So many things are happening.  I’m back in Virginia, and at the start of November, I will be starting a new job (not to mention a new novel for NaNoWriMo.)  I am staying with my parents while we wait for The Boy to find a job that will allow us to afford rent.  I can’t go into how I am feeling about all that right now, because it will become another ranty word vomit post, and I am trying to get into a groove for things.  I like order and schedules when I am in a state of emotional upheaval.

Onto better things.

This past weekend, I went to my first WordCamp (it’s a mini convention for WordPress enthusiasts).  I have wanted to go to WordCamp so long, so this was an exciting opportunity.  I love WordPress and had a lot of fun, despite the fact that there were a few speakers that, while interesting, weren’t the most engaging public speakers.

My first session was a blogging session and helped me to get my act together and get re-inspired to work on my much loved website.  As such, I’m going to try to start a new segment called Monday’s Menu  sometimes it will be links to recipes, and other times it will be pictures or descriptions.

My Menu Ritual

I make a menu every weekend for grocery shopping.  I make a menu of 4-5 meals for a week, or 9-10 if I am making a two week menu.  The menu is made by listing what I want to eat, or meals from items I have in my fridge/freezer.  So, today I’m going to focus on 3 easy “Make a Menu” steps in case this is new to you.

  1. Take stock of your freezer, fridge, and pantry.
    1. This will allow you to know what you have, so on leaner weeks, you can plan pantry-heavy meals, and on fuller weeks, you can purchase filler products or sale items to beef it up as you go.
  2. Cook what you crave.
    1. We’ve all been there.  That sureness that you will eat nothing but fresh greens all week because that’s all you’ve purchased.  But, if you fill your kitchen with unappetizing food, you won’t eat it.  It will rot.  So, when in doubt, go with healthy, but yummy.  No sense in buying a bunch of groceries just to order in all week because you’re not in the mood for brussels sprouts.  Waste not, want not.
  3. Be aware of (and flexible with) your schedule.
    1. Do you have events that will keep you out late several times this week? Are there plans to go out and about?  Keep that in mind, you will want to pick recipes that suit, or skip them all together.

So. Here is my menu for this week, including links to whatever recipes I have.  Hopefully, as this goes on, I’ll have more recipes to link to.

I generally don’t schedule by the night.  I mean, I could make a menu that says Monday: pot roast, Tuesday: tacos, etc…, but I prefer to pick 5 recipes and cook them when I want them.

It just so happens that I know what we are having Monday because a. we just ate it, and b. MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.  GO EAGLES!

And, for something sweet, key lime pie that The Boy has been requesting for a few weeks.

I am hoping these menu posts are both something I keep up with, and something I am able to improve upon.  I really find that keeping a menu not only keeps my grocery bills lower, but it makes figuring out dinner after work a thousand times easier.


Do you write menus?  How far in advance do you plan?



In Defense of Technology, A.K.A, Why I Would Totally Go To Jurassic Park

First, full disclosure, I haven’t seen the new Jurassic Park film, so this is specifically about the older film.  Also, in a surprisingly related note, it is about the movie Chappie.

I have this theory that the nature of humanity is to irrationally fear those that are different from us.  We live in this idealistic world where we think “everyone deserves a chance” and then, when one representative of a group different from our own does something terrible, we file it away under “things people who are different do that make them evil/dangerous/crazy/untrustworthy (etc.)”.  Because, when someone of our “group” (however you choose to identify yourself) does something equally terrible, we demand that the label not be applied to everyone.  Before I continue, stop for a moment and think about it.  Think of the media, and think of current international relations.

Moving on.

That same prejudice is applied to our concerns over technology, or more specifically, automated technology.  There is a wide berth of films related to technology and artificial intelligence gone wrong, and I am not  going to write a dissertation.  I will argue that those films are representative of irrational and unproven fears of humanity that we will create artificial life that will then attempt to take over the planet.  I am specifically speaking of films that display functioning technology that only becomes dangerous when acted upon by an outside rational force, in this case humanity.

You see it in both Chappie and Jurassic Park.  In Chappie, we have a robotic police force that is highly effective and has been proven to be safe.  Straying from the plot line of the title character, I am focusing on the standard robot police officers.  They were fine.  They were safe.  They were supervised robots only programed to take instruction and follow certain algorithms to determine the best and safest course of action.

BUT THEN, an outside force, a human being, interceded and rewrote that program and chaos ensued.  How did humanity react?


Despite the fact that the beings we can’t trust are humans.  Had the human been trustworthy, the events that led people not to trust the robots were 100% caused by humans.

Same thing with Jurassic Park.  A human intervened, from greed, took down the system and let the dinosaurs loose.  Had that not occurred, had the automations not been tampered with, it can be argued that the island would have been safe.

Yes, the dinosaurs are dangerous and we know nothing about them.  But, what makes humanity so successful is our ability to learn and adapt.  We change as needed, so we could change the processes and hardware keeping people safe from the dinosaurs until more knowledge is acquired, because that is what we have always done with dangerous situations and predators.

The problems of Jurassic Park are caused by humans.  The book goes into more detail about the problem of John Hammond, who dreamed of creating the park, but his problems are purely human.  He wanted a legacy, he was more concerned with the awe inspiring part of the park than the safety of it.  Plus, he was a bit of a nutter.  Then, of course, the obvious problem of Dennis Nedry whose greed caused him to let the animals loose.

The one thing our technology rarely takes into account?  Human nature.  We create failsafes for technological failures, but not for human interactions.  We trust the least trustworthy group, humanity.  Then, when a human does something to cause a technological failure, we blame the technology.

So, that is why I will totally go to Jurassic Park.  I don’t doubt that the park itself would be safe.  It’s the people I would be concerned about.  I wonder if the Jurassic World movie will explore more of this.  I’ll find out soon enough.

It’s Valentine’s Day Time! Show Some Love

If you’ve read anything here, you know I am a fan of Valentine’s Day.  The only thing I hate about Valentine’s Day are those annoying people who do nothing but complain about it.  If it’s not your thing, don’t celebrate it, but stop being an ass to the people who actually enjoy it.


However, I hope that you do celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Whether it’s giving someone an honest Valentine’s card, or making Stud Muffins for your Stud Muffin, show someone some love.  Seriously, especially those people ranting that it’s an over commercialized holiday, or the single people tearing down those in relationships,  please go out and celebrate Valentine’s Day this year.


What I’m suggesting here is not that you find a date in the next 24ish hours and pretend to be in love or anything.  What I mean, is go out and show some love to people who need it.  Maybe bring some chocolates or baked goods, or flowers to your local hospital for the nurses and doctors, or fire houses or police departments.  The Boy and I often bring treats to our local military bases/posts for those on duty during a holiday.


Other awesome ideas, leave those cheesy kids Valentines around town for people to find with notes like, “I hope your day is great!” or “No matter what, remember you’re loved.”.  Or, go to a Children’s hospital with those and candy and maybe some books from a thrift store and give them to the nurses for distribution.


My personal favorite idea?  Find a local women’s shelter and find out what they need and donate whatever you can spare.  Offer to spend some time there, get to know the women and children going through one of the darkest periods of their lives.  These women are brutally alone on a day filled with love.  You may not have a significant other, but they were betrayed and hurt by the person who was supposed to love them the most.  Spend time with those women and remind them they’re special, and worth the difficult .


But, it honestly doesn’t have to be this complicated, maybe just buy coffee for the person behind you, or compliment someone on their shoes, or hair.  Just spend Valentine’s day making someone feel loved.  Trust me, this is 10 times better than other ways of celebrating.


So, there you have it.  The gauntlet has been cast, all you horrible naysayers.  Go out and put some more love into the world.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa and Baked Tortilla Chips

There is something so wonderful about having shaved leg and painted toe and finger nails AT THE SAME TIME. Guys don’t get this, but ladies do, it’s a lot of effort, so having it happen all at the same time is like a magical eclipse or alignment of planets.  I wonder what the astrological sign for that is.


I told you I would think of something to write as soon as I said I had nothing about which to write.  Granted, this actually wasn’t plan A, but it came up and weaseled its way into the forefront with its awesomeness.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Corn and Black Bean Salsa


I made this salsa on a whim to have a snack during the week.  Turned out it was a brilliant idea because it is fantastic.  I also had a whole mess of leftover corn tortillas, so I did what I usually do and made chips out of them.


I brought a batch of the salsa and chips out to The Boy so we could snack on it some and taste it.  Pretty much, every batch of chips I made was eaten very quickly.  I kept thinking eventually we’d stop and then whatever chips were left would go to snacks and lunches this week, except we didn’t.  We ate a good 2/3 of the chips I made as they came out of the oven, because the chips and salsa are that good.


Seriously, this salsa is amazing and super easy and will go well on a lot of things, salads, tacos, quesadillas, soup, chips, a spoon, just to name a few.  These are really healthy recipes because you can control what goes into them.  Fresh tasting, low fat, high protein, and for those with celiac disease (or even those without it who just want a gluten-free lifestyle) this is gluten-free.


This recipe naturally makes a lot of salsa, and it won’t freeze too well, but if you’re like us, you’ll just end up eating so much of it, you won’t need dinner, so it goes pretty quickly.


You can adjust the salsa to meet your needs, say you want to add a third type of beans, just add another can of tomatoes.  If you want to subtract a can of beans, also subtract a can of tomatoes.  In the images, I only used 1 can of tomatoes for the 2 cans of beans, but I think the ratio was off.  The best ratio will be a 1:1 ratio of beans to tomatoes.


I left the juice from the tomatoes in the salsa, and that’s a matter of how soupy you want your salsa.  I’d say 1 can of tomatoes with the juice is best, and then drain the additional cans, but that’s totally up to you.


The jalapeno is totally optional.  We have fresh jalapenos on hand basically all the time (The Boy is from Texas, so it’s kind of a staple), so I just cut a few rounds from it and minced it.  If you like spicy salsa, add more, if you don’t, add none.  Salsa is forgiving that way.


There are PDF recipes at the bottom if you want to print them out.


So yum.

So yum.


Corn & Black Bean Salsa



1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed

2 cans tomatoes and green chilies (I used Rotel)

1 can whole sweet kernel corn, drained

1 small, or half a medium red onion, diced

1 table spoon minced fresh cilantro

1 clove of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Minced jalapeno to taste (I used about ½ teaspoon)

Salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to taste




  1. In large bowl, combine all ingredients, stir to combine.
  2. You can enjoy it immediately, but it is best if given at least an hour to rest and chill in an air tight container.


Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa



You will note in the images how brown my chips are, that’s because I didn’t air dry them before cooking them.  The drier they are, the faster they will cook in the oven and therefore be more of a golden brown than this color.  However, these chips were fantastic, they did not taste over cooked or burnt at all, so feel free to save time and not dry them out.


These chips do take practice.  I’ve made them several times, so I’ve had practice.  What I’ve learned – the time they take to cook is based on the mood of my oven on that day.  Also, the type of pan used will have an impact, so babysit the first few batches until you get the timing right.  Start with shorter times, and add a minute or two until you find the groove.


Making a lot of these chips takes a while, I spent half a Sunday in and out of the kitchen making them.  However, seal them good in a bag or tupperware and they’ll last a while, so they’re a great make ahead snack, and for some reason they really impress people.  They’re really easy to make, just time consuming.


Oven Baked Tortilla Chips



Corn Tortillas



1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning mix (any brand)

½ teaspoon paprika





  1. Cut the tortillas into triangles, they will shrink when baking. I usually cut mine in halves and those halves into thirds for 6 chips per tortilla.
  2. Set the uncooked chips out for an hour or overnight to air dry (this will speed up the cooking process.
  3. Combine the seasonings in a small bowl and stir for even distribution.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and a thin coat of oil.
  5. Place tortilla chips in 1 layer on the baking sheet (I highly recommend having more than one sheet to speed things up.)
  6. Drizzle the tops of the chips lightly with oil and place in the oven. Back for 7-10 minutes, flip the chips, and then bake for 3-5 minutes more.  Chips should be crisp all the way through.  Monitor them until you get a feel for how your oven will cook them.  There are only a few seconds between crisp and burnt.
  7. Set fresh batch in a large bowl and sprinkle with seasoning mixture.


So, go forth my lovelies and revel in salsay goodness.


Tortilla Chips

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

HI. Miss me?

So, it’s been months since I posted something here, and a lot of it has to do with me not knowing what to post/being really lazy.

Plus, my mom totally bought me Firefly on BluRay, and it has been taking up all my time.  Granted we only got it last week, but I think it’s safe to say it’s all my mom’s fault.  Freud would be cool with that.

I noted a trend in my previous habits that whenever I would post an “I don’t know what to post, so here’s a witty comment, I’m a terrible blogger, and here’s a cat video post,” I would immediately think of something awesome to post.  So, here it is.  The “I have nothing interesting, but here’s a catch up  on my life post.”

Christmas was awesome, I hope you enjoyed yours.  Mom and Dad bought me my very own KitchenAid mixer and it has made my life (and my waistline) more robust.  I have been baking like crazy.  Good stuff, but nothing really postable because I still am getting used to baking at such a high altitude in such a dry climate.  My next attempts are poptarts and english muffins, so if any of that works out, you’ll be the first to know.  Sort of.

New Years was lame because The Boy totaled Bernie (my Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder).  I mean TOTALED.  He hit a deer, it hit the driver’s side, went over the hood, through the windshield, and his antlers through soft top.

To answer your questions (in the order The Boy and I most often received them):

1. No, he didn’t keep the meat, it likely would have been bad due to the impact.

2. He’s fine, and I wasn’t with him. (If I had been, I would likely have gotten an antler to the face, so it’s for the best.)

3. The car is gone.  We knew this before the official word from the insurance company because of the damage and age of the car.

The good part of this is that I finally got my dream car, a Mazda2.  No joke, that’s my dream car.  Her name is Princess Rosemary and she’s Tardis Blue.  We’re besties.  I love that car so much.

From my bedroom window the morning after we got her.

From my bedroom window the morning after we got her.

Princess Rosemary 2

More about The bald-headed Boy in a moment.

Princess Rosemary 3

He’s not angry, just confused, he didn’t know I was going to photograph the car.

Last point, The Boy shaved his head.  About 3 Saturdays ago, I woke up to a strange bald man in my bed.  I think my exact words were, “You’re really fucking bald.” before I went back to sleep.  He’s convinced he’s balding (he has a mildly receding hair line, but it’s not that bad) so, he decided that he was going completely bald and he’d rather do it on purpose.  He’s ridiculous, but it doesn’t matter.  Whatever makes him comfortable is fine by me.

So, that’s it, hopefully more to come.  Maybe some interesting black history month things, and some ideas for Valentine’s Day, which you already know I love.

I slugged my husband in the face this morning.

That title really makes me seem like a horrible person, but in my defense, I was totally asleep.

Every morning, before leaving for school or whatever activity he has planned at the ungodly hour of 5ish in the morning, The Boy kisses me good bye.  Most mornings, I am very far into dreamland, but on occasion, it will wake me up, or I will have stirred a bit while he was dressing, etc, and am aware of it.  On those mornings, I typically, kiss him back and tell him I love him and to have a good, albeit way too early, day.  Other times, I sleep right through it, and only have his word for the fact that it occurred.

I’m going to derail a bit here, and let you know that this unfailing activity of his, is precious to me.  If he ever were to stop, it would break my heart.  The Boy is not a romantic man, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion, and he shows his affection differently from what I’m used to.  As a matter of fact, sometimes, he will look at me and say, “what are you doing?” and I will have to explain that I am showing him affection.  It has taken some practice for me to be able to identify the ways he does this, and the morning kiss goodbye, regardless of my state of consciousness is one of them, and I cherish it.

However, this morning, I was in the midst of a nightmare when he tried to kiss me.  The action woke me up, as it sometimes does, but I was in such a state of panic that I punched him.  Fortunately, I was asleep, so it was a weak punch at best.  He immediately apologized for scaring me, and I recall apologizing to him, getting my kiss, and quickly falling back to sleep.  When I woke up to get ready for work, I didn’t remember the  nightmare, but I did remember taking a swing at my husband.

I’m not supposed to laugh at this, but I totally did.  Hopefully, this won’t cause him to rethink the morning kiss ritual.  I think 8 years of kisses with only 1 punch in the face is a record most men strive to achieve.  Plus, I get elbowed in the face by him while he’s sleeping almost bi-weekly, so, I think we’re even.

When I Think About Love

There are a lot of accusations flying around blaming tv, movies, books, and even fairy tales for giving people an unrealistic view of love.  It’s probably true, there are a lot of people I know who live in a fantasy land that love is easy and no one is ever disappointed or hurt when they’re in love.

But, I think the true problem isn’t any form of media, but that these people weren’t raised by my parents.  My parents love one another very deeply.  They’ve been married over 30 years and have been through hell and back, and then for some reason decided to take the trip a few more times.

My parents’ relationship has withstood many things that lesser people would have divorced over, and as such, I was raised to understand that a marriage is hard work, but it’s worth the investment.  I think that’s one of the many reasons I took my relationship with The Boy so slowly, because I understood the importance and value of it.

That’s why this picture is my favorite picture in the world of my parents.  It was taken a decade and a halfish ago, on my mother’s 50th and my Sweet 16 celebration in NYC. We’d both had those milestone birthdays within a month of one another.



My mother probably hates this picture, and will  be upset that I’ve posted it online, but I don’t care.  I adore it.  I just rediscovered it while sorting things that had been boxed and stowed away when we moved and knew I had to frame it.  So, it sits on a place of honor right by my desk.  It’s actually the only family photo framed on my desk, or even in my office for that matter.

I look at it, and I see my parents’ relationship.  I see love.  I don’t remember what made my mother laugh so much, but I can almost guarantee my father said something ridiculous.  That has been their standby during the natural ebbs and flows of marriage –  a laughing embrace.

To me, movies and romance novels, and all the gushy things in the world don’t depict love as eloquently as this image.  This is love, holding onto one another while you laugh so hard you can’t open your eyes.

I just hope that The Boy and I can live up to this example in our years together.