Photo Friday: My Obsession

March 30, 2014
This one was not easy.... I ended up crowd-sourcing some of the answers because I couldn't choose just one. In addition to travel, mobile and food photography, I'm apparently also obsessed with Nathan Fillion, coffee, chocolate, and Girl Scout cookies (hey! It's the season). These were just the suggestions from Twitter.

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Throwback Thursday: Farewell to San Diego

March 27, 2014
 photo P_annette.jpg
circa 1998
This #tbt is dedicated to the person who took this photo of me. No HDD failure to corrupt this one. Though I wish I could still fit into those overalls...

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Wordless Wednesday: MoFA

March 26, 2014

The Improv Kitchen: Beef Short Rib Pot Pie

March 25, 2014
Why can I never stick to the recipe? Doesn't matter, this came out amazingly well.

In the last few years I have become the queen of 30-minute or less meals (from scratch! unless it's a slow-cooker meal) because I just don't have the time in our busy schedules to do more. But, when someone bats his ridiculously long eyelashes at me coupled with puppy dog eyes and tells me how good my cooking is ... well, I decided to put in some effort on a new recipe.

Using a pre-made crust saved me about an hour of time though. Caveat, the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons tomato paste, but I read it wrong (I mean, who uses such a tiny amount, right???!)

Beef Short Rib Pot Pie

Recipe by Annette Holland

5 stars
Prep time: 3.5 hours
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 4.5 hours
Yield: 4 servings
  • 2 pre-made gluten-free pie crusts or butter puff pastry shells
  • 1.5 lbs beef short ribs (on the bone)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine (I used Yellowtail Shiraz)
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme (or to taste)
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced carrots or unsliced baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 6 cups water
Cooking Directions
  1. Season short ribs with salt and pepper; toss with flour. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat and, working in batches, shake excess flour from ribs and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply browned, 8–10 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate.
  2. Add onions and garlic to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened in color, 5–8 minutes. Add wine, rosemary, and thyme, bring to a boil, and cook, scraping up browned bits, until liquid is reduced by half, 8–10 minutes. Add 6 cups water to pot and bring to a boil.
  4. Return short ribs to pot. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until short ribs are almost falling apart (and off the bone) and liquid is thick enough to lightly coat a spoon, 2 1/2–3 hours. Season to taste if necessary. Maybe add a little parsley as well.
  5. Line bottom of pie/baking dish with one crust. Transfer filling to baking dish and add carrots, mushrooms and peas. Place second crust over filling and trim, leaving overhang. Tuck edges under and crimp. Cut a few slits in crust. Alternatively, you can use individual dishes.
  6. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake pot pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, 50–60 minutes (35–40 minutes for smaller dishes). Let sit 5–10 minutes before serving.
DO AHEAD: Filling can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat gently before assembling pie.

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Photo Friday: Flowering

March 21, 2014

See more at Photo Friday
This week's Challenge: 'Flowering'.

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Throwback Thursday: Academic Pentathlon

March 20, 2014
My dad wouldn't let me participate in regular sports, but I could be the ultimate nerd, no problem (just imagine what that did to my psyche...).

Ask me how I feel about The Red Pony or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I dare you. I was on the Markham team two years in a row and we did pretty well in the Super Quiz, mainly because we had some of the best coaches ever.

Disclaimer: These photos were posted on the book of Face from a teammate.

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Photo Friday: Alive

March 14, 2014
Nothing is more lively than fire.

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Throwback Thursday: Dinner Party

March 13, 2014

Sometime in college. I think during my IRC days. I had invited a few people over for dinner and one of them snapped this. I don't cook in heels any  more :D

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Wordless Wednesday: Made Her Bed

March 12, 2014

Things Remembered...

March 11, 2014
Vegas in July 2009 with my dad
Where do I start? I started this post weeks (months?) ago, when my brother sent me a text in the middle of the night, when sane people are sleeping, to ask about a book that I had passed on to him during my occult phase. Using my amazing Google-fu, was finally able to track down the series that he wanted, but that started me down a whole 'nother rabbit hole of nostalgia that I, in typical fashion, tucked away to be dealt with later when I had some privacy for a proper meltdown.

Two months later, I still haven't had the meltdown, but it's kind of being forced on me. I don't do grief because I hate crying in public and my life these days is such that I only get privacy in the bathroom, and frankly, I don't want to reminisce and have a proper crying jag while staring at (or sitting on) the porcelain god ... so it just gets buried a little more. Until I get another request from my brother to commemorate the anniversary and what wants to pour out is this .... which is way too much to fit on a slip of paper.

A year ago I couldn't even write about what I was feeling, until my cousin pissed me off, but it's still very hard for me to grieve without also getting angry. It's all so damn unfair!

But, in the ... healing

Things Remembered

  1. Late night trips to Lighthouse Bookstore in Glendale (now closed) for new books and music.
  2. All of Frank Perretti's books (and Stephen R. Lawhead, and the start of this chase, Roger Elwood)
  3. The fact that my dad encouraged me to question my faith, get educated about the occult (not fear it, knowing is half the battle) and taught me that faith and reason could and should reside together.
  4. My father was the first man to give me the time and space to work things out for myself before articulating them.
  5. Being sent to bed when being a perfectionist threatened to get the better of me and everyone's patience with me.
  6. The Screwtape Letters
  7.  Good friends and family that I still am too shy/upset/ashamed to contact and know that I should get over myself
I'll probably think of more later, but right now ... my allergies are acting up.

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Sisterlocks update

March 8, 2014
I thought when I got my locks I would be all gung-ho to document things. I mean, this is new, uncharted territory for me. My hair hasn't been natural since I was 6 ... but having them has given me so much TIME to do other things ... no more spending a day on my hair, unless I'm doing a henna treatment.

Speaking of which, during the Super Bowl I did just henna (no indigo and coffee) and I'm still debating if I like it or not. The first day it was a almost burgundy, but after the first rinse it started fading and we are almost back to orange. Been there, done that, not a good look. I'll be covering with indigo any day now. I want to achieve a black cherry shade, so I will be playing with natural hair color more as I read up on henna recipes. If you have a good one, please tell me in the comments!

Last week, after months of not really working out, I did so hard enough that there was no way in hell I was going to bed sweaty. And most of it seemed to be in my hair, so I did a mid-month wash and decided to braid it, hoping for something cute with the braid out. Well, I should have taken the picture right after I undid all of my braids, because by mid-afternoon almost all of the wave was gone :( Flexi-rods are on my to-buy list. I miss how my hair used hold a curl/wave. And I'm still not supposed to be using hair products, so I don't. My hair is much healthier and softer for it.

So I present The First Six Months  - I'm not big on selfies (really, I'm not), but I have managed to take at least one a month.

August - Install Month
Thin and much scalp showing. This was after the final day of installation.

Managed to cover some of the scalp for work

Got rid of that center part...

Hiking? Not a problem!

Swimming! No problem! And all I had to do after was rinse the salt water out.
Dressed up and fancy side-do
(ok yes, showing off the dress more than my hair,
but, it was long enough to do something fancy)

Already fuller, but my hat still fits, so that's a win!

Right after a tightening. They always seem to look
 like a fresh braid installation.
And are often mistaken for micros

I can wear a ponytail again! OK, I've always put all of it up
for housecleaning and showers,
but this is how I used to wear my hair on a regular basis. Most days I wear it down with a side part for work

March -- see the braid out photos

Personally, I haven't been able to tell much difference, except that my hair is almost back to the fullness before installation, but today at the NoHo Farmer's Market, there's this one vendor who makes beautiful hair jewelry. I stop by her booth every time to pick up some extra large clips, they are about the only thing that can hold my hair other than scrunchies without getting tangled in the locks ... what was I saying ... oh yeah, we talked for about ten minutes just about my hair!

That doesn't really happen to me, but everyone keeps asking if these are braids, and then they look closer and ask about the process and maintenance. It's sooooo nice to be natural and have it under control and easy, literally, wash-n-go care at the same time!

Unfortunately, unlike others who start with 2-4" or relaxed ends, I started with a range of 8-11 inches of virgin growth (that post is still in draft...). And my hair is the type that shrinks 75% when dry. When wet my locks are just past my shoulders, but the length that it's grown in the last 6 months is hard for me to see. I can't wait until it's past my shoulders!

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Photo Friday: Calm

I need some of this right about now, and from what I've seen, some of you do too. 

Check out the rest of the Photo Friday submissions

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Throwback Thursday: Tasha

March 6, 2014
 photo ANNETTE.jpg This is Tasha. Other than Six, she was the best cat I ever had. She was also the strangest. She would sit on the edge of the tub while I showered. She would wait on the porch for me to come home, and come running out to greet when she heard my keys. She trained herself better than any dog and was a constant companion.
Damn coyotes.

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Wordless Wednesday: Braid Out

March 5, 2014
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