Monthly Archives: July 2010

Gaga for LADY GAGA

When I heard Lady Gaga was coming to Houston, I really wanted to get tickets – but they sold out in minutes (or was it seconds?)… then she opened a second show, and I was ready and waiting at my computer right at noon to buy tickets.  But they were sold out immediately.  I was really disappointed because this is the first show in a long time I would have given anything to see.  The ticket prices online at the time were outrageous – $400-500 for not even good seats?!  I had all but given up.  But I have the best family in the entire world, and their anniversary gift to me and Pat was tickets to see Lady Gaga Monday night 🙂  And the show was AMAZING!!

We got to the Toyota Center early to get in line and people watch.  I loved all the costumes people showed up in, and kind of wished I had taken the time to put something together myself.  Instead I threw on jeans and a t-shirt when I got home from work and called it good.  While we were waiting on line to get in, Pat nudged me and goes, “Hey, there’s your sister.”  I thought he was joking, but two people ahead of us in line was a girl who looked almost exactly like my sister Kellie – so close it was scary!  She even sounded like Kellie, and the facial expressions were similar.  So when we got inside, I walked up to her, told her she looked just like my sister, and asked if I could take a picture.  I’m sure she thought it was really weird, but she agreed 🙂  Here’s me and Kellie’s double:

And here’s my sister:

Do you see the resemblance??

After walking around a bit, we went to find our seats.  I thought we were going to be really far away (and maybe it looks far because a lot of my pictures did not turn out), but it really wasn’t bad at all.  We had a pretty good view, and another group wanted to sit together, and asked if we would move down a few rows so they could have our seats – so we did!

Before the opening act, some DJ played classic rock and danced around on stage.  We honestly couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman.  Either way, it was a cool way to warm up the crowd.

Me and Pat waiting for the show to start:

While waiting, I enjoyed the hairdo of a girl in front of us.  I actually saw a lot of girls with soda cans in their hair.

The opening act was awesome.  I had never heard of them before – Semi Precious Weapons.  The lead singer was a riot – their first song was “I Can’t Pay My Rent, But I’m Fucking Gorgeous.”  He came out wearing a thin shirt/dress, fish nets and high heels.  He then did a costume change on stage and got down into what looked like nude-colored underwear.  He also popped champagne and poured it over the stage to some fans.  He stopped at one point and said something along the lines of, “Parents.  Don’t hate me because I’m offensive.  Love me because I’ve exposed your kids to real rock n’ roll.”  He also talked about how the band first played with Lady Gaga back in 2006 for a show of 12 people.  I think it’s awesome that they’re traveling together for her big tour, and I really liked their music!  The best picture I got of Semi Precious Weapons was on the big screen.

When Gaga finally came out, it started with a big screen flashing pictures of her.

Which was then replaced by her big shadow.

The first song was set with a backdrop of her car being broken down in NYC.  When she lifts the hood of the car to check out what’s inside, it’s a keyboard, which she then begins to play.  The whole show was sort of a Wizard of Oz theme, with Gaga on a journey to get to the Monster Ball.  It was cool because she talked between songs.  She definitely had some recurring messages throughout her show – love yourself, it’s okay to be different, and a lot of support for GLBT rights.  The messages were cool, but it was a little ironic when she kept talking about hating money.

At one point she gave a nice speech.  As Pat just pointed out, it was like she was talking to a cult, but I think it was cool the way she engaged her fans.  “I didn’t used to be brave.  In fact, I wasn’t brave at all.  I had a lot of people who didn’t believe in me, who judged me and told me no, and made me feel like I didn’t belong anywhere.  But, you have made me brave, little monsters.  And now I’m going to be brave for you.  Tonight, I want you to free yourself.  I want you to let go of all your insecurities.  I want you to… reject anyone or anything that ever made you feel like you weren’t good enough or you couldn’t fit in… You remember that you’re a fucking superstar!  Tonight is going to be your liberation.  And when you leave, do not leave loving me more, leave loving yourself more.”  She then proceeded to walk around, complimenting her fans on their costumes and the signs they brought.

One of my favorite parts was when she slowed down her concert to play the piano – a piano that was on fire.  Literally.  And she didn’t just play with her hands – she played with her feet and her tongue.  She played Speechless and a new song called You and I.  I can’t wait for her next CD!

At one point, she sees a tornado coming, and a cylinder of screens came down over her.

She emerged in a Glenda-like costume, and walked through the “scary forest” of Central Park.

She ended with four of my (and probably everyone’s) favorite songs – Alejandro, Poker Face, Paparazzi, and an encore of Bad Romance.  During Paparazzi, she battles the Fame Monster on stage – a huge monster with sharp teeth and long tentacles.  She tells the crowd to take pictures of it to kill it, we win, and she makes it to the Monster Ball.  It was a great show and we had such an amazing time!  Maybe we’ll get to see her when she’s back next April 🙂

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Red Quinoa and Lemon Chick’n Wrap

It’s been a nice, quiet Sunday.  Pat and I went out for brunch at IHOP, and then stopped by Half Price Books.  I also got back on the treadmill for the first time in too long, and it felt good to get moving again.  I walked/ran 2.5 miles.

My snack this afternoon was inspired by Rachel’s post of a cherry/blueberry/banana smoothie.  It looked delicious, so I really wanted to try it.  In my mix (2 servings):

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 1.5 cups light vanilla soy milk
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 packets splenda

It was thicker than most of my smoothies, so I ate it with a spoon.  It was so good!

Dinner was also inspired by Rachel – she posted a recipe for avocado hummus, so I used it in our dinner tonight.  To make the avocado hummus, I mixed the following ingredients.  I tried using the Magic Bullet, but it didn’t work so well, so my hummus was a little chunky.

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 2 tsp lime juice

I used the hummus on a Flat Out wrap, along with Laughing Cow garlic & herb cheese, and topped it with Lightlife Smart Tenders in Lemon Pepper.  This was a great combination!

For a side dish I made red quinoa.  I mixed it with:

  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • lime juice
  • feta cheese

I’m still getting used to the texture of quinoa.  It’s pretty tasteless, so it could have used more feta cheese, but it was good on the side.

Doesn’t it look pretty?  What is your favorite way to prepare quinoa?

Root, Root, Root for MY Home Team

I love weekend brunch, when I have time to make breakfast food I don’t get to eat during the week.  My breakfast during the week is always oatmeal with fruit.  It’s quick, healthy, and easy to take to work.  But nothing beats a big breakfast with eggs and (fake) bacon.

Scrambled eggs with pepper and cheddar cheese, wheat thins with butter and fake bacon for Pat.

I had a big brunch:  egg white wrap with Laughing Cow French Onion cheese, red and yellow bell pepper and pepper, fake bacon, 1/2 wheat thin with almond butter, blueberries and strawberries.

Lunch was an Amy’s cheddar cheese burrito.  These things are delicious – we buy them in bulk at Costco.  I could eat these every day!

Our dinner plan was to eat at the ballpark.  We went to see the Astros play the Cincinnati Reds, my real home team.  I’m happily becoming an Astros fan, but the Reds still had my heart first, so I had to root for them.  I really embarrassed Pat, cheering loudly as the Reds beat the Astros 7-0.

I was planning on getting a $4 veggie dog – I had one last time I went to Minute Maid Park.  However, when I ordered one last night, I got a blank stare from the girl.  “A what??”  A veggie hot dog.  “We don’t have those.”  Yes you do… it’s on the sign behind you.  The manager came over and informed me that they didn’t have any.  So why was it listed on the sign?

Well I still had to eat, but didn’t want to pay $8 for a slice of cheese pizza, SO… I had Blue Bell ice cream for dinner.  Butter pecan ice cream in a waffle cone.  And it was delicious.

But when we got home, I needed some “real” food.  So I heated up some veggie chick’n wings.

We watched Leap Year while eating the wings and drinking some Riesling.  It was a cute movie – it didn’t get great reviews, but I enjoyed it.  Even Pat admitted it was entertaining 🙂  It was a great, relaxing night!

Playing Catch Up

I’ve been slacking on posting… so I’ll back up to Monday night. 

Monday

I wanted something fast, but a plain veggie burger sounded boring.  So I cooked up some red onions to use as a side dish / topping.

I sautéed the slices in:

  • 1-2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • oregano

They tasted great on their own as a side dish, but even better on the burgers!  Pat’s was served with shredded cheddar cheese and mine with Laughing Cow swiss cheese.

Tuesday

Tuesday night was a typical Freebirds night.  We always seem to go on Tuesdays – just our night for fast food I guess.  In addition to our burritos, the “pot” brownies caught my eye, so I picked one up for me and Pat to split.

Don’t worry, you can see the ingredients for yourself:

They were good, but as Pat put it best, “well, it’s a brownie.”  Nothing special, but it was a tasty brownie.

Wednesday

Wednesday night we ate at Mongolian Hot Pot.  It was a fun experience, but a difficult restaurant for a vegetarian surrounded by carnivores.  You order raw meat (among other things), and cook it yourself in a big “hot pot” on the table.  The restaurant staff was really nice though, and helped me to make it work.  Most of their broth options used beef or chicken broth, but they offered to serve their original with water instead of chicken broth.  It still had a lot of flavor from all the items they used to season the water – big garlic cloves, onion, some kind of nut, etc.  The water broth is on the left side of the hot pot:

They offered several tofu options on the menu, and I went with the fried tofu sheet.

It tasted good, and just needed a few seconds in the broth to soak up the flavor.  The texture was a little weird though, and reminded me of rubbery Chinese food.  As a side dish, I ordered the egg dumpling.  I asked what was in it, and the server told me just egg.  Well right before all our food came out, another server arrived and asked who the vegetarian was.  He told me that the first guy had told me wrong – the egg dumpling has meat in it.  So instead he recommended the egg noodles.  It was an excellent suggestion – this was my favorite dish!  If I were to go back again, I would just get the egg noodles – they were amazing, and really good dipped in the garlic paste sauce.  I could have done without the cilantro topping though.

For dessert, I was curious, and just had to try the Red Bean Paste Yam Cakes.  Sounds interesting, right?  Well, interesting is a good word to describe them.

The yam part was chewy, almost like a thick jello.  It didn’t have a strong taste, and I didn’t really like or dislike it.  The inside was a sweet, gooey red bean paste.  I was surprised by how sweet it was, and I really liked it.  It was very rich, and I ended up just eating the red bean paste out of a few pieces.  I was glad I tried it, but might not get it again.

Wednesday was also my baby sister’s birthday – Happy Birthday Cara!!  And thank you for not telling the family before you decided to jump off a mountain – yes, she went paragliding on her birthday.

Thursday

I made a Tri-Colored Tofu Stir-fry with couscous on the side.  It was colorful and tasty, with soy sauce, veggie broth, garlic and brown sugar.  We ate our dinner while watching Big Brother.  I’ve never watched the show before this season, and I’m not sure why we got started on it, but now we’re addicted.  It’s crazy that it’s on 3 times a week, but it keeps me hooked.  Is anyone else watching this season??

And that completes the tour of my dinners this week.  I hope your week was just as tasty!

Do you find that you fall into the same weekly patterns for food?  I’ve noticed that I usually cook Mondays, Tuesdays are fast food (usually Subway or Freebirds), Wednesdays could be either, but are usually eaten out or ordered in, and Thursday I’m back to cooking.

Dinner Party

Last night we had friends over for dinner.  It’s always fun to plan meals when cooking for others, and we had stocked up on lots of groceries at Costco the day before.  Our menu:

Appetizer – Homemade Guacamole

I made it the same as last time, but added in some salt and just a hint of chili powder per Pat’s request.  He wanted a little more heat, but I like my guac more onion-y, not spicy.  Served with salsa and chips.

Side Dish – Strawberry, Avocado and Red Onion Salad

I made this one the same as before – I love it!  But of course, I love anything with avocado in it.

Dinner – Soy Burritos

For dinner, I wanted to go with a recipe that would not take long to make.  I wanted to spend time with our guests, and did not want to be stuck in the kitchen all night.  I also wanted a vegetarian meal that even non-vegetarians could like, and this one usually gets high reviews from Pat, so I went with it.  I added in some of the homemade guac and salsa.

Don’t mind the “napkin” – even though we had clean cloth napkins in our hutch, the hubby went with the paper towels 🙂

Dessert – Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake (Cooking Light)

I wanted to try something new for dessert.  I made this coffee cake earlier in the day because I knew it might take awhile.  I found this recipe under a list of good summer desserts, and I had just bought a huge package of blueberries at Costco, so this sounded perfect.  Not to mention, it called for lemons.  My husband eats lemons for dessert.  Like, he eats them as though they were oranges!

I started with the batter.  The recipe called for almond paste, but it was $4 for a tiny thing at the store.  So instead I bought almond pie filling for half the price.  I’m not sure if it was a good idea or not, or how the paste would have made a difference, but I think it came out fine with the almond filling!  I also used light vanilla soy milk instead of milk and swapped Smart Balance stick butter for regular butter.  I think I also added a little extra lemon zest!

It was a good thing I found an electric hand mixer in the cupboard… it had never been opened before, so it was probably a wedding gift that got stashed away.  It would have been helpful when I was making the egg souffle!

The topping was the best part – sugar, butter, cinnamon and sliced almonds.  I felt like it could have used more topping, but then I guess it wouldn’t have been such a light recipe, would it?

Into the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, and out came this delicious pan!

It cooled while we ate dinner, and then I threw a few pieces in the microwave before serving them.  They were thick, moist and refreshing.  I don’t bake often, but I think these came out pretty good!

It was a fun night with great company 🙂

What is your favorite thing to make for a dinner party?

Searching for Light & BBQ Tofu

When we bought our house back in February the sellers took their chandelier out of the dining room and left us with a few hanging wires.  We thought, no big deal, we’ll buy something more our taste.  Well it turned out to be quite an ordeal.  We’ve searched on and off for months, and could not find anything we liked for a price we liked.  It’s mostly been monthly trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s where “the one” was never found.

This weekend we decided that we could not wait any longer, and we went on a mission to find a light.  We started at specialty lighting stores.  At the first four stores, no one even offered to help us, and nothing caught our eye.  At the fifth store, the owner stopped to help us – and offer us beer.  But we still did not find anything we loved.

We ended up back at Home Depot, and in two minutes we had picked out our light!  I’m really happy with what we chose, and I think it looks nice in the dining room.  Pat put it together and hung it.  He’s turned into quite the handy man!

We did run into a small issue.  The breaker for the dining room broke.  Pat went out to Lowe’s and bought a new breaker, and installed it himself.  It made me nervous, but he did his research, and it fixed our electric problem!  Our (finally completed) dining room:

Dinner

Before moving to Texas, I was never a fan of BBQ.  Even since moving here, I’m still not crazy about it.  But for some reason I was craving it last night.  So I decided to try some BBQ tofu!  I started by sautéing the tofu in olive oil, ground pepper and onion powder, and then added in red onion, red bell pepper and garlic.

And then I just added some Kroger brand “KC Style” BBQ sauce.

I decided it would be good as a sandwich.

Pat and I found this to be a little too messy as a sandwich, but it was tasty.  Maybe I need to shred the tofu into smaller pieces next time?  Anyway, it satisfied my craving for BBQ 🙂

Egg Souffle

Breakfast this morning was delicious.  But before I get to that… Bailey has been trying to tell us something lately.  She has a fleece blanket that has always been hers, which is kept inside her crate.  This morning, she kept pulling it out.

At first we thought she just wanted us to wash it.  It had been washed less than a week ago, but we threw it in again anyway.  And as soon as I put it back in her crate, she pulled it right out again.

Doesn’t she look like she’s just daring me to take it back from her?  She’s pulled it out yet again, and is lying on it in front of the TV as I write.  I think she is telling us she doesn’t want to sleep in the crate anymore.

Okay, back to the souffle.  I tried a Joy of Cooking recipe, and it came out very tasty.  You start by making a white sauce: 

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup light soy milk
  • ground black pepper
  • nutmeg

Next up I prepared the pan.  I don’t have a deep souffle dish, so I thought this one would have to do.  I dusted it with flour and a little Monterey jack cheese.

Next up were the egg whites.  I whipped up 6 egg whites.  The recipe said to mix them until they were stiff, but all I could get were a few bubbles.  Does anyone have suggestions for this?

Then I mixed 3 egg yolks and the egg whites in with the rest of the batter.  Instead of shredded cheese (which I was out of), I used 4 wedges of Laughing Cow swiss cheese.  I loved it!

I poured the batter into the pan and baked it on 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Maybe not so beautiful, but it tasted great!

It got really thin within minutes of being out of the oven.  It was very dense and moist.  We ate almost the entire pan!