Monday, December 7, 2015

Oh hey I moved. . .

About a month ago I moved. . . to Connecticut.  Crazy huh?  Some people thought the move was out of the blue and a completely random decision. But it was a long time coming and something John and I both feel really good about.  Here's the story.

First things first. John and I have always planned on leaving Utah.  We knew that we did not want to raise a family there.  It just wasn't an atmosphere either of us loved.  Yes we both worked there, but in the grand scheme of things we knew that one day we wanted to find a way to leave.  Utah is a great state.  It's beautiful and the people are overwhelmingly friendly.  But they are also extremely religious.  And can be extremely judgmental of you if you do not practice the core religion of the state.  Nothing seems to be open on Sundays, and buying a bottle of wine is WAY more inconvenient than it should be.  Visiting Utah isn't so bad.  But living there just wasn't something we wanted to do long term.  But honestly I was scared to leave the security blanket I had.  I had a great job working for an amazing company.  I could see myself working at Big Mountain for years.  I had family there.  While I didn't see my family every day, it was nice to know that whenever I wanted to eat lunch with my sisters or go visit my grandparents I just had to pick up the phone.  Leaving all of that behind on a whim just didn't seem like the smart thing to do.

Fast forward to a few months ago (I think it was right around labor day).  John tells me he is ready to leave his job.  As some of you may know there have been issues with his now previous employer.  Pay checks weren't reliable and the work was tedious.  Working without knowing if you will get paid or if the check will bounce is no fun.  I was surprised that John stuck with it for as long as he did.  After NUMEROUS bounced checks and/or "can you pick up your check that I am supposed to give you today in a week or 2"'s I thought for sure John would leave.  But he stuck it out for a couple months longer than I would have.  Painting miniatures is not an easy task.  It requires an intense level of attention to detail.  It hurts your back, strains your eyes, and overall just gets exhausting after 3 years.  So now we had a decision to make.  Do we stay in Utah where I have a job but John doesn't or do we take the chance to move now?

John and I really agonized over the decision for a good month or so.  We talked to his parents, who are extremely well connected in Connecticut.  We weighed the pro's and con's of moving.  Would we be able to afford a move?  Where would we live? What would we do for work?  What about our lease?   All of these factored in to our decision.  At the end of the day (or, you know, a month) we decided now was the time to move.  We knew that there was a good chance John's parents could use those connections to get us jobs (which they have.  YAY JOBS).  John's dad said we could stay at his house as long as we pay rent.  ( There is a lot more to that, but it is way too complicated and almost warrants it's own post).  We just felt a better opportunity wouldn't present itself.  Now was the time.  So I gave Big Mountain notice and we packed up.

The drive to Connecticut was crazy.  Driving 2 cars with 3 dogs and all of our stuff 2/3 of the way across the country is no easy task.  There were tears and frustrations but we made it safe and sound.  And I'd like to think we are settling in nicely.  John is working full-time.  I am currently working part time as a receptionist at a salon and, just today, accepted my first 2 assignments as a substitute teacher.  I finally feel like we are starting to find the lives we have always wanted.  While substituting isn't exactly teaching full time, it will give me the feel for the classroom environment.  I feel like this will be a good gauge as to whether or not teaching really is what I want to do with my life.  And having John finally work a normal 9-5 job with a steady, RELIABLE paycheck is FANTASTIC.

While it has been an adjustment, I know we will settle in nicely and that Connecticut will feel like home soon enough.  It hasn't sunk in yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Homemade Dog Treats

If you didn't know by now I have 2 pups.

Meet Griswold (Griz for short):
And Jimba (AKA Jim Jam):

These pups are pretty much the center of my universe.  I love them to pieces and would do anything for them.  They are my kiddos for now.  I spoil them like crazy.  Just ask John. 

One night I was exploring Pinterest.  I came across a few homemade dog treat recipes.  If anyone has shopped for dog treats, you know that they can REALLY add up in price.  I even purchase them using coupons and I still spend way too much money on those dang things.  I came across the simplest of recipes and decided to give it a try.  Here is the recipe I used.  I'm all about 2 ingredient recipes!  Flour and baby food?  Count me in!

My first attempt at making these treats went. . . ok.  Take a look:

 I had some sweet coupons for this Beechnut baby food. I made 2 batches.  This combo, and a sweet potato chicken combo.

 So I don't have a rolling pin at my house.  I used a cup. It worked alright, but I'm definitely investing in a rolling pin.  I also didn't have any cookie cutters.  It turns out the baby food jar worked pretty ok.  I don't need large treats since my pups are 16 pounds and Griz is starting to pack on the pounds. . .

The pups seemed to really like them.  Granted I have yet to find a food they don't like.  They eat literally anything that hits the floor.

Here are a few tips:  First, use a rolling pin!  I made some more treats at my grandparents house the next weekend and used my grandma's rolling pin.  I was able to get a LOT more treats because I was able to roll the dough a lot thinner. My first attempt got me about 70 treats.  The second attempt I think I got 100 or so.   I also bought a couple of cookie cutters at JoAnn's.  This didn't really make a difference in how many treats I got out of the batch, but the treats were cuter.  Second tip, store these treats in the refrigerator, especially if it's the middle of summer and you do not have central AC.  I thought the treats would be fine in a container in my kitchen.  I noticed they felt moist, so I moved them into the bedroom.  Our bedroom tends to stay cooler during the day, so I thought that might help.  Less than a week later all of the treats were moldy.  Sad day.  When I made another batch of treats I stored them in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator.  They have stayed nice and crunchy, and, most importantly, MOLD FREE!  Third tip, bake these treats for 25 minutes.  The first batch I baked for 20 minutes and some of them were soft in the middle.  I think this contributed to the mold issue.  I baked the second batch for 25 minutes and they turned out nice and crunchy.

The pups have almost finished the second batch of treats.  I went out and bought more baby food and hope to make some more treats in the next couple of weeks.  While the process of making the treats can be a bit time consuming, I feel like I will continue to make these treats.  I happen to love baking, so I don't mind the time making the treats takes. I also like knowing what my little fur  babies are eating.  While I'm not one of those "my family must consume only the healthiest of foods with no preservatives" types, it's always nice to know exactly what the pups are eating.  John and I try to feed them healthy food, so healthy treats are nice as well.  There are so many varieties of baby foods that I can choose from, so I'm excited to explore my options.  I don't think I will start exclusively giving my dogs these snacks.  The convenience of store bought treats is not something I can ignore.  It is just easier sometimes to run to Target and buy a box of treats to last until I feel like making more treats.  But I certainly plan on making these on a fairly regular basis.  I also have a few other recipes I want to try.  But I will probably hold off until it's not 100 degrees outside.  Not having central A/C really stinks. . . especially when it comes to cooking and baking.  Oh well!

Until next time,


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Don't walk in your backyard barefoot. . .

Monday morning I let the pups out as usual.  I noticed that the sprinkler was on, so I went to turn it off.  I walked across my backyard as I do all the time.  I stepped on a thorn.  I pulled the thorn out.  But a stubborn piece of that thorn got stuck in my foot.  I could not get it out.  I tried EVERYTHING I could think of.  I tried baking soda paste, hydrogen peroxide, Epsom salt, I even had John try to cut it open.  Side note there is not enough tequila in the world to make that not hurt.

So this morning I went to doctor.  I really did not want to go to the doctor to get a stupid thorn removed.  I thought she was going to think I was an idiot.  Luckily I left feeling justified.  The thorn was in my foot pretty deep.  She dug at it for half an hour.  Every time she would grab the thorn she would get a little sliver, but not the whole thing.  She had to give me 3 different shots of Lidacain to numb my foot.  But  finally the little booger came out.  And it was LITTLE.  Luckily I have no infection, just a hole in my foot.  And the new resolution to never walk outside barefoot again.  I am putting a pair of flip flops by my back door.  Seriously that thing freakin hurt.  Let this be a lesson to you all.  Never walk barefoot through grass.  There's all sorts of stuff hiding in there that can cause you a LOT of pain.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Provo Post Office Woes

If you are my Facebook Friend you know that the past  couple days I have had some major issues with the Post Office.  Here is a summary of what has happened so far.

I had gone about a week without receiving ANY mail.  Not just mail for me personally.  No mail came for John, our landlord, previous tenants.  I hadn’t even received junk mail.  And this is not the norm.  John and I MIGHT go a day without receiving any mail.  Once a week we get an insert that has a couple of grocery and hardware store ads, as well as coupons to restaurants.  It typically comes on Tuesday or Wednesday.  We have gotten it every week for over a year now.  Last week I didn’t even receive that.  So Friday I called the post office to see what was going on.  The first lady I talked to was pleasant enough.  She double checked that a hold hadn’t been put on our mail by mistake.  She couldn’t see any obvious reason for no mail to be delivered so she said she would talk to the carrier when he returned from his route and call me back.  By 5pm I hadn’t heard anything so I called the Post Office back.

This is where my HORRIBLE customer service experience started.  I called and explained the situation again.  Not only had I not received mail but my outgoing mail hadn’t been picked up even though the red flag was up. I was just wondering what was going on.  So I got put on hold.  And I stayed on hold.  For 30 minutes.  Until they closed.  About 15 minutes into the holding process I realized exactly what was going to happen.  They were going to keep me on hold until they closed and then just hang up on me.  And that is exactly what happened. At 530 I hear someone pick up the phone and fumble around for a couple seconds.  I said “Hello” a couple of times.  And then the call was disconnected.  I was FURIOUS!  To me, there is no excuse for that to ever happen. I answer phones all day myself.  I know that sometimes there isn’t an obvious answer.  Or possibly the person with the answer has left for the day.  Or maybe you are so busy that you forget there is someone on hold.  But there is NO reason to pick up a phone call and hang up on a customer without so much as a “goodbye”.  I don’t care how busy you are.  I don’t care how much you are looking forward to the weekend.  If you don’t want to help a customer on the phone don’t answer it.  At my work, the last 10-15 minutes of the work day I will not answer the phone because I am in the middle of closing down the shop.  I don’t answer the phone and then hang up on a customer.  I just don’t answer it.  Needless to say, this left a pretty sour taste in my mouth and did not give me a great start to my weekend.

Saturday I took Jimba to the vet.  I left my phone in the car so I didn’t realize that the post office had called me.  I looked at my phone, noticed the missed call and called them back.  I got the “privilege” of speaking with LeAnn, a supervisor at the Provo Post Office.  She starts the conversation by telling me she has no control over what mail I get delivered  and when.  If there is nothing in the mail, she  can’t help it.  I get that.  I guess there is a possibility that there was absolutely nothing in the mail for no one at my house for a week.  But I found that highly unlikely.  She proceeds to tell me that she talked to the carrier and he didn’t recognize my name.  I have obviously just moved there.  I tell her that I have lived there for over a year now, I haven’t changed my name, and why does my name matter.  I was under the impression that a carrier delivers mail based on the address, not the names.  If he delivered based on names alone he would be all sorts of confused by our house.  There are 3 people with different names that are supposed to get mail at our house.  Then there are all of the previous tenants that either haven’t changed their address or just don’t care about the junk mail they get.  So to tell me that the carrier doesn’t recognize my name sounds like a stupid excuse for me not getting my mail.  I should get any mail with my address on it, regardless of what name is on the envelope.  She also tells me that the carrier is not obligated to pick up outgoing mail if there is no mail to deliver.  This may be true.  I later found out (after a call to customer service) that picking up outgoing mail without delivering mail is something the local post offices have control over.  Some post offices tell carriers not to worry about outgoing mail.  But USPS encourages picking up outgoing mail if carriers notice it is there, even if there is nothing to deliver at that house.  

I then tell LeAnn about the horrible customer service I received on the phone when I called about this initial complaint.  She tells me that there is only 1 or 2 people answering phones and they are busy.  I tell her that being busy is no excuse for hanging up on a customer without so much as a “goodbye”.  She says she will “take my complaint into consideration”.  Umm, thanks?  The problem is, I am 95% sure she is the person I “talked” (who hung up on me) to on Friday.  So of course she isn’t going to do anything about it.  What is she going to do, write herself up?  Probably not.

LeAnn then tells me that maybe I should move my mail box if I want my mail delivered and picked up.  Here’s the deal.  I live in an old house on an old street.  My mail box is right next to my house, not on the street.  Every other house on my street and the street behind mine has their mail box next to or attached to their house.  There are literally 4 houses out of 50+ that have the mail box on the street.  I tell her that I shouldn’t have to move my mail box in order for the carrier to do his job. If the carrier isn’t able to walk from house to house delivering mail maybe he should get a new route that doesn’t require him getting out of the truck and, heaven forbid, walking up and down a street.  Her response?  Move your mail box.  I tell her I will not move my mail box until it is required for every house on my street to move their mail box as well.  I shouldn’t have to move my mail box just to make it easier or more convenient for her carrier.  We go in circles about why I should or shouldn’t move my mail box for a good 10 minutes before I get so frustrated I just hang up on her. 

I then called the customer service number for USPS.  I spoke with the nicest lady who helped me file a complaint with the consumer affairs office.  I am just waiting to hear from them in the next couple of days.  I find it interesting that if you look at the Provo Post Office’s Google reviews, they are overwhelmingly negative.  They have a 2.1 rating that goes back YEARS.  That means I am not the first person to have a horrible experience with this office. I might just be the first person to take the necessary steps to get the issues resolved.  I sincerely hope Consumer Affairs will be able to figure out why the customer service at the Provo location is so horrible.  Luckily I know this isn’t common with other locations in the area.  I worked rather closely with the Spanish Fork location and never had customer service issues.  Every time I have gone to or called the Orem location the employees have been nothing but friendly and helpful.  For some reason Provo just can’t get their act together.  If it wasn’t such a horrible pain in the butt to change everything over to a PO Box I would.  But there is no way I can do this in an effective and efficient manner since we get so much mail for so many different people.  I guess we will wait and see what happens. . .

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Grey's Anatomy Rant. . . caution there are spoilers.

Caution Spoilers Ahead.  If you have not watched the 2 most recent episodes (airing 4/23 and 4/30) do not read this post.  If you do read this post do not blame me for ruining the episodes for you. You have been warned.

If you do not like, watch, or care about Grey’s Anatomy, this post is not for you.  I know many people will call be crazy for writing such a long post about fictional characters on a TV show, but I needed a place to vent my frustrations with Shonda Rhimes and the writers of Grey’s Anatomy. 
I remember watching Grey’s Anatomy while I was still in high school.  I came to Utah for school and stopped keeping up a few seasons in because it was hard to find time and a decent computer to watch the episodes online.  A few years ago I signed up for Netflix.  I saw that Grey’s Anatomy was on Netflix and instantly added it to my “to watch” list.  I started watching from the beginning.  I cried when Izzy got diagnosed with cancer, scared they were going to kill her off. I was upset when they wrote her off of the show.  I cried when they actually did kill George off. And don’t get me started on the plane crash episode. I was bawling my eyes out when Lexi died. And then they killed off Mark, who seemed to have survived the plane crash just fine.  It was a tough couple episodes to watch.  And then Christina left.  What was the show going to be like without the core relationship of Meredith and Christina?  Even when Derek and Meredith were at odds, she always had Christina.  I thought the writers  handled Christina leaving very well.  There was great story arc leading up to, and even after, she left.  Even though she isn’t in the show, her character has still been a part of Meredith’s life. We might not be seeing her every episode, but at least we knew she was doing well.

As this season has progressed I could see that Derek’s time on the show was coming to an end.  There is no way any fan of the show COULDN’T see it coming.  But the way it happened was horrible.  They could have had Derek stay in DC.  There was a hashtag devoted to whether or not Derek cheated on Meredith.  If Shonda wanted to be done with Patrick Dempsey/Derek, she had the perfect opportunity to write him out of the show without killing him off.  It would have been SO easy for her to make Derek cheat and close out that entire story line.  But no.  She resolved that entire issue and made all of us Grey’s fans think that everything was going to turn out ok with MerDer.  

Can I just say that, even if they had to kill Derek off, they way they chose to do it was STUPID.  The entire episode was centered on the fact that there was no cell phone reception where the car crash happened.  That’s why Derek and all of the other people involved in the accident were glad the car caught on fire.  How many times did they say “smoke signal”?  It was made very apparent during the episode that THERE WAS NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION.  After everyone is on their way to safety after who knows how many hours, miraculously there is suddenly cell phone reception in the area?  And after hours of these poor people being stranded in the middle of nowhere without a car driving by, at the exact moment that there is miraculously cell phone reception there is also a semi driving by?  It’s a bit of a stretch Shonda Rhimes.  2 circumstances central to the story line of the episode can’t suddenly change just so you can kill off Patrick Dempsey’s character. Do you think your fans are stupid?  Do you think we wouldn’t realize how insanely implausible that situation is?  I understand that you don’t like actor “divas”.   But to treat your fans as if we are stupid just isn’t fair to us.  It was HORRIBLE writing.  There are so many ways you could have killed him off, if that’s what you felt needed to be done.  He could have been injured in the initial crash.  He could have not realized he had serious injuries because he was trying to help everyone else.  He was a surgeon.  He is devoted to his patients, doing whatever it takes to save their lives.  It would have been a lot more plausible that he was so focused on helping them that he didn’t even realize he was injured.  But no.  You let us all think he’s going to be ok and then have him get hit by a semi.  Not cool Shonda Rhimes. . . 

I realize sometimes characters need to leave a show.  Whether it’s because the actors are divas or the actors don’t want to renew contracts or because it’s just time for a character’s story to end, there is a time and a way to end a character’s time on a show.  After 10 years, Derek Shepherd deserved a better ending than he received. Derek Shepherd deserved better writing than he received.  And, if nothing else, the fans of the show, fans that have already been through so much with this show, deserved a better ending and better writing than we received.

After a week of having to come to terms with the death of Derek Shepherd, I was ready to say goodbye to him as I watched his funeral.  I was ready to cry and mourn with the characters as they all came to accept that they had lost a dear husband, brother, friend, and colleague. Imagine my chagrin when I start watching the episode yesterday and see a whole 30 seconds devoted to his funeral.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????  A character that has been CENTRAL to the story line for TEN years deserves more than a 30 second funeral. This INFURIATED me.  I have never in my life been so mad at a tv show.  I thought last week was the worst it could get. Apparently I was wrong.  

The 30 second funeral was just the beginning of what made me mad about this week’s episode.  I thought the entire episode (all 2 hours of it) was confusing.  It jumped from story line to story line with no rhyme or reason. It was so hard to follow what was going on between all of the different characters.  And then there were story lines that I didn’t even think were necessary.  I still don’t know what exactly happened last night.

First let’s talk about Jackson and April.  They have already been through so much this season.   I was SO confused when she left with Owen.  They never really say that she is leaving until she is suddenly at the airport with Jackson saying goodbye.  And why send her to a dangerous combat zone?  I didn’t understand.  I think the writers kind of touched on it when Arizona and Jackson are talking.  I get that April just needed a chance to find herself again. But I find it hard to believe that she would leave Jackson for x amount of months to do this.  

Now Owen.  Again I didn’t really understand what he was doing until he was just gone.  When he is talking to April they sort of talk about it, but not really.  One minute he’s there, the next he’s been gone for 6+ months.  And then he is back and talking to Amelia.  In the conversation between Amelia and him, he says something about re-enlisting or signing up for another tour.  Does this mean Owen is gone too?  So many questions!

The burn victims?  Why were they even in this episode?  They don’t seem to play any real role in the episode, other than to keep Jo busy.  I had a hard time even seeing their purpose in this episode.  Yes the show is about doctors and a hospital.  But while everything else at least had a little to do with Derek, these characters had NOTHING to do with anything.  Jo doesn’t use them to heal after hearing about Derek’s death.  They had no real purpose in the episode to me.  At least the patient that Callie and Amelia were helping had an injury that was healed BECAUSE of Derek.  And Amelia was able to help him and prove that, even though Derek is dead, there is still a capable neurosurgeon at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital.  

And then there is the Meredith arc.  How can Shonda Rhimes write Meredith almost completely out of the episode IMMEDIATELY following her husband’s death?  I get that this was Meredith’s way of coping with the loss.  But where did she go?  Why didn’t she turn to Christina or Alex?  She was just gone. I thought it was so bizarre.  And then almost as quick as she left, she was back again. Granted it was actually a year later, but still. It was so sudden. I don’t feel like Meredith actually ever mourned her loss.  I know she had to be strong for her kids, but we never really saw her cry or grieve at all.  

Finally, what was with this whole “let’s cover 9 months in a 2 hour episode” thing?  I feel like we lost so much time with these characters.  Are we now watching events that are taking place in 2016? Did Derek’s accident even happen in 2015?  I now have no concept of time in this show. Why did we have to squeeze 9 months into one episode anyways?  So that we could see that Meredith was pregnant?  So that we could see the birth of her and Derek’s baby?  I don’t understand why it needed to happen.  I felt that this just contributed to the confusion that was this episode.  Also, that baby did NOT look like a newborn.  If you are going to have her give birth, at least  give her a baby that actually LOOKS like a newborn.  That baby was MASSIVE.  I certainly hope I don’t pop out a child as big as that baby was.  Don’t get me wrong, she was cute.  And if she was supposed to be portraying a 6 month old she would have been perfect for the role.  But she must have weighed at least 15 pounds.  

So now I am left wondering what is going to happen with Grey’s Anatomy.  Where is this show headed?  Is it coming to an end?  I don’t think I can stop watching now that I am 11 seasons in.  I do think the show could end this season and I would be ok.  Without McDreamy and MerDer why carry on?  MerDer has been central to the story line from Season 1 Episode 1.  Without that key relationship I think Grey’s Anatomy will come to an end sooner rather than later.  While there are other characters I have grown to love and root for, I don’t think the show will ever be what it was without Derek Shepherd.  Jackson and April, Arizona and Callie, Owen, Bailey.  None of them are quite as great as Derek and Meredith.  I hope Grey’s Anatomy can bounce back from this tragedy, but deep down in my gut I know the show will never be the same.
RIP Derek Shepherd.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Success in Being Healthy!

I know, 3 blog posts in 2 days!  It's crazy!  Work has been crazy slow this week due to Spring Break and crappy weather.  Thanks Utah for deciding to drop back into the 30's now that it's April.  We all REALLY appreciate it!  I just thought I should blog about the progress I have made in being healthy.

I know I've written what seems like 405858392 blogs about attempting to get in shape and be healthy and all that fun stuff.  Well I am finally starting to make progress. And it's all thanks to John.

After coming back from our Florida trip I had decided that I was FINALLY going to be successful about going to the gym.  I hadn't really talked to John about it, but in my head I was making plans to be healthy.  Then one Sunday night (actually it was about 3 weeks or so ago.  A week and a half after we got back. Whenever that was) John and I are laying in bed.  He out of nowhere asks me what days I want to go to the gym.  Now I have asked John at least a few times if he would ever want to go to the gym with me.  His response had always been a resounding NO.  So when he asks me what days I want to go to the gym my gut reaction is "why do you care what days I go to the gym?".  As it turns out, he was asking me because he had decided he wanted to start going to the gym.  I have no idea what prompted this complete change of mind, but I really didn't think I should question it.  So the next night we went to the gym and got John a membership. 

John is the type of person that when he sets his mind to do something he does it all the way.  There is no cutting corners or slacking off.  John set up a schedule for us and has not let me slack off once.  We go to the gym 5 days a week. We do cardio every day and then work out different muscle groups.  I have never felt like I was getting so much out of my gym membership.  In the past, when I had gone to the gym it was strictly to use the elliptical or treadmill and be on my merry way.  Now I use all of these crazy machines and leave sore EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Luckily its a good sore. . . most of the time. . .

On top of going to the gym 5 days a week, John has really helped me eat healthier too.  We've dropped soda from our diet completely (goodbye Dr. Pepper.  We had a good run.  You are still my go to soda of choice. Don't worry this isn't goodbye forever, just for now). We've started eating more fruits and veggies.  I think we've only gone out to eat once since starting this journey.  We casually count calories.

It has been so nice having John to help me accomplish my goals.  Having a gym buddy makes it so much more fun.  Having that gym buddy be your boyfriend is even better :)  No offense Ky!  And having that gym buddy live with you means you can't slack off and sneak junk food into your diet.  Or at least you can't do that without him finding out.  Or without feeling guilty about it later.

We are in our 3rd week of gym attendance.  I feel so much better about myself and am hopeful that all of the goals I have set for myself will FINALLY prove successful.  Here's to a cute bathing suit body for Connecticut this summer!  And to maybe finally running a 5k in LESS than 40 minutes!

Until next time,


Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Every Tuesday night John does a web show right around 7.  Because of this show, John typically stops and gets a sandwich from Blimpie on his way home for work and chows down before the show.  That leaves me to make whatever I want for dinner without worrying about whether or not John will eat it.  (For those of you who don't know, John is a fairly picky eater.  He's getting better, but it's still a struggle balancing my desire to try new recipes with his picky eating habits).  I look forward to Tuesdays and the opportunity they present to try all sorts of new recipes.

Last week I tried a recipe I found on the good ol' Pinterest.  Seriously I love that website!  It is a fantastic source for crafts, recipes, outfit ideas, wedding planning, adorable animal pics, random life hacks, quotes. .  .you name it you can probably find it on Pinterest. It's awesome.

I based my dinner on this recipe I found on Pinterest.  I did modify a bit though.  Here's what I changed:

First I just used regular ol' black beans from a can.  As it turns out, I didn't happen to have a spare black bean burger hanging out in my fridge.  I drained and rinsed the beans and added cumin, granulated garlic, onion powder, salt, pepper, and ground red pepper.  They were really tasty and I probably could have just eaten that for dinner but alas the potato was baking so I stuck to the game plan.

I didn't have any pepper jack cheese at home and I really didn't feel like going back to the store.  Yes I live a stone's throw away from a grocery store.  But I was feeling lazy and I had other shredded cheese at home so I just used what I had.  I ended up using a fiesta blend or maybe it was a Mexican Style blend of cheese. It had cheddar and Monterrey jack and maybe another kind of cheese.  Whatever it was, it was tasty.

I don't know if I didn't cook the potato long enough, but it did NOT scoop out of the skin easily, nor did it mash well.  As it turns out I'm not really picky about how my food looks as long as I know what it is and that it is edible.  Here is my finished product:

I am by no means a professional food photographer.  Can't you tell?  

This was really tasty.  I know John would never go for it, but I would definitely eat it again.  If you like avocado and sweet potatoes I definitely recommend this dish.

On a somewhat different note, how does one take a good picture of food?  All of my plates (except for one random plate I acquired probably from a college apartment) have some sort of color or pattern to them.  No matter what camera I use, the food just doesn't look as appetizing as the professional photos one sees in magazines (or on other blogs for that matter).  I'd like to think my cooking is an actual representation of the normal, every day, non professional cook.  I don't worry about my food looking like it came out of a 5 star restaurant.  It's all eaten within 20 minutes of getting on the plate, so why worry about how pretty it looks? This got me thinking about possibly including more recipe/craft type posts here, showing what a NORMAL person can produce based off of magazine recipes and Pinterest.  Because lets face it MOST people aren't professional chefs.  Most people don't devote their entire lives to creating the best pictures of inanimate objects that they consume immediately after taking the picture.  While I would love to be able to produce 5 star restaurant quality food every single day and then be able to take a picture worthy of magazine covers to display said food, it's just no realistic for me. After all I am Just an Average 20 Something. . .