Friday, February 25, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Delicious-ness.

"If I could wish, for just one dish, my greatest wish, would be more fish!" --Dinosaur Train

As I sat down to write this post, all I could think about was that stupid song. Anyone else watch Dinosaur Train in the morning over breakfast? No? Never mind.

I got this recipe from a friend a while back and we finally tried it this week. I was a little nervous about it, because I'm not adventurous with fish by any stretch of the imagination. It was super simple and ultra tasty. 

Parmesan Crusted Catfish Fillets
4-6 catfish fillets
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
olive oil

1. In a shallow dish, mix together the Parmesan cheese, Italian breadcrumbs, lemon zest, salt, & pepper. 
2. Brush the catfish with olive oil and pat fish into mixture until evenly coated. (I sprinkled more of the mixture on top of the fish after placing them in the baking dish to give them a thicker crust.)
3. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets) or until they flake with a fork. Remove from oven, squeeze lemon juice over the top of fillets, and serve! 

I steamed some broccoli then sprinkled it with Cavender's and Parmesan cheese. Add a side salad and you have a quick and healthy meal!
Not the best photo of the fish, but you get the idea...
On a side note, I love that I can go get fresh lemons from the back yard anytime I need one. I haven't paid for a lemon in a year! Wahoo!
"You are actually taking pictures of lemons?" -Josh
"Yes. I'm actually taking pictures of lemons." -Lynda

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The latest quilt.

I started this quilt about 6 months ago and after I finally got the top pieced together, I started thinking about the back. I also started thinking about if I was bold enough to try to quilt it myself. In the past I have always mailed my quilt tops to a fantastic woman in Arkansas (my Aunt Doris discovered her and they became very good friends). I decided this hobby would be more cost-effective and a little more fun if I could complete the quilt start to finish. I think I have also decided a baby quilt would have been an easier starting point...
The top.
This is what I came up with for the back. 
I sat in the middle of the kitchen floor and pinned this one day several weeks back during Gray's nap time. It has been folded over the back of my sewing chair since. I'm very anxious/nervous to start quilting it because I'm afraid to totally mess it up and make it look terrible. My original plan for this quilt was to be a beach blanket (it could obviously be used at home too), so I would like to have it finished within a month or two so we can use it this summer with that fantastic half-tent I got a few weeks back at Costco. If that's the case, I am actually going to have to switch to the walking foot on my machine and get after it. Hopefully I used enough pins AND hopefully the straight lines I plan to quilt with will be fairly simple! I plan to start on it this week after getting some baby stuff made for some pregnant pals. Wish me luck everyone! I think I'm going to need it! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli Ring

I recently decided I should start sharing some tasty recipes on the blog. I think it's a good idea for two reasons: 
1. If you are like me you are always on the look out for something simple and proven to be good, and 
2. I always forget about the good recipes so blogging about it will benefit me (due to my memory loss) and you!

I bought the Pampered Chef Stoneware bar pan several months back as part of a PC fundraiser for the 3Day.  I have used it for various things over the last few months and I think I'm in love. It cooks evenly, food does not stick to it, and clean up is a snap. I decided to get the Stoneware Inspirations cookbook too. I haven't made a lot of things out of it, but all the dishes look absolutely delish. (If you would like to buy any Pampered Chef stuff, let me know and I'll give you the information for the most fantastic PC consultant on the planet!) Anyway, I tried this one the other night and it was really good PLUS super easy. I think it will be good first recipe to share! 
PC makes this prettier than I did. Don't judge. It was my first try.
And maybe, the IPhone photo didn't do it justice...
Chicken and Broccoli Ring

1 package (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls (I used the garlic ones. Extra yummy!)
1 cup coarsely chopped cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken from Costco.)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped broccoli
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded cheddar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon PC All Purpose Dill Mix (I used dried dill because I didn't have the mix.)
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls; separate into 8 triangles. Arrange triangles, slightly overlapping, in a circle with wide ends 3" from edge (points will extend off the edge of the baking stone). Roll wide ends of dough toward center to create 3" opening. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, broccoli, cheese, mayonnaise, dill, garlic, and salt. Mix well. 
3. Scoop filling evenly over dough in a continuous circle. Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough at center to form a ring (filling will show).  Lightly brush dough with egg; sprinkle with almonds. 
  *I didn't read the directions very well, so I included almonds in mixture inside of rolls by accident. I plan to do it that way next time.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown. 

We had it for left-overs the next day and it was still tasty. This seriously was easy and good, so let me know it you try this and love it! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weird Weather

The weather has been sketchy in San Diego for the last week. It has actually been raining over half of the week. Normally I would not mind a little rain, but Josh and I had our long awaited hot air balloon ride scheduled for this weekend (my birthday gift from September). It was cancelled due to the weather, so after months of waiting it seems we will be waiting a little longer! I wasn't pleased but Josh seems to think he will be able to make it on the new date (USMC scheduling will determine availability), while I remain skeptical. It's supposed to be in the 50's or 60's this week which is a little cool for San Diego, but I like the cool weather so I'm excited. Hopefully the weather won't be too cold for the trip to the Wild Animal Park Gray and I have planned for this week!

I still have a ton of pictures on one of my cameras that need to be uploaded (and when I find that pesky cord, I will upload them). Until then, here are some recent shots of Monkey. Most of these are IPhone pics. Sorry if they are a little dark and/or grainy!

Don't let Gray see you with a Camelback. He is in love. 
He is also in love with popcorn.
Brushing like a big boy!
OMG. This is so adorable. I can't handle it.
I know you aren't as in love as I am, but you have to admit this is crazy cute!
Gray and Chucky Cheese celebrating at a birthday party! 
Gray in his tunnel.
Sleeping with Mama while Dada stands duty. 
Gray pulled this pillow out so he could watch cartoons (downstairs) in comfort. 
Sippy cup in the jams. 
Sleeping angel. 
Confusing a tent with a sleeping bag. 
Chatting with Mama about this fantastic toy.
The force is strong within Gray. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day. My Dad would always get us those hearts full of candy (some tasty, some not so much). In elementary school, we always brought a bag full of candy and Valentine's cards home, plus we got to make the coolest crafts. I also love pink. And flowers. I think it's a fun day. 

Josh and Gray got their Valentines this morning, but Josh said mine should be here soon. Does that mean it's a delivery? A singing telegram? A candy-gram? Flowers? I'm on the edge of my seat over here! 

Gray got a few episodes of Curious George on DVD and some candy! I'm sure if he could adequately express how happy he is to be celebrating his 2nd Valentine's Day he would say "I LOVE VALENTINE'S DAY AND MY MAMA AND DA FOR MAKING IT AWESOME!!" A little much? Well, he was really excited. 

I hope everyone has a fantastic Valentine's Day and eats at least one piece of candy! I also hope we all remember to tell those we love that we love them way more often than once a year! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book List 2011

If you know anything about the books I normally read, you could say I generally judge books by the cover. If it's cute, I'm in. I've been burned by this method of book selection, but I have also found some fantastic books this way too! 

For example...
Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
Super cute. 
Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin
Pink and a sparkle-y ring.  Double cute.
Decision Points by George W.
George is ultra-cute.
(No matter what you think about politics, his cute-ness is undeniable!)
 Then there was The Lord of the Rings. Josh has been telling me since the movies came out that The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) was a great read. He also told me I should read it to have a better understanding of the movies. Maybe he is tired of me asking a million questions every time we watch one of the movies...

 I wanted to read The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien after hearing that the movie getting ready to begin production because I enjoyed Frodo's antics during The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also thought The Hobbit was a much more manageable way to read a book by the same author to give him a test run before dedicating myself to 1000+ pages of hobbits. The Hobbit was written with so much detail and great characters, there were nights I literally couldn't put it down. Which lead to the decision to read LOTR after Christmas. 

As a New Year's resolution of sorts, I decided to read more books this year. That's not to say I don't read. I read all of the Harry Potter series last summer. And Gone With the Wind. And The Hobbit. And a few others I can't recall at the moment. I just want to read more this year and add some variety so I decided this could be the first one on the book list of 2011. 
Turns out it's three in one. The copy Josh had was all three rolled into one book. I'm literally carrying a book around that's the size of a textbook. I think I get looks when I take it into the gym and put it on the magazine holder on the bike. Whatever. It's the best place for me to get some uninterrupted reading time in without being hit in the face by a flying toy. Does that not happen at your house?   

Either way, I've decided to read 12 books this year at a minimum. January, February, and March are all the LOTR books. I've already finished The Fellowship of the Ring and have started The Two Towers. After I read The Return of the King, I'm going straight back to Decision Points by George W. Bush for April's book. I started it before Christmas, but somehow picked up LOTR before finishing it. The first few chapters of Decision Points were fantastic. I can't wait to finish it! 

I'm not making any concrete decisions about the rest of the year, because I would rather pick the books as I go. I have about ten titles in mind, but I'm open to suggestions on books you have read/loved recently.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monkey happenings.

Gray will be two next month! Can you believe it? I am in party planning mode and have almost completed his birthday banner. I'm considering making his birthday cake, but I might be crazy. Anyone have any experience with making birthday cakes? That are cute? If so, I could use any advice you are willing to share! I'm knee deep in invitations, decorations, and party favors! 

Here are some photos of Monkey over the last few months. I have several more that I haven't uploaded from my cameras yet, so stay tuned!

Gray loves his Retro Rocket. 
Gray and Dada (after work) playing in the tent Maam got him for Christmas!
Window shopping from the train in the Escondido mall!
Gray loves trains!
Gray riding Fletch. Fletch is thrilled.
We are so lucky to have such a fantastic doggie.  They are actually starting to play together !
Gray loves climbing into this drawer.
I'm trying to stop it, but it's so darn cute!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Christmas 2010!

I realize this post is really late, but here it is! Better late than never? 

Gray was able to meet Santa again at the HMH-462 Christmas Party. I believe he is warming to the idea of getting gifts on Jesus' birthday, but he still isn't sold. Santa came to the party in a CH-53E. Are Marines the only ones who do squadron parties this big? I can't be sure. I digress. Santa showed up with an unlikely character, the Grinch. 
Santa and the Grinch arrive on a CH-53E!
After the line dwindled, Gray decided it was time to see Santa. He walked up to Santa to check things out and eventually sat in Santa's lap. The Grinch is off to the right, so Gray was less concerned with Santa and more worried about this new/unsavory character lurking mere feet from Gray's face. After our Santa visit, we played with some other kids, watched some mechanical bull riding, and went home.

Santa and Gray: a developing relationship.
Later that night, Josh and I got a baby sitter and were off to Ramona for the Officer's Christmas party at the CO's house. Josh almost won ugliest Christmas sweater, and he may have if I would have voted for him. I didn't really think it was that ugly, just something your Grandmother would wear. Oh well.
Josh and I (with the CO, his wife, and George W in the background) in our ugly sweaters!
The wives had a quick ornament exchange (Gray promptly broke the ornament I got that night while packing all of the Christmas decor back up.) and the pilots all brought gag gifts to do a White Elephant exchange. I thought Josh was going to end up with a Shake Weight, but luckily he didn't. I can't remember who was the lucky soul that ended up with the bowling ball we brought.
The wives/girlfriends with our ornaments! 
Josh was lucky enough to be one of the Marines not on leave on Christmas Eve, so he got duty. I cooked dinner for him, then Gray and I went to Miramar for a visit. Josh and I got one self-portrait without the Monkey because he was playing on the computer. We tried to get one of the whole fam, but Gray wasn't pleased when we took him away from his clerical duties. 
My Marine and I on Christmas Eve!
A little computer work... 
This was as cooperative as Gray could be with the photos. 
The guy that was taking over duty from Josh was kind enough to come in ultra early (like 4am) to let Josh get home ultra early so he didn't miss anything Christmas morning. Gray was still asleep when Josh got home so Josh and I got showered, dressed, and tried to finish packing before Gray woke up.
Gray investigated what Santa brought immediately and was quite pleased with his gifts. He was so happy with Santa's selections he had little interest in unwrapping the gifts under the tree. Gray had a fantastic time with his new toys, ate breakfast, and was rushed upstairs for a bath. We had to be at the airport fairly so we loaded up the car and headed south. 
Look Dada, Santa came last night!
Woody! How long have you been sitting there!?!

Josh helping Gray open presents.
Snack at the airport. 
After a full day of airports and a two hour time difference, we arrived in Jackson after dark to freezing cold weather! I immediately thought, "I should have packed more warm weather gear." We drove into Bastrop and spent a little time with the fam before heading to bed. The next morning, the kids opened their gifts. Gray and Claire got matching cups, which they promptly swapped and pretended to drink out of. They are so cute together. I wish we lived closer together so Gray could play with his cousins more often! We spent our time in Bastrop hanging out with my family, but decided to ride up to Jones to ride around on the land Dad left us on Bob's 4-wheeler and Uncle Derl's Rhino (while Mom kept the kids). The land is right behind Aunt Kitty's house, so we got to see them again too. Overall it was pretty fun, but the wind chill made for a pretty cold ride! 
Claire and Gray with their M&M cups. 
After I took my ski mask off. 
Mom's house as we left home. This is the last Christmas we will spend here... 
Our next stop was Jackson. Most of Josh's family lives there, so we stayed there for the majority of the trip. His Mom and little sister drove over to see us, so we got to see everyone while we were there. We were able to spend a whole day with his Dad and brothers shooting targets. I actually shot pretty well and I think I surprised the boys. Josh's Dad kept giving me re-loaded bullets, so they wouldn't kick as much (apparently they have less power). I guess he has forgotten I have a snub-nose Smith and Wesson .38 special. Whatever.  :)
Papa and Gray opening gifts. 
Gray playing with a 'critter call.' He is bound to be a country boy I guess...
He thought this call was fantastic. If it wasn't so obnoxious, I would consider buying him one. 
Gray finds his own entertainment everywhere he goes. 
Self-portrait while others are shooting targets. Gray was passed out by this point. 
Josh's mom made the trip to Jackson to help Adam and Melanie with their girls, since Melanie was super-pregnant with the twins (who were delivered the day after we left-I'm still bitter). I'll steal one of her pictures and post again. We were able to go to the Cock of the Walk with Josh's mom, brother, sister, SIL, nieces, and Maggie's (sister) dad. The food is always good but the company was better! 
Cock of the Walk in Jackson with Mom. It was super fun!
We stayed in Jackson until New Year's Day, then headed back to San Diego. Our flights were on time and all of our luggage arrived. I would have thought seeing Tony Hawk at the airport was the perfect ending to the trip. 

Then we had to pay for parking. 

Lesson learned? Parking at the San Diego airport parking is expensive. Have a friend drop you off! 

Besides being home for the holidays, it was nice to be back home in general. You don't realize how much you miss the familiar until you don't have it. I miss my family, my friends, miles of cotton and corn fields, cold weather, cows, fried food, sweet tea, flat land, the Mississippi River, back roads, the middle of nowhere, southern hospitality, and no traffic. We love San Diego and were glad to be back here after the trip, but for me nothing beats home. I can't wait to go back for a more leisurely trip in 2011!