Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Christmas Lights!

I just wanted to share what our Christmas lights on the house look like. I wish I had gotten a picture of it before we lost a section of icesicle lights....I guess those will be on my after-Christmas shopping list! The colored net lights on the bushes on either side of the door were found in our yard 2 years ago. How they got there, I don't know. Probably hoodlums....we have lots of hoodlums in the neighborhood.
The little trees were my new addition this year. The wind had blown one of them askew. They twinkle. So cute!

Parmesean Crusted Chicken

This is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken. It's so easy and the effort required is pretty minimal. Also, I almost always have the stuff to make it in my kitchen, so it's always good for a quick main dish. Here's what you need: Chicken tenderloins (or breasts cut into strips)
Bread Crumbs (Italian seasoned or plain)
Italian seasoning (if using plain bread crumbs)
Parmesean cheese (the grated refrigerated kind in the green container works best; I neglected to put it in the above picture)
Garlic powder

I rarely measure the dry ingredients...but I would say it is equal parts bread crumbs, flour, and cheese. I season mine liberally with italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix that all together in a shallow dish.

Melt 2-4 TBSP of butter (enough to dip as many tenders as you want to cook)

Dip the chicken in the butter and then the bread crumb mixture.

Place in an oven safe dish.

I usually drizzle any extra butter I have over the chicken. Yummy!

Then pop them in the oven uncovered at 350 F for 30 minutes or so. You can broil them for the last couple minutes to get them nice and brown on the top. Watch them closely if you do that!

These go great with mashed potatoes or pasta with marinara sauce. I am quite picky about my chicken, but I never go wrong with this dish! Enjoy!

Crafty Christmas Gifts!

There is something really special and great that comes from working with Grad Students. You see, grad students don't make much money, so when it comes time for Christmas, they get creative! This year, they really outdid themselves! Check out this clutch that Annie Bananie made for me: LOVES IT!
Look at the embroidery!

And the NEAT little stitches in the lining. I think she should give up this science thing and go into the boutique business! As for me...I must learn how to knit.....

Then, Sarah K gave me this AWESOME retro styled apron....

Check out the rick rack...

And the awesomeness that is the pocket!

Charlotta not only made the earrings below but also made a little oragami (I don't know how to spell that) box for them...
So precious!

The next one is something my mom made.....no she isn't a grad student, but I swear that woman can paint a santa on anything:
Yep, that's a rock....from the driveway.... She made them into charms and I put some ribbon on it to make the most awesome Christmas necklace of all time!!!!
I love crafty people!

Hazelnut Truffles

Here's what you need: (Look, mom, not all Kroger Brand!) 3/4 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder
6 Tbsp butter
4 Hershey bars (I used 1.5 of the giant 4.4 oz bars)
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c chopped hazelnuts

Sift the sugar and cocoa together.

Melt the butter and chocolate bars over medium heat

Yummy melted butter and chocolate...two of my favorite things together.

Add the cream....

And the sugar/cocoa mixture

Whisk it until nice and smooth. Heat until thick.

Pour into a pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

When you are ready to finish the truffles, chop the hazelnuts and put in a shallow dish.

Form the chocolate mixture into 1 inch balls and plop into the hazelnuts.

Roll around to coat.

Put on a cookie sheet.....

YUM! Now, chill them in the fridge for a couple hours. Then store them in an air tight container in the fridge. They are best served cold. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas, Spice!

I went out to the barn yesterday to give my horse, Spice, her Christmas gift and her stocking. Yes....my horse has a stocking: I'm sure it will be nice and dirty when I get it after Christmas.
I bought Spice a new leather halter. It's so sweet! It has five million adjustments and padding and the leather is sooo soft. I asked her to model it:
Now, Spice, you know that a "full on" pose is not your best.....you'll never make "America's Next Top Equine Model" with that pose.

Ok, that's a little better, but maybe a little more profile.....and try to "smile with your eyes" more....

OK, nice.....nice....the eyes are a little crazy, but work it!

Very Nice....

OK, I guess you're done with the photos.

OK, I'll stop now. I guess you're ready to get back to your hay.

This is what Michael does at the barn:
Yes, that would be a coat full of kittens....

Mutual benefit: Kittens stay warm...Michael stays warm....

This is what Shelby does:

Look at those beagle ears!

"Finally!!! Back to my hay eating!!" Spice...you know top Equine Models don't eat....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Taking it back a little..

I feel like a bum for not posting anything in over a week. It's been pretty busy/boring (at the same time) here. I guess you could say that I've been busy with some pretty boring stuff and I haven't cooked anything worth blogging about. That will change later this week since I will be making my annual Christmas candy. But in the meantime, I thought I would do an animal post to pass the time.
When I first arrived at UK to start my Master's degree program, these were the calves that I knew and loved: Angus.
I mean, look at them, what's not to love?

Shiny little black coats....gleaming little black eyes.....

Impecable manners....ok, maybe not that. But still, although not the most lovable of calves (probably because they don't need you for anything most of the time and they know that), I wanted nothing to do with dairy calves. Lo and behold, one of the first projects I worked on was.......raising dairy calves. Yep, I probably raised about 75 of the little suckers before it was all said and done. I raised 40 of them while doing a project evaluating probiotics. That was a chapter in my thesis. Here are some of the guys/gals:

My first calf ever was Willis. He was pretty awesome. Behind him is Henry, my 2nd calf. Henry was a character. He LOVED people. He couldn't stand to be WITHOUT people. Henry would hollar and hollar until someone came in the room....then he was fine.

I also had some Jersey calves....this one was Bambi. Jerseys spend a lot of time chewing and sucking on stuff. They are the "smart" calves and must be occupied with something all the time. Once, during playtime, I wasn't paying attention and one of the Jersey calves had been sucking on the edge of my tshirt and has stretched it about a foot longer....in its mouth....a nice slobbery mess.

I got some pretty random color/breed combinations. In the foreground is a Swedish Red x Holstein/Jersey cross and in the back ground a Brown Swiss x Holstein/Jersey cross.

This is George. I had my "Beatles"...John, Paul, George, and Ringo....but although Paul is my favorite "actual" Beatle, George was my favorite "calf" Beatle. He was such a sweetie. If you are wondering what that teal ball is in the picture, that is their "Jolly Ball." They loved their Jolly Balls....they butted them and licked them and chewed them. I'm sure it gets boring in a 8 x 8 pen.

I continued with the Beatle theme for a while...this is Sgt. Pepper.

Mean Mr. Mustard.....who wasn't particularly mean, so we called him Mr. Mustard.

Half of the calves I raised for my Probiotic project were heifers (females). This is Ethel. The heifers tended to be mean. They liked to kick ALOT! I think they were a touch sharper than the boys....but I think Dairy cattle are bred that way.

This little girl was very sweet though. Tinkerbell only weighed 45 lbs when I got her. She was a twin but her sister didn't make it. When she left 8 weeks later, she was 95 lbs (which is what most of the others weighed when they were born).

After the project, the girls went back to the UK Dairy to make babies and milk. The boys went to the UK Beef unit and were used in nutrition projects over the next couple years. This is Woodstock, the most wonderful steer ever created by God. Look at that wise face. He is almost a year old in this picture. He was the first calf in my research trial as well as other research trials. Everyone wanted to use Woodstock because he was so docile and loved getting hugs. Woodstock was an allstar....he could do anything. I miss him.
Although I still don't want to start a dairy farm.....I don't like Dairy cattle THAT much, I did gain an appreciation for them. They are a little easier to hug on then Angus calves....I'll tell you that right now.