Thursday, December 18, 2008

This makes me sad.....

and happy. Sad that it's continuing to rain and I'm tired of flat hair, walking through mud and puddles to get inside my office and I hate my windshield wippers, they just smear! But happy because Christmas looks like it's going to beautiful, not white but at least sunny!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just call me Katie Chang

wife.... or something to P.F. Chang. I have now mastered the recipe of PF Chang's Spicy Chicken (this is comparable to General Tso's Chicken). Mmmm, it is so good. Mark and I love this dish and I just wanted to learn how to make it at home so I went searching online at different recipes and actually found one from PF Changs. We took a trip to the Asian grocery store and got to cookin. It tastes just like it, I just can't get enough of it. I too have tried the crab wontons, haven't mastered but I sure am getting there!
PF Chang's Spicy Chicken

10 ounces chicken breast
Potato Starch
Canola Oil
3 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cup green onions
1 teaspoon chili paste
1 ounce house white sauce (chicken stock with a touch of oyster sauce)
1 ounce Chang's sauce (sugar and vinegar combined)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Dice chicken breast and lightly coat with potato starch.
Fill frying pan with enough Canola oil to fry chicken. Fry chicken for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Drain chicken. Rinse out frying pan.
Add oil back into pan. Add garlic, green onions, chili paste, house white sauce, Chang's sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix in fried chicken. Sauce shoudl bind to the chicken. Serve with rice or noodles.

I haven't tackled the lo mien yet, I'm sure it's easy but we just go take-out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From 85 to 35....

degrees. Whew, what a change coming from 85 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze to 35 degrees, windy and snowy. Brrrr.....where is my blanket and hot chocolate?!?!?! I wish work was called off tomorrow.

All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan

But I ain't gonna get it! Earlier this week I was in Los Cabos, Mexico on a site visit for an incentive trip I'm planning for March. It was so very nice, as you can imagine. There's nothing like wearing flip flops and sunglasses for 3 days in December. I didn't get the tan but did have a great time. I have to say it was very weird seeing Christmas trees and poinsettias at the beach. The property is spectacular and the weather was perfect. Mostly we ate but we did tour the hotel, ride ATVs in the desert and on the beach, went inside the famous Cabo Wabo, visited Cabo San Lucas and enjoyed the nice breeze. We can't wait to go back in March. The attendees should be very pleased.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Saturday night we had our company Christmas Party. It was held at aVenue on 3rd Avenue in Nashville. The venue was great, however the band was a bit too loud. You could barely hear your conversations. And......there were so many food stations, I didn't even get to try them all.

:( We did have a great time but somehow I managed to only get these two pictures.

Cookie Marathon

Yesterday I baked cookies ALL afternoon, trying to decide which to take to the cookie exchange Mary Leigh is having next week. I had several recipes that I wanted to try so I bought up all the goodies and went to work. Wouldn't you know that every recipe I chose, you had to freeze or chill for like 30 minutes after making the dough. But it all worked out and I couldn't choose between the two best so I think I will make both of them. :) I did test them but no I didn't eat all of them, I sent them to work with Mark today. I just love this time of year. I seem to bake goodies more in December than ever. I can't wait to have all the other cookies this weekend! Happy Baking! (Sorry there are no pictures, for some reason they won't load)

Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies
2/3 cup butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Sugar for rolling
24 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat butter and 1 ¼ cups sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in corn syrup, egg and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; add to butter mixture. Beat until well blended. Cover and refrigerate dough 15 minutes or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Place sugar in shallow dish. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat. Place cookies 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until set. Remove cookies to wire rack; cool completely.

To assemble sandwiches, place one marshmallow on flat side of one cookie on paper plate. Microwave on HIGH 12 seconds or until marshmallow just begins to melt. Immediately place another cookie, flat side down, on top of hot marshmallow; press together slightly.

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies.

Cocoa Kiss Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 bag (9 ounces) Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses
Powdered sugar

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Add pecans; beat until blended. Refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.

Heat oven to 375F. Remove wrapper from chocolate pieces. Mold scant tablespoon of dough around each chocolate piece, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until set. Cool slightly, about 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar. Roll in sugar again just before serving, if desired.

Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

This Thanksgiving weekend was a very fun yet busy one.

Thursday was a great Thanksgiving with Mark's family. I have never seen so much food and so many people at one Thanksgiving dinner. There were (4) six foot tables full of food and (2) six foot tables of desserts. Needless to say I did not leave there hungry and if I had, it would have been my own fault. I met many people that I had not yet met and it was great to see others that I had met. It was a wonderful dinner and great family fellowship.

Thursday after lunch, we went shooting. Last year I went hunting with Mark and his nephew, this year we just went shooting at a target. I had never shot a gun before and to be honest I am a little scared of guns. But I gave it a shot (ha! no pun intended). I shot a 357 Magnum and a 270 calibar rifle. The magnum almost made me deaf. I couldn't believe how loud it was and it certainly had a kick-back. I'm surprised I wasn't laid out on the ground afterwards. As far as hitting the bulls eye, I did ok but I did not feel very stable at all. I just need a little practice. If I didn't kill the man I shot at, I would definitely scare him to death. :) The rifle was hard because there were a lot of things to keep in mind. I had to keep the scope away from my eye so I would black my own eye - boy that would be a story. And I had to keep it rested against my shoulder and I had to balance the gun on the tree and line up the target - whew, there was a lot to it. It was an experience, that's for sure.

After our shooting extravaganza, mom and dad came out to spend the weekend. We had big plans for their stay. Mom and I went on our annual shopping spree while Mark and dad painted and put down hardwood floors in my living room and down the hall. I really appreciate their hard work. It was definitely a weekend project. They worked each other to death but it definitely paid off. They painted the walls green (which I just love, I really have an eye for green lately), pulled up the carpet, laid the hardwood and rearranged our new furniture that came on Saturday. We still aren't finished decorating. I have yet to find the pillows, curtains and wall hangings that I want but the entire room surely looks different. I just love it. I would like to go with greens and browns but Mark is afraid he is going to be sitting in a forest. Thanks guys again for your hard work. It's great to have handy men in your life. Sunday mom and I put up my Christmas tree and some decorations outside. I can't believe we only have three weeks until Christmas! Thanks for a great weekend.



And after.....