Veering away from sandwiches

Does anyone else get tired of sandwiches, wraps, or flat bread creations for lunch?  I’m so tired of these things.  I love bread if it’s freshly toasted, buttered french bread or a hot roll from Logan’s Roadhouse, but sandwich bread can be so boring.  It finally struck me that the only reason I eat sandwich bread is because it holds all the other stuff together.  It’s certainly not what I want to be eating for lunch every day.  My sister and I discovered the wonder of lettuce wraps last year, so I thought maybe I could do something with lettuce wraps instead.

I’ve started looking over the sale papers for the local grocery stores that appear in the mailbox, and I should have been doing that all along.  A few weeks ago, I found avocados for fifty cents each at Super One.  Fifty cents!  This week a few deals caught my eye.  They had red, orange, or yellow bell peppers for 98 cents each, and collard, turnip, or mustard greens for 78 cents per bunch.  I like cooking with bell peppers, but they’re usually about $2 each for anything other than green, so I jumped at this opportunity.  Also, I experimented with cooking collard greens for the first time a month or so ago, and they were delicious.  I figured 78 cents per bunch seemed like as good an excuse as any to cook some again.  So, I headed to Super One to take advantage of these deals.  I got three bell peppers – one of each color – and two bunches of collard greens.  Then I spotted an extra special deal – avocados for 38 cents each!  THIRTY EIGHT CENTS!!  So I grabbed three of those, too.  Then I headed to Walmart for my heavy duty shopping.

Anyway, I’m straying away from the point.  I’m tired of bread!  I want to do lettuce wraps to change things up a bit.  So, I decided to buy some ground turkey and cook it with some of the peppers and a little purple onion & garlic.  That will go in my lettuce leaves for my wraps.

I divided it up after it was cooked.  I’ve got two small bowls ready to grab & go for lunch for the next two workdays.  (And I bought a fresh pineapple that I already chopped up and some strawberries to go with my lunches, as well.)  Then I have a separate freezer bag with enough for two more servings for another time.  And on top of that, I’ve got three freezer bags of sliced, mixed bell peppers for cooking with later!  Success!

Image

If anyone has ideas for lunches to take to work, I’d be interested in hearing them!

One week.

I am currently one week into my Facebook fast.  So far, so good.  I really am not missing it.  I thought I would, but it’s really not a big deal.  I missed Cokes far more the past two years than I’ve missed Facebook this time around.  I know it’s early on, but I just don’t see it getting any harder.  Most likely, it’ll get even easier to be off of there.  I’ve gone to bed earlier at night.  I’ve been more productive.  It’s refreshing.  It really is.  

Greek Pita Pizza.

For a brief moment this morning, I missed Facebook.

Probably 95% of the time, I bring my lunch to work.  Partially that is because I am tight with my money and don’t want to blow it on fast food.  Partially it’s because our office isn’t near any good food options that we can take advantage of during our thirty minute lunch break. (When we used to be on Tower Drive, we had much better food options nearby, like the late great Kyoto, PieWorks, the late great Moe’s Southwest Grill, and for a quick pick-me-up, Starbucks.)

I’m tired of sandwiches.  I want some new, fresh ideas for healthy, quick, easy lunch options.  So this morning, I missed the convenience of posting a quick status update requesting lunch ideas, and getting several responses.  I decided to wing it.

While standing at the deli counter waiting on my old fashioned ham, I picked up a package of pita bread.  As I was reading the back of the package, I came across a great idea.  The suggestion was to bake your pita and “go Greek” with feta cheese, tomatoes, and olives.  I didn’t have olives, nor did I really want to buy any, but we did have feta cheese at home.  I adore tomatoes.  I brainstormed a little more as I shopped and realized the only other thing I needed to buy besides the pita bread was a tomato.  At home I had spinach leaves, feta cheese, olive oil, and Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.  The package didn’t specify how long to bake it, so I just took a guess.

After eight minutes @ 350, I came up with this:

ImageIt was quite tasty!  Next time, I might toast the pita for a minute before baking it, so it’ll be a little crispier.  I also might add some olives for additional flavor.  But for a first attempt, I’d call it a success.  And two bonuses are that (a) it was simple, and (b) it was so pretty!  I sure do love some bright, colorful food.

This sweet boy.

I used to be a cat person.  Don’t get me wrong; I still love cats.  My sweet cat Opie, whom I had eleven years, was one of my greatest treasures.  I am an animal lover in general, but I just wasn’t particularly drawn to dogs until the summer of 2008 when this boy came into our lives and stole my heart.

Image

Melissa (my sister/roommate) and I had decided we might want to get a Boxer after Melissa went on a trip with our cousin and stayed with some friends of his who had three adult Boxers in their apartment.  Melissa fell in love with those dogs and came home telling me how great Boxers were and how they had such fun personalities.  (It feels strange to say “personality” in regards to a dog, but you know what I mean.)  So I was fine with getting one, too.  It sounded like a good idea to me.

We didn’t plan on getting a puppy, but rather we planned to adopt an adult Boxer from Louisiana Boxer Rescue.  It turned out that we met Sayid at our cousin’s house and he was the last one of his litter.  He was seven weeks old and ready for adoption.  Our mom was with us that day, and after telling us numerous times throughout our lives, and kicking it up a notch after we told her that our future Boxer would need to be welcome at Family Night, how she would never welcome a dog inside her house, she fell in love at first sight with Sayid and said to him – and I quote – “You could come to my house for Family Night!”  That sealed the deal.  Melissa and I said, “We’ll take him!”  We came home with him that day.  We woke up that morning to go to a cousin’s birthday party and came home with a puppy.  Needless to say, we had to stop at Petco on the way home for some basic puppy supplies.

We had ridden with Mama to our cousin’s party, so when we returned to my parents’ house, Daddy was in his recliner watching TV.  Melissa and I carried Sayid inside and said, “Look what we got today!”  Daddy just looked at us and replied, “Hmm.” Whichever of us had him in our arms walked over and put him in Daddy’s lap.  Again – “Hmm.”  Sayid took a little nap in Daddy’s arms.  When we went to leave and go back to our house, Sayid peed on my parents’ kitchen floor.  Daddy just watched all of this taking place, and with a little more emphasis, added his usual “Hmm!”  Clearly, Daddy was a bit skeptical.

The puppy phase was a challenge, but completely worth it.  Puppy kindergarten was a success.  Also, I must give credit where credit is due.  Melissa has been great at training him to do all sorts of tricks and commands.  Sayid is very smart and has learned a lot, but the vast majority of the credit for teaching him goes to Melissa.  Sayid goes to Family Night every week at my parents’ house.  He goes to my parents’ house nearly every time Melissa or I go over there.  He is over there so much that it actually feels strange to be over there without Sayid.  He knows Grandnanny is good for treats (and he eats far too many of them at their house) and Grandpappy is always good for a game of tug of war.  At the mention of their names, he’s ready to go.  In fact, I once mentioned to him that we were going to Grandnanny & Grandpappy’s house, but then got busy with something else and ended up not going.  Now when I mention going to their house, he follows me around the house and looks me right in the eye until we leave.  He’s not going to let me fool him twice!  Not when it comes to something serious like a trip to Grandnanny’s and Grandpappy’s house!

He always is happy to see us, along with anyone in our family or circle of friends.  He always makes us laugh with those goofy Boxer mannerisms, like sitting in people’s laps or maneuvering his body into a kidney bean shape when he just can’t contain his joy.  His little nub tail can wag so fast it reminds me of a hummingbird.  He snores and he’s gassy (that part is endearing only to his family, I’m sure!) and he’s a big clown.  He lets his brother, Shaq, who is an 18 year old cat, drink from his water bowl first while he patiently waits his turn, even though Shaq has 24 hour access to his own water bowl.  (Usually he waits patiently.  Sometimes he fusses at Shaq if he’s extra thirsty.)  If he’s extra tired, he will put himself to bed early.  His favorite place in the house to relax is my bed.  He has a toy box in the living room and I usually end up gathering five or six various toys to throw back in the box at the end of every day.

Sayid is absolutely one of the great joys in my life.  I wonder sometimes how he could have been the last one left in his litter.  How could someone pass him up?  He’s beautiful.  The only thing I can think of is that he may have shown some aggressive tendencies.  He likes other dogs, but prior to actually meeting another dog, he sure does come across as mean.  But I think God knew he’d fit perfectly in our family, so maybe He saved him for us.  Sayid is a gift.  To know him is to love him.  And to belong to him, like I do, is to be blessed immensely.

Weekend at Janie’s

Jody, Janie, and I spent the weekend at Janie’s in New Iberia.  Weekends at Janie’s always turn into endless buffets.  Evidence below!

Image

Janie needs to open a bed and breakfast.  Breakfast is definitely her specialty!  But she’s not too shabby at desserts & other meals either.

It was just a good, lazy weekend.  We stayed in pajamas much longer than on a normal day, we ate (clearly) to our hearts content and beyond, we played a new board game Janie bought on one of our Walmart trips, we rented a Redbox movie – although Jody is the only one who stayed awake through the whole thing, and we laughed a lot.

My friends informed me that I’m quirky.  (As if that is a breaking news alert!)  Janie informed us that she has “drinked” Walmart milk before.  Jody requested that Janie make her some hot chocolate to “warm her soul” after the lights were out and we were all about to fall asleep. (That request was denied, obviously!)  Fun times.  It sure is good to get together with them every now and then.  🙂

 

a random act of kindness

This morning my hands were full as I was walking through the parking lot toward the office.  Ms. Vera, the sweet lady who cleans our building, was coming out and held open the door for me.  As I thanked her, she smiled and said, “There’s breakfast in there for y’all.  Hurry in and get you some.”  As soon as I was in the door, I could smell it.  I put my stuff down at my desk and went into the kitchen to find grits, eggs, biscuits, bacon, sausage, jelly, and juice.  Everyone was so grateful and pleasantly surprised.  It was such an elaborate gesture by Ms. Vera.  Out of the kindness of her heart, not to mention her own bank account, she provided a big, delicious breakfast for about 30 to 35 people.  Wow.  Who does that?  What an unexpectedly nice way to start the day.

So long, Facebook!

Facebook and I have a love/hate relationship.  I find Facebook more irritating than anything else, but I keep going back to it.  It’s a bad habit and it needs to be broken.  I’ve decided to give up Facebook for Lent, and I must confess, I hope I find myself so much more content without it that I don’t reactivate my account.  Yes, I realize I am not Catholic, but I do see the point in sacrificing something important to you.  Also, I think it’s a little sad how Facebook is that important to me.  I’d like to say it’s not, but I find myself clicking on my Facebook app on my phone & scrolling through my News Feed numerous times a day out of sheer habit.  I can deny all I want, but the amount of time I spend on Facebook tells the reality of the situation.

What keeps me on Facebook?  I think it’s mostly just keeping up with friends.  I like seeing cute pictures of my friends’ kids and seeing exciting things happening in their lives.  I like following Louisiana Boxer Rescue.  I like the friends I have met along the way whom I communicate with via Facebook.  But I keep going back to how more often than not, I find this whole social network irritating.  It’s impersonal.  Tonight I wrote an email to a friend – a friend who has admirably removed herself from Facebook and is happy with that decision – and it actually felt really nice to just send a personal email to one friend instead of a status update to hundreds of friends/acquaintances.  Janie, you’re next.  🙂  I guess I hope I still get to hear from my friends on occasion without being on a big impersonal list of hundreds.  I have a phone number and an email address that both work perfectly well!  I will welcome those cute photos of their kids being delivered to me via text message.  I know it’s hard to break habits, especially when they are just so convenient, but I want my friendships to return to a more simple, genuine, personal manner, even if it means I am going in a different direction than the majority.

I’m also hopeful that abstaining from Facebook will get me back into the habit of blogging.  (I will always hate the word “blogging”, but I like the actual activity!)  Before diary-x crashed, I would post regular blogs – several per week.  This time period was during college, and I wrote about so many fun things I did with my friends.  I even created scrapbooks for two of my friends when they graduated that were full of stories/blog entries pertaining to fun memories with them.  I think part of the problem with Facebook is that it has made everyone condense their thoughts into two or three sentences and broadcast a variety of those thoughts throughout the day.  Nothing goes deeper than a few sentences, and there are no details … other than details nobody really wants to know.  (You all know what I mean.  We all have the TMI-type friends who talk about their toddler’s bathroom habits or the list of places they threw up today, since they’re pregnant and are always sick to their stomach.)  I miss blogging, but I don’t make time for it.  Maybe a Facebook hiatus will bring me back to it.  Because, truly, in ten years from now, I’d much rather backtrack on a blog and read about an extra fun family night or a game night with friends in detail than shuffle through tons of clutter to maybe see a two sentence status update about it.  This is a better way to preserve memories, and I make a lot of good ones.

By Ash Wednesday, my account will be deactivated.  It may be deactivated before then, but I want to give myself some time to make sure to exchange email addresses with some friends I’d like to keep up with.  Truthfully, I’m really looking forward to this.  I think it’ll be a good thing.  So, goodbye Facebook, for at least six weeks.  And if it feels as liberating as I hope it will, maybe goodbye for good.