Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken with Fennel and Rosemary

I decided that I wanted to try a new recipe this weekend since it seems like all we eat is leftovers during the week (which is great but still I want something new). So I went to my new Food & Wine Chicken cookbook and since I had marked about 30 recipes to try, I just had to pick one. And I decided to be adventurous and use a new ingredient...fennel. You may ask how did I go this long without eating fennel? I have no idea. But now that we've cooked with it, we'll be trying it again. I always see them on cooking shows talk about the licoriceness of it. And it certainly smelled like it when we cut it. Wow.

The recipe overall had too much rosemary in it for me. Also our chicken breasts were super thick (maybe we have super chickens in Oklahoma) so they were a little dry. We also didn't use parsley because we don't like it. We served it with some mashed potatoes. But overall I'm glad we tried fennel so I guess that is the positive from the recipe.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Fennel and Rosemary
by Food and Wine Magazine

Finished product and yes that is just half a chicken breast

  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1 large fennel bulb (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch slices
  3. 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  6. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/3 pounds in all)
  7. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  8. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the fennel, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the fennel is golden brown and almost done, about 12 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer until the fennel is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the fennel and the cooking liquid from the pan.
  2. Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the chicken to the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon of rosemary and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until almost done, about 3 minutes longer. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the fennel and its cooking liquid and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and remove from the heat. Let steam 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Fragments

Mommy's Idea

So what's on my mind this Friday? Glad you asked.

That World Series game last night was a doozy. I'm glad I'm not a die-hard fan of either team because the tension would have killed me. Believe me, I've been in that situation with the Braves and don't envy them. But it was a great game even if it did last 4 1/2 hours.

The rain from yesterday is gone and it is sunny today but cool. Thank you cooler temperatures. We even turned the heat on in the house.

There is no public school on Monday for "professional" day. What are these kids going to do on Halloween without any school to wear their costumes all day? I guess the parents had to work extra hard to make sure they had one because I bet there are lots of parties today.

I'm enjoying a day that doesn't have a meeting or teleconference scheduled. Boy those sure eat into your time and make you feel rushed all day.

Whitney is bringing home a sorority sister for Thanksgiving because she can't go home. This will be a new experience for us...two teenagers in the house at the same time. We look forward to having her and making sure she doesn't get too homesick. I know if I were her parents I would be grateful that she got to go somewhere instead of staying in the dorms. How good is the cafeteria going to be?

And the most exciting news, I had a job offer that my current position countered with more money. So I'm staying and getting a raise! I celebrated by buying a bottle of Prosecco and toasting myself.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall has arrived - Thank goodness

Fall has finally arrived in Oklahoma. Today it has been a rainy cold day. And I am thrilled to say all of those words. I never thought it would come after the record heat and drought. Yesterday started the cool down but I was still so dang hot I almost wore short sleeves and no jacket just to enjoy the temperature. Today is a jacket day but I'm not complaining. Oh no, it could be like this for a couple more weeks and I'd be happy. Even if it is a dreary rainy day every single day. Even if my office is a freezer. I just turn on the space heater, put on my sweater and enjoy opening my blinds to look out at the rain.

I saw where Colorado got a foot of snow. I'm very thankful my meeting there was two weeks ago because I don't drive in snow. That would have been a nightmare.

And so I'll go home tonight and start planning warm foods to bake in the oven and cook on the stove. Oh how I miss you gumbo and lasagna.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Quiche Recipe

So I had a lot of eggs I needed to use up so I thought I'll make a quiche. But I wanted something different than what we normally do. So I went to where I find one called Yummy Quiche. How could I go wrong with lots of cheese and bacon? Last night we started to make this and immediately recognized problem number was never going to fit in the 9inch deep dish pie crust I had. In fact I have no idea how anyone though three cups of cheese, five eggs and 1 1/2 cups of 1/2&1/2 would fit in anything. So smart me got out the second pie crusts (see I was smart and bought two) and mixed up the rest of my eggs and filled both pies to the top. We had no idea how it would turn out. Boy did it rise in the oven. It was like a soufle. I don't think I got the cheese distributed very well because the one we ate wasn't cheesy at all. And I didn't taste the bacon either. It was like an omelette with a little seasoning. We froze one (maybe that's the tasty one). But here's the recipe (with my additions) and maybe someone can tell me what I did wrong.


8 oz bacon (cooked, drained and crumbled)
9 inch unbaked pie crust (we used 2 deep dish premade ones)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded monterray jack cheese (we used a monteray jack/colby blend)
3 tablespoons of flour
5 eggs lightly beaten (I used 10 eggs)
1 1/2 cups half and half (I used 2 cups)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 can diced green chiles drained

Put bacon on the bottom of pie crust. Mix cheeses with flour. Set aside. Beat eggs and add 1/2 and 1/2, onion and green chiles. Mix cheese into the wet ingredients. Pour over bacon.

Cook at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes (ours took only 55 minutes).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Night Special

Well by this time we should have been at halftime of the OU football game. Alas, we had a severe thunderstorm that has delayed the start of the game. It should be starting shortly. But I have already announced that I am not staying up and watching the whole thing. I do feel pretty good about the fact that I've been nice and dry at home while lots of my friends were cold and wet shivering under the stadium with 70,000 of their closest friends. I've been watching the World Series and a couple of other football games while nice and toasty under my little blanket (with the air conditioner running because it is stuffy in the house).

And if you can believe it, there was a tornado in the state just a few hours ago. Not often we have October tornadoes but it can happen anytime. Everyone should realize that.

Today's safety tip...If you see lightning outside, take cover. You never know where it will strike next.

Friday, October 21, 2011

TV Review Time

So here's my update on the new shows I was going to watch and have given a try more than one show.

I really like Prime Suspect. Maria Bello is totally kick-butt in the detective role. Since it is based on a BBC series starring Helen Mirren, I'd like to check that one out. I bet she kicked butt too.

Still watching Person of Interest. I can see that it has some shelf-life because the stories are new each week and you really don't know much about the main characters yet. They slowly give it to you so it will be awhile before we get tired of them. Unless they give us information too slow.

Revenge got really good this week. Definitely chick tv (i.e. nighttime soap opera). But I liked how things started happening that the main character didn't plan on. I don't think she means anyone to die so the fact that someone did upset her. Afterall, it is hard to get revenge if the person is dead.

The X Factor. I will not watch this show again. I tried to give it chances. But how many times can you recap what happened two minutes ago. And the people that they picked to go to the live shows were not the most talented people. Therefore I hereby protest this show and will not watch. I think they could have lived up to the hype if they would have stopped hyping it.

Still looking forward to the Next Iron Chef on Food Network. Project Runway ends next week. I've seen photos of the collections online and this season has been a huge disappointment. Bring on the all-stars. We need some characters that aren't totally bitchy (yes I'm talking about you Josh).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chili Recipe

It was finally cool enough to make chili. Especially at the request of Whitney this weekend. So here is the recipe. It is a time tested favorite in our house. Over the years we've adjusted it to suit our tastes but we are really liking the latest version.


2lb hamburger, browned and drained
8 oz tomato sauce
32 oz water
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 T dry onion
2 T cumin
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cans chili beans
2 cans diced tomatoes

Mix all ingredients, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. You can also cook this in a crockpot on low all day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Day in Colorado

The last day of meetings in Colorado took me to Fort Collins. I don't think I'd ever been there.

The hotel welcomed me with towel animals.

A much different mountain view there. 
The one thing they seem to like in Colorado is their micro-brewery. I had a little extra time before going to the airport so I stopped at one. Didn't have time for the tour (or so I thought before the massive airline delay) but got in a few pictures and a beer sample.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Night and I'm Feeling Alright

After getting home at 1am this morning and not sleeping well, I woke up to having Whitney home waiting on the couch to give me a hug. That was a good way to start the day. I had even stopped at Walmart at 12:30 in the morning to make sure she had breakfast since our house was woefully short on food since I hadn't shopped for two weeks. So the first order of business today was to find out what she wanted to eat while home and then make the trip to Walmart to shop. She came along so she could get stuff to take back to college. Needless to say, the bill was much larger than normal between two weeks of food and then her stuff. Good thing this doesn't happen every week. We had to fight over the washing machine but she won because she had nothing to wear.

Tonight was Dan's famous pizza for dinner. Always is the first choice for dinner when Whitney is home. It was very good tonight. She also wants spaghetti (which she claims is terrible in the cafeteria) and chili.

We even fit in a short shopping trip for boots/shoes for her. It was a quick trip and found what she was looking for almost right away. How often does that happen? Tonight is the OU football game, which should be over fairly quickly. And we are watching the Detroit/Texas baseball game which seems to be over after three innings (go Rangers!)

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to serving at church. I missed it last week since we were on vacation and I really do miss everything about it. And with my business trip this week I also missed the monthly worship service that is always inspirational.

I hope that we will get to bathe the dog tomorrow. She desperately needs one and stinks so bad when she comes in from outside. I'm afraid if we don't get it done tomorrow she'll never get clean and we'll smell her for months over the fall/winter season.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What to do at an Airport

So I was supposed to fly out of Denver at 6pm today. I got to the airport around 3:30 and checked in. Everything was fine. Went through security (quite a mess, no sense of organization) and started towards my gate. Somehow in the 30 minutes it took from check in to gate, my flight was delayed two and a half hours. Really? I can only assume mechanical problems because normally the flight just goes back and forth between OKC and Denver and I know the weather is fine in both places. So now I won't get home until midnight. Boo, Whitney got home around 2:30 so now I won't see her tonight. (although she did fall asleep on the couch around 6pm poor thing).

So what do I do to occupy my time? Lucky me they have free wireless so I can get on the internet. But sometimes it is really slow. So I decided to go get a drink. I hate paying airport prices but hey I had three hours to kill. I went and actually had two glasses of wine (wow, I must have been desperate) and ordered and ate an entire pizza (I really didn't need to but oh well).

And now I'm blogging. I really wanted to do a fashion disaster photo shoot at the airport but so far not anything has grabbed my attention. And I will say that I'm luckier than the people going to Little Rock. Their flight was outright cancelled. I wouldn't have been happy with that.

I did get to go to the New Belgium Beer Company in Fort Collins before coming to the airport. I didn't take the tour because I thought I would be late to the airport. How ironic that was. But I did get to sample the beers. So now I probably would count as a lush today with a beer and two glasses of wine.

Better get that workout plan ready.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yes I'm Really Working

So today was a full day of meetings followed by an 1+ hour drive to Fort Collins for day two of meetings. So today's pictures are only of the building we were in.

We had a very nice tour of the building. They have a Science on a Sphere like we do but it is in a dark room so I think the demonstrations show up very nicely. I actually learned a few things while I was there.

Then I drove to Fort Collins. Everyone else stayed in Boulder and is driving here in the morning. Lucky me because I can sleep in since the meeting doesn't start until 9:30. Woohoo!

I wish I could have taken a few pictures while driving here. In Longmont there was a moose statue that had a pumpkin in between its antlers. Pretty cute.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day one of Colorado

Just had to post a few pictures from today and a few comments.

How many bikes can one campus have? I have never seen this many bikes in one place.

This is all outside one building on campus at 4pm. What are all of these people doing here and how can they possible fit one more bike there? What do they do in the winter when it snows?

The CU band was practicing in the middle of campus on a lawn with the yardlines marked off. I'm used to the band practicing not near anything. Was fun to watch for a bit.

I also saw this on the campus. It is a lightning warning device. I had never seen one. My office does research on lightning so I'll need to ask about it.

I ate dinner at a place that had been on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It was called Foolish Craig's Cafe. I guess they have good breakfasts and crepes. I had a crepe for dinner and I hate to say it but it wasn't anything special. It came with steamed broccoli with no seasoning and spicy rice. Not sure how that all went with a chicken pesto crepe. It had a great atmosphere and the owner was super friendly. But I am concerned that this is the type of restaurant that they are promoting on the show. We have one that was on the show in Norman and I've never been there. I guess I could try it and see if it is any good.

I did lots of walking and the hotel is near a shopping center. In it was a liquor store. I love to go into stores in other states to see what they have and what they sell. The store was open until 11pm and also open on Sundays. Oh my. Ours are open 10-9 and never on a Sunday. Different world.

Off to Colorado

I fly to Colorado today for a whirlwind two day business meeting. One day in Boulder, one day in Fort Collins. I'm looking forward to seeing colleagues I missed out seeing at our annual meeting this past spring since I missed it. It is always good to be able to commiserate with them on our similar problems with the federal government.

The weather looks like it should be good so hopefully I'll be able to spend some time outside enjoying mountain air. I'm crossing fingers that maybe there are some fall colors on the leaves too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


While on our little vacation, the visitor center had a display of woodcarving. We didn't spend much time (I actually meant to get back there but didn't) but I did take a few pictures to show off the work.

These are very talented people. Wood isn't forgiving. You can't go back and correct a mistake if you take too much out. I love how these people see a piece of wood and know exactly what it is supposed to be. That takes a talent that I don't have.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Beavers Bend Mini-Vacation

What a great relaxing trip. I read a couple of books while sitting on the porch looking at the wind blow the leaves. Dan went hiking in the state park. We watched OU beat Texas at a local sports bar. I saw lots of deer every evening. 

 I highly recommend Friendly Pines Cabins if you ever find yourself in the Beavers Bend area.

I didn't really take pictures of me reading books (sort of boring to watch) but believe me I was super relaxed. Now it is a short office work week as Wednesday I leave for Colorado for two days of meetings. Then Whitney comes home for her fall break.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Great Trip

We got back a couple of hours ago from our mini-vacation. It was WONDERFUL!!! I'll write more about it and post pictures later but just wanted everyone to know that getting away from it all can be relaxing. And having no internet access is a good thing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Favorite Fall Vacation

In honor of the fact that tomorrow my husband and I get a mini-vacation, I'm going to write about my favorite fall vacation.

Fall vacations just don't happen. For one thing working for a school and then having a kid in a school setting, tends to mean you don't get to take a fall vacation. And I love fall. But five years ago I gave Dan a superb 40th birthday present of a trip to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. And we had to take it in the fall because I had always wanted to go to Vermont to see the fall leaves. Whitney was a freshman in high school and she was able to spend the night with some neighbors and we had my mother-in-law come up for the weekend. So Dan and I left on a Thursday in October for five days.

It was perfect weather. Crisp but sunny. There wasn't any rain. The fall leaves were beautiful. The Hall of Fame is a must for any true baseball fan. We didn't have huge crowds.

It was the best fall vacation I've ever taken.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Thank you Java for posting questions so I don't have to be creative on a Monday blog!.


1.  I can't stand when someone ________?
2.  Do you do daily, weekly or monthly grocery shopping?
3.  What kind of car do you drive?
4.  Crunchy or soft tacos?
5.  What's the habit you are proudest of breaking?

1. Doesn't return my phone call. The latest adventure with this was dealing with my car accident settlement. My "adjuster" wouldn't return my call. I finally got a supervisor and made it very clear how bad the service was. I was reassigned and this adjuster is doing a good job following up. Needless to say, this company who shall remain nameless although they do have an animal for a mascot, will never get my business.

2. I do a weekly trip to Walmart (I know but they have the cheapest prices). Then Dan usually stops at the grocery store once a week for anything he needs that didn't get on my list. I try and plan out the week's meals so we aren't caught wondering what we are going to eat. And I always have a few things in the freezer for that oh no moment when we realize that we have nothing to eat.

3. I have a 2009 Honda Civic Coupe. Oh how I love my car, affectionately nicknamed Shelby. I wrote about the purchase here 

4. I like soft tacos. I don't have to worry about taco shells stabbing my gums while eating.

5. Biting my nails. I was so bad about this for years into adulthood. I'm not sure how I did it, but I just decided to stop. Then for years I got fake nails but a few years ago I decided to give that up. And my nails look great now.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Snippets

Just a few tidbits from the day

The dog should be bald going by the amount of hair that sticks to my furniture. How she can shed so much and still be covered I have no idea.

Toby Rowland is so much better as play-by-play for OU football on the radio. I can actually listen to the game since it is only on pay per view. And who would want to pay $39.95 to get the Ball State game is crazy.

Walmart at noon on a home football game equals insanely long lines. Nothing else needs to be said about that.

Thank you for the beautiful weather. And the forecast is for another week just like today.

Happy birthday to my little girl. Of course at 19 she isn't little anymore but I'll always know that she is in my heart.