Friday, April 29, 2011

I've been to London to visit the Queen

Eat your heart out Kate Middleton.


So my computer is still in the shop. Who knows when I'll get it back. The loaner is nice, but has one major flaw, secret USB ports. They are so secret that I have no idea where they are. This makes it difficult to upload pictures for this humble little blog. Luckily I am way behind in writing posts. (I mean I have stuff from February people. It's ridiculous.) I commandeered Mrblocko's laptop this evening and uploaded away.

Over a week ago Blockette lost her first tooth. And when I say she lost her tooth, I mean I yanked it out. I didn't do this to be mean mom extraordinaire. It's genetic. My mom pulled out all but one of my loose teeth. (The only reason I pulled that one out was because I discovered it was loose when she wasn't home and wiggled it out in the course of an hour. I was determined!)Strangely, the first tooth lost was not the first loose tooth. The one next to it was lose several weeks before. It's still loose, but no where near ready to come out.

I think after a week the missing tooth has lost a bit of its novelty. She's no longer telling everyone she meets, just every other person.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday 16.11

1. A nice visit with my in-laws.

2. The cake I thought I ruined/overcooked turned out delicious.

3. I dropped the bowl on the wood floor as opposed to the brick tile so the bowl only chipped and cracked instead of shattering into a billion tiny fragments that would magically find their way into my bare feet no matter how many times I swept and vacuumed.

4. The bowl was empty.

5. My cat likes to be my lumbar support when I am sitting at the computer. (When he purrs it's like I have a vibrating massage chair.)

6. 31 cent scoop night at Baskin Robins.

7. I know how to type vs. the "hunt and peck" method.

8. I'm not the Moderator.

9. Blockette excitedly running downstairs after quiet time to tell me about the smile-y face crater on Mars.

10. Unprompted I love yous from Blockette.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chicken with Herb Sauce

They were practically giving away bone in chicken breasts at the grocery store a few weeks back. I placed a jumbo package in my cart without a second thought. Then, when I got home, I set the meat on the counter and stared at it. I thought to myself, "What in the world am I going to make with this???"

Now while I have roasted chicken plenty of times, I don't think I've ever made a dish with bone in chicken. I know enough that you can't cook it quite the same way as a boneless chicken breast or quite like a roaster chicken. So...Ta Da!!! Interweb to the rescue!

My search resulted in this little gem called chicken breast w herb basting sauce from allrecipes. The recipe seemed easy and flavorful, and it totally was. Hooray for living up to my expectations.

The chicken breasts were enormous, so I doubled the herb sauce to have enough to baste the meat twice. That was the only change I made to the recipe! Even though I didn't alter the recipe, the herbs could easily be swapped out to suit personal tastes/what you have in your spice rack.

Whenever I try out a recipe on a recipe website, like allrecipes, I try to at least skim some of the comments. Some of the commenters complained that their chicken was dry. It seems like those people used a boneless chicken breast. I'm sure that the heat was just too high and there wasn't any skin to help retain the moisture in the chicken. I don't understand the science of cooking chicken enough to alter the temperature and cook times to make this recipe with a boneless chicken breast, so I'll stick to the bone in chicken in this case. I'm not sure when there will be another awesome deal on bone in chicken again, but if there is, I will no longer hesitate to buy it, knowing I have a tasty go-to recipe waiting for me at home.

Chicken with Herb Basting Sauce from Allrecipes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove crushed garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 bone-in chicken breast halves, with skin
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425 F .In a bowl, prepare the basting sauce by combining olive oil, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, marjoram, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.Turn chicken breasts in sauce to coat thoroughly. Place skin side up in a shallow baking dish. Cover. Roast at 425 F, basting occasionally with pan drippings, for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove to warm platter, spoon pan juices over, and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crescent Scotch Eggs

My best friend has been talking up Scotch Eggs as a great meal on the go for years. I've had them on my "to do" list but they keep getting bumped further and further down that list for something more exciting. Shame on me.I finally settled on using the recipe for crescent scotch eggs from Big Oven. Although, I did use my best friends secret of using sage sausage. (I used Bob Evans brand because it rocks my world. ) See if you use sage sausage you don't gots to do nuthin for seasoning. Yeah!

Mrblocko LOVED these. He was desperately trying to figure out how to get some cheese in there some place. (Cause then, dontcha know, it would be a perfect meal. ) I told him he was just gonna have to deal, because I couldn't figure out how to get cheese in there without making a huge mess in the cooking process.

Blockette, on the other had did not have any sort of love for Scotch eggs. This is because she hates cooked egg yolks. I can't say that I blame her. I don't particularly care for them either all by their onesies. They weren't too bad eating them with the meat and crescents though. Once I removed the offensive "yellow nasties" from the center, Blockette ate her meal without further complaint. Next time I make these I'll have to remember to do that at the beginning of the meal so we don't have to revisit the excessive drama.

We had a bit of leftovers with this recipe as it makes 8 eggs. Normally, with leftover Scotch eggs, you can just eat them cold, no problem. Since these babies were wrapped in crescent rolls I thought they might taste a bit odd cold. (Think soggy bread. Bleck!) I popped them in the oven at 375F and reheated them for 15 min and that did the trick.

Crescent Roll Scotch Eggs from Big Oven
1 lb Sausage, pork
1/3 cupbread crumbs dry
1 eggs; Slightly beaten
8 Hard boiled eggs; peeled
8 ounce Crescent Rolls

Heat oven to 450F. In small bowl combine dry bread crumbs, egg, and sausage; mix well. Divide sausage mixture into 8 equal portions; shape into patties. Wrap sausage patty completely around each hard cooked egg. Place on ungreased 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. (Cool for 10 min for easier handling). Reduce oven to 375F. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Press each triangle to enlarge slightly. Place sausage wrapped egg on shortest end of triangle. Roll up starting at shortest end of triangle, gently wrapping dough around egg and rolling to opposite point. Pinch edges of dough to seal and completely cover egg. Placed on ungreased 15 x 10" jelly roll pan . Return to oven and bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges. Garnish as desired. Serve warm.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Egg Roll Soup

I have no idea why I didn't take a picture of this egg roll soup from a Thousand Soups. My best guess is that after the first bite I was too busy shoving more and more bites into my mouth to think of where my camera might be.

This soup really truly tastes like an egg roll. Now, I've had some really disgusting egg rolls and some scrumpdidilyumptious ones. A bad egg roll can be really bad. No worries here with this soup, it tastes awesome.

I thought that the soup made quite a bit. The leftovers froze well and tasted just as good reheated as they did the first time around.

I only made one minor change to the recipe. I made fried wonton strips instead of egg roll strips. The shorter strips were not only easier to fry, but a lot easier to pile onto the soup. Although, negatively, they were also a lot easier to burn in the frying process. Leave those strips unattended for a few extra seconds and you'll have yourself some burnt egg roll/wonton strips.

Egg Roll Soup from a Thousand Soups
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying
2 pounds boneless pork ribs - sliced thin (chicken is fine, too)
4 garlic cloves - minced
1 small head cabbage - shredded (about 6 cups)
2 small carrots - shredded (about 1 cup)
1 small bunch green onions - sliced (about 1/2 cup)
8 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce - plus more for serving
10 egg roll wrappers cut into thin strips

Heat oil in a large soup pot and saute pork until no longer pink. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Toss in remaining ingredients (except egg roll wrappers) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes until vegetables are soft. Meanwhile, cook strips of egg roll wrapper in hot oil in small batches until browned and crisp. This only takes a minute or so per batch. Drain well on paper toweling. When soup is done, ladle into bowls and top with fried egg roll wrappers and extra soy sauce, if needed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stupid Internet Explorer 9

So yesterday my husband decided he would do me a "favor" and install some updates on my computer. One of these updates happened to be IE9.

He did have the best of intentions.

For some reason IE9 was not very friendly with Blogger. It would NOT let me publish a post. Nope. No matter how hard I clicked on that orange button...nuthing.

So I went on my husband's lap top, to see if it I could publish from there. It worked just fine. And guess what? He doesn't have IE9 on there. Why put it on my computer if you don't have it on yours? GRR. (Yes, Mrblocko I did just growl at you. I'm gonna stick my tongue out at you as well. plbbbbt!)

Anyhow, he so very nicely uninstalled IE9 and things are working fine again. I wrote a post for today just to make sure. As an added bonus, the problem I was having with the code on Blogger fixed itself too. So double yay.

Crockpot Orange Tilapia

Fish in the crockpot? Mrblocko was very skeptical about that concept. He was certain that it would make the entire house reak of fish for a week or two. I thought otherwise and told him he could say "I told you so" as I sprayed Fabreeze over every surface from here to Timbuktu.

I also had a lot of confidence in this recipe because it came from the blog A Year of Slow Cooking. I've never had a recipe from there that I didn't absolutely love. Well...until now.

The dish looked OK. The little mandarin oranges look mighty cute sitting there don't they. Amazingly, it didn't make the house smell like fish. The house did smell like warm balsamic vinegar though, which, truth be told, is not any better than fish.

Blockette did not fail to comment on how stinky the kitchen was all throughout dinner. I finally had to tell her that I knew it didn't smell good and that if she kept bringing it up I was going to count her to a time out. After that I only had to count her to 2(3 gets you a time out)...sigh.

I was really hoping that the since the dish didn't smell fishy, it wouldn't taste fishy. Grilling fish on cedar planks has ruined me on fish that isn't covered in a mountain of cheese. (Cheese makes just about anything edible.) The fish tasted fishy, not citrusy like I expected. This is fine and dandy if you are a person who likes fish. Unfortunately, I am not that person.

After discovering the fishy taste, I ate enough of it to set a good example for Blockette. With all the complaining she did about the smell, she ate her dinner just fine. I sent the leftovers to work with Mrblocko the next day. It couldn't have been too horrible because he ate it all.

If you love fish and are looking for an easy way to make it, head on over to A Year of Slow Cooking to get the recipe for orange honey tilapia in the slow cooker.
4 tilapia filets (frozen is just fine)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 (10-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
aluminum foil
salt and pepper to taste at the table

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Lay a length of foil on your countertop and place the fish directly in the middle. Dribble balsamic vinegar and honey over the top of each fillet, and place a handful of drained mandarin oranges on top (my kids like to drink the juice!). Fold over foil and crimp the edges to form a packet. Put the foil packet into your slow cooker, and put the lid on (if you'd prefer to have one fish fillet per packet for serving, divide the sauce and the oranges). Cook on high for two hours, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. If your fish was frozen, it may take another 30 minutes or so, but you should still check it after two hours. Season to taste with some salt and pepper at the table.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday 15.11

1. A nice visit with my mom.
2. Blockette was well behaved during my mom's visit.
3. Making the choice to not go to Blockette's soccer game in the cold and muddy wetness.
4. The first tulip opening up on a gloomy day.
5. The first visit from the tooth fairy.
6. Peanuts in the shell.
7. The possibility that my bleeding heart plant didn't die this summer.
8. Finding pictures for Relay.
9. Blockette is excited about her new workbooks.
10. Blockette changed her stinky stinky attitude this morning.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Steel Cut Oatmeal

I've been wanting to try steel cut oatmeal for a while now. I found some on sale and saw that as a sign to get on the ball and see what all the fuss was about. My first batch was overnight apple pie steel cut oatmeal by Good Life Eats.

I'm pretty sure that I didn't cook the oats for long enough. The recipe says to soak the oats overnight and then cook them for 5 min. They were still way too crunchy, almost as crunchy as if they had not been cooked at all.

The directions on the tin of oatmeal said they needed to cook for 30 min. Since the oats were soaked overnight I thought cooking them for 15 minutes would be sufficient. They were still too crunchy. Mrblocko did not like the texture or the flavor of the cardamom at all.

I thought that the texture would be softer the second day after having sat in the fridge for a whole day and with the additional cooking time needed to reheat it. It was slightly better, but I didn't like the tartness of the apple so I picked them out. I also added a bit more brown sugar. The oatmeal still had a very grainy chewy texture. I didn't mind it so much, but Mrblocko did, so I ate the rest of the oatmeal for the next bajillion years.

After a bajillion and one years, I tried this recipe from the Greenest Dollar. It bakes up in the crockpot. I put all the ingredients in before bed and let it cook overnight on low. I also put a non-terry cloth dish towel under the lid to catch the steamy stuff before it escaped. Surprisingly, the towel was totally wet by breakfast.

Some of the edges got a bit crusty. I picked the worst parts out and stirred the rest back into the oatmeal. They dissolved right back in and no one was the wiser. (Well, at least until now.)

The texture of these steal cut oats was closer to the "regular" rolled oats we normally eat. They had slightly more bite to them, but not enough to prevent Mrblocko from eating them and their leftovers.

While steal oats are supposed to be more nutritious, as they have not had all their goodness smashed out of them, I think the Blocko's prefer the old fashioned rolled oats. I guess I'm not surprised, often times the stuff that is good for you doesn't taste as good as the stuff that isn't so good for you. I don't plan on making more oatmeal out of the steal cut oats anytime in the near future. I did find this maple oatmeal bread from the Fresh Loaf that I think will be a great way to use up the rest of the steal cut oats.

Cooking Steel Cut Oats In A Crockpot from the Greenest Dollar
1 cup steel cut oats (DO NOT substitute old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats)
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons butter
cooking spray

Start by spraying your crock pot with cooking spray- This was a reader tip in the comments section, and it really helped cut the clean-up time the next morning because the oatmeal didn’t stick a bit! So, don’t forget to do this. Pour in the water, oats, salt, and butter. Cook on Low for 6-8 hrs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuscan Turkey Soup

More Thanksgiving leftover turkey? You betcha! So what if it is Spring and a million miles away from when you cooked that turkey. If the meat ain't freezer burnt, it's still good. I think soup is the perfect way to use up leftover meat that is on the dry side. So listen up while I tell you about Tuscan turkey soup from Dunkin Cooking the Semi-Homemade Way.

It's good people! Plus it has the added benefit of a sneaky vegetable...pureed pumpkin! And no it doesn't even taste like pumpkin so you really can be sneaky. The pumpkin gives the soup a creamy texture and slightly orange-y brown color.

I did have to make a few substitutions. First, I didn't have "Johnny's Garlic Seasonings." The recipe calls for 2 T of that spice mix. We are big fans of garlic so I minced up 5 cloves garlic instead. I wasn't sure what Louisiana Seasoning was either, but I figured it was similar to Penzeys Cajun Style Seasoning, so I made that swap. I also used 4 c turkey stock instead of canned chicken broth because it was the stock I had hanging out in my freezer. I used 4 small russet potatoes instead of 2 large red potatoes. (I think the red would have been better, but I already had Russets in the house that needed to be used up.) Finally, I pureed 1/2 the can of beans in the blender as a thickener, in place of the cornstarch. I only did that because I like pureed beans more than I like them whole.

Even though I made quite a few alterations, the soup still had the same basic elements as the original. I give this a double thumbs up and I plan on making it again with next years batch of leftover turkey.

Tuscan Turkey Soup from Dunkin Cooking
1 C. - Chopped Onion
1 Tsp. - Minced Garlic
2 Tbs. - EVOO
2 (14.5 oz) - Cans Chicken Broth
2 C. - Cubed Turkey
1 Can (15 oz) - Solid Pack Pumpkin
1 Can (15 oz) - Cannellini Beans
½ Tsp. - Salt
½ Tsp. - Dried Basil
¼ Tsp. - Pepper
2 Tbs. - Johnny's Garlic Seasonings
½ Tbs. - Italian Seasonings
½ Tsp. - Louisiana Season or Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 Large - Red Potatoes (cubed)
Wondra Flour or Corn Starch
Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large soup pot sauté the onion and garlic in the EVOO until tender. Stir in the broth, turkey, pumpkin, beans, potatoes and all of the spices. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender and everything is heated. Thicken with some Wondra flour or corn starch to the desired thickness you like, then dish into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, April 18, 2011

chocolate chip oreo stuffed cookies

How do you improve on perfection? I think Jenny over at Picky Palate may have found a way to improve on the basic chocolate chip cookie. How is that possible you ask? Chocolate chip Oreo cookies. Yeah an Oreo inside a chocolate chip cookie. Crazy eh? My kind of crazy.This is like eating three cookies in one convenient cookie delivery system. To make these gems, just wrap 2 cookie dough balls around one Oreo cookie, and then bake it. I ate a whole one in one sitting and wound up with a bellyache. So now I just eat half and then wait a few hours and eat the other half. The poor half cookie really needs to be put out of it's lonesome misery so I don't suggest waiting any longer than 4 hours to eat the other half. PETA or the FBI might come to your house and slap you silly or unroll all your toilet paper.

For the cookie portion I used cookie mix I got for Christmas. The mix was good, but saltier than the standard Tollhouse version. My cookies spread out a bit more than I would have liked. This was most likely due to the fact that I used half margarine and half butter. I was worried that the mix would not be up to snuff and I didn't want to waste all that butter on something mediocre.

As a result of the dough spreading you got some plain cookie and some Oreo enrobed cookie. I always saved my Oreo part for last since I thought it was like the dessert of my dessert. Yeah you know it's gonna be a good day when your dessert has dessert. Maybe these should actually be eaten for breakfast. Start your day of RIGHT!!!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies from Picky Palate
2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag Oreo Cookies, I used the double stuff :)

 Preheat oven to 350 F. In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined. Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie. Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie. Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough. Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  Makes about 2 dozen VERY LARGE Cookies

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thankful Thursday 14.11

1. Mrblocko playing word games on his computer with Blockette so I could have a break.
2. Mrblocko finally went to the dr after having a cough for what seemed like forever.
3. Teaching Blockette how to use chopsticks by eating mini marshmellows
4. The awesome summer-like day on Sunday.
5. Mrblocko cleaned the roaster chicken so I wouldn't have to touch it.
6. Watching Fantasia as a Family.
7. Mrblocko walking Blockette to school.
8. Free cone day at Ben and Jerry's.
9. Advil.
10. Fairy Solitare.
11. Jammie days.
12. mrblocko washed the dishes last night while I was at my meeting because it didn't even cross my mind to do it before I left.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Creamy Polenta

Hi Ya'll! This Yankee made Grits for the first time. OK are they grits or polenta? I don't know. They seem the same to me.I got this recipe for creamy cheese polenta from Pioneer Woman. She lives in Oklahoma. Is this considered part of the South, or is it the West? Sometimes I don't really know what qualifies as what, regionally. For example, sometimes it seems like the Mason Dixon line jumps up and includes Michigan, but Illinois is part of the Midwest, except for the extreme southern part that is by Kentucky. That seems like it is part of the South too.

So whether or not these are grits or polenta, I boiled my corn stuff for 15 min. The recipe called for 4 1/2 c of water, but I really think there should have only been 3 cups of water. The polenta-grits seemed a bit looser than I would have liked...even after it sat in the fridge for a day. The package directions say 3 c liquid to 1 c of grits, so I will follow that next time. I also used regular polenta grits (Bob's Red Mill Brand) and not the instant kind. Many of the reviews and comments on the website said that instant grits were nasty. Maybe the non instant kind requires less water? I don't know, never having made instant or the non instant varieties.

The recipe also called for Rotel tomatoes. I only had hot Rotel and I knew that would be way too spicy for Blockette, so I used a can of Roast tomatoes instead. I also used smoked paprika instead of the regular kind, and Colby jack cheese instead of Monterey jack.

One word on these grits, when you take the casserole out of the oven it will be very liquidy. It must it sit 15 min before serving or the whole thing will be a runny mess.

Not having had grits before I didn't quite know what to expect. My first impression was that they had the consistency of gritty mashed potatoes. Ah so THAT's why they call them grits! They took a bit of getting used to because I kept expecting them to be smooth like mashed potatoes, but once I retrained my brain, I found that I quite enjoyed them. What I found I liked even better, was eating them the next day!

Once my pan came to room temp, and before I stuck it in the fridge, I took a paper towel and soaked up all the excess liquid that had oozed out in the cooling process. I did this several times before I sliced them up into thick french fry sized slices. Then I carefully cooked each side on a non stick skillet. I think due to all the excess moisture, they cooked up best when I didn't use any oil. Some of the sticks did not hold their shape well in this process. I turned them into patties and cooked them up that way. I liked mine extra brown and crispy. (I thought I had a picture of the polenta grit sticks, but I cannot find it for the life of me. Most likely I forgot to take one.) Next time I will make a half batch using less liquid and see how it holds up to the leftover fry up method any better.

Creamy Grits with Chilies from Pioneer Woman
1 cup Grits (quick Or Regular)
4-1/2 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Salt
8 ounces, weight Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Cut Into Cubes
1/2 can Rotel (tomatoes And Chilies)
1 can (4 Ounces) Chopped Green Chilies
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
Black Pepper To Taste
1 whole Egg Beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Boil water and add salt. Add grits and stir, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in Rotel, chilies, grated cheese, and cream cheese. Stir in spices and check for seasonings. Add salt if needed. Beat egg. Drizzle in a couple of tablespoons of hot grits to temper, stirring constantly. Dump it all back into the pot and stir. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and golden on top. Allow pan to sit for fifteen minutes before serving! Grits will firm up slightly as they sit. Stir a bit in the pan if needed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Giant Mountain of Goodness

I was going to post about this great original idea I had. Oh I was so proud of myself. I had all of these extra homemade marshmellows and a few extra oreos ...why not combine them into one tasty treat covered in chocolate. But how to keep the marshmellow from falling off the oreo? Aha! Peanut butter could be my glue. What sweet perfection.Then not one week later I decided my recipe to-do list had gotten out of control. It was time to weed out the recipes that I realistically wasn't ever going to make. As I was cleaning, I came across this from Picky Palate. Oh how my heart sank. It wasn't my idea after all. I was only remembering something I had seen and wanted to make a long time ago. Oh well. At least I remembered cuz they were a hugemongous stack of scrumptious.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Future Occupations

Thursday Blockette came downstairs after quiet time and said, "Mommy I'm going to be a Meteorologist!"

"Oh?" I replied. "And what is a meteorologist?"

"A person who studies terrible storms like tsunami's and hurricanes."

"Well honey, a meteorologist doesn't just study the terrible storms, they study all kinds of weather. And do you know the people who talk about the weather on the news? They are meteorologists too."

"Really? Yeah. That's what I'm gonna be."


Now fast forward to Sunday, on the way to church:

"Mommy, I've decided I'm going to be a scientist that studies dinosaurs when I grow up."

"A scientist that studies dinosaurs is called a Paleontologist. You want to be a Paleontologist when you grow up? Wait, what happened to wanting to be a meteorologist?"

"I'm going to be meteorologist right now while I'm a kid, but when I grow up I'm going to be a paleontologist. And I'm going to be the first scientist that proves that the Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was put there by God."

"Oh? Well that would be very cool!"

"Yes. But Mommy, I'm going to need my own computer to do that."

Italian Spice blend

I got a free jar of pasta sprinkle from Penzeys a while ago. It was the perfect thing to shake into red sauce, on bread sticks, toasted cheesy bread, pizza...etc. All that shaking used up the container pretty darn quick. Then I was sad. No more Pasta Sprinkle. And I wanted some. Now.

So I did some searching and found this recipe on Perfect! I omitted the red pepper flakes because the original didn't have any heat to it. The only difference between the Italian Blend I made myself and the one from Penzeys is my own contains marjoram. I'd never used marjoram before. I still couldn't tell you what marjoram tastes like, but it does seem to amp up the flavors of the other herbs in the mix.

I've found that this recipe fits nicely in my 1/2 cup jar from Penzeys. So the new mix got dumped into the old jar. I even grabbed a sharpie and wrote the following recipe on the outside: Or, for those of you who don't read chicken scratch:

2T Basil

2 T Marjoram

1 T garlic powder

1 T Oregano

1 T Parsley

1 T Rosemary

(1T Crushed Red Pepper Flakes)

Now, when I run out again, I won't have to flip through any recipes. It's right there! Talk about instant gratification.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Solar System

Blockette has been very into this Magic Tree House Space book she checked out of the Library. Apparently, it has this mnemonic device in it to help you remember the order of the planets. She was telling me about it over dinner last night. My very eager mother just served us nine pickles. (Yeah so the book is a bit outdated as it still lists Pluto as a planet, but whatever.)

I was pretty impressed that she remembered that sentence all on her own and was curious if she could use the sentence to list all the planets in order.

She began listing them out: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uterus,

Wait, What?!!! Uterus?

I would like to state for the record that it is not a pleasant experience when you almost snort fried rice through your nose.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday 13.11

1. Whatever it was that was making noise in the fireplace stopped.

2. The daffodils are blooming!

3. Helping out in Blockette's Class.

4. Realizing that we've been living in this house longer than we did in our previous house...and feeling good about it.

5.The stain from the black dry erase marker on my favorite pair of jeans gets a bit lighter every time I use the Tide pen on it.

6. Time spent telling silly, but dark stories to Blockette.

7. Finding time to read good enjoyable books.

8. Blockette seems to have turned the corner on schoolwork I give her at home. She seems excited to do it now and has gone from complaining it is too hard, to too easy.

9. When I set the spatula on fire, I was able to put it out before I set anything else aflame.

10. Mrblocko washed the dishes for me, even though I know he really didn't want to.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Harry Potter Deleted Scenes

So I think it's pretty obvious by now that I'm a Harry Potter Geek. Part one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set to be released on DVD in just over a week. I came across these deleted scenes that I dearly wish they had included in the original release of the film. They are meloncholy tidbits from the book that make you not hate Aunt Petunia and Dudley, at least not quite so much.

Disney Vacation Part 6: Day 4 (The Last Day)

On day three, we promised Blockette that we were going to see the super late fireworks at Magic Kingdom, since every other night we we were too tired for fireworks. Mrblocko and I had a long discussion after Blockette went to bed as to how we could possibly accomplish this. The conclusion was that we HAD to take a nap at some point.

Blockette was not receptive to this idea because, c'mon, we were at Disney World and she was not going to sleep away any possible moments of fun time. We explained that if she wanted to not take a nap, that was OK, but we were NOT staying up late for fireworks. She very reluctantly agreed and we began our last day at Disney World.

We had reservations at The Grand Floridian for The Supercalifragalistic Brunch with Mary Poppins. The Grand Floridian is a swanky Victorian-Southern Hybrid themed hotel located in Magic Kingdom. One part of it looks like the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego. When we were planning our vacation, for exactly 30 seconds I debated staying at the Grand Floridian, then I saw the prices and came to my senses. It was a cool hotel, but I'm glad we chose the Coronado Springs in the end. It was perfect for what we wanted and needed on our vacation.

Anyhow, back to the Breakfast... we saw Tigger, Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter and of course Mary Poppins herself. Blockette was terrified of the Mad Hatter. She did not want her picture taken with him. I was able to convince her to take a picture of me with him.

I'm not sure why she was so scared of him. She had not even seen Alice in Wonderland! Maybe she thought he was Mad, as in Angry. I explained that he was not Mad, meaning Angry, but Mad meaning crazy. This did not help one eentsy weensy bit. I did, however, get scolded by Mary Poppins. If you look carefully at the picture above, of just Blockette, you can see several gummy bears on her plate. It was then that Mary Poppins came to the table and commented on the fact that we were feeding our offspring candy for breakfast.

Oh Mary Poppins, if you only knew. We had been having the hardest time getting her to eat through the entire trip. Due to our nap and late brunch reservations, we weren't planning on having lunch until 2:00. If we couldn't get Blockette to eat something for breakfast she was going to wake up at nap time VERY hungry. And then no one would get a nap.

So yes. I bribed my child with gummy bears to eat her breakfast. Why else would they have gummy bears at a breakfast buffet. I can't think of any other reason! Can you?

After brunch and wandering around the Grand Floridian for a while, we headed back to the hotel to go SWIMMING! Blockette was pleased as punch. She had only been begging to do this since we arrived in Florida.

Doesn't the pool area have a neat play ground next to it? I wondered why there were no kids playing on it. Then I remembered, duh, we are at Disney World. Why would a kid want to play there when they could go to the park and do fun stuff there! As you can see, there was hardly anyone at the pool. It was a warm day, but windy so it didn't feel as hot as it had the previous days. Whether this was the reason for the lack of people at the pool, or duh, they were all at Disney World, I'm not sure. Either way it was nice to not have to deal with lots of splashy kids.

The pool was so empty that there was a mamma and her ducklings swimming in it. (See above photo, bottom left.) One little baby could not get out so one of the grown ups in the pool quickly scooped him out. He got severe scolding from the mamma duck AND from a human mamma at the pool who went on this rampage about how you are not supposed to touch wild animals. Yeah, but I think with all that chlorine from the pool there was little chance that the man's human scent would have lingered on that little duckling.

After our swim we were ready for lunch and grabbed the most enormous plate of nachos and quesadillas at the food court in the hotel. With full bellies we went back to the room for a nap. Blockette claimed she was NOT tired, but she was so not tired that she was the first one to fall asleep.

After a nice long nap we headed back to Magic Kingdom where we went on lots of fun rides. Blockette wanted to ride "it's a small world" over and over, but Mrblocko and I could only stomach going on it once without going into convulsions. After lots of rides and snacks we went to the area in front of the Castle to get a good view for the light parade, and fireworks. I couldn't get any good pictures of the light parade but it was very cool. My camera takes good night pictures, but the picture has to be still and so do I. Since the parade was moving, that meant no good pictures for me.

As we were waiting for the parade to start, the castle kept changing colors. I told Blockette it was her job to let me know when the castle changed. It gave her something to do, and kept her less bored waiting for the excitement to begin. After the parade, there was a 15 minute or so interval before the castle show began. We made a mad dash for the potty, and luckily, we were able to find a good spot in front of the castle again. The castle show was like a movie projected onto the castle itself. I don't know how else to explain it, but it was awesome. Unfortunately, since it was moving, I couldn't get any good pictures of that either.

Then came the fireworks. The fireworks start out with Tinkerbell flying from the top of the castle. Talk about neato. This was not a light show or other special effect, but someone on a zip line zooming through the air. I don't think I could be brave enough to do that, but I guess it's less scary if you are wearing a lit up Tinkerbell costume.

The fireworks were some of the best ones I have ever seen. I tried to take a picture or two but gave up and decided I would have more fun if I just sat back and enjoyed the display. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried more than a little during the show. I looked over at Blockette at one point, sitting on her daddy's shoulders, totally exhausted but happy as she could be, and I knew this was the best possible end to our first family vacation!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 5: Day 3 Epcot

After we went to Universal Studios we hopped on a bus and then two Monorails to get to Epcot. The trip took us almost an hour. That was my fault as I had the charter bus drop us off at the wrong spot. We did get to see a nice tour of the surrounding hotels though.

Luckily we made it to our dinner reservations at the Akershus Castle, in the Norway section of Epcot, right on time. This dinner wasn't as fancy as the one in Cinderella's castle, but we got to meet plenty of princesses and Mary Poppins too. I'm not sure why she was there, but hey, Blockette was happy to see her.

This time we were seated in a section that the princesses came to first so Blockette actually ate her dinner! Ariel was my favorite again. She was so funny and kept twirling her hair like she does in the movies. She also asked Blockette if she had electric eels since they lit up when she walked. After dinner was over we asked Blockette what she would like to do. Her reply was "Take the walk around the world!" Um OK. So we walked through the different "countries" represented there and I took pictures of all the neat topiaries. I think The Lady and the Tramp was my favorite, although the Peter Pan and Hook one was pretty neat too. Japan was by far Blockette's favorite country. She wanted to buy something from her allowance there and went totally ga-ga over a miniature Japanese flag. Even more exciting was that it came with it's own stand. WOW! (Really. You'd think the lady gave her a free pony.) Blockette also freaked out when she saw this belly dancer (above left) in Morocco. She thought she was another princess from some movie she had not yet seen. She even got her to sign her character autograph book.

Finally, she about blew a gasket when she saw the fence (above right)as we passed through Canada. "Mommmmm! LOOK! That fence has the Canada leaf thingie on it!" she gasped as she inhaled all the air left on the planet. I still have no idea why that was so exciting to her. (What's that all a-boot? eh?) She was enjoying herself so that's all that matters.

Yet again we had intended on seeing the firework show, this time at Epcot. We were all so tired and it had been a long hot day at Universal Studios that we decided to call it a night. Before we left I spied the Fairy Garden. We could not pass that one up. All the Neverland fairies done up in topiaries!! I took pictures of all of the fairies, but the light was fading so not all of them turned out as well as I would have liked. If you've seen "Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue" you'll recognize the photo (above, bottom right) of Lizzie's fairy house. Blockette was pleased as punch for me to snap a quick pick of her inside it before we left for the night. It wasn't quite as cool as fireworks, but pretty high up there in Blockette's book.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Disney Vacation Part 4: Day 3 Universal Studios

Why on earth did we go to Universal Studios when we were in Orlando for such a short time and there is soooo much to see and do at Disney World itself? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'm about as big of a Harry Potter Geek as they come. Who knows when and if we will ever get back to Florida, so there was no way I was NOT going to check it out.

If we thought Magic Kingdom was busy on the first day we were out there, that was nuthing. I had wanted to get to Universal right as the park opened, but our shuttle didn't get there until the park has been open for about 45 minutes. The lines for almost everything in "Harry Potterland" were at least an hour long. In talking with one of the park workers we found out it was a "slow" day. Most days the wait to get into that part of Universal is THREE HOURS and the line to the attractions are about TWO HOURS! Yikes!

Clockwise from the top left (Photo below): Gate into Hogsmead, Hogwarts Train, Olivander's wand shop with it's hour wait to get into the store, The Owlry that you could only get into by going through Olivanders.(We passed on this as by the time we got to this part Blockette was very angry with us. More on that later.) Clockwise from the top left(photo below): Hogwarts.(The castle had a ride inside it but Blockette was too short to go on it.), More of the Owlry/Owl post, Gladrags and Potages. (both these places were false storefronts, but the windows had moving displays which were neat.) Now, here comes the part where we got Blockette VERY VERY angry with us. Harry Potterland has a grand total of three rides. Blockette was only tall enough to ride one of them, and by gosh we were going to ride that ride. The Flight of the Hippogriff. Look at that nice happy picture of her (below) as we are standing in line. Do NOT let that fool you.

As you wait in line you see Hagrid's Hut and the Hippogriff nest. You also see the roller coaster zooming above your head. This was not a crazy loop-de-loop upside down and inside out kind of ride. Just a basic roller coaster, but it was fast. We were in line for less than 20 minutes, but in that time Blockette saw that coaster go by one too many times and she started freaking out.

She did NOT want anything to do with this ride. Oh but the mean parents we were, we were bound and determined to go on this one ride with her. Once she was on it surely she would think it was fun? Yeah. right. So we took our screaming child and forced her on the ride. Right before the ride started she stood up and almost made it out of the car. Good thing Mrblocko was quick and grabbed her back in just in time.

The ride was fast. I am a wimp so I was a bit scared myself. I had to sit by myself though since it was a 2 person side by side ride. Rides alone are always much more scary. At least to me they are.

Once it was all over we asked Blockette if she enjoyed the ride, and she stated that she did not and never ever wanted to go on it again. EVER. She was soooo angry with us.

I thought maybe eating lunch might lift her spirits so we headed over to the Three Broomsticks and the Hogs Head. Some food, Pumpkin Juice (like drinking liquid pumpkin pie) and Frozen Butterbeer (which tastes like a very rich and creamy version of cream soda and butterscotch) did improve her spirits slightly. It wasn't until we went to Zonko's that we saw a real change in attitude. I picked up a Chocolate Frog (My Wizard card was Salazar Slytherin, drat...I wanted Dumbledore!) and some Tongueburners Toothsplintering Strong Mints. Then she saw them... the Pygmy Puffs. She was in love. I was about to tell her no when I heard the nice British fellow behind the counter shouting out that someone had bought their very first Pygmy Puff. Well for some reason I thought that was super cool so I caved.

Blockette named her Rose, which oddly enough happened to be the name of the British fellow's Mum. The man was just tickled. Apparently he had not heard anyone name their Puff Rose. I find that odd. I mean it's pink. Doesn't Rose seem like a logical name?

As a side note, the night before we left on our vacation I watched "The Half-Blood Prince." At one point in the movie Luna Lovegood tells Ginny Weasley, who happens to have a pygmy puff on her shoulder, that pygmy puffs "were known to sing on Boxing Day." I casually mentioned this to Blockette, who after asking me what in the world Boxing Day was, repeated this factoid to everyone she met in the park. With a smile on the kiddo's face, we decided that we had experienced all we could of Harry Potter's World. We had some time to kill before our shuttle would pick us up. So we went on some Dr Seuss rides.

And splashed around in Toon Lagoon. For some reason Blockette was scared of Bullwinkle and Broomhilda.
Then it was almost time to go. On the way out we passed this really cool dress store where I debated buying a dress. Then we saw this pair.
The woman called herself Jewel of the Nile and the man said his name was something that translated to "Perfection." They spoke with a Gypsy accent, which amused me to no end. Blockette talked their ears off for a good 15-20 minutes. We had to drag her away so we wouldn't miss our bus.

More of day 3 to come was a busy day!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fools on Me

So if you read my Thankful Thursday for the week you'll see the part where I said that the fan on my computer wasn't broken, it was just dirty. My computer was still under warranty so my husband brought it back. They cleaned out the CPU with canned air and said it was right as rain.

Guess what happened as soon as I plugged the darn thing up again? Same wonky noise that I know is the fan going.

So Mrblocko lugged the darn thing back to the store and had them look at it. GUESS WHAT? The fan on the power supply died. YEAH. Duh. Why couldn't they have figured that out the first time and saved my husband another trip.

Luckily, the computer is under warranty so they fix it for free and I get a brand spanky new loaner. Except they have to send in for the part because it is a "brand" part for the warranty and it could take 6-8 weeks. Say what?

April Fools number 2. You will note that on Thursday I posted that I was thankful for the Free antibiotics at Meijers and that Blockette only had an ear infection. Well Thursday night she spikes a fever. So bright and shiny early in the morning we trek back on over to the Dr for some new really expensive antibiotics that aren't free at Meijers or even in the el cheapo program at Walmart. Keep your fingers crossed that these do the trick.

There is a funny story to come out of all this. When Mrblocko came home from work yesterday we were all hanging out in the kitchen as I prepared dinner. I told him that the Dr. also prescribed Blockette a steroid to help with her cough.

Blockette pipes up, "My medicine is from outer space? That's what killed all the Dinosaurs!!!"

Mrblocko and I looked at each other and I got the case of the giggles. I could not stop laughing. He had to explain to her that she was thinking of Asteroids not steroids.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Stupid Code

I'm having some sort of problem with the code on my posts, so I apologize if the posts look like one huge paragraph. They look just fine when I'm composing them, but for whatever reason I have to manually enter in the code for when I want a new paragraph.

I think I caught all the weird posts but please leave a comment if you see another post that looks like it is formatted weird.

Thanks for putting up with the craziness.

March Reads

Well reading in March went in like a lamb, but out like a lion considering I finished a whole book in the course of one night!

1. Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan: I checked this book out of the library because in the Food Blogger world, it seems like Dorie cannot be praised highly enough. I figured I'd see what the fuss was all about. The thing is, I do not like French cooking, aside from pastries and other bakery goods, so this book was a bit of a let down. I guess if you are keen on French Cuisine I could see how this little cook book would make your day.

2. Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen: When I checked this book out from the library, the librarian who was checking my books out commented that they had all been drooling over the recipes in the book. I can see why. Everything looked delicious and it is hard to make crock pot food look appealing. Or maybe that is just me. I copied down more than a few recipes to test out later once I get through all those leftovers in my freezer. Hmm by that time it will warm enough that Mrblocko will want to grill out every night. I'll get to those recipes eventually though and write about them on here when I do.

3. High Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond: I checked this book out Wed. (the 30th)right before dinner. Blockette was at choir and Mrblocko was out with a friend. I finished the book at about 10 pm. Mrblocko had called me to tell me he was on his way home and I told him I had to call him back as I only had 8 pages left to read. Keep in mind I've been trying to get through Pillars of the Earth since the beginning of February. Once I started reading this book I could not put it down. The book is by one of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman, and it is the story of how she met her husband and their first year of marriage. If you like a good love story, sans the smut, you'll find it as hard to put down as I did.