Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Potato Cheddar Soup

12 slices precooked bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 TBS butter/margerine
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp mustard
32 oz broth/stock
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups half and half cream
12 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
dash of hot sauce (tobasco sauce)

In a dutch oven, heat up the bacon to render the fat. If you have more than a TBS of fat rendered, discard the excess. Add the margarine and melt. Add onions and saute until tender. Add the sage and mustard and cook 1 minute. Add potatoes, broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 13 minutes. Mash the potatoes against the side of the pot. Remove the pot from heat and slowly add the cream while stirring. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the hot sauce and stir to combine. Serve with a yummy, crusty bread and great salad.

We loved this recipe! We had 1 bowl-full leftover from 4 people for dinner.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Russian Joy

I have some dear friends from Russia. While my sister, AngelFish, was serving an LDS mission to Russia, she met this family and the daughter (RussianPrincess) came out to Utah to visit her brother who was here going to school. AngelFish told RussianPrincess to give us a call - that we'd like to meet her. Well, RussianPrincess is such a sweetheart, we immediately hit it off and just love her! Since then, she was able to get a student visa to come to school at BYU. A year and a half ago, she married an awesome guy. Tuesday, she defended her Master's Thesis and passed. Friday, she gave birth to this adorable little guy. Isn't he sweet?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm an Artist

Click here to create your own painting.

P.S. On a scale of 1 to 10, just how bad is it to eat Dreyer's Grand Rich and Creamy Turtles Ice Cream for breakfast? I thought so. :( Pass the shredded wheat...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm an Exclamation Point!

You Are An Exclamation Point

You are a bundle of... well, something.

You're often a bundle of joy, passion, or drama.

You're loud, brash, and outgoing. If you think it, you say it.

Definitely not the quiet type, you really don't keep a lot to yourself.

You're lively and inspiring. People love to be around your energy.

(But they do secretly worry that you'll spill their secrets without even realizing it.)

You excel in: Public speaking

You get along best with: the Dash

Thankful Thursday (Two Days Early, Again :o)

So, I just couldn't wait until Thursday to be grateful...Today is just absolutely beautiful! I went to my absolute favorite lunch place - Ganesh - and besides having a fabulous lunch buffet, they also have a frequent diner card. If you buy seven lunch buffets you get the eighth one free! How awesome is that! Well, as you can imagine, I frequent their lunch buffet often and today was my seventh time - which means that the next time I go, it's free! I'm really trying hard to limit myself to only going once a week (I know, I know, I need serious help!!) But it's just so wonderful. I take a good book and prop it open on the table and enjoy vegetable pakora, sambar, chicken Tikka Masala, naan, and they have this really good, fiery sauce that I drizzle over the vegetable pakora. Oh, my goodness. It is SO good! The people there are so friendly and keep my water glass full (which is a pet peeve of mine - waiters that leave you high and dry with no water! I tend to drink a lot during my meals.) Have I raved about this place enough yet? I am so thankful for Indian food in general and Ganesh in particular!

When I got home, it was just so gorgeous outside that I took a walk (which is pretty earth-shattering news!) I just couldn't bear to go inside yet. I have to say that I am truly grateful for all of the snow we've had this winter. We really, really needed the moisture. And, with all of the storms, our inversion really didn't get bad this year. Usually you almost can't leave the house without a surgical mask during January because the air is so bad. But, it really never had a chance to set in because the storms just kept cleaning it out. Also, I'm very grateful that my issues with depression and the snow are abating. The winter I started getting sick with Fibromyalgia, we really got hit hard with the snow. I've since equated snow with getting sick and just dread it. But, with all the healing I've been doing, that seems to be healing as well. I've enjoyed the snowstorms this winter (as long as I didn't have to be out in them!) But, even with all that, I must say that I am so ready for Spring. Today there are birds singing. The sun is out. The temperature is very mild (i.e. I'm good with just a sweater.) It's a beautiful thing.

Life truly is good.

Oh, ScienceBoy!

We had a great time at SpiderMan's party on Friday. We had our stew, as requested by 7-year-old SpiderMan, and some great conversation. Part of that great conversation occurred when we overheard ScienceBoy say something about a pompadour to SpiderMan. (Remember that ScienceBoy is 9.) So, we asked ScienceBoy if he knew what a pompadour was. His response was: It's when your hair is all up over on one side like Elvis's hair. What 9-year-old boy knows that?! He then proceeded to tell us that his teacher was worried that kids today were only learning things from the computer and television and so she had them look up things from the dictionary and encyclopedia. He had five verbs and two nouns to look up. Way to go teacher!

We always do "heavy, heavy hangover"when we open presents. (For those of you who are uniformed - we sing/say "Heavy, heavy hangover thy poor head. What do you wish this person with a bonk on the head?" and the giver bonks the receiver on the head with the present. The receiver then gives the giver a wish.) SpiderMan was pretty good with his wishes this year. He wished most everyone a cruise. He also felt the need to add to The Count's and The Countess's wish. Along with the cruise, he wished them a night in a motel. We've had quite a good laugh over that one!

Unfortunately, the night ended rather badly for ScienceBoy. After they went home, he was swinging from his top bunk down to the bottom one and lost his grip and went flying and hit the toy chest - hard - and ended up at the ER getting four stitches. However, ever the optimist, ScienceBoy is now proudly showing off his first stitches. I haven't seen the damage yet, but I'm told it's just in front of his right ear. Oh, the joys of boys!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Picture Post

While I was looking for a picture of SpiderMan to post yesterday, I found these pictures from our Halloween party. I just had to post them. The first two are of AngleFish and Ladybug. We all love the Broadway Musical "Wicked" and AngelFish and Ladybug have so much fun singing "What Is This Feeling?" to each other. So, for Halloween, they decided to dress as Galinda and Elphaba and sing to each other. It was so funny. The top picture is their re-enactment of the cover picture from "Wicked." They are so funny!

Also, please pardon the white streaks across the pictures. Apparently they got stuck to each other at some point and I'm not techno-savvy enough to doctor them! I'm doing good to get these on my blog at all!

The last picture is me as a black cat. I also used this costume for my costume recital for my students. One of my student's little sisters absolutely loved my tail! She followed me around wrapping herself up in it and petting it. It was awesome.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, SpiderMan!

Today is SpiderMan's 7th birthday! These pictures are actually 2 1/2 years old, but they are still some of my favorite. Right now, SpiderMan is in desperate need of a hair cut. He really likes the mullet look. He is so sweet and loving. His favorite things are wrestling with his brother, ScienceBoy, or LSOC and Tergaso. He also loves to go hiking with Tergaso and LSOC. He loves to laugh - and his laugh is so contagious. He loves superheros (he goes through phases for his favorite superhero, but Spiderman is always in the top two and he always comes back to Spiderman!). He requested stew for his birthday dinner, with chocolate and raspberry cake for dessert.

Happy Birthday, SpiderMan!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bean and Sausage Stew

1 Tbs olive oil
1 package of all beef kielbasa sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz each) cannellini beans, drained
2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes, with juices
28-32 oz broth (we usually use no-chicken broth - which comes in 32 oz box)
2-3 carrots (I actually like to use about 2/3 a package of matchstick carrots. It's really easy to quickly chop them into bite size pieces.)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Saute the garlic and sausage in the oil, briefly, in the bottom of a dutch oven. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes to 2 hours. Enjoy with some yummy bread.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

7 Random Things

My friend, Jodie, tagged me. I'm supposed to share 7 random things about myself and tag 7 more people. Unfortunately, I'm new to the blog world and every blog I follow has already been tagged! So, I'll just share.
  1. I have issues with numbers. It started out as a preference for the volume on the TV to be an even number. Then I realized that I liked the multiples of 5 as well. Then I realized that I really like the multiples of 3. Finally, I figured out that I really don't like prime numbers. I shudder if the TV volume is on 11 or 13 or 17. So, in order of preference: multiples of 3, multiples of 5, even numbers, any other non-prime number. I count stairs. (Although, I think that's to take my mind off my huffing and puffing as I go up them.) I also really like to find numbers that go in order. For example, four nights out of seven I happen to look at my clock right when it reads 12:34. And it makes me happy. Yes, I am that OCD.
  2. If you think that's obsessive; oh, the issues with food. I am a very picky eater. Now, don't get me wrong. I love food. I love to eat. I actually enjoy cooking (although I definitely don't enjoy cleaning up afterwards!). But I am a very picky eater. I am very sensitive to smells. I usually can't eat leftovers because the smell of the cold food turns my stomach and I can't eat it, even after it's been warmed up. If someone else reheats the food so I don't have to smell it - I can cope. I am very sensitive to suggestion. The dinner table is not the place to tell scary stories. I also had a huge blowup one Halloween because The Countess prepared a very creative dinner complete with "scary" names for each of the dishes. I felt really bad afterward because I know she put a lot of effort into the meal, trying to be a fun, creative Mom (which she is!) and I totally lost it and refused to even come into the kitchen. I have major issues with food being served cold that is usually served hot: i.e. lunch meat, hard boiled eggs, etc. (actually I think potato salad is one of my least favorite dishes in the entire world - cold eggs, cold potatoes, mayo and mustard - both of which I don't like - it has no chance! I can't even handle the smell! It has to be on the opposite end of the table.) And then there's the huge list of things I just plain don't like. It really is a wonder that I ever even tried Indian food - I'm not that adventurous! I know that my family was shocked. But after that first brave bite, I was hooked!
  3. I am a ballerina at heart. I took ballet for a good 10 years. I have great arches and good toe structure for toe shoes. I have pretty good flexibility (actually, when I stretch now, I get stopped by my belly getting in the way rather than my muscles not being able to stretch further.) And of course I love the music.
  4. I love green. I have always loved green. I always will love green. When I was three (I think. I don't remember, but have seen the pictures and been told the story), all I wanted for Christmas was a green nightgown. That's it. No toys. Just a green nightgown. When I was a senior in high school, I thought I was pretty cool because the salespeople for class rings told us that we could choose a stone with our school colors, our birthstone, or a stone with our favorite color for our ring. Well, since I went to Hillcrest High School, our colors were green and white. And since I was born in May, my birthstone is an emerald. And, of course, my favorite color is green. So I was set for all three.
  5. In Elementary School, my BFF and I wanted to become famous authors. My pen name was: JesakaTifini. (Yes, all one word.) My nickname in Middle School was: Jello Stress Weird, III. (My History teacher even called me this. And, by the way, weird is wonderful; strange is stupid.) My nickname in High School was: HoboJo. One of my friends adopted the nickname SlobBob and wrote a story about HoboJo and SlobBob.
  6. I have sprained both my knees (within 6 weeks of each other!), an ankle and a wrist. I've had a tonsillectomy, a laparoscopy for endometriosis, part of my ear cut off, and sinus surgery. But, knock on wood, I've never had to have stitches or broken a bone.
  7. I have won several awards for my writing and have also been published. (Literary Magazine awards and publishing in High School for both poetry and short story. Deseret News Poetry contest. Best Freshman Research Paper at BYU. New Era magazine article.) I was English Sterling Scholar. I even had a way cool professor at BYU who let me write a poem for my final research paper in History of Civ./Humanities 201. I shared a poem with her that I'd written on Michaelangelo and she loved it. Since my research paper was on Michaelangelo, she let me turn that poem into a series. I got an A.
I'm looking this over, and it turned into a bit of a novel instead of a list. But it was fun to reminisce!