Sunday, February 26, 2017

December 2016 & January 2017 Bucket List Adventures

'ello! I have to start this post with an apology again... I have not been working towards my 2017 wishes at all. I have been wrapped up in work and honestly have not allowed myself any room to breathe. It's not about to get better either, as I have an entire weekend of On-Call coming up. I desperately need a break from everything, but unfortunately it is just not possible right now. At least I can see my bestie and my family in a couple weeks, even if it is only briefly. A reminder of my 2017 wishes: 

1. Make more time for myself.
2. Read more.
3. Help others.
4. Be healthier.
5. Be more present.
6. Make real friends in the local area.
7. Help my Little Lark learn as much as possible.
8. See my family more.
9. See my bestie more.
10. Have more adventures.

I will say I am definitely helping others, that's sort of my job. I also have at least made one real friend in the area. I need to refocus and find a way to hone in on the rest of these.

So let's get on to the bucket list stuff eh? Starting with December!

 Amazon is a lifesaver in this town where we have nothing of much excitement or variety. I ordered some squid ink sachets. I had this item on my list as "Squid Ink Pasta" however I found a recipe for Squid Ink Risotto and Scallops. I had never made scallops before and was bitter over my last failed risotto so figured this was the way to go. I hate to be cocky, but I nailed it. 
Photo by Poison Megz

I loved the squid ink in this too. It paired so well with the seared scallops. It was oceanesque which I am sure is a word I am making up, but also so descriptive of the flavor. It was a mix of a seafood flavor and a salt water flavor. 

I also made a Baked Camembert in December, with rosemary and a little cranberry nut mix on the side. This was off of my 44 French Meals list. 
Photo by Poison Megz

And yes, I ate the whole damn thing. So much for that "Be healthier" wish, eh? There's not much else to say. Obviously this was delicious. It's melted cheese and toasty bread. 

And finally in December, to finish the year and mark the end of any tobacco usage so I could get a health insurance discount, I smoked an expensive cigar. The PadrĂ³n 1926 Serie 80th Anniversary Natural Torpedo. Limited and serial numbered. Mine was No. 591047. 


Photos by Poison Megz

It was pretty amazing, but I also had not had a cigar in years and am not a regular smoker so it knocked me on my ass without even finishing half of it. I honestly got super sick. I couldn't even finish my bourbon because I wound up in the bathroom before midnight after having only several sips of my NYE Champagne. Maybe don't smoke a giant expensive cigar if you aren't used to it. It was amazing until I got sick though. I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more!

This next item is sort of December and January. Birthday Cake. I made the layers of cake in December, but made the frosting and assembled the cake in January. I counted it as January officially since that is when it was finished. I made a yellow cake with chocolate peanut butter butter cream from scratch for my step-son's 17th birthday. It was awesome, it was also giant. 

Photos by Poison Megz

The last item I checked off in January was making Pimento Cheese. Now, I have the Queen of Pimento Cheese on my Facebook-- Ms. Kardea Brown and I am positive mine could not touch hers but it was still damn good. I used an Apple Smoked Gruyere and a Ghost Pepper Jack cheese.
Photo by Poison Megz

It was actually my first taste of Pimento Cheese too. And shocker, it was super tasty. Making it super spicy for my first go was definitely a good call. It was a tasty work snack for the next few days. 

And that's a wrap for December and January! How is everyone else doing on their resolutions or hopes for the year? Remember to take some time for yourself and just breathe. What do you do to relax?

xoxo
Poison Megz









Friday, December 30, 2016

October/November 2016 Bucket List and 2017 Wishes

Hello all! First off let me apologize for the delay in making the last couple of posts. I am just going to roll them in to one. Work has kept me quite me quite busy and I am still figuring out how to fit the rest of my life in around my work schedule. There are nights when I get home and only have time to eat and go to bed so I can get up the next morning and the rest of the days usually end with mental exhaustion. I've let a lot of things fall on the back burner, not just this blog. Which leads me to my first 2017 Wish: Make more time for me. I don't want to make resolutions this year because resolutions are destined for failure in most circumstances. Instead, I am going to make wishes for 2017; things I am hoping for. Make more time for me is pretty much number one on that list. So here are my 2017 Wishes:

1. Make more time for myself.
2. Read more.
3. Help others.
4. Be healthier.
5. Be more present.
6. Make real friends in the local area.
7. Help my Little Lark learn as much as possible.
8. See my family more.
9. See my bestie more.
10. Have more adventures.

I think 10 is a good number. I am hoping to work on all of these things in the coming year. These are all things intended to enrich my life.

And on to the bucket list! In October I only checked off one item and that was off of my Summer Bucket List; Summer Corn Pesto.  I made this for a Taco Monday Pitch-In at my office so I put a sort of Elote spin on it. It was a hit and it got devoured. The best part? It was super easy. I used thawed out frozen sweet corn! I made the dressing in my food processor, and then tossed it all together with red onion and cotija cheese. It's sneaky healthy too; the dressing was packed with spinach!

Photo by Poison Megz

In November I was able to check two things off of my list. Pie Crust from my 30 before 30 food list and Overcome a Great Fear off of my regular list. My partner's mother had a birthday in November and said she would rather have a pie than a cake. I made her a lemon meringue pie since that is her favorite. My crust wasn't pretty, but it was delicious! I used lard because I figured that was the best choice. 
Photos by Poison Megz

It worked out to not really be enough dough for the pie plate that I had, but I made it work as best as I could. It's just a little rustic and that's how you can tell it was homemade with love. This was also my first time making lemon curd and meringue.  I was worried it was going to be a giant disaster but she loved it so it all worked out. 
Photo by Poison Megz

My job is the reason I was able to cross Overcome a Great Fear off of my list. I have always been terrified of public speaking. It's held me back from quite a few things. And no matter what my Communications Professor says; I was never comfortable or good at delivering speeches. As part of my job, I am occasionally required to testify in court. This was what scared me the most about accepting this position. I have had the chance to testify several times now and I am still nervous, but nothing like that first time. The first time I was so sure I was going to forget something or say a date wrong. I couldn't sleep the night before and I was shaking and felt sick all the way up until the words came out of my mouth. Turns out I did rather well and now each time I get a little less nervous. 

On a final note, I noticed there was a glaring oversight on my bucket list. CUDDLE A SLOTH was not on my list. It is now. Hopefully I get to check this one off ASAP.

What are your wishes for 2017? What should I add to my bucket list for the new year?

Until next time,
xoxo
Poison Megz




Monday, October 31, 2016

Oy with the poodles already!

It's officially the month of new Gilmore Girls! In honor of this myself, my bestie Bree, and my friend Amber have put together a fun little countdown photo challenge to premiere day! Complete with the ennui that is sure to follow the day after we all binge it. I have this shared on my Instagram account (@PoisonMegz) as well and that, as well as Facebook, is where my photos will be. I hope all you Gilmore Girls fans will join me!

Friday, October 21, 2016

September 2016 Bucket List: Branston Pickle

Well folks, September has come and gone so here is what I checked off last month.  I tried Branston Pickle. That's it. I did warn you that things were going to calm down a bit with the new job...well it calmed down a lot. I have definitely become a working mombie. Luckily the driving back and forth to Indianapolis is nearly over and then *maybe* I will come back to life.

So as you may have noticed I love trying new foods. I also love pickles and all things British. Enter Branston Pickle. I asked around and was told that a cheese sandwich was the way to try this. I love cheese so this sounded like a plan to me. I used white cheddar and sharp cheddar.


Photo by Poison Megz

No shock, but I enjoyed it. I like peanut butter, pickle, and cheese sammies too so this is by far the strangest sandwich. I wish I had been able to try this on better bread for the first time, but I was convinced "diet" bread was a great idea. Spoiler: It's not. Diet bread is an abomination.  I love carbs too much too skimp on my bread. I claim temporary insanity. I plan to try this on a grilled cheese next.

Bonus: Look at this amazing salad I had during my training in Indianapolis.

Photo by Poison Megz

IT HAS SCOTCH EGGS IN IT. The only was it could have been better would have been if the yolks were runny.  This is on the menu at MacNiven's Restaurant & Bar (339 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204). We found this Scottish Pub in our first week at our main training location and it was worth it. I hope to go back to try the haggis, fish & chips, and some of drinks. 

And that was pretty much my September. I hoped I would check off more than one, but at least I'm holding strong to checking at least one item off per month.

What do you have on your bucket list? I'm always looking to add more experiences!

xoxo
Poison Megz

Sunday, September 18, 2016

August 2016 Bucket List: Squash Blossoms and 'Nduja

August was a bittersweet month for me. I had to travel home twice for memorial services, but as a result I got to see my family and my best friend who I very rarely get to see. We spent the spare time I had for both trips together reminiscing and pondering how we've been in a constant stat of mourning since high school. In the midst of all of this we also ate a lot of food. On the second visit she treated me to two items off of my bucket list. I had never been to a Mariano's and when we stopped in I was in grocery store heaven.  We just do not have stores with an interesting or high quality food selection where I am living currently. So when I walked in and saw a huge pile of squash blossoms from the farm I grew up going to for pumpkins I was extraordinarily excited. So, obviously we got those. we attempted to stuff and fry them but we did not have the right tools. They were still tasty, but could use some improvement, like a lighter batter and a more effective filling method.


Photo by Poison Megz

On our search for cheese to go with our figs we also happened across 'Nduja, which is a spicy, spreadable salumi that originated in Italy. We included it on our cheese plate.
Photo by Poison Megz

No surprise here, but I loved it. Spicy meat I can spread on a crostini? Genius. The only real question here is how did I live for 28 years without trying this? I can't get it in my town but I do know it is available on Amazon from previous research trying to locate some. 

Now for a sort of update... I previously posted about checking "Job I Love" off of my bucket list.  I did love that job when I wrote it. I was helping people and I was using my degree. Since then, however, I have learned that sometimes loving a job is not enough to make it the job you should be in. There were serious problems with how cases were being handled and issues were constantly glossed over in order to make those in charge look better. Sometimes business dealings become more important than actually helping people, and I was not going to be able to change that. Losing that job that I loved turned out to be one of the best things that happened to me. In August I started a new job that is an actual career. I am making nearly twice what I was before and will be able to make an actual difference in the lives of others.  I can't say that I love it yet, because the training is quite extensive, but I can say that it is not more about business than about the actual people involved. I am hoping this will be the beginning of something amazing in my life, but only time will tell. 

So as a result, the next few months may be a bit slow on the bucket list front. I will check off at least one thing a month as I have been doing, but they may be shorter stories. The training requires a lot of travel and my priority is spending the moments I can with my family in between all of that.

Until next time!
xoxo

Poison Megz


Friday, August 12, 2016

July 2016 Bucket List: Summer Food!

In case it wasn't abundantly obvious, I love food. Most of what I wind up adding to my bucket list winds up being at the very least food adjacent. Summer is such a great time for food.  There is so much fresh produce available that the options are endless for what you can enjoy. As such, when it comes to summer related items there are many that involve food. Now the town I live in is not a foodie hot spot, so I often find myself having to venture to another city. Imagine my surprise when I took my little Stormageddon to the local ice cream truck and discovered they also sold elote! If you don't know about Elote, pay attention. Elote is Mexican street corn and it is absolutely delightful. The corn is stuck on a stick or the husks twisted back in to a handle and it is slathered in mayonnaise before being topped with lime juice, chile powder, and cotija chese.  There are other condiment options based on where you find it, but this is the version I tried.

Photo by Poison Megz

I tried to tell Chris how delicious it was but he is adamantly anti-mayonnaise, which is ridiculous because mayonnaise is amazing. Oh well, more for me of all mayo related delights. Which is everything because mayo makes everything better. Seriously. I'm even a fan of the strange delicacy that is a PB&Mayo sandwich. Needless to say, the elote was delicious and I plan to enjoy it several more times before summer is over.
Photo by Poison Megz

Next up on the summer food list: Popsicles + Prosecco. I saw this on the internet somewhere and it sounded right up my alley. I'm not going to lie... I purchased both the popsicles and the prosecco at Aldi. I love Aldi and have zero shame about this. Cheap healthy food and cheap tasty booze? No shame in my Aldi game.

Photo by Poison Megz

The strawberry popsicle was the perfect compliment to the prosecco. It keeps the drink cool in the summer heat and as it melts you get an entirely new drink. 10/10 would recommend sticking a popsicle in your prosecco or other bubbly beverage.

Photo by Poison Megz

Last but not least, fresh cherries! I am not a *huge* cherry fan. This mostly applies to cherry flavor. It reminds me as medicine. Fresh cherries are another story. I am also a fan of this cherry juice my parents used to get at a tiny stand that I *think* was in Wisconsin.  I have learned that without a cherry pitter a giant bag of fresh cherries is not a load of fun for me. I did however very much enjoy the few that I pitted by hand with yogurt and chia seeds for breakfast. I also now plan to purchase  a cherry pitter so that in the future I can avoid stained hands.

I also added a few items to the bucket list:
-See "Corpse Flower in Bloom"
-Ancestry DNA test
-Visit each of these 12 Oldest Restaurants

And that is it for July! 

What are your essential summer activities and foods?

xoxo
Poison Megz

Monday, July 25, 2016

June 2016 Bucket List: Absinthe & a Juice Cleanse

There are moments in your life when you will encounter something and realize "That should be on my bucket list!" And you will either mentally or actually add it and then immediately cross it off. I had one of those moments during the Days of the Dead Indianapolis weekend. One of the beloved regulars was unable to make it due to unfortunate circumstances and a slew of photos and videos were being taken for him. Saturday night a friend of mine brought down a bottle of absinthe for one of these videos.  I decided Absinthe should absolutely be part of my bucket list and gave it a shot. It smelled like black licorice so I was pretty sure it would be delicious and tried about a shot and a half. Not delicious guys. Nope. You get black licorice for about .5 seconds and then you get a horrible burning that tastes like betrayal. And then you taste that betrayal every time you belch until sometime the next day.  Absinthe will betray you, just remember that.

And now to the complete other end of the spectrum. It is Day 1 of my Juice Cleanse! I have had this on my bucket list from the very beginning. I finally caught Blueprint while it was 30% off and decided on 2 days of the lowest level and 1 of the highest. Then I got an email saying 2 of the juices in my cleanses were unavailable so they replaced my easiest days with the second level and swapped juices out for replacements they picked. I was pretty pissed. It's a good chunk of money to spend on juice and they did not even try to contact me to ask how I wanted to resolve the issue. I replied to the email and still have heard nothing, but the juices are already here so I'm guessing the company just does not care. So I'm off to a pretty awful start of my juice cleanse. I'm a coffee addict and the level I had ordered had coffee in the first juice, a nut milk. Now I get zero caffeine. So bring on the migraines! I am going to try to write a little bit after each juice, each day before I publish this, so here it goes!

^^I wrote that on Day 1 of the cleanse with every intention of actually writing after each juice, it didn't happen. I STILL have heard nothing back from Blueprint and it has been nearly a month, so I give their customer service zero stars.^^

I want to be clear that I am not advocating juice cleansing for health or weight loss purposes, I purely just wanted to see if I could do it. I am also *Not* being paid for this post or given any goodies. I paid for this cleanse out of my own pocket and these are my honest thoughts on it. With that said Day 1, Juice 1 started out with me in a great mood and high hopes about being able to complete a 3 day cleanse.  It was a green juice, clearly labeled 1, and for a green juice it was really delicious. The coffee cashew milk would have been a MUCH better start though... still angry over here Blueprint.  I followed the recommendation of starting each day with hot lemon water (a former habit of mine I need to re-start anyhow) and also hydrating with water, green, and herbal tea throughout the day between juices. After I took this selfie I walked in to work to learn there was no toilet paper and that the plan my supervisor made was to just not have toilet paper., because that makes sense? All this liquid meant I was going to be peeing more than when I was 9 months pregnant with Stormageddon dancing on my bladder so long story short I bought TP for the office.

Photo by Poison Megz

I was still feeling pretty good when it came time for Day 1, Juice 2. This one was called P.A.M. aka Pineapple, Apple, Mint and it was my favorite of the whole experience probably. It was pretty perfect for a summer juice and very refreshing. As you can see this one was also clearly labeled 2.
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 1, Juice 3 was the same as Day 1, Juice 1. It was less enjoyable the second time around. The only reason I'm including a photo is because this is where the enjoyable numbering of the cleanse juices stops...no number 3 on this bottle!
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 1, Juice 4 was a spicy lemonade. I was all about this one because spicy is my thing. Caffeine withdrawals were kicking in at this point and I could feel a migraine brewing. The juice was good though. I wasn't feeling hungry and that was surprising given how much I love food,
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 1, Juice 5 could not come fast enough. I only brought 4 with me to work and I misjudged the spacing. I was hungry when I got home and could not wait to grab this beet based juice. I love beets, not everyone does so I can see this being the juice that ruins it for some people. It was so earthy and felt very hydrating. The earthiness made me miss food a little less and was a nice change from the previous juices of the day. P.S. how amazing is it that my baby blue lips lasted ALL day? This is legit just Hard Candy lipstick I got for like $5 at Walmart.
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 1, Juice 6 was my third favorite of the cleanse. This was another cashew milk replacement so I was glad that I didn't hate it since Blueprint didn't care to contact me to choose to replacements like any other business would have done since it's my money and therefore should be my choice what is being purchased. It was like the spicy lemonade, but also had apple and ginger. Photo features my chocolate mint plant that I have since managed to kill... green thumb I have not.
Photo by Poison Megz

On Day 2 I had elected to try the hardest level of the cleanse instead of a second day of the same thing, with the hardest level last. This is the Inspiration cleanse and it is almost entirely green juices. Now I enjoy a good green juice, but this one had me nervous because of how intense it seemed. I tried to go in to Day 2, Juice 1 with a positive attitude. Watercress Warrior. It wasn't bad, I think the lemon balances all the green stuff out nicely.  I did notice most of these Juices had very low calories,so I expected the food cravings to go up on this day. 
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 2, Juice 2 wound up being my least favorite of the cleanse. Bell Pepper and Red onion are strong flavors and that is all I could taste in Dandelion Drive. I was really hoping for the delicate flavor of dandelion, but it was overpowered. And I knew this juice was coming up again 3 juices from now and that made me a little sad. My caffeine withdrawal migraine was in full-swing at this point.
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 2, Juice 3 was that same green one I had twice the previous day. I enjoyed it more today following up the one I did not love.
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 2, Juice 4 wound up being my second favorite of the cleanse because it featured so many things I love. This one helped me survive cooking with clients. The spicy level on this one was awesome paired with the cooling you get from cucumber. 
Photo by Poison Megz

Day 2, Juices 5 & 6 did not have selfies because they were repeats. Juice 5 was a repeat of Day 2, Juice 2 aka the one I did not love. I continued to not love it while I watched Chris and the boys eat their dinner, spaghetti. Spaghetti isn't a must-have food for me and we have it weekly but I would have taken it over a repeat of this juice in an instant. Juice 6 was a repeat of Day 1, Juice 5 aka the beet one.  At least this was pleasant. I enjoyed ending with the spicy apple lemonade the prior day so much more, but this was nice also. Oh! and this super cheap ELF lipstick lasted all day too! Day 3 was the same juices as Day 1 so there is not much more to say. I did go in to Day 3 still feeling pretty great though, other than the migraine. I mean for no makeup I look pretty refreshed, so I guess I was at least sleeping well during the cleanse.
Photo by Poison Megz

I continued to love the Pineapple, Apple, Mint juice. I need to devise an agua fresca recipe based on this. It would also be really good with rum or bourbon I believe. You know, if you want to use pricey juice for your cocktail that is. 
Photo by Poison Megz

The food struggle was a little harder the last day, but I never really felt hungry through the experience as long as I paced myself properly. The only time I struggled really was when I did not bring enough juice with me to work. I did not cave, I did not have a nibble of food. I was shockingly not miserable. My migraine faded away shortly in to Day 3 so it was one of the shortest I've ever had. Nothing weird happened with my stomach, the only bathroom issue was how much I had to pee. I never felt weak. I powered through it and finished Day 3 strong. 
Photo by Poison Megz

I probably won't do a full cleanse again, but I can definitely see replacing some of my snacking habits with some of these juices. I still wish I had been able to try the cleanses as I ordered them, but since ordering I have noticed the cleanse I ordered with the coffee cashew milk has totally disappeared from the site. I would guess it was a website error and had not been taken down before being discontinued, but since Blueprint failed to respond to me I will never know. It would have been nice to choose my replacements, because I would have loved to try their Watermelon juice they have every summer, but what they sent wasn't horrible and I guess that's what really matters here.  The migraine was really the only negative effect that I had. Chris didn't murder me so that's also a bonus. I'm pretty sure he was fully prepared for horrible mood swings and illness, and luckily neither of those happened. 

So here are the links to the cleanses I tried, please note that since removing cashew milks from their site they have updated the cleanses. The last juice of my Day 1 & 3 is different from what is in the cleanse now.

Day 1 & 3 Renovation Cleanse
Day 2 Inspiration Cleanse

And that is pretty much all there is to say about the juice cleanse experience. Until next time!

xoxo
Poison Megz

P.S. This whole experience with all the selfies made me decide to get bangs to hide my giant forehead. The stylist did not cut them straight nor how I wanted. I hated them for at least 10 days, now I am starting to like them. However I maintain Bangs Are Always A Mistake. Especially during an Indiana Summer. 
Photo by Poison Megz

P.P.S Despite Blueprint being unable to answer my CS email.... they apparently had the time to like every photo on my Instagram from the cleanse.