Wednesday, March 30, 2011

10 Minute Fudge

I subscribe to 2 cooking magazines, does that make me a foodie? This time I decided to try a recipe from Food Network Magazine. The recipe for Microwave Fudge was part of a piece about Food Network Magazine's new book Great Easy Meals. They decided to share a few of their recipes for quick desserts. Well this was a success:

Gotta love it when it comes out looking just like the picture! I was very happy with the results. We didn't have a bowl large enough that was also microwave safe to make it in the microwave - so I melted the chocolate on the stove on low. However, I did use parchment paper and I'm glad I did. Nothing - not even scotch tape- sticks! Someone tell me why??
It's sooo sweet. Must eat slowly! Next time I want to try it with peanut butter.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Caramel Pork

Thanks to an awesome birthday present from Kristen - a subscription to Cooking Light - I made Caramel Pork for dinner tonight. The recipe was touted in the magazine for being a quick weeknight meal. Even though I made it on Sunday, the recipe didn't lie. It took exactly 40 minutes to make.

I did make a few substitutions - for the caramel sauce, I used light brown sugar, powdered ginger instead of fresh and omitted the red pepper and anchovies.
For the rice, I used jasmine rice, broccoli instead of peas and balsamic instead of rice vinegar.
It came together easily and the end result was a light and tasty meal. I will admit my rice was mushy - fail! I didn't quite have the 3/4 cup of rice needed so I used too much water. Luckily, Brandon didn't seem to mind but my mid-eastern palate was bummed :( The pork was tender was the sauce was sweet. Time for dessert!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fat Patties

Last night Brandon and I ate at Fat Patties on the strip in Carbondale. Is anyone watching America's Next Great Restaurant? Fat Patty reminds me a heck of a lot of the "Saucy Balls" grandma, lol.

It was our first time there. The menu was on a chalkboard and you order at the counter. They have a fairly simple menu, but a few specialty burgers, sides and desserts. It was similar to a Five Guys experience minus all the peanuts.

I asked what their best seller was and they said the basic burger. So Brandon and I ordered cheeseburgers accordingly. His was American cheese with a fried egg and mine was Swiss. Our meal of 2 burgers and one order of fries was just $9.95.
Gotta love grill marks
Nom nom
Brandon said the fries (not pictured) were the best he's ever had - because he would even eat them without ketchup. I loved that they were sliced thin and whatever oil they used to cook them was good. The only negative was that the burgers are grilled in the front and there seems to be a lack of ventilation. I left feeling a little greasy. Also, Brandon picked up on the fact that the owner Lance Jack was running for city council. Lots of his signs were hanging in the windows.

All-in-all a satisfying experience. We will definitely go back!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gas is $3.69

Help! Where's the cheapest place to get gas in Carbondale?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tonight's Dinner

was mmm mmm good. During my lunch hour, I came home and prepared Slow Cooker Lasagna. Then, when I got home from the gym I prepared a caesar salad and garlic bread. The lasagna ended up burnt around the edges - the recipe said to cook for 4-6 hours and I left it in for more like 7, so I think that's where I went wrong. But there were plenty of tender and gooey pieces left in the middle. I think next time I'll just buy it frozen though to save me from all the cooking.

The garlic bread was a winner:
As was the caesar dressing:

And Brandon brought home Blizzards from DQ! (I had Snickers he had cookie dough)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Brandon's Back

Brandon is back from his week-long Spring Break trip to Florida. While it was a little lonley being out here all by myself I also had a chance to relax and engage in some Secret Single Behavior. As Carrie from Sex in the City described as the things that we do alone that we would never do in front of any guy:

1. Using the entire floor as one big shelf - as in nothing ever gets put back where it belongs
2. Eating poorly - lots of fast food and  ice cream eaten out of the container
3. Watching trashy television - anything on TLC and Lifetime
4. Staying up way past my bedtime - I blame the computer

Brandon made it back yesterday afternoon and by that night we were off to a Key Club District Banquet. We went over to Murphysboro High School where the MHS Key Club was hosting members of the Kiwanis Family including the I-I Kiwanis, CKI and Key Club Governors.
Dinner was chicken alfredo, ham, mashed potatoes and corn. Salad, bread rolls and an impressive dessert table were also included. And we can't forget the lemonade - which Brandon claims to have added to the menu during his year as Key Club President.
Because the CKI governor wasn't in attendance, Brandon was called up to give a report on CKI. He did a great job!
 This evening we're going to St. Louis to enjoy the city and then pick up Jarrod from the airport.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On My Mind

Just a few thoughts tonight:

- I brought in some St. Patrick's Day buttons to share with my co-workers. I left them in the break room secretly.

- I like that when I am entering my address online, I can always scroll down to "Illinois" a lot faster than "Virginia"

- I have a co-worker who calls me "Virginia." He thinks he's teasing me but I like it.

- I am terrified of teeny planes yet I live next to their airport! This crash happened just last week. 

- During the day my windows are covered in ladybugs. Is there a spray or something that will keep them away?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Is It Just Me ...

... or does WSIL reporter Jeff Stensland have strabismus (a wonky eye)?
This would never be tolerated on WJLA!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bowl for Kids Sake

Check out my snazzy black and orange bowling shoes! Today I went up to DuQuoin to participate in the Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser at Ten Pin Alley. Check out the the Murphysboro Kiwanis team:
Me, Bob, Pam and Wesley, Phil
Don't ya love my Kiwanis bowling shirt? I borrowed it from Brandon. Our team raised over $800 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County.

Where I Sleep

Did you know that Linens n Things still exists? It does online at

Brandon talked me into buying a down comforter for our bed. At first I didn't think we needed it but after feeling the down I became a believer! We found one on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond. Our next search was for a duvet cover to protect and add color. Turns out duvet covers are more expensive than our comforter. That was kind of a bummer. So we searched and searched. Finally we pulled the trigger on this duvet cover set. Here's how it looks in our bedroom:
Yeah, its shiny, haha. But we decided that for $20 we could live with it :) It keeps the comforter in place and it feels good. Next on the list is some decoration for the walls. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Job

I thought it was time to introduce you to my place of employment - Marion Eye Center. I work at the office in Carbondale as a technician - the eye doctor's assistant. So, when you come in, you check in with the front desk and then I bring you back to check your vision, look at your pupils and give you eye drops if you need them. I also perform other tests like OCT and visual fields and in my down time I file charts and answer the phone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I've become my father ...

... when I go to the gym, I spend more time in the shower than working out. Haha!

I have been a member of Gold's Gym in Carbondale for about 3 weeks now. The gym first caught my eye because we live just down the road from it. It is also in the shopping center next to work. Convenience is key! And since my commute has been cut from 40 minutes each way (on a good day in DC) to 5 minutes here in Carbondale, I figure I should use the extra time wisely. As an added bonus, Brandon and I motivate each other to exercise (he goes to the student rec center).

I also considered joining the Rec, which has a pool and tons of classes, but it is on the other side of town. I think what made my decision was my familiarity with Gold's. I was a member of Gold's on Leesburg Pike back in VA. Also, when I went to sign-up the Sales Manager told me he lived in Maryland and Richmond and just recently moved back to Southern Illinois.

Gold's Carbondale has high ceilings and an open layout (it was once a Kroger grocery store). There are ample aerobic machines and of course plenty of weights. The women's locker room is modern and spacious. However, there is still an unfinished space where the sauna will go. I really enjoy the showers which is why I end up spending a lot of time there. The shower in our aparatment has a super low shower head (even I have to duck)  and the hot water only lasts about 5 mins. And if you know me, you know I like my showers scalding hot!

There is one other Gold's in Southern Illinois and it is in Marion. I checked it out just once but it was older and smaller. The purple and green color scheme is not good! Word is out that they are looking for a new location so they can renovate. Occasionally I may work in Marion so I may try it again. 

I'm really happy with the group fitness classes. So far I've taken BodyFlow and Zumba. I also made a friend through the Southern IL Ladies group who goes there. Do you have any workout tips? Got to keep working on my beach bod :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quote of the Day

"What did you say your name was?"
"You make that up?"

- an exchange between me and a patient at work