Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween Y'all

Sorry I think Paula Deen stepped in for me there for a minute... but I'm back, I think :).....

Hubs and I had planned on carving pumpkins with the kiddo, but she stayed with her mom this weekend, so we carved our pumpkins just the 2 of us, and the pooches, on Friday night.

This is only really the second time in my life I've ever carved a pumpkin.  The one on the left is mine, the other 2 are hubby's.

My girlfriends (as I call my puppy dogs b/c they're both girls) "wrestled" with each other pretty much the whole time.

Then our Sunday night dinner consisted of Halloween style appetizers/desserts.... I made Buffalo Chicken Dip that the title says is "Crack".  LOL.  I'm not sure where I found the recipe, and trust me, if I figure it out, I'll give credit, so if it is yours, please by all means lemme know!  But I'm kind of thinking I got it from a blog that no longer exists....

Buffalo Chicken Dip ("Crack")

Ingredients: 2 cans chicken (although you can use a rotisserie chicken), Bleu Cheese Dressing, Ranch Dressing, Bleu Cheese (although you can substitute mozzarella), Cream cheese

Bring the 1 8oz block Cream cheese to room temperature.  Then add to it 1/4 cup of Ranch dressing.

1/4 cup Bleu Cheese Dressing. (although if you don't like Bleu cheese or Ranch, just do 1/2 of the one you do like.  I don't care for Bleu Cheese, but this wasn't bad, all the other flavors masked the taste to me...)

1/2 cup Bleu Cheese (or Mozzarella. as you can see I went the Mozzarella route).

1/2 Cup wing sauce.

And stir it all together.

Once that has been stirred together, then add your 2 cans of chicken (or rotisserie) and mix that together.

Then preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake this for 20-25 minutes until it is heated thoroughly.

Serve with crackers, chips, wings, whatever makes you heart sing!

Happy Halloween Y'all!  (Wait she's back... LOL)


Hunk of Meat Mondays

Buffalo Chicken Dip "Crack"

by Nicole
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer snack Ranch dressing Bleu cheese cream cheese Chicken American
  • 2 cans chicken (although you can use a rotisserie chicken),
  • Bleu Cheese Dressing,
  • Ranch Dressing,
  • Bleu Cheese (although you can substitute mozzarella),
  • Cream cheese
Bring the 1 8oz block Cream cheese to room temperature. Then add to it 1/4 cup of Ranch dressing.
1/4 cup Bleu Cheese Dressing. (although if you don't like Bleu cheese or Ranch, just do 1/2 of the one you do like. I don't care for Bleu Cheese, but this wasn't bad, all the other flavors masked the taste to me...)
1/2 cup Bleu Cheese (or Mozzarella. as you can see I went the Mozzarella route).
1/2 Cup wing sauce.
And stir it all together.
Once that has been stirred together, then add your 2 cans of chicken (or rotisserie) and mix that together.
Then preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake this for 20-25 minutes until it is heated thoroughly.
Serve with crackers, chips, wings, whatever makes you heart sing!
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The legend of "Stingy Jack"

I did some traditions of Christmas last year, and I thought it might be interesting to know the traditions behind Halloween.  This came from the History Channel, although I found another one over at Rose Valley Ranch blog plus if you get on to wikipedia it validates some of the different points.

Enjoy your Halloween weekend!!

The Legend of "Stingy Jack"

This came from History Channel

People have been making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack-o'-lanterns.

And just for grins and giggles, here are some of the pumpkins from our company Pumpkin contest (ignore the quality of photo, I took these with my iPhone!):

#2 won the contest.

And here is a link to some cute stencils if you still haven't carved your pumpkins!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Did you know??

So as we've all heard many times, this semester I'm in a Nutrition class.

This however is so cool, IMO (in my opinion, not Information Management Office hubby!) that I thought I would share it with all of you.  I have already shared this with a three bloggy friends (Hi Jilly (yep the y is there), Lindsay & Stacy).

So today first off, I'd like to teach you about Canola Oil.

1.  So back in the 70's when there was a huge push to get away from Lard b/c it's bad for you they pushed Olive Oil.  But something about olive oil is expensive or something, not exactly sure they "something" so they came up with a different type of oil and called it Rape Seed Oil.  Well a lot of people wouldn't buy it, not only b/c it was expensive but b/c of the whole "Rape" being in the title.  So eventually it came down in price, and it's a lot like Olive Oil in that it's “good” (unsaturated vs saturated fat) for you but they changed the name to Canola oil which is basically Canada Oil.  Canola Oil now can be cultivated from either the Rapeseed or Field Mustard.  The oil is suitable for human consumption but also suitable for use as biodiesel.

Originally Canola was bread naturally from rapeseed in Canada by Keith Downey & Baldur R Stefansson in the early 70’s.  The name Canola was derived from “Canadian Oil, low acid” in 78.  The word “rape” in rapeseed comes from the Latin word “rapum” meaning Turnip.

Then I was asked so I did a little more digging and found the answer.  And yes I heard this too, that Canola oil is better for you than Vegetable Oil.  Here's the reason, Canola oil is a monounsaturated fat where vegetable oil is a polyunsaturated fat.  Mono is better than Poly :)
And now you know, the rest of the story… hahah

So number 2 Keep Calm & Carry On

So have you seen this all over the bloggy world and etsy world and every other world?  Maybe you knew what this meant but I sure didn't.  And I've seen so many of them.  Well one day at work, my friend Autumn was having a bad day.  On that same day, Jacin posted this one:

I thought it was cute and I printed it out for my friend Autumn who was having a bad day.  Unfortunately by the time I got to her desk she had left for the day so I taped it to her name tag.  I guess she gets questions on a continual daily basis about "What does that mean" so she googled it.  Today I stumbled across another one that was Keep Calm & Study On (no idea where I found it...) so I forwarded that to her.  She then emailed me back telling me about the constant questions.  I told her I was sorry and she could take it down, I didn't even know what it meant.  But that's when she told me she googled it so she could tell people and she told me too :)  So without further adu:
It was a poster introduced by the British government during World War 2.  It was intended to raise the morale of the public.  It was then re-discovered in 2000 and used as decorative items and you could use a wide range of products in there (Autumn)
So if you didn't already know, now you do :)

And one last thing for your lesson today in the school of Nicole :)
Did you know you can make your own vanilla extract?  Well I had heard this a while back, but when I saw it the other day on this blog, I just knew I had to go check it out.  Hubby jumped on Amazon for me, he's the king! and found me some vanilla beans.  They came in on the 17th, so that night we went home and started our vanilla.

Here's what you need: a jar with a lid, vanilla beans, Vodka (the cheap stuff, safe the expensive stuff for drinking) and 2 months.
Yup, that's it!

8 oz Vodka to 3 vanilla beans is the ratio to use.

You slice your vanilla beans in half basically before you put them in the jar.  And don't scrap out the good stuff in the middle... hello, that's what you're after :)

Then place them in the jar.  I used a quart jar so that's 2 cups or 16 oz so do the math.... 6 vanilla beans :)

Place your vodka in the jar and screw the lid on.

And ignore my ugly dirty looking jar b/c it really wasn't dirty, promise!  Anyway place it in a cool, dark place for 2 months giving it a shake every now and again.
 That's it.  How easy!

{Now Stef started hers last night, she plans on documenting it all the way through, I'll just show you my start and finished product so if you'd like to check out the whole process be sure to check in with her!}

Ok so now that I've imparted so much wisdom on you today, go forth my friends into your Saturday knowing you learned something already from your Friday :)

Love y'all!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dressing for the Job You Want...

Have you ever met a person who was EXTREMELY book smart but sometimes lacked in common sense?
This is who I think of, and yes I love Sheldon Cooper :)
Don't tell anyone, but I've had 2 friends that way.  Sometimes their quirks are down right hilarious!  Sometimes they just floor me even.

And maybe that has nothing to do with the blog title post or what I'm thinking, but I couldn't help but kind of go there too.....

So I was watching a recorded episode of Rachael Ray (yes I know a bunch of you don't like her.... but hear me out) the other morning while I was getting dressed for work and she has a team she's put together for this season.  It consists of Jo Frost of Super Nanny (b/c she doesn't have kids), The Cake Boss (b/c she doesn't bake), and then there is Zanna Roberts Rassi who is a fashion expert.

The episode I was watching the other day featured Zanna and they were doing a make-over on interns and one of the comments made was, "Don't dress for the Job you have, dress for the Job you Want."
 Now I'm smart enough to know where they're coming from... and to an extent I agree with that statement... but let's use my company for example, we have an in-house mail room.  They sort incoming & outgoing mail, deliver it to the different departments, do the Fedex/UPS thing, and make the run into town to pick up and drop off mail.

Now what if they really wanted to be in Accounting, a salesman, or better yet, the CEO of the company.

Our company has a business/business casual dress code.  It has gotten more lax in the 5 years I've worked here but depending on the department, you still have to wear a suit for some jobs.  Now accounting, they get by with the business to business casual side of dress.  The salesmen don't even get to participate in Jeans Friday and the CEO, I usually see him in a suit every day.

Does that seem feasible for the mail room gals to wear heels and a dress to deliver mail?
 How about the suit?  And if that is the job they want, well cool, but one of the gals wanted something more, but truthfully how do you dress for the job you want in that case?  Something I wondered :).

So then a co-worker and I were discussing this and of course we got carried away...  What if you work in a law office but your dream job is to be a Rodeo Clown... should you dress for the job?
I guess that's where the whole common sense part falls into my train of thought.  Yeah I got there :)

Welcome to the inner workings of my brain... next up, one may never know... LOL :)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mask-er-ade Ball & a Flashing Full Moon

All Masked up and no where to go......

And now you've officially been Mooned & Flashed :)

Happy Halloween!!

We do not stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.


Here lately I'm not sure if I'm coming or going.... Oh well, makes the work-days go by faster, right?  Anyone?
So I know this weekend we're having a Halloween themed Sunday night dinner, but no dressing up for me I guess... maybe next year I'll get to wear the mask!

And just remember:
Be sure to keep your eyes out for the cute little kids that are out trick-or-treating this weekend!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Car of the Week


That's kind of what my speaker has sounded like lately.

And when I say lately, I mean as of like May....

Yes it's annoying!

So I took my car to the dealership in June to have the oil changed, tires rotated, I had this funky paint peeling dent/ding thing & my speaker was acting up.

My car has 5year/50K mile bumper to bumper warranty.  I've only had the car since January and I already have an issue with a speaker... sigh!

Well that day I had plans so I took it, dropped it off and left.  Of course they couldn't hear the speaker rattle and they'd have to get back to me on the paint.

Then I never heard anything back on the paint.

So August I took it back to them for the speaker & paint issue again.  Again, I couldn't be there, but I had my mom take it for me this time.  They couldn't get the friggin speaker to rattle... I think my exact words were @#$%@#$%^#$%^ or something of the sorts :).

But because they couldn't hear the speaker, they wouldn't do anything about it.


I heard it... loud and clear.  Even at volume 6 which driving down the road and people in the car talking you can't hear the radio at 6.  Yes something is wrong!  It's not like my car is about to expire warranty and I'm trying to get a new free speaker... my car is 7 months old...

So long story short I finally got my car to them in early September for the dadgum speaker rattle.

So here we are about a month and a half later and my speaker still rattles.  My car has set at the dealership more than I have driven it in the last month and a half.

I have however gotten to test drive a lot of really nice cars :)

My first rental was a 2011 Chevy HHR, White.
 I didn't get a picture of it :).  I drove that from Tuesday through Friday.  I really felt like I was driving a minivan but it wasn't a bad vehicle.

Then the next rental was a 2010 Jeep Patriot.
ignore the bad iPhone photo!
I drove that from the next Tuesday through the following Wednesday.  It wasn't bad but gas mileage sucked!

I then took my car home Wednesday night and the dumb speaker was rattling again... <sigh!>  So I took it back to them the next day (Thursday) and they gave me a 2011 Hyundai Sonata to drive.
I prefer my Elantra to this car any day of the week although it wasn't a bad car.

So I took them this car back on Thursday night and they gave me my car back.  I didn't hear it rattle.  Ah I so enjoyed the peace!  We took my car to Eureka Springs and no rattle!  It was pure heaven after months of that nasty rattle!  Then Monday morning... I heard it.  Damn (pardon my language!)

Here we are 15 days after I got my car back.  I'm now driving a 2010 Dodge Charger.  I have had it 5 days now...
I have been driving it since last Thursday night.  It's a pretty sweet car!  I told the Service manager that he shouldn't give people a car that is cooler than theirs to drive!  He told my husband there was a brand new one on the lot and hubs said NO.  When asked why, he said he didn't want to listen to me moan and groan and complain about the gas mileage.  Hubs knows me way to well :)

I should get my car back tonight... hopefully the next time I have to go see the service department, I'm taking them thank you cookies for getting my sanity back :) instead of bugging them about this dumb speaker!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chicken & Gnocchi Veronese

So Olive Garden is one of my favorite places to eat... and my favorite thing to get there, go figure, they quit making!  As Stephanie Tanner would say (Full House) "How Rude!"

So I really wanted Chicken & Gnocchi Veronese the other day so I googled it and sure enough it's out there!  So hubs and I made it.  The shocking thing to me... Tbug ate it, liked it, and never threw a fit! Yey!  She's surprisingly a good eater at my house.  I tell her she has to try something 12 times before she can say she "doesn't like it."  I read that somewhere, what can I say....

Chicken & Gnocchi Veronese

Servings: 4

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced (julienned)
1/2 zucchini, sliced (julienned)
Salt to taste
4 chicken breasts, sliced in 1/2-inch strips
2 small branches rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Veronese Sauce:
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
14 fluid ounces heavy cream

2 quarts water
6 ounces all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 pounds russet potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound gnocchi (potato dumplings, cooked
according to package directions

Now I didn't make my own gnocchi, but here's the recipe if you'd like to try :)
Gnocchi: Wash potatoes and place in water. Cook potatoes until soft (cook time will depend on size of potatoes). Remove potatoes from water and cool in refrigerator.

Peel cooled potatoes and push them through a fine grater (rice grater) until mashed; do not over-mash potatoes or they will get tough.

Combine potatoes, flour and eggs in a mixing bowl. Mix well until dough does not stick to hands (add small amounts of flour at a time if needed).

Divide dough into 4 sections. Roll out each section into a long rope. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Push fork tines on each piece for the classic gnocchi appearance.

Bring water to a boil in a sauce pot. Drop in gnocchi and cook until they float.

Chicken and Sauce: Combine garlic, lemon juice, rosemary and chicken slices in a mixing bowl. Let marinate for at least 2 hours.

Combine Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and heavy cream in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Heat sauté pan on medium high. Add extra virgin olive oil, onions, bell peppers and zucchini. Sauté until onions are translucent (do not brown).

Add marinated chicken slices and cook until slices are brown on all sides and internal temperature is 165 degrees F. Reduce heat and add sauce mixture. Bring to a simmer.

Drain cooked gnocchi and add to pan with chicken, vegetables and sauce. Stir to coat gnocchi with sauce.


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