Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kitchen Conundrum

I have lots of kitchen utensils, but there are a few things I want - very badly - that I can not, for the life of me, find.  The thing that gets me, is the stuff I want is simple.  I can not find simple.  I can find anything BUT simple.  It's annoying.

There is a recipe I wanted to try for supper tonight - seafood potpies - that I would like ramekins for.  Simple, white, large ramekins would do just fine.  I don't know why I don't already own some, but I don't, and I want them.  This is not the recipe, but the ramekins would work!  I want to make seafood potpies.  If the recipe works I'll share it!

Todd and I went on a fruitless search today for them.  Target had pretty much what I was hoping for, but only had two in stock which isn't going to do.  After Bed, Bath & Beyond, Khols, Penney's and Dillards, we gave up.

I also want scissor tongs.  Silver.  Short.  Rounded ends.  How can this be too much to ask?  None of the above mentioned stores had them either.

And finally, I want an extra large, antique biscuit cutter.  I've searched the antique stores and have found smaller ones, but no biggie.  It's really crampin' my biscuit cutting style! 

The search is ongoing...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tune(a) in

There are a handful of things I've been craving lately: pork chops, stuffed peppers, and tuna casserole.

There is no rhyme or reason for my cravings.  They're just there.  And I've put off appeasing them until I can barely take it.  So, tonight I caved to the call of the casserole.

I didn't want to make a dish that called for cream of mushroom soup, so I took to the Internet to see what I could find.  What I discovered is there are a lot of tuna casserole recipes out there!  And I didn't like just one.  So, I took an ingredient from one, an idea for thickening from another, and so forth, until I concocted what I thought might make a good combo.

Then I asked Linds H. for her recipe.  She's a good cook and I wanted to compare notes.  Her's was completely different still!

I decided to give mine a shot.

I know what's coming next is not modest at all:  It was freaking awesome!  AWESOME!  Todd and I were both very happy with it.  And I was very proud.

Kim's Kicka$$ Concocted Tuna Casserole
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c. milk (we use skim around here, which I figure makes up for the use of cream)
1/2 - 1 c. frozen peas
1 13.25 oz. can of mushroom stems and pieces + the juice
3 5-oz. cans tuna packed in water, undrained
16 oz. pasta of choice
pepper to taste
about 5 twists of a salt grinder
5 oz. pkg. of shredded parm
Plain bread crumbs

Throw your pasta in some water and get it going.

While the pasta is cooking, brown onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil over medium-high.  Turn heat to just a little hotter than low, and sprinkle flour over onions.  Whisk in cream and milk, season with pepper, and bring to a simmer, stirring periodically to keep smooth.

Keep checking the pasta - you want it cooked to only slightly more than al dente.  

Add the peas, mushrooms, tuna, and salt to the cream mixture.  Simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up tuna.

Drain pasta and dump into large mixing bowl.  Pour sauce over the noodles and mix.  Add package of parm.  Mix thoroughly.

Pour casserole into a medium-sized baking dish and sprinkle with plain bread crumbs.

Pop in the oven and bake until bread crumbs are crisp and casserole is bubbling through.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Times two

Two is typically better than one, right?

I'm happy I have two hands and two eyes (I would hate being a cyclops).  Doublemint gum built an entire product and campaign on the idea that twice the mint would double your pleasure and your fun.

And let's not forget that Noah rounded animals up by-two onto the ark, which segues nicely into the idea of having two dogs.

I have decided two dogs would be better than one.  Not because I don't love my one dog, but because I love him so much I want him to have a playmate.

I am completely stuck on this idea.  When I first started talking about it Todd said he agreed, but now I think he was just humoring me.  When I told him today we needed to call on some dogs this weekend he balked.  But I'm not giving in.

Rigby's a social puppy and I think it would be good for him to have another dog around when Todd and I are gone to work all day.  I also think it would help socialize Riggs with other dogs, something he's still not very good at.  Everyone I've mentioned this to just happens to have two dogs and they agree - two is better than one.

So, our little household may be expanding...if I can pester Todd into being completely on board.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



My Trailheads running hat!

Last seen: In my coat pocket as Todd and I were grocery shopping on Sunday.

I have looked everywhere (except the laundry basket) for my beloved hat and it's nowhere to be found.  I am very upset about this.  This hat is PERFECT for long(er)-haired ladies who want to enjoy the outdoors and still stay warm - without the ponytail bump caused by other, ordinary hats.   

Oh, Hat, wherever you are hiding, please come back!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

Last week I went to Vegas for a few days for work and Todd came with me.  While I'm a Vegas veteran, he's never been.

We didn't get out much during the day because I was busy at a trade show, and frankly, Todd was too.  It was SHOT Show, the biggest trade show for the shooting, hunting and outdoor trades, and for a game warden it's like being a kid in a candy shop.

The view from our hotel window at night...

The view straight out of our hotel window...

Our first night we were so tired our group canceled our reservations at the fancy Tao restaurant for something more laid back.  A cabbie told us to go to Ellis Island for the best ribs in the universe.  We tried that and it was a DIVE!  That alone doesn't bother me, I love trying local divvy places, but this place just wasn't going to fit the bill that night...particularly with the sign, "BBQ closed due to weather."  Who knew it could rain cats and dogs in Vegas for a week!  I took this through a chain link fence as we walked to the opposite end of the spectrum - the Bellagio.

After dinner at the Bellagio Cafe we strolled through the gardens, which is one of my favorite things in Vegas...

The next night our group remade our fancy Tao reservations, which by the way, is a delish place to eat!

The table ordered the giganto fortune cookie for dessert.  Each side is filled with a different flavored cream...

And what outing isn't complete without a photo of Brandon with an abnormally large arm/hand...

Todd and I stayed out - until 4 a.m. - that night!  Some late night pizza at New York New York was definitely in order...

Todd in front of the strip.  Don't mind my finger in the photo...

Todd showing how "small" Lady Liberty is...

For some reason there was an invasion of Star Wars characters on the Strip...

Todd waiting for the Bellagio fountains to start up...

I love this show.  It's one of my other most favorite things in Vegas...

Todd and I in front of the Paris fountain on our last day there!

Viva Las Vegas!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Playing footsie

These are not my feet, but that's how my own tootsies felt after indulging in something I haven't since leaving D.C.:  pedicures.

That doesn't mean I've let my feet go nasty and gnarled - I've been keeping up at home.  But nothing compares to going to the salon to get your toes done.  Nothing.    

I love pedicures. L.O.V.E. them - in a way that just can't be expressed completely in type.

I love the choosing of a color (something I take as seriously as if I was picking baby names).  And sitting in a massage chair reading trashy magazines with my feet relaxing in hot water, while ladies who speak another language chat with one another as if their customers aren't there.


So, why haven't I done this since D.C.?  Because I just couldn't justify the extra expense. 

But I'm going to Vegas this week for work and Annie, my friend and coworker who is also going, and I decided we wanted to get pedis before heading out.

It was, to say the least, pedi perfection.

And something I won't go this long without doing again.

Ahhh............. *sigh*

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm an aunt today!

After having three boys, my youngest sister Stacey had a girl last night!

Tess Virginia Coffey.

Can't wait to meet you!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I pretty much felt like a total failure earlier this week.

I made a little resolution that didn't last very long: to run at least one mile every day for a year.

I was inspired by Linds H.'s husband Nate who did this last year.  And there's a lady on twitter who I follow and vice versa who is doing the same thing.  Only she's at day 800 or 900-something and I made a little over day eight.

Since I've kind of fallen off the wagon with running consistently I thought this would be a great way to get me back on track.

But I didn't feel great on Monday and there my resolution went...down the tubes.  So, after beating myself up for not going and a pep talk from Todd I decided to turn that frown upside down and rework my plan.

Now the goal is to make at least 365 miles this year, which should be completely attainable.  Actually, I have a bigger goal than that, but I'm only choosing to publish the small one to avoid public humiliation if it doesn't pan out.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recipe resoultion

One of my new year's resolutions was to finally find my recipe mess.

This is a mess that's been going on for, let's just say, some time now.  They used to be organized, but after I started accumulating more and more recipes I decided the system could be better, and that's, ironically, when it all went downhill.

For the last several years my ever-growing collection has been stored in a one gallon Ziplock bag.  It is a HUGE pain in the butt to go through any time I want to cook something.  I've tried to find recipe books to organize it all, but it's like they don't exist anymore, and the ones I have seen I didn't like, so I've been left...holding the bag.

No longer!

My mom found me a recipe book for Christmas that works nearly perfectly.  I had to put in several more of my own categories, and had to buy many more inserts for the recipes (and I still don't have enough), but it's a start.  And a good one.

Here is the before.  There were five more piles on the buffet...

And here is the after!  The project isn't completely done.  They don't all fit in the book, so there will need to be another, but at least it's not a Ziplock...

Now, a sampling of some of those recipes: 

Todd has had a terrible cold for the past week, so I made some homemade chicken noodle soup last night.  I love this recipe...

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 parsnip, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices (I didn't have one of these last night and it still came out great.)
2-3 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2-3 stalks celery ribs and leaves, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 1/2 - 8 cups chicken broth (use 8 cups if you throw noodles in)
egg noodles
Chicken (You can brown 3 boneless, skinless breasts then bake them to use in the soup, or just get a rotisserie chicken and chop up the meat from that.  This is a really good option.)

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add the parsnip and next 6 ingredients and saute about 5 minutes.  Add broth and chicken and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer with the lid on until veggies are tender.

Cold be gone!

The next recipe is a brand new one for me, and oh man, is it good!

 Italian Burgers (Cooking Light)

1 red bell pepper cut into strips
1 green bell pepper cut into strips
1 onion, cut in half then cut into slices
1 1/2 cups store-brand marinara
16 oz. hot Italian sausage
16 oz. lean turkey burger
whole wheat hamburger buns
Sliced provolone cheese

Prepare a grill or broiler.

Heat on medium-high a little bit of olive oil in a non-stick skillet.  Add the peppers and onions, saute 10 minutes.  When tender, add the marinara and cook until heated.

While the veggies are sauteing, mix the burger and sausage (removed from the casings) together thoroughly in a bowl.  Divide into 6-8 patties and place on grill or broiler until done. 

Assemble patty on the bun with one slice of provolone and top with pepper mixture.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Welcome home, hon

With the title you might think Todd was waiting for me with a bottle of wine and roses.

But no.

The reality is - he's at volleyball practice and the only things waiting to greet me were these lil' guys:

This one actually startled me. I was very much NOT expecting this to be on my coffee table. I guess this is where all the bear burger we've been eating has come from. Excuse the tree still up. I'm harboring a faint hope that Todd, Rigby and I will yet get our picture around it...

This critter is on the dining room table. I have no idea what it is. Mole...?

And I'm loving this one nestled against my Christmas poinsettia. It just adds something to the buffet, don't ya' think...?

Oh, the things you come home to when you're a game warden's girl...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tea for two

The world of tea is pretty fascinating, I think. How flavors are chosen and blended, and how people all over the world have incorporated it into their cultures...

I love tea. I always feel so much healthier when I drink it. I also love coffee, but I do for different reasons, i.e., tea just seems much more pleasant when reading a book. But I typically want coffee when I'm reading the paper in the morning while getting ready for work.

One place I've wanted to visit is the Celestial Seasonings plant in Boulder, Colo. I spent the weekend in Denver with Carrie and when she mentioned she'd like to hit up the plant to restock, I said I was in!

So, off we went Saturday morning to Boulder.

The place is kind of weirdly located in the middle of a neighborhood. It's surrounded by houses and if you didn't know better you'd think the directions weren't right. I wonder what it must smell like for the people living around there...

The first thing you want to do is make your way to the tasting room and get your name on a tour time. Then you want to join the throngs of folks milling around sucking down little cups of tea from the pre-brewed stuff and from the baristas...

They only have a few pre-brewed kinds sitting out, but they have a tasting menu that you can request a taste from. There are flavors here I've never seen on the grocery shelves! I was amazed at how many flavors they produce! Below, Carrie and I are about to taste Powerfully Plum, Acai Mango Zinger, and another I can not for the life of me remember. I do recall, however, we weren't big fans...

You may recognize this bear from the package of Sleepy Time tea. Speaking of their packages - for each tea released a different artist creates an original work of art for that box. Some of the original artwork can be seen in the tasting room. Pretty neat! Anyway, Carrie and I had to time our photo shoot with the bear just right. He's in the theater, where you go first on the tour for a background movie. We had to get in and out between tour groups! We're such sneaks...

There are several things from our tour I can't show you because we aren't allowed to take pictures. HOWEVER, I've discovered how awesome the Celestial Seasonings Web site is - they provide a virtual tour for you online! The fun thing you miss on the virtual tour is the Mint Room where they keep bags of peppermint and spearmint leaves stacked just waiting to be processed. When you walk in it's like you took a big whiff of Icy Hot. It was my favorite part on the actual tour.

Make sure to visit the gift shop on your way out. You can get some of those fun flavors there. I clearly stocked up!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Can you believe it's 2010?!

Unlike other New Year's, I just wanted to have a fun, but chill, night. Usually, my New Year's Eve outings involve high heels, a lame (I can't do the accent over the "e" to describe the fabric) or glitter shirt or some other glitzy outfit, and a night of dancing.

Instead, Todd and I went snowshoeing then stayed with April and Craig at the amazing Fish On Ranch which they manage. We made dinner and drinks and played games until the ball fell in Times Square.

It was a great night!

This took us about a million tries to capture. I couldn't feel my hands by the half million mark, but we got it!

After freshening up in our cabin on the ranch we met up with April and Craig at the manager's house for some dinner and celebrating...

Here's the Miner's Cabin which Todd and I called home for the night. Not exactly a shanty!

Let's go inside the cabin. Here's the downstairs living room. Pretty cozy, huh? We lit a fire in the fireplace when we got home after celebrating. SO nice...

Here's the upstairs. That bed is maybe the most comfortable thing I've ever slept on...

Happy New Year from me, Todd and Rigby!