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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

We're Not Friends

I have an unusual relationship with my boss. Both my bosses actually. And when I say unusual, it's unusual for me because I've never had this kind of relationship with a boss before. It might not be that unusual for other people.

We were friends long before she was ever my boss. We worked in the same department in different areas and it never occurred to us that she'd ever be my boss. When it did happen, it was hard. I kind of thought it would be really easy. It was anything but that. She's an extremely hard person to work for. She expects everything but gives nothing. I had very little training. She was always gone. I always felt like a candle in the wind. When she did give training, it was tedious and uninformative. I usually had more questions that answers. The thing is, I knew about some of these traits before I worked for her, but because I was her friend, I thought it might be different with me. You know how friends lookout for their friends? Well, I was wrong about that. She doesn't do that. Like I said, candle in the wind. The saving grace in the beginning was she was only my supervisor and my boss was actually someone I did trust. So when things got unbearable, I had someone to go to. However, this eventually changed and she became a manager. A real mistake in my opinion. And other people feel the same way. She isn't manager material. But I digress. Back to our friendship. It became hard to be her friend and work for her, too. The way she treated/managed me was horrible. Honestly, it was. You don't just leave people in a new job to fend for themselves. And it was a technical position and I had no idea about how things worked. That's where training would have helped. So I ended up having a lot of resentment about it all. But she was clueless. She really was. Sometimes people act clueless, but they really know what's going on. She really was so wrapped up in herself that she never noticed what a struggle it was for me to figure things out and that she was at the root of the problem. She's one of those people who if you said something about it, she'd look at you all crazy because she was totally oblivious to any wrong doing on her part. She's still like that. She absolutely never takes responsibility for anything. If you tell her how you feel.....it's "I'm sorry you feel that way" with the implication the way you're feeling is beyond her control and it's your problem....you've chosen to feel that way.....has nothing to do with her. She's blind to the fact something has to happen to cause the feeling. Whatever event occurred manages to get squashed and your feelings become the focus...taking the focus off the event and making you look over emotional or too sensitive. It's really frustrating, as you can imagine. So I pulled away from her quite a bit. I only saw her at work and avoided any personal activity. She noticed this but didn't understand it. She made comments to me a few times that she missed our friendship. Kind of trying to ask me what the problem was. But I always managed to get away from talking about it with her. Like I said, she wouldn't understand my side of it. And I still have to work for her, so it's unproductive to have conversations with her about something she will never comprehend and would likely lead to an argument.

There are times when things get a little easier, but this isn't often. She is who she is and she'll never change. I know this. And as I get older I understand more. I've come to understand the way things are and just accept them. I was always waiting for things to change and, of course, they didn't and they never would. Waiting and hoping for something that will never be is disheartening. Your soul wants to shine brightly but the hope for something that won't happen is like a black spot on your soul that won't let the light through. When you let go of it, the black spot will be gone.

We're not friends. And my soul shines brighter now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 12: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Hope you have enjoyed my Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes! Ending with something pretty yummy and really easy!!

Caramel-Apple Galette

1/2 (15-ounce) refrigerated pie dough
3 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges (about 4 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon turbinado or regular sugar
1/3 cup caramel topping

Preheat oven to 425°.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; coat paper with cooking spray. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle on prepared parchment.

Combine apples and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well. Place apple mixture in center of dough, leaving a 3- inch border (apples will be piled high on dough). Fold edges of dough toward center, pressing gently to seal (dough will only partially cover apple mixture). Combine water and egg white; brush over edges of dough, and sprinkle galette with turbinado sugar.

Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until golden brown (filling may leak slightly during cooking). Drizzle with caramel topping, and serve warm.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 11: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Chicken Potpies with Ham

2 tablespoons butter
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup whole milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 rotisserie chicken (meat shredded - 4 cups)
8 ounce ham steak cubed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and ground pepper
9-inch-round store-bought pie dough

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in the middle. In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add carrot, onion, fennel, and fennel seed. Cook until carrot is crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer and thickens, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in chicken, ham, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eight 8-ounce ramekins or ovenproof bowls; set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to a 15-inch round. With a 3 1/2-inch floured biscuit cutter, cut out eight rounds; place one on each ramekin. Transfer ramekins to a rimmed baking sheet; bake until filling is bubbling and crusts are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

To store: Prepare through step 3; let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil; store in freezer, up to 3 months.

To reheat: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Uncover ramekins; bake on a rimmed baking sheet until bubbling and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8 people.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 10: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Lightened up without sacrificing flavor!

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, rinsed, drained, & coarsely chopped
4 ounce reduced-fat bar cream cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 scallions, sliced
10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Place half the artichokes in a food processor; add cream cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, and 3 tablespoons water. Process until smooth.

Add scallions, remaining artichokes, and spinach; pulse briefly. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. (To store, refrigerate, up to 2 days.) Top with 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Serve dip with vegetables.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Day 9: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

S'Mores

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Topping:

1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips or chunks
2 cups miniature marshmallows or homemade marshmallows cut into bite sized pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.

Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are moistened. Press this mixture firmly onto the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes, or just until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the marshmallows are soft, lightly golden, and starting to meld together. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, lift the squares from the pan by holding the edges of the foil. With a long sharp knife, cut into squares. Can be stored at room temperature for several days.

Makes about 16 - 2 inch squares.



Recipe from joyofbaking.com

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Day 8: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Nothing like a bowl of hot chili to warm your bones. And it's good for you!

False Alarm Vegetable Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large carrot, chopped medium
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, or 1/4 cup drained canned chopped green chiles
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound dried lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 stewed (28-ounce) tomatoes
1/3 cup chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, green and red peppers, carrot, jalapeno pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in 7 cups water, lentils, tomato paste, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Stir to blend, adding stewed tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and crushed red-pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. If the chili starts to dry out, add hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Day 7: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

The fortune could be your holiday greeting to whoever you give them to!

Fortune Cookies

2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons water
Preparation:

1. Write fortunes on pieces of paper that are 3 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 9-X-13 inch baking sheets.

2. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg white, vanilla extract, almond extract and vegetable oil until frothy, but not stiff.

3. Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar into a separate bowl. Stir the water into the flour mixture.

4. Add the flour into the egg white mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. The batter should not be runny, but should drop easily off a wooden spoon.
Note: if you want to dye the fortune cookies, add the food coloring at this point, stirring it into the batter. For example, I used 1/2 teaspoon green food coloring to make green fortune cookies.

5. Place level tablespoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, spacing them at least 3 inches apart. Gently tilt the baking sheet back and forth and from side to side so that each tablespoon of batter forms into a circle 4 inches in diameter.

6. Bake until the outer 1/2-inch of each cookie turns golden brown and they are easy to remove from the baking sheet with a spatula (14 - 15 minutes).

7. Working quickly, remove the cookie with a spatula and flip it over in your hand. Place a fortune in the middle of a cookie. To form the fortune cookie shape, fold the cookie in half, then gently pull the edges downward over the rim of a glass, wooden spoon or the edge of a muffin tin. Place the finished cookie in the cup of the muffin tin so that it keeps its shape. Continue with the rest of the cookies.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Day 6: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Cranberry Orange Marmalade

Try something new ~ you might like it! There is nothing more frustrating than people who do not try new things because they are positive they will not like it. Don't be one of those people.

Make the most of abundant seasonal oranges and cranberries with this bright preserve. Serve with biscuits or toast for breakfast, or pair it with crackers, assorted cheeses, and nuts for a cheese platter. The sweet-sour marmalade pleasantly partners with cheese, such as gorgonzola.


4 cups

3 1/2 pounds navel oranges (about 6 medium)
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups sugar, divided
1 (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

Carefully remove rind from 3 oranges using a vegetable peeler, making sure not to get any of the white pithy part of the rind. Slice rind into thin strips. Peel all oranges; cut into sections. Combine rind strips, sections, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add remaining 2 cups sugar and cranberries to pan. Simmer 1 hour and 30 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Cover and chill.



Recipe from CookingLight.com

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Day 5: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Makes 12

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
2 large eggs

For the Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture and beat to combine.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Day 4: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Apple Pie Cocktail

1/2 oz Southern Comfort
1/2 oz Cinnamon Goldschlager
I cup apple cider (not apple juice)
Cinnamon sticks

Gently warm apple cider in a sauce pan. Add Goldschlager and Southern Comfort. Serve in a mug and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Optional: Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make it al-a-mode!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Day 3: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Barcelona Hot Chocolate

The combination of hot chocolate and espresso is enjoyed in Spain and throughout Europe. This version shows off the chocolate with a hint of orange and isn't as sweet as traditional American-style cocoa drinks.

4 servings

2/3 cup boiling water
2 ounces good-quality dark or bittersweet (60 to 70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup brewed espresso or strong coffee
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 2-inch piece orange rind strip
1/4 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Cocoa powder (optional)

Combine 2/3 cup boiling water and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan, stirring until chocolate melts. Add milk and next 4 ingredients (through rind); cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk. Heat 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil). Discard rind. Pour 1 cup mixture into each of 4 mugs. Spoon 1 tablespoon whipped topping over each serving. Dust with cocoa powder if desired.



Recipe from CookingLight.com

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Day 2: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Chocolate Scotcheroos

1 cup Karo® Light Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Cook corn syrup and sugar together in a large pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter; mix well. Add cereal; stir until evenly coated.
Pour into greased 13x9-inch pan and pat into place.
Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over cereal.
Cool at least 45 minutes, or until firm. Cut into bars.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Day 1: Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes

Starting my Twelve Days Of Holiday Recipes! Hope you try some of them :)


Sparkling Cranberries

For the simple syrup, raw cane sugar or real brown sugar lends a nice molasses flavor to the cranberries, but regular granulated sugar (or a blend of brown/white) will work.

2 cups cranberries, picked over
2 cups water
2 cups sugar (see head notes)

More sugar for coating: I do a mix of medium-grained organic sugar for the first coating, and then a second toss with regular granulated white sugar. You don't want a huge grain for that first toss, just something larger than standard sugar, smaller than most turbinado sugars. You can sort of see the different grain sizes in the third photo in the main write-up.

Place the cranberries in a medium glass bowl and set aside.

Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar just to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Let the syrup cool for a couple minutes and then pour it over the cranberries. If the syrup is too hot the cranberries will burst, so be careful. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain the cranberries and toss them with larger grained sugar until they are well coated. I only use a scoop of sugar at a time, and small batches of cranberries, so the sugar doesn't get too damp. Place the coated cranberries on a baking sheet to dry for a few hours.

Do a second toss with the regular granulated sugar, this typically takes care of any sticky spots on the cranberries. Let dry another hour.

Makes 2 cups of sparkling cranberries.


Recipe from 101 Cookbooks.com