Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Festivities

I thought I'd better post about our Thanksgiving fun before everything Christmas takes over.

I don't have any paid time off yet at my new job, so we had Thanksgiving in Dallas this year. My parents visited us the weekend before Thanksgiving since we wouldn't be able to travel to Utah for the holiday. We had a blast!
On Friday, we walked on the Katy Trail, had lunch at our favorite little Mexican place in Lakewood (Zuzu's - get the fish tacos), and did some Christmas shopping. We went to an awesome toy store on Knox called Froggies 5&10. I think we (4 adults) spent an hour there - they had SO MUCH cool stuff. We saw the Brad Pitt movie, Money Ball that afternoon and hit lower Greenville for some delicious sushi at the hip Blue Fish that night.
On Saturday morning we went to the Dallas Arboretum. It's really beautiful right now because the leaves are still changing. We did a little more shopping, had dinner at a place we'd been wanting to try on Henderson, and went to the tree/lights lighting at City Park downtown and to the Neiman Marcus window displays that night. Neiman marcus has this tubing (like at the McDonald's playplace) that runs through their window displays that kids can go through while their parents watch and follow them from outside. It was actually pretty fun watching the kids, and watching the parents watch their kids.
The Arboretum

The City Park/Neiman Marcus festival. I'm such a good photographer with my iPhone ;)
On Sunday we made Thanksgiving dinner. We didn't do a big turkey - we stuffed turkey tenderloins with traditional stuffing and baked them. It was really delicious. We also had a few of our favorite sides - sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, and pumpkin pie. We made a couple of things from scratch, and Central Market and Walmart helped out with the rest. It still seemed like a lot of work, but it was incredibly delicious and worth every minute. The weekend was probably too much fun and I was so glad my parents could come visit us.

On Thanksgiving day, Jesse and I had dinner with our friends, Mat and Jenny. I had to work, so Jenny did the bird, gravy, and stuffing. And Mat made TWO pies for four people :). Jesse and I did the sides, most of which were easy to make ahead of time. It turned out to be a really beautiful meal.
My family has a tradition of making graham cracker gingerbread houses the weekend after Thanksgiving at my Grandma and Grandpa Moore's. When my parents were in town they bought Jesse and I a kit, so on Friday night, we put together this beauty.
This is what Jesse did with the leftover frosting.
I love Thanksgiving! I love the food, traditions, being with family, and not thinking about calories (which is a feat for a dietitian). I also love being reminded of all of the things in my life that I have to be thankful for - a good job, good health, the gospel, family, friends, and Jesse are just to name a few.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Royal Halloween

This year for Halloween, Jesse and I dressed up as the Royal Couple: William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Our costumes rivaled the Today Show hosts royal get-up. Ha.

Kate's wedding dress was a little difficult to find in my price range, but I found an excellent knockoff of her Issa engagement announcement dress at Nordstrom Rack. She wore black, closed-toe pumps with this number, but my nude open-toe slingbacks seem to slightly resemble her L.K. Bennetts that I love to covet.  I even wore eyeliner on my lower lashes, which I hate doing. And I found a ring just like hers, only fake and really, really cheap.

Jesse's double-breasted jacket is from a thrift store. It costed $5. We changed the buttons, glued on sashes, and bedazzled until he was fabulously royal-looking. He's attempting a smile that looks like Will's, but I'm not so sure of where he got his inspiration for this one.

Finally, Jesse got done at school early on Halloween, so he stood in line for 30 minutes at the local Party City for our crowns. We realize that Will and Kate don't wear crowns, yet, but we decided they were necessary in order to make our costumes obvious, since we were attending a party of med school students who are either too busy or too nerdy to keep up on pop culture.

Thank you to Reed and Melissa Garza, for hosting another incredibly fun Halloween Party. This year, Jesse and I dominated the games. Jesse won the game of "Find as many pieces of yarn in the Garza yard in the dark and tie them all together to make the longest string."
I won the "Eat a donut off a piece of yarn as fast as you can without dropping it on the ground or touching it with your hands" contest. Jesse was so proud when I won. We used cake donuts, which are a little more dry than a regular glazed donut. All I could think about was the aspiration risk d/t the dry texture and my head not being elevated to at least 30 degrees. My fellow dietitians will appreciate that.
The donut didn't stay on the string for long. I can't believe I ate 2/3 donut from this position.
Jesse kept trying to coach me, but it only made eating more difficult because I was trying not to laugh. 
Victory is SWEET. And cakey.
Jesse and I also painted pumpkins this year. Jesse's is a self portrait. Mine turned into abstract art on the front, so I took a photo of the back. My Grandma Coles paints pumpkins every year for all of her grandkids. She mailed mine to me and I was so happy to display it on my mantle.
As soon as I opened the pumpkin package from Grandma, my mind flooded with memories of Halloween as kid. These are some of my favorite memories:

  • Dressing up with Allie and insisting on leaving my coat at home
  • Chili in "pumpkin" bread bowls
  • Trick-or-treating with Sarah and running from house to house in Herefordshire (despite Dad's warning, in an effort to maximize my candy accrual) and often falling and scraping my knee and a hole in my tights
  • Dressing up as some version of a cheerleader at least 3 times in elementary school
  • Gourds from Grandma Moore
  • Painted pumpkins in Grandma Coles' garage
  • Visiting grandparents before trick or treating
  • Using my pillowcase as a candy bank, and hiding it from older siblings
  • Halloween parades at North Park Elementary
  • Colorful mountains
  • And finally, candy binges. At least one of my memories can be (and IS) still an occasional reality.
Love, Will and Kate

Monday, October 10, 2011

First day of EMPLOYMENT!

I am finally employed! I work for a company called Vanguard who contracts out employees to my case, Methodist Richardson Hospital. Methodist Richardson is only a 15 minute drive north. And it's a reverse commute - bonus.
Today was orientation. When the president of the hospital came in to talk about missions and visions and values and whatever and introduce himself and his background, he said that he worked in Utah. After he was done presenting and welcomed questions, I asked him where he worked in Utah. He worked at Davis Hospital in Layton and when I told him I grew up in Roy, he said, "Shut up. My in-laws are from Roy." The president of the hospital married a woman who graduated from Roy High School in 1985. She's a little younger than my parents, so they don't recognize her. But the CEO explained that if you drive up the main street in Roy and turn left at the light once you get to the airport, you'll find his in-law's house. We talked about Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Burger Bar, and BYU vs. Utah all in front of everyone else at orientation. It was pretty funny. He was more excited about it than I was, I think.
When orientation was over at 2, I met my supervisor in the diet office. She knew before I got there that I went to the same high school as the wife of the president of the hospital, and as we walked around campus and she introduced me to everyone else, some of them knew as well. Such a small world, and an even smaller hospital.
Perhaps going to Roy High School did more for my career than I ever thought it would...automatic in with the CEO? I'll take it.
R, R, R, O Y, A, A, A, L, S. R O Y, A L S....ROOOYYY-ALS!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This week's Menu

Thought I'd share some recipes I used this week! We had some pretty tasty, healthy dinners...
We used barramundi, but I also like to use tilapia. I make a spice rub for the fish with 1 T olive oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and usually a few dashes of garlic salt. I let the fish marinate in the rub while I sliced up a little yellow pepper, red pepper, and red onion. While the fish cooked, I boiled black beans with some diced onion, bell pepper, a clove of pressed garlic, and some spices. And I sauteed the veggies. Used uncooked tortillas from Costco. Served it with guacamole and some Fage greek yogurt. 

Found this recipe in Real Simple magazine. It was super easy and we loved it, so I'll share.
- 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, broken up with your hands (would have been better with garden tomatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (What is smashed...? I just pressed it)
- 2 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 lb sweet or hot italian sausage link (we used a spicy roma sausauge - yum!)
- 12 ounces cavatappi or some other short pasta (we used orechiette)
- 2 cups baby spinach (2 1/2 ounces)
- Grated parmesan
1. Heat oven to 450 F. Mix the tomatoes (with their juices!) and garlic with oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until juices have thickened, 40 to 45 minutes. 
2. After the tomatoes have roasted for 20 minutes, place the sausage on second baking sheet. Roast, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15 - 17 minutes (I thought our sausage was a little dried out after 15 minutes, so watch it). Thinly slice. 
3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water; drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the tomatoes, sausage, spinach, and a little pasta water as needed and toss to combine. 
4. Serve (in cute pasta bowls if you have them!) with grated parmesan cheese (we used a peccorino romano...tasty)

We had a slice of toasted sourdough bread with this and I didn't regret it. More advice -  watch the tomatoes because our sauce thickened by 30 minutes. So maybe put the sausage in after the tomatoes have been in for 20 minutes. Check the sausage after 10 minutes because they're likely done, along with the tomatoes. Also, I used my Silpat to roast the tomatoes, and now it smells like spaghetti sauce. But it was easy to clean my pan afterwards.

The casserole was delicious. I found it on Pinterest - NOT a waste of time! Find the recipe here.

Remember that crusty sourdough bread we had with our pasta? It came in handy here. Layered muenster cheese, sauteed zucchini, sliced bell pepper and onion (the other halves from the fish tacos), and used a yummy basil spread. For the spread, I put a clove of garlic, a little greek yogurt, a little miracle whip, salt, pepper, and fresh basil leaves in my magic bullet. A few pulses and voila! I've done these before with eggplant (on top of all the other veggies) and it was tasty! I'll try it with a portobello mushroom next time.

Thursday: PULLED PORK, Corn on the Cob, and a fresh spinach salad
For the pulled pork, we used a sirloin from Costco. It's Kirkland brand and comes in a 4-pack in the fresh meat section. I love this stuff. Like I said, it's a 4 pack of about 2 lb sirloins, which are very low in fat, and super versatile. I put it in the Crockpot on low all day or high for 5 hours with a can of coke (the real stuff). Sometimes I sprinkle it with garlic powder before I pour in the coke. When it's falling apart, drain the liquid, shred, and add your favorite BBQ sauce. We use Sweet Baby Ray's. 

I cook eggs for dinner once a week - they have the highest quality of protein of any food, and they're dirty cheap. What a combination. I pile them with veggies and a yummy cheese, and serve with fresh salsa and a piece of toasted sourdough. Luckily, we still had some left. I would have also served it with some slices of avocado, but I already ate all of our avocado for lunch. Guacamole is my favorite lunch. :)

On Saturday I went to a wedding in Ballinger, TX with 4 of my fellow Presby interns. Another intern was the one getting married. Ballinger is 4 hours from Dallas - fun day trip! I forgot my camera, so I'll try to get some pics and blog about it later. 

Hope you try some of these recipes (Keri) and like them! Happy, healthy cooking!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stop Hatin'

Saw this car in the Tom Thumb parking lot yesterday. I was nervous the owner of the car was going to see me, so I had to take the picture as fast as I could so I'm sorry if you can't read it. In case you can't, this is what it reads:
(Calvin is peeing on "Haters" on both sides)
I love this so much. SO funny.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What is my life?

You might be asking yourself, "what does Amber do all day without a job?" The answer is: nobody knows. Not even me. But this is what I think I do:
1. Job Hunt - I love writing hundreds of Cover Letters and filling out online applications for various RD jobs that I'm usually unqualified for.
2. Spend money - isn't it ironic? Yes, but it makes sense. While I lack a paycheck, I have plenty of time. This time often leads to checking Groupon regularly and stalking designer sales online. Can you spell "GILT?" Also, I have to plan "errands" during my day to feel productive. Sometimes that errand is Pottery Barn. Oh well.
3. Cub Scouts - I recently planned the calendar until the end of the year, which was no easy task since our Pack is made up of three boys that are all supposed to be in different dens and therefore have different requirements to do. Last night we tried to have Cub Scouts early (6:30 PM instead of 7) because we wanted to take a hike before dark. By the time we corralled two of our boys, it was already almost dark (7:30), but we took a 15 minute walk around White Rock lake anyway. I had purchased ingredients for a yummy soup for Jesse and I to eat for dinner afterwards, which we didn't have time to make since we got done dropping the boys off at 8:30, so we went to Chic-fil-A instead. In our uniforms. No big deal. We would have gone to In-n-Out, but we've already been once this week. Don't judge - cooking is not on this list.
4. Babysit - Jesse and I babysit a lot right now for extra money since I don't have a job and he only adds debt to our net worth. Sometimes we get bored/crazy after we put babies to bed at 7:30 and then have to stay put while our friends party into the night. One night while we were babysitting and stir crazy, we wondered what Jesse would look like if he grew his hair out. The result was a better looking version of J. Biebs - we call it "J. 'Baugh".
5. Long walks - my knees hate running recently, so I often take walks to the library or around the Village Lakes a few times, or I go to the Katy Trail. Tens of people (who are often much older or heftier than me) pass me while they jog. Am I pathetic? Maybe. Is it better than sitting on my couch? Yes.
6. Read - just finished These is my Words by Nancy Turner. Great book. Loved it. Starting Born to Run. Already love it.
7. Become obsessed with stupid TV shows - right now my favorites are Top Chef: Just Desserts and Project Runway. I was somewhat excited for Biggest Loser to start again, but the first episode was pretty disappointing. Without Jillian, there's only the obese people to make fun of, and that's just mean.

That's an idea of my life right now. I need a job, I know, I know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This morning I woke up feeling a little discouraged. I still haven't found a job. I've only had a couple of interviews and no offers. I'm waiting to hear from a hospital I interviewed at last week, but that's my last chance. I keep applying for positions, but my application seems to be automatically rejected sometimes because I don't have my Texas State Dietitian License yet. "Why don't you just get your dietitian license then?" you might ask. I only wish it were that simple. Last month after I passed the RD (Registered Dietitian) exam, I sent in my licensure application and fee, and took the Texas Jurisprudence exam (which was an additional fee), and ordered my official transcripts online from Weber State and BYU. A couple hundred dollars and two weeks later, I called on the status of my application. Some guy told me it would be processed by mid-September. I asked if everything had been received. He said, "yes." I said, "okay, bye."

Yesterday (another two weeks later) I called twice. Never got through.

This morning I called. On the third time I got through. A woman told me that my application had been received, but my transcripts had not been. I told her I was previously told they were. She put me on hold. Four minutes later she said that she checked every place they would be but they were not there. So I called BYU and Weber State to see if they never got sent. Both universities had sent them weeks ago. So I called back and told the woman I was sending more transcripts and asked if she could contact me when the transcripts arrived. She said no and that it takes at least ten days so I should call back then.

I called BYU and they sent another transcript (for free - thanks, BYU), but I had to send in another request form to Weber. So I printed the form, filled it out, and headed to FedEx Office to fax it. As I'm sending the fax at the fax counter without assistance from any FedEx employees, a male customer at the same counter asks the employee, "Has Shorty been helped?" I said, "I may be short, but I can work a fax machine, thank you." The employee told him, "Stop meddlin' in dat girl's bidness." Das right. Then he asked, "Is you a student at SMU?" I told him that I was no longer a student and was looking for a job as a dietitian. He then informed me that it would be a good idea to look at around at the hospitals, because they have lots of dietitians. REALLY? I wasn't aware. I said thanks and thought, "he may be dumb, but he's trying to be nice and helpful, even if he does say the 's word' every other word." (e.g. them hospitals have lots of dietitians, shoot. but not shoot. you get it). So I said, "I will, thanks." Then he said, "Or you know, you should look into the athletic department at SMU." I thanked him again for the idea and asked him if he went to SMU. He said, "$#!^ no, I'm an aggie. Dat jun-ya high's a piece of s..." Strange. But whatever, I think he's trying to be nice. Then he asked where I went to school and I told him Brigham Young University. He responded, "You just need to start havin' babies if you tryin' to catch up to Brennem Young, s...." Luckily my fax had finished so I smiled and walked away, understanding why SO MANY people have one of those gaudy gold A&M rings: if A&M will graduate that guy (with a very limited and often unintelligible vocabulary), they'll graduate anyone.

It's been one of those days where you just want to ask "Really?" to every person you see or talk to, and it's only noon.  I'm having ice cream for lunch. Really.