Monday, March 31, 2014

March Goals, final chapter

Well, I succeeded in making a positive post on Facebook every day this month! YAY ME!!!

I got the trash out at least once every week.

I cooked at home a couple of times, but not as much as I should have. However, I did buy fruit, yogurt, and sandwich fixings to keep at work for lunches/snacks instead of going out to get fast food, so I'm counting this as a win.

Made some slight progress on house cleaning but not nearly enough. Still working on this with just over a month to go.

No progress on Laundry Mountain.

All in all, not too bad! Now for the April goals:

Continue the FB posts, but only once a week. To be honest, I was stretching for some of those positive posts.

Continue with the trash goal.

Continue with the cooking goal.



Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Why isn't it Spring yet?!?

So, we've still had winter weather this last week. Seriously? Where the hell is my Spring?!? I want my violets! I want to be able to wear sandals outside without my feet turning blue. I want... a million dollars and an evening with Tom Hiddleston as Loki, but I'm more likely to get the Spring weather first.

Anyway, it was so bad a couple of weeks ago, that Mom & I decided we needed to make our own spring. My contribution was this pie, also known as Spring on a Plate:

Ruthie Belle's Famous Citrus Pie
3 egg yolks
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup lemon or lime juice (fresh squeezed is best), divided
1 graham cracker pie crust

Preheat oven to 325*
Beat 3 egg yolks in a mixing bowl.
Add 1 can sweetened condensed milk
Add 1/2 cup juice, Blend together.
Add another can condensed milk and another 1/2 cup juice and blend.
Pour mixture into graham cracker pie crust.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Refrigerate before serving. Serve in thin wedges as this is really rich & sweet. A dollop of whipped cream (preferably unsweetened) is good.

I do not suggest using orange juice as pie will be VERY sweet. A gingersnap crust would make a good alternative for the lemon version.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dave Barry Rocks!

So, last week I corralled the parents and we went to a library book signing featuring Dave Barry. I had worked an event with him back in my bookstore days, so I knew it would be a good time.

The place was packed. I was lucky enough to order my tickets the day the event was posted online- one of the librarians told me that they'd had to change the venue twice to accommodate the large number of people who wanted to attend. I took 4 hours off from work that day to go. Mom & Dad were supposed to get there early and snag some good seats. We actually got there at the same time, but still got really good seats. They were selling copies of the new book and Mom was kind enough to buy one for me since I was still 9th in line for the library copies and payday wasn't until Friday following the event. Dad took one look at the title- YOU CAN DATE BOYS WHEN YOU'RE FORTY- and told me that I am still not old enough. Hah.

Dave took the "stage" and the laughter started immediately. Here's how funny this man is- my father, who rarely gives more than a dry chuckle at things that amuse him, ACTUALLY LAUGHED OUT LOUD. MORE THAN ONCE. I jokingly told my mother that Dave seemed to be talking to our aside of the room more than the other. She said she thought he was just talking to me because it seemed to her that he was looking right at me most of the show. My friends Susan & Frank, who were seated toward the middle, echoed Mom's theory. (Frank actually stood up for a second to see what was over on the right side, sat back down, looked at Susan and said "Mickey is directly in his path of vision.")

Because I picked our seats toward the right front side of the stage, I wound up being the 6th person in line to get my book signed. I'm not sure if Dave actually remembered me from the bookstore event years earlier or if he just flirted with all the girls, but he grabbed my hand, said "Well, HELLO there" and talked to me for 5 minutes before signing my book....which he made out to "Mickey, the goddess" without any prompting from me. Susan, bless her, snuck up and got a couple of shots of us talking.

All in all, it was a fun evening. And, Dave? If you're ever single again, call me. :-)

Friday, March 14, 2014

First "Dear Officer" post of the year!

Not that I haven't had plenty of fodder for one sooner than this, but I'm doing batches of disposals again and coming across the same stupid spelling errors. I realize that our officers have a LOT of stuff that they're supposed to try to remember, but basic spelling should NOT be a problem. Also, some of my coworkers may be to blame, but we'll just blame the kids in blue for now.

Dear Officer,

Let's play a spelling game!

Steroids come in:

A. a vial
b. a vile
c. a veil
d. a viel

You inject them with:

A. a needle
b. a neddle
c. a needel
d. a neidle

Those lovely little pills that are often abused but are supposed to tranquilize your mood are called:

A. Xanax
b. zanax
c. zanix
d. xannix

Security camera footage is also known as:

A. surveillance
b. survailance
c. survellance
d. surveylance

That illicitly traded pain killer is called:

A. Lortab
b. loratab
c. loritab
d. luratab

Another word for money is:

A. Currency
b. curenncy
c. cureincy
d. currincy

If you answered anything other than A to any of these questions, please report to the nearest elementary school for Basic Spelling classes. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tried Another Recipe Successfully!

Didn't get my lasagna made over the weekend, but I DID try this hash that I'd mentioned. In the spirit of honesty, I am giving you the recipe as written, but some of you may remember that I don't eat eggs in any recognizable form. So you can guess which part of the original version got left out.

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Hash from All You Magazine, February 2014

Serves: 4

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 10 oz.), scrubbed, cut into ½-inch dice
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
3 slices bacon
1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered lengthwise
⅓ cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 large eggs


Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Fill saucepan ¾ full with water. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar; bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium to maintain simmer.
Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, turning as needed, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large paper towel-lined plate. When cool enough to handle, roughly crumble.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; increase heat to medium-high. Spread potatoes and onion in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Toss and cook 3 minutes longer. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper; transfer to plate with bacon. Add remaining 2 teaspoon oil and Brussels sprouts to skillet; sauté 2 minutes. Add broth; cover and cook until sprouts are just tender, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp. vinegar. Return potato mixture and bacon to skillet; season with salt and pepper.
Crack each egg into a small cup. Gently tip each egg into simmering water in saucepan. Turn off heat, cover pan and let sit until eggs are just set, about 3 minutes (4 to 5 for firmer yolks). Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a paper towel-lined plate.
Divide hash among 4 plates; top each serving with an egg. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.

What I did differently: I used a bag of fingerling sized potatoes from Trader Joe's (about 10 oz), unpeeled, but chopped into halves/quarters. Didn't have white balsamic vinegar, but regular tasted fine to me. NO EGGS.

What I may do when I make this again: More bacon, just because, or I may use some of the Black Forest Bacon from Whole Food$.

Reheated leftovers were slightly soggy in the microwave. Might try tossing them over low heat in a non-stick skillet next time.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Crockpot Tortellini Soup as passed around on Facebook

I mentioned that I was trying this recipe back on Feb 25th. Forgot to post it until now- it's definitely a keeper!

1 bag frozen tortellini
1 bag fresh spinach, washed and chopped or 1 bag frozen chopped spinach, defrosted & squeezed dry
2 cans italian style diced tomatoes
1 box veggie or chicken broth
1 block of cream cheese, cubed

Put everything in a crockpot on low heat and simmer for 4-6 hours.

That's the basic recipe. It's hard to get much simpler. So, of course I had to complicate it a touch. Normally I make a recipe the way it's written the first time I try it, but this one just called out for some extra touches. so, in addition to the ingredients above:

1/4- 1/2 lb italian sausage, cooked & crumbled
1 lg clove garlic, smashed & browned with the sausage
1 small onion, chopped and browned with the sausage
8 oz mushrooms (I used cremini, but white are fine) rough chopped

Stir all of those in with the other ingredients. I also added some extra garlic powder and italian seasoning. Stir well to combine before serving. I sprinkled a little Parmesan over the top of each bowl I ate.

Here's the catch. You HAVE to watch the cooking time. Mine went for 8-9 hours because I threw it together before coming to work. The pasta WILL go mushy on you if you let it go too long. It was still good, but gloppy.

This could also be adapted for stovetop. I'd combine everything except the pasta & cheese in a pot and let it simmer over low heat for an hour or two. (add more stock if it needs it) Bring to a boil, add pasta, cook for recommended time on pasta package. Reduce to simmer, add cream cheese in batches, stirring to melt & distribute evenly. Remove from heat & let sit for 5 minutes- if you can- for flavors to meld, before serving as above.

Seriously- if you like the stuff in this one, try it!

Friday, March 7, 2014

March Goals, so far

Not a whole lot to report. February ended with a bang as Daddy had to be rushed to the hospital again. Fortunately he was suffering from a fairly easy to correct issue, but the symptoms were enough to scare the bejeezus out of us all. At one point, the poor old coot was vomiting blood, Mom was just vomiting (sympathetically at first, and then the doctor checked her out and found she had the flu), and I was banished to the ER hallway before I started. While I was out there, I started inquiring about group rates & rooms, because it looked like we were ALL going to be admitted at the rate we were going.

Didn't get the trash out for the first March pickup as we had a foot of snow fall over 3 inches of ice and I didn't have the energy to fight with the can & driveway Sunday night. Just as well, since they didn't pick it up on Monday. Didn't get it out for the Thursday pickup either, because I was sick in bed. Seems one of the deteriorating discs in my spine is inflamed/infected, so I'm on painkillers & antibiotics again/still.

I HAVE managed, so far, to do a daily positive post on FaceBook. Much to the amusement of friends who have apparently formed a betting pool on how many days I'll do it. We'll see who has the last laugh.

Laundry Mountain? *whimper*

Cooking? Made a huge batch of enchiladas. Made the mistake of using a new-to-me brand of enchilada sauce. Have spent the last few days eating the innards out of the enchiladas. Am going to try for a lasagna this weekend. Also plan to try a Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Hash. It sounds odd, but the picture looked really good and I'm one of the random weirdos who actually likes sprouts.

So there you have it. More later...