Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BBQ and Berries

Tuesday was another spent running errands and trying to get stuff done. I accomplished only 4 things on my list of 100! I went and got the party announcements made for Hermit Crab's grad party, dropped some clothes off with my cousin for his younger girls, went to the grocery store and did some dishes. Not all the dishes, but almost all-had a few things left over since errand time overlapped with dish time!

We decided to grill some chicken and spuds and I found some very nice strawberries to serve with angel food cake. I found a new marinade to try with the chicken. It had nice flavor; however the fire was way too hot! I had Dude add some more charcoal before I started grilling since the amount that was in there wouldn't cook the chicken and the spuds. I don't think we realized that adding 15 more briquettes would result in a 500 degree change. We had blackened chicken.....and spuds....a 'slightly' blackened cibatta bread. It was still good, but no one ate the skin this evening!

For dessert, I sliced up several berries, covered them with sugar, let set for awhile and mashed up. Sprinkled a little more sugar and put them in the fridge until time for dessert. Which was at 2:00 this morning! He was working in the shop and I was harvesting crops on Farm Town on Facebook. I'm in need of an intervention.

Since there really isn't a recipe for what I did, I will just show the photos.
I will also ask a favor today. A year ago today our best friend was involved in an accident. Another person died and our friend has been struggling a lot. He has good days and bad days, but bad have out numbered the good. He took the day off work today to spend with his family. If you could just say a little prayer for him for his burden to lifted and for him to have more good days than bad, I would appreciate it. He is an upstanding man and I'm proud to call him my friend.
Have a terrific day. We are on for 2 days now, so I'll be back this weekend with garden updates and more food.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Road Trippin'

Today the hubs and I took a short road trip to Wisconsin to pick up a hood he had purchased on Craigslist for one of his project cars. It was a bonus as one of his favorite beers is not available in Minnesota. We picked up the hood and then had a delightful dinner at the Muddy Waters Bar and Grille. From the street, it looked like a small town bar where all the locals hang out. Inside was all this quirky decor and nice menu. It was a small place, maybe a dozen tables and then the bar. The menu wasn't huge but a nice selection-something for everyone. Fish, beef, chicken, ribs, salads and pasta. Of course I didn't have my camera (I should know better), and my phone photos wouldn't transfer last time. Bummer. It was excellent. Dude had the baked ziti. It was a huge bowl full of sausage, green, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, carrots, pasta and cheese. It was a beautiful dish and was served with ciabatta bread that was cut in wedges and possibly brushed with some butter and Parm. I had a small rib eye with buttered red potatoes. When it first came to the table I was concerned. It was a super skinny piece of meat, but it was large in surface area. It was so tender, and those red spuds were cooked to perfection! They split easily when pressed with a fork, but did not turn to mush when trying to cut them. I had a nice glass of Pinot Griego (which I have never had before) and he had a Blue Moon-they were out of oranges, only downside. After dinner we walked to the liquor store-only to find them sold out of Sol!! Instead of heading back into MN from the border town, we drove down the Wisconsin side to the next bridge to cross back over and hit a liquor store there. Only one 12 pack. Dude was bummed. But we did get a couple other favorites at a good price, so not a wasted trip. The clerk said to come over on Thursdays as that is delivery day. File that piece of info.

I made a loaf of beer bread to take into work yesterday, plus leave some for the girls. It is as easy as pie and I'm sure many of you have made it before.

Easy Beer Bread

3 cups self-rising flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1-12 ounce room temp beer

Stir the sugar and flour together. Squirt the honey on top, pour beer over and mix with spoon. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

I baked mine in a small loaf pan. It has 12 sections, just like a cupcake sheet and baked for 33 minutes.

I think that the flour might be a little old as they didn't rise like normal. They were good, but not like they normally turn out.

Here is a photo of the cut pumpkin bars. I sprinkled the powdered sugar on-which later turned a little gooey. Love the plate? I have this THING about cows. A little obsessed with them. I had cow dishes, towels, drawer pulls, night lights, knick knacks-you name it. I "thinned" the herd a while back as times and tastes change. My Hermit Crab found this on clearance and thought it would be great for my posting shots. I hope she was kidding........ I did use it here thought-it made me laugh!

Off to find something good to make for dinner for tomorrow. The hubs isn't working OT so we can have a nice sit down meal. If the kids are trying to kill one another. Another day in Paradise.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

I had one little 'ol package of frozen pumpkin that I baked and pureed last fall. I was a little intimidated as I have never processed pumpkin before, but it was very easy. Since it was my first time, I only made a couple pie pumpkins in case I messed it up. This fall I will definitely be doing many more.

I followed a recipe out of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. They smelled awesome while baking. I know that cream cheese is the best frosting to use but we have limited fridge space at work so trying to put my jelly roll pan may be disastrous as people have set their lunch boxes on other pans of treats.

Pumpkin Bars (from BH&G)

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt *I forgot since it isn't the ingredient section-in the written text. Oh Oh
4 beaten eggs
1 16 oz can pumpkin *not pie mix kind* and I used my frozen pumpkin
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cooking oil *I used canola

Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda and salt. Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil; beat until combined. Slowly stir dry ingredients; beat until well combined. Spread in an ungreased 15x10x1 jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

I am going to sprinkle mine with powdered sugar once they have cooled. I'd post a picture but will do it right before we leave for work.

It is really warm here today-over 80. We are suppose to get rain the next few days which we really need. I'm excited to start working in the garden. I think that since I have the new smaller area to tend to, I know it won't be as overwhelming as the last 4 years when I was doing 15 x25. Too many weeds and hard packed dirt. I have started some things in the house to transplant once it is warm enough, and other things will be planted directly in the ground.

On my list:

Peppers - green and jalapeno
Green beans
Lettuce - 2 kinds
Herbs -cilantro, parsley, coriander and chives

The hubs is going to try his hand at sweet corn again. We tried twice with the whole "you need X amount of rows to cross pollinate" stuff and it never worked. He is going to be in charge this time! I also am planting some sunflowers for the birds. I will share photos as the garden grows and include the recipes I use with the fresh produce.

Have a great day everyone!!

Update: the bars went over well at work tonight. I did dust them with the powdered sugar, but they were still warm so it turned into a wet, glazy type topping. They gobbled them all up. I'm thinking maybe some nuts next time and a frosting for sure, but will need to experiment with one that doesn't need refrigeration.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I am thankful for today

This is my favorite tree in my yard. I couldn't even fit the whole thing in my viewfinder without it looking scrawny and far away. The tree is half dead-barely any leaves grow on it anymore. We have lost about 5 huge limbs from it. But I love it. I sit on my deck and look at it. I sit on the golf cart by the fire and look at it. I listen to it creaking in the wind. It stands like a fortress, guarding our edge of the property against evils of the outside world.

I spent a good portion of the day out in the gardens.

Have the garden bed pretty full and will use the remaining dirt to fill in a flower garden that didn't turn out too well and to revitalize my strawberry patch which has been taken hostage and annihilated by some strange weed. I bought 20 new strawberry plants to put back in.

The plant smack dab in the middle is a strawberry plant. The rest are these stupid weeds that choked out about 30 strawberry plants. I dug up those rude weeds and hopefully they will not return, or at least not with the vigor they came with last year. I hope that next spring the patch will be filled with juicy red fruit again. The rhubarb is at the end of this small garden and it is going great. My tulips and other bulbs are growing like the dickens. I love tulips and I can't wait to see their small, beautiful heads swaying in the breeze before being cut for vases.

The lilac bushes are budding and in about 3 weeks their beautiful perfume will fill the air. What smells better than lilacs? I am sad that I don't have a desk anymore to bring them in and set them upon. They would be a big HACCP violation at the cereal plant! I will just have to set them about the house and overload my senses here.
After several hours of shoveling dirt and kneeling in dirt, I so deserved one (or 5) of these. Thank you to whoever decided hops and grains together would be a refreshing treat.
I'm thinking about moving to the kitchen to make some bars for work for tomorrow. I took my last baggie of pumpkin out. I have just a sad feeling in my heart and not sure I have it in me tonight. We lost a member of our church in a horrific accident this last week. Only a little older than myself and the other man lost was a young 22 year old from Iowa. Semi accident that was fiery and beyond belief. I also just read on Vodka Mom's site that she is taking down her blog. She always made me laugh-well, at her funny posts. Choked me up on her serious ones. I also just read that my blogging friend Donna has put her beautiful home up for sale for a move they are making. You know she is sad when she didn't make any sexual innuendos on her site and she made sausage for heaven sake!
So I am posting these pictures to remind myself of all that is beautiful and good and happy-even the weeds. While they invaded my space, they are still a gift from God and I am reminded yet again to be thankful for all the graces he has given me.
Promise, food soon. Many earmarked pages I've torn out of magazines!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let's all Holla for some Challa

When I made my trip up to Trader Joe's, I bought a loaf of Challah bread. I stated that I didn't exactly know what to do with it other than make French toast out of it, so that is what I did. I had never even tasted it before, so wasn't sure how it would turn out. It was super! The bread was eggy and sweet and made super french toast. I will have to check and see if the local bakery makes it or if they carry it in the small natural foods store in town-I haven't seen it at the grocery store bakery. I did a basic dip for the bread: 3 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, a tablespoon of sugar and some cinnamon. Dipped and fried. Yum!! No one even missed that I forgot to put the powdered sugar out. If I find this bread locally, you can bet it will be on the breakfast table again soon!

Booger thought I wouldn't post her impeccable table manners-wrong!

We also started getting our garden ready for planting. We have really clay-packed dirt here, so the Dude built me a raised-bed type structure. It is a 10x10 box with cross support boards so I have 5-2x10 plots to grow veggies and herbs. We are going to the nursery hopefully on our day off this week to get dirt to fill it. I started to clean out leaves and pine cones from some of the flower beds and we unfortunately found a nest with a litter of dead baby rabbits in it. I don't know when rabbits have off-springs, but the poor little guys didn't make it. Circle of life I know, but I felt bad. I'm not a very neat gardener, meaning I just pop bulbs in the ground and scatter seed and hope for the best. I do have a good 3 dozen bulbs coming up. Some stuff I planted last fall is popping through and some spots are just bare. Try, try again! I want to get my herbs going soon. I have started tomatoes and peppers in the house and they are taking off. I spoke with some people in different places and was told it was easy to grow veggies from seed in the house to transplant and they gave me some tips. Normally I buy tomato, pepper and squash plants and put in the garden, and use seed for peas and beans, and then onion sets. I bought lettuce also this year. While I don't eat anything from my own garden (not a big veggie fan) I cook with the produce-I guess that does mean I eat it, huh? My kids won't eat peas if I put them on their plate, but will pluck pods off and eat them right out of the garden-I give up trying to figure them out!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hunk 'o Man Meat Concert

Getting her shirt signed by Eric Durrance's band members

Eric pointing at my "we really do live in hicktown"-cuties in the band

Really, he isn't touching her boob-just looks like it. Nice guys

Jason Aldean and band member

He was freakin' awesome!

Ally and me

Oh, it was a blast! Hermit Crab and I had so much fun tonight. We started at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and had some grub and played the trivia game-uber addictive. We were pleasantly surprised with our seats at the concert. The diagram on the internet looked like we were in nosebleed seats, but we were 5th row off the main floor seats, maybe 100 yards from the stage. We could see much better than the pictures let on. Ally went down to the front and stood for the last 5 or 6 songs and took pictures and Jason touched her hand twice! I could see her jumping and dancing and singing-she enjoyed it so much. It was so fun to share it with her. My Mom would never have taken me to a concert; of course, we would have never agreed on any music either!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Everyone still out there?

Just checking in with everyone. Busy, busy week. Worked three in a row and now have plans everyday for my weekend off. Today I picked up the plates, napkins and table cloths for our daughter's grad party and got a frame she liked to have people sign-it has a thick mat for autographing. Need to get to the printer to get the invites made and little decorative touches done. Got the M & M's delivered today-holy cow, $60 for four little bags. Will have to find something else fun for Drama Queens party! Picked up the matching t-shirts I had made for Hermit Crab and I for the concert tomorrow night. Tonight it was dinner and a movie with my BFF Liz from high school. We dined at Outback, had a nice little steak, some uber-calorie laden french fries with cheese and bacon and two loaves of bread. Skipped cocktails and dessert so we could have junk food at the movie. We saw "Sunshine Cleaners" about two sisters who decide to be crime scene cleaner-uppers. I love Amy Adams, but this was not a happy/funny movie. But Steve Zahn was in it and I LOVE HIM!! He is from MN-and we got to see a good portion of his body. I didn't need to see his butt, but his nice 6 pack was pretty nice! Tomorrow I am baking a version of the Chocolate turtle cheesecake I made 2 weeks ago. I'm going to try using a graham cracker crust this time and use prepared caramel sauce for it. Mine shifted so much, so I'm sure I had the consistency wrong. I also need to make deviled eggs. Tomorrow night is concert night for my and my oldest. Way excited! Sunday is movie night (now day as poor Megan had a conflicting family event) so I'm bringing the cheesecake and eggs over there. I have to get back to cooking as I have some recipes I want to try. Tonight before the movie, we stopped at a green house and bought some seeds and I found a small recipe book that is called "Pie Iron Cooking". Those are the heavy metal devices you can cook things over a campfire with. I have the set my parents had when we went camping back in the 70's. I bought a new double square one too to make two sandwiches at once. For some reason we called them "Poochie Pie" makers-don't know where that came from. Will have to stick that in the camper and take the camera on the road when we camp. Have been having issues with our youngest. Dude and I are wondering if we could sell her to the circus? Oi vay.

I'll be back soon with some new stuff, plus some family favorites.

Peace out, my friends

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It is all good

We got great news today from the urologist. Everything is clear in his PSA. The doctor said that it is probably residual infection still lurking in him. He has another month on the first drug and he gave him another drug to help him pee better, well, more frequently. Since blog flow is very slow to there and to the prostrate, he suggested more 'whoopie'. I looked at Dude and laughed and he was like "I told him you wouldn't believe me, but I can call him and you can have a talk with him. It is how to make blood flow". He gets his ear looked at tomorrow but there haven't been any complications other than the first day of bleeding. Thank you Lord for answering my prayers.

I know I haven't had much food the last few days. Between this and some other stuff with our youngest, it has been a terrible week. Hope to have food up this weekend. Dinner with my high school BFF, taking my daughter to a concert, and movie night with Casey and Megan (Brokeback Mountain this time around). I'll have to come up with something to bring.......

Thanks everyone for the well wishes for my Dude-you made me laugh with your posts and said kind words and every bit of it helped!

Monday, April 13, 2009

100th post

Wow, where did that time go? Seems like just yesterday I decided to check out the blogging world after I followed a link after looking for a recipe on how to use cube steak. Now I'm blogging a few times a week or more, reading all these funny, well written, thought inducing blogs by all you funny, smart, sexy (yes Donna-that's for you!) people. In keeping with the traditions I've seen, I'm going to try and find one hundred things about me. Feel free to fall asleep by number 18.....

1-I have never had a ticket-speeding, DUI, parking-nothing.
2-I have a girl crush on Rachael Ray
3-My real name is Tami. Lyn is my middle name-I use it as one word as my first choice was taken on Blogger
4-I love the smell of Palmolive dish soap so that is why I use it
5-I never eat the ends of my french fries
6-I got the tip of my 'naughty' finger on my right hand cut off as a child-my sister accidentally slammed a door while I was learning to walk
7-I have often hid purchases from my hubby and try and pass off as having had them for a long time. If it involves a purse, he knows my tricks. I can usually pass off a shirt or pants.
8-I had braces for 4-1/2 years
9-I want to see Sweden and Norway before I die to check out my heritage.
10-I have my Dad's toes, except for my baby toes-those are little squished ones like my Mom's
11-I almost failed Algebra in 9th grade because I was in love with a boy named Chris
12-I love the smell of Bondo (body filler for cars), black jumbo Sharpies and fresh baked bread
13-I spent 5 hours setting up my Facebook account. My first one got hacked into and hosed up
14-I have a scar on my face from when my sister and cousin swung me in a sheet and I fell out and landed on the bed rail (same sister as the finger-hmmmmm, a pattern is forming)
15-I have always wanted to sing for a living. After being in choir for all my life, we were recorded at a concert where I had a duet. I can't carry a tune and I don't know why Mr. Hamilton let me sing. I quit choir the next year.
16-I have had a crush on Tom Cruise, Jon Bon Jovi, Donny Osmond and Rick Springfield since I was a young girl/teenager. Still hot for them.....
17-I ripped a pair of jeans climbing over a fence at my first kegger at 15-told my Dad a doozy of a lie, but I think he believed me, since I was a good girl. A brat and mouthy, but a good kid
18-I watch the Sound of Music every year and sing along with all the songs, except climb every mountain, cuz that sister can't sing!
19-I didn't get to drive until after I turned 18 since my Dad has several DUI's and no one would insure him if I drove
20-My husband and I are exactly 9 months to the day apart. I told him that when he was born, God created me for him!
21-I'm really vain about my hair color-those damn greys keep coming and tick me off. I pluck 'em
22-My first true love was Mike. I found out many years later that he was gay and I was the 'test' girl to see if he was or wasn't. That made me sad, but he told me that it was a good thing as I was the one who made him question it. And he is the one I was ready to give my 'virtue' to. God I hope my Dad doesn't read this post-it wasn't him Dad, it was Chris a couple years later.
23-My favorite place to be is next to a campfire, or on my deck with a cocktail listening to the birds.
24-I cried when Princess Diana died
25-I wanted to marry Chachie from Happy Days
26-I just listened to Don Williams on my Ipod
27-I have seen over 100 concerts
28-I have an irrational fear that I will fall and lose my front teeth
29-I'm afraid of the dark
30-My hubby and I sleep with 6 stuffed animals-plus we have a 4 foot stuffed giraffe in our room
31-My husband spoils me. Every piece of jewelry I have ever expressed interest in, he bought. Up until 5 years ago. He thinks I have run out of place on my body to wear it all :)
32-We had a huge tom turkey in our yard today
33-I often dream about snakes-and I'm afraid of them too
34-I have ridden in the back of a squad car-my friend's sister dated him and he drove us to school one day-you should have seen the faces of our friends
35-I didn't learn the Lord's Prayer until I was 22
36-I have picked out songs I want sung at my funeral (dark and disturbing I know, but they are my favorite hymns!)
37-I was one week late giving birth to each of my girls
38-One of my favorite snacks is a spoonful of peanut butter and a glass of chocolate milk
39-This is really fricken hard
40-I got really drunk once and sang karaoke-bad, bad idea. My poor sisters and niece
41-My brother (and Dad) were very disappointed I was a girl. Think that is why I am a tomboy and was always closer to guy friends than girls growing up
42-I am a clearance sale junkie
43-I hate to go barefoot
44-I want a screened porch more than anything
45-I'm scared to death to let our daughter go to college-what if she doesn't miss me?
46-I hate to drive a stick shift
47-The sheriff was at our house today-it is a surprise I'm still sober
48-I have some strange retention abilities. Freaks my husband out-he thinks I'm lying half the time
49-I love to dance, but my hubby would rather stick a sharp object in his eye. I have to wait for weddings or a rare night out with girlfriends that involve a bar and a dance floor
50-I'm half done and I've been at this for 40 minutes
51-I hit a squirrel once and cried all the way to work
52-I seriously thought about joining the service when I was 20
53-I cry every time Goose dies in Top Gun
54-I also cry every time I watch Dr. Greene die on ER (that Anthony Edwards is a tear jerker for me)
55-I won't illegally download music to my Ipod because I'm afraid I'll go to jail
56-I love to host parties as it gets me motivated to clean my house
57-I was never going to have kids. After today, maybe should have stuck with that idea
58-I don't believe in Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster
59-I hate Charmin toilet paper
60-I could eat mashed potatoes just about every day
61-I swear like a truck driving sailor
62-My hubby can almost make me vomit when he makes barfing sounds-does it on purpose
63-I snore-a lot
64-I had Lasik surgery 6 years ago-shouldn't have waited so long
65-I have asthma
66-I loved to TP houses when I was young
67-I miss my cat every day
68-I like to watch tractors in the field
69-I love to watch reruns of Friends, Little House on the Prairie and Green Acres
70-Watermelon in one of my favorite fruits-and gives me horrible indigestion
71-I have short eyelashes and mascara doesn't help
72-I have a sick sense of humor-some people just don't get me
73-I have the complete series of betsy/Tacy/Tib books and have read them over and over. Most recently was about 2 years ago. Because of that series, I developed a love for reading. I learned the Dewey Decimal system to be a helper in the library so I would know when they came back in
74-I'm afraid of heights-and have to crawl up ladders every day at work
75-I took my youngest daughter to Graceland-she loves Elvis
76-I'm not really tall-5'7", but over on half of my height is legs-they are unusually long
77-I have flat feet
78-I've lost all readers by now
79-I have to keep all my bills in currency order, facing forward and all right side up
80-I grew up in a house with no shower-i only took baths and washed my hair in the kitchen sink. We didn't have air either-Dad got both when I moved out-hmmmmm
81-I didn't like pizza until I was a teenager
82-I didn't fly on an airplane 9or anything else) until I was 15
83-I didn't see Disney World until I was 15...see #82
84-I still know the words to my high school school song
85-I have an obsession with cows
86-I want to buy my hubby some chaps-I think I mentioned how HOT he looked in them in our picture
87-I hate the song "Hotel California"
88-I almost got a tattoo when I turned 40-shhh, my hubby doesn't know
89-I want to take a train trip through Canada
90-I can't watch scuba diving on TV-I'm claustrophobic and I can't breath watching it. I also have a hard time watching penguins swimming under the ice-like on Discovery specials
91-I want to ride in a NASCAR car
92-I have the hots for race car drivers-vroom vroom baby
93-My left ear is smooshed in at the top
94-I never tried to buy alcohol before I was of age
95-I love game shows, especially Family Feud, Password, and Pyramid
96-I crack my knuckles
97-I still love to watch my kids while they sleep
98-I'm very competitive, but pretend not to be
99-I hate ice cream
100-I can belch like a man

Okay, that was crazy and I will never do that again!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday filled with love, laughter and good food!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Country Bob's and what it means to me

I so tried to come up with some fantastic way to try this product. Fact is, I decided to just try it in it's simplest form to see what I could tell about the flavor.

First up is chicken. I had a couple problems here. I had marinaded the chicken pieces and was going to throw it on the grill. I had failed to look outside very closely. I was surprised that Dorothy and Toto didn't end up in my backyard. Scratch the grill. In all my genius, I decided to brown it up in my saute pan then bake it in the oven. Let's just say that the sugars in the sauce didn't like the 2 TBSP of oil in the pan. Mad a freaking mess all over my stovetop-which I had just cleaned. It looked very pretty coming out of the oven. However, since I made it in the oven the skin was not as crisp as I would have liked and I only eat my skin if it is fried or crispy from the grill. It was hard to judge the flavor since it was pretty much on the outside of the bird. The chicken was very juicy, so it may have helped that.

Here is our complete dinner: chicken, steamed new potatoes and ciabatta bread

Tonight I made plain ole hamburgers for the grill. I mixed in about a quarter cup of bread crumbs, four tablespoons of Country Bob's All purpose seasoning, a twist or two of salt and some shallot salt. Made up my patties and put 'em on the grill. The flavor was bumped up a bit and they were very juicy. I couldn't really put my finger on a distinct taste. My husband said it reminded him of a steak sauce flavor. I don't know about that, but they were very tasty and I gulped my burger down in about 6 bites!

I was cleaning out my email and found this one from my stepmom Sue. She is the one who drew my header picture for me. Over the years she has drawn us some beautiful pictures; one of our girls that is at the head of our stairs so everyone who walks in can see it, a picture of my dog Mandy, a picture of our dog Gusty, and a beautiful picture of a pail of pansies that she took a picture of on my deck and did it in chalk. I have it hanging in my scrap room so I can look at it and get cheered up when I hit a scrapblock. Anyways, here is what she said about my blog.

Hi Tami,
Just read your whole blog and really, it is AMAZING! It is almost like a magazine! The photos of the food, from prep to finished product are so neat and informative.......too bad regular mags don't do that. I bet you have many, many fun. How neat to read all the interesting things and photos of you and everybody.........very cool. (That bar recipe DOES look awfully good! (If I made that I would have to grab a WHOLE BOTTLE OF INSULIN! Ha!) Anyway, very impressive and thank you for saying the nice things about the butter dish drawing. Glad that worked out okay.
You know, I tell your Dad once in a while, when we're out with people, and I pull him aside and say "if I didn't know you, I'd want to............", and after reading your blog, the thought went through my mind, "I'll bet that people who read this really are impressed and want to write to her!" so........"if I didn't know you, I'd want to after reading all of that......................!" Love, Sue (The letter you wrote to Ally is wonderful........)
Isn't that sweet? It made me cry. She is a special lady and I'm very blessed to have her in my life.

I am baking some banana bread muffins (already posted that) but I made a few changes to my recipe. I melted butter to stir in the end and dissolved some espresso powder in some water and used that for part of the milk. It smells delicious in the oven, so I will see what the family says tomorrow (um, later today). Remember when I said I had organized the freezer? Found some rhubarb that I froze last summer, so I found a recipe for rhubarb bread that I will make after the banana muffins. I also have a pot roast to throw in the crock so the kids can eat and we will have lunch ready for work tonight.

I hope everyone has a joyous Easter. Give thanks for the good blessings in your life. I give thanks for all of you who visit here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

We have a Bingo...

oh, sorry, I mean we have 2 winners!!

Research Randomizer Results
1 Set of 2 Unique Numbers Per SetRange: From 1 to 12 -- Unsorted
Job Status:

Set #1:

4, 8

Congrats to Jeff from Culinary Disasters
Love organizing the freezer! I think my workout mix on my ipod is probably a little to violent/angry for most tastes. One thing I like to do is catch up on my podcast too.

and congrats to Heather from Diary of Fanatic Foodie
i'm an 80s music girl - madonna, total eclipse of the heart, etc. there's a metro station song i like a lot that i think is called shake it. it's on my ipod and keeps me moving :)

Like Heather, I have a lot of '80's music on my Ipod as that is when I was a teenager and it will always have a special place in my heart. However, Jeromy won the "what should I put on my Ipod" part of the contest. He didn't visit my blog-he doesn't even know I have a blog. He is the guy that is training me at work and brought his Ipod and let me listen to his music, so I will going and downloading some Pearl Jam and Audioslave. I HATE to exercise with a passion, but if I listen to some tunes, it is bearable. I wish I could be one of those who could get all excited for the "whatever-mones" to kick in and give me that exercise high, but it doesn't work for me. If only I could love my double chins....sigh.

Jeff and Heather, if you could shoot me your addresses to my email , I will get that prize in the mail to both of you. Thanks for coming and hanging out here, I really do appreciate it!!

I have my post with my review ready soon. I have been painting all day and I need to get in the kitchen and bake with those darn bananas before they totally rot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake

This is the dessert that I brought over to our friends house this past weekend. I saw it in the Kraft Food and Family magazine and drooled over it. I only discovered I like cheesecake about 8 years ago on a family trip to Duluth. We were having dinner at Grandma's (which is an icon in Duluth) after a day spent by Lake Superior. We were treating ourselves to a nice dinner and the Dude ordered cheesecake for dessert. As I have stated in the past, I'm not a really big dessert fan, but I tried his dessert and have been hooked since. I made a half recipe as there were only 6 of us for dinner-plus one for 2 corn casserole-so I made a small pan. Plus, knowing my lack of self control, I didn't want a huge amount in my fridge taunting me every time I opened it and giving in to temptation! I will list the full recipe here. It needs a 9x13 pan for full recipe; I used an 8x8 pan.

Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake
1-1/2 cups crushed Nilla Wafers (I think you need more as I had to add another 15 to cover bottom of pan
3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
32 caramels, unwrapped
3 TBSP milk
4 packages of 8-ounce each cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
8 squares semi sweet chocolate, divided (I used Baker's-have great luck with it)

Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Mix wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Microwave caramels and milk in microwavable bowl on MEDIUM (50%) for 4-5 minutes or until caramels are melted and mixture is well blended, stirring every two minutes. Pour over crust; spread to within 1 inch of edge.

Cool. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each until just blended. Melt 7 chocolate squares. Stir into cream cheese batter; pour over caramel layer. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set. Refrigerate 4 hours. Sprinkle remaining nuts on just before serving. Melt remaining square of chocolate and drizzle over top.

I didn't do the drizzle of chocolate because I left the square on the counter at home. The only problem I had was when I cut the dessert, the chocolate cream cheese layer slid off the caramel layer. I don't know why. The hubs loved the crust and the caramel; not so much the chocolate, but he is not a big chocolate fan. More for me!

Off to have lunch with the ladies from my former shift at the cereal plant. They work days as they have been there for many years. I started as a temp so I was able to work days back then. I of course just got off at 6 and haven't slept yet as the youngest is having a surprise party for one of her BFF's and I had to make a cake and pick up some. After lunch I will frost the cake and take a quick nap so I can handle ten 15 and 16 year olds here. I better make sure there is wine in the fridge!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I love a man in a cowboy hat

(Recipe will follow)

I don't know what it is. Several years ago the Dude went through a long hair stage (we don't talk about it much) but when he would wear a hat he looked like Alan Jackson. Our oldest once pointed to Alan singing on TV and went "Daddy!" Believe me honey, if that was Daddy we wouldn't be living in an old house with a leaky roof and crab grass. He usually wears ball caps, but we got an old time photo taken a few years ago and he wore a cowboy hat and chaps-yowza. Good thing we were in public. I enjoy country music, but not like I did when I was younger. I was pretty much raised on country-old school. Johnny Cash, Statler Bros, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton. As I got older, I would listen to it along with rock, pop, alternative. Nowadays, I like more of the rocking country when I listen. One of my oldest daughter's and my favorites is:

Jason Aldean. We got tickets to his show in two weeks. She was totally bummed that I wouldn't spring for the $100 tickets. I asked if she checked the venue's website and she said yes, but all they were showing was the $45 seats in the back. Um, okay, we can either not go, or take the cheap seats and go hear him. Plus, it is in a small theater at the casino-not a huge ampitheather! She decided that the 45 dollar tickets would be okay. Kids. The youngest will be pissed that she doesn't get to go, but she isn't that big of a fan and she isn't 18. I thought this would be fun for me and Hermit Crab to do before she leaves for college.

For our dinner last night at our friends house I made the Poppin' Bacon bread, 2 Corn Casserole and Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake. Big hits. The bread was gobbled up in no time. We ate it straight out of the oven while waiting for dinner. Corey made kabobs on the grill and red potatoes. My corn casserole is kind of famous, at least with their family. I bring it almost every time we go there for potluck or parties. Their youngest daughter LOVES it and their eldest came over after she had dinner at home since her sister told her we were coming over and I was bringing it-it is that good. I got the recipe from my Mom about 12 years ago, and I am not sure where she got it from. It reminds some people of scalloped corn, but I think it is better.

2 Corn Casserole

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn
1 can (15 oz) creamed corn
1/2 can water
2 eggs
salt and pepper
1/2 box (8.5 oz) Jiffy brand corn muffin mix
1 small can French fried onions (Durkee)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Lightly spray 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. In casserole dish, beat the two eggs. Mix in both corns, 1/2 can of water, muffin mix, a pinch or two of salt and a couple grinds of pepper.

Sprinkle onions on top of corn mixture. I don't use whole can as it overwhelms my children.

Spoon sour cream over top of onions

then sprinkle with cheese to cover the dish.

Pop in oven for 40 minutes until cheese is nice and melty.

I left it in oven while we waited for the kabobs, so it got a little more brown than usual, but there was none left.

Here is Rebecca enjoying a spoonful. Mom is on right; Dad's beer is on left (smile-I told you beer would be involved).

Here is the scoop and my plate with all the foody goodness!

We played a lot of games of Eurche. The boys think they won more games; I don't think so.

We were suppose to get hit heavily with snow with accumulations around 5 to 8 inches. It started when we left, but when we woke up there was nothing on the ground. It must have stayed south of us. It looked like 'movie snow', all big flakes that almost seemed to be suspended in air.

Hard to get a good photo of snow at night when you have limited skills like me.

Don't forget the give-away. It ends Thursday~

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Croissants, some paint, a freezer and a give away

I showed you yesterday in my post about my trip to Trader Joe's the croissants I purchased. I let them rise and baked them. At first I was disappointed when I cut it open that there was a small amount of chocolate in the bottom layer of the croissant, but when I ate it, the amount of chocolate was the perfect contrast to the buttery layers.

I had a pretty productive evening. I was awake for about 21 hours before taking a nap and slept for only about 2 hours. The girls were gone, spending time together at the mall and then took in a movie (Gasp!) and didn't kill each other. I went downstairs and put the last coat on the upper cabinets we installed about a week and a half ago. Now we can go get the lowers and the counter top and put those in. I also organized the freezer. Lesson learned: never ask teenagers to take the groceries down and put away for you. If I didn't know better (and know how lacking their softball skills are) I would have sworn they did fast pitch with the chicken packages and ice cream containers. We now have all beef together, all pork, chicken, etc. Much easier to find things. I have to laugh at Dude. We were talking about stuff we need to get done before graduation-carpets, Goodwill drop, etc. I said "You know, we need to do a pantry challenge" and he replied "don't you think we have enough projects going on at one time? How many things do you think we can really accomplish before June?" I looked at him dumbfounded-WHAT? I had to re-state my question: I meant, I think we should make a plan to not buy any groceries except fresh produce and dairy for a certain amount of time since both the freezer and pantries are full. It was like Gilda Radner on SNL-"never mind".

And now, for a give-away.

I feel like a total grown up blogger now. I was contacted by the Country Bob's Inc. about doing a product review for them. You will remember that Michelle at had a give away from them last month. I have a few ideas swimming around my head about how I want to use the product and will post that soon. I need to find out how to use that random integer thing-y, but here is the way it will all play out. Leave a comment on this post about, wait for it~~~not what you are thinking........

"What songs should I put on my Ipod?" I'm in the process of losing some weight so I can fit into this adorable dress I bought for my daughter's graduation ceremony, and I need some rocking tunes that will get me through 30 minutes a day on my treadmill. I will select two winners via the random integer thing on Thursday April 9th and will post the winners that evening. If you want to do a shout out to your readers, post back a second time about the shout out and it will count for a second chance to win. No Twitter or Facebook or any of that. I can't figure out Twitter and my Facebook account is hosed up and no one there will help me :(

Good luck to everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I've been de-flowered.....

I'm no longer a Trader Joe's virgin. By reading many different blogs, I hear that TJ is all the rage. I have to say, ehh. Maybe ours here in the Midwest are smaller and don't carry as much? There are 3 here in Minnesota and the closest one to me is 40 miles away. After I watch the ER finale this morning after work, I hopped in the car and drove up. It was very small-like clothing store small. I was expecting a lot more. We have a couple hometown (meaning a group of family owned-only in MN stores) called Lunds and Byerly's that are high end. Like, carpeted grocery stores.....with fresh fish and lobster tanks.......a restaurant.......and an art gallery. I guess that is what I was expecting.

However, I did find some fun stuff.

I got these beautiful flowers. I'm not so hot on horticulture, but I know there are lilies-Calla, I think. Not sure about the purple and white 'fluffy' ones. But they were a deal at 7 bucks.
I found some Meyer lemons which I can't get at my local store, but maybe at Lunds/Byerly's. I found the tri-colored bag of spuds again, so I snapped those up. I found some ginger beer that I need for a cocktail (if I can find the recipe), some different root beer, some dark chocolate so I can make Dawn's Peanut Butter cups, some Challah bread which I have never had in my life, but I have seen many posts about making french toast out of it. Then there are the chocolate croissants-yeah baby, I may eat all four of those myself when I bake them off! I also found these thin chocolate and macadamia nut cookies.

Ours also has a liquor store-do they all? I found a couple of bottles to try. Who could not want to pick up a bottle by Pancake Cellars with a giant pancake terrorizing a town? It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc. It says that it contains flavors of pear, kiwi, melon, honeysuckle, jasmine and orange blossom. I seriously bought it for the label, like I have done many times before.

It was kind of fun, but for my regular shopping, I will stick to my regular store.
I really did enjoy the last episode of ER. I read some comments on other sites about people being disappointed-that they thought it should be all out extreme. I thought the story line was well written, there was some closure, but also showed it as life going on. The part that made me cry was when Rachel Green, Mark Green's daughter showed up on a visit from college to see if she wanted to be an ER doctor like her dad. The story had come full circle. I know, those of you who don't watch probably are like "it's just a show", but it was such a good show (well, there was a bad year or two, but overall very good) that drew you into the stories. So farewell all my TV friend at County General, it has been wonderful spending Thursday with you for the last 15 years. And thanks for letting us see what the hospital actually looks like from the outside-not just the ambulance bay!