Feb 28, 2010

Mini Chickens!!!!

I love a big breakfast on the weekends. I don't know why. Maybe because my Mom always would make one for us or maybe because it's nice to take the time to relax and enjoy breakfast. Well this morning I made blueberry muffins (from a mix....I know, shame on me):
Some thick cut bacon I got at Aldi:
Remember that whole wheat biscuit dough that I made and froze? Well I popped 4 of them in the oven to go with breakfast:
And add a few fried eggs and you get my version of a breakfast sandwich:
I guess 4 strips of bacon was too much for the little biscuits to handle. And with fresh ground coffee, this breakfast was a little slice of heaven on my day off. 
I forgot to show you what I got at Aldi the other day:
It's a glass cake stand! It was only $8 and it's really solid. Now I have to make something to put in it!
And for what you have been waiting for....dinner! I ended up doing a mix between the sweet roasted cornish game hen recipe and the lime-garlic grilled cornish hen recipe. I used the marinade from the grilled one, but then I roasted them per the other recipe. In the oven:

And done:
No sides, I figured a whole hen would be enough and it was. I was only able to finish half of mine. It was very good! The skin really tasted of lime and the meat was very very juicy. This will be a must when guests are here.

Tomorrow will be nothing exciting since I work, so until we meet again, please enjoy this photo I found on-line along time ago (also in honor of the Olympics):

Feb 27, 2010

A quick one for you!

Work is kicking my ass.....but I have a feeling when I finally see my first pay check and my benefits it will all be worth it. I am getting quite buff though......grrrr. Like I said before, cooking (in the real sense) has been very sparse and very infrequent, but I just wanted to share with you what I made the other night and what I have planned for tomorrow since I am off (but then I work a 6am-1pm shift on Monday!).

I bought some assorted pork chops from after I got off work the other day and I figured we would try my Grandma Lopez's (actually given to my by the other Grandma I talk about all the time) electric wok. So with a little sesame oil, some frozed mixed veggies, and some pork we get this:
I forgot seasoning, but the sesame oil did all the work and it was great!

I also purchased some Rock Cornish Game Hens from Aldi:
 I wanted to experiment with these tomorrow so that maybe, just maybe, I can make some when I have guests here. I haven't decided yet, but I will probably use one of these recipes from the Aldi Meal Planner

And that's it! Again, I apologize profusely for my lack of anything blog worthy. To make up for it (and in honor of the Olympics) please enjoy this photo I found on-line a few years back (Dad if you see this, tell Mikey to check it out):

Feb 23, 2010

Anyone have the time?

I haven't been able to do full blown cooking lately. It's been simple meals with things that are either already made or quick to make. I know, it's sad. The mixer looks so sad sitting in the corner, hiding behind the now frequently used coffee maker. I used to spend hours looking through my cook books trying to find recipes that would work with the ingredients I already had on hand, or deciding which cookie recipe sounded good for that day. Now I really don't have time for that any more (though this weekend I hope to get a chance to prepare for all our upcoming guests!). I apologize now if my cooking seems a little bland and I must warn you that I will be using a lot more Aldi products and I may start using their meal planner. Everything is so inexpensive there and plus I am already there for work so why not buy there!

Enough explaining, today after puppy baths and cleaning the house I made the clove cookies from one of the books from Grandma:
Melted butter and sugary goodness:
The batter was sort of thin since it was still warm so the cookies spread out a lot on the baking sheet (probably a little bigger than they should have been):
But they came out very crispy and really really good! It is suggested they be served with tea but I think they would be really good with milk or maybe some vanilla ice cream. Anyway, they will make a nice snack for work tomorrow:

As for dinner, we still had 2 sweet sausages left from Aunt Lorri and 1 loaf of some take and bake bread from Aldi. I really wish I had time to make my french bread, but this will do in a pinch (I already used one loaf the night before for garlic bread):
Nothing too exciting, I know, but it was good food to say the least :)
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of Charlie and Pineapple being spoiled and sleeping on the mattresses that will soon be replaced by a brand new futon mattress (just an FYI for all those coming to visit soon!):

Feb 21, 2010

Taco Taco Burrito Burrito

If you haven't seen the South Park episode, then you won't get the reference. Anyway, instead of your normal ground beef taco, I made chorizo tacos. I don't know why I have never thought to use chorizo before. I guess it was an "experiment", as Grandma would say. The spread:
Not to toot my Aldi horn again, but all the ingredients you see here came from Aldi and they were amazing. Again, for the price, some really great food! 
Besides dinner, the rest of the day was spent doing about 2 weeks worth of laundry, memorizing my NLUs and fixing up odds and ends. I did find this awesome wedding website. I am thinking we should do the dia de los muertos wedding in the cemetery! Just kidding! We are looking at next summer to tie the knot (around our 10 year anniversary) so I guess I should start looking for ideas. 

Well I need to get to bed, I have to be at work at 6am tomorrow! In the mean time, please enjoy this photo of and itty bitty salamander that my herpetology class found at Mohican State Park in Ohio back in August of 2008:

Feb 20, 2010

Feeling a litte slow

Work hasn't gotten physically intense yet, but mentally intense. We have been taking tests every day on what we have learned and we also are in the process of memorizing about 80 NLUs which I think stands for Numbered Look Up or something like that. Like any grocery store, produce usually doesn't have bar codes. So in Aldi's pursuit of efficiency and reducing prices for customers, all cashiers must memorize the 2 digit codes for all the different items so we can enter them at check out. Speaking of Aldi, Mike and I had to run errands today and one of them brought us to Aldi for groceries. I am still amazed at the prices there and, believe it or not, the quality is great. I have enjoyed almost every product I have purchased there. Since we were out and about running errands, I didn't get a chance to cook my planned dinner of chorizo tacos (but I will being doing it tomorrow night!).

On the weekend I normally like to make a special breakfast so as to save our cereal for the weekdays when we need to eat in a hurry. I was browsing through some of the blogs I normally visit and I stumbled upon this recipe. I have never heard of German pancakes before and it sounded easy enough (plus I have been dying to use my blender again). Before going into the oven:
And after I cut it and dusted it with powdered sugar:
I didn't make the buttermilk syrup but instead I added some sugar and a little vanilla to the batter (which I cut in half). I then baked it in a 9x9 inch glass pan. Each slice ended up being about 1/2 inch thick. It was surprisingly good! The center almost had the consistency of a custard, but tasted like a pancake. It was so easy to make too that we are most certainly going to make this one again.

Remember the azalea bonsai I received from Mike pre-Valentine's day? Well all the gorgeous flowers are starting to bloom:
Aren't the pretty?!? Oh, and if you have a keen eye, you will see in the top picture, in the lower right, some avocado seeds. The large one on top is a Florida avocado and the smaller bottom one is a haas avocado. Mike has successfully got at least 4 seeds to sprout and he is working on some more for our garden. 
Please stay tuned for some chorizo tacos tomorrow! In the mean time, please enjoy this photo I took back in 2006 when I was with a class canoeing in a river near Tallahassee, FL. You can see the outline of a large manatee that was trying to swim under our canoe:

Feb 17, 2010

Really quick!

Just wanted to update you really quick on my first day at Aldi. It's going to be a tough job but the pay and benefits are totally worth it. This will be the first job I have ever had with paid vacation, sick days, and holidays. Here is my green Aldi shirt:
And my new fanny pack:
Why a fanny pack you may ask? Well to carry all my stuff:
My tape, pen, highlighter, calculator, and box cutter with holster. And that's it for today! 
I work tomorrow and Friday, so probably no major cooking or crafting until the weekend. Tear :( Until then please enjoy this photo of the gazebo at the compound I stayed at in St.Ann's Bay, Jamaica back in 2006 (it was for a college research class):

Feb 16, 2010

Work Work Work

Yesterday's estate sale was informative but un-eventful on my buying end, not what I was expecting. I would like to go to an estate sale that was actually at some ones house and see some furniture. Maybe next time!

Since I was gone yesterday, I didn't have much time for cooking so we just had leftovers. Today was spent cleaning up the house and baking since I start work tomorrow and I don't know my schedule yet for the rest of the week so I don't know what I will have time for. Lots of uncertainties I guess! Grandma sent me home with some cook books yesterday. One of them was Sunset Cookies, Step-By-Step Techniques:
Well the girls next door gave me some peanut butter last week and I was really craving peanut butter cookies so look what I found in the book:
We were also out of cookies (go figure) and I thought I might need a snack to bring to work tomorrow. Mixer action = butter, sugar, and peanut butter goodness:
And of course the done cookies:
Dinner was nothing fancy. Just grilled chicken (marinated in olive oil, soy sauce, and garlic), brown rice, and mixed veggies:
I figured I should cook tonight since tomorrow night after work with have the HOA meeting. I can't wait! I want to call all these crazy people out on being crazy! When we moved here no one was welcoming. Only a few people would respond to my "Hello". Everyone glares at me, assuming I am some college kid making a ruckus (since we live next to ones who do). They judge with out knowing and complain about our door and fence. Give me a break people. 
That's it for now. Until next time, please enjoy this picture of the Black and White Tegu I used to have (I had to adopt him out when I moved). His name was Benitora and he was a beast:

Feb 14, 2010

Second time's the charm!

It was 4 years ago to this day Mike proposed to me. If you know anything about my past, then you know that we broke off our engagement about 5 months later but are still dating. How he proposed: I came home from school to this large box at the top of the stairs:
I was tried and hungry, so I walked around the box, ignoring the sign. About 10 minutes later I decided to open the box. Inside was Mike in a suit. He had been waiting inside that box, sweating, the entire time. He proposed right there from the box. Well this morning, when I rolled over to look at the clock this is what I found on my night stand:
I happily obliged the instructions promptly this time! Shall we open this mini box up and see what we find? Yes we shall:
And of course this whole time Mike was sleeping. He was up till about 3am last night making this little surprise for me to find this morning when I woke up. Oh, and as the commercial goes "He went to Jared!". This is the originally ring, obviously unworn for the last 3 1/2 years. These pictures really don't do it justice since we went and had it cleaned today at Jared (Thank goodness they have some in Florida!). Here is is this morning on my finger:
While we were out and about getting my ring cleaned, we decided to stop over to Target because we received a hot tip from my Aunt that there had an outdoor patio set on sale for $99. Mike and I want one for when all our company is here so they may enjoy the glorious Florida evenings/nights. The box (sorry for the glare):
Mike of course wanted to assemble the table tonight. So here he is working on it the the back room, but this picture is also enticing because you can see the sweet futon frame we got at Habitat for Humanity Restore (note: the mattresses that are on there right now do not go with it, we still need to buy a nice one for our guests):
And just for fun we stopped over at TJ-Maxx where Mike bought himself his valentine's day present:
A Cuisinart grind and brew coffee pot (on clearance for $39!) and a huge bag of Starbucks coffee beans for $16! We already tried it out, hence the condensation in the carafe. (Hello KitchenAid peeking out from behind the coffee!). I also found these wedding invitations (print them yourself):
I know it's early to start planning and we aren't going to be having a big wedding, most likely a destination wedding to, where else, Florida. But it was a very good deal: 30 sets of invitations with ribbon and stickers for $10! So I bought 2 (just in case).
On to the food! My Aunt Lorri brought some homemade crab cakes that we had as an appetizer:

Very good for using imitation crab meat! And the main course, au-gratin potatoes (from a box, I know, I know, but Grandma sent them down and I thought they would go good with lobster), lobster tails, and clarified lemon butter:
The lobster was sooooooooooooo good, even without the butter! Definitely a good buy for our Valentine's dinner. Dessert was just those little brown velvet cupcakes I made on Friday. 
And, finally, I took some pictures of the sewing desk my Aunt' sent up to me. Apparently it was my Great-Grandma Ruth's. Here ya go:

They took the old sewing machine out, so Mike and I are going to try and rig it for my sewing machine as well as add wheels to the bottom so I can roll it from room to room. Thanks Aunt Lorri and Aunt JoAnn!
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of me holding a water monitor named Sally when I used to volunteer at Malone University in Canton, OH :