October 19, 2012


I had a hankerin' (do people even have hankerin's anymore?) for quiche last night, so we made it happen today. I did not meal plan this week, much to my disorganization and detriment. Anyway, this quiche kicked much butt. Here's my recipe.


Filling ingredients:
  • about 10 golden cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • a handful of wilted spinach
  • a handful of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • about 4 ounces grated sharp Cheddar
  • a quarter of a yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • a tablespoon or so of Emeril's Essence, plus a good dash of garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup (soy)milk
Plus a pie crust for a 9-inch pie

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Whisk your eggs in a bowl, then fold in everything else you want in the quiche(in this case, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, spinach, spices, cheese, milk). Pour into your crust (which you have carefully laid into a pie pan), and bake for about 50 minutes covered in foil, then 10 more minutes uncovered. Let it cool and settle a bit, then slice up and enjoy like crazy. I made the filling in the morning, then worked all day and asked the mister to pour the filling into the crust and bake it. Presto, dinner in a hurry! Now, go listen to Stevie Wonder records and have a hard apple cider, because you worked hard today. Go you!

October 10, 2012

The verdict on my homemade laundry soap

It works!!! My clothes smell nice and don't make me itchy or anything. I haven't tried it out on heavily soiled clothes yet, but I am feeling confident. I did accidentally leave a load in the washer for 2 days and the clothes did not smell mildewed. I think that has more to do with the cold front that parked itself over my town over the weekend, but I digress.

I think my next homemade conquest will be edible, perhaps apple butter? Maybe limoncello or vanilla extract? Hmmm... I am pretty stoked. :D

October 7, 2012

Meal plans: week of Oct 8

Monday: leftover magic (crock pot beef burritos made from last week's steak fajita meat)
Tuesday: Fish Tacos!
Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Thursday: Homemade pizza of unknown topping
Friday: Pumpkin Risotto

October 3, 2012

Chicken and dumplings, revisited

I know the meal plan totally said burger night for today, but Zach was so hungry at lunch today, we went out for 5 Guys and decided to make dinner. I thought about everything we had in the fridge and freezer, and realized we had everything needed for chicken and dumplings!!! Here's how I did it.

Chicken and dumplings
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • about 12 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of Emeril's Essence
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • a couple tablespoons of white wine
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • slightly less than 1/2 cup milk

Put your chicken thighs in the water with a dash o' salt. Turn the heat up to a medium-low setting and let those babies cook for a while, until chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. Add your Essence shortly after the water starts to bubble.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it to a plate and let it cool off a bit. Once it's cooled some, pluck the meat off the bones and pull it into nice small pieces. Strain your water (that has become chicken broth, you genius you!) through a sieve into a bowl, so you don't have as much junk floating in the broth. Save back about 6-7 cups for your meal, and freeze the rest. Put the newly-strained 6-7 cups of broth back into the pot and get it back up to simmering. Add your vegetables and garlic; let them soften a bit.
Meanwhile, you can prep your dumplings. Put your flour, baking powder and salt into the food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it looks like a fine crumbly mixture. Stream in the milk while the processor is running, keep mixing until the dough forms a ball. Turn out your very sticky dough-ball onto a very floured surface and roll the dough out to about 1/4" thick. Slice into little squares, about 1" or so.
Pop the wine into the simmering veggies, and then start dropping in raw dumplings, one at a time (to avoid them sticking together). Once the dumplings are all in, go ahead and add your chicken. Taste your broth and season as needed. Serve hot alongside some cornbread!

Homemade WHAT?!?

I made laundry soap today! The raw components cost approximately $7 and made about 7 cups of soap, with leftovers to make many more. It was 3 ingredients and took me about 30 minutes all together to do. It smells awesome, and I'll let you know how it does when I test it out. Here's what I did:
  • 1 bar of Zote (I found mine at Lowe's for $1.09 on the cleaning/laundry stuff aisle), finely grated
  • 1 3/4 cups Borax(a couple bucks on the laundry aisle)
  • 1 3/4 cups washing soda(Sodium carbonate, also called soda ash. Can be found on the laundry aisle for about $3.25, or in the pool chemicals as a pH lowerer for about $8.)

Grate (yes, with a grater! you can wash it and it won't taste like soap later)your Zote(fels naptha, ivory, whatever soap you like. just not a super oily soap, you don't want it to ruin the clothes) into the smallest bits you can manage. Mix together with your dry ingredients, then run the whole shebang through the food processor(probably a few batches) to make the soap bits smaller and to also "marry" the mixture together a bit better. Store in a dry, cool place, use about 2 tablespoons in a regular load of clothes. You'll probably wanna do less if you have one of those fancy high efficiency washers.

Like I said, I haven't tested it out yet, but I have positive feelings about it. I'll keep you posted. Next, I think I'll attempt dishwasher soap and deodorant. :D

September 30, 2012

Meal plans: week of October 1 and other concerns

Monday: Black bean burgers
Tuesday: Apple cinnamon chicken (thanks Clint!)
Wednesday: Mcnellie's burger special
Thursday: lentil soup
Friday: steak fajitas
Saturday: left intentionally blank for possible fun!

I am starting to get antsy over this cooler weather coming up... I want to start making caramel corn, homemade vanilla extract, limoncello, and apple butter. Other holiday gifts have started to materialize... :) My guestroom, office and master bedroom need some attention before the holidays get too hectic, but I don't want to unpack too much especially if we decide to move again in 9 months (that's when the lease is up, and our landlord is not too keen on the whole "keeping things nice" approach to home ownership).

September 25, 2012

Meal plans: week of September 24

Monday: BLT Turkey wraps
Tuesday: Turkey bolognese
Wednesday: $3 hamburger and fries special at McNellie's = date night!
Thursday: Moosewood vegetarian chili
Friday: Chipotle avocado pasta, likely with a few shrimp added for fun, plus prep for Oktoberfest pretzels
Saturday: Oktoberfest
Sunday: dinner with my folks

September 13, 2012

The weekend!

We had people over for a little get together on Saturday, I was tired from working all day and staying up too late the night before. But, before I passed out, I made rum punch. It was tasty!

Rum punch ingredients:
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 cups simple syrup
  • 3 cups rum (I used a white rum, a darker nonspiced rum would be okay)
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 4 dashes bitters

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve over ice. FYI: 2 little glasses of this will make you fairly tipsy. Be safe!

I didn't meal plan this week. Having 2 days off during the week makes me lazy. However, I did make a chicken taco salad on Tuesday.

Chicken Taco Salad
  • 1 chicken breast, rubbed with chili powder, paprika, salt, a little sugar and black pepper, baked until its internal temp is 165 or better, cubed
  • 1/2 head green leaf lettuce, torn into manageable pieces
  • handful of cilantro, plucked off stalks
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, diced
  • grated cheese to taste
  • dressing of choice (I did salsa with a squirt of ranch)
  • tortilla chips
Combine all the veggies in a large bowl, toss until well-combined. Serve topped with the chicken, cheese, crushed tortilla chips and dressing.

September 4, 2012

Tuesday night dinner!

This week is ideal for sticking to mealplans, my boss is on vacation and I'll be opening the shop every day (home by 6:30 or earlier!). Tonight I made Dr. Zorba's Firecracker Chicken and Tasty Kitchen user Coastal Countertop's Avocado Spinach Mac and Cheese (with a little modification).

Firecracker Chicken

  • 3 Tbs Paprika
  • 1 Tbs Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs Kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp Brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp Chili powder
  • ¾ tsp Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Ground cayenne pepper

3½ Pounds Chicken thighs or legs

Mix rub ingredients together until well-combined. rub into surface of the chicken pieces, and let rest in a zip top bag for at least an hour or up to overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes (or until an internal temp of 160 degrees is achieved).

Avocado Spinach Mac and Cheese

  • 12 ounces macaroni noodles
  • 2 whole Avocados, Peeled, Pitted
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Lime
  • ½ cups Spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, Shredded
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • blob 'o' dijon mustard
  • ¼ cups Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. When done, drain off the water and set pasta aside. While pasta is cooking, make avocado mix using a food processor or blender. Combine garlic, avocados, juice from 1 lime, spinach and salt and pepper to taste in your food processor and process until creamy and well-blended. Set aside. Preheat oven to 450 F. To make cheese sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly add flour and whisk until combined, and then add milk and continue to stir until smooth. Add blob 'o' dijon. Just say yes. Add in cheddar cheese and continue to stir and heat until cheese is fully melted and sauce is creamy. Place noodles in a large baking dish (9×9 or larger), and mix avocado and cheese sauces in until noodles are evenly covered. Cover with Parmesan, and bake at 450 F for 25 minutes.

September 3, 2012

Labor Day 2012

Today is day 3 of my rare 3 day weekend. Day 1 consisted of a trip to Turner Falls, Day 2 mega-chillaxing, chocolate waffle breakfast, garage sales and dinner with my folks, and Day 3 lunch out, making sun tea, had a friend over for hanging out/cards, and making dinner at home.

Zach listens to NPR at work every day and loves Splendid Table and Zorba Paster. There were several dinners last week and this week from good ol' Dr. Zorba. Today, we're making a Cranberry Crusted Salmon from his website.

Cranberry Crusted Salmon (from Dr. Zorba at wpr.org)

  • 4 salmon filets
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

  • 3/4 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking dish. Lay the salmon in the dish, skin side down (if it has skin still). Salt and pepper the fish to your liking, then spread the mustard over each fish filet. Place remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix until thoroughly combined. Press resulting crumb mixture onto each fish filet, dividing crumbs evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork.

September 2, 2012

Week of Sept 3 meal plans

Monday: Cranberry crusted salmon filets
Tuesday: Grilled chicken and avocado-lime mac and cheese
Wednesday: Shrimp Scampi
Thursday: Portobello sandwiches and watching Hedwig
Friday: open for visiting with friends :)

Sunday, lazy Sunday...

Hi there. Rebrand in progress. :) I am sorry if you have been hoping to hear from me. It's been a hot summer and I sometimes forget about the internet, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I made chocolate waffles for breakfast today and scored a $30 electric lawnmower at a yard sale. We celebrated with icees afterward. Chocolate Waffles (makes 4 small square waffles or 2 bigger ones) 1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter, very soft (room temp or mild microwave time) 2 eggs 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup cocoa 1 cup flour 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 cup water Mix it all together until only a little lumpy. Throw in a little handful of chocolate chips if you want. Scoop batter into waffle iron and cook until the light shuts off. (takes about 3 minutes in my waffle iron) Serve hot with whipped cream or whatever sounds good. These were almost too sweet and chocolatey for breakfast, so maybe these are a dessert item.

April 23, 2012

Why "diva?" Why not?!?

My beautiful, fantastic chorus, the Sooner Sensations Chorus often refers to ourselves and other Sweet Adelines as "divas." I know, you're all wrinkling up your noses at the use of the word "diva." For many women, it conjures up an image of selfish, overindulged prissiness; of starlets behaving badly. Let me assure you all that this is most definitely not the case for us.

For us, "diva" is a term of endearment and empowerment(dictionary definition: a distinguished female singer). It reminds each of us that no matter what mantles we wear during the day, when we come to rehearsal, we are glorious, gracious and glamorous women who are supremely talented and work hard. We encourage one another to outdo ourselves each time we perform as a group, to continue to strive for synergy, improvement as entertainers and as people.

Not everyone in my chorus is just like me. As a matter of fact, we range in age from 12-75+, we vary in size, shape, appearance, views and opinions, level of outgoing-ness and ability. Nobody is turned away because they don't "fit the mold." (You do have to be female, and you do have to pass the audition, but that isn't hard. You learn a song or two from our current repertoire, sing into a tape recorder while we rehearse and our dear Director listens to it privately later.) We pride ourselves on seeing the potential in each of our members and helping them unlock it. We work together on producing the best possible performance both vocally and visually.

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization. My chorus is lucky beyond measure to have a Queen of Harmony as our fearless director, in the lovely person of Debbie Hogan (Ginger n' Jazz, 1987). She is a fantastic teacher and coach, occasional arranger/composer, and all-around amazing woman and musician. She and the rest of the music staff have valiantly led us to countless regional titles and awards, this year being no exception. In March 2012, we scored an impressive 592 points, making us Region 25's 2012 3rd Place Medallists. We were right on the heels of the 2nd place winners, who scored 593 points, and 1st place with 599 points. When a chorus scores 600 points or more, they are deemed a Master Chorus. We are so close, and we plan to reach out and grab it with both hands next year (and some more shiny medals while we're at it!).

We are not content to rest on our laurels, so it's full steam ahead for us! Some of the things on our busy summer/fall schedule include putting on a joint show with our friends and sister Divas, 1st Place Region 25 medallists Talk of Tulsa in July, a splendid Tea with the Queen in August, and a fun-filled Young Women in Harmony festival in September.

I know if you've continued reading this far that you either like me or are interested in learning more about becoming a Sooner Sensations Diva. We rehearse every Monday night from 7-10pm at Fresh Start Community Church(309 N. Eastern Avenue) in Moore, Oklahoma. Follow the drive along the north end of the main church building and you'll find us in the gymnasium.

Come check it out, and get a free hug from me! See you there! <3

April 10, 2012

Lentil vegetable soup

Hi, sorry it's taken me so long... Since last time, my chorus competed in Dallas, taking 3rd place (just 1 point behind 2nd, 7 behind 1st! Wowzers!), I have started at a new shop, and other things, mostly general laziness. lol

I made a soup that utilized my shiny new immersion blender today!!! It's a cool gadget, and it's red! Thanks again, Carol! :D

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 cups stock (I used chicken, vegetable would be super too)
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup dried lentils, rinsed
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 small potatoes, diced
2 tsp tomato paste


Heat oil in a medium-sized pan with a lid, add curry powder and garlic. Stir together over low heat for about a minute. Add stock and remaining ingredients, bring to simmer over med-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Remove from heat. Pop your immersion blender into the pan, and blend until desired level of smoothness is achieved (I left some chunkier pieces). So good!!!

:) Enjoy springtime!

January 22, 2012

Banana bread!

Zach brought home a bunch of bananas his work had procured for feeding some folks at a workshop. This particular bunch had not been munched, so home they came. They are completely outside of the acceptable softness for Zach, and I detest eating a banana. However, I could not stand by and let them rot (I cleaned the fridge out Wednesday and felt badly about how much got thrown out- we're talking green and blue fluffy mold on some things!). So, I went to the standby of banana bread. PW is a big source of inspiration around here. She posted an easy banana bread recipe a while ago, and I jazzed it up some... Here's the recipe, with my additions:

Banana Bread

2 sticks room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 mushy ol' bananas, mashed/pureed
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour pan of choice (I used a cute bundt and a little corningware dish for the overflow). Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time, combining thoroughly after each one. Add banana mush and vanilla, mix thoroughly. It'll be a little weird looking, but don't sweat it. In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. Alternate adding sour cream and dry ingredients mixture to sugar/eggs mixture, mixing thoroughly in between additions. Pour into greased pan(s), bake for 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. O em gee, yum. Eat this with gusto. And butter. :D

January 18, 2012

Black bean soup for a blustery day.

It got very cold yesterday, and warmed up a smidge today. Still good weather for soup! My crock pot is wunderbar. It makes me so happeh! So, on to the recipe:

Black bean soup

2 cups dry black beans
1 large onion, diced
5 or more cloves of garlic, minced/pressed
1 diced green bell pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups orange juice (I know, I know... trust me)
black pepper and cayenne to taste

Soak your black beans overnight. Rinse and put in crock pot with 4 cups of water.
Add all other ingredients and simmer on high for 6+ hours. Adjust flavors as you see fit. :)

January 10, 2012

Sweet thing... for two

Hi hi! I am already starting to think of Valentine's Day. (commence eye rolling) There are just 2 of us at my house, so full-sized desserts often go to waste. I have a recipe for flourless chocolate cake that I love, and tried to scale it down for 2 people. It turned out great, here's the recipe!

Flourless Chocolate Cake for Two

3 1/3 ounces semisweet chocolate
7 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar, divided use
2 eggs, seperated

Preheat oven to 350, grease and paper a 6 inch cake pan. Melt your chocolate and butter together in a microwave safe bowl. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar together. Slowly add your melted chocolate mixture, taking care to temper the eggs-who wants scrambled egg bits? lol :) Rinse out the chocolate bowl, dry it off, and use it to beat your egg whites and the rest of the sugar. Beat using a hand mixer on medium speed until glossy firm peaks form. Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture. Scrape into prepared pan, bake 35-40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Top with whatever makes you happy- cool whip would be a nice choice. :)

Pretty certain this cake is gluten free, if your chocolate and butter are. Also, it is a rich enough dessert that a little bit will do ya.



January 3, 2012

Happy Mew Year!

Happy mew year! (I want a cat, can you tell? lol)

Here's what I made for dinner tonight:

Mushroom and Zucchini pasta

1 zucchini, cut into thin slices
8 mushrooms, cut into thin slices
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon of butter
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock if you're opposed to wine)
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
salt & pepper
2 servings of your favorite pasta
grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a skillet. Add mushrooms, zucchini slices and garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Let saute until veggies start to brown a bit, then add lemon juice. Add wine/stock and italian seasoning, let it bubble and get happy for a few minutes, add to your favorite cooked pasta, top with grated parmesan and chow down! :)