November 29, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Potato Patties

Happy Tuesday, ladies!!  Did everyone survive Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

I don't know about you, but I have tons of leftovers from my Thanksgiving meal.  One of my favorite leftover recipes is potato patties.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Potato Patties
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup grate Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 onion, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Over medium heat, heat olive oil in a medium size nonstick frying pan. Take about 1/4 cup of the potato mixture, pat it into 4 inch circles that are 1/2" thick and drop into the hot frying pan. Cook until bottom is browned and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn the patty over and cook the second side until brown and crisp, 3-4 minutes.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

November 27, 2010

Shop Til You DROP!

I hope that everyone had a fabulous, filling, fun Thanksgiving!  Mine was awesome.  :-)  Carbo loading potatoes and stuffing was a good idea, right?  I needed energy for shopping.

Here's where some of you are going to think that I'm absa-blooming-nuts or that I'm utterly genious.  (By the way, both are entirely true...)  Here is the Black Friday schedule that Kirstren, Heather and I used.

10 PM          Brush teeth and clean car
10:20            Leave for Kirstren's house
10:30            Pick up Kirstren
11:10            Arrive at Heather's house
11:15            Prep coffee to-go and get pep talk from Heather's hubby. 
                    His words of advice?  "Don't get stabbed, girls." 
11:40            Get in line at Toys 'R Us.
12:45            Get rained on in line at Toys 'R Us.
1:58              Successfully leave Toys 'R Us.
2 AM             Time for cupcakes and Christmas music in the car!
2:20               Old Navy - Hello, 5 dollar PJ pants!
3:30               Kohl's - I accomplished half my Christmas list here.
4: 45              Target - Easily the best organized store I was in all night.
6:10               Wal-Mart - Easily the least organized store I was in.
7:40               Breakfast with the ladies and a re-cap of our night.
9:30               BED!!!

Did you partake in Black Friday shopping?  Did you have to stand in line to get into more than one store?  Find any great deals that everyone should know about?

November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I'm thankful for so much this year.  Excuse the bullet points - but away we go:
  • My job.  Quite frankly - my job sucks sometimes.  But I'm thankful that I have a job in this economy and that the seven years (in two weeks) I've spent there have flown by so quickly.
  • My work besties.  They make long meetings and crabby customers bearable.  I look forward to our lunch and coffee breaks each day!  They are such special ladies. 
  • My parents.  They are two individuals that have totally different outlooks on life, but they both instilled in me that it's better to give than to receive, to try hard and to make lemonade out of the lemons life throws you from time to time.  I'm so thankful that they've made me the person I am today.
  • The royal court.  See below.  :-)  I look at the two of them and see in us the relationship that my mom, Kirstren's mom and our Aunt Donna forged 30+ years ago.
  • Kirstren - aka the Princess. Don't tell anyone, but she's my favorite cousin and has become one of my best friends.  I love our shopping trips, knitting nights and other random outings.  She's always able to cheer me up after a bad day and I'm thankful for her just being her.
  • Heather - aka the Queen. I'm hugely thankful that Kirstren brought her into my life.  They're besties - and I'm such a lucky person that the Queen saw past my natural shyness, "gets" my brand of sarcasm and welcomed me to their larger circle of friends. 
  • My brother. Like most sibling relationships, we've had our ups and downs.  He is really a great person, I'm proud of the time he spent in the Army and thankful that he's home and living with me now.
  • My dogs.  I'm so thankful that they chose me.  Such big personalities in such little dachshund bodies!  I'm thankful for their unconditional love and that they've been so patient while I wait to get my backyard fenced in.
Instead of the eloquent soliloquy I had planned, I'm going to share the Thanksgiving letter that a work friend did this year.  I just can't say it better than she can.  She's an amazing person, my ex-boss, and was kind enough to give me permission to share her words (even though she doesn't know exactly how I was planning to share it!).

Thanksgiving: As the name implies, a day for giving thanks. Since the day that the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving Day.

So, what am I thankful for this year?

The ability to get out of bed every morning, put my feet on the floor, and “get going”. So many people cannot do that.

A wonderful family and great friends, whom I love. Too many people do not have this either.

I have a job that I love and wonderful people to work with. How many people can say that, and really mean it? It’s all about the people, and I am blessed to work with the best group I have ever had to work with. There are probably not too many people who can say that.

I have fond memories of days gone by, which I pray I will have forever. Many people have lost their memories; they are gone forever. Some of them may be at our Thanksgiving tables. Be patient and kind, and thankful that they can still join us.

Every year, we celebrate Thanksgiving. But, do people really stop and give thanks for all of their blessings? Or are they too caught up in the cleaning and cooking and preparations for the day to stop and smell those roses.

I have a couple of assignments for each and every one of you this Thanksgiving. Take time for you this Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time off with family and friends. Think about everything you have and be truly thankful. Stop and smell those roses. They may not be there forever.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

November 22, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Cranberry Sauce

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!  I have a little secret for you....I like cranberry sauce, but only the "fresh" stuff.  I find the cranberry jello in a can revolting.  Everyone in my family loves it!  Most of my friends love it!  Me?  Not so much.

Here's a cranberry sauce that's easy and so much tastier than the canned stuff.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Cranberry Sauce

1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cinnamon stick (or a 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 orange, zested and juiced

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon), allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Add the orange juice and zest, stir and allow to cool before serving.

What's cooking in your kitchen for the holidays?

November 19, 2010

Dear Neighbor...

I bought my house two months ago, and still haven't met my next door neighbor.  Here are my thoughts on him so far!

Dear Neighbor...
I hear that you're a state cop.  Can I tell you how safe that makes me feel?!  Of course, the folks I bought this house from BS'd me on a number of maybe you're not a cop after all.  Perhaps you just work really weird hours.  Could you wear a uniform so I can tell for sure?

Neighbor, it's nice to know that you have an active social life.  I also realize that you have a small-ish driveway and we live on a main street.  I'm sure that trying to fit a bunch of cars into your driveway for poker night (or whatever it is) is difficult.  However, if you could NOT park in my driveway without asking - that would be super!  Please know that I'm a fairly reasonable person, but I have this thing about being able to get into my driveway after working a 10-12 hour day.

I hear your dog all the time!  I've seen him a few times too.  He's big, he's black, he's cute.  The "beware of dog" signs you have posted make me a little nervous though.  Is he a working dog?  Are the signs up because he's actually aggressive?  I'd really like the low-down before my "kids" meet him through the fence between our yard.

One last question, neighbor.  Is it really necessary to have the flood light in your yard on all night?  I only ask because that light shines in directly though my bedroom window.  You see, I'm an insomniac and that amount of light all the time disrupts the the little sleep I get.

Thanks, neighbor!  I hope to meet you soon!

November 18, 2010

Hamburger Helper

The folks at MyBlogSpark were nice enough to send me the link to a coupon for Hamburger Helper.  Click and save, peeps!

A more substantive post later.  Probably!

November 16, 2010

It's A Shutterfly Christmas!

I did a post a few weeks ago as I was just starting to contemplate Christmas cards.  Did I do anything about it?  NOPE!  Not a thing... But that's OK.  Fate and Shutterfly intervened and now it's time to get serious about picking my Christmas cards.

Can I even tell you how excited I am that I'm going to get 50 free Shutterfly cards just  for being a blogger?!?!  Who loves great quality, FREE* stuff?  THIS GIRL!! 

A few of my favorite Christmas cards (every time I look I have a new favorite!):

I know, the doggie comes as a HUGE surprise!

It's so elegant and scroll-y!

Not too fond of shoveling snow, but I'm all about a good snowy holiday card!

Then I started to think about gift tags.  These are the ones I gravitated to right away.  Yeah, I know that the Retro Wheels aren't very holiday...but who says I'd need to use the tags for Christmas?!?! :-)

Shutterfly also does the more PC holiday cards, Thanksgiving cards, Hanukkah and New Years too.  All of which are fabulous.

And guess what?  You could get free cards from Shutterfly too!  Click here to enter.

Start clicking, kids! ;-) Oh, and if you have a favorite that I should see - let me know!! With any luck, I'll make a decision on what cards I'll be sending before Thanksgiving.

**Disclosure: I am getting 50 free holiday cards in exchange for this post.**

November 15, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Kicked Up Meatballs

Happy Tuesday, Ladies!  I just realized that next week is Thanksgiving.  Already?!  Really?

Next week I'll come prepared with a Thanksgiving appropriate side-dish.  This week I'm bringing my kicked-up meatballs.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Kicked Up Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (10-15% fat)
1 lb ground sausage (without casings)
2 eggs
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan & Romano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or a handful of finely chopped fresh)
Pinch of oregano

In a small bowl, whisk eggs.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together and combine well.  Let sit for a half hour or so for breadcrumbs to absorb moisture.

Roll into golf ball sized meatballs and place on a tinfoil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

I served these yesterday for a family dinner with angel hair, Caesar salad and garlic bread - YUM!

What's cooking in your kitchen?

November 14, 2010

Count Down To Harry Potter...

Only five more days until Happy Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Part 1!!!  Yep, I'm a geek...but I'm so excited!

Is anyone else eagerly anticipating the latest "Harry"?!

November 13, 2010

I Know This Much Is True...

Sometimes, random realizations just come flowing in your direction.  This is one of those times for me...let's call them mini-epiphanies maybe?!

I know this much is true:

You can pick your nose; you can pick your clothes...but you can NOT pick your family. (Most of them I absolutely adore though!)

Sometimes, it's the people you spent your childhood running away from that are the ones you most need to run towards as an adult.

Rome wasn't built in a day and my house won't be pretty by then either.  It may be a money pit, but the house is MINE!

No matter how hard you can't make everyone like you.

It's the really crappy days that make the good days shine even brighter.  It's those same crappy days that show you which friends you can count on to cheer you up. 

Sometimes it's the offer of wine or retail therapy or just a really funny text from a friend that can make life better.

My dogs make my life worth living.  I'd love to add another puppy to mix soon.

Some day, my prince will come...  But if he doesn't - I'm going to adopt kids on my own.

It's OK that life is like "Survivor" sometimes.  Whether it's outlasting your boss, outwitting a stubborn neighbor, or outplaying the evening traffic - at the end of the day,  you survived to play another day.

I don't have my dream job.  But I will someday!

Knitting, cooking and driving are three activities that I can do on "autopilot" and relax.

I'm not one of those people that are meant to have tons of friends.  Instead, I'm supposed to have a bunch of people who I can feel free sharing with and know they love me no matter what.

My life is better because of blogging.

I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas.

November 12, 2010

Electric Fireplaces

Winter is coming and reality has set in that my house is kinda drafty.  Sad, but true.  Seeing as oil heat is so blooming expensive - I'm starting to consider an electric fireplace.

Do any of you have one?  Multiple?  Have any advise? 
I'm all ears.

I've been crusing the internet and think this one looks pretty.

November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day!  For most of us, today is a regular day...we still have to get up and go to work even though it's a Federal Holiday.

Please, please, please take a few moments to consider the sacrifices soldiers have made in defending our country and our allies.  And if you know a soldier or veteran - make sure you say "thanks".  :-)

To my grandpas, dad, uncles, cousins, brother and friends - from the bottom of my heart - THANK YOU!  I love you all.

November 10, 2010

A Picky Knitter Consumer

I love to knit.  You all know that!  From time to time, I get "hired" to knit a gift for a birthday...or in this case - Christmas.

This time I was asked to make a spiral scarf (no problemo!!) in green. Except, it should't be "too green" or pastel, or all one solid color, or too many colors.  I asked if this customer would like to purchase the yarn herself and I'd give her guidelines or if she's like to voyage to the craft store with me.  She declined both, saying that I knew best (which may be true).

Here's what I bought at A. C. Moore on Saturday...

If she doesn't like what I've done - the scarf could be up for sale.  Or be a giveaway.  We'll see.  :-)

November 08, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Jam Thumbprints

Holy moley, the holidays are a-comin'!! I was in denial until this past weekend...and then had a few moments of "OMG, I have forty-something shopping days until Christmas!" freaking out.  Now I've stopped the freak-out, gotten a good start on Christmas shopping and am embracing the holiday season.  :-)  How about you?  Are you ready for the chaos that the holidays bring?

This week I'm sharing one of my very favorite Christmas cookies.  Technically, it's not a Christmas cookie...but I tend to make them most during this time of year.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Jam Thumbprints

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks)  unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup jam (my favorites are blueberry or black raspberry)

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes on high with the electric mixer).  Add egg and beat until well combined.  Bring mixer speed down to low and add flour.  Mix until just combined.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart (they spread a bit!). 

Moisten your thumb with water and press into the center of each ball, making an good indentation.  Place about a 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of each cookie.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

By the way...can I tell you all how shocked I was to see over a hundred of you lovelies linked up and shared a recipe last week?!?!  I was blown away!  And honored - completely, amazingly honored that you all come back each week. 

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

Ah, the joys of home-ownership. My roof has gotten re-shingled a few weeks ago…but somehow, it sprung a leak last Thursday night into Friday morning. Ceiling tiles came down and much frustration ensued. Well, three days later – that one leak has turned into three!

Has anyone else had problems with leaking roofs AFTER having their shingles re-done? I’m thinking that something isn’t sloped right. But I have no clue what I’m talking about. I was up last night twice to check on the leaks that are now converging in a 40 gallon container. Thank goodness I decided I liked big plastic containers instead of boxes to pack in. Otherwise…I would have had a flood in my house by the time I found the new leaks.

*All offers of chocolate and/or alcohol are gratefully accepted.*

November 06, 2010

Where's The Poop?

The lovely Heather and her hubby threw their son a birthday party today.  (Happy 4th Birthday, dude!!)  As you can imagine - there were a multitude of kiddos playing inside and outside.

At this point, I should let you know that Heather has a fabulous bulldog - Shelby.  Well....nature must have called for Shelby soon before the party and the "present" she left in the back-yard was...well, it was found by a little boy.

Which, would have been a "eww" story all on its own, normally.  However, this little boy not only found the poop, but stepped in it - tracked it up the rungs of the jungle gym - around the little treehouse - and then smeared it down the slide.  He did try to clean it up off the slide...with his butt!!  Fine, it wasn't on purpose. But he did have poop ALL over his butt when he came in the house. 

A few other kids found Sheb's little present too...but not nearly as that boy.  It makes for an memorable party, right?

November 05, 2010

Things I Love...

I feel like I’ve been complaining about my house too much. Let’s balance it out with some things that I love!

My puppies…the beach…lazy days hanging out watching movies…game night with friends…knitting nights w/Kirstren…thunderstorms…a nice glass of Riesling…cooking for friends and family…shopping…finding a new, fun yarn or pattern to play with…puzzles…reading…hunting for the perfect curtains for my living room…blogging…road trips…crossing things off my “to-do” list…candles…a good conversation to catch up with far away friends…photography…jewelry…wandering through museums…voyaging to new places…party planning…my Keurig…giving gifts “just because”…Febreeze…the first snowfall of the season…king sized pillows…being on time to meetings…gardening…camp fires/fire pits…flip flops…The West Wing…hand sanitizer…anything PINK…the other two members of my royal trifecta…USA…cows (my phone moos, y’all)…my work besties…sarcasm…hugs.

What do you love?

November 04, 2010

Money Pit, Part II

Welcome to the newest chapter of events at Ye Olde Money Pit!  (You can catch part one here.)

Since I last chatted whined about my house, there have been a few more joyous new problems.  Oddly enough, these problems pop up on weekends (which I'm grateful for!). 

Two weekends ago the pressure gauge on my hot water heater blew.  Which, in turn, made the water pressure on all my heating registers too high and literally blew off the pressure gauges on three registers.... so water started pouring out and there were puddles everywhere.  Oh, and a fabulous new "water feature" in my dining room because the register in the spare bedroom/office leaked through the ceiling.

This past weekend the ceiling fan in the dining room leapt to its death.  One second it was on the ceiling and working - the next, it was on the ground in a heap of broken glass.  Thank God my dogs were at my parents house.  That ceiling fan would have killed them if they happened to be underneath it. house will decide it likes me soon, right?  Right?!?!

November 03, 2010

Adapting To Civilian Life

Guess what?  My brother, JC, is now a civilian.  I'm so happy for him.  His exit from the Army happened a few weeks ago - so this is news that I probably should have shared already. 

After three years of service, he was ready to get out and we were ready for him to be out too.  There are a few stories surrounding his departure...but it would be boring if everything went as planned, right?  What comes next, you ask?  Great question.  JC is moving into my house with me.  I have plenty of room and it will be nice to have someone to shovel, and do minor repairs on the money pit.  :-)  He's also in process of interviewing for a few jobs and is looking into going back to school.

The best part?  For the first time in three years, he'll be around to really celebrate Christmas with family instead of just dropping in to say "hi" quickly (or not home at all)!

November 01, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds

Howdy!  I hope everyone had a nice Halloween. It was my first Halloween in the new house!  Next year I'll decorate for it more; this year I just wasn't ready. Which I supposed doesn't really matter since there was a complete lack of trick-or-treaters.

Now that you've made you jack-o-lanterns, how are you using your pumpkin seeds?

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Here's a yummy and easy recipe for pumpkin seeds.

Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon melted butter or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar, or more, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice

Rinse seeds well and get as much of the pumpkin pulp off of them as possible. Pat dry with paper towels. Don't let them dry completely on the paper towels, or they might stick (and add a little fiber to you diet).

Toss seeds with the butter, sugar, and spices.

Heat oven to 300°. Spread coated seeds on a foil lined cookie sheet - turning from time to time, for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until nicely browned and crunchy.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Time for NaBloPoMo Already?!?!

It's that time again...  November has rolled around and I'm participating in NaBloPoMo


This is my second year participating.  NaBloPoMo started out as a challenge to write a novel in a month...but, some of us just can't take on something that big.  Sure, it's expanded to run all months of the year too - but posting every day for a month once a year is challenging enough - thank you very much.
Are any of you participating too? 
Have any topics you'd like me to cover this month?
Random ideas?
Demands for pictures of my pets and house?

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