Friday, January 27, 2012

Excerpt of the Day

"Habermas's ideal of unfettered communication is a natural fit for librarianship: By building diverse voices, perspectives, and arguments into our collections and services, we keep alive the means of realizing true democracy--by transcending our nation's historical shortcomings of exclusion and discrimination, and our profession's similar shortcomings, through the struggle to include censored works and underserved groups."

"Like education, our field has been called upon to play a so-called crucial role in bringing about the information society and the new economy, but without the public funding for that expanded economic mission."

"We are a society out of balance--tilted too much toward business and market solutions and too far from the ideals of a true public and a democratic society.  Perhaps more disturbing is our unawareness of the historical fact that we as a society used to regard our public institutions differently and managed them with the goal in mind of furthering the public good.  The new economic model of public philosophy has become both the reason and the method to reform and shape public policy for a generation now, directly shaping priorities that determine the spending for and mission of public cultural institutions."

"A private consulting firm suggested that the word "public" be dropped in describing schools because it 'has come to have negative connotations' with such entities as public libraries, public radio, and public assistance [...].  We should stand apart from--and even in opposition to--the shift to a democracy of consumers where the only voters are those who can afford the privilege."

"Our ideas about our profession and our institutions should be more expansive, more democratic, truer to our principles, and not merely limited to what is good for the economy."

All of these quotes are from the article "Staying Public: The Real Crisis in Librarianship" by John Buschman.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kitchen Play: Pork. Nuff Said.

Yeah...Kitchen Play with Pork.  

Oh the jokes Eric would make about that statement...

Here's how things went down a couple of days ago.  

Eric (throwing something in the trash): I noticed you drank a Dr. Pepper today.

Me: What?  No I didn't.  [lie]

Eric: Oh so that's the can from the other day in the trash?

Me: ... No.

Eric: (laughing) oh okay.

Ten Minutes Later...

Eric: (coming out of the bedroom) Well since you had a Dr. Pepper earlier, I'm going to go get a Pepsi to drink with dinner.

Me:  Ooo....will you please get me a Dr. Pepper too?

Eric: No.  You had one earlier.

Me: No I didn't!  Please get me one!  I've been cooking and really need a Dr. Pepper to have with dinner.

Eric: No!  You had one already.

[by this point he's walking out of the apartment and I run to the open door]

Me: (calling out to him as he walks out and down the corridor) Eric!  Please!  Come on ... Get me a Dr. Pepper ...  Seriously?  ...  You aren't going to?  ... POO HEAD!

That's right, ladies and gentlemen.  I am that mature.  I called out to my husband in our complex and called him a poo head.

Of course, he came back with a Dr. Pepper for me.

I should have know better.

Moving on to the topic at hand...

That evening, I was attempting an experiment.  I am not HUGE on experimenting with food because I'm terrified of wasting it and messing it up.  My experiment was with Pork Chops. Typically, I'd just cook them on the stove top in a pan.  Nothing fancy.  Simple.  But I was inspired and decided to stuff them.  So here's the recipe that I came up with:

Stuffed Pork Chops

2 boneless pork chops
3 tablespoons of rough chopped andouille 
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of pepperjack cheese, grated
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs 
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of olive oil

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place a pork chop between cling wrap and beat until about a quarter inch thin.  I have a meat mallet but in the past, I've used a rolling pin when I was in a pinch.  If your arms get too tired, just make sure that the meat is flexible enough to be rolled up.
3. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.  
4. [NOTE: This step can be done one of two ways.  I did each pork chop differently and found that each method just as easy as the other.]
Method 1: Roll the chop sort of like a cannoli so it's tube shaped.  Push the toothpicks through so that they hold the chops together.  Fill the pork tube (hehe) with the stuffing mix.
Method 2: Spoon the stuffing mix onto the chop.  Roll the chop around the mix and push the toothpicks through to hold the chop together.
5. Place the chops in a baking dish and bake for roughly 20 minutes.

That's it!  It's super easy (other than the beating meat part) and delicious!  Plus, the stuffing is flexible.  You want to add beans?  Ok!  Or squash?  Or tomatoes?  WHATEVER!  Have fun with it!

I served mine with a white bearnaise sauce (you can see them simmering in the sauce in the picture above).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scalloped Tomatoes Revisited

So I recently posted about making Ina Garten's Scalloped Tomatoes.  However, I didn't take pictures of that.  LUCKILY, we loved it so much that I made it AGAIN!  Here is a picture of the second attempt.

I SWEAR THAT'S NOT OUT OF A MAGAZINE!  Although, I'm sure you can tell with my dirty stovetop in the background.  Doesn't that look scrumptious though?  That's cause it is!  And I'm not saying that because I made it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hot Librarian: A Little More from Lady Lamb

For those of you keeping up, you will remember that last week I wrote a review on Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb.  I'm going to stick with this author because:
1. I love her.
2. You should too.

The first of her books that I read was Such a Pretty Face (get it on amazon).  Stevie Barrett is the main character.  Here's why you love her:
1. Her name is Stevie (come on?  How could you NOT love her)
2. She's got the SADDEST story ever and you just want to hug her.
3. She accepted that her obesity was going to kill her and she did something about it.

There's about 45 more reasons to love her but I'll leave it at that.  Stevie is trying to get her life together after this enormous physical change.  She works in a dysfunctional office, has a best friend that treats her like shit (seriously, I wanted to punch this woman repeatedly), and she has crazy cousins and an aunt and uncle who are ridiculous beyond belief.  She's filled with so much love and breaks her back repeatedly to try and pour this love out on people that are horrible to her.  Well...she pours it out to everyone except for the hottie that she wants (isn't that always the case?).  But there is something in this character that as the reader you get amazing glimpses of by seeing what she does when she's alone.  Who would have thought that her garden is glorious and precious to her?  Or who would have ever known that in her garage are the most artistic chairs that you have ever seen?  

I realize that this review is kind of pathetic.  Although I can't remember the phrases that made me laugh or the awful things her friend said, I remember the impact of that book.  I remember lying in bed on my side pregnant and having my pillow soaked by the tears that flowed for Stevie.  I'm fairly certain at one point I had decided that no matter what Eric said, if the baby turned out to be a girl, I was naming her Stevie.  

Read it.  Love it.  Then come back and tell me how much you loved it.

You will.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pinterest Weekly


How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways...

Our focus this week will be on motivation/quotes from Pinterest.

Have I mentioned how much I love Jillian Michaels?  She makes me feel powerful when she yells.

I saw a Chinese medicine doctor once who explained to me that energy is contagious and leaves behind residue.  He also told me I tend to collect other's energy and carry it with me.

I think that means I need this sign in my home.

Nuff said.

I'm going to makes this sign and put it in my room.

If you like what you see, follow me on Pinterest!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitchen Play: The Only Way I Eat Tomatoes

I don't like tomatoes.  I've been struggling to train my palette to enjoy them but it has been a serious uphill battle.  I find that the only way I'll even semi-enjoy them is if they are cooked into something.  

Enter the Barefoot Contessa's Scalloped Tomatoes.

I made this recipe the other night and Eric began singing its praises immediately after taking the first bite.  Although I was glad he enjoyed them, the real test would be what I thought (because, really, isn't that the most important thing?).  


Seriously, they were AH-Mazing!  I served them over pasta rather than making a sauce for the pasta and I ended up going back to the baking dish and scooping spoonfuls out and shoving them in my mouth.  (Note: this recipe is not intended to be served as a sauce.  It's supposed to be a stand alone side dish).  This is actually why I don't have a picture of the completed dish.  I just have a picture of the picture in the cookbook.  Uber lame, I know.

Since it is only Eric and I, I scaled down the recipe.  I've included the recipe below and in the ingredients section, I put the changes I made in parentheses.

picture from the Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? cookbook
Scalloped Tomatoes
Serves 6

5 tbl good olive ol, divided
2 cups [1/2 inch] diced bread from a round rustic bread, crusts removed (I toasted two slices of wheat bread and diced that)
3 pounds plum tomatoes, 1/2 inch diced [14 to 16 tomatoes] (I used 5 plum tomatoes)
1 tbl minced garlic [3 cloves] (2 cloves)
2 tbl sugar (1 tbl)
2 tsp salt (1 tsp)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed (I used dried basil and added to taste)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I didn't measure...I just covered the top of the tomatoes with it)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat 3 tbl of the olive oil in a large (12 in) saute pan over medium heat.  Add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil.  Cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.

Meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  ADd the tomato mixture to the bread cubes and continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the basil. (Because I was using dried basil, I added it while the tomato mixture was on the heat).

Pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.  Serve hot or warm.

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zydeco: It's Not Just a Type of Music

Have you had your serving of sweet potatoes today?


That's sad.

I have.

Your jealous aren't you?

Okay, truth be told, I hate sweet potatoes.  HATE HATE HATE them.

However, my friend, Michelle, has created the most amazing nutrition bar that uses sweet potatoes.  And it's DDDDD-EEEEEEE-LICIOUS!  Seriously.  I love them.

They are moist, nutty, and full of energy.  So, we will be eating a ton this year as we attempt to reach our goal of hitting up 15 of the Denver hikes.  Eric will definitely need them since he will be carrying Stephen in the backpack.

Show my friend some love!  Like her facebook fan page and feel free to order a box off the website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

10 Thoughts From a Late Great

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr, here are 10 quotes that are my favorites.

1. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

2. A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.

3. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

4. Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.

5. At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.

6. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

7. Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.

8. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

9. History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.

10. I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

The Hot Librarian: Julia's Chocolates are yummy...

I've really got to work on my post titles.

le sigh

I'm a huge Cathy Lamb fan.  HUGE. It started with Such a Pretty Face and then on to The Last Time I Was Me.  Over the holidays, I read through two other books that she has written.

Today, I'm talking about Julia's Chocolates.

For starters, let me acknowledge what some critics who have read Lamb's books may be thinking: they are formulaic.  I'll give some credit to this argument.  There seems to be a running formula for some of her books (keyword: some).  There's the protagonist in the story that's female (duh).  She's had some kind of rough past and is broken.  And in some way, she's running.  There's a love interest in the story (why wouldn't there be?) and there is a lot of personal growth that takes place.

Sounds like a formula for "gag me with a spoon", right?


Lamb brings to the table a level of humor and cutthroat truth that is hard to see past and makes her characters so damn lovable.  For instance, after reading Julia's Chocolates, I've decided I want to be Aunt Lydia when I get older.  Aunt Lydia has a farm full of chickens and pigs and paints her door black in order to ward off evil spirits and seedy men.  She also has four giant concrete pig statues in her front yard.  Each one is wearing a name tag; they are each named after a man that has pissed off Aunt Lydia.  She holds weekly psychic nights at her house because her friend, Caroline (yes!), is a psychic.  Psychic night has a different theme every week and Aunt Lydia encourages her friends to rein in the power of their breasts or forgive their vaginas or some other "I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR" kind of theme. can you not love her?

She also doesn't beat around the bush which is what makes me adore Aunt Lydia.  She gets straight to the point and she's loud and in your face.  

Julia, on the other hand, is very broken.  She has left her fiance on the day of their wedding, thrown her wedding dress into a tree, and driven across the country to escape at the farm.  Before you start feeling sympathy for her ex, you should know that he's the scum of the earth.  He rapes her and hits her on a regular basis (in fact, the day of the wedding, she has a black eye).  He calls her names that are typically disparaging remarks about her weight.  He's scary, intimidating, and really needs to be kicked in the balls (sorry guys...I know it's harsh).  

I could go into all of the antics of this story.  Like how the minister's wife is a bit of a lush because, secretly, she's an incredible artist and is dying inside being trapped in a life of prayer meetings, church sessions, and bible studies that she thinks are what her husband wants of her (although he really just wants to love her...communal "awww" is appropriate right now).  Or how Caroline, the psychic, has a secret past.  She's a beautiful hippy who is haunted by the things that she sees and loves to live in her tiny home by herself.  And then there's Katie.  Her husband is an abusive drunk who can't hold a job, doesn't help her with their kids, and doesn't appreciate anything she does for him.  Instead, she takes care of the kids, cleans the house, cleans him up, and then works two jobs just so they can keep a roof over their heads.  

So, what do I love about this book?  I love stories about women grabbing themselves by their bootstraps and kicking the world in the ass.  Seriously.  I love the growth that takes place because these women think they are pansies and in the end, they prove that they are much stronger than they ever thought possible.  They tap into the well of strength that lies in all of us and make a complete 180 of their lives.  I love that when I finished this book, wiping tears from my cheeks, I felt excited, fulfilled, sad (to have the story over), but best of all, I felt cleansed.  That is my favorite feeling from a book: feeling cleansed.  Like I was made anew by getting to know the characters and walking beside them for a little while.

It's kind of like visiting with an old friend.

Have any of you read Julia's Chocolates or any of Cathy Lamb's other books?  What did you think? 

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year = New Features

With the new year, I've decided to change the focus of the blog just a little.  There will be specific features every week with a dash of life updates and whatever else I feel like writing about.  Here's a low down of what will be featured every week:

  • Pinterest weekly: Let's face it.  If you are on Pinterest, you know how much this social media is blowing up.  And I'm addicted to it.  I'll continue to do a post a week showing what I've found during that week.
  • The Hot Librarian: I'll feature a book review once a week on the site.  Why?  Because I read all the time, I'm going to school to study library science, and because I want to.    Plus, it gives me a place to keep track of what I've read and my thoughts on those items.
  • Kitchen Play: I'll continue to write about my adventures cooking and baking.  Hopefully, with the awesome new camera I got for Christmas, the pictures will be a bit more appealing.
  • Wag of the Spoon: Don't worry...I'll keep wagging my spoon.  hehe
I'm hoping that you guys like the new look.  I know it's a pretty drastic change and I love it (although the header needs to be tweaked...still working on that).  I hope that you guys had a wonderful holiday season and new year.  I know I'm excited to see what this year holds!

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year: Post 3

As the new year begins, let's take a look back on what happened in 2011.  

  • We welcomed baby Stephen into our lives in July.  (biggest highlight of the year)
  • Eric got his first job as a full fledged attorney!
  • I got into grad school!
  • We watched our best friend, Matt, get married to beautiful Harmony.
  • My beautiful friend, Charlotte, got pregnant!  WHOOT!
  • I got involved with a NICU support group and have made some AWESOME friends (shout out to my ladies).
  • Stephen cut his first two teeth.
  • We started house hunting (yes...more on that another day).

Hope you had a rocking 2011!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year: Post 2

Raise your hand if you make New Year's Resolutions.


Fine.  You guys go ahead and be cowards and not fess up to it.

Cause I definitely do.

Of course, the real question is have I kept any of them?


Well, unless you count the fact that I did quit smoking...but I think that resolution was roughly three years prior to my actual quit date.

I love making resolutions and I tend to make them on a regular basis.  Zig Ziglar (OMG...LOVE HIM) said that every day is a new day so why wait to make changes?  (that is a SERIOUS paraphrase).  It's not that I don't continue to strive towards all of these resolutions and trust me, it's usually the same ones.  


I WILL STOP CONSUMING CAFFEINE (if you know me, you know how much this has epically failed).


What can I say?  I'm a work in progress.

When New Years rolls around though, I tend to go overboard.  This year, I'm going with the minimum and I thought I would share those with you today.

1. Minimize the worry and anxiety.
I am REALLY good at worrying and REALLY good at terrifying myself with anxiety.  I have been flying on airplanes since I was about 10.  Never really had a problem with it until I saw Final Destination.  That's when the anxiety started.  After 9/11, it got worse.  It's at the peak now.  During takeoff, I have to actually focus on not losing it.  I watched the first three episodes of American Horror Story (which by the way, I feel is a complete rip off of some of the storylines from the Ametyville series...that's right...series, not movie) and began seeing that weird demon face in the dark.
Ridiculous.  Trust me, I realize just how ridiculous all of this is.
I decided I don't want to spend so much time in 2012 shaking and worrying.  I know that I won't be able to completely quit so my goal is to minimize it.

2. Teach others how to treat me.
My aunt Heather is awesome.  She said to me over the holidays that we teach others how to treat us.  Don't assume that I'm focusing on this because other people treat me badly.  I just think it's an important philosophy to follow.  So I'll just add it to my repertoire.

3. Be authentic.
This has been my focus for about 4 years now.  Striving to just be me and be comfortable with that.  

Do you have any resolutions?  If so, care to share?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year: Post 1

Happy New Year to you!

I realize I've been gone for a while so here's a quick update to catch you up with what's been going on.

  • I got into grad school!  YAY ME!  I'll be working on a Master of Science in Library Science.  Impressive, I know.  The program starts on the 23rd and is 100% online so I get to continue to stay home with Stephen.  WHOOT!
  • We spent two weeks in Louisiana.  We being Stephen and myself.  Eric had to work the week before Christmas.  
  • Stephen was baptized over the break as well.  It was a beautiful ceremony and I'll be posting pictures in the near future.
  • I received a Kindle for Christmas.  Don't worry...there will be a post about that coming up as well.
  • I've settled down onto the new format of the blog.  There will be some changes a-coming.
  • Stephen now has TWO teeth.  That's right.  The first appeared the morning after Christmas and the second appeared TWO days later.  He's been a little trooper through the entire ordeal.

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