Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shiny Monkey

I made the mistake of telling Gimpy recently that I have "shiny monkey" syndrome.  You know the concept that if you put something shiny in a jar, a monkey will reach it's hand inside and get stuck because they refuse to let go of whatever object they covet?  That's me, and right now the item in the jar is the kindle

Last month at book club, my friend Meridith showed me her kindle, and I became enamored.  It was so light, the screen so clear, and you could pack it easily in your purse and read on the beach!  You can fit thousands of books on it, and it would help me downgrade a ton of stuff, and save a lot of space in my house.  Last night, I was looking at hers again, and I really, really, really want it.  Sigh.  Damn shiny monkey.

When I got home from BC last night I looked it up - $139 isn't bad!  But of course I would need to buy a case too, I think that's where they get you.  I like the kind you can open up, not the kind you have to slip the kindle in and out of.  I of course want this one, because it's hot pink, but I feel like I should consider the green because it would match my Franklin Covey planner...

I have a bad feeling it'll be mine by the end of the day...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Want a Lot of Things...

I think living in Texas for four years ruined me.  When I lived down there, I was able to rent a 1200 square foot, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom place with a pool, a fitness room, and a walking path around a golf course for $799 per month - and I split that with my roommate.  Now I think nothing of my friends getting an apartment that's half the size, and splitting $2,500 a month in rent. 

Today I have encountered the huge problem of wanting a house with a big back yard for entertaining.  I clearly want this every day, but today I am especially frustrated by it.  Gimpy and I want to save money so that we can afford the things we want for the future (aka the little cozy house with a big sunny backyard), so for his birthday this year in April we (HE) decided he just wanted a casual house party. 

To me, a casual house party welcoming Spring and Gimpy to another year of being awesome means that I need some decorations and a luau party!  That means, I need some of these for sure - 
You fill them with ice and store your beverages!  I have one for Halloween that's a pumpkin, so you get multiple parties our of them for sure.  It also means I need some of these -
As clearly not everyone drinks beer.  And finally (not really, but all I am going to give away for now), you need some of these for doing your hair. 

The problem I am running into, is where to have this luau.  I have two friends with club houses that we can rent out, but at $100+ each, it defeats the purpose of saving money.  So now I am faced with really, really wanting one of these.

Or one of these

Or really.... both.  Sadly, it's not in the cards now, so I may have to settle for a park or on the beach, both great options, but a little chilly for mid-April!  Start praying now for an unseasonably warm April 16th, as I don't want B to freeze in her coconut bra...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fat Tuesday

Last week I was talking to my friend V about her upcoming Fat Tuesday party, so I decided to have one of my own.  I quickly emailed a bunch of the girls and got everyone together for a quick dinner.

I threw together some quick decorations
I mixed up a signature cocktail, I know that most of the Mardi Gras cocktails are made with rum, but my girls drink vodka and champagne, so I made a fabulous punch!

1 cup wildberry vodka 
1 bottle champagne 
A splash of crystal light pomegranate juice 
Frozen fruit

I made some jambalaya, we had 4 pitchers of punch, a few bottles of wine (a miserable Wednesday) and I made homemade beignets!  

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

When I was sick the other week, all I wanted was some soup.   I have a horrible habit of only wanting homemade soup though, so it required a little bit of work!

Cream of Mushroom Soup
16 oz assorted wild mushrooms - I used henhouse, cremini, and shitake
1 oz olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter, separated
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 tsp minced thyme leaves
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks (2 leeks), white and green parts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 cup half-and-half or light cream

Clean the mushrooms, separating the stems from the caps.  Chop the caps to bite sized pieces, set aside.

To make the stock -
Trim off the mushroom stems, and coarsely chop them.  Heat the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a large pot.  Add the mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, sprig of thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are soft.  Add 6 cups of water, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Strain, reserving the liquid.  You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock.

Meanwhile in another large pot melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add the leeks.  Cook over low heat 15-20 minutes until they begin to brown.  Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for another 10 minutes or so until they are soft.

Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot.  Add the stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the half-and-half, cream, parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat through but do not boil.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

An Epic Find and an Alcohol Dream

The title of this post sounds a little bit like I drink too much, so don't judge me.  In gearing up for three weekends in a row of St Patrick's Day parades, I have to share three things I'm really excited about.

The first - this cool new trend in wedding drinks.  You have to love those fabulous girls in Austin, TX who discovered how to take jello shots and make them classy and wedding appropriate.

The second - one of my best friends and her husband just closed on a wine store.  Wine Styles in Flower Mound, TX.  They want Gimpy and me to come for the grand re-opening, and I'm really hoping to make it work, but it doesn't look likely with the weekends they are thinking.  Sadness.  Go down and buy lots of wine! 

The third - Firefly Sweet Tea vodka is coming out with a low calorie, carb free version.  Hello bathing suit season and bottomless John Daily's!  For those of you who don't know, it's sweet tea vodka and lemonade.  Yum!  Just in time for boating season.