Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I've been tagged

I was tagged by my friend, Brooke from Artfully Disheveled.

The rules of this tagging are to name seven weird or strange things about you. Here goes:

1. As a kid I had an unhealthy paranoia about natural disasters, especially earthquakes. I watched a made for tv movie about earthquakes as a child that predicted the New Madrid Fault, near where I lived at the time, would have a 9.9 earthquake in the next 10 years. I was so unnerved by this that I made my mom setup an earthquake disaster plan, I learned how to shut off the gas lines if need be and we made an earthquake preparedness kit.

This year was the first time I was in an earthquake. It happened in the middle of the night and I thought it was just the wind blowing.

2. I now have an almost unhealthy paranoia about zombies. The said earthquake preparedness kit has since been dubbed the "zombie attack survival" kit in The Good Household. The Good Husband and I joke about escape plans and survival tips when we get bored.

3. My mom has only cooked for me 4 times in my entire life and she has given me food poisoning 3 times. Never again will I eat egg salad.

4. I collect hippos. My collection consists mostly of stuffed hippos but I have clothes, picture frames and salt and pepper shakers.

5. On our honeymoon in Hawaii, TGH and I swam with sharks. In order to get the best pictures of the sharks with the underwater camera, I stuck my entire arm out of the protective cage but I wouldn't stand on the cage for fear the sharks would eat my toes.

6. I cannot allow my foods to touch each other on the plate. I make separate piles for each food and then I eat them one at a time. So typically, I have to eat all my potatoes before I eat my beans, before I eat my meat. If there are two food items in a dinner that have a sauce with them (mashed taters and gravy and broccoli and cheese) I can only have one on my plate. The other I have to have in a bowl.

7. The only pet I have ever own was a sea monkey. TGH was in charge of feeding them and overfed them until all but one died. We name him George. One day we woke up and George had giant balls. I mean, in proportion to his body, they were like 25% the size of him. I always got a kick out of him swimming around the tank with these giant balls. Then one day we woke up and the tank was filled with baby sea monkeys, so we figured George was not a boy. I still have no idea what the balls were for then.

I am not tagging anyone since everyone I know with a blog as already been tagged.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Clam Chowder

Mmmm. Clam chowder. We only eat this dish once in a while but I had been having a craving for it lately. Now, I have never been to the east coast so I am not sure if this tastes like "real" clam chowder is supposed to taste like, but it is not bad. Not bad at all, says the girl that has never been east of Indiana.

The only thing that would have made this dinner any better was a nice crusty loaf of sourdough and a glass of white wine. I had neither so there might be a tear floating in my clam chowder.

2 6-1/2-ounce cans minced clams
4 slices bacon, halved
2-1/2 cups chopped, peeled potato (3 medium)
1 cup chopped onion (1 large), I used 2 large shallots
1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

~Drain canned clams, reserving juice. If necessary, add enough water to reserved clam juice to equal 1 cup. Set juice aside.

~In a large saucepan cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble bacon and set aside.

~Stir reserved 1 cup clam juice, potato, onion, bouillon granules, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and pepper into saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. With the back of a fork, mash potatoes slightly against the side of the pan.

~Stir together milk, half-and-half, and flour; add to potato mixture. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in clams. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled bacon.

recipe modified from: Better Homes and Gardens

Baked Pasta

I think I might be coming down with something. I think it might be the lazy flu. You know, the one where all you want to do is lay on the couch in your pajamas while watching all the Love shows on VH1? Yeah, I think I have it. Be cautious that you don't get it either.

With my sudden illness in mind, this is the kind of lazy dish I make. I didn't even have to get out of my pjs but since The Good Husband still needed to be fed, he got this: The Lazy Man (or Good Wife) Pasta.

1 box shaped pasta, any shape will do but I used Penne Regatta
1 lb of ground meat, any kind will do but I used turkey sausage
1 jar of pasta sauce, any kind will do
1 onion, chopped, any kind will do but I used a white onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of shredded cheese, any kind will do but I used an Italian blend
1 tablespoon of an herb, any kind will do but I used Italian Seasoning

~Cook pasta according to box, drain.

~While the pasta cooks, brown meat in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the meat is almost cooked through, add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onion and garlic are tender. Turn the heat to high, add the pasta sauce and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered until the pasta is cooked.

~Combine the drained pasta with the meat and sauce mixture and one cup of cheese and pour into a baking dish, any kind will do. Top with the remaining cheese and cover with foil.

~Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the dish is warmed through, or until there is a commercial break from Rock of Love Charm School.

~Serve warm and eat in your pjs, on the couch, watching Brandi C cry for the thousandth time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Chocolate Spice Cake with Citrus Spiced Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

Last weekend The Good Husband and I had dinner at our aunt and uncle's house. They provided the dinner and I brought the dessert. I had seen this recipe the weekend before on a new episode of Giada at Home, on the Food Network. It was her Halloween episode and she made this Chocolate Spice Cake. I thought it would be a good idea to turn the recipe into cupcakes and then frost them with a citrus spiced rum cream cheese frosting.
The cake turned out super moist and dense. The texture was soft but heavy. The cream cheese frosting provided a good contrast to the heavy spice of the cake. The orange flavor was the most prominent in the frosting, with the spiced rum a more subtle flavor. I would definitely make this again.

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

~Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

~In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.

~In a large bowl, beat the sugars, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract to blend. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way full and smooth the top with a spatula.

~Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes.

Citrus Spiced Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon spiced rum
zest plus juice of one orange

~In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.

~Mix in the rum, orange juice and zest and slowly add the powdered sugar to the desired sweetness and thickness.

Frosts 12 cupcakes

recipes by: Giada De Laurentiis and The Good Wife

Friday, November 7, 2008


Pizza is usually our go-to dinner on Friday nights. But we usually order out. Now that we are tightening the purse stings, homemade pizza is the way to go. Other than allowing time for the crust to rest/rise, homemade pizza is really not all that time consuming. Besides, having a few beers (or non-alcoholic drinks ;)) while the dough rises makes the time fly.
This pizza is a bacon cheese burger pizza. While not my all time favorite kind (as a former STL girl, my heart belongs to Imos), we didn't have any sausage and had to make due. I also added the meat before I added the cheese, screwing up the traditional pizza order of sauce, cheese and meat. But oh well, just more proof TGW is not perfect.

Pizza Dough
3/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups (or more) all purpose flour or bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

~In a small bowl, stir yeast into warm water; let stand for 5 minutes.

~In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and salt. Stir in the yeast mixture. Add 1-1/4 cups of the flour. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

~Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Lightly grease a large bowl; place dough in bowl and cover with a damp towel (make sure the towel does not touch the dough). Let dough rise in a warm place until double in size (30 minutes).

~Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 16x12-inch rectangle. (NOTE: I made a 16 inch circle). Place in a greased 16x12x1-inch baking pan. (I used my pizza pan). Cover with damp towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

~Bake for 12 minutes at 375 degrees before adding toppings.

1 lb ground beef (this is a ton of meat for this pizza, you can cut it in half if you want)
4 slices of thick cut bacon
1/2 Parmesan cheese
2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 jar pizza sauce

~In a large skillet over medium high heat brown the bacon. Once the bacon has browned, remove from pan and drain on a paper plate.

~Add the ground beef to the bacon drippings and cook until brown. Drain.

~Top the pre-baked pizza dough with the pizza sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, bacon and ground beef.

~Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until the crust is golden.

recipe modified from: Better Homes and Gardens

Poll Results

The results are in and your favorite Halloween Candy is....Reese Peanut Butter Cups! While RPBC are good, I really enjoy a nice Twix. We took The Good Niece Trick-or-Treating and she got a mint 3 Musketeers that was actually pretty good, considering I am not a big fan of that fluff stuff.

The next poll topic - Your Favorite Thansgiving Food

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For the first time in my adult life

I am proud of my country (and Indiana, my cousin to the east!). The tears I cried last night were the tears of hope and full of pride knowing that my country can do something great.

Thank you Obama for being the symbol we can all rally around. Thank you for giving me hope that anyone can become president. Thank you for inspiring the nation and thank you for believing that we could achieve something great.

Thank you my fellow voters for believing that we could make a difference. We have seen we can. Let's put it to good use.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I voted today. Did you?

This is the first time I have truly been excited to vote for my candidate. I feel like I am a part of history today and I hope I can stay up to watch all the returns tonight.

So, please, love your country and vote today!! Besides, you can get a bunch of free stuff if you do.