Archives for January 2010

We’re Now The Official Paper Supplier Of The NFL

It’s been so long since the last episode of “The Office” that I can barely remember who’s who. A boss named Michael Something-or-Other? A cute couple named Tim and Jan? A banjo-playing a cappella singer named Randy?

I have no idea.

I don’t even remember what the last episode was about, honestly, so I’m just gonna pick up with this one like it’s a brand new day and roll with it.

I can hardly wait to see Reed!

1) “Michael is Dunder-Mifflin’s highest ranking employee. So that’s where we are.”

2) “For the record? Not on board with fake Stanley. But I get it.”

3) “I wear many hats. The one I’m wearing currently is that of gracious host.”

4) “SAVE BANDIT!” (one of my all-time favorite moments, by the way)

5) “That’s what she said.”

6) “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this. I don’t want to lie. And I DON’T want to tell the truth.”

7) “HR Puffnstuff”

8) “Jim has got it bad for Pam.” // “Which one is Pam?”

9) “Computron experiencing emotion.”

10) “Sittin’ in my office with a plate of grilled bacon!”

So apparently tonight was some sort of clips show. I was not expecting to only see six whole minutes of new material, so color me disappointed.

My verdict? Old stuff: funny. New stuff: not-so-funny. Except for that rap at the end. Because that part made me laugh.

What did y’all think?

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 01.21.10

– There’s an an awesome benefit for Haiti in the works. And if you’re a blogger (or a Facebooker or a Twitterer), you can help. It’s gonna be SO GREAT, y’all.

– Totally dropped the ball this week on linking to the Radical Experiment. But here’s this week’s Family Worship Guide.

– I’ve been way behind on “American Idol,” but last night I watched the Orlando auditions. And at the very end there was a guy named Matt Lawrence who just blew me away. Loved his story, loved his voice – I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him.

– If you’re like me and have absolutely no plans for next Tuesday night (the 26th), you might want to check out a little online concert by three of my very favorite musicians: Brandon Heath, Matt Wertz and Dave Barnes. This video has all the details. It also has some laughs. (link via Annie)

– Have you ever seen a product and wished that you’d invented it? That’s how I feel about these stay-put baby sock thingies. GENIUS. And if you have a little one, there’s a giveaway at the end of the post.

– “The Office” is back tonight! No link. Just happiness.

Hope y’all have a great Thursday!

That Meat I Cook

This afternoon Alex went to the park with a friend, so I sat down on the couch to write a blog post and promptly fell asleep. FELL ASLEEP. WHILE SITTING ON THE COUCH. I woke up about 40 minutes later after some vivid, technicolor dreams and had no idea where I was or how I got there. But I took advantage of my last few minutes of free time by watching an episode of “Murder, She Wrote” while drinking my prune juice and popping some wheelies in my HoverRound.

Anyway, I cooked supper and cleaned up the kitchen and watched a little election coverage on CNN (remember: I have FoxNews issues. I know many of you think that’s unpatriotic, but in my opinion they need to SIMMER DOWN WITH THE GRAPHICS, and yes, I appreciate the irony of my wanting a news organization to tone it down when I am in fact a person who likes to CAPITALIZE A LOT OF WORDS).

So now I’m back on the computer again so that I can finish what I started before I was overcome with a touch of the narcolepsy this afternoon.

You’re welcome for all that completely unnecessary backstory, by the way.

About six months ago David decided that he didn’t really like chicken anymore. He didn’t make a big proclamation or anything, but I noticed that whenever I’d make anything with chicken in it, he’d sort of load up on side dishes and push the chicken-related main course around his plate. Not to mention that the leftovers would sit in our refrigerator until they grew old and lonely and finally hobbled off the shelf in search of a home where they’d be appreciated and lo, even loved. By diggity.

Well. One day I was making a grocery list, and I decided to find out once and for all what was going on with him and poultry. I asked him what he’d like to eat that week, and he rattled off a list that did not include a single item containing chicken – except for Melanie’s chicken cakes. So I said, “What’s going on with you and chicken? Are y’all on the outs?” And he confessed that he and chicken, they were done. Over. Tarred and – say it with me – FEATHERED.

Now obviously D’s anti-chicken stance had an immediate impact on the menu-planning and cooking around our house. But since I don’t really love chicken unless it’s battered, deep fried and in a box that says POPEYE’S on the side, I realized that I was okay with a chicken hiatus and just needed to figure out more ways to cook beef and pork. On a budget. Without buying steak very much at all ever.

Easy breezy!

At some point I ran across a recipe for flank steak in Cooking Light, and we really liked it, but then our grill quit working and flank steak can be pricey and oh my word am I really devoting this much energy to writing about meat? SWEET MERCY I’M ANCIENT.

Is the HoverRound charged yet? Mamaw here needs to run some errands.

Anyway, here is my current favorite recipe for meat-that’s-not-chicken. It’s London broil. Alex actually calls it “that good meat you cook, Mama,” and whenever I make it he practically claps his hands.

All righty. Cast of characters.

Except that you don’t need the little teacup of Kosher salt. I forgot to move it. But since you have soy sauce for your marinade, you’re well-covered in the salt department. Just FYI.

(See? I haven’t even gotten past the first picture, and I’ve already failed terribly. I don’t know why you people bother with me.)

(By the way: that photograph is STUNNING, isn’t it? Notice how you can’t really read any of the words on the ingredients. Completely intentional on my part. Along with failing to get all the ingredients within the frame of the picture. Artistic license, you understand.)

(And if you think I managed to capture some sort of step-by-step tutorial on how to make this delicious meal, then clearly you are way overestimating my efficiency and follow-through.)

So. Mix together this stuff.

1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar works great, too)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (we like LOTS of pepper, but by all means stay in your pepper comfort zone)
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced – I was fresh out of fresh garlic – BADABING!)

Mix well. Reserve a couple of tablespoons that you’ll use later to cook broccoli. Pour over the London broil in a Ziploc bag, then seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Or overnight. Totally your call.

Now go read some blogs or paint your nails or catch up on the DVR while the marinade does its magic.

After meat has marinated, pull it out of the refrigerator and let it rest on the countertop while you make the yogurt sauce:

1 small container plain yogurt
1/4 cup Feta cheese
2 teaspoons dried dill (1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill would work great)
fresh lemon juice to taste
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (if it’s in season – cucumbers didn’t look great at the store yesterday)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl (double the recipe if you’re cooking for more than 4), and you’ll end up with this:

Be still my heart.

Make sure you preheat your oven to 450, then turn on your stove fan and get ready to sizzle.

The London broil I used yesterday was only about a pound and a half, so obviously cooking times will vary a little if yours is bigger or smaller. But using my cast-iron grill skillet, I followed the same basic procedure as Ree’s steak how-to: turn up the heat on the stove to medium high, let the skillet get hot, rub some butter on the skillet, then let that meat get good and seared on both sides.

I probably cooked the London broil two minutes on each side (1 minute, rotate 90 degrees, another minute, flip, 1 minute, rotate, another minute, then sling it in the oven).

Once you put the meat in the oven, let it cook on 450 for about 10 minutes or until it’s done just like you like it (if it’s an extra-thick cut, be careful and check it with a meat thermometer – it will take longer to cook all the way through). Yesterday I wrapped mine in foil after I took it out of the oven so that it would cook a little more without getting dry. Whether you wrap it in foil or not, be sure to let the meat rest about 10 minutes before you slice it.

When you’re ready to eat, slice the meat very thinly across the grain (if you slice with the grain, the meat will be chewy). Ours was a perfect medium – our favorite.

Then I grilled some onions and sauteed some broccoli in those two tablespoons of reserved marinade. We made stuffed pita sandwiches with the meat, broccoli, grilled onions and yogurt sauce, and MY MY MY – so delicious. I also love to do grilled squash for the pitas, but the squash in the store yesterday looked very pale and fragile. So I let them be.

Tonight we used the leftover London broil for fajitas. I grilled more onions, warmed up some tortillas, put some cheese, salsa and sour cream on the table, and we were good to go.

So there you have it. That good meat I cook. It’s versatile, tasty and pretty economical considering that we always get several meals out of it.

Okay. I’m all done now. I think you’ve endured enough at this point.

I’ll be sleeping while sitting straight up in my HoverRound if you need to find me.

An Eggsellent* Giveaway

I just posted a new giveaway over on my reviews page. I say that like I have one reviews page, when really I have many reviews scattered hither, there and yon all over this here interweb blogsite, but there’s no need to get hung up on technicalities, now is there?

Anyway, you can win a $100 Visa gift card and a six-month supply of Eggland’s Best eggs. All for answering a simple little question. WHAT COULD BE EASIER?

(I guess sleep. Sleep could be easier. Or eating chocolate. That’s probably easier. But still – answering a simple question for a possible $100 Visa gift card is pretty low on the difficulty scale).

All righty – that’s plenty of rambling for a Monday night, and besides, my DVR is growing impatient with the length of time I’ve had it on pause. So click on over to the Eggland’s Best giveaway – and do have a lovely evening.

* – I know. The pun. I know. BUT I COULDN’T HELP MYSELF.

Eggland’s Best $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Eggland’s Best.

In our family, we like eggs. We like eggs a lot. So when BlogHer asked me if I’d be willing to share some recipes I love to make with Eggland’s Best eggs, I stood up and raised my hand and then I saluted.

Okay. So maybe not literally.

But I was tickled to participate, mainly because Eggland’s Best is a product I’ve used regularly for the last couple of years. Since we have a growing boy in this house, I’ve tried to be careful not to buy food with added hormones and antibiotics, and Eggland’s Best has neither. Plus, since stuff like eggs and milk and meat and fresh vegetables are staples of our diet, I don’t mind paying a little extra to buy a better quality product. It’s taken me a long time to learn the lesson, but really good ingredients make for better-tasting meals, and better-tasting meals mean that the people in this family don’t mind leftovers quite so much. Since I’m the one doing the cooking, that’s a win-win for me.

So. The recipes.

*****

A couple of nights ago I was craving something chocolate-y LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS, AS IS MY INALIENABLE RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN, and since I had all the stuff for fudge pie on hand, I had no choice but to make one. This is a super-simple, very rich pie, and the great thing about it is that a little goes a long way. Just a tiny sliver of this pie will satisfy the most intense chocolate craving, and it tastes so delicious that your family and friends will love you forever for making it. The eggs are key, of course, because without them we’d have a lovely chocolate soup.

Fudge Pie

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 well-beaten eggs
1 small can evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients, making sure to thoroughly combine the dry ingredients before adding the butter, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Pour mixture into a pie shell, and bake for 35-40 minutes. When you remove the pie from the oven, it will still be a little jiggly. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

*****

My husband’s favorite pie in the whole wide world is egg custard pie, and when I told him I was going to be making three recipes with eggs, he said something along the lines of “OOOOH! OOOOH! EGG CUSTARD PIE!” It’s something I rarely make because I’m a big believer that desserts should feature chocolate, but since I had some purty, fresh eggs to use, I humored him and made my mother-in-law’s recipe. He was so grateful.

Egg Custard Pie

2 cups whole milk (skim or nonfat milk won’t work nearly as well)
6 eggs
dash of salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients, then pour into a pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool before serving.

*****

This last recipe is so simple, and I’ve probably made it fifty times for special occasion breakfasts (whether we have company, or I’m cooking for something at church, or we’re celebrating a holiday). What I love most about it is that you can make it the night before and put it in the refrigerator, so when you wake up the next morning, all you have to do is throw it in the oven and wait on the deliciousness.

It’s a keeper.

Crescent Roll Breakfast Casserole

1 12 oz. package bacon, chopped and fried (reserve about 2 Tbs. of bacon grease)
2 packages fresh sliced mushrooms
2 packages crescent rolls
8 large eggs, beaten
2 cups evaporated milk
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Cook bacon pieces. Drain on paper towels. In reserved bacon grease, saute’ mushrooms until they lose their firmness (about 8 minutes). While mushrooms are cooking, press crescent roll dough in the bottom of a large (around 10 x 13), greased casserole dish, making sure that you press all the seams together. Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you may have a little bit of dough left over.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, evaporated milk, milk, and cheese. Set aside.

Scatter bacon and mushrooms on top of the crescent roll dough. Pour egg / milk / cheese mixture on top.

Bake 15 minutes on 325 degrees, then 35-40 minutes on 300 degrees.

*****

If you’d like to win a $100 Visa gift card and a six-month supply of Eggland’s Best eggs, leave a comment and tell me your favorite dish to make with eggs. Egg casserole? A good frittata? CAKE? The possibilities are endless.

The contest will begin on January 18th and will end February 8th.  Make sure that the e-mail address you leave is correct.

Rules:
• No duplicate comments.
• You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
• You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
• This giveaway is open to
• Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
• You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
• Winners will be chosen on random.org.

Thanks for playing, everybody!

Visit the Eggland’s Best Official site

Be sure to check out Eggland’s pages on Nutritional Benefits and Health and Wellness.

This giveaway is now closed.

Pajama Party

Every once in awhile we’ll have a weekend where, at the end of it, I think, That was just what I needed. And this weekend was definitely one of those. I had dinner with friends Friday night, a whole day in pajamas Saturday, church with my family this morning, a post-lunch nap, some great talks/emails/texts with people I love to pieces, and two hours of Jack Bauer tonight.

(And speaking of Jack Bauer, I need a quick “24” aside to say the following:

1) What was up with Freddie Prinze’s accent? It troubled me. It was like Helen Hunt in “As Good As It Gets” – the accent sort of floated in and out with varying degrees of New Yorkness, and it was a total distraction.

2) If you’re a person who has just blown up a helicopter and is also a part of an assassination plot, I’m thinking that it’s probably not a great idea to have a conversation on your cell phone where you’re saying things like, “We took out the helicopter, but now we’ve got to kill Hassad” while you amble down the crowded streets of New York City. BECAUSE SOMEONE MIGHT OVERHEAR YOU.

3) Tonight was like CTU 2.0. And all those new kids tried to make it seem like Chloe and Jack were antiquated relics who didn’t know how to use a push-button phone, and I took offense to that, quite frankly.

4) When will Jack Bauer realize that any time he is supposed to personally escort someone to meet with government officials, the situation is always going to end in gunfire?

5) I realized about 30 minutes into the show that the actor playing President Hassad was the same guy who played the game show host in Slumdog Millionaire. It had been driving me crazy trying to figure out who he was, and once I had my a-ha moment, well, THE RELIEF WAS PALPABLE.

Okay. That’s all. As you were.)

Anyway, the only thing that would’ve made the weekend any better would have been if the founder of Popeye’s had come to my house and fried up some chicken, but then again, it might’ve been too much. No need for joy overload. Much better to pace myself.

I was thinking yesterday about how a whole day in pajamas is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world. In fact, if I’m really in relaxation mode, I love to wake up, stay in my pajamas all day, then take a shower before bed and put on new pajamas. I can be very productive on a pajama day, mind you – yesterday I probably washed and folded 104 or 216 loads of laundry while we watched basketball and screamed at the TV like a bunch of hillbilly sports fans. But the pajamas are my way of saying I am not leaving the house today. I have no plans. I am easy-breezy and by the way, there must be no make-up products of any kind anywhere near my face.

Also: I am likely to nap at a moment’s notice.

However, I know that some people don’t like pajama days. Some people like to put on real clothes as soon as they get out of bed in the morning because they say that staying in pajamas makes them feel lazy. Why, some people even walk around their house wearing shoes that have laces and stuff. I personally only walk around my house in sock feet, flip flops or slippers because shoes with laces make me feel confined, but that is probably not at all a surprise since clearly I obviously enjoy as much elastic as possible when relaxation is top priority.

And I really do think that the bottom line for me is this: a relaxing day at home is heaven on earth to me, maybe even higher on the heaven on earth list than bacon. And that is saying something.

So now I’m wondering: are you a pajama day person or not? Would you willingly spend your whole day in pajamas if you didn’t have to leave your house? Or do you feel like you at least have to dress a little bit if you’re home – maybe throw on some jeans or some workout clothes?

And let’s go even deeper: if you don’t have to be anywhere during the day, are you going to put on make-up anyway?

OH, I am all about the hard-hitting questions. And I’ll be sitting here in my pajamas and no make-up whatsoever just waiting to hear what you have to say.