Sunday, April 4, 2010


Do you know how difficult it is to skin a whole bag of tiny key limes?  Check back on June 5th to see how the cordial turned out.
I'm thinking of a drink using the key limoncello and eagle brand milk.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anniversary Celebration at LoRusso's

We celebrated our 36th anniversary by using our gift certificate to LoRusso's.  We had never been there, but we were very impressed with almost everything about the restaurant.  The atmosphere is very romantic complete with a piano player.  We had a great table that was tucked into a cubby-hole with drapes surrounding it for nearly complete privacy and low-noise.  The food was awesome.  Dad had some sort of halibut with conch and a chili reduction glaze, and I had a filet with asiago cream sauce.  I've got photos of some of the food, which I'll post later.
Since it was our anniversary we received the free dessert and a photo to take home.  The waitress was extraordinary.  A perfect evening.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chicago Week-end

We had a great time in Chicago with Rachel and Josh.  It was the week-end of my birthday and they treated me to a fabulous breakfast/brunch at Orange - which is a very cool place that I definitely would like to patronize again.  The Field Museum was remarkable and not do-able in one day, or even one week-end.  Josh took us up to his office and we got to see where he works (or pretends to work :-)).
That casserole that Rachel is holding was a yummy breakfast casserole that we had before we went to the Field Museum.  She has a nick-name for it, but I have forgotten what it is, so maybe she'll remind me here.
Lots of fun -- thanks to our hosts!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Birthday John!

Happy Birthday John!  I hope you have a wonderful birthday.  Wish we could be there to celebrate with you.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Christmas Ham Bean Soup

Christmas Ham Bean Soup

1 bone from a ham
6 beef boullion cubes
1 bag brown beans
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
Pepper - LOTS
Curry Powder, to taste.

Bring the beans to a boil for 20 minutes and then allow to sit for 2 hours with a lid.  (Or put the beans in the crockpot the night before).

Place the hambone in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes or longer.  Remove the ham bone to a serving platter and allow to cool.

Add the chopped onion, carrots and celery to the simmering ham broth water.    When the ham bone cools enough, remove all the little pieces of ham.  You'll be surprised about how much is still left on that bone!  Discard the bone and return the ham bits to the soup.  Add the softened beans to the soup.  Continue to simmer on low for about 1 hour.  (Or place into a crockpot on low).
When the beans are tender, add the beef boullion, salt, pepper and curry powder.  We use about 2-3 tablespoons of black pepper.

This makes a huge vat of delicious soup which can be used for lunches or dinners and there is enough to freeze for later.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cutter says....

"Just because you haven't been bitten doesn't mean you can't start today."

Source:  The Bad Dog Calendar

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year and Birthday!

All -- have a great and happy new year. Here's a health to 2010. And Dad, happy birthday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Happy Birthday to my pretty princess.  I hope that all your wishes come true.  We love you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quote of the Week, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Day comes,

 by statute, once a year; to

the honest man it comes as

frequently as the heart of

gratitude will allow.

~Edward Sandford Martin
Humorist, Journalist, co-founder of "Harvard Lampoon" and the national humor magazine "Life."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pizza Chefs!

Rach and I became pizza chefs last night. We found a "pizza cooking class" held at a restaurant near our apartment called Frasca. It was really fun. The head chef (who owns several restaurants around the City) demonstrated how to make dough from scratch. He then gave us our own dough balls, which we stretched and placed toppings. Rachel's before and after is below. The class was complete with two glasses of wine each - yum!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More things to be thankful for...

1. Sunshine, especially after a week of relentless rain.
2. iTunes. :-)
3. Music -- all kinds.
4. Hot water heaters
5. Dogs -- they like you even when nobody else does.
6. Instant pleasures -- Digital photos, e-mail, MP3's, on-line movies, etc. -- you get the idea.
7. Plenty food to put in the pot for "Soupy Sunday"
8. Clean clothes -- and the ease with which we can acquire them these days. (My grandmother did laundry once a week on a ringer washer, hung them out to dry, sprinkled them and then ironed them -- but they were clean in the end, just a lot more work!).
9. Bold hot coffee in the morning. Any morning, but especially on Saturday mornings.
10. Beautiful colors in our world, and the ability to see them.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Green Tomato Cake?

That's right! CAKE!
We were wondering what to do with all the green tomatoes that were left at the end of this year's harvest, and although I love green tomato pickles, I didn't have time to deal with all of that, so.....
Thanks to the internet, I found an alternate solution. The cake turned out yummy. We baked one to try and one to freeze. I wish you were here to try it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I think I just entered middle age...

Pandora served up Regina Spektor, and, against my will, I gave the song a thumbs up.


Next I'll be sipping hot tea and listening to Michael Buble.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jon Stewart Lampoons CNN for Fact Checking SNL

I think CNN has redefined the definition of absurdist humor.

Note: The best stuff is from about 1:12 to about 2:42.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
CNN Leaves It There
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Little things to be thankful for...

Fall is my favorite time of year. In addition to the many BIG things we have to be thankful for, I decided to start a list of the little things, that we often take for granted, that I am thankful for.
1. On a cold fall morning -- when you take a shower the water is warm and you know it will warm you up right away.
2. Extra blankets at the foot of the bed when it's cold.
3. Electricity - when you flip a switch, the light comes on
4. Library books
5. Gas stations in close proximity
6. Easy access to an airport
7. The curious thrill of advancing technology.
8. Advil / ibuprofen
9. Warm socks
10. Hot coffee on a saturday morning
11. Getting up extra early, and while driving to your destination, observing all the houses that are still dark with their residents still dreaming inside.
12. Clean clothes.
Anyone care to add to the list?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leftover Soup

When it comes to soup, I tend to throw ingredients together and forget about a recipe. Here's one I did on Saturday that turned out well, so I am going to try to put the list of ingredients down before I forget. It is basically leftover soup...
Drizzle of olive oil.
Onion, chopped
Garlic chopped
3-4 cups defatted chicken broth
2-3 tomatoes chopped (or one can)
1-2 carrots sliced, or a handful of the mini carrots sliced
Celery, including leafy tops -- chopped (about 1 cup?)
1 jalopeno, seeded and chopped finely
Left over taco meat (about 3/4 cup?)
1 small can tomato sauce
a healthy dash of seasoned salt, cumin, and chili powder.
Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add broth and all the other ingredients and simmer until the carrots and celery are tender. Add the seasonings toward the end of cooking.
There's no science to this -- you could add other vegetables (corn, green beans, cabbage --whatever you have leftover).
This combo turned out nicely!

CNN Outdoes SNL

Is a parody of a parody a paradox? I don't know either, but when CNN fact checks Saturday Night Live -- really! -- I'm pretty sure I'm living in a parallel universe. I keep glancing nervously at my office door to see if evil Kirk and evil Spock are here to kidnap me (and, by their clothes, force me to perform in an evil intergalactic version of the Village People.)

For CNN, it's a move so desperate it reminds me of a girl from high school, Sally, whose nickname shall not be repeated in the family blog (let's just say it rhymes with nutty).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Right Track/Wrong Track/Laugh Track

(Ignore the Youtube user edits -- text on the screen)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Black Bean Soup...YUM!

Soup-ey Sunday is Soup-er Fun and here's one that's Soup-er Easy! Last week we made the South Beach Diet's version of Black Bean Soup. I was a little nervous because I had to admit to Joshua that yet again, this was going to be another "vegetarian" soup. I had made it before and he scoffed at it and wanted nothing to do with it. However, this time he was surprisingly optimistic about it, so I went with it. Good thing, too, because HE LOVED IT and SO DID I! It's a very filling, very healthy, very yummy chilly day kind of soup. It's a little spicy, but not bad at all...I'd go for more spice if my hubby's spicy food tolerance was a bit higher!

Anyway, here's the recipe! We tripled it and wished we had made more (we like to take it to lunch throughout the week). Also, I pureed the beans beforehand (the recipe says after you cook it for a while) and it worked just takes out an extra step towards the end.


Serves 2

1/2 cup fresh tomato salsa (plus extra for garnish)

1 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 can fat-free chicken broth2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream (optional)

2 teaspoons fresh cilantro


Heat the salsa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and broth, then heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then spoon half the soup into a food processor or blender and puree. Be very careful pureeing hot liquids. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and heat through. Serve with 1 tablespoon of sour cream per person, cilantro, and additional salsa.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Not to be outdone by this "soup" thing...

Here's a recipe for soup that I threw together this week-end and it actually turned out rather tasty.

4 cups brown beans, with juice (you can use canned if you don't have leftovers)
1 onion, diced
drizzle of olive oil
1 carrot, grated
2-3 cups beef broth, or about 4 beef bouillion cubes
chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
black pepper -- lots
chili oil -- a drizzle, or maybe a teaspoon

Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a large pan and add the diced onion. Begin to cook the onion in the olive oil while adding the garlic (to taste) and grated carrot. Cook on low until all vegetables are becoming tender. Add the beef broth, bay leaf and beans. Cook on low for about 30 minutes (or so). Add salt, pepper and chili oil at the end of the cooking period. Stir thoroughly.

It is supposed to be a little spicey, so if it tastes bland, get the black pepper and chili oil out again.

"Souper" Easy French Onion

I liked Josh and Rachel's idea of Souper Sunday, so I implemented it. I made French onion soup in the crockpot. It was crazy easy and really good. Here's the recipe:

4 lbs. sweet onions (like Vidalias or Walla Wallas)
4 1/2 c. beef broth
1/2 c. butter
splash of Worcestershire
provolone or provel cheese (for you lucky St. Louisans)
french bread

Melt the butter. Chop the onions however small you like the chunks in your soup and put in the crock pot. Pour the butter over them and toss to coat. Stir in the beef broth and Worcestershire. Cook on low for 14-18 hours or on high for 8-10. Pour into bowls, place a slice of french bread in soup, put a piece of cheese on top and pop in the oven until cheese melts.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Chicago Olympics?

The vote is today and the city seems to be buzzing. We found out around noon, Central. My office is even turning on the TV in the conference room for the announcement. Not sure what to bill that to.

I hope we get it. If nothing else, it'll improve transit! It'll also bring lots of jobs, money, and new PR opportunities.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Papa's Veggie Soup

Rach and I made a HUGE pot of Papa's veggie soup on Sunday for our new tradition of "Soupy Sunday" and have been eating it for lunches. It occupies an inordinate amount of space in our fridge, but it's worth it. We even experimented a bit with the recipe. We added some celery, a quart of beef stock, frozen veggies instead of canned, and an extremely small amount of broccoli (that was an accident, actually). It's good!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.....

This is awesome. I love it when liberals assume that the corporations they like MUST be in line with their political views. I mean, the brands THEY buy just couldn't be part of that "big bad corporate machine" that's out to get us... could they? If that's true, they might have to give up their Macbooks. Then where would we be?

My favorite part is when it says they should shop at Wal-Mart. Lol! Insert knife here, and twiiiisssstt.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Windows are Rattling

The Chicago air show is next weekend, which means they practice all week by buzzing my building (or so it seems). It's like the final scene of Top Gun outside, except of course no Migs, no explosions, and no homosexual undertones (will never understand why Val Kilmer does that biting thing). Actually, they're really just flying around. The windows are rattling, though.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Happy Birthday!
I hope your day is enjoyable and you get all of your wishes when you blow out the candles!

We love you!

Monday, July 6, 2009

3G(s)o excited!!

I ordered it on Thursday night. YAY! Everybody's out of them in Seattle, so I have to wait a few days. Not the instant gratification I was looking for, but this will give me time for app shopping.

PS. I know I said I was going to wait, but this purchasing decision may or may not have come immediately after a tequila tasting.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The View's Great, but did you see the dishwasher?

Josh & Rachel in their new apartment WITH a dishwasher.

The song from "The Jeffersons" was stuck in my head. "Moving on up to the DEluxe apartment in the sky..."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Curt received these great adirondack chairs for Father's Day. He got to put them together, too!

And since we needed the proper visual balance, we needed two -- so I lucked out! Ha!
We miss you guys!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quote of the Week, June 18, 2009

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.
John Ruskin, poet, author, artist

Sunday, June 14, 2009

4-square gardening

This is a photo taken of our 4-square today. The front L-shape is an herb garden. The back L-shape is full of tomato plants. The square with the trellis has a row of cucumber that we hope to train up the trellis and 2 zucchini. The front L-shape has Swiss chard, buttercrunch lettuce, 4 tomatoes, and a couple of small areas of replanting. The back L-shape is shaded, so I planted turnips, spinach, beets, kale. The square in front of the shaded L-shape has collards, kale, radish, lettuce. There is also some flowers sprinkled in and around that may or may not come up. What you can't see (because the photo is too dark) is our new compost bin sitting in the black hole behind the shaded L-shape.

Upside Down Tomato Planter Gizmo

This is the nifty tomato planter I bought at Sams. (Technically, Mom bought it for me for my birthday -- or at least that's how I used the money she gave me).

There is a photo that shows the 4 tomato plants and how they looked after we planted them. The second photo is the way they look today. We planted four different varieties to compare how they would grow. Early Girl, Better Boy, Celebrity, and Jet Star. So far the Celebrity is ahead in growth. I planted herbs on the top. Sweet basil, Pineaple sage, Holy Basil, Purple Ruffles Basil, Cilantro, chives, regular sage. Lots of fun and no tomato staking or weeding!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quote of the Week, May 26, 3009

"A vision is a clearly-articulated results-oriented picture of a future you intend to create.
It is a dream with direction."

--Jesse Stoner Zemel (Co-Author, Full Steam Ahead)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sweet Dreams, Merlin

We lost our cat, Merlin, this past week. He was 15+ years old and still a sweet and energetic cat. He was very pretty with his blue/gray fur and white accents. He came to live with us as a tiny kitten, eventually grew into his ears, and lived with us until his very last day on this earth. He earned his name because he could jump so high as a kitten -- it was almost magical. What causes us get so attached to our pets? Farewell & Sweet Dreams to one of the best cats ever...Merlin, Merlman, The Merls, a.k.a. Purr Bucket.