Jumping On The Year-End Review Bandwagon

Happy New Year! Sexy Nerd and I will be celebrating at the zoo. Yeah, we're fun and dorky like that.

Sitting here trying to eat my toast (yeowch!) it seems like an ideal time to look back on 2011. Let's see...

  • I stepped outside (waaay outside) my comfort zone and attended Camp Blogaway. It's not something I would do again, but I'm impressed with my shy self for going.
  • We bought 13 acres in the mountains for our future dream home!
  • Sexy Nerd and I became an uncle and aunt...fear of babies be darned.
  • We traveled to Santa Fe (does this still count when you live in Albuquerque?) and San Francisco.
Hmmm...what else?
Pica resolved to act smarter in 2011. It didn't stick.

 I showed you my pale, hairy leg. Here at LambAround, being classy is #1.

As for 2012, I'm hoping we'll finally make it to Australia to sight see and visit my family. Sexy Nerd and I have been together 8 years and he still hasn't met my Papa! Craziness.

Will we have a baby in 2012? Don't be silly. Would you want to sit next to us and our newborn on the 30 hour flight to Perth?

I'm also optimistic that when I go back to the orthodontist next month, he'll say something along the lines of "WOW! Your teeth are moving so quickly! Another week and you'll be done!" It certainly feels like they've moved enough. I'd settle for having my braces off by the end of the year, in time for our Australia trip. I guess my teeth just don't like New Years. Remember how I started 2011? That's right - recovering from wisdom teeth surgery.

I'm a party animal.

Braces - 3 Weeks In (50+ To Go!)

My teeth are loose - a very unnerving quality as an adult.

You always wanted an up close and personal view of my funky teeth, right?

Despite having the nicest orthodontist in Albuquerque, there's no denying that braces suck! Oh, my poor teeth are killing me. Teenage Me, who swore she would never get braces, is very upset with Grown Up Me! She was right all along.

Seriously, everyone told me that my teeth would hurt for the first few days but then be fine. It has been 3 loooong weeks and my teeth are just as sore as when my braces were put on. Sexy Nerd says I'm a wimp. My boss, the pediatric dentist, says I really shouldn't expect to or try to eat anything solid, like a sandwich (!) until the braces come off and that a liquid diet would be best.

I would probably lose a ton of weight over the next year...but chocolate cake, ice cream, and pudding are all so wonderfully soft!

Avocado and Egg Salad

LambAround's Avocado and Egg Salad


Ingredients
(serves 4)
  • 1 diced avocado (2 if you want to be fancy and serve this inside the shell)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • Diced red onion (just a sprinkling, unless you really love the taste of raw onion!)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use low fat with olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I use nonfat)
  • Generous sprinkling each of Dill, Paprika, Garlic Powder, and Oregano
  • 20 crumbled crackers (Add right before serving) 
How to Make Avocado and Egg Salad
This recipe is so easy peasy, let's learn it through pictures. You're really just throwing everything together in a big bowl.
    We aren't the only ones around here who looove avocado.

    This photo shows "sliced", not "diced". Tsk, tsk!

    You'll want to squeeze out most of the juice. Don't be a dope like me and realize, halfway through, that you should pour the flavorful tomato juice into a jar of tomato sauce, not down the drain!

    Some feta-y goodness.

    Red onion! The first time I made this recipe, I went way overboard and threw in an entire half a red onion, which was overpowering. My Avocado and Egg Salad was still tasty, but expect people to take a step back from you if you choose to go the onion-packed route.

    Next up, it's time for the eggs, mayonnaise, sour cream, and spices. I don't have photos of those last ingredients (perfect for a recipe "through photos") but, hey, aren't my eggs pretty?

    You're almost done! Once everything is mixed up in the bowl, and right before serving, stir in 20 crumbled crackers. I've made this using Saltines and Ritz crackers and both ways are delicious.

    Wasn't that so simple? If you're feeling fancy, you can use the avocado shells as bowls for your Avocado and Egg Salad. So much more impressive than a paper plate!

    Easiest Sugar Cookies

    (Click the Image to Enlarge)

    The key to these yummy, soft sugar cookies is not to over mix the batter. I slice them up into 24 cookies straight out of the oven with a pizza cutter. They're always gone by the end of the day!

    These are the cookies I'm bringing to our cookie exchange at work. I had the image above printed at CVS as 4x6 photos. Feel free to "borrow" my recipe card for yourself! I also included the recipe with each of my Christmas cards this year. You know, the 3 cards I got into the mail. How can Christmas possibly be here already?!

    Link Your Favorite Posts! BLOG HOP

    Come share your awesome blog posts! And don't forget to enter my FREE EGGS coupon giveaway. It ends tonight and a whopping 4 people have entered so far. With 4 prize packs to send out, at this point you're almost guaranteed to win!

    4 Winner Giveaway! Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs

    *Update*
    This giveaway has ended and the 4 lucky winners have been emailed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!

    Just in time for all your holiday baking, I'm giving away 4 Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs coupon prizes! The odds of winning are HIGH, especially because this giveaway ends in just 4 days.

    What can you make with Pasteurized Eggs? Anything you would make with regular eggs, of course. Recipes involving raw eggs (chocolate chip cookie dough, anyone?) are especially perfect for these. Might I suggest a little Chicken Mayonnaise?
    The Prizes
    There are 4 prizes that include 1 coupon for $2 off 2 dozen eggs and 1 coupon for $0.75 off 1 dozen eggs. One of these 4 prizes will also include 1 coupon for a FREE dozen eggs!

    How to Enter
    Like all my giveaways, there are a ton of entry options. Choose whichever one (two, three, etc.) you want! Just leave a comment for each.





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  • The Nitty Gritty Giveaway Fine Print
    1. U.S. residents only. 
    2. The coupons all expire on 12/31/11 (hence the short giveaway!)
    3. Giveaway ends Saturday, December 17th, 2011 at midnight. The 4 winners will be selected by Random.org and notified by email.
    Good luck!
    Disclaimer:
    This giveaway is being hosted only by LambAround, not in affiliation with Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs. I am giving away these coupons because there are no stores in Albuquerque that carry these eggs (and I hate to see good coupons go to waste!) You can check for retailers in your area by visiting this site.

    Link Up/Blog Hop with LambAround

    It's time for another Not "Baaad" Sundays blog hop! Share any post you're proud of.

    As for me, I will be going out to see either Midnight in Paris or 50/50 today, hopefully with Sexy Nerd...though I'm sure he'll say "But I hate going to the movies! Can't we just watch those at home?! I don't want to see either of those movies anyway!" just as soon as I tell him.

    (fuddy duddy)

    We're Reluctantly Engaged!

    Our engagement was a bit of an uncomfortable situation. We'd hardly been dating a year and, having just gotten out of the *worst*relationship*ever*, (with this loser, if you're wondering) I was barely keen on dating Sexy Nerd. One weekend, he checked us into a local hotel for a "romantic surprise". Ummm...yeah.

    Room service came into our room with champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and to sprinkle rose petals on our bed. Yes, rose petals on our bed! Supposedly, the plan was for them to do this when we were out to dinner, but they were running behind and instead set this up right in front of us. Awkward, you think? Oh yes.

    Almost as soon as the two men from room service had closed the door, Sexy Nerd got down on one knee and pulled out an engagement ring. This is the part where, on TV and in movies, the lucky girl bursts into tears and throws her arms around her new fiance. I am not that lovey dovey, hearts circling the air around her head, wedding planned since age 2 kind of girl. I had been on the fence about dating anyone at all, and now Sexy Nerd was proposing?! To be fair, he had mentioned it, and I had said that, sure, we should get married. But lots of guys told me that and I always told them the exact same thing!  It's just one of those things that get thrown around.

    It was quite a pickle I'd gotten myself into. So, what did I do? Well, we are happily married (with our wedding date three years after this story) so you must already know that I agreed. But not without having a panic attack. Literally. As Sexy Nerd tells the story, I started shaking, then laughing, but not the kind of laugh where something is funny. More a panicked, bide-my-time-while-I think-of-a-way-out-of-this-mess laugh, which was appropriate, as that was exactly what I was doing. I needed time to properly weigh the pros and cons of the situation, all while being stared at with an increasing look of concern and dread. Sexy Nerd insists that I was in my own giggly world for over five minutes.

    I think my official answer to him was "I guess".

    (Click the Image to Enlarge)

    If you're reading this, Sexy Nerd, (you do read my blog, don't you?) just know that I love you very much ;)

    Blog Hop! Not Baaad Sundays Link Party

    Brrr! It's our first snowy day of the season here in Albuquerque, NM. I'm blogging beneath an electric blanket and am planning to veg out in my pajamas and drink hot apple cider all day. How about you?

    Have a wonderful weekend, my bloggy friends!

    Funny Excerpt From Our New Community Newsletter

    Straight from our neighborhood liason:

    WILDLIFE SPOTTED LAST WEEK   Wednesday, five deer were seen crossing by Golf Course and earlier in the day, a mountain lion was seen chasing five deer across the 18th Green.  Thanksgiving Day a golfer encountered the mountain lion between the 13th Green and 14th Tee Box.  It was about 20 yards away and the golfer chose to wisely let the cat play through.


    I think we're going to like our new home.

    You know, if we ever actually get it built!

    Sharing is Caring: A Story in Photos

    Lookin' good, Sexy Nerd!
    (when I tell you to smile for the camera and instead you take a big bite of your sandwich, photos like this are going to happen.)



    I can't decide whether Pica and Biscuit are exceptionally well-behaved dogs or really stupid for ignoring my sandwich on the table.

    Santa Bear (aka Best Xmas Special Ever!)

    The other day, I posted the following comment on The Spohrs Are Multipling:

    My all-time favorite holiday special was Santa Bear, which is so sad because I can't find it ANYWHERE! I had it recorded onto a VHS tape when I was younger but the tape no longer plays. Seriously, does anyone else remember this Christmas special? Santa Bear and Bully Bear switched places (naked, they looked identical) but Santa and Santa Bear's airplane-flying female pal saved the day!

    Every Christmas, I search online for Santa Bear and every year I'm out of luck.

    Until now! Enjoy :)



    What's the best part of all? This has the same 80s commercials as my old VHS recording! Ahh, simple times.

    $1 for Five Pounds of Gummy Worms! Black Friday Special

    Have you been snatching up all the incredible Black Friday deals? Here's a bargain I just stumbled upon:
    $1 for a 5lb bag of mini neon sour gummy worms from bulkecandy.com!

    There's a limit of 5 bags per order. After factoring in shipping, this comes out to just $18.67 for twenty five delicious pounds of gummy worm goodness! And, of course, if you're going to pay so much for shipping, you really ought to throw a few more discounted candy selections into your cart, don't you think?

    Sadly, there will be no candy for me. I'm scheduled to get my braces this Wednesday (with no jaw surgery). In a brilliant (brilliantly stupid) move, I agreed to help my orthodontist fill a hole in his schedule yesterday and had separators placed in between my teeth on the day before Thanksgiving.

    Yeeooooowch! So happy that all the best turkey day side dishes and desserts are soft.

    Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

    Sexy Nerd and I are going to his family's house for Thanksgiving this year. We're a bit low on the Thanksgiving totem pole, which always makes it tricky to figure out what to bring. What will we be making this year? Oh, just a little homemade pumpkin ice cream! Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds. Here are a few photos from the last time I made this ice cream:

    Technically, this ice cream is perfectly yummy without adding any chocolate syrup or almonds.

    But where's the fun in that?

    If I weren't so determined to get a good photo of this for my blog, I would probably have chowed down on this ice cream right from the mixer.

    I had never made ice cream the "real" way before (with egg yolks) and was surprised at how easy it is. Here's the recipe, courtesy of Saveur.com. If you've never visited their site, you're missing out on some wonderful recipes!


    Saveur's Pumpkin Ice Cream
    Makes 2 Quarts
    This article was first published in Saveur in Issue #30 

    4 cups heavy cream (Diet conscious but want some ice cream anyway? I used 1/2 cream and 1/2 nonfat milk and it turned out fine!)
    12 egg yolks
    1 1/3 cup sugar
    1 cup light corn syrup
    2 tsp. ground ginger
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    1 1/3 cup puréed cooked pumpkin
    2 tsp. vanilla extract


    1. Heat 2 2/3 cups of the cream in the top of a double boiler above gently boiling water over medium-high heat.

    2. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, corn syrup, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a metal mixing bowl. Gradually pour 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then whisk egg mixture into remaining cream in top of double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 15 minutes.


    3. Pour custard through a sieve set over a clean bowl. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and remaining 1 1/3 cup of cream, and whisk until blended. Refrigerate custard until cold, about 4 hours.


    4. Transfer custard to an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's directions.


     Mmmmmm, this ice cream is so good!

    Kitchen Pig likes to enjoy his pumpkin ice cream sundae out on the patio.

    *Gasp!*

    Try not to judge him too harshly. His parents were pigs.


    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    Snowman Cookies "I'm melting! Melting..."

    You know those adorable melting snowman cookies that have been popping up all across the blogosphere lately? The ones with the charming little scarves and glossy icing? These are not *quite* those cookies.


    I wanted to make something that would knock the socks off of the girls at work for our cookie exchange. Problem #1? No eggs (and no energy to drive to the grocery store). Unfazed, I found a great shortbread recipe that used powdered sugar, flour, and butter to make an egg-free cookie. I mixed up the dough and started a load of dishes, mixer parts included, while it chilled.

    Problem #2? My first 2 pans of cookies were severely undercooked! Why is it that you can't just put doughy cookies back into the oven and have them bake like they'd been undisturbed all along? Fearing that I'd invest the rest of my day decorating cookies that were inedible, I waited for the dishwasher to finish, then mixed up a brand new batch, complete with an additional hour of chilling time.

    Problem #3 (nothing is easy, right)? I'd saved a trip to the store by finding an egg-free, powdered sugar-filled recipe. Ready to decorate, I realised that I'd used so much powdered sugar in the cookies that I didn't have enough left to make icing. Sexy Nerd found an old tub of frosting, one neither of us remembers buying, in the back of our pantry. It was incredibly thick, but he thought he could make it work.

    The Strategy:
     Mix with water.
    (Remember my Dogs Wearing Earmuffs post? We keep our house a little chilly.)

    Microwave.

     Spread onto cookie.

    Yeah...not quite what I was going for!

    Luckily, I was able to improve on Sexy Nerd's frosting technique with my stand mixer. A melty marshmallow, a sprinkle nose, and some black gel icing later, and I was in business.

    Ta da!

    Gel icing, by the way, is a pain. And I won't go into details about the joy that is pressing minuscule sprinkles into tough Dollar Store marshmallows.

    Repeat 35 times.




    He's abominable.

    The fella on the lower right is E.T.
     Behind him is Mr. Hat Head

    Senor Marshallito

    I ran out of black gel icing toward the end. Sacrifices had to be made.

    Santa Mallow

    Can you spot Pedophile Mallow?
    (Christmasy, right?)

    "Adios!"

    So, which cookie is your favorite?
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