Sunday, February 27, 2011

What I’m Reading

I don’t blog much about books and reading, there are plenty of those blogs out there, but I since I’ve set a goal to read 100 books this year, I’m going to write a little to keep myself accountable.  Truthfully, I need to step back and count what I’ve read already. I don’t even know where I am in this 100 book goal.  While doing this reading, I’m trying to get as many book as possible from the local library.  We have a very nice library here and the luxury of a bookmobile that comes right to my neighborhood once a week.  So, I’m hoping I can get a good start on this reading goal.

Last week, at the library, I checked out the book “ The Plain Truth” By Jodi Picoult. 



I have only read one other book by this author and it was “My Sister’s Keeper” at  a friend’s recommendation. It was a fabulous book.  I decided, because of that last book, I would check her out again. This one is no disappointment. It’s about blending the Amish world with the world we know.  A young Amish girl is accused of birthing and murdering a newborn baby. A worldly attorney, who is starting over in her life at  age 39, takes her defense in court.  I’m not finished with this book yet, but can’t wait to get back to it. Jodi seems to really pull me in and has very lifelike characters.

I am not going to pretend to be good at reviewing books, but I will share my reads once in a while. I do love to read but I realize, that my reading choices can be considered “fluff” to some.

I’m also looking forward to reading some fiction based on history here in my small town. I need to do a bit more research, then plug my finds into the local library’s website, and sit back and wait on the bookmobile.  What a deal, huh?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ravioli and Herbed Bread

I mentioned that I would be making Jennifer’s Pan Seared Shrimp and Four Cheese Ravioli with Vodka Cream Sauce.  I made this a few nights ago and it was beyond delicious. Nick loved it, I loved it and we want it again!

I wanted to make some kind of herbed bread with it, so I found this recipe on  It’s called Jo’s Rosemary Bread and it’s wonderful!!  I could have eaten the whole loaf.
Here it is about to go into the oven.
Here it is after it had been baked. It smelled soooo good and tasted wonderful!  I poured up some extra virgin olive oil with fresh cracked pepper for dipping.
This was a feast worthy of any Italian restaurant. If you’re craving really good pasta with an awesome sauce, try these raviolis and their vodka sauce.  For some simple herby bread, I definitely recommend this one.
Today I’ve been a baking fool. I promised my father-in-law more fudge (he’s been asking since Christmas) so I made that yesterday and decided the mailing box is quite empty with just fudge in it. I used up some very ugly looking bananas and made him some bread.  One of Callie’s favorite cookies is Ranger Cookies and I almost never make them.. so I made her a batch of cookies to go into her next care package.
I found a delicious looking recipe for tonight’s dinner. As soon as I saw it this morning, I knew I had to substitute the lemon chicken I was going to make with it.  Check out Your Home Based Mom’s Chicken Parmesan Soup  It’s rainy and yucky here today so I figured this is a perfect feel good dinner for that kind of weather. I am making Michelle’s Italian bread to go with it. YUMMMM!
I have had a wonderful week of trying new recipes while Alex has been gone.  Most of them, I knew he wouldn’t eat, so it was the perfect time. Nick really loved being spoiled with such special dishes.  He’s telling me now, that it doesn’t matter if the boy likes them, I should make them more anyway.  We’ll see how that goes. I’m not sure I can let the boy live on PB&J just so we can eat what we want. However, I do think he needs to broaden his horizons a little and try different things. Maybe I will try to ease him into it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dinner Win!

Since Alex is gone this week, I’ve decided to try a few new recipes that I know wouldn’t fly if he were here. Last night I made Pioneer Woman’s Enchiladas.  Her record still stands in our house! I have never made one of her dishes that Nick and I didn’t absolutely love.  He raved about these enchiladas, and I must say, they were delicious. 
If you like this kind of food, and aren’t cooking for a picky eater, you must try these enchiladas. I’m already thinking of ways to tweak this dish to make different kinds of enchiladas.  Cheese, chicken…I think the possibilities are endless. I will add that I didn't include the black olives or the cilantro. While I like black olives as a garnish with Mexican food, I don't want them inside my enchiladas. I'm just not a big fan of cilantro, so I left it out.
Please go to P-Dub’s website and check out this recipe.
On Sunday, I made Nick’s requested Corned Beef and Cabbage. I made this for him once back in Texas (I don’t even remember it) and he’s raved about it ever since.  Seriously.. how easy could that be? I buy the beef brisket already packaged with the corned beefy seasonings and simmer for a few hours. I add the cabbage during the last 30 minutes.  I wanted to make some kind of bread to go with it and what better than an Irish Soda Bread?  I googled this and found an amazing recipe. Once again, Dinner Win!!! Nick loves the bread, and has requested it again. It’s easy and doesn’t take a long time.
I found the recipe at  You can find it here:   Irish Soda Bread
Tonight is a ravioli with vodka cream sauce that I found over at Jennifer’s Jane Deere site. I love her food. I’ve known Jennifer for years and have eaten her cooking. I think she’s only become a better and better cook since she is a mom and has a family to care for now. Please check her and her yummy recipes as soon as possible!!
Today is Wednesday already and Nick has another day off. Long story, but suffice it to say, we’ve become spoiled and a bit lazy this year with school. I’m not complaining, I’m sure the Army will have him working long hours soon enough. Happy Hump Day everyone!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly Menu 20–26 February

Since my picky eater is gone for a week (it’s winter break here) I decided to make dishes that he probably wouldn’t care for, but that Nick and I would enjoy. I am especially looking forward to trying a few new things.

Tonight’s corned beef and cabbage was actually on last week’s menu, but because Alex was leaving Friday morning, I decided to leave it for this week. I knew he probably wouldn’t enjoy it.  I thought it would be fun to try some kind of Irish bread with my corned beef so I found a recipe from allrecipes. com. I can’t wait to try it!

Sunday: Corned Beef and Cabbage with Irish Soda Bread

Monday: Kittie Chicken, brown rice and roasted asparagus

Tuesday: Pioneer Woman’s Enchiladas

Wednesday: Jane Deere’s Pan Seared Shrimp and Four Cheese Ravioli with Vodka Cream Sauce

Thursday: Your Home Based Mom’s Lemon Chicken

Friday: Turkey and Black Bean Chili from Mr. Sunday’s Soups cookbook, with cornbread

Saturday:  I didn’t get this far. I figure after a week of new recipes I’ll be ready for take-out or pizza delivery.

What are you cooking this week? I’m finding that I need a little more inspiration lately. Every week as I’m making the menu I have several cookbooks out as well as my laptop as I’m digging for new recipes.

We had decent weather last week. I even had the windows open for about 30 minutes one day. Just enough to air the house a bit. Yesterday the temperatures started dropping and the wind started whipping. It’s VERY cold today once you factor the wind chill. We even have snow in the forecast tonight.  2-4 inches. Oh my! When will it end???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fabulous Finds!

Recently, I was reading some of my favorite blogs and came across a post where Jen, over at Jen’s Fun Little Things,  told about some terribly cute Valentine’s placemats she bought at the Christmas Tree Shop. I am a recent fan of The Christmas Tree Shop since I just moved near one in the last year. I’m a big fan.

So anyway, Jen posted photos of the cutest heart shaped, quilted placemats I’ve ever seen. I immediately wanted to go to my local store to see if I could find them. I had my doubts, because at my store, all the cute stuff is snatched up in a hurry and nothing good is left for long.

I hit the store the day after Valentine’s Day, sure that I’d missed out on the Valentine’s placemats. It was ok, I knew I’d find other things I just had to have. (like cute wooden shamrocks for my front door and kitchen)

I decided to dig through the Valentine’s clearance bin and there they were! Two different patterns!!  I couldn’t decide which one I liked better so I got them both… four of each. How cute are they?



IMG_1484 IMG_1485


As you can see, they are reversible. I just love the fabric and patterns. The quilting is done in heart shapes. So cute! If I had a little tiny girl at home again, I’d probably hang these on her bedroom wall. But, I don’t. So, I will put these away and wait until next Valentine’s Day to use them.

The best part of this fabulous find? The price! They were normally 2 for $3.00 but were discounted to half price. I got them for .75 cents each!  I also found some cute Americana star shaped mirrors. I’ll share those in another post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Project 365! (And a BIG Thank You)

Here is a photo of my men from this morning. They both had to wear their uniforms to school. Alex is in the JROTC program at his high school, and was recently promoted to (Cadet) Sergeant First Class. Nick has been wearing civilian clothes since he’s been in school here, but today they are doing an exercise and he is to “brief” the class on his part of the program.
I do love a man in uniform Smile
I also want to thank all of you who commented on yesterday’s more serious post about my role in Alex’s life. It touched me that first, you all were patient enough to read through the whole thing, and secondly, you gave me your own words of wisdom and encouragement.  Last night, Alex and I worked on his English paper. He had to do a thesis on “The Great Gatsby”   I had decided several weeks ago to read the book along with him. It had been a long time and I needed to refresh my memory. We had a great time writing the paper together and discussing the book. We will finish the paper today and hopefully, get a good grade on it.  So, in closing, your advice (and JD’s) on just loving and nurturing him is spot on. I’m holding my tongue and loving on him. I have received two hugs and “thank yous” from him in the last two days. First, for making him a heart shaped brownie for Valentine’s Day, secondly, for helping him write his paper.  His exact words were “Thanks for the help, I was really stuck”, along with a hug and a kiss. It does my heart good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wisdom Where You Don’t Expect It

I have to admit, this blog post is a little more serious than normal for me. I have been struggling with my role in Alex’s life as his full time step-mom.  I have a tendency to be a mouthy broad and if I don’t like something I will tell you… at least to my kids and family. I try to keep that under control with others Smile

So, I’ve been working on Alex in several different areas and finding myself getting more and more frustrated.  I can see I’m making no progress and if anything, I’m pushing him away. Without going into great detail, I’ll just say we are butting heads and I’m sick and tired of hearing my own voice.

The last few Sundays, while we’ve been at church, I’ve taken time to do some serious praying about this. I have prayed for wisdom and patience. Selfish.. not a word about Alex, right?  So, this Sunday I really humbled myself and asked God again for wisdom and patience and to help me deal with this boy without breaking his spirit. I also prayed for Alex to have self-confidence, self-worth and love for himself. Things he is seriously lacking and it shows in his personal/social life. It breaks my heart that this boy doesn’t have much of a social life at all. He’s truly never learned to be a good friend. I blame his mom for that, as I do everything else negative with him. It’s what I do.

Sunday afternoon it all came to a head. I lost my ever loving mind. I had been working with the boy on his sugar consumption because he has a serious sweet tooth. After several muffins, a cupcake and juice I told him he didn’t need anymore sugar that day. Less than an hour later, he’s grabbing cookies and one more muffin. I seriously lost it. I took the cookies away from him, tore into him about not listening and how sugar is bad for him and he can’t concentrate .. blah blah blah.

Later, Nick and I had a little “discussion” about it. He told me, very sweetly, that I was maybe a bit unreasonable. I, of course, was defensive.  I won’t go into detail but I was feeling sorry for myself and that the whole house was against me.

Later, after I calmed down, I realized how crazy that boy probably thinks I am.  I had justified my behavior by telling myself I was treating Alex no differently than I did JD when he was a teenager. However, it finally dawned on me that JD grew up with me and KNEW how crazy I could be and overlooked it. Alex didn’t know that. 

So, yesterday, JD called me and I spilled my guts to him. I said I just don’t know how to give him self-confidence… how do you do that?  (JD is 27 years old and teaches/coaches middle school kids) He said to me… Mom, the only way to do that is for a man in his life to show him love, compassion and to do it unconditionally. He hasn’t grown up with his dad around much and he needs that. He went on to confirm what Nick had already said to me…”Let Nick be the bad guy, you just love him and show him patience” 

He told me that three years ago when he started teaching, he was going to be the hard ass, and take no crap from those kids. He saw early on how that pushed them away from him. Now he shows them love, understanding and patience and they are blooming under his care.

I could go on and on here, but my point is that JD, my precious son that I had when I was 18 years old, has grown into a wise man and is helping me. When I prayed to God for wisdom, I had no idea it would come to me in that form. I’m so proud of the young man my son is and how he has grown and matured in spite of not growing up with a man in the house.

If you’re still reading this, just know I’m a proud momma today, but a bit more humbled. I am going to try desperately to give this 15 year old the love and security he has missed out on the last several years. We only have a short time to change his way of thinking. He has to succeed. He’s going to be a man and the leader of a family one day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project 365!

I am SO behind on my daily photo postings. It just goes to show how boring my life is in the winter.. when I actually HAVE winter.

Today, I can see the patio again. For the first time in weeks, there is no snow or ice on it.  Other than this pile of snow in the yard, it’s cleared up too. Bring on spring!  I have a feeling I’ll be waiting a while on spring.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekly Menu

I can’t believe it’s Sunday night again. I started writing out a post for LAST week’s menu but never got it posted. That’s how far behind I am. I did finish a menu today for this week, made a grocery list and pulled coupons to go along with it. I’m feeling accomplished already and I haven’t even started the week yet.
This week’s menu is:
Sunday: Nick and I went out for an adult Valentine’s Dinner
Monday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and broccoli
Tuesday: Chicken parmesan with salad
Wednesday: Grandma’s Beef Casserole
Thursday: Corned beef and cabbage (something Nick’s been wanting but I haven’t been able to find at the store until today and I am NOT making my own corned beef)
Friday or Sat: Farmgirl’s Chicken and Dumplings
We take Alex to the airport early Friday morning to spend a week in Fargo with his mom. It’s his winter break. I’ve never heard of a school giving a Christmas break, winter break AND a spring break. It must be nice.
So, I don’t know if we’ll eat the chicken and dumplings on Friday or Saturday.
I realized last week that we are less than 6 months from another move and it’s time to start cleaning out the pantry again. Didn’t I just do this?  I’m really hoping this next duty station is for at least 3 years. If everything works as it should, we will be there at least 3 years, maybe even four. As a lot of us know, the Army doesn’t always work the way we think it should. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that this move is on the continent and not overseas. I may lose it if I have to do another overseas move again so soon.
Have a wonderful week everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Girl and Her Dog

We took both dogs to the vet today. Max has had a chronic ear infection and Cleo just needed her shots updated. That dog is never sick and will probably outlive all of us.

When the Doc was examining Cleo (the wiener dog), she listened to her heart and said “She has a little murmur”  I asked if that was bad and got the explanation that basically it won’t harm her but to watch her and make sure she doesn’t start coughing a lot and that her exercise is still good. When she doesn’t want to exercise anymore, it’s affecting her.

Cleo is really Callie’s dog. She’s had her since she was in the fourth grade and calls herself Cleo’s “momma”   I’m not sure which one misses the other more.. but I think Callie misses Cleo more because Cleo is happy as long as she has her bed, pink blankie and a bowl of food twice a day.




I sent Callie a text message after our vet visit. It went like this:

Me: Cle0 has a heart murmur

Callie: (sad face) what does that mean?

Me: One of her valves doesn’t close all the way when her heart is beating. Doc said it could get worse as she ages but it’s not bothering her now. We have to watch for coughing and a loss of interest in exercise. So far she has no symptoms other than hearing it through the stethoscope.

Callie: (another sad face) my baby

Me: She is still good

Callie: You broke her

Me: I knew you would say it was my fault. I told Nick you would blame me.

Callie: Aww, she needs to come live with her momma. Her heart broke when I left!

Me: Please. Then it’s your fault.

Callie: You’d better not let her die.

Me: That doctor said she could live to be 19.

Callie: Good, she needs to outlive me.

Me: Don’t get crazy.

(hours pass)

Callie: She needs a valve replacement

Me: I don’t think so. With her heart murmur they can’t put her to sleep. The doc said she wouldn’t even risk putting her under to  clean her teeth.

Callie: I think so. I have been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy…I could probably do it.

Me: Where would you even get a replacement valve?

Callie:  A pig

Me:  You ain’t cutting open a pig.

That’s where we left it about 15 minutes ago. She cracks me up. Even on text message she makes me laugh. She misses her baby. I sure hope that stupid dog doesn’t die on my watch.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Were You Raised in a Barn?

Let’s talk about habits. Everyone has them… good and bad. What I am about to describe is simply a habit that I consider bad. I’m not angry, it doesn’t aggravate me, but it does puzzle me. I have my own bad habits that probably make my family crazy. It’s part of living together.
Today’s topic, however, is about a habit that both the men in my house share. They leave doors open. I just don’t get it.
Here are a few photos I took just wandering through the house the other day. It makes me laugh, and it makes me shake my head.

This is a photo of the closet just inside my front door. It’s where we hang coats, store gloves and hats, and put shoes that we keep near the door. I swear to you I close this door at least four times a day if my men are home all day. Every single time they open that door, they leave it open. It bothers me to have doors open, it doesn’t bother them. I guess they figure if you’re going to be back in there, why close it?


This is the door to our master bedroom closet. Yes, it’s full of a lot of stuff, which is why I like the door closed. I close this door several times a day too. When I am lying in bed, this door faces me. Almost every night I remind Nick to close that door. He teases me about it, he just doesn’t get it. I can’t stand to lie there in bed with that gaping closet open. 

This is one of the cupboard doors in our kitchen. It’s where we keep the every day glasses and our coffee supplies. Yes, someone had just pulled a glass out for a drink of something. It was probably Alex. He’s the one that is in and out of that door most. Mostly he slams the door closed, when he isn’t slamming, he’s leaving it open.
This is Nick’s desk. That little door is containing his desktop hard drive. In his defense, after I took this photo he told me he thought the computer was running a little hot and the fan was on too much so he opened the door to make sure it was getting enough air.
I don’t have a photo of the front door. I was taking Alex to school last week when there was a delayed start time due to weather. Nick was taking a test so I ran the boy down to the school. I went out the door first, Alex followed and guess what?  He left the door open.  He rushed past me, because that’s what he does, and I turned and said “Dude.. you didn’t close the door”   I got his standard answer when called out on something “ Sooorrrryyyy”   Oy!   I can’t tell you how many times he walks outside and leaves the front door open. There is a storm door so I guess that’s good enough in his eyes!

The other thing my men do is leave lights on. Clearly we have lived in military housing too long. We don’t pay any of our utilities but that is all changing. I can’t wait until we’re living on the economy again and see how these habits affect our bills.
Maybe the door thing is no big deal. Maybe it’s me that is quirky because it bothers me. But, it’s my blog and my point of view is the one you get.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Goodies

Yesterday was a great day in so many ways. First, the Packers won. My husband is a happy man. Secondly, we had great football food. I so heart football food (aka bar food).
I recently ordered the cookbook “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” by Lorraine Wallace, wife of Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace. I heard him on TV talk about his wife and how she made him a pot of soup every Sunday that he enjoyed after he finished his weekly talk show. You know I had to order it. I’m not sure there is anything more comforting than a yummy bowl of soup, especially this time of year.
As I was checking out this book I found SO many soups I want to try. Not only does this book have delicious looking recipes, but it has wonderful stories of the Wallace family. 
For Super Bowl Sunday I decided to make Mrs. Sunday’s “Buffalo” Chili.  Lorraine Wallace describes her family’s tradition of game day fun including Buffalo chicken wings so she decided to make a chili that featured those same tastes. This soup was delicious. Nick and I both gave it a thumbs up. I didn’t even try to get Alex to eat this because it has sauce in it. God forbid the child have anything with any flavor in it.
Here is the recipe for
“Buffalo” Chili
From Mr. Sunday’s Soups cookbook by Lorraine Wallace
3 TBS canola or vegetable oil, divided
4 lbs. ground light meat turkey
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 TBS butter
1 1/4 C Crystal Hot Sauce or your own personal favorite (use a buffalo flavor sauce for this)
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
Two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice
8 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
One 7 ounce can diced green chilies with juice
1/3 C tomato paste
1 1/2 TBS red pepper flakes
3-4 C crumbled blue cheese, and/or grated mild Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, for garnish
Place a large, heavy pot of Dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 1/2 TBS of the oil. Add half the turkey, season with salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring and break up the meat, until browned. Transfer to a bowl with slotted spoon. Add the remaining 1 1/2 TBS oil to the pot and repeat the process with the remaining turkey. Return the first batch of turkey to the pot, with any accumulated juices.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the hot sauce. Add the hot sauce mixture to the turkey, along with the broth, tomatoes and their juice, and the garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until reduced by a third, about 1 1/2 hours.
Stir in the green chilies and their juice, tomato paste, and pepper flakes and simmer to cook off the raw flavor of the tomato paste, about 15 minutes more.
Ladle into shallow bowls and scatter with the cheese of your choice. Serve immediately.
YUMMY! I used blue cheese because I love it with anything buffalo sauce flavored. I also cut this recipe in half because it was so large. It still gave us plenty for leftovers.
With this, I made a recipe that I found on my Gooseberry Patch calendar. The month of September has a recipe for a Hoagie Bake that I made once and Alex has raved about ever since. He requests this every week so it was a football treat for him. The recipe follows.

Hoagie Bake
GooseBerry Patch monthly calendar
2 8 oz. tubes refrigerated crescent rolls, divided
1/3 lb. sliced salami
1/3 lb. sliced pepperoni
1/3 lb. sliced deli ham
1/3 lb. sliced Swiss cheese
1/3 lb. sliced provolone cheese
4 eggs, beaten and divided
grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Flatten on tube crescent rolls and press into a greased 13x9 baking pan. Layer salami, pepperoni, and ham over the top of rolls. Top with Swiss and provolone cheeses. Brush half of beaten egg evenly over cheeses; cover with remaining rolls. Brush remaining egg over crescent rolls; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil; bake for an additional 20 minutes. Slice into squares.
I cut the eggs in half. I found that 4 eggs was way too much.
Alex loved this so much that I sent part of the leftovers to school with him today for lunch. It doesn’t hurt that it’s so easy to make. You can literally throw this together in a very few minutes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A House Divided

It's almost Super Bowl Sunday. This one may go down in history here at our house, because of this.
And this

We have already laid down the law around here. Nick grew up in Green Bay. He was a Packer fan LONG before Alex was even thought of. Alex may have to watch the game upstairs in his room. I won't get in the middle of these two. I'm a Packer fan. I will always support my husband's team. Unless they are playing the Cowboys. After all, I am a Texas girl. It could get ugly around here. Prayers may be needed. (for a Packer win, of course!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dinner Win!

Yesterday brought a little more snow. Nothing like we've had before, but enough to keep me home. After a small break, the ice/sleet started to fall. This brought on some nastiness.
Nick was able to leave school early, but Alex stayed all day (all the way to 1:45.. what school gets out that early?)
After spending a couple of hours with our neighbors enjoying some wine, we headed home for me to make dinner. I have to say, this dinner was much better than the night before. This one is a keeper. You just can't beat steak with some good veggies.

Beef with Asparagus and Mushrooms
From The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook
1.5 lbs London broil, 1 inch thick
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
4 tsp crushed dried rosemary, divided
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced lengthwise
1 pound asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp grated lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Score both sides of steak in a diamond pattern by carefully making 1/8 inch deep diagonal cuts with a sharp knife at 1 inch intervals. Rub half the garlic and 2 tsp of the rosemary into both sides of meat and season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 TBS of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add steak and cook, turning once, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
Heat remaining oil in the same skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for two minutes. Add remaining garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add asparagus and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until asparagus is crisp-tender and almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and remaining rosemary; season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut steak into thin slices and serve with the vegetables.
Ok, once again my photo is sideways. I can't fix it. Use your imagination!
This was delicious. I actually warmed the veggies and a couple of slices of steak for Nick's breakfast. I added two over easy eggs and it was restaurant quality!
Today, Nick is in school but Alex is not. The roads are solid ice and I'm a little ticked that my husband had to get out, but no one asked me :) Fortunately, he only has to be there for two hours and he can come join us at home.
I intend to stay in, make something yummy for Alex (I didn't do that yesterday) and possibly start a Brothers and Sisters marathon. I love my netflix!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dinner Downer

I'm disappointed to say my Artichoke Chicken dinner last night was less than I hoped. I really love artichokes and had high hopes for this one. Especially since I had to go to two different stores to find frozen pearl onions and frozen artichoke hearts. I never did find the frozen artichokes, so used canned ones instead.
One thing I just hate, is pale looking meat. In spite of browning the chicken first, it looked nasty pale. So unappetizing. That was the first downer. Secondly, after simmering the chicken in the sauce for the required 20 minutes, the sauce was very thin. Again, unappetizing. It looked like blah chicken breasts swimming in chicken broth. I ended up simmering the sauce longer to try to reduce it and gain more flavor but still got minimal results. Maybe I just did something wrong, but I didn't like it at all. I'm going to share the recipe here for you in case someone wants to try it and let me know what I did wrong!

Artichoke Chicken
The South Beach Diet Cookbook
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
1 bag (16 oz) frozen small while onions
1 can chicken broth
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper
1 package (10 oz) frozen artichoke hearts
Heat two TBS of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes, turning once, or until browned on both sides. Carefully remove the chicken to a large bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 TBS oil in the skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Return the chicken to the pan and add the chicken broth and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and cook for 10 minutes, or until the artichokes are tender and a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of a chicken breast registers 170 degrees and the juices run clear.

Today it's snowing again. Nick and Alex are in school, but I anticipate a possible early dismissal. Snow is supposed to continue through tomorrow with times of sleet, rain and nastiness. Hopefully, there is school tomorrow. Alex has only missed 3 days and we're not in jeopardy of make up days yet, but if we miss more we will definitely lose some spring break.
The vet just called and cancelled the dogs' appointments for the third Tuesday in a row. They only see pets on Tuesdays and so far, it's snowed heavily the last three weeks. Very frustrating! It looks like I'll have to take Max to a civilian vet for his ear. They couldn't re-schedule for three weeks and his infection won't wait that long. I'm afraid we've waited too long already. I keep cleaning it and putting drops in  but it's not clearing up.
In spite of our diet, I'm thinking of baking some goodies for Alex. I will have to hide them for multiple reasons. Nick and I don't need goodies right now and Alex has no off button. If I put out a few cookies a day, he's OK. If I put the whole plate out, he'll eat the whole plate. I realize he's a growing boy, but nobody needs that much sugar.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope it's warm and safe where you are.