December 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

I hope that you have the happiest Birthday ever! Thank you for all of your patience and support - I am lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for being you! XOXO

**For those of you in town, today at noon we are having tacos and cherry cheesecake at Northern Trends to celebrate, then we are going to the Brewhouse for dinner tonight around 7:30pm...come and join us!

***We are going to Indianhead Mtn for the weekend for Steve's Birthday...I'll try to take some pics and post them on Sunday or Monday. Everyone enjoy your weekend!

December 13, 2009

Snowboarding (or attempting to) at Giants Ridge

Ok, so - Steve is a snowboarder. Lindsey is a klutz. Steve loves snow and winter and being outside...Lindsey loves sand and water and sunshine. And being inside where it is warm and dry when sand/water/sunshine are not available. Steve is an adrenaline junkie who loves to do scary and fast things. Lindsey is a sissy. 
I will stop talking in the third person now. 
Moral of the story - Steve has been buying me all of the gear (board, jacket, boots, clothes, helmet, long johns, etc) in order to guilt me into going snowboarding with him, because he greatly underestimates my clumsiness. But, because I want to be cool and I'm still trying to impress him (and because if I am going to have to live in the frozen tundra, I seriously need a winter hobby), I agreed that I would try. Steve didn't get his second round of chemo on Friday and was feeling good so we decided to go up to Giants Ridge on Saturday for the day. Tara and Eli went with us...Tara is also a seasoned professional and Eli (like me) had never had his feet strapped to a snowboard, so I had someone to fall down with. The pictures are hilarious, so I had to share. Plus, every inch of my body hurts today, so about the only thing I can do is sit in my pajamas and blog. And I love it when people have a laugh at my expense. 

In all my sweet gear...

Top of the bunny hill, I think Steve is helping me strap into my board...or he is coaxing me to plunge down the hill one more time towards certain death. Or a least certain bruising.

Here is Eli, all dressed up and ready to go...if you look at his goggles, you can see Tara in the reflection taking his picture.

Riding up the "magic carpet" can see from this picture how steep the bunny hill is. But it was still terrifying. I think I will forever stay on the bunny hill with the magic carpet, because ski lifts scare me. Did I mention I am also afraid of heights?

Here are some pics of Eli shredding the hill. He did really good - better than I did. He even went down the bigger bunny hill. Alone. I went down but I wouldn't let Steve get more than a couple feet away from me and I'm pretty sure I screamed the whole time. 

Go Eli!

Ok, get ready to laugh...

Getting ready to push me down the hill

I even look awkward.
See what I mean about not letting him get very far away from me? I needed him to prevent me from crashing into other people or inanimate objects. Some lady came up to Steve and I and said that she would try to learn to snowboard too, if she had a good looking man to teach her, lol!


Not quite sure how I pulled this one off...obviously I wasn't going very fast. Did I mention that I wiped out every.single.time. I went down the hill? It's a good thing I wear a helmet.

And it's a good thing Eli wears one too...

Hee hee hee! It was a rough day for both of us. 

But in the end, our hard work and determination was rewarded by a sense of accomplishment...

...YEAH RIGHT! This was the real reward:

Pizza and drinks at Vi's!

Nothing like a couple of bloody mary's to make all your pain go away!
I am mostly just whining though - overall it was really fun and it was nice to get outside and do something. I feel bad for Steve and Tara though, they barely even got to strap a snowboard on because they were so busy making sure we didn't kill ourselves. Cheers to our teachers! Thanks guys! Can't wait to go out and try it again.  

Better Late Than Never!

Here are the pics from Thanksgiving 2009:

Dad carving the turkey
 Sam coloring a Thanksgiving picture

Kirk stealing Steve for a man-to-man chat downstairs...
Georgia - caught in the act!

Sam thinking about making a break for it! Just kidding - he was writing his name in the frost on the door.

Sam clinging to my leg...I think he misses me. Or he was just being naughty :)
Kirk wishing he would have carved the turkey

Mom making the gravy
Hiding from the paparazzi 
The boys watching football
Sam sporting Kirk's Twin's shirt
And for good measure, here are a couple pics from the shack the day after Thanksgiving:

It was a really nice weekend - good food, family time, nice weather...and we walked off most of the calories up at the shack to top it off!

December 9, 2009

Per Georgia's Request :) are a couple pics of the decorated Charlie Brown tree:

Nevermind me being all tired, fat and blurry...isn't the tree pretty?

As long as we are talking about food...

Oh wait. We weren't talking about food? Sorry - I must have just been thinking about food. Anyone who is surprised, please raise your hand. It's just that Steve has been with his kids 4 out of the past 5 days, and I am lonely and bored. Kempton doesn't talk back, ya know?

(Thank you Tara, Eli, Douglas and Marisa for keeping Kempton and I company last night!)

Anyway, back to food. Can I tell you about something naughty that I did? Hee hee. A few weeks back, I was having a craving for red meat (which doesn't happen all that often). I bought a roast at the grocery store, and then I brought it home, trimmed the fat off of it, browned it and threw it in the crockpot. I mixed some beef bouillon with a bottle of beer (foamy!), poured it over the top of the roast...and added about a cup of red wine. I am not an alchoholic! I just happen to think that cooking with beer or wine is fun, and more flavorful than water. Plus, if you don't use the whole bottle in your cooking...Kidding!

So, I let the roast cook in the crockpot until it was very tender. Then, I took half of the roast out, cut it up into bite sized pieces and used it for chili. I took the other half of the roast, threw it in a tupperware with all of the yummy juices, put it in the fridge so I could skim the fat off, then I threw it in the freezer for future use! Genius!

Well...tonight I took out the remaining roast, let it thaw and dumped the meat and au jus into a saucepan to heat it up for french dips! PS - you made me feel guilty for pirating that chicken wild rice soup picture off of the internet, so I actually broke out my own camera for these pics.

While the meat was warming, I cut off a chunk of french bread and melted provolone cheese on it under the broiler...the result was magical. Ok, that is a bit dramatic. But it was really, really good. I love french dips.

Take a look at THAT yummy pile of deliciousness. It was so easy and good. I will definitely do a roast like this again. It fed us about 20 times...I made two pots of chili with it (one the way I like it, and one less spicy/onion-y/celery-y/tomato-y for Steve's kids), and we will get at least 4 of this sized sandwich out of the french dips. You could also use this meat to make spaghetti, vegetable beef soup, pot roast...the possibilities are endless! Also - both Steve and I thought that the taste of the roast (just cooked in the beer/bouillon/wine) was one of the best we'd ever had. Easy and economical! Try it!

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Every year after Thanksgiving, my mom takes home the carcass of the turkey (with all the meat that my dad strategically leaves on it), and makes home-made turkey wild rice soup. I look forward to it almost as much as I look forward to eating turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving day. It is delicious and my mom is a wonderful soup maker. Yum.  

Unfortunately, I no longer live at home, so I rarely get to enjoy this gift of soupy deliciousness. Plus I don't have Thanksgiving at my house, so I don't ever get the leftovers to make soup (and to make an entire turkey just to make some soup seems a little excessive). So I settle for making Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Maybe you already have a recipe, and this is a total waste of my time. But I like talking about food anyway, so if you don't have a recipe (or if you don't love your recipe), I've made this a couple times (including last Sunday) and I've tweaked it and it is actually really good. If you are wondering - my mom doesn't really believe in following recipes which makes it very difficult to get a recipe from her. So I have to improvise! Here we go:

Lindsey's Chicken Wild Rice Soup

 The first thing I do is make my chicken stock. I cheat by simmering my chicken in fat free low sodium broth instead of water (more flavorful), with roughly chopped carrots, celery, onions, garlic and whatever herbs I have on hand (parsley, thyme, oregano, a little dill never hurt anyone, etc) plus a couple of bay leaves. Throw it all in a pot (leafy celery tops, onion skins and all), and SIMMER (don't boil hard because we want to use this chicken for the meat in the soup) for about 45 min or until the legs pull easily away from the chicken. Take the chicken out to cool, strain the broth into a seperate container and discard the vegetables. At this point I usually put the broth outside to cool so I can skim the fat off. 

I lied. The first thing I do is start the wild rice. It can cook in the oven while you are making the stock. So hopefully you are reading this recipe through first before you make it. I add chicken bouillon to the rice for some flavor while its cooking (one cube per one cup of water). If you like your rice a little firmer, take it out of the oven about 30 minutes before its done, because it will cook a little more in the soup. 

When the chicken is cool, pick it off the bone and cut it up. If you love your dog like I do,  you will save a few pieces of not-desirable-for-human-consumption pieces of chicken to put on his food that night. 
In the empty (but not washed) stock pot, saute chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil. You can use whatever amounts that you want...I usually use tons of veggies because it makes me feel like I'm being healthy. Once the veggies are starting to get tender, add the stock, the chicken, and the wild rice. Taste it and add seasonings as needed (bouillon, salt, pepper, and herbs). Remember that you will be adding milk/half-n-half/flour to this, so make it a little tastier than usual. I let it cook for a bit until everything is as tasty and tender as I like it. 

Next, you are supposed to make a roux with butter and flour, add heavy cream until its a thick paste, then incorporate some of the soup broth before slowly adding it to your soup. I don't do things this way. First of all, I have a serious problem with heavy whipping cream. My stomach is NOT happy with me when I eat it. Neither are my love handles. Also, I think the butter is unnecessary. Instead, I use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of half-n-half. Heat that up in a saucepan, then slowly incorporate 3/4 cup of flour, whisking and stirring until smooth. Then stir some broth to the "roux",  before incorporating it into the soup. It doesn't make for as thick of soup, but it is very creamy and you can sleep better at night knowing you just knocked 1,000 calories off but didn't compromise flavor. Plus, this soup is packed with meat, veggies and much thicker do you need it?

At this point you will need to taste the soup to see if you need more salt/pepper/bouillon. 

This last step is optional. Normally, I LOVE to cook with wine.  It makes me happy. But just this one time, I actually liked the soup better without it. It pains me to say that. Either way, if you want to, you can add 3/4 cup of white wine to the soup at the end. If you would rather just drink the 3/4 cup of wine, be my guest!

Sorry that this is the world's longest post, and that it is not really in a very easy format for you to print out and use. 1) I'm too lazy to do that. 2) I like to post like I'm having a conversation with you people. It makes it feel less formal. 3) Even if I felt like copying the Pioneer Woman and adding a printable recipe at the end of the post, I have absolutely no idea how. Sorry!

Enjoy! Oh, and if you have any questions or need clarification please feel free to call, email or leave a comment here for me.

December 5, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree!

Yesterday we went out to Ron and Judy's (Steve's parents) house to find and cut a Christmas tree. It was a beautiful day to be out in the woods (by beautiful, I mean pretty - not warm), but we had a bit of a hard time finding anything more than a Charlie Brown tree (unless it was over 30 feet high)...
Take a look:

His parents have a gorgeous piece of land on the Cloquet river...and I know what you are thinking. "Looks like plenty of nice Christmas trees right there Lindsey!" Well you're wrong. 1. Those trees are on the other side of the river. And I wasn't in the mood for swimming 2. They might look like nice Christmas trees, but I suspect that when you get up close to them, you will find that they are actually 3 - 4 trees growing close together and giving the illusion of being thick and well shaped. This isn't as easy as it looks, people!


Finally! After much walking and several suggestions of going to a tree farm (or Menards for crying out loud), we found a tree that could support all (or most. or some.) of my ornaments! And maybe even a string of lights.


Please note: even though I am holding the axe in this picture, I can't take any credit for chopping the tree down. Or for carrying it out. Judy was very concerned that I would ruin my pretty new jacket, so Steve wouldn't let me do anything but stand there and watch. And try to keep Kempton and Buddy (Ron and Judy's dog) from humping each other or peeing on our new Christmas tree. But back to Steve's mom: I think she should be a little more concerned that I won't be able to FIT into my pretty new jacket, if I keep hanging around her house. Every single time I've been there, she has had a delicious pot of soup on the stove, and copious amount of sugar in the form of cookies, cakes, fudge, etc. You can't resist it. You have to eat it. She is one of my new favorite people. And the reason that some of you will be getting tins full of homemade Christmas cookies this year!