Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Paremsan Risotto

I like the idea of risotto, but my first attempt at it didn't go so well (definitely not cooked in the middle). So I found a slow cooker recipe for it and it turned out much better. It actually tasted good this time - so like it is supposed to plus it really was easy. This is a good base recipe. I actually steamed broccoli today to add to this for tomorrow. I think this needs more than this, but this is a good base for adding whatever you like (in my case, broccoli).

Parmesan Risotto
Modified from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

1/4 cup olive oil [and I actually used olive oil - I normally just use vegetable oil for everything]
1 small onion, diced (they used shallots)
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used chicken broth here, not wine)
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice (or Vialone nano or Carnaroli whatever those are)
3 3/4 cups chicken broth (so I used 4 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

In small skillet, over medium heat, warm oil. Cook onions until softened (don't brown). Add wine (broth) and cook for a minute or so. Add rice and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes (don't brown). Scrap into a slow cooker. Add broth and salt. Cover and cook on high until all the liquid is gone, but rice is still moist, 2 to 2 1/2 hours (and about 2 hours did it for me).

Stir in cheese at end (they only put some in and passed rest, I just stuck it all in).

Serves 3-4.

My herbs are up

All my herbs are up in my AeroGarden now.

Its Been Crazy Here....

Last week was crazy for us as you can imagine from my lack of posting. We got Adam switched to whole milk and we are working on weaning him off the bottle now. It was cold last week, they are predicting lots of snow tonight - we'll see if it actually comes. Ray's car was giving us trouble and we finally took it in today and yah, only about seventy dollars and its fixed! We are trying to baby that car until we pay off the Vue and then we'll replace it. So keep your fingers crossed! Adam has been grouchy and his fourth tooth finally broke today, which explains SO much. I think he'll start feeling better now. Ray is into his second week of classes now and so things are settling moreorless into a rountine. My SNHU students have their midterm this week - that grading next won't be fun! But actually I have a lot of great students this term. My LRSC math class keeps me busy with questions, which is awesome.

We went to the National Figure Skating Championships on Saturday. We got a baby sitter for Adam and we had tickets for the pairs and ice dancing finals. So we drop Adam off and start off. Well, for some reason, the police completely closed 480 on us! Seriously! It took us an HOUR to get around this and to normal traffic. We were late by at least a 1/2 hour and missed half of pairs, which was what I really wanted to see! We did get to see all the final skaters, including the winners. Which I didn't agree with by the way....I thought Denney and Barrett should have won, not McLaughlin and Brubaker. I also liked Samuelson and Bates better than Davis and White in ice dancing. Then we were planning to go out to a nice dinner, but all the places had huge wait lists, so we ended up at Quinzos!

I'm still watching the rest of the US Figure Skating (I DVRed it), but I did see the ladies. I like Alissa Czisny, but I liked Rachel Flatt better. I kind of sympathize with her - I think she gets ignored in favor of Czisny and she's so much more consistent. She just doesn't have the artistry all done yet, but she'll get there. I kind of think I would be like her if I had ever had enough talent to get past single jumps! I have no aristry either! Adam and I are still working on men's.

Gram Stannard ended up in the hospital today, but it looks like she'll be able to go home tomorrow - they just have to figure out her medicine for her heart. She had a speedy heartbeat.

Well, I think that's the update from here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

4 Shots is Too Many

Adam's one year check up was yesterday and they gave him four shots. That's just too many. I'm sure they do that to lessen the number of appointments, but I would have been willing to go back! He was definitely out of it on Monday - very not himself (400 mph). He got the chicken pox vaccine - I had that the normal way!

He's now 31.5 inches long and 21 lbs. He hasn't gained much weight and is in like the 30th percentile, so they are having us switch to whole milk. That's fine with me - its a lot cheaper than formula! The doctor also wants us to wean him off the bottle. We tried to do both on Monday - NOT a good idea. That's just too much change for the little guy, so I let Ray pick one and we are starting with the milk shift. Once we get him used to the new milk, we'll work on getting rid of the bottle. I'm not so worried about the weight - he's not delicate in any way and if they watched him for an hour, they'd know why he's so slim - he never stops moving!

Kent State started classes today, so Ray had a very busy day. I'm in my second week at LRSC and third at SNHU now. I had a ton of grading last night and this afternoon, but I think I'm finally seeing daylight. The first week's grading is always the most time consuming as there is so much other stuff to go with it - like setting up gradebooks. But I finally got all the Week 1 homework/participation graded and now just have a list of odds and ends to catch up. I'm currently uploading some stuff, hence blogging time.

More snow here - we've got a lot this winter, which is nice. I made beef barley soup tonight - seemed like a soup day. I love the crock pot! Rather than use all the different things on the recipe, I just threw in a whole box of frozen mixed vegetables and that worked well. It was in my freezer anyway.

I froze half of it - I really like the freezer for instant meals and I never buy the pre-frozen junk in the stores. I do keep a few conveniences in the freezer from the store - Rhodes rolls (we LOVE those - just rise and bake), a frozen pizza or two (cheese during Lent), and then the basic building blocks - meat, some frozen veggies, etc. I freeze meat as it goes on sale. I try to keep a list of my freezer, but I need to update that this week - it is a whiteboard and I usually update as I go, but over the holidays it got ignored.

Well, my last one just uploaded, so I'm off to finish and go to bed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lean, Mean Meatloaf

This week I'm back cooking. Last week was catch as you can after being gone so long. We got a lot of out the freezer, though, which was good. I'd frozen my Winter Savory Soup and we ate that. But, I'm back with actual recipes this week. I made open faced turkey sandwiches with stuffing (boxed) and mashed potatoes (with some potatoes that were on their last legs). Today I tried Lean, Mean Meatloaf from Everyday with Rachael Ray. It was good, but honestly - it tastes just like regular meatloaf. If you want more fiber, less sugar, etc., it'd be a good way to sneak it in - you'd hardly notice! Part of the less sugar was no ketchup (they used pureed roasted red peppers instead), but I used ketchup on the side (which I do normally so I did lose some). I really thought I'd taste the peppers (I adore sweet red peppers) more, so that was a bit of a disappointment. We had salad from earlier to go with it (I'm in love with butter lettuce at the moment) and broccoli. I actually cooked and pureed some of that for Adam. My aunt got me a baby cooker, but I honestly haven't used it much (it is simply too easy to just open a can), but I'm sick of the fact that they don't make enough vegetable medley choices. There are TON of fruits - why not vegetables as well? So anyway, I wanted to introduce broccoli. Adam seemed to like it okay - we ate some of that and some chicken. I put the rest of the broccoli in the fridge for tomorrow, but I can also freeze it once I get it like I like it. I'm thinking cauliflower next week and then maybe mixing them. I did pretty good, but I need less water next time as it was more like broccoli soup. Well, I got a little off topic, but here is the meatloaf recipe, with my comments.

Lean, Mean Meatloaf
Modified from Everyday with Rachael Ray

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 onion, diced (they did this in the food processor, I just diced it...food processors HATE me. Seriously on TV, they just whiz it once and it perfectly mixed (I think they CHEAT), but mine is always not diced or misses something...never ending problems! I have a good food processor, too, they are just HARD use...and shouldn't be! My blender isn't too nice either (its a combo unit) - it threw pea soup at me once - I got an immersion blender to stop that problem!)
1 1/2 tsp oil (they used olive, I used vegetable)
1 (12 oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained (I will admit, this pureed up nicely)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried parsley (they used fresh - 2 tbsp...maybe once I start getting herbs from my AeroGarden, I'll be able to use fresh)
1 large egg plus 1 egg white (I was having a bad nice...I'm usually pretty good at separating the yolk, but I had to throw an egg away as I screwed up my first one really good)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (they used 93% lean, I used what was in my freezer)

Preheat oven to 375. Using the food processor, coarsely grind the oats and then put in a large bowl. Dice (or use the food processor) the onion. Sauté the onion in oil over medium heat until tender (I also actually burned this a little, which I never do - just bad night!). Remove from heat and let cool.

Puree the roasted peppers, set aside 1/3 cup. Mix rest into the oats with the cooked onion, 6 tbsp Parmesan cheese, parsley, egg, egg white, salt and pepper. Mix in ground beef.

Put meat mixture into a loaf pan (now because meatloaf pools fat (and since I don't buy the 93% expensive stuff), I use disposable loaf pans and cut holes in them as drains and then put the whole thing over a sheet pan with rack to catch the drippings....this actually wasn't too fatty even with the fattier meat) and spread reserved roasted pepper puree on it. Bake for 50 minutes then sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp of Parmesan on top and bake another 5 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4 (I'd believe more - RR's recipes are always large and I only had a 1 lb of meat and we have more than two servings left).

Crazy Weekend

Ray starts classes on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday), so we've had a busy last week and this weekend. My second set of classes started last week as well. Adam's birthday was this weekend. Dave was going to come up, but he's been so sick, he didn't make it. So we had a pretty quiet birthday and while I've gotten a lot done, I just feel so behind. Not sure what is up with that - hopefully I'll manage to feel better about everything soon. Ray still doesn't know his teaching load, which is REALLY adding to his stress. So hopefully by next weekend, things will have reached a "normal" level around here. We have Adam's 1 year check up tomorrow.

Adam and Dennis

Adam's Airplane Rocker

Dawn and Dennis got Adam this airplane rocker (like a rocking horse, only an airplane). Adam LOVES it.
Opening it
The controls - it sings (that will get old, but is cute now)
Adam needs help on, but can get off pretty easily
Riding it
The instructions actually call for a helmet - see our improv? I think that's some crazy lawyer!
Riding it

Adam's Presents from Us

We got Adam this drum (it gives numbers and letters) and the screwdriver (goes with his hammer and drill). He actually has three tool sets now! I also got him some clothes, but he doesn't care. Great-Grandma C got him a series - Baby Can Read. It has book and DVDs. The rest of the stuff was things I like, but he doesn't care about (clothes, college fund money, etc.).

Dennis checking out Adam's drum!

Adam Opening a Present

Adam still isn't too sure on what to do!

Adam's Birthday Cake

Adam had cake yesterday for his "real" birthday!

Running in Circles

Adam has discovered running in circles - I think he likes to make himself dizzy!

Rachael Ray Round Up

Madeline over at Everything Rachael Ray does a round up of all Rachael Ray posts every week, and you'll find me featured on it this week.:)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My baby is ONE!!!

Today was Adam's FIRST BIRTHDAY!!! How'd he get so big? And strong? Last year at this time he couldn't do anything! I have a bunch of pics and video, but those will be up tomorrow. Adam was a great baby today and had a fun day. He got some cake and Dawn and Dennis came over. I just can't believe he is already ONE!!!

Christmas Pictures

I think I've finally got all my Christmas pictures up - and hey, I took down my Christmas decorations today (except the outside ones that were frozen in place - that is a project for when it warms up!). So I'm officially "done" with Christmas.

My favorite gift from Ray was a Guy Fieri "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives" book with coupons for three of them with three presidential musuems! Pretty cool, huh? I put some pictures up of our presents to each other (and Adam). I got Ray Season 1 of the original Transformers cartoon - he really got a kick out of that!

Frying Adam?

Adam did this himself!

Feeding Himself

Adam can do better than this, but he was being annoying in front of the camera. I blame Daddy's influence there!

Cheerios Book

I found this Cheerios book at Borders - isn't it cool? It has little recessed areas to put Cheerios! What kid doesn't have Cheerios everywhere?
With Cheerios in it

See the holes?Adam using it a restaurant
Playing at home

Playing Airplane

Adam trying to play airplaine!

Putting Away

We got some baskets for toys around the house. Adam is pretty good at "put away" and we want to encourage that. We were in Borders and he was playing with some stuff in a basket, and I was trying to get him to put it away. Well, he takes off and then he spies someone's shopping basket and decides to "put away" in there! Luckily, they also had kids and thought it was cute!

Ray's New Tie

Adam got Ray a new tie - with his picture on it! Mommy helped him order it.:)


Ray and I got Adam's this little laptop - he loves that he has his own laptop like ours now!

Olga's New Fountain

I got this fountain in our family's gift exchange - Olga loves it!

CD Player

Adam loves this little CD player he got from Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Cottle

Our Aprons

Adam (with help from Daddy) got me and him these matching aprons - Cookie Maker and Cookie Tester!

Air Fork One

Adam's godfather, Uncle Adam, got him this "Air Fork One." I'm working on the end of my Christmas related presents/posts this weekend. Hopefully I'll finally get caught up!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fairbanks Ice Festival

Isn't this gorgeous? All these sculptures are just amazing!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quick Update

I need to go to bed, but it's been fairly cold here (by Ohio, not AK or ND, standards) and we've actually gotten a lot of snow. My Christmas decorations are still not down (hopefully this weekend), but I did manage to go grocery shopping today so I can make Adam's birthday cake tomorrow! My feet have been giving me trouble (not surprising, they usually do in the winter), but I think the cold in AK really took its toll more than normal this year. My herbs are starting to pop up in my AeroGarden. Adam's third tooth is coming through really well. My classes are starting to settle in a bit and Ray starts his on Tuesday. Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Price Lies

I just ordered pictures from Wal-Mart, which I like that I can do online, but their pricing is such a joke! To get the cheapest price, you have to do home delivery and then they charge you shipping, which is usually more than the pictures! So then if you look at in store, one week, it is usually cheaper, even with the higher "unit" price. BUT if you compare that with one hour, it then isn't that much difference even though the unit prices are so different. UGHHH!!!!!


We've gotten a lot of snow over the last week or so - Adam has had some fun out in it!
Adam and Daddy shovelling
Adam checking out the backyard

And the trashccan!

Herb Garden

My grandparents got us this herb garden. I've been wanting to grow herbs in my kitchen, but haven't gotten anything to work well, so we'll see if this AeroGarden lives up to the hype!

This is my kitchen - you can also see I got a new bread box!

New Stuff

A few new things up around the house.
This picture (its a cross stitch) actually used to hang in my little brother's room and we brough it back for Adam's
I got this repro print from my parents for Christmas - cool, huh?

Dave got us batteries and a recharger for all the batteries Adam is going to need in years to come! Isn't that a cool idea?

Adam's Basketball Hoop

PaPa got Adam a baby basketball hoop and he LOVES it. Its actually staying at PaPa's for playing with there, which is great because it will be new each time for him! He just adored it right from the beginning. Pat and Dave actually bought this for Adam last year in Texas, so I'm sure she was smiling down from Heaven as she watched him play with it.

Christmas in Michigan

We had our Christmas with Dave in Michigan after we got back from Alaska and here (finally) are the pictures.
Dave helping Adam open his present
Adam's Elmo towel from Auntie Maureen

Adam using the towel that night

Adam's baby baseball game, also from Auntie Maureen