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Broccoli Soup January 15, 2014

That’s right veggy fans, Broccoli Soup!

As much as I would like to take full credit for this recipe I can’t. All the credit goes to Gordon Ramsay (you might have heard of him.) That gorgeous, half crazy, chef that I can’t seem to get enough of. Over Christmas while I was Googleing his Beef Wellington preparation I happened on this broccoli soup recipe and thought; there is NO WAY it’s that simple. As a dare to myself I decided to make the soup to debunk the recipe, like the tail wagging the dog.   Image

I’ll say it, I’m a complete &$#!*%* idiot. Not only is is simple, it’s simply delicious.

If you’re in the mood to impress your friends with a fantastic soup and you don’t want to divulge how long it took to make, or the complete ingredient list, trust me, you’ll look like a genius.

Gordon Ramsay’s Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

1 1/2 bunch of Broccoli – you’ll only need the florets

Water

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 small log of Goat Cheese

That’s it.

Bring the water to a rapid boil in a 5 quart pot (water level should be enough to cover the broccoli.) Do Not add anything to the water – just water and broccoli. Cook the broccoli until a paring knife goes through the broccoli easily (do not overcook the broccoli – it should be slightly firm.) Using a slotted spoon take the broccoli out of the water and put into a blender. Take the broccoli water (you just made your own broccoli stock) and fill the blender 1/2 way with the water. Season with salt and pepper and pulse the blender until the broccoli blends with the water, then give it a full spin for about 45 seconds. Taste the soup, add salt and pepper, blend again, taste again until you have the soup to your liking. Remember you can always add salt and pepper, you can’t subtract, so don’t be too heavy handed. Image

Cut or crumble the goat cheese into the center of the bowl and pour the soup from the blender into the bowl. Pour around the cheese so the soup doesn’t cover it.

I’m not joking, it’s beautiful, easy, and delicious!

 

Sometimes My Son Reappears December 13, 2013

We’ve had growing pains, Kameron and I. I don’t like that he’s not my sweet little boy that he once was, and he doesn’t like that his mom is extremely hard on him. Thankfully, every once in awhile that sweet boy comes back, if even for a moment. Tonight he did, and I thought I would share.

Assignment: Write a letter to a Kindergartner from Santa about Christmas.

“Dear Kindergartner,

I am delighted that you wrote me this letter of your Christmas list this year. My elves are working on making and buying all the other children’s presents for this year, including yours. Mrs. Clause is in her kitchen baking cookies and our feast for Christmas Eve, which is full of mashed potatoes, green beans, pudding, and roast beef. Our weather in the North Pole is freezing compared to Indiana. The polar bears are cold even in their fur coats, the penguins are hiding in their igloos, and even the reindeer are feeling like icicles. Dasher is running all around the house. Dancer is dancing his hooves off. Prancer is not prancing but pacing. Prixen is eating all of the Twix chocolate bars. Comet is trying to fly across the sky. Cupid is showing love to me and everyone else in the North Pole. Donder is bonding himself with joy. Blitzen is sprinting at the speed of light. Rudolph is shining his nose to show positive energy. Meanwhile, I am checking my list to see who was naughty and nice.

I am getting ready with my sleigh, my sack of presents and coal, and I will be at your house very soon.

Thank you for writing this letter of your list to me and have a Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Santa”

That’s my boy….

 

Big – Small – Business – Jen Daisy Boutique November 28, 2013

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Small Business Saturday is November 30th. Who are you supporting Indianapolis?

My pick:  Jen Daisy Boutique. Just on the out-cute-skirts of Indianapolis – (129 N. Emerson Avenue, Greenwood, IN.) You say Greenwood? I’ll call your Greenwood and raise you a County Line Road exit where you can step into a boutique that really cares about you and fashion, and how YOU want to feel and look.

It’s all about you, and fashionable chique at Jen Daisy.

I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t know the establishment existed until maybe six months ago. Now, I’m a regular. Jen and her staff are kind, inviting, and super fun! They carry items for S-M-L-XL-2X-3X – yes, that’s right, fashion for everyone!

I chatted with Jen recently and asked her about being a small business owner and what she is passionate about. I could have done this interview without actually meeting Jen or being a customer because her passion shines so true, but I thought I’d ask her anyway, and I wanted a new shirt…..

Q: What inspired you to open your own business? ” I have helped many friends with changing their style and updating their look. I loved seeing their faces after we changed their appearance. It changed the way they felt about themselves and gave them a confidence they seemed to loose over the years. I can look at someone and instantly know what will look good on them or how to take them out of their comfort zone of dressing. Many girlfriends said I needed my own store; I decided it was time and knew I could take my 13 years in the hospitality industry to good use (great in my opinion) using a different approach to customer service. I am a hands on boutique owner – (I can guarantee that.)

Q: What do you want to accomplish? “I want to help women feel beautiful and teach them how to dress for their body types. (Don’t you love her already?) I also love having the opportunity to give back to my community with different fundraisers.”

Q: What charities/events are you involved with? “Meeting Professionals International, Gleaners Food Bank, Red Cross, CGI, Teachers Treasurers, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”

Q: What is challenging about being a small business owner? “Knowing you’re buying the right things and the right amount of items. I also think boutique business is a very competitive business, staying ahead of your competition, and caring about your customer is the most important thing to my business.”

Q: Just curious, do you have a favorite author or quote? “My favorite author of easy reading is Jennifer Weiner. My favorite quote is from Audrey Hepburn: “The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman only grows with the passing years.”

It’s so nice to have someone make you feel so beautiful….and mean it.

P.S. She has some bitchin deals on #BlackFriday – get there at 7 am (she opens at 8 am)

You can also follow Jen at https://www.facebook.com/pages/JenDaisy-Boutique/374911262592639?ref=br_tf 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Hear A Pounding In My Head September 16, 2013

Then I hear silence.

The silence I’m grateful for, it seems peaceful in this cluttered mind of mine.

What I am grateful for today:

I have my husband, my son, and my stepdaughter. They have believed in me beyond measure, for that I am truly grateful.

I have work at a place where I believe people truly care about me. For that I am immensely grateful.

I have friends, some I’ve known for 30 years, some I’ve only met via the internet. For those friends I’m truly grateful.

The loss, I haven’t overcome it, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I will do the best I can for everyone I can (including myself) – please, if you feel like I’m not giving you my best tell me. I promise I will make it right.

 

Want A New Floor For $75 Bucks? August 25, 2013

I hate the floors in my house. I mean look at this mess in our master bath.

1       2  Ugly right? I mean I’ve lived in this house with Mr. D for 6 years. I’ve painted, changed the décor as much as I could or afford, but nothing could be done about these floors. There was always some bill or something more important than spending $500 to replace the floor in the bathroom or any other room in the house for that matter.

Then I remembered brown paper bag floors. As much as I can’t stand my ex-mother-in-law I remembered a floor treatment that she did in a bathroom at a house she lived in. It was beautiful, and inexpensive. So I Googled brown paper bag floors and poof there they were. I read a blog post (I’m ashamed that I don’t have the url for it – but I do have the text to the post if you’re interested – or you could just keep reading here.) A woman that hated her floors and didn’t have the chunk of change to throw down to replace them with something fabulous, so she did this brown paper bag treatment. Easy and not expensive – right in my wheelhouse.

I’ll cut to the chase, here’s what you need:

1 roll of “builders paper” or brown shipping paper

1 gallon of Glue All

1 bucket

1 package of latex gloves (trust me – you want these)

1 gallon of polyurethane

1 measuring cup

1 paint stick (to stir the glue and water)

Patience and Ibuprofen

OK – let’s get started!!

The first thing you have to do is tear the brown paper and crumple it up into wads. Like this:  8

My suggestion – keep the straight edges separate from the other filler paper you’ll put in the middle of the floor. You’ll want to start with the edges up against the wall and work your way out – it’s a lot easier if you separate the paper (thank you OCD.)

Next, get your glue and water mixture together. Ratio is 2 cups of water to 1 cup of glue. Mix it together with your stir stick.

Now you need your latex gloves and ibuprofen.

Take the crumpled paper and submerge it into the mixture. You want to make sure that the paper is completely submerged in the mixture. Take the paper out and squeeze it like a sponge, you want the paper wet, but not sopping wet, and lay it down on your floor. That’s it – keep going… My suggestion is to tear even the pieces you’ve already torn when they’re wet, it gives depth and layers.

During pic:       3      4

Keep going until you’re done.

This is our finished product without poly on it.

5    6    7 You can also stain the paper if you want a darker finish, but I’m happy with the color!

So we can’t use this bathroom until the floor is dry. Then we’ll put the poly on it with a large paint brush. The suggestion is about 10 coats to make sure it seals properly. The plan is to poly once in the morning before work and once before going to bed.

This floor is extremely durable and the only clean up is a damp mop, which is fantastic!

You can do this treatment on any floor. You can pull up carpet and do this, I just might, by the way.

 

Flakes, Impossible To Duplicate July 25, 2013

basementAnd why would you? I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my best friend of 33 years, Brandy. (Disclaimer – yes, she still admits to knowing me and being my friend.)

I know I met Brandy when I was about seven, but I don’t remember much of it. I just remember that if I wanted to get out of my house and go somewhere else she was about nine or ten houses away, and I was almost always welcome. We grew up together. We went through everything together, from the first time I kissed a boy, to hanging out in a camper when it was well over 100 degrees (just to avoid our parents), a leaky basement that became my home when my youngest sister was born, Maid of Honor in my first wedding (that didn’t last a year), her family moving to Louisville (I felt like I lost her), later looking her up and finding out that she was literally five minutes away from where I lived. We’ve always been together, she has never left my mind or my side when it really counted. There is no one else that I could ever say that about.

That’s why she’s my best friend.

She’s also married to a great guy (that I introduced her to – by the way.) I suppose my only regret about our relationship is that I wasn’t invited to her wedding. It was a complicated situation, and I understand why things happened the way they did. I wish it could have been different, I would have really liked to have been there. It was the best outcome of an impossible situation, she’s happy, that’s all that matters. That’s all that has ever mattered to me.

Brandy is a person that I’m proud to call my best friend. I mean, come on, I’m kind of a jerk. I’ve been less than worthy of this friendship many times, Brandy has stuck with me, that means a lot more than I could ever express to her.

So I think I should thank Brandy in a “proper” way. So here goes 33ish years of dirt that I won’t explain, but Brandy knows what I’m talking about.

1. Fly swatters are a multi-purpose item
2. Ramen is good
3. Being the oldest isn’t always the best, but it prepares you for life
4. Plaid shirt are never really in style at our age
5. You can light a cigarette off of a space heater
6. You can watch a movie over a thousand times and it never gets old
7. Distance doesn’t matter
8. Popping zits can be fun
9. Spray paint is good for the soul
10. Licking the stuff off of Cool Ranch Doritoes isn’t weird
11. Bible papers don’t make good joints
12. Purple Passion
13. You can dress up any dress
14. Best friends will only tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter if you want to hear it
15. We’re only a text away
16. We’re not perfect, and we never really planned on it
17. You were the only person my mother ever believed
18. Skateboarders make horrible boyfriends
19. You can light a wall on fire with Aqua Net and a lighter
20. You can loose people too soon
21. You can forget what’s important, but remember before it’s too late
22. We’re parents??
23. You can get lost coming home from a concert
24. Fuzzy navels aren’t as spectacular as they sound
25. ET phone home
26. Restaurants aren’t the optimal place to grow up
27. When someone tells you “it’s a bad idea” you should probably listen
28. Sump pumps in Broad Ripple suck ass
29. Your braces made you more awesome
30. When I hug you I don’t want to let go
31. You believed in me when no one else ever did
32. You’re a great person/friend/mother
33. Let’s hang on for another 30 years or so, we’ll be crazy as shit, our kids
will make fun of us and we won’t care. That’s pretty awesome.

Thank you so much for being my best friend, I love you very much!

 

What I Wish I Didn’t Wear June 17, 2013

necklace sA necklace.

If you work with me or know me you might have noticed I wear a silver necklace. It’s a longer necklace so the charm on it isn’t obvious unless I pull it out or it makes its way out of my shirt. What hangs from that necklace means more to me than most things do. It can’t be replaced. It’s my Dad’s thumbprint.

It’s hard to believe that my Dad has been gone for four years in September.

People leave memories with us that will last for the rest of our lives. Some of the memories my Dad and I shared were the best times of my life. Teaching me about football, and watching me learn to love it. Kameron being born, and what a great Pop he was.  Mr. D and I getting married, knowing that the third time really was the charm.  Going to Lambeau Field together, our first trip together! Watching the Packers play in Indianapolis, tailgating with those silly Indianapolis fans.  Sunday football, coming over to my house every Sunday to watch the Packers play. Catching my first fish.  Teaching me how to jump a car. The difference between a flat head and a phillips head screwdriver. How to check a breaker and change a fuse. How to buy a car. How to make home made french fries. That Mikesell’s Rippled Potato Chips work best with Dean’s French Onion Dip. And the way to his heart was through my deviled eggs. Those are just a few of the millions of things that he taught me.

The selfish part of me missed my Dad, even though I know he’s in a better place.

The worst part about it for me now is that I know he would be so proud of me (not that he wasn’t before.)  He would be so ridiculously proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. It really has been awesome, and I thank sincerely the people that have (REALLY) supported me (Firebelly Team – Duncan Alney)  -my gratitude and your belief in me is immeasurable. I sincerely from the bottom of my heart thank you. I’m so happy!

Without my Dad there is a space in my heart that can’t be replaced. I don’t get to tell him about the awesome day I’ve had. I don’t have that smile, or pat on my shoulder anymore, he was the one person who always believed in me, no matter what the circumstances.

Things aren’t the same without you Dad, I love you and miss you so much.

I’m kicking ass Johnno, I hope you know.

 

What Mom Doesn’t Want For Mother’s Day May 11, 2013

I know, ok, I get it. I’m guilty of last-minute shopping. It’s not an accident that someone coined the phrase “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy.” Someone went through some stuff to come up with that phrase, let me tell you.

I’m in a giving kind of mood today, so I decided to help you. Here are some things that you should never, under any circumstances, ever get your Mom for Mother’s Day.

* Another hand painted ceramic piece of pottery. I mean it was cute the first time, and if you have grandkids we might give you a pass on this until they’re like five. Seriously, we have enough of those things to fill up an entire cabinet in our kitchen, and we’re running out of room in our kitchen, which makes us really cranky.

* Anything with “World’s Best Mom” on it. We already know we’re the best. Actions speak louder than words. Do a load of laundry, fold it, and put it away if you really want to yank on our heartstrings.

* Another gift set of soap or lotion. Think of the last time your mom took a bubble bath. Case closed.

* Made up coupons. Like the ones that say “1 free car wash” or “1 breakfast in bed.” We can drive through a car wash if we need to. Breakfast in bed? So we can clean up the dishes after you make a mess?

* Cleaning supplies. Even the fancy “green” stuff. All that makes us think about is housework, which we despise.

* An apron. For what exactly? So we can make you dinner?

* A memory charm bracelet. We’ll wear it once, and you’ll never see it again. Remember?

* A planter. Really?

* Any type of kitchen appliance, unless we specifically ask for it, just don’t.

* A scale. Unless you want to die.

 

Keeping Your Word – Even On Social Media March 26, 2013

Mr. D is a meteorologist, bet you didn’t know that. Yes, he is an engineer, but his degree from Purdue is in Atmospheric Science.  Sounds fancy doesn’t it? When all of the news stations were predicting major snowfall over the weekend I rolled my eyes. When Channel 8 broke in during the NCAA tournament games on Friday I sighed loudly. On Saturday I couldn’t take anymore of the snow nonsense, I took to my Facebook page and posted this:

“Everbody is talking about all this snow we’re suppose to get. No offense to the weather people, but they’re never right. So if there is above 5 inches of snow at my house on the ground Monday I’m taking a picture of me laying in it in my bathing suit.”
I glanced over at Mr. D who happened to be sitting next to me when I wrote it. He looked at me and said “are you sure you want to post that?” I looked at him coyly and said “duh.” He said “I don’t know if you want to do that” I said “why, they’re always wrong, you know we’re not going to get that much snow.” Looking outside at the sun he shook his head as I pressed post. I got a few comments and likes, nothing unusual.
Things started to heat up about seven o’clock  Sunday when one of my friends asked if I was getting nervous. At that point I really wasn’t, it was snowing but nothing alarming, certainly nothing to make me think I was going to have to put my bathing suit on. My son’s school cancelled class for Monday, no big deal, they cancel for anything these days.
This morning when Mr. D told me he was going to shovel the driveway and go into work I thought nothing of it, he likes a shoveled driveway, so I went back to sleep. When I woke up I didn’t even look outside. I instinctively grabbed my phone to check out Twitter and Facebook. Lying in bed I noticed that my Facebook page looked like it had some activity so I went there first. I immediately sat straight up in bed when I started to read the posts. “6.5 inches Steph, bring it on!!” “Yup, we are waiting for that photo you promised.” “So..what about that picture?” “If you wimp out you will never live it down. Just Do It! “Peer pressure – Do It!” 
I thought, is this happening? I thought quickly, ran through some scenarios, then I stopped. I got up, grabbed the bathing suit I had on last week in Cancun (where it was sunny and 80 degrees everyday) and put it on. I looked at my hair in the mirror and thought, I’m going to need a hat to cover up this messy hair. What a joke.
I posted to my Facebook page “I’m not wimping out – jeez you people! Kameron (my son) will have to take it (the picture) it may traumatize him for life!”
I knew there was no explaining this to Kameron, I mean what do you say? So I yelled for him to come downstairs, I needed him to “do something for me.” He came downstairs and saw me looking outside in my bathing suit and said “MOM WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I laughed and said “I need you to take my picture outside in a minute.” He looked panicked and said “why?” I looked at him and said “because I made a bet, and I lost, so I need you to take a picture of me laying in the snow.” He said “who did you bet, betting is stupid.” I said “sometimes it is, but when you say you’re going to do something you better do it. People will remember if you said you were going to do something and didn’t do it.”
So I did it.
The funny thing is while I was sitting in the snow I thought Kam’s not going to forget this. The time he took his crazy mother’s picture in the snow because she lost a bet. Someone actually mentioned to me that he would never forget it. It might be one of those stories he tells a friend or maybe even his kids about me and I’ll laugh and say he’s full of it. I hope he does remember it, mostly I hope he remembers what I said about keeping your word. It’s an important thing, something I’ve always believed is extremely important. Life isn’t any different than business. If you talk the talk you better be able to walk the walk. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. A client may or may not forgive, but they won’t forget.
snow
Was it cold? Yes. Did it kinda stink? Yes. The reaction and comments I got on Facebook made it priceless, and I missed the mail lady by two minutes, can you imagine? Good lord.
Tonight I asked Mr. D if he was surprised I actually took the pictures. He said “no.” When I asked why, he said “it wouldn’t be you style not to.” He’s right.
snow1
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Ashley March 8, 2013

My relationship with my sister Ashley has always been different. I’m thirteen years older than her. By the time she was six years old I was out of the house starting my crazy life, she doesn’t remember us ever living together.

ME AND ASH (2)

There was a little while when we were somewhat close. Before I got divorced from Kameron’s dad and before she started playing softball in high school. After the divorce and softball started our lives just went in different directions. Being thirteen years apart didn’t help. She was doing high school things, I was doing more grown up things – like working 50 hours a week – paying house payments – fun stuff grownups get to do.

One thing we do have in common was my son Kameron. She loves him and he loves his Aunt Ashley. She is his godmother, his confirmation sponsor, acting supporter, WWE update listener, sushi eating buddy, along with many other things.

Another thing we have in common was love for our Dad. There is no question that my sisters and I almost competed for our Dad’s affection. What I think the three of us all came to realize and accept is that he loved all of us very much, but had very different relationships with us individually. There is no question though when my Dad died it drew a line in the sand between the three daughters he left behind. None of us realized how my Dad kept the peace in the family until he was no longer there to do it. Devastation sometimes can bring people together, in my case it drove me further and further away from my family. What was already a different relationship between Ashley and I became strained, and then nonexistent.

All of my relationships changed after my Dad died. It wasn’t just with Ashley. I was lost, so lost that at times I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it back.

Since I have made it back something unexpected and nice, very nice, has happened.

Ashley has been very supportive of me not drinking. If you would have told me she would be one of my biggest supporters I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have believed that. We also are big fans of The Bachelor. Ashley has come over to my house and we’ve watched a few episodes together. Next Monday (3/11) when Mr. D and Kam will be at the WWE Event, Ashley and I have our own little Bachelor Finale party planned. We’re going to cook a big dinner, talk at the t.v., and bask in all the drama that The Bachelor provides. I think we should bet too..I’ll have to come up with something. Not like bet on who he chooses, but bet on how many times everyone says “amazing” – an over /under thing on that might be cool.

It’s fun to have my sister to talk to and hang out with, who knew right?!?

I would just really like to say thanks Ash for being supportive, and watching The Bachelor smut with me. It means a lot to me!

I love you!

Ash & me