Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easy Pear Cobbler

So, food blogger I am definitely not, but I do occasionally try to turn on my domestic skills at home.  I have been under so much stress lately, and I just wanted some comfort food to ease the pain.

I ate at this Southern Style cafeteria in STL, and they had the most phenomenal pear cobbler that I
have ever had.  Well, it was the only pear cobbler, but I love pears, and it was amazing.  So, I decided to give it a try.  I consulted Southern Food and found a recipe by Diana Rattray.

The ingredients are:

- 2 to 2 1/2 cups sliced fresh pears (I used four)

- 2 cups sugar, divided (fancy way of saying in separate cups)
- 4 ounces butter (or one stick)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 egg

Just remember, I told you I'm no food blogger, so the pictures are going to be fairly sub par.  The directions:

- Mix pears with 1 cup sugar and let stand.
- Put butter in 2-quart casserole and place in 325° oven until melted. (I just microwaved in dish, and it was fine)
- Combine all dry ingredients, including the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Mix well.
- Whisk together the milk and egg; slowly combine with dry ingredients to make a batter. Pour over melted butter. Do not stir.
- Spoon pears over the batter. Do not stir. Bake at 325° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until nicely browned and pears are tender.

The verdict?  It wasn't exactly cobbler per se, but it was tasty.  it came out softer, almost like pear cake, and I admit I'd prefer the crunchy cobbler taste.  I would also recommend using less sugar on the pears.  They were super sweet!  But, overall I will count this as a baking success.  Joel even liked it so much he didn't want to share it with the guys at work, like we normally do.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekend Update

I feel like this is becoming quite the Tuesday tradition.  I do have a valid excuse this week, though.  I swear!  Joel and I took the day off yesterday to finish up the house to get ready to put it on the market today.  The realtor will be by after work for us to take pictures and to get everything ready for the listing.  To say I am nervous is an understatement.  The market hasn't really rebounded in this area, and we haven't owned the house long to get much equity into it.  Fingers crossed for a quick sale!

Last week, I forgot to mention that Joel and I say Il Divo in concert.  Don't know who they are?  Well, if you are a lover of musical theater, Google them.  I don't have enough great things to say.  We had total nosebleed seats, but the music was beautiful.  We also stopped by Hard Rock on the way there, and I discover that they had margarita flights.  The food was sub par, but the drinks?  Worth the trip back.

I also had the chance to finally get a picture with an STL Birthday Cake.  There are 250 all around the city, and while I have seen plenty, this is the first one I've snagged a picture with.  How fun!

I also made a fabulous discovery.  Folks, I have found a new favorite beer.  For those outside of the Midwest, you may just have to take my word for it.  I don't know if you could find it far from this area, as it's made at a local Missouri place.  It's called Crown Valley Brewery (they also have a winery), and it's their seasonal ale.  Run, don't walk, to get yourself some.

Other than that, it was a lot of cleaning and reorganizing.  And I finally got a chance to put down our new rug in the dining room!  Ignore the mess behind the table (that's all clean now), but I couldn't be happier with the rug.  We bought it from Rugs USA online, and I was nervous buying it sight unseen.  I'm a pretty picky person, but I am just so in love with it.  I think it really adds a pop of color to the room.  Don't you think?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thoughts on a Thursday

- Why is it so hard to make friends when you get older, and so devastating when you lose them?  A friend I would have considered a sister five years ago now barely (if it all) remembers I'm alive.  I know distance makes things harder, but a note on Facebook, e-mail, or whatever to just show consideration isn't too much to ask, I don't think.  Could I have tried harder?  Maybe, but at least I tried.  I can't force a friendship.

- Speaking of things that are hard...I also hate job hunting.  There aren't any jobs at the base we are moving to in Korea, but there are some at the army base an hour-ish away.  Since I worked for the Army, I would love to go back to that.  But, I'm not loving the commuting idea, especially in Korea.  It's worth a try though, so I went on an application spree yesterday.  Now it's just playing the waiting game...

- What is wrong with our society that deadlines mean nothing any more?  I coordinated a working lunch for my boss yesterday with some visitors from our HQ, and I asked for the orders by noon yesterday.  I got them at 3pm, and finally got the order on for today.  And then, I got two people this morning asking if it was "too late."  I wish I could say yes, deadlines exist for a reason, but I'm too nice, so I'll make special arrangements because you couldn't follow simple directions.  You're welcome...

- I'm not sure why people get so offended over my choices when they only affect me.  Example, when people find out I don't have kids, they seem horrified and tell me I'm not getting any younger.  Obviously, right?  When I tell them I'd rather Joel get out of the Air Force, even though I support his service, they act like I am crazy for not wanting all the "benefits" of military life.  While the retirement is enticing, there are things I would prefer in a non-military life (my own career, stabilization, choice of where I want to live, etc.).  I just don't understand why other people can't accept that there can be differences of opinions?

- As I get older, I feel more anxious about, I don't know...everything.  I always have a million things racing through my mind, and many nights I lie awake unable to turn my brain off.  I've heard that you tend to not sweat the small stuff when you get older, but I feel like the opposite is true for me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekend Update

Howdy, folks!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  The weather was fabulous here in the STL, and our Easter celebrations for two were just to really remember the reason for the Easter season, yet enjoy some quality family time together.

Friday was pretty uneventful, and no pictures were really taken.  We went to Good Friday service at our Church, which was really nice.  It was hilarious, though, because I admit that I have never actually kissed the cross on Good Friday.  New experience for me!  It was definitely, different.  But, when in Rome, right?

Saturday was spent de-cluttering the house to get it ready to put on the market.  Taking down our sports stuff (I was told that a potential buyer has been known to not but a house because the owner was a fan of a team they hated), our personal pictures, and some extra furniture.  It was sad, and doesn't feel as "home-y" anymore.  But, if it sells the house, it's a small sacrifice.

The dogs really enjoyed the afternoon, though.  It was warm enough that they were able to hang outside quite a bit without overheating, and so they sunned themselves most of the day.

We then headed out to Easter Vigil service, which in all honesty was hilarious.  We went on base because they had an earlier service, and the Priest said that since people don't come to church for it to last forever (Vigil is usually a good 2 1/2 to 3 hour service), so his goal was to get it under an hour.  Umm...what?  He was close, coming in right at 75 minutes.  I won't go into detail, but quickening the service made some parts quite comical.  It was a great service overall, though.  Even with the quirks.

Sunday was Easter morning, followed by Brunch.  The Melting Pot was offering a great Easter special, so since we gave up desserts for Lent, it seemed like to perfect way to conclude the season.  And, as always, it did not disappoint.  Yum, yum!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five on Friday

1.  Happy Friday everyone!  And a Happy Good Friday to you, as well.  I am already hungry because of the fast today, but if Jesus can die for my sins then, well...I suppose going hungry today is the least I can do.  This area is pretty traditional, so we have service at 3pm today, and then we will attend vigil tomorrow.  What a solemn time of remembrance, but what an amazing celebration at the conclusion.

2.  I know that I never re-capped my birthday festivities, but they were pretty awesome.  We saw Once at the Fabulous Fox Theater in STL.  I have a love affair with this theater anyways, but I am continually excited to see a show there.  There was no orchestra, so we actually splurged for my big day and bought seats that were where the orchestra normally is.  We were fourth row!  They had a working bar on stage, and at intermission we got up and got a drink.  How fun is that?

3.  Also, this is how cool my boss is.  When I came into work, this was the state of my office.

4.  Spring has finally sprung in the Midwest!  Which I guess is appropriate, since we have to de-clutter our house to sell and do some spring cleaning.  The temperatures have been pleasant, and this weekend looks to be fantastic for it!  And look how pretty my tree is!!

5.  As mentioned above, we are putting our house on the market.  I don't know how I ever convinced to by a house while still in the military life.  I love our little house and have loved living there, but the market has been stagnant, and we could stand to lose more than I am comfortable with if the buyers are too stingy.  I just pray that it all works out, but I never realized how expensive and stressful it could be!  Buying a home was a breeze compared to selling.  Oy...

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I don't know about you, but I'm feeling thirty...  Wait, that's not right.  But, I am indeed thirty now.  A new decade.  When I thought about where I'd be at thirty, I pictured a much different life.  I pictured a fast-paced career, married with one or two children, and living in a big city.  Well, one of those is correct.  I am married.  But, due to my husband's military service, none of the rest have come to fruition.

No fast paced career, because it's suffered due to the constant moves and not getting to choose where I'm living.  And that big city?  Once again, I don't get to choose where I get to live.  I always pictured working in politics in D.C. (thanks for nothing, political science degree) or working in the legal field in Chicago (but, alas Law School wasn't practical).  So, I'm settling for a civil servant in a small military base (although, admittedly I like what I do fine, but it's not challenging or making a difference).  I can't even use my teaching degree (that I thought would be more practical) because we are moving so soon and to a place where there is little opportunity (my license is in special education).  Kids became much less of a priority because Joel is gone so much, and I really don't want to do it alone.  And what if he was gone during the pregnancy/birth?  No, thank you.

But, this is the life I live and the life that I chose.  What didn't I picture at thirty?  I had absolutely no idea that I would have visited 28 countries and five continents.  I had no idea that I would be moving to actually live in my third continent.  I had no idea that I would fall in love with being abroad so much.  I had no idea that I was to become conversational in three languages, and hopefully fluent in those someday (and about to learn my fourth).  I also had no idea how great marriage could be.  I didn't exactly have the greatest example set for me, and even though life can get difficult and stressful, I know I can always lean on my best friend, my husband.  He is my biggest supporter, and would do anything that I asked of him, even though I rarely ever ask for his sacrifice.  Just knowing he would give up his whole world because of me makes me feel loved enough that I would never ask him to.

I didn't intend on this post getting so serious.  It's just kind of crazy for me to look back at how I envisioned my life to see it so different now.  Sometimes I am so hard on myself for not accomplishing the things that I thought I would, but then I see this whole different person that I never imagined.  Is one better than the other?  I don't know, I've only had the chance to lead one life.  I figure that God has a plan for me (for all of us), and I'm just trying to do the bets with the choices I've made.  I have a big year coming up.  We are selling my house and my car, I have to leave my job with no serious prospects for another, and we are moving to Korea.  KOREA!!  I don't even know what things are going to look like six months from now, but I know it will be an adventure.  Cheers to the thirties!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five on Friday

1.  Oh my goodness you guys...this is my last weekend in my 20s.  Eek!  I turn 30 next week.  Another decade.  I am getting so OLD!  I am totally taking my birthday off of work to mourn...

2.  I love where I work, I really do.  The work isn't too demanding, I have great hours, and a fabulous boss.  But, I work with nearly all men, and geeky computer engineers at that.  Most of them don't have basic manners, and they have been grinding on me lately.  Like for example: today, I microwaved my food in the microwave right next to my office.  The diner went off, I got up to get it, and someone was taking my food out of the microwave to put his in.  It hadn't even been three seconds.  Don't touch my food, nasty man!!

3.  I have such a fun filled weekend, but I still have this horrible cough.  I have a concert, two dinners, and a musical to attend.  I need to feel better ASAP!

4.  I just want to say I think it's ridiculous how much graduation regalia costs.  My cap, gown, and 25 announcements, with shipping, cost over $150.  That's insane!!!  Luckily I'm not piled up with debt after graduating.  I see now why so many people skip it, but I want to be "hooded" (I was so jealous of the graduate students when I got my Bachelor's), so it's a necessary expense...

5.  We are meeting with a realtor this afternoon to see about listing our house.  This makes me super sad.  I love our little home, and hate to let it go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Miami - Part 2!

There's not much else to say about Miami, so I will let these pictures speak for themselves.  I hate that we had less than 24 hours there, but I'm sure we will be back.  Someday...

Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm back! And Florida - part 1!!

Well, I am sort of among the living again.  About 2/3 of the way through my trip, I came down with a terrible cold.  My whole body ached, my throat felt like I was swallowing sandpaper, my nose dripped like a faucet, and I am surprised I didn't cough up a lung.  So far, the cough is still lingering on, and I am still feeling pretty run-down.  I am sad that my vacation ended that way, but I did have some great memories before that happened.

First off...Miami!  We took off in our rental car (A word of advice...never rent from Avis.  Their customer service was horrible, they totally lied to us about their shuttle that was supposed to take us to the port, and it cost an extra $30 for us to actually get to the port, and they were unapologetic.  I will be writing a huge complaint), and headed out for Sun Life Stadium.  After the utter rudeness at Avis, we made it to Sun Life, only to be informed that the Stadium was closed for a private event, and the jerk at the entrance wouldn't even let us pull in the parking lot for pictures.  Jokes on him, because I just got out of my car and took a few.  The start in Miami was not a great one.

We then drove to South Beach, and called our host from Air BnB to check in to our condo.  She was sweet as punch, but our room wasn't ready, so she called someone else and they let us stay at their one bedroom (vs a studio) for no extra charge so that we could check in right away.  The place wasn't as cute as the original one, but it was big, and we only really slept there, so we didn't care.  And the place was called Orange, which pleased Joel very much.
We decided to take a walk down Ocean Drive, and since we were starving, we started looking for a place to eat.  Man, I just want to say that happy hour in South Beach is divine!  Two for one drinks were everywhere, and we happily indulged.  Plus, it started raining, so it gave us a beautiful view with some cover from the rain.
Now...the people of South Beach.  Folks, I wish I had been brave enough to take pictures.  This was the most diverse group of people I had ever seen.  So much eccentricity, so much skin...  It was crazy!  We chose to sit outside and eat at a place called CJ's Crab Shack for dinner, and happily took in some amazing people watching.  The food was absolutely delicious, and I'm sure touristy, but it randomly had the best hush puppies I have ever had.  I debated getting another order of them, but was stuffed, and the beach was still to come.

The beach and more South Beach pictures are yet to come!  Stay tuned for tomorrow!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Out Sick

Well, I got super sick on vacation and feel a little like death.  I promise to update soon, but for now, well wishes are much appreciated.