Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Monday + a Guest Chef!

This week we've got three cooks in the house. Me, J, and my mom!

My Meals:

How can you not love a pork shoulder marinated in coke, brown sugar, and salsa?


Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca and Sauteed Green Beans with Lemon

What a great meal! For the Love of Cooking never let's me down with her meals! This chicken was fantastic. The lemony sauce was the best part.

Sauteed Green Beans with Lemon:
Heat EVOO in a pan
Toss in fresh green beans and lemon juice from half a lemon
Saute for 5-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your green beans.
Top with a sprinkle of s & p


Taco Mac

Tacos? And Mac and Cheese? Why yes please! I made a teeny change to my version. Instead of using evaporated milk, I used plain greek yogurt. Cuts out calories and fat and helped make it a little more creamy. I also threw in a can of diced green chilies since we had them in the cupboard.

J's Meals:

Burritos!
Inside my burrito

All rolled up!
We had so much leftover pork from my Cafe Rio Salad, that making pork burritos seemed like the next logical thing to do! We made ours with brown rice, black beans, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and cheese!!


and....PIZZA and garlic rolls!

Friday night we needed an easy and delicious meal and pizza was just the natural choice. WIN! Since J was the champ who went out to pick it up so I could stay on the couch in my pj's, we'll call this his meal!

AND...my mom's meal!

Brunswick Stew

We got to see my family and J's family last weekend, and my mom sent us home with a big bowl of homemade Brunswick Stew. Thanks Mom! It made for a delicious and hearty dinner.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Oscar Picks...

Today is Oscar day! My favorite red carpet event of the year. I certainly loved Kate and Erin's post on the big event, and wanted to throw in my two cents. I am by no means a film critic, just a lover of a good movie.

I have managed to see nine out of the ten best picture nominees for this year...two of which we squeezed in this weekend. I never made it around to seeing Black Swan, but it's still on my list. I can't remember a time when I haven't had a girl crush on Natalie Portman, and I'm a little ashamed I haven't seen her in this film.

I would love to share my thoughts on each movie, but really, just visit Kate's blog and you'll find some fabulous commentary. Instead, here are my picks for the big awards. This isn't who I think will win, but it's who I enjoyed the most:

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo in The Fighter

Best Actress in a Leading Role: I really don't think I can fairly choose. Of the five roles nominated, I only saw two, Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone and Annette Bening in The Kids Are Alright. If I had to pick between the two, I'd definitely give it to Jennifer Lawrence. I hope to see her in more movies.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: I was just telling J that this is probably the toughest category. All these men really impressed me. But in the end, I'd give it to Christian Bale in The Fighter. Before last night I would have said Geoffrey Rush, but Christian Bale played Dicky Ecklund so well. He has to be my choice.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: This one is tough. It would be a close tie for James Franco and Colin Firth. Both men wooed me in their very diverse roles. Firth was just fabulous as King George VI, no other way of saying it. But then Franco just shocked me in his performance. I didn't know he had it in him. If you reeeeeaaaaaally made me choose, I think I'd pick Firth. But my love for James Franco still runs strong!

Directing: I wish I could pick Danny Boyle for 127 Hours. I loved the way this movie was done. But since he's not a choice, we'll go with Tom Hooper for The King's Speech.

and last but not least...

Best Picture: 127 Hours. I really think The King's Speech will win (which I truly loved), but of the ten movies nominated and the nine that I saw, 127 Hours was my definite favorite. True Grit, The Fighter, and Winter's Bone were all wonderful as well, but something about 127 Hours has been stuck in my head since I saw it a few weeks ago. I just loved it.


Who are your picks?
I'd love to hear who impressed you at the theater this year. Please share!

Oh yes! I almost forgot to share. Visit this site for some more fun commentary and alternate titles for ten movies nominated for best picture. I think "Don't Make Meth or Be Poor" is my favorite!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fictonal Friday: Part 4

Way back in the day (2000-2004) there was a little show on NBC called Ed.


This little show was about Ed Stevens, a big time lawyer from NYC who moved home to his hometown, Stuckeyville (which is where I want to live when I grow up, BTDUBS!), after his wife cheats on him, to reunite with his friends and to chase down that popular girl he always loved in high school, Carol Vessey. This show made it 4 seasons on NBC, and those four seasons may just be my favorite four seasons of tv. Hard to believe after all my raving about FNL last week, but I have to admit...I will never give up my love for Ed.

I watched Ed with my mom through out high school, and when I went to college in 2002, my roommates quickly learned that this show was a top priority for me. I didn't let anything get between me in this show. When it met it's untimely ending in 2004, there were many tears shed, and I still think about how wonderful this show is now, 7 years after it has ended.

This show just tears at my heart. I loooooooved every bit of it. The writing, the stories, the characters....why oh WHY did it go away?

It had an unbelievable cast, many who have gone on to do amazing things...

Julie Bowen (now Claire Dunphy on Modern Family) was the beloved Carol Vessey


Justin Long (the Mac guy today) was the dorky Warren Cheswick


And Ginnifer Goodwin who is all over the place these days was Carol's high school student, Diane


And then there was Dennis played by John Slattery...the awful, mean Dennis....


I'm sure some of you are thinking, "I've never heard of this show," or "Really a show about bowling alley lawyer?" or maybe even, "Rachel needs to get a grip and stop falling in love with tv characters..." and you may be right. BUT, you guys, this show was fantastic. But are you ready for the sad news? The really, awful, very depressing news that makes me tear up when I think about it???

This show will likely never make it to DVD.

Go ahead and shed a tear for me.

I can never rewatch this show, episode after glorious episode, UNLESS one of two things happen.
#1 - Reruns. Briefly in 05 or 06 (can't really remember), TBS played reruns of Ed during the day. I still kick myself for not recording them on my old VHS tapes. I hope all the time that some channel would run reruns just for me.
#2 - The biggest reason I'll probably never see Ed again has to do with music rights. This fabulous show used a lot of fabulous music, but at the time, NBC didn't pay for the rights of the music, and because of this, they don't have the right to put it out on a DVD. Now I've gathered that this happens with a lot of shows, but because most shows have a big enough following, the DVD companies and TV channel pay for those rights because they know they'll make back the money in DVD sales. Not the case with Ed (cue my tears). From everything I've read, it sounds like NBC knows it's not worth the money to buy the rights for the music. I look into Ed DVD's about every 6 months, and sadly, I have come to learn that things aren't changing.

ANYWAYS...long story short, Ed will live on in my memory, but not in my DVD player.
And that is dreadfully sad.

I leave you all with my very favorite Ed moment from season 4...his proposal. Quite possibly the sweetest proposal of all time.
This can only be topped with waffle throwing and dressing up in a knight suit from season 1.



Siiiiigh. Any other Ed fans who exist out there? Or am I all alone over here?


Images via: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Bad Habits...

I pick my spit ends. Obsessively.

I bite my nails.

I cut my toenails too short.

I am loud.

I thrive when I'm surrounded by clutter (to my husband's dismay).

I avoid confrontation and things will escalate and only get worse.

I yell at other drivers (because I know way more than they do about driving).

I bite my tongue. I know, I know. WEIRD. This is my worst habit for many reasons...but especially because multiple dentists have told me that it will cause cancer. I have gotten better. But I need to quit.

I do NOT share food. I need to write a whole post about this. I know my old roommates are laughing out loud as they read this one.

I avoid returning voice mails.

I tend to flip out in stressful situations.

Anyone else partake in any of my bad habits? Or is the other way around and my habits are on your list of pet peeves?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Deep Fried Menu Monday

Happy Cooking! We've been busy this past week, but the food has been delicious. Here's what's been cooking...

My Meals:


YUMMMMMMM!


Marinated Pork Chops, Sauteed Zucchini, and Twice Baked Potatoes

What a great marinade. Anyone else believe that marinades from a bottle never compare to a homemade marinade?

As for my twice baked potatoes I was inspired by Kate last week with her menu post!
Mine included plain fat free yogurt, chopped bacon, sauteed onions, shredded cheese, salt & pepper, garlic powder, and teeny bit of butter. They were delicious!

J's Meals:

Beef and Broccoli (subbed snap peas for broccoli)

I am not a broccoli fan, so we always sub in snap peas. This is always delicious!


Spicy Garlic Shrimp served over Linguine



Fish Tacos
+ Dos Equis

When you deep fry fish for a meal, you know it's bound to be good! We always serve this recipe using with Pioneer Woman's Pico de Gallo.


And if you're already frying fish, why not deep fry a girl scout cookie or two...it only makes for more fun!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fictonal Friday: Part 3

When I started my Fiction Friday series a few weeks ago, I'm sure a few of you saw this post coming. Was there any doubt in anyone's mind on whether or not I'd post about my favorite drama on TV these days?

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is, hands down, the best show on TV right now. I love a lot of the other shows out there at the moment (Dexter is a VERY close 2nd for me), but nothing trumps my love for FNL. Nothing. You can see my pride here.

I am so glad my mom told me to start watching this show back in the fall of '06. It is the little show that could, and is about to finish strong with it's fifth season here in a few weeks (APRIL 15!). I know a lot of you have started watching it after it's gotten some hype in the blog world, but if you haven't just give it a shot before the season 5 premier. I know the first 3 seasons are available to watch instantly on Netflix.

It's hard to pick just one thing I love about this fictional show. I love the people, the town, the school....I just want to be a part of it all.

Where do I even begin?

Matt and Julie. "I Think We Should Have Sex" is probably my all time favorite episode of the series. I just can't help but love these two together.


Tim Riggins...anyone who watches this show will have a crazy crush on him. It's impossible to not love him and his bad boy persona.


I miss the days of Smash. I loved him and his momma. He was arrogant and had a big head, but I think his character grew leaps and bounds on his 2 seasons on the show.


I love Matt's grandma. Love, love, love her and her relationship with Matthew.


I was always a Tyra Collette fan. And while I didn't love the dead body drama of season 2, I definitely loved her and Landry together. Landry in general always makes me laugh and I loved that Tyra fell for him despite their major differences.


And you know this was coming...Tami Taylor! When I have babies one day and I'm a mom, I want to be her. She is my all time favorite TV mom.


And I saved my very favorite aspect of the show for last. Coach and Mrs. Coach. Oh how I love these two and their rock solid marriage. What a team. I wish more shows portrayed marriage the way FNL does. Their marriage is clearly a lot of work. It's not a breeze. They don't make it look easy, but it's evident how in love these two are.


So...chime in.
Any FNL characters you love that I left out? I left Lyla out on purpose. She's the one thing I've always disliked about the show.

What's your favorite episode?
Share your thoughts.
Are you a fan?
Do you want to be a part of Dillon as badly as I do?

I know Megan and Sarah definitely feel the way I do! Anyone else as crazy as we are?

Images via: 1, 2, 3

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Birthday Girl

When I rescued Layla three and half years ago, the vet gave us an estimated age for her. He said that based on her teeth and gums, she was about 5 months. This put Layla as being born in February 2007. What does this mean? It means I got to pick her "birthday!" Just to make it easy to remember, we made Valentine's day Layla's birthday.

On Monday we celebrated with the 4 year old birthday girl by letting her eat puppy ice cream (frosty paws!) and J even made her a slice of bacon for breakfast. If there's food involved, she's a happy camper. And for any health nuts out there, don't worry, we also took her on a big walk to work off all the birthday gluttony!

I was looking back at pictures of her when I first got her...I can't believe how little she once was! She's gained about 35 pounds since I first got her. I am sure bacon and plate licking has helped with that!


Happy birthday sweet girl :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Menu Wednesday

I know I said I was going to move my Menu Monday to Tuesday, but life got busy and J and I went to see 127 Hours last night (which was fabulous by the way), and blogging just never happened. Oh well! This week we're just going to have a Menu Wednesday, and that is okay!

My Meals:

Pasta alla Vodka and Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

We had some friends over for dinner and a game last weekend and this is what I served. Pioneer Woman never let's me down with this pasta dish and this salad is so light and easy!

Salad:
Arugala
Artichokes
Great Northern Beans (rinsed)
YUM!

I bought this fun pasta at Homegoods a few weeks back. Definitely worked well in this dish!


Barbecue Stuffed Potatoes

This was another recipe from my Cooking Light cookbook and it was definitely another win. I made my own barbecue chicken. I just baked my chicken, covered with a little olive oil and salt & pepper for 40 minutes. I shredded it mixed in store bought barbecue sauce. E-A-S-Y! And instead of using sour cream, I used fat free greek yogurt. YUM!


J's Meals:
Breakfast for dinner...Pumpkin Pancakes and Bacon



This is always a favorite! I could eat it every week and never tire of it!



Lasagna is one of my favorite foods, so I naturally enjoyed this. Not the best lasagna recipe we've tried, but it was good.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My funny valentines....

I know it's Monday...but Menu Monday will have to wait till tomorrow and be Menu Tuesday. Today I'm all about the love!

What a Valentine's Day it's been! As an elementary school teacher, it's hard not to love this day. When you get to exchange little paper love notes with 24 sweet kids, you sort of have to love it. Back in early January when Valentine's decorations first made their way to the shelves of Target I snagged these cute valentines for my kids.


It's Olivia the pig! If you are not familiar with Olivia, she's only the sassiest and cutest pig around. There are a number of story books written about her. I love them all! Olivia Forms a Band is my favorite. This picture kills me every time.


My Olivia valentines were a hit. Are these not the cutest?


I don't know how I'll ever top these in the future. It probably isn't possible.

And my sweet students were kind in return. They all love treating their teacher well on Valentine's Day...


Who doesn't want a chocolate rose? Or boxes of nerds and bags of skittles and Shrek Valentines with Shrek tattoos? I am a lucky girl.