him or when he talks to me. I hate that I know exactly how his lips move when he smiles, even when I'm not near him. I hate that that I know how his hands feel when they brush back my hair and I really really really hate that it makes me all butterflyish in my stomach. It makes me feel like I’m in high school and I’m the girl sitting in the back of class chewing on her pencil waiting for the high school Quarterback to notice her.

So enamoured with him I decided to cook for him. This is a big deal. I don’t cook for men that I’m interested in dating. That’s been a general rule of mine since I made my very famous (amongst my nearest and dearest) Ruben sandwich for a boyfriend in college. At first bite, the look on his face pretty much killed it. He didn’t like corned beef or sauerkraut or 1000 island dressing … and all that together? Forget it!! He was unhappy and I saw it on his face. That was pretty rough, so I made an executive decision to not cook for a man unless I felt comfortable with him. The last boyfriend I had, I dated him for three months before I invited him over for a pot roast dinner with all the trimmings. For dessert I made this puff pastry with a Crème Anglaise base and fresh berries, I topped it with fresh whipped cream. I was broke, living in LA and really wanted to impress. I spent over $100 that I didn't have the jack ass canceled on me at the last minute. Those are just two of the stories I have about cooking for someone I’m interested in, the LA one was the last straw. I now won’t cook unless you deserve it.

But I want to cook for him. He...he just doesn't want me to cook for him.

He flat out tells me he's not the kind of guy that I want. And he has a good idea of the guy I want. Remember, he read all about it on this very blog. He tells me that his feelings on this topic have nothing to do with liking me, rather they have to do with me wanting the guy who will take me on dates and spend time with me.

I had no idea how respond to this. Because I do want the guy that wants to spend time with me.

The guy that thinks I'm funny and fascinating. That wants to see what I look like all dressed up specifically for him. The guy that thinks even all stupid stuff I do is amusing. The one that thinks I'm super amazing just as I am and the guy that can't wait to see me. I want to the guy that understands that I want time with my girlfriends as much as I want time with him. I want the guy that wants me to cook for him and can see the value in who I am.

Apparently, Butterfly Guy isn't that guy.

And that makes me sad. You know why it makes me sad? Because I knew it the whole time. I looked at him and he gave me a smile and I just knew in some deep place that I was screwed. You know that part in 'Eat Pray Love' where Julia's in the Laundromat and she says 'He folded my delicates.' The lady says to her

'Baby, you are so screwed.'

I knew I was in trouble the moment he set foot into my personal space. The moment he flashed that adorable grin at me, the moment at that trendy restaurant when he leaned over and kissed me, actually every time he kissed me. Because I enjoyed those kisses so much that there is no way that they could last.

I went back and forth for awhile with him. Playing at what I was trying to say. Today I texted him and said that I had a great plan, that in order to keep from getting frustrated at him that I'm going to date other people. That's what led to the whole he's not the guy I want.

So, he thinks he's not the guy I want but now I'm left with ... feelings. Feelings that I am a total loss at how to deal with. And all I can think is ... splat. Right there on the pavement. I am wondering how to throw up the butterflies because they seem to insist on keeping their home in my stomach. And apparently and elephant occasionally visits my chest....but only when he walks by.

Don't worry. I'm pretty good at hiding my feelings. I just need a few moments in which I can breath and process and hopefully it will all go away....hopefully

On the positive side, my best gal friends whom I trust with anything have all declared that Butterfly Guy is unfit for me. It's always nice to have the support of your friends.

In this case, I am falling back on an old favorite of mine

I am the rule not the exception.

And I want the guy who looks at me and thinks I'm the exception... to everything

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Adele, you musical genius you....

"But there's a side to you that I never knew, never knew

all the things you'd say they were never true, never true

And the games you'd play you would always win, always win"

Adele's 'Fire to the Rain'

What's Your Story?

What's your story? What is it that makes you uniquely you? The moments that bleed into each that ultimately define what and who you are as a person? It's not as if there is one moment that shapes who we are or one single second that changes everything. As much as media wants us to believe that we can be summed up in a few moments, its the movement's that we live day to day that define us....

When you really think about it, you can see the person that you really are and not the person you want to be. The person I want to be is such a better person that I am. I want to see myself as the person who lives my life uniquely and without fear. I don't want to be the person who at the end looks back and thinks "Oh shit, I should have done so much more." I want to live a life with with authenticity. So that when the end does come, I know that I lived my life the best way that I could and that I was true to myself.

I've embarked on a new phase of my life recently. And I guess that doing it now concurrent with the spring is semi symbolic in some sort of new agey bullshit kind of way. Believe me, I get the ironic nature of this. Let me preface this by saying that I....the eldest daughter of two loving parents who don't and haven't ever had any booze (save for a few tastes of wine that I can count on one hand) took my first drink at 15. True story. It was a screwdriver and it was at a friends house. Her mom made the drink for her older brother who gave me some. I dappled in the art of teenage drinking but really didn't go pro until an unfortunate incident in college. Even then, I was in the farm leagues. It wasn't until *evil ex* and I broke up that I was called up to the major leagues. Then I really got serious about my wine consumption. And I was really good at it for about 7 years. And then this funny thing happened.

I went to Sedona on a girls trip and on a whim decided to see a psychic. I paid her $40 to tell me what my mom tells me everyday .... "You drink too much." Apparently, I drink so much she couldn't even make something else up (and no, I wasn't drunk when I went there). In fairness, she was pretty spot on, I do drink too much. So, I sucked it up, put away my traveling wine bottle opener, cleaned the last wine glass and made a pledge to not drink for 90 days....I know ...

90 'effin days....really?

So serious am I about this that I vowed to not even take any NyQuil (which as a side note as 10% alcohol by volume)

Today is day 14 and for the last two weeks, that tight angry ball that has been sitting in my stomach started to loosen. Sometime around the end of the first week, it disappeared completely. And for the first time in a very very very long time the fleeting moments of contentment and peace have decided to not be so fleeting. The times that I laugh sound less hollow to me. The joy that I feel comes from a place that so deep inside me I was unaware it was there.

I think my 'meness' is on it's way back.

The me that not only saw the worth in myself but demanded that people saw it as well. The me that wasn't afraid to jump without looking to see what was below, the me that did something just because it was Wednesday, the me that wanted to be around people and the me who actually cared about what was going on....not just going through the motions. I felt the me that I wanted to be start to really stretch. Those broken bits that I talked about in an early post? Those were going away.

I fully and completely believe that you can totally heal yourself no matter what happens. Sheer determination to move forward can change you and heal anything.

What happens to you should GUIDE you but it should never DEFINE you.

YOU are unique...YOU live your life the best way that you can

YOU tell your story as you know it can be,

and then.... it will be a life that's been lived authentically.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pie for Sunday

Sunday is always such a bittersweet day. Its the end of a weekend but the start of a new week. I cant ever really be sad about the start of a new week as a new week is always filled with possibility. This weekend has been a super busy way fun time that I spent volunteering at a film festival in Scottsdale. So, even though I'm excited to see what next week is going to bring, the end of such a fun weekend and the fact that so many of the new friends I made will be winging their way back to other places makes me a bit sad. So what's a girl to do? Make a pie!!

Cherry pie is always so comforting and eaten when it's still warm lifts my spirits!

What You Need

1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Butter , chilled and diced

1/4 Cup Ice Water

What You Will Do

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Cut in the butter with a fork or a pastry cutter until it resembles course crumbs

Stir in the water a Tablespoon at a time until a ball forms

Refrigerate for four hours or over night

Heat the oven to 350

Roll out the dough to fit a 9 inch pie pan and gently lay the dough into a greased and flour dusted pan

If you have pie weights, use them. If not you can use beans

But, please please careful when you pull the crust back out of the oven. Its so hard to pick hot legumes out of a hot stove... Bake for about 15 minutes

Add whatever filling you would like, I want cherry. It seems so comforting tonight!

The picture above shows you how to make a lattice on top of the pie. Its pretty easy. Use tin foil to cover the edges of the pie as you don't want them to burn

Brush the pie with an egg wash and to make it particularly pretty...sprinkle raw sugar on the top!

YUM! Serve with vanilla ice cream and all your Sunday night blues will fade away.

Right now, I'm enjoying a Russell Brand comedy special as well pie.... I really don't think it gets better!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Heat Wave = Queen Creek Olive Mill

Most people (who don't live in Arizona) don't like the 100 plus degree weather,

I am not one of them.

When it reaches triple digits, I start to relax. It seems that my body tenses up when the temperate dips below 70. It's only until the air starts to sizzle that I relax.

I wait all year for the blistering heat,

the burn on the back of my legs when I get in my car from the seats,

the fact then when I walk outside, little rivets of sweat prickle on my neck

the semi catatonic state I can get when I feel that sun reach my face

Unfortunately, I also get really really really lazy...hence my need to escape to a fun place

Queen Creek Olive Mill always fits the bill!

And usually I can convince my sisters to join in the fun.

Queen Creek Olive Mill is Arizona's only olive mill. Not only that but it's also organic and working to become totally self sustaining. As you walk in from the dirt parking lot into the courtyard patio, you walk past the vegetable garden that's completely organic and pesticide free which is the corner stone of the Mill's philosophy. If you go to their website you can read all about it but what I love is the simplicity of their mission, which states in part

"Our farming practices and the products we offer exemplify our dedication to the environment and the health of our customers"

There's only one olive mill in all of Arizona. Why do you think that its pretty easy for them to not use pesticides for any reason?

You can guess but I bet you might not get it.... (if you do, I'm impressed)

Well, Olive trees have only natural enemy and that's this insect that cannot live in temperatures above 100 degrees. Guess when that bugs life cycle is?

That's right! The dead of summer, which in Arizona reaches 100 at 5am in the morning.

If it's your first visit to the mill, do the tour. That's how come I sound so smart.

They don't have just plain extra virgin olive oil, they have lime and strawberry and vanilla bean and blood orange and chili and chocolate and garlic... just to name a few.

Oh, you might want to try some of their stuffed olives as well. May I recommend the stuffed blue cheese olives? Maybe in a nice dirty martini?

I'm volunteering at a film festival this weekend but that doesn't keep me from thinking about the food at the Mill. The last time we all were there was when a friend from out of town was visiting.

The first thing we did is get some lunch in the courtyard. Even though its was warm, I wanted a panini. I mean really, who wouldn't want a grass fed beef sandwich with caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and horseradish all on a pressed grilled baguette?? I also got some pesto pasta.

Fresh pesto on twisty cold pasta? Yes, please!!

I'm going to go ahead and say that it was all gone pretty quickly!

We all shared an olive oil chocolate cake after. Olive Oil tends to make any dessert pretty moist and this was no exception.

This cake is chocolate and dense and moist and a fork fight pretty much ensued.

Oh and they have misters so it really helps with keeping the air cool while we enjoy the beautiful scenery outside.

Just so you know, On Saturday and Sunday, they have wine tasting!

And...they just started making breakfast!

I'm excited to try the Vanilla Bean Olive Oil waffles with some berries and whip cream.

If you want to, you can always go online and get some of their products online at