Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Very First Flat Tire

For every bad thing that happens, there is always something good that comes of it, or something to be appreciated.   I believe that with my whole heart.

Let's examine yesterday, shall we?

Bad - I was informed that my 6am flight to SLC was going to be at least an hour late due to the amount of snow encasing the plane and still falling.

Good - My scheduled layover in SLC was going to be two and a half hours anyway.

Bad - Two and a half hours later we were still on the plane ready to de-ice and the de-icer broke.

Good - I was seated in first class so I had contstant coffee refills and snacks being offered.

Bad - I missed my connecting flight to Idaho Falls by a long shot.

Good - There was another flight available just 45 minutes after I arrived in SLC.

Bad - I got a flat tire between the airport and the store.

Good - I called the rental company and they are bringing me a new car this morning.

Bad - Yesterday was a crazy hectic day.

Good - Today has to be better. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

And This Is Why I Don't Let Him Buy Groceries

I am working today so I asked Jim to stop by the store and pick up a roast for Christmas dinner. 

He picked the $60 prime rib roast.  I don't even know how to cook a prime rib roast.  Plus I'm pretty sure 7lbs is overkill for the 3 of us. 

Sorry Jim, you are banned from all food shopping henceforth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas as the Davenport

We met Sean and Aimee downtown a couple weeks ago to do some Christmasy things together.  We met at our downtown mall where I asked for a picture with Santa.

After that we went ice skating which I already told you about, but then we went to an uber swanky hotel here that hosts something called Christmas Tree Elegance. 

First of all, amazing doesn't even begin to describe this hotel.  It is a spectacular palace of multiple ballrooms and hand carved wood everywhere.  There are a number of historical pictures on the second level that show famous people and kings and queens staying there.  It is truly beautiful.

Back to the trees...  All around the second level there are different themed trees that you can win through a raffle.   Below are two examples, the garage tree and the spa tree.  The winner gets  everything.  The tree, all the ornaments and all the prizes that are shown with it. 

I did not win.

Then this week the trees were replaced with a display of fancy gingerbread houses like this one.

It inspired us to build our own gingerbread house (which we have not done yet).  After Christmas I don't believe the Davenport has any more free showings, but I really like it so I may try sneaking in.

If you need me, I'll be sipping champagne in the arm chair next to the fireplace at the swanky hotel I have no right being at. 

Until I get kicked out.

Or arrested.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheddar Cheese Cookies

Sounds strange, right?  A cheese cookie?  Let me just say, I will make these over and over and over again until the day I die.  It is a must make recipe.

8 Tbsp very cold butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
garlic powder (not pictured, sorry!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put everything into a food processor and pulse until the butter is about the size of peas.  Do not over blend.  The batter will be very dry.  Try to form a ball with the batter, if it will not stick together add a very small amount of ice cold water (I added 1 Tbsp) and pulse another second or two.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non stick spray.  Form the dough into balls and then flatten into cookie shape.  The dough will not spread so make the cookies as big as you would like them to be in the end.  Sprinkle the tops with garlic powder before baking.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool a little before serving.

(Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Quilted Christmas Placemat with Napkin

Step One - Draw image of 3D box and cut out shapes in 3 shades of fabric.
(boldest as main box, lighter on top, darker on side)

Step Two - Iron onto fusible flannel, slightly overlapping material.

Step Three - Cut out strips of complimentary fabric to serve as ribbons and pin in place.

Step Four - Stitch around the ribbon fabric and along the areas the red fabric meets.

Step Five - Cut a stip of ribbon fabric a half inch wider than needed.  Press and sew 1/4 inch on each side.

Step Six - Hand stitch the loop in place along the top ribbon line.

Step Seven - Cut out backing material and sew to the trimmed placemat, right sides together.

Step Eight - With wrong sides together, sew two rectangle pieces of fabric together, turn right side out and stitch along the edges.

Step Nine - Fold the napkin and place inside the loop to serve as the bow to the present.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

#15 - Ice Skating CHECK!

For two years we have been talking about going ice skating with Sean and Aimee and today we finally went!  Everyone had done it before except me so I was pretty cautious and skated very close to the wall most of the time.

Sean was a total pro and used his mad skills to antagonize the rest of us.

We skated around for about 30 minutes before we stepped off the rink for a quick meeting about how much our ankles all hurt already.  Feeling better about our mutual pain, we headed back out for some more action.

By this time everyone was loosening up.  Aimee did her spot-on impression of a double axle.

Jim did a tremendous job avoiding the serious speed demon skaters.

And me, well, I was still close to the wall.

Sean and Aimee know a guy that works for the Parks Department so he brought us over some hot chocolate.  Turns out Sam (who is from China) went to college at MSU in Springfield!  How crazy is that?  So we chatted for a very long time with him and I have a feeling we will see him again.

Today was a ton of fun and I am super glad I get to mark another thing off my list since time is quickly running out.  Yikes!  So much to do!

More snapshots.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Yesterday morning I woke up with a crazy amount of energy.  I woke up at 4am and lay in bed thinking about my new Christmas project until I couldn't contain my excitement anymore.  I got up at 4:30 and started crafting.  I worked on it as long as I could until I needed a protractor and had no idea where to find one (this project requires some angle measurement).  By the end of the day I had three projects going on, a dozen more projects in my head, cooked two new recipes for the blog and FINALLY put up our new Christmas tree.

Today I had to work but I wanted to finish up at least one of my projects tonight, then I got it in my head that I wanted to watch White Christmas again, for the hundredth time instead. ☺ 

Here are a couple of my favorite scenes from the movie:
My favorite dance number...

And one of my favorite songs (I have like four favorites).

Big cheesy ear to ear smiling going on.  I do so adore this movie!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lobster Bisque

2 Lobster tails - steamed or broiled
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion - finely chopped
1 carrot - minced
2 stalks celery - minced
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 cup flour*
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups milk*
1 tsp Emeril's Essence

Cut a slit down the back of the lobster tail.  Wrap each one in foil and bake in 400 degree oven for 7-15 minutes depending on the size.  It's better to err on the side of undercooked since it will cook more in the bisque.

Prepare all vegetables.

Melt the butter over medium heat and add the veggies.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the flour* and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, to cook the flour taste out.  The mix will be stiff and pasty.

Stir in the chicken broth and whisk until smooth and thickened.  Add the lobster (removed from shell and coarsely chopped), seasoning, tomato paste and milk.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

A couple notes....

The first time I made this I used half and half instead of milk and only 1/3 cup flour.  This made the bisque very creamy and rich.  Since we try to eat healthy as much as possible, I modified the recipe as shown above and it worked great.

Lobster may not be as expensive as you think.  My grocery store keeps frozen lobster tails and often has them on sale.  I got 2 tails for $11 and since a package of chicken is $9 here, it was a small upgrade.

This recipe is enthusiastically approved by the Jims.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Coming Soon

I've been thinking about a Christmas project for a couple weeks now so on my way home from Montana I stopped at Hobby Lobby and picked up some fabric.  Can't wait to work on it tomorrow! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This Trip Is Going To Be Expensive

Courtesy of Delta's free gogoinflight internet this month, I am blogging to you from seat 2C on Delta flight 1260 headed to SLC.  I am probably somewhere over Idaho right now, and will ultimately end up in Great Falls, MT for a 3 day stay. 

I was kind of excited when I was packing last night because I had this brilliant idea to pack up all of my December Daily album stuff and bring it along so I can stay on top of it this year (it's my 3rd attempt).  I also had a slew of other things to keep the hotel boredom at bay, including a few books for Christmas craft ideas and a bag of crochet supplies.  I was all packed up and ready to go then decided to bring an extra little bag with me to carry on the plane so I would have something to do on my flights.  Fast-forward to our arrival at the airport.  We got out of the car and headed to the back, opened the door then Jim and I looked at each other, dumbfounded, and I said "Where's my luggage?"  He was all "I thought you had it."  He thought my little last minute add on bag was my luggage.  So, here I am, well on my way into a 3 day trip with nothing but a computer, some work papers, my wallet, a camera, some yarn but no crochet hook, and a bunch of self-directed anger.

This is what I will now have to purchase after I get off work at 7:00 in the coldest city on Earth:  a toothbrush (every time I've had to borrow one from the hotel desk I end up with 15 bristles on my tongue because they disintegrate), a hairbrush (because there is zero chance of getting a plastic comb through my hair after I've ratted around all night), 2 sets of clothes (have I mentioned I dislike shopping AND spending money?), make-up (and you now KNOW how picky I am about that) and something, anything to do besides watch TV. 

Not to mention I had over a dozen headband orders ready to be shipped (If you are waiting for one I am super duper sorry and promise to mail them out when I get home Saturday). 

There must be a positive side to this, right?  Okay, let's think.....
Maybe my new favorite outfit is just waiting to be purchased tonight.
Maybe Sephora is having a buy one, get one free special on everything (please?)
Maybe I will discover a new crafty thing at Michaels that I'll love.
Maybe, just maybe this has taught me a lesson and will never happen again.

No need to feel sorry for me.  Although this is the first time I've forgotten everything, I have forgotten to bring makeup twice and several times I've forgotten a single article of clothing.  My favorite was the time I forgot to pack a dress shirt so I ended up wearing dress pants with my Cookie Monster t-shirt underneath the fleece jacket I couldn't take off for obvious reasons. 

Plus, I think I can turn today's attire inside out and start a new trend. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Favorite Makeup

I can't say I'm a makeup expert, but I do know a lot of makeup products.  If it exists there is a really good chance that I have tried it.  I'm a girl that hates to spend money unless I truly love what I'm buying.  Good makeup is very expensive so I have spent years trying to find items I can stomach spending a small fortune on.  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Foundation and Powder - Estee Lauder Double Wear
(I wear Ecru)  I will admit these are pricey (about $35 each), but this stuff stays on.  I usually put makeup on around 3am to make my early flights, and don't get off work until 7pm.  I need makeup that can hang that long and this does.  The only downside is that it is so good, it takes several washes to get it all off.

2.  Primer - Smashbox Photo Finish 
Worth its weight in gold, this primer evens out skin tones then makes your makeup glide on as smooth as silk.  At $38 it kills me when I have to fork out the money to stock up, but I won't go without it.

3.  Eyeshadow - LORAC in Superstar  
Cheap eye shadows are a waste of money.  I have had this neutral trio for about 6 months and I wear it all the time.  At $25 it is quite a bit more than something from over-the-counter type brands, but I promise it goes on smoother and lasts longer.  I have it in several colors but the Superstar is by far my favorite.

4.  Mascara - Covergirl Lashblast Fusion
Here is where I drop all the expensive brands.  There is no mascara better than this in my book.

5.  Mineral Foundation - L'Oreal True Match Naturale
No, I don't wear two kinds of foundations, but sometimes I'm in a hurry or don't feel like going through my entire makeup process.  I have tried dozens of mineral foundations, including expensive ones, but I think this one has the best coverage and longevity.

I am still on the hunt for the perfect eyeliner and blush so if you have a recommendation, I'd love to hear it!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Movies

Tis the season for Holiday movie watching!

We started watching Christmas movies a few weeks ago, but this week is all about Thanksgiving so tonight we watched the ever popular Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  Tomorrow we will watch my favorite one, Dutch.

But why does TBS play Wizard of Oz every Thanksgiving?

Is it because we're supposed to be thankful we don't have to live around flying monkeys?  'Cause I am very thankful.  Stupid monkeys.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Roy Rogers or Big Gay Al?

One of the places we visited during our time in Springfield was PFI, a western wear mega store. 

This is not a place we would normally shop in, but we were meeting my dad and Freda for dinner and needed to waste away about an hour.  We were close by this store and neither of us had been in it for years so we thought it would be fun to play around in it.

PFI has amazing things.  I was dying for these boots but they were a tad high (still want them).

One of the things that made us laugh was the amount of rebel flag stuff everywhere.  When I lived in the Ozarks it was all around me, but having lived among Yankees for the last five years, it seemed odd.

As I was taking a picture of that rebel belt buckle I noticed the rack of scarves and bolo ties behind the display case.  Awesome.  Immediately, I told Jim he had to try one on.  I was surprised he was willing to play along but he did. 

We were laughing about it when a sales lady came around the corner and told Jim it looked good on him and that the color suited him which just made it all the more hysterical. 

So, what do you think?  Is Jim a spitting image for Roy Rogers or South Park's Big Gay Al?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Salmon with Avocado Sauce

Salmon fillets
1 large avocado
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
2 green onions, minced
2-4 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Score the avocado just to the skin and spoon out into a food processor.

Add the lime juice right away to prevent browning, then add the onions and mustard.  Pulse until mixed then slowly stream in the olive oil until it has the desired consistency.  Add salt as desired.

I don't know why I don't have any salmon pictures, but searing the fillets is super easy.  Most importantly you want to pat the fish completely dry.  Heat some oil in a large pan over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking (use just enough to cover the bottom).  Season one side of the fillet and place that side down into the oil.  Season the other side.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until opaque.

The flavors of the lime and avocado pair perfectly with the salmon.  You may want to double the recipe.