Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary Hodgepodge!

Happy Anniversary! or Happy Birthday! However you want to say it the Hodgepodge hits 100 today! Congratulations Joyce and I hope you have power soon so you can see all the responses!

1. What creeps you out?
When I think of being creeped out, I think of something that gives me the heeby jeebies (I think that's how it's spelled). Lots of blood, that creeps me out. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

2. What's your least favorite candy?
Didn't you always hate those orange and black wrapped candies as a kid? I'm not sure what flavor they are but they are yucky.

3. Are you a fan of scary movies? What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?
I hate scary movies. I've seen Friday the 13th and tried to watch Halloween but I couldn't make it through.

4. What part of life confuses you the most?
Interesting question. I have to say I never really feel confused so I'm not sure how to answer it.

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?
Not a big seed person. Perhaps a good sesame seed bun? I'm allergic to pumpkin seeds. I only like to suck the salt off of sunflower seeds.

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?
First of all the house will be paid for. That means all the money that I'm spending on a mortgage can be saved up for fantastic vacations each year. I can retire by then too so maybe a whole new second career will be in the works for me.

7. What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?
Love getting to know people from all around the world. I've found some of the best blogs through the Hodgepodge. Like least maybe some of the questions that use quotes. I'm not a big quote person so I never know how to answer them. But others do, so I wouldn't change anything about the Hodgepodge.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm getting my hair colored so no roots are showing when I go to my meeting in DC this weekend. I would hate to show up and people look at me and think man she can't even take care of her hair. LOL. I'm sure that's not what they think but I will think they do, so why not get it done. But do we really need an excuse to get our hair done?

We are hosting a Trick or Treat event at work. All the people who work here bring their kids and go around to all the offices. It is always cute to see the little ones. We seem to have had a lot of babies this year and those parents go crazy for cute costumes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Do you need to have an excuse to make lasagna? Well I created one...mainly I wanted to make sure that there were plenty of leftovers for while I was gone. With it just being the two of us, a whole pan of lasagna will serve both of us 6 times. So lots go into the freezer. And it only improves with the flavors mixing together. So the leftovers are often better than the original.

Recipe adapted from American Beauty pasta

1 lb. ground beef
3 cups (about 28-oz. jar) spaghetti sauce
16 pieces (about 16 oz.) lasagna noodles, slightly cooked
4 cups (2 lb.) ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In large skillet, brown meat; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce; simmer 10 minutes. 

Lay pasta on a sheet pan. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 5-10 minutes, replacing water when it cools. This will slightly cook the pasta making it pliable but not fall apart.

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt and pepper. Spread about 1/3 cup meat sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 4 pasta pieces lengthwise over sauce, overlapping edges. Spread one-third cheese mixture over pasta; spread with about 3/4 cup meat sauce. Repeat layers TWICE, beginning and ending with pasta. Top with remaining meat sauce; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10 minutes longer, or until lightly browned.

This has been our go-to lasagna recipe for so many years. This time I added in 1/2 pound of cooked Italian sausage in addition to the ground beef. We always add more cheese to the top than it calls for because we like gooey cheese.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Herb Crusted Pork Loin

The grocery store had pork loins on sale and I needed to cook something to go with a stuffing recipe for the Crazy Cooking Challenge (which will be posted later). Since we just had our normal pork recipe last week, I wanted to try something new. Normally we are conservative and don't want to waste money if we won't like it, but at nine dollars for the whole loin, I didn't think that was too bad if it didn't taste good.

So I found a recipe at Food Network (always a good go to source). I had never made a recipe by Ellie Kreiger but it had good ingredients, good reviews and who can pass up "healthy" recipes.

The original recipe has a sauce, but we didn't make it since I didn't have the ingredients and it wouldn't go with my side dish anyway.

Herb Crusted Pork Loin
Recipe by Ellie Kreiger

2 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 1/2-pound) center cut boneless pork loin, trimmed of all visible fat


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash the garlic and salt together with a fork until it forms a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil, fresh herbs and freshly ground pepper. Rub the garlic-herb paste all over the pork. Transfer the pork to a roasting pan and roast for 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the roast to a carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Carve the pork into slices and serve with the sauce.

This is probably going to feed up 5 times depending on how we use the leftovers. It was moist and flavorful. I'll definitely keep the recipe and do it again when we want something different.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Fragments - Finally It Feels Like Fall

Mrs. 4444 hosts the weekly empty your mind of fragments party. She's been doing this a lot longer than I have.

Mommy's Idea

The weather finally got colder. Although I didn't expect it to be 35 degrees this morning. Somehow we are skipping the 60-70 range. It's going to be a cold one for all those football people Saturday night as our game is on national tv. I'll be watching in the comfort of my home with a fire going. See I'm smart like that.

I've even turned on the space heater in my office. One of the best gifts Dan has given me for Christmas. I work in an ice box.

I'm doing a bible study on Jonah and last night something struck me. So time to ponder on it for awhile.

Don't you love it when you think you've been doing extra for someone and then they send an email saying they aren't getting any support from you at all. What's up with that? Now they definitely won't be getting anything extra from me.

If you watch College Gameday on ESPN this weekend, you'll see part of our beautiful campus. They are actually going to be in a pretty spot instead of the last time they were here and were at the track.

In one week I'll be in Washington DC. I'm sure all the pretty leaves will have been knocked off the trees from the storm that is coming their way. Darn, I was hoping to see beauty.

Stupid criminal of the week was a bank robber who turned around and went back to the bank to complain they hadn't given him the $20K he asked for. The police were there investigating and arrested him. Lesson to be learned...don't complain about the money you just stole.

This is as close to pumpkin carving as I will come this year so enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hodgepodge - The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round

Joyce provided her 99th version of questions this week. Can't wait for next week.

1. So, do you like beer?
I like light colored beer like Corona. I don't drink it very often. Sometimes at wine tastings they have beer and it is always dark. Yuck.

2. What's your least favorite repetitive task?
Dusting. Round and round my arm goes and yet the dust keeps coming back.

3. When was the last time you rode a bus? Where was it headed?
Last bus ride I took was this summer into Denali National Park. It was nine hours long but it had great scenery.

Denali is way back there

4. What song from your childhood or from your own children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end?
The Barney song. That big purple dinosaur was a close part of our family for a few years and really I've heard that song way too many times.

5. The US Presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN??), and the third and final debate was held last night...what was the last thing you 'debated about'?
Maybe where to stay on vacation? I can't say I really call anything debating.

6. Can a person make too much money? How much is too much?
Is the question are some people overpaid? Yes some are. But can you make too much money? No. It all depends on what you do with the money.

7. Pop-soda-coke-something else...what's it called where you live?

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I mailed my absentee ballot in on Tuesday. So now I have voted. Can the ads please stop? (Although in Oklahoma we don't seem to have too many since there aren't too many contested races here).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pork Milanese...AKA The Best Pork You Will Ever Eat

I'm not kidding. This is the BEST pork you will ever cook. Trust me. Whitney asks for it constantly and she is a picky eater.

Pork Milanese
Recipe adapted from Food Network Giada

Pork cutlets pounded thin
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

We used a pound of pork cutlets (4) and pounded them to about 1/4" thick. Salt and pepper them, dip in egg then Panko/Parmesan cheese mixture. Heat up olive oil in pan and then cook the pork for about three minutes per side.

That's it. How simple is that. Plus it is crispy and juicy. You can do other sauces to change it. Make it your own but make this dish.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Wrapup

This weekend started with an attempt at making pumpkin granola. I had leftover pumpkin from the snickerdoodle cookies and all of the other ingredients so I tried to make it following a recipe I had found online.

It was a failure. :( it tasted burnt to me and didn't have of the flavor I expected even with the house smelling like cinnamon. Darn I was really looking forward to it.

Abby got her fall bath. She hates water so much. Good thing that the type of mutt that she isn't shouldn't be bathed too often. But we needed to get it down before it go too cold outside.

This is her attempt to use the carpet as a towel. Lucky for her she is cute and I let that slide. She is now very soft. The driveway had so much hair on it it is a wonder that she has any left.

Sunday I stopped at Kohls on the way home to use my kohls cash I had gotten the week before shopping with Whitney. I ended up with three tops that cost me $7. Not bad.

We were going to cook pork schnitzel last night but dan worked on the yard getting it ready for winter. It took longer than he thought but it looks so nice. We also got a free tree from the city so are trying to decide where to plant it. He just needs to call to get the gas, electric and cable lines marked in the backyard and in it goes. Here's hoping it can last longer than the last one we planted back there.

Did anybody see the hat on the woman singing God Bless America last night? I have no idea how she stayed standing.

I got my Revenge fix last night. That show just keeps you wanting more. Perfect.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Fragments

So time to join Mrs. 4444 with Friday Fragments.

Mommy's Idea

I'm just not feeling the blog thing today so short and sweet.

I wish I pinned funny ecards and I could post them but I don't.

I signed up for another cooking challenge. I really want to try new things. I've been printing out recipes so now I just need to cook something.

I need to decide a paint color for the utility room or the bedroom so I can get my paint. I'm in a new campaign which I will write about where I get one gallon of paint free. But now I have to use it by the end of November. Yikes, talk about pressure.

We all got our absentee ballots and my return envelope was different. Come to find out they coded me wrong "needs assistance". I don't need any assistance thank you very much. New envelope is on its way.

This will be the first time I've voted absentee since the very first time I voted for President and was away at college. And this will be the first time Whitney gets to vote for President...absentee since she is away at college. Do you sense a trend here?

Does anyone really know why we have to keep voting to keep judges on the bench? Oklahoma is so weird. Nobody knows these people. How do I know if I should keep them on the bench? Geez.

Another thing Oklahoma has is the multitude of state questions. This year only 6. But our state constitution is so big (the original writers decided to put everything in it instead of vagueness) that we have to vote on everything. Nobody understands these things. The most confusing one this time is about taxing intangible property. Should we or shouldn't we. At least I think that's what is about.

This is what it says:
This measure amends Section 6A of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution. At present that section exempts some intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation. This measure would exempt all intangible personal property from ad valorem property taxation.

An ad valorem property tax is a tax imposed upon the value of property.

Intangible Personal Property is property whose value is not derived from its physical attributes, but rather from what it represents or evidences.

Intangible Personal Property which is still currently taxed but would not be taxed if the measure is adopted, includes items such as:

o patents, inventions, formulas, designs, and trade secrets;
o licenses, franchise, and contracts;
o land leases, mineral interests, and insurance policies;
o custom computer software; and
o trademarks, trade names and brand names.

OK, so maybe this wasn't as short as I thought it was going to be. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Les Miserables Review

Whitney and I saw a touring company production of Les Miserables on Sunday night. Neither of us had seen it (although I vaguely remember a movie version in the 70's but not a musical). We were looking forward to it since we have heard so many good comments and we love musicals.

Unfortunately neither of us cared for it. There was a combination of factors that made it difficult to watch. Our seats were near the back of the theater. That normally isn't a problem, even in a big theater. However the lightning/set designer for the show decided that everything should be in low light to simulate the lighting I guess from the early 1800's. I understand the concept but they really should have sat in the back of the theater and realized that everyone was squinting to try and figure out what they were seeing. I can't tell you the number of times we lost someone in the shadows who was a main character. We could hear them just not know who they were.

Second we weren't prepared for the show to be entirely in song. Not a bad thing, just not what we expected.

None of the actors were outstanding. For a touring company I expected a better. Some of the voices were off. I understand that we were the last show but for the price we paid I expected to be wowed.

We decided that we don't need to see the movie when it comes out in December.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

I made my first pumpkin recipe of the year last night. Whitney wanted to take something back to school today and it had to have pumpkin, so I made a recipe I had pinned on Pinterest. I haven't had the best of luck with my recipes there but this one is definitely a keeper.

I could tell it was going to be good just from the batter. You ever get one of those feelings like everything is coming together terrifically and it can't fail. Yeah, that's the feeling I got with this one.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
Recipe from Fake Ginger

For the cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cinnamon sugar:
½ cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugars and pumpkin puree and beat well. Mix in egg and vanilla, scraping down sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Beat flour mixture into liquid mixture a little at a time just until incorporated.
3. Cover dough with plastic and chill at least an hour, or until dough becomes slightly firm.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick spray). Mix rolling sugar ingredients in a small bowl.
5. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator. Use a medium cookie scoop (1½ Tablespoons) or a large spoon to scoop out dough and roll into balls. Use your hands to roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and make sure they’re coated really well. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a glass with a nice, flat bottom to dip in sugar and flatten the balls.
6. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes or so, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

We love snickerdoodle cookies in our house. Our normal recipe includes cinnamon chips (super tasty). I never smash my cookie balls down before baking but I followed the recipe like written. These flattened nicely by doing that. One dozen I decided to not flatten them and they stayed in a ball. Still tasty but not as cute.

After eating one when it was cooling I knew it was blog worthy. Dan said wait until they cool since they always taste different then. I said I was confident since by that time everyone had had two cookies. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Fragments

I'm joining Mrs. 4444 for the weekly Friday Fragments. A great way to blog when nothing is inspirational to you.

Mommy's Idea

It is fall break all around except for those of us WORKING for a university. I'm still trudging along. But the good news is Whitney comes home for her break for a few days. She's got a lineup of doctor and haircut appointments plus we have to get some clothes shopping done. So far all she's asked for food wise is spaghetti and sweet potato fries. And game day food for the football game Saturday.

The cooler weather has meant the windows are open at night. Great to save on the electric bill there.

We tried to do a new chicken recipe this week only to find our bacon had gone bad. So we pulled out our standard "fried" chicken recipe (it is baked) and boy was it tasty. Great to have a standby that tastes so good.

Dan got a new phone this week. He decided to do the same thing as me and get an exact replica replacement as mine. Now they only make them in red. I have a red phone. So now we have two phones that look exactly alike. I forsee many switched phone incidents. At least our ringtones are different. Unless he calls me, then they are the same since I assigned a ringtone to him and it is his normal one. Confusing, yes?

This is the closest I'll come to fall leaves this year. My fake ones on my file cabinet.

No stupid criminals this week of interest. I'm sure there were stupid ones, I just didn't hear about any.

My absentee ballot arrived this week. I need to get it filled out and mailed back. They won't accept me dropping it off at the election board. And they don't tell you how much in postage it needs. Wouldn't you think that would be important? I'm sure it is more than one stamp, but how many? I hate having to drive to the post office to ask how much since I have stamps at home. That's why I bought my stamps avoid the post office.

The study sessions have started for my certification test in December. There are three of us at the university taking it so we are getting together to compare answers and bring our individual knowledge. After one session I realized I know more than most people simply because my job requires me to do a little of everything instead of being on just one side of the process. I think that will do me well on the test.

It is going to rain a lot this weekend here (hopefully). If it helps bring up the water level in the lake, I'll take it raining every day.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The October Version of TV Reviews

So most of the shows have started up (except for Nashville, that's tonight). Because I don't have anything else to talk about and I'm sure you are waiting for my opinions on the fall season, here you go.

Scripted Shows

Revenge - AWESOME! Only two episodes into the year and I am counting the days until the next one. That's always a good sign. If you haven't seen this, think GOOD night time soap opera. Because it really is one.

Person of Interest - I was worried second season wouldn't start off well but I was wrong. Another great show if you need something to watch. It makes you think and has just enough based on reality to make you wonder if there is something out there like the machine.

Glee - Worried about this one. Although the last episode was redeeming it is now off for a month because of baseball. If it continues like the last episode great. If not, I may have to pass.

Once Upon A Time - yes a new entry to my normal watching. Whitney got me watching it and it comes on right before Revenge. If I miss one, it would be ok, but they sure have some great costumes and scenery in Fairy Tale Land.

Unscripted Shows (In Other Words Reality TV)

Project Runway - season almost over. I'm on Team Christopher or Melissa for the win. After this is over they are having another All Stars which I won't watch. Although our local contestant (Kayne Gillespie) is on it.

Amazing Race - this one gets DVR'd and I watch it when I can. I hate the food roadblocks and please make them do something. While the bull racing was fun to watch this week all the racers had to do was ride on the back of a motorcycle that someone else was driving. BORING.

Dancing with the Stars - I tried to watch this since it was All-stars and I'm a sucker for that. But this week's results show that continues to have the crappy dancers staying on (yes I'm talking to you Kirstie and Bristol) have ruined the show. Bye Bye Bye.

Top Chef - about to start new season. Yes I'll be watching.

Daytime TV

The Chew - yes I DVR this every day so I can watch it when I get home. I skip a lot of it but there is great chemistry among the hosts (except for Mario who I'm not sure why he is there). I've never cooked any of their dishes but I enjoy them. Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Michael Symon can come visit me any day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ground Beef Noodle Casserole

I know, not an exciting recipe title. But it is what it is. I got the recipe off of We like it because it has flavor. So many recipes are made for the masses and we like things to taste like something, not just putting something into our mouths.

Ground Beef Noodle Casserole
recipe adapted from (no longer on their site)

1 pkg dry brown gravy mix
1 cup cold water
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup half and half cream
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
salt/pepper to taste
8 ounces egg noodles, cooked and drained
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

In a small bowl, combine gravy mix and water until smooth; set aside. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add spaghetti sauce, cream, seasonings and gravy; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Add the noodles and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese; mix well. Transfer to a greased 3 qt baking dish; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I guess the best way to think of this is a better version of hamburger helper. A lot less preservatives and much tastier.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reacting to News

I found out today that a former boss passed away over the weekend. I hear all the glowing remarks about him as a teacher. He was awarded multiple teaching awards. I hear former students say they were guided by him and his teachings to be a better person.

I hear nothing about how he treated his staff when he was an administrator. He was the worst boss I have ever had. I went home and cried on multiple occasions after a day at the office. He treated his staff like we were servants. When he and his wife adopted a child, he never told me, his personal secretary. Baby gifts would arrive but he never gave us the courtesy of any knowledge. He couldn't spell my name correctly. He was a cheapskate who turned in receipts for $1 coke when he was making 10 times my salary.

By now I have moved on. It has been 20 years since I worked for him. I am a different person. Maybe he was too.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

No Sugar Apple Pie - Crazy Cooking Challenge


It's back! Yes, the Crazy Cooking Challenge in its year two format. You can get your recipe from anywhere, even make it up yourself. While I would not do that, I will go to to look for one.

This month is apple pie. Dan loves apple pie so much that I've actually made it for his birthday before. One of my early cooking memories when married was when I wanted to make him one. I didn't realize that paring an apple meant to peel it. Needless to say I have learned since then.

Since we are trying to cut back on calories and our normal recipe has lots of brown sugar, I wanted to find one that had none. Enter the no sugar apple pie. Dan was skeptical since he loves that brown sugar goodness but since I was cooking him a pie, he let me go for it. I don't make my own crust after the thanksgiving debacle years ago that had me breaking down in tears so I used store bought crusts. I think they taste fine.

No Sugar Apple Pie
Courtesy of

6 cups thinly sliced apples (I used gala and Granny Smith)
3 T cornstarch
1 T ground cinnamon
12 ounces unsweetened apple juice concentrate
2 pie crusts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together cornstarch, cinnamon, and 1/4 apple juice concentrate.

In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer the apples in the remaining apple juice until tender. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.

Pour into bottom crust and cover with top crust. Bake for 45 minutes.

Pretty easy. The longest part was peeling and slicing apples. The taste was very cinnamony. I would cut that back because you could taste the rawness of that much cinnamon. I really didn't miss the sugar. Dan said that if you didn't know it was no sugar you would think it had it.

I'm not the best at making my pie look pretty.

I think this would be a nice dessert to have if you have a diabetic in the family.

I wonder how many apple pie recipes people will come up with. Look at the list below to find out.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hodgepodge - Lucy? Charlie Brown? Snoopy?

This week's questions courtesy of Joyce.

1. It's a brand new month...share one thing you're looking forward to in October.

I love October. It is the start of (hopefully) cooler weather. So I can wear my boots soon. I love wearing boots.

2. Is chivalry dead? Explain.

No it isn't. To me, chivalry is showing common courtesy for someone. It doesn't have to be a man to a woman.

3. On October 2, 1950 the Peanuts comic strip made its debut. Which character is your favorite? Which character is most like you? (Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Shroeder, Snoopy, Woodstock, or Pig Pen) If you need a description click here .

Oh Peanuts, how I love thee. I'm definitely Lucy. Just ask anyone in my family. Whitney keeps buying me Lucy stuff.

See this is in my office. I can't help it. Lucy sits among the M&Ms and rules the file cabinet.

And listen to these gems of wisdom that come out of her mouth.

All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
I never made a mistake in my life. I thought I did once, but I was wrong.

4. What's something you're competitive about?
I hate to lose especially when I think I should win. Take when we first got married we thought we would play chess. My Dad had taught me some so I figured I would clean up. I lost the first game and we've never played since. 24 years later I still won't play chess.

5. October is National Popcorn Popping Month...are you a fan? How do you like your popcorn?

With butter and salt.

6. When did you first realize the world is small?

It's small? I guess right now then. :)

7. In terms of architecture, what's the most beautiful building you've seen up close and in person?

It would have to be Sainte-Chappel in Paris. It has these towering stained glass windows that are absolutely stunning and then these buttresses at the top. Not as well known as Notre Dame Cathedral but more beautiful in my opinion.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm hosting a meeting of people who do similar jobs to me from all across the country on Thursday and Friday. Thankfully the weather will be nice with no rain. Now to make sure the room doesn't freeze us out. I'm not sure why the air conditioner decides to work overtime once the weather outside starts to cool off. I've already had the space heater on.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dirty Risotto Recipe

It is no secret that Dan and I love risotto. We've gotten pretty darn good at making it too. This is the first recipe we ever made and decided to pull it out this weekend because we had all the ingredients in the house. Don't be intimidated. You too can make it.

Dirty Risotto
Adapted from Giada on Foodnetwork

5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces bacon, chopped
3 Italian sausage links, casing removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
4 ounces mushrooms, coarsely chopped (we like baby portabello or button)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan


In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and sausage and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Whitney

Twenty years ago the most precious gift was ever given to me, our daughter Whitney. Now she is a college student and no longer a teenager. But she will always be our little girl.

How could you not love this little chunk of a baby? That's what her PawPaw called her...Chunk.

Look at all that hair?

Although at 3 months she sort of lost it all. But don't worry it all came back plus more.

She was happy then and she is still happy.

Love you Whitney. Hope your day is wonderful and we are so glad that you came into our lives.

Foodie Pen Pal

So my second month of the Foodie Pen Pal. I enjoyed it much more this time since I had a better idea of what to do and what to expect.

I sent my package to Mike at Made By Mike. He was a lot of fun to buy for.

I received a lovely package from California from Patti. Patti doesn't have a blog but she is thinking of starting one. I say go for it. It is a great way to express yourself.

In my email from her she wanted to know if I would like local products and of course I said YES. Who would pass up on that I wonder. She sent me a lovely selection from Stewart and Jasper Orchards.

First there were two different kinds of dried nectarines. I had no idea that there was more than one kind. I've been enjoying these as a snack at work to keep me away from chocolate. Yum.

She also sent two different kinds of flavored almonds. I love these things but never buy them. Maybe because I know I'll eat them all at once and I'm saving myself from that.

The Apricot Pepper ones have a little kick to them. And you can never go wrong with the classic cinnamon glaze.

So do you want to know about the Foodie Pen Pal Program?

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

The Lean Green Bean