Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The end of the month is always a busy time for us, because clients are pushing us to get cars picked up so they can make their quotas, and our company is pushing us to get cars picked up so we can meet our quota. For some reason the past week though everyone has decided they do not want their cars anymore and want us to come get them. The guys are exhausted! Plus we have had our HR director and the CFO of the company here as well. I am glad today is Friday. I need a nice relaxing weekend. DOUBT that will happen.
Posted by Natalie at 2:39 PM
Woohoo! I am getting a surprise in the mail from Almost Empty Nester! I love those kind of surprises!
Want to get one in the mail from me?
This is called Pay it Forward. Leave me a comment on this post and I will randomly pick 3 people to Pay it Forward too. I will send each person a handmade item through the mail. Each person that is choosen, has to then post Pay it Forward on their blog. Only people with active websites/blogs can participate.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I made this last week and I am sad because the leftovers are almost gone. It was delicious!
1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni (I used 8 oz of macaroni)
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (did not use)
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), melted (about 1/4 of the whole brick)
2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese, divided (I used mozzarella)
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
I also added chopped red onion
Cook macaroni according to package. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, butter, mustard, seasoned salt and pepper and onion (if using). Stir in the melted processed cheese and about 1 1/2 cups of the other cheeses. Drain macaroni and stir into mixture. Pour into a greased pan. Cover with the remaining chesses. (I more than you were supposed too. I like mine to be COVERED in cheese on top.) Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly.
This was quite possibly the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. Seriously.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
A couple of weekends ago I was up later after Jeff went to bed. Nothing abnormal for me when I have a lot on my mind. It is hard for me to go to bed anyway, but when I have a lot on my mind, it is almost impossible. I got a wild hair and looked up English muffin recipes. I did not have the time that weekend to try them, but last weekend I did. They were AWESOME. And relatively easy. Jeff liked having them for breakfast this week. He asked why I decided to make "Mcmuffins." I said well to normal people those are english muffins, not something you get at McDonalds. I am now in the process of making my second batch and thought I would share the recipe with you.
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/4 cup melted shortening
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Warm the milk over low heat until it bubbles. Remove from heat and add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, combine the yeast and water and let sit about 10 minutes, or until it is creamy. Combine milk, yeast and 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add the salt and the rest of the flour. Knead and then place in a greased container and let rise. I preheat my oven to the lowest temperature possible when I start making the dough. Then I turn it off and place my dough in the oven to rise. After it has doubled in size, take it out and punch down. Then roll out to 1/2 in thickness. Cut out with a biscuit cutter, glass or whatever round object you have. Sprinkle wax paper with cornmeal and place cut outs on wax paper. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal and cover and let rise again for about half an hour. Heat a greased griddle or pan over medium heat. Cook 5-10 muffins on each side until brown.
These are great because you can freeze them and then pull them out of the freezer, cut in half and pop in the toaster.
Jeff LOVED the Mcmuffins as he calls them and they will be a staple in out house from now on.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Well I still really do not know anything. They did the colposcopy and had to do 2 biopsies. They said that my entire cervix is "infected." They should have the results of the biopsies back in 2 weeks. Depending on what that says, I may have to have a procedure called a LEEP. They do a local anesthesia and take out the parts that they need too. From what the Dr. said I should be able to still carry a child as long as they do not have to do too many of them. So I guess I get to wait some more! At least I get a 3 day weekend with my DH. Oh and Liz your comment cracked me up when I saw that!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I go to the doctor tomorrow to have my colposcopy and biospy done. I am scared. This is also going to be a new experience for me to have someone there with me. Jeff told me tonight no matter what he was there for me. I honestly think it scares me more that he is going to be there. I am used to doing things myself. Then I share what is going on with everyone. It is a new experience for me to have someone that is going to be there WITH me. That to me is scary. Please offer up prayers or thoughts or whatever it is that you do for me tonight and tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I made these this weekend and they are quite possibly the best cookies I have ever tasted.
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy; then add eggs, and beat well. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pudding mix. Mix contents of both bowls togethr. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven; allow cookies to cool momentarily on baking sheets before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.
I did not use the chocolate chips or the nuts, and probably never will. They are wonderful without them! I also lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper so that the cookies did not stick. They are soft and buttery and wonderful!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Mom will have her surgery on Wednesday March 11. We have decided that we are going to hope that when they remove her uterus, that maybe she will lose 20lbs as well. You know how you hear about the people that have a gigantic tumor and do not even realize it? We were joking around about that last night. How can you NOT know that you have a tumor that big?
I am going to head down to AL that Tuesday and be there the rest of that week. My sister will be getting a crash course in cooking and doing laundry. Should be interesting.
Another positive note to it, is that I will be in AL for more than 2 days, so I am going to get to see a few people that I normally do not have time for, and spend more time with my family than I normally do. YAY!
Monday, February 16, 2009
I had found a recipe for homemade mayo a few weeks ago, and decided that when I ran out of the mayo we had, I would try it. So Thursday night, while fixing our lunches, Jeff told me that he had used the last of the mayo. I had told him to let me know.
Today I headed to Wal Mart to get a stick blender, which one of the recipes said I would need. I came home and began my recipe.
First attempt: I was following one recipe I had found and I broke out my new stick blender. I put one egg yolk and salt in a bowl. I proceeded to TRY and blend until sticky. Yeah, it did not work. There was not enough in the bowl to really BLEND. So I dumped it out and tried again with the same recipe.
Second attempt: Same recipe but different equipment. I used a mixer this time. I mixed, and I mixed and I mixed. Adding oil all the while. After about an hour and it still did not look like the pictures on the recipe I was following, I decided to try another recipe.
Third attempt: New recipe. I spent about 30 minutes or so looking for a new recipe. I found one that used just a regular blender, and seemed easy. So I tried it. It finally emulsified the way it was supposed too. I tried it though, and did not really like the way it tasted. I had used olive oil and it tasted TOO much like olive oil. So I tried again.
Final attempt: I used the same recipe as on the third attempt, but used vegetable oil. This time it turned out really good.
Next time I think I will try using about 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup vegetable oil, to give it a little bit more flavor. Other than the massive amount of time it took me to figure out what worked, it was well worth the effort. Besides the Daytona 500 was on, it gave me an excuse not to act like I was interested!
The final results recipe:
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (smoked garlic powder from Blue Moon Farms)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
dash of salt and pepper to taste
Combine egg, garlic, and salt/pepper in blender until well blended. Slowly pour oil into blender in a thin stream while still blending. I noticed it did splash quite a bit, while pouring in the oil, but it could have been my blender.
The ingredients all emulsified perfectly with this way, AND it was super easy to do. Only took me about 5 minutes total.
The original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic which I did on the first attempt with this recipe. (With the olive oil.) On the second attempt, I used the garlic powder.
Like I said before, next time I plan on using 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Like my potato chips, I will keep playing with it until I am happy.
****Edited to add*********
In answer to your question Janelle, it is supposed to keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It did not make a HUGE amount either so I do not see us having any problem using it up before it goes bad.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Jeff and the sign.
The outside of the Four Roses distillery.
After fementing, the mash gets pumped into this still, which is about 3 stories high.
Once it goes through the still, it goes through one of these and it is 130 proof. Then it goes through the other and is 140 proof. The things like these are what we got to taste the "moonshine" from.
Me sitting on an old barrel that had been made into a swing.
Jeff in the swing.
Jeff and the stack of barrels.
If you get the chance I highly recommend going.
Posted by Natalie at 6:09 PM
Friday, February 13, 2009
I mentioned to Jeff the other day that I had a coupon for TGIFriday's BOGO entree free. So we decided to go last night, as we did not want to miss his brothers Jeopardy debut that is tonight.
I made sure before we ordered that we could use the coupon and we could. If you go between the hours of 4-7pm they also have $4 appetizers. We ordered 2 entrees and an appetizer and our total was a little over $16! If you ordered cheaper entrees and did not get an appetizer, you could spend even less.
The coupon is not valid on Valentine's Day, but you can use it until March 1. I printed a couple more, after all we have our one year anniversary coming up too!
I was talking to my boss at the corporate office yesterday afternoon, and I asked how my office as a whole, did last year. In the roughly nine months we were open we made $69,000 profit! He was VERY pleased with that. There were people in corporate who did not think I would be able to move up here and be a manager, with no previous managers experience. I sure proved them wrong! Not only is he happy with the fact that the office is making money, but he is happy with the people I have hired, and the way I run the office. YAY! Now maybe I will get the employee evaluation and a raise soon!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I have a major case of the blahs.
Everything I have been trying to deal with has finally started to get to me. I am not a negative person. But right now it is hard for me to see the positive in life. I guess that means I am normal, but I do not like feeling this way. Plus when I get stressed I don't sleep and that just makes everything worse.
I sat up thinking about a lot of things last night. My friend Mike, and how today is the one year anniversary of his death. How everyone in AL will be together celebrating his life tomorrow night. How I needed Jeff to be there for me last week when I needed to talk. How I wish I could take the time off work to be with my mom the whole time she is unable to work. She is going to have to have help, and my 16 year old sister has never cooked a meal or washed clothes in her entire life. There were about 500 other things going on in my mind as well.
I guess I am just feeling overwhelmed right now, and I also feel like I am alone.
My posts may not be as often as they were for the next few weeks, because I can't seem to think right now. I do not want to spew all the negative feelings on here everyday. I might lose the 5 followers I have! Hopefully though, I will be back to normal soon. Or as normal as I get anyway.
Jeff wants to go to one of the distilleries this weekend. Suppose it would be good to get out and do something while Daniel is not here. Anyone have suggestions on which one to go too?
Posted by Natalie at 12:46 PM
Monday, February 9, 2009
I have been playing with the recipe since I started making them and this weeks batch has been the best so far.
I did two things differently:
1. I bought a mandolin slicer so that the chips would be more uniform in thickness. Not sure how much this really helped but it took a lot less time. And it was relatively inexpensive ($10) and I can use it for other things.
2. I soaked the chips for a couple of hours in a bowl of water.
Normally when I would do them they would be crispy to begin with, then, some of them, would get kind of soft. My husband had always said his Granny soaked home made french fries in water before cooking them because it made them crispier. So I tried it. And it worked.
Friday, February 6, 2009
My mom was told after her last yearly exam that she had several fibroids in her uterus and needed some tests done and possibly a hysterectomy. She got her blood work back today from those tests. They tested for ovarian cancer, and a normal test result is 0-35 hers was a 96. They still do not know for sure that she has ovarian cancer so they have to do the hysterectomy and have it biopsied. Once they get those results back they will know if she needs any other treatment or not.
One of my best friends from home told me she has 2 lumps in one of her breasts and is having a biopsy done on Tuesday.
Today has not been a good day.
Has anyone else seen this? Here is the article on the CPSC site. Looks like the letters, emails, calls and general uproar has worked!
Posted by Natalie at 2:02 PM
Lying in bed last night, my husband and I (get your minds out of the gutter!) were talking about what happened with my sister in laws baby. (see nothing sexy there) I brought up the fact that if I do have cervical cancer and they take parts of my cervix I might not ever be able to carry a child full term. I know it is possible to still have a normal pregnancy, but I guess I am just trying to prepare Jeff for what might come.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the fact that because I have the HPV virus that my chances of cervical cancer are a lot higher. To me, just the fact that I have had this same problem twice in less than 2 years, is pretty scary. If it is not cancer this time, then what about 3 months from now or 6 months from now? I have been seriously considering a preventitive hysterectomy. I had mentioned this to Jeff before, but we really started talking about it last night.
Instead of being supportive he told me I was being negative and looking at the worse case scenario and how I had not even talked to the Dr. about it yet. I told him I was jsut trying to talk to him about what I was thinking and how I really do not want to live in fear tha everytime I go to the Dr he is going to tell me I have cancer. Which brought up the argument that just because I have a hysterectomy does not mean I won't get cancer. DUH! I do know that but if I have the virus that puts me at a higher risk and I am obviously already having problems does it not make sense to consider it?
It really bothers me how badly my husband does not seem to understand where I am coming from. I guess because I was really hoping he would listen to me and instead he was such an ass.
What do you guys think? Am I being negative and focusing on worse case? Am I "stupid" to be considering this without having talked to the Dr. first? The Dr might not think I should have one but what if I do decide that is what is best for me? Do I not have the right to decide about my own body?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I was talking to my neighbor tonight about how I would eventually like to start selling some of the items I have been making like my bath salts/scrubs/detergent. She asked me about what it was I was making and promptly ordered some detergent and sugar scrub! Maybe I need to find the time to get that idea finished sooner rather than later!
On a sadder note, my sister in law (who has been one of my best friends for years, long before we were in laws) found out today that the baby they were expecting, did not have a heat beat. It looks like it will be a little bit longer before I am an Aunt and Daniel gets a "cousin friend." Please keep her and her family in your prayers as this is a tough time for them. This would have been their first child
My friend Jessica is having a week worth of giveaways to celebrate her 500th post. She has some really awesome things up for grabs. I REALLY like the spoon pendant. So if you have not already you should head over and check out her bloggy giveaways!
Todays giveaway is 2 baskets of items that I have made. Sugar scrub, bath salts, laundry detergent, and a loaf of fresh beer cheese bread. Also I will give one free refill of bath salts to the winners, if they ship the containers back to me. Jessica compared me to a modern day Laura Ingalls Wilder. Never really thought of myself that way but I kind of like it. If I could just get my stinking sewing machine to work, I could make myself some cool aprons and bonnets!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
In the month of January we managed to put a little over $300 in our savings account! So far in one month, we saved 19% of our yearly goal! YAY!
Makes me wonder why I have not done this before. I know we will have setbacks throughout the year, and some months it might be almost impossible to save anything. I am hoping that after we get our taxes back and use some of that for a deposit on a new place to live, that we can put even more money in our savings. (Anyone know of a home for rent around $600?) I also have a few items I am selling on Craigslist and I am going to put that money straight into the savings account. Hopefully with Daniel gone for a few weeks, I can find the time to go through his toys and get some of those posted to make some more extra money. Eventually I am going to try and get a site set up to sell/barter some homemade goods. Right now I am going to stick with just making them for myself and friends. (Although I will not say no to requests to make stuff now, I just do not have the time to do it the way I want too.)
What about you guys?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I am so tired of KY Winters! We have ANOTHER blasted storm coming through that is supposed to drop 2-6 inches of snow at the least today and tomorrow! My feet are tired of being cold and wet! I am moving to Hawaii.