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Archive for September, 2009

Lindsay & Liz

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

On Saturday, I got together with my high school friend Lindsay.  We spent some time catching up (it had been a little over a month since we last saw each other), grabbed some lunch at Baker Square, took a much needed walk through a park near where she lives, and then collapsed into comas back at her place.  Oh, and we tortured her animals Jazz (cat) and Lila (leopard gecko).  We were way more amused than they were, as evidenced below.

Lila & Jazz by you.

Jazz by you.

Lila by you.

And then tonight, I got together with my high school friend Liz, whom I hadn’t seen since our Margarita night last spring.  She spent the summer working on art – charcoal drawings and watercolor paintings – at her cottage in Wisconsin.  We had considerably much more to catch up on, which we did over dinner at El Norteño, a great little Mexican place near where we went to high school.  After stuffing ourselves silly on chips, salsa, and enchiladas, we took her parents dog Loki for a walk, Liz showed me some of the art she’d been working on this summer, and we caught a little of the Twins game before I headed home.

All-in-all, a good couple days with good friends and lots of food.

Categories: Friends Are Forever Tags:

Super Sloppy Joes

September 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Who knew Sloppy Joes could be so quick, easy, and tasty without coming from a can?!  I grew up eating Manwich Sloppy Joes, but, rest assured, my kids never will.  These are the only Sloppy Joes I will be making from now on.  Sorry, Manwich.

Super Sloppy Joes
(Source: Rachael Ray)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the (I omitted – I never cook my beef with oil)
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin (I used 1 lb of 93% lean ground beef)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp to 1 Tbsp steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up.

2. Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine.

3. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes.

4. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer.

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags:

The Essence of Eating

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

We bought a nice dining room set shortly after we moved into our house.  The previous set we had was 1) old (it came from the first apartment my husband had after he graduated from college), 2) cheap (from Walmart), 3) ugly (a wood top with metal legs and uncomfortable metal chairs) and 4) really did not fit in the formal dining room my husband spent hours working on.  He decided, in addition to painting the room after we moved in,  to also put up chair rail which added a nice elegant touch to the room, as seen below in the after photo (the before picture was taken by the previous owner and was therefore furnished with their furniture).

The Dining Room by you.

More recently, we got ourselves into the bad habit of eating dinner downstairs in front of the TV.  I don’t know how it happened – it just sort of did.  It was easy and fun to sit down and watch an episode of something while we ate.  Often times, it was the only chance we had to sit down and watch TV.

But, starting last week, we broke the cycle and we have successfully ate dinner in our dining room for the last 7+ days and we will probably continue the tradition.  Sure, there will probably be a random night here and there that we decide to eat in front of the TV but, rest-assured, most evenings we will eat where we are meant to (unlike tonight, when I had to eat standing in the kitchen because I was busy making these bad boys).

Categories: Mind, Body, & Soul Tags:

Poppin’ Garlic Ranch Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

This recipe was super easy and very delicious. This recipe is more of a weekend recipe, only because the chicken needs to cook in the crockpot for several hours to be shreddable and then the whole dish has to be in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

To make the chicken, I placed one rather large (And I’m talking ginormous) chicken breast into my crockpot. I added chicken broth until it was covered and added white pepper, garlic powder, and some minced garlic. I let it cook, covered, for several hours.

Once the chicken was done, the rest of the recipe came together very quickly. I only made half of the recipe, and that was more than enough for the two of us (with leftovers for both of us today). I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Poppin’ Garlic Ranch Biscuit Topped Chicken Pot Pie
(Source: Picky Palate)

4 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Mix, reserve 1/2 teaspoon for topping
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 fresh cracked black pepper
2 10 oz cans cream of chicken soup
10 oz can cheddar cheese soup
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup milk
2 15 oz cans Mixed Veggis, drained (I used frozen)
3/4 Cup crumbled bacon pieces, already cooked (I omitted)
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 6 count can Pillsbury Homestyle Biscuits
1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon reserved dry Ranch Dressing Mix
1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place shredded chicken into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle in ranch mix (reserve 1/2 teaspoon for later), salt and pepper. Toss to combine seasonings.

2. In a large rimmed skillet or dutch oven, place soups, broth and milk over medium heat; whisk until combined. Stir in mixed veggies then shredded chicken. Transfer to a large 9×13 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle bacon and cheese over top.

3. Open biscuits and place onto wax paper. Cut each biscuit into 10 little triangle pieces (cut biscuit in half then cut each half into fifths). Place little pieces of biscuit over top of chicken mixture until it’s all covered. Sprinkle biscuits with remaining ranch dressing mix, garlic salt and 1/2 Cup cheese. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are cooked through underneath. Cover with foil the last 25 minutes of baking to prevent too much browning. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.

8 servings

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags:

We’re Gonna Win Twins!

September 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Andrew got home from studying today a little before 3pm.  I was sitting at the table reading a celebrity gossip magazine when he came out of the office with a mischievous look on his face.  I knew he was up to something, but what?

He wanted to go to the Twins game. And of course I obliged to his request.

The game was an exciting one.  How could it not be? They were playing the Tigers!  We had great seats several rows above the Twins dugout on the third base line and we came really close to catching a foul ball from Nick Punto, my favorite little guy.

Categories: Marriage & Family Tags:

Life Insurance

September 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Andrew and I have been meaning to get life insurance since we go married, but especially since we bought our house last July.  I always had this belief that life insurance was for old people, but it really makes sense for us to have it now to protect each other if (for some reason) something did happen to one of us.  The last thing one of us would want to deal with on top of death is losing the house.

We met with Dave from Thrivent last month to talk about our options and go over the costs of those options.  I was surprised by how affordable life insurance is.  Well, for me.  Andrew is quite a bit more expensive due to his smoking, so we will get a shorter term policy for less money for him until he kicks the habit.

This morning the nurse came to our home to do the medical portion of the process.  She took our measurements (height and weight), as well as blood and urine samples.  After going through a lengthy questionnaire, we were done.  I was a little surprised/disappointed they didn’t ask us anything about our exercise habits because we exercise regularly (normally 3-4 times a week and more often than that in the summer) .  I would think that would be important, but I guess not.

Once we get the results (in about a week), we will know which level of insurance we are qualified for (Regular, Preferred, or Super-preferred) and we will meet with Dave one more time to officially finish the process.

09/18/2009 Update: We got the results back and they were as expected.  I am Super-preferred and Andrew is preferred (the highest level you can be as a smoker).  We will be setting up a meeting with Dave soon to finish the process.

10/07/2009 Update: We met with Dave tonight to sign our paperwork and now we officially have life insurance!

Categories: No More Procrastinating Tags:

Al’s Breakfast

September 5, 2009 Leave a comment

In Minneapolis, there’s an area just to the North of the University of Minnesota East Bank Campus called Dinkytown.  The origin of the name remains something of a mystery, but that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about Al’s Breakfast.

Andrew & I stopped there for breakfast this morning.  Al’s is a little diner that serves a very diverse clientele.  When I say little, I mean 14 seats in the whole place.  There’s just enough space for coats, a line of people waiting and the stools for the people eating.  Al’s is not a place for the claustrophobic.

Al's Breakfast by you.

Inside, the air is full of the aromas of the food being cooked.  There are two grilles.  The one in front handles pancakes, waffles, hash browns, hash, and poached eggs.  The back grille handles the omelets.  The food is excellent.  I had a buttermilk pancake, hashbrowns, and a scrambled egg.  Andrew had 2 orders of Eggs Benedict with a side of hashbrowns.   Both were amazing.

If you don’t get there right when the door opens at 6am (9am on Sundays), you will likely have to wait for a seat.  (We got there around 9 today and had to wait a solid 45 minutes for a seat.)  But, despite the early hour, it is completely worth it. There is something really enjoyable about starting off the day with a nice, big breakfast.

The above photo is from my very first trip to Al’s. Please ignore the obvious sleep in my eyes – it was 6:30 in the morning!

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags: