Monday, February 28, 2011

Goodbye February

My Life (February 2011)
  1. Started this Blog (and spent many nights...and days for that matter...dreaming about it)
  2. Got New Pots, Pans & Pot Rack (yeah!!!)
  3. Broke my Dyson vacuum cleaner
  4. Donated Blood for the first time in 10 years
  5. Tended Live-In #3's Smashed Thumb (smashed by none other than Live-In #2)
  6. Had Lunch & a Movie with My Lover while the kids were in school (True Grit...enjoyed it)
  7. Ran 6 Miles w/o stopping (in preparation for an upcoming 10k)
  8. Attended A LOT of Basketball games/practices for Live-In #1, Live-In #2 & Live-In #3 (so glad the season is coming to an end!)
  9. Preped for a 'Snow Day' that never really happened
  10. Discovered Chipotle Mexican Grill (subsequently introduced Live-In #1 to said restaurant...Live-In #2 & Live-In #3 had no interest - they must be their fathers sons)
Such is a month in the course of my lifetime.  I wouldn't trade a day.  Happy to be the Lover of My Lover and the Mother of my Live-Ins.*

*Yes, this was written after a glass of wine washed the tension of the day away...   Wine really is the best medicine!

Not Your Everyday Chicken & Rice

My Mom used to make this chicken and rice dish.  There was never an official name for the recipe, or exact measurements for that matter - so I improvised.  Out of all the dishes my Mom cooked for us (and there were many, my Mom is a great cook), this is one of the dishes I enjoyed the most - however I think I enjoy it much more now as an adult than I did as a kid (proof that the saying 'your tastebuds will change as you get older' is true).

This recipe can be used with bone-in or boneless chicken, however I prefer it made with bone-in chicken.  I also leave the skin on while cooking because it helps the chicken stay moist - and then take the skin off prior to eating.

The sauce is To Die For!!!  I would drink it, but it is even better on buttered white rice!  If you have any left over it makes the best of all time leftovers - don't get me started!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!!

Not Your Everyday Chicken & Rice
2-3 lbs chicken, cut up
1 tsp Paprika
4 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (can substitute for Cream of Mushroom if preferred)
1 Tomato
3-4 Green Onions
1 small can Mushrooms*
1 tsp Poultry Seasoning
1/4 - 1/2 cup Milk
Salt & Pepper to Taste

*You can use fresh mushrooms, however cook them to extract water prior to adding to the sauce.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9"x13"x2" glass dish, cut up four tablespoons of butter and place in oven to melt.  Once melted, remove from oven.  Add chicken, turning to coat with butter.  Sprinkle both side of chicken with paprika, salt & pepper.  Return to oven, cook for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato and green onions. 

In a small bowl combine soup, tomato, green onions, mushrooms (drained), poultry seasoning, salt & pepper.  Mix thouroughly.  Add milk and stir. 

 At the end of the first 15-20 minutes of cooking, remove chicken from oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Spoon sauce over the chicken evenly.  Return to oven, cook additional 30-40 minutes. 

Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and the sauce to a gravy boat.  Serve with rice, spooning as much sauce as you dare over the hot buttered rice.

Confession: This picture only shows about 1/2 the sauce I used on my rice.
Basically, I have a little rice with my sauce!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's a Dirty Job, but I'll Keep Making Them!

When I am not drinking wine you might see me enjoying coffee - Strong cream, no sugar, just straight out of the decanter strong coffee.  My Lover thinks the coffee I make is too strong and has asked me why I don't just take the coffee grounds and stick them in my lip.  To which I answer...I prefer to drink it thank you very much!

So I start my day with coffee...However I am one of those unfortunate souls who cannot drink coffee past a certain hour or I will be up till all hours.  So.....I conveniently came up with a satifactory alternative -

A Coffee Martini!

There are so many variations one could play with to make this delectable drink.  All I can say is 'It's a Dirty Job, but I'll Keep Making Them' to share with you!

To the party, bring the following ingredients:
Godiva Vodka, Creme de Cocao, Starbucks Coffee Liqueor,
Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2, a Shaker

Oh, and dont' forget the ice!
Lots of Ice!

Prep the glasses
With a damp paper towel, moisten the rim of the glass
then run the rim through the chocolate.

I only rimmed my glass with Chocolate Martini Rimmer (I didn't rim My Lovers glass because he doesn't like the foo-foo stuff)

For Two Martini's

3 shots Godiva Vodka
1 1/2 shots Starbucks Coffee Liqueor
1 1/4 shots Creme de Cocao
Splash Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2

Shake, shake, and shake some more.  Don't be wimpy about this, Shake it like you mean it!

Pour & Serve

This was the first time I had used the Godiva Vodka.  This martini is definately sweet, but a perfect dessert or end of the day treasure!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snow Day

We were promised a snow storm like that of which we have not seen in two years...not only that, the weatherman has been talking about it non stop for almost a week.  At first I was a non-believer, I have lived in this city all of my life and when it comes to snow...the weatherman gets it wrong a lot.  But after having it beat into my head over and over and over, I too became a believer and began planning for at least a day with my live-ins.

I rented a movie we were going to watch together...

We were going to have popcorn...

But alas, the predicted seven inches of snow quickly changed to a trace to 1" when the weatherman's predictions failed to transpire yesterday in the late afternoon.

Today we have a two hour delay...not a school is closed...but a two hour delay.  Which for me means 'your morning will be non existent'.  So instead of watching movies...we are...

Live-In #2 is snuggling in his bed a little longer...

Live-In #3 is snuggling under a blanket watching TV and playing legos...

Live-In #1 is getting ready for school, cause her 2 hours is almost up!

Pill Poppy Puppy is sleeping...
Oh, that's right...he is always sleeping!

And me - I am dreading the drive to Live-In #1's school...I don't like to drive in the snow whether it be 7" or a trace - BUT it sure is pretty to look at!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ghost Pines - Cabernet Sauvignon

It is my intention to talk about a different wine each week - red and white (hopefully - but you will probably see more red since that is where my heart really sings songs of joy).  We will see how this goes - this may be another hairbrained idea, but I never said I wasn't hairbrained...

This week I have chosen a 2008 Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon- this just might be one of my new favorite Cabs, but I refuse to commit to that statement yet. 

My Lover and I were introduced to this wine not long ago at a restaurant - and for the life of me I cannot remember where we were and it is driving me crazy!!!  I keep thinking I will wake up in the middle of the night screaming out the name of the restaurant, but it hasn't happened yet.  However, while the restaurant may not have stuck in my mind this delicious wine did.

First the label caught my eye.  I really like the ghostly looking trees - however they look like they could be maple trees rather than pine....hmm, I hadn't thought of that before...

Anyways...the grapes in this wine are 68% Napa County and 32% Sonoma County.  The description from the bottle (I love these, and feel quite jipped when they don't have one) is:

Layers of balckberry and dark cherry complement rich roasted vanilla, Asian spice and a nutty smoke character all surrounded by firm integrated tannins.

My description would be:
A mouthful of rich, full bodied, stands on it own two feet, velvety elixer of happiness in a glass.

I found it recently at a Costco for $15.99, however in my local grocery store it is $19.99.  Definately worth every penny when you are looking for a nice bottle of red wine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pill Popping Puppy

Man's Best Friend is a phrase that comes to mind when I think of a description for dogs.  However, in my house I have referred to our dog as a Juvenile Delinquent, Sweet Baby Puppy, Running Fool, Hairy Monster, Pisser, Howley Howler and most recently a Pill Popping Puppy!

My Pill Popping Puppy is a Siberian Huskey - the most beautiful breed in my accurate...ah hem...humble opinion.  This beautiful animal came into our lives one day when My Lover and I went to the mall to buy me a new pair of shoes and came home with my beautiful, naughty, heart thieving puppy. 

My Lover, Heart Thieving Puppy & I

After we brought our puppy home, My Lover decided to do a little research on the breed...Uh oh, we discovered we were in trouble.  This breed is strong willed, naughty little Running Fools- this is why they need to be so cute - its to get them through their first 10 years as a Juvenile Delinquent...not to mention the fact that he is a giant hair ball creating Hairy Monster!

He'd have you believe he is innocent...but he is really naughty!

He is in his juvenile delinquent years here...
Howling away, he's telling anyone that will listen that his leash is torture...
He wanted to RUN!

My Pill Popping Puppy is now just shy (2 1/2 weeks) of 15 years old.  Yes, it's true.  I am sure this information explains the pill popping...  My Sweet Baby Puppy takes pills twice a day...every day.  And he knows when it is pill popping time.  My Howley Howler does just that, howls at me.  He is VERY insistant...he's quite the Pisser about it.

He is also very insistent on eating with us on nights we have Beef.  He LOVES beef and since he has such good table manners...we oblige.

Yes, I love my Pill Popping, Slightly Senile, Afraid of the Wind, Doesn't Like Water Puppy!

This photo was taken not long after he turned 14 - he is chaneling his inner Juvenile Delinquent - shortly thereafter he stole a hamburger from an unsuspecting child...

Who wouldn't love this Hairy Monster???
Yes, that is a beef bone between his front paws.
I love my Sweet Baby Puppy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh My Polenta!

I recently had dinner at a local restaurant named Bentley's ("The Bentley" as it reads on my receipt).  On this day I discovered a delicious plate of fluffy goodness - which they called Gorgonzola Polenta.  Let me just say it was heaven on a plate.  Let me repeat...Heaven On A Plate!!!   

Over the past two months I have dreamed of and longed for the return of Gorgonzola Polenta in my life  So last night I decided to try making it at home...  I researched how to cook it and finally threw caution to the wind and decided to make my own version.

4 parts Water to 1 part Polenta
Bring water to a boil, salt the water, add polenta whisking constantly.  Discard whisk, replace with wooden spoon and stir constantly 20-30 minutes by one website, 35-45 minutes by another.
*Disclaimer: This dish requires strong muscles and long suffering patience.

To this I added, salt, way to much butter, even more whipping cream and gorgonzola cheese.  Serve.

At the end of the evening I came to this conclusion - Polenta...this labor of love...while not terrible at my house, is better consumed at Bentley's.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I REFUSE to use LOL, LMAO, or ROFLOL. I rebel against this slang - to type these letters in this way is rather painful to me.  I can't stand them.  I detest them. I loath them.  I cringe when I see them.  I actually picture myself reaching into the computer and slapping anyone who uses them. 

The problem is...sometimes I am laughing out loud, laughing my ass off (one would think I didn't have an ass anymore, however I can't seem to get it to go away) and rolling on the floor laughing out loud, - so what is a girl to do? 

The rebel in me created its own slang abreviation...CMU.  Cracking Myself Up and/or Cracking Me Up and/or Cracks Me Up - depending on whether I am doing the cracking or someone else is cracking.  Catchy?  I don't know, but at least it doesn't make me get violent...

In fact it CMU!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Times A Wastin...

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." - Author Debatable

I've discovered that while I thought I didn't have a hobby, in fact I do...I waste time AND I enjoy doing it!  Oh, I used to be rather crafty - I enjoyed scrapbooking and sewing...but I no longer have time for that sort of thing...too busy wasting time!

I didn't realize until recently that I have been honing my skill for wasting time for a long as I can remember.  It started with meaningless magazine gossip (respectable gossip like People - I wouldn't dare take a look at National Enquirer...not while anyone was looking anyway).  Eventually the internet gave me daily hollywood gossip and other fun tidbits.  My DVR was next - I can record all kinds of shows and then snuggle deep down in my couch with a glass of wine and waste all kinds of time.  Then 'social networking' happened and most recently blogs (for me anyways...apparently I am behind the times cause I've been too busy wasting it). I enjoy my daily dose of blogs.  I often go back for seconds and thirds, and get the picture here, right?

Yes, I'm very good at wasting time and loving every minute of it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yes, you have to feed me!

Yesterday my Lover and I were out running errands when lunch time...he said to me 'do I have to feed you'?  Uh, Yes...I do require food - and Yes, you have to feed me! 

Now understand, I think about food from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep...except when I am thinking about wine...but then I am usually still thinking about food because I think about what I will eat before, during and after my wine.  So food and I...we are close - like peas and carrots, peanut butter and jelly, pie and coffee - see what I, food, food!!!

So yesterday we tried a place neither of us had eaten at before - Chipotle Mexican Grill.  Let me just say, they had me at Chipotle.  (There should be a disclaimer here: Mexican food and I have had a long standing love affair - my Lover had to accept this about me before I would marry him).  I chose a burrito with chipotle chicken, cilantro rice, two kinds of salsa (Note: I think salsa should be a drink as well as a condiment), sour cream, cheese and guacamole.  It was delicious, good food fast. 

I scarfed it down in just under five minutes and then began thinking of what I was going to have for dinner...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Only One Question...

Now that my 'Cast of Characters' has been introduced, I have but one question...Red or White?

I was watching one of my shows last night and this was one of the lines, a line which I might add that I said before Sally Field did...I was so excited and proud of myself.  But I got to thinking, it is the perfect question - all other questions fail in comparison to this question.

Personally, I am a Red fan.  It has not always been this way.  Excuse me while I take you back along the road to my love of wine...

My Lover introduced me to White Zinfendel (whew...did I think he was 'all that and then some')- it was okay for a newbie wine drinker (definately better than wine coolers), then we moved on to Reisling and camped out in it's sweetness for quite awhile.  I am slightly ashamed to say our wedding guests were given a limited choice of wine - sweet, sweeter or sweetest...

Eventually, I moved on to Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris...with an emphasis on the Noir.  Living in Oregon, Pinot Noir is readily available and I enjoyed its fruits - BUT, then I found Cabernet Sauvignon (Cab, if you will...Gods gift to mankind if you won't).  To me it is bold, strong, beautiful, luxurious and delicious! 

My most recent find is called Franciscan
This is a Vintage 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, CA. 
Description from Bottle: Rich and mouth-filling, beautifully balanced wine, reveals complex coffee, cassis and chocolate notes that lead to a lingering finish.

My Description: Delicious, Luscious, Yumminess 

Disclaimer: I am not a wine critic, I only call it like I see...I mean taste it. 

Note to Self:  Ask Lover not to throw away the wine bottles until I have had a chance to decide their blogability - this way I won't have to fish them out last nights garbage...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cast of Characters - My Lover

I met my lover 17 years ago at a birthday party I was having for my roommate.  He accompanied some mutual friends of ours.  We had been introduced to our friends 'friends' before and had absolutely no interest in meeting each other this night...  Ummm, since we are together today, I suppose one could assume sparks flew, fireworks erupted, futures were planned - not so fast...not too slow, but not so fast...
I love this man. I enjoy looking at him, spending time with him, arguing with him (no not really), raising live-ins with him, enjoying food with him, drinking wine with him...he is my favorite person. 

One of the things I love most about this gorgeous man is his eyes.  They speak to me when his words cannot.  His eyes are a reflection of his soul, and what a beautiful soul it is...  These eyes have betrayed him from the beginning...can't hide many emotions behind these beauties!
In these eyes I see love, playfulness, strength, loyalty, comfort, assurance..... Nope, can't hide behind these eyes...I've got your number lover!   Happy Valentine's Day!

P.S.  yes, that is live-in #3 sneaking in on a pic cause he loves us so much!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cast of Characters - Live-In #3

Live-In #3 is my 7 year old boy, my baby.  Just look at this face...I was a goner the moment this child was born.  You can't see it very well in this picture but he has eyelashes that should be insured.  Yes, they really are that gorgeous!

Since birth my baby has had a set of lungs on him that are still connected to the nerves in my ears (translation: he wails...I listen!).  This child seems to be immune to my 'ignore and it will go away' defense mechanism.  (He will not be ignored, Dan)...anyone, anyone???

This enchanting boy is loving, insistent, passionate, just, smart, funny, playful, serious (yes I know these last three may seem like an oxymoron, but if the shoe fits...), and last but not least ...loving (I know I said that before, but it is worth repeating, this boys loves, loves, loves).  Once again another basically perfect child (especially when he is sleeping).
Excuse me while I go get a hug from this boy, my heart is in need of melting.  I love you my precious baby boy!  Love, Mommy

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cast of Characters - Live-In #2

Live-In #2 is my 9 year old boy.  He is my only fair haired child and if it weren't for the fact that he has his father's perfectly sculpted eyebrows as well as the stretch marks he blessed my body with, I would wonder where in the world he came from.

This beautiful child did not speak to me until he was three years and one month old.  Seriously, not a word!  Now I can't get him to stop talking (correction - that would be live-in #1).  We like to think he just had so much going in that cute little noggin that he needed time to process it.

This boy has a sweet spirit, a memory for facts and figures that just won't quit, is caring, kind, strong, loving and sensitive.  Another practically perfect in every way kind of child (except when he's not).
And just in case you hadn't guessed by his big smile in this picture (he usually does not show his teeth for pictures) he is a fan of the Oregon Ducks - want to know who all the players are, as well as their numbers, position played, where they came from, their stats, what they ate for breakfast, etc, etc, etc...this is your man...I mean boy. 

I love you my sweet sweet boy.  Love, Mommy

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cast of Characters - Live-In #1

Live-in #1 is my 12 year old daughter.  My only daughter.  She looks like her mother, thankfully this does not bother her and it is a good thing because she hears it on a regular basis from just about every person we come into contact with.  She doesn't mind it, but I LOVE it!  I take it as one of the best compliments ever...because I think this child is B-U-T-FUL!. So to those complete strangers, semi strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, etc...Thank You for such a lovely compliment!

When I was a little girl I dreamed of having all boys.  This all changed when my lover and I decided to have a baby - all I could imagine was having a sweet little baby girl.  I cried tears of joy when the doctor told me she was a girl.  I cried again when the anesthesia I was given in order to give birth to this wonderful creature wore off and I finally really looked at her and and fell madly in love. 

This child, this daughter of mine is so awe inspiring - she is kind, caring, smart, funny, silly, genuine, grounded (sometimes the bad kind, but here I mean the good kind), loving and basically perfect in every way (except when she gets grounded).  I am so lucky to have her - I couldn't have wished for a better daughter. 
Ok, now I just want her to come home from school so I can squeeze her, kiss her and tickle her (cause her laugh is infectious)!  I love you my sweet girl!  Love, Mommy

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Songs of Joy

As I mentioned before, the questions posed to me when I started this blog were difficult.  What was I going to name this thing?  I thought long and hard (for about a minute) and came up with My Songs of Joy... 

One might wonder if I sing, to which I would answer - yes...I sing in the car, I sing to wake my live-ins up in the morning whether that be to lull them awake or annoy them awake and I have been known to break into song just because.  BUT, I am no American Idol - unless you ask my mother who has prompted me to embarass myself by singing in church on several occassions.  I am happy to report I abstained from this foolery!

Now, having cleared this up I feel we can move on.  My name is Carol, which means Song of Joy - or at least that was the meaning when I was a child and my parents gave me a bookmark with my name and its meaning...when I look it up now it says 'song, melody', but whatever I have believed my name has meant Song of Joy all my life so I am going with it. 

So what makes my heart sing songs of joy???  Bet you can't guess...  My Family, Food and Wine...among other things - but there was a character limit so I tried to narrow it down to what I will probably blog about most. 

There you have it...the method to my madness, a look inside the workings of my mind - if you will.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trying this on for size

I have been interested in this blogging thing for quite some time now.  Thought about starting one and then put the idea off into the cracks and crannies of my brain only to have them pester me from time to time.  So today I created a blog, answered the difficult questions as to what I wanted to name it and how I wanted to sign off on each post.  The questions seemed difficult...maybe I am in over my head.  But, I am going to try this blogging thing on for size.  I have no idea what I am doing, I have no idea how to I will do this the way I do most other things - jump in and learn from trial and error....  Here goes...