Dec 31, 2011

Homemade "Chicken Helper" Casserole

I posted a recipe for Mish-Mash Casserole (thank you Elektra Q-Tion for the name) and had 1 extra chicken breast in the fridge, so I decided to make a homemade version of Chicken Helper. This is related to my post about Homemade "Hamburger Helper" Casserole. The recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cooked chicken breast
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 can Campbell's Condensed Creme of Chicken soup
  • 1 can veggies (sweet peas, corn, or mixed), drained and rinsed.
  • 4 oz. of a package of shredded cheese (your choice of flavor)
  • Old Bay Seasoning (your choice of amount)
  • Tortillas (see comments at the very bottom)
  1. Boil the water, and make the macaroni according to the instructions on the box.
  2. If the chicken breast needs cooked, boil it for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat the toaster oven to 375 F and oil an 8x6x2 Pyrex casserole dish.
  4. While draining the macaroni in a colander, pour the soup into the stockpot you used.
  5. Sprinkle as much Old Bay seasoning into the soup for the taste you want.
  6. Return the macaroni to the stockpot with soup.
  7. Cut the chicken breast into bite sized pieces, and put it into the stockpot too.
  8. Add the can of selected veggies.
  9. Stir well.
  10. Pour that mixture into the 8x6x2 Pyrex casserole dish and even it out.
  11. Place that in the toaster oven for 20 mins.
  12. Slide the dish out (using oven mitts) and cover it evenly with the shredded cheese.
  13. Return it to the toaster oven, and bake for another 8 minutes.
You would have enough to serve at least 5 people with this, but that also means you have enough leftovers if it is just you. It is easy to make, and tastes great. You could use any other seasonings/herbs based on your choice, but this is AWESOME! Another suggestion is to put a few leaves of lettuce on a tortilla, scoop the mixture onto it, roll it up, and ENJOY.
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Dec 30, 2011

Homemade "Hamburger Helper" Casserole

Hamburger Helper
Image via Wikipedia
I always liked easy casserole recipes yet liked the consistency and taste of Hamburger Helper. So, in an attempt to reduce cost, scale it for myself AND better the nutrition options, I made it my hobby for a month to create a recipe that met all of those things. I have achieved that, IMHO. I'll keep it simple as an entry so you don't have to scroll too much. But, I seriously encourage you to do this.

  • 1 lbs. ground meat (beef or even Italian sausage)
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 can Campbell's Tomato soup
  • 4 oz. of a package of shredded cheese (your choice of flavor)
  • Italian seasoning
  1. Boil the water, and make the macaroni according to the instructions on the box.
  2. Brown the ground meat of your choice at the same time.
  3. Preheat the toaster oven to 375 F and oil an 8x6x2 Pyrex casserole dish.
  4. While draining the macaroni in a colander, pour the tomato soup into the stockpot you used.
  5. Sprinkle as much Italian seasoning into the soup for the taste you want.
  6. Return the macaroni to the stockpot with soup.
  7. Drain the browned meat, and put it into the stockpot too.
  8. Stir well.
  9. Pour that mixture into the 8x6x2 Pyrex casserole dish and even it out.
  10. Place that in the toaster oven for 20 mins.
  11. Slide the dish out (using oven mitts) and cover it evenly with the shredded cheese.
  12. Noodles & browning
  13. Return it to the toaster oven, and bake for another 8 minutes.
You would have enough to serve at least 5 people with this, but that also means you have enough leftovers if it is just you. Yeah, it is actually very awesome, and I make it at least once per week. It is easy to make, and tastes great. You could use any other seasonings/herbs based on your choice, but this is AWESOME!
Finished casserole

Breakfast Sandwich

Egg rings
I bought these the other day, and after reading all of the comments, I do suggest that you dip them in olive oil before using them. Fortunately, I learned a lot of Italian cooking while growing up, and have a lot of it in my pantry.

BUT, my point of this entry is about how awesome these are if you use them properly. My son was with me last weekend, and usually eats Pop Tarts for breakfast, but as his father, I strove to provide him a better option, without having to run to McDonald's for a meal. I made it at home.

Breakfast sandwich
Because they are a new item in my kitchen, I poured a raw egg into one ring, and poured a scrambled egg into the other, just to see the difference. I then took each result, put it on an English muffin, with cheese and a home-made burger, and served it.

End result? We will occasionally have "breakfast for dinner."

I served it with a side of hash brown patties. Score one for me.

Dec 29, 2011

Percolated Coffee

I'm a hippie in spirit, learned a LOT from my grandparents, and still make coffee the way they taught me. I use a percolator on the stove, and not a coffee maker like most people today do. Yeah, it takes a little longer to make, but it makes my apartment smell amazingly like grandma's kitchen did in the early hours of the morning, and the coffee tastes better, IMHO.

Percolated Coffee
I use a camping coffee pot, by Coleman. I started using the filters available at the local grocery store, but have discarded them and no longer use them, the ground container works better without a filter. I use cold tap water to fill the pot, and a store brand coffee for the flavor. Yeah, I could buy the fancy grinds of coffee, but I'm more about the taste & caffeine than about the "savoring" of a large mug of coffee. In my experience, I can get a better flavor of the coffee because I percolate it than I ever got by using a drip coffee maker. And it does put a smile on my face when I see the brown liquid in the little glass nipple on the top of the pot.

I don't use an egg white in the water, like my grandmother did. Though, I'm sure that would enhance the flavor even more. My tendency when making coffee in the morning, and cracking an egg, is to fry the egg up as part of breakfast. But, she always added the egg white into the pot while making coffee. I do still add a quarter cup of ice cold water to the pot when I take it off the burner, to settle the grounds, like she taught me.

Most often, I pour my mug and let it sit for about 15 minutes so it is just the right temperature to drink. I worked construction and got used to drinking room temperature coffee because we would often set our cup down, get to work, and get back to the cup when we could. So "hot" coffee isn't as enjoyable to me. Sometimes I'll just drop a couple of ice cubes into the cup so it reaches my preferred temp quicker.

Since I've been drinking coffee for nearly 30 years, my body "needs" the drug of caffeine. I get headaches if I don't have some each day. I don't drink as much as I used to, but I still need some each day. Doesn't matter if it is morning, afternoon, or evening. In fact, after a good dinner, I'd rather have coffee as a dessert than a piece of cake or pie.

Anyway...go have a cup o' Joe...

Snow Removal Without a Shovel

By living in an apartment complex, you meet a lot of people and occasionally learn something from them. Today I learned how to remove the ice from my sidewalk without using a shovel and ice scraper. Use a 35 cent container of common table salt.

The first picture shows what the sidewalk looked like at the start.

Was snow on top of 1/4" of ice, slick as all hell, even my dog slide down the length of it.

After spreading the container of salt, I could actually HEAR the crackling of the ice as the salt interacted with it.

Like a bowl of Rice Crispies...SNAP CRACKLE POP

After 15 mins
The second picture shows what it looked like after 15 minutes of spreading the salt.

 I actually stood out there with a stopwatch and cheap cigar to time it. Enjoyed watching the stopwatch more than I enjoyed the cigar.

1 hour later
The last picture shows what it looked like 1 hour later.

So, it was EASY to clear the sidewalk. And cheap, only 35 cents, less than the cost of a cup of coffee. And, time well spent...

Dec 28, 2011

Night Driving

Driving at night in rain or snow storm really is challenging, to say the least. Not only does the weather diminish your ability to see in front of you, but so do the headlights of cars coming the other way. They are almost BLINDING as they reflect directly into your eyes. A couple of tips about driving at night can be found at Road & Travel Magazine and the NYS DMV driver's manual, but I'm sharing the best tips.
  • When another car is approaching, look to the right (by checking the passenger side mirror or looking at the line on the side of the road)
  • Dim your dashboard lights as low as possible
You are "supposed" to check all of your mirrors every few moments so you are aware of what is going on behind or beside you. Diverting your eyes to the right when a car is coming the other way, you save your eyes from reacting to the amount of light that is impacting them, so when you return them to the front, they don't have to "readjust."

Dimming your dashboard lights reduces the amount of light impacting your eyes. When driving, especially at twilight, you rely on your peripheral vision. The dashboard dials impact that. By dimming them, you can SEE them when you are checking the speedometer, clock, or radio station, but they won't distract your peripheral sight while you are actually looking at the road in front of you.

'77 VW Rabbit
I learned this trick from my grandfather decades ago when he let me drive his car (a '77 Volkswagen Rabbit). He shared this with me because he learned it by being a belly gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress during World War II. They dimmed the lights on the plane (cockpit & belly gun controls) when they flew at night so they could see out of the windows better, achieve the mission that they were on, and spot the enemy faster. Hmm...that makes sense. Driving a car is not about being the first to cause an accident, but about being the first to spot a situation that you can AVOID.

B17 Flying Fortress
I learned a LOT from my grandfather about life in general, but I still adhere to the tip of dimming my dash lights and look forward to passing this advice on to my son when he starts driving too.

I wish that my Toyota Highlander had a belly gun... sometimes other drivers piss me off.

Dec 26, 2011

Easy Peasy Casserole for 3

3 ingredients, 3 steps, 3 tips...

Pre-peeling & slicing
  • 4 peeled medium potatoes
  • 1 lbs. ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 15 oz. can sweet peas drained
  1. While browning sausage in a skillet, cut potatoes into 1/4" slices
  2. Layer potatoes on bottom of crock-pot before spreading browned sausage over them to cook on low for 3 hours
  3. Spread peas over the top to finish another 2 hours of cooking on low
      Add a little water in the last hour if it is too dry
      Gently stir the mixture once or twice during the last hour
      Serves 3 if you provide a side of fruit, a beverage, and dessert

Dec 24, 2011

Scrabble Soup

I am hungry, but it is winter, so I want soup. I raided my pantry and the fridge and threw together this. I'll keep it simple to read, but it was awesome.

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Knorr's Vegetable Bouillon Cube
  • 1/3 cup Nishiki Brown Rice
  • 1 boneless, already cooked chicken breast, chopped to bite size
  • 1 can mixed vegetables (drained, rinsed)
  1. Put all of the water, the bouillon cube, and rice in a 2 quart saucepan.
  2. Bring to a soft boil, and then simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Add chicken bites, and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  4. Add drained & rinsed can of mixed vegetables, and simmer another 10 minutes.
  5. Put in a bowl, grab a spoon and enjoy.
It was actually filling, warm, and made my day...easy too...

Dec 23, 2011

Tat Thoughts

Recently, a friend's father said he thought people with tattoos were from the wrong side of the tracks. That made me want to check some information and think about it myself. Simple web searching at this website [link] shows that:

Thirty-six percent of those ages 18 to 25, and 40 percent of those ages 26 to 40, have at least one tattoo, in 2006...


If you are interested in scanning a brief history of tattoos, go to this website [link]. To share just a summary of it, it explains why my friend's father said what he said. But, there is a lot that he doesn't know.
Before the recent explosion of tattoo popularity in Western society, many people assumed that tattoos were reserved for the lower-class and societal outcasts like prostitutes, bikers, and ex-cons. They probably don’t realize that, at the turn of the century, tattoos were actually favored by royalty and the elite. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, tattoos could be found on the likes of Queen Victoria’s grandsons (Prince George and Prince Albert), on Winston Churchill (AND his mother!), on President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and on the members of the wealthy Vanderbilt family.

Rooster Ink
I currently have 9 tats and plan on getting more. The last ink I got was the Rooster head shown to the right. I went with the Rooster because it is my Chinese astrology symbol. It is on my chest.

My other ink include diamonds on my palms, my roller derby number on my forearms, dragonflies on the back of my calves, the Green Lantern logo on my outer right leg, and a tribal shamrock on my arm. That was my first one.

Other plans I have are for a Phoenix and an Eastern dragon as large back pieces, several to cover my legs, and eventually even my entire chest, belly, and have arm sleeves.

I already have another tattoo appointment set up, in about a month by Christy at Blue Flame Tattoo, and it is going to be a male American Goldfinch on the other side of my chest.

All of my tats have symbolic meanings to me, as do most tats that people have gotten. A great resource for discovering more about the "meanings," check out this website The Vanishing Tattoo. Especially the Tattoo Museum link at the bottom of that page. To discover YOUR own symbolic sign, I recommend this website, What's Your Sign.

Dec 22, 2011

HEE HEE HEE name is Dozer. I was named after the word "bulldozer" because I always plow through things that I find inconsequential, and because most often I can be found "dozing." As you can see by the pic, I have commandeered the master bed where I live. I let others sleep here, but it is MINE. But I digress, those will be other posts...

I've commandeered my buddy's Mac to post some of MY thoughts on a blog, but didn't want to bother creating my own. Yeah, without thumbs it is kinda hard to work the mouse or touchpad. It is hard to bother filling out all of the registration I am using my buddy's blog.

I call him my buddy, because he didn't "sire" me (so he isn't my "daddy"), and he doesn't "own" me. He and I connected at a point in my life where I needed someone like him, and he needed someone like me. He welcomed me into his life...without restriction. He wrapped his arms around me, kissed my forehead, and said to me, "welcome to your are as if you've never lived, love as if you've never been loved, but always experience things, as if you haven't experienced life itself..." That's always stuck with me, which is why I am using his Mac...and why I have the suspicion that he is a hippie (that, plus all of the patchouli incense that he burns).

Life with him for the last few years has been interesting. When I connected with him, I was deaf (still am), was 25 pounds overweight, could barely walk, and only had 6 months to live. Within the first year with my buddy, I had lost 15 pounds, had 6 steel pins inserted into my hips and rear legs so I could walk, and learned a lot of American Sign Language (ASL) so someone could "talk" with me... After my surgery, he became my buddy when he slept with me on a sleeping bag, on the floor of his dining room (so & BECAUSE I couldn't walk up stairs), for several months. Because of that, I can now commandeer a bed as my own. As he lays his arm on my back while we slept, I know that is why our souls continue to melt together.

But, AGAIN, I digress...the last year has been particularly interesting for me, and even for him. We moved out of our house into an apartment (thank goodness he chose one with a single floor, with no stairs), and he has begun cooking again (YUM)...and has joined a roller derby team [NEO Roller Derby], which in itself, brings a lot of GREAT things to my life. Again, that will be ANOTHER blog post when I can grab computer time on his Mac when he isn't paying attention or is at "derby practice."

I'm going to have to start posting more blog posts about DERBY when my buddy isn't around...maybe when he goes to the practices and things that he does, I will...if I'm not dozing...stay tuned...and:


Mish-Mash Casserole

Raided my pantry after watching a cooking session on the local news, to see what I had and could modify to fill my belly. And got the name from a very close Companion of mine, Elektra Q-Tion. Thank you for the name suggestion, it was PERFECT for this dish.

Okay, to cut it to the bottom line for this recipe.

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Vegetable broth bouillon cube
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) Creme of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/2 can (from soup) of milk
  • 3 slices of Muenster cheese
  • 4 hash brown patties
  1. Boil the chicken breasts for 25 minutes in the vegetable broth, to make sure they are cooked.
  2. Use an 8x6x2 Pyrex casserole dish, by oiling the inner surface to prevent sticking
  3. Mix the creme of mushroom soup and milk in a bowl.
  4. Preheat the toaster oven to 400 F.
  5. When chicken is done boiling, cut it into bite size pieces, using a knife similar to the one in the picture at the right.
  6. Place them in the casserole dish.
  7. Cover with soup/milk mixture
  8. Place the cheese over this.
  9. Lay the hash brown patties over it.
  10. Bake in the toaster oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Turn patties over, and bake for another 10 minutes.
  12. Enjoy!!!
Use a flat spatula or tongs to flip over the hash browns, and use the spatula to "cut them up" when you place it all on the plate. You could add a can of drained peas to the soup/milk mixture to make it more of a casserole, or serve them on the side. It is VERY filling and yummy. Add Tabasco or fresh ground black pepper to enhance the flavor.

Dec 21, 2011

WTF Chili Stew here's yet another post about a recipe I came up with by simply opening up the pantry door and the fridge, and looking at what I had available to "throw together" for some meals. I named it WTF Chili Stew because of how I chose the ingredients, and that it turned out to be like a "Stew" because of how liquid it was, but was more along the lines of a "Chili."

This picture shows you the ingredients that I had to use. I downsized the portions since I was only really cooking for one. But, that gave me enough WTF Chili Stew for two meals. So, it could be for two people as well. Just make sure you add a side of fruit, and a nutritious beverage.

Old Bay Seasoning
Image via Wikipedia

  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • Small can of Pork N Beans
  • 10.5 can stewed tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1/2 "log" of ground sausage (like the Bob Evans one)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Italian Spices
  • Bag of tortilla chips
  1. First, start the brown rice. That takes 50 minutes for the brand I use.
  2. Place the Pork N Beans and stewed tomatoes in a 2 quart saucepan and simmer.
  3. Slice sausage log into 1/4 slices and brown. Cut into bite sized pieces after browning.
  4. Add sausage to the bean pot.
  5. Sprinkle bean pot with Old Bay Seasoning and Italian Spices. Stir well and occasionally.
  6. When rice is done, add it to the bean pot.
  7. Add a little more Old Bay Seasoning, and stir well.
  8. Let simmer another 15 minutes. 
While that was finishing the simmering, I had enough time to wash all of the other pans and utensils that I used, so that made nearly all of the dishes done before dinner was enjoyed. When the final simmering was done, I spooned it into a bowl, grab the last of the tortilla chips I had, and sat down to enjoy by scooping my "chili stew" with the chips...

All I can say, IMHO, is MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!! It was good...and I'll make it again...
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Pork Chop Soup

It is finally snowing here in Cleveland...
So, you know that means...SOUP!!!
I searched my fridge and pantry, to get an inventory of what I had. Then I bopped over to to search for something that matched close to what I had. And I found a pork chop soup recipe (click HERE for the original). But, like grandma always said, "recipes are a guideline, use what you have, and make it taste the way you want." So, of course, I modified the guideline according to what I had. What appears below is what I am making.

Pork Chop Soup


  • 3 (8 ounce) boneless pork chops
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic & pepper powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 2 cans of mixed vegetables (drained)


  1. Place pork chops, Old Bay, oregano, garlic & pepper powder, pepper, bay leaves, vegetable broth, and water in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 1 hour. Remove the pork chops and set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid with the flour; set aside. When the pork chops are cool remove and discard any bones or fat. Chop the meat into bite size pieces.
  3. Add the potato, mixed vegetables, and cooked pork back to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir in the flour mixture. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve with some bread for dipping...
It makes about 4 quarts of soup. I used my 5 quart Dutch oven to make it (see pic above).

Well, it will be done in a few hours... But while it is simmering, I think I might be able to cut down the preparation time a bit, from 2 hours to 1 hour. Well, if I am successful in doing that, I'm sure I'll post another blog entry...

Apartment Style Chicken Breast

Another recipe, inspired by attempting to keep them easy, cut them down for a single person (but still have some leftovers), draw on my Grandmother's cooking advice, and save some apartment utility costs.

Okay, I hit the pantry and fridge to see what I had (Grandma's advice), I gathered what I thought might work and then hit for some guidance. After doing some searching, I came across the Parmesan Crusted Chicken Recipe. I looked at what I had available and decided to try some new things. The recipe that I used appears below, and then I added some suggestions to assist making it.

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • A sprinkle of Italian bread crumbs over the top

  1. Preheat the toaster over to 375 F
  2. Use oil or a spray to cover the baking dish to prevent sticking
  3. Mix mayo and shredded cheese in a bowl
  4. Take some of the mix and spread it on the top of each piece of chicken, & place them in the baking dish
  5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken, not too much, but also not too little
  6. Slide the baking dish into the toaster over, and bake for approximately 50 minutes
And, when that is all done, you should have something that is approximately like this:
Apartment Style Chicken Breasts
Okay, if you don't want to scroll down any farther, suffice it to say that this is awesome, and I will definitely be making it again.  I simply ate my dinner by cutting it on a plate, but I could see serving this over a field of wild rice, or even just white/brown rice, or even with a side of noodles.

Now, on to why I changed the recipe from the original. Most of these decisions were made because of my experience of cooking in an apartment for 1, but also by reading most of the comments for the original recipe. Again Grandma's advice came to mind... "recipes are a guideline, you have to use what you have on hand, and use your experience, and make it the way YOU want it..."

Once of the most awesome things about is that you can change the number of servings you are looking for, and it adjusts all of the ingredient amounts for you. I usually choose to make 4 servings of recipes because it gives me dinner, and some leftovers. And, reduces the number of things you might need to purchase at the store.

I cut the breasts in half, because that makes them the right size to put on a hamburger bun to eat as a sandwich, like for lunch the next day. I used Italian blend shredded cheese because that is what I had in the fridge. I used the Italian bread crumbs, because that is all I use for bread crumbs because they already have some seasoning in it, so I don't have to add it myself.

I used the toaster oven because I'm mostly only cooking for me, it uses less electricity than using the full oven, and in the summer it doesn't over heat my apartment. Yes, it took me a while to find some casserole and baking dishes that fit in the toaster oven, but Pyrex makes all kinds of sizes and I found a set at Target.

I also reduced the temp of the recipe, because I liked that baking it for a little longer time keeps poultry more moist. Again, my Grandma's advice. Yes, I use an instant thermometer to make sure that the food achieves the recommended temps. Poultry is recommended to achieve 180 F, so that is why I kept an eye on it starting at 45 mins. It took another 5 to get from 174 to 180.

Okay, I suppose you've been kind enough to scroll down this far, so I'll close with this entry. I have several other ideas for entries, so please bookmark my blog, use an RSS feeder, or go ahead and join as a member. Carry on...and good luck cooking...

Dec 20, 2011

Year In Review

So... since we are "between holidays" (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas) and rapidly approaching the end of the year, it sometimes causes some reflections on the past year. And what a year it has been for me.

Image via Wikipedia
Just over a year ago, I moved out of the house that I lived in for 12 years. Where I installed some ceramic tile floors in the bathrooms, remodeled the basement to create a play room for my son, and carefully tended the landscape. Yeah, I am a bit of a "handyman."

One year ago, on Halloween, I was let go from a company that I worked for, for over 17 years. Trick or Treat for me. More of a "trick" than a "treat." I was put in a psych ward for 5 days because of this, and the company thought I was suicidal. Hee hee, I'm still here. I use my knife on pumpkins instead of my wrists.

Two weeks after I moved out of the house, I was in the hospital for 5 days because of a collapsed lung. Why did my lung collapse? Because I am a tall male and athletic. I was at the set up for a roller derby bout for my league (that I ref for) when it happened. I spent two hours in extreme pain in my chest, but had to make sure they were set up, before I asked to be taken to the emergency room in a local hospital.

Image via Wikipedia

The day before Thanksgiving last year, I went to court to appear before a judge, that signed the papers that ended a 17 year marriage. Happy Thanksgiving Day to me. Ended up putting shaved turkey lunch meat on a couple of tortillas, with slices of cheese as my Thanksgiving dinner. YUM!!!

I spent 6 months without a driver's license (due to my own fault), while all of this was going on. I learned to walk the 4.2 miles between my apartment and the grocery store, with a backpack, to get food and needed items. On the way, I was able to stop at the library to get books and movies to entertain me during my "hiatus from life." It is hard to apply for jobs when you can't drive there to fill out the applications or attend interviews, trust me, I know.

Image by What's the rush via Flickr
Okay, enough of the negativity. On to the positive. In the last year, I've had to resurrect the cooking lessons that I shared with my grandparents, hence why there are so many blog entries about recipes, cooking, a Dutch oven, and a crock pot. I've been able to reconnect with my dog, on a more personal level. I've gotten a LOT more tattoos, because I always wanted to get at least one, it is addictive, and I finally felt the freedom do get them. I have 9 now, and am scheduled to get a few more in the next few months. Plus, I know an amazing designer that not only inspires me, but also desires to see them on me.

I guess to "bottom line" it, I've been through a lot in the last year. I've tried to adapt and correct it, and am successfully  overcoming it all. So, stay tuned to the blog to experience my experiences that come from it all...