Friday, February 25, 2011

Last night

We went to see Jeff Dunham last night. The show opens with Trombone Guy. Oh My Gosh! It was hilarious. You can take a look at him in this video from America's Got Talent.

The show ran extremely late and we didn't get home until almost midnight. It was well worth the money and the lack of sleep though!

It is Friday, so lets take a look around at some other blogs!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rambling On

Has anyone noticed that it is the end of February already?  I feel like I just packed away all of my Christmas decorations!

Time has been going by so fast that I haven't even blogged anything for a week!  Sometimes life just gets away from me.

As a Christmas present, I had purchased Jeff Dunham tickets for Jeff and Kyle.  The show is tonight, and I only remembered it this past Sunday.  Thankfully it was this Sunday that I realized it and not next Sunday!  Done that before!

March is a busy month for us.  I think we have something going on every weekend, plus a cruise at the end of the month for our birthdays.  Just a quick 3 night to Cozumel.  We can only take little weekends away due to my husbands work schedule, and even then, only between the months of November to March.  I'm getting a little worried because it has gotten so hot here in Florida recently.  This has the potential to cause his schedule to be extended.  I'm hoping for one more blast of cold air from somewhere! 

Speaking of the weather, what the heck is going on with it?  We only had two seasons this year.  HOT and COLD.  Normally it gradually cools down in the late fall, winters are even cooler, then it gradually warms up in the spring and throws us into the heat of summer.  Not this time.  Last week we were in jackets, this week it has been in the mid 80's.  It is February and we had to turn our air conditioning on last night.  I'm not ready for those electric bills!

We had family pictures done at the end of January and I got the proofs this week.  All I can say is WOW!  They turned out fabulous, now to just make a decision.  Kyle looks like a man in all of these photos!  I will post them once they are completed!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recipe Review

For Valentine's Day dinner, I had decided to try my hand at Braised Short Ribs.  I had a recipe picked out and figured it would be as good of a day as any to test it on my family.  Then we ended up having friends coming for dinner as well.  I don't know about you, but the last thing I wanted was to test a completely new recipe out on friends!

I had everything purchased though, so Braised Short Ribs were still on my menu.  I just needed a recipe from a trusted source!  Who else other than The Pioneer Woman could fill that need?!  I just knew that she had to have made these at some point and placed it on her website.  So, I went digging around and sure enough, Bingo, Braised Short Ribs

One thing that I love about The Pioneer Woman's Cooking section has to be her photographs.  She shows a photo of every step, and her cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, is the same as well.  If you click on the short rib link above, you will understand what I mean, if you have been living under a rock somewhere and have no idea who The Pioneer Woman is.

So, with my laptop in hand in the kitchen, I set off to make my first ever batch of braised short ribs.
Well, let me back up just a step.  I knew I needed a larger dutch oven for this adventure.  My Le Creuset just wasn't large enough.  And since I'm not currently working, purchasing a larger Le Creuset was not going to happen.  I ventured off to Walmart and found this Better Homes and Gardens version.  I have used it a for a few other recipes and I am quite pleased with it!

The recipe has multiple steps that actually move rather quickly once you get started.  For that reason, I gathered, chopped, prepared and dredged everything before I was ready to cook.

Carrots and Onions, chopped

Sprinkle salt and pepper on ribs then dredge in flour

Slice up pancetta

Now I was ready to start cooking!

I added the pancetta to the pan to fry until it was crispy.  With these enamel dutch ovens, they heat quickly and my kitchen got quite smokey until I was able to get the heat regulated.  Medium worked just fine for me!

Once the pancetta is crispy, remove it from the pot, leaving the rendered fat that is left behind.  Add in some olive oil to the pan and add the ribs to brown them on all sides.  I worked in batches of 4 since I had 12 ribs that I was cooking and I didn't want to overcrowd the pan.

Okay, well this photo shows 3, I must have removed one before taking this photo.  You only need about a minute on each side.  Not really cooking them here, just browning to seal in the flavor.

Once all the ribs are done, place them aside and add carrots and onions to the pot.  Cook only for a few minutes.

I then added red wine to deglaze the pan.  Make sure you scrape around the bottom of the pan to get all of the good stuff.  I let this come to a boil and then added in beef stock.

After all liquid is in, place ribs back into the pot, put the lid on it and put it in the oven for an hour and a half at 350 degrees.  Then turn down to 325 degrees for another half hour.

I really wish they would create scratch and sniff computers.  I'm telling you these smelled fabulous!  The flour from the ribs allowed the liquid to thicken a bit, and the ribs just fell off the bone!

I made potatoes and broccoli to go along with it.  Then made up a huge thing of strawberry shortcake with homemade whip cream for dessert.  I'm still stuffed!

This meal was a huge success and I strongly urge you to visit The Pioneer Woman recipe page to take a gander at her photos.  They make mine look like a 4 yr old took them!

I found the recipe to be easy to follow and comprehend.  And the final result was super delicious.  I have made numerous recipes from both her website and her cookbook and haven't had anything bad yet!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cookbook Tuesday, Well Wednesday this week

Have you seen the T.V show on OWN called Anna & Kristina's Grocery Bag?  It has become a fixation for me.  I love the premise of the show.  I also love the fact that not everything they cook turns out FABULOUS!  Here's the deal, they choose recipes from a cookbook, cook them in a certain amount of time and then serve them to a chef.  Anna cracks me up because they constantly have to "bleep"  her.  Meaning she curses in the kitchen.  I feel normal when I watch these two.  Messes in the kitchen and everything. 

What I love about the show is that they are not trying to create their own recipes.  They use what is out there and let you know the results.  Not sure if you have noticed lately, but cookbooks are expensive.  Have you ever looked at a cookbook, bought it, got it home and never cooked anything out of it?  It is frustrating.  They also will take everyday kitchen items that you need to use for the recipe and test a few to let you know which ones are the best.  Some of these come in extremely handy, others, not so much.  Like the episode where they tested chopsticks.  Didn't understand that one!

Anyhoo, the point I'm trying to make here is that I love to cook.  And I typically can cook really well.  I have a few recipes that have been born out of  some section of my brain, that are actually good.  But mostly, I turn to cookbooks, online recipes and magazines for inspiration and information.  Anna and Kristina make me feel that it is okay for me NOT to be a chef and create my own recipes. 

So, with that being said, that is what Tuesdays will become.  Maybe Thursdays too.  We'll see.  I will take recipes out of varying cookbooks, make them and report here what I have uncovered.  I'm not promising miracles.  But I do hope to help the average person out there who wants to cook, discover the joys of cooking and that it isn't that difficult. 

(Ooh, Ooh, did anyone see the episode of America's Worst Cooks where the girl had to make poached eggs, so she cracked the egg and dropped the whole thing, shell and all into the water!  It made me laugh, it made me feel better about having to look up how to hard boil an egg a few years back!  I hate eggs, so I try very hard not to cook them!)

I have plenty of cookbooks here, but if there is a recipe you are interested in, let me know! Can be drink recipes as well.  I love making martini's and mixed drinks, so I'm always up for a challenge.  The first recipes will be posted here tomorrow.  I know tomorrow is Wednesday, but goodness gracious, how long do you want this post to be? 

See ya all tomorrow!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! 

My plans for this evening are simple.  I'm cooking dinner for my husband and my son.  What is on the menu? 

Braised Short Ribs in a Cabernet Sauce
Mashed Red Potatoes
Sauteed Broccoli
Fresh Berries and Cream

It is 6:30 in the morning and if you set that in front of me right now, I would be a happy person!  Make sure you come and visit tomorrow.  I will be sharing the recipes I used and you won't believe how simple the potatoes are! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I'm kind of shocked it's Wednesday already.  This week has been a blur.  And seeing as I wanted to get my soap shop cleaned up and organized this week, I'm running out of days to make that happen!

Oh, and does everyone realize Valentine's Day is on Monday?  Since we went away last weekend, I thought I would just plan a nice meal for the two men in my life.  Thinking possibly Filet Mignon, baked potatoes and a veggie.  Makes me hungry just thinking of it! 

What are your plans for Valentine's?  Anything special?  I would love to hear what everyone has planned or doesn't have planned!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kudos At Last!

I made dinner tonight, and this conversation happened because of it.

Kyle:  Please don't put mayonnaise in the potatoes anymore.

Me:  What??? There isn't any mayonnaise in the potatoes.  It is milk, cream, garlic, cheese, and flour.  I thought the potatoes and the chicken were really good.

Jeff:  Hell yeah! 

Me:  What did you just say?

Jeff:  Who, me?

Me:  Yes, did you just compliment a meal I made?

Jeff:  Hell yeah!

Okay, now let me explain my excitement.  My husband eats everything I cook.  I know the few items he doesn't like, peppers or anything spicy, so I always keep them out.  He eats, puts his dish away and not much else.  The only time I know he doesn't like anything is when I'm asked "will this be going into the rotation?"  I then know to shelf the recipe for another time.  A LONG time.

So, to actually receive a compliment is a HUGE thing.  He eats because he knows if he comments at all, I won't cook anymore.  I want to know if he doesn't like something, it helps me alter recipes and make them better, but the criticism has to be worded properly.  I would never serve anything I wouldn't actually eat myself.  Problem is, I was raised to eat just about anything!  Rabbit, lamb, oysters, calamari, etc.  My husband, was not raised this way.  His palette has grown leaps and bounds over the last 11 years!  I know if he doesn't say anything he actually likes it.  But a compliment, WOW.  Actually, I guess that would be a HELL YEAH!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Weekend Blog Hops

Today we are off to Universal Studios.  Since I don't have time to chat, please take the time to look at a few of the Blog Hops for this weekend!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Anniversary, Valentine's Day and Birthday All In One

This was what my husband bought me for our Anniversary, Valentine's and my Birthday.  Since they all happen within a month of one another, he is able to buy one gift and get away with it.  Especially when the gift is as nice as this one. 

The photo above doesn't do the ring justice. It is actually very dainty.  It was a sign that it was supposed to be mine when I put it on and it didn't need to be sized. 

And then, one more surprise.

The final charm for my Pandora bracelet.  I had one spot left and Jeff got me this to fill the spot.  Seems fitting for this time of year. 

Every now and then Jeff spoils me.  I can't deny it, and I won't ever complain about it! 

Where Am I?

Jeff and I arrived at Fort Wilderness Wednesday evening for a long weekend away.  We had plans to see Universal Studios, relax and enjoy some time together. 

What have we done so far?  Well, I've slept my time away is what I have done.  Jeff and Kyle were both sick, and of course I was last to come down with it.  We drove up Wednesday, I slept the drive up.  We arrived, hooked up, walked to dinner and then came back to the camper and I went to bed. 

I awoke Thursday to feeling worse than ever.  I got up, took some medicine and went back to bed.  I finally climbed out of bed at 4 p.m. knowing Jeff was going to want some food.  I figured the least I could do was cook some dinner.  Luckily I mentioned the grill and asked if we had propane.  Jeff went out and checked, and nope, no gas.

So, I took a shower and out we went for dinner.  I'm really roughing it out here!

Today, I feel better.  Decided I needed to obtain internet access so I could feel connected, again, roughing it.  However, in the process of trying to get the internet hooked up, it messed up the TV in the living room.  After two hours, two phone calls to the help desk, and finally a repairman showing up at the camper, we finally had internet and TV. 

I'm headed in now to take another nap.  We have dinner reservations for this evening at the California Grill which is one of my favorite spots.  The last time we were there was almost 3 years ago.  You get great food, great service and you can see the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. 

So, I'm going to continue to rough it out here and go climb into my comfy bed with the airconditioner on and take a nap!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my Hubby!  It is hard to believe that it has been 3 years today that you and I took the big step, and 11 years since we met! 

I looked up what our traditional anniversary gift is and for year 3 it is leather.  For example, I could buy you a leather chair.  Or you could get me luggage.  Really?  Leather luggage?  No thanks.

One of the modern leather options is leather clothing.  At this point I have to ask, WHO THE HECK THOUGHT THIS STUFF UP?  Leather clothing?  I'm not sure it is politically correct to give someone leather any longer.  Let alone give someone a leather chair or luggage for their anniversary.

Instead, I will just let my Hubby know how much I love him.  He works his hardest to allow Kyle and I the best life that he can give us.  We have our moments, but who doesn't?  And it only makes me love him more!

Here is to looking to year number 4!  We can buy one another fruit and flowers or the alternate for next year is appliances!  I'm warning every husband out there right now, DO NOT buy your wife an appliance.  Of any sort for your anniversary!  Even when she asks for an appliance, buy her something small and nice for your anniversary and give her the appliance the next day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

For the first time ever, Jeff got sick before Kyle or myself.  Usually, Kyle brings it home, I adopt it and then pass it on to Jeff.  This time, it was reversed. 

We were able to make it through family portraits on Sunday.  At that point, Jeff was really the only one not feeling well.  I could tell it was coming, but still felt alright.  As of yesterday, I have it and Kyle came home from school sick. 

Never fails, Jeff and I leave tomorrow for a long weekend away to celebrate our anniversary.  It takes me a LONG time to get over being sick.  And I can't stand to be sick and not be home.  I'm really hoping that the majority of this will be over by tomorrow.  Here's to wishful thinking!

Like I said, we did make it through family portraits by Jennifer Mauren Photography.  You have to check out her blog.  It was wonderful to work with her and her pictures of babies are just adorable.  Almost makes me want to have another baby so that she can document it.  But, seeing as almost was over about ten years ago, I will let this feeling pass.  I can't wait to see how our pictures turn out. 

On a final note, if you live in the Midwest or Northern states, please stay safe and warm.  Not to make you jealous or anything, but it is supposed to be 78 degrees here today!