Tale of Tailgating – Tech vs. UT


Saturday started off good.  Well, except for the random messages on the back of trucks. Sorry, Bucko.  This is not okay.

We were ready to tailgate.

Bratwurst on chipotle tortilla with peppers and onions.

Don’t let my chip less plate fool you.  Mounds of guacamole were consumed.

My wine cup fit in the tailgate chair arm rest.  It was a really good day.

Nick had on his hat mocking the university that shall not be named.

After a full afternoon of tailgating fun, game time was upon us.  “Guns up” as pictured above.

And then my pictures stop, because it got ugly.  I’m not proclaiming football knowledge, but I know it wasn’t good.  Except for that one play where I clapped and yelled and Nick laughed.  Better luck deciphering football next time.

After the game we had the worst experience EVER at Buffalo Wild Wings, name being the first clue.  (Okay, I admit it…their wings are tasty!)

We sat down in the bar because the restaurant was packed. Without even checking out our surroundings (big mistake), we ordered food and multiple waters.  Two seconds after the waitress left our table, four middle-aged men, who have apparently turned their obsession with Rock Band into a real band, blare music at us.  Drums, bass…the whole shebang.  I can’t hear myself think.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of “Knock Knock Knocking on Heavvvennn’s Doors,” as loud as humanly possible.  Just not after an emotionally draining football loss/tailgating day.

We were not happy.  We moved to the enclosed patio.  No help.  Girl covered in perfume sits down right behind me.  Even worse.  Food order changed to to-go. No luck. 

We ended up canceling our ticket after an hour and 15 minutes of waiting.  Well, Nick was waiting.  I was asleep in the car.

Nick and I did eat on Sunday.  Comfort food at its finest.

How unhealthy can you possible make zucchini?  Fry it and dip it in ranch.  So good.

Non-fried zucchini in my near future! It’s all about moderation.


Sweet Potato Hash Brown Cakes



Are you familiar with the term “upside down dinner?” Do you take your love for breakfast so far that you eat it for lunch and dinner, too?  Oatmeal for breakfast, egg burrito for lunch and a cinnamon roll for dinner?  Yes, please. Meal planning victory.

Okay, so maybe just a cinnamon roll isn’t the best choice.  I think some breakfast foods are viewed as insufficient staying-power calories.  It is true that the only pancake that will keep me satisfied for more than an hour is of the oatmeal type

So you want breakfast for dinner?  My suggestion – load up the vegetables.

First you start with 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

Oh my bad.  That’s sweet potatoes, nuked in the microwave for three minutes (skin on), cooled and shredded. 

So we’re making Sweet Potato Hash Brown Cakes.

2 cups shredded sweet potato (1.5 hefty potatoes)
.5 t. chili powder
.5 t. cinnamon
dash of salt 

I used a little more than the measurements for the chili powder and cinnamon, but mine were quite spicy.  I would just season to taste.

Form patties. Blurry, I know, but you get the idea.

I fried the cakes in about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Cook on medium-high for a few minutes, carefully flip and continue the medium-high heat for another few minutes.  This will create the crunchy outside shell.  After this, turn the heat down to in between low/medium for 5 minutes or so, which will cook the potato through.

Remember to only flip once! These will have a tendency to fall apart, but that’s okay.

Breakfast for dinner – 1 egg, 2 egg whites with Tabasco, okra fries (cooked in oven for 15 minutes at 450* with a touch of olive oil/salt/pepper) dipped in ketchup, and the sweet potato hash brown cakes, drizzled in maple syrup.

Apparently my creativity ceased after shredding the sweet potatoes, but I would try adding in: ground flax seed, nut butter or bell peppers.  Probably not all at once.

We had a mouse scare this week in the pantry.  Thankfully, a glue trap was successful in catching the culprit, and no more sightings have occurred.

Instead of buying glue traps, I think I need to invest in a Kitty Mouse Catching Class.


My Share of the Market

Even though I live in a treeless dustbowl, we have a pretty awesome weekend market.

The Downtown Art Market happens the second Saturday of each month.

Why are mini pumpkins so cute?  I wanted to buy two dozen to decorate with…

which didn’t happen.

Why the market is awesome – free samples.

This was a “Texas Caviar” bean salad – chickpeas, black-eyed peas, corn, peppers, onions and cilantro. Honestly, I didn’t love it.  It needed something.

This might be the ugliest photo of all time, but I had to share it.  My most exciting purchase at the market was this butternut squash for $1. Score. I’ve never even cooked with butternut squash! I need ideas…

The local food bank was selling produce from their farm, like the butternut squash.  Other produce purchased – baby okra, eggplant and zucchini.

I also bought some Jalapeño Peach Jam and didn’t take its portrait.  Picture a Mason jar with pale peach and pepper seed contents.  Sounds gross, but it is actually great! 

A few artist had booths, but I was only in a food mood.  I did pick up a few business cards for Etsy shop stalking, though.

Any ideas what I should do with the butternut squash?

Dinner and a Movie – Outdoors

This weekend we had date night at a local Italian restaurant – Stella’s.

We opted to sit on the patio because it was a beautiful night.  Stella’s is one of the more upscale restaurants in Lubbock, so it’s known to get busy on the weekends.  Thankfully, the patio was pretty quiet.

I had a glass of the house white and was pleasantly surprised of the fruity, crisp wine.

The small Caesar salad was not as pleasantly received.  I wanted more lettuce! But then again, I’m used to eating salads out of mixing bowls.

I ordered the dressing on the side, one of my normal requests. 

I was so looking forward to the bread, but it was also disappointing.  I swear I’m not usually such a tough critic, but I’ve had Stella’s bread many a time before (I worked as a hostess at the restaurant in college) and it was always warm with a thick crust.  Not so much this time.

We order a large pizza as our entree.  One side was margharita and the other was Chicken Santa Fe (alfredo as the base, with chicken green chilies and mozzarella on top).  I had a slice of the margharita, which was wonderful!  This pizza makes the restaurant.  Even though they serve a more upscale menu, the pizza beats the steak/seafood entrees every time.

Big Gulp, where did you come from?

It took trips to three different 7-11s to find a slurpee machine in order, but it was worth it!  A trip to the drive-in calls for a slurpee.

Yup, we went to the drive-in! Watching The Switch in the bed of a pick-up sounds wonderfully country, doesn’t it?  Our set up included two blankets and a few pillows, but my butt still was numb halfway through the movie.  At least some time was spent outdoors!

The movie was okay.  I’d give it a 3/5.  The best part was the little boy, who was absolutely adorable.

Wine, pizza, slurpees and the drive-in?! So random, I know.

Turkey Tacos


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Tacos are a quick, easy dinner I always forget about.  I had frozen some ground turkey breast for later use, and it made a great taco filler.

Wanting to experiment with making my own taco seasoning, I followed this recipe for homemade taco seasoning.  Thankfully I had all of the ingredients on hand, except for powdered oregano, which I switched for dried cilantro.

I also made pico de gallo with tomatoes, a jalapeño, cilantro and a small amount of onions.  I loaded my ground turkey and pico into a whole wheat soft tortilla.

Added on a side of black beans for good measure, and they didn’t disappoint.

The guacamole disappeared in .358 seconds.  I’m okay with that though, because fresh guacamole is best.

The ultimate question – Crunchy or soft tacos?

Sweet Potato Fry Secret


A few nights ago Nick used the grill for the second time to cook up some hamburgers.  Oh don’t you worry, we haven’t turned it on since.  We’re trying to limit our grill time as to not go grill crazy.


The burger was okay. Honestly, it kind of grossed me out.  I’m weird like that sometimes.  I was defrosting the meat, and I got a whiff of a strange meat odor which never left the entire meal.  It definitely wasn’t Nick’s fault.  I think our beef just had a case of bad freezer burn.

So, lets talk about the star of my plate.


Sweet potato fries. 

I think the only thing I’ve every read in blog land is “cut ‘em and bake ‘em at 425* for 20 minutes.”

That never worked for me.

You see, I adore a crispy, slight burnt sweet potato fry.  When it gets crunchy, it actually mimics a fried fry, which is my ultimate goal.

Plus, out of the entire stock of sweet potatoes in the grocery store, none are smaller than my head.  Also, because I am practical and have a pre-owned knife set (or two?!) that still “works,” I feel no need to purchase nice, new, sharp knives.

Larger than life sweet potatoes + dull knifes = scary potato chopping situation.

My solution: Peel sweet potatoes.  Poke holes in potatoes.  Stick in microwave for about three minutes until they are just hot enough to burn your hand and about halfway cooked.  Remove sweet potatoes from microwave and let cool slice into fry strips, while holding potato in place with fork because you aren’t patient enough to let it cool.

Then bake for 20 minutes at 450*.  Or broiling.  Which ever is faster.

I need to slow down sometimes.

Some Things Are Bigger in Texas

Guess who won the “I don’t want to wear red just because  Tuberville said he wants me to wear red” fight? 

Better luck next time…I still don’t think red is my color.

Here we are with 5,000 of our closest friends waiting for the Raider Walk, a new pre-game event Tubs (i.e. Tuberville) wants us to commit to.

Okay, it was pretty awesome to have the band stroll through, followed by the cheerleaders, pom squad, football players and the schemer himself.

Let’s get down to business, though.  The only reason I’m posting about my Texas Tech v. SMU tailgating/game watching craziness is to show you this contraption.

Yes, apparently everything is bigger in Texas.  Including ridiculous flatbed trailer cookers (also known as a grill in other parts of the country).

I should have taken more angled shots.  You could’ve fit a whole pig in the main cooker, and on top of that two small pits were attached to the front.  Check out the fajita bowls on the side on the trailer.  And the exhaust pipes?  Who does that?

Okay, so not everything is bigger.

Dear Hibachi Grill,

I would like more than 3 small leaves of lettuce in my salad next time.


Almond Joy Baked Oatmeal


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Take a peak into my oatmeal bowl.


After yoga class this morning, I knew I wanted a special breakfast.  The morning air was crisp and fall like, so I of course had oatmeal on my mind.

Almond Joy Baked Oatmeal
.5 cup rolled oats
.5 cup almond milk
.25 t. baking powder
2 T. shredded non-sweetened coconut
1 T. milk chocolate chips
handful of almonds

Mix first five ingredients together in microwave safe bowl and microwave for three minutes.  Add almonds on top.

The oats get really soft, but stay dense with this method – so good.  The chocolate chips sink to the bottom, so it’s a surprise if your bite will have that sweet cocoa flavor, and the coconut just makes it a winner.

Strength Training Update
Like I mentioned, I had a one-hour yoga class this morning which rocked my legs.  There were lots of minutes in warrior poses.  Thursday and Friday I did 30 minutes cardio plus strength training.  Thursday was the Fitnessista’s arms, chest and shoulders workout, and Friday I focused on abs and lower back.

Wednesday was opening day of dove season, and Nick and his family made a trip out to the hunting lease.

I’m thankful he only returned with a bag of fried chicken.

Small Town Treat


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I’ve mentioned before that I’m from a small town, but I just want to make sure I get my point across about how small.  Your probably thinking, “Oh, what…50,000 people or so?” Ehhh…not quite.

I graduated high school with a whole whopping 32 people. No, not 32 people in my row at graduation.  Thirty-two people total.

Throughout elementary, junior high and high school, my number of classmates stayed between 20 and 30, but there were a small group of us that experienced it all together. 

Playing Power Rangers at recess, learning to read and write, the embarrassing 5th grade “this is why your body is acting strange” video, mathematical equations, pep rallies, being forced to participate in athletics, eating tater tot casserole and Salisbury steaks on their respective Wednesday &Thursday glory days, that the world really doesn’t end at the city limits – yep, we experienced it all together.

powderpuff Powder Puff Football Circa 2005

palodurocanyon Senior Trip to Palo Duro Canyon.  Yeah, I know you’ve never heard of it.

numberone030 A seven-person cheerleading squad is perfect
for pomming out numbers and letters.

If you add up all of the time I’ve spent in school, time at the school cafeteria would make up the biggest chunk of the pie chart. Bus rides would be a high competitor, though. Even though the tater tot casserole was always too salty for me and the Salisbury steak could have used some real meat, one good experience did come out of those cafeteria days.

No Bake Cookies.


A lot of people I know have never heard of No Bake Cookies, and this needs to be changed.  No Bake Cookies are so easy and delicious! It’s definitely a recipe you should know by heart.

There are all different kinds of No Bake Cookie recipes out there, but I wanted to make one with healthy modifications.  I found the recipe used here on food.com in a post by ShaGun, but I have changed a few ingredients to suit my pantry. 

Healthy No Bake Cookies
Serves 12

3 T. non-fat milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 T. cocoa powder
2 t. vanilla
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1.5 T. ground flax seed
1 cup rolled oats

First, grab a cookie sheet and line it with wax paper.

Then, heat milk, sugar and cocoa powder in a sauce pan and stir until boiling.

Remove sauce pan from heat and add in vanilla and peanut butter.  Stir until dissolved.

Stir in ground flax and oats.

Drop about 2 T. of the mixture onto the cookie sheet.  If the mixture is still warm, pat the “cookies” slightly so the mixture will hold together better.

Refrigerate until set – About 30 minutes.

I individually wrapped mine and am storing them in the fridge.

Stats for one No Bake Cookie – 93 calories, 4 grams fat, 16 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 3 grams protein.

These cookies are a sweet, quick treat and a healthy dessert compared to a whole slice of chocolate cake.  Not saying whole slices of chocolate cake are bad, just not for every day use.

I’m thankful for the White Deer school cafeteria and their No Bake Cookies.  Also thankful for this white deer Main Street statue and my wonderful parents raising me in a small town. Gosh, they’re cute.


The Tuesday Tab

1. Nelly has a new song for the first time since 2005, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I am sure that I know every word to Country Grammar

2. Did you know handwriting can clue people in to your personality?

I was scrolling through the list thinking they couldn’t pinpoint my personality through handwriting.  Wrong.  Cinderella, I am. Although I don’t agree with the description.  You vote – BS or not?

3. I saw the trailer for You Again today, and I think I will probably laugh my way through the movie.  I need a good laugh, mostly because it’s my favorite core exercise.

4. I just asked Nick his favorite song right now and it’s titled perfect girl.  I think he was just trying to be smooth.

5. Would you please tell me why I should pay a yearly fee to IRA advisor when I have not even made back my full starter investment from the stock hurricane of 2008?  This is not fair.  Life is not fair.  I should not be worrying about retirement cash at 23.  Just let me retire in a World Market store and I’ll be happy as can be.

Oh, and the advisor has not advised me in the past year.  Just sayin’.

6. I had froyo tonight after dinner.  Half business/half party…. aka toppings including strawberries and blueberries for their antioxidant value, but I did have my fair share of crushed Reese’s Cups and sprinkle-covered chocolate chips.  Froyo flavors included: birthday cake, peanut butter and plain tart.  It’s all  about balance.

I thought I had a picture, but my Facebook photo library (or lack thereof) ate it.

7. I am having an internal debate between organizing my life online or offline.  The act of writing something down seems to add more substance than typing it into an online calendar.  I think I just want a new planner so I can possibly let go of my oldest planner currently in possession (I’ve kept the last two from college.)

8. September is going to be full of strength-training and watching my sugar intake.  I know you’re as glad as I am that my goals start with an “s” like September does.  Clever, I know.  More on those thoughts in September.

9.  If you are still with me, major props.  I would give you gold star if I could.

10. Milo says hi! She’s hanging out on my lap right now so I’m typing in a pretty awkward position.  Typical cat owner story.

I know she doesn’t look thrilled to be featured on the blog, but really she’s just shy.