I've been away for way too long, but I'm back. It's Valentines Day, February 14th, 2010. Happy Valentines Day!!
Well, let's see what's been happening since I last posted in OCTOBER!!! What? Where did all those months go? The Holidays were great, my laptop died in December and I had major withdrawal symptoms for weeks, January was snowy and so is February so far, I'm ready for Spring, I'm changing jobs, I joined Weight Watchers and the gym and I'm losing weight, I'm feeling great, I've made lots of changes in my personal life, still getting use to those changes, still mommy to 5 mini schnauzers and I melted when I saw a cute schnauzer on News2 this morning that's up for adoption, I'm thinking of going back to school for a Medical administrator degree, my music tastes are changing and I'm not sure why, I'm still a very simple, laid back, easy going person and I cherish my family and friends!!
Now what's going on with you? I'm catching up on your blogs. Loving your layouts and your posts!
I have had such respiratory problems for weeks now that nothing tasted good to me. I think my taste buds are trying to make up for lost time now. As of today I am feeling better and I can taste and smell again.
I wanted to share this with you. I picked up an oriental dinner kit at W.a.l.m.a.r.t recently and decided to make it tonight. It was so yummy I just had to tell someone. The kit was Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken. It was very easy to make, only takes about 20 minutes from the time you open the box til it's ready to eat. It was really tasty. Almost as good as P.F.C.h.a.n.g.s. Did I just say that??? They have several different dinners available. I googled the reviews for them and the Kung Pao seems to be the favorite. I followed the directions on the box and I also added a handful of cashews and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I added them at the same time it says add the packet of peanuts that came with the kit. I love toasted nuts in my Chinese food. Yummo! I will be making this often!
Not sure why their website doesn't show the Kung Pao. Maybe it's new. There's also a link for $1.50 off a kit on the website. I got it at W.a.l.m.a.r.t for $3.88. Give it a try!!
I am so tired of sniffing, sneezing, blowing, dripping, swollen eyes, coughing.......you get the picture!
The Autumn allergy fairy has visited our home and I'm so ready for her to leave!
Thought I'd share this recipe with you. If you are my friend on Facebook then you've seen it already. A friend shared some of these muffins with us last weekend when we went to Rocky Mount, NC to see The Isaacs. We loved them so much I asked for the recipe and I've made them twice this week.
Pecan Pie Muffins
1 Cup Chopped Pecans 1 Cup Brown Sugar 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour 2 eggs 1 stick Melted Butter
Mix first three ingredients. Whisk together eggs and butter and add to dry mixture. Mix together, put in muffin tins sprayed with Baker's Joy and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. ( I bake for 20. I like them moist.) This recipe also doubles well.
**Don't have pecans? Use Walnuts! I also added a tsp. of vanilla flavoring just because my mama taught me it makes almost all baked goodies even better. These are so yummy!
I took a break from blogging!! Did you notice? Probably not. I've just been so darn busy lately. I have been checking in on all your blogs though and keeping track of you. I have, really I have.
One of my most favorite times of the year is here. I love Autumn. I love the colors of orange and gold and red and all the in-betweens. I love the smells of pumpkin and cinnamon and spiced cider and ginger and nutmeg. I love the foods like pumpkin bread and gingerbread and hot soups with crusty bread and croutons. I love weiner roasts and marshmallow roasts. I absolutely love the cool mornings and the cool evenings when it's just right to snuggle with a quilt and popcorn and a hot drink to watch a good movie. I love the Starbucks flavors - pumpkin spice latte is my fave!!! I love all the memories of Autumns past. I love photographing the changing leaves, trips to Amish country in PA, pumpkin patches shining bright with orange and gold jewels. I can't think of anything I dislike about this season except for allergies that come with the falling leaves and raking leaves of course. What's your favorite season?
I had a great time on my cruise to Alaska. The weather wasn't the best but I still had a great time. I saw some beautiful scenery, heard lots of great music, sold lots of CDs and spent some fun time with my friends The Isaacs. I appreciate so much the opportunity to travel with them from time to time.
Last weekend we made another trip to Kentucky. I wrote about it on The Isaacs blog. We had a great time. This weekend we've been lounging and resting. Next weekend I'll be at Myrtle Beach, SC for Gaither Fest, but not before a Thursday night Isaacs concert near our home. We're excited about that because a lot of our friends and family will get to attend with us. If you anywhere near the Greensboro, NC area come on out. The concert is 10-1 at 7:00pm at Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Greensboro. Visit their website for the address and directions. Would love to see you there.
I'll be back again soon. I'm in the blogging mood again.
Want to see some photos from my Alaska cruise???? Click this link. I've posted over 100 on Facebook. I plan to write a post here soon, but for now if you want to see my photos you can see them on Facebook.
Like so many of you have said recently (See, I have been reading your blogs!) I've been in a non-blogging funk. I just haven't been in the mood. I haven't felt like I had anything interesting to say. I have been lurking though. I stop in every few days to see what you have going on in your lives.
I started packing today for my Alaska cruise. I'm getting more and more excited each day. I'm having some issues with the packing. I was trying to take only one bag, but it's almost impossible. I have most of my clothes packed now, but no shoes, toiletries, small electrical appliances, books or underwear. See the problem? I decided against taking my laptop but I do want to take my trusty Canon Rebel. I thought about purchasing a small digital camera that I could carry in my purse, but this may be my only time to Alaska and I want to capture it the best way I can. My Canon takes great pictures and I have a huge zoom lens for it. Of course that is an extra bag because all that stuff fits into a pretty large camera bag. I'll figure it all out though. I'm just really proud of myself that I've started packing before the night before leaving!!
I will be driving to LaFollette, TN on Thursday morning early. We fly out of Knoxville that afternoon and will spend the night in Seattle. The ship departs at 4:00pm on Friday the 14th. Saturday will be a day at Sea. Sunday will be a tour of Steven's Passage and Juneau. Monday we'll be in Skagway. Tuesday - Scenic cruising Tracy Arm and Wednesday we'll be in Ketchikan. Thursday we'll stop in Victoria, British Columbia Canada. Friday we'll be back in Seattle. From there we'll fly to Lebanon, Pennsylvania where the Isaacs have a concert on Sunday night. I'll be driving back home on Monday the 24th and on Tuesday the 25th I'll be back at work!! Phew! Makes me tired just typing it. I know it will be a wonderful trip though. I'm really looking forward to it. We'll be cruising on Holland America's Ms. Zaandam.
I'll be twittering along the way so if you don't follow me and want to hear about my cruise be sure to Follow Me or just check in on my blog and my twitters are on the left hand side. Say a prayer for safe travels if you will and also for a motion sickness free trip.
We are sooooo enjoying the summertime garden fare. We have 29 tomato plants of several varieties and they've just started blessing us with a few ripe tomatoes. We have a couple of crooked neck squash plants and one cucumber plant. We have a favorite place that we like to buy stuff every summer. It's called The Berry Patch. Today the hubby was late getting home from work and I was thinking, hmmmm, I hope he's stopping for some veggies. I was right. He came home with beautiful tomatoes, okra, yellow squash and both green and yellow zuchinni squash. He no more than got in the door and I had the stuff washed up, sliced up and in a pan. I couldn't decide whether to fry okra or squash so I just mixed up a little of each and fried it up. It was delicious. I had planned to go to the mall but I wanted fried okra more. Can you believe that? Shopping and food are two of my favorite things.
It is sooooo hot here today. The thermometer right now reads 91. Wouldn't surprise me if it's not hotter than that. We had a fun morning meeting up with Hannah, Geoff and Ethan. We met at a local park and took some photos of their little family. Then we all went to eat at Pancho Villas for some great mexican food. We were wilted after about 5 minutes in the heat. So HOT. We're home now in the cool air conditioning. We're getting the Miata out to clean it up and I think we're going to try and sell it. Too many vehicles at our house and we hardly ever drive it so I'm going to see there's anyone else out there that might enjoy having it. I'll post some pics when it's all shined up.
Meanwhile here are a few pics I took this morning......
I know, I've been MIA again.......well, I've been busy. Thought I would try and put my thoughts down while I have a few minutes this beautiful Sunday morning.
We had a great 4th of July weekend. My hubby and I were off on Friday. We met my cuz Tina and her family on Friday at noon for a little photo shoot. I'm not a pro, but I love taking photos with my Canon Rebel and editing them with Photoshop. It was a lot of fun. Tina and her husband Robert have 3 sweet boys. It was a joy to see them. We had lunch at Wendy's (which we never do. Had not been to Wendy's in years to sit down and eat) We pretty much relaxed around the house the rest of Friday. I watched a lot of Lifetime movies. It felt good to just be at home and not really have to do anything if I didn't want to. I did make another huge pan of Peanut butter bars with blackberry jam. MMMMM so good.
On Saturday I got up with a little headache. It grew and grew and grew throughout the day and by night fall I had a full blown migraine. My family got together at my sister's house for a cookout in the evening. We had some yummy hotdogs and hamburgers. I wasn't feeling much like eating, but I enjoyed being with my family. We didn't get home til around midnight. My hubby insisting staying there until the race was over. I hit the bed when we got home and tried to sleep off the headache. No such luck. Sunday morning arrived and it was still present. I ended up staying in a dark room, wrapped in a throw with the tv playing low all day long. The headache finally subsided late in the evening. It was horrendous. I hate it when that happens.
On Monday I went back to work tired and trembly which I always am after a migraine. It's like it drains all your inner strength and it takes a couple of days to get your systems all working right again. After lunch on Monday I moved my office to it's new location. I had started moving a few things the previous Thursday. I like to move a little at a time and put everything in it's place as I go and that way there isn't so much at one time. I was settled in my new place by 3 on Monday. I love it so far. It's quiet and roomy and I think it will work out very well for me. I miss my friend Missy who was my next door neighbor over in the hospital, but we can still email and meet for lunch whenever we want to.
I'm not sure where the rest of this week went! I was busy at work and it seemed we had something to do at home every evening. We had been doing a little car shopping now and then for a couple of months. The week before the 4th we found one we really liked. We thought about it, prayed about it, looked at it and drove it several times. Finally on Thursday this week we made the decision to purchase it. It's such a big decision. A car, with what they cost these days, is a big investment. It's not a decision to be made lightly. We're loving it so far. I hope it lasts a really long time.
Yesterday we took a long ride through the country. It was a beautiful day. Last night I caught up on reading blogs, spent some time on Facebook, watched the race with the Hubby and caught a good nights sleep. Today I am meeting up with a my friend Hannah and her family at a local park. She asked me to take some photos of her little family.
Here's wishing good things for each of you! Make every day a wonderful day!
I'm joining the Blog Hop this week. This should be fun, give it a try. This week's theme is describe your blog in one paragraph. Here we go......and then I'm going to hop on all these blogs and see what it's all about!!
Hmmmm describing my blog in one paragraph should be easy.......Please pass the Veggies was born out of my love for food, cooking, almost vegetarianism, trying to eat a halfway healthy diet - some of the time Ha! It's usually a rambling mess of scattered thoughts and prayer requests and useless information. Most of all, it's my way of keeping up with my bloggy friends and if for no other reason at all, I enjoy messing around with it and changing my theme weekly. How's that?
Just as I promised in my previous post I'm back to give you the recipe for the awesome Curried Chicken Salad that Ina Garten made on Barefoot Contessa yesterday. It's the best chicken salad ever!! You've got to give it a try. I even made a second batch for the hubby using vegetarian FriChick and he loves it too.
Curried Chicken Wraps
3 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayo
1/3 cup dry white wine (Note: I didn't have any wine so I used a dash or two of apple juice just to thin the mayo and I think the flavor goes great with the rest of the ingredients)
1/4 cup chutney ( recommended: Major Gray's) **I found this at Lowes Food - on the aisle with the pickles/chow-chow/etc. It's made with mango.
3 TBLS curry powder
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews, chopped
6 tortillas ( plain flour, whole wheat, roasted red pepper or spinach would be good )
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. (Note: cover pan with a sheet of heavy duty foil and clean up is easy)
Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, shredding with a fork. Discard skin and bones.
For the dressing....combine mayo, wine, chutney, curry powder and 1 1/2 tsp. salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. You can just use a whisk, I did!
Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions and raisins and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews.
Fill the center of a tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll like a buritto. Cut in half diagonally and serve. The chicken salad would also be great with crackers or the little puff pastry shells you can find in the frozen food section at the grocery.
You can certainly use low fat mayo with this recipe as all the other flavors would really perk it up. I'll definitely be making this again. It's really yummy!
I used an 8 inch square cake pan because that's what I had and baked them in two batches. The first batch, I followed the directions completely using the parchment paper in the pan. The jam oozes out a little and the parchment paper stuck to the edges a little. The parchment paper definitely makes it easy to lift the bars out of the pan. BUT I didn't like the jam sticking so the 2nd pan that I just now took out of the oven, I didn't use the paper. I just greased and floured my non stick pan and they did much better. I baked the first pan this afternoon while I was home from work on a split shift and put the rest of the dough in the fridge. When I got home tonight I baked the 2nd batch. I think the dough was easier to work with after being refrigerated. I used Smuckers Red Raspberry jam. It's really good and I think a lot of other flavors would be too. Grape or Strawberry or even apple would work. Give em a try. Really easy and really tasty!
Working a split shift today. I am home for a few hours and will go back and work tonight. I wanted to make a treat this week for the hubby to share with his buddies at work. I might even share with a few of mine. I had been thinking about something I could make. Yesterday while watching the Food Network Ina Garten made these fabulous looking bars. I hit up the grocery today for all the ingredients and the bars are in the oven as I type. Thought I would share the recipe with you all. It's an all time favorite combo of Peanut Butter & Jelly made into cookie bars......Yummy
Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan
Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed with electric mixer until light yellow. Add the vanilla, eggs and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan and spread over the bottom. I used my hands to pat it out. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.
The dough tasted great and the bars are cooking up nicely. I think they are going to be a hit.
On the same show Ina made Curried Chicken Wraps. I got the ingredients for those also and I will share that recipe with you later today or tomorrow.
I wanted to go to the pool today but shortly after I got up it started to get partly cloudy and who wants to go to the pool only to have it come up a storm and have to pack it all up and take it back home. I told the hubby it would make things much simpler if we just installed our own pool. We tossed around the idea last summer and never did anything about it. We're tossing it again, but I don't know if we'll do anything about it this summer either. It's terribly hot here in NC today. In the 90's and it's humid. Plus my face is still peeling from last weekend at the pool. I thought I had a good enough tan to not get burned but I was wrong. My face looks nasty. It's flaking this dark brown skin and even using exfoliating gloves daily is not helping much. Sooooooo me and the pups have been lounging around the house today.....eating cheez-its and reading blogs and facebooking. Well, me, not the pups, you know.
What are your plans for the 4th of July? I will be off of work on Friday July 3rd. My sister is hosting our annual 4th of July cookout at her house on Saturday evening. The Isaacs are in NC on Saturday but it's a good long drive. I think we may head up to Bedford, VA on Sunday the 5th to see them. It's only about 140 miles, so not a bad road trip.
I am looking forward to my move at work. The orders were put in to IT on Friday to move me so I should be moved on Monday or Tuesday. I will have a nice private office. I'm trying to get a few decorating items together to dress it up. It's a large room and it will be difficult to make it cozy. I spend so much time at work, I want it to be a nice place to spend 8 hours or more a day. I will try to take a few pictures when I get moved in.
What are your thoughts about the death of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson this week? I loved Farrah in Charlie's Angels and I have loved the movies she's done like Extremeties and The Burning Bed. I remember the hair and the beautiful smile and she always had a killer tan. I know that Michael Jackson was weird and I certainly don't agree with the lifestyle that he chose but I did enjoy his music. I grew up with Michael. He was only a few years older than me. No matter what his lifestyle turned out to be his was still an amazing story from that cute little kid to the icon that he became. One of my favorite songs of his remains Billie Jean. I must not be the only one that likes it as the video has received over 14 million views on You Tube. And lastly it's not my duty to judge Michael or anyone else. HE will take care of that.
I hope each of you has a great week. If you're vacationing or working or just staying around the house....make it a great week and be safe.