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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Like Butteh

I went on a pumpkin butter spree this week. Recipes via Leslie's lovely blog.

I did pumpkin honey butter and plain ol' pumpkin butter (a lot like apple butter).

Oh.my.word. They were both so good and so easy.

I even went old school on whipping...
I kept going back and forth between the two, trying to decide which I liked better.

Then I realized I should probably jar up this delicious stuff and spread the joy (before spreading my waistline).
Now a couple of little pumpkin surprises I have discovered.

From last week's pumpkin cream sandwiches, I had some leftover pumpkin and some leftover cream cheese icing. Mix that stuff together, and you've got yourself a scrumptious bagel shmear.

Stick with me on this second one. I've been doing turkey melts for lunch this week, and I decided to try using the pumpkin honey butter instead of regular. (I don't even think of making grilled cheese sandwiches or melts without butter. Sue me.) Then...I added thin slices of squash. So it's pumpkin butter slathered...er, lightly spread on the bread, pile on deli turkey, cheese, squash, and grill it for about three minutes on each side.

You'll thank me later.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wearing Wednesday: Denim Jacket


I found this Ann Taylor denim jacket at a consignment shop in Bham years ago, and I wear it all fall every fall. I love the dark color, the medium weight, and that it goes with everything. (I think I'm sensing a theme to my clothes...they're old, and I try to make them all go together! ha)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Trash Talk

Anyone else struggle with this passage during football season? :)

Banned Books Week!

Don't you just love reading something that someone else forbids? ;)

There are so many great (and some surprising) banned books out there!

I'm partial to the Harry Potter and Captain Underpants series and, of course, To Kill a Mockingbird. (Crazy, right?! This is why this week is important!)

What's your favorite banned book?

School Library Journal put together a nice list of resources. It's helpful whether you're a librarian or just looking to further educate yourself.

Expanding beyond banned for a moment...what are books (in general) good for?

Also, I wonder if any of The Atlantic's canon of technology would make the banned list?

A report on the value of academic libraries (I'll admit I'm partial)...

A new site devoted to Jane Austen and her authors...

And what's everyone thinking on Google Instant?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Things I'm Learning 1

School is going well. :) I really love my classes and the readings, but I'm still trying to adjust to the pace and to what seems like an overwhelming amount of work (that, scarily, I know will just continue to grow).

Anyway, here are some things I'm learning so far:

Participation
This is key in seminars. You have to jump in and discuss. Even when you're naturally quiet or still hold on to some residual journalistic training (observe, not participate). And even if you have to interrupt your classmates...or maybe your professor.

Time management
I still haven't quite hit my stride and gotten a good schedule going. I've been averaging about five hours of sleep each night, and that just doesn't cut it for this eight-hour girl. But the book I'm doing for my book review is 900 pages, so I feel like I should be reading it (or doing other work) all the time. Even when I'm asleep.

Sacrifices
I knew I would have to make sacrifices, but I wasn't sure what they would be. So far, they are the above-mentioned sleep, exercise, fun reading (don't expect a review anytime soon except of Cryptonomicon), and a lot of weekend activities.

Learning it all
When I was in fifth grade, I walked into my new middle school library and realized I would not, after all, be able to read every single book (a goal that had seemed realistic the previous year in elementary school). In the same way, I am realizing that I cannot research everything, despite the constant awakening to new, interesting topics. I will probably not even be able to read and research absolutely everything on the topics I'm already interested in, and that is going to have to be OK.

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend! I'm heading home to read.

Will it always be the same as we recall...

Jason and I are celebrating the sixth anniversary of our second first date today, and I'm feeling a little more nostalgic about it than usual because this is the first time that we're celebrating on the same day of the week as when we went out. Sounds corny, I know, but it seems as if we've made some kind of complete rotation or something.

The fall of 2004 was really a sweet time in our relationship. I had moved back to Tuscaloosa that summer, and we had become friends again when we were both working the morning shift at Alabama Public Radio. (We initially met and dated just a bit back in 2001. That's why we call this our second first date.)

Anyway, around mid-September I realized that I wanted to give dating another try. Because of our previous failed attempt, I thought I should get things going this time around (see, ladies, men don't always have to be the pursuers)! So I was scrambling to find something we could do where I could ask him out without really asking him out (ok, maybe there is still something a little foreign to me about being the complete initiator).

So, I suggested Theatre Tuscaloosa's production of James and the Giant Peach.

Yeah. hehheh

Jason was taken aback, I think, and was like..."I'm not really interested in seeing that...but how about we go grab lunch on Saturday instead?"

So we did. And then we watched the Bama game (on the road at Arkansas like this weekend, incidentally, but let's hope we win this one), and then we walked the quiet campus that night and talked and talked and talked and talked. And we were pretty much inseparable ever after.

So, there you go. And here's a haiku.

Six years of dating
Jason's Deli makes me smile
Full circle roll tide

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Sandwiches

I'm not gonna lie. I was a little disappointed in these guys.

They're two pumpkin cookies with cream cheese icing spread between them. In my head, that meant, "Double Doozie!" And Double Doozies hold a very special place in my heart.

But these really were cream sandwiches, and the texture threw me.

The cookies were more like bread or muffins than a harder cookie, and the icing melted on the semi-warm cookies. (It's hard because the cream cheese has to be warm enough to mix with the heavy cream and confectioner's sugar, but if I make these again, I'll refrigerate the mix before spreading.)

It's pumpkin and cream, so, obviously, it's not going to be terrible. But I think I liked last week's pumpkin bread with a plain cream cheese shmear better.

The recipe was from Martha. It's probably an older one because I subscribed to her magazine all through high school and college.
;)

Jason didn't actually try these. He's gluten-free for the time being, but he did note that they smelled yummy. (Anyone else gone gluten-free? Tips? Thoughts?)

In other news, I was so relieved to see that pumpkin is back in the stores. Both Kroger and WalMart were out this weekend, and I resorted to a Facebook shout-out for help. Was going to head to Target and Dollar General later this week, but I had to make a quick mid-week Kroger run (pet peeve, btw), and I thought I'd just check.

Rows and rows of beautiful canned pumpkin! I should have taken a picture of that. Instead, I'll leave you with a cute one of Fred, who would very much like to sample the leftover cream cheese icing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wearing Wednesday: Versatility


Don't you just love skirts that go with lots of different things?

I've worn this with turquoise, lime green, red, purple, and even brown. And it has a stretchy waist. Helpful after you've eaten pumpkin cream sandwiches {check back tomorrow for a post about those}.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Things I'm Learning {the Non-Academic Edition}

  • Driving south into Fort Worth at night...wow...what a view. You can see stars and city lights.
  • The best way to stay awake at work the day after my night class is to schedule every single minute. If I have a moment of unoccupied time, and I'm sitting down, there's a good chance I'll fall asleep. {And maybe having an extra cup or two of coffee helps as well}. ;)
  • Denton Cracker Barrel: most excellent
  • Denton Motel 6: decidedly not excellent
  • There are still places where it is acceptable to smoke indoors. What in the world?! I thought this was outlawed everywhere except bars!
  • McDonald's coffee is unbelievably better than Jason's Deli coffee. Like 10 times better.
That's it for now, but this may become a regular feature.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wearing Wednesday

This is my favoritest sweater.
I wear it every single week because:
  • it is so soft
  • i love the rugby stripes {and gray just makes me swoon}
  • i have plenty o' purple jewelry to coordinate with it
  • its sleeves are just the right length
  • it {kind of surprisingly} goes perfectly with my red flats
and...shh...it was also a freebie.

Mascara?

Ladies...any advice on what kind of mascara to use?

I was a Cover Girl Great Lash gal growing up but switched to Neutrogena at some point. Lately, I've spent some time with Aveda but switched back to CG recently. Not terribly satisfied with any of them, so I'm looking for recommendations.

{And can you tell I've been having fun with MacTiff's photo booth?}

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Thanks for all the pumpkin responses! I'm excited to continue adding recipes to the extravaganza.

Last night, I baked pumpkin bread. (For any of these, if you want the recipe, just comment or message me, and I'll be glad to send it to you.)
When the pumpkin spice latte came back a couple of weeks ago, I went a little crazy and got a slice of pumpkin bread with mine...and maybe the pumpkin cream cheese muffin the next day. Then I made the mistake of checking the nutritional info. Ouch.

The bread has almost 400 calories, and the muffin is closer to 600. That's a meal that I was treating as a snack.

So I was excited to see this week's recipe was for a lighter version of pumpkin bread that still (in the end) had the same yummy taste as Sbux. The "light" comes from whole wheat flour, fat-free plain yogurt and egg whites. Only about 150 calories/slice, and I even felt free to shmear a little low-fat cream cheese on top.

Two complaints:
  • Canned pumpkin is apparently going to be hard to find. I got one of the last two {dented...bugger} cans at Wal-Mart, and there were none to be found at Kroger. Reports of a pumpkin harvest gone bad. Stay tuned.
  • Also, it turned out a bit gooey on the inside, which I don't mind, but it bothered Jason. The toothpick came out clean, and it seemed done (not drippy, just kind of gooey). So my friend Helen {who took a cooking class, so is now an expert in my eyes} says it might have been the pumpkin causing the texture.
Otherwise, I loved it! Hmm...should I start rating these?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Pumpkin Extravaganza!

So it's no secret that I love me some pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, the Great Pumpkin, and, of course, the pumpkin spice latte.

But I'm a seasonal eater, so I have to get all of my pumpkin in from September-November (after which the Christmas eating begins). So I've been saving up pumpkin recipes since last year, and I'm going to try to do one each week from now through Thanksgiving.

Too ambitious? We'll see.

I started with the easiest...

Didn't it turn out kind of pretty, though?


Don't worry. I'm not going to do step-by-step instructions for Jello pudding. Just sum up my impressions.

It was a little odd at first. Felt kind of like eating cold pumpkin pie filling without the crust or topping. But after I got used to it, it was delicious! Fred even enjoyed his bite. :)

Have a pumpkin recipe I must try for the extravaganza? Feel free to send it along!

Back to School

So I'm officially back in school. Taking these classes:

Research Methods and Analysis (online)
Seminar in Information Sciences
Seminar in Information Issues (only once/month...coincides with the school's colloquium)

Interesting stuff so far. A good bit of reading ahead. Already thinking about research and research topics. I'll try to do a better job of summing up what I'm learning, but it all still feels very new.

Any fellow library students out there?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

When Fall Comes to Fort Worth, Texas

To me, September = Fall, so I've been listening to my autumn playlist already!

For your listening pleasure...

Ain't No Sunshine-Bill Withers
Anywhere You Go-Shawn Colvin
Bend-Shelby Lynne
Big Rock Candy Mountain-Harry McClintock {a.k.a. Tuscaloosa}
Breakfast at Tiffany's {from the movie, not the 90s song}
Call and Answer-Barenaked Ladies
Casual Viewin'-54-40
Clocks-Coldplay
Coat of Many Colors-Dolly Parton
Early Mornin'-Britney Spears
Everybody's Talkin'-Harry Nilsson
Famous Last Words-Billy Joel
Far Away-Chantal Kreviazuk
Here Nor There-Andy Stochansky
Here You Come Again-Dolly Parton {reminds me of pumpkin spice lattes}
I Found Love-The Free Design
I'll Be There for You-The Rembrandts
King of Yesterday-Jude
La Cienega Just Smiled-Ryan Adams
Letting Go-Suzy Bogguss
Love on a Rooftop-Cher {don't judge}
Melody of You-Sixpence None the Richer {if I had a "life song," this would be it.}
Moon River-from Breakfast at Tiffany's
New Version of You-JJ Abrams {what?!}
Perfect-Maren Ord
Scratch-Kendall Payne
Shadow Hill-Allison King
Spell-Allison King
Stay-Lisa Loeb
The Summer Before the War-The Full Moon Ensemble
Sweet Home Alabama-Lynrd Skynrd {yep, it's on summer and fall lists. Roll Tide.}
Tell Yourself-Natalie Merchant
Tennessee Homesick Blues-Dolly Parton
The Thanksgiving Song-Adam Sandler
When Fall Comes to New England-The Full Moon Ensemble {sigh}
When I Come Around-Green Day

What's on your fall playlist? Anything I'm missing?

The Kabalyon Key

The Kabalyon Key by Charles Westbrook

The Kabalyon Key has promise...but needs editing. A lot of editing.

It's a clever premise. A nefarious secret organization is controlling the world--taking over computers and killing world leaders, and a brilliant, yet sensitive, computer genius/government agent and his sidekicks are trying to uncover the keys to foiling the group's plot. Kind of a National Treasure meets The Da Vinci Code.

However, Westbrook goes into so much meticulous detail about the layouts of cities, history of these secret organizations and other completely random facts that it's almost impossible to follow the true plot--much less play along and try to solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, it also bugs me in novels like this when the author is describing actual events and places but doesn't really distinguish between truth and fiction. There were some obviously fictional statements that were presented as truth, and that made me question the rest of the book. Perhaps that's just my pet peeve, but I never really knew where I stood.

On a happier note, Westbrook makes good use of illustrations (most his own work) and could have done even more with these. That's an unusual thing to see in adult fiction, and I would welcome more of it!

Ultimately, though, I was lost through a huge part of the dialog, and the conclusion was unsatisfactory as well. It could be a fun story but needs a significant amount of tightening up.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Penny for your...cooperation?

I have had a sleeping-on-the-couch problem ever since I can remember. It's just so easy to doze for an hour or two (or three) before heading to bed.

Unfortunately, this habit was one of my dad's pet peeves, and he would just throw me over his shoulder and toss me into bed well into high school (as long as he could carry me anyway). :)

So one of the things I most looked forward to about growing up was sleeping on the couch whenever I wanted.

Fast forward to married life, and guess what. My sleeping on the couch is one of my husband's pet peeves as well. Isn't it ironic...don't you think?

So we compromise. I try not to fall asleep on the couch too often, and he tries not to get grumpy when I do. But the other night he got creative.

I was snoozing away on the couch, ignoring his encouragement to "just get up and go to bed already" when he dropped a penny on the floor in front of me. My eyes flew open, and I reached for it. It was just close enough that I didn't have to stand...but I was in an upright position.

Jason, an evil gleam coming into his eyes, walked towards the bedroom, dropping pennies behind him like Hansel with his breadcrumbs. Or was he more like the Pied Piper?

Either way...it worked. I'm a little ashamed to say I followed all the way to my pillow.

Jason: 1, Tiff: 5 (pennies, that is)

Friday, September 03, 2010

First Day of School

This was my very first day of school...
And this was my first day of (doctoral) school...


A few things have changed. Sadly, no Smurf lunchbox or pigtails, but you bet I still went to McD's for ice cream after class...

Read from the beginning...