Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I just wanted to wish everyone a safe and Happy New Year's! We are heading over to the Iggy's for some New Years fun tonight. We have been getting together with them for the past 5 years or so. We do our usual steak on the grill, often lobster tails (on hold this year) and MAYBE a few cocktails. It should be a fun time with all the kids playing together, that IS the plan, but we will see. Then we set up the annual Royal Rummy event. This is great, we all played this game when we were kids and we decided to bring it back some years ago. Of course, the gamblers that we are, we feel the need to add some $ in, as opposed to the chips that are given to us. It's lots of fun! This year Anne's sister and family will be in as well, that's an extra 3 kids thrown in, besides our 2 and "T". Looking forward to a fun night with friends.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Christmas tree

Every year, I attempt to put my Christmas decorations out early, yet here I sit with only a few up. The village is up and running, the tree having only lights is starting to look better, and that is about it. I do have the boxes of ornaments and decorations right here next to me. Does that count for something?
We got out tree from Jeff's brother-in-law Scott. It is beautiful, and HUGE! We usually put the tree in the sunroon, and also a table with the nativity set. We have the tree, and that may be about it for this year. I love having a huge tree, it is great. We will decorate it tonight, Maddy cannot wait another minute. Winston is putting everything on the tree, a balloon, Percy (that is part of Thomas the Train for those who have no idea what I am talking about).
Jeff is home sick, finally catching whatever I had. I do think I started this whole sickness thing early November, and still haven't kicked it quite yet. I am guessing because I rarely have time to rest, but that is just a guess?

Friday, December 12, 2008

GNO

Last night, Tracy hosted our monthly Girls Night Out! And what a hoot it was... We decided to have a cookie exchange, order out some dinner, have some wine, make some roll out butter cookies. We really had a great time, lots of fun, and lots of laughs! I have to say, it might be high on my list of GNO. It was nice to visit with all my wonderful friends, what could be better during the Holiday season. I am so blessed to have each of of you in my life!
























Here are a list of my predictions based on last night
~Nicki will become a master cookie decorator
~Tracy will become addicted to Facebook like her fellow GNO counterparts
I know I am missing some classic lines from last night...feel free to add on!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

gooooo Marquette

So, every year Marquette plays WI. They rotate home court every year, and this year it was here at the BC. Now, I thoroughly enjoy bragging rights each year if MU happens to win (love ya Tracy). I do support my WI teams, but I have such a hard time cheering for any WI when it has to do with anything MU. Now, this really relates only to BB, since MU has no football or hockey or any of those other sports. So I am a HUGE MU fan!! Nothing beTTer than an MU win, however. I was a bit worried for the first half and the first 15 min of the second half...and I really didn't feel great when WI scored so fast in the last few minutes (what was that all about). But the best team prevails this year. Ha Ha, I had to write that in (Tracy). Kidding really...???? No, but I am happy we won. Till we meet again.

video

Yes, the score was 61-58.

We went out to Sobelmans, which just happens to be THE BEST BURGER place EVER...seriously. I had to take this picture of this triple or quadruple (is there such thing) burger that these kids ordered. Yes, I say kids, since they were like 18 yrs old...wow...


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks Nicki...

for introducing me to Facebook...why did you do this to me? I feel slightly addicted already. It's funny, having conversations with people that I was in school with 15 years ago. It's interesting to read all this stuff from people, truly amazing that we have this sort of technology. I love it!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

thanksgiving feast...for 13 or 15

I am having Thanksgiving dinner here at our home, and I am super excited! I don't get the opportunity to "have" a holiday where I get to cook, bring out the good china, and all the other "fun" that goes along with it. I invited my parents, and Tim and Emily over for dinner. Then we found out that Jeff's sister Mary Jo and the family are coming into town for Thanksgiving this year. They usually have Thanksgiving in Wi Rapids each year, and Jeff and I will go up there every other year. It's so hard to have to split holiday's between families, but that is how it works...we all do it. I wish I could go up there and come back with a snap of my fingers, but unfortunately it takes 3 hrs...Anyways, this year Jeff and I invited everyone over here, since Mary Jo and the fam were in town anyways. Also Jeff's mom has to work at Boston Store at 3 AM the next day, that sucks. So I think that it will work out great! I may be a crazy person, but it will be worth it. I will be in cahoots with Nicki when I cook the turkey. Last time I talked with her, she was looking for tips on cooking a turkey and I proclaimed that it really is not that hard. So we may be on the phone back and forth to figure it all out! I am in the process of making up the menu. Everyone is pitching in and bringing something so maybe the chaos will be kept to a minimum...yeah right! What would the holidays be without chaos???

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Top Chef

Thanks to Tracy, I am now addicted to Top Chef. My mouth is watering as we speak, delicious. I did realize this show was on TV, hence my enjoyment for cooking, but I didn't realize what I was missing! With my addiction to NBC, ABC, and FOX shows, I found the missing link on BRAVO. Why didn't I realize this? Great, now more shows to catch up on.
Girls Night Out tonight...Hooray...I need it! We are heading out to Il Mito Enoteca, for some wine and apps. They have a great menu and wine list, and I have heard by a fellow book club member that it is great place. It's about 3 blocks from my house, and I have been eyeing it up everytime we take a walk over by North Ave. Check back for the full write up!

Barefoot Bloggers-Herb Roasted Onions

The first recipe of the month on Barefoot Bloggers was chosen by Kelly from Baking with the Boys. I made Herb Roasted Onions, which was found on the food network website, which I love immensely. I was happy to see this recipe, firstly because I am short on time (when am I not) and secondly, because I love onions. I will be the only one eating this delicious dish, perhaps I can convince my 2 1/2 yr old daughter or 1 year old son to try them. Try them, try them you will see. I do not like them Sam I am. This is what Maddy says when I try to get her to eat new things.
On to the cooking...

Ingredients

1 red onion
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.



For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.


With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature.



If you like onions, you have to make this. It literally took 5 minutes to prep and then put in the oven for 30 minutes. It would be great with a roasted chicken, which I did not make, but sure sounds good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloween, see you next year!

Jeff and I decided to go out for Halloween this year. It has been a while since we have gone "out" for Halloween, costumes and all. The Captain was out again, in full force. This was the 10th anniversary of CC. I was joking with Jeff that he should really try to fix his mustache on the CC costume. I really think it would be much better. What do I know? We get to Kelly's Bleachers at around 8ish, the costume contest was supposed to be judging at 10 o'clock. Now being familiar with costume contests, I knew this would be pushed way back to at least 11:00pm. We were trying to get to a few contests if we could to increase the chances of winning. We ended up at Kelly's for most of the night, but it was well worth it. The second we walked in, Jeff was surrounded by fans of the Captain. I still don't really get the whole CC thing. I wasn't allowed to eat CC when I was little, so maybe this distaste stems from that??? He did look good, 250.00 good, in fact. It came down to CC vs Michael Phelps (oooh baby). Jeff won by a pretty good amount, but Phelps did give him a run. We met Julie (aka Amy Winehouse) out also, and we had a great time. I wonder if the Captain will be back next year, might be time for a new idea......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

To finish the basement or to not finish the basement...

That is the question...Jeff and I have been considering looking for a bigger house. We seem to be outgrowing our home, well, the toys seem to be multiplying and we are running out of places to put them. It drives me crazy to not have a room that doesn't have toys in it, but it drives Jeff even more crazy. We really need a family room. A place where we can hang out most of the time, a place where we can have a spot for the kids' toys, and a place where Jeff can hang his sports art. It is really nice and I am looking forward to having it hung up. This is coming from the wife who has Brett hung over the fireplace (is it about time to take that down yet???)
We seem to have been pretty set on moving, somewhere possibly in the Brookfield area, still close to work and parents, and downtown.
In the past few weeks, I have been thinking that maybe we COULD stay here. There are 2 things I really want in our house that we don't have; a rec/family room, and an eat in kitchen. It is so hard to keep the dining room free from clutter when that is where we have to eat each day. So, I would consider if we had the basement professionally done and really make it somewhere that we can live in, not a quick shoddy job. Now there is a list of things that we need to fix up in the house now, my list is short, Jeff's probably longer. 1) improve kitchen, how?? I have no idea 2) new windows 3) new driveway (this may be Jeff's #1...hello shoveling 100 inches of snow with a strip of grass down the middle of the driveway...what is the purpose of this????? Sorry 4) fix porch before it crumbles away 5) remodel first floor bathroom 6) Reside garage. There may be more, but the more I think about it, I love my house. I love being able to walk to the library, parks, schools, restaurants, exercise, etc. And I especially love that there are kids everywhere, surrounded by parents that have become friends.
I feel that for us to find a bigger house, we will need significant more money than what we would sell ours for...and would we be able to see it? I think yes, but really you never know. And what are the odds that we would find a house that we don't have to put in money to fix things, or furnish none-the-less. Does it make more sense to spend the money to fix he existing problems??? Who knows, some thinking to do I guess.

Friday, October 24, 2008

and the cooking begins...

OK...the kids are sleeping, finally, so I can start my cooking for the party. The menu is fairly simple. Chili, cornbread, Asian broccoli slaw, fruit platter (courtesy of Terri), veggie platter with spinach and Parmesan dip. And, of course the chips and dips (Anne claims to know a great beer and cheese dip for pretzels), and scrumptious pumpkin dip (thanks Tracy). Mummified hot dogs for the kids with spooooky mac and cheese. Boy am I hungry. Should I really be cooking when I am this hungry?
I just finished making the apple crisp and is cooking as we speak. The recipe is from Tammy from work and is delicious.

6 apples
1 cup water
1 yellow cake mix
1 cup oats
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon ( i added some pumpkin pie spice too)
1/2 cup softened butter

Spray bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Add 6 peeled and sliced apples to the bottom. Add 1 cup water over the apples. Mix together cake mix, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon. Add softened butter and mix, will be crumbly. Sprinkle over the apples and water. Bake 40-50 min 350 degrees. Yummy!!! Ya'll have to let me know what you think tomorrow...

Kids will have (Tracy requests adults too) pumpkin cupcakes and Halloween cookies. As well as way too much candy that will be received during trick or treat. Mom and Dad may find a way for some of the candy to disappear!

I am taking a chili recipe and cornbread from Chelle at Brown Eyed Baker. I may modify a bit because I think I need a little kick to the chili. We will see.

Tracy and the kids came over for a visit today. Maddy and Cooper are so funny. This may be blackmail someday, all the time those 2 spend playing in Maddy's bed. How is that it's ok now, but ask us in 10 years and we may be changing our tune. They played so great together, Emmitt and Winn too! Back to my cooking, just needed a quick break

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween is here..........

I am in the midst of putting together my Halloween costume for this saturday. We have trick or treat in our neighborhood in Tosa this year on saturday night. It is a huge deal here at the Ehrhardt home, as it is our favorite holiday. The past few years, I have not had a costume for the annual T or T event, and I feel the wrath of Jeff. Last year, not even 48 hours before Winn was born, I was walking around (waddling around is more like it) in a Harlem Globetrotters costume (Curly none-the-less). I looked quite ridiculous as I was walking around with my every 10 min contractions and a bald wig on my head. Note-I purposely did not insert pic here.
I finally got my act together and came up with an idea...and started it ahead of time. My mom is working on part of it, and I will be taking my well-behaved kids (talk to Tracy) to Bartz's for a few select items. I hope it all turns out. I cannot mention to the world what I will be (nor does anyone really care), but a few select people know. I don't have to elaborate on what Jeff will be, since he is the same thing EVERY year, and it is a huge hit EVERY year. But the Captain (not Morgan) will be out on the streets of Tosa this year again!
Jeff and I are planning on going out on Friday, Halloween night! We are hoping to hit a few costume contests. Captain usually does pretty well at the contests. We will see!! Our Halloween party/Winn's birthday should be quite an event...pics to follow on Pocket Full of Squirrels.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

GNO

The girls had our monthly girls night out last thursday. We went to StirCrazy, the new restaurant in Brookfield. My review on this new place is: new restaurant boasts loud and overly ambitious trainees to wait your table. If you want you can stand in line and watch the cooks make your CRAZY stir fry, or you can just sit on your butt and have them make it for you (hello...yes). All kidding aside, it was alright, not somewhere I'll be rushing to on my lunch break, but may patron again.
It was a good time, and we were home by 9:30pm. A bit early, but it was nice to get home at a reasonable hour.
Conversation ranged from haircuts to halloween costumes to unsupportive significant others (did I say too much)...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers-- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Today is my first posting from the Barefoot Bloggers, which is a website/blog celebrating the cooking wonders of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa. We receive 2 recipes for the month, and we are to post our cooking adventures on the 2nd and 4th thursday of the month. The first recipe was a Saffron Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash chosen by Rachel of Rachel Likes to Cook,. This seems like the perfect recipe for this cool and rainy weather we have been having here in Wisconsin. I was very excited for my first barefoot blogger recipe!! When I was telling people at work what I was making many seemed leery of the butternut squash. Now I truthfully never had butternut squash before, so I was starting to worry myself...was it really that bad? Well, I am glad I went for it as is. I followed the recipe pretty close to exact (I am known for not measuring, so I made a better effort to do so this time!!!)

The ingredients are as follows:

--- 1 butternut squash (approx 2 lbs)
--- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
--- Kosher salt
--- Freshly ground black pepper
--- 6 cups chicken stock
--- 6 TBSP unsalted butter
--- 2 oz. pancetta
--- 1/2 cup minced shallots
--- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
--- 1/2 cup dry white wine
--- 1 tsp saffron threads
--- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese



I peeled the butternut squash (took much longer than anticipated), removed the seeds and cut it into 3/4 inch cubes. I placed in a large bowl and added 2 TBSP Olive oil, salt and pepper, coated well.



I placed the squash on a baking sheet and baked at 400 degrees (I think...I have a crazy oven with a mind of its own) for 30 min, turning once. Now, remember I said I was leery of the butternut squash, since everyone I talked to said they didn't like it. To make sure it was ok to serve to all :), I had to test a piece. It was fantastic!! Note: next time I will get a bigger butternut squash so I can eat some of the extras.

While the squash was roasting, I heated the store-bought (sorry no homemade for me!!) chicken stock in a covered pan, on low. In my Versatility crock pot pan, I melted 6 TBSP butter, and sauteed the diced pancetta (approx 2 oz) and minced shallots (2 large shallots) for 10 minutes. The rice was added and stirred to coat the rice with the butter/pancetta/shallot mixture.



I added 1/2 cup wine (and a glass for myself) and cooked for 3 minutes. Then added 2 ladles of chicken stock to the rice, with the addition of the $$$$saffron$$$$$, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. The mixture was stirred and simmered for 10 minutes until the stock was absorbed.



This process was supposed to continue for 30 minutes, adding 2 ladles of stock at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time cooking until the mixture was a little dry. I never found the mixture to be dry, or even a little dry. So it took much longer than 30 minutes. But eventually, I got the risotto tasting like I thought it should. I then took the risotto off the heat, added the roasted squash and Parmesan cheese.

I cooked the risotto at 9 at night, after dinner. This was pretty much the only time this week I had to cook this! But I am so glad I did, I had myself a small bowl, and it was delicious!



Maddy and I will definitely have it for dinner tonight, maybe Winston too! Thanks Barefoot Bloggers, can't wait for the next one!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Book Club

So there must be about 20 e-mails flying around about book club. We usually randomly pick a book and date to discuss. I'll admit, I don't always finish the book, sometimes I am heavily involved in another one (or more), or simply put, do not have any interest in the book itself. The book this month is as listed below, You Remind Me of Me, by Dan Chaon. The story focuses on the lives of 3 people that are interwoven together by unfortunate events. It is a really good book. Unfortunately, book club happens to fall on this Thursday, which is the first Thursday of the month, which is when Jeff teaches a class on navigating the Fidelity website. Come on now, hello crazy market, do people really need to be doing that now? I have book club here, that's way more important the economy...sure. Anyways, no sitter. So I will find out from Tracy the next book and date.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Go Brewers

Why am I not at the Brewer Rally today?????????????

ER

I am not sure what everyone else's take is on this, but I am kind of sad that ER is going to be over this season. I have been a faithful follower for ER since the very start. Yes, I will admit I am a TV junkie, I watch all together too much TV. But its my time to relax and not have to use any brain power, so I get to veg a bit. ER is one of those shows that I do not miss. Jeff has not watched one episode EVER, and refuses to. I think he is proud that he has not seen even one. How could I catch him up anyways, too much going on. Anyways, here I sit, finishing up the season premiere of ER and IT IS SO SAD!! For those that didn't watch it yet, do not read on. But come on now, how can Pratt die?? In my crazy world, I have grown accustomed to the ER family, and they soon will be gone. What will a girl do? Maybe start another book...

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Night of Fire pits and Brewers

Jeff and I are sitting outside by the fire pit as we speak (or not speak, technically). There is truly nothing better than sitting outside by the fire pit, listening to the Brewers...yes, old school...I did say listening, and having a brewski. We are super fired up for the Brew Crew this weekend. We'll I should back that up and say we have been fired up all season for the Brew Crew. It has come down to these last 3 games. Let's all hope for lots of Brew wins, and Met's losses. Sorry NY fans, have to cheer against you.

Hola que tal

Can I possibly be on the computer any more than I already am? Apparently the obvious answer is yes. I now feel compelled to write another blog, this one may be diverted away from my kids (I am sure they will sneak their way in somehow). But I really enjoy this. Back in the days of the slam books (Tracy, are we dating ourselves??), that was my first "journaling" experience, but this takes it to a different level.