Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Treats

For those who read my blog, I am sure you think all I do is bake/cook, eat & vacation... I do much more than that on a daily basis. I work hard (so I can play hard) and I workout regularly, and STILL do not eat any of my treats. I find licking the bowl is much more rewarding than eating the actual treat. But none-the-less, here is my latest creation for the work crew, just in time for Easter.

RECIPE: Easter Nests (also called Haystacks without the eggs)
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, I used natural peanut butter and used slightly less
- 1/2 cup peanuts, you could use crunchy peanut butter and forget this
- 2 cups chow mein noodles
- Reese's peanut butter cup eggs, only available at Easter. You could also use jelly beans or the other egg shaped candy.
- Microwave the butterscotch chips & peanut butter on 50% power for 3-5 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend to coat noodles.
- Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper and add your choice of candy

Tasty Tuesday

Here is the Bolognese Meat Sauce recipe I promised a week ago. It makes 2 heaping cups, which is about 6 servings. I actually doubled the recipe.


1 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for tossing with the pasta
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped carrot
3/4 pound ground beef chuck, not too lean (I used ground turkey)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
Whole nutmeg for grating
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano at the table


1. Put the oil, butter, and chopped onion in a heavy-bottomed pot and turn the heat to medium. Cook and stir until the onion is translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables with fat.

2. Add the meat, a large pinch of salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Break the meat up with a fork, stir well, and cook until the meat has lost its raw color.

3. Add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it bubbles away completely (this took quite a while). Stir in about 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg.

4. Add the wine and let it simmer away (this took a while, too, but I did not want to raise the heat and boil the meat hard). When the wine has evaporated, stir in the tomatoes. (Cooking the meat in milk before adding the wine and tomatoes protects it from the acidic bite of the latter.) When they begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours (or more—she says more is better), stirring from time to time. If the sauce begins to dry out, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary to keep it from sticking. At the end, there should be no water left, and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste for salt.

5. Toss with cooked, drained pasta and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Serve freshly grated cheese at the table.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


If anyone knows me, they know that my blood runs purple through and through. I love my Alma Mater, Kansas State University. It is somewhat of a family tradition. My dad graduated from KSU, my big brother, me, my little sister is a Sophomore/Junior, and my little brother plans on attending as well. I feel very lucky that I was able to move back to the town that I went to college at and participate in watching my KSU Wildcats.

This year the Wildcats had an amazing basketball season. They made it to the Elite 8 but lost in that round. I was sad when we lost but then again, WE MADE IT TO THE ELITE 8!!! What an accomplishment. One of the greatest things about KSU are the fans. We are loyal, win or lose. Here is a video of our basketball boys coming home from Salt Lake last night. Is it sad it brought me to tears?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stressed? Try these foods.

I found this article online talking about what foods to eat if you are stressed. Not sure if it will completely rid you of stress, but could take the edge off.

Dark Chocolate - High in flavonoids, which are lauded for their relaxing properties (chamomile tea is another great source), chocolate also contains phenethylamine, a chemical that enhances your mood. The darker the chocolate, the more healthy substances you're getting in your diet, so look for bars that are 70 percent cacao or higher.

Skim Milk - Turns out that a glass of warm milk really is calming. One study found that women who drank four or more servings of lowfat or skim milk every day were about half as likely to experience stress-related PMS symptoms than those who drank less than one serving a week.

Oatmeal - Carbs help you produce serotonin, a calming hormone that helps fight anxiety's negative effects-which is probably why many of us crave them when we're stressed. Go with the craving and choose healthy sources. Oatmeal is high in fiber, which means that your body will absorb it slowly. In one fell swoop, you'll prolong the serotonin boost, keeping yourself feeling full for longer (and on less) and making sure your blood sugar's in check.

Salmon - Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids-abundant in fish like salmon-can help reverse stress symptoms by boosting serotonin levels, and that an omega-3-rich diet can also help suppress the production of the anxiety hormones cortisol and adrenaline.

Walnuts - They've been shown to help lower blood pressure, which is critical for those whose hearts are already working overtime thanks to high adrenaline levels. In fact, research so strongly backs their health benefits that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration goes so far as to recommend 1 1/2 oz per day.

Sunflower Seeds - A good source of folate, which helps your body produce a pleasure-inducing brain chemical called dopamine.

Spinach - Studies show that magnesium, which you'll find in leafy greens like spinach, improves your body's response to stress.

Blueberries - Their antioxidants counteract the effects of stress hormones like cortisol on your body.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Meeting Caroline

I got to meet my newest niece (her momma is my best friend). Please meet Caroline Reid. She is a cutie! When I got there her big sister Lydia was there too, and she wasn't so sure about this new little baby. I am sure it will only be a matter of time before Lydia is helping her mom with Caroline. And listening to Lydia say Caroline is the cutest!
I wish I would have taken a picture of her hair... Lots of DARK hair!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And the baby is...


Caroline Reid
8 lbs 2 oz
20.5 inches

I will post pictures after I go visit momma, daddy, big sister & her Tuesday.

Busy, Busy, Busy

I got home from my 4 day weekend in NYC last night about 9:30. I quickly unpacked, spent some time with Joe before he went to work & then headed to bed. Today is busy as well, got to bake for work, make dinner, do laundry...blah, blah, blah. Currently I am waiting impatiently for my friend Audra (or rather her husband Kane) to text me, Audra is having a c-section today at 1:30... And they don't know what they are having so it is REALLY exciting. So that means I am going to see her and her new growing family tmrw. I hope to get pictures and stories soon from NYC, but don't plan on it happening any time soon :) It was a great trip and I felt like a celebrity! And I got some good information for my office too. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Days off

I have 1 day off during the week to offset working a half day on Saturdays, yeah it is a sweet set up and if I ever complain about it you have permission to slap me. My day off normally goes something like this...

Wake up about 6:50 so I have enough time to brush my teeth and get coffee going b/c I always have a date with Matt (Lauer) at 7:00 a.m. I watch the Today show (and facebook, email & blog) until it starts to repeat or I just get bored. Then I typically do something around the house, clean, laundry... whatever needs done. Today I did a bit off everything. Then I head to the gym around 10 for my Tuesday personal training session with Abigail. If KSU classes are going on I attended the yogilates class at noon too.

Normally on Tuesdays I make a GOOD meal. Yes, you are right, all my meals are good, but Tuesday's are normally a bit more labor intensive, and today was the mother of all labor intensive meals... Bolognese Sauce. (will post the recipe later, so stay tuned!) Labor intensive b/c it can simmer for 5+ hours.

Here it is simmering away. My house smelled amazing today.
Here it is with pasta ready to go to a special someone who was feeling under the weather today.

I also steamed some broccoli, lots of good vitamins to combat those bugs.
And of course no meal is complete without dessert (I don't eat it but others like it) Chocolate & peanut butter cookies.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My new digs

The moment you have all been waiting for... Pictures of my house! Finally I got into the house and snapped a few. I also measured all the windows for window coverings. I love it more today than the day that I decided to put in an offer :) I can't wait to move in.

Front door, the blue is growing on me, but I think I am going to paint it chocolate.
The living room, big picture window to the right. The kitchen is on the other side of the left wall.

Kitchen/dining area from the foyer/living room
Hallway. Coat closet on the left. Linen closet on the right.
Upstairs bathroom
Bathroom shower
Master bedroom with walkout onto the deck
Master bathroom
Master closets. Erin pointed out that I have have 4 doors lined with shoes :)
Bedroom #2
Bedroom #3
Storage room (downstairs obviously). I think it would make an awesome theater room some day.
Laundry area (and Erin)
Great room in basement (with walkout) and fireplace
Downstairs bathroom, has a stand up shower
Bedroom #4 in basement
Bedroom #4 in basement
Stairs to upstairs. The door is to the storage/laundry area
Kitchen - I am wanting to get an island for it, so big!
Dining area & walkout to deck
The large garage... I don't get why guys love them so much...
And more of the garage

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I am making WHOOPIE!

Whoopie pies that is :) I got this recipe from my former classmate in OD school, Connie. It is so yummy but beware... it is SWEET!
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 recipe Whoopie Pie Filling, recipe below


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside. In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in food coloring.

3. Spoon batter in 1- or 2-inch diameter rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.

4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes for 1-inch cookies or 9 to 11 minutes for 2-inch cookies, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets on rack. Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.

5. Whoopie Pie Filling: In medium mixing bowl beat 3/4 cup margarine and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar in bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, one 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme and 1 tablespoon milk.

6. To fill, dollop Whoopie Pie Filling on flat sides of half the cookies. Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down. Makes 60 one-inch or 42 two-inch cookies.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A perfect way to celebrate spring! -- Coconut-Lime Shortbread Cookies

Coconut-Lime Shortbread Cookies


Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. lime peel
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

Lime Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lime peel
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. water


To Make Cookies:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, combine coconut, sugar, 2 tablespoons lime peel, and the vanilla. Cover and process until coconut is finely chopped. Add flour; cover and process for one or two pulses until combined. Add butter; cover and process until mixture starts to cling. Transfer to a very large bowl (dough will appear dry). Knead dough until smooth. Shape dough into a ball; divide in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough portions to about 1/4″ thickness. Using desired 1.5″ to 2″ cookie cutters, cut out dough. Place cutouts 1″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. I actually dropped these by teaspoonfuls and pressed with a sugar dipped cup.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or just until bottoms start to brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Repeat with the remaining dough portion. If desired spread tops of cookies with the lime glaze and sprinkle with additional lime peel.

To Make Lime Glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, lime peel, and lime juice until combined. Add in the two or three tablespoons of water, and whisk until it reaches a good consistency for spreading.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I saw this article in a daily newsletter I get about vision & health care. Please check it out.

Whole Grains Most Effective At Lowering Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

HealthDay (3/3, Preidt) reported that, according to a study presented Mar. 3 at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference, "brown rice is better than white rice at reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but whole grains are the most effective at lowering the risk." In a study of 39,765 men and 157,463 women, researchers found that those "who ate two or more servings of brown rice per week were 11 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than one serving of brown rice per month," whereas "the same replacement with whole grains as a group was associated with a 36 percent lower diabetes risk."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An innocent man

While attending college I worked as a courthouse runner/secretary/babysitter/house sitter for 2 wonderful attorneys. There were many interesting cases that came through the office while I was there but none were quite as compelling or rewarding as the wrongful conviction case that started my last year working there, 2002-2003. After 7 years it finally settled... SEVEN years! Can you believe that. Not to mention that the whole ordeal actually started long before that. The man that was wrongfully convicted is the most kind hearted man you will ever meet. I am pretty sure if I was in prison for 10 years for a crime I did not commit I would be bitter and upset at all of society, but not Eddie, he is just the opposite. Unbelievable. Please click HERE for the interview that was shown Sunday night.

And for more information on other wrongful convictions go to The Innocence Project.

I got it!

Last night I got a late phone call from my Realtor to tell me the seller came back with a counteroffer. I knew that my counteroffer was risky so I was very happy to hear that he wasn't too upset at my offer :) I jumped at his counteroffer and have since accepted it. I still have to sign the paperwork and talk with the banker but at least we have came to an agreement. So here are the specks on the house.

  • Just about 2400 square feet
  • 4 bedrooms - 3 on main level, 1 in basement
  • 3 bathrooms - 2 on main level, 1 in basement
  • large eat in kitchen - I can see a demo in my future, maybe 5-7 years down the line
  • living room upstairs
  • family room downstairs with fireplace
  • 2 large storage rooms downstairs. I think 1 could make an awesome media room
  • LARGE 2 car attached garage
  • large deck out back that has 2 entrances, one from kitchen and one from master bedroom
  • walkout basement
  • there is even a small stream behind the house that ensures I do not have anyone directly behind me.

I am SO excited the negotiations are pretty much done. I hope to get back into the house and snap some pictures, since I forgot the first time.

Plenty of room for visitors. Pack your bags!