Monday, April 27, 2009

I have no words...

...And yet it seems I still cannot shut up about this series. I won't spoil anything for you, just...go. READ. It was AWESOME. If you read it and loved it too, feel free to share your comments, just try not to spoil anything in case others haven't read it... Yet :-)

Seriously. Don't make me send out the flying monkeys, y'all... GO. Read. Fall in love! (But you can't have Edward!)

And the congregation said - Amen.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Remember those games from childhood, where you look at the photo to see what's missing (or present) that normally wouldn't be? Here you go. Let's play, shall we?

This is my den. Notice anything odd in there? (besides the insanely large TV, which was a gift that we couldn't refuse!)

How about now?

Still no?

Oh wait, THERE she is! It's Mistress Snufflepuppy, indulging in a late afternoon nap!

Happy Friday! For more Foto Finish Fiesta Fun, head over to Candid Carrie's!

Love, Dahrlin'

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An earful!

Just a word of warning - today's Wordful Wednesday is delivered in a language only canines speak. I dunno what she's saying, but she's saying it for all the world to hear. (Speaker check - adjust your volume to low before clicking!) This is our munchkin, playing with a little friend of ours who came to visit.

Munchkin plays at only one volume - the top one!

For more Wordful Wednesday fun, check out Angie's site at Seven Clown Circus!

Love, Dahrlin' (and Pixie)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sangria Chicken

It's Tuesday, and you know what that means here - it's time for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, graciously hosted by Lisa and Lana!

Sangria Chicken

I've been attempting to stick to my goal of trying at least one or two new recipes per week. I always have a pile of things we want to try, from various friends, family, bloggy friends, food shows, cookbooks, you name it. The pile always seems to grow and grow, while I never manage to try more than one or two every once in a while. So I'm working on that. My "system" for this is getting a little better, as I try to be more realistic about what we would actually try (read: what hubby would actually eat) and avoid grabbing recipes that are extremely close to things we already make. In those cases I now make a note in my own recipe to try the new variation next time. I've also started sorting recipes to try into monthly groups. That helps me cook seasonally and gives me a sense of some organization, LOL! That has been working out pretty well.

Meanwhile, here's a new one we tried last week. It was EXCELLENT and only has five ingredients! For the most part, I made it exactly as directed. I even baked it at the recommended temperature (450) even though I was skeptical of how such a high temp would turn out for roasting (I have tried another recipe that called for roasting chicken at that temperature, and encountered a lot of smoking from oil splatters in the oven). And that's where my only real caution on this recipe comes from - unless you want your house to reek of oven smoke for days, I suggest baking the chicken at no more than 400 degrees (and preferably more like 350) - it will increase cooking time, but you won't have smoke pouring out of the oven. The smoke is not dangerous (except respiratorily, LOL) but it is annoying. And avoidable. The other caveat concerns the time to reduce the glaze - I started it first and still needed to cook it the entire time the chicken was baking in order to reduce it to the proper consistency. Not a problem, just something to be aware of. You can still baste with it as you go, according to the recipe. It was yummy and totally worth the cooking time!

All in all this was a delightful recipe that I definitely recommend. Very springy-summery. I served it with lemon butter pasta (to echo the lemon in the dish) and a green salad, but you could add any sides you want. I think the sangria flavor is excellent and very close to the real thing (without any alcohol remaining). Hope you enjoy!

Click to view/print recipe!

Love, Dahrlin'

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Wahoo - it's another week! This has been a busy weekend, as a couple of my best girlfriends came down. We made homemade spaghetti, PW's cheesy olive bread and awesome breakfast casserole, and I have officially consumed all my fat grams for the next two to two and a half weeks, LOL. So this week it's back to steady workouts, with a few old standby meals planned as well as a couple freezer pleasers.

Here's the plan:

Sunday: Cajun meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed green beans

Monday: Turkey fajitas, baby lima beans

Tuesday: Provencal pork stew, garlic toast

Wednesday: Chicken broccoli braid

Thursday: Spaghetti, cheesy olive bread (I'll have to work out twice Thursday to make up for that one!), broccoli

Friday: Possibly out - have a coupon we need to use

Saturday: Try something new - will post it!

So, what's on your menu this week?

Hope you all have a great week! For more menu ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday over at Orgjunkie!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Favorite Things Swap!

Mamarazzi is hosting a great swap and I have (I hope) signed up! Check it out and join the fun!


Now I see what all the fuss was about. Oh my!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm no gardener, but...

...I do love herbs! I generally have a black thumb, but I am very careful with herbs because I love to cook with them. So I planted this last weekend:

So far, so good. I'll post an update if they take off and flourish!

For more Friday Foto Finish Fiesta Fun, head over to Candid Carrie's!


Love, Dahrlin'

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The price was right - in fact, it was FREE!

Yep, you guessed it! I'm back with more tales of CVS. I can't help it - these deals keep getting better and better. I keep going in, spending less each time, and coming out with more each time. And I keep thinking, "when are they going to put an end to this racket? How is this possible?"

It really does feel almost like stealing. Even when I know I am following store policies and that I'm legitimately entitled to the deals based on the offers, it's just crazy.

Case in point - this week, they have a number of ECB (extracare buck) deals that are free after ECB's - essentially, you might pay $3.49 for an item, but you'll get back $3.49 in ECB's to use on most anything else in the store, for up to a month after the current purchase. Then, if you have a coupon for the item, you can actually make money on the deal. String enough of these scenarios together, and you can walk out with quite a lot of stuff - plus cash in your pocket. All for free!

This week's haul (totals also include two items from last week's offers, which were both free but are not pictured) featured $55 in merchandise, and it's all absolutely free. Plus, we got back more in ECB's than we spent, so we actually netted a gain on the deal. $3.50 I didn't have before I went in!

Even my husband is starting to find this amazing. He's talking about getting his own card so we can double up on our deals. We'll see if he goes through with it!

Anyway, hope this inspires you to check out the CVS game for yourself! After all, who doesn't enjoy free stuff? Especially stuff you can actually use!

Love, Dahrlin'

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Provencal Pork Stew (Tempt My Tummy Tuesday)

This time of year, at least where we live, the weather is very unpredictable. Sometimes it's just plain cold, and sometimes it's lovely (like Sunday) - but other times, we can go from a low of 26 early in the week to 70 degrees in about 36 hours. That type of change usually comes (as it did this Friday) along with a truly violent storm system. As expected, we got tornadoes, hail, lightning and a torrential downpour Friday evening. Can't say they didn't warn us, but it's still no fun.

Meanwhile, this kind of weather leaves me craving comfort food. In the evenings, it's still quite chilly, and the lighter dishes I often prepare in summer just don't cut it - it's not that warm yet! So this is a favorite of mine that evokes spring, while being rich and satisfying.

You may have noticed I'm getting lazy about typing out the recipes, but I figure it's actually probably easier for you to print the recipe at its source and then add any of my notes as you wish. So here you go! Recipe is here. When I make this, I find the leftovers perfect for lunches during the week, so I freeze leftovers in serving-size containers. I also typically use Kalamata olives, just because my market has them handy (and pitted! just double check if you buy pitted, as sometimes they actually aren't, and that's ouchy.) I also make sure to brown the pork in two batches, as it simply won't brown in one batch (you'll end up boiling it instead, and ...ewww.) So trust me that it's worth the extra few minutes to brown in batches.

Hope you enjoy! You can serve this with just about anything. Much cheaper than airfare to France, but you won't miss out on the flavors!

For more tempting dishes, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Love, Dahrlin'

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's a new week, and a busy one for us. Several activities toward the end of the week have us on the go more than usual, so this week's menu is all about flexibility. That said, we save a TON at the grocery store (and on takeout) when I at least have a plan in place and a few ingredients in the house, so here's the plan! We'll see how it shakes out. We're trying a couple new ones, so I'll report back on how they go!

Sunday: Jalapeno Chicken Enchiladas, Green Salad, Baby Lima Beans (I'm still on a spring green kick!)

Monday: Sangria Chicken (new to try), Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Tuesday: Provencal Pork Stew, leftover Orzo Pasta

Wednesday: Tilapia Baked in Parchment (new to try), herbed new potatoes

Thursday: Flex night - could be anything, as plans aren't finalized

Friday: Girls' night out - or in. Friends coming over - not sure what we'll make, but we'll take photos!

Saturday: Another flex night - friends still visiting.

Happy week! For more menu inspiration, check out Menu Plan Monday over at!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here! He has risen!" Luke 24:5

Today is my favorite Christian holiday of the year. I love Christmas too, with all it brings, but for Christians the significance of Christmas is defined by Easter. Christ is risen!

May each of you reading this be blessed, today and each day, and know that I am so thankful for your friendship!

Love and Happy Easter!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Creamy Jalapeno Chicken Enchiladas - Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

One of our favorite Mexican dishes is a recipe that I found years ago, in a Quick Cooking subscription. We both loved it and it has been on our favorites list ever since! As with most recipes of its kind, you could definitely play around with it and modify as you see fit, but we like it just as it is. I do have a few tips for you, but mostly we make this one as directed.

It's handy as a freezer meal (as you'll read in the recipe) if you want to make one casserole to eat now, and one for later. And leftovers reheat well - reheat uncovered at about 350 for 10 mins or so. Yum! Hubby considers this one restaurant-quality - and when it comes to Mexican, he is a true connoisseur, LOL! His favorite cuisine!

The only things I recommend changing are (1) grill the chicken - it adds immeasurably to the flavor (about 2 large chicken breasts needed per 9x13 pan), and (2) grate your own cheddar cheese (it melts so much better - and it's cheaper!). You don't have to flavor the grilled chicken with anything, but you certainly can. You can also add a can of green chiles (if you like things extra spicy) or add the chiles and omit the jalos. If you're really sensitive to heat you could just do bell pepper instead of the chiles. We like all variations and I usually make it whichever way based on the ingredients I have on hand - I keep diced jalapenos in the freezer, but occasionally I am out.

Anyway, here is the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

For more wonderful meal ideas, check out Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace and Right Here Right Now!

Love, Dahrlin'

Sunday, April 5, 2009


That word has a lot of different meanings in our language. But there's no Savings Roundup this week - all the deals at CVS this week were for stuff we didn't need, and I decided to pass on the chance to buy stuff I knew we would not use. As I go along in the CVS game I may get to the point where I take them up on freebies that we won't be able to use and donate them, but I didn't make it over there this week. I'm hoping for a fun week next week! So stay tuned!

Meanwhile, as Easter is approaching and today is Palm Sunday, I wanted to share a different kind of savings story with you.

This is one of my absolute favorite stories in the Bible.

I love the simplicity of the message, and the fact that God puts the "cookies" (the message) on the lower shelf for people like me who otherwise can get bogged down in trying to parse every detail. He made this one so simple and so real that we can't really mess it up :-) Another of my favorite pastors reminds his listeners that Christians should always share Christ as "beggars telling other beggars where they found bread." So I hope you'll accept this message in that light. It takes just a moment to read, but there is such power in this story.

This Easter I am thankful for each of you who reads this - and I pray that if you don't know Christ, this story will touch your heart and encourage you to seek Him. If you are a Christian, be reminded of His grace - He is mighty to save!!

Love and happy almost-Easter!

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