Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tator Tot Casserole

Oh yes I did. And I love it. Promise, you'll love it too. My high-fluent friends from the Seattle area would be shocked and appalled that I would have a recipe posted using cream of mushroom. Really. Who does not like cream of mushroom? Doesn't cream of mushroom make everything go down easier? I certainly do and so do my men.

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 tsp seasoned salt or just salt

1 can cream of mushroom

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)

1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)

1/2 bag of frozen tator tot in any shape

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Saute beef and onion until meat is browned. Season it with salt and add cream of mushroom and milk. Turn off heat. Stir this mixture until it's fully mixed. Add your veggies if you'd like.

Grease a 11 x 7 " baking pan. Pour the mixture into baking pan and cover with frozen tator tots. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake it for 30-35 minutes at 350F.

Repurposed bag

So you know when you get those fun bags your husband brings home after attending a conference and you're like "it's cute but I don't want to carry a bag with a company logo on it".

Well, as I was lurking on other bloggers' sites, I found one gal who had the same problem I had. She just fixed that and I had to do the same.

What I did was take the stitching out of the blue logo section, and cut out two pieces and ironed it on top of the logo and sewed it back. Now, I have a French Country themed bag instead of being a walking advertisement.

Thank you fellow bloggers for without you, I would have stuffed this bag in the corner of my scary, disorganized closet.

sew Gerbil sew

Gerbil is a nickname my husband's family fondly calls me when I'm going a million miles a minute, I remind them of a caged gerbil spinning on a wheel.

So here's what this Gerb has been working on.

Pic #1: Robeez knock-offs for my friend

Pic #2: Hooded towel with an "H" appliqued for my niece

Pic #3: A barrette and headband holder for my niece

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Catchin' up ramblings

Dare I write this down?! I feel well. I think my bout with mono and the stomach flu. Today, I feel like I can do normal things eat, drink, and not have to run to the bathroom. I forgot how normal felt. I have energy to not push myself to normal things like clean and play with my kids.

Here's to better health and sunshine. Here's a picture and recipe for a quick and easy dessert or snack at our house.

Yogurt Parfait

lowfat yogurt

banana slices

favorite cereal (we like Cinnamon Toast Crunch), crushed

Put in a fruit bowl of yogurt, sliced bananas, and topped with cereal. Get your milk and fruit in with a little guilty pleasure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A case of the Mondays

I have the case of the Mondays. Woke up to more stomach and headache. Kids were lovely in the morning.

Off to school. Rat!!! Only one carseat. We took husband's truck on Saturday and forgot to put carseats back. Good thing dad only works 5 minutes away. Breaking the law and my internal sweating goin' on as the boys and I go get the other carseat.

Oh...cruddy. Loud grinding noise. Weird. Is it coming from my car?! Turn off music. Yes. It. Is. Crap-ola.

Slowly creeping to Husband's work so he can diagnose and we can get carseat. Still doable. Still making it on time to get S.E. to school on time.

Crap. Again. Husband's work building is secure and you have to have access card to enter. So, I'm standing around waiting for someone to come to work. Key the "Jeopardy" final question music.

Yes!!! 2 minutes and a delightful co-worker saved me by going in to get my hubby.

Ahhh...out comes engineer hubby and quicker than Clark Kent can switch into Superman, hubby the mechanic works his magic. What's the deal-le-o? Somehow a rock got squished between the left front wheel and a plate (slightly panicked b/c now S.E. should be taking off his coat in class). Should I drive around town with this? No? Nada? Okay. Gather up your stuff boys...

We Chinese firedrill it and switched cars with hubby so he can get back to work and I can get kids off to school. All I'm thinking is I sure hope I can run with my stomach hurting.

Kids off to school with success and I was off to the gym. Oh wait. No access card b/c it's in my car...not this ginormous diesel truck I am driving. I was not meant to run this morning.

Oh well. Let's go home and get some chores done instead.

After picking up S.E., he announces his head hurts and he isn't feeling well, therefore no swimming lesson today for him.

I am going to sit on the couch and pop a couple of Advil and hope my head doesn't explode and my stomach doesn't groan more because of the medicine.

Here's to a quiet afternoon...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday dinner...and buttermilk biscuits

There is nothing like meat and potatoes to get my family to eat. Tonight's dinner consisted of baked pork chops, creamy mashed potatoes, country gravy, corn, and flakey, buttermilk biscuits all from scratch. My men love eating the biscuits two ways: dipped in gravy and drizzled with honey. Sunday dinners are important to us because it's usually one night where we all just honker down and spend the evening together.

I'm sure this is going on in almost every family around the country. Before I was married, I disliked Sunday evenings because I didn't want the weekend to end. There was usually homework to catch up on or getting ready for another work week. No one wanted to get together. I felt lonely.

I love Sunday evenings now because it means I get to spend it with my love and our two favorite people in the entire world, our boys.

Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup buttermilk

Mix all together dry ingredients with shortening until shortening is fully incorporated (~1 minute in Kitchen-Aid). Add buttermilk and mix for 3o seconds or until blended (don't overmix).
Roll at least 1/2 inch thick and cut into circles using biscuit cutter. Bake at 425F for 14 minutes.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two Fat Ladies Afternoon Tea part 1

Two Fat Ladies

Seriously. I had heard of these two ladies back in my college days but I didn't own a t.v. so I didn't pay attention.

Fast forward 12 years. The Cooking Channel. Two self-proclaimed fat ladies cooking English fare with reckless abandonment to cardiovascular health. They were frying fatty pork dredged in flour in pork lard. Love it!!! They said it's the only way to get a certain crispiness.

Next, a pie with raw, unseasoned lamb pieces and carrots in-between. The ladies have a wonderful accent. They travel along the most picturesque countryside of England cooking up a storm for folks along the way. Oh, and what do two fat ladies travel in? A motorcycle fit with one of those side carts.

At the end of each episode? Them sitting around commenting on how the fare went, usually one lady is seen smoking and the other having a bit of tea.

I absolutely love this show. I love how they don't give a crap about what's correct. They cook how they want. They smoke how they want. The travel where they want. I want to be like that.

Except I'm not brave enough to ride a motorcycle and I'd like to not be fat. And I don't think I could muster all the pork lard.

Although, I do like inviting friends and family over to cook and bake to my heart's desire because not sharing what I've learned is a waste...

...and a sensible gal like me hates waste.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Earthquakes. Tsunami. Nuclear plant explosions. So many dead, hurt and still suffering. I feel helpless each time I turn my Internet on and see the updates regarding Japan's massive disaster. We are praying for them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I had been feeling "off" this past two months. Just super tired. So tired that I would fall asleep in the middle of the day...several times...and be in bed by 9pm and wake up still tired.

My workouts in February were sluggish at best so I went to the doctor to get bloodwork done to see if my thyroid medication needed adjusting.

I got my results diabetes, thyroid still rockin' at the dosage of synthroid I'm takin', no anemia, but I've got MONONUCLEOSIS. What?!! And then whewwwwww...

I was praying it was not diabetes because these past two years' change of diet and workout have been primarily motivated by the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Let's review mononucleosis (mono)...kissing virus...that's how it's passed along. No treatment other than to ride through it...symptoms include fatigue, body aches, and headaches, and sore throat. I have had all three for at least a month or so and I thought I just wasn't "tough enough" now that I don't have beefcake trainer telling me to "suck it up".

This would explain my killer migranes and the body aches that gave me flashbacks of when I was in the 160's and was aching everywhere, all the time.

Okay. So I can deal with mono. I will still push on. Run. Laugh. Not kiss my boys. Be kind to myself. Make someone's day.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Ancient" Asian Tip: How to pick good fruit

Nothing is worse than buying fruit at the grocery store and when you bite into it, it's bland or rubbery; it's worse when it's both. I have to admit, I rarely have this problem. Why?

My mama taught me how to pick out good fruit at the market when I was young and it still holds true. Even more so when fruit is offered off-season. How is this possible?

SMELL THE FRUIT. At the base of the fruit. Smell it. Really smell it. And while you are smelling it, squeeze it. It should smell like the fruit. If your first thought is "I really can't tell" put it back. It's not going to be sweet and tasty. Try again. And again. Really. It will take me more time to get past the fruit section of a grocery store than any other part because I have to smell it. The only exception are bananas. These ripen really quick once it gets home so I'm not as picky about bananas.

After smelling and squeezing it, give it a quick once look-ee-see (watch out for fold or bruising), then there you go. Sweet fruit.

Oh, and all this is nil if you let your fruit just die on your countertop. Eat it. Enjoy it. I certainly do.

Friday, March 4, 2011

2011 goals revisited

Remember these goals?

1) Run 20 miles per week
2) Run two 5ks with my kids
3) L0se 5 lbs
4) Run 2 marathons

Seriously? What was I thinking?!

Well, snagged up is what has happened. Being worried about my knees and when I was running 15 miles / week for two weeks, I could barely straighten my knees out at night. Worried and not being able to shake the pain, I've really cut back on my running. So, why do I feel so terrible about not meeting my goals?

I am learning to accept that working out is a lifetime goal, not a yearly goal. If I blow out my knees now-I won't have it later. I can have surgery...eventually but as I look around and there's not one person who've had knee surgery under 50.

So what have I been doing? Lifting more weights and strengthening the muscles around my knees. So, I won't be able to run a marathon in May. Just as long as I continue to run, I'm not going to sweat the big runs. For right now, I'm going to get my knees healthy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I am thankful to not have to get out and run around with the kids today. I have such a bad migrane and it makes my jaw hurt. So today, I'm moving slow and trying to take enough Advil to ease the pressure but not get tummy ache.

As for little boys in swim lessons. S.E. is swimming from end to end in the big, lap pool. His front stroke is coming along and he just kicks his little chopstick legs as fast as they will go.

Koo has the underwater swimming down and can swim width-wise across a smaller pool. Swimming lessons, twice a week is the ticket. Previous to this, they were only going once a week and they would forget by the time the next class rolled around.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Express Cinnamon Rolls

When you don't have three hours. When you someone is coming over for a playdate and you want to have a nice, baked pastry for your guests. My recommendation is to make these quick and super easy cinnamon rolls. The flavor is slightly different than your typical cinnamon roll-it has a more biscuit flavor but for the time and labor-it's perfect.