Friday, August 26, 2011

Skillet biscuits

I'm sure you're tired of staring at dead fish.

Would you believe we made biscuits in a skillet on the grill when we went camping?

We did.

And they came out a-mazing. Just like in the oven. All you have to do is cover them with a lid or metal plate and flip them once.

Nicola, the other mom in our group, brought Pillsbury biscuit dough. She 'discovered the dough' before their last campout and was pleasantly surprised how well the biscuits cooked in a skillet with a lid. Yes, you read right. She had never seen Pillsbury biscuit dough before. I was like, HUH? REALLY? Then I remembered she's from England. They are missing out over there.

I wonder if she's tried the cinnamon rolls? They're a staple in our house, which could be why my jeans are getting a wee bit tight.

Thankfully she brought enough biscuit dough for everyone because there would have been some really sad faces at camp if we couldn't get a bite of one.

The girls were going to make scrambled eggs and were whining because they didn't have any bacon. I said "I have bacon!" I didn't know you could go on a camp out without bacon. The girls did a little happy dance and I started frying it up before the biscuits were even started.

You can't have an egg and biscuit without bacon. It just isn't right. None of the weird turkey bacon stuff either. Real bacon.

The girls made the creamiest, scrambled eggs ever. They have the magic touch.

You don't have to go camping to have this either. You can make them this weekend on the grill. The whole entire neighborhood will be jealous.

hee hee hee

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pan-fried fresh Trout

Wrights Lake
Last weekend we went camping for the last time this summer. This time we went to an area near South Lake Tahoe where we got to hang out at two beautiful lakes - Ice House Lake and Wrights Lake.

It was my third time to camp this summer. That's a lot for a girl that's never camped in her life. School starts on September 1st. I think our camping adventures are over for a while.

The Ice House Lake Campground was a beautiful place. Nice big sites and really clean. The only downside was the port-a-potty out houses and the two wandering camp bears. Not one, but two. Thankfully I never saw the bears. But one of the guys in our group did. Scary!

Don doesn't know it yet, but I get to pick the next campsite. There will be flushing toilets and showers. 

We spent a lot of time at the lake swimming, hanging out, and relaxing. I even relaxed a little.

We were hanging out at the beach on Friday afternoon when a guy walked up to the group next to us and asked if they wanted some fish he caught.

"Want some fresh trout?" he asked.

"No thanks." they said, smiling. "Thanks, though."

I don't know why, but the guy then turned around and walked back the other way. He didn't approach anyone in our group.

Well you should have seen the faces light up. They wanted that fish. Monica, one of the gals, tried waving to the guy. But he was walking away so he didn't see her. She ended up running after him to get the fish. We're all yelling "RUN!" Ok, maybe it was just me yelling. It was pretty funny watching her chase him down. The good news is we got the fish. A whole bag of freshly caught and cleaned trout.

We put the bag of dead fishies on ice until dinner. I kind of felt sorry for some of them. They had their mouths open and looked quite shocked. So sad. Sorry fishies.

Fast forward a few hours and it's time to cook the fish.

Uh..... I don't know how to cook fresh, whole, fish. Do you? Luckily, Monica the fish chaser, knew how to pan fry fish. They were already cleaned (thank you cute fish guy.) We just had to cook them.

Monica and Nicola put butter in the pan and fried them. I'm sure I would have eventually figured out that is all you have to do. But maybe not.

Monica taught me how to filet them so I can do it again sometime.

We garnished the fish with salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon and chopped parsley. Boy was it good. The meat was flaky and moist. The flavor terrific and not fishy at all.

"Oh no!" he said. Yep. Sorry fella.

Kris and Monica comments about the dark circles, wrinkles, greasy hair, dirty fingernails, and dorky expression as I was talking to a cooked fish head....I was a mess!

And no nice picture of the big huge plate of fish filets either. We forgot to get that shot. Oh well. You'll just have to trust me that it looked fabulous and tasted even better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kids lunch container

I ordered Elli this new Goodbyn lunch box today which I found on She is going to love it. It's a container and lunchbox in one. She'll probably use it as a seat too knowing her. Good thing she has a tiny hiney.

I was on the hunt for new plastic lunch containers. Elli and the dog have destroyed all our plastic containers that we use for her lunches. Her favorite container was one that had three compartments. Unfortunately, the dog got both of them and now they are gone. I've looked around town in different stores to replace them and can't find them anywhere.

Her school encourages ZERO waste. So plastic containers are a necessity.

I decided to shop online since my store search failed. My Google search led me to What a find!!

I think this Goodbyn lunch box is even better (sturdier) than our old container. And I think Elli is going to LOVE it. And the best part? She's going to think it's so cute she won't use it to dig dirt on the edge of the playground. That is my hope anyway.

It comes with 275+ stickers so you can customize it. She'll love that.

It includes a water bottle. I love that.

And you can get $5 off your first order with this code: rcdruet.  You gotta love that!

Dimensions: 12.5" x 8" x 3" including lid

The best part! It can go in the dishwasher. Yippee.
Next year I'll buy her one of these laptop lunch boxes.

Her friend Lou Lou has one and she's lost most of the containers. I'm pretty sure she won't be digging in the dirt in middle school. And this looks like a mature/middle school lunch container.

I don't want to think about middle school right now. 

Click here:
$5 off Discount code: rcdruet

Happy shopping my friends!

*All photos are from and all opinions are my own. I received no compensation for this review.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Elli's new iPad

I wish it was mine, but it's not. I didn't get a new iPad. Elli and Don did.

Elli really wanted an iPad so Don made a deal with her. If she could save half the money ($350) then he would pitch in the other half and they would get it together.

Elli has worked for months cat sitting for different neighbors to save the money. She charges $5 a visit. Most people ask her to come 2x a day, so she makes $10/day. She finally reached her goal and was chomping at the bit to get that iPad.

Don was hesitating. He didn't want to buy the iPad2 and have the iPad3 come out the next week. He finally gave in and ordered it.

Elli was beyond excited. She went crazy.

They picked out a cool purple cover and have been downloading and exploring all the fun their new iPad has to offer. She has loaded all her favorite games and swears she's going to load some new books to read. I may just have to order those for her. Just to make sure.

I must say, I'm pretty proud of her for saving $350. That's pretty impressive for a nine year old.

She has continued to cat sit and is now saving to buy paint for her room, and the Hogwarts Lego set which is $149.

It's a good thing someone is earning money around here!

Maybe I should start cat sitting. It's a pretty good gig.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grilled Fajitas

Elli and I stopped at a little market in Sonoma called The Fruit Basket. I love stopping at this place on my way home from Napa.

The fruit and vegetables seem so fresh compared to the grocery store. Plus I just like the little market. It's kind of like shopping at a farmers market, but it's open every day.

I have a bad habit of planning my meal while I'm at the store. So I shop all the time. And this place has become my dinner companion. I just see what looks good that day.

They have lots of different packages of rice and pasta in addition to the fruit and veggies. Elli wanted to try a bunch of different stuff including quinoa. Who knew? So watch for that as soon as I figure out what to do with it.

But back to tonight's dinner. I had chicken thawing in the fridge, I just needed to turn it into something. I saw tortillas and immediately knew I wanted to make fajitas. I grabbed an onion, some peppers (yellow, red, and jalapeno), the tortillas and some sour cream. We have cheese and salsa at home. Done.

I decided to make everything on the grill. This would make it easy and be good practice for our next camping expedition which believe it or not is next week. Wah wah wah.

Somebody pinch me.

Lots of veggies - red, yellow and jalapeno peppers, cherry tomatoes, asparagus and onion

Grilled Fajitas

4 chicken breasts
1 onion sliced thin
1 yellow pepper, cored and sliced
1 red pepper, cored and sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, cored and sliced
1/2 bunch of asparagus (optional)
1/2 package of cherry tomatoes
Penzey's Fajita Seasoning
Olive Oil
Tortillas (warmed for a few seconds in the microwave)
Toppings: Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado slices or guacamole

Serves 6

1. Season chicken breasts with a sprinkling of fajita seasoning on each side and a drizzle of olive oil. Let sit for at least an hour. Overnight would be best.
2. Preheat grill for 15 minutes on high.
3. Set large skillet (to grill the veggies) on the grill, turn heat down to med-high.
4. Place onions on the pan with some olive oil, and the chicken on the grill. Shut the grill lid. Set timer for 4:30.
5. Flip the chicken and add the rest of the veggies to the grill pan. Set timer for 4:30.
6. Stir veggies a few times. They should get a nice char. The onions might turn black. Don't despair. They taste good this way.
7. Remove chicken. Let rest a few minutes then slice into thin strips.

NOW, MAKE THE FAJITAS! Take a tortilla, add cheese and sour cream. Top with a few strips of chicken, the grilled veggies, salsa and avocado.


Now you could serve this with something else like beans or rice. But you really don't need to. Just eat the fajita/taco/burrito thing and be happy. Oh what the heck. Serve it with a margarita! THAT would be good.

And the best part? The house does not smell like grilled onions for two days because you grilled them outside.

happy sigh


Monday, August 8, 2011

Show off

Elli and I went to the pool last night to catch a quick swim before dinner.

No one was at the pool when we got there.

We both jumped right in, wasting no time. The water temperature was perfect. It felt great stretching in the water.

We weren't alone for long. A mom and her three kids arrived about ten minutes later. Two of the three kids jumped right in. The other, a boy, seemed to be having a bad day. He was hiding under a towel by his mom.

Elli and I kept to ourselves playing in the water. She was pretending to be a mermaid with her cute yellow flippers and I swam some laps.

"Mom, look! I'm doing the butterfly." she said.

"Keep your feet together. Kick like a dolphin." I added. "And move your hands in a figure eight under the water like this." I said.

I then proceeded to demonstrate the butterfly. My first few strokes were decent. I think. But then I felt heavy and choppy in the water. I had no core strength to pull myself out of the water smoothly. I did manage to make it all the way across the pool. But I'm sure it wasn't pretty.

What I didn't know was the other mom was watching us. Because about five minutes later she got in the pool and immediately started doing the butterfly. Her stroke was perfect. She was effortlessly gliding across the water.

Show off.

Seriously. How funny is that?

How often do you see people jump in and immediately do the butterfly. Freestyle? Yes. Breast stroke? Of course. But butterfly. I don't think so.

The five minutes she waited before showing me how it was done was probably killing her.

If this had been one of my siblings I totally would have called them out on it.

The funny thing is I see kids do this all the time. They always want to show off what they can do, but I haven't noticed an adult do it. It made me laugh. She was proud as a peacock.

I hope I made her day. Because I know I can't do the butterfly. I was the kid that always came in last place in every swim meet. Remember?

Of course right before we left Elli swam all the way from one end of the pool to the other with one breath. The other mom noticed and complimented her. Elli was fanning her imaginary peacock feathers.

And I'm sure that mom and her kids were swimming underwater like maniacs after we left.

I love a little healthy competition.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Baking is like science, right?

When you don't exactly have all the ingredients for a recipe it's like creating an experiment. It could be really good. Or as I know from personal experience, it could be really, really bad. I got lucky today.

I wanted to make pancakes but the recipe I had called for 3 cups of buttermilk which I didn't have. I checked in the fridge, I had one cup of whole milk. So I cut the recipe in half and used my milk plus some water to net one and a half cups of liquid.

I knew this would make a thin batter so I decided to make crepes instead. My family would never know that the original plan was to make pancakes.

I had blueberries and raspberries that I could roll inside, and white chocolate chips for Elli. She would love that.

And the result?

Yum. Yum. Yum.

They could have been a little thinner. But no one here was complaining.

Maybe I should call them thin pancakes?

Crepe (Thin Pancake)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 T sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk, plus 1/2 cup water
2 T melted butter, unsalted
Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
Fillings: blueberries, raspberries, white chocolate
Toppings: pure maple syrup, powdered sugar

Makes 7 crepes

1. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar with a whisk.
2. Add egg, milk and melted butter. Combine. There will be some lumps. The batter will be thin.
3. Let rest 10-15 minutes.
4. Heat your griddle on medium heat.
5. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or ladle) to scoop the batter and pour on the pan. Swirl the pan around to spread it out.
6. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
7. Flip once you see a lot of bubbles in the batter.
8. Once flipped, top with a little bit of fruit or chocolate chips, then fold one side at a time.
9. Serve with maple syrup or a dusting of powdered sugar.

I served each crepe one at a time as they came off the griddle.

You can easily double this recipe. Or make pancakes by substituting the watery milk for buttermilk.


Thursday, August 4, 2011


It ain't pretty. Especially on me.

Because I wear it like a maxi dress. It consumes me head to toe.

So what am I jealous about?


And I mean everything.

But I'm especially jealous that I'm not going to a Blogging conference with all my blogging and writing buddies.

I want to go so bad I even tried to find a free ticket from some poor soul that can't go and would take pity on me at the last minute. Nevermind that the conference is in San Diego - which is not exactly around the corner from SF, and it's over two days, which would mean I would need a place to sleep and shower. And of course I have no budget for any of that.

It's killing me.

Everyone is BlogHer this and BlogHer that.

I want to tell them all to zip it, to stop going on and on about the Tori Burch sandals you ordered at the last minute that are getting shipped to you, or the fun you're going to have at the Clever Girls rock star party. I had a ticket and had to give it up because they have a waiting list a mile long for people that ARE going to BlogHer.

Bah humbug.

I have had it with being unemployed and broke. It really doesn't work for me.

It's not fun.

Something has to change before I implode.

A kid would cry and have a hissy fit. I'm sulking inside, rolling my eyes at all the happy tweets and ignoring all the pre-event posts.

Very mature.

How do you deal with jealousy? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

No ordinary sleeper

A new customer called our store today.

"Hi, I have a sleeper sofa that I want recovered." she said.

"Ok. Tell me about it. What size bed is it? Is it a queen?" I asked.

"No it's a double. The couch is from 1932." she said.

My brain stopped right there. Wow. They had sleeper sofa's back in 1932. That's pretty amazing. And then I thought HOLY COW who still has a sleeper sofa from 1932?

"How much is it to recover the couch?" she asked. I asked her a few more questions than gave her an estimate of $X.

"Wow."  she said. "That's a lot more than the other estimate I have.

"Oh. Ok. Well, it's a lot of work to reuphoster a sleeper sofa. We have to take the whole thing apart and put it back together." I replied.

I thought it would be around $Y (which is exactly half of the quote I gave her.). That's how much your owner told me it would be when I came in 16 years ago. hmmmmm." she said curtly.

Did she just say 16 years ago, with a tone like she came in last month and is shocked that the price is almost double. 

"Well, Pollin's is a lot different now." I said.

"Well I just figured you would honor the price." she said firmly.


I then told her she'll need about 18 yards of fabric. And that's not included in the labor estimate.

She replied, "Well I have 4 yards. Just put that on the parts that show and put something cheap everywhere else."


"And have the owner call me with the real price." and she hung up.

I gave you the real price.


"Don?" I said as I turned around. Of course he heard the whole conversation and just shook his head.

And that's why we've nicknamed Monday CRAZY MONDAY. Because that's how it is all day long.

Who says running an upholstery store isn't fun-ny?