Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 In A Recap

The year 2007 is on the verge of ending and boy was it a busy and amazing year! So many great things happened this year that I am not sure that 2008 can top it! The Lord had blessed us so much. David and I started out the year in the middle of all our wedding planning. It was crunch time to get everything done. All the final details were coming together. We did our engagement pictures, then the bridal shower and bachelor/bachlorette parties. After a year of planning, on April 21st we got married and what a beautiful day it was. All of my family came out from Indiana and from England. I saw my grandma who I hadn't seen in probably 6 years. I saw my aunt and uncle who I hadn't seen since I was 2. I didn't even remember them. The day was so much better than I could have ever anticipated!

After the wedding, we promptly hopped on a plane and went on our honeymoon to Kauai, Hi for 5 days and then 3 days in Honolulu. It is one of the most beautiful places that I have been to on this earth! It was relaxing, fun, adventurous and we had some amazing food as well! We enjoyed it so much that we are planning on going back in July with some friends of ours.

The summer was a blur with me moving into David's apartment and unpacking. We got our precious kitty Cali in May. With all of the adjustments and settling in the summer went by so quickly. We ended the summer with David's birthday. He turned 27 this year and is getting closer and closer to 30.

We ended the year on a great note. Melissa & Troy had their baby Jackson, in November. He is our first nephew and boy is he cute and so adorable especially when he smiles. It's so hard not to spoil him with clothes and other gifts. It was our first Christmas being married and we were busy with parties and other Christmas events.

Looking back the year went by so quickly. I am sure that 2008 will be go by just as fast and be memorable as well. We are going to Miami and then celebrating our first anniversary a couple of months later. We are planning a short trip to Santa Barbara for the weekend to celebrate. We aren't doing anything extravagant, so we can save our vacation hours for our trip to Hawaii in July. We are also thinking about spending next Christmas with my family in England. My parents gave us a gift certificate for American Airlines for Christmas. I am thinking they gave it to us as we initially had told them we didn't think we would be able to go due to how expensive it is. After getting the gift card, we have talked it over and I think we are going ahead and go for it! Right now is the perfect timing, as we don't have any kids and both of us are making good money. My grandma is doing ok health wise except for the flu she has right now. We really don't know how much longer she is going to be with us. Hopefully many years, but you really never know. So, it looks like we will be spending next Christmas in England!

I am definitely looking forward to 2008! Well we will soon be off to our friends the A's place to ring in the new year. Goodbye 2007! Hello 2008!

Bring On The Warmth!

Lately, it has been really cold for Southern California. The other day when I got up for work it was about 31 degrees! Too cold!
We got our electricity bill the other day and we were shocked at how much it was. It was around $130.00, which is what we normally pay during peak summer months, while running the air conditioning all day long. I started keeping track of how often the heat comes on and it is about once every hour! Our apartments were built in the mid 70's and I really think they weren't built very well. We are loosing a lot of heat through our windows and the huge sliding glass door in our bedroom. I really dislike the sliding glass door because I can feel the cold coming through the window while laying in bed. Since it has been even colder, I have been sleeping with the down comforter we have along with 3 other blankets on my side! Now you would think that because I grew up in the Midwest that I would be able to handle the cold weather but no! Its amazing how quickly you become climatized and I am always cold! When I go outside, I wear my thick pea coat, gloves and my scarf. I am dressed as if I was really in the windy city of Chicago!

I keep trying to think of ways we can keep it warmer in our apartment. I know this is tacky but the other night, we put a sheet in between the blinds and sliding glass door! Sad thing is that it only helps a little bit. I think I might just have to suck it up and be cold for awhile or cough up the moula to run the heat more. I think I am leaning towards the warmer idea. Now if I can only convince David!

On a side note, we only have a week and half till we get to go on vacation! I am starting to get excited about going to Miami. I think it is finally starting to sink in that we are going. With some of the Christmas cash I got as presents, we bought myself a new camera for the trip. It's nothing too special, just something small that I can fit in my purse and take snapshots of people. I think I am most excited about the size because my old camera is a monster compared to the new one! Another thing I am excited about for our trip, is that I checked the weather forecast and for next Wednesday when we fly in, it is supposed to be 78 degrees! Wohoo! I'll get to defrost in Miami!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Charlie the Coyote

I have been reading about Charlie for awhile now as he has been growing up. I found out about Charlie from another blog that I read called: Brood and was hooked the first second I saw it. Everyday, I look froward to my daily dose of Charlie. Well today, when I saw the picture of him, I was amazed by his cuteness. I knew I had to tell everyone about him. So, take a look and I am sure he will capture your attention as well!

Click here for: The Daily Coyote

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

Christmas day turned out better than I expected. David and I woke up at around 9 and opened our presents for each other. I really enjoyed spending the time together, just the two of us. He got me some cute sweaters, boots, and a professional flat iron which I have wanted for awhile but didn't want to spend the money on myself. I got him an ornament, a sweater and the Looney Tunes dvd collection that he wanted.

Here is the kitties getting their toys

It's a little blurry but this is of Cali with only a few of all the mice they got.

We then headed over to Troy and Melissa's for breakfast. The rest of the family came over as well to open presents. Everyone was very generous and I was really excited, when David's brother Noah gave us a gift card to our favorite Sushi place Ooka. I can't wait to use it! After all the presents were unwrapped, we had dinner at David's parents place. I brought garlic mashed potatoes, which were very yummy. So all in all it was a pretty good Christmas.

Here is baby Jackson in his Santa outfit that we bought him!

I went back to work today and luckily the day went by pretty quickly. After I got off, we went and saw the movie, National Treasure: Book of Secrets. It was really good and they left it open for another movie. We also saw the preview for the movie, Chronicles of Narina: Prince Caspian. I have read every book from the series, so I can't wait to see it when it comes out!

We met our friends Tim and Casey for dinner at Killarney's here in Riverside. My favorite thing to order off their menu is their potato soup! So good and a great price as well.

Well there is only two more days of the work week left and then it is the weekend. I need a day to just relax, as we have been on the go everyday for awhile. Hopefully it will come quickly!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Not So Traditional

Just a little bit of an update. At work today we had lunch at around 11. Towards the end of lunch the president got up and gave a little speech about how everyone has done a great job this year. He finished it up with telling us we could go home to spend the rest of the day with our families. I am really thankful to be part of a great company as they do so much for their employees.

I got home a little after 12 and finished working on a craft/Christmas present. I then finished up the last of the wrapping when David brought home even more presents which needed to be wrapped! Pretty much I spent the afternoon wrapping gifts. At around 6 we picked up In-N-Out as it was one of the only places open. We took it back to David's grandparents house, ate and watched a little bit of tv. We went by CVS pharmacy on the way back to pick up some eggs for tomorrow. I couldn't believe how busy the place was. I was really surprised and saddened to see that they will be open tomorrow on Christmas day.

But, I am currently sitting next to the Christmas tree and it looks beautiful. I have two presents left to wrap. In a second, we are going to walk over to Troy & Melissa's place to watch, Christmas Vacation. Its turning out to be a pretty good Christmas Eve even if its not what I had wished for.

Christmas Eve

So here I am on Christmas Eve at work. I really wish I wasn't working today. I don't feel motivated to do anything. David has today and the day after Christmas off as well. It would have been nice to be able to spend the extra time with him. One nice thing though was the drive to work. There was no traffic and I got here so quickly.

We also did a Secret Santa gift exchange and the office manager got my name. She goes all out for her person each year, so I got a huge gift basket full of Bath and Body stuff. I was extremely surprised and thankfully at her generosity. For my person, I had no clue what to buy her. On her slip, she put she liked jewelry and earrings. I don't know her very well so I was a little nervous buying jewelry as it is item that people have so many likes and dislikes. I ended up getting her a pair of earrings and I thought they were very pretty. I really wanted her to like her gift and I think she did from her reaction. I got my two co-workers that I share our room with, a gift bag with British candy that I bought from Cost Plus World Market. I love that store! I figured they probably had never had them before and it would be a cute gift.

My work is also doing a lunch for all of us so that is very nice of them. Last year they left us leave an hour early. I wish it was a half day though. I am sure they day is going to drag on forever!

For this evening, we don't have any plans. The hubby's family still hasn't decided what they want to do. I do know we aren't going down to our friends place in the OC. I was bummed to hear that. I told David, I still wanted to go to church this evening. I know our church does not have an Christmas Eve service so I don't know where we would go. Growing up my family always used to go to the midnight service and it was always so beautiful. I definitely miss those memories.

I need to consistently remind myself when I get frustrated that I am currently at work or that the Christmas plans aren't going as I would like, that we are extremely blessed by the Lord. He has provided David and I both with jobs that pay our bills, great friends, an amazing church and we live in a country where we aren't persecuted for our faith. It's so easy to get discouraged, but I need to take this time to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I do

Congratulations to two special couples that we know! About 2 weeks ago, our friends Erik and Joleen got engaged at California Adventure. They are planning their wedding for August. The second couple, Joey and Kirsty got married this past weekend at our church and then had their reception at the Lake Norconian Club. They used our wedding photographer Marlin Munoz and it was great to see him and his wife Marlene at the wedding. From the photos I have seen on Marlin's blog their pictures are going to amazing!

We are definitely are at the point in our lives where it seems like all our friends are already married or are getting married in the future. We have been going to lots of weddings lately.

Here is a picture of the newly engaged couple with David and I at Joey and Kirsty's wedding last weekend. I stole this off Joleen's myspace! :)

In two weeks, we will be heading out to Miami for Tim and Patty's wedding. I am really looking forward to the trip. I haven't taken any vacation time since our honeymoon and I really need a break. Also, I have never been to Miami or even Florida. I have gotten semi close to that area as I have been to Georgia and Alabama but thats still a way off. What is also pretty awesome is there are quite a few people from our church heading back to the wedding as well. It will definitely be a fun trip! I have been researching stuff for us to do and there is so much. One thing, on the top of my list is to go to a good cuban resturant as I have never tried it before and you can't pick a better place to try it for the first time. The other thing I want to do is go to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. It is supposed to be the Hearst Castle of the east.

I am sure most of the people that read my blog have never been to Miami but if you have, I would love to hear about what not miss or any recommendations!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One week left to go!


So I am finally putting up a picture of our Christmas tree. It only took me almost 3weeks to do so! I was really excited to get our tree this year, since it is our first Christmas being married. I think it looks a little bit of a boy tree though because most of the ornaments are David's thus there are trucks or boy ornaments. I don't have many ornaments, as all mine from growing up are still at my parent's house in Indiana. My mom said she would mail them to me and they are supposed to arrive on Friday. Hopefully, they actually arrive that day as it would be quite sad if they only got here the day before Christmas.

Celebrating Christmas wise, we don't have any real plans yet. David requested waffles for breakfast. We will probably then open our presents for each other and then head over to his parents place for the rest of the day. We have been invited to spend Christmas Eve with our friends that live in the OC. I really like going down there as the food is always delicious and the company great. We then all go together to the Christmas Eve service which my family always did when I was little. Hopefully we will be able to go down there again this year.

I spoke with my mom on Sunday and they had received 9 inches of snow! She had just finished shoveling the driveway. Her snowblower clonked out on her half way thru and she had to finish it by hand. When she told me this I remembered that I love the snow to visit but not live in it!

I have most of my shopping done and only have a couple of little things I need to get. I have been slowly working on wrapping all the presents, so I wouldn't have 5 hours of wrapping to do on Christmas Eve. At my work though, we are doing a Secret Santa gift exchange and I have no clue what to get the person I picked! I will probably be buying her present last minute! Anyways, there are only 7 days left till Christmas. It sure has gone by quickly!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Do you need a snowday?


It really hasn't felt like Christmas for me this year. Every year, I always feel like something is missing and its the snow! We had some rain last Friday and you can see the snow on the nearby mountains. I suggested to David that right before Christmas that we go up there so I can get my snow fix. Hopefully we won't be too busy so we can. Till then, I found this cute website while reading the blog: How About Orange, where you can make your own snowflakes. Check it out!

Do you need a snowday?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tacky Sweater Party

We had an awesome turnout on Friday for our tacky sweater party. I was really surprised at how many people dressed up and how amazingly horrible the sweaters were! It was so much fun, as we had a contest for the tackiest sweater, went caroling, played SingStar and watched Snowball Express. I actually fell asleep during the movie as I was dead tired from all the cooking I did and preparation for the party but I had a great time!

Here are all of us girls with our sweaters!

David and I with our sweaters. David went all out with the snow pants and santa hat!

Even Jackson got dressed up for the party!

Matt and Joleen who won the contest for Tackiest Sweater

The spread of food:

As for food I made deviled eggs, spinach and artichoke dip, crossaints stuffed with chicken, green onion and cream cheese, bruschetta, phyllo turnovers filled with ricotta and shrimp and wassail. I would normally post each recipe but that would be so much work and I don't feel like it. So, I figured I would let you know how the recipe turned out and what substitutions I made and the link.

Deviled Eggs- well I didn't really follow a recipe. I tasted it as I went. I threw in more if needed. But basically I used mayo, little bit of butter, goulden's mustard, little bit of white vinegar and paprika. I had never used the white vinegar and I think it really added that little something that was missing when I had made them in the past.

Spinach and Artichoke dip: This was a great recipe! The only thing that I noticed is that I would add more cheese. Basically the recipe says use this much cheese and if you want to add more do so. Well I would at least double it. I didn't think it came out creamy enough but I had lots of compliments though. It's probably just personal perference on how creamy you like it.

Crossaints stuffed with cream cheese, green onion and chicken: I was told how to make this from my mother in law so there is no recipe online to link to but I will write this one out for you.

2 chicken breasts
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
1/2 cup of chopped green onion
2 packages of crossaints (8 per roll)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil 2 frozen chicken breasts for 12 min on high. Once cooked, shred or chop into small pieces. In small bowl combine chicken with one 8 oz package of cream cheese and blend together. Add about a 1/2 a cup of chopped green onion. On a greased baking sheet place a teaspoon of the chicken mixture on the large end of the crossaint. Roll crossaint up like normal and tuck the ends under the bottom. Bake for 10 min. or till golden brown.

Bruschetta: I really liked how this came out. Next time I might use a little bit less onion and I did add garlic like the reviews said. I will definitely make this one again!

Phyllo Turnovers Filled With Ricotta and Shrimp: I got rave reviews on this one but man they were a lot of work! I didn't know what I was getting my self into as I had never worked with Phyllo dough before and it is very time consuming. I tried them and I loved the filling but the dough not so much as it was very flaky. Knowing how long it takes I might try wonton wrapers next time and see how they taste.

Theres no recipe to link on this one so here are the ingrediants and directions.

2 guarts of apple juice
1 can of frozen pineapple concentrate
1 can of frozen orange concentrate
10 cloves
4 sticks of cinnamon

Combine all ingrediants in either a crock pot or in large saucepan over the stove. If using crockpot, let it cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. If over the stove, cook covered on medium low heat for 2 to 3 hours.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Splish! Splash!


What a wonderful sound to wake up and hear it raining. I was excited to see that it was raining this morning. We so desperately need a good rain but unfortunately this is no where near enough. I figured my drive to work would be worse this morning so I left a little bit early. Surprisingly traffic was actually great and I got to work extra early. According to it is only supposed to rain today and I will be stuck inside for the most of it. Booo! I wish I was at home in front of the window with a good book and a hot cup of tea!

Luckily it's Friday and the weekend is upon us. It will be another busy weekend for David and I, as tomorrow night we have my work Christmas party. I need to go after work to look for something to wear to the party. I was thinking about trying to find a black dress as I don't have one. Yes, you heard me I don't have the staple item of every women's wardrobe, the little black dress that every women should have! For one thing, I am not dress a person! When I do have to dress up which is on rare occasions, give me nice slacks and a nice top and heels any day over a dress! Normally, the only time I will wear a dress is to weddings and that's about it. We actually have 2 weddings coming up in the next few weeks and I should probably get a dress that is more suitable for a winter wedding, thus the black dress. We shall see what I find on my shopping excursion today. Don't be surprised if I just buy a new top to go with my slacks!

All this talk about the little black dress got me wondering. How many women actually have one hanging in their closet? According to my co-workers most women do and they were shocked to hear I didn't have one. Soo, my question is how many of you have the little black dress in your closet?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decorating the Office

My co-workers and I decided that we were going to decorate our little room in the office. We went with a "Winter Wonderland" theme. I made tons of paper snowflakes. We hung them from the ceiling along with the ball ornaments in different shades of blue and also silver ones. I think it came out pretty well. I took a picture from my cell phone but since I don't have a snazzy IPhone the quality is pretty bad. I think you can still get the idea of what it looks like though.

I love making the paper snowflakes because they bring back so many childhood memories of Christmas and the snow. All through out grade school, each year we would make the paper snowflakes and I got pretty good at making them. I grew up in an area where when you woke up in the morning you immediately looked out the window to see if it had snowed while you were asleep. If it did you ran and turned on the radio and waited with your breath held to hear your schools name on the list of schools that had canceled class.

For me its not really Christmas unless it is cold and snowy. This is something that I struggle with because here in California it can be in the 80's and sunny on Christmas day. Hopefully, next year David and I will be able to spend it in Indiana with my parents and I can give him a tour of Chicago.
When I hear the word Christmas, I think about walking down the twinkling Michigan Ave(also called the Magnificent Mile) in Chicago along with all the other shoppers with their big shopping bags while passing carolers on the sidewalk. You stop to look at all the window displays decorated for Christmas and you can see your breath in the air. Everyone is bundled up warm with their cute gloves and scarfs while sipping their hot coffee or hot chocolate. Hmmmm, what great memories!

So since you have heard about some of my favorite memories, what is one of your favorite memories of the holidays? Blog about it or leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My little curious friend

Whatever I do while at home I am always being followed by our two kitties. They watch me get dressed, brush my teeth, cook and clean. Cali's favorite is to watch me wash dishes. Now Ella isn't as interested in what I do as Cali, but when she does she gets a little more involved.

See below a picture of her in my kitchen cabinets. Now these aren't the cabinets down near the ground. Nope, these are the high ones!

So Cali won't be jealous here is a picture of her.


So I know I am a little late to be posting about Thanksgiving, but David and I have been so very busy. The four days off from work were great. I was sad when the alarm went off on Monday morning.

Anyways, I started the holiday off by heading to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving. I braved the grocery store throngs and picked up everything I needed for Friday. Stater Brothers was so very busy with people. They had every check out open, so my wait in line was actually not that long. I went home and made a pumpkin pie and Double Layer Cheese Cake. The cheesecake was delicious. I didn't take any pictures, so I might make it again so I can write up an official post about it. On TG day, we went to Mimi's for lunch with David's family and I would say the food was average and the wait was long. Everyone else enjoyed it but it's not my cup of tea. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful as David was filming his last race in Irwindale. :(

On Friday morning, we woke up at 8:30 which is quite early for us. We got ready and headed out to get our Christmas tree. We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast as it is right next to Home Depot. I got an Egg Mcmuffin and an orange juice. I'm not a big breakfast fan but I love Egg McMuffin's! Since it was still early, we were one of the first few people to go through the trees at Home Depot and had first dibs on the ones. The hubs is pretty particular about the kind of tree he gets. He will only have a Noble Fir which of course is the most expensive kind. I am kinda glad he is picky because growing up my parents would never spend the extra money to get a Noble.

After getting the tree and setting it up, the LSU & Arkansas game came on. Both of David's brothers came over along with his dad to watch the game. It was such an amazing game and I can't believe that Arkansas actually won it in overtime. When they won the guys were screaming and jumping in the air. It was quite amusing. After the game, I decorated the tree while listening to Christmas music and the turkey cooked. When dinner was ready everyone came back over including Melissa and Davids mom. This was my first turkey so I was glad that it came out really good. I really had no clue what I was doing, hehe.

Picture of me in my tiny kitchen

The spread: very simple but oh so good.

The mashed potatoes were amazing. I used two whole sticks of butter, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and Monterrey jack cheese. Yumm!

Well this is getting long so I will post pictures of the tree and decorations in another blog.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays

I am getting excited about the holidays, especially since this is our first real Christmas since getting married. The hubs are I are going to be extremely busy this year. We have lots of Christmas parties to go to and having one of our own. We also decided to do a Christmas movie night. Starting after Thanksgiving, each Thursday till Christmas we are going to watch a different Christmas movie. We have invited friends and family to join us as well. Here are the movies we are going to be watching.

I would have to say my favorite Christmas movie is a tie between Christmas Vacation and Elf. What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Our Christmas party we are having is a "Tacky Sweater" theme. We are going to go caroling, watch the Disney movie Snowball Express and have a contest for the tackiest sweater. We are also going to have wassail which I love. It's one of my favorite things about Christmas. It's so good!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am a little sad because we are going to go Mimi's for lunch with David's family. Not exactly my idea of Thanksgiving, but we don't have enough room in our place to host it and because of other circumstances. It's a long story. David also has to work that evening. Booo! Anyways, we decided that I would make a small turkey on Friday for dinner. Friday morning, we are going to go get the Christmas tree! Mid morning David and his brothers are going to watch the LSU vs. Arkansas game. They are big Razorback fans along with also rooting for USC. What I think I am most looking forward to is officially being able to listen to Christmas music, decorate the tree and you can't forget having two days off from work. Wohoo!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cinnamon Rolls


These are semi home made cinnamon rolls, that I made by using Pillsbury's Hot Roll Mix. One of the girls on the What's Cooking board, on the made these one day and they sounded good, so I figured I would give it a try. I call it semi home made because you still have to kneed the dough and let it rise. I am not experienced in any way when it comes to rolls or bread. I once tried to make pretzels and they were a flop. Ever since then, I have kinda stayed away from making anything bread related. I had a lot of fun making this and they came out really well except the box states they need to bake for 20 to 30 min and at 15 minutes mine were already darker brown. As for making these again, I might not as I personally thought they tasted like the premade kind in the pop can and those are much less work. I am just going to post pictures as the recipe is on the side of the box. Overall, I am glad I made them though and I am considering taking a stab at making some bread. You just might see a bread recipe on here soon!

Here is the dough after I rolled it out and sprinkled on the cinnamon and sugar.

Ready to go into the oven.

2 Forms of Cute: Babies & Clothes

I have been slacking in the blogging department lately. One, I didn't cook that much last week and two I have just been lazy. First off, Melissa had her baby almost two weeks ago. I have been bad aunt by not blogging about my new nephew sooner. Jackson was born on November 7th and was 7 pounds and 12 ounces.

Here is a picture of my hubby holding Jackson at the hospital. For more pictures you can read Melissa's blog.

Proud Uncle and Dad

On Saturday, David and I got lunch at Nordstroms Cafe. We both got the Lime & Cilantro Chicken Salad. Very good! We then went shopping for some winter clothes as I realized the other day that I barely have any. We stopped by the new H&M store at the Riverside Mall. Oh boy, they have some cute clothes and such great prices! They took over the old Alley store and have women's, men's and children's clothes. I got a new sweater and two new shirts. I definitely need to go back though because as we were walking out, I saw the most adorable cardigans!

Friday, November 16, 2007

6 Years!

6 years ago today David and I started dating! I know since we are married now we aren't supposed to celebrate our dating anniversary anymore, but I figured I would post some pictures of the two of us through our journey! I seriously can't believe that we have know each other that long. It has gone by so quickly. I look back at some of the pictures when we first got together and I am amazed at how young I look. I forget sometimes that I was 19 years old when we met. So here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Please excuse the quality as some of these photos were taken before we had a digital camera.

This one was taken about a month after we met.

We took a trip back to Indiana to see my parents and we visited Chicago as well. David was very excited to go to a Cubs game!

Lake Michigan

Our 1 year anniversary: We went to Santa Barbara

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chicken Tortilla Soup


This is another recipe that I can check of my list. I had been craving it for awhile and decided that I wanted to try and make it myself. I made a couple of variations and it came out great.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Source: Tyler Florence on the
Yield: 4 servings

2 tbls olive oil
1 medium white onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded
2 cans of Rotele tomatoes
4 cans of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups of water from boiling chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil, for pan-frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips (I used flour tortillas)
1 1/2 cups boiled and shredded chicken (about 3 chicken breasts)
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced (optional)
1 cup shredded Jack cheese (optional)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 lime, cut in wedges, for serving (optional)


In a large pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. While vegetables are cooking, boil chicken breasts in 4 cups of chicken broth over medium high heat for about 10 min until thoroughly cooked. Once done, pour the liquid into the vegtables. Shred the chicken and then add to the vegetables. Add 2 cups of water, season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1-inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until they are crisp on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter and sprinkle with salt while they are still hot.

Pour soup into 4 soup bowls. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips and cheese if using. Garnish with cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


I have been dying to make something with pumpkin as I have read some many great food blogs with recipes that look amazing. This afternoon, I felt like baking and decided that I would finally make this recipe I saw on my friend Courtney's blog. I decided I would make as cupcakes so they would be easy to take to work as there is no way the hubby and I could eat all of these ourselves. I also wanted a little bit of chocolate in them. I considered just adding chips to the batter but decided against it as the recipe already seemed pretty rich. I put only a couple of chocolate chips on the tops of the batter before popping them into the oven. They came out so good! Once you put the frosting on you don't see the chocolate chips so its nice little surprise when you bite into them. I gave one to David to try and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Are you trying to kill me". :) Also, I got to use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this recipe! I don't use it enough but when I do I love it!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: Courtney
Yield: dozen and half

2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
1 cup of oil
1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
2 cups of flour
2 tsp of cinnamon ( I did 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice)
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt

Cream sugar and eggs together, then add oil and pumpkin and mix together. Sift all dry ingredients together and add gradually into pumpkin mixture. Pour into greased cupcake pan. Add some chocolate chips to the tops of the cupcakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until knife comes out clean from center.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz of cream cheese (I used fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup of butter
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla (I used 2 tsp.)
Cream butter and cream cheese together with a mixer. Add in gradually the powdered sugar. Add vanilla. When cupcakes are cool, frost with frosting.



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