Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Quake

Yes, I did feel the 5.8 earthquake that struck the Eastern seaboard this afternoon. I was at work discussing a safety program with a coworker. She noticed the shaking before I did (I guess it's cause I was talking). It was definitely an eerie sensation feeling the building shake. The wheels of my chair were just barely rocking side to side, and the blinds of my window were swinging.

Anyhow, we are all alive and well and thankful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wok's For Dinner: Taco Salad

This meal was sooo good. I love a good salad, and had been in the mood for a taco salad for several weeks. I had a coupon for Texas Toast Tortilla Strips (next to the croutons at the grocery store) and finally found a store that sells them. I knew that the tortilla strips would make a perfect topping to a taco salad, and I was finally able to use them tonight. Yummy!

Taco Salad

1 lb ground turkey
1 med. green bell pepper, diced
1 med. red bell pepper, diced
1/2 med. onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (seeds removed, of course, unless you like the heat!)
1 pkg taco seasoning
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 can pinto beans, drained
shredded or torn lettuce leaves (I just used a bag of garden salad)
Texas Toast Chily Lime Tortilla Strips
shredded cheese
cherry tomatoes, diced
salad dressing (I used sweet vidalia onion; hubs used ranch)
sour cream

Brown ground turkey, bell peppers, onion & jalapeno in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir occasionally until meat is no longer pink. Reduce heat, then stir in taco seasoning and chicken broth. Stir in pinto beans. Let simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place lettuce on plate. Top with meat mixture, tortilla strips, cheese, tomatoes, some salad dressing, and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conversations With Children: The Nap

"Mommy, I fell asleep at Summer camp today."

"You did? How did you manage to do that?" (This is, after all, the YMCA Traditional Summer Camp, nonstop fun & entertainment.)

"We were playing a game and you had to lay on the floor and the person who was the stillest was the winner and that's when I fell asleep."

He didn't win, but I'll bet he was the stillest. Gotta love it!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spectacular Sides: Cucumber & Onion Salad

So both our dryer and vacuum fried recently. I've turned our bathroom into a clothes line, hanging the clothes in there to dry. Fortunately, a friend has offered us a vacuum of hers, and we purchased a washer/dryer combo set today which we can pick up later this week. It's a matter of limping along for a few more days while we wait on everything. It's not too fun living without major appliances, believe you me. Maybe this is a way to prepare us for this years' hurricane season...?

This recipe came from my mother-in-law and is a favorite of my husband. I'll promise you'll love it, too. Even me, and I don't care for raw onion. There are no standard measurements to the ingredients--it all depend on how much you want to make. So I'll describe as est I can how much to make for 4 adults. Measurements are approximate and will mostly depend on your personal taste.

Cucumber Onion Salad

3 medium cucumbers
1 medium onion
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4-1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 tsp dried dill

Day 1) Peel & slice cucumbers. Peel onion, cut in half, then cut both halves into thin slices. Place cucumber and onion slices in a large bowl; cover with water. Stir in lots of salt to make the water salty. No set amount of salt, maybe 1 Tbsp. I always just shake in a lot from the salt canister, then taste a small amount of the salt water to make sure it tastes salty enough. Allow the cucumbers & onions to sit in the salt water bath overnight. Day 2) Drain the salt water and rinse the cucumbers & onions thoroughly. The salt water cures the cucumbers & onions but is not parts of the actual salad ingredients, so make sure to rinse well. Put sour cream into a medium bowl. Stir in enough vinegar to thin out the sour cream so that it's liquidy instead of creamy, but not too liquidy...makes perfect sense, right? Stir dill into sour cream mixture. Add more dill if you feel like it needs it. Pour over cucumbers & onions, then stir mixture. Chill in refrigerator then serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Conversations With Children: The Ride Back

Overheard at dinner this evening:

"I had lots of fun at the water park today. I farted on the bus the whole way back. It was disgusting!!"

Gotta love it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Conversations With Children: The Wild West

Overheard at dinner this evening:

"When I grow up, I want to live in the Wild West in Texas so I can be a cowboy and ride horses and shoot bad guys."

Gotta love it!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Spectacular Sides: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

So I returned to work this week after a very nice maternity leave. Our baby girl is absolutely adorable & we are so blessed. I am definitely worn out. She is sleeping through the night on most nights, but it's taking some time for me to get used to waking up (and staying up) early. Tonight's meal was the first real meal since I went back to work. And this side dish is sooooo good! I got lots of compliments from hubs.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

8 medium potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and quartered
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup milk

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil, stirring occasionally, about 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain. Place in large mixing bowl and add butter, garlic powder, parsley, salt & pepper. Beat with mixers until potatoes are nice & creamy and ingredients are mixed in well. Add milk and mix in until incorporated. Serve with a little dollop of butter on top.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jennie-O Surprise

I thought when my husband opened that package of turkey burgers and I saw the long, ver-dark-brown hair strand that, perhaps, I might get a coupon as a sort of peace offering. Yeah, that's right. A long strand of hair. Longer than any strand of hair on any family member in our house. Definitely didn't match our hair color. And in the raw meat of a turkey burger I had bought.

So I contacted Jenni-O about their sanitation issue. Customer service immediately responded to my concern and emailed me back. Then this showed up in the mail:

They mailed me two coupons AND a check to reimburse me for the cost of the turkey burgers. Wow!

Thank you, Jenni-O, for going above & beyond to ensure my satisfaction as a customer!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wok's For Dinner: Cilantro Lime Chicken

I got the original recipe for this scrumptious meal from my friend Melissa at Melissa's Bargains a couple years ago. It's a great way to use up the last of a bag of tortilla chips, which always seem to go stale really fast in my house. Here is my version.

Cilantro Lime Chicken

2 Tbsp lime juice (I was out of limes & used lemon juice instead)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp dried cilantro
4 b/s chicken breasts
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 medium tomato, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterrey-Jack cheese

Combine lime juice, oil, honey & cilantro. Dip chicken in lime juice mixture then coat with crushed chips. Place in ungreased baking dish. Sprinkle tomato & bell pepper over the top. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear. Sprinkle cheese over the top, return to oven & bake 5-10 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve & enjoy!

If freezing: Place chicken in a freezer bag and cover with lime mixture before sealing and freezing. Thaw in refrigerator. The chicken will marinate in the lime mixture. You can then finish preparing the meal as directed once you're ready. :D

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spectacular Sides: Cheesy Corn Bake

This side dish is great for feeding a several people. It makes quite a lot! I like the taste and the texture, and my kids really ate it up well, too!

Cheesy Corn Bake

4 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1 can cream-style corn
1 can corn kernels, drained
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Using nonstick cooking spray, grease a 2-3 quart baking dish. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in flour, salt & pepper until combined. Reduce heat to medium-low, then slowly stir in milk with a whisk. Continue cooking, stirring, until thick & bubbly. Stir in cheese until melted. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Stir in cream-style corn and corn kernels, mustard, and 1 cup breadcrumbs. Combine the cheese mixture with the corn mixture and pour into prepared baking dish. Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp butter and toss with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over casserole. Cover and bake for 1 hour.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wok's For Dinner: Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad

I've been in quite a "salad" kind of mood lately. We have had a tossed salad several times the past couple weeks, and I've been drooling at the thought of more & more types of salads that I can make. That & fresh fruits & veggies. It's been super hot lately, so the last thing I want to eat is a super hot & heavy type meal. This particular salad is one of my husband's favorite meals that I make. Paired up with some watermelon, it makes for a nice, refreshing dinner.

Ranch Chicken Pasta Salad

1/3 lb cooked chicken, shredded
8 oz pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix
1/2-1 cup Ranch salad dressing (according to your taste)
1 Tbsp dill weed
ground black pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill in refrigerator for one hour. Serve & enjoy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wok's For Dinner: Spaghetti Carbonara

Yes, it is me, and I--finally!--am posting a recipe. I've been on maternity leave for over 6 weeks now. You'd think that I would have had plenty of free time to get caught up on projects & the like, but that is definitely not the case. I'm as busy as when I was working, if not more! But I am definitely enjoying it. A few more days to go, and I'll be back at work doing the daily grind.

This particular recipe is one that I make about once a year. It is an easy way to use up leftover ham. In fact, that's what I did. I made a spiral-sliced ham in December 2010 and froze the leftovers, dividing them into several portions for future meals and also for lunch-meat for my husband's sandwiches.

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 lb spaghetti
3 Tbsp butter
6 oz diced ham
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 Tbsp dried or 2 Tbsp fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet; add ham. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned. In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Reduce burner heat to low and gently stir in egg mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken but not scramble, about 5 minutes. Stir in grated Parmesan. Season with salt & pepper; stir in parsley. Drain the pasta thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over pasta, then toss to combine. Serve immediately.

If freezing: I would not recommend freezing the dish after preparing it; however, you can use cooked ham that you stored in the freezer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Alive & Well...and still pregnant

Yes, I know, it would seem as though I have completely abandoned the blog. And that's pretty much what happened. Not by choice, more by design. Too many work hours during the day that keep me busy, busy, busy, and not much personal time when I get home in the evenings. *sigh*

I am on maternity leave as of this week. We will be welcoming our 3rd child in a week & a half, that is, assuming she comes on her due date. I'm definitely excited but DEFINITELY cannot wait for her to come!

Sorry I am keeping this short. I am super worn out from some nesting that I've been dealing with the past couple days since the doctor released me from work. Trying to get all the last minute details finalized is wearing me out, not to mention my super swollen feet. :)