Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday -- 2.29.12

Happy Leap Day!  I love that I got to put 2.29 on the date today.  So rare, you know?  I love experiencing rare things.

Today, I am loving:

1} DayQuil.  No joke.  Without it I would straight up miserable.  But it is allowing me to function.  Remember that cold I had last week?  Well, I shared it with my husband.  And then he so kindly shared it back with me.  I mean, I know scientifically that doesn't make sense, but anyway, that's what happened -- or something like that.

2} K-Love Radio.  I really appreciate having something positive and uplifting to listen to.  It can turn a bad mood into a good one, or a moment of stress into a moment of peace.  It helps me put everything into perspective.  (Listen to it online HERE.)

3} that I have this book on my desk.  One of my former students dropped it off to me today.  So happy!  (Thanks, Leanne!)

4} Tomorrow is March!  I love March.  It is the beginning of the sunshiny time of the year.  It always seems so full of hope and promise.

And being March my finds for this week are things that to me scream LIFE.  (Remember to click on the pictures if you want to be taken to their sources.)

5} these wardrobe pieces

6} quick and easy pasta sauce guide by Rachael Ray.

7} this Spring like center piece from Better Homes & Gardens.  It is fake flowers glue-gunned to branches.  Brilliant!

8} We are having a Mario Kart Tournament in class this afternoon.  Remember that marble jar I mentioned before?  Well, they filled it up. 

9} that it is music time.  I love my kids (students), but I love my music break every Wednesday!

10} two very cool bloggy things: (1) The night I posted about the baked eggs in chunky tomato sauce a friend (actually, my boss, but I consider her a friend, too) sent me a text showing that she made my recipe.  How wonderful!  Best form of a compliment I can get.  (2) This:

I know for many people out there this little 6,000+ for Feb. count is low, but for me it is beautiful.  See that upward trend?  That's because of YOU!  Thank you for reading my words, commenting and sharing your encouragement/thoughts/questions, and for following my cooking-slash-life journey with me.  I am happy to have all of you here!!!

And last, but definitely not least, I am loving my husband.  He is always so sweet to me, but especially when I am not feeling well.  He goes above and beyond what I could hope for. 

Happy Wednesday, Folks!


{February 22, 2012}
{February 15, 2012}
{February 8, 2012}
{February 2, 2012}
{January 25, 2012}
{January 18, 2012}

Monday, February 27, 2012

Well, that didn't go as planned...

Yesterday, I planned to make guacamole. 

Scratch that. 

Yesterday, I made guacamole. 

See?  I even have a picture of my ingredients to prove it. 

And that's ALL I have to prove it.

Yup, that's right.  The lighting was right, the bowl was beautiful (a bowl from Mexico was going to make its official debut!), and the guac tasted good.  Not my best, but whatever -- you can't tell that from pictures, right?  And then we ate it. 

Without taking pictures.

Which might not be a tragedy if this wasn't a food blog I was keeping.  But this is a food blog I am keeping.  And I had a bought these beautiful avocados for a reason.  Sigh.

Oh well, at least we enjoyed some not-great-but-good guacamole.  On crackers.  Because I didn't have chips.  So really, even if I had taken pictures, that would have been a major fail, even though taste-wise it is what we prefer.


But really, this was all OK, because today I had a plan.  A super salad plan.  We are on a beans-and-rice-with-a-different-salad-every-night-for-dinner diet for the week (not because we think we are fat, but because we want to just kind of "freshen up" for a few days...).  So I had this plan.  I was going to come home right after work, make a beautiful salad, take some beautiful pictures, and then eat my beautiful food.

Except that's not how it worked.  I worked late and had to run to the grocery store to get rice.  By the time I got home the sun was setting, the light was ugly, and I realized I did not have some of the key ingredients.  Missing ingredients two days in a row?  What is going on with me???  Oh, that's right, I went shopping without a list.  For the first time in months.  See why I need my list?!  This is the best picture I got, poor lighting and missing ingredients not included:

I can't show you more of the salad because it is ugly. 

Very, very ugly.

This is the point where I did what any grown woman would do: I started to pout.  And whine.  And drop my feet heavily every time I stepped.  Just to prove my point. 

To whom?

The world.

Sometimes that's just what we need to do.

But then I stopped.  I breathed.  And then I realized I needed to let it go.  When I took a moment to look at it from not-smack-dab-in-the-middle, I began to understand how incredibly small and completely idiotic this cause for irritation really was.  So I relaxed my grip and

As annoying as it is to hear, Annie sang it best years ago. "The sun will come out tomorrow."  That's really the great thing.  For most things in life you always get tomorrow; this case is no different.  So, yes, the sun will come out tomorrow, and you better believe when it does I will be ready -- camera and the correct ingredients in hand.

(A special shout-out goes to my husband.  Thank you for letting me vent and laughing at me when I was about to fall apart in a way that encouraged me to laugh along with you.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mushroom Risotto

I love risotto.  Along with mashed potatoes, it is probably my favorite side dish.  Yeah, I get that both are loaded with calories, and I am not even going to pretend that I made some "light" version.  Nope.  This is straight up gooey goodness, with mushrooms thrown in the middle. 

The first time I made this dish was -- shoot -- two years ago maybe?  Whenever it was is not the point though.  The fact that it was my first true meal I cooked that called for more than four steps was really the kicker.  I took a Tyler Florence recipe and made it happen.

That, my friends, was victory.

A nice, savory victory.

Now I don't have to follow the recipe; I just do it.  No measuring, no making sure things are in the right order... just toss things here, throw things there, heat it up, make it happen.  It used to take about an hour, now it takes 40 minutes.  Yes, still a little time consuming, but it is worth it.   

We eat it not as a side, but as our main dish.  I make sure we have some salad on the side to get our veggies in and dinner is served.  And it is good!

  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4T butter, divided in half
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2T fresh dill
  • 2 c. arborio rice
  • 6 c. chicken bullion (or vegetable if you prefer)
  • l/2 c. white wine (optional... tastes good both ways)
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, melt 2T of butter over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms, dill, and half of the onion.  Cook 8-10 minutes until soft.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat chicken bullion in medium pot.  Keep heated on medium.
  3. In large pot, melt remaining butter.  Add garlic and remaining onion.  Saute until clear, about 3 minutes.  Add rice and stir into onion mixture.  Let cook for 45 seconds.  Add wine and simmer for two minutes if desired.
  4. Add 2 cups of bullion to the rice mixture and turn heat down to lowest setting.  Simmer and add 1 - 2 cups of bullion when needed.  Keep doing this until all the bullion is gone and there is little liquid remaining in rice mixture.
  5. Add mushroom mixture and Parmesan; stir.
Yields five (5) servings.

Cost: $7.64                   Cost Per Serving (5): $1.53

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Getting back on the horse (as in "Getting back in the kitchen")...

After a week of no cooking, I am back at it.  Good! 

Funny how a little over a year ago I would have been SOOO happy to be away from my kitchen for a week.  Times are a-changin'.

After our East Coast trip and getting over a cold I have not done anything I would blog about.  I should have, because none of the things I made are here yet, but I didn't.  I was tired, the light was not good, and you know what?  Sometimes I just want to cook to eat.  So I will have to make the Best Chicken Thighs Ever and ravioli with butternut squash in browned butter again some other time so I can take pictures. 

Poor me. 

For now, I leave you with these two glimpses into my evening tonight: 



Can you guess what I am cooking?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2.22.12 - What I'm Loving Wednesday (The color edition)

I have something to admit to you.

I almost didn't do this post today.  I am tired, I have a cold, and my sneezes are explosive.  (You should see the look of panic on my students' faces as I scrunch my face up in sneeze-preparation... they know that if my hand/sleeve/tissue is not fast enough they better be the heck out of dodge.  I actually had one guy drop to the floor and cover his head as a sneeze was coming.  Poor kids.)

But then I thought, "THIS is why I need to do this."  And I am so glad I did.  Running through my brain for things I am happy about right now kind of put that whole woe-is-me bit to rest.  Not to mention the sun is shining.  Always wonderful.

This is what I am loving today:

1} I spent the weekend with my grandpa.  Old people are generally cute and sweet, and my grandpa is doubly so.  I haven't seen him for five years, so this was a great blessing.  Last time I was there my grandma was still alive and things have definitely changed, but he is going strong and we had a great time -- not to mention many trips to Denny's and Cracker Barrel ;)

2} Facebook.  Seriously.  It allowed me to reconnect with my one of my two childhood best friends even after we moved far apart from each other.  This girl and I were so close that we really believed we were cousins, and she is the closest thing I have ever had as far as older-sister-ness goes.  SO incredibly amazing to reconnect this weekend after twenty years!!!

3} Butternut squash in browned butter ravioli.  Had it this weekend and  I am going to try to recreate the recipe sometime soon.  Now I am on the quest for the perfect pear and arugula flat bread AND this.  Not complaining, though...

4} COLOR!  For example, this wall in NYC that I found the is weekend (the capstone of our East Coast weekend)...

5} And the mere fact that I got to see New York City for the first time in my life!  Once again, love the colors, even if it is found in the yellow of a taxi cab.

6} Colorful decor...

7} Colorful food.  These dishes are brought to you by Foodie Crush.  Oh how I love this collection of amazing recipes and beautiful food photography!  I am not there yet, but I will be.  Just give me some time.  In the meantime, I think I have some ideas for dinner this week :)

(As always, click on the picture to be taken to the recipe.)

And, of course, my man.  He is my best travel buddy and I love having adventures with him!

(That's us with a very teeny-tiny Statue of Liberty behind us.)

Happy Wednesday, Folks!


{February 15, 2012}
{February 8, 2012}
{February 2, 2012}
{January 25, 2012}
{January 18, 2012}

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