Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Baked Taquitos

I've been experimenting lately with taquitos.  I love fried taquitos at restaurants, but since we don't deep-fry anything at home, I can't exactly make the restaurant version.  Recently, I found a recipe online for baked taquitos.  Can't be hard, I thought, just turn on the oven and stick 'em in.

After a few different versions, I've discovered that (no surprise here) chicken is much better than beef.  I chop or shred chicken into small pieces, somewhere between a quarter- and a half-inch diameter.  I line up a couple tablespoons of chicken about a third the way across a taquito stretching from edge to edge.  Next, sprinkle some cheese--we use cheddar, mozzerella, colby, whatever we like and have--on top, not too much.  Then I roll it up nice and tight so it forms a long, skinny roll of chicken and cheese wrapped by the tortilla.  Oh, and I like to use flour tortillas... but either flour or corn would work just fine.  Place them about an inch or two apart on a foil-lined cookie sheet and spray the rolls with a fine mist of non-stick spray (olive oil spray, butter spray, whatever).  I just barely get any on the tops of the taquitos.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Turn one-third of the way and bake an additional 3 minutes.  Turn one last time to get the last side another 2-3 minutes.

Mine have always turned out crunchy and crispy, melty and yummy.  For variety, I tried them with a little tiny bit of red pepper sauce coating the chicken for a hint of spice.  I've also made them with ground beef and taco seasoning (leftover taco meat I had in the freezer, yes I'm that smart/lazy/cheap).

Lessons I've learned: tighter rolls work best.  Too loose and the insides will all be outside faster than you can re-roll them!  Don't put in too much cheese or it'll make a huge mess and make the taquitos difficult to turn as the melted cheese will stick to the foil something awful.  Oh, and use foil.  Just trust me about that.

I'm working on homemade spanish rice to go along with my taquitos as well.  Could use some practice there, but at least rice is cheap.  Still haven't figured out what vegetable goes well with rice and taquitos... suggestions?

Monday, August 30, 2010

First Rain

It rained today, the first rain of the new wet season.  I awoke to hear rain falling outside our open bedroom window.  I remember last June when everyone was hating the rain and wanting warmer weather.  I was not.  The rain means cool weather, my favorite.

I'd rather have a grey, wet, rainy, Oregon day than a hot day any day.

Hooray for the first rain!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Congratulations to Michael and Whitney!

Just married and ready to lift off!

My little sister (and only sibling) got married Friday morning in a hot air balloon.  They had a reception for family and friends the following day.

Thursday night was spent packing and preparing for our 4:00am wake-up Friday morning.  We drove up to Keizer for the balloon launch.  The morning was cold with only a thin, spotty layer of clouds.  A not-quite full moon illuminated the park until the sun poked its head up.  Shortly after 6:30am, the balloon was inflated and the couple recited their self-written vows.  The groom's brother and a bridesmaid joined them for the flight over the city.  I took over five hundred photos throughout the morning, even following the balloon chase vehicle with my own to get pictures of the landing.  We all returned for a wonderful continental breakfast at the launch site where we learned much about the history of hot air ballooning.

Friday night was spent at the reception location setting up for the next day.  Mom, Dad, The Man, myself, the newlywed couple, and his parents and brother were all on hand to move chairs and tables and decorate the facility.  Zombies though we may have been, the tables looked beautiful with the orange and silver decorations!  I was up until 1:00am (a twenty-hour day save the two-hour mid-afternoon nap I so desperately needed) editing the pictures from the morning's balloon launch.

Saturday morning dawned far too early.  I spent the morning wrapping up the photo editing and turning the best pictures and their engagement photos into a slideshow to play at their reception.  After much difficulty, we hastily drove to the reception where I ultimately took another three hundred photographs.  Good food, lots of chatting and making new memories.  I even whipped out a Matron of Honor speech to the couple, one that I hope will be as meaningful in a year as some of those we heard at our wedding were to us.

Today, the happy couple ventured to the coast with their families (his visiting from out-of-state).  What an exciting three days!

Congratulations, sis, on your big day! 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tastespotting

If you ever run into a time when you can't think of what to make for dinner, pop over to tastespotting.com.  No matter how difficult or frustrating your day may have been, I am confident you can be inspired--and become very, very hungry--in a hurry.

Just one of my favorite sites I think the whole world needs to know about. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Shopping Success!

The Man and I made a trip up to Salem this weekend for his birthday dinner (the second, this time with his family).  We stopped quickly at the mall where I tried on some pants again that I wasn't sure about last weekend.  This time, I made my mind up and went for it.  Two new pairs of Worthington dress pants--a garment severely lacking in my wardrobe (zero anyone?).  I bought a grey pair and a black pinstripe pair.  The Man also got himself a new hooded sweatshirt jacket thingy.  All together, we spent just under $50.  Not bad, I'd say.

Sunday morning, we went grocery shopping after Mass.  We took our time gathering meals upon meals worth of food, much of it raw or ingredient-like (as opposed to processed, canned, or frozen).  Between my grandmother's $10-off coupon, a 10%-off coupon I got in the mail, and several coupons I scored online or in the circular, we saved 37% off our cost!  I think that's a new record for us.  Of course, we did spent just about $100 for two weeks worth of food (minus bread and milk), but the savings were awesome!

And then there's the issue of spices at WinCo.  I strongly dislike waiting in lines at WinCo, so we rarely shop there, but I stopped Sunday evening to pick up some bulk spices.  Seriously, if you need spices, go to WinCo.  I got enough parsley to fill up my shaker container for less than $0.10.  I got enough nutmeg, thyme, sage, and paprika to last until Kingdom come all together for less than $1.00.  The gummy worms that just happened to follow me home were the most expensive thing I bought, and even that was much, much cheaper than anywhere else (and they're the better quality, too!).  I'm definitely headed back to the bulk section again soon.

Maybe now I can convince my husband to let me get more of those OXO pop containers that I love so much--you know, to store bargain-priced oatmeal and tea and rice and other food we so desperately need. ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

50 Followers!

I popped on to my blog this weekend between trips and baking and working too much and found that I now have fifty blog "followers!"  I only know a few of you in real life, so it's exciting and a little bit scary for me to wrap my head around non-real-life-friends actually digging anything I say.  But you apparently do.  And I'm humbled and flattered and just really happy people find me remotely interesting.

It always feels good to feel liked and wanted.

Okay, maybe you don't want me or even like me or even really know me, but still. 

I'm happy you're here.  Thanks for reading.  See you tomorrow with more exciting adventures.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hot Air Balloon Cake

I made this cake for my sister's wedding shower this weekend.  It's a hot air balloon.  Mind you, this is only the second real cake I've ever decorated (and the other one was fondant!).  I used buttercream for all of the decorations.  I made a confetti cake at my sister's request.  The orange was easy to do since I had orange food coloring, but silver/grey was tricky since there is no silver/grey food coloring.  A smidge of lavender mixed with the tiniest amount of yellow resulted in grey frosting.  While it might not be the prettiest cake of them all, the colors matched her wedding colors, my basketweave is stellar, and the cake tasted good.

I'm all for being able to decorate a cake, but the cake better taste good, too!

And now I am officially done making cakes for hire.  Sticking with photography and cookies and being a wife and only having to cook for my two-person family and not living up to insane standards of cake decorating (bring on the single-layer pyrex pan cakes, thank you very much!).

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm going to have dreams of cakes attacking me all night after this...

I have a busy, busy weekend ahead of me, especially tonight.  Tomorrow, my mother and I are hosting my sister's wedding shower as she will be getting married next weekend.  I have yet to wrap her gift, organize the games, and bake and decorate the cake.  First, shopping for the second half of her gift.  Then dinner with The Man.  Then cake baking.  Then wrapping and game organizing while the cakes cool.  Showers, maybe a minute or two to sit, then off to decorate the cake.

And I have no idea what I'm going to wear tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I have to get up and corral the multitude of items I have to take to my parents' tomorrow.  Breakfast, maybe a little work on planning my next quilt, pack a lunch, and zoom! we're off to Albany.  We will do the whole wedding shower thing, then flash! we'll zip up to Salem to do some shopping really fast before we head out to dinner for The Man's belated birthday party.

I think it's safe to say we won't be flashing, zipping, or zooming by tomorrow evening on our return trip.

Sunday looks to be a bit calmer.  Mass, grocery shopping (thanks, Grandma, for the coupon!!!), and maybe a little bit of relaxing in front of the TV.  Oh, wait, laundry, cooking, cleaning... crap.

I tell ya, this whole 'being an adult' thing is totally overrated.  Except the driving part.  And maybe the making my own decisions part.  Just definitely not the responsibilities part!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To my husband on his 27th birthday:

Happy birthday to my husband. This is the first time I've ever been able to say that!  A year ago, you were my fiancĂ©.  The year before that, my boyfriend.  And the year before that (and every moment since), my friend. 

I'm not always good at writing the mushy stuff, but I love you so much that I'm going to try. Some wise people told me to write down the reasons I fell in love with you before we even got engaged. Looking back on that list, I am reminded of the reasons I still love you and am falling ever more in love with you daily:

- You still don't judge me without my approval.

- You still don't force your faith upon me--and even more, you gently encourage and lead by example.

- You're the best listener in the whole world.

- Your giggle never gets old.

- You eat what I cook and don't complain (and sometimes get impressed by my simple attempts in the kitchen).

- You aren't a jealous person. Ambitious, sure, but not jealous.

I love you for all of those things that first drew me to you, plus I love you for a million new little (and big) things. For your 27th birthday, I wish you peace of mind. Know that I am proud of you. Know that you are loved unconditionally and without reservation.

And know that you're now in your late twenties. Ha ha!

(I love you!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ta Da!

What started out as whole pieces of fabric was cut, sewn, ironed, and quilted into my first quilt.  I intended it to look like stained glass, but I think it would have looked more like glass with more colors.  All-in-all, not bad for a first stab I think.  The lines are clean, the points mostly matching, and it's all done with my one little machine (yeah, hand quilting? no way).  I probably spent twenty or thirty hours total on it, not including shopping and planning my design.  The final cost for fabric, batting, ribbon, bias tape, and thread probably came in just under $60.  Dimensions are approximately 42"x42".  The perfect sized quilt for absolutely nothing! :D

More photos can be found on my Picasa Web Album.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pictures to come, Work to do

I know I promised pictures of my quilt yesterday, but something has come up.  My sister and her very-soon-to-be husband are coming over tonight for dinner and to work on wedding stuff.  I won't have a chance tonight to get my pictures uploaded and edited for your viewing pleasure this evening, but I will try my best for tomorrow night.

In other news, I'm nearly finished with my delicious Anthony Bourdain book, and I cannot wait to get the next one.  I was up too late reading again last night, but I don't regret it for an instant.

We're rockin' breakfast for dinner tonight, so I best get moving.  Waffles, (low-fat) fried potatoes, eggs, and turkey sausage.  YUM!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's DONE!

It's been a busy weekend, but the most important event occurred tonight around 9:00pm.  I finished my first quilt!  Pictures will be posted tomorrow.

In other exciting news, I went shopping yesterday with The Man's family in Salem.  Not only did I get a super cute sweater and my first corduroy jacket, but I didn't buy a single pair of jeans or a t-shirt.  Between The Man's Mom and I, we only spent $55 and saved over $95 off the original prices!

I did look at a few pairs of jeans this weekend... apparently it's not easy to find jeans that are not low-rise and don't make me look like a 50-year-old (no offense moms everywhere, but I'm in my twenties).  I gave American Eagle a shot hoping they'd have something curvy, but even after going up in size, I couldn't get the waistband over my butt.  I realized I'd already bottomed out in the crotch.  When I asked the store clerk if she had any pants that weren't low-rise, she looked at me like I was a zombie.  Surprisingly, I popped into Buckle just to see what they have in there.  They sell jeans by dimensions instead of size!!!  They also charge $90 per pair...  So I think I could have actually found some that fit me in the store, but I am not willing to pay that much for pants.  Maybe when they have a super sale or I get serious coupons, but not until then.

I grabbed a couple ropes this weekend and strung up a makeshift (and totally not permanent) clothesline on our patio/deck.  I successfully dried two loads of laundry today and only managed to drop two shirts on my dirty deck (re-do!).

So with a few new pieces of clothing, clean clothes washed, line dried, and put away, dinner done, and my first quilt finished, I vote the weekend officially over.  Not that I want it to be over, but I feel like I had a good weekend, a productive and successful weekend.

Can't ask for much more than that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Those Post-Wedding Questions

I have been asked several times in the last few weeks how long I've been married.  I always start with a great hesitation as I mentally count the months.  Some people giggle when I tell them we're newlyweds.  Some people are really excited and like to share their stories (which I mind much less than wedding stories).  And some people still want to see "the ring" and estimate what an awesome catch I hauled in from the great ocean.

I have only received the often-dreaded "when are you going to have children" question a few times.  Most people have asked kindly and haven't been put off by us giving ambiguous or non-specific answers.  We have talked about it so many times.  We both want kids very, very much, but we also want to be able to provide for them adequately (and we're just now getting ourselves sorted out!).

There were a few couples--not friends--that got married at the same time we did (same day for one couple).  I've had the luck to bump into those couples recently.  We compared notes on our first year as married people and came to similar conclusions.  The first year hasn't been so bad.  In fact, it's been easier in many ways than we expected.  Some days are better than others.  Some days we aren't communicating on the same levels... or even in the same languages... but we're working on learning from those days.

We've been married just a few days shy of ten months, almost "oldlyweds" in my book.  We're happy as we can be, comfortable, and doing darn good.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hooked on Anthony Bourdain

I purchased Kitchen Confidential this weekend, Anthony Bourdain's first bestseller.  It's about how he became a chef (and later a travel host on the Travel Channel--but the book doesn't go quite that far).  He's funny in a wry, sentimental, but straight-faced sort of way.  He cooks and writes about cooking with passion beyond anything I've read or seen on TV.  Even his description of a chef's knife is swoony, if such love and respect for a humble blade can be swoony.

I love reading biographies, and Bourdain doesn't fail to inspire or warn about the kitchen.  I've been thoroughly convinced that fish should be consumed mid-week and never on Mondays.  I learned that fancy German or Swiss knives aren't worth the cost of the wooden handle, but that a good blade is worth its weight in gold.  Bourdain's travel exploits are legendary tales told in their raw--and detailed--glory.

It's an excellent book.  I even learned new words--a feat rarely accomplished by writers on the bestseller list.  I highly recommend reading Anthony Bourdain's books if you get a chance.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Week Caffeine Free!

It's been one week since I had any caffeine!  The weird thing is that I haven't really had cravings.  I know I'd still love Diet Coke, but I have absolutely no desire to drink any of it.  I tried to talk to The Man and explain that I simply quit drinking caffeine last week, but he didn't--and I think couldn't--understand me.

I didn't stop for my health.
I didn't stop because I got tired of drinking pop or stopped enjoying it.
I didn't stop because of the obnoxious withdrawal when I didn't get caffeine.
I didn't stop because someone made me.

I stopped drinking caffeine because I didn't want to drink it anymore.  I didn't want to have to buy it anymore.  I just didn't want it.

Of course, there were a few pops over the course of the week, all caffeine free.  I am branching out!  A couple weeks ago I surprised myself by buying juice.  Yes, juice.  Jaggy, the hater of all things fruity bought juice.  And liked it.  It was an organic strawberry-apple-kiwi concentrate that was super tasty frozen into mini popcicles too!

Don't fret, dear readers, there's still no chance of me becoming a milk drinker... yuck!

Monday, August 09, 2010

I have to make WHAT?

The Man volunteered me to make a side dish for a little get-together with friends tomorrow night.  A gluten free side dish no less.  My first thought was, "oh, good, we can pick up some cibattas on the way!" followed quickly by "Drat! Dangit!  Grrr...."

It would be safe to say that my kitchen does not contain food without gluten.  My menus are gluten-loaded.  My cupboards are stuffed with chips, crackers, breads, and cereals, the vast majority of which are whole grain wheat.  I mean, yeah, it's great we're eating whole grains and all, but for a gluten free side dish, not so much.

So I sat down and did some brainstorming.  Potatoes and rice are safe foods, but potatoes need to be cooked and kept warm to eat.  Cold french friends... yuck!  And while raw potato might not be too bad, few people actually like raw potatoes (the taste like apples without the sweetness).  That left me with rice.  I can throw rice into boiling water just as well as the next lazy person.  When I'm getting fancy, sometimes I substitute chicken broth for water and spice things up a bit.  But none of those ideas really struck me as "side dish" and "tasty when cold."

And then it hit me: when in doubt, go with the classics.  Since I couldn't do any of my "classics" like cookies or cake (totally a baker, not so much a chef), I squared up to the rice idea with one of Grandma's holiday recipes.  Baked rice can be eaten at room temp (or at least allowed to cool enough to be able to hold the pyrex pan with bare hands) without risk of food-borne illness.  It's sweet, almost like a custard but more thick and less gooey.  Even better, there are only four or five ingredients that aren't very expensive!

The best part?  I get to have holiday food in the summertime. :)

Now I just have to have a talk with The Man about volunteering me to make obscure side dishes...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Baking Binge

After slaving away yesterday over a hot pot of soup, you'd think I wouldn't want to be in the kitchen at all today, right?  Pretty much.

Except The Man has been asking me to make homemade soft pretzels again, and I had all the ingredients, and I wasn't doing anything else.  So I whipped out a batch in under two hours.  Boiling water, oven up to 425°, and a steaming dishwasher behind me.  It was hot in the kitchen.

I made blueberry muffins for breakfast (boxed mix, but real blueberries!).

I'm considering baking homemade beef taquitos for dinner to go along with fresh salad greens and maaaaaaaybe some sort of rice side dish.

Dinner is all going to be leftovers, too, since I pre-made taco meat a month ago and froze it for just such a purpose (laziness or smart decision, I can't tell).  If only I could figure out what other kinds of things I can make ahead...

Still two big bowls of soup in the fridge--great for dinner tomorrow.  As much as I love it when The Man sinks his teeth into still-warm, soft, salty pretzels, his eyes light up with little boy delight, and he wraps his arms around me thankfully, my feet say no more cooking.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Soupiest Soup Ever

Today was a mish-mash of errands and cooking.  The Man and I set off at 11:00am to drop off an application for a different apartment complex.  We like where we're living, but we need more space.  There's a complex about a mile away from us that offers more than 250 square feet above what we currently have for $10/mo less than we're currently paying.  Needless to say, we got our names on their waiting list as soon as possible. 

Next, we went grocery shopping.  That... was not so exciting.  But we did get a watermelon grown in Pasco, Washington, that turned out to be delicious.  We popped home for an hour to put our grubs away and eat lunch.  I grilled up some turkey burgers, opened The Man's bag of puffy cheese curls, and sliced up melon for us.  We ate very well. :)

After cleaning up, we hopped in the car and ventured south to BBB, Michael's, Borders, and Bi-Mart.  The Man and I both scored books 25% off, a single crafting item, another OXO Pop container (so now I can buy the 5lb bags of sugar!), and gummy vitamins.  I'll let you guess who put those in the cart.

We finally got home around 4:00pm.  I set out to make chicken noodle soup.  Earlier in the day, I purchased split chicken breasts instead of breast fillets.  The price was much, much easier on my wallet.  But as I set out to de-bone two hurkin' breasts, I quickly realized why the prices are so different.  I got as much meat off the carcass as my patience allowed and tossed it in water to poach.  Next time, I'm going with the fillets.  Lesson learned!

By 6:00pm, I'd researched watermelon slushies  (dessert!), tossed noodles in the soup, showered, and started on my craft project.  And now it's almost time to eat.  Finally.

Friday, August 06, 2010

As Per

Hello grammatically incorrect world!  Just one more little beef with you today.  "...as per..." is twice the nonsense necessary.  "As" does not need to proceed "per" in any instance.  "As" can be used as an adverb, a conjunction, or a preposition.  "Per" is a preposition.  There is never a need to use "as" before "per" as it creates a double preposition of words that mean the same thing.

"Up above" and "down below" are similar examples of doubled prepositions.  In common spoken language, these prepositions work passably together.  In writing, however, there's no need to say, "The clock was up above the chair."  You simply say, "The clock was above the chair."  Likewise, "The dog was down below the porch," should be written as "The dog was below the porch."  Everyone understands without the double prepositions.

There are always exceptions to rules.  "Down under" has significant meaning geographically.  Sometimes directional prepositions modify the mood or meaning of a sentence slightly.  "Up against" versus "down against" are different.

But "as per" is wholly incorrect.  Let me give you a few examples:
"I threw away the papers as per John's request," should be "I threw away the papers per John's request."
"As per Jane's plan, we'll be sailing soon," should be "Per Jane's plan, we'll be sailing soon."

Are you understanding yet?  "As" does not need to proceed "per" in any situation.  (Although I'm certain I'll receive several comments misusing the grammatical imperfection just to spite me, right?)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Yet Another Update on The Pain in My Side

And now for an update on my ever-painful guts!  The ultrasound results came back negative.  All of my organs are right where they're supposed to be, but none of them look problematic.  I'm not sure whether that's good or bad, but I think it's a good thing.  My pain has settled down today after a disastrous dinner last night.  I blew the tomato sauce up in the microwave (should have been a clue from the start), overcooked the pasta slightly, and ended up eating more than I should have.  Even with mostly dry noodles and just a tiny bit of sauce for flavor--we're talking a whopping tablespoon total on my whole bowl--it was too much for me.  I awoke with all sorts of crazy weird pain last night.  Left side, right side, burning, spasming, aching pain.  I'm going to get some omeprazole (Prilosec) like the not-so-Urgent Care doctor suggested the first time I was in there last week.  I hope to have an appointment with a gastroenterologist sometime next week to get to the bottom of this!

I am tempted to create another label on my blog for my stupid medical anomalies.  As if I need any more categories in my life, especially one I shouldn't need to have in my twenties...

Bear with me readers.  New and exciting things not related to me achin' belly are in the future.  Like why Chase can't seem to understand I DO NOT WANT their credit cards.  Or why stores always ask if you'd like to get one of their credit cards every time you go through the checkstand.  Or why Fred Meyer's rewards program is completely lame.  Or why it's so stupid that people under 25 have to pay a fortune to rent a car even with a perfect driving history.

I do think--and talk--about things other than myself from time to time.  ;)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Privacy Undone

It's been a sociological survey in my head as I've gone through medical issues the last couple years.  Part of me feels the need to keep loved ones informed of my various ailments.  I regularly consult my mother, my genetic benefactor and generally knowledgeable person.  I talk to my husband about problems (and everything else under the heavens) daily.  I don't mind when family or close friends try to be helpful or inquisitive about test results or how I'm healing.  All of that is wonderful, supportive, comforting help.

But how do you tell "fringe people" to knock it off, mind their own business, and leave someone alone?  I'm talking about nosy, gossipy coworkers, friends you don't regularly share things with, or people whose paths just happen to cross yours.  How do you tell people you see every day that you don't want to share the details of a blood test?  How do you explain to semi-strangers that you don't feel the need to explain your medical history--or any other history for that matter?

Maybe it's my social ineptitude, but I don't know how to tell people to butt out without sounding like I don't want to share anything with them.  What I had for dinner last night: fair game.  Whether or not I have a UTI... let's keep that out of the workplace/cafeteria/gossip circle, okay?  It's one thing for my husband to know that I'm not feeling well.  It's another thing entirely for my coworkers to know (and then to be sharing that information with clients in my absence--no joke).

Is there a good, nice, positive way to tell "fringe people" to shove off a bit?  What would you do?

Monday, August 02, 2010

A long, painful weekend later...

I had a mostly good weekend aside from being in pain on and off.  Friday night included a bit of cleaning and some lounging.  Saturday was lazy until the afternoon when I whipped out a batch of cupcakes for our evening picnic up in Dallas.  That night, we traipsed around the park with some of The Man's cousins--an adventure that afforded me the chance to take action shots of kids doing what kids do at a park.  We had a wonderful time with them!

Sunday was less exciting: Mass in the morning, a very brief shopping trip, and photo editing took me through 3pm.  I took a nap in the afternoon, made a delicious fat-free dinner, and watched a movie with The Man.  Oh yeah, Shake 'n' Bake?  Forgot how tasty that stuff is.  We'll be doing baked chicken more often.  Tossed some broccoli in a casserole dish with some parmesan cheese for a delicious side, and I made rice in 20 minutes on the stovetop for the first time ever (rice cooker just takes too darn long for a cup of rice).  I've been informed I can make that dinner again and again.

I went to the doctor this morning to hopefully have my doctor give me a solid diagnosis about my abdominal pain.  She listened to my symptoms, poked my belly, and didn't tell me anything I didn't know already.  I get to have an ultrasound Wednesday morning for more diagnostic information.  We did go over my blood work from last week, and everything there looks normal and healthy.  Right now I'm in a holding pattern, a fat-free-diet and very painful holding pattern.