Thursday, March 21, 2013

Family Outing

     This week is Spring Break for both Monkey and me.  I'm catching up of a lot of things from running to blogging, but most importantly I'm catching up on quality time with my little family.  We've had a wonderful weekend, and I'm looking forward to some down time.  I even managed to clean the house today!

     Friday after I picked Monkey up from daycare we went for a run.  It was an hour long affair, and we ran about 4 1/2 miles.  When I got back to the garage and parked the stroller, I was looking forward to a shower and some relaxation before I got started on dinner, only that didn't happen.  As I unstrapped Monkey from her stroller, I noticed she was missing something.  One of her boots had mysteriously vanished as I ran.  Just then J came back from the gym, so we decided to make it a family game, so we leashed up the dog, got the kid a second pair of shoes, and set off to find Monkey's missing boot.  Monkey was loving it because she was out of the stroller this time, and she pretty much set the pace as both her daddy and I were worn out.  (Did I mention I had just run 4 1/2 miles, and here we were retracing that path?)  Yeah, our search turned up nothing, even though we roamed all over the base to find that silly shoe.  Monkey didn't complain, though, because we ended up at the park as a consolation price.  By the time we all came home J, the dog and I were worn out, but Monkey was nice and revved up.  She helped me park the stroller back in the garage, and that's where we found her elusive boot.  Apparently I should have swept the perimeter before heading out on our particular mission, but at least we had a nice little family outing.  And we all slept really well that night.

     I have also had extra time to try a few new things around the kitchen (of course), and I want to share something yummy with y'all:

Homemade Parfaits
These were so simple, and yet so good to go with breakfast the other morning.  Here's what you'll need:

Chobani Greek Yogurt, Vanilla
Rolled oats
a dash of cinnamon

Simply spoon a layer of yogurt into the bottom, add some oats, drizzle with honey and blueberries, then repeat until the jar is full.  Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top, and you're in business.

     I put mine in these jelly jars, because I knew Monkey couldn't eat all of that, so I just twist the lid on top, and save the rest for later.  The best part about these is that you can mix it up.  Add different berries or maybe even some chocolate chips.  Enjoy :-)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Everyone's Infected

     Alright y'all, I've finally done it.  I've jumped on the Walking Dead bandwagon.  I admit it.  I'm addicted.  J had the bright idea to introduce me to the series the day I started my A&P II class.  You know, that class that I have to focus really hard on, because it's my last main prerequisite before Nursing school.  At first, I swore I'd never watch another episode because I had night sweats after the first episode, but then I got to the part where the scientist explained the "science" behind the disease, and now I'm good.  Being afraid of zombies is about on the same level as being afraid of dinosaurs.  However, I still have an overly active imagination, and I swear I see zombies everywhere.  Thursday morning as I was driving to class I saw this kid walking to school on the side of the road, but the way he was limping really slow, with his arms swinging wildly by his sides, had me ready to scream, "Walker!". It turned out he was just trying to be gangster, and apparently he couldn't move too well with his pants halfway to the ground.  I laughed at myself before heading to school.  During my Public Speaking class, I noticed a janitor roaming around outside the classroom, moving very slowly, limping slightly.  I caught myself looking around the room in search of a blunt object for self defense in case this turned out to be another zombie, but then I caught myself and had to roll my eyes at my own hyperactive imagination.  Finally I was heading home from a study group after school, and that's when I saw the worst sight yet.  An elderly woman was walking along the side of the road, and I noticed that her face look horribly disfigured, even from a distance.  There was something seriously wrong with the lines of her jaw and nose, so much so that I couldn't simply laugh off the siren in my head screaming, "Walker! Walker!"  That is, until I got close enough to see that her glasses were sitting low on the bridge of her nose, and this was causing a glare and giving her the "disfigured" look.  I think I need to take a break from the land of zombies and hang out in reality for a while.  At least until reality stops looking like something out of Hollywood, or at least something a little more attractive from Hollywood would be nice.

     If nothing else, this show has sparked some seriously interesting conversations between my husband and myself.  It started with our debate about the legitimacy of an actual zombie, and it's been all downhill from there.  He thinks it would be interesting to see society start up from the beginning again. I find myself just wondering what the heck we'd eat.  I'm not a picky eater, but I like my kitchen and my ability to play around in there.  I think I'd miss food the most in a post-apocalyptic society.  Especially stuff like this:

Paula Deen's Chicken Fried Chicken, Smashed Potatoes, & Milk Gravy

Chicken Fried Chicken
2/3 cup whole buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 sleeves saltine crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 TBS seasoned salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thickness
Vegetable oil for frying

In a shallow dish, whisk together buttermilk and eggs.  In a separate shallow dish, combine crushed crackers, flour, and seasoned salt.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place a cooling rack over baking sheet.  Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off.  Dredge in cracker mixture to coat.  Place chicken on prepared cooling rack, and let stand for 20 minutes to set crust.  In a large skillet, pour oil to depth of 1/2".  Heat oil over medium-high heat to 360 degrees.  Fry chicken in batches for 4-6 minutes per side or until chicken is golden brown and cooked through.  Set chicken on a clean cooling rack, and keep warm.  Reserve 2 TBS drippings for the gravy.  

Home Style Milk Gravy
2 TBS dripping from chicken
4 TBS all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large skillet, hear reserved 2 TBS drippings over medium-high heat.  Add flour, whisking constantly for 2 minutes.  Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.   Cook for 8-10 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Perfect Smashed Potatoes
3 lbs red potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

In a large Dutch oven, add potatoes and water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain well.  Add butter, cream cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper; mask with a potato masher until desired consistency.

Of course we don't eat stuff like this everyday, but nothing beats this much love on a beautiful Sunday afternoon like today's.  Enjoy :-)