Thursday, January 31, 2013

{P, H, F, R}--I'm Back, Sort of

round button chicken


I don't think I'll ever tire of looking at this view.  These are the mountains behind our house at dusk.  Sigh.

{Happy} & {Funny}

Wingnut Jr. is the Yatzee king!


I haven't been taking very many photos lately.  We are so busy and I've been doing a lot of this--driving in the crazy winter conditions.  It takes a 45 minute round trip commute to twice that and sometimes more.  I'll be so glad when the boy finally graduates!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

It has snowed every night since Sunday.  It makes the morning commute to the JayP's school a tad stressful, but I'm really getting the hang of it.  I usually drive Wingnut's car, as it is a bit better on slick surfaces than the 12 passenger behemoth.  So far I haven't seen a single accident and most people seem to know how to drive in adverse conditions.  I do know I will not be enrolling any of our other children in St. Joe's.  The 24 mile drive there and back is tedious when the roads are clear.  It's downright torturous when the roads are covered in ice and snow.

I used to love shoveling snow.  I love the cold, the sweat, and the exhilaration.  Unfortunately, I have an old lady back and I really shouldn't shovel anymore.  We purchased a snow blower last winter and I've grown to love it.  I may not sweat as much, but it is exhilarating.  I've got the plowing down to a science and it takes me about 10 minutes to clear our driveway.

The mountains are completely gorgeous covered in snow.  If I remember, I'll post a pic tomorrow. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, January 28, 2013

Creamy Tomato Pasta

We are not big pasta eaters in this family, but when I do plan a pasta dish it is usually relatively simple, using very few ingredients.  This is one of our favorites.

Creamy Tomato Pasta

1 pound penne or spiral maccaroni
2 14 oz cans roasted diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic; minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried basil or 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz semi soft goat cheese; crumbled
1/2 cup grated peccorino romano

Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to al dente directions.  While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan until it begins to sizzle.  Add tomatoes, garlic, sugar, basil and salt and let simmer until pasta is ready.  Drain pasta and add to the sauce.  Add goat cheese and stir until combined and creamy.  Pour into a casserole pan and top with romano cheese.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cup of Joe

He takes his espresso in bed.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Danger Boy

This is only one reason we are not ready for Lil' Lamb to give up his naps.  He's a real handful and a climber to boot.  Of course, it is my fault for leaving enticing boxes so close to the window for the lil' guy to climb.  He also climbs onto the back of the couches, on top of the tables, and can even boost himself up onto our bed, at which point he can't help but begin jumping like he's on a trampoline.

You may notice he also has a dirty face.  He always has a dirty face, even if I've just wiped him down.  In this case he has coffee laced sugar all over his face.  He likes to drink the left over sugar out of the bottom of Wingnut's espressos.  He calls it his "cup of Joe" and he will stand at our coffee bar and wait; dancing a little jig for his morning joe.  

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dilemma of a Sort

Lil' Lamb will be two in just a few short weeks and he is still nursing and showing no signs of weaning anytime soon on his own.  I'm all for extended nursing, but nursing toddlers are the pits.  He's not cute and sweet about it at all. He's demanding, squirmy, and insists on having his hands and/or feet all over me.  If I deny him, he throws a rip roaring tantrum.  Plus, he still doesn't eat much "real" food and so still needs to nurse frequently at night.  I'm exhausted.

Sounds easy, right?  I should just force a wean.  Here is my dilemma.  Nursing is the only way I can get him to take a nap.  I'm definitely not ready for him to give up naps and none of us are ready for Lil' Lamb 10 to 12 hours straight! An even bigger drawback to weaning is I'll have to drop my daily calorie intake 350 calories.  350 calories is a lot!  That's a large glass of wine or a couple beers at night. It's the occasional decadent dessert.  My life is so hard (she says with the hint of a smile). Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

He Wants Wings

Wingnut Jr. loves to go to the Salt Lake City airport to pick up his sisters when they come into town.  Before you gush about how sweet he is for loving his sisters so much, I need to stop you and let you know, its really all about the vending machines.  They do have pretty sweet vending machines in the airport.  Wingnut took most of the kids to pick up Karate Kid when she came home for Christmas break.  I gave Wingnut Jr. some quarters to buy himself a treat and let Wingnut know to let the boy pick out what ever he had the money to buy.  I probably should have been a little bit more directive.

This is the photo Wingnut sent of the little guy.  It was a joke, of course, but this is what I get when I'm not specific enough.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Clever Audio/Video Mash

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  If you are reading this, thank your mom for choosing life.

I thought this video by Blackstone Films was incredibly clever, using the President's own words to challenge Americans to protect innocent life.  I bet he never thought his words could be so construed.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Print Function

I found a nice little widget that will make my recipes printer friendly. Unfortunately, it makes every post print friendly and I'm fairly certain most of my ramblings are not print worthy. Until I can figure out how to customize printing for recipes only, the print button will remain. It is a nice little feature, no? Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Battle Lost

He fought valiantly, but in the end he succumbed. Poor Wingnut Jr. Is down with the flu. It appears this virus has not finished with our family yet. It's a slow burner. It's a ginger ale drinking, Wii playing day. Being sick isn't all bad. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tangy Chorizo and Tomatillo Soup

Karate Kid and Skoshi A did much of the cooking while I was sick last week.  Karate Kid made an absolutely delicious pot of soup from a recipe I adapted.  It really hit the spot and cleared my head.

Tangy Chorizo and Tomatillo Soup

1 pound chorizo sausage (if you can find authentic smoked chorizo sausage, cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.  If not, remove from casings and brown in a fry pan and set aside)

8 fresh tomatillos; husks removed and roasted (directions to follow)

2 tsp olive oil

1 onion; diced

3 cloves garlic; minced

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

2 14 oz cans roasted diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken broth

2 14 oz cans black beans; drained and rinsed

Juice from one lime

1 cup chopped cilantro

Oven roast the tomatillos by placing on a foil lined cookie sheet and broiling 6 inches from the heat source for 5 minutes on one side.  Remove from oven and turn to other side and broil another 5 minutes, or until soft and slightly charred.  Puree in a blender and set aside for the soup.

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, sauté onions in olive oil until softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, oregano, and cumin and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add pureed tomatillos, tomatoes, and chicken broth bring to a simmer and reduce heat allowing to simmer about 30 minutes.  Add beans, chorizo, lime and cilantro and heat through for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Serve with additional lime wedges and cilantro and a dash of smokey Tabasco.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

This Crazy Life

I think our battle with the flu is done, at least for this round.  It was relatively soft on us, as it was just Special K and I that ended up sidelined.  Now it's time to play catch up again. Life can certainly get completely out of hand.

We are still in recovery mode from Christmas break.  The two girls were home and we had a lot of fun. They both learned to ski, we did a lot of baking, and nearly every meal was a special request.  I can't believe they are both back at school.  I miss them so much.

The house is a disaster.  The vacuum broke more than two weeks ago and replacement parts have not arrived yet.  The tree was losing needles like crazy.  I knew there was a reason I never put up a tree before Gaudete Sunday.  It was a pretty sad looking tree by the time it finally came down this weekend.  Wingnut ended up buying me a new vacuum just so we didn't feel like we were living in continual filth.  I spent the weekend vacuuming like a nut, but now the house feels so much cleaner.  I'm not sure where I am for FlyLady, but if I get all the Christmas decorations put away today, I'll feel pretty good.

Our house in Maryland is in the final stages of being sold.  It was on the market 9 days and we had two solid offers on it.  Everything was cooking right along until Saturday when the house tested .1 above the 4.0 limit for radon.  The buyers freaked a little, but have calmed down now that we are putting in a mitigation system.  We hope to close here in just a couple weeks.  That will be a huge worry off our plates.  We never expected to sell.  God is good, that is for sure!

Wingnut has two of the kids out skiing today.  It is bitter cold, but there is tons of snow.  They should have a grand day.  I've got Country Captain Chicken bubbling in the crockpot and just a few more free moments before I take another crack at the craziness around here.  Hopefully I'll be back again this week.  I'm sure hoping to get some photos taken this week.  Pax!

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Friday, January 11, 2013


I am recovering from a bout with a pretty nasty flu.  Special K is down, but everyone else seems to be hanging in there. It was especially tough, as it seemed nothing could break the fever and nothing seemed to alleviate the symptoms for long.  I resorted to Mucinex Flu, but really the only effective treatments that gave me any semblance of relief were the lemon honey elixir I keep in the fridge for the sore throat and detox baths.  Neither the tea nor the bath seem to be actual cures for the flu, but they sure did help temporarily in a way conventional flu meds did not.

Interested in the lemon honey elixir?  Go here.

For the detox bath you will need epsom salts, baking soda, ground ginger, and essential oil of your choosing (eucalyptus and lavender work nicely).  Run your bath as hot as you can stand. Add 2 cups epsom salts, 1 cup baking soda, 1 TBSP ginger, and 20 drops essential oils.  Submerge as much of yourself as you can and soak at least 20 minutes, but 40 minutes is ideal. For children up to 60 pounds cut the recipe by 1/4 and for children 60 to 100 pounds cut the recipe by half.  Be sure to exit the bath carefully, you may feel a little woozy.  The ginger will likely cause you to sweat for some time after you exit your bath, but that will help draw out all the ick.  This bath is good for flu, colds, aches and pains, and workout recovery. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

This Blogging Break Courtesy of the Plague

I came down with aches, chills and a fever on Saturday.  Undaunted, Wingnut and I still went out for a lovely dinner and to shop for Epiphany.  I should have been daunted.  Sunday I went to Mass but snuck out with the boys during the Our Father to avoid shaking hands with any unsuspecting victims and we remained in the vestibule through communion.  I was feeling pretty miserable.  Since then I've pretty much been in bed--reading, knitting, and watching a lot of Downton Abbey (I caught this week's premier of season 3 on the PBS app and then I've been rewatching season 1 on Netflix).  We managed to get some school work done, but I can't teach due to laryngitis, so it's just been bare bones.  I'm feeling a tad better this evening.  I'm sure I'll recover just in time for the rest of the family to come down with the plague.  Who knows when I'll have a chance to blog in the next few days.  Stay healthy, y'all! Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lil' Lamb 23 Months

I can't believe he's nearly two!  Wingnut and I feel he's turned a corner, too.  Our kids tend to go through the fabled "terrible two" stage earlier on, usually between 15 months and 2 years.  It may have something to do with his increased ability to communicate.  He's talking more and more each day.  Most of it is babble, but each day more and more of his words are actually decipherable.   His needs and wants are more easily met and he's just generally happier for it.  The little guy is developing a hysterical sense of humor as well.  His favorite game is "punch daddy and watch him fall to the ground".  I just love the sound of his giggle.  

He's become a big helper around the house.  He loves to help unload the dishwasher, make the bed, change the tablecloth, turn on the washer and dryer, and wash windows.

His favorite Christmas gift was a cheap little plastic bowling set. 

Just as it is for most little boys, destruction is fun!

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Scandinavian Delight

Growing up in the run up to our Christmas celebrations our Grandmother used to have a cookie baking day in which she and my aunts and some of the cousins would bake at least a dozen different kinds of Christmas cookies, pack them into boxes and send them home with the rest of the family.  There were rosettes, krumkake, Russian tea cakes, fruit cake cookies, rum balls, spritz, Nanaimo bars, etc.  My absolute favorite cookie was likely the simplest to make.  It is a very non-assuming cookie, without frosting, sprinkles, or decor of any kind, but it is melt in your mouth deliciousness.  My Grandmother called them Turkish Delights, but having had REAL Turkish Delight from Turkey, I know these cookies are NOT Turkish Delights.  My children also love this cookie and have renamed them Scandinavian Delights (as my family on my Dad's side is Norwegian).  Over the years we've made these cookies for various Christmas and Epiphany parties and folks are invariably taken aback by the fabulousness of these little plain dainties.  It is for these friends that I now publish the recipe here on the blog.

Scandinavian Delights

2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup melted and cooled butter
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour

In a mixing bowl beat the sugar and melted butter on medium for 15 minutes.  Add the egg yolk and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla, almond extract, and salt.  Gently fold in the flour.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment and bake in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Non-Dairy Discovery

I know this product has been around for a little while now, but I just started using it in Mallu Mom's Indian Chai (I miss her and her tea so much!) and it is AWESOME!  Not only is So Delicious Coconut Milk non-dairy, it is also more prolific and less expensive than goat's milk.  It also contains less fat and fewer calories.  The only drawback that I can see is So Delicious has no protein compared to the 8 grams of protein in one cup of goat's milk, so it won't replace the goat's milk in all of my recipes, but it may become my favorite go to dairy free "milk". Print Friendly and PDF