Monthly Archives: January 2013

Not just Bloody Mary mix


I am a HUGE Bloody Mary drinker. I mean I drink them like some people drink beer.  Literally have tried them all over Austin.

The best mix I have found is Zing Zang. It’s found at most grocery stores and is about $4. Zing Zang provides a good solid taste for cheap, i.e. enough pepper and spice to make it not just tomato juice like some other mixes.

Of course, I decided just drinking the mix wasn’t enough and experimented with cooking with it in the Crockpot.

Bloody Mary Roast Sandwiches



1 4-lb shoulder roast
1/2 bottle of Zing Zang (about 16 oz)
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves of garlic
1 lime
About 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
1 pkg whole wheat sub buns
1 pkg Jarlsberg Swiss cheese

Place shoulder roast in Crockpot. Turn on high and pour Zing Zang in pot around meat.  Place onion powder and Worcestershire sauce in the sauce.

Cut lime in half and squeeze into sauce. Use garlic press with two cloves of garlic and place in sauce.  Cover and simmer for 4-6 hours.

Meat will be juicy and cut into thinner strips suitable for sandwiches.

Drain juices into medium saute pan and heat on high till bubbling. Slowly add 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour and whisk to make thicker au jus from Zing Zang. Simmer for another minute and serve over meat and top with Swiss cheese.

My boyfriend put his sauce in a small ramekin and dipped the sandwich in the roux. 

This makes a lot of leftovers and the sauce would also be tasty over some potatoes.  I served it with some salty potato chips.

I don’t know if it cures hangovers like the real thing, but it definitely makes a delicious dinner.


pinterest fail


I am convinced that 90 percent of what is on Pinterest was not completed on the first try. That being said let me share my recent disaster.

The project seems easy: modge podge some paper to canvas, use stickers to spell quote and paint over and let dry.  Remove stickers and WALAAH!!  WALL HANGING!!

I skipped a step and bought a clearance canvas that was printed at Garden Ridge. Placed my (paper-based) letter stickers and some (plastic-y) circular stickers for effect, painted over and let it dry.

I got the circular stickers off with ease and everything was going well. The letter stickers would not peel off and the white backing stuck to the canvas.

After 20 minutes and three broken nails, I got the top part of the stickers off. I used a sponge and toothpick to get the rest off, but the letters were too light. I tried outlining with black marker to make them visible. I had pretty much given up on the project by this point.


I frustratedly wrote the rest of the quote in my handwriting and my boyfriend tried to console my pissy self.  My response “I’m throwing it away. Meehh!!”

Long story short, I painted the canvas white and am going to try again. Moral of the story: No paper based stickers, only plastic stickers for this project.  Pick shorter quotes and darker/vibrant colors for the paint so the contrast shows through better!


This is the pin that started it all:

i’m keeping my joy


While at work this past Sunday, one of my patients was watching the Sunday message by Joel Osteen.  I’m not big on televangelism but he is one of the ones I can listen to and get something from.  His message was to not give away your joy to the constant barrage of distractions, irritations, problems and small pitfalls that are sure to come our way in life.

This particular message hit home with me and gave me chills.  Especially in a career like nursing, it is easy to become frustrated and angry with the little setbacks that occur daily.  For example, medications aren’t stocked where/when they should be, getting an admission 10 minutes before shift change, constant phone calls about anything and everything.  My constant struggle in nursing has been to remain calm and cool, anxiety-free as possible during the day.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a nurse who is angry can’t provide the best care possible.  I took his message to heart: to let the little things roll off my back and try to just chalk it up to life.   Breathing deeply and even mentally saying “it’s okay” seem to help diffuse the anger/anxiety and make my life/shift so much easier.

This is definitely one of those easier said than done things that needs continual practice.  It also reminded me of when I used to wait tables during college,  my mantra then was “don’t let Cracker Barrel take your smile away!!”  Life will always be stressful, it’s a given, but how we respond to stress will decide our own happiness.  I would rather keep the key to happiness in my own hands, instead of letting the world decide my fate.

So the next time a car cuts you off in traffic and you are about to utter some type of expletive, take a deep breath and remind yourself: it’s not worth losing my joy over a red Honda cutting me off.  (That may or may not have happened to me this morning).


Check out his sermon #563 Don’t Give Away Your Joy at

good samaritan


Today in the haze of watery eyes and allergies, I dropped my phone on the sidewalk out front of my house and didn’t realize it.  I am quite the space cadet when I’m sick and I was carrying a big box (new pet stairs for Riley)–those are my excuses.  It was probably 30-45 minutes later when I realized my cell phone was gone and frantically started searching the house.

Luckily (or so I thought), I have the Lookout app for Android to help locate the device.  My boyfriend, Brad, logged on the computer and started the search with me.  He kept telling me that the phone was near the Randall’s by our house (which I hadn’t been to today).

He continued to ping the phone’s GPS to locate it and we hopped in the car to see if we could find the perpetrator who had clearly taken my phone.  We drove in circles in the grocery store parking lot and the adjacent church parking lot.

At this point, anyone could have been a suspect: the lady at the bus stop, the Randall’s employee out front or the bum on his flip phone (because obviously he was using that phone to make the transaction to sell my phone away).  Brad’s testosterone levels were at an all-time high thinking everyone could have stolen his girlfriend’s phone.

We scoped out Randall’s while grabbing some chicken for dinner (Riley had eaten the chicken I bought earlier and left on the counter, that dog I swear!) to no avail.  I had succumbed to the fact that I was going to pay the $150 replacement fee for my Galaxy III that was barely two months old.

When we returned to the house,  Brad gave me his phone to call Sprint when all of a sudden my photo popped up on the screen calling him.  I quickly handed him the phone and tried to decipher his “uh huhs,” “oh yeahs” and finally “where do you want me to meet you?”

We walked out on the front lawn to see a girl on her phone holding my phone in her hands.  Apparently her mom went on a walk to the Randall’s for some quick groceries and saw my phone on the sidewalk and was trying to figure out how to get it back to its owner.

Awesome is all I can say.  It’s good to know that there are still honest and kind people out there, so of course I’m going to do something to show my gratitude.  I’m baking some brownies and got a $10 Target gift card to say thanks.  Apparently the neighbor spirit is still alive here in South Austin.  God bless her!!

cat scratch fever


My boyfriend and I decided to go mattress shopping last weekend because our current mattress is horrid.  It’s a hand-me-down of a hand me down and I usually end up sleeping on the couch because the bed is too small for two six-foot-tall people.

The hunt began at the typical chain mattress stores and eventually we found a winner at a local mattress store, Factory Mattress USA.  I can’t wait to sleep on our new Simmons Beautyrest Classic firm with pillowtop. Sounds way fancier than it is.  The foam mattresses are crazy expensive, try in the $4000 range.  Either way, It’s the first *new* bed either of us has ever bought and I am excited.

Which brings me to the entire point of this blog—our cat, Barf.  She loves to claw at the corners of the current horrid mattress and tear it up.  I am paranoid she is going to destroy our gorgeous new purchase with her claws.  We had some cardboard lying around and I decided I could probably be crafty(ish).

I found this blog (which is an awesome craft idea source if you’re bored): and decided to give it a try.

Mine did not come out as pretty, but Barf rubbed all over the surface of the scratching pad and pushed it across the room.  No scratching yet, but I am hopeful with the catnip inside.  Hopefully the bedskirt will deter her also….


free week


So one of the things I’ve enjoyed about Austin is the fact that there is always something to do. Literally.

At the beginning of the year, Free Week gives Austinites the opportunity to check out cool bands in the city.  It’s great timing considering we are all broke after the holidays.

Last night my boyfriend, Brad,  a couple friends and I caught some shows at Antone’s.  Here’s what I thought:

The Rocketboys

The band proved to be entertaining but not something I would have paid for. The guitarist had so much energy and charisma and literally was the show.  The lead fell flat though, he had a decent voice but lacked that star quality to get the band to the next level. The overall show had a mellow, almost Coldplay vibe at times.  I personally could have used more edgier guitar riffs.  I might check out a few songs on Spotify,  but I don’t see them going into heavy rotation on my personal playlist.

Saints of Valory

Brad and I had these guys on our “to-see” list when we went to DeLuna Fest last year at Pensacola Beach. Unfortunately,  we missed them so were glad for the opportunity to check the band out again. A couple of our friends told us “it was one of the best shows at DeLuna,” so we came in with high expectations.

I was not let down. It was a good rock ‘n roll performance. The band sounded well-practiced, clean and solid. It’s no wonder they just signed to a label. All the parts were spot-on: killer guitar, strong vocals, decent drums. My only gripe is the sound covered up the vocals sometimes, but this was definitely a show I would have paid for.


Saints of Valory frontman Gavin Jasper at Antone’s in Austin, TX

barbecue shrimp, blackened shrimp, there’s all kind of shrimp


I couldn’t help but think about Forrest Gump when I was making my first shrimp dish today.  I got some new awesome casserole dishes (Corningware) and decided I had to make something for dinner utilizing my Christmas gifts!! I found this recipe online ( and gave it a try.

I got to the part of the recipe where it called to “devein” the shrimp and found myself lost and confused. My Cajun boyfriend made me feel like a novice when he started deveining like a champ. But this
website gave me the basics:

The dish turned out great except our Lab/Rottweiler mix, Riley, ninja’d her way into the fridge and ate the entire leftovers. Amazingly she did it without breaking the dish. Mind you she is ten years old and there really is no teaching her new tricks or to stay out of the fridge. We have a child lock on the fridge but have been forgetting to latch it.

I guess it just gives us a chance to make it again. We though some extra cayenne, sausage and chicken would set it off. Umm thanks I guess to Riley.