Monday, August 31, 2009

Rotisserie Style Chicken



Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs)
1 onion
4 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder



Take all the gross stuff out of the chicken cavity. Rinse the chicken inside and out then pat completely dry.

Mix all the seasonings together in a bowl. Rub it all over the chicken. Inside and out. Really coat the thing until all the seasoning is used up.

Cut the onion into quarters and place inside the chicken.



Place the chicken in a large plastic bag and seal it up. I didn't have a ziploc big enough so I used a regular plastic bag from the grocery store. I'm not sure how sanitary that is, so we just won't mention that to Jimbo for now.

It needs to sit in the fridge over night or 5 hours at the very least.

Place the seasoned chicken in a roasting pan and bake uncovered at 250 degrees for 4-5 hours. Let the chicken sit for a few minutes after removing from the oven before you carve.




Jim said this chicken was better than any rotisserie he'd ever had, and he's the pickiest eater alive, so you know it's good.

And can I just mention how grown up I felt for having all those seasonings in my cupboard already?


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Where The Heck Have I Been?



Well, I confess that I can't blame the entire absence on a work trip, but I was on a legitimate work trip involving real meetings and other worky stuff.

I spent several days over the last week at a resort in Colorado Springs, CO. It is super hard work having to get hour long massages and laying out next to this lake reading a book for an hour then having to go on an excrutiating canoe trip around the lake. Brutal.

But you know what I enjoyed most about my trip?

Was it the massage?

Was it reading a book laying out next to the lake?

Was it going for a canoe ride?

Was it catching up with old friends and making new ones?

No. It was snagging these babies from the buffet table.



Aren't they seriously the cutest?



I like to call it swag, just like the movie stars do. Swag jellies.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Some Days Are Like This

When we last talked about Salt Lake City, I explained the difficulties of trying to visit the Mormon Temple (for those who don't follow regularly, I'm not Mormon, just nosey).

I have one overnight trip to Salt Lake each month now. My last trip there was several days ago. I was so excited at a second opportunity to check out the LDS Mecca, but once again, it was not to be.

The problem is that I keep trying to see it on a Saturday. Who knew Saturday's were a popular day for Weddings? OK, I maybe should have picked up on that after the first visit.

The Temple wasn't the only thing I was excited to experience in SLC. There is a fabulous little gourmet sandwich and salad place I found last month called Zupas Cafe. If you have a Zupas in your area, you simply must go there. It is amazing!
*Please note my use of italics to emphasize my strong feelings about this place.

This delectable cafe serves up artsy little sandwiches like Turkey Bacon Avocado, Boston Crab Melt, Turkey Spinach Artichoke. I love that they use obscure cheeses like Muenster instead of the typical cheddar. But the creme de la creme are the salads. Oh my gosh, the salads! Beautiful mixed greens with your choice of creative toppings. And to top it all off, the BEST fat free raspberry dressing every made. No, the big topper has to be that every meal comes with a chocolate covered strawberry.

I did a Friday/Saturday stay in SLC. I got take out from Zupas Friday night and delightfully gorged in the comfort and solitude of my hotel room. I enjoyed it oh, so much that I went there again on Saturday on my way to the airport.

But first I had to swing by the Temple for my second attempt. I did my customary 37 laps around the Temple looking for a parking spot until I had no more time to spare. At least I still had my Zupas to look forward to.

I got to the airport. Turned in my rental car. Walked to the ticketing kiosk. Sat my treasure on the kiosk stand. Reached down to get my wallet. Then this happened.



There may have been an expletive escape my mouth at this point, I can't remember. It was all a blur.

I've started a countdown until my next trip to Zupas. And by all that's Holy, I will see that darn Temple next month!

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Swimsuit Shot and Summer Fun



This summer has been brutal.

The whole benefit of living in the Northwest is the climate. I am simply not accustomed to temperatures over 100 degrees anymore, especially without the benefit of air conditioning, which our home does not have. But the typical Northwest weather has escaped us this year and we have instead suffered week after week of hot misery.

The only cure to the hot summer blues is the lake. We've spent a number of days on the lake this year.



Big Jim even got into the spirit of things. He's pretty adventurous for a man of 77 years.



And moving on to a more personal topic, I decided earlier this year to have a whole Kirsty Alley Oprah moment and expose myself in a swimsuit on this very blog by the end of summer.

I have been a model Weight Watcher for most of the summer now, and although I haven't reached my goal weight, I'm prepared to follow through on my original goal.

So here goes....



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Baked Portobello Parmesan



Ingredients:
4 Portobello mushrooms
Spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Bread Crumbs
Butter flavored cooking spray (or butter)



Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Clean and remove the stems from the mushrooms. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side on the grill.


Place enough spaghetti sauce in a baking dish to cover the bottom. Put the mushrooms gill side up on the sauce.



Place about 2-3 Tbsp of sauce on each of the mushrooms. Pile on the mozzarella, parmesan, and bread crumbs, and I mean really pile it on there.

If you're watching calories, spray the top of each mushroom with the butter flavored cooking spray. If you're throwing caution to the wind, or just don't have cooking spray, place a little pat of butter on each mushroom.



Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.




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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Airport Games



We have completely established my affinity for observing strangers here, here, and my favorite one here.

Well, I'm going to let you in on my favorite airport game. I like to make an instant background story about the people who walk past me. Technically this is judging people, so I call the game "Judgement" but that sounds very negative. There's no harm here, just stories.

Occassionally I get to travel with others. Playing Judgement is the best with other people involved. Everyone has a different take on the story. Sometimes we agree and sometimes I don't get where they come up with their ideas. That's what makes it fun. So let's get started!



This is Paul. He's a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep. He's done the same work for 40 years. He used to be overweight but he had a health scare in the 80's and has eaten healthy since then. He's been married to the same lady since he was 20, and he's well respected in the LDS community.




Ah, sweet Betty. Betty is on her way to visit her first Great Grandchild in Wisconsin. She and her husband, Earl bought a home in Arizona 5 years ago. She makes a mean casserole and never attends any holiday function without bringing her homemade fudge (which everyone pretends to like). She's a cuddly grandma and takes her teeth out to make the kids laugh.




These two are actually both from a small town in western Iowa. They hated the small town atmosphere and moved to Seattle where she works as a waitress and he works as a cook at a well known Italian restaurant. They're on their way back home because Andrea's mom is throwing her dad a surprise 50th Birthday party.




And then there's this guy. I'm curious what other people think his background is, so you tell me. Come on, don't be a stiff.
I have a whole file of pictures of strangers, so expect to see this game again.



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Exploding Box Album



Kayla and I spent several hours crafting together during her time with us. One of the albums we made was this Exploding Box Album to commemorate our white water rafting trip.

The album folds up into this cute little box which "explodes" when you open it.



Each flap contains a different picture. I sewed some of the pictures on three side to make a pocket so I could include more pictures and a little journeling on some tags.






All in all, I did 4 levels, which is 16 flaps (Miss Math Genius here).



Some flaps got decorative items instead of just pictures.



And then I added a little "bling" here and there, but I wanted to keep it simple.





And Voila, an exploding box!



If you want to make this super cute little keepsake, here are some simple directions:

You need at least 4 sheets of cardstock or heavy paper.

Bottom layer - 12 x 12, score 4" from each side
2nd layer - 11 x 11, score 3 3/4" from each side
3rd layer - 10 x 10, score 3 1/2" from each side
4th layer (optional) - 9 x 9, score 3 1/4" from each side
Lid - 8 x 8, score 2" from each side

Cut the 4 corner squares from each layer (not the lid). Decorate and glue the layers together in the middle square.

For the lid, create another score diagonally in each corner square. Tuck this corner in and glue it to the side of the box. It helps if you have something to hold it firmly until the glue dries.

Have fun!


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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Day I Sexually Harassed a Sculpture



One of my days with Mom and Kayla was spent checking out downtown and all the touresty things it has to offer.

That first picture is my absolutely favorite pic of Kayla. It just seems to really capture who she is.

We were riding a historic carousel. Sounds lame but it's not; there's a game involved. While you ride, you try to reach out and grab a ring from this arm thingy that sticks out, then you have to try to throw the ring into a tiny hole on the other side of the carousel. I've ridden this silly thing twice and thrown roughly 57 rings at that tiny hole. This time I made it in. Once. But I still felt really satisfied. And grown up. Who cares that I was the only one over 15 that wasn't accompanied by a toddler?

See this picture? I look pretty hateful, but that's my game face. I was preparing a ring tossing strategy. It takes a great deal of focus.



Then Mom wanted some vacation pictures.





There's all these sculptures downtown of people running. This is a very runny area. People come from all over the world to run here once a year. I personally don't even like to run to the mailbox, but whatever.

I don't quite know what got into me this day. I guess sometimes you just feel like groping an innocent, inanimate object.



Here's another favorite pic. Kayla and I went for a ride in the gondolas that typically overlook a waterfall. This time we went up and we saw water just kind of trickling out and a bunch of trash swirling around.

So since the view wasn't worthy of our attention, we turned the camera on ourselves.


MWWWAAAAA!

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Oreo Delight



Ingredients:
1 package Oreo Cookies
6 Tbsp butter, melted
2 small boxes instant chocolate pudding
3 1/4 cups cold milk
1 large tub Cool Whip
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Crush all but 10 of the Oreo cookies into small crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and pat into a 9 x 13 dish. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.



Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of the Cool Whip. Spread over the cookie crust. Place back in the refrigerator.

Next, mix the instant pudding according to package directions. Add the pudding layer over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes then add a final layer of the remaining Cool Whip.

Crumble the rest of the Oreo cookies on top.



Refrigerate at least 2 hours prior to serving.



*I could eat this every single day!

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