Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas is much on the mind as it is fast approaching & everyone is coming to our house this year since my parents are having massive house renovations (see De-I's blog for more updates). We haven't been aking as much as usual this year since my moms is so close and she is a way better baker than I could ever hope to be. After coming across this on you tube, however, I felt like I had to make some cupcakes. Ah the power of music ;)

As a side note, I have been listening to Christmas music non-stop for the last few weeks, and it seems to me that they feel it necessary to play the same versions of songs every day (kind of like regular radio most of the time). But it seems odd since there are so many wonderful carol interpretations out there. For example, I have yet to have hear one James Brown Christmas Carol, and, surprisingly, they haven't played this holiday favorite. Oh well, maybe next year.

I already bought myself my Christmas gift (Chalean Xtreme from Beachbody in case you were wondering), but if this were available, I would totally want it for Christmas...or Hannukah, we're equal opportunity in the Pu household. Yay for blended families! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Get In the Kitchen and Make Me Some Pie!

Reading over my last few posts, I realize that I have been venting more than normal. I have been bottling all my stress up, so I apologize for letting it all out on here. So when I am feeling particularly stressed I have resolved to devote my blogging to an activity I find less stressful: cooking a quick, family-friendly meal. I figure I cook most nights now (since we are tightening our belt just like 99.9% of Americans nowadays), so this will provide me with lots of blog fodder! :) Here is today's menu, which was made in less than 30min (minus cooking time):

Chicken Pot Pie*

1lb chicken breast, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, choppped thin
2 carrots, chopped thin
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sherry
3 tbsp bouquet garni
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 tbsp butter
frozen pie crust (or make your own if yo' so inclined)

Melt butter in large sauce pan over medium heat & fry up chicken pieces until just cooked through (about 6-8min depending on how small you cube them). Remove chicken & add onion, carrots, celery, & spices (salt, pepper, bouquet garni) to pan and cook until onions are clear (make sure your celery and carrots are sliced thin so they cook through at the same time as the onion). If the mixture seems a little dry, add some more butter or oil. Remove pan from heat & add flour, stir until thoroughly mixed & return pan to heat. Add chicken stock, milk, cream, & sherry stirring slowly to keep the consistency creamy. Return chicken to mixture & add in frozen peas. Remove mixture and add to pie pan and cover with prepared crust (remember to cut slits in the top pie crust!). Pop in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes and voila! dinner that everyone will actually eat!**

*Confession: I cook by taste and don't really measure my ingredients, so please forgive me if they are slightly off. Also, please remember that I am at a very high altitude, so you may have to adjust the liquid to flour ratio to achieve the right consistency.

**Hint: place a baking pan underneath the pot pie so that if it overflows it doesn't fuck up your oven!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick Post

I feel like I should post something even though there's nothing exciting to write about. Had an IT meltdown at work today. Luckily my system admin was able to get everything up and running by day's end so that I would have system access during the holidays (he is headed out on vacation tomorrow), which would have really sucked since I am working through the holidays! Thanks to my fabulous company policy, we either have to take leave or make up the time if there is inclement weather which prevents us from being able to get to our worksite. Because of the nature of the work I do, it is not possible for me to work from home, so I am basically stuck making up the two hours I missed on Tuesday thanks to the snow (yes, it totally melted by about noon). This especiall sucks since I was hoping to work overtime already so that I could take the 24th off, but now it is physically impossible to make up the hours (we can only make up hours during the same pay period) so I am going to have to work on the 24th. Plus, since the Pres declared the 26th a federal holiday our building will be closed that day too and all contractors are being forced to take leave or leave without pay. So while it will be nice to have the 26th off, it also kind of crappy since I don't really have any leave to burn.

I also attempted to make rugalach tonight since we are having our organizational holiday potluck tomorrow (families are being permitted into the conference room...lucky families!). I happened by the sign-up sheet just as one of the oranizers was standing there with pen in hand and asically guilted me into promising to bring something in the next day. Kind of crappy since I had assumed the whole thing was going to get canceled (no one had signed up as of yeserday). Anyway, apparently I have a very short term memory because everytime I try to bake I remember all over again that I cannot bake! My sis MR must have gotten all the baking genes in the family b/c my moms is an awesome baker. Hopefully they taste good since they look like shit (and kind of like J might have made them) and I only managed to make about 12 cookies before I said fuck it. I didn't have enough time to let the dough cool in the fridge and I don't have a baking sheet to roll out the dough, so I was getting really frustrated with the whole endeavor. Hubs finally suggested that I just bake what I already had assembled and leave the rest, that way if they taste terrible I will not have wasted my entire evening. *sigh* I love the holidays (I am that annoying person who has the 24hr Christmas station on all day in the office), but man has it been stressful!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Home Again

I made it back to Abq just before the storm (woke up to snow & ice on my car this morning). There is a mountain pass just across the NM-CO border that I must cross in order to make it home from the Springs, and I am always worrying about the weather. There was a huge snowstorm last night, so my reserve command was kind enough to release me a little early in the day so I could speed my ass off to beat the storm home. And it's only December!

In other news, things are quite stressful at home. I have been worrying a lot about my school aged kiddos since I think they are both getting screwed by the public school system and there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it.* I don't want to go into too much detail here, but C & T are both getting teased in school for various reasons. And, as a mother and as a kid who was once picked on myself, my heart just breaks for them both. You just want your kids to have a wonderful childhood and to avoid all the horrible things you went thgrough as a kid. I want to give them the best possible future, and I feel so helpless. It just makes me feel so sad...

Anyway, now that it is truly the holiday season, I have started the kids on my usual X-mas excitement kick. Every night we watch a different Christmas movie (Rudolph, The Grinch, Charlie Brown or Garfield Christmas, etc.) and open the advent calendar (hey, any tradition that encourages the eating of chocolate is one we all should adopt ;) Then we sit around the tree and either read the various holiday story books (there's a whole bunch of Hanukkah ones, too...I'm an equal opportunity holidayist :) or count up all the presents under the tree. And we still have three more weeks to go! As a child, I just loved the feeling of anticipation that came with Christmas, and I love seeing how excited my own children get.

Example of Pu Family Christmas Joy:

We are watching Rudolph...enter Abominable Snowman...I grab Jocelyn and squeeze her pretending to be afraid...
Me: *gasp* Oh no, it is the Abominable Snowman. He is so scary!
J: Eeeee! Scary Nomabable Snowman!
Me: Is he going to eat Rudolph??!! I think he likes to eat reindeer.
J: *firmly* No! We will eat him first. He will be yummy like snow. Snow is yummy.
C: Um, what about his teeth? He has really big teeth.
J: *pauses thoughtfully* Then we will give him Alex.

So I leave you with some happy holiday pics:

*Thanks to all who commented on my previous post about the NCLB Act, especially those who aren't my normal audience. It is comforting and yet incredibly frustrating to know there are others facing these challenges. One can only hope that the Obama administration will turn their attention to our abysmal Education Dept; however, I think they'll probably be quite busy with just keeping the country afloat. I have just about given up on public schools altogether. I am seriously considering homeschooling, if only we can figure out a way we could afford it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Fool's Gold

Lisa is in Colorado Springs until Monday, I hear it's a winter wonderland and she has been snowboarding to and from work everyday.
I hope everyone had a great holiday. I know I am really thankful to have a wife loved by so many, that and being richer than 65% of the world, BWHAHAHAHA ...!!!!

Honestly, when I was driving through West Texas last week, besides continuously reminding myself that the Chainsaw Massacre guy and his family were in fact not going to get me when I stop for gas :) I heard on a local radio station if you had any spare change in your house, car, whatever, then you were richer than 65% of the worlds population. The radio station was really interesting, but had a lot of shitiness to it as well, therefore death magnetic was turned back on and yes, loudly. At any who, it really makes you think just how fortunate we really are, especially around the holidays.!!

If you don't donate regularly, perhaps this X-mas can be your first? Something that isn't much to you would mean the world to others.

This here is just ridiculousness..

Peace guys