Friday, December 30, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. being home again
2. spending Christmas with my family
3. meeting up with a good friend on our way home
4. time to spend to veg - and get over this cold
5. seeing our kitty cats after being away from them so long

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. arriving in Minnesota safely
2. that Michael is feeling better as he didn't feel very good traveling up here
3. meeting my niece for the first time
4. her reaching out and touching my nose and smiling like she knew who I was
5. spending time with my family

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Gratitude

I am thankful for...
1. time that get to spend with Michael's parents
2. trip coming up to see my family
3. getting a chance to see good friends before we left for the holiday
4. fitting everything in the car
5. nice drive over to Denver

Glee - Do They Know It is Christmas?

Michael and I have heard so many stories of hope this year it has just always gets to me.  Watched a story on the news about a guy that goes out to the mall and hands out hundred dollar bills to people. He handed it out to one young man who he ended up saying he was a good man and it seemed to be just what that man needed to hear.  Probably more then the money.  Even though he needed the money too. But you could see how the telling him he was a good man got to him.  It was a very special Christmas gift to that man.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In a Hurry

Life just got terribly rushed for us. We were planning on leaving next week for Denver and then to Minnesota but a job came up and Michael couldn't turn it down as it is with one of his favorite clients.  So I had to drop a ton of things from my to-do list and just make do with what I could. I made gifts which I can't wait to post about after the holidays.

We got to enjoy our tree a week before needing to leave. I was really bummed that we weren't going to have time for our traditional drive to look at lights but Michael did surprise me with a mini-drive and we went to an area that had a house that coordinated the music with the lights. We also drove through our favorite neighborhood where almost every house is decorated. So the quick drive before needing to leave was a nice surprise.

It really hasn't felt like Christmas this year and now with this rush it is making it feel even less like Christmas. I am not sure if is the weather - we have had really nice weather almost like fall to spring like temperatures.  Then with things being rushed - I think there just hasn't been time to enjoy the season.  But I am sure when I get to see my family and my niece and nephew that it will seem more like Christmas with them around.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chocolate Mint Cake

Michael really enjoys a minty flavor in bars, cookies or cake.  But I don't often find recipes I really like that call for mint.  This recipe happened to be on one of those recipe cards you receive in the mail - where they are trying to hook you into buying them forever.  I usually go through those sample packs and keep ones that sound good and throw out the rest.  Well this Chocolate Mint Cake is one I kept, because it had peppermint in it and also because it looked so easy.

It was really easy and very moist and minty.  It is just a small cake - an 8x8 (or 9x9 will work too) but perfect size for just a few people and not having to eat cake forever.
Hard to take a photo as the chocolate is so glossy

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 - package small chocolate covered mint patties*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.  Stir to mix.  Add brown sugar and cocoa powder and mix well.  Add water, vinegar, oil and extracts. Mix well.

Pour batter into an 8" x 8" pan.* Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Arrange mint patties on top of cake. Return to oven until candies begin to melt  - about 1 minute. Remove from oven.

Spread melted mint patties evenly over cake with a knife. Cool completely. Cut cake and serve.

* The original recipe says 13 ounce package of small chocolate covered mint patties - well I wasn't paying attention to that and bought a 5 ounce package and it worked really well. I think it would have been overkill on mint using a 13 ounce package.

* The original recipe calls for an ungreased cake pan but I can't imagine not greasing a cake pan so I coated it with cooking spray and it turned out find.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All Natural Cleaning

I have used this recipe for years as an all-purpose cleaner but have gone to another one.

OLD RECIPE - that is quite good and a nice place to start if you are just going green or trying to do natural cleaners for the first time.

All-Purpose Spray
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid dish soap or something like Dr. Bonner's liquid soap
10 drops of essential oil (citrus, peppermint, or tea tree - I use tea tree and lemon)
water - to fill spray bottle

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake before use.


All-Purpose Cleaner

Heat about 28 ounces of water to boiling (enough to fill your spray bottle), turn off heat and add 2 tbsp BORAX powder, 3/4 tsp of liquid soap, 18 drops of essential oils - usually a mixture of 2 or 3. Stir until the Borax is disolved and won't clog your spray bottle.

Essential oils I use - I always use tea tree oil - in any homemade cleaner - as it has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. I then add in lemon or a citrus scented one, and maybe rosemary - which all of these ones have disinfecting properties. But for Christmas I have just done tea-tree oil and peppermint so that it smells more like Christmas around the house as I clean. Peppermint essential oil has disinfecting properties too.

Basically these are the things I have moved towards when cleaning now:
Baking Soda - It is really good natural abrasive with mild alkaline properties. It is affordable, rinses easily and is completely non-toxic - no dangers for kids and pets.

Vinegar - It is an all natural and known disinfectant. It is affordable as well because you can get a pretty big jug of it at Walmart inexpensively. Only surface that you can't really use it on is marble as the acid discolors marble.

Hydrogen Peroxide - is also non-toxic and is known to be a disinfectant. Also very affordable.

Essential Oils - All natural and many have disinfecting properties. A little goes a long way so when looking at prices they do seem like they can be expensive but often you are using 6 to 10 little drops of it. I have had a bottle of tea tree oil for over 3 years and not even near being empty. Natural food grocers will have them, sometimes health food stores, Whole Food or Trader Joes I believe sell them too. But you can also get them online.

Liquid Soap/Liquid Castile Soap - You can use any liquid soap but to be green and more natural - Liquid Castile Soap is best. It isn't inexpensive but again a little goes a long way. Dr. Bronner’s sells liquid castile soap and I have found that at Target but Trader Joes and Whole Foods I am sure would have it too. Castile soap is a vegetable based soap where most others are petroleum based. So that makes Castile soap completely non-toxic so it can be used on your face and body but will also work well when it comes to cleaning your home.

Just a few little things I do to clean:

* Liquid soap and Baking soda make a great soft scrub (add in essential oil for a nice scent).

* Microwave vinegar and water in a little bowl and it steams all the cooked on food - and makes it easy to wipe clean.

* Clean fruit with 1 tablespoon baking soda, 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup water. Spray on produce and then rinse after 3 to 5 minutes.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. beautiful weather - sunny and bright
2. house is clean 
3. tree is up - just not decorated. We will do that tomorrow night.
4. wonderful peppermint smell from adding peppermint essential oil to my cleaning supplies today so that it smells very Christmasy here today
5. my love picking up take-out for dinner since I had been working hard on the house today

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Sausage Stuffed Baked Potato

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen.  She has amazing recipes.  Almost everything she posts - I think looks good and I want to make.  I actually made this late winter/early spring and never got around to posting it.  It is a really good cold weather - comfort food type recipe.  

I did make a few changes so posting my version. But Smitten Kitchen's version is here that she adapted from Gourmet Magazine.  Smitten Kitchen served with a salad and so did I - it was a really nice accompaniment to this recipe. 

Sausage Stuffed Baked Potatoes

2 large russet (baking) potatoes (if you don't have or can't find really large baking potatoes - just use a few more of the size you have)

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon water, divided
3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for coating potatoes
1/2 slice firm white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 pound bulk breakfast sausage or 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Prick potatoes with a fork. Wrap each potato with a paper towel and microwave on high power until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Cutting lengthwise, remove top fourth of each potato and scoop out centers (reserve for another use), leaving 1/2-inch-thick walls.

Whisk together mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon water, tomato paste, and 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Add some olive oil/vegetable oil to skillet and cook onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.

Tear bread into small pieces.  Soak in the bread in milk - in a medium sized bowl.  Soak until very soft. Mix in sausage, parsley, onion, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise sauce with your hands.

Divide filling between potatoes, then coat skins lightly with oil. Bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until sausage is cooked through, about 30-40 minutes.

While potatoes bake, whisk 1 tablespoon mayonnaise sauce with lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon water, and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove potatoes from oven and turn on broiler. Spoon remaining mayonnaise sauce over filling and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat until charred in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Serve.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Reverb11 - Discover/Important/Remember

Prompt: What did you discover?
Need to take more moments to just be myself.   I don't take enough me times is more what I mean. I don't take enough time to do what I want.  I do put my proprieties right is more to the point.

Prompt: Who was important to you?
Michael is important to me but I think really this year told me - especially the end of this year told me I  need to be important to me.

Prompt: What do you hope to remember?
All the great people I met in 2011 - including some to come - such as my niece.  As I will be meeting her over Christmas.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Reverb 2011

Last year Reverb really affected me in positive ways. I just didn't let that positive force that I started out with - continue. I let some things trip me up and then I stayed back and stagnant - again.   This year Gwen Bell isn't doing Reverb but a couple of her Reverb 2010 co-founders are and I am using prompts Kaileen posted. I might change a few out and add in some of my own though. 

Prompt: Where did 2011 begin?

2011 started with me getting my migraines down so that they didn't impede on my quality of life so much. I get them still, but before it was about 22 days out of a month that I got migraines.  Now I get them when a couple times a month and maybe up to 7 a month. But down from 22 to 7 is AMAZING!   My doctor that helped me with this has left the clinic I go to but he was my ROCK STAR for 2011.  

Prompt: Who did you meet?

I met people I have known online for years.  

We met Colleen and Scott after knowing her just a little bit online. They lived on the other side of Colorado, but were visiting family who live in GJ.  They were also in the process at that time of trying to decide where they wanted to move.  We are thankful that they decided to move to our side of the state and are about an hour away now.  We were lucky enough to spend some quality time with them soon.  They have become really good friends and we wish we could spend more time with them. 
I also met someone else I have known online for quite a long time. Kathie at Two Frog Home.  Kathie and her significant other Jeff invited us for dinner when we were in Montana.  It was an amazing night and I wish so much that we lived closer together.  Kathie is one of those people I have always had on a mental list of people I would love to meet - and I am so very grateful that happened in 2011.  
I thought and continue to hope we might get to Montana for Michael's work one more time  in early 2012. I keep my fingers crossed as I would love to spend some more time with Kathie. 

Prompt: What books did you read?
Not as many as I would have liked to read.  But I did read the Karen Moning Fever series mostly because my cousin talks about them quite a lot and then she sent me the first book.  So I got hooked on them.   

I also read the Harry Potter books - first time I had picked one up. I started and kept on going to the end. I am hooked on the movies too and watch them several times a month. 
I read a couple books by Brene Brown and they deeply impacted me.  I really saw through so much guilt and shame I had/have still working inside me.   

I read probably close to 100 books this year. I just haven't logged them all into yet. 

Prompt: When did you struggle?
I didn't struggle this year a lot - but really I feel like I just gave up on some things.  It was hard due to health reasons so I did struggle there because I couldn't do anything. I felt like I was in a prison - if I took the trash to the curb - I coughed and needed several hours if not all night to recover. Just little tasks sent me over - because I couldn't breath.  That happened in the end of July I was hit with really bad asthma attack and after that I just couldn't breath right.  That went on for 3 months and then I started to heal some but then it came back.  Oddly enough after this ER visit I had recently - my breathing problems went away after taking the powerful antibiotics. I am grateful it did. I mean still have some wheezing and little asthma problems but not like the 3 months were I couldn't sleep because laying down made me choke and cough.  Luckily I am feeling better and just still struggling with some health issues but not to the extent I was before. 

Saturday, December 03, 2011

A Few Christmas Ideas

I just love the simple look of this for decorating at Christmas. Or this next one too...

Such a cute idea for a place-card holder for a holiday dinner

Source: via Darby on Pinterest

This looks fairly easy to do and would look good placing one on top of a tray of goodies as a gift.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. Getting to see good friends tomorrow
2. the smell of freshly baked Pumpkin Cookies with Maple Icing
3. making some plans to meet a good friend on our way back from Minnesota
4. getting excited to see my family and especially my niece and nephew!
5. the Roku having so many music options for Christmas music
6. a wonderful gift of Chicago Pizza and Eli's Cheesecake from someone special

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I've Been Pinned

That is Christmas Subway art I created last year. It was put on Pinterest!

Here is a link to the post that has 3 different color options to choose from.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bell Pepper, Rice & Italian Sausage Casserole

1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
2 bell peppers -  stem and seeds removed and cut off 4 to 6 rings and then chop the rest
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning (a blend of dried oregano, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary)
4 or 5 links turkey/chicken Italian sausage (1 lb.)
2 cups cooked rice - brown or white 
3/4 cup cheese (low-fat cheeses work too - I used colby-jack mixture)
1 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
3/4 cup any broth (I used a chickem bouillon cube to make mine)
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large heavy frying pan. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and saute until the vegetables are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the cooked vegetables to a bowl.

Add 2 tsp. more oil to the frying pan (or less if you're using a non-stick pan.) Squeeze the turkey Italian sausage out of the casing and saute until it's fully cooked and nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks. This will take about 5-6 minutes, but don't rush the browning.

When sausage is done sprinkle with 3 tbsp. flour and add 1 tbsp butter to the pan, stir until well coated/mixed.  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of milk.  Stir and cook until mixture thickens.  After it the mixture thickens add the cooked vegetables, Italian seasonings and rice into the pan and mix with the sausage. Cook this mixture a few minutes, until the rice is warmed through. Put the mixture into a casserole dish that you've sprayed with olive oil or non-stick spray. (I used a dish that was 9 x13  but a slightly smaller size will work.) Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Add bell pepper rings to top. Push them into the casserole slightly. 

Put the casserole into the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned and the whole thing is piping hot, about 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.

1 can of cream of chicken soup can be substituted for butter, flour, chicken broth and milk.  You will probably still need a little water or milk to smooth it out some though when mixing it in. 

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude Friday

From Facebook updates...
Nov 19 - I am thankful for my niece who turned 1 year old today. Sending birthday wishes to Chloe Jo!

Nov 21Today has been a long day. I am already falling asleep and it is only 8pm. I am thankful for being home and maybe relaxing a bit before going to bed. I am also thankful that all my Thanksgiving shopping is now done.

Nov 22Thankful for the beautiful weather, stack of Christmas books to gather inspiration for decorating & baking, mail love we have received the last few days and that we got out of Walmart today fairly quickly although it was packed.

Nov 24I am extremely grateful for the abundance of joy and love in my life. Everyday is a blessing and although I express my gratitude here just in November - I remind myself daily throughout the year of all my blessings. Thank you for being one of those blessings...I know how fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is Home

I have been on a Narnia movie kick lately and I love the music from all 3 movies.  This one the artist talks about how when he wrote this song for the movie he kept in mind when his father read the books to him when he was young. I thought that was cool that he enjoyed the books and then did a song for the movies. The books are great....I should read them again. I haven't read them since I was a little girl.

Anyway....beautiful song. This is home - just makes me so grateful for Michael and that this is home with him.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratitude Friday

Some more status updates from Facebook....

Nov  13  - I am thankful for the wonderful brunch Michael made, that I am able to stay inside on such a cold dreary day, and that more often then not I am able to go with Michael when he goes out of town for business - love road trips with him.

Nov 15I am thankful for being able to have fun and laugh with Michael especially after a long day like today.

Nov 16Today I am thankful for Michael being there for me during such stressful times such as this evening when I had to go to the ER. I am fine. They aren't exactly sure what is wrong with me but wanted to rule out a blood clot in my leg...and it was ruled out - so I am very thankful for that.

Nov 17Today I am thankful for our friend Missy and an email written by Michael. Missy told Michael about me and he wrote me 9 years ago today. I am very thankful he decided to write and share so openly as it was really from the words written - I knew he would capture my heart quite easily. And he did. I love you Michael

Nov 18I am thankful that Michael and I are able to have mini-dates in the midst of a very stressful week. Took me to Starbucks for a holiday drink. We needed that time away even if for just a short time. I wish it could have longer but some time was better then no time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Visit to the ER

I went to the ER on Wednesday. My left calf swelled up to about 2 1/2 the size it is normally. It was really sensitive to the touch and just hurt from the pressure of it being swollen. I then also had some chest pain and coughing. Coughing so much that it felt like I had bronchitis. I went to my doctor and he sent me to the ER to check for a blood clot. I had an EKG which was fine. And an ultra sound on my leg and no blood clots were found. 

It actually looks like I have an infection in my leg - they treating me with powerful antibiotics and after not even 2 full days of being on them - my leg swelling has went down and hardly hurts, don't feel the pressure and it isn't as sensitive. It looks like I might have had a small cut that became infected and that sent my body into chaos. 

I fell 2 years ago and I have an area on my calf that normally looks like a very dry patch of skin and I wore a pair of lounge pants last week that are soft on the outside but on the inside not so much. I think they rubbed across the dry patch causing an abrasion that became infected. Even though looking at it there was no visible open scratch. It just became very red...looked angry in the area but when it is very dry - it sometimes does so I didn't think anything of it. 

The ER doctor wants me to follow up with my doctor on Monday. My doctor is out of town so seeing another doctor. But I think everyone will give me the clear that it is better. Because the ER doctor stressed about 10 times if isn't - I would be checking into the hospital for a stay to be treated with even more powerful antibiotic. Already stressing about the ER bill - so don't want to have to be staying in the hospital. 

Michael  of course said that I am worth the expene as he wants me around a long time. He was great - as he knows doctors freak me out and he did really well keeping me calm. 

In the end - I am feeling better and it looks like what they are treating me with is working. I feel better and my leg looks much better. So I think things will be okay. Just very scary. 

I was telling a friend - I think my warranty ran out at 43. I am 44 now but this last year has been a horrible horrible health year for me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I have always wanted a tattoo.  One of my friend's husband is a tattoo artist and she has amazing body art. Covering almost everywhere except her face. But big pieces on her arms, legs and back....just everywhere. Another friend, one of my closest friends, Jessica has a star freckles as tattoos and each one represents a person. She told me early this year that she was getting one for me.  It touched me deeply.  Stars shape as meaning to me too so it makes it even more special to think I am going to be a star on her.

On Pinterest, I look at tattoos people post and collect ones I like.  

Here are a few....
Michael has a nickname of Spooner and so a spoon seems appropriate. 

I have kind of an obsession for letters and numbers and this combines the two so could be a good tattoo.  My friend with the star tattoos, Jessica, talked about doing a kind of henna-looking tattoo with the subtle brown color and design of henna as a tattoo - I think this would look lovely in a brown.

Source: via Darby on Pinterest

Owls, spiders, elephants, turtles, ravens and crows tattoos always get my attention.   Jessica gave me this book called Soul College.   You create cards that have deep personal meaning. Many of them seem to involve animals.  These are the animals that I feel are frequent images in my life that I am pulled towards. They represent aspects of me. 

Words - I would love to have a quote tattoo.  I am just not sure I would be able to narrow it down to what quote.  As I love words. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I have been trying to do daily thankful posts on Facebook so here is the ones I have done so far....

Nov 1I am thankful for Michael taking care of me when I have the stomach flu.
Nov 2Today I am thankful for feeling better. Stomach flu seems to be gone. I am also thankful for the wonderful aromas going through the house with a new recipe that I made for dinner. Hoping it tastes as good as it smells...will find out in about 10 mins.
Nov 3I am thankful for the chance we had this past weekend to take a day trip and see beautiful scenery. I love living in Colorado.
Nov 4 I am thankful for the beautiful weather we have, that the pantry is now organized after looking like a tornado hit, and for finding my favorite tea (it was buried in the pantry) when I had thought I was out.
Nov 5 - Today I am thankful for being able to stay indoors because it was cold, rainy and windy.
Nov 7I am thankful for our kitty cats who amuse me, nice fuzzy socks I got for my birthday that are warming my feet on a cold evening, migraine meds, and a cookbook all about soups that I am reading that make me want to make soup everyday as they look so good.
Nov 9 -  I look at the archives of this website, reading the signs, and it really gets to me. I feel often at times we are struggling but then I read things like I am reading on this website and I am thankful for the roof over our head and the work coming to the business. Michael works really hard and I am proud of all he does to keep moving forward. Our story pales in comparison to most of the folks I read about. We are in the 99 percent - but we're grateful for what we have as so many are in worse shape.
Nov 10 -  I am thankful...that I only have to get through today before getting the last Harry Potter dvd, for the adorable invitation we got in the mail for my niece's 1st birthday, for picking up the Design Sponge at Home book from the library, and that having milk and cereal brings back memories from childhood.
Nov 11I am grateful to all the men and women of our armed forces. You and your families have sacrificed so much for all of us...Thank you for your service!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Robert Redford Dessert

I have seen this recipe under many names but it has always been called Robert Redford in my family because it is just as good as Robert Redford. 

First Layer: 1 cup unsifted flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened, 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (have used almonds too)

Mix together flour, sugar, butter and walnuts until crumbly. Press in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes - until lightly brown. Cool.

Second Layer: 8 oz. package cream cheese - softened, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup cool whip

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Fold the whipped topping. Spread over cooled crust.

Put the pan in the fridge while you prepare the third layer.

Third Layer: 1 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 3 cup whole milk, 4 egg yolks, 3 tbls butter, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3 squares unsweetened chocolate - chopped

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Gradually stir in milk and chocolate. Cook over medium until thickened and bubbly. Stir constantly. Reduce heat, cook and stir two minutes. Remove from heat. Separate eggs. Beat yolks slightly in bowl. Stir 1 cup of the chocolate mix into the yolks. Return all to saucepan, bring to gentle boil, cook, stir 2 more minutes. Remove from heat - stir in butter and vanilla. Cool in fridge before gently spreading over second layer.

Forth Layer: After the third layer is cool, spread the rest of the whipped topping. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. the nice day trip we had with friends on a drive this past weekend
2. feeling better after the stomach flu hit both Michael and I this past week
3. Roku streaming Pandora for music
4. a soup cookbook that is inspiring me to make soup - everyday - okay not everyday but there are so many good soup recipes out there and I love soup!

5. clean sheets on the bed - I love the smell of clean sheets and the crisp look of the sheet when they are first put on a bed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Day to Day

I am doing pretty good. I can tell that the asthma problems are coming back at least somewhat and that is distressing me but I just keep hoping it won't come back as bad.  My doctor has 2 new inhalers that will be coming by mail and hopefully they will help.  

Otherwise things are pretty normal around here.  Michael is working and working and working.  And I am doing what I can to help him out but not much I can help with at this time.  So just trying to keep up with my things as I am really behind. 

I am trying to start thinking about Christmas and presents I need to make.  I can't wait to see my family for Christmas. 

So that is about all that is going on here. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Meatball Soup

We had this soup last winter and I just never got around to posting the recipe. But I can't wait to make it again as it was such a huge hit with Michael. From the first bit Michael was raving about the great flavor.  I didn't add any extra seasonings. The tomatoes with the basil, garlic and oregano plus my homemade meatballs have Italian seasonings in it - those things were the only seasoning for the soup. 

1 bag (16 oz) frozen cooked Italian meatballs, thawed or homemade meatballs
2 cups beef broth
1 3/4 cup water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, drained
1 cup frozen carrots
1 cup frozen green beans
1 cup cooked pasta - before serving
Shredded Parmesan cheese - garnish

In 3- to 4-quart slow cooker, mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese. Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 7 hours. The carrots and green beans can become mushy in a slow cooker so add after 4 hours or 4 1/2 hours instead. Add pasta just before serving. 

Garnish individual servings with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. the time we are going to have this weekend - when we go on a little drive with some friends
2. beautiful autumn weather
3. hot apple cider
4. pumpkin recipes - I love pumpkin!
5. clean kitchen floor

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pita Chips

One of our grocery stores has a clearance section of bread. I can buy pita bread from 40 cents to 70 cents a pack just depending how many packages they have left to sell.  I buy them to make pita chips. 

With the holidays parties coming upon, I always like to make and bring these. On their own or with a dip such as hummus. 

Pita Chips

Pita bread 
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. 

Cut pita pockets into triangles and then separate them where they are still connected to the other half. 

Mix oil and toppings. (I did basil, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, parmesan cheese, sea salt)

Toss the pieces of pita bread with the oil mixture. Bake for 6-10 minutes until they are crisp. Flip/stir at the half way mark. Let cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Some possible toppings:
Sea salt
Parmesan Cheese
Herbs of choice such as basil, oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, chili pepper, chipolte, chives, dill and so on.
Cinnamon sugar with melted butter instead of oil