12.20.2007

Steak & Potatoes

I love potatoes. I love steak. I don't exactly stick to recipes every single time I make them, but I do always use similar ingredients and the same exact cooking method.

Steak:

I marinade for about 15 - 20 minutes (if I don't go to the butcher) in citrus juice & olive oil. Last night it happened to be tangerine, olive oil, pepper, salt and some Emeril's seasoning.

Let is sit out to room temp about 5 - 10 minutes before you put it in your pan. I always use a grill pan, I'm not sure why but I think I like the look of grill marks more than anything else.

Preheat your grill pan to a very high temp.

Sear on each side for exactly 3 minutes for thinner steak, 4 for thicker steak and 5 for a very thick steak. I still like my steak a little pink in the middle.

Let rest, uncovered for about 7 minutes - do not cover with foil otherwise there will be more carryover cooking and your steak will be overcooked. Ick, tough and chewy. Also, the citric acid helps to break the tough muscle tissue if you don't purchase your steak from the butcher (I happen to be cheap once a month).

Potatoes:

I used about 5 - 6 any brand medium size potatoes. I like leftovers, so this is enough for lunch the next day.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roughly cut potatoes into the same size wedges.

Put into a bowl and coat with olive oil, emeril's seasoning, garlic POWDER, salt & pepper. I think I also used Greek seasoning last night. I use garlic powder instead of garlic salt so they don't get too salty - you can always add salt after they've crisped up in the oven.

Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. I like my potatoes crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, none of those uncooked potatoes for me. I also do not touch them when they are in the oven, I don't stir them, I just don't touch them. Screw the mixing up - that's too much effort and I like to watch reruns of the Young & the Restless while I'm making dinner and that's an extra step.

Sadly, there's no leftovers for me to put a picture with. I'll have to make them again.

PSH

12.17.2007

Weirdo Monday

Eh. Life, right? Yeppers, it's been one of those weirdo Mondays.

Work has been a little odd lately (I mean like, you walk in and you know that something's up but no one's saying anything), so recently I've been loving going home to a glass of wine and a homemade chicken pot pie. So that's what's for dinner tonight.

Plus I have this weird knot in the back of my neck. It's on the right side, so it doesn't hurt if I turn my head to the left. Right now my body is facing right and my head is looking left at my computer. I think I'm going to start laughing my ass off if anyone looks at me funny.

Yeah, weirdo Monday it is...

PSH

12.16.2007

Finnish Pancakes

Growing up in a Finnish family was always interesting.

The food though, the food was what I loved and still love today. Finnish pancakes are an absolute staple in almost every Northern Minnesotan home (along with knowing how to batter fry fish correctly, yum!). Plus they're easy, cheap and pretty fun to make. Plus they look funny too! It makes for good morning conversation!

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon margarin (I use Country Crock with calcium)

1. Set oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put 1 tablespoon margarine in a pie plate. Melt in the oven.

3. While melting margarine, beat eggs and milk together, add salt, sugar and flour.

4. Remove pan with melted margarine, pour mix into pan. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until puffs up and edges are golden brown.

A good topping besides syrup is always apples & cinnamon. Actually, you can even sprinkle the pancake with cinnamon before you put it in the oven. The possibilities are endless!!!

PSH

12.13.2007

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I hate oatmeal raisin cookies. I loathe them with a passion. I'm not sure if it's because you get oats and raisins stuck in your teeth or if it's that my elementary school used to serve the worst. They were still runny with dough and the raisins were definitely not the Sunmaid raisins. Blech.

But for Secret Santa this year, my person loves them. I broke down last night and I made them. Since I've never made them because I absolutely hate them, I used this recipe and I actually liked them. I mean, I hate oatmeal raisin cookies and I ate a full cookie.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
America’s Test KitchenIngredients:
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 tsp salt
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 c. raisins

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets.
-Whisk flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt together in medium bowl and set aside.
-Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy.
-Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 mins.
-Beat the eggs in one at a time.
-Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture with a wooden spoon.
-Stir in the oats and raisins.
-Working with generous 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls.
-Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.(NOTE: Flattening the balls somewhat, into a disk shape, I found makes for more even cooking here)
-Bake until the cookie edged turn golden brown, 20 to 25 mins. (NOTE: Keep an eye on them here. You do not want to overbake. Take them out right before you think they are "done" and they will finish cooking on the cookie sheets)
-Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 mins.-Transfer the cookies with a wide spatula to a wire rack.
-Let cool at least 30 minutes.

I used a mix of white raisins, regular raisins and craisins instead of using all regular raisins. Also, I rolled the dough like I would a hamburger patty - kinda round, but more disk shaped. I heard on some FoodNetwork show the other day that this made cookies bake more evenly.

Well, I hope they're a hit! Because again, I say, I hate oatmeal raisin cookies.

PSH

12.09.2007

I'm So Lazy. I Think...

Eh, that's life. Right?

Yeah, I've been kinda lazy since September. I don't know why I'm not as motivated anymore. I guess work has been crazy and I really like to have either a glass of wine or a bottle of beer when I get home from work. I used to to do Pilates 3 - 4 times per week. How many times a week do I exercise now???

Zero.

Yep, the epitome of laziness. I mean, I play Guitar Hero - that's exercise, right? I park at the back of the parking lot at work and I walk up and down the stairs during the day. Plus every time I leave or come back to the apartment I HAVE to take three flights of stairs. That's not too bad.

I had a salad and a sandwich yesterday. Today I made tomato soup instead of cracking open the Campbell's. I cleaned the bathroom. I cleaned the kitchen. I walked to the gas station earlier today.

Oh yeah, and I hate the New Year's resolution of losing weight. Seriously, I mean you can make that resolution every and any day of the year. I would much rather make a resolution to go to Paris or to save money in a 401k than to lose weight. That task of losing weight is just so daunting. If I've gained 10 pounds since May, I think that I can probably lose that weight again just by doing what I was doing when I was motivated.

So motivation, here I come!

Oh yeah, and here's my tomato soup recipe:

2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
2 small onions, diced
4 garlic cloves
1 brick of cream cheese (1/3 fat or whatever it is)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rosemary (I had fresh on hand)
1 can of chicken broth

Sweat the onions and garlic together for 5 - 6 minutes. Add all other ingredients except cream cheese.

Then in batches, puree the soup in a blender and return to the hot pan. Add the cream cheese. Simmer for 20 minutes or until you can tell the onions have been fully cooked and are tender and the cream cheese is melted and creamy.

Honestly, you don't have to add cream cheese, I just had it on hand. It's still good without the cream cheese too!!!

PSH

11.30.2007

Shit, I'm Losing Things Again

Yeah, trying to be organized during the Holidays is hard. Especially when I'm trying to upload pics from my camera and can't find the correct USB cord. Crap. I'm screwed.

The crazy thing is, at home I'm not very organized at all, but then I go to work and I'm colored coded OCD about my files. And I'm organizing other people's files as well. I think I'm going to color code our files at home. That might make it easier, I'll have to use the same categories that I use at work so I don't confuse myself. I associate a category with a color: red - financial, purple - personal, yellow - reference, green - internal departments, orange - external departments, blue - samples/ideas/etc...

At work, we keep financial files for 7 years so my red category is usually arranged according to fiscal year, one person that I'm organizing, I'm doing by vendor - it's easier for him to see his files that way. By vendor also helps when you use several people a lot in one year or in one month. I also keep personal files for people, so they have places to put their PTO statements and things like that. Warranties and invoices are also saved, along with meeting notes and promotional samples. As you can tell, I keep a lot more organized at work than I do at home! I just need to keep the energy going from work to home!

Here's my categories that I'm going to use at home, these are easy for me to see:

Red - bills
Green - bank statements, credit card statements, tax info
Blue - warranties, instructions
Pink - Personal stuff for me
Yellow - personal stuff for CJ

Ok, since today was payday I'm on a hunt for a USB cord and a new filing system.

Ugh. I hate organizing. Oh well, it needs to be done!

PSH

Pot Pies... My Favorite

So I found this recipe on realsimple.com for super easy chicken pot pies. I've been making them once a week for about a month now - my hubby loves them and *gasp* he'll eat the leftovers! Last night he put a leftover one in the oven for 30 minutes, it was just like I made them the night before!

I absolutely love their fake it, don't make it recipes. They're all very easy, usually 5 - 6 ingredients in which you already have them on hand. On Wednesday I didn't have chicken, so I made beef pot pies with cream of broccoli and for frozen veggies, I had the Italian combo. I also added some Italian seasoning and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

1 8-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
2 refrigerated piecrusts (such as Pillsbury)
1 10 ¾-ounce can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Defrost the vegetables in a microwave for about 3 minutes. Cut 2 piecrusts into quarters, to yield 8 equal pieces. Coat the inside of 4 small aluminum-foil pans (4 ½ inches in diameter, 1 ¼ inches deep) or 4 ramekins with vegetable cooking spray. Line the bottom of each with a quarter of crust, molding it with your fingers to fit. In a large bowl, stir together the soup and milk; add the remaining ingredients. Spoon about 2/3 cup of the mixture into each pan or ramekin. Top each with a piecrust quarter. Pinch the edges together and cut vents in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 572(0% from fat); FAT 32g (sat 6g); PROTEIN 25mg; CHOLESTEROL 61mg; CALCIUM 71mg; SODIUM 1221mg; FIBER 3g; CARBOHYDRATE 46g; IRON 3mg

11.20.2007

Thanksgiving Menu

I absolutely love Thanksgiving. I do not love turkey. I like turkey on sandwiches and in omelettes, but not roasted, not deep fried, not baked, not blah. I skip the turkey and go for the sides, same as my husband.

This year I'm hosting his mom and dog. Yep, they're flying all the way down from Minnesota. Even the dog. The dog is old and to put it honestly, I'm worried that something will happen to the dog, like end up in Asia and not here in Indiana. I actually had a horrible dream the other night that the dog died and I had to bring it to Canine Companions so that it could be taken care of. I'm not telling the husband about that one!

My mother-in-law is kinda particular about her food. So I'm making something other than turkey.

Menu:

Beef stew
Green salad
Apple, onion and sausage stuffing
Caramel apple crisp
Mashed potatoes and gravy

I think I might even attempt a pumpkin cheesecake. We'll see if I get a springform pan at Target on my lunch hour today.

Wish me luck for my no-turkey Turkey Day.

PSH

11.12.2007

Holiday Baking

Ugh, not sure yet about what I'm going to start baking! I've just discovered that the oven actually bakes at a higher heat level than what you set it at - so over the weekend I made cinnamon streusel muffins, I cooked them at 400 degrees for 18 minutes instead of 425 degrees for 16 minutes. Geez Louise, renting is a pain in the rear end!

So here's my holiday baking list. I hate to say it, by myrecipes.com is my new best friend! The following recipes are from there, and I just can't wait to get started!

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11.5-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chunks
2 (1.55-ounce) milk chocolate candy bars, grated
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.
Pulse oats in a food processor to a fine powder. Combine oats, flour, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chunks, grated chocolate bars, and pecans. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 10 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.


Mississippi Mud Cookies

1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. miniature marshmallows

1. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels in a small microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chopped pecans and 1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels.
4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press 3 marshmallows into each portion of dough.
5. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks.



Caramel-Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust

With a yummy gingersnap cookie crust, this creamy pumpkin cheesecake is just what you need to wow your dinner guests during the autumn season. Prep: 29 min., Cook: 1 hr., 35 min., Other: 9 hrs.

Ingredients
12 crisp gingersnaps
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
8 tablespoons whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons caramel topping

Process first 4 ingredients in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter; pulse 8 to 10 times or until blended. Press mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add granulated sugar, beating just until blended. Reserve 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture for topping; cover and chill. Add eggs, 1 at a time, to remaining cream cheese mixture, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine pumpkin, 5 tablespoons whipping cream, and next 3 ingredients; add to cream cheese mixture, beating just until blended. Pour batter into prepared crust.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 1 hour. Remove from oven, and run a knife around edge of pan, and release sides. Cool on a wire rack. Soften reserved cream cheese mixture; spread evenly over cheesecake. Drizzle caramel topping over cream cheese layer; gently swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Cover and chill 8 hours. Store in refrigerator.

Tip: Make sure you don't cut into the cheesecake when swirling the caramel layer.

Yum! I just can't wait to get started - maybe I'll make something tonight!

PSH

11.06.2007

Color Inspiration

I've been inspired. Kind of. To do what, I'm not really sure! I'm a huge fan of http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ and then I saw this Matisse on their website. I guess I've always loved the color red - this is Matisse's Red Studio. In theory, I would love a red room, red makes me more creative and thoughtful. Sometimes it's harsh depending on if it's an orangey or a more bluish or greenish red. In my current apartment, there is no way in hell that I would be able to paint my hospitalish white walls any other color.
(I am currently on cold medication, so I apologize for my ramblings, as I sometimes forget that people don't like to read the ramblings of a 24 year old on mucinex & pseudophedrine, sorry)
In any case, my original point of this post was to actually post about my wondrous cleaning caddy. In it I have the following:
409
Windex
Swiffer dusters & plastic duster thingy
sponges
Lysol
Scrubbing Bubbles
My cleaning caddy is complete. Now I guess all I need to look like more of a dork is a cleaning belt complete with a place for paper towels.
Warning:
This post may be edited after I have gone off the cold medication. I'm not quite too certain of what I've written or how my thoughts are being organized in my loopy brain today.
PSH

10.31.2007

Apparently...

My blog is worth over $1,000. Who knew? How in the world can you calculate that? Truth be told, I guess I'm glad that people are reading my blog! That's kind of a scary thought though - I mean, how many people read my blog and then try out the recipes? Yeah, that's hard to calculate too.

People try and make money on some of the craziest things ever. Take for example my "donate" button on the bottom of this page. I wonder how many people will donate to me to try new recipes. Seriously, that's what the money will go for if anyone ever donates. (Oh, yeah, it's a secure, paypal thingy too) I will wait until I have enough to try something fun and dynamic. But then again. Who knows what will happen?

If someone donates, it may even go to my hubby's tuition - law school takes the cake over being a foodie and a bad organizer. Yes, maybe the money will even go to trying to help me become organized. At this point, I don't know, I'm just doing it for shits & giggles to see if anyone donates.

50 cents is ok too - I can buy one whole twizzler at Kroger for that much!!!

PSH

10.30.2007

Green Cleaning? Anyone???

Ok, so I do admit. I love my 409 and the sweet, sweet smell of bleach cleaning my kitchen. But now that I have a large bleach mark on my favorite pair of black pants that I normally wear to do photography (I'm not wearing them in the picture in this post), I've decided it might be time for me to give up the bleach. Well, the purchased cleaning solution bleach that is.



I have also decided that I hate the smell of vinegar. It's hilarious for me to read about green cleaning and then realize that I have to use vinegar. The stuff made me puke at french camp. Seriously, how can I turn green if I can't stand the smell of the stuff??? (But, I do use red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar for cooking, the smell is still there, but at least it's kinda masked)


Also - http://www.gaiam.com/ is the perfect place to buy environmentally "challenged" people Christmas gifts. I say "challenged" because I still see people who claim to be environmentally friendly using plastic bags and driving SUV's. That does not make me happy. Gaiam also offers stuff for sale that's been fairly traded with a variety of different cultures. I think I enjoy looking at those items the most.

The picture that's not me is from Seventh Generation products. Gaiam sells their products online but they are also available in most stores. Target carries their cleaning products, Kroger carries their stuff too! I can hardly believe it - green products in a Republican state! But, lo-and-behold, Indiana is certainly good for some things. The Dalai Llama visited this past week. I can't complain about that!

10.29.2007

I *GASP* Threw Stuff Away This Weekend

Yes, I did.

I am in shock at myself. Seriously. I'm usually good at giving old clothes to Goodwill, but for some reason, parting with household items is the hardest thing in the whole entire world for me to do.

Yesterday I was watching VH1 and they had a special on the top 25 worst decorating habits. One stuck out in my mind - THROW STUFF AWAY YOU DON'T LIKE.

So I did.

Whoops, there go the old candles since last fall that don't have much wax left in them.
Oopsie, the old yarn that I really can't crochet anything with, and there go the old coasters that I made when I was 14. I hate the scent of one candle, yet I kept it anyway because it was a gift. Well, that went into the garbage as well.

The fajita pans that we don't use very often - those will be on ebay and probably in the facebook marketplace soon. They take up room in my cubboard and I originally and stupidly bought them for CJ thinking that he would cook more. I was obviously wrong. I can let go of those...

Also, I have this stupid fake Santa basket for Christmas cards. That will be going to Goodwill because I found a new one that I like from Pier 1. I love retail therapy.

Also, all of the books that I've read, I'm making a library out of them. I will lend them out. I'm not afraid to do so!

I also need to get rid of two really awesome bar stools. They take up room behind our couch where I could actually be storing stuff. So, those will be listed on the facebook marketplace as well. And probably ebay. Maybe I'll even post 'em on Craigslist. I don't know, whatever. I just need more room in our tiny, one bedroom, 640 square foot apartment. I'm about to go crazy!

Oh, oh... Also, I need to find boxes to store DVD's in. The stupid DVD holder rack is bugging the bejeezers out of me - I'm not one for clutter anymore and I like things put away and closed behind doors. I'm ready to start organizing the DVD's and get those into our entertainment cabinet. That's going to be hard work!!!

10.25.2007

I don't normally post jokes like this...

But being from Minneapolis and hearing this, it's hilarious because I know that it's totally true!

From the county where drunk driving is considered a sport, comes this true story.

Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar in MINNEAPOLIS, MN. After last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so apparently intoxicated that he could barely walk.The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it. He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.

Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off--it was a fine, dry summer night--,flicked the blinkers on and off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights. He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left. At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road.

The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a breathalyzer test.

To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all!

Dumbfounded, the officer said, "I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the sherriffs office. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken."

"I doubt it," said the truly proud non-drinker. "Tonight I'm the designated decoy."

10.23.2007

I Need A Meat Mallet

Yeppers, it's that time of the week and I've decided to make stuffed chicken. Last night potato soup didn't go over so well (Ick, it was bland and just not good overall, next time, no broccoli, more salt and good Velveeta cheese). So I'm going to Target tonight to pick up a meat mallet to pound my stress away on the poor chicken that we'll be eating tonight.

Tomorrow it will be chicken pot pie. I don't think I'll be able to pound anything with those ingredients though. Oh well, save for tonight!

Here's the recipe that I'm going to stick to. It's from myrecipes.com (my current favorite website):

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese & Garlic

4 ounces goat cheese, softened
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (25.5-ounce) jar fat-free Italian herb pasta sauce
3 whole garlic cloves
3 cups hot cooked fettuccine (about 6 ounces uncooked pasta)

Combine goat cheese, 2 tablespoons basil, and minced garlic; set aside.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each half to a 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Divide the cheese mixture evenly among breast halves. Roll up jelly-roll fashion. Tuck in sides; secure each roll with wooden picks.
Heat the pasta sauce and whole garlic cloves in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken. Cover and cook 25 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve over pasta. Garnish with 1 tablespoon basil.

10.16.2007

Freezer Organizing & Stuff

I admit. I'm horrible at precooking meals and freezing them. I think it's mostly because I don't have my hubby's schedule memorized and so I don't exactly know what's going on when I leave work at 5 pm. So instead of freezing meals, I've decided to freeze ingredients instead. Here's what I'm doing tonight (besides making a CD for someone):


  • Chopping onions, green pepper and zuchinni and freezing them

  • Making apple cinnamin bread

  • Making beer bread with Sam Adams Oktoberfest

  • Cleaning the bathroom floor

  • Making calzones & freezing the uncooked calzones (then bake at 400 degrees for like 15-20 minutes or until golden brown)

  • Making potato soup

I am going to be a cooking and chopping fiend tonight, as I'm working ALL stinkin' weekend long for Homecoming and trying to finish up family pics & wedding pics. Jeez, Louise, what have I got myself into?



PSH

10.15.2007

Blog Action Day

Today is the one day in the world where everyone blogs about the environment and helping out Mother Earth, I don't know how beneficial this is but there are so many blogs out there, let's get this started. See this website for more info: http://www.blogactionday.org/.

http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/. Calculate your estimated amount of carbon per year. Caution: it will be in the TONS. And that's a lot of carbon.

Talk about the environment and you know how I'm a treehugger!

Let me post about somethings that can save the environment as well as your money!

http://www.seql.org/100ways.pdf

You'll end up being happy that you went to the above address and printed it out. I have a copy tacked to my cubicle (ah man, don't start with me on cubicle living).

Tonight, on your way home from work stop and get the good light bulbs. They really do help. Also, at Kroger they have canvas grocery bags, buy a lot. I think they're only 50 cents. Research household cleaners and how to make your own enviromentally friendly kind. Since they're homemade, they actually save you money too.

Being big on the environment doesn't mean spending your whole paycheck on crap. It means redusing, reusing and recycling. Just remember - for the most part, things that you do to save money mean that they probably also help the environment too.

PSH

Greek Lasagna

9 lasagna noodles
8 ounces lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, squeezed dry
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced pitted black olives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a medium baking dish with vegetable cooking spray; set aside.

Cook noodles according to package directions, but do not add salt. Drain.
Meanwhile, spray a medium nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Heat over medium heat. Add beef and onion. Cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Place mixture on a paper towel-lined plate; drain.
In a medium bowl, combine spinach, ricotta cheese, feta cheese, olives and 2 tablespoons mint. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in prepared dish. Top with 3 noodles. Spread some spinach mixture over noodles. Top with some beef mixture. Spoon 1/4 cup tomato sauce over beef mixture. Continue layering with remaining noodles, spinach mixture, beef mixture, and sauce. Cover with foil. Bake until filling is heated through, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining mint. Serve immediately.

Fettucine Chicken Alfredo

8 ounces Cream cheese - cut in bits
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
1/2 cup Butter or margarine
1/2 cup Milk
8 ounces Fettuccine; cook - drain, drizzle with EVOO & toss to coat
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste

In large saucepan combine cream cheese, Parmesan, butter andmilk, stirring constantly until smooth. Toss pasta lightly withsauce, coating well. Top with parsley, season with salt and pepper. Leftovers freeze well.

10.10.2007

Anthony Bourdain

Rocks my socks off. Holy crap, so I was watching No Reservations the other night - I couldn't help myself, I needed a beer to be drinking and watching this at the same time!

My dream job is totally being Anthony Bourdain and traveling the world and eating like crap whilst being thin and smoking and drinking like the fabulous person he is.

I'm in love. With Mr. Bourdain's job.

10.09.2007

Another Idea

Dang, I'm really on a roll with my ideas lately. Actually, I'm trying not to because we don't really have too much money to spend! In any case, I was thinking about publishing my own cookbook for family christmas presents this year too - so not just putting together dry ingredients with the recipes attached, but maybe actually doing a book too!!! We'll have to see how it goes.

Check out this website: http://www.lulu.com/en/products/cookbooks/

It has a TON of ideas, the only thing is, I'd be baking and cooking like no other for the next month trying to get pics of all my food!!! Maybe that wouldn't be so bad afterall...

PSH

10.07.2007

Christmas Gifts

Yeppers, it's almost that time of year already. Here's what people are getting from me:

Cheddar Chive Beer Bread

Ingredients

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Preparation

Stir together first 5 ingredients; pour into a lightly greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Pour melted butter over top. Bake 10 more minutes.



Peanut Butter Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients. Add milk and peanut butter. Pour into a greased 8 by 4 by 3-inch loaf pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes. Serve with your favorite jam.

I'm combing all the dry ingredients, putting them in a nice jar and then attaching the recipe to the jar. Easy, simple and super cheap! I'm still looking for more good recipes to give.

My Favorite Meat Loaf

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 2-ounce envelope onion soup mix
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups saltines (about 4 ounces), finely ground
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup barbeque sauce (optional)

Preparation

Heat oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, soup mix, cheese, parsley (if using), eggs, and saltines. Add the water and combine.

Transfer the meat mixture to a baking dish and form it into a 9-inch loaf. Bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes. If using barbecue sauce, remove the meat loaf from oven after 25 minutes and pour the sauce over the top. Return to oven for about 15 minutes more.

To Freeze: Wrap the uncooked meat loaf in a large sheet of aluminum foil and cover with plastic wrap. Store for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cook according to the recipe.

10.05.2007

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Yes, I do make my own mashed potatoes and gravy. Well, the gravy comes from a packet but I do make the gravy that you had as a kid in school - you know, the ground beef gravy. It's just so good!

Mashed Potatoes
Cube 3 Idaho potatoes, 1 inch cubes
Salt & Pepper
2 tbsp butter or margerine
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand, basil, parsley, etc...

Gravy
1 Brown gravy packet
1/4 lb browned ground beef/sirloin
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbsp grill seasoning (I use McCormicks)

Boil the potatoes until VERY soft - I think it's about 15 minutes, maybe longer depending on your potato cube size. Drain and put them back into the hot pot. Mash them with a potato masher or a fork if they're very soft. Add in the milk, margarine, cheese, herbs, salt & pepper. Stir to combine.

While your potatoes are boiling, brown your meat, add the steak seasoning. Then add your gravy packet, let cook for 1 minute. Then add your 1 cup of water, whisk all together. Let bubble and reduce down.

Serve with a salad. Yes, my meal does consist of just mashed potatoes because I can't stop eating them. Yum!!!

PSH

10.04.2007

I'm an 80's Baby alright!!!!

1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word SIKE.
2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton.
3. You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey on Blossom
4. If you ever watched "Fraggle Rock"
5. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
6. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
7. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.
8. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
9. You played the game "MASH"(Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)
10. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.
11. You know the profound meaning of "WAX ON , WAX OFF"
12. You wanted to be a Goonie.
13. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe)
14. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted
15. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.
16. You took lunch boxes to school...and traded Garbage Pailkids in the schoolyard.
17. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets
18. You still get the urge to say "NOT" after every sentence.
19. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets
21. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.
22. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know you are, but what am I?"
23. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"
24. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.
25. You have ever played with a Skip-It.
26. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that.
27. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.
28. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.
29. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
30. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool...and don't even flinch when people refer to them as "NKOTB"
31. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell," The ORIGINAL class.
32. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
33. You just sang those words to yourself.

10.03.2007

Binder Clip Recipe Holder


Today my goal is to pour over realsimple.com (yes, I do subscribe to their magazine) and find small things that I can do to help organize even more. Yesterday I found this super easy thing to do.

You know those black clippy thingys that hold together your papers instead of staples? What I did last night was what I thought kind of ingenious. I mean, I stole the idea from Real Simple, but I don't really know who else is such a dork that they would do this too.
I took one side of the metal clips off, hooked around our cabinet hardware and then put the binder back together. Then I clipped my recipe to it (I made pumpkin cream cheese muffins last night and I also made homemade chicken noodle soup). That was one of the more fabulous ideas yet!
Ok, I'm done with my "thingy" idea now. I can get back to being an organized foodie.
PSH

10.02.2007

Parmesan Crusted Chicken & Asparagus

I'm famous for my asparagus. Even people who hate asparagus love my asparagus. Ok, so that's totally not true but I can live it up for 5 seconds, right??? Last night was football night, meaning my hubby's gotta play football at 9 pm in the dark and in the cold. So I needed to make something that was light & healthy just so he wouldn't get sick from running around (ick, just thinking about it). And yes, Patty McTatty is now domesticated. She can make everything from pumpkin cream cheese muffins to parmesan chicken (although this is more like fake out parmesan chicken).

Asparagus
Heat your grill pan to high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Drizzle your bunch of asparagus with olive oil, salt & pepper and Emeril's Cajun Seasoning. Grill for approx. 7 - 8 minutes per side. Cover with tinfoil tent until done with chicken.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
1/2 cup of flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 - 4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce/marinara sauce, heated in the microwave.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together bread crumbs, parmesand cheese, salt & pepper and then the garlic powder into a shallow dish. Put the beaten egg in a shallow dish and the flour in a shallow dish.

Keep the grill pan to medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.

This is like your breaded chicken. Dredge the chicken in the flour first, then the egg and finally the parmesan cheese mixture. Then put the chicken in the grill pan. Brown on each side for 3 minutes, then stick the whole pan into the oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until chicken in done.

Top the chicken with the heated tomato sauce. I like the Prego Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce.

Yum!

PSH

9.29.2007

I Did It

I now have a closet doubler in my closet from Walmart. Yes, Walmart. I do have to admit that I was a little nervous picking up my package from the store because of some of the people that hang out there, but I did it. I made it to the back of the store without wandering around and getting lost and I got it!
This morning I pulled all of MY stuff out of the closet and hung up my new hanging rack thingy. I don't think there are better words to describe it. I put away all of my summer stuff, pulled out sweaters and long sleeve shirts. I packed away all of my shorts and tank tops (except for a few, I have sweaters that I like to wear over tanks) and put them in clear airtight bins at the top of the closet. My husbands not here to clear out his stuff, so that'll have to wait until he has a free weekend.
I've realized that I have too many clothes. I started a bag for donations and it's already filled. Tomorrow I will drop it off at Goodwill. I feel better knowing that I'm ready for Fall (even though it's already here) weather. I don't need any more clothes, I counted dress shirts, dress pants, jeans and the like so that way I know exactly what I have. I just need new bras (but then again, I can always shop at Vickie's right???) and maybe some new underwear.
The next step - color coding. We'll see how that goes. For now, I'm alright with my shirts on the top rung and my pants and skirts on the bottom rung.
The only thing is... I wonder how long it will last...

9.24.2007

My closet organizer


Did not come. Dang it! Well, I guess for free shipping, you can't really complain! The website did say 7 - 10 days. Oh well. This weekend!

Last night I made a HUGE pot of homemade chili. I only had 1/4 lb of ground beef in the freezer, which was fine because beans are better for you anyway. So here it is! You can add or omit anything that you think is too spicy. This is my fall recipe with my SECRET INGREDIENT as well.

1/4 lb ground beef up to 1 lb of beef
2 cans of Chili ready spicy beans (I buy the Kroger brand)
1 can tomato sauce (a large can)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can of pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamin (yes, this is the secret ingredient)
2 tbsp hot sauce (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bag of frozen corn (optional)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil

Like I said, this is for a HUGE pot of chili that you can freeze and use for the next month. It's worth it! You can ladel this stuff into individual glad containers and take it out as you want it.

Throw the onions, garlic and olive oil into a very large stockpot. Cook until onions are tender, then throw in the beef to brown. The onions will become clear as the beef cooks.

As soon as the beef is brown, throw everything else in except for the corn. Wait to put the corn in until about 5 - 7 minutes before the chili is done cooking.

Simmer for 25 - 30 minutes to make sure that the beans have combined their flavors with the spices.

Serve topped with cheese, green onions and crusty bread.

9.22.2007

Potato Soup - The Best of Fall

Ingredients

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth, divided
3 cups peeled, cubed potato (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (8-ounce) block 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
7 teaspoons shredded 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
7 teaspoons fully cooked bacon pieces
7 teaspoons chopped green onions

Preparation

Whisk together flour and 1/3 cup chicken broth until smooth.

Combine remaining chicken broth and next 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.

Stir in milk and 8 ounces shredded cheese. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese melts. Top each serving of soup with 1 teaspoon cheese, 1 teaspoon bacon pieces, and 1 teaspoon chopped green onions.

Note: We recommend freshly shredded cheese (versus the preshredded variety) for additional creaminess and even melting.

I saw this at myrecipes.com - I've never had potato soup with broccoli before, so this is going to be my new trial recipe. We'll see - it does sound good!!

9.21.2007

Hopefully My Walmart Closet Organizer...

Will come before the weekend! I'm totally ready to get organized, clean out our closet and start all over again. I mean who has time that crap anyway, right? Well, I made time! So instead of wrapping myself up in a cocoon tomorrow on the floor and sleeping while the boys watch college football (Go Gophers!!!!), or, wait, crap, I have to go tailgating!

Ok, it's the plan for Sunday then. No Jungle Room, just complete and utter organization.

Whoops, I mean chaos. I just hope I can do laundry in the same day so that way I can make sure that ALL of my clothes fit back into the closet!!!!

Oh and here's one for the Gopher fans:

Minnesota, hats off to thee!

To thy colors true we shall ever be.

Firm and strong, united are we.

Rah! Rah! Rah! for Ski-U-Mah.Rah!

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Rah! for the U of M.

M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A

Minnesota! Minnesota!

Yea Gophers!!!!!

9.20.2007

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Yum! I love cream cheese and pumpkin and muffins. Especially Starbuck's pumpkin cream cheese muffins! And after careful consideration, I found these on thenest.com. I decided that I have to make them for a birthday party tonight (along with bruschetta, which means that I'll be taking a trip to the grocery store after work). And I just realized that I need, like, everything in this recipe! I've been horrible lately with grocery shopping. I guess though, I haven't really gone for awhile so it figures, right???

'Almost Like Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins'
3c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin
1 1/4c. vegetable oil
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all incredients. (Except cream cheese and nuts) (I mixed all dry together, then mixed in the wet...) Fill muffin tins (greased or papers) half full. Put 1-2 tsp. cream cheese in the middle, pressing down slightly. ( I cut the 8oz. bar of cream cheese into 24 squares) Sprinkle with chopped nuts. ( I used walnuts)Bake at 350 for 20-25min. or until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part. Let cool in pan for 5 min. before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 24 miffins.

Inspired to Post Camping Recipes

So this morning as I was surfing a famously wonderful message board I came across a post asking about camping recipes. As an avid camper (I love my tent, my pillows, my sleeping bag and my cast iron pans), but haven't gone this year for obvious law school reasons. I'm very tempted to do it sometime soon. We'll see. These are our usual staple camping recipes when we go.

Black Bean Soup with Bacon

2 cans of black beans
6 slices of bacon
1 small onion, roughly chopped, reserve 1 tbsp for topping if preferred
1 cup of water
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp of cayenne
Salt & pepper to taste
Hot dogs - sliced if you want

Crisp the bacon first, remove and pat off the fat. Throw the onions into the pot with the bacon drippings. Heat until clear, then add the beans, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt & pepper and hot dogs. Add the water as well and heat all the way through until very warm. Serve in coffee mugs, topped with cheese & onions.

9.18.2007

What to do with Roasted Red Peppers in a Jar?

I bought those jarred roasted red peppers, mostly just to be cool in the check out lane and pretend that I was Giada, but I have no idea what to do with them. I've been surfing the internet in hopes of retrieving some sort of fall recipe where I can just kinda put these into something. I found something on the soup-aholic.blogspot.com blog that I think I might like. It's interesting when pouring over recipes - I need to have them easily accessible to me so that way I can just hit print from the laptop at home. That way if I get the recipe dirty, I can just burn it in the fireplace.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Ingredients:
- 1 cup of olive oil.
- 3 tablespoonsof minced or diced garlic.
- 2 medium sized jars of Roasted Red Peppers.
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream.
- Salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne.
- A handful of pine nuts.
- A handful of fresh basil.
Preparation:
1) Place the cup of oil and the garlic in a large soup pot and cook on lowest heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
2) Open both jars of roasted red peppers and set aside half of the oil that is in the jars.
3) Place roasted red peppers and remaining oil that was in the jars into blender.
4) Blend until smooth; work your way from the lowest blender setting to the highest.
5) Without stopping the blender, very slowly pour remaining oil that was in the jars through the top of the blender to create an emulsified mixture.
6) Pour red pepper mixture into soup pot and turn up heat to maximum.
7) Add heavy whipping cream; substitute half-and-half if desired.
8) Add salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne to taste; I suggest about 1 to 2 teaspoons each.
9) Keep a close eye on the soup, as it will greatly expand in the pot when it comes to a boil.
10) Reduce heat to medium when soup comes to a boil and let cook for about 5 minutes. Avoid overcooking the soup as it will Rbreak' and you'll see the oil separate to the top.
11) Slowly toast pine nuts on lowest setting until golden brown; chop coarsely and add to soup.
12) Thinly slice the fresh basil and either mix into soup or sprinkle over individual servings

Books That I NEED to Read

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude

The Wednesday Letters - Jason F. Wright

Playing For Pizza - John Grisham

Giving: How Each of Us Can Change The World - Bill Clinton

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything - Christopher Hitchens

Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky

Shattered Dreams, My Life As A Polygamist's Wife - Irene Spencer

Bones to Ashes - Kathy Reichs (um, duh, I am always reading one of her books)

Play Dirty - Sandra Brown (um, another author that I'm always reading)

Chili, Crockpot or Not, It's Still Great!

So here's my recipe for my crockpot chili. Seriously, you don't really need a crockpot but it's easier if you don't want to cook when you get home from work.

1 can of chili-ready beans (can be store brand, I buy Kroger Chili Hot beans)
1 can of pinto beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 packet of chili seasoning, mild, or whatever. I like Hot.
1 lb. browned ground beef or ground sirloin, whatever's on sale.
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Optional: 2 baking potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped

Combine all into crockpot. Cook for 7 - 8 hours on low, 4 - 5 on high.

Or:

If you have time and want to cook after work:

Two swirls of olive oil around a large pan, put in the onions & garlic, simmer until the onions are clear, about 3-4 minutes. Put beef in pan and brown (who cares about the fat, right? No, if you want to drain the meat, brown the meat first then add the onions, we usually buy lean beef though). Do not use potatoes in this recipe, as they won't be tender enough unless you microwave them first.

Add everything else to the pan and simmer on medium for about 25 - 30 minutes.


PSH

9.17.2007

I'm Getting Better

About organizing my clothes that is! CJ has an interview in Chicago this upcoming weekend so I'm all alone and ready to organize my stuff! So here's the plan, Stan...

1. Buy a closet doubling rod at walmart.com
2. Switch the shoe organizer from the bedroom closet door to the hall closet door to store cleaning supplies, hats, mittens, etc... Also, get an over-the-door hanging hanger thingy from walmart.com to hold the mop & broom.
3. Put over-the-door hangers over the bedroom closet door instead of the hall closet door.
4. Get more drawer organizers and make CJ go thru his sock drawer to pitch what he doesn't like. (Oh, and throw out old underwear & stained T-shirts at the laundromat, he won't notice them gone anyway).
5. Get a bill organizer. Put the bills on the day they are due on the calendar so you see EXACTLY the day you need them in the mail.

Grilled Mustardy Pork Chops

I totally made this one up myself. The actual cooking times are from one of Rachel Ray's books (as I am totally not the person to be cooking the perfect steak or anything like that. I tend to always over cook everything, so I decided to stick to her cooking times). And I LOVE, LOVE pork chops. My dad used to make these grilled paprika pork chops, but I still can't quite duplicate the recipe, so I'll post that one when I can actually figure it out!

4 pork chops

Marinade:
2 tbsp grainy mustard, such as "Grey Poupon"
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
Pepper & a LITTLE salt to taste
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in one dish. Combine with a whisk. Put the pork chops in a glass dish or in a ziploc bag. Pour marinade over pork chops. Marinade for 1 hour to overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sear meat for 3 minutes on each side in a grill pan. Then put in oven for 10 - 12 minutes. Let the chops rest for 5 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes & gravy (with juices from the grill pan) or wild rice.

Yum!!!

PSH

9.14.2007

I tried a Pasta Hot Dish last night... ummm....

I'm not sure if I like it or not! So this is what I had to work with:

Penne, marinara, ricotta, red peppers, onions & garlic.

I made a fake-out lasagna dish because I didn't actually have a pan for the really big lasagna pasta pieces. It didn't turn out too badly, but I wish that I would've had fresh basil and oregano. I guess I could've used the Greek seasoning that we have as well, but oh well!

Red Pepper, Onion, Ricotta & Penna Lasagna Fake-Out

1/2 lb penne, cooked to al dente
2-3 cups marinara sauce
1 small tub ricotta
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Fresh basil - maybe 1/2 cup
1/4 - 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Coat a medium pan with olive oil, toss in the red peppers, cook for 3 minutes then add onions and garlic. Cook for 4 more minutes or until onions are clear and soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, Put 1 cup of marinara in the bottom of a glass baking dish. Add 1/2 the pasta. Top the pasta with the ricotta cheese. Then put the red peppers, onions and garlic on top of the ricotta. Add the rest of the pasta. Top the pasta with the rest of the marinara and if you have it, shredded parmesan. I just used the crappy stuff in the plastic containers. Worked out well. Top that with the basil.

Stuff into the oven and cook until heated through and the cheese on the top is brown and crusty.

Not too bad for making it up myself I do have to say!!! Plus I also have lunch for today, woo hoo!!!

PSH

9.11.2007

The Laundromat
















CHEEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm in love. With cheese. Especially Brie. Paula Dean's recipe follows:

Brie En Croute

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, pre-packaged
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup walnuts
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (8-ounce) wheel Brie
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
Crackers, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Defrost puff pastry for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and unfold. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the walnuts in the butter until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and stir until walnuts are coated well. Place the walnut mixture on top of the Brie and sprinkle the brown sugar over the mixture. Lay the puff pastry out on a flat surface. Place the brie in the center of the pastry. Gather up the edges of the brie, pressing around the brie and gather at the top. Gently squeeze together the excess dough and tie together with a piece of kitchen twine. Brush the beaten egg over top and side of Brie. Place Brie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Serve with crackers. To give a special look, cut extra pastry into heart or flower shapes and bake until golden.

Real, Home-Cooked, Minnesota Chicken Pot Pies. Made Easy

The real thing. Yes. It really is. And man is it good! It's even better than Marie Calendar's! I miss chicken pot pie and I miss Fall. I love wearing my sweaters (but there's no room in the closets for them), I love soup and stew. I love cornbread and muffins and eggs and bacon. I just love the coming of Fall. Today it is 75 degrees outside and I already feel as if I need a jacket. Now that there's a lot of Fall recipes out there, I can't help but start to make them!!!! Oh, and start to put away my summer stuff. Ick. More posts about Fall cleaning coming up later.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 tablespoons salted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
12 small mushrooms, finely chopped (just buy the fresh, chopped ones, it's easier)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
5 tablespoons plus 2 cups flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (get the stuff that's already chopped)
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup frozen sweet peas (or more!)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 egg
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. well-shaken buttermilk
Egg wash (1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tbsp. milk)
Preparation
1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery. Lower heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain vegetables, reserving stock; set both aside separately.
2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt salted butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes. Add fresh thyme and 5 tbsp. flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until combined, then add stock and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste. Add parsley, chicken, cooked vegetables, and peas and divide filling evenly among 6 or 7 ovenproof containers (8 to 10 oz. each), leaving the top 1/4 in. unfilled.
3. Preheat oven to 425°. Unless you actually want to make biscuits, just buy Pillsbury's Brand biscuits and stick one on top of each of your ramekins. That works the best. The rest of the recipe is mostly for over achievers who want to make homemade biscuits. That's totally not me.

To make biscuit topping, sift remaining 2 cups flour with baking powder, baking soda, and remaining 1 tsp. salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work in unsalted butter to form a coarse meal, working quickly to keep the butter from warming up and melting into the dough. Stir in cheese and sage. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk and add to the flour mixture, stirring gently until a shaggy dough forms.

4. Lightly flour a counter, a rolling pin, and your hands. Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll out first ball to a 1/4-in. thickness, then use a 2 1/2-in. biscuit cutter to cut into rounds, scraping and rerolling dough as needed. Repeat with second ball.

5. Place 3 rounds of dough on each potpie, overlapping as necessary (any unused rounds can be baked on their own as biscuits). Brush dough with egg wash, put potpies on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 17 to 22 minutes.

9.10.2007

So I'm a Huge Dork

I am so NOT good at HTML. I like to copy and paste and when that doesn't work for me, I kind of give up all hope that I can do it.

And yet with Photoshop I can do ANYTHING. Man, see what being a photographer does to you... In any case, two weeks ago I had this fabulous conference in Indy with famous Photoshopper Ben Willmore. He has this blog ( www.whereisben.com) which I enjoy reading because he can do these fabulous things. Of course, if I were to spend the whole year in an RV with my D70 & my D80 and WiFi, I think I could do anything with Photoshop too.

But then again, someone has to make a living in my household... because Law School students make CRAP for a living. Seriously.

Going Vegetarian...



So I need to look for more vegetarian meals. Veggies make my tummy feel better (damn that IBS) and they are also way healthier for you than eating meat. So I'm on the prowl... The following recipe is what I would like to try later this week...



Pasta with Asparagus & Creamy Lemon Sauce


Ingredients
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta

2 1/2 cups (1-inch) sliced asparagus (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup fat-free milk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preparation

Cook pasta in boiling water 4 minutes. Add asparagus; cook 2 minutes or until tender. Drain.
While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and rind; sauté 1 minute. Add juice; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates.
Combine milk and eggs in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add pasta mixture and milk mixture to pan; stir well. Cook over low heat 3 minutes or until milk mixture is slightly thick, stirring constantly (do not boil). Stir in dill, salt, and nutmeg. Serve immediately.



Macaroni Roma


Thank you Nesties (giving credit to whom it is deserved is part of copying recipes, right?) So here's a recipe that I will have to try, as I love macaroni!

I've been trying to find some good casserole recipes, but those are kind of hard to come by, that's because my mom is the best casserole chef that I know and I can't help but compare ALL tuna casseroles to hers! So for this pasta I'm excited to try it because my mom has NEVER made anything like this before.

Macaroni Roma
8 oz. Package elbow macaroni
1 medium onion, diced
1 lbs. Lean ground beef or turkey
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. basil
dash of black pepper
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
½ lb. Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. oregano
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
28 ½ oz. can tomatoes
1 pint creamed cottage cheese
2 Tbsp. Butter melted
¼ grated parmesan cheese


1. Cook macaroni until tender as directed on package.
2. Rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly.
3. Melt ¼ cup butter in a deep skillet, add onion and garlic. Cook until transparent.
4. Add meat and cook until brown, add seasonings, tomatoes & tomato paste.
5. Simmer slowly for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
6. Combine cottage cheese and macaroni. Pour a little sauce in a buttered 2 ½ qt. Casserole.
7. Top with one third of macaroni mixture, one third of shredded cheese.
8. Repeat.
9. Use last one third of sauce on top.
10. Combine melted butter, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over top.
11. Bake uncovered in a pre-heated 325° oven for 1 hour.
12. Let stand for 10 minutes before servings.

9.09.2007

Grilled Red Pepper & Eggplant


Grilled Red Pepper and Eggplant
Coat 2 red bell peppers, cut into wedges, stems and seeds removed, and 8 1/2-inch slices eggplant with olive oil. Grill; arrange on a platter. Top with 3 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar. Add 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano and 1/2 cup crumbled feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I saw the above on MSN earlier today - I've been wanting to try more veggies that I don't normally eat. I've never made eggplant before so this looks like it'd be pretty easy to try!

And I guess, since CJ's been such a poop lately, I definitely don't feel bad cooking things that he doesn't like or doesn't want to try! That's normally how it works, you don't like my food, you eat your own. I guess that I'll try this later this week.

PSH

9.07.2007

The Organized Laundry



I'm daunted at the thought of doing laundry this weekend. I feel like I'm climbing up Mount Everest. The pile up is just more than I can take! There has to be at least $25 worth of laundry to be done at the laundromat. We don't have a washing machine or a dryer, so we're stuck paying for it until we have a place that has them. But I actually have ways of organizing this much laundry.

1. Sort out colors, whites & towels/linens. You should have three piles so far. Sometimes I put reds, blacks and khakis in their own piles depending on how much laundry I have. Tomorrow calls for at least six piles. This is the easy part.

2. Give each pile its own basket or laundry bag. This works incredibly well if you go to the laundromat because that way as each load is done, you can fold and put the load into the car without waiting for another one to fill up your basket. Plus, I have a ganglion cyst in my wrist, so the lighter that baskets, the easier it is!

3. Put your laundry soap, Oxyclean, bleach, dryer sheets and whatever else you use in the bottoms of your laundry baskets - that way you don't have to make an extra trip from the car into the laundromat. Also - stick some hangers in your basket for the clothing that you don't want to iron later on. It makes it easier to just Febreeze your shirts and pray to God that they look good when you don't have time to iron in the morning.

4. Pretreat your stains BEFORE you go to the laundromat, that means doing this while you're sorting.

5. Voila! You go to the laundromat, you're all sorted and ready to do the laundry! How easy is that???

Ok, one more tip that I should've put at the beginning, when you take off your clothes each day, put them into the different baskets so that they're already sorted and you don't have to sort them before you go to the laundromat!

Now it's time for Mrs. McTatty to do the laundry. Where the clean clothes will go when I get done, I'm not exactly sure.

PSH

9.06.2007

Does Going Green Get You More Organized???


I bought those energy savings lights about a week ago at Walmart. I thought, it's time for me to change all the lights in the house! Then I realized something, all of our lights are all different wattages. Oh, and the 60 watt energy saving lights aren't really all that bright, especially in your table lamps. I had to bring an extra floor lamp into my bedroom so that I would be able to read in bed at night. I was not too keen on that idea considering our bedroom is the size of a small walk-in closet and there's not much room for anything besides the bed and MAYBE one or two small dressers. I hate to say it, but going green may save your sanity to a certain extent but if you don't fully convert to going green, it's like your driving habits cancel out your green habits at home. I was watching a television show on TLC or maybe it was the Discovery Channel's program about global warming and it explained approximately how much output of carbon goes into the ozone layer that a single family can produce. Interesting.
I was really more interested in what I could do besides paring down our belongings and living like paupers. I mean, we already changed our light bulbs and the thermostat is set at 75 degrees. I'm not turning it up anymore, for pete's sake it's September in Indiana! Plus we also rent our apartment. I would love solar energy, but try and convince our Republican landlord about that one!
I know that going green can save you money. I also know that when you go green you really go frugal. It's not about your gas guzzling cars and keeping up with the Jones. It's really about how much of a difference one family can make on the environment. For instance, check out http://www.livingonadime.com/ or just google "frugal living." There's so many ways to save money, but those ways also help to save the earth. I'm always amazed at some of the crazy things that people do - but hey, whatever works, right???
Oh, and by the way, I'm still looking for articles about how to still be green while organizing. Give me some suggestions, I'm kinda at a lost for organizing our non-organic compound shoes, socks, clothes and bathroom supplies as well as our DVD's and office stuff.

9.05.2007

I Wish I Could Create Menus This Fabulous

As I've been cooking I've been thinking about menu making. On myrecipes.com, they have a ton of menus that you can make (or create yourself). They're supposedly time saving, right? This can start to be a part of my weekly organizing, well, I'm not so sure about organizing but at least I can see what I might or might not make during the week. The first part of this is really to make a shopping list and inventory what we have in the pantry so I save myself time at the grocery store. Hm, maybe menu making could work in my disorganized world! So maybe I'll post a French menu. Oui! J'aime faire du cuisine! If I can remember even an ounce of the french language...

Menu for One Night Only:

Vegetable Potage
Chicken With Garlic Croutons
Provencale Potato Ragout with Green Olives

Vegetable Potage:
5 cups water
2 cups chopped peeled celery
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 1/4 cups diced onion
1 cup diced peeled potato
1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple (1 large apple)
1 cup sliced leek
1/2 cup chopped peeled artichoke
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard thyme and bay leaves. Place vegetable mixture in a blender in 2 batches; process until smooth.

Chicken With Garlic Croutons:
12 ounces French bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 (4-pound) roasting chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 navel orange, halved
2 bay leaves
Cooking spray
4 garlic cloves, minced
Thyme sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°.
Place bread cubes on a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes; set aside.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse under cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Squeeze orange over a bowl to extract juices. Place 1 orange half, bay leaves, and 3 tablespoons orange juice in neck cavity. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under breasts. Place chicken, breast side up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Pierce skin several times with a meat fork. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone.
Bake chicken at 450° for 50 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°. Place croutons around chicken, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Remove chicken from pan, reserving pan drippings. Cover chicken loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin. Arrange croutons on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle pan drippings and garlic over croutons, stirring to coat. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until crisp. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Provencale Potato Ragout with Green Olives
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped seeded tomato
4 cups cubed peeled baking potato (about 2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup sliced green olives
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 10 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently.
Add tomato; cook 10 minutes or until the liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Add potato and next 6 ingredients (potato through bay leaves); bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in olives; cook an additional 5 minutes. Discard thyme and bay leaves.

Casseroles (Definitely Leftover Friendly)

So lately I've been into looking up casserole recipes. I think it's mostly because CJ and I don't have a whole lot of money and these are a good way to eat without breaking our bank, which reminds me that I have to start doing weekly menu planning anyway - Maybe that will be my next post! In any case, the following are recipes for casseroles that really peaked my interest. I'm so used to doing pasta, but then not baking it or making enchiladas with LOTS of cheese on top. So, here goes! I use tomatoes a lot, but I've been trying to find recipes with different tastes, and I'm also looking forward to cooking this winter! So here is a recipe that I found on myrecipes.com that I enjoy! I've tweaked this one to my family's tastes, but no matter what, they're still enjoyable and freezable.
Beef, Cheese & Noodle Casserole

1 (8-ounce) package small elbow macaroni
PAM Cooking spray
1 cup prechopped onion
1 cup shredded carrot
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1 cup store bought tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) 2% reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray or you can drizzle olive oil on it too - whichever you have on hand.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and carrot, and sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.
Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. I use a Le Creuset pan, but it can be glass or ceramic, I'd use ceramic.
Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan; stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1 cup cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture; stir. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Cornbread


Isn't it always easier to just buy a dang mix and hope that it doesn't taste store bought???

Exactly! That's what I thought! I found this on myrecipes.com for a basic cornbread recipe. I've never exactly thought I could make cornbread, but this is so dang easy! I can't help but make it once a week!

Basic Cornbread

2 cups buttermilk self-rising white cornmeal mix
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk

Preparation:

Heat a well-greased 9-inch oven-proof skillet at 450° for 5 minutes.
Stir together all ingredients in a bowl. Pour batter into hot skillet.
Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I put paprika on top or sometimes even cayenne pepper. Also, what's really good is is you put a sprinkle of sugar on top just before you bake it (I don't know why that sounds so weird, but it tastes really, really good!)

Also - this calls for you to put the batter into a hot skillet. I just shove a muffin tin into the oven while it's warming up. Then when I'm about to put the batter into the tin, I spray it with PAM. It comes out easy. Otherwise you can just pour it into a well PAM'ed cast iron skillet. The bread's a little harder to get out, but it still tastes really good!!!

PSH

8.28.2007

Quiche!!! Lorraine!!!


I love quiche. I've never actually made it before though, I've always ended up making fritattas (sp?) in a cast iron pan and praying to God that I didn't cook it too long. Well, I did that last Fall when I had some friends sleep over. I felt bad, but I think everyone was hung over enough where they ate it anyway. Oh, well. I've always bought those individual quiches in a blue package that come frozen and all you do is put it in the oven for awhile.


I decided that it's time for me to grow a spine and try to make quiche. I found this recipe on the food network website and I tweaked it to my liking. I'll be in Minneapolis this weekend, so I'm going to try and make it tonight or tomorrow night. We'll see how busy I am!

1 (9-inch) prepared pie shell (unbaked) that you get in the baking aisle
1 cup grated Swiss
1/2 cup grated marbled jack
3 tablespoon grated Romano, plus another handful
1/2 cup chopped medium onion
1 cup broccoli florets (fresh)
1 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
7 or 8 cherry tomatoes if you like them, I do

Preheat oven to 425 degree F.
Sprinkle the cheese over the bottom of the pie shell, then evenly distribute the onion, broccoli, and mushroom over the cheese layer. Mix the eggs and the spices together in a bowl. Add the milk and half-and-half and mix well. Pour over contents in the pie shell.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and place, cut side up, in a ring on top of the mixture. Sprinkle the extra handful of Romano over top. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 300 degrees F and bake an additional 45 to 55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

PSH

8.27.2007

Big Ten Network and my Golden Gophers

Organizing My Photography

It's a job that I swear is larger than life. I've had 8x10's from high school lying around the apartment, taken them out of their binders and somehow, they've ended up all over the apartment. Yesterday, I took an hour and sat on the floor in our bedroom and stuck them all back into their binder.

1. I put all the photos (I hand printed, enlarged, etc... myself in college, so they're still a little smelly, but at least I have them ALL) into plastic sleeves so that I could put them all into a 3-ring binder.
2. As I shoved them all into the 3-ring binder, I didn't really organize them by time period or subject, because I just wanted to get them out from under the bed and away from the desk, the bookcases in the living room, and just out of the living room, period.
3. When I have more time, and when I get new portfolios, I will most definitely organize by subject. But as you can tell, there's not too much time in my life for doing these things in one day. Plus, we don't have much money for organizing - I mean, we live in a 640 square foot apartment for Pete's sake. I'm not about to spend money when we're not going to live here forever!

I definitely feel much better, but I know that when I only have time for some things, that's all that I have. I've been very good about trying to follow the flylady.com's schedule, but I'm not exactly about to "shine my sink" on a nightly basis - as I wake up the next morning and CJ's usually made a mess of it again anyway. I'll have to train him.

8.24.2007

My Photography Business

Finally has it's own website!!!! I am completely jumping for joy right now, the only thing that I really need to do is put together more galleries and add more images, right now it looks like I've only done one wedding and that is so NOT true. So in any case, enjoy my professional photography. Eventually I will be adding more and more to it, not only to make sure that people know that I am a "real" photographer, but to have my own domain name instead of using a blog to promote my stuff. Not only is it way more professional, but I'm also a lot more proud of myself for making it myself.

www.psphotographyonline.com

PSH

8.21.2007

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Basically, crockpot chicken tacos. Yum! Thank you Nesties!

- 3 or 4 chicken breasts
- one jar of salsa
- one can of drained & rinsed black beans
- one pack of taco season OR 1 tbsp chili powder and 1 tblsp cumin and salt & pepper
- 1 package frozen corn (optional)
- 8 oz sour cream

Cook until chicken breasts are done (6-8 hours on low). Take chicken out, shred, put back into the crockpot along with frozen corn and sour cream. The sour cream cannot be cooked all day because it is a dairy product - put in 30 minutes before you are ready to serve this meal. Put in tortillas or serve over rice.

I don't usually make this with sour cream because my hubby's not a big fan. With the leftovers we make nachos and quesadillas. I also do a cheesy chicken dip too if there's enough left over and bring it to work the next day with tortilla chips.

Work Related Jokes - They Cheered Me Up Today!!

I'm not normally in such a bad mood, but lately it's been awful! So I did a search for workplace humor and these ones made me laugh. Outloud. In any case, there are some people at my work who look down upon secretaries, and let me tell you... I will not be a secretary forever and so those people can kiss my butt in two years when they're still here and I'm in a spacious chalet in the Swiss Alps. They could've been invited, but karma bit them in the butt and I won't return their attitude.

I always treat people the way that I would like to be treated and here I don't get much in return, and so my mom always told me, "Don't you hate it when karma bites you in the ass???"


Dilbert's Words of Wisdom
1. I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow's not looking good either.
2. I love deadlines. I especially love the swooshing sound they make as they go flying by.
3. Tell me what you need, and I'll tell you how to get along without it.
4. Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
5. Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If he isn't there the first time you need him, chances are you won't be needing him again.
6. I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem.
7. On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.
8. I don't suffer from stress - I'm a carrier...
9. Everybody is somebody else's weirdo...
10. Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.



WAYS TO KEEP A HEALTHY LEVEL OF INSANITY IN THE WORKPLACE
Page yourself over the intercom. (Don't disguise your voice.)
Find out where your boss shops and buy exactly the same outfits. Always wear them one day after your boss does. (This is especially effective if your boss is a different gender than you are.)
Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it".
Send email to the rest of the company telling them what you're doing. For example "If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom."
Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye".
"Hi-lite" your shoes. Tell people that you haven't lost your shoes since you did this.
Put up mosquito netting around your cubicle.
Every time someone asks you to do something, ask them if they want fries with that.
When someone hands you a piece of paper, finger it, and whisper huskily, "Mmmmmmm, that feels soooooo good!".
Put your garbage can on your desk. Label it "IN."
Determine how many cups of coffee is "too many."
Put decaf in the coffeemaker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over their caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
Walk sideways to the photocopier.
Leave the copy machine set to reduce 200%, extra dark 17 inch paper, 99 copies.
While riding an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.
If you have a glass eye, tap on it occasionally with your pen while talking to others.
When driving colleagues around insist on keeping your car windshield wipers running in all weather conditions "to keep 'em tuned up."
Say to your boss, "I like your style" and shoot him with double-barrelled fingers.
Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask "Did you get all that, I don't want to have to repeat it".
Reply to everything someone says with "that's what YOU think?".
Practice making fax and modem noises.
Make beeping noises when a large person backs up.
Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle.
Finish all your sentences with the words "in accordance with prophesy."
Signal that a conversation is over by clamping your hands over your ears and grimacing.
Shout random numbers while someone is counting.
Staple papers in the middle of the page.
Publicly investigate just how slowly you can make a croaking noise.
TYPE ONLY IN UPPERCASE.
type only in lowercase.
dont use any punctuation either
Repeat the following conversation a few times: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
As much as possible, skip rather than walk.
When nearly done, announce "no, wait, I messed it up," and repeat.
Ask people what gender they are.
While making presentations, occasionally bob your head like a parakeet.
Sit in the car park at lunch time pointing a hair dryer at passing cars to see if they slow down.
Ask your co-workers mysterious questions and then scribble their answers in a notebook. Mutter something about "psychological profiles".
Why not try some of the following neat little exercises, not only will it make meetings more interesting but your fellow workmates will become suddenly more alert and maintain a respectful distance. By following these simple guidelines during important meetings, you too can be an unmitigated success:
Discreetly clasp hold of someone's hand and whisper: 'can you feel it?' from the corner of your mouth.
Draw enormous genitalia on your notepad and discreetly show it to the person next to you for their approval.
When refreshments are presented, immediately distribute one biscuit to each of the attendees, then systematically smash each one with your fist in front of them.
Chew tobacco.
Wear a hands free phone headset throughout once in a while drift off into an unrelated conversation, such as: 'I don't care if there are no dwarfs, just get the show done!'
Write the words 'he fancies you' on your pad and show it to the person next to you while indicating with your pen.
Respond to a serious question with: 'I don't know what to say, obviously I'm flattered, but it's all happened so fast'.
Use Nam style jargon such as 'what's the ETA?', 'who's on recon?' & Charlie don't surf'.
Reconstruct the meeting in front of you using action figures and when anyone moves re-arrange the figures accordingly.
Shave one of your forearms.
Draw a chalk circle around one of the chairs then avoid sitting on it, when the meeting starts. When someone does eventually sit in it, cover your mouth and gasp.
Turn your back on the meeting and sit facing the window with your legs stretched out. Announce that you 'love this dirty town'.
Walk directly up to a colleague and stand nose to nose with him for 1 minute.
Mount the desk and walk along its length before taking your seat.
Reflect sunlight into everyone's eyes off your watch face.
Gargle with water.
Repeat every idea they express in a baby voice while moving your hand like a chattering mouth.
Gradually push yourself closer and closer to the door on your chair.
Hum throughout.
Pull out a large roll of bank notes and count them demonstratively.
Bend momentarily under the table then emerge wearing contact lenses that white out your eyes.
Drop meaningless & confusing management speak into conversations such as:' what's the margin, Marvin?"When's this turkey going to get basted?" If we don't get this brook babbling we're all going to end up looking like doe-eyed labradors'
Produce a hamster from your pocket and suggest throwing it to one another as a means of idea-exchange.
Use a large hunting knife to point at your visual aids.
Announce that you've run off some copies of the meeting agenda. Then hand out pieces of paper that read:My secret agenda1 Trample the weak2 Triumph alone3 Invade PolandRe-collect them sheepishly and ask everyone to pretend they haven't seen them.
Attempt to hypnotise the entire room using a pocket watch.
Leave long pauses in your speech at random moments. When someone is prompted to interject shout 'I AM NOT FINISHED'.