Monday, January 21, 2008

I had my first post-college girls' night out on Saturday night with two of my Mary Kay customers (who have turned into friends), while both of their husbands are in Brazil for a week. We went to The Mad Potter (which is a paint-your-own-pottery place), then to dinner at Cheddar's, and then back to one lady's house for games (Fluxx and Paired Up — both new to me and FUN). The pottery thing was awesome! We were there for almost four hours, but the time just flew by. Now we're all addicted. It'd be great for family bonding, because all you do is sit there and chat while you paint. It was actually Family Fun Night while we were there, and they had free pizza and played Christian radio. One friend painted a Post-It holder and a water bowl for her cats, the other friend made a serving platter with some 3-D flowers on it, and I decorated a surprise TBA in the future. We get to pick them up in 5-7 days after they're glazed and fired. I highly recommend going. I didn't get home from "girls' night" until 1:15 in the morning! It was such a blast.

trying on mommy's shoes (look at those eyebrows!)

In the spirit of sharing "cheese" faces, here's Caspian's fake smile. I call this his "anime face" because his eyes look like little half moons.

Caspian started repeating "uh oh" this afternoon. He also has a new fascination with babies. He keeps signing and saying "baby" over and over...and watch out if he actually sees a baby! Much to my chagrin, he was so fascinated by the Teletubbies that I didn't turn it off. He is sooo the target audience (plus they look like babies)! When I checked on him between washing and rinsing dishes, he was sitting on a "seat" that he'd created for himself out of his activity cube and the arm of the couch.

He did "up" and "down" with the Teletubbies (with his body and arms) and tried to help in the sequence where one Teletubby was looking for another Teletubby. Dipsy would say, "Where's Po?" and Po would pop up in the background, giggling and waving, and Caspian would point frantically, trying to help! Then Po would duck back down before Dipsy could see her, and Caspian would shrug his "all gone" sign.

I made one of my mom's staple recipes the other night for dinner, which went really well with a modified version of Rachael Ray's green beans. Both fit the category of "quick, cheap, and easy" — requirements if I'm cooking something! The chicken recipe is great because all you do is mix everything, dump it in a pan, and forget about it. Not only do you not have to monitor it, you're actually not supposed to uncover it until it's done. It's nice just to have to open the oven when you're ready for dinner — like using a crock pot (only this requires less notice to prepare).
No-Peek Chicken
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can water1 box Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain & Wild Rice (not instant)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 envelope Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
*If you want to feed more people or just enjoy having plenty of side dish, double everything except the chicken and the Onion Soup Mix.
1. Combine Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom, and water and mix until smooth.
2. Add Rice and seasoning packet (included in Rice box) and blend well.
3. Pour mixture into 9x13 pan and arrange chicken thighs in a single layer covering the top.
4. Sprinkle Onion Soup Mix over chicken.
5. Cover pan with foil and bake at 300 for 2½ hours. It will stay warm for quite a while out of the oven as long as it stays covered in foil. Do not lift the foil until serving time.
Oven Roasted Green Beans
1½ pounds raw string beans, trimmed
olive oil
salt & pepper
1. Place beans in a gallon ziplock, along with a liberal dousing of olive oil.
2. Shake until beans are well-coated.
3. Arrange beans in one layer on a cookie sheet (I used a PC stone) and season well.
4. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes, then shake pan (or turn over beans). Bake for 7-10 more minutes (longer on a stone), or until beans are at desired tenderness. Season again during cooking if needed (eat a test bean to check for tenderness and seasoning). Beans will caramelize (in dark patches) and turn shriveled...but they taste really good.

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