Please excuse our mess as we redecorate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Went in for ice cream came out with...

So my husband, our kids, and I went into our neighborhood Wal-Mart today to get some ice cream. Just ice cream. Nothing else. Then once in the store the spell that Wal-Mart seems to cast upon us every time we visit quickly took hold. I suddenly remembered that I had to bake cookies for a playgroup tomorrow and wouldn't it be great if they were in cute Christmasy shapes - and NO, I didn't already have Christmas cookie cutters because I'd given them to Mo to use with his play-doh. I offered to wash them but Prince Charming was completely grossed out by using play-doh cookie cutters (even as I reminded him that play-doh was completely non-toxic.)

Then of course I would need Christmasy plates, cups, and napkins to compliment the beautiful cookie creations I would make.

Next came freshener, because... well I didn't have a really good reason, except that I absolutely love those AirWick plugin oil things. While I was at it, I added in a few Glade Christmasy scented candles.

Then of course Prince Charming being the practical one asked if I needed milk, butter, etc. I replied, "Actually, I do! Boy what would I do with out you?"

To which he replied, "Come home with a bunch of crap stuff we can't eat."

Long story short, we went in for a half gallon of Bryers, came out with $92.00 worth of nothing much.

Anyone know the counter spell?

Frankly I think its the nice greeters who are responsible.

BTW - those beautiful cookie creations aren't so beautiful - but they are yummy!

Win from ULooked!

I love giving gifts (and of course receiving them) but for me the best kinds of gifts are ones that are personal. What better way to show someone that much thought was put into their gift then to give them a personalized item?

If you feel as I do, or love the idea of having something personalized for yourself or your children, then ULooked Personalized Gifts is the company for you. ULooked is a mother owned and operated company based out of Miami, Florida that provides a number of personalized gifts and services. As the owner of ULooked, Lulie has always loved personalized items from simple towels to an engraved piece of jewelry. One day while shopping online for just such an item the idea occurred to her, that she should start her own business offering the types of items she both loves to give, own, and receive as gifts, and so ULooked was born. She spent months researching vendors and trying out products creating her catalog of wonderful personalized items. ULooked has an extensive line of over 1000 products which ensures that you will be able to find something for every personality and in every price point. ULooked is also a company that specializes in great customer service and attention to detail. Don’t fret if you don’t reside in Sunny Florida because ULooked will ship their products anywhere. Their product line includes keepsakes like jewelry boxes, fun items like personalized aprons or bibs, and beautiful jewelry products like baby bracelets, charm bracelets, and necklaces, they even offer personalized lunch boxes!
My favorite pieces were the charms and key rings. They are both cute and elegant, not to mention made from high quality sterling silver.

I am pleased to announce that ULooked has generously provided two items from their catalog to offer up as prizes to two of my readers!

The first prize is a sterling silver made in the U.S.A. heart shaped charm. This beautiful charm can be personalized with up to two children’s names, and a cute little boy or girl, both or one of each. For the animal lover a dog or cat can be added with your pet’s name. The charm you win will include one boy or girl and one name (you have the option of adding another boy or girl, and name at your cost.)

The second prize is a sterling silver heart shaped keychain which can be personalized with up to four alphabet block beads and includes one dangle.

Contest is open to U.S. residents only.

If you just can't wait and want to place an order do so and enter PROMO15 at checkout to receive 15% of your purchase!

How to enter:

You have five chances to win. Each chance requires a new comment.

1.)Write a blog about this contest, and place my button or a link to my blog on your blog/website. (If you do so, let me know, and I'll return the favor.) Come back here and leave a comment linking to your blog. If you added a button send me an email with your code, if you added a link, I'll add your link in myself.

2.)Go to ULooked and tell me what is your favorite product. Leave a comment letting me know which item you would choose to buy for yourself or give as a gift.

3.)Link to ULooked or post their banner on your blog or webpage. (The code for their banner will be at the end of this post.)

4.)Twitter about this contest, and comeback leaving me the link to your twitter.

5.)Subscribe to my blog either via email or feeder, leave a comment telling me you have. If you already subscribe leave a comment telling me so.

If you don't have a blog but want to enter anyway - choose option's 2 & 4 - be sure to include your email in your comment.

Contest runs from December 12, 2008 through December 24, 2008.

The winners will be chosen using once notified they will have 72 hours to respond to me.

Good Luck!

Link to ULooked Personalized Gifts!

Link to Us

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday Tunes- What's on My Playlist

I'm starting a new meme today. Tuesday Tunes. Basically you just list what your listening on your playlist today.

Here's a sampling of my iPod playlist "Writers' UnBlock" It's not the entire playlist as there is nearly two-hundred songs for this particular playlist, these are the ones I've been listening to today.

  1. Broken Record - Twilight Sleep

  2. Don't Fire Your Guns - Twilight Sleep

  3. When the Stars Go Blue - The Corrs & Bono {I ♥ this song - I have three different versions, but I came to this one first so here it is.}

  4. Fall for You - Secondhand Serenade

  5. Be Be Your Love - Rachel Yamagata

  6. Never Think - Rob Pattinson/Bobby Dupea [Yes he's the actor from Twilight, no that's not the reason he's on my playlist. I adore his singing voice - its speaks to one's soul, I can't wait to hear more!]

  7. Breathe Me - Sia

  8. Satelite - Collective Soul

  9. Free - The Martinis

  10. Congratulations - Blue October

  11. You Make Me Smile - Blue October

  12. Curse of Curves - Cute is What We Aim For

  13. Boys Don't Cry - Plumb

  14. In My Arms - Plumb

  15. No Ordinary Love - Sade

  16. Today - Smashing Pumpkins

  17. No Need to Argue - The Cranberries

  18. Twenty-One - The Cranberries

  19. A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins

  20. Northern Star - Hole

  21. Bamboleo - The Gypsy Kings

  22. Early Winter - Gwen Stefani

  23. I Don't Sleep, I Dream - R.E.M.

  24. Killing Me Softly - The Fugees

  25. I'm Still Breathing - Katy Perry

  26. Dream to Makebelive - Armor for Sleep

  27. Leave Out All the Rest - Linkin Park

  28. You Got Me - The Roots & Erykah Badu

  29. Assassin - Muse

  30. Ching Tree - My Violent Ego

Now, to participate in this meme, your playlist can be as long or as short as you like. If you don't have a blog, leave me a comment with some of the songs on your playlist. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, to find new artists I've never heard before, or tune into something different. So don't be afraid to post something most people would consider "way out there". I can appreciate most types of music.

As I'm sure you've noted, I posted links to all of the artists I listed. It was really cool to visit some of their homepages, as I'm not one to do that. I usually just troll iTunes, MTV, or ask for new music suggestions.

Oh, and before I forget, here's Mr. Linky.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Play-Doh is Yummy!

Note to self:
During your next playgroup do not put out play-doh for the kids. They just eat it, and I wind up imagining the rainbow poop their poor mothers are going to have to deal with.
Honestly I knew better. It’s just that when it’s been 3+ years since you’ve had a one year old you kind of forget just how yummy play-doh can be. Sigh.
At least they had a fun sensory experience. I wonder how their mothers feel about that?

P.S. I obviously neglected to read the container which clearly states "Ages 2+"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cuban Frijoles Colorados (Red Beans) & Pollo Empanizado (Breaded Chicken)

I thought I would begin putting together a recipe book for my little sister of my Cuban recipes, each time I make a meal I'd snap a few pictures, and then compile them into a book for her. While I was putting it together I thought that this would make a nice "tasty Thursday" blog. Please keep in mind that I don't really measure anything, I'm one of those people who do everything by eye, so there are no measurements.

I don't cook like this on a regular basis, to be perfectly honest, I don't particullarly like cooking all that much, however when the mood strikes I kick arse in the kitchen, and today I was longing for some comfort food. Buen Provecho!

Cuban Red Beans (Frijoles Colorados)

1 pkg dry red kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
Pork [ the bone from one ham, two inch cube salt pork, 5 strips bacon all work well for this recipe]
1 medium onion
5 cloves garlic
¼ green pepper
Adobo seasoning
1 package sazon completo
Olive oil

There are two ways to handle the beans the first is an overnight soak the second is to skip the soaking overnight and to cook this recipe using a pressure cooker. I’ve made them both ways and either way the come out great. For this recipe I soaked the beans overnight.

Wash the beans then soak completely covered overnight (24 hours).
Peel and chop the onion in half
Peel and smash the cloves of garlic
Chop the green pepper (I didn’t use it this time around)
Place into a food processor and puree (for this recipe I cooked the in halves and the garlic whole pureeing them after cooking – either way works fine – however if you do it before hand it saves you the time of having to dig for them once the beans were cooked)

When ready to begin cooking in a large pot place the pork, olive oil (2 tablespoons) onion, garlic, and sauté until the onions are clear and soft.
Add the tomato sauce and continue to cook for another minute or two (this is called a sofrito – when I began preparing this recipe I didn’t realize that I had no tomato sauce on hand – which never happens, so after freaking for a minute I noticed a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup I substituted that for the tomato sauce and it worked beautifully!)
Next add the beans in the same water that they soaked in overnight.
Add water if necessary to make the beans completely covered in about one inch of the liquid mixture.
Cook until the beans are tender 1-2 hours

If you’re using a pressure cooker make sure to check on the beans about every half hour and add more water.

Pollo Empanizado (Baked Breaded Chicken)


Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Vegetable oil
Cuban Crackers (Saltine crackers works great too)
Adobo seasoning
Mojo Criollo
2 eggs
Splash of milk (optional)

For this recipe boneless skinless chicken breast works best but I had chicken breast tenderloins on hand so that’s what I used. Please note that traditionally the skin is left on the chicken.
Wash the chicken breasts
Marinate for about an hour in the mojo criollo (I used the store bought kind however if you would like to make some at home I have the recipe, just send me a message)
By hand or using a mortar and pestle crush the crackers into both fine and large chunks, Sprinkle adobo, cumin and parsley into the mixture, Poor into a large bowl or plate.
In a separate bowl whisk eggs and splash of milk.
Take the chicken out of the marinade and place on to plastic wrap then beat with a mallet until the meat is thin.
In a frying pan poor about ½ inch of the oil into the pan and heat.
One at a time place the chicken into the egg mixture, shake excess egg off, then place into the bread crumb mixture. Place the chicken into the hot oil and cook, flipping occasionally until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
Sprinkle with lime and enjoy

Here is the end result!

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