Friday, October 27, 2006

A Thought For You About Growing Up

I am really close with my Mom. We had maybe a year or so when I first moved out of her house that we didn't get along well. I think we both were just bitter and not ready to move on.

When I was a little girl, I'm talking like 6 or 7, I remember her putting notes in my lunch box saying "hav a great day pooh! love, mom" or some other sweet little note. They would always be written on this colorful lined paper, closed with a sticker. To this day, I still have a bunch of them that I tucked away.

One day Mom bought me a greeting card. This is what it said :

My Child, This Is a Thought for You About Growing Up.

This isn't an easy world
to be growing up in,
and I don't blame you
if you sometimes feel
a little confused about things...

For now, my child, remember that it's
okay to feel the way you feel.
Be yourself, and don't try to
hide what's going on indside.
Just don't forget
that a beautiful person lives there.

Even though you sometimes feel unhappy
with the way things are going,
don't ever stay sad for long.

I miss you when the happy you is gone.

and I'll always be here
to help you when
you need to find
your smile again.
(*Allison Alexander*)

Love Always,

For some reason, even to this day, it makes me get all teary-eyed. I have had this card for 15 years maybe. I will never get rid of this.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

3 Good Fall Recipes

Yesterday I woke up and my car was frosted over... It's time to pull out those tummy warming recipes!

Classic Jambalaya

1 pound medium shrimp*
2 chicken breast halves, with bones (approx 1 pound total)
4 cups of water
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut into ½ inch thick rounds*
1 medium green bell pepper seeded and chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups long grain rice
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the shrimp over high heat just until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Cool, peel, and de-vein the shrimp, reserving the shrimp and their shells separately.

In a large saucepan, combine the chicken breasts, the reserved shrimp shells, the water, half the chopped onion, half the chopped celery, one third of the garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, until the chicken juices run clear yellow when pierced with a fork, 20-25 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquid.

In a sieve set over a large bowl, drain and reserve the cooking liquid, discarding the solids. You should have about 4 cups of liquid; add water, if necessary. Remove and discard the chicken bones. Chop the breast meat coarsely and set it aside.

Heat the oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven. Add the sausage and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the reserved cooking liquid, the remaining teaspoon of salt, the tomatoes with their juice, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Stir in the rice and return to the simmer. Cook over medium-low heat, tightly covered, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 25 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, stir in the reserved shrimp and chicken, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the jambalaya to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

*Side Notes:
You can use ½ pound of crabmeat at the end of the recipe to replace the shrimp.
You can use 1 cup chopped smoked ham instead of the sausage.

Yields: a lot. I think about 8 servings.

Texas Chili

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds ground beef (90% or better)
2 medium onions, chopped
2+ garlic cloves, chopped
28 ounces tomatoes, whole
12 ounces beer (I use low carb or something not too dark)
5 tablespoons chili powder
2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon sugar

Cayenne pepper (optional)
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Red onion, chopped
Avocado, sliced

Heat the oil in 6-quart saucepan. Add ground beef, onions and garlic and sauté until meat is browned. Stir in next 7 ingredients and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, about 45-55 minutes. Taste and season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper if desired. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with toppings if desired.

Yields 8 cups, about 4 servings.

Applesauce Muffins

1 ½ cups sugar
½ cupbutter or margarine -- softened
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup applesauce (homemade is the best)

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter by hand. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine dry ingredients. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with applesauce. Mix just until combined. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake at 350f for 20-22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Where has the time gone??

Wow.. I just realized that it is October 1st. I haven't blogged in forever. My apologies to you all, and to myself. Keeping a blog, no matter how lame, is self-satisfying and rewarding. I find a lot out about myself by reading old posts as well as reading other people's comments. I will try to keep this more updated.

Atkins... I have been on and off the diet. My total now, is down a solid 24lbs. I was as low as -31lbs, but that was right after I was sick for a week. Sometime this week I will be going back to being extremely strict about what I am eating again. Maybe not so much the Atkins diet, but a modified diet where I can eat more fruits and some whole grains. My January first, I would like to be down another 25lbs. This is very reasonable goal.

I got a new haircut in August. It's so short but I LOVE it! Thanks to Cheri at Trade Secret. I am trying to decide if I should keep it short or grow it back out. Any opinions??

School started the 1st week of September. BAH is all I have to say to that! I am no longer at St.Joseph's College of Nursing. I am attending
Onondaga Community College to finish my Math/Science degree. After that, I will finish my Registered Nurse degree. Currently, I am taking Advanced Composition/Literature, Intermediate Algebra, Biology of AIDS, and Modern American History. I don't mind all but the history. I feel as though I have not learned a damn thing in that class.

I am still working the night shift at
St.Joseph's Hospital. I have only been working the weekends so I can free up my week for school, but I am thinking of changing back to more weekday so that I have some sort of a social life. It is really hard when all of your friends work during the week, AND the evening shift. Not many of my friends understand the Night shift concept. I lose my job in either December or January because I am not enrolled in a RN program. I will either find another position here, or apply to Upstate Medical Center- they pay more and have better benefits due to the fact that it is a State job. I would hate to lose the time invested into St.Joseph's, but I have to do what I have to do. Having a paycheck is important to me :)

The thought of moving to Seattle, Washington, is still fresh in my mind. Part of me would like a fresh start. I have been single now for over 6 months. Although I like being able to date, I wish I had the constant guy in my life to share everything with. I am afraid of finding someone here in NY, and then moving to Seattle and losing them if they do not want to move. I am unsure when I want to move. Maybe next winter after I finish one of my degrees...

Since I have been back from Alaska, I have been quite busy.
*Liz and I drove to Boston, MA for the annual Where's George BBQ at Dr.Ask's house. What a blast. All I have to say is... thank goodness I have medical background.
*Jeff and I went to GreenLakes State Park for the day.
*My Aunt, Uncle, and 6 cousins from Indiana came up for a visit and we had a picnic at my sisters house.
*My friend Walter and I went to the Turning Stone Casino in Oneida to see Chris Isaak perform. He was wonderful! I can't believe he's 50!
*Joe and I went to Buffalo for a weekend. We went to Darien Lake for the day and saw Rob Zombie and Godsmack in concert! woohoo!
*I went to the New York State Fair twice. I got to see Joan Jett (yay!!!), the 4 Tops, eat pizza frites, eat fries with cheddar, play with the baby chicks, checked out the Photography display in the Women's building, and bought my parents tickets to see James Taylor.

I think that sums it up.

Last weekend I made a day trip down to Ithaca, New York, with my friend Ben. We hiked the trail at Robert Treman State Park, from top to bottom. Word to the wise... Start at the bottom if you plan on hiking the whole thing. You will be happy you did! Here are a couple photos (pardon the extreme sweatiness). Go to
My Flickr page if you would like to see the rest.
Ben and Me. Sweat and All. Me

For those of you on MySpace, come check out my profile and add me!

I have been doing minimal updates on Jill Rachel Photography and Bean's Stock lately due to lack of time. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I am hopeing this month will give me more time to work on them. I do still have quite a few of the Hawaiian Chocolate Knitting Needle Cases available- made to order.

On to knitting... I haven't finished a project in a while. I did start my girly version of the Dr.Who scarf. Pictures will be up once I have enough of it done to even take pictures of it. I have been working on a sock, but I will be taking it apart because it is too small. I was using a size 0 needle and forgot to add extra stitches to the pattern so it would fit me. Good job Jill. I have been thinking of things to make for Christmas this year, but I am running out of time! Any ideas of good quick gifts?

Alright... Time to get going. I hope to be blogging more often.