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A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 246

I'm thankful for vacations. They are refreshing and I come back rejuvenated and motivated to get a lot accomplished and go back to life. Allyson took great care of me over the weekend. We had a great time and had some great heart to hearts. She is so great and I feel so thankful that she is my friend.

I already blogged all about my weekend... so lets move on. I am still watching Gilmore Girls and loving it. I'm almost done with the 4th season. I have 3 more seasons to go.... then I'm not sure what I will watch next.

I'm slightly stressed about planning the ward Christmas party. I have a great vision, but we currently don't have a building to hold the party in. THAT stresses me out. If the person called to book it when I asked them to, I don't think we would be in this situation, but they didn't. I remember when I was in charge of activities in my last ward. The hardest thing was relying on other people to do what they said they were going to do.... I guess that is still the case. Hopefully it will all work out.

I finished my Southeast Asia book and I'm probably half way done with my Italy and Greece book. I have been working on them any minute I get. I was hoping to have both of them done and ordered so they would be here in time while my family is all in town next week... not sure if that is going to happen, but at least I'm trying. I do better with a deadline.

Tonight I had my monthly massage. I had a new girl. She was ok. I hate it when I tell them they can go harder and they just continue at the same pressure as they were already doing. Oh well. Massage is better than no massage.

My friend Nathaniel is doing a project in his NBA program on the Bachelor and Bachelorette and he asked me if he could interview me. I said sure... thinking how complicated could the interview be. The questions actually got really deep and made me think. It was interesting. I never thought I would be interviewed on why I watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette. I had to bring 5-7 pictures that represented my feelings on the show. I thought I came up with some good pictures.

On Monday I mentioned to my boss that I was thinking about buying a Christmas tree this year. A nice one. He got all excited and asked me if I wanted to go to Costco to buy one. He wanted to get treats for work anyway.... so we left work and almost everyone came to help me get a Christmas tree. I'm not going to complain about leaving work to go do something that I would need to find time to do after work. It was random and awesome and I came home the proud new owner of a Christmas tree. They are so expensive... but it is an investment right? I won't have to buy a tree again.. and it's a nice one. Also when we showed up at the Costco in Spanish Fork.. as we were going in, my oldest sister was coming out! It was such a fun run-in. We both were for sure not expecting to see each other. ha ha. Now if only I could do the same thing with buying a car. I want it to just be that easy and be done with.

I also reserved a yurt for this Winter's adventure. I don't get excited about Winter, but I am excited about another yurt adventure. This time we will be in a yurt that holds 12. It will be a party. Allison doesn't think we have that many friends to fill the yurt, but I told her we could take it as a challenge to make more friends by then. I think we can do it.

Last night we watched Hunger Games AND Catching Fire. Why? Mocking Jay part 1 premiered today. I'm really happy that I know a lot of people and sometimes those people hook me up with things. My friend Wes, who I hadn't seen or talked to in forever text me yesterday asking me if I wanted 4 tickets to a private pre-showing of the Mocking Jay for tonight at 7:15. I took him up on that offer. I took my sister and Allison. We saw the line starting for the midnight showing and I just thought how nice it was to watch it opening night at a decent hour AND for free. We all enjoyed loved it. I thought it was so well done and I can't wait for part 2! I kind of hate that I have to wait a year to see it, but at the same time I like having movies I love to look forward to. Ahhhh so good!

Other than that... just juggling guys with J names. The end.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Orleans


I flew to Texas to visit Allyson, but our main weekend event was a road trip to New Orleans. It is only 5 hours from Houston and I have always wanted to go and explore New Orleans, so Allyson agreed and we went. We didn't really have any plans once we got there, we just figured we would figure it out when we got there. Which we did. 

We arrived Friday night. We found a hotel to stay in that night that was close to the main part of the city. We checked in and then went out to explore the New Orleans night life. It felt like Vegas... every where you walk was a party. Everyone drinking. Hanging beads everywhere. It was kind of fun. We found a place to eat. I was excited to try Southern food. I tried fried Mac and Cheese. It didn't sound that appealing, but it was surprisingly very good. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and talking with strangers. Everyone is so friendly there.



We didn't stay out too late... I guess we are getting old. We went to bed so we could get up and enjoy the next day and not feel like we had a hangover from staying out all night. So we got up and set out to explore the city and see what it was like during the day.


First we needed to get the famous pastries at Cafe Du Monde. We stood in a long line for them. It reminded me of standing in line to get Butter Beer at Harry Potter World. Like the Butter Beer, it was worth it. 



After that we spent a lot of time walking around, going in shops, looking at art and watching street performers. There were so many of them. I also just loved taking in how beautiful it was. Not only was it a beautiful day (while it was snowing back home) but it is a beautiful and charming city. 




We also ate more. I mean... I had to try all of that famous New Orleans food. We ended up going to Antoine's and getting the New Orleans sample platter so we could try the Gumbo, Jambalaya, red beans and shrimp. Also came with bread pudding. All of it was good. 



And really... that was all we did in New Orleans. I was totally satisfied with that. I love exploring new cities and just taking them in. Experiencing the food and the culture and the architecture. And that is what we did. Along with that... New Orleans has some amazing talent when it comes to music. We saw so many great bands performing on the streets while we walked around. Being a music lover... I can't get enough of that. 



Allyson and I have gone on some great adventures in the past... Hanging out in St. George, rappelling down a waterfall in American Fork Canyon, staying out all night in Vegas, backpacking to Havasupai... now we have road tripping from Texas and exploring New Orleans to add to our fun little adventures. Allyson is an amazing friend and I love that she is always up for fun. She really took care of me over the weekend and we had such a great time talking about life... the good and the bad and learning from each other and being there for each other. Love that girl and look forward to our next adventure.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Reunited in Texas

I have been to the Texas airport more times than I can count... but this trip was the first time I have left the airport in Texas. I happen to have two very good friends living in Houston right now. To  be honest... I wasn't too excited to visit Houston. There doesn't seem to be much to do there except eat (which might be why it is one of the fattest cities in the country) and the scenery isn't much to look at either. However, I have two dear friends living there and that is reason enough to go for a visit.

Allyson moved out there first, for work and wanted me to visit. I told her I would and I am a woman of my word. If I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I love that girl, so I was more than happy to go spend a weekend with her. About a year ago, my good friend Rich moved there as well. Well... at first he moved home, but then he moved to Houston for a job. My first night there Rich and I got together for dinner and a good heart to heart... like we used to do when we lived next to each other. Rich was always a good friend, so we were excited to hang out and catch up. Allyson had other plans, so it was just Rich and I.

We went out to eat. Got some good Texan food. After dinner we went to this cute dessert shop called "Sweet" and got some cupcakes and hot chocolate. I have to say that the cupcakes and hot chocolate are better in Utah (at least compared to this shop) but it was still cute and delicious and more importantly just fun hanging out with Rich.

Sad to say that I don't know when it will happen again. However, we are good enough friends that we will be in touch and if we happen to be in each other's area... we will hang out again.




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Traveling


I just got back from traveling... again. I know... I'm just a traveler, what can I say? Well.. when traveling, especially when by myself... I love.....

People watching! It can be VERY entertaining.



Enough said.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pumpkind Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

Yet another hit at the Pumpkin Dinner Party. I pinned this and so did Allison and this is one of the things she made for the party. It turned out so great (even though she didn't do the cinnamon butter. I will try that next time for sure. I love that not only the taste good, but look cute too.

FOR THE BREAD:

1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups (16.88 ounces or 479 grams) all-purpose flour
Sliced pecan pieces, for the "stems"

FOR THE BUTTER:

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

directions:



FOR THE BREAD ROLLS:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a pairing knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the "stem." In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

FOR THE CINNAMON BUTTER:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Pumpkin Coconut Curry

I don't know why I didn't take a picture of this one, but I didn't. All you have to know is that it is GOOD. I will make it again for sure especially since it was so easy. Gotta love crock pot meals. It was a hit at the pumpkin dinner party.


Ingredients:
  • 1 15-ounce can of unsweetened coconut milk (full fat, not light)
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups 1-inch cubed sweet potatoes
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Juice of 1 lime


Instructions:
  1. In the insert of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, chicken stock, curry powder, tumeric powder, garam masala, salt, and pepper. Whisk together to make sure it is all combined and spices are evenly distributed.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, and lime juice to the mixture. Stir to coat and incorporate.
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  4. Serve over rice!
  5. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to seven days.