Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pineapple Oatmeal Bake

This recipe is one I've had for many years, and I had kinda forgotten about it. I pulled it out today and decided to make this for my breakfast this week.

The recipe is so old that I'm not sure where I originally got it from, but I've also made some changes so it is no longer the original recipe.

It starts with pineapple, preferably in its own juice.

Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Drain the pineapple, but keep the juice. Spread the pineapple in a single layer in the pan.

Mix the remaining ingredients (recipe below).

Pour the mix over the pineapple.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Here's the finished product. It's not the best picture because we cut into it too early, but it was good.

Here's a picture of the finished product in the pan.

Pineapple Oatmeal Bake
  • One 20oz can of pineapple tidbits, in their own juice - drain and reserve juice
  • 1 1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup Splenda

** As I am typing this I just realized that my original recipe called for 1/2 cup apple sauce, but I forgot to put it in. So, if you want to be authentic, add the apple sauce. I didn't miss the applesauce though.

Mix all of the ingredients except for the pineapple. Spray a 8x8 pan with cooking spray, spread the pineapple on the bottom of the pan. Pour the mix over the pineapple. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

If you divide this into 6 servings, this is 3 Weight Watchers points per serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dinner Ideas

Good evening! I thought I would share with everyone what we had for dinner tonight.

But first, I had to show off the flowers that Rominal sent to me on our anniversary. Even though I've had them since Wednesday, they still look great - and they smell so wonderful!

In the background of this picture, you can see our hummingbird feeder outside the window. That's been one busy hangout this year - we have had tons of hummingbirds! Luckily, you can't see the cat nose prints on the window.

Ok - now on to dinner. Tonight we had chicken and sweet potato chips. For the sweet potatoes, I first peeled them, then tossed them in a baggie and added about 2 tsp of olive oil, some kosher salt, and pepper and then shook them around a bit. Here they are:

Then I spread them out in a single layer on a pan lined with parchment paper. Oh how I love parchment paper! I put them in a 400 degree oven and let them cook while I started on the chicken.

For the chicken, I put a tiny amount of olive oil in a hot pan. I don't measure much, so here's how much oil I put in:

Then I salted and peppered the chicken (I used bone in and skin on chicken this time) and put the chicken in the hot pan with the skin side down first. I let the chicken hang out there for a bit until the skin was good and browned like this:

I let the other side brown for a bit, then I tossed in some tarragon and a bit (another teaspoon maybe?) of olive oil and put the cover on the skillet. I then put the skillet into the oven along with the potatoes.
The chicken cooked for about 40 minutes, but I was distracted, so I'm not real sure on time. Cook them until they are done, ok?
Here's the final product:

Bailey is sitting next to me right now and she just said, "Oh, those potato fries were so good!" Rominal does not like sweet potatoes, so that just meant more for me and Bailey. Yeah!
Hope you are having a good weekend!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Home from Las Vegas

We are back from Las Vegas. Actually, we got back Sunday night, and we spent yesterday doing laundry and trying to recover.

We had a great time. Rominal absolutely loved it. He loved seeing all of the buildings and the people. During the day we walked from casino to casino to see all of the sights and then at night we stayed up late to see shows. Las Vegas is not the place to go for a relaxing vacation.

Friday during the day we walked up and down the strip and one of the hotels we went into was Paris. They have a half-scale Eiffel tower and we went up into that. Here's some pictures from that.

This picture was taken from the tower.

Here we are in front of the Bellagio hotel.

Oh - and inside, they had a chocolate shop that had flowing chocolate. It was a good thing it was protected from me behind glass.

We stayed at New York, New York - here's a picture of that. Rominal rode this roller coaster on Saturday. It does loops and corkscrews. I did not ride this.

On Friday night we saw Cirque du Soleil's show Zumanity, which was an adult version of Cirque du Soleil. They had a drag queen for an MC and the show was really funny. We have seen several Cirque shows in the past and we have always enjoyed them, so we had bought the tickets for this show in advance. They had all of the amazing acrobatic performances of a normal Cirque show, just in this version everyone was topless. I am afraid that Rominal will forever be spoiled and expect more from any future Cirque shows we might see.

At the Cirque show, they were taking pictures and since we had dressed up for the show we had our picture taken.

Saturday morning Rominal was looking through a magazine in our hotel room while waiting for me to get ready and he noticed that Lewis Black was playing that night at the Mirage. We really like him and we were quite excited to get tickets for that show. He was hilarious! It was neat to see him in such a small venue - we had excellent seats.

Saturday during the day we took the monorail over to the Sahara hotel and casino and then walked to the Stratosphere. When we got there, they said that the ride Rominal really wanted to ride was closed due to high winds. So, as a second choice, Rominal chose the ride that shoots you up into the sky and bounces you up and down. Here's some pictures as we are walking over to the hotel.

When we got to the top of the tower, we find that it is actually 109 stories tall. I'll give you a minute to take that in. 109 stories tall. That is up there. I don't like heights that much, and this really confirmed it. Once we were up there, we found that the ride Rominal did want to ride (this one)

was going - despite the high winds. To get to the ride he chose as a second choice, we would have to go up another flight, which just seemed a bit much at that point. Here's his second choice:

Those are people up there near the top - screaming. He decided not to ride the ride, and I was quite pleased, since I didn't have a chance to check on his life insurance before we left. Poor Rominal, he regretted his decision not to ride almost as soon as we got off the elevator back on the earth, but I was quite pleased that he didn't do it.

Look at how happy he looks in this picture. Silly man - he doesn't realize how high up we are.

This is a ride that has you dangling out above the world. Can you hear the people screaming?

And this is the only time I got this close to the edge - notice I am holding on to the railing.

Overall it was a great trip. We deposited money in several casinos as we walked around. Sunday morning, after we had officially checked out of the hotel and were waiting for our shuttle to take us to the airport, I played some slot machines for the last time. I put in $20.00 and doubled my money. I cashed out and gave Rominal the $20.00 in winnings to hold onto while I tried my luck with another machine - and this time I won around $40.00. Again, we cashed out and Rominal held onto our winnings while I still played with the original $20.00. I did this another time and we won a little over $80.00 in total - so that was fun. It didn't make up for all of the other deposits that I had already made though.

We had a great time and it was a fun way to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary - which is actually tomorrow.

Happy anniversary honey!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Las Vegas

Rominal and I are leaving for Las Vegas (or Las Vegas Baby!) in a couple of days to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it's been that long. Our anniversary isn't until next week, but this is a good weekend to go.

Anyway, I'm starting to get very excited about the trip. However, trips also cause me a bit of panic as well. Especially when we are not driving and I am required to carefully plan out my clothing choices instead of just tossing everything I own into my van. I don't like having to plan what I'm going to wear each day. What happens if I wake up and decide that what I have packed for myself is just all wrong? Then what am I going to do? Oh - I know - I'll go shopping! That's a good plan, because I'm sure all of the prices will be reasonable in Vegas, right! HA!

We aren't gamblers, and we don’t drink either - at least I hardly ever do, and Rominal never does - although he has mentioned that he might have a drink while we are there. Yup, that's right, Rominal might have a drink. There is no doubt that we will be living it up in Vegas! We even played some practice rounds of blackjack the other night. Normally when we play with friends the object of the game for me becomes steeling chips from the dealer and switching bets with other players. I'm pretty good at it. (It helps that the people we normally play with do like to drink.) From what I understand, I think this kind of play is frowned upon in Las Vegas. So, much to my surprise, when I actually played by the rules the other night - I lost very quickly. Vegas should love me.

Rominal loves all of the action and lights and therefore he wants to see all of the casinos, so we will be doing lots of walking. He really wants to ride the rides on top of the Stratosphere. He's on his own for that. I might go up to the top of the building with him, but there is no way I'm riding this. Here's one of the rides, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

And here's another one. Again, I will not be doing this.

Again, there is no way I'm doing this.

Monday, May 18, 2009

High-Roast Chicken

Saturday night Rominal made dinner for Mom, me and Bailey. He made America's Test Kitchen Crisp-Skin High-Roast Butterflied Chicken with Potatoes. This is one of the best chicken recipes we have had and Rominal makes it for special occasions.

Here's what you need for the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 quarts cold water

Other ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs)
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (for potatoes)
  • Ground black pepper
Immerse the chicken in the brine and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Remove chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Cut through the back of the chicken to butterfly it. (I can't really explain this, but if you look at the picture below I think you will understand what to do.) Rominal mixes butter with seasonings (probably garlic seasoning and maybe some other stuff - but nothing with extra salt) and puts this under the chicken skin. Pat the chicken skin dry with a paper towel.

Toss the potatoes with the 1/2 of the oil, salt and pepper and then spread them in an even layer on the foil lined broiler pan bottom. Place the broiler pan rack with the chicken on top. Rub the chicken with the remaining oil and sprinkle with pepper.

Roast the chicken at 500 degrees (yes, I really mean 500 degrees) until spotty brown, about 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and continue to roast until the skin has crisped and turned a deep brown, about 20-25 minutes longer (ours took longer than that). A thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the breast should read 160.

I found a clip of the show, which is good to watch if you plan on making this.

And here's a picture of Rominal's chicken - YUMMY!!!!

And the potatoes. These are so good that they deserve two pictures, but one will have to do.

Rominal and I work so well together - he likes the softer potatoes and I like the crispy ones.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Butterscotch Coffee Cake

Mom came and spent the night with us last night. Rominal made us a wonderful dinner, which I will tell you about in another post, but for now we will focus on the dessert that Mom and I made.

This is a recipe from Mom's husband's granddaughter, Amanda. Here's the ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 3.5 oz box butterscotch instant pudding
  • 1 3.5 oz box vanilla instant pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (although we only had light brown sugar so that's what we used)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional) Note- Amanda apparently puts chopped up Heath bars instead of the nuts. And even though I've never met Amanda, this is how I know that I would like her. We followed her suggestion.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Mix cake mix, puddings, eggs, oil and beat until smooth, then add the water and mix until creamy. To make the crumb topping, in a separate bowl mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts or Heath bar.

Grease a 9x13 pan and pour 1/2 of the batter in. Sprinkle 1/2 of the crumb topping over the mix, then pour on top the rest of the batter and top with the remaining crumb topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes - test with a toothpick to see if it's done.

And yes, it is not appropriate that I am following up my last diet post with a dessert recipe, but whatcha gonna do about it.

Here's some action shots along the way.

The goods:

Before it goes into the oven.

The final product. Yummy! Thank you Amanda for contributing to my diet downfall.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Diet/Exercise update

Ok - I haven't posted about this in a while - again - so I figure it's time.

I was doing pretty well with the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD. I did it every day for a little over a week. My stomach muscles had that slight tinge of pain when I would move around - the kind of pain that tells you you have done a good workout. I also liked that this DVD works your arms. My arms are pretty weak, and I have those ever-so-lovely bat wings that hang down from your arms, so I liked to think that this DVD would make that all go away. However, despite doing this the scale was not moving in the right direction - it was moving up, which of course, frustrated me.

So, on Monday and every night since, I've gone walking/jogging. There's a program online called (you have to sign up, but Weight watchers is offering a free trial membership) and you can map out your route. My normal route is 2.35 miles and it normally takes me 35-45 minutes - so I think that's a pretty good pace. The best part is that I'm seeing the scale move - in the right direction - despite that I've haven't been eating very well lately. And I mean really not very well. Let's just say it involved a cheeseburger and sweet potato french fries one night (oh yum!) and Arby's another night. And yet, the scale still moved down!

I think I'll still do the Shred DVD occasionally - maybe a couple of times a week, to focus on muscles (or lack of them).

To help me keep my momentum going, last night I went and got some new running shoes, a new sports bra (if only sports bras came in breathable steel) and a top and shorts. Having a "real" workout top made a big difference - I felt much cooler last night when I was out. The new shoes are pretty cool too - I'm still breaking them in, but I think they will work pretty well. My old shoes were over a year old and I've heard that for walking/running it is important to replace them often. Here's a link to my new shoes - mine are a different color, and were much cheaper and I had a coupon! I think I have a slightly older model, but the bottom part of the shoes are so cool looking.

I've got a special play list on my Zune for workout music - stuff that has a good beat, and that helps me keep my pace up, but I'm starting to get bored with the same songs each trip out. I'll have to start playing around with that. Anyone know of any new Lawrence Welk songs out there? Just kidding!

That's about all for my update. I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's This?

What's this sticking out of our TV cabinet? It's hard to see in this picture, but it's black and moving.

Zephyr (I think I spell his name differently each time I type it. aka Orange) is also curious to see what is in the cabinet.

Well lookie who's there - it's Twister (aka Cow). He opened and went into this cabinet all by himself while Bailey and I were watching TV. I couldn't get my camera fast enough to get him actually opening the cabinet, but all I could get was his tail sticking out.

Bailey had to get some Twister love when he came out. He looks perturbed in this picture, but that's only because we found his hiding place.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I know - I haven't posted in a while. I'm in a funk. Nothing much to write about.

I'll try to think of some things and get back on the ball.

In the meantime, here's an old picture for you. I love this one. The ducks followed Bailey all around the lake that day. She loved it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hair Cat

So, in addition to a chair cat, we also have a hair cat.

Anytime Zephyr (or Orange) can get into someone's hair, he will do it.

Sometimes he will nibble, other times he just smells around.

It makes him happy, and it makes the recipient giggle.

I have weird cats, and a weird family. And I'm pretty happy about that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chair cat

Do you have a chair cat? Sometimes I do. He actually wanted to be on top of my desk, but I had some coffee there and I prefer my coffee without cat hairs - I'm funny that way.

Gosh, the way he holds on you'd think I was moving around a bunch. Believe me - I'm not. I did the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video this morning, so I'm not moving anywhere fast today. I'm on my 5th day doing it - ugh!

Anyway, back to Twister. He acts as if he has motion sickness. He doesn't.

He just has to be a part of things. As I'm typing this, Twister (or Cow) is now sitting on top of the desk. I'm done with my coffee, so I will allow it.

My chair cat is now snoring on my desk.
Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cough, cough

Do you have the swine flu? Nope, none here either.

Our school district has closed all schools this week as a precaution to help prevent the spread of the swine flu. From what I understand, there is just 1 case in the entire county.

So, Bailey is home this week, and she is not happy about it at all. When I was a kid I would have been thrilled with a week out of school! But not my daughter. She's bored to death. She's been reading her books, playing on the Wii, doing my exercise DVD's, and she had a friend over yesterday (so much for keeping the kids separated). Tomorrow I have some laundry that she can do. She can't wait.

I'm quite pleased that she enjoys school so much. I just am so amazed at the difference between her school experiences and mine.

I hope everyone is well out there. Cover your mouth if you sneeze, and wash your hands. This has been your public service announcement for the day.

Just got a call from the school district (an automated call thingy - they didn't call me personally) and school will resume on Thursday of this week. Good thing we didn't decide to take advantage of the week off and take that vacation to Mexico this week.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Good Friends

My daughter Bailey has been friends with Brittany since they were in preschool together at age 3 or 4 (I can't remember which). Brittany spent the night with us last night and I got to thinking about how much they have grown and changed over the years.

This picture was taken in 2001, when the girls would have been 5. Those were the good days when they could entertain themselves in the bathtub for a while.

Skip forward a couple of years to 2003 and here they are at age 7, in matching dresses.

And they could still be entertained in a bathtub - the tub just had to be bigger.

Occasionally when they got together they would have an argument. After one day of hearing them bicker back and forth, I came up with this idea. I had them sit on the floor, Indian-style (or criss-cross, applesauce if you are politically correct), put their hands on the other person's knees and put their heads together. I would make them sit like this until they started giggling. It normally didn't take too long.

Sometimes, just to make sure they were both in better moods, I would make them put their cheeks together too. It made for a cute picture.

Fast forward a couple more years when we went on a vacation together. After a full day of hiking and running around, the girls were tired and cranky and bickering with each other. Because we were outside, I let them sit on a wall, but they still had to "assume the position."

Because they were older now (and more stubborn - note the look in Bailey's eyes saying - I will not laugh!), they didn't find this amusing at first. So, I had them walk around with their hands on the other's knees for a bit. At this point I didn't really care if they were still fussing with each other - at least I was having a good time.

So, this brings me to today. They are both older now, and (knock on wood) so far today there has been no fussing. I've heard nothing but giggles all day. But just for old time's sake, I had them assume the position anyway.

The only objection I heard was about how cold the floor was.

They got over that pretty quickly - this still gets them laughing.