Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Day After Yahtzee

So last night was my turn to host Yahtzee (see my post explaining this monthly gathering here). Now, in case I haven't mentioned it before and if you're new around these parts, I am NOT the cook in my household. Fortunately I married a guy who loves to cook and is good at it so I'm off the hook most of the time. When I host Yahtzee I usually have an array of cheese and crackers, taco dip, and a go-to dessert that is super easy. For this month's venture I decided to step outside my comfort zone and make a bunch of (still easy) food that I had never made before.

I have a bit of an addiction to fun cocktail napkins.

My drinks of choice were boxed wine, Miller Light for Amy and a sangria slush (which didn't go over that well and why should it, since it's February and it's flipping cold outside).

With as blurry as this pic is, you'd think I took it at the end of the night. But I hadn't even had any wine yet.
The glass was a Christmas gift from my mom. I love it.

I made items that I either saw on Pinterest, or found elsewhere but they're now all pinned to my board. I made a black bean hummus (my first attempt at hummus and it won't be my last - delicious), broccoli cheese bites (in which my broccoli wasn't chopped small enough but they were still tasty), a warm blue cheese and bacon dip (described as "crack in a bowl;" I strongly recommend doubling or tripling this recipe), pizza quesadillas (which I didn't execute super well but I'd try them again) and double delicious bars.

I made the hummus Tuesday night and the double delicious bars Gwensday morning before work. Funny story: when I bought stuff for Yahtzee I did not get chocolate chips because I was certain that we had at least a bag and a half. But sure enough, after I'd crushed graham crackers and I had butter melting, I realized that there wasn't a chocolate chip to be found in the pantry. I also needed some cheap red wine for the sangria slush. So off I went to Kroger at 7:15 am looking like hell because I hadn't showered yet to get two bags of chocolate chips and a big bottle of Gato Negro Merlot. Luckily I live in a 'hood in which that probably wasn't unusual, although the cashier did give me a bit of a once over. Don't judge me.

As always, it was a fun night of laughter and catching up. I took a preemptive tactic against the Yahtzee flu by scheduling today off, and then I just decided to take Friday off as well. You can reach me on the couch in front of the fire catching up on Pretty Little Liars and whatever else I can fit in.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sorry I'm Not Sorry

Happy Gwensday! Today I'm linking up with Staci at High Cotton Blog (and three other ladies whom I don't know yet) for "Sorry I'm Not Sorry," in which I tell you about something that I'll never apologize for. So here it is.

I'm not sorry that I'm NOT one of those people who "can't sit still." If you can follow the double negative there, maybe you'll call me lazy. Whatevs. 

I bought this sign in Florida. It sums me up perfectly. Of course, I bought it in November; it's now almost March and the sign is still just laying around my messy desk at home.

I'm a champion napper, TV watcher, book reader, lie around and do nothing-er. I love beach vacations because I don't feel like I have to do anything. I'm also a huge procrastinator and when the time comes that I must get things done, I can be a whirling dervish. I'm sure my life would be easier if I just took care of things as they happened, but I've never been that way and probably never will. 

Aaron used to be one who could not sit still; he had to always be moving. He's still that way somewhat, but 21 years of being married to me has brought him a bit to the dark side, and he'll have his lazy days. I know that my habits drive him nuts, and vice versa. Opposites attract, says Paula Abdul.

I'm also not sorry that today is my Friday. I'm giving myself a 4-day weekend and I'm not even going anywhere.

What are you not sorry about?

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars: My 3 1/2 hour run-on sentence

Kidding! If you know me you know that it would drive me crazy to do that. But I did blog while watching. Some of this might not make sense but I just went with it.


"And the quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now".... and it worked! I'm not sure I've ever heard Seth MacFarlane's real voice.

"Why couldn't they just get Tina and Amy to host?" Well, I think they should host someday but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Oo, I'm liking this dance with Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron, but spats? Really? (I know they're part of the costume but still.)

Joseph Gordon Levitt, you're not classically attractive but I really enjoy you.

"I've got a bottle of wine and some Boniva" - Sally Field, good for you!

Octavia Spencer looks lovely! I think supporting actor is the toughest call. I need to watch The Master because Phillip Seymour Hoffman is so good in everything. Yay, Christoph! Yay, Django! Quentin Tarantino, tighten your tie, dude. Good speech and not too long.

I love you, Melissa McCarthy but I'm not liking that hair or the color of your dress. Bummer. And this exchange with Paul Rudd isn't going that well. Every year Aaron and I say we want to see the animated and live action short films, and there's a theater in Columbus that shows them, but clearly we haven't gotten there. Yay, Brave! (That's the only one of the animated films that I saw, and I love me a heroine with curly red hair.) Love the kilt.

Reese Witherspoon looks gorgy, and bitch just had a baby. Someone got the wrong camera cue when they showed the cast of Silver Linings Playbook as she talked about Beasts of the Southern Wild.

I didn't see The Avengers but very fun to see all these guys. And who else but Samuel L. Jackson could pull off the velvet smoking jacket (but pick one, velvet jacket or silk shirt, not both). This cinematography dude has some serious hair and I love that he was all overwhelmed by winning. Clearly Life of Pi will win all the technical awards. Again, didn't see it but I'm sure that it was a boring visually spectacular film. Aaaaand, our first play off ... with the Jaws theme!

Jennifer Aniston, I love you and I love your dress. And I'm glad Channing lost the spats. I didn't see Anna Karenina but I figured it would win for costumes. Now, don't talk too long. She seems like she knows what she's doing and she's already done. Good job. Yay, Les Misérables for makeup and hair! OMG, that woman is wearing hot pink tights. And see? Two women still manage to give their speeches quickly.

I'd totally do Halle Berry. She's too beautiful. We really need to see Skyfall. Oo, Shirley Bassey! Appropriately wearing gold and looking and sounding good!

Kerry Washington looks stunning as always. I'm ready for some more acting awards please.

Every time I see Liam Neeson I'm sad about Natasha Richardson. I'm liking that they're showing three nominated films together.

"150 years and it's still too soon?" Apparently so.

Apparently we need to see Searching for Sugar Man.

And in one of the least surprising moments of the night, until DDL wins for lead actor, Amour wins foreign language film.

The orchestra isn't even in the building? What a rip off.

Salute to movie musicals!!! And this confirms that there's something wrong with the sound because the remote orchestra often drowns out CZJ. But here comes JHud. If they drown HER out, there's really something wrong. Yep. The balance is off. But damn, girlfriend, you rock the house! Standing O! Ah, Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Redmayne and their battling vibratos. Samantha Barks looks stunning, and she was a great Eponine.

OK, blah blah blah creative and technical awards.

Marky Mark and Ted. I guess we knew that was coming. A tie? Wow! Did this guy get lipstick on his face? Oh well, I'm sure he doesn't care. A win for Skyfall!

Sound of Music jokes! Christopher Plummer can only mean one thing: Anne Hathaway is about to get onstage. I love Jacki Weaver's earrings. And here comes Anne. It might be good that Amy Adams didn't win because I don't know how she's get that dress up the stairs (although I love the dress).

Not sure how I feel about Sandy Bullock's dress but I love her anyway.

I love the fullness of JLaw's dress. She looks like a princess, but nervous. Adele, thank you for sticking to black as opposed to the grandma's wallpaper dress you wore to the Grammys. Love the shoes, the hair, the makeup. But again, the damn orchestra is too loud.

Yay, Nicole Kidman isn't wearing something that matches her skin tone.

I just cannot like Kristen Stewart, going all the way back to when she played Jodie Foster's son daughter in Panic Room.

Interesting dress choice, Salma Hayek. I kind of like it.

Clooney does the In Memoriam intro. The past couple years, they've had someone sing live behind this but not this year, which I guess is good since we wouldn't be able to hear the singer anyway. Aw, Jack Klugman. Quincy was one of my faves. Oh wait, OMG it's BARBRA STREISAND with a Marvin Hamlisch tribute! And remarkably, the music isn't overwhelming her. I mean, they wouldn't dare, right?

It's the Chicago cast. Gold is definitely the color of the night. Renee Zellweger is almost unrecognizable. I want John Williams to win for Lincoln; his scores are just so "Americana" to me. But no, it goes to Life of Pi. I'm starting to get worried that Best Picture may go to a movie I didn't see.

Time for Best Original Song. WTF is Chasing Ice? And that's ScarJo singing it? She's not bad. Ooo, Norah Jones! I don't go to a ton of concerts but I've seen her twice. And AGAIN I can't HEAR her!

Where did Charlize's hair go? Regardless, she's freakin' gorgeous. Dustin Hoffman looks like he's her version of Quvenzhané's puppy purse. And speaking of little Q, how cute was she? Anyway, we're doing screenplays. Adapted goes to Argo! Now original... oh, I'd like Django to win but I also really liked Moonrise Kingdom and would like it to get some love. OK, it's Django - cool. Some people might think that his tie is wonky because it's so late in the show, but no, it was like that at the BEGINNING.

Jane Fonda - cool canary yellow dress; Michael Douglas looking old. Best Director: NOT Spielberg. It's Ang Lee. Now I am concerned.

"Will it be Emmanuelle Riva, who was 9 when this show started?" Note to hosts: if you don't tell half of your length of the show jokes, the show won't be as long.

For Best Actress - I wish I had seen The Impossible (and I will) because I think Naomi Watts might really be deserving of this. But I am a big JLaw fan so I'm cool with it. Oops, she fell! She didn't just trip, she fell. She plays it off well, but I hope her dress doesn't come down any more. [Note: in her post-win interview with GMA, Jack Nicholson came over to say hi to her and she acted totally cool, but when he left she freaked out. I heart her.]

There's Meryl Streep in this year's frumpy gown of choice.  Just because you bedazzle it doesn't make it Oscar worthy.  Please tell me she opened the envelope. I mean, we all know DDL is going to win but still. He's got lipstick on his cheek, which has become the accessory of the evening. OK, hilarious joke about playing Margaret Thatcher. Have they ever worked together? They should.

Jack Nicholson to present Best Picture. Cool. OMG, Michelle! How freakin' great. And it's ARGO! Yay! OK, I love Ben. He's so nervous and flustered and excited, but then he calms down. Great speech.

Um, this "goodbye" with Kristen Chenoweth is unnecessary.

Bottom line. For me, while a good host can make the show better, a not-as-good host doesn't detract from the show. Hell, even when James Franco blankly stared his way through a couple years ago, I still enjoyed the show. MacFarlane had some good moments, and who knew he could sing and dance? He also had some not great moments and I'll just leave it at that. I really loved that they did so much with music but obviously I had an issue with the balance of orchestra vs. singer. Still, JHud, Babs, Shirley Bassey? Wow. Way cool.

And with that, I'm off to bed.

The Gila

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And the Oscar goes to...

Let me be clear: I know that it's nuts to judge movies and actors and directors and to try to determine that one is better than another when they're all so different. But I love the Oscars. I have no interest in going to an Oscar party, or hosting an Oscar party. I watch them at home and I'm very serious about it. Every year I make an effort to see all of the Best Picture nominees, although the last time I managed that was for the 2007 awards (presented in 2008) when No Country for Old Men won, and really the only reason I got them all in was because I went to AMC Theatres Best Picture Showcase, in which they showed all the nominated films in one day. Now that there can be up to 10 nominated films, they still do the showcase but  it's split over two Saturdays and in the immortal words of Sweet Brown, "ain't nobody got time for that."

Two years ago, I made a valiant effort and saw eight of the ten films. This year I saw seven of the nine nominees. Aaron plays along and tries to see most of them with me, but he's also usually asleep well before the Best Picture is announced, so he's clearly not as devoted as I am.

Amour - I didn't see this one. I just know it's heartbreaking and I'm sure it's wonderfully done. I'll probably watch it someday, but I promise that Aaron never will. He won't see any movie that's "scary or sad."

Argo - I thought this movie was brilliant. It balanced levity and intensity. It had me on the edge of my seat and had me questioning whether or not they'd get out, even though I had just read an interview with the real dude played by Ben Affleck. To me, that's film making. And yes, I'm bitter that Ben didn't get a nomination.

Beasts of the Southern Wild - My God, was this movie depressing. But Quvenzhané Wallis was fierce and while she won't win for Best Actress, she deserves the nomination.

Django Unchained - I do enjoy Quentin Tarantino movies and this was no exception. In fact, it's probably my #2 fave of his after Pulp Fiction. There were definitely some disturbing scenes to watch, and it was probably longer than it needed to be, but Aaron and I both really liked it. Christoph Waltz was outstanding, and I think Jamie Foxx should have gotten a nomination. Hell, Joaquin Phoenix doesn't care about awards anyway so just boot him out (but I admit I haven't seen The Master so I can't really comment on his performance).

Les Misérables - A lot has been made of the fact that the actors sang live and it really did make all the difference. I thought the movie was well done and I didn't think I'd cry at the end but I did. There were some powerful scenes, but I also felt like some of it didn't translate well from stage to screen, particularly transitions between scenes. Still, it's worthy of its nomination. And I know some people don't agree with this but Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were perfect as the Thénardiers.

Life of Pi - Didn't see it. Really don't have a desire to see it. Sorry I'm not sorry about that.

Lincoln - Um, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field? Yes, please. Of course it's genius. After much deliberation, Aaron decided this was his favorite (with Django a close second).

Silver Linings Playbook - This is "a movie." It's not a spectacle, it's not based on a true story, but it's an actor's movie. And the acting was stellar. Bradley Cooper (who, by the way, still has time to fly me out there to be his date) proved he's for real and not just a pretty face. Jacki Weaver and Robert DeNiro showed the ranges of emotion as parents dealing with their son's mental illness. And Jennifer Lawrence made me like what could have been an unlikable character.

Zero Dark Thirty - Kathryn Bigelow was robbed almost as badly as Ben Affleck. I liked this movie, but was thrown off by Andy Dwyer Chris Pratt as the head of the team that got bin Laden. I thought Jessica Chastain was fantastic, but I hated the last scene of the movie. I love that Coach Taylor Kyle Chandler was in two nominated movies, this one and Argo. The raid scene was intense, but annoyingly dark.

I think Lincoln is deserving of the win, but I'm rooting for Argo. 

In the other major races, I'm going with:
  • Steven Spielberg for director
  • Daniel Day-Lewis for lead actor (duh)
  • Jennifer Lawrence for lead actress (although I wish I had seen The Impossible because I'm thinking Naomi Watts was amazing)
  • Christoph Waltz for supporting actor (this is a tough category but I'm picking Waltz to give some love to Django)
  • Anne Hathaway for supporting actress (she really was devastating as Fantine)

So I'm not going out on a limb at all, but trying to spread the wealth.

I'm hopeful that Seth MacFarlane doesn't bomb as host. It's a tough gig, to be sure, and I'm a huge Billy Crystal-as-Oscar-host fan so I tend to compare all other hosts to him.

Check back Monday for my in-the-moment thoughts on the show.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Belated Valentine

Aaron and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day, but every year we receive two Valentine's cards in the mail: one from my mom and the other from Wittenberg University, where we met as teenagers. This year the Witt card didn't arrive until yesterday, and we were relieved to get it. There's always a story inside about a Witt couple; maybe someday we'll be the story. 

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Linking up with Shanna

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wrapping Up The (non 3-day) Weekend

Yes, I'm a tad bitter that I don't have today off, but here's a peek at what I did over the weekend.

Friday was a bit of a bust because I wasn't feeling well, though we did get in a little neighbor time.

Saturday morning we had rehearsal for this:

We went to Brazenhead for burgers with friends. In the afternoon I watched some TV, including Heart and Souls, which is one of those chick flicks that I love. I mean, come on: RDJ, Mrs. Kevin Bacon and Alfre Woodard? I cry at the end every time. I also watched The Vow, during which I may have dozed off, but finished watching later.

And I painted my nails:

All by OPI: Lincoln Park After Dark, Planks A Lot (on ring finger),
all topped off by Silver Shatter

Saturday night was the 4th Annual Neighborhood Chili Cook Off, hosted by Angie and Eric. We did not enter this year, but there were some fantastic chilis, including a vegan one that I would not have known was vegan and a chicken curry chili (which won Most Unique) and a buffalo chicken chili (my fave, but it didn't win).

The winners! Apologies for demon eyes.

Sunday morning was the Winter Song worship referenced above. Then we went to see Silver Linings Playbook, and I took a wee nap. Aaron made chicken parmesan for dinner and we watched a little TV before falling asleep early.

And now it's Monday and back to work. The sun is shining even though it's chilly, so there's that.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Friday, February 15, 2013

Finally Friday

I thought Friday might never arrive. Here's how tired I've been this week.

Every morning one of us (usually Aaron) gets up and makes coffee. Sometimes he'll make my mug for me but sometimes he's up way earlier than I am so I'll go downstairs and make mine. I like my coffee with half & half and cinnamon. On Gwensday morning I opened up the pantry and put cinnamon in the coffee. Or not.

It was bound to happen. Our pantry is in no way Sleeping With The Enemy organized, but most of the spices are in alphabetical order. After I took a sip of coffee I knew something was wrong.

That's right. I had put coriander in my coffee.

I guess it could have been cayenne pepper...

Happy Weekend!

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

 Linking up with Paula

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fat Thursday

Forget Fat Tuesday. 
Based on my horrible eating habits today, I've declared it to be Fat Thursday.
 Blame it on the crazy busy week, whirlwind houseguests last night, work stress, 
no food in the kitchen... Take your pick.

I'm also suffering from the February Blahs. I get this way every year, and you know what I almost always end up doing? Shopping. Today at lunchtime I went to Target. Danger, Danger! 
I didn't go crazy with spending (like I usually do) but here's what I got to cheer myself up.

Cowl neck top | Layering tank (not online, $9.00) | Skirt

I already have cardigans to go with each outfit (sorry about the picture quality, or lack thereof):

And, inspired by Shanna's post about camo, I got these, but not to wear with the above:

Oh, Friday, I can see you....

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Gwensday

Hmmmm, that title may be sacrilegious, but I'll be going to church later so hopefully I'll be forgiven.

This is one of "those" weeks. Not as nuts as the two week stretch in December, but here it is.

Sunday 2/10 - Sang at two church services, went out for lunch, then had a three hour symphony chorus rehearsal.

Tuesday 2/12 - Symphony chorus rehearsal (2 1/2 hours)

Today 2/13 - Rehearse at 6:00, Ash Wednesday service at 7:30

Thursday 2/14 - Church choir rehearsal (2 hours)

Saturday 2/16 - Church choir rehearsal in the morning (2-ish hours); Neighborhood chili cook-off at night!

Sunday 2/17 - Two church services with a LOT of singing.

And work, of course.

I'm tired already.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

PS - The 40/40 Challenge starts today!

Linking up with Shanna

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And a little child shall lead them...

Remember the book "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum? Even if you didn't read the book I'm sure you've seen the list which includes things like "Share everything. Play Fair. Say you're SORRY when you hurt somebody." and so on.

Last week two of my friends posted things on Facebook that young children in their lives said and they are so remarkably similar that I couldn't not talk about it. These friends of mine don't know each other at all.

Friend A has a six-year-old niece who has lived in Japan most of her life but is currently in the United States. She wrote this: "[my niece] suddenly says "No more Racism!" and just as I am wondering where that came from, starts telling me about Rosa Parks and how she was friends with Martin Luther King. She tells me with a lot of concern in her voice about how there were water fountains for whites and a separate one for others. She is learning a lot here in the US... lots of big words and big concepts. Her school class is a very mixed group of races so she can see the results of Rosa Parks and MLK's actions..."

Friend B has a five-year-old daughter who said "Some laws are good. I mean, like that speed limit thing. But some laws are bad. Like when white people went to white schools and black people went to black schools. I would be sooooo mad if we still had that bad law. And if I grow up and I love a girl, I think I should be able to marry her. That's a bad law. I mean it. Why do people make bad laws?"

As grown-ups, we make things so much more complicated than they need to be. And I'm reminded again that racism (or any kind of -ism) is not intrinsic. It's learned.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rainy Days and Mondays

As I write this, it's Sunday night. I'm already NOT looking forward to going to work in the morning, and it's raining and cold outside. My friend Candy wrote a blog post over the weekend about some of her favorite sunny day songs, and I have a sunny day playlist, which I'll do in a future post. Today I present to you my Rain playlist, which I pulled together a couple years ago when it seemed that the whole month of April was full of rain.

"Here Comes the Rain Again" - Eurythmics

"Every Time It Rains" - Charlotte Martin

"Storm Comin'" - The Wailin' Jennys (If you've not heard this trio, check them out below. I'm a little addicted to this song.)

"Cue the Rain" - Queen Latifah

"Raindrops Will Fall" - Tamyra Gray (While I'm cool with Kelly Clarkson, I'm still bitter that Tamyra got the boot so early in the first season of American Idol. I would have loved a finale between those two.)

"Set Fire to the Rain" - Adele (This might come off the list just because it's overplayed now, but I do still like it.)

"Don't Rain on My Parade" - the Glee Cast version, which really means Lea Michelle

"Kiss the Rain" - Billie Myers (below)

"I Love a Rainy Night" - Eddie Rabbitt. This takes me back to junior high days.

"Only Happy When It Rains" - Garbage

"Laughter In The Rain" - Neil Sedaka

"Rain King" - Counting Crows

"Let The Rain" - Sara Bareilles

"No Rain" - Blind Melon. I love the Bee Girl.

"Purple Rain" - Prince. Duh. By the way, Purple Rain was the theme of my senior prom.

"Shadows In The Rain" - Sting

Do you have any favorite "rain" songs?

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Faves #3

Some of my favorite things of the past week:

  1. The best picture of the week, my sweet girl Clover, which is now the wallpaper on my phone.
  2. I painted my nails for the first time in quite a while. It's Essie, but I don't know the name because the sticker came off.
  3. We let another stray kitty stay in our garage for a few nights. I took her to get spayed and tested today and I think she's finding her forever home ... with my mom! Tentative name is Coco.
  4. I finally organized my Google Reader into folders, thanks to Helene's tutorial. For now I have Real Life Friends' Blogs, Must Reads, Second Tier (which I guess is really Third Tier) and When I'm Bored.
  5. Touch returns tonight. I love me some Kiefer Sutherland. This role is way different than 24, but I still like it and if anyone threatens his kid, a little inner Jack Bauer comes out.

Stay tuned and have a wonderful weekend!

The Gila

Linking up with Paula and also Rebecca, Chrissy and Tiffany.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

40/40 Challenge 2013

Logo for last year designed by one of the participants.

About a year ago I was invited to participate in an exercise challenge called 40/40. My friend Rose and two of her friends started this (I'm not sure how long ago) as a twist on "giving up ______ for Lent." Rather than give up something, how about committing to exercise for 40 minutes a day for the 40 days of Lent?

In the Christian tradition, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (or, the day after Mardi Gras if that's how you roll) and goes until Easter. Technically it's 46 days, but Sundays don't count, thus 40 days. For the purposes of this challenge, Sundays don't count either, although you're certainly welcome to exercise that day as well.

Rose is very athletic and runs a lot. I fall into neither of those categories. She also lives in Arizona so us Northern folks can be jealous right about now. Anyway, the idea of this isn't to run everyday; it's just to MOVE.

There's a Facebook page for this group; it's a private page, but I have connections. If you're interested, leave a comment or shoot me an email at It's a great group of people from all over who inspire and encourage each other. I'm doing this again to keep up the momentum in my weight loss journey. Are you in?

And now, for your entertainment, a couple pictures of Rose and me from high school days (keep in mind this was the 80's).

That's me (in a bizarre and unflattering pose) and Rose.

A toast! Me, Maret, Rose, Stacey

Stay Tuned and Keep Moving,

The Gila

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Stop #9 - Tasi Cafe

One of our restaurant odyssey "rules" is that the restaurant be on High Street, or visible from High Street. This is what I call the L'Antibes rule, which you'll understand later in our tour. Tasi is one of those that's visible from High Street (barely). It's tucked away on Pearl Alley in a space that was once Pistachio Bakery, though Tasi has been there a little over five years now.

"Tasi" is Tasi Rigsby, wife of Kent Rigsby, and together they own this cafe, Rigsby's Kitchen (soon to make an appearance in this blog) and Eleni-Christina Bakery. Tasi Cafe serves breakfast all day and they have a lunch menu as well. We went on a Saturday morning for breakfast.

It's not a huge space, but there are several tables in a variety of sizes. When we first arrived we were able to order at the counter right away and there was a 4-top table available. While we were there it got pretty crowded; we were able to move to a 2-top to allow a family of three to have our table.

I ordered the poached eggs with black bean cake and jalapeño butter sauce (left) and Aaron ordered the Greek scrambled eggs. Both came with a side of sourdough which was rustic and delicious, crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside.

When I cut into my eggs I discovered this:

The yolks were cooked hard. Now by this point the place was hopping busy and nothing tasted bad so I intended to eat it, but I was somewhat disappointed. But then the server came over and said that the chef was unhappy with the poaching of the eggs so he re-did them without my ever mentioning anything. Two thumbs up for this kind of service!

New eggs, more jalapeño butter sauce, much better!
The black bean cake was spicy and provided a good balance with the eggs. Aaron also thoroughly enjoyed his Greek scrambled eggs. I'm not sure what the seasoning was on those, but it made the dish. Aaron declared "this is the first time I wish we didn't have to wait to come back." But as we know, it's not the first time he said that, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

By the time we left, this is what it looked like from the door:

Note to the two guys who were at their table before we sat down, and still there when we left, long after they had eaten their food: not cool, dudes.

Coming next week: Betty's Fine Food and Spirits.

Stay Tuned,

Spidey and The Gila

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Polenta Casserole Recipe, and Makeup Brush Storage Update

A couple weeks ago I posted this picture and had some requests for the recipe. Since I clearly didn't make it (Aaron did) I had to find said recipe, but here it is at last.

Rustic Sausage and Spinach Polenta Casserole

5 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c instant polenta (They're very specific about using INSTANT polenta.)
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 medium garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
8 oz spinach, chopped coarse
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley leaves

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees with oven rack in middle position
  2. For the Polenta: Combine the water, polenta and 1 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl, cover and microwave on high power until most of the water is absorbed, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir thoroughly, then continue to microwave, uncovered, until creamy and fully cooked, 1 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in Parmesan, butter, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm, set aside.
  3. For the Topping: Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat into large chunks with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes with juice, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Smooth the cooked polenta evenly into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Spoon the sausage mixture on top and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  6. Bake until polenta is heated through and cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley and serve.

This recipe came from The Best One-Dish Suppers by the editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. We've been subscribing to Cook's Illustrated for years and Aaron gets a lot of recipes from them. This book has a lot of great recipes (the chicken pot pie on the cover is delicious!) and you can get it from Amazon.

Click on picture to go to Amazon

Last week I posted step one of getting myself organized beginning with the bathroom drawer. I mentioned that I still wanted to do something with my makeup brushes and Steph at Life According to Steph suggested doing something that's been all over Pinterest. Well, I'm not as prolific with my Pinterest account as some of my friends so I didn't even know what she meant. So I did a search and found this:

From Pinterest via The Home Daybook

Wouldn't you know, I happened to have a rectangular vase and decorative stones and they were doing NOTHING. We bought the vase at Ikea because it was cool but we've never really put anything in it. We do use the stones if we have fresh flowers, but that doesn't happen all that often either, mostly because our cats like to snack on fresh flowers.

So here's the final result:

My vase is a lot bigger than the ones I saw on Pinterest, but I also have this handy dandy windowsill that fit perfectly so I'm not taking up tons of counter space.

There you have it. I actually did a DIY project! Yeah, yeah, I know it's not much, but for me it's huge.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila

Linking up with Helene and Emily:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monthly Measures #1

I'm joining up with Nicole for her Monthly Measures. The first Monday of every month I'll be posting something related to health/fitness/weight loss. Back in November I embarked on a new weight loss journey; I even thought about doing a separate blog about it, even if just for myself. But I like this idea of checking in on a monthly basis, making myself accountable, and hopefully encouraging others along the way.

Since mid-November I've changed my eating habits. I don't deprive myself of something if I want to eat it (on Saturday I really wanted pizza so we ordered one, and it was delicious and I don't regret it one bit) but I am making smarter choices and doing much better at portion control. In 12 weeks I've lost 14 pounds. I'm happy with that. I'm not looking for a quick fix that will eventually backfire. I'm not quite ready to give you numbers as to how much I weigh, but suffice it to say that I still have a ways to go.

One of the things I've been making sure I do is eat breakfast. It might only be a protein bar, but I try to make sure I eat something that's balanced. To help me stay on track with this, I downloaded an app to my iPhone called Commit ($2.99). It helps remind you to do something (anything you want) every day. Right now my only one is eating breakfast. I once had flossing in there but that didn't stick...yet. I have it set to ask me every day at 10:00 am if I've had breakfast, and at the bottom is a visual guide to tell me how many days in a row I've done it.

Today made 62 days in a row!

I try to switch up my breakfasts so I don't get bored: eggs, oatmeal, protein bar. I also have a new favorite smoothie, which I found at Green Plate Rule. Here's a link to the original recipe:

It calls for almond milk, almond butter, blueberries, greens (I use spinach) and chia seeds. I haven't tried chia seeds yet, but I already have ground flax seeds so I use that instead. I also add whey protein powder, vanilla flavored. And lately I've changed it up a little more by substituting lemon flavored fish oil for the almond butter, making it a blueberry-lemon smoothie. I just love the combination of blueberries and lemons - so refreshing!

Here's the fish oil supplement I'm using. I get the lemon zest flavor, but I'm looking forward to trying other flavors as well. You can by it from the Barlean's website, or Google it to buy from another retailer.

Barlean's Omega Swirl

Thanks Nicole, for hosting this link up! I'll be checking back in next month.

Stay Tuned,

The Gila