Thursday, June 7, 2012

I have been craving a creamy potato soup ALL WEEK

Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder
source: Family Fun
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • dash Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • Fresh Dill, chopped (optional garnish)
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or medium soup pot.
  2. Stir in the onion and celery.
  3. Partially cover the pan and cook the vegetables over moderate heat for 9 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the chicken stock, corn, potato, and salt and bring the mixture to a low boil.
  5. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and flour.
  7. Stir the mixture into the soup with the pepper.
  8. Bring the soup back to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with dill if desired.

Friday, June 1, 2012

I LOVE Italian Food. Especially THIS.

Chicken Parmigiana
source: Better Homes and Gardens Pink Cook Book
  • 1/3 c chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1(14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1/4 c snipped fresh basil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1-1/4 pounds)
  • 1/3 c seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil or cooking oil
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese (1 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan cook onion and garlic in hot butter until onion is tender. Carefully stir in the undrained tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil. Keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, with a meat mallet, pound each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness.
  3. In a shallow dish stir together bread crumbs, the 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and oregano. In another bowl stir together the egg and milk. Dip chicken breast halves in egg mixture, then in crumb mixture to coat. In a 12-inch skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.
  4. Spoon sauce over chicken. Top with shredded mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Let stand about 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 4 servings.

Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Air ***1/2
by Diana Wynne Jones
Book Type:Y/A, Fantasy
Summary: This novel is a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle and is set in the same fantasy world, though it follows the adventures of Abdullah rather than Sophie Hatter. The plot is based on stories from the Arabian Nights. The book features many of the characters from Howl's Moving Castle, often under some sort of disguise.
My Review: In this book you follow a young man named Abdullah as he tries to rescue his love, Flower in the Night. He has lots of adventures as he attempts to save her from the Djinn that kidnapped her. At first I found Abdullah really irritating, so it took a while to get into the story. But once the story got going it was very fun.It was entertaining to try and figure out the connection between this story and the first story in the series Howl's Moving Castle. This book may not have been quite as good as it's predecessor, but in the end it was thoroughly enjoyable.

John Carter

John Carter ***
This movie was fun. It was different from what I expected. It was kind of long... I thought that the story was kind of fun and the movie was acted fairly well. It was cool that John Carter was faster and stronger on Mars, that he could jump super high. It was a little ridiculous, but it was fun. Silly but entertaining. I would see it at the cheap theater before it leaves though, it won't be nearly as entertaining without the HUGE screen.

Table Cloth

Our table is square shaped and APPARENTLY they don't make table clothes for that shape. SO we decided to make our OWN table cloth. We found a fabric at JoAnn's that has like a wax coating on it and sewed it up. It ended up costing WAY more than we expected because apparently this is a really nice fabric... Oh well, the table cloth is good and solid and I think it will work well. Even if the pattern is a bit crazy, haha!

Tasty Stew

Beef Stew
source: Lisa Hawks
  • 1 lb. boneless beef chuck, cubed
  • 4 lg. potatoes, chunked
  • 6 carrots, chunked
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Thickener: 3 T. flour mixed with 5 T. water
  1. Brown the beef in oil. Add salt, pepper, water, bay leaves, bouillon, lemon juice, sugar and allspice. 
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. 
  3. Add the vegetables and cook another 15-20 minutes or until tender. Stir in thickener and cook until thickened.
  4. OR brown the meat then place it and the rest (except thickener) in a crock pot. 
  5. Cook on low heat 6-7 hours or until beef and veggies are tender. Stir in thickener and serve.

Woman in Black

Woman in Black **1/2
This movie was okay. It was pretty creepy at times, but overall it was pretty slow. There were a ton of close-ups of Daniel Radcliff's face... I don't know why there was such a focus on his face... He was pretty bland the whole movie, he showed very little emotion. I think that was the point, but terrifying things were happening to him and he barely even seemed scared. Just uncomfortable. And the ending was horrible, it was so empty.

Outdoor Blanket

Russ and I decided to make an outdoor blanket so we could use it on picnics and whatnot. It turned out pretty good.
These types of blankets are super easy to make. Just pick some fabric, really any type will do. If you want it to be indestructible to children make sure to get a sturdier fabric. We chose to do two different patterns of fabric, you will want two pieces to make this blanket strong enough for outdoors. Just pin up Your pieces of fabric and sew around the edges. Take some yarn and yarn needles and consistently through the entire blanket push the yarn through the fabric and tie it off. This just make the blanket a little sturdier... And it's kinda cute! :)


location: Tucson, AZ
Just some more Mexican Food! This one was pretty good. We've had better, but it was pretty tasty. There's nothing really unique I can say about this restaurant... You got a lot for your money. The burrito's were SO big. I would probably eat there again. :)

Bird Nest Necklace

Last month the Visiting Teaching message was all about being a good visiting teacher. HAH too bad we have the hardest time getting a hold of the woman we visit teach! So my mom gave me this cute idea. You made a necklace that looks like a bird's nest and add a quote: "Watch over your sister's like a bird watches over her nest." So here is how my nest necklaces turned out!
You can find the tutorial here.

Forest of Hands and Teeth Books

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Books **
by Carrie Ryan
Book Type: Y/A, Fiction, Zombie
Summary: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?
summary on goodreads
My Review: Two stars... You're wondering why I finished the series right? Because I have a problem. I have an incredibly hard time starting a series and not finishing it. Even if the series is stupid. This one was ever so slightly better than Despair. Just enough to make me feel a need to finish the series. But BARELY. Man. The zombies had the potential to be great, but they couldn't even break through an average chain-link fence. The love drama is kind of lame in all of the books. With people falling in love in a matter of seconds. I guess this author believes in love at first sight. Also, all of the main characters had a very similar voice, and the other characters that had been main characters previously were undeniably altered when they were no longer the voice of the story. So I felt that Ryan had a great basis for a story - zombies take over the world, only a few cities of people survive... Great idea. But the story didn't quite come together. The young adult novel love drama is irritating and dragged out. Mary - the main character in the first novel- is CRAZY. She does some super weird stuff like find an infant zombie and hold it... She's really wacky. The second main character kills a HUMAN for no reason... Yeah, that was a little much. And she goes from being dramatically in love with one character to being even more deeply in love with a different character. The main character in the last book falls madly in love with the kid she met two seconds ago. They will die rather than live without each other! Even though they don't. even. KNOW. each other. Blegh. Anyway, don't read these books, they're retarded. I don't know why I couldn't just say "no thank you!" about half-war through the first one. I should have. They are just not well-developed and there are a lot of gaping holes, like the zombies that can kill people in seconds but can't break through a chain link fence. Yeah...
The Dead-Tossed Waves **
Summary: Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.
summary found on goodreads
The Dark and Hollow Places *
Summary: There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

summary found on goodreads 


Contagion ***
The trailer for this movie reminded me of the movie Outbreak. Which is a very creepy movie. I saw it when I was a kid and it kind of freaked me out. I thought this movie would be just as good if not better... But it wasn't. It was kind of lame. It was interesting how the virus spread, how it made people behave... But a lot of people died and you're just waiting for a happy ending of some sort, but it just felt open ended. I mean, it has a happy ending of sorts, but it's not completely developed and wrapped up. Basically it was disappointing, but not the worst movie I've ever seen.

The Body in the Library

The Body in the Library **1/2
by Agatha Christie
Book Type: Mystery, Fiction
Summary: Miss Marple investigates the death of a stylish blonde who is found murdered in front of a library hearth at Grossington Hall.
summary found on goodreads
My Review: This is a Miss. Marple novel. The book starts out slow and finishes slow. I can honestly say I don't even really remember who the murderer was. It wasn't very surprising. The story was short but it felt like it took forever to read. It was boring for me. I felt that the author used too much dialogue and not enough story, background, outside details. It was all about the dialogue, and the dialogue was not super fascinating. I was disappointed by this book. Agatha Christie is supposed to be a great mystery writer... I don't necessarily agree with that... Oh well! Overall, the story was interesting but she didn't have anything driving it on.

Rosati's Pizza

Rosati's Pizza
location: various
We ordered pizza, hot wings, a salad, and canoli. Everything was absolutely delicious! I LOVED all of it. We spent about 35 dollars so it was a pretty decent price for what we got. There was a lot of food and it was all very tasty. This place is right across the street from our apartment so unfortunately, we will probably be eating there again! Too good! Too bad it's not as healthy as it is yummy... :)

If you ever try one of our recipes we would love to hear your feedback! Let us know if you like them or if you make any changes! We love comments! :)


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