Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grandma Lillie's Strawberry Shortcake

Actually, this is the easy (cheaters) version of Grandma Lillie's recipe.

1 frozen pie crust
1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 and 1/2

Slice strawberries and pour the sugar over them. Let set for about an hour to macerate. I'm not a chemist so I can't explain how it works, but I just know if you put sugar on strawberries it makes a lovely juice.

Meanwhile, bake the pie crust according to package directions.

Break the pie crust into chunks and put into the strawberries to soak up all those wonderful juices.

Pour some 1/2 and 1/2 over the top and enjoy. It's a much more rustic version of what people normally think of, but is so much yummier than a typical sponge cake shortcake.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's Not Really Plagiarism

In honor of those that have only 3 short days of spring break left, and the fact that I personally think alarm clocks are from the devil, I would like to share this poem I love.

Every morning I like there innocently sleeping
When the peace is ruptured by a horrible beeping.
My serenity ripped asunder, sudden and drastic
By this evil, red-eyed piece of plastic.

I roll over in pain and pound on the snooze,
Groaning, moaning, thinking "What's there to lose?"
"Don't make me get up, just nine minutes more."
The same thing I've said every morning before.

It's not that I hate mornings or dread the new day.
It's just that I loathe waking up in this way.
I'd much rather simply rise up with the light,
Glowing in the window, chasing away the night.

But the sudden screaming, the incessant fuss,
Makes me want to yell and cry and simply to cuss.
Especially the knowledge that all of my sorrow
Will be repeated the same time, same way tomorrow.

By Amy F. Baker (not Angie, not plagiarism)

Hoping to give our blog a makeover tomorrow (or the next day, or the next, depending on what I feel like), so stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How We Met Our Neighbors

Our first home was in a new subdivision in my hometown. There were a few existing houses when ours began being built, but for the most part the whole area was under construction.

While our home was in the finishing stages of construction, we would go in it at night to paint, or just see the progress they had made that day. The contractors kept the house locked up at night but they gave us the garage access codes so we were able to get in.

After we moved in, we enjoyed walking through all the new homes around us in their various stages of completion.

Three houses down from ours was an identical floor plan as our home, with the one major exception of theirs having a walkout basement. We had toyed around with the idea of doing the basement, but opted for the single story. We really loved our home, but were curious how the house looked with the basement.

Technically, said home still belonged to the construction company, but they were 99% done so the new neighbors would be moving in any day. We decided to take a peek. We looked through the windows but couldn't see much. We tried the door but it was locked.

It occurred to us that we knew the access codes the construction company used on the new houses.

We tried one.
No luck.
We tried one of their alternates.
No luck.
One more try... score.

Seeing as how we were semi-breaking-into-someones-almost-home, we shut the garage door behind us while we snooped. All was good. We looked around upstairs. We looked around downstairs. We liked our home better.

Gasp. Someone just pulled into the drive... We are so busted.

"Quick, out the back door." The back door (1) doesn't have a deck so it's about a 15 foot drop. (2) Is nailed shut. Seriously, NAILED. SHUT.

This is where panic sets in. Like something out of a movie, we started desperately running in different directions then into each other.

Jim says to me "Let's hide!"

We can actually hear keys jingling at the front door and female voices fast approaching.

"We can't hide, if they see us, that would be worse!"

Key is turning in the door.

"Let's just introduce ourselves like it's no big deal."

In walks a very surprised almost-home-owner and her friend. Did I mention our new neighbor is physically handicapped?

"Hi, I'm Angie and this is my Husband, Jim." (Smile Ang, look innocent) "We live down the street and wanted to peek at your beautiful home before you moved in. Welcome to the neighborhood."
She was very confused about why we were in her almost-home, but I have to say she was pretty nice under the circumstance. We left as quickly as we could.

We lived in that neighborhood for 3 years and could never quite look her in the eye after that. I'm sure word spread to "watch out for that one couple, they break into homes."

When they say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, they mean it. If you screw up the first time, you may have to drive the long way home to avoid seeing your neighbor.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Paula Deen, Mormons, and Michael Jackson

Today I worked in my home office which equates to nothing interesting to talk about, so instead, I will be enlightening you with completely arbitrary thoughts that are rooting around in my brain.

I wish I had one of these because everyone knows the best part of the brownie is the edge.

I still don't completely understand how they convert wind and water into electricty. Jim keeps trying to explain, but it just won't sink in. Then I get frustrated because he's still trying to explain and I want him to stop.

I wonder if Paula Deen takes Lipitor.

I don't agree with Mormon's but they're just about the nicest people to be around and I admire their conviction.

I wish the newsies would stop talking about the economy. We get it already.

I wonder if Michael Jackson will make a succesful comeback. He's freaky but I'm pulling for him.

I really don't like the word "drawer." Drawer. Draaaawer. Nope, don't like it. It sounds ridiculous and should be boycotted.

Thank you for allowing me to get these things off my chest. I feel better.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Creamy Dill Salmon

If you like Salmon at all, you need to try this!

Salmon fillet (1 1/2 pounds per 2 people)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 Tbsp chicken broth or dry white wine
2 Tbsp dried dill
1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2
In a large pan, saute the green onions in butter until almost soft.
Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Add the salmon on top of the sauce. I like to cut it into pieces but you could leave it whole if you prefer. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Flip the pieces, cover and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the salmon is done.
That's it! Easy and delicious!!!

This recipe was passed on to me from my Mom.
Thanks Mom!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tampons and Chocolate

Serendipity is a beautiful thing.

By now we have completely established that I’m a free sample junkie.
So, imagine my surprise when I showed up at my hotel in Great Falls, MT yesterday to find a motherload of samples!

And then tonight I was blessed with a sample of Duncan Hines Mini Molten Chocolate Cake. Ahhh, I love serendipitous chocolate best.

It may be hard for you to understand how I can get so elated over a box of free tampons and other misc items, but I love it. It’s like a high. Same thing happens when I buy a cool piece of paper.

Maybe that is weird, but it's healthier and cheaper than drugs.

BTW, right now you can get a free sample of Lindt chocolate truffles here. But hurry before they run out!!!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Confessions of a Frequent Flyer

Sometimes I pretend to sleep so the person next to me won't try to talk to me.

When I get upgraded to first class it makes me uncomfortable because I think other people look at me like I'm a snob.

I sneak flavored coffee creamer through security because I don't like their creamer.

I put my phone on silent and leave it on instead of turning it off.

Sometimes I pretend to be emailing but I'm really playing Brickbreaker.

My Lysol kept getting confiscated so I started putting into a hairspray container.

Sometimes I'll pass the time in airports by watching people walk by and making up a story about why they're traveling.

I'm always really friendly to the rental car people so they'll upgrade me to a nicer car.

When I'm reading a girly book on the plane, I take the cover off so it looks like maybe I'm reading classic literature.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hello Today

Today I had to get back into the swing of things after being on vacation.

Today I saw a gentleman give up his first class seat for a young Serviceman (how nice is that?).

Today I sat next to a chatty (but nice) lady that was very nervous about flying.

Today I did something nice for someone.

Today I forgot my laptop and cell phone chargers so I only have about 15 minutes to post (bummer).

Today I bought a couple things for a new craft project I'm excited about.

Today I watched American Idol.

Today I missed being at home with Jim.


Monday, March 16, 2009

What defines a person's style?

What do you suppose makes a person decide what their personal style is?

At first thought you may say cultural, parental, or media influences. There has to be more to it. Two siblings with all the same influences may have vastly different styles. So what is it?

I used to put a good amount of thought into my own personal style, but somewhere along the way I lost touch with it. Now I don't know what it is. How do I find out?

Sometimes I aspire to be urban chic like this. Trench coats, funky shoes, distinctive accessories.

Sometimes I want to look like the consummate housewife/hostess. Meticulous hair and makeup, classy clothes right down to the string of pearls.

Sometimes I think it would be way cool to be a carefree hippie with headbands, oversized sunglasses and a Dalai Lama book in tow.

Somehow I'm none of these. I am in a style rut. I can't count how many pictures I have of me in a T-shirt and dockers (summer) or a fleece jacket and jeans (winter).

How did these people decide what they are? Granted 2 are fictional characters and they all have professional stylists, but you know what I mean.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cheese Cannelloni in Asiago Cream Sauce

Cannelloni Ingredients:
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed (optional)
lasagna noodles

Asiago Cream Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese
1 cup store bought spaghetti sauce
2 1/4 cups 1/2 & 1/2
2 Tbsp cold water
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by cooking your lasagna noodles in a big pot of boiling water. You don't want to cook them all the way, just almost done but still pliable. 7-8 minutes worked for me. Allow noodles to cool.

In the meantime, heat the 1/2 & 1/2 over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the asiago cheese and chicken bouillon. Blend the water and the cornstarch and add to saucepan. Continue cooking over medium heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened. Add the spaghetti sauce.
(This in itself is good enough to eat with a spoon!)

In a bowl, mix the spinach, ricotta and mozzarella. Spread a thin layer over each cooled lasagna noodle and roll up. The first time I made this I tried stuffing it into manicotti, this way was much easier, and it's pretty.

Pour all of your asiago sauce over the cannelloni and cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes then remove foil and bake another 20 minutes.

This recipe sounds complicated but it's not and it's soooo good. It's pretty rich so it would be good to serve with a light salad or veggies.

*random note to self: buy new dishes.


Friday, March 13, 2009


I didn't do anyting crafty today and it's not like I didn't have time. Just wasn't feeling it, so instead I'm giving you 7 things I love right now and 7 things I don't. There is absolutely no reason for this. Just total randomness. It's how I roll.
1. Vacation
2. Facebook - reconnecting with old friends
3. Honey Nut Cheerios
4. Vacation (it deserved 2 spots)
5. Fleece jackets
6. Free Samples
7. Cooking
Don't Love:
1. Bear Grylls, aka Man vs Wild guy
2. Adult acne
3. Bad knees
4. Super long winters
5. Stupid skinny jeans
6. Broccoli, cabbage and squash
7. Lycra - does it look good on anyone?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today we drove to another state to eat a sandwich. This is life with a germaphobe.

There is a Schlotzsky's about 5 miles from our house, but we've tried to eat there twice and both times they didn't have gloves on, so when Jim has a craving for Schlotzsky's, we drive to Coeur d'Alene, ID.
God love him.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Family Time

Last night we had Big Jim over for dinner and played some games. Today we went and saw Gran Torino with Clint Eastwood (super awesome movie).

Found a hundred family members on Facebook (or they found me). It was cool to hear from so many people I haven't talked to in a while. I love and miss them all!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Banana French Toast

2 bananas
1 egg white
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Thick sliced french bread
Mix 1 of the bananas with the cinnamon, sugar, egg white, vanilla and milk in a blender until smooth. Place in a shallow dish. Coat both sides of the french bread and immediately place in a nonstick skillet.
The nonstick skillet is a must. Trust me, I tried it in a regular pan and it didn't work at all. Cook over medium heat until golden brown. About 5-7 minutes per side, turning every couple minutes to prevent burning.

Slice the other banana over the top and serve with maple syrup. This is a wonderful, light, healthy breakfast. I'll be cooking this one a lot.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stupid skinny jeans

I think it's common practice for every female to have "fat" clothes and "skinny" clothes. Right?

Well, I have been avoiding the obvious for the last 3 months. I have worn my "fat" jeans daily. I told myself it was because they were more comfortable, but the reality was I couldn't get my fat butt into my skinny clothes anymore.

I have no delusions about ever being a size 2. Not gonna happen. However, I have been trying to eat healthier. Not dieting per say, just not eating crap all the time, only sometimes ; )

So yesterday, I decided to put aside my ego and try to pour myself into my "skinny" jeans. And by pour, I mean tug at the loop holes to the point of breaking threads while jumping up and down. Trust me, this is only a slight exaggeration.

I did manage to get them on (and even button them!). It would have been really cool if I had put these now super tight jeans on to reveal a Boo-TAY like J Lo or Kim Kardashian, but no. No such luck.

While getting these jeans on was a personal victory, there was no way I would be caught dead exposing my rump in it's current condition, so I covered myself with a nice, long jacket.

But at least I got them on.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Smothered Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 medium onion thinly sliced (I prefer shallots)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 1/2 cups water
3 tsp chicken bouillion
2 Tbsp oil
salt and pepper
In a deep 12 inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat for several minutes to get hot. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, place in hot skillet. Cover chicken with onions and mushrooms.
Cook chicken for 10 minutes.
Add garlic. Turn chicken and cook the other side for 10 minutes.
Remove chicken and toppings from skillet. In bowl, mix flour, soy sauce, 2 cups hot water and chicken bouillion. Whisk until smooth. Add to skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Gradually stir in remaining water until smooth.
Add chicken and veggies back into the skillet. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I served over egg noodles, but this would be really good over mashed potatoes!!!