Monday, July 30, 2012

Long Beach–Gambling for Candy!

I come from a long line of gamblers, he he, well not really.  I do have a lot of family and friends that enjoy some sort of gambling whether it be pull-tabs, slots or table games.  I’ve never really been into it.  For the longest time, it made me flat out grumpy to go to the casino.  I’ve slowly started to loosen up and enjoy putting in $20 bucks here and there, but I’m no gambler.  This weekend I was in Long Beach, Washington with a group of friends.  My boyfriend and I were going antiquing one afternoon and saw a local, dive-y bar.  I know I’m a minority, but I LOVE dive bars.  I’m not sure if it’s the sticky floors, the people watching of the locals, or the cheap eats and drinks; I would consider going to dive bars a hobby of mine.  So there was a dive bar, Doc’s Tavern, in Ocean Park, WA.  When I walked in I already knew I loved the place, based on the fact that they had a shuffleboard table.  I was looking up at all of the pull tabs and noticed they have something called punch boards, where you could win various prizes ranging from Altoids to river rafting tubes.  I asked the bartender what this was all about, and knew I had to experience this.  Tyler and I went to play some shuffleboard while I worked up the nerve, as I still didn’t quite get it; it seemed really labor intensive for the bartender (I didn’t quite get it…)  Once I got beat twice at shuffleboard I was ready to take a stab at this NEW, intriguing game.

I decided to try my hand at the game marked sweets.  It’s 10 cents a hole.  Boy that is a lot of holes; much like pull-tabs the odds aren’t that great.  But, for a non-gambler like me, I don’t really care.  I just wanted some sweets, preferably M&M’s.  Here we GO!

You use the little poker thing (as you see in the above pic) to poke the holes that you’ve selected.  Little papers come out of the back.

See, little accordion paper thingy’s.  You unravel to reveal the number, crossing your fingers that it is a winning number!  It’s really not labor intensive for the bartender because you do all the work.  You just collect them in piles of 10 for her.  I had opened about 7 dollars worth and was getting pretty sad.  I wasn’t sad that I was down 7 dollars, because it was really fun to play.  But, my tummy was really calling out for some sweets.  I said to Tyler, “Watch me win raisins.”  I hate raisins.  The next paper I opened was a WINNER!

Cha-ching, oh wait, it’s Raisins.  I guess I can suck the chocolate off. 

My winnings!  Tyler loves these and so did the rest of the group that I was with.  So no loss there.  And I’m pleased as punch to just have won!  I was pretty addicted by that point, but it was time to go.  I almost wanted to go back after breakfast the next morning but thought better of it.  Now I’m just keeping my eyes peeled for other bars that have these fun games.
I know you are all probably thinking I’m crazy for getting so excited about something like this.  Let me just remind you that it is the small things that count.  And for some reason this girl gets entertained by Gambling for Sweets!
Tyler had his entertainment a bit earlier in the day.  Some creepy pirate looking guy that worked at one of the antique stores had a pet parrot.  The parrot just kept saying “Apple”, “Apple”.  The shop keeper insisted that Tyler let it crawl on him.  Tyler was pretty frightened because it looked like he was headed straight for his eyeballs.  The pictures turned out great though; you can’t even see the fear in his face.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Goods That Make Me Go Hmm

Just got back from a long weekend with no technology.  We were out of range, so every time I clicked on Facebook or my Emails I was saddened by the “lost connection” message.  It’s almost embarrassing to admit how addicted I am to be “connected”.  But, I have to say it is a treat to catch up on emails, blogs and news from the social real when I get back.  So this post is a few products that caught my eye and made me go hmm.
What’s a better way to get that delicious ice cream in your throat hole quicker?  A shovel utensil make for ice cream.  Well, it’s made for the Indian dessert Kulfi, but it’s the Indian equivalent.  These spoons are definitely going on my wish list.

Smoky food and drinks are all the rage these days.  So why not mix smoky with your dessert ingredients?  These smoked chocolate chips frighten me a bit, but I think they have potential.  I generally don’t like to mix savory with sweet but my most favorite thing these days is caramel with sea salt.  I think chocolate chip cookies made with these would be delicious.
Who doesn’t get intrigued by silver balls?  They remind me of the teeth breakers that we put on our Christmas Cookies.  These are Japanese mints believe it or not.  The retailer of these says, you either love them or hate them.  That makes me want to give it a go.
This pan creates a Hong Kong favorite, called “egg waffles”.  These are sold by sidewalk vendors as breakfast and a snack.  The pan creates a unique waffle that has crispy golden creases with doughy, tender, creamy centers.  I’m definitely a waffle fan over pancakes so I would love to give this variation a try.  I can just imagine my powdered sugar getting caught in all the crevices!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Zumba–no rhythm necessary

I finally made it to Zumba this week.  I met my old coworker at a studio in the area.  I’ve done it before in a class format but mostly I just do it at home on the Wii. And believe it or not I still feel silly doing it at home by myself.  I’ve always upheld the idea that I can’t dance, have no rhythm.  But, I do throw down a mean DDR!
There really are many great things about Zumba here is the list I’ve come up with:
  • There is always somebody that looks sillier than you in the class (but you’re not allowed to laugh out loud, hold it in and go home and imitate said person to your loved one and laugh hysterically)
  • There is always someone more out of shape than you
  • It is an amazing workout, you would have to try really hard to not sweat
  • You get to learn hip thrusts and pelvis shakes, which can help you in other areas of your life, if you know what I mean.
  • And they played my theme song as the cool down, “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars.
The clothes are bit ridiculous, but hey if it makes women feel sexy, or cool, or whatever, who am I to judge.  I will most likely attend in standard workout gear.
On another note, my Aunt Lisa is a Zumba instructor.  If you are in the Everett area, please check her out.  She’s all tight and fit because she eats, sleeps and breathes Zumba.  I do need to check out her class; I guess she is doing Zumba toning now.  Sounds amazing.  Here is her link:
blog pics
Thanks Yolande for meeting me for Zumba.  I will be going again soon.  I wish I had my replacement fit bit so I could’ve counted the steps.  Oh well.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Science People Attempting Art…

My friend Bridget and I decided to take a leap of faith and attempt to paint.  There is this business in the Seattle area called Corks and Canvas that I’ve been hearing about for a while.  The concept is that you go to a local winery or wine bar.  They have a canvas that an artist painted, which serves as the focus for the evening.  While you are sipping wine and getting tipsy, an artist walks you through step by step how to recreate the model painting.  They teach you color mixing, brush techniques and so much more.  You can try to completely copy the original or give it your own twist.  At the end of the night, everyone’s paintings look unique and surprisingly good.  I was shocked that I could actually paint.
Our experience went down at Corks and Canvas, which was a beautiful establishment.  They had various bars set up featuring different wineries.  The food was a little to uppity for me; or perhaps I just don’t have a sophisticated enough palate:)  Dishes like salt cod fritters, pork belly croquettes and roasted cauliflower.  I had an interesting bathroom experience.  The words were in Italian (I think) and it was not clear which was the women’s.  I just took my chance and then hoped that there were no men; I guess right and I wasn’t the only one that had that experience, whew.
Corks and Canvas                                                                   Bridget and I with our finished piece  
  2012-07-11_20-58-11_919                                                                      Alicia’s rendition of the Seattle Skyline
bridges art                                                             Bridget added water, which was an excellent touch
And we just signed up for another wine sipping and painting session for next week!  Okay maybe not sipping.

Monday, July 23, 2012

FitBit the tiny little motivator

My old coworkers talked me into purchasing a fitbit.  They are using it as a way to get in shape and have a little friendly competition.  It's as addictive as Facebook, some people have been calling it their socially acceptable crack.

Here's the skinny:
This tiny little device tracks your steps, stairs and sleep with wireless syncing to your computer when you are near your base station.  You can join online communities where you can compete against each other for who has the most steps.  It also offers ways to track food, and exercise, totally replacing my need for LiveStrong and Daily Plate.

This company has the most amazing customer service ever!  I heard from my coworker that when he called because he had lost his, they sent him a replacement for free.  Well, I lost mine on Queen Anne Hill last week.  I was about to order a new one (these aren't cheap), when I emailed them and they are sending me a complimentary replacement.  Keep track of these buggers!  When I wear it on my bra, I never have to worry about losing it.  But, sometimes it looks weird under my shirt.  So I'll have to come up with a secondary location to secure it.  

This is such a fun way to stay motivated, have some competition with your partner and continue to be health conscious.

Speedy, Spicy Enchilada Casserole

Dinner time.  One of my favorite things to cook is Mexican food.  Always tasty and there is always enough leftover for lunch the following day.  I found a quicker version of enchiladas, minus all of the portioning and rolling, on a blog that I frequent.  Shrinking Kitchen - Enchilada Casserole in a Hurry.  The casserole I made was adapted from Christy's version.

I didn't have a pie tin handy, so I used my spring form cheesecake pan.  This is the final version.  You cut it into 4 equal pie pieces.


1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 cup chopped red peppers
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free, lower sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon hot taco seasoning
1/3 cup pickled jalapeno slices
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Step by step
  1. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and peppers to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring to crumble.
  2. Preheat oven to 400˚.
  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 1/2 cups tomato mixture to beef mixture; reserve 1/2 cup tomato mixture.
  4. Place 1 tortilla in a 9-inch pie plate. Top with 1 cup of beef mixture. Place all of the jalapeno slices evenly on the first beef mixture layer.  Repeat layers (minus additional jalapenos), ending with tortilla. Spread reserved tomato mixture over tortilla and top with cheese. Bake at 400˚ for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Cool slightly. Cut into 4 wedges.
Options:  Add a can of corn to the beef mixture for added crunch.  Substitute shredded rotisserie chicken instead of beef/turkey.   
Layer of jalapeno slices for the spicy kick.


Question:  What do I do with the extra chicken broth?  It always goes bad in the fridge before I use it again.

Solution:  Pour into ice trays and freeze. Then just grab cubes as needed.  Ignore the fact that it looks like urine.

Question:  How do I get the rest of this tomato sauce out of this skinny can without adding water?
Solution:  Purchase a skinny spatula from Amazon.  Utilize the boyfriends Prime account and get it by the next time I cook with skinny can ingredients.

Newbie blogger! Lots of deep breaths...

I've been wanting to start a blog for a while and now I understand why I kept putting it off.  There is a lot to learn, set-up and discover in order to get your blog off the ground.  Now, I know a ton of this is to do with the fact that I'm a perfectionist, a self proclaimed non-creative type, and not a writer.  I've been spending a whole week to just format everything and add appropriate links, etc.  And every time I preview it I find something else I don't like.  I guess it will be a work in progress, and I just have to tell myself that is okay.  I want to give a few shout-outs to the following people for inspiration, how-to's and guidance:

I have to warn you I'm not a writer.  I was once told the following by my high school friend: "Alicia, often times you do not speak proper English."  So just be warned, but hopefully it's not too awful.  In a world of "LOL" and people that don't know the difference between "you're" and "your" perhaps I'm being too hard on myself.

Ignorance at it's best.  And I'm just talking about sign making:)