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, May 24, 2012

I Do Not Crave Workouts

Working out is like my antitheses. I do not like it at all.  There are some days that I make it through and feel Ok at the end and think, "That wasn't so bad." And usually there are days like EVERY MORNING THIS WEEK when I am pretty sure I am not going to make it and I really just want to quit. But there is never, ever a time when I think to myself, "I really want to go work out." Nope, never ever.

Apparently, my blog friend, Mandee, does not have this problem. She actually "craves" workouts. This is complete insanity in my world and I would like to know what crack she is smoking and if I can please have some too so that I don't completely despise myself every morning at 5:30 when I head to the gym.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jumping on Birthday Bandwagon

Glamour magazine has been pushing their book about 30 things women should have and know by the time they are 30, my friend Sarah did a blog series titled, "What my 20s Have Taught Me," and I read a blog post on the Huffington Post this week about turning 30 and what you learn by getting older. All of this comes at an interesting time for me because I will be 30 next week! I'm not really worried about being 30, I'm excited, actually. Turning 25 was a bigger shock for me. But it does make you look back, and think, and see how far you have come; and how very, very far you have to go! I have so little knowledge compared to what I need to learn through years of life.

After all my reading, I've decided to take part in this little exercise. Some thoughts are mine, some are stolen, some are gleamed from other people's thoughts. Here we go...

Sometimes people are jerks. 
I don't mean this as in on some days we all act like jerks. I mean this as in some human beings are not nice people EVER. Really, it's true. I am sure each person has something about them that is likable, but there are times in life where we are in situations where we never, ever see this in a person. And unfortunately, some times you can't just leave them behind. Today, I took a tongue-lashing from my boss about an incident that was not my fault. But my coworker blamed me, and drug me under the bus, and since he is the salesman he does no wrong in this office. There are times in life where you have to just accept that a person in a jerk, you are not going to like them, and there is nothing you can do about it. And that's OK. It is how you act that counts. You can't control their actions, and you probably can't win. All you can do is be who you want to be.

Growth is really hard
People who say they just tra-la-la through life and learn happily as they go are lying. Some things do come easily and are fun. But growing and changing are hard. Battling yourself and the world to figure out who you are is a rough process. You are going to come out a little beat up and bruised. You will probably have scars. That's how it works. Life is hard, guys. We were not created to live in this kind of world- we are making it through this world until we get to our permanent home. Just when you get settled into a spot you think is good, something changes. I don't mean this as a downer- you are better on the other end of a struggle. You are good, you are strong, you have learned. But to believe that if life gets rough you have failed is setting yourself up for a lot of heartache. Know that life will get bumpy, but you will be OK. Handle yourself with grace, learn from what happens to you, and be grateful you have made it through.

Friends can fill the gaps
I lament a lot about my gratefulness for my friends. That's because they are important. Every one of us has gaps in our life that aren't filled. Friends can fill most of those for you. Let your friends walk through life with you. Allow yourself to lean on them, and them on you. If they are good friends, real friends, it will not be a burden because they will return the favor. Nurture and grow your friendships. God did not create us to live alone, and there are things that will come up that you can not do or face alone. That's OK, because you have friends. Let them be your friends.

Your dreams and goals will change
As you age and grow, your ideas about life are going to change. The things you want and don't want will change. Sometimes you may even be like me and fight so hard for something for years only to discover it really isn't what you want. That's OK- just allow yourself to change. Just say you changed your mind, pick up, and go in a new direction.

Take risks, but plan well
Take the risks you want to take. Go out there and try whatever it is you want to do. But be responsible. If you want to take time off of work, do it! But save first. If you want to up and move, do it! But find yourself a new job and a place to live before you go. If you want to start your own business, go for it! But have a business plan. Follow your dreams and take chances, but be smart too. Don't risk yourself or your own future.

Understand what makes you tick
You really need to take the time to know yourself. If you act a certain way in a situation, take the time to think through why. Don't just beat yourself up over your actions, figure out why you do the things you do. You can use that information to help you make changes or to just accept who you are. But one of the worst things you can do to yourself is to not really understand who you are. I have learned that I can think a lot of things about myself that aren't true. I may think I am big and bad and tough, and I did for years. But what I really am is afraid of failure and worried about being abused by others.

Be OK with who you are
This sounds cliche, and maybe it is. But it is also vital. We all have quirks and angers and hangup and habits. We're all a little wacky and a little off. We all have different talents. Don't just know this, accept this. You are who you were created to be. Some things you will be able to learn and do, some things you won't. That's OK. God has created you for something and He will use you for that. Stop spending time pining away for things you can't have and can't do. Just be you- you is pretty fun!

Have faith
It is beyond my ability to comprehend how people survive this life without God. If you believe you are only here by chance, then you believe that you don't matter. You do matter. Someone did create you. It's OK to find your way to this knowledge in your own way, but find it. Whatever happens to you, whatever is going on, what ever hurts and whatever helps- it is all a part of something more. There is something bigger and better than you. Have faith that you are loved and cared for. Understand that one day everything will be OK, because you were created for more than just this life. Have faith in the One who created you, and have faith in those people he puts in your life.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crawfish Stuffed Pasta Shells

Niki's getting ready to head on a family vacation and was telling me about a dish her mom wanted her to make. Unfortunately, she lost the recipe. But crawfish stuffed pasta shells sounded simple enough to me to recreate, so we decided to give it a whirl. Let me be clear, I had no recipe here- we winged it. So this will give you some insight into my cooking style, which is basically: throw it all in a pot and hope it works.

Cook, drain and separate 2 boxes of jumbo pasta shells

Any good Louisiana based recipe starts with the Cajun Trinity: onion, bell pepper and celery. Please don't try to get around this, you will fail miserably.

I used one really big onion, two bell peppers and 3 stalks of celery. For this recipe, I cooked it down fairly well because it's going into a stuffing-type mix. After they warmed in the pan I added a stick of butter, three cloves of garlic (minced) and about 3 tablespoons of shrimp boil for flavor (You could use Old Bay as well). When the trinity was the consistency I wanted I added two bags of (thawed) frozen crawfish tails and let it all mix together well in the pan and warm through. (You could use shrimp here is you like, but you may need more butter or oil. Frozen crawfish have a lot of juices with them)

When it is well blended, put it all into a mixing bowl. Add plain bread crumbs (I used one container of Progresso) and 2 eggs. (My crawfish mix had plenty of flavor going on, but shrimp are milder, so you could add some cheese if you like.) Mix well.

Fill your pasta shells and lay them out in a pan (or in this case, foil pans because they'll be traveling). 

The next step is to make your sauce. We went with a white parmesan cream sauce. 

I knew I would need some flour to thicken my sauce, so I went with a roux-like base. This is not how it should look. You should have a nice paste. I over-killed on my flour. I was able to save it, but your roux should be equal parts butter or oil and flour and should be like a thin paste. It will thicken more than you think. 

Add half and half and milk until you have as much sauce as you need (I made 3/4 of this pot) and let it simmer and bubble until it begins to thicken, whisking every few minutes. If your flour is clumping some you can pour out some of the milk/cream and use a hand mixer to blend the flour and some of the milk until it's smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, 2 or 3 cloves of grated garlic and parmesan cheese (don't use the kind in the shaker, it won't melt well. Use shaved pieces or grate it yourself.) Let that simmer until the cheese is well melted. Pour over your shells and voila! 

Anytime you are cooking something with these type of ingredients, you need to let it sit at least overnight. It will be good right away, but it will be much, much better if you let it sit so the flavors can meld. I am always disappointed if I don't. After letting these sit, bake at 350 until they are warmed through. You can top with more bread crumbs and cheese if you like before baking. 

Ingredients (as close as I can get you):

2 boxes of jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
2 bags frozen crawfish tails, thawed
1 very large or 2 medium onions
2 bell peppers
3 stalks celery
2 to 3 cloves garlic
1 stick butter
3 to 4 tablespoons shrimp boil or seafood seasoning
1 container plain bread crumbs
2 eggs

1 stick butter
4 to 5 tablespoons flour
1 pint half and half
About 4 cups milk
2 to 3 cloves garlic
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

1000 Gifts

31. Really awesome consignment shops
32. Tuesday Night Social Club (that sometimes meets on Wednesday)
33. Mexican food
34. Lemon Dijon salad dressing
35. A coworker that makes you laugh
36. Taking a "Mental Health" morning
37. Walks in the woods
38. Vacations to look forward to
39. A friend that talks you out of life's ditches
40. Fresh summer fruit

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!