Sunday, August 28, 2011

Andrea, meet Sharon Osbourne

This past week, I was looking at my hair and decided I need to re-color my hair. It was getting washed out and streaked from the sun. I already had a box of color waiting for me in the cupboard, so I set to work. The color was different from my "normal" hair color, but it was still in the same color family. I just thought a slight change would be nice. Well, I got change! The new color was supposed to be a nice deep red with brown undertones. The color on the box was beautiful. I followed the instructions to the T.

I rinsed the color out and looked at my wet hair, and got nervous. My hair was bright red, even wet! I quickly towel dried my hair, and showed my hubby. He was so sweet about it. He looks at it and said "It's a fun change." I looked back in the mirror and wasn't convinced.  A little while later he looks at me again and said, "It looks like Sharon Osbourne's hair." That was when I realized I needed help. So I texted a pic to Laura.  This is her reply. "Very Red! :) What are you going to do? and Kendra (her co-worker) says anything with alcohol will make it fade faster." Being silly I texted back "So I have to get drunk! :)" Ha ha was her reply.

I then decided to call a friend that is a hair dresser for advice. She reassured me that it can be fixed and told me just what to do.  I went to Target first, to show Laura my hair and to get a new box of hair color. Target does not sell semi-permanent hair color, which I was told to get.  I wasn't bummed yet. Sally Beauty Supply is a few doors down.   Walking in, I was quickly greeted from one of the staff. I flat out told her I needed help! She was so nice, and showed me where their hair color was and picked out the perfect shade of Ash Brown.

Later that night, after the kiddo was in bed, I set to work again on my hair.  My friend, told me that the green hue in ash will tame the red in my hair. The whole time the color was setting, I was nervous that I just turned my hair green instead. Wouldn't that be awful! Twenty minutes later I rinsed my hair yet again and looked in the mirror. It was a nice tamed red. Definitely a dyed looking... non natural...kind of hair color, but nice.

I am still getting used to my new color, but I have actually gotten compliments on it. So we'll see, maybe this color will stick around for a while :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zucchini Fries with Sweet Onion Dip

 I (Andrea) was at Penzey Spices the other day and was given a bumper sticker that said "Love People: Cook Them Tasty Food." That is so true! I love to cook yummy recipes and see the enjoyment from my family at dinner time. Tonight, I was over ambitious.  I invited my in-laws over and I made a ton of food!

Earlier I was at the Wealthy Street Farmer's Market and got inspired to cook with all the great fresh ingredients. I came home with carrots, zucchini, red pepper, spaghetti squash, green leaf lettuce, blueberries, and a beef steak. As soon as I got home from the market I took two chicken breasts from the freezer and opened the Ziploc bag and added Italian dressing. I put the steak (I think it was round tip) in a casserole dish and put balsamic vinegar with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. I set the chicken and steak out on the counter to thaw. As soon as the munchkin woke up from his nap, I set to work. He played in the kitchen and pretended to mix up and taste a treat of his own. I looked up a recipe for Blueberry Cobbler and found a Betty Crocker recipe for Blackberry Cobbler. I thought that would work just great. (So I just searched for it on line because I used a cook book. The online recipe is completely different from the cook book. I will post the recipe in a later blog, because it is worth sharing!)

Next, looked up a recipe for zucchini fries that i pinned on pinterest. I thought I had all the ingredients, except for Pamko bread crumbs. I decided to use the good old fashioned bread crumbs that was sitting in the cupboard.  I prepped the Zucchini and made the Sweet Onion Dip. The dip was super easy to make, and turned out scrumptious! I then realized I was missing a key ingredient for the batter....Parmesan Cheese. So I called my Father-in-law up, who was coming over for dinner, and ask if he could bring their stash over. So I put that whole recipe aside and focused on other dishes until the Parmesan was in hand.

I chopped up some fresh broccoli that needed to be eaten asap along with the a red pepper, onion, carrots, and a green pepper and corn from my own garden. I placed all the veggies on a foil lined cookie sheet and drizzled olive oil over the mixture. Then I added some garlic salt and pepper. I put the veggies under the broiler until the broccoli florets were beginning to brown. It was about 8-10 minutes with a stir in between.  Mmmm! I love roasted broccoli!

I then realized that this meal was a ton of veggies and no starch. Since I have a huge bag of russet potatoes to satisfy my nine p.m. cravings for a baked potatoes, I rinsed off 8 of them and cut them into chunks and into a pot of boiling water.  Soon they became ranch mashed potatoes.  Easiest mashed potatoes to make with out lacking flavor. When mashing the potatoes, add milk, sour cream, salt and pepper and about 4 tablespoons of ranch dressing. It adds a nice zip!

Next,  I heated up the grill for the chicken and steak.  Soon after, my Parmesan cheese arrived and I quickly made my batter for the zucchini fries and threw them in the oven while the meat was on the grill. Surprisingly, the timing worked out well! The meat was finished minutes after the fries came out of the oven.

Wow was it a spread of food. The weather was fantastic, so we all fixed out plates in the kitchen and ate outside on the deck under the huge maple tree.  My mother-in-law loved the zucchini fries and dip. She went back for seconds! I will admit too, I ate my share along with Jory's share. (Jory isn't a veggie lover) I even ate them at nine tonight in place of my baked potato! Now that is saying a lot! :)

So here is the recipe for the fabulous Zucchini Fries and Sweet Onion Dip from King Arthur Flour.
p.s.The comments in green are my own.  Enjoy!


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, about 1/2 pound, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar ( I used 1 1/2 TBS White Vinegar and 1/1 TBS of apple juice)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard (Deli Mustard Worked)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into 3"-long stick
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs (The old fashioned bread crumb worked, but i know Panko would give a better crunch)
  • scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (This is called "Stinky Foot Cheese" in this house!)
  • 1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute; or 2 large eggs; or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten


1) To make the dip: Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over moderate heat, and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, then caramelize. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. The lower the heat, the longer it takes, but the less likely you are to burn the onions.
2) Once the onions are a medium brown, remove from the heat and add the vinegar.
3) Place the onions and vinegar into a small food processor. Add the honey and mustard, and process or blend until smooth. I have a faux Magic-Bullet, worked wonderfully :)
4) Add the mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. I added a little more honey to make is a touch sweeter. 
5) To make the zucchini sticks: Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Let the zucchini drain for 1 hour or longer; rinse and pat dry. (It is amazing how much this veggies sweats! Make sure to pat it dry!)
6) Combine the Panko, Parmesan, and pizza seasoning; set aside.
7) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.
8) Dredge sticks a few at a time in the egg, then roll in the crumb mixture. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet.
9) Bake sticks for 12 minutes, turn over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
10) Serve immediately, with sweet onion dip.
Yield: about 3 dozen zucchini sticks, and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
30 mins. to 50 mins.
Baking time:
20 mins. to 20 mins.
Total time:
50 mins. to 1 hrs 10 mins.
about 3 dozen sticks

Thursday, August 18, 2011

running is good for the soul...

as my sister and i were on our usual run tonight, i said "i'm going to blog about this."

we shouldn't have gone. it was late, and dark, which is not unusual for us. we run when we can, and usually it's after 9pm. in june, it's not a problem. august, however, not so easy.
so we brought a flashlight, and even changed the batteries.
it didn't work. fell apart while we were running (hmmm, bond??)
then we ran into the neighborhood skunk. "stopstopstopstop!" -whispered/shouted.
whew, stinky crisis averted.
aftter a change of course, we ran down another street, thinking we bypassed the skunk.
we did.
but we didn't sneak past the PIT BULL that WASN'T on a leash.
really, people?
suz had a panic attack. i held onto macy and tried to stand very. still.
we walked away, calmly.
suz still panicking. my dog still trying to get away. pit bull sniffing and growling and wagging his tail.
duh. wagging his tail. at least he didn't seem like he was going to take a chunk out of my leg. a lady walks outside after hearing the barking, and he runs across the street back to her.
sorry to be the politeness police, but you can't even say SORRY?! after your unleashed, scary, super strong dog comes barking and growling after us in the middle of the night?
(really, i'm over it...).
what should have been 4 miles only turned into... about half a mile.

we folded laundry instead.

when i got home, macy ate my new underwear while i was in the shower.

well, the good news is that my sister-in-law found out she's having a boy! plus, i don't have to work tomorrow (garage sales, anyone??).
i'm also thinking seriously about trying to convince nate to go to the greenville danish festival this weekend.

i know, action packed.

nate and i with macy, underwear culprit extraordinaire.

happy weekend!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Hi, this is Andrea and I am finally blogging.
I have been addicted to a new website this summer: This website allows you to "pin" ideas on your "boards"  from a vast amount of categories ranging from Home Decor, Fashion, Party Themes, Children Activities, DIY and Recipes. I have come to the realization that "pinning" would be entirely useless if I didn't actually try the stuff I find. So I have decided to commit to trying out DIY and Recipes that I have found on

I have already tried a few recipes that I have "pinned" but I had to tweak them based on the ingredients I  had in the pantry.  This time, I followed the recipe as it was written so I felt it deserved a blog feature. Just this week I came across a Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe that looked easy to make and, above all, it looked YUMMY!

Here is the link of the blog the recipe is from. cinnamon swirl bread

I posted the recipe below and the comments in green are my own. :) Enjoy!

cinnamon swirl bread
1 scant tablespoon instant or rapid rise yeast (1 packet) FYI- scant is just less then what the measurement call for. 
3 1/2 cups (350g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (295mL) warm water (110 degrees)
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
butter for pan and brushing on finished bread
1 egg white
1 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook and set to low speed, mix together yeast and 3 cups of flour. Pour in the water, oil, honey, and salt. Mix on low speed for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Add up to a 1/2 cup more flour if needed. I noticed the dough was still wet, even after I added the extra 1/2 cup of flour. Make sure to flour your counter extra good!
2. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead by hand a few times. Drizzle the inside of the mixer bowl with a bit more oil. Roll the dough around in the oil and cover in plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. I used cooking spray instead of oil in the bowl, less mess and worked great! While the stove is preheating, place the dough on top of the stove, works like a dream, and cuts the rise time way down. 
3.  Butter a large loaf pan and set aside.  Cooking spray worked well for me, if you want it to be a little easier. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a long rectangle the width of the loaf pan.  In a small bowl, mix together the egg white, sugar, and cinnamon, and spread out evenly across the dough. I whipped up the egg white separately nice and fluffy and brushed that on the dough, then sprinkled the cinnamon sugar mixture on top.  Roll up carefully, and pinch the dough on the ends, and all along the edge to create a seam that will hold in the filling.  Lay the dough, seam side down, in the prepared pan.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until almost doubled in size. In the past I have had a problem with a kitchen towel sticking to the dough when it is rising. Instead I spray cooking spray right on to the dough and then cover with plastic wrap. Never Sticks!
4.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top and bottom of the bread is golden brown. Brush the top of the bread with butter. Tilt the bread pan on its side and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Turn the bread out and allow to cool completely, if you can wait that long.

 I baked the bread for 25 minutes flat. It was perfect! The bread had perfect consistency, was light and airy. The buttered crust knocked it out of the park! It was suggested in the blog to use butter instead of egg white in the cinnamon-sugar filling. I stuck to my guns and used the egg white. It worked well as a glue to seal the dough together. I also liked that the cinnamon-sugar filling wasn't gritty! Just the perfect comfort food. Warm and gooey. 

My father-in-law gave the bread a SEVEN STARS out of FIVE. :)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hello, All.

well, it's been a while.

new house.
new job for the hubby.
new baby for my other blogger half (well, baby's still cooking, anyway!).

I must say, i've never realized that summer in Michigan is so much better than summer in other places. this summer i have already picked cherries, blueberries (x3!), strawberries, raspberries, and hopefully soon, peaches and apples. if you can count picking tomatoes off my plants in the side yard, then count that too. have also picked out curtains, floors, paint colors, furniture, and blinds. whew. my bank account hurts just thinking about it!

i do love having a house! don't love trimming the bushes, but i'll take the good with the bad.

crazy how much has changed since we took this picture back in march. i'll show more later of befores and afters.

on another note, today is August 16, 2 years since Nate's cousin, Nick Roush, died in Afghanistan fighting to keep our freedom. I hardly knew Nick, but i think about him all the time. strange how you can miss someone that you never really knew. songs come on the radio and i still cry my eyes out.
Thanks Nick, for all you did for our country, and serving with a willing heart. and i am thanking God that you are in heaven. what a blessing.

nick, you will always be in our hearts.