Saturday, November 29, 2008

BB - Mexican Chicken Soup

Our Barefoot Bloggers recipe for this past Thursday was from Judy of Judy's Gross Eats and she chose Ina's Mexican Chicken Soup. I had to change a few things. First, I cut the recipe in half. I made it Wednesday night for dinner and since I knew we wouldn't be around to eat the leftovers the next day I decided it best not to make 6 to 8 servings. I also didn't have the tomatoes in puree so I used one can of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce. It made my soup turn out a little differently colored than Ina's original picture.

I added a little sour cream and cheese to the top of mine.

I made a box of McCormick corn muffins to go with this soup.

I thought the soup was really good, and so did my husband. I had some tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese and chives for toppings and my husband also added a bunch of hot sauce. Good job on this one Ina!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had our smallest dinner table yet, but we had a lot of fun. My husband and I braved it for Black Friday shopping and got some great deals!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My First Barefoot Blogging Post

My first Barefoot Blogging assigment was Ina's Herbed Baked Onions. I was at first really excited about this recipe because I love cooked and caramelized onions. It was a mixture of yellow and red onions and some herbs along with lemon and dijon mustard and olive oil.

I cooked the onions for the recommended time, 30 to 40 minutes, but I still found them a little raw for my taste. I tried to cook them longer and then gave up and put them into a pan to saute them on the stove. I thought the concept of them sounded good, but they turned out a little tart for my taste. I would make them again but I would probably omit either the lemon juice or the dijon mustard... probably the lemon juice.

We had a few extra recipes to cook if we wanted and I decided to try the Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes. The recipe called for mini bunt pans to be used. Since I didn't have the right pans I decided to make them into cupcakes instead.

I have wondered for awhile what the craze with orange and chocolate is, so I was anxious to try this recipe out. I thought about leaving the orange out since I wasn't so sure about it, but I wouldn't learn anything new by doing that, so I added it anyway.

Although the cakes were good, I don't think I would make them again. I wasn't crazy about the orange and chocolate... and neither was my husband. I am going to pack them up and send them to work with him tomorrow to pass out to his friends (I do this a lot because I love to bake but hate having the temptation of those treats in the house). If you love orange and chocolate, I would highly recommend this recipe.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Weekend

My husband and I have been trying to make small changes in an effort to update and redo our apartment since we plan on being here for at least another year. We didn't want to put a lot of money into redoing anything big, but one area we needed to tackle was the bathroom. About six months or so ago we bought some new flooring for the bathroom to replace the old blue/black/gray/white fake marbled tiles that were on the floor. They were in dire need of some updating plus they made the bathroom feel small and dark and since there is no window, we needed it to be brightened up. Here's the before pics.

We bought some light tan "tiles" to replace them and my husband spent most of Sunday getting them straight and perfect. They aren't real tiles but those ones with the sticky back that you peel off and stick to the floor. But I can't believe how much it makes the bathroom feel more open and light. We're hoping to redo the walls at some point but since it took six months to even get the floor finished, we'll see how far we get with that. Here's the after:

We got a big snowfall overnight here. When we went to bed last night we saw it had started to snow a bit, but I was shocked this morning when I woke up and actually saw our road was covered in snow. It's been so nice today with that snow on the ground... I lit our Pumpkin Pie Yankee candle and put a similar tart in the tart burner to make things smell and feel like we're getting into the holidays.

On another note, I joined the Barefoot Bloggers. They are a group of bloggers who take two recipes from my favorite chef on the Food Network, Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa), and make them and then blog about them. They tell what went right with the recipe and what went wrong and whether they enjoyed them. Two members per month get to pick a recipe and as of right now I'm number 115 on the list. We're on numbers 12 and 13 right now, so it'll be awhile until I get to choose a recipe, but I think I'll enjoy making everyone else's choices for now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas is Coming

This weekend my husband and I were really bored. When we're bored we like to go walk around the mall or other stores, and this weekend was no different. Saturday night we decided to head to Sam's club. This can often be an expensive type of bored as I LOVE going to Sam's club. There's something about buying enough paper towels for the whole year that makes me feel happy. I love looking at all the things that can be bought in bulk and seeing how we we're saving money... even though we are usually overspening... and to be honest, not that much is actually a really good deal, especially for two people.

Either way, we went and had a great time. It was food sampling day which meant we ate almost a whole dinner there and we actually walked out without spending all our money. My husband splurged and bought a box of 36 Caramello bars (and judging by the way he's eating them, they aren't going to live to see next week... okay I helped eat them a little) and I splurged on some Christmas ornaments. I know it's early yet for Christmas but I have loved these christmas balls since I first saw them about a month ago on the shelves.

We traditionally have a tree that has gold and red Christmas balls on it with several other sentimental ornaments. The rest of the house is accented in red and gold to match the tree and it has been that way all three years we have been married. It's time for a change.

These ornaments, from the pictures, are green and blue and pink/purple. Some have dots on them, some are striped and some are covered in glitter. They're not as tacky in person as they may sound. Keep looking for future postings of the actual Christmas tree when we put it up... in a few weeks.

See. Not so bad.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

Last Thursday my husband and I had the pleasure of seeing Governor Palin at the Republican rally held here in here at the Bayfront Convention Center. We had heard early last week that she was coming to Erie but the details had yet to be disclosed. About Wednesday we heard where the rally was going to be taking place and also where to get tickets. I thought about running down and getting some but decided I had other things that needed done Wednesday, so I never went.

By Thursday morning I was feel really bad that I never went and got tickets. I called the Republican office and after several attempts was finally able to get ahold of someone who said there were a few hundred tickets left. They had already given out of 7,000 and I had bettery hurry. I ran downtown, struggled to find this Republican office and got a couple tickets for me and my husband. Unfortunately, this was 12:30 and the doors opened at 1:00 and I still had to go get him (he rides with a carpool at work, so he had no way of getting to the rally unless I went and got him).

When we arrived at the Convention Center, it was packed!!! We had to fight for a parking spot but got inside and found a good spot to stand and wait. We happened to have picked the right spot as we were really close to where Sarah Palin was coming out onto the stage. This picture gives it no justice as to where we were. We left in such a hurry I never grabbed a proper camera so this was taken with a camera phone.

This was our first political rally and hopefully not our last! We had so much fun getting to see her and hear her speak. We are voting this evening when my husband gets out of work. I have heard horror stories about the lines at the poles, but I will wait!

Here's a cute video you ought to check out if you get the chance.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Light Sunday Dinner

Since my huband wasn't going to be home tonight as he was helping my dad with an addition he is putting on the garage, I decided to make something I thought he probably wouldn't like anyway. The result: Pumpkin-Walnut Foccacia with Gruyere and Creamy Balsamic Tomato Soup. Both recipes were from an old Cooking Light magazine I had (I think it's from 2005) but I found the recipes online as well.

They both were a little time consuming to make (as making homemade bread usually is), but they turned out great. Here's a picture of the bread just before it went into the oven.

The receipe made two small loaves of bread. They are sprinkled on the top with Gruyere cheese and walnuts.

The soup was a little more challenging. I made some shortcuts, so the color of my soup wasn't nearly as good as the color in the picture from Cooking Light. Mine turned a little dark red/brownish colored but it tasted good. I sprinked the top with a little shaved Gruyere cheese, chives and black pepper. It was a perfect fall light dinner.