Thursday, September 30, 2010

We're Not In Hawaii Anymore

I admit it. I'm not feeling it lately. I have a few ideas about blog postings but nothing that gets me moving enough to actually type it out. I don't even know why I'm struggling, but I am.
We've been in this house with our stuff now for almost 2 months and I still don't feel settled. I get crazy motivated once in a while to get some things organized then I realize we're only here until July and wonder what is the point?
So, I decided to take a few photos of things that truly prove I'm not in Hawaii anymore.

First, the Canadian geese that hang out just outside my front door.
You don't see these in Hawaii.
This fire hydrant. It has a stick on top with a little flag on it. My husband tells me that it's so the snow plows can determine where the hydrant is when they plow the streets. Seriously? Will there be that much snow? Will I survive this? Definitely none of those in Hawaii.

Lovely fall colors coming to trees. No fall season in Hawaii.

Hello...warnings for icy roads. Oy, I won't be able to leave the house.
I do love the change in seasons. So far. Ask me how I feel in January.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Proud Army Wife Moment

Since I married my Soldier a little over 6 years ago, I've had lots of opportunities to be proud. Some of them I've talked about here and some I haven't even touched on.
One came tonight at dinner when Nick told a story of something that happened on his way to school this morning.
Let me preface this by giving a little history. In late May 2009 Nick was deployed to Mosul, Iraq. He was due home at the end of May for his mid-tour R&R which would be at the same time as Callie's high school graduation.  I was counting down the days and was ready to welcome my Soldier home. Very early Monday morning (Memorial Day, and he was supposed to leave the following day) my phone rang. I was still sleeping so it was around 6:00 AM. I could tell it was Nick calling from Iraq because of what was on my caller ID. It was very early for him to call. As I answered the phone, he asked if I had heard from anyone from the Army yet. My first thought was oh heck no, they are not messing up his leave and making him miss Callie's graduation. I answered no, that I had not heard from anyone. He then told me that his vehicle had been blown up several hours earlier. Now this was one of those times when in seconds you have 30 minutes of thoughts. I was thinking... I'm talking to him, he must be ok. So I asked a very wise question. "Were you in it?"  He said, "Yes! I was in it!"  Then I lost it. I knew he was ok but I knew he had come close to not being ok and I couldn't get past that for a few minutes. I was crying and he was reassuring me. He did hurt his back. The vehicle rolled over after the blast and the body armor along with the way he was harnessed into the vehicle (all of which saved his life) put a wicked twist on his back and gave him quite an injury. The driver was hurt badly as was the gunner, who sits atop the vehicle in the turret.
Anyway, because of this injury, my husband received a Purple Heart. Because of that Purple Heart, he has free license plates here in the state of Rhode Island that say "Purple Heart Recipient"
Back to today.
This morning on his way to work, he noticed a vehicle following closely behind him. He's not patient with these kinds of things, maybe because of the incident in Iraq, he feels closed in. He was just wondering what was wrong with this guy, when the truck starts to pass him. As he gets closer, Nick notices a United States Marine sticker on the truck. As it pulls up beside him, the guy driving the Marine stickered truck honks his horn. When Nick looked over, he saw a man that looked to be in his 70s. The driver of that truck popped off a very formal salute to Nick.  At this point during the story, I teared up. Alex asked his dad, "What did you do when he saluted you?"  Nick didn't say anything, but raised his right hand up to his brow and saluted and said I told him thank you" 
My husband is an officer. A former battalion commander. I've seen him saluted many, many times. Never have I been so proud of a salute. It always touches me when someone recognizes the service my husband has given, but when a veteran of the Viet Nam war era gives him that kind of respect it really does something to me.
It's a brotherhood that I will probably never completely understand.
I appreciate everyone that has served. My salute doesn't mean anything, but I do give it to all who have and continue to serve.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm....

Have you ever seen a dog do that thing they do when they cock their head to one side and look at you like "What??"  I have seen a few things lately that make me go "What?"
For example, Friday night Nick and I worked the concession stand at the high school football game. I had a group of about 4 or 5 girls come up to me and ask "Is it true that with a student ID we can get a free burger?"  Seriously girls?  No, it's not true. You get into the game with an ID but you don't get free food. Instead of "what?" I really wanted to say "What the mess?"  (that's what we say instead of something uglier. Actually, because of my husband being a huge Packer fan, he says "Favre" now instead of an uglier F word. So, he would have said, "What the Favre?" )
Anyway, I'm way off track.
Yesterday we made a three car caravan with our neighbors and headed north to the Brown University football game. It was the first night time game ever. They have lights on the field now. Well, not really. They had three trucks with portable lights around the field. You know the kind, the really big ones that will light up a football field. What they didn't have was lights under the seating where the concessions are. It was dark under there. "What the?"
Did you know Brown students get into their football game with a student ID too? Do you know what that means?  A boat load of college students trying to find seats at the first night time football game that was sold out. Seriously? Nobody thought ahead? We had to clear our two rows of seats of kids when we got there. We paid $20.00 a ticket and wanted our seats. We were packed in like sardines, the kids had no seats so they stood everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE.  By halftime we couldn't see for the kids standing down front. They were on each other's shoulders. They were standing on bleachers. They were loud. They were obnoxious. They had no shirts on and were painted in brown and red. They chanted the F word at the opposing team. Yes, they did. I can't make this stuff up. Chanting "F you, Harvard!"  Twice I heard that lovely chant.
I'm old. I'm an old fuddy duddy. I felt like I had paid too much for tickets to sit and watch obnoxious college students chant the F word in front of me. We left after the third quarter.
This was our view most of the time.
I stood to get this next shot.

I stood for this one too:

This next one was another lovely view from my seats.

You know, I don't blame the kids. There were no school officials, no ushers, staff or security officers. No one there to help us run the darlings out of our seats and keep them from standing in front of us. The student section was full. It was poor planning.
I'm definitely old.
I do blame the kids for their lack of respect for us old people. Come on, we can't see over you and we don't want to hear your trashy mouths.
I guess it just goes to show that college kids are all the same (mostly) no matter how much money you spend on their education.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Girlfriend Time

Today was a lovely day! The weather was gorgeous. My two girlfriends (neighbors) and I decided we just had to take advantage of this weather and do something today. We know that these lovely days are numbered.
We decided we would have lunch outside somewhere and preferably on the water. We are on an island after all, how hard can it be?
We loaded up and drove into town. On our way to the wharf to find a place to eat we found a beautiful art gallery with some lovely artwork done of the surrounding area. I did not get pictures because I figured it was frowned upon. I cannot afford the lovely pieces of art because I have two college students and a highschool boy eating me out of house and home. But I did enjoy browsing with the other two ladies.
We walked over and found Pier 49 Restaurant.
We were early so we sat with our ice water and visited while we waited for them to be able to take our order. I had a lobster salad wrap with sweet potato fries! YUM!!
Afterwards, we headed over to The Nutcracker Suite Christmas Shop. It was adorable!  I have to admit, I love Christmas and I love shopping for ornaments, decorations and gifts. I picked up this little local beauty.
How cute is that light house?
A few weeks ago, my neighbors and I were shopping at a little local gift shop and I bought this ornament.
Do you see a theme starting here? 
When I lived in Hawaii, I collected so many ornaments that before I left, I had a small tree decorated just with my Aloha treasures. I have a feeling I can do the same with a nautical theme very soon.
I can't wait to drag my Christmas stuff out, even though our house is tiny and I'm not at all sure where I'll put everything.
After lunch and shopping, we hit Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. YUM! I hate to admit, but this was the first time I'd ever had one. It was delicious. It had such a lovely pumpkin flavor. I can't wait to have another one!

This was yumminess in a cup. Of course I had a paper cup with a cardboard sleeve. I skipped the whipped cream. I'll find it easier to sleep tonight because of it.
I love my girlfriend time. We all know we only have a few months here so we're taking advantage of every opportunity to hang out. It's so nice that our families get along and we all enjoy doing stuff together.
This weekend we have high school football Friday night. I think the neighbors are going too. Saturday night we're all going up to Providence for the first night time game of Brown University. What fun!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Funny Stuff from the Dining Room

I am sitting here, reading blogs, minding my own business and I am getting tickled at my two men doing homework.
If you don't know what's going on, you'd wonder what in the world they're talking about.
5 equals 2 plus 2x2 over two and then ten is equal to six (and blah blah blah it's greek to me!)
"What does that say"  Oh well, you're going to write this over it's not legible."
 "Dad, I'm tired, I don't want to do it over"
"Well, you know this is a rough draft and you'll have to re-write. If you don't want to re-do, do it neatly now"
"End point equals what?
"Dad, where is that snake skin you told me about?"
"Outside, focus dude"
"End point was what?"
"Dude! Focus"
"Dude, that's a nine? It looks like a sperm, re-do it"
"Ok, go re-write it"
"Dude, what else do you have?"
"and history?"
"oh yeah"
"Dude, you're losing xbox for the night, go re-copy that, and bring me your history homework"
"Oh I don't have biology tomorrow"
"Why did you say you have biology?"
"Because he likes doing that class's homework"  (said by me)
"Ok, go re-copy that, it will take you 20 minutes, and then we can do history"
"Dad, it won't take me 20 minutes"
"If it takes you less than 20 minutes, it won't be neat and I'll make you re-do it again. I want it to look like numbers, not sperm"

Thanks to my two dramatic men for giving me something to write about.
The reason Nick was sitting with him going over every single thing was because we finally got our log in information to see Alex's grades and assignments online. Guess who's been stretching the truth a little about homework assignments?  Not our boy.. yes, our boy. So, we treat him like a child for a while and make sure his homework is done.
Question for you all regarding history class.
History book is in Alex's room. He tells us at the beginning of the year that teacher says leave it at home, it's big and heavy and you'll wreck it. I'm am left believing there are textbooks at school he's using in class.
UNTIL I see online on the parent page that homework hasn't been turned in. I go upstairs, and there is the book and I see that he has that class today.
We question the boy and he first says "He doesn't give homework"  Really? What's this?  We show him the assignment link and he acts confused. Oh well, we do have that sometimes and I do it in class and turn it in. Really? You have time to read the material, answer these questions and turn it in? When does he teach?
Well, he's not clear on what is for homework. Then I ask "Maybe it's written on the board and it's your responsibility to copy down the assignment?"  I got the eyes glassed over look. I'm losing him.
THEN I ask, when do you read the material?  He answers "in class"  but he hesitates a little. I know I got him then. I said ok, so you DO read it and answer the questions in class?  Right!
So, you have textbooks in class?  He hesitates a second before saying..uh right. I got him. I asked him two more times and he crumbled a little more each time. I finally said "Alex, you don't have a book in class do you?"  He said, ummm.. I don't think so"  Really? How are you doing the homework? You haven't cracked a book and you've lied to me.
The question is:  Do I contact the teacher to find out his homework policy? Does the book stay home and assignments get done here or is he supposed to bring his book?
Help! I can't stand a liar and I will check him on this. I just don't know how hard to push with the teacher.  Phone call or email?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lazy Weekend

I can't believe it's Sunday evening already. It's been a lazy weekend!
Nick had a "study day" on Friday so he didn't have to go in. However, he DID go in to do his studying. He's attending a school for senior service members and it typically goes from 8:30 AM to around noon. Except for Wednesday when he has his elective in the afternoon. Even then, he's finished by 4:00. He has a TON of reading to do with this school and several large papers to write. I've felt a little like a school widow because he goes upstairs to his study and reads for hours on most evenings. My friends who have husbands in this same school say their men stay there during the afternoon, do their reading and are free in the evenings to do other things. I'm not sure which is nicer. I guess it doesn't really matter. It's only for 10 months and we'll be finished. He'll add another master's degree to his resume and we'll go on to the next thing.
Anyway, I got off subject. Friday, Nick hit the library to do his thing so I ran a few errands. We had plans to go down the street to our neighbor's house for a potluck dinner. I needed a few things to help make my dish. I ended up making an appetizer (buffalo chicken dip) and "Your HomeBased Mom's" sour cream apple bars.  These apple bars were a HUGE hit. My buffalo chicken dip was a hit too, but people raved about the bars and I even had to leave some so they could have them with coffee in the morning.
We had a fabulous time with our friends. There were three families, all Army that are attending this Naval school, so we have a lot in common. We ate, sat around the fire pit outside (a common theme lately), made s'mores, drank wine and had great conversation . While we were there, we made plans for the next thing we want to do together. I think we're going to attend the first night game for Brown University this weekend when they play Harvard. This is a group of men who are die hard college football fans.
Saturday, we were truly relaxed. We stayed home, enjoyed our backyard and water view, watched college football and ordered hot wings delivery for dinner.
Today was the first time we have attended church here. We opted for the closest Catholic church. My husband is catholic. I am not. We compromise. Alex has not attended church EVER with his mother. I was shocked and disappointed that this 15 year old boy doesn't know Jesus or anything at all about the Bible. I aim to fix that.  We attended Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church. (seriously, go look at some of the pictures)This church is absolutely beautiful. It was established in 1828. The present site was dedicated in 1852. A little bit of trivia here for you. President John F. Kennedy married his bride in this church. I delighted in the beauty of this building. Such artistic works in there. Stained glass, inlaid wood, carvings etc. Even though I'm not a Catholic girl, I enjoyed visiting this church. We will continue to visit around until we find our fit.
Today, after church, we visited the Navy Exchange so Alex could purchase a birthday gift for his mother. Oh wait, we paid for that gift for his mother, he is just the one mailing it to her. I am doing that for him, not her. During the time he lived with his mother, my dear husband got not ONE single gift from those kids. Rarely a phone call on his birthday unless I had tipped them off that it was his birthday. Kids need to know these things and be taught that birthdays and other occasions are important. It's no wonder the kid is so self absorbed, his mother has taught him that. Another thing that I aim to fix!
I haven't had much luck in the menu making area this weekend. I'm struggling. I think with all the apple stuff last week, I'm just tired. I still have apples to put up so I'll work on that tomorrow. Someone throw me some easy ideas that my kid will eat. I think his pickiness is my most frustrating thing.
Have a great Monday everyone! I hope your weekend was as relaxing as mine!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quietly Productive

I have had a fairly quiet day. By quiet I guess I really mean that I wasn't frantic and unorganized so much today. I really got a lot done, but in a nice quiet way.
I walked this morning with my two neighbors. I haven't mentioned that I've met the two most fabulous women right here in my new neighborhood. We have so much in common. Kids in the same school, one of the ladies just sent her kid off to college as I sent mine off. Our husbands are in the exact same position so there is no rank playing or weirdness with that. We are definitely peers and that's a welcome change in the military world.
After my walk where we talked and chatted and planned our potluck tomorrow night, I came home to clean house. I dusted, vacuumed and swept my kitchen. I changed the sheets on my bed, did the laundry and then realized I still have half a bag of apples that truly need to be taken care of.
I pulled out my book and made a batch of apple sauce. It was seriously so easy and I put them in little freezer jars and was done. I didn't have the TV on, but listened to the local classic rock station which seriously rocks. I sang, slung apples around and then cleaned my kitchen again.
The weather was lovely. Cool and slightly breezy. I actually took a few minutes to lie down on the couch, pulled the throw over me and took a power nap this afternoon.
What a lovely day!
Tomorrow I need to make an appetizer to take to our potluck. I have no idea what I'm making so I'll be at the store. Nick has a "study" day so he'll be home. The commissary is having a big sale so I'll probably swing by there.
I love weekends and here we are already. I'm listening to it rain and thinking it's great sleeping weather!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's For Dinner

Thanks to everyone who asked about the apple butter. I think it turned out very well! I saved a little in a plastic container for us to have this morning. (I didn't make biscuits after all, because I overslept) However, I did make oatmeal and toast. The apple butter was delicious in the oatmeal AND on the toast. I think it's a keeper. Even picky boy ate it on his waffles this morning. He doesn't do oatmeal so he got frozen waffles and bacon.
So after my day in the kitchen yesterday I was feeling ambitious. I have been digging through blogs and other sites to find some good fall recipes. The weather here is cooler and I'm craving comfort food that I wouldn't have made in Hawaii.
My friend Mindee at Our Front Door has a fabulous blog and she has a whole section of recipes. If you go to her blog and click on the tab that says "In the fridge"  You will find lots of yumminess and the recipe that I made for dinner tonight. Spaghetti and meatballs.
Before I go bragging about how I pulled this off I must admit that I didn't make my sauce. I used a jar. The jars are so good that I rarely make my own sauce. I have done it, just not tonight.
So, I get ready to make the meatballs. I get the ingredients out, mix it all together, heat up my skillet with olive oil and pull the recipe over to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. Ooops, she doesn't brown hers in a skillet, she bakes them in the oven. Once again, I got ahead of myself on a recipe and messed it up. I had the pan with the hot oil so I browned them that way. I dumped my jars of sauce into a large pot and as I drained the meatballs, into the sauce they went.

Mindee also suggests putting the sauce and meatballs into your crockpot to cook all day. I planned to do that until I realized my meat was frozen this morning. I had to let it thaw THEN make the meatballs THEN cook them and put them into the sauce. Hopefully, next time I will be better prepared.
I also made the Pioneer Woman's Buttery Rosemary Rolls. Let me just tell you that these are by far the best rolls I have ever eaten. I could've skipped the meal and had the pan of rolls. They are so easy too! The hardest part of this recipe is remembering to get the frozen dough balls out of the freezer so they can thaw and rise during the day. Other than that, you brush some melted butter on them, sprinkle with some kosher salt and rosemary and easy peasy... you have gourmet bread.
I hit a homerun with dinner tonight. Picky boy loved the spaghetti and meatballs. He especially loved those rolls. He even ate the roasted asparagus I made. I call tonight a success.
Tomorrow night, I think we're having meatball sandwiches. I have way too many leftover and just can't bring myself to start over and make a meal.
Try these rolls and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Apple Butter

Well, I did it. At least I think I did it. I made a few little jars of apple butter. One of my main goals when I found out we were moving up here was to:
1. Go apple picking
2. Make something with those apples. Apple butter was at the top of the list
I can mark both those things off my list!
I started out at the store to buy jars and whatever else I may need. I found the food mill I wanted at Bed Bath and Beyond over the weekend so I had that covered already.
I got home and set it all up. Well, at least I thought I had it all set up.
My husband bought this cool little gadget for me so I could peel, core and slice the apples all at once.
I, however, could not get said gadget to work. Everytime I would crank the apple up toward the blade, the apple would fall off. I got frustrated finally and did this.
And this

Yes, I realize it's not on there straight and half the apple is sliced smaller than the other half. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
I consult my instructions (the TWO sources I had found)

Yes, I was checking both the internet and the handy book I bought today.  I also assembled the cookware I would need. Big pot to boil the jars, and another pot to cook the apples. (right about here Alex needed to be taken to football practice)

Once I had the apples in pieces in the front pot, I was ready to pour the water and sugar in. The recipe said 4 cups of sugar and I didn't read ahead enough to realize the sugar goes in AFTER the apples are cooked and smashed until pulp. Guess what? I had only 2 cups of sugar in the house. So, I turned everything off and drove down to the store for sugar. I picked up a bottle of wine while I was there. Clearly I would need it before the day was over.
Now, I'm back home, dump the four cups of sugar and two cups of water in and crank that bad boy up on high. Oops, this is where I realize I am not supposed to cook the apples in the sugar. Oh well, how bad can it be?
I forgot to get a shot of the apples cooking. I think I checked my facebook at about that time.
Apples cooked and food mill assembled. Here we go!
Apples are now pulp and ready to go back in the pot to be seasoned with sugar (already done) cinnamon and cloves. I cooked that until it was very thick. Meanwhile my little jars and lids are bubbling away in their jacuzzi bath getting all sterile.
Time to pour the now thick and seasoned apple pulp into the hot jars.
See how smart I am? I used a funnel and everything! The filled jars now go back into their jacuzzi bath to "process"  It is my understanding that after this is finished, the jars will seal and be ready to store in a pantry and not the fridge. I'm hoping so. I would hate to give someone food poisoning!
Here they are after boiling for ten minutes and being set out to cool.
I rejoiced in every "ping" the lids made as the jars sealed. I think I've done it! I've made apple butter! I left a little aside in the refrigerator to have with breakfast. That will be the true test. The taste test! I think biscuits for breakfast are in order.

I am now sitting in my comfy living room chair with that well deserved glass of wine. My family is fed and the kitchen is clean.. AGAIN.  I may have a second glass of wine tonight. I am feeling very productive.
I am ready to try jelly or some other way to preserve these apples. My seven little jars today barely put a dent in my supply. Looks like another trip to Walmart for jars.

Giveaway Winner!

Today is the day! I'm announcing the winner of the $35.00 gift certificate. I didn't use because, frankly, I'm a tightwad. I realized you must pay for it and decided to do it the old fashioned way. I had 27 entries so I made 27 slips of paper all with numbers on them. They went into a basket and my son drew one. (after REALLY mixing them up)
Number 9 is the winner!  Michelle at Married/Single Parent! It just so happens that I follow Michelle's blog and she inspired me to start blogging myself. It is very coincidental that she happened to win my first giveaway.
I couldn't be  more thrilled with the feedback and comments I got on the giveaway. Hopefully, I will have the chance to give away something else very soon.
In the meantime, I'll contact Michelle and get her in touch with the fabulous people at Happy Shopping!

Stay tuned for my post regarding my shot at making apple butter. I have the apples on the stove right now and have already messed up the recipe. Oy. Hopefully they still turn out ok.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall is in the Air

I've mentioned before that I've missed experiencing four distinct seasons. Fall has just started to show itself here in New England and I'm really enjoying it!
We've had a great weekend. Yesterday, we headed north to see Alex play in his first junior varsity football game. This is the first football game this 15 year old has EVER played. I give the kid a lot of credit. Not many kids would start this at his age.
The team lost, but in their defense, they were playing a MUCH larger private school who's ranked number one in the state. They played their hearts out and it was a lot of fun to watch.
Number 63, that's our boy.

Yes! He's doing it and he had a good time!
After the football madness (we'd been to the varsity game the night before) we headed home to watch some college football. Last night, our neighbors came down to watch MORE football with us. We enjoyed some Beer Cheese Soup and Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwiches. The name of the sandwiches is a little misleading because I use more than ham. I do turkey with pepper jack, etc.
We built a fire in the pit and made s'mores at half time. My girlfriend and I enjoyed several glasses of wine while the boys watched football inside. It was a wonderful evening.
This morning we headed out to a local orchard for some apple picking. This was high on my list of things to do during my year living here. I loved it and am glad I dragged my boys with me. I think they enjoyed it too.

There were several varities. This was one of many, and one of my favorites.

They had to reach the ones higher up. Did you know I'm only 5'2"?

Beautiful, aren't they?

These two ate several apples. They had to sample them, right?

They had chickens there too!

There were also some lovely pumpkins.

The fruits of our labor.

I am currently researching how to make apple butter. It's one of my favorite apple things. If you have tips or help, please let me know.
I would also love to hear your favorite ways to enjoy apples. I want to bake with them, cook with them, etc. I have a feeling there will be freshly cooked apples and cinnamon in our oatmeal tomorrow morning!
The weather is just perfect. Slightly chilly (long sleeves for sure) and overcast. I am so enjoying fall.
Don't forget to check out my first giveaway!  Leave a comment on that post (not this one) to enter. I will be wrapping it up Monday night.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Remember

I remember...

All who were lost.
Those who survived and will never be the same.
Those who fight today to keep it from happening again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My First Giveaway!

This giveaway has expired. Thanks for participating!

Yay! I love free stuff and it's my turn to offer my readers a chance at a wonderful gift!  How about a shopping trip? The wonderful people at CSN stores have graciously offered to give one of my readers a $35.00 gift certificate to spend in any of their online stores! CSN stores carries everything from dining tables to barware to linens to furniture of every kind. Who doesn't love to shop?
I decided to take a look around CSN's online stores myself. I found several things (ok, LOTS of things) I'd love to have. Check this out:

I can smell the roast cooking now!
Or this:

Did I mention our movers broke my wine rack?

I absolutely LOVE this table. I wonder if I email this to my husband if I could get it for Christmas?
I have only touched on what's available through CSN stores online. Please check it out for yourselves!

Here are the details:

•PRIZE: One $35 gift certificate to use at any of the 200 CSN online stores
•TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post, follow my blog, (if you already follow, leave a second comment stating that) link this post via twitter and leave a comment that you have, or link this post to your own blog and leave a comment saying that you did.(be sure to link it back to this post, not just my blog in general)
 There are four ways to enter! (if you do not have a blog, please leave your e-mail address in the comments)
•GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Monday, September 13 at Midnight EST
•PRIZE SHIPS: USA and Canada – note that there may be international shipping charges in the case of Canadian addresses
•OTHER: The winner will be selected using and announced on Tuesday, September 14.
 Good luck!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pioneer Woman and Chicken Spaghetti

Tonight I made the Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti for dinner. Oh my, was it delicious! This was not my first time to make chicken spaghetti, oh no. I volunteered for years at our Texas church's youth camp working in the kitchen. Chicken spaghetti was one of the favorite meals of the week. It happens to be one of my oldest son's favorite recipes.
P-Dub's version is delicious though. However, I did have to omit the cayenne pepper and bell peppers. Alex would never put anything in his mouth remotely spicey and I just don't do bell peppers. They don't like me. Don't ask, you don't want to know.
I did make another significant change to her recipe. Instead of boiling the chicken, I roasted it. I'm a huge food network geek and I love the Barefoot Contessa. Can I just say that I would love to live her life? I mean, let's face it. She lives in the Hamptons, has famous friends, and her husband works out of town part of the week and comes home on the weekends. How fabulous is that?
 Anyway, I digress. Ina Garten says never boil your chicken, roast it. I absolutely have lived by this rule since seeing this on TV. I roast chicken for casseroles, chicken salad and anything else I need a cooked chicken for. It's easy enough and it's oh so moist and delicious.
Start out with your bone in, skin on chicken breasts. Put them on your oldest most favored baking sheet like this.
As you can see, I've added some olive oil, salt and pepper. Easy peasy, right? Put those bad boys in the oven at 350 degrees until they're done. I don't know how long it takes, I wait until I can smell them. I check them then and pull them out.

Beautiful, aren't they?  Oh, and by the way, it's so much tastier if you use an old, well used baking sheet like this one. I've had it since my wedding shower. My FIRST wedding. (27 years ago. Yes, I was a baby)
Next, put a warm blankie (aluminum foil) over them and let them rest. I personally perform better after a little nap, so why wouldn't the chicken need one?

After they have rested and cooled, shred them. Or chop them. Whatever you prefer.

This is by far the best way to make a juicy chicken for any recipe.
After shredding, I put their little carcasses and these yummy juices and bits into a stock pot and made my stock. I used that to cook my pasta.

See all that chicken fat goodness? It does a body good. Well, it does my soul good. My body..not so much probably.
I regret to tell you that this is the last photo I took. I would've taken one of the finished chicken spaghetti but my family was starving and scarfed it down. It wasn't pretty.
I served it with garlic bread and steamed broccoli. The broccoli makes up for the cream of mushroom and chicken fat..right?
Now the dishwasher is humming. My boy is doing homework. My husband is either checking homework or has crawled into his study to geek on his own. My house is quiet and it's my favorite time. I think I'll turn on some mindless TV.
Check in tomorrow when I announce a giveaway! Yes, I've been offered an opportunity to give away a great prize. You don't want to miss it!