First of all

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Little Drummer Boy Saves Christmas

I think I have a little cold. I really should have made some Chicken Noodle Soup tonight, but instead I made a mistake into dinner. (a dinner the kids wouldn't eat but I enjoyed.) Yesterday I went to Aldi and thought I purchased 2 cans of Chicken Noodle Soup (their version of Chunky soup). The kids call it twisty noodle soup and they like soup for breakfast, and I figure it's a good breakfast on a cold foggy day, such as this AM. So I opened a can of soup this morning and looked down, and well wouldn't you know it, I had grabbed one can of 'twisty noodle soup' and 1 can of Chicken Corn Chowder.

You are not surprised to learn no one was going to eat Chicken Corn Chowder for breakfast are you? Of course not.

This afternoon, I thought I might as well try and do something w/the open can of soup. What I came up with was,
1 can of Chicken Corn Chowder
1 1/3 uncooked rice
1 cup h20
1 cup chopped up leftover cooked cauliflower
1 teaspoon Garlic Garlic (TM Tastefully Simple)
about 1 tbsp Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning (TM Tastefully Simple)
Mix it all together in a casserole dish, cover said dish w/Aluminum foil and bake for about 45 min at 350 and I served it to myself with baby carrots.

Today Patrick told me he is going to make a movie where the little drummer boy saves the baby Jesus from the evil dark lord. Sounds like a blockbuster for the holiday, the little drummer boy defeats the evil dark lord through his magic sound. I told him he needs to write this stuff down!

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Holiday Open House Menu

Simple Sweet Bell Pepper Pinwheels

Perfectly Potato Cheddar Quiche

Meatballs with Pomegranate Chipotle and Merlot Sauce in the Slow Cooker

Cheesy Chive Warm Dip Mix with Bread

Artichoke & Spinach Quiche

Oh So Olive Dip mix and Assorted Veggies


Nana's Apple Cake prepared with 1 cup fresh cranberries. Topped with Warm Up! Instant Mulling Spice mixed into Cool Whip.

Apple Crisp Cheeseball Pizza

Awesome Amaretto Cocoa and For the Love of Cookies!


The open house is on Wed and the weather doesn't sound too promising, it will be the coldest weather we've had since last winter, but hopefully people will come because I really don't need to be alone with all of the above! Today is our team Christmas party and I've been running around the house all day making sure I don't forget anything I am supposed to bring such as my ornament for the xchange, a couple of gifts for team members. And the damn cookies for the cookie exchange. LOL we were supposed to bake 65. I started out a few days ago making spritz cookies but those didn't work out. I couldn't get my cookie press to work. I was in a cookie exchange yesterday, so for that one I took peppermint cream Oreos, dipped those in white chocolate and put sprinkles on top. I went through 4 bars of white chocolate for 47 cookies. Today I didn't want to go and spend $20 on more white chocolate So today I made Warm Up! Shortbread Cookies, which is a variation on a recipe that has been on my fridge for weeks. Duh! Should have made those the first time around. Only problem with today is that I ran out of flour and so there is 1 batch of cookies (42 cookies) instead of 65 and at this point I have to go with what I've got!


Here is the recipe. Warm Up! Instant Mulling Spice is a new product this fall. :-D



1 cup softened butter

1 tsp. pure almond extract

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons Sugar

2 cups flour


For sugar coating blend:

2 tablespoons Warm Up! Instant Mulling Spice

4 tablespoons Sugar.

Mix well in order given. Shape into 1 inch balls. Bake at 300 for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly and roll in sugar coating. Makes 4 dozen.





Friday, December 4, 2009

Wine Pairings for Holiday Meals

Wondering what wines to serve?

* Chardonnays pair well with Turkey
* Cabernet Merlot blends are a great match for a Crown Roast. The kids want me to make one of those so they can see the little chef hats on it. LOL
*Gewurztraminer, or the Gewurztraminer/Reisling blend that Coopershawk Winery sells, goes really well with the saltiness of a yummy holiday ham.
*Making a Roast Duck? Go with a Malbec.
*Roast Lamb? Try a Pinot Noir!

Now what about for Tofurkey? There is no agreement on this one being that it is not white nor red meat!
Some say go with a Pinot Gris or Chardonnay others say a light red such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais Nouveau. (I like the Charles Shaw Beaujolais Nouveau myself)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Guess what we are watching tonight?

Yippee! I love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation! I might even make a cup of our Awesome Amaretto Cocoa
So yummy you don't need any cookies with it. And speaking of cookies, I found some seasonal ziploc baggies for my cookie exchange cookies (ie the only cookies I'm going to be making) So now I am ready to get out the cookie press and make some spritz cookies.

Come to think of it the Awesome Amaretto Cocoa would pair nicely with some yummy Spritz Cookies.


* 1 cup butter, softened
* 3 egg yolks
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2/3 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure almond extract


1. Mix the butter or margarine, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract. Add the flour and mix by hand.
2. Spoon into cookie press and press onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with colored sugars.
3. Bake in preheated 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) oven for 7-10 minutes.

And yes, I'm going with the Christmas Tree Cookie Shape.

All I need is some moose mugs (Available on 2 acrylic mugs for $49.99!)for my cocoa and the holiday movie watching experience will be complete.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Camembert Cheese

Aldi has some yummy cheeses on special purchase this week and I picked up a wheel of Camembert cheese for only $2.99, so I need to make this easy and really delicious Camembert Cheese Pasta recipe by Jamie Oliver. I couldn't find my copy of the recipe so I googled it and here is the recipe and for fun it has metric measurements. Anna and I are the only ones who will eat this in our household, so if anyone wants a serving or two, let me know!

Exciting news, one of my recipes made it into this month's Tastefully Simple Everyday Easy Recipes, click here to check it out!

(serves 4-6)

- a box of Camembert Cheese (250g)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off the woody stalk
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 100g grated parmesan cheese
- 400g dried rigatoni
- 150g fresh spinach


1. Open the box of cheese and unwrap it. Place it back to the wooden container (Note: mine did not come in a wooden container so I placed it in a oven safe dish like what you see in the photo).
2. Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard.
3. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle some pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.
4. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in the oil.
5. Bake the cheese in a preheated oven of 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until golden and melted.
6. When the cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions.
7. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pan - it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so.
8. Drain the pasta and spinach to the pan and let it wilt.
9. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of reserved cooking water to thin out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.
10. Remove the cheese from the oven. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted Camembert on top or pop cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.

Friday, November 20, 2009


So many things to give thanks for!

* Buses that take the kids to and fro school
* Barilla Plus Pasta
* That I'm not lactose intolerant! I love gouda, edam, Dubliner cheddar cheese, etc. etc. etc.
* Working from home means I can go for a 1 or 2 hour run most every weekday morning whilst Anna is in school!
* That I am not injury prone and can run w/o pain.
* Bryce loves Cub Scouts, and Patrick isn't interested in it--meaning I don't need to take out a 2nd mortgage on a 2nd mortgage to pay for the scouting expenses for 2 kids.
* Earned a free Trip to Cancun with Tom
* All the great hosts who invite me into their homes which leads me to earning free trips!
* Going to Tastefully Simple's Leadership Wild Ride w/my Tastefully Simple friends.
* Earning the Leadership trip totally free!
* That I'll be in Florida in mid January.
* All the stuff that is only available during select times of the year:
Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Peppermint Bark, Sierra Mist Diet Cranberry Splash, the Dairy Queen Blizzard w/crunched up peppermint candy and chocolate chunks.
* That I lost 15 pounds this year
* Actresses who don't get botox or facelifts, it's so distracting when they do, they look weird.
* Patrick loving holiday traditions and party planning.
* being in walking distance of a Dunkin Donuts
* Tom having a job and HEALTH INSURANCE!
* All the great women that make up my Team! They ROCK!
* That Tastefully Simple redid their compensation plan so I make more money as a leader and at my parties, plus the hosts get more free stuff!
* Boots, it just makes the wintertime more livable when you can wear boots.
* People who shovel their sidewalks.
* That I don't have to fly on a plane to do the Chicago Marathon in 10/10
* Facebook, I love seeing how the people I know are doing!
* Aldi's and Trader Joes cheap food, cheese and wine!
* The kids not wanting 50 thousand things for Christmas.
* Anna asking for a Bruschetta Cheese Ball Mix in her Christmas Stocking.
* my iphone!!!!! Love that there is an app for Constant Contact
* Steve Dahl Podcasts
* A warmer than average November
* I can take a vacation from work when the kids have Winter Break
* All the moms who want to help w/Anna's classroom parties!
* My kids having great teachers and living in a great school district
* I like my family and they like me.
* Kids and the magic of Christmas.
* Good Babysitters
* Living in Chicagoland
* The internet
* the Kindle app on my iphone, finally the problem of a reading light to read in bed is solved!
* Good Friends and Great Family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I am using MS word to write my blog post just to see how it works. I have a bad headache but don't feel like getting up to get ibuprophen, or is it ibuprofen? Ah, it's fen not phen. Though I don't think ibuprofen is going to fix my headache.



I feel bad for Prime Minister Brown of England. I too have dreadful handwriting. I think he probably should switch to sending email condolences.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In a perfect world

Perfect only exists in the dictionary, but just for fun, in a perfect world after all the wishes for goodwill on earth, this is my list.

1. a new laptop that runs super fast and never takes more than 3 seconds to load a page.
2. everlasting funds to purchase kindle books.
3. a second home in Hawaii
4. a new pair of running shoes 1x a month
5. 8 days a week.
6. a kitchen aid mixer with all the trimmings. :-D

and no flu bugs!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What do to with Halloween Candy

Just like the day of our family photos, Halloween was cold. And windy. and cold, finger and toe numbing cold. And while this weather didn't deter the Hamel children or their BFFs Sam and Owen, it did deter many of the kids for whom I had candy waiting for at my house. And that caused a major flood of candy around here. I did my best to make my way through butterfingers, Almond Joys and Reeses, but I gave up fast. I was so done with chocolate that the next day, when I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K, a race that promises all the chocolate you can stuff in your pockets at the finish, I didn't even take a handful of chocolate. Sad isn't it?

So I googled "candy for soldiers" on the internet and found the info below and boxed up a priority mail flat rate box full of Halloween Candy.

Halloween has come and gone: the costumes are put away, the kids have come down from the sugar high, and the jack-o-lantern is starting to wilt... and there are still pounds and pounds of candy all over the place! What to do?

Our military men and women deployed around the world always enjoy candy in their care packages, and this is the perfect time of year for shipping chocolate--the cooler weather means it's less likely to melt! Patriotic kids and parents can send extra Halloween candy to Soldiers' Angels, who will make sure it brightens the day of a service member far from home (please be sure to send "the good stuff,"--no crushed/melted candy or broken/torn wrappers, etc).

Soldiers' Angels asks all Angels to spread the word and get their community involved in sharing their Halloween candy to give our troops a taste of home.

If you live east of the Mississippi, please ship your Halloween candy to:
Soldiers' Angels
112 Greenhill Road
Ramseur NC 27316
(Dropoff avail. M-F, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

If you live west of the Mississippi, please ship your halloween candy to:

Soldiers' Angels
914 Tourmaline Dr
Newbury Park, CA 91320

And if you wanted to cook with your leftover chocolate candy you could use this recipe from and make a cookie Pizza, and use chopped up mini candy bars in place of the various chips the recipes uses.



* 1 package (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
* 12 assorted HERSHEY'S MINIATURES Chocolate Bars, unwrapped
* 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips, HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Milk Chocolate Chips
* 1/4 cup REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips
* 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Premier White Chips
* 1 bag (10-1/2 oz.) miniature marshmallows
* 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S MILK DUDS Candy made with chocolate and caramels

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Press cookie dough evenly onto 12-inch pizza pan. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, break or cut chocolate bars into about 1/4-inch pieces.

2. Remove cookie from oven. Evenly sprinkle surface with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chips and chocolate bar pieces. Cover "toppings" with marshmallows. Sprinkle surface with chocolate covered caramel candies. Return to oven; bake additional 5 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed and lightly browned. Cool. Cut into triangles. About 12 slices.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm a slacker...

We have no carved pumpkins this year!

Yes. it's true. And well, I didn't buy and pumpkins for the children to carve, and Im not going to get any and we aren't going to be doing any carving. This is both good and not so good. It's good because it's big, messy and carpal tunnel syndrome inducing. It's bad because I like fresh roasted pumpkin seeds.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thanksgiving is coming!!!

A friend passed on a post she found on emails from crazy people, I think this is too funny!

From: Marney
As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.
Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.
All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.
HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike B Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don’t feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don’t care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob B Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa B Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle B Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel – please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June D Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy M Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.
Looking forward to the 28th!!

I rec'd my Foot Network November Magazine and I am working my way through some recipes as Thanksgiving try outs. Last night I made this:
Emeril Lagasse's Bacon Braised Green Beans.

I was really hoping this would be a big hit w/Patrick as it combines 2 of his favorite foods, green beans and bacon. He just got upset about it and said he likes his food not mixed together. I still coerced him into trying it and he didn't like the dish. I thought it was OK, but didn't wow me. I def. felt it was lacking some salt when prepared as directed.

Sad to say I suppose that I'd preferred a green bean casserole over this recipes! Clearly I need to work on my tastes.


Excerpted from Emeril Lagasse's book, Emeril 20-40-60 (HarperStudio)

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 6 slices bacon, diced
* 1 cup thinly sliced onion
* 2 tablespoons sliced garlic
* 2 pounds green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed
* 1 cup chicken stock, canned low-sodium chicken broth or water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Set a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the green beans and toss to combine with the bacon and onions.

Increase the heat to medium high and add the chicken stock. As soon as the stock begins to boil, place the lid on the pan and cook the beans for about 6 minutes. Remove the lid, season the beans with the salt and pepper, and toss well. Replace the lid and cook until the beans are tender, 1 or 2 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and transfer the beans to a serving dish or small platter.

I wanted to try out Anne Burrell's Chestnut-Potato Puree, this one looks really good and is only 5 ingredients. However the key ingredient, 1 bag of frozen peeled chestnuts is not something they carry at my Jewel. Heck I don't know where one might find a bag of frozen peeled chestnuts. I was thinking I might have to go to Whole Foods, which is a drive. but if you can find the frozen peeled chestnuts, I bet this is really good!


Excerpted from a book Anne Burrell is featured in, New York Cooks (Sixth & Spring)

* 1 bag frozen peeled chestnuts
* Kosher salt
* 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
* 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream, heated
* 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Place the chestnuts in a large saucepot and fill with water. Season generously with salt and bring the pot to a boil. Add the potatoes and continue to boil until the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain the cooked potato-chestnut mixture and return to the pot. Add the hot cream and cold butter and stir vigorously until combined. Check the seasoning; add salt, if needed. If the mixture is a little stiff, add more cream and butter until it reaches the desired consistency. Place in a serving bowl and cover with foil until ready to serve.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stuff I like lately

Looking for a good book? Currently I am all about any and everything by Charlaine Harris. It's October, what can beat a good action adventure w/a telepathic Heroine w/a shape shifting boss, who is torn btwn a weretiger and a couple of handsome vampires. I love a good vampire story! The author looks like a sweet southern woman somewhere in her 50s, but she can write some wild stories!

I got the best. mascara. ever. Really it makes you look like you have lashes for miles and doesn't involves getting pharmaceuticals! (ie Latisse) It's Avon's Super Curlacious Mascara. I don't think I paid but like maybe $6 and it rocks!

Now in the recipe department today I made an easy appetizer because I had some Pillsbury reduced fat crescent rolls on hand:

Sweet Bell Pepper and Turkey Bacon Bites
1 pkg reduced fat crescent rolls
1 tbsp Tastefully Simple Sweet Bell Pepper Dip
2 tbsp minced green onion
4 slices turkey bacon crumbled
8oz (ie 1 block) reduced fat cream cheese

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients cept the crescent rolls together. Open up the crescent rolls and pinch the triangles together to make 4 rectangles. Then take 1/4 of the cheese mix and spread it on each of the 4 rectangles. Roll up a rectangle, then slice into 8 pieces and place cut side up on a baking sheet. Repeat for a total of 32 bites. Bake for 12-15 minutes, cool and serve.

Oh and the other stuff I like lately is the vanity sizing on Sonoma Corduroy pants sold by Kohls, of which I bought a pair of size 6 pants yesterday. Seriously. size 6. haha! I don't wear a 6. But hey I'll take it, it's good for the ego!! Only in the land of Sonoma!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Things I have been cooking lately.

Last year I managed to have us not turn on the heat until 11/1. This year we had to breakdown and turn it on, on 10/11!!! We left September and went straight to the end of November. And with that, it's time to really cook.

The other day I made the Cheesy Chive Beer Cheese dip from our website, it was fan-tastic! Super Super good w/crusty bread.

Sunday I was in a pumpkin mood so I took my Nana's apple cake and added one cup pumpkin, 2 egg whites and 1/2 a cup of Peacans. Yum, but wait there is more! then I mixed 2 tbsp of the new Warm Up! Instant Mulling Spice w/a container of low fat whipped topping. It was fantastic on top of the Nana's Apple Cake. (well pumpkin cake). I could have eaten the whole container.

I finally used the acorn squash that I had sitting around with this recipe:

Acorn Squash Slices:


* 2 medium acorn squash
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup maple syrup
* 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
* 1/3 cup chopped pecans


1. Wash squash. Cut in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-in. slices; discard the ends. Place slices in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with salt. Combine syrup and butter; pour over squash. Sprinkle with pecans if desired. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until tender.

Today it is chili with ground turkey in the slow cooker. Mine has beans and ground turkey, the one Tom thinks I should make because it is his dad's recipe is ground beef, no beans and ketchup is the main ingredient. Blech.

Now Jewel had this special where certain items were 10 For $10, 5 for $10, 4 for $10, and 2 for $10, then if you bought the number to equal $10 you rec'd an extra $3.00. So I saw that Birdseye Meals for 2 were 2 for $10, less $3 for 2 for $7 and I had 2 coupons each one reading $1.50 off 1 Meal for Two. So that made the final price 2 for $4, so I went ahead and bought a couple of the meals. If I didn't have the coupons and Jewel didn't have the special, I wouldn't buy it because, you know I try to avoid the premade frozen meal aisle. Anywho, with my awesome deal I bought the Meals and one was very good. It was Spanish rice with shrimp and chicken. The amount that constituted a meal was a fair amount and the rice had a nice saffron flavor. I would buy this again if I have coupons and Jewel has a great deal.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Really Really Really Good Pot Roast

Last week it was in the 80s here in Chicagoland. This week we are barely hitting the 60 degree mark. And you know what that means? It's time to cook Autumnal food!!! Yesterday I made a scrumptious Pot Roast courtesy of Tyler Florence of the Food Network. Tyler Florence is my fav chef when it comes to recipes that are simple yet delish. Rick Bayless is my fav fav chef. Just so we have that all straightened out!

Below is the recipe with my changes. One change is that I omitted the bay leaf the recipe called for because I can't stand bay leaf. It reminds me of pre-natal vitamins. BLEH. And 2 instead of Sea Salt and Ground Pepper, I used Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt and I slathered that all over the Pot Roast, with great results:


* 1 (3 to 4 pound) piece beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 can crushed tomatoes
* 1 cup water
* 2 yellow onion, halved
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 bunch baby carrots
* 2 celery stalks, sliced
* 1 cup button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
* 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (i used one)
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a tight cover; heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Pour in the tomatoes and the water. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Braise for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.
Slice the pot roast and arrange on platter surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with the pot juices.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coopershawk Winery

Last night I had a spur of the moment opportunity to go to Coopershawk Winery in Orland Park, one of my favorite restaurants. I've been there enough times that I've had all the chicken entrees and all of the 'favorites' marked by a feather on the menu.
So this time I had the pistachio-encrusted grouper with their Pinot Gree. The grouper was fabulous, buttery with the pistachios crispy and crunchy. The asparagus tasted like it was springtime and the mashed potatoes were, as aways a carb-lovers paradise. I liked the Pinot Gree by itself, but with dinner I should have just had water. Lesson learned on that. I'd tell you about dessert, but I am not a dessert person. The only time I have dessert at a dinner out is when it is at a Tastefully Simple conference or trip and the dessert is part of our dinner. If I would have had dessert last night, I think I would have liked a 1/2 portion of the grouper! It was that good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just call me Mrs. Wingate.

Yesterday at dinner Anna said that Mrs. Ziel wasn't the teacher today, that she had a substitute, Mrs. Wingate. She then went on to ask if she could call me Mrs. Wingate. I told her no and she asked again about 10 times.

Not suprisingly, I got frustrated. I said. What if I started calling you Sally? Would you like that? Anna said, do I get to call you Mrs. Wingate? I said, I guess. she said, Okay Mrs. Wingate, you can call me Sally. You can call me Sally in the morning and the afternoon and at night you can call me Anna, got it Mrs. Wingate?

I said, got it. Then she said, what about the brothers? I said OK, we'll call them Bob and Jeffery. Who's who? she asked. Bob is Patrick and Jeffery is Bryce. And dad? Oh he is Mr. Wingate I said. And so it went all night.

Here is a recipe I found on Sparkrecipes, it is fabulouso!!!! You have to try it, really it is amazing and healthy.

I made a few changes and am renaming it:
Mrs. Wingates Amazing Scallops Pasta Dish:

Whole wheat angel hair pasta or Barilla Plus Angel Hair (barilla plus is my favorite)
1 lb of small/medium size scallops (defrosted if frozen)
2 tbsp olive or canola oil
2 tbsp of Garlic Garlic
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chardonnay
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
grated parm cheese if desired
fresh ground pepper

Make pasta as directed. Spray pan w/Pam and when the pan is med/hot add the scallops searing them until they are just lightly brown on each side. Then remove the scallops from the pan, turn down the heat to medium. Add oil to the pan and sprinkle the pan w/ground pepper and add the chopped onions and garlic garlic, and a bit of sea salt. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the scallops, tomatoes and wine to the pan. Simmer until the scallops are cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Add the parsley and additional salt and pepper if desired. Spoon over pasta and then serve adding parm cheese if you'd like.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bryce Says

So Bryce says what can I eat, I am hungry.
I say, you just had some Macaroni & cheese.
He says: I know but I want to have a party in my tummy and right now there is only a few people.

LOL There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tastefully Simple Fall-Winter 2009 Catalog

Tastefully Simple Fall-Winter 2009 Catalog

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For the first time ever, we have our catalog online, so that you can page through and see what is new right on line! Very Green!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Beautiful weather, sad day.

Ah a very sad day today in our house. Tom had to take his beloved dog Cookie to the vet and have her put to sleep. He is a bit of a wreck as Cookie was his number one girl. She lived a long and wonderful life of 14 years and really that was due to Tom's TLC, she had cancer twice and other health hiccups along the road and it was only in her last few weeks that she was not the Cookie that we knew. I had the kids make Tom cards while he was at the Vet and then I told him not to feel guilty about golfing this afternoon. The weather today is in the mid 60s and spectacularly sunny with those clouds that make the sky look exactly like the Simpson's sky they show in the opening credits.

Tom is golfing today with his cousin Mark who is having surgery this coming week, so doubly (sp?) the reason for him to go out.

I had my last Spring/Summer Tastefully Simple party last night, it was a great party with two ladies scheduling parties for the fall and both of them may very well just go for it and become consultants with the $99 special for September. At home I am working on experimenting w/our new products.

I was feeling adventurous this AM and I actually took the pampered chef springform pan that I don't even know when it got it, out of the packaging and used it to make a cranberry Tangerine tart. Since the Cranberry Tangerine Cheesecake Mix (a new Tastefully Simple product) has most of the work of a tart already done, I felt like I could branch out and give the scary springform pan a go. And the tart is now in the fridge and I think I might just have a big slice of that for dinner...hey it has fruits in it and dairy and even eggs and a graham cracker crust so that covers the 4 food groups, IMO.

I rented Sunshine Cleaning and I think I'm going to go into the bedroom and watch it, since the kids are being quiet and entertained w/the 2 Nintendo DS games we rented yesterday. At least I hope that is why they are being quiet.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

pics from Shining Chef and Conference

Shining Chef Competition

I am back from our Tastefully Simple conference. It was a great time! I was invited to be part of the training on stage. But nothing boring like a lecture w/a powerpoint presentation, I was invited to participate in Tastefully Simple's Iron Chef competition AKA Shining Chef!

Sleep was hard to come by in the days leading up to the big event, and when I got onto the stage, I was afraid for a few seconds that I might faint cause my legs got shakey but then the action started and I was fine and we had a blast! All the consultants really got into the fun cheering us on and they on our recipes and Kristin D. was crowned Shining Chef, for her recipe using our new Roasted Garlic & Herb Dip mix. My other competitor was Kim Zangar and she made tortilla pizza with Gotta Lotta Garlic Salsa, also a new product. My challenge was to make an entree using our Warm the Oven Savory Dip mix. I made Warm the Oven Au Gratin, recipe below. Each of our recipes will be on the Tastefully Simple website on 9/1/09.

This week the kids are back in school and wouldn't you know it but Patrick came down with a cold or the flu and missed school Friday. Right now, his fever is broken and he is on the mend, and Bryce is now lying in bed feverish.

On the one hand, the start of school means that summer is on the wain, on the other hand it gives me a better structure to work at home. With only a couple weeks left for our Summer Line and a new host program as well as a great special for new consultants I have tons to do.

Here is the recipe I made up for the Tastefully Simple Iron Chef Competition:
My cuisine didn't reign supreme, but this recipe still rocks.

Recipe: Ham and Warm the Oven Au Gratin

* 1 package of Warm the Oven (WT0)
* 1 softened brick of cream cheese
* 1.5 cups (aka 12oz) heavy whipping cream
* 2 med or 1 large shallot, minced
* 2.5 lbs (approx 8 cups) Yukon Gold Potatoes scrubbed and cut into 1/4-1/3 inch slices
* 1 fennel (aka anise) blub thinly sliced (note this is my potato casserole secret ingredient)
* 2 tbsp Onion Onion
* 2 cups diced ham
* fresh ground pepper to taste
*cooking spray

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

Mix 1 package of WTO into a softened brick of cream cheese in a small bowl. Set aside. Next sliced unpeeled Yukon Gold Potatoes into 1/4-1/3 inch slices, then thinly slice the fennel bulb and mince the shallot.

In a med. saucepan (pref. one with a thick bottom) place the WTO mixture, shallots and heavy cream. Turn the stove on to med. low heat and cook stirring until the WTO is melted and the mixture thickens. Remove from heat.

Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish or pan with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes, fennel and ham in the pan. Then pour 1/2 of the WTO mixture evenly over the pan. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the Onion Onion. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. Then repeat.

Place on rack in the middle of the oven and bake uncovered (this is key) until the potatoes are super tender--45-55 minutes and the top is a deep gold crust.

Let stand for 5-10 minutes and serve.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Today I took chicken breasts pounded them so they were evenly about say 1/2 inch thick then i coated them w/sour cream and breaded them w/bread crumbs mixed with 1/2 a packet of Warm the Oven dry. Then I baked them for about 25 min in a 365 degree oven. They were, eh. Alright, just needed something, not sure what yet. I also cooked cauliflower and the mashed the cauliflower w/prepared warm the oven dip--and that was yummmmm. (1/2 a packet of WTO with 4 oz of cream cheese)

I also took 1/2 a packet of WTO and whisked it into 1 cup of whipping cream, simmered that on the stove and added in 1 cup of diced tomatoes and 3 chopped cooked slices of turkey bacon and served that over Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta for lunch. that's my version of carbonara pasta. Good thing I ran 9.5 miles today, eh?

So continues my adventures on the hunt for a really really good Tastefully Simple Warm the Oven entree!

**************Nicest thing anyone has said to me in a while*************
The nicest thing anyone has said to me in a while happened yesterday at church. Now what happens when we go to church is that Tom and I basically try to keep a lid on Anna, who doesn't seem to get the idea of not talking and sitting when you should sit and not going to get a drink of water and so forth. So it was another stressful hour at the end of which I was singing and bryce was standing next to me.

So Bryce whispers in my ear: You should be up there (he pointed to the choir) because your voice is beautiful)


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Recent Recipe Creation

This could be called Italian Stir Fry or a Skillet Meal. I made it with 1/2 a box or 8oz of bow tie pasta.

*2 boneless chix breasts pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
* 1 packet of Tastefully Simple Warm the Oven Savory Cheese Dip
* 1/2 cup of olive oil
* 1 tbsp of vinegar
* 1 can of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup of green pepper
1 small zuchinni sliced and 1/2'd
8oz of bow tie pasta or your favorite pasta.

In a small bowl whisk 1 packet of Warm the Oven into 1/2 a cup of olive oil, then whisk in 1 tbsp of vinegar. Take a ziploc bag and put in the 2 chicken breasts, then add 1/4 cup of the Warm the Oven Mixture (reserve the rest). Squeeze out excess air and put in the refrigerator to marinade for 30 minutes (or more)

**** after marinading****
1. begin making pasta according to box directions.
2. Spray your favorite skillet with Pam, turn heat up to med. high, add Chicken Breasts and cook in the pan for about 3-5 minutes on each side until each side is nicely golden brown.
Take the chicken out of the skillet, add the green pepper and zuchinni and saute for 2-3 minutes, then add in the rest of the Warm the Oven Mixture and the tomatoes to the skillet and turn down the heat to med. low. Diced up chicken, add back to skillet and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the pasta is al dente, drain pasta. plate the pasta, and top with the Warm the Oven Chicken and Vegetables, and serve.
Should make 4 servings.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Found the charger for my camera battery!

First here is how the butterfly cake I made for Anna's bday turned out. The fun thing was that the colors on it matched the dress Anna came home in after her girls night w/K. The next picture you can see Anna has been primped and pampered in true princess style, complete w/curls, a tiara and the 'pretty nails' she has been begging for since school let out.

She wore the nails until it was time to open presents and then she was faced with a big decision. Keep the nails or rip open the pile of gifts. What's a girl to do? She went with ripping off that wrapping paper!

And the last picture is Bryce with his new glasses! He is very excited to see things--especially really getting to see fireworks for the first time. I am so grateful that there was a frog sitting on a lily pad when we visited the Little Red Schoolhouse a few weeks ago! If the frog wasn't there, I wouldn't have been very suspicious of Bryce's eyesight! The frog was about 6 feet away from us on a lilypad and Bryce just could not see it. The frog lead me to ask some questions and Tom took Bryce to the eye doctor and sure enough, Bryce is near-sighted.

The glasses are literally opening up new worlds for Bryce and I am confident he will see a big increase in his baseball batting average this fall!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!!!

We are having a few people over today for the 4th for some food and to break in my fire bowl. See pic above, I got it for free w/my Tastefully Simple Indulgence points--something we get monthly based on our sales. So I'm very excited to try it out, we have everything needed to make S'mores.

This morning I have been working on preparing the menu for our 4th of July Celebration.

We are going to be having...
*veggie tray w/Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon dip
I like whole carrots vrs the flavorless baby carrots they sell, so I'm cutting up some real carrots along w/celery and everyone's fav. Sugar Snap Peas
*Fruit/Cheese/Cracker tray to go along w/a selection of white wines :-) The Kraft Natural Cheese is on sale really really cheap at Jewel so I got one of each of the cheeses that they make, and then I blew all my savings on some yummy Gouda cheese!
*Chicken Breasts marinaded w/Tastefully Simple Sassy Sangria Grill Sauce
*Corn on the Cob brushed w/butter and sprinkled with my favorite seasoning ever, Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt.
*One guest is bringing Potato Salad and the Baby Blue Cobb Salad. Recipe from the TS fan page on Facebook

I am also making a salad, one with no dairy products in it, because Tom can't do dairy, this recipe is from the Hungry Girl Newsletter:

Crunchy Sassy Chinese Slaw

PER SERVING (about 1 cup): 111 calories, 3.5g fat, 375mg sodium, 17.5g carbs, 4g fiber, 10g sugars, 3g protein -- POINTS® value 2*

This slaw is so good, it's hard not to eat ALL of it (so do everyone a favor and make a double batch!)...

One 16-oz. package Mann's Broccoli Cole Slaw
1 cup canned water chestnuts, drained and sliced into thin strips
1 cup canned mandarin orange segments packed in water or juice, drained and chopped (and rinsed, if packed in juice)
1 cup chopped scallions
2/3 cup Newman's Own Lighten Up Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing
1/4 cup slivered almonds

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together, and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir well before serving. Enjoy!



or my festive brownie creation:

Prepare the Tastefully Simple Truffle Brownies as directed.
Mix 1/2 a container of lite Cool Whip w/a large scoop of our White Mousse Chiller Mix and top the brownie once cooled.

Then take blueberries and cut strawberries and make a flag design!
Patrick really really wanted a jello dessert, so what we made red jello in a round bowl and then right before serving I am topping that w/Cool whip and then putting blue jello on top of that.

Now it's time to cross fingers for no rain tonight! Happy 4th of July

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Heading to the Taste Today!

We have been having a very busy time around the Hamel family to end this wonderful month of June. Thursday I was off doing a great Tastefully Simple party, then on Friday we all participated in Relay For Life Oak Forest, which was fun and tiring. I couldn't find the charger for my camera battery so I have no picks. :-(

Saturday we went to the baseball picnic where they had 5, count them 5! jumpy houses or whatever those giant blow-up things are called. The kids were over the moon over all the jumping choices. Then after all that fun, later in the day, we went to a Graduation party in Flossmoor. The party was a fun and welcome relief for all of us after spending about 45 minutes driving around LOST trying to find the party--because our GPS stopped working due to low battery and because I lost the mapquest directions I printed out.

Sunday we went out for a late lunch with the kids, at which Bryce was like out of his mind w/misbehaving-ness. We figured out that his behavior was due to him being insanely hungry because we didn't realize he didn't eat his breakfast. Yes I know we are super rotten parents to not notice the poor middle child blew off his breakfast. Then Sunday night I had a lovely time at my Tastefully Simple party over by Midway.

Yesterday the kids got to go to day camp and I got to run for a long long time, then I was 'forced' to make good on my promise to take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese. Actually Monday at noon is a good time to venture into CEC as there were minimal other children there. Note to self: keep a good book in the car at all times so as not to be stuck at CEC w/o a book.

And today in about an hour I am off to the Taste of Chicago. Hopefully we'll be able to see the Barenaked Ladies and hopefully it won't rain. It is about 25 degrees cooler today than the last time I went to the Taste w/K. (Summer 2007) On that day it was I believe a heat index of 123 degrees Celsius.

When it comes to the Taste I am of the opinion. 1. don't take children. 2. only get 'taste' portions so you can try more! Number 1 is already accompished and so all I have to do today is accomplish number 2. A very do-able to-do list!

Taste Portions I'm thinking I'll try:

12 - The Grill on the Alley
909 N. Michigan Ave.

¢ Gazpacho with Chopped Avocado and Chives; Grilled Anjou Pear Salad with Walnuts and Maytag Blue Cheese

48 - Las Tablas Colombian Steakhouse
2942 N. Lincoln Ave.
(Crunchy Plantain Chips and Sweet Plantain Wedges)
¢ Verdes (Crunchy Plantains)

31 - Polo Café and Catering Bridgeport U.S.A.
3322 S. Morgan St.
¢ Garlic-Mozzarella Cheese Bread; Crispy Noodle Shrimp

30 - Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
958 W. Wrightwood Ave.
¢ Chopped Salad; Bruschetta

54 - Adobo Grill
2005 W. Division St.
¢ Churros; Cheese Empanada

Monday, June 22, 2009

What I am crazy about this summer.

My friend K who is a big fan of reptiles has always liked the Sobe and the Sobe commericials. Me I've found the Sobe commericals on the creepy side. That aside I have to say that I am completely addicted to their new Sobe lifewater 0 calories drink sweetened w/"PureVia" ie Stevia (a natural sweetener the Whole Foods crowds are familiar with I am sure.

The Sobe Lifewater flavor that totally rocks is the Fuji Apple Pear. I am buying it like it is going out of style, it tastes yummy and fruity, but doesn't have that fake sugar aftertaste or calorie rich high fructose corn syrup. I was really glad to find a BOGO coupon on their website!

And what is the perfect meal to accompany the Sobe Lifewater 0 cal? A McDonalds Southwestern Salad. Oh it is so good. The grilled chicken is covered with this yummy cilantro lime glaze. Only 320 calories and 9 grams of fat w/o dressing. however it is worth it to me to pour on some of the Paul Newman Southwestern Salad dressing.

I couldn't find a pic of it online. I guess next time I get one I'll have to take a pic. Here is a description:

Tangy, warm, cilatro-lime glazed chicken (grilled or cripsy), poblano peppers, roasted tomatoes, crispy chili-lime tortilla strips, black beans, fire-roasted corn, cheddar-jack cheese, lime 1/4 slice,

I could eat it everyday for lunch!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to Make a Butterfly Cake - video on

How to Make a Butterfly Cake - video on

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This is what I'll be attempting as the cake for Anna's family bday party. I'm going to make a white cake butterfly and a devil food cake butterfly.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

tomorrow day camp starts! wahooooo!!!

Not that I am looking forward to day camp or anything..

I've got their little camp outfits laid out. The water and a snacks are ready to go. I've got my running clothes all ready to hit the paths down south and I've spent the last 90 minutes getting my account reopened and the 4th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series (Dead to the World) is now finally in my ipod. So maybe you are saying:
1. Victoria is not very easy to use?

No audible is very easy to use and filled with directions on how to get your audible books right into your itunes library--it was Windows I was having problems with because Windows doesn't like itunes!

Or maybe you are saying..
2. So let me get this straight, the kids are going to day camp and you are going to spend the time running? Isn't that as much of a torture as kid wrangling?

No it's nice and peaceful on a walking/running/biking path. Definitely much more peaceful to listen to a nice Vampire Mystery than kids fighting.

I have no funny kid anecdotes today because of this conversation after church:

Patrick or Bryce says something funny--I cannot remember which of the two said it or what they said, my brain has all drained out at this point but earlier today I laughed and said: Patrick or Bryce that was funny!
Anna says:
"How come you never say I am funny?" This is of course accompanied by her pouting and crossing her arms very dramatically.

And here is where I made my mistake, I said:
"Anna all my friends think you are very funny. I put the things you say on facebook and my friends laugh and laugh and they say 'hey! we need an Anna story!!! And I then say I also share the funny things you say Patrick. And Bryce you too.

Apparently they all want to be on stage. They are craving the limelight and for hours today they tried very hard to be funny. Which meant that I got to listen to lots and lots of poop jokes. Potty humor at its finest it was not!

Friday, June 12, 2009

this and that

So on the Tastefully Simple front I have officially earned my place for a free all-inclusive trip to Cancun in April 2010, which will be perfect as by the time April rolls around I am at my tired of cold weather wits end. Now once I add 1 more person to my team then I'll also have Tom's spot reserved which is even more perfect as I am at my wits end having Tom point out to me that I get to go on all kinds of travels for free or almost free because of my Tastefully Simple business. So yippee!

On the home front, the children made a mess and this is what Bryce told his brother and sister:
"you should both be ashamed of yourselves, you think it's a garbage can in here."

tell em bryce!

But the really funny thing today is from Patrick. Earlier today he said that he was going to make a spongebob shrine. I didn't take him seriously, but then I came home tonight to this in his room.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

oh light a candle and say some prayers to your favorite diety (tongue in cheek)

Summer Vacation is here! Ack! wish me luck! (and a busy Tastefully Simple party schedule so I can spend some time with adults this summer!)

Yesterday was the last day of school. To celebrate me and the kiddos walked over to Kokos for lunch. This was a big deal for them because A. they think walking is fun. :-) and B. the only time we go to Kokos is when my parents visit--so it's only for special occasions. Lunch went very well, Anna only climbed under the table twice...and Patrick only talked one of the waitresses ears off.

When we arrrived back home we received in the mail not one but two FREEBIES! First we have a coupon, which I was nice enough to give to Patrick, for a free chocolate bar from Mars (dove, milky way, snickers, 3 musketeers, m&m or twix) They are giving away free chocolate coupons every FRIDAY at:

And then just in time for Anna's upcoming birthday BBQ a coupon good for one free package of any Oscar Mayer Franks! I think you can go get your free coupon at:

The kids will enjoy theirs w/ketchup--ugh! But mine will definitely be topped with Tastefully Simple Cherry Honey Mustard Sauce. Yum! I am going to have to order a bunch of it w/my 36% off because, it's only back for June and July!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jogging with Anna

yesterday before I ran, Anna begged to come with, so I took her around the block with me one time and then she was very upset that I was going back out to run. Why couldn't she come with, ah well Anna
1. I run to get some quiet time away from you kids (that was just in my head, I didn't actually tell her that one)
2. I'm going to run 6 miles, your not ready for that.

So she says what do I have to do to go the whole way with you. And I agreed to take her around the block twice today.

Anna is quite disappointed that I will not let her run in her flip flops. She feels they are more than adequate for running. I tell her, no gym shoes no running. Then she looks for a compromise by putting on silver flats given to her by the Mighty Maggie--all clothes and shoes from Maggie are the best! ATA (According to Anna). I say fine.

We head out for our jog, Anna is next to me running along and she says:

Mama, I look so cute jogging with these shoes on, I like to look down at them!

She is such the fashionista!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For the love of Pete

Oh for the love of Pete, Patti blogovich (sp?) is going to do that reality show since her narcassistic criminal husband can't leave the country. Those poor kids of theirs!

Monday, May 11, 2009

From the Kids...

They keep calling the concession stand at Bryce's baseball games:
The confession stand.
Catholic Church take note, I bet if you served hot pretzels with cheese and Icee drinks more people would go to confession...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I am just devastated (tongue in cheek)

So I have been following my money saving guru, Rachel of And so I have been taking advantage of great deals at Jewel. Since Jewel is more pricey than other options in my area such as Aldi, Fairplay, and Tony's, I don't get to do all my shopping there I have to pick and choose.

And now I will definitely be shopping my closest and favorite grocery store far less often. Why you ask? In the past Jewel has had 'catalina' deals based on the shelf not sale price. So for example this is the deal I was trying to get this week.

Purchase $25.00 in select Kraft products and receive $8 off your Easter Ham. So I purchased over $25 shelf priced participating Kraft products that were $18.18 after the preferred card discounts.

When I got to the check out, the $8 wasn't taken off. I said hold on! wheres my $8 off (not in those words but you get it) so the cashier got the manager who told me, the discount was a coupon for your next purchase. I said:
Oh No. I called and they said it wasn't a catalina deal (that is the machine that dispenses coupons for next purchases based on your current purchases). I was told it was spend $25 on the participating products and buy your ham at the same time and get $8.00 off a ham.

the manager suspended the sale and went over to her desk. Then came back a while later. and said my Kraft Purchases added up to $18.18. I said hold the phone, the total of purchased items goes off the shelf price not the sale price. And then she said.

"that was a glitch in the system and there should have never been catalinas given out off the shelf price, it was always supposed to be the sale price and now that is fixed."

Grrrrr. So now I would like to know if this is true for all locations or what. In any case I will be much less likely to go out of my way to get the best deal I can at Jewel. It's easier to skip all that and go elsewhere--

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day!!!

Unlike many people in the Chicagoland area, I do not like Corned Beef and Cabbage. Tom does and he made his own last night. I do however, greatly enjoy I am going to make this actually authentic Irish dish. I am going to really scale back on the butter the recipe calls for because 2 sticks is quite a lot!!! I'm using turkey bacon as well as that will cut out 45 minutes of cooking time for the ham. and for

From The Food Network:
Recipe courtesy Christabel Rossiter

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
hr min
Cook Time:
1 hr 45 min


6 servings

3 pounds potatoes, scrubbed (I'm using red)
2 sticks butter (Im using lots less)
1 1/4 cups hot milk (I'm going w/skimmed milk)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1 (1-pound) piece ham or bacon, cooked the day before (I'm using Turkey Bacon)
4 scallions, finely chopped
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish (I'm using Tastefully Simple spinach & herb for the garnish, just a little sprinkling of the green!)
Steam the potatoes in their skins for 30
minutes. Peel them using a knife and fork. Chop with a knife before mashing.. Mash thoroughly to remove all the
lumps. Add 1 stick of butter in pieces. Gradually add hot milk, stirring all the time. Season with a few
grinds of black pepper.

Boil the cabbage in unsalted water until it turns a darker color. Add 2 tablespoons butter to tenderize it.
Cover with lid for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly before returning it to the pan. Chop into small pieces.

Put the ham in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes until
tender. Drain. Remove any fat and chop into small pieces.

Add cabbage, scallions, and ham to mashed potatoes, stirring them in gently.
Serve in individual soup plates. Make an indentation on the top by swirling a wooden spoon. Put 1 tablespoon
of butter into each indentation. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday the 13th

At church they had Operation Rice Bowl calendars they were giving out ORB is a project run by Catholic Relief Services where people donate money and it is used to provide food and support food services in areas where people are hungry.

What I like about this calendar is that it focuses on a different country each week and there is a recipe representing the country you can make each week and it's either meatless or made w/fish as people in poorer countries don't eat meat very often.

The website is

Last week the focus was on the Philippines and the recipe was Hinurnong Isda. I was all set to make it,as directed I just needed to get ginger and scallions, but then the day got a bit away from me and before I had time to go to the store I had to go volunteer at the Spaghetti dinner. So I made it when I got home because:
1. tom was going to get fast food since he was unable to find anything to eat in our house. You'd think the pantry and fridge and freezer were empty--so I wanted to stop him from going to get Arbys at 8pm.
2. the tilapia was already defrosted. So I made the recipe but had to makes some changes so it wasn't really what it was supposed to be. And I served it w/mashed potatoes.

Hinurnong Isda

1 lb white fish--I used tilapia (sp?)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 scallions, chopped--didn't have any so I skipped
2 cloves garlic, minced I used 2 tsp of garlic garlic
1 tsp ginger--I didnt have any so I skipped this
1 tsp pepper--I used the new Tastefully Simple Green Tea and Peppercorn seasoning
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Add lemon juice to fish, sprinkle with salt and let stand about 20 min. Combine tomato, yellow onion, scallions, garlic, ginger and pepper in pan and saute for 5 min. Set aside. Brush fish with melted butter, place in a baking pan and bake for 10 min. Add sauteed vegetables and bake for 5 more minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve w/hot rice.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recipe from Food network magazine

I saved up my coke reward points and got a free subscription to the new Food Network Magazine--my first copy arrived on Friday and yesterday I noticed that I had all the ingredients on hand to make one of the recipes, so I gave it a go and it was very good. I lightened up the recipe as much as possible as the original recipe was def. not very healthy eating friendly. If you want to see the recipe from the website visit:

But here is what I did

Croque Monsieur Mac and Cheese
1/2 pound whole wheat rotini
2 cups skim milk
1 cup coarsely grated gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup egg substitute
3 slices 40 calorie Healthy Life w/flaxseed bread
1 med onoin diced
1 tsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic
3 tbsp all-purpose flouer
Pinch of Tastefully Simple Fiesta Party Mix
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher Salt
Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt
6 oz diced Canadian Bacon

1. Preheat the oven to 425. Boil water and make the rotini cooking until it is al dente about 8 min. Drain pasta and put in a bowl then pour 1/4 cup of milk over it.

2. While the pasta is cooking combine both cheese in a bowl. In another bowl beat 3/4 cup of milk and the eggs, then fold in the bread and 1/2 of the cheese mix.

3. Spray cooking spray in a saucepan, heat on high and add the onion and cook until just brown. Sprinkling in the flour, Fiesta Party Dip, nutmeg, 1 tsp Koser Salt and cook, stirring for about 2 minutes. Slowly add 3/4 cup water and the remaining 1 cup of milk, and the Garlic Garlic then bring to a boil , stirring until thickened (which to me took a while and I wasn't sure how thickened it should be ?) When it seems thickened remove it from the heat and whisk it a bit to cool slightly then whisk in the remaining cheese, add all the pasta and toss.

4. Spray Pam in a shallow casserole dish. Add 1/2 of the pasta, top w/1/2 of the ham, and cover w/the other 1/2 of the pasta then top w/the other 1/2 of the ham, then cover with the bread mixture. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 min. Let rest for 5 min b/4 serving. I wanted a little more flavor so before serving I sprinkled a bit of Tastefully Simple Seasoned Salt on my portion

You can also skip the ham for a meatless dish.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Aw Cmon!

I decided for dinner today to make enchiladas. Cheese enchiladas. Here was my plan.
whole wheat tortillas
a can of enchilada sauce
The New TS Spicy Bean Dip
fat free refried beans
Trader joe's roasted corn
and some sauteed onions.
And 2 oz of low fat cream cheese mixed with the new TS chili chipotle or is it Chipotle Chili mix

You just make the Spicy Bean Dip as directed (ie add water) put that aside. Saute the onions in a pan, and then you mix the spicy bean dip, sauteed onions, TJ's roasted corn and the refried beans together. Take that mixture put it in the tortillas, put a couple spoonfuls of the Chipotle Chili Mix on top and a couple of tablespoons of the enchilada sauce, then roll up the enchiladas and pour enchilada sauce over the everything in the pan and then I was going to put a little grated cheddar cheese on top and bake the enchiladas in the oven for like 20-30 min.

I went to Jewel this AM specifically to get the 2 ingredients for this that I didn't have on hand, specifically the whole wheat tortillas and the enchilada sauce. It took me forever to find the whole wheat low carb tortillas because Jewel is being remodeled and they moved the tortillas away from the bread aisle and also they aren't in the new latino section, they were over by the frozen foods.

So I found the tortillas and the enchilada sauce and got milk and a bunch of barilla pasta because all barilla pasta is on sale for 79 cents. Paid for everything, got home, put my groceries away and there was no enchilada sauce. Sauce was in my cart, I paid for it, but some where between the checkout and my kitchen counter, it disappeared.

Therefore, since it was cold and crummy out, I said the heck with the enchiladas today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking for Salad Recipes

I suppose the reason I can't easily find recipes for salads, entree salads w/lots of greens is that I guess you don't really need a recipe to figure out how to put together a tossed salad w/some other stuff on top.

So this is what I am going to try today for an entree salad, of course with the pouring rain outside--which I hope doesn't wind up in our basement--I should really be making a big pot of Creamy Wild Rice Soup(Tastefully Simple)

I am taking skirt steak adding a little bit of the new Everything Grilling Seasoning (TS) and cook that a bit and slice it thin. Then put that aside and take a ton of mixed greens lettuces (with lots of arugula) put that on a plate, add some diced red onions, grape tomatoes sliced in 1/2 and then put some of the steak on top along with a small amount of the Sea Salt & Pepper Texas Toast Croutons I found on sale at Jewel today and for dressing I am trying the Baby Blue Cheese Dip Mix (TS) mixed w/low fat sour cream (Cabots of Vermont) and low fat mayo then thinned with Milk to make salad dressing, and that's dinner!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

goofed it up already!

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of lent and I was very gung ho this morning about observing lent today. What you are supposed to do on Ash Wednesday is
1. don't eat meat (seafood is ok)
2. eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between.

So this morning after I looked up how exactly the fasting thing on Ash Wed. works, I though hmm what could I have to eat that would be a smaller meal??? So I had Lipton Cup-A-Soup--chicken noodle and thought I am all good.

Then at lunchtime I went into the pantry and when I saw the Cup-a-soup box I realized.

Chicken Noodle Soup. Chicken. I have blown the whole Lent thing already.


Anywho, so I decided well, let's forge ahead. Sooooooo I made a fantastic Grill Cheese Sandwich for lunch.

I took 2 reg pieces of wheat bread
4 slices of a med. tomato
and a pile of grated gruyere and emmental cheese
and grilled in it the iron skillet.

For dinner I am broiling Dover Sole Fillets from Trader Joe's that I am seasoning w/our new Green Tea & Peppercorn seasoning. For the sides: steamed cauliflower and broccoli and boiled red potatoes seasoned w/a little butter and our Spinach & Herb Mix.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Benefits of working for myself

Well cleaning up after first Patrick and then Anna seems to have landed me a trip down Virus Lane.

Just like you, I do not like being sick. So today I am trying really hard to look at the brightside of being sick.

Number 1. I'll lose weight. That's always a bonus!
Number 2. It's an excuse to not put laundry away.
Number 3. I don't have to call off work because I work at home and I have no boss.
Number 4. I sell food, so I don't have to worry about any work crisis occuring while I am taking a nap--there isn't ever really a 'Beer Bread Emergency'
Number 5. It's cold outside, better to be sick today than in June.

Well that is all I've got. I think now I'll take a nap and later hmm..oh yea, Im always forgetting about the Chai Tea. since I sell Oh My! Chai and chai tea has ginger in it, and ginger is good for calming stomach icky-ness ...I probably should have skipped the coffee this AM and had Chai. I'll have a cup of that after the boys get home and want me to help them w/their homework.

Oh I have a Number 6.
Number 6. The kids were only sick for a couple days, so hopefully I'll be better ASAP and
Number 7. I don't have to leave the house to do a party until Sat.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope you had a fun day.

Over here we had plans for 'family fun day' where our big event was going to be eating a late lunch at the new Red Robin that is in Orland Park. You see the kids have seen ads for Red Robin restaurants on cable for the past 2 years, but there hasn't been one anywhere near us..until a few months ago. So the kids have been looking forward to family fun day for a while now.

Alas, it was not be. Last night Patrick woke up around midnight an threw up all over himself, his bed, the floor in his room, the floor in the kitchen, and in the bathroom..then he crawled in bed with us and fell asleep. Which Tom competely slept thru and I got to throw in a couple loads of laundry,clean up and mop up.

Poor Patrick has spent all day laying around on the couch feverish and barely even drinking some 7up. He is so sick I don't think he realizes that he is sick on a 3 day weekend! Oh that is just the worst for a kid! He's been working hard and studying for the big ISAT tests and now he has a 3 day weekend break and he is sick as can be!


My hope right now is that the sickness will pass quickly and that it will stop w/Patrick...leaving Bryce and Anna and ESP. Tom illness free--cause we all know who the big baby when he is sick is...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The biggest Loser

I like to watch TV on tuesday--the Biggest Loser is on (and then the Real Housewives of the OC)

Each week I laugh at the product endorsement. Why don't they just say, we love our sponsor and so and so instead of making it like a little lesson for the contestants.

I usually laugh so hard at this portion of the show that I almost spit out my delicious Oh! My Chai tea, a blend of cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla, and ginger that retails for $9.99. (wink, wink)

And then when they show the last chance work out, I say to myself. This part is all the motivation I need, I sure don't want to end up on the ranch puking out my guts and carrying Jillian on my back while she is screaming at me.

As much as I don't care for Jillian, I have added her Wii game to my amazon wish list. Nod. call me crazy because I already find the little Wii Fit guy very annoying. And now much to my chagrin I can't find an image of the wii fit balance board cartoon guy to post. :-(
I didn't feel much like cooking so I just baked some chicken breast sprinkled with Seasoned Salt and made green beans and french fries. Tomorrow I am going to be more motivated and will make a nice big pot of stew. My secret stew ingredient is the Merlot Sauce, I use about 1/4 cup of that and it really enhances the richness of the stew w/o adding fat.

Only a few more days until I am going to our Tastefully Simple on Tour for the training, and most importantly the unveiling of the Spring/Summer line. I can't wait, when the Spring/Summer line starts then I can start believing that it really will be springtime again!

Merlot Stew by Me.

Merlot Beef Stew

1.25 lbs. cubed stew meat
1/4 cup flour
a cup or 2 of sliced carrots
5 big potatoes chopped up-I leave the skins on
1.5 cups sliced onions
1 chopped medium onion

3 stalks of celery sliced

1/4 cup-1/3 cup Merlot Sauce
1Tbsp. Garlic Garlic™
4 cups beefbroth
(more if needed.)

Seasoned salt to taste.
Coat beef with flour. sauté beef in a big sauce pan that you've sprayed w/cooking spray until browned. Then take out the beef and saute the onions & celery and then the mushrooms for a few minutes Then put all the ingredients (less the seasoned salt) in a large stock pot and cook it on medium heat until the ingredients are nice and tender and the flavors have blended and the sauce has thickened to the stew consistency of your liking. Serve w/Boutiful Beer Bread if you'd like.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I was looking thru our Comforting Classics cookbook and saw a recipe for Bayou Bourbon Pork Chops which looked really good, you just take pork chops and put the Bayou Bourbon on it and then you cover the pork chops w/crushed pecans and you bake them and ta-da you have encrusted pork chops. I don't know about you, but that sounded yummy to me and I was ready to make that, garlic mashed and green beans for dinner.

The thing was..we had no pork chops and only Planters (less than 50% peanuts!) mixed nuts. So there was that. But then I remembered, we had a pork roast in the freezer. I defrosted that in the microwave and then stuck it in the fridge to make Bayou Bourbon pork roast. Then I forgot about the pork roast and found $20 to splurge on pizza.

Right when we were ordering the pizza I remembered the pork in the refrigerator, and I thought, barnacles! I better cook that roast.

So here is what I did:
1. take a defrosted pork roast
2. pour a 1/3 of a cup of Bayou Bourbon Glaze all over it.
3. pour out the canister of mixed nuts.
4. pick out all the pecans (of which there aren't many at all) then take some cashews. Smash the pecans and cashews on a paper plate w/the bottom of a cup until they are all ground up.
5. encruste the roast by rolling it in the nut mixture.
6. put the cooking probe in it and bake at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 and cook that until the probe says 160 then take it out, let it sit--
and by then Top Chef was on and it was after 9, so Tom put it in a tupperware container and it went into the fridge.

Today I had a slice of it, yummy! I think the cashews worked really well.

And then Today I made Cranberry Orange bread to celebrate Blago being removed from office!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ode to Chocolate.

I really should have followed through on that childhood dream to be a reporter. Not that the print media is doing well, but the AP seems to be plugging along and it appears that you only need to do 2 things to create an AP story.

1. Fear Monger
2. State the Obvious!
ie; Consumer Confidence is down in January. Really? What a Surprise.

And they have a story I could have written, it says candy sales (esp. chocolate) are not down. Well hello, when do you need chocolate more than when there is a recession and you've just heard your husband, wife, mother, brother, sister, cousin, etc, etc are laid off.

I mean I think well all know the basics of what humans need to survive:
chocolate, food, chocolate, shelter, chocolate, and clothing. Chocolate is like The building block of the food pyramid.

Right now I feel a little bad for Reese's because I am avoiding it and that really must be impacting there bottom line. My favorite type of Reese's peanut butter cups are the minis. I eat the bottom then I eat the top. Just like me, each of the children also LOVE the Reese's. However currently I am avoiding Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in all it forms as
A. I cannot see Reese's w/o eating them, I cannot eat just one, must have 3 when I eat them.
B. I can't figure out if any peanut butter products are safe from the Salmonella recall so I am steering clear of all peanut butter containing products.

At Christmas time, Patrick asked Santa for Andes Mints. Turns out Andes Mints are his favorite candies. This struck me as funny as I for some reason consider Andes Mints 'old people chocolate'.

Since I am losing weight for the big cruise in April, I have switched over to daily doses of Hershey's Kisses. They are small, there are many varieties and they fit nicely into the big cup I have hidden in the cupboard. Another bonus is that only one of the three kiddos (Anna) like the caramel filled kisses which are my favs. So I don't have to share. It's hard to share chocolate!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back from Leadership Oasis.

What a great view to see from our hotel. I don't think I've ever been any closer to mountains before, they were RIGHT THERE.

I can't tell you have wonderful it was to be in the sunshine for 4 wonderful wonderful days. Warm sun I should say.

The most amazing thing during the trip was the beauty of Sabino Canyon. Fabulous. We hiked to the bottom of it and that is where my new profile pic was taken. I love the desert so much, I wonder if the Leadership 2010 trip to Orlando will be a letdown? Nahhh!

We talked to the kids and we are looking at having Tom and the kids come down on the Sunday of leadership and then we'll have a family vacation at the Nick Hotel. Yes I know Orlando is the land of Disney. but anyone who has met Patrick knows we are a Spongebob House. This means we have 1 year to save up!

To that end I am working hard on starting off my 2009 will a steady party schedule. I saw a sign on a Banquet Hall that might be my matra for 2009.

2009 is Party Time! LOL

At leadership they told us about a new initiative and a new product and that is privileged info I cannot divulge until late Feb. A whole month I have to sit on this! AHHHH! One thing I can say is that the new product does not contain peanut butter.

While I was gone, Tom really cleaned the house. And by that I mean really cleaned. He even cleaned the stove top, told the grates off and everything! Can you believe it? I got home and it's like Christmas! I think he might have taking out his stress by cleaning, because while I was gone a pipe burst over at our old house and cause a bunch of havoc for tom and his brother/girlfriend & kids who live there. Fortunately, thanks to the Country Company and our agent Erica, a check is already on it's way for the repair operation.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bus stop observations

Today I spent too much time waiting on school buses in the cold. We rec'd more snow today, and the roads esp. this AM were not so good.

This morning Bryce's bus, which is always on time, was 18 minutes late. 18 minutes goes by quite slowly when it's cold and your poor son is whining about being cold. By whining I don't mean the whining I am listening to at this minute because he wants me to read something to him from the game he is playing on Cartoon Network, I mean more like almost crying.

We were standing on the corner, waiting on the bus when I noticed that I could actually see snowflakes on bryce's hat. I can't remember the last time I really saw snowflakes. They are so intricate, it's is a wonder to see. And it was a very handy distraction for Bryce. We spent the rest of the waiting for the bus time looking at snowflakes and disagreeing on whether or not all snowflakes are different. I told Bryce yes they might look the same to you, but snowflakes are different and if we had a microscope (a really cold microscope) we could look at them and see differences. He didn't believe me.

Later at Anna's bus stop the bus was about 10 minutes late and she managed to get her pants all covered with snow, which is what happens everyday when we go to the bus stop. The she heard the squealing of someone's brakes as they passed us, and asked me what that noise was, and I told her. She wouldn't believe me. She thought it was an animal. And then she got on her bus.

This happens everyday. What happens you ask? Everyday is filled with children telling me I am wrong about things I tell them. And yes I see the irony, I remember that I would disagree with what my mom had to say all the time when I was a kid. I get it, now it's my turn. However, I am not taking all the credit for this one. I must point out that my lovely husband is the worst offender of the don't believe what Victoria says!

How nice it is going to be for four days in warm desert climate surrounded by people who won't disagree and disbelieve what I say. Maybe just maybe when I get back, they'll have missed me enough to give me a respite from their contrarian ways!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good 15 minutes below zero bathing suits and golden globes.

Yesterday I had some good times:
1. 15 good minutes occured when the children were quiet for the first 15 minutes in church. Very exciting, I got all hopeful that they'd be quiet and well behaved the whole time!
2. the house was clean for 15 minutes.
3. enjoyed 120 minutes w/Diana at the Olive Garden. Some people frown on The Olive Garden, they say it's the Denny's of Italian restaurants. I say so what, I like Dennys too. What's not to love over Moon over My Hammy?
4. enjoyed about a total of 15 minutes of the golden globes. the rest of the time that we watched it Patrick was talking talking talking.

It turns out on Thursday when I leave for Tucson, that it will be some degrees below zero here. Do planes fly if it's below zero? God I hope so!

And it turns out the forcast for the whole time in Tucson is going to be significantly higher than below zero. So much higher, I am rethinking my wardrobe. Now if it would be significantly higher than below zero when I return on Sunday, that would be the bee's knees.

Speaking of knees. How do people confidently wear bathing suits. I don't mean A list celebrities, I mean average women, esp average women who've given birth. I need a turn of the century suit. More importantly, hotels that have pools should either get really big body covering towels for guests to wear on the long awkward walk back to the room after going to the pool, or they should close their pools.

We watched the Golden Globes last night, and I will never have a "what not to wear "job because I thought overall everyone looked very good. I mean they are all quite attractive. Hairwise I thought Drew Barrymore's hair looked overwrought, and I thought Renee Zellwinger must have thin hair. Tom wanted to know why many of the men were sporting a cross btwn bed head and spiky hair. I have no answers for that. I do know that I want to see Slumdog Millionaire, the Wrestler, and In Bruges.

Also, I have an awards pet peeve, I don't like when they act completely stunned that they have won. IE Kate Winslet. It's always at least a 1 in 5 shot that you'll win if nominated, so why not acknowledge that you have a good chance of winning.

Tom thought David Duchovny looked too thin. I thought he mentioned that he got a call from his wife on camera, just so he could let everyone know he is still married.

Lastly my husband and I have totally different taste in women.

Angelina is on Camera.

I say: "Sigh she is so beautiful"
Tom says: "she's alright."
Me: "she's alright? what? are you crazy? who do you like?"
he says : "I think you're beautiful."
I make a humph sound and say: "C'mon!"
Tom says: "oh I don't know..."

Salma Hayek is on Camera.

I say: "what about her?"
Tom: "she's alright."
I say: "cmon! she's stacked! That dress is fabulous!"

The camera pans to Penelope Cruz.

I say: What about her?
tom says: yes she is very attractive.

Well Amen! About time!

Yesterday I went to Jewel and Tom said, get some pork that is usually cheap. I bought a whole tenderloin and today I thought, hmm what can I do w/that in the crockpot.

So I took the pork added about 1/3 of a bottle of Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss +dijon mustard + honey and put it on low to cook all day...I hope it turns out well! Wish me luck!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beef Pepper Steak


I am making this for dinner using left over Beef Tip Sirloin Roast from last night of which I am sure I don't have 12 oz . So it'll have less beef and less tomatoes as I have a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes vrs a 28oz can. I'm also going to sprinkle a little TS Southwest Seasoning Salt on my serving because I love a little lime and cumin and jalapeno w/pepper steak, and not surprisingly, Tom fan of bland cooking doesn't. We are having this over 1/2 white 1/2 brown rice. Oh and I'll used just a bit of garlic garlic vrs. garlic powder (of course)


12 oz beef round steak, cubed
garlic powder to taste (1 teaspoon or more)
1 large (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup green pepper strips (or more as you desire)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons corn starch



Number of Servings: 10

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hair Cut.

The day before picture day, Bryce hacked up his hair. Why? He wanted to look good for picture day. I managed to gel what was left and cut some stray hair and we were both OK with the look he sported for the pic.

Then tonight, out of the blue, I go into the bathroom and there is Bryce with a little pair of scissors that I don't even know where he found them, and he has cut parts of the front of his hair so short my first thought is:

Jesus he looks like he is sick and losing his hair. Really it was so bad I'd be afraid that people might think he was undergoing cancer.-he is on the small side for a first grader, and he is very thin, that coupled with missing clumps of hair, it's just no good.

I beg him to back away from the scissors and plead with him never to cut his own hair again. Then he hids under the covers as Patrick laughs at him. We ask him why did he cut his hair, again? He refuses to speak.

Patrick apologizes and get sent to bed. Tom talks Bryce out from under the covers and gets the clippers out. Tom's idea was to just even out the front few inches of Bryce's hair.

Now Bryce doesn't look sick, thank goodness. But he bares an errie resemblance to his dad--because he looks like he is 1/2 bald!

Ack. Really. Bryce hides back under the covers, I ask Tom what number he had the clipper set on. He says 3. I say: you have to go back and even it out. Tom says: You mean cut all of it shorter. I say:
Yes, no way can he go to school like that. Tom says: Is it that bad? Can he wear a hat at school?
(Bryce starts crying under the covers). I say: No. You have to cut his hair.

Tom gets Bryce to come out from under the covers again, and back into the bathroom they go.
This time it looks better, still bad, but not awful.

Bryce crawls into bed and falls asleep in 60 seconds.