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So, I am back from the dead. 
Or, from this nasty cold at least.  Let me tell ya, it was a doozy.  Haven’t gotten it yet?  Have no fear.  You’ll probably get it soon.  It seems to be spreading rapidly.  It’s like the plague.  It’ll knock ya flat.  And I finally thought I was improving when the sinus pain hit last week.  You know, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve just been punched?  Or perhaps (in Reenie’s words) as though someone is shoving a cattle prod into the side of your face?  Yeah, that kind.  After trying all of my natural methods for 5 days to relieve the “pressure”, I finally admitted I needed the doctor.  And the prescription they gave me for my sinus infection is working wonders. 🙂

And not only did I get to keep the left side of my face after all, Mr. Sun decided to show his lovely smiling face today, making my joy complete.

But eventually came dinner.  Otherwise known as the ugly reality, You-are-an Adult-Now – Cook-Your-Food-Yourself.  See, I was supposed to meal plan on Saturday.  And shop on Saturday.  It is Tuesday.  And we have no food.  I love deadlines.  I love the sound they make as they go whooshing past.  (one of my favorite quotes.)

So yeah, needless to say, I wanted to crash my parents’ for dinner tonight.  BUT, I challenged myself.  I challenged myself to a) not get take-out and b) not mooch off of some poor unsuspecting friend or family member.

And this is what I came up with:

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I cooked up some whole wheat pasta, chopped up some cherry tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, and tossed it all together with grated Parmesan and White Balsamic Italian dressing.  (You can see the recipe for the dressing here.)  And for garnish I added about a TBSP of fresh parsley.  It was good!  Tasty and satisfying.  And I used up ingredients that would have otherwise gone bad PLUS I didn’t spend a penny!  Challenge conquered.

Here is Michael, clearly not ready for my “candid” shot.  He was making sure he didn’t have anything in his teeth.  And he is being gracious by letting me post this picture, because I think it is hilarious and he does not. :)  He’s a good sport.

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And, because I want your sympathy, please observe this horse pill that I have to take:

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It is ginormous.  This picture does not do it justice.  But please believe me when I say that it is like swallowing a cannonball.  (Yes, Traci, once again I am being overly dramatic.)  Fortunately, it is allowing me to remain upright for more than an hour at a time, so I am willing to endure it.

Finally, to celebrate the warm weather and the fact that the left side of my face didn’t explode, I told Mike to get in the car for a surprise.  However, it did not end up being much of a surprise because before we even got out of our neighborhood he guessed where we were going. 

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It must be punishment for spoiling every surprise anyone has ever tried to spring on me.  I suppose I deserve it.  (Although, in my defense, I have not hijacked anybody’s palm pilot in about 5 years!)

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We still had a grand ol’ time.  Mike got an Orange Misto.  I got a Mango Gelati.  And yes, I got the large.  Seriously, it’s only 40 cents more.  It was the best value.  Plus, I’m pregnant, and Julia was demanding her fair share.  What kind of mother would I be if I said no to that?

We are looking forward to many more Rita’s trips as the weather gets nicer and nicer.  Spring, here we come!

That’s what the forecasters are calling this latest snowstorm.  For those of you who are keeping track, this is monster-storm #4.  Which, it’s really not, because we’re only supposed to get 6-12”.  But I suppose Fox needs something catchy to keep their audience glued to the TV during their 24-hour-live-storm-coverage.

So they are calling it the Snowicane.  I kid you not.  I am rebelling and watching TLC and Food Network instead.  I don’t need to see Fox’s “snowglobe” coverage.  I have windows in my house, thank you very much.

Anyways, I refuse to let this snow ruin my plans for today.  While it is true that I will not be officially changing my name today (sad, I know), I will press onward with my social plans.  Meg and I are going to Specialteas Tea Room in Chadds Ford for her birthday, and nothing will stop us now.  No, not even you, Snowicane.  Birthdays call for desperate measures.  I am very much looking forward to afternoon tea and scones with my dear friend.  And as for the name-changing-business – I’ve waited a year and half already.  I believe it can wait one week more.

In the meantime I plan to clean my house and read.  And try not to distract Michael who is working from home today.  This morning I was being silly and quite possibly annoying (as usual) and he just looked at me and said, “I can’t believe I live with you.”

…………

He then clarified that what he MEANT by that statement was that he very much ENJOYS living with me and he can’t believe he GETS to live with me, that he (somehow?) loves my silliness (God bless him).  Which, I of course know that’s what he meant, but the timing of the statement was something we had a good laugh about.  I’m glad he still loves me even after living with me for a year and a half.  I do believe I surprise even myself by how strange I really am.  I truly have a remarkable husband who puts up with me.

Although I must get him back by sharing what just transpired in my kitchen.  He is making a breakfast of bacon and eggs, and, I am sitting in the living room and, well, here is the conversation :

Michael: eeeeeewwwwww one of the eggs is BROKEN in the carton!  GROSS!
Me: huh!  I always check them before I buy them!  They weren’t broken when I bought them!  That’s very strange.

…………… (long pause)

Michael: yeahh…..weelllll….not entirely because the other day I opened the fridge and one of the egg cartons fell out.

??????

Eggs 101: They will break if you drop them 🙂

Anyways, moving on.  Because I love sharing good recipes that we come across, here is what we made for dinner last night:

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Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair
by: Martha Stewart Everyday Food

Ingredients:
– coarse salt and ground pepper
– 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
– 8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 and 1/2 lbs total.  I pounded the meat to make it tender.)
– 2 T olive oil
– 1 c. chicken broth (I use 2 c. because we like extra sauce)
– 1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, drained & quartered
– 2 T rinsed and drained capers
– 2 T butter
– 8 oz. angel-hair pasta
– 1/2 c. parsley leaves

Directions:
1) Set a large pot of salted water to boil.  Place flour in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper.  Dredge cutlets, shaking off excess.  In a large skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken in batches, adding remaining oil as needed, until light golden and cooked through.  Transfer to dish.
2) Add broth to skillet and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half.  Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices.  Gently swirl to combine and bring just to a boil.  Remove skillet from heat.  Swirl in butter and cover to keep warm.
3) Cook pasta according to package directions.  Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley.

I understand artichokes and capers are not foods that are universally liked, but we like them and really enjoyed this dish. 🙂  Very light yet satisfying!

And I cannot leave without telling you about one of my favorite pantry items:

White Balsamic Vinegar

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Oh my goodness.  I cannot even tell you how much I love this.  So incredibly different than regular Balsamic Vinegar.  Trader Giotto says this about it: “It has a sweet-sour taste that makes it suitable for hors d’oevres, salad dressings, entrees and desserts…Two differences in the process result in a similar vinegar of a different color: it isn’t aged in wooden barrels, and the dark color of the traditional Balsamic Vinegar is filtered out, leaving the crystal clear tint and distinctive taste.”

I used it in the last meal I posted on here, Chicken Salad with Green Beans, Potatoes and Peppers.  I added a few splashes to the Artichoke sauce for last night’s dinner and it gave it a nice sweet tang.  Also, and this is probably my favorite recipe for it, use it in your Italian Salad Dressing.  You know those Good Seasons packets that you mix with oil, vinegar and water?  Use this White Balsamic Vinegar and it is DIVINE.  My Aunt Donna first introduced us to this way of making homemade Italian dressing, and it is one of my favorites.  Just Romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan cheese and croutons tossed in this White Balsamic Dressing and you’ll have a keeper salad recipe for the rest of your life.  Try it! 🙂

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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