Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dance Challenge

This is a video that my co-workers from my old school of three years created.  You can see why I LOVED working with them!  You will get a kick out of this! :)

Books I Have Recently Read

This book is the BEST book I've read in a long time.  I saw sobbing trying to read HH excerpts from it.  I highly recommend it.

Good Times in Rapid

HH went to Rapid, and I got my Bone Density Scan done.

We went to my favorite Italian restaurant.

My brother sent me several sweet texts saying he is so glad I'm coming home. :)

I tried on a silly hat.

HH considered joining the 99%.

I found a swimsuit!  I have five days that I can swim at my parent's house before surgery.  When I return in July, I will be able to get back in the water too.  I'm looking forward to some swim time.

We came TWO FEET from hitting our first deer in South Dakota.  Where were we?  IN THE CITY.  The road was five lanes, and had many businesses on it.  I could hardly believe what happened!

Now, we are going to Starbucks for our last few minutes of time together.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Man Pleasing Dinner

Tonight is our last night home together for some time.  I wanted to make a very special meal for HH.

Cherry Tomato Salad with Buttermilk-Basil Dressing
(adapted from The Neelys)

6 cups red cherry tomatoes (I would have added yellow, but didn't have that selection choice at the grocery.)
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
green onions
parmesean cheese

1.  Put the cherry tomatoes in a large serving bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and toss.
2.  In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, sour cream, basil, shallot, and garlic.  Season with pepper.  Drizzle the dressing over the tomatoes and toss.

Witty in the City's Man-Pleasing Chicken

I did adapt this recipe by adding 1/4 cup of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce.  I read in the comment section that this helped to "cut" the mustard taste from some people who thought the taste was too strong. 

Rolo Cheesecake Bars
I read through my upcoming desserts I had printed off, and HH said he wanted this one.  This should have been made in an 8x8 pan.

What special dinner would be complete without your own personalized banner?

Off to pack.

A Good Meal for the Newlyweds

We are getting to meet our friend Saomony's husband for the first time tonight.  They got married in Taiwan in April.
I was debating on what to make, and I told HH it came to me in a vision.  He asked what vision was this, "I said how all visions come, Google Reader."

Chef in Training's Mexican Manicotti

The husbands (HH and Saomony's husband) both loved this dish.  I was particularly happy that Saomony's husband liked it, because he has lived in Texas for many years, and they have some great Tex-Mex food.  HH asked for it to be put in the husband's favorites when the new blog design comes out.

Garlickly Broccolini (Rachel Ray)

Eat at Home's Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake with Strawberry Icing 
(I've had my eye on this for a longer period of time, but needed to go a bigger grocery store to get "instant strawberry creme pudding mix.")

Note:  This is the SECOND dessert I made.  The first one was a complete train wreck.  :(  We got home on Saturday from Mayo, and we have a few of those pesky gnats around.  When the cake came out, I didn't want the gnats to bother it, so I put a lid over the cake.  The condensation over the next hour made the middle of the cake gross.  I tried to see if I could bake out the moisture, but couldn't.  I sent HH high tailing it to the store to get the ingredients for a do-over.

My copy of The Professional Chef waiting for me when I got back home....swoon!

HH Random Picture

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mayo Holiday

We had a kickin' hotel room at Mayo.  We usually sport the cheapo rooms when we go overnight to Rapid City, but we wanted to be close to the clinic, and that comes with a pricetag.  Here is our room:

HH had important things to do like sort his M&Ms.

I may have single handedly overturned Doubletree's Cookie policy....those things are like crack good.

Other than our appointments, we really took it easy.  We had some fabulous meals and I got to read a bunch.  HH worked on killing things in his video game.

This dessert was from the restaurant Pescara in our hotel.  They had the best gazpacho since when I ate it in Spain!

HH cooking his scallops on a "hot stone" at a restaurant called Twigs.

I also had some appointments at Mayo.  I had extensive bloodwork done.  The internist referred me to an endocrinologist who specializes in people that have had weight loss surgery.  It was awesome for the doctor to know all about my surgery, asking me about my common channel length, etc.  My bloodwork came back stellar.  She said I take a lot of supplements, but it is obviously working for me.  So here is the root of the problem:

I feel tired ALL THE TIME.  I watch people who are almost twice my age having more energy than me.  I explained it to HH that at the end of a day, I feel as if I have been moving boxes all day, instead of just doing normal tasks.  This has really gone on for years.  Early out, I know it was related to rapid weight loss, and some deficiencies (iron transfusions in 2010).  She had ruled out internal medical causes, and said it was because I don't exercise.  I was all about exercise in the beginning, but I started losing weight rapidly, and I stopped.  I never started back.  I have not purposely exercised in almost four years.  This has resulted in me having the body of an eighty year old. 

I saw a sports medicine rehabilitation specialist at Mayo.  Doing the basic stretches, and tests, it was quite easy to see that I have no muscular abilities.  So here is the plan:  I am healthy enough (on the basis of both doctors) to have my plastic surgery on my arms and thighs on June 4th.  I will spend the remainder of the summer recovering from that.  Then, for 2-3 months, I will work on basic stretching exercises (think wheelchair activities....they are almost that sad).  After that, I will work on a walking aerobic exercise program.  She wants me to progress very slowly because of how much my muscles have gone down hill.  She says I won't "feel" like doing it for some time, but it is absolutely essential if I ever want to feel normal again.  I also have a prescription to meet with a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist on a monthly basis to get me back on track again.

Lessons Learned Five Years Post-Op:
  • Every body is created to MOVE, even MINE.
  • I had the ability to control my weight very precisely, but that did not mean I was healthy.
New Find for our Door:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Earning Our South Dakota Stripes

After church we will be driving 540 miles in one day.  Destination: Mayo Clinic

People here routinely drive five and six hours without blinking an eye.  I've had co-workers come in from Rapid City on a Monday morning...which means they were in the car no later than 4:30 am.

I've got lots to entertain me, and much sleeping will be involved.

We also have these Love and Respect CDs to listen to.  I've always wanted to attend a conference, but location and schedule wise it has never worked out.  The Love and Respect book was something that HH and I read and discussed together while we were dating/engaged.

Let's get this party started!

Chicken: It Is Whats for Dinner!

Creamy Caesar Chicken Pasta Bake

I was telling HH about how I saw on a blog a page called "Husband Favorites."  I am going to be rolling out a new blog format in late July/early August, and wanted to include this as a part of my blog.  HH says that this dinner recipe could easily go under that.

Berry Cheesecake Muffins

As you can see from the picture, I have not mastered the crumble technique.  I'll be working on correcting this.

Meet the newest members of the "family"...

I bought a cushioned floor mat where I do the bulk of my prep work.  I would love to get another one so I can go the full length of my counter/stove space.  Bed, Bath, and Beyond let me use both of my 20% coupons to purchase these items.

I found seven new recipes to add to my "to make" pile.  I went through three cooking magazines that recently came in.

I've decided on the laundry soap recipe I'm going to use: The Duggar Family Recipe....if it can keep a family that large clean, I'm in.  I've ordered the supplies, and they should be back when we get back from the Mayo Clinic.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On Organizing....

I just really want to have a closet(s) like Erin at Living in Yellow.  HH just wants to have A closet.  I have an enormous main closet, the guest room closet, and 3/4 of the other closet in our bedroom.  All these clothes will be moving to our basement.  HH will be hauling all these clothes down tonight.

Behold HH's closet....

I organized our wedding photos from Vegas. 

I finished a written final that had been sitting around for almost three weeks.

I wrote thank you notes to a few parents and students who got me gifts.

I mailed my certification paperwork/transcripts.

I mailed back our piece of crap car starter to the dealership in Nebraska.  (We are getting a new one put on when HH takes me back to go to the airport.

We worked on "clearing out" the black hole, aka HH's home office.  We truly made a dent in it.  Go US!

I am eagerly awaiting our pictures from our photo session with the talented Brittany Gills from You & Me Photography.

I'm going to read for the class I'll be teaching in July.

Make an awesome dinner (check back later for this!)

Work on my History of Christian Thought class.

All of this productivity is brought to you by: BEING DONE WITH THE SCHOOL YEAR!!!

Communication Fail

Wednesday night we double cooked.  I thought I was cooking alone, and my normal cooking partner had told me she was cooking for her husband's birthday.  I forgot, so we had an abundance of food.

Almond Celery Bake

1 bunch celery, slice (about 6 cups)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I double this to 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Place celery in a greased 2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with cheese, paprika and pepper.  Top with the soup.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Cover and bake at 375 for 45 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with almonds.  Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until golden brown.

Many people got seconds of this dish, including myself.

The following recipe I would NOT make again, but I want to list it because I did make it.  This blog is a reference to me as to what I cook.  This dish was just pretty plain.  Yes, it will satisfy your hunger, but that's about it.  (Forgot to snap a picture of it.)

Cheese Shell Lasagna

1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
2 medium onions, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces uncooked small pasta shell
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
11 slices provolone cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.  In a skillet, cook the beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink drain.  Stir in the tomatoes, and spaghetti sauce.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile. cook pasta according to package directions. 

2.  Place half the pasta in an ungreased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Top with half of the meat sauce, sour cream and provolone cheese.  Repeat layers.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

3.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Banana Split Cool Whip Dessert

This is a great dish for summer picnics, and fast to make!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Last Day for Year Eleven

This last day was a blur.  Everything seemed to happen so quickly.  We had a pretty elaborate award's ceremony, and then the day was GONE.  I got some really nice cards.  I will miss this group of kids.  I really bonded well with them.

On a side note: In the morning when I was sorting out books to go back into bins, and leaded down to pick up a stack, and I whacked the corner of my right eye socket (the BONE) really hard.  I instantly teared up, and had one of the students go get me an ice pack.  It hurt so bad I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital to have it checked out.  I'm fine, but there is a line there, and it hurts to blink.  Now, being completely vain, I freaked because HH and I are getting our pictures made in the Black Hills tomorrow night.  I emailed the photographer and asked if she could edit if this turned into a black eye.

Today is wrapping up stuff at school with paperwork and the like, and I am going with HH to a gang training.  The man is a national gang expert among Native American Indian populations.  I hope this is good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Last Day for Students

I can't believe it is here.  The more I teach, the faster the years go by.  After school we are having a staff party.  I don't have to make anything, but they are just having a sheet cake, so these treats sound so much more yummy!

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Icing

Butterscotch Kit Kat Brownies

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

We have student awards at 10:30.  My students are allowed to be checked out after that.  Most likely, I'll just have a few of my kiddos stay with me, and we'll clean up the room, and spend our last bit together as a class family.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta and Jello Cookies

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

This stuff rocked my world!  Amazing dinner!  So happy to be able to take this for lunch tomorrow.  I didn't put the portion of hot enchilada sauce in, and I did add a can of Rotel tomatoes.

The flavor combination of this dish is something that I would expect from a nice restaurant, yet it was quick enough that you could make it on a weeknight. 

Jello Cookies

HH helped me make these for the nuggets at the Daycare.  He suited up with gloves to add the food coloring and all.

I finished Standing Next to History: An Agents Inside Life

I am about half the way through 10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said.  This book has great humor to it, and boy is it ever true!

How to Be a Cool Eight Year Old: Angry Birds Birthday Party

Set up for party:
(I ordered several things from Etsy shops.)

In comes the birthday boy!  He wasn't quite sure what to make of the silly string!

The golden eggs were "stolen."  HH made a big dramatic "Oh my goodness the golden eggs have been stolen.  It must have been those pigs!"  We went outside so he could "hunt" for them.

Happy family.  Great friends.

Cameron got the hang of the silly spray, and it was on.  He was spraying it at everyone and everything!