Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Green Monster Smoothie

I regularly take these to work with me in the morning as my breakfast. I think they are yummy, filling and a great on-the-go breakfast for a girl who fails to leave enough time in her morning schedule to sit down to eat. And while the ingredients might be a little bizarre, Lance will drink these as well as the two coworkers I've convinced to try them.

Ingredients(in layering order)

1/4 c slow oats
1/3 c skim milk
1 banana cut up in chunks
1 large T of almond butter or peanut butter
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 large glop of yogurt
3 ice cubes

I assemble everything the night before in my smoothie cup (minus the ice cubes), blend everything, and then add the ice cubes and blend again. You can't taste the spinach and the Green Monster keeps my hunger at bay until lunchtime!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thanksgiving/Black Friday/survial present

Lance and I did mange to trek to NE Iowa to visit his grandma this weekend, despite not being able to see the rest of our family. It was fun to see her and we did a little gambling at the casino. Precious little. I lost $2.33 out of $5 and declared myself done. I don't really like losing money. But the fun part of visiting NE Iowa is stopping at the outlet mall in Willamsburg. Because this time I got to purchase a Coach bag! I worked a Black Friday promotional event from 11 pm to 6 am in order to justify buying this. The pain of having to add up receipts by hand is reason enough for this baby.
Here's my Thanksgiving/Black Friday/survial present!

Isn't she pretty? I got her 50% off with an additional 20% off too! Hurray for a good deal!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And we're back

In central Iowa. The roads were too bad and we turned around. I guess we'll try again on Sat!

Merry Christmas to All!

We are off (again) to NW Iowa, braving the roads and rumors of 12" of snow back home ... Wish us luck! We'll have time with my parents and my Aunt Sharon tonight and then time with Lance's family from Friday - Sunday.
And remember, Jesus is the reason for the season. NOT SANTA!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Peanut Butter Goodness

A little gooey and more than a little messy, but right out of the oven, these cookies cannot be beat. I suppose that's why they won a $1 million in the Pillsbury Bake-off ...
Here's the recipe and to eating my weight in Christmas cookies. It would be so much healthier for me if I couldn't bake or cook.

1/4 cup Dry Roasted Peanuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated peanut butter cookies, well chilled

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
2. In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.
3. Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
4. Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. (If you want you can flatten them with a glass. I apparently missed the memo on that part. Oh well, doesn't change the taste!) On large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart on parchment paper. 5. Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.

Snow. Winter Weather. Again.

For the first time ever, Lance and I might be spending Christmas here in central Iowa rather than with our families in NW Iowa. It might be a wii Christmas with freezer leftovers ...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Falling ....

This is what happens when you fall down the stairs ... twice. A very sore ankle and foot. And really no explanation for your own clumsiness. Obviously, no heels for me for awhile. Clumsy Kara.

Dead? Nah ...

What do you mean my Christmas Poinsetta is dead? I don't believe you. Miracle Grow will save Poinsetta and it will be a Christmas MIRACLE!

The post-it note from my dear friend and co-worker Erika, reads "Please put me out of my misery. Please." However, what you can't see is my added small print underneath: "Nothing says Merry Christmas like a dead Poinsetta"

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I finished my semester on Friday/Saturday at 1:13 AM. And then I was up at 8 am to hit the road for my parents house for the weekend. I've had about 6 hours in naps in the last 2 days and I'm still exhausted. I'll attribute that to staying up to midnight the last two weeks and then getting up at 6:30 am for work.
Yeah. That'll make you tired. But I'm optimistic - it's Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here is the evidence that Fire thinks Christmas ornaments are his personal play toys. Along with his two stuffed mice (both of which the stuffing is coming out of as Fire holds them in his mouth and bunny kicks them) and his foil ball, lay my wooden "Ho" ornament. Fire is stock piling all the things he thinks are fun. Bad kitty.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

For the longest time, one of culinary ambitions has been to recreate Macaroni Grill's Focaccia Bread. Their bread is one of my favorite things to eat. It's so yummy! We don't eat at the Macaroni Grill very often because we're poor folk :) So my solution is recreations. This summer I made eggplant Parmesan and now I'm moving onto bread. This is the bread that I attempted to leave the house for in the middle of a snow storm. Olive oil or not, this bread was good. I made the dough in my bread machine and then finished the baking process in the oven. When it came out of the oven I could barely stop myself from eating the entire pan. Yes, it's that good. Or maybe I have little self-restraint.

Add all ingredients in the order they appear.
1 c water 80 degrees F (this is important, you don't want to kill the yeast by having your water too hot)
1/3 c olive oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 c bread flour
1 tsp quick rise yeast

Bread machine program: dough

Add at beep: 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Rosemary Topping:
1/4 olive oil
1 T rosemary
1/4 c garlic, minced
1/3 Parmesan cheese
1/4 salt

1. With oiled hands, evenly press dough into a greased 9x13 pan. Using your fingers, make indentations in the dough
2. Cover & let rise in a warm place for 30 min or until almost double in size. While dough is rising, prepare your topping.
3. In a skillet, heat olive oil, garlic, & dried rosemary. Immediately remove from heat.
4. Use fingers to press dimples into the dough again. Spoon oil topping mixture evenly over dough and sprinkle remaining ingredients.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Favorite Things: Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer

One of life's most simple pleasures is coffee. I didn't understand this until I had graduated from college and couldn't depend on mid afternoon naps to keep me on my feet. Like so many others, I turned to most adults' dependency: coffee. I'm still not the point where I can drink coffee black, but I do like coffee and can appreciate the quality difference between gas station coffee and Caribou.

Isn't coffee prettier out of glass mug?

My favorite coffee creamer, Peppermint Mocha, is only out at Christmas. I stockpile it and freeze it for months to come. I am that person in the grocery store buying 4 bottles at a time. But I love it and you have to get it while the gettin's good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Wreath

For years I've wanted to make this Martha Stewart-esk Christmas Wreath. And this was the year that I finally did it. My friend Rose inspired me to do this little holiday craft. She is correct in saying you will need a lot of balls. My advice to you is buy plenty of balls and then buy two more containers. Seriously. For more instructions, go to Rose's blog for her 12 Days of Christmas Projects series

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I concede.

I tried to leave the house. Yes, I know it's an "epic" blizzard. But it's not really snowing all that much outside. I probably would have made it if Lance hadn't taken our only shovel (which, why do we only own one shovel?!? We live in Iowa that's just poor planning) with him to work. Several times I almost got my car stuck, but eventually I conceded. I had visions of my car getting stuck half in the driveway and half in the street and either me trying to dig it out on my own without a shovel or having some driver hit my car. Both are bad.

I needed olive oil. Yes ... probably not a good enough reason to try and venture outside, but my focaccia bread needs olive oil! I think I'm going to try and make due with canola oil instead.

This is the view from my deck. It's a little snowy wouldn't you say?

I'd say that the grilling season is officially over too.

Even Fire is smart enough to know the best place to be right now is home.

Well fine. I concede. Snow you may have won this time, but I'm ready for a rematch!

Monday, December 7, 2009

All I Want For Christmas ...

Is too much.
This lovely dish

These gorgeous earrings

And this lovely glass bowl. Ahh... procrastination via etsy. I've purchased a couple of gifts, I'll post them when the arrive in the mail.

And Fridays off for the rest of my life. Just a couple of small items :) What do you want for Christmas this year?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

These were supposed to be for cooking club, however at the last minute things didn't work out so now I have quite a few homemade peppermint marshmallows. They're lovely :) And coated with powder sugar so healthy too!
At the last minute I remembered that I wanted to swirl red food coloring into them to make them all lovely and marble-esk ... instead they look reminiscent of a vampire trying to suck the blood out of them. Oh well, it was an experience though!

Adapted from Gourmet, December 1998 and Smitten Kitten website
Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows

About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Baking List

I might be off my rocker to think I'm going to get all of this made, but here's my list of Christmas baking. I made it today during my 401K/Retirement meeting at work. The way I look at it, I've 40 years before I can retire. I've only got 3 weeks to bake, thus trumping my need to pay attention during my retirement meeting. Besides I have my 401K setup for autopilot.
Sugar cookies (which my friend Bill refers to as "crack cookies." They really are that good!)
  • Gingersnap cookies
  • Peanut butter star cookies
  • Swirled almond bark
  • Peanut brittle
  • Caramels
  • Fudge
  • Chocolate dipped pretzel rods

I think I can do it. The list is down from previous years.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Weekend: Recap

This year wasn't a very successful in terms of a "family" Christmas. We made it to neither of our sets of parents. We had purchased a mutual gift of a Wii and since I was done with classes for a couple of weeks, opened it last week. Early entertainment ... but gift exchange. We went to Christmas Eve service at our home church, a luxury that we rarely get to enjoy due to family obligations. That was very special for us. Christmas Day we watched a movie, grilled steaks on the deck (Lance's idea, not mine) and did a little reading. Since all of our families live in NW Iowa and they got 20+ of snow, going west was not an option. However, Lance's grandma, lives in NE Iowa where the weather was much better. So Sat afternoon we headed off to NE Iowa for our annual holiday trek to see her. We had a lovely time, enjoyed all of my Christmas baking and took a short gambling trip to the casino. I lost a total of $2.33 out of my $5. I'm not much for gambling. I don't like losing my money, even if it is only $2.33. The most exciting thing was my long awaited stop in Willamsburg - the Coach outlet store! I worked a Black Friday promotional event from 11 pm - 6 am so I could buy my first (and only if you ask Lance) Coach purse. Isn't she pretty?
She was on sale with an extra 20% off to boot! Definitely worth the pain of working from 11 pm - 6 am!

Gingersnap Cookies

This one is a winner. An addictive winner. My cousin-in-law, Lora, made this spectacular cranberry trifle salad for Thanksgiving and it called for crumbled gingersnap cookies. Lora went all out on this salad, she couldn't find ground cloves so she brought whole cloves and ground them herself with a glass. Isn't that hardcore? She brought her leftover cookies to supper and one nibble and I was a goner. Good gravy these are soft and beautiful. They're going on my cookie list for Christmas. Here's her recipe.

Gingersnap Cookies

1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
¾ cup Vegetable Oil
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt
Sugar for decoration

Mix brown sugar, egg, oil, and molasses. Combine dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Roll into 1-1/4 inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 min on parchment paper.

Really, if you make these cookies you will not be disappointed. I love cookies, but this one was especially good. Lance's exact words were "Why haven't you gotten a job at Meredith yet?"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Favorite Things: Christmas Music

I can't lie. Christmas music is my favorite. In college for a communications project, I put together a communications plan for an all Christmas music station - all the time. I called it JOY 98.3. I got 100% on the project and my professor said that I was crazy enough that the station might just work. Not exactly a compliment, but since I did get 100% on the project I decided he meant it as a compliment :)

I love the following three albums in their entirety: Josh Groban's "Noel" album. I really love his version of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." It's a little gospel, maybe a little bit country and takes a twist from the traditional version. It's freaking wonderful.

Then there is Celine Dion's "These Are Special Times" Christmas album. I agree - Christmas is a special time! My favorite song on this album is "Don't Save it All for Christmas Day." I love singing shrilly with Celine. It drives Lance and Fire nuts.

Ahh ... and my go to happy album - Mercy Me's "The Christmas Sessions." I love rockin out in my cubicle (and trust me, I do!) to "Gloria" and I think "Joseph's Lullaby" is gorgeous. This cd, without fail, always puts me in a better mood.

And that folks, is my Christmas music edition of "My Favorite Things."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Preview: Recipes for the week

Here's a quick picture preview for the week:

Get excited people, there are a couple of winner recipes and a dud too. Props to you if you can figure out which is the dud. Hopefully I'll also have pictures of our decorated tree - keep your fingers crossed, weeks like this remind me why December is such a hairy month for people like me - people who insist on doing everything. At least this year I haven't insisted on making all of my Christmas gifts - the first year it was homemade candy cane soap, two years ago it was decorated boxes full of baked goods, last year it was forced paperwhite lilies for everyone. This is the first year I'm not going the extra mile. Everyone on my list is getting giftcards this year. And our Thanksgiving cards have officially become Christmas cards. (Okay stop - word vomit)
Good night folks. Soon I'll even have a post about my adventures in Black Friday shopping and a story about Lance's own adventures. That is of course counting that two of my friends' babies aren't born this week ... because of course that means more food I need to make.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

My friend Rose, at A Record of Rose, tagged me for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Rose is a friend of mine and Lance from days of Woodbury County 4-H. She was actually Woodbury County Fair queen the year after I was and was Fair Queen with Lance, who was Woodbury County's first ever Fair King. She lives in the next town over and is a new mom!

Anyway, the point of this award is to post about things you value and things that you do not.

Things I Value
  • People who remember that Christmas is about the birth of CHRIST
  • Naps :)
  • My Kitchen Aid mixer
  • My community of friends and support
  • Being employed

Things I Do Not Value

  • People who are inconsiderate to other people's time
  • Christmas presents that aren't thoughtful and are just "stuff"
  • People who embody beliefs because that's what's "popular"
  • Passive-aggressiveness

And those are few things about me!

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Toy ...

Since Lance killed my laptop this past summer (although if you ask Lance he'll say otherwise - he was using it when it sighed it's last breath), we made the decision to get a replacement once I qualified for 25% reimbursement from work. And as of Nov 18, I had been employed by my new employer for 6 months so off we went to purchase my new baby. And I love my new HP laptop (I know nothing about it ... other than it's fast, black, and pretty. Lance was responsible for the research aspect). I've named her Isabel. We're friends. But if you are taking to Lance it's OUR computer (but really, it's mine).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Homemade Chicken Stock

One time saving method that Lance and I employ is rotisserie chicken. Every couple of weeks or so I'll pick up a $4.99 chicken from Costco. We'll shred the chicken and throw it in the freezer to use in casseroles, chicken salad, soups, etc. I'd been saving all the chicken bones and skin (nasty, I know) to make some homemade chicken broth. Except I really didn't know how to go about the process, so I called by friend Sarah and she directed me to this website.

Basically, making your own chicken stock is really easy. We threw in all the chicken leftovers into the crockpot, added two carrots, some celery, some onion and some garlic, filled the rest of the crockpot up with filtered water and threw in 2 T of apple cider vinegar - let it sit for an hour without turning on the crockpot, and then we turned the crockpot to low and let the whole thing simmer for 22 hours. I don't think there's an exact science to it, but you get this jist.
We ended up with some really quality (at least it looks like quality - see how dark it is?) stock - approximately 7.5 cups, equating to a savings of $2.5. (Gads, Lance just figured that we used about 13 cents worth of electricity - who have I married?!)

I know it's the small things in life. But this stock is going to be better tasting and (hopefully!) better for us too. Now if we could just find room in the freezer ...

I have three more containers of chicken bits, so I foresee a lot more stock making in our future. And my mom has agreed to let me have all of her turkey bones and innards, so we'll have turkey stock soon too! I asked my mom if she had any plans for making turkey stock from her leftover Thanksgiving bird and she laughed at me. Apparently, I am more ambitious that she'll ever be :)

Recipe source: Nourishing Days
Happy Early Thanksgiving everyone! We are off to my parents and Lance's parents for Wednesday and Thursday so there will be no blogging as my parents have dial-up (gasp, the horrors) and Lance's parents have zilch (*falling over dead*) for internet capabilities!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brussel Sprouts

Yeah, yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking ... brussel sprouts are something that your mom would punish you by making me eat (side note: in my case this is not true. My mom never made brussel sprouts, I asked her about this the other day and she said she's never had them before. So I guess they aren't really a punishment in my opinion). However, I thought my roasted brussel sprouts weren't bad. You need your green vegetable intake! Mr. Lance would disagree, he thought they were weird and said I should have made only a half batch. But for a $1.28 for a container, it's a good source of vitamins. And relatively easy to prepare too.

Turn your oven to 425 degrees
Wash, cut off the stems and remove any funny looking leaves
Place in a casserole dish, throw a little olive oil on them and sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt.
Put them in the oven, roast for 20 minutes, stir and then pop the dish back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
Voila - you are done! Enjoy your green veggies!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I've been plagued by a bad cold this week. So instead of whipping up fab culinary works of art ... I made chicken noodle soup and ate soup leftovers the ENTIRE week. And did the bare minimum. Which means that my house is a natural disaster. For example ... this is the view from my kitchen table. It appears that my husband abandoning clean up mid-cycle.
Let's play a little "I Spy."
  • Can you see the bottle of cough medicine that I've taken a teaspoon before I go to bed so I can sleep? (Yes, I realize the shaky morals of taking cough medicine so I can sleep)
  • How about the empty glass canning jars? (I must give those back to my MIL)
  • The cooling containers of homemade chicken broth? (More on that another day)
  • The 30 year old crockpot Lance refuses to give up in order for me to upgrade to something a little less ... harvest gold.
  • Water glasses that somehow never seem to find their way into the dishwasher
  • Or can you see that my husband has a very bad habit of leaving absolutely EVERY kitchen cabinet open after he gets something out?
Good golly Miss Molly, I must leave my post here to clean up the mess I call my home!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Lance is upstairs making bread while I am "writing" my paper for my servant leadership class. Granted it's bread machine bread, but how many husbands out there would really make bread of any sort? He's such a good hubbie.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wrong? Maybe a little ...

Ya know how you can wrack up all sorts of freebies on your birthday? Free desserts, free coffee, free food, the works. Well, I think it's impossible to enjoy all of this in 24 hours and me, being me, hate to pass up something free. So I spread my birthday date to all of these different places throughout the year. For example, I just got my free Starbucks coffee coupon in the mail last week. Yes, my birthday is in March. Is this wrong ... perhaps a little. But it's not like I'm signing up with multiple birthdays, I just happen to enjoy spreading them out a little! Do you do this?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kitty Visitors

Lance and I have discovered that there are approximately four cats eating out of the catfood bag in the garage: Fire, an orange and white kitty, a grey and black tiger kitty, and a ginormous black kitty. Apparently our garage is now a buffet for the neighborhood cats! Fire likes to sit at the window in the basement and meow at them when they eat at our buffet - in this picture he's worn out from visiting with all of his friends. Lance is putting the kibosh on the food frenzy - the food bag has been secured and there are no openings. Fie Fie is sad.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Favorite Thing: Greyness

These are my newest loves: my grey boots from Kohls and my grey OPI "You Don't Know Jacques!" fingernail polish. I love grey clothing and accessories. It's all very fall and winter appropriate. In fact I think grey is my latest obsession.

I'd also like to own these boots and these ones. Not in the budget.

Friday, November 13, 2009

We're not going to pay ... last year's RENT

Lance and I had date night and went to RENT at the DM Civic Center. Be jealous - I would be. We started off the evening with guacamole and prickly pear margaritas at Dos Rios, very delish. The made-at-your-table guac is my favorite thing about Dos Rios. I love eating out.

And then we had tickets to RENT! Because it wasn't a sold-out show, we bumped ourselves down a few rows. I love RENT, this is the second time I've seen the musical and definitely the best performance because Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp were performing as Mark and Roger. It was fantastic and even Lance feigned enthusiasm. I love musicals, I think life should be full of choreographed dances and songs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ring of Truth

(Side note: Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of your hand? It's hard! Who likes my cool grey fingernail polish?! More about that in the future ...)

Funny story about my wedding ring. When Lance and I initially got engaged we went to Iowa Diamond and I picked out several different settings that I liked. Lance selected a setting and a center stone and proposed. I accepted, but decided that I wasn't sure about the ring. I made him take me back to Iowa Diamond, I looked through all the settings again and decided on a different setting other than what Lance had picked out. It was somewhat high maintenance of me, but I do love my wedding ring. However, an interesting question was posed the other day on a blog. If given the opportunity to get another ring (assume in this situation you've lost your current wedding ring and need a replacement), would you

A) pick out an exact replicate of your current ring
B) keep the center stone, but change the setting
C) pick out an entirely new ring

My response is C. I love my wedding ring, but I'm fickle and I like change ... please note I am perfectly happy to keep my current ring - I'm in no way ring shopping honey!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Caribou Coffee

Hands down, my favorite place to get coffee is Caribou Coffee. I love their coffee and I think the baristas there are happier than Starbucks baristas (especially in you compare the WDM Caribou on University to the WDM Hy-vee Starbucks). Here's something interesting I found out after a couple minutes of googling tonight: on Nov 12 Caribou will begin making all of their mochas, chocolate lattes, hot chocolates, specialty beverages and cold beverages made with either white, milk or dark Guittard chocolate at all Caribou Coffee locations nationwide. Instead of using reconstituted syrups, they'll be using all-natural, kosher and gluten-free chocolate, none made from more than 6 ingredients! Click here for the 411

If given the choice, are you a Caribou or a Starbucks person?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lasagna Roll-ups

We had this yummy dish today. I probably should have had people over to eat with us as this was a huge pan of Italian goodness just for the two of us. It was the perfect meal - especially since we had assembled it the night before and all that was left was baking! Fun twist on lasagna and definitely a something you can make ahead of time.


1 egg, beaten
1 container (15 oz.) Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Shredded Italian Three Cheese Blend
4 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce, divided
16 lasagna noodles, cooked
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese

HEAT oven to 375ºF.
MIX first 5 ingredients until well blended.
SPREAD 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Spread each noodle with 3 Tbsp. cheese mixture; roll up. Place, seam-sides down, in dish. Top with remaining sauce and Parmesan; cover.
BAKE 40 to 50 min. or until heated through, uncovering the last 10 min

Recipe: Kraft Foods' Food & Family Magazine Holiday 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009


Two great deals:
1. Cooking Light Magazine for $5 for a 12 month subscription - holla!

2. Shu Uemura's famous eyelash curler on sale at hautelook.com for $10. You will need to sign up for an account - you can use me as the referral email - kld3783@aol.com and I can referral points. This eyelash curler is normally $19. I've been wanting to get one for quite awhile, I have very long stick straight lashes. This should help.

Yippie skippie for two great deals today!

Fab Friend

My friend Sarah and her two boys dropped off flowers for Erika and I at work. How lovely are the flowers and how lovely is my friend?! At first we thought they must be from our husbands - haha, the joke is on us. :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday Fun in Ames

This Saturday started out in Ames at one of our favorite college restaurants ... Hickory Park! Ohhh ... I love that place. It brings back fond memories of college and friends. I love everything about Hickory Park (well, I don't love their bathrooms. The lighting above the stalls is weird. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about). I love their burgers, their bbq, their mashed potatoes and gravy, their pickles and their ICE CREAM creations. It makes me wish that we lived closer or there was one in Des Moines.

During this past year's United Way fundraising drive at work, I won two SUITE tickets to the Iowa State versus Oklahoma State University football game. Do you see our excited faces? It's because we have FANTASTIC seats. Indoor, with tv's, good bathrooms, complimentary food and beverages, and to Lance's delight - Coors Light bottles. You can't normally have beer at games, unless you have seats in a suite! I was thrilled about ISU Dining Services' triple chocolate chip cookies - not so much on the beverage side of things.

I think this is the first time we haven't been in the student section. It's not quite as raucous or spirited, something we both lamented.

It was a beautiful day. I really wouldn't have minded having normal tickets - not that I'm complaining or anything.

Here comes the team out of the famous fog tunnel - Lance said that he's never actually seen this before. I don't know where he's been, I've seen it at all the rest of the games we've been to.

Sadly ... Iowa State got pummeled by OSU. We're still hoping for another win to become bowl eligible! All in all, Iowa State has done better this year than anyone expected. I'll be happy enough with that.