Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

One of the things I enjoy doing during the holidays is spending time with family walking through festive displays and having lunch together (well, I always love spending time with family - not just during the holidays).  The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is a usual stop for the four of us (me, John, and his parents since the rest of our family live out of town or are overseas). 

I could not tell you which part of the display was my favorite ... the beautiful pond with the snow capped trees or the polar bears made of roses playing nearby, the humongous ornaments or the rocking horse, Santa and reindeer climbing in to the sky, the train weaving through poinsettias, or the penguins staying cool around the igloos.  I took some photos here but Bellagio has photos of the displays on their site -- better than I can get with my Blackberry.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Italian Fruit Cake

Next to Grandma's homemade rum fruit cake, this is one of my favorite cakes to have during the Christmas holiday. If I'm not careful, I can eat a loaf in two sittings! I think I need a bigger plate though, lol.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

How to Wrap Your Cat for Christmas

This cat looks like our Elgy and I think she would love to be wrapped for Christmas!

(You'll need to turn on your speakers and turn off the music player in the sidebar.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Simple French Onion Mushroom Soup

One of my favorite soups to have when it's cold outside is this easy onion mushroom soup. Just 4 ingredients to a comforting appetizer!

  • Chicken broth
  • Mushrooms, thinly sliced (the thinner the better so it can soak up the broth. I'm using baby bella)
  • French's Fried Onions
  • Green onions, sliced

Heat up chicken broth and spoon in a bowl, sprinkle sliced mushrooms, fried onions, and green onions on top! Enjoy.

I did not list the quantity of each ingredient because you put as much of each item as you like. You can put a little mushrooms or a lot of mushrooms -- or none if you don't like mushrooms but then this wouldn't be French Onion Mushroom Soup ;-P.  John doesn't like raw mushrooms but since they are sliced really thin, the heat from the broth tempers the mushrooms a bit.  I like to use fresh mushrooms because the taste and crispier texture is slightly different from cooked ones.

If you really want to be naughty, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Yum-yum!!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Lunch at Tofu Hut

Yum-yum...I think I ate too much. ;-P
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Elgy Roasting by the Open Fire

Every time we turn the fireplace on, Elgy seems to be mesmerized by it. If she's not napping nearby on the arm of the couch, she can be spotted staring at the flickering flames as if nothing else mattered. Her eyes are unblinking and I wonder what goes through her mind. Probably nothing.
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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas Concert

The old saying about professors in higher education use to be tenured faculty don't do much once they've achieved the status. I am not sure if that still holds true or not but that's not why I am writing.  This post is to give hats off to UNLV Associate Professor Emeritus Dr. Douglas R. Peterson who's directed the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Chorus since 1968.  He and the 65-voice community choir has been honored with a repeat invitation to accompany famed tenor Andrea Bocelli again this year.  Andrea Bocelli is awesome -- we have a CD and DVD of his performance.

One night ... this Saturday is the last concert in Bocelli's 2010 six-city national tour to be held at MGM Grand Garden Arena this weekend.

More information can be found here: http://www.snmas.com

How To ...

Sometimes I train end users on the functionality of our new student administration system, develop printable guides, videos, and interactive tutorials. Tools like these are especially nice for others to refer to the event I'm not immediately available to answer calls or e-mails with how-to questions.

I am thrilled to have other tutorials, guides, and how to videos for practical things in life like How to Make: Use of left over Turkey or How To: Wash Delicate Stemware Glasses (this article taught me a few things I didn't already know like laying down towels at the bottom of the sink or why rinse the glass if they will sit overnight).  Tutorials like these and others can be found at HowToBin.com -- what a neat idea!

Christmas Cat

Her dress brings out the green in her eyes.
I won't make her wear it all day, LOL. Only if we have company.

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Film Noir

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Thy leaves are so unchanging! We got our tree yesterday; it is our largest tree yet. I think perhaps we need a bigger star.
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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Somehow I Went Along

Originally I had planned to ride a couple hours and early in the morning because I had some chores and preparations for an event tomorrow afternoon. As I rode my mind was distracted by all the tasks I needed to complete. Not too far in my route I found myself wishing my ride was over already; I longed to turn around and head towards home.

At the corner of Horizon Ridge and Horizon Drive (mile 6 1/2), I ran into my teammates. The were on their way to a group ride and invited to join them. Since I was not too far along in my route, I figured why not ride along? It would give me a chance to catch up, meet new folks, and a different path other than what I know would be a good distraction!  It looks like I'll get my ride in after all.

[to be continued...]

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is This How It Feels?

Elgy empathizes with me after I told her about our team ride in the cold, gusty winds. It was brutal, yet I had a blast!!
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Tri-tip Roast Sandwich and Veggies with Fire Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Lunch made of leftovers from dinner last night. Here is the recipe for the hummus - it's super easy, healthy, and really good!

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (4 ounce) jar roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. In an electric blender or food processor, puree the chickpeas, red peppers, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Process, using long pulses, until the mixture is fairly smooth, and slightly fluffy. Make sure to scrape the mixture off the sides of the food processor or blender in between pulses. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour...or not. (The hummus can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)
2. Sprinkle the hummus with the chopped parsley and (optional) drizzle with virgin olive oil before serving or make a pool in the middle of the hummus and fill with a tablespoon of oil. Serve with pita chips or cut up fresh veggies - yum-yum!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Signs of a White Christmas

On our way home there is snow on the hills and I wonder if we will have a white Christmas. The temperature read 35 degrees when we drove over the pass towards the state line.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010


At the Fashion Island Mall in Newport, CA lines of (at least a hundred) people form, wrapping around the corner in the drizzly rain outside of Forever 21. It's the grand opening.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Good Advice

on a warm day but it's a little cooler this morning so I may be ducking for cover from the wind chill behind my teammates today!
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A friend sent this to me and it was too funny not to share.  Finally, an explanation!

With time, women gain weight because we accumulate so much information and
wisdom in our heads that when there

is no more room, it distributes out
to the rest of our bodies. So we aren't

heavy, we are enormously cultured,
educated and happy.

Beginning today, when I look at my butt
in the mirror I will think,
"Good grief, look how smart I am!"

Must be where
"Smart Ass" came from!


Monday, November 08, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I know Thanksgiving isn't even here yet but I already can't wait for Christmas! I don't know why but the spirit found me early this year and I am so excited!!

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Then and Now

Near the end of 2002, I visited San Luis Obispo for the first time where John had lived during his college days. We were up north for Thanksgiving at his parents home in Arroyo Grande where I met (his dad) John and (mom) Maggie for the first time. During one of the days, John took me to MontaƱa De Oro state park and we took the pictures above.

Now at the end of 2010, we found ourselves standing at the same place in Spooner's Cove. :-)

We rode from the Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo early Sunday morning. 17 miles through the scenic valley in to the one of the largest park in California.  The weather was a lot cooler than Vegas so we wore more layers to stay warm.
Windy roads uphill and downhill, past vineyards and pumpkin patches through trees that sheltered the path we road until we arrived at the point we had had set foot on eight years before. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed our ride together and all the beautiful things we saw--such a fun time!
When our ride was over we settled down to have breakfast at the Inn before we parted from the Apple Farm towards home.  It was a nice weekend of riding, race watching, good food, and time spent with friends and each other.

Out With the Girls

I'm going out with the girls.  The leggings I slip on are leg warmers instead of stockings, the cream I slather not on my face but on my 'girlie bits' (as Melinda calls them) to prevent chafing.  The darkness looks like it's late in the night but it is early morning.  Soon I will be rolling...on two wheels.  I'm out with the girls to ride!!

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday in SLO

Saturday morning was wet from the rain overnight so we didn't get to ride our bikes. A warm breakfast at the Apple Farm Restaurant sounded more fitting for a morning where the low fog hovered over the hills behind us (seems they have trouble climbing like me, LOL). We ate enough carbs to put us in a diabetic coma but the fresh baked muffins and scones were too good to miss! The omelet with a side of hash and biscuit was enough to feed us for the whole day.
After breakfast we met up with our friends and the whole family drove down to Solvang to watch the CycloCross bike race. The competition took place in the beautiful Kylera Winery. By then the bright and shiny sun had peeked through the clouds so it was a pleasant time to be there.
Watching the riders push and sweat through the hills worked up our appetites so we went to the Solvang Restaurant for lunch. Well...to be honest, we were really after the Aebleskivers -- tennis ball shaped Danish waffle-pancake thingies with strawberry jam dribbled on top and dusted with powdered sugar. Oh -- they were SO GOOD!! We purchased our very own pan so we can make some at home.
The town of Solvang itself is a neat place and we plan to visit again when we have more time to explore the shops.  We had so much fun together but it was time to leave.

We headed home to do our own bike riding and cyclocross event! John and I rode just outside of San Luis Obispo for about 24 miles before we needed to head back to the Apple Farm before dark. While our friends got ready for their Halloween party, it was time for us to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was at McPhee's Grill in what I would consider the middle of nowhere (I guess I'm use to the lights of Las Vegas that brighten every street).  But what a beautiful place it was.  Warm, cozy and the food ... THE FOOD was absolutely delicious.  John had rib eye with salsa with a side of jalapeno cheese mashed potatoes and goat cheese stuffed poblano chile peppers.  I had the oak grilled filet mignon with blue cheese butter, bordelaise sauce, and garlic mashed potatoes. SO, SO good!!  We skipped the dessert and opted for coffee.
After all, fresh milled hot apple cider and cookies await us back in our room. We tucked ourselves in and fell asleep to the flickering flames from the fireplace. I have to admit that the cool weather made for a nice day.

Sugar for the Soul

Good advice...
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Friday, October 29, 2010

SLO Time

We are here in San Luis Obispo (SLO) enjoying a quiet morning eating breakfast cooked up by John's long-time friend. Hash browns, Mickey Mouse waffles, and fresh eggs laid by the chickens in the family's back yard. Yum-yum!! Then we drove off in a Pinzgauer to Art's Cyclery. Our friend Aaron needed some bike accessories and I picked up some cool weather gloves for our ride tomorrow if the weather stays dry.
By mid-morning we checked in to our room at the Apple Farm. Hard to believe after the huge breakfast that we were ready to have lunch so we went to High Street Deli. John ordered a meatloaf sandwich and I chose the Fireworks (turkey, avocado, bacon, red onions, jalapeno, smoked cheddar cheese, dijon mustard, and mayo) -- the sandwich was "spicy" and delicious!! I could have used more heat so we sat on the patio while we ate lunch to soak up the day's sun.

Now it was time to visit the Avila Family Barn to check out their pumpkin selection, fresh produce, and the gift and candy store. What a neat place! Check out their website: http://www.avilavalleybarn.com/farm_stand.html
Then John and I wandered down the Port San Luis pier. The afternoon was very still and quiet but sunny. The seals were on the deck bathing in the sun. Some were napping (John could hear them snore, LOL) and once in a while they would stir after waking up from their slumber looking groggy and smacking their lips.
The evening soon came and we made our way to downtown SLO for a little shopping and settle at Mo's Smokehouse BBQ for dinner. We had the BBQ chicken sandwich and BBQ pork sandwich with coleslaw on top and side of BBQ baked beans, sweet potato fries, cornbread, and garden salad.  I think our eyes were larger than our tummy, LOL!! A nice walk after dinner was due after that meal!

Now we are settled in bed with tea and cookies.  Hope the weather is nice tomorrow so we can go riding and after that to Solvang because I have never been and to watch a cyclocross bike race.
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