Saturday, February 27, 2010

Update on us

My dentist appointment seems to have set off an allergic reaction of some type - or just aggravated my sinuses in general, but I've been feeling miserable the last couple of days. I'm finally feeling somewhat better today, but because I've been sick, I'm behind in grading again. One of classes ends tomorrow, hence I'm trying to get a jump on grading finals (what is already in) because SNHU has a very fast turnaround on grades. Doesn't help that a lot of the East Coast (where my students are for a large part) is without power, so my students can't submit what I need to grade....if all the powers isn't back on by Monday, we'll have some major end of term issues to deal with at the school. Can't blame a student for not having power!

Otherwise, we got more snow, but it wasn't too bad where we live. That's about it from here.


Look at my mess! I blame Dave - Adam was just getting a few things out....then he went to PaPa's and learned to empty it again!:)
Checking out PaPa's treadmill!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Root Canal: Part FINISHED

Okay, today I finally got in and they put the crown on, which finally FINISHES my root canal that has been going on for months! Now this was supposed to be done at the beginning of this month, but our insurance was screwed up AGAIN, so we had to fix that first. The one good piece of news was that I was able to keep going to my old dentist rather than having to find a new one.

I also lost a cavity in Hawaii and finally got that fixed as well (again, was scheduled to do so weeks ago, but this huge insurance mess).

The bad news - they found another cavity today and I have to go BACK next week! AGH!! Top it off, our regular six month cleaning is the first week of April! I'm really sick of my teeth at the moment!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ice Dancing

I actually found ice dancing pretty enjoyable this year and was thrilled to see some North Americans do well at it! I really liked the "folk" original dance theme - I thought it really made it fun.

While I find the "offensive" commentary on the Russian's OD rather annoying, I thought the dance wasn't well done to start with. Their costumes and entire program were very gimmicky to cover up what was a really simple program. It lacked difficulty and depth. That's my complaint with it. Their free skate was much the same - they were trying to cover up the fact that they aren't doing the difficulty because of their injuries.

But it was great to see all the top skaters really do their best in their programs and thus make a great competition.

Made it Home!

Adam and I made it home today. Roads were great and I'm really glad we waited that extra day on it. It was a breeze today and Adam slept most of the way, which made quickly. He also got another day with PaPa, which pleased him!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Adam and the Fish Tank

Adam loves Uncle Brian's fish tank - he likes to watch the fish and just check it out (he can say fish now). It is in another room, so it isn't within easy sight of where we usually hang out. Well, Adam, overall, is pretty safe on his own for a few minutes in most places now, but he's proven he can't be trusted with the fish! We've been careful not to let him see how to open it (as he learns way too fast!) and in general try to keep him being "nice" around it. Well, yesterday, him and PaPa were hanging out, checking out the fish and Adam decides to use his wrench on the tank. So PaPa takes it away. Well, Adam runs off and PaPa starts to follow and Adam comes barrelling back....hammer in hand! Yep, he lost the hammer at that time!

So then today, we are all hanging out in the kitchen and Adam takes off for the fish tank room, wrench AND hammer in hand! So this time he lost both tools at once! He was NOT happy! But since we don't want a cracked fish tank, no banging on glass is allowed!

Adam Plowing PaPa's Driveway!

We got a ton of snow so Dave's been plowing on and off all day. Adam was out "helping" to plow TWICE today! He had a ball!

Adam's Tools

Adam's getting good at those tools - see that screwdriver use? And the hammer use? I think he has better aim that his father! :)
Adam using his screwdriver!
I can fix it!

Adam Pictures

Is this really comfortable?
See my slippers?
Helping PaPa make salad!

Adam Sledding

Sledding with PaPa!
Pulling my own sled!

Adam's Michigan Birthday Party

Dave got a small cake for Adam since he missed his last month. Adam doesn't care - he had fun!

Oh, cool, a candle!
Hmmm...what's in there? Clothes, but still the box is cool! Mom was happy with clothes!

Still Here!

We were going to go home today, but Michigan got dumped on last night and today, so we are staying put one more day. Too many crazy drivers out there!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Made it to Michigan!

Adam and I made it to Michigan today. I actually made very good time as Adam fell asleep as we hit I-80 and I wasn't stopping and waking him up! He didn't wake up until Ypislanti and so rather than eating lunch on the road, we just ate at Dave's. I had figured on making it by 3 and we made it by 2.

Adam has completely "Adamized" PaPa's house and is thrilled to be here. He just lit up when he saw PaPa!

My friend, Tamara, drove down for the evening and we went out to dinner at Olive Garden - YUM! Adam stayed home with PaPa and had a blast. He was exhausted at bedtime, always a sign he's had fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our Cat

Our cat is driving me nuts! We've been having issues, on and off, since Adam was born. She isn't necessarily bad, just in general annoying. She started gaining weight at this point (mostly our fault in the first few months) and although we've tried dieting and exercise (and with a two-year old in the house, she's gets exercise!), but nothing works. We were just in for her annual. We've really been pushing the diet, and she's been protesting LOUDLY on it - very aggravating about food at ALL times, and she's GAINED weight since we've started. So now the vet sold us some overpriced diet food that we can give her more of and supposedly she'll lose weight (sounds too good to be true - like those obnixous diet pills on TV). Well, we are trying, but now, of course, she's got diaharrea. Hopefully that will pass....soon.....

We've also had problems with her pooping outside her litter box since Adam was born. We've tried various solutions, which seem to work for awhile, but now she seems to just do it randomly. Ray even thinks she's forcing herself to do it because she's getting blood in her stool, but there is nothing wrong with her (we've checked). She's always been a very poopy cat, but it seems worse now.

I have no idea what will make her happy. Adam ADORES her and he's, overall, VERY nice to her. We also have tried to make sure she gets attention, but nothing seems to really "fix" it. AGHH!!! It isn't like we will get rid of her (only reason we'd do that is if she started attacking Adam, which she never does, even provoked), but I really wish she's quit with the pooping outside the litter box (and it is always the same place - it isn't like she's trying to prove a point) as I'm sick of cleaning it up!

Our Snow Level

It started snowing yesterday afternoon and has been snowing lightly since then. It was really bad to the south of us, but we really didn't have "bad" weather - just more snow.

Adam "helping" to shovel - two guys came by shovelling for money and I paid them to do our driveway (I'm can't and Ray's currently sick). PePe, Ray's car, has been having issues with the head of our driveway because the city is always tossing more snow into it as they plow, making it impossible to keep clear. PePe is just too little! The Vue could care less.

Olympic Pairs

Adam and I finished watching the pairs long programs this morning. I was pretty happy! Awesome short programs, but not so great long (a lot more mistakes), but China did awesome and ended up 1-2. Russia - who has won a gold medal every Olympics in pairs for like 50 years didn't even MEDAL. Their top pair did not have a good night - I was really disappointed they didn't even try the quad throw - that would have been awesome to see. The Chinese pair that got the silver had a gorgeous long program - just stunning! Shen and Zhao's was their best preformance - a lot of little mistakes, but good enough to hold onto to first given they had they massacred the field in the short program - that was a truly brillant program. The Americans ended up about where I expected them to - they just aren't in the same class as the top contenders. Both pairs had some mistakes and given they don't have the same technical starting values or execution, they just couldn't really compete.

Oh and the Moguls run that got Canada their first home soil gold was awesome to watch!

I want a cracker!

Adam attempting to liberate the crackers! He was close with his stool! Mommy got him some, by the way.

Cheese is Good!

Adam was really into the shredded cheese last night! He gobbled a LOT of it! Grandma Stannard was very proud.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adam's New Table

Adam and Ray found this table for $15 on Sunday at Wal-Mart (super clearance). What is really cool is that the tabletop is a dry-erase board! So Adam can draw right on it! It really is for outside - it comes with an umbrella - but we'll use it inside until spring. We actually already have a similar lawn chair, so now he has three - great for friends (and a little brother!).

Adam hanging out
Does it have to be right side up? Obviously not!

Adam draws good on it, but, of course, was stubborn about doing much on camera. As you can see, though, he is very good about putting caps back on - way to go, baby!

Adam Figuring out Icicles

Adam helping me clean up some of the icicles off the house!

Weather/Snow Update

Well, it is snowing again here, but this is this morning - our snow level and melting ice. Will be different tomorrow I expect!
Icicles on the front of the house

Icicles on back of house (with Adam)
Snow in backyard
Just to show the dug out path to give you a height perspective.

Dental Update

I have a dentist appointment! I faxed my new card in to my old dentist and had them check it out and it looks like we are a go! So I go in on 2/24 (a week from Wed) and hopefully will FINALLY get done!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Cookies

Okay, so these are the cookies I was talking on Facebook that drew so many comments. I swear they are actually good! My family believes that you need to eat sauerkraut on New Year's Day for luck (we'd go to Aunt Mid's every year for sauerkraut....someone (I think Alice) always made spaghetti for us kids), but seriously, I can't make myself touch the stuff. BUT I can eat these! So I plan to make these next New Year's! That's actually the reason I decided to try these.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Cookies
aka Chocolate Sauerkraut Cookies

Modified from Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke

1 cup butter, softened
3 cups white sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk [I never buy this - 1 tsbp of lemon juice, the rest regular milk]
5 cups flour
2 cups chopped (drained/rinsed) sauerkraut [****I emailed the author (yes, she actually ANSWERS her mail - it's cool!) about this and she couldn't remember off the top of her head - I ended up using 2 cups of chopped, packed sauerkraut, but it might be 2 cups starting makes 1 cup finished....mine worked out, Joanne said someone else did it the other way and it worked as well, so go with your gut! Texture wise, I think one might be better.]

Prepare sauerkraut by rinsing it off with cold water under faucet and raining it in colander. Make sure to rinse well, this is important.

Beat the butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs and mix them in thoroughly.

Mix in vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Stir until well incorporated.

Add half buttermilk and half of the flour and beat until smooth. Repeat with rest of the buttermilk and flour.

Dump sauerkraut on a cutting boar and chop it finely or in food processor on pulse (Adam and I did the food processor - he likes buttons!). It is very important to get into very little pieces.

Measure sauerkraut, packing it down. Pat dry with paper towels and addd to cookie dough and stir thoroughly. [As I noted above, I did two packed cups....might only need one.]

Drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes [I also did this two at a time, 8 minutes, then switched top and bottom and did another 8 minutes]. Let sit for a minute then put on racks to cool.

Mocha Icing [I didn't make this as I don't think icing cookies is worth it and I don't like coffee]
1 cup softened butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2-6 tsp very strongly brewed coffee
3-3 ½ cups powdered sugar

Melt chocolate chips with 4 tsp of coffee in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and then if still lumpy, do 20 more seconds. Repeat until smooth. Cool to room temperature. Stir in butter until smooth.

Whisk in sugar and stir until mixture is of spreading consistency. If too thick, add more coffee, if too thin, add more sugar.

Frost, sprinkle with coconut before fully set if you desire.

Yield: 8 dozen cookies [okay, I only got 5 dozen, but I make big cookies]

Our Weekend

We had a pretty quiet weekend. Ray is still sick, so mainly we were trying to let him recuperate. We have been sick so much this winter...not fun! I know part of it is Adam's new finger sucking habit (and yes, we are trying to break it....but unlike the binky, we can't just take it away!) - he's picking up more germs and giving them to us.

Adam and I went out to Sam's Club on Saturday as Ray is, as usual, giving up pop for Lent and hence we needed juice. They, of course, didn't have what I wanted, but I did find some cool hot chocolate! Then I went to Michaels and had fun! Adam found some stickers for me, too, to scrapbook with - Micky and Manny! That boy adores his Mickey and all stickers!

Then, after nap, we went to dinner (Ray's choice) and then I made cookies (the much talked about sauerkraut coming with recipe).

I've been keeping up on Olympics - I'm mainly DVRing and then watching the next day, which is awesome - no commericals and I can skip what I don't like. One cool factoid from today - brothers who were competing for different countries in Nordic Combined! (Switzerland and Norway). I haven't watch pairs shorts yet - that's tomorrow! YEAH!!

Today, I went to Mass alone. Ray didn't want to spread his germs (that's why we didn't go last week - Adam and I were spreading Adam hadn't slept, hence no one had slept....), but with Lent coming up, I wanted to make it. Kind of nice to go alone and be able to concentrate on the service! I had to do a little shopping on the way home (needed OJ and milk mainly). Then, Adam and I made chicken noodle soup (best thing when you are sick!). I had office hours after that....Ray and Adam ended up going out for a bit as I had pictures to pick up at Wal-Mart and Ray wanted something (which I don't think he ended up getting) for his little men.

We are currently trying to figure out how to make Ash Wednesday (and yes, I know it isn't a holy day of obligation, but it is a good way to start Lent). Our big issue is that Wednesdays are bad days for Ray, so we are probably going in Kent (we go to church in Streetsboro) to make it easier on him BUT St. Patrick's in Kent doesn't have a website so I have to call tomorrow on Mass times. In my opinion, not having a website, in this day, is not acceptable, by the way - get with it St. Pat's!

Also, hopefully, tomorrow I'll get a dentist appointment set up - wish me luck! Well, I'm off to bed here in a few minutes (going to post my cookie recipe first). Long day tomorrow.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Adam ate this!

I'm excited - Adam ate this and didn't realize he was eating fruit! Yah! Score one for Mommy! Everyone (even Ray, despite thinking there was too much cinnamon) liked this - a great meal in my opinion! I froze the extras for future breakfasts.

Autumn Brunch Waffles
Modified from Bisquick Cookbook

2 1/4 cups Bisquick
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon [I like cinnamon, but Ray doesn' time I think I'm going to use pumpkin pie spice, which is a combination spice and so sits better wtih him.]
1 egg
1 cup finely chopped peeled, all-purpose apple [this was two small apples for me...they actually only used 1/2 cup of apples and honestly, I might even go higher in the future.]

Heat waffle iron and grease if necessary. Stir all ingredients but apples until blended. Then add in apples and mix. Pour batter into waffle iron. Repeat with remaining batter.

Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops [my waffle maker tells me when its done, so I didn't time it]. Remove from waffle iron and serve with syrup.

Cinnamon-Cider Syrup [I did not make this, I just used regular syrup - mainly because I knew Ray wouldn't like the cinnamon. In the future, I might try it, with pumpkin pie spice.]
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp Bisquick
1 tsp group cinnamon [or pumpkin pie spice]
2 cups apple cider
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup butter

Mix sugar, Bisquick and cinnamon in 2 quart saucepan. Stir in cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute, remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted.

Serves 6 (12 4-inch waffles).

Grandma and Grandpa

Grandpa and Grandma's anniversary was this week. Here are some pictures of them!
This picture by them BJ gave them for Christmas
I just sent this blanket for their anniversary

Skillet Tamale Pie

I made this awhile back, but noted some issues. I made this again this week, making some modifications and we are now happy, but make sure to read my notes on this recipe on my website (the link) to see how you want to try it out.

Ray likes just the base as a dip with chips so if you are looking for a fun appetizer, (I modified the recipe to be a dip) this could be it.

Dental Saga Con't

So last week I went in for what I was hoping would be my last dental appointment for awhile. Well, turned out our insurance was screwed up (again!). It was actually so messed up, they'd sent us cards for the wrong branch of the dental insurance as they had never input Ray's choices. Well, Wednesday was the appointment and so Ray called and thought it was fixed. So I called the place I thought was our dental insurance on Thursday to be told it still wasn't active. So Ray and I were talking - do we give them another day (thinking it might be processing time) or do we go in to the benefits office again? Well, as we are talking, Ray realizes the name was right. Well, he'd told me the name, but both being Delta, the specific branch hadn't registered with me (who does the paperwork). So back he goes and finally figures out that our dental cards were wrong and the paperwork was going through, just for a different place! So we decide to give it some time (hoping we'll get new cards in the mail quickly) and then call the new place, which his benefits office had given him a number for. So the plan was to call Wednesday, but by then I was so sick, I couldn't deal with it. So today I'm feeling better and called them. Well, they at least knew we had dental insurance and were able to get me logged in online so I could print off a temporary card. I also then asked about dentists and it looks like we can keep our old dentist, which is what we had thought originally (going on the original name, which was right after all). So I called them back, but they are closed today for whatever reason, so I left a message and hopefully will hear back on Monday. I plan to fax them my new information and let them check everything out first before I make an appointment as I don't want to get there and not get it done again. So that's where we are currently....what a mess!

On the least two of us!

Adam and I are mostly better. Ray is on his way down though. He managed to fight it a long time - long enough for me and Adam to recover, which makes a big difference. He also has the advantage of being about to take the "good" cold medicine!

Snowing again here - I'm sure all the shovelling he's been doing hasn't helped him either!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Judging Complaints...ALREADY?

We are already seeing judging complaints and it isn't even the Olympics yet! Seriously, no system is perfect and this one is now so complex it takes a mathematician to figure it out! The audience has no clue why the scores are the way they are and it pushes jumping over artistry. Ugh! So, of course, there are problems....just like there were with the last - almost too simple - system. Is there a perfect one out there? Probably not, so just live with it!

Reading List

Thought I'd post a few books I've finished recently (I had like 4 half finished and have been working on that pile!):
  • The Clockwork Teddy by John J. Lamb - this is in the teddy bears and was pretty good, but I'm sick of non-local settings. I like it when they stick with one group of characters/setting. I picked up two more (backlist) and they look to be local, so I'm looking forward to that.
  • The Saturaday book in the Ann Pursurer series - pretty good, but I have to say all the badger baiting stuff really wigged me out (and the sleuth thought it was bad as well - the bad guys were doing it).
  • Imposters at Blue Heron Lake - this is the last book in the three book series by Susan Page Davis and her daughter. I really enjoyed the first two and was looking forward to this. It has been put off several times - they ended up releasing them as one set, so I had to rebuy books 1 and 2 with this collection. That said, the plot was pretty easy (it was the "obvious" choice - the one with the bad past and prison record), but I enjoyed getting to finally see the conclusion.
  • While My Pretty One Knits by Anne Canadeo - this is a new author for me and a new series. I enjoyed it, we'll see how the next ones go as I think it can go either way. It is pretty solidly "typical," so it could easily fall off. I also don't like that the author - of a knitting series, no less - doesn't really seem to be a knitter. That tells me she's writing to an "audience" that she was told would sell well and could bode badly for the next books. In addition, this is a "large" paperback, which they overcharge for. I HATE that. All Christian fiction (which this isn't) does that, but I also understand they have market issues, but seriously guys - either go hardback or go pocket paperback! It also bugs me that all these "little" towns can support these small stores and big groups....doesn't ever work in real life!

Okay, I think that's it for now.

Adam Update

Adam slept better last night and is sleeping well right now for nap (knock on wood). He seems (again knock on wood) to be over most of it. Hopefully I will soon be as well. And I really hope Ray doesn't get it....but I don't have much hope there.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New Rule: Mommies can't be sick!

Both Adam and I are still sick. He's miserable, I'm miserable and no one is sleeping well, which means Ray will be sick soon. Not good at all!

We got more snow today, we are supposed to get more tomorrow. We'll see if that means we get out of anything or not.

That's about it from here - I want us to be well! I swear we've been sick so much this year! It seems either Adam or I is always sick. Some of it is the habit of sucking his fingers that Adam has picked up - I think he's getting sick that way. But in any case, not a good winter for us health-wise!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Our Big Snow

We got about a foot and half of snow Friday night. So when we got up Saturday morning, it took Ray quite awhile to find our driveway! I was supposed to go into the First Ladies' Library to give tours, but they were closed (Canton got even more snow than we did). We also canceled the kitty's vet appointment and rescheduled for next weekend. Adam went out the last time Ray shovelled to "help."
Walking in the snow - he insisted on taking his milk cup out with him!
Helping Daddy!

Making snow castles

Going to visit Daddy

More snow castles

Adam's New Haircut

Adam got a new haircut on Friday. He, of course, hated the process, but it did get rid of a lot of hair. We actually took him to a salon this time - still hated it. This was the best I could do, picture wise for now. He inserted himself in here for some reason! He did manage to get out on his own, though!

Adam's Cold

Adam still is coughing and not doing the best, but he's at least getting some sleep (an improvement!). While he was coughing last night, it was light enough, he could stay asleep most of the night. This definitely helped us all. Today he's mostly been cranky on and off and still coughing/running nose. He's also off his food a bit - we don't like to eat when we are sick either. I've actually had to resort to baby food a time or two (which we pretty much don't use anymore), just to get him to eat something. Right now he's actually quite happy with plain baked chicken. I put ours into wild rice soup, he' s eating his plain.

Since he's sick and not feeling like doing much, I've actually been letting him watch cartoons most of the day (which I usually try to limit) and his new obsession is Tom and Jerry! I actually put it on just for something earlier today (he's seen it before) and then later he was asking for "cat" and giving me the button. He wanted more! Good thing we have it on DVD! It is the historic collection....did you know there were some racist stereotypes portrayed in it? They, of course, had to warn us about in case we were crazy enough to think these things were appropriate. I find it amusing they have to "warn" us about old children's cartoons - they just aren't PC enough anymore! I certainly get that you have to watch little kids - who are learning things like this - on things like ethnic/racial slurs found in early cartoons, but the Acme Hammer is not something to worry about!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Poor sick Adam

Adam has a cold and so he's not sleeping....which means we aren't either! Adam was up and down all last night and hasn't really napped in two days. This means he's cranky because he's tired when he's up. The issue has been he's coughing and so he's finding it hard to stay asleep. Poor baby! I also think I might be getting - never good!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Dental Story con't

So this morning I try to call the new dental insurance again, but they are still saying we don't exist in their system. So I talk to Ray on if we want to give it a day or so or call his benefits office again today. Well, we get to talking and he's looking at his records - its the wrong company. They had the stuff so screwed up that we got the wrong cards! So now that it is fixed, we have a different company! AGH!! So we should be getting new cards next week, then I have to find a dentist and try this all again......

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Potty Training Update

Still not really going anywhere. Adam is just not interested. So we bought a Sesame Street potty seat for the big potty. Adam loves it, just not on the potty! The other day, I'm trying to go in peace and he keeps wanting me to get up and use his potty seat! Or he carts it around (yuck in my mind!) the house! Seriously, that kid is weird!

January was bad, will February be better?

Well, so far, not really....but I can hope! January was not a good month for us. While we had a blast in Hawaii, being gone at the beginning of the semester put us behind at the beginning. Then we got back, ran like heck to catch up and when it finally seemed like we might....yep, I got sick and Adam has been sleeping poorly. So this week, the beginning of February was going to be better. Well, we are sleeping somewhat better and I'm not sick (knock on wood), but now we have this insurance mess! I'm just trying to get CAUGHT UP!!!! AGH!!

Pork Chops with Beer and Bacon Gravy

I saw this on Rachael Ray a week or so ago and for whatever reason decided I wanted to try it even though I'm not a beer person. I do like beer in things, though, so I figured let's try it. And Ray loves pork chops and I find them bland so like sweet sauces on them, which aren't completely his thing. So I thought this might be a nice compromise. It wasn't bad and pretty easy to make, but I have to say, I wasn't impressed. I thought it was too bitter (for me) and Ray didn't feel that it really added any flavor. So I'm not putting it on my recipe website, but I thought I'd post it here as for anyone who really likes beer, you might like this. And, hey it is easy to make, always a plus.

Pork Chops with Beer and Bacon Gravy
Modified from Rachael Ray's 30 Minutes Meals

4 bone-in pork chops, about an inch [I used boneless as that's what was in my freezer]
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil, plus a little extra
2 thick cut slices of deli smoked bacon [I used four slices of normal bacon - again what was in my freezer]
1 medium onion, diced
1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 bottle amber to dark German beer [I used an amber lager and I used Great Lakes Brewery beer as that is local (made in Cleveland) and I like supporting local.]
1/2 cup stock [I used a bouillon cube]
Chopped parsley, for garnish [I did use as I have my fresh garden]

Season the chops liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil smokes, add the chops and cook, turning once, until caramelized and the meat is just turning firm, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a platter and cover with foil, reserve.

Add a drizzle more oil to the pan, add bacon and brown for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the onions and saute over medium heat with the bacon until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, stir for 1 minute, then add the beer. Cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes more, then whisk in the stock. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Pour the gravy over the chops, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Crockpot Fried Rice

This actually was very easy and Ray really enjoyed it. I've tried several fried recipe recipes and never have been happy with any of them, but this was pretty decent. Still if I want good fried rice I have to order it, which drives me nuts. But still, this is good - not sure if I'd call it fried rice, but it is darned good and a great leftover use up.

Crockpot Fried Rice
Modified from A Year of Slow Cooking [Christine turned me on to this site awhile back and what I really like about it is that she did this for a year straight so really did some experimenting with more than main dish soups/stews. She literally tried just about everything you can do in a crockpot and I like that diversity.]

2 cups leftover rice [I used extra from Chinese we'd ordered - silly huh?]
3 tbsp butter
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup of whatever frozen or fresh vegetables you have on hand. [I used red peppers and green beans, both frozen as I freeze peppers when they are in season]
leftover meat [I used the leftover herb chicken]
1 egg
sesame seeds [optional, but I used them]

Sitck everything into a crockpot. Mix it around, and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for 3-4 [I used low]. You are only heating everything up and cooking the egg.

I will say that I'm not a big fan of "short" crock pot recipes. For a side dish, okay, as often you want to free up your oven for later, but what I like is to turn it on and leave when you are going to be gone all day and then come home to a good meal. So this is rather short for me, but with leftovers, it is a quick throw together.

Florentine Meatballs

I made these awhile back for Adam and did eat them somewhat, but they show too much green for him so you'll note what I plan to do when I try them again to fix that. He's not a sauce kid - he likes everything separate. As adults, the sauce is nice (otherwise they are pretty dry). Otherwise the sauce could cover everything up for you if your kids like sauces.

Florentine Meatballs
Modified from Rachael Ray's 30 Minutes Meals

1 box frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave [I only plan on using 1/2 of a box next time as this was too much green that Adam could see!]
1 1/3 pound (1 package) ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups milk, divided
3/4 cup bread crumbs, 3 handfuls
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Coarse salt and black pepper
oil, for drizzling
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock [I used bouillon cubes]
1 (10-ounce) sack shredded provolone or blend of Italian cheeses, available on dairy aisle [I used Italian cheese blend]
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wring defrosted spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel. Place turkey in a bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Add the spinach, all but 3 tablespoons of the onion, all of the garlic, 1 large egg, about 1/4 cup milk, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into 12 large balls and drizzle with oil. Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

While balls are in the oven, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Melt butter, add remaining finely chopped onion and cook 2 minutes then whisk in flour. Cook flour 1 minute, then whisk in 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup stock. Bring liquid up to a boil then stir in shredded provolone or blended Italian cheeses. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, turn heat to lowest setting.

Place 3 balls on dinner plates and top with sauce.

Serves 4 adults.

The Root Canal Saga Continued.....

Yes, seriously still not done. AGHH!! So today I had an appointment to get the cap on -which should be the last step. Well, Ray's employer changed dental provides Jan. 1. BUT we did all the calling and supposedly we were still okay to use our old dentist - which is what we wanted. So off I go today, which means Ray has to take some sick leave to watch Adam, etc., etc. - in other words, we have to rearrange our lives. So I get there and hand over my new card and they start calling (typical) and eventually tell me that:
  1. This insurance says we don't have insurance with them
  2. They don't take this particular off brand (typical of Ray's employee to have weird insurance) of Delta.

Now I really like our old dentist and I don't blame them - they did everything right, but I do blame Ray's employer. This is the second time in a couple of months that they shut off our insurance for no reason (and yes, it was ALL of it, not just dental). In addition, when Ray talked to them, turns out they had a bunch of stuff screwed up! So hopefully this is getting all fixed and then tomorrow I get to call the new insurance (who we'd already called once!) and see where I can go so I can get this blasted stuff done!!! I detest insurance companies. They are parasites on society, in my opinion! They have created this cycle that means higher costs and paperwork to the sky as their entire purpose in life is to never pay for anything.

This also is very aggravating because I'm pregnant - last week we almost ended up in ER - this is not a good time for our insurance to be hassled with!