Evening in the Country...

Evening in the Country...
...a gorgeous view of the WV mountains I get to enjoy everyday. Also the place Bri proposed earlier this year! [Not taken on that day.]

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sassy Salsa

     I have been trying salsa recipes until I found something scrumptious.  Now more than a year later I am getting a bit closer.  I enjoy the picante style you can find at Mexican restaurants most, but there is a fresh style at our local grocer I love as well.  Both have quite the wonderful bite. 

found via Google search: salsa

Today I went (sort of) by the ones I found in the Joy of Cooking, which noted that the onions should be rinsed.  I used 8 Roma tomatoes, cut each in half, took out the guts, and heated the oven to 400.  Topped each with olive oil, lemon juice, and Pampered Chef's Chili Lime seasoning.  Those were roasted until the tops began to brown.

Next I started on half of a purple onion that was diced in the food processor until small and then placed in cold water.  I chopped one leek the same way and tossed in with the onions in cold water.  Then chopped two celery stalks and about 5-6 garlic cloves and put them in a separate bowl. 

I added the juice from two limes, 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/8 cup chopped cilantro leaves.  Those were mixed and allowed to set as I got out the tomatoes and began to chop those up finely as well.

Once the onions and leeks were drained and squeezed, I added them to the bowl as well with a few dashes of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  After stirring well and tried a quick bite, I knew I needed more tomatoes and had none!  On to the pantry:  I found a lovely can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos!  Score!  Those were processed a bit more and then mixed well with the salsa.

Sonja's Sassy Salsa

We have enjoyed quite a bit tonight and have plenty left over for many nights to come!  I'm guessing I will need to get more chips soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Manwich Night

     There have been so many delicious dinners over the past few months, that I should not have neglected my posting of each them!  Last night had been a winner of all winners!  I decided to make roasted chicken with roasted potatoes.  Got ready and opened the chicken to sniff a putrid smell - absolutely awful!  

What is a gal to do?  

found via Google search: cartoon stress

Come up with something new!  We had plenty of leftover whole wheat buns from the delicious bacon cheeseburgers on Monday evening (a pregnant lady needs her protein!) so I went for Manwiches.  Not a fan myself considering the sloppy mess - uck!  But I didn't leave myself any options with ground turkey, ground beef, four cheese Italian sausage and the salad fixings.  I have been tired of meatballs since we had a whole week's worth of Italian delicacies including lasagna, pizza, and spaghetti.  

found via Google search: sloppy joe

Manwiches (some call them sloppy joes) it was!  I copied the first recipe I found on the internet and quickly got to the kitchen.  What?  No green peppers?  No mustard?  No celery seed or onion powder?  Guess it was time to improvise (nothing new here). 

I used part ground turkey and part ground beef for the meat.  After it was cooked and chopped up I set it aside.  Tossed in melted butter with a 1/4 chopped onion, one chopped celery stalk, and about 5 chopped garlic cloves.  Let that cook while I grabbed the ketchup, tomato paste, jalapeno mild sauce, and a can of tomato sauce.  Those went in next.  

Now to season it up: chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, and a few large dashes of paprika.  Added some fresh lemon juice (half).  Then let it simmer and tossed in the ground meat.  That simmered on medium high to get the sauce boiled down and thickened.

I used the rest of the melted butter, bit of the chopped garlic (I did a whole head), basil, parsley, cajun seasoning, fresh lemon juice (the other half of the lemon), and tossed boiled red potatoes that were cut into halves then fourths.  Let those cook in the oven at 500 degrees while my Manwich simmered.

found via Google search: roasted potatoes

The buns were toasted whole wheat, which contain loads of fiber for our baby-to-be!

All in all, a fabulous dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunch the following day!  And boy were those leftovers worth EVERY SINGLE BITE!!!  I say try your own manwich recipe with what is in your cabinets today!

Now I need to try my own enchilada sauce...hmmm I can taste it already!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Quote Today

"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
           -Albert Einstein

Easy for him to say - he was a genius after all!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

365 Thank Yous

A recent read by John Kralik, an attorney from California, was an inspiring tale to appreciate the small things in life.  It shows that when you do appreciate the small things, good will come your way.  Much like karma, or the power of three.  "365 Thank Yous" will make you want to do better, even if it is just writing a thank you note when you receive a gift, or some sort of gratitude from the most inconspicuous places, like your local barista or sandwich shop.  For me, it will be the staff at the downtown Graziano's, they are always cheerful and polite (having the best pizza helps as well!).

On a separate note, the pregnancy is going very well, as are my ideas to stay fashionable with a big ole' belly!  The joy of knowing our child is already kicking and will begin to grow even more rapidly than it already has!  10 more weeks until we find out the sex and can really begin to plan the nursery, among a million other things (like safety).  Of course, we have a cruise the following week that we have to plan for, nothing can really overshadow this pregnancy and the love we share enjoying it.

Monday, January 31, 2011


A few quotes that I like quite well:

"Obsession gives you something to do besides having your heart shattered by disappointment, conflict, loss."
     -Geneen Roth

"Your life is nota  dress rehearsal - this is it!  It's show time!"
     - Denise Austin

You never know when you need a quote to get you through the day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


The past few months have flown by from all the business!  The holidays are always fun but the relaxation that follows is what I love the most.  Besides cooking and keeping up with current events, my husband and I visited the emergency room during the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve.  All in all, we're expecting a little one in late August/early September!

It came as quite a surprise considering we had a "ten-year plan!"  Life never leaves room for much planning on our parts, just gotta take it as it comes!  Becoming pregnant puts a new spin on life, you take more time doing things, appreciate the feel-good moments, and you begin watching your food in-take slightly more.  This has sprung to life my vow to swear off chemicals, whether it is in the food I eat, or the soap and lotion that go on my skin.  Before this I never realized that your skin soaks up 60% of the crap you put on your skin.  In summation, if the ingredient is not something I would use while I cook, then it doesn't need to be in my skin care regime, packaged or fresh foods, lotions, soaps, make-up, or even baby wipes or clothing!  The list is outrageous but everyone can take small steps to a better, more fresh routine.

One of my first steps was to read a few books, cook up my own lotion and soap, take care at the grocery store to put things back on the shelf that has a funky ingredient list.  USA Today reported earlier this month that many chemicals and toxins were found in more than 200 women!  Now think what those carcinogens are doing to an unborn fetus!  If it isn't good for your baby, it more than likely is not good for you either.

Right now I am enjoying a lovely homemade smoothie!  I used frozen strawberries, peaches, and mangoes with fresh strawberries and organic pineapple juice.  Blend until smooth and I have this yummy sweet yet tart smoothie that will help baby and I!  Maybe next time I will use fresh kiwi and blueberries...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

searching for the perfect reading spot

     It isn't always easy finding just the right spot to plop down and open a book.  Sometimes we have to rework a place we've used for quite a long while.  Rather that is adding a blanket during the winter, or a pillow in the evenings, a little adjustment can make all the difference. 

     For me, right now, it is a comfy quilt and a spot in front of our furnace vent.  Every now and again I get a burst of hot air that I can capture under my quilt.  All the while taking in Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis or Jerry Oppenheimer's Front Row.

     Many people that know me well know that I spend many of my workday lunches at the library.  It is a place I have known since I was a child and each time I am there it brings a sense of tranquility to my soul.  The smell of the stairwell, the second floor nooks to review books, the oversize section on the balcony, areas I like to hide as if I have stepped back to my childhood.

     I actually wish that I had taken the time to go to the library today (but I do have plenty to read already).  I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving break and taking some time to relax and reminisce.