Monday, July 30, 2012

A Meal for Monday - Salmon with Dill Sauce


Photo Credit
I was browsing in the Bargain Books area of Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago (seriously, I cannot and should not be trusted in a bookstore when I have cash in hand) and my eyes fell on a cookbook published by the folks who put out "Taste of Home" magazine called "The 5 Ingredient Cookbook" that was on sale for $9.97 (available here) and I remembered that I know two things about myself:
  1. I hate grocery shopping with a deep and immovable passion and
  2. I'm a lazy cook
These things have remained true in spite of efforts to change them. I can't help it. I loathe the grocery store (the word loathe should be said in a deep growly voice and extended to have at least three syllables. Looooooooooathe.) and for an average evening, something that takes more than a few steps is just not something that I can willingly commit to. Gimme quick and easy any time. Unfortunately, that conflicts with the third thing that I know about myself- I'm a total show off. Always have been. So what's a girl to do? 

I'll tell you! I snapped up this cookbook (which has a permanent home in my car so that when I'm on my way home from work I can stop at the grocery store, grab a MAXIMUM of five things and head home to make dinner as if I'm actually a super organized meal planner) and toddled over the local Meijer to pick up the things I needed to trick Hubs into thinking that I'm a total domestic goddess. Poor man.

I sat in the parking lot in my car thumbing through the cookbook, looking for something that would jump out at me (I swear, half of my life happens in a car) and my eyes landed on this. Salmon. It's automatically fancy. Just the color makes it look extra festive and there's just something about being able to toss out a glib, "Oh, I'm baking salmon" when someone asks what's for dinner. It's perfect.

And this recipe is now a family favorite. It's easy, delicious (seriously, it's wonderful) and it's FAST. And it makes me look like a kitchen goddess. All of my criteria met in a single dish- hubs is lucky we don't eat this every night. lol.

So without further ado, the recipe! Make it tonight. I promise you will LOVE it (unless you don't like fish...in that case, I promise nothing). 

Prep/Total Time: 30 mins     <-------- didja catch that? 30 minutes, start to finish!

Ingredients

  • 1 salmon fillet (1 pound)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dill weed, divided
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend

Directions

  • Place salmon in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon dill. Cover and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the yogurt, sugar, seasoning blend and remaining dill. Cook and stir over low heat until warmed. Serve with the salmon. Yield: 4 servings.

From the Country Mouse's table to yours, with love. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Simple Sabbaths - Forget Me Not Farm

It's no secret that Hubs and I have been through the wringer over the last year. Things have been indescribably tough. Frankly, I'll be delighted to see the back of 2012 for many, many reasons.

When our daughter Violet passed away, Hubs and I went to live at my dad's house for a month. I couldn't face going back to the Little House that we had so lovingly fixed up, seeing the beautiful yellow and green "Very Hungry Caterpillar" nursery that Hubs had tenderly painted and decorated with the now-empty crib sitting in it. I couldn't handle seeing all of her sweet baby clothes that I had folded and refolded, organized and reorganized in fits of nesting. I simply couldn't face walking through the front door of that house, the threshold that Hubs had carried me over as a new bride, and feeling the House seem to hold its breath, as if waiting for the little girl to return that we'd carried in in a car seat just a few weeks earlier. As if she was just waiting in the car for us to remember and go grab her.

So I ran. Hubs and I had been planning to move into the Country House in the winter anyway, so we decided that it would be best if we just moved in earlier than planned and his parents (who own the house) were fine with that.

I ran fast and hard, away from my memories and my fear that I wasn't strong enough to handle the pain and the anguish and the numbness that would alternately assail me. Hubs packed up the nursery, all the tiny clothes and the toys and pacifiers and diapers, and took them over to my best friend's house where they remain to this day, in boxes. Waiting. Hubs got men from our church together and they packed up the house, my best friend and some of the ladies gently wrapping up our breakables in newspapers and tissues and placing them lovingly in totes so that they would survive the journey.

And I stayed home and cried. I just couldn't do it. I loved that house so much and so hard. I worked and worked to make it ours, to make it livable, to make it ready to receive our daughter safely and warmly. I worked to make Hubs happy to come home to it. At times I felt like I was the only one who loved it and I would apologize to it for that. I washed the windows and painted trim and vacuumed until the bag was full to overflowing. I dreamed of the gardens that I would plant and the window boxes I'd have Hubs build for me. I hosted my first Easter lunch there and the dinner where we revealed the gender of our first child to our parents there.

I just couldn't bear to say goodbye. And I still haven't. I can't even drive by it. I can't. What if the new tenants don't love it? What if they aren't loving it the way we did? How could they?

And I was feeling guilty about that. I would sit and feel terrible for not treating it better. For escaping the house that took us in when we needed to get out of our unsafe apartment. The house that I came to as a bride.

And I cried. A lot.

And then spring came. Beautiful, lovely, damp spring with the smell of earth and life and warm soil.

And the Forget-Me-Nots came up. 

Oh, they were so beautiful! And so unexpected! I had no idea they were there! One day they weren't and the next I came outside and they were literally everywhere. Blanketing the ground with shades of blue and purple and pink. 

And they made me think of this talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and suddenly, just like that, we had a name for our little farm and I had some closure. I knew that we are where we're supposed to be.

For you:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Can't Take the City Out of This Mouse

Nope. This mouse cleans out chicken coops and pulls weeds in full face and hair, ladies and gents. With NO apology! If I have to sweat like a pig in 98* heat then I'm for sure going to be sweating off make up and flattening perfectly styled hair. There's just no excuse to not be in searing pain while mascara and sweat converge in your eyes to form a river of blinding agony. Because I'm a lady.

So here are some of my favorite products right now that are seeing me through the summer heat.

1.
They have discontinued my all-time favorite mascara and I am DEEPLY SAD. Like...in make up mourning. What's a sister to do without her Maybelline Full 'n' Soft? I still remember the commercial for it with Sarah Michelle Geller talking about how soft and non-prickly my lashes would be while a random old dude checked her out while walking down a New York side street. And I was like, "Dang. I had no idea Prickly Lashes was such a turn off!" So I hied myself hence to Target and grabbed some and...I don't think it's an over statement to say that my world was well and truly rocked. It was some awesome 'scara. And now...it's not more. This amazing product has been given the heave-ho in favor of bulky packaging and promises of "false eyelash" results (totally untrue, btw) like so much leftover creamed corn. Swiftly and with no apology. *sob*

As a result, I have had to resort to revisiting my Great Lash days. Last time I tried it, it flaked off like whoa and left me with raccoon eyes by noon. I work retail, folks. And when I'm not doing that, I'm shooing chickens and pulling weeds. I don't have time to stop and check my mascara to ensure that it's not laying tracks on my face every five minutes. I thought I'd give it another shot. We'll see what happens. I'm just saying that my hens won't appreciate it if I show up to clean the coop looking like this:

Photo Credit
Meanwhile, in the midst of my shock and dismay at Meijer over realizing the untimely demise of my favorite make up product EVER (THANKS, Maybelline! *snort*) I discovered these limited edition beauties:

Photo Credit
Limited Edition Colored Mascaras!!! They come in Teal Appeal, Royal Bleu, Green Envy, and Pop of Purple. I, of course, purchased the Purple and Teal shades (the better to make my green eyes pop). 7th grade Gretchen is DYING. So far, I'm happy with the results, so maybe the Very Black shade that I bought won't flake this time. Maybe. We shall see. I will say, though, that the effect is VERY subtle unless you complement your mascara with a matching eye liner to bring out the color. If not, your best bet is to select a color that will bring out your natural eye color the best. I have really light brown eyes, so I chose the purple and teal colors because those colors make brown pop. 

2.

I'm learning that I'm really just too lazy anymore to bother to get up the hour and a half early that I used to back in the day to get my make up and hair well and truly perfect. I simply don't have the desire. Sorry, unsuspecting citizenry of Midland County. 

So instead, I'm learning to cut corners glam-style. I need products that will multitask for me so that I can sleep extra (trust me, I'm not fit for public consumption on less than 7 hours and at least one can of Diet Mt Dew. It's not pretty...sort of something like this:

Photo Credit
So. We want to avoid that.) Enter tinted moisturizer!

Photo Credit and Site to Buy
This is Neutrogena's Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer and so far, I'm loving it. I have used their regular 3-in-1 Moisturizer and loved that one as well and feel like that one actually has more pigmentation to it, which is nice in the winter. That one also has anti-aging properties which this one doesn't, but this one has illuminating "shimmer" which works really nicely in the summer and makes skin look fresh and dewy. It also has an SPF 30 (!!!) which with my pasty white beautifully fair skin is a necessity. This is definitely a win. I shower, wash my face, and work this into my skin, add some under eye concealer, powder my T-zone, and done. Perfect. One less step and it's good for my skin.

3.
I'm in love with teal right now, and when I was at Meijer I thought that I'd poke around and try to find some new nail polish in a pretty teal shade, and I found this:

Photo Credit
It's by Wet 'n Wild in their Wild Shine color line and it's called Caribbean Frost. And...it's kind of gorgeous. Lots of shimmer, a really pretty deep green, and fast-drying. Plus, it was $0.93, so I really can't complain. We'll see how it does after a day at work tomorrow. My job can be something of a manicure killer, so hopefully it holds up. The only thing? While I love the color that it IS, it's not really teal, which is what I was looking for. It's definitely just a deep, sparkly green. So back to the store I go. 

4.
Dying my hair red was a good idea at the time, but the upkeep sucks. I'll definitely be dying it dark brown again soon and staying that way for awhile. I'm tired of being a washed out Weasley-lookalike. Blech.

5. 
My sister gave me this a little after the start of spring and I am in LOVE with it:
Photo Credit and Site to Buy
It's seriously wonderful. It's a lovely light deep conditioner that I use a couple of times a week and it smells absolutely incredible. Even when I've been too lazy for a couple of days to wash my hair  trying to reduce my carbon footprint by showering less so I have the dreaded Third Day Hair, it still smells absolutely fantastic (even Hubs has noticed) and is soft in a legitimate way and not in a so-greasy-that-it-feels-soft way. Love. I also use it to shave my legs with in the shower, which is the best lazy idea that I've had in a LONG time. It's so moisturizing that I can actually skip moisturizer when I get out of the shower and I get a super close shave without razor burn, which I am enthusiastic about. Plus, my legs smell awesome, so...bonus. lol. It's a wee spendy, but consider this:  I only have to get my hair cut every 10-12 weeks now because I don't get split ends when I use this (my hair stylist was very impressed when she saw my hair. Less impressed with the fact that I hadn't been in in six months. Ahem.), which saves me money. I don't have to buy a separate shaving cream to shave my legs with, which saves me money. I don't have to buy a defrizzing serum when I use this, because my hair is awesomely moisturized so it doesn't get crazy, so that also saves me money. So honestly, it sort of evens out. I'm still on the same bottle and not even close to half empty, and I've had it since (I believe) April, which means a bottle lasts a good long while as well, which I can't say for most drug store conditioners. Those I usually have to use a TON of and then top it off which some sort of defrizzing something to get it to be at least a LITTLE bit manageable.

6.
Photo Credit and Site to Buy
So, I gave Amazon the Site to Buy credit on this one, but I don't know WHAT they were smoking when they posted the price as being $4.97 because I definitely got this for $0.93. I'm sure you could find this at your local drug store for something close to that. This is seriously a beautiful color and I'm in love with it right now. It's awesome with my complexion, has some awesome shimmer to it so it makes my lips look nice and full, and can go from day to night to church in a snap. I'm all about that. I'm always on the hunt for a simple go-to color that will look good on me and in any situation, and this is it. This is a weird thing to say too, but it wears off at the same rate, which is really nice. I hate it when I'm eating and my lip color wears off like some weird homage to The Joker (see photo above). I'll be sitting there thinking that I'm making delightful conversation with my dinner companions only to discover upon excusing myself to the bathroom that I'm the terror of the restaurant. Ugh. I don't have to worry about that with this. Yes, it does wear off, but so does almost every lipstick I've ever tried to some degree. Even the Color Stay stuff. This I only have to reapply a couple of times a day between meals and it still looks awesome, it doesn't feather, and it doesn't dry out my lips. Love that. And peach is a very big color right now, make up wise. Also, did I mention that it was $0.93? 

I've gotten a few other things in the last couple of days that I love too, but I don't want to overload you all. Maybe I'll do hauls every now and then so you can see what I'm up to. I also have to post about the AMAZING deals that I've gotten on clothing at the thrift store lately. My closet is bulging and I LOVE it. It's good to have clothes that I love that I know didn't cost me an arm and leg. I've also gotten rid of a ton of things that up to now I'd been deluding myself into thinking I'd fit into again someday. That feels good. I mean, I want to lose weight, but odds are not good that, post-baby, I'll ever be a size 4 again. 

Anything you wanna see from me? Hear from me? Know about?