Monthly Archives: August 2012

Leftover Magic

Well guys, if you’ve noticed that I’ve been posting more recipes after taking a break from doing that, it’s because I have a new-found love for my kitchen.

Maybe because it’s huge compared to my last kitchen.

Maybe because we have a brand new refrigerator that I love to fill up with delicious things. And a new oven that is begging to be used. Every night.

Or maybe it’s because we went a long time while we were moving and packing and getting ready to move when we were eating pretty much only frozen pizza, hamburger helper, and other not so blog-worthy meals.

Well, last night was going to be one of those meals as well.

See, we brought home some leftover cooked meat from the fair. Things like steak that had been sitting too long to served but still tasted fine, burgers and hot dogs that were leftover at the end of the night…you get the idea.

Leftovers…getting old. Taunting me every time I open the fridge.

Well, last night, we were going to use some of those up.

And I have a half-gallon of milk that’s going to go bad in a few days I wanted to use.

And we haven’t had zucchini in awhile.

So I planned out dinner to be pretty easy. I would heat up the steak to make steak sandwiches, make Kraft mac’n’cheese with the milk, and then something more creative zucchini.

Afterall, I cook with zucchini all the time so it’s really not a big deal to whip something up that makes the leftovers and plain, easy macaroni feel more special.

But then I added extra milk to the macaroni because I knew Hubs wouldn’t be home for awhile yet and it would start to tighten up and get too sticky if I didn’t put extra moisture in there early on.

And the milk made it extra extra creamy tasting.

So I added some fresh ground pepper, and some chives, and some parsley. And more milk.

And, oh my goodness, so creamy and delicious.

My mouth is actually watering just thinking about eating the leftovers for lunch.

And then I started to work on the zucchini. I had planned to make some sort of zucchini fries, like I did here. But then I saw this post from The Pioneer Woman (Do you read her blogs? You totally should.) and I wanted to add some lemon to the party.

So this is what I ended up doing.

Lemon-Crumb-Coated-Zucchini-Fries.

(Yes, that’s what I’m calling them.)

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs.

2-3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 packet of ranch seasoning

2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning

1 egg

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 average-sized zucchini, sliced into thin strips

Combine all the dry ingredients. I did this in my blender since I used it to make the bread crumbs anyway.

All in there, ready for mixing.

Combine all wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add in zucchini pieces and toss to coat. 

I didn’t do a great job of cutting our fries in equal sizes…

Add in dry ingredients. Toss again to coat.

Spread the zucchini pieces out on a baking sheet. 

See how many crumbs? Crumbs=yum. In this case.

Then, since I had plenty of leftover “crumbs,” I didn’t want to waste them so I sprinkled them all over the top of the cookie sheet I would recommend you do this, too.

Then bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn them, and bake for 12 more minutes.

By this time, some of your extra crumbs will be brown enough to taste. Do that. Yum. 

Turn again and bake/broil until your desired level of “brown-ness.” (We like things a little extra crispy in this house.)

See what I mean about the yummy crumbies?
(I think of Monica from FRIENDS when I say “crumbies”)

Then you’ll serve them ranch dressing, or just plain, because I didn’t think they needed anything else, but Hubs loves his condiments.

They tasted so fresh and yet creamy at the same because of the lemon and the cheese and the bread crumbs and the egg. Sooooo good. I’m telling you.

In the meantime, Hubs came home from work and asked what we were having. He’d forgotten that we had decided the night before to eat the leftover steak. And that no longer seemed very exciting to him. So he said, “Ok, but I want cheese on mine.”

Then we talked for a little bit about how if we added onions it would be a cheesesteak sandwich.

So we did that.

First, we sauteed the onions in butter.

I think onions and butter may smell a little like heaven.

And he chopped up the steak.

Cold steak looks awfully dry and boring.

And then we added the steak to the onions and butter.

Yup. This is way better than what I’d planned to do for dinner.

And then we melted cheese on top.

Yes, I put some of the leftover crumbies on my macaroni and cheese. No, I did not regret it.

(I went without the top bun because I just didn’t want it. I wold actually recommend some kind of hoagie roll for this, but since we were working with leftovers here, crumbly-sorta-old-hamburger-buns were all we had.)

Anyway, it ended up being a pretty spectacular meal.

And I was reminded once again, why I love spending time with the man I married. Because he’s fun. He’s creative. He’s spontaneous. He’s open to try new things. He will experiment with me. Play with me. Laugh with me. Eat ridiculously better than anticipated leftovers with me.

And then he’ll do the dishes.

Reason #47 husband roommates are the best.

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Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mini Meatloaves

As you guys may know by now, Hubs loves meatloaf.

I think it’s his favorite thing. Ever.

(We made it to celebrate being home from a long weekend trip to Chicago with a bunch of rowdy Sporting KC fans in this post.)

And last night, because I wanted to bless him in a small way for how hard we’ve been working lately on our house at night, and because I like it too and it sounded good, I made meatloaf.

But this time, I wanted to try out a new way of making said meatloaf.

See, I have this cool meatloaf pan that I got for Christmas that cooks the meatloaf and lets some of the fat drain out underneath as it cooks. And it lets you lift the meatloaf neatly out of the pan for nice, easy slicing. It’s pretty nifty.

But in that pan, or any large pan, meatloaf takes more than an hour to bake.

And sometimes, when I don’t start dinner until Hubs gets ready to leave from work, that’s just too long to wait.

So I had an idea to try it in my mini loaf pan.

Like this.

Yes, I didn’t have quite enough for all of them…Ah well.

And it worked so well!

It came out like this.

Yum, that’s what was supposed to happen.

And then, of course because we can’t eat just one, we had…well..more than one.

This was my plate. I won’t tell you how many Hubs ate. We also had twice baked potatoes. YUM.

Anyway, I would totally make these once we have kids because not only does it help with portion control (if we only eat one…wasn’t that one of our newlywed resolutions…hmmm…) but it’s just so much faster.

They cooked it only about 35 minutes!

That’s totally doable on a weeknight with 2 or 3 kids running around. And just think about serving it when they have friends over! I can see the Friday night slumber parties now where we don’t have to order pizza every time!

(Sorry, getting ahead of myself. Must be that baby fever…)

 

Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s that smell?

So last, night, as I was sitting on the floor in the doorway of our bedroom doing this:

Yup, painting trim is an almost daily task in our house. The carpet makes it especially fun.

I happened to keep getting some pretty unpleasant whiffs of something particularly smelly.

I say that nicely.

What I wanted to say was that, oh my goodness, something somewhere near me smelled absolutely positively disgusting. Flat out: it reeked.

There I said it.

I feel better now.

And I looked all around and decided I didn’t know what it was so it was best not to say anything.

After all, maybe Hubs had, ahem, eaten something that didn’t agree with him and he was now having some…er… smelly after effects. Or maybe I needed a shower really REALLY bad.

Heck, it could have also been all in my head.

Except that it wasn’t all in my head because I just. kept. smelling. it.

Ick.

And now it sorta started to develop into an actual smell.

It smelled sour.

Wet.

Sweaty.

Dirty.

Smelly.

So I investigated further.

And lo and behold, I found this.

OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS, THIS MIGHT BE WHAT WILL BECOME OUR SECOND BIGGEST FIGHT EVER.

Yup, that’s right. It’s a bag. More specifically, Hubs’ bag.

Hubs’ bag from last Wednesday.

Hubs’ bag from LAST WEDNESDAY that he took TO THE LAKE AND FILLED WITH WET CLOTHES and LEFT ON THE FLOOR OF OUR BEDROOM. FOR 6 DAYS.

Wet, smelly, lake-water clothes that have been in an ENCLOSED BAG FOR 6 DAYS?!?!

Did I say OH MY HOLY MOLY GOODNESS GRACIOUS yet?

Yea.

It was bad.

I thought I was going to scream.

I bet you guys thought I was going to scream, too.

But I didn’t.

I did say lots of things in a rather firm voice.

But I did not yell.

Ask Hubs.

He’ll tell you I was pretty calm. Sorta.

All things considering.

He laughed.

I laughed.

And then, to his credit, Hubs got up and and took the bag to the washer. And he did the load of laundry that needed to be done. And we moved on with our night. And our lives.

But you better believe this is a memory I’ll remind him of when we have a son who leaves his sports equipment on the stairs causing Hubs to trip and fall and bruise his tuchus.

I’ll say, “He’s your son. Remember when you left that bag of disgusting lake clothes out for a week and it almost gagged me because it smelled so bad when I found it? Yup, he gets this trait from you.”

And then, of course, he’ll remind me of the time I left the pile of laundry out for 4 days that was almost as high as our bed and that I got so annoyed by that I started talking to it?

What a pair, huh?

And then I’ll help him up and go get an ice pack.

But for now, while Hubs is doing the laundry, I’m going to get an ice cream. And wait for our next crazy-wonderful adventure in this married life to begin.

Categories: Laughs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Baby Fever…or not

Well guys, it’s that time.

No, not time for chocolate cake in the middle of the day.

Though I wish it was that time.

And no, not time to start my Christmas shopping.

It’s also not the time to tell you about my secret pet peeve of people spelling “gray” as “grey.”

It’s the time that all my friends and family who got married about the same time as Wyatt and I start having babies.

Woohoo!

It’s like we all have baby fever.

Except that I don’t.

I mean, I’m super excited for all of their babies to come.

But I’m not ready yet.

Although, I guess, who’s ever really ready, huh?

Anyway, I’m just happy with Hubs right now. We have enough trouble trying to keep on track to work on stuff around our house, figure out how to avoid having the same fights all the time, learn how to balance a budget and visit all the friends and family that we wish we could see more often.

Throw a baby in there and all that stuff that seemed hard before now seems nearly impossible.

I mean, I want a baby. I really am excited for that time in our lives. And I know that every time I see a baby or hold a baby or buy a present for a friend’s baby, I tell Hubs how much I really and truly do want a baby. But then, he looks at me with that look that says, we’ve been through this, and I just give up, because I know he’s right.

It’s like I just sway back and forth between really really wanting a baby and really really freaking out at how weird/hard/scary/expensive it would be to have one.

And like the great man he is, Hubs just calmly stays quiet, gently pulling me away when I stop to swoon over a pair of teeny tiny baby shoes or plan what color I want the nursery.

Did your uterus just skip a beat? Mine did.

Don’t you want to have a baby just to have this in your house?

And this?

But he’s gentle and firm as he says, “not yet,” to me every time I get ahead of myself.

What a good man he is!

(But I knew that already.)

What about you? Are you baby-crazy, too?

 

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Right now…

Right now I’m sitting on my couch wearing workout clothes, but I haven’t worked out today.

Right now I’m finding other things to do than make the work calls I need to make because it’s Friday afternoon and I’m just not motivated, even though I have a mid-week deadline next week and still need a lot of information to make it.

Right now there’s a pile of clean laundry in our bedroom that keeps getting bigger. I’ve started to walk by it and say, “I’m going to fold you today,” sternly and point at it. But it’s still not folded. It’s been two WHOLE days, people. Yikes.

Right now I’m hungry only an hour and a half after lunch because for the second day in a row all I ate was some homemade vegetable lo-mein noodles that are no where near as good as the stuff I’m craving. (Shout out to that little place in Fayette, where I went to college, that had the best Chinese food in the entire world, apparently.)

Right now I’m staring at a pile of coupons I just cut out that need to be sorted and put away. There’s also a pile of grocery ads I need to go through to price match our grocery list for this week/month.

Right now I’m wishing Hubs was home. Today’s not an anniversary or anything, I’m just feeling a little sentimental and lonely as I think about how much a love that man.

This table is no longer in our living room, but even when it was, this home has been a happy one. We’re so blessed.

There’s a glimpse into my house on this Friday afternoon. What’s up in your corner of the world? Come on, tell me. I told you about the pile of laundry I’ve started talking to…

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BBQ Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Twice Baked Potatoes

It’s been awhile since I posted a new recipe for you guys.

Partly because we were out of town and moving and remodeling and stuff so I haven’t been cooking as much…

And partly because I was too lazy (or too hungry?) to stop and take photos while I was cooking and eating.

Either way, when we got home from working at the fair for 2 weeks at a restaurant that only serves beef (called the Beef House, no doubt), Hubs and I were ready for some variety in our diets.

But…we’d brought home a few leftovers from the restaurant to use up.

So I decided to take 2 left-over baked potatoes and put them in the oven to make twice baked potatoes. (Did you know that already baked potatoes work super well for that? Well, you do now.)

And then I went a little crazy and decided to make BBQ Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Twice Baked Potatoes.

Then I went REALLY crazy and ate the whole thing all by myself and didn’t share any with Hubs.

Just kidding.

That would make me a not-so-nice wife, huh?

I shared with him, I promise.

Anyway, here’s how I did it.

First, I heated up the potatoes in the oven for a few minutes. While I was doing this, I boiled the chicken and fried up some bacon. I didn’t take pictures of any of that because I was pretty sure it was all self explanatory.

Plus, who wants to see a photo of boiling chicken?

After the chicken was done, I chopped it up in small pieces and added BBQ sauce.

We used Zarda BBQ sauce, as it’s Hubs’ favorite, which is exciting because we now live so close to one!

Then, I scooped out the middles of the potatoes and added butter, ranch seasoning, and some french onion dip to the inside part and mashed it all up in my mixer.

Pretty simple.

Then I put that part back in the scooped out skins.

If you didn’t need photos of this, I don’t care, it was fun to document.

And then, I patted it all down flat.

Again, how simple.

Then, it’s time to add the chicken.

Starting to look yummier.

And then I added cheese.

All we had was American cheese, but it still worked out ok.

And then I put them back into the oven.

Yum. (And I LOVE my new oven.) Look at how beautiful those potatoes look in there!

And then I put the bacon on top.

Yup. Definitely delicious.

 

Make it. Enjoy. Let me know what you think!

Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Back at home

Well, guys, did you miss me?

If you did, I was missing you, too! And if not, well, I wasn’t thinking of you at all either. So there!

Just kidding.

I missed you all.

Anyway, the past 2 weeks were crazy busy for us newlyweds as we worked 12+ hour days at the fair and went crazy smelling steaks and onions at god-awful hours of the morning. I wrote more about that here. 

I also went a little crazy missing out new home.

I spent the last 2 weeks at my parents’ house, sleeping on a (rather comfy and brand new) guest room bed. Hubs was there for most of those nights, but came back to our house to go to work for three days in the middle of it all.

By the end of the two weeks, AKA yesterday afternoon, I was never so homesick in my life. I was counting down minutes and half minutes until we’d get there, ready to sleep in our own bed, see our half-painted walls, deal with the mess we left in our half-finished remodel project…and the mess Hubs made when he was here for three days without me in the middle of the week.

It was surprisingly hard to be away from this house that we’ve lived in for such a short time. I was amazed by how much it already felt like home when I had to leave it, even though we’re far from feeling “settled in” here…

And now we’re back.

And ready to get back to work!

After we rest up and get better, as we are exhausted and both seem to have come down with some sort of summer cold. Ick.

And we have internet at home!

That means I can talk to you guys while sitting at home in my jammies instead of getting dressed and driving to Panera every time I want to check my email, write a blog post, or you, know, do some actual work.

(Which is what I should be doing right now.)

So, I’m just here to say, Hi! I’ve missed you. What’s new in your life?

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what’s up!

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Home…away from home

Well guys, it’s that time of year again.

Fair time.

For some of you, the state fairs in your respective states come and go with no chance in your daily life. Not me.

As the daughter of a beef cattle farmer, I’ve spent about 2 weeks every August working in a steakhouse at our state fair that’s run by the Missouri Cattlemen Association for almost as long as I can remember. We serve more than 1000 steaks a day, not including burgers, BBQ brisket, and all-beef hot dogs. It’s a frenzy of feeding hungry, tired and hot people for 12 hours a day in the heat of the summer. Luckily, we’re in an air-conditioned restaurant instead of one of those little stands that sell corn dogs and funnel cakes.

Yup, it’s fair time again. Beef House, here we come…

Still, it’s a crazy time that I’ve come to enjoy in a unique sort of way, and after I got married and moved to Kansas City, I thought my days at the fair were pretty much over. Of course, last year at this time I was pretty much unemployed so I came to work to earn some extra money. And now I’m self-employed. So I “took some time off” to come stay at my parents’ house for the next couple of weeks.

It’s a like a vacation.

A vacation where I work 12 hours a day standing on concrete next to a giant grill.

How relaxing.

But the money will be a good addition to our savings account after it took such a hit with the down payment for our house.

And it’s good to be home…away from home.

Last night was the second night at my parents’ house without my husband, and while I miss him (miss him a lot!), I have to admit how nice it is to spend time with my parents.

Moving away, even though we’re only an hour and a half or so apart now at our new house, was hard for me, as I’ve always been a family girl.

I went to a college about an hour away from home but came home most weekends because I wanted to see Wyatt and I was still involved with so much in my hometown. Seeing my parents was something I grew very used to, even after I “moved out,” per say, and I even took it for granted I think.

Then I got married, (which is great!) and moved away, for real this time. Which was awesome and hard all at the same time. Harder than I thought it would be. And more amazing to live with my husband and best friend.

Kansas City became our home.

But then again, this house that I grew up in will always be home, too.

It’s my home away from home, I guess you could say.

I love that the rooms are all so familiar and even the furniture holds memories. Last night as I sat on an old couch my mom wants to get rid of, I was reminded of the night I cried, sitting there with Wyatt, because it was the night after we’d gotten engaged and it all finally hit me. (I didn’t cry at all the night he actually asked me. I think I was in too much shock…and just so happy!)

In a happy shock after our engagement, how can I not love the house that holds so many special memories?

I love that my mom stocks her shelves with all the foods I used to love when I was living here. It’s a treat to have all those loved snacks that Hubs and I don’t buy for ourselves on an everyday basis.

And I’ve enjoyed building a project with my dad, going through old boxes of stuff for a future garage sale with my mom, and just talking with them about more than just, “this is what’s new with us.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love our house in the city, er, the suburbs now, but I also love it here. And yes, I am counting down the hours until I’ll see Hubs again, but I’m also thankful for every minute here.

There are no views like this in the city, that’s for sure. This place will always hold a special place in my heart.

What about you? What do you love about coming home? How do you cope with being away from those you love? What are your favorite memories of the houses you grew up in.

And

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

From newlyweds to the rest of our lives

First of all, did you all see yesterday’s post? I’m trying to work on some new ideas for the blog and really want some input for you. Please take a minute to leave me a comment and give me some feedback on what sort of posts you like most and what is your favorite things about this blog.

Next, I wanted to focus a little bit today on how I’ve been feeling about our marriage recently, as we transition into this second year of marriage.

1. I am so blessed by this husband of mine. He is wiser than I ever thought him to be, stronger than I’d seen him be, smarter, sweeter, and sexier than I could have ever imagined when I first fell head over heels in love with him at 16 years old. I know he’s going to continue to surprise me with his goodness as we transition from our family of two to having kids, grandkids, and more.

2. I’m surprised by how little we fight about anything serious. It seems the only things we bicker about are small, silly, and totally unimportant details. When we’re really faced with a scary circumstance, difficult life choice, or major struggle, we’re truly able to be helpmates for each other, and that makes up for all the little lovers’ spats that may take place on any given normal night.

3. I don’t feel the need to be with him all the time, but I certainly feel the desire. Don’t get me wrong, he sometimes enjoys going to play poker with some guys from work, and I enjoy having a girls’ night with my friends from back home, but overall, given the choice of socializing or relaxing with or without him, I’d choose to have him near me every time. And that’s not something I think will chance in the future, as I enjoy his company more now than ever before. And yes, I can function without him, but if I don’t have to, I won’t. But this is something I realize has nothing to do with us being newlyweds. It’s about being in love, and being married to my very best friend.

4. Me not having a job where I work from 8 to 5 every day is a HUGE blessing. Yes, I’ve spent a huge amount of time belly-aching about not having a “real” job, but you know what? I’m growing used to the fact that this is my real job for this season of life. Sure, I don’t work full time doing this, but I enjoy the work and I get to do different things every day, and talk to a lot of people, and learn about lots of things I never knew about before. But mostly, I’m writing, which is what I think I’m meant to do. At least for now. And it’s given me so much time to help with stuff for the house. Someone needs to be there to let the carpet cleaning guy in and pay him after he’s finished? I can do it. Someone needs to go to the mechanic? That’s my job. The UPS store to return our equipment? Paint all the walls and trim in our house? Organize and clean everything? Yup, I can do all those things too. And how much of a blessing is it that either Hubs nor myself is having to take precious vacation time to be there for all this stuff? I’d say it’s huge. And for now, I’m content to write part- time and be a full-time wife to the man I love.

5. Sleeping together is still a challenge sometimes, but we’re totally settling into our preferred “sleeping positions” (as Hubs calls them), and snuggling positions, which I prefer we spend a few minutes in pre-sleeping time. Neither of us has suffered any major bruises because of bumps in the night, and I am learning to question with caution if I hear him saying something in the middle of the night, because he gets a little crabby when I ask questions after hearing his sleep-talking mumbles.

6. Holding hands is so important. Even just a few seconds walking into the store from the car are an opportunity to connect and share a sweet moment. I love that we both know to reach for the other at the perfect moment. It’s part of our routine now, something that hasn’t changed since we were first dating and that I know will continue into the future.

What about you? What are you learning about your spouse in your marriage? I know it’s something, so share!

 

Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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