A Furball Update

So I thought I’d give you guys a bit of an update on this situation.  

Both kitties are now spayed and declawed.  I’m normally against declawing an animal but ours are strictly indoors and Widgit was so feisty I was afraid one day she might really hurt Lita (that’s my dog).  They both healed up great and don’t seem to be missing their claws at all. 

There’s a lot of playing hide-and-go-seek in mommy’s closet.

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There’s a lot of hiding in the box on the cat tree.  This is, by far, Widgit’s favorite place to take a nap… and a bath… and to play.

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Widgit also found the place where I stash the worlds softest blanket which I use to snuggle up with while watching tv.  It’s been hard to get her out of this since she found it.

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There’s also been a lot of stealing their big sisters bed.

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And a lot of Aurora/Lita snuggle fests.

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photo-update

 

There’s still a few occurances of Widgit beating up on her little sister but it’s getting better.  Mostly that’s because Aurora is growing up.  She’ll always be a petite little thing, but she’s learning how to take her sister on.

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Widgit is growing on me, mostly because she’s the snuggler.  And I’m her favorite person to snuggle. 

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All in all, we’re quite happy with our little family.

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Recipe Review: Salmon Croquettes

Do you have one of those recipes that you remember from your childhood?  You know, the one your mom would make and you always loved but yet you’ve never learned how to make it yourself?  That’s what salmon croquettes are for me.  We had them growing up on a fairly regular basis.  I’ve always loved them, but I’ve never learned to make them.  Therefore now, in my adult years, I crave them but the only way I ever get them is if I beg my mom to cook them for me.  Fortunately, she’s a nice mom and she does!

I actually detest salmon but when it’s cooked in croquette form, it’s DELISH!  This recipe couldn’t be any easier either. 

salmon

Salmon Croquettes

Serves: 3-4 (we made a double batch and it made 7 croquettes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large can salmon, chilled (remove spine and smaller bones)
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste (our family believes that lots of pepper is the key!)
  • Cracker meal
  • Oil for cooking (vegetable, canola, etc)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix salmon and onion loosely with spoon.
  2. Add egg, salt and pepper and stir until just combined.  Do not over mix. 
  3. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Form into patties (like a hamburger) and roll in cracker crumbs.
  5. Heat approximately 1” of oil and cook patties until they’re golden brown. 
  6. Serve!  (Our family likes ours with either ketchup or tartar sauce). 

THOUGHTS

  • Occasionally you might need 2 eggs instead of one.  If the patties aren’t sticking together, add another egg and try again.  When we made these for the Food Challenge we doubled the recipe and used 2 cans of salmon and 3 eggs. 
  • The eggs and the chilling process are the key to getting these babies to hold together better. 
  • Note:  This is a family recipe out of a cookbook my mom has had for several decades.  The picture, however, is from here

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Window Shopping Wednesday – French Prints

I’m always on the hunt for fun and funky stuff to add to my house.  I wandered across this fun Etsy shop the other day and I just had to share with you guys!

This weeks featured shop:  French Prints

If you have kiddos then I think this Alice in Wonderland print is perfect for a kids room.

alice in wonderland book print

I have a friend who was obsessed with butterflies in highschool and now every time I see one I think of her.  I think she’d like this butterfly print.

butterfly book print

Are you a dog person?  If so, and if you happen to love Boston Terriers, then this one is for you!

boston terrier book print

I’m going through a bit of an elephant phase right now so I’m loving this print.  This one could also be super cute in a kids room.

elephant love book print

My MIL is in love with birds and when I saw this I thought of her.  This one’s for you Emma!

bird art deep in the woods book print

And last but definitely not least is this fun, quirky Christmas moose.  I sort of love him.

christmas moose book art

Thank you for shopping with me today!!!

Recipe Review: Fresh Caprese Quinoa Salad

I love Pinterest.  That’s how I stumbled across this amazing recipe.  It’s from a fellow blogger named Fit Foodie Finds.  This is one of the dishes I served the night I had company over but was still following my Foods You Should Eat Every Day Challenge.  Both my husband and my guest LOVED IT.  It was just delicious and will definitely be a new staple in our house. 

fresh caprese quinoa salad

Fresh Caprese Quinoa Salad

Serves: 3 to 4

INGREDIENTS 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here

THOUGHTS

  • Sometimes finding basil at my local grocery store is hit or miss.  To make this dish I went to two grocery stores and still couldn’t find basil.  I ended up buying freeze dried (in the refrigerated section of your local grocer) and honestly, I thought it was delicious.  I stirred it into the quinoa before I let the quinoa cool and it rehydrated and turned out delicious.
  • Please note that the recipe calls for fresh mozzarella.  That will be the soft, squishy kind normally formed into a ball. 
  • This dish would be great for potlucks.  You can guarantee that no one will bring something similar or nearly as beautiful!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Healthy Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa

I found this recipe on a blog that I read (and love) called I Heart Naptime.  You can find it here

stuffed bell peppers

Healthy Stuffed Bell Peppers with Quinoa

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Click here

THOUGHTS

  • Both the hubs and I loved this dish.  We make a similar version but with rice, refried beans and poblano peppers instead of bell peppers, quinoa and black beans.  I Heart Naptime’s version is much healthier and just as tasty.
  • The only think I would change is to add a little fresh cilantro on top!  YUM!!!!
  • We used super lean ground beef.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

In Honor and Remembrance: My February RAOK in Honor of Sandy Hook

Every month on the 14th I’m going to practice a Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) in honor of the 26 victims who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook tragedy on December 14, 2012.  If you didn’t read my original post, you can go here to check it out.

raok sandy hook

Yall!  I just cannot even begin to explain to you what an incredible experience this month’s RAOK was.  It was just so amazing!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this month’s RAOK fell on Valentines Day which posed an interesting conundrum.  Most people would have plans… so what did that leave me with?  Well, I started thinking about those people that wouldn’t have plans and when I did that, nursing homes popped into my head.  In all likelihood I figured that those persons living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities would be in the back of other people’s minds on Valentines Day.  So, I decided I wanted to bring flowers to some nursing homes to hand out. 

And then a miracle happened.

flower muse

I contacted a bulk florist supplier called Flower Muse and presented them with my idea.  I told them what I wanted to do and why I was doing it and then I asked if they would be interested in sending me some flowers.  Never in a million years did I expect the blessing I received. 

They sent me 250 assorted roses. 

Yep, you read that right… 250. 

Do you have any idea what roses cost?  Especially on Valentines Day?!?!?!

I don’t think I could have purchased 250 roses with an entire paycheck!

You guys should have seen me the day that Flower Muse told me that they were going to make this donation to me.  I was freaking out and bouncing off the wall.  I even sent elated messages to my husband, my mom, and some of my best girlfriends.  God is SO GOOD and he gave me an immense blessing that day using Flower Muse as my angels. 

I should mention that not only were they a blessing but they were amazing to deal with.  Eleanor and I emailed back several times and she was fabulous.  I even received an email from their Customer Service department the day before the roses shipped telling me exactly how to care for them.  What service!

And the roses.  OMG the roses!  They were so fresh and smelled so incredible!  My whole house and my car smell like them now.  It’s fabulous.  And they’ve lasted great!

I received this enormous box on the 12th.

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Then my husband and I set up a flower prep station in our living room on the night of the 12th and 13th and spent our evenings after dinner trimming the bottoms of the roses, taking off all of the thorns (don’t need any sweet old ladies bleeding!) and getting all of these beauties in fresh water. 

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Needless to say one of our new kittens was very curious about what was going on. 

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Here’s what all these lovely roses looked like once they were ready to go…

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We received roses in the following colors: red, deep red, white, yellow, peach, pink, and flame kissed.  Just gorgeous!

Then, on the 14th, I loaded up my car (aka the flower taxi) and headed to the first Nursing Home/Assisted Living Facility. 

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Two of my girlfriends and one sweet little baby joined me for my expedition and we had a blast bring smiles to the faces of so many.  It was just an incredible experience. 

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I have to say that the baby may have been more of a hit than the flowers though.  Haha.  He’s pretty stinkin cute though so it’s ok. 

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Once everyone had a flower at location one we left and headed to location two for a repeat performance. 

We received so many questions about why we were handing out flowers, were we selling them, or what group were we with.  It was funny to see the expressions on their faces when we told them just because, they’re free, and we’re not with anyone.  They seemed truly surprised.  I just adored hearing stories from these ladies about how their husbands always brought them roses on Valentines Day and each lady had a reason why she picked the color rose she did (the yellow were a HUGE hit).  There’s lots of stories to be heard in these types of facilities. 

Probably the cutest and funniest thing that happened was at the last place we went we handed out flowers in the memory ward.  This is where persons suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia live.  We met this very sweet old lady who, naturally, was repeating herself but she kept telling us how pretty we were and that if we were ugly, she wouldn’t want the flower we were giving her.  It totally cracked us up.  It’s always nice to hear you’re beautiful, especially on Valentines Day!

Once we’d visited those two facilities we still had lots of roses left over so we made a trip to my neighborhood to hand them out by the dozen to several sweet ladies who live nearby.  I live in an older neighborhood so there are lots of widows who I knew most likely wouldn’t be receiving anything on Valentines Day and I wanted to bless them.  One lady cried.  One was so shocked she just kept asking me “why?”  It was very sweet. 

All in all I don’t think my Valentines Day could have been any more special.  My husband blessed me with an amazing gift of service when he helped me to prepare 250 roses, I got to spend it with two of my besties and I got to bring smiles to the faces of nearly a hundred people.  You couldn’t ask for a better day!

What about you?  Did you do an RAOK on Thursday in honor of Sandy Hook?  I would love to hear your story!

Note:  I should mention that I was in no way asked to tell you guys about Flower Muse and how incredible they are… they’re just THAT incredible.  I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a bulk florist supplier for any reason!  I’m not the only one who loves them either.  You can read all about Michelle from 4 Men 1 Lady’s experience with her Flower Muse flowers by clicking here.

Book Review: Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie

strange bedpersons

So I read a really cute book over the weekend by an author I’d never heard of before. Her name is Jennifer (Jenny) Crusie and she’s got lots of books out there for your reading pleasure.

This book is rather short (only 249 pages) and was a very quick read. It’s witty and interesting and I blew through it in just a couple of hours. If you’re looking for a light-hearted fun read then this is the story for you. It’d make a great poolside book. It’s one of those stories where you pretty much know from the get-go what’s going to happen but you’re still wondering how the characters are ever going to get there. I would definitely pick up another of Crusies’ books.

It is a fictional story and there’s romance between the two main characters but don’t mistake this for a romance book. There’s not much in the hot and steamy category where this book is concerned. (Amanda, I think you’d like this one!) The characters are really believable (I think we’ve all been friends with at least one of them in our lives) and isn’t it so darn typical to fall in love with someone who is totally wrong for you? I think we all do that at some point. Sometimes though you find that those things you thought were wrong, really aren’t or in the case of the main characters in Strange Bedpersons, sometimes love does conquer all.

I really enjoyed this fun read and it was just the perfect book for a cold, rainy weekend. I hope you’ll take the time to check out Jennifer Crusie and perhaps pick up this book. (sidenote: I did just notice that her latest book is up for grabs on Amazon for Kindle at only $2.99!)

Here’s the synopsis:

Tess Newhart knows her ex-boyfriend Nick Jamieson isn’t the right guy for her. He’s caviar and champagne; she’s take-out Chinese pot stickers. He’s an uptight Republican lawyer; she was raised in a commune. He wants to get ahead in business; she just wants…him. But there’s no way Tess will play second fiddle to his job.

Yet somehow she finds herself agreeing to play his fiancée on a weekend business trip that could make or break Nick’s career. And while he’s trying to convince Tess that he needs her in his respectable world, Tess is doing her best to keep her opinions to herself and her hands off Nick.

Recipe Review: Easy Bake Strata

So it’s Valentine’s Day and I think it’s only fair that I provide a recipe that you’re going to fall head over heels in love with!

I think I’ve mentioned this before but if not, I’ll mention it now… I don’t really like eggs.  I remember eating scrambled eggs nearly every weekend when I was a kid but for some reason as I got older I started to dislike them.  Now the flavor and texture of scrambled eggs will make me gag.  I do, however, like quiche and strata if it’s made correctly.  I’m weird, I know. 

I found this recipe ages ago… I think in a Kraft magazine.  Anyway, I never made it until now.  I needed some way to incorporate eggs into the Foods You Should Eat Every Day Challenge and since this also had lots of spinach in it which I happen to know is super good for you I decided to give it a go. 

Easy_Bake_Strata

Easy Bake Strata

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 4 cups packed torn fresh spinach
  • 1 package (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken (I used the low sodium version)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 eggs
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray large skillet with cooking spray.  Add onion and red pepper; cook and stir on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until softened.  Stir in spinach; set aside.
  2. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; stir in onion mixture and parsley.  Beat eggs; mix with stuffing mixture.  Pour into greased 8-inch square baking pan.  Sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until firm.  Cool 15 minutes.  Cut into strips or squares.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

THOUGHTS

  • I thought this was absolutely delicious!!!  I thoroughly enjoyed eating it for breakfast for several days in a row and that says a lot.  I rarely like to eat the same things in a row. 
  • I think you could use yellow or orange bell pepper instead of red if that’s what you have on hand.  You could also use Swiss cheese instead of mozzarella. 
  • Sprinkling the cheese on top caused a distinct cheesy layer… I think the next time I bake this I’m going to try to stir the cheese in just a little bit.  I would prefer it more incorporated I think. 
  • This dish is super easy and I truly think it would be a crowd pleaser.  Serve with some applewood smoked bacon and fruit and you’ve got yourself a winner!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Remember, today is the 14th so it’s your day to practice a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook Elementary.  I’d love to hear what you do!  Please feel free to leave comments!  I will be posting my RAOK on the 16th.  See you then!

raok sandy hook

Window Shopping Wednesday – Pink Chalk Fabric

One of my goals for 2013 was to spend more time crafting.  So far, that’s been a success.  I spent one weekend in January crafting and my February crafting day is coming up soon.  I haven’t actually gotten much accomplished… it’s more like sorting through all of my projects that are in some stage of started and figuring out where to go from there.  I’ve made a few things though.  I promise I’ll show you pictures and what not soon.

I have a bootie-load of fabric in my fabric stash so I’m not actually in the market for more.  I’ve succeeded in not purchasing any for several months now but that’s mostly due to avoiding places like Joann’s like the plague.  Haha.

I did run across this cute little shop called Pink Chalk Fabrics online the other day though (completely by accident, I swear) and I thought we could at least virtually shop for some fun fabric.

This weeks featured shop:  Pink Chalk Fabric

Kokka Nancy Wolff Space Explorers Purple

Space aliens.  On fabric.  I don’t really need to say more about this do I?

 

Alexander Henry Mecca For Moderns Mercer Park Grey

I {heart} this fabric.  So modern.  Lovely colors.  Come home with me!

 

Keiki Mind Your P's and Q's Forest Critters Cream

Forest Critters.  Eek!  So cute!

Cloud9 Fabrics Happy Drawing Too Dachshund

Dashshund fabric.  Come on now!  AND in sweaters.  Cuteness overload.

 

Etsuko Furuya Echino Fall Collection 2012 Acacia Natural

I’m going through a bit of an elephant phase right now.  Can you guess why I love this fabric?  😉

 

Kokka Dutch Door Press Matryoshka Dolls

I think this fabric is just precious.  I have no idea what I’d make using it but I love it.

 

Laurie Wisbrun Olive The Ostrich Olive Pink

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – this fabric would be so cute used in your Valentine’s decoration for next year.  Perhaps made into a dish towel?

 

Patty Sloniger Les Amis Socks the Fox Aqua

Oh holy mother… I think I just cheated on my husband.  I want, I need, I ADORE this fabric.  *DROOL*

 

Patty Sloniger Les Amis Turtle Parade Teal

Speaking of my husband… ya’ll know we have a thing for turtles in our house… (see here and here)

 

Patty Young Textured Basics Hexies Multi

I love these hexies!  It’s like paper piecing without all the work!

 

Tula Pink Salt Water Sea Stripes Aqua

The movement in this is just exquisite.

 

Oh my.  Now I want to go fabric shopping.

Sigh.

Recipe Review: The Olive Garden’s Capellini Primavera

I had amazing success with the last Olive Garden copy cat recipe I tried so I was super excited to give this baby a shot.  It’s loaded down with good-for-you vegetables too! 

I found this recipe here but sadly, I didn’t realize there wasn’t a picture associated with it and we scarfed this down so fast I didn’t take a picture of it.  It’s pretty though.  🙂

Olive Garden Logo

The Olive Garden’s Capellini Primavera

Serves:  4-6 generous servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup julienne-cut carrots (I used pre-cut matchstick carrots)
  • 5 cups broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1-1/4 cups thinly sliced yellow squash (cut squash in half lengthwise before slicing)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbs. beef bouillon granules (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed, minced
  • 1-1/4 cups crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. fresh angel hair pasta (I used dried whole wheat pasta)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots and broccoli in butter 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, squash and garlic. Sauté 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except pasta and cheese; stir well. Bring to simmer, then cook 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and flavors are well blended. Serve over cooked angel hair pasta. Top with Parmesan cheese.

THOUGHTS

  • My husband loved this dish.  I liked it, but I definitely prefer the other Olive Garden copy cat recipe
  • This dish requires a significant amount of chopping but my husband helped chop and it didn’t take us very long.  It’s worth it when you consider that this fed us for 3 separate meals. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.