Tuesday, November 30, 2010

When in Rome...

Or, should I say Indiana?

On vacation the rest of the week (heading to North Carolina in just a few minutes!). Have a great week!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tasty Leftover Idea

First of all - how was your Thanksgiving? Good? Mine was great. We spent Thanksgiving here in Indiana with Matt's family, and we had a wonderful time! Have you ever had Thanksgiving at a cemetery before? No? Me either ... until this year. Matt's dad's side of the family gets together for Thanksgiving at a building in a cemetery, for reasons unbeknownst to me. I believe it's because it's the only place they could find that fit everyone? Unsure. What I DO know is that there isn't a bathroom - only an outhouse type deal outside. In the cemetery. No thanks! The cemetery was also on a "dead end." Giggle.

Anyway, I made a giant batch of cranberry sauce because I LOVE it and must have it smothered all over my turkey and stuffing. I always forget that not a lot of other people like it, though, so I had a ton of cranberry sauce leftover. That's when I discovered this recipe over on the Panini Happy blog: Pulled Turkey Cranberry BBQ Sliders. I modified this a bit (would you believe we didn't have hardly any turkey leftover? so I used a rotisserie chicken), and I absolutely LOVED it. So did Matt - it definitely got the Man A-Okay.

1 tbsp canola oil (I used EVOO)
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, finely chopped, seeds removed (I forgot both the onion AND the jalapeno)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp prepared mustard (we used probably more like 2 tbsp of horseradish mustard - gave it a great kick!)
roast turkey, shredded (or umm rotisserie chicken)
Hawaiian dinner rolls, halved lengthwise (we didn't use buns and just ate it alone)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and jalapeno (or, you know, don't) and cook over medium heat until the onions have softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so. Add cranberry sauce, ketchup and mustard and simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning.

The original recipe says to remove it from the heat and THEN mix in the turkey/chicken, but we just shredded the rotisserie chicken and then tossed it in the saucepan. Since the chicken was cold, I left it on the stove for a bit, stirring occasionally, to heat it up.

The verdict? Delish! You can make it as sliders and put the turkey/chicken on buns, or not. I reheated it today, served it over a salad with romaine, cucumbers, green onions, corn and black beans for a little bbq tex mex salad. Delish!

How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe Swap

Okay, I realize that it's probably a little late for a Thanksgiving recipe swap, but I am late in reading my blogs (per usual) and just came across b.e.g.'s recipe swap post. I usually make my grandma's chocolate chip pecan pie for Thanksgiving, but this year I made Pioneer Woman's chocolate bourbon pecan pie to try something new.

Instead, I will post the recipe for one of my family's Thanksgiving traditions - noodle kugel!!!!!! Now, I realize a lot of you probably aren't familiar with kugel. What can I say? It's a Jew thing. :) My parents always make kugel for Thanksgiving, and this year I thought I would make it to take over to my in-laws for dinner tomorrow. Kugel is basically a baked noodle pudding type deal. I know it might sound weird, but the main ingredients are egg noodles, eggs, cream cheese, butter, and sugar. CLEARLY you can't go wrong.

1 pound medium egg noodles (I always use the No-Yolks)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened (I always use Neufchatel cheese)
1 1/4 cups sugar
8 eggs, well beaten
4 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
dash salt

2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and mix well. Blend in eggs. Add milk, vanilla, lemon juice and salt. Add noodles and mix thoroughly. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Mix graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of noodles. Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until nicely browned and crusty on top. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.

Just give this a shot - trust me, you will love it. Even though it is kinda sweet, I serve it as a Thanksgiving side. Enjoy!

So Very Thankful

I am so very thankful for so many things this year:

...My husband, returning safe and sound - and early - from deployment.

...A loving family that supported me emotionally this year.

...My amazing friends who talked with me day and night, came to visit, welcomed me into their homes, and kept me company while my husband was gone.

...A snuggly pup who kept my feet, and my heart (cheesy, I know!), warm this year.

...And so many other things. I know I am not alone in saying that I am very, very thankful this year. I hope that all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow with family, friends, pups, you name it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Happiness

There's a lot of happiness going on today - yes, even though it's Monday. It's the Monday of Thanksgiving week! Which means that not only is this a short work week for most of us, but it's also the week of my absolute favorite holiday.

I don't have a lot to say this morning (it's almost 6:30 and I'm heading out the door to work in a couple of minutes), but I was catching up on Glee over the weekend and just watched last week's great episode with Gwyneth Paltrow. Did y'all see this episode? I am not a huge fan of hers usually, but I thought she was great on Glee. I loved her character - so much fun.

Anyway, their Umbrella/Singin' in the Rain number at the end has to be one of my all-time favorite Glee performances! Something about the water on the stage and the rain coming down in the background ... it just seems almost like a dream. I love!!! And just in case you missed it ... why don't you watch it here this morning so that you can start your Monday on a happy note.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oscar's New Bed

I thought I would show you cute photos instead of writing a real post ... since it's early, and I'm out the door on my way to court (for a student, not me!), and I'm still struggling with motivation because work has been such a shitshow lately.

Without further ado ... Oscar curled up here this morning, and it was TOO CUTE not to photograph.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm trying!

Trying to get back to normal life. It's been harder than I thought! Work has been hell lately ... so much crap going on with my students that I am just so stressed out, all the time. This past week was especially awful, with this really terrible situation involving SEVERAL of my students. And then a few more fights broke out (once again - my students) and in the end, I believe I had 3 students expelled and 4 suspended this week alone. I am so frustrated with so many things right now that all I do is stress about work. In the car in the morning ... stress stress stress. On the way home ... stress stress stress.

Thank goodness that Matt is home! At least I can come home and be so damn happy. Because I am. I still think it's crazy that he's there every day when I come home from work - it makes it all bearable lately! But when I'm home, all I want to do is hang out with him. I know I have been neglecting my friends (both real-life and internet friends!) and I'm so, so sorry. I am trying hard to remember how to have a husband at home AND talk to friends! I know I successfully did it pre-deployment, and I've been told it will come back to me soon. In the meantime, try not to forget about me! I've been so stressed about work stuff that when I get home, all I want to do is curl up and cuddle and just relax. No computer, no nothing.

So. That's that. How are all of you? I miss you, I really do!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

This post was obviously supposed to go live yesterday, but I had some serious blogger issues resulting in me giving up on the computer for the day and going to bed. Even though it's late ... the sentiment remains the same, no matter WHAT day of the year it is.

To my favorite veteran and all veterans,

today and every day,

thanks. America remains the land of the free because of the brave.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2 years ago today ...

... was a really good day. And today I'll be celebrating our 2nd anniversary with my husband, which we did not think would be possible this year! Happy Anniversary, Matt! I love you. <3

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm alive!

Hello, friends! I certainly disappeared for awhile, didn't I? But I think I had a darn good reason (see previous post). Matt is home yayyyyyyyyyyyy!

Sorry, the excitement hasn't passed yet. I just can't believe he's home - and so early! But I'll let you in on a little secret - we've known that he was coming home early for the last month and a half or so. We kept this to ourselves, really only telling our families, in case something went wrong and he couldn't come home early after all. We just didn't want people asking us all the time when he was coming home.

And even though this seems to never happen with the Army, his return date kept getting ... earlier. I know - weird, right??! I thought so too. He made it to Kuwait about two weeks ago, and we were hoping that he could get out of there pretty quickly. By a week ago Saturday, he was on a plane to Ireland, and the next morning he called me from Atlanta. Craziness! He got to Camp Shelby in Mississippi late that night and we were maybe hoping he would get here on Thursday or Friday. Last Monday evening, he called and said that he was going really quickly through all his paperwork etc and thought he would be done midday on Tuesday, but we didn't think he could get a flight out until Wednesday. Eek! Wednesday! Amazing!

And then on Tuesday, he called late afternoon and said "I hope you don't have plans tonight!" I only had 5 hours notice before his plane was landing - which REALLY meant 3, since it's about an hour drive to the airport and I had to get there super early to make sure I could get a gate pass and get through security and everything.

Okay, I guess I didn't HAVE to get there super early, but ... well, it's just hard to sit at home twiddling your thumbs when your husband is coming home after being away for nine and a half months. You know?

So anyway. I got to the airport and the second I walked in, checked the arrivals board - his flight was getting in THIRTY MINUTES EARLY! Amazing! Good thing I got there so early, because once I got my gate pass, went through security, and got to the gate, I only had about 20 minutes before his flight landed.

Those twenty minutes consisted of me furiously pacing back and forth, alternately sweating and freezing, and texting various people. You know, the usual. Imagine my surprise when he walked off that plane in uniform! Matt HATES wearing his uniform and had planned to change at the airport in MS. However, he got so little notice about his travel plans that he didn't have time. That's okay, it made for a good photo op. :) So he walked off the plane ... and looked right past me! He didn't expect me to be there, so he was pretty surprised (don't worry, he eventually realized it was me). It was amazing.

And it still is! But you know what's not amazing? Having to go back to work. I was on fall break last week, so I was off Thursday and Friday - which was amazing, just perfect timing. I took Wednesday off at the last minute since he was getting in so late on Tuesday, plus I knew we'd be up half the night talking (we were). So after 5 glorious days off with my husband, I am up nice and early to go back to work today. And absolutely dreading every minute of it.

So - here's wishing that the week flies, and it's Friday again before we know it!