Monday, April 21, 2008


My toothpaste makes me laugh. Seriously, I giggle every morning and evening. Why? Because the people at Colgate have apparently decided to cut costs in the area of advertising.

Our current tube of basic white paste bears a label that boasts about it's "Great Regular Flavor!" Really? This is how you want to make the sale? By trying to drum up excitement using the word regular? You may as well market it as "Fabulous in it's Lack of Improvement!" or "Our Least Creative Version!"

Seriously, I'd suggest either using the word "Classic" or "Original" as slightly more positive replacements. Or stamp the product simply"Regular Flavor"without the unnecessary enthusiasm. When was the last time you raved to someone about the fantastically regular movie you saw last night, or the delightfully regular dessert at the new restaurant in town?

I'm such a backseat advertiser. I will say, though, that my teeth feel satisfyingly regular after having brushed them with my Colgate toothpaste...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I guess they do have Biblical names...

Maya's been asking me frequently in recent days to act out the story of Noah's Ark with her Fisher Price set. One day, while the animals were in the process of boarding the ark, she requested that I wait to close the boat's door until two extra passengers had a chance to take their places inside...Thomas the tank engine and James the red engine.

"Can Thomas and James go on the ark too, Mama?"

"Um, sure." I answered. After all - if talking, feeling, thinking trains had existed back in the day, I'm sure God would have included a pair among the ark-bound menagerie.

The updated twist on the classic tale grew more involved a few days ago when I was interrupted again, this time in the middle of the Lord's monologue to Noah about the upcoming flood and his related instructions.

"And Noah listened to God, " I was explaining, "and obeyed what he was told about..."

"And THEN, " Maya interjected excitedly, "Noah heard a 'Peep peep!'! Here comes Thomas the Tank Engine!"

That's right - in current repetitions of this story, Thomas and James have developed speaking roles. The new version also involves Thomas carrying all of the animals to the ark. He's sort of a railway assistant to Noah.

It's all good, I suppose. She's taking an interest in Bible stories and exercising her creative muscles at the same time. It does make me wonder what new fusion will show up next. Elmo at the nativity? Boots the Monkey curled up next to Moses in the woven basket floating through Egypt? Only time...and my three-year-old director...will tell.

This week in my kitchen (Week of April 14th)

Late edition this week, but here it is!

My featured dinner is one that Mary Ann posted on her blog the other week, and I knew I had to try it! Totally yummy chicken and asparagus dish. I made biscuits to go with it and they were so good with the extra sauce!

Here's the link to Mary Ann's post...


Saucy Chicken & Asparagus Bake


And my baking venture? A spur-of-the-moment decision to whip up something for a playgroup gathering I hosted yesterday resulted in a delightful new favorite...Strawberry Bread! First time I made it, but it won't be the last.


Strawberry Bread

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
3 cups + 2 T. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Butter & flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Slice strawberries and place in bowl. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and let sit while preparing the rest. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in large bowl. Mix well. Blend oil and eggs and stir into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened. Divide batter between pans and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

This week in my kitchen (Week of April 7th)

For dinner last night I made one of my favorite spring/summer time salads. I usually serve it alongside some French bread with olive oil & dipping spices. Mmm...

Grilled Chicken Salad

2 - boneless, skinless chicken breasts; grilled, seasoned, & diced
1 - head romaine lettuce, rinsed & chopped
1 - or 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 - yellow pepper, cut into thin slices
1- avocado, diced
shredded cheese
honey mustard dressing (my favorite store-bought brand is Marzetti's, but I'd like to start making my own)

Toss chicken, veggies, & cheese together and top with dressing.


This was my new baking recipe of the week! All I can say is...holy crap. These. Are. Good.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

2cups All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
2cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2
cups firmly packed brown sugar
1teaspoon baking soda
1/2teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened

1(12.5-oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping
3tablespoons All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
1(6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2cup chopped nuts


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix at low speed until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes.

Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Return to oven; bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This week in my kitchen (Week of March 31st)

Ok, so the two recipes I'm posting today are not health foods, by any means. But boy, are they good ones!

Maya and I baked up these cookies this afternoon...

Oatmeal Scotchies

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips

Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars gradually, then eggs and vanilla, and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch chips. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool on pan for 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack.


And later this week, I'll be serving this awesome macaroni and cheese for dinner. It's a recipe I got from my sister, and it rocks.

Macaroni & Cheese

3/4 box elbow macaroni
2 cups sour cream
2 cups cottage cheese
1 egg, beaten
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
salt & pepper, to taste

Cook macaroni to package directions. Mix with remaining ingredients and spread in 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with buttered breadcrumbs, if desired. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.