Monday, December 31, 2007

To You... A Happy New Year!

Although many great things have happened to me during odd-numbered years, such as my marriage ('85) and having William ('91), I do so prefer even numbered years...
So here's to an even, and very fabulous 2008!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Guess where We went Today?

Before the Apple store in Charlotte, (and the Tiffany store, the Lacoste, and the Polo Outlet and Abercrombie and Fitch) we went to Trader Joe's!  Although it may cost me a few Hail Mary's, I just had to liberate a market basket. As you can see, Bing approves completely!

No news of a Trader Joe's planned for our area (yet), but I did learn that Greensboro will soon have an Apple Store - Yea! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas!

The way to a Man's heart...

The way to a man's heart at Christmas is through fresh baked bread! Now that I have his heart, I'm hanging up my apron for a while... I feel as though I've been cooking for two days straight. Probably because I have been cooking for two days straight!

By the way, the scallops I made last night? Well... he said they were Perfect!

Holy Night

Midnight Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church
Christmas 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

It's Romo, not Romeo!

The Girl was nowhere in sight last night, thrilling me to no end... After all, it's Romo's ability to play football I'm interested in, not his love-life. 

Now if only someone could stop Tom Brady!  

Good things for Christmas

Dallas beat the Panther's in Charlotte last night and with the win, and because Green Bay lost today, Dallas secures home-field advantage for the play offs. William made me this cute Gingerbread house for Christmas and this afternoon I completed all the market shopping for our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners.  This is the first year that I've added sea scallops to my steamed crab and baked flounder Christmas Eve dinner menu, so wish me luck! I have the whole turkey/ham Christmas Day feast down cold, but preparing scallops (properly) is something new... I'm thinking diced shallots, crushed garlic and olive oil. Any way, I'll let you know how they rate. 

Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Public Enemy #1

Okay, it's taken me a few days to get over Sunday's loss to the Eagles... But I'm over it now and looking forward to Saturday's game in Charlotte.

So what was the reason Tony Romo had his WORST game ever (really, worst ever...) after playing so spectacularly all these weeks? Two words: A GIRL! A Yoko-Romo, if you will.

Seems that Mr. Romo's head's been turned by Jessica Simpson. Blech! Obviously allergic to anonymity, Jessica couldn't just sit in the corner and watch the game. She had to display herself wearing a pink #9 (Romo) jersey at every opportunity. Kinda lame since they've been dating what?... all of two weeks? And, where was she when Tony was just the back-up for Bledsoe? Interesting how much attention a 67-million dollar contract will buy a man with Ms. Simpson-Lachey-Simpson. No, I'm not riding in, or driving the bitter bus... Troy was the last Cowboy that did it for me, so this truly isn't personal.

Any way, the Boys come to Carolina this Saturday night and I'll be watching from the comfort of the little sports grille we found since the game is only being televised on NFL network. Now if only someone could make sure Jessica gets confusing directions to Charlotte; after all, it can't take much to confuse her, given the whole North and South thing! Cut break lines would work too - whatever it takes to rid my team of Public Enemy #1!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh, I so get it Now!

Windstream guy came by today to install my wireless Internet, and I SO get it now! Instant messages can actually be instant... Who knew?  

Another thing I love - My new Macbook. Not only is it so cute, it's also so much fun to use. Oh! And, how cool is Skype?  I can now chat on-line through my Mac for free (with video if I want to) without tying up my phone! I'm still getting used to the smaller screen though. I didn't think going from a 15" screen to 13 inches would be so major but I must tell you... I'm missing those 2 inches a little. I'm also learning to break my horrible addiction to the PC delete key again. I forgot that forward delete on the Mac is function + backspace so the extra step will take some time to get used to again. Nevertheless, these aren't deal breakers. After all, size isn't everything and there's still a lot to love here. Yes, I said size doesn't matter, you heard me!

Another bonus: I cancelled my AOL paid subscription today since I am now able to access AOL free through my wireless service. The nice representative who took my call said at the end of our conversation, "It's been a pleasure to serve you as an AOL customer the past 15 years and 9 months." Wow! That's a long time...

By the way, Brandon wouldn't settle for anything less than the biggest, most powerful wireless router Best Buy would sell me so I'm sure everyone within a 10 mile radius of our home is probably enjoying my new wireless Internet service as much as I am!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas will come again in April!

So what do I give the man that has everything (everything being me) for Christmas? Why the opportunity to fly a real WWII airplane, of course! No, really... that's what I bought, and he really does fly the plane! The planes you see above is just one of the three or four plane choices they offer - I think the bi-plane is cute, but I've rented the top one you see, it's the AT-6G - The man said it goes, Fast, Fast, Fast. So fast it is...

When we lived in California I bought him kayaking adventures, so now that we're in North Carolina, I think it's time for him to fly! And, this is pretty close to how the Wright brothers did it!

Any way, I cannot wait to see his face on Christmas morning! Before then though I must find a creative way to wrap the certificate they're sending me. Unfortunately the adventure won't happen until April, but that's okay...

To learn more about this little adventure-to-come, go to:

You can count on me to take plenty of pictures... But only from my safe little spot on the ground because you know how afraid I am to fly and we're talking I white-knuckle it in first class so this is out of the question for me!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Anniverstmasday to Me!

Since gifts from me rarely disappoint, I must tell you that the Macbook I gave myself for my 22nd wedding anniversary coming up this Friday is Fabulous!

Of course you-know-who thinks this covers him for our anniversary, Christmas and my birthday, which all fall within two weeks of each other... But we know that's not the case - Silly boy! All that aside, Janet's living back in Mac-land and loving it very much. Did I mention how cute this Mac is? SO cute.

Happy Anniverstmasday to me!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Let me tell you what it feels like...

... to hold my breath for THREE HOURS. It was excruciating! Especially since the game was not televised here and I had to rely on the Internet to know what was going on. By the way, aren't Dallas and Detroit closer to North Carolina than Green Bay and Oakland? Still, we get that game but didn't get the game. Just kills me...

Any way, all is well because Mr. Romo and the boys managed to pull it out in the last eighteen seconds and beat the Lions, 28-27. Dallas is now 12 and 1 and I'm a very happy Girl!

Hey! Some say I look good in blue...

Doing what I can to love Winter!

I am such an obvious lover of Spring... When it's green or blooming I'm a smiling, happy girl! Unless winter promises lots of snow I really see no reason for the leaves to fall off the trees at all...

It's a big job to be patient while the approximately 15,000 flower bulbs and hundreds of trees on our property sleep, or more properly stated by my landscape expert, (aka, the man I love) rejuvenate. Yesterday he helped add a little color to our forest through the use of these lighted mesh trees. Very sweet, but I'm thinking it may take a few hundred more given the size of our forest; and, since it was 70 degrees yesterday and Spring is a solid four months away, Mr. every-season-is-beautiful-in-its-own-way, might be hanging faux leaves on the trees soon.

Nevertheless, I'm doing what I can to love Winter in North Carolina. I don't mind tell you though, winter without snow is a tough season to love!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Trader Joe's

It took a while, but Trader Joe's has finally followed me to North Carolina!

We now have Trader Joe's in Raleigh, Charlotte and Chapel Hill. A friend from work and I made the pilgrimage to Charlotte yesterday and after lunch, facials and shopping at the Polo Outlet (for Brandon) we hit Trader Joe's! I went down each isle three times to make sure I didn't miss anything and took home a whole load of favorites I haven't seen since my last trip to California.

For dinner last night we had Trader Joe's Chippino (some say Ciapino), Caesar salad I made with Trader Joe's organic romaine, and for desert, I warmed Trader Joe's Quintessential Berry Pie and served it in a bowl with vanilla ice cream... Heaven!

Last thing I did before I went to bed last night was send Trader Joe's a location request to bring one of their fabulous stores to Winston-Salem. As much as I love Fresh Market and Whole Foods, I need a Trader Joe's.

OH! Speaking of location requests... Guess what? I learned yesterday that Charlotte is getting an Ikea! Finally, I won't have to depend on trips to DC to get my Ikea fix. There's a running joke between us that the only way I get to Ikea is on our way back from a Bridge/Dawson family funeral, which kinda takes the fun out of it...

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Winston-Salem Christmas Parade 2007

William as Saint Joseph on the Nativity float

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me!

My new Macbook is on its way! And, it will arrive on or before the 13th, which is just in time for my anniversary on the 14th! I thought for sure I was going for the Macbook pro, but after I saw the Macbook in person, I just had to have the white. I've maxed out the processor and the memory so I think it'll be just fine!

I am so excited about going back to Mac-land. It's where I belong...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Our tree is up... Must be Christmas Time!

Okay... Before you bash me for the pre-lit, artificial tree let me say that until we moved to North Carolina we never considered having one... However, the only real tree I'll have is the Nobel fir... Think Charlie Brown tree - See picture of the boys up there standing in front of the one we had Christmas 1999 - SO perfect! But, you cannot get the Nobel fir here! Nope, none, nada, nix, never and not even for all the money in the world can you buy a Nobel fir in North Carolina. And, I've tried!

It's either the Douglas fir or the white pine (think Cousin It wearing a long haired cat!) or the pride of North Carolina, the Fraser Fir, which they'll tell you is like the Nobel fir, except it's not! The branches all point to the sky so they don't lay flat like they do on the Nobel fir - this means that none of my German glass ornaments hang right and my clip-on mushrooms won't work at all! And, it can't be Christmas without my German mushrooms on the tree!

So after enduring the painful process of going out to pick out the perfect tree I knew could never be perfect one too many times, we broke down two years ago and bought the nicest artificial tree we could find - and that was no picnic either!

But fear not, the house isn't without the smell of fresh pine at Christmas because we do put up a real tree in the den - It's small and stands on the window seat, between our two Nativity sets. It's a Fraser fir, of course. But it's his tree, not mine... And it'll be this way until the Nobel Fir comes to North Carolina or I move back to California, where you can find the most beautiful Nobel Fir Christmas trees on earth!

First Advent Sunday

Wishing you and yours a very warm and joyous Advent Season!

Smiling Santa William

Silly Girl!

I was corrected last night about what goes on the book table in the entry... Seems that's where the children's Nativity belongs so my ornament arrangement under glass is now in the living room. Silly girl!

Bing doing what Bing does Best!

It was a busy morning for Bing... Lots of boxes brought in from the garage to investigate and ornaments to knock off the tree. Now he's cuddled up in my Oma's blanket on our bed doing what our sweet Bingee does best!

To update on Bing - Shelley's vet really knew what he was talking about and his suggestions we implemented for Bing at home solved all our problems. Once we relocated the stray outside and added the second litter box upstairs our old Bing was back to being the perfect cat. Oh, and we were able to trap the stray on the first try without capturing my raccoon or my possum too!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ornaments - Not just for the Tree!

I was sorting through all the ornament organizers this afternoon wishing that I could display them all (not possible!) Then, as I was clearing off the book table in the entry I had an idea to put the glass dome thingee I picked up at the Centex sale and some of the old ornaments together! I don't use many of the old ornaments we've collected over the past twenty-two years so this is a fun way to put some of them to use without cluttering up the tree.

I hope you have your advent calendars because we opened door #1 today!

All Gone!

It must be winter time... All the leaves are gone. However, the season of great-looking-back-yard continues! I'm hoping to see snow this winter... Wish me luck!

Friday, November 30, 2007

My first Experience...

Last night was my first experience going out to a Sports Bar and I must say, I enjoyed it! Okay, my first experience at a sports bar in twenty-two years... I wasn't counting all the time we spent at Mr. K's and Brother's in Aggieville in Manhattan at K-State when I was a teenager!

Any way, the Dallas/Packer's game was only broadcast on NFL Network, via Direct TV last night and since I won't have satellite, seeing the game meant going out to where the game was. But it worked out okay... We found a fantastic place nearby - nonsmoking, clean (newly opened this summer), bright and best of all, they had 34 screens, and most of them were BIG! Heaven...

I was one of just a handful of Cowboy fans there so thankfully, Tony and the boys kept the large Greenbay crowds fairly quiet all evening! I cannot tell you that I wouldn't have preferred to watch the game snuggled up in my jammies; but all in all, this was a great experience. One we'll probably have to repeat on 12/22 when Dallas comes to Charlotte to beat, I mean play, the Panthers!

Have a terrific weekend - Go Cowboys!


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I did it!

I ordered Chickens for February delivery!

This means that you-know-who better get cracking on those chicken coop plans I keep leaving on his desk...

I am SO excited! It was so hard to choose my chickens but I finally settled on Silver Gray Dorkings and Pearl White Leghorns! Check out all the cool chickens at:

The bottom photo you see are my Silver Gray Dorkings - they are a very old breed, known even to ancient Romans and were introduced by them to Britain. They will be large birds on short legs and both sexes of this breed have a 5th toe!

Known to lay the most and best quality eggs are the Pearl White Leghorns (top picture) so I've also ordered a couple of them too. Livability and resistance to disease are very high with this bird, so while I may be taking a chance on the Silver Gray Dorkings (a rare breed), the Pearl White Leghorns seem more fool-proof, which for a first time chicken keeper like me, might be a good thing!

Seeing all the breeds available makes me want to buy a farm and raise chickens for a living... Or at least play with them! I just hope they don't stink. Oh! That's what you-know-who is for, he'll clean my chicken coop and make sure my chickens don't offend my senses...

Now I can't wait for February... I just hope the neighbors like eggs!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Because more turkey seemed wrong...

I woke up this morning to Ina Garten's show, the Barefoot Contessa running on Food network... She was making her chicken piccata with herb roasted onions and mashed Yukon gold buttermilk potatoes for Jeffrey, her husband, who was on his way home from the City.

Seems Jeffrey must have roast chicken every Friday evening for supper, otherwise the weekend just doesn't start off right... But this Friday would be different because Ina was surprising him with her piccata recipe instead.

So if it's good enough for Jeffrey to reconsider his rigid stance on roast chicken, well then it must be good enough!

The buttermilk mashed potatoes are worth the extra effort of dragging out my food mill (mine is from Martha's line) and running out for a little buttermilk. I don't care for wine so I left it out of the piccata sauce. Otherwise, this was a great meal. Quick, easy with very little prep required.

And, yes, it does look like schnitzel, which is why I intend to make this again using veal very soon!

For the complete recipe (and pictures) go to:

A new favorite vinaigrette

From the Barefoot Contessa comes this yummy recipe for Herb roasted onions. The vinaigrette dressing is great - I can imagine using it as a marinade for tri-tip or drizzled over roasted bliss potatoes. As it is in this onion recipe isn't bad either!

Herb Roasted Onions

2 red onions

1 yellow onion

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup good olive oil

1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I take it ALL back!!

I love them! I've just had one, then two of my German butterdream cookies and I love them!

They really improved overnight and now I want nothing more than to recommend you bake them too!

Now that the cookies pass, I want to experiment with the recipe a little... First, I want to see what happens when I use real butter instead of margarine. Then, I want to see if I can mix it up a little by substituting hazelnut extract for the almond extract called for in the original recipe. Anise extract might make it a more interesting cookie too! I haven't quite decided if I want to replace the cherries with nuts, chocolate or another dried fruit (apricot?) but I think the possibilities might be fun.

Any way, I take it all back what I said last night - Just as it is or modified a bit, this recipe is a keeper.

I do hope you try it... There isn't an easier cookie recipe I've found.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Better than Pizzelles!

Still testing cookie recipes... Notice that I always start with a batch of Nestle's Toll House - that way, no matter how terrific the disaster test recipe might be, I still come out a winner with the boys who just want chocolate chip cookies any way.

From Midwestern Living magazine this month comes this butter cookie recipe called Butterdream Cookies. What caught my attention was the story behind it that says this cookie recipe came over from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, an area I am familiar with - just south of Denmark.

For those who like a little cookie with their butter, this is a fantastic mouthful. For me though, they are a little rich... However, I must say that I am very pleased with my results because these cookies came out looking just like the picture in the magazine. This really beats the you-know-what out of the Pizzelle recipe I tried a few weeks ago.

If you would like to try these German Butterdream Cookies, they go like this:

1/2 cup margarine
Note: I don't cook with margarine and wonder if these cookies might be better actually using butter!
1/2 cup crisco (I also never cook with Crisco!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 & 1/4 cups flour
12-15 maraschino cherries (rinse, drain and dry before cutting in half)

Shape dough into balls. Put little dent in the middle and press 1/2 maraschino cherry into the dent. Bake at 350, 8-10 minutes*

*I baked these cookies on parchment paper (on dark cookie sheets) for 15 minutes and the bottoms were still very, very light - but it took my oven 15 mins to set the dough

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Leaves Everywhere!

It was a perfect fall Thanksgiving day...

I'll have some 10 & 1 with my pie, thank you...

As I devoured pumpkin pie, the Cowboys devoured the Jets - Yum!

No one left the table hungry...

Roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and honey ham

Cauliflower, broccoli, corn pudding, cinnamon apples and
sweet potato souffle

I love my...

I'm the only one though...
No one else will touch it.
But that's okay - More for me!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Thank you, Mr. Romo!

A Life well Lived...

Martha Kostyra
September 16, 1914 - November 16, 2007

Martha Kostyra, who’s complete name is Jadwiga Martha Ruszowska Kostyra, the Polish American mother of Martha Stewart who passed on to her daughter enough cooking, sewing and other household tips to fill several books, has died. She was 93.

The passing of Martha Stewart's mother reminds me that my beloved Oma would have also been 93 this year as they were both born in the same year, less than a month apart.

There is no good time to lose a loved one but I imagine the loss is particularly difficult around the holidays.