Wednesday, November 30, 2011
A whole year passed. I blogged 364 posts. I missed two days, but blogged extra. I wrote haiku's (both were posted on the 24th of the month...!). I posted pictures. I cooked a lot of meals. I'm not famous. No one called me wanting to make a movie out of this. I averaged forty readers a week (repeats included, thanks Mom, Dad!). I'm a better writer. I traveled to Indiana, Nashville, Chicago, Bay City, Detroit, Savannah, and Dubuque. I walked 167 days since January 1st. I had pink hair.
And here it is. The end of the year.
Or is it?
I've been thinking about continuing. Is it still a challenge if I keep blogging every day?
A habit is supposed to be formed after eighty (or is it ninety?) days.
I think I've made this a habit.
But what if I don't have something to blog about?
Saying something like, "I'm going to blog every day for a decade" just sounds insane. But if I don't do it every day, I know I'll slip back into my old habit of blogging once a month, if that.
My question is, dear readers: do you care enough? Do you want me to keep going?
I have more things to blog about. I've come up with many ideas. Which of course don't include the every day happenings that sometimes pop up. No, not every day is a good day. But it's been fun. At least for me. So, what do you say? Another year?
Editor's note: I took the time to link each word to something that I thought was appropriate. I hope you'll take the time to click each one to see where it takes you!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Last year I blogged about the Jr. High youth group's efforts to stuff socks for homeless people who come to our church on Christmas Eve morning for breakfast. It's called Casey's breakfast, because a man named Casey used to serve breakfast out of a restaurant. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed. Our church had been a part of the Christmas Eve breakfast service, so we continued the breakfast out of our own building.
The gifts that are given are a pair of socks, one stuffed inside the other; then the rest of the sock is filled with toiletries and other goodies that you and I might not consider to be extravagant.
The Jr. High has been helping to stuff socks for years. This year we're stuffing 50 socks for men, 50 socks for women and 50 socks for kids. After reading last year's post, I can see why I'm a bit tuckered out from all the shopping. We're stuffing three times as many!
The youth group went shopping on the 20th. There were three groups; one shopped for the men, one for women and one for kids. Each group had a budget (and went drastically over, which is okay because thankfully our church is generous and there's plenty to spend on the socks). Today, I met up with Sami (Chandra is still on maternity leave... lucky) and we finished the shopping at the Dollar store.
Hence the picture of my trunk stuffed to the guild. Oh, that's not all the stuff. That's just what we bought this morning.
Many donations are given, but the congregation is also asked to stuff socks (so that we have around 400-500 total), and no one really knows how many we (the Jr. High) are stuffing. Truthfully, neither do we. We're making this up as we go. Which is why we're doing more this year than last.
A few of the things I needed to pick up today were things like socks for the women and kids. We had enough donated for the men, in fact we only needed 31 more socks to equal 50 for the women. It's a very complicated system.
Sunday, I'll be setting everything out according to group and making sure I really did buy enough of everything. I'll have to take some pictures on Sunday. It's a very efficient system. There's a lot of stuff.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Each year the goal is to walk outside from the beginning of March through the end of November. I've already walked while snow has been falling, twice in the last couple of weeks. More snow is coming. I think I can make it out on Wednesday, but I have to mentally start preparing for the change.
It's not that big of a deal. Bill and I will get up and go mall-walking three times a week through the end of February. That's the winter goal. Unless we break down and get a monthly membership to the Kroc Center.
I'm going to keep doing yoga three times a week.
Plus the shoveling. Oh the shoveling.
Pray for us.
Or send us cookies.
That won't help, but that will just force us to go walk.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I don't know if you realized that I wanted to see it.
I may have mentioned it a few times.
We planned to go see it today because we don't have youth group tonight.
It was a Muppet Movie. I liked it. I thought it couldn't have been any better.
Okay, it could have been better if Mr. Jim Henson were still alive. I'm not a movie critic though. With the exception of a handful of movies, I like most of them. I don't like ticket prices, but that's another post for another day. All that matters is that today we had a coupon for a discounted Matinee price. Yes. I am that person. Coupons are my friend (when I remember them).
Anyway, I had to tell you that I finally saw the movie, and liked it, before I got too distracted between the Red Wings game and putting out Christmas decorations.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
It wasn't really under any kind of restraint, other than it had a door.
Did you catch that? It had a door. Well, wait. It still has a door. The door is what's been liberated. It's been freed from its hinges. And layers of paint.
Bill took the door off the hinges and took it to the basement. There he coated it with eco-friendly paint remover. I continued removing the paint off the trim in the hallway.
We're removing the paint, wait for it, so we can paint.
There are only so many layers of paint you can put on before it no longer looks good. Especially when your house is from the 1920's. That, and the last few layers weren't really done well. It was as though the owners were in a hurry to sell the house and sort of slapped on some paint in places that needed it. The problem with that is it shows. In a bad way.
So we're working on removing it. Then we'll paint a nice fresh coat. It will be purty.
In the meantime, for a short while, we don't have a door on the bathroom. It's sort of liberating in its own way.
Friday, November 25, 2011
The day is winding down and Bill built a fire in the fireplace. It was quite lovely out, the sun was shining and it was warmer than average.
Tomorrow is small business Saturday. We'll be doing our part. It's funny how it works. Today, I cleaned for a fellow Quotarian. Now I'll take the money I earned and go spend it in the local economy at a small business. In the grand scheme of things, this will help Bill. What a great circle!
And what will we buy? Well, we're going to stop by the local mom and pop shop for some bread so we can have that leftover turkey on sandwiches. Yum. And we're buying supplies to restore the windows. Complete opposite ends of the spectrum. We're going to buy other things to, but we're going to make our list over breakfast; my blueberry pancakes with homemade syrup. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I worked hard today.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
It was on my Yahoo! sign in page.
I love starting my day with the Muppets.
Would you like to join me? Here's the link again.
On the other hand, in one week my blogging for a year journey will be over. I've been giving it a lot of thought. Will I continue? Will I do something different? I guess you'll have to wait and find out next week.
For now, have a very Muppet Thanksgiving!! I know I will.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
But not in the traditional sense. In the everyone-is-out-shopping-and-driving-like-they-have-their-head-shoved-up-their-behinds. You've seen them too, right?
Then there was Meijer... On a typical Tuesday morning, there are usually two or three lanes open. And there's always a line (which is when they typically open the third).
All but four lanes were open and the people were three or four deep.
My cashier apologized for not being very fast because they had pulled her from the photo department. She did just fine and was very kind.
Fortunately, I found everything I needed which wasn't very much. I am not making the big dinner. We're going to Diane's house. She's a long-time family friend of the Uebbing's. I'm taking a roasted vegetables dish and a pecan pie.
All this talk about food is making me hungry. It's time for me to go fix our dinner.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I love pasta. I have at least seven different recipes for stuffed shells. And I like every single one of them.
Tonight's recipe says,"This is one of those old-school recipes you seldom see anymore, but you should." -Donatella Arpaia. It was in the September issue of BH&G (pg. 174).
I doctored it up by adding an Italian sausage (just one, it called for 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and I only had about 1 1/4 lbs. so the sausage filled in). Then at the end not only did I add fresh Parm. but I also added shredded mozzarella.
It is my dream to make homemade pasta in a kitchen in Italy.
See how specific I am? I already make my own pasta for Rollatini. And ravioli. If I really wanted to, I could make my own linguine.
But I want to make it there. With a crotchety older Italian woman (I would rather say "lovely" but I'm being realistic and I'm also thinking of this kind woman who would be trying to teach an American something that she doesn't need a recipe for, but that has been passed down through generations, so surely she would be somewhat crotchety) where wine is plentiful. Perhaps it would be a villa, with the strong smell of animals and country air.
Can you picture it?
I'm mostly German. Which given my post from yesterday, about all the cookies I plan on making, shouldn't be a surprise. But there must be some Italian in me somewhere...
Sunday, November 20, 2011
You can find one at Martha Stewart's website.
Then, when I get my new planner in January, I go ahead and write in when I need to send Christmas cards, bake cookies and decorate.
It makes the season a lot less stressful. I get to enjoy things like my birthday and baking.
Today I worked on my list of cookies to bake. When we lived in Jersey I baked several dozen cookies and then Bill and I delivered them around to our neighbors. Every single one of them looked at us as if we were from another planet when they opened their doors. We quickly learned to start out with the phrase, "we're from the mid-west". For whatever reason that explained away the unusual gift we were bringing to them.
Then, a few years ago, I made turtles and fudge and I delivered it to our neighbors here.
I enjoy this sort of thing. To me, it's a simple gift. If there's one thing I enjoy more than baking, it's gift giving. Combined it makes for happy neighbors.
I'm working to create the right balance of cookies; candy-cane topped, chocolate, nut-free, annual favorites, these are all being strategically planned so that it doesn't wind up as a plate full of chocolate cookies. Which, believe me, I wouldn't mind. But I want it to be a nice variety (without going overboard).
I've settled on six kinds. The last one is a new recipe and I need to go search for it, so please excuse me while I do that...
Saturday, November 19, 2011
On the college football front (if you're into that sort of thing), Michigan State played I.U. Well they would have if I.U. had bothered to show up. The final beating, uh I mean score? 55-3. Ouch! It was a house divided, although not really. I'm not a die hard fan. And fortunately my "out" is that I.U. is not known for their football...
I spent part of the day scraping paint off the upstairs hallway trim. Remind me of this tomorrow when my arms are sore.
Tonight we played Monopoly. There is a new Muppet's Monopoly out. I saw it the other day. I thought I wanted it. But after seeing it, realized I would really just want it for the pieces. We have enough games. Scrabble, Life, Monopoly, Clue. Plus all of those games in the Simpson's version. I guess my thought is; if we have it in the Simpson's we should have it in the Muppet's.
My head has since cleared and I've seen the light.
It's not necessary.
But seriously, if they ever bring out Muppet Lego's, look out. I will be more excited about those than I was when they brought out the Harry Potter Lego's.
Friday, November 18, 2011
I have found that for whatever reason, people do not sit next to me. I think I blogged about this before regarding church. At any rate, I try not to let it bother me, but it can make one paranoid. Do I smell? No, I showered. Do I look menacing? I hope not. Do I look scary? I don't think so.
But whatever the reason, I find myself sitting in a pew all to myself.
On the other hand, Bill always finds that the person wearing the most perfume with the worst possible scent, is who will sit near him. This is in church, the movie theater, a play. It doesn't matter where, this person will always be the one to sit nearest to Bill.
I bring this up because last night I went to a band concert performed by Hope College students and members of the community in Holland. It was a very nice concert.
I spent the first half of the concert in a pew, all by myself. As I laughed about my common predicament, it dawned on me what happens to Bill. I had to stifle a stronger laugh.
I'll take being alone, thank you very much.
And then a nice older couple sat down near me in the same pew.
I hope I didn't bother them with my crocheting. At least I found out later that Molly's roommate was knitting, so I wasn't being rude (it was a concert, not a play, there wasn't much to see...).
Tonight we're going to see a play. A couple of the high school youth are in it, so we're going to support them.
Will we be alone or smothered by someone's Eau de flowerery scent?
At least I don't wear too much (if any) perfume!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I can't help it. After years of the same meals over and over again, I have the time and knowledge (and as Bill would say, the "shive a git") to keep things interesting.
Last night I made Short Rib Chili. It was not a cheap dish to make, the short ribs were not on sale, but boy was it delicious. My taste buds have clearly adapted to spicy foods, because I'm sure this would set a "mild" tongue on fire. But it was just right for me. And there are leftovers.
As a side note: if you do make this dish and make the polenta to go with it, cut that recipe in half. We have enough polenta to eat for the next two weeks. Sadly, I think some of it is going to have to get thrown out. Unless I find a new recipe that calls for it...
On a different note: I'm trying very much to hold back how excited I am for the Muppet movie. I just found this video this morning. I almost jumped up and down. How much better could the Muppets get? I'll tell you: in the new movie they're trying to save the theater from the Muppet show. They've taken the Muppets and Historic Preservation and combined them. The only thing that could make that any better is if Lego came out with a Muppet line... Six days and counting...
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Last Friday, I did what the magazine told me; I sat down with a glass of wine and started cutting ribbon. I only had a thin, gold curling ribbon so I thought I'd see how that looked. I cut a test strip to check the length. It worked, so I set about cutting and tying. I worked in groups of ten. This was the smaller of the two hoops. Between texting and drinking the wine, it took me about an hour.
While the photos don't really do it justice, it looks great! I'm super happy with the ribbon wreath I made. I'm going to try to find some other ribbon (the article used a red & white "candy cane" striped ribbon) to make the other one. Then, when we pull out the Christmas decorations, I'll hang them in the windows.
I'm mostly sharing this for my mom who first pointed it out to me!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
We've had exactly three professional photos taken of just the two of us. Our engagement photo, our wedding photos and the last church directory photo.
Bill doesn't like having his picture taken.
We've also had our pictures taken professionally at his sister's wedding, my sister's wedding, our friends Amy and Adam's wedding (we were Master and Mistress of Ceremonies, so we got a special photo with the bride & groom), and with the immediate Uebbing family (outside of all the weddings).
That's a total of seven times in eleven years.
I would have our pictures taken a lot more, but alas it's the best I can do to pretty much force him into the church directory photo.
So today is picture day.
I have a zit in the middle of my face (between the eyebrows at the bridge of my nose).
Juliette decided to puke four times early this morning so we didn't get a decent nights sleep and have bags under our eyes.
Did I mention it's picture day?
Monday, November 14, 2011
Today it was late. I didn't finish working until 5:30p
A travesty, I know.
So it wouldn't make you very happy to know that I only worked 2 1/2 hours total today.
Jenny and I went shopping and when we got back she headed home. I had work to do and had a phone call from the boss. I returned the call and saw all the work we have to get finished this week. No time to sit around, I jumped into action and worked past five. I finished what I was working on and emailed it to her by 5:30p.
It's very unusual for me.
On the shopping side of the day, we both got a couple Christmas presents out of the way. And Jenny helped me pick out a new outfit that I'll wear to the holiday parties we have this season. I'm excited about the outfit. It's super cute (in my opinion).
Time for dinner, leftovers reign but will not remain.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
After the tour we got to sample four of the beers. We also ordered the frites (it's a Belgium Brewery, so Belgium fries were not unusual). They were delicious! The beer was good too. I'm not a light beer drinker, I like the stouts... so while I liked a couple of them, I was happy that they were just samples.
From there we went downtown to the Hopcat. I sampled the Brewery Vivant Peppercorn (the Brew Master told us about it, but Brewery Vivant had just sold the last of it the night before). It was a lager. It wasn't bad, but I decided to go for the Milk Stout from Colorado. It was really good.
Jenny got a hot pretzel and a raspberry Frambroise Lambic. Heather and Bill shared a quesadilla and Bill ordered a Smoked Charkoota. It smelled and tasted like liquid smoke. It was not good. Heather ordered the (I'm sorry but this is what it's called) "Raging Bitch".
From there we headed to Gardella's for dinner (because clearly we hadn't eaten enough). Bill, Heather and Jenny ordered Bloody Mary's. I enjoyed more water. Bill and I had the beef and cheddar sandwich, Jenny went healthy and had a salad and Heather ordered the perch.
Today, after Bill's big Sunday breakfast, Heather, Jenny and Ginger and I took a walk. We didn't skip... just walked.
Shortly after Heather left, Jenny found a tick on Ginger. It was engorged. We didn't realize what it was until after Surgeon Bill removed it and I looked it up online.
Ginger is recovering right now. The three humans may be a little worse for wear...
Saturday, November 12, 2011
It's Saturday morning. We have a lot to do. We have company coming for a short fun-filled visit. Heather W., Jenny and Ginger (her Wheaten Terrier). The house is mostly clean, we just have a few last minute things to take care of.
The reason Jenny and Heather are coming is because in our recycling program I found free brewery tours to one of the local breweries. The cool thing about this Brew Pub (in case you're not into beer) is that it's in an old church. I can't wait to see it.
I invited Heather because she lives in the middle of the state with nothing around her. When I met up with her to go to Dahlia Hill, she mentioned how bored she is in the winter. She needs live music, a hip city scene and other human interaction (seriously, she's surrounded by a lot of woods...). So when I found these coupons, I knew this was something she would like to do.
Then I invited Jenny because John is out of town. We took a winery tour for her birthday a couple years ago. It was a lot of fun and I knew she would enjoy the brew tour too.
We are looking forward to it. But now my coffee is finished and it's time to get the house ready before they arrive.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Yes, it only happens once (until 3011, but none of us will be around).
I am hoping to do something fun today, or eleven fun things. I have no idea what they will be, but I know I'll find something crazy. I'll probably take eleven pictures. I started with these three, to show the date. Once I started looking for things that make an eleven, I found a ton.
Don't forget to thank a Veteran! They all deserve a thank you all year round. One day is not enough. But let us use this day to remind them that they do matter and that we recognize what they have given for us. Thank you!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
It's November (but not officially winter until December 22nd).
For all of those who live here and are reading this, I apologize.
I know. That should not surprise me. But the first snowfall always does.
It's not really sticking and Mother Nature decided now would be a good time to go through her menopausal years. It's been rainy, sleety, hail has fallen and then the snow. With bits of sunshine between all of those. She can't decide what she wants to do out there.
But now it's out of the way. The snowfall we get for the rest of the winter will be more significant and will be less dramatic with each flake.
Except for those of us who love snow.
I will be giddy and more excited with each flake.
And we're not even the first place to get snow this year. Check out our friends in Pennsylvania... they had snow. Serious snow. The irony was that the day it snowed there, it was nice here. That's backwards.
Anyways, welcome winter. Even if you are a bit early.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I was going to post pictures from our cruise since I never finished four years ago. Now I know why. They're not on this computer. They're on the hard drive for the Mac.
The hard drive which is collecting dust because we never replaced it after giving our Mac to my parents so they could join the twenty-first century.
I have all the photos printed and in an album. And in a scrapbook. They're available in my Walgreens online account.
Four years ago we were in Tuscany. Enjoying good food and good wine.
The best story from that day was while Jenny and I were using the restrooms Bill and John had a little adventure.
They had been discussing taking wine with us on the long bus ride back to the ship. Together, they went over to Diego the bus driver and asked him if we were "allowed" to drink on the bus. Diego said sure so John said, "You go find some cups, I'll get the wine" and they broke off.
When they came back together a few moments later (Jenny and I were still waiting in line and had no idea what was going on), Diego called them over to the bus. The way he was standing suggested he was trying to hide something. John and Bill carefully approached him (this was Italy after all).
Diego was wiping out wine glasses with paper towels. He had swiped them from the vineyard because he didn't want us drinking wine out of plastic cups!!
There is a photo of the four of us holding our "hot" wine glasses with Diego and Simona (our guide) when we got back to the ship.
Of course we tried to bring the glasses back to the U.S. with us, but only one made it. Our suitcases were a little stuffed by the end of the trip. And knowing how gentle the people are who handle the luggage, it's really no surprise that three of them were broken.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
There were three offices up for election and one proposal. There was no one in line when we got there, so it took all of four minutes. Two of those were spent telling the nice volunteer what our names were. He wasn't doing a very good job reading our driver's licenses. He called me Eunice.
As we left, we thanked them for volunteering.
It's a rainy, dark day here.
Four years ago we were on our cruise in the Mediterranean. Since it's Tuesday, we were in Villefranche. I blogged about the first two days of the cruise and then never finished... but you can check out that stop!
Kermit the Frog is going to be on Ellen tomorrow. Two weeks until the new Muppet movie is out in theaters!
I ran my errands and worked. My office is still a small disaster.
It's just another Tuesday...
Monday, November 7, 2011
Neither one has been completed and my office looks worse than when I started.
I'd take a picture, but I think the camera is buried somewhere in one of these piles.
The good news is I have to have it finished by the weekend because we're having company and she'll be sleeping in here.
The bad news is I desperately have to clean out the closet too and one week is not enough time to accomplish that task.
And Atticus just discovered my mess. He thinks he's died and gone to heaven. I have to go finish picking up this mess now. Before he eats everything...
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Not the ballet. The nutcracker I was using on the hazelnuts.
I'll just start at the beginning:
A few weeks ago on facebook, Sami left me this message,
"Dear Betty Crocker, I found a cranberry-hazelnut bread recipe that looks really good. Would you like it... to make for me? :)"
I told her I would be happy to make it for her as long as it was a bread recipe like banana and not one that required a bread-machine.
She brought me the recipe and I bought the ingredients to make it. All I needed that I didn't already have were the cranberries and the hazelnuts.
Buying/finding the hazelnuts was an odyssey. Needless to say I did find them, in the shell. I sent Sami a text to find out if she had a nutcracker because we do not.
Why don't we have a nutcracker? Doesn't everyone have a nutcracker? (Sami did not.) Back in the 70's wasn't it the thing to have? You'd set out a bowl of nuts (in the shell, of course) and whenever you'd have company they could enjoy them. Oh wait, while I was alive in the 70's (barely) we were not married in the 70's.
I love the ballet. It's one of my all-time favorite things to see at Christmas. I probably like it because our elementary school performed it when I was in 1st (???) grade. I was something and we danced in circles. I want to say a flower... but that doesn't make sense. Maybe it was a snowflake. That makes more sense.
Did you know in the Nutcracker (according to Wikipedia), nutcrackers were used [specifically] for hazelnuts. Yup, it's right here, under Act 1, paragraph three. Huh. That fits into my post quite well.
Back to the hazelnuts. I used the flat side of the meat mallet. Boy did it make a mess. But it worked. Maybe we need an actual nutcracker. I have decorative ones that I set out at Christmas.But I'm talking about an actual nutcracker, like here. It's a great gift idea, if you're looking for something to get us. Or a nice decorative nutcracker, but that leaves us where we started and that is without a nutcracker for practical purposes.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Tonight we fall back. Hooray!
I know I have blogged about this topic before, but can't find that post... and since I'm in the middle of fixing dinner, I don't have the time to go through every single post. At any rate, what I don't understand is why we have Daylight Saving Time? Every time someone talks about it, they don't have anything good to say. Cows don't care what time it is, they still have to be milked.
I think my strong feelings stem from having grown up mostly in Indiana during the non-Daylight Saving Time years.
Those were the good ol' days.
Then they had to go and join the rest of the country and get on DST.
I hope Arizona and Hawaii can be strong and hold on to their roots. Don't do it! It makes no sense.
I mean, sure in the summer if we weren't on DST the sun would rise 5am and set at 8:30pm. But it still wouldn't be dark until 9:30pm.
At least it's fall and we gain our hour back.
Dinner's ready: chicken thighs with Penne and Marinara. It smells delicious!
Friday, November 4, 2011
It was delicious.
It had a hint of autumn with the nutmeg and cinnamon. The pecans and bacon rounded it off with a savory flavor. Is your mouth watering yet? Here's the recipe (it's not as crazy as the other one)
For dessert we had apple crisp. Ala mode.
Bill was able to leave Detroit around 3:30pm so he made it home for dinner. Yay! It was nice to have him back at the dinner table with me (we bought the dining room table, we're going to use it, that was decided a few years ago after spending too many night in front of the tv, there are reports out there that say that will kill us).
Time to do the dishes.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
First, last night I had a pumpkin "smoothie". I walked into the HPC meeting with it, pointed at it and asked fellow Commissioner Heather, "guess what's in it?" She guessed milk, which was one of the ingredients. It also had canned pumpkin, yogurt, peanut butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, a banana and ice cream!
I added the ice cream because our immersion blender doesn't do ice. It barely does anything since the first time I used it the glue holding the blade in the end broke free. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But it works for soups and smoothies.
Or milkshakes, whatever this was... smoothshake. Sure, that's what it was, a pumpkin smoothshake.
I found this recipe in a magazine last fall. Since I often make pumpkin bread and I can only find the 24oz. cans of pumpkin (the recipe only calls for a 14oz can), I thought this might be a healthy way to use up the canned pumpkin. Pioneer Woman posted a pumpkin smoothie on her blog just the other day. It's very similar, I plan on trying her version too.
I'm asking Santa for a new blender for Christmas. Preferably one that can blend ice.
The peppermint mocha flavored coffee creamer is now sold year round. I didn't buy any until just last week. I want to keep it special for Christmas. When I was at the store, I realized I would have been stocking up on it in years past by October, so maybe it was time to buy some.
I just cracked it open yesterday. When I had my first sip of coffee, that peppermint flavor made me smile.
My online radio station has it's "Christmas only" option available. That made me smile too. I'm far from ready, but the anticipation is definitely here!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
So I tried this recipe today for lunch, Butternut Squash, Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto. I know. You're thinking, how in the world did you ever find this recipe? I searched for risotto and this is one of the recipes that popped up.
Now I am nice enough to have retyped it for you. Because, even though there is a U.S./metric conversion button, the U.S. measurements are screwy. Things like "1/2 pounds, 2 -5/8 ounces, weight Peeled... Butternut Squash"...
Who weighs their Butternut Squash?
So here's my version below.
Just so you know, if you like any of the ingredients, you will like this dish. The goat cheese gives it a creaminess that pulls out the flavor of the roasted butternut squash and makes each bite taste sinful. Dreadfully sinful. And delicious.
I actually felt guilty eating it alone. It was that good.
Then, I was so sad when not all of the leftovers fit into the dish and I had to have another plateful.
If you've never made risotto before, here's the best recipe for that. Try it first. Then come back and try the
Butternut Squash, Spinach and Goat Cheese
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ onion, chopped
- ¾ cup Arborio rice
- ¼ dry white wine
- ¼ finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 small Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 3-4 oz. baby Spinach (or a handful)
- Juice and Zest of half a lemon
- 2+ oz. goat cheese
- Optional: Pine nuts and fresh herbs
Place the cubed Butternut Squash in a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until squash is golden (this takes about as long as it takes to prep and cook the rest of the risotto. Do this first, or roast a large butternut squash ahead of time, reserving half of it for this risotto).
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth hot.
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 15-20 minutes (when liquid is almost all absorbed).
Remove from heat and stir in roasted squash, spinach, lemon zest and juice, Parmesan and 1 TBSP of butter. Cover it and allow it to cook in the residual heat for a couple of minutes.
Crumble goat cheese over the top and serve!
This is a good way to make the basic risotto go further
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth hot.
In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup hot broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next. Cook the rice until tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 15-20 minutes (when liquid is almost all absorbed). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Yield: 2 cups
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Reese's Peanut Butter cups
Sweet Tarts (especially the over-sized ones)
Those are candies I don't turn down if they're sitting out for the taking.
Here is a list of candies I wouldn't eat if I had a craving for sugar like someone with diabetes (that's probably not nice, but I feel as though it's a fair comparison).
those black and orange candies that only come out at Halloween
chocolate covered raisins (I know, you were thinking anything with chocolate is on my list, but raisins are not)
I can't think of any more because I don't often sit around thinking about candy I don't like.
On a separate list are candies that I can make; the best, absolute best are turtles. And, thanks to Shannon, the peanut butter melt aways.
I think that's about it for my sweet tooth. Care to share any of your favorites?