Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

This is one of those food experiments that I thought would look very pretty, but figured that only J and K would actually eat it. So, I invited my parents up for dinner so it would be enjoyed by a couple more people. My dad couldn't make it, but my mom was game, and brought him leftovers.

I used the recipe at allrecipes.com, but made a couple changes due to what I had on hand. Here's the original recipe. I don't feel like the fat content on that is accurate because it has 18 grams of fat, but my olive oil would only have 7 grams per serving, and my ground turkey was 4 grams per serving. I think that recipe assumed a fattier ground turkey.

I used red peppers because that is what I had. I didn't bother with yellow peppers.

Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables


  • 4 red bell peppers, tops removed, seeded
  • tops from bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey until evenly brown, seasoning with garlic, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Set aside. Heat oil in the skillet, and cook onion, mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, and spinach until tender. Return turkey to the skillet. Mix in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and season w ith Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stuff the peppers with the skillet mixture. Top each pepper with a little mozzarella cheese.
  3. Place leftover filling in a casserole dish and top with mozzarella.
  4. Place peppers in the oven, and cook 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. The casserole leftovers may need a little more time to cook.

So, shockingly enough, all four of my kids wolfed it down. The youn ger thr ee didn't get a pepper because they told me they didn't like pepper, but I gave them filling from the casserole dish and they ate every bite!

Here is the filling while cooking:

And here's the peppers:

I know, my cookie sheet is a mess. I attempted to stuff a couple peppers without picking them up. That was a mistake.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Post Office is out to get me

For some reason, my local post office occasionally returns mail addressed to me as "no such address". It usually targets particular individuals, most usually, my dentist. He sends me occasional appointment reminder postcards, remember to schedule your checkup cards, birthday cards, and a bill or two. I never get them though. They are always returned to sender. This has been irritating.

Around Christmastime, my friend Tsubasa sent us a Christmas package, as she always does on Christmas and our birthdays. This year, the post office returned it. I was pretty furious, as postage from Japan (or to, for that matter) is pretty expensive. It seems unfair for her to have it rejected even though she addressed it properly.

With the dentist office though, while irritating, it's been a little funny to me. Imagine my delight when I actually had a piece of mail from my dentist ACTUALLY arrive at my house. I laughed out loud when I saw how Sharon, the office manager, addressed it:I guess if I instruct people to write "This is the right address" under my address, the post office will deliver it. Good to know.

Bountiful Baskets and funny text

Last summer, K had really hoped that I would make pickles for her. I planted several cucumber plants, but they didn't produce as much as hoped, and what they did make were bitter. So, no pickles this year.

This week, a Bountiful Basket location was added at the last minute, and one of the add ons was a 38 lb box of pickling cucumbers for $17. Awesome! I knew that would be way too many for me alone, so I asked my sister in law if she wanted to split it. She agreed under the condition I teach her how to make them into pickles. They also had what sounded like an awesome mexican pack, so I grabbed that as well.

It was scheduled for pickup this morning, but due to weather, had to be pushed back a couple hours. J picked it up for me, since I had plans to go to lunch with my mom, grandma and sister. A few minutes after he picked up my basket, I got the following text:

"Seriously. A case of cucumbers?"

I had to totally crack up when I read it. When he'd gone to pick up the basket, they saw my name and said, "Oh, you're the ONE with the cucumbers, huh?" He replied, "No, it wasn't me. That was my wife." I suspect there was some eye rolling here on his part. We'll see who is rolling their eyes when they're enjoying pickles. So out of 100 people who ordered a basket, I was the only one to buy the cucumbers. I have to admit I'm a little surprised. I saw the box when I got home tonight. Holy cow. That is a LOT of cucumbers. And, it came in the coolest, most rustic box ever.
Here is the regular basket contents:

That is really an awesome haul. I'm pretty excited about it. The mexican pack is going to stretch my cooking a bit- I've never used tomatillos before, so it'll be interesting to work with. This is going to sound very dorky, but I loved the colors of the mexican pack. The different shades of green with the white and tan of the garlic and onion looked very pretty, I think.

Friday, January 22, 2010

When does comforting segue into coddling?

I can't decide how long I should comfort and baby S. She is definitely feeling better today though I'm sure she's not up to herself just yet.

She refuses to shut her mouth, or move it all to speak. She admits it's because she's afraid. So, she is almost totally incomprehensible when she speaks.

She refuses to eat/drink anything in any real quantities that I give her. Last night, J made her a smoothie while I was taking the older two kids to girl scouts/basketball. She drank 4-5 cups of it. Crazy! So, apparently, he'll have to do all feeding because he's much better at it than me.

She doesn't want to see anyone or go anywhere sometimes, but other times wants to see cousins. I can appreciate her reluctance. Unfortunately, I have had something scheduled for a while this morning. I'm taking her to a beloved babysitter. She says she doesn't want to go, but I think she'll be ok with it once she gets there.

Yesterday, we went to see some cousins. Bless their hearts, the older two had missing teeth, and the three of them compared missing teeth, and S acted totally fine with showing off her war wounds and seeing their missing teeth. She did NOT want to leave when I told her it was time.

My BIL came in the middle of that, and she hid because she didn't want him to see her that way.

So she's very back and forth on who sees her, what her mood is, and what she'll do.

I'm trying very hard to be patient with her because I know it's a devastating event for her. I worry that if I coddle her too much that it'll make things more difficult in the long run. Finding a good balance is difficult for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

updates on minutae

Since I am stuck in the house, and now I've learned that my sister checks my blog twenty times a day, here's what's happened in the last hour.

I gave up the idea of potty training Z just yet. Yesterday we happened to walk past the diapers, and yelled out "diapers!! Diapers for Z!!!" with such joy that I know he doesn't want to give them up.

When we were at the store, S wanted to buy Cheetos twisted puffs, so we did. I knew she wouldn't be able to eat them for a while, so I figured we'd keep them sealed til she was ready. Well, she came in to "talk" to me. After much wild guessing, I learned that she wanted me to eat cheetos for her, and she fed some to me. Awwwww!

Then, we made some jello jigglers. They're chilling in the fridge for now, but I'll let her cut them into fun shapes when it's set.

She came in, and after more wild guessing (I am getting seriously good at this!) I discovered she wanted a smoothie. I made one with chocolate milk, ice cream and bananas. She is eating it now, so I'm beyond thrilled to get something into her.

I've sat here contemplating my situation. For us, we've had a bad string of luck. But really, as awful as it seems to me, I know it's not that bad. I haven't had to watch my child go off to a scary surgery. I haven't had to bury a child or husband. I haven't had to deal with a chronic, long term illness. We really have led a charmed life. I do feel grateful and lucky for all I have.

This morning I did the usual carpool run. The boy I drive to school made a hover craft for his science project. It was was a large piece of plywood (apprx. 4'x3') with a blower attached. I was able to drive it, his 3'x3' science board, extension cord, chair, and the kids to school (boy, I love driving a bus, it's so handy sometimes!). Helped E get get his stuff set up, and then went to get K's bass violin to take home for the weekend.

Difficult Recovery

Well, it's been about 48 hours since S's "incident". I think yesterday was almost worse than Tuesday because reality had begun to sink in, and there was no more anesthetic in her system to dull the pain.

She's in quite a bit of pain, physically. Her upper lip is very swollen, and you can tell the inside is all torn up. She refuses to shut her mouth, and I'm not sure if it's out of pain or fear. She usually don't attempt to talk other than an "uh huh" or "uh uh". When she does talk, she tries to not move her mouth or lips at all, so it's very difficult to understand. She gets frustrated when I don't guess what she's saying right away.

I'm having a very difficult time getting any fluids into her. I took her to the store yesterday, and she picked out "blue juice" (blue sports drink), and chocolate milk, however she has been hesitant to drink much. Don't even mention food. So now, I have to worry a bit about dehydration on top of everything else.

She refuses to look in a mirror. She told K (how she managed this, I'll never know) that she was afraid to go to school or the gym because she thought her friends wouldn't like her anymore. I cry to even think about her worrying like that.

She refused to look under her pillow to see what the tooth fairy left. Before bed last night, she looked and saw the money, and looked like she wanted to cry. Refused to even touch it.

My parents came up last night to give her a get well gift (princess tiara and other princess accouterments along with fancy ice packs). She was initially shy, but was willing to be with them after a while. My sister in law and family have expressed interest in seeing her too, so I'll try to get that arranged. I'm hoping that as she sees her loved ones seeing her, and still loving her, she'll feel better about everything.

Her dentist called yesterday morning to see how she was feeling. I thought that was very thoughtful of him. He seemed a little surprised that they'd pulled three teeth, so now I'm plagued with doubt over whether it was the best decision to just pull all three. Maybe we should've risked having to take her back and just pulled the one tooth that really needed to be pulled. I shouldn't think that way; it's too late to second guess it. I did bring up the pedo partial with him, since S is taking this much harder emotionally than I expected. It sounds like it's not as outrageously expensive as I originally thought, so I may consider it in a couple weeks, once she's had time to heal a bit.

I'm forcing pain killers into her, which makes her very, very angry. It's kind of nice that she won't shut her mouth, it makes squirting it in there much easier. But, she feels a lot better afterwards, so I only feel a little guilty about it.

I think time is what she needs most, but it moves so slowly. I'm going a little stir crazy because I haven't gone to the gym all week and I can't go anywhere because S doesn't want to be seen by anyone, and she doesn't want me to leave her.

Since I'm stuck here and already miserable, I've thought about potty training Z, just to make things even funner. He's sad he hasn't been getting as much attention, and that I'm not sharing the chocolate milk or blue juice with him. Maybe he'll perform just to get the attention and juice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Seriously so traumatized

Here's the deal on S's mouth injury.

I could tell immediately she'd broken her right side incisor, and that her two front teeth were kind of moved away. She also put her canines on either side through her lip, but those cuts on her lip didn't seem nearly as bad as the teeth issue.

I panicked for a minute while I got a cold cloth on it, and then called the dentist. He was not in the office today, but there was a number to call if you were an existing patient and it was a "true dental emergency". He said he'd come in, and to meet me there in 45 min.

Dr. Bronson looked things over and agreed that the incisor definitely had to go. He felt it would be less traumatic to her if she was sedated, and I agreed. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do that. So, he called around dentists who COULD until he found one who could take her right away.

We got to the second office, and Dr. Hibbert got her all nicely sedated. Looked her over, and he felt like both the side incisor and BOTH front incisors on top had to go. He is worried the other side incisor may die too, but left it alone for now. The actual extraction only took about 5 minutes, and she was really good for that.

S woke up (sorta) from it all, and was pretty disoriented. She figured out pretty quickly that she was missing a couple teeth and was very, very upset. I've assured her that she'll get new teeth growing in, but that it'll take some time. She did announce she wanted to live at that dentist's office, and was mad when I took her home. They gave her an otter pop to eat, both to make the area feel better and to see if she could keep it down. One side effect of the sedation is upset stomach, and I've been told to expect some vomiting. So far, we've been fine.

She's recovering on my bed now.

I'm wishing I drank. I've done broken bones, stitches, glue, staples, concussions, CT scans, MRIs, ingested lamp oil, and today was definitely toughest on me.

Here is the the coffee table she hit- I can't believe how hard she hit, to make such a big mark.

Here's the teeth they extracted. You can see how badly the one was broken. I have the shard, but didn't bother photographing it.

I have to put in a good word for both Michael Bronson, DDS and Dr. Steve Hibbert, DDS. Dr. Bronson came in on his day off, along with Sharon, and were very sweet and compassionate with both of us. Dr. Hibbert was able to see us within 15 minutes of getting the phone call from Dr. Bronson, even though we were not existing patients. The staff at both places were absolutely wonderful, explaining exactly what was going on, what to expect, and more than willing to answer any questions.

While today has been absolutely awful for me, these kind, wonderful people definitely made it a bit easier. I would recommend either dentist to anyone.

Wild Child Strikes Again

This morning, S and Z were doing their usual "destroy all order to the couch cushions" game, and S either jumped or fell off the couch. I'd been in the process of telling her to quit jumping around on the couch, so I got to watch the whole thing.

She managed to put two teeth through her lip (one upper canine on each side) and break her right side incisor. The break looks pretty bad. I have called our dentist. He was not planning on coming into the office today, but hearing my description, is going to meet me there at 10.

I don't think the teeth through the lip will need stitches, as each cut is only about - that long. I think the broken tooth will need to be pulled though.

Her only comment is that this hurts more than her finger did. I'll believe it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Princess Style and Monster Truck Shoes

When I was a small child, I was OBSESSED with princesses. I would have completely freaked out if I lived in the current climate of Disney Princess marketing. I even begged and begged and begged my mother to change my name to "Princess". She told me that she was sure I would grow up and not want that to be my name, but I was equally sure I would NOT change my mind. My mother proved to be right on this one.

One of the things borne from this time was the "princess" hair style. This sounds much fancier and more elaborate than it actually is. It's basically where you take the top third or so of the hair on your head and tie it back with a barrette or elastic. I've been calling it the princess style for so long I have no idea what other people would even call it.

A week or so, I caught myself doing something similar with Z. He recently watched a monster truck competition on tv with his daddy and was a huge and instant fan. He has a normal, unassuming pair of loafers that haven't been getting much wear lately because he doesn't want to wear them. However, I have started to call them his "monster truck shoes", and now he almost always wants to wear them. Funny how that works, eh?

Don't these just scream "Monster Truck"?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In a Quandary

Last summer, a friend of ours announced that she was getting married. She wondered if J and I could make it to the wedding. We were thrilled for her, and said that OF COURSE we could come. We wouldn't be bringing our kids because she lives in Japan.

We figured we could use frequent flier miles to get there, and then hotel points to pay for the hotel. We don't have a lot of spare cash floating around, so this would be about the only way we could afford it. T is a wonderful friend though, and we would love to see her (and Japan) again.

A couple months ago, she told us the dates. We start looking for plane tickets and hotel, and the price was a lot more than we thought it was going to be. Huh. Weird. We decide to wait a bit and see if prices would come down as it got closer.

Instead, the opposite happened. Right now, a plane ticket to Japan for the wedding would cost us 100k frequent flier miles. Normally, it'd be around 50k or so.

Finally, a couple days ago, it clicked. She's getting married during "Golden Week", one of the biggest holiday weeks of the year in Japan. Travel TO the country, as well as within the country is an absolute nightmare during that time. Hotels are often booked solid.

To go there is going to cost us thousands more than we originally anticipated. Frankly, we can't afford that, unless I sell a couple houses, or help a couple buyers (any takers? Anyone?). I feel bad flaking out on T though, since we did tell her that we'd be there, and she really is a good friend.

What would you do?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon

On Sunday night, I watched Julie/Julia. I thought it was a pretty cute movie. It inspired me even more to do some fun cooking. Watching the movie wanted me to try something fancy. I decided I wanted to cook Boeuf Bourguignon. I looked at Julia Child's recipe, but ended up deciding to go with Anthony Bourdain's recipe. I somewhat regret that, since Julia put a bit of tomato paste and bacon in hers, and I think that would've been nice.

It's really quite time consuming. I have to admit that the toughest part was taking Z to the state liquor store and finding burgundy. A two year old in a huge room full of glass bottles at his level is a very stressful thing! After a bit of help from the cashier, we had our burgundy in hand and were out the door.

Here are my ingredients:

The recipe called for fresh herbs, that are tied up into a bouquet. I had all of the herbs in dried form, and didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for the fresh stuff, so I just tossed in my dried stuff. Next summer, when my herb garden is producing again, I'll try again, but with my fresh herbs.

I used a chuck roast from our lovely, wonderful, grass fed, hormone free, free range, happy cow. The meat was to be cut up and browned before being added to the rest of the ingredients. This is my raw meat. Isn't it gorgeous?

Then browned.I started cooking around 1pm. By 3pm, everything was assembled, and it was just supposed to simmer in a pot for a couple hours.

At 4pm, the kids and husband were home, and all were immediately nagging to eat dinner because they were STARVING TO DEATH!!!!!!!! The whole house smelled of the bourguignon. Finally, at 6pm, I caved under the constant nagging for dinner, and served it up.

The kids gobbled it right up and loved it. The older two both had seconds. J brought leftovers to work the next day. I have to say the meat chunks were absolutely to die for- incredibly tender, the most tender beef I've ever had. The sauce part of it? I was kind of iffy on that. Given that I am an incredibly picky eater, I'll blame my palate more than the recipe or preparation.

Next time I make the meal, I think I'll do Julia's version because I think the tomato would really add to the sauce.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Worst Wife EVER!!!

You're probably thinking this is in response to my lack of dedication to housework. Yes, that is a major failing I have. I could make a feminist rant here about how just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I have to do all housework. However, J is at work all day, so I do think that more of the housework should fall to me.

But, housework is NOT the failing to which I refer.

I think I broke one of J's ribs.


I wish I could say we were doing something wild and crazy, but sadly, no.

Every once in a while, he'll ask me to pop his back. I have been successfully popping his back for 17 years now, and never had an incident. I try to go just to either side of his spine, and apply even pressure.

On Thursday, he asked me to pop his back, so I agreed, not thinking anything of it. When I got to between his shoulder blades, there was a weird pop sound. It didn't come from the spine (because I can kind of feel it when it pops), and he was immediately in quite a bit of pain in his rib cage, in the front.

He's played it down, but he is definitely in pain. And get this: There is a LUMP where he feels the pain the worst. The spot is a couple inches lower and to the outside of his nipple.

I feel absolutely awful about it.

I will admit it's spawned a couple of entirely inappropriate domestic violence jokes, but joking aside, I feel terrible. I will never crack his back again. I've begun to nag him to go to a chiropractor so he can fix whatever I did, but he hasn't been willing so far.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My new dinner leaf

If you recall, I've decided to experiment more with the food I cook for dinner. I think that exposing the kids to many new dishes is a good thing, and will make them much more adventurous eaters than I've ever been. As a result, I've been trying out some new recipes.

Tonight's recipe was a pretty great success. M complained it had too many tomatoes, but everyone else seemed to like it.

I made Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup. I made a couple changes. I didn't want to buy cilantro just for this recipe, so I skipped that. I also discovered I was out of bay leaves. Oopsie. Then again, I also discovered I was out of chicken. I put everything else in the pot, and then made myself go buy the chicken a couple hours later. I cubed it, grilled it, and then tossed it into the cooker a couple hours before serving. I also thought black beans would make a nice addition, so I tossed in a can of drained black beans. Instead of going through the process with the corn tortillas, I just crushed a couple chips on top of each bowl of soup.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

I really don't have too much to say. I'm just sick of having that nasty post be my most recent blog entry.

I have my usual New Year's Resolutions: lose weight, be more organized, get rid of clutter in my life. I actually got rid of a pickup load of stuff in December, so hopefully I can continue the trend in January. As long as I just drop the stuff off at the second hand store and DO NOT GO IN TO BROWSE, I should be ok.

I have managed to not be addicted to Mountain Dew, and haven't had it on a regular basis since early November. I have had it a couple times though- when my throat was healing, the "burn" from the carbonation felt good on my throat. I want to continue my independence from soda.

Although I consider myself to be a fairly decent cook, I've decided I need to experiment a little bit. So, I am hoping to have the first 14 home cooked dinners in December be an unfamiliar recipe.

Tonight we had pot roast. Yes, I do pot roast a lot, but I used a different recipe. Much as it pains me to admit it, I think it was probably the best roast I ever made.

On New Year's Eve, we got together with J's sister, her husband and their kids. It was a lot of fun. We had the kids watch movies and play upstairs while we played Wii, watched the Jazz, and ate ourselves sick. I reinforced my reputation as being terrible at video games. Their dogs chose to stay downstairs with us, and Koda soon regretted the decision. We'd brought party hats because S insisted it was a party, and someone thought it'd be funny to make Koda look festive.

I hadn't realized just how embarrassed a dog could look. Soon after this shot, he chose to go upstairs for a while.