Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tweet I had to share...

In case you don't follow my tweets, I thought this one pretty much summed up my evening after dinner:

Dinner Success!!

Ok, so I am very happy with how this came out! The recipe is Pan-Seared Chicken with Artichokes and Pasta and you can get it by clicking here. It is very flavorful and reasonably easy... not to mention healthy. Overall, the recipes by the folks at Cooking Light are all really good.

I think I'm going to start doing more recipe review posts from now on, since it might get me cooking more and induce extra creativity in my life. If anyone else tries this recipe out, let me know what you think.

Testing New Recipe Tonight

So, since I'm by my lonesome for most of the evening, I decided to cook something a) new and b) that the husband won't eat. I've been craving artichokes lately, so I went on to CookingLight.com and searched around for a bit until this one popped up: Pan-Seared Chicken with Artichokes and Pasta. It really looks like it has potential. So, I'll (hopefully) post the results later on this evening.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yeay for spring.... or is it really summer?

So, now that it's spring and there are green things again, I finally have been getting back into photography. I took these two photos in between doing bits of yard work with a group of volunteers at one of our groups homes.

I couldn't believe just how warm it was today. My car said 88 once the thermometer settled down from being in direct sunlight for an afternoon. I must admit, while the heat is generally welcome, I wasn't so happy about it showing up today. We were all very warm and despite using my SPF 70, I still got a bit of a burn.

But... the flowers are planted and the the yard is cleaned up, so overall I'm pretty happy. I rewarded myself with a DD iced coffee for a good afternoon's work. Then I promptly took a nice long shower and a rather long-ish nap as well. I've been remarkably lazy since getting home and at the moment I'm reveling in the lovely cool breeze coming through our office windows. Ah.... contentment!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Orange Creamsicle Cake

I just love these cakes! They are wicked easy and you can make them in pretty much whatever flavor you want. The recipe I use for this is Jello Poke Cake (see recipe here). I have been making this for a few years now (once I found the recipe, that is) and it is very versatile since you can pretty much use any basic cake mix and any kind of jello.

I found this recipe when I was trying to replicate the cake that our chorale conductor used to bring every year to the first day of practice. It was a very moist (sorry Sarah) lemon lime cake that was bright green and absolutely delicious. I think we tried to ask him about it one year, but I don't think we ever got a recipe out of him...

So, I tried this recipe with lemon cake mix and lime jello and.... eureka!! It may not be exact, but it's good enough for me. Brian and I love these cakes and they are perfect for summer get togethers since they are served cold.

The combos we've tried to date are:
  1. lemon cake/lime jello
  2. yellow cake/strawberry jello
  3. yellow cake/orange jello
So, try it out! It's so easy and yummy. Just make sure to share any other good combos you come up with. I might get daring a try chocolate cake and raspberry jello sometime.

You can also make it with sugar free jello, cool whip free and I just noticed they now have reduced sugar cake mixes @ the grocery store now (although I can't vouch for them myself) if you want to try to make it less evil for you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

what the heck.... one more post

Now that I've given this beauty away I can finally post about it! I made this basket weave blanket for my friends Chris and Sue's soon to be born daughter. It is the biggest thing I have ever knitted and while not the most exciting knitting, I feel very proud to have finished it in about a month and a half. Their shower was yesterday so now it is safe to blog about it. So, I thought I would share!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

birthday cake shenanigans

I've been in a cake baking mood as of late so I have been making birthday cakes for members of the fam, see also Spice Cake entry. My latest venture was one for my mother in law. After some contemplation I decided a chocolate cake with a strawberry frosting might do the trick. Here is what I ended up with...

I chose a Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe from Nigella Lawson. It was very dense and the batter was so thick I was a little worried that it wouldn't come out ok. I think that the cake itself was pretty good... however, the frosting was the real winner in my book. It was Fresh Strawberry Frosting and while I can't seem to follow directions to save my life when it comes to cooking, this came out very well despite my attempts to massacre it.

I ended up making a double batch and making it a little too thin by not straining the strawberries out enough first, but it actually would have worked very well as a poured frosting over a bundt cake the way I made it. As a result of the thinness of the frosting, I had to line the bottom of the cake with cut strawberries.... really, it ended up being a feature more than a bug.

Happy birthday Janet! I hope you liked the cake. I certainly enjoyed making it :-)
Love, Jo

you know your kitty isn't feeling quite right when....

she looks like this.... poor baby!!!!! She looks like she just woke up and needs her coffee. I couldn't help myself. She was just too cute not to take a picture of when sitting on my desk. She ended up having a not happy belly later on in the day... :-(

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I think everyone got murdered at one point.....

So, our friends Kevin and Teresa had their first party of the season on Saturday. Their theme was a Hawaiian Murder Mystery, which ended up meaning lots of good conversation, laughs along with lots of yummy food and drinks.

Brian and I in our festive Hawaiian gear thank you very much Dollar Store! Plus, Teresa made sure we all had a lei each. The murders took place every 1/2 hour when Kevin would pull a murderer and their victim from a hat. Whoever was the murderer took the victim's lei. The person at the end of the night that had the most lei's won a really cool sparking toy ray gun. I was really bummed I didn't win, although as you can see by the number of leis around my neck, I didn't do too badly and ended up in a tie for third place.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Old Architecture

I took these when I was out wandering around after a training this week. For some reason old buildings that are falling apart absolutely fascinate me... yeah, I don't know why either.

I think it must be the affect of weather and age that interests me so. Also, I'm not surro
unded by alot of things that are in disrepair, so buildings like these kind of grab my attention.

It's also very attention grabbing when nice clean lines are marred. I have to go back to this area for training again next weekend, so hopefully I will have more opportunities to grab pictures of some of the other b

Monday, April 13, 2009

playing a bit of catch up!

Yes, it's been awhile again... and my hobbies and work have been taking over most of my day, but I thought I would take a moment to post a few pictures I've taken recently...

The Customs House - Boston, MA
Taken while walking back to our car after the class of 2000 and 2001's 30th Birthday Party

A Spice Cake w/ Cream cheese Frosting I made for my Mom for her Birthday, (click here for recipe) and.....

a couple shots of my lovely new haircut, courtesy of Anne at Diva Salon in Sudbury. Thank you Anne, for the fantastic cut!