Thursday, November 18, 2010

All My Favorite People...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Whew! What a whirlwind my life has been this last week! Last weekend was our Octoberfest party with my class and professors. Everybody brought some really amazing food....we have some good cooks!

My costume for the party..Jail Bait. I was going to wear leggings, but I changed into jeans a few minutes before we left....felt like my bum was exposed.

MMMMM.....swedish meatballs....basted and slow baked for 4 hours. So. Flippin'. Good. (Thanks for the help Aunt Jules!)
This last week was HELL....soooo many exams. I can't even explain how happy I was to have the weekend come rolling in. Meggy came to visit Friday night and we went out to dinner, had some wine and just generally caught each other up on our crazy busy lives. Last night, I headed to Howell to see Christopher for some Halloween festivities. We got all costumed up and headed over to his buddy, Andrew's, house. We played some drinking games there for about an hour. Around 9, our ride for the evening arrived to pick us up....a big 'ol party bus! We rode the party bus into Royal Oak, drank like fish on the bus, bar-hopped until 2am in RO and went back to Andrew's to pass out. What a riot!

A pirate and a German

German Gentlemen

<3 you!

On the bus....seated next to an army man...

Oh so many jello shots....things are starting to get a little sloppy...

Hat trading.

This morning was a little rough, but my 6 hour nap this afternoon put things back in order. Another successful Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

MAPA 2010

Pictures from the Michigan Association of Physician Assistants conference in beautiful Traverse City.....
Katie and I
Maddie, Me and Keri

Love this! Maddie, Katie and me....Christmas card anyone?

Enjoying some Witch's Brew with Dave

Enjoying some adult beverages in the suite after the welcoming reception the first night

Me and Maddie getting ready to cheer on the quiz bowl team...FIRE UP CHIPS!

Never Too Old....

Tonight was a girls' night....much needed. My friend Keri and I went shopping around town to find things to make Halloween costumes. We then came back to my apartment and invited our friend, Bryanna, over to have some Witch's Brew and watch Hocus Pocus. Witch's Brew is a seasonal spice red wine that is sooooo delicious. We have a long couple of days with tests and class and just needed a night to veg out.

While watching the movie, I worked on my costume for this year. This Saturday, our program is having an Octoberfest/Halloween party where we are all bringing a fall dish to pass and dressing up in costumes. Normally, this wouldn't require quite so much thought, but our faculty is also invited so my costume needed to be something cute, and more importantly, appropriate for mixed company. After much deliberation, I finally had some inspiration.

My costume for this year is.....Jail Bait! I decided to find a black and white striped shirt, add the numbers for a jail uniform and then add a hook, bobber and line...a play on words :)

I found the shirt for 4 bucks at Walmart and bought all the fabric and ribbon; total cost was about 10 dollars. When I got home, I got to work cutting and sewing everything together. I stitched each piece- hook, numbers, and bobber and then used fabric glue to attach them to the shirt.

The finishing touch was a bit of silver ribbon for fishing line and Voila! Cute and appropriate costume!

I plan on wearing the shirt with long black leggings and high heel boots. If I remember to take one, I will post a pic of the whole outfit. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Adventures in Dating-Land

I had a date for the record books, in fact....and not in a good way. To preface this story, you should know that I met this guy through might have been my first mistake. No names will be mentioned to protect the strange.

He and I have been emailing back and forth for a while now, and decided to get together for some coffee to see how things went in person. We agreed to meet at 8:30pm and being the OCD individual I am, I showed up at 8:15 with a book to look "casual" and maybe even "smart." Well, it gets to be 8:30, then 8:45 and finally, 9pm rolls around. Now I'm pissed...that little f-er stood me up. I go home, get online and check to see that he is able to receive messages on his phone. I'm ready to rip him a new one and he shoots me a message that he is lost. The address he got online is wrong and he can't find the place. Well, now I'm less angry and more annoyed and little worried about the level of intelligence of this individual; he is 4 blocks down the street and he says the people he stopped to ask have no idea what coffee shop he is referring to. He apologizes profusely and I feel bad because he drove here specifically to meet with me, so I offer to drive back over (it's only a few minutes away.)

I tell him to park in a specific lot next to another coffee shop across the street from the one I was waiting at originally. Silly me, I assume he will enter this coffee shop of his own accord, so I head in, order a cider and see if I can find him. Well, I don't see him, but I do happen to run into my brother, who got a really good laugh out of the whole thing. I wait for about ten minutes and decide to see if maybe he is out in the lot. I step outside and a guy gets out of his car, waves and starts walking toward's him. He apologizes profusely and which point I notice he has the worst lisp I have ever heard...ever. It was honestly hard to understand him.

We head into the coffee shop, he meets my brother and I direct him to the counter where he can order a drink. He promptly sits down beside me...without a beverage. I ask if he likes coffee; he says not really. I say there are other things to choose from; he says he's not thirsty. Good thing we met for a coffee-like beverage. He proceeds to tell me about how he still lives with his parents and plans to do so for an indeterminate amount of time because he is finishing his degree but has no idea what he wants to do. His current plan is that he is "hoping a job might fall in his lap." He also asks me about my schooling and how it is going, which is nice....the first time. He runs out of things to ask, so he asks me that again....3 more times.

I am finally so fed up with making conversation that I tell him I am tired and need to go home to go to bed. He says that he also has an early morning for work. Being polite, I ask where he works. He tells me that I don't want to know...shady, I know....but it gets better. He reveals that he works at Bob Evan's, which is awesome, great, fine, whatever, but then he drops the creeper bomb: we worked together and he has known the whole time. I worked there for 3 months....6 years ago. He tells me he recognized me right away from my picture on my profile.

When I asked why he didn't tell me, he says he didn't want to sound like a creepy stalker...which by withholding this info, he sounds like just that. I apologize because I don't recognize him at all and now I feel bad and awkward. We head toward our cars and he asks for my number; I tell him that I am weird about giving out my number and never do...he tells me that's fine and that he's heard that before. He gives me one of those awkward ass-out, double-back-thump hugs and tells me he'll talk to me soon.

Not if I can help it.

And just for you, Mom: I was safe and told friends his name and description and what time I would be home. Also, I took the longest, craziest route I could manage to get home so he definitely doesn't know where I live.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple and Pecans and Pumpkins...Oh My!

Holy cow, what a week...and it's only Wednesday. I have been studying, studying, studying since Friday in preparation for exams this week...well, actually for exams today, because they happened to fall on the same day. My day didn't start out the greatest; I haven't gotten much sleep in the last few days and I dragged my near-comatose butt out of bed to find cat throw up in front of my door. Yummy. I cleaned it up, turned around, and promptly stepped into another pile. Good morning! Ugh. I talked down my up-chuck reflex and headed about my business to get ready for class.

Today's schedule consisted of giving a powerpoint presentation to my classmates about small cell lung cancer, followed by an exam in my Infectious Diseases class, followed by my midterm lab practical for History and Physical Exam. I knocked my presentation out of the park; almost all of my classmates stopped me later and told me how much they liked it and how clear it was. WAHOO! I hate those things...I get soooo nervous. I followed that with a 90% on my first exam and a 100% on my lab practical....I guess all that studying paid off!

I came home, and to celebrate my awesome day, I decided to bake some treats. I stopped by the farm stand I mentioned a few posts ago and bought some more Honeycrisp apples and a baking pumpkin. I've been craving something sweet all day, so here's what I came up with:

Apple-Pecan Pumpkin Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 medium apples, cored and chopped into dime-sized pieces

Blend together butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla and pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, raisins, pecans and flour. Stir into pumpkin mixture. Add the apple pieces and mix well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's All Downhill From Here....

This may look like nothing, but is NOT is a gray hair. MY gray hair. I came home after class to find this little f-er sticking straight out like "ooooo look at me!"

I blame PA school.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Harvest Time

I went home for a bit today to target shoot with Daddy-o, and on my way back to my apartment, I stopped at a local produce stand. I looooooooooove fall for a million reasons, but the fresh produce has to be in the top 10. I bought a couple candy onions, a red onion, a couple acorn squash and 4 huge honey crisp apples.

I could smell the sweet scent coming off the apples the whole ride home...delicious! As soon as I got home, I got to work making myself dinner with my fresh produce. Here's what I came up with:

Honey Dijon Harvest Chicken
4 chicken breasts
2 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 small candy onion, cut in slices
1/4 red onion, cut in slices
2 large apples, cubed
2 boxes stuffing
1 can chicken broth
4tbs Dijon mustard
4tbs honey
5 sprigs fresh thyme

Spray a 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the bottom of the dish. Layer the apples, then the squash, then the onions, over top of the chicken.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, thyme, and HALF of the chicken broth. Evenly pour over the layers.

Pour the two boxes of stuffing into the dish, spreading evenly. Mix the other half of the chicken broth with 3/4 cup water and drizzle over the stuffing, making sure all is moist. Add pats of butter evenly around the dish.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. The squash should be soft, but the apples and onions should still have a slight crunch.

I loved this dish because it has the meat and sides all in one, and it was soooooo tasty! I love buying local produce...helps the farmers and it tastes so good. I served my plate up with a heaping portion and a glass of wine. Perfect fall meal!

Lunch with Dad

I only have one class in the mornings on Mondays so I invited Dad over to have lunch with me this last week. Here's the recipe from our delicious lunch (if I do say so myself):

Pecan-Breaded Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken
4 chicken breasts, hammered flat
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tbs garlic powder
1 cup spinach, chopped
I can medium artichoke hearts
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 sour cream
1/2 shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup pecans, crushed

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the chopped onions. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes and then add the spinach and garlic powder. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the cream cheese and sour cream. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add cheeses and stir. Spoon onto the chicken. Roll up the chicken and secure with toothpicks.

Cover the chicken rolls in crushed pecans. Spray a 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the dish and cover with the remaining pecans.

Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degree or until chicken is cooked through.

I forgot to take a photo when the chicken was done baking, but it was tasty, I can tell you that much. I served it with some garlic, sea salt and cracked pepper seasoned, fresh green beans.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Be Friendly!

Hey girlwithredsuitcase,

I'd love to see what your blog is all about... :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Easy Cheesy Dinner

Italian Beef with Spinach
1lb extra lean ground beef
1 quart stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup onion, chopped
10 fresh sweet basil leaves
garlic powder
1 cup spinach, chopped

In a large skillet, place the beef and onions. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. As the beef is cooking on medium heat, make sure to break the meat into small pieces. Tear the basil into small pieces and and add it to the skillet. When the meat is fully cooked and the onions are soft, drain the excess grease. Add the tomatoes and their juice. Also add the spinach and mix well.Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the spinach is cooked through. Serve topped with shredded mozzarella. Also good over pasta.


The last few mornings I have been trying to get up at a decent hour and make myself a well-rounded breakfast. Today's dish was so tasty, I just had to share it with you.

Spinach and Onion Omelet
2 eggs
3 tbs milk
1/2 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
mozzarella cheese

In a small frying pan, drizzle about 2 tbs of EVOO. Add the chopped onion and cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk. Whip with a fork until blended.

Add the spinach to the onions and continue cooking for another 5 minutes so that the spinach is soft and the onions are starting to brown. Place the veggies in a bowl and set aside.

Empty the egg mixture into the warm pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg is well browned on the bottom and flips easily. Remove the lid, flip the egg and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Let the cheese melt, about one minute, and then spoon the veggies onto one half on the egg. Fold the egg in half and then transfer to a plate.

It Sure Smells Like Fall....

FALL IS FINALLY HERE! The weather is finally starting to cool down; it's been breezy and cool enough to wear long sleeves and be comfortable. My new Food magazine came in the mail last week and it was crammed full of fall recipes...Oh how I love fall!

I decided to make a couple recipes from the magazine, but true to my own style, I could resist changing the recipes. So, here are my renditions of some of the magazines fabulous fall dishes...

Loaded Butternut Squash Soup
2 medium Butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbs sugar
1 stick salted butter
8 cups water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 loaf Pumpernickel bread
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic powder
Shredded Parmesan

Melt the butter in a large pot, add chopped onion and cook until soft, 5-10 minutes. Add the cubed squash and the sugar and stir until well mixed and the squash is glazed. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and continue to cook for 25 minutes, making sure the squash is cooked through and soft.

While waiting for the squash to cook, turn on the broiler in your oven and take out several pieces of Pumpernickel bread. Using a bread knife, cut the slices into small cubes. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and then place the bread pieces on the sheet. Drizzle with the EVOO, and sprinkle with a little sea salt and some garlic powder. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the cubes are crunchy and toasted.

When the squash is cooked, while working in small batches, slowly transfer all of the cooked squash and water base to a blender or food processor. Blend of the soup until it is thick and creamy. Return to the original pan. Set to low heat and add the heavy cream and salt/pepper to taste.

Top the soup with the croutons and some shredded Parmesan.
In this picture, I also added some crispy prosciutto and fried onions, but found that the extra flavors weren't even necessary.

As a precautionary side note....don't put the squash peelings down the garbage disposal, or your sink will look like this:

Pinto Bean Pasta Fagioli
5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 quart jar canned tomatoes
1 large jar pinto beans
1 cup water
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 box small pasta, like shells or macaroni
1 bunch Kale, stems and ribs removed, chopped

In a large pot, place the EVOO and set to medium heat. Add the onions, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and rosemary. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until onion is soft.

Add the beans and the stewed tomatoes, including the juices from both. Add the cup of water and 1/2 cup of Parmesan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Add the chopped Kale and salt/pepper to taste and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve topped with shredded Parmesan cheese.

I like this dish; it was a nice blend of cheesy and spicy. However, I am just not a big fan of the rosemary. I think next time I would definitely try sweet basil or oregano.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Classy, Oh So Classy.

Pictures from our Labor Day weekend in the UP...

We stopped first at a really cute farmer's market to stock up on veggies for the weekend...
They also sold fresh picked golf balls...

and brussel sprouts, which I had no idea grew on stalks.

Getting into a sassy, gun photo shoot...
Classy. Reeeeeal classy.
Using the guns properly....we're real snipers!

Andy, Me, Deirdre and Paul at the cabin....
Windy day at the lake.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Quick Grilled Dinner

Strawberry Lime Chicken
Chicken Breast, cut into cubes
5 strawberries, sliced
1tbs crumbled Feta cheese
3tbs lime juice
Garlic powder
Sea salt
Crushed black pepper
Olive oil

Place cubed chicken pieces on kabob skewers. Pour 2 tbs of lime juice over the raw chicken. Sprinkle with pepper, salt and garlic powder, to own liking. Place on the grill and cook through. Remove cooked chicken from skewers and place in bowl. Add the strawberries to the chicken and sprinkle Feta over the top. Drizzle with a small amout of olive oil and the remain 1tbs of lime juice.

Sweet strawberries, salty cheese, tangy chicken...nom nom nom!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quick Grilled Dinner

I have been busting my butt the last week now that classes have begun, and today was no exception. I had class from 9-10am and then was at the library studying until 4pm. I had to leave to go pay my rent...almost forgot!....and then come home to grab a quick dinner before heading back to the library. I was looking for something a little different..I'm sick of salads, etc; they are easy to grab, but not much imagination is involved. Tonight I decided to do some grilling and the results were deee-lish!
Grilled Chicken with Tomato, Basil and Spinach Relish
Chicken breast, thawed
10 cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped
5-8 fresh basil leaves, torn
Sea salt
Garlic Powder
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, shredded

Place chicken breast on the grill, set to high heat, and cook through. While waiting for the chicken to cook, drizzle 1tbs olive oil in a sauce pan and heat to medium. Cut the tomatoes into halves and add to the oil. Add the basil, and spices to taste. Allow to cook on medium until the tomatoes are soft and they begin making a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and allow to cook through, about 2 minutes. Plate the chicken and cover with the tomato relish. Top with some shredded Parmesan cheese.
So yummy and sooooo quick!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Antique Tub Photo Shoot

Thursday night was our PA Girls' Night at the Casino...we rented a room, got dolled up, had some adult beverages, and boogied down....oh and had a major photo shoot with the antique tub in our room. LOVE that tub!

All the girls....
Bry and I
Me in the tub...
Katie in the tub...
Maddie in the tub...
Bryanna in the tub...
Keri in the tub...
Party in the tub!

Such a great tub.