Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I made a Max and Erma's Chicken Tortilla Soup clone this past weekend, knowing that this would be the best success with the hubs for this meal. It called for some cream based soups as the base, and I'm wishing that I'd really made it more from scratch... So it might go back on the list for another weekend later this year. I was looking for a bit more of a challenge, I think.

Either way, the taste turned out great, and my husband at his entire bowl by time I was only half way through mine! I would definitely call that a success.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Desk Before and After



Finished Desk!

I am so happy with how the desk turned out in the end. The grey color is exactly what I was hoping for, and the final product is maybe even better than I thought! I am down to the last steps of organizing the room and getting everything put away. Then we'll be ready to start thinking about the next project...  Landscaping maybe?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Almost Finished with the Home Office

I was able to use the President's Day weekend to get oh-so-close to finishing my office, and getting the trainers set up in their own space. The desk is the final piece that needs to be finished, and it is just not quite dry enough to bring upstairs yet. But once it is put into place, I should be able to finish organizing the room and putting everything away.

I did, however, finally get the desk all stained and finished. I had been avoiding it for fear that the stain wouldn't provide the appearance that I was wanting on the desk. But after spending a day of giving it some love, I really think it turned out great! Maybe not quite perfect in technique, but I'm happy with the results.

Now that I have all of my books and art supplies back in my office, I was able to set up the spare room with our exercise room flooring and get the trainers set up. I spent a long 90 minutes in there on my bike today, and was glad that I was finally out of the middle of our living room! It still leaves a slight dilemma, as the room still doubles as our guest room... But it should be manageable until we win the lottery and we can finish our basement into a better workout room. Ha!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day Manicotti

Reaching for our "Cooking for Two" cookbook on Valentine's Day seemed like an appropriate place to start for this week's meal. I was looking for something that felt a little romantic, and that always seems to take me to the Italian section of any cookbook. While searching, I found a little twist on manicotti, and thought it might be a great option. While we've both eaten manicotti before, I have never taken the time to make it myself.

This specific recipe called for rolling the filling inside flat lasagna noodles, instead of stuffing the pasta tubes. It was a much simpler way to assemble the dish, and came out pretty good! Like some previous dishes, I think we were both wanting a little more flavor, but now we know for next time!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bison Curry Empanadas

Bison is a protein that neither my husband or I have tried before. We've seen it available as a beef alternative at restaurants and at the grocery stores, but we never really took that leap... Until yesterday.

We found a recipe for Beef Curry Empanadas, with the option to change out the protein for either Buffalo or Bison in one of our favorite cook books. The hubs had made us some potato empanadas a while back, and we were really happy with how they turned out. So this was a good option for trying the new ingredient, and it gave me the chance to do the pastry cooking for the first time as well.

The filling turned out sweet and spicy all at the same time, a really delicious combination. The dough was light and flaky. (I'm getting pretty good at making dough for all sorts of things, if I do say so myself...) Overall, it turned out to be another success.

***As an after thought, it can be noted that my stomach may not have liked the new Bison meat as much as my taste buds did. I'm sure it was a combination of the new ingredient and that I ate so much of it, due to its deliciousness. But I was ultimately thankful for Tums by the end of the night.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Sunday When Professional Football Plays a Championship Game

Just trying to keep it safe here - I don't want to get into any trouble for using the "S" word without permission...

Tonight's new cooking adventure was a bit simpler than we've tried so far. I broke out an appetizer recipe so that we had some new finger food options for the big game, and we landed on Pork Pot Stickers. We also kept the kitchen busy today by making a giant batch of Chipotle Pork and some fresh Chicken and Chorizo Egg Rolls. It's always a ton of work whenever we decide to go all out in the kitchen like today, but it ends up being so very worth it. The freezer is re-stocked and will probably last us a good six months now. That always feels very satisfying.

PI Holiday Party

The hubs and I attended the Pearl Izumi holiday party yesterday evening. It was possibly scheduled a little late to be considered a "holiday party," but it was a good time. I've had a lot of fun getting to know my new co-workers these last six months, and they made the evening into a pretty good party! The theme was "A Night at the Oscars," so we all pulled out old bride's maid dresses and suits to get dressed up for the event. By the end of the night, the dance floor was full and we were having a decent little dance party.

Unfortunately as we went to leave the event, we found a snow storm had started and covered the cars and roads with a thick, heavy layer of snow. It was a careful drive home, so were were thankful for not going crazy at the party, and for getting home safe.