Sunday, October 23, 2011

Catching Up.

Really?  Has it really been nearly two weeks since my last post?  I guess things are just busy and now I am finally getting to catch up.  This past week has been cool at times, but also busy and stressful, mostly at work.  Then again, I am thankful that I have a job. husband got baptised at church on Sunday, which was neat to witness.  He had grown up Lutheran, and had gotten sprinkled as a teenager.  I'm told that they sprinkle with water for baptism.  We now attend a non-denominational church where pastor just a few weeks ago gave a sermon explaining about water baptism and what it represents.  For those not in the know, it is a public declaration of your faith to follow Christ.  In water baptism, as you are dunked back into the water you take part in the death and burial of Christ.  As you come back up,  you take part in the ressurection.  Some people view it as a new start to their life.  I've heard some people call their baptism day their new birthday.  It's the day they start a new life.  I so wish I had thought of that when I was baptised years ago!  It'd be a cool thing to celebrate.

After that came more fun.  It was our day to take Dillon to a pumpkin patch so he could pick out a pumpkin.  He picked out a butternut squash.  :)  I said "Sure, we can get that too and cook it up!"  We had a good time while he ran around the farm and got to see animals.  It was one of the best days I've had in a while.  When we got home, my Mom had prepared a pot roast beef dinner that we and a bunch of other family members were invited to.  I love my Mama's cooking.  :)

I've got a few pumpkin patch photos to share.  Enjoy!  And take your little ones to one!  It's cheap and it's fun.

Dillon and cousin Braden in a wheelbarrow at the pumpkin patch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hooray For Days Off!

Yesterday was the perfect kind of day off.  I got to spend some time snuggling up a Dillon-bug and my hubby, too.  I got to catch up on some cooking shows.  (I do love those!)  I did laundry, and Richie and I got into a good cleaning groove and got a lot accomplished.  To be honest, I've actually looked at tips for cleaning to try and make the job easier...and I think the best advice is...just do it!  Pick something and clean it.

I made a super yummy dinner, too.  It was some chicken thighs with an apple glaze with a side of quinoa with spinach and some steamed veggies.  The glaze was soo good and in my opinion, tasted like fall.  It was made from apple juice concentrate and Dijon mustard.  It had that warm sweet and spicy thing going on.  I wish that I could say that I took some pictures.  Honestly, I did, but I was in such a hurry to get to sit down and enjoy the meal that I had made that I hurried through the pictures and they didn't turn out good at all.  They're pretty blurry.  Not good for showing off something was tasty.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.  Rich recommends that the next time I made it, I make it with chicken breasts instead of thighs.  He's not a big fan of the thigh meat.  On chickens, anyway. ;)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fun In The Rain.

Ok, so comfort isn't just about food.  Sure, food is comforting.  It can conjure up memories of childhood.  It can remind you of favorite family memories.  It can be about tradition.  But sometimes, comfort is just spending time with people you love.  And today, it was time spent with my boy Dillon.

Summer has fizzled on out and fall has crept it's way in, giving way to rainy, cloudy days.  Dillon had gotten these cute little rain boots that are red with litte trucks and tractors on them, but they were too big.  Well, he's able to wear them now.  So as I looked out my window and saw that it was raining, I thought what a good opportunity to use those rain boots!  Dillon can barely walk by a puddle without stomping in it anyway, so I thought with the boots on, he could really go at it and have some fun.  It was so thrilling to watch him having such a good time!  He had a blast!  Stomp stomp!  Splash splash!

Afterwards we cozied up with some hot cocoa and a blanket.  It was truely a great moment in a somewhat mundane day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Good Down Day.

There will be no photos of food today.  No recipes.  I was surprised to see that my last post was a week ago.  It's been a pretty hectic week at work, and then we were a little busy at home, too.  Come Saturday, I was feeling like I needed a break.  I've been volunteering on the usher team at church and Saturday night, I was just feeling like sitting in service for once.  I wanted to be able to really participate in worship.  So I did.  I took a break that night.  And it was an exciting night at church.  There were lots of people that got baptised which was neat to witness.  I hear over the weekend it was some 400 people that got baptised.
Sunday, I worked.  It was still busy at work, and I was really looking forward to getting home.  I had stopped at the store to pick up a couple things to make dinner and when I had gotten back to my car, I saw that I had a flat tire right up front.  I really wanted to cry.  But I didn't.  I took a deep breath to keep myself calm and I called up my husband.  Now, his car is out of commission, which I had forgotten, so he recommended that I call my Mom.  She lives right down the street from the store I was at.  After a conversation with Mom, she had my Uncle Marcus on his way to help me put the doughnut on my car so that I could get home.
Was I up for cooking by the time I got home?  Not exactly...I was so relieved that Mom had sent home leftovers of lasagna from the night before.
So today we had a nice down day.  Not too much going on here.  I've done some laundry and some dishes.  It's always good to get a little cleaning done.  Rich, Dillon and I went and meandered the mall while waiting for my tire to be fixed.  We treated ourselves to some delicious See's chocolate while we were there.  As we stood in line at the See's Candies store, Dillon recognized where we were and he says in this super cute voice "Choc-o-late?"  "Oh yes honey, chocolate!"
After my car was ready, we came home and snuggled up together and watched movies.  This was just the kind of day I was needing.  A good down day.  I feel all ready to tackle the week now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Well...I Thought Fall Was Coming...

Well...I thought fall was coming...the weather has made a bit of a turnaround.  The sun is shining and it's supposed to be around 80 the next couple of days.  Still, I planned my meals around things that I enjoy eating this time of year.  I'm always thinking of food.  It doesn't help that I spend my work day talking to patients at the hospital about food.  On my break I read cooking magazines, and when I get home, I watch Food Network or Cooking Channel.  I think it's safe to say that I love food.  Which is why I think I have a hard time losing weight sometimes.  As the seasons change, I'm looking forward to all the new types of food.  As spring approaches I'm dreaming of fresh vegetables.  In the summertime I'm ready for salads and grilled food.  Fall...I start gearing up for the warm cozy meals of winter.  I look forward to roasts and baking.  And above all, I like it to be easy.  Nothing too complicated, but delicious all the same.

I tried one of these McCormick Recipe Inspirations and really thought it was easy.  I don't mean to sound like an advertisement, but I liked that all I had to provide was the pork and the apples for the Apple and Sage Pork Chops. The seasonings were all there.

The only thing I changed from the recipe is that it called for two apples and the first time I made this, two apples seemed like too much.  This time around, I used one apple and it came out perfect.  I served this with a baked sweet potato.  What an awesome treat!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Think Fall Is Coming...

My alarm clock went off and I groggily rolled out of bed.  I never know when Dillon is going to be up, so I got right into getting ready for the day.  I ran myself a bubble bath and just as I had begun to wash my hair, I hear Dillon at the gate in front of his bedroom door.  "Mommy..." he says.  I sigh.  I had just gotten into the bath.  "I'll be right out, honey, Mommy's in the tub!"  So I quick-like wash myself over and I can hear Dillon getting impatient.  He was starting to cry.  I rinsed the shampoo out of my hair in a hurry, drained the tub and threw a towel around myself.  "Mommy's coming!  Hang in there!"  When he's crying one minute can seem like 10.  I let him out of his room and then went and got myself dressed.  I made myself a quick and oh so glamorous breakfast of Honey Nut Chex Cereal before getting Dillon dressed to go to daycare.  It wasn't until I opened the front door that I realized I hadn't even looked outside yet this morning and was surprised to see that it was still a little dark out.  It was little bit chilly, too.  I almost considered grabbing a light jacket, but dismissed the thought as Dillon and I headed on our way to take on the day.

I have been anxiously waiting for Fall to come.  And this morning, it was looking like it was almost here!  Summer is nice...but I do think I like Fall and Winter the best.

Tonight was a night for leftovers.  Earlier in the week, I had made my own version of Katie Lee's Apricot-Glazed Braised Pork Chops.  The recipe is from her book, The Comfort Table.
Obviously, I used chicken, as that was what I had.
Here's the recipe:

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (I actually used apple cider vinegar because I don't have red wine vinegar)
1/4 cup apricot jam
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 boneless center-cut pork chops (Like I said, I used chicken breasts instead but this is super yummy with pork, too.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 bay leaf

In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, mustard, vinegar and jam.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the pork chops (or chicken) with salt and pepper.  Place the pork chops (or chicken) in the hot oil and brown about 3 minutes per side.

Remove the pork chops (chicken) from pan and set aside.  Add the chicken stock mixture to the pan and deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits.  Add the garlic clove and bay leaf.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Return the pork chops (chicken!) to the pan, cover and braise until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.  (I might have done a minute or two over just to make sure the chicken was cooked.)

Transfer the pork chops (You know!) to a serving dish and tent lightly with foil to keep warm.  Discard the garlic and bay leaf.  Bring the liquid to a rapid boil and reduce to a thick glaze, about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Pour the glaze over the pork chops and serve.

This is super yummy prepared with the pork and with the chicken.

Anyways, back to leftovers.  I sliced up the chicken breast I had left and made a quick stir-fry with it.  Loaded with veggies and some brown rice.  Super easy dinner.  I like that. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ah Monday.

I have been looking forward to today.  Most people go back to work today, but for me it was a blissful day off.  Well, mostly, when Dillon wasn't screeching about something.  But still.  I got to spend the day with my husband and my son.  And I am happy to report that we didn't do much of anything.  Ok, ok, so I did some laundry and some dishes and I did do a little shopping.  But really, it was a pretty restful day.

Ever since I saw this recipe for Slow Cooker Puffy Pizza Casserole on Stephanie O'Dea's blog, I wanted to try it.  I finally got around to adding it into my meal plan for the week and today, I made it!

Stephanie says that this serves 8.  After my husband, my brother, my little son and I sat down for dinner and chowed down, I looked in the crockpot and laughed.  Not quite 8 servings...maybe like...5 or 6 because my brother had seconds and I picked at it a bit, too.  Before I had seen this recipe, I would have never thought to make something like this in the slow cooker.  And it turned out awesome!  This is definently one I will be making again!