Thursday, November 29, 2012

Supreme Breakfast Casserole: Wal-lah!

Not to toot my own horn, but I made my first breakfast casserole......and it was the bomb-diggity. Coming up the with recipe was easy. The hard part was waiting for 1.5 days in agonizing anticipation to test taste my masterpiece of a creation.
All this bragging, and Patrick didn't even get to try a single bite, since it was devoured during the meeting I brought it to.......Oh well, guess I'll just have to make it again!

Supreme Breakfast Casserole

1 can Big and Flaky Croissant Rolls
1 package HOT Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage
9 Eggs
1 1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 cups Spinach and Arugula Mix
3 large Red Potatoes
1 lb Bacon
Shredded Mexican Cheese
Feta Cheese Crumbles

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Spray cooking dish with non-stick cooking spray and cover with croissant dough, pinching together the perforated lines. 
In skillet (I used my cast iron because it's the best), cook sausage (I seasoned lightly with Montreal Seasoning), then evenly spread over croissant dough.
In bowl, whisk together eggs and heavy whipping cream, then add spinach and arugula mix. Pour over sausage. 
Cook bacon (in same skillet used for the sausage) until crispy, then set aside on paper towels to cool.
Heat red potatoes in microwave until partially soft, dice (leave skin on).
Spoon most of bacon grease out of skillet (leaving enough to cover base of pan), then cook potatoes in same skillet on medium high until crispy (season with Montreal Seasoning). Do not stir too often or they will fall apart. 
When potatoes are crispy, evenly scatter them over the eggs mixture, then cover with Mexican Cheese. 
Place casserole in oven for about 45 minutes (or until middle SLIGHTLY jiggly. It will be moist due to the cream added to the eggs). 
Crumble the bacon and scatter over the casserole, then add desired amount of feta cheese and fresh chives.
Place back in oven for few minutes to warm topping. 
I served this with my home-made white girl salsa. Seriously, you're already in the kitchen; it's worth it to throw in the extra effort. 

White Girl Salsa: 

Roma Tomatoes
Yellow Onion
Lime Juice
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Black Pepper

Chop even parts tomatoes and tomatillos in food processor to desired consistency, then place in bowl. 
Chop half that amount of yellow onion and cilantro in food processor to desired consistency, then add to same bowl. 
Chop desired amount of jalapeno (including seeds) in food processor (depending on the spice factor of your peppers), then add to same bowl. 
Season to taste with lime juice, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. 

And you know I had to make homemade chips for my salsa........but I didn't share those


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spatchcock: Get In My Belly!

As I mentioned before, I had to work for Thanksgiving, and since it is also one of the most traveled days of the year, we decided it would be safer to stay in Dallas. 
But Carrie and Ryan didn't want us to spend the holiday alone, so they invited us over to have a celebration at the White House. We spent Wednesday night putting finishing touches on a few dishes and sipping on Poinsettias, a holiday drink I heard about consisting of Cranberry Juice and Champagne. 
Really, I think Carrie just wanted to take advantage of our cooking skills. I was making a full spread regardless, and Patrick decided to smoke the turkey this year even though the apron I made him last year says "Real Men FRY Turkey". He spatchcocked it, due to timing, which turned into an ongoing joke for the entire night.
Help was abundant and so was laughing. 
There was some worry, however, when us girls came into the kitchen and saw all the men standing over the turkey scratching their heads (and probably their butts) over what to do with it since it's temperature was rising faster then expected. And things got touchy when Carrie offered to go buy a new one. Never doubt a man's ability to smoke meat. Never.
Some nipple chaffing and hard work later, and he was down to just an apron and scaring the neighbors outside. And by 6am, Patrick was finally finished with his delicious share of the cooking and vowed to never smoke a turkey again. 
On Turkey Day morning we made a "hotel breakfast" for the boys, set the table with fine china, and waited for the crowd to arrive. 
For future reference, it's best to take pictures before feasting......or wear baggier clothes.....this was me sucking in as much as the food in my belly would allow while still managing a smile!!!
Everything was delicious, but my favorite thing was this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Candied Pecans that I made with the assistance of some little helpers!
The recipe (Part Paula Dean; part from who knows where): 


1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I mash my own or use the food processer)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter

1 (8 ounces) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15 ounces) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups (16 ounces) Sour Cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

For Crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch spring-form pan. Set aside. 

For Filling:
Beat cream cheese, pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and spices until smooth. Add flour and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 55 minutes (or until cheesecake is almost ready, may still be slightly jiggly). Do not open oven while cheesecake is cooking!!!

For Topping:
After the allotted cooking time, remove cheesecake from oven, cover with topping, then place back in oven for 5 minutes. (Total cheesecake cooking time approximately 60 minutes.)

Cover with homemade (or store bought, if you're lazy) candied pecans and refrigerate for 4 hours. 

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Two Words

Holy. Crap.
I really haven't felt like that after a workout since Highschool. Really. Not even while training for my half-marathon. 
I've never been a power person, just mediocre to minimally powerful at best.....which is why I've always been into long distance running instead of something cool and exciting like sprints or hurdles or relays. Slow and steady, that's me; I'm the tortoise. Jumping is not my best suit. It zaps my energy faster than an orgasm, but with way less satisfaction involved. 
All this talk is about how Insanity kicked my ass all over the place yesterday. Shawn T beat me up so badly, I couldn't even finish the last two exercises on the fit test. You want to know how I'm positive I pushed myself to my limits (besides my heart rate monitor)??? I was seeing spots and almost threw up. I kept pacing around, trying to press play, but my instincts told me not to. I think I made a sound decision, considering it took 30 minutes of laying down to get my heart rate to drop to less than 100 beats per minute. 
If you've never tried the video, it incorporates a stupid amount of jumping, and I guess the last few months really beat my body down more than I realized. 
I'm not worried, though. I took before pictures for motivation, wrote down my beginning statitistics, and have a goal in site.
Source: via Mrs. on Pinterest

A couple hours later, I couldn't stand the incomplete stats on my fit I turned the video back on, and pushed through the last two exercises.
Then I had a little beggar at my feet who thinks just because I'm wearing running shoes means she needs to go on a walk every hour (Sumo just follows her lead), so I took the puppies out for a 20 minute jog.
 But with rich views like this, accompanied by 70 degree weather, and a mild wind rustling the leaves loose, causing them to float towards the ground like a rainbow of gravity defying rain, who could mind really?
Ahhh. That's better. 

Ever have a really tough/crappy workout and can't rest easy until you redeem yourself?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making Me Cray Cray

Google decided it had enough of my parasitic ways and tried to make me fork over my hard earned cash to keep posting photos on this "free" blog. Did you know they also limit your email space? Why can't they just jump on the Yahoo and Facebook bandwagon and annoy us with an overabundance of advertisements we can ignore and stay out of my pocketbook?
All this technical nonsense made me so crazy, wasting hours of my life before I found a way around it, which is how I turned into this!!!
Actually I'm doing my own facials these days because when real people do them they're amazing, but pricey, and I'd rather afford funner things like those super warm and cozy house moon boots I'm showing off from R.E.I.'s black friday sale. Patrick and I went for some steals and I picked out everything I want for my birthday, Christmas, and Anniversary presents for the next 10 years. 
Oh R.E.I., why must you torture me so?????
But seriously, isn't it pretty crappy to advertise how free and awesome you are and then one day say, "Oopsie.....we're not THAT free! We omitted some information that might have prevented you from getting to this point, but we're telling you now so you can decide you don't have enough time to figure it out and just pay us money instead."
Touche, Google.

If anyone out there is a gu-ru and wants to help me convert all my previous pictures to a smaller size, I'm always open for suggestions!!
If I decide it's too much trouble to keep resizing my photos, I'll be taking donations to give in to those jack-wagons!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time Out

Have you ever been so dog tired that you were snoozing on the couch, but dreaming about actually going to bed and woke up rubbing your hands around as if you were indeed washing your face (because it's your night-time ritual to wash your face before bed)? Me either, except for one day this week.
And then I awkwardly pulled my hands back down to normal position (hoping Patrick didn't see), got up and drug myself to bed. Without washing my face. Because, let's face it, when you're that tired pretend attempts count.
It's officially my husband's favorite holiday!!! If you're looking for him, he can be found propped up on a couch, stuffed to his neck with turkey and casseroles, barely breathing, but just alive enough to watch football.
If you're looking for me, you're likely not to find me because I'll be at work, thankful to have such a rewarding job caring for little miracles of the world, with some of the best people I know.....but not before I pack away a few pounds of delicious dessert, casserole, and turkey, myself. Mistake the order for no accident.
Hope everyone has a blessed day and takes a time-out to be grateful for everything they have to be thankful for. My list is endless.
Source: via Milas on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Now I'm Jealous

Mid-November finally brought cold enough temperatures at night to bring my plants in.
I have no idea what kind of cactus this is that my mom gave me, but I love it and it loves me. It just keeps growing and growing and theory is it wants to be taller than me so we can slow dance together in the living room like two beings in love should do.
I really didn't know I was the plant lady until I brought all my pots inside and realized I had nowhere to put them. So obviously this meant Jess and I needed to go junk shopping.
We decided it was time to bring back the bird cage hats, so we tried a couple on. I'm pretty sure we look like a million bucks in them and everyone should jump on this classy bandwagon.
Patrick is all about "not having too much crap" and I'm all about "having lots of cool crap in every nook and cranny visible to the human eye so we can look around and go 'ooooo, look at that' and 'aaaaaahhhh that's super amazing'", so I found some creative things to showcase the plants, but can be tucked away during the warmer months.
Successful marriage is all about compromise, people.
The cute little flower painting on the old wooden ironing board to hold my flowers was calling my name so hard I had to go back the next day and get it.
Our new biggest conflict is Patrick always wanting the blinds closed tight, and me unselfishly wanting the blinds open....for the sake of Vitamin D, photosynthesis, and everything holy. It's like Groundhog's Day in our house. Every afternoon he closes them, and every morning I open them again, and again, and again, and.....well you get the point.
Can't we just leave them open and wear clothes around the house so people wont see any surprise body parts at night?!?!?! (P.S. I'm the worst at walking by people's house at night and peeking inside the open blinds, just to confirm that my house is decorated cuter than theirs......not to see if anyone is walking around naked)
But with all the shopping, I saw something that made me jealous. I was just bragging about my Christmas cactus having a bloom, and then I saw an entire shelf full of Christmas cacti at Walmart and every single one of them had about about 20 blooms. I'm a genius at math, so I'll break that down for you.......that's 79 (give or take) more blooms than mine has!

Is my cactus stunted? Should I just be glad it's alive, or want more from it? Do I need to fertilize it or will it catch up in it's own time?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time Heals All Wounds

Me: Ommigod, that really hurts. I always forget how bad it hurts!
Patrick: How in the world could you forget how bad it hurts to get a needle gouged into your skin a million times?
Me: Shrugs shoulders. I dunno. I guess time really does heal all wounds.
I started the day with an ankle and ended it with a cankle, but it was all worth it.
For 7 months I starred at flat black outlines and imagined what they would transform to when it was done. No one else could ever make any sense of the swirlies, but I knew it was going to be a masterpiece.
There's another old saying that rings true. "You can't rush art."
I said that about 3 times to the young miliatry fellow who twiddled his thumbs in the room for the last 1.5 hours, watching and waiting, and waiting some more. He came to get a sleeve started, but Germ opened the shop early, just for yours truly, and no one was pushing me off that pleather table until my sock was finished.
Most of the time I was smiling, but after 3.5 hours of the self-induced torture, my nervous system was rebelling.
It's the stages that cause the most brutality: all over black, then all over black-gray, then all over gray, etc. After each traumatic experience the tissues start to swell and bruise, becoming more sensitive and tender, making it more difficult for the ink to take.
By the time he got to the finishing touches of the white outline, I was making up excuses of needing to pee......but Germ caught onto my childish scheme and denied me bathroom privileges.
After a long debate on the best way to cover my caduceus, I'm pleased with the results.
The darker pedal next to the heart of the flower is in remembrance of the loss of our first baby, one of the most difficult grievances I've ever suffered through. Although it seemed appropriate for a part of the lotus to be a few shades darker, it still thrives on and remains vibrant. Because life goes on, and time really does start to heal wounds.
After some really serious swelling, the itching process has now set in. If my foot feels anything like a snake's entire body does before his shedding process, than I have a new found sympathy for those creepy serpent creatures.
28 years of life experiences + 4 hours of drawing + 1 hour of outlining + 3.5 hours of shading = one magnificent piece of body art.

As we lay in bed together, a couple of nights later..........
Patrick: So, what tattoo are you getting next and where will it be?
Me: Hmmmmmm......

Word for the wise: Don't wear skinny pants to get a massive tattoo on your foot. It's less than fun taking them off later.

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's Me Again (That Nerd You Know)

Hi. I'm Kayla, and I'm a nerd-a-holic.
Sometimes people tell me they think I'm cool, but I think it's on days their contacts are distorting their vision....or mini aliens are controlling their brain, like in the book The Host (which I can't wait for the movie debut this spring), or the movie Men in Black (the scene where the man's head opens and a cute little alien is controlling the body like it's a massive tractor).
I swear my house was freezing. I slept with a heating pad and an extra blanket on my side of the bed and still had teeth chattering moments. After hibernating downstairs in fleece p.j.'s under my fuzzy blanket on our ice cold leather couch, I decided to brave the weather to get supplies to make chili.
Up the stairs I went, turning off all the fans before stripping (didn't want to carve any unnecessary holes into anything with my nips). I put on my coziest hoodie. Nope, not good enough. I took the hoodie off and put on a tank top, then the hoodie again. That'll do Donkey, that'll do. 
It's bad when you go to Wal-mart and people are looking at you like you're the crazy one. I noticed everyone had short sleeve shirts on......except me. The guy handing out baskets looked at me sympathetically, like I may have been mentally disabled, and sweetly greeted me with, "Staying warm today, huh?"
Ugh. Sigh. Head drop.
On this day, I was a total nerd dressed in a hoodie with exuberant sun shining 60-something degree weather.
I swear it was cold in my house. I should probably look to see if my husband had the air conditioner set to 50F (which probably wouldn't be far from the truth).
I am a nerd and a half......but I'm okay with it, if you're okay with it.

Have you done anything that made you feel extra silly lately?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cuteness. Beauty. Joy.

It's usually a major struggle for me to keep things short and sweet, but it's been super easy this week. Being off work for the last 7 days has kept me on my toes!!! I swear I could never work again and stay busy long as I didn't run out of money......that could be problematic!!!!
While I'm on the subject of short sweetness, let's take a moment to admire how cute my youngest niece is!!!
She was a 3rd grade Duchess for her school's fundraising event. They gathered thousands of canned goods for charity.  
Advancing to other beautiful things, look at that pretty pink rose at my parent's house that surpassed the barrier of a wooden privacy fence to bring colorful joy to the other side. You could plant a flower exactly where you wanted it, and it would die; but leave it's fate to nature and it will always find a way to defy odds. 
And on to smaller but overwhelming things, I helped my mom for a while sorting 15 gallons of pecans she picked up from their yard. I wish that could actually have put a dent in her work, but she has a long road of pecan picking ahead of her! Despite the chores, it was great being outside, no matter what we were doing, with the wind blowing through our hair like our lawn chairs were actually go-carts cruising about 15mph down the road. 
We all had to find a way to keep a safe distance from Big Bad Brad, my Father. He's had little relief from post-op pain and it's taken a toll on his already rough around the edges personality. It's not surprising that Dusty just decided to sleep through it.........Hopefully my super-nursing skills of readjusting his ice brace helped make the house more live-able for my Mom. 
I hung out with this ridiculously cute butt-raiser, Piper, and got a tour of Vanaynay and Ricky's house being built while getting caught up on girl talk. 
And when we got back home, this dainty little pink thing was there to greet us. How does my tiny little Christmas Cactus know that all the stores are already playing holiday music overhead? I'm ecstatic it lived another year to bless our house with it's graceful blossoms! (That triumph definitely had nothing to do with any skill credited to me.......Nature perseveres once again!!!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Times a Changin'

It's amazing how dramatically one hour can change your day.
It was disorienting how dark my drive to work was the first day of the time change. I kept forgetting that small detail and couldn't figure out if I was late to work or if a big storm was shunning the sun. Turns out it was neither of those things. 
Jessica and I went for one of our nice jogs after work and us nocturnes were officially blinded by the light. 
I'm going miss getting to watch the sunrise as we lap around the preserve, but soaking in some vitamin D before bed might not be too shabby of a change. 
I think I tell everyone this every year, but I never get tired of saying it: I LOVE FALL. How could colors like this not steal your heart???
Next week, it's time to start training hard core. Me and Shawn T have a hot and sweaty date every day until February, for I will not be left behind during our Aspen snowshoeing hut trip that I am super excited for!!! These Texan lungs need to be in tip top shape!!!

What's your favorite season?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Any Triple D (Diners, Drive-in's, Dives) watchers in the house?!?! 
Cane Rosso was featured in a Dallas episode, which happened to be located two blocks from our concert, and so we thought what safer way to ensure a yummy dinner adventure???
We told our waiter, Travis, we'd never been there before and asked for recommendations. He invited himself onto our bench immediately and broke down the menu with genuine enthusiasm. As we placed our order, he shook his head yes and confirmed we chose the best on the menu. 
We waited with great anticipation and when our food arrived, dug in with nonexistent hesitation. Which one is which? We took a milli-second to think about it but couldn't figure it out, then continued to eat. 
About half-way through, Travis came back to check on us, "How's your pizza?? Everything taste good???"
We nod, mouths full.
"Well I have to tell you, I was so excited on the way to the kitchen, thinking about this other pizza I like a lot, I accidentally ordered you that pizza instead of the one you actually ordered. I'm so sorry. I can order you another one if you'd like."
What?!?!? You were so excited about something you wanted that you completely disregarded what we wanted? Who does that?!?! It's a fortunate thing what you wanted still tasted good!
The funniest part is we probably wouldn't even have known had he not been honest with us. 
We ordered the most amazing off the menu dessert pizza to end on a sweet note. When it came down to splitting the last piece, Patrick ruined Tim's by rolling it up (probably in hopes Tim wouldn't want his share anymore). It brought on a interesting poll, though. 
The vote was 50/50. The sane 50% was Tim and I, with the answer, "Not in a million years. Why would I ever even consider ruining a good piece of bread like that????" 
The 50% with a lack of sanity being Patrick and Lara with the suggestion, "Haven't you ever balled up a piece of bread in your hand so that you can eat the entire piece in one bite?"
Next on the agenda was walking to Trees to see Walk the Moon. I'm not going to lie, I felt a bit left out when we looked around and noticed almost everyone but us had their colorful war face paint on. We didn't get that memo, but we did find some sweet comfy couches to chill on while the opening band played. And when I say "chill", I mean we sat under a huge air conduit blowing out 60 degree A/C with industrial strength onto Patrick and I's soaking wet clothes (from him squooshing a full bottle of water all over the place while I was trying to mix my drink, which brought special attention our direction from the security guards, which made me paranoid I was going to get caught with my special liquids!!!)........Thanks a lot, Patrick. 
I put on my innocent haha face while Patrick pointed all fingers at me and they jokingly told me they were going to have to "cut me off".......if they only knew. 
The crowd got quiet and the Pure Imagination song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory filled the air. 
What the heck????
But it gave me a good feeling; not only do I love WWATCF, I love people who still have an appreciation for their imagination. 
For the rest of the night, our clothes and body parts vibrated from the well played sound waves. On a brief break, the lead guitarist played the entire Mario Bros song and had us all smiling in awe and reminiscence. During another song, we were all encouraged to make our loudest and best animal/jungle noises. 
Like I always say, being silly is super fun.  
And for the closing song, they took it to church by having us all think of the negative things bogging us down, raise up our hands, and send it all away through our fingertips to the song I Can Lift A Car.
The crowd loved them, and so did I. 
Before leaving, we tested the quality of the breathalyzer machine. Verdict??? Probably perfect, which is why Lara got a reading of ZERO as the Designated Driver. Maybe those things should in more places! It's all about safe fun, my friends. 

Where do you stand; would you ever wad-up a piece of bread in a ball just to eat it all at once, or do you think that's stupid?
 If you watch Triple D, do you ever try any of the places you've seen featured?


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