My night in photos….

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Tonight is DATE night, so I’m giving just a glimpse of what me and the hubs are up to. It started out with B cookin dinner for me, which is a treat and was delish! Now we’re here:

Enjoying a concert on the lawn!! Happy Thursday 🙂

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What’s for dinner Wednesday?

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This week I’ve decided to share one of B and I’s favorite week night meals…BLTs!  Now, you might say, “That’s silly, it’s just a sandwich!”, BUT I assure you the best thing about these sammies is that they fill you up and are hot and tasty.  There are plenty of nights in our house that I don’t feel like cooking, or we are too busy or get home to late to make a so-called “real” meal.  So, in a pinch (or on any old Wednesday)  I love to make these.  Without further ado….the recipe:

My trick to this being easy is that I bake my bacon.  This has a number of pros, most of which being your house doesn’t smell like bacon, you don’t have to clean a greasy pan and you don’t have to worry about what to do with the nasty grease when you’re done.  What I do is this:  line a baking tray WITH sides (these keep the grease from running onto your oven) with foil.  As you can see in the pic, I double lined on one half because when I was smoothing it out it got a small rip.

Step 2: Pre-Heat your oven to 400 hundred degrees and put the bacon in at the same time.  (as in, turn it on to preheat and shove the pan in a cold oven.  I’m not sure as to why this is the key to the bacon turning out the perfect texture of crunchy but not burned, but it is.

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Step 3: set the timer for 20-25 minutes

Step 4: Prep your veggies!  Slice a tomato into thin slices.  I prefer the Roma Tomatoes, but use whatever you’ve got on hand.

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Step 5: You COULD cut up some lettuce, but this is supposed to be an easy meal so I just use some fresh greens out of the container that are sold as “salad” .  I like this better than iceberg as well because it’s more nutritious!20120516-173105.jpg

Step 6: You can now take a peek at your bacon (don’t open the oven like I did…I just needed the pic!) This is what mine looked like after 12 minutes….

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Step 7: When the bacon is done, pull it out!  Mine looked like this…..20120516-173137.jpg

Step 8: Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel lined paper bag and let it soak up the grease.  Handle it gently, you don’t want your pieces to break yet.

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Step 9: While the bacon drains, pop some bread in the toaster and grab your condiments of choice.  In our house, it’s Duke’s (and only Duke’s) brand mayonnaise and O’Charley’s (and only O’Charley’s) brand honey mustard for me.  (I have in no way been compensated to talk about these products, but I must say that these are 2 of the only items we buy and keep on hand that we have brand name allegiance to.  They are THE BEST of the BEST.  If you haven’t tried either, I strongly suggest that you do.  Like right now.  I’m serious.)   When your toast is done, spread your condiment on BOTH pieces so it will act like glue and keep your sammie together.

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Step 10: Layer on lettuce, then tomato (the tomato shouldn’t touch the bread or else it will get soggy) then your bacon.  Slice it in 2 and there you have it!  What’s for dinner Wednesday!!!!

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If I was giving advice on how to step this up, you could always use a heartier bread than I did (it’s what we had!) or add cheese, avocado or turkey/chicken.  All fantastic additions, but really, around these parts we like the good ole original BLT.

Enjoy!

What’s for dinner Wednesday!

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So I’ve decided that I’m going to feature a recipe each week on Wednesday. Get excited! Although I must fully disclose that while it may be called “what’s for dinner wednesday” I can’t promise it will always be what me and B actually eat on Wednesday. Our schedules are crazy, but I like to cook 2 out of the 3 nights that B is home each week. When he’s gone I don’t cook much more than grilled cheese…….

Any who, today was the kind of rainy day that makes me yearn for comfort food. You know what I mean: chicken pot pie or casserole or pot roast. Something that makes you feel warm inside. The thing is, as a kid I was pretty picky (sorry mom!) and I didn’t like foods to be mixed up. My plate needed dividers so no stray noodle would touch my meatball. So, when it comes to comfort food, I don’t have a ton of experience with the “classics”. When B and I moved in together almost 4 years ago is when I started cooking from cookbooks and while there have been some mishaps, I’ve become fairly confident about my skills in the kitchen. That being said, I’ve become a cook doesn’t quite do what the recipe tells me anymore. I always wanted to be able to do that! In my mind thats what grown ups do. I guess maybe I get to be a grown up now!

Like the masses my inspiration for any cooking these days comes from none other than Pinterest. So, since I had chicken leftover from Monday I searched for what I think of as the quintessential rainy day meal: chicken tetrazzini. I found this pic:

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And thought it looked awesome. Like I said before I don’t always follow recipes and this was no exception. You can see the original recipe here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Chicken-Tetrazzini-7?pmcode=QCC31VH119&_mid=2344904&_rid=2344904.944833.364833

Here’s my version:

1. Gather your ingredients

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You need…
Uncooked pasta
1/4 cup of butter
1 can chicken broth (I made my own using the knorr concentrated stock.. see it here: http://knorr.com/Products/Homestyle-Stock.aspx)
1 package cream cheese cubes
11/4 cup half and half
Mushrooms
Frozen peas
Salt
Kosher salt
Pepper
Onion powder (the original used an onion but I didn’t have one)
Sliced almonds
Grated cheese (I used asiago)

After you get everything together, make your pasta as it says on the box. While that’s going, put your broth in a large saucepan. When you used the knorr concentrated broth you only need about half the tub. All I did was add it to some water and boil it til it turns into broth.

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Next cube your cream cheese and add it in with the broth. Then add the half and half. Mine looked like this…

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Once it’s all melty, take it off the heat. Add your seasonings and your chicken, mushrooms and peas.

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Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Drain your pasta and put it in the dish.

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Next, pour your chicken mixture over the pasta and mix it up.

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Now put it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Pull it out and sprinkle the almonds and grated cheese on top. Put it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until golden. This was my final product!

All in all, it hit the spot!

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23 to go

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When I was a kid I can remember counting down the days until school was out and summer and all it’s fun would finally arrive. Summer as a kid was the best! It meant baseball games and swimming and junk food and friends…… wait….summer for me still includes all those things….hmm what does that say about me? Right! I’m a teacher which means I get 8 blissful weeks off, just like a kid! (sorry, I had to gloat just a tad)

Anyway, For the last two years as a teacher, I have been vaguely aware when summer is around the corner. The hubs’s life doesn’t change much in June, July and August so I try to be a good wifey and not rub it in too much. Also, I’ve loved my job and my kids and even been a little sad when the last day arrives, knowing that these tiny humans that have been my life for the last ten months might never cross my path again.

Sadly, this year is not the same. I am worse than my 5th graders. There are 23 days left of school. 173 hours left that I will actually be in my classroom and responsible for this rowdy group. That means there are 4 Mondays left. One day that doesn’t count because it’s field day. Memorial day. I am disheartened by my lack of enthusiasm I usually hold for all the fun end of the year activities. I can’t quite put my finger on why I feel this way. Am I reeeeeeally excited for summer? Yes. Is this summer going to be more special than the last two? Probably not! In the las two summers I got married and moved my mom to NC. Two of the best things that have EVER happened to me! I have zip on the docket for this summer. Yes, I’m going to see family and am going to the beach for a week, but nothing monumental.

On my way home today, I got to thinking. Have I changed? Am I becoming a jaded teacher? Do my students have fun in my class? Do my students even like me? Days like today (which was not good) make me wonder about a little statistic a friend emailed me this past week. In it, it said that the people who were the happiest were reported to be bioengineers and teachers. Did they survey said teachers in June, July, or August? Because if that was the case I’m pretty sure I would say I was very happy with my job. What about in May? I’m pretty sure that statistic would Drastically change. I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one out there feeling the pressure of testing mingled with the reality of teaching kids who are on the verge of “becoming adults”…… I came to the conclusion that being surrounded by all of their wacky hormones is enough to make me crazy. I know I’m good at my job, and I’ll probably even be sad on the last day, but today? I continue to be a teacher who counts down every last minute until my freedom arrives. Until then, B and I will have this conversation 23 more times:

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A smile for me

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Today was NOT my best day. If spent the last week or so denying that I’m not feeling well. You know…. Oh that tickle in my throat is just allergies and my eyes are itchy because I sat by the grill last night. I always do this convincing thing with myself, like I can will the sickness away. In the end I HATE the moment when I admit to myself that it’s not actually allergies or a night of grilling. It’s an awful icky thing called a sinus infection. Ugh.

Does the world not know that I cannot be sick right now? I mean really, I’m a teacher and we have end of the year testing starting this week! I actually get an email on May 1st stating that I am no longer allowed to take any days off unless it’s an emergency, and I assure you my sinus woes don’t qualify me for much more than an eye roll and a “get over it, we’re all miserable!”.

Regardless, I managed to get to the doctor today after work, get my zpak and am on my way home when Bart calls to inform me that my chicken in the crock pot “looks funny”. Ohhh goody! I wasn’t even hungry! Funny chicken aside (B saved the day by putting it on the grill…he’s the best!), I felt a whole lot better when I came home and was greeted by this face:

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So I decided to join him on the couch for some snuggly time:

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He really is the best medicine in the world!

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Thank you to my dear sweet Toby boy. Without you I would have had a miserable Monday.

Happy Sunday

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Today was a happy happy Sunday indeed! My birthday was last week and as an extra special surprise my fantastic hubby got me a day at the spa. I spent all afternoon being pampered and it was a perfect birthday gift. A massage, a facial and mani/pedi….all for little ole me! I was in heaven, but the best part of my day will be in just a few hours when my guy gets home from Alabama! Usually, he gets home in the middle of the night on Sunday’s, but this is one of those rare weeks when he will actually be here when I’m still awake! So, now I’m busily counting down the hours til he walks through the door and make my Sunday truly perfect!

What about you? What is your perfect Sunday?