Wednesday, July 29, 2009

If You Need A Giggle

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Smile Filled Day...

I almost titled this post Best Day Ever!!, but not only would it probably be untrue, it would also expose me as the woman with the lamest life ever.  I guess I'm okay with that...

Have I blogged about my inability to get out of the house?  I've always had it, but the condition has worsened considerably since Chloe came on the scene.  Most days I don't even bother pretending like I'll go out, many days I have grand plans that never come to fruition and once in a blue with green polka dots moon we manage to leave the compound.

I wish I were kidding.

That's not the point though.  Apparently, we had a fancy moon last night, because today, Chloe and I ventured out to, wait for it....  The grocery store.  No - two grocery stores.  

Can I just say, we had the best time!  She was so well behaved, which is not the norm when she's tied to a cart...  Aside from the fact that she did a little disappearing act with my grocery list at Meijers, it was probably the best time her and I have had together at the grocery store.  

As an aside, do the elderly ogle over your children at Meijers?   The employees at Kroger fall all over themselves, but it's the customers at Meijer. This cute little old man asked me on which aisle he could find one for himself.  Love it.

So after getting lots of great deals, playing kissy face with my girl all through Meijers and even rewarding her for being such an excellent shopper with some clearance boats for the bath tub, we headed home.  Chloe fell asleep for like 2 minutes on the way and apparently ruined herself for her afternoon nap.  If there is anything I can count on, it is this: The day I desperately need a nap, Chloe decides she does not.  In her defense, I probably wouldn't be able to sleep if I put that in my pants, either, but you know.  Even with clean britches, the moment had passed. 

I expected that this was going to make for a really long afternoon.  Which I guess, technically was true.  It was two hours longer for her than normal.  I thought she would be a crab apple supreme, but she wasn't.  We danced.  A lot.  We played tea party.  I did a head stand.  She thought that was hilarious.  I did some crazy sit ups that doubled as a pony ride of sorts for her. We danced more.  We played some very one sided hide and go seek. We laughed a lot.

This went on for approximately four hours.  

We must have done a few more things.

But we just had the best day. 

 And I loved it.

The End.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Will you join me in praying for Stellan?  If you have no idea who he is, that's fine.  God does.  If you are interested in his story, visit his mommy's blog.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

**Updated to change recipe.  I knew I shouldn't have posted this with out making it again first.  So sorry!

I made a comment about this recipe on my facebook status update yesterday, and a couple people asked for the recipe.  I thought I'd share it with the whole wide world.  Or the world wide web.  Or both people that read this blog.

This recipe was birthed from a Spinach and Artichoke dip that I used to make a lot.  One day, I decided to make it a meal.  It's a big hit around here.  I hope you like it, too!

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

1/2 - 3/4  box of pasta - I generally use bow ties, but anything will do.
1 jar of prepared alfredo sauce - I use Bertolli.  Maybe one day I'll get fancy and make it from scratch.
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained - I'm sure you could wilt fresh spinach if you are feeling extra spunky.
1 cup (ish) cooked chicken.  When I first started making this I used packaged precooked chicken, but I can think of eleventy things I'd rather spend 5$ on these days.  Now, I like to put frozen chicken breasts or thighs in my crock pot and then use that.
2 cups chopped marinated artichoke hearts - I get an enormous jar from Costco and then use a lot of them.  You can find small jars at the grocery store, but I really don't want to know how much that will run ya...  Also - I find the flavor from the marinade super delicious, so I would never advise you to use artichokes in water, but hey - do what you gotta do.  
4 cups of mozzarella cheese - Since I don't have any relevant commentary, I'll tell you this. Did you know that they put something on the shredded cheese so it won't clump?  I wish I didn't know that.  I have a friend who always buys blocks and shreds them.  I will probably consider doing that.  The thought of taking the time to do that make me want to cry a little.
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg - If you watch Rachael Ray, you know that nutmeg goes great with spinach dishes.  I also love it in scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese.  Not Kraft, though.  That would just be weird.
Salt and pepper to taste

Okay.  Overwhelmed yet?  That was a lot of info.  Very much in the style of Must Share... Let's try this another way, in case you want to print it out or something...

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

1/2 - 3/4 box of pasta 
1 jar of prepared alfredo sauce 
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained 
1 cup (ish) cooked chicken, chopped  
2 cups chopped marinated artichoke hearts
4 cups of mozzarella cheese 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Combine alfredo sauce and seasonings. After thawing spinach and squeezing all the water out of it, chop it and add it to the sauce mixture. Chop artichokes and add them.  Chop chicken into bite size pieces and add that.  Stir in the cooked pasta.  Mix 2 cups of the cheese into the casserole.  Spread into a 9 X 13 pan and sprinkle 2 cups cheese over the top. Bake at 350 until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbly.  Probably 30-45 minutes.  Enjoy!  To make the dip version, leave out the pasta and chicken.  Serve with tortilla chips or bread.

Disclaimer:  This is one of those recipes that I don't actually have a recipe for.  The above is my best guess.  Good luck!  Also - you know how some recipes are low fat and really good for you?  Yeah, this is the opposite of that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Highly Recommend The Electro-Shock Therapy

We went sailing this weekend.  Gotta love the sailing.  Oh, except for the nausea, unseasonably arctic weather, and almost capsizing on our way back from Mackinaw Island.  Everything else about the experience, I positively adored!

Two years ago we went sailing for the first time.  I absolutely loved it!  Except for the part where I threw up, but other than that?  Loved it.  I was something like 7 weeks along in my pregnancy, so I tried to blame it on that.  Despite the fact that I've been known to get carsick (though never actually vomit) on the shortest of car rides, what with my husbands most excellent stop and go techniques.  

I had my fingers crossed that now that I wasn't pregnant, this years sailing trip would be all wind blown hair and cute sunglasses.

Well, I wore my hair in a ponytail all weekend and I lost my sunglasses before we even left for our adventure, so I guess you know - it didn't exactly go as I had envisioned...

Nothing ever does, so I'm really not surprised.

We set out at the crack of the middle of the night Saturday morning, and arrived in time for breakfast.  Our 4 hour drive took exactly 3 hours and 10 minutes.  Apparently, we found a way to time warp, not unlike level 1-2 on Super Mario Brothers.  I slept through it all, so I can't even tell you how to go about doing it.

After breakfast and some catching up, we set out for Mackinaw Island.  I'll just say this - 

The seas were angry.

And it turns out, pregnancy was not the cause of my issues two years ago.  

Definitely not.

Lord, please don't let me throw up.

That was what I was praying.

Get me a sprite and the pretzel rods, STAT! 

That was what I was saying.

K, our captain and host, broke out the big guns.  The ReliefBand Device.  I didn't know at the time whether it was the Sprite, the pretzels, the ReliefBand, or the praying that actually worked, but I began feeling better and made it with my lunch fully intact to Mackinaw Island.

We did the Fudgie thing(did you know that the locals refer to Mackinaw Island tourists as fudgies?), walking around, dodging road apples, playing games on the lawn of the Grand Hotel, shopping and headed back to the boat for High Sea Adventure Part Deux.  

And you thought the ride over was bad.

Holy Whitecaps, Batman.

I've been known to exaggerate, but I promise, I'm not.

I thought we were going to die.  Or at least, capsize.  It was super choppy.  We seriously had to hold on for dear life, multiple times.  The dingy began to fill with water and had to be bailed out.  One of the husbands thought it would be funny to pretend he was going overboard and nearly sent his 7 month pregnant wife into a combination of hysterics and early labor.

This is the part where my lunch should have done an encore.

But it didn't.

And I owe it all to the ReliefBand Device.  

I can't say that I didn't eat a half a pound of pretzels on the way back to the marina, because I most certainly did.  But there is no logical explanation for doing as well I did, except that the electronic current that was running up my thumb and pinky finger was actually relieving my sea sickness.

Thank you, ReliefBand Device.  Thank you very much.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Asian Chicken Salad WFMW

My step mom made a delicious asian chicken salad a while back and it was one of those experiences where you know you have found a new BFF.  I have since tweaked it a bit, and the result is the closest I've come to the Mandarin Salad from the Hudson's (then Marshall Fields) restaurant, God Rest It's Soul. I doubt you've ever heard of Hudson's, but just trust me on this one...

Asian Chicken Salad

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I cook my chicken in the crock pot)
oil for frying
12 wonton wrappers, cut into strips
romaine lettuce 
4 green onions
1 can sliced water chestnuts
fresh pea pods
1 red pepper sliced


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 white wine (or rice wine) vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp slat
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine the 1/4 cup soy and 1 tsp. sugar.  Add cooked cube chicken, turn to coat and soak.  Can be soaked overnight.  My step-mom thought it strange to "marinate" cooked meat, so she marinated her chicken raw.  I followed the recipe as directed and I see why they say to do that.  
Just before serving, in an electric skillet or deep fat fryer heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry wonton strips for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.  {I will just be real here.  This is a pain and I had a really hard time with this step.  Probably because I used a sauce pan and had no way of knowing how hot my oil was.  If you don't have a deep frier, you might want to buy the ready made wonton strips.  I think that's what I'll be doing next time.}

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, green onions, water chestnuts, pea pods and red pepper.  Add chicken and wonton strips to the top.

In a jar with a lid, combine all dressing ingredients and shake well.


Head on over to We Are THAT Family the Summer Recipe edition of Works for me Wednesday.