First of all

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.