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Weeknight Chicken Sammies

Okay I guess it's pretty apparent that we eat chicken. A LOT. :) It's good for you though, and very versatile. So without further ado, I present:

Weeknight Chicken Sammies:

- 2 large split chicken breast*
- 4 cups water
- 4 TBS. Chicken bullion
- 1/2 jar pasta sauce*
- provolone cheese
- kaiser rolls or buns

Boil chicken in water and bullion. I usually cook these in the crockpot overnight, but if you forget to throw them in there, they take about 35 minutes in a pot with water.

Remove and shred. *I always take out half and place in zip top bag. Then I put in the freezer for later use.... chicken and dumplins, etc...*

Toss with warmed pasta sauce (I usually make my own, but storebought is just fine).

Slice rolls open and place cheese on them. Fill with chicken. Oala'!



New photos

So if you read my last post about my new camera you'll know how much I love it!! I've been practicing. See my new blog for more photos or you could see my myspace page for even more photos. :)


Here's the recipe of our classic Monday night dinner. I like to make this on Mondays because it's super easy and my girls and fiance LOVE it!

-1 container refrigerated bisquits (I use flaky buttermilk)
-garlic salt/powder
-1 small can pizza sauce
-1/4 pound ground beef*
-shredded cheese
-1 egg white, whipped

Open bisquits and flatten to circles about 2 in. x 2 in.
Sprinkle each with garlic salt/powder

Spread a teaspoonish of pizza sauce on bisquits
Add a spoonful of ground beef (cooked) to one side of the circle
Top with cheese
Fold one side of circle onto the other and seal with fingers
Brush each with egg white
Bake at temperature specified on package until golden brown on top.

*When I make pasta sauce, I always save a little bit of the ground beef for these. Just toss about 1/4 pound of the cooked meat in a ziptop bag and toss in the freezer. Pull out the day before and put in fridge to dethaw. You can do this with taco meat as well. Pepperoni, chicken, or anything of your choosing can be used in place of the ground beef.


Chicken Fried

Anyone ever hear this song? It's by the Zach Brown Band. This is such a great song. It completely embodies nearly everything that I love about the South. Sweet Georgia.

It's all chicken fried, a cold beer on a friday night, and a pair of jeans that fit just right.


I know all of my problems won't go away once we move to Georgia. But oh, it will make them seem so much more bearable. Grrr...


My new camera

Yes, I actually got the Canon EOS Rebel for Christmas!!! I soooooo was not expecting it! Dave even through me off by saying that he wasn't going to be able to pull it off and that he got me like 5 other things.... I kept telling him "save away for it, we have three gift giving times between now and when we leave for georiga.... Christmas, My Birthday, and Valentines." I didn't want a bunch of things for all of those. I just wanted the camera. And he shocked the HELL out of me when, after opening two beautiful outfits and a sexy new jacket, I opened (drumroll please) my camera! It's the most wonderful camera ever.

I've shot with the Canon EOS film camera before when I did wedding photography. This digital one, the Rebel blows the doors off of that other one. It's amazing.

Here are a few photos I took, just messing around with it. This is before messing with the aperatures and everything else.

Here are a few I took, messing around with the lighting:

More are definitely going to follow! I can't wait for it to warm up just a little so I can take outside snowy/ice pictures!!


He makes me laugh

Sometimes I can't help but admit how very lucky I am. My fiance, Dave is just an amazing man. He adores me in a way that no one ever has. He's incredibly patient with me, our girls, my family, and just everything else. He's a great cook and can clean the hell outta the house if given the time. He remembers the little things I love. Like for our anniversary, he remembered that I fell in love with these blue and purple glitter dipped roses from Jewel MONTHS ago. Check the beautiful bouquet he brought home for me on our anniversary last month. And he makes me laugh so hard. All the time, about the stupidest little things!!

Of course we have problems sometimes. Every couple does. But I'm lucky enough that we can work them out and they don't turn into big humongous fights most of the time. We are good together. Most days, we are yin and yang in almost all things. But it not only works, but it plays off of one another and enhances our relationship.

He is the one my soul has searched for all these long hard years. Finally, it is at peace.

Easy, Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

So, this store right by our house makes the best Chicken Tortilla Soup....I absolutely LOVE it. But they only make it on Wednesdays (grrrrrr) so I decided to make a big batch for us for dinner and then I'll individul-size freeze the rest for me at a later time.

This soup is my own (easiest in the world) recipe and is jus phenominal!!


- 2 large split chicken breasts
- 1 jar salsa con queso (I used mild but use whatever you like)
- 2 cups water
- 3 TBS. chicken bullion
- 1 can chili flavored diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 can white hominy
- tortilla chips, corn chips, or homemade tortilla chips

Put all ingredients except hominy and chips in slowcooker. Cook on low overnight. Remove chicken the next day and shred or "chunk". Return to slowcooker and turn to WARM. Let sit another 3-4 hours at least. When ready to serve, saute hominy in sauce pan with 1 TBS butter and a dash of salt and pepper. Add to soup, let sit on warm for another 10 minutes.

Serve with chips on top for crunch and shredded cheese if desired.

All I can say is YUMMY!!


Almond-Raisin Scones

The other day at work, our Managed Care office ordered lunch for a meeting. This is a very common occurence. We at Med3000 LOVE our food. We have a 20 minute meeting and we order lunch. A client is coming in and we order lunch. It's Monday afternoon and we order lunch. It's a beautiful thing. Anyway, the other day we ordered from a local deli/bakery that we use quite often. This particular day we had ordered their scones along with lunch. They were TO DIE FOR!!! So chewy, moist, not too sweet not too dry. Ohhhh, they were perfection with sugar (litterally) on top. So I decided to bake scones. :)

This is a very simple recipe. Even shaping it into the 'dome' was easy enough:

Slicing was easy.....:Looking at the finished product, easy....:

All right all right. Here's the recipe. Not quite what I had from the bakery the other day, but still very good and chewy, not at all dry!!!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar*
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. butter, softened and chopped
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 Large egg
1/2 c. raisins*
1 tsp. almond extract*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Mix well. Add chopped butter and using a pastry blender or two knives scissor-fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add raisins and blend well.

In small bowl, mix the buttermilk, egg, and almond extract. Add to the flour mixture.

Knead dough 12-15 times until well combined and smooth.

Shape into 8-inch dome. Using a serrated knife, score the dough into 8 wedges (don't cut all the way through).

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven an brush with "icing" while still warm.

Icing: mix 2TBS. OJ and 4TBS. granulated sugar

**A few notes**
This recipe calls for dates instead of raisins. I like raisins better so switched them out. It also calls for only 2 TBS. of sugar in the dough. I increased it to 1/4 of a cup. I like it a little sweeter. It calls for orange peel, but didn't have any oranges on hand so added the almond extract to the buttermilk.

Also, it took much longer than the 15 minutes to cook. I would say at least 25 minutes, but keep a close eye on it.



Deep cleaning

Well, to accomodate my New Year's resolution of reducing the clutter in my life, I started deep cleaning my house. We just moved to this big beautiful house (5 bedrooms, huge living room, large kitchen, dining room, etc...) this July. I love it here. We just finished repainting the kitchen and dining room and it's just gorgeous.

So, anyway, we've accumulated some clutter. Nothing major, like you'd see on TV, but still a decent amount. So I took 3 hours yesterday and DEEP cleaned our room. It feels soooo much better in there. Airy and refreshing.

Today I'm going to do the same to the kitchen and dining room.... and also alleviate some of the bottlenecks there. Our garbage is ALWAYS full. Overflowing. However, we still have the tiny 'apartment sized' garbage can we bought when we got our first apartment. So, I'm going to get a larger one. Also, I'm going to rearrange the cabinets to make more sense for the kitchen.

Tomorrow, I'll do the living room and bathroom. Then Monday, I can work on the back bedroom, basement, and the basement bedroom. Then I will do the girls' rooms upstairs.

After I'm done with all of that, I will begin my new organization system for all of my paper crap.

I feel better already. :)


New Year's Resolution part II

So, I've come up with another New Year's Resolution. I'd like to reduce the 'clutter' in my life... namely the paper clutter. It's the worst. No matter what I do, I seem to accumulate more and more of it. So that's my second resolution. To do away (or control) the paper clutter.

Now, on to the "How" of executing my New Year's resolutions.....

The first one, letting go of my anger and all that toward's Dave's family, may be the tougher of the two to execute. The little trick my pyschologist gave me (see the "crazy crazy crazy" sign on and read my 1st new year's post) helps, but it doesn't quite alleviate the problem. What to do? I've already told Dave that I am looking out for my best interests and absolving myself of his family and ex-wife. That was a huge step. I've begun conditioning myself by physically telling myself "NO" as soon as a thought of them creeps into my mind. I am a firm believer in conditioning yourself into a different lifestyle or change. It worked for me when I decided to get healthy and lose weight. Conditioning. I will keep that up and keep referring to my CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY sign.

Now, on to the clutter problem. I know the key is organization and planned execution. A lot of it comes from the girls' school stuff. So, I can try a trick I read about with "inboxes" for each of them. My magazines, I've already solved that problem (I'm a magazineaholic!!!) As soon as I'm done reading them, they get tossed into a milk crate. When it's full, I have a lady who comes and gets them. She and her 5 daughters read them and pass them on. I am really proud of that solution. Now, comes the hard part. The compulsive PRINTING that I do with recipes, coupons, LISTS, and everything else. Do I cold turkey that and give it up? Or find some way of wrangling it all? When I finally came up with my filing system for all of our bills, that REALLY helped. Maybe I can do the same for all of the crap that I print. That will work. Yea!! I'm proud of myself.



Winter wonderland my ass

Ugh! I hate this weather. Winter. It's such a crock. LOL!! I say that like it's a theory or something. Winter in Chicago is utterly preposterous. Bitterly ridiculously cold. Grrrr.... It's winter that I miss the south the most, for the obvious reasons. I mean, don't get me wrong.... this cold is good for something. Snuggling in bed or on the couch with the hubby watching movies. And drinking hot tea. But those things can be enjoyed without freezing cold snow and biting wind outside.

Okay, I'm just grumbling here. But is it really neccessary this weather???

The countdown is on... 10 more years till we can move to Georgia. Sigh.


My New Year's Resolution

Okay, okay, I know it's about 2 weeks early (give or take)... but somehow, I came to this today and absolutely knew that it has to be mine. First a little bit of background. I am hated by pretty much all of Dave's family. Not just hated, but treated as though I am the anti-Christ. This has gone on for three years. I won't slander anyone by telling the gorry details of the mean, vindictive, horrible things they have said and done to me. But let's just say that it's bad. Not your regular "in-law" hatred. And it's not just them, but his sister, her kid, his ex-wife (same deal, not your everydy run of the mill ex-wife hatred), his grandparents. It's been a very long three years. They've dedicated the time to making my life miserable and making our wedding as non-celebration-esque as possible. So to say the least, I'm resentful and actually hateful towards these people. This is not who I am. I'm not a hateful person. I'm a country girl.... I love everyone if they give me the chance. But this hatred has taken up soooooo much of my energy this past three years. And I can't take it any more. I just can't. I've done everything in my power to make ammends for something I didn't wrong in the first place. I've tried to play nice, I've done EVERYTHING I can. To no avail.

So, I've come to the conclusion (my resolution) that I just have to give up my hatred, resentment, my anger, and my hostility towards these people. They obviously are not going to change. And as my shrink once told me, they are not capable of acting socially "normal". She said that I have to see a big blinking "CRAZY, CRAZY, CRAZY" sign whenever I have to deal with them or even think about them. (those of you who've been on my myspace page will see that I actually have a sign that says that very thing.... to remind me) I have to let it go, because they are wasting too much of my energy and they honestly, don't deserve it. They're not worth the time it takes to be hurt by them.

So that's my resolution for this year. Though it's come a few weeks early, I think that it is very good.


DIY invitation instructions

Okay, here are the instructions on how I made my wedding invites.
You can modify these to whatever size you want. I like the way mine turned out because they are beautiful and are not too "invitation-y". We're not very "traditional" so these are very us. :)
Supplies used:
Astrobright glisten cover stock paper in Venus Violet (8 1/2 x 11)
Fiskars scalloped scissors
Glue Runner
Paper Trimmer
12 x 12 in. silver/black scrapbook paper
Linen paper (bought from Office Depot)
Step One)

Score the Cover stock at 4" from the bottom. Turn over and score at 3" from bottom.

Step Two)
Fold at scored spots. Run the back of a spoon over the folds to assure flatness.
Step Three)
Make a template for your flap. I used a triangle template but you can do round or just leave the flap plain.

Step four)
Trace template onto smallest flap.

Step five)
Cut along line of tracing with scallop edged sckissors.

Step six)
Use glue runner to fasten edges of your "pocket" together.

Step seven)
Cut scrapbook paper to 3 1/2" x 7 1/2". Attach with glue runner to 'top flap'.

Step eight)
Print your inserts onto linen paper and insert into pocket.

(In this photo, the cover stock looks blue. This is just a product of my crappy camera. It's actually a very vibrant purple. To see the actual color, click on the link in my supply list.)

Last step!!
Print your invitation (mine are 3 x 7) and attach to silver/black paper with glue runner.

This is an easy enough project. It's just very time consuming. For 70 invitations, I spent about 4 hours.

Saw this in another post....

Can we ever love the same way after betrayal?I think we have no choice but to guard ourselves a little more.
I am more cautious, more leery. I don't make myself vulnerable to him in the same way.But I also think that, finally, we have no choice. Asking if we can we loveafter a betrayal is, in a way, like asking whether we can love for more thanjust the few weeks or months before the other does something that leaves us hurt and crying.

All love, eventually, comes in the wake of some kind of betrayal.

Little white lies

Okay, I know everyone does it. Little white lies. They're supposed to be harmless, right? But what happens when your partner tells one.... and somehow it turns into a big fat black lie? You know, where you know it's a lie and keep calling them on it... they keep denying it and generally making it as though you're nuts. Then you finally prove the lie.... and then what? Then it's turned into this great big fight for something so stupid that shouldn't even register on the radar. Damn.

I don't know. What compels men to do this??? I mean, Dave knows how I feel about lying. He knows that I would rather him tell me, "baby I ran over you cat" then him tell me he found it dead in the street and I later prove that he did it. (by the way, this never happened... just an example)

Is it just me? Ladies, help me out here. Do your guys tell supposed "little white lies"? And how do you deal with it?


Sweet Savannah

The scent of the sun and the pines is just about overwhelming to my brain. 900 some odd miles away and I can still smell the sweet, warm air. God, how I long to be there. Just be in that place that's always, somehow, been my home.

Sitting in that hotel window on our last night in Georgia, listening to the distant traffic and the peaceful vague noise, it hit home. I won't ever be at peace in my head and my heart until I am there. There, free to be myself, to give in to the indulgence of a cup of morning coffee on the porch. To sip the sweet tea by the pitcherful. To drift off to sleep with little thought of the worries of everyday life. To breathe the life that's been waiting for me all of mine. Goddammit, why did I leave there. It was so hard for me to be alone, but it was so wonderful at the same time. I had everything there. No, I know, if I hadn't come back here, I'd never have met Dave. I know that. And I'm so thankful I did. But is it wrong to want both? Him and the other love of my life…. Georgia. He wants to go back too. He doesn't quite get my love affair with the south, but he understands enough to know that's where I belong. Thank god for that. 10 ½ more years. He asked what will the girls do when we leave. I imagine they'll go to college. Or start lives of their own. Either here or they'll follow us to Georgia. That is Lexi's home too. She has that fire in her soul for it like I do. It's strange how a geographical place can take on so much space in one's heart as if it were a living breathing person.
I think often of my dream….. laying on the beach, sipping sweet tea. Watching my young women of daughters flirt playfully a ways down with some passing guys. My husband, Dave, laying next to me, just talking and drinking in the warm Georgia sun. It's so simple and yet so fucking far away. Dammit all.


The Belinda Photo

I was going through my photos from the last time we visited Savannah and came across this one:

I had forgotten how much I love this photo. It reminds me very much of one of my favorite books, BELINDA. It has the feel of "Belinda, on the Wharf". This book is so good, I've read it probably an easy 200 times. The first time I read it was right out of high school.... over ten years ago. Great book. Anyway, this photo reminds me of it. :)

In looking through my photos from the last time we were there, I realize just how crappy my camera is. :( I've been shamelessly dropping hints to Dave that I want a Cannon EOS Rebel for Christmas, or my birthday, or Valentine's day. Or all three....don't care, just so long as I have it before we go down to Georgia for the wedding.

Here are a few more of the photos I took last time we were there:

I had seen a few photos like these online and tried very hard to duplicate them with my crappy little K***c camera. :(



All right.... so on to what I began in the last post. I designed our monogram yesterday. It took a little bit of time, a ton of patience and lots of starting over again (and again and again and again.....) but I finally came up with something I absolutely love!

Here's a photo of it...kind of pixelated but that's because I've enlarged it for printing.

This will be painted onto our aisle runner (more photos as that's being done) and used for other accessories, like on our favor tags, on the invitation belly bands (thanks Heather for the great idea!) and several other projects.

Stay tuned for more!!

Almost there.... twice.

Yesterday I designed our monogram that will be used on our aisle runner, on the invitations going out for the Illinois reception, and several other DIY projects I have going for this wedding! If you haven't guessed, I'm getting married. In a few months.....and then again at the end of May. Okay, okay, let me explain.

Almost two years ago, Dave proposed to me. Immediately, I said yes! And so began the planning. Long story short, we ultimately decided to have our wedding in Savannah, Georgia.... the long-time love of my life. (more on that later). But when his parents caught wind of it, they threw a fit.... so, I'm the lucky bride that gets two weddings. One in Savannah, the official one, where I, Elise Amber Mirkov will become Mrs. Elise Amber Bass. And the second one, here in Illinois where we will pay waaaaayyyyyy too much money to feed a bunch of people I will never see again. 150 guests, about 140 of them are his family. More specifically, his MOM'S family. People he hasn't seen in years. But that aside.....

So, the first wedding, the real one..... is on March 1, 2009. In Savannah. It's sooooo close. Less than three months. There's so much left to do. I've taken Wednesday off so that I can get caught up on some of the little things without interuption. It's hard to paint an aisle runner with a seven and eight year old running around. :) As the days fly by, I'm getting more and more anxious.