Just another manic Monday.  Ugh.  So freaking busy today.
Anyway, I have another delicious recipe that I promised I would share. This went over well with Justin. Brian, and Brittany. I made this shortly after Justin and I got together and I’m pretty sure this is one of the reason’s he proposed. That and my lasagna, but that’s another story all together.
This recipe is for cashew-encrusted pork, otherwise known as bound-to-get-lucky-and-proposed-to pork. It’s based off of this recipe from Kraftfoods.com, although like most things I cook, I pretty much do whatever the hell I want. First you have your pork tenderloin, although if you are starving to death and want a quick meal I would not suggest tenderloin- it takes nearly two hours to cook, and we have a hardcore hot-as-hell oven. Go with pork chops, they work very well too. If you do go for the tenderloin, stab the little bugger to death and cut it in half, like you see here. Trust me, better to wait two hours than four. the first variation I make from the original recipe from Kraft is that I don’t use pecans, I use cashews. Honestly the first time I made it I just picked up cashews by mistake, but I think it would taste better anyway, we both love cashews, and I’m really not a fan of pecans. Take them or leave them. To crunch them up into itty-bitty pieces I put some in between two pieces of wax paper and use a jar (any glass jar) to beat the crap out of them. This part would probably be best if we had a meat mallet, but that will go on our registry. haha. I also usually use a whole can, or as much of the can as I get after Justin attacks it. next is the ingredients! da da dum. It also leads into the super-messy part. You need: dried tarragon leaves, honey, minced garlic, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil (or any oil, whatever). I also add Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder, and sage. I’m kind of a seasoning freak. Add as much or as little as you like. I really like experimenting with the sweet/salty combo. I also think the honey/tarragon mix is pure genius. Unfortunately I cannot take credit for that, but what can you do. This is usually my favorite part. Although the mixture doesn’t taste very good uncooked it smells amazing. I just use the smell test until I get it right. heh.
After you do get it right, cover the pork pieces in the mixture and rub it in good. Then roll the pork with the mixture on it in the cashew pieces untill you have a nice even coating. Sprinkle the remaining cashews on top. I find that any smallish glass dish works best for this recipe. Add peaches and a couple chopped onions around the pork. I know, it sounds weird, but it is so amazing I can’t even tell you. Cover dish with foil and cook until pork is cooked through. Like I said, the pork can take forever and a day to cook, but it’s so worth it. After your toiling you should end up with something like this. I have to say, it’s not as colorful as I would like it, but maybe I can amend it a little to add some color…red strawberries? and something green…maybe green onions, I’m not sure. This is seriously one of our favorite recipes. I asked Justin the other day what he liked best out of everything I cooked. The first thing he said was the ham I posted about a month ago….but let’s face it, you don’t have to be a culinary genius to cook a ham. Seriously, unless you’re butchering the pig yourself there is absolutely no skill needed to unwrap ham, put in pan, and turn on oven. Not exactly impressive. So then I asked him what his next favorite thing was, and he said the lasagna/this recipe. Sooooo, I guess we have a winner here, because I’ve cooked a lot.
This weekend is the big weekend. Justin’s family (parents, brother, sis-in-law) and my family (parents, brother) are….meeting! haha. We figured it’s probably about time considering we’re all going to be family here in 284 days! EEP! I’m excited/nervous though. I’m sure everything will be fine, but damned if I’m not having a glass (or 5) of wine before the actual event. So Friday We’re hitting up the local (amazing) winery and will probably have a good old time with my parents Friday night. I’m sure I’ll obsess over this some more in the next few days, but it will be great to finally have everyone meet.

Oh, there is something about getting away with your favorite person in the world that makes life just that much better.

Like this. That right there is my favorite person in the world, but I’m sure you already knew that. Oh, and my hair looks pretty damn cool too 😉
Baltimore was amazing with him there. On Friday we went on a crab feast cruise, where this picture was taken. Besides the food being amazing, we indulged in two bottles of Monkey Bay wine, which was awesome. We were so hungry when we started in on the wine I think we were half-way to happy land before we even ate. It was awesome =D We had never tried that kind, but I’m absolutely going to go find some, hopefully it is available around here.

Anyway, after all the eating, drinking, and occasional merry-making, the DJ started taking requests, my favorite song of the moment is You’re the Inspiration by Chicago, so Justin and I danced for the first time as an engaged couple to one of the most romantic songs ever conceived! The DJ asked if we were out on the cruise celebrating anything and I told him we had just gotten engaged, so he made a big deal about it the whole night calling us the engaged couple, it was so sweet =) Everyone kept congratulating us all night, although one girl said “good luck”, we weren’t so sure how to take that one. Maybe she wasn’t so lucky. We’re the lucky ones.

After the cruise we had an interesting time navigating back to our hotel. Justin and I have bad luck when it comes to finding our hotel after being out for the night. See, the weird thing is that the Sheraton Hotel, the one we stayed at the last couple trips, likes to have two of them in the same general location. Both times we ended up in the wrong hotel! Seriously, I don’t understand why you would have two of the same hotels in the same area, that’s just asking to make everyone all confused. Anyway. After we figured out what hotel we were supposed to be at, we parked ourselves at the bar and ran up a nice healthy tab. This picture was taken before Justin saw just how healthy the tab was, as he is still smiling and whatnot 😉 We got nice and drunk, and learned an interesting new shot: Dirty Bong Water. It’s delicious, and here’s what’s in it: 1 oz Chambord raspberry liqueur, 1 oz Malibu coconut rum, 1 splash sweet and sour mix, 1 splash pineapple juice, 1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur. Smoothest shot I’ve ever taken. I’ve never known a concoction of all liqueur to be so delicious, but if you’re someone who shys away from real rough, throat burning shots, you would love it. Kinda fruity, kinda thick, in a good way.

This is a gorgeous picture of the inner harbor from our cruise. The crazy blue wavy thing there is the Baltimore Aquarium, which is a seriously awesome piece of architecture.

It’s kind of funny. When I was younger I couldn’t wait to move to the city from my one-stoplight town. Now that I’m older I realize that I would never be happy in the city. There’s always something going on, which is great if you’re a hardcore night lifer, but that’s not the kind of person I grew up to be. I’m still in awe of all the massive buildings and all the diversity and attractions, but at the end of the day I want to leave my window open and breathe fresh air and hear country silence. I don’t want to raise my kids around all that hustle and bustle, I want them to grow up riding dirt bikes and quads, I want to take them camping in our backyard when they’re little, then move on to bigger and better wilderness. I want to actually have a back yard for them to play in, and for me to grow a nice sized garden. The city has a lot of spectacular views, but it loses all the simplicity that I grew up appreciating, and I don’t want my kids missing out on that.

that’s not to say I would seriously hate views like this every day. If I had to live in a city it would have to be a port town. I do love the water and everything related to it. I would love to live on a big boat, if that’s random enough for you. Although I am terrified of very deep ocean. I’ll get in until the water is just over my head, then I’ll scedattle back to the shore. haha. That’s not just an ocean thing though, I don’t like being over my head in a lake. I’m a good swimmer, I’m just afraid of what I cannot see. Snakes, man eating sharks, you know, the usual. I will always love the ocean and the beach though. If I had my pick to move anywhere I would love to live in a little coastal town somewhere like Maine. I could get my water fix and my country fix too. I’m sure most people would love to live somewhere warm all the time, and I was right there with them until we went to South Carolina for vacation last October. The weather was gorgeous, but we saw spiders that were as big as my head, and I have some severe Arachnophobia and Entomophobia, which is the fear of spiders and insects respectfully. I’m terrified of just about any creepy crawly, whether or not it is completely harmless or not. Seriously, it’s kind of sad. haha.

I do love other animals though, as long as it’s not poisonous. I would rather come across a coyote or bear in the wild rather than a snake. Even a garden snake. This cute little turtle is safe though =) This picture was taken in the Baltimore aquarium, which is pretty freaking amazing. This was my second trip, but I still feel like a little kid looking at all the animals.

The zoo is setup so cool. It even has a rain forest at the very top. I even got pooped on by an exotic bird, no lie. It was gross, but I found the nearest leaf and wiped it off. No biggie.

Seriously though, a great day to me is just wandering around looking at all the different animals. I’m such a kid. When we were at the shark tank I would actually jump when the sharks came around. They get so close and you can literally see the mega-rows of pointy teeth in their mouths. I like a little adrenaline rush, though. One idea I’ve always entertained is doing that steel cage with the sharks in the ocean. I don’t know if an adrenaline rush like that would just be a heart pumper or a heart exploder though. My luck the steel cage would sink or something. I wouldn’t want to come face to face with a super huge shark, or a hammerhead because those are creepy. One of these little sharkies wouldn’t be so bad, I don’t think. At least if you’re in a steel cage one of those little buggers isn’t going to be able to rip the front off with its teeth…I think. eeep. They don’t look that ferocious, do they?

While we were at the aquarium they allow people to swim IN the tanks with stingrays, turtles, biiiig fish (not sharks, however) When I got home I had to look up how much it was, and ooooooo my. Probably have to save my pennies for $295! for some aquarium diving. YIKES! Although it did look super super cool. I would like to try my have at real scuba diving, money more well spent rather than in an aquarium, although I wouldn’t say no if they offered =)


In any case, there is still a lot of adventurous things I would love to do before my time comes. Scuba diving is one of the top ones. I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I die back when I was..17ish? I’d like to dig that up, it’s hiding in one of my journals. That might be my project for tonight, I’ll let you in on it =) I’d like to compare it to what I have done in that 5 year span. Maybe add some new ones. I’m still young, and have a lot of living to do, I’m sure I can put a dent in that list! I’m pretty sure the first thing on my to-do list was to fall in love, I’m pretty sure I can go ahead and cross that one off my list. Then, of course, start a family. I’m not sure if I really need to “start” a family. Justin is my family, as much as my mom, dad, and brother are. He really is my family now. he’s the one I come home to, do chores with, cook with, live with.

So now I think I’m done rambling on and on. Our vacation was wonderful, Justin is amazing, dirty bong water tastes much better than any other shot ever, and I would like to be a scuba diving pirate.

One more thing I’ll leave you with, because I’m a nerd who likes to collect quotes:

Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

Erica Jong
1942-, American Author

So, I had a job interview today. Nothing special, just run of the mill office work, unfortunately my school schedule interferes too much, so no dice. That’s alright, I guess. I wasn’t sure how up for a change I really was, although it would be nice to get out of customer service. The customer is never right, don’t let them lie to you. I figure I have another year, I think I can stick it out. hopefully this time next year I will be done with my education and on to bigger and better things…like our wedding 😉

What, you thought you weren’t going to be reading about it today? pshh. It’s my new quiet obsession, just don’t tell Justin. I promised I wouldn’t obsess. It’s not like wedding stuff is the only thing I talk about in daily conversation, I think I’m a pretty level headed bride-to-be (Wow! I’m a bride-to-be!) But seriously, it’s a great thing to day dream about when I’m feeling frustrated with where I am now. I have a few ideas here and there, especially for what to do about favors and centerpieces.

Justin and I had our first kiss after hitting the bottom of a (quite large) bottle of wine. Justin called it the liquid courage he needed, haha. We’re a couple winos, so I’m trying to think of a way to incorporate wine into the wedding without making it the main beverage. One, because it would get pricey, and two, not everyone loves it as much as us. Another thing we love are candles. We probably burned through 100 candles during the winter months after we moved in in January, it was crazy. What do you get when you combine wine and candles?

I came up with an idea like this. This photo courtasy of Kaboodle.com. Basically it’s a gel candle in a wineglass. Perfect, huh? Of course I’m not going to buy them all pre-made, that would be a bit pricey. I really am dead-set on doing 80% of all the little details myself, I love being crafty and artsy, and this is the perfect opportunity to experiment. Who knows, maybe I’ll get so kick-ass at it I can start a little side business on Etsy.com, haha.
Anyway. This site gives you the run down on how to make gel candles, what you need, etc. I also want to put my own spin on things too. I will splurge to get personalized glasses, just because I’m all about personalizing…everything. ha.

This is a design I came up with through the Discountmugs.com. So far they seem to have the best prices, as well as the best glass selection and personalization selection.
Now all we need to do is pick some colors! I seriously have NO idea what I personally want to use, and I’m pretty sure as long as I don’t want to use bubblegum pink Justin won’t have any major problems. I was thinking though, since Justin’s new favorite color happens to be Orange, I thought a bright blue/light orange theme would look really awesome for an early summer wedding.
Another little touch I want to add to the candles, basically because the centerpieces will have them, are those little stone gems, like these: Kinda like the pretty fishbowl effect =) This website looks like a possibility for lots of purchasing. I’ll put the stones down at the bottom of the glass before the gel candle part. I figure to add some variety some will be blue stones/orange candle gel, and others orange stones/blue gel. If that looks awful, I’m thinking of just mixing the blue/orange stones at the bottom and using clear gel. Maybe a champaign tint…oh the possibilities! Justin’s head is going to implode when he reads this…but he’s stuck with me =) It will be great to start experimenting with everything. I probably won’t start anything too hardcore until it starts getting cold out and I don’t want to be outside anymore. Our space bedroom is going to be overflowing with a ton of wedding stuff…and I can’t wait!

You’ll also notice a new little page at the top called Wedding Randoms, I’ll start popping pictures in there documenting this whole thing from start to finish =)

And finally, in case I haven’t bored you enough, here’s what I did yesterday!

’til next time!

So, I’m a big country girl.  I also am a big country music fan.  Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of songs are geared towards growing up and wising up.

  • Montgomery Gentry – Back When I Knew It All ( I can’t believe all the answers I’ve found since back when I knew it all)
  • Brad Paisley – Letter To Me ( And I’d end by saying have no fear, these are nowhere near the best years of your life)
  • Trace Adkins – You’re Gonna Miss This (You’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna want this back.  You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast)

  • Those are the three that pop into my mind first.  They all make very goods points about being young and crazy, then old and wise.  Personally, back when I knew it all I thought an 11 o’clock bedtime was a horrible, horrible idea.  My father and I went round and round every night about quarter til and I would put up a fight like no other.  Now I would love for someone to make me go to bed at 11 every night…I might be able to get some decent sleep!

    If I could write  a letter to me, what would I tell myself?  First, at 17, I would tell myself simply not to worry so much.  Stop worrying about boys, all  those ones you cried over and worried about are simply drops at the bottom of the bucket of life.  Also, 17 is when I first saw Justin.  Sometimes I wonder what life would be like today if I simply put myself out there and struck up a friendship.  It would take two years and three failed relationships before I finally did.  The river of love sometimes flows upstream and all that.

    Finally, you’re gonna miss this.  Justin and I live in a beautiful two bedroom apartment in the outskirts of Butler in a beautiful setting and even a yard we can use along with fire pit, however that does not deter me in the slightest to future home purchasing endeavors.   Right now we’re just looking, but around this time next year we want to be seriously involved with home plans, maybe even have one picked out and purchased.  That’s a lot of dream for such a young couple, and I probably will miss our just starting out days somewhere down the line.  I know now that I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to test the waters before making such an investment with Justin, it just makes me all the more confident that this is going to last us a good long while =)

    And to make you smile on this dreary humpday, not exactly one of my own pieces of work but..

128340160283906250iiznotalcohol.jpg

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, for instance:

Wine. I’m currently searching for the perfect wine…and highly enjoying the search.
Discovering an awesome classic rock song. My latest find is Chicago’s You’re the Inspiration.
A ridiculously good book. I just finished The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Incredible.
Getting my nails done. I’m 21 and I got a pink sparkly french today, shazaam.
The weekend where I have nowhere to be and no one to impress.
Curling up on the couch with my man. He’s the best thing of all.
Taking a great picture.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.  Just give me a glass of wine to hold with my sparkly nails, while reading a book and taking a picture sitting by Justin on our couch.  Not complicated at all 😉

TGIF everyone!

I’m running in hyper speed.

I’ve admitted to myself before that I’m completely addicted to being busy. Some people would call it a workaholic, but I’m not sure that’s the case. A full calender is a happy calender for me, and I’m really not sure why.

I’ve read here and there that there is evidence to support that most women overdo it without meaning to. We’re predestined to feel the need to accomplish it all and take on more than we should. I’m not sure if that’s bologna or not, but I definitely feel it. I took on another 25 hour a week job this summer on top of my 35 hour a week job. On top of that I also decided to take another four school classes online for an extra 12 credits. That’s actually a full semester’s load of credits. Those are my major projects for this summer, two jobs and school. I don’t stop there though, I have to have plans for every single moment. Get my nails done, red a book, get laundry done, cook dinner, try to squeeze in seeing my family and friends that mostly live an hour or more away.

Work at a job I love, work at a job I hate.

It’s exhausting but sometimes I just get the biggest high from it because I’m accomplishing it. I feel like I’m not a worthwhile human being unless I’m pushing myself to the breaking point, then right before I’m about to shatter into a million pieces…I drink a glass of wine and call it a day.

This wine has the coolest name, but both Lori and I hated it. I have to admit, however, if a royal bitch were to in fact be turned into a bottle of wine, that is surely what she would taste like. 😉

This is what happens when a few winos find themselves with a bottle of wine and no cork screw:

It’s rather amazing how creative you get!

Anyway, I had an amazing weekend that ended up in buying a quad! Trailboss 325 to be specific 😉 Justin’s going to the Notary on Tuesday to get the title and whatnot transfered, so basically I could be riding by the weekend, which would be great. I’m so pumped, and I never thought I’d get a quad. It never was really my thing until I got together with Justin, now I have the bug =)

So that’s the update for the day. Great weekend, too bad tomorrow is Monday.