Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli Specks

In Food, Italian, Pasta on January 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Sit back, relax and prepare to enjoy an 88 cent pouch of generic Alfredo Broccoli Noodles. Yes, Jay was out of town. No, I couldn’t do better for myself. This is my version of a bachelorette dinner. What do you want from me? I added fresh parmesan, it was the least I could do. The absolute. least. I could do. And I almost used a cotton napkin. But then, I remembered Baby Girl drug them all out of the drawer and across the floor today playing ‘Superhero’.

This lovely dish is paired well with a Bud Light Lime from a can. You just can’t go wrong. Mmmm.

P.S. Dearest Jay, please never leave home. It puts my palate into severe distress.

P.P.S. “Mom, your cooking rocks my WORLD!

P.P.P.S. “Why no, Mom. I did not stick a green marker up my nose. It was blue.”



Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pesto Risotto, Wild Mushroom Bisque and Caesar Salad

In Food, Italian, Pork, Risotto, Soups 'n Stews on January 9, 2011 at 12:07 pm

This, my friends is a lovely meal to make for friends or to welcome your cousin to the U.S. It just so happens that we accomplished both with this one. My gorgeous BFF Kara shares the result.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

In the summer we grow lots of fresh herbs but they cost a fortune in the Winter. Jay recently found this little gem in the fresh produce section at the market. It is blended fresh, organic herbs in a squeeze tube. The Italian version has basil, marjoram, parsley, sea salt, rosemary and thyme blended with oil.

Smear pork tenderloin generously with Italian Herb blend, Kosher salt, minced garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Roast uncovered at 350 until you hit an internal temperature of 160 in the thickest part of the loin. Cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes then slice to desired thickness.

Pesto Risotto

–       1 yellow onion (finely chopped)

–       1 garlic clove (pressed)

–       1 ½ Cups medium grain white rice

–       4 Cups chicken broth

–       3 Tbsp. butter

–       1 Cup dry white wine

–       1 Cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

–       Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

–       3 Tbsp. pesto

Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add rice and stir to coat with butter.  Saute an additional 2 minutes.

Add wine and simmer until wine has almost completely evaporated.

Begin stirring in broth ½ – ¾ cup at a time.  Give each addition of broth time to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle.  Continue until rice is tender, yet firm, and mixture is creamy.

Remove from heat, and stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and pesto.

Return pan to heat until warm throughout.

Classico is a great prepared pesto to use in the Winter months.

Better Than Bouillon is the best prepared chicken broth on the shelves. It’s delish. Go get some and you’ll never unwrap tiny chicken cubes again. Unless, of course you like that sort of thing.

Wild Mushroom Bisque

–       1 medium size red onion, thinly sliced

–       1 tsp. freshly chopped garlic

–       2 lbs. mixed mushrooms of your choice (i.e. shitaki, baby bella, oyster, white, etc.), cleaned, stemmed, chopped

–       1 stick butter

–       1 ½ Cups chicken broth

–       1 ½ Cups beef broth

–       2/3 Cup Sherry

–       1 ½ Cups heavy whipping cream (sub ½ & ½ for lighter version)

Melt butter in large, thick-bottomed sauté pan.

Sauté onion and garlic until onion is translucent.

Add mushrooms and sauté until softened, and most liquid has evaporated.

Remove pan from heat, add sherry and ignite.  Let flame burn out, then return pan to heat.

Add chicken and beef broth, and bring to a strong simmer.

Simmer until liquid had reduced by 1/3 – 1/2.

Transfer mixture to a food processor and process until smooth.

Transfer mixture from food processor to a medium-sized sauce pan over med-low heat, and bring mixture to a low simmer.

Slowly mix in the heavy cream until thoroughly heated.

*Serve with a Basic Caesar Salad: Romaine, Creamy Caesar Dressing (we like Ken’s Steakhouse), croutons and anchovy filets.

Purge Fest 2011 – Day 2

In Life, Resolutions on January 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm

*In case you missed the whole point behind this crazy scheme, check it out here.

**The first eleven pieces of junk purged from our lives forever are here.

12. One coupon book with an expiration date of… oh. wait. seriously? Do you think they’ll still honor it? Never hurts to ask.

13. One tea-steeper-dealy-thing with holes too big to keep the – er, uh – tea leaves inside. So what’s the point of manufacturing such a device in the first place? A tea steeper that in effect serves the same result as just dumping loose leaf tea directly into your mouth. And I used this device for how many years expecting a different result? Oh yeah, just ten. Not too shabby.

But, it has that great chain to hook it to the edge of your cup. It’s all the rage.

14. Hey, look it’s a dusty teapot. You might have heard of these, people used to use them to heat… listen closely… water to make hot tea before the invention of microwaves. I know what you are thinking. How on earth would this thingy work effectively without a tea-steeper-bobber-deal? Well, it wouldn’t. Thus they leave our midst as a pair.

15. A coffee mug lid. But, not just any coffee mug lid. A coffee mug lid with a melty spot that makes the coffee gurgle out under your bottom lip. Not ideal for keeping coffee in your mouth when, say driving… sitting in a meeting with your boss… trying not to look like a total goober in general.

Although, as mentioned previously this-here coffee mug lid was once of value. It belonged to the mug pictured below. A mug from the world’s greatest bagel shop in Ft. Collins, CO. They don’t sell this model mug anymore. Boo to you Mr. Leaky Mug Lid. But to you Mr. Mug, you are mine forever.

16. So, who’s household exactly was this household paraffin wax meant for anyway? I mean, the canning – I get it. The candlemaking – get it. Many other uses? Come on Gulf Wax, you know there are only two legitimate household uses. Why waste my time? I seriously thought I was buying commercial paraffin wax. This is below my pay grade.

And yep, it’s been with us since our Michigan days (see the Meijer tag?). Can you remember when you could buy a pound of paraffin for $1.59?  Oh, nevermind.

17. I do love Cuddly Critters. Who doesn’t? But I just can’t subject the kids to hamsters in their morning coffee. Too weird. And we don’t have a VHS box.

18. First rule of being lost. Don’t move a muscle. What on Earth is Spot looking for? Doesn’t he know everyone else in the world is looking for him?

19. When your kids have this much hair:

They need a stronger styling implement than this blurry little guy:

20. Yes, I know our eldest made this all. by. himself. with a little help. We will think of it fondly.

21. Honestly, if you just have ‘simple nausea’ shouldn’t you just grow a pair?

22. The power of twenty men couldn’t keep me from losing socks in the laundry. Who the heck does this guy think he is?

See you tomorrow for more of the same.

Disclaimer: Dear people who might have given us the stuff you see us now purging with great abandon… It is you we love. Not the stuff. We once loved you and the stuff, but now it’s back to just loving you. And the new stuff. Thanks for understanding.

Purge Fest 2011 – Day 1

In Life, Resolutions on January 5, 2011 at 10:13 pm

*Disclaimer: Dear people who might have given us the stuff you see us now purging with great abandon… It is you we love. Not the stuff. We once loved you and the stuff, but now it’s back to just loving you. And the new stuff. Thanks for understanding.

1. We love books. LOVE. Books. But this one just straight up bites the big one. The firefly isn’t nice. And every time we read it, I have to explain why the firefly is mean and why Sam the Owl puts up with his jerk friend the firefly. So, enough already. Sam, take the hint. There is someone better out there for you.

2. These blocks were a gift when Baby Girl was born almost a year and a half ago. That is a lifetime in the pressed-paperboard-block world. They must be replaced though. These guys were great in their hay-day.

3. This blurry little jewel once held a teething ring. Seriously. A carrying case for a teething ring. I’m sure this was the brain child of some bachelor baby-toy-engineer. Do you see the matching teether sitting beside it? No? That’s because it didn’t survive. Or maybe it escaped to the far-reaches behind the couch. We may never know. But this relationship was just not meant for the long haul.

4. One gear motor belonging to a whole set of gears that also escaped under the couch/fridge/bottom of the toy box. This guy’s sole purpose in the world without his buds the gears is to annoy the crap out of me with it’s buzzing. On the up side, the teether must not be too lonely under the couch. Probably having a par-tay with the gears. Those guys are ruckus.

5. One lonely cheese embellished cheese knife. Poor dude.

6. One Zhu-Zhu Pet. Sayonara sucka.

7. This lovely set of pumpkin carving knives will find a great new home. I’m sure of it.

8. Eh, this is a dehumidifier filter. I think. It has been with us for almost a decade. Not sure why we thought we should save it. I suppose we might, one day have a dehumidifier it would fit. Come on folks, really? This is pretty bad. It does still have the plastic wrap though.

9. One Honey Bear Candle Co. Cucumber Melon candle. Sorry Mom. 1997 wants it back.

10. Ah, a lovely assortment of “Now I’m awake! Wait! Now I’m asleep!” sock puppets. Pretty sure these guys can start a party all by themselves. They don’t need us to help.

11. One farm entrance. There is probably a very confused farmer out there wandering aimlessly looking for the entrance to his farm.

There you have it folks. Day 1 of Purge Fest. Stay tuned, that was just the stuff out in plain sight.

Purge Fest 2011

In Life, Resolutions on January 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm

(image found here)

You like how I call it Purge Fest ‘2011’ like this is the eighteenth year in a row that I’ve done it – don’t you? Well, it just so happens that this is the first go-round.

So here are the rules:

1) Rid the house – our house, more specifically – of eleven things everyday. You know, because it is 2011. Let’s hope I get a handle on things before 2038. Thirty-eight things a day sounds just like actual cleaning to me. Eleven, my friends is a nice-little-fun challenge.

2) Toss ’em, recycle ’em, give ’em away. Whatever. Just don’t say, “I know! I’ll save this for a spring garage sale!” Because it’s not worth the 13 cents someone will pay me in April to keep the junk around any longer.

3) Keep it up until I stop seeing unnecessary stuff everywhere I look. Watch out closets, here I come!

4) Post pics of all the extraneous things being purged everyday. Just for kicks. Cuz you know you wanna see it.

Hold on tight and enjoy the ride, it might just get a little crazy up in here.

Resolutions – yikes

In Life, Resolutions on January 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm

(image found here)

So, here goes. I resolve to do the following in order of easiest first. That’s just how I roll peeps.

1) Invent something. If you know me this is no big surprise. I’m always coming up with random ideas that I jot down into a notebook then let them live there – in that notebook – into infinity. I’ll give it the old college try to actually turn one of my inventions into something, something. well. tangible.

2) I resolve to get together with friends as often as possible regardless of the prohibitive day-to-day grind. (She says as she gratefully declines a dinner offer with friends. Seriously, I just can’t hang tonight. It is 32 degrees outside, how dare you ask me to leave the house?!?) Moving on…

3) I resolve to be grateful. This is a big one. It is so dang easy to get caught up in the here-and-now and not notice/appreciate the amazing people who surround me. I love you people. You rock.

4) Exercise. Ha. Got you on that one. But I will try to get outside more often, or should I say ‘out of the backyard more often’? It’s a hazard of working from home. I just can’t help it. Ok, I can help it. Anyway…

5) I will learn some conversational Spanish. This will be EASY! Why, you ask? Because our super-awesome-chic-bilingual cousin is coming to live with us. Um. On Saturday. Yes, this Saturday. This is a major topic for another post. Stay tuned. Details to follow.

6) I’ll get our house organized. Not get ME organized, the HOUSE. :) And, when I say organized I mean I promise to buy a couple drawer organizers and some buckets and to shove stuff into them. Oh, and I promise to get rid of some stuff so there is less stuff to shove places.

I think that just about covers it. I’m not dragging Jay into all this. These are mine. All. Mine.

What about you? Any genius plans to put into action this year?