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Friday, March 29, 2013

Deviled Eggs

I'm guessing over the next couple of days, you are going to have some hard boiled eggs you don't know what to do with. So, I thought I'd show you how to make Deviled Eggs.

 I'm one of those people that actually make Deviled Eggs a few times a year. I don't do anything fancy like adding shrimp, I just make the "basic" Deviled Egg because I think the majority of people who see a deviled egg are expecting only that. 

They are fairly easy to make, once they are peeled. I have tried every trick I've read about the "easy" way to peel eggs. I've used fresh ones, older ones, chilled them, left them warm. The bottomline is...sometimes they peel easy and I LOVE making them. Other times, they completely SUCK to peel and I tolerate making them.

 It does make it worth your frustration on those hard peeling days because everyone is excited to see them. One of my friends told me it reminded him of being a kid and his Mom making them. And, I'll be honest, my daughter actually likes to make them so she is pretty much the deviled egg maker in our house now.

Deviled Eggs was not something I liked until a few years ago, I still don't "love" them but I've learned to like them. See there is hope for my fussy kids;)

So, let's get started.
Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs
1/2 - 1 C Miracle Whip
2 t Yellow Mustard
Pepper to taste

Put your eggs in a saucepot, cover with cold water and bring to a hard boil. That means there are LOTS of bubbles going on. Cover with a tight lid and turn off the heat. Set your timer for 10 minutes and leave the eggs peeking. When the timer beeps, put the pot in the sink and turn on the cold water. Run the cold water for a couple of minutes. Let the eggs sit in the cold water, either in your sink or in the fridge until the eggs have cooled down. One of the theories is the colder the egg the easier to peel, well I've explained that above so I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Peel your eggs, there is this fine layer on the egg that is attached to the shell for the most part, as you're peeling you will notice it...make sure you get that off or your egg will be a bit tough to the bite. Rinse to make sure you have to shell left on the egg. Set on paper towel and go to the next one. I typically plan that at least one egg is not going to peel pretty and I'll just be using the yolk. If that doesn't happen..BONUS:)

Slice your eggs in half, I like to use a serrated edge knife because it seems to cut easier. Dump your yolks in a bowl, put whites on a plate. After you've got all the yolks in the bowl, get a fork and give them a good mash. Make sure you don't have any big pieces, you want nice smooth filling and big pieces will turn into lumps when you add the Miracle Whip. After you have the yolks mashed, add 1/2 C Miracle Whip, 2 t mustard and a couple of shakes of pepper. Give it a stir. You are going to need about another 1/4 C of Miracle Whip to make it nice and light so add that now. Taste it, do you want more Miracle Whip or pepper or mustard? Add it now.

Ok, now you have options. If you have a cake decorating bag and a star tip, I recommend that because it's the prettiest. You can also just use a spoon and spoon the yolk filling into the egg whites. Or you can put the yolk filling into a ziploc, I would recommend a gallon size. Spoon all the filling into one corner. Cut the corner off..HOLD ON...cut a very small piece off the corner. You can always cut it bigger but you can't make it smaller if you go crazy;) What you want is an opening big enough to squirt the filling into the egg without it blobbing out and making a mess. Does that make sense. I hope so because I don't have a photo, sorry.

Fill the middle of your eggs, you'll probably have more filling than eggs and that's ok. Sprinkle with Paprika if you wish to make them look a little prettier and you're done. Put them in the fridge for about an hour, not more than 6 to chill. OK, you can make them a day before but they can sometimes get a little squishy so if you do that, put a paper towel under the eggs to help with that.
We're gonna pretend this is a dozen. Cold water and eggs on high heat.
Here's the start of the boil, wait until it's really bubbling before you cover and turn off the heat.
Cut your eggs in half like this.
Here are your yolks.

Mash them up really well with a fork.

Add your Miracle Whip, Mustard and pepper. The filling should be thick enough to stick to a spoon but not so thick that it doesn't taste creamy in your mouth..hope that makes sense.
Fill your eggs. These were done with a large star tip. If you don't have one, not a problem.
Sprinkle with Paprika and you're done.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Being an "EX"

There are pieces of divorce that affect you every day. 
The obvious; your children live with one parent and visit the other, you have to check the “divorce” box on surveys, you have to learn a new normal, you adjust to doing things without a partner, you get random comments regarding your personal life like, “why did you get divorced?  He’s so nice.”  I always want to say, “because I’m not” but I just give them my best bored smile.  Preconceived notions of what it is to be divorced are now my reality.  The divorce label attached to me and my children like a scarlet letter some days.  It’s frustrating, it’s infuriating, it’s reality but honestly, I don’t allow it to enter our world most of the time.

Sadly, what brings me to today’s post is about what happens when death enters the foggy area of “ex”. 
When my Dad died suddenly, my ex-husband was not allowed the time off that you get for a parent.  His company didn’t give him ANY bereavement since my Dad wasn’t a “relative” any longer since divorce papers were signed.  He was upset, he was shaken, he needed time to grieve and I was horrified at the way he was treated.

Flash forward 4 years.  My father-in-law, Norm, suffered a massive stroke last Saturday.  He passed on Tuesday.  It is a very sad time, especially for my children.  I was lucky I guess because I am allowed time off for a “friend”.

BUT it was the comments that both of us received during that horrible time that will stick in my head forever.  “Well, it’s ‘just’ your ex”,  “he was your EX Father-in-law right”?  As if the fact that they were an “ex”, didn’t warrant us the right to grieve.   I’m sorry but WTH?!  Those men that have been part of our lives for 20 years, men we both loved like a father, whom we have stayed in touch with, that we could call when we needed something or just to talk, that we still saw and enjoyed their company is an “ex” and somehow that means nothing? 

Or let’s play devil’s advocate here and assume our divorce was ugly, that we hate each other and everyone that came with us.  They are STILL the grandparents of our children.  Our GRIEVING children.

I realize that these people are in the minority but it is things like this that make me really ANGRY.  ANGRY because Craig and I have done an awesome job being co-parents, a fantastic job of keeping the sense of family and a wonderful job of supporting one another when life throws us something hard and yet the attachment of EX negates all of that on occasion.
What I guess I would like to say to those that don’t understand what being an “ex” entails is…either open your mind or close your mouth.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dying RAW eggs

I think I've shared this before but I wanted to let you know one more time that if you're a house that doesn't care for boiled eggs or you need to make a few dozen because you have more than one child, dying raw eggs works just fine.  I know this because I did it my entire childhood and my kids have done it for theirs. 

Just make sure you label them in your refrigerator because I had a visiting Aunt who took one out of our fridge and sat down to have a little snack while watching television.  She proceeded to crack raw egg all over herself and she was a tad bit startled.  When my Mom explained that we dyed raw eggs, she gave my Mom a puzzled look and simply put the other egg back in the fridge;).

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Tammi!!

We celebrated Tammi's parents 60th wedding anniversary a couple of month ago so that's where the photo comes from.  Obviously the lighting wasn't the greatest;)  Back in the day, we'd be going out and tearing up the town on one of our birthdays but we blame busy schedules for not doing that anymore.  I think it's because we're getting OLD;)
Happy Birthday Tammi!!  I hope your day is FABULOUS!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dying some eggs

I cannot believe Easter is almost here.  Having Easter in March is kind of a bummer for people who live in Minnesota because the weather isn't always the best or ground dry enough for an egg hunt.  I won't think about that right now, we'll figure it out. 
But today's post, well it's genious!!  I think it was my friend Lauri who did this last year and OH how I wish I would have thought of this years ago.  Would have saved some hands that were sometimes dyed for days.
What you'll need is a small whisk.  This one was from our hand mixer but you can buy them at the dollar store for a buck.  Or you can use a larger whisk, you just need larger glasses for the dye.  At any rate, pop the egg in and dip.  Turn the egg and tip again.  Claire loved it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bantam Award

Every year our association has an awards ceremony.  Every year we have missed it for one reason or another.  On Tuesday Max opted to miss it because of baseball practice, homework and his friends not going. 

Alanna was texting me updates of kids from our team who were nominated or received awards, most of which were not in attendance either.

And, then this text came..."The Bantam Award....Max Kjome". 

CRAP!!  He wasn't there to receive it.  We weren't even really sure what "it" was. 

Alanna was kind enough to bring it over. 

The Bantam Award is a traveling trophy that started in 2000  He will bring it back next year.  We recognized a few names that were engraved from past years, one being Jack Jablonski, that made his smile a little bigger.

The Bantam Award is presented annually to the Bantam hockey player who, in the estimation of the awards committee, has shown; a) Sportsmanship; b) Willingness to learn; c) Clean mind and body; d) Positve attitude toward coach and players, on the bench and on the ice; e) Reliability and dependability; and f) Improvement in personal hockey skills.

I am SO very proud of him.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stuffed Pasta Shells

One of my most requested meals.  Yum!

Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb ground beef or turkey (I use turkey most of the time)
1/2 medium onion diced
3-4 cloves diced garlic
6 oz can tomato paste
16 oz tomato sauce ~ you can use 2 small or 1 large can
1 can diced tomatoes ~ I used petite cut
12 oz water
3 t Italian Seasoning
1 t Basil
1 t Oregano
2 bay leaves
1 t Cayenne pepper or 1/2 C of your favorite salsa if you want it to be spicy

Brown meat with onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you're usually turkey, put 1 t Italian Seasoning in with the meat. Throw in rest of ingredients and simmer on low for a little over an hour. Remove bay leaves. You can leave meat out if you want to make these vegetarian.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Dump in a box of Large Shells and cook for about 8-10 minutes. You don't want them to firm but you DON'T want them cooked either or your end result will be a bit mushy. Drain shells and cool.

Mix together
1 beaten Egg
15 oz container Ricotta Cheese ~ I use low fat

Mix in
1 C shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 C Fresh grated Parmesan ~ you can use the stuff in the green can, I just don't
1/2 t Salt
1 t Pepper
1 t Garlic Powder
1/2 t Cayenne Pepper
1 t Italian Seasoning
You can be done here OR you can add 1 C chopped fresh Spinach or 1 C defrosted, drained and squeezed of all liquid Spinach.

Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Put a ladle to two ladles of meat sauce in the bottom of the pan, you don't want too much, just a thin layer of sauce. Take a shell and put a spoonful of cheese mixture inside. It can be coming out a little bit. Put sideways or face up, doesn't matter, just be consistent and don't do open face down or you'll lose all your filling in the cooking process. Keep filling up your shells until the pan is full. I usually have a few shells left over. Top with sauce, don't be shy, make sure the shells are covered. Top with 1 C of mozzarella and 1/2 C fresh Parmesan. Put in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Serve. If you want, these can be made ahead, just take them out of the fridge for about an hour before baking and adjust cooking time for about another 30 minutes.

Mix ricotta with a beaten egg.
Mix in your salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and cayenne.
Handful of fresh spinach.
Chop your spinach.
Mix in your spinach.
Next mix in your mozzarella and parmesan.
Put some sauce down in your sprayed pan.
Here is what the Shell box looks like. You will cook these in salted boiling water 8-10 minutes
Give the shell a squeeze to open.
Stuff your shell.
We're going to pretend this is a 13x9 because that is what I usually make. This time I made two smaller pans and passed one on to a friend for dinner.
Top with sauce.
Top with cheese.
Dinner is served!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Another successful weekend at competition.  Claire's jazz group took 1st place and kick received 3rd.  She is very happy to be adding to her collection of ribbons and looking forward to the next competition.  Here is her team, some ready to dance their next dance. 
And, here is another iPhone photo I found...her ribbons and after dance treat of frozen yogurt:)
But, the photos below are the photos that are my favorite of the week.
My little girl is growing up and I can't deny it.  As tough as it was for me to admit it about Max, I had physical cues.  His voice changed, he passed me in height years ago, he busted out of his clothes like the Incredible Hulk and he is constantly eating. 
But, Claire, Claire is still my petite little girl.  Much to her irritation, she is not going to be anywhere near as tall as her Mama.  She'll get to rock those cute heels that I never could.  And, sure, people have commented on how she is growing up but I just nodded and smiled, not really listening.
But when her dance photos came home, I noticed.  I saw what everyone else is seeing.  She is growing up.  She isn't my toddler with the pigtail horns sticking out of her head.  I really miss those horns but I guess those wouldn't look as cute on the young lady she has become.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Baked Sweet Potatoes

This was deemed a keeper by everyone in the family, even those that don't like sweet potatoes.
What you'll need 3-4 large sweet potatoes
3/4 stick of butter
3/4 C Brown Sugar
3-4 T of maple syrup or pancake syrup or corn syrup
Cut the potatoes like this
Spray a pan with cooking spray and layer potatoes on top of each other.  Top with brown sugar, drizzle with syrup and cut butter into thin pats and put that on top.
Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes until softened and serve.

Sorry, I don't have a finished product photo because they were scarfed up before I thought about it.

Friday, March 15, 2013


For parents that have an iPhone but didn't indulge their children with the same luxury, i.e., ME, you will learn that "your" phone is not "yours".  If I am home or in the car, my phone is in the hands of one of the kids.  The bonus, if you will, is that you get a surprise when you open the camera function. 

This was the latest. 

I am assuming this photo was the inspiration for the latest nail art, also on my phone. 

Love her creativity.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oven Brown Rice

My cousin who is a very good personal cook posted an Alton Brown recipe for brown rice and it was just too easy not to try, although I changed just a bit.  The result?  Fabulous.  It wasn't sticky, it was perfectly cooked, it wasn't on my stove top needing any of my attention and although the rice was good by itself, I added 1 T Sesame Oil, 1 1/2 T Soy Sauce, 1 t garlic powder, 1/2 t white pepper and two scrambled eggs and I had SUPER easy fried rice that my kids gobbled up.

I'll never make brown rice any other way!

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Chicken Bouillon cubes or vegetable if you want vegetarian

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Bring the water and bouillon to a boil.  I did it in the microwave but you could do it on the stove in a saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil, I didn't have "heavy-duty" so I used two pieces of regular. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

OR add what I said above and have fried rice!

Here is the photo fresh from the oven. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Tex Mex Pasta

I combined my two favorite things, Mexican food and pasta.  I have also heard to never heat up an avocado but I had three that needed to be eaten and I wasn't in the mood for guacamole.  The person who gave me that information should rethink their stance on it because the "heated" up avocado was really yummy. 
Let's get this party started, here's what you'll need:
1/2 Green, Yellow and Red Pepper chopped ~ or you can use all of one color to make it easier
1 sm Onion chopped
3 cloves Garlic minced
1/2 Jalapeno (I used one that was about the size of my pinky) seeds discarded and minced
1 package Boneless Chicken Breast ~ cut into small pieces
2 1/4 t Cumin and Chili Powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ears of corn ~ cut corn off cob ~ you could use frozen
2 handfuls of Spinah ~ chopped
3 Avocados ~ smashed
1 1/4 C Half and Half ~ I used fat free
1/2 C Heavy Cream ~ I used whipping cream
1/2-3/4 C shredded Montery Jack Cheese
Cooked Pasta ~ I used Penne
Start your salted water on the stove to cook your pasta when it comes to a boil.  Over medium heat, throw your chopped chicken in a non stick large saute pan with your garlic and onion.  Season with 2 t cumin, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. When the chicken looks to be about half way done, throw in the peppers, jalapenos and corn and continue to cook.  Rinsed black beans at this point would be good too but I was out.   When the chicken is done and the vegetables still have a little crunch, add a few T of the boiling salted water to get anything stuck on the bottom of the pan to come up.  Turn heat down to low and add half and half, cream 1/4 t cumin and chili powder and avocados.  Stir to incorporate and let it simmer a few minutes.  Give it a taste, do you need anything?  Is it spicy enough?  Adjust as necessary.  More cumin will give that Mexican flavor but be careful, too much can also spoil the taste.  Add spinach and give a stir, add cheese and stir again.  Add your cooked pasta and give it a toss.  Dinner is served.
Here's your chopped peppers
Chopped chicken ready to go
Lay corn on it's side and cut from the cob.  You can use frozen but fresh off the cob is sweet and adds a nice flavor.
Slice an avocado in half, whack your knife into the middle of the pit, give a slight twist and out it will come.  Scoop out the inside with a spoon.
Smashed and ready to add
Sauce needing to simmer for a few minutes
Add your spinach
Throw in your pasta and dinner is served.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Kraft: Stop Using Dangerous Food Dyes in Our Mac & Cheese

I am not someone who jumps on bandwagons or supports causes randomly but when I came across an article about Kraft Mac & Cheese leaving dangerous dyes in the US version of their product I had to sign.  Why would a company take something out of their product for countries with stricter food safety laws but leave it for the US to consume?? 

Food dye has always been something that has bothered me and I don't understand why more companies aren't pulling artificial coloring OUT of their products when they know they aren't good for you.  Who cares if we eat things that "look" like they should.  Aren't we exposed to enough crap in our day to day life?  Do we really need to ingest dangerous dyes?  Ok, off of my soapbox.  But, if you're interested in supporting, please click the link below and sign your name to the petition to get Kraft to stop using dyes in the US too!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Growing Up

Our final year of association hockey is coming to a close this weekend.  It's been a crazy ride with 5 tournaments and over 50 games just this season.  After 11 years it really is a bittersweet milestone.  On to high school where it's a whole new game, a faster game and although I have no doubt that Max is up for the challenge, he is also saying goodbye to friends he has skated with for a long time. Splitting off to different schools, they'll never skate together as teammates again. 

And, I will be saying good bye to parents that I care about. Parents that I have laughed with, screamed with, vented to...well, it's all a little overwhelming.

I am also having a hard time wrapping my brain around not being at a hockey rink from 8:30-10 p.m. almost every night.  Next year, Max will be able to drive himself to afterschool practice and they only play about 20 games.  What the heck am I going to do with my life?

The last thing I had to do for this team was hand over some photos of Max's hockey career for the team video.  I went through his scrapbook and gave them to his Dad who scanned and sent them back to me.  But he added one.  This one.

I opened it and immediately had tears blur my vision.  This wasn't a game or a practice. It was just a Saturday and I remember this skate vividly.  We surprised him with getting to skate on the Minnesota Wild ice and he was beYOND excited.  We went out to eat after and he told us that one day he would be an NHL player but he would save the Wild to be his last team so he could be close to home when he was done playing.  You see he had his career planned out; Chicago, New Jersey and the Wild would all have Max for a few seasons after he was a MN Gopher.  Why was he going to move around?  DUH...Because he liked their jerseys and he wanted one of each with his name.  I remember listening to his explanation and thinking that it was so far away, we had plenty of time but how cute it was that he had a thought out "plan".
So when I look at that smile, the same smile he has now but on a much older face and I canNOT believe I have only a little over 3 years left before he leaves for college?!  Excuse me please, I have to go lay down. I'm feeling a bit dizzy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Berry White Chocolate Bars

I was rearranging my freezer and came across blueberries and raspberries.  I thought of those yummy cookies at Subway but didn't feel like searching for a recipe.  So, I kinda did my chocolate chip cookie recipe and threw it in a jelly roll pan, that's a cookie sheet with an edge for those that don't bake often.  At any rate, YUMMY! 

Here's what you'll need:

1 C Oil ~ I use Canola but vegetable would work too
1/2 C Sour Cream ~ I use light
2 Eggs
3/4 C Sugar
3/4 C Brown Sugar
2 t Vanilla Extract
3 C Flour
1 t Baking Soda
3/4 C Blueberries and Raspberries ~ I used frozen
1/2 C White Chocolate Chips

Mix oil, eggs, vanilla and sugars.  Add flour, chips, soda and sour cream.  Mix well.  Fold in berries.  Folding means to gently mix in.  But if you choose to stir them in, it will simply break them up a little bit, no harm done.  Press dough into pan that is 15 x 10.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool, cut serve! 

Not the greatest photo, I realized you can't see the blueberries that I assure you were on the other side of the bar but you get the idea.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Competition Season Begins

I'm glad that my kids aren't on the same calendar for their activities so that I can give full attention to both of them.  And, although we have one last tournament this weekend, hockey is pretty much done.  But dance, DANCE, is just getting the party started.

We had our first competition on Saturday.  Claire was anxious during our drive so I was talking to keep her distracted.  What I wanted her to hear was that dance is subjective to the judges, it's not a sport that a ball or a puck scores the points.  You could be the best team out there in your opinion but if the judges didn't agree, you don't win.  So, I told her what I learned through my years.  You smile, you have a great time, you do your best and you cross your fingers.  Just like hockey, you don't leave anything in the locker room. 

Claire and her team came out with fantastic energy and they ROCKED the house. They WON 1st place!! It was Claire's first 1st place win and she was beyond excited.  Added bonus was that her cousin Serena is also on the team.  Congratulations girls.  You were AWESOME!!


Friday, March 1, 2013


I started counting my points again on Weight Watchers.  This time I WILL finish what I started.  Could have something to do with having to get into a formal dress the end of March?  Could be I'm just tired of living in this body?  Could be that I'm thinking about my health a little more?  I know that it works because I lost 30 lbs 7 years ago.  I just need to COUNT.  I have never thought of myself as an instant gratification person but when it comes to "dieting", I am.  I know that WW is a lifestyle.  It's a fairly easy one to maintain but you have to pay attention.  I stopped paying attention.

So, I bought the app for my phone, that is helping.  I also took measurements so if the pounds take longer to come off, hopefully I'll see inches changing.  Truthfully, I don't care what the scale says.  I just want to feel good in my body again.

At any rate, I am most hungry at lunch.  I have found that if I eat a Weight Watcher frozen meal I am hungry pretty quickly after.  If I eat them for dinner I'm fine.  Weird?  Maybe.  But, I needed something good to eat that wasn't a ton of points for lunch so I made my chili and froze in the freezer so I can grab and go.  AND, because I freeze it I don't have to eat the same thing for an entire week.

I also figured out the Weight Watcher points. I divided this into 7 bowls and it was 7 per serving.  Pretty nice!!

1 lb 93% lean hamburger~I usually use ground turkey but the points are the same for either.
1/2 green pepper minced
1/3 medium onion diced
1 t chopped garlic~I use the jar stuff most of the time
1 Can Tomato Soup
1 Can diced Tomatoes~I use Petite diced
1 sm Can Tomato Sauce
2 Cans Spicy Chili Beans
1 soup can water
3 T Chili Powder
Optional~Cayenne pepper to taste, I think I used about a teaspoon.

Brown Meat, green pepper, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Throw in the crockpot and dump in soup, tomatoes, sauce, beans, water, chili powder and cayenne. Crock on low for 4-6 hours and serve.

Here's your ingredients.

Slice the green pepper really thin and then mince. You can also use a little food processor if you feel like extra dishes.

It's hard to see the onions because I used a white cutting board but this is how much of each after they are chopped.

Here is your meat that is browned with the green peppers, onion and garlic. Don't forget to season your meat. Throw in your crockpot, dump in the rest, stir and crock for at least 4 hours.

Lunch is served. You can top with sour cream, cheese, jalapenos. Whatever tickles your fancy, just remember to add your points if you're doing WW.