Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I'm Working On - June 30

I LOVE to cross stitch. No, it's not nearly as trendy and popular as knitting and the outcome tends to not very useful...just decorative, but I love it. I love all the floss colors and how all those little x's make a big picture in the end. I'm working on a fairly large project right now. It's the first big project I've done in a while. It will probably take me a while too.....Joseph doesn't like for me to cross stitch..even though I only do it when he is asleep. It seems like I can do all kinds of things while he is asleep, but there is something about the sound of that needle that make him wake up. Weird. Anyway, here is my new project after 2 days: I'm not telling what it will have to figure it out. I will try to post an update weekly.

I've also been doing lots of reading lately. That is something that never bothers Joseph (well, as long as he's asleep). Here's what I'm reading this week:
I've had this book forever, but could just never seem to get very far into it. I think my bookmark was on page 34 and I have no idea when that was from...I had actually forgotten about that bookmark. I love bookmarks. I quite a few. Anyway, I started this book Saturday I think and I'm a little over halfway through. I'm liking it pretty well. I might have to give James Patterson another chance. I've seen this movie, but the book is WAY different then what I remember in the movie.
On another note, Joseph started laughing this weekend. It was the cutest thing ever. He's only done it a few times since, but hopefully it will be like his smiling. He didn't smile much when he first learned to smile, but now he smiles almost all the time. I'm so thankful that he is such a happy baby!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sugar Cookie Bars

This is another recipe that I got off of The Girl Who Ate Everything Blog. Love it. I made mine a little differently as I halfed the recipe and made mine in an 8x8 brownie pan. These are wonderful and taste a lot like those soft frosted sugar cookies sold in the bakery section of grocery stores. YUM! Give it a try:

Here's what you need:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and mix.
Add vanilla and mix well.
Combine flour, salt, and soda in a seperate bowl and mix.
Add dry mixture to wet mixture a little at time until combined.
Spread into a greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
Bake at 375 for 15-25 minutes. Do not overbake. They will not look done so be sure to use a toothpick test.
Cool completely and frost.

For the frosting:
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth.
Add extract and salt, mix.
Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time.
Add milk to desired consistency.
Add food coloring, if desired.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

My New Favorite Picture

The little man just loves bath time. I think he's going to be a water baby like me. I snapped a few pictures of him after I got him dried off. In doing so, I now have my new favorite picture. No, that one isn't it, but I do love it. It's classic "smiling until I can't get my mouth open any wider" Joseph.

THIS is my new favorite:
I can't help but laugh every time I see it. He was trying desperately to get his hands in his mouth! This is why I just pick up the camera and snap hopes of getting a shot as hilarious as this!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Slow Cooker London Broil

Ok, people, it doesn't get any easier than this dish. It's very tasty and makes great leftovers! I don't know how accurate the name this is not broiled and I have another London Broil recipe (that is broiled) and it's nothing like this. I got the recipe from Here it is:

1 to 2 lb beef round steak (I used about a 1 lb steak, I like more gravy)
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix

Mix soups and soup mix in a bowl.

Place steak in slow cooker and pour soup mixture over it.

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes or pasta....something starchy! I prefer it over rice.

I hope ya'll enjoy literally takes 5 minutes or less to prep! I love slow cooker recipes with that kind of prep work...that's the whole point of the slow cooker for me is that it does most all the work!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crunchy Chicken Casserole

I made this casserole the other night when I just couldn't decide what to make, but knew that I had a chicken breast in the fridge that needed to be used. I modified this from The Girl Who Ate Everything's Poppyseed Chicken. Her's was topped with crackers, but I didn't have enough crackers, so I used stuffing mix. My mom makes a similar casserole that is sooo good. Here's the recipe for the one I made:

1 large chicken breast, cubed
1/4 c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 box chicken stuffing mix
1/2 stick butter, melted

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, onion, and garlic. Cook until done.

Mix cooked chicken, soup, sour cream and Worcestershire (optional).

Pour into an 8x8 glass dish.

Mix stuffing mix, butter, poppy seeds, and cheese (if desired).

Sprinkle stuffing mixture evenly over chicken mixture.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and topping is golden brown.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Apple Bundles

These Apple Bundles are super quick and easy for a weeknight dessert. I modified the recipe from one I found in Southern Living (yes, I've been on a real Southern Living kick lately). I got these all fixed up when I had time yesterday afternoon and just brushed them with egg white and sprinkled the sugar on top and popped them in the oven after supper. Here's the recipe:

1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 pie crust (I used the refrigerated roll out kind, but I bet they would be awesome with a homemade crust)
1 egg white
1 Tbsp sugar
caramel sauce

Mix the apple chunks, lemon juice, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
Cut the pie crust into quarters.
Divide the apple mixture evenly among the crust pieces.
Bring the corners of the crust up and seal with fingers to make a "bundle."
Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 425 for 18-20 minutes.
Serve warm drizzled with caramel sauce.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Meet Pumpkin (no aliases...just Pumpkin): Pumpkin's origin is not known. It is thought that she rode under Michael's stepbrother's car from Lexington to Monterey where Michael's dad and stepmom live. Michael's stepmom is the cat lady of Monterey so she took Pumpkin in. Michael really took a liking to this orange cat and when he bought a house, he brought her to live with him. This was in May 2005. Daysie was none too happy with this arrangement as she was splitting her time between Michael's house and my apartment at the time. Poor Pumpkin was limited to the back of the house when Daysie was around. Finally they began to get along. It wasn't long after Pumpkin came to live with us that we discovered that she was pregnant. A month later, she had 6 kittens. We found homes for all these little bundles and then Pumpkin got fixed. :)

Pumpkin is your typical cat. She is very independent. There are days when I don't even know that she is in the house. She hates the dog. She likes getting petted...but you better pet her how she likes or she will bite you! She LOVES tuna and will always come in the kitchen for some when I'm fixing it, but generally stays out of the kitchen at other times. She will also tear open a package of beef jerky if left out. Learned that one the hard way....and that was one pricey cat treat!

Pumpkin resides in the high spots such as the back of the couch:
"I can keep an eye on the fluffy one from up here..."

She loves all things furry and psychodelic such as my slippers:

She can often be found cozied up in a blanket:
"It's cozy in here....what of it?"

She loves to go outside, but will run like the she has to be leashed...she loves this..or not:
"I'm so embarrassed!"

She has been known to also wear the chicken hat:
Actually, I just made her wear it because she laughed at Daysie.

As you can see the two of them get along ok sometimes:
"Oh no...we've been caught on camera!"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins

I like to make breakfast on Sundays. I don't always get to, but Joseph has started taking a nap shortly after he gets up in the morning so it's a little easier to get something fixed up for breakfast. This morning, I remembered that I had some fresh blueberries that I had bought at the grocery this week. I knew they wouldn't be good much longer, so I decided to make blueberry muffins. This recipe is one of my Aunt Janey's recipes. It is in a recipe booklet she gave me and Michael when we got married and also can be found in the Shaw Family Cookbook. I've been making these muffins for a long time and they are one of my favorites! I do modify them though as I don't care for nutmeg. I add cinnamon instead.

Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins
Yields 12 regular sized muffins
2 c flour
2/3 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg (or, in my case, cinnamon)
1 1/2 c unsweetened blueberries (partially thawed, if frozen)
2 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c butter, melted
1/4 c sliced almonds
2 Tbsp sugar
*I almost always forget the almonds and extra sugar, but they turn out fine)

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add blueberries and coat well.
Beat the eggs in a bowl.
Add milk and butter, mix.
Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir just until moistened.
Grease muffin cups and fill each 2/3 full.
If you remember, which I didn't, sprinkle each with almonds and sugar.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. I used non-stick muffin tins and they were done closer to the 15 minute mark.
Enjoy! I put a little cream cheese on mine:


Friday, June 11, 2010


Meet Daysie (aka Puppy, The Poop, Poop Stink): Daysie was born on my parent's farm in the lambing barn in Spring 2003. She came to live with me in Mississippi in June 2003. It's a good thing she did...she would have never made it as a barn cat. Look at all that fluffiness.... Now, Daysie is not your normal cat...she comes when you call her and she used to fetch (hence the nickname "Puppy"). There are many other qualities that make her stand out which we will get in to later. Daysie is a well traveled cat. She would ride with me in the car back and forth to my parents' once a month while I was in college. She is great riding in the long as the trip isn't longer than 4 1/2 hours....then she gets antsy....and poops on your pillow (if a pillow is available). She has moved with me 4 times and has survived the addition of another cat, a dog, and a baby (she actually adapted best to the baby).

Here's what you need to know about Daysie: She loves loves loves Sparkly things...she covets them:

"My Precious..."

She absolutely LOVES taking pictures with me:
"I'll Kill You, Woman!"

She likes to wear ribbons and bows and pretty much anything if you tell her she looks pretty:
"I look pretty all the time..."

But no amount of telling her she looks pretty will get her to be happy wearing the chicken hat:
"I'll Kill You, WOMAN!" Daysie is kinda violent...

She loves my closet and has been locked in many times:
"Would this dress make me look fat?"

She desperately wants to wear shoes:
"I would like these in a size 1, please..."

She is a very good research/thesis writing buddy:
"Can we take a break now, please?"

She loves going outside, although she rarely gets to since she requires constant supervision. She also loves to eat grass, but never throws it up. She must be part cow.
"Mmmmm..Fescue is my favorite."

She likes to work out:
"I'm feeling the burn."

Her very best friend is a baseball..:
"I do not know of this baseball you speak of..."

And she really REALLY loves tummy rubs:
"This is NIIIICE!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

I know I said that I would do a Daysie post next, but I thought I needed to put a recipe on here instead...and it could take me a bit to compose my thoughts on Daysie...she is a very complex animal. You'll find out soon.

So, instead, I am posting a super easy recipe from Southern Living. I've really been on a Southern Living kick lately. I have modified the recipe some. I will give you the recipe as it is in the cookbook and then tell you what I did differently. I don't have any pictures...wish I did. It is such an appetizing looking dish. I made this one night when Joseph was being very fussy. I was able to throw the meal together while Joseph was taking a short nap and put it in the oven and all Michael had to do what get it out when the buzzer went off. Here's the recipe:

Chicken Tetrazzini
Serves 6

7 oz vermicelli or thin spaghetti
3 c chopped cooked chicken
1 c shredded parmesean cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 10 oz container alfredo sauce
1 4 oz can mushroooms, drained
1/2 c chicken broth
1/4 c dry sherry
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 c slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 and cook pasta according to package directions.

Stir together chicken, 1/2 c parmesean cheese, and next 6 ingredients.

Stir in pasta and spoon into 6 lightly greased 8 oz ramekins or a lightly greased 11 x 7 baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Julie's variation: Now, I halfed this recipe because I only had 2 ramekins and I really wanted cute little individual servings. I put the 3rd serving in the fridge and baked it for lunch the next day. I used canned chicken (1-10 oz can, drained) and white wine instead of sherry. I'm sure you could leave the wine out all together and just add more chicken broth. I also left out the mushrooms. Neither Michael nor I are big fans of fungus. I did put the almonds on top and I think they really added something to the dish. A nice toasty crunch. Of course, it would still be a delicious, comforting meal without them.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I've decided that I am going to do a series of blogs about notable animals in my life. Since I talked a bit about Shelby in my last blog, I will lead off with him.

Meet Shelby: He is actually the newest addition to our household (Joseph aside). We adopted Shelby from the Kentucky Humane Society in Louisville in February 2009. He was 7 months old. He is a Border Collie/Beagle Mix but I am sure there is some bird dog in there as well. We began the search looking for a beagle. It had taken us forever to settle on a type of dog. Michael is more interested in Rotts, Pit Bulls, Labs, Boxers, etc. I told him that I wasn't having a dog that weighed more than 40 lbs in the house. He said that anything less than 40 lb wasn't a dog (Shelby comes in just under at 37 lb). We had given up on finding a dog that we could both agree on. Finally one day after working with the beagles at UK, we decided we could both live with a beagle (because beagles are super cool). So I began searching We looked at 3 dogs, a full beagle female whose name I can't recall (she was already in adotion process), a Beagle/Bassett mix named Larry, and a Border Collie/Beagle Mix named Chester (we had to change the name to Shelby...I kept calling him Chester Molester). He is named after Carroll Shelby the car designer (as in the Shelby Mustang...Eleanor in Gone in 60 Seconds). He gets mistaken for a female so often because of his name. Poor thing.

Here is Shelby not long after he was adopted:
Such a sweet face. His leg was not hurt...he has a bit of a nervous licking problem and we were trying to keep him from licking his leg raw. This is a continuous battle.

I said before that Shelby is crazy's true and very hard to catch via camera. This is maddening for my parent's border collie, Shyann, who, until I saw Shelby, was one of the fastest dogs I knew. She just can't catch him, can't herd him, just generally can't make him do. Here he is doing what I like to call his "crop circles." Seriously, the dog runs in a circle...but at least he can go clockwise and counter-clockwise...and he does lots of figure 8's.
Shelby loves to fetch and play with his Bad Cuz:
He can fetch forever. Joseph is going to have a ball playing with him when he gets older.

He gets along well with other dogs, cats, and horses...although only a few of the aforementioned care for him. He does tend to get extremely jealous though....but not as jealous as Shyann:

This is Shelby trying out to be on a PETA/Humane Society ad:
Look how pitiful..."Please help parents abuse me...never mind the shiny look of my coat...look at the sadness in my eyes!" But Shelby, if you ever are on a PETA ad, you will need them to come get you because I'm throwing your butt out. Love you. :)

Generally he is a pretty happy dog:

Who likes to give Joseph kisses even though he doesn't quite know what to make of him yet.
Future best buds:

Shelby's favorite things:

Walks/Runs: don't even put walking or running shoes on without expecting to take the dog....he goes berzerk when you even touch those shoes...and he knows which ones they are!

People food: He doesn't get much (unless he is at my mom's) but he is the prime example of "you give a mouse a cookie...and he'll ask you for some milk."

Horses: If they are on TV, he's watching it...with intensity. Doesn't matter what he was doing before....that's he's watching horses.

Going to the barn: It's like with the walking/running...there have actually been times I've had to take my boots with me and change them at the barn to keep him from getting too excited if I'm not planning on taking him. He almost always goes though.

Riding in the car: Doesn't matter where...if the car door opens up, he's getting in.

His Banana: That would be my mom...(it started as calling her "nana" but she didn't like that, so Banana it is). She likes to give him food....enough said...and her house is the funnest.

Hope you enjoyed a little look at our Shelby (aka Roni...all of our pets have nicknames...random nicknames)

Next up: Daysie

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I don't know that I would ever call myself a "runner." Michael would say I'm much more of a "shuffler." I like to try though and since people wouldn't know what shuffling is, I will say that I run. I have kind of a love-hate relationship with running as I am sure most people can relate to. It seems that I can never go more than a year of running without something happening to make me have to stop. Last July 4th, I hurt my hip during a 5K race. I had been training really hard (running 30+ miles a week) and I was watching my diet because even with all that running, I had put on quite a bit of extra weight. I was posting my best ever times up until just after the 2 mile marker when I felt a sharp pain in my hip. I stopped and walked for a bit, but I was determined to finish this race with a decent I made myself keep going. I ended up finishing in 38 minutes or so. After I crossed the finish line, I found Michael and told him that we had to go home that instant. He had finished much earlier than me...he's just fast like that...makes me sick. Anyway, I was diagnosed with a strained hip flexor and also found out that I was pregnant. When I went to physical therapy, my therapist also found out that my pelvis had slipped and was tilted. I wondered why this happened and my therapist believed that it was a combination of overtraining and dieting while not knowing I was pregnant. After many weeks of physical therapy, I was much better, but by this time, I was advised not to run anymore until after the baby was born since it had been a couple of months with little activity and I was now almost 12 weeks.
Well, I have started up running again. I am starting VERY slowly. The training program I am using is for beginners...and that is what I feel like now. I feel like my body is completely different and while I have been running off and on for a few years, my body is newbie. First things first, I bought some new kicks. Check em' out: Very bright, huh? They make me look fast! JK. I doubt anything would make me look fast, but I like them. They are designed for flat footed people like me. I found out I've been using the wrong shoes the whole time. These are the ones that go with the Nike+ chip and I run with my ipod. I like to have gadgets...keeps me motivated.

The other thing that keeps me motivated:
My running buddy, Shelby. I can't even touch my shoes without him almost jumping out of his skin with excitement. He looks all depressed in this picture...probably because he wants to go for a run. He's the best running partner ever...he never runs off and leaves me...unlike someone I know...I won't name names....Michael. Of course, Shelby is on a leash, so he can't leave me. Lord knows he would. Shelby is crazy a circle...or until he smells something interesting. You would have to know him.
My comeback race is the same one I got hurt in last year: The Great Buffalo Chase 5K at Buffalo Trace Distillery on July 3rd. I won't be running. I will be walking with the rugrat in the stroller. Michael will be running.....Shelby will be at home. No dogs allowed. :'(

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lemon Vermicelli

Another day, another post! Man, I am on a roll! This is a recipe for a side dish I made the other night. Michael was not terribly impressed with it, but that doesn't surprise me. I would say that this is kind of a "chick food." I thought it was a nice summery side dish and went well with the pork chops I fixed. It is a recipe out of Southern Living. It serves 4...and when Southern Living says it served 4, it does...heartily. Here's the recipe (sorry, no pic, I'm lucky to get a meal on the table these days, much less be all photographical, is that a word?)

Lemon Vermicelli
1/3 c whipping cream
3 Tbsp butter
7 oz dried vermicelli (I used thin spaghetti)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice (I used bottled)
1/3 c fresh grated parmesean cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat butter and cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat until butter is melted. Set aside and keep warm.

After draining pasta, put pasta in a bowl and add lemon juice. Let sit one minute. Stir in butter/cream mixture and cheese. Serve immediately. I don't know how immediate it needs to be....I waited about 20 minutes and it was still good.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fighting Sleep

Joseph is a child of many expressions. He goes through a lot of them when he's trying to take a nap. Sometimes he fights sleep so hard. "You want me to do what? Sleep! HAH! I laugh at your weak attempts!"

"Seriously...I laugh!"

"Still trying, huh?"


"That wasn't a yawn..."

"Ok, maybe it was a yawn..."

"But I'm still not going to let sleep take me..."

"What you talkin bout?"