I Changed My Mind!

Okay, I decided I’d stick around here a bit longer, mainly because there’s a lot of stuff I should have written about but didn’t because I didn’t want to have too much to move, but then I never got around to getting a new page and I forgot all the stuff I wanted to write about!

Yes, yes, I know! Anyway, thanks for stopping by, I’ll try to be more entertaining in the future.

Turkey Bean Whatever

I honestly have no idea what to call this. My mom showed me how to make it, and she didn’t have a name for it either. I usually refer to it as “that turkey stuff”. This is what Hottie and I have been eating every day almost for the past month because it’s cheap and it makes a lot, and it’s very versatile.

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs ground turkey – I think the packages I usually get are something like 1.75 lbs or something, I never pay attention.

4 14.5oz cans of diced tomato – or two giant cans, or used stewed tomato, or whatever tomato-y goodness you like, as long as it’s chunky and not sauced.

5-9 14.5oz cans of beans – This is where the versatility comes in. I use a combination of garbanzo, black, great northern, canolli, kidney, red, butter, or whatever happens to be in the pantry. It just doesn’t matter. Don’t have any kidney beans? Leave ’em out. Have 3 cans of black? Use all those.

Corn – bag of frozen, couple 14.5oz cans, whatever. I love corn so I’d like to put in 2-3 cans but Hottie doesn’t like corn so we compromise with 1 can.

2 8 oz cans of mushrooms (optional)

First, take a can opener to all the cans. You’ll want to do this ahead of time. You can also drain and rinse all the beans ahead of time but personally I do it just before I add them.

In a 5 quart dutch oven (or other large pot, this recipe makes a LOT so be prepared) brown the turkey over medium heat. If you use real lean stuff you don’t need to drain it, otherwise get rid of as much of the juice as you can. If you use mushrooms, add them now. Salt and pepper the turkey. Add the tomatoes and season*.

Start adding the beans and corn, a little at a time and stir in between. Season again and check the taste. It’s really easy to over spice if you’re using hot stuff so be careful. Turn to low, cover (or not) and let cook until the tomatoes lose their acidity. I usually let mine go for about an hour, but I keep grazing off of it while I’m cooking because it’s so yummy.

Turn off heat and serve over rice (brown and basmati are especially good for this, I’ll use jasmine and white in a pinch but I don’t like them as much because of the starchy stickiness.) Enjoy for a week!

*Spices! Another hit of versatility. My mom uses a few shakes of tabasco and some red pepper flakes, but I’m a wuss so I don’t do that.

I’ve used : cholula + Mrs. Dash chipotle, worchestershire (added to the turkey while browning) + Mrs. Dash Steak seasoning, Mrs. Dash italian seasoning (see a trend here? I love Mrs. Dash)

Experiment with your own combos. I’ve thrown a can of ro-tel in there a time or two and it came out all right. It’s almost impossible to mess this up unless you over salt it.

Wait, what?

So, I’ve somehow managed to get myself enrolled in Kaplan University’s online IT program. I’m not really sure how this happened. All I really wanted was some information, but then the info guy said those little magic words “no out of pocket cost” and I started to think that maybe it would be possible for me to go back to school after all.

A couple of years ago I attended University of Phoenix online. It was good for a while, I lasted a little over a year, but a couple things ganged up on me to prevent my continuing education with them. 1) They raised their prices to something that was more than my GI Bill could cover, and 2) they stuck me in some horrible math class involving graphing and all sorts of stupid equations, and let me tell you what… I SUCK at math. College mathematics 1, grade C. College mathematics 2, F! F F F! So I don’t want a repeat of that, obviously.

I start the 25th, if all goes well. I’m a bit worried, hell, who am I kidding? I’m scared shitless! I just hope enough of my credits carry over from the Air Force and Phoenix that I don’t have to go through things over again. Mainly because I only get funding for another 3 years, so I’m either going to have to work really fast, or I’m going to have to take on another student loan down the line – not something I’m looking forward to.

I missed the February start date so apparently I’m going to start March 25th. Peak season for my job will also be coming up soon and I AM looking forward to that. I consider myself blessed to have a legitimate work at home job that is not only fun for me, it pays based on the work I do, which is fantastic for my guilt complex. There are days when I work 10 hours, believe me. My boss rocks though. She’s let me stay on through the year when it’s normally a seasonal job because I’m constantly saying “yes” when she asks me if I can type. Now it’s pretty much “If there are cards, you can type.” I love setting my own schedule.

But it’ll be interesting if I’ll be able to wrestle my time-management skills into submission once everything starts to move. School + Japanese classes, work, baby, kids visiting, household stuff, and packing. It’s going to be FUN! Oh, and blogging, which I’m still trying to at least make a couple posts a week. The problem is my posts have been sitting in drafts instead of being published, like this one which I’m topping off today was started on February 13. Yay procrastination!

Saturday at Aquatica

One of the only good things about living in Florida is the fact that the local water parks are open year round. They may have shorter hours in the off-season, but they’re still a blast to go to, even when it’s only 84 degrees and there’s enough wind to freeze your little behind off when you get out of the pleasantly heated water.

Anyway, Aquatica! One of the Anheuser-Busch family of amusement parks (Busch Gardens, Sea World) it is definitely a great place to go in Orlando. Since Hottie and I decided to buy 2-year passports to all the parks when we moved here, we go whenever we’re able. I’m pretty sure we’ve more than made up for the cost in visits. 

We decided we’d go this Saturday when my kids were visiting two weeks ago, so they had two weeks to look forward to it. We actually managed to get there very shortly after the park opened so not only did we have great parking, the one ride that usually has a long line didn’t have any at all. Of course, the weather probably had something to do with that – it was still overcast and a little windy when we got there. 

The ride we’d been wanting to try out was the Dolphin Plunge.  When you first look at it, it really seems like a neat concept. It’s a water slide that goes through a tank with a couple of Commerson’s Dolphins, and the advertisements show happy, smiling people looking in awe at the dolphins as they slide through. In reality, however, the ride is more like a black, soul-sucking tube of death that shoots you at high speed into a 3-foot-deep splashdown pool. Thank God I rode on it before letting my daughter go down. I forbade her from riding it. Hottie went down first, and then I had to go try it. I almost wish I hadn’t.

It’s not a slide, it’s a tube, and the only light is the little airholes that are in the upper portion of the tube. Unfortunately, just before the tube goes through the dolphin tank, the airholes vanish, leaving the air in the tube stale, hot and humid. Have I mentioned I’m a teeeensy bit claustrophobic? I was okay until the air vanished and water started splashing my face. I spent the remainder of the ride hyperventilating and praying for it to be over. I didn’t even register the dolphin tank as more than a bright area in an otherwise dark tube. I will never go on that ride again.

After chilling ourselves with that, we all went over to the big kid area and turned my elder two loose. We slathered on the sun screen, and I decided I’d take Little Man into the shallow area. We grabbed a baby life jacket and tried to get him into it. He, of course, complained mightily so I took it back off. I noticed that the water was a little cooler in the kids area so I decided to take him over to the entrance to my favorite thing in the park.

The ‘ride’ is called Roa’s Rapids. I could literally spend hours just floating around in this river. Come to think of it, I did spend hours in it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I brought him back into the water and little by little got him into deeper parts. By deeper I mean 6 inches or so. Then I got him into the life jacket. He didn’t complain quite as much and was soon smiling as I floated him around.

Soon enough, I brought him into the actual fast water portion. He had a lot of fun as I bounced him up and down in the water while we floated around. He doesn’t like water being splashed on his face either, so at times it was like a game of “dodge the geysers”. We went around that a couple times before the kids and Hottie joined us, and then we went around a couple -more- times until we decided it was time to eat.

The rest of the day was spent eating, splashing and floating. Little Man was the only one of us that didn’t get sunburned. I got sunburned on the tops of my feet, which is almost the WORST place to get a burn. We closed the park down in Roa’s Rapids. I think we were the last ones in there. All in all it was a fantastic day.

Sunday we decided to go get Hottie’s hair cut, and maybe check K-Mart for bikes (HA!). As we were eating lunch, this conversation took place:

Me, to my other son: Do you want a hair cut?
MOS: Yes, I want a hair cut.
Hottie:  Do you want a hair cut, or do you want ’em all cut?
MOS: What’s a mall cut?

I about died laughing. I love Hottie’s accent.