We've had a head of cabbage sitting around since earlier this week and finally figured out how to use part of it today.  I found this recipe online for Kielbasa Cabbage Skillet and used it pretty closely with a few changes based on what I had.  It was really good, so if you're looking for something to do with cabbage, I'd recommend trying this.  And, I think it's not super unhealthy for you, which is a bonus.

Here are my notes this:
  • I didn't have a green pepper, so I used half of a red pepper and chopped up one medium carrot, too
  • We had "hot" kielbasa, which we've had a few times now.  If you like a little spice, it's great, and it added a lot of flavor to the cabbage in the end, too. 
  • Some of the reviews say to use chicken broth instead of water.  I didn't have chicken broth, but had water and chicken bullion, so used that - same idea, right?
It was great and I have about half of a head of cabbage left to do something with, yet.  One of these days, I need to make the colcannon recipe that Dianne sent me... I still have it on deck for when I have the right things. :) 



It's been a while since my last post and I'm probably a slacker because of it. Sorry! I was in Miami last week for work and this week has been busy getting "caught up" on things. By "caught up" I mean "less behind" because I'm pretty sure that it's impossible to be completely up to date at work. (excuses, excuses)

Anyway, things in Miami went really well last week and I got to see a bunch of my awesome work peeps that I don't get to see often enough who are spread throughout the country (and a couple internationally). It makes me realize that they are what drives me because I feel better when I'm around them and our students.  Almost six years ago I wouldn't have imagined I'd be where I am today work-wise and had no intention of working for a university.  But here I am. And I plan to stay... for the foreseeable future, at least.  :) 

As awesome as things went last week, it was exhausting both physically and emotionally.  I'll be making a transition soon (within the institution) so this Miami trip was special - it was a milestone / end of an era trip because it means that my first 5-10 year plan of my career is closing and that was the last time I was involved in the events side of our "big show."  With that comes opportunity.  And it's weird. And awesome. And scary.  This is where homesick comes in - at the end of my trip, all I wanted was to come home. A colleague told me that she's never seen me homesick before on a work trip and she's right because it doesn't happen often. Home may be cold, snowy, occasionally icy, and cold (did I say that already?) but it's home.  I'm sure that a good part of it was looking forward to something familiar amongst the change. When I got home, it felt good. 

Since I got home I've wanted other familiar things.  I made Grandma D's Mock Chow Mein hot dish from the church cookbook earlier this week - something Mom made a lot when we were growing up and it was one of my favorite hot dishes.  And all week I've been wanting cherry coffee cake (Mom's recipe in the church cookbook).  I may make that Saturday in between tending to my needy car (put gas in me; change my oil; fix my windshield; blah blah blah), doing some work, and doing laundry.  Other familiar things. :)  I'll leave you with this:

Grandma D.'s Mock Chow Mein Hot Dish
1 lb.lean pork steak, cut in 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 med. onion, chopped
3/4 c. uncooked rice
3 c. hot water
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 c. frozen peas

Dip meat in flour and fry meat and onion in 1 tbsp. vegetable oil to brown. Put rice in a large enough casserole for expansion. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and cover.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until rice is tender.  Add more water if it gets too dry.  Stir occasionally in the oven. 

My only notes:
  • I added some salt and pepper to the flour that I dipped the meat in.
  • The original recipe doesn't say to cover it when it's in the oven, but you need to - lesson learned. :) 
  • We drizzle just a little soy sauce on it just before eating - we like the extra flavor and then you don't have to put any salt in because the soy sauce has plenty.  We use the low sodium kind.




It's that time of year... the time of year when I am swamped with work and will be travelling for our "Winter Session" events like I have every January or early February for almost 6 years now.  And every time I go, I need to go shopping because I need something that I can wear in front of hundreds/thousands of people and feel comfortable in.  Plus this time it's in Miami, and if I wear my current wardrobe there I'll probably melt faster than a snowman in July.

Fortunately, I don't find shopping to be a huge pain in the bum, but it also doesn't particularly excite me either.  It's a necessity.  So, I've shared with you the type of road rager I am and what type of angry airport girl I can be, so I thought I'd share with you what type of shopper I am.

I'm pretty no nonsense.  I'm in. I find or don't find stuff. I'm out.  I'm not one to linger or visit every store in the mall.  I go with a plan - today was: go to Maurice's and go to Target.  I go in, I breeze through the sections I'm looking for (I didn't even bother with the casual area at Maurice's because it's not what I need), grab things that look interesting and then proceed to the fitting room.  At this point, some people have the great debate.  The does this make my butt look big?  Is this too tight?  Is this worth it to me?  Will I wear this often enough?  How much is it?  blah blah blah.  Fortunately I don't often have the great debate.  I try something on, look in the mirror, and it typically gets a quick "yes" or "no" - very seldom do I have a "maybe."  In my opinion, if it's a maybe, then it's a no.  I either like it or I don't.  If I'm not sure I like it, then it's not worth it.

That's when I shop alone.  A few of my friends like going shopping with me - although they tell me they spend too much when they do.  And then they laugh.  And then they go shopping with me, again.  The reason they like shopping with me is because of the straight forward attitude, I think.  I also think it's because I used to work in retail so I can pick out clothes for other people (better than I can for myself, most times) and a lot of times it's stuff they wouldn't have normally tried but like in the end.  The other part of this process, which is key, is honesty.  The friends I choose to shop with are on board with that, too.  It's OK if they try something on and I say is "No." or "Too snug."  In turn, I'm OK when they tell me the same because part of the fun of shopping with friends is showing off what you're trying on. It's funny, though, because usually when I shop with friends it's because they need to go and asked me - a lot of times I won't even buy anything.  I think I'm sort of there as their personal shopper/honest opinion person. 

When I think about it, I really think that the time I spent working in retail made me this way - and I'm glad for it.  Even then, our customers always appreciated honesty, like friends do now.  I was in Maurice's today for about 20 minutes and considered it a successful trip.  I'm in, I'm out. :) 

Maybe I'll post a pictures of me wearing it after I get back from Miami next week, if there are any.

I'm interested - what type of shopper are you?  Do you love it? Do you ate it?


bananas and pot pie

If you read my last post about weird food combos, don't worry - this isn't another one.  I did not put bananas in my pot pie.  We had some carrots and celery to use, so I texted my cousin Chelsey to find out where she found her pot pie recipe I had heard so much about - not surprisingly, she got it where I find a lot of the things I make.  Allrecipes.com.  It was something excellent for a cold day - and yesterday was cold. I followed the online recipe very closely, with just a few changes that Chels recommended and had a great pot pie. 

I've never made a pot pie before - and I'm a big fan of the Marie Callendar kind.  This was better, though.  :)

Chicken Pot Pie
1 1/2 c. cubed chicken (cooked)
1 c. sliced carrots
1 c. frozen green peas
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tsp. Lawry's seasoning salt
cups chicken broth  (separated)
2/3 cup milk
2 unbaked pie crusts (purchased or homemade)

I will say here that I used two small baking dishes rather than one deep dish pie pan so we would each have our own.  So, I just needed one pie crust, my baking time was shorter, and we each had our own to eat.  What is below should work for a regular sized pie. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
In a saucepan, carrots, peas, and celery. Add 2 c. chicken broth to cover and boil for 10 minutes. Add chicken cubes and boil for 10 more minutes.  Remove from heat, drain (keeping the broth) and set aside.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, Lawry's seasoning, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the meantime, take one of the pie crusts and brush with egg whites and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

My notes: 
  • Because we used smaller baking dishes, my baking time was about 20-25 minutes. 
  • This made more of the sauce for the pot pie than the original recipe, which we liked.
  • Because I used smaller dishes, I had leftover chicken mixture and sauce, so put them together and stuck them in the fridge - it'll be good plain later or maybe with some potatoes or bread. 
  • I used this recipe for a homemade crust and it was terrific - but maybe a little more work than we need for something like this...
Because we also had bananas that needed to be used, I made a banana bread recipe I found on Allrecipes.com.  Shocking.  I've made it a few times now and I really really like it.  Because I follow the recipe exactly, except for the amounts of chocolate chips, I'm not going to repost the whole thing, but you can find it here.  What I've found works best (for me) with the chocolate chips, etc... is:
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
  • 1 c. quartered maraschino cherries (it is a banana split bread, after all) - mom recommended this and it's yummy if you like cherries
  • I didn't add the nuts - I think I will sometime when I'm not using cherries.  Having all three might be too much.
  • I make two smaller loafs instead of one large loaf, so my baking time was 35-40 minutes, I think. 

And there you have it.  Enjoy!



Last night when I got home from work I started digging around to figure out what to make for dinner.  Long story short it ended up being a make-shift version of Chicken Parmesan.  Basically I dipped chicken breast in an egg and sour cream mixture and dredged it in crushed corn chex, pepper, salt, and oregano - and then baked in the oven - and topped with melted fresh mozzarella.  We served over angel hair pasta with spaghetti sauce (Prego chunky garden, I think).  I also grated a carrot and threw a few pieces of leftover sweet potato into the sauce.  Extra veggies are never bad, right?  :)

It was pretty good for a makeshift dinner; next time I think I'll use bread crumbs instead of chex, though - it was a little too corn flavored for me. 

Anyway, that's not the point of this post, but it is what got me thinking.  As I was eating I was looking at my food and it made me think of another thing that I love when I have spaghetti.  Peanut butter sandwich.  YUM!  At least to me - and this is the point of this post. 

There are a few things that I love that I grew up with or came to love somewhere along the line that get odd reactions from other people.  I'm not sure what it is, but there's something about spaghetti and peanut butter sandwich that mixes well for me.  I found one spaghetti/PB kindred spirit at work - and she said she's gotten that reaction from people, too.  The weirdo reaction.

So what if I like saltine crackers crushed in my scramble eggs? My dad made that for us growing up on the farm.  It's awesome. Don't judge me. No seriously, it's awesome - try it.

And if anything is going to cause you to have the weirdo reaction to something I like, it's probably going to be this delightful pairing I grew up with, too:  grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate.  Not just grilled cheese with hot chocolate - but dipped in hot chocolate.  ....  I wish I could see the look on your face right now.

Who knows?  Maybe you started off giving me the weirdo reaction when I told you I put carrots and sweet potatoes in my spaghetti sauce last night. 

I'm guilty of it, too, though - while I've been the recipient of this reaction, I've given it, too.

So, I'd like to know what your combos are that elicit the weirdo reaction. 


vote for...

For those of you who know me, you know that I'm not the type to spam my friends and family with chain letters, quizzes, etc... but you also know that I like to support a good cause. There's an organization in my hometown taking competing for $250,000 toward building a rec/education center for people with disabilities and the community and they are currently in 17th place (which is pretty good, I think - yesterday they were 21, I think).  I encourage you to take a look by clicking the image below and, if you think it's a great idea, give it a vote.  You can vote daily through Jan. 31.  

End of commercial. 


road rage

One time I saw a car almost hit a truck when the driver started to change lanes without looking - they realized and corrected back into their lane and no damage was done.  Crisis averted, right?  Apparently not, because when we stopped at the next light, guy in the car that was nearly hit got out of his vehicle, approached the person who nearly hit him, and began yelling and reaming them out.  It was pretty insane.  And to make matters worse, I missed the next light because of his little hissy. What a jerk. 

I'm pretty sure my road rage type qualifies under the Minnesota Nice category - "courteous, reserved, and mild mannered" - and sometimes "passive aggressive."  My version of screaming at people ends up in a low-medium level volume and is sometimes as aggressive as: Hey, guy, I'm right next to you or Hey, guy, thanks for cutting me off.  This is often accompanied by a hand gesture... not that hand gesture. 

I know... you wouldn't want to meet me in a dark alley.  I'm pretty scary. 

I was thinking about this on my way home tonight while stuck in traffic because two of the four lanes on the highway were closed because an accident ahead.  Since I was on my way home it wasn't a big deal and I patiently let people merge around me - we were going 5 - 10 miles/hour, tops. 

After the accident cleared on the highway and we were going a normal speed again, there was a guy whose car was closer than I would have liked to the bum of my car.  I consider giving them a brake check - imagine the scenario - and then let it go because it would probably not end in my favor (i.e. dented bumper or worse).  So, I let guy follow me snugly and close.  When things opened up, he passed me on the right before I even had a chance to get out of his way because clearly he was in more of a hurry than me.  So, I pull in behind him - because it was the lane I needed, not to be a jerk (see, courteous), and for a moment - just a brief moment - consider snuggling up behind him.  Then I think about brighting him.  I don't do that either.  And the whole time, I'm not even really angry.  Maybe a little spiteful, but not angry.

I'm the worse road rager, ever.

What kind of road-rager are you?

p.s. the use of guy in this can refer to men, women, teenagers, old people, etc... Ask Emily - when I'm on the road, everyone is known as "guy" or "hey, guy."  I am in no way inferring "guys" are bad drivers.  Well, maybe I am - depending if you use my definition or yours.


one year

A year ago yesterday I bought my new laptop and also started this blog - so thanks for following along and humoring me along the way.  I'm not sure what 2011 will bring here, but if you want to see something, let me know.  And the invitation for you to guest post is always open. 

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I had high intentions of being productive this weekend.  I got a little distracted, but got most of it done. 

Here's what I completed:
  • pick up champagne and orange juice for brunch (mimosas!)
  • have brunch with friend Kim and her family (yeah!)
  • get my hair cut (it needs it desperately)
  • hang out with other friends
  • find a couple of sweaters
  • pick up other necessities for which I currently have low/nonexistent inventory
And there's a few things I didn't do:
  • get shoes
  • get a new computer bag
  • peruse fun things at the office supply store but I DID take a peek at Target's supply...
However, there were a number of things I did that weren't on the list:
  • laundry
  • take down and put away Christmas decorations
  • fit Christmas tree back into its box
  • make brownies - they were gross, but I did make them.  Tooooo much sugar. boo.  If you have a good brownie recipe, send it my way, please.
  • make relatively complicated dinner on new years eve

New Years Eve was nice - and want to give a big shout out and thank you to Kim & Brian making me brunch and letting me hang out with their family that morning.  They totally rock and the kids are adorable!  I stayed home until about 9 p.m. that night to see if the weather would allow me to go out - and it did so I met up with Abby & Co. in Minneapolis. The place we were at gave us nice tierras to wear for the midnight countdown, too. 

Abby & Me

I'm not one for resolutions, so have nothing really to report on that front.  I'm just planning to keep doing what I have been doing and try to do a little better going forward. So here's what I want from you:  1)  What about you - any resolutions this year?  and 2)  Is there anything else you'd like to see from me this year?
Wishing you everything you want and more for 2011.