We’re finally home….mostly

July 22, 2008 at 3:15 pm (Uncategorized)

We found it!  We found a Vietnamese restaurant in Eagan, just outside of St. Paul, that serves Pho!!

As you know, we’ve missed our pho and teriyaki, and finding this place made us feel wonderfully full in both our hearts and tummies.  Tom loves his pho soup (which I consider slow death by starvation), but I love this rice noodle dish served with fish sauce, veggies and meats.  I can’t describe it well, but I really enjoy it which means it’s flavorful but not spicy. They had both, and I admit, the sauce used in my dish was better than what I got in Seattle.

They also had shrimp spring rolls, and while the rice paper seemed a bit stale and the peanut sauce not quite sweet enough, it was refreshing to bite into something familiar.

The restaurant is about 20 minutes away, but frankly it’s worth it to have a taste of home.  As I’m sure you all can relate, eventually you tire of fast food sandwiches and burgers, and you want something DIFFERENT.  Something ETHNIC, something lighter than Mexican and healthy.  Pho is the answer to all of these questions.

However, the portions were a little small and four hours later we were both starving.  I don’t consider this a bad thing, it just means we get to go out for dinner and pick up dessert on the way home!!

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Recipe Review: Grilled Corn Salad

July 19, 2008 at 5:30 pm (Recipes, Uncategorized)

I realized that I need to get moving on sharing some of my new favorite summer recipes before summer is over. This one is hands down my favorite recipe, and Tom’s too. We used the recipe from Simply Recipes Blog, which is my favorite food blog. It’s a blog dad would appreciate – the author started so she could document all her family favorite recipes before her parents are gone. Her mom is Latin, so some of the recipes have a bit of that flair, which is oh, so tasty.  And both of her parents help with the cooking, the recipes, and ownership, so it’s really a family affair.  Basically, I’m a huge fan because I’ve tried numerous things and IT’S ALL GOOD. Especially the vegetable recipes – have you noticed how hard it is to find new ways of fixing veggies that doesn’t include some sort of fattening cream sauce? Which, don’t get me wrong, is good some of the time, but sometimes you just want an alternative to steaming that is quick, easy, and doesn’t require 18 bajillion ingredients.

Here is the link to the original recipe: Grilled Corn Salad. Mine looks like this:

I’m going to let you click on the above link and use the print button to print your own copy.  Much neater that way.  I’ll just detail the modifications I’ve made.

Add 1 can of rinsed and drained black beans, cooked shrimp and diced avocado.  I also double the cilantro because I like it.  I don’t add the hot peppers because I don’t cook with hot peppers.  Andrea understands.  Also, I use frozen corn and my cast iron skillet.  I love my skillet!  Love it.  You can get such a nice sear on things and I use it all the time because it gets so hot – it’s surprisingly effective at stir-frys.  Grilling the corn and zucchini in the skillet works really well, just don’t stir often so you can get the nice grill color and flavor.

Tom loves to put these in soft flour tortila shells, with or without salsa.  I eat it right out of the bowl.  It’s fast and really refreshing for those hot days.  In fact, this is our standard picnic food – I pack it up and take it with us to car cruises or shows, and it’s always better than the sad hamburgers someone is selling.

Try it – use what you have on hand and tweak it for your own tastes.  I’ve used yellow peppers instead of red, but then I realized with all the corn, you need some red color.  I’ve used lime juice instead of cider vinegar and it didn’t have enough zing.  I’ve added the shrimp right before eating, but I like it better mixed in earlier to develop some of the flavors.  I’ve had it hot, room temp and cold, and it’s good in all stages.  Enjoy!

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Let’s go shopping!!

July 15, 2008 at 8:20 pm (My Daily Life) (, )

Tom needed new sandals, and as you can imagine, he was…reluctant…to say the least.

When we first got here, he bought a cheap pair of black rubber flip flops from Walmart to wear out to the spa. These rubber atrocities were likely made by impoverished children in a third world country, and hideous does not begin to describe their ill-fitting-ness. But, since he said he was only going to wear them from the spa to the bathroom, I didn’t complain. And they were $5.

Then it got warm and he started wearing them more. I put down my foot and told him that he could NOT wear these shoes out in public. Yet somehow, he would slip them on for a quick errand and there he was in Home Depot wearing the flip flops that committed crimes against humanity.

Finally, I had enough. Sunday, armed with my credit card and laptop, I went shopping. Behold, the fruits of my labor:

Yes, that’s six pairs of shoes, each in two sizes.

Two pairs of Merrells, two pair of Columbia’s, one North Face and one Keen. I shopped at Zappos to take advantage of the free returns, and since I ordered nearly a thousand dollars worth of shoes, they upgraded me to free priority shipping. I love you, Zappos.

And I loved the user reviews. Tom has a wider foot but they don’t make sandals in wide, so I relied on the reviews that mentioned the shoe was adjustable. And thankfully, I picked up a few that have a back strap that converts the shoe from a sandal to a slide which, as it turns out, Tom really liked.

Tom tried on the Merrell in the back row far left first, but it was too narrow. Then he tried on the Columbia in the back row, far right, but it pinched. Then he tried on the Merrell in the center of the back row and said “That’s it, that’s the one.” I made him try on the rest just to be sure, but he liked that the Merrell was adjustable over the toes and the instep, and was a convertible.

Here is the winner:

I’m happy now. It’s a good sandal to wear with shorts, sporty and I know it will be comfortable. Tom of course FREAKED out that I ordered so many shoes, but really, this satisfied my desire to shop and satisfied his desire to NOT shop. And in the end, the day after the hideous Walmart flip flops died a tragic, destructive death from over wear in the garage, Tom thanked me for getting him some new shoes. Go me!

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New Patio Furniture – Just for Lola

July 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm (My Daily Life)

So you’ve all heard about how the dogs know how to open the screen doors by themselves, either buy using a gap or sticking their head/snout through the ripped corner and pulling it open.  It’s become a moderate problem around the Brokaw Home and last weekend we were contemplating whether to bite the bullet and purchase a doggie door.

I decided that if I was going to spend any money, I don’t want no stinkin’ doggie door, I want patio furniture.  So we bought this.

It’s a sectional by Lazy Boy, from Sam’s Club, marked down half price.  Aluminum frame, comfy cushions, five seating sections with a rectangular coffee table with glass top.  I like it, it’s comfy and has lots of arrangement options.

Lola likes it too.  I come out here in the morning and do some Work on my laptop and Lola usually comes with me.  Actually, she comes with me then decides she wants her rawhide so she lets herself back in, finds a bone, and comes back out.  Spice usually finds a cool comfy spot around the side of the house to chill.  I think she likes the time away from Lola after spending the night with her.  If it’s a good day, like today, Lola sits quietly (or mostly so) with me.  Other days aren’t so good.  In the “my ears are bleeding” sense.

This particular beautiful, if slightly warm and muggy morning, gave way to a terrible noon-time storm.  The sky turned black and we had 60 mph winds and the radar was showing potential conditions for a tornado.  Several cushions blew off the deck and the winds collapsed the canopy covering the furniture.  It was very scary.  I don’t have a good AM radio and the winds were knocking the satellite signal out so I didn’t know how much worse it was going to get.  Because I was wearing capris with no pockets, I stuffed my chap stick in one bra cup and my cell phone in the other cup, grabbed a very nervous Lola, and paced around waiting to dive into the basement.  Yeah, I’m not sure what my reasoning was with the chap stick.  Spice spent the time chewing a bone.  Too cool for school, is she.

Anyway, we all survived.  The canopy may be toast but the furniture is fine.  And it does dry very quickly.  It was good the weather cleared because I needed to throw the dogs outside while I made phone calls.  If left inside, they will bark.  If I throw them out, they want back in.

I invite any and all of you to come visit.  We’ll sit outside on my comfy new furniture under my jury-rigged canopy and play with the dogs.  All are welcome!!

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More conversations from the Doctor’s Office

July 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm (Uncategorized)

Yesterday I had another appointment for a colposcopy and again I made Tom come along and hold my hand.  This was the first time he met Dr. T, and I really like her.  Young and very receptive to listening to my educated desires about my health.  Such as the fact that I find these procedures uncomfortable and would like to stop having them for grins and giggles every 3 months.

I reminded Tom of the ground rules; Number One is to hold my hand, Number Two is NOT to faint, and Three is don’t stray from my head (which will assist in Number Two).  I told him that if possible, if he could keep up some light conversation with the doctor, that goes a long way toward distracting me and making the process seem like it’s moving along.

I guess I should have specified what kind of conversation is acceptable.  It was near the beginning of the procedure when Dr. T mentioned something about experiencing discomfort.

Tom:  E – you should know a thing or two about discomfort.  You live with a white Poodle.

Elizabeth: That doesn’t cause me discomfort, that causes YOU discomfort.

At which point the doctor started laughing.  The kind where you know you shouldn’t laugh and the situation doesn’t call for laughter, but you can’t stop giggling.  And Tom, being a guy in an Lady Parts office, also had the nervous giggles.  And I’m all like, “Hello!!!  Lady with the sharp implements near my very delicate bits…maybe you want to stop shaking so much down there!”

Rule Number Four: Don’t induce body-shaking laughter in doctors with sharp instruments.

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I’m so not cool

July 8, 2008 at 1:44 pm (My Daily Life, Uncategorized) ()

For all my web surfing, I don’t watch videos, I’m never on You Tube, I don’t My Space or Face Book. I read boring blogs about married people and news and gossip sites. So the fact that I have a You Tube video on today’s posting says something. Want to know what is says?

That this video was so popular, generating over 4.5 million hits, it warranted a news story by the New York Times, found here.  That’s how I came to be aware of it and now I’m co-opting it to make myself look cooler.  Which totally won’t work because now that it’s achieved this kind of exposure and become the source of one of the day’s most read articles on NYT’s website, it’s doomed to become the next last great thing.  So over, in other words.

The article is interesting and explains why this is such a phenomena in an academic sense (it is, after all, the NYT). But the video is cute and made me smile. My only problem was all the stopping and starting of the video stream – maybe it has something to do with a billion other NYT readers concurrently watching it.  Again, by tomorrow, yesterday’s news.

The video does have a “watch in high quality” version which you can access using the link here.  I was pleasantly surprised by how much that boosted the quality.  What will those smart You Tubers think of next?

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Chicken Dog!!

July 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm (Dog Update)

We have Chicken Dog!!

I know, it looks like she’s lovingly looking at Tom’s parfait but I don’t think she’s interested in the yogurt-fruity goodness.  And she assumed this position all by herself.  I caught her taking a nap up there the other day as Tom was napping below her.  Only problem was when she stepped down, on him, to get off the couch.

Anyway, maybe she likes to watch tv from this vantage.

She seems rather unimpressed with herself, but I find it strangely compelling that she’s assumed Chicken Dog behaviors.  Not much to bark at down here though.

Maybe someday we’ll get a picture of both Zoe and Lola doing their best Chicken Dog on the same couch!

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Oh my heck…

July 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm (My Daily Life) (, )

This is Dara Torres.  She’s 41 years old and the mother of a two year old.

She is featured in this New York Magazine article.  If she makes the swim team, and there’s little reason to doubt it, this will be her fifth Olympics and make her the oldest female swimmer in Olympic history.  She already has 9 Olympic medals to her name.  And she looks like this.

I’m not making a statement about beauty because to me, this isn’t attractive in a physical sense.  But I greatly admire the amount of work it took to get into this shape, the dedication to maintain this shape, and the fact that it was all done at 41 years old.  When I look at skinny women I want to feed them a cookie, but with Dara I wouldn’t even offer a cookie – it would be like offering Monet a different color paint.  Dara looks like a piece of art, something that can be appreciated and commended for all the skill that went into creating it.

The article is interesting if you have time to read it – it talks about her workouts, how they’ve changed, and what she does out of the water to be as good as she is.  And, as always, a body this impressive has an entourage behind it; a head coach, a strength coach, two stretchers, and a nanny.

I’m impressed.  Me and my 1-pack abs are definitely impressed.

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