First of all

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuscan Chicken Soup

I love love love this recipe. I think I am going to put together a set of soup recipes w/shopping lists and offer Souper TS Parties for Jan and Feb.
I love soup. So easy so filling!
A Chicken Soup So Good I dream about it:
Happy New Year to All!
Tuscan Chicken Soup
2 carrots chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 med onion chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced--I use 2 tsp garlic garlic instead
1 large bay leaf (or 2 small)
8 c low sodium chicken broth
3 cups shredded roasted skinless chicken breast (1 lb) I used a couple of chicken breasts frozen--boiled them and shredded them
3 plum tomatoes diced
1/2 cup diced zuchinni (about 1 med)
1 can 15 oz-cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1 can 14oz artichoke hearts in water, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tbsp dried (i didn't have this so I used a couple dashed of Tastefully Simple Italian Seasoning Salt
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsbp dried
1 Tbsp fresh thme or 1/2 tbsp dried
12 thin slices parm. cheese cut w/vegetable peeler (optional)
1. Place carrots and celery in small microwavable bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and cover top of the bowl loosely w/plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 in or until veggies are almost tender.

2. Heat oil in stockpot over med. heat. Add onion and saute 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 1-2 minutes. Add steamed veggies and bay leaf. Saute 4-5 min. longer.

3. Pour in broth. Add chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and artichoke hearts. Simmer 30 min. remove and sicard bay leaf. Add oregano, sage, and thyme and simmer an additional 5 min. Top each bowl w/ 2 slices of cheese if desired.

****1 cup 218 cals. 22 gram protein, 19 gram carb, 5 gram fiber 6.5grams fat. 503 mg sodium.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

In this most wonderful foodie time of year, some Holiday Eating Tips

I have some really great recipes to share. but first...

Eating Tips
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an 'eggnog-aholic' or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it! Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think.
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat - have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert -- Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories , but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember: 'Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO-HOO what a ride!' Merry Christmas !

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

Guess what I am snacking on???

Yep I made chestnuts--but not on an open fire, I made them in a stoneware pan in the oven 400 degrees for 22 minutes.

Facts about chestnuts:

Chestnuts are a delicious health food rich in nutrition. Just a handful of other foods can match the nutritional value of a chestnut.Unfortunately, very few consumers are aware of this. As opposed to most other nuts, chestnuts have a high water content and very little oil, thus making them virtually fat free. They are high in complex carbohydrates, contain high quality protein comparable to eggs, are gluten free, cholesterol free, and are very low in fat (1-2% while other nuts can be over 50% fat). Nutritionally, they are similar to brown rice and have been described as a grain that grows on a tree. Interestingly enough, they have as much ascorbic acid as an equal weight of lemons and are the only nuts approved by the Pritikin System. Listed below are some other interesting facts revealing the high nutritional value of chestnuts.

A delicious sounding recipe that I won't be making today because my left shoulder is killing me. I think I have tendonitis or something...Also let's face it, this recipe has too many ingredients and steps!

Roasted Chestnut Soup with Dumplings
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2000
The Essence of Emeril
Christmas Show

1 1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts,

roasted and peeled (or 2 (10-ounce) cans whole chestnuts, drained)

1 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon garlic

2 bay leaves

1 large Idaho potato,

peeled and coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

2 quarts light chicken stock

1 sprig thyme

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1/2 lemon, juiced

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1 cup warmed heavy cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan combine chestnuts, onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, potato and chicken stock and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. In a blender, puree the soup in batches along with fresh herbs, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the Dumplings:

1/4 pound ground pork

1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon quatre d'epices

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

16 wonton wrappers
In the bowl of a food processor combine pork, garlic, green onions and parsley and process until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, egg yolk, heavy cream, crushed red pepper, quatre d'epices and salt and pepper and pulse until thoroughly combined. To assemble dumplings, use a spoon to place a tablespoon-sized dollop of filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Use your fingers to wet the edges of the wrapper, then fold in half, easing edges so that they meet to form a triangle. Press firmly to seal dumplings. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook dumplings in small batches so as not to crowd. Dumplings are done when they float and wrappers are tender and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Serve dumplings floating in hot chestnut soup.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

St Nicholas Day

I had already written this blog today and then I walked away from the computer and it didn't save and now I am rewriting. What was I saying....

Lifetime (the network for Women) is running wall-to-wall holiday movies. Which I have actually been enjoying. They all have happy endings and usually a bit of magic and life is short and the way I see it it it's a nice escape.

Anywho, tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day so tonight the kids will put out there shoe and go to sleep early and wake up to a small gift. So that will be fun for them, and help me to keep the complaining about going to bed to a minimum.

Tonight we are having a Veggie Chili, I found the recipe in the Chicago Tribune today:,1,4342944.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

It's called 5 bean veggie chili, I was going to cut and paste the recipe but it's a 2 pager and I've got to run!

Exciting news, I found my christmas card list! Okay I only have about 20 addresses on my list, but it's something!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Santa Baby

So Bryce says to me:
I love Santa, he's my favorite. But he never gives me his autograph.

I was planning on making this last night, but didn't get around to it. We got a great bunch of organic veggies from Timber Creek Farms yesterday so I made my 'mama's soup' which was really good w/the extra flavor from the organic celery, carrots and parsnips and today I'm going to make a frittata...

Emeril?s Vegetable Frittata
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse
The Essence of Emeril
Eggs for Dinner

8 large eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream (Im going to use milk--we don't have heavy cream)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated fontina or Gouda (Im probably skipping the cheese)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small or 1/2 medium zucchini,
about 5 ounces1 1/2 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper (Im just going to use one red bell pepper)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/4 cup minced green onions (green tops only) (Im skipping this)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (I'll be doing garlic garlic of course)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves ( don't have any parsley--I'll use a little spinach and herb instead)
1 tablespoon chopped green onions, for garnish
Preheat the broiler and place the top rack 4 to 5 inches from the broiler element. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until the eggs are frothy. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and whisk. Set aside.

In a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, and mushrooms, and and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peppers and green onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and pinch of the pepper and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in 1 tablespoon of parsley and with the pan over medium heat, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Cook, lifting with a rubber spatula to let the eggs flow underneath, until the edges are set but the middle still is loose, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the top.

Place under the broiler until the eggs are slightly puffed and the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent from overcooking. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the frittata out onto a large serving platter. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and the chopped green onions. Slice, and serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So only about 5 weeks left of 2007. I haven't thought about goals for 2008, I like to save that for the week after Christmas. Because Thanksgiving was early this year, I keep thinking that it is already the first week of December...I am almost done w/my Christmas shopping. I am really not looking forward to the wrapping--I don't like to wrap.

Tom really wanted to have Chicken Cacciatore so this is the recipe I used.

Chicken Cacciatore
Copyright, 2005, Ellie Krieger, All rights reserved
Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger
The Big Freeze

4 skinless chicken breast halves on the bone, about 2 pounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper ( I used Seasoned Salt)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion,
thinly sliced 1 red bell pepper,
thinly sliced 1/2 pound white mushrooms,
thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, (I used Garlic Garlic)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, chopped and juice reserved
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a saute pan over moderately-high heat. Brown the chicken on both sides, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken.
Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion and pepper, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and juice, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and simmer the mixture covered for 10 minutes.
Return the chicken breasts to the pan and simmer, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 20 minutes longer.

Then I made these and put them in the freezer:

Butter and Jam Thumbprints
From Food Network Kitchens

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod, or 1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup raspberry, cherry or strawberry jam ( I used Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

In another bowl, whip the butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie or ice cream scoop and roll in sugar. Place about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam.

Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Serve.
Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harvest Blessing Mix

It was a very busy weekend. I had a TS party w/a great host on Friday night and all her friends loved everything and 1/2 of the guests are going to have their own parties in 2008. Then Saturday afternoon another party, another great host and a great group of guests. Some of those ladies are interested in taking a look at my businesss.

Then Saturday night Tom and I and our friends went to see Steve Dahl and the Nadas at Durty Nellies. When we were looking for parking in the parking garage next to Durty Nellies, tom got lost. he thought we were going up level by level when we were going in a circle. LOL , it was very fun..for the record Tom had not been drinking...

Then Sunday I was at St. Patricia's craft fair until 2, came home and got ready for Bryce's little B-day party at 5:00PM. Yesterday and Today I've been trying to catch up and get ready for our Thanksgiving trip.

Patrick brought this home today so here is a recipe to share!

Harvest Blessing Mix
Each ingredient in this snack mix symbolizes something associated w/the Harvest Season (Thanksgiving)

Bugles Brand Corn Snacks
Represents a cornucopia, a horn of plenty

Represents arms folded in thanks and prayer

Candy Corn
During the first winter, the pilgrims were each allotted only 5 kernels of corn per day because food was so scarce.

Dried or Candy Fruits
Thanksgiving is the celebration of the harvest

Peanuts or Sunflower Seeds
Seeds represent the potential of a bountiful harvest for the next season if they are planted and well tended.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Peanut Butter Cookies

I am in a cooking making mood. I got a new mixer yesterday from Target ($14.99) and so today I am making:

Double Peanut Butter Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Blue Bonnet-stick (1/2 cup = 1 stick)
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 pkg (10 oz each) peanut butter morsels
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine flour and baking soda in small bowl; set aside.
Beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, Blue Bonnet and shortening in large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add vanilla. Stir in cereal and peanut butter morsels. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely. Store in air-tight container.
I don't have any shortening, so I am using all butter. Also I have baking powder not soda, so I'll be using that instead. This is the first time I am trying this recipe we'll see how it goes.

Today I made a recipe out of the Chicago Tribune for Butternut Squash...tomorrow I am going to be looking for an acorn squash recipe!

Roasted butternut Squash w/thyme (this recipe is vegan)
1 butternut squash, peeled, cubed
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp salt
Heat the oven to 350, Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to coat; spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet or wide, shallow casserole dish. Roast until the squash is cooked through and lightly caramelized, 40-50 minutes.
Tomorrow is Bryce's birthday, but I think they might have it marked down in his class at school as today he came home wearing a crown? Seeing the crown inspired Anna to wear a Barbie Princess outfit all day.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Atlantis Squarepantis

Lots of excitement here tonight...only 7 more minutes until the world premiere of Atlantis Squarepantis. Patrick and Bryce have been looking forward to the new spongebob movie for at least a month. Hopefully they'll go right to bed when it is over at 8pm.

I found a new recipe to try...only thing is I think I am the only one in this house that will eat it!

Sauvignon Chicken Pesto
1 oz Olive Oil
8 oz Chicken Breast
2 sliced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto pls 1 tsp
4 oz. Fresh Moz
4 oz Sauvinon Blanc Wine
4 oz Chicken Stock
2 tbs Fresh Diced Tomatoes
2 oz butter
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Sear chick breast w/the olive oil for 4-5 minutes on each side.
2. Rub chicken w/pesto--make sure chicken is done b/4 doing that.
3. Place fresh diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on top of the chicken
4. place chicken in the oven to melt the cheese (2 minutes)
5. Remove pan from oven and place pan back on the flame. Add wine, chicken stock and a tsp of the DT and Garlic Pesto.
6. Let the wine reduce and add butter after , add salt and peper to taste. Serve w/pasta or potatoes and if desired garnish w/parmesan cheese or asiago cheese and fresh chopped basil.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The boredom sets in.

Oh for pete's sake, the boys are so 'bored' today all they are doing is bickering and fighting. Too bad, I can't say go outside and play and come back at dinner time. I should probably take them out to a park or the local high school to run around the track...but yesterday I wound up getting to have a suprise root canal--lucky me!--and I don't feel much like going to the park.

Last night I made a turkey breast so today I took the leftovers and tried out this recipe:

Turkey Pot Pie

1 Box of Creamy Wild Rice Soup
1 pkg of frozen mixed veggies (thaw)
3-6 tblsp butter
2 cups chopped turkey
1 can of beer
1 Bountiful Beer Bread Mix

Follow directions on the box to make the Creamy Wild Rice Soup. Simmer for 45 minutes and then add the package of veggies and the chopped chicken and mix together. Then spread the mixure into a 9x13 pan. Then mix the can of beer w/the Bountiful Beer Bread Mix and spread the bread batter on top, drizzle w/butter if desired and bake at 375 for just about 40 minutes.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Yesterday was the Parent/Teacher conference for me and Patrick's teacher. She said he is doing very well and that he is up to the reading level of 1.5 (which is 1/2 way thru first grade). He is almost ready to move up to the next reading group---so I have high hopes that he'll be up to grade level by the end of the year. (fingers crossed) Beyond that he is doing well in school because his classroom is 9 kids which means each child gets all the attention they need and problems are found quickly. It is too bad that througout the school system kids and teachers don't enjoy the benefits of smaller classrooms. I know 9 kids in a room isn't feasible --but it should definitely be less than 20. So that was wonderful right there to hear Patrick is doing well and that everyone in his class gets along, since last year Patrick suffered due to a rotten bully.
Bryce didn't have a conference because he is doing so fabulous at school.
Anna's conference is on the 15, I am not sure exactly what they'll have to say about Anna--I am guessing it will be all good--she loves school and what's not to like...they play, sing songs, read books and have a snack!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

November 6th

Now did anyone ask me if the kids could have a 4 day wknd this week...and 5 days off in a couple of weeks?

Alright the 5 days off is great because that is Thanksgiving and we'll be heading to West Virginia...but a 4 day wknd this week? And it's cold outside, so hmm what to do w/the kids. Maybe I can put them to work scrubbing the floors and the baseboards? Hahaha!

I hope the weather is not unseasonably cold, I would like to see if I can take the kids out to run around Lake Katherine a few times--or to the park...I would be fun to make cookies or cupcakes--but I'll end up eating the majority of them!

And Speaking of Food, let me be th first to wish you a Happy National Fondue Month!

Whoa, who knew there are 2 websites devoted to fondue! and

Cheese Fondue

ingredients list:
8 oz of shredded chedder cheese.
8 oz shredded emmental chesse.
1 garlic clove.--one teaspoon Garlic Garlic
1 can of beer.
2 tablespoons of flour.
1 teaspoon of Salt.
Pinch of pepper.
French bread, diced into cubes.
Instructions for Cheese Fondue:
Mix together all of the ingredients (except bread).Melt the mixture and place into a fondue pot.Dip the cubes of bread into the melted mixture and eat.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Halloween Pics!

time to trick or treat!

Classic Spiderman Bryce!

Patrick the Power Ranger!

I was able to attend both Patrick and Bryce's Halloween parties. Bryce was so excited to see me that he was smiling from ear to ear and jumping out of his seat. Patrick gave me a big hug as soon as I walked into his classroom. I wish I could have gone to Anna's as well but her party was the same time as Bryce's and I was hoping that she wouldn't notice since it was her first school party.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Less than 2 months until Christmas

One of my fellow 'tastebuds' found a Wii for me, so a big part of my holiday shopping is done. Wahoo! Now I'll just get some games and a couple of extra controllers and we'll be go to go on the big day and it should be good for hours of fun and entertainment for the kiddos over winter break.

I am in the middle of my busiest work week ever...had a party on Tuesday, a corporate shopping day yesterday, a party last night, a party tonight, a craft show tomorrow, a party tomorrow night and a party on Sunday. So hmmm I need a goal for bookings...OK, my goal is 6 bookings 2 for now and 4 for January. We have a nice incentive for January and hosts can earn it w/reg parties or catalog parties or I need to remember to mention that it applies to catalog parties this weekend.

Next week no parties until ahhh Friday. Then I'm basically working all weekend. Party Fri night, Craft Show Saturday, Party Sat night, Craft Show Monday. Then Tom is going to New York for a couple days.

It's that really busy busy time of year, which is great because I love the holidays so it is fun for me to be positively submerged in them!

The weekend right before Chirstmas we are staying downtown on the Mag. Mile using the free hotel stay I earned w/my sales this past, I am debating, take Anna to the American Girl Store? Or avoid the American Girl store? I am betting you can't get out of there for under $ looks like it would be best to avoid the American Girl store---she's only can wait!

The other day I made our Cafe Portabella Mush soup as a sauce w/some sour cream and put chicken in it and put it over my favorite noodles---which are hard to find! Reames frozen noodles, I have a bunch of the noodles leftover so this afternoon I am making "Mama's Soup" for the family to have 2morrow while I am gone.

Mama's Soup
8-10 cups chicken stock
1 cup diced carrots
1 med onion
1 large parsnip diced
1 1/2 cups celery diced (partick really likes the celery so I add extra)
1 frozen chicken breast
1 bag of the Reames frozen Noodles
dash of the Onion Onion
dash of the Spinach and Herb

I put everything except the frozen noodles in a big pot and let it boil/simmer until the chicken is cooked, then I take out the chicken cut it up, put it back in the soup, add the frozen noodles cook for another 20 minutes and it's all done. I used to put in a diced potato and green beans, but there was too much complaining and boycotting of the soup by the boys so now it's a very basic soup. I cook it w/the onion uncut and then I take the onion out at the end. Fresh Parsley is the best add on at the end. Yum.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Carving Pumpkins

Since it was like a nice weekend in June here in Chicagoland this past weekend, I decided we should go ahead and carve the pumpkins while the weather was nice and we could do it outside--and just not worry if they don't make it to Halloween.
Patrick was telling a scary story...Anna's pumpkin was like a lite brite pumpkin and guess who did most of the scooping and carving? yep, me. Bryce did a great helping w/his pumpkin Mr. Fangs.
The seeds have been roasted and seasoned w/the Seasoned Salt. Yum.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Seasonal Favorites.

Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses are coming. I tried to go to the Hershey's website to find out when I might be able to find them in stores that's how much I love them!

And then there are the seasonal blizzards, right now or just about right now you should be able to go to your local Dairy Queen and get a pumpkin pie blizzard...yum. And right after Thanksgiving they will have the blizzard I wait for all year. And I can't remember it's name! It's vanilla ice cream, crushed peppermint candies and chunks of dark chocolate. Ahh soooo goood.

Starbucks is a place I don't go to but a few times a year, most of which are during the holiday season when I can get a peppermint mocha and a cranberry bliss bar. Ahhh the perfect breakfast.

And the cookies. I love a tin of homemade cookies of an assorted variety. My favorite are spritz cookies--which are basically butter, a dash of almond extract, flour, eggs, and more butter for good measure.

Butter the key to delicious holiday cooking!

a website I am checking out today for new cranberry recipes:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Camp Quin

Tonight Anna and I went on a bear hunt. We attended "Camp Quin" w/flashlights and blankets over folding chairs and sang camp songs around the electric fire in the gym of Anna school. It was just the best to sit next to her and watch her copy what the teachers were doing and what everyone was saying as we left the house walked down the road, through the tall grass..and so on. Now if I remember correctly when I was a kiddo we took a gun on the bear hunt. These days we take a camera...and in any case we get scared and run back home. That school does such a great job of thinking up fun, seasonal parent/child activities. On the way home I was thinking we might have to have Camp Hamel this friday night...maybe I can find a fire DVD for the TV...and we have a ton of books to read w/flashlights and maybe Tom could tell a spoookkkyyy story.

Tomorrow I'll be helping w/Bryce's school book fair. It's always fun to see the kiddos in their school environment--they look either more mature than at home or so small...

Today I made a pizza experiment. I took a Pilsbury Pizza Crust, topped it w/Roasted Tomato Salsa and black olives and sprinkled on the cheese and baked it. But I baked it too long...and the crust was too hard. Maybe I'll try it again, maybe as pizza bread?

This weekend I am going to try this recipe from the Chicago Tribune, doesn't it sound really really good??

Pan-seared scallops with Honeycrisp apple and celery leaves

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 6 minutes
Yield: 2 appetizer servings-
Adapted from a recipe by Jonathan Harootunian, executive chef at Courtright's in Willow Springs.

2 large sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 medium Honeycrisp apple, cored, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons celery leaves

1. Season scallops with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium- high heat; add the scallops. Cook until evenly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
2. Place 1 scallop in the center of each plate. Drizzle each with olive oil. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Top with apple strips; garnish with celery leaves.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Me I love cranberries. Cranberries in food, and cranberry scented bath products and cranberry scented candles and cranberry colored shirts. I am very excited that we have a new cranberry bread this fall Cranberry Pecan Bread. Today I found the perfect topping for a batch of Cranberry Pecan Muffins:

Crazy for Cranberry Cream Cheese
1 8oz package low fat cream cheese at room temp.
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup finely chipped dry cranberries.

In a food processor or electric mixer combine the cream cheese, zest, juice, yogurt and cranberry sauce until smooth. Fold in dried cranberries and zest. Frost Muffins.


You could also make Nana's Apple cake w/whole fresh cranberries vrs. the apples and top Nana's w/this too.

Less than 3 weeks until Halloween! Poor Patrick wanted to go to his school's Family Halloween party tonight but he has been having a few super bad asthma days so I had to keep him home from school today so no party tonight.

Since I don't have a TS party next Friday, I was thinking maybe that would be a good night to do something Halloween/Fall-ish. There are lots of activities around here...maybe we can find something fun to do.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Well I could have told them it was too hot for a marathon.

This AM all those runners who have trained to run for months braved the crazy hot weather and humdity and while I haven't run a marathon, I can say that based on the 1/2 marathon last month running the 2nd half down lake shore drive w/the sun beating down is just brutal.

I was watching the elite runners finish this morning and I was feeling heat exhaustion just watching it.

Just watching the TV coverage still makes me want to run one. Oy.

I saw this smoothie recipe in Prevention magazine, the perfect fall drink for when it is 80 plus degrees...

Blend 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon honey
and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

It's hard to believe it is already 10/7/07!

Friday, October 5, 2007

It's hot in heeerrreee

Hmm. Me I like warm weather, I don't even mind a good bit of humidity because it makes my hair nice and wavy...and even I am ready for a cool down.

I am sure all of the golf courses in Chicagoland are estastic about another weekend of sunny skies and unseasonable weather as this means my husband and his golfing buddies will be albe to spend another weekend neglecting the winterizing of their houses and hit the links.

Today was Market Day at Bryce's school and one of the items I bought is Pumpkin Bisque Soup, now that is going to have to stay in the freezer for a bit longer.

And this very humid day meant that I had to put on the air. I really really really don't like putting on the air. I hate to pay for cooling.

In other news, I got a call from Patrick's teacher yesterday, she said he is going to start having harder work, and will need more help at home. This is good news, I was worried that he wasn't being challenged at school.

Tonight I will be doing a Tastefully Simple party for a great friend and Sunday I'll be doing a fundraiser. Since the weather is going to be summer instead of fall, we are grilling out tomorrow night.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A busy weekend to end September.

Wasn't the weather wonderful this weekend. Tom sure thought so as he went golfing on Saturday AND Sunday. When I wasn't cleaning the house...I spent time out at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church Fall Festival and then Saturday night was a girls night out Me, Maureen and Kat showed Kat's sister from Florida a bit of the city at night. We went to the House of Blues and had some yummy food and saw Steve Dahl and The nadas.


Then we thought about going out afterward at about 1am for some nightlife, but we decided we were too cheap to pay a big cover to go to a club! Did you know covers these days are about $20? Yes I am old and remember the good old days $5.00 cover.

Thats me up there w/Kat and Mike from the band. Fun night!

Sunday I had a Tastefully Simple party in Chicago, that was a nice time. Now today it's October and this month I am just crazy busy! But in a good way, lots and lots of people need some Tastefully Simple and I'll be helping them get what they need. I was excited to see that on our webpage we have a link called Slow Cooker Sensations!

And our founder and CEO Jill Blashack will be on The Big Idea w/Donny Deutsch (sp?) on Wed night, I believe it will be her first time on a National TV show, very exciting!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Big TV night

this is Anna w/her big hair, hee-hee!

I am looking forward to the TV shows tonight. We'll see how Grey's Anatomy will start off the season, I didn't really like the finale so, I am interested to see where it goes.

Tonight for dinner I am cooking 2 partially filled bags of frozen french fries, roasted zucchini, salad, and baked chicken w/Italian Seasoning. For my chicken I am going to bake it topped w/Roasted Tomato Salsa and a slice of provolone cheese. The rest of the family will have plain Italian Seasoning Salt chicken--the way they like it.

I think I'll have a Bacardi Mojito--they taste pretty good--w/my TV viewing.

Tommorow I am going to the CBEF Bunco Night. I forget what CBEF stands for but basically it is a group of people that try to raise extra money for our school district and do things for the school district. Wish me luck that I win a big prize!

On Saturday I'll be going to see Steve Dahl and the Nadas w/a couple of friends and one good friends sister from out of town. I know we'll have a great time, we are still tossing around the best place to go for a not too pricey but good dinner prior to the big show!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wahhhh I want big hair

Yesterday Anna did her impression of a teenager in the 80s. She comes to me and says she wants her hair big like the girl in her class. O.K.... After about 5 minutes I understand she wants pigtails. So I put pigtails in her hair. She goes and looks in the mirror and cries and cries, big huge sobs I. want. big. hair. this. isn't . big hair wahhhhh.

Back to the drawing board. We talk for a while, I convince her to let me try the pigtails again. This time I put them as high up on her little head as possible. She looks like she has attenas. She goes and checks in the mirror.

Yippee Big Hair! Just like the girl at school (whose name she doesn't know). Problem Solved.

Now on to Bryce. Bryce won't eat breakfast--I'm trying everything. Bryce here is a bowl of honey nut chex. No he's not hungry.

Okay here is a gogurt. No not hungry. Okay no breakfast, no TV, I turn off TV. He won't eat the gogurt. I ask if there is anything he will eat??? How about a glass of milk???? Nope no go. I get a milk at school. But that's not enough Bryce.

Okay Bryce, if you won't eat breakfast, I am going to have to call the doctor, he'll probably need to give you a shot, cause you won't eat breakfast.

He doesn't care.

Then I try another tactic.
Bryce please, for me? will you eat a little yougurt? It would make me so happy.

He walks away and gets his backpack.

Any ideas?

I made this overnight in the crockpot...Tom took it to work.

Autumn Harvest Stew
1 pork tenderloin
1 chopped med. onion
2 chopped granny smith apples
2 chopped sweet potatoes
2 chopped parsnips
1 tbsp thyme (fresh)
1 tbsp rosemary (fresh)
2 cups apple juice or cider
salt and pepper to taste.

Cook overnight in crockpot. Take out the tenderloin, cut up and mix back in. Serve w/some nice Perfectly Parmasean Biscuits.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I made a recipe out of the Tribune

Now this like never happens. I got the Chicago Tribune on Wed (9/19/07) and actually found a recipe that I could make and (and this is key) something that Tom would eat. (now trying to make something Tom and the kids would eat..HA!) So here it is...

Pan-fried chicken breasts with mushroom-chardonnay sauce

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings-

Mushrooms and chardonnay blend their flavors in a distinctive sauce for the bird in this recipe from food editor Carol Mighton Haddix. Try other white wines, if you like.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3 shallots,
sliced1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms of your choice, such as morels, chanterelles or button, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup chardonnay
1 cup chicken broth

1. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the chicken. Cook until browned on one side, 3 minutes. Turn; cook until browned on the other side, about 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low; cover pan. Cook until chicken is almost cooked through, 5-8 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate; cover lightly with foil.

2. Add shallots to the skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the wine; cook, stirring up browned bits, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth; cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt or to taste. Return chicken and its juices to skillet; heat 1 minute. Remove skillet from the heat; add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter. Set aside to melt, about 1 minute. Transfer chicken and sauce to a serving dish.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Here is a funny little thing, Anna's new phrase is "Oh My Goodness" It's pretty cute in a 3 year old. Not so cute is her refusal to wear shirts when we are home. At least she isn't trying to go shirtless to school...

Today I got an email from the Food Network promising meatloaf recipes, so I thought I have a bunch of ground turkey in the freezer, hey I'll make meatloaf. But when I went to make it, I found I was missing a few ingredients so I improvised...

Let me know what you think, I'll report back tomorrow and let you know if it worked...

2 lbs ground turkey
3/4 cup brown rice (was supposed to be quick oats)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (was supposed to be red bell pepper)
1 med. onion (check on that)
2 eggs (check on that)
2 tbsp Merlot Sauce (was supposed to be 1 tsp worcheshire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup (check on that)
fresh ground peper (check on that)
1 tsp of Garlic Garlic (was supposed to be salt)
and it called for 1/2 cup of milk which I didn't have and just left out.
and 8oz of tomato sauce...I didn't have that so I poured the rest of a jar of Mild Red Pepper Sauce on top.

We'll see how it goes. I am make the Perfectly Parm. Biscuits and a Rice Pilaf to go w/.

My rice pilaf will have 1 1/2 cups brown rice
water w/chix bullion
chopped zucchini
chopped sugar snap peas
chopped onion.
and some Seasoned Salt if needed.

About a week ago I started making my way through a book called The Energy of Money by Maria Nemeth...It's a great place to start if you want to have a better relationship w/money...any who doesn't.

The leaves are starting to change, I don't mind Fall but I am already coaching myself through the dead of winter! Okay right after the holidays I'll be in Austin TX, it will probably be warmer there...then a few weeks and it will be Valentines Day...usually there isn't too much snow after that...usually there is a weird heat wave in March...LOL

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Goodness...

My goodness, it's been 5 days since I posted. I am sure all of you out there have been jonesing for a little more from me for days now! LOL

I wasted a good 10 minutes today looking for a new recipe for baked chicken and I found this one...

Beer Baked Chicken

from the TS website modified by me.

4 Chicken Breasts

Onion Onion and Seasoned Salt sprinkle to your taste.

1/2 a cup of the Cherry Honey Mustard Sauce

1/2 a cup of beer.

Take the Chicken and place that into a greased baking pan...I like to use a Pampered Chef roasting pan. Sprinkle the Onion Onion and Seasoned Salt over the Chicken. Then take the mustard sacuse and the beer and wisk that together. When wisked together, pour over chicken. Cover the pan w/foil and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until the juices run clear.


Here is a funny...

Last night at 7pm Tom called me to tell me he locked his keys in his that isn't the funny part, the funny part is that Tom called our house and when I answered he asked where I was.

Helllllooo you called me at our house number, that's where I am! I think all the golfing got to his head...too much sunshine.

Me and the kids met a friend and we went to the Eli's Cheesecake Festival which Tom was golfing. The kids had fun. It was a bit crowded for me. If they are able, I would recommend that in the future they spread out the fest more, esp the kid attractions.

I am very excited, I qualified to take part in a research study thing in Orland Park, for 2 hours of giving my opinion I'll get $100.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Wednesday already????

Today I experimented w/a couple new recipes, one I rec'd from Timber Creek Farms for Butternut Squash Soup and one from Women's Day Magazine that I changed because it called for using the grill and I wanted to use the oven.

Speaking of oven for lunch I made Warm the Oven w/ reduced fat cream cheese and ate it w/celery sticks. Yum!

So the Butternut Squash Soup turned out well which is good because I'll be the only one around here eating it.

1 3lb butternut squash cut lengthwise and w/the seeds scooped out.
2. large onions cut and quartered.
3. couple tablespoons garlic garlic
4. 3 cups chix broth
5. nutmeg to taste if you like
6. a pinch of dried sage.
7. dash of salt and fresh ground pepper.

take a large baking pan, spray w/pam or add a little olive oil to coat lightly,
preheat oven to 400
then take the butternut squash, spray them w/pam or brush w/olive oil and sprinkle 1/2 a tablespoon of the Garlic Garlic on each 1/2.
put face down in the pan.
pierce the squash 1/2;s a few times.
put onions around the squash, spray a little more pam or add a bit of olive oil on top.
Bake for 50 minutes covered.
Take out, check the the squash are all soft, bake longer if necess.

Then scoop out the squash in the blender, add the onions the other tbsp of garlic the nutmeg the sage and slowly add the broth as you puree the mix in the blender.

When it's all puree'd and all the broth is added, put it in a sauce pan for a minute or 2 to warm it up and then serve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Check and Done.

Here I am at the Chicago 1/2 Marathon w/the sun beating down on all of us!Yesss I did it! It was really hard! I don't know how people do a whole marathon.

Oh I am so sorrrrrreee. But I did it, I finished a 1/2 marathon and lived to tell the tale.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Some recent pics.

Off to Kindergarten!

Patrick and Bryce's first day of school

Steve Dahl at a Back to the Beach Party Tom and I went to in August.

Time to start preschool!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


This morning we received our Timber Creek Farms Goody Box (it's an assortment of different organic fruits and veggies) and this box contained arugula. So I'm making a new recipe tonight to go with baked chicken breasts.

Here is the new potato salad recipe (from ) :

Potato Arugula Salad
Submitted by: Jenny
Rated: 4 out of 5 by 4 members
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 35 Minutes
Yields: 6 servings
"A different and yummy potato salad; it uses no mayonnaise. This is a nice alternative to use arugula, rather than just adding it to a green salad."
1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional) (I'm going to use 2 tsp of garlic garlic instead.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch arugula - rinsed, dried and torn
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, and cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, mix vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Drizzle in olive oil, whisking until mixture thickens.
Toss potatoes with vinegar and oil mixture and arugula. Serve at room temperature.

Later this week or early next week they are calling for autumnlike temperatures and I'll be making a batch of my "Mama's Soup" which is just my chicken noodle soup. And I am going to try out a Butternut Squash Recipe AND I found a recipe for Autumn Stew--slow cooker recipe.

Yippee I have some varied recipes to try.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

What a beautiful Weekend!

Wow did we get some wonderful weather this weekend. I love sunny skies and low humidity. Sigh, too bad we can't have this 9 months of the year and then just have 1 month of fall, 1 month of winter and 1 month of spring.

The new catalog is out and Anna is crazy about the Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Ball Mix. So that one has a 3 year old's recommendation. I am crazy for the Cranberry Pecan Bread...and the Pumpkin Patch Bread...

I am looking to do my own taste-testing party instead of an Open House this year. Right now I am thinking September 28th could be the day. I'll figure that out in time to set up online invitations to my taste-testing and then I can enter the guests into a drawing that day for the host credit.

New consultants in September get this gift for joining...I really love the spice rack and what a nice way to welcome newbies than w/a set of 6 spices.

One new product we have is Old Fashioned Bread Pudding. There is a recipe on the box for it that makes my mouth water everytime I pick up a box...

Apple Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef


2 large eggs

2 cups 2% milk

1 cup diced apple(peeled or unpeeled)

1 cup butterscotchchips

Directions Whisk eggs and milk together in a large mixing bowl; stir in Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding Mix , apple and butterscotch chips. Let stand 20 minutes. Pour mixture into a greased 8 x 8 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Top with Oh, Baby! Brown Sugar Sauce. Serve warm or cold. Makes about 8-10 servings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All the kids are in school

All three kids are in 3 different schools in the same school district, all on 3 different buses at 3 different p/u and drop off locations. So I get 3 sets of the same announcement pages one from each school...that's about a tree a week down the drain I figure...

I don't mind the 3 different schools and 3 different buses because that still adds up to almost 3 hours of life to myself. Today I got to run 6 miles and take care of 3 errands. Yep it was wonderful.

Too bad they already have a 1/2 day on Friday and Monday off, I was just starting to get used to this!

I wanted to post a pic or 2 of Anna going on the bus, but I can't seem to locate the UBS cord for the camera. When I find it, I will post.

Only 2 more days til the Fall/Winter Tastefully Simple Catalog is out. I am pondering stocking up on some extra Cool & Creamy Cucumber for this fall when fans of it are looking to find it...that seems to be a super popular dip.

Cool & Creamy Chicken Wraps
Submitted by Kimberly Scibelli (MA)

Ingredients 1 pkt. Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoned Salt to taste
Italian Seasoning Blend to taste
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Tomato basil tortilla wraps

Directions Prepare Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber as directed on package with mayonnaise and sour cream; set aside. Sprinkle chicken breasts with Seasoned Salt and Italian Seasoning Blend. Grill chicken until done; cool. Slice chicken into strips. Spread Cool 'n Creamy Cucumber liberally on wrap; add chicken. Top with lettuce and cheese; roll up. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

This and That

Oh you must go read this blog, this woman (who lives in the Burbs of Chicago) is so funny...think Erma Bombeck...Jean Kerr..Rosanne Barr

Anyway it's a wonderful blog:

So how was your weekend? Today was the most beautiful weather in a long while. Just a perfect day. I spend the day selling my Tastefully Simple at the Lockport Moose Lodge Car Show--big thanks to Patty for getting me into the show. It was a fun afternoon. I met lots of very nice people, sold a bunch of Tastefully Simple and scheduled a November party.

It was a suprise to me to see so many families there--I thought it would be more guys and maybe their wives/girlfriends but it was a real family event--very nice to see so many people enjoying the day together.

Last night's dinner....(today I was too beat to cook!)

Take 2 chicken breasts and cook in a couple tablespoons of Asian Aura Dressing. Let them get mostly cooked and then cut them up and then add in a bag of frozen stir fry veggies, and whatever fresh veggies you feel like adding, I added pea pods and bean sprouts (add the bean sprouts at the very end) and a 1/4 cup of Asian Aura and 2 tbsp of Honey Teriyaki. Stir fry together until the chicken is done and the veggies are tender and serve over whole wheat noodles or brown rice.


Tues is Anna's first day on the bus! Wahoo!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rain Rain Flood, Humidity, Tornados in Downtown Chicago

Our sump pump couldn't keep up, we took on some water in the basement, just a bit...but still not good. Good thing we have awfully ugly linoleum tile and not a nice carpet! I can't see the green in this pic, but that is the tile, just imagine that the white areas are green...sea green.
Today was one of those days where you can't figure out what you did all day, and the full basket of laundry and the dishes in the sink aren't doing anything but reinforcing that feeling.
We are already just about through the first week of school...Tomorrow's dinner will be pizza at Chuck E Cheese. In my opinion, it's not too bad, considering the source...
I have a butternut squash I need to figure out what to do with....I will be sure to share how I cook it...using some Tastefully Simple products of course...right now I have no clue what I will do...
Bah, if it wasn't so hot today and if I had one in the house, I would have made our new favorite bread...Cranberry Pecan bread..just add an egg (or is it two...) and a cup of water. It is SO good. I can't wait to share it w/everyone this fall!!!--especially my fellow cranberry lovers! The Cranberry Pecan bread would be even better w/a nice cup of our new Caramel something Latte drink. I can't remember the name how good it is distracts me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21st

(picture of the new fall/winter line)

Well in 2 days it will be my parent's 38th anniversary. Hmm I think my mom said I was in charge of planning a good party for them for their 40th...I better check on that, might be time to start planning!

A week from today the bus will be coming to pick up little Anna and take her off to Pre-K. Wahoo!

Last night I realized that w/the kids in 3 different schools we'll be getting 3x the fundraisers and PTA requests. Hmm--I don't think I'll be ordering Market Day for 3 schools! But it's a small price to pay for 3 hours of time each day for me to enjoy the quiet and reflect upon life's mysteries big and small--or in the real world which I live in--time to get caught up on laundry and errands! Ahh, kid-free trips to the grocery store and the post's like a little slice of heaven.

One day soon I'll be making this recipe for dinner using our new Cafe Portabella Mushroom Soup.

Shari Kennedy ~ CA

Title: Cafe Portabella Mushroom and Chicken Pasta

Ingredients:1 pkg Cafe Portabella Mushroom Soup Mix

1 8oz pkg mushroom

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp. Garlic Garlic

1 cup light sour cream

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces

1 16oz pkg pasta

2 tbsps Italian parsley for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:Follow directions on package for the sauce mix. Meanwhile boil your water for the pasta, chopped onion and chicken breasts.Warm olive oil in a large skillet, add mushrooms, onions and Garlic Garlic. Saute until tender. Add in chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Pour sauce over mushroom and chicken mixture, add pasta and mix well.Bon Appetite!

Number Of Servings:6-8

Preparation Time:30 mins. start to finish

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Running in the Rain and Great Chicken Recipe

Well here is how my day went today.

Spend time cleaning since Anna's Pre-K teacher is coming over 2morrow for a home visit.

Watched the rain fall and fall and fall and fall.

Made Tom go into the attic and check if the roof was leaking. (it's not)

Decided I should go run anyway since if it rains on 9/9 (the day of the 1/2 marathon) I'll have to run in the rain anyway, so might as well train in the rain 2day.

Ran 6 miles.

Hoped that the rain meant that any itch mites wouldn't be getting on me--since I already have a very itchy welt on my shoulder thanks to the itch mites.

Decided to try a new recipe for chicken, and found it to be delish.

And realized that while I ordered samples, catalogs, order forms, flyers, and invitations, for the new line of products, I neglected to order order forms. :-(

Lastly made the kids take baths and go to bed b/4 9pm because tomorrow is...drum roll please...The First Day of School!!!!!

Okay here is the recipe!

I made this w/roasted potatoes seasoned w/Seasoned Salt and roasted asparagus seasoned w/yep...Seasoned Salt. It was awesome!

Better-Than-Grilled Chicken
Submitted by Tracy Weeks-Gariepy (MA)

4 - 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Seasoned Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/8 cup Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup Vidalia® Onion Dressing
1/8 cup white cooking wine

Season chicken with Seasoned Salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Heat Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil and olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on both sides; drizzle with Vidalia® Onion Dressing and white wine. Continue cooking about 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Anna Gets a Haircut and a movie recommendation!

Thanks so much to my friend Kit for cutting little Anna's hair. Her hair was just looking so straggly and she hated to have it brushed. Now she is ready w/a cute new do for school! I could just eat her up!

Last night I went w/my friend Diana to see the Bourne Ultimatium, boy was it good! Nonstop action! That Jason Bourne is so smart, he makes James Bond look like a hack.

It is a really beautiful day outside here in Chicagoland, I hope many people leave work early so they can enjoy the day, I think there is not a cloud in the sky. From my kitchen window I can see a cardinal in our neighbor's peach tree just sitting there taking in the sights and catching some rays.

A great dessert for late August:

Brandon's Key Lime Ice Cream Pie
Submitted by Laural Caster (NY)

2 pints softened vanilla ice cream, divided
Prepared graham cracker pie crust
Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix

Directions Spread 1 pint of vanilla ice cream over prepared pie crust; sprinkle with crumbs from Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix Packet 2. Combine contents of Key Lime Cheese Ball Mix Packet 1 with remaining vanilla ice cream; spread on top of crumb layer. Freeze pie for 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wine Bar

Last night the hubby and I got together w/some old friends and went to a local wine bar. We had fun and I learned that in the future it would be much cheaper for us if we just get together at one of our houses and everyone brings their fav bottle of wine, some crackers and cheese.

Me, I like light white wines, the man prefers shiraz and pizza.

Speaking of cheese and wine the delicious Warm the Oven cheese dip that everyone went crazy for last fall is back and is now part of the Tastefully Simple fall line. This cheese dip is geat w/wine!!

This morning Patrick had some rash on his arms and chest, and then w/in an hour he had hives on his face. We have no idea what the allergic reaction was from, we dropped everything and went to the dr, he doesn't seem to be too concerned just said to give Patrick Benadryl for the next 48 hours and keep an eye on him to make sure the hives don't come back/get worse.

Hopefully this is just one of those things that won't be a recurring allergy!!!

The whole hive scare and rushing around to the dr and then taking the kids to Wal-Mart to get the medicine in the high humidity, has left me just wanting to take a nice afternoon nap..ah wouldn't that be lovely????

A fondue recipe, make it for those fond of you!

Chipotle Cheese Fondue
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef
2 pkts.Rockin' Chipotle Dip Mix
1 lb. shreddedSwiss cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp.cornstarch
1 1/3 cups dry white wine
1 Tbsp. freshlime juice
Blue Aztec Chips
Directions Toss first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl. Bring wine and lime juice to a boil in a large saucepan; stir in cheese mixture by handfuls. Bring mixture to a bare simmer over moderate heat; stirring. Transfer to a fondue pot and set over low flame. Serve with Blue Aztec Chips. Makes 6-8 servings.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Exciting News!

Me and Steve Dahl on my birthday.
One of my team members has welcomed her third team member which means she is promoting to Team Leader! I am so excited for her!!!!

This weekend was awfully hot. I did an open house w/my good pal Patty the Home Interiors queen, and wow it was very hot, I think I melted a bit. I am grateful that I was able to get in a 4 mile run last night after spending a few hours in the air conditioning!

I finished a book this weekend, it seems that almost every book that catches my eye lately is British Chick-Lit...I think Bridget Jones spawned a cottage industry. In any case, it makes for fun relaxing reading. The name of this one was The Second Wives' Club. Next I am reading Bidding for Love by Katie Fforde. This is the last week of summer for the boys...and only another week past that before Anna begins PreK!!! --not that I am looking forward...

Yesterday was sooo hot but today so lovely and so much cooler that I could have made a batch of the brand new for fall Cafe Portobella Mushroom Soup and Sauce and the Perfectly Parmesan Biscuits (ie Tastefully Simple's answer to Red Lobster's Cheesy Biscuit...) and served that w/a nice salad of fresh greens, peapods, red pepper and Ginger Teriyaki Ranch Dressing. Talk about easy, you don't even need a recipe for that dinner.

Countdown to the new fall/winter line...18 days!!!!

Healthy Eating tip, whenever a recipe calls for more thank a tbsp of oil, I reduce the oil by one third, it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference in anything.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To Me.

Yep it's my birthday. A nice sunny August day w/moderate humidity. If I had a pic of when I was a little kiddo I'd probably post it, but I don't...

So far it's been like every other day except that Bryce has been out of sorts for some reason I can't figure out so it's been loud and lots of fighting. ARG!!!

Exciting news yesterday...I am going to be in THE REPORTER newspaper, a very local paper, next Thursday in their Our Neighbor section for my Tastefully Simple sales excellence last year! So that is super exciting for me!

Also exciting, and Im not sure if I mentioned this already, but Anna is going to go to preschool via the school district which means all the kids on a bus!!! 5 days a week. Wahoo~!!

And I am working on the evite for my What do you want night where I'll share how Tastefully Simple gave me what I wanted and what it has to offer others. That will be August 28th.

Found this great recipe on Better Homes and Garden changed it to make it easier...

8 6-inch corn tortillas
1 batch of Simply Salsa Salsa
8 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 tsp. Fiesta Party Dip
1 lb. medium to large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Prepare Simply Salsa as directed 1-2 hours before making the rest.

2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap tortillas in heavy foil. Heat in preheated oven 10 minutes.
2. In a bowl toss beans with 1/2 teaspoon Fiesta Party Dip. In another bowl toss shrimp with remaining 1/2 teaspoon Fiesta Party Dip. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans; cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to skillet; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes more or until shrimp turn opaque.
3. To serve, fill each warm tortilla with about 1/3 cup shrimp and green bean mixture. Serve with salsa. Makes 4 servings (2 tortillas each plus 2/3 cup salsa)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Timbercreek Farm Organics

We got our "goodie" box of organice fruits and veggies today and it included a recipe for Ratatouille on the Run, and I had all the ingredients on hand, including fresh basil from my big basil plant/bush. Not suprisingly, I was the only one in my family willing to try this dish...and it was very good, nice side dish...I crumbled a little bit of sharp cheddar cheese on top.

Here is the recipe:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic garlic
1 large eggplant unpeeled, diced
2 green bell peppers diced
2 large tomatoes chopped
1 onion cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large zucchini cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat oil in BIG heavy sauce pan or wok over med heat. Add garlic garlic; stir. Add eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, zucchini and basil. Saute 5 minutes. Cover and simmer until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occassionally, about 25 minutes. Uncover pot/pan and simmer until juice thickens, stirring occassionally, about 10 min. Mix in vinegar, season to taste w/salt and pepper.Preheat oven to 350. Spread ratatouille in 9 inch-diameter pie dish. Sprinkle w/cheese, if desired. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

On the homefront I went to the Courthouse today and in literally 3 minutes, I got a copy of Anna's birth certificate. I was mightly impressed w/the experience, have you ever heard of getting in and out of a government office in less than 5 mintues??? So I was able to take that along w/a bunch of other paperwork over to the schoool in our district that offers preschool...So do you know what that means? In less than 3 weeks all 3 kids will be taking buses to school and I won't have to drive anyone to the park district back and forth and back and forth. And I'll have about 2.5 hours of the day to myself....but really it's all about the environment and not driving my car as's not about being able to sit and think in silence or being able to clean the house and have it stay clean for a few hours, or catching up on my reading, or getting on TS offered conference calls, or going for a run every morning...really it's not about's about the environment!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

His own room

For six months my younger brother was living with us in our basement. He moved out this past weekend to head out for the big city...NYC.

And the moment he left, Patrick was packing up his stuff to move into his own room. This was all young Patrick's idea, and boy is he happy about having his own room...except when it's time to sleep. That has been a bit of a work in progress involving a nightlight and several back up lights on throughout the basement.

I'm very excited that Patrick now has his own room, there is less fighting btwn him and his brother and he has a place for all his important stuff...such as a bottle cap...a ragged Miles Kimball catalog, lots of little legos, an an assortment of Spongebob stuff.

He also found and had me hang up several St. Patricks Day related school art works. Such as a paper potato wearing a green leprechan hat. St. Patrick's Day is Patrick's day you see?

When Patrick is not writing in his Imagination Journal on his makeshift desk he enjoys this meal...

Boneless Chicken Breasts marinaded in Balsalmic and Basil Dipping Oil and baked.

Roasted Potatoes: I take potatoes leave the skins on and cube them up then toss them w/a bit of olive oil and Tastefully Simple's Italian Seasoning Salt and put them on a Pam sprayed pan and bake those...


Broccoli steamed w/a little of our Seasoned Salt.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

3.5 hours early

This morning the Feldco guy came to look at the windows we have that need to be fixed. 3.5 hours early. The appt was for noon to 2 (a two hour window) and then he called at 8am...Tom answered the phone, I probably would have let it go to voice mail...and asked if he could come at 9am instead of noon. Then he showed up at 8:30. I had to hide in the bathroom and get dressed. Nevermind that the kids were in their PJs....

830am on a Saturday, me personally I am not ready for company of any sort at that time!

Today was exciting. I have all the school supplies bought and divied up for the boys. I have a sneaking suspicion that one bryce starts, they are going to ask him to get more supplies...seems like there wasn't too much to his list. Now if I could only find some info on when I can pick up Patricks info --the really important stuff that we need to know like--ah what time is the bus coming to pick him up and where is the bus stop??? LOL

Tonight we are going to see the Simpsons at the drive in. Here's hoping the rain holds off until Midnight.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Only one week...

Until my birthday. I'll be 26. LOL. My birthday always means that ragweed season and the start of school are around the corner. So take notice now, quick do some fun summer stuff, the summer fun clock is ticking down very quickly!

The Ty Warner splash pad is a great place to find summer you can see here, Anna is having a great time.

A note to anyone watching their weight. You'll want to avoid Jewel this week as Ben and Jerry's ice cream is on sale. Did you know they have this ice cream called Cinnamon Buns? Oh it is so good. Sinfully good!
Speaking of Cinnamon...
Apple Nut Cinammon Muffin Melts
Submitted by Denise Grant (TN)
Ingredients Cinnamon Muffin Melt Mix™
1 cup water
1 chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped pecans or nuts of choice
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
Directions Prepare muffins with water; stir in apples and pecans. Bake as directed on package. Roll in melted butter and reserved cinnamon sugar packet. Cool and serve. Makes 12 muffins.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August 2nd. Yep, no creative title

I think the heat has gotten to my brain. I cannot think of a clever title for todays blog and I can't remember what I had for breakfast. But I do remember what I had last night at dinner...I made the most delicious 'silver treasure' foil packet potatoes w/garlic infused olive oil from Market Day and a sprig of fresh rosemary. and some of our TS Italian Seasoning Salt. Oh it was soooo good. I also did this...

Cut a giant zucchini lengthwise, pour our brand new salsa that I got as an attendee of National Conference on top and that you can get for yourself 9/1, then sprinkle on shredded moz. cheese over that and bake. Oh it was so gosh darn good!!!

Also can you see the graphic for eWomens networking? I cant but the link is still clickable. If you could email me and let me know what you see?

On Tuesday night I participated in an Idea Party as part of my 8 week Success Team class, boy it was wonderful. I have 2 giant pages filled with ideas on how I can achieve my goal this year of becoming a member of Tastefully Simple's Gold Leaf Executive club. Now I have no excuses and now that you know it is my goal, you too can hold me accountable! The incentive period is July 1, 2007 to June 30th, 2008, so it's a year long goal. In order to reach this goal I'll have to work harder than ever...but to reach such a career goal will be worth all the effort. To find out more about Success Teams go to

About 10 Tastefully Simple consultants reach the Gold Leaf club each year. In order to be a member I'll be working toward having $65,000 in personal sales, welcoming 16 new team members and helping 3 team member become Team Leaders. It's a tall order...but as they say...nothing ventured...nothing gained!

And when I reach my goal, not only will my business be definitely taken to the next level, and not only will I be recognized on stage at Nationals next year and get to hug the CEO, I'll be going on an all expense paid trip of a lifetime w/the hubby to Puerto Vallarta!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dog Days of Summer

Well looks like we'll be looking at the mid 90s this week. Which is right for this first week of August. So what does the second week of August bring? Nod. yep. my birthday. Tom got me a camera already for my birthday, now all I have to do is pay the CC bill when it comes. LOL I really really like my almost paid for camera. It is a Casio Exilim, I think this is the one I have...

And it takes nice pics here is another one from our Tastefully Simple National Conference

Are you wondering why we are wearing cowboy hats? That's because the theme of conference this year was Kick it Up!

We have some fabulous new products coming out including one called Mild Red Pepper Dip, this one is just like our retired Sweet Pepper and Jalepeno Jam only a bit more pourable. I think it will be a must have product this fall.

Grilled Asian Aura Steak Salad

1 peeled cucumber

1 red bell pepper

1 zucchini

1 1/2 lbs. trimmed boneless 1 inch thick sirloin steak

Asian Aura Dressing

Chopped fresh cilantro

Slice vegetables into matchsticks, about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide, set aside. Brush steak w/1-2 tablespoons Asian Aura Dressing; grill over med. heat for 3-4 minutes on each side for med. rare. Toss vegetables w/5-6 tablespoons Asian Aura Dressing; arrange evenly on 4 plates. Thinly slice hot steak; arrange over vegetables. Drizzle with additional Asian Aura Dressing to taste; sprinkle w/cilantro for garnish. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Me and my Birthday Buddy Kim J.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Back from Conference!

Wow I had such a great time! It's wonderful to be part of a forward focused company! This year our key note speaker was Connie Podesta, very very funny and inciteful. Her website is We have such a wonderful fall line this year. I can't wait to share it with everyone, especially our exquisite gift collection, the gift department truly outdid themselves this year.

The picture I posted is a picture of me w/my birthday Buddy Kim J.

So many great things coming along to help us to grow our businesses and reach our goals, I cannot wait to share all w/my clients and hosts. Now is the time to start a Tastefully Simple business!

I will share more and recipes tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Go Go White Sox, Boo Tigers!

Last night Bryce and I had the first annual Brycie's Special White Sox Day. I have a couple of pics of the evening, but photobucket is down so I can't upload them tonight from my phone to the site and then download the pics to my PC so I can upload them here...LOL I love technology.

So there we were at the game and who sits right in front of us?

Ya a loud lady who looooooooooooooves the Tigers and her 2 kids who love the Tigers and her husband. Sigh, I just really don't like sitting by someone loudly taunting the home team. I want to be surrounded by the sox fans. This lady was extra annoying because when she wasn't on her feet yelling cause her team scored...and that happend 9 times..the times the sox were doing well, she was texting. Grrr. or getting up so I can't see to go to the bathroom Grr.

But then Bryce keep making me laugh. The kid was Superfan! He was singing Go White Sox Go. Chanting Let's Go White Sox Let's Go, and each time a Sox was up to bat and they announced the player's name Bryce would go wild as if Babe Ruth was coming to the plate! The kids in front of us were supremely annoyed to have a screaming 5 year old White Sox fan behind them. I had to laugh.

Bryce made some friends w/the Sox fans behind us and exchanged hi 5's and the fans were telling me I had the best kid ever. LOL Bryce can be pretty loud and wild most of the time, so I guess Cellular Field is his nitche.

Ah such fun, too bad our guys lost!

And now for a few more summer recipes....

Veggie Pizza
Submitted by Kris Sayers (IL)
Ingredients Mediterranean Herb Quick Focaccia Bread Mix
12 oz. beer
Farmer's Medley Dip Mix
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Sliced cucumber
Chopped broccoli
Diced carrots
Thin sliced yellow peppers
Directions Prepare Mediterranean Herb Quick Focaccia Bread Mix as directed on package with beer; spread onto a pizza pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°; set aside to cool. Prepare Farmer's Medley Dip Mix as directed with sour cream and mayonnaise. Spread Farmer's Medley Dip over cooled bread; top with vegetables. Slice into appetizer size pieces.

Merlot Burgers
Submitted by Deb Goodman (ND)
2 Tbsp. Merlot Sauce
1 tsp. Onion Onion™
1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1 lb. ground beef
1 beaten egg
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
Directions Combine all ingredients; mix well. Shape into 4 patties; grill. Serves 4.

Dreamsicle Chiller
Submitted by Stephanie Adkisson (CA)
2 scoops Vanilla Bean Chiller™
5 oz. cold orange juice
1 1/2 cups ice
Directions Combine ingredients in blender; blend on high until smooth. Makes 2 servings.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dinner Impossible

For those of you who have cable, and are familiar w/the Food Network, maybe you've heard of this show? Each week Chief Robert Irvine is thrown into a situtation and giving the challenge of serving a bunch of people and a strict deadline. For example he did a challenge where he had to cook a dinner party for a group that runs a pilgrim visitor center (where you can visit and see people pretending it's the 1600s. So he had to do a dinner party using the tools and foods of the time.

Well this week the challenge was serving a gourmet dinner to a group of 200 of Chicago's finest and their friends on the US Cellular Fan Deck at our very own US Cellular Field.

Why am I mentioning this? Well because I was at the game and went to the consession stand where the Chief was working and saw a bit of the filming!

So I just had to share my 'celebrity' sighting now that the show is on the air!
Here are a few recipes to make dinner less impossible!
Texas Grilled Potatoes
Submitted by Lynn Carnes (TX)
4 large cubed potatoes
4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bacon Bacon™ to taste (optional)
Directions Place potatoes on aluminum foil; dab butter on potatoes. Sprinkle with Garlic Garlic™ and cheese. Seal foil, leave space on top so cheese does not stick. Place on grill for about 20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with Bacon Bacon™ prior to serving.
Makes 3-4 servings.
Crispy Salsa Chicken
Submitted by Holli Henning (VA)
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup water
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions Combine first 2 ingredients in a shallow bowl. Place water in a separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken in water, then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Put chicken on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons Corn, Black Bean Salsa; sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Makes 3-4 servings.