Monday, March 30, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chicken Dish

My best friend, Kat thinks I lived a charmed life. I have met one of my favorite authors, met our favorite basketball team's coach, received emails from more of my favorite authors, had a family house featured on a PBS kids game site, got treated like royalty at a Grizzlies game (that's another long story that I'm dying to tell y'all about but my husband wants me to hold on to it for a little while), and so on and so forth. I tell her, nothing ventured, nothing gained. In each of these situations (well, besides the house thing) I had to put forth some kind of effort to get the desired effect (well, that doesn't really apply to the Grizzlies'll understand later).

When I sent in a recipe to the magazine Quick Cooking (now called Simple & Delicious), part of the Taste of Home library of cookbooks, I never thought it would get published. And it didn't. For several years. Then, after I had stopped subscribing, I got a letter from the editor telling me my recipe was going to be featured in part of the magazine. Just fuel for Kat's fire. Hee hee hee.

I was thrilled they'd publish it, but when I got the copy they sent me and the letter with it, it explained that they re-worded my introduction, as well as changed some of the recipe to what they wanted it to taste like. I didn't really like that, since that wasn't my complete recipe, but I really didn't care that much. I still make it the way I've made it for years, and my family LOVES it. Oh, and Quick Cooking changed the name to something else, too, because they thought my name was a little...bland.

I simply call it...Chicken Dish. Why? Because that's what my Momma called it. And it will forever be known in my household as simply that. We had it last night. We thought the weather was going to be warmer than it turned out to be, but my men didn't care. They were tired from baseball practice and this stuff hit the spot.

Here's the recipe:

1 (3 oz.) pkg chicken flavor Ramen noodles (do NOT boil!)

1/4 cup oil

3 Tbsp. vinegar

1 Tbsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. sesame seeds

1/4 tsp. salt

dash of pepper

2 c. finely shredded cabbage

1 (6 3/4 oz) can chunk style chicken breast, drained

1/4 cup sliced green onion

3 Tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted

To toast almonds, spread sliced almonds on baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. For dressing, mix oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and seasoning packet from Ramen noodles until seasonings are dissolved. Break up Ramen noodles in a bowl, then add cabbage, chicken, onions, and sesame seeds, mixing until well combined. Stir in dressing, and chill several hours. Mix in almonds just before serving.

If I want leftovers or if I'm feeding a crowd, I triple the recipe by using a full bag of shredded cabbage. It's almost exactly 6 cups. Wal-mart didn't have a head of cabbage (grrrrrr), nor did they have regular shredded cabbage (double grrrrr), so I had to buy the coleslaw shredded cabbage. The extra cabbage and carrots didn't change the flavor that I could tell, but Sound Man said he prefers it the old way. I told him I liked the colors. He was okay with that. I also used leftover Rotisserie chicken we had the night before. Whatever you have on hand works.

It is yum-mm-mm-mmmmm-mmm-m-y. The sweet/sour dressing with the crunchy noodles and almonds is just so delish. Kiddo told me at dinner that he was wishing on the way home from practice that we were having Chicken Dish. His wish came true!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Thoughts for Friday

Normally I would post My Husband Rocks! on Friday, but today I have other sentiments that need to be set forth. Not that I don't think my husband rocks, because he does, but I'll save that for later.

Today, I am feeling better. My voice still sounds froggish, but physically I'm okay. I've had to deal with relationship issues. Not fun. I'm not in the best of moods right now, but I do have one thing to say...


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Monday, March 16, 2009

While I'm Down and Out

My nose feels like I've rubbed it with sandpaper. I sound like I have a train whistle in my chest. My fever is as wishy-washy as Lucy thinks Charlie Brown is. And that's the GOOD stuff that's going on.

I haven't been this sick for two years. I'm tyring to get up enough energy to fix Kiddo (who is no longer running fever but also sounds like he's got the guys from those Mucinex commercials in his lungs) some scrambled eggs. That's all the energy I can muster.

My precious, precious husband has done so much over the past few days. He has cooked (or picked up) every single meal, cleaned the kitchen, and even baked his most delicious white-chocolate-chip-chocolate cookies for his ailing family last night. He has even made numerous trips to the store to fetch something or other. HE. IS. A. GOOD. MAN.

Even though Kiddo is still coughing, he is feeling well enough to play computer games, and who am I to argue with him? So, he goes to one of his favorite sites, PBS Kids Go. A few minutes after I had lain down to take a nap, he runs into my room saying, "They have Two Rivers on PBS Kids!" I thought that was interesting, but not enough for me to get up right then.

So, after begging and begging for scrambled eggs, I decided I wouldn't let him starve and got up to fix his lunch. He was still playing the games online. I was floored. You have to see this to believe it.

The game has some of the same pictures I have, only drawn like a cartoon. I sit amazed. I would stand, but I'd probably fall over.

Let me know what you think about the game!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sigh...Moms get it too...

So, I guess I assumed when I had a baby that moms never contract illnesses their children had. I never remember my mother catching what we had, yet she was in with us every time we were sick. I still want my Momma with me when I have a stomach bug. Just something so comforting about her holding my hair back and wiping my face with a wet rag. I hope my son feels the same way about me when he grows up.

Thankfully, we have not had the stomach thing, but Lord knows we've been sick. Yes. I said "we". I now have the galloping crud as my Momma used to say. I felt so awful yesterday that I had to call Sound Man home from work so he could drive me to the doctor, and I felt like I could have passed out several times on the way there. Come to find out, my blood pressure was really low. Why, I have no idea. I just know I felt H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E.

It's not the flu, as both Kiddo and I have been swabbed and found flu-free. But it is one bad virus. I haven't felt this bad since I DID have the flu two years ago. I feel a bit better today, but I'm still running a bit of fever. And it's one no cowbell is gonna cure. (Kudos if you can tell me what that's from!)

By the way, Kiddo did NOT get to participate in the Awana Olympics. He was so upset. But it made both his daddy and me realize that he is maturing just a bit. He was so concerned about the team that he was begging for us to let him go. He kept saying, "The team needs me! The team needs me!" It's really the first time he has had a team player mindset. Sigh....I hate the little guy didn't get to go, but I am glad we got to see this side of him.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Not Unscathed

Well, here I was thinking we were going to get through the winter none the worse for wear. I don't even know what that phrase means. Anyway, my point is that I thought we'd made it to the warm springtime with no major sicknesses to slow us down. Aside from a couple of sinus infections that I expect every year, up until yesterday we had made it home free.

Kiddo woke up yesterday complaining about his throat really hurting. Since he NEVER gets sick (hence the thought we'd made it yet another year), I thought it really should be seen. No fever, just drainage and a slightly red throat. Dr. does a strep test, it comes back negative, and we go home with some sample antihistamines.

An hour after we get home, Kiddo starts complaining about EVERYTHING hurting. I reach over to comfort him and realize he's now burning up. 101.2 fever. Yay. By the time I get the nurse on the phone it's gone up to 102.2, and I'm thinking he has the flu. The flu? We homeschool, for goodness sake! We shouldn't get communicable diseases! Oh, yeah. We do go to church. And Wal-mart. Blech.

Back to the doctor's office for a flu swab. Thankfully, it's negative, and the nurse says it's viral and to give him the round of Tylenol-Motrin-Tylenol-Motrin cycle every three hours and to make him drink fluids till his eyeballs are swimming. Maybe she didn't say that exactly, but that's what my goal was yesterday and today.

His fever went down all the way to normal this afternoon after waking up with 102.5, but right before bed it went back up to 99.3....sigh....I hope this doesn't last long...I hate to see my Kiddo not feeling well. Plus, the Awana Olympics are Saturday, and he's excited to be a part of it. If he's still sick tomorrow, I guess he won't be able to play. Which makes all of us sad.

I'm praying he wakes up my little strong-willed, silly, image-of-his-daddy self tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pillow Parade!

I'm so glad Kari & Kijsa are having a Pillow Parade today! I'm a little late getting in on it, but I had to re-share my pillow that I made.

This pillow was handmade by me with fabric that used to cover a mattress that was at my Mimmie and Grandaddy's house since before I was born. I had that mattress but really needed to get rid of it (hello, it was almost 40 years old!), but I couldn't bear the thought of throwing it or the covered boxspring out altogether. So, I cut the fabric off and made this pillow, using fringe I found at Hobby Lobby. It matched perfectly, and I LOVE this pillow. It pretty much sums up my personality...I am dreadfully sentimental, miss my Grandparents, love soft, earthy colors, enjoy looking at pretty things in my home, and can actually use a sewing machine when I have to. Read the whole story here.

Now, head on over to Kari & Kijsa's and join in the pillow fun!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dinner this Weekend - Pasta Carbonara

One of our favorite meals is called Pasta Carbonara. We had it this past weekend. It's really not a Carbonara, I guess, since it doesn't have eggs in it (I've seen other "Carbonara" dishes and they've all had eggs in them). But, it is one fine and tasty recipe my friend Jennifer gave me several years ago. She also called it Sausage Spaghetti, but I think that makes it sound too much like normal spaghetti.

Okay, here's the recipe:

Take one pound bulk breakfast sausage and brown with 5 to 7 pieces of bacon that you've diced. You can also use bulk Italian Sausage, too, and if you do, you can leave out the next step. See the stuff on the wooden spoon? When I use regular sausage, I put in about a scant teaspoon each of oregano and basil. Makes it more Italian-y. As that mixture is browning, add one minced clove of garlic and stir it in really well.

Whilst that is browning, boil some Angel Hair pasta.We use whole wheat pasta, 'cause that's how we roll. Or maybe it's so we won't roll so much. I don't even know what that means. Anyway, it's really good and good for you, too. I usually use about 12 ounces, but I don't have a set amount, just use as much as you want to. How's that for precise measuring?

When you put your water on to boil, throw some salt in the water so that you have already salted your pasta and you won't have to salt the finished product. I think you consume less sodium that way, but how should I know? Man, I'm really sarcastic today, aren't I? Anyway, I think I use probably a tablespoon in my water. I know that sounds like a lot, but remember, this the water we're salting, not the pasta itself.

Back to the task at hand. While your meat is browning and your pasta is boiling, go ahead and grate some Parmesan cheese. DO NOT USE POWDER. Come on, people, get the real stuff! It tastes SO much better than the round box stuff.

This is me grating cheese in my beloved Pampered Chef cheese grater. Only, the handle is broken so I'm having to hold it funny. And hold it I will until I can afford another Pampered Chef cheese grater. It's that good. Okay...grate about a cup.

Then open up one of these.

After your pasta is cooked, your meat is no longer pink, your cheese is grated and your can is opened (Wait...what?), you're ready to assemble. Drain your pasta and dump the drained pasta into your meat mixture, followed by your cheese...

...and evaporated milk. Now just let it simmer, stirring it all really well to get it all mixed in. Simmer and stir until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is almost creamy...about 5 minutes or so. Don't over cook it or it will not be creamy, it will be sort of sticky. Still delicious, but not as nice a presentation.

And here you go. Finished product. I don't think I can convey how good this stuff is. My Kiddo regularly asks for it, and that's saying something. I mean, he's not a picky eater, but he'd rather request McDonald's than something I make. So I know something's a hit when he asks for it.

Here's the recipe fo' realz.

1 lb. bulk sausage, either breakfast or Italian

1 tsp each basil, oregano (if using regular breakfast sausage...if using Italian, omit)

5 to 7 pieces bacon, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

Angel hair pasta (amount depends on you)

salt for pasta (amount depends on how much you want)

In a skillet brown sausage with bacon, spices, and garlic until sausage and bacon are no longer pink. If there is a lot of grease after you're done browning, drain some off. Leave enough to just barely coat the bottom of the skillet. While the meat is browning, boil pasta, adding salt before boiling. Drain boiled pasta. Combine meat mixture, pasta, cheese, and evaporated milk and mix well. Simmer until liquid is reduced and mixture is creamy, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring well.

That's it! It's super, super easy, fast, and delicious to boot.

And if you're wondering how much it costs, here's what I spent:

Turkey sausage from Wal-Mart: $1.36

Bacon: partial package of turkey bacon from Aldi (I used the other part in another recipe): $.63

Garlic: on hand

Spices: on hand

Parmesan Cheese from Wal-Mart: about $2.00 (I'm using the rest of the package for another recipe)

Evaporated milk from Aldi: about $.75? I'm guessing because I bought it a while back and can't remember exactly how much.

Angel Hair from Wal-mart: $1.26

So, total: around $6.00 give or take a couple of pennies. For about 8 to 10 servings, depending on how much pasta you use. So, I guess that works out to be about .60 to .75 a serving? Wow. Even I didn't realize it was so economicable. I just made that word up.

I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Darling Daffodils

This week for My Husband Rocks! I won't have any pictures because my battery died in my camera. But I did want to share with you why my sweet husband most definitely rocks.

Yesterday I woke up with major sinus issues. Sound Man was so sweet to me all day, even calling to check on me throughout the day. When he asked what I had planned for supper (Taco Ring) he told me he would make it when he got home. It helps that it's one of his favorites.

I didn't see him come in when he got home since I was putting a load of clothes up, but when I walked into the kitchen he turned around with a vase full of Daffodils! They were so beautiful and even had a couple of unopened buds that made the whole thing look so gorgeous!

I have the most thoughtful husband. He spoils me rotten and takes such good care of Kiddo and me. Thank you, My Sweet, for being the kind of man that most definitely ROCKS! Who else would take over his wife's blog and tell the world that she rocks? Yeah, that was a surprise, too. He's just full of them.

If you'd like to see where "My Husband Rocks!" started, head over to Katy Lin at The Great Adventure.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My New Favorite

If you've read my blog for long, you know I love music. I have my old standbys like Chris Tomlin and Kari Jobe for worship, but just for listening to chill or exercise with, I have found a brand new artist. Her name is Francesca Battistelli and she totally rocks. Not like heavy metal, but in the slang sense of the word. Sound Man knew I loved her single that's out now, "Free To Be Me," so he looked her up on iTunes. He loved her sound as much as I did, so he bought the whole kit-and-kaboodle (meaning he downloaded the entire album). Here's just a sample of the songs she has...I realize you may not have time to listen to all of them, but take a second and listen to a bit of each of them. They are not all my favorites but the Playlist didn't have my favorites. If I find them I'll add them, but this gives a good sample of her stuff.

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How refreshing to hear a good, full, ALTO voice for once. She has a great range, but she is most definitely an alto, praise God. Her songs go from funky and fun in "Blue Sky" to haunting and soul-stirring in "Beautiful, Beautiful." I hope you check her out. She is worth a listen!

Monday, March 2, 2009

More snow pictures

Is there something so wrong with me that when I make a simple typo when I type the word "snow," using the letter "t" in place of the letter "w," it makes me GOL (giggle out loud)?

Oh, sorry...back to the subject at hand.

We took several pictures of the snow that came Saturday. Sound Man and Kiddo had a blast being silly in the snow. Windi and Shadow couldn't have cared less about it, but Jonathan loved to sniff it, getting some of it up his nose in the process.

Look how big my dog is getting! He's looking more and more like a grown up Retriever. It makes me kind of sad. I mean, just seven short months ago this is what he looked like:


Oh, sorry. Again. Anyway, Sound Man and Kiddo got out in the front yard and built an awesome snowman.

Being the safety man that he is, of course Mr. Snowman Couldn't be a normal, scarf wearing, boring snowman. No, this dude is ready to jump in and help where needed. Sounds like someone else I know...But I digress. We had to give him a name. Sound Man said Safety Sam. Nah. Too cheesy. My choice, and my idea I might add, was Fluorescent Frosty. Sound Man loved it. And it's not cheesy AT ALL. Hee hee.

They were frozen popsicles by the time they were finished, but it was worth it. I love watching them do stuff together.

Sometime after it got dark, however, Mr. Frosty met his demise. We can't be sure it wasn't the wind, but Sound Man really thinks some punks knocked him over after our curtains were closed. I asked him why someone would do that and his reply was that their dads didn't build one with them when they were nine.

In spite of being sad Kiddo would be upset, that made me smile.

Oh, well, it's gonna be 60 in a couple of days. Mr. Frosty wouldn't have made it anyway.