Then there's that little problem of being in a new area. I moved to sunny Florida, which I can't complain about. I mean, a Midwesterner always appreciates the ocean. We are the farthest from the coasts, so I feel like the ocean will always be a big deal to us. It is to me and I live abut 12 minutes from it right now. The area is pretty, there's usually some sort of festivities going on, and let's be real, there's always the beach. It's the meeting new people and fitting in thing that's the problem.
I had never had a problem before. While living in Alabama I made a nice group of friends, granted our work schedules were so weird we could barely hang out, but that's not the point. Maybe the South and Midwest have similar values of making people feel welcome, and since I'm in lower Florida they just don't have the same mentality. Whatever the case is, the culture here has been a little more difficult to grasp than I first imagined.
So, after trying to get the hang of the coastal lifestyle, I'm going to continue with my blog in the same manner as before. But now I have Florida adventures that I can share. For example, there's an alligator that lives in the retention pond at my apartment complex. People tell me this is normal. I don't feel like it is, but I can't argue with native Floridians.
Oh yea, and did I mention it's Friday night and I'm home alone blogging? You can just tell me how cool I am, I can take it. I actually just finished watch an old movie, His Girl Friday, and had some banana pudding flavored ice cream from Publix, so maybe it wasn't such a bad night overall.
I feel like this was a journal entry. Should I have started it with "Dear Diary?"
Personally, I even have a tank top to wear for this Fourth that reads “Running the world since 1776.” (The back says “Merica” in case you were wondering.)
June and July celebrate Memorial Day and Independence Day respectfully, but have you asked yourself recently if we show any resemblance to the country we once were?
I still love this country, hence the tank top, but, let’s put it this way, I know we can be better.
When you think American Dream do you think people from all backgrounds and upbringings making a new and better life for themselves? Because that’s what it’s supposed to be. Hard work and sweat and tears to improve your life and your family's.
The International Finance Corporation and the World Bank ranked 183 countries in 11 areas. The U.S. ranked 4th in ease of doing business, 4th in getting credit, 5th in protecting investors and 7th in enforcing contracts. Those were our highest rankings, too. Our lowest ranking was 72nd in paying taxes.
Being 4th doesn’t sound terrible, but we are supposed to be No. 1. We can be No. 1, therefore we should strive for that again.
According to an article in a CNN series on American Exceptionalism the U.S. could try to emulate Germany in attempts to improve our standing.
The article talks about how German business students will graduate knowing multiple languages, having traveled to different countries, knowing more about global business than many of our business students.
The writer of the editorial, Todd Leopold, has a point here. We can learn from other countries, and we should. Others learn from us, try to emulate what we do right, and they succeed because of it. We are still great, but we might need some inspiration on how to get through this current slump.
I love wearing red, white and blue, and I love carrying our flag in parades, I also have more respect for the military than the typical person probably does. But, if we can do better, then we best get at it, because the American Dream is how we succeeded. And if all it takes is for everyone collectively to work harder and to change the course we’re headed down, then we need to start down that new path now before we are passed by more countries.
For the Fourth, just remember the principles America was founded on and what generations before went through to get what we have today, and think about if we are working anywhere near that hard. I bet you’ll find most of us aren’t.
Happy Fourth of July and God bless America.
PS. Wish me luck. I'll need it, if only for the 8 hour drive. I am a sleepy person by nature.
The Tamale Pie I made was absolutely delicious. I'm not joking, it is one of the best recipes I've ever tried. It isn't authentic in any fashion, but it has a similar taste from real tamales. real tamales are super difficult to make. My family is Mexican and they'd always buy them because they are just so hard to do. I found this to be a nice substitute still. The real tamales my fam would buy actually use pork though, so you could always substitute pork for the chicken.
The only thing that's annoying is that shredding the chicken takes longer than I would like. It gets irritating, but is well worth the finished product. The only thing I changed with the recipe was that I used the Mexican Queso Quesadilla shredded cheese with a pinch of Philadelphia Cream cheese. Honestly, this is the most delicious cheese ever, but I think this tamale pie needs a little heavier flavor of cheese, because the kind I used got a little lost. So next time I think I'll use the Queso Quesadilla with the Mexican Four-cheese or just straight up cheddar.
Watch out, my pie dish wasn't deep enough or possibly was just a little too small all around and when I poured the enchilada sauce over the top a lot of it ran off the sides, so be careful. You might have to use a little less of the cornbread batter, or just not pour all the enchilada sauce, or just put the pie plate over something in case spillage happens.
The original recipe comes from the blog Pinch of Yum:
- 1/3 cup fat free milk
- 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 1 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
- 1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
- 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
- 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce – I recommend going with an authentic Mexican brand
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup shredded white cheese
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend shredded cheese
- cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with cilantro and Cotija cheese.
Corn Salad with Queso Fresco
This would be such a good and healthy cold side dish to bring to a pot luck or to make to go along with any Mexican or Tex-Mex style dish. Super easy and super delish. Also, if you make the whole recipe for the Cilantro-Lime dressing, you have extra to put over salad.
I originally got this recipe from Our Best Bites.
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
8 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (and seeded if desired)
1/2 recipe (about 6 ounces) Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: For an easy one-dish meal, add leftover rotisserie chicken
Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large stock pot. When the water boils, add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse and then add to a large bowl. Toss together the corn, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper, and crumbled cheese. Toss with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, gently toss in the avocado and season with salt and pepper. Serves 10-12.
I also made flan to go along with this meal. Unfortunately, I am only one person so I couldn't finish it, but it turned out well. It was just flan from a box like you would get Jello, and I found it in the Hispanic section of Walmart - that's where I shop for groceries. I picked it up because I had a ton of milk I needed to use before it went bad.
For Spring I decided to make this pretty dramatic, but still really wearable look inspired by purple pansies.
The entire face can be any concealer or anything you feel comfortable with. I use bronzer basically all the time, but especially in the Spring and Summer because that healthy, outdoorsy glow is kind of what you aspire to when the weather gets hot. So I used my bronzer by sweeping it with an angled brush toward my temples.
Now for the eyes. I used my Urban Decay primer (as always) all over my lid and up to my brow bone. Then I used an eyeshadow brush to put Branzen's Karma (a violety type of purple) all over my lids. I then put Brazen's Paradox (this is hard to explain, it's a blue-ish purple) in the crease. I tried to blend it so it didn't look so severe. I put Brazen's Millennium ( an off-white that shimmers pink) on my brow bone and in the inner corner of my eye. I didn't use eyeliner, I didn't want this to be a club look or anything. Finish off the eyes with mascara on the top lashes, and you're good.
I just used clear lip gloss for my lips. Ta da!
Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
Funny story too. When we were in elementary school, our choir teacher thought that it was a great idea to teach my grade the kU fight song called "I'm a Jayhawk." To this day I still remember every word of it. Especially the line, "Got a bill that's big enough to twist the tiger's tail." Rude. Also, jaykawks aren't real, but if they were they would probably only be about the size of a turkey and would probably be good for punting. Enough said about their stupid mascot.
First off, I used my handy-dandy Urban Decay primer all over my eye lid, up to my brow bone, inner corner and even some under my eye. I then put Brazen's Cat Call all over my lids. to the crease - easy peasy. It's a red shadow, so if you have a favorite red, go with that. I like the orangey reds because they don't make you look like you're going out for Halloween as the devil and are surprisingly wearable for everyday outings. Then I took my gold shadow (Brazen's Pharaoh) and put that on the inner corner of my eye and then on my brow bone as a highlighter. I used my navy blue eye liner cream pencil which is Revlon's ColorStay Eyeliner in Navy, for the top lid (see picture for thickness.) I also put it on the inside of my lower eye. I then used Maybelline's EyeStudio Color Explosion Luminizing Eyeshadow in Blue Blowout. I used the brighter light blue shade and wet an angled eyeshadow brush and then applied it under my eye as shown in the picture. I did this until I was satisfied with the brightness of the color and the thickness of the line. Put some mascara on your upper and lower lashes and then you're done!
For the rest of your face you can essentially do whatever you want. I do recommend using Maybelline's Baby Lips in Cherry Me over your lips though. It's a lip balm with SPF 20, it makes your lips super duper soft, and this color is red, which goes with your eyes and kU's colors. I mean, it's a sporting event here, no need to go with intense lip gloss. This gives you color and protects your lips as you scream your heart out.
I'm a Jayhawk - kU Fight Song