The Science Nerd

Wrigley & Marshall

Recently, our youngest son, Marshall, got sick.  He threw up  and I didn’t think much of it – dogs throw up sometimes.  However, that was not the end of things.  He was sick twice more that day.  And he was sick for most of the weekend. Monday morning, poor Marshall threw up again and we called the doctor.

The first thing we learned at our vet’s office was that Marshall had lost about 8 pounds.  That’s a lot when you only weigh about 45 pounds to begin with.  That would be like me losing 43 pounds.  The next thing we learned was that there was no obvious reason for him to be so sick.  He was given a liter of fluid because he was dehydrated and some other medications to help with the nausea and to soothe his stomach.  The vet gave us a few options – we could go home with medicine to ease his symptoms, they could x-ray his intestines to see if there was a blockage, or he could have blood work done to determine if there was something more serious going on.

We chose to start with the x-ray.  When looking at it, there was a vague shadowy something in his stomach, but nothing conclusive (remember this later).  The doctor recommended that we also do the blood work, since he had lost so much weight, so we did.

We left the doctors office with a lighter wallet and four different medicines.  We quickly learned that Marshall does not like the taste of Pepto-Bismol, although, who does really?

The blood work came back inconclusive, so we were basically where we started.  He was acting some better – eating a bit and not acting as lethargic, but he wasn’t our same crazy puppy.

Until Wednesday night.  We had people over and just before dinner I went outside with Marshall.  And out it came!  Remember that shadowy something?  Well, it was a sock and fortunately it found it’s way out of the tunnel it had found it’s way into.

The change was drastic and immediate!  He was back to his usual self, full of energy and mischievousness.  However, I think that would make me feel better as well!

We are keeping a better eye on him, and so far – no more sock eating.  I’m not sure if there is a moral to this story, I think it might just be that life happens.

 

Oven Baked Chicken

February 28, 2012

Last night’s meal was not anything fancy, but it sure was tasty.  Oven roasted chicken, parmesan mashed potatoes and green beans.  Here is the recipe – perfect for those evenings when you don’t feel like cooking, but are too hungry for cereal.

 

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425.
  • Take one large chicken breast and cut in in half (which makes the perfect portion size for us).
  • Then I covered both sides of chicken with rotisserie seasoning.
  • While working on this, heat 1 Tbs oil in a oven proof skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Place the chicken in the skillet, allow one side to brown (2- 3 minutes), then flip.
  • Brown the other side and then place skillet (and chicken) in the oven.
  • Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees.

While chicken is cooking, work on the side dishes

  • Peel and cube potatoes.
  • Boil on the stove until soft.
  • Drain, add milk, cream cheese and 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • Mash with a potato masher until desired consistency.

And I just heated up some canned green beans (french cut) to keep it simple, you certainly could pair this with any vegetable or salad that fit your tastes.

So, the whole meal took about 40 minutes to prepare and cook, but it certainly wasn’t an intense time of prep work.

 

It’s a New Look!

February 27, 2012

Gayle and I spent most of the day yesterday giving my blogs a facelift. Both this one and my triathlon blog received much needed updates. I am super thrilled with the new look and think that the new themes make navigation easier, especially between the two blogs.

Gayle really did the bulk of the work, I was just the support staff, adding my opinions and giving suggestions when needed.  She has a talent for designing websites, and it’s something that is truly fun for her.  Now the hard work begins….posting.  Be on the lookout for more posts on a variety of topics.  I’ll keep up with the kitchen experiments, but hope to add some every day life stuff as well as more deals and coupons.  I’ve also added a section on books I’m currently reading.

Take a few minutes, look around, then leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new look.

On another exciting note, I am currently waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted as a member of the Brambleberry Athletic Club.  They were looking for athletes to sponsor this year.  You can read all about it here.

 

Chicken & Dumplings Redux

February 18, 2012

A few weeks ago I made chicken & dumplings in the crock pot and while they were very good, they weren’t great.  So, Thursday was another cold rainy day and we decided to have them again with a few changes.  Check out the original post here.

I made sure to buy some Cream of Chicken soup and used that instead of the Cream of Celery.  I also omitted the onions.  The plan was to dice them much smaller because in the first batch they were just too big, but I was lazy and just decided to leave them out altogether.  They were not missed.

The Cream of Chicken soup gave a much better taste to the dish and as I said above, neither of us missed the onions.  I might leave them out in the future as well.

Of course, when making this dish, you could add anything you wanted – peas, carrots, mushrooms, celery, corn, onions….whatever makes you happy, and I’m sure it would still be good.

 

One of my self improvement goals is to find 3 good things that I have done each day.  By coming up with new things each day my hope is to learn more about myself and build up my self worth.  You can read more about why 3 Good Things  here

 

  1. I’ve been working hard at keeping the house clean daily and not letting it get out of hand.
  2. I have taken 3 minutes off my running pace.
  3. I was able to fit into pants that are 1 size smaller than what I have been wearing.
I know these things aren’t all from the 8th, but they have all happened in the recent past and I am proud of them.

 

Scotch Eggs

February 7, 2012

In honor of Gayle’s Scottish heritage, we occasionally have Scotch Eggs for dinner.  Although, as usual, we have made some changes  to recipes I’ve found in order to suit us.

scotch egg2

The eggs wrapped in sausage were originally made to be food on the go.  Something farmers could take with them out to the fields and have a substantial lunch that could be carried in their pockets.  We eat them hot, and forgo the mustard sauce that you often see.

Here is my recipe:

4 eggs – hard boiled and peeled

1 lb sausage (I sometimes use spicy sausage, sometimes mild and I have even been known to go crazy and mix the two)

scotch egg

Encase each egg with 1/4 of the sausage.  Place on a roasting pan and bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes.

And that’s it! Very easy, and very tasty. If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can use anything that will keep the eggs out of the grease that drips from the sausage.

I usually serve the eggs with green beans and mac & cheese, but your side dishes can be anything that sounds good to you.  The eggs can also be served sliced or cut into quarters as finger food at a party.

 

Armadillo Potatoes

January 29, 2012

For the past 6 days I have been fighting a cold.  And the cold has been winning.  I haven’t had the energy to do much besides sleep, cough and blow my nose.  Which means there has been a lot of eating out and pizza ordering.

Potato?

So tonight, for something different, we ate at home.  Our meal was simple, but good – and very easy!  We had salad, steak and “Armadillo Potatoes” The recipe for the steak came from theKitchn, and was super easy.  I found some horseradish sauce in the fridge, and we had that with the steaks which was a nice addition.  The potato recipe was

or Armadillo?

found on Pinterest and I decided to give it a try.  I took two baking potatoes, washed them thoroughly and then cut thin slices almost all the way through each potato.  I drizzled them with olive oil, added salt and pepper and some grated parmesan cheese.  Then baked them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.  Gayle commented that they looked like armadillos, therefore they will now be called armadillo potatoes (at least at our house).

Again, I had trouble getting my steaks cooked enough.  They were a bit rare for our tastes, but the flavor was good.  I think that I’m worried that I will over cook them and so I err in the other direction.  I even used the meat thermometer this time….think I”ll have to work on my placement with that.

On another note, if you haven’t yet succumbed to Pinterest, you really should check it out.  You can get all sorts of great ideas and organize and categorize them to your hearts content.  Let me know and I can send you an invitation.  But be careful, it can be addicting!

Happy National Pie Day

January 23, 2012

For National Pie Day, I decided to go all out and fix two different pies.  The first was Individual Chicken Pot Pies for dinner and the second was a Chocolate Silk Pie for dessert.

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

The pot pie came from a recipe here.  One thing I learned while searching for a chicken pot pie recipe is that there are as many different recipes as there are people.  So, if this one is missing things that you would like, or has things that you don’t, it’s easy to add or subtract items to personalize your dinner.

Ingredients
• 5-6 sheets phyllo dough
• 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
• 2 tbsp. salted butter
• 1 chicken stock cube
• 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 2 1/4 cups whole milk
• 1/2 cup peas (frozen or canned)
• 2 cups cooked chicken
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Place the potatoes in a saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender but not soft. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the chicken stock cube. Use a wooden spoon to break up the cube. When the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth, add the flour, stirring to form a smooth paste. Cook over low heat for a minute. Remove from the heat and add the milk, stirring constantly. When the mixture is smooth, cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the cooked potatoes, peas, and chicken, and season with pepper. Spoon into ramekins.

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Create tops by layering 5-6 layers of phyllo dough with cooking spray, oil or melted butter between each layer.  Using a pizza cutter, scissors ro a knife, cut circles the same size as your ramekins from the layers of  dough.  Place on top of ramekins that have been filled with chicken mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the filling is hot and the crust is golden brown.

They turned out really good.  I ended up cooking the potatoes too long, they were somewhat mushy, so I will cook them less next time.  I also will add more pepper, the filling was a bit bland.  I had enough filling to fill 4 10-oz ramekins, but we only ate two.  The other two will be lunch someday soon.

 

Chocolate Silk Pie

The second course of our Pie Day meal was a Chocolate Silk Pie.  It was incredibly easy to make, and very tasty.

Ingredients
• 8-10 sheets phyllo dough
• 1 box chocolate pudding

• 1 1/4 cups whole milk
• 1 8-oz container of Cool Whip

Directions

Preheat oven to 450F.

Layer 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough, spraying cooking spray in between each layer.  Place the layers in a pie plate, cut off the excess around the edges.  Place in oven and cook for 4-6 minutes or until crust is light brown.  Allow to cool.

Combine pudding and milk and mix well.  Place 1/2 the pudding  in the pie plate containing the crust.

Mix the remaining pudding with 1/2 the Cool Whip and layer on top of pudding.

Layer remaining Cool Whip on top of pie.  Sprinkle with cocoa powder, or chocolate shavings, or chocolate chips, or whatever suits you.  (I used dark chocolate cocoa powder)

Chill for at least three hours.

We were very happy with the results of both the National Pie day experiments.  I can easily see them becoming a part of the rotation.

 

 

 

My Latest Hobby

January 22, 2012

cro·chet

[kroh-shey; Brit. kroh-shey, -shee]

1.needlework done with a needle having a small hook at one end for drawing the thread or yarn through intertwined loops.

Around Christmas I saw a blog post with pictures and instructions for crocheting washcloths.  I thought the washcloths were absolutely beautiful, in fact, they fascinated me.  So I decided that I would like to learn to crochet, washcloths especially, since I felt like they would fit in nicely with Glynne’s Soaps and be a great addition to the soap and skin care items we already sell.

I decided to make learning to crochet a goal for the new year, so on New Years Eve I purchased a crochet hook (size J) and two skiens of yarn – one a natural tan color with flecks of rust and green and the other a bright orange, yellow and pink.  They are both 100% cotton, which I had read is best for washcloths.

Because Gayle was still recovering from surgery, we didn’t have big plans for New Years, we had rented some movies, bought some food and I was ready to learn to crochet.  I had watched a few different videos on YouTube , and was eager to get started.  With yarn and hook in hand, I watched the video’s again, pausing every so often so I could follow along.  I think I got the hang of the steps that night, I decided to keep the small square that was my first attempt.

Over the next few weeks I was able to crochet one washcloth that will be for personal use.  (It’s not the greatest thing ever created, but I think it’s a good first step)

I enjoy crocheting, but sometimes get frustrated with having to hold everything and make my fingers move the way I want them too.  I have recently switched up how I hold my yarn, I think it’s working better for me.  I now hold the yarn with my second and third fingers and hold the piece with my first finger and thumb.  I think it gives me more control.

I have definitely not gotten the hang of the tension yet, but everyone keeps telling me that comes with practice, so I’m trying not to be too worried about it.  Part of me just wants it to be perfect right away.  I know that’s impossible, so I will keep at it.  I’ll try to remember to post pictures as I go, but for now here is a picture of my first washcloth attempt.

 

1.  Had leftovers for lunch today instead of making something new.

2.  Made up dinner on the fly and it turned out not too bad.

3.  Worked through my feelings of yuck this morning to have a pretty productive day.