Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I always try to review my resolutions from the previous year before setting new ones.  So I can figure out if I was successful.  Most of the time I lose focus on them long before the year is out.  

Last year, my resolution (like many others' resolutions I believe) was to become more healthy.  After 5 years of wonderful happy (and apparently food-filled) marriage, The Mr and I both needed to turn our health around.  To that end, I joined Weight Watchers when "At Work" meetings started at my office.  I am SO HAPPY to be able to say that today, on the last day of the year, I reached my goal!  Here's a before and after pic....

(I can't believe I am posting this picture on the internet...)

(...and I wish I had my skinny jeans here...but it's quite an improvement over our picture from March)

We lost a total of over 120 pounds combined!  We are certainly a testament to the fact that WW works!

Now time to think about my 2009 resolution.  Hope I can find one that works as well as 2008!

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Happy New Year!

Hope you get to cuddle up with someone special this evening!

These are two of my sweet kittens, sisters Viceroy and Anna, wishing you a Happy New Year!

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Mr's Birthday!

I think The Mr had a nice birthday yesterday.  We went out to dinner and came home to some decadent chocolate cake and PRESENTS!

We had to sort of improvise on the candles (as my parents', whom we are visiting right now, didn't have any birthday candles)...

... but one of them did make a neat reflection!

The Mr got a number of DVDs (which is good because we plan to pack all our Christmas and birthday gifts in our luggage when we fly home in a few days!)...

... a digital picture frame... and a couple of very cool astronomy devices.  One lets you point at a star or object in the sky, and using GPS technology, tells you what it is and some history about it.  Super cool!  Then you can take the astronomy binoculars and look at the thing in the sky.  Last night was cloudy, but tonight we went outside and checked out some sky.  Cold (!!!) but fun!

Hope you enjoyed your birthday!  (and don't forget... the cats still have their "main" present to you at home!)  We all love you very much!


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Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby!

Today is The Mr's Birthday!  Here's a few pics of him as a little boy - wasn't he adorable??!

Happy Birthday!!!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunny Winter Sunday

Today is a beautiful sunny day here in wintery Minnesota.  We are watching the Vikings game on my parents' new 50" plasma TV (which The Mr installed Friday - THANKS honey!!)... our next task is to put up their new weather station.  Good for us "fragile" SoCal folks to get up on the roof in the Minnesota winter!

Oh, and some last-minute shopping for The Mr's birthday celebration tomorrow!!

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Visiting With Old Friends

Today I had lunch with three of my closest friends from high school.  We haven't been together since we looked like this (yikes!)

Lisa still lives in the Twin Cities (where we are right now), Anne lives in St. Louis and Noreen lives in Washburn, WI (way up north).   We had a wonderful lunch at Anne's parents' house overlooking the St. Croix River.  

And I think we certainly look better today!

And fun to have three of the husbands in the picture as well...

Looking forward to seeing everyone again soon!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas in 2 States

Christmas morning in San Diego... rain rain rain!

But we had a lovely time with The Mr's family.... and took "family portrait" #1.

And fast forward to today... we woke up to this frosty sight!

The Boy and The Girl got a chance to make a snowman with the daughter of one of my parents' neighbors.

And our second "family portrait" of the season!

The Boy is loving the snow and is about to go walking on the ice over the lake behind Nana and Papa's house.  The Girl is enjoying her new friendship with Neighbor Girl.  I wonder if we'll see her this trip?

Hope you are enjoying your holidays!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone has a joyous holiday!

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Monday, December 22, 2008


Gifts purchased?  - check!
Gifts wrapped?  - check!
Cards mailed?  - check!
Cookies baked?  - check!
Cookies delivered?  - check!

Could it be that we are ready to enjoy this holiday week?  I think so!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festival of Lights!

We are not Jewish, but we feel it is important for our kids to understand different cultures.  To that end, we celebrate Hanukkah every year.  

We try to be fairly traditional and tonight I served brisket and potato latkes.  Yum!  

We all got to read about Hanuka to each other and then we lit the first candle in our menorrha.

This is one of our favorite dinners!


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Friday, December 19, 2008

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

I love this Christmas dessert - Eggnog Bread Pudding. The recipe is easy to prepare and can be customized (add chocolate chips, cherries, or whatever other flavors you may like)... and it can be prepared the day before baking.

1 loaf stale French bread
1 quart eggnog
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 C. raisins
1 C. sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the bread and pour the eggnog over it, letting it sit until bread is soft, at least 20 minutes and even overnight is okay.

In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and stir into the bread and eggnog mixture. Add the raisins and mix well.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Let cool a bit before cutting. Serve with whipped cream to taste.

You'll love this! To see other recipes you will love, check out the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stormwatch 2008

My apologies to those who live in areas with real weather... I'm about to complain about the rain here. (I'd add complaints about the cold but suspect those complaints would be even less well received!)

Many of us here in So Cal don't much like the rain. Lots of us move here because of the mild weather and high number of sunny days. And when it does rain, people lose their minds. No one can drive and we have a tremendous number of accidents.

I think it is primarily because we don't get much rain. Here's a shot of our precipitation from this year (taken from our weatherstation at our house) :

About 11.5 inches of rain for the year. Probably not much by many of your standards.

The current "Stormwatch 2008" shows this (again from our weatherstation) :

Almost 2 inches of rain! And we've probably had another .5 inches since I grabbed this screenshot.

That's 17% of our yearly rainfall in 3 days. So we have flooding, and mudslides and evacuations. And accidents galore.

All this to say that I am tired of the rain and want my sunshine back.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Bunch of Baking!

I baked 24 dozen cookies today... and I've still got two types of cookies left to bake!

Here's a glimpse of my handiwork...

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Santa Came to Our Concert!

Tonight's concert went really well!  And we even had a special guest:

If we can get through tomorrow's performance we are home free!

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Time for Some Christmas Music!

Getting ready for today's Christmas Extravaganza concert.... hopefully today's performance will go well! Pin It

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

This cookie is the first Christmas cookie I ever made when I was a kid, and they have been a family favorite since then.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring OR 3/4 teaspoon peppermint flavoring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
1/2 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix butter sugar, egg, and flavorings thoroughly. Add flour and salt, Mix well. Shape dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap; chill for at least 2 hours or until easy to handle. Roll into 4 inch strips; place on baking sheet. Curve top down to form handle or cane. Bake 9 minutes. While still warm, remove from pan and sprinkle with candy and sugar mixture.

Dough may be divided in half and colored with 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring if desired. Roll each color into strips, place side by side, press together lightly and twist like a rope.

For more fun recipes visit The Grocery Cart Challenge !

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