Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Difficulties?? Difficulties?? That's putting it mildly...

So....this one is a "rapid post" meaning I'm trying to get it done and published before my computer freezes up again..
I explained recently about my significant technical difficulties. Well...after running a Dell diagnostic on my hard drive this evening, it got to the 2nd to last test and said "Backup all important files/content. Hard drive failure imminent."  Yep.....That's comforting!! LOL
So I got onto Dell Chat (since Nick just discovered yesterday that I am still in warranty-I am normally excellent at knowing these things but I thought it ran out last year...oops!) to see what they could do for me. After the customer service provider remoted in and took control of my computer.......it FROZE! I mean completely. Totally unresponsive. LOL!! I, personally, was trying not to wake everyone up with my laughing. What opportune timing!
I guess that answered his question about "what specifically has been the issue?" Hahahahahahahaha
So....rather than try to link back up with another technician, I'll wait for their phone call tomorrow to find out what they're going to do for me and how rapidly they're going to do it. If this is one of those "send it to us and we'll take a look" scenarios....I'm just going to have Nick replace the hard drive with the brand new one I bought on Saturday (before the warranty revelation) that is sitting right in front of me on the table. If they can send someone over and do whatever diagnostics are necessary to completely understand the issue, then take it to replace/repair and return it, well then....they better get crackin! I can't possibly be without this computer of mine for more than a day or so 'cause Dominic's little netbook is great for writing his book on, but not so great when I'm trying to do a blog post that I can't even see half the page on the teensy weensy little screen....
So..there you have it. A quick update on my current tech status....or lack there of really. :)

My apologies to you now if you are already feeling the impending pain and anguish over my hopefully-not-so-extended absence. I promise you...I WILL be back!!! (in as best an Ahhnold voice as I could possibly muster)


Monday, August 29, 2011

Scored on Sunday with Lemon-Thyme chicken

Happy Monday to you!

Start of a new week. Yay! New recipes, new adventures, and learning new things! Happy day! :)

And in the spirit of starting off well, I bring you the recipe I finally tried last night. Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken with Finglerling Potatoes that I made buttered green beans (steamed or boiled green beans with 2 Tbsp butter added) to go with... :)
I've had this one on the plan for 2 consecutive weeks now I believe. I have absolutely come to DREAD dealing with raw chicken. I've never been a fan, but lately it's increased. I'm so averse to it that I will ONLY deal with boneless skinless breasts. Or precooked frozen chicken. There has never been a whole chicken in my house and the likelihood of that ever happening is slim to none. Ewww!!
I am all about frugality and I realize that whole chickens are so much cheaper but there isn't a chance on this earth that I would ever deal with one........Never gonna happen!!
Anyway...I have been avoiding this recipe, even though it sounded delicious, because I was shuddering at the thought of having to deal with the chicken. Yeah.....that'll teach me to not read the directions first...I didn't have to "deal" with the chicken. As a matter of fact, I never touched it! I stabbed it with a knife and put it from the package to the pan (no I didn't rinse it this time...). Yeah baby! Woo!
And I'm really glad I did finally decide to make it. It was delicious. As a matter of fact.....Justice ate it!!!! She wasn't a fan of the potatoes or the green beans, but she ate my entire (very small) chicken breast! Yay!!!!
Jackpot baby!!! :)
So...without any further ado..I give you.......
The Recipe! :)

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes (courtesy of recipe.com)

4 teaspoons canola oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/4 teaspoon regular salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise, or tiny new red or white potatoes, halved
4  small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1-1/4 pounds total)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I sliced mine rather than messing with mincing)
1  lemon, thinly sliced

1. In a very large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Stir 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme, the salt, and pepper into the oil. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Cover and cook for 12 minutes, stirring twice.

2. Stir potatoes; push to one side of the skillet. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Arrange chicken breast halves on the other side of the skillet. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

3. Turn chicken. Spread garlic over chicken breast halves; sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Arrange lemon slices on top of chicken. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink (170°F) and potatoes are tender.

This meal was delicious! Minus my added veggie, it's a one-pot! Woo! :)
My chicken was small and there were actually only 4 breast halves in the package, whereas there are usually 5 and I wasn't paying attention... Next time I make this I will definitely make more so that we can have leftovers. As I said, Justice devoured the chicken (except for the 2 small bites I took) and Dominic loved it as well, which doesn't usually happen with lemon. So.....Yay!!! :)

I'll be repeating this one again in the future, and I hope that you find the same when you try it!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Stills

Joyous Sunday to you!

Today I present for you....my children sleeping...

Sweet Justice....apparently it was too bright this morning???

Evan (also this morning)..this just looks so uncomfortable!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

An oldie but a Greatie!!

(my wonderful sister and I  -  2008)
Always in my heart and my thoughts...


Monday, August 22, 2011

"Super Suppers" Steak Soup

Happy Monday to you!
I am thrilled to have gotten the Recipe Archive page up for you. I hope that you use and enjoy it! I will, of course, be adding every new recipe to it as I post them. :)

Speaking of new recipes...I have one! :) Yay!
This is another recipe courtesy of Super Suppers Cookbook.
For your reviewing pleasure, I bring you....Steak Soup. Oh...and by the way...this one's a One Pot!!!! Yeah!!! :)

"Makes 6-8 servings"
2 slices bacon, slivered (We love bacon so I used 4 slices precooked bacon, then crumbled)
1 lb round steak, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups finely chopped onion (I used "many" shakes of dried minced, as per usual)
1 lb fresh white mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
4 cups water
2 15oz cans beef broth
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet (this is a brand name "browning sauce containing a vegetable base and caramel coloring. It adds a small amount of flavor but is used mostly to give rich color." I omitted this as it was just for color)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper
(I added egg noodles to ours to "fill". Both it, and us!)

In a 4-6 quart Dutch oven or soup pot cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon; set aside. (I used pre-cooked bacon so in place of this step, I nuked 4 strips and used a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the pan) Add steak pieces to drippings in pot; brown on all sides. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes more. Stir in reserved bacon, water, beef broth, and Kitchen Bouquet. Turn heat to low. Cover and simmer gently about 1 1/2 hours or until steak is very tender. Stir in salt and pepper.

This one is a keeper. :) I personally loved it, even though it was a tad bland. That's totally fixable. (As a matter of fact, I'm having the last of the leftovers as I type!)
Everyone else enjoyed this one as well. Justice even ate a few of the noodles!!! (She normally won't eat any pasta that's not macaroni. Even though we tell her it's noodles, she doesn't believe us. LOL!)
I served this with delicious heaping salads and it was wonderful.

This one would be great in the winter as soup is so wonderfully suited to cold weather (in my humble opinion that is) but it was great for us for the middle of August too. :)

I hope you try it and enjoy.


Awaiting an archive??

Just wanted to drop you a real quick hello and note to let you know that I'm working on a Recipe Archive page for easy access to all (44 so far!!) of the recipes I have posted.
I'm probably going about it the hard way by manually inventory'ing and alphabetizing them all, so by all means, if anyone knows of an easier way (say some program that I can plug the names into to auto-alphabetize) I would absolutely LOVE it if you'd share your knowledge! :)

So - If you can just bare with me for awhile, I will have a new page up soon for a Recipe Archive!


Thanks for your patience!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Brown Sugar Spice Cake...Yummy from the crock-pot!

Well, it may or may not have escaped your attention, but I'm not a big baker.

(clip art courtesy of clipsahoy.com)

Pretty much not even occasionally. Rarely is probably the appropriate term. And yet, I love baked goods. I would love to have my house smell of something lovely baking in the oven. For some reason, it just seems to be one of those things that, whether actuality or not, I'm convinced it just takes so long to prep and so I can't bring myself to do it. (And, with Justice's allergy to ALL nuts, I can't buy most ready-to-bake items.) So....that means we do without. Which, nutrition wise, is perfectly fine and dandy! Plus, since my kids aren't allowed to eat cookies or cake on any kind of regular basis, it's not all that big an issue.
But still....it would be nice to have those delicious smells permeating our little apartment and being able to have some nice homemade treat every once in a while...

(clip art courtesy of clipartheaven.com)

Well...I managed to find a recipe that got me just those things! And I didn't have to bake it!
(Not in the oven at least)

I present.....
Brown Sugar Spice Cake   a la Slow Cooker! :) (found on recipe.com)
Yeah baby!

Vegetable cooking spray
1 can  (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular or Healthy Request®)
1/2 cup  water
2   eggs
1 box  (about 18 ounces) spice cake mix
1 1/4 cups  hot water
3/4 cup  packed brown sugar
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon
Serving Suggestion: Vanilla ice cream

1   Spray the inside of a 4-quart slow cooker with the cooking spray.
2   Combine the soup, water, eggs and cake mix in a medium bowl and mix according to the package directions. Pour the batter into the cooker.
3   Stir the water, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour over the batter.
4   Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
5   Spoon the cake into bowls, spooning the sauce from the bottom of the cooker. Serve warm with the ice cream.

Just finished step 3
(So...I'm totally admitting it...I remembered to take a picture of the before, but completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product! Yep...Go me! Wooo!!!!
My apologies to you.)

This recipe had me very unsure. I mean......Tomato Soup in a cake mix??? Umm.........no thank you! But I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. And whadya know?! We were all glad I did. :)
This made our little apartment smell yummy and the taste was quite nice too.
Dominic commented that it would be great in the morning with some tea or coffee (so much so apparently that he keeps calling it coffee cake LOL)
Both kiddos enjoyed their little tastes of it as well. :)

I hope that you give this one a shot (despite the tomato soup weirdness). Easy to make dessert (or breakfast as the case may be) and you don't have to have the oven on heating up the house! Yay!



Sunday Stills

Happy Sunday to you!! I hope that you've had a fantastic weekend. :)

Here a just a couple of moments from this past week for us...

Watching big brother practice his forms for Tae Kwon Do

A fun game Evan and I played (I managed to win!!)

The sweet little love growing up WAY too fast!!!

Having tons of fun going "round and round and round!"

Here's to a great week ahead!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

MO Creations gets fancy schmancy!! ;)

I'm so excited!!
 Today I get to reveal the new logo for MO Creations!!
A professional graphic designer friend was kind and generous enough to volunteer her time and talent to coloring the design that my wonderful husband drew out several months ago. I had tried to play with it but was doing an atrocious job (and taking forever at it!).
So Thank You Carina!!!! It's better than I ever imagined!

Head over to MO Creations and check out the new awesome logo! And then, of course, check out the product line up and let me know what I can start for you!!
I can't wait to get to work on more orders! :D


Thursday, August 18, 2011

We are experiencing Technical Difficulties, Please stand-by...

Oh the joys of technology!

I love it, I honestly do. I think that it has brought so much to our society.
Do I think that society in general gets too carried away with it, too dependent on it? Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.
Do I think that there is a ridiculous plethora of gadgets out there that are unnecessary? Yep.
Do I think that in the quest for "easier, faster, better" we have bogged ourselves down in the vast sea of continuously evolving, outdated 5 minutes after we get it unwrapped, eternally shrinking in size devices that now need accessories and apps and maintenance and whatever else anyone can possibly fathom to go along with them?? Oh yeah!!!

  to    to  to
 (clip art courtesy of Google)

But am I thankful for technology and what it CAN bring to us? Yes I am. Take our current situation...
Right now, you are most likely reading me ramble on your highly portable laptop, or even better (or worse, depending on your point of view), your smartphone. (For those of you still stationed at a desk with a desktop machine of some kind....please disregard the previous statement)
Regardless of  your method of viewing, we are still taking advantage of the tremendous invention (Thanks to Al Gore LOL ) of the Internet. It's a beautiful thing! We have so many resources at our fingertips now.
But of course, the problem now is keeping up with the technology to utilize it. This is what brings me to my actual topic today... (Finally!!!!!!)

My technology is dying... Within this last month I have discovered that my hard drive (on my cute Green laptop from Dell) is crapping out. SUCK!
I've also discovered that my battery (for above mentioned cute Green laptop from Dell) is at the end of it's life.

Hip Hip Hooray! ............
Oh...and did I mention that my wireless mouse was completely spazzing and may have caused problems with my machine (yep...that cute Green one you've heard tale of) because the USB drive was faulty (or broken or died)?
What about the fact that my cooling pad got trashed last year because the cord got totally ripped out and I didn't get a new one (never remembered when I had the money) so my computer gets hot enough to heat a small frozen country? Did I mention that too??
Yeah....so that's where I'm at with my technology. Let's not even get into the topic of needing to get my own domain and webpage to avoid the problems associated with free hosting for this growing (in popularity and fun'ness') blog of mine.
That last bit is actually quite exciting. Overwhelming and intimidating, but exciting to think about!! The possibilites (both for personalization and for increasing reach/success/monetizing) are thrilling. :D

At any rate...I thought that I would give you an update on where I'm at. At least with this here blog that you anxiously and oh-so-impatiently wait for new content from.... :D   (You do. I promise!!)

What are your thoughts on technology?? What's your relationship with it? What issues have/are you having in your own life?? Let me hear it! (perrrrrrrrrty please  ~~batting eyes oh so imploringly~~)
Look forward to hearing from you-