Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day

Tank and I are enjoying the wonderful weather outside today!  We hope you are too!  Happy Weekend!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cooking for 2

Since Jack and I have gotten married, I try to cook at least every week night.  It has been fun learning new things and trying new recipes.  I love finding recipes in all of my wonderful cookbooks and on the internet.  The only problems I seem to run into is that sometimes when I get home from work, I don't want to make something that is going to take an hour and a half to prep and an hour or more to cook.  I like 30 minute meals.  Instant, easy.  I also run into the problem of cooking for two.  Jack normally will take leftovers to work.  I think I have mentioned before I am not much of a leftover girl.  But sometimes you don't want left overs.  You don't want a ziplock container of leftover chicken enchiladas in your fridge just sitting there for three days.  And unfortunately, I am one of those people that feel guilty when I throw away food.  I mean hello, there are starving children all over the world and I had to call a plumber because I threw away so much left over spaghetti down my garbage disposal.  It just makes me feel bad.

One of my "go to" websites for EASY recipes is  You can sign up and they will email you recipes and tips for parties, etc.  Most of their recipes don't have a ton of ingredients, which is nice when you are trying to save at the super market or even if you are just trying to make a quick meal.  The following recipe was sent to me today and it looked so wonderful and it is made to serve TWO people, so I wanted to share.  This recipe calls for ground beef, but you could always substitute for ground turkey meat or even some assorted fresh veggies like squash or zucchini.  You can use whole wheat lasagna noodles and fat free cream cheese as two easy ways to "health it up."  The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!

Lasagna Bake for Two

Lasagna Bake for Two recipe
previous photo 
 next photo
photo by: 

what you need

2 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1/2 lb.  extra-lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 clove  garlic, minced
1 cup undrained canned diced tomatoes (about 2/3 of 14.5-oz. can)
2 Tbsp.  PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup  KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend, divided

make it

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
COOK noodles as directed on package, omitting salt.
MEANWHILE, brown meat with onions and garlic in large nonstick skillet. Add tomatoes and cream cheese spread; cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture just comes to boil. Add spinach; cook and stir 1 min. Remove from heat, add 1/4 cup shredded cheese; stir until melted.
DRAIN noodles. Spoon 1/3 cup spinach mixture into each of 2 (2-cup) ramekins; top with noodle, letting excess noodle extend over rim of ramekin. Top each with 1/3 cup spinach mixture; fold noodle back over dish to cover filling. Repeat until all filling is folded between noodle layers; top with remaining shredded cheese.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through. Let stand 5 min. before serving.

It's Raining, It's Pouring

You know what they say, when it rains, it pours.  Jack and I have been pretty lucky in the homeowner's department.  No real major damages or problems.  Just minor stuff.  Well, in the past two weeks, 4 minor things have happened all back to back - Can we please catch a break?

Last night my genius self dumped a ton of Spaghetti noodles down the garbage disposal.  It all started coming up the other side of the sink and out of the sink in our Master Bathroom.  It was totally my fault for putting it all down the disposal in the first place, so I spend my whole evening trying to fix it.  The problem won't budge.  Roto-Rooter will be out today to "snake" our lines.  Cool.

Also last night our kind neighbor came over to inform us that he saw two squirrels run into our attic.  I am assuming that most of you know this is not a good thing.  Those little rodents chew up wiring and could cause major damage.  This will be an easy fix.  This weekend with one trip to the Hardware store, we will have the supplies we need to get this fixed.  We will be putting up new wire netting in the space they crawled through.  We had some there before, but they chewed through it.  Damn squirrels.  I will definitely be the one watching as Jack goes up into the attic banging around trying to scare the squirrels out before we put up out new net.  I don't play that game.  No sir.

In the past two weeks, our oven has also quit and our handle on our guest bedroom closet fell off (on both sides, therefore we couldn't get the door open!).  The Sears oven man will be out on Saturday.  The handle, well, it will get fixed in time.  That is a minor problem.

Oh the joys of being a homeowner!

BUT, I am looking on the bright side.  It is January 28th and the weather today calls for sun and almost 70 degrees!!!  I'll definitely take that!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sitting, Watching, Waiting...

As you all know, Tank goes to work everyday with his Dad.  I mean of course, why would he not, he is Velcro Dog.  On rare occasions, Jack will leave to go somewhere where he can't take Tank with him - a meeting, lunch, etc.  When these rare occurrences happen, this is what Jack always sees when he pulls back up to the office.

Look at that face!  Susie and Eunice, who work with Jack, tell him that every time he leaves, Tank never moves from this position.  Such a sweet boy!


Happy Birthday to Ande Le Courtney, aka, Rhonda!  May your day be wonderful and your cake be sweet!  Cheers to you my dear friend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That's What I Love About Sunday's

What are Sunday's like at your house?  Normally, for Jack and I, it is a time to get stuff done at the end of the weekend.  In the Spring, we like to be outside working in the yard or cooking out.  In the summer, we like to pull our little TV outside and layout and watch golf.  Fall, well, you know..... NFL Football on Sunday's.  Now that we are in the dead of winter and Football is winding down (sadly), what else is there to do on Sunday (besides going to church)?  The Judd's answer: gorge your stomach with all of the food it can handle.  See below a few pics of what Jack and I ate this past Sunday.  I want to take a moment to THANK my parents for my good genes and wonderful metabolism.
Dinner:  I guess a 20" pizza and cheesy bread might have been a little too aggressive of an order.  The box wouldn't even fit in our fridge.
Breakfast of Champions:  Chicken Fried Steak, Scrambled Eggs, Potatoes, and Two Pancakes.  But Ma'am, could I please get a DIET coke.  I am trying to watch my weight :)  And to answer your question, YES, Jack and I each ordered our own whole meal.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

I celebrated my 28th birthday on Jan. 15th with this handsome guy pictured below and some of my most wonderful friends.  I am such a lucky girl!  Thank you to everyone for making my day so special!  I wish I would have taken more pictures!

Ahoy! Baby Shower Ideas!

This past weekend a few close friends and myself hosted a baby shower for our friend Lindsey.  She is having a baby boy, Hayes, in April.  We chose a nautical theme for the shower to coordinate with his nursery theme.  If there is anybody out there looking for shower ideas, this is a great one.  It was so easy and even with minimal decoration, I think the guests were able to pick up on the theme :)
The main table with all of the desserts.

A shot with the Mom-to-be (in the purple) and all of the hostesses
Wooden letters from Hobby Lobby painted navy and white.  Monogrammed onsies and bibs to tie in with the theme.
The fruit skewers had red electrical tape at the top, and were cut to look like little flags.


So for Christmas, I gave Jack gift cards to the Apple store so he could buy an iPad.  This is the PERFECT gift for Jack.  He loves all things electronic.  Any new or cool sports app, he has it.  He loves video games, his iPhone, the computer...... why not get him an iPad?  Hello, can you say wife of the year?

I didn't purchase him the actual iPad because I heard a little rumor that there is a new one coming out at the end of March which will have new cool features.  I am not normally a huge fan of gift cards because they are not very personal, but I knew if I didn't purchase the Apple gift cards, Jack would never purchase the iPad himself.  I mean you can't REALLY justify it if you have a personal computer and iPhone.  He was so excited about the gift and has already been reading articles about the new iPad and what features it is going to have.  A cool thing is, it will have a camera on it, so you can "face time" on the iPad.  Jack and his friend Jon have already joked they are going to face time everyday after work and sit and drink a beer together.  Cool.  Needless to say, Jack and Jon both are over the moon about the upcoming release of the new toy.

One of my friends on Facebook posted a link to this site and I thought it was so cute.  They are personalized iPad covers.  They look to me like they are more for girls, but I am sure they have other cases for men.  I just love these.  They are $38 and you can order them here: or here they are on Facebook.  They are easier to view here:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beef Wellington Recipe

FYI, you will need to get out your gram converter calculator.  I just googled the measurements :)  It was totally foreign to me!

Gordon Ramsay's beef Wellington

Gordon Ramsay's beef wellington
Gordon Ramsay says: 'This is an impressive dish and one that's easier than it looks. This beef Wellington makes a great alternative to a Sunday roast, or try it out for a romantic meal'
  • Serves: 4
  • Prep time: 20 mins
    (plus chilling time)
  • Cooking time: 50 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 10 mins
  • Skill level: Master chef
  • Costs: Splashing out
  • Romantic


To keep the pastry light and crisp, we wrap the beef and mushrooms in a layer of Parma ham to shield the pastry from moisture.
Gordon Ramsay
  • 400g flat cap mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp English mustard
  • 6-8 slices of Parma ham
  • 500g ready-made puff pastry
  • Flour, to dust
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten


  1. Put the mushrooms into a food processor with some seasoning and pulse to a rough paste. Scrape the paste into a pan and cook over a high heat for about 10 mins, tossing frequently, to cook out the moisture from the mushrooms. Spread out on a plate to cool.
  2. Heat in a frying pan and add a little olive oil. Season the beef and sear in the hot pan for 30 secs only on each side. (You don't want to cook it at this stage, just colour it.) Remove the beef from the pan and leave to cool, then brush all over with the mustard.
  3. Lay a sheet of cling film on a work surface and arrange the Parma ham slices on it, in slightly overlapping rows. With a palette knife, spread the mushroom paste over the ham, then place the seared beef fillet in the middle. Keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the edge, neatly roll the Parma ham and mushrooms around the beef to form a tight barrel shape. Twit the ends of the cling film to secure. Chill for 15-20 mins to allow the beef to set and keep its shape.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to a large rectangle, the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the cling film from the beef, then lay in the centre. Brush the surrounding pastry with egg yolk. Fold the ends over, the wrap the pastry around the beef, cutting off any excess. Turn over, so the seam is underneath, and place on a baking sheet. Brush over all the pastry with egg and chill for about 15 mins to let the pastry rest. 
  5. Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
  6. Lightly score the pastry at 1cm intervals and glaze again with beaten egg yolk. Bake for 20 minutes , then lower the oven setting to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and cook for another 15 mins. Allow to rest for 10-15 mins before slicing and serving with the accompaniments. The beef should still be pink in the centre when you serve it.
Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's 'Sunday Lunch', published by Quadrille, available from Amazon

Nutritional information per portion

  • Calories 918(kcal)
  • Fat 54.0g
  • Saturates 23.0g
  • Sugars 2.0g
  • Salt 2.3g

A little behind.

Right when I get going again, I miss the train and start slacking off.  I promise to update more!  This post will be all about our New Year's Eve.  We had a small group of people over for dinner.  I made Beef Wellington, which by the way is great!  I have never had it before, only see pictures.  We had a wonderful evening, filled with friends, cooking, drinking and champagne desserts!  And what NYE party isn't complete without some fun "flare"!  Thank you to Sasha who provided the masks and hats!  Here are a few pictures and details from the evening:
Jack "helping" in the kitchen.  Don't worry, his cigar is not lit!

Mustard base with mushroom spread and tightly wrapped in prosciutto.  

Brushed dough with the egg wash, it is about to be ready to wrap up!

Cheers!  It's midnight!

Finished product :)  My first Beef Wellington
New Year's Day Chocolate Brownie Trifle.

Beef Wellington should be pink in the center.  You don't want to over cook it.    Beef should read at least 125 degrees on your instant thermometer.  

Pretty Champagne cupcakes with chocolate and strawberries that Sasha made!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tank Ringing in 1/1/11

One more time showing teeth!

So Long 2010

Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right.
-Oprah Winfrey