August 31, 2009

Tuesdays At The Table - Chicken Cordon Bleu

Welcome to September! I can't believe how fast the summer went by...

Now that the lazy days of summer are behind us (OK, realistically - we're still in for some pretty great weather), the kiddos are going back to school, and the oven can go on again - it can mean some heartier food.

One of my fall and winter favorites is Chicken Cordon Bleu. So easy! Deceptively easy! :-)

Remember to drop by and say "Hi" to Andrea!


Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
3-4 tablespoons of butter

Pound out chicken breast until it's about a half inch think all around. Place a slice of cheese and ham into the center, leaving a half inch border. Fold (or roll) the chicken until all internal contents are hidden. Secure edges tightly with toothpicks to minimize oozing. Combine flour and paprika, then dredge each chicken breast. Shake off excess flour.

Heat a skillet to medium and melt butter. Cook each side of the chicken for 3-5 minutes then transfer to a baking pan and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

I know you're asking yourself why you do both stove top and oven cooking. Maybe you prefer not to...and that's fine! I like the outside of the chicken to firm up; it reduces oozing while baking and gives the chicken a little more crunch. :-)

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

August 30, 2009

Musical Monday - Life Is Beautiful

Happy Monday, my lovelies! After a long week (I worked 63 hours...ICK!), I happily stayed in the house and enjoyed the windy, rainy remnants of Tropical Storm Bill.

I watched some of the coverage of Ted Kennedy's burial, etc... He's such a political icon, especially if you're from the fabulous state (if I do say so myself) of Massachusetts. However, 14 and a half straight hours of Teddy's life was just a little over the top for my taste.

I'm much coverage was he given in other parts of the country?

I heard the following song during the trailer for "My Sister's Keeper", and just loved it. I've never heard of this group before, but am going to keep an ear out for them now. :-)

Have a fabulous day!

August 28, 2009

We Have A Wiener ...Or, Um Winner of the 100th Follower Giveaway

Thank you all so much for all your comments, give away entries and for sharing some of your favorite quotes. You are all awesome!

A huge WELCOME to my new followers! I've already swung by to visit some of you...and I'll be by to check in on the rest of you real soon (probably this weekend if we really get the rain from Tropical Storm Bill that is predicted).

There's not a darn thing I can do about it; but it would be nice if you all didn't disappear until my next giveaway...mmmkay?

And, without further ado:

The winner is CASEY!! Congrats, my dear! When you have a minute, just email me your address.

Don't worry gang, there will be another giveaway soon. Promise!

August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...

I wish I was at home cuddling them instead of here at work.

August 24, 2009

Tuesdays At The Table - Confetti Barley Salad

Welcome to another yummy Tuesday, gang! I've been trying a lot of your recipes lately and want to (again) thank you for all the great stuff that you continue to contribute to Andrea's weekly meme. :-)

We've had a few new people join us in the last few weeks; WELCOME! Please share your favorite recipes and/or food tips, then link up and visit all the other contributors. I want everyone to have as much fun as possible and perhaps get a few new followers!


This week I decided to share something healthy since the past few weeks (or, um, month have been junk food).

Confetti Barley Salad

4 cups water
1 cup dry pearl barley
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves (or 2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary)
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups diced peppers (red, yellow or green)
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup sliced pitted olives (optional)

Rosemary, orange peel and tomato slices to garnish.

In a saucepan (3 quart or so), bring water and barley to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes (when barley gets tender). Drain and cool.

In a small bowl, whisk mustard, oil, vinegar, parsley rosemary, orange peel and sugar until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine barley, bell peppers, green onions and olives. Stir in mustard dressing and toss to coat well. Garnish and serve. (This tastes best when it's been refrigerated for a few hours to absorb all flavors.)

What's cooking in your kitchen?

August 23, 2009

Musical Monday - Weather With You

Ah, it's been another wonderful summer weekend. Bright and sunny; hot and humid; fun-filled! Fine, I admit I don't like humidity...but otherwise; a gorgeous weekend!

I hope you all had fabulous weekends too!! :-)

This weekend I did all my usual errands, plus a field trip to the airport and Billy's 6th birthday party. The trip to the airport was to get my grandmother who was coming back from Cincinnati. The airport always has such energy, that I can't help but be happy when I'm there. I really had the urge to just jump on a plane and go. Anybody else have wanderlust or the urge to just get up and go? Somewhere...anywhere?!

Billy's birthday was great! I can't say enough how lucky Kirstren is to have this little boy as her son. He's AWESOME! Below is a picture of the cake she made. Didn't she do a great job?

Crowded House must be making another comeback. I heard this song twice in UK based concerts in the past few days (Isle of Wight and Glastonbury Festival...both in Scotland).

How was your weekend?

P.S. Did you remember to enter my giveaway?

August 22, 2009

Coming Soon - A Product Review

I've never done a product review, and am so excited that Living Rooms Direct contacted me to do one on kitchen furniture (and accents)!

There's a first time for everything and this site has some amazing things. I know what you're thinking. Wait, if this place is called Living Rooms Direct - how did you get asked to review kitchen accents? You know, I don't understand the full progression & understand that it links to Kitchen Accents Direct... am really happy they asked me. Everything on their site looks so great.

What will I review? I don't know. There are a few things that really interested me, but I asked to be surprised.
When will I do the review? I'm not sure. It depends on what they send me and when it arrives.
Do I promise to be honest? YES!! I will tell you all the good, the bad and the ugly. (I'm really hoping that nothing classifies as bad or ugly though.)

I leave you with a few things that I saw and loved....

I can't wait to see what they send me!!

August 18, 2009

Followers, Follower, Followers... Oh My! (A Giveaway)

When I wasn't paying attention - I somehow got 100 followers. You are all fabulous, and I decided that I should have a giveaway to celebrate! Many thanks to those of you that not only read, but comment on my posts. Let me also encourage any blog stalkers to come out of hiding now. :-)
While I'm at it, let me share that I won Kathie's 100th follower giveaway! She is awesome and I feel so honored to have won "Your the Balm" lip balm and Strawberry Angel cupcake soap. Both items are from Margarita Bloom and smell heavenly!

What can YOU win, you ask? Vanna, show them the giveaway booty....

A quick reference deck of summer cocktails. Drink up and enjoy long after summer is over!

It's just not a giveaway if I don't include something from Burt's Bees.

A pretty green journal with Queen Anne's Lace pattern...

...and its matching pen.

A cute notepad that you probably can't read (sorry!). It says "She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a cute pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things."

The opportunity to wash away your sins in one handy pak! (No, I'm not mocking religion; I just thought it was cute!)

A magnet with one of my favorite quotes.

My standard giveaway rules apply with one little twist.

You get ONE entry for commenting.
You get ONE entry for following me.
You get ONE entry for blogging about my giveaway or putting it on your sidebar.

There are two ways to get super special bonus entries: A. If a commenter tells me that YOU sent them to me! or B. You share with the group YOUR favorite quote! (It can be about love, life, work...ANYTHING! A big hug for Jane, from whom I stole...or um, borrowed this idea.)

All entries must be in by midnight EST on Wednesday, August 26th. A winner will be announced on Thursday (or very soon thereafter).

August 17, 2009

Tuesdays At The Table - Peanut Butter & Butter Scotch Rice Crispy Treats

Howdy, ladies! I hope you all had fabulous weekends. It is hazy, hot & humid here in the Northeast for the better part of the last week... ICK! It almost makes me want fall to come breezing in. Almost!


This week I'm sharing one of my "go-to" recipes. You all have them; that thing that you've made so many times that making it is just second nature. One of those recipes for me is peanut butter and butter scotch rice crispy treats; so quick and so easy. Just thinking about them makes me hungry!

Peanut Butter & Butter Scotch Rice Crispy Treats

1 package Butter Scotch chips (11 oz)
1 HEAPING cup of peanut butter (your choice of smooth or chunky; just don't do low fat - TRUST ME!)
6 cups of rice crispies

In a microwave safe bowl, slowly melt the butter scotch chips. Once melted and all lumps are gone, mix in your peanut butter. Gradually add the rice crispy treats and mix until all rice crispies are evenly coated. Use Pam or butter to lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan. Turn mixture into pan and refrigerate for a few hours or until the bars are set (HINT: The glossy texture of wet chips/peanut butter will turn matte.). Cut and serve.

I suggest keeping these refrigerated when not serving, as they melt pretty quickly in the summer heat. :-)

What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

Andrea has been getting her toes wet in the bloggy world again; drop by and say "HI!".

August 16, 2009

Musical Monday - A Punk (Vampire Weekend)

Happy Monday, ladies! It's been a great (but H.O.T) weekend!

I started my Saturday by visiting my hairdresser and getting a trim & highlight. I just love it when someone plays with my hair! The highlight of Sunday was going to the beach with Kirstren and her son. I didn't get burned (ok..maybe a little pink in a few spots) this time. Way to go SPF 70!

The theme of my weekend was vampires.

I read 2 and a half Sookie Stackhouse (aka Charlaine Harris' "Dead" series) books.....

Ordered Tru Blood from the HBO website as a little gift to myself and Kirstren.....

Am super excited about the new episode of True Blood...

and I'm sharing a song from Vampire Weekend with you now.

What did you do this weekend? Any other True Blood fans out there?

August 15, 2009

An Office Invasion

I mentioned before that my building at work has been invaded with these teeny, tiny fruit-fly like things. At this point we are pretty sure that they are actually fungus flies.

Unfortunately - that hasn't made building management do anything to get rid of them. Instead, we spend all day looking like idiots trying to swat away or kill these stupid things.

I had an epiphany. (I know; soooo unexpected!) There's a way to get rid of these little suckers and have fun doing it....kinda.

This swatter uses 2 "D" batteries and zaps flies, mosquitoes, etc with 1500 volts. It says that there is no messy clean-up, but then state that the offending winged creature "explodes". I, for one, think that just might create a mess.

Do you have one of these? If so, I want to hear all about it before I buy them for everyone in my department!

And, yes, I'm shocked at myself that I'm actually doing a post on insects. Sigh.

August 10, 2009

Tuesdays At The Table - Hazelnut & Chocolate Chip Brownies

Happy Tuesday! It's just another yummy day in the bloggy neighborhood! (Crud, now I have Mr. Roger's theme song running through my head...hahaha)

Andrea posted today! Please swing on by and wish her well as she gets through her first trimester. :-)


This is my brownie recipe. I've got nothing against the box fact, I use it from time to time too... but these brownies went quick at Kirstren's cook-out. The best part of this is that you can mix in anything you want!

Hazelnut & Chocolate Chip Brownies

1 cup margarine or butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour or unbleached flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces chocolate chips (dark, semi-sweet, milk)
1 cup nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch pan. In medium saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs; blend well. Stir in flour, cocoa and salt; mix well. Add chocolate and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool and cut into bars.


What's cooking in your kitchen?

August 09, 2009

Musical Monday - That's Not My Name

Happy Monday gang! It was a busy, but great weekend. :-) I hope you all relaxed and had some fun.

Saturday morning I picked up my car after it "visited" two mechanics in the past 4 days. You see, Tuesday I left work and noticed that my car was lop-sided. Flat tire...GRR!

I called AAA and they came (promptly too; score!). It was all good until I was half-way home and my "check engine" light came on.

Wednesday morning I called and brought my car to my regular mechanic (and when I say regular - I mean he's seen the two cars I have had in my life). He was nice enough to call before he started work and the conversation went a little like this...

Sarkis (yes, his name really is Sarkis): We have a good news/bad news situation.
Me: Good news first, please.
Sarkis: Well, you didn't have a tire blow out on the highway.
Me: Urg...huh?!?!
Sarkis: Well, you ran over a nail which gave you a flat tire. Then one of your other tires has stress cracks in it. You need to replace two tires.
Me: Um, OK. So, that wasn't too bad. No more bad news, right?
Sarkis: Sorry, but that was all the good news.
Me: (OH, SHIT!) Okay.
Sarkis: You need a new catalytic converter.
Me: Okay.
Sarkis: I could do the job... but it will cost you.
Me: So, what are my options?
Sarkis: Not to tell you what to do, but I've already made an appointment for you tomorrow morning with the Chevy dealership. It should be under warranty.

And IT WAS!!! Not a cent for parts, or labor, or anything! And better yet - the Tahoe came back nice and clean. :-) The rest of Saturday consisted of all the errants I should have been running Tuesday through Friday.

Sunday was fun and family-centric. Kirstren's little boy got Christened (or is it Baptised?... I confuse the two.) and then there was a BBQ. I love that kid!

I made white Sangria and quickly realized that at the next family BBQ (in a few weeks), I need to triple or quadruple the recipe. That stuff went like wildfire. It could be that everyone needed a drink... but I'm still taking it as a compliment. My milk chocolate chip and hazelnut brownies disappeared pretty quick too.

So, I've heard this song a few times and something about it is REALLY familiar to me. It just has a really similar rhythm to another song, but I can't put my finger on what song it is. What do you think? Regardless, it's a nice peppy song. :-)

What did you do over the weekend?

August 06, 2009

Crowning Royalty, Sharing the Love and You're a Gem...

I'm such a lucky girl; I've gotten three awards in the past week! Woohoooooooo!!

The first award comes from Janet. She's a sweetheart and named me the "Queen of Cute Puppy Pictures". Me?!?! Take puppy pictures? Hahaha...ok, I admit it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Janet!

Her rules are simple:

1. Grab the award and post it on your blog, linking back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Give the award to six people you think deserve to be queen and link to their blogs.
3. If you feel like it, tell what they should be queen of, but I'm not gonna force you. After all, you are the Queen.
4. Let the people know you've given them an award.

I can do that! I tag:

Jane at Moonflowers Mojitos and Me. She is the "Queen of Med School". Jane is starting school next week - YAY! Plus she is fabulous and her emails always brighten my day. :-)

Casey at The Ever-Changing Life of a Military Wife. Casey is the "Queen of Travel". I love to travel and she not only gets to more places...but takes GORGEOUS pictures along the way!

Mrs. Realife at The Reality of Happily Ever After. She is definitely the "Queen of Telling It Like It Is". She has posted lots of things that have made me laugh and made me cry; if something needs to be said - she'll say it. I admire that. :-) Plus, she has one of the cutest Dachshunds I've EVER seen! (But my babies are cuter...heeheehee)

Sara at Unwrap Life and xoxo, Closet Girl. Sara is the "Queen of Clothes"! She takes a picture of her outfit EVERY SINGLE DAY! And somehow...she manages to look fabulous every day too. I'm so jealous...and I wish I had met her when she lived near me!

Kirstren at Lady Kirstren. This lady is the "Queen of Putting Up With Cole". Admittedly, she gets this title because she's my cousin and I'm cool with nepotism. Who else would IM my BlackBerry at night to make sure I got home following car trouble?!?! She is truly awesome and deserves all sorts of awards. :-)

April at April Showers. April is the "Queen of Blog Design". She has lots of bloggy ventures going on and is a kick-ass designer. And I'm not just saying that because I'm on her waiting list... :-)

The second award comes from Corkyshell at Behind Every Great Love is A Great Story. She is just a sweetheart; THANK YOU, Corkyshell!
There are no rules to giving this lovely award away, so I tag:

Kaitlin at Life of a Busy Wife
Janet at Stuff I Think About
Sara at This Beautiful Thing
SassyEngineer at A Sassy Engineer
Kathie at My Net Finds

My last (and most recent) award comes from Kathie at My Net Finds. She and I are new to each other's "follower" list - I don't miss a single post.

These rules are super easy too...
The only rule for this award is that to accept it, display it proudly on your blog for all the bloggy world to see your greatness and/or pass it on to other bloggers as you see fit.
I tag all the amazing folks that read and comment on all my posts. YOU ROCK!
And anybody I forgot!
Jill & Justine, I'd love to tag you too... but I understand you don't do awards anymore. Just know that I don't love ya any less - mmkay? :-)

August 05, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmm....

It's been a really odd day - on a number of levels. I'll get to some of it in a later post... but now I'm going to share the truly stupid things I've seen today.

I hope you find it as amusing as I did. :-)

Yep, those are Mary Janes with individual toe slots. Weird, right? The kicker?!?! I saw them on a man! They are Vibram Five Fingers...(I had to run to Google to figure it out) and those suckers cost $100. What guy in is right mind is going to spend that money to have girly looking shoes that have individual toe slots?!?! The better question is - Where the HELL is your wife and did she really let you dress yourself this morning?

Did we go back to the 80's and no one told me? No??? Are you sure?!?! I wish I could have gotten a picture of the actual woman in my building that sports a mullet.... but I'm just not that slick (and neither are my friends!). I blame BlackBerry. It's their fault that I can't turn off the "shutter" noise on my phone. Darn them!

Anyway, this is as close as I could find... but imagine the crown of her head cut shorter. Like crew cut/military cut/wiffle SHORT. And the poor woman thinks she looks good! I genuinely feel bad; when I'm not laughing hysterically or wondering if her hairdresser does that to her as punishment.

My last "OMG" of the work day was a show-stopper. Not only was he wearing Tevas and socks... but he was head to toe in lycra.! He was all suited up to ride his bike home, and unfortunately thought Teva's were a good shoe option to do so. Dear sir, I appreciate that you're going to get your exercise. It's to be applauded; but also know that lycra leaves nothing to the imagination. Seriously - NOTHING!
(Many thanks to the fine folks whos pictures I pilfered from Google)

Oh, and because we've had so much rain this summer, our office ventilation system has been blessed with extra little visitors. We've got these pesky little fruit fly-like things that come out of the air vents and bother us all day. I swear our VP must look out her office window at us, see is flailing and trying to shoo these things away and get a good laugh at us. We spend so much time trying to get rid of these stupid gnat/fly things that we look like we're somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Anything odd that you'd like to share?

August 03, 2009

Tuesdays At The Table - Baked French Toast

Ah, I love Tuesdays! My mouth waters and my stomach rumbles just reading your recipes. :-)

Good news! I've heard from Andrea. She's moving along in her pregnancy, and I'm hoping that she doesn't mind that I'm telling you that she's heard the baby's heartbeat. Isn't that AWESOME?!?!


French toast is one of my favorite foods; I think I could eat it every day. This is a little twist on it.

Baked French Toast

2 loaves of day-old bread (enough to fill a 9×13 pan; I recommend French or something similar)
3 cups milk
8 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Slice or tear bread and layer in 9×13 baking dish. Let it sit for a while so it drys out a little more. Beat together the eggs and milk. Then add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and mix well. Pour over bread slowly, making sure all of the bread gets covered and is soaking up the wet mixture. Cover the pan and set it in the refrigerator overnight.

1 stick softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix together butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Then stir in chopped pecans. Remove the pan from fridge and spread this evenly over the top. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes. Remove from oven and let settle for about 10 minutes; slice and serve.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

August 02, 2009

Musical Monday - Fidelity

It's Monday again, ladies. I hope you all had fun-filled weekends! Mine was quiet again...but that's just fine with me. I watched a few movies (Death Race- which I DON'T recommend & Becoming Jane- which I really liked), played some video games (I'm a geek and really like my Nintendo DS), and finished two books and knitting a scarf. Yep, nice and low key... :-)

I love this song! Regina Spektor has a great voice, the video in black & white is aesthetically pleasing and then there's a third reason. See, every time I hear this song I laugh; not because it's a funny song, but because I can still hear JC & G singing it to me. We went out to a bar one night last November and they sang to me in the car. Good times!

How did you spend your weekend?

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