First of all

Monday, January 17, 2011

Third Monday in January.

Turns out the 3rd Monday in January is also know as the most depressing day of the year.  Shocked? 

Ya me neither.

I had the day off work, so I spent the day cooking and cleaning.  In retrospect, I should have skipped the cleaning and watched Love Actually.  Since watching the Golden Globes last night and seeing Colin Firth win for The King's Speech, Im in the mood for a Colin Firth movie marathon and why not kick it off with Love Actually.  Not only does it feature Colin Firth but also Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant AND Professor Snape. Yes I know, it's very strange that I harbor a crush on Professor Snape.  But there it is.

And then were do we go from Love Actually ?  Pride & Prejudice.  Of course. Probably best to watch that a couple times---and then watch the 2005 version with *sigh* Matthew MacFayden.  Now that would have been a proper way to spend my day off.

On the food side:
For dinner I had salad topped with shredded chicken cooked in the slow cooker yesterday.  I took the chicken breasts and poured Corn & Black Bean Salsa over it and cook it on low all day & then shred the chicken.  Then it is good in enchiladas, tacos or on salad.  So Chicken Slow Cooked with Corn & Black Bean Salsa (from Tastefully Simple, natch.) on top of salad and then I topped it with light ranch dressing mixed with our Pomegrante Chipotle Sauce. You can't beat the smokey chipotle mixed with cook ranch.

Now in the Slow Cooker is a Spicy Seafood Stew. It's my first try on seafood stew, so I'll have to try it and then let you know if it is worth giving it a go!

Know anyone who needs Girl Scout Cookies?  Yes Anna is on a  mission to sell 125. I think she is 1/2 way there....
I've got this Spicy Seafood Stew going in the crockpot, let's see how that turns out

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My goal for my day off.

Today I am off work and as such I have one goal.  Not to leave the house.  Well except to walk to the busstop.  Other than that I'm not going anywhere.  Just call me Green, no driving anywhere, no buying anything. Earlier I decided it was a good day for making soup.  Chicken Soup.  I didn't want Chicken Noodle Soup,  just chicken soup with vegetables. So I went over to and I search for recipe.  After about 10 minutes, I decided that I was wasting time searching for 'the one.' LOL

Here is what I did:
1 tsp Garlic Infused Oil

2 turnips peeled & chopped
1 cup baby carrots chopped
2 red potatoes peeled & chopped
1 parship peeled & chopped.
1 shallot chopped
1 leek sliced
3 stalks of celery chopped.

8 cups chicken broth
1 boneless chicken breast

Heat the tsp of oil in the bottom of your pot, then add the leeks & shallot saute for 2 minutes then add all other veggies & saute stirring frequently for about 6 minutes.  Add broth & chicken breast and cook on med low for 1/2 hour.  Take out chicken breast & shred it.  Taste & add salt/pepper/paprika to taste. Serve hot in bowls. 

In a different pot I cooked some brown rice.  For dinner I'll put some brown rice in a bowl and pour the soup on top and have Chicken & Rice Soup.

The whole recipe is low fat, low cal, full of lots of veggies.  And you could put noodles in it if you want.  I didn't feel like it today!

Now it is 4:14pm and the kids are downstairs unwinding after a hard day at school by watching some TV.  This is the start of their 4 day weekend.  Did you realized it's just about 2 weeks into the new year already? 

Next thing you know, it will be Spring.  Yep that is what I keep telling myself!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Slow Cooker and What the kids are reading

Yes the boys and I are reading the Strange Case of Origami Yoda.  They love it.  And Patrick is trying unsucessfully to make his own Origami Yoda.

The end of the Jewel-Osco Cookware for a penny with  reward stickers was right around the bend, so Sunday night I went and spent my whole paycheck at Jewel. Well, not really the whole thing, it wasn't as if I was at Whole Foods, but I stocked up and earned enough stickers for my grill pan. 
Since it was a Sunday and I had time to plan my purchases, I got everything needed to make a slew of Slow Cooker Recipes.  Tonight on the menu is Chicken Cacciatore, which is a big fave of 4 of 5 members of our household and honestly, that's as good as it gets.  I should start putting a star on the calendar anytime everyone likes dinner simultaneously.  I splurged on Butoni whole wheat refrigerated linguini noodles for dinner.  I will report back and let you know how that part of the meal goes---since I am too cheap normally to pay for the refrig. pasta.

I have been thinking for a good 2 years about how I would like to put together a Wine Pairing list to go with Tastefully Simple recipes.  To that end, I really need to host a night at my house to practice and to get feedback on what I come up with for the pairings.  Why am I writing that here?  Now I feel more compelled to actually work on getting that together.

Now if you are looking for a good pairing.  Try a nice Charles Shaw Merlot or Coopershawk Shiraz with this recipe from

Merlot Beef Stew

Submitted by Dodi Kuehl (WI) Modified by me.


2 lbs. cubed boneless top round steak (or chuck roast,it's cheaper)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter    Just use a tsp of olive oil to brown the meat.

4 medium peeled, sliced carrots

8 quartered small red potatoes

12 sliced mushrooms

1 chopped medium onion

I'd use a sliced parsnip as well --that's how I roll

1/2 cup Merlot Sauce

2 Tbsp. Bacon Bacon™ Shrug I's skip this and throw in a TBSP of Onion Onion (TM)

1 Tbsp. Garlic Garlic™

4 cups beefbroth


Coat beef with flour. Melt butter in pan; Put Oil in pan heat up the pan and oil just a little then sauté beef in batches (don’t crowd), add butter as needed. Layer carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onions and beef in slow cooker. Sprinkle Garlic Garlic™ and Bacon Bacon™ over beef. Combine Merlot Sauce with beef broth, pour over slow cooker ingredients. Cover; cook on low for 8 hours. Makes 6-8 servings.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I was starving and really looking forward to my dinner tonight. I tried out a new recipe a slow cooker corn chowder, a healthy recipe. Much to my complete dismay it wasn't very good at all. Such a bummer. Cold crappy weather and bad food. I would like a redo or a big bowl of Creamy Wild Rice Soup OR wait better yet, a big bowl of chocolate ice cream.

And after my most subpar of dinners, Tom has on Frontline's Haiti documentary , I like interesting TV I'm interested in learning more bout the state of the world-- tonight however I'd rather be read a good Urban Fantasy.

Speaking of Urban fantasy, I have figured out how to reduce the unemployment rate. Encourage employers to offer job sharing. I like to share. I'm happy to give 1/2 my job to anyone who'd like it. I'll even throw in access to health insurance-- I have good coverage thru Toms job.

Please leave a comment or write ur congressman if you'd like to share like me!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, so well whatcha gonna do?

How was your NYE?  The kids were really rowdy so there was lots of
"Stop it"
"Move Over"
"Can't we watch Nick?"

I guess making the kids watch the consistently really bad TV know as Channel 7 in Chicago's local NYE show, wasn't the best way to keep their attention... Tom I go got plenty of laughs out of the show.

The big excitement of my NYE was pre-ordering Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning, I have been re-reading her Fever Series in anticipation of 5th and Final book...she seems to have off'd one of my favorite male characters at the end of Faefever--she better have figured out how he isn't dead in the final book.

Tom is off at Walgreens looking for discounted holiday merchandise we don't need.  We are going over to his Aunt's house for a New Year party a bit later.  As aways I'll have to say a few times in the car.

"You better eat while we are there, We are not stopping at McDonalds on the way home."  Don't even ask. 

I don't know why I have to say that whenever we go to a party, there has not been a precedence set that we stop at a fast-food drive thru on the way home from family parties or any parties.  Yet somehow, it keeps coming up.

Each year I ask everyone in the family what their resolutions or goals or dreams for the new year are  and here are some for 2011.

Patrick:  Earn a Homework Pass, Go Bowling, Go on Vacation to the Nick Hotel and Participate in my school's talent show.

Bryce: Take a Lego Class at Moraine Valley in the Summer, Go Camping with Cub Scouts, have a cell phone
*that last one ain't happening!

Anna: Take swimming lessons, be rich, go to the beach and take a gymnastics class.  Spend more time with my family and friends.
*LOL like she has a job and doesn't get to spend time with her family.

Tom: Stop Worrying, Exercise more, Avoid white bread, be more positive.
*Id have liked him to put down yell less over trival matters involving the kids.

Me:  I wasn't feeling resolutions last night so all I came up with is, Be caught up on our bills.  Im sure Bank of Evil --errr I mean Bank of America is all for that goal of mine.