Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Woot Woot, Happy Pumpkin Wednesday!

Hello friends! I hope you have had a good week so far.  I was informed by my good friend Michael that January 14 was National Dress Up Your Pet Day!  The site promoting this holiday specifically admonishes owners from putting their pets in costumes that would bother or discomfort your animal, and I must say, I always follow that rule.  Just because Pumpkin looks mad doesn't mean she is discomforted it just probably means she is annoyed...

So in honor of the holiday, I present to you, Pumpkin's finest dress up days!

What she is dressed as, no one really knows, but let's admit she is not super happy

Pumpkin wearing a helmet to support our Cleveland Browns!

All dressed up for Halloween!

Trying to look good in my shoes

Happy Pumpkin Birthday!

Merry Christmas...sort of

Fall scarf adventure cat!

Celebrating St. Patrick's day with some cat nip!

Thanksgiving thankful cat.

Please share your best pet dress up photos, and if you need some inspiration for great cat costumes, just take this sporcle quiz!

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Happy Pumpkin Wednesday!

Hello friends and Happy Pumpkin Wednesday!

The polar vortex has retreated to Canada and although it was only about 15 degrees today it certainly felt like a heat wave!

This fur coat is in style for all seasons!

But let's not lie, it's still winter.  Although I am always inside, and/or covered in a blanket (yes, that is me on a blanket on blanket), I'm sure some of you have to step into the cold every once in a while.  Here are three tips for staying warm and healthy this winter!

#1. Cover up your head and ears!

Pink is so my color.  Compliments my fur.
No, seriously, frostbite is real.  Plus you lose most of your heat through your head.  There are plenty of scarves and hats out that are both fashionable and functional, so cover up!

#2.  Stay hydrated!

Probably best in the winter not to get your hands wet when drinking...

You may feel like you don't need to drink as much because you aren't sweating like the summer months, but don't be fooled, you still need to get your daily intake of water from beverages and fruits and vegetables.

#3. Stretch before shoveling snow!

If you don't have a snowblower, snowplow or someone you can pawn the job onto, you are probably going to have to wield a shovel at some point.  After you have dressed in layers and covered your head and ears, do some stretching to keep yourself limber before you lift all that snow.  And you'll avoid the usual dramatized back sprains you see in infomercials.

Now that we're getting back to regular winter cold, what outdoor activities will you be taking part in?

Have a happy Pumpkin Wednesday!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby It's Way Too Cold Outside

Hello fine friends!  I hope you are all at home and keeping warm in this record-breaking freezing cold weather.  I have enjoyed seeing everyone's thermometer pictures this week, along with everyone's status updates for both school and work snow/cold days!

On this first Miscellaneous Monday of 2014, I feel like I need to try to counteract the cold, if only to try to neutralize the below zero temperatures.  So, I'll start by sharing one of my and Tim's favorite HOT recipes.  *Fun sappy note, this is actually one of the first dishes I ever made with Tim!*

This dish, spicy chicken pasta, is an adaptation from an Emeril recipe for Bayou Chicken Pasta, and relies on the habanero for the "spicy" part.

Now, a bit about the habanero:

It's a tiny pepper, orange in color and yes there are seeds inside that make it hotter.  You can always reduce the heat by taking out the seeds.

Packs a lot of punch for a tiny pepper

And you don't really want to touch this with your hands.  When I cut up a habanero and don't have gloves, I turn the plastic grocery bag inside out and put it around my hand that is holding the pepper and then cut with the knife hand

Worst day ever: touching a pepper and then touching your eye/face/nose.  Don't do it!

And now the recipe I encourage everyone to try, especially this winter.

Here's what to gather from the store:

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (I always cook with kosher salt so I have a big box on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Essence, (find the recipe for the Essence here!)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped habanero pepper (to leave the seeds, or not to leave the seeds, the question is how much heat)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half (the original recipe calls for heavy cream, but I like it with half and half)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (canned tomatoes work fine, just make sure to drain them)
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
For serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion tops
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the kosher salt.  The kosher salt flavors the pasta water, but if you're scared at the massive amount that is 1/4 cup, start with half that much and decide how it goes.  Remember, one of the most important rules of cooking is that you can always add more, but it's tough to take an ingredient away.
  2. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  I like to taste test for doneness, but the box of pasta should state how long it will take.  Remember, you need to reserve some of the pasta water with all of its starchy goodness to use in the sauce, so don't forget to save some of the water before you drain the pasta.
  3. To prepare the sauce, get a saute pan hot and add the butter and olive oil.  Coat the chicken in 1 tablespoon of the Emeril Essence and add the chicken to the pan with the butter and oil.
  4. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove from the pan and set in a dish.
  5. Don't do anything to the pan (no wiping out the delicious flavors) and add the onions and habaneros t the pan.  Let the onions cook until they are soft and lightly caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for a quick 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  6. Add the half and half, tablespoon of essence, some salt and put the chicken back into the pan.  Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until it is reduced in half, approximately 2 minutes. 
  7. Put in the canned tomatoes, pasta and pasta water to taste.  Let everything get together for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Remove the pan, place in a lovely serving bowl and add the green onions, parmesan, and parsley to blend.
  9. Serve it hot, hot, hot and enjoy!

What is your favorite spicy recipe?  How are you surviving the polar vortex?

Happy Monday! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014 is a Pumpkin Wednesday, Coincidence, I think Not

Hello friends and welcome to 2014! I hope everyone had a nice evening celebrating, watching every media recap of all that happened in 2013, and perhaps even had a day off of work!

Let's not lie, it's been a while, OK a long while, since I have blogged.  Not that your lives didn't go on, but I know I missed having a chance to write every week.  What is more, I find it a very strange coincidence that January 1, 2014 also falls on Pumpkin Wednesday.  I think I have no choice but to take that as a sign from the universe that it's time to get back to the blog!

I've done a lot in the past year, so I hope to have a few recipes, household tips, and fun stories to share in the coming year.  Oh, and for all of those who don't know, Tim and I are getting married in October, so I may share some things I have learned about life as I attempt to plan this wedding.

So while you finish this day and solidify all those New Year's Resolutions that start tomorrow, Pumpkin wanted to share her 2014 Resolutions to inspire you to get better in 2014!

#1. Watch less TV, or at least watch less bad TV, or at least stop watching episodes of shows I have seen 100 times before.

#2.  Remember to bring my reusable bags when I go shopping, or to remind Lindsay to put them in her car when she goes shopping.

#3. Focus on my posture: slouch-free in 2014!

#4. Get involved with a charity and volunteer.  Here I am being charitable by volunteering to let Lindsay take this photo of me.

#5. Exercise, more.  OK, or at all.  I can't wait to see what the new fitness trend is for 2014 as I am so over hot yoga, it messes with my fur.

So everyone out there: did you make resolutions this year?  If so, what are they?  If you don't make resolutions, share why!

Happy 2014!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Pumpkin Wednesday: Holiday Preparation Time!

Hello friends and Happy Pumpkin Wednesday!

Pumpkin and I are waiting until after Thanksgiving to put up our Christmas decorations, but Pumpkin has already started prepping for holiday gift giving!

Bah! Not the holidays again!

Believe it or not, Pumpkin likes to stay organized while she is shopping and she also likes to stay on budget.

What? Do I look like I'm made of money?
So this year she has invested in an App to help keep her on track throughout the holiday season.

Pumpkin is a real fan of the App called "The Christmas List."

It will run you a cool 99 cents at the I-Tunes Store, but offers more features than many of the free apps available.

You can sort your gift recipients into groups, take pictures of your gifts, list the stores your gifts are at, and even track your gifts and plans by budget.  It's a great way to keep track of your gift ideas and your budget simultaneously so you don't overspend.

And don't worry, The Christmas List App also offers a password protection feature to keep prying eyes away from your lists!

Oh you can trust me, I won't sneak a look at your gift list....

Oh and speaking of holiday shopping, mark your calendar for next week's Pumpkin Wednesday when we will fill you in on the details for this year's Small Business Saturday!

Looking forward to a lovely Thursday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Miscellaneous Monday!

Hello friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  We attended our fifth and final wedding of the 2012 season, and it really couldn't have been a nicer November day celebrating the marriage of two lovely friends....

So it's a true Miscellaneous Monday, where I have a few random notes, thoughts and a recipe suggestion.

First Up, a Visit from My Sibling.

We had the pleasure of having my baby sister, a junior at college, stop by to stay with us for a night.  It's been a while since I was living on campus, but I was reminded of the joys of dorm life when my sister asked whether she could bring her dirty laundry along too...

Besides utilizing our appliances and couch, my sister found time to fill me in on her college classes and told me about her upcoming class project; to abstain from using technology for two whole days.  They were allowed to use electricity, but were not to watch tv, use a computer, use their cell phone, use a credit card and/or an ATM, or even drive their own car.  She sent around an email last night to our family letting us know that she would be off the grid and unreachable until Wednesday. 

How to Survive Without Siri....
As I sat down to think about her project, I realized I couldn't even handle a day without technology.  I certainly couldn't work and my boyfriend would be upset he couldn't watch any sports.  I couldn't blog, couldn't drive anywhere and since I'm terrible about carrying cash would like be unable to make any purchases (seriously, no one wants to take a personal check anymore!)

How long could you survive without technology?

Second Point, Potatoes.

I can't lie.  I am a fan of the potato.  If you know me, you are acutely aware that potato chips are my personal kryptonite.  But during the winter I find myself going to the potato for a delicious starch that fits well with most meals.

To keep the potato respectably healthy, I like to roast them with herbs and spices.  The methodology is simple:

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.  Take a sheet pan and cover with parchment paper.

Cut up some potatoes.  I like to use red potatoes or yukon gold potatoes and leave the skin on.  That said, if you're leaving the skin on, make sure you wash all the dirt off.

Potatoes and Parchment Paper. 

After you cut up the potatoes, place them in a bowl, and add olive oil one tablespoon at time until they are coated, but not too oily.

The necessary seasonings are salt and pepper, but as to what else, the possibilities are endless.  Fresh rosemary is savory and delicious, cumin gives a southwest flavor and red pepper flakes can help turn up the heat.

Place your seasoned potatoes on the parchment paper and place the sheet pan into the oven.  The cooking time varies depending on type of the potato and the size of your chop, but start checking at 30 minutes and every 10 minutes after that.  The potatoes should get nice and golden brown.

Do you have any favorite winter side dishes?

Third: Thanksgiving Preparation

As you are getting ready to plan your Thanksgiving meal (can you believe the holiday is next week, where did 2012 go?), keep in mind that you may be shelling out more dough for the bird.

Turkey Turkey! Courtesy of Alan L.

That's right, because of the droughts this summer, the price of turkey will go up.  While the price differential isn't going to break the bank, you may want to reallocate a few extra dollars out of your Black Friday budget.

With all that said, I'm headed out!  Looking forward to a lovely Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Pumpkin Wednesday: I'll Make Room for You In My Schedule

Hello all and Happy Pumpkin Wednesday!

I know she has been gone for a long time, but I promise Pumpkin wasn't avoiding you on purpose, it's just that she was busy...

Packing for our big move;

I'm in your boxes, cushioning your valuables

Napping in preparation for the big move; 

Can you please turn off the flash


I helped carry in this chair, seriously

and napping to recover from the big move.

New couch, new nap zone

Oh, and don't worry, even with the power outage, she was able to dress up for Halloween...

Pumpkin wearing a pumpkin shirt...hilarious

So Pumpkin is back, and ready to share with you all her household tips, tricks!  Please send her any questions/comments/suggestions for future posts!

Looking forward to a great Thursday!