Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 31

Day 31!!!!!!
I am thankful for:
It's over.
I did it.
I didn't miss a day.
You read these.
It's over. 

I am thankful for the exercise of being 
conscious of my many blessings. 
The introspection to really think about what it is
that I am thankful for. 
The clarity that at the center of each of these posts are the 
blessings that God has given me. 
The blessings of 
and opportunities
to praise God.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 30

Can I be thankful for the internet?

Because of it I'm doing this. 
It's allowed me to reconnect with old friends.
It's introduced me to new friends.
It answers all my questions.
Well, most, I still don't know what
year the first consumer glue gun was manufactured, 
but I know a lot of other really important stuff. 
Or at least where to go to find answers.
I learned how to make this:
And how to do this:
And how to cook these:
I didn't even know that those existed!

Yep. I think I will include the internet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 29

This picture cracks me up.
Our parents had a motor boat when we were kids. 
They would take us all out to the lake for a *fun* day on
the water. 
Mom and Gaye would water ski. 
I don't remember what the boys did. 
Whatever it was, I don't think they enjoyed it.
I spent my time getting slivers in my feet from the docks.

Mike and and I thought about getting a boat. 
I am thankful we didn't.

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 28

A partner in crime.
Food crime.

You ever watch a food show on TV and think,
"I could really go for that?"
But it's 11:00 at night so you just start
eating everything in the house?
Not here!

Want pancakes at midnight but the only 
thing open is Burger King?
Whoppers it is!

Hot Dog Show is on at 10 PM and everybody's
in their PJ's?
Pile in the car, 
Portillos is open late and they have a drive-thru!

There are some shows we know better than
to watch at night, 
The Best Thing I Ever Ate,
Diners, Drive Ins and Dives,
and that
Hot Dog Show.

That one not only caused a late night PJ run
to Portillos, it has also been responsible for more
that one hour long road trip to

I am thankful that I am married to a guy
who is game for any food ridiculousness. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 27

Girl's Night Out.

We were made to be in community.
Nothing beats a community of girlfriends.
Guys are great and I love a few of them but
in times of stress, 
(jeans shopping)
(bad hair)
or failed diets,
nothing compares to a good
Girl's Night Out.
Or Margarita Friday.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 25

I'm not sure how it became my exercise of choice.
Could it have been because I can do it anywhere?
In any weather?
Or that it's 

For whatever reason I am a walker.
And a climber. 
And on occasion a terrorist, it would appear.
Hey, it gets cold in Illinois :o)

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 24

Pleasant customers.

I work retail. 
Ask anyone who works retail and they would agree with me, 
everyone should have to work retail
at some point in their lives. 
It will give you a new appreciation. 
And a better attitude.
Not to say that I haven't had my moments when 
dealing with a salesperson who just doesn't get it,
but for the most part, walking in their shoes tends
to temper your reactions.

I am a "people person."
Shut up in an office is not my best place.
Let me schmooze.
Let me schmooze with new or expectant Grandmas
and I'm in heaven!
And when I have a day where I was able
to help some people, 
welcome some visitors, 
recommend some restaurants, 
and everyone played nice, 
ahhh, gratitude prevails. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days to Thankfulness: Day 23

The joy of cooking. 
The act of it, not the book. 
Well, but nothing against the book. 
I'm just not going there with this.

You know how sometimes you can get sucked into a
negative attitude and at some point you step 
back and say, wait a minute!?
Well, that's what happened to me. 
I had been going along with the party line that cooking
was a chore. Just another thing on a mother's "to-do" list.

And then something clicked. 
Perhaps the remote, clicking on Food Network.
But I gave myself permission to not only
like cooking but to find joy in it. 
I am blessed with a husband who will try anything. 
Well, except cooked spinach and artichokes.
But otherwise a very willing guinea pig. 
Er, participant!

I have also found the joy is in the activity and 
seeing people enjoy what I have made.
I don't actually have to eat it myself!
Good thing!

Well, now that we are down to two here I have found some rather
creative outlets for my creations.
I send all the baked goods to Mike's work.
I invite my sister and brother-in-law over.
I take things to Mom and Big.
I host parties.
I am part of my church's meal ministry.

Speaking of which, I was introduced to a really
cool website when I stayed with Indra while 
she recuperated from surgeries.
Take Them A Meal.
Someone organizes it and the recipient lets
them know what days they need meals and any food restrictions.
Then people can log on and sign up to take them a meal.
Food providers get reminders and the recipient
gets updates on who is bringing what when.
It was wonderful.
My church has started employing this method and 
I love it. 

So not only am I thankful for the joy of cooking.
I am also thankful for willing stomachs :o)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Little Housekeeping

If you came here expecting a 31 Day post, 
you're going to have to work for it. 
In an attempt to make my recipes a bit easier to find
I had to repost them all. 
So, scroll on down, there are 11 recipes ;o)
Day 22 is waiting for you down there.

Chicago Style Pan Pizza

2 1/3 cups flour
½ t. salt
1 pkg. instant yeast
2 T. olive oil
2 t. sugar
¾ cup milk, warm to 120 degrees

Once all ingredients are incorporated increase mixer to med./low
And kneed for 5 min.
Place in oiled bowl, cover with plastic and put in oven that has been heated to 200 degrees and turned off. Allow to rise 30 min.


1 T. olive oil and 2 cloves garlic in cold pan. Heat for a couple of mins. And add 14 oz can crushed tomatoes. Salt and pepper and simmer about 20 min. (allow to reduce)


Divide dough in half. Roll into 7 inch circle and then drape over knuckles and stretch to about 9 ½ inch. Leave edges a bit thicker. Place in 9 inch cake pan (not spring form) that has 3 T. olive oil in bottom. Cover and allow to rest about 10 min. Top with ½ the sauce and 1 ½ cups mozz.  Bake bottom rack of 400 degree oven 25 min.

Thai Style Chicken Salad


1/2 C Canola Oil
3 Tbsp. Peanut Butter
1/2 C Fresh Lime Juice
2 Tbsp. Water
3 Small Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

Blend it all together. I used an immersion blender

Then toss with shredded chicken, grated carrots, chopped cilantro, cucumber sliced into match sticks and a few sliced scallions.

Korean Lo Mein

is is from Food Network's 50 Kebobs pull out.
 Korean Beef Marinate thinly sliced short ribs and scallion pieces in 1/3 cup each sugar and white wine, 3 tablespoons sesame oil, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 2 crushed garlic cloves and 1 grated Asian pear. Skewer so the meat lies flat; grill.
I cut and pasted this from All Recipes just to make your life easier :o)
I'm nice that way :o)


  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat oil in a large wok or saute pan. Stir fry mushrooms, carrots, peppers, onion and garlic until tender. Stir in bean sprouts and green onions; cook one minute. Mix cornstarch and chicken broth in a small bowl and add to stir fry. Stir in hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger, cayenne pepper and curry powder. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
  3. Add cooked spaghetti, and toss. Serve immediately.

I used vegetables that I had around, asparagus, mushrooms, green pepper, red onions and even threw in some napa cabbage towards the end. I think a hit of red pepper flakes might have been nice. 
I stir fried the veges and then added the meat and 2 cloves of garlic. After the meat seemed cooked I sucked out the juice that collected then added the sauce and cabbage. 

Soak It to Me Baby

Red Wine Marinade
2 Cups Red wine
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1 Sliced Onion
2 T. Parsley
2 T. Rosemary
1/4 t. Ground Cloves

Teriyaki Marinade
(From Mr. Food)

1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 T. Vegetable Oil
1 t. Ginger
1/4 t. Pepper
2 cloves Garlic, minced

Artichoke-Olive Crostini

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. I'll reprint it here for your convenience but go check out her blog. I haven't made my way around the whole thing but it looks pretty interesting.

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup large pitted green olives
1 T. capers, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Throw it all in a food processor and have at it till you get a coarse paste.

Lory's and my observations

Lory dubbed it a little "briney" but also allowed as how
that didn't stop her from eating it. 
I think I would rinse the artichoke hearts and olives next time. 
There is a bottle of capers in my fridge and that is something I never thought I'd see.
Aside from wanting to get said bottle of capers out of my fridge, 
I actually may try leaving them out of the recipe next time.
Finding pitted green olives that are not stuffed with SOMETHING
 is a bit of a challenge.
I can't believe the pimento stuffing would have harmed anything. 
I might try some red pepper flakes next time.
Lory thought some grated parm might be a nice addition. 

Please note : all our bright ideas involve making this again so it must have had some redeeming qualities all on its own

Goat Cheese Scones

This recipe is from Tasty Kitchen
and was submitted by Souffle Bombay
Savory Goat Cheese and Scallion Scones

2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 oz. goat cheese
3 sprigs scallions
3/4 cups half and half
1 whole egg

Preheat oven to 375
Combine dry ingredients, cut in cheese, add scallions, half and half and egg. 
Mix gently. Use a piece of parchment paper to work on and form as you choose. Bake on a parchment lined sheet for about 25 min. 

My 2 cents;
I have yet to use the scallions, I have done this with basil and with chives (but not at the same time)
I bet Thyme would be good.
I have found a stronger goat cheese to be better. I have used Chevre and I think it's a bit too mild. 
I have also heard it said that you should not work flour too much once it's wet because then you "develop the gluten and your dough will become tough"
K, not sure what "tough" dough would taste/feel/look like. But pretty sure I don't wanna know. 
I have served these with butter. Steph pulled out some Plum Butter, homemade Apricot Preserves and low sugar strawberry spread. The plum butter was the best.  
Go forth and scone in fellowship! (they like company)

Wasabi Aioli

Think this is more of a formula than a recipe.
Feeling mad scientist and all...

1/4 cup Mayo
1 clove garlic smashed into paste
1/2 t. Wasabi powder mixed with
1 t. water

I slathered this on pretty thick and the wasabi flavor was distinct but not overpowering. If you want to go a little lighter in the application you may want to increase the wasabi. 

Garlic Tutorial
This was the first time I did the whole smashing the garlic into paste and it was easier than I thought it was going to be at first smash. At first it didn't look like I was getting anywhere and then all of a sudden I had "paste".  I peal my garlic by putting it on the board, laying the side of my butcher's knife on top of the clove and giving it a good whack with my fist. The papery covering pops away and gives me a fairly flat piece of garlic to work with. I whacked the clove a couple of more times, threw some coarse salt on it, chopped a couple of times and then just start pressing the side of my knife down and smooshing it around. 
All of a sudden you have PASTE!

This whole concept has me thinking about other flavor combos, Curry comes right to mind. 
Chili powder?

Caprese Tart

I'm not going to repost the whole recipe, I'll just give you the link, but I will share a couple of helpful tips.

I found it helpful to have a counter to sit at and a show to Hulu on the computer next to me while I hollowed out all those tomatoes. I just sliced the tops off the tomatoes and then used the 1/4 teaspoon method she suggests. There was a bit of a learning curve so expect to sacrifice a couple of tomatoes in the beginning.

Unfold the puff pastry before it is totally thawed because it's a bear to separate once it's at room temp.

K, that's about it. Have fun!

Jose 2 Way (s)

Agave Margarita

1 1/2 oz. Tequila
3/4 oz Agave
3/4 oz water
Juice from one large lime (ya, I don't know, use your best judgement )
Combine it all in a shaker with ice and shake like crazy!

Margarita Marinade

1/3 c. lime juice
1/3 c. water
3 T. tequila
1 T. Splenda
1 T. soy sauce
2 cloves minced garlic

I got this from the book "500 Low Carb Recipes" back when low carb was in. 
I've kicked "low-carb" to the curb but not this recipe. 
I don't let the chicken marinate for longer than an hour because at some point I figure the acid from the lime juice will start to cook the chicken and chicken ceviche sounds scary.

I almost forgot to share the coolest thing I did with this marinade.
I've used it as the liquid in a slow cooker with chicken breasts and then shredded the meat and used it for tacos, burritos, etc. In fact, I believe that will be dinner tonight!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Whisk together 6 Tbsp. Tahini and 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil, set aside

Process 14 oz can chick peas that have been rinsed and drained,
1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers that have been blotted dry
1 small clove garlic
1/2 t. salt and a pinch cayenne pepper
till almost fully ground.

With machine running add 3 Tbsp. lemon juice in a steady stream and process one minute more.

Slowly add Tahini mixture to running machine and process till smooth and creamy.

This recipe came from America's Test Kitchen. I don't tend to get too worked up about the exact measurements. Any place that says one clove of garlic is good, I figure implies that 3 cloves would be better. Jarred red pepper or roast your own on the stove top. I have made this in a food processor but have found it to come out a tad bit grainy so last time I used the Vita mix. That was the answer! Kinda a pain to keep scrapping down the sides and then to fish it all out from around the blades but definitely worth the effort!