07 September 2012


Good byes are hard.  It's been a rough couple of weeks as we recently had to say good bye to a much loved furry family member.  Jaguar, Jag, Jiggy, Jiggy Jaguar, J- Diggity.  Thirteen years of memories, snuggles, and love with my travel companion.  We buried him by the barn at my parents house with a catnip bush.  It was the hardest decision I have EVER had to make.

In the last 3 weeks, he had deteriorated very quickly and I knew I had to do it.  It was a seriously tough few days.  Now that I'm home, I find myself looking for him in his favorite spots; the overstuffed chair where his bed and blanket were, the sunny bay window, the stack of blankets by the couch.  It takes my breath away when it hits me that he isn't there.  Only one food bowl now, and Rueger is sticking to me like glue. At this very moment, he is pressed up against my leg.   He has been chattering up a storm and doesn't let me too far out of his sight.  He watched me the whole time I was in the kitchen yesterday, sat in the corner like a sentry.  I think he's missing his brother too.

We miss you Jaggy Boy.

29 August 2012

Technical Diffiulties

I am experiencing some technical difficulties uploading photos...  I have a bunch of blogs written and ready to go, just missing photos.  Please bear with me while I work this out.  I hope to be back soon, with photos.

20 August 2012

Honey Chicken

I found this recipe for Honey Sesame Chicken on Pinterest.  It tastes just like PF Chang/Pei Wei Honey Chicken.  I served it with fried rice.  My hubby went nuts.

12 oz. chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cooking wine
1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. ketchup ( I used a little more)
1-2 Tbsp honey ( I used a little more)
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Marinate chicken in soy sauce, wine, sesame oil and sugar for about an hour.  Mix flour and cornstarch and place in a large zip-lock bag.  Drain chicken and add to flour mixture.  Shake gently to coat.  Fry in 350* oil  until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

To make sauce, mix chili sauce, ketchup, honey, oyster sauce and soy sauce and water in a  medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer until sauce begins to thicken.  Toss with chicken pieces and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.  

Yields 4 servings

17 August 2012

Ham & Cheese Sliders

I made these for dinner a while back and we devoured almost the entire pan.  Link here for Ham and Cheese Sliders.


24 good white dinner rolls ( King's Hawiian are good too)
24 pieces good honey ham
24 pieces Swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy Seed Sauce:
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds (or sesame seeds in my case)
1 1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp. minced onion
1/2 tsp.  Worchestershire sauce

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo and miracle whip and spread on both sides of each roll.  Layer one slice of ham and one slice of cheese inside each roll.  Place them tightly in a baking dish.  
In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients.  Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches.  You don't have to use all of the sauce, just be sure to cover the tops.  Let sit 10 minutes or until the butter slightly sets.  Cover with foil and bake 350* for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Uncover and cook for an additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crispy.  Serve warm.

Note:  Sandwiches can be assembled up to a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.  Add sauce 10 minutes before ready to bake.

These are also great for a crowd.  My mom served them for lunch a few weekends later when the whole family was around.    On my batch, I didn't have any poppy seeds to I substituted sesame seeds.  We really enjoyed the end result.  

15 August 2012

Mediterranean Salad with Penne, Artichokes and Sundried Tomatoes

This is my go to lunch.  A box of pasta and I am good for the week!  Mediterranean Salad with Penne, Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes from Everyday Food #49, Page 101. This is also great to take to a picnic or pot-luck or to put grilled chicken on for dinner.  I usually double the dressing.


coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup penne pasta
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed), thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustart
1 head Romaine lettuce torn into bite size pieces
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, (water-packed), drained and quartered
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled


1.  In a large pan of salted water, cook pasta until 1 minute short of al dente, add sun-dried tomatoes and cook until tender and pasta is al dente, 1 minute more.  Drain pasta and tomatoes, rinse under cold water, drain again.  Transfer to a large bowl.

2.  Make dressing.  In a large bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard and 1 Tbsp. water.  Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Add pasta and tomatoes, romaine, beans, artichoke hearts and feta.  Toss until combined and serve immediately.

13 August 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

We had a monster zucchini from my in-laws garden.  I would recommend using smaller zucchini's to cut down on cooking time as these were in the oven over an hour....

I washed the zucchini, cut the ends off and cored it.  I then sprinkled Italian Seasoning over both halves (zucchini can be a little bland....)

I browned a pound of ground turkey with a diced onion and seasoned with more Italian seasoning.  I then added seasoned diced tomatoes and a few large scoops of browned rice and let it simmer.  It was still lacking so I grabbed a pint of seasoned stewed tomatoes that mom and I canned last fall from the pantry.  I would adjust this a bit depending on how much zucchini I'm cooking.  We usually cook about 3 smaller zucchini.

As you can see, these are loaded down!  

A 375* oven for 35-45 min should do the trick.  Once the zucchini are cooked through (pliable when squeezed with tongs) add mozzarella cheese and return to oven (or broiler) until melted and/or browned.

We always have enough for leftovers.  I have even taken in enough to share with my co-workers the next day.  I've considered trying these on the grill...  hmmmm.   Enjoy!

11 August 2012

Ribbed Baby Sweater

This was a quick and easy knit for a co-worker to give to her cousin's new baby.  I used 2 skeins on Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Seaspray on the Ribbed Baby Sweater  (6-9 month size).  The leaf motif was a cute addition and I love the collar.

The hat is the Magic Coffee Baby Hat and took around 1/3 of the third skein.  The little boy has a full head of dark hair and it will look so cute on him.

12 February 2012

Hoisin Glazed Salmon

Great dinner from last week.  Hoisin Glazed Salmon from Cooking Light (maybe?)  Tasty and really easy.  Marinates for 8 minutes in the hoisin glaze and then bakes for about 10.  

09 February 2012

An attempt at pretzel rolls...

I've said before, I'm not the best baker, but I am determined.   We've been seeing this whole "Pretzel Roll" phenomenon blossoming recently.  B came home from a meeting out of town this summer raving about a burger on a pretzel roll and I couldn't fathom it.  Then I see a sign at the restaurant at the corner saying that they now have pretzel rolls.  Hmmm.  We ordered take out a month or so ago and I got a corned beef sandwich on a pretzel roll.  BELIEVER!  Why had I waited so long?  Then came the discovery of this recipe on Pinterest.  

Mine were NOT as pretty as hers, but they tasted good.  We ate those bottom two right out of the oven.  I will warn you, I used A LOT more flour since my dough was REALLY sticky.  And they are best used right when made.  I may try to half the recipe next time it's just the two of us.  The was one of two trays.  There were a lot of rolls.   They still taste good the next day, but lose a little "something."

We made BBQ chicken and it was a great sandwich.  

Most definitely worth a try.

07 February 2012

Easy, Cheesy Broccoli Soup from Cuisine at Home

I have been battling my second head cold of the winter, if you can call it winter, for the past few days.  Soup seems to be in order again and B has been asking for this for a couple of weeks, so I let him make it for me :-)  

We've had this magazine for a couple of years and have made a few things from it.  Here is the Link for the magazine (sorry, I couldn't find it on Amazon...) Cuisine at Home:  Our Favorite Weeknight Menus.    I'm a big fan of Cuisine magazines.  They have great tips, step by step directions and pics and usually a side dish recipe in the margin.  We love everything we've tried from these.

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Soup - Cuisine at Home:  Our Favorite Weeknight Recipes
p. 94
35 minutes
Makes 9 cups

* Do your self a favor and use the Velveeta.  I've tried to go the healthy route and shredded block cheese to add or just added shredded.  While it tasted good, I ended up with chunks of cheese that were just a gooey mess.  USE THE VELVEETA!

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup carrot, minced
1/2 cup celery, minced

2 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth

1 lb. American cheese (VELVEETA, cubed) shredded, 4 cups
6 cups broccoli florets and diced stems, blanched
1/4 tsp, cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery and sweat 3 minutes.

Stir in flour to coat veggies and cook 1 minute.  Slowly add broth, stirring constantly; increase heat to medium-high, then bring to a rolling boil.  Cook 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium.

Add cheese, let stand 1 minute, then stir until incorporated.  Simmer soup 3 minutes (do not boil, or cheese may curdle), add blanched broccoli and cook another minute.  Season with cayenne and salt.

Per cup:  360 cal, 25 g fat, 18 g carbs, 960 mg sod, 5 g fiber, 18 g protein

We have already made the Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine p. 78, Browned Butter Beans, Fabulous Fish Tacos p. 68, Asian Pork Satays and Cucumber Relish p. 51, and the Mediterranean Chops and Parmesan Orzo p 44.

The next thing he is requesting from this magazine is the Shrimp Roll on p 84.  The French Onion Soup, Toasted Ravioli, and Tortilla Chip Chicken from the cover look yummy too.  Oh yeah, and the Lasagna Soup...

05 February 2012

More Slipper Love...

I LOVE it when patterns are on sale at Joann's.  I have an app on my phone called "ListMaster"  (FREE!) and it is one of the handiest things on my phone.  I keep an list of patterns that I want to get when they are on sale broken down by company, Simplicity, McCalls, Buttericks, etc.  and another list of patterns that I have in my collection already.  So when I see one in the book that catches my eye, I just check my phone to see if I have it already.  If not, in the cart it goes.  This one was $.99.  (SCORE)  Simplicity 2278 includes a women's slipper with 3 sizes and 5 patterns for infants.  Why spend the $17.95 listed price when they go on sale several times a year?  No thanks!

Sorry about the messy sewing room floor...  

I, of course, had to make them given my obsession with all things slippers lately.  And I must say, MUCH faster then knitting a pair.  (Not that I won't be doing more of that too.)  I cut the pieces out last night after I finished mom's laptop cover, and they only took a couple of hours to sew together this afternoon.  I actually did a really SMART thing this time...  I loved the pattern so much that I bought ALL of the supplies at the same time as the pattern.  I knew I had scrappy bits at home that I could use, but the jiffy grip, fusible fleece and interfacing came home with the pattern.  I'm learning!  Oh yeah, and that was back in October, so I'm glad that I miraculously keep everything together for that long.
And the fact that they match my pants is purely coincidental!

The instructions are incredibly easy to follow.  I didn't sit here scratching my head or searching Flickr and Google for hints like I have in the past.  I do however have a few things that I would do differently when I make these again:

1)  I would shorten the strap about and inch (at least) as these were WAY to long for me and I had to move the velcro and re-stitch the end.

2)  I also don't like how they have you sew the velcro to the strap.  I think I would stitch it in place BEFORE the step that has you fold in half and stitch inside out.  It would look much cleaner that way.

These stay on quite a bit better than any of the slippers I've knit, even without the strap.  They will be great for travel or an evening at a friends house (or the in-laws)  since I always take slippers with me, these will be perfect!  I give then 4.5 out of 5!

26 January 2012

Grandma Smith's Soft Molasses Cookies

My Grandma makes THE BEST molasses cookies.  And there were almost always some in the container on top of the fridge while I was growing up.  Recently, they moved into an assisted living facility and we have been slowly cleaning out the house.  While I was working on the kitchen, I came across a couple of half full jars of molasses and pet milk (sweetened condensed, Carnation also makes this)

I made them at mom and dad's this weekend because I didn't want ALL those cookies in the house.  I wanted to share the recipe with you here.

Grandma Smith's Soft Molasses Cookies

Preheat oven to 375* - cookies will bake for about 10 minutes for one tray, up the time by a minute or so if you are cooking two trays at once.

2/3 cup pet milk
2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 cup cooking molasses
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
2/3 cup soft shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs

Mix together milk & vinegar.  Add molasses and mix well

Sift together dry ingredients, except sugar.

Cream together the shortening and sugar.  Add eggs and beat hard.

Add molasses mixture and flour mixture alternately to shortening mixture.

25 January 2012

WIP Wednesday - Notting HIll Vest

I also gave up on the original vest for my dad.  It didn't fit him right and I am NOT a pro at writing/re-writing patterns.  I found this instead and it seems a much better choice.  It's the Notting Hill Vest from Interweave Knits by Kathy Zimmerman.  If only the fiber didn't make me itch so. 

Here's the back.  I really like how the cables turned out.  I'm not sure if the armholes are too deep for him or not, but I will measure it on him in the next couple of weekends.  That, thankfully, is an easy fix.  
I already did the ribbing for the front and am starting the chart tonight....  good so far!

20 January 2012

Cable Slippers

Remember these...

They started a trend.  I needed more.  I found this little booklet at Joann's a while back and instantly fell for the adorable cable slippers.  Then I forgot about them for a while.  Well, I needed an easy road trip project a few weeks ago and started spending too much time on Ravelry when I found these in my que and remembered that I had the book!  BINGO!!!!

About the same time, I moved my sewing area to the front (bedroom) storage room.  It was in the living room and the Hubs couldn't see the TV while on the Ellyptical, so he wasn't using it.  I had to move yarn, and we all know that takes a while, because it needs to be looked at and held, while the computer is sitting on the floor with Ravelry open next to you.  WELL, I had just under 2 skeins of Australian Merino leftover from a Capelet I made years ago.  Gauge was right on!  Yippee, road trip project that fills the need for more slippers too, I love 2 for one's!

They are wonderful.  That's all, no complaints, they fit perfectly and I still want more (of these) exactly like this, in more colors.  Yep, happy feet!

18 January 2012

Resolutions 2012

As I said in a previous post, I tried to be realistic on my resolutions this year.

1)  Keep up with my workout routine - I started back to the gym last summer and I have been pretty good about keeping to my routine.  I generally head there directly from work Monday - Thursday and I get there at least once on the weekends when we stay home.  I have not, however, been good about getting some exercise in when we are at the lake for the weekend.  I am resolving to get better at this.  And to loose it for good.  Slow and steady.

2)  De-clutter certain areas of disorganization - especially old cooking magazines.  (this DOES NOT include Everyday Food, of which I am only lacking about 5 from the beginning, or Cuisine Magazines.)  Cooking Light recipes are all being saved on Pinterest.  Possibly work through a couple of my favorite cookbooks and give a review...

3)  Get better about planning meals ahead.  This includes batch cooking for the freezer and possibly doing a big cooking day every few months.  My hubby has been great about cooking since I have been going to the gym, but he needs to get there too, so crock-pot, made ahead meals and easy things for him are on my agenda.  Also, planning meals using pantry items instead of buying all ingredients.

4)  Spend more time here.  I have been negligent and that really bothers me.  I like it here, that's why I started this blog.  I want to get on a better blogging schedule.  At least once a week to start with and increase from there.

5)  Make a dent in my reading list.

6)  Complete UFO's in my knitting and sewing que.  Including finishing another quilt and dad's vest.

7)  Make more of an effort to get things on Etsy and work on promoting my shop.

8)  Find a job that i truly enjoy and that makes me feel fulfilled.  Not sure right now what that is, I have an idea, but I'm just not sure how to get there.

Like I said, trying to be realistic.  I think most of these are do-able, but they at least give me something to think about.  I KNOW I won't make it through my reading list (more on that soon), but I've been working through it lately and will share what I've been enjoying.

16 January 2012

Chicken Orzo Soup

It's cold here so soup was most definitely on the agenda.  Chicken Orzo Soup from a past issue of Cooking Light.  One of my New Year's Resolutions, and I tried to be realistic this year, is to purge some un-needed things.  One category that needs a thorough "pick-through" is my collection of cooking magazines.  I had a lot of old cooking light issues.  A lot.  I'm so glad I found Pinterest.  It's my new obsession.  I do seriously mean obsession here.  It's the easiest thing to use, like an online bulletin board, or in my case, filing cabinet.  I have had so much fun pinning articles and recipes and seeing who likes my pins.  See my sidebar --------->  to follow me on Pinterest.  I would love to see what you're pinning!

Anyhow, back to dinner.  This was a wonderful recipe.  I cooked a chicken with herbs, veggies and water in my crock-pot all day yesterday and used the chicken and broth for the soup.  I am also trying to use things out of the pantry this year.  It's going OK so far.  I had orzo so that was why I wanted to try this.  I also got whole chickens on sale for $.78/pound, so I restocked my freezer with a few of those.  Always nice to have on hand for broth and soups.  Here are a few other recipes I use that technique on: 
Chicken Noodle Soup
White Chicken Chili