Breakfast Casserole for One

I love the store Sur la Table.  There is one about 5 minutes from my office and it’s not unusual for me to go in there a couple times a month and drool over the $400 sauce pans.  You may think there is nothing there in your price range, but all stores have a discount section in the back of the store, and they also have a line of basic cookware that is super reasonable.

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Their everyday porcelain collection is so affordable – that 10 ounce ramekin, that’s is freezer, dishwasher and oven safe to 500 degrees was regularly priced at $3.95 and it was 40% when I was there – score!

It’s the perfect size for a breakfast casserole for one.  This is such an easy recipe to make even on a weekday.  Simply put it together, pop it in the oven and showered and dressed and by the time that’s done it’s ready to come out of the oven.

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I took mine out, let it cool for about 10 minutes before putting in a ziploc bag to take to work.  When I got to work I put it in the toaster oven to heat up again, and went to check my email and it almost got away from me!

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The top was all crunchy and the bottom was nice and fluffy.  So good! 

I did another Mariano’s run to get salads for my bosses and to also pick up cupcakes for an office birthday.  Of course, I had to stop by the cheese counter!  This was too hot for me though:

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I made chicken soup over the weekend.  Hannah is convinced that shaped pasta has more flavor and requested baby bow tie pasta.  Whenever she bought boxed mac n cheese it always had to be shapes vs. elbow macaroni.

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And I may have decided that a cupcake was insulin worthy!  These were mini cupcakes though Open-mouthed smile

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And my other co-worker brought in cream puffs.  Um, I had to have at least one so as not to be rude.  OMG, can’t remember the last time I had one and it was so good.

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I almost 100% listen to all my music off of Spotify now.  Just as I was leaving work I was seeing what my driving home options were and was a tiny bit freaked out that a picture of me and Tony was on one of the album covers!

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Hannah and Jacob both worked last night.  I got home and got my cleaning pants on.  Tony always accused me of being a pack rat – and I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s true, but did I really need to hang onto 50+ cooking magazines, or sale flyers from a few weeks ago?  I had a big book case in our back room for all my cookbooks and I ended up putting them on an empty bookshelf in the basement.  I have 75 cookbooks y’all!  And that bookcase in the backroom became a catch all and it was looking all junky so it took me about 90 minutes to get the back room in shape and get rid of so much junk. 

I knew we were going to have nachos for dinner.  It’s quick, easy, and Hannah and Jacob love them.  I decided to stop by our local Mexican restaurant to see if they could sell me their green salsa they have on the tables because it’s pretty amazing.  She asked in the back if she could sell me some.  She came back and asked which size – either the 12 ounce or 32 ounce!  Um, the 12 ounce would be perfect!

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That would be a 12 ounce cup and she sold it to me for $1.  Score!

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Louise, you will be happy to know I made another batch of lasagna soup!  This time I used fresh tomatoes and it turned out so good.  Perfect for today – this morning was 46 degrees when I got up and our high is only 63 – my perfect temps!

Make it a great day!

This and That

I forgot to tell you guys what was under the trap door!   Curiosity got the best of Hannah and she got a screw bar to pull the board up.  She got about half way through before freaking herself out and I had to take over.  It didn’t take much to pull it up, and when I popped open the trap door there was . . . .

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Nothing.  Just more hardwood floor!  I have no idea why that piece was cut out like that, and it’s likely I never will.  It was excited to think there could be a buried treasure in there though!

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Breakfast was “freezer breakfast!”  I had a Jimmy Dean’s Delights breakfast bowl and an everything bagel, so that was breakfast.  I did stop at the store on my way to work to buy fruit for the week.

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I never did my grocery shopping over the weekend and decided to knock it out at lunch at Mariano’s.  I was going to get some Italian sausage for later in the week and stumbled across this giardineira sausage – um, yes please!

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While standing in line at the checkout, I saw this 2.5 pound bag of candy corn.  Lori, you know I of course immediately thought of you!

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I ended up picking up a cup of Mariano’s chili.  Their recipe card said that 1 cup is 180 calories – not bad!  That leaves room for cheese.  I knew I had a new bag of tortilla chips back at my desk for dippers.  I love eating chili like that.

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So I heat up my chili, reach into my desk drawer and wouldn’t you know it – my boss got to it.  Gah.  She ate about 90% of the bag.

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What happens is that she works long after I leave and she gets hungry.  When I asked her about it, she said “I felt like something salty.”  How about “buy your own fucking food?!”  It all works out though.  When I do lunch runs for her, I always take out money for my chips, but I think I’ll have to put a lock on my desk drawer!

So you know we went to Leghorn Chicken on Sunday – yesterday I was at my desk and saw that they started following me on Instagram – not sure when I’ll make it back there, but I thought that was cool.  I put my boss taking my food on Instagram, so you can see my friend Christina chiming in on that subject – ha!

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On my way home I got tagged on Facebook from someone I hadn’t seen since high school.  She posted this picture of the Varsity Choir at OPRF standing outside the Museum of Science and Industry – this would have been 1985.

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That’s me in front on the far right, and Jenn is right behind me. Open-mouthed smile

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Construction Update!   The walls were repaired and painted yesterday – two guys did the job in just one day.  If anyone in the far northwest suburbs needs a painter, let me know and I’ll give you his info.

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It’s hard to tell but the wall on the left and the dining room wall are accent walls – it’s actually a dark grey/blue – hard to tell in this pic.  The walls are light grey and the ceiling and eventual baseboards will be white.  I have a guy coming out to take a look at the floor.  I’ve decided on engineered hardwood in a light grey.  The only problem is figuring out what to do with this “floor.”  If I just put a subfloor on top of this one, and then put the hardwood on top, it will raise my floor 1 1/2 inches and then the doors won’t work.  So we’ll have to figure out that part.  My assumption is all of this will be pulled out and we start all over.

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Helen, you’ll be happy to know that I am now the owner of six pairs of shoes that are not flip-flops!  I found these shoes at our local thrift store.  One look at them and I knew they were a quality made shoe.  I paid $10 for them only to come home and look them up and realize they sell for $144!  Score!

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I always like slip on shoes since one of my feet is 1 1/2 sizes bigger than the other.  These are super comfy too!

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Since Hannah has school on Monday’s, Mondays are Meat Monday!  I defrosted two more filets that I got from Denver.  This time I did a quick pan sear on my cast iron skillet with sauteed mushrooms, zucchini and a few fries on the side.  Not a bad week night dinner if you ask me!

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I watched the season finale of Ray Donovan and all I can say is WOW!  I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who still has it on their DVR, but I think its probably the best written and acted show on t.v. right now.  Now I’ll just have to wait for Shameless to come back to get the same quality show on t.v.

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Happy to report that my bronchitis is about 90% gone.  I still have a few coughing “fits” throughout the day, but not anywhere near what I had.  I am hoping in a couple days I’ll be able to get back to the gym.  My one blog friend Lisa said she tried to go back to working out too soon and her bronchitis came right back, so I don’t want that to happen to me.

Alright, have to scoot – it’s an overcast and rainy today, but I kinda like days like this.

Wonderful Weekend

The summer before my twin sister and I started our freshman year of high school of high school, there was a list of fall sports that you could try out for.  My grandma on my Dad’s side was living with us at the time.  She got the list and decided that I should try out for the swim team.  I told her I couldn’t swim.  She literally called the school, asked for the swim coach and asked “can my granddaughter try out for the swim team if she can’t swim?”  Um, the answer to that was no.  So I quickly skimmed the list and chose field hockey.  I had no idea what it was, but if it got me out of trying out for the swim team in a life jacket, I was all for it.

Turns out that was a good decision.  Not only did I become great friends with most of these ladies, I got an athletic scholarship to Southern Illinois to play in college.  Sadly, they dropped the hockey program after my freshman year and after that I decided to “take a year off from college” and well, I only ended up going to college my freshman year.

I met up with four of my hockey friends who still live in the area on Saturday morning to watch to Varsity field hockey game.  Not gonna lie, but I think we talked more than we watched the game, but it was such a gorgeous day and great to catch up.  I threw this idea out to meet up a few weeks ago, and it reminded me that you can’t wait for stuff to happen, you have to make it happen!

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My friend Kelly on the far right?  Still a total baller athlete – that morning before we met up she ran 16 miles!  If I ran 16 miles I’d be laying in bed recovering all day!  Jacky is to the right of me, then Cindy, Jennifer and Kelly.   Jacky and I then met up another hockey friend for lunch at Fat Duck Tavern.  Um, these pictures do not do the food any justice – it was delicious!  I ended up getting a Reuben and it was delicious.  Megan got the duck fat fries that came with three dipping sauces – one of which was a cilantro aioli that either Jacky and I will try to recreate at home – I could have done shots of that stuff! 

It was so good catching up with both of them!  I had plans to then go to a softball game that was honoring a couple that was instrumental in starting girls softball in our hometown.  I give you Biz and Jenn of 1979!

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Jennifer is the third from the left and I am at the far right on the first row.  I remember having the hardest time playing softball while wearing those glasses when I got all sweaty!  And I also thought that my multi-colored stretch belt was the bomb.  But I ended up being able to hang out with my sister last minute, so I never made it to the game.  But I did get to see my niece and nephew which I don’t think I’ve seen since December!

I drove home, but my day wasn’t done yet.  My friend had a get together at her house – she is the best hostess!  She also is an amazing decorator – her porch is so inviting!

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Good times, good food and great conversation.  So happy that I got to catch up with everyone there.

Sunday morning I dragged Hannah and Jacob back to the OP area and we went to my Mom’s church.  I think the only reason Jacob agreed to go was because there was a promise of fried chicken for lunch.  He was raised Catholic and this was his first time at a Methodist church.  He was shocked at how informal it was!  They have a new minister and he’s very engaging, which is nice. 

I no longer get physical newspapers anymore, but I subscribe to Chicago Tribune online.  I almost always scroll down to the food section – duh. Open-mouthed smile

They always have interesting articles about where the best of whatever is.  A few weeks ago they talked about a place that had one of the best fried chicken in Chicago – Leghorn Chicken on Western Avenue.   I realized that was only 6 miles from my Mom’s church and quickly talked her into going there for lunch yesterday.  I was pretty much sold when they had a basket of chicken skins as a side for $4!

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Um, let’s just say that the six mile drive from River Forest through some pretty shady Chicago neighborhoods were interesting.  While I was driving I was just looking around at all the diverse people that live in these neighborhoods and I think Jacob was a bit nervous and I was like “this is #adventure2015!”  His reply?  Well, I hope I live long enough to have #adventure2016!”

The place is small but I loved the eclectic décor.  You order at the couter and they bring the food to you.  One word about the fried chicken skins.  AMAZEBALLS!  Super light, not greasy and with the addition of hot bbq sauce it was the bomb.com.  And while my chicken sandwich with “nashville hot” seasoning and jalapeno aioli, wasn’t spicy at all.  If we venture out there again, I would get Hannah’s chicken tenders.  Super light breading and the chicken was so juicy. 

Mom had places to be after lunch as did Hannah and Jacob, so we dropped my Mom back off at her car back at church.   And here you can see she’s hugging her favorite child.

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It was a busy weekend, but I loved it.  Every time I have a busy weekend like this I have to remind myself that this time I have is a gift – when Tony was sick I wasn’t able to do 1/10th of the stuff I am able to do now, and I have to make the most of the time I have.   Sure, I miss Tony every single day – and actually miss him yelling at the t.v. during football games, but life is for the living.  And living life to the fullest is what my goal is to do!

Hope you guys had a great weekend – can you believe later this week is October already!  One of the grocery stores I went to already started selling those cinnamon scented pinecones already – too soon!

Make it a great day! 

Busy weekend!

I seriously do not know what I do with my hair when I sleep.  It will be straight as a board when I go to sleep, but when I wake up it look all curly in the right hand picture.  I texted the picture to my sister yeseterday and she was like “did you curl your hair?”  She thought I was going to work like that!  The hair on the left is much better Open-mouthed smile

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Breakfast was another pita breakfast sammie – sadly my fruit that I had in the fridge from the beginning of the week already started to get moldy.

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I had lunch with my friend D yesterday – she’s very private, no pictures of her – but I can show the food we ate!

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My dish was the second one – thai curry noodles with veggies and tofu.  So good!  I was thinking I need to find a recipe to make this at home.  As luck would have it, I spent the first ten minutes of this morning lying in bed going through Instagram and saw that Nicole made a very similar dish – a spicy Thai noodles with tofu, that’s going to the very top of my weekly menu planning next week.  We talked up a storm and realize we need to meet up more often – our offices are literally five minutes away from a ton of restaurant options.  So good to see you D!

So this week I decided to actually use a stop watch to see how much actual work I do in a day. It’s pitiful y’all.  The roll of a legal secretary is going extinct.   Let’s take my life as a legal secretary where it began 25 years ago.  No attorney had a computer in their office.  I would walk into work with a dozen dictation tapes to type out letters, 30 page briefs, wills, estate planning, etc.  None of the attorneys answered their own phones.  Once the attorneys got computers, no lie, I had one attorney who would print out an email, hand write the response, and he’d have me sit at his desk replying to emails.

Now?  Technology and young associates who know excel better than I do.  My litigation partner has voice recognition software so she does her own dictation.  We electronic file so much stuff that unless I have to print a letter on letterhead to be mailed out, there isn’t much for me to do.  So going into today – I’ve worked 81 minutes.  Yep, an hour and 21 minutes all week.  I need to win the lottery, or find some bread bakery that will hire me at my current salary and benefits so I can be happy baking bread all day.  A girl can dream, right?

Hannah had to close last night and was going to eat her leftover Chinese food for dinner, so that meant meat for dinner for Jacob and I.  Pork chops!  I did a quick 15 minute marinade using this Savory House BBQ blend mixed with a bit of olive oil.   Then finished them on the grill.  OMG, so juicy!  I only ate half of this (it was probably a 12-13 ounce chop!) and will somehow repurpose that for breakfast this morning.

I am still coughing a bit, but I have a lot planned for this weekend.  I am having a mini field hockey reunion at my high school tomorrow morning, then lunch out with them, then in the afternoon I am going to check out a softball game on my old stomping grounds.   I have many many fond memories of playing softball in River Forest.  In one game we needed to get a grand slam to win the game and I was up to bat.  I remember seeing that ball come towards me and I hit it perfectly – I started running the bases, looking to where the ball was – as I was rounding second I could see that the outfielder hadn’t even gotten to the ball yet, so I kicked it into high gear (I was later a sprinter in track!) and remember touching home plate one step after the girl who was on first base.  So exciting!  I remember later that night the coach calling me telling me that she was still so excited about the game – that was 35 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  (Side note:  D&D – did you know your cousin and uncle will be at that softball game?!)

Then Sunday I am meeting my Mom at church and we are going to one of my bucket list restaurants.  Leghorn Chicken.   It’s just six miles from my Mom’s church and I talked her into ditching the brunch after church and us getting some friend chicken.  You guys – they even sell chicken skin for $4 that’s sprinkled with creole seasoning!  And they sell biscuits with blue cheese caramel butter for $2.  It’s not even 8 in the morning and I am already drooling thinking about this lunch!

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Alright – time to get this show on the road.  I’ll probably be meal planning at work today.  Have a great weekend – anything fun planned?

Buttermilk Chobani Naan

Over the weekend I posted a picture of naan that I made and several of you have asked “when are you posting the recipe?”  Well, the answer is today. Open-mouthed smile

This is about the easiest naan I’ve ever made.  There is no yeast, so it doesn’t have to rise.  You basically mix it, divide it, roll it out and pan fry it in a bit of olive oil.  I ended up getting 10 naan out of this recipe and each one is 133 calories.

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Earlier this week I made a naan breakfast sammie – so good!

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I met my Mom out last night for her birthday dinner.  She didn’t know my sister was going to be there, so that was a nice surprise!  The only snafu was she thought I was picking her up, and I thought I was meeting her at the restaurant.  My sister was running late – I left right at 5:00 and with traffic, it took me about an hour and twenty minutes to get there.  By 6:38 I thought it was weird that my Mom wasn’t there yet, so I called her and said “what are you doing at home?” when we realized she thought I was going to get her – good thing she’s only a short 10 minute drive to the restaurant – and by that time my sister had gotten there so it all worked out in the end.

OMG, we laughed so much – I wish I didn’t still have this cough because I was laughing/coughing at the same time!  We met at a place called Chew Chew in Riverside.   Of course I had to look at the menu beforehand like I always do, and read some of the reviews on Yelp.  Most were positive – but some said the food wasn’t worth the price point, or that service was really slow.  We had no problem at all.  The service was great, the food was delicious.  We started out with their special flatbread which was basically a pancetta and spinach pizza – so good!  I already knew I was going to be getting the steak frites, and my Mom and sister quickly decided to get the same thing.

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I had a groupon, so we couldn’t partake in the $15 bottle of wine, but that’s nice to know for next time! 

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We about lost it with the cow creamer!

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The steak was delicious and the fries were perfect – hot and crispy.  We each ate about half of our steaks though – they were 12 ounces! 

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I am having lunch out with a friend today, otherwise that half would be my lunch tomorrow – omg, just had a thought –  I think I need to add some of that to my breakfast panini! 

Hope you had a nice night out Momma – and Jenn, always good to see you!   Surprisingly, I don’t see my twin sister as often as I would like.

I slept in a bit this morning, so I have to start getting this show on the road.  Make it a great day!

Happy 75th Birthday Momma!

First off, thanks to everyone who commented, texted me, emailed me, Facebook messaged me, etc. for Tony’s birthday yesterday – it truly made the day easier for me and I thank you to the moon and back!

Today, however, is my sweet Momma’s birthday!  Three quarters of a century old!  She doesn’t act like any 75 year old I know.  I normally have to book myself into her calendar three weeks in advance to get together with her.  She is a member of the 19th Century Women’s Club, she bowls, she is in a book club, she plays Mahjong, she’s a member of Sing to Live, she’s active in the food pantry – the list goes on and on. 

She’s been especially wonderful this past year since Tony died.  She canceled a trip of a lifetime to Asia last year when Tony got sick, and I am so thankful that I had her with me to deal with everything at that time.

And, duh, pretty sure I am her favorite child!

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But I think that my brother Charlie think’s he’s the favorite, so not true, but I like to let him think so every once in a while.

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Happy Birthday Mom – looking forward to seeing you tonight!  Love, your favorite child, Biz

Happy Birthday Tony!

Right before Tony turned 50 I wanted to throw him a big party.  He would have nothing to do with it, even with me being pretty convincing!  He said he would compromise and that for his 55th birthday, I could have the biggest party for him.

Today he would have been 55.  I think he somehow knew he wasn’t going to be here for it, and that’s why he compromised with me.  Another first in this year without him, his first birthday I won’t cook him a special dinner. 

I think I sent this video to Tony’s Mom and Dad last year, but they have new phones, so I uploaded this video to youtube.  He’s just being his goofy self!  I never would have thought in a million years after taking this video that he’d be gone just 71 days later.  I don’t really know what I would have done differently had I known it was his last birthday? 

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I miss you more than words can ever write.  But I hope up in heaven you are having grey goose on the rocks with a fine cigar.  Happy Birthday my Love!