Sunday, March 29, 2009

Currently reading

Here is what I am currently reading - both are in a series of mysteries based on crafts.
I have 'A Deadly Yarn' next to the bed. This one gets into the art gallery world and an up and coming weaver is killed. At first it looks like suicide but you know that can't be.

"Cutwork" is in my tote bag that I carry back and forth to work (It also has a baby blanket that is about 2/3 done at the moment) This book starts with a wood carver who has his throat slashed at a large craft fair. The name comes from the fact that the main character is learning to do cutwork between her 'snooping'.

Snow !

We woke up this morning to a dusting of snow! This is unusual for late March but not unheard of. I remember many times growing up that we would have a light dusting of snow over the crocus blooms scattered in the yard.
DH is glad - he was hoping it would snow enough to be considered accumulation so he can mark it on his 'weather records'. He records the high/low temps and the percipitation every day and each month charts the average high/low temps and total precip. He also charts these yearly.
While this is not the 'latest' snowfall he has recorded (April 6, 1996 holds that record) he was still excited to have a late March date.
This is looking toward the east from our back door - the trees all belong to neighbors. To the right you can see one of their Bradford pear trees which is almost bloomed out and full of leaves. In the curve of our flower bed is a flowering plum that is full of buds.

This is looking out to the southwest and you can see in the background a couple trees in bloom. I know one is a tulip tree but not sure what the white one is - but it a pretty view in the spring.

Avoiding shopping and other ramblings......

Avoiding going to the store yesterday turned out to be more work than I thought - but it was still worth it. When I started looking over my menu for today I realized I did not have any hamburger buns for the barbecue turkey. I had already 'tweaked' the menu from Carolina Crock Pork (barbecued pork basically) to Barbecued Turkey Sandwiches - since I had some leftover turkey in the freezer. (It always feels good to use up something I have put in the freezer thinking we will eat is in the future.)

So I got out the bread machine and mixed up my favorite butter roll recipe and tried making some Silver Dollar Rolls. I like using them for sandwiches in place of the larger buns anyway - smaller sandwiches means fewer WW points :-)

I think they turned out pretty well (can't say the same for my photography attempts). I really need to use my 'readers' when taking digital pictures - without them I can not see the image on the camera clearly :-)

I rarely use my bread machine to make loaves of bread. Even at the lightest setting, the crust tends to be darker than I like. But I often mix up rolls and pizza crust using it then do the shaping myself. That way I still get my hands in the dough but don't have to do the stirring and mixing.

So we had a bonus of hot rolls with our supper last night (I divided the batch into the silver dollar rolls and some 'knots') . For the knots I use the amount for a serving and roll it between my hands to make a short rope and then 'tie' it in a knot. That is my favorite shape as it is easy but a nice decorative look.

The Chicken with Sour Cream Curry Sauce was very good - I had half a serving of the chicken on a cup of rice and that was plenty of sauce. I shaped the rice using a measuring cup then placed the chicken piece on top and finished it off with the sauce. Very nice presentation. I'm sure we will have that one again. There was plenty for DH and I (DD17 decided she did not want to wait for supper and had a sandwich and fresh pineapple earlier) and I have 3 meals in the frig for leftovers this week.

I have been trying to add some Thai and Indian cooking into our menus. We have a Indian restaurant in town that is supposed to be very good but we have not gotten to try it yet. We planned to do so for our anniversary last year but they were closed - it was Thanksgiving Eve. Don't think we'll be able to celebrate our anniversary there this year (or anywhere on the actual date) since it falls on Thanksgiving. Guess we'll have to pick an alternate date :-)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Tweaking and thinning

Today is a totally rainy day - and may turn to snow. So I am being lazy. I planned to go grocery shopping which I hate on a good day let alone a rainy day. I hate having to tote the groceries out to the car in the rain and getting soaked putting them in the car. So I 'tweaked' the menu a little for tonight. I had planned on Hamburger Stroganoff - and after finding an unopened container of sour cream in the frig yesterday that is at it's expiration date - I knew I should make that. But I don't have any hamburger or beef so would have to run to the store.

I browsed through my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook and found a Chicken Breasts with Sour Cream Curry Sauce that uses the same amount of sour cream and I had all the other ingredients except the dry roasted peanuts for garnish. I think we can do without the peanuts or use the slivered almonds that I do have. It feels good to 'tweak' the day to use what I have instead of purchasing more ingredients - it always feels good to NOT SPEND any money :-)

Then I started thinning - thinning my closet that is. This has a double meaning since I have lost more than 30 pounds and most of the clothes in my closet are getting a little loose. Some of the pants and tops I had that were 'comfy' before the weight loss now look like I am a kid wearing mom's clothes. A couple pairs of pants could be used for a clown costume if I wanted to go into a clown ministry :-) I did not pull out as many items as I thought I would - mainly because I just did not want to part with some t-shirt 'souvenirs' from years gone by - and t-shirts can be a little large. Also - I can't throw out everything that is loose or I wouldn't have any thing to wear. I am slowly trying to get some new better fitting pants and tops for work and can't wait to try on shorts later this spring. Most of my shorts last year were too tight in the waist so am looking forward to seeing how they fit this year. And a lot of my clothes were way too tight before the weight loss so I do have a few that fit okay now. Maybe after the last 10 pounds are gone I can throw out some more clothes.

Of course, I don't 'throw' them away. We usually donate our clothes to the Salvation Army. Hopefully someone else can make good use of them.

So with all that done and the yucky rainy day outside, I am going to be lazy this afternoon and watch the Law and Order SVU marathon and stitch or play online games. I may clean up my area in the living room - it is kind of taking over the whole room - and I guess I could call that tidying - so I will have a 3T day (tweaking, thinning and tidying).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Menu Monday

I'm sitting here making out my menu and shopping list so might as well post it as well.
I did some 'extra' cooking today so I have some items all ready for the evening meals for those days we typically get home later.

Monday -
Asian Apricot Steak (freezer meal- I grilled them on the George Foreman today and will just have to warm them up tomorrow)
Cole Slaw
Buttered Red Potatoes

Tuesday -
Tex-Mex Casserole (WW) - garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and taco sauce

Wednesday -
Leftover - Steaks or Orange Thyme Chicken that we had for lunch on Sunday

Thursday -
Leftover Tex Mex Casserole - or salad buffet

Friday -
Greek Pizza
Greek Salad

Saturday -
Hamburger Stroganoff

Sunday -
Carolina Crock Pork (WW) on buns
Baked beans
Corn on the cob

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Home again

DD19 and I took a road trip during her college Spring Break. We drove to Kansas to visit DH's younger sister and her family. They have a 4 week old darling little girl and a rambunctious 3 year old boy. It was a fun time but glad to be home.
While there we watched some shows on the Food Network and DD19 thought a Steakhouse Shepherd's Pie that Rachael Ray made sounded pretty good. I have a Shepherd's Pie recipe that the family really liked when I tried it some time ago - so I made it tonight for supper. That and a salad was a great welcome home meal.
I need to get back into planning meals. Tomorrow we're having Orange Thyme Crock Chicken from Saving Dinner. I can put it in the crock pot early tomorrow morning (when I have to get up to let the dog out anyway) and it will be ready for us when we get home from church. We'll have some asparagus and canned cranberry sauce with it.
DD17 will have her Spring Break in 2 weeks so she wants to go to Kansas too - so I will get to see the baby again then. I know she will change a lot in the 2 weeks :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

6 am on Saturday morning

I don't think I have been up this early on a Saturday for a while (maybe out of bed to let the dog out and then crawl back between the sheets for an hour or two).

Today is Titus 2 day - ladies at the church had signed up for Titus 2 groups in January. The groups meet once a month and when we signed up all we knew was what day and time the meetings were. The 'Deborah' group is on the second Saturday of each month at 7 am. I missed the February meeting because I was out of town.

We meet to get to know each other better, pray for each other and encourage each other. I am looking forward to getting to know some of the ladies better. In our church family (300+ people) there always seems to be a new face and just putting names to faces take concentrated effort.

7 am did not sound nearly as early when I signed up but with the daylight savings time change it is still dark and with the neighborhood so quiet and no one else up in the house - it seems really early. Of course, during the week we are already out the door by 7 am so it really is not that bad.

DD19 is home for spring break - so next week will be busy with getting her car in for some preventive maintenance and other appointments that she can't do on her weekend trips home. She and I are taking a short trip the end of the week to visit a new baby in the family. I am looking forward to having some time with her (5 hour car ride each way) although I know she will read, sleep and listen to her IPOD :-) While riding in the car, both DDs always opened up to me when they were younger so it is a sort of habit they have developed. Maybe just because they don't have all the distractions and no one (DAD or sister) can overhear and join in the conversation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Menu Monday - on Tuesday

Well, it seems like I am either early or late with the Menu Monday post. We had leftovers on Monday from a huge lasagne dinner that I made on Sunday when friends, Krista and Samantha were here to visit. We had a good time and of course, I ate too much :-)

Monday -
Leftover lasagne - spinach or meat - your choice
Roasted vegetables
Schwan's multi-grain bread

Chicken Paella
Southewestern Corn Salad

Leftovers again - hair cut appt

Tamales (Schwan's)
Refried Beans

Greek Pizza

Jillian's Wedding - don't have to cook :-)

Chicken Paprikash (crock pot)
Green beans

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SUUUPer Brownies

I made a batch of Super Brownies for a party tonight. (I love this easy recipe!) This is the brownie mix and the 3 Symphony bars.

Here I have 1/2 of the mix in my 9 x 13 baking dish and have placed the 3 Symphony bars on top. One of the bars was broken but not to worry - it will all melt together again in the baking.
I have found it is easiest to spoon the rest of the brownie mix on the bars and spread it around. They may slide around a little on the gooey mix underneath but that's okay.
Let them cool completely before cutting. See the thick chocolate candy bar in the middle. The bottoms are pretty gooey - but that makes them so good!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bountiful Dinner

I got 2 nice rolled pork roasts when I did my shopping - wasn't sure if one would be enough for Sunday dinner with leftovers for barbecue sandwiches. As it turned out, DD19 and her boyfriend were home for the weekend. His parents were out of town today so I invited him for dinner. Then at church I realized his sister (16 friend of DD17) was home as well so I invited her for dinner also. Glad I cooked both roasts :-)
Since DD19's boyfriend is a 'picky' eater I was sure to have a wide variety of side dishes. I cooked the small red potatoes and mini carrots in the crock pot with the roasts. In a second crock pot, I layered apple wedges, butter and cinnamon and sugar mixture. Cooked that on low for over 3 hours and they were delicious! I also heated up some frozen corn and made a tossed salad. We had freshly baked Schwan's baquette. For dessert I pulled out a cheesecake sampler I had in the freezer.
Needless to say we have lots of leftovers but it was such a good feeling to be able to be able to invite and unexpected dinner guest. Often we get fast food on the way home from church or just have soup or leftovers.
And again - no pictures! I have got to hide my camera in the kitchen or something.....