Monthly Archives: January 2011

I’m Going to Die!

If you don’t hear from me by Monday evening, just know that I loved you all.
So very much.


Filed under Death-Trap Hotel, Hotel of Death, I'M GOING TO DIE, Indio, PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE, WHAT IS IT

Welcome to Indio!

     Have you ever seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite? That movie takes place in a small town called Preston, Idaho, where the main street is residential, kids aspire to work at the local chicken farm or motel, and duplexes reign supreme. I’ve found the “Preston of the West”. It’s called Indio.

     We’re staying at a three-star hotel in Central Indio in California. Let me give you a little look at what our room includes.

You can purchase threadbare sheets, lumpy pillows, scratchy towels and ripped comforters for these low prices!!! I’d love to purchase the coffee maker, iron and ironing board, but our room seems to be without those – yet somehow we have two fridges. 
One of these refrigerators even works!!!
Yaaaaay, warm, empty mini-bar!
This helpful sign lets you know that you have absolutely no control over the temperature of your room, but if you happen to get a little chilly, you can turn on one of these handy space-heaters!
It’s the size of my HAND! How HAND-y!!!
There’s ample space to store your clothes in the closet. You didn’t want to hang anything up, right?
If you did, we have FOUR partial hangers to use! 
OR you can stack your clothes on the shelf – just make sure they weigh less than 1.03lbs!
This hotel also features some soft lights for when you want to relax and enjoy the ambiance of your lovely room.
Doesn’t it feel great to be in the spotlight?
We even have a sliding-glass door with a beautiful view!
Do YOU want to know what’s in the bag? I sure don’t!
I don’t know about you, but I like it when the floor of the shower is an enticing shade of brown!
I also enjoy those mind-provoking games: You want cold water, you should turn the knob towards “Cold”, right? Guess again! Instead, you’ll be scalded!!
I learn by DOING!
Pain makes me learn FASTER!
This hotel even features high security!
Chains keep me safe. Whatever you do, do NOT press the button when you leave!
My button is missing – this expedites the process!
Thanks for not making me waste time, hotel!
So if you’ve had a long hard day, just come on back and walk down these friendly halls.
So warm and inviting!
Collapse into your lumpy bed complete with an itchy wool blanket, fiddle with the heater/cooler even though it’ll make no difference, and settle into a fitful sleep as you listen the one working fridge leak water onto the stained carpets.
All this can be yours for this astonishing price!
(We did NOT pay that. I would like you to know this one serious fact!)

I don’t even want to know what a two-star “hotel” looks like.
BUT WAIT! There’s more! 
Other amenities you can enjoy include massages at a local spa down the street!
Aaah, so relaxi…..wait….
This tour has been brought to you by Becki.

Please return tomorrow for happier, prettier pictures and experiences.


Filed under hotel, Indio, massage, motel, Napoleon Dynamite, Preston, space heater, threadbare sheets, what is wrong with her face, wool blankets


I have to pack!
No time to blog!!!!
I cheated on this blog and wrote ANOTHER blog!!!
and I still need to pack!!!


Filed under chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, green, i have to pack, Indio, no time, packing, roasted broccoli

Brewing with the Boys!

     My boys from college are INTENSE brewers and invited me up for a brew day on Saturday. I was out the door by 8am and when I arrived, they’d already gotten started! Post-college guys getting up before noon on a Saturday? 
That’s dedication to the craft!
Frank the Tank already had his mash (the grains are submerged in water and raised to a temperature that breaks down the starches into sugars) ready to sparge.
Sparging is when the wort (the liquid that contains the sugar from the mash) is drained from the mash tun (a big pot with a false bottom where you heat the mash) and water is poured over to extract as much of the sugars as possible. 
Grayson demonstrates here:
Grayson the Scholar sparging his mash in a studious manner.
When brewing, it’s important to have a homebrew on hand. This was one of Frank’s latest kegs – de-freakin-licious. If I wasn’t sure about homebrew quality before (which I was), I sure would be now! This had lovely notes of toffee and happiness.
It’s also important to be well-fed. Grayson and I ran out for propane tanks, jugs of water and burritos. I got a grilled veggie burrito (NO CHEESE/DAIRY FOR A WEEK NOW!) that was so succulent (heehee, succulent) it made me giggle. 
I placed it in a cup, which makes it taste better.
It’s also important to have beer glasses on hand. I don’t know why, but I trust Frank and Grayson when it comes to this stuff.
Frank’s Scottish Midget Ale (yes, that’s really its name) boiling away!
Chillin’ the wort with a wort chiller – an apparatus that connects to a hose or other water source that sends cold water in one end and out the other. When you place it (after sanitizing it!) in your wort, it cools it down much faster.
I will repeat – CLEANLINESS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING when it comes to brewing beer! Grayson knows this, as you can see.
Everything was going just great.
Beer pong. Oh, dear Lord.
Time ceased to mean anything.
Growlers, homebrews and six-packs covered the table.
It was a good day.


Filed under beer, beer glasses, beer pong, burritos, college boys, homebrewing, mash tuns, sanitization, Scottish Midget Ale, sparging, UCSB, wort, wort chiller

Bottling Day!

     I spent Friday night bottling my first brew! Without the guidance and help from my brother and his wife, the pro-brewers, I had to give it a go on my own, with massive paranoia.

I had a mental spaz-out when I couldn’t recall how to put together the racking cane…
My brother reminded me over the phone, “Relax, don’t worry. Have a homebrew.” Since I had no homebrew available yet, I settled for Red Nectar, recommended by a guy who works at the local wine and beer store.
With my substitute homebrew in hand, I got down to business.
CLEAN! If you ever brew and want to know the most important aspect of brewing, it is sanitization! Yeast likes to eat sugar, but bacteria likes to kill yeast, so if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with skunk beer.
Skunk beer is not a good thing.
First I soaked my growlers in Star San, then soaked paper towels in Star San and placed them over the tops to keep out any devil bacteria.
Next I got to work on starting the siphon using the racking cane that I finally figured out how to put together. It was embarrassingly easy. I hope my brother isn’t reading this…
I filled the growlers using a bottling tube that has a spring loaded tip that lets the beer flow when you press down on the bottom of the bottle, then dropped in four carbonation pellets – the lazy man/beginner’s primer.
Gravity is kind of necessary for a siphon. My original standing approach failed.
I filled nine growlers as well as a 500mL bottle, screwed the caps on ridiculously tight and covered them with paper bags, just in case they decide that exploding would be fun.
After all that hard work, I whipped up a quick pasta dish using my new cookbook! I sauteed whole cherry tomatoes in olive oil and garlic until they popped open, then tossed them into brown rice pasta with arugula and goat cheese. Simple, delicious and healthy!
Then I promptly passed out from exhaustion.


Filed under bottling, Essentials of Healthy Eating, growlers, homebrewing, racking cane, Red Nectar, skunk beer, Star San

Back to the Basics!

     Dairy-free for five days and already my skin is looking so much better. Crap. Obviously I’m happy that my skin is clearing up, but DAMN am I gonna miss my gelato!

I am SO thankful they carry dairy-free sorbets and soy options!
I tried a little variation for breakfast yesterday – MIGAS! I snagged this recipe from Jenna, cut it in half and substituted baked blue corn tortilla chips for regular fried, and shallots for onions.
No cheese, but it was still pretty good!
Green Monstas and Kitchen Sink Salads are back with a vengeance! This one had half a bag of mixed greens, 1/2 of a zucchini sauteed with herbes de provnce, 1/2 a cup of lentils, 1/2 a chopped bell pepper and 1/2 a can of yellowfin tuna in olive oil (the oil drained out, obviously).
I’ve missed these!
The hikes are back as well! Went on an INTENSE one this morning to enjoy the beautiful 68 degree day and now I’m full of happy endorphins!
     Today is bottling day!!! I’ll be sipping some good brews while I bottle my beer (the official name will be posted when I pour the first glass), and then cooking up an amazing meal with my new cookbook from Williams Sonoma! Tomorrow is BREWING DAY!!! I’m heading up the coast to brew with some of my boys from college. 
Have I mentioned how very awesome my life is?


Filed under beer, bottling, dairy-free, green monsta, hiking, home brewing, Jenna Weber, kitchen sink salad, Migas, Paciugo, sorbet, strawberry balsamic sorbet, Williams Sonoma

Things I Love: Part I

     I love bread.
I love when Amanda and Andy go to Great Harvest to buy bread, and inspire me to also go to Great Harvest to buy bread.
I love free samples of bread from Great Harvest.
I love that their “samples” are the size of my arm.
I love freshly baked biscuits…
…where the honey…
…slowly melts…
…into each fluffy pillow.
I love cornbread served with whipped honey-butter.
I love sweet bread that crumbles when you bite into it.
I love whole-wheat stuffing.
I Love Bread
The end.


Filed under biscuits, bread, chocolate chip bread pudding, cornbread, cranberry walnut bread, Great Harvest, savory bread pudding, Things I love, whole-wheat stuffing

I Like Free Stuff!

     But really now, who doesn’t?
Honestly, who can say no to free Excedrin, Advil, Garnier shampoo, Playtex tampons, Good Nites underwear, Borba drink mixes, Depend adult underwear and coconut oil recipe books?
C’mon, it’s FREE!

(These freebies, minus a few coffee samples and Emergen-C packets that I’ve already consumed, have been accumulated over the course of a month.)

I have a full-blown addiction.


Filed under Advil, Borba, coconut oil, Depend, Emergen-C, Excedrin, free, free sample, freebies, Garnier, Good Nites, I LIKE FREE STUFF, Playtex

Really, Arizona?


A little tasteless, no? Why is this still up?

On a happier note:

Soy mochas!

Pouring rain!

Vitamin C!

Back to Cali tomorrey morning!

Comments Off on Really, Arizona?

Filed under Arizona, guns, marksmanship, pouring rain, road trip, soy mochas, vitamin C

Carbohydrate Heaven!

     The artist and I were invited to yet another client-turned-friend’s home for dinner last night. Many, many delicious, flavorful things were devoured.

DELICIOUS PUPPY!!!! Don’t worry, I’m not in the habit of devouring puppies. Or full grown dogs for that matter…
Mari made us a beautiful fresh salad appetizer with homemade basil-ranch dressing.
She served us pasta pomodoro. Simple, you say? I disagree! She sauteed garlic in olive oil until it was browned, then stirred in fresh, blanched tomatoes, strips of basil and chili flakes until the flavors married. Ribbons of fresh pasta were layered in the pot, then tossed and topped with freshly grated asiago cheese. I died and went to Carbohydrate Heaven. I like it there!
Dessert was even more special – homemade strawberry, dark chocolate chip and cracked black pepper ice cream, drizzled with balsamic syrup. A weird and WONDERFUL combination!
I found my gourmet food soulmate!


Filed under artist, balsamic syrup, cracked black pepper ice cream, Delicious puppies, gourmet, homemade dressing, ice cream, pasta pomodoro