Monthly Archives: June 2012

Gift For My Parents

I took several pictures of this, all over my house, trying to avoid any reflection of my house, me or the camera in the glass.  I was not successful, but this had the least reflection in it – just my camera, my wrists and my hands.  ;o)

I found this beautiful idea on Pinterest for a gift for your mom.  You really should go and look at the original pin because it is so nicely/professionally done!  I wanted to make one for my parents as a combination Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift.  I had such grand plans for how I was going to do this.  Pinterest makes me feel like I can be Martha Stewart but I continually prove that I am only Larry the Cable Guy.  I had different pieces of wood in my cart.  I was going to use letter stencils in different sizes and fonts.  Then I decided to paint a piece of wood white, put letter stickers on the white to spell the words and then paint black over them.  When dry, I would peel off the letters and the color would show through.  But all of those supplies were so expensive and, as usual, I left this project until the last minute; I was going to see my parents that night!

So, my poor, creative side started looking around Michael’s and I found the supplies that I ended up using: 16″x20″ black frame on clearance; black poster board; Sharpie paint pen in white; Sharpie paint pen in gold.  I was able to cut the poster board into 3 pieces to fit in the frame so I could practice or if I make a mistake.  And, believe me, the one that actually went in the frame was the 6th and last side of those 3 pieces of poster board!  LOL

As a woman, I, of course, am my own worse critic.  I was disappointed in the final product because it is not all spaced nicely, there was not enough room to capitalize “Nana & Pop-Pop” and my printing is not “pretty, female” printing.  I was wishing I had waited until the hubs came home because his handwriting is beautiful.  But then I realized, this is a gift for my parents.  They made me the great parent I am because of their example.  They love me unconditionally and whether I am 4 or 40, they love every thing I make or do for them and are proud of it.  Just like I feel for B.  And I was right; they loved it.  My dad immediately took “real” art off of the living room fireplace mantel and replaced it with what I made.  He said, “I’m not saying that this will be the final place for this.  We may find a better spot in the house to display this.  But for now, I want to put it here.”  They are the best parents in the world!

A New Way To Cook Corn

I read recently on Pinterest about roasting corn on the cob, in the husk, in the oven.  According to the author, when the corn is done, you can cut the bottom off and the cob will fall right out, leaving all the silk with the husk.  Unfortunately, I forgot to pin the directions, but I think I remember the directions.  I preheated the oven to 350, placed the corn directly on the oven rack (see picture, above) and baked for 30 minutes.

When I took the corn out and sliced off the bottom, my cobs did not slide out.  Starting at the cut bottom, I easily peeled off the layers of husk and every last string of silk did stay with the husks.  :o)  Well worth it, to me!  I know we tend to avoid using our ovens during the Summer, but I love the result so much, I will just plan accordingly, roast the corn in the morning and heat it back up at dinner time.

If you try this and are able to get your cobs to slide right out, let me know!

Silkless cob of corn.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

I find a lot of reading material at Costco.  I peruse the many titles, read the covers and when I see one I want to read, I make a note of it and check it out of the library.  The Postmistress by Sarah Blake was my most recent find.  I was intrigued to find out what secrets the postmistress and the doctor’s wife were hiding.  Unfortunately, there was a third female character, a reporter, and the plot was split evenly among the three women.  I did not care for the reporter’s story line.  It was not until halfway through the book that her story got remotely interesting to me because a link between the reporter and the doctor’s wife was established.  The last fifth of the book, when all three women were in the same town and interacting, was the most interesting part and I dragged my way through the first four fifths. The book gave me something to read while traveling this past week, but I would not recommend it.
I do want to share something from the book that stood out to me, though – how the reporter was told the job was done.  “Seek Truth.  Report It.  Minimize Harm.”  Reporters’ integrities were based on their unbiased observations.  They stayed out of the way, didn’t get involved, and reported the facts, as they saw or heard them, to the people.  That’s it.  I miss that integrity in news.  I remember when it still existed, when I was younger.  It is no more and we all suffer from it, in my opinion.

 

Leftover Wednesday – Trial & Error Chicken

Saturday through Tuesday we were out of town, visiting my in-laws at their Summer home in the mountains of western North Carolina.  The hubs and I thought we had emptied the fridge of all potentially lethal-foods-if-left-unattended-in-the-fridge before we left, but we were mistaken.  ;o)  We came home to a smelly fridge and it took me a bit to identify the culprits – decaying cilantro and an avocado past its prime.
I awoke this morning with the intent to go mega-grocery shopping since there was not much in the house, but the hubs had other plans.  I am so impressed with the progress this man has made during our 17 years together!  He declared that since tomorrow, Thursday, was our BIG shopping day, we should “make do” with what we had today.  So, after taking B to see the movie, Brave, this afternoon, the hubs and B went off to the range, and I was left to figure out what to make for dinner (popcorn at the theater was lunch).  As you know, I always have chicken breasts on hand and usually chicken wings, pork chops and ground beef.  Before leaving for the range, the hubs said we can do “something” with chicken breasts.
I opened the fridge, stared and tried to receive inspiration.  I saw Brussels sprouts (thank you, Robin D., for correcting me on my reference of this vegetable!) and grape tomatoes, both of which were on the cusp of being thrown out.  Finally, inspiration hit me – Grilled Bruschetta Chicken!  I love this recipe!  It’s one of the recipes my friend, Julia, passed onto me.  Although I did not have Kraft’s Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing on hand, I had over a pint of grape tomatoes, and I figured I could make something close to that.  I was patting myself on the back for such brilliance (waaaaay too early, it turns out).

 

I looked online for recipes of Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette and decided I could substitute the “sun-dried tomatoes” with oven-roasting the grape tomatoes I had on hand.  @@ (That mean “eye rolling” in type.  You may already know that, but Idid not always know that, so I am sharing in case you did not know that).  Then I looked online for a recipe to slow-roast tomatoes.  I found 2 that I liked.  One called for roasted grape tomatoes (which I had) for 3 hours at 225 degrees and one called for roasting plum tomatoes (which I did not have) at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Since it was already 4:20pm and I did not have 3 hours to roast said tomatoes, I opted for the higher temp/shorter time recipe.  Unfortunately, I didnot allot for the fact that I had grape tomatoes and the recipe called for plum tomatoes.  So, I cut all the viable grape tomatoes in half, sprayed them with grape seed oil (I am allergic to olive oil), grinded fresh pepper corns over them and sprinkled them with Kosher salt.
Don’ they look nice?!
I put them in an oven set on Convection Roast for 30 minutes and they came out looking like this…
OK.  So my attempt at Grilled Bruschetta Chicken! did not go as planned.  You know what?!  My “vacation” away with the in-laws did not go “as planned” either, but I was not going to be defeated.  By now, it was after 5pm, so I made myself a drink, and knew the hubs would help me figure out dinner when he and B came home from the range.  And he did!  He went out back and snipped some of our fresh herbs:
He snipped Rosemary and Thyme and mixed them with Panko bread crumbs, salt, pepper and I added Parmesan cheese and did the traditional flour, egg wash, seasoned bread crumb mixture into a pan with oil.  And that’s all we had for dinner – chicken.  No Veg.  No starch.  Just chicken.  And it was so wonderful and flavorful that we did not need anything else!  We went/are going to bed as happy campers with full bellies!  Woohoo for Leftover Wednesday!

EEK!

I can’t sleep.  I’m up watching a movie and surfing Pinterest.  My cup was empty and I went into the kitchen to refill it.  As I approached the fridge, I stepped on something that went, “Crunch.”  *sigh*  Is it a piece of cat food or something B dropped, I wondered.  I look down, and it was this:
HOLY CRAP!  I just killed a bug with my bare foot!  And bug killing is “men’s work”!  I turned around, grabbed a paper towel and turned back to the bug.  The mother fucker was walking away.  (As I type this, I keep running my hand over the right side of my neck because I feel like something is crawling on me!)  I scoop him up with the paper towel and squish really hard until I hear multiple crunches.  Before tossing him in the trash, I opened the paper towel to ensure he’s dead.  I sighed in relief and turned to the sink to wash my hands and found this:

(Please don’t judge me by the crud on the wall behind the sink.  There is only builder primer on the kitchen walls; the owner never painted a semi-gloss and there is years’ old shit in that wall.)  I am so proud of myself for not screaming bloody murder.  But I did jump and clutch my heart, though, waiting for it to restart.

I can just hear the hubs now, “And that’s what you get for staying up late!”  It’s a good thing he doesn’t read my blog.  If he finds out he’s right about something, it will totally goes to his head.

Leftover Wednesday – Veggie Platter

We didn’t have leftovers last night; we went out to eat.  Due to B’s allergies, we weren’t able to go out for the hubs’ Father’s Day dinner Sunday, so we went last night.  But we had 2 leftover dinners last week, so I have one to share with you.  Evidently I was too ambitious with my produce shopping, because I had a ton left over.  So much so, there was no room for protein nor starch at dinner.  We ate roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted green beans and sautéed baby bok choy.

In the past, I roasted Brussels sprouts at 350 for half an hour, turning halfway through.  My friend, Kathy, roasts hers at 400 for 10-15 minutes.  I decided to try her way.  I washed and dried the sprouts, sliced off the bottom of the stems, halved them and tossed them in a bowl with a little Wegmans Basting Oil.  I placed the sprouts on a foil-lined baking sheet, all face up, sprinkled them with a little Kosher salt and put them in the oven at 400.  After 15 minutes, they were colored nicely and I took them out.

There was no room for the beans on the pan, so they went in next.  Same way as the sprouts, but they only need to roast for 5-7 minutes.

The baby bok choy was washed, dried and cut in half, lengthwise.  I heated a tbsp of sesame oil in a pan and added the bok choy, cut side down.  While those sautéed, I pressed a couple of cloves of garlic and grated approx. 1/2″ of fresh ginger.  Then I turned the bok choy over, added the garlic and ginger to the pan and stirred it around for a minute or two.  Then I added 1/3 – 1/2 cup Wegmans Asian Classics Stir-Fry Sauce until it was heated through, then removed to our plates.

Yummy, yummy, in my tummy!

Royal Caribbean’s Commercial – "The Sea Is Calling"

Have you seen this commercial?  I think it is a good marketing strategy.  The commercial sure has made an impression on me.  I recognized the voice of “The Sea” but could not figure out who it was.  It’s been driving me crazy for months!  Well, I just saw the commercial again and took to the internet to solve the mystery for myself.  I love the internet!  The answer is Linda Larkin, the voice of Princess Jasmine from the Disney movie Aladdin.  YES!  That is totally her.


Phew!  Now I can move on to obsess about something else.  ;o)

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