Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I stayed up way too late on a school night.

Written on Tuesday.

Yesterday, I made the crazy decision to go see Pioneer Woman in Buckhead and get her to sign my cookbook. Every other book signing I have ever been to has not taken that long, so I didn't expect this one to be any different. I mean, not that many people in Atlanta could read the same blog? Right?


We got there at 6:00, which was the earliest that we could have gotten there and were given green wristbands. Little did I know, these were not the first color that were being called. They had given out orange wristbands hours beforehand. Some people had even gotten there that morning to procure their bands. Who knew? I sure had no idea.

We got upstairs and then we saw the crowd. At this point, I probably should have turned around, but for some reason I still thought that it wouldn't take too long. After standing around for a little while we found an empty chair. That is where we hung out until about 10:00 when green c was called. After all that time we finally got to get in line. Around 10:30, we finally reached the front of the line and got to meet Ree. She was really very nice. It was kind of hard for me to believe this because by then, I was not feeling so nice. My pregnant self usually goes to bed around 9:00 and sometimes sooner.

Overall, I am glad I went. I think it is kind of neat to have a signed cookbook. I probably won't do something like that again though, because it was a bit too much for me.

Here are some pictures:

Jason was a trooper. He stuck by his crazy pregnant wife and was one of only a handful of guys that were there.All the books we lugged around all night to get signed.

This is Jason showing me how excited he is.
My green wristband.

This is me, way past my bedtime, waiting in line.
Look! We made it. Here we are talking about how I am pregnant, but she didn't want to ask because she didn't want to be wrong.

The final shot with all my signed books.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Things are Looking Up

Well, I have decided to make it official. We are expecting a new little Satch in June. I haven't wanted to make an official announcement until after my doctor's appointment today. I have been kind of marking this week as a milestone. I felt like if I made it to yesterday and today I would have really made it. Now, I'm sure that my worries and fears are not totally going to go away, but hearing that fast little bump, bump, bump finally made it seem like we were going to make it. It was also reassuring to hear the doctor say that the chances of us losing this one have gone way down since we have made it this far. So, we are looking forward to meeting our new family member at the start of the summer.

Expected due date: June 4, 2010

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jason's Banana Pecan Pancakes

Jason is kind of the breakfast maker in our house. He will get up and make biscuits from scratch along with eggs and bacon. This morning, he made Banana Pecan Pancakes. He got the recipe from our favorite Betty Crocker cookbook.

Here it is:

2 large eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. milk
2 c. mashed ripe bananas (4 medium bananas)
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c. chopped pecans (if you aren't much of a nut lover, like me, you can use less)

1. Beat eggs in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients except pecans just until smooth. Stir in pecans.
2. Heat pan over medium heat. Pour slightly less than 1/4 c. batter onto hot griddle. Cook pancake until puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook until golden brown.

Lucky for you that Jason did the cooking, because he takes pictures of the things he cooks. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Old Betty Crocker

Have I ever mentioned what my favorite cookbook is? My favorite cookbook is this:I have no idea if the original "Big Red Cookbook" is exactly the same, but this edition has to be my favorite. My mother-in-law gave this book to me on my wedding day. I think she wanted to make sure her son was well fed. From the start, this has been my go to book when I need to learn how to make something. When Jason suggested that "we" needed to learn how to make mashed potatoes, I used this book. From it I learned that once you drain the cooked potatoes, you should return them to the pot on the stove to steam off any excess water so that your potatoes are nice and fluffy. This book includes pictures and helpful hits if your food doesn't end up exactly the way it is supposed to. I have cooked many things from this book. If there is ever something seemingly basic (like biscuits or mashed potatoes) that I don't know how to cook, I can be assured that this trusty cookbook will have it in it.

Well, now you know my little secret. I follow directions really well and if you have ever had my chili, the base of it comes from this cookbook. I just tend to add some other stuff in. :)

If you know someone getting married soon, definitely try to pick this one up. Unfortunately, I don't think it is in print anymore, but you can get it on Amazon for less than $10.

Without further ado, a couple recipes that I have made recently. (all from Betty Crocker)

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TBS sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

1. heat oven to 450 degrees
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or two knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs (Jason edit: make sure all of the dry ingredients are mixed well before adding the shortening) Stir in milk until dough leaves side of the bowl. (dough will be soft and sticky)
3. place dough on lightly floured surface. (I more than lightly floured mine, because the dough was so sticky, I'm not sure what Jason does) Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 to 2 1/4 inch round cutter (we use one of our juice glasses). Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (longer if you are using stoneware) or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

*note on making biscuits. This is something I learned this week, because I made these for the first time. Jason usually makes our biscuits. Jason says that you want to roll out the dough to the thickness that you want the biscuits to be. They don't rise a whole lot. This may be something everyone else knows, but I didn't, so I made very thin little biscuits. We used them as the tops and bottoms of our breakfast sandwiches.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (I used 1/8 tsp, because my nuts were salted and I didn't want my cookies to be too salty)
1 pkg (6 oz) white baking bars cut into 1/4 to 1/2 in chunks (I used white chocolate chips)
1 jar (3 1/2 oz) macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped (I had a bag of the nuts, so I measured about 4 oz in a measuring cup and then chopped those up. It seemed like enough)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. beat sugars, butter, shortening, vanilla, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff.) Stir in white chocolate and nuts.
3. drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
4. bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool 1 to 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Jason said these tasted like they should be in a bakery or that you could sell them. They really are good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Spaghetti I Actually Liked!

So, I have never really liked spaghetti. I like pasta and tomato sauce is okay, but I have never really liked the whole spaghetti combination together. Poor Jason does like spaghetti and I won't make it for him. Well, since I have been able to be at home in the evenings and I have been cooking dinner almost every night I have been trying to come up with new things to make. Well, I found a recipe for creamy chicken spaghetti. I decided to try it. Good news for Jason is that I actually liked what I made.

Here it is from my head:

1 lb. chicken diced
1/4 c. Italian dressing
2 c. pasta sauce
1/2 block low fat cream cheese
spaghetti (I used wheat pasta and I couldn't tell a difference)

1. Cook the spaghetti
2. In a pan heat the Italian dressing.
3. Add the chicken.
4. Once the chicken is cooked, add the pasta sauce and cream cheese.
5. Cook until cheese is melted.
6. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top

I think I liked this better because it was creamy. I really like any kind of cheese too, so that probably made it better to me.

Last night we also had strawberry cake. I will have to post that recipe another time, because I don't want to get up and get it. Just know that it is one of Jason's favorite desserts and it is super easy and yummy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mmm Fudge

Yesterday, Jason visited his cousin in Rome and while there ate some fudge that his aunt had made. So, in addition to the three books he brought me to read, he also brought me the recipe for the fudge. Well, since he said that the fudge was so good, I made it today. I think we are going to take it with us to our Journey group tomorrow. I am also thinking about making some more to take to school tomorrow. We'll see, because I also have made granola and I oatmeal cookies today and I still have to cook dinner. It doesn't take long to make though, so we'll see.

Without further ado, fudge.

Yvonne's Fudge Recipe
1 lb. Confectioners Sugar
(3 1/2 cups for those of you who would like to know and whose husbands come home with a 2 lb bag)
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter or margarine (melted)
4 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (I don't really like nuts in things, so this is optional. I added some chopped walnuts on the top of half of the fudge after I put it in the pan for those who like that type of things)

Directions: Combine all ingredients except nuts and vanilla in saucepan. Stir. Heat on stove until mixture turns from dull to shiny (it will also get thinner). Add vanilla and nuts (optional) and stir. Remove from heat and pour into buttered pan to set.

There it is. Easy as can be. I'm sure it will taste as good as it looks.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Zenni Optical Review

Well, I finally got my glasses from Zenni Optical, and I have to say I am pleased. I ordered three pairs. One metal framed similar to the ones I already had, one rimless titanium framed pair, and a plastic pair that I got tinted lenses for. I really like all three pairs. I think my biggest fear was that the lenses would be too big and I would look like I had bought my glasses in the nineties. I genuinely like the shape and style of all of my glasses. I also received good customer service from Zenni Optical. After I placed my order, they sent me an email making sure that what I had entered in as my prescription was correct. They probably wouldn't do this for everyone, but since one of my eyes is nearsighted and the other is farsighted, they wanted to check and make sure that I had entered in all the numbers correctly. I emailed them one more time when I hadn't heard that the glasses had been shipped after a little over a week. They emailed me back within 24 hours to tell me that the glasses had been made and were on their way to California and that once the arrived in California I would be given a tracking number. A few days ago, I got an email with the tracking number. Strange thing about that was that I never actually got to track my package (I personally think it has something to do with USPS and not Zenni). When I checked last night, my package info had been entered in, but the package wasn't in the system yet. So, I was pleasantly suprised to find my package in the mail today. Each pair came with a plastic glasses case and a glasses cleaner. My prescription changed just a little, so I don't think it is going to take me long to get used to my new pairs. All in all, I am pleased. I don't think I will have to order any more pairs, because I genuinely like all of the ones I got. I can definitely reccommend Zenni Optical for inexpenisve, but still nice glasses.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Homemade Granola

Since this is my last week of freedom before school starts back, I am using my time doing all sorts of things that I don't usually do during the school year (I am hoping to do more cooking during this school year, because I will have a lot more time). On my list today is homemade granola. Jason bought a huge thing of yogurt and we have a ton of fruit, so what is better with that than granola? I used a new recipe website to find an easy granola recipe. I picked it, because I had everything in my kitchen already. I am going to need to buy more oatmeal soon, because I have gone through a huge thing in about two weeks. The website I used is called Tasty Kitchen. People can post recipes. There were numerous granola recipes, but I chose to make Basic Granola. From the smell of what is cooking currently, I think this recipe is going to be a winner. I already ate some of the uncooked granola and it was excellent. So, here is the recipe.

Basic Granola

Added by angelinthekitchen on July 30, 2009 in Breakfast

Prep Time 5 Minutes
Cook Time 45 Minutes
Servings 8 Difficulty Easy


  • 4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
  • ½ cups Chopped Pecans
  • ¾ cups Slivered Almonds
  • ¾ cups Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • ½ teaspoons Table Salt

Preparation Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line two large sheet pans with parchment paper.

2. Combine oats and nuts in a large bowl.

3. In a small, microwavable bowl, combine sugar, water, vanilla, and salt. Microwave on high 2-3 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved and the mixture resembles maple syrup.

4. Pour syrup over oats and stir until oats and nuts are coated.

5. Divide mixture among the two pans and spread into a thin, even layer.

6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and a bit crispy.

(You can stir the mixture occasionally so that it browns more evenly and the nuts don’t burn. I also rotate my pans between oven racks a few times during the baking process.)

7. Let cool completely before storing in airtight containers or resealable bags.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I don't wanna

I just made an appointment to get my eyes checked. It has been way too long. I haven't been to the eye doctor since before my senior year of college. Which means, my poor glasses have seen their day. A huge reason I haven't been to the eye doctor is because of the cost of glasses. I am still wearing the last pair my parents bought me. I never really realized how expensive glasses are. I know I could have insurance and all that, but I didn't really think I would need it. (In hindsight, I guess I was wrong.) Anyway, I am going tomorrow to get my eyes checked and then I am going to order my glasses online. I have been a little wary of this, because I don't want to end up with some cheesy pair of huge glasses, but Jason said I could order as many pairs as I wanted until I was happy. How am I going to do this, especially when I just said that glasses were way too expensive? Well, I am going to try out Zenni Optical . I have been fighting Jason on this for about a week, but when he said I could get as many pairs as I needed until I was happy, I gave in. I like the shape and size of my current glasses, so I am going to order a cheap pair that is similar to the ones I already have. I am also going to get some rimless titanium ones to try out. Those will probably be a little more "out there" for me, but I tried some on the other day and I liked them. I am also going to get some sunglasses! This is most exciting for me because I have only had one pair of prescription suglasses in my life. I am going to do some fun plastic frames or something for those. The only problem I now face is actually going to the eye doctor and having them look at my eyes. I have issues with this, especially when they want to blow that air in your eyes. I really wish I could get away from them doing that to me. I will report back on my experience with ordering glasses online. Maybe it will really work out and I will save a ton of money on glasses. Who knows?

Monday, July 27, 2009

School's Out and I Have Been in the Kitchen

Since I am in the three weeks that ultimately makes up my summer vacation, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen cooking. I have missed cooking. With both of us in school, cooking dinner and anything else was pretty much out of the question. Yesterday, after we got back from our camping trip I made a lot of yumminess. So, without further ado, my recipes from last night (and of course the changes I made to them).

Five-Cheese Skillet Burgers

Five-Cheese Skillet Burgers
Prep Time:
10 min
Total Time:
20 min
4 servings, one burger each

What You Need

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 cup KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend, divided
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkt. SHAKE 'N BAKE Extra Crispy Seasoned Coating Mix
4 hamburger buns, split

Make It

MIX meat, egg, ketchup, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the Worcestershire sauce and coating mix. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.

PLACE patties in nonstick skillet on medium heat; cover. Cook 5 min. Turn burgers over; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cook, uncovered, 5 min. or un

til burgers are cooked through (160°F).

SERVE in the buns.

Now, the first time I made these, I actually had everything on hand to m

ake them. Yesterday though, I didn't have any more Shake n' Bake (or the Kroger brand). What I did have was an old biscuit, so I put it in my tiny food processor and made bread crumbs. I added these to the hamburger mixture until the mixture wasn't sticky anymore. These burgers were definitely good and I have now made them twice. I think that they will become a regular at our house.

Now, on to the side dish. After we went camping, I had a whole bag of red potatoes that I needed to do something with. So here is what I came up with.

Crash Hot Potatoes

This is yet another Pioneer Woman recipe. You can find the recipe here.

I actually did follow this recipe nearly perfectly. I didn't have the herbs though, so I used some Italian seasoning. It would probably be just fine without anything but the salt and pepper. These potatoes are so yummy. They are soft and crunchy. They did take a long time to make. I'm not really sure how long it took my potatoes to cook in the boiling water, but they pro

bably should have cooked longer. I also don't have a potato masher (I guess I need to add that to my list of things I need for the kitchen), so I used a glass. It worked pretty well.

Now, on to dessert.

After sending Jason to the grocery store, I made yet another Pioneer Woman recipe. I have made these before, so I know they are good.

Oatmeal Crispies

You can find the recipe here.

In the recipe, it says to refrigerate or freeze the dough and then cut it into slices. I haven't done that any of the times I have made it. I just use my handy dandy cookie scoop and scoop out the dough onto my stoneware cookie sheets and bake them. Because I use stoneware to make my cookies, I have to cook them a little longer. The first batches probably cooked 15 minutes and the later batches cooked for 12 minutes (because the stoneware was already hot).

Here is what I am planning for tonight. I am going to use boneless chicken breasts though, because I am not in the mood to deal with bones.

Italian Chicken Simmer

Italian Chicken Simmer
Prep Time:
10 min
Total Time:
45 min
4 servings

What You Need

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 chicken leg quarters (1-1/2 lb.), skin removed
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 small red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend

Make It

HEAT oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut apart chicken legs and thighs. Add to skillet; cook 10 min. or until lightly browned on both sides, turning occasionally.

ADD tomatoes and tomato paste; mix well. Stir in peppers; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 20 min. or until chicken is done (165°F), stirring occasionally.

REMOVE from heat. Stir in Parmesan; sprinkle with shredded cheese. Let stand until cheese is melted.

I will probably make some rice to go with this and if the salad that I bought last week is still okay, we will have that as well.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum......or Dallas

So, yesterday we took to motorcycle to Cartersville and met my parents for lunch. We had plans to go on a ride with them for about an hour or so. Yesterday evening, we ended our ride at my parents' house and had dinner. Around 7:00, we had to go, because we wanted to make it home before dark. So, off we went. About the time we got to White, the bottom drops out. There is thunder and lightning and torrential rain. We had pulled over at a closed gas station and decided to try to wait it out there. While huddling under the metal awning, a lady stops and asks us if we are okay. Of couse, we said yes, but I was not really enjoying being under a metal roof in a lightning storm. She told us to get in her car and she would take us to her brother's house around the corner. Now normally, I would not ever, ever do this, but when you are in the middle of nowhere stuck in a storm, you pretty much do whatever it takes to take care of yourself. So, Jason and I piled into the front seat of her mustang and went to her brother's house. We spent the next hour and a half waiting out the storm. They were so nice. She offered to drive us all the way home (about an hour's trip) so that we wouldn't have to ride in the rain. We didn't want her to do that, so we just sat around for a while and talked to some people we probably never would have had the opportunity to meet. Around 10:00, we finally made it on our way again and we finally made it home around 11:00. So, a trip that normally would take about an hour and a half took us 4 hours, but it was definitely interesting. We arrived home cold and wet, but not necessarily regreting the experience.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I passed!

So, my orals were today. Prior to today, I was pretty well freaked out by the whole process. I was supposed to go in front of a panel of three of my professors and basically tell them what I learned. This is not high on my list of fun things I would like to spend my time doing. So anyway, I went and talked to my profs for about an hour about various aspects of my schooling and my portfolio. After that, I left the room for them to decide my fate. After what seemed like an eternity, they opened the door and told me that I had passed. After that I filled out all of the paperwork so that my transcript and everything could be sent off to update my certificate. I won't actually get my diploma until December, but I will get my pay raise as soon as all of the paperwork is finished. Needless to say, I am quite excited and relieved. Now I just have to write a research paper, write my autobiography, complete some fact cards, do a presentation, finalize a notebook, write a final paper, and go to my last 4 class sessions. Easy, huh? One week left and it will all be over!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shell Shock

I'm sitting here in a little bit of shock. I think I just finished my portfolio. "Why do I only think this?", you ask. Well, for one it is very hard to believe that I am finished two days before it is due. For another thing, it has so consumed me for so many weeks that I feel like something is missing from my life. I have poured so much of myself into finishing this degree and this project that I am having trouble coming to terms with the fact that it is almost over. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to continue taking classes or anything, but it is hard to realize that I may be coming to the end of a journey. I have plenty more work to do this semester, but I am just going to take a few moments to rest and reflect on the fact that this journey is almost over and another one is about to begin. What that new one is, I'm not sure. I have a guess, but only God knows for sure where He is taking me. I am just willing to follow Him right now.

Here is a quote I put in my portfolio. I think it sums up the process completely. I found it with a picture I used for my cover.

"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."
~ Ursula K. LeGuin

Friday, June 19, 2009

Some New Recipes

I have been getting the Kraft weekly emails with recipe suggestions for a few weeks now. Since I have been avoiding working on homework today, I decided to open the email up and see what I could find. Well, I found two recipes that I decided to make today.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Prep Time:
5 min
Total Time:
25 min
4 servings, one sandwich each

What You Need

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 French bread baguette, 16 to 20-inches long (about 10 oz.)
4 KRAFT Singles

Make It

COOK chicken and onions in skillet on medium-high heat 8 min., stirring occasionally.

ADD barbecue sauce, water and sugar; stir. Reduce heat to medium; cover. Cook an additional 7 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

REMOVE chicken from skillet. Shred chicken with fork or chop into small pieces. Return to skillet; stir until evenly coated with sauce. Cut baguette crosswise into four pieces. Cut each piece lengthwise in half. Fill with chicken mixture and Singles.

* As always I didn't follow directions exactly. Apparently I have trouble with this. I also really like to use my crockpot. So, here is what I did. I put the chicken, water, some of the barbecue sauce and brown sugar into the crockpot. After letting it cook for a while, I shredded the chicken, added more barbecue sauce and some dried onion flakes (I didn't have an onion). I also didn't buy any French bread, so I used some hogie style rolls. I also used cheddar cheese because I like it better than Kraft singles.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mallow Bars

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mallow Bars
Prep Time:
20 min
Total Time:
38 min
32 servings

What You Need!

1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup milk, divided
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1/2 cup PLANTERS Salted Peanuts
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, coarsely chopped

Make It!

HEAT oven to 350°F. Mix dry cake mix, butter and 1/3 cup milk until blended; press 2/3 onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Bake 12 to 14 min. or until center is almost set; cool 3 min. Meanwhile, mix peanut butter and remaining milk.

SPREAD peanut butter mixture onto crust; top with small spoonfuls of the marshmallow creme and remaining cake mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate; press gently into cake mixture.

BAKE 18 min. or just until center is set. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

* I was watching "That Thing You Do" while making this, so I made a few mistakes. Luckily for me, this was a very forgiving recipe and still turned out great. One thing that is important to remember is to wait for the crust to cool before putting on the peanutbutter. I forgot and it made it really hard to spread the peanutbutter. This is a very rich dessert, so make sure you have milk (if that is what you like) or water on hand to wash it down.

Now, maybe I should actually get some more work done. Jason has diagnosed me with a severe case of graduate school senioritis. I believe it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Journey

For the past 7 months or so, Jason has been doing sales for a local publication. It has been straight commission. That comes with pluses and minuses. There is virtually unlimited potential for making money. The problem most recently has been that the people that he has sold advertising for have not paid. This leaves us in a fairly sticky situation. Anyway, last week, Jason went to an interview at a company here locally. It is probably about 3 or 4 miles from our house. They were interviewing for a marketing assistant position. He went for a second interview yesterday. Well today, he got a call from the company. He didn't get the marketing position, but they decided to create a position for him working with the owner of the company. I am so excited for him. He should still be able to go to school, but he will not be working on commission any more which is excellent news for us.

I am almost finished with school myself. I have most of my portfolio completely done. There are still a few things that I need to work on, but it is more done than not. This is good, because in the next week I have two tests and a paper due besides my portfolio. I am so glad that I have been working on this for the last month or so. It has probably made it a little less stressful than if I had waited until the last few weeks. That would have been crazy.

Please keep praying for Jason's job. I know I am excited about the prospects.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Farmer's Market and French Bakery

This morning we woke up really early and went to the farmer's markets in Dallas and Marietta. The one in Dallas is really small and we only ended up buying some wildflower honey and some peach bread for Jason's breakfast. Then we went to the one on the square in Marietta. It is a lot larger which is good, but parking is always a problem. It was really crowded this morning too. I'm not sure if this is because we got there about thirty minutes after it opened or not. We got some tomatoes (my tomato plant only has marble sized tomatoes on it), two potatoes, some broccoli, and the best smelling cantaloupe ever. After the farmers market, we went to Douceur French Bakery. This is the second time I have been there and I really wish it was closer to my house. They have the prettiest cakes and pastries. We got an almond croissant, pain au chocolat, and a baguette. Last time we were there we got the yummiest fruit tart. Sometime we are going to go for breakfast or lunch. They have the best sounding food and I haven't had a croque monsieur in so long.

I am in my last semester of school. I am so ready to be done, but I think my professors are trying to see just how much I can handle in six weeks. In two weeks, I have to turn my portfolio in. I am a little nervous about this, but hopefully by then everything will be in excellent shape. So, since I am having to put nearly all of my focus on school right now, I doubt there will be any good recipes or anything from me for a while.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spanish Rice (or is it Mexican Rice? I have no idea.)

Yesterday I made my version of Spanish rice. I took a recipe from thepioneerwoman.com and made it my own. Why? Well, first of all, I like to, and second, I didn't have all of the stuff that I needed to make the real recipe, but what I ended up with was excellent. So, here it is:

Spanish Rice

1/2 cups white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 or 2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion diced (I used onion flakes, because I didn't have an onion)
diced garlic (I used dried)
1/2 package taco seasoning mix (I was too lazy to get out all of the other spices and make my own)
canned veggies (normally I would just use black beans and leave it at that, but I didn't have any, so I used kidney beans and corn. I drained the corn and drained and rinsed the kidney beans.)

1. Use the chicken broth to cook the rice in. (I'm not going to go into much more detail, just cook the rice)
2. In a pan cook the tomato, onion, and garlic (If you are super lazy, buy the canned tomatoes with garlic and onion. They will work just fine.)
3. Add the taco seasonings to the tomatoes and let the mixture cook down.
4. Mix veggies into tomato mixture to heat up.
5. Mix rice and veggie mixture together (I usually mix it all up in a big bowl)
6. enjoy!

I'm sure this recipe is not very clear, but if you can figure it out, it is super good. It is one way I can get Jason to eat beans. He doesn't seem to mind if they are mixed in things. You can find the original recipe that I adapted here. If I haven't posted it before, the Mexican lasagna in this recipe is also awesome. You definitely have to half the recipe, because it makes a ton.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Strawberry Ice Cream

So today was Memorial Day and we had a picnic with our Journey group from church. I made ice cream. I love homemade ice cream. It is like the best stuff ever. Since I was at my parents this morning without my usual ice cream recipe, my mom found one for me in her Southern Living cookbook. If it is by Southern Living, you can be sure it will be good. This ice cream started with making a custard. I was a little wary of this, because it contained eggs, but it all turned out okay. One recommendation that I have though is that while making the custard, after putting in the sugar mixture, stir constantly. I burned mine some by not doing this. Here is the recipe:

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 c sugar divided
1/4 c all purpose flour
dash of salt
3 c milk
4 lrg eggs, lightly beaten
3 c pureed fresh strawberries
3 c whipping cream
1 TBS vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
- combine 1 1/2 c sugar, flour, and salt; set aside
- heat milk in top of double boiler until hot; add a small amount of milk to sugar mixture, stirring to make a smoth paste. Stir sugar mixture into remaining milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thinckened. Cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring often.
- stir about 1/4 of hot mixture into beaten eggs; add remainging hot mixture. Cook one minute stirring constantly, Cool.
- combine strawberries, remaining 1/2 c sugar, whipping cream, and flavorings; stir into custard
- pour into freezer container of a 1 gallon ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturers instructions. Mixture does not need ripening.
Yield 3 quarts.

Enjoy some this summer!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kraft Budget Wise dinner

I finally got around to going grocery shopping and getting the stuff I needed for the 1 bag 5 dinners thing at Kraft. You can find it here. I did one of the chicken and beef bags. Since I am home alone tonight, I got to choose what I wanted to make and of course I did not start with Monday's meal. I didn't even do Thursday's because today is Thursday. I made Tuesday's meal of chicken fajitas. Before I talk about that though, I wanted to mention the grocery trip. I had a very short list, and if I hadn't had to buy anything else, my groceries probably would have fit into one bag. I was really proud of myself for this trip, because I had about $50 to spend and I spent $50.02. I saved over $12 with coupons and my Kroger Plus card. All in all it was a good trip.

Now to the chicken fajitas. The recipe called for stir fry veggies. I grabbed a bag from the produce section and I really think that what I had would be better for Asian stir-fry, but I don't like peppers and onions, so it worked for me. As I was cooking, I thought it smelled and looked more like an Aisan meal than a Mexican meal. I still liked it though. I put cheese and sour cream on my tortillas with the chicken and veggies. All in all, it was a decent meal for me. I have no idea what Jason will think about it.

Now I am off to either clean the kitchen or work on my portfolio. Neither one of these options sounds really good to me right now.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One Semester Left!

I finally finished my spring semester at Berry. I thought it would never end. It was definitely one of the most difficult semesters of my life, personally and scholastically. I took two classes this semester. One of them was difficult in that I had to find time to test a single student multiple times. The other one was difficult in that the professor was unclear in grading and assignments. She also didn't really teach all semester. We have had presentations every week since February. Needless to say, I consider the class a waste of time and money, especially frustrating since I have been paying for my classes.

Anyway, it is all over. I will have my master's finished in July. I am so excited to be finished. I am ready to move on. This summer will be tough, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

Today we are going to ride the motorcycle to visit Jason's mom for mother's day. Jason hasn't really been able to ride for a week or so because of the non-stop rain we have been getting. He has been working on his bike though. He likes a project. :)

Sunday we are going to my parents'. The guys are all making dinner. It should be pretty good. I am looking forward to seeing my family. I haven't seen them since before Easter. They just live too far away.

Now I am off to eat some leftovers for lunch. Yum!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Slight Complaint

So, lately I have been getting doctor and hospital bills for all of the lovely stuff that has gone on in the last month or so. It seems like every day that I get a bill I also get a catalog, magazine, or some other baby related mail. It is like some cruel joke someone is playing on me. I have no idea how I got signed up to receive all this stuff, but my goodness does it mess with my head. I have been doing so well in the moving on department that it is not really nice for companies to send me cute baby stuff, especially when I have to get bills that remind me on the same day. My plan is to just keep giving this stuff away. It has good coupons on it and all. I can't use them, because I do not need to set up a baby registry or buy strollers or clothes or furniture. I wish I could just call one number, tell them what happened, and move on! I will never forget my first little one, but the constant reminders of how far along I should be and what I should be doing are not good.

That is all. Sorry for sharing the frustration.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Pretty Good New Find

I found something yesterday that I think we will be trying in the next few weeks. Kraft has posted 1 Bag, 5 Dinners recipes and shopping lists. You can find them here. I have a hard time planning ahead, especially with both of us in school two nights a week. The other nights, I just don't really feel like making anything amazing and the one night that Jason is in class when I am not, I don't want to go to all the trouble of cooking for myself. Maybe I'm just lazy, I don't know. Anyway, I can follow these basic recipes and buy basic ingredients and have five meals. I did notice that they did not include sides, the shopping list was for only main dishes, so if you are anything like me and do not have a lot of extra stuff just sitting around, you will want to include on your list sides to go along with the main dishes. I will probably have to edit some of the recipes/menus, because there are just something we don't like. I will try to remember to report back and tell you how that goes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Couple Yummy Recipes

It has been a while since I posted some recipes, so I thought I would put some up there today. All of these are from The Pioneer Woman and are so yummy. She definitely doesn't do low fat. :)

Here we go:

Marlboro Man's Second Favorite Sandwich

She doesn't have this one nice and typed up for me to copy and paste. Basically, the sandwich is chicken breast with lemon pepper seasoning, pepper bacon, and cheese. The cheese and the roll/bun are up to you. I used wheat hogie-style rolls and colby cheese. I also didn't want to fork out $6 for the pepper bacon, so I used regular. If you are making this for more than two, I would totally recommend the pepper bacon. I cooked these on the grill, because Jason had been craving grilled chicken. They were definitely a hit.


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup margarine
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 to 8 ounces chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together brown sugar and margarine. Add egg and mix together. Add flour, salt, and vanilla, and mix together well.
Spread dough onto cookie sheet to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2-inch.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly brown.
Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Return to oven for 1 minute.
Remove and spread melted chips over the top.
Cut into squares.

A couple things on these. I would totally use a mixer! I had a lot of trouble getting the butter to mix in with the brown sugar. It could have been that I was using butter and not margarine, I don't know, but it was not easy. Also, it seems to me that real butter is okay to use. It was all I had, so I used it. I think these are good, quick any time cookies. They were easy to mix up and really tasty.

Cinnamon Rolls

Another one I can't copy, but that is okay. Just let me tell you that these are excellent. The recipe seems daunting at first, but after starting the process (and I do mean process) it is fairly straight forward. I made these with Whitney from my Bible study and neither of us is a hugely experienced cook. Instead of the maple icing (which looks wonderful) we used store bought cream cheese frosting. This worked really well as well. The recipe makes a ton, so be prepared to share or freeze what you can't eat.

I guess you can tell where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I like a lot of Pioneer Woman's recipes and I like to share them with everyone else. :)

Update on our lives:

Jason bought a motorcycle this weekend. He is really excited about it. I have two weeks of classes left. I also got the due date for my portfolio and the date for my orals this past week. I have about two months to get my portfolio finished (started as well). I am a little worried, but I have a plan to get it done. I went to the doctor again last week to draw more blood. I really think my levels will be down this time. I really hope so. It is hard having to sit in there, not that I am jealous of all the pregnant ladies, but because it brings it all back. I finally came up with a non-crazy way to memorialize the brief life of our little pumpkin. I am planting two rose bushes in front of my house and I am going to find a little statue of a child to sit by them in memory of the little one that was taken from us too early. This is a way better idea than the tattoo that I contemplated in the days after we lost our pumpkin. :)

Well, Jason has made it home in hopefully one piece, so I am going to get dinner ready for him.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break!

Spring break couldn't have come at a better time. I really needed the break. I wish Jason could take a break with me, but the flyer business doesn't stop. Yesterday I went to Rome. I met my mom and my nephew at Schroeder's for lunch. I got my favorite and some of Zach's chicken fingers. After lunch we went to Berry and got flowers. They had so many pretty plants. I got some petunia and marigolds (of course). I also got some other flowers that I can't remember the name of and some New Guinea impatiens. I can't wait to plant them outside, but I have a feeling it will be a little while. The weather is too unpredictable right now. Earlier today we had snow! My little plants couldn't last through that. So, our house will look like a florist shop for just a little bit longer.

Today I went to lunch with the girls from my journey group. We had such a good time. I am glad that we are finally meeting people who live close by. I like seeing my friends in Kennesaw and everything, but I don't always want to drive that far to hang out with someone. It is also nice knowing that is we need anything, we have some friends close by that I know wouldn't mind us calling.

Tomorrow I have to go back to the doctor to get my blood taken. I don't think they are going to have to do anything else, at least I hope they don't. I'm a little tired of all the poking and prodding. Please pray the my hormone levels are at 0. I don't want them to have to do anything else to me. I am ready to move on and the more I have to go back to visit them, the more it reminds me of all we lost.

I can't think of anything else that is going on right now. I am ready for this semester of grad school to be finished. It is really trying to kick my tail. There are a lot of little things that I have to do and a couple big projects that need to be done that I don't feel like I have much guidance on. Oh, well. I will pull it out, I'm sure.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding our way back

Thank you for the thoughts and prayers. I know that it has helped us this week. We (at least I) am still having ups and downs, but we are working through it. I know it is going to take time.

I am officially on spring break. I have so much I want to do and so much I need to do. I want to get some flowers and make my house look pretty. I also want to hang out with some friends and get my guest room back in some semblance of order. I need to write two papers and work on at least as many if not more artifacts for my portfolio. Summer is just around the corner and I need to get my portfolio done. I will officially be finished with my masters in July. I won't walk until December, but I should start reaping the rewards in the fall.

There isn't much else happening here. I just wanted to tell everyone thanks. It really has meant a lot to me to know that I have love and support from so many people.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

There is a Light at the End of this Tunnel

To the two people I know who read this:

We lost our little pumpkin today. We are very sad, but everything will work out okay. I don't really want to talk about it right now, but I wanted you to know what was going on in our lives. Please pray for us.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yummy recipe

Every once in a while I get the Kraft Food and Family magazine. This issue seemed to have a lot of recipes for cheesecake type desserts. Since by Bible study group was supposed to come to my house on Monday, I decided to make one of the recipes. Here it is:

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Babies

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Babies

Prep Time:
20 min
Total Time:
50 min
20 servings, 1 brownie each

What You Need!

1 pkg. (19 to 21 oz.) brownie mix (13x9-inch pan size)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
20 maraschino cherries

Make It!

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

PREPARE brownie batter as directed on package. Spoon into 20 paper-lined muffin cups.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar, egg, peanut butter and vanilla with mixer until blended. Spoon 1 rounded Tbsp. into center of batter in each cup, pressing down slightly into batter. Bake 30 min. or until centers are set. Cool.

SERVE topped with COOL WHIP and cherries.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Prepare using PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese and COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping.
Cheesecake Brownie Babies
Prepare as directed, omitting peanut butter.

Oh my goodness, these things are delicious. We didn't have small group at our house, so Jason and I have eaten way too many of them. They are like a Reeses peanut butter cups. Anyway, I really recommend this recipe. I think it is awesome. I didn't include the nutrition info, because I just don't really want to know. If you have to know, you can find the recipe here.

Not much else is going on in the world of Jason and Tracie. Jason finished his first class at North Metro. He is now a Photoshop master. I registered yesterday for my last semester at Berry. I am so ready to be done. This semester has been difficult and exhausting. I'm sure it is not just school, but a combination of work, school, and everything else. It is a little too much for me right now, but I just have a little further to go. I can make it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

written to the tunes of Guitar Hero

Jason and I haven't had a light in our refrigerator for longer than I can remember. I know with this fridge, we haven't had one for over a year. I don't think our nasty fridge before this one had one either. Friday we went to the store and got a light. For less than two dollars, we fixed our $75 refrigerator's light problem. Why did it take us this long? I have no idea. It is kind of silly. Now we are surprised every time we look in the fridge. I guess I had no idea that fridge lights were fairly standard things. I didn't know you could just pick one up at the grocery store.

Today I had to pay bills. I usually really hate having to do this, but I looked back at all of the bills I paid last month and found that we have cut a lot of stuff off of our monthly bills. Most of what I have to pay is our general living expenses. We canceled our DirecTV. I paid off two credit cards. We no longer have a motorcycle to pay insurance for. It is all pretty cool. For the first time in a long time I feel like we are doing okay. I thank God for Jason's job and I know that things can only get better.

I bought some clothes at Old Navy online today. I hope they are comfortable. I was so uncomfortable in all of my work pants last week that I just had to find something else. It is not like I am really all that big or anything, so I don't know what was up last week. I have been comfortable all weekend. I kind of dread having to go to work tomorrow and wearing uncomfortable pants.

We had snow today! It was really coming down during church. When we got out of church the parking lot was all slushy. I just wish it had kept going. By the time we got home there was hardly any in our yard. I am kind of hoping everything will freeze over tonight and we won't have school, but chances are slim to none. That won't stop me from checking first thing in the morning. :)

I think that is all. We have been so busy. By the end of the week we both just want to crash. It is tough on us to both be in school during the week. Luckily I will be done in July. I can't wait. I will be walking in December. My mom insists. I was contemplating not walking, because I didn't figure anyone cared. I was wrong. I mentioned something about it when I was at her house and she said that of course I would be walking. I wanted to, but I'm glad someone else wanted to see it. So much will have changed by then. I am looking forward to where our little family will be.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Exciting Times

I didn't realize that it had been so long since this site had been updated. Oh, well. There is just too much going on right now.

I am out of school this week. I have enjoyed it, but I came down with a bad cold. I think I am about over it though. Thank goodness. I can now enjoy the rest of my break. If only I didn't have to go to class tonight.

Last weekend we had some exciting news, but I am not quite ready to share it with everyone yet. It is fun though.

We have found an awesome Bible study group through our church. It is so nice to have friends close by. They all came over to our house on Monday for our small group time. I made them chili and it seemed to be a hit. I have no idea though, because I couldn't taste anything.

Jason and I went to the Coke museum for my birthday. It was so much fun. We hadn't been to it since they opened the new one by the aquarium. Definitely worth the trip. Here is a picture of us with the Coke bear.I am almost finished with my classes. I have to take 3 this summer and do my portfolio and my orals and then I will be done. I am so looking forward to it. I won't walk until December, but I will have completed everything to finish up my masters in July.

Random thing I learned the other day. Traditionally, you are supposed to put two spaces after a period when typing. I had never heard this before until I came across something that said that they were changing it to just one space. I have never put two spaces after a period in my life. After asking other people this question, they said that they always do this. I asked Jason and he said he never knew it either. Did we miss something in our schooling? I have made it this far without doing it, so I guess I am okay. :) Just an interesting tidbit to think about.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Blessed Child of God

I have been having the best week. On Sunday, we met my parents and my sister's family to celebrate my birthday. My parents gave me new tires for my car. They are so awesome. On Monday, Jason had to take my car to the shop to get new brakes. While it was a huge, unprepared for expense, it is okay. We will be able to pay for them in no time thanks to Jason's great job. Jason also got us season tickets to the Cobb Symphony yesterday. (mentioned below) We went to an awesome small group last night with people who are similar to us. It was wonderful. Today, I finished testing early and went to pick up some supplies at one of the other schools and was able to leave about 30 minutes early. When I got home I had a letter from the Georgia Student Finance Commission. I had applied for a scholarship in the fall and did not receive it. This new letter awarded me the scholarship for last semester and this semester. It basically pays for most of my tuition. While this has already been paid, I shouldn't have to take out any more student loans to finish my masters. My book for my class tomorrow also arrived this afternoon, so I was able to do my homework. All in all a decent week and..... I have tomorrow off! I am celebrating my birthday with a day off work.

Now to find something to feed my belly for dinner.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Job Perks

Today, Jason closed a deal with the Cobb Symphony Orchestra. The Georgia Flyer donated advertising to the symphony. In exchange, Jason got us season tickets to the symphony. I am so excited. Anyway, I am in need of a dress and with that, some suggestions on where to look and what to look for. I really don't have anything nice to wear. I don't really dress up for work or church, so this is one of the first opportunities I have had in a long time to get all dressed up. We are planning on going for Valentines Day, so I have to start my search now. Yea!


I may have totally jumped the gun, but I found a dress! I looked at J. Crew, because I always like their stuff, but just can't afford it. Well, they are having a pretty good sale. All of their sale stuff is 30% off the sale price with the code EXTRA30. I have no idea when this will be over, because their site is having issues. Anyway, I found a dress. Regularly, the dress was $165. I have never had a dress that cost that much, except for my wedding dress. On sale it was $50, but I got it for around $47 including shipping and tax. Needless to say, I am so excited.

Here is the dress. Let me know what you think.
It is J Crew's silk chiffon Sophia dress. I love the words silk and chiffon. I think it will be so pretty. I wanted a more subdued color, but my sale choices were this or a bright yellow color. I have a feeling yellow would not look so good and we will be going for Valentines Day, so the color is fitting.

I have to go get ready for small group now. I am just way too excited about all of this.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Jason!

In honor of Jason's 26th birthday, I thought I would post the recipe for his favorite cake. Jason doesn't really like a lot of sweet stuff, so this cake is right up his ally. It doesn't have frosting. It uses Cool Whip instead. Now, this is a family recipe, so my directions are not going to be all nice and put together, but I will make it better than how it is written on my recipe card.

So, in honor of Jason's birthday and the two people who gave me the recipe (Jenny and Granny June) here is:

Strawberry Cake

1 box strawberry cake mix (make as directed on box)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbs. corn starch
3 oz. box strawberry Jello
1 box sliced frozen strawberries (defosted)
1 container Cool Whip (I usually get the bigger one, because it is better to have too much than too little)

1. make strawberry cake as directed in box. Bake in 13x9 sheet pan.
2. once cake is out of the oven, let it cool while mixing the sugar, water, cornstarch, and Jello in a pan over medium-high heat. Boil this until thick. (all I can say is that you will notice a difference. It becomes kind of like a syrup)
3. poke holes all over cake. Don't worry about being neat. The more holes the better, and any crumbs will be covered over with Cool Whip. I tear mine up pretty good.
4. pour the Jello mixture over the cake
5. cool cake in refrigerator
6. once cake is cool, pour strawberries over the cake and top with Cool Whip
7. If this is your birthday cake, put the appropriate number of candles on the top
8. serve and enjoy

This is a very yummy cake that would be very refreshing in the spring or summer. I can't say I have ever had it at that time though since my wonderful husband was born in January.

Now I have to get ready for his party. Chinese food and strawberry cake. Together at last!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Check out my Brother-in-Law on CNN!

Darren is a tour guide for Dialog in the Dark. Here is the video.

Miles Today

Today has been a beautiful day. It started out cold, but it is in the 60s or so now. Even though it was so nice today, I didn't even think about going to ride my bike. When I got home today, all I wanted was a snack (apples and peanut butter) and to play Tetris. Jason got me a Tetris game for Christmas and it is a lot of fun to play. Well, while I was eating my snack, Jason called me and told me that I should go ride my bike. I did and I rode about 6 miles. It might be closer to 5, but, regardless, that is still a lot. I am a little wary about riding on the SCT by myself, because a few years ago a lady was killed on the trail in my county, but I figured there would be enough people out today that I should be fine. The only weird thing was that a guy in the parking lot told me that I should be careful riding by myself and that I should get mace. Maybe I will look into that. There just isn't much place to put stuff like that in my ridiculous bike pants. :)

Last night was Jason's first night of class, so I was on my own. I decided that I wanted to make something good and different for dinner. I went to Kroger and wandered around looking for something yummy for supper. As I was passing the organic aisle, I noticed that they have a ton of soups in boxes. This led me to find a package of Pad Thai ingredients. I love Pad Thai and my middle of nowhere Kroger doesn't carry the brand I used to buy (not organic), so I haven't made it in forever. They also haven't carried my bean sprouts either. Anyway, I grabbed that and from there tried to figure out what I wanted to put in it. Usually I put chicken, but since it was just me, the world was open to me. Also, I didn't want to buy a package of chicken. Underneath the Pad Thai was some tofu. Again, since I was just making it for me I put that in my basket. Then I went in search of bean sprouts. Low and behold, they had my sprouts (mung bean sprouts for those that don't know). I got those and some peanuts and made my way to checkout and then home. All in all, my foray into organic/all natural cooking and tofu was a success. I really enjoyed my Pad Thai and Jason even ate some, tofu and all. Now I have to figure out what to do with the other half of my tofu.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Year, New Changes

There are a few new changes happening in our little family this year. It has kind of been an interesting start to a year. I'll start with the smallest one, but one I'm not sure I was really ready for.

Change number 1: Last week, Jason canceled our satellite tv. We currently have so much hooked up to our tv that we do not lack for entertainment. We were basically keeping the satellite because I wouldn't call an cancel. Well, they told Jason that we were paid up until the 25th of this month. That gave me a little time to adjust to not having the tv. When I came home for lunch today, I sat down with my Lean Cuisine to watch a recoded episode of J&L plus 8. For some reason, the satellite would not connect. Oh, no!! They have already disconnected our service! I didn't realize yesterday when I was cooking I was watching my last Gilmore Girls re-run on regular tv. Now I have to do some sort of computer voodoo to make it work. Things are oddly silent right now. I am going to have to make sure there is something I want to watch on our Netflixs queue or I will be out of luck.

Change number 2: Jason registered for art classes at North Metro today. He will be taking a Photoshop class two nights a week starting Thursday. I am really proud of him, but it means that 3 nights a week we will be spending in classes. I guess I need to start buying packable food and snacks, because it looks like we won't be eating dinner at home for awhile.

Change number 3: I'm going to call it my two degree shift (this is reference to the sermon at West Ridge on Sunday). Jason gave me a bike rack for my Xterra for Christmas. I realize that I live only a few feet from the Silver Comet Trail, but a big barrier to me riding Jason's old bike was all that it took to get to the trail. By the time I rode my bike through the neighborhood and off-roaded to the trail, I didn't want to ride. Anyway, Saturday was our first chance to ride on the trail after getting the bike rack. We rode 6 miles. The two degree shift I want to make is to ride at least twice a week. I would have ridden yesterday or today, but Jason and I have had some miscommunications about which car to drive and I have not had the car with the bike rack until it was too dark to ride. Tomorrow though, I am riding my bike!

Other updates: I am beginning my second to last semester of my Master's next week. By golly, I am so ready to be finished. Last semester almost did me in. Between work, my practicum students, and my own schoolwork, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I am hoping that won't happen again this semester. We will see. Luckily we have more breaks this semester than we did in the fall. That will help.

I think that is all of the changes that are going on in our lives right now. I'm sure there will be more. This is only the sixth day of January (Happy Birthday Beth!!!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Yumminess

Jason and I had quite a Christmas week. It started Christmas Eve and didn't really end until New Year's Eve. Needless to say, we both did not want to go out for New Year's Eve. I did want to have some fun though. I made a bunch of appetizers and set them up on the table for us to much on.

Here is the menu:
chicken wings
fruit with fruit dip
carrots with ranch dressing
hot artichoke dip
cheese and crackers

Here are the recipes for the fruit dip and the artichoke dip. I got them from my absolute favorite cookbook, Betty Crocker's Bridal Edition Cookbook. My mother-in-law got it for me when we got married.

I will include the changes I made to the recipes as well (I can't leave well enough alone).

Creamy Yorgut Fruit Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I didn't let mine soften, so I beat it in the mixer a little longer)
1 container orange yogurt (I couldn't find orange yogurt, so I used vanilla)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (I don't have an 1/8 tsp measurer, so I just put a couple dashes in)
2 Tbs coarsely chopped pecans [optional] (I actually really liked the nuts in this dip)
Cut up fruit (I had apples, grapes, and pineapple)

1. beat cream cheese in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in yogurt, marmalade, and nutmeg until smooth. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. spoon mixture into serving bowl. Top with chopped pecans. Serve with fruit.

I left mine beating in the mixer on medium for a while. It made it fluffy. I did this mainly because I didn't soften the cream cheese, but I really liked the texture after it had mixed awhile.

Hot Artichoke Dip
1/2 cup mayo (you can probably use Miracle Whip/grossness too, but I don't like it, so I didn't)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded)
4 medium green onions, shopped (I don't really like onions, so I just used some onion flakes)
14 oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
crackers or bread

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix mayonaise and cheese in small bowl. Stir in onions and artichoke hearts. Spoon in 1 qt. casserole.
3. Cover and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

I mixed everything in the corningware dish that I cooked it in. It saves me from having to watch a bunch of dishes. After I mixed the dip together I thought it looked a little bland (maybe this would have been helped by the green onions) so, I sprinkled bread crumbs on top of the casserole. It didn't affect the taste, but I thought it made it look pretty.