Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008


Woohoo! This is how I feel about the end of this day coming. It's the start of the holiday weekend, it's a four-day weekend for me, AND it's me BIRFDAY weekend! w00t!

I snatched this fine piccie from a dang good Cookie!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

French Onion Soup

Thought I'd share this recipe that I made the other day. The Hubs is a big fan of it and I'd never made it for him before, so why not? I don't have an exact recipe, but it's not like you can really mess this one up.

1. I sautéed about 3 cups of white, yellow and red onions, and 2 shallots, which had been sliced very thinly, in about 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1/4 cup of margarine (I use Smart Balance) or you could use butter if you choose. I let the onions sauté for about 30 minutes on a medium low heat, not high enough to let the onions get brown. You want them to get all nice and soft and transluscent. I added 1 tsp of flour to the onions and stirred for a couplte of minutes until the flour was throroughly mixed in.

2. I added 4 cups of beef stock and 1/4 cup of white wine to the pot. I've seen various recipes calling for white or red wine or sherry. I used the white wine because I had just that much left in the bottle from the last recipe I made which required white wine and because when I tried to take the cork out of the bottle of sherry it broke off and I couldn't be bothered to fish out the rest of the cork at that moment. Then I added some pepper, a bay leaf and some allspice. I didn't add any salt because frankly the beef stock had enough salt in it. I let the pot simmer on low for at least a half hour.

3. While that was going on, I sliced up a demi-baguette I'd bought that day at Trader Joe's. Mmmmm, the bread was nice and crusty. I lightly toasted it and popped the pieces in bowls in preparation for the next step.

4. I ladled the soup over the bread, making sure to get a lot of onions in each bowl...that IS the point afterall.

5. I put sliced pieces of swiss cheese over the soup, letting corners of the cheese hang over the edge of the bowl. It's best if you can put the bowls in a broiler or large enough toaster oven to melt and brown the cheese. But I've never even been able to get the broiler door open on our oven and I don't like the idea of food cooking so close to the floor (since the broiler is at the bottom of our oven) and our toaster oven wasn't big enough for this task. So I put the bowls of soup in the oven on 450° for about 20 minutes until the cheese was nice and bubbly and brown.

Be careful...I've heard more people say they burn themselves on French Onion Soup! There is just something irresistable about that bubbly cheese, but the soup below is absolutley scalding...hehehe. Mmmm, so, so good. I did NOT burn myself, nor did the all was good. Here was the finished product...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


It had to be done. I was eventually going to HAVE to make that trip down to the DMV to get a new ID card. I'd been dreading this for oh...about 3 years now, ever since I lost my state ID card.

After I got married, in December for 2003, I went in to get the new ID with my name change. I didn't think this would be complicated, seeing as I had all of the proper documents, including my shiny new Social Security card. But ohhhh, no...not for a DMV employee...someone who can only think within very narrow parameters.

I was waited on by a state employee I will affectionately refer to as Crusty, because he was a crusty ole grump. Well everything was going along fine until I had handed over my United Kingdom marriage certificate and his gears immediately downshifted. The rules state that when you are changing your name due to marriage, you have to bring in an original of the certificate with a raised seal. Well, Crusty didn't know how to process the fact that UK marriage certificates doesn't have a raised seal and further more are not officially typed out. That raised seal really stuck in his craw. Ours anyway, was handwritten by the registrar who proceeded over our marriage and contains the words spinster (GRRR) and bachelor and carries the royal emblem...stamped, not raised. Good old Crusty wasn't going to accept this ORIGINAL, CERTIFIED copy of my marriage certificate. I asked quite level-headedly and calmly what was it he proposed I do in order to prove it is a valid document? I wanted to shout..."YOU WANT ME TO GO GRAB 'LIZABETH, AND TROT HER AND HER CORGIS IN HERE SO SHE CAN VALIDATE IT...MAYBE SHE'LL KNIGHT YOU WHILE IN THE PROCESS FOR BEING SUCH A DAMN FINE DMV EMPLOYEE"? Crusty grumbled off to talk to a manager, or fifty, and they umm'd, ahh'd and pointed. I think they all rubbed their thumbs across it looking for that damn raised seal. Then Crusty came back and in a tone that was meant to convey severe apprehension, he said he'd accept it, but I had the feeling I should be REAL damn lucky he did, and should bow in gratitude or something. I'm guessing no one in my great state of Illinois has ever married outside the country before.

Anywhooo...this so rattled Crusty's cage that he made just a lil tiny, eensy weensy booboo, one which I didn't noticed until several months later, and one I didn't want to even think about having to go back to the DMV to get corrected....he entered my sex as MALE!!!! Secretly I think he did it on purpose. And then at some point, I lost the ID.

So I walked around for a few years without an official state ID, using my passport or work ID when I absolutely needed one, which really wasn't all that often...really only when the Hubs and I went to a bar that wanted to harass women that are clearly over the drinking age. I needed a new ID though, so after enough nagging from the Hubs, I finally decided, that's it, I'm going to just get it over with.

I checked the DMV web site to see what are acceptable forms of ID and gathered together my birth certificate (proving that yes, I was indeed born FEMALE), marriage certificate (EGADS, there is no way of getting around the fact that I have to show how I got from maiden name to married name), social security card (natch), and lease to show proof of address. I merrily skipped on down to the DMV, arriving at 7:20am, knowing they opened at 8:00am, but determined to be in and out of there like greased lightning. I pulled out my book and watched the line grow behind me...I was first in line...hurrah! Then at about 7:50am, a compact lady with sensible shoes and a very swift, efficient looking manner about her...and a clipboard (the sure sign of authority), unlocked the door and asked that we form an orderly line outside the door and gather all of our documents together so she could check them out prior to entering. She wanted to make sure we had everything we needed for whatever our desired service was. I remembered this from last time and whipped them out, all..."AH HA"-like. She hesitated at the foreign marriage cert., only asking if I'd had another state ID at any time. Nope...ok, she said I was good to go. She went through the line and informed us she'd be back to give us numbers. Being first in line you'd think I get the first number right? WRONG...three seniors got the first numbers, because well, they are seniors and they can't sit around waiting all day. Those of us who have to go to work can...

No biggie, once we were allowed to officially go into the DMV office, the seniors were called up, two of them were a tad thrown off by the booming electronic voice telling them which desk to go to. Then it was my turn!!! E-gads, I was being waited on by Crusty's friend Grumbly. He asked what I was there for. I told him a new card, to replace a lost card, that wasn't due to expire until next year on my birthday, and a correction to the card. And what was that correction he inquired. I told him it said "male" and kind of heh-heh'd, saying that I could assure him I was born female. What I wanted to do was spin sideways, narrow my eyes to a glare and point accusingly at Crusty (because oh, yes he was there just 2 desks down) and yell... "YOU! YOU made this mistake, you imcompetent Crusty fart!" Grumbly didn't react much...Grumbly didn't seem to have much of a pulse. Whenever he asked a question, he cut me off, so I just stood there, waiting for him to finish tap-tapping...FEMALE, Grumbly, FEMALE...get it right. He printed off a form for me to sign and I noticed something, it said expiration date of 2009. WHAT??? I said, ahem, why is this only good for one year? Well, silly me, because it's a duplicate and had I noticed the error immediately, they could have replaced it for free, and if I came back next week on my birthday, it could be valid for the 5 years. I couldn't take it...I signed the thing, with full realization that I'd have to return in one year to do it all over again. WAAAAAAAAH!!!! And with full realization that I'd have have to pay another $20 bucks next year. But I just couldn't bear it, I couldn't bear the thought of going back into the office again next week. I just wanted to be done with it and I'll worry about next year. As long as I don't lose the thing again...ahem...I won't have to produce ALL those documents (including the evil marriage cert) next year. Oh, and here's the other thing, not only do I NOT want to go to the DMV again next week, you gotta be crazy if you think I'm going to spend my birthday with either Crusty, Grumbly or any of the other DMV dwarfs.

The rest was a breeze...paid the cashier $20, went to the photo area, got awful picture taken by very pleasant lady who giggled when I said I just wanted to make sure it didn't say "male", like last time, and she said, no, it's too early in the morning for sex changes.... She's alright! Too bad she can't spread her personality to Crusty and Grumbly.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Holy freakin' crap!

After waiting 406 days for my husband to have the conditions removed from his greencard, he's been approved!!! FOUR HUNDRED and SIX! When my husband entered the country almost 3 years ago, he was given conditional status because we hadn't been married over 2 years at that time. The green card he received was good for 2 years. The rules of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) state that within 90 days of expiration of the green card the immigrant is to file for lifting of the conditional status to recieve a "permanent" 10-year green card. Ok, fine, we did that, supplied goo-gobs of supporting evidence that we were still married and that he hadn't entered the country via a sham marriage, and paid their big fee. And then we just waited....and waited. There was nothing we could do to move the process along as the center that was handling our case was working on cases several months prior to the date we filed. And then they just stopped processing cases, apparently because of the massive increase last year in naturalization filings. Eventually our case was transferred to another center in late March of this year and bing-bang, they knocked it right out. We only have one USCIS hurdle left....the naturalization hurdle, which my husband is eligible for at this time. An immigrant married to a US citizen is eligible to apply for naturlization within the 90 days of the 3 year anniversary of becoming a permanent resident. For my husband, that was the day he entered the country. aaack, I don't know if we are ready to go through another lengthy waiting period at this time, AND hand over another big fat check. Someday we won't have to deal with USCIS ever again....YIPEEE!!!

At least we can say we are doing this all legal-like, never having to look over shoulders and wonder if he'll be booted. And that's all I'll say about that.....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Back in da groove...

Ok, I took a little blog break there. It wasn't too long, but I actually had a reader poke me and say hey...get moving. Maybe I just didn't know what to say.

Anywhoooo, take a look at the flowers growing on the plant in my living room. These are the funniest flowers because they don't look real. They look like a little plastic clump, almost feel like plastic, and strangely enough, they pop out of the plant upside down and under the leaves so you don't see them sometimes until they are in a full bloom. This is the first year this plant is blooming for me. The plant was started as a clipping for me from a co-worker last year and I was hoping to get flowers this year....YAY!!! It's one of those great, throw som water at it occasionally and forget it plants and it LOVES bright, bright sunshine, which I get a LOT of in the living room window. I get so much that other plants just can't take it, plants that grow wild outside cant'take the excessive sunlight.

This week in the mail I received my book club book for May. I didn't know it was going to be 455 pages and with tiny print! I thought aaack, how am I going to finish this one on time if I just read it on the bus. Well I picked this book up on Thursday morning and couldn't put it down. I finished it Saturday afternoon, ignoring the bedroom that needed straightening and eating a sandwich while reading it. The book was Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. WOW, was it compelling, sad, thought provoking, even a little suspenseful. It's the fictional account of a what leads up to and occurs in the aftermath of a highschool shooting in a small town. I highly recommend it. I have two other Jodi Picoult books which I look forward to reading.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Herbs

Ok, here's my Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Herbs, served with rosemary roasted potatoes with goat cheese and steamed green beans with pearl onions.

The chicken recipe....

1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried Thyme1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp Creole seasoning
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced (depending on how much garlic you like)
Black pepper Salt if you want (the Creole seasoning has salt in it, so I didn't use more)

Make marinade: Combine lemon juice, oil, herbs, seasoning, garlic and pepper (salt if you are using.

Wash chicken, pat dry, put chicken in marinade and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Arrange chicken in roasting pan, pour some of the marinade over the chicken so the chicken doesn't dry out while cooking. Bake for 35-40 minutes, basting several times.

This recipe originally called for chicken legs, but legs are not the Hub's favorite and he doesn't like chicken with skin. If you use bone-in meat it will take longer than I've said in this recipe. It was good though...juicy. Also, the original recipe didn't call for marinating, but I think it made the flavor better.