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,
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!

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!

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?

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 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!

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. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

April & May 2016 Bucket List: I Ate a Bug, On Purpose! (And More!)

Let's start with April... which was the first full month I worked at my first full-time job. I'm still not used to being away from home so much. That being said I crossed "Job I Love" off of my bucket list in April. I went back and forth on this a bit because that's a hard thing to really set quantifiers on. At the heart of it, I do love my job. I am working somewhere that I am able to help others. I have formed friendships with coworkers. I may not like every aspect of the job, but I do love the job itself.

Also in April I squeezed in one more French meal from the 44 French Meals list. I had some lamb left, so I used it to make Navarin D'Agneau, which is essentially a lamb stew or ragu. I unfortunately did not get an awesome photo of this meal, because I was too sick to eat any of it, but I did get one photo of it in the pot.
Photo by Poison Megz

May was another long month, but I got some interesting items checked off of the ol' bucket list. First up, I wrote a children's book. It's not illustrated yet as that job is going to my brother and we have not had a chance to get together yet, but I completed the text! It's about my son's quirky little habits and hopefully I will be able to get it published once I have illustrations. This is one that was very important to me because I wanted to write something my son could enjoy versus my more adult oriented book and the YA book that is currently in progress.
Next up... I ate a bug! On Purpose! My co-worker and I took a group of our clients to Spring Mill for Civil War Days. This is a state park with a pioneer village. It was an awesome trip and they had 3 gift shops there. At the third, my co-worker and I both spotted edible bugs.  There were two types, larva and crickets, in several flavors. My co-worker bought several varieties, I just bought the spicy worms. Now, I do not have a photo of me eating the worm either time, but I do have a photo of the box after giving them to the teenager aka my step-son to try (he ate every last one of them by the way.) They weren't bad honestly, tasted a bit like popcorn. I'm curious to try things made with bugs on a higher culinary level now. Definitely not a curiosity I ever thought I would develop!
Photo by The Teenager

I'm going to be perfectly honest, I sort of shudder looking at the photo even though I very willingly ate several bugs. I always said the bug barrier was one I would not cross in food. In a "weird food" extravaganza my pal Eric and I had a couple years back he had actually purchased some bugs to snack on as well as scorpion vodka. I flat out refused to try either, I just could not do it. So what got me to do it this time? My clients. They were trying them, so how could I back down?

Last, but certainly not least for May, I learned how to fish. Now, I had gone fishing as a small child with both my Grandpa and my Papa. However I'm pretty sure it was mostly them fishing and me just holding a pole. I also have a faint memory of using American cheese as bait. Is that a thing? Because I'm pretty sure it was a thing that we did. 

Chris, my partner, is very aware of my bucket list because almost every month I go of talking about how I'm not going to get anything checked off and what can I squeeze in blah blah blah. For Mother's Day he told me he got me something and I would never be able to guess what it was. I took this as a personal challenge and enlisted the help of my bestie Ree and my co-worker. The only clues we had were that:
               A) It was not something I would think Chris would ever get me for Mother's Day, or ever at                     all.
               B) It was not a typical Mother's Day/female gift.
               C) The Toddler and The Teenager helped picked the colour, and it was not hot pink.
               D) It was not a robe.
               E) It was purchased at Walmart.
Not a lot to go on. There were many guesses,  but just the fact that I was guessing them ruled them out almost immediately.  I was basically just frustrated guessing for an extended period of time. The night before Mother's Day, lying in bed I had a genius thought about what it may be and told Ree that it had to either be a gun or fishing pole because why would Chris ever get me either of those as a gift plus they both apply to my bucket list, and that guns are expensive so probably a fishing pole. And it was! A pink fishing pole, but NOT hot pink, just normal pink. So, it was planned that on Memorial Day we would go fishing and I would learn how to actually fish, with bait and not American cheese (really people, I swear this was a thing...). Chris taught me to cast in the backyard first so I would be prepared for the actual fishing excursion. Apparently I was a natural. AND I didn't hook him or The Toddler in my attempts, so bonus for my clumsiness taking some time off! Anyhow, the day to fish comes around, I'm sick and cranky because I'm tired and even with thick coats of bug spray I am a buffet for mosquitoes, but, I caught a fish! Just one! 
Photo by Suicidal

Chris tells me that this is a small mouth bass. Also, I am not a huge fan of this photo, the outdoors do not agree with me, but I'm sharing it anyhow because I actually caught a fish which I am pretty sure means that I successfully learned how to fish.

And now to set forth on crossing stuff off for June! 

Until next time...

Poison Megz

Friday, April 29, 2016

March 2016 Bucket List: Graduation and French Cooking

I know, I know... another late post. March presented a lot of changes in my life. I graduated college (bucket list item!) and  I got a full time job IN my field before my degree was even official. This meant sending the little one off to daycare for the first time, adjusting to an entirely new schedule, and seeing less of my family. I've found it difficult to want to open my computer in the time that I do get at home with my family.  I don't want to stare at a screen, I want to spend time with them. (Although really that time seems to be mostly spent in front of another screen, the television.) So as a result this post is super late.

First up: I finished my Bachelor's Degree! It was a long process for me, with several extended breaks from schooling. I honestly thought I may never get there and there were definitely times I nearly gave up. As of March 2016 I am officially a college graduate with a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice minor. I don't get a ceremony or a big party so it does not feel very real, but I know that I did it. And that's pretty rad.

Next up, I did a whole lot of French cooking in March to make a dent in my 44 French Meals list.

First up was Roasted Chicken & Garlic. I followed a recipe exactly, which I almost never do. I have roasted chickens before but this one was both simple and amazing. That may just be due to my severe garlic obsession. Pretty sure there were basically no leftovers though.
 Photo by Poison Megz

The second recipe I made from the 44 French Meals list was also on my 30 Before 30 list. Boeuf Bourguignon. We love beef stew in this house, so I figured this was a recipe I could make for dinner that everyone would eat. It was pretty good, but I am never peeling 20 pearl onions again when I can buy them ready to go in the frozen section. I mean what on earth was I thinking? I had some pork jowl bacon in my freezer, so that was what I used to make the lardons and that turned out to be a great use for it! Just look how crispy they got and STAYED in the stew! (Stews are not pretty, the tastiest food is not pretty.)
Photo by Poison Megz

Now, my family is Jewish so we never really did the whole Easter lamb or ham thing. My partner's family is not Jewish, and they do Easter. My partner came home with a leg of lamb awhile back and it was stuck in the freezer and saved for Easter. I knew exactly what I would make. Gigot D'Agneau Pleureur (Weeping Lamb). This is made by roasting a leg of lamb directly on the oven rack over a pan of potatoes. The fat from the lamb "weeps" on to the potatoes cooking them. I didn't want to put this directly on my oven rack, so I put the rack from my roasting pan on my oven rack and ever so delicately balanced the lamb on it over the potatoes.
Photo by Poison Megz

How good does that look? It also looks like it may tip over at any moment, but it never did. It cooked beautifully. And the potatoes were probably the best roasted potatoes I had ever eaten. I may or may not have stood over the pan and eaten all the crispy potato bits that stuck to the edges before letting anyone else eat any food.

Photos by Poison Megz

Did I mention the lamb was cooked beautifully? All we had with the lamb and potatoes were some Hawaiian rolls, because we are also obsessed with those in this house.

Photo by Poison Megz

And that is really all there was to March bucket list wise. As I mentioned at the beginning I also started a job in my chosen field. Now if you remember my bucket list you'll now "Job I Love" is on there. March was mostly just training courses and shadowing, so it did not give me the chance to know if I would love it yet or not. Maybe that will be crossed off my list soon, only time will tell.

Until next time (which will hopefully be very soon...),
Poison Megz

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

January & February 2016: The Bucket List Continues

January was another month that was busy, this time because the final course of my degree began.  I did manage to check one item off of my bucket list this past January however.  Of all my food bucket lists, the items from the 30 foods to cook before 30 are the most pressing as I have less than 2 years until I turn 30. Yikes! I had 17 items left on this list, and when I checked off salad dressing it came down to 16.  I had purchased some kale in an attempt to eat healthier and did not love it.  I decided to ask some advice and was told that kale can handle a lot of balsamic vinegar very well, among other things.  I found a quick salad dressing recipe that was made by shaking ingredients together in a mason jar.  My dressings main components were balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard.  I was surprised at how simple it was to make a dressing! I do not know why so many people buy dressing at the store when you can make something yourself that is so much better in flavor and freshness than what is sold. If you have never made dressing, please give it a shot.
Photo by Poison Megz

I have also since made a healthier version of Green Goddess that was as simple as a few pulses in the food processor.  Next up, I want to attempt a healthier blue cheese dressing as it is my favorite and an indulgence I have been missing.

February was set to be a busy month as well, with school still in session and a convention weekend in Atlanta.  I adore when my partner is booked at an event that is in a major city, because it means the food delivery options become higher quality and of a wider variety.  Atlanta always delivers on this.  I had been looking forward to enjoying a delivery smoothie for breakfast each morning, but that business had closed in the 2 years since I had visited.  Thankfully,this opened up my budget to indulge in delivery sushi from a well-reviewed restaurant.  This restaurant also allowed me to check  two foods off of my bucket list. 

First up is Escargot.
Photo by Poison Megz

The escargot was part of a French themed sushi roll.  Also pictured is white tuna and sea urchin with quail egg.  The escargot was not bad, but I was more impartial to it than anything.  I think I will enjoy it more if I am ever able to prepare it myself.  It is on my 44 French Meals list, which I aim to cook, but I have yet to find a place where I can acquire snails to cook.

The next food I was able to try while in Atlanta is natto.  
Photo by Poison Megz

Natto is fermented soybeans.  It is sticky, stringy, funky, and I loved it.  It's strong flavor was perfect wrapped in sushi rice and nori.  I am a big fan of fermented foods.  I love the unique flavor that they have and they have tons of health benefits.  I had heard natto is pretty nasty stuff, but I did not feel that way at all.  I wished I had ordered more actually.  It is not something I will be able to get easily in Seymour, but Amazon does carry a dried version that I may try. 

Later that month, I was able to bring the 30 before 30 food list down to 15 items thanks to my friend Meggy sending me an invite to try Blue Apron for free.  The box I got included a recipe for Spicy Orange Chicken Wings w/ Shitake-Sesame Rice.
Photo by Poison Megz

I have to admit I am normally a boneless wing girl, I tend to prefer white meat.  These were awesome though.  I really enjoyed the Blue Apron box, but have not been able to afford another.  The cost is not bad for the food and recipes that you get, but as I had not currently been working while in school it is not in my budget.

Last, and definitely the best, I was able to order and enjoy The Winnimere Cheese from Jasper Hill.  
Photo by Poison Megz

In amazing moment of serendipity this cheese I have lusted after for nearly 3 years, since it won Best of Show at the American Cheese Society's 2013 competition, went on sale for half price on the same day that I received my tax refund.  I finally had my chance! This is a raw milk cheese with a washed rind that is wrapped in spruce.  It is actual cheese nirvana, maybe even just regular nirvana.  It is best enjoyed at room temperature as it becomes luxuriously rich and creamy.  The perfect texture to schmear all over some warm, crusty bread or just lick off of the cheese spreader.  I also enjoyed some Iberico Ham with my first round of this cheese.  The cheese really does not need a meat with it though, as it has its own smokey and meaty flavor to it.  You also get woodsy notes from that spruce wrapping.  All of this combines in to the best cheese I have ever eaten.  I am not an expert, but I am a big cheese fan.  If you love cheese, you absolutely must try this.  It is a bit pricey, but if you share it with a friend or two it becomes more affordable.  Although, once you peel back that rind and take your first bite I doubt you will want to share it. 

So, as usual, my life is food, food, and more food.  That is really when I am happiest though, when there is great food and I am with the people I love.

I have very high hopes for this bucket list mission in March, as I know at least one very important item will be checked off.  Stay tuned to see what that it is!

Until next time, remember to find the decadence in your life and embrace it.  Decadence can be had on any budget!

Poison Megz

Saturday, January 30, 2016

December Bucket List & Resolutions

December has come and gone and I am happy to say that means I successfully completed my 2015 New Year's Resolution to check something off of my bucket lists every single month. I also added a ton more items throughout the year, but why would I want to put a limit on my dreams?  January has been very busy so far with my capstone course for my Psychology degree, but I am very happy to say that I will have my Bachelor's in March which is totally a bucket list item!

Now as for December, I crossed two things off of my list.  One of those is the first item off of my 44 French Meals list, Quiche Lorraine and man oh man was it good!  I have had quiche lorraine before, but there is something special about making it yourself.  I will be honest, in that it wasn't super traditional because I am cheese obsessed and had to add in this amazing Morel & Leek Jack that my bestie recommended.  She used hers in a quiche as well, and she was definitely correct about it being perfect.
Photo by Poison Megz

Even though summer is long gone and far away I also checked off Banana Nutella S'mores in an ultra fun way. I made Banana Nutella S'more Wontons! Look at these beauties!
Photo by Poison Megz
All you need to make these are wonton wrappers, sliced banana, Nutella, and marshmallow fluff or mini marshmallows diced up.  I just mixed the marshmallow fluff and Nutella together, put a small spoonful in the center of one wonton, a slice of banana on top of that, and then sealed with another wonton wrapper.  These were decadent, delicious, and ooey gooey goodness.  They were good warm, room temp, and cold. The cross-section is pretty gorgeous too.
Photo by Poison Megz

So gooey! I think this would also be amazing if you swapped the Nutella out for peanut butter and added some crumbled bacon-- Elvis Wontons! 

And that is it for December. I did it! I crossed something off every single month of 2015. Now let's move on to my 2016 resolutions. There are not a lot of them and they are not anything major.

1. Keep checking things off of my bucket list every month!
2. Eat healthier at least half of the time.
3. Go for more walks when it is not Antarctica outside.
4. Read for Pleasure more often.
5. Make local friends.
6. Find an exercise program/strategy that I do not hate.
7. "Positive Outcomes Only!"

And that is basically it!  Number 5 is going to be the hardest for me.  I have no idea how to make friends as an adult.  I do not really get along with the playgroup/soccer mom type crowd so that sort of rules out befriending other parents in the area.  I am not really a part of the bar scene any more, so that's out.  I am not working while I finish my degree outside of writing and events, so there are no co-workers.  Please, someone tell me how to adult in a small town with zero groups on Meet-up?  I am out of ideas.  Hopefully once I graduate and start working this will change and I will have really awesome co-workers.  That could totally happen.

The last one is a quote from Hellcats, the best show to ever get cancelled early by the CW.  I need to know more about that plot and it is a hole that will never be filled within my soul.  Surely someone else feels me on this?

As always I will also be remembering to Live Life Decadently in 2016, as should all of you! 

Until Next Time,
Poison Megz