Monday, May 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Stones...

These 2 little guys were left on my desk one morning before I got to work. They look innocent enough right? Weeeeellll let me just tell you how these 2 little stones caused me to panic!



So I walk into work and I see these little clear stones on my desk. They look to be strategically placed just so that I would see them when I walked in. No note, no hint as to who put them there, NOTHIN! So I am quickly running through a mental checklist of all the people at my work and trying to decide who would give me these 2 little stones. I came up with nothing. No reasonable explination as to who or why they were there. 

Then a thought dawned on me. See, we have a new temp worker out back. He's straight off the boat, doesn't speak much English, and he seems to always be looking my way. Creeper McCreepenstein. This is where I began to panic. What if this was a tradition in his homeland as a sign of affection towards someone? WHAT IF BY NOT REJECTING THE STONES WE'RE SOMEHOW MARRIED?? (Yes, my train of thought quickly went there) So I just tucked them to the side and kinda forgot about them for a while.




Any time someone would come back to my desk & pick them up I'd immediately say "I have no idea where those came from! Did you put them there?" Then I would forget about them again. The other day it was my dad who came back and picked them up. I immediately say "I cannot figure out where those came from!" And here's the kicker kids... My dad's response "I found these out by the dumpster and thought they looked cool" SERIOUSLY DAD??? You couldn't have maybe mentioned this sooner? hahaha


So the mystery of the 2 stones is solved, and I feel like a major goof for having a mini major freak out about it. The. End.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Well We'll find out in 2 hours! I just started watching it.

But I'll give you a run-down of the whole show as it goes.

Beginning with the opening number performed by the 10 contestants previously voted off, and can I just say... IT SUCKED!! I HATED IT! The highlight of that number was when the dance break happened and when Josh fell trying to be all cool. Just. Please!

Then Phil rocked the house with former CCR frontman Jon Fogerty. LOVED IT! Thanks Phil for bringing the TALENT back to the show. Just goes to show why you were voted into the final 2. I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with the fact that you're a cute WGWG (white guy with guitar) haha the past 3-4 years suggest the White Guy W/ a Guitar is the clear winner. First they sang Have You Ever Seen The Rain then into Bad Moon Rising. Right up Phil's alley. This is just a preview of what his CD should sound like. CCR mixed with Mumford & Sons.

The montage of all the horrible auditions and crazy antics  really wasn't needed. We saw it in the audition round. Thanks for wasting our time....

I take that back, this mess is hilarious! Keep. It. Going. 

Then there was the Josh Ledet & Fantasia disaster. Good Lord almighty what just happened. From her hair to the outfit to the voice. I just cannot handle this. If I were watching by myself I would be fast-forwarding. But alas... I am not so I must suffer. And then the producers got smart and cut them off & went to commercial. 
Thank you! THANK. YOU!

Dear Josh,
This is why you were eliminated. 
The End.

Thank you Jimmy for never getting J-Ho's name right. She doesn't deserve the time or energy. The she-devil. Go hide in a hole somewhere... 

Up next is the ladies of the top 12. I have not a clue what they sang, I just know the hook was sampled in a Kanye West song. Which is disappointing, but they sounded good. Then they sang I'm Every Women with Chaka Khan (who came out in a skin-tight brown something. My sister said she looked like a giant turd. I kinda agree! WHO DRESSES THESE PEOPLE???????) I liked Erika's hair better dark though. She shouldn't have messed with a good thing. I forgot about Shannon. There was a reason for that. She wasn't very good.

Can I just interject here for a second. I heard a rumor that my boo Philly Phil will be taken to the hospital right after the finale and will NOT be on the tour. Say WHAT? He better be there! I will cry forever if he's not. I'll donate both my kidneys if I have to.

Back to the show... Oh never mind. It's just dumb Rihanna. I just threw up in my mouth a little. That was an excellent lip sync job you did RiRi. Way to make a mockery of the very thing you do to make all your millions. (if you even make that much) But good job making sure you sound all out of breath like you actually did something out there. 
You get a gold star.

Steven Tyler's hysterical. 
Jessica Sanchez sang I Will Always Love You.
Guys of the top 12. Not sure this was a needed performance. So I'll skip it. 
Deandre better watch out in Detroit. I'm bringing my clippers.
Where's Neil Diamond????
That's right... Neil saves the day with Sweet Caroline.
Take notes guys.
And then they SANG THE PHONE BOOK!!!
Are you kidding me??


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz of sorry JLo's on stage and I fell asleep. Excellent choice of outfits. Your hips look massive! I'm done.


Hollie Cavanagh & Jordin Sparks sang. and that's 5 minutes I wish I could have back.
Add another 6-7 for the Robin Gibb tribute. Sad for the loss, but It wasn't a good tribute.


Jessica Sanchez & Jennifer Holiday? I guess I missed that Jennifer Hudson didn't originally sing that song. My bad. Beautiful wig she's got on though. Kudos hair people.
How Jessica is NOT dying of laughter watching J. Holiday perform I will NEVER understand. That was hilarious! Sounded awesome, but the faces were killing me!


Then some Aerosmith thing happened and I fell asleep again.
Jessica & Phil sang a duet and my heart broke a little because you can tell just by looking at him that Phil really is not feeling well. 

They waited until the last 30 seconds of the TWO HOUR SHOW to announce the winner. And it ran over... SHOCKER!


And the winner is... *drum roll please*
ME!
Kidding


PHILLIP PHILLIPS WINS!


But I really win too, because Philly Phil was my choice to win and now I get a free dinner. 
The. End.

I Like To Put Things Off Sometimes.

So remember that time I was going to write a blog post, A WEEK AGO! Yea, I'm not avoiding an apology or anything. Me? I would never. 

Focus Jess, Focus! I get derailed easily.

Now if you recall a few weeks-ish back I wrote a post about professionalism. No, you don't remember? Well you're in luck, you can read that here. Anywho, so I wrote that post and looking back I was pretty harsh on Lani. Both professionally & personally I think. You see loyal blog readers I try very hard not to paint people with one brush. Everyone has a personal life & a professional one. Take Chris Brown for instance. Personally he's a woman beating douchecanoe, but you cannot deny professionally he's good at what he does. The man (and I use that term loosely) makes good music. (see I'm still putting off that apology by making references. What is with me!)

 Two weekends ago now I went on a little road trip to Madison for the Spencer Bell Legacy Concert that my dear friends Bonnie, Rachel & Lisa put on. A show I would not miss for the world. Not even for the performances, but because it raises money for such a great cause. Adrenal Cancer Research with Dr. Gary Hammer at the University of Michigan. You can read all about that and donate here. But back to my point. After all of the drama went down and a post was made by Lani on behalf of the remaining members of the group I was angry. Like ANGRY! I took it all personally I think and I completely wrote her off as a total bitch who won't take responsibility for her actions. (Just being honest) I really felt like she was personally responsible for all the bad things going on with the band and their eventual dismemberment. 


Fast-forward to dinner break at Legacy. I overheard bits of a conversation between Lani, her boyfriend Will and Lisa. The one comment that sticks out (made by Will) was "everyone needs a villain" That stopped me dead in my tracks. That is exactly what I was looking for. Someone to blame. I made her the villain because a band I love couldn't get their stuff together and agree upon things.


During one of the set changes Jodi & myself were hanging out and I saw that Lani was standing alone. I just had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to go talk to her. I needed to see for myself that she wasn't the villain I made her in my mind. We actually have a lot in common. Down to the figure skating! haha I'm really glad I had the opportunity to talk to her. It really changed things in my mind.


Now, I'm not retracting what I previously said in the other posts. I meant it then, and some of it I still stand behind. The professional end of it. I still believe it could have been handled better by all, but I cannot blame her for the events that happened. A.) I wasn't there and don't know the full story. And B.) I wasn't there and don't know the full story. 


So I would just like to say to Lani (whether she ever sees this or not) that I'm sorry. I blamed you for things because I needed a villain. That was unfair of me and uncalled for. So again, I'm sorry. I'm not going to make more excuses. Just know that I own my mistake and I'm sorry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

American Idol Round Up - Finale Night 1

But it's TUESDAY!!! It's not American Idol night... Oh WAIT! It's finale week so we start a day earlier. Why, you ask? Because SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE starts this week!!!!!!!! yayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayayaya
Can you tell I'm excited? haha

We're just gonna get right to it!

Round 1 - Simon Fuller Picks
Jessica Sanchez - I Have Nothing - Whitney Houston
I thought she sang very well, BUT for the finale I thought it would be so much MORE! I expected more from her and she disappointed.

Phillip Phillips - Stand By Me - Ben E. King
I love Phillip's style. I just love that voice, but again, I expected more from him being the FINAL performance before the winner is announced. 

*I think I agree with the judges, sadly, that Jessica won the first round.

Round 2 - Contestant Choice
Jessica Sanchez - The Prayer - Celine Dion
This was more like what I was expecting. It was big and powerful and she held it at all the right moments. She's a ballad girl, but it has to be the right ballad. She doesn't seem very diverse in that regard.

Phillip Phillips - Movin' Out - Billie Joel
Yay Phillip! This was so much better! It just goes to show you that just because the big-wig thinks you'd sing a song well doesn't mean he's right SIMON FULLER! haha kidding, but really they both did so much better on the songs they picked.

*I say Phillip took this round, the judges disagree. Steven says Jessica, Randy says it's even and JLo says Phillip. So thanks for a whole lotta nothing judges.

Round 3 - Jimmy Iovine (winner's 1st single)
Jessica Sanchez - Change Nothing - Original
The song written for Jessica was slow... SHOCKER. She's a sit on the piano and belt singer, I'm not a fan. She did however sing the song very well. Not well enough to win in my opinion. Not sure if it's her singing or the song itself. Just not a winner for me.

Phillip Phillips - Home - Original
YES, YES, YES! It was very Mumford & Sons-esque and I LOVED IT! Finally a great song written for a finalist! This song was made of all kinds of awesome. Phillip for the win! He's AMAZEBALLS! 


*Randy agreed it sounded Mumford & Son-ish. Dumb JLo thinks it's like nothing on the radio and Steven agrees on it's awesomness. Phillip wins round 3!

My prediction - PHILLIP PHILLIPS of course! Like there was ever a question! Everyone go vote for Philly Phil! And get ready to start hearing HOME on your radios SOON!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What To Expect When You're Expecting.

When I first heard they were turning this book into a movie I was basically (in my head) like "That's the SINGLE most stupidest idea ever in the whole planet!" I mean for real, How are they going to turn a step-by-step book into a movie? Then I saw the preview with Chris Rock, Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, & Amir Talai slow-mo walking with strollers and baby stuff galore & I was sooooooo excited to see it.


Here's what I WAS expecting:

  • Cameron Diaz's stupid face during the whole movie, because it's all about her!
  • Elizabeth Banks to have a very tiny role, even though she's clearly the better actress, I mean hello Hunger Games???? Zack & Miri Make A Porno???? haha
  • The Dude's Group to hardly be in it.
  • It to be a really stupid adaption of a step-by-step how-to book with no point.

Here's what I WASN'T expecting:
  • Stupid JLo to be in it.
  • It to actually be funny.
  • The Dudes Group to not be very funny.
  • To be so sad that I don't have a husband and a baby waiting for me back home after my movie.
Overall I enjoyed the movie. It wasn't mind blowing, but it wasn't horrible either. I'd give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, and recommend you go see it too! 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Well... I Didn't See That Coming.

So. I was right & I was wrong. 
I was right that Phil was safe (like there was any doubt) but I was wrong that it was Jessica going home. 
This saddens me.
I really thought we were going to have an all male final.
Sorry Jess... Philly Phil gets the hot dude vote and you lose. 
Better luck next time. ;)
B-T-Dubs. Sorry if I spoiled it for anyone. You really should have watched it live.

I Have Found My Wedding Photographer.

Which is really funny, because I'm not even remotely close to getting married. I'm not even remotely close to DATING anyone. haha. Regardless, I have officially found my wedding photographer. Her name is Libby Fryer, she's from the UK and she's amazeballs! No. Lie.


Here is just one little picture Libby took from my our dear friends Lisa & Steve's vow renewal ceremony. The picture that got Libby a job as my future photographer.


Photo Credit: Libby Fryer

Oh hey Lisa & Steve... Aren't you 2 just the cutest little couple ever! I am seriously sad I had to miss the ceremony! Boo, Hiss! I'll be at the next one! I think it should be every 11 years. Symbolic. 

This pic didn't really hurt either.

Photo Credit: Libby Fryer

So yay for me & yay for Libby being amazing & yay for Lisa & Steve on the renewal! Glad it was everything you guys wanted. :) 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cell Phone Nostalgia - Free Show W/ Middle Class Rut

Ok so I know my camera is kinda crappy in the dark. And my phone was dying. But I still felt like I wanted to share. :) I can't remember the first band. The girl is from a band called Yuma I think. Probably wrong, and after the girl is Middle Class Rut. Amazing. Night!












Over all really great night! I can't wait for the next one! Thank you 89x!

American Idol Round Up

Dear Randy,
Why try to speak when you don't know what you're trying to say. Spit. It. Out!
Sincerely,
Your Dawg Jess

Round 1 - Judges Picks
Josh Ledet - I'd Rather Go Blind - Etta James (Picked by Randy Jackson)
I really enjoyed this! Until he got to the "Baby, Baby, Baby" part and started on that growling garbage he does. You almost had a fan in me Josh... Almost.

Jessica Sanchez - My All - Mariah Carey (Picked by Jennifer Lopez)
Either her voice is going out, or she is trying to sing to low for her range. Either way I really feel like she dropped the ball on this one.

Phillip Phillips - Beggin' - The Four Seasons (Picked by Stephen Tyler)
As always... Phil's a boss. I loved it! I cannot wait for a Phillip Phillips CD.

Round 2 - Contestant Choice
*Josh's home visit - Long & Boring... Just sayin...*
Josh Ledet - Imagine - John Lennon
I love this song, and even with the growliness I still liked Josh's version. Definitely makes up for the first song.

*Jessica's Home Visit - Like the background music. But she bored me.*
Jessica Sanchez - I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing - Aerosmith
This was much better than her first song. The judges really should pick better songs!! Geeze J-lo... are you trying to cost her the competition???

*Phil's Home Visit - Loved. It. (Can you tell I'm biased?)*
Phillip Phillips - Disease - Matchbox 20
Again... I loved it. I really feel like they should just give Phil the title and be done with it! So much easier.

*Randy needs to be kicked off the panel. He makes no sense!*

Round 3 - Jimmy Iovine's Pick
Josh Ledet - No More Drama - Mary J. Blige
I love this song, and I feel that he did it justice. Didn't blow me away though. Then again, he never really has. So there's that.


Jessica Sanchez - I'll Be There - Jackson 5
Ok Jimmy gets major brownie points for picking this song! She did sing it very well. Best of her 3 performances.


Phillip Phillips - We've Got Tonight - Bob Seger
I. LOVE. THIS. SONG! Thank you Jimmy, you are my hero, and thank you Phillip for singing so brilliantly! Perfect way to end the show! Now everyone go vote for PHILLY PHIL!


My prediction:
I believe it will be Jessica Sanchez and (as much as I love him) Phil. I think Jessica will be going home. She just really dropped this week. FINAL 2 - Phil & Josh!


Night Ya'll!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Home Again, Home Again.

I don't even know where to start. Honestly.

In the past 57 hours I've been driving I've been driving (well riding, Jodi drove) for 17 hours, paid $27 in toll fees, about $80-something in gas (each of us), slept for about 8-9 hours and HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE! Words cannot describe truly how much fun was had, you just HAD to be there! So if you weren't I would seriously consider making it to the next one. Whenever that happens to be.


 Now, I guess I should rewind a little and explain a bit about what this weekend was all about. Spencer Bell was an extraordinarily talented musician, artist, lyricist and just amazing person in general, who was taken way to early by Adrenal Cancer in December 2006. You can find all about Spencer's story and more HERE. Since his passing his wonderful father Bill Bell and numerous other generous individuals have put together the Spencer Bell Legacy Concerts. A day of music, fun and new found friends all to raise money for Adrenal Cancer research through the University of Michigan ACC Research Program. If you'd like to make a donation to the program, you can do so HERE. (I hope I explained that all right) 


The majority of the SBL show's I have been to have been right here in Auburn Hills, Michigan, BUT this go round we took it back to Madison, WI. Now, I don't fully know all of the stories and details to Spencer's story but I've had the privilege of reading precious memories from Spencer's family and friends. Words cannot express how grateful I am that they share Spencer with all of us strangers! I say strangers because a lot of us never knew Spencer until AFTER his passing, but we really have become a tight-knit family. A family that keeps growing & growing the more Spencer's legacy spreads around the world. 


OK, back to this particular SBL show. We took it to the High Noon Saloon and we really rocked it out! The line-up was longer than a TSA check-in line and the party didn't stop til the wee hours of the morning! I've got very few pictures from the show. Shocker, my camera battery was "exhausted" (as am I) and my phone camera just doesn't really do the trick all the time. I'll share what I have for now.

  






 From top down we've got Jake of The Kissing Club, A Coonasaurus Rob, The world's largest Culver's, Chicago traffic, Mat Black AKA Interabang Sarcastrophy AKA Tall Drunk & Foreign, Rob Coonrod, A Foxy Shazam poster I HAD to send my sister, Beautiful Chicago, a nice tall Pepsi from the Comeback Inn and the bridge at the border of Illinois and Indiana. 


Those are mine, and here are a few from my road trip buddy Jodi.
Jodi won a sweet piggy bank to start saving for the next show!

Me & my road trip buddy Jodi at the High Noon Saloon

The Fab Foursome. Mat, Jodi, Myself & Rob.
Those are just a couple from her album. My faves. The epicness of this weekend will never truly be explained. From smiley face suckers to punctuation explanations to 12+ hour shows to random hotel room encounters. Let's just say if you aren't physically & mentally exhausted after an SBL weekend, you really haven't done it right. I cannot wait for the next one. The drive is worth it. The money spent is worth it. The memories are priceless!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Where Is My Brain These Days...

I swear to you all that I actually do stuff. 
I just forget to post about it. 
You see, with the 30 meals project I had a set little schedule, now I am just going going going one direction or the other and then I sleep.
So I am sitting in my hotel room and I thought "self, you need to take the time or your blog will disappear just like all the others have."
That is a situation.


So I want to fill you in on my weekend plans. Some have yet to happen, but if I don't do it now I will forget later!


Yesterday me & my girl Jodi drove from Michigan to Madison, WI for the Spencer Bell Legacy Show (Follow that link to learn more about Spencer Bell.) 
We drove through Chicago, which was a nightmare!
As soon as we got to the city it was bumper to bumper traffic.
Got this sweet shot while we were sitting in traffic.
Then we got to Madison and went bowling. No pics from the alley, because I suck.
But we made a spur of the moment decision to drive over to Milwaukee to see these 2 knuckleheads. 
Jake Miller


  Rob Coonrod

They are the bomb-dot-com.
Now I'm off to lunch with Jodi, then on to the show! 
I will fill you in on all the fun later!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oops...

I totally forgot to make my prediction for American Idol last night! 
Man, I'm really off my game right now!
Hopefully my weekend in Madison will cure this absentmindedness.

Moving on... 
MY PREDICTION! 
(going off last week it is going to be a bottom 2 again)
I believe that Hollie Cavanagh & Jessica Sanchez are going to be in the bottom 2.
Hollie because she just isn't as strong as the other 3.
Jessica because while she is an excellent singer technically, she just hasn't been getting the votes. (America is probably on my side and they're just bored:)

As much as I don't want to see her go, I believe Hollie will get the boot this week. Unless America decides to make the right choice and get rid of Jessica. 
You know you want to.
I guess we will see in T minus 8 hours if I was right or not. 
Until then blog world....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Forgot To Talk About Stuff Yesterday...

My Bad...


So here's a few things I forgot about when making my final 30 Meals for 30 Families in 30 Days blog entry. (and I'm not sure how I feel about this aligned left business, but I'm going with it.)


Number 1.
How pretty are these flowers?




I love them! A big thank you to the Herman's for these beauties! 

Number 2. 
I love orange!


How did Bobbi know? Thank you guys so much for the flowers!

And speaking of Bobbi & her amazing family. HOW CUTE IS THIS PICTURE????



Totes Adorbs. Fo Sho. Makenzie is a natural with babies. LB was loving all the attention!

And finally. I wish I could figure out what I did to the spacing on my blog. One hit of the enter button and it adds 3 spaces between lines. Help!

That is all.


American Idol: It's Performance Day!

Here we go again kids. It's Wednesday and you know what that means! American Idol performance day. Before I get to my recap I must say that I'm sad Skylar is gone, and The Dog Randy Jackson looks like he is putting some weight back on. Maybe it's the jacket?

Let's get down to business, shall we?

Round One - California Dreamin'
Phil Phillips - Have You Ever Seen The Rain - Credence Clearwater Revival
My first thought... THIS SONG IS PERFECT FOR HIM! I was right... Like always. (other than last weeks results but I'm pretending like that never happened. Don't. Judge. Me!)

**BTW at this point of the evening my sense of smell is being assaulted by taco flavored popcorn. Someone save me!**

Hollie Cavanagh - Faithfully - Journey
Not as strong as strong as River Deep, Mountain High from last week, but it got a lot better the further along in the song she got. I think she finished strong and she picked a good song. I just wish she had the confidence she had last week.

Josh Ledet - You Raise Me Up - Secret Garden
You know I'm not a Josh fan... but you guys... HE KILLED THIS SONG!!! It really was the perfect song choice for his voice! I'm kinda sorta maybe a fan of you... but ONLY for this song. Only. This. Song.

Jessica Sanchez - Steal Away - Etta James
Typical powerhouse Jessica... YAAAAWN... I'm so over her! See... I knew my support for her wouldn't last long... 

Duets/Groups:
Josh Ledet & Phil Phillips - This Love - Maroon 5
Really??? Why are we doing this pairing again??? We didn't learn from last week??? Apparently not... BUT WAIT!! This song was so much better! It was a better balance of their voices. It didn't constantly feel like Josh was under-singing to match Phil. I actually kinda dug it... 

Jessica Sanchez & Hollie Cavanagh- Eternal Flame - The Bangles
No big surprise here, but I liked Hollie more than Jessica. I think they melded together great, but Hollie was SOLID, Jessica felt shakey.  Good job overall. Except that big note at the end... OUCH. Hollie was high, Jessica was flat. Hollie. For. The. Win!

**Sidebar - I want to see Rock Of Ages!!! Even though Tom Cruise is in it.**

Final Four - Waiting For A Girl Like You - Foreigner
Again, Josh looks bored, but he's on tune and brings it! Hollie is great, Jessica can just leave the stage and Phil... You're always awesome... Besides that whole Time Of The Season mishap from last week. I'm also going to pretend THAT never happened.

Round Two - Songs They Wish They'd Written 
Phil Phillips - Volcano - Damien Rice
This song gave me chills. I really hope Phil wins because I want NEED more of this! I totes agree with Randy, My Dog, it was his best performance to date. Nothing more needs to be said. Yay Phil!

Hollie Cavanagh - I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt
I love this song. I love Hollie. Please make the emotional connection, I beg of you. She sang beautifully, but I didn't fully feel that connection. Almost there, but not quite. She needed to let some of the notes simmer a little longer. That would have helped.


Josh Ledet - It's A Man's Man's Man's World - James Brown
Ok, I'll give it to him... He killed that. The most perfect song he could have ever picked EVER! Good job Josh. Enjoy tonight, because you deserved it.


Jessica Sanchez - And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going - Jennifer Holliday
While it was a good performance technically, I really didn't care for it. I just can't get on bored the Jessica Sanchez train. I'm over it.


I would like to close this evenings post with a letter to Jennifer Lopez.

Dear JLo,
What's with the hair? 
You look like a freak.
Sincerely,
The whole wide world.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Glorious Day 30 - Gwen Space, Bill Space & Bill Korthas

It's glorious DAY 30!!! Can you believe it's over???

First of all, I want to thank you all for enjoying this wild ride with me. 30 meals for 30 families in 30 days turned into so much more than just me learning how to cook. I sit hear crying as I type this all out, but I mean every word. I learned so much more than how to make a great meal, more than budgeting my money. I learned about the greatest group of people anyone could ever have the privilege of knowing. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I only hope that everyone out there can have as great of a church family (Yep, FAMILY) as I do. Thank you to all of the families that let me come in and cook, THANK YOU to all of my sponsors, every single person who donated had a hand in this project, without you guys I wouldn't have been able to do this! And a very VERY special thank you to Juanita Willard for making ALL of the delicious desserts. I was blown away by your kindness. I seriously cannot thank you all enough for the support you have given me throughout this project. I try, but there really are no words.

Now, onto my final meal. Tonight was fun and full of surprises! I cooked for Gwen & Bill Space, Bob Korthas, Chuck, Bobbi & Makenzie Adams AND Connor Donohue. 
Way to go out with a bang right??? 



I know what you're thinking right now. Where's Bobbi & Chuck??? Chuck had to go pick up Maddi, their other daughter, from work and Bobbi said "No way, Jose" to the picture. :) She helped cook so I gave her a "Get Out Of The Picture Free" card.


We had the most delicious Old World Manicotti ever to grace the earth. For. Reals. Surprise numero uno. Most of the meal was prepped and put together when I got there. (Thoughtful of them right?) I had to put the finishing touches on it, so TECHNICALLY I helped cook it. :) 


So lets total this up. I officially cooked 32 meals for 35 families in 30 days. 
But I actually cooked 34 dishes. I cooked 2 separate pastas and a soup for "Young Adults" dinner. Yep... I'm that awesome!


OK... Final meal, you gotta try it!

Old World Manicotti

Ingredients:
12 large manicotti shells
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 2 tbsp dried basil
1 26-oz jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Ramano cheese

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cool water. Let pasta dry on paper towels.

For filling, in medium bowl, stir together 3 cups mozzarella with the ricotta and fresh basil. Using a teaspoon, carefully stuff pasta shells with prepared cheese mixture.

spoon 2 cups of spaghetti sauce into prepared baking dish. Arrange stuffed shells over sauce. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top of pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

Bake manicotti for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan; bake for additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

You Guys...

I heard on the radio yesterday that the song We Are Young by Fun. was all about marijuana. Am I living under a rock? Because beside the "my friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the empire state" line I hear no correlation between the 2.


I also heard the one dude lives in Royal Oak, Michigan. 
How you doin' dude from Fun.??? haha

But for reals... can anyone explain this to me? 
What am I missing??

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tyler Plays Flag Football :)

Saturday I had the joy of going to my nephew Tyler's flag football game. 
He's so great!! And he has SO MUCH FUN!!!!
Here's some of the pics I took.

Sideline fun
HUDDLE!
Seriously the cutest little kid out there (besides Tyler, of course!)
RUN TYLER, RUN!!!!
Set... HIKE!
All in all it was a great time, and THEY WON! Yay Texans!

Day 29 - The Herman's

Can you believe this is already Day 29???? It feels like just yesterday it was Day 1! Only one more day and this whole dang thing is over! It's very bittersweet for me. While I'm really loving every minute of the time I get to spend with everyone, I am so stinkin' tired I cannot believe it! Who knew?? 


Tonight I cooked for a really rad chic named Tracy. Heard of her?? haha Along with Tracy, there was her husband Dave and their 2 adorable kids McKenna & Mathew. 




They have a HAIRLESS RAT?!?!?! Say what???? I was shocked by this. Tracy did not strike me as the rat type. Weird. It was actually pretty soft! I thought it would have been rough. I should have taken a picture of it.


Wanna know how dinner went??? McKenna will tell you below :)




I know I'm pretty awesome!


Weird... I made another chicken meal... Eat it!Maple Mustard Buttermilk Crusted Chicken Tenders

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup dijon mustard
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup regular seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, maple syrup, mustard and garlic. Add chicken to a baking dish and pour buttermilk mixture over top to coat. Let soak for 4-6 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine panko, bread crumbs, flour, salt, pepper and ground mustard.
Remove each chicken tender from the buttermilk and dip in breadcrumbs, gently pressing to adhere. Place on the wire rack. Spray each with a mist of olive oil or nonstick spray. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from over, gently flip and mist with spray, then bake for 10-12 minutes more. Eat!

Maple Honey Mustard
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons honey
Whisk ingredients together and serve.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 28 - Piper & The Clan

My mom is pretty sweet, and she set up a dinner with my old babysitter Piper and her family. I've known them forever, but it's been so long since I've seen them. This was the coolest thing ever! Thanks mom!



Piper is in the purple, her arm is around her son Andrew and behind him is Jason. Going the other way you have Piper's mom Chris, son Jamie and dad Keith. Buddy the dog is in front. They were loads of fun to have dinner with! It was great to sit around and  just catch up with some of the coolest people on the planet.

I Kinda cheated and I'm re-doing a meal because it was so good! But don't you worry, because of the extra special meal I made with Maddi on Day 11 I still met my goal of 30 meals for 30 families in 30 days! Boo-ya Kasha!

I re-did the Jessie-Famous Johnny Carino's Bowtie Festival. Yum:

Johnny Carino's Bowtie Festival

Ingredients: 
For Alfredo sauce:
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup milk

For bowtie Festival:
1 oz melted butter
1 tsp chopped fresh garlic
1/8 cup diced red onion
1/8 cup diced cooked bacon
1/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes
3 oz. sliced cooked chicken
1 oz heavy (whipping) cream
1/8 cup Asiago cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
10 oz precooked bowtie pasta

Method:
For Alfredo sauce:   
Saute heavy cream , milk and black pepper to a consistent boil. Remove cream mixture from heat and fold in Parmesan cheese. Store completed sauce in refrigerator until use.
For bowtie festival:
In a  heated saute pan combine butter, garlic, onions, bacon, tomatoes, chicken and spice mixture.
When onions begin to turn translucent, add heavy cream and Asiago cheese.

Once cheese and cream have reduced by 1/2, add in Alfredo sauce and bowtie pasta. Toss until well combined and remove from stove. Allow to cool for a few minutes so the cheese and sauce thicken.