Friday, April 30, 2010

Recipe Round-Up: Heavenly Lemon-Berry Trifle

Okay, let's not beat around the bush.  I am jumping right in to this week's recipe and I suggest you strap on an apron, bust out your ladle and join me!

So, this is what you need:

Angel food cake, vanilla pudding, milk, cool whip, berries, lemons, sugar and tulips.
Oh wait, the tulips are just for show and to perk up your day.

And these are the stars of the show. Trust me, folks. They make all the difference.

So, here is STEP ONE:

Let's start with your favorite fruit. I chose strawberries and blackberries because they were on sale. And this girl isn't anything if she isn't frugal. Apparently graduate school loans don't pay for themselves. But I digress.
 I start with the fruit so they can get all juicy and fabulous while I work on the other ingredients. 

Now it is time to wash and cut.

Do you know how to say "yum" in Spanish?
Me neither. But that is what I would say right now if I knew how.

Cut up as many as you want. I made a large trifle so I cut up about 24 oz. and used 16 oz. of blackberries.

Now throw them into a bowl.

Squeeze 1/2 lemon onto the fruit. Trust me, you will THANK ME LATER.
Seriously, I expect several thank-notes in the mail.

And then pour some sugar on top. I poured about 1/3 of a cup. Oh man, that fruit is so happy.

Mix it up and set it aside. Keep it at room temperature to allow the fruit to release its juices and for magic to happen. Pure bliss, I tell you. PURE BLISS.


Mix up the pudding. I used two packages of sugar-free, fat-free vanilla instant pudding. You can only use one if you want, but remember, this was for the office Fare Share and we are a hungry bunch!

Squeeze half a lemon into the dry pudding. You can add a whole one if you want, you know, just to be daring. I thought about using lemon pudding, but I wasn't sure if it would be too tangy. But if you are a fan of tangy, give it a whirl!

Use the directions on the box and add your milk. Then whisk until your arm falls off and set in the refrigerator until it becomes thick.

Okay, how are we doing? Can you handle STEP THREE?

Now, go grab your favorite cake. I chose angel food cake because it is perfect. And it is fat free. And believe it or not I used to hate it but now I don't think I can live without it. I blame my taste buds.

Next, cut up the entire cake into cubes. Delicious, perfect, spongy cubes, just waiting to be drenched in the heavenly juices of fruit.

Okay, we are in the home stretch.  Here is STEP FOUR:

It is time to assemble it. Grab a bowl, any bowl will do, but a glass bowl works great because it looks absolutely divine. And it also makes it harder to not eat it in the middle of the the night when your sister is sleeping and no one will know you busted out your ladle and then later covered it up with cool whip.

Oh wait, did I just type that?

Anyway, it is time to layer it up! First, throw your angelic cubes into the bottom.

And squeeze another half of a lemon over the cake. This is crucial to the overall taste of the trifle. Let 'er rip, folks, that cake loves its lemon!

Next, pour the berries and all of their delicious juices over the cake. Try not to inhale this. There is more to come, trust me.

And there it is from the side. I love taking pictures of fruit and cake. Just let me know if you need me to take pictures of your lunch or bedtime snack. I can work for food.

Hello. You are my favorite fruit. Don't tell the others.

Okay, now its getting good.  Pour the pudding over the fruit and cake. If it is still a bit runny, don't worry, it will set up in the refrigerator later.

Yes. That is indeed heaven in a bowl.

And finally, I added fat-free cool whip on top. Yes I did.

And do you know what else I did? I squeezed another half of a lemon in the cool whip, just for that extra zing! I am like that, zingy and nuts. And I also added another tub of cool whip before I served at work, just to make it look like it had descended from heaven on a cloud of yummy goodness. I love that cloud. And then put the whole thing in the refrigerator. The longer it sits the better it will be.

And there you have it.

So peeps, go forth and eat! And the great thing about trifles is that there are endless possibilities: you could use brownies, hot fudge, chocolate pudding and cool whip. You could use gingerbread cake, caramel sauce, vanilla pudding and whipped cream. You could use your favorite cookie, candy bar, mousse, custard, cake, brownie, sauce and whipped topping.

The choice is yours.  And if you have a trifle recipe to share, I would love to hear it! 

Happy Friday, my friends! I hope it is fruitful!

Get it? Fruitful?  Oh, I kill me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fare Share or Bust

Let it be known that I detest the word "potluck." It conjures up images of rubber chicken, unidentifiable jello salad and casseroles with multiple cans of cream of mushroom soup.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love other people's cooking! LOVE. IT. And I am fond of a jello salad every now and then. But there is just something about the word "potluck" that makes me gag. So when my colleagues in the office suggested that I begin a monthly potluck, I screamed at them and ran away.

Just kidding. I said, "Hmmm...that sounds like it has some potential but it must be renamed before I will ever participate."

I love how mature I am.

Anyway, after hours of searching the thesaurus, various culinary websites, and staring blankly at my wall, I deemed our monthly grub fests "Fare Share." And for the past 13 months, it has been a smashing success!

Each month we pick a theme, and some of those have included Christmas in July, the Mexican Fiesta, Chili Cook-Off and Waffles for Lunch. Seriously, my cohorts are amazing cooks and the dishes just keep getting better.

And what's even cooler about this monthly lunch is that it is open to anyone who can drop in: Associates who are visiting Colorado, family members who are free for lunch, random strangers who are walking by the building, you name it!

Actually, we do have guests often and we spend an hour catching up, playing games and eating until we have to be rolled back to our offices. I love Fare Share days.

So, I bet you can't guess what tomorrow is? It's our April Fare Share! And it is also Wednesday in case some of you are chronologically challenged. But since most of us are participating in the STUPID INTERNATIONAL FITNESS CHALLENGE OF DEATH, we decided to choose a healthy theme: Wraps-o-Fun! That's right, we are all bringing in healthy, delicious ingredients to roll up in a tortilla. It should be tasty.

However, there is no possible way I can attend a Fare Share without a dessert. I am pretty sure it would be a sin. So, I came up with a dessert that is both healthy and completely delicious. It is actually sitting in my refrigerator at this very moment and I have literally strapped myself to this chair so I don't run in there and attack it with a ladle.  And, fortunately for you, this will be our recipe for the week. 

Do you want a sneak peak? Sure you do!

Here it is and I call it: The Heavenly Lemon-Berry Trifle

And that, my friends, is good enough to eat.

May your Wednesday be full of delicious food, fabulous friends and a big, honkin' ladle for the recipe to come!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Mom For An Evening

This past Saturday evening I helped my friend watch two little ones. Two very cute, very ornery, very sweet little ones. And I have a confession: it was one of the most fun evenings I have had in a long time.

I know that may sound crazy but I am pretty sure my heart needed it. That, or my hormones were raging out of control and I had temporarily lost my mind.

But either way, it was pretty great.

Let me give you a run-down of the evening:
  • We played games with a fair amount of cheating involved
  • We tried on multiple pairs of shoes, all varying shades of pink and purple and ranging from flip flops to snow boots
  • We walked six blocks to the park with a wagon, a baby buggy, a fake baby, four water bottles, two blankets, two kids and two adults and we only stayed for 20 minutes
  • We ate Chinese food, chicken nuggets, fruit salad and York peppermint patties for dinner
  • We washed faces, washed hands, changed diapers and fished lo mein noodles out of crevices
  • We sang songs, read books and snuggled
  • And I got the privilege of having the little one fall asleep on me and he was completely squishy and wonderful and hot and sweaty and perfect.
So yes, I needed it. I needed to see itty bitty jeans and onesies. I needed to smell Baby Magic. And I needed to have sticky fingers get stuck in my hair.

And at the end of the night, I needed to go home and sleep in my bed, uninterrupted.

So I guess if I couldn't have been on a hot date at Maggiano's, followed by salsa dancing and a walk on the beach (hey, a girl can dream, can't she?), this was a pretty stellar way to spend a Saturday night.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recipe Round-Up: Chilaquiles

Round up the mariachi band, peeps, because it is time for some Mexican food!

Specifically, I am making Chilaquiles, pronounced chee-lah-KEE-lays. Often, this is served for breakfast but I could eat this for every meal. I am an equal opportunity eater.

I stumbled across the recipe in Cooking Light and have become a HUGE fan! Here is the original recipe but I will tell you that I spiced mine up a bit and I encourage you to do the same!


That means, "are you ready to get your Latin groove on and make something delicious?"

Well then, let's do it.

Here's what you need: chicken, cooked and shredded, corn tortillas, salsa or some sort of spicy tomato sauce (I used Rotel), chicken broth, cheese (I used Monterey Jack), garlic, onions and salt and pepper.
In other words: Yum.

I first boiled two large chicken breasts and shredded the tar out of them. Don't worry, they deserved it.

Next, I found five perfect heads of garlic. Oh, how I love garlic. Such deliciousness in such a small package.

Peel those puppies and chop them up nice and fine.

And chop up your onion too. I only had half an onion and it worked out great.

Throw the garlic and onion in a pan and let them get friendly. Trust me, they belong together.
And then throw in the chicken.

Now, put the chicken, garlic and onions into a bowl and add a can of drained black beans.

And mix it up.

And in that same pan, I put in a can of Rotel and a can of chicken broth. I added salt and pepper to taste and heated it up just until it started to simmer. Oh man, oh man, oh man. Your kitchen is going to smell like a Mexican cocina.
And that's a good thing.

Now, spray a pan. Spray it real good.

And then cut up some tortillas.

I love close-up shots of food. They just make everything look better.

Now, layer half of those bad boys in the bottom of your super greased pan.

And then throw half of the chicken and bean mixture on top.


Now, after the second layer of chicken and beans has started to become one with the tortillas, take the pan of tomatoes and broth and pour it over the entire dish.

This makes me so happy...but we're not done yet.

Grab your favorite gooey cheese and sprinkle on top. Go ahead, sprinkle away!

Now, pop the entire dish into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until you can't stand it any longer.

And there you have it: Perfect Chilaquiles

I turned the broiler on for five minutes to make sure the cheese turned all brown and toasty.
Hold on, I am going to go get some cheese right now.

Okay, I'm back.

I wish I could lick my screen.

Now, put some on a plate with a little sour cream. And you could also eat a salad with it but vegetables are extremely overrated.

Now dig in.
And viva la Mexico.

I hope you try this, you will LOVE IT. And feel free to add green chiles, substitute pork for chicken, or mix up your cheeses. And of course you can't go wrong with guacamole...unless you don't like it but that would just be silly.

The great thing about this recipe is that it can become anything you want it to be. And since it is in Cooking Light, it can also be beneficial for the STUPID INTERNATIONAL FITNESS CHALLENGE OF DEATH.

But whatever.

Anyway, espero que tenga una buena fin de la semana

Or in other words, "It is time to put on your salsa shoes and bust a move!"

Hasta luego, mis amigos!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Holy cow, I am pretty darn happy that it is Friday!

It is my favorite day of the week because there is so much potential for the next two and half days. Truly, the possibilities are endless! And if I even do one exciting thing this weekend, it will be better than what I experienced last weekend.

So, to round out the week, I have a couple things to cover with you...all four of you.

First, the recipe will be posted on Saturday because I had Women's Group tonight, which was wonderful and fun and so great seeing everyone (except for Heather, who we missed greatly); and I also had to workout for an hour because of the STUPID INTERNATIONAL FITNESS CHALLENGE OF DEATH.

That's its new name. And that's right, it is stupid. After nearly three weeks, I am no longer a fan of this so-called self-improvement campaign.  Sure, I am getting healthier and I have once again bonded with my treadmill, but my desire to stick my head in cookie dough only intensifies with every pump of the iron and the siren call of the couch is only getting louder. It misses me. A lot. And I hate disappointing anyone, let alone my couch.

So, between Women's Group and an hour of torture, I plumb ran out of time to post the recipe.  But fear not, it is coming, so check back in on Saturday.

Second, I really want to see Date Night. Have any of you seen it? Did you like it? Did you laugh your head off? Is it worth the $38 you have to pay to see a movie these days? My thought is that it couldn't be anything but funny. I heart Steve Carrell. I am currently watching The Office as I type this and there isn't anyone on the PLANET that is as awkward as him. I mean, it is painful. But it is a good pain, a really good pain.

Some people say working out is a good pain but they lied. Whoever these people are should have to do 20 lunges with me RIGHT NOW. Or, better yet, I will watch them do it from the comfort of my couch.

And third, I am so proud of my Sam Bradford for being #1 in the draft. Aw, my little Sooner is all grown up!

Lastly, I would just like to say that God is good. Sometimes we don't see Him working, but He is. He is always working. And I have to trust that. So yes, God is good and I love when He reminds me of it and I hate that He has to.

Happy Friday my friends. You all are the absolute best.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Congratulations to Mandy S. for winning the Trivia Questions-o-Fun!

Now I get to shop, which is perfect because it is my spiritual gift. I consider this a ministry.

Look for something humdingerish in the mail very soon, my friend!

Here are the answers to the questions. Thanks for all who participated...keep up the good work!

Question #1: What season of American Idol is currently underway? Season 9

Question #2: What is a "Sooner" as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners? A "Sooner" is someone who jumped the gun during the land run and went out to stake their claim of land ahead of everyone else. I try not to think of them as cheaters...more like overly ambitious farmers.

Question #3: What is the name of the volcano that just erupted in Iceland and has caused mass chaos for the travel industry? Eyjafjallajokull. Say that five times real fast.

Question #4: What was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater and where was it filmed? (Need a hint? Check this out) The Goonies in Astoria, Oregon. Rocky Road, anyone?

Question #5: Who fought in the War of 1812? The British and the Americans...again.

Question #6: What is the Spanish word for "butterfly"? La Mariposa

Question #7: Name the three countries I traveled to in order. Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. I loved them all, equally.

Question #8: And just for fun, if you could travel anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW, where would you go? I would go to Tahiti. It sounds like heaven right about now.

Stay tuned for more trivia games and more unique, amazing prizes!  And if you all keep the answers coming, I may start re-gifting things to you. You know, like a cyber white elephant gift exchange. Except I don't have to take home anything weird, like a giant pickle or a 5 pound can of chili, but you will be the proud owner of something totally cool and useless. But don't worry, I'll reserve that only for emergencies.

And for those of you who have been waiting all week for a recipe, I have one coming! You'll want to bust this out for the family this weekend. It is super easy, super delicious and just plain super.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Brainiacs Wanted

Welcome to the totally random, hump-day Trivia Questions-o-Fun!

Here are the rules:
1. The first person to get all the correct answers, wins!

2. Instead of writing your answers in the "comments" section, please email This will cut down on the big, lurking cheaters out there who are waiting for random trivia games from wannabe cowgirls.

3. Best of luck.

4. That's it.

Are you ready?

Are you feeling it?

Are your neurons firing?

Here we go...

Question #1:  What season of American Idol is currently underway?

Question #2:  What is a "Sooner" as in the University of Oklahoma Sooners?

Question #3:  What is the name of the volcano that just erupted in Iceland and has caused mass chaos for the travel industry?

Question #4:  What was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater and where was it filmed? (Need a hint? Check this out)

Question #5:  Who fought in the War of 1812?

Question #6:  What is the Spanish word for "butterfly"?

Question #7:  Name the three countries I traveled to in order.

Question #8:  And just for fun, if you could travel anywhere in the world RIGHT NOW, where would you go?

Good luck, folks!! And remember, there will be one humdinger of a prize for the soon as I figure out what "humdinger" means.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heads Up

Hello my friends! After the snore fest that I posted yesterday, I figured it was time to pump some pizzazz into this blog.

And you know what that means: it is high-time for another Trivia Question-O-Fun! Even though I am not currently traveling, therefore I cannot buy the winner anything exceptionally cool from some exotic location, I can still throw a few quiz questions into cyber world and do a little bit of shopping in good, ol' colorful Colorado.

Take this as an official heads-up that I will be posting not one, but multiple, trivia questions tomorrow and I GUARANTEE that there will be a super fun, super cool, super terrific prize to give away. What that is, I have no idea, but it will be spiffy!

Prep your minds, folks. Add another crinkle or two to that cranium and bring your A-game to the internet tomorrow. I'll see you there!

Oh, and happy Tuesday to you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Large Dose of My Reality

Disclaimer: What you are about to read could very well be the most boring, dullest piece of literature ever written in the history of mankind. And to make it worse, I lived it, every minute of it.This, my friends, is a highlight, or lowlight rather, of my Saturday.

I won't blame you if you fall asleep. I won't even blame you if you choose to fold laundry or re-caulk your shower. The only encouragement I can give you is that you will probably feel better about yourself and your life after you read this.

So, let's begin.

I woke up on Saturday morning after sleeping at least 14 hours. It was glorious and my bed was the most comfortable it had ever been, EVER. I eventually stumbled out of bed in search of coffee or other life forms but realized it was just too much all at once, so I went back to bed and fell back asleep. When I woke up for the second time that morning, I realized I had approximately 20 minutes to get ready and meet my BFF and her hubby for brunch.

Thankfully, man invented hats for this very reason and I arrived at breakfast with seconds to spare.

Now, the next hour and a half were a true highlight, the first of two for the day. We talked about babies, boys, marriage, plants, Bible study, onesies, family, pancakes and working out. It was a perfect way to ease into the morning, err, afternoon. I love long breakfasts and I especially love it with these two.

But from there, it looked like my morning/afternoon had peaked. I left and took an hour-long stroll through TJMaxx, looking for all the things I never knew I needed but had no idea how I had ever lived without. I tried on seven shirts, none of them fit quite right and one practically needed the Jaws of Life to remove. By the way, do you ever have those terrifying moments of being stuck in some article of clothing and having no idea how you will ever get out of it? All you can think of is having a strange woman cut you out of it, apologizing profusely and ending up paying for it because it was your fault that you don't know how to dress yourself in the first place. Thankfully I was one zipper away from that happening.

Anyway, after that, I ran back out to my car in the rain. On the drive back home, I decided that I could probably use some yogurt and toothpaste.  I mean, who doesn't, right? So I pulled into the ghetto King Soopers by my house and ended up sitting in the parking lot for seven minutes, weighing the pros and cons of buying groceries at this precise moment or going home to go back to bed. In the end, my bed sounded better than the creepy guy who bags the groceries, so I went home yogurt and toothpaste-less. Apparently calcium and personal hygiene are highly overrated.

At home, I immediately laid down on the couch and checked Facebook, confirming my hunch that everyone else in the world was out doing something fun and were, in fact, NOT on Facebook. Somehow I rallied and got on the treadmill, which is truly a minor miracle because obviously my day had been more than I could almost bear. But I pulled through and was thankful that my heart rate rose above 45 beats per minute for the first time that day.

The rest of the afternoon is a blur. I seem to remember watching PBS and the second half a movie with Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow, which was all very stressful and depressing. And I ate a bowl of cereal because it was apparently time for second breakfast.

The second highlight of my day came when I stopped by to visit my nephew, who has been a bit under the weather for the past few weeks. It was apparent that he had more energy than I did, and I longed for the time when we could sit down and watch Nick, Jr. Not long after, I realized that I was not using my words in complete sentences and for a brief second I almost forgot my name, which meant it was time to go home and get some sleep. I had been up for almost 12 WHOLE HOURS.

After checking Facebook one more time, trying to find anything worth while on Hulu and making a pan of brownies, I knew that I must call it a day. There was no possible way I could cram anything more into my schedule. My energy level and brain activity just couldn't handle it.

To round things out, I completed a beginners-level crossword puzzle just to make sure I hadn't lost any brain cells. Thankfully, the neurons were firing enough to finish the puzzle and I crashed into my perfect bed, thus ending the most uneventful, tiring day of my life. One would think I have mono but we all know that is not romantically possible at this point in my life.

So there you have it: another exciting adventure from the life of the Frustrated Cowgirl. Just try to top that one, folks.

Hey, are you still there?


I don't blame you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Recipe Round-Up: Freddy's

Confession time: I cheated.

That's right, folks. I am a big cheat.

I didn't cook anything cool this week.

In fact, I didn't really cook at all.

It has been one of those weeks. You know the kind? The kind that slap you around and spit you out. Yep, and thankfully it is about over.

So, I decided to highlight my new favorite drive-thru that just happens to be right around the corner from me. How utterly fortuitous!

It's called Freddy's and I love it with every fiber of my being.

The fast food trinity.

Do you see what that says? Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.
I decided to forgo the frozen custard because of the Fitness Challenge. Don't I have amazing self-control?

Shoe-string fries.

I ate half of them on my drive home.
Yep, self-control at its best.

This has the perfect combo of pickles, mustard and onions. That's it.
And it's perfect.

I love beef.

I love beef and pickles.

So, I hope you bust out your creative culinary skills this week and drive to Freddy's. You won't be disappointed! And next week, I promise to not highlight Taco Bell.

Freddy's has no clue who I am nor am I a paid spokesperson for their company. But I should be, shouldn't I?