Saturday, August 28, 2010

Never go to a Shelter if you don't want to come home with an animal...

So Ben and I, along with our friend Brandon, went to 2 animal shelters today.

The first one we went to, we loved this Basenji... sadly, it didn't get along with cats.  Of course, the one Basenji that doesn't like cats, the breed known for liking cats.  Though I personally think that the reason why 80% of the dogs in the shelter weren't compatible with cats is because the cat they tested it with is large, aggressive, and doesn't like dogs.  So.... I think he would get a long fine with Lucy.  Isn't he cute?!?

The next shelter we went to almost all the dogs we liked weren't available to be played with!  So frustrating.  The one dog that was available for immediate adoption was Murray, a Labrador, Chow Chow mix.  Sadly, Murray was very much neglected by his previous owners.  So neglected, he has no idea how to interact with humans.  He gets so stressed out by humans, he paces and keeps his tail between his legs.  You reach out to touch him, and he shys away, like you're going to hit him.  Of course, I fell in love with him.  The trainer suggested teaching him how to interact with humans by giving him a treat everytime he comes up to one of us... in other words, lots of positive reinforcement!  So we are going to go back on Tuesday when they reopen and bringing dog treats.  If all goes well, we might be on the road to adopting Murray!!  I really don't think he'll be adopted or the people adopting him will have the patience to help him adjust to humans and teach him how to play.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our Apartment

Ben and I are slowly getting furniture into our apartment... we decided to go with the "basics" first and got a bed and couch.  

When I first arrived, we unpacked everything... and put it all away... and slowly we formed a landfill in our dining room.  

But we finally got our "act" together and bought more furniture.  Instead of using a box for a "coffee table" we bought a coffee table!  BTW, I LOVE IKEA.  Inexpensive, but decent furniture.  We had a furniture putting-together party.... where I made dinner and Ben and his friends put together the furniture.  Need to get things done around the house?  Provide Navy sailors with free beer and a homemade dinner and whala!  The furniture was all put together!!!

Thanks to Ben's Navy friends... and my home-cooking!

We're working on getting a bigger TV...

Such a comfy couch!


So Ben and I have an adopted cat named Lucy... she originally was my sister's cat by unfortunately they had to give her up.  Lucy didn't get along with her fiance's dog Chase... so this is how we got Lucy.  I love animals, especially dogs and cats and adopting Lucy seemed like a good idea.... since 1) Lucy would stay in the family 2) Lucy already knew me 3) It would be nice to have a companion while Ben was at work =)

Lucy is a very interesting cat.  She only drinks water out of the toilet.  We think she thinks she's a dog....  Well, I really didn't want her to keep up this habit, as I was worried we would come home to find she had fallen in!  And Ben, not being used to the odd quirks of Lucy, kept forgetting to leave the bathroom door open for her.  So we asked the vet at PetSmart if she had any suggestions.  We got Lucy a water fountain.... yep, our cat has her own water fountain.  And she uses it!  Best $25 spent on her!

Lucy is a bit antisocial when she is upset at us.  We bought her a collar and an ID.  She's not too thrilled with us and spends a lot of time in our closets.  Her favorite spot is in Ben's closet.... on top of his clothes.  I tried to force her to be "social" and blocked all the closets.  Her solution?  To hang out on top of our fridge!

Amusingly enough, she is VERY social if we stick her  nose in her catnip toys.  Then she plays and cuddles with us.... or spends an hour staring at her reflection in the window!  Lucy very much likes her catnip toys.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Date Night

So Ben and I decided to have a "Date Night" once a week.  Last night we went to a wine tasting at Wine Styles.  It was our first wine tasting and was very interesting!  If you've never been to a wine tasting, they give you a print-out of all the wines you are going to try with a little explanation.  Ben and I got a kick out of some of the word choices used to describe the wines. (Like "silky")
They had a "food and wine pairing" for one of the wines.  We loved the wine, even bought a bottle, and loved the pasta.  The pasta was so simple and I can't wait to re-create it!  It was pasta with asparagus, arugula, and goat cheese.  I think it would be extra yummy with pine nuts.  It was amazing how well the wine brought out the goat cheese in the pasta!!

Wine Styles has a "Wine Club" that Ben and I are considering joining.  It's a $35 membership fee once a month.  You get 2 complimentary wines every month, a wine magazine, 10% off all wines, and $5 off all events at the store.  We shall see.... I have yet to find any brands in the wine store that I recognize... would could be good and actually broaden my horizon on wines.

We then went out to dinner at a little cafe next door called Chance Bistro. I was skeptical at first because we were the only ones at the restaurant.... but decided to go for it... as Ben pointed out we would get very good service being the only customers.  It ended up being very good!  Homemade Sangria and gourmet Mexican food.  We got the crab-cakes for an appetizer.  They were a little spicy and had a citrusy taste to it we couldn't quite decide what it was but complimented the dish really well!  I got the vegetarian enchiladas - spinach, tomatoes, and portobello mushrooms, covered in a creamy jalapeƱo cheese sauce.  Ben got ahi tuna tacos.  Also very good!!!  Think we found another "keeper."

All-in-all, our Date Night was a success!  Think next time we will try and "branch-out" and try a different cuisine other than Mexican.... thinking Indian or Chinese food!  If you're from the area, please throw out some suggestions!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding Pictures


Adventures in Cooking

I love to cook... and decided, what better use of my
new free-time than to make good dinners? I've been making some old favorites of mine, like pork chops with scalloped potatoes and red wine.

If you're looking for a really easy dinner that can easily feed a lot of people (or 3 sailors...), than pork chops are  a winner!  I mixed bread crumbs with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  I first dipped the pork chops in egg then covered it in the seasoning mix.  Pan fried it for a few minutes, until each side was brown.  The baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Looking for a fast dinner?  Make dill-salmon.  Season the salmon liberally with salt, pepper, and dill weed.  Then pan fry each side for about 5 minutes (if you like your fish rare), longer if you like well-cooked fish.  Serve with brown rice and salad: spinach, tomatoes, and carrots.

I love making skillets and this one has some of my favorite things in it! Hash browns with avocado, spinach, tomatoes, and blue cheese; topped with sunny-side-up eggs!

For our first Sunday brunch, we made banana pancakes.  We tried whole-wheat pancake batter for the first time and were pleasantly surprised.  Definitely a good batter for flavored pancakes as it is very "hearty" and full of flavor.  Served with coffee (of course), sausages, and fresh blueberries!  Learned something new about blueberries (and other fresh fruit)... if your  fridge is too cold, it will freeze the blueberries.  So I turned our fridge down... only to discover blueberries that are semi-frozen then defrosted rot!  I discovered this the morning I went to eat some yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast.

We were having friends over and dinner was going to take a bit to prepare, so Ben made some really yummy appetizers.  Crackers with melted Brie cheese and Pancetta on top.  He melted the cheese in oven first before adding the Pancetta.  These were wonderful... but don't try to save the leftovers!  The Brie cheese gets really hard.

So I obviously didn't make this ice cream... but I decided to include the ice cream because it was so good!  We found this old-fashioned ice cream parlor in downtown Coronado.  If you're ever visiting Coronado, make sure to stop by MooTime Creamery.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chapter 1: How I ended up in California + My First Week as a Navy Wife

So my friend Kelly, who moved to England with her husband, suggested I start a blog, considering I am currently unemployed and am looking for something to do other than cooking and cleaning.  Here's her blog (and my inspiration, thanks Kelly!)

How did I end up in California... a state I have been to only 2x prior to my move?  My husband (Whom I married on August 7) is in the Navy and is finishing his training at the NAS on Coronado Island.  \
Here's a few pictures from the wedding:
Me and my Sisters
So I really wanted my niece, Brielle as my Flowergirl... hence why she is holding Elmo =)
Ben received an "order" to dip me... on every step!!
So the Monday after our wedding, my sister and I road-tripped it from Chicago to California.  It was suggested to us to take the "Southern Route" to avoid the Rocky Mountains in Colorado..... no one told us there were mountains along the Southern Route as well.  Nice surprise for us, considering we're used to flat, Midwestern driving!  But we survived, thanks to my IPOD, books on tape, and very nicely priced hotels.... thanks to the military discount... (Thanks husband!).  We made it in 2 1/2 days.  Sadly, my sister had to fly out the next morning, though we were able to show her a little bit of Downtown Coronado and the Naval base.  

Now I have been in California for about a week and finally have internet, so I can actually write in my blog!  We finally have furniture: bed, very comfy couch, coffee table, TV stand, nightstands... and LAMPS!  Of course we set-up the kitchen first and I have been cooking away (I tend to cook when I'm bored or stressed).  I'm still learning to cook for only 2 people.... we either tend to have a lot of leftovers, or I end up inviting Ben's Navy friends for dinner.  Don't think they mind. =)

Found an new favorite recipe.... chicken breasts stuffed with garlic cheese spread and spinach!  A little messy to prepare but so easy and yummy!  We have also found an awesome Mexican Restaurant that we will definitely frequent a lot: Cafe Coyote on Old Town (San Diego).  Homemade Mexican food, huge Margaritas... and a line out the door for dinner.  Go with time to spare b/c of the line, but the wait is well worth the food!