Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ladies Night- With Food PICS!

MAN! That was fun! There were six of us total- worked out perfectly since I had six settings and wine glasses. Everyone brought at least one bottle of wine, and Tiff brought my new fave- Menage A Trios Red! Ok, so hubby Mike bought it (scoutmaster who owed me one!) but it counts! There were two people there I had never met before, one had not met any of us but the sister-in-law she brought. We all got along famously and had loads to talk about. Really, it was wonderful!
The food was fabulous, if I do say so (tho they all said it too!).
I made the fondue- great with a stale crusty French loaf. Didn't get a pic of that.
The Basil-Prosciutto Cheese Log was delish with Kashi Crackers- it was devoured!
The Onion and Brie Pizza was amazing too, I will make that one whenever given the chance. Obviously it was enjoyed thoroughly!
I must say tho the best (lightest and most refreshing too) appetizer was Laurie's Stuffed Shells Ensalata.
You really MUST buy her cookbook! I passed my copy around to all, I know of at least one who will definitely buy one.
One of my guests brought me a birthday present- she and I have not really gotten to know eachother and yet she brought me a cookbook! I am making one of the side dishes tonight, it's a cauliflower and corn scalloped dish with a crunchy topping. It looks fabulous and I haven't even put it in the oven yet! Some good recipes in there, can't wait to try them...

Well Joe was out burning leaves this afternoon and couldn't find his glasses when he was done. They had fallen out of his shirt pocket and I inadvertently tossed them with a jumble of leaves into the fire! He's very upset- more at himself for having them in his shirt than at me. He rushed into town to the Walmart Vision Center (this will be the 6th pair of glasses purchased there in 2 years for this household!) just a bit ago, but his new glasses won't be in until at least Thursday. He has a meeting out of town tomorrow too... Unfortunately he really has only his sunglasses now, bad deal.
Been a bad month. I went to the dentist last week with a pain in my tooth. I've been having this pain for 5 years, but this time the Xray actually showed a crack. They did a temporary fix on it, but I have to go in December 6th for a crown. I offered to cancel my birthday pampering, but Joe said not to. I think now I will tho with the new glasses and all. Something good is going to come eventually, right?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Long time no post, eh?

Yeah, I know it's been ages. Sorry. Been super busy with work and school and scouts... Besides, I can't really write about what I WANT to write about, so it's hard for me to want to write anything at all!

Well here's what's been up the last month or so-

Scouts is keeping me really busy. I was in charge of popcorn sales and we just finished that and got the corn out to deliver. I am still waiting for the prizes to arrive- Sam sold enough to get the bow-and-arrow. Can you tell I'm a bit scared? The boys walked in the Veteran's Day parade Saturday. I know it doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but Emporia is the town where Veteran's Day was started so it does hold some special meaning! We have the Christmas parade in two weeks, seems so soon! I have already told the others I will not be as active after January tho.

I've been working a lot more lately. Joe has been extra busy with the stuff I can't talk about so I am taking up more work to ease that- plus I have to earn the "Promotions" title! Starting the 19th we're joining a promotion with a local gym- Emporia's Biggest Loser. Obvious choice right?! We also started using a new payroll system about 3 weeks ago. It's the same company we had been using, but now we're in the bigtime. Some aspects are super-cool, others are something of a pain. Either way, it's a better fit for our-sized company.

Joe's mom was here this past weekend, so we got to run away for a few hours Saturday. We went to Topeka and goofed around at the mall and Barnes & Noble, then went to Olive Garden. No, we did not behave and NO, I don't feel at all bad about it! Kate and her hubby Dave are coming for Thanksgiving this year- Dave hasn't seen the bedroom yet! I'm making a couple of new items for the dinner table this time, but nothing too weird. I think he's really going to like the mashed root veggies I'm making instead of plain mashed potatoes!

I'm having a Ladies Night this Saturday. I wanted to do something like that for my birthday this year and I'm very excited! Most of those I invited are unable to come, but a few that are will be bringing other friends. This is strictly a 'forget you're married/pregnant/a mom and come have wine and hors d'oeuvres with the gals' night! No responsibility other than bringing a bottle of wine! I am making some semi-fancy nibbles and desserts to have- Cider Cheese Fondue, a Prosciutto and Basil Cheese Ball, Onion Brie Pizza, and fall-type desserts of Apple Cranberry Crisp and Pumpkin Flan. It's my excuse to cook fun things I would not usually make and spend an evening relaxing with friends! I'm SO excited!

Well I thought I'd throw this in here too. Today there wasn't any school, so Sam has been pretty bored. He was telling me this morning he really wanted to make pancakes for breakfast, but I was just too tired. We did it for lunch instead! In order for it to count toward a scout requirement, he had to do everything- mix the batter, cook/flip the cakes, and clean up afterwards. Tell you what- they were pretty darn good pancakes! Here's the pics of Chef Sam and his first fully prepared-on-his-own meal!

I have been making a lot of food from Laurie's cookbook lately. Joe and I now have a couple of new favorite soups! Her Creamy Cabbage Soup and her Cauliflower Soup are both delish! The last time I made the cabbage one I added a small diced potato to the broth and mashed it up once it was really tender to sort of thicken it all. MAN O MAN! LOVE THEM, L!~ You can buy her book here.

Off to clean some. Have to make the house fabulous for Saturday!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekends are the pits... sometimes

Yeah, I know everyone looks forward to the weekend, but sometimes weekdays are better. I like my quiet Monday mornings, reading email, drinking coffee, Charlie in my lap. Creatures of habit, you have another member!
Saturday we went to Topeka to shop and goof off. Ate lunch at Red Lobster and NO, I didn't behave! You can't go there and not eat at least two CheddarBay Biscuits and have the Shrimp Alfredo when they have Endless Shrimp! Good stuff too... After lunch we went to the mall, walked off lunch, and I got some jeans from OldNavy- even after eating I still got 16s! Got Sam a camo coat for winter and bought some shirts for him too. All of their pants are so big around the waist! I have to switch the kiddo to 2% milk or something, he's so scrawny I can't buy him clothes. I know, better scrawny than pudgy...
I was much better Sunday with food, tho we did have dessert. I made mini Kahlua cheesecakes the other night- man were they good! For dinner last night I made something from my friend Laurie's cookbook, the Cauliflower and Ham Soup. I can't tell you how fabulous it was, and so quick and easy too! It smelled just like potato soup, and even tasted similar. Joe loved it as well, and he's not one for the idea of cauliflower-as-potato thing. Here's the recipe, with my minor adaptations for what I had on hand-

Cauliflower and Ham Soup

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
2 carrots, diced
3 chicken cubes (had no veg broth, each makes 2 cups broth)
5 cups water
1 tsp savory (I was out of dill)
1 cup chopped ham
2 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (my addition, we like thicker soups)

Bring the cubes and water to a boil, drop in carrots and cauliflower. Boil for 20 minutes until veggies are tender, stir in savory. Using a potato masher, gently smash cauliflower into bite-sized bits. Stir in ham (add this towards the end so it doesn't get tough). In a bowl whisk milk and arrowroot together, then stir into soup. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat and eat!
I sliced sourdough bread into 3/4 inch thick slices and broiled them, topped with Havarti cheese, and broiled them again. Made killer croutons. This is one soup I will make again and again for sure! Later this week I am making Toscana Soup like they serve at Olive Garden. I will try to photo it! I forgot last night. :(
My friend Linda called me yesterday. The PTO here is doing a dinner before the home football game Friday, and she was told to make a pie. She doesn't MAKE pie, so she called me. I told her I'd make a pecan pie and one for her to cut and freeze so she can eat little slices whenever. Well, when Joe heard me say that he begged me to make HIM one too! I will do the same with his- bake it, slice it, freeze it. Maybe I can get Linda to have me make her stuff like this more often, eh? :)
My fantasy football team is 3-0 so far. I don't know how, since this week was really the one time they've played well. I guess I've just gotten luck so far. My opponents have not played well so that helps. I am at the top of my division and loving it! hahaha! GO Ballbusters!

Friday, September 21, 2007


So much for no grains! Sam's school pairs with a local (fabulous!) pizza place- Gambino's- once a month for School Fundraiser Night. The class that has the most 'attendance' wins a pizza party. Last night was the night, and since we were planning to have leftovers anyway... Sam wanted it, Joe wanted it, so we got it. My plan was to eat two slices, then have a salad. Yeah, well that didn't happen! I adore their pizza (it's not the place with the wheat crust, there would be no guilt from that), so I ate 4 slices of deluxe pizza and three small cinnamon dessert sticks. That was it tho, and I still weighed less this morning than yesterday! Not that this will encourage me to do it again. This was my once-before-Texoma thing. For the next week I will eat maybe one grain a day, lots of salad, and walkwalkwalk! At least lunch yesterday was a salad.
Today will be an experiment with Sam's lunch. He has been wanting to take chicken noodle soup to school, but the insulated container I bought leaked. Well yesterday I got him one ($15!!!) that doesn't leak, so he took soup today. It'll be interesting to see if it's still warm four hours later. It's a Thermos-brand, and says it's guaranteed to keep it hot for 5 hours. We'll see!!!
Going to Topeka tomorrow to shop and goof off. Hope we find some bargains!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hello again!

I know, I said I was going to try keeping up with this blog, but man I seem to get busy and forget! Sorry...
I had been having a very hard time lately with eating any and every thing I am not to eat- chips (geesh, have you TRIED those jalapeno chips??? OMG!), cookies (when I enter a particular Subway there are always Franken-Oatmeal Raisin cookies with tons of raisins), and french fries galore. I decided this Monday to start typing in my meals again, tracking calories, and cutting out grains for a while. When I weighed Monday morning, I was sitting at 198! Yikes!!! As of this morning, my bod is working much smoother and I am back to 192.8. Part of my problem is with the bad foods I have not been feeling quite right, but I am "feeling much better now" (I miss Night Court, don't you?). I am doing better getting my water down- had a gallon yesterday! I didn't walk yesterday (working) and got rained on when I went Tuesday, but I will go today for sure!
We are going to Texoma this year. It's the first weekend in October. Sam is so excited he's going to see Joseph soon! It'll be a bit different than last year- Joe's dad won't be there- but it's still going to be nice to get away and have fun for the weekend. What's great is that Dad and Suzy are at the midpoint of the drive, so we'll head to their house that Thursday night after work. That way we only have another 3 hours drive Friday instead of doing all 6 and missing out on half the day! Plus this year I have a better idea of what to expect so I can plan better. I will make sure we stop at the grocery when we get there instead of making two trips back into town.
Scouts starts September 27th. There isn't school that day, so I have to get a key from the principal the day before. Man, as a kid I would have DIED to have a key to the school! ;)
We did do something a bit silly Saturday- we bought a new TV! I got a raise last week, and Joe has been wanting a flat screen, HD TV. Walmart had a 37" Sanyo for a really great price, so we did it! It fits perfectly into our armoire and looks great. We rented 300 that night- manoman was it fabulous! That will be our Christmas present to each other...
Nothing else is new really. I have been cooking up a storm lately with better foods- Chicken Dijonaise, Swiss Steak, and such. I will try to post my recipes more. This is the Chicken Dijonaise-

Chicken Dijonaise
1 roaster chicken (about 5-6 pounds), rinsed off and put in a large zipper bag
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1/4 cup lemon juice
several cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp Dijon mustard

Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over chicken in bag. Marinate overnight at least!
Drain the chicken and either grill it or roast it. Last time I flattened and grilled it, this time I used my upright roaster and it worked just as well. Roast until the thighs are 170 degrees (about 2 hours at 375), then take it out and tent with foil for 20 minutes. I served it with sauteed asparagus and some carrots, very tasty! This is a very tender and juicy bird- highly recommended!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Long day ahead!

Well Sam got his glasses Monday after school, and MAN is he happy!!! He immediately turned around and said "Mom! I can read that sign allllll the way in the back of the store!". He is a bit paranoid about breaking them- and I'm sure that's our faults. We've been telling him the right way to set them down, not to take them off at school, to take them off when he brushes his teeth/takes off his shirt, etc. He woke up in the middle of the night Tuesday having a bad dream that they had been broken and he was afraid we'd be really mad! It's definitely going to take some time getting less uptight about them.
My MIL stopped by here last night and left a comment- Welcome Kate!! I know there haven't been many recipes lately, I will work on that.
Lots going on lately, most I can't mention here. I have been working a lot more, and with scout stuff have been very busy! There is a meeting I would have liked to attend tonight, but Sam is getting a cavity filled this afternoon and I think I'll stay home with him. We are planning our first meeting on the 27th, and then a big popcorn sale Blitz-thing that weekend. This month is going by soooo fast! We want to go to the family reunion thing at Lake Texoma this year, but aren't sure if we can make it now. It's the first weekend in October- in three weeks!! It seems so far away, yet it will be here before we know it.
Well I am off to the office to finish payroll and a bit more work, then it's to school for Grandparent's Day (standing in of course!). Have a great day!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Is it Friday yet???

Man, it seems like this week has draaagggggedddd on so long! Sam being out of school Monday and Tuesday couldn't have anything to do with that, could it?? ;)
I took the twerp to the eye doctor yesterday because he'd been complaining for a month or so that he couldn't see the board at school. Well, he gets his new glasses sometime next week! WallyWorld was having a 2fer sale, so we got him two pairs for $230. Not much, especially when they are supposed to be virtually indestructible and I bought the extended service agreement. Sam is very excited, freaking us both out a bit. We asked why he was thrilled- was it because he was getting glasses or what- and he said it was because now he'd be able to see better at school! I asked the doc, there really is no way for him to have fibbed his way thru the test, so he really does need them. It's just bizarre how his prescription is worse than MINE and he was pretty much 20/20 last year. Scary, eh? Let's hope it doesn't mean he's going to be changing 'scripts every six months... Next week- CAVITY!

Subway does the halftime fun during football games every year. The last few years we've done a punt, pass, and kick competition for a party sub. This year Joe wanted to do something different, so we've been brainstorming. I am so excited about what we came up with! We bought one of those huge (22 inch) inflatable soccer balls from WallyWorld and I am getting some exercise bands from the Rec Center. We'll have two teams of five players- one goalie each and two pairs, tied-up three-legged-race-style. The first team to score wins! I think it'll be a hoot! It's going to be harder for them, but they should be able to do it. The original plan was to buy snowshoes or swimfins, but those are super expensive. This will be easier for us, and I think just as funny!

Scouts and work are keeping me very busy. The four leaders who can are meeting Sunday to plan out the first couple of months for scouts. We also have popcorn sales to do starting September 29th, so that will keep me VERY busy! We're going to try to make it to Lake Texoma this year again to see Joe's family. That is the first weekend in October. Seems we've driven a million miles this year already...

Oh, here is the fabulous meal I made the other night! We love a good Sausage and Peppers Pasta, so I made a big batch of sauce for us to eat on a couple times this week-

Sausage & Peppers Sauce

1# Italian sausage (I used JimmyDean in the tube), browned and drained if needed
1 large white onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 a zucchini, diced
8 huge shrooms, chopped
2 tbsp chopped garlic
28oz can diced tomatoes
Italian seasoning to taste
Fresh chopped parsley

After the sausage is browned, add in the chopped veggies and cook 10 minutes or until they are softened and liquid is evaporated. Add in the garlic and spices and cook another 3 minutes, then add the can of tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning, and simmer another 15 minutes covered. I top mine with the chopped parsley right before serving.

That's it! I served mine over 'fried' polenta slices, and Joe had his with WW spaghetti. Good stuff maynard! We're having the rest tonight...

Off to do a food order before heading in for work! TGTIF- Thank Goodness TOMORROW Is Friday!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I know, I know...

Yeah, been gone awhile. Things have been a bit crazed around here for a couple of weeks.
My Uncle Dave passed away August 22nd after a very short fight with a particularly vicious form of cancer. He was always a very healthy and fun person, and the cancer was quite a shock. He had been getting treatment in St. Louis for a few weeks when he just became so tired and weak from the treatments. He was a wonderful man, great dad, rabid Cardinals fan,and all-around happy person and will be missed terribly. We love you, Uncle Dave!
Since school started I have been very busy with CubScouting stuff. Being the Assistant Cubmaster and the only one of us three 'helpers' with any real time, I have taken on a lot of responsibility. I became the "Unit Kernel" for our upcoming popcorn sale, organized the Race To Join Scouting Night with my GirlScout counterpart, and spent all day Friday running around Emporia getting boys signed up (in our packet for Race night they only gave us 6 new boy packets- we had 26 show up!). As of Friday, our pack has grown from 9-11 boys last year to around 20 this year along with two new adult volunteers! I still have a few new boys to get signed up, too. With so many boys and so many schedules to accommodate, we will be having meetings on two different nights this year- Wednesday and Thursday. Melissa and newbie Mickey will head up the group on Wednesday while newbie Dan and I will do the Thursday group. We'll have to have a full pack meeting once a month, but that can be arranged. Cubmaster Mike is working in Emporia, Kansas City, and two other states right now so he will work on getting to as many meetings as he can!
I have also been keeping busy with Subway work. Joe had me get business cards last week. I told him he needed to come up with a title for me since I couldn't very well put "Joe's slave-girl" on them! I am now titled the Human Resources and Promotions person. Cheap-o cards, but fun all the same. Plus, now maybe people will call me first instead of hoping Joe gets me the message!!!
Sam is doing better in school. He had two somewhat bad days this week- talking of course- but otherwise has done well so far this year. He's not really putting forth the extra effort on assignments, but that's no surprise when you look at who is parents are! ;) He's very happy scouts are starting back up as well. His friend Blake moved away today, so that will be an adjustment but he's got a new girl in his class that he loves to hang around with. We also discovered his 'cousin' goes to his school. Joe's cousin Carrie and hubby Bruce have two daughters- Kelsey and Olivia. Kelsey is in kindergarten this year and they transferred her to the same school as Sam. They see each other everyday, and everyday when they get out she comes over and hugs me too! It's great for both of them- Kelsey has a 'big brother'-type person to watch our for her and Sam has actual family with him and someone to look out for. It's cute, after school if she hasn't come by yet he will go looking for her to say good-bye!
Well that's it for now. Some fun stuff in the future I hope!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm still here!

Well she loved it! My M-I-L got here Thursday night and we were so excited to show her! She went to open the door to her room and looked up and said "Ah! You put up a new door!" When she walked in, she nearly flipped! Couldn't believe we had done all that work- especially ourselves. She can't wait for us to come and tile HER house now... HAHAHA! Kate agrees it is like a Japanese Zen Garden room with the green and how relaxed she feels in there now. So cool!
Nothing however will top yesterday. We left home around 11:30 to get to KC for the 2pm SPAMALOT performance. It was amazing!!! Honestly I can't remember laughing so hard in my life! Joe and I are SOOOOOO glad we did that. Cost quite a bit, but realllly worth it! We bought t-shirts for ourselves- mine says "I'm not dead yet" and his has the shields of King Arthur's knights. I had so much fun!
Then we had to rush home, change, and get to our fantasy football draft. That was great too- beer, football, BS-ing with the guys we pretty much only see once a year! And of course, since my team was awful last year I got to bring the "Good Grief!" Award home (where it doesn't belong!). Joe made it a few years ago- it's Charlie Brown and Lucy in the classic pulling-the-football-away pose. We have had it two of the three years it's been around! Hopefully next fall one of us will have the winner's helmet instead...
So Kate spent the day alone with Sam yesterday and came to a 'diagnosis' of his problems. She says he has chronic motor tic disorder related to OCD-type stuff and says a good treatment for it is B vitamins and spirulina. Let's hope that helps. She also said a big part of it is oppositionality and defiance towards the child's parents. Well that sounds right-on! We're hoping the vitamins and behavior modification will help. He's even been making the humming noises at school, so it's GOT to stop. She did say they usually 'outgrow' this by age 10 or so. God I hope so.
Off to make fondue...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's DONE!!!!!!!!!

We did it!!! The room is done, all we have to do is put the new door back on when the sealer dries. Joe is building a 'box' to cover up the drain from the dishwasher and that's all that's needing to be done now. Well, that and decorating...
Let's refresh, shall we??
After! The new closet doors and the new tile floor, the shade in the window over the oak ledge on top of marble tiles, and the antique headboard on the bed with new bedding and the new side table. My old chest looks great at the end of the bed!

Joe's mom is coming Wednesday for a week and has NO IDEA we've been doing this! She's going to completely flip out! Joe came up with a great name for the room- The Lincoln Bedroom... Because you have to make a BIG donation to get to sleep there! HAHAHAHAHA! I think instead it should be known as the 'Grandparent's Suite' since my grandparents (thru Dad) paid for it and Sam's grandparents will be sleeping in it! It really is amazing to think it's the same room. (Wish I had pics with the nasty rotting brown shag on the floor and close-ups of the broken mirrored closet doors!) The downside is it's not OUR bedroom, the upside is when we do our room we get to sleep in it!
We WILL be taking a break for a while. Not sure what the next project will be, but it's probably going to be just as major. I'm sure we'll do the tiling on the landing and redoing the stairs going to the basement next. nothing TOO major in that.
The eating is going OK. Not been super disciplined and only exercised twice in the (whole ) summer! Those were walking last week even. It's so hot now- over 100- that walking outside isn't really an option during the days. Now that the room is done, I was able to move most of the stuff blocking the 'Beast" so I should be able to start that up again. With school starting Tuesday (can I get an AMEN!) I will be able to go whenever I want. I plan to go in and walk at that park Wednesday morning before going in to the office. When I walked last week, it felt great and I slept better. Looking forward to it! Joe is losing well, I am mostly steady at 189 or so. When I start eating better AND exercising, it should start melting off! Have to fit into those jeans from Linda this fall/winter!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Long time!

Didn't realize how long it had been! Busy busy busy...
This past Sunday was our trip to the Great Wolf Lodge. It was a day of firsts too! When we got to the area where the lodge is, we were hungry and had a couple hours until our check-in time. The area is called Legends and is full of shops and restaurants. We ate lunch at a place called Styx- it is a Japanese hibachi grill/sushi place. We sat in the grill section so we could get a "show" with our meal. Sam thought the grill chef was awesome- he even loved his teriyaki scallops with SAUCE on them!!! I tried my first sushi- I got three tuna rolls- and it was very good. The waiter told me to try it with soy sauce, but it was better with the sweet soy sauce the chef brought out. Good stuff! I was surprised it didn't have any weirdness to it, just a really creamy texture. Sunday night we ate dinner at a place called T-Rex's- obviously a dinosaur themed restaurant. They have a dino-dig spot for the kids, which Sam loved. The food was crazy good- I had the Mammoth Mushroom Ravioli (big portabello-stuffed raviolis simmered in a white garlic sauce and topped with chopped roma tomato). After dinner and Sam's dino-dig, we ate dessert at Cold Stone Creamery! The service was horrid- and I mean REALLLLLLLY bad- but the ice cream was sensational. I got a small mocha ice cream with graham cracker crust, brownie, and a little fudge sauce mixed in and barely ate half of it. Sam got the cake batter ice cream with white chocolate chips and Joe got a dipped waffle cone with nuts filled with sweet cream ice cream with peanut butter cup added. All was delish, and only Sam finished his. We figured it was the one time we'd ever eat it, so we did!
So school starts next Tuesday!!! Sam is in the same class- they have looping classrooms at his school- so he will have the same teacher and mostly the same classmates. We saw the class assignments yesterday, there are two new kids and I think only one or two kids aren't in there from last year. I do sort of wish he had a new teacher, but it's only for this next year, then they get a new one. He sometimes says he's excited, sometimes he's not. I know I am tho!!! I think the only reason he isn't sure is I have been letting him go to the pool here with his friends for the last week. He doesn't get that the pool closes when school starts! It'll mean getting up at 7:15 every morning again, but it'll be worth it...
The room is almost done. We bought the new door, got it home and it was too small. Took it back yesterday and got the next size up and it's too big! Had to take THAT ONE back today and get the smaller one again, we'll just have to shim it a lot. Got the trim for the closet painted, the window too. Have to get the door done and we can finish cleaning the floor and seal it. Then we can get the baseboards up and put the bed in there. We found a great side table at Nebraska Furniture Mart yesterday, so we're pretty much set. Just need to finish those last few things and we'll be ready for Kate next week. She doesn't even know we've done this... I will get the pics once we are finished and the bed is in there. It's going to look so nice with the new bedding we got too!
Off to start dinner and clean up a bit. Had a major bad headache most of the day so I laid down after grocery shopping. Feel like I've accomplished NOTHING today!!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ah, Monday...

Well, it was a productive weekend! We got all the tile in but two around the door and a small row if tiles we have to cut in the corner. Our "random" pattern couldn't be as random as we wanted- the green tiles were just a little smaller than the cream ones. Oh well! It looks good now, and if we can get the grout in this week it will be fabulous (plus we'll be able to move things back in!). Dad and Suzy brought two prints for us, and I think the one with an Asian theme will look wonderful in there with all of the green on the walls and in the print. Suzy showed me a great website that I found lots of things at! We still need to get some doorknobs for the closet- Joe wants something a little whimsical and I was looking at something more antique-glass-knob-like. They have both there, along with some really neat shelf brackets I adore. I also really dig this hook system. It would be great for bathrobes or whatever! I'll post pics of the room without furniture when we get the floor grouted. We still haven't fully decided about the baseboards yet, but are leaning towards oak to match the closet doors and switch covers.
Joe and I took Sam to the 5Th Harry Potter movie last night. Man, I can't say I like what the new director has done. Hagrid isn't the oaf he always was, the scene when they speak to Sirius in the fire was done completely different than before (and it was cooler before), and there were some things cut that I really felt were extremely important for the future. Now the good points were that Umbridge was PERFECT, Bellatrix was amazingly creepy (excellent for someone in Azkaban for 14 years), and the scenes with Dumbledore's Army were fantastic (tho there were fewer than I had hoped). Oh well, I understand they couldn't include everything from the book. It just seemed they left out some very pertinent scenes. Maybe I should direct the next one!
The garden is still producing. We have had rain the past two days, so I hope the last couple cantaloupes will still be sweet since I just picked them this morning. The tomatoes are everywhere, but Dad and Suzy did take a few. They also took a cantaloupe and a huge cuke. We made BLT's with one of the bigger toms Saturday and Suzy was very pleased with the flavor of the 'German' we used. Too bad I could only get them to take four home! Joe and I also have eaten the half-pint and another pint of the salsa, I may be making more of that before I can plain toms! I will use a whole quart tomorrow in the pork roast.
I did eat a bit off this weekend, but that was expected. I still weighed in at only 190.2 this morning, and I'm sure that my only drinking 2qts of water each day had something to do with that. I even ate popcorn at the movie and bad Mexican food Saturday night. I hope to see 186 by Friday (just in time to go to Great Wolf Lodge this weekend...). I have noticed my tighter shorts feel better, so that's a plus too. And I got an amazing compliment both days this weekend- Saturday night at the (bad) play, our friend Krista said "Oh my Gosh! You look amazing!" and then Sunday at the mall some Subway regulars from way back saw Joe and I and called us the "getting skinny people". Now, Krista hasn't seen me in ages (maybe over a year?) and the other lady has always been a super-sweetie, but I'm taking them both!
Sam has his friend Blake over for the day. Blake's sister is getting something removed from her finger today so I said he could come over here and play with Sam. Maybe they'll take Sam Wednesday so I can tackle the fun payroll with the two different wages problem!
Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday at last!!!

Well I made it thru the week. Yes, there was doubt after the long weekend but I made it!
As I said, when we got home our garden was 'a-overflowin'. It hasn't slowed down either! I got another melon Tuesday, and two more yesterday. I used the one from Tuesday to try a new ice cream from my Ben&Jerry's book- Cantaloupe. It's ok, nothing spectacular. I think that's my fault tho- I was a bit afraid so I only used half the melon instead of all of it. The only problem with the ice cream is that it's pretty light on flavor. I bet with some strawberries it would make an excellent milkshake!
I also have an abundance of tomatoes and peppers. Our little yellow/pink toms we've been slicing and eating nearly ever night were SUPPOSED to have been 'Green Zebra' toms, and we've had another switch with some peppers. We thought we were buying 'Big Chilis' which are bigger than jalapenos and great for stuffing. Apparently what we actually got were something like a serrano- same length as a jalapeno but skinny and REALLY hot! Since the salsa I make every year tends to be on the mild side, I made hot stuff this time with a bunch of those peppers. Man, I gotta say it's the best canned salsa I have ever made! Not hot enough to make you wish you were never born, but just hot enough to remind you to grab a beer. Good stuff, especially with some goat cheese mixed in and the Veggie Chips we bought at Wild Oats! I got three and a half pints and two big quarts. Yummy!!
My slicer toms are going nutso out there. I have an entire countertop covered with them, trying to give them to everyone I know. Hope Dad and Suzy want some when they come!
They should be here tonight for dinner. They are coming to help us tile the guest floor and finish up any loose ends. If we don't wear ourselves out tomorrow, we're all going to see "Gilligan's Island: the Musical"! That's the last summer theater play, and it sounds like fun.
I have managed to get myself back down to 188.2 from the weekend's daliances. I'm sure it won't be that good on Monday, but if I can manage to drink all of my water I might be ok. Joe even got past the elusive 200 for the first time since the beginning of the year! I think when school starts things will get better, at least for me. It's very hard to exercise right now. (It doesn't help that the "Beast" is hidden amongst everything from the guest room closet!)
Well, one quart of water down, two more to go. I'm off to the liquor store for vino, beer, and tequila! I bought some of the Zilch stuff (it mixes with tequila and water to make a SF margarita) and want to try it. Have a great weekend all!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We're baaack!

We're back and settled. We only got to do about half of the things we wanted to, there just wasn't time! We got to the Art Museum and saw the mummy exhibit and the Napoleon exhibit. We happened to be there Friday night when they had free entrance to Napoleon and were staying open extra late. Convenient! There was some really amazing stuff to see, and we didn't even see everything. After that, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station for dinner. Best burger I have ever had! We had this fabulous waiter- looked a bit like Talking Heads front man David Byrne from 20 years ago. He set us up with a free set of their collector glasses just because Joe didn't complain about the guacamole on his burger! He also brought Sam free french fries when he was disappointed with his mac and cheese. It was a great place! After dinner Joe and Sam rode the paddle boats around the pond in the Station and we walked around for a bit.
The hotel was nice, great for the price. It was very old, and needing redecorating not more covering-up. Nice people tho. And no, Joe didn't want to use the free limo service. I made him promise that we would next time we went anywhere that offered it tho!
Saturday morning we ate breakfast outside at a creperie before heading to the Zoo. We spent over four hours there. We went and had lunch at the Science Center before walking around there most of the afternoon. There was a walkway over the highway that we could use radar guns to see how fast people were driving! Very freaky! After that we went back to the hotel and swam for a little bit- the pool was on a second floor terrace! We went back to Union Station for dinner, this time to a New Orleans-style seafood place called Landry's. Great food there too! We walked around the Station for awhile, played 3-D mini golf (pretty lame actually), bought some fudge and crazy-good chocolates, did some shopping, and walked off dinner.
Sunday morning we ate breakfast at the hotel (ever had Amaretto French Toast?) and went downtown to see Busch Stadium and my grandparent's brick. Thanks to direction from Dad and my cousin Mike we found it no problem! It was a very tearful moment. They have a bust of Jack Buck doing (with full sound!) many famous broadcasts and it made me think of Grandma and Grandpa even more. They would have loved everything we saw! Then we went to the Arch. Sam had been bugging us since we hit town Friday night about going! We went under it to the museum and store, but did NOT go up in it. I don't do heights and Joe doesn't do enclosed spaces. It's funny tho, I teased Joe for hours afterwards about not taking Sam up and then later in the day we found out about the power outage they had Saturday night causing about 200 people to be stuck for several hours at the top and in the trams. I can't tease him anymore!
All in all, I ate somewhat badly, but feel I should have walked off every little bit of it! I think we probably walked about 5-7 miles everyday at least! We did see several things we'd like to go back and do, but childless. We never made it to the Botanical Gardens, the Anhueser-Busch Brewery, or any of the wineries along the way.
Joe asked me where I thought we should go next. We had both been thinking about Chicago! Gonna have to make that a longer trip tho- can't see much of Chicago in 3 days. Plus, I say next trip we take the train. I know Joe really likes having his car, but there are so many other ways to get around without all the hassle of paying EVERY TIME you want to park!!!
When we got home, there was a ripe cantaloupe and TONS of tomatoes. I picked two Germans that were 1.25 pounds EACH!!! We ate the whole cantaloupe last night- man was that good. I have tons of canning to do this week with the tomatoes and cukes I got yesterday. Got slicer toms too tho, lots of Germans and several Stripeys. Good eats!
Off to go grocery shopping then back here to try and finish Harry Potter!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Friday here I come!

Well, we're leaving tomorrow! I've got just about everything packed, and the house is pretty much picked up. We even got a power inverter for the car so Sam can watch movies on the laptop while we drive! Of course, I bet he chooses to read more than watch movies... Smart kid!
This is what I made for dinner last night. It was just a chicken breast stuffed with a mix of spinach and mixed Italian cheeses. Then I baked it for 30 minutes @ 425 and topped it with more cheese. I broiled that until it browned nicely. I made a "bed" for it out of a pint of my canned tomatoes mixed with Italian seasoning and simmered until it reduced quite a bit. Served with broccoli and fresh tomatoes it was a great meal! These sliced tomatoes we have eaten at every dinner for the last week. I have said it before, but NOTHING beats a garden-fresh tomato! We even had some again tonight with the Thunder Thighs, green beans, and baked butternut squash!

As I said, I baked a squash tonight. It was one from our garden of course. I was surprised- Joe even ate his half! I cut it lengthwise and seeded it. Then I put on a tablespoon of olive oil spread and sprinkled the cut side with DiabetiSweet Brown and covered the dish with foil. Bake it @ 425 for an hour, then drizzle it with the melted butter in the cavity and I drizzled a little SF maple syrup on it. Bake another 10 minutes and YUMMMMMMMMMMMM! Definitely a new Thanksgiving dish!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Yummmmm, fresh tomatoes!

Man, there really is nothing like a fresh tomato! The 'German Johnson' variety is fabulous for slicing and eating with a little salt and pepper. In fact, that was half of my lunch today- most of a sliced tom and two light hot dogs w/o buns. YUMMY! I picked a 'Mr. Stripey' today, but it won't be ready for another day or so.
The kitties are growing so fast! I took these picks of them today, and compared them to when we brought them home. Max is ha-YOO-ge! He's going to be built like Tripper I think- big, stocky, and thick. Miss Charlie is growing too, and tho she's smaller than Max she isn't going to be a tiny thing. She's almost as big now as Sam's 3yo outside cat Fizzy. They are as frisky as ever too. Luckily the waking up at 6am every morning to play stopped quickly! I have also noticed that as in people, female cats mature faster than their male counterparts. Charlie already has her permanent teeth, but Max still has his baby ones. I suppose it IS possible they aren't brother and sister after all, but I doubt it.

I am canning tomatoes right now. This first batch is five pints, and I'm sure there will be plenty more after our trip! I tried some new varieties of roma-type toms this year and think the best have been 'Mamma Mia'. They are huge, thick-walled, and practically seedless. They skin so easily too! I will be on the lookout for them next season.

I cut all of my butternuts today as well. They are all orange like the ones in the store, so I figured I was safe. Counting the one I tried the other night, I had 12. There are new small ones on the vines now, so I bet I get more this fall!

Time to start packing for the weekend. Joe always thinks I'm compulsive, but he has to admit we never forget ANYTHING!!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Office Pics part 2

We are in the upstairs area of the Farm and Home Real Estate officees. In the basement there are two small radio stations, on the main floor there is a temp service and also a massage therapist!! It's a guy, never seen one of those before. We have a separate entrace on the side and the stairs go straight to our door area. Down the hall from our office are two nice bathrooms and a kitchenette. There is also a "living room"-type area there with a sofa, chairs, and a stereo. It's so nice!!! No spiders or kids running around, very quiet and clean. Obviously we need some pictures on the walls! We're also told the breeze that comes in with our big windows is wonderful, so we're looking forward to fall! We even have our own thermostat!!!
This is the corner in the back office where we'll store stuff, and another small window-

This is my side of the desk, and the second big window. We have hanging planters for this room.

This is the view of the front office from the back office.

Office Pics!!!

Went there today to return my work to it's "home" and took these pics. Sam HAD to be in them! I'll make two posts for all of the pics.
This is as you walk in the front doors-

The right side of the front room, where I want to put my own desk eventually. Nice big window that does open! Facing this way the front doors would be behind you.

The left side of the front room where the file cabinet is. The two doors are offices being used by others, and in the tiny corner there is a closet. It's still full of the previous renter's stuff, but that will be moved out soon.

Walking into the back office-

The monster desk system!

Long week...

We are moved in! The office is fabulous. We got a lot of stuff moved over Thursday, and then Friday the bossman, his brother, and his two nephews came and helped move the big stuff- like the 500 pound desk. We got it all set up by 7:30 Friday night. By then it was too late to go home and cook so I just grabbed Wheat State and brought that home. Yesterday we bought some plants to go in there since there are two big windows and two smaller ones. I will try to remember to photo it when I go in today.
Sam was fine at his appointment, tho did flip out when it came time for his shot. He cried and whined, then she gave him a coupon for a free cone at McD's. Guess that makes it all better? This marked the first time since his birth that his weight was more than his height. Not by much tho! He is now 49 3/4 inches tall and weighs 50 1/4 pounds. Like I said, not by much. Growing like a weed and twice as stubborn!
Have been getting lots of tomatoes. The roma/canners are ripening well, and I got two of the heirloom slicers this weekend. They are the 'German Johnson' variety, and man are they good! A pink tom with the sweet heirloom flavor, few seeds, and so juicy! There are several more out there, but I'm waiting for the 'Mr. Stripey' toms to ripen- those are extraordinary! Killer sliced and salted. The little orange/pink/yellow ones that I bought thinking they were 'Green Zebras' are fabulous too. Wish I knew what they were for next year! I took several over to the neighbor across the street last night. Her hubby is in Iraq... Anything I can do to make her feel welcome.
Picked a butternut the other night and grilled it along with the chicken. Would have been good too, if it had cooked all the way. Could have used another 15 minutes. I have plenty to "experiment" with! The melons are about ready too, just another couple days should do it. They are putting on several new fruits too, so it won't just be an eat-the-fruit-quickly thing. We'll have a whole other batch! The jalapenos are still growing wild. I have three quart bags full, have canned a pint already, and will stuff them tonight and tomorrow. We're even giving some to the bossman! The zuke plant is toast. Whatever was getting at it won. Luckily the eggplants that are right next to it are completely untouched. The cukes are putting on another batch too, tho it will be a couple weeks for those. I did try those pickles I made- not bad! It's wild, they are sweet, tangy, sour, and spicy all at the same time!
The guest room is looking good! The walls and ceiling are painted, we got the closet doors installed, the ledge on the wall is stained and waiting to be put in. Honestly the biggest thing now is the tiling. We bought the rest of the tile yesterday, and decided it would be cheaper to buy a tile saw than rent one. Basically, we blew a ton of money at the home store yesterday! The room has become a little more expensive than we had hoped, but not by much. It's going to look so nice! I keep telling Joe we may end up wanting to make that OUR bedroom!
Well off to take the last of my work stuff to the office and then go grocery shopping. We leave Friday for St. Louis so the list is very small. I do plan to get some good snacks to eat along the way!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ready for a little peace...

It has been so crazy with the remodel and not working in the office lately! I am so ready to get back to normal. I have work I need to do, and it's not easy doing it here when the files I need are in the file cabinet in the office! UGH! Joe hopes to start moving into the new space Friday. I can't wait!
I made a stir-fry the other night for dinner, along with egg drop soup (a fave of all of us!) and the crispy noodles. The stir-fry was some of the chicken I cooked for the wraps (really just ground chicken with seasoning), leftover asian-mix veggies, some broccoli, carrots, and onion. I also used a couple of my eggplants and made a spicy eggplant side. It was ok, nothing spectacular. The egg drop however... I love it! Even Sam adores it, snarfs it down!
I made some zucchini bread yesterday. While I was tasting it, Sam came in and wanted to try it. He loved it! Then later when I told him what it was he vowed never to eat it again (chocolate chips or not). Last night for his snack that was what he asked for! I asked him to make sure that he remembered what it was. He said he didn't care because it was really good. Wow! Joe even ate some for breakfast today.
Last night was stuffed peppers. Man those are good! I made a cuke salad to go with it from our garden haul- tomatoes, carrots, onions, and of course a cuke! Good stuff!
I finally made some pickles yesterday. I lost that recipe I wanted to try, so I made one up! These are sweet/spicy pickles with a hint of cinnamon. I don't know how spicy they'll be tho, all I did was put a half of a jalapeno in the jar before I added the cukes. Should work tho, I did some like that last year. Just gives them a little zing at the end. Hope these are good!

Rained again yesterday- stormed actually. The lights flickered a bit while we were eating dinner, but we never really lost power. I was hoping the rain would skip us, the cantaloupes are ripening and they are not to get watered the last week. Oh well! I also couldn't go out and spray the bugs off in the garden. The zukes were covered in eggs the other day, and they all hatched. Hate using any chemicals, but at least what I have now is organic. Still losing the plant tho...
Today is Sam's check-up. So not looking forward to the fit he's going to throw when they go to give him his booster shot. He hates needles, and really goes into super-panic mode. Last time they had to take a little blood, he threw himself down on the floor and went into hysterics for 15 minutes! Yes, it was only last year!!! It's going to be a very long day. After that we have to go grocery shopping. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Rangoon, Wraps, and Relaxation

I made those wraps Friday night- not quite the same, but pretty close! I also fried some Crab Rangoon to have with it. Yeah, I said FRIED! They were soooooo good too!

P.F. Chang'S Soothing Chicken Lettuce Wraps
8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 ts arrowroot
2 ts dry sherry
2 ts water
1 ts soy sauce
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken, ground
5 tb oil
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, minced
2 sm dried chilis, (optional)
1/2 of an 8oz can bamboo shoots, minced
1/2 of an 8 oz can water chestnuts, minced
1/6 of a package cellophane chinese rice noodles, prepared according to instructions in pkg
Cooking sauce:
1 tb hoisin sauce
1 tb soy sauce
1 tb dry sherry
2 tb oyster sauce
2 tb water
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. arrowroot
Iceberg lettuce 'cups' leaves (I used butterhead leaves)
Cover mushrooms with boiling water, let stand 30 minutes then drain. Cut and discard woody stems. Mince the mushrooms. Set aside. Mix all ingredients for cooking sauce in bowl, and set aside. In medium bowl, combine arrowroot, sherry water, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to coat chicken thoroughly. Stir in 1 tsp. oil and let sit 15 minutes to marinate. Heat wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 Tbsp oil, then add chicken and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Set aside. Add 2 Tbsp oil to pan. Add ginger, garlic, chilies(if desired), and onion; stir fry about a minute or so. Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry an additional 2 minutes. Return chicken to pan. Add mixed cooking sauce to pan. Cook until thickened and hot. Break cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces, and cover bottom of serving dish with them. Then pour chicken mixture on top of noodles. Spoon into lettuce leaf and Roll.

Crab Rangoon
3.25oz package of crab meat
8oz lite cream cheese
1 tsp sesame oil
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp each garlic and onion powder
1/2 package wonton skins
Mix everything but the skins together and chill. Wet two sides of a skin and put 1/2 a tbalespoon of filling in the middle. Fold in half to form a triangle, then bring in the two bottom tips together and seal with water. I put these on a plate with arrowroot to keep them from sticking together. When all are made, heat and inch of canola oil in a pan and fry four at a time until browned. I cooked them most of the way, then finished them in the oven.

Well Saturday we did NOTHING! We went to the movies and out to dinner last night. It was relaxing day at our house, no work was done other than watering the garden and picking more veggies. I got three more cukes (two I gave to the neighbor and she nearly fainted at the sight!), another big eggplant, four smaller ones, a zuke, and we picked all of the first-batch carrots. Here's the haul for yesterday-

Today, we WORK! After breakfast and coffee, we will go into the guest room and not come out for hours.

Friday, July 06, 2007

It's open!

The store opened yesterday. Nothing fancy, just opened the lobby. They did decent sales for not having any advertising at all and a Bobcat in the parking lot making a new spot. The practice run for the drive-thru should be this afternoon- if the guy gets there and finishes the headset work. It will open officially Monday! I goofed when I did payroll yesterday and forgot to change the delivery address. Luckily the UPS driver saw the big note on the old location and brought it down to the new store. That could have been VERY bad!
I took Sam and a friend to the pool in town yesterday. It was really perfect pool weather- 93 degrees and partly cloudy. I swam a bit, then just sat out and enjoyed the sun. The boys had fun going around the lazy river, going down the water slides, and diving for rings. There weren't too many people there, so it was not overly crowded. Too bad it costs $7 just for Sam and I...
We have two huge cukes in the fridge and two more on the vine. I have GOT to get those pickles made! The tomato plants look awful, like they are burnt, but they do that every year and still go on producing. The slicer plants are covered in fruit! The butternuts are definitely ripening since they are all a nice creamy butter color now. I am sure they will be ready by the end of the month. The cantaloupes are lightening, so those will be ready soon too!
I weighed this morning- just for the heck of it since I ate a HUGE steak last night. It said 187.6! I did it twice just to make sure and it was the same both times. I don't get it!
I am making those PF Changs wraps tonight. I wanted to make them last night, but the store didn't have any ground chicken and my stuff at home was frozen. I am thawing two chicken breasts now, so I will have to chop it up myself. I found the recipe for the wraps on the forum I used to go to, and it looks like it will be dead-on. I am very excited! I think I might make a cold soba noodle side to go with it, maybe using some of the zucchini or eggplant from the garden. We'll see!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Made my veggie fajitas last night. They weren't as good as the other way. Oh well, live and learn!
We shot off the rest of our fireworks last night. Tonight we will drive into town and watch the big(ish) display, and then we'll be up all night listening to the neighbors... Since they are legal in our small town, everyone shoots them off until way past midnight. It's just once a year, but goes on for daaaaaays.
I made Joe some muffins yesterday. I was going back thru the blog and saw my Applesauce Muffins and thought he'd like those again. This time I added a cinnamon swirl to them- good stuff! They are especially good with that horrible pumpkin butter on them! ;) I will have to try to duplicate that this fall...
I have Sam working on some workbooks this morning. He has been just awful the last couple weeks acting like he's the center of the universe, so we are now going to start assigning him a couple of chores everyday and he's doing "school"work. It's hard to find a good chore for him tho. I'd love for it to be changing/scooping the catbox, but that's not a good one for a kid. I think he'll be doing the table-setting at dinner, helping put away his laundry, and I'm not sure about any others.
We got his enrollment packet yesterday! I'm going to mail it in this time, since we don't have to get accepted this year. So nice to have one less worry! He may say he doesn't miss school, but I know he misses his friends! It's also getting harder to work with him around. The sister of his friend that was supposed to be watching him during payroll weeks called and cancelled at 10:30pm the night before she was to watch him. I didn't even get the message until about 15 minutes before I was going to drop him off! Needless to say, she isn't watching him now. There are two girls here in town that will be in high school next year, and both of them could do it. I hate to pay someone to watch him when I'm here, but it does make it easier! Plus, they are both really sweet girls. They were both his "book helpers" when he was in kindergarten. With the pool being just two blocks away, they could easily take him there.
Joe and all of the employees are at the new store today cleaning up, doing food prep and learning where everything is. He is so stressed! Every time a store opens, someone from corporate comes, plus you have the health department inspection and all. I know he is so ready to get this over with. He is so concerned that it's going to be a disaster tomorrow! They got the awnings in the front and all the pole signs put up yesterday- it looks really sharp! I'm very excited about it! Now if it just stays dry so they can do the drive-thru stuff...
Well, off to do some work. I have to make about a million copies today and do payroll and such. Have a happy 4th and stay safe!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The office

I get to go put our deposit down on the fabulous office today! We won't get to move in really until next week at the earliest with the other store moving and all. That and we have a huge desk that will require both of us AND another person! I may move some smaller stuff in before then tho.
The new store will open Thursday as planned. The lights they were waiting for came in yesterday (three weeks late and a day early), and the pop machine should be in today. They plan to just open the lobby for a couple days since the drive-thru won't be done until Friday at the earliest. That is if it doesn't rain today or tomorrow like it might. And of course they are also waiting on the guy who is setting up the drive-thru ordering system (who happens to be the guy we rent our current office from, so we can't seem to get ahold of him). Let's all think good thoughts, eh?
Last night I picked yet another giant cuke from our vine. This prompted me to measure both this latest one and the super giant I picked the other day. The new one is 17 inches long with a circumference of 8.25 inches. The other one was 18 inches long and a circumference of 8.75 inches!!! I think they are wild!
I also counted the squashes and found we have 11 bigguns out there. I picked two Ichiban eggplants to eat this week (Joe says "Eggplant Parm??!!") and took a few more zukes. Whatever is nibbling them is killing the plant, so I'm not sure how long I will be able to get them. One zuke has been completely dissolved by it! My tomatoes are covered, so I'm still looking for that sun we usually get relentlessly in July. I pulled most of the remaining onions too. With the ground so wet, I was afraid they'd begin to mold or rot. I have tons of jalapenos, so this week we're having "Appetizer Night" with dinner- stuffed peppers and wings! Looks like the little Fairy Tale eggplants are supposed to get about 4-5 inches long, so I will be picking them soon. They sure are cute! Pink and white streaked. Like little Easter Eggs! Here is a link to them at Mine have a bit more white on them than the ones in the picture. I did notice they grow in clusters like cherry tomatoes tho, really neat! Nothing tastes better than a homegrown eggplant...
Off to do some Subway work. Stay dry everyone!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Getting to work!

I mentioned we'd be remodeling the guest room soon. Well a flooded corner of our basement was just the motivation we needed to get moving. Actually, we were planning to start this weekend anyway, this just made it more important to get the carpet outta there! Unfortunately, they had used some wicked adhesive to hold it down, so we had to get a solvent to get the rest up (we're about 1/4 done). We also pulled off a small section of drywall as we discovered it had flooded before and it was moldy! When we pulled it off, we found an old termite home coming in from a crack, so we patched that too. It's going to be a lot of work getting this done, but I guarantee it will be done right!
We bought one box of floor tiles just to bring them in and see how it looked. We are using 12x12 tiles of a mossy-type green and brownish pattern. Hard to describe, but very nice. They are really inexpensive too! The boxes have 15 tiles and are only $12!!! We'll probably only need 10-12 boxes, so that will save us some money. We bought the paint based on the tiles too. A nice mossy green for the walls and a very very pale green for the ceiling and closet doors. We even picked out some light fixtures we liked, so that will be next.

The ceiling was terribly textured- I mean that both in how much it was and how badly it was done. There was red glitter in the texturing?? Joe got it scraped down pretty well, not fully flat but not super bumpy either. A nice happy medium. I did a lot with the solvent on the floor, it has to sit 15-30 minutes after applying. Both of us are sore, but this is going to look so great when we're done!

I ate badly this weekend, but am not beating myself up about it. I worked hard both days (as all of my backside muscles can tell you!), so I feel okay about my food. Mostly I just ate too much of it, not really eating BAD things. It's all good- this is a new week! Last night with our brat dinner, I made a salad with veggies all from our own garden. It was a ranch salad with sliced cukes, carrots (both our orange and purple ones), sweet onion, and cherry tomatoes from the patio plant. Very tasty and completely organic. Still have two cukes to eat, and more on the vine. I hate to make more pickles since I still have some from last year, but I found a new recipe for sweet&hot ones that sounds delish. One cuke will make about 2 quarts! Plus they are perfect for camping- all that vinegar keeps them well.

Garden update-
We have about 7 cantaloupes, all growing very nicely in this rain. The butternut squashes are turning more of a creamy yellow-orange color. Might be ready in a month? The tomato plants are covered in fruits, but need SUN!!! Come on, Mother Nature! Momma needs some homemade spaghetti sauce! The Ichiban eggplant is fruiting nicely, there are three more on there. The Fairy Tale eggplants are growing too, tho fruiting is slower with those. They grow in clusters a bit like cherry tomatoes, it's quite cute! The zuke plant has many small ones on there, but none big enough to cut yet. Something dissolved one of them, so I'll have to keep an eye out.

Shopping with the kiddo today and watching Pan's Labyrinth tonight... Oh, and that office is ours if our bossman approves when he sees it today! I even got the rent down some. I know, I'm GOOD!!! Here's to hoping it's a dry week!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Grilled chicken... and my Granola recipe- YUM!

The chicken last night was delicious! Unfortunately, the marinade didn't really flavor it, so next time I do it overnight instead of the 4 hours it recommends. It took about an hour to cook, and the last few minutes I put it over direct heat to brown it up more. So moist and wonderful! I browned and roasted some small new potatoes seasoned with a French mix of garlic, lavender, basil, chervil, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, savory, and thyme. I bought the mix at Aldis of all places! I also steamed some sliced carrots and sauteed broccolini. No pics of those of course, too busy eating! I do have chicken and veggies leftover for lunch today, if I'm even hungry.

I haven't been sleeping terribly well lately, tossing and turning all night long after taking at least two hours to fall asleep. I have tried different sleeping pills and such, but nothing is really working. I have been getting so tired, I find myself waking up later and later every morning- today was almost 10am!! I'm sure a big part of it is that I'm not getting any exercise. It's been so rainy that I just haven't had the opportunity to go for walks and when it isn't raining I've been working more! Hopefully next week it will stop/slow down so I can walk.

Checked in this morning... 189.2! That's even after having banana bread at breakfast yesterday, so I felt safe enough to have granola this morning. I made some homemade last week and it's very good! Here's the recipe:


7 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raw wheat germ
1/2 cup each sliced almonds and chopped walnuts
1 cup SF maple syrup
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla
Mix the dry ingredients in a huge bowl, whisk the wet in a smaller one. Pour the wet onto the dry and mix well (use your hands!). Divide mixture between two large rimmed baking sheets and bake at 250 for one hour. Stir the mixture and bake another hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely. You can add 1 cup unsweetened coconut to the dry ingredients, but Joe doesn't like it so I left it out. Also, after it cools you can add some raisins, dried currants, or even mini chocolate chips! It's not very sweet, so it's perfect I think. I bet it would work really well as a crunch topping for apple pie or something like that. Great in a bowl of milk too!!!

We're going to a play tomorrow night- Yay for sitters! ESU is doing Plaza Suite, and of course we have free tix to the summer theater shows. This will be the first time in ages we've gotten to go out ALONE, so we're greatly looking forward to it!

The new store is not going well. All this rain- at the worst possible time- is delaying the finishing of the drive-thru area. Can't pour concrete when it's pouring rain! The inside lights won't be in until Tuesday, meaning the electrician will be hanging them on the Fourth of July, so he isn't happy. They were supposed to have arrived weeks ago, but got lost somehow??? They also found out Wednesday that the pop machine Joe ordered a month ago has disappeared from the shipper? Luckily it was a second unit, but that means there won't be one out in the lobby for customers to fill their own cups. It's nuts! Like I said before- whatever COULD go wrong HAS! They had scheduled a "dry-run" for the drive-thru for Monday night. All 17 employees got 5 coupons to give their friends and family for free food from the drive-thru. They won't be ready for it Monday! Joe is stressed, I am stressed for him, and the poor workers putting this store together are getting stressed too. Can't wait for it to be over! It''l be worth it when it's over, but until then- SHEESH!

I weighed the huge cuke from yesterday- it weighs 3.5 pounds! That's insane, dontcha think? Sure is going to make a lot of sweet & spicy pickles! I will make those tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away! Well, then again...

Yes, it has been raining now for two solid days! I do have something wonderful to report tho- during a short lull today I picked these-Notice the pencil for size reference?!? The carrots are the small variety (in addition to being dwarfed by the massive cukes!) and the zuke I just really wanted to pick! It will go well with the veggie fajitas when I make them! Guess the rain is good for something after all... Sam likes it too!
The other night I made a great bean salad, but somehow the pictures got erased? Here is the recipe anyway!

Santa Fe Salad
1 can each pintos and black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 small can sliced black olives
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup sweet corn
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp lime juice
1 cup fresh cilantro,chopped
2 tsp cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch salt
Mix everything together and fridge for a few hours before serving. The original recipe called for green beans and green chiles, but I left those out. I do think it needed some chopped tomatoes!! Cukes would be good too...
Tonight I am making Chicken Dijonaise from my grilling cookbook. It's basically a whole chicken (flattened) marinated in a mix of dry vermouth, dijon mustard, garlic, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. It smells incredible as it's cooking now, so I hope I remember to photo it! I am serving it with sauteed broccolini and steamed carrots. I am also making broasted new potatoes, but I doubt I will eat any. Saving those calories for a glass or two of pinot grigio! ;) If I remember to photo, I will post it tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Long week...

I haven't posted in a couple days. It's been a long week already!
The store Joe has been getting ready to move closed yesterday, and they spent most of the day tearing down the old store. That meant he didn't get to do as much in the office today. This translates into me not being able to get MY stuff done in usual fashion. I also had to drive to another town for him to take them some supplies as they have been very busy lately. MILEAGE+BEING ON THE CLOCK= NICE CHECK! The one real downside is poor Joe. He hasn't slept much in the last month, and the next week is going to be very hard physically. He also had one of those days today, everything that could go wrong did.
So on my side of the world...
I have decided to start tracking my calories again for a little while. My loss had stopped and started to go the other way a bit. Well the first day I typed in my usual morning omelet and was horrified!!! It was over 640 calories! Soooooo, a few changes and better portioning later, I got it down to a reasonable 450 or so. I am trying for about 1500/day. That may seem like nothing to some, but it's really only temporary. In fact, I have been doing this for just a few days and have gone from 193 to 190.2 today. I know that's not accurate, but it's better than it going the other way!!! I plan to do this for another week or so, then gradually move up a little. I am also cutting back on the grains and starches a bit. I would really like to just get my starch from veggies for this time- sweet potatoes, peas, carrots... I look at it as a "jump-start", and I really need one!
Well, I want to spend some time with Joey! Bye!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Broccoli with Clam Sauce a a little pasta!

I made this last night and the pasta you see is it, I had MAYBE 1.5 oz? I've made this before, and this time it was just as good as always even without the pasta! Basically it's just 2 cans of clams drained reserving the juice, a bag of frozen broccoli (cooked), a little milk, and the juice from the clams! I topped it with parmesan cheese and that's it! I also had a big salad, so there! ;)

I spent most of the day looking for a new office. Our one we're in now is just not the best situation. I found several, and one really would be super! It's in a real estate office, but up on the second floor and in the corner. It's actually two offices in one, the back main office and a front "reception" area. It would be so nice! There is a kitchenette just down the hall with a fridge and microwave that we'd be welcome to use. It's a bit more than we're paying now, but such a better deal in the long run- it even has cable TV in there?! We have to wait until Friday tho, technically it's rented already but they have yet to pay their deposit...

Not much to say now, I will try to catch up tomorrow.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Burgers and Chicken Zin

I forgot to post the burgers we had the other night- so good! Not terribly friendly mind you, but with the frustration Joe and I are feeling at this ugly plateau we're both at we didn't care! I basically made 6oz burgers from nothing more than 85/15 ground beef, then after I flipped them topped them with two slices bacon and a mix of shredded cheddar and (gasp!) a tiny bit of French's onions. Then when they were done, put them together with BBQ sauce and homemade pickles! Great with roasted sweet potatoes.

Last night I made Chicken Zin. It's from my grilling book and is based on Coq Au Vin. You marinate the thighs in a mix of zinfandel, dijon mustard, garlic, thyme, and EVOO. Then grill them alongside boiler onions and shrooms. I also added the first eggplant and baby zuke from our garden! I cooked up some sprouts to go with it, and it was heavenly! All I do for the sprouts is trim them and simmer in 1/2 cup water with a chicken cube (beef is even better!) in a saute pan. This time I added bacon pieces. Simmer it about 10 minutes until they are just about done, then remove the lid and let the liquid cook out and brown the sprouts a bit. Even Sam likes them this way!

So the big plan for today is shopping- well, sort of. Joe wants to start working on the guest bedroom. That room is so atrocious! His plan is to go find a huge rug and buy it. Then he wants to base the colors and such on this rug. Pull up the rank carpet and tile the floor (it's in the basement, so we'd need a reallllly big rug!), find an antique head/footboard for the bed, replace the closet mirrors/doors... Big project. It's either that or we repaint the living room and I'm not up for that just yet. I LIKE the color we chose this last time, even if he decided once it was on the walls that he didn't. I find it relaxing!

The garden is going crazy today. We got some rain last night, and when I was out there I found several more cantaloupes! I picked a cuke the other night to have with our burgers, but there are still two bigguns out there. The onions are about ready too! Yay for gardens!!!

Off to get the kid's hair chopped! Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Garden part three!

These are my beautiful black hollyhocks. That is one happy bee!

Here are half of our carrots. We planted Purple Haze and small orange ones this year. Sam made the marker!

My clematis is very happy. It got cut back early on, then again after that late freeze. Will do that again!

I keep forgetting to photo the incredibly happy grape vine! I will try to remember tomorrow. Going to be tons of jelly and juice this year!

More garden...

Here are the sweet potatoes. There are nine plants.

Here are the canning tomatoes. There are tons in there!

And the zukes. Can you see them in there?

My pretty eggplant! I can't wait to grill these!

Happy cukes! We have already gotten two about 12 inches long, with a diameter of maybe 3 inches? These are still babies at maybe 9 inches long?!