Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Ending to March

Well March is almost over (wow).  Things have been really good and peaceful this month. It's been nice having Coach home more, getting stuff done around the house (new kitchen sink installed! yippie!), and we're really happy and content right now. It's been a long time coming.  Things are still hard, don't get me wrong, and my mom's condition is constantly on my mind. But overall, I really am feeling blessed these days.

I also painted one half of the hallway that is the entrance to our house. Here are some photos:
 Before
 After
View into the kitchen. You can see the awful wallpaper. Close up to come.

Down the hallway. Wall to the right is unpainted. Everything to the left has been painted. (and Georgia in her dog cubby)
 Looking at the door into the laundry/mud room (which exits into portico).
 View from the front door. Looking into the family room.

I'm standing in the dining room, looking down the hall into the Kitchen.  2 pantries are on the left and mud room is the door you see on the right. The awful overhead light is being replaced asap, we just haven't gotten it put in yet.

As promised, the AWFUL kitchen wallpaper. It is horrific. This will hopefully be gone this summer. *hurl*

We are going to get the drainage issue taken care of sooner than expected because we got a quote Monday that was thousands less than we'd anticipated, and it's from a company that does a ton of work for our church and in the metroplex.  Pretty sweet, so I gotta call the dude back today and schedule it.  They'll be putting a bunch of french drains in, pouring a huge patio, adding cement to our driveway (so we can park 2 cars side by side), removing a huge tree stump, and dumping some extra dirt around part of our foundation that is completely exposed. I'm really exited to have that done in time for summer and before the storms come--the drainage was freaking us out.  Then we can get patio furniture and enjoy our awesome backyard (newly trimmed by Coach)!! YAYYYY!!!

Things are good. :) Love my husband. Love my life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

East Guest Room

So I finally got around to painting the most dinged up room in the house. It looks so cute. I picked this room first because it needed it really badly, it was boring, it'll eventually be the baby's room and you can't paint when your pregnant, and I wanted to paint something green and it worked out that well. :) So I painted, and kinda redecorated. There used to be a red and brown duvet cover in here, but I put it on our bed (score! why didn't I do that sooner) and put the quilt that was hand made for us by Coach's Great Aunt on it (and some fun pillows).


I think it worked out well, don't you? And that TV has all the classic video games on it from Original Nintendo to PS2 (even Sega, etc!!). Yes, that was obviously Coach's contribution to the room. :) the Dogs certainly like it:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer causes 1 million deaths annually worldwide. It is the 4th most common cancer in the world and the 2nd most common for cancer related deaths after lung cancer. The overall 5 year stomach cancer survival rate is 20%, which means only 1 in 5 will survive 5 years. However, if the cancer is localized, if it has not spread to the lymph nodes, at least 75% of patients survive for 5 years and eventually two thirds of these survivors are cured. Stomach cancer survival rates based on the stages of the cancer give an overall 70% for 5 years. Unfortunately, only 1 % of all cases are detected at this stage. 6% of cases are detected at stage 2 and their 5 year survival rate is 42%. A reasonable number of patients are diagnosed at stage 3 and their survival rate is 20% for 5 years. An overwhelming majority of 80% Stomach Cancer cases is detected at stage 4 and their 5 year stomach cancer survival rates at this very advanced stage is barely 5%. 

Why am I posting this? We went to see my mom this weekend. We checked her out of the hospital friday, took her to the oncologist to get her $3,000 bone marrow production shot, then home. She was so drained we didn't see her Saturday. We saw her briefly Sunday.  Guaranteed she'd just spent 4 days being poisoned, had kidney stints put in because her kidneys aren't draining (bc her lymph nodes right there are now extremely inlarged and they don't know why yet), and had an enema because she's still not passing things like she should. She only had her stomach removed 4 weeks ago.  She's lost a lot of weight (and when you're only 114 pounds to begin with, you don't have any to loose) . 

Seeing her so depleted and vulnerable really was hard.  When you have such a crazed role reversal, you really start to get reminded that life is very very short. I'm really afraid that she's not going to be here in 10 years.  It's a reasonable assumption. And the chance that this cancer leads to something that kills her, are very high.  

Will my children know her? Will she be there when I turn 30?  Will she be there when I give birth to my first child, when they are baptized?  Will I be able to call her when I don't know what's wrong with the baby, how to handle potty training, when I need to cry?  Will I be parent-less on this earth far too soon?

I'm going to visit her more, I'm going to try and be a better daughter. And I'm also not taking a chance that she won't be there. Maybe we'll try to get pregnant before some people think we're ready, but we are and I'm not willing to risk my mother not being able to hold her first grandchild because I wanted new wood floors. Our priorities have changed, my heart is a little broken, and I won't shed any tears worrying about her death. It's not in my control. But I can ensure that as many things as possible will happen before it ever becomes a concern. We are in a good place in our lives and I want my mom present during as many life changing moments as possible. I will not take her presence for granted.  Life is too short to worry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Passover

So for those who don't know, the Passover Seder is a very big meal for both Jews and Christians.  Most Christians are too ignorant to know it, and I'm always surprised at how many look down on those of the Jewish faith. Do you not know your own history? Jesus was a poor Jew.  The last supper was, itself, a Passover Seder meal.  It is a meal celebrating the exodus of the Jews from Egypt (for a simple version of the history behind every moment in the Seder, check out the movie Price of Egypt--pretty good).

My maternal Grandmother's family is Jewish, she converted during her childhood. We have celebrated in my house the Passover Seder every year, for my entire life. We have always had to endure gefilte fish, bitter herbs, and then the tasty lamb dinner.  This is the first year I am able to host my own.  The symbolism that this is my first year as part of a greater whole, with my husband, is not lost on me. I have also decided to do some editing from our traditional Haggadah and make a new one. I have begun this process. I feel it's improtant as Coach and I build our family to continue these traditions so our children will understand the history of their family, their faith, and the people from whom we (as a world) came from and the struggles we have endured in the name of freedom and peace. 

The Seder dinner itself is a long meal of family, friends, and learning. It is a history of my people and a journey of faith and discovery. This year I have had my own journey of faith and discovered myself in a new way, so I feel like my new Haggadah needs to reflect that and begin a family strength in tradition that we can build on for our lives.  

I am unsure who will be coming to our Passover celebration this year, but I am looking forward to anyone coming who is interested in learning about faith, family, and the history of our people.  Full of people who can keep their eyes and mind open, their love encompassing, and their arms wide for the aid of others. I hope you have family traditions that bring you the same joy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patricks Day

I love Irish food (there's my good ole Irish roots for ya!). So I've kind of murdered a few recipes to make my own Shepard's Pie version, that is pretty dang good. I've even made the meat part a day ahead and it works pretty well!
 not necessarily pretty, but dang tasty!

For the meat filling:

  • 2 lb. lamb, cut into bite sized pieces (could also use beef if you prefer, both tastes good--just adjust the cooking time a little for beef)
  • 1 lb. mushrooms (you can get fancy, or not), roughly cut (not too thin)
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice 
  • 1 tsp rosemary (I love rosemary, you can use less if you want)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 beer (preferably Guinness, but just make it dark--aka you can't see through it)
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese (we use a lot, but that's us)

For the potato top:

  • 3 potatoes, 1 1/2 lb. total
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (I hate chives, but it's in all recipes. I omitted, do as you like)

Directions:

To make the filling, in a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and half of the allspice and rosemary. Add the lamb and toss to coat evenly.

In a large cast iron skillet (if you have one with a lid, it's easier but I don't) over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the lamb and brown. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan. Add the carrots, cook for about 5 minutes, then add the onions and cook until soft. Sprinkle with a little sugar, cook for about 3 minutes until they caramelize. Add mushrooms and sauté until browned, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, and any remaining flour from the lamb bowl. Add beer and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Add broth, remaining herbs (including bay leaf), and boil.  Reduce heat, add lamb, and simmer covered on medium-low for about 45 minutes (until lamb is done). 

Uncover and simmer until the juices thicken, about 2 minutes. Note: If you have a lot of liquid, remove all the meat and vegi's you can into the dish, wisk in a few tablespoons of flour until it thickens, then add over the filling. Remove bay leaf, add the pea's and transfer the filling to a lightly greased dish (I have a weird shaped oval dish, mine never fits in a pie plate).

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

To make the potato top, steam the potatoes (basically make your own favorite mashed potatoes if you have some). Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add the milk, butter, any seasonings you like, and pepper. Mash well and stir in half of the chives, if desired. Spoon the potatoes on top of the lamb mixture to cover it completely.

Bake the dish until it is heated through and the potatoes just begin to brown, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining chives, a light dusting of Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

note: mine always bubbles over despite my attempts to prevent it. I always put a baking sheet underneath the dish just in case. better safe than sorry.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My baby is sick!

My sweet baby boy, Donnie, is sick.

Luckily Coach is home this week during Spring Break, to be with the little man.  When I let them out this morning he was uncharacteristically silent. Then they came in and I fed them and he barely ate (usually he barely chews, he eats so dang fast).  Then when they went in their crate I couldn't get him to move in further than the door, so I had to push him and push Georgia in behind him (totally not like them -- they love their crate!!).  I texted Coach but AT&T has been having iPhone issues all day (solution, go to your settings and turn off 3G), so I actually got his text before he got mine. Donnie threw up 4 times in about 30 minutes, I don't think he's barfed EVER. Once on the dog bed, so that thing is history (it was already on its last legs)--and turns out that he threw up all over the back of the crate.  So coach is washing the bedding (ironically, I had just washed it this weekend. ah well.).

So he's off to buy a new dog bed, then home to make Dog tummy feel good food. Which is, for the record:

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thigh)
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of rice

Boil chicken in water, over medium/medium high heat for approximately 20 minutes (or until well cooked). Remove chicken from water, let cool on cutting board and slice into very small pieces. Meanwhile, pour rice into water (which is now chicken stock-ish), cook for 20 minutes. Add chicken back into rice. Give about 1 tblsp at a time to your dog, only giving portions in about 20 minute intervals until they can keep it down. 1/4 cup is approximate regular serving for small dogs. You can also put a few carrots in the water, if your dog likes carrots (ours love them, love love them--and they're good for them).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Keratosis Pilaris -- My Bumpy Arms

I have a rather severe case of Keratosis Pilaris -- aka nasty bumps all over my arms, legs, and back. It's very common in woman, it's its also a lovely genetic gift I got from my mother and have a high risk I'll give it to any daughter I may have. For most people, it's stress related and rather unnoticeable. For me, it looks like I'm covered in pimple-like bumps and severe goose bumps, which occasionally get infected and look like popped pimples (gross). Also, because mine is so severe, if you touch my arm (even in passing) you'll notice how rough my skin is and how it feels like an insane case of goose bumps all the time. Recently it's even spread to my upper chest and neck region, which is lovely. I am super concious of it and rarely wear tank tops because of the scars and redness it makes.

Even wikipedia states:

"The condition is often dismissed outright by practitioners as being presently untreatable, giving mere moisturizing suggestions or reassurance that the condition will improve or cease with age, typically after 30. " wikipedia

I have discussed it with every dermatologist I've ever gone to and they never have given me  any recommended treatment. Through my  own googling I found a scrub and moisturizer product that was specifically formulated for KP at Sephora. It was expensive ($44 and $36, respectively) but i was desperate about 7 months before the wedding to cure it, at least temporarily. It did nothing but make me dryer (it's actually a severe dryness, and the moisturizers are all SUPER moisturizers that you're recommended to use 3-6 times a day! holy crap!).  So that was a waste.

Ironically, I started tanning 3-4 times a week to eliminate my pastiness pre-wedding, and that made a huge difference! Apparently UV-B can aid in your skin processing the dead cells, which are what collect when you have KP (forming the bumps). I then would lather up in the shower and use a pumice (yes, the same kind you use on your feet usually), to scrape the rest off. This worked, but then my skin was dry and I was still applying crazy amounts of Cetaphil to my arms and back.

I mentioned this in passing to my GP, and she immediately was shocked at what I was having to do just to keep them from getting red and inflamed on a regular basis.  Her nurse said to try AmLactin, that it's the only thing that worked for her. VOILA!!! Seriously, been dealing with this for my entire life and it took one nurse telling me to try it. I have to ask for it, it's behind the counter at target for some reason (they also apparently sell it at cosco).  But it's not even a KP specific lotion, it's for people with severe dry skin. And I'm now a very loyal customer. It really really works. I juse use it every morning and they go away. i have soft arms for the first time in years and years. :)

But just wanted to share, I know there are a lot of people out there with KP who have no idea 1. what it is, and 2. how to treat it!

30% Gap Discount





















Ok So, unlike most of the discount emails I get I checked this one out. This is awesome. I already love Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic (although my CC bill begs to differ). But this time there's a good catch: you get 30% off and they donate 5% of whatever you  (and your invites) spend to your charity of choice (they give you 5 options). I picked the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Which, if you've been reading my blog you know I've supported in the past for my friend who has Lymphoma.

So I've sent to friends, but if you want a link for the 30% off coupon I will send it to you too if you just post a comment with your email address!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Email Forwards

I think we all have those people who once we get on their "list" they wont stop emailing the stupid forwarded emails from hell. What do you do with these people? I delete them, usually. However, sometimes these people have information I need for family events, so I can't just spam them and send them to my "get the hell out of my inbox" folder. 

But here's the question, do you seriously think the 800 emails you send me every day mean that you love me more or something? Because they're freaking stupid. I'd much rather a genuine email or none at all. Do I ever reply to these? fuck no.

I do have to say that there are certain people who send forwards that I alwasy read them, but these are also the same people who rarely send anything so when you get one you know it'll be dang funny. 

but otherwise, if you're one of these people: seriously? stop with the stupid forwards! they are so annoying!! ugh!!

So sorry, but I just deleted (no joke) 12 from one person, today alone. And they're coming in sporadically and my phone beeps. So I think it's something from a real friend, but no. faked out every time. And on a side note, my stupid phone is dying so I have to go to the Apple Store to have them look at it. Which means they'll probably replace it (this will be my 3rd iPhone replacement. thank gosh I got the apple care plan. best 75 bucks ever), and it'll be all boring until I go home and upload my settings.  which, btw, I wish I could do on multiple computers without it wiping it clean. that's so freaking dumb! If anyone knows how I can do that without it deleting everything, I'd be much appreciated.

NOTE: they ended up replacing my phone. at least they were helpful. wish they'd given me a 3gs but oh well! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Crafties

Here are all the ones I've made so far. It's more than I realized, but ah well. I'm in the mood to craft! Don't hate!
Material is so stinkin soft. Matching Burp Cloth and blanket
This one is one of my favorites too!
Still working on the blanket. But I love this fabric
tooo cute!
Who doesn't like pokadots?Made this one for a lady at work's niece. I was SUPER thrilled with how cute it turned out!
Burp Cloth close up
the first blanket I made. It's just ok. Fabric wasn't as cute as when I picked it out. But whatever.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Craft Alert

So in my absence of wedding crafts to do I was feeling bored. Well not bored but just lacking in the craft department, and I'm not quite ready to start painting yet. So I saw some cute crafties on a blog, and got crankin' since everyone and their dog is preggo.

I started making pretty burp cloths and baby blankets, not the normal kind but the funky "I'm a funky fun adult" kind. read: I hate the walmart, target, boring ones that are out there that people keep registering for and kept seeing super cute fabrics at Hobby Lobby and they're more fun. after all, it the baby doesn't care what it looks like the woman does.

So I started making these sucka's:Yup, that's right people. They're burp cloths. And they're a 100 times cuter than most burp cloths. Made them with Gerber cloth diapers, so they're both cute and absorbent. So far, they're loved and thought to be adorable. I have to take photos of the matching receiving blankets I made. Those are more time consuming, but also everyone loves them. These babies are up on my new etsy shop--because I'm curious to see if anyone wants to buy them while I'm still having fun making them. And cloth diapers come in huge packages and I didn't need that many to send to the various people who have given birth lately. So yeah... we'll see.

I think they're beyond adorable. But is it just me in my crafty haze?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Good News (for once!)

We finally got our escrow check! Holy jeeze!! (We closed on December 4th). So the remaining money left on our credit card from the honeymoon is now paid off! Plus, we have some extra now and I'm thinking that I want to convince Coach to pay someone to paint the main areas of the house. the Ceilings are super high and I just don't want to do it. I'll let you know how that goes. But basically, super relieved to get that done with!

Wohoo!! On to bigger and better! How exciting. :) What a relief to finally be done with that damn house. :)

One Year Ago

One year ago today (well it was a Tuesday, if you want to get technical it was March 10, 2009) Coach and I met. This was after 2-3 weeks of hilarious eharmony conversations and lots of emails and texts. We were planning on meeting later in the week, but I had dinner plans that bailed and so we met that night. It was the only date I've ever been on that I didn't stress out on. I drove down to Arlington and ate at our (now favorite) restaurant. We sat at the bar, enjoyed lots of good dark beer, had awesome German food, laughed so hard core, and closed the place down. He kissed me that night while we were eating dinner, and it wasn't the beer or the nerves but that we looked at each other and he did exactly what we both wanted--no shame, no worries, just kissed me. We also after dinner made out for a long time in the parking lot, I can say that now because we're married and it's ok. :)

I left feeling elated and really happy, and scared that he wouldn't call. He not only called, but we spent every night since that day together. I met his family that friday, we started going to church together every week, and then we were engaged on April 24, 2009 (he proposed at that same restaurant!). We are seriously living a fairytale. And I'm so happy that it worked out. And as embarrassing as it is, yes we did meet via eharmony. But I seriously think it works. I have 1 friend who married an eharmony dude, and another who is about to. So it can't be all b.s.--I think you just have to be totally honest with the way you answer their questions and with what you're looking for. Which we both were. Very honest. :)

So here's to you my darling husband; 1 year ago today you changed my life. Here's to the next 80!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Wedding Photos

Some of our wedding photos have been uploaded. When we have all of them I'll post the website But so far, this is hilarious and I love it.VowsFirst Dance, Love that he got Coach's face!Pretty neat photo of my paper flower centerpieces. I rock!And this one makes me want to go home and make sweet babies with my husband. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Difference Between Coach and I

So maybe this is a miss-title, but sometimes Coach bugs the poopie out of me. Maybe because he's a man and they just are missing key synapses, but when it comes to major stuff at home he is lacking in the decision making category. And I was having to make a huge decision yesterday for my health, and he was adamant about not wanting to voice anything. Does he not have an opinion or does he just want to leave it to me? Either way, I really really wanted his input but he wouldn't give anything but the general "I totally support whatever you want to do, it's your body and your choice." This is related to the uterine pain and blood pressure issue I've mentioned previously, as I was now on doctor visit #3 with limited answers.

I just want him to have an opinion on things. When he does voice his thoughts, they're always something that makes me step back and think and I appreciate his input (he is my husband after all). But he is noticeably absent during a lot of the decision making in our lives. I just want him to say something, and while the support is nice I need him to help me. I'm not asking him to make the decision for me, just to be a part of it for cripes sake.

What's the harm in that?

Coach is also finishing out (plywood and wiring for plugs) our garage so we can put stuff away and get my car in, which I will apparently be able to do this weekend. Which is nice. We also have to replace the toilet in the master bath this weekend, so we've got to shop around. Well we don't have to, but it's driving me nuts. He can make those decisions, no problem. But the big stuff, he runs away from. Ugh. I think I'm also going to get a can of paint and paint one of the guest rooms. I'm antsy to get some painting done in the house. All the white walls are driving me banana's. I think I picked some good colors though, finally. I only had like 25 paint swatches on the walls. I just have to get rid of the awful wallpaper soon, it's getting more garish daily. So I duhno. It's nearing summer so Coach said he'd do that, especially since it looks like the garage will be done sooner than I'd ever anticipated. I didn't even realize what he'd been doing out there in the man cave until I had to go grab a hammer for something and there were walls. Whatever. boys are weird about their garages. We all know this.

To not end on an annoying note, the braised short ribs were, in a word, in.freaking.credible.

5lbs short ribs
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 bottles of Guinness stout


brown meat in a pan, transfer to slow cooker. cook in the same pan (with a little olive oil) onion, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft. transfer to slow cooker, pour Guinness in. Set on low for 7 hours (mine switches to warm after the timer goes off, and sat there until we were ready to eat). Remove meat, puree cooking liquid, add enough flour to make a gravy. Serve.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Food

So the squash went great. And here's the thing: Coach kept looking at me and going "this is REALLY good". Which made me think a few things:
  1. what the hell have I been feeding him that acorn squash is 5 star dining?
  2. maybe I need to keep cooking like this.
  3. this IS dang tasty.
  4. maybe I'll blog about it.

So I made some edits (of course) and here's how it went:

  • 1 loaf wheat bakery bread (doesn't matter what kind as long as it's not froicaccia)
  • 2 large acorn squashes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. butter or butter substitute (we use Smart Balance)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 Tbs assorted herbs (I used rosemary, thyme, and basil)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional, I had it for once so I used it)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (get the good kind, which are actually cheaper and sold in bulk, and not craisins or something)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Position rack sin the upper third and lower third of your oven and preheat to 375°F. Cut the bread into medium sized cubes and spread out on a baking sheet (you'll need about 3 cups of bread). Bake on the top rack, stirring occasionally, until the bread is dry and crispy (25 to 30 minutes). Cut the stem end off each squash. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center and discard. Cut a thin slice off the bottom end of each squash to create a level surface. Season the squash cavities with salt and pepper. Stand the squashes upright in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place in the oven on the lower rack.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and the assorted herbs. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread. Add the parsley and cranberries (you can add as much or as little as you like, I used probably 3/4 of a cup but we love cranberry's), stir to combine. Stir in 1 cup of the stock. Mash/mush the bread with the stock until the bread has absorbed it all, if it needs more stock add enough so that it's moist and sticky. Taste, add more herbs to season if you want (I added more thyme and fresh black pepper). Remove the squashes from the oven and spoon the stuffing into the squash cavities, mounding a small amount on the top--drizzle with a little olive oil. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup stock into the baking dish.

Bake until the squashes are tender when pierced with a fork and the stuffing is browned, 30 minutes - 1.5 hours (I checked them every 20 minutes--it'll depend on how long the squashes were in the oven before and how large they are). If the stuffing begins to brown too quickly, cover the squashes loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the squashes from the oven, drizzle each with 1 tsp. olive oil and serve.

We just ate half of one each, and only had that. I was going to make chicken but they're so hearty that we just ended up eating the squash. Coach LOVED them. :) They were awesome. I thought the cranberries would overpower but the sweet/salty thing was great. Overall, not too dang bad for you and they were really really good. If nothing else, the stuffing would be super good for thanksgiving too! So we have a whole one left over for Wednesday night's beer braised spare ribs. yum. :)

And he's still raving about the white bean soup. And for a man to rave about SOUP, a man who eats a.lot. and he liked a soup--that just seems like an awesome sign to me. So here:

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 strips of bacon, cut into 3/4" strips
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 cans of Cannelloni Beans, drained
  • 5 cups of chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup of Parmesan (or similar) cheese

In a large dutch oven (or heavy pot) over medium/medium-high heat, cook bacon with olive oil for about 5-6 minutes (you don't want it anywhere near crispy, just cooked). Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Saute until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant. Add beans and chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and cook for 20 minutes. With an immersion blender, blend the soup to desired constancy (we got ours fairly blended, but you could also keep it chunky). Add cheese, stir to combine and season with more thyme or fresh cracked pepper (if desired).

If you want whole beans in the finished product, reserve 1 can of beans and add after blending. You can continue cooking on low heat until ready to serve. Serve with fresh french bread. You'll want to soak up every bit.

Both recipes are adapted from the Williams Sonoma recipes posted previously.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Foodie

So those of you who know me know I love to cook. Unfortunately over the last 5 months I've been so busy or crazed I have been sticking to my basics and haven't been doing my crazy foodie inventions lately. This is about to change brother. I broke out my Il Cucchiaio d'argento over the weekend and cranked out some friggin awesome chicken, that only took 30 minute start to table. Gourmet does not always mean all-day. :)

The Silver Spoon

This is the Italian cookbook bible where I have, in the past, gotten my fancy recipes from--and everything out of this book is amazing. It only fairly recently became available in English. It's, I guess, the Italian version of what The Joy of Cooking did for french cooking--except it's the original and not written by Americans. But whatever. It's HUGE (6 POUNDS; over 2,000 recipes; and 1,200 pages!). But it has awesome ideas. It's broken up by sections and has every vegetable, carb, and meat (even game I though only Texas ate) imaginable. It's awesome. And seriously, 80% of the recipes are friggin easy! I love it. My mom gave it to me 2 years ago for Christmas and it's already speckled with grease and cooking sauces. A sign of a well used cookbook I believe.

Also, during my last few readings of the Williams Sonoma catalogue (some people like clothes, well I like those too, but really--cooking gadgets are my impulse buy. that's the only thing I ask for for Christmas usually) there have been some awesome recipes (free online). I tried the White Bean Soup (use 4 cans of beans--it wasn't very thick with the 3 it called for. also, I just used regular bacon) over the weekend and holy crap it was good, and healthy! Coach and I were using bread to sop up the extras out of the pot after we stored the leftovers (just don't make the crustini, they were not great. but get french bread. you'll want to soak up every ounce).

BUT, I think I'm going to make these tonight, they look great!


Williams Sonoma Recipies - Stuffed Acorn Squash

So I'm going to central market (across from my office, dangerous) to buy the squash after my workout. I have to get back into the routine. Also my blood test came back good, so still no idea what's wrong. ObGYN Wednesday. :(