Monday, October 31, 2011

Thai Peanut Pasta

I thought it would be nice to cook dinner for the in-laws tonight.  We are still staying at their house as we continue to be without power at ours.  So I wanted to repay the favor.  I'm not so sure my father in law liked it although he said he did, I think he would have preferred the "toast and beans" he was talking about before I began cheffing...

Thai Peanut Pasta

1lb chicken breast
1/2c flour
2T vegetable oil
1 box whole grain linguine (you can use a different type of pasta if you prefer)
1/2c. all natural peanut butter (I use Jif natural creamy because the oily ones yuck me out)
1/4c low sodium soy sauce
1/2c chicken stock
grated fresh ginger or you can use the powder-to taste
1tsp minced garlic
1 broccoli bunch chopped
baby carrots, about a handful
1/2 one red pepper sliced
1/2 onion chopped
sliced mushrooms (if you like them, my husband doesn't but sometimes I sneak em in)

In a medium bowl add peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chicken stock, stir with a wire whisk until mixture is a smooth thin liquid.  If it seems too thick add more chicken stock, It will thicken once cooked. Set sauce aside. Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes, place into a bowl or bag to coat with the flour.  Heat oil in a large deep nonstick skillet over med-high heat add and cook until golden brown, turning occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.  Meanwhile you should start a pot of water to boil the linguine. Put a steamer basket into a saucepan and boil about a cup of water in the bottom.  Add carrots to basket and cover for about 5-7 minutes, add broccoli and continue cooking about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add red pepper onion and mushrooms to the skillet and cook until tender.   Add broccoli and carrots to skillet, and cooked chicken.  Pour sauce over the ingredients in the skillet and stir.  Once linguine is cooked al dente drain and put into serving bowl.  Pour chicken vegetable and sauce over the top of the pasta.  Serve with garlic bread.  Enjoy!

*also really yummy served with rice instead of pasta

I guess I didn't have the change to snap a pic of the finished product tonight, we were all too hungry to wait! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Love New England

Let me start off by saying that I don't think anybody enjoys losing power at their house.  I do not enjoy it, I also haven't really ever had too much of a problem with it.  I live in New England.  Weather is almost always a featured topic of conversation.  It's soooo hot out huh?  All too quickly it becomes "I can't believe it's already snowing!" 

I love it here.  I love that we have changing seasons, even if it seems like the least desirable ones last the longest.  It's worth it to experience the beauty of Spring and Autumn in New England. 

We had a Nor'easter last night.  We had plenty warning.  It seems like we always do these days, Way too much warning sometimes.  Better be safe than sorry right? 

The power went out at my house around 11 pm yesterday.  Somehow I was dumbfounded.  I stumbled down my dark stairway to find something to light on fire.  Why I did this I am not quite sure as I had actually just shut off the light to get some sleep.  But now suddenly I needed light.  I had a vague idea where my stock of candles was since I light them pretty frequently.  Lighter?  hmmmm.... I patted my hand on all surfaces to search for something.   Eventually I found a candle lighter.  I lit a few candles and put some around for when my husband got home from a hockey game, and brought some upstairs.

It wasn't until my husband got home and began building a fire in the wood stove that I realized that no power meant no heat also, and I had done nothing to provide heat in my house.  Wow!  I am not prepared for these things happening at all!  To top it off I had a dishwasher full of dirty dishes, and plenty of laundry to be done.  Not at all ready for the week ahead by normal standards. 

It's almost 24 hours later and I sit now at my in-laws house, who live in the city so typically don't lose power or like on this occasion only for half a day.  And when can we expect to regain power in our neck of the woods?  Could be up to a week.. yikes. 
I still love you New England!! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crush on Crafting

I can't help but wonder if I might be suffering from a smidgen of mental illness recently.  With beginning this blog and all of the crafty things I have been doing, life has been a bit strange.  I haven't spent time doing things I really like to do in a long while.  Not necessarily because I couldn't, just because I didn't. 

In a very short time I've gotten to know the ladies at the craft stores, one of them greeted with "Evan right?'  I thought.. I might be coming here too often....

I have always loved to do things in the kitchen.  Nothing weird, I just mean cooking, and baking and such.  But I have a serious crush on crafting these days.  I have this tendency to completely overwhelm myself when I get on a kick of trying to do new things.  With that said, I decided I needed to make jewelery, sew clothing, make curtains, learn how to knit, refinish furniture.... See what I mean? 

I decided that the majority of the gifts I would give for Christmas would be homemade.  I thought that would equate to less expensive but I am learning that is untrue.  Not for me anyway.  

My first idea was to make homemade tote bags to use as gift bags for yummy treats and such and I finished my first one tonight.  It was the first time I made anything from a pattern, although I did alter the plan just a bit.  Can I just say that the pride I was feeling when that silly little bag was complete was ridiculous.  I'm thinking that might be all I need every once in a while to keep me doing things that are interesting to me!  

I sincerely hope there is something that you do that gives you that feeling too.   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Time

I am so curious to know exactly what that means, Free Time....
Free from what exactly? 
A few weeks ago my husband told me that I have more "free time" than him, in response to my asking him to clean something as a "romantic gesture".  I was immediately on the defensive in response this accusation.  I have a wonderful, loving husband who works very hard.  He is also an avid fly-fisherman, weekly pick-up hockey player, golfer (as much as we can afford), and rarely receives a negative response when he calls to check if it's cool to "go grab a beer" after work. 
I wake each morning, no later than six except on rare weekend occasions that I do not hear babbling, (or screaming at times) coming from my sons room.  The day is full from then on, getting everyone ready and out the door, work, home, then night-time routine kicks in.  Dinner, bath, story, bed, and then cleaning up after it all.  Some days are more exhausting then others.  Tuesdays I am lucky enough to have a fabulous mother in law take my son, and this is because I am in class until 8:30. 
Let me make it clear that I am NOT complaining about having a full and busy life. I actually enjoy almost all of it very much.  I AM curious to know how two people living in the same house could have a completely different view of reality, or at least a different definition of it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Awesome Easy Pot Roast

I had to take a sick day from work today as I am feeling quite icky.  I woke up this morning and tried all I could to rally but it just wasn't happening.  It would have been an easy night after work too since I already had this bad boy ready to go, so no cooking for this girl tonight!

Awesome Easy Pot Roast
2 1/2 pound pot roast (you can use larger or smaller if you like)
4 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
2 cups baby carrots
4 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into cubes
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup mix
2 cups water

Brown the roast in a frying pan sprayed with cooking spray on medium high heat (Just let it sit in the pan on each side for about 2 minutes).  Combine mushroom soup, onion soup mix and water in a medium sized bowl.  Place roast into crock pot.  Add veggies and soup mixture.  Set on low for 8 hours.   It really only takes a few minutes to get this all set to go and you will have a nice hearty meal waiting for you when you get home, or just whenever you can peel yourself off the couch. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't Touch My Kid

There are a lot of things you can prepare for when having a child.  There's one thing that I still have an excruciatingly hard time dealing with.  All the touching. Mostly that which is done by strangers.  When you become noticeably pregnant sometimes people will find your round belly irresistible.  I lucked out in this department because no stranger bothered me, although I did get a few people that I barely knew pawing at me. Okay fine I'll survive.  They do tell you that this will happen in the books you read in preparation, and that everyone who talks to you will give you some slice of advice, regardless of whether or not you care to hear it.  But this evening I found myself dreading going to the grocery store, not for the normal reasons, like that it is just no fun to do.  I picked my son up from daycare and headed over to the store just knowing that someone was going to touch HIM!  Now, when he was really tiny, I wouldn't say that I was neurotic about it, but I wasn't too fond of many people touching him, especially since he was born in the winter time and I feared him getting sick.  It is inevitable at this point that he will be sick most of the time it's cold out since day cares are basically a playground for germs and whatnot.  So that is no longer my bother when someone reaches out their little hand towards him.  I just can't seem to wrap my head around how any person would think it was appropriate to touch a stranger, regardless of their size or age, without invitation.  I feel like I must not be alone in my completely dumbfounded reaction.  Shall I swat your hand away from him and say no?  Do I let this behavior continue as I feel my ears heating and turning red?  I've tried to think of clever things to say, but only after the fact because somehow it still catches me off guard. 

Tonight, Evan got a wave from a little boy, and also some playful waving from the nice man in front of us in the checkout, which is actually quite helpful as that is always when he freaks out, so the distraction is appreciated.  But that's it, no touchers whatsoever.  I assume this only happened because I was semi-prepared for the hand swat. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

The first time I made this dish it was kind of by accident, but it came out awesome.  I love making mexican style food, or at least my idea of the same.  You can substitute whatever you want really or omit something you don't like and it should be just fine (probably with the exception of the tortillas!)

1 package 8" tortillas ( I use whole wheat, but flour ones probably taste even better!)
1 can refried beans, any variety
1 pound ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 package taco seasoning
1 small can green chiles
1 small can sliced black olives
2 cups shredded mexican cheese
1/2 jar taco sauce

Heat your oven to 375. Saute the beef with the green pepper and onion. Lay one tortilla on the bottom of a 9 inch round baking pan, (the deeper the better).  Spread refried beans over the tortilla to cover it.  Spoon some of the beef mixture atop that.  Sprinke with chiles and olives, and then cover with mexican cheese.  And repeat as many times as you have ingredients for ending with a tortilla.  Pour taco sauce over the top of the last tortilla and then sprinkle more cheese on top.  Bake in the over for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melty.  Serve with sour cream.  (I also like to serve this on a bed of shredded lettuce for texture). 

If you need a good recipe for a margarita let me know! =)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Treat Yourself To Some Flowers!

Please go out and buy yourself some flowers. 

It is absolutely phenomenal how cheery it makes your house feel.  On Saturday I spent the first half of my day cleaning and organizing my house, and when I needed my husband to run out and grab a few things from the grocery store that I needed for my dinner party that evening, I decided to ask him to buy some flowers.  Now, this wasn't approached in the whiney fashion you are surely imagining ("you never buy me flowers, wah wah wah").  True, my husband has bought me flowers once...ever.  But generally speaking I'm okay with that, especially since I think I have the opposite of a green thumb.  Plants literally come into my custody to commit suicide.  So he brought home some autumn-y looking bunch, and I was stoked.  I dumped that little packet into the one vase I have in my cabinet, and even cut them at an angle under the running water.  That's what you're supposed to do right??

 Then my brother and sister in law arrived with another, even more beautiful bouquet, and they probably thought I was mental when seeing  how excited I was.  Two bouquets? at the same time?  Wow, this is living!  I'm proud to say that two evenings have gone by and at least they have made it this far.  I'm serious here, do your mood a favor. You really need to get yourself some, or you can just guilt someone else into doing it I suppose.   
You may notice this lovely arrangement to the right lives in a gigantic beer mug that I, ahem, "borrowed" from some bar at some point in my very early twenties.  I wasn't kidding, I really only have one vase. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tongue Tied - Difficult To Read Children's Books

I've decided I simply must write childrens books.  Or read them before I purchase them.  It's a little difficult at times if you have a squirmy baby blabbing loundly in my carriage as I stroll down the aisle of books at Toys R Us, but I think I made a hasty purchase.  My son is great at sitting with me at bedtime and having a story read to him, with the latest book I purchased, I am the problem.  I can't say the characters names without becoming exhausted.  Don't get me wrong, the idea behind this story is fantastic and I am considering editing it on my own to change the names to something a little easier to spit out. 
For your information, the characters in this story are "Little Nutbrown Hare", and "Big Nutbrown Hare", and you will say those names a LOT of times.  Like I said, the story is lovely so I'm not recomending that you stay away, just brace yourself. 

Oh, and I think I actually might have added "become a childrens book author" to my to do list..yikes!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Cheers to 29 years!  Today I celebrate my birthday.  It is astounding the difference it the way I would choose to spend my day in comparison to eight years ago, when I celebrated my 21st and was served so many shots of alcohol that I spewed on my own lap at the bar where I worked.  Today I woke up with  husband and a son and all the responsibilites that go along with those things. I did, however, treat myself to a day off from work, which results in a long weekend for me..woohoo!  So how did I spend that day off from work?  Mostly, cleaning, grocery shopping, painting an old table, and the big treat, a nice long nap in the middle of the afternoon (Thanks Evan!) 

Gifts?  My mom bought me a sewing maching about two weeks ago, and I couldn't be happier with that gift.  My husband gave me a "Happy Birthday Honey" at midnight, which was adorable, and a card this morning, and as I mentioned earlier, my son gave me a nap.  And birthday dinner?  I wanted to spend some time with some loved ones, so instead of going to some restaurant and spending more money than anyone really wants to, I wanted to do my absolute favorite thing, and that is having a dinner party, and that is on the schedule for tomorrow.  For this evening, I will be hanging out with my son, probably eating left overs and going to be early. 

My how times have changed. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Autumn Table Centerpiece

It may be a little silly to do in a chaotic household like my own, but I absolutely love a nice centerpiece for my dinner table.  Quite honestly, my husband and I tend to eat our dinner in our living room, and we even have one of those fancy coffee tables that you can pull up to the appropriate height.  It's quite convenient since our dinner table tends to be covered in everything we bring into our house and dump there (mail, my bags, etc)  The lovely new sewing machine my mother bought me for my birthday lives there now too until I find a home for it.  Anyhow, we are having some folks over for dinner on Saturday evening so I thought it would be a great opportunity to revamp my centerpiece.

I went to the craft store today and bought a yard of this really pretty fabric.  I only used half of that here to make this vertical table runner, but my table is not very wide.  I ironed it, and then hemmed all the ends.  I have a plastic gold charger that I believe I bought at big lots for a dollar a few years ago, and have gotten tons of use out of. 

These cool little glass rocks I bought at Wal-mart for three bucks.  Added a cool little branchy looking candle holder I had, and a nice new candle, and voila.  I'm pretty pleased.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I betcha didn't think you'd be reading about poop today.  My husband and I had our first rock, paper, scissors battle to determine who would change our sons diaper this evening.  It's no mystery when our son will have a less than pleasant situation happening in his pants, and tonight was no different. 
"Ew, I don't wanna" was all I said. 
"You don't wanna what?" replied my husband.
I said "Your son stinks".
He said "Ugh, why do I have to?"
As I was going to get up to take care of it, he says "I'll rock, paper, scissors you for it"
My husband never loses.  Well except at Scrabble, and it makes him furious.  He is a little smug about it at times but I'm okay with it.  I swear he finds a way to cheat, but I'll probably never be able to figure out what it is.  With that said, he gave me scissors to my rock, and a rock to my scissors, and I was out of the game. 
Tonight I lucked out and the diaper change was pretty mild, but I guess I should consider who I'm up against next time, and maybe we should play Scrabble for it....Just in case.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Giving Up The Family Pet

Today marks a very sad day in my life.  I can barely look at my screen without tearing up.  Before you get too devastated, nobody died, not that I know of anyhow.  Today I had to surrender my dog, my family dog as he became.  For the safety of my son, and my own sanity, I literally made the hardest decision to date.  William was 10 weeks old when I got him.  Please don't judge, I did get him from a pet store...I know, I know, I know... it's terrible.  You'll be glad to know that pet store has since been closed.  I just had to have him, he was a pain in the neck even then, but he just had to be mine.  And he was, for seven and a half years.  He was there every time I turned that door knob.  And know I am absolutely devastated.  My husband and I tried to find him a suitable home for about a year, to no avail.  It became very clear when my son began crawling and cruising around that they were not a good match.  My son has been confined by gates but is quite a frisky little one, always getting into everything as little ones do.  And my William, he is an excitable 100 pound American Bulldog, great for a single young woman living in a less than desirable part of town, not so much for an adventurous ten month old.  I still haven't found anything my son fears, including a quite large and capable doggie jaw.  I have tried for years to tame that wild beast, and we worked on his various pesky habits, but when it comes to my son, I just can't risk disaster.  William, I hope will get to live his remaining years getting all the love and attention he deserves.  He will hold a piece of my heart forever.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bran Flax Muffins

I made these muffins on Sunday and I am pretty embarrased to say that I think I ate four of them.  Um, I liked them a lot.    The recipe is on the back of Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal.  The name of the recipe does them no justice.


Bran Flax Muffins
1 1/2 cups Unbleached White Flour  (I used whole wheat flour instead)
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal
3/4 cup Oat Bran
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Carrots, shredded
2 Apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup Raisins -optional (I used em)
1 cup nuts, chopped.  (I used walnuts, and only about 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup Milk
2 Eggs, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla

Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir in carrots, apples, rasins, and nuts.  Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.  pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.  Stir until ingredients are moistenend.  Do not over mix.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.  Yields 15 medium muffins. 
(I did use liners in my pan, and I cooked them for the full 20 minutes because they were quite mushy otherwise.  I ended up with 19 muffins.  So, so good!!

A Whole New World

When it rains it pours in my world... Every now and then I go through little growth spurts, so to speak.  And boy oh boy am I having one now.  I have been feeling like I once was blind, and now I can see.  I am so curious about so many things and so eager to learn about them.  I am hoping that by giving myself a forum to share it all, I might prolong this lovely feeling.  So, sharing in this regard is part of my growth and I am so excited!!


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