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Monday, January 31, 2011

Penne, Pesto, and P....Shrimp

Friday evening Blake and I were craving some delicious carbs.  Let's be honest, when I am I NOT craving carbs?  Especially when it comes to pasta.  I could eat pasta every single day.  Maybe every single meal.  If I were stranded on a desserted island and I could bring three items, pasta would be one of them.  Yea pasta!

I immediately knew I was going to use some whole wheat penne I had, but what to go with it.  After glancing through the cabinets, fridge, and freezer I decided it was a pesto and shrimp night.  Normally I like making pesto from scratch.  It's not hard and your food processor does all the work.  This summer though I found a really great jarred pesto at Sam's.  It now has a permanent home in our fridge.  It is in the refrigerated section next to the fresh pasta and it is as close to homemade as I have found.  It's very bright, fresh, and so easy to use when you don't have the right ingredients on hand, or just don't feel like dragging out the processor.  Plus having ready made pesto in your fridge gives you an unlimited amount of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and appetizer options.  Mix some into your scrambled eggs, spread some on your sandwich at lunch, drizzle some over some grape tomoatoes and mozzarella, mix in with any hot/cold pasta, or over any grilled meat or veggies.  Yummy times infinity.  I highly suggest giving it a try. 

Pesto Penne with Garlic Parsley Shrimp

The picture above is before I fully dressed the dish.  Here's how it works.  Truly one of the easiest recipes ever.  Put on a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Liberally salt the water and add the pasta of your choice.  While the pasta is boiling coat the shrimp with some olive oil, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a pan and saute the shrimp until opaque, about 3 minutes.  Move to the side.  When the pasta is al dente drain and place into a large bowl.  Add anywhere between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup of the prepared pesto depending on how saucy you like it.  Add in the shrimp.  Mix.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice, parmesan, and parsley.  Eat until your hearts content, or until you're about to explode, whichever comes first.  The end. 

ANYONE can do this! 

On a lighter note (haha) we're getting ready for Snowmagedon 2011 in Oklahoma City.  Supposedly we could get anywhere from six to twelve inches over the next twenty four hours.  Bring it on!  I'm ready for a grand snow in (with electricity of course).  I already have two soups and a new pasta dish on my list of things to do while we're hibernating tomorrow.  Anyone else have snow day plans?  I'll keep you updated!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hello January 28th, nice to meet you!

The weather in Oklahoma City right now is glorious!  It is above 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and there is a pleasant breeze.  It's supposed to stay this way through tomorrow and then start to cool off again.  Possibility of ice and snow Monday and Tuesday.  Can anyone say snow day??!!

Have a wonderful weekend.  Ours is going to be filled with cooking, cleaning, putthing things away, and hopefully relaxing.  I can't wait!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Thursday, January 27, 2011

15 Minute Re-model

I had about 15 minutes to kill over my lunch break today and what do you know if there's not a TJ Maxx right next to where I work.  The luck!  It's amazing how much money I can "spend" in a 15 minute period of time.  I walked in and immediately walked over to a $200.00 purse.  Happens every time, I guess that's how I roll.  As I worked my way back to the home goods I found this.

 I look cute right?  $39.00

I think it would feel right at home in our entryway, but not without these...

$10.00 a piece

On the entry way table of course.  And if we're re-doing the entry way then we might as well make our way into the living room, they are connected for goodness sake.  I thought this guy would make a good edition.

$349.00 down from $700.00!

And of course on the unique side tables that will be found eventually would go these...

The floral lamp in the middle.  $10.00

And to wrap it all together this

$129.00 5x8
Who doesn't like a nice fluffy rug underfoot? 

Now I wouldn't necessarily put all of these things together if I really got to looking/thinking on them, but individually they are all great pieces.  For someone who is on a budget and is starting out with nothing, it's a great place to start.  According to my calculations you could walk out of TJ's with everything I listed above for $576.00 before tax.  Or you could make it $776.00 and walk out with that fabulous bag I spoted on the way in as well.  A girl can dream can't she? 

Tomorrow I think I'll go on the hunt for some funky pillows for "our" couch.  I love "shopping"!!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"It's not a grilled cheese, or a potato chip!"

So for those of you that don't know I work for a non-profit called The Catholic Foundation of Oklahoma.  We award scholarships for Catholic students and provide grants for Catholic parishes and schools.  It's a great organization and I highly recommend checking it out if you're looking for a great charity to give to. 

Because I work at the Archdiocese and for the foundation I sometimes receive very interesting calls.  Sometimes people are looking for financial aid, food, or shelter.  Those calls are normal and expected and I direct them to Catholic Charities so that they can get the help that they need.  Other times people would like to speak to the Archbishop, or better yet the Pope.  This is not going to happen for a multitude of reasons, the main one being I don't have a direct line to the Pope!  Weird right?  You would think every Catholic employees job came with one of those, but for some reason they don't. Lame. 

The phone call I received yesterday takes the cake on strange requests.  A specific, to remain nameless man (let's call him T.R.N. to shorten things up for the sake of the post) has been calling our offices for the past week or so.  Apparently he calls around to many of the metro churches and other Archdiocesan offices on a fairly frequent basis making different requests.  When I answered the phone yesterday he asked to speak to our director.  I asked who was calling and when he verified that he was in fact T.R.N. I politely told him that the director was in a meeting and asked if I could take a message.  T.R.N. told me that he really needed to speak to our director.  I told him I was sorry and that I could take a message and get it to him.  T.R.N. then said that he wasn't really sure he had the right office and asked me what the foundation did.  I explained to him what we did and asked again if I could take a specific message for him.  T.R.N.  then said he had the wrong office.  I explained that if he would tell me what exactly he needed I could better direct him.  Here's where it gets good. 

T.R.N.-"Well I have discovered something that no one seems to care about, but I think it's a miracle."

Me-"Okay, well if I can ask what it is, maybe I can put you in contact with the correct person."

T.R.N.-"I planted a tree in my yard when it was a baby and Jesus' face grew into the side of it.  Who should I tell?  I would like to talk with the Pope, or at least the Archbishop, I want this to go as high as it can go!"

Me-(Deep breaths)  "Well sir, I would suggest that you start with your own priest and if he finds interest in your tree he can contact the appropriate people."

T.R.N. "But what if he doesn't care?  Then should I just go to another church and another priest?"

Me-(More deep breathing) "Yes sir, that's what I would do."

T.R.N.-"I mean this is way better than what you see on t.v., It's not a grilled cheese, or a potato chip!"

Me-(Remember to breathe) "It sounds like it sir, but I can only refer you to your personal priest."

T.R.N.-"Okay, thanks for your help."

Now don't get me wrong, I fully believe in miracles and believe that stranger things have happened in the church's history. I just don't think it's coming from T.R.N.  Maybe it's because he calls on a daily basis asking for different things, or maybe it was his tone, but something was off.  I do know that if he calls me back I am going to refer him to this website.  It's dedicated to stuff that looks like Jesus.  I'm quite sure someone there will provide him with more comfort than I could muster. 

Xo-Wife of Wright

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggity jig jig!

Crested Butte, CO was amazing!  I had never been to a ski town before, and I was a little bit apprehensive.  I am a beach girl.  There is really nothing that I like about cold weather.  I was so pleasantly surprised though.  Crested Butte is nestled down in a little valley next to Crested Butte mountain.  There are only about 1,200 residents permanently and they are all so nice and accomidating.  The weather while very cold, is dry and the wind doesn't blow like it does here in Oklahoma.  When it's sunny it's even kind of pleasant in the cold crisp air.  I would highly recommend this sleepy ski town to anyone looking for a nice ski town to visit that doesn't want the over commercialized touristy vibe.  I'm sold can you tell?! 

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous and went off without a hitch.  The bride looked like a super model and the groom looked like he stepped off the pages of GQ.  The reception was mountain chic with fabulous food and great music.  The wine and beer flew freely and fun was had by all!

Here are some of my favorite pics from the night.

I used a vintage pic app on my phone and snapped Blake and I's place cards on the table with our glasses.  Those specs you see on the table...Lavender, it smelled heavenly.

Using the same photo app on my phone I got this one of our entire table mid-cheers.  We had such a good time thanks to the bride and groom and the group of friends I was blessed to be there with was amazing.

Last but definitely not least these two had quite the night. 

Joe FINALLY put a ring on it!  I'll let her share of the details and pics, but I wanted to share the good news since it was such a big moment during our trip.  It was so sweet and special and it was magical being there with them to celebrate.  So congrats first to Jacqui and Justin on starting their life together, and second to Tyler and Joe.  I pray for the best for you during your engagement and upcoming marriage.  I can't wait for the parties to begin!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Doing the Butte...aww...

Where my '90s rap fans at??!!  Please tell me someone out there got what I was doing and immediately sang the rest of the line above?  No?  Oh well, I got a kick out of it. 

Later today Blake and our good friends Carrie, Brendan, and baby James are heading for here.

Crested Butte, CO!  Isn't it lovely?

We are going for another set of good friends, Jacqui and Justin's wedding.  I cannot wait to be there!  I do have a little anxiety about reading ALL of the readings at the wedding, but that's nothing a little champagne won't fix! 

Here's to the happy couple, the beautiful Jacqui and the handsome Justin, I wish you the most wonderful and blessed marriage.  I know this weekend is going to be amazing and full of cheer.  Love you both!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Apparently we're on a "kick".

While at work yesterday I was thinking about what Blake and I should have for dinner and remembered that we had two tuna steaks that I had moved from the freezer to the fridge over the weekend so that we would remember to eat them.  I decided to go the Mex route with them.  I also noticed that I have chosen this route quite a few times over the last week.  I guess we're craving spicy, cause it's all tasted really good. 

Tuna Steak Tacos with all the Fixins'

These are SUPER easy and quick to make and you could sub chicken, steak, or shrimp in for the tuna if you're not a fan.  Sidenote:  If you have never tried tuna steak because in your head you're thinking "canned tuna" in steak form please give it a go.  Tuna steaks taste nothing like canned tuna.  Especially if you cook them to a lovely medium and enjoy the tender pink middle the fish has to offer.  For the tuna I seasoned each side with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt and ground pepper. Sear each side for 3-4 minutes for medium, longer if you want to get rid of all the pink.  I wouldn't recommend it...I warmed up some corn tortillas and steamed some brown rice(shortcut hint-Target and every other grocery store that I know of has steam in a bag white and brown rice in the frozen food section, major time saver). 

And now for the fixins'...

These make the tacos!  Lime wedges, avacado, sauteed yellow bell pepper(use any color you have on hand), and some queso fresco.  Delish!  Serve with your favorite hot sauce and you're in for a great week night meal.  This was 20 minutes start to finish I swear.  Remember multi-tasking is your friend!

Adios mi amigos!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mex without the Tex.

For breakfast yesterday I whipped up something yummy.  Blake had gotten a little overzealous while making breakfast potatoes on Saturday morning, so we had a good amount leftover and I didn't want them to go to waste.  I popped them in the oven to re-heat and thought about what would be good on top of those potatoes.  I decided after a few minutes that some of the chorizo and queso fresco that I bought for a Mexican inspired pizza would fit the bill. 

Roasted Breakfast Potatoes with Chorizo, Queso Fresco and an Egg Over Easy

This was delicious.  I simply layered the potatoes first, followed by the egg over easy, chorizo, queso fresco, and then a little guacamole crema to top it off.  Cut into that egg so the yolk runs all over and mix to combine and you've got one tasty breakfast.  It wasn't the case yesterday, but I bet this bad boy would cure any hangover in 15 minutes flat.  Carbs, protein, fat, dairy, and spicy all in one bowl.  This is all speculation, but come on, how could it not? 

Xo-Wife of Wright

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wife of Wright Lesson: Sometimes cook something you don't like.

Why would anyone do this?  I'll tell you why.  Sometimes when you're married, or engaged, or in a serious relationship, or have a roommate you have different tastes in food.  Most of the time you compromise and make things that both of you like, as you should.  Every once in awhile you might even go out to eat somewhere that isn't something the other one would pick and take one for the team(good job!).  But most of the time you don't take the time to cook things that the other one simply does not like. 

I would like to introduce a new Wife of Wright lesson having to do with just that.   W.O.W. Lesson of the Week: Cook something you don't like sometimes for someone who does.  I think it's good for any relationship you have, married or not.  I practiced what I am preaching this last week.  I do not like Strawberry cake.  I'm sure most of you are thinking "How can you NOT like strawberry cake??!!", but I simply find it too sweet.  Blake loves Strawberry cake, therefore last week he got this.

Isn't it pretty?  See, I can still appreciate something I do not like.  I also can appreciate how much my husband DID like it.  In fact, it's all gone.  Plus this lovely cake starred in it's first vlog (without me knowing until afterwards).  Watch it here.  It's pretty darn funny. 

So all in all my act of kindness brought good to the world.  Even if it was just my husbands world and those who watched his bit on his vlog.  That's good enough for me.  Give it a try, tell me what you think.

Peace, love, and cake that sometimes you don't like...

Xo-Wife of Wright

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some like it hot.

Chipotle Agave Glazed Chicken with Herbed Israili Couscous and Cheesacon Corn

Looks pretty un-assuming and harmless right?  Be warned!  This was an easy meal that Blake helped me put together last night.  He's such a good baster!  Cook your couscous according to package instructions.  I always swap out low sodium chicken broth for water to add extra flavor and depth.  When it was done cooking I added in the zest and juice of a lemon, some fresh ground pepper, and some cilantro.  It perfectly cut the heat of the chicken.  For the corn I used frozen corn, added a tablespoon of butter, bacon salt (you read correctly) and fresh ground pepper.  Hot out of the pan I added some sharp cheddar cheese to the top and it was good to go.  The chicken was baked with a mixture of adobo sauce and agave syrup.  Add a little salt, pepper, and garlic to the marinade and baste every 10 minutes while your chicken is in the oven (350 for 25-30 minutes).  At the end use the pan juices to top your chicken and add some extra kick to your plated meal.  That's all she wrote!  Super simple, nutritious, and yummy in the tummy.

Xo-Wife of Wright

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I may not have a voice, but I have a blog. Same difference if you ask me...

I have not had a voice for three days now.  Writing on the blog is keeping me sane at the moment because I can hear my voice as I type.  Something I can't do when I open my mouth and attempt to speak.  I had my doctor call in some medicine for me yesterday afternoon and when I couldn't get it last night I picked it up this morning on my way to work.  When I got to work and read the indication on the medicine label it said "May cause drowsiness and dizziness."  Perfect.  Long story short, I still have not taken any medicine and I cannot wait for this day to be over so that I can put on my cozies, crawl on my couch and get all crazy drowsy and dizzy on it!  Party at the Wright's!

Last night when I got home feeling all sorry for myself because Wal-Greens didn't have my medicine ready I decided to make something new to cheer myself up.  I wanted something cozy, warm, and yummy.  I came up with this.

Garbanzo y Arborio

It's basically an Italian version of Red Beans and Rice.  Only it's Italian white beans and plump yummy Arborio rice (normally used to make rissoto) with Italian sausage.  Oh my goodness did it turn out good.  The flavors are deep and rustic, but not overwhelming.  I don't know why someone didn't think of this sooner, but I'm glad they didn't cause now I can take all of the credit (as far as I know).  Blake and I both think we like it better than the traditional stuff that I normally make.  It is so filling and so comforting and quick and easy to make.  It's even good for you!

Here's the recipe:

Garbanzo y Arborio
(Italian White Beans and Rice)

1 lb. ground chicken/turkey Italian Sausage
4 strips of bacon (I use Oscar Meyer Center cut-very lean and tasty)
2 cloves garlic-minced
2 bay leaves
4 cups of chicken broth/stock- I use low sodium
1 8oz can of tomato sauce
2 cans of Garbanzo beans-drained and rinsed
Salt and Pepper to taste (I did not add any salt, only pepper, but season according to your taste.  In my opinion the broth and bacon will make it salty enough.)
1 cup Arborio Rice
1 tbs. olive oil
1tbs. butter

Start the water for the Arborio Rice.  1 and ½ cups water and a tablespoon of butter and 1 cup of Arborio rice.  Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.  At the end of 2o minutes remove from the heat and let sit with the lid on for 10 minutes, fluff with a fork and leave with lid on until ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking start your sausage and bean mix.  Pour one tbs. of olive oil into the pan on medium high heat.  Add your diced bacon.  Fry until almost crisp.  Add the Italian chicken/turkey sausage.  Crumble and cook until no longer pink.  Add minced garlic and two bay leaves.  Stir.  Add broth, tomato sauce, and beans.  Stir to combine.  Let come to a gentle boil and cook down for about 20 minutes.  Add pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

Serve over the Arborio rice with crusty bread on the side. Or cornbread, it's all I had on hand last night and it was delicious.   

Serves 4-6

Recipe by: Gena M. Wright a.k.a. Wife of Wright

I hope you all love it as much as we did.  Let me know if you make it and what you think.

Xo-Wife of Wright

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gena vs. Giada

Sidenote:  All of my pictures that have to do with food are of the food itself, or of me eating it.  I think I need to work on getting someone to take some of me cooking it.
Sidenote #2:  I totally look this put together when I'm at home cooking too.  Seriously, I tell no lies.

While both Giada and I are Italian, have names that begin with G and end in A, and love to eat, let's be honest.  There's really no competition between Giada and I.  That would be silly for a number of reasons.  Reason #1-I don't know Giada DeLaurentiis.  Therefore, realistically, there cannot be a competition.  Reason #2-Giada went to Le Cordon Blue in Paris, France to become a chef.  I went to my own kitchen to become a cook.  Reason #3-She has a number more years of experience and that whole born in Italy amoung fabulous cooks thing going for her.  Reason #4-I don't want to compete with her.  I adore her and her cooking and learn a lot from watching her shows and reading her cookbooks.  With that being said, here is my interpretation of one of her fabulous dishes I made last week.  Believe it or not, this was yet another "We haven't been to the grocery store so I need to work with what I have in my freezer/fridge/cabinets night." 

Giada's Carbonara

Which one is mine, which one is hers?  It's un-canny right?  I mean I know you want to dig into BOTH pages fork first and pig out!!  In case you really can't tell, and I'm sure you can, my dish is on the right.  This version of carbonara is absolutely lovely and different from traditional carbonaras.  You start by making a basil aoli in the food processor, there is no bacon or peas, and the fried egg to top it off is pure heaven.  I tweaked mine a bit due to ingredients I had on hand and it was still so, so good. 

Please make this soon.  It is a very fast recipe.  I think it only took me 30 minutes from start to finish.  Blake loved it and wanted the leftovers for dinner again the following night.  You can find the full recipe here.  Ciao!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy Friday from ole' four tooth Castellano...

I had you wondering what you were going to find right?  I only look a little excited to pet that goat.  I wonder what my mom was thinking?  I hope you all have an amazing relaxed weekend!  More recipes to come on Monday.

Xo-Wife of Wright

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Who wants breakfast for dinner??!! And then maybe for breakfast again...

Last night as I stared into the fridge that is becoming more and more sparse I had an idea.  I saw the can of Pillsbury thin pizza crust in the back of the fridge.  I also saw some ground breakfast turkey sausage in the drawer.  Oh look, we have bacon.  Is that some leftover goat cheese?  Score, some hard boiled eggs!  And dinner was born, or at least I hoped what would become dinner was...Here it is folks:

Breakfast for Dinner (or breakfast) Pizza

Ewww-weeee was it good!  I put fresh ground black pepper and some olive oil on the rolled out pizza dough and then par-baked it according to the package directions for five mintues at 400 degrees.  While the pizza was in the oven I cooked off my ground breakfast turkey and strips of bacon.  When the crust came out I layered on the turkey sausage, crumbled bacon, diced hard boiled egg, and finally the crumbled goat cheese. Right before I put it back in the oven I topped it with more ground black pepper, some smoked paprika, and a little splash of olive oil to keep it from drying out.  Back into the oven at 400 for 10 more minutes and we were in breakfast pizza heaven.  Both Blake and I like it hot and doused ours with a little hot sauce before we dug in, but that's totally up to you.  Like I said yesterday when I was talking about the tartletts, you could mix and match this anyway you want.  Add more veggies, crack your eggs on raw and let them set up in the oven so you would have an ewwey gewey yummy mess of eggs and bacon on crust (salivate here), or throw on some scrambled eggs with lots of cheese.  The possibilities are endless.

Giddy up breakfast for dinner cowboys and cowgirls!

Xo-Wife of Wright

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tarts schmarts.

A couple of weekends ago on a Saturday morning I wasn't feeling the old eggs, bacon and some sort of potato that we usually have and I decided to get creative.  I have six adorable mini tart pans that I rarely use that I wanted to incorporate into the meal for Blake and I.  I came up with this:

Prosciutto, Sun Dried Tomato and Potato Tartletts

Aren't they adorable?  If you are on Facebook you might have seen them already since Blake posted them right before he ate his that morning, but I had to share here as well.  Instead of a traditional pastry type crust I used my mandolin to thinly slice some Yukon Gold potatoes I had.  I lined the bottom of the tart pans with the potatoes over lapping them slightly.  Next I placed them into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to proof (set up) the potatoes slightly.  While they were in the oven I beat together 4 eggs, sliced up prosciutto, diced sun dried tomatoes, a splash of heavy cream and some salt and pepper.  Once the proofed potatoes came out of the oven I poured even amounts in each tartlett and put them back in the oven for 20 minutes or until set.  They came out so cute and tasted delicious!  Not too bad for making something up as I went! 

Give these a try this next weekend, or at least some variation of them.  Blake and I agreed they would be perfect with a salad for lunch or dinner as well.   If you don't have a tartlett pan (regular size or mini) use a pie dish and go the quiche route.  Don't worry too much about specific ingredients either.  I think using a mixture of any kind of meat with veggies would be scrumptious.  Think sausage, green peppers and mushrooms.  Or smoked salmon, capers and cream cheese.  We almost always have eggs, potatoes and some sort of meat and veggies on hand.  They're a great way to use up leftovers, or a good go to when the pantry and fridge are low. 

Xo-Wife of Wright

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back in the saddle again.

Happy New Year! 

I have been off for the past 11 and 1/2 days and with that freedom I un-intentionally completely seperated myself from the computer.  I had more e-mails today that I ever thought possible.  Given, a third of them were spam.  The weird thing was that I didn't miss my e-mail one bit.  I did miss sharing on the blog and seeing up to date news, but besides that, never once thought of it. 

This made me wonder, what has changed about me over the past year?  I used to take the time to check my e-mail over the weekend, and also on any weekdays that I had off or felt under the weather.  Now, not so much.  Whatever that has changed about me in the past year to inflict this change, I'm all about it.  I don't like our cultures dependency on electronics and knowing every little thing at the speed of light. I'm not implying that it's not convenient at times because it certainly is, but until a month ago Blake and I didn't even have phones that could do anything besides make a phone call.  Sure it's nice to touch your phone screen three times and see what movies are playing and at what time, but it's also nice to crack open the newspaper, smell the ink, and search out some afternoon entertainment. 

So I guess realizing today that I had gone so long without the joys of the computer helped me gain a little perspective.  I appreciate the convenience of technology and the knowledge that it can provide.  I especially appreciate the platform it has allowed me to share my thoughts, ideas, and love of food to all of you.  All of this is to be taken with a grain of salt though.  I need to remember to slow down, write a card to mail, read a newspaper, crack open a new book.  Enjoy all of the things that have been around for generations.  Then when I'm done I can boot up the computer, update my status and come over to the blog to let you know all about it.  Remember to have the best of both worlds.  I think it's completely possible.  Here's to 2011 friends...Ain't life grand?

Sunset on Lake Hefner-Oklahoma City, OK

Xo-Wife of Wright