Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Recipe Night - Couscous Paella Soup

I'm finally back to cooking at least for the moment.  One more week of summer and then it's back to school, so I guess I better get back into the swing of things as well.
This was really tasty, quick and easy.  Even more exciting... I got John to eat couscous despite his hatred of it.  Frankly, I don't understand how anyone can hate couscous, but he is not a fan.
I did get him to admit that it was "okay in soup."  Success on all fronts!

Couscous Paella Soup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 finely diced Spanish chorizo (substitute pepperoni if needed)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
8 oz chicken tenders, diced
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/c cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
large pinch of saffron (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup water
2/3 cup couscous
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional) I substituted chopped green onion

1.  Heat oil in a large pan, add bell pepper, onion, chorizo, and garlic.  Cook stirring until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.  Add chicken, broth, peas, saffron, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender - 8-10 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat.   Let stand 5 minutes. 
3.  To serve, mound about 1/2 cup couscous in bowl.  Ladle the soup around the couscous and sprinkle with cilantro or green onion.

It really was very tasty and very easy.  My only suggestion... needs a little more spice/heat for me.  Maybe add jalapeño or other hot pepper.

P.S.  Didn't even offer it to Zack.  He seems to be boycotting all food except Ramen, Waffles and Froot Loops.  It's like he's skipped high school and gone straight to college!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's finally happened, I hoped it wouldn't, but it did and I'm sad!

So the day I knew was coming, but hoped never would, has and it stinks!  Zack is finally, officially a teenager.  And how do I know you might ask....

Because everything I say is stupid, I don't "know" anything, I couldn't be any more "out" of it.  I knew it would happen eventually... it did with Brenna and I suffered through it and came out the other side okay, but that doesn't make it any easier.
I think it's especially sad for me because Zack is my baby and I've always been his favorite so it's hard for me to sit there and listen to him think I'm stupid.  We were always buddies. With Brenna - she always like John better than me, so it wasn't as heart-wrenching when she started verbalizing her disdain... but my Zacky...I am just sad!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Don't say it, just don't say anything...

I know! Right!?

This is what happens when you drop your baby girl off a college for her sophomore year and have to drive home by yourself.  I'm just saying...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Home away from home... I guess :o(

She's almost all settled.  It's all coming together for her.  I'm excited and much like last year, I'm sad.  I'm going to worry about her just like before.  Will she have friends, will she be happy, will she do well, will she and her apartment mates settle in and work everything out.  What if she hates it, what if she's homesick. We were able to move her into her apartment a week before the regular students get here... will she be bored and sit home crying in her apartment all day? You know all the typical things.  Now she slammed her toe into the curb and tore it up and she's going to the mountains tomorrow with her roommates and I'm worried that she'll get some weird mountain bacteria! Does it ever end! :o)  Probably not.

The apartment is shaping up and I'm getting sadder and sadder by the moment. We've been to Wal-mart twice for furnishings and then food.  Today I spent the day showing Brenna how to cut up her healthy fruits and veggies.  Made sure she knows how to run the washing machine, getting her printer set up.  Tonight she's going to redye my hair and we'll say our goodbyes - then I'll leave first thing in the morning! :o(

Brooke and Erin

I am going to miss my girl!
So. Much!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy Anniversary to ME!

Today is my one year anniversary of being caffeine free!  Yeah for me!
Who would have thought - one year!  I don't even really miss it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Please don't go....

Someone else is not very happy about our Brenna going back to Radford tomorrow!

Wintergreen Resort Extravaganza!

Since John has been working such long, long hours we never really got any kind of summer vacation, so John booked us 3 days at Wintergreen Ski Resort.  Apparently these resorts and adding all sorts of summer activities to bring people in.  We had a GREAT time.  Rented a beautiful little house and did all sorts of "fun" activities!   We went on the Zipline, summer tubing, bungee trampoline, rode a mechanical bull, rock climbing, lake trampoline, kayaking and hiking.  We also roasted Smores in the fireplace, played Candy  Poker and watched the Closing Ceremonies.  I think we were all ready to come home after 3 days.

I still can't believe they talked me into going on the Zip Line.  It wasn't as terrifying as I expected it to be, but parts of it were the making of nightmares.  Actually the worst part was on the tower when I had to lift my feet and let go, plus at the end I had to climb down a. ladder. on. a. tower!  But I did it! Yeah for me.  The rest was awesome.  The kids enjoyed everything.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Candy Poker

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2 Days and Counting....

The piles are accumulating... I can't believe we are taking our girl back to Radford in 2 days!  She's going to be a sophomore in college.  WTH!  I am alternating between sadness and relief! :o)  Mainly sadness, relief when she and her brother are bickering, but mainly sadness.  I've gotten use to having her around.  Granted she spent most of her summer with her butt plopped in the Big Comfy Chair watching Dr. Who.  I think she watched all 6 seasons this summer, addicted I'd say.  Dr. Who this, Dr. Who that.  I told her she can never make fun of my Battlestar Galactica again!  But nevertheless, I've gotten use to having her around.  My partner in Fit in 15 and Eating Awareness... now I'll be on my own with no one to monitor and motivate me!    She's got so many fun things ahead of her.  She starts her Bat research project as soon as she there and then the Galapagos on Spring Break.  So excited for her, but sad for me.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Recipe Night - Two-fer again!

I ended up taking a brief break from the Olympics to actually cook some real food.  You can only eat so many leftovers, sandwiches and cereal before you start to feel the need for real food.  Not Zack of course, I think that child would eat cereal and ramen every meal of his life if I didn't make him eat some "real food" occasionally.  But I digress... needless to say, he did not join us for dinner.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Chicken
2 tsp olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tsp fresh chopped thyme ( I used 1 tsp dried)
2 med garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp stone-ground mustard

Preheat oven to 400.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over med high heat.  Add oil, swirl to coat.  Sprinkle chicken with pepper and salt.  Saute chicken 2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove from pan.  Add broth, syrup, thyme and garlic to pan' bring to a boil.  Cook 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Add vinegar and mustard; cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.  
Return chicken to pan and spoon mustard mixture over chicken.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the chicken is done.  Remove from pan and let sit for 5 minutes.
Place pan over medium heat;cook mustard mixture 2 minutes or until liquid is syrupy, stirring frequently.  Spoon over chicken and serve.

Parmesan-Roasted Green Beans
8 oz green beans
olive oil
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400.
In a medium bowl place green beans (clean and trim ends), small amount of oil (enough to coat beans), pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix until everything is covered.
Lay green beans onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle a "healthy" amount of cheese on top.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes - green beans should be crips on the outside and tender on the inside.

Both recipes were Delish!  Super easy to make and yummy!  Yeah for me, now I have the strength to sit on the sofa and watch more Olympics!

Friday, August 3, 2012

I need an Intervention!

I need an Intervention... an Olympic Intervention.  I'm addicted I can't stop.  For heaven's sake I found myself watching Badminton today!  Badminton... really?  I can't stop... the TV is on all day.  I've watched all the regular stuff, swimming, gymnastics, volleyball but not just the regular stuff.  I've watched table tennis, archery, shooting, kayak, rowing, beach volleyball, water polo... I watch it all.  I surf the channels like a junkie... a little fix here, a little fix there.  The only thing I can't stomach is Basketball.  I'm sorry, but I don't think those professional basketball players should be in the Olympics. Where is the sport in that.  So, no basketball for me.  But otherwise, if it's on - I am watching.  I'm getting nothing accomplished, especially sleeping.  Of course this happens to be the one week where I have to be somewhere at 740am each morning!  But does that stop me from watching a golden moment.  Nope!  I just function in a haze of exhaustion.  There's something pathetically sad about the fact that I'm complaining about being exhausted by WATCHING the olympics.  I'm worn out from lifting the clicker to change channels, from cheering our team to victory through all those close finishes and worn out from racing to the kitchen to get my snack during the commercials.
We still have another week to go... I hope I have the stamina!