General musings on the ups and downs and ins and outs in the life of a 30 something, unmarried, life loving, some times interesting and sometimes not, mostly happy girl just trying to figure it all out!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Please Send Prayers

Hello All,
I have a prayer request. My best friend called me yesterday to tell me that her mother in law had had a major heart attack on Tuesday. Niki adores her mother in law (Mrs. Rose). She is the most wonderful lady that spends her time working too hard and doing anything and everything for her family. The heart attack was very sudden, with no warning.

Please send prayers in the direction of Sulpher, Louisiana.
In case you need a visual, this picture is of Mrs. Rose and her husband, David, with her new namesake, Lorelei Rose Kickel.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Greatest Muffins!

So, my weekend went pretty much nothing like planned! Because, really, when do I follow the rules- apparently even my own...

All things considered, though, it turned out fine seeing as T Hamm and I made these AMAZING muffins on Sunday. These are definitely some of the greatest muffins I have ever had. You must try immediately.

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins (Bread)

  • BREAD:
  • 1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3  cup  creamy peanut butter
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 6.75  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4  cup  ground flaxseed
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Cooking spray

  • GLAZE:
  • 1/3  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  tablespoon  creamy peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare bread, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.
4. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.
I made muffins, not bread, and baked them for 30 mins. Also, my "glaze" came out more like "icing" but it was amazing anyhow! Oh- and just go ahead and double the glaze recipe. trust me...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Smart Ass Questions

So, I saw this today. It's a warning on a plastic bag a computer came in

1. If the slash is BEHIND the photo, does that mean it's OK to smother and choke yourself?
2. Do you really need to smother yourself with a plastic bag AND choke yourself at the same time? Isn't that kind of overkill?
3. Is he actually choking himself, or holding the ends of the bag down so that no new air can get in? And if the second is the case, do you really thing the warning on a bag would have stopped him?

These kinds of warnings baffle me. They really do. Like the warning stickers they put on the plastic storage containers you buy at Wal Mart. I can see a child climbing into one of the boxes to play. But if a person is going to lock the lid onto the container with their kid inside, don't you think they would have done something anyway??? Do the boxes really need a warning. Because I don't know anyone who would not see their child in a CLEAR PLASTIC CONTAINER and accidentally put the lid on and lock the kid inside. And even is this mistake did occur, you would HEAR your kid in there or feel the instable weight in it when you lifted the box.

I worry more about our legal system when I realize that people get away with suing, and winning cases, against companies that make plastic bags and containers than I do when it lets criminals out onto the streets.
Good grief!

Weekend Bliss

Things I will be doing this weekend:

T Hamm and I are taking the pups up to Blackwater for a swim then hitting out fave Mexican joint . YUM!!

Hit the beach at about 4:30 for my co-worker (or former co worker) Richard's going away fish fry (YUM!), then off to the Seafood Festival with T and AC for the Sister Hazel concert!! PUMPED!!

Sleeep, Coffee, Barn, Nap, Football, Football, Barn, Football, Sleeeeeeeep!!
(I have need a lot of rest for the coming week- marathon Board Meeting, Aunt and Uncle in town, first week at work without Richard and Sal's gone to the farm is mine to care for!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cajun Cookin'

So, if you read Monday's blog (which I'm pretty sure most of you didn't), you saw my Sunday morning fishing extravaganza. To follow that up, I made blackened fish last night that I must admit tasted completely amazing. This is really fairly easy to do, and it looks just beautiful plated. Follow along...

What you'll need:
White meat fish fillets (trout, drum, grouper, etc)
Blackening Seasoning (I make my own, but Louisiana's Fish Fry makes a great one. I hate to say this, but Zatarains and Emerald leave something to be desired)
Butter (please do not try to substitute for butter here)
Cast Iron Skillet (nothing else will work, I promise. I've tried.)

Hot sauce
Fresh Lemon

How to do it:
Marinate your fish in milk overnight, or at least for a couple of hours. This isn't required, but it does make it taste delish!
Gas stoves are by far the best for this. You can go electric, but it's definitely harder.

Take your fish out of the milk and set it on a towel to drain off most of the moisture.
Put your cast iron skillet on the stove and turn the fire to high. (Don't be afraid of the appearance of my pan here. this is what a 15 year old iron skillet looks like. This, or crust black. It's a good thing.)Your skillet should be so hot that it smokes without adding anything to the pan.
While the pan is getting hot, coat your fillets in blackening seasoning- and I mean coat. Rub it in and make sure your fish is well covered.

Cut your heat to medium or medium/high and drop in your butter. I used half a stick for three very large fillets. You want your pan to be well coated in butter, and with some sitting on the bottom, but you don't want your fish to be swimming. The idea is that the butter is what lets the spices blacken onto the fish, but the fish doesn't taste buttery at all.
Once the butter is melted swirl your pan a few times to make sure it's coated. Your butter may be browning, and that's fine. Lay your fillets in the pan and cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook 3 to 4 more.
You will probably think you're burning your house down at this point. That's a good thing.

While your fish is cooking, mix up your cocktail sauce (yes, you can but some but no, it will not be as good). For two people, go with about 1/4 cut ketchup and put in about a third as much horseradish. I like a little more, but that does make it strong. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and add a dash of hot sauce.

Remove the fish from the pan and serve immediately. I squeeze half a lemon over mine, but you don't have to. I generally serve mine with salad (as you see here) or something with a mild flavor. The flavor of the fish is strong because of the spices, so you won't need a heavy side dish. It goes great with wine or beer, so pair away!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fish Tales

While all of you were probably doing very important, refined things this weekend (Sarah drinking port)- I was fishing. And it was fantastic!
There was a midget slumber party occurring at the farm, so I ran away to Perdido and Daddy-o woke me up because the fish were biting. There is nothing like a beautiful morning on the water in Perdido; and they are even better with my Daddy, his boat, and Van along!
Hope your Sunday was as beautiful as mine!

Oh, what a beautiful morning...

Van is a FREAK about fishing. She doesn't trust Daddy with the fish, and she watches his every move. Poor dog has never pointed or retrieved the first bird... but show her a fish and it's ON.

Our catch!

Measuring for Amanda. When we were little, Daddy always told us, "That fish is a long as your leg!"

My 22 inch Red. I made him so very proud. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Art & Architecture & Cans

So, I helped with the judging of our local Canstruction competition today. It was pretty interesting and reminded me of Kendall and her love of art and budding love of architecture as well.

It's a neat concept- structures built out of food cans and food items (non perishable) by architect firms. They can only use minimal other items. When the competition is over, the cans all go to the local food bank.

Here were my favorites from the Pensacola competition:
Seville Quarter Fire Truck

Sushi Rolls (seriously, how cute is this!)

Cheeseburger in Paradise (with fries and a drink!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Want to Wear

Kyra Sedgwick's red dresses from this season of The Closer!

Book Recommendation

I picked up Happy Birthday or Whatever by Annie Choi on the bargain rack for $1 at one of my favorite bookstores a few weeks ago. I can't believe this book was on the bargain rack! I would have payed full price times two for this gem. It's completely hilarious.

The book is s series of stories about Annie's growing up in American with parents that are Korean immigrants. The cross-culture commentary puts me into stitches. I was laughing so hard in the bathtub (a favorite spot of mine to read) last night my roommate asked me what I was doing in there.

I think my favorite chapter so far is about the Pope. However, I found my favorite quote last night: "I would never agree to wake up early to do anything except for sleep."

I will be following Annietown, Annie Choi's blog from here on out.

Read it! And yes, AC, you can borrow my copy when I finish.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesdays are for Boston!

Well, Mrs. Sadie posted about her friend, Mary, that lives in Boston today. Which is quite ironic since I booked a ticket to visit there just yesterday. My famous friend Shannon, her hot hubbie, and my PRICELESS niece live there. Well, actually, about 20 minutes out; just outside of Lexington on Hanscom Air Force Base where Chip (the Hubbie) is the hottest member of the Air Force Band of Liberty as their jazz pianist.

Long story short, I needed some time last year to go through and deal with some personal things. My work was good enough to understand and let me work part time and my friends in Boston were loving enough to let me crash with them for a month to get a change of scenery and readjust myself on multiple levels. S is a big stronghold and guiding light for me.

I fell madly in love with Boston and would probably move there if I wasn't petrified of the winters (Hey, I've never even SEEN snow!). These were a few (of many) of my favorite moments...

Tadpole Park in Boston Common. If the weather is good, I'm hoping we can go back to play in Boston Common and picnic for part of a day. S is 7 months preggers, so we won't be doing any major walking. But possibly relaxing in the park could work. 

Cambridge, Mass where the first shot of the Revolutionary War was fired. 

Also in Cambridge. Believe me when I tell you that everywhere you go around Boston is picturesque and gorgeous. 

This isn't Boston. Its York Harbor, Maine. But I would be completely remiss if I didn't include it in my pictures because I fell madly in love with it! My sweet S took me on quite the tour of New England in a month!

S and I in Times Square after I saw my first Broadway show! We will be singing the songs when I get there. I pre-apologize to the neighbors. 

Apple picking, and the only thing I asked S if we could do again on this trip. Because I got to eat an apple just off the tree, and really, what's better than that?

I am mostly looking forward to squishing my little namesake (Aurora Lane) with too many hugs and cuddling with S again! It's just been too long since Ive seen them.

Thanks for the post idea, Sarah!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What I'm Wearing

AC is always trying to get me to post about what I wear. But let's face it- I'm just not much of a fashion statement! I posted about my wedding attire and none of you showed me a bit of love. (Do you feel sufficiently chastised now? ;))

However- while getting dressed this morning, I felt particularly festive. I took Friday Casual Day to the next step and threw on an LSU t-shirt. Probably a bit too far, but hey- it's football season! And last Friday I was missing kick-off weekend for Stef. So I needed my time to shine.

I snapped a quick shot for you this morning before I started my work day. Sorry if I look a little out of it- hadn't had enough coffee yet!

Shirt: Izod Collegiate 
Jeans: Abercrombie & Fitch
Watch: gift from Shannon

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wedding Weekend

I spent the holiday weekend (week, really) celebrating the nuptials of Mr. and Mrs. John Evans. It was exhausting, very pink, and a good time!

Here are some pics I have. More to come, to be sure, as the other bridesmaids and I exchange them.
Since this is my blog, I made myself the centerpiece of this picture collage - even though it's about Stef's wedding. The Bachelorette party was in Destin, where there is apparently someone named Ashley running for sheriff. This sign is now in my room.

AC wants a recap of my clothing choices. Seeing as these photos are from my camera, I took most of them. So I'll have to work on that for you. Here's a recap of the rest of the important data:

Bride: Stefanie Shires (originally of P'cola, now resides in San Diego. Gymnastics coach)
Groom: John Evans (originally of P'cola, formerly of New York, Guam, and some other places. Now lives in San Diego and is a LCDR in the Navy. Formerly served in the circus- no joke)

Bachelorette: Destin, Florida; Mardi Gras theme in the wedding colors (magenta, black and white)
I wore a black Banana Republic Dress (black dresses were required) I got for $15 at a resale shop, pink heels (to match the theme), a pink Mardi Gras mask and lots of beads.

Lingerie Shower: Beach House on Pensacola Beach
I wore white linen pants, a pink strapless top, gold sandals and a gold and pink necklace.

Rehearsal & Rehearsal Luncheon: Primitive Baptist Church and Pensacola Beach House
I wore a black and white ADORABLE dress, black and white shoes (yes, AC, I ditched the red because everyone else was dressing down) and a seriously adorable black bracelet with a sequin bow I'm obsessed with. Then I wore a black and white striped bathing suit I stole from the bride.

The Wedding: Primitive Baptist Church and Corrine Jones Community Center
I wore PJs first, than an excellent black strapless sweetheart neckline dress Stef picked out and I loved! See pics above!

That's all for now ladies, I'll work on actual attire photos for ya.

One fun tidbit: My escort for the evening (groomsman) was a very sweet, gay, erotic paraphernalia whole salesman. Totally true.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Flash Backs

I'm not really sure why I'm doing this to myself, but...

I found these lovely jewels when Mama and I were going through some old pictures recently. And the fact is, the idea of my EVER being able to pass as a cheerleader is as ludicrous as these pictures.

When I was in middle school, I wanted desperately to fit in. So desperately, that I decided to become a cheerleader. This was not a good decision. Note in the middle photo the girl second from the left whose arms are going in the opposite direction of everyone else's. Yep, that's me! And to think, my blessed mother had to pay additional money on top of my absorbent tuition for this. 

I can't even describe how bad I was. Suffice it to say that the entire squad was stuck doing only "spread-eagle" jumps (low to the ground and with your body like an "x") rather than toe touches (see bottom photo of actual cheerleader) because I was the one and only member who could not do a toe touch. No matter how hard I tried and how long I practiced. To this day, I can't even do a cartwheel. True story.

I only made the squad because they took everyone. And the next year when you had to try out I was quickly ousted. And to top that- the team we cheered for won about 2 games the entire season. And the following year, after flunking out of cheer leading, I tried basketball and that team also won about 2 games all season. It seems quite clear that I am a curse to competitive sports. So I have ceased playing them for the past 12 years or so. 

There's the story of the day. You're welcome for making you laugh with that hair do (permed and then brushed- that's right!)

All About Ashley

My photo
Spring, TX, Southern, United States
Playing with and keeping up with my nephew and niece take up a lot of my time. Van Geaux takes up the rest of it. Work is an afterthought most days! I like to be outside- but not when it's too hot. I get bored at my desk all day. Niki keeps my world spinning and without her and AC I'd lose it. My work ethic crashes at 4 p.m. daily and I live my sweet puppy and my hedgehog whenever I am not at Niki's. I truly believe naps are quality pass-time events, and sometimes I say bad words at work. I'm pretty sure I'm insane on multiple levels and I believe rules don't apply to me.
It seems that my life is quite entertaining. I didn't realize this myself, but was informed of it by my friends- who are rather entertained by tales of my life occurrences.

I'm far from a professional writer. These are just stories, comments, and other items for simple amusement. Hopefully it's a fun read, as Shannon plans to edit it into a book one day! Maybe we'll become famous, and maybe we'll just have some good laughs at my expense (and some other characters in my life). Either way, happy reading!