Friday, January 29, 2010

This sad story has a happy ending

Each year millions of pets are abandoned, left to fend for themselves when they are use to having others take care of them. It is a sad reality. When I was growing up we had a lot of stray cats that hung around our house (mainly because they could get a meal) but they were too wild to actually catch. Most were dropped off close by (my parents house is in a rural area), for these cats, they had a chance to survive. Even though they were too wild to get close to, in the winter they got warm by staying close to our house, or even laying on our car's engine. Unfortunately this proved lethal for one cat, we took it to the vet but it was too hurt to be saved. We also got some dogs, we had a couple that hung around for years, but would not allow us to catch them, even the local animal authorities could not catch these dogs. One was a female and had a few litters of puppies in her time... we would give them away to families who we hoped would give them good homes.

It saddens me to think about the way people can just abandon their pets. This was brought home to me again this week, when we found a puppy (about 4-6 months old.) in our yard.  You have to understand that the temperatures have been getting to -3 or -10 at night. We know that this puppy had not been abandoned for too long because it was not overly skinny, but was VERY hungry. We took it to the vet, there was not chip, he had not collar, and none of our neighbors have a lost puppy. Luckily for this puppy, he has a happy ending. He found a good home, and has bonded with Hubby and my son.
This puppy has been in a house before, and he is a very gentle animal.

At first the puppy and my son were hesitant to play together, but they do just fine now. 
Once in a while the puppy likes to play bite, but we're trying to teach him that is a no-no.

Overall, the puppy is very good and doesn't get mad when my son leans on him like this... However both the puppy and my son get jealous when the other one is getting the attention.

This sad story has a happy ending, many don't.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

So last week we had an incident with our freezer door... it wasn't completely shut so some of the items inside close to the top and front, became thawed. A whole cut up chicken which was used to make chicken noodle soup. Hamburger, which was used to make meatballs and they were frozen - just to let you all know, I have about 200 meatballs in the freezer here - come on over if you want any. ;) Lastly, we had 7 pork chops that needed to be cooked. I searched for recipes that sounded delicious, and finally found this one.

On another note, have you ever made a recipe and totally forgot to add an ingredient? You can admit it if you have. I remember the first cake I ever made from scratch. I was 8 years old and I made carrot cake, I was so proud of myself until it was done and I realized I forgot to add baking powder or soda, I can't remember which. Well I did that again last night, with a clementine cake recipe. I wondered why there were not raising and an hour after they were done I found the baking powder on the counter, measured out but NOT in the recipe. I am going to have to make that recipe again, because they tasted pretty good without the BP, but I'm sure they would be better with it.

So what does that above story have to do with these Pork Chops, well I had put the pork chops into the oven and after about 1/2 hour I realized that I had forgot to put in the sauce. It still worked out though. You can read the orignial recipe to see how Paula Deen makes them, but here's how we had them:

Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

(I named them Sweet & Sour Pork Chops because the toppings are the basics sweet and sour sauce...)

5 pork chops (I used bone in pork chops, but boneless would be better)
1 can sliced pineapple (they contain about 10 slices)
5 slices green bell pepper

5 slices red onion (not a ring, but the whole slice)
black pepper

Teriyaki sauce to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper each side of the pork chops. Place each pork chop on a separate large square (or rectangle) of heavy duty aluminum foil. Top each pork chop with 1 slice bell pepper, 1 slice red onion, and 2 slices of pineapple.

Cook for 45 - 60 minutes or until pork chops reach 160 degrees internal temp. Drizzle Teriyaki sauce (sauce is salty so be careful how much you put on the plate) on plate and place pork chops on top of sauce. The pork chop with absorb some of the sauce.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


So this is the first time I'm letting you know how my resolutions are going... For the list of resolutions, click here.

- The pork chop recipe I made was a new recipe for me.

- I exercised on Saturday, Tuesday and today, so that is 3 times since last Wednesday.

- Haven't read a book, but I have a week or so to complete that one!

- I haven't read scriptures every day, but I have done better. I am still shooting toward every day.

- I spent time editing photos of my son which was fun this week.

How are your goals coming?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Menu - Jan 18-24

This past week has been a good one. My little sister was finally well enough to be released from the hospital. We're very grateful that she is home. My 10 month old had his first 'real' meal this week as well. I pureed some of the beef stew for him, which I do not think he enjoyed very much, but he really enjoyed the roast and mashed potatoes yesterday. He sure made a mess, but look how happy this kid is!

 By far the mashed potatoes were his favorite of the meal. His Grandma makes really good mashed potatoes.

Here is the menu for this week:

Monday: Beef Stew

Tuesday: Beef Stew

Wednesday: Chicken Noodle Soup

Thursday: Pork Chops

Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup

Saturday: Spanish Rice (Made by Mom)

Sunday: Pot Roast (Made by Mom)

Be sure to vote for which recipe you want to see.

Friday, January 22, 2010

May Be Foodless Friday: Resolutions

Now that my little sister is home and we've done our celebrating... Like opening Christmas presents and the like (it was easier to wait to open presents this year since my son is only 10 months old and doesn't know what Christmas is...)

I have my New Year's Resolutions:

- I am going to reduce my sugar intake. I did this a few years ago (okay, like 5 years ago) and it made me feel better and lose weight. Both good things. I need to do both. Who wouldn't want to feel better? I still have some baby fat to lose. (I am having one serving of snack-type treats per week, a limit of 2 desserts per week. I am going to have black out days where I cheat, such as Valentine's, my immediate family's birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.)

- Make at least one recipe I have never made each week. I could never do like some other people and spend a whole year making new recipes, Hubby would be sad that I wasn't making some of his favorites.

- Exercise 3 days per week. I'm not so good at this one. I sporadically exercise, and it usually ends up happening only once per week. I feel by adding 2 more times I won't be setting my goal too high. I may increase this later this year.

- Read a good book (fiction or non-fiction) once per month. I have gotten away from reading lately and want to start it again. Any suggestions? I avoid books with bad language and romance novels.

- Read scriptures each day. Lately, I have been slacking on this goal that I have had for quite a few years.

- Spend 2 hours doing something each week just for me, blogging not included. I really need to get back into my hobbies and start doing things I have wanted to do. 

Each week on Wednesday I'm going to be checking in on how I am doing on these resolutions. How are you doing on your resolutions? Do you need to recommit? Do you need to make them still? If you want to have some support and accountability in your resolutions, feel free to leave a comment telling me what your resolutions are and check in every Wednesday with me.

Happy Friday All!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Breakfast Sandwich

On days when I don't really know what to make for dinner, one of my fall backs is breakfast. I love having breakfast for dinner, mainly because I do not make breakfast a lot. I'm more of a cold cereal person, except weekends. I haven't made breakfast on weekends lately as I am usually catching up on sleep because the weekends are my days to sleep in! Our son is teething and is not sleeping very well at night, but that is a whole other issue.

So last week I decided to make these sandwiches for dinner, they turned out wonderfully!

Breakfast Sandwich

First, you want to get your pan to the right temperature to fry the eggs (to keep them from sticking.) To test to see if the pan is the right temp, drop some water into the pan. You should use this technique with any pan frying, unless you are doing it in a non-stick skillet, then you don't have to worry about it sticking.

When you drop it, if it fizzles it is not ready... you'll know it is ready when it forms a ball in the pan.

This water ball is a little fuzzy since it is moving, this pan is not quite at the right tempterature, but it is close and this is the only picture I have of the water ball. If the water breaks into many little pieces, it is too hot and you will need to cool the pan down.

Next, add some butter or oil to the pan, and place wide mouth jar rings (this keeps the egg in the right shape for the English Muffins.)

Add the eggs. If you are not taking pictures of your food, you can use your other hand to secure the ring to the pan so none of the egg escapes. Be careful as the ring will be warm to hot so you may want to either use a gloved hand or a spatula to keep it held down.

If you do not hold it down, a little bit will escape, but unless you are looking for a perfectly round egg, it will be fine. If some does escape, you can cut it off and discard that part of the egg.

I used the cup I poured the egg into the ring with to keep any more egg escaping.

Break the egg yolk and season with salt and pepper.

After about 3-4 minutes, you should be able to remove the ring. If you start to remove the ring and the egg starts running, simply place it back down until the egg is more cooked.

After the ring is removed, the egg is cooked enough to flip it. Cook until finished. About 3 minutes more.

Add cheese one minute before the egg is done. When egg is done, remove from pan. The cheese will continue to melt.

In the same pan, cook two to four pieces of Canadian Bacon until browned on each side, depending on whether you want one or two pieces on each sandwich..

Place Canadian Bacon on top of eggs.

Place egg and Canadian Bacon on top of a toasted English Muffin.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu - Jan 11-17

This past week I've been experimenting with some ideas I've had and some that I've tweaked from others. Also this week, I've made Couscous for the first time, ever. It is really good, especially when served with bacon... but isn't anything good when served with bacon? (Ok, there are some things which I would not serve with bacon, but I'm not going to get into that here.)

This past week has brought good news about my little sister, she is waking up from her induced coma just fine, and actually laughed at my mom! That made us all happy when we learned that. Today we just heard the good news that they are planning on releasing her tomorrow or Wednesday if she keeps doing as well as she has been! As of today it has been 37 days since she went into the hospital, so we're so excited that she'll be home.

I would also like to encourage you to support Haiti in their crisis that is still ongoing. Select a charity that you would feel good about donating to with the warning to make sure it is legitimate charity. Google has a great page about ways you can help and organizations that you can find here.

Here is the menu we had last week:

Monday - Baked Potatoes with Cheese Sauce

Tuesday - Breakfast Sandwiches

with Orange Romaine Salad

Wednesday - Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Thursday - Grilled Cheese with Pomegranate Romaine Salad with berry vinaigrette

Friday - Bacon Couscous and cauliflower & cheese

Saturday - Bacon Couscous and cauliflower & cheese

Sunday - Beef Salad with Lime dressing

Be sure to vote for which recipe you want to see on Thursday!

Friday, January 15, 2010

May Be Foodless Friday: Quote about Pomegranates

Last night after eating a Pomegranate, Hubby said: "Eating Pomegranates is like the opposite of eating Sunflower Seeds."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lemon Parmesan Orzo

With recent events in Haiti, I would like to encourage you all to do something to help. Here are a few things you can do, the first does not involve your pocketbook for those of you who are unable to contribute.

You can also enter The Pioneer Woman's Giveaway - she is giving $500 to two charities that are selected by the winners, and she is also giving money based on how many people comment.

If you have a cell phone, you can:
  • SMS text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts (Amount will be deducted from your next cell phone bill)
  • SMS text “YELE” to 501501 to Donate $5 to Yele Haiti’s Earthquake Relief efforts (Amount will be deducted from your next cell phone bill)
I encourage you to do what you feel you can do to help.

So I have a confession to make... When I start cooking, I really expect to take step by step pictures of the preparation. Sometimes that just doesn't happen, like with this recipe. I took pictures of the whole parsley and the sliced and chopped green onion, and then the final dish on a plate. What happened in between? I obviously forgot I had a camera. Part of it is that I find cooking therapeutic. I zone out when I'm in the kitchen. For those recipes that I actually get all the steps photographed, I will post them all.

Lemon Parmesan Orzo

 Bring one large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Salt is important when cooking pasta - it helps give it flavor.  Add 2 cups orzo pasta to the water, cook according to package directions (I used melon seed pasta due to our local store not carrying Orzo). If you're wondering where I found the melon seed pasta - in the ethnic isle. It doesn't make sense to me how they have melon seed pasta but not orzo. I guess some mysteries will not be solved. 

While the water is coming to a boil, finely chop 1/2 cup parsley.

Slice 1/2 cup green onion.

Then finely chop the sliced green onion. While you're chopping, go ahead and finely chop 1-2 Tbsp mint. I used some dried mint leaves that I had left over from a recipe I used over a year ago (I dried them using my food dehydrator.) Also zest 1 small or 1/2 large lemon to get 2 tsp lemon zest, and grate 3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese. When the pasta is almost finished cooking, melt 2 Tbsp butter.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain but do not rinse. Place drained pasta into a bowl and combine the chopped ingredients, lemon zest, Parmesan Cheese, melted butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Mix and serve immediately. When serving pasta, it is best to serve on a warm plate so the pasta does not cool down too fast.


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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poll Winner

The Lemon Parmesan Orzo won the poll... I will be posting the recipe tomorrow. I will be posting the recipe tomorrow (and all poll recipes will be posted on Thursdays in the future.)

Wednesdays will be reserved for other types of posts...

Today I'm posting these great pictures of my son. The story behind this picture is I was trying to take his 9 month pictures and he started crawling toward me. Hence the close-up shot, but that grin is priceless!

The white background is a fleece blanket, but obviously he did not want to stay where I would only get the blanket in the picture!

This what I was shooting for... a great picture with the background. We use the green orangutan as a comparison with his earlier photos. I took these pictures in front of glass doors at my parents house, the natural lighting was great. I also used the portrait setting on our camera. I usually take over 100 pictures each month and usually find about 10-15 that I really love. I love digital cameras! I would not be taking that many pictures if I had to use rolls of film.

I will be using my signature on all photos of us I put on our website, so this does not happen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Menu - Jan 4-10

I hope you all had a less hectic past month than I did... I'm back, but unlike I thought last time I posted our data still is not back. The repair place here did not recover the data, so we took it out (when we went to see my little sister again) to see if my cousin could do something with it and hopefully get all our data back (crossing fingers). My sister has been coming out of her coma and doing pretty well, there are a few bumps, but she is starting to become more responsive and had only had a few seizures (unlike having them almost constantly like before.)

I have decided to change a few things this year... I will be posting the weekly recipes on Thursday now. Polls will run from Monday when I post the menu (usually will be between 11 and 1 when my son is taking a nap) until Wednesday morning. As soon as my sister gets out of the hospital and comes home we'll be having a joint Christmas/New Year's celebration with her so I am going to wait until then to post my New Year's Resolutions... mainly because I'm not starting them until that happens.

This past week I made some of my favorites as well as trying a new dinner on Saturday.  Here's the past week's menu:

Monday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Wednesday: Macho Nachos

Thursday:  Ate out at Red Robin with my mom and Hubby. I had the Turkey Club Burger and LOVED it.

Friday: Macho Nachos

Saturday: Pan Fried Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon Parmesan Orzo and carrots with a butter lemon sauce

Sunday: Taco Salad (Well actually, I had a taco salad, Hubby had macho nachos and my father had a taco - this is a very versatile meal as long as you have tortilla chips and tortillas.)

Vote for which recipe you want to see posted on Thursday.

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Computer is here...

Our new computer has arrived and is set up, sort of. We still have to dig through some boxes to find our software to install (such as our photo editing software and word processing software.) We are going to pick up all our data that is hopefully (crossing fingers) recovered from our old computer. I should be set up to start posting again next week.

It would have been sooner, but since our computer died, my little sister was put into our local hospital, transferred to another hospital about 2 hours away - she had a really bad pneumonia as well as some other things going on. Then the night before she was going to be released she started having seizures (she does have a seizure disorder, but these were almost constant.) She was transferred to another hospital that is 3 hours from where we live. They now have her in a chemically induced coma to reduce her brain activity with the hope that she will come out of it when they wake her up (which waking her up will take 5 days and they are starting this afternoon.) We just got back from being out there with her and my mom, and will be going back later this week... So I'm going to be starting to post next week - I'm sure you understand. I hope you all have a great week!