Monday, August 23, 2010

For a laugh

Since I posted that daily show clip I decided to post another, but this time completely non-politics related.

Last week we lost our chocolate lab Chloe. She was a 14 year old sweetheart that we adopted a year ago when one of hubby's commanders was moving overseas and couldn't bring her. We brought her into our home and into our hearts. It was a sad day when it was decided that she was better off being put to sleep, but the really sad part was actually bringing her ailing self into the vet, signing away her life and saying goodbye for the last time. I had no idea just how much I would miss her and how much it hurt to say goodbye until it was time. Those adorable brown eyes looking into mine when I kissed her, scratched under her ear and removed her collar will be forever etched in my memory.

My girls had grown so attached to her in that short year and is was normal for them both to come screaming "Chwooowweee" out of their bedroom in the morning as they rushed to see her. Coming home and trying to explain that she was gone forever to them was equally as heart wrenching. I had prepared myself for all the toddler questions and had some good answers. I was prepared to repeat the line "she was real sick and had go to the doctors and wont be coming home anymore". I was ready for tears and not understanding.

What I got when I returned from the vet was a 3 year old that just said "yeah Chwowe real sick, she all done now".

Wow, that was easy!

Maybe this wouldnt be the big production I had dreaded. Maybe they would just understand and we could move on.

The next morning though, when they both ran to greet her in the kitchen I had to explain again. Still not sooo bad, they are kids after all.

Then again at lunch that day they called her name while looking in the backyard for her. Again I explained, and this time the answer changed to "Chloe was sick and remember I told you she isnt coming back home...ever again". That had to do it... how graphic would I have to be?

Fast forward to 2 days later of asking "where's Chwowee?" and me responding with "I told you, Chloe is gone! She isnt coming home ever again... ever"

It was at that moment that I was reminded of one the funniest moments of television that I have ever seen. It was an episode of Roseanne and Jackie is explaining to her deaf aunt on the phone that their father has died. I just had to laugh at the whole situation. I was trying to explain death to a 3 year old and a 16 month old... and I expected them to understand! It was all really funny and so because I think everyone needs a laugh here is the clip I was referring to. Enjoy!

3 minutes in is the phone call I was reminded of, but the whole clip is pretty funny :)

PS I do not think its funny that I had to put my dog to sleep, but come on people, this situation was funny!!!

I usually try to stay away from all this

Politics is not something I would like to fill my blog with. It seems easier to just stay away for controversial topics and stick with light funny quotes from my girls or yummy recipes. I saw this episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and particularly felt moved by this piece. I hope the best of us can take something away from this. I think we all need to take a step back and think about what this whole "Mosque at Ground Zero" thing is really about! Think about what the true value of Freedom of Religion is. John Stewart says it best and I think this something everyone needs to watch.

As a strongly republican friend of mine said "the last 2.5 minutes of this is simply amazing".

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover - Homeland Edition
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Well done Jon Stewart! As usual he takes a bit of a detour for comedic effect but the point is clear, we need to value and cherish ALL of our rights for ALL of our fellow citizens.

That's enough politics for now :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In case you need a laugh

I was cleaning up a mess in the kitchen yesterday and decided to plop the kiddos in front of Finding Nemo to stay out of trouble for 10 minutes. I walked out and found my three year old like this. She found her daddy's swimming goggles and put them on ALL BY HERSELF! She also pulled her swimsuit out of her drawer and put that on. I really thing it adds to the whole Nemo experience.

The Bestest Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was on a mission to find the perfect recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I knew that Nestle Toll House had already done it but I wanted something different. I wanted a heartier cookie, something with a bit more substance. I wanted to be able to eat just 1 or 2 (or 10 or 12) and be satisfied, not have to eat the whole package. I also wanted to incorporate a few more healthy ingredients. I have never been a huge fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, the oatmeal just ends up tasting like... well... oatmeal. Well it took me a while but I finally found a recipe that I am happy with. I asked many, many people what they thought and there was overwhelming consensus that I needed to look no further.

I made somewhere around 20 batches. First I started with my favorite granola, Cascadian Farms Organic Maple Brown Sugar (which is where I altered the recipe from), but you can use any old granola that your grocers carries. I would avoid a flavored granola but whatever floats your boat :)

Then I tried to find the perfect nut, this was a problem, everyone liked a different nut. I tried pecans and thought they didn't stand up enough against the chocolate, I tried almonds and some thought they had too much flavor. Walnuts were good until a bad one ended up in the mix and ruined a whole batch. In the end I decided that which ever nut you like best will make the cookies best for you. I prefer almonds, chopped small they are the perfect match for me.

Then I started messing around with adding instant coffee, a few times I added too much and it was a shock to the system. 2 tablespoons seems to work out nicely. The Flax Seeds are a bonus, they add nutrition and a heartiness that the cookies were missing. I used ground seeds but you can use the whole seeds if you want, really what ever you find.

Lastly I decided it all came down to the chocolate. I have never been a big semi sweet fan, I like good milk chocolate. I used Ghiradelli because it is amazing. But again if you prefer semi sweet than that will just make the cookies that much better for you.

After 20 batches I figured out that everyone has different tastes, some will like pecans with semi-sweet chips, others will up the coffee and use flavored granola, it all depends on your tastes. But this final version was the most well received, in fact everyone had a hard time walking away from the platter.

So without further delay...

Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup Butter (softened)
3/4 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Flax Seed (I used ground)
2 tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoons salt
4 cups Granola
1 bag Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine Butter, Sugars, Vanilla, Eggs, Flax Seed and Coffee on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt until well mixed. Stir in Granola, Chocolate Chips, and Nuts. Drop spoonfuls on ungreased cookies sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes or until a light golden brown color. Cool 1 minute on sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

My Better Butter Chicken

I recently tried a recipe from a food website that I L-O-V-E, love! Tasty Kitchen. Those of you that are familiar with the site know that there are TONS of great recipes there. Well the most recent one I tried reminded me of an Indian recipe that I have been wanting to try but never got around to it. Its called Murgh Makhani and some call it "butter chicken". When I was perusing the Tasty Kitchen's main course section I stumbled upon something called "Butter Chicken". I knew I had to try it since the recipe was very similar to mine and maybe a little easier! Plus Pioneer Woman had featured it so I KNEW it would be great. I decided to make a few adjustments of my own and I think it turned out amazing!!!

Make this as soon as possible and it will change your appreciation for Indian food.

My Better Butter Chicken
*my alterations

4 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into bite size pieces)
5 Cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
*1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1/4 teaspoons Cumin
1/4 teaspoons Cardamom
1 Whole Lime, Juiced
1 Whole Onion, Diced
1/4 ups Butter
1 can (15 oz) Tomato Sauce
1 can (15 oz) Petite Diced Tomatoes
*1 cup Whipping Cream (light cream or half-and-half works too)
*1 cup Coconut Milk
*1/4 cup Peanut Butter (creamy or chunky depending on taste)
1 bunch Chopped Cilantro

Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight, though I only had 3 hours and it was fine.
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated Chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, covered. Add the whipping cream, coconut milk and peanut butter, allow to return to a simmer. Add the cilantro just before serving and serve over Basmati Rice. Enjoy, your life will never be the same!

The original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper but I am serving to kids so I wanted to cut back the heat, it was still plenty hot for us will 1/4 teaspoons. I cut the whipping cream in half and replaced with coconut milk because, well, coconut cream is amazing and the things it does to a dish are indescribable. I also added peanut butter because it sounded right and the recipe seemed to be lacking something, but dropping this ingredient for allergies would be fine, it would still be a great dish.

Original recipe found here

My angels enjoying their dinner :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Penance

For your amusement:

me: "Dear father, It has been over a month since my last blog. I have neglected my family and the many many adoring fans, I have promised people there would be updates then decided to catch up on a "Real Housewives of New Jersey" marathon instead, kept funny stories to myself instead of sharing them with the world when I knew the masses needed to hear them...I'm sure there is more but I am too lazy to even list them. I am truly sorry for this and will happily do my penance."

Imaginary priest: "This blog you speak of, do you REALLY think people tune in?"

me: "well...I know...if you I guess you can add lying to a priest on there too."

I.P.: "Your penance is to do 3 posts by tomorrow."

me: "Can I count this as one?"

IP: "No."

me: "OK, sure, of course, whatever you say...I just mean because this is a pretty lame post. And I'm not sure how much longer I can drag this one out so it will be short. And a short and lame post won't bring the people back."

IP: "Are these your imaginary fans you speak of?"

me: "...yes"

IP: "Fine. Update your "adoring fans" with what has been going on with your life this past month in this post, plus 2 new posts by tomorrow. Now go in peace...and please, TRY to be amusing!"

Some random thoughts...

1. I just found my 3 year old "reading" a sushi menu to her fish. She is far too young to understand the absolute hilarity in that situation.

2. My baby brother got married this past Sunday! I wasn't there...I hate myself a little bit.

3. Maybe stuffing a brownie in my mouth will help me deal with the pain of missing my baby brothers wedding.

4. Nope...maybe 2?

5. Nope...maybe 3? This could get ugly folks, lets move on.

6. We had a garage sale this past weekend and I realized that the saying "people will buy anything" is not true. People will buy anything, except stuff that has actual value and is still in good shape. Instead of buying a top of the line infant car seat and 2 bases for $50 (selling on eBay for $120) they choose to buy a broken cordless phone that has no battery power for $1. Or a torn book for $.50 that came free in a cereal box.

7. We did sell enough of our crappy stuff to buy a new TV for our bedroom.

8. In the on-line world, people use the letters DH instead of typing out Dear Husband. I swore I would never used this stupid acronym because hubby sounds cuter and it isn't that bad to just type out hubby. Hubby, hubby, hubby, hubby. See, not so bad. Stop being so lazy people!

9. DH now wants to have an other garage sale to see what else we can buy with the profits. I think he is tempted to sell all our clothes and see if we can afford a boat.

10. My adorable 16 month old angel is acting less angelic everyday. I think she wants me to never want another child ever again. She wants to stay my baby. She has no desire for a baby sister or brother. Anytime I get even a little sad that she is growing up she throws a fit over a sippy cup and it reminds me to call my doctor and see if he has any room to perform a full hysterectomy this afternoon.


12. I need to buy new plants for my front yard since there is no amount of water on earth that would have been able to save my little beauties from the scorching sun.


14. I went wedding dress shopping with my baby sis when I was in Cali. I was so thrilled to be there for that. She looked amazing and will look even more amazing on her wedding day.

15. Just remembered that I missed my baby brothers wedding. Where are the rest of those damn brownies!?

16. We are waiting for final words on where our next assignment will be. Hopefully we will find out SOON. I love getting new assignments.

17. I hate moving.

18. I need to get my house in order so that hopefully someone will want to buy it!!! I really hope someone will buy it! God I hope someone will buy it. We don't have enough money to pay the mortgage here and live somewhere else.

19. I will now have nightmares tonight about what to do if someone doesn't want to buy my house.

20. My 3 year old needs new clothes. Hopefully she can wait until someone buys the house. Otherwise I may have to turn into a Von Trap and turn the curtains into new outfits for her... but I don't know how to sew... hopefully they have a very lenient dress code at her school.

21. Look at this beautiful picture and eat a brownie if you have one, that's what I will be doing.