Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This week's menu

I'm on vacation this week, so I'm taking some time to get my kitchen in order and do some serious menu planning. I'm going to pull out my cookbooks and all my internet printouts and come up with a list of all the food I used to make that I never make anymore, mainly because I can never remember what I used to make! There are also a ton of new recipes that I've been wanting to try. The biggest challenge is figuring out what to make first! Larry's still not over the Great Creamed Salmon Disaster of 2002, so I have to be careful to spread out the new stuff.

Here's this week's menu (you'll notice it looks an awful lot like last week's menu. Let's just say we were less than diligent about eating at home last week).

Sunday: Taco salad

Monday: Kielbasa and Cabbage (and I'm eating the leftovers for breakfast - yum,yum!)

Today: "More" casserole - a family recipe of Larry's. I guess they call it that because everyone always wants more. It is very good!

Wednesday: Mom and I are going to the beach for the day, so I'll probably pick up a pizza on the way home

Thursday: Roasted sticky chicken (this is a new recipe I keep hearing about)

Friday: Stuffed peppers (this is great because the filling is already made and in my freezer, so I just have to thaw the filling, parboil the peppers, throw some cheese on top and bake. Easy peasy!)

Saturday: I have Spanish Rice casserole on my list (recipe from www.tammysrecipes.com), but now that I think about it, Larry won't be home for dinner that night so I can make something he doesn't like. Hmm...the possibilities...it may be time to break out the Manwich can!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I've been listening to the Dave Ramsey show (www.daveramsey.com)on KEX when I'm out and about after 7 p.m. Which isn't very often, so sometimes I listen to the podcasts on the computer. Anyway, every Friday people who are debt free (sometimes including their house, sometimes not) call up and scream "I'M DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!" And then he plays the clip from Braveheart where Mel Gibson is screaming FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!! as the torturers disembowel him...

Anyway, we paid off the car this week, so now it's our turn: WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! except the house. Woo hoo! This has been my ultimate goal of late; if we don't have any debt payments then we can easily live off my salary for a while if we have to (barring any major unforeseen snafus, of course). And now we get to build up our savings to make that even easier. WOO HOO!

We don't totally follow Dave's plan, but I certainly respect it. It makes sense. We aren't ready to give up our credit card because we love the perks (Home Depot gift cards - you can never have too many of those!). And we certainly aren't ready to put 15% of our salaries in our retirement accounts. But I'm all for the debt snowball, and getting an emergency fund in place. And I get the concept of not buying stuff till you can afford it, but boy that's hard to put into practice! :-)

So we sat down this morning, armed with our revised budget and a giant list of projects we want to save up for. Now, if I can just give up my Starbucks habit and stop spending so darn much on groceries, we'll probably be ok!

A new cookbook!

Anyone who has ever spent any time at all talking food with me probably knows that I am a HUGE fan of the vegan lunchbox blog (veganlunchbox.blogspot.com). Well...the author has written her very own Vegan Lunchbox Cookbook! I just ordered it. I'm SO EXCITED. I'm not vegan, and I don't have kids, but this is the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. So many fabulous ideas! Lots of stuff I'm planning to experiment with. Yay! Another cookbook for my collection!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

They tore down my grandparents' house

Mom emailed last night and told us. She also asked us not to say anything to Grandpa about it - she doesn't want him to know.

I knew it would happen. They lived in the middle of Microsoft land and all around them rich people were buying up nice, normal houses and tearing them down and building huge monstrocities that totally filled up the lots. My grandparents' house stuck out like a sore thumb, and not just because the trim (and there was a lot of it) was painted Pepto pink.

I'm really bummed about it, and I wish I could have driven past it one last time.

But, I guess I can still visit it on Google Earth, until, of course, they update their photos.

Time marches on...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This week's menu

Perhaps making a menu will return me to some kind of "I want to cook at home" state? Here's what's on tap for this week.

Menu – 10/22 – 10/28

Sunday: Salisbury Steak
Buttered Noodles
Steamed Broccoli

Monday: Baked Chicken Indonesian Style
Rice Pilaf
Green Beans

Tuesday: More Casserole

Wednesday: Kielbasa and Cabbage

Thursday: Hot Pepper Garlic Chicken
Baked Potatoes

Friday: Taco Salad

Saturday: Tuna Casserole
Veggie of choice

For Tom

Dear Tom,

I went to your funeral yesterday. It was a very nice service, and lots of people from all parts of your life were there. Steve did a good job - you chose well. I didn't know you well, but from the first note of Taps I was in tears. You did so much good for so many people. And my opinion of you was shared by all - you were a gruff guy with a heart of gold.

You will be missed. I will miss seeing you in the halls, laughing under my breath when you don't say hi, just say my name in that short, clipped style you had in return to my cheerful hello. I will miss seeing that bright yellow car in the parking lot, at work and at Home Depot - it seems like you spent as much time in that store as we do, because I saw you there A LOT. We will miss your instant willingness to volunteer for any event we happen to be having - whether it was working with kids at a craft table or getting up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday to stand on a street corner during a race. And yes, we'll even miss your continual pleas for a golf tournament.

Rest in peace, Tom, and know that your work here will continue. You trained up a lot of good people.

We'll see you when we get there.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dinner Friday

I went home sick on Friday, so dinner was whatever I could grab easily. Turned out to be a giant carb-fest. And it was good.

Leftover ham and hash brown casserole
roasted garlic bread

Friday, October 20, 2006

Adventures in infertility, part II...

This has been the most up and down week emotionally that I've had in the longest time. The arrival of Tess, the newest addition to my side of the family, left me reeling on Tuesday. It takes an awfully selfish person to cry because her brother has a child. Awfully selfish. I am a little ashamed of myself, I'll admit it.

Of course those emotions may have played a role in getting me my clomid, if, in fact, my doctor took pity on me, which I suspect. Which was exactly what I was hoping for, to skirt around the fact that my husband is being a bit of an ass about the whole thing. Here's hoping it works in three cycles or less and we don't have to worry about it any more. I'm secretly hoping for twins just so that I don't have to do this again. Not that I want the work of twins, I just don't know if I can handle more of this heartbreak in the future. TTC is like being on a roller coaster when the ride attendant is taking a lunch break. Up and down, up and down, faster, slower, you hope to get off soon because it's making you a little sick but you don't have any way of knowing how long it will be.

Then there's the part of me that isn't exactly sure I WANT to get pregnant. Of all the people I've known in the last six years or so that have gotten pregnant, I can only think of a small handful that haven't had miscarriages at some point along the way. I don't know how I would handle that, if I could handle that. To go through so much emotional turmoil, so much effort, to try to get pregnant in the first place, and then to have those hopes and dreams come crashing to the ground, that just might be more than I could take. I'm not a very strong person. I'm pretty darn weak, as a matter of fact. It would be so much easier to just say never mind, I don't want kids after all. We'll just have dogs. They act like two-year-olds anyway.

But that wouldn't close this gaping hole in my heart that is already there. That wouldn't make my stomach not drop when I see a pregnant woman, wouldn't dry the tears when I see or hold a baby. I suppose the pain is part of the experience, and it just makes you value and appreciate the end result that much more when it finally happens.

Thursday's Dinner

I am weak. And apparently a frugal failure! Last night was declared movie night. We rented "Click" with our blockbuster free movie coupon, and picked up subs on the way home.

Click was very good, by the way. Funny, but with a good message about figuring out what's important in life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday's dinner

Fish sticks and frozen steak fries. Oh, and green beans. Instant pudding for dessert.

I'm failing miserably at this endeavor, I can tell. But, in all fairness, today was a highly emotional good news/bad news/really good news/REALLY bad news kind of day. I'm just ready for it to be over.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The dinner update

For some bizarre reason I was barely on the computer last night, so I didn't post our dinner. But it was good. We had...

baked chicken tenderloins smothered in barbecue sauce
stuffing (Haggen's version of Stove Top)
peas (the last of the garden peas, *sniff*)

Tonight we broke the rules a bit...I was having dinner with a friend to talk about her upcoming wedding, and so I picked up a burger for Larry on the way home.

But tomorrow...back on the wagon we go!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Watch this space...

...to see what we're eating for dinner this week! I HAVE to get our eating out under control. So, my goal is to eat at home every night this week. I figure if I say I'm going to write about it, then by golly I'd better write about it!


Sunday dinner

The rain arrived today and sudddenly I'm in the mood to cook again. It's been a while. I'm also craving potatoes - wonder what the heck that means? I had potatoes for breakfast yesterday, again for breakfast this morning, and tonight we're having Ham and Hash Brown Casserole. Apparently some variation of this is known in the Mormon community as Funeral Potatoes, because someone always brings it to the funeral potlucks. That seems a little depressing to me, so I renamed it and put my own spin on it! It's the ultimate in plastic convenience food comfort casseroles!

Ham and Hash Brown Casserole

1 bag (2 pounds) frozen hash browns (the chunks, not the shreds), thawed
3 cups diced ham
2 cans cream of something soup (I used cream of chicken and cream of mushroom)
1 can sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sour cream
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, as much of the seeds and veins removed as you like
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces velveeta, diced

1/4 cup butter
bread crumbs
onion salt
garlic powder

In a large bowl, mix hash browns, ham, soup, sour cream, mushrooms, jalapeno, onion, and velveeta till well blended. Pour into 9x13 baking dish. In a frying pan, melt butter, and mix in breadcrumbs seasoned to taste with onion salt and garlic powder. Cook over medium heat until brown.

Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

We're having that with a side baked winter squash with butter and brown sugar. Can't wait till the timer goes off!

A new recipe

Invented this for breakfast this morning - YUM, YUM!

Potato Sausage Skillet (serves 2)

2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1/2-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and each cut into three chunks
1 cup cooked sausage (the loose kind, not the links)
2 T. melted butter
2 T. olive oil
1/2 jar (the little bitty jars) diced pimento
onion salt
smoked paprika* (available at www.penzeys.com)
fox point seasoning* (available at www.penzeys.com)
black pepper

In a medium saucepan, boil the potatoes and garlic just until tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the butter, olive oil, and sausage (if you use a nonstick skillet you won't need nearly so much oil and butter). When the potatoes are soft, add them to the skillet, along with the pimento. Sprinkle seasonings to taste on top. Fry until golden brown.

* Smoked paprika and Fox Point Seasoning are my two new favorite seasonings. I've only ever seen them at Penzey's. I'm sure regular paprika would work fine. Fox Point is a mixture of salt, shallots, chives, and I can't remember what else, so you could add some dried chives (or fresh, for that matter) and some extra salt to the mix instead.

It was a fabulous breakfast - I served it with cinnamon-sugar foccacia bread and a fresh fruit salad of Asian pear, honey crisp apple, banana, and pomegranate seeds.

Yum, yum!

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'm glad I'm a girl

It just hit me this morning how glad I am to be a girl. Yeah, I know, I know, girls get periods, cramps, horribly uncomfortable exams on an annual basis, pressure to be skinny and beautiful, etc., etc., etc.,...

But they also get to have girlfriends. And I have some of the best girlfriends in the entire history of the world.

I think I can safely say that 2006 has pretty much been the year from hell for me (I know, it's only October, let's hope we're done with bad stuff for the year!). Death, hormones, pain, infertility, Larry's continued unemployment/underemployment, it's all been pretty overwhelming. And yet you ladies have stuck with me through thick and thin. Whether you're in the office, across town, across state lines, or somewhere out in the mysterious world of the internet, you've been there for me, helping me laugh, letting me cry.

I don't know how I managed to find all you wonderful people. But I'm sure glad I did. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I just hope that I can be as good a friend to each and every one of you as you are to me.

I love you all.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What a weekend!

This was a wonderful weekend. I'm finally feeling mostly like myself again. Still crampy, still having hot flashes, still having the occasional emotional outburst, but I can laugh without feeling like I'm faking it.

Friday night I met a dear friend for dinner. I finally made it to the Cheesecake Factory! Yay! And it was everything everyone said it would be. SO GOOD! We ate way too much. We talked, and laughed, and had a wonderful time. It was good for my soul. Then we wandered the mall for a bit because we were both so stuffed the last thing we wanted to do was sit in a car to drive home!

Saturday Larry and I went with his family (minus dad and stepmom) to the pumpkin patch. That was hard as we were there because the club his sister is in for parents of multiples was having a party there. Babies and adorable little kids EVERYWHERE! I had a few moments of jealous sadness but I got some quality snuggling time in with the twins. Once again we joked about my taking one off their hands - my SIL sounded like she was almost willing!

Yesterday was cleaning day. The kitchen, dining room and living room are now almost totally clean (still need to dust, mop, etc.). The dog crate is in the attic (Ringo's a big boy now!), so there's more open space in the dining room (until we get our woodstove, of course). I even did some filing. SHOCKING! :-)

Busy, busy weekend. And now it's Monday, back to the grind. I dreamt of grantwriting on Saturday night, so obviously I'm feeling a little pressure...and it's self-evaluation day. Oh, how I hate this time of year. I'm always afraid I'll get a crappy evaluation and I won't know how to respond. I'm my own worst critic, I think, and this year, late summer/early fall have been worse than most because of my horrible hormonal attitude. But, we'll see how it goes...

Oh, and today is my SIL's due date - I'll be an aunt again any time!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My blog is on hiatus...

I'm putting blogging on hiatus till I have something fun to post about. See y'all later!