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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another Beautiful Day in Paradise

Today was an absolutely beautiful day here in sunny San Diego.  Temps at my house were in the high 70s.  Just lovely.

And this is what my productive little buddies did today...

Viceroy in the sun...

You may not be able to tell here, but Morgan sits in front of an open window ... 
Lucy wishes I would take that camera somewere else...
... and Anna gets ready for another nap!
As we sit here, all four cats sleeping again, listening to the cries of the coyotes, I wonder who wouldn't want a cat's life. 

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap - Easiest Possible Hawaiian Roasted Pork

I think I must be ready for my vacation because I have Hawaii on the brain. This recipe is just fabulous and requires almost no work.

3 lb. pork butt
2 c. water
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 c. salt

Place pork fat side up in a roasting pan or deep casserole. Combine water and liquid smoke. Pour over meat and sprinkle with salt. Cover and roast for 3 hours at 400 degrees. Remove from pan and shred.

This is a super easy recipe and incredibly tasty. I actually trimmed almost all of the fat off of the roast and it was still very moist and tender. I also used only about 1/8 of a cup of salt, with no taste issues. This goes really well with rice and some tropical fruit. Hope you enjoy!

For more great recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap! And if you have a recipe to share, please join in the fun!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Waiting...

... is the hardest part..  Tom Petty sang about it once I believe.

Some things for which I am waiting right now (some of which weigh on my mind more heavily than others...)

  • Hawaii cruise (51 days! not that I am counting)
  • Results of some medical tests (doctors are never in as much of a hurry as patients are)
  • Check from GMAC (long story, involving wrongdoing and lawyers and a lot of stress)
  • MIL & FIL to finally make a decision about Hawaii cruise 
  • Valentines Day (I have a fun - but inexpensive - gift for my Valentine!)
  • A good night's sleep (no idea when that may be attainable - 4 cats = no sleep apparently)
  • WW Lifetime membership (2 weeks!!)
  • Someday running again in our "spare time" (we figure, when the kids go to college - something to look forward to when our metabolisms start slowing down)
  • Info about who has been laid off at our company (The Mr and I work for a division of Cat)
  • Upswing in the economy
  • Last load of laundry to be complete (in the dryer tonight, folded tomorrow and then done!  for this week at least)
  • Laptop to be fixed (sigh)

Maybe a good night's sleep (!) and a vacation (!!) will help.  ;-)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Date Night at our Favorite Italian Restaurant

mmmm... penne al vodka... Pin It

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Laptop broken. Cranky.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Just Ducky!

OK. I collect ducks. Our master bathroom is our "rubber duckie" room. The Mr enables this addiction habit. Thought I would give you a glimpse of some of them.

A couple of duckie pictures (one is a puzzle that we framed)...

... a beautiful duckie princess with her adoring courtiers...

... ducks on vacation...

... hope they stay away from the pirate!

I have a darling set of Christmas Carol duckies we put out at Christmas. I keep Scrooge and Tiny Tim out all year long to remind us to keep the Christmas spirit.

Here's our duckie alarm clock - it quacks when the alarm goes off!

Duckie kleenex box, covered by my University of MN duckie (otherwise the pest our sweet cat Anna will take out all of the Kleenex and bring it to the front door for us)

Momma duckie and her little babies...

... and a duckie cotton ball container...

... ducks on an outlet cover...

... and our adorable duckie towels and washcloths!

And finally, a bonus picture of my crazy cat Morgan, who likes to stand in the sink, let the water fall onto his head, and drink it as it drips off his head.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chinese New Year Dinner

We had our Chinese New Year's celebration dinner tonight... and I didn't take any pictures.  Grr.  In my defense, as if I needed any (after all, it is my blog...), we had an incredibly busy weekend finishing our complete house reorg (almost done too!!)...

We had a WW friendly meal that was really tasty.  Last week I purchased a new WW boook - it's called Now and Later.  It's an interesting concept in a cookbook.  On the left page, there is a recipe that intentionally has "leftovers" (which you separate before serving) and then on the right page (the next page), there is a recipe that is made from the leftovers of the previous recipe!  So I made Hoisin Beef and Noodles for dinner tonight (yummy) and tomorrow, with the "leftovers" we will have Beef and Noodle Soup.

We also had WW Orange Chinese Chicken - everyone really loved this one.  5 points per serving.

And for dessert, I served angel food cake filled with butterscotch pudding, and on top we stenciled the Chinese characters meaning "Happy New Year".  Angel food cake is always a hit.

As always, we enjoyed dinner as a family - that's the most inportant ingredient in our theme dinners!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Random Picture Challenge 3.0

Here's my Random Picture Challenge photo: my 30th one from August 2007.

This was taken at the top of the hill at my house.  I liked the way the moon looked.

Be sure to check out the other entries to the Random Picture Challenge!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap - Coconut Pineapple Rice

This recipe is so delicious and really quite simple. The Boy (who is pretty picky about his food) LOVED this one, so I figure it must be a hit! For more fantastic recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap!

Coconut Pineapple Rice

1 cup(s) light coconut milk
1 cup(s) water
2 tsp ginger root, fresh, minced
1/2 tsp table salt
1 cup(s) uncooked jasmine rice
1 cup(s) pineapple, fresh, diced
1/2 cup(s) scallion(s), chopped
1/4 tbsp mint leaves, fresh, chopped
2 tbsp chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 medium lime(s), cut into 4 wedges

In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon of salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in rice; reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat; add pineapple, scallions and mint (do not stir). Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with almonds; fluff rice with a fork. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over rice. Yields about 1 cup per serving.


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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coming in April!

I'm so excited to be able to tell you that one of my BF's is starting her own business! She is an incredibly talented pastry chef, and will be opening a bakery where she lives in Washburn, WI. At Coco, she will create fine pastries and artisan breads. Check out some snapshots of some of her creations!

Here's the proprietor herself! In front of a chocolate fondue fountain....
For those in northern Wisconsin, and those who visit up there - Coco will open in April!!

Way to go Noreen!!


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mini Mark

Is this little guy adorable or what? He's another of my great-nephews (so The Mr's brother is 14 years older, and his daughter, our niece, had her first kid when she was 20... he's the same age as The Boy, our youngest....)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

On This Historic Day

I lsitened to Barrack Obama's inauguration speech which inspired me to review some other memorable inauguration speeches. And when I searched google for this, I found that a lot of other folks have been thinking about it too. Some memorable lines, in no particular order:

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." - John F. Kennedy

"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay the price." - Ronald Reagan

"America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens." - George W. Bush

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." - Abraham Lincoln

Time will tell if Barrack Obama's speech is one for the ages. Though he was not my candidate of choice, I have such hope for him. He has my support and I firmly hope that he holds our country's best interests at heart and that he will be successful in his endeavor. God bless America indeed.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

On Staying Organized - Menu Plan Monday

In my (continuing) effort to be more organized, I'm going to start Menu Plan Monday again. Here's our current plan (always subject to change). If you are interested in any recipes, let me know!

Monday - Leftover Roundup (where I make some creative dinner from what is left in our refrigerator)
Tuesday - Weekly Dinner at the In-Laws'
Wednesday - We don't have The Children, and The Mr has not started his singing group up again yet, so we can have a date! I'll be making Tilapia with Cherries, Shallots and Tarragon to start the evening... we'll see where it goes from there!
Thursday - The Boy has Karate - we have about enough time to eat our McDonald's dinner before his session starts
Friday - Pork Chops and homemade applesauce
Saturday - Pietro's, our favorite local restaurant
Sunday - Theme dinner.... still working on the theme, but I'll have more about this by Sunday... (though I can tell you that the theme for 2/1 is Superbowl!)

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who Knew?

Who knew I had so many clothes???

After yesterday's "trip down memory lane", I spent today working in my closet and dresser.  I was able to take out six trash bags full of clothes to give away!  I found clothes I haven't been able to wear in some time (that's always fun!), quite a lot of which are work clothes.  

On a less fun note, we had The Boy and The Girl cleaning their rooms today as well.  Wow.  They. Were. Not. Happy.  Also, neither of them finished their room in the amount of time it took my to try on every piece of clothes in my closet.  Sigh.  There is always tomorrow I suppose.  ;-)


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trip Down Memory Lane

We spent the day in the garage.  Going through all of our old boxes.  Boxes of letters and photos and clothes.  Old toys.  

Some of the interesting things I ran across
  • the announcement of the birth of a friend's first daughter (he died in an accident about 8 years after that... bittersweet seeing that)
  • literally hundreds of birthday cards, Christmas cards and letters (apparently I never threw away a single piece of correspondence!)
  • some old issues of "The Commentary" the newspaper I ran when I was in law school
  • lots and lots of report cards
  • some cool statues I purchased on an amazing trip through Asia
  • all of the t-shirts from the many races I have run
and so much more.  Exhausting going through that many boxes!  But we finished - and managed to get rid of a tremendous amount of stuff!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap - Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

I made this when my FIL was saying that he hadn't had any deep-dish pizza in ages and he thought we should go to Pizzaria Uno for our Sunday night dinner instead of having me cook. I looked up the nutritional values of Uno's pizzas and found that (HOLY COW!) they were NOT in my WW points budget! So I did some internet research and found some recipes for Chicago style pizza... and lightened them up a bit. And voila! Even The Children liked it!

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 pound bulk Italian turkey sausage
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 ounces chopped fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish (I acutally used a 9" springform pan which worked very well).

Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and sprinkle over the dough crust. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the sausage.

Add mushrooms. bell pepper and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onions and peppers are tender. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, salt, fennel seed and garlic powder. Spoon over the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crust is golden brown.

For more tasty recipes, check out The Grocery Cart Challenge's Recipe Swap!

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is it just me?

I love Amazon. I've been shopping there for years. It is generally the first site I check when looking for just about anything. We have been "Prime" members since that program started, and we have definitely goteen our money's worth.

That being said, I was looking at my recommendations today and found this...

Does that make any sense to anyone? Lots of people who buy Waterford Crystal Christmas flutes buy power screwdrivers?


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Day The Cats Take Over

(The Cats have been begging to talk to all of you.... I thought I would let them today. IF they behave, they may get another chance someday!)
By way of introduction... Lucy (10), Morgan (5), Anna & Viceroy (4 1/2)

Morgan: My name is Morgan. I'm a ragdoll, and the most handsome boy in the house. I'm also the biggest - I'm over 20 lbs! I'm fuzzy and white and I am clearly the favor-

Anna: [Whap!] You are most certainly NOT the favorite!

Morgan: GRR. [Thump!] I. WAS. TALKING.

Anna: [Bite!]

Zentmrs: No hitting! Anna! Morgan! Stop fighting!

Lucy: So, while they "work things out" I can tell you how it really is. I'm Lucy. I'm the oldest, about 9 years old. Mommy got me from a shelter when I was a little kitten. My old family was a bad family and it took me a while to understand that all familes were not bad. I love my Mommy and Daddy. Sometimes, though they are so TALL and so LOUD that I have to go into the other room so they don't seem so TALL and LOUD. I like morning best. Daddy is FLAT and everyone is quiet when they wake up. Morning has lots of petting.

Anna/Morgan: MreoW! Pfft! [Whap] [Thud]

Viceroy: They fight like that a lot. I'm Viceroy. My sister (Anna) and I are the youngest. She's kinda bossy. I'm the sweet sister. We were a present for Mommy and Daddy's anniversary (that's where we get our names.. Anna - Viceroy... anni - versary... get it?) Anyway, I'm easy-going, except when it comes to dinnertime. I like dinner AND second dinner! Also petting. Nobody should get in the way of my petting.

Zentmrs: Dinner is actually breakfast, and second dinner is really dinner. It's confusing, we know. But the cats have pretty small brains, so it makes sense to them. Don't tell them I said that.

Morgan: So I got rid of that little pest for a while. As I was saying, I'm the favorite in the house. It was a very sad day when they brought home those two rotten sisters. Sorry Viceroy. I like you, but the other one is SO annoying. I love to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy. They sit with their laptops on the loveseat together a lot and I get between them and try to push their laptops off so that they will pay more attention to me!

Anna: I get to sleep next to Mommy every night!

Morgan: Only because you are a wiseacre suck-up!

Anna: Well, you stand in the sink until they turn on the water! And then you drink from the faucet! All the time!

Morgan: Tastes better that way. I don't get your rotten wisacre germs. GRR! [WHAP!]

Lucy: So, they are at it again. Mostly we get along pretty well. We miss our other two friends a lot though. Gracie was my best friend. She died almost two years ago. I'm still sad sometimes and I know Mommy and Daddy miss her.

Viceroy: And Heideki was all of our favorite. He was pretty old, but we were still surprised when he died this fall. We all miss him so much. He was a special friend to me.


Lucy: It's been fun chatting with y'all, but we have to go break up the fight before it gets out of hand. Maybe we'll stop by again one of these days!

Viceroy: Bye!

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