First of all

Thursday, January 29, 2009

improvising

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!

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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

From sparkrecipes.com

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)

Ingredients

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



Directions

BROWN 12 OZ ROUND STEAK CUT INTO BITE SIZE CUBES IN SKILLET SPRAYED WITH PAM. SPRINKLE ON GARLIC POWDER TO TASTE. TAKE OUT MEAT. SAUTE ONION AND GREEN PEPPER (SPRAY PAN AGAIN IF NEEDED). COOK UNTIL ALMOST TENDER. PUT MEAT BACK IN AGAIN, AND ADD CAN OF WHOLE TOMATOES AND 2 BEEF BOUILLON CUBES. SIMMER ON MED-LOW FOR 10 MINUTES. MAKE A MIXTURE OF 1 TEASPOON SALT, 1 TEASPOON SUGAR, 3 TABLESPOONS SOY SAUCE, 1/4 CUP WATER, 2 TEASPOONS CORNSTARCH. ADD MIXTURE AND SIMMER 15 MINUTES LONGER. SERVE OVER RICE OR NOODLES (ADDING APPROPRIATE CALORIES). MAKES 10 HALF CUP SERVINGS.

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.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Meatloaf

On Feb 2nd the Tastefully Simple team that I am a part of is making dinner for a local PADS http://www.sspads.org/ shelter this one is done by a church in Palos where they feed and house women and children living out of their cars on Monday nights.

After the boys go to school that morning, I am having Anna skip school to join me in going over to my TS sponsor Desiree's house and cook. Anna of course loves to cook, and I am hoping even at 4 she might 'get' a bit of what we are doing and why.


Dinner will be meatloaf, mixed veggies, mashed potatoes and dessert. Being that we are making meatloaf, along with Anna, I am bringing my favorite kitchen gaget. My cooking probe.



Interestingly, just two hours before I went to the meeting on Monday where Desiree shared with us about doing this community service, I had made weight watchers meatloaf. Meatloaf that was good enough to please not only Anna, or Tom, but good enough that Patrick said and I quote :-):

"This isn't as bad as I thought."

Then I said "Would you like some more?"

"Nope."

Truly it was like a 3 fork rating from Phil Vettel.



Then w/in hours Meatloaf Kismet occured and I am hoping maybe we could make one or both of the big meatloaf using the recipe below:



This is the not doubled or tripled recipe.

1 1/2 lbs ground lean turkey or ground chicken (i used ground chicken because that was what was on sale last week, and I only buy what is on sail. (I'm like a localvoire, but I'm a salevoire.)

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 egg white

3/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs

1 tblsp yellow mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper



Combine the turkey, onion, bell pepper, egg white, 1/4 cup of ketchup, the bread crumbs, mustard, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; mix well. Form the mixture into a loaf and put it into a loaf pan.



Spread the top of the meatloaf w/the remaining 1/2 cup of ketchup. Cover and cook until the meatloaf reaches an internal tep of 165.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

shop talk



I was running late for a dentist appt this morning, so I called to make sure they could still see me and the girl who answered the phone said yes, so I arrived 10 minutes late for my appointment, sat down in the waiting room and got out my pen and paper to write my To-Do list for today.

A kindly old lady, and she was that clique as you will see, was finishing up her appointment by giving the receptionist a saran-wrapped and ribbon-topped plate of yummy looking cookies. Once she left, the receptionist said:

"Victoria, I tried to call your house, the blahblah was supposed to be delivered today, but it isn't here yet, can we reschedule you."

*note: she didn't say blahblah, I think she said cement?

I rescheduled for Thurs.
When I got back in the minivan, I thought, ooo good now I have extra time, what can I do?
Wash the Van?
Rush home and do laundry?
Make Client Care Calls?
Or return an item to Carson's and buy stuff w/the store credit.
Guess what I picked???

I decided to torture myself so after I got my $55 credit, I went straight away to the shoe department to see if they have the Ruff Hewn boots I have been lusting after and searching for daily. (not really daily, I just didn't want to end w/a preposition). And they did, what a joyous occasion right? I asked for the boots, the sales clerk found them right away, used my credit of $55 plus $6 difference and off I went, just as I was leaving the shoe section, I wisely looked in the box planning to lovingly adore my new boots.

You know what happens next, they were the wrong boots. I went back to the counter, talked to the clerk found out--the ones I want are sold out. I said: "Sure they are, they are too cute not to be completely gone."

Forlornly or is it Forelornly? I walked out of shoe department and went looking for sunglasses, which I couldn't find and wandered into the 'Social Dresses' department. Of course, I was drawn right away to the signs that said: CLEARANCE UP TO 70% OFF.

Did I mention that I am going to Tucson AZ next week and on a cruise in April? At our Leadership Conference there is an awards dinner, and it's basically like Tastefully Simple Prom (minus the hassle of a date!) and apparently all cruises have some sort of fancy dress up night. Being that I was not going to be spending any money, I started rummaging thru the clearance racks.

It's a good thing I've logged many hours going through the racks at TJ Maxx and Marshalls because they had Petite, Missy, Women's and dowdy Mother-of-the-Bride dresses mishmashed together. I was really pressed for time, no way could I miss getting Anna off the bus. So I ran through the dresses ASAP and found 2 that I really liked. First is this blue dress that is pleated. It is sapphire blue, the color I aways wanted my prom dress to be, if I had gone to prom. The original cost was $100, it was marked down to $59.99. The second dress is more of a classic dress black and sparkly, it shouldn't go in and out of style. Original cost of the dress was $118, it was marked down to $69.99. I took the dresses over to a mirror and held them up to see how they went w/me and I really could not decide which one to get.

The posted clearance signs said something about additional discounts on the clearance price but since there was a bunch of small print--and since I didn't happen to have a calculator with me, I took both dresses up to the counter. When I go shopping from the grocery store to Wal-mart to Carsons, I usually have a few items that I will buy only if the clerk check the price and tells me a number that is in the range of what I am willing to pay.
'Sara' price checked the blue dress, which turns out is a 'YELLOW DOT' items (whatever that means!) and it's only $24 bucks! I'll take it! Then Sara who is 20-year old super tiny clerk warns me that the black dress may not be a YELLOW DOT item...she scans the ticket and...

Wahoo! It's only $25.95~~ so I got both!









Monday, January 5, 2009

50 million things to do

I have 50 million things I want to do. Some more than others. And now I will post my list of what I need to do, feel free to read this if you need reading material to fall asleep because fascinating it is not!
1. make appt to get taxes done.
2. do paperwork that has to be done so I can get taxes done.
3. count days until Cruise.
4. apply for a passport so I can go on my free Cruise.
5. figure out when my flights are for Tucson.
6. figure out when my flights are for Miami for the Cruise.
7. figure out if someone can watch the kids so Tom can work while I am on the Cruise.
8. get painting done in the house.
9. update my ipass cc number
10. send out coaching call forms to people on my team.
11. stop and take a breathe.
12. stop making this list, it's stressing me out!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!


Wow, it's hard to believe 2009 is here. Do you know what 2009 is? April 2nd tom and i will have been married 10 years.

Holy Moly 10 years! And then right after that, Patrick will have 1st communion and then I get to celebrate our 10 year anniversary by going on a Carnival Cruise with all my favorite Tastebuds (tastebuds: my tastefully simple friends).

Then as I have already been told a dozen times just this evening, Patrick is going to be 9 this year. And you know what that means? He will be 9 on May 9th! Yes he is planning a big bash for his golden birthday.

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Would you like to know about my new 2 favorite things?
1. the scramble game on Facebook. Oy. highly addictive and totally a blow to the ego to see that my vocabulary isn't nearly as large as I thought it was! On the plus side, I am better at doing the JUMBLE game in the paper now...
2. Pride and Prejudice (v. 2005) Sigh. It's the original Chick lit made into a fabulously romantic movie.