just for fun

Thursday, December 27, 2007

today turned out strange

early in the morning, someone's fax machine tried to call my cell phone. i can't imagine why but it was clearly one of those machines that keeps redialing either until they get it right or reached a certain number of calls. for about an hour, every seven or so minutes, it would ring again.

but i can't complain. andrew went to the barber today.

the girl dropped the clippers and gouged out a huge section. in order to smooth it all out, she had to clip his hair about as short as its ever been. it might have been slightly longer at basic. it was definately nearly as bad the time in iraq that he tried to cut it himself.

the bright side is that guard weekend is still two weeks away, so he won't have to get it cut before like usual...

check out this naughty kitty

someone waiting until after santa came and then completely distroyed the bookshelf. someone thought it would be great fun to climb behind the books and then knock them all out onto the floor...

happy holidays TT

13 things about my christmas this year

1. it was a terrific holiday weekend

2. i pigged out on all sorts of tasty treats

3. the weather was quite lovely and we took several walks (to make up for such pigging out)

4. we attended four out of five advent services, only missing christmas eve due to some tummy issues.

5. apparently we weren't the only ones who wanted to order a pizza delivered on christmas eve. papa john's were so backed up that they weren't even taking more orders

6. my favorite gift that i gave to andrew was a magnetic dart board

7. my least favorite gift that i gave to andrew was some comic book stamps. i thought i'd done great but turns out i bought the wrong ones. oops.

8. my favorite gift from andrew was an anniversary edition of my most favorite childhood book: miss suzie.

9. my least favorite gift from andrew? none. he's terrific at always buying the exact thing i wanted.

10. i happily recieved my third set of penguin pajamas! i wore pajamas all christmas day long (2 different sets. one before, one after my shower)

11. we gave zoecat a new scratching pad filled to the brim with catnip and i think she's still flying high.

12. i somehow got suckered into cleaning the house. it was mostly my mess...and andrew did have a good point about how much he'd mess up cleaning my stuff if he had to do it alone once i went back to work...but still, cleaning on christmas?

13. we got so many cards from friends and family that we ran out of space to display them all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

its just not christmas without tamales

normally i only tell you about the recipes that turn out well.

sunday was not one of those occasions.

i got it in my head that i would make tamales. i actually found the recipe in november, have since purchased the perishable parts a couple of times, let them rot, tossed them out, bought them again, repeat. and now i've finally made them. except it was a complete flop and all ingredients were chucked out.

but while i was making them, i called up my mom. mostly to brag about how i was making tamales (she's a spanish teacher). she told me about how this woman who used to attend their church always made tamales for christmas. before she died, mom used to see her doing her christmas dinner shopping and it always included corn husks (which i would not have thought you could buy in rural western ky nearly a decade ago). she once said that her kids felt that it just wasn't a proper christmas if their mom didn't make batch after batch of tamales. i can't help but wonder how that got to be their family's tradition. they weren't hispanic. i don't think they'd even ever lived in the southwest. but maybe one random sunday, years before her kids were born, she happened upon a tamale recipe, succeeded at making them, and just played it by ear from there.

maybe i'll get it right next year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

its just not christmas without cinnamon rolls

for as long as i can remember, my mom home made cinnamon rolls on special occasions. its quite a big to-do and it just doesn't seem like the holidays if without cinnamon rolls. and so she made them when we were in ky having our early christmas gathering.

i have the recipe and have made it several times. but honestly, yesterday just wasn't one of them. we got some frozen things, baked them up, and they were remarkably yummy. just not my mom's. and truth be told, if i'd made them from scratch, they still wouldn't have been like my mom's, in that childhood memory vs real thing sort of way. buts its a very nice recipe and after one more confession, i'll share it with you. i don't actually know how to make bread. funny how i've made these several times and don't know how to make bread. i know how to set the bread maker on the dough setting. so i'm sure that when my mom gave this recipe to me, if was very clear on ingredient order and warming some of the liquids and whatever else you do for breads. my recipe is basically dump it into the machine (though definitely yeast first, then dry ingredients, then the wet stuff).

so this is your basic white bread recipe, passed from my grandma to my mom to me to you. you can do anything with it. cinnamon rolls. dinner rolls. a loaf. add some cheese or italian seasonings. really just whatever you like. i've never had it not turn out well.

mom's bread

1 package yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup water

once the breadmaker has turned this into dough, you can turn it into anything. if you roll it and shape it and play with it, you'll want to let it rise again. place in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. and then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until golden brown. enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

pedi party

i've felt rather broken and awkward and ugly since i broke my back. while i don't really know what either actually is like, i feel like a combination of pregnant and menopausal. like a hotflashing beached whale.

i can't bend over. i can't touch my toes. none of my cute clothes fit. and i cannot control my temperature. my limbs are freezing. my core is on fire. the brace just doesn't let the heat out and how many pieces of clothing warm up everything except your tummy/back. its always the other way around. the brace makes me look very flat chested and i can't shave my legs. no matter what i do, i am completely lacking in grace. so because i can't touch my toes or do anything girly, i got a pedicure. i let someone else fancy me up.

Friday, December 21, 2007

i've got a couple of somewhat crazy coworkers. only a couple, you ask?

one of them is terribly delightful. all year long, she goes to every casino and gets every free gift imaginable. and saves them up all year until its this heaping mass of free gifts. (you get free gifts by being a member of the players club for that casino or casino chain. they all have this and you don't necessarily have to gamble to get the gifts). and then on the last work day before christmas, she brings the whole heaping mass of gifts in and we draw names and pick gifts and have a grand ol time. i picked up two clinique make up/gift sets, a purse from dress barn, candles, off brand tupperware and a cd stereo system. there were several sets of dinnerware than i had my eye on but didn't get. and of course there were a couple of gifts that everyone passed up (a mit romney sippy cup, some beach mats, and several yo yos). i can't wait to see what shows up next year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

just add whatever you want

we've tried this recipe a couple of ways. it is good with the chicken. its good with italian sausage instead of chicken. its remarkably good with just spinach and no meats, though you might want to put in an extra package to make up for the missing chicken. its kind of an add whatever you want sort of dish.

chicken spinach casserole

8 ounces uncooked rigatoni, or pasta of choice
1 T olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
1 (14.5-oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (8-oz.) container chive-and-onion cream cheese
1/2 t salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

prepare pasta according to package directions. meanwhile, spread oil on bottom of an 11- x 7-inch baking dish; add onion in a single layer. bake at 375° for 15 minutes or just until tender. set aside. drain chopped spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels. stir pasta, spinach, chicken, and next 4 ingredients into onion in baking dish. sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese. bake, covered, at 375° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

a good day

i finally found the brown boots i've been wanting. they were waiting for me on ebay and i was the highest bidder. horray for me.

and one of the vendors at work brought us a whole crate of haagen-dazs ice cream bars. to make room in the freezer, we had to toss some of the old, fat free popsicles. there are two flavors: dark chocolate w/ milk chocolate coating and vanilla w/ milk chocolate coating. i have only tried the vanilla but wow. when you bite into it and get some on your lips and its so fatty that your lips kind of feel like you just put on chapstick, that's how you know its the good stuff.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i was so excited to put up the tree this year. its been three years since i've decorated for the holidays. last year we were moving. the year before that andrew was in iraq and i just didn't feel like decorating. but this year, just minutes after finishing my turkey dinner, we tossed up the tree.

and i've finally gotten to use the 'our first christmas' ornament. i found several available on line and emailed the pictures to andrew in iraq so that we could still pick it out together and now finally its come out of its wee box and tissue paper and is hanging on the front of the tree.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

terror in the skies

we recently flew back home to see family for the holidays. the trip was great, though always too short. there was much debate on how the flight would be, specifically how i would manage to get through security with this brace. turns out, i didn't even set off the alarm.

flying to ky was uneventful. the flight home caused some panic attacks.

first off, i hate flying. i'm nearly terrified of it. not so much that i can't do it. just enough that i can sit through the whole flight white knuckled.

so half way through the somewhat turbulent return flight, the flight attendant cheerily walks up and asks, "if we had to make an emergency landing, and use the inflatable ramps on the emergency exits, would you be able to hop and slide on the ramps?" immediately the plane goes bump bump bump as we hit some turbulent air.

i was too stunned to swear. i was too panicked to breath. why would you ask someone that?? they didn't need to know on the first flight. and really, what's a good answer? no, i'm going down with the plane? surely if we make an emergency landing and the plane is on fire, i'll figure out, and probably do so quickly, how to safely get onto the emergency inflatable ramp.

and then i had to sit there for over two more hours just wondering if the plane was going to crash.

Friday, December 14, 2007

crab stuffed chicken breasts

i recently hosted a christmas party. i've occasionally had people over for dinner, but i've never been the hostess of a small gathering. while the event was fairly successful, i don't think hosting is quite my cup o tea. the whole thing was intended to be a potluck, with andrew and i providing the main dish. for some reason i got it in my head that a stuffed something would just be perfect. the recipe below is remarkably easy, very tasty, the end results are fairly pretty, possibly very unhealthy for you, but the sauce does not reheat well. so eat it all up on the first round. we have made this both with whole chicken breasts and also tenderloins for smaller portions.

crab stuffed chicken breasts

2 chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped celery
3 T butter
3 T dry white wine
1/3 c crab, canned or fresh or imitation , whatever your preference
1/2 c. herb seasoned stuffing
2 T flour
1/2 t paprika
1 env. hollandaise sauce mix
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. shredded swiss cheese

butterfly chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. cook onion and celery in 2 T butter until tender; remove from heat and add 2 T wine, crab and stuffing. mix and toss. divide mixture among breasts; roll up and secure. combine flour and paprika; coat chicken and put in large baking dish. drizzle with remaining melted butter and bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 1 hour. for the sauce: blend sauce mix and milk; cook and stir until thick. add remaining wine and cheese, stirring until cheese melts. pour over chicken and serve. enjoy!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

my most recent dr visit went well, despite how completely appalled i am at the charges being submitted to my insurance. its all somewhere between ludicrously immoral and flat out criminal. some of the charges haven't been fully processed, so i don't know officially which catagory they fall into. for example, the hosipital bill is for three days. i was there not even a full 24 hours, and they never gave me a bed. i had to stay in ER because there was no more beds to be had. so while i'm gearing up for a dispute on some of the charges, i do seem to be healing fairly well.

we've also found a new way to terrorize the cat. a clear plasic flyer came in the paper and she's completely traumatized by its existance. i'm not really sure why because generally she adores plastics. however this one is clear and slides across the floor attacking her. i want to feel bad at how often andrew torments her with the thing, but she's so funny hopping backwards/sideways. i woke up in the night and heard something. andrew went to investigate and determined that it was zoe smacking/beating the thing on the floor. i guess she just wasn't confident that it was dead, so she just kept hitting it. too cute.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


andrew is a huge fan of all things orange flavored. its a real shame that very few orange flavored items (like candy and soda) come in sugar free. we all remember the orangesickle/dreamsickles from childhood, but he practically has a shrine for them. and there are occationally this glimer of hope for recreating that flavor. the army has this one MRE that has orange dreamsickle flavored cookies that are really truly terrific. i even think so and its come out of a MRE! yikes. we've researched the company that makes them and they only sell to the army, so we can't go buy any of these delights. we did find an orange cake and cooked it all up for thanksgiving, instead of pumpkin pie. and then over the long weekend, i discovered this recipe. now, normally andrew is the breakfast captain while i am the one daudling about getting ready. but with this recipe, i told andrew to stay in bed and read comics while i would be the breakfast captain. i've never baked french toast in the oven but i think this turned out very well. i used splenda instead of sugar, part egg beaters instead of 6 whole eggs, and then for the syrup, i melted some sugar free orange marmalade into the maple syrup. it was an orange fest.

orange french toast

6 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 T grated orange peel
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t ground nutmeg
8 slices day-old raisin bread
confectioners' sugar, optional

mix beaten eggs, juice, milk, sugar, peel, vanilla, nutmeg. in a 9x13, place all bread evenly. pour egg mix over and turn, flip, wiggle until all bread is covered and all egg mix soaked up. bake 30 minutes, turning once, on a cookie sheet at 350. bread should be golden, but monitor it because you don't want it to burn. enjoy!