• February 2013 Archive •

Taco Ring Recipe

 

Silly WordPress was acting like a fool yesterday and was running as slow as a snail.  Therefore, this recipe is hitting the web a day later than I would have liked but it’s here nonetheless.  Speaking of snails, I tried one for the first time last Saturday night at dinner.  I didn’t hate it.  It’s definitely not something I’d order but if it was in front of me, I’d give it another go. You should see me when I’m trying a food for the first time.  I hesitantly move the item closer to my face like it’s toxic.  I always give it a quick sniff because if I don’t like the smell, chances are I’m not going to like the taste.  Once it’s marinating inside my mouth, my uncontrollable facial expressions will immediately let you know whether I’m fond of what I just ate or completely disgusted.

One food that always gets a positive head nod up and down, closed eyes and a long “mmmmm” is mexican food.  I’m addicted.  It’s possible if you cut my finger, I’ll spill out queso.  In college, my best friend and I would eat at Monterrey’s before class every week.  We ordered the same thing every time and left with our bellies full and our hair smelling like fajitas.

My office is located directly across the street from a mexican restaurant.  It’s a curse and a blessing rolled in one big tortilla.  It’s a daily temptation and I strategically try to convince myself with all sorts of excuses to eat there regularly.  ”It’s cheap!”  ”It’s healthy.  It comes with beans and rice!”  ”They have Coca-Cola in a styrofoam cup!”  No joke.  I sometimes pick where I eat lunch based solely on if that establishment serves their beverages in a styrofoam cup or not.  The quality and standard of the receptacle a restaurant uses for their beverages is very important to me because I’m the queen of the “Can I have a to-go cup?”

If you crave mexican food on a monthly, weekly or daily basis like me, this recipe will have you shaking your maracas and screaming “Muy Bueno!”  My mom discovered this recipe while I was in high school and it’s been a staple in my collection ever since.  It’s super simple to make and oh so tasty.  Here’s an incredibly important recommendation, become familiar with Jack’s Salsa.  I don’t know what Jack is doing but he’s doing it right.  That boy sure does know how to make some kick butt salsa.  So here’s the plan.  Go pick up some Jack’s Salsa, whip up this Taco Ring and have a mexican fiesta at your house tonight!

Ingredients:

1. 1lb. Ground Beef
2. Packet of Taco Seasoning
3. 1 Can of Crescent Rolls
4. 1 Can of Black Beans
5. Salsa
6. Shredded Cheese
7. Desired Toppings (Lettuce, Tomato, Sour Cream, etc.)

 
Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Brown ground beef and drain grease.

3. Stir in water (according to packet instructions) and taco seasoning.

4. Unroll crescent rolls and separate. Arrange triangles in a circle on a round baking stone or baking pan with wide ends overlapping in center and points toward the outside.

5. Scoop meat mixture evenly onto widest ends of dough at center of ring. Top with black beans, salsa and cheese.  Bring points in and over and tuck underneath the wide end.

6. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Garnish with sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce or other toppings.

 

xoxo, Priscilla
Pinterest Project – Custom Built Dog Bed

Instead of lounging by the pool or sleeping in until noon, I worked full-time in the summer during my Junior year of high school.  I ran a volunteer program at a rest/nursing facility in my hometown. I’m a natural spender, but I was determined to save my earnings for a sole purpose – I wanted a puppy.

I had browsed the internet for hours upon hours trying to find the perfect breed.  I was instantly drawn to West Highland White Terriers and as I perused pictures of their fluffy teddy bear faces, I became obsessed with having one of my own.  Until I actually obtained the living and breathing version, I decided to pretend and visualize it into existence.  I had a Westie monthly calendar pinned on my cork board and a stuffed animal replica on my bed to cuddle with each night.  I know.  I’m not sure how I had a steady boyfriend either.

On a hot and humid July evening, my family and I piled into the car and made our way to Lincolnton where I was finally going to turn fantasy into reality.  I watched a litter of white fluffballs carelessly run and topple onto one another.  As I picked up the puppy with the softest hair and cutest personality, my heart melted.  I was sold.  I pulled out a crisp new check, depleted my savings and left the breeder’s house with little Scottie curled up in my arms.

We’ve been through a lot together the last eleven years.  I couldn’t have picked a better dog.  Literally.  He’s had some interesting experiences over the past decade like the rat poison scare or the time he escaped captivity to chase deer, but nothing compares to the freakish accident he endured a few weeks ago.

My mom was graciously cooking chicken-n-dumplings in the kitchen.  As Scottie usually does, he waited patiently by her feet hoping for a drop of one tiny morsel.  As mom was transporting the finished product from the crock pot to a serving dish, the handle of the ceramic crock pot unexpectedly broke and the contents spilled onto the floor and ultimately, onto Scottie.

We immediately attended to him and gave him a bath to clean up the chicken broth residue.  Despite his initial whelp, he seemed fine and everything appeared normal.  It wasn’t until a week later when he started misbehaving and acting erratically that I began to wonder if something was wrong.  Once we finally examined his body, we noticed his tail was oozing and unless you wanted to lose your fingers, touching it was out of the question.

I immediately took him to the vet where they confirmed he had third degree burns on his tail.  It was by far the absolute worst vet visit of my life.  I hate going to the vet in the first place.  It smells.  I’m not fond of other dogs because they aren’t as cool as Scottie.  There is always fresh pet urine on the floor.  They always cut Scottie’s toenail too short.  It bleeds.  I almost pass out.  It’s a miserable experience for both of us.

This visit was particularly rough because of the condition of his tail.  Since it had started to scab over, in order to heal and to be properly treated, they needed to scrub off the scabs.  I could hear my poor puppy wailing from the room next door and there was nothing I could do.  I felt horrible.  He is such an awesome dog and this freak accident had caused him undeserved immense pain.  I imagine that is the closest thing I’ll feel to being a parent and watching a child suffer.

But this tale and tail both have a happy ending.  Scottie is now the proud of owner of a healthy and wagging tail.  He’s back to his normal fast-eating, treat begging, rub-my-belly pleading self.  My dad rewarded him (and me) by creating a custom-built bed for Scottie to lounge and relax.  The custom bed matches our living room decor and is built on wheels so we can easily move it around.  Dad did all of the hard assembly work, and we simply stained the wood a light grey color to match our color scheme.  My dad is quite the handy man and is a master carpenter.  Probably the best in the world.  Just saying.

Want a custom bed built for your dog?  Just say the word.  My dad builds them in all sizes for tiny little yorkies or large mastiffs.  They’re Scottie tested and approved.

 

xoxo, Priscilla
Flower Power

I have an intense case of spring fever.  I’m craving it.  And because North Carolina weather is so sporadic, one day it teases us with loads of sunshine and then drops an inch of snow the very next.  Preparing for spring makes me think of preparing for summer which makes me think of being in a swimsuit.  And even though I think one-piece bathing suits are going to make a huge fashion comeback this summer season, you’re still practically standing in your bra and panties on the beach for public display.

I’m going to tell you something you’re not going to believe.  You’ll literally read it, shake your head in disbelief and then re-read it.  For the first time in our entire relationship, I went to the gym more times this week than Chase.   The fact that my feet were enclosed in tennis shoes and even made it onto the property of a gym is a miracle.  But for me to deliberately and intentionally go three times in a five-day period even makes my head spin.  The main reason for this burst of motivation is really quite simple.  I’m doing it because I’m not being told to do it.

I’m literally like a child.  If you tell me or harp on me to do something that you want me to do, I’m going to want to do the complete opposite because I hate the feeling of being controlled.  Even when it’s for my own good, some trigger deep inside of me is ignited when someone tries to take away or influence my independent decision-making skills. This is usually very evident when I’ve had one too many glasses of the Valentine’s Day Punch, tripped over the coffee table, broken a wine glass into the carpet and performed a lip-syncing dancing routine to “Adorn” by Miguel and yet thinks a birthday cake flavored shot is a good idea.  Perhaps my ability to think clearly was clouded in that particular scenario but nonetheless, my reaction to being told what to do is the same as when I’m cold-stone sober.

For the last year, and estimating on the low end, at least once a week Chase would tell me to go cancel my O2 Fitness membership.  He even tried to cancel it on my behalf but they wouldn’t allow him.  I rolled my eyes each time he brought it up, refused to be submissive and continued to avoid going to the gym.  His reasoning was justified.  We were wasting money every month.  I knew he was right.  But I wanted to cancel the membership and accept my laziness in my own time and on my own terms.  My therapist put it into perspective for me recently.  If  you tell a child to not run through the mud puddle, the focus is on the mud puddle and the kid will become infatuated with splashing through the water.  You have to shift the focus to the sidewalk and pretend the mud puddle doesn’t even exist.  Sadly, she was relating my mentality to that of a children’s book featuring a kid and a puddle but the example was effective.  Perhaps Chase should have consistently told me how I would have an extra $40 to spend at Forever 21 each month if I cancelled the membership.  If so, it probably wouldn’t have taken me until last week to sign the dotted line and part ways with O2.

I know I’ve confused you.  In one paragraph I’m bragging about going to the gym three times in a week and in the next I’ve cancelled my membership.  In my attempt to take control of the gym debacle, I’ve started visiting a gym closer to my office.  And one of the countless benefits to now having a best friend live 15 minutes away is the encouragement and accountability of going to the gym together.  We get to spend time with one another.  We’re prepping our bodies for laying poolside and the proximity of the gym’s location to the rest of my life makes it significantly easier to fit into my daily routine.  I’m not officially joining the new gym until I’m confident with my commitment but judging by the past two weeks, I’m extremely optimistic.

I’ll pretend the reason I haven’t featured a Friday Forever 21 Fashion Find in three weeks is because I’ve been so busy factoring the gym into my schedule and not because I misplaced two memory cards to my camera that contained the pictures.  Regardless, it’s Friday and my face is back and plastered all over this page to showcase some serious flower power.  Forever 21 presently has a complete section dedicated to spring pastel colors and soft hues that made my heart jump out of my chest as I rummaged through the racks.  I decided to pair the vibrant flower-printed blouse with a pair of soft blue straight ankle trousers.  A geometric blazer added a patterned layer.  And when I tell you I love that blazer, I mean I’m obsessed with it.  I purchased it months ago, ripped the elbow, took it to the tailor for repair, wore it, ripped it again beyond repair, got rid of it, found another one in Charlotte, bought a second one, wore it, ripped the elbow, took it to the tailor for repair and wore it again.  Luckily both elbow seams are still in tact.  To accessorize, I added a chunky rose gold link necklace, pale pink bangles, a taupe glitter rose ring, nude high heels and the cutest little square purse I ever did see. The Cupcake Shoppe provided the perfect setting for pictures about happy spring colors and what better contradiction than to start a blog at the gym and end at a cupcake bakery?  Happy Friday!

 

xoxo, Priscilla
The Rules for Giving a Valentine – Part Two

In case you missed it last year, you definitely need to travel back and read the first installment of The Rules for Giving a Valentine – Part One.  I decided to continue the tradition by sorting through my old notebooks and finding some more stellar examples of what to do or what not to do when giving a valentine.  These letters and cards are straight from my old purple binder that even as a 12-year-old, I organized by guy with page dividers and labels.

It’s that same OCD behavior that apparently influenced me to document every single couple from our 8th grade class.  I’m not kidding.  I have pages and pages of the names of couples and next to each duo is a code for whether they are ST (still together), BU (Broke Up) or BT (Back Together).  Apparently I wasn’t nearly as cool as I thought I was because that’s just weird.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day and I am supposed to have a heart, I’ve decided to hide the names of the gentlemen who presented me with these artifacts in an effort to protect their innocence and to not so intensely put them on blast.  Now onto the good stuff.  Take a lesson from what went wrong for these fine young fellows and make sure you do it right this Valentine’s Day!

1.  Be Consistent

If you want your Valentine to know who you are as soon as they open your letter and without looking at the signature line, use the same opening in every note.  A great example of a very platonic yet concerning opening can be found below in the form of “How are you? I’m fine.”  Punctuation is optional.

2. Be Repetitive

Taking a cue from the guy above, this young lad took being consistent a step further and decided repetition was the way to my heart.  It’s very common to bestow an A.K.A (also known as) to your beloved and you need to make sure they don’t forget it.  An easy way to do so is to write it psychotically over and over and present it as a love note.

3.  Be Appropriate

I know what you’re thinking and yes, the same guy that was featured for the inappropriate valentine last year is the same one featured today.  Apparently he went a little crazy on the computer designing his own cards from the “naughty” section.  I’m sure the red dress he’s referring to is the one I wore for the chorus concert that was purchased from the grandma section at Belk’s.  For the record, I never took it off.

4. Sweat vs. Sweet

Make sure when addressing your valentine that you use the correct word.  Sweetheart is an enduring term used to show affection.  Sweatheart is a made up word that might make your valentine think she needs to invest in new deodorant.  And it’s ok.  There are still adults in the world who don’t know the difference between won’t and want so I’ll let that slide.

5. Ease Her Worries

Girls get insecure.  We worry that you might start to like someone else and you need to take the time to reassure us that it won’t  happen.  Copy this guy and differentiate yourself from a scandalous president.  She’ll thank you for letting her know you’re not Bill Clinton.

6.  Gossip + Droppin’ Slang

Girls aren’t the only ones who like to gossip.  It’s ok guys.  Spread those rumors.  I’m sure at the time, I too couldn’t believe Adrea broke up with Lee and then made out with Jimmy.  I’m just beyond grateful that this little tattletale explained to me that doin’ was slang.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have picked up on that.

7. Be Honest

I was really worried this guy wouldn’t go out with me because he thought I was a player.  Rightfully so might I add.  However, I wasn’t even aware that he might not like me because I was kind of short.  Thankfully he loved me too much to let that stand in the way of our pretend relationship.

8.  Take What You Can Get

This guy struck out from the beginning because my name isn’t Percilla.  However, I admire his courage.  He might not have been able to muster up enough courage to ask me to officially go to the dance with him, but by gosh he was at least going to try and move in for a few dances.  Guys – whatever you can find the testicular fortitude to ask, go for it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

xoxo, Priscilla
Pulled Pork Chili Recipe

My grandmother was an amazing cook.   I never really appreciated that as much as I should have when I was growing up.  I was stuck in meat and bread land.  My plate usually consisted of one large slab of protein and three freshly buttered rolls.  Because I had, and still do have, weird eating habits, I never really experienced her full range of cooking.  I didn’t eat her mashed potatoes because mashed potatoes shouldn’t have lumps.  I didn’t eat her sweet potatoes because they were orange.  I didn’t eat her green beans because they were a vegetable.  I didn’t eat her cooked cabbage because I wasn’t a rabbit.  She was never offended.  In fact, she always made extra rolls just for me and it was my responsibility to make sure they were properly buttered before going into the oven.

I can remember getting ready on Sunday mornings and overhearing my Dad on the phone with Meme.  “Yes Mom. We’ll be right over after church.  See you soon.”   And immediately after the church service, we’d pile into the car and head to Meme and Papa’s house for dinner.  Technically it was lunch but in the Short family it was labeled dinner.  A quick game of “Punch Bug” in the car with my brother and ten minutes later, we were there.

I’d swing open the storm door, scream “Hey Meme!” and run directly to the kitchen to see what she was preparing as if I was going to devour every single item in sight.  The house was always filled with the sweet aroma of a home-cooked meal and the sound of NASCAR in the background while the kitchen counter was always covered with every dish from the cabinet.  She was the messiest cook that could whip up the meanest chicken-n-dumplings and cornbread you’ve ever tasted.

Meme was never overly affectionate.  I never thought of her as a sweet little ole’ granny.  And although she would hug us and tell us she loved us, nothing said it more than those Sunday afternoons in her company.  She was always the last person to sit down with a plate, making sure everyone else was fed and that the food tasted “alright.”

I often think about Meme when I’m cooking.  I think about how she passed along techniques and recipes to my dad that he passed along to me and here I am, doing exactly what she did.  And just like she did for my Papa and my family, I now try to show love to others through cooking.  It’s a way for me to say, “Hey. You had a long day. I put this together to let you know I was thinking about you and thought you might enjoy eating it.”

A meal doesn’t have to be elaborate.  Take for instance this recipe I‘m featuring today.  It’s so dang simple.  But it’s delicious.  And because it realistically only takes 15 minutes to put together, it gives you time to share it with someone and create a memory that you’ll remember.

I took Sunday afternoons for granted.  That’s how life works I guess.  We wait until something is gone to realize the impact it really had.  So my advice is simple.  Call the family.  Get everyone together.  Cook.  Sit around the table and tell stories and laugh.  Answer enthusiastically every time your dad asks “Does it taste alright?  Do you like it?”  Take in that precious dinner time together and remember that you’re feeding more than your belly.  You’re feeding your soul and you’re creating moments together that will one day be an unchangeable history.

Ingredients:

2 Cans  (14.5 oz. each) Diced Tomatoes, Undrained (I used Hunts made especially for chili!)
2 Cans  (16 oz.) Chili Beans (Lucks.  Come on now. They are the best. Meme said so.)
1 Cup  Frozen Corn
1 Large  Onion, Chopped
2 Tbsp.  Chili Powder
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Pkg.  (11.5 oz.) OSCAR MAYER CARVING BOARD Hickory Smoked Seasoned Pulled Pork

 

Directions:

1. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan.

2. Simmer for 10 minutes or until heated throughout.  Enjoy! (I told you it was easy!)

 

 

xoxo, Priscilla