5/31/13

A Few on Friday

1.  Please read this story about this blind pug!  He is the sweetest. 
It's a quick little read and you'll gain such joy!

2.  I doubt I'd call this a quick little read but I'm sure it would bring joy regardless!
It seems as though it's going to be featured in a little Yoga Dork giveaway.  Here's a hopin'!

3.  And here's a hopin' that whenever I try out this recipe for baba ganoush, it will be a winner.  A friend of mine served it, or something similar at her wedding last weekend and I just can't stop thinking about it.  Sounds perfect for vegan day! 

4.  Speaking of vegan day, I got all lazy this week and ate out for both meals.  A salad from Mosquito Burrito for lunch and this beauty for dinner:
I wandered over to Giardina's after yoga this week, one of the fine young chefs whipped it up for me.  So yum!  Olive oil, angel hair, red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, garlic, herbs.  Score one for vegan day! 

5.  Did you know this?
Well, it's true.

This image was taken from the blog Life + Dog, specifically from an entry called If We Could All Just Try Harder.  Look for a woohoo! Wednesday entry on this shiz real soon. 

6.  Changing gears on you for a minute, we got a new vacuum cleaner!  The only reason I'm telling you about it is because I'm weirdly obsessed with it.  Here...go check it out here

I wanted to take a picture of the amount of hound fur (possibly ours, possibly a hound that lived in the house 8 years ago, I just don't know) that was extracted from the carpet but I didn't.  I was going to, said WAIT...let me get my camera as Brandon was going over the carpet for the second time.  Brandon said NO.  Do not document this.  And I pouted.  

And now I'm telling you about it.  

Isn't that gross?  Eeeeeeee.  So gross.

7.  Changing gears yet again, have you ever noticed how challenging it is to find good news out there?  I have.  I often do an activity in group where I challenge the group members to share about one positive thing they've seen / read / heard on the news lately.  Most of the time, this question is met with lowered eyes and uncomfortable shifting in chairs.  You know why??  BECAUSE FINDING GOOD NEWS ON THE NEWS IS DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE!  Believe me.  I look.  It's tough out there, kids, real tough.  Lots of bad stuff.  Lots of people being led by bad mind and doing things that just aren't cool.  

With this being said...my heart was much lighter yesterday after learning that Abby the Pitbull had been found and was awaiting a sweet reunion with her family.  Did anyone else follow this story on the Facebook?  I was obsessed.  Obsessed. Like maybe it was a little unhealthy.
Martin says when the couple arrived at the family member's home, the owner's dogs charged toward Abbey, causing her to run off into a wooded area.
The obvious goodness in this was that the little hound (can a pit bull be a hound?  Sure.  An akita sure isn't a hound but except in my world) was found safe and relatively healthy.  The goodness past that was that so many people stepped up to help out!  Go humanity!  Go Mississippi!  Ahhhhhh.  Score 1, hell score 5, for goodness. 

And seriously...heard any good news lately?  Please share it in the comments.     

8.  I got a Decadron + Rocephin shot yesterday.  I thought it was allergies, the NP at our rural clinic thought differently.  Hello super germ. Whatevs.  ANYWAY.  I've already decided that I'm going to use this as an excuse to have a de-lux chicken on a stick from the gas station in Ruleville because you know that shot makes you hungry like a feral creature. 

Jealous?  You should be.  It's got onions.  And bell peppers.  And potatoes.  And the chicken isn't creepy.  

BAM.

9.  Are you looking for a lovely little devotion to listen to on your morning commute / during your walk / with your morning coffee?  Do you podcast?  Well.  If you answered  yes to any of this then go check out Pray As You Go.  It's a daily meditation with music that is done by the Jesuits in Britain.  I am so grateful that I was told of this nugget this week.  Not only is there great comfort, challenge, insight in the words but it's also read aloud by a man and a woman with thiiiick British accents.  If that doesn't hold your attention and comfort your soul I don't know what does....

Hope you've enjoyed reading the hot mess that is DTA today!  Be well this weekend.  Love each other, do good work.  Kick your feet up, eat something you love.  Take care of those you love including yourself!  Move that body.  Sending light and love to all you turkeys!!     

5/30/13

Roasted Chickpeas and Broccoli

Sooooo.  This little beauty is from that hilariously foul mouthed vegan blawg, Thug Kitchen.  It's tasty and filling and, I assume, filled with healthy things.  I say I assume because I generally trust other people to tell me what's healthy or not healthy, clean or not clean.  I'm kind of a sheep when it comes to food.  Just tell me what to eat to be healthy, really, the concepts are way more than I can wrap my brain around.  I might listen. Or I might eat a lean cuisine.  I just don't know as I'm rogue like that!

So in the words of TK, eat like a champ, not like a chump.  And that's paraphrased, obviously, since many readers of this blawg are not fans of F-Bombs. 

Holler. 

OH and PS....for those of you who are counting WW points like mad, well I apologize because I don't seem to have written these points down on my recipe and I can't find them in my WW online toolkit!  Sorry!

PPS... Thug Kitchen would stuff me in a locker for saying "ww online toolkit." 
Roasted Chickpeas and Broccoli
adapted from Thug Kitchen

1 can of chickpeas, drained and cooked according to directions on the can
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 bell pepper chopped
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the chickpeas, onion, bell pepper, broccoli in a large bowl.  Pour in the oil, soy sauce and all of the spices.  Combine every thing up really well.

Pot all of this on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.  Take it out, add in the garlic, give it a stir.  Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. 

Remove from the oven, add in the lime juice, taste and adjust seasonings. 

I enjoyed this shiz in a flour tortilla with some avocado.  It's also delicious eaten with a spoon right off the baking sheet, yo. 

5/29/13

Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

Coming in hot on this Wednesday to share with you one of the easiest chicken meals you've seen in a while. 

Really, I don't think you're ready for this jelly chicken. 

Sorry.  Sometimes Beyonce takes over and there's not a lot that I can do about it. 

Sally forth. 
Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp oregano
16 oz roasted salsa verde

Lay the chicken breast in the bottom of a crock pot.  Sprinkle the seasonings atop the chicken and cover with the salsa.  

Cook on high for two hours.  Shred chicken and serve.  

Points plus 3
Serving size 1/2 cup (makes about six) 

5/28/13

Curry Coconut Shrimp

Sometimes, I like to attend drinks with friends while smelling like curry. 
Sometimes, a meal is just so darn tasty that it's worth carrying the odd aroma with you into public places.  Such was the case with this coconut curry shrimp dish.  Yerm.  Yerm. Yerm.  

This was one of those didn't turn out like the picture but was still good anyway dishes.  Often times, when I make things that turn out to be goopy like this, Brandon wrinkles his nose and brings up his love of a meat and three meal.  But he often tries it any and often says (truthfully? untruthfully?  I'll get back to you) that the meal was, in fact, a winner.  

A winner, winner curry dinner.         
Coconut Curry Shrimp

For the shrimp:
1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbl coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 tbl curry powder
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbl fresh cilantro

For the coconut rice:
1/2 cup of jasmine rice
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup of water
1/4 tsp salt

To make the shrimp:
Heat a large frying pan to medium high heat, add the coconut oil.  Add the ginger, garlic, onion, bell pepper and tomato.  Cook for about five minutes or until tender.  Add curry powder, black pepper, pepper sauce and stir well.  Add shrimp and saute for 5 minutes.  Remove shrimp and set aside.  Add stock and coconut milk to vegetables and reduce over medium ehat for about 10-15 minutes.  Return the shrimp to the stock and add the cilantro.  Simmer for another 5 minutes.  Let this hang out while the rice is cooking!

To make the coconut rice: 
In a sauce pan over high heat, bring rice, coconut milk, water and salt to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed and rice is fully cooked.  Add rice into the shrimp party. 

Serving size 1 cup (makes 4)
Points plus 10     

5/27/13

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, turkeys!  If this is a day of rest and relaxation for you, I hope you are doing some hard core resting AND relaxing.  If today is just a regular ole Monday work day for you, then I hope that  you're having a smooth day thus far and remembering how lucky you are to have gainful employment. 

I added that last part in so that when I go back throughout my Monday to re-read this post I'll be reminded to stop whining. 

Yep, I'm working.  Not because anyone has chained me to me desk, no no.  I'm working because I like to hoard PTO days and use them for a lazy Friday.  BAM. 

SO.  If you don' have a meal planned for today, why don't you give these ribs a try!!?? They are oh so easy, tender to the max, a hit with all who try them.  In fact, I made them (plus some Market Place potato salad and some Bush's Baked Beans, don't play) yesterday for my own Memorial Weekend Bonanza aka lunch and regretted not one second of it.  

Kind of like how my Big Browne Hound regrets not one second of spending an entire Sunday straight chillin'.  
Keep it klassy, y'all.  
 

5/24/13

A Few on Friday

Well hey there friends! 

1.  For starters, I couldn't agree more, hound.

2.  Y'all.  I am in the market for a new vacuum cleaner.  Exciting shiz, I know, but this is the stuff of life.  Any recommendations?  We need something good on pet hair as my Browne hound is not afraid to blow his coat...for months and months and months.  Bless him.  And us.  And everyone. 

3.  Heading down south to New Or-leans in a few weeks for an early 60th birthday celebration for my dear sweet mom, Pegger-pot-pie.  It will be me + mom + sisters + nieces so it will be a slightly different NOLA trip than I've done in the past.  We'll be hitting up the zoo and the aquarium, for sure, as well as other places that have been suggested by folks familiar with the area.  Any kid friendly suggestions from you fine folks are welcomed and encouraged!

4.  I'm asking alot from y'all today.

5.  This. Video.  Cute beyond words.  Go watch it because I can't figure out how to bring it to you on the blawg!  And yes, of course, it's about a dog.

6.  Speaking of dogs, a fellow in a red truck offered to give me his husky this morning.  What?  I was so confused.
7.  Here's a interesting article about narcissism for you to read on this Friday. Good topic, fascinating topic.  

Happy trails, turkeys!  Keep it real this weekend.      

5/21/13

Pad kee Mao

I've had this random box of rice noodles up in my grill for a few months now.  At first, I'd typed that they were a pesky box of rice noodles but that's not true.  They aren't doing anything to deserve to be described as "pesky." They are just sitting there.  Taking up space.  Falling on my head when I reach for something else.  So there's that going on. 

Another thing that's going on is my continued obsession with ethnic noodle bowls.  Maybe you know about that, maybe you didn't.  Regardless, it's an obsession and it's continuing.  Brandon doesn't quite know what to think of it.   

So.  Let's put these two things together and let's find something bowl-ish to do with these rice noodles!

Pad kee Mao aka Drunken Noodles.  Done and done.  

Why did this catch my eye?  I don't know.  Maybe it's because it calls for ground chicken and that's something different.  Maybe it's because it's "drunken" and that just sounded flashy.  Regardless of the reason, my eye was caught and I am glad.  Whip this one up, y'all!      

Pad kee Mao

1 14 oz package of rice noodles
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce 
juice from 2 limes
3 tbl vegitable oil
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb ground chicken
2 red bell peppers, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 medium jalepno peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves 

Place noodles ina large bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Soak for about 15 minutes until loose and pliable.  Drain and set aside. 

Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. 
 
Heat oil in a LARGE frying pan over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes until softened but not brown. Add ground chicken and break into small pieces.  Cook until chicken is white and almost cooked through.  Add bell peppers and stir fry for about 5 minutes. 

Push all of this aside and add eggs to the center and scramble with a spatula until eggs are set.  Push eggs to the side and add the sauce mixture.  Once the sauce is boiling add the drained noodles and toss to coat.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the basil and the jalapeno peppers and toss to combine.       
 

5/20/13

Tortellini with Parsley Caper Sauce

Y'all.  This Come On In cookbook keeps delivering delicious dish after delicious dish.  But you know this already, I've discussed it at length.  

With this being said, I of course, wasn't shocked when the app that I prepared for a celebration of one was soon to be married but now is married turned out to be a home-run.  'Tis good that we carb loaded before we went to dinner as lots of shenanigans ensued.  I generally don't love a shenanigan unless it is preceded by tortellini and carried out with friends over wine.  In this situation, shenanigans were welcomed.  

Although shenanigans would probably be a more interesting topic, I'm really here to tell you about this delicious tortellini.  This is a great one for all of those upcoming summer picnics that you will be attending soon.  It's easy to put together, uses fresh ingredients and will please all types of palates.  Well. Maybe not all types of palates.  I don't see Brandon getting to fired up about this one.  Nor do I see my 2 year old niece grubbing down on it.  So maybe I'll change that to it will please many palates.  Yes.  That's probably more accurate. 

Hope this pleases your palate!  Enjoy!  
Tortellini with Parsley Caper Dill Sauce
from Come On In

1 clove garlic
2 tbl sunflower seeds
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbl capers, drained
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb small tortellini, cooked

Process garlic in a food processor for 10 seconds.  Add sunflower seeds, grated cheese, capers and parsley and process to a corse paste.  With the  food processor still running, add the olive oil in a slow stream.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Combine the tortellini with the sauce and toss until well combined.  Serve warm.   

5/17/13

A Few on Friday!

Hey!  Sorry for the lack of posting this week.  Don't worry, y'all.  I'm eating.  I'm just not writing about it.  Sister girl don't miss a meal.  

Sally forth
  
1.  You got an extra $5?  Sweet.  Maybe throw it towards the fundraiser for this sweet, sweet boxer with one eye that has been taken in by North MS Boxer Rescue.  You can donate here!  No, I know nothing about boxers and am not about to get a pack of them BUT I have such a soft spot for hounds that have been hungry and mistreated and are in need.  Be one of the helpers, y'all.   

2.  You know who's not in need?  This guy.  Especially since he's got this spacious wagon to cruise around in!
Who knew that the Akita loved to ride so much?

3. Maybe your wondering "well Laura Merrill, what is this wagon that you speak of?"

Why it's the new (to us) McCaleb family wagon!  Yes, yes.  Here's a picture of the old girl.  And yes, I've posed in front of my car in the parking lot of Highland Village, please feel free to laugh at me.  This was right after stress eating some Beagle Bagel.  Which is, by the way, delicious.     
 You may be wondering why a couple with no children and limited access to outdoor activities needed a Subaru, the most outdoorsy of all cars.  Well.  I'll let you in on a little secret:
--
--
--
--
--
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We just wanted it. 

BAM!  

Bet you thought I was going to tell you that the McCaleb's are expecting!  Muahahahaaaaa.  

Sorry. Wagon humor.  

No but really.  I'm incredibaly grateful for this sassy new ride and look forward to many long and happy years with the old girl.  I'm trying to decide on a name for it.  Susu is out since that's my mom's grandmother name. Obviously, this could make things confusing.   

Thoughts?

4.  Did you know that vegans can't eat honey?  W.T.F.  This means that I've been vegan um, um, twice since the start of the year#veganproblems

5.  Are you looking for a sweet and easy read?  Grab yourself a copy of "Help, Thanks, Wow" by the wonderful and Jesusy Ann Lamott.  
          
Remember, kids, you can't click to look inside.  Surf on over to Amazon and check it out.  But be sure to buy it from your local book seller! 
 
I've been an A.L. fan since reading Traveling Mercies last fall, this new book absolutely does not disappoint.  I'll probably put together a little post for you soon as I keep taking iPhone pictures of passages that I love BUT in the meantime, you can read more about it over at my friend Nancy's blawg.  

6.  I'm watching The Office finale special right now and can already tell that I'm going to be a blubbering fool in a matter of minutes. I did the same thing with Seinfeld.  Never really watched it but cried 8 Niles at the finale.  Who. Knows

What I do know, though, is that I'm wishing you a rip roaring happy weekend!!  Thanks for stopping by the Elevator today!   

5/13/13

A Few on Friday, err um Monday

Hey turkeys!  Happy Monday!  Friday got away from me so how about a few on Monday instead.  I've got some time to kill because.....

....1. I'm waiting on my herz-band to get moving so we can get on the road to Jackson.  One of the things that I am the most proud of in our marriage is that I (the perky morning person) no longer stand over him (the eternal night owl) asking when he's going to get on the shower.  In return, he is not near as bear-ish as he has been in the past.  Compromise, people, is what it is all about.

2.  Why you going to Jackson you might be asking.  Well, well we are going car shopping!  Eeek!  Yay!  So many feelingsMrs. Panic and Mr. Impulsive will be making their first large purchase together, either today or in the next few weeksBless us.  Pray for us.  Dance with Paula at your desk.  


3.  Sticking with the topic of me and B, we went to the movies to see The Great Gatsby yesterday.  I'm someone that has to be drug to movies and usually it's to a movie with high action and loud noises so I'm left shaking in my boots.  Not this time.  This time I was left in awe of that familiar yet forgotten story and coveting all the jewelry.  The guy that directed the Romeo and Juliet that came out when I was in high school also directed this one and it's got that some odd whimsey.  And it's got some Jay Z.  Multiple thumbs up from me, my friends.  I mean, the critics don't like it. But what do they know.        


4.  Speaking of that Romeo and Juliet from 1996....just watched that trailer.  Forgot how much I loved that movie.  And that sound track.  I know what I'm doing this week.

Hope your week is wonderful, dear friends!  See you soon!

5/9/13

Sweet and Spicy Blackened Chicken Salad

You know that you are a small town girl when you get your skirt blown up at getting to pick up a festive salad for lunch. 

Or maybe, you know you need to get out more when you get your skirt blown up at getting to pick up a festive salad for lunch. 

Regardless.  It's true.  Few things get me more excited than a good, solid, redneck salad.  Usually, a good redneck salad has rivals the cheeseburger in calories and contains at least one type of canned fruit. You with me?  Good.

My favorite RnS to pick up as of late is the Nola Salad from Nola Restaurant in Indianola.  Lots 'o Nolas, what what? It's got all kinds of yummy goodness happening in it, this little beauty below is my shot at recreating it.  Sans canned fruits.  Plus dried cranberries.  Which are probably the same thing, at least nutritionally.


Do you love a solid RnS?  Or are you more of a classy salad person?  Regardless...hit me up with your comments.  I can do a lot of things in my life.  Come up with what to put on a salad to make it dinner worthy is not one of them.

Peace, love and redneck salds....

Sweet and Spicy Blackened Chicken Salad

1 blackened chicken breast*
3 tbl blue cheese
2 tbl dried cranberries
2 tbl candied pegans
red onions
2 tbl Kraft strawberry balsamic dressing
any type of sturdy green lettuce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 serving
10 pp

*I just sprinkled a chicken breast with some blackening seasoning, seared it in a cast iron skillet for a few minutes on each side, baked it in the oven at 350, covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for 20 minutes.      

5/8/13

Say Woohoo! Even When It's Heavy (Woohoo Wednesday)

This week has been heavy.  I feel sad not really for myself but for the people that I care for that are hurting. 

So what helps?  Well.  This is what helps me. And I didn't intend to have them all start with 'M' but after the first two it became some sort of an odd OCD situation and I couldn't turn back. 

1.  MusicMy girl Patty came out with a new album on Tuesday.  American Kid does not disappoint, friends, and I have enjoyed having her soothing words playing in the background as I piddle.  It's on spotify.  Go give it a listen!

2.  MovementThis article is all about yoga poses that make a bad day better.  Maybe I'm even typing this with my legs up the wall?  Well, no.  I can also walk my dog.  Or vacuum.  Whatevs.  It helps me to move. 

3.  Meals.  I'm bad to have an off emotional day and throw my hands up, only to have them land clutching a cheeseburger.  Not last night.  Last night I cooked what I'd planned to cook, enjoying the process as well as the food.  

4.  Making.  I've got a stack of baby blankets that I've been working through this week. It's feels good to work on something that you know will someday soon spend it's time wrapped up around precious little baby feet.  Can't even handle it....      

Say woohoowhen it's heavy not because you like it but because it reminds you that you're human.  Say woohoo! when it's heavy because that's when you do your best growin'.  Say woohoo! when it's heavy because it feels oh so sweet when it's not heavy anymore. 

Woohoo!  



 
find here

5/7/13

Rice Noodles with Garlic, Cucumbers and Cilantro

A few weeks ago I made the rookie mistake of setting my vegan day for a Sunday.  Why was this a rookie mistake?  Because Sundays are a day to graze.  

OK.  So maybe I should regularly set my vegan day to Sunday.  At least that way when I'm grazing, I'm grazing on things like cucumbers.  

On this particular Sunday I headed out to the riverfront gazebo in our little Delta town for an afternoon picnic.  To know me is to know that a sausage and cheese plate is one of my faves...there were, like, 4 sausage and cheese plates at the picnic!  Oy vey.   

I dealt with this disappointment like any good 1/7 vegan would by eating triscuits and thinking about supper.  I had a box of rice noodles just waiting to be cooked along with some cilantro and various vegetables.  

The meal, it did not disappoint.  Was it as good as that sausage and cheese plate probably was?  Well hell no.  But it sure was tasty.  And light.  And not from animal products!  Happy vegan day! 
Rice Noodles with Garlic, Cilantro and Cucumbers
adapted from WW Online

3 3/4 oz uncooked rice noodles
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbl vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbl sugar
1 1/2 tbl soy sauce
2 medium uncooked carrots, cut into strips
1 cup of snow peas,cut into strips
1 medium cucumber, cut into strips

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.  Be sure to not over cook them or else they get real sticky

Combine the cilantro, garlic, oil, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, carrots, snow peas and cucumbers into a bowl.  Add the noodles and toss.  

Serving size 1 1/2 cup (makes about four)
Points plus 5