Thursday, February 26, 2009

Birthday plans, take II

We had planned on a dinner out at B-Dubs or as it is normally known, Buffalo Wild Wings. Hermit Crab had a field trip to Menard's 2 weeks ago-it is like a Home Depot or Lowe's. She has a design class for the house project our school does every year. They build a new house each year and sell it; that in turn finances the next years' project. Long story, so anyway the building and design class go on a field trip and were stopping at B-Dubs for lunch. She was so not excited....until she came home and told us how much she loved it. We were taking her and her BFF Jesse out for dinner then home for presents and ice cream cake.

This is what happened:

Huge snow storm. We got about 5 inches, but the blowing and drifting is terrible. 25 to 30 MPH winds. The security lights keep coming on, the screen door is banging. Ugh.

You can't even make out the road. We went three miles and I made the Dude turn around and come home. I felt so bad for her, but she went and took some chicken out of the freezer and we made oven fried chicken.

Oven fried Chicken

1 cut up chicken
1-1/2 buttermilk
3 cups crushed corn flake cereal
salt and pepper
paprika (not shown)
1 stick butter, melted (not shown)

Wash and dry chicken. Place cereal crumbs and seasonings in one pan and the buttermilk in another. Place a couple pieces of chicken in buttermilk; drain off and place in pan with crumbs. Roll in crumbs. Place butter in a roasting pan and then place all the coated chicken in pan on top of butter. Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour and then start checking the temp. Mine took about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

I served this with mashed potatoes, gravy and garlic toast. It was good, but I felt bad for A that she didn't get her B-Dubs. I told her that when I take her to the casino, we would stop. That is the big thing here for 18th birthdays-going to the casino. Since we work this weekend, I told her we would go next week. Go spin some slots. At least there was ice cream cake! Yes, those are giraffe print plates. I told ya, the hubs has some strange love for them!

Her favorite gift? The pre-sale card and midnight release party for 'Twilight'. She 'runs with werewolves' too. And decided she wanted perfume for the first time in her life. Her choice? Vera Wang. Not Loves Baby Soft (anyone remember that pink bottle? I can still smell it), no, she goes top shelf. Turkey Butt!

One good thing about the snow storm? Free wine chiller!
The wind is still whipping and the snow is blowing hard. We made the BFF stay overnight so I have kids sacked out everywhere. Time to peruse other blogs while it is quiet and I can hear myself think.

It happened so fast....

I couldn't do anything to stop it. I tried, but in the end-it was too late.

18 years ago today, you entered my life-a week late. Little did I know this would be your M.O. for all the rest of the days to follow. We had only been married for three weeks. We had just packed up all of our stuff and moved away from family and friends. Not far, maybe 45 miles, but it seemed like we had moved to a different state. We started painting and carpeting the house we bought. We settled Mandy into a new house and a new yard with much more room for her to run. I had quit my job to stay home and be a wife. 3 weeks. I was late. I was like a clock-never late, not once. I had to do our laundry at the laundry mat as our new appliances hadn't been delivered yet. I stopped by the local pharmacy and bought a test. It turned light pink. Dad said maybe I was just a little pregnant. The family couldn't believe it, but in your Dad's family it was the norm. Grandma Baker got pregnant with Grandma Joan on their wedding night. Grandma Joan got pregnant with Uncle Jerry within a week. Us, the day we got home from our honeymoon. Young, newly married, no money and pregnant. Grandpa Denny and Grandma Sue bought us a playpen and a highchair. From my Grandma Isabelle we got a tiny crib. From Aunt Karen and Uncle Terry we got a full size crib. It was a good thing I didn't work as I was sick every day-all 9 months. You were a week late. We went to the hospital to get a shot of prostaglandin gel (sp) that was suppose to 'loosen' me up and help get me into labor. They said it may take 4 or 5 applications, but for you it was just what you needed. When it was time to get ready to go home, I told the nurses that I didn't feel right. They hooked up the monitor and said labor had begun. It was a full night in the maternity ward. Both birthing suites were in use as were the two back-up rooms. I spent the night in a king size bed that wasn't adjustable. When it was finally time for you to revel yourself to us I had Dad and a nurse sitting behind me pushing me into a sitting position so I could deliver. No drugs-the doctor didn't 'believe' in them-whatever. In a few short pushes, you were here-crying, little fist waving and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. What was I suppose to do now? We learned like everyone does. Pre-school, kindergarten, starting band, going on the sixth grade camp out, being the small fish in high school, finding out how smart you were (where did that come from?), playing volleyball, cheerleading, speech, learning to drive, getting a job. Now today you turn 18. How did these years fly by so fast? In my mind it is like a slideshow of everything you have ever done and I can't go in and slow it down. Now you are poised to graduate in 3 short months and go north to college. You have turned into this wonderful person right before my eyes and I don't know when it happened.

All I can say is I am so proud of who you became and who you will become when you leave this house. You have a lifetime to show the world who you are and what you can do, but remember-it goes so fast. I look at your dad and still see the handsome young man I fell in love with 21 years ago. He still takes my breath away and gives me butterflies and it doesn't seem possible that this many years have passed by already. I feel the same as I did in that hospital 18 years ago-scared, excited and love. You will knock them dead. Just remember-I'm still your mom and I brought you into this world; I can take you out again.

Love, Mom

Happy Birthday A.R.L.-I love you more than words can say.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tips, tricks and shortcuts

With the odd schedules we work, I need some shortcuts that keep the natives fed (and less bee-atchy). With the economy as it is, we are all trying to find ways to cut waste out of our budgets. I have gone back to batch cooking as a time saver and also a way to take advantage of sales at the grocery store. I spent Sunday cooking up several batches of meat to freeze for future meals and also to feed us this upcoming week.

First up, ground beef:

I browned up a 3 pound package of 80/20 ground round that I got on sale for $5.69. I browned it up with some shallot salt, roast beef seasoning and a little Worcestershire. I divided it into 3 freezer bags and put in the freezer.

Next up is a roast turkey breast. I bought these at Christmas with a buy one, get one free sale. I roasted in my large slow cooker.

I cut up 2 TBSP of butter into 6 pieces. Sliding my fingers between the skin and the meat, I loosened the skin and placed the butter across the breast meat. I wedged up a lemon and stuck into some crevices and then sprinkled the whole breast with poultry seasoning. After it was done, I sliced some for sandwiches we had this week, cubed some for a hot dish and stuck in a freezer bag and chunked some up for my salad for dinner last night.

Last up is boneless, skinless chicken breasts. My daughter had taken a package out of the freezer to cook up, but forgot about it so I had to use it up. I would normally cook more than one package, but these were thawed already and didn't have time to thaw more. I know that boneless, skinless are more expensive, but the whole piece is usable. No waste. When I make a dinner with chicken, I use the fryer or a cut up chicken, but when making chicken to use in hot dishes or tacos, I use the chicken breast. I got these on sale for 4 packages for $10.

I poached the breasts in a quart of chicken stock and some poultry seasoning. I normally poach for 25 minutes and then start checking the temp. Since I was blogging that day, I left a little longer. Hopefully they aren't too dry. I shredded up a breast for my daughter for taco meat and then cubed the other two for a chicken salad-which I have never made, so I need some ideas :)
What do you do to save money, time or sanity?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cake for breakfast

Well, coffee cake that is. Not to say I haven't had a piece (or three) of yellow cake with chocolate frosting for breakfast; I have done it many times and explained to my children that when they are 40 (or more) they, too, can eat it for breakfast. This is my mother-in-law's coffee cake recipe. It is what the Dude grew up on. The downside is that his mom has this pan that she makes it in that doesn't exist today. It is 8x10 and has a sliding lid that comes off. Now, I have a brownie pan that is close in size, but hers is deep-almost like the depth of a 9x13 pan. Brownie pans are quite shallow so when I try to make it in that, it spills over the side. If I make it in the regular cake pan, the cake turns out very thin. There are two things R would like from his parents when they pass on: the coffee cake pan and the old Dutch oven. Yeah, but we know the sister will get those (along with everything else she has put her name on), so we are not counting on it.

Here is Joanie's Coffee Cake

1 cup sugar
1/2 oleo (shortening)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream (I always use buttermilk)
stir-ins: 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/ cup chopped nuts

Cream together the shortening, sugar and eggs in a stand mixer bowl (can use a mixing bowl and hand mixer; Joanie does it this way). Stir in vanilla. Add flour, salt, soda and baking powder and set on stir on stand mixer. Slowly add buttermilk. Take bowl off mixer stand and stir in the 1.2 cup sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Pour into a greased pan (either 8x10 will spillage or a 9x13).

Bake at 325 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes.

I made this at 3:30 in the morning and didn't tell my kids. They got up and got ready for school (we were in bed sleeping as we had to work that night). We got up at 4 to get ready and there was a lone row left in the pan. Hermit Crab said she was just getting her fair share since she didn't get any from the last pan and Drama Queen scarfed it down. How could they put away an entire pan when they were only home a total of 1 hour between leaving for school and coming home from school? Savages!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Reality is setting in

Hermit Crab is turning 18 in 4 days. I spent the afternoon with my best friend from high school (our 25th reunion is coming up-we nearly cried about that too!) shopping for her birthday presents. I think I went a little overboard, but this is a momentous occasion and deserves to be special. She wrote a very detailed list with exclamation marks next to the ones she really wants like the pre-sale order of the Twilight DVD and a Wicked puzzle. Which I found out she found on-line and not at a B&N store-grrrr. I also went on-line today and paid her tuition deposit for college. Sigh. It is really happening. Most days lately I want to kick her to the curb as she has been extra lazy and mouthy. But as I clicked on the send button, it really hit me. She is leaving me in about 5 months. I know she will be home at Thanksgiving and Christmas and all summer working, she is, for all intents and purposes, leaving. I don't know that I'm ready.

I so sad...

Yes, I intentionally spelled the title incorrectly. This is a popular saying for me to my hubby "I so sad, I so tye-red, I so hungry". It started many years before I met him and just something I can't let go of. Today (well, actually yesterday since it is after midnight where I live) we were to have our sibling Christmas get together and bring my Mom her car. I made bars, even though my sister B said not to bring food as she made enough for an army; couldn't help myself-I can't show up somewhere empty handed. We were on the road (crappy drive in Big Bertha pulling a car hauler on icy roads) when I texted my niece and asked if everyone was there yet. She and her boyfriend were going to drive up on Friday and leave Saturday night as they have about a 5 hour drive. My phone starts to ring and it is Kesh and she asked if I had not heard the latest update. Oh crap. Apparently her and Nate are very sick and my sister S (her mother) was snowed in at her house. Double crap. She told us to have fun and enjoy some food for her as she was going back to bed with tissues, tea and a blanket.

My sister B had a HUGE spread of food for the 9 of us that made it. My girls didn't come as they had a speech competition, one of my nephews is in the service, and S, Kesh and Nate were no shows. We had a lot of food. I didn't cook this, but thought I would share B's stuff.

Warm Onion Dip
3 large packages of cream cheese, softened
1 large onion, diced small (or a bag of frozen chopped onions, thawed)
1 cup mayo
1 cup cheese (she used Parm today)

Stir the cream cheese and mayo together. Add the onions and cheese, stirring to make sure everything has been well coated and distributed. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until golden and crusty. She served with small french baguette slices.

She said that she has used many different types of cheese in this dish; fontina, Swiss, cheddar. She has added roasted garlic, bits of asparagus, dill. She uses the above as a base and adds whatever looks good. She was mild today since there were some fussy eaters, present company included. I did really enjoy it-but very onion-y. I'm still burping it up.
This was an appetizer along with Earl's cheese puffs. I'm not a big cheeto-type snack fan, but those were really good. For dinner, it was turkey, ham, a cheesy potato dish with roasted garlic and breadcrumbs and butter topping it, green beans, a Jell-O salad, cranberries, croissant rolls, a dip, plus she made a marshmallow topped brownie, a pineapple upside down cake and a banana upside down cake for dessert. Again-9 people were there! We dished up doggie bags for everyone!

Here is my sister B and my brother H. They have no idea they are going to be starring in my little blog corner of the world!
Here is my great-niece Mady. Can't believe my little niece is a mom!

Here is my Mom with her first great-grandchild

We got the car unloaded, new plates put on, transferred her stuff from my brother's car that she was using to her new car and gave extra sets of keys to the kids that live in Wisconsin. It was a good day, but I still so sad that all of us couldn't be together :(

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Who likes oooey goooey bars? (Awards follow)

Edited note: The bars at the end of the post should be kept in the fridge to be kept firm. They will start to ooze out the sides when cut. Fabulous either way, but I know some people like firmer bars. Carry on.

As I stated in last night's post, I was making bars for our family party tomorrow in Wisconsin. It has snowed for most of the day and am not looking forward to the trip as the Dude and I are driving the pickup and pulling a car trailer. We got my Mom a car as the one she was driving died. We actually have to put the car in my sister B's name and have B list Mom as a driver since Mom is on disability and can't have any assets (or very few) because she lives in an income-based apartment. If she has assets it will increase her rent and decrease any benefits she gets. We are not trying to cheat the government; she lives on $860 a month. She pays rent, all of her living expenses, health insurance and what ever her health insurance doesn't cover has to come from her. It took her almost 4 years to pay off her portion of the hip replacements she needed since she could barely walk. She needs to still be mobile because I am certain that if she is cooped up in that apartment any longer, she's going postal on all the old freaky people that live in her building. Where the heck am I wandering off to?

Oh yeah-bars. This recipe comes from our churches first cookbook put out about 14 years ago. I have adapted it slightly because of how I like the consistency of my bars and the flavors I like in my bars. I can't make Special K bars to save my life. My aunt and my sister B make awesome SK bars; me, well lets just say that Karo syrup is NOT my friend. I always make Crispy Rice bars (this name will be explained in a minute). I have a great recipe from my old doctor's wife-who was a nutritionist, which makes me laugh as they are so full of fat and calories. I will make those in the future and post. With the creamy chocolate frosting.......ooooo, chocolate frosting....oh, sorry, I'm back.

These are called Marshmallow Caramel Bars (from St. Mark's Lutheran Church cookbook)

Crispy Rice cereal (original recipe calls for 13 oz box; I wing it and pour in more and keep stirring until I get the desired consistency, if I guessed, I would say about 14 to 15 cups cereal)

2 packages mini marshmallows
1-1/4 cup butter, divided
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 package caramels (I use the Kraft caramel bits-no unwrapping!)
1 large jar marshmallow creme (original says small jar)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not in original recipe)

Butter two jelly roll pans; set aside. Melt together 1/2 cup butter, the caramels and the sweetened condensed milk. Set aside to cool.

Melt the remaining 3/4 cup butter with marshmallows. Stir in peanut butter when marshmallows are melted. Turn off heat and stir in Crispy Rice cereal.

Divide the mixture between the two buttered pans. Butter hands and press into pan.

Take caramel mixture and spread on one pan.

Take jar of marshmallow creme and spread on other pan. It is really hard to spread on sticky food product on top of another sticky food product, especially when one of the products is in a buttered pan! They shift and slide a lot.

Invert one pan on top of the other.

Enjoy the oooey goooey goodness.

Okay, you are probably looking at that huge cello bag of Crispy Rice cereal and wondering if I shoplifted it from the school's kitchen. I work for a cereal company and as a benefit we get to take home a set number of bags or boxes a day. Since we both work there, we have A LOT of cereal. The day I picked up this bag of Crispy Rice, that line was running the large food service bags (these go to schools, colleges, hospitals, etc)

You know the best part of these bars? Left over bits for the cook!

Okay, on to some awards. The sweet Katherine over at Smoky Mountain Cafe awarded me the Superior Scribbler Award a ways back and honestly, I have been fretting over passing it on. I am fretting because I love so many blogs but it would be impossible to give it to everyone so I am giving it to

Shelby at shelbymaelawstories (Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch). Her love of her family is apparent in all of her post. Plus, she shares the name of one of my favorite people-one of my daughters.

Cathy at because she makes me laugh but also makes me think.

Heather at The post she did on her dog serving papers on her husband for the rights to pillow had me crying as I was laughing so hard.

And the beautiful Heather at the aforementioned bestowed upon me the Honest Scrap award. For this one, I believe I am suppose to list 10 honest things about myself. I will do that at the end of this novel, umm, I mean post. I will give this award to:

Dawn at vanillakitchen. She posts wonderful food with beautiful photography (I'm so jealous). I also want to eat the her photo header!

Brittany at barefootfoodie. I don't even know how to best describe my delight in her blog. She is funny, can write like I wish I could even think, says what is on her mind, and reminds me why my MIL is pretty okay.

Bob at icookstuff. I totally love that he loves to be in the kitchen and cook. I know very few men that really enjoy it, and he does-it shows in his post. Oh, and because of his use of "wicked". Always make me think of "That Thing You Do!"

Okay, 10 honest things about me:
1) I still have some Christmas decorations up. I know, I know. I think I have lost some boxes because when I put stuff away in January these things should have had boxes. I should check in my car seats (Cathy @ NP will get that)
2) I have never smoked a day in my life. Good thing since I have asthma, but, no never even tried as a teenager.
3) I have the most bizarre fear of falling and losing my front teeth. I am a total freak.
4) Besides cooking, I love to scrapbook. It has taken a back seat lately due to blogging, but need to get on the ball with a graduation coming up.
5) If there were any possible way for me to go back to school, I would go to culinary school. I don't think I want to cook professionally, but would love to learn as much as I could.
6) I miss my dead cat all the time. Sad. He would have been 15 this year. I sometimes think I see him in the computer cabinet when I'm here perusing. He loved to sit on the top shelf and watch me.
7) I'm a huge Rusty Wallace fan. For those who are scratching their heads, he is a retired NASCAR driver. We are not into it as much anymore with all the weird rule changes and such, but I still love Rusty. I have a 6 foot cutout of him in my scrap room.
8) I have a strange affinity for candles. I am seriously out of control. I cannot go to Kohls, Pier 1 or any home decor store without coming home with at least 1.
9) The Dude and I are going to Iceland next year for our 20th anniversary. We are going to sit in the hot springs and drink vodka, take a bus tour and act like we are on our second honeymoon. Love you more than you can ever know R.
10) I can't wait for camping season to start. There is nothing that I love more than sitting next to the fire with my honey enjoying a cocktail, watching the fire and the stars and listening to some great tunes.

Thanks everyone for stopping by and enduring a L-O-N-G post!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taaaaa Daaaaaa

Okay, I had a great post planned for this event. It was going to be called "At Last" and then I was going to figure out how to put the sound player on and then have Etta James singing. But all those plans were foiled when I was looking at my favorite blogs the other morning I opened up Sugar Plum, and there, on her page, was At Last. Then when posting a comment I read others and saw they were commenting on her using the song (my kids had turned the sound down, so didn't realize a song was playing). WTF!!! Beaten to punch again. Of course, she has no idea who I am or why I was planning on using this format, so I will chalk it up to great minds thinking alike.

I have waited for this day for about 4 years. Waiting and hoping and planning. And those 6 days of overtime finally paid when this arrived at my door yesterday afternoon.........
Isn't she pretty? A Canon Rebel xsi 450D. It sounds fancy and I have absolutely no idea what it all means, but I have a Canon Rebel SLR that I have had for 9 years that I love, but it is hard to do film these days. I am trying to figure out how to make the LCD screen be the viewfinder, like my small Canon digital. Maybe that isn't an option? I don't know. The Drama Queen gave me a really odd look and raised her eyebrow when I told her to get out of the bathroom as I was bringing the camera and tripod into the biff. A girl has to do what a girl has to do!
Unfortunately I have to do taxes tonight so won't have a lot of time to play with her, but we are going to Wisconsin tomorrow to have a delayed Christmas (basically eating and drinking and talking trash) with my Mom and siblings, so I hope to get some tips from my niece is an amateur photog.
Off to liquor up and hope I don't have to pay the federal government any more money. Maybe it won't be so painful to do the taxes with a buzz on? Or maybe I won't cry as much.
I'll be back later with a bar recipe for our get together. It is my most requested dessert from my kids and people at work. Of course, it isn't mine as it is in my church's cookbook, but I make it for all of the occasions that I need to bring a good treat.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chaaarrreee, cherry baby

My husband was asked at work on Sunday night what treat they could expect this week. He informed the asker that since we were not working OT it would not be until our normal next scheduled day which was Wednesday. I thought it to be quite humorous-John now asks that I bring treats. I get the vibe his wife's cooking may be, well, let's just say I normally see him eat salads or take out. I don't know for sure, maybe she is a terrific cook but doesn't have much time as I know she works. I'm digressing. I wanted to try something new and was inspired by Cathy (at Noble Pig) on the dump-type dessert she made the other day. I found on the side of my pie filling can what they called Cherry Surprise Cake. I'm taking liberties and calling it Cherry Bliss as John was quite blissful after have 4 pieces. I did take a little liberty with the ingredients, but it is based on the can of pie filling in the picture.

Cherry Bliss

1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup soft butter (not shown)-I was softening it at photo time
4 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1-21 oz can cherry pie filling
2 tsp cinnamon

Grease 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, oil and butter. Mix together. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add in water and vanilla and beat until creamy. Gradually add flour and baking powder. When all combined, pour a little over half of mixture into pan and spread out. It says to use half, but I used about 2/3-I like to see whats in there. Spread pie filling over base. I spooned it out and dropped it so I could make sure I would get cherries in each piece. Spoon remaining batter over top of cherries.

Combine the remaining 1/4 sugar with the cinnamon; sprinkle over the batter.

Place in oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes. I checked mine after 46 minutes and it was done.

It looks like it is wet in this photo, but it wasn't. It was like a crisp shell almost.

Serve with whipped cream if desired.

I asked for honest opinions and all who tried it really liked it so I asked if they thought they would like it with other fruit too and got a resounding yes. I think I will try it with the last bag of frozen rhubarb I have.

Okay, Lars didn't like, but he doesn't like cherries so he didn't have any. He said "I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I am not a fan of cherries. It looks really good though and thanks for offering". Randy laughed-he said Lars was trying to not upset the gravy train so he could have treats next time. What a card!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Do you ever get tool envy?

Okay, get your mind out of the gutter. I know yesterday's post about my poor hubby's predicament might have that in the forefront of your mind, but I'm talking about chef tools or if you have absolutely no training, cook's tools. Every time I watch Food Network I drool over the pretty measuring cups, measuring spoons, bowl and platters I have never seen in Minnesota. But two of the simplest things in the kitchen get my goat every time I watch Ina or Giada: have you seen their fresh off the shelf Pyrex liquid measuring cups and the spanking clean stainless steel oven racks? I mean, come on. They cook with these instruments EVERYDAY. Here is my Pyrex:
You can barely make out the word Pyrex, plus after 8 thousand washings, the glass is all filmy and scratched. And don't even start me on the oven racks. I wouldn't even dare to take a photo of mine. Granted, mine were never stainless steel, but it is best that they are tucked away in the dark oven. I looked at those nice new, all-the-writing-is-legible-and no scratches measures today, but could in no way justify buying new ones just because my old ones are ugly. Sigh. Envy continues.

On the bright side, I did find some fun potatoes to go with dinner while at Target Greatland today. I have seen several posts lately about chicken and about roast vegetables, so I put some together tonight for dinner. We scarfed down dinner in no time flat, it was that good.

Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Onions

1 package cut up chicken
1 package small new potatoes (the package was about a pound and a half) or any small spuds
1 onion
Oil (not shown, used vegetable)
poultry seasoning
Tuscan Sunset seasoning from Penzey's (it has sweet basil, Turkish oregano, Aleppo pepper
garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper and anise seed)

Rinse off spuds and put in a plastic bowl with lid. Pour over a couple tablespoons of oil; cover and shake so potatoes are coated in oil. Chop onion in slices and lay in roasting pan. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Place on top of onions. Drizzle the chicken with a little oil and then sprinkle on dry seasonings. I used about 1-1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning, about 2 tsp of the Tuscan Sunset and about a tsp of paprika. Tuck the potatoes down into roasting pan so some are covered partially by chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 375 degree F oven for about 1 hour 20 minutes. Check chicken temp with instant read thermometer. When it reads 175 degrees, take out of oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes before serving.

Plate up and enjoy. I have seen the purple potatoes on shows and in print, but had never found them in stores around here. The Dude was surprised when he cut one open and it was purple all the way through. They were so good. Potatoes-God's greatest starch ever!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This person has way too much time on their hands

This morning I was trolling through all my favorite blogs and was visiting Happy Hour Sue over on and she was, ahem, talking about some new thing with women decorating the "nether regions". While I left my comment there, I did see this today while I was shopping-don't worry, it's not what you are thinking.

A Bedazzled car. Who in the heck would do this? Do you have to replace the little mirrors every time you wash your car or scrape snow-which is a lot here in Minnesota. It was on the hood and both sides of the car. I laughed so hard (pictures in my mind from her post) so I had to whip out the cell and take some pix.

I'll be back later with food, but it is still cooking. Eating late again.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How stopping for breakfast turned into a trip to the ER this morning

Usually once a week, the Dude and I stop at our favorite little family owned restaurant on the way home from work to eat breakfast. We have become regulars like the older gentleman who is there at 6 when the doors open and knows everyone around to the grandma on oxygen who has her coffee and knits baby blankets, to the two ladies who stop on their way to work. Jokes and laughing and local gossip. The Dude and I had endured a really bad Friday and Saturday on our respective phases-just equipment not working, short staffed, just frustrating stuff. Sunday night we both had a pretty good night and I told him he had to treat for breakfast since I treated for dinner. We stopped, looked at the menu and I made a joke about how he asked for something and he kidded back and I laughed about giving him my opinion. He then looked at me and said "I'll ask your opinion in a minute when we sit down". Ummmm, now I've been married to him long enough to know that there was something weird in the way he said it. We sat down and I looked at him and said 'Shoot'

Okay, if you are under 18 or are uneasy about anatomical related conversations, skip to the bottom of the post where I will show food. It isn't X-rated, but concerns his body.

Are we good?

So he proceeds to tell me that Saturday night (it is now MONDAY morning) he noticed that his testicle was a little swollen. He had a hard time sleeping when we got home Sunday morning. When we went to work Sunday night he noticed around midnight that it was the size of a freaking orange. So he wanted to know if I thought we should take a trip to the ER or wait for the clinic to open. We were then served our breakfast and we ate like we hadn't seen food in months. We went to the car and called the 24 hour nurseline through our insurance. They said to go to the hospital since it was President's Day and she wasn't sure if the clinic was open or not or if they would be fully staffed or not. We made the trip to the ER. They took his info and led us to a room to do his temp, answer all the questions, take his blood pressure. The nurse leaves and said the doctor will be in soon and he's like 'Wanna see it?' So he drops trow and sure as snot, as big as an orange. The doc comes in (a woman) and feels him up, asks questions and orders an ultrasound. We go to that room and it is all warm with the elevator-type music playing to keep us calm. Now ladies-those of you who have had ultrasounds-to see your husband on a table with his peter under a small towel and another woman using a wand on his 'nut sack', it made me feel a little happy. Not that he was in pain because I would never want him to suffer in any physical way, but damn, here is a little glimpse into what it is like to be me. And when she told him to take the towel and wipe the gel off himself, I was almost giddy. After waiting an hour a different doc came in and said that he has epidiymo-orchitis, which translates into a bacterial infection, usually E. coli, and has backed up into the 'pipe' (that is what the doctor called it) causing the swelling and pain in the testicle and the tube on the back of the testicle. To the pharmacy we went to get an antibiotic and some pain pills-and ran into people from work. It was humorous only because it was nothing serious, or rather life threatening. So now, I'm getting him water, ice packs and pain pills. They are such wimps when they are sick-which he is not and I had to remind him of that on at least 8 separate occasions in the 6 hours we have been awake. But in his plus column, he got felt up by two different women that were not his wife.

Since we got home 4 hours later than normal, we slept way too late and woke up starving. I forgot I had just bought hamburger, so I opted to make waffles. I didn't even have time to defrost bacon, so it was only waffles for dinner, and they were pretty tasty.


3 eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1-3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
3 TBSP brown sugar (not shown)
1 TBSP vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a bowl

Beat together until well mixed

Pour into greased waffle iron and cook according to directions. Ours has a light that goes out when they are done.

Serve with butter and syrup

Oh, and totally want to freak out your teenage daughters? Show them the drawing that the ER doctor gave you with all the male parts on it. It is the small things in life that give me pleasure.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

I hope everyone had a great day, hopefully spent with someone you love; spouse, lover, child, parent or furry family member. We worked but at least we were together and that is the best place to be.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Beating my head against a rock.....

or maybe I should be beating my children. No, not really, but they broke the computer!! Stupid myspace and jive (or something like that). My house computer won't fire up. The oldest one said "are you sure the power is on?" Do I look like a moron? The computer will turn on, but it won't come up. Just the green blinking light on the screen that says Microsoft. I just bought the darn thing 8 months ago after having our last one 9 years. I even bought myself a laptop with some of my severance pay. So now, all my pictures-on that computer. All my blog stuff-on that computer. I use my laptop for downloading my Itunes and a lot of my photos, but it is easier to use the family computer for blogging because of the desk and my wrists (too many years typing made them sad).

We have a friend at work who was a programmer (laid off) before coming to work with cereal. I am hoping I can entice him to come look at it by offering food. He is newly divorced, I've seen his dinner that he packs (normally orders out). He would be a fool to turn me down! Of course, he is a nice guy, so he'd probably do it out of the goodness of his heart.

Need to find a new hiding spot for the laptop.....the oldest told me she would put it "back in the jeans drawer under your favorite pair that ripped" and I can't throw out. Dang kids, not as easily fooled like before.
This is where I would rather be right now. Pueblo Bonita Mazatlan. Sigh. I didn't have computer issues while on the beach enjoying my Mai Tai's.........