First of all

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 fundraisers...so 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!

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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 fall...so, 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 $150...so looks like it would be best to avoid the American Girl store---she's only three...it 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:

http://www.oceanspray.com

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

Cranberries

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.

Yum.

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.

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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.

http://www.dahl.com/

and

http://www.thenadas.com/

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!