Posted in Blog, Family, Food, Holidays & Birthday, Home

A Bit Off Kilter

What do you think?  Better, more calming to look at?  I never know what’s visually appealing to others.  I suppose I just want something that doesn’t make anyone ill when they look at it.  Most blogs that I read are more of a neutral color.  Thought I’d update it, see if it made my food look any more appealing, ha!

So first, let me tell you how absent minded I’ve been – on the chance, that you too have been in the same situation recently.  Perhaps we won’t feel so alone if you realize that someone else is struggling to remember their own first name.

Friday morning, the alarm went off, I turned over and wondered to myself why isn’t he getting up?  He NEVER lies in bed once the alarm goes off.  He said, “are you ready to get up?”  Yep, let’s go.  We mosey on into the kitchen, I start the coffee and I take the stuff out of the refrigerator to make his lunch.  He looks at me as if I’ve grown three heads overnight and says, “I don’t work today”.  Ugh…light – bulb.  Wow, he had to remind me that he didn’t have to work.  That’s bad.

Saturday evening, I told the girls that we were having company for Easter and they needed to make sure to go to bed early, blah blah blah.  I made the comment, “well, you have school Monday.”  My youngest said, “No, we don’t!  We have another week!”  And I said, “No, you don’t.”  She panicked and had this wild look in her eyes.  She started running around, yammering about the calendar, she looks at the kitchen calendar – nothing, she grabs her iPad and looks up the school calendar…sure enough, they have another week.  At this point, I’m feeling like dumb and dumber.  This isn’t me.  I’m usually more on top of things and at least have some idea of what’s going on!  I feel like I’m here but my brain’s taking a short unscheduled vacation!

Easter was, to put it kindly, fine.  It wasn’t exactly the exciting family day I had envisioned, but it was sunny and warm so that made it wonderful in itself.  It was in the 70’s, which I was so thrilled about.  I’m tired of the cold, I’m ready for some comfortable warm weather.  (Next thing I know it’ll be flame on around here and you won’t be able to go outside.)

Easter dinner consisted of a baked ham with mustard and brown sugar glaze, duchess potatoes (that failed), creamed spinach*, sautéed corn bacon & scallions , angelic deviled eggs* and I even went out on a limb and heated up some King’s Hawaiian rolls!!  I was going to go the distance and make hot cross buns, but I simply didn’t have it in me.  I made carrot cake cupcakes*, an angel berry trifle and a lemon meringue pie.  The majority was eaten up and everyone complimented and said it was delicious. (I will post the recipes for the creamed spinach, the deviled eggs & the cupcakes in the next post.)

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We had the better half’s father and step-mother over so it was an intimate Easter dinner.  I served the food and his step-mom looked at the plate and turned up her nose.  I said, I know you don’t like spinach but you have to at least try it.  (She said the same thing when I made spinach bites one time, but she kept going back for more and couldn’t believe it was spinach!)  She said, I don’t like corn and I don’t like spinach.  I thought, oh terrific – at least there’s dessert!  She wound up eating everything and telling me it was all very good.  I have to laugh, she’s 84 and a real hoot.  I can only hope that I’m as “with it” at 60 as she is at 84.

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Today is being spent with the kids and their friends, doing family friendly activities before Spring Break is over.  I hope everyone has a fantabulous day!

xoxo

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Posted in Food

Well – It Was ‘Almost’ Homemade

Actually, in my world, I consider this homemade!  And it was really really good and really really easy!  Instead of actually grilling, I put the fish on a grill pan and cooked it on the stove for about 6 minutes, then placed it under the broiler for about 10 minutes.  I didn’t cover it as it says to do, but I would watch it so it doesn’t dry out.

Grilled Salmon and Black Bean Salsa

This recipe comes from Taste of Home, Almost Homemade June-July 2010

Makes 6 servings =1 salmon fillet with 2/3 cup salsa equals 324 calories, 13 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 28 g protein.

1/4 cup white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
6 salmon fillets (4 ounces each)*

SALSA:
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 medium sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 cup seedless red grapes, chopped
1/4 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing
1 tablespoon canned chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon brown sugar

In a small bowl, combine the wine, soy sauce and brown sugar. Set aside 2 tablespoons mixture for basting. Stir garlic into remaining mixture. Place in a large resealable plastic bag; add the salmon. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the salsa ingredients. Cover and chill until serving.

Drain and discard marinade. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Place salmon skin side down on grill rack.

Grill, covered, over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with reserved wine mixture. Serve with salsa.

*I used this particular salmon.  The flavor is better than most I’ve found.

Enjoy!

 

Posted in Family, Food

Regularly Scheduled Programming

It’s pouring rain and I am super lazy.  I believe the comatose feeling is the one that settles in after a having a high adrenaline day like I did yesterday; the tying up loose ends for the bathroom, rushing to the airport since it was almost 30 minutes ahead of schedule, the excitement of the girls stories of their trip and not to mention the fact that I woke up around 1 a.m. and didn’t go back to sleep until almost 3:15 a.m. and then woke up for the day at 4:30 a.m..  Yeah, I’m kinda tired.

I REALLY should be prepping dinner and making dessert instead of sitting here, but here I am hoping that maybe someone will find this recent recipe a part of their upcoming weekend dinner menu!

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Philly Cheese Steak Crescent Pizza

Makes 8 servings, 230 cal., 13 g. total fat, 15 g. carb., 12 g. protein

1 (8 oz.) can pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
8 oz. thinly sliced deli roast beef (I used Dietz & Watson London Broil)
1 T. purchased italian dressing (I used Kraft)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely chopped or thinly sliced onions
1/2 t. beef broth flavored bouillon (I just used a cube of Wyler’s and it worked fine)

Heat oven to 375*.  Unroll dough in ungreased 13 x 9″ pan.  Press over bottom and 1/2″ up sides.  Firmly press perforations to seal.  Wrap beef tightly in foil.  Place both crescent dough and beef in oven.  Bake at 375* for 10 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.

Arrange warm beef over partially baked crust.  Brush with dressing.  Sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven; bake an additional 8-10 minutes or until edges of crust are golden brown and cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add bell pepper, onions and bouillon; cook and stir 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.  Spoon cooked vegetables over melted cheese.

I loved this – it was just so doggone easy and it’s so versatile!  That buttery dough really makes it too!

Just a note: I do not recommend heating the leftovers in the microwave.  Unless, of course,  you don’t mind soggy crust.  I don’t, but the better half didn’t like it at all.  If you do find yourself needing to reheat this, I would place it in the oven on a cookie sheet.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Posted in Holidays & Birthday, Home

Spring “Broke”

Instead of feeling sorry for myself and wallowing in my own misery, I decided to do something productive with my “Spring Break” without children.

Our home is one of those – “well, that needs doing”, “oh I’ll get around to that”, “ooo I’d love to paint that” or “re-cover this” or “re-arrange that” – kinda home.  Like its occupant, it’s definitely a work in progress.  I believe I mentioned before that we haven’t lived here very long, only about four years now and each year, we move closer towards “finishing” the house.  I laugh out loud when I say that because already I have a desire to change one of the rooms we’ve already completed.  I might as well accept that’s just the way it is.  But also, that is one of the huge benefits to owning a home, you get to do what you want, when you want and it can take you as long as you want.  And it’s a good thing cuz my deadlines for most projects are seriously under projected!!

I’m one of those people that absolutely love paint samples!  If I could, I’d paint all the rooms in the house a patchwork quilt of color, that is if I thought it wouldn’t make the rest of my family nutso.  I have a collection of paint samples that at some point I believed were going to be the bee’s knees.  A few actually made the cut and went on to grow into a gallon and graced a wall or two, but most live on in their small jars only to be used on a random craft project, destined to dry up and eventually be carted off to the tox drop.

One such room vying for the patchwork effect was the girls bathroom.  They never, ever said anything, God bless ’em.  I’d go in every once in a while, with two to three samples in hand, paint over the gross and add to the ones that were still in the running.  This has been on going in their bathroom for about a year or dare I say even longer.  I used to try to keep pictures hanging over the small painted squares, but then I said, “ah da hell with it” and just started painting outside the box so to speak.

I decided long ago that the color scheme for the bathroom would be purple, gray and yellow, colors pulled from an artists rendering of a bunny rabbit that was purchased years ago in Tennessee.  It hangs in the bathroom over the chevron “S”.  In January I actually settled on a wall color and the girls agreed that they too approved of the color.  I purchased the gallon of paint and shoved it into the bathroom closet.  Monday, I finally broke the seal and began painting.

I’m happy to say that with the extensive help of my better half and his tolerance for my “I don’t feel like cooking, can we go out?” pleas, we managed to have it ready for their return today!  I’m so excited I can’t wait for them to see it!  Of course, I’m also the type of person that the reveal is my favorite part but a close second to that is the shopping for and decorating part which I did today!  I bought some storage bins and some shelving for knickknacks, mainly replaced the old and gave the already here a fresh face.  The dollar store purchases were my favorite!!

Here are a few photos of the before:



Over the course of the last year…


And the long awaited and anticipated today..


  

I really don’t remember choosing this particular color of paint, but I evidently must have since I had a whole gallon of it!  I was a little worried because I wanted more of a purple but this is most definitely a gray.  I am extremely happy to report however, that I really, really like it.  It’s called “Sensitive” by Sherwin Williams.  I’m so hoping the girls really, really like it too!

Thanks for reading and have a great night!  I plan to!

xoxo

Posted in Blog, Family, Travel

Letting Go

So today is one of those days.  One of those days where I get to give up being a parent – temporarily.  Don’t get me wrong, in some ways it’s a godsend, a termination of responsibilities for a period…or for lack of a better word, a break.  I know a lot of parents don’t get these breaks/respites and personally, I’m not really a fan, but…this is what happens when you are divorced…and you have children.

I don’t like putting my children on a plane, I don’t like waving goodbye, I don’t like letting them go.  A mother shouldn’t have to be away from her children, she shouldn’t have to be without her children, at least until her children are “able” to be without her, when they’re independent and ready to be without her.

I enjoy my time with my significant other, I enjoy being an adult sans kids, but that wasn’t the role I signed up for. I wanted them, I wanted to be a mom and I wanted to be and go places with them.  This wasn’t the version of the life I chose.  But it’s the hand I’ve been dealt, this is the one I must endure. I just hope they know how difficult it is for me to let go and that it’s tough and I so hope for them that history doesn’t repeat itself and they don’t have to experience the sacrifice that I must every time…I wave goodbye.

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Posted in Food, Holidays & Birthday

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

It’s been a whirlwind week!  I can’t believe the weekend’s almost here.  Time seems to fly right on by, doesn’t it?  This is house cleaning week, but I’ve still managed to cook every night and yesterday I even baked.  Today I’m crock-potting two corned beefs, (Is beefs a word, lol – sounds gross!) two briskets, two pieces of corned beef; one to eat tonight and one to make Reubens this weekend.  We love corned beef in this house, so much so that a few weeks ago my oldest requested it and that rarely happens, unless it’s a request for pizza. But with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I postponed making one until today.

For our St. Paddy’s Day menu, we’ll be having:

Ranch Deviled Eggs

6 hard boiled eggs
1 1/2 t. dry ranch salad dressing mix
3 T. mayo
1/2 t. yellow mustard
2 T. finely chopped green onions, optional
Finely chopped red bell pepper, optional

Remove shells from eggs.  Halve eggs lengthwise or crosswise.  Carefully remove yolks from eggs, place in small bowl.  Mash yolks with fork.  Add dressing mix, mayo, mustard and onions; mix  well.

Lightly spoon or pipe mixture into egg white halves (I put the mixture in a plastic sandwich bag, cut the tip off and pipe it in.  Then toss the bag, no muss, no fuss).  Sprinkle with red bell pepper. (I like to mine with parsley & paprika.)

Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.

1 serving = 60 cal., 5 g. total fat, 0g carb, 3 g. protein

Exchanges: 1/2 fat

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Spicy Corned Beef *
Makes 18-20 servings

2 corned beef briskets
1 medium onion, halved
1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
1 celery rib, with leaves cut into chunks
1 T. mixed pickling spices
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t. prepared mustard
1/2 c. sweet pickle juice

Place corned beef in a large Dutch oven, cover with water.  Add the onion, carrot, celery and pickling spices.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until meat is tender.

Transfer corned beef to a 13 x 9 x 2″ baking dish, discard broth and vegetables.  Score the surface of meat with shallow diagonal cuts.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and mustard, spread over meat.  Drizzle with pickle juice.  Bake uncovered at 325* for 1 hour, basting occasionally.

*Although I’m cooking my corned beef in the crock pot, I’m following the rest of this recipe.  I always add to the spices that come with the corned beef.  Usually just mustard seed and peppercorns, but for today’s meal, I added coriander, ginger, peppercorns, mustard seed & mustard powder, cardamom and bay leaves.  So yum and it smells divine!

Ham & Potato Pancakes *
Makes 4 servings, 4 pancakes each

3/4 lb. yukon gold potatoes, peeled, grated and squeezed dry (about 2 cups)
1/4 c. finely chopped green onions, green parts only
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup finely chopped ham (4-5 oz)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
2-3 T. vegetable oil
Chili sauce or milk fruit chutney (optional)

Combine grated potatoes, green onions and eggs in large bowl, mix well.  Add ham, flour, salt & pepper, mix well.

Heat 2 T. oil in large heavy bottomed skillet.  Drop batter by heaping tablespoons and press with back of spoon to flatten.  Cook over medium high heat 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Add remaining 1 T. oil, if necessary to cook remaining batter.  

Serve pancakes with chili sauce or chutney, if desired.

*Yes, it’s a bit odd to have ham & corned beef, but the better half said these looked so good so, why not.  No rules here!

I have also decided to make Beer Cheese with Pretzels, simply because the better half and I purchased a bunch of those pretzels they sell at fairs and so forth and we still have one sleeve left, so I’m going to try to use them up!

Beer Cheese

1 8 oz. brick cream cheese
1 8 oz. bag cheddar cheese
1 bottle Corona beer

Pour beer in saucepan, simmer 2-3 minutes.  Cut up cream cheese and stir until combined, add cheddar cheese and stir until combined.  Garnish with sliced green onions.

I will also be cooking cabbage.  Just frying it with some butter, salt & pepper and onion in a cast iron skillet.  Nothing fancy, but still very tasty!

Hope everyone has a terrific & sober (hehehe) St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted in Blog, Self

Cookbook Selection

I am in the process of switching phones – again.  This weekend my family and I went bike riding, my phone was on top of my sweatshirt and when I pulled my sweatshirt out of my bike basket, it decided to bite the big one on the sidewalk.

Aside from that traumatic incident, I selected my cookbooks this week and have already been using them!  I will post more later, but just wanted to share my distress and my success!

Hope everyone’s having a great week!