Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekly Menu

I can't believe today is the last day of January! Where has the month gone? Wasn't it just yesterday we were all blogging about taking Christmas decorations down and putting them away?  January has been a bit blue for me, but I'm determined to perk up for February. It's a short month and before you know it.. it will be March and I'll be headed to Texas then having my foot cut on.
Nick and I are still doing our "no white" diet. I'm hovering at the 5-6 pound loss, which is typical for me. I'm going to step it up this week by finally incorporating some exercise. (yuck) As soon as I finish typing this out, I'm headed across the street to our community center (yes it's that close) to get on the elliptical. I'm hoping the boo boo foot allows me to get at least 20 minutes in.
This week's menu
Sunday: Taco Soup
Monday: Artichoke chicken and broccoli (South Beach Diet Cookbook)
Tuesday: Beef with asparagus and mushrooms (another SBD recipe)
Wednesday: Chicken stir fry
Thursday: Slow Cooker San Francisco Pork Chops
Friday: Hamburgers, Sweet Potato fries
Saturday/Sunday Italian Hoagie Bake  (normally our cheat day, but I'm thinking of switching to Super Bowl Sunday!)
I have been buying about two rotisserie chickens per week to add to salads and just have a little easy protein handy. I'm trying to hang in there for one more week before I start adding a few whole grains back into my diet. Otherwise, I may lose it.
I'm hooking up with Michelle over at Married/Single Parent for a weekly menu hop. Join us if you make your own menu.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Update

We have had a great weekend. I had decided we would spend Saturday as a family, even if it meant running errands and doing some shopping. Alex was less than thrilled at the idea, but he had a good time anyway.
Saturday morning started out with some cinnamon bread in my new bread machine. I prepared the ingredients on Friday night, set the timer and we awakened to the smell of bread baking. YUM. Since Saturday is our "cheat day" on the diet, Nick and I enjoyed plenty of bread. Needless to say, by the time we left the house around 10:15 AM, there was no bread left.
Our closest Sam's Club is closing for renovations and is having a huge clearance sale so we headed there first. We have been looking at flat screen TVs to slowly get rid of the remainder of the old tube televisions in our house. We played with the idea of getting one of their outstanding deals, but in the end, just couldn't spend the money.
As we were driving through town, we saw a LAZ Boy gallery and decided to take a look around.
We have been throwing around the idea of new furniture for a while now but haven't agreed on anything. The furniture we have now was Nick's bachelor furniture and while it was functional and attractive enough, it's worn out. It reclines (which I hate) and after several moves, it's just all beat up. We lucked out and found this sofa on sale.

The fabric is from last year's collection and they are clearing it out. We also bought the love seat, a chair and an ottoman. Normally I would not want a whole set that matched. I like to mix it up a little, BUT it was that good a deal. We agreed to take the chair and ottoman upstairs to Nick's office and leave the other two pieces in the living room with the leather chair and ottoman we already have. I'm so excited to have new furniture. It's to be delivered on Friday. I think I'll buy some fabric and make a few colorful throw pillows to jazz it up a bit.
One of my biggest concerns with getting new furniture is this.

This is Cleo. She likes the sun. She also likes to sneak up on my furniture when we leave the house. Cleo is a funny dog, but she stinks and I don't want her on my new furniture.
She has a nice comfy little bed. She loves her bed.

She even has a pink blankie that she likes to be under when she sleeps.

That doesn't mean she won't abandon her snuggly bed for my new couch when I'm not looking. Fortunately, I have little gadgets we call "squealers" we can put on the furniture. They are motion detectors and squeal loudly when they are disturbed. One squeal and Cleo remembers her little bed and jumps down. It keeps her down for a good long time. We'll be using those again very soon.
After furniture shopping we set out looking for lunch. We had decided to go to Hooters for fried pickles and hot wings. However, as we were driving, we saw an "On the Border" Mexican restaurant. Nick and I both go excited!  We rarely eat Mexican food even though it's one of my favorites. In Hawaii there was no good Mexican food and since we've been here, we just haven't seen much of it.
We whipped in there and started enjoying chips and salsa. I had a yummy margarita, enchiladas and a taco. I left so full we didn't eat dinner at home last night.
Today we went to church, hit the commissary and have been puttering around at home. It's been a nice weekend. I'm feeling very relaxed!

Friday, January 28, 2011

What's On My Mind

I seem to have LOTS on my mind lately and since I can't seem to put an interesting blog post together, I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there.

* My current diet/weight loss journey is definitely taking up some brain power. I'm struggling to find meals that I will enjoy and that are fairly easy to prepare. Then there's the picky boy in the house that sometimes has to have a separate meal. I have to say, I'm starting to get bored with this and that's not a good sign. I'm going to have to introduce a few new things to keep this up.
*JD and Meghan's wedding rehearsal dinner. Since this is our responsibility I need to get busy on it. It's difficult to do from so far away, not to mention it's in a city I'm not familiar with so I have no clue what would be a good venue. I seriously need to get moving on this.
*My upcoming surgery. My foot is really bothering me lately and I seriously wish I could do it tomorrow and get it over with. It would be so nice to have it behind me when I go to Texas in mid-March instead of looking to do it as soon as I return. I'm also a little worried about the results. Leaving it the same is not an option, but having the ends of two nerves removed is a little scarey. I wonder how having numbness in that area will affect me.
*Wondering what the Army is going to do with us this summer. Nick graduates from the War College on 10 June and we'll be ready to move.  We have the wedding to attend on the 25th of June so I can't even know right now if we'll pack out before or after the wedding. It all depends on where we're going. Will he get a command? If so, will we be able to pre-position to the area where he'll take command in 2012? If not, what will we do for a year? Move Alex to yet another high school? Will Nick get a brigade command or a district command? Being in the Corps of Engineers both are possible. Which do I prefer? I'm torn.
It doesn't really matter what I want concerning command or the move. The Army is going to do what the Army is going to do. I can research several different options and think I have my ducks in a row just to have them say something I hadn't even considered. (coming to The Naval War College is a great example of that)
So, my mind is wandering. It's bringing me down a little. The cold dreary weather isn't helping.
I'm so glad it's Friday. Tomorrow is cheat day and I'm going to enjoy it! Nick has Monday off so I'm hoping we can do something fun on Sunday as a family. We have a chance of more snow, so it may be simply movies at home. I found Lonesome Dove on Netflix and I'm SO excited to introduce it to Alex. I was the first to show it to Nick after we were married. It's one of my all time favorite movies.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Same Song, Second Verse ..or is it Third?

I truly meant to write this post last night because I had it all prepared. I think I must have gotten distracted with something.
Yesterday we got up to snow. It was supposed to be a "light dusting" in only the AM hours. Let me just tell you.. it snowed all day.
I HAD to go to the commissary. There were just no two ways about it. You northern readers will be proud to know that I drove through heavy snow and I bought groceries for my family.

As you can see, once I got out on the main road, the streets were fairly clear. I did hit a few rough spots and had to go around a fender bender on the way over. What you can't see are the HUGE snow flakes that were pounding down. I hate that they don't show up.

I did it! I drove all the way over to the Naval base and did my shopping. Here you can kind of see the snow falling.

I took this photo this morning as I was about to head out with my girlfriends for a little shopping. We all knew there was another storm coming, but it wasn't supposed to hit until around 8:00 tonight. They said 6 to 10 inches tonight. Oh my.
After we drove around 30 miles north to hit the real shopping, we came out of the second store... and guess what? It was snowing. We came out of the third store and it was really coming down. We stopped for lunch, because that's what we do, and when we came out of the restaurant the snow was covering the parking lot and was falling hard. As we drove home it got worse. All our husbands are calling checking on us and telling us to be careful. I'm pleased to say we made it home very safely. What a fun and adventurous day. Can you tell I don't get out much lately?
Remember this bridge?
We had to cross that sucker today to get back on the island. That was scarey, but surprisingly, it was the clearest road. I think the state is on it! Maybe it has little heaters under it? Is that even possible?
It's almost 7:00 PM. The storm is supposed to start between 8:00 and 9:00 PM. We got around 2 inches already of "bonus" snow.
I have enjoyed the change of seasons. I was thrilled with snow around Christmas when I could hunker down and have my hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. Now, however, it's starting to be a pain. I've had three different appointments cancelled already because of snow. I have a MUCH needed hair appointment in the morning. Anyone want to make bets on if I can get in?  It is what it is and I guess I'll deal with it.. what choice do I have?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dr's Appointment and a Spa Visit

What a combination!
As I mentioned the other day, I'm determined to do a little something about skincare on my face. My son is getting married this summer and I have decided on a full body makeover.. at least what I can do without much effort :)
I'm eating healthy, trying to lose some  weight, and will start exercising at some point.  However, I have a boo boo foot that needs to be fixed before I can do any serious exercise. I'm not sure I've mentioned the boo boo foot until now, but it does exist. It's been a pain for the last several years. To make a long story short, I saw three different podiatrists in Hawaii, had numerous injections only to be here .. still in pain.
I love the doctor here at the Naval Station Clinic. I told him I had been dealing with this for over four years and he immediately said "It's time for surgery"  Today, I scheduled my surgery. It is tentatively set for 17 March, just after my trip to Texas for JD and Meghan's wedding shower. (and the day after my birthday)
So, I'm feeling good about the foot.
I scheduled a facial for today. Not just any facial.. but a "Rock of Ages" facial. I think that's cool talk for old lady who needs wrinkle help facial. John was the guy who gave me my treatment. Let me just say... John was fabulous!!
I went to SpaVana which is just up the road a bit. I got their information in a welcome packet given to me by the Naval Officers Spouse's Club. I'm so glad I acted on that little brochure.
For 100.00 I received a treatment of a mini peel, Dermabrasion, a Power Serum, half body massage and just over all pampering. (for almost an hour and a half) I absolutely loved it and have scheduled my next visit.
John assures me that after a few visits I will be glowing. He gave me a little packet of night cream for tonight, but approved my normal skin care products for going forward from here. The one piece of advice he gave me on the drier skin was to exfoliate more often and with a GOOD scrub, not a cheapie. He said my Arbonne would work very well.
Ladies, invest in yourselves. Youth doesn't last forever and if you neglect your skin, as I have for many years, you will pay the price.
John said I look good for 45 (almost 46) and he thought I was younger. It earned him a 40.00 tip :)
I'm feeling good tonight and looking forward to the rest of my busy week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I really don't know what's wrong with me. I'm not sure if it's that I have nothing to write about or that I just am being a lazy bum about writing.
Our "diet" is going well. I weighed yesterday and had lost 4 pounds. I figure that's amazing since I started on Monday. I realize it's mostly water weight and it's easy to drop more pounds in the first week, but I'm thrilled just the same.
Yesterday was our "cheat" day. I had decided not to go crazy because I wanted to keep my momentum. I did well with that until the homemade bread came out of the oven. Seriously, I had only one piece. I had a mini bag of chips during the day and then we went out for smoked gouda cheese fries, wings and egg rolls. If that wasn't enough, we had movie night at home last night and I had a TON of popcorn. Needless to say, I was bloated and a mess this morning. I seriously felt like I was experiencing a carb hangover. I have felt a little yucky all day.
BUT we were back on track today. After church we hit the diner and I had a veggie omelet and told them to hold the toast. :::sigh::: the sacrifices I make. Since that was kind of a brunch, I didn't eat again until tonight. I made burgers and had mine without the bread and with lots of veggies. I feel good about this. We'll see how long I can hang.
I have decided to look into some serious skin care. By serious, I mean paying someone. I have booked a "rock of ages" facial for tomorrow including a little dermabrasion. I'm really hoping for a miracle here. I'm starting to get lines around my lips and I absolutely hate it. I'm obsessed with them. Then there are the lines on my forehead. I will probably break down and beg Nick for some injections. I'm not above a little botox help if I can get it. I guess I'm pretty vain.
I will leave you with some photos I took recently. I'm failing miserably with the Project 365 I swore I would keep up with. Honestly, I've hardly left the house and even I am tired of the snow photos at this point.
We woke up to this on Friday morning. Another snow day. We are supposed to get another storm on Wednesday. Oy.

This was looking out my bedroom window upstairs today. It was 20 degrees with a wind chill of around 5. Yes, they are sailing. Unfortunately, with winds like that, you get this....

Yes, it turned over. Yes, that dot beside the boat is a person trying to put it right. Poor sap.

He/she flipped it over three times before getting it upright. I almost felt sorry for this person, but not quite. It's January!

This cardinal likes to hang out in our backyard near the bird feeder. I love to see his vibrant red against the white snow. Just beautiful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eating Light Progress

As I mentioned in my last post, Nick and I have made a decision to eat low carb for a month.  He is reading some book that gives more info on a specific diet, but I'm pretty much following the South Beach Diet which has worked well for me before. In this ridiculous book he's reading it recommends beans/lentils and that you should eat them ALOT. The man wants black beans or something similiar at every meal now. I just can't get there. So, we're compromising. I've made lots of beans and am making some healthier recipes.
Last night I made Balsamic Glazed Salmon. This was a delicious and easy way to eat salmon. I knew Alex wouldn't like it, so I made him a bowl of pasta and garlic bread. Oh the smell of garlic bread when you're dieting. It's the devil.
Here is the recipe for the salmon.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon
From the South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees
Season salmon with salt and pepper; place in an ovenproof baking dish and bake until opaque through, 10 to 12 minutes.
While fish is cooking, place vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until reduced to 1/3 cup, for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon on serving plates and drizzle with glaze.
This was a hit with Nick. I will serve it again. I served it with roasted asparagus and .. you guessed it.. beans.
Tonight I made Mexican Chicken Soup from the same cookbook. I really liked this one. I love anything remotely Mexican flavored and I love soup. Here's the recipe:
Mexican Chicken Soup
From the South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook
1 TBS canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
5 C low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch strips
2 C mild refrigerated fresh salsa
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin; cook 30 seconds more.
Add broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a rapid simmer. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.  Stir in salsa, bring back to a simmer, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.
This was DELISH! I loved it. I only used half of a jalapeno pepper to keep the spice level down and I found it was not spicey at all. Next time I might use the whole thing. I always take the seeds and ribs out of a jalapeno, so maybe that helps.
The fresh salsa in this soup really gives it a fresh tomato taste. Nick loved it as well.
If I weren't dieting, and I wish I weren't, I would add some corn and top with grated cheddar cheese with crumbled corn tortilla chips. It would be the perfect dish then.

I think we're doing well on our dieting plan. I knew we were starting on Monday, so I got up and weighed myself in the morning. I documented my weight only in my mind. Tuesday morning Nick weighed himself, reported to me and asked what I weighed.  Has he lost his ever loving mind? I told him if full disclosure was required I would quietly bow out. He agreed that I could keep my weight to myself but just tell him what I was losing.
Well, I'm a bit OCD so when I start a diet, I weight often. Like every day. Yesterday I weighed and had dropped one pound. I know it's water weight, but it motivates me on. Today I weighed and was down another pound or pound and a half. I'm feeling great!
I had my yearly physical today, stepped on the scales and OMG, they were almost 9 lbs heavier than mine at home. Talk about discouraging. I'm telling myself it doesn't matter what number is there as long as it's going down.
I need to start some kind of work out, but that's tough for me. I HATE to work out and I HATE to sweat. Not a good combination for weight loss.
We're plugging along and are going to allow ourselves one cheat day every weekend. Hopefully that keeps me from losing my mind.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More of the Same

It's Tuesday and I enjoyed the long weekend. Nick and Alex both had the day off so it was extra nice.
Friday night the three of us hit our favorite watering hole Pour Judgement and had some of their amazing house fries. I've mentioned these before, they are hand cut fries with a smoked gouda cheese sauce slathered on top. Oh my.. they are delicious. I crave them.
One of Nick's former company commanders was in town over the weekend with his fiance so we got to hit the town with them on Saturday night. We took them to another favorite local place, The Red Parrot where I had another delicious dish, Lobster Salad. This salad was not a mayonnaisey kind of salad it was a lovely green salad with huge chunks of lobster on top. I love that fresh seafood is readily available here. I will miss that when we leave.
Sunday, the same Army captain and same fiance visited us in our home to check out military housing. Turns out there is a good chance they will be here this summer to live for a year and are looking at houses. They brought me the most amazing gift that I will share in another post.
Yesterday, after laundry, homework, etc. we hit the local theater to see True Grit. What an awesome movie! It had been so long since I'd seen the original that I honestly don't remember it very well. I want to watch it again now. No one can replace John Wayne, but Jeff Bridges put his own spin on it, instead of trying to be John Wayne which wouldn't have been successful anyway, and did a fabulous job. Sorry for that rambling sentence, I just felt the need to say it that way!
My post title "More of the Same" is a description of the weather. Take a look.

This is the view from my dining room/living room sliding glass door again. More of the same. As you can see, there is a light dusting of new snow on the patio. What you can't see is the sleet that's falling now because the temperatures are slowly rising. By this afternoon it will be a cold, pouring down rain. Oh Joy. Just in time for me to load both dogs up and take them to the vet.
I can see where winter would get old. I am enjoying it now, but I will welcome spring when it comes.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Not Feeling It/Weekly Menu

Wow, it's been a while since I posted. For some reason, I'm just not feeling it. It's not that I have nothing to say, I always have something to say, but I just can't make myself sit down and type it out. I'm really tired for some reason.. I wonder if it's winter?? 

I have a few photos to post of the last few days, but not sure I have one for every single day. I'm already falling behind on the Project 365!
We finally finished Alex's project and my dining room table is back to normal!
I'm so glad to have it behind us. It seems just as we finished one thing another comes up. Today he's working on regular Geometry homework and revisions on an English paper. For some reason, the dear boy is frustrated with me. I find myself in Drill Sergeant mode most of the time and frankly, I'm tired of my own voice and he is clearly, not listening. I've turned it all over to Nick and I'm taking a break. It's no wonder I'm tired.
These next few pictures I took two days in a row. These geese love the field just across from our house. I love watching them and taking photos. I think they are just beautiful on the snow and with the water in the background.

Nick and I are vowing to eat healthier for a bit. We both put on a few pounds over the holidays and neither one of us could really afford to do that. We have our son's wedding in June and I'd seriously like to look good in my mother of the groom dress. (not that I have one yet)
So, this week's menu is more carb light. I hate it.. but it's needed.
Monday: Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans and some kind of potato for Alex
Tuesday: Balsamic Glazed Salmon and sauteed spinach
Thursday: Flank steak fajitas
Friday: Turkey and white chili with corn muffins
That's as far as I've gotten so far. These meals aren't as easy as some of my slow cooker and GBP recipes, but I'll adjust. On the weekend we are allowing ourselves a little room to splurge but want to seriously eat better for a while. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Senses of Winter/Project 365

My first warning about last night and today's snow storm was on Monday when the clinic called me to reschedule today's appointment. Apparently they cancel appointments when there is a snow storm in the forecast!
I decided to be proactive myself and go to the commissary yesterday and stock up on the essentials. I shouldn't have been surprised to see the place was full, but I was. I'm still a winter rookie, but I'm getting there.
We woke up to this today.

My fabulous husband did his thing and cleared the sidewalk.
He even cleared a path on the back patio for a certain little dog so her belly wouldn't drag through the snow.

As you can see, the dog only made it to the end of the cleared path to do her business.

A wet cold belly is not something she wants to experience.

Just a few minutes ago, I took this photo. As you can see the path is covered again. Someone needs to get his shovel out.

This photo is the one I'm going to use to explain my post title, the senses of winter. First, the sounds of winter. I do love the sounds. It's quiet. I can hear the wind blowing through the trees. My wind chimes clank occasionally and I can hear the distant fog horn. Other than that, it's silent. I do love that.
The smells of winter. Something about the snow falling smells clean to me. My house smells warm and delicious. I usually have something cooking on the stove, or baking in the oven. I do love the smell of home in winter.
The sights of winter need no explanation. I think this part of snow is beautiful.  I don't like it when the plows have stacked piles of dirty snow along the road. I don't like what it does to my car but I do love the fresh snowfall. But, like I said, I'm a rookie.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Project 365!/Farmgirl's Chicken and Dumplings

Yesterday's photo.

This was taken yesterday afternoon, after we'd had about two inches of snow fall the night before. It was 29 degrees outside with a windchill of 19 degrees. Yes, those are sailboats in the water. BRRRRRR. Those are some die hard sailors.
Today's photo:

Progress made so far on the project. Yes, it's painful. No, it's not finished.

Tonight's meal was The Farmgirl's Chicken and Dumplings from the Gooseberry Patch's Slow Cookers, Casseroles and Skillets.
You take 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cube them.
Mix in one 16 oz bag of frozen mixed vegtables.

Dice an onion and throw them all in a crockpot.

Add 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth.

You're supposed to cook this on high for two hours then mix your dumplings and add them to cook another 30 minutes. However, at the end of two hours, it just didn't look right to me. It didn't look cooked enough, if that makes sense. The broth was thin, the onions weren't cooked well and it just didn't taste done. So, I transferred it to a pot on my stove. I guess those old southern chicken and dumplings were haunting me and I had to bend to the pressure. I cooked it a while on the stove and finished it there.

I forgot to take more photos because I was stressed at this point and worried that I had ruined the dish.
I mixed more broth with bisquick and added spoonfuls of the dough mixture on top of the pot of chicken and veggies. I cooked them for another 30 minutes and served.
The verdict was two thumb's up. I was amazed that Alex had never even heard of chicken and dumplings. Poor yankee kid. He needs more southern food, obviously. Nick LOVED them. Next time, I will cook them a little longer in the slow cooker and try to leave it there. Once the dumplings were added, the broth thickened right up and it was very lovely. I did add salt and pepper. Next time I will add some fresh herbs I think. Parsley for sure.
Here is the recipe.

Farmgirl's Chicken and Dumplings, GBP Slow Cookers, Casseroles and Skillets
Submitted by Vickie Chisom, Hardy, VA
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
16 oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1 onion, diced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk biscuit baking mix
Combine chicken, vegetables and onion in a slow cooker. Set aside 1/2 cup plus 1tablespoon broth; pour remaining broth into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 hours. Stir biscuit mix with reserved broth until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls over hot chicken and vegetables. Cover and cook on high setting for 10 minutes; uncover. Cook for an additonal 20 minutes, until dumplings are done. Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekly Menu/New Recipe/Gooseberry Patch cookbook winner!

Wow, that's a lot for one post! I have a lot to say today.
First, let me announce that I have been informed that I won another Gooseberry Patch Cookbook!  Jen over at Jen's Fun Little Things recently hosted a giveaway that someone else won, but never claimed. Sooo.. I was second place and I gratefully accept! She is sending me one of their new cookbooks, Homestyle in a Hurry.  If that title doesn't fit me, nothing does. I do love homestyle cooking but to make it in a hurry works even better! I'm so excited. I can't wait to receive this new book and get started on it.
Next, I want to share a recipe with you that I tried last week from my other Gooseberry Patch book, Slow Cookers, Casseroles and Skillets. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to cookbooks.
The recipe is Grandma's Beef Caserole and was submitted by Eva Jo Hoyle of Mexico, MO

2 lbs stew beef, cubed
1/4 C all purpose flour
10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1.35oz pkg onion soup mix
4 oz can whole mushrooms, drained
1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
12 oz pkg medium egg noodles, cooked
Put beef cubes in a plastic zipping bag. Add flour; seal bag and shake to coat well (I added some salt and pepper to my flour) Brown beef in a heavy skillet that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray; drain. In a slow cooker, combine beef with remaining ingredients except noodles. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours, or high setting for 5-6 hours. To serve, spoon over cooked noodles. Serves 6.
*I added a little more red wine later because it looked a little thick to me.
In spite of the mushrooms, (I used sliced mushrooms in a jar because that's what I had) Alex gave it a thumb's up. He just ate around them. Nick also gave this a thumb's up so I figure I have a family winner! I'm always excited to get their seal of approval after a new recipe. I'm definitely be adding this one to my favorites because it's so stinkin' easy. I made a loaf of bread (a recipe that I'll share later) with it and that too, was a huge hit.
I'm back on track with my weekly menu and it certainly makes life so much easier.
This week's menu follows.
Sunday:  The Pioneer Woman's Rib-eye steak with whiskey cream sauce, The Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes, Pioneer Woman's Buttered Rosemary Rolls, and steamed broccoli. I had to add the broccoli since it's a PDub carb/carlorie fest!
Monday: Farmgirl Chicken and Dumplings from GBP Slow Cookers, Casseroles and Skillets
Tuesday: Spaghetti and salad (I have a meeting that night)
Wednesday: White wings with the trimmings  White wings are a Texas restaurant favorite that I've been trying to duplicate since leaving there over four years ago.
Thursday: Hoagie Bake from my GBP kitchen calendar.
Friday: I'm leaving this open because of the potential for leftovers.
Saturday: We have friends in town and we'll go out to eat.
I will share the new recipes as I try them out this week.
Have a happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 365!

I'm days behind already! Here are photos for the last few days.

I baked fresh bread on Thursday. My family loves me for this.

I ran errands yesterday and found this in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. It's a shopping cart buried in the snow mountain from plowing the lot. Is that crazy or what?

This is from today. Oy. This assignment has been lingering over my dear boy's head since way before Christmas. We are just getting to it today. It's due on Wednesday. Procrastinate much? I hate school projects. It ends up being painful for us parents and it will wreck our entire weekend. This particular project is for Geometry and must be a to scale model of Heinz Field. Why Heinz Field you ask? Because my boy likes the Steelers. He didn't think for a second how hard this would be or what would be involved. Not only does this model need to be turned in but a to scale drawing and a paper describing how you figured the scale of the thing and what goes on at this particular sporting venue and the history of it. Seriously?  For Geometry? Just shoot me. It's painful, I tell ya.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Project 365!

The King of the Sheep
This ranch sits just below our neighborhood. There are several areas of sheep and each fenced in space has it's own llama. The sheep are usually gathered around the llama or following him around. This one was taking a break. When I stopped the car to take a photo he was turned away from me. He turned and looked at me as if to give me permission to take a photo of his highness. Doesn't he look regal with his long neck?

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

Like every good southern girl, I cook and eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for luck, prosperity, etc.
Like my mother, I make too much food when I cook, and my poor yankee kids that were here aren't as crazy about black-eyed peas as I am. So I had an abundance of peas left over.
I remembered seeing Paula Deen make fritters out of leftover black-eyed peas one time and went to the foodnetwork website to search for a recipe. I found one, I made it last night as a side dish and I loved it.
They are very simple to make and so delicious.
First, I make my peas very soupy. I serve them as a soup with ham in them and cornbread on the side. So, when I was using the leftovers, I drained them a bit first so they weren't so wet. 
You take the peas, all mashed up, mix them with some chopped onion, salt, pepper, baking soda, baking powder and two eggs.
 Get your iron skillet (or any other kind if you don't have an iron skillet) and get about a half inch of oil hot.
My recipe says to shape the peas into fritters, but I just dropped them, carefully, by the spoonful into the oil

Brown them on one side and them flip.
When they're brown on both sides, remove them to a paper towel to drain.

Here is the recipe.

Black-eyed Pea Fritters
From the Food Network website.

Oil, for deep frying
1 1/2 pounds black eyed peas (I didn't use quite this much and adjusted the rest of the ingredients to match)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 C all-purpose flour (I used more because my peas were still a little "wet")
1 small to medium onion, minced
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
In a large, deep frying pan, heat about 1/2 inch of oil to 350 degrees. Mash cooked peas in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape into fritters, whatever size you desire. Carefully add fritters to the hot oil and fry until golden on one side. Carefully turn fritters over and continue frying until golden on the second side and cooked through in the middle. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Serve.

I have to admit, I was skeptical of making a fritter with no corn meal. I have always used corn meal when making them in the past. Maybe that's a southern thing?  I think I could do half flour and half corn meal and they would be delish. I also added a squirt of plain old yellow mustard. I just have always done this when I'm frying any kind of patty and it just seemed right.
I will add that Alex did not like these. He's weird though.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Project 365!

It's a work in progress. I have almost everything boxed up. I hesitate to have Nick cart these boxes upstairs because I ALWAYS find something later that should have been added.
Nick left at 4:45 this morning to take Callie to the airport and I have been moving ever since. I changed sheets on two beds, did copious amounts of laundry, dusted every surface that's been un-Christmased, hit the library, the store and am now thinking of a glass of wine while I make dinner.
I have a feeling I won't last long past 9:00 tonight.

A Few of My Favorite Things

I'm doing a bit of a Christmas wrap up today as I sit here thinking about the chore of un-decking my halls. Last night, as we took Callie out for one last parent bought dinner, Nick gave his opinion of taking the tree down. "It's the most depressing thing in the world, with world famine right behind it"  He's a bit dramatic. Too funny that this Soldier who's been to war numerous times would think taking the Christmas tree down is the absolute most depressing thing in the world. He may exaggerate, I'm not sure.
Here are a few photos from the small gift exchange Nick, Callie A and I had on Christmas eve after JD and Meghan were gone. Then some photos of Callie K and Alex having their Christmas with us.
They never get too old to love Christmas, do they?

My Zebra print loving girl.

A few days later, Alex finishes up his Christmas with us. He's a Steelers fan, can you tell?

The other Callie opening her season of Glee. I think she's a Gleek.

This is definitely one of my favorite things and something I'm missing already. Callie and me cooking together. This was Christmas day as I showed her how to make my mom's southern cornbread dressing. We had so much fun and the food was delicious.

Another one of my very favorite things. A husband who will brave the cold and shovel the walk even as the snow kept falling.

And he's a Packers fan, can anyone tell?

And finally, my geeky dramatic husband immediately digging into the book given to him by Callie K. "Obsessed with Star Wars"  I'm not sure who got more excited, Nick or Alex. Can you see the boy leaning in to give his two cents?
We've had an amazing Christmas. I am so thankful to have been able to spend the time I did with all but one kid. We ate well, spent quality time together, gave and received amazing gifts and laughed so much. I'm a very blessed woman.