Friday, January 30, 2009

Yes, I'm still sick & Lime Broccoli Rotini Chicken

Remember how I said that I got sick when O made mac n' cheese last week. Wow, did I ever get sick. The yuck turned into a lung infection & double ear infection. I won't go into details how mac n' cheese can cause these things to happen, I'm sure if you really want to figure it out you can use your imagination. Needless to say, a course of Zithromax later & I'm on the road to recovery.

This has however meant a more aggressive approach will be taken with my new-found allergy. I see the specialist at Asthma & Allergy Assoc. on Tuesday. It will be another 3-4 hour day of pin-cushioning. Hooray for easy mindless sock knitting.

The knee isn't a happy tale either. I'm mostly not using crutches anymore, although with Wednesday's latest ice storm I'm not really going outside the house anymore either. If the knee is not back to 100% on Tuesday then I have to go to the ortho doc. Booooooo. I have a feeling that it's inevitable. Again, I say, Booooooooo.

Tonight's dinner, was a goodie. I did not get a picture, although I might try when Sparky gets home and warms a plate.

For those of you who don't know, I am the Princess of Semi-homemade. Of course, Sandra Lee is the Queen, but I was doing semi-homemade while she was still playing with curtains. Given my current knee issues, I'm all about super fast & easy in the kitchen, especially since I'm doing the no dairy thing and almost all carryout around here is either pizza or subs. Tonight's dinner features one of my favorites, Knorr Sides Plus Veggies (2 full servings of veggies per plateful!)

Lime Broccoli Rotini with Chicken

2 packs Knorr Roasted Garlic, Olive Oil & Broccoli Rotini
1 can white meat chicken (the big can)
1 T. margarine
2 T. lime juice

Make the rotini following the package directions, omitting the olive oil. Meanwhile, smash up the canned chicken (I'll share my favorite tool for doing that in my next blog post). When the rotini is finished cooking, remove from heat, add the margarine, the chicken and the lime juice. Serves 4.

That's it! How simple is that. I substitute the margarine for the olive oil to give it a bit creamier texture. It would be sensational with some Parmesean cheese, but yeah, whatever.


Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Random Things, a Mac & Cheese Review & tonight's recipe!

From my facebook friends,

25 Random Things

1. I'm much quieter then most people realize
2. I love white wine
3. Telephone calls annoy me
4. I tend to over-commit
5. I try to live by the philosophy that it's okay to regret the things that I have done, but it's better to do them and regret them then to regret never doing them at all. Most of my biggest regrets in life are things that I didn't have the courage to try to do in the first place.
6. I miss my Reenie
7. I am a whiz at all sorts of puzzles
8. I can wiggle my ears
9. I love grape soda but hate grape jelly or grape flavored candy
10. I hate anything remotely resembling maple syrup
11. I've been to Walt Disney World 14 times
12. I got married on the beach in the Caribbean
13. I spend a large portion of my waking existence worrying about my 3 sons
14. My 85 year old grandmother is my best friend
15. I can read upside down
16. I love twizzlers
17. My eyes are a weird green/grey/gold color
18. I have almost maxed out my plurk karma
19. If I could, I would go get a degree in Fine Art or Art History
20. My vision is 20/200 without glasses
21. My family probably wants to strangle me every time I say, "Everything happens for a reason."
22. One time I traded my roommate for a Harley
23. I didn't meet my brother until I was 24 but he has become one of the most important people in my life
24. God blessed me with a pseudo-daughter, Randi in addition to my three sons, Orin, Alex & Jay. You should all be so lucky to have your kids grow up to be the amazing people that mine have turned into.
25. I can't think about life more then about six months in the future or I get too scared. Except for that beach house that I'm going to retire to on the Yucatan. That I can think about.

Now, for the Mac & Cheese review. It was good, but given my new milk allergy, I could only eat a few bites. I still managed to get sick, but whatever. In retrospect, we would split the sharp cheddar evenly with some velveeta. The flavor was great, but the consistency left something to be desired. Yay to O for doing the cooking on this one. He did a great job.

Tonight, we present...

Chicken Piccata with Artichoke

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter (or margarine, in my case)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoon drained capers
6-8 marinated artichoke hearts
2 roma tomatoes

1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in shallow pie plate. Reserve 1 tablespoon of flour mixture.
2. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap. Using flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness. Coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
3. Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook chicken 4 to 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center. Transfer to serving platter and cover loosely with foil.
4. Add garlic & artichoke to same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 1 minute. Add reserved flour mixture; cook and stir 1 minute. Add broth, wine and lemon juice; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens. Stir in parsley, tomatoes and capers; spoon sauce over chicken.

Serve over rice.

Sorry the pic's not the best, I still can't find my camera charger, so you are still suffering cell phone pics. But the food was DIVINE. Try this recipe, trust me, you won't regret it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

MCLs and Mac N Cheese

So I slipped on the ice this week. The ice and I had a difference of opinion as to which way my leg from the knee down should point. The ice won and I have a strained MCL, the ligament that runs on the inside of your knee. Right now I am doing the elevation, ice, anti-inflammatories, tylenol, crutches and staying off of it as much as possible. O is home, helping with the beastie an generally taking care of me. For the record, I do not make a very good patient.

So yeah, O is taking care of me. Meaning O lives here now. Things didn't work out with him and his girlfriend. We are sad because we all loved her, but we are so thankful they figured it out at 20 instead of 30 or 40. Like I always say, "everything for a reason" -- although I'm not sure that he particularly wants to hear that right now.

The good news is that O can cook. Tonight we are trying a new recipe, Crockpot Mac & Cheese:

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese

8 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
1 tall can Carnation milk
1 1/2 cups sweet milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups sharp cheese, grated
1/4 cup melted margarine
1 egg, beaten
black pepper
2 tablespoons margarine

Mix macaroni with milk, salt, cheese, melted margarine, egg and pepper to taste. Put in crockpot which has been greased with the 2 tablespoons of margarine. Cut thin slices of cheese and put on top. Cook 3 hours and 15 minutes on low.

I'll give you an update on that tomorrow. For now, I am trying to appreciate the newfound knitting time on my hands. I'm making good progress on the Feather n' Fan Organic wrap. I cannot wait until it is finished because I am quite sick of knitting it at this point. Hopefully by the end of the weekend it will be off the needles. Pics soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tonya Harris

As I sit and watch the beginnings of the inauguration, I cannot help but be filled with an enormous sense of pride in our nation. I remember growing up, my best friend was Tonya Harris. Tonya had a white mom & a black dad. She was an anomaly in my rural town and she marched to the beat of her own drum. The country boys I grew up with would tease her and make fun of her, most while privately lusting after her, although they would never, ever admit that publicly, least their daddies find out. The girls would shun her, ignore her, roll their eyes at her colorful outfits and her big slightly-gapped toothed grin. But they would secretly sneak peeks at her makeup bag to figure out what eyeshadow she was wearing and copy her perfume and sneaker choices. They would stare at her amazing legs, in the mini-skirts with the little anklet socks and pumps, all while jealously muttering "slut" under their breath. To me she was just my best friend. We laughed together, as junior high girls do, plotting how to make the boys crazy, how to avoid getting caught being naughty and deciding which was the best flavor of bon-bell lip gloss. We both lusted after Michael Jackson, we gave our PTO heart attacks when we did an aerobics routine to Rick James' "Superfreak" (complete with skimpy leotards -- we were straight out of 'Flashdance') at the 7th grade talent show and we collectively probably gave our mothers their first gray hairs with our antics.

She was my best friend and I loved her unconditionally. I never noticed her skin color. And considering I grew up in a relatively racist home, my parents took the friendship pretty well. But if you had asked us, in all of our 12-year-old wisdom if someone of Tonya's skin color would ever be president, we would have defiently answered "of course", while deep down inside privately wondering if that could ever possibly be true.

Eventually Tonya and I drifted apart. We weren't in any of the same classes, our houses were 12 miles apart and we didn't eat lunch together or ride the same bus. The summer between 8th grade and high school Tonya's family moved away. About 15 years later we touched base via the internet, but neither of us is very good at staying in contact.

Maybe now, with facebook, linked-in, myspace, et all, I can find her again. Maybe today would be the perfect day to do that. After all, today we are discovering anything is possible, regardless of the color of your skin, your age or your upbrining. Anything at all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

PB & Jay

This is what happens when Beastie & I both take a sick day, but he recovers waaaaaaay faster then I do....

Dontcha love that look, kinda like "What's the problem mom? I was hungry? You got an issue with that???"

Thanks OT who taught him how to unscrew lids -- thanks a lot!

Friday, January 09, 2009



Somewhere, somehow the cosmic forces that control what flows into my stash have decided that I am supposed to be knitting lace. How else could you explain the plethora of lace that has landed in my stash the last few weeks. Above is a skein of Suri Elegance by The Alpaca Yarn Company. This yarn is done in a dyelot that wasn't released to the public -- yet another perk of my job. It's a dreamy blend of lemon, peach & celery (which sounds gross when I say it like that, but you know what I mean). Beth found it in one of the bins and asked me if I wanted it -- well duh! No self respecting knitter/crocheter turns down free yarn. Ever.

Next comes a luscious skein of Fino in a mix of greens and greys that is just simply gorgeous. This one came from Sarah in my Not-So-Secret Santa Swap as part of the Harrisburg Sock Knitters group.

And finally, we have two skeins of mystery lace, also from the "Not-So-Secret" Santa Swap, from my friend Dee. The top one is a bluish-purple, a little thicker, more like malabrigo lace but still lace. The bottom one is a silver-blue ice kinda color, and I think it might have a smidge of alpaca in it. Not sure, but it's more then just wool I believe.

So, I have four new skeins of lace yarn, all calling my name to be made into something gorgeous. I don't even know where to begin! I'm open to suggestions, please feel free to comment me. Each skein is I'm guessing at least 800 yards.

Today's recipe is one I plan on trying tonight, it comes from Kraft Foods and usually theirs are pretty good, even if I occasionally have to add a bit of fresh garlic or basil to kick them up...

Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Pasta

Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Pasta

Prep Time:

10 min
Total Time:
25 min
4 servings, 1-3/4 cups each
What You Need
3 cups whole wheat farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
Make It

COOK pasta as directed on package.

MEANWHILE, cook chicken in large skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Add bacon, tomatoes, Neufchatel cheese, water and pepper; mix well. Cook 3 min. or until Neufchatel cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently.

DRAIN pasta; place in serving bowl. Add sauce; mix lightly. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

I'll update you & let you know my thoughts on it over the weekend.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

handspun crocheted cowl & rum balls

Believe it or not, this is occasionally a crafty-type blog. I mean it's also a frantic mom, recipe, autism, funny, bitching blog, but in theory, it was started as a crafty blog.

So often I make things & send them off in the world to their new homes and never even remember to share them with you. Bad blogger! My latest FO, which I say I am keeping for myself, but we will see how that actually goes, is my crocheted cowl made from my handspun yarn.

The yarn is a merino silk blend made from dyed fiber that I purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool 2007. It is a two ply, spun to a fingering weight. Unfortunately when I spun it, I didn't feel that it had enough twist in the ply, so I wouldn't send it off to the shop to be sold. But that didn't mean it would go to waste.

The pattern is the One Row Lace Cowl. It was a super simple and yet stunning pattern. I crocheted with a size G bamboo hook for a more open, lacy look. I actually enjoyed it so much I may make another one, although I'm the queen of hating to do something twice (hence my second sock syndrome).

Now, to prove that I can actually follow directions on occasion, I will post (as promised) my rum ball recipe.


2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. crushed nilla wafers
1 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts (and I do mean finely)
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. light corn syrup
3 T. light rum
3 T. water

Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Stir in wet ingredients until combined. In a shallow bowl pour a handful of powdered sugar. Take small spoonful of dough, drop into sugar and shape into ball, dusting with sugar to keep from making a huge sticky mess of yourself. Add more powdered sugar to bowl as needed. Refrigerate in tightly sealed container. Best if stored for 2 or 3 days before serving, but still yummy right away. Makes about 50 balls.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It's cold. Really cold. When it gets cold I have trouble focusing on much of anything other then how damn cold I am.

And when it gets icy like this I can only sit and wonder how long till my power goes out. As you may be able to tell, we live in a very rural area, at the top of a mountain-lette (bigger then a hill, but not quite pretentious enough to call itself a mountain).

This means we lose power with frightening regularity. I am equipped with candles, batteries, flashlights & a hand-crank radio. I even know where they are all located.

This also means Beastie's van drivers are terrified to come back the lane to bring him home. If Medium can drive back & forth in a PT Cruiser they should be able to suck it up and drive back the lane, but yeah, whatever.

However, it does make for some beautiful photos.