March 31, 2009

American Idol: AT40

Even though I am in Sunny (hot and humid) Florida, I still took the time to watch AI. This is the only show I felt the need to make sure I could watch while away because it's live and I like to vote. The rest of my regularly scheduled programming will be waiting for me on my DVR.

This week was AT40 week and I didn't love it as much as last weeks show. Most people were just OK for me. Best performance of the night, in my opinion, was Danny. I know Adam was very cool but I liked Danny's vocal tonight so much more so he gets the #1 spot for me.

Here is my recap in no particular order:

1. Adam Lambert: This guy has talent. No question about it. I just love watching him every week and I really look forward to what he is going to pull out of his hat. It was fun, it was unique, it was just plain awesome!

2. Alison Iraheta: I thought I was going to love this when I heard the beginning but then she started to shout. She still has amazing vocals but I agreed with the judges that the outfit was distracting. It was almost hard to take her seriously in that outfit.

3. Anoop Desai: Not bad, not great, just OK. He'll probably sneak by because he wasn't the worst of the night.

4. Danny Gokey: Have I mentioned how much I LOVE HIM?! Amazing vocal. I especially loved the ending. Best of the night.

5. Kris Allen: OK this guy needs to be behind the keyboard EVERY WEEK from now on. This was the first time for me that I saw the WOW factor. It probably helped that I closed my eyes for most of it because I still can't get past his facial expressions. He looked like a chipmunk at the end note and do not even get me started on the porn stash he was sporting.

6. Lil Rounds: As the judges said, she is very old fashioned. There is no question she has a great voice but she isn't choosing great songs to sing. The end of the song when she went for the big note she scooped up into it. Solid but not amazing.

7. Matt Giraud: Ugh. I wanted SO BADLY to like this performance. I love the Fray, I love that song and ugh. He was very shaky the entire song. I did like the vibe of him playing the keyboard in the middle of the crowd but that is about it. It was very much in the realm of the Coldplay performance.

8. Megan Joy Corkrey: I really love her vocal styling but this girl cannot pick a song to save her life. It was so boring and I want to love her. I do love her but not this week and she would be my pick to go home this week even though I would rather see Scott go home.

9. Scott MacIntyre: I completely disagree with the judges on this one. I thought he looked ridiculous. I still can't stand the way he pronounces words and so that is probably why I didn't love this performance as the judges did. While I agree that it was his best performance, that to me isn't saying much in comparison. He's just so lounge singer to me and I think every song he does sounds EXACTLY the same.

I think this was the end of the line for Megan but Anoop dropped the ball this week and so did Matt. And since for some weird reason Matt was in the bottom last week he could be there again. I also think Scott needs to go soon but he'll most likely be safe since the judges praised him.

March 29, 2009

Palace in Wonderland!

Today was the Doc's first day at the conference and the rest of us spent the day enjoying this fabulous place! I was hoping to be able to upload the video tour that I did when we first arrived but I forgot that our digital camera cord (firewire) is not compatible with our laptop. I took a couple pictures with my camera but they didn't come out great. So to see pictures of our Villa check out this link: If anyone is planning a vacation to Florida and wants a sweet place to crash for a very reasonable price then I would highly recommend staying here!

It rained pretty much all morning here, so we decided to run our errands instead of doing outdoor things. We needed some things for the house like laundry detergent and tissues. We got back, ate lunch, and then it was nap time. We were all pretty exhausted. By the time we got up from our nap the sun was shining and it was so nice. It was time to jump in the pool! We spent the remainder of the late afternoon basking in the sun and 80 degree weather!

Here are some pictures from our fun in the pool:

David & Shaun

David, Omi & Shaun in the spa area:

Auntie Kristin & Shaun by the little fountain:

Tomorrow we are heading to either Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios (probably Animal Kingdom). I can't wait to see David's face light up when we get there.

March 28, 2009

Vacation Part 2: Disney - We're here!

We are here safe and sound, all 8 of us (Me, the Doc, the Boys, MIL, FIL, SIL & GG). We arrived in Florida on schedule at 3:15pm, but then it took us almost as long to get out of the airport as it did to fly down. After making it over to baggage claim we got our stuff and WOW did we have a lot of stuff. Between the 8 of us, we had 2 Car seats, 1 Double Stroller, 8 suitcases, 1 diaper bag, 2 tote bags, 3 carry on bags, David's backpack and other things like jackets.

The Doc and I decided to head over to get the rental cars while everyone stayed behind to wait. We just had so much stuff that it would have been a real pain to lug it all over to the off sight Thrifty. We waited in line for what seemed like forever (it was at least an hour). Since we were together we assumed we could check in both reservations together. Well apparently not, so I had to get back in line and wait some more.

After we got our cars (mine a Dodge Caravan and the Doc's a PT Cruiser in Surf Blue Pearl) we headed back to the airport to pick the rest of the gang up. We loaded all the cars and finally left the airport at 5:05 pm (exactly and I know because SIL confirmed it!) arriving at our new home for the week at about 5:45pm.

MIL found this place using HomeAway. On the way over we had hoped that we hadn't built this place up in our minds only to be disappointed. Well as soon as we walked in the door it was even better than we expected. This place really is a Palace in Wonderland! I will have pictures tomorrow but you can click on the link to see their pictures.

For now here are pictures of the boys on the plane!

Shaun having fun after his nap:

David loved seeing all the clouds

Having fun sitting in the window seat!

March 26, 2009

Dish of the Week: Mailloux Beef Burgundy

This weeks dish is, what I am now calling, Mailloux Beef Burgundy. It was given to me by our good friends the Mailloux's and since I am not sure where they got it from, I will just give them the credit! I had asked some of my family and friends, before David was born, and before I became a 30 minute meal addict, for easy dinners. We knew with a baby on the way there was no way we could order out all the time. Robyn had given me a bunch of handwritten recipe cards with some of her favorite dishes and this was one of the dishes.

3 slices Bacon (chopped)
2lbs Beef Sirloin Tips or Round Steak (cut into 1” cubes)
¼ cup Flour
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Season Salt
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Thyme
½ tsp Marjoram
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Beef Bouillon Cube (crushed)
1 cup Burgundy Wine (any other red wine you have around the house would be fine as well)
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
2 Tbsp Cornstarch disolved in 2 tbsp water (optional)

Rice or Wide Noodles

In a large skillet, cook bacon several minutes until brown. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and reserve. Coat beef with flour and brown on all sides in bacon drippings. Combine all ingredients (including bacon drippings) except for mushrooms in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Turn control to high and add the mushrooms. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes longer. To thicken (if desired) add cornstarch mixture at the time of the mushrooms.

Serve over rice or noodles

The Verdict:
This gets a 4 star rating from the Doc. This was the first dish I made in the CrockPot (the one that sat in my cabinet collecting dust for 6-1/2 years) and tonight was the third time we have had this recipe. It's super easy to make and the flavor of the beef is so good! Ironically, I have never used Burgundy wine to make this dish. All three times I just used the Merlot that we had in our house. I also serve it over rice because the Doc isn't a fan of egg noodles. This is a great slow cooker dish, if you like beef, and you want something easy that still has a lot of flavor.

March 25, 2009

American Idol: Top 10

Motown night, never really one of my favorite nights in American Idol but I really enjoyed it. Here is my weekly rundown in no particular order.

Adam takes the cake tonight but Alison's performance was a close second.

1. Adam Lambert: WOW! Rocker goes the power ballad route and it was AWESOME! I had tears in my eyes. It was just amazingly beautiful. By far the best of the night.

2. Alison Iraheta: Seriously, I just can't get over the fact that this girl is 16 years old. It's unreal. She is amazing. She picked a great song and as Randy would say, blew it out the box!

3. Anoop Desai: That was so sweet. I thought his falsetto was nice and he can really sing. That being said I felt the song was a little boring. Two weeks in a row singing ballads and I want to see some more My Perogative, more personality! His struggle in this competition is going to be showing he can do both a good vocal and have some serious personality.

4. Danny Gokey: LOVE HIM! I don't think he could do any wrong though. There is just something about watching him sing that makes me smile. I don't usually disagree with Simon but man was he way off on this one. I didn't think it was clumsy AT ALL. I just love the vibe and while he wasn't the best tonight, he certainly was one of them.

5. Kris Allen: I figured out what it is about this guy that bothers me. It's his facial expressions when he sings. If I close my eyes, I like him so much better. I thought he had a very nice, fun performance. This is the song that you want to play guitar with not Michael Jackson. Great song choice.

6. Lil Rounds: I agree with the judges on her. She has strong vocals but bad song choice.

7. Matt Giraud: Um yeah, I'll get it on!!! That was so freakin' awesome. I had goosebumps. He's has so much soul. He picked the right song and I liked that he stepped away from the piano too. And holy falsetto!!!

8. Megan Joy Corkrey: I really want to see her do well in this competition because I love her voice and her vocal styling. It is very different and let's be honest, the pop artists today are all the same. Sadly she wasn't well received by the judges and I kinda have to agree this week. I thought her vocal was strong but I wasn't nuts about the song choice. Kara's suggestion of My Girl would have been fun to hear, I think.

9. Michael Saver: His performance for me felt like he was trying too hard and therefore it showed in his vocal. He sounded just under pitch. Sure it was fun but, when you compare him to other people in the competition he is weak. The last note was VERY painful. He should go home this week.

10. Scott MacIntyre: Weak in comparison to the other guys. Randy's criticism of him being average was dead on. I agreed with Kara that it was nice that he chose stepped up the tempo but still not seeing it with him. Another thing about his vocals that bother me is his pronunciation or rather over-pronunciation of the words.

Michael needs to go home tomorrow but he is America's sweetheart and so sadly I think we'll be seeing Megan go. I also wouldn't be surprised if this was the first time we saw Scott up there on the chopping block.

March 22, 2009

Vacation Part One: Rochester

We are back home from part one of our March vacation, our trip to Rochester to visit the Mailloux. Part two starts on Saturday when we fly to Orlando for a week! Part two is going to be a LOT warmer than part one!

We got to their place around dinner time on Wednesday and stayed until today. The drive seemed to go on forever, as it's just so boring. Thankfully, the boys did really well in the car. I think they did better than us because they didn't understand just how boring it is to drive through Western Massachusettes and upstate New York. I think what makes it seem so long is that there are no landmarks to give the sense of progress - it's just "there's a tree" and "there's another tree". I am looking forward to when they move to Maine so they will be a lot closer and the drive to visit won't be as bad!

On Thursday we went out for breakfast and then they took us over to the Strong National Museum of Play. David had so much fun. They had a Sesame Street exhibit, a Supermarket, a Mr. Potato Head exhibit and lots of other toys and fun things to see, touch and play with. We ended up spending a good portion of the day there and by the time we got back to the house they were exhausted. We put them down for a little rest before heading over to eat some BBQ. After we ate we walked over to see the river damn and all the water gushing over the edge. David thought it was cool to see the water rushing under the bridge.

David and Maddie after breakfast, showing off their dum-dums:

David and Maddie riding the train at the museum:

David and Maddie looking at "Dori" and "Nemo" in the fish tank:

On Friday the Doc and I headed over to Wegmans to pick up the ingrediants for the Chimichangas (see the previous post). It's a supermarket like none I have ever seen. The place is huge and has the most variety of produce, cheese, meats, and products I have ever seen. You need a GPS just to find anything in that store. I would seriouslly consider moving there just so I could shop there every week! Yes, I am that lame; what can I say, I love supermarkets! We picked up some breakfast and coffee on the way back and then hung out at the house for a while. Ben had to work but Robyn suggested we go over to an indoor playground called the Sandbox. It is a small place that has a indoor bounce house and giant slide, cars to drive and walls to climb.

On Saturday we decided to go to an Indian Buffet for lunch (we still haven't found good Indian food around here) and then we spent the afternoon at one of the local playgrounds. It was cold and windy so we didn't stay too long and when we got back we let them play outside in the homemade sandbox that Ben built himself!

Shaun's first time on the swing:

David climbing up the funky ladder:

David and Maddie playing in the yard:

Today we stayed for breakfast before saying goodbye and hitting the road. It went by so fast and David already misses his buddy Maddie.

Owen & Shaun enjoying some breakfast:

March 20, 2009

Dish of the Week: Slow Cooker Chimichangas

This weeks dish is Easy Chimichangas Thanks to the CrockPot. I found this recipe from a CrockPotting blog called A Year of CrockPotting. This blog was started by a woman who decided to make a New Years Resolution to use her CrockPot for 365 days in 2008.

Each dish is labeled and I was interested in finding some more Mexican recipes and came across this one. For those who do not know, a Chimichanga is a fried burrito. It's one of my favorite Mexican dishes and something I will order frequently. I was happy to be able to find a recipe to make my own.

1 1/2 pound hunk o' meat (like Top Round - she also suggests that pork would be good and I bet it would be)
salt and pepper
*garlic powder
1/2 cup water
1 T dried minced onion, or 1 diced fresh onion

to add later:
1 can tomatoes and chiles (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)

Burrito-sized tortillas, and whatever toppings your like on your Mexican food!

*Toppings that we like to use:
Salsa Verde (Tomatillo sauce)
Sour Cream (for me NOT the Doc!)
1 package of Mexican blend shredded cheese

*to cook later:
1 package of Mexican or Spanish flavored rice (like the Lipton or Near East brand)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

The Directions:
Note that you need to fry up the little tortilla packets. So this is one slow cooker meal that requires a little extra work.

In the morning:
Season your meat on all sides with the salt, pepper and if you choose garlic powder. Plop it into the crockpot and cover with 1/2 cup of water. Cook on low all day anywhere between 6-8 hours.

After the meat has cooked all day, remove it carefully. Skim the fat out of the liquid at the bottom of your stoneware, and remove excess juice. You really only need about a cup of juice left in the crock.

Put your meat back inside, and shred it with two forks. The meat should come apart easily. If it doesn't, cut it in pieces and cook on low a few more hours.

Add the can of drained diced tomatoes and drained tomatoes and chiles. Turn your crock to high to warm everything up. Prepare your toppings.

*Start cooking the rice according to the package directions. Once the rice is almost cooked I add the black beans to the rice but you can also keep them separate.

When the meat is hot again, start making your little chimichanga packets. Steam a few tortillas at a time by stacking them on a plate and covering with a dampened paper towel. Microwave for 60 seconds.

Take a steamed tortilla and plop a spoonful of meat in the center. *I add the rice and beans mixture and then some of the shredded cheese. Fold the bottom and top of the tortilla, then the sides. The sides need to overlap a bit, so the meat doesn't escape.

Heat up some oil in a big skillet. When it is super hot, carefully put the chimichanga into the oil, seam-side down. Fry until golden brown (about 1 min) then flip.

The Verdict:
When I made these for the first time for the Doc he was hooked! If you were to ask him which dish that I have made is his absolute favorite, this would be it. So naturally this recipe gets the five star rating.

This recipe was included in my Superbowl menu and I made them tonight for the Mailloux's while we are here visiting them. I have changed it from the original recipe from the blog and notated so with a asterisk (*). It was the Doc that suggested adding the rice and beans. Tonight Ben suggested adding some ground cumin to the meat and I bet that it would be a great addition to the flavor of the beef. Next time I make this I am going to try it out.

If you like Mexican food, then I would highly recommend making this dish.

March 18, 2009

Shaun - 9 Month Stats!

Shaun had his 9 month check up this morning. His stats were a little surprising because he's always been such a beefcake, now he's just an itty bitty. Here are his stats:

Height: 28 inches (32nd percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs 7 oz (16th percentile)

He is a little bigger than David was at 9 months old but since his 6th month check up he's only gained 7 oz and grew 1 inch.

Yesterday morning Shaun started to move his feet and take steps while you have him hold onto your fingers. He has also been working very hard at trying to pull himself up. I think once he gets more comfortable moving his feet around he'll be pulling himself up in no time!

He has been off baby food and eating table food for a good solid three weeks now. It's nice to not have to worry about jars anymore. He loves to eat and you can't feed him fast enough. Some of his favorite foods now are grilled cheese sandwiches and Apple Jacks. On Sunday he even got to have his very first Corn Beef & Cabbage dinner, which he LOVED!

Shaun is starting to look like such a big boy now and less like my little baby! Here are some recent pictures:

Eating Mommy's Spanish Chicken Cutlet:

Yummy grilled cheese:

Hi Mommy!

March 17, 2009

American Idol: Grand Ole Opry

I am never a big fan of country night but this year was unbelievable. I think most sang really well tonight and overall it was a great show.

Top performance goes to Matt Giraud. It was amazing!

Here is a run down of each contestant and my thoughts on their performance in no particular order:

1. Adam Lambert: He is so different. I agree with the judges that it was weird but I still kinda liked it. It was a little bit of a let down compared to last week for me but still solid. I enjoyed the vocal side to his arrangement more so than the performance of it. If that makes any sense. I agree with Randy's Nine Inch Nails meets Grand Ole Opry comparison.

2. Alexis Grace: I disagree with the judges critique. Jolene was a great song choice for her. I love that song though, so that probably helps. She has really solid vocals and she can't be edgy every week or they'll start to criticize her for that.

3. Alison Iraheta: She's 16!!! I mean seriously. She is 16 years old. I think I am going to be saying this every week.

4. Anoop Desai: YEAH!! I am so happy for him. I don't know why but I really really like this guy and want to see him do well. His version of Always on My Mind was just beautifully sung. He has stepped up his game big time. Now he just has to continue!

5. Danny Gokey: Wow! I got all choked up and I will admit that it made me cry. Until Matt sang this was by far the best performance of the night. He just has so much soul when he sings and I just LOVE HIM.

6. Kris Allen: Way better than last week, but he is still not one of the stand out contestants. He is almost forgettable to me, especially compared to performances like Adam, Matt & Danny. Even Anoop out sang him.

7. Lil Rounds: There is no question she can sing, but I wasn't nuts about her tonight. She sang well but her performance was almost boring. It was almost disappointing and completely forgettable.

8. Matt Giraud: BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT! Everything about that performance was just amazing. Song choice, arrangement, vocal, you name it. I love his vibe and it really came through in that performance.

9. Megan Joy Corkrey: She has one of the most unique vocals. I love it and I know I am in the minority but her performance is one I will remember from tonight. There is something so fun about her and I would love to hear her on the radio!

10. Michael Saver: Fun performance but weak vocals. Hard to understand what he was saying. In my opinion, worst of the night. Even though it was fun to watch and he's a nice guy he just doesn't compare to the others in this competition.

11. Scott MacIntyre: His best performance yet but I am still not jumping on the bandwagon. He really needs to shake things up a bit. He is becoming boning and predictable. Same old same old for me.

I think that based on the performances last night we'll be saying goodbye to Michael. His performance was by far the weakest. I get that people *like* him so that could be a saving grace for him and maybe we'll see someone with great vocals like Alexis going home.

March 13, 2009


On Wednesday, I went against the majority of my family and friends and took David for a (at least in my opinion) much needed haircut. Last time he had his haircut was back in early November. We went to Super-cuts and he didn't really enjoy the experience too much. He wouldn't wear the cape and ended up sitting in my lap on the chair flinching and fidgeting the entire time. That is why I this time we tried (thanks to the recommendations of the Mom's at playgroup) Snip-its.

Snip-its is a place designed for kids to get their haircut. The chairs are small, they have a TV screen that plays a little movie, and they have toys. The best part of the experience was that David had fun getting his haircut!

The Before Picture:

Excited about the cape:

Not sure what to think about the buzz clippers:

The After Picture:

Looking like a little man:

March 12, 2009

Dish of the Week: Margherita Pizza with Vodka Sauce

This weeks dish, Margherita Pizza with Vodka Tomato Sauce, caught my eye one afternoon when I was jogging with the food network on in the background (ironic, I know). It was a show called Ask Aida. The premise of the show is people write in and ask her food questions which she answers during the show that relate to the recipe she is making.

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 pound) fresh pizza dough
Olive oil
10 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, sliced 1/2-inch thick
10 to 20 small basil leaves

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Heat tomatoes, vodka, and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling and vodka smell is cooked off, about 15 minutes. Season, as desired, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile roll pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet to coat and place dough on top. Pierce the dough in several places to prevent it from bubbling up unevenly. Spread sauce evenly over the dough. Evenly distribute mozzarella across pizza and scatter whole basil on top. Drizzle with oil and bake until cheese is melted, and underside of dough is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

The Verdict:
Unfortunately The Doc didn't come home until really late last night and so he didn't get to try this one but I LOVED it so much I decided to post it anyway without the Doc's rating. I will definitely make this again so he'll be able to rate this one in the near future!

My only issue was that my sauce was watery so I need to figure out what to do to fix that. Made some of the crust soft and mushy but the flavors were just so good I didn't care! I used half & half instead of heavy cream which could be the cause so next time I may just suck it up and try the cream.

I also used fire roasted diced tomatoes. Just for something different. I think it worked really well.

March 11, 2009

American Idol: Week One

I do a weekly American Idol analysis on my Mommy Message Board and, so after talking to Princess B, decided to post it here as well. Enough people I know watch the show so here it goes:

Best performance of the night (and probably in all 8 seasons) goes to Adam Lambert. From the vocals down to the light show that accompanied his perfect song choice, it was just amazing and completely flawless.

Here is a run down of each contestant and my thoughts on their performance in no particular order:

1. Adam Lambert: (see above) While he is not my favorite contestant, he is certainly one of the more talented of this season. I wasn't sure what to think of him after his preliminary round performance of Satisfaction. I knew it was good but I wasn't ready to jump on the bandwagon. Well last night's performance of Black and White was unreal and I am officially a fan.

2. Alexis Grace: I liked her performance last night. It was solid. Not the best but certainly not the worst. I disagreed with the judges when they said it was over the top. I thought she looked great. But that is because I only wish I could wear something like that!

3. Alison Iraheta: She's 16!!! I mean seriously. She is 16 years old. It wasn't as good as her performance of Alone last week but that has more to do with the fact that I personally didn't like the song she chose this week. She can rock and she has amazing vocals.

4. Anoop Desai: It pains me to write this, because I really really like him, but his performance was painful to watch. I liked that he went uptempo and tried to show off why people like him (ala My Perogative), but choosing Beat It was the wrong way to do that. Such a shame because I had an almost underdog feeling about him.

5. Danny Gokey: No secret to anyone I have already talked to about American Idol that he is my favorite contestant. LOVE HIM! And now I love him even more. I agreed with Randy about the dancing too! It suited his performance and you really get a sense that he loves the music. While Adam takes overall performance - Danny gets best vocals of the night. He is proving, to me anyway, to be one of the best vocals I have heard on the show in all 8 seasons.

6. Jasmine Murray: OK she is one of those contestants that I cannot get on board with. She is 17 and there is no question she can sing, but she sings like she is 17. Like a sweet girl who has a great voice. I can't picture her being a star. I thought her perform ace was sweet and that doesn't win you any competitions in my opinion. You can't even compare her to Alison.

7. Jorge Nunez: Most disappointing performance of the night. Compared to his performance in the preliminary round this one just fell flat. It did him no favors and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the bottom three (or however they plan to do things this year).

8. Kris Allen: OK, maybe I am missing something but I don't know what the big deal is over this guy. I know that Princess B and her Hub will disagree with me but I don't get it. First of all, let me say he can sing but I am still missing what it is about him that is supposed to be so great. I was told by the PB's Hub, that once I saw him with his guitar I would change my mind, but my mind goes unchanged. He is forgettable to me. Do you Remember is NOT the song you rock out on your *acoustic* guitar to. It seemed awkward to me.

9. Lil Rounds: I loved her in the preliminaries. She is not the kind of singer that suits my taste but she is super talented. I just felt that she wasn't amazing last night as she has been in the past, but she still had a solid performance.

10. Matt Giraud: Welcome back!! It was nice to see him with his piano again. It's when he shines, it was a good song choice and good vocal. Loved his falsetto.

11. Megan Joy Corkrey: I don't care what the judges say, I LOVE her! She has a tone to her voice that is so unique. I like her quirky dance moves down to her vocal styling. I can agree that the song choice may have been childish (reminded me of Brooke's Here Comes the Sun from last season), but she still gave it her signature flare and that is why I love her.

12. Michael Saver: He showed that he could really belt out a tune last night but I am still unsure of his place in this competition. He is a nice guy and I think that will get him far. All he needs to do now is sing Proud to Be an American and he'll be a shoo-in for the top 6 at least!

13. Scott MacIntyre: Definitely better with his piano but still over-rated. I don't think his vocal was amazing and I hated his song choice. It was not as dull as in the preliminary round when he sang Mandolin Rain but it was pretty close.

So there you have it, my analysis of the top 13 contestants on American Idol, Season 8. My guess on the *twist* is that American will vote and the bottom 3 will be put up in front of the judges and then they will decide who goes home. Perhaps they even have them do a sing off or something like that.

If I had to pick who would be going home it would sadly be Anoop with Jasmine and Jorge in the bottom three with him. So let's hear who your favorites are and if you agree or disagree with my analysis!

March 8, 2009

A Blessed Event!

Yesterday we headed west to celebrate Thomas's Christening. It was a wonderful day with gorgeous weather. It couldn't have been more perfect! Congrats to Thomas and his exhausted parents!

Thomas just before the ceremony! He was such a good boy (wish I could say the same for my own!).

After the ceremony

Mommy and the two Thomas's (that is Grandpa D - whom Thomas was named after)

It's not often we're all dressed up nice, so it's important to always take advantage of the situation with a family picture!

March 4, 2009

Dish of the Week: Cajun Chicken Alfredo

This weeks dish is Guy Fieri's Cajun Chicken Alfredo. I made this once before and was told by my sister's boyfriend Jesse that it's amazing! I decided to make this for Steph and Nick's baby shower this past Sunday.

4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup blackening spice (recommended: Paul Prudhomme's Chicken)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup roughly chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
3 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked fettuccine
1/2 cup sliced scallions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Dredge the chicken breasts in the blackening spice and place in a cast iron skillet over very high heat. Blacken both sides of the chicken and place in the oven for 10 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Slice in strips on the bias and set aside.

In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Add garlic and lightly caramelize. Then add the sun-dried tomatoes and the chicken slices. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the heavy cream, increase the heat to a simmer, and reduce the cream sauce by half.

When the cream sauce is to desired consistency, stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, and pasta.

Nest the pasta on large rimmed plates, pour sauce over pasta, and garnish with scallions and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

The Verdict:
Like I said this isn't the first time I made this dish but it was a dish that the Doc and I really enjoyed. I also got rave reviews from my family who enjoyed the leftovers. My sister gave this a 5 star rating until she realized that the *red things* she ate were not bell peppers but sun-dried tomatoes. Somehow that warranted a drop in her rating from a 5 to a 4.5. I told her she could have just picked them out like I do. There is really no pleasing her so the fact that she even gave it a 4.5 is pretty amazing!

I never use heavy cream just because of the fat content and generally substitute for half & half or whole milk. The first time I used a combination of milk and fat free half & half (just because that is what I had in the house). This past Sunday I used a combination of milk and light cream.

The first time I made this dish using Emeril's Bayou Blast Essence and the Sunday I used the recommended Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic . The difference I found between the two seasons was the heat factor. I found that the dish had a little less of a kick when I used the Poultry Magic. Both were very good so I would just use whatever one is on sale or cheaper!

March 2, 2009

Lucky 13

Hard to believe that on February 28th, 13 years ago, The Doc and I took that leap of faith from friendship to something more. Even though it was such a long time ago I remember it like it was yesterday!

Are we not the *cutest* couple ever?!? (ok, you can go barf now!)