Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nothing to see here folks. . .

Today was yet another day of rest.  So much so that while I am somewhat tired, I am not 11:33 p.m. tired, like I should be.

Most of my day was spent ready Kresley Cole.  A Hunger Like No Other, If You Dare, and Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night.  I finished Hunger and Wicked. I am half way through If You Dare.  I am disliking her alpha hero's and their asshole ways.  I'll probably read at least one more of the werewolf books and one more in the If series before I decide if I dislike her books in general.  So far in all three the hero of the book is a dick and seems to generally get away with it.  Sure, he eventually suffers angst, but in the end, he gets what he wants.  In the first two, the hero does reform, but I haven't decided if that is enough for me. 

Earlier, I heard this funny dragging noise and was ready to yell at the toy poodle (boxer was in his usual place sleeping on the couch).  I turned around and it was the big cat with Kate's pajama top in his mouth.  I thought it was caught on his tooth or something so I got up to help him and it turned out he didn't want help.  He was stealing her pajama top.  So I took and put it back in her room and didn't think anything of it.  An hour or so later, there is another dragging sound.  This time, he has her pajama pants. 
I couldn't find my camera so I had to use my iPhone.  The lighting conditions were less than ideal and he was moving.  But I think you get the picture.  To be honest, I couldn't figure out what he was up to, but he was behaving very strangely with the pajamas.  The dogs noticed me watching him so Zeus (the boxer) got off the couch to investigate.  Kofi's response was to mark Zeus and rub his head all over Zeus's head.  I don't know if Zeus knows what Kofi is doing when he does that because he has always just let him do it.  Eventually Kofi (big brown cat) left the pajamas and ran to the basement.  He now walks by the pajamas as if they aren't there.  Such a strange creature.

Today was a boring food day.  I had leftovers and mac & cheese.  We are still sticking to the schedule!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A good end to a disappointing day . . .

I called the doctor's office today to find out when I'd get to go back to work. I thought my request to go back part-time next week was perfectly reasonable.  Turns out, it was perfectly insane.  I don't get to go back for another 2 weeks.

So to help me not do anything except sit on the couch and sometimes at the computer table, Berl made dinner again and did the dishes again.  According to the schedule, tonight was leftover spaghetti night.  Berl turned the leftovers into baked spaghetti using up cheese, sauce, and angel hair pasta from the fridge.  Then he raided the freezer and found some broccoli that we should have eaten sometime ago.  There are still leftovers for Friday.  It was quite delish! 

This week we have been working on number 7 from the list.  We have eaten at the table together for dinner 3 times this week. (7. Eat dinner together at the table 3 times a week at least 15 times.)

I have also started a good run on number 43.  (43. For two weeks, eat no take out or fast food.) I can't remember the last time I had take out or fast food.  I am sure I haven't had any since I got out of the hospital.  But I will have to double check this because that puts me 10 days already!  If I can make it through Sunday, I'll be set! I'll have knocked off a goal! Woo hoo!

Number 72 is to document the accomplishment of each goal with a photograph.  Hmmm, I guess I could take a picture of the dinner table for each goal.  Tomorrow night, I'll take a picture for number 7 and Sunday night's dinner will be number 43. 

A Picture A Day for 365 Days - Goal 44

This goal started out as take a picture a day for 1,001 days. Well, that would now be impossible so I am revising it to take a picture a day for 365 days. The pictures will all be posted here in this post. I will always have the most recent on the top. I am an absolute amateur so keep those expectations low!
Day 13 - February 3, 2010
Some of the other pictures from today's album are from the last few days.

Day 12 - February 2, 2010

Day 11 - February 1, 2010

Day 10 - January 31, 2010

Day 9 - January 30, 2010
I wish my camera had been in reach.  I am sure there is something wrong with this cat.

Day 8 - January 29, 2010
A nice Friday night.

Day 7 - January 28, 2010
Don't look at the messy couch!

Day 6 - January 27, 2010
In addition to being offended by the tulip last week, the cats now have it in for these flowers that were in a vase.  Now the flowers are hanging in Kate's room above her door.  The rest of today's album is here.

Day 5 - January 26, 2010
January's Daring Baker's Challenge!

Day 4 - January 25, 2010
The small cat, Chrissie.  She could do without people, but she does enjoy a good snuggle now and then.  The rest of the album from that day.

Day 3 - January 24, 2010

Day 2 - January 23, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding!

Day 1 - January 22, 2010
This is a picture of Kathryn.  I was trying to snap shots of her while she was learning how to make chocolate waffles with my mom.  Here is the rest of the album from that day.  The tulips were my second favorite picture.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

25 Hour Books has moved!

With all of my design and re-design drama, I lost some links so I was very glad when Amanda over at Redefinition Mission had a 25 Hour Books post.  I had forgotten I had lost it!  Well, good thing she posted it, because I would have missed the cool give away!  Tara is giving away a bunch of stuff, books, tea, gift cards, mugs! Woo hoo!  Visit, read, enter.
{Time for bed folks! More tomorrow!}

A Food Experiment

Our household is embarking on a food experiment. I setup a monthly menu that is posted on the fridge.  With the exception of leftovers, foods are only repeated every 30 days (one of the goals is to get that 60 days).  There are a few no pasta weeks in there at Mom's request.  I am planning to add in one dessert a week.

Here is the next couple of weeks:
Green Beans
Leftover Pasta & Sauce
Garlic Bread
Leaftover meatballs
green beans
Taco Night
Turkey Tacos (soft shell)
spanish rice
wax beans
Spaghetti & Meatballs (likely to change)
Leftover Tacos
Mac & Cheese
Chicken Fingers (Kate makes these)
seasoned, roasted red potatoes
Turkey chili,
Pot Roast
Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans
Leftover Turkey Chili (love this stuff!)
Leftover Pot Roast (hope it is good enough to eat twice!)
Daddy-Daughter Dance
I'm working it, Kate and her Dad are attending it!
Homemade Pizza
Pretzel Crusted Chicken Breast
Leftover Pizza!
fruit of some sort
Spinach & Artichoke Calzones
Turkey Dogs
Tater Tots
Fruit Salad
Leftover Spinach & Artichoke Calzones
fruit salad
ECHS Murder Mystery Event!
Turkey Dogs
Italian Sub Stoup
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Leftover Stoup
Cheesy Penne Bake
Salmon Burgers
Cucumbers, Tom Wedges
Leftover Cheesy Penne Bake

The only rules:
  1. the occasional no pasta week, 
  2. 1 veg and 1 fruit at every meal,
  3. 30 days no repeats.
    Possible future rules:
    1. 1 no-meat day a week,
    2. 60 days no repeats,
    3. 2 vegs 1 fruit at each meal.
      We'll see how this goes first.

      So you can see I had very little "health" rules here.  I am not expecting this to result in any great health benefits except those you get from sitting at the table with your family and eating together.  Also I think for the most part this will be slightly healthier than eating out because the portions will be smaller and we can control the oils, the fats, the salts, etc.  Tomorrow is our first leftovers day.  We are trying to clean out the fridge before we have to clean it out.  Novel concept in our house.

      This all started because Kate and I are notoriously difficult eaters.  Mom will often say that she would have started us dinner but she didn't know what we'd eat.  So here it is, this is what we will eat.  Plus, I am trying to be more frugal, you can see there are leftover nights all over the place.  There are very few eating out nights and those are planned ahead.  I have the calendar done through March 26.  I'll share it as we go.  Many of these recipes come from my Rachael Ray Cookbooks that I got for Christmas, there are also some internet sources, my 75th Edition Better Homes & Gardens, a Kraft Family Cookbook, and my Joy of Christmas.  I am actually pretty excited and wish we were starting tomorrow with cooking!  But also, the food is there and needs to be eaten while it can be done so safely!

      Nanaimo Bars - January 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge!

      The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and


      I am still not quite up to par.  So Mom actually tackled these.  When she first saw the recipe the other day, she could not believe it, she had made this recipe 34 years ago and had gotten the recipe from a Canadian while she was attending Lake Superior State University!  They called them Manaimo Bars.  The recipe was the same (well, it didn't call for gluten free graham wafers. . . )

      The gluten free graham wafers were delicious all on their own!

      Here is the recipe and the directions.

      Monday, January 25, 2010

      Tulip vs. Cat

      Naughty cats:

      I found this all over my living room this morning.  Apparently this tulip offended my cats in the middle of the night.

      The animals and I had a very restful day.  I finished Tanya Huff's Blood Trail (Book 2 in the series) and Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.  I think I enjoyed Blood Trail more because it took less work.  The Lost Symbol was a good read.  Thick, long, but a good read.  Parts of it were predictable.  **SPOILER** I don't know at what point I figured out who the bad guy was in relation to our main characters but it was quite a bit before the end of the book.  While it was obvious it wasn't as bad as other bad guy mystery identities.**END SPOILER**

      I am feeling too tired to do a real review of either book, but I would recommend both.

      Tonight we are working on this month's Daring Baker challenge for the big reveal tomorrow.  I've noticed on the forums that some folks get their challenge done right away.  It does not appear as though I will be that kind of a daring baker.

      Last summer, we hosted an band and orchestra group from Germany through Blue Lake Fine Art Camps international programs.  I am being asked to do so again and feel torn. The only reason it worked is because we were able to connect with a vibrant and well-connected high school junior who made stuff happen.  I am just not confident that I know enough people in town to make it happen without her connections.  Plus, I am practicing not committing to as much as I normally do (not liking at all by the way).  If your community has the opportunity or you are interested and in the mid-west (MI, OH, IL, WI, etc), let me know, I'll hook you up with the organizers and then I won't feel bad for not doing it. :)

      I have been meaning to write about the horrible SCOTUS decision in Citizens United v. FTC since it came out.  It was just a surprising decision when you take out who voted for which side.  Basically, corporations have more "free speech" rights than individuals.  Money == speech and corporations are people.  Corporations have been people for a while, but limited people.  They can't vote, they have to exist for a purpose, they have restrictions.'s David Kairys discusses the fundamental flaws in the decision in his article Money Isn't Speech and Corporations Aren't People.  Mother Jones also has an article about the decision.  Even food bloggers are dismayed upset outraged by the decision. Thankfully, smart people are trying to devise work arounds for us.  Hopefully, they will be well thought out.

      Other political action: Jon Stewart scolds Keith Olberman, excellent piece, I do so hate it when liberals become like the right-wing talking heads (just name calling and hate spewing, no real arguments, etc.)

      I know that other political stuff is going on, but this is all that is striking my fancy tonight.

      Tomorrow will be the big reveal for this month's Daring Baker!

      Sunday, January 24, 2010

      Done! And Fixed!

      I think I am finally done tinkering with my blog layout. I have all the element back up that I want, the date function is fixed. This has been my longest post-op day and it is time for me to hit the sack!

      Saturday, January 23, 2010

      almost there!

      The offending page element was located (it was the search element, weird). Now to re-fix the date problem!


      The Cutest Blog on the Block has completely hijacked my blog. I tried to switch templates to one I found on I was going to go with Girly Diaries, very girly, very pink. And my old School Girl Charm bg refused to leave. Earlier today I had a different CBotB bg, that one did go away. So after wiping out my elements and my template, I foolishly tried a different CBotB bg and school girl charm is back! Ug. This is really out of control. After I get rid of this CBotB bg, I don't think I'll go with another one. I'm not sure if blogger is the problem or if CBotB is. Anyone out there know? Oh, on a positive note, my dateline was fixed, now it is gone. I'm hoping when it comes back it will still be fixed.

      A busy day!

      Today was my busiest day all week! I made my own lunch and dinner, did some dishes, watched Sanctuary and Fringe, and made some homemade chocolate peanut butter pudding. Now I am getting ready to head to bed for the night after I finish watching Iron Man.  I love Robert Downey Jr. and cannot wait for Iron Man II.  May 7 cannot come fast enough!

      The recipe comes from my Better Homes & Gardens 75th Anniversary Edition New Cookbook, page 255. Well, it started out their recipe, the peanut butter part was all me {although, you may have guessed that by my unit of measure - globs}. Enjoy!

      Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding

      3/4 cup sugar
      2 Tablespoons cornstarch
      1/3 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder or unsweetened cocoa powder*
      2 2/3 cups milk
      4 beaten egg yolks
      2 globs of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy your pick, I go with creamy)
      1 tablespoon butter
      1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

      1. Separate and beat 4 egg yolks in a small bowl.

      2. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine sugar, chocolate, and cornstarch.  Whisk in milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove pan from heat.

      3. Gradually stir 1 cup of milk mixture into egg yolks. Add egg mixture to milk mixture in pan.Bring milk mixture to a gentle boil; reduce heat.  Cook and stir for two minutes more. (I totally forgot this step - that being the gentle boil.)

      4. Remove pan from heat.  Stir in butter, peanut butter, and vanilla.  Pour pudding into a bowl.  Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap.  Serve warm or cold.  Do not stir during chillings.

      *it is possible I accidentally used 2/3 of cup, I can't remember now, the recipe calls for 1/3 of cup. 

      Book Review ~ Smash Cut
      While in the hospital, I finished up Sandra Brown's latest book, Smash Cut. indicates the book had good reviews.  I found it to be a slow read.  It was 367 pages long.  I figured out who the bad guy was pretty quickly, I don't think it was supposed to be a secret.  Then the rest of the book was watching the main characters figure out who done it and figure out how they were going to catch him.  Pretty slow going, then the twist in the end, weird.  **SPOILER** I mean really, Paul was okay with people thinking he was having an affair with his daughter rather than let on that he was her father. Their weekly meetings in a hotel room?  She didn't want to dishonor her adopted father so she hid her relationship with her biological father?  Don't make a lot of sense to me.  Also if Paul was the honorable man she kept making him out to be, he would have disinherited Creighton a long time ago.  I know that both of those twists were supposed to keep us guessing but they were a bit much.  Julie had no reason for keeping it from Derek either.  The inheritance maybe but the relationship, no, not really. **END SPOILER**  I would give the book 2 1/2 out of 5. I finished it  because I couldn't leave the hospital and get a better book from the library.  Plus, I started it and I hate not finishing a book.

      p.s. if anyone out there knows how to fix my dateline, please let me know, it is starting to annoy me to enough to leave blogger. . .

      Friday, January 22, 2010

      Life Update

      I had an abdominal hysterectomy on Monday.  Good times.  I was released on Wednesday.  I am off work for at least 2 weeks, but possibly more. :(

      I have been thinking about my blogging and 101 goals for a while now.  I haven't been blogging for a while because I'm listed on the foodie blog roll which means that I agreed to make sure that half of my posts are about food and cooking.  I haven't been cooking as much as I should for a variety of excuses.  But here we go, surgery is over, recovery is going well, it is time to get the show back on the road. While this post will talk about the chocolate waffles that are being cooked for me right now, the main point of this post is that I felt like I needed to revamp my 101 goals.

      Chocolate Waffles page 647 of Joy of Cooking.  Excellent breakfast! I topped it off with strawberries!  Yums!  Definitely an excellent choice for breakfast.  JoC recommends you top these with ice cream, we will definitely try that one night!

      I thought that I had some repeats on my list, but looking at my 101 list, I don't see any and I don't see any I can't do.  So I guess it is time to get it in gear!  Last month we did the Daring Baker's Challenge which was really fun and tonight we are getting ready to do this month's challenge (photos, recipe and adventure details to be posted on 01/26).  Next week, I am starting on the lose at least 80 pounds goals by starting with a healthier diet.  I am eating better this week, but I haven't been tracking my food and I have been drinking 7-Up.  I am planning to use to track my food.  I can't do any real exercise for 6-8 weeks.  In the meantime, I can and will eat better and take slow walks ~ well, slow walks when I am up for it. Right now, showering is tiring. 

      Here is another picture from today ~ the beautiful tulips sent from family: