Friday, November 14, 2008

Spaghetti with white clam sauce

from my mother-in-law....

1 pkg (7 oz.) spaghetti
¼ C. marg. Or butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 Tblsp. Chopped fresh parsley
2 cans (6.5 oz) minced clams undrained
Chopped fresh parsley
½ C. grated parmesan cheese

1. Cook spaghetti as directed
2. While spag. is cooking, melt marg. In 1 ½ qt. Sauce pan over med. Heat. Cook garlic in margarine about 3 min, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Stir in 2 Tblsp. parsley and add the clams. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to lower temp and simmer uncovered 3-5 min.
3. Drain spaghetti; pour sauce over spaghetti. Toss. Sprinkle with parsley and cheese.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's like a celebrity sighting


How did she do that? How did she know? And do you think I hurt her feelings by questioning her sanity in presenting a yogurt-in-the-pot recipe?

Cook Dinner for Elle

Elle wants recipes. Easy, fast, tasty ones.

I'd post some but most of mine came from her.... so that doesn't really help, does it?


File this under things the pre-kid me thought I'd never do:

Put princess stickers on a little girl's shoes.

Tuff is very sad. Her brother -who has Wile E Coyote feet- got new tennis shoes this week. And they have Transformers, lights AND velcro. Meanwhile she's stuck with a pair of hand-me-down white Nikes with a pink swoosh and, gasp, laces.

This weekend Sweet soaked his spidey shoes (ahh.... remember the days when I swore I wouldn't raise licensed-characted obsessed children? So young and so adorable was I....) and I discovered he had no backups. Oops. Couple that with the fact he learned to ride a 2-wheeler and he uses his feet for brakes and, well, the kid needed shoes.

The spidey-shoes came from Target on clearance for less than $7.... so I'm assuming similar replacements can be found. Alas.... no.

I looked at Target, Shopko & Ross. Nothing. So I sent Hot shopping. He went to Famous Footwear and, for WAY more than I'd spend on a pair of shoes that will be trashed in 3 months, he outfitted our son. (You know the rule to a happy marriage... if you want them to do something then you can't criticize how they do it. Right?)

Sweet was in heaven and practiced running very fast in his new SIZE ONE** shoes. Tuff was pissed.... Now every time we go somewhere she says, hopefully, "Target? Pincess soesh?"

Which brings us to this morning's sticker antics.

I called Hot to tell him and he laughed out loud for about 30 seconds. She's such a.... personality.

So Santa might start looking around for some Tinkerbell sneakers..... because, really, it's all about making sure my Precious Baby is happy.....

**Size One? Size One? He's FOUR YEARS OLD. Size One. I know ELEVEN year olds who don't wear a size one. He really is built like Wile E Coyote.

Monday, November 10, 2008


SarahP made me laugh out loud with her comment about heart & liver as spare dog food. I will eat elk heart. I won't eat the liver of any animal.... sorry, I worked on a liverfluke research project and I just can't do it.

Caroline asked about doing black beans for the freezer. I just do what the crockpot lady tells me to do to make beans and they turn out ok. I'd like to try her refried bean recipe but haven't gotten around to it. She also mentioned what to do if the power goes out for days? I'd call my dad and ask him to bring the generator down. But, seriously, we would pack a bunch of quilts in the freezer for extra insulation and cross our fingers. Those chest freezers will stay really cold for a long time if you don't open them.

Also... I've been thinking about trying her "crockpot yogurt" recipe. At first, it sounded a little, well, crack pot to me... but I might like it. I do love vanilla yogurt.

And this crayon thing.... I've been dreaming about it. Actually about doing it in a flat pan and cutting out cookie-cutter crayons while it is still warm. How cute would it be if I owned a set of little tiny alphabet cookie cutters?? (I don't... but I've seen them.)

And, OMG, in looking for the crayon link I found PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES. How good does that sound??? Vats and vats of it.

Caroline also asked about painting supplies in the freezer. To this I say WHAT? You DON'T have paint brushes in the freezer? Then you are much more on-the-ball and into completing projects than I am.... When I need to stop a painting project before I'm done, I wrap brushes in plastic wrap or an old Target bag and toss them in the freezer instead of cleaning them. Let them thaw a little and you are good to go.

My best example of this was staining the deck & wrap around porch the summer Tuff was born. As far as projects go it wasn't bad.... mostly flat surface and minimal prep work. But staining with a two-year-old and a newborn? Oh my. So I worked mostly during nap times over the course of several weeks. Got it done.

Wanna list of current "paint projects" in my freezer?

1. White exterior primer brush. For painting the porch posts & windows.... I was going great guns but then I hit the south side of the house... where the "weather" happens.... and much scraping and sanding is required.... I lost my motivation.
2. Pale green (peaceful jade) interior brush. Painted Tuff's room... still need to finish the ceiling edging... also planning to paint some of the living room this color.
3. Palladian blue interior brush. If I ever get the ceilings painted I will need this brush to touch up where I mess up in the laundry room.
4. Lady finger interior roller. I started the dining room & kitchen... and I have the paint..... and I want this to be the "base" color for the whole house....
6. Ivory tusk interior roller. The laundry room cabinets.... I just need to touch them up where they got dinged when we installed them.... but I can't seem to get around to it.

Who else lives in an ongoing to-do list of paint projects???

Friday, November 07, 2008

Men have Body Dismorphic Issues Too

Amen to this article.

My hubby is an, um, attentive lover..... meaning, um, how do I say this and keep things rated PG around here? He's, uh, good. Real good. Yeah... let's just say there are more reasons than just his job that make me call him "Hot" ok??

But he doesn't know it.

And now I know why.

Vintage is the only word for it


That's the quality of stuff I'm finding in my freezer. And that's my next de-cluttering challenge to you. Freezer diving.

Let me back up.

Traditionally, October is the month to clean the chest freezer in the garage in prep of hunting season. Except our freezer is pretty good sized so last year I didn't really NEED to clean it to put a deer AND an elk in there. Plus, of course, some random chunks of beef.

But then I decided I couldn't stand the mess in the fridge freezer so I emptied the whole thing into the garage freezer.

And it was full.

So I started, bit by bit, feeding everything in it to my family.

Here's an inventory of what I've excavated so far... and still digging:

1. A turkey. Ten pounder. Yummy. See below.
2. A lot of frozen juice in random flavors. Apparently I got a flat of it at Costco. Damn you Costco. And damn me for my amateur impulse shopping ways. But it all mixed up ok and, although I'm not normally a huge juice drinker it has been fun.
3. Frozen fruit. Lots of it. A giant block of frozen goodness from, you guessed it, Costco and random assorted plastic containers and bags of peaches, grapes, melon & bananas that I froze at the last second before they went bad. Smoothies. Yummy, yummy smoothies.
4. Paint brushes and rollers. These were not fed to the children. But I did toss the ones that match up with paint projects long done... and I promise to get motivated to finish the ones that are still in there.
5. A whole box of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.
6. Tons of homemade soup in bags for work lunches. Bringing them into the house freezer a few at a time and eating them.
7. Ice packs. And more ice packs. And more ice packs.
8. Butter & Bacon. But not in large quantities.
9. Chocolate. Purchased post-holiday and stashed. I figure it counts as a workout if I have to hike all the way to the back of the shop to get a chocolate fix. Right?
10. Vegetables. Lots of garden veggies. My mom apparently processed, packaged & froze a whole lotta stuff while I was groggily wandering around the house after sinus surgery in September. Gotta love that. Beets, beans, corn. Cute little baggies of frozen corn all ready to go in the microwave and eat. It does explain where these photos came from.
11. Beef. But not as much as I thought. A few packages of hamburger, some steaks and a roast. I think I'll cook the roast this weekend after I make soup.
12. Elk. Only one yummy package of salami left. Mostly burger but still some rounds and loins so we are working on those. It's so funny... all year long I'm a little miserly about eating it and then in October and November we have a marathon of meat.
13. Deer sausage. Two precious packages. This stuff makes the most incredible stuffed squash. And anything else you can think of. Love it. And it is a totally impressive thing to fix for people who claim they don't like venison.
14. Antelope and goat steaks.... 2 packages..... how the HELL did these sneak into my freezer? Ew. Ew. Ew. Uck.
15. Chicken Nuggets.
16. Chicken & Veggie Dumplings. I love these. I buy them at Costco when I have a coupon and we eat them with noodles instead of ordering Chinese food.... a weak but acceptable substitution.
17. Apple Juice.
18. Popcorn Chicken. Hot accidentally got this..... I love it but it costs too much to be a part of our regular diet. I promise you this package won't last long.
19. Beans. Frozen, cooked black beans.... better than canned and cheaper as well. I just learned how to do this.
20. Flour. Where do YOU store that giant Costco bag of flour? I put it in one of those over-sized ziplock things and throw it in the freezer.
21. Frozen milk cartons of water. To take up space and make the freezer more efficient.... they would also be our water supply if the power went out for a few days. When I first did this I put a giant plastic tub in the bottom of the freezer and filled it with water. Wow, was that a learning experience. DON'T DO IT.
22. Bread. I rotate sandwich bread & mini bagels pretty well but there are some very aged hamburger buns in there.... those gotta go.
23. Coffee. Only one extra bag of whole beans. Not bad.

That's it. That's what I've found so far. How about you?

Ask Elle

Elle has a brilliant new system for handling the dinner dilemma... and some great recipes to go with it. So go hassle her to post it. You'll love it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Turkey Lurkey

There are several unfortunate stories out there involving my sister and turkeys. Not the guys she's dated but the actual animal... usual frozen & in a bag.

The big family secret is.... I'VE NEVER COOKED A TURKEY.

Until Now.

I didn't work on Tuesday and I've been trying to empty the freezer in the garage in hopes of filling it with elk soon. Well, in the bottom, I found a turkey. How old? Who knows. This is just another argument for an upright freezer.... even if they aren't as energy efficient.

So Tuesday afternoon I was basting bird. I had it all planned to be ready at 6 but the damn button wouldn't pop. I shoved a meat thermometer in places I'd rather not talk about and the temp was well into the safe zone everywhere I poked it.... so I think the button was wonky. It finally did pop... with a little, ahem, help.

So the turkey was delicious. The potatoes had too much water in them so they were a little gluey but still quite tasty. Stove Top... how can you go wrong with stove top stuffing? I made fresh rolls and they were delightful. The gravy was way too salty. My kids shoveled food into their faces until I thought they would pop. Hot has lunches for the rest of the week. And I'm planning a giant batch of turkey soup for the weekend.

We Had A Play Date

So I'm raising my kids to be geeky and socially awkward.... just like me.

My son is 4 and has had exactly ONE drop-off playdate. His bestest daycare buddy started kindergarten this year. I took Sweet to her house on a Friday evening and they ordered pizza and played in her back yard for about 2 hours. Tuff & I ran errands and stopped at the park for a quick swing.

So last Friday was Halloween and we met up with Kae, Princess & Flower after a quick trick-r-treat of the downtown walking mall businesses. Where did we meet? A bar, of course. Blackfoot's new "Church of Beer" to be specific. The place was packed and our 4 soon joined a hoard of other costumed pee-wees staring through the glass windows overlooking the brewing area. What was so fascinating? The beer making process or the gorilla masks? We don't know.

Kae & I made big plans. Let's have a playdate on Tuesday. So we did it. We spent several hours and even mooched lunch. The kids couldn't wait to go. Tuff gets all bright eyed and happy and says, "Swing set???" in that hopeful little girl voice. Sweet wants to bring all of his transformers.

They played well. Princess was "Sleeping Beauty" and Sweet was "all the boy parts... the prince & the dragon & stuff." Tuff taught Flower how to jump off the couch and Sweet showed Princess how to monkey completely around the room couch-to-couch-to-chair without touching the ground. Sorry 'bout that.