Monthly Archives: September 2011

Kale Chips

The first time Taylor and I made these, we intended to eat them as a snack for the next couple of days.  We ended up eating all of them in about 5 minutes.  It’s difficult to describe what they taste like – except for saying they taste awesome.  They don’t actually taste like greens.  The next week at the grocery store we saw a miniscule bag of kale chips being sold for $5.

1 bunch of kale, washed and torn into chip-size pieces

olive oil, pepper, and salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Spread out the kale into an even layer – it’s better to do two batches then cram everything onto one sheet because any kale that is under other pieces of kale won’t get that nice crispiness.  Drizzle with olive oil, pepper, and salt.  Toss and then put into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

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Mums the Word

Around this time last year we learned about an interesting homecoming tradition here in Texas: mums.  Basically you give a mum to your date for homecoming.

What started out in the 1970s as an actual chrysanthemum has morphed into this terrible monstrosity.  Yes, those are creepy stuffed animal bears wearing top hats.   That is not unique to this picture – there are typically stuffed bears on all of them.  I don’t know why.  Which really is the question I asked Taylor over and over as he explained this to me: Why?  The worst part is the cost.  I went into Michael’s this weekend and saw three displayed.  The largest one that wasn’t even that great cost $118!  And that’s at Michael’s.  People have businesses where you can order custom-made ones that cost over $500.

Taylor said last year that there were tiny girls that couldn’t really seem to support the giant mums.  Which is why I wasn’t surprised to read this in an article explaining them:

“Sidney Heath, the girlfriend of Hagerman’s oldest son, James, recently received the crown jewel of Hagerman’s mums. A front and back mum sandwiches her body and is attached to a dog harness for strength and comfort.”

I’m not sure I can ignore the fact that this girl is wearing a dog harness all in the name of mums and most likely popularity.  She says she was really proud of it but can you imagine how awkward that must have been when he gave it to her?  “Oh yeah, so I know it’s heavy…that’s why my mom put a dog harness in there!  Let me help you fasten the harness.  I know how to do it – I have a dog.”


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High School Football Fun

We haven’t done much in the past week that is worthy of a Walkabout Wednesday post.  The only time we ventured out of our apartment besides running errands and going to work was to go see Taylor’s high school football team play on Friday night.  To clarify – that means the high school he teaches at and not the one he attended.  Although last week at trivia I wore a Xavier shirt and this guy stopped me and said “Is that for the Xavier in Connecticut?”  The one time I wear that shirt out in TEXAS someone recognizes the school.  He wanted to talk about it but we ended that pretty quickly because of TRIVIA, you guys.  We actually had a 7 person team and had a chance!  Except we lost.

Anyways, football game.  Did you know that when you go to a small high school that you typically have to play on both the defense and the offense?  Those kids were tired.  They most likely lost in the end – not sure though because we left at halftime.  As we were going to the game Taylor said, “I found out today that Emmitt Smith‘s kids go here.”  Emmitt didn’t come.  But his wife sat right in front of us and the second she walked up I knew it had to be her.  I had no idea what she looked like but her ring was the size of a Ring Pop.  She eventually moved closer to the field and as she sat down we saw the woman next to her nudge her husband and mouth “That’s Emmitt Smith’s wife.”  I have never seen someone move so fast to introduce themselves to a stranger.  He was practically climbing over his own wife.  It probably also had something to do with the fact that she was very attractive.  We’ll go to another game and try to creepily take Emmitt’s picture for you.


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Texas Football Hand Signals

It’s no surprise that Texan’s love their football.  Little known fact: football was first invented in Texas.  Of course back then it was called “death ball” and instead of scoring points you just give lethal injections to prisoners.  Texas is the reigning champion.

Anyways, since learning more about Texas football one thing that has been amusing is finding out that every college football team has their own hand gesture.  It’s like a gang symbol.  You can recognize other members of your team and supporters quickly instead of relying on team t-shirts, face paint, fight songs, etc.  Instead you can just throw up a hand sign and voila!  Everyone knows your affiliation.  So far, here are the ones I’ve learned of.  Feel free to let me know if I’m missing any!

University of Texas Longhorns: “Hook ’em Horns”

Hook'em Horns

Bonus Knowledge: Oklahoma fans will flash this sign upside down as a symbol similar to a “dead cow”

Texas Tech Red Raiders: “Guns Up”

Guns Up

Texas A&M Aggies: “Gig ‘Em”

Gig 'Em

Texas Christian University Horned Frogs:

Apparently a Horned Frog is made of rocks?

Southern Methodist University Mustangs: “Pony Up”

Pony Up

University of Houston Cougars:


Filed under Taylor Tuesday

Kill, Luna!

Living in an apartment does not present many interesting prey for Luna.  Except for bugs.  And this one baby lizard that has tried to come into our house three times.  Rescuing a baby lizard with one hand while trying to hold a frantic cat in the other has proven very difficult.  Which is why we told him that if he came back we would not rescue him again.  He has not returned.

We mostly encourage her behavior because the tiny gap at the bottom of our front door is apparently an invitation to all manner of bugs.  The other day a rather large grasshopper came in and we allowed Luna to get him.  Unfortunately, she is a little too kind which is why it took the better part of a half hour for her to be successful.


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I am a jigsaw puzzle nerd.  I still remember my first 100 piece puzzle that I would do over and over: it was a town of mice that was having some kind of cheese festival.  Many of my childhood memories involve sitting around 1000 piece Charles Wysocki puzzles for hours.

Taylor didn’t quite understand puzzles at first.  Then, we started a puzzle one night and didn’t finish.  During work the next day I got a text from him that said “If we don’t finish the puzzle tonight my head is going to explode.”  And then I knew he understood.



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What’s it going to take to put this car in your garage today?

Sorry for the delay this morning.  Honestly I’ve been thinking of this post all week and haven’t had many ideas – which I guess is a good thing.  We will be buying a new car sometime in the next couple of months to replace our slowly dying Tiburon.  We are probably going to go through a dealership which I know is inevitable but I am not happy about.  I do not trust people that work on commission.  Why should I trust them at all?  Oh you think I look good in this car?  I bet you do.  When has a salesman ever said “You know what?  I don’t think you need a car right now.”  And the haggling – Taylor will handle this because I am not capable of any level of confrontation.  But I can’t imagine they will ever give us the best price because that means less profit for the dealership.  It should be fun – I’ll keep you updated.


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Margherita Pizza

This is one of Taylor’s favorites.  He claims that it’s the “best pizza he’s ever had” but I’m sure he is a little partial.  First let’s talk about the dough because I think that is really what makes the pizza.  I used to buy store bought pizza dough, bread, etc. but then I realized yeast isn’t really that scary as long as you follow the directions.  Also, you have to plan ahead a little but it is worth it.  The dough really tastes best if you make it a day in advance.  You can just do it earlier in the day if you want but it really develops some depth of flavor the earlier you do it.  This recipe is adapted from The Bread Bible – this is a great book, especially if you are new to making breads from scratch.

226 grams flour (1.5 cups plus 2 Tbsp)

1 tsp. instant yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup water, room temperature

4 tsp. olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, and sugar.  Stir in the salt.  Make a well in the center.  Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.

Pour the oil in a bowl.  Add the dough and turn over to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 1 hour if you want to us immediately.  If you make it earlier, allow it to only sit out for 1 hour and stick in the fridge.

An hour before you want to stick the pizza in the oven, preheat the oven to 475 degrees and pull out the pizza dough.  Lightly knead the dough on a sheet pan and shape it into a smooth ball.  Allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

Press the dough into a circle.  If it doesn’t want to stay in the shape you stretch it into, let it rest for 15 minutes more.  Once you have the desired shape, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes.

Before I put any toppings on, I put the dough in the oven for 5 minutes.  Then I add my ingredients.  For the margherita pizza, it’s pretty simple:

Chopped San Marzano tomatoes – it is worth the extra money to get these over regular tomatoes.  They usually come in a yellow can or some kind of jar.  Just put a bunch on the pizza.

Fresh Mozzarella, sliced – Fresh makes a difference!  Do not try to grate it – this will end in disaster.  One of the stories we will tell our children until the end of time involves the first time my mom met Taylor and tasked him with slicing mozzarella in our kitchen.  This also ended in disaster.

Basil leaves

Just bake for 5 more minutes and you are done!


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When Animals Attack

Plano is the suburban city just north of Dallas where Taylor taught last year.  A neighborhood there is having an issue with smaller pets disappearing.  One man thinks he might have solved the mystery.

A local man was able to get several pictures of a bobcat climbing roofs (rooves?) and chasing after squirrels and rabbits.  Homeowners contacted Plano Animal Services who told them “not to worry”.  Considering all I had to do was google “bobcat attacks” to find multiple stories of bobcats attacking humans, I would be slightly concerned.  We are lucky to live in the city where it would be very difficult for a bobcat to get near us and/or Luna.


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Dallas Pride Festival

Taylor and I rode our bikes over to the Dallas Pride festival and parade on Sunday.  As I had to clarify for my mom – that means Dallas gay pride not Dallas city pride.  I wouldn’t say anyone is proud enough of the city of Dallas to have a parade.  Except when the Mavericks win the championship.  It was supposed to rain all afternoon but it didn’t, which we were happy about.  As much as I want it to rain I didn’t want it to happen during this event.  Side note – it did storm on Sunday night and Luna freaked out about the thunder.  We realized that since she was born – at the beginning of May – there has not been a thunderstorm.

We were interested to see how the event was because Atlanta Pride is always top notch.  We were pleasantly surprised to see a lot of people and the parade was actually really long.  So long, in fact, that we didn’t stay for the whole thing – an hour and a half in and they weren’t even halfway through all the floats.  Did I mention it was hot outside?  I unfortunately only made my tank top tan even worse.  We did stay long enough to see the parade participants I really wanted to see – the Human Rights Campaign and all the different PFLAG chapters.  There are always parents and other relatives marching that have signs that say “I am proud of my gay daughter”, “I love my gay nephew”, etc.  It is nice to have positive images like this to hold onto when less than positive things towards the LGBT community are going on around the country.



Filed under Walkabout Wednesday