Sunday, April 29, 2012

Be Back

Off to interview for an Instructor position at University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  I'll be back soon!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Mom's Pork Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub

I love the pork roast my Mom makes in the oven.  It's covered in Parmesan cheese and herbs and is absolutely delicious.  However, it takes hours in the oven at a very low temperature.  I don't make it very often because I don't want to have to watch the oven.  Instead, I like the convenience of a crock pot.  Just put the stuff in and go.  What I don't like is that the meat always comes out so soft and there is a ton of liquid in the bottom of the crock pot.  It just turns me off.  So the other day I was watching a cooking show about slow cooking.  The chef used a crushed up loaf pan in the bottom of the crock pot so that the roast was up off of the bottom of the crock pot.  This solved the watery roast/change in meat texture issue.  So I thought I'd definitely try this method to cook my Mom's pork roast.

It just so happens that I had one of those loaf pans in my cabinet, but you could just as easily use some tin foil that you had crushed up into balls and put into the bottom of the crock pot.  It should look something like this.

Next, put some water (about a cup) into the bottom of the crockpot and put your roast on top of the base you just created from the foil.  Should look like this.

I then let the roast cook on low for about 6 hours (this was a very small roast.  I am a single girl so I usually cut any large roasts down into halves).  After the roast was done, I removed it from the crock pot and let it rest.  WOW!!  Now this was a delicious pork roast!!  The best part was that you didn't have that watery mess that changes the texture of the pork.  Instead, it was as if you'd cooked it in the oven.  I will definitely try this method again with other recipes.

Mom's Pork Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub

3 lb boneless pork loin roast
2 T black pepper
2 T grated parmesean cheese
2 t dried basil
2 t rosemary
2 t thyme
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt

Mix dry ingredients together and roll roast in the mixture until coated.  Place in crockpot on top of crushed tin loaf pan or tin foil ball.  Cook 10 hours on low.  (Again, my roast was about 1 pound so it only took about 6 hours on low).

If you are going to cook this in the oven, then wrap coated roast in tin foil and bake at 275 degrees for 5 hours.

It's delicious!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

50 Questions

This is the face you get when you are eating cookies for dessert and your dog likes cookies (and everything else she can get her paws on).  Notice the drool mark on my leg.  Such a silly girl!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 4:59am
2. How do you like your steak?  Medium rare
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Harry Potter
4. What is your favorite TV show? Once Upon a Time
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Farthingstone, UK
6. What did you have for breakfast today?  Black cherry yogurt, strawberries, cereal
7. Are you in a relationship? Not at the moment
8. Is there someone special you want to be in a relationship with? Colin Firth
9. What foods do you dislike? Beans, guacamole, organ meats
10. Are you saved? I believe in God
11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? 2007 Jeep Liberty
12. What are your favorite clothes?  Pajamas
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?  I’d love to go to New Zealand
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?   ½ Full
15. Where would you want to retire? Knoxville, TN
16. Favorite time of day?  The half hour or so that I read before I turn off the lights at night
17. Where were you born? New York City
18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Baseball
19. What is your favorite cookie?  I haven’t met a cookie I didn’t love
20. Manicure or pedicure?  Both
21. Favorite word?  Zooxanthellae
22. Bird watcher?  Not officially
23. Are you a morning person or a night person?  Morning
24. Do you have any pets?  Yes
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?  I might be moving!
26. What did you want to be when you were little?  A marine biologist
27. What is your best childhood memory? Fishing with my grandfather
28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog
29. Are you married?  No
30. Always wear your seat belt? ALWAYS!
31. Been in a car accident?  Just fender benders
32. Any pet peeves? People who aren’t on time
33. Favorite Pizza Topping? Sausage
34. Favorite Flower?  Tulip
35. Favorite ice cream?  Mint chocolate chip
36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Subway
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?  None
38. From whom did you get your last email?   Amazon
39. Which store would you choose to max out your card? Pottery Barn
40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Gave a student a break on her homework
41. Like your job?  Yes
42. How many true friends do you have?  At least 8
43. What was your favorite vacation?  Alaska with Richard
44. Last person you went out to dinner with?  Mike
45. What are you listening to right now?  M*A*S*H
46. What is your favorite color? Purple
47. How many tattoos do you have? None
48. Favorite candy?  White chocolate
49. What time did you finish this quiz? 4:55pm April 25, 2012
50. Coffee Drinker? Yes

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Scrapbook Bus Tour!

This tour was a lot of fun!  First off, there are 4 stores that are involved in this trip, each with a bus that leave from the home store, so there are 4 buses total wandering around Connecticut carrying 50 crazy scrapbooking women!  So here's the scoop...You pay a small fee at your local scrapbook store.  You arrive at your local store at 8am.  The store feeds you breakfast and lets you shop for whatever you want at a 20% discount (this discount is at every store on the tour).  From there, you board the big Peter Pan bus!  My goals today - not spend a ton of money but spend a little something in each store.

After you board the bus you are whisked away to scrapbook store #2.  There you shop for about an hour and half, again with the discount.  Our first stop was the New England Scrapbook Company.  Let me tell you, I loved this store!  It was big inside and laid out very well.  I would have loved to have spent more time here but we only had about an hour and a half.  I will go back to this store to explore it more.

They even had the cutest sign outside for us to take pictures!  Believe me, I was a happy scrapper!

 Next stop, Wiggles and Giggles!  This store was also very large and very bright inside.  The layout of the store made it very easy to not bump into people while you were trying to shop.  In addition, they also fed us lunch!  They had very tasty sandwiches, homemade pasta and potato salads, green salad, chips, and delicious brownies and chocolate chip bar cookies for dessert.  We were here for about 2 1/2 hours because we ate lunch.

Our final stop was papercraftclubhouse.  This store was much smaller but they had a lot of stuff packed inside the store.  I was able to pick up some pre-glittered tape for cards for my Mom.  I love it when I don't have to get glitter all over the place.  This store had a wonderful dessert buffet for us with coffee and tea too.  There was also a stamp store next door with an ice cream parlor inside.  Unfortunately it's still not the tourist season so the ice cream place was not open.  Cute store though.

Finally, you hop on the bus once again and end up back at your home store.  I don't know why (except that I'm blonde) but I didn't take a picture of my home store.  I guess I'll have to go back just to grab a picture.  Oh, and while I'm there I'll just pick up a bit of this and a bit of that....

Oh, and BTW...goals accomplished.  I spent about $150 between the three stores.  It was such a pleasure to spend time on the bus with these lovely ladies and have a good time.


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Aero Diner...

The other day I was headed out to run my errands and I ended up being out at lunchtime.  I was starving!! I'd seen this little diner not too far from where I was headed and decided to stop here for lunch.  I love diners...seriously love them...and this one was excellent.  How could you not love someplace so cute?

I headed in and took a seat.  The menu was very good and I had a difficult time deciding which menu item I wanted.  I'd originally settled on a burger (because I think you can tell a lot about a place by the quality of their burgers) but ended up with a foot-long chili dog.  WOW...was it excellent!!  I am so glad I didn't chose the burger (although I think I need to go back again to try one, just because).  The chili had just the right amount of spice to it and I think the only way I'd improve upon it is with a little bit of onion and cheese.  Not too much though because I don't want to take away from the chili.  The hot dog was also top quality.  With the chili dog came fries.  Not some of those prepackaged frozen things...nope, these were real potato fries.  Biting into one was like a little piece of heaven.  Excellent with ketchup!

So I finished my errands and then remembered that there was a new cupcake shop that had opened in downtown Willimantic.  I figured "why not?" and off I headed.  I was not disappointed!!  First off, the shop was so clean and the owner/baker were such nice people.  I was really impressed by the place.  Small tables perfect for sitting with friends over a coffee and cupcake were a nice touch as well.  I picked up two cupcakes.  On the left is a red velvet cupcake.  The cream cheese (instead of being in the frosting) is underneath the frosting in a pocket of the cupcake.  I'm not a huge cream cheese fan but Honor surely did like it!  On the right is a chocolate raspberry cupcake.  Delicious!!  What I really liked about these cupcakes is that the icing was whipped cream, not that sticky sugary stuff you so often get (although buttercream icing is to die for!)  I was so happy I'd stopped here as well and will make this a weekly stop on my errand day.

All in all, not a bad day of errands, if I do say so myself!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Visit to Salem, Massachussets...

Sorry, I know it's been a few weeks since I last posted.  I've been running like crazy to get things done.  Every time I think I'm caught up something comes up and I end up back where I was in the beginning.  At one point last week I was not even one lecture ahead of my students!  That's kind of scary when you are so under-the-gun to get a lecture put together.  Thank goodness the semester is coming to a close though.  Only 2 weeks of classes left.  I am looking forward to some time off this summer to gather my head!

Speaking of time off, here are a few of the pictures I took when I went to Salem, Massachusetts a few weeks ago.  I've always wanted to go here, having been intrigued by the history of the Witch Trials during my history classes.

My first stop was at the Salem Witch Museum.  One word - hokey!!  I am not too happy that I spent the $9 to get in because it was really a crap museum.  You go into the building and sit down in a large common room.  There are large dioramas along the roof-line that light up as the story of the witch trials is told over the speaker system in a pre-recorded message.  From there you move to another room (always with your guide) where you see a diorama with two figures in it.  Again, another pre-recorded message telling you about witchcraft from the beginning and how it has been portrayed through the ages...think Wizard of Oz stuff.  Then you are taken to the 3rd room where two more figures in a diorama tell you about what a true witch really is (think caretaker of the Earth).  From there you are dropped into the giftshop...buh bye!  Oh well, I did grab a few postcards and a gift for a friend from the museum.  Here's a picture of me at the entrance to the museum.

After the museum I started wandering around town looking for a place to eat and for a bit more of the history of the witch trials.  The town is really small so it was very easy to cover the whole town in just a few hours.  I never did find a good place to eat (well, I ate but it was not good).  Along the way I came across the official witch trials memorial.  Here, there are slabs of rock that stick out of a rock wall with the name of the victims of the witch trials.  The most popular method of killing those convicted of witchcraft were hanged.  One, Giles Corey, was pressed to death!  They had him lay down on the ground and put planks on his prone body.  From there they continued to pile on huge rocks, asking him after each one to confess to his sins.  He never did and finally the weight was too much and he could no longer breathe.  He was pressed to death!  Here is his memorial.  His wife was also convicted of being a witch, spent time in prison while she was pregnant for this crime, but was released at the end of this terrible period.  It must have been so sad for her knowing her husband had not survived.

Wandering further around town I stopped at "The House of the Seven Gables" as made famous by Nathanial Hawthorne.  I stopped at the museum store to pick up a copy of the book for my friend, Will.  I like to buy him books from the places they were written and I've been lucky enough to get little tags that go inside that confirm the book was purchased at such a place.  Here is a picture of the house. 

Finally, across the street is Ye Olde Pepper Companie, American's Oldest Candy Company.  I stopped in here to buy a little something for my friend, Allison, who was watching Honor for me for the day.  It was absolute torture to go inside here because I'd given up all sweets for Lent.  I got my goods and headed out.

Well, that's the end of my tales from Salem.  It was a pretty cool town but I wish there had been more about the witch trials.  Maybe a tour of some type, although at the very end I did see a segway tour going on.  I need to make sure I check to see if segway tours are available on my little trips.  I'd really like to do one of those.