Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm such a sheep! Baa

This is pretty funny though!

Just a note, the site is getting a ton of traffic right now, so it may take a little time to load, and if you want to make your own elves, I'd suggest doing it late at night...Otherwise, give yourself lots of wait time.



Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kitchen "Camping"

Growing up, my family spent many a summer camping out at our 40-acre property. But this wasn't your "Go to a nice civilized campground, with showers & a play area for the kids, both just up the path" camping. This was "Becoming One with Nature" camping. Accommodations: A-frame cabin--basically a wooden tent. Electricity? No. Indoor plumbing? Can you say, Outhouse, baby! So when it was time to clean up the dishes after meals, my sister and I were often pulled from whatever we would have preferred to do, and recruited for dish drying duty.

Sunday, this all came rushing back, as our faithful dishwasher decided to up & die! Now I don't know about you, but I'll be the first to say I've been extremely spoiled by having a dishwasher. Yes, I can wash dishes by hand, but you can guarantee if I'm buying something, I make sure to check the label first to see if it's dishwasher safe, before I'll buy it.

So, when the dishwasher refused to drain, even after cleaning out the filters, and running it empty several times, my dear husband said, "We're going to have to call someone".

This is where things get interesting. We inherited this dishwasher when we bought my Grandma's house, so we didn't really have a choice in its selection. Some would say we're extremely lucky, since Grandma put in a very high-end dishwasher when she replaced her old one--a Swedish model called Asko. You can't beat it for noise level, and it does a really good job in cleaning the dishes.

However, try finding someone in the area that services Foreign Dishwashers! The first guys I called said, "We only do domestics. Call Standard TV & Appliance. They do foreign". I called Standard, and they said, "Oh, we only do Bosch. Call these guys." So I did, and they said, "Well, the earliest I can have someone out in your area is next Tuesday." NEXT TUESDAY???? She did say she'd put me on the "sooner than later" list, but I don't have much hope...

So last night, David & I tackled, by hand, the mountains of dishes that had piled up--now there's some bonding time :-) And until Tuesday, we'll either use paper & plastic or go out to eat! Just kidding--they're making some really hand-friendly dish detergent these days, aren't they?

The other thing we have to consider is the threshold dollar amount for repair--Is it worth it to repair an older dishwasher, especially one that we've heard can be really expensive to fix? Or do you watch the sales, and purchase a new one? Merry Christmas honey! Here's a new dishwasher...

So much fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pasta with Artichoke Garlic Cream Sauce

Today's Culinary Delight is another dish, like last week's scallops, that is not the healthiest, but is so yummy! I promise, the next installment will be something really nutritious, like SALAD! Enjoy!

And for those of you who are curious, Katie ;-), it also just happens to be what we had for dinner tonight...

Pasta with Artichoke Garlic Cream Sauce

The original recipe at Nola calls for the sauce served over Oysters, but as we don't have any in the house, and I do not like them, Sam-I-am, we used pasta instead :-)
Serves 4

2 Tbsp butter
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Tbsp white wine
2 cups Artichoke Hearts, drained, rinsed and chopped
1 Pint heavy cream
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes Hot sauce--can be adjusted to suit your tastes
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and Cayenne pepper to taste
Cooked pasta--any kind is fine

Sweat the onions and garlic in the butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce until mostly evaporated. Add the chopped artichoke hearts and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and reduce until slightly thickened; add the Parmesan cheese. Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt & cayenne, and serve over pasta.

So there you go. By the way, next Thursday, as you know, is Thanksgiving, so I will try to deliver that week's recipe on Wednesday instead--cross your fingers :0)

Happy eating everyone!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanks for the Memories or Please pass the Clutter?

As the weather starts to turn, I've found myself on a Decluttering Mission around my house. It's amazing how almost therapeutic it feels to see large stacks of "stuff" make their way to other homes (the trash, Goodwill, friends/family, etc.). And wow! I didn't realize this bedroom was so spacious!!!

So, the latest items to fall under my scope are my old journals from junior high/high school/college. Which got me to thinking: Is there any value to keeping these?

The FlyLady, who is both helpful and very inspirational, says, "All these things (old report cards, magazines you are saving just for one article, etc.) are doing, is creating more chaos and clutter. "

Without coming out and actually saying it, I think she's saying the chance that you will become famous, and people will be climbing over themselves just to get a hold of your old love notes, or swim trophies, is not real likely. So why let them take up your valuable space?

Well I tend to agree with this, for the most part, I'm finding myself having a very hard time tossing the journals. And what's really weird is that I've never considered myself to be "a journaler". So let me preface these particular journals by saying this: These were the ones my English teacher made me do. You know the ones: Fill 8 spiral notebook pages by the time she/he was to collect them, and you would get an "A" for that assignment. This meant some pages were: "3 sentences to go. Now 2 sentences to go" and the biggest handwriting you could get away with.

But in amongst these entries, are the soul-searching, gut-wrenching teenage angst of growing up: "He walked by my locker today, and SMILED!" or "I can't believe he likes that silly (insert 80s girl name here). Why can't he like me?" Or, "We had the best time over Christmas break. My whole family got together..." Or, "My grandma died today. I've never seen my Dad that upset." This is my take on life from 1983-1992.

How can I just toss this in the recycle bin? Granted these journals as a collected lot don't take up a lot of space, but for sheer "usefulness", they don't rank very high, and thus, FlyLady would say, "Out it goes!"

What do you guys think? Keep or toss?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Seared Scallops & Rice

Once again, it's Culinary Delight Thursday, and today's selection is so incredibly easy & absolutely delicious, you'll want to eat it every night :-)

Unfortunately, the cost of fresh seafood these days may warrant this being a "Special Occasion only" dish, or if you're like my dear friend,
Katie, you'll have to pass all together, due to a seafood allergy! But with that in mind, here you go:

Seared Scallops
Serves 4 (or 2 very hungry people!)


1 to 1 1/4 pounds sea scallops (approximately 16)
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Splash of white wine
Splash of lemon juice
cooked rice

Rinse scallops with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Note: if the market has not removed the small side muscle, be sure to do so before proceeding, as this part of the scallop is very tough.

Add the butter and oil to a 12 to 14 inch cast-iron pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the butter/oil begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they aren't touching each other.

Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center. Make sure not to overcook, as they can get rubbery very quickly.

Remove scallops from the pan. Add garlic, wine & lemon juice to pan, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. When about half of the liquid is evaporated, remove from heat. Drizzle sauce over scallops and serve immediately over cooked rice.

Enjoy, friends~

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Bug's Halloween

I know it's Thursday, and I promise the Culinary Delights post will come later in the day. But right now I wanted to share our Halloween 2007 with you.

Kyra is still at the age where Mommy gets to pick out her costume (probably the last year, I'm afraid), so when I saw this adorable Ladybug outfit at Target, I just had to get it. I was a little concerned about her leaving the antennae and wings on, but she did really well--Candy is a GREAT distraction :-)

And something that's quite rare in the Pacific NW, we had a beautiful evening for trick or treating! No rain, and not even cold--in fact we ended up carrying her coat because she didn't need it. Growing up, I can't tell you how many costume choices were dictated by, "How will this look UNDER a raincoat?"

Without further adieu, here are the pictures of the Cutest Ladybug ever--I'm not biased or anything :-)

Thank you, Grandma! Do I have to share?

Trying to avoid a sugar coma :-)