Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meatball Subs

Hello all! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa was good to you! We had a wonderful time here. My pork tenderloin on Christmas Eve was SO delicious, my father-in-law could not stop raving about it. My daughter ate more of it than I thought her little belly could hold! Then we opened presents and she got really spoiled by her grandpas, it was fun to watch her jump up and give them a hug and say thank you after she opened each and every one. Too funny!

On Christmas Day we weren't awakened too early by our excited kid and actually got some coffee before the craziness began. It amazes me how patient she can be when it comes to opening gifts. Anyway, she got the acoustic guitar she wanted from Santa along with a bunch of other stuff and was very happy. My husband spoiled me with lots of things I wanted too. He also got me a Cuisinart Sandwich Maker, which I did not ask for - it was an impulse buy on his part. It is a nice machine, but I can do what it does with little extra effort. I have been trying to think of a nice way to say "take it back" when I thought of what I really do want instead - an ice cream maker! Now I can tell him that although it was a lovely thought what I really want to do is make ice cream. I have been saving recipes from magazines for a year now and I was going to ask for the ice cream maker for Mother's Day.

On Christmas Day I made stuffed shells for dinner - yum! I make mine by cooking the jumbo shells according to package directions. While that is going, I mix a 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese with 1 egg, 2 tsp. of garlic powder and 1 tbsp. of parsley. Then I mix in 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and a healthy sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I rinse the cooked shells with cool water so I can handle them and shake off as much water as I can. I stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and place them in a greased 9x13 pan. Then I pour a jar of pasta sauce over the top and sprinkle with 1 more cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. They are so good and not to hard to make once you get the hang of stuffing the shells - they can be slippery!

Last night I made veggie pitas for dinner - so good! I love the tang of the sauce and feta with the crunch of the veggies. Tonight I am making meatball subs, but I am not making my own meatballs. We found Farm Rich frozen meatballs on sale at Target so I decided to give them a try. I'll put them in a large pot with a jar of pasta sauce and cook according to package directions - I'll let you know how they taste tomorrow. I always serve my meatball subs on hot dog buns. We have tried french bread in the past, but it always seems like too much bun.

Happy eating!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pork Tenderloin In The Slow Cooker

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to post again until next week, but a few of you commented on my having pork tenderloin for Christmas Eve dinner and I thought "duh, I should have posted the recipe!", so here it is! :)


2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. pork tenderloin
caraway seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 small yellow onions, quartered
6 small/medium size red or yellow potatoes, cut in half
8 grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock
1 - 27oz. can sauerkraut, drained

In a large skillet over medium high heat warm the oil until hot. Add the pork and cook on all sides until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to slow cooker.
Tuck the onions around pork, then sprinkle with the caraway seeds and garlic. Top with potato halves. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour in beef stock. Cover with sauerkraut.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. (Discard onions; serve only pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut.)

This recipe is easily doubled, which is what I do since there will be 4 adults (3 of them big men) and 1 kid eating from this, and I will use my 6 quart slow cooker. Make sure that you use the proper size slow cooker; it must be at least halfway full to properly cook the food. Once again, Merry Christmas and...

Happy eating!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Almost Christmas!

Hello everyone! Things sure have been busy around here and I just haven't had the time to post as much as I would like. However I have tried to keep up with reading and commenting on the blogs I follow! I did get a chance to play around with the colors and fonts on my blog, and as you can see I gave it a fresh new look.

I would like to take a moment to give a shout out to our snow-covered friends in the Northeast - Crumbs In the Minivan and Marvelously Mundane - I hope you are all digging out slowly but surely, and that you are all okay!

Yesterday my daughter grabbed a paint brush and a couple ketchup packets that came with her Happy Meal. Then she started to squirt the ketchup into a small bowl and I finally asked what she was doing. She said she was going to paint with ketchup and of course I put an end to that and told her we have perfectly good paint in the art box. The other alarming thing was that she had no paper; what was she going to paint on? My husband, who was sitting there watching us, was disapointed that I had stopped her. Apparently he was impressed with her creativity. This is why although I have entertained the idea of going back to work and letting him stay home I will never actually do it.

Do you have a traditional Christmas meal? Mine is turning out to be pork tenderloin with sauerkraut and potatoes in the slow cooker on Christmas Eve, which is when we have company. This year it is just my dad and FiL. I am not ready for more turkey yet and my husband despises ham. (We have turkey on Easter.) It is nice to have the slow cooker do all the work so I can actually enjoy the appetizers with my family. I do make a different fancy dessert every year, which is something my family has come to look forward to. This year it will be the white chocolate cheesecake I made on Thanksgiving, which isn't really new, but we all love it. On Christmas Day I either make lasagna or stuffed shells with garlic toast and salad, and we eat more of the appetizers from the day before since I always make too much.

This week is going to be very busy and I won't be posting again until next week so I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Happy eating!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Easiest Homemade Fudge

Well, I didn't get my picture. Once again my daughter refused to go anywhere near Santa. We tried being stern, we tried talking nicely, we even tried to bribe her. >sigh< Oh well, there's always next year.

Tonight we are going out to eat. So in order to leave you with a recipe, I am going to share this one. I got it from a wonderful woman I worked with, and it is so easy you will be surprised. It also makes some of the best fudge I have ever had. The best part is that you can customize it to please anybody's tastes. Throw in some marshmallows or dried fruit or nuts. Experiment with all those different chocolate chip flavors that are available these days. Add in crushed peppermint or toffee. The possibilities are endless!

This is my favorite way to make it, simple and clean. I am making this fudge this year for neighbors and teachers and family instead of cookies.


1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 dash salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with tinfoil; set aside. In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, warm up the milk. Add chips, stir until melted and smooth. Add vanilla and salt, stir well. If adding extra ingredients, do so now. Pour fudge into prepared pan, use a spatula to spread evenly. Refrigerate overnight. Lift tinfoil out of pan and peel gently off of fudge. Cut into bite size pieces.

Happy eating!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Last night I made Dirty Rice with the Zatarain's mix and ground beef for dinner. It is a really easy and yummy meal with a little bit of heat. Tonight we will be having leftovers because 1) there are a lot of them in the fridge and 2) I have to be at my daughter's school today at 4:30pm to help set up for the Breakfast With Santa, which is tomorrow morning.

I am really looking forward to the B.W.S. because I do not have a picture of my daughter with Santa since she was 2 years old (and she was screaming and crying in it). It is $5 per person which includes pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and a picture with Santa on a CD so you can share with friends and family. I think that is an awesome deal! Plus I am hoping to meet some of the parents of my daughters friends. I will not let my kid go to someone's house for a playdate until I have met them, and I am sure the other parents feel the same way. One little girl that my kid is friends with asks me everyday when she can come to our house, so I am hoping she and her folks are there tomorrow.

On Sunday morning we have to be back at the school/church by 7:45am for the Christmas program. Ugh, I am not looking forward to getting my kid up at 6:45am. Hopefully she will be excited about the program and will not be too crabby. Plus we have promised her McDonald's breakfast afterward, so we can always bribe her with that! LOL

I have finally started the Christmas shopping, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. At least I know what I am getting everyone - I just have to go get it! We still have two weeks, and I have always been a last minute shopper. Have you finished your shopping yet?

Happy eating!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pomodoro Pasta

The tomatoes I bought last Friday are starting to not look very healthy, so I am going to make the Pomodoro Pasta tonight. It is a really great dish with fresh ingredients, even better in the summer when you can use things directly from your garden.

Last night we had Cheese Enchiladas; warm and gooey from the oven with spanish rice on the side. Yum!

Yesterday I was the playground mom again and the kids were so busy playing with the snow that they forgot to be rotten to each other - it was great! I only had to scold a couple boys for throwing snow, but thankfully they were just throwing it in the air, not at each other. :)

Tonight the temps are supposed to drop considerably and tomorrows high is 12 degrees. YIKES! I hope where ever you are, you are happy and warm!

Happy eating!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Indian Corn Stew

Hi all! Hope you had a good weekend. Ours was kind of low key, but nice. Friday night I made a frozen pizza and on Saturday we ordered one - we love pizza! Yesterday we had a late lunch and weren't feeling too hungry so we had leftovers for dinner. Tonight I am going to make Indian Corn Stew which is the perfect warm and yummy dinner for this cold, snowy day.

I got our indoor Christmas decorations and tree up today after running some errands. Yesterday we went to Target and bought snowpants for our daughter (among other things), and they forgot to give us the bag with them in it! Ugh. So I had to go back today; thankfully they didn't give me any hassle about it. I also picked up a bag of rock salt for the sidewalks and stamps for the Christmas cards. Then I got the tree up and put the lights on before picking up my daughter from school. She was very strict with her instructions that I was NOT to decorate the tree without her. :) We had a great time putting the ornaments on the tree and putting the other decorations around the house while White Christmas blared from the TV.

Then when we were done she scampered into her room to play and I sat down on the couch - and burst into tears. This is our first Christmas without my husbands mom and our fifth without my mom, and it just kinda hit me that there are no grandmas to celebrate Christmas with this year. I always thought my daughter would have the same experiences with her grandmas that I had with mine, who both lived well into my twenties, and I cannot imagine her growing up without either of them. My grandpas were nice guys, but kinda distant from me. My dad and FiL are much more hands-on with my kid, but they are no grandmas. >sigh<

Sorry, I didn't mean to be such a bummer. On a happier note, we got our first snowfall last night, about 1", and everything looks prettier covered in white. We are supposed to get another 3-6" late Tuesday night. I like when the snow falls overnight because the city of Chicago does an awesome job of making sure the streets are clean for the morning rush.

Happy eating!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas and Some Funny Quotes

My good friend D. forwarded me this email and I just had to share it with all of you. She did not come up with these, it doesn't say who did, but they are brilliant. It really made me laugh, especially #29 and 40.

Random Thoughts of the Day:
1. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?
4. Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
5. That's enough, Nickelback.
6. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
7. The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.
8. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.
9. There is a great need for sarcasm font.
10. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the f&*% was going on when I first saw it.
11. I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.
12. The other night I hit a new low at an open bar. I had already hopped on highway blackout when, inevitably I had to find a bathroom. Eventually I decided it was probably on the other side of the bar so I tried to walk over there, but ran into a guy coming the other way. We played that, Both go left, Both go right game to no avail, so I finally put out my hand to guide myself past and that's is when I realized, yup, that's a mirror I just tried to walk through. And the guy on the other side is me. Even cats can re cognize their own image.
13. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
14. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
15. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
16. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.
17. A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.
18. Was learning cursive really necessary?
19. Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".
20. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
21. Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.
22. My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us." Classy, bro.
23. Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".
24. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?
25. I love the sense of camaraderie when a n entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!
26. Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"
27. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?
28. While driving yesterday I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.
29. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
30. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
31. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.
32. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
33. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
34. Bad decisions make good stories
35. Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!
36. Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?
37. If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible..
38. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....
39. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.
40. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.
41. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
42. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
43. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.
44. I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room.. Will we still be friends after this?'
45. While watching the Olympics, I find myself cheering equally for China and USA. No, I am not of Chinese descent, but I am fairly certain that when Chinese athletes don't win, they are executed.
46. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damnit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
47. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
48. When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.
49. I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.
50. Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...
51. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
52. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
53. It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.
54. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
55. I think that if, years down the road when I'm trying to have a kid, I find out that I'm sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from the fact that I was not aware of my condition in college.
56. Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.
57. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...
58. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?
59. It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.
60. I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.
61. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
62. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.
63. The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimate d that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

Did you like them? I hope they made you laugh out loud or at least put a smile on your face!

Tonight for dinner we are having Chicken Quesadillas. If you click the link for the recipe you will also get to read about my magazine obsession. Yep, I'm crazy. :)

Happy eating!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

I really love this soup! It is so easy to make and so delicious! It is creamy and flavorful and warms you right to the bones! Sorry, I am done using exclamation points now. :)

This Baked Potato Soup is a recipe from the magazine Everyday With Rachel Ray, although I have altered it a bit (added more milk), and I use Bacn'Bits instead of real bacon. Also, there is a cute story of messiness in the kitchen if you click the link.

Today I went Christmas shopping at Target with my dad for my daughter's gifts while she was in school, and I picked out a few things for myself too. Then we picked her up and went to lunch and did a little more shopping at Barnes & Noble for my husband's gifts. It was really nice to spend some time with my dad.

Happy eating!