hello again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I just got through labeling all my posts that i thought could use labels (all but i think two), and it took a while! I didn't realize it would take such a long time. But, it included reviewing each post to see what labels needed to be applied. So, maybe it won't be such an ordeal if I do it as I post. The work day is almost over, and I am thrilled. Tonight I plan on cooking the grilled chicken that we were going to eat last night. (We went for sushi with my Mother-in-law, instead.) Well, I have been contemplating cooking jambalaya instead. I think it just makes a big batch, and there's not much sense in making a big batch for just two people; we were originally going to wait until we could have company over. But, the chicken, sausage, and shrimp sound really good right now. Sooooo, I may have just talked myself out of grilled chicken. :o) Although.....now I remember that we are planning on going to church tonight, and that is at 5, I believe, so, I guess we'll have to see what'll be ready in time to eat before that. :o)
The rain finally let up. Its been clear for the past two days, and I'm thankful, but I have to say that I enjoy the rain. It's bittersweet for us, b/c Wesley usually gets to stay home (with me!) on days that it rains, but also, they are not paid days. Still, I enjoy taking advantage of the quality-time opportunities while they present themselves.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This weekend I got some pretty good finds. I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Dirt Cheap. I love going there and finding really good bargains. However, I am very picky about what I buy from there for several reasons. One is you can't return anything for any reason. Another is stuff is usually pretty grimy, and you don't know where its been. And finally, because I have some sort of mental block that won't let me buy something from there if I think I could have gotten the same sale or percentage off from where ever its from originally. It doesn't matter in my mind that I don't live in a town that has a Gap or a Target, but the fact that something came from somewhere like that, and may be sold there for the same price inhibits me from buying the item. But, with that being said, I was able to make some purchases that I think were worthwhile.

4 pair of heels for $1 each. Wow.
1 gray cotton polo for Knox from Old Navy for $2. (by the way, i plan on going back today to see if i can find anymore)
1 Shabby Chic lamp base from Target for $10 (i almost didn't get the lamp, but i have been really wanting a lamp for my side of the bed, and i liked this one a lot.)
1 brown Gap Maternity skirt for $4 (originally $50, so I think this is a double bargain)
1 pair of Gap Maternity khaki pants for $4 (originally $54, so I think this is a double bargain, too, plus I had just said the day before that all i want is a pair of good fitting maternity khakis! God's good.)
1 black Gap Maternity pencil skirt (dressy) for $4 (i don't know the original price, the tag was cut. sad.)
1 little girl's green necklace for my neice for Christmas for $0.50
1 (completely sealed in the original packaging) flavored lipgloss for my neice for Christmas for $o.50

So, everything together was about $30. I have to say, I was pleased. :o)

Baking Days

What are you doing for Labor Day?
I haven't yet decided. Wesley & I may go visit my sister & mother (finally!) b/c we've been trying to do so pretty much all of August. Also, Tsunami is calling us. More specifically, the Michael Dumit roll & the cucumber roll (minus the sauce...).
Wesley has been having chest pains for the past several months, and lately it has gotten worse. With it getting worse, we have been more and more nervous about it, and finally decided yesterday to just go to the doctor and find out what it is. We were both quite anxious about it, though Wesley seemed particularly nervous (and understandably so), especially after we had a conversation about how I heard on Paul Harvey that there is new research that says that drinking Red Bull can increase your risk for heart problems. So, we (very thankfully!!!) found out that it was not heart related and was some sort of inflamation where the sternum meets the rib cage, and Aleve will solve his problems. (HOORAY!!!)
This week so far I have baked another batch of banana bread (b/c my 2 boys seem to like it as an easy breakfast, and b/c I had bananas starting to turn brown), blueberry muffins (an Alton Brown recipe that I personally was disappointed in, though they are not particularly bad), and started a sponge for the ciabatta rolls i'll be making for tonight's pork tenderloin sandwiches. Tuesday night Wesley grilled 2 pork tenderloins (we almost all of one of them that night!), so we will be using the second tenderloin for tonight's dinner. I had originally planned to have the sandwiches last night for dinner, and chicken & dumplins tonight for dinner, but the bread didn't work out in a timely manner, so we're having the sandwiches tonight on the ciabatta rolls, and we ate McDonald's last night for dinner.
Lately Wesley & I have been getting to sleep much earlier than what used to be the norm, and I have to say, I feel Much more refreshed in the morning. I cannot remember a single time in my life where I woke up at 6:30 and didn't particularly care to go back to sleep. Generally its a struggle and a battle to make myself get out of bed. However, the "down-side" (if you want to even call it that) to this waking up early thing is I get very hungry before lunch, sometimes twice, where used to, I would just munch on a handful of cereal or something to satisfy my til lunch. But I like breakfast, and if I'll be up anyway, I may as well eat breakfast. So, maybe I'll do biscuits in the morning...we'll see.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

dreams of vacation

so, for some unknown reason i've been feeling a bit gloomy today. i know this probably sounds incredibly spoiled, but i'll be honest...i probably am...anyway, the truth is, i think i'm down b/c we haven't gone on a vacation this year. we are still hoping to, but i just don't know if it'll happen before the year's out. it's been very busy so far, and doesn't look like things are going to slow down anytime soon. plus the baby's coming at the end of the year, so that'll keep us even more busy. good busy, though. i think it also has to do with the fact that we were hoping to go to visit my mom and sister this weekend out of town, but are not able to b/c she starts rush workshops this weekend. so, that leaves us bored in natchez, although it will be nice to have a weekend with nothing to do. wesley has been working on building us some bookshelves, and they are looking incredible. seriously. who knew he had a talent at carpentry? i'm sure he'll want to finish those this weekend. he's gotten one set finished and moved into the house, and he's working on the other. in addition to the bookshelves, he's decided to build a new cabinet for our bathroom (yay!!!) so that we can get rid of our old hand-me-down, k-mart special shelving system that currently is holding our toiletries. the new shelves that wesley is making is soooooooo much nicer!

the baby is kicking my right side. knox used to kick my right side more than the left, too. i'm not sure why that is, but maybe they'll resemble each other somehow in how they kick... or maybe he's starting to get cramped. that could be the case. i'm preeeetttttty sure knox got cramped in my tummy a couple of years ago.

me at halloween 2 years ago with my friend Ashley who was not pregnant, but instead had her pumpkin that she was carving inside her shirt.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ok, this is another "stolen" recipe from This blog. We had them for dinner last night, and they were really really good. And healthy. (I always use fat free sour cream; you can use skim milk, and low fat cheese to make it really lean. Also, while wesley & i were eating it, we realized you could very easily add black beans and/or corn to the recipe for more nutrients without changing the recipe really.) Also, it makes a good bit, so you could probably entertain with it or freeze half of it. I would recommend saving the cheesy-goodness topping for after reheating if you do freeze it.

Fiesta Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 fresh cloves garlic, minced
10 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 10 oz can Mild Rotel diced tomatoes with Green Chilies

1 lb (Lg family size can) cream of chicken soup
1 Cup red enchilada sauce
8 oz sour cream
1/2 Cup milk
Pinch of salt

Corn Tortillas
2 Cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oil into a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion and jalaepeno until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted down. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, garlic salt, cumin and diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

2. Place soup, enchilada sauce, sour cream, milk and salt into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until warmed though.

3. Ladle a small amount of sauce into the bottom of a large 9x13 inch baking dish (or bigger if you have one), just enough to cover the bottom. Place a spoonful of chicken mixture inside of corn tortillas, roll and place seam side down. Fill tortillas until chicken filling is used up. Top evenly with sauce and shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

10-12 servings

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another recipe

So, I stole this from another website. I have full intentions of giving them complete credit, so perhaps it is not really stealing. I have not tried them yet, but have faith that I will as soon as I enter my kitchen this afternoon. They look incredible. Check out this website: Claire Nettles.

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies slightly adapted from Picky Palate

1 stick softened butter
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ Cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
9 Oreo Cookies, broken into pieces
1 Cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

And now for a recipe!

This has become one of my husbands top two favorite meals of all time. I am excited, b/c I cannot cook the other (literally, b/c its sushi). And the bonus is that it is INCREDIBLY easy. And can be affordable, Much more so than ordering it or anything resembling it in a restaurant. So, don't be afraid!!!! :) I have put my side notes in itallics. They are just hints I learned along the way, not the actual recipe.

Filet Minon with a Port Reduction topped with Caramelized Onions:
1 4oz. and 1 6oz. filet, very lean
about 2 tablespoons (plus or minus according to your taste) of cracked black pepper
a pinch or two of salt
olive oil
1 vidalia onion
a couple tablespoons of butter (though i like to use smart balance light)
about a teaspoon or so of sugar
port wine (a good one. Spend around $18 bucks or so, plus or minus)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Chop onions to very thin (and even sized) circles. Add the sugar and butter to a hot skillet, and stir occasionally. They will be caramalized in about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile:

Put a little (maybe a teaspoon or two) olive oil in a skillet, and crank it up to medium high to high. Take the filet (I have been getting a 6 oz. for wesley and a 4 oz. for me, and, especially with the sides, I cannot eat all of mine, and he is full off of his.) and rub them down good with the salt and pepper. Coat them pretty well, then place them in the skillet. Sear them on the hot skillet for about a minute on each side (depending on how well done you like your steak, you can leave it on longer. We like ours about medium, so adjust accordingly. By the way, the steak will be pink inside and incredibly tender, but not bloody the way I cook it, so let that be a reference.) Once steaks are seared, place the pan (with handle covered in tin foil) in the oven for 10 minutes. When you take the steaks out, let them sit for about 10 minutes before you cut them.

Take about 1 cup of port wine and boil in a shallow dish, stirring often, until syrupy. (This takes about 15 minutes) Once it has reduced (by about half is what you're looking for), stir in about a tablespoon of honey. Set aside.

It is super easy. And the reduction can be saved in the fridge for steak later or other things like chicken if you have any leftover.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Some photos I should have uploaded a while back

My sister Lee & her Dog, Ellie
Ellie Bean
Knox playing with his Dump Truck. Probably his favorite toy.
Ellie Bean

Baby Ellie

Knox playing at the Lake in his little pool.
Knox & his "cool dude" glasses
Mommy & Knox