Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Asian Salmon

We love salmon. Especially wild salmon. We have our standby recipes that we make regularly, but are always looking for new and tasty ways to make our favorite fish. This recipe for Asian Grilled Salmon, found on the Food Network website, was a great possibility.

Now, keep in mind that it is January in Chicagoland and grilling is not really an option so I modified the directions to cook the salmon in a skillet on the stove top.

We liked, but did not love this results so I can't say for sure if we will make this again. I am not sure exactly why we didn't like it. It just didn't hit the spot.

Maybe you will have a different result and decide this is one of your favorite dishes.

Asian Salmon
Original recipe source: Food Network web site
3/4 pound of salmon

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic

Lay the salmon skin side down on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 2 equal pieces (approximately 6 oz each). Whisk together the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Heat large skillet to medium/medium high heat. Place the salmon skin side down in the skillet. Discard the marinade the fish sat in. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon may be a bit raw in the center, but the fish will keep cooking as it rests.

Transfer the fish to a flat plate, flesh side down and remove the skin and grey fat. Flip fish and place onto serving platter. Spoon the reserve marinade on top. Tent platter with aluminum foil and let fish rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - Success

Another week of following the plan. Another week of getting it right. Wahoo!

Now that we have been menu planning for several months, I can say that it has helped us immensely in keeping our food costs down (since we are buying based on sales and coupons), lowered our entertainment costs (since we are not getting carryout several times a week), has allowed us to enjoy each others company (since we sit down for meals now that we are not eating on the run) and removed some of the stress surrounding answer to the dreaded question..."What are we eating for breakfast/lunch/dinner?"

So to all those who do not yet menu plan, the time is now to get on board. Start small, plan one or two dinners a week. Make sure to include family favorites as well as new recipes that have similar ingredients. There are many great sites that will allow you to input main ingredients and then will give you a list of recipes using those ingredients.,, are some of my favorites. For a picky eater like me, this is a great way to slowly expand my horizons.

Well, after all that, I suppose I should get to our menu plan for this week. I still haven't gotten caught up on blogging all the recipes I have already made, so again, we are going back to some of our favorite recipes.

Sunday: Out for dinner (Our realtor is hosting an Open House from 1 to 3, so no time to cook before Mr. Gooch goes to work.)
Monday: Barbacoa Beef in the crockpot for tacos and Chipotle style basmati rice
Tuesday: Forage in the Fridge (FITF)
Wednesday: Lasagna
Thursday: FITF
Friday: Salmon with Lime Lake Shore Drive Seasoning Marinade
Saturday: Tri-tip steaks with Sweet Mesquite Marinade

Sides for all dinners to include a side salad, veggie and starch (if a starch isn't already in the main dish)

Breakfasts will be cereal, muffins, scones or yogurt with homemade granola.

Lunches will be bagels with chicken salad, chicken pita pockets, as well as other things from the fridge and freezer.

Make sure to visit to see what others have planned for their week's menu.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friend Favorite from Ms. Fort - Chardonney Dill Sauce

One weekday afternoon, my good friend Ms. Fort came over for dinner with Mr. Gooch and I. Our only request was she bring with her a recipe for me to blog about. She brought a recipe from a friend of hers to serve over fish, chicken or shrimp.

Ms. Fort and I have been friends for year now, she was even in my wedding. How we met is a crazy story and just one more reason I believe in the whole "Six Degrees of Separation" theory. We met while we were both working for the same company in Chicago. While working at a Firm event, we got to talking about where we grew up. Turns out we both were from Michigan. As we talked more, we found out that we both lived in the same town for several years. Then as we discussed our families and where our families lived, we figured out that when she was little, her parents were friends with my aunt and uncle. They all lived on the same street, which was the same street my grandparents lived on. There is even a chance we played together as little kids. Talk about weird. We always ask ourselves what are the odds that in a city of millions, with hundreds of thousands of companies, we would end up working at the same company that employed thousands, helping out at the same event and start talking about where we were from?

OK, now back to the recipe. We made this to serve over a Parmesan breaded Tilapia.

It was so easy and came together without incident. The only complaint was that the mustard flavor was a bit strong (though I liked the flavor) and it would be better with shrimp (too bad fro Mr. Gooch that I don't eat shellfish).

We will definitely make this again. I have a feeling it will be tasty over chicken too.

Chardonnay Dill Sauce
(source: Steve Kovachevich)
1/2 cup Stoneground Mustard
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tbs Chardonnay Wine
2 Tbs Cider Vinegar
2 Tbs Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tsp Dill Weed
1/8 Tsp Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Refrigerate to let flavors blend.

Serve over fish, chicken or shrimp.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Brown Sugar Pork Loin in the Crockpot

I have been trying to expand my meat repertoire and for me that means adding pork to the menu. I never had much pork growing up, other than the occasional piece of bacon or breakfast sausage as well as the Honey Baked Ham on Christmas eve. I don't think I ever had a pork chop, a pork tenderloin or a pork roast until this year. I guess I just love crave the cow and the chicken more than the pig.

But as I have now learned, pork roasts cook very nicely in the crock pot so we have been experimenting. Our first go was the highly recommended Rootbeer Pulled Pork. I mean, how can you go wrong with BBQ sauce and pulled meat, right? We really liked this so have made it several times.

But one cannot make a meat the same way over and over and over again, right? Well, I probably could but Mr. Gooch would go nuts. (He thought is was weird that I brought the same thing for lunch for almost a year.) So my husband's desire for recipe variety meant I was on the hunt for some new recipes for making pork in the crock pot. I found several on

The one that Mr. Gooch said sounded the best was the recipe for Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Loin.

Now, I have to say, I was not a huge fan of this recipe, but Mr. Gooch really liked it. My complaint is that I am not a fan of sweet main dishes. I guess I like my sweetness in the dessert course. My main complaint was that the amount of brown sugar was a bit too much for me. However, it was so easy to make. I may still keep it in the rotation for nights when I won't be home for dinner but Mr. Gooch still wants something other than sandwiches or take out.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Loin
1 boneless pork loin roast, 4 to 6 pounds
1 clove garlic, halved
salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (omitted since I am not a cinnamon fan)

Wash and dry the pork roast, trimming any excess fat.
Rub trimmed roast with garlic halves then season with salt and pepper.
Poke the roast all over with a fork or skewer.

Combine mustard, vinegar and 1 cup of the brown sugar in a small bowl. Once completely mixed, rub all over the roast.

Place roast in crock pot, cover and cook on Low for 7 to 9 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. At this point pour off the excess juices.

combine the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar with cinnamon (if you would like to include it); Spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour longer.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flowers in the Garden - January Edition

The end of January is coming. That means that we should almost be done with the sub zero temps that have been the norm through most of this month.

The end of January also means that Spring is coming too. Not much longer until there the buds are sprouting and there are real flowers in the garden.

Until then, enjoy the hydrangeas!

Lasagna - Easier Than I Thought

I love pasta and cheese, so it took me a while to get over the shock when I realized that I had never actually made lasagna.

But I decided that I had to try to make a batch since it freezes so well so could be added to the "Make Ahead" list for when the kids are here for spring break and schedules/menu planning can go right out the window.

I searched my Google Reader for an easy recipe and found this recipe on the blog The Organized McTatty. The recipe, with her photos, made it look so easy.

I modified mine slightly since I wanted to make the dish in 2-8x8 pans so we could freeze one for later. This is why I cooked the noodles slightly so they could be cut with kitchen shears to fit the smaller pans. And I love cheese so upped those amounts. Plus, who doesn't like a bit more cheese.

Easy Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
3 cups Mozzarella Cheese, divided
15 oz. Part Skim Ricotta Cheese (usually one large container)
3/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
2 Tablespoons Italian herb blend
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 jar spaghetti sauce (at least 24 oz.)
1 cup water
12 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook noodles to al dente.

In a large skillet, brown the meat.

While the meat is cooking, in a large bowl combine 1 3/4 cup mozzarella, all the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the herbs and the egg until it is well blended. Set aside.

Once meat is brown, drain off the fat and return the meat to the skillet. Add in the spaghetti sauce.

Add the cup of water to empty sauce jar, close and shake well to get all the sauce out of the jar. Add water/sauce mixture to the skillet, stirring to mix completely.

Spread 1 cup meat sauce in the bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish; 3 of the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, spread 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture onto the noodles and cover with 1 cup of the meat sauce.

Repeat this process twice. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce and cheeses.

Cover with foil.

BAKE for 1 hour, removing foil after 45 min.

Let stand 15 min. before cutting to serve.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week we were spot on in terms of following our menu plan for last week. It was an A+.

This week we have a bunch of our favorite recipes since I am so behind in my blogging, I didn't want to add another recipe to post about to the mix.

Sunday: Forage in the Fridge (FITF)
Monday: Chicken in the Crockpot
Tuesday: Spaghetti Pie
Wednesday: Orzo with Sausage and Chicken
Thursday: FITF
Friday: BBQ Salmon
Saturday: Either FITF or out to dinner. It totally depends on what the fridge looks like.

Side Salad will be served at each meal, with a veggie and starch (if not already found in the dish).

Breakfast will be homemade granola and yogurt, bagels and cereal.

Lunches will be whatever can be found in the fridge or freezer.

Visit to see what others are planning for their menus.

Homemade Granola - In the Crockpot

I am trying to eat healthier in the new year. One way to do this, I thought, would be to make some homemade granola. That way I knew exactly what was in the mix and there wouldn't be any coconut (I hate coconut).

I found this recipe on A Year of Crockpotting and modified it a bit to meet my needs.

The result was absolutely tasty. I have been eating it instead of chips for a snack and in my yogurt for breakfast. I am sure I will find many other ways to incorporate this tasty treat into my diet.

Crockock Granola
Modified from A Year of Crockpotting
- 5 cups oats (I made separate batches with quick cook and rolled, both turned out tasty)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup dried fruit (I used raisins and cranberries)

In a 4 or 6 quart crockpot, place all the dry ingredients.

Melt the butter in the microwave.

Add butter and honey to dry ingredients, tossing well to mix completely.

Cover, but vent with a wooden spoon.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes. Stirring this frequently is key since the granola will burn more quickly than you think. I set a timer so I wouldn't forget.

Once cooked, place granola mixture on a cookie sheet and let cool.

Seal well in an air-tight container or Ziplock.

Orzo with Sausage, Chicken and Peppers

After making Crockpot Chicken earlier one week, we had leftover chicken. Not wanting to make our usual Chicken Quesedillas, I hit the Internet and started searching based on ingredients we already had in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

I found something that looked tasty on the Food Network website - Orzo with Sausage, Peppers and Tomatoes. I only needed to modify it to meet my picky eating for it to be perfect.

Orzo with Sausage, Chicken and Peppers
Modified from Food Network Recipe
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 pound orzo pasta
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 ounces (2 links) mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 to 3/4 cup cup shredded chicken
2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried parsley
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, over high heat boil chicken stock, water and salt. Once boiling, add Orzo and cook per directions. Making sure to stir occasionally. This takes about 8-10 minutes.

At the same time, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and peppers (cut into 1/4 inch strips) sauteing until peppers begin to soften. Remove peppers from heat and place in a large bowl, cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, cook Italian sausage completely. Once the sausage is cooked, add the shredded chicken to warm through.

Add peppers and garlic back into the skillet along with the red peppers flakes, cooking for several minutes until all ingredients are warm.

Drain the Orzo.

Transfer the Orzo to the large bowl used for the peppers. Add the meat mixture to the Orzo along with the dried parsley, mozzarella cheese seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Add mozzarella cheese.

Mix ingredients well to combine all ingredients.

Serve while warm.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Favorite Travel Photos

Who doesn't like a sunset? This photo was taken in Charlevoix, Michigan at one of our favorite roadside beaches.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quick and Easy Chicken Pita Pockets

I was in my local Trader Joe's not too long ago and saw some whole wheat pitas. Unable to pass them up, I bought a pack (along with several other things. I mean who can leave that store without a whole bag of tasty treats?), and headed home. Once I got home and checked the cupboard and fridge, I knew exactly what I was going to make. It was going to be of my quick and easy college standby meals.

When reading this recipe, keep in mind that back in the day my cooking skills were pretty limited and I lived in a dorm room with only a mini fridge so any food prep was minimal (to say the least).

Even so, I still love this. You can also put the chicken mixture on a toasted bagel with a piece of cheese melted on top.

Chicken in a Pita
(Source: My brain, in college, when addled by too much reading and not enough Coca-Cola)
1 can cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons Low fat Italian Dressing (you can add more or less depending on your preference)
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan cheese (though I always add more)
any additional spices you prefer (I usually add a bit of garlic powder or seasoned salt and some additional Italian herbs)
Pita (s)
Veggies (like peppers, cucumbers, sprouts, carrots)

Open and drain can of chicken
Place into a medium sized bowl
Add Italian dressing
Mix completely
Add Parmesan cheese
Mix completely
Cut pita in half so you have 2 pockets
Fill each pocket with the chicken mixture
Add any other raw veggies you desire. (I often add peppers, thinly sliced carrots and cucumbers for some crunch.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

After a few hiccups last week (mainly due to the weather and a friend coming over for dinner one night), we hit about 80% for the week. All things considered, not that bad.

As the old cliche goes "Tomorrow is another day." The way I look at it, today begins another week and another chance to follow the Menu Plan.

The plan is as follows
Sunday: Forage in the Fridge (FITF)
Monday: Chinese Night (Orange Chicken, Chicken Pot Stickers and Spring Rolls) - All are from Costco freezer section
Tuesday: Baked Mac and Cheese with Andouille Chicken Sausage
Wednesday: Homemade Pizza
Thursday: FITF
Friday: Lasagna
Saturday: FITF/Take Out/Eat Out depending on our mood (and the weather)

Sides for each dinner include sides salad and a veggie. If there is no starch in the main dish, potatoes or rice will accompany.

Lunches are made up of leftovers, sandwiches and micro dinners.

Breakfasts are made up of cereal, oatmeal, toast, yogurt or granola bars.

Don't forget to check out other menu plans on

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Trying to Get Organized - Scheduling Posts

Part of my plan for the new year is to get organized. It isn't really a resolution, since I am trying to make it part of my lifestyle. As part of that plan, I am trying to bring some order to my blogging.

I have several series of posts that I will be posting regularly. Of course, I will be blogging other recipes, posts and Random Thoughts through out the month but this will help me ensure I am posting on a regular basis. They include

Menu Plans: Posting each week on Sunday night
Family Favorite Recipes: Posting each month on the 4th
Friend Favorite Recipes: Posting each month on the 24th
Flowers in the Garden: Posting each month on the 21st
Tuesdays with Dorie: Posting at least twice a month on Tuesdays
Healthy Recipes: Posting at least two a month on Thursdays
Favorite Travel Photos: Posting each month on the 5th and 15th
Craft/DIY Project: Every third month on the 12th (Once a quarter)
Resolution Update: Every third month on the 18th (Once a quarter)

Are there any other types of posts you would like to see on a regular basis?

Let me know and I will see about adding them into the schedule.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Series of Posts - Favorite Travel Photos

I will be posting some of my favorite travel photos on the 5th and the 15th of the month in 2009.

Kicking things off is a photo from a trip to Ireland.

We came upon this deserted estate house while lost on a back road in the western part of Ireland.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Below is our menu plan for the week. As usual, we are only planning to prepare three actual meals since we have so much left over, it takes us the rest of the week to eat out the fridge.

Sunday: Forage in the Fridge (FITF)
Monday: FITF
Tuesday: Asian Grilled Salmon
Wednesday: Dijon Thyme Chicken
Thursday: Turkey Spaghetti Pie
Friday: FITF
Saturday: FITF or Take Out

Sides will be our usual assortment of rice, potatoes or pasta. Veggies to include carrots, corn and green beans with a side salad each night.

Breakfasts will be cereal, yogurt and coffee (can't skip that).

Lunches will be FITF. We usually have frozen meals, sandwiches or anything else that strikes our fancy.

Make sure you check out to see what others have planned for this week's menus.

Family Favorite From Aunt - Baked Beans

During the holidays, I got to eat some of our family's favorite dishes. Aunt's Baked Beans fit that description. A staple at Christmas eve dinner since, well, since we started celebrating at my parents house.

I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a tasty, easy, baked bean recipe.

Aunt's Baked Beans
1 large jar of Randall Great Northern Beans
2 large onions, chopped (she used two very large sweet (Vidalia) onions)
1 lb. good bacon cut in 1" slices (optional: fry a bit to get fat out but don't crisp)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 Tablespoons dry mustard (approximate amount) (McCormick's .85 oz. is a bit over 3 Tbs.)
24 oz. Ketchup (about 3/4 of a 32oz. bottle)

Preheat Oven to 300 Degrees
Mix all of the ingredients together completely
Pour into in a casserole dish no smaller than 3 qt. capacity or it may bubble over
Bake uncovered in a 300 degree preheated oven for 3-4 hours (she usually bakes for closer to 4 hours)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Nothing says the holiday like a big family gathering. The photo at the top of the post is of some of the many pairs of shoes left at the front door on Christmas Eve at my parent's house while their owners (aunts, uncles, cousins and many other family members) celebrated the holiday.

This year I was able to travel home to celebrate Christmas Eve and Day with my family. Unfortunately, Mr. Gooch was unable to join me as he was called into work. (Boo!)

Christmas Eve is when my extended family traditionally gathers at my parent's home and this year we had 26 for dinner. Close to the previous record of 29 for dinner. We needed to have tables in the dining room, kitchen and family room to accommodate everyone.

This gathering is always a bit chaotic, noisy, happy and all around fun. Everyone always heads home full of good food, loaded down with gifts and already looking forward to next year's celebration.

We celebrated with the usual menu for dinner. The fact that it never changes is another tradition. There is something comforting about eating the same meal at 39 that I ate at 9. Especially since so much in our world changes so quickly.

Appetizers included
Shrimp with cocktail sauce
Crab Appetizer with Cream Cheese
Cheese and Crackers
Deviled Eggs
Oreo Truffles made with Cream Cheese

For dinner we had
Honey Baked Ham
Green Bean Casserole
Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes
Baked Beans with Bacon
Layered Salad
Home Style Applesauce
Kosher Pickles
Potato Rolls

For dessert we had
Funfetti cookies with cream cheese frosting
vanilla, milk chocolate or dark chocolate ice cream

Pudding Fail? - No Worries, Make Frosting

We had a butterscotch pudding fail when attempting the TWD: Real Butterscotch Pudding. It never set up and so we were left with butterscotch cream. It was the equivalent of 4-6 servings of pudding that didn't "pud". So that is what we ended up calling what was now sitting in several travel mugs in the fridge - Pud.

Mr. Gooch had the great idea of mixing the "pud" into a buttercream frosting and putting it on top of french vanilla cupcakes. I thought that this was a wonderful idea. The only problem, I had never made buttercream frosting before.

I did find this recipe for Magnolia Vanilla Buttercream. It looked like a great starting off point since it involved a larger quantity of liquid than many others I found.

The result was absolutely tasty and we are working our way through a dozen and a half cupcakes and frosting (with a strawberry on top of each one) as we speak. Yum Yum!

Butterscotch Buttercream Frosting
(Adapted from Magnolia Vanilla Buttercream)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 to 1 cup butterscotch "pud" (I kept adding liquid until it had the desired butterscotch-y taste)

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl.
Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the butterscotch "pud".
On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.
You may not need to add all of the sugar.
If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly.
Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.)

Its a DIY Christmas - Homemade Doggie Treats

In the midst of this year's baking, truffle rolling, spoon dipping, coaster making - I didn't want to forget our four legged friends this holiday season.

So when I was sent a recipe for homemade dog treats (Thank you Sarah!!) I knew that I had to whip up a batch for Kaiser, my brother's dog, and Hank, my Mother-in-Law's dog.

These turned out great. I love that there are so limited ingredients and they come together so quickly.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Treats
Source: WC Board friend Sarah G. (original source is unknown)
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Milk
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
In one bowl, combine dry ingredients.
In another bowl, combine milk and peanut butter.
Mix dry ingredients into the wet, making sure to mix completely.
I rolled the treats into small round balls and pressed flat once they were on the cookie sheet.
The treats do not expand much so you only need to leave about 1/2 inch between them.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Store in an airtight container.

Happy New Year!! And the Year in Review!

As 2008 drew to a close and 2009 began, I knew it was time to reflect on the past year. We had some big changes (I changed jobs), big plans in the making (putting the house on the market to move back to my home state) and big doings in the kitchen (I actually cook and bake on a regular basis now). I think it has all been pretty good for us this year.

I thought that one way of looking back would be to highlight big events of the last year and to pick some of my favorite blog posts.

Special Events from 2008
January: We try to survive another Chicagoland winter (brrrr!)
February: Mr. Gooch celebrates a birthday
March: Mr. Gooch starts driving for a postal contractor company
April: The kids come to stay for Spring Break
May: Must have been pretty quiet, I can't think of anything of note
June: I leave my job at the law firm
July: Blogging begins in earnest and Mr. Gooch starts training at a Mixed Martial Arts gym
August: We decide to move back to my home state and work in overdrive to get the house ready
September: The house goes on the market
October: Mr. Gooch and I celebrate our first anniversary
November: Heading to North Carolina for my cousin's wedding and I host Thanksgiving for the first time (and my birthday month)
December: Getting ready for the DIY Christmas with homemade and handcrafted goodies

Favorite Blog Posts
June: My very first post A New Beginning
July: Mr. Gooch Cooks (Multi-Veggie Caprese Salad)
August: More Yum Yum - Blueberry Ice Cream
September: Joelen's Culinary Adventures: Food Network Chef Adventure - Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto
November: It's a DIY Christmas - Tile Coasters (the post with the most hits for the year)
December: Creamy Cheesecake - Compliments of Ina G

While we look back at the past year with its ups and downs as well as lots of smooth sailing, Mr. Gooch and I are even more excited about the adventures that 2009 will bring.

I hope you all have a happy, healthy and exciting 2009!!

The 2009 "List of Resolutions"

I have always thought of New Year's Resolutions as somewhat useless. Mainly because I have a habit of making two kinds of resolutions.

The first is the type I know I will have no problem achieving. These include reading more books without being specific, paying more attention to world events, spending more time with Mr. Gooch and family. These are too easy.

The second is the type I know I have no chance of fulfilling. These usually include promises of getting up early to work out (when I am sooooo not a morning person) or that I will work out every day. These types also often involve losing unreasonable amounts of weight in unreasonable amounts of time. You know the type I am talking about. I think everyone makes this second type at some point.

But I have resolved (pun intended) that this year will be different. I limited my resolutions to no more than ten and tried to be realistic with those selected.

So here is my "List of Resolutions" for 2009.
1. Read 1 nonfiction book a month
2. Read 1 fiction book a month
3. Work out for 30 minutes at least three times a week
4. Blog at least three times a week
5. Blog about one craft project a month
6. Try at least 2 new cooking related recipes a week
7. Try at least 2 new baking related recipes a month
8. Clean and organize the basement by the end of January*

There will be a couple of finance related resolutions too but these will have to come later once we have a better idea on the house situation and the move.

I don't think that these are too unreasonable. Don't you agree? I will keep you posted on how things are going as the year progresses.

Here's hoping that everyone keeps their resolutions this year!

*The last one has actually been on my To Do list for several months but I thought if I added it to the "List of Resolutions" it may actually get done.


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