Thursday, March 5, 2015

It All Came Together--Spin Cycle

Nick and I have had many moments when it all came together--having Turbo--we were a family.  Having Bruiser, we became complete.  Yeah, it's a bit sappy, but things truly do come together when you have kids.
On another note, I do love to experiment in the kitchen.  For the longest time, I had to have exactly what the recipe called for if I was making something new. I have gotten much better at substitutions.  I have also gotten more experimental in the kitchen.
There was a dish at Appelbees, years ago, the Nick loved.  It was a Cajun shrimp and sausage pasta dish. It was Nick's go to when we went there.  Then they changed the menu and this dish was gone.  Well, we have been making more Cajun type dishes, I have a jambalaya dish that is oh, so good, so I thought I would give the Cajun pasta a shot. 
My first forays into trying this were to look online to see if I could find a recipe that looked good.  There wasn't much out there that didn't look insanely complicated. I wanted to make a good dish, but not spend hours in the kitchen to accomplish it.
My next thoughts were about the ingredients and flavors that I wanted in the dish. A creamy tomato sauce, shrimp, smoked sausage and penne pasta. The most complicated was the creamy tomato sauce.  So I went looking for a simple creamy tomato sauce that I could add a Cajun twist to. I ended up cobbling together a sauce from a few different recipes, but it ends up tasting wonderful.  Add in the sausage, shrimp and pasta and hey presto, Cajun Shrimp and Pasta at home and ready on a weeknight.

Cajun Shrimp and Pasta:
8 oz. Penne Pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz. Smoked sausage sliced into bite sized pieces.
1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes (low salt if possible)
 1/2 c Half and Half
1 tsp Cajun seasoning or Old Bay seasoning
1/2 c diced onion
2 cloves garlic diced
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Add olive oil to saute pan and saute onions until translucent, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Then add tomatoes and saute until bubbly. Add Cajun or Old Bay to sauce and simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Next add half and half and allow to simmer until reduced (you want this to thicken slightly) Add in the sausage and return to a simmer. Then add shrimp and cook for another 5-6 minutes.  Then after draining pasta, add the sauce to the pasta and mix well.  You are now ready to serve.

This usually makes enough for our family of four with a serving or so left over. The flavors come together pretty well, you just need to be careful of the salt level.  I got over enthusiastic with the salt the first time I made it and had to add potatoes to tone down the salt.  Now I'm much more careful about adding salt.  Taste the sauce before adding the sausage and see what you think, but be cautious, the sausage will add it's own salt to the sauce too.You can also pump up the spiciness by adding some cayenne pepper to the sauce.  With kiddos eating it I keep it pretty mild.
I was very pleased when this recipe came together. I've made a few times since and it is generally a hit.  Bruiser isn't a fan of the shrimp or the sausage, but he will eat the pasta. 
What have you had that has come together recently?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hodgepodge It Up!

It is a very chilly, OK, down right cold, Wednesday around these parts.  Since it's way easier to answer some questions rather than be brilliant and witty all on my own here we go:

1. 'In like a lion, out like a lamb'...does the first part of this saying describing March weather ring true  where you live? Most definitely.  We have had snow practically daily since the end of last week.  We aren't accumulating much, but it has been cold and snowy. With any luck the end of the month will be better.
2. March 4th is National Grammar Day. What common grammatical error bothers you the most?  The whole your\you're and there\their\they're misuse. texting has had a detrimental effect on grammar use.  and it's spilling over into so many other areas.
This made me smile:
3. William Arthur Ward says- 'The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.' Which one are you? I aim for optimism, achieve realism, but I have my pessimistic moments. 
4. What's something you need to 'march forth and conquer' this month? House cleaning.  It's time to spring clean, or at least make a stab at it.  I don't think I'll get to windows until April--it won't be warm enough until then.

5. An ongoing debate around you dust first, then vacuum or vacuum first, then dust? Of the two routine household chores, which do you dislike the least? How's that for wording?  I hate dusting.  Vacuuming is routine, but dusting is annoying.
6. According to, the ten most photographed sites in the U.S.A. are- Cinderella's Castle in Orlando, Southernmost House in Key West Florida, The Space Needle in Seattle, The Site of the Boston Massacre in Boston, The Bellagio Lake/fountains in Las Vegas, The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, Coit Tower in San Fransisco, The Art Institute of Chicago, Niagara Falls, and snagging the number one spot-The Guggenheim Museum in New York City. 

How many on this list have you photographed? Which on the list would you most like to visit and photograph?
  I have photoed Cinderella's castle in Orlando, Niagara Falls, and the Guggenheim. I would love to visit the Florida Keys, the Space Needle in Seattle, and Coit Tower in San Francisco.
7. Fifty years ago Monday (March 2, 1965) The Sound of Music premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in NYC. Have you seen the film? Do you own a copy? On a scale of 1-10 how much do you love it (or not)? Ten=best movie ever. If you're a fan, what's your favorite scene or song from the movie?  I loved watching The Sound Of Music as a kid on TV.  I was rather surprised when I finally watched the entire, not edited for running time and content, movie. It had a far more condeming view of the Nazis than I was aware of.  I had a fascination with WWII history and only fell more in love with the movie then.  I would have to put myself at about a 8-9 on the scale of fandom.  I have several favorite songs: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria; Sixteen Going on Seventeen; So Long, Farewell; and Edelweiss.  I can sing along with almost every song in the movie, but it has been a few years since I watched it last.  I might have to decree a musical weekend soon...

8. Insert your own random thought here.  Like I said, it's cold here.  Things are supposed to warm up this weekend.  If you call 40 degree temps warm...
We will take what we can get.  Spring is always our shortest season and takes a long time to get here. Our summers, on the other hand are usually nice and temperate.  It's a trade off and one I can live with.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Random Tuesday Musings

And we arrive at yet another Tuesday.  Ours comes with snow.  And approaching cold temps. Like below zero tonight.  But things should warm up this weekend.  Now on to the Random:
  • I have boys.  I was happy about this. I thought I had avoided the worst of the clothing battles.  Then Turbo hit junior high.  And wants to wear the same sweatshirt every single day. We have been going around and around on this.  I in no way want him to be that kid who wears the same thing every day. Argh. Tweens.
  • Bruiser has a front tooth that is so very loose.  I don't expect it will last the week. He's looking forward to the Tooth Fairy visiting again.
  • This:

  • Yep.  I could definitely do with some beach time.  Cute cabana boys are a bonus.
  • Insomnia came to visit last night.  Totally overstayed it's welcome. Would not take the hint ot just go already.
  • I need this:
  • And then there are times like this:

So have a great week and join up for the Randomness with Stacy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday Too Soon

It became Monday far too soon for my liking.  I blinked and missed the entire weekend.  Or at least it seems that way.
I spent Saturday doing laundry and grocery shopping and such.  Bruiser had a play date and Turbo stayed in the attic playing video games and doing tween stuff.
Sunday I did manage to get out with some friends and go cross country skiing.  The snow was awesome and we skied for about 1.5 hours.  Then we went and got some food and a drink.  Over all it was a great time.
Nick took the boys to the archery range and had them shoot for about an hour, so they weren't in the attic the entire weekend, although they tried.
It snowed off and on all weekend.  Winter is still hanging around these parts and will for the next couple months most likely. It's normal.  Even if it does cause some jealousy when other areas have gardens going and flowers and green stuff and we are still getting snow.

In the theme of thinking about warmer places, MMMM is all about Caribbean music.  Lets see what we can find:
Harry Belefonte with the Banana Boat song:

The Beach Boys with Kokomo:

Kenny Chesney with No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems:
Have a good week!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spin Cycle--28 New Things

So the challenge for the Spin Cycle this week is to list 28 things--anything, 28 movies, 28 books, 28 activities, 28 favorite foods, 28 things for a bucket list, 28 of what ever strikes your fancy. 
So what strikes my fancy? Well there's always books.  Books are safe, easy and no challenge for me to list.  How about I stretch a bit and pick 28 new things to try:
  1. Indian food.  I admitted yesterday that I have never tried Indian food. I need to try it some time.
  2. Visit a lighthouse.  The added bonus of this one is there should be a beach near by.
  3. Cook something french.  And not french fries.  Something a bit more authentic and complicated.
  4. Visit the Denver Aquarium.
  5. Go to a Pop-up Paint party.
  6. Go on a picnic with my Hubby as soon as weather permits.
  7. Have a theme movie night--match movie to food and such.
  8. Visit Idaho.  It's the one bordering state that I have not been to. I hear that there is some great geology there.
  9. Learn some French as Turbo learns it.  Since Nick speaks it It can't hurt to pick up a bit of it.
  10. Visit Canada.  I've only been to Niagara Falls when I was 12. A longer visit would be nice.
  11. Start Swimming for exercise.
  12. Visit a theme park with the boys.  Be it Disney or Universal.  Fun is the sun is definitely in order.
  13. Visit Hawaii.  Tropical, and I don't need a passport.
  14. Run a 5K.  I actually might do something like this this fall.  More a Mud run Obstacle course 5K, but it sounds more fun that just straight running.
  15. Take a moon lit bike ride this summer.
  16. Try a bold color for lipstick.  
  17. Or just wear make up more regularly.
  18. Finish watching Friends--I am currently on season 2.
  19. Try real sushi.  Nick loves it and I should give genuine sushi a shot.
  20. Take a dance class.  
  21. Take a cooking class.
  22. Make new scrap books for the boys.
  23. Get a pedicure.
  24. Play Frisbee golf.
  25. Go Geocaching.
  26. Take a day and bike to every park in our town.  Stop and enjoy something at each one.
  27. Get a tattoo
  28. Go scuba diving.
There, 28 things, mostly new, that I need to try.  It kind of works as a bucket list of sorts. Maybe I need to add these to my bucket list...

What's your list of 28?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesady Hodgepodge--Random Mix

1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash) We have seen none of those, but The Grand Budapest Hotel looks interesting and might be one we watch some day.  Not big new movie watchers.  We tend to catch them much later on disc.

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel? I'm not a huge fan of acceptance speeches.  Say thank you and move on. Yeah, not the generally accepted stand, but it not really the place to get political or drone on and on. So, I would definitely be more inclined to channel surf during one of those speeches.

2. Speaking of the movies... are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It's Not Easy Being Queen. Thanks Carrie! I don't realy like going to the theater (I always freeze while watching the movie not matter what time of year it is and it's so expensive).  Going by myself holds no appeal.  I would go to a restaurant by myself, but I;d have to have a book or something to do.

3. What's the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself? We had to call someone to come fix the furnace a couple weeks ago.  The repair guy told us what we can do if the furnace does the same thing again, but otherwise most home repair we (Nick) do ourselves.  A handy hubby is a fabulous thing!

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you're a fan, what's your favorite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown? I can't say I've had Indian food. It interests me, but I'd have to go light on the spice. I think we have an Indian restaurant, but I haven't heard great things about it and getting to it is not exactly easy--it's by the university dorms and parking it limited.

5. A song that reminds you of your parents? I never knew my father, but a song that reminds me of my mother...
My mother loved Chris LeDoux, a cowboy singer from Kaycee Wyoming.  He was a rodeo brinc rider and quite a good singer.  Her favorite song of his was Paint Me Back Home in Wyoming:

6. The 26th of February is National Tell A Fairy Tale Day. What's your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with a particular fairy tale?  Hmmm, a fairy tale.  I have enjoyed the Grimm fairy tales, the slightly less sanitized versions.  But my favorite take in fairy tales came from Mercedes Lackey's series of the 500 Kingdoms that starts with the book The Fairy Godmother.  Such a fun and interesting twist of fairy tales.

7. What's a problem you solved yesterday? I'm not sure of I solved a problem yesterday.  We figured out what to have for dinner, but that wasn't a real problem.  Yeah, yesterday wasn't a problem solving kind of day.

8. Insert your own random thought here. Bruiser lost his first tooth.  It actually came out last Friday.  He was thrilled to be able to use his tooth fairy pillow that hangs on the door handle.  The Tooth Fairy was on her game and swapped the tooth for a whole dollar.  Brusier was thrilled.
His other bottom front tooth will be coming out very soon.  He's growing up so quickly, but he still gives some of the best snuggles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Randomly Thinking

Yo, we made it though Monday!  Another Monday down.  Now we get to start aiming for the weekend.  But first, a few random thoughts:
  • And winter is back on here.  We had a nice run of 40-50 degree weather.  Thawed everything out quite nicely.  And then winter reared it's cold snowy head again. At least the cold came with snow.  I hate it when it's all brown adn cold.  White and cold is just easier to take.
  • I finished reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to Bruiser.  We read for 10-15 minutes before he goes to bed most nights.  So now we get to watch the movie and start the next book--The Prisoner of Azkaban. Bruiser is really enjoying the books.  Even Turbo listens in most nights.
  • This:

  • They have those Pop-up paint parties around here.  I'd love to go but most of them happen on the same night as Nick has his Trad Archery league. The parties look like such fun.  One of these days I'll make it to one with a friend, one of these days...
  • I have many days where I want to do this:

  •  The time change is in like two weeks.  I mentioned it this morning and Turbo was like so we lose and hour then?  I said not really.  It's more like they shift the hours so it's light in the afternoon instead of the mornings. Kind of like cutting the bottom of the blanket off and sewing it to the top of the blanket.  The blanket is no bigger, just shifted around. Turbo thought the time change seemed sort of dumb after that. I can't argue with that assessment.
So that covers my random.  What do you have?
Have a great Tuesday and random it up with Stacy.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Keep on Movin' Forward

And another Monday strikes.  This one wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't gone to celebrate a friend's birthday.  I was up a bit too late and the wine flowed freely.  Things are a bit slow this AM.
Otherwise the weekend was pretty quiet.  We had weather.  It's snowed and then got way cold.  Normal weather for February, for us at least.  I got to curl up on the couch and read and we had a James Bond, 007 movie marathon.  It was awesome.
We did manage to get the batch of beer Nick had perking bottled.  Now, two weeks and I get some yummy coffee stout.  Looking forward to it!

And in a lighter look at Monday:
Now on to MMMM.  It's a Freebie week so let's see what we can come up with for your listening pleasure:
Deee-lite with Groove is in the Heart:

Suzanne Vega with Tom's Diner:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spin Cycle--Binging

Everyone binges on occasion.  Be it books, food, chocolate, beer, or something else, we all binge.  There are so many devices these days that make binging so much easier cough*Netflix*cough. They say moderation in everything, but sometimes binging can be so much fun.
For the spin Cycle this week, Ginny has asked some questions that pertain to binging:

1. What have you been reading lately? I have been glomming on romances recently.  The time of year and all.  Having the Kindle makes reading one book after another oh so easy. I have been an avid reader all my life and really can't conceive of anything that would be worse than not having access to books in one form or another.
2. Is there anything good on your television?  We just recently got access to Netflix.  We have been exploring the wonderful world that is available in entertainment there.  This last weekend, while I folded clothes I got to watch the first season of Friends.  Nick and I we only casual watchers of Friends when it was on TV originally.  That was the time of retail and evening work and limited cable access. Being semirural here in Wyoming, the over the air channels are iffy at best. It's nice to be able to watch them in order.
3. Is there something that you can’t get enough of? Books, always.  Time, definitely.  Sleep, perpetually.

What might you be binging on currently?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge Time

And off we go with the questions:

1. When did you last have to interact, either by phone or in person, with someone in a government run agency? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the experience? (10 being fabulous and 1 being pass the Tylenol)  Does calling the school count?  We had to do a lot of calling to let the school know Turbo was out sick.  The experience was fine, so a 6 on the scale.
2. The current governor of Wisconsin is considering a run for President next time around. Walker attended Marquette University, but never graduated. In terms of any candidate running for the office of President (not asking here if you agree or disagree with Scott Walker's politics) would the lack of a college degree influence your vote or no? Would that be a factor in your support of any candidate running for public office, even a role less weighty than President?  Finishing college is a benefit, but not for everyone.  Finishing does prove you can see something through to the end, so there's that.  I guess as long as the politician was honest about not finishing, it wouldn't bother me if they do the job they were elected for.  Competency is not measured by pieces of paper that say you did something.  It's measured by the things you do and do well.
3. When did you last visit a place or site named for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and what was that place or site?  THe rest area about 5 miles out of town is set on the highest point on I80.  When the highway was US87 it was named the Lincoln Highway.  There is a bronze bust of Lincoln that looks over the interstate.  We pass it every time we head east out of town.

4. February 16th was President's Day in the US, but did you know it was also National Almond Day? I didn't think so : ) Do you like almonds? If so, what's a food/dish/recipe you enjoy that contains almonds?  I like munching almonds--raw ones and smoked ones.  I also enjoy a good almond chicken from the Chinese place in town.
5.The television program Saturday Night Live celebrated it's 40th anniversary this past weekend. Were/are you a fan of the show? If so what has been your favorite (or one of your favorite) skits, sayings, or characters that came out of the program?  I was a default fan from hearing about it in the late 80s/early 90s.  The time of Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, John Lovitz, and so many others.  It wasn't long ago when we introduced the boys to Wayne's World the movie and Turbo at least, liked it.

6. Anything purple within ten feet of you? What is it?  Nope. 
7. Back in December I asked you to submit a question for a future HP as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I grabbed this one from those entries, submitted by Zoanna who blogs over at Penchant for Pens. Thanks Zoanna!

She asks, "How often do you make your bed, and how do you like to make it-pull the covers all the way up over the pillows, tuck the covers in around the pillows, or place all the pillows on top of the covers?" 
We just pull the covers up to the pillows and go with it.  The only time the bed it truly "Made" is when I change the sheets.
8. Insert your own random thought here.   So after a rocky start on Monday, I have found most of my ambition and motivation.  Let's see it I can keep it up for the rest of the week. We are supposed to get weather this weekend, so it looks like it will be an at home kind of weekend. A snuggle in sort of thing. How about you?


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