Homeward Bound and Messing Around

Some comfort food for the soul.

Last night was Halloween, and for the first time in my life, I did not have a costume. Life has been busy, I’ve been preoccupied with other things, and I realized another new endeavor in home ownership- like it or not, kids are going to come to your door expecting candy. Being that we are the new people on the block, and the fact that we are always working on cars in the driveway, I did not want us to be the new asshole neighbors that did not have any treats. 

So, we stayed home and gave out candy. It was surprisingly relaxing. Halloween is apparently a lot less hectic when you are not downing shots. Either way, I wanted to make a dinner last night that made me think of fall. Texas is finally cooling down, and the holidays always make me crave comfort food. Since the husband expressed a desire for some Polish food, only one thing came to mind- my mom’s delicious mushroom and dill pork.Image

Ever since I was a kid, this was my ultimate comfort food. Warm, filling, and beautifully satisfying, it is also a cinch to make. Bingo! I will post my recipe for this, but keep in mind that the beauty of this dish is the lack of need for exact measurements- everything can be done to taste, and it is virtually impossible to mess this up!


  • 1-1.5lbs pork loin, thinly sliced into bite size pieces.
  • Half an onion, sliced paper thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One package mushrooms, sliced (I prefer white button mushrooms, as they don’t overwhelm the pork)
  • One cup sour cream
  • Freshly chopped dill, to taste
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Flour to thicken the sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray, spread out pork pieces in a single layer. Cover with onions, sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper. Bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil until tender. 
  3. When meat is thoroughly baked, add the meat and onion mixture to the pan, stirring in with the mushrooms on low heat. There should be liquid in the cookie sheet from the pork and onions, be sure to include that as it is the basis for the sauce.
  4. Allow the mixture to simmer together for a few minutes to allow the flavors to join, adding sour cream, dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Here, you can play it by ear. I generally add about 3 teaspoons of flour to thicken the sauce, stirring the whole time. Depending on how much liquid is in the pan, you may need more or less. I also get creative with spices sometimes- sometimes I add a dash of paprika, sometimes a dash of garlic power- sometimes I leave it as is. That is the beauty of this dish, it is simply but very easy to customize to your mood.

And that is it! Really. It’s that simple. As you can see, I generally serve this with mashed potatoes (your favorite recipe will work!) with a bit of chopped dill thrown in. But that’s how I grew up eating it, and wouldn’t be able to pass up the opportunity to soak up the sauce with some potatoes. However, I could see this dish working well over a bed of rice, or even with a simple side of salad to keep things light. Smacznego 🙂


Life Takes Over (I’m baaaaaack!)

So, as I could have (should have), predicted, my blog sat idle while adjusting to a new life took over. Since I last wrote, my husband joined me in Texas, I started a job, quit said job, caught my first fish, went hunting for the first time, finished furnishing a lot of our new home (for now), dyed my hair a different color, took a 2 week belated honeymoon in Poland, started another job, visited my family in Chicago, bought a car to restore, made friends and lost friends, hit motivation rock bottom and mountain peak high, ate a magnificent array of barbequed meats, and now I’m here. 

Wow, it sounds a lot more eventful when I write it all down. Truth is, I’ve been in a funk. Most of the chapters of my life started with a bang and ended with a blaze of glory. This new chapter has been a little bit of a struggle. Starting a new life, in a new place, with two new careers to consider (mine and my husband’s), and a new mortgage, has been… well, difficult. Making friends in your mid twenties, in a new place, is a an endeavor. Add in the fact that you are married, but have no children, and shitty work hours, it is damn near impossible to find people that you can actually form a bond with, AND manage to see on a regular basis. It’s easy to feel lonely in the suburbs, with no one to talk to but your spouse, who you rarely see, due to both of you working your asses off for a buck.

Don’t get me wrong. I complain here because I can. What I haven’t mentioned is the extreme joy of not having to count the days till my husband comes home from a work trip. Or how I’m glad to be free of the pitfalls of living in a tiny apartment in one of the worst smelling cities I’ve ever encountered, and how good it is to breathe fresh air instead. I haven’t mentioned the joy of cleaning my granite countertops lovingly, and feeling proud of owning my home. I haven’t talked about the fact that visiting my folks in Illinois took a 2.5 hour plane trip, rather than a 14 hour trip. I haven’t talked about the fact that Texas stretches out into the horizon, waiting to be explored. That I’ve discovered new hobbies. That, for the first time in years, I have a job that doesn’t stress me out, regardless of the fact that I don’t want to pursue a career in the field. That there are new restaurants to explore, and to fall in love with. That I can watch football at a normal hour. That I have a garage, and a driveway, and that it is not a parking issue with four cars. I haven’t mentioned the how godly the barbeque is out here, and how BBQ ribs are a size that is nothing short of astounding, and that the cost of living makes a person smile daily. So, please, don’t mistake my bitching for self pity, or a plea for sympathy. Life is good, and I am damn thankful for where I’m at in life. 

But sometimes it is nice to vent. 

Either way, I pledge to start updating this blog more often. As my readers (or those who were my readers, before I dropped off the face of the planet for months), know, this blog is a hodge podge of experiences. Like the title would lead one to believe, it is a mix of home inspired blogs (I plan to write about the upgrades we’ve done to our home, as well as some recipes, and possibly a few posts about the 1970 Karmann Ghia), as well as the “messing around” aspect everyone needs in their lives- restaurants, new experiences, random observations, etc.

To those of you still around, thanks for reading, and I’m sorry for the delays!


They say it doesn’t rain much in Texas…

…but it sure pours when I’m here! Every time I mosey on down to this state, the skies open up like they are crying at the end of the Titanic Special Edition DVD. Right when Leo dies. Even though Rose could have made room on that slab of wood, that bitch.

Today was beautiful and sunny. Now, a little after midnight, the sky is lighting up like the fourth of July with lightning, and the thunder makes my house shudder. It’s all terribly romantic. No sarcasm. If my husband were in the state, I would enjoy the shit out of a stormy night. As it stands, it’s Cinco de Mayo, I have not left my house once today, and I am feeling myself getting older. 

As I type this, my power has shut off for over 5 seconds. Multiple times. Unacceptable! I wonder about my own dependence on technology to keep me sane. A decade ago, a power outage might not have been such an awful experience. Today, alone, I panicked over the prospect of losing internet service and the ability to charge my phone. What would I do? How would I get contact with the outside world? Would I have to resort to going to sleep at 1am with no Hulu Plus tv streaming to lull me to bed? 

Perhaps I would just have to read my Kindle until it died, followed by a good, old-fashioned book. Either way. Here’s hoping I survive the storm 🙂

Hanover’s Draft House- First Impressions

Anyone that knows me well would tell you that I am a bit of a bar dweller. I love a good bar. I love the comraderie that comes along with having a beer with a stranger, I love a pool table stashed in the corner of a crowded watering hole, I love the atmosphere that comes with a place where people generally go to relax and let their hair down. 

Today, fresh off an (absurdly sketchy) interview, I decided it was time to meet some people in my area. I had heard a lot about Hanover’s, so I moseyed on down. 

At first glance, it was everything I generally seek in a bar. A large selection of beers on tap, friendly clientele, a stage that undoubtedly lights up with talent on the weekends. It took me but a few moments to become deeply entrenched in some conversation with a few locals. After some great talks and a game of pool, I am back home and excited to have potentially found my “go-to” bar. I will definitely review this place again after a weekend night- for now, I am excited and happy to have finally gotten out of the house and experienced a bit of the Pflugerville social scene- I like what I see.

Living Room Decor

Well, the lovely friends that I showed this blog to suggested some photos, so here y’all go! I’ll certainly be posting more photos of better quality once I unpack my DSLR, but for now I have a couple teasers from my phone 🙂 

So far our house is a bit underfurnished (and will be for a while!) but I thought I’d snap some pictures of a couple homey touches in my living room (probably the only room in the house that makes it look inhabited).



A grand total of $15.00 from IKEA! I felt like a vase and some candles would act a little color and make the place look a little less stark.


Annnnnd while I was at it I couldn’t resist grabbing a few of these .99 cent red candle holders.


An awfully lit shot of my living room- I need that SLR!



My new patio!

I do believe I will be spending a lot of time out here 🙂

A New License (Plate) on Life

Well, after a couple years of planning, back-breaking moving, and mountains of paperwork, I’m definitely in Texas now. 

After spending hours at the Taxation Office to register my car (with a short break to get a margarita, of course), I am now staring at my brand new Lone Star State license plates. One would think that a week in the state, months of blathering on about the move, and all the good Texan food I’ve had, the realization would have hit me sooner- I’m really here. And I have a mortgage. And, for fuck’s sake, Texas license plates. I think this is particularly jarring to me in it’s permanence. While living in Hawaii for four years, I never once changed my driver’s license to a Hawaii ID. For the entire four years, I had the safety blanket of “just passing through”. 

Now, confronted with putting Texas plates on the car that I first drove at 16 back and forth from high school in Illinois, I feel the change weighing on me. I’m excited, of course. But I’m also staring at a future that somehow seems to entirely hinge on a few screws being replaced. I think of everything that has happened in the past few years, and think about how quickly it all went by. I think about that license plate holder I’ll need to unscrew, the flames that were once brightly colored (and seemed SO COOL as a kid) faded and worn off by the years. 

Most of all, I think about how that kid I was, putting on those flamed licensed plate holders, would view the me that is typing this blog. I know for a fact that she’d be surprised. 24? Married? IN TEXAS? I’ll have a mortgage before I’m 25? However, looking back, I know that the kid I was would have been proud as well. So many experiences, so many good times to live through. Fantastic friends along the way, great memories to share. And I know for a fact that 8 years ago, I would have never expected to marry such an amazing, handsome man.

But I digress. As I foolishly put off changing my plates till the morning (one more night won’t hurt, right?) I also know that I will wake up to a new chapter, a new adventure. This is it. And truly, I couldn’t be happier to realize that my hard work has culminated in a beautiful marriage, an amazing home, and a place I can’t wait to explore. I am also once again on the same land mass as the majority of the incredible friends I’ve made- I can’t wait to visit and have visitors. You don’t realize how isolated you are on an island until you escape.

Onward, and upward!

Finally Home!

After a 20 hour drive to Texas with my dad, followed by 5 days of hard work, I am alone in my new house. The past week has been a flurry of unpacking, furniture shopping, and countless other errands. Today I plan to take it easy, organize, and perhaps put together a couple more Ikea nightstands. 

So far, I’m loving the vibe out here. While the area is suburban, there seem to be countless things to do, a myriad of privately owned restaurants to try out, and even a movie theater down the road that microbrews their own beer. The speed limits are unreal (80 miles per hour!) and the food I’ve had here so far is impressive. I will definitely be posting some reviews of the places I’ve tried in the coming days!

On the Road Again

Another couple hours and I will be on the road to my new home. I feel excited and apprehensive, giddy and nervous. For the second time in my life, I am moving to a state far from where I’m lived before, knowing essentially no one at my destination. While it is nerve-wracking, I think I thrive on drastic new beginnings. This time, it is my new beginning as a married woman and a home owner. I’m also really hoping I will be able to revamp my career in Texas, given their great economy and endless possibilities.

I am truly trying to come in to this new move with the same open mindedness I gave my move to Hawaii when I was twenty. While, this time, I have a mortgage to pay and a little more responsibility, I think I also have a lot more drive and so many ideas on what I want out of this new chapter.

Let’s get this show on the road 🙂

Moving Pains

I don’t know how I manage to do this every time, but each time I move, I am caught off guard. When you wait to do something for a what seems like ages, you would assume that you would have everything packed and ready to go. Yet, every single time, I am packing and hurrying up until the last moment, not quite believing that it snuck up on me so quickly yet again.

In less than 48 hours, I will be on the road en route to my new house, and I have still so much left to do. It is astounding how much it takes to relocate. I thought that packing up in Hawaii would be the worst of it, but I did not account for the fact that there were several VERY able bodied men packing up my mountains of stuff for me. I am fortunate out here as well, as my dad is helping me out greatly, but I am overwhelmed by the amount of crap I managed to completely forget I owned.

Enough procrastinating, I am off for another battle with packing tape 🙂