Thursday, February 24, 2011

lesson learned

Rice crispies treat are not easy to cookie-cut...

 but I did it. I think I've mentioned before that I'm room mom for BonnieBlue's preschool class. The V-day party was a week or so ago (I've been sick, hence the lateness of this entry), and I was in charge of games/activities. So, first up, which I didn't take pix of, was "Pin the Puff on the Heart." I'm not very creative, and 4-year-olds are hard to corral, so this is the best I could do: a big paper heart with hearts drawn inside, each with a student's name on it. First, they had to point to their name (a bit of literacy, yay for me), and then I gave them a foam heart with a white puff glued to it, and blindfolded, they were to "pin" (it had double-sided tape on it) the heart on their name. Only I forgot the blind fold (that was the first day I was's been awhile). So, it wasn't as challenging/fun/interesting as I thought. They did enjoy decorating the rice crispies treats, though.

I made them with strawberry-flavored pink marshmallows and when they had set up, cut them with cookie cutters into heart shapes. That was hard! My hand hurt after about 5. I took them in with the supplies you can barely see in the background of the picture. Tube icing and those (nasty-tasting) conversation hearts. Then we wrapped them in a pretty bag to take home. Good 5-minute activity.

And now a picture of BonnieBlue because my blog is better with pix of her.

She's "reading" a new book we bought, Ponyella, to her baby. It's a take on Cinderella, only the pony is the poor maligned soul and the prince is a princess looking for a new pony. There are even diamond-studded horseshoes to stay true to the original. I highly recommend it for horse-crazy emergent readers.

Well, after a visit to the minute-clinic, I've taken my first dose of amoxycillin, so here's to feeling better in 24 hours!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm not judging; I'm just saying...

This is one of my favorite lines of all time! Can't remember where I heard it, because it was years ago, but it was probably a comedian who always prefaced an insult with it. Funny, observational insults.

So, it's perfect today, because although I don't want to be mean-spirited, this has been bugging me for awhile and well, where else should I be able to vent than on my blog. So forgive my indulgence:

I blog stalk. A lot. Generally, I go to friends' blogs and then stalk from there. I have found many, MANY lovely blogs this way (thanks Mama Pea). A few are cooking blogs (not via Mama Pea, who apparently doesn't cook). I started following one in particular because it's called "Picky Palate: Dressing Up Original Family Style Recipes For Even Your Pickiest Eaters." "Perfect!" I thought (originally). I'm all about "family style" foods, and BonnieBlue is a picky eater (currently all she is eating with any kind of complaint-free regularity is bacon and white rice).

Mind you, it's been about a year now that I've been reading it, but about 6 months ago I  realized something. Here, you can probably figure it out from her fourteen 2011 posts:

Feb. 14 - Girl Scout Thin Mint Toaster Strudels
Feb. 10 - Double White Chocolate and Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies...With Sea Salt
Feb. 7 - Brownie Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Feb. 3 - SuperBowl Eats (party foods)
Feb. 1 - SuperBowl Tacos (chili and fritos in the bag)
Jan. 31 - Baked Spinach Dip mini bread bowls
Jan. 27 - Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chippers Cookies
Jan. 24 - Hot Chocolate with Maple Marshmallows
Jan. 19 - Double Cheese and Bacon Egg Biscuits
Jan. 17 - Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches
Jan 13 - Lemon Dressing Drizzled Chickpea and Sweet Pepper Arugula Salad
Jan. 10 - Smoky Turkey and Saffron Red Rice
Jan 6 - Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jan. 3 - links back to a bunch of her soup recipes

In her defense, I made the Smoky Turkey and Saffrom Red Rice (altering with what I had on hand) and it was DELICIOUS! But my picky eater, who loves rice, wouldn't touch it. Notice anything about the other recipes? Only one does not have cheese or chocolate in it, and it is a salad. 6 of the 14 posts have been cookie recipes! You know, I can get my picky eater to eat cookies without any special recipes.

But, now to be a little nicer, the cookie recipes are amazing. I haven't made any, but I'm going to get some puff pastry today so that when the Girl Scouts deliver my Thin Mints, I am ready to make those little strudels. Mmmm. Now, my picky eater, she'll eat the Thin Mints, but I doubt she'll eat the strudel. And to be fair, little picky palates probably do like anything with cheese and chocolate in them, so her heading doesn't lie. But still...I'm not judging; I'm just saying.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Food Island

My friend, Melly (not her real name, and I don't lust after her husband, but she is just about the nicest and wisest and smartest person I know, so she fits the character in GWTW...Gone with the Wind...quite nicely) is a fellow foodie and introduced me to this concept of your food island. What ten foods do you love so much that if you were trapped on an island for the rest of your life, you could live on these foods without ever tiring of them (because you can't have anything else)? It's harder than you think because though there are foods that I love (e.g., pizza), I can NOT eat them everyday.  I almost never can think of ten. It's a great game because you can continue playing for years and off and on. Non-foodies don't get it.

Melly's husband (I am NOT going to call him Ashley) made her some of her food island foods for her birthday Sunday. Isn't that precious?

Today, these foods would be on my food island, in no particular order:

 1. Scallops
2. Risotto

 3. Filet mignon, medium rare
4. Snickers

 5. Cap City's Maytag Bleu Cheese Potato Chips

6. My niece's (Rita) mashed potato salad

7. Graeter's Black Raspberry Chip Ice Cream

By the way, today I'm starting a concerted effort to "eat more plants." As my doctor said last week, "Eat plants for dinner with a side dish of plants and plants for dessert." Plants aren't really on my island.

What's on your food island?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Easiest winter comfort food meal EVER!

Rhett's office had a birthday potluck a few weeks ago and he brought home some leftovers, including yummy chicken and noodles. I asked him to get the recipe for me and I was astounded at how easy the recipe was. I was also astounded that the cook put an entire stick of butter in the dish. No wonder it was so good! Anyway, a crock pot meal with only 4 ingredients that tastes this good is exactly what I need to add to my repertoire.

I find it critical to reduce the sugar and fat (especially animal fat) in any recipe, so here is my adjusted (to make it a bit healthier) recipe for:
 Crockpot Chicken and Noodles

2-3 chicken breasts
3 14 oz cans of fat free chicken broth
3-4 Tbsn butter (preferably unsalted)
12-16 oz package Kluski noodles
Parsley to taste (fresh is sure to be better but I only have dried on hand; I used about 1 Tbsn)

Put chicken and broth in crockpot and cook on high for 3-4 hours (perfect timing for church!)

Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Put back in pot and add noodles and parsley.  Cook another 45-60 min (stir a couple of times within that time frame).

Sprinkle some more parsley on top to make it pretty (see picture).

After I took the picture, I decided to add spinach, an entire small bag (I always rinse spinach even though it says pre-washed...salmonella!). That made it a tad more healthy, though BonnieBlue objected to this addition vociferously. If you're going to add spinach, add it 30 min into the noodle cooking time.

This was a perfect meal for a snowy February day.

Here's a picture of the branch that came down in our backyard.

It was 2 a.m. on Feb. 1 or 2. I was up multi-tasking between work, watching youtube, and doing homework. I'm taking an online class about distance learning. I love this idea that I'm taking a class about teachin online...what is that called? It's not irony or symmetry...ugh...I'm losing my words.

Anyway, I was sitting at the dining room table with my back to the sliding glass window, and I heard the most ominous, scary cracking sound and turned around just in time to see this (though it was dark, the snow and light/moon reflection made it easy to see). I swear, I thought the tree was going to fall on the house. I woke up Rhett, but he didn't have the same concern and rolled over back to sleep. I spent the next hour unable to sleep even though I wanted to at that point.

Rhett already had the two trees in the front of the house removed but I've been fighting for this one (and the other you can see in the background). Well, actually, I fought for the front two, but lost. Now that this has happened, I can see the value in removing this one. But the one farther back is staying!

My friend, Mama Pea, lives in Michigan with lots of land. Oh, how I crave lots of land. Her daughter is going to have the most wonderful time growing up "in the country," I'm sure. Lucky. Someday, maybe my grandkids will come visit us on our hobby farm.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ironing Board

Geez, I feel old. I got this ironing board cover shortly after Rhett and I got married.

Wait. That's not right. Rhett got this ironing board cover shortly after we got married. Or maybe he already had it. It's his ironing board, after all. I did not iron for what was probably the first 8 years of our marriage. Or many years prior to that. But he did. His shirts. His pants. He once asked me if I ironed sheets. I think I blew soda out of my nose. He can iron a dress shirt in 7 minutes. The things they teach in the Marine Corps. Ooo-rah.

I didn't start ironing until I started quilting. It sort of infected me, that ironing thing.

So anyway, this old ratty ironing board cover has been bugging me for at least 2 years. Why oh why does it bug me to spend money on stuff like this?! But, I finally did.

It's nice not having to avoid spots on the board. Now I have to start thinking about an iron. I've had 2 die in just a few months (yes, we have/had 3 irons). You would think Mama Pea's iron review would be helpful, but buying an iron is Rhett's department. Our irons? 2 Rowentas and an Oreck (free with purchase of the vacuum!). We're down to one Rowenta.

Stay tuned for the next post. I made the best and easiest comfort food dinner EVER!

On another note: I had my laptop 'serviced' at work this week and ta-da! Blogger is letting me post more than one picture. I do believe this will mean more frequent posts.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

cuteness saturated

It's been too long since I've blogged, so have some sweetness since it's almost Valentine's Day.