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Another 2 Month Update
Aug 04, 2013

So another 2 months has passed since my last blog post. It seems I only get the itch to blog after 2 month hiatuses.

June started off strong with lots of fun with friends and traveling. But for the last 6 weeks, I’ve been battling my upstairs neighbor with an annoying dog and tennis elbow in my right arm.

I had no problems with my neighbor for months and months. And then it seems his girlfriend broke up with him and moved out. And I was left with this jerky jilted neighbor and his jerky dog. (I don’t know that he was jilted, but I like to imagine that the girl came to her senses & left him.)

The neighbor guy worked at night and the dog didn’t deal well with being alone at night. The dog would bark and howl from about midnight until the owner came home from work at 4 am. UGHHhhhhhhhhhh!! I would call every week to complain to my leasing office. And I left notes on the neighbor’s door. But he didn’t seem to care.

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I had to leave my TV’s and ceiling fans on at night to try to dull the noise. And I wore earplugs every night. I really feel for new mothers now. I was going bonkers. But the guy finally moved out a few days ago! It’s been blissfully quiet for the past few days. Haley seems to be in better spirits too. I know I’ll only get a few weeks of peace before a new neighbor moves in. Is it too much to ask for that it’s a 70 old woman with no pets?

As far as the tennis elbow, it still hurts. I have a brace that I wear during work, since I type all day long. And I have exercises to do from the doctor. I also ice it at night. But it’s frustrating. I’m pretty sure it should have healed by now. I’m just ignoring it basically. :/

Let’s move on to the FUN things I’ve done the past 2 months though!!

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1. I went to BlogHer Food 2013! And Mary Helen & I met the Pioneer Woman! Ree was so gracious and sweet!!

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2. My BFF’s Chris & Sarah came to Austin to visit.

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We went to the Mumford & Sons concert! It was my favorite concert to date! Loved every moment of it!

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I ate this amazing quinoa salad at Snack Bar!

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We had Sunday Funday by starting with brunch at Max’s Wine Dive. Get the SXSW…jalapeno cheese grits with pulled pork! I want to eat that again right now. Yum!

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We continued Sunday Funday at Kung Fu Saloon for drinks and games.

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I took Chris & Sarah to Gourdough’s. It was my first time too!! We may have went twice in one day…it was vacation after all.

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We finished off the trip with a visit to the Oasis on Lake Travis.

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3. Only 2 weeks after Chris & Sarah came to Austin, I flew to Charlotte to visit them. We plan visits around concerts. Mumford & Sons in Austin……ANDDDDDD……NKOTB/98 Degrees/Boyz II Men in Charlotte. I met up with Sarah, Kelly, and Trish my first night in Charlotte to see this boy band extravaganza. It was so much fun!!! NKOTB put on a hell of a show. We really got our money’s worth.

***Here’s when I started getting tennis elbow so hence the few pictures in Charlotte or back at home. :(

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4. A week after returning from Charlotte, I drove home to Wichita for 10 days. My Mom had recently broken her hip, so wanted to see her and be home for the 4th of July. She’s recovered now and is walking without a walker or cane, yay!!

For the 4th of July, I offered to be in charge of appetizers and dessert. My parents are very meat & potato-y, which is delicious, don’t get me wrong—but after a week, I was craving fruit & vegetables. So I happily went to town on the appetizers.

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Dessert was a make your own ice cream sundae bar! I thought of this idea on a whim, but it was really fun!!

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I always love going home to see how much my 4 nephews have grown!

That’s all for now. I’m going to do my best to not wait another 2 months until next time. But if I do, I’ll have fun updates as I’m going on 2 more trips over the next few months. :)

Restaurant Review: Cafe Monte (Charlotte, NC)
Feb 28, 2012

Before I went to Dean & Deluca in Charlotte, I had brunch at Cafe Monte.  Cafe Monte is located in Philips Place, but it’s a bit hidden behind the Hampton Inn & Suites.  Sarah and I had to drive around twice to find it.  We went into this restaurant blindly as neither of us had been there.  I just knew I wanted brunch and I knew we were seeing a movie at Philips Place later (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close).

I was so pleased with Cafe Monte!  It’s a quaint French bakery and bistro.  The decor is very clean; loved the wood floors and yellow walls.  It was bright and inviting, which is always great for a brunch place.

For brunch, I always go with some egg dish, whether it’s a scramble, omelet, or in this case…Benedict Monte.

I love eggs Benedict so much.  For Cafe Monte’s version, it was croissant, smoked ham, two eggs, tomato, asparagus, and Hollandaise sauce.  YES!  Let’s all get on board with serving eggs Benedict on top of CROISSANTS!  So much better than English muffins!  It’s tastier and easier to cut.  Success!!!!

My Benedict Monte was also served with a hash brown potato patty.  This potato was a bit bland to me, so I passed on it.

After devouring my brunch, I patiently waited 10 more minutes for noon to arrive!!

Mimosa time!!  A tip that I learned from my friend, Kat…order your Sunday brunch cocktail well before noon!  Pre-ordering your cocktail for noon lets you beat the rush.  If you wait until noon to tell your server you want a drink, you’ll have to wait forever for the bartender to get through the rush of orders.

The early bird gets drunk.

 

 

Dean & Deluca: A Picture Post
Feb 25, 2012

Happy Saturday, folks!!

Last month, I went to Dean & Deluca in Charlotte.  For the 4 years that I lived there, I never went to Dean & Deluca.  OMG, I was an idiot!!  I was missing out!  I really thought Dean & Deluca was just a coffee/wine shop.  I had NO IDEA that it’s like a mini-Whole Foods!

So awesome!

Sushi

Tons of different kinds of pepper jelly.

An abundance of roasted red peppers & artichoke hearts.

Love the colorful pasta!

Colored sugar!

Not all vanilla extract is the same…so I’ve been told…is it worth the price??

Somehow I managed to resist the cupcakes.

Cheese please.

These maltballs were my favorite find!!  I bought the pumpkin spice and the mint chip maltballs.  The pumpkin spice were good, but I could take them or leave them.  The mint chip maltballs were bonkers good!!  I put them in the refrigerator for awhile and then they tasted like Girl Scouts Thin Mint cookies!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Restaurant Review: Amelie’s French Bakery (Charlotte, NC)
Feb 17, 2012

After my dinner at Soul during my vacation in Charlotte, Sarah took me to Amelie’s French Bakery for dessert.  I’d heard about Amelie’s when I lived in Charlotte, but sadly never went there.  Sarah had recently raved about the salted caramel brownie and said I HAD to go.

Salted caramel brownie.  Are there 3 better words in the world??

Amelie’s is in the NoDa area and was only a few minutes from Soul.  It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I was seriously experiencing foodie visual overload.  Oh to be young again!  Wouldn’t it have been awesome to WORK there and learn how to make all of these things?

I wish that I would have had more time to make a decision of what to order.  It was 10 pm on a Thursday night and it was still PACKED and there was a line, so I had to hurry.

After we ordered, I looked around a bit.  Amelie’s is so fun and eclectic.  There were no seats in the front room, nor in the room to the left.  I figured that we may just have to eat our treats at home.  Amelie’s is actually HUGE though.  So many small, cozy areas with a few seats for romantic conversation…a quiet place to read/blog….or most likely…a place with tables for students to stay up all night, caffeinated & sugared up to study.

Oh I wish that there had a place like this when I was in college!  My studying was just done at the Borders coffee shop.  I want to study in a French bakery!!

So what did we order??

Sarah went the (award winning) salted caramel brownie:

And I went with…..

Wait for it…..

Hazelnut Chocolate Tart!

It was simply….perfection.

Happy Friday everyone!

Restaurant Review: Soul Gastrolounge (Charlotte, NC)
Feb 16, 2012

A few weeks ago, I went to Charlotte, NC for my birthday and to visit friends.

And to meet this little guy.

My friends, Kelly & John, had their son, Conley, in November.  He’s so cute!  And Kelly’s already lost all her baby weight plus some.  Whaaaaat?!

First up, after a SIX HOUR delay, I finally arrived in Charlotte.  My bestie, Sarah, picked me up at the airport and we immediately head to Soul Gastolounge for dinner.

Soul is a very chill, tapas restaurant in the Plaza Midwood area.  It’s been voted one of the best restaurants in Charlotte.  It was such a nice night out (in January even!) that we were able to eat outside at 8 pm.  I immediately needed a drink after being in airports since 5 am.

Sweet Heat cocktail:  tequila, jalapeno simple syrup, fresh squeezed lime juice.

Jalapeno simple syrup!!!!!!  This cocktail was so rocking!  I need to figure out how to recreate it.  Ah-mazing.

I also ordered the white bean & goat cheese dip.  It was good, but not worth giving up the stomach space.

That was reserved for:

Pork belly tacos topped with watermelon & balsamic vinegar.

I’d never ordered pork belly before.  But they talk about it on Top Chef all the time, so I knew I needed to try it.

DELICIOUS!!  If you haven’t tried pork belly before, go for it.  Immediately.

Sarah ordered another complete winner too:

Polenta & mushrooms.  I was skeptical of this one.  I’ve never been a fan of polenta/grits.  But maybe I’ve just always had them cooked poorly.  This dish was so creamy and yummy.  I could have licked the bowl clean!!

Finally, Sarah and I split some sushi.  I really can’t remember which roll we got.  I believe it was the Crunch roll.  A+ for presentation on it!

If you’re in Charlotte, rush out to eat at Soul!

And don’t forget to Cheers! me with your Sweet Heat cocktail for telling you about this place.

Weekend Ramblings
Jan 29, 2012

1.  I had to get up at 4 am on Thursday for a 6:20 am flight to Charlotte.  How come it’s so easy to leap out of bed at 4 am for a flight, but it’s virtually impossible for me to drag myself out of bed to workout?

2.  The 6:20 am flight didn’t leave until 12:15 pm!  Hello 6 hour delay in the airport.  At least I had plenty of time to catch up on blog reading.  And I got a free round-trip flight voucher out of it.  Score!

3.  After making it to Charlotte, Sarah immediately took me out to dinner.  I got a Sweet Heat cocktail made with jalapeno simple syrup.  Ah-maz-ing.

4.  I’m finally getting with it and reading The Hunger Games trilogy!  I’m half through the first book and LOVING it!

5.  One benefit of visiting a friend, perusing her iTunes library for new music.  How did I not already know SafetySuit had a new CD!?

Egg McMuffins from Home
Jul 11, 2011

It’s a new wonderful week in Charlotte!!  I am not sad I missed the 111 degree temperatures in Wichita yesterday!  Yikes!  Sarah and I had made a Wal-Mart run on Friday night to get all the food and drink for her party on Saturday.  I eye-spied an Egg N Muffin microwave pan.  After having gotten breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks or Subway the last few mornings, it wasn’t a hard sell for Sarah to buy this gem.  At only $3, it pays for itself quickly!!

You simply crack an egg into the pan.  Then stir a bit with a fork and microwave for a minute.

Toast your English muffin.  Top it with your cooked egg that is now the perfect circular size.  Add with some shredded cheddar cheese and some salt & pepper.  Sarah topped our breakfast with some prosciutto.

Yum!  Have a great morning!!

Infusions
Jul 10, 2011

Last night, Sarah had her housewarming party in Charlotte.  She was kind enough to wait to have it until I was in town.  Thursday, we planned the menu of goodies.  Friday, we got the groceries.  And Saturday, we were busy cooking from about 8 am to 3:45 pm!!!  Just enough time to spare to shower, get ready, and put my feet up for 15 minutes before friends started arriving!

On the menu:

Pulled Pork Sliders
Pulled Chicken Sliders
Deviled Eggs
Pepperoni Rolls
Sausage & Cheese Tray
Veggie Tray & Dip
Fruit & Fruit Dip
Pita Chips & Hummus
Chips & Salsa
Oreo Balls
S’Mores Cookies

Making S’Mores Cookies is so much easier now that I’ve discovered the Graham Cracker Crumbs!  Up until now, I’ve just placed sheets of graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and went to town on them with a rolling pin!

Sarah had been infusing vodka with strawberries, pineapple, and watermelon for 2 weeks!  Holy potent fruit!!  The strawberries do lose their red color after soaking for 2 weeks though.  So remove those and add fresh ones before your party.  There was also a huge cooler full of different beers too and multiple bottles of wine.  I mainly stuck to my Skinnygirl Margaritas!

I did try a Creamsicle drink though.  Sunkist mixed with whipped cream flavored vodka…..yum!!!!  You can also use orange juice, but I preferred the Sunkist.

And finally, someone brought chocolate alcohol infused whipped cream!  Fun!  Spray some on top of a strawberry and pop that baby in your mouth!!

On a side note, I love this little elephant Sarah has on her mantle!  Her Mom got it for her at Marshall’s.  Shari—if you ever want to come to Wichita to help decorate my place, you’re always welcome!!  ;)

I’m outdoorsy in that I like getting drunk on patios.
Jul 07, 2011

Hello from Charlotte, North Carolina!  I’m spending a week visiting friends and staying with Sarah.

Check out the fun books she got me!!

Two cute cookbooks—one for cakes and one for pies.  I already have my eye on the Banana Toffee Cheesecake to make.  She got me a hilarious book of snarky comments from someecards.com.  You can even rip out the cards and mail them as postcards.  One of the funny ones is the title of my blog post.

Tonight, we had dinner at Bask on Seaboard.  This restaurant was new to me and a great suggestion of Sarah’s.  I loved the look of the restaurant.

The restaurant wasn’t busy at all.  It makes me nervous when a restaurant is dead.  I tend to get the worst service then since the wait staff seems to not care or get bored.  But our waitress was awesome!  She gave a few suggestions and I went with the sweet burger and sauteed vegetables.  Sarah and I split a side of macaroni and cheese since I heard it was the bee’s knees.

The sweet burger was very moist.  I couldn’t taste the nutmeg cinnamon that made it “sweet”.  But I did enjoy the apricot aioli sauce and the brie.

The macaroni and cheese though…..oh.my.goodness.delicious.  Corkscrew pasta mixed with grueyere, goat cheese, queso blanco, and white American cheese.  Soooooooooooooooo creamy and yum yum yum!

I was sure to save room for dessert though!  I actually decided I was getting the Brownie Blondie with Dirty Girl Scout Ice Cream before I even looked at the entrees.  How can you not get that???

I’m not going to lie.  Sarah ate about 1/8 of this dessert and I devoured 7/8 of the bad boy.  Hey, I’m on vaycay!  The warm blondie hit the spot.  The “Girl Scout” ice cream just tasted like chocolate ice cream though.  I couldn’t taste any mint.  Although, maybe my Sam Adams Summer Ale had something to do with my altered taste buds.  :)

Good night, friends!!