Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bounty of bread

When I got home today I found a much anticipated package waiting for me on the kitchen counter. I'd won my friend Face's drawing for having a baked treat of my choosing sent to me and had chose her homemade cinnamon bread.
Sweet baby Jesus, it was so freaking incredible. She'd split the batter into two mini loaves and added cranberries to one for grins and giggles.
Nom, nom. nom....

One of the best parts about Chris and my jobs is that occasionally we get to work together on projects in town. Yesterday I needed to do a final landscaping inspection at the new Rite Aid and Chris needed to go up and help fix a problem with their septic system so we coordinated our inspections so that Chris could come pick me up at my office and we could go over together. I was done in about two minutes, but Chris got the distinct pleasure of crawling around on the hot asphalt and playing with the poop pipes.
Being a poop engineer is not as glamorous as one would think.

As a parting thought, here's some of the best advice I received today courtesy of Dove;
I agree, shopping does make everything better!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baked goods

Sunday mornings I always wake up an extra half an hour early so that I have time to sit and read the Sunday paper (and ads) before church. This morning, however, I decided to take the show on the road and enjoy a little newspaper action with a fresh scone from the Upper Crust. It is so fabulously empty on the streets at 7:00 am on a Sunday.
After church we hung out at home for most of the afternoon. We did head out for a mid-afternoon walk and enjoyed some of the on-going aerial acrobatics at the air show being held at the Chico airport all weekend long. We live so close to the airport that everyone in the immediate neighborhood was standing out in their front yards (and on their roofs) watching the Canadian Snow Birds doing some five plane stunts. I also spent some more time in my craft room finishing up two more pages. One layout is from on online class I took and the other is from a scrapbook supply website.
I'd been holding on to a baking recipe this week to make today so that I could take the leftovers to work tomorrow. Just some easy, mini chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.
We'd better quit taste testing them or there aren't going to be any left to take to work tomorrow!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Peppermint mocha

I was at Target this morning doing some birthday reconnaissance work while the Canadian was away when I spied my favorite seasonal coffee creamer in the dairy case;
I picked up two for good measure. One for home and one for him to take to work. I'm three mugs of coffee into peppermint mocha bliss.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finally Friday

I've had something every evening this week so I'm glad the week's finally coming to a close. I was at work yesterday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm so I swapped the extra hours I worked for today and didn't go in. I had to train my disaster service volunteers last night to work the call center. While I wanted to be anywhere but there, they enjoyed being able to experience a mock disaster and answer real phone calls. My call center is literally two tables with five phones set up in the rear corner of the council chambers.
Nothing but the finest for government volunteers.

This morning I did my usual trips to CholoMaxx and Traders for groceries followed by a late lunch to-go from T-Bar over by Morning Thunder.
I always get the same thing; a rice bowl (that comes with shredded carrot, cucumber and avocado) with bbq salmon and the creamy teriyaki sauce. Love it, love it, love it.

Tonight I had another CAbi party up in P-town at an old co-worker's house. I ended up with two long sleeve shirts (one goes with the coat I bought Tuesday night) and a leopard print shrug. I'm not a animal print person, but this piece looked so good on and it was so ridiculously soft and cuddly. I forgot to get any photos in the sample piece so you'll just have to wait anxiously for it to be delivered.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bible study in blue

Tonight was b.s. at Joanna's house up in p-town. Joanna does not claim to be a cook and orders out most of the time, but tonight she took a chance and made the most delicious corn and bean salad and a potato and corn chowder with kielbasa. Such a wonderful welcome for Fall.
Joanna served us on a set of dishes we hadn't seen before and completely went gaga over. The plates were rippled and square and nested perfectly on top of each other. Aren't they the cutest? They insisted I matched the dishes, but my dress is really gray, not blue.
While we enjoyed our dessert, Rufus and Diego - Joanna's dogs, joined us for a little snorting and licking.
That's Rufus the bulldog on the left and Diego the German shepherd on the right. Rufus gave my ankles a good and proper cleaning while hoovering the floor of any stray debris. How could you not love that face?!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CAbi party

My neighbor was having a CAbi party (Carol Anderson By Invitation) which is like a home clothes party full of fabulous tops, bottoms and jackets to die for. There are tons of samples to try on which is good since these are "investment" pieces, if you know what I mean, and you want to make sure it fits well before you drop that kind of money. I'm a sucker for their jackets, but this time I ended up with a fancy coat that is more for inside wear than outside.
It's a dark, charcoal gray with silver embroidery around the neckline. You can't see the full length, but it almost goes down to mid thigh. It'll look great with skinny jeans. It's supposed to be delivered at the end of next week - not that it'll be cold enough to wear it yet! A co-worker is also having a party this Friday, so I was keeping my eyes peeled tonight for something to buy from her party. Luckily there was no shortage of ideas.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Birthday card

I walked outside this morning to retrieve the Sunday paper amidst a light misting of rain. Frankly, I was hoping for a torrential downpour, but I guess it was better than nothing. Barely. It's still cloudy and breezy out, but we'll be back to low 80s for the rest of the work week. Soon it'll be time to start dusting off the ol' cardigans.

Today has been pretty uneventful. Church, Nascar, NFL, homemade chicken soup, more NFL. But in between all the action I remembered that I have a co-worker's birthday coming up this week so I spent a little time making a birthday card.
I finished up just in time for Chris to serve me a steaming hot bowl of chicken noodle soup and settle in for the Colts-Giants game. Another nice, lazy Sunday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


About 7 hours into my 8 hour pulled pork crock pot extravaganza I pulled the slab out to check it and found it just falling apart at the touch of a fork.
While I shredded the pork, I poured the juices into a pan and boiled it for about 7-8 minutes, reducing it by about a third before dumping the shredded pork back into it. Then we assembled some tacos with corn tortillas, pork, and a mango salsa (mango, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno and lime juice). Besides the typical issue of the corn tortillas breaking, it was a super tasty meal.
I had juice dripping down my chin and both my hands were covered in it, but it was well worth it! Excellent recipe, Face!

After scarfing down my tacos, I went and finished up a scrapbooking page I had started before getting sucked into watching Wall-E on the Disney channel. I love that movie. Anyway, I finally finished up my first page of the weekend.
Only three more to go...

Almost famous

Last night we went over to Sierra Nevada to order a glass of our neighbor's home brew being served on tap. He'd won the local home brew competition and the chance to have his beer brewed at the brewery and served on tap for a limited time.
They name the home brew selection "Pro-Am" for professional amateur. The beer looked dark and mysterious and damn near put some chest hair on me it was so strong. I'm not a beer drinker so the best I could describe it as was a mix between antifreeze and nasal spray. In a 'what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger' kind of way. We of course had to tell the bartenders that we were Doug's neighbors, because we're big dorks like that. Amazingly, they weren't that impressed by that.

This morning I got busy putting together a crock pot of awesomeness for dinner tonight. I'm making another one of Face's recipes. This time for pulled pork. I had to do a little prep work this morning by searing the spiced up slab o' pork in a skillet before heating it up with some chicken broth.
Then you dump the whole kit and caboodle in the crock pot with a little extra water and let it do its thing for 8 hours on low. At the end you pull out the pork and shred it while reducing the sauce down on the stove to mix in with it. We're making tacos (with a mango salsa) with it tonight and maybe adding bbq sauce to it for sandwiches tomorrow. The house already smells fabulous and I'm willing to bet that the Canadian to going to go wild for this stuff.

We just got back from Wally World where I picked up some more photos so I can bust a move in my craft room. I printed some photos from our couples dinner, motorcycle trials event and from singing at church. If I get all of those done this weekend I shall feel like the most productive person on earth. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I just set myself up for failure.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Retail therapy

Those brainwashing clothes whores over at New York & Company suckered me back into their store today with awesome coupons in the mail I couldn't refuse. After wandering around for an hour I settled on a handful of must-haves;
A brownish-gray stretch knit pencil skirt, three pairs of bootcut yoga pants (gray, brown and black), a peach cardigan full of pirate ruffles, and a gray camisole. The yoga pants will be perfect for lounging around the house after my next surgery because they're stretchy and super comfy.

Then when I got home and checked the new Silpada necklace had arrived!
Nestled amongst my pirate ruffles is a 32" long silver chain with varying sizes of CZ. I doubled the chain since 32" practically goes down to my ankles and love the way it looks. Go ahead, be jealous of my ridiculously overpriced jewelry, but remember it was your choice to spend your money on children instead. I prefer to spend my money on things that won't spit up on me, crash the family car, or require a pricey college education. Can I get an 'Amen'?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Most bunkos

Tonight was bunko up in BFE Magalia. After an evening of rolling the ivories, while chatting and snacking, I happened to lay claim to winning the most bunkos for the evening which is only second in the gift hierarchy to the most wins. Bless the heart of the gal who's night it was to host, but she's not a great gift buyer so I ended up with...
a Corningware baking dish with lid. If I a nickle for every one of these I've won in the last 10 years....

So, my cheesecake bars I baked last night were a HUGE hit and were first to go at the potluck table. Go me! My old boss was "thrilled" that we'd decorated his office in celebration of him beating the reaper another year in a row.
We have one master bag of decorations that we keep recycling to torture the next victim. In 17 more years it'll be my turn. Hopefully by then I'll have an office too instead of being out in the main hen house.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Girls night in

Chris is out of town tonight at a job site so I've got full run of the Hartman Castle all to myself. So what do I do? I vacuum, sweep, iron, make lunches, bake, take out garbages, and exercise. You know, all the wild and crazy stuff I can't do on a normal night. I'm so pathetic....

I spent most of the evening baking up some dessert treats for my co-worker's surprise 50th birthday bash at work tomorrow. I made some cheesecake bars with a caramel and coconut topping. They were time consuming, but look great. I baked a shortbread base in a 9x13 and then topped it with the cheesecake filling, baking it until set.
While it baked I toasted some shredded coconut and made some homemade caramel sauce for the topping, burning two of my fingers and practically steaming the skin right off my hands. Playing with boiling hot corn syrup is not for sissies.
Once everything had cooled to room temperature I mixed the coconut and caramel together to top the cheesecake with. I had to try a small sample it looked so good. It was hard as hell to spread, but once I got it close enough I chilled the whole thing for about 40 minutes before topping it off with some melted chocolate.
In the morning I'll cut it up into squares for serving and whatever can't fit into my travel container will have to stay home I guess. How unfortunate!

When I was done slaving away for the evening I finally got to open my mail which was my new scrapbook kit for the month.
So many pretty papers and trinkets to play with. Assuming I'm home long enough one of these days to do so.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Getting caught up

I haven't scrapbooked in about a month, as evidenced by my unopened scrapbook kit from last month (with a new one arriving tomorrow), so I spent a little time in my craft room scrapbooking the last couple of photos I'd printed last month for Wilson' graduation.
Nothing fancy, but it gets me that much closer to being caught up and that's what I'm all about. I'd print off some more, but I know that I won't have any time this week to craft (baking for a potluck, bunko and bible study) so I'll wait and see how next weekend looks before I try and get all crafty with my bad self.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fall fragrances

It was time to go restock my bathroom and kitchen hand soaps from Bath & Body Works today. The timing was perfect though because their new fall scents were out which are always my favorite.
I picked a 'sweet cinnamon pumpkin' hand soap for the kitchen (and a 'creamy pumpkin' for the bathroom) and took advantage of their 2 for $10 candle sale, picking out a spiced cider and sweet cinnamon pumpkin candle. They had candied apple scented products too, but they smelled like candied plastic so I passed them by.

I roused myself out of a deep sleep this morning at the ungodly hour of 8:00 am so that I could go to the farmer's market before all those slow moving, isle clogging college kids got there. My diabolical plan worked though, as there were only the old locals, like myself, there to shop, not visit. I scored some cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers (the Canadian's preferred snacking veggie), Japanese eggplant (great bbq veggies), fresh broccoli, red bell peppers (for only $.50 each!), and a couple of peaches. Good stuff, Maynard.

No big plans for today. Got some racing on the boob tube and I think I might crack open a new book I borrowed from a friend. If I can ever detach myself from the computer, that is...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hartman Test Kitchen

So, Face asked her legions of fans and stalkers to volunteer to try out some of her new low-fat recipes and report back of their success. I volunteered to prepare her mushroom stroganoff and a pulled pork recipe with mango salsa. Tonight was the mushroom stroganoff and I was happy to report back that I did not die as I previously suspected.
My only variance from the original recipe was that I added asparagus since I was going to serve it on the side anyway.

The pulled pork is a crock pot recipe which is good for the weekend. I'm going to try to fit it into next weekend's menu plan.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day baking

I've been promising Chris that I'd make some zucchini bread with the zucchini from our garden and finally I got off my keister and whipped up some baked delights today. Instead of a loaf of bread though, I found a recipe for muffins. That way I could make a few for Chris without nuts and I could make the rest the normal, overwhelmingly traditional way WITH nuts.
It made 12 regular sized muffins with enough batter left over to sneak out 8 mini muffins. I'll take the big ones to work and keep the little bite sized ones for me!

Our other big score for the weekend was a new fiber bed. My mom got us a feather bed a couple of years ago, but the time has finally come for its retirement.
I suspect it will do a better job once out of the bag, but at our speed that could take another week or so!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Things that make me happy

Two things that made my day better today were:

A) Finding my car being washed and waxed by the hired help.
B) Discovering quite possibly the best ice cream of the year - Mud Pie. A lethal combination of coffee ice cream, chocolate cookies and fudge swirls.
It's so good I haven't decided yet if I'm going to share it with the Canadian or not.

New sister in Christ

My co-worker, Cheri, invited Kari and I to attend her baptism this morning in p-town at the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Cheri got hooked up with the SDA church through their healthy eating program, CHIP (Coronary Health Improvement Program), that they sponsor through the hospital and is available to town employees. Our hospital is an Adventist hospital so one thing led to another and she found her way to bible studies, church and finally baptism. Kari and I found her before the service so she would know where we were when she was done and could come sit with us.
It was a beautiful service and I wish her the best in her new journey!

Friday, September 3, 2010

An afternoon on the lake

I spent my Friday afternoon on Lake Oroville with some co-workers on a patio boat. My friend Dina, and her husband Don, just bought a new patio boat and she was kind enough to put together a girls day for a little lake time.
Our captain Dina (in pink) and our friend Kari checking out the sites on the lake.
All of us brought a little something to snack on. I grabbed some spicy hummus, pita chips and sliced carrots and celery from Trader Joe's. We also had a block of smoked gouda, dill havarti, and crackers. Just a little something to absorb all the booze!
Me, Kari and our co-worker, Sheila trying to avoid any dead bodies in the super murky depths of Lake Oroville. Oh, you know they're in there!
Sheila and I catching some rays towards the end of our afternoon.
Cleaning up our mess so that we're invited back again. We had a blast and were glad we could get together before boating season was over. I drove so that the other ladies could drink, so once we were packed up I squeezed them all into my clown car and hauled them back up to p-town.

That was just the end to a busy week. Chris had a work associate, Chris, in town Tuesday and Thursday night so we went out to Sierra Nevada and then to The Graduate for dinner. That's more times then we usually go out to dinner all year. At least this time dinner at Sierra Nevada was tasty. I have the worse luck there, but this time I picked a special that was roasted veggies with whole wheat penne pasta covered in marinara sauce and melted mozzarella. I ate it all up. Chomp, chomp, chomp.

Tomorrow I'm going back up to town for a co-worker's baptism at the SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) church. The service is thankfully at 11:00 am so I don't have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn. Afterwards I'm stopping at a friends house to drop off some gift tags. She was inspired by my gift extravaganza for my sister's 30th birthday last year where I put together 30 small gifts to open all the way up to her birthday. My friend's daughter is turning 40 next month, but of course she waited too long to do 40 gifts so she's going to do 30 instead. Once she went out and started buying gifts she quickly got overwhelmed with the enormity of the project. I never told her it was easy, but I did offer to make the gift bag labels since we're down to crunch time to get the gift bags done in time. I had another co-worker who tried to do the same thing for his wife's 30th birthday but after buying about 10 gifts he gave up. Wimps!