Monday, December 29, 2008

Recipe 7 Some Things for the Holidays part 1

I know I have not posted much lately but I was enjoying the visit from my Mom too much to stop and blog! So, it has been a while since I have posted a recipe and both of these were at our Thanksgiving and our Christmas dinners :)

I have always loved green bean casserole but have wondered if there was a recipe to make it from scratch, well I found one that was really good. I did not use a cast iron skillet, just made everything in a normal 2 quart skillet and then poured it into a glass dish and I added 2 slices of cooked bacon :) Here it is:

For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nonstick cooking spray
For beans and sauce:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
Directions
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

There is also a sweet potato dish that Jeff loves so that will be my next post.

Monday, December 22, 2008

finally a little bit of Christmas

Since most of you have been reading this blog I will not go into the details of how discouraging this house has been, especially lately. I had not even opened our Christmas decorations (just rescued them from the sewage). My mom arrived in Billings late Saturday night and I just could not stand the thought of our blank walls and 90's wallpaper being the only thing we looked at as we opened our gifts Thursday morning so yesterday the boxes came open, the tree is up and icicle lights are on the walls. The decorations paired with the beautiful white world (albeit incredibly cold world) have finally stirred up some Christmas spirit for the Grissoms and we are thrilled to celebrate the birth of our Saviour! Below is a picture of our tree, there is even some of the 90's wallpaper hovering in the background.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Introducing Otis

Any of you who know Jeff know that it is really difficult for him to have a gift for someone and not give it to them... so, when I came home from work Jeff had my birthday present.

Meet Otis:




He is almost 3 months old, bichon/yorkie/poodle (none of which we wanted but all together, they make a pretty cute mutt), he is about 3 lbs right now and should end up anywhere from 5 to 15 lbs. The perfect size for our house and we hope the perfect playmate for Moose.

Thanks for the sweet gift Jeff :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sewage

Oh yes, the last couple of days are as much fun as the title of this blog makes them sound...

We were supposed to leave for Boise yesterday to meet our new niece Michala. On Thursday Jeff was cleaning out Frank's cage so that we could take him to a friends house, when he went to the basement to get new litter he found our basement flooded... bad... even worse, it was not "just" water, it was sewage.... So, we called our landlord and let her know, she said she would start calling people the next morning so we thought that would be fine. We realized a little later that it was not an isolated event but that anything that went down any drain in our house and our neighbors was causing more flooding, no flushing the toilet, no taking a shower, no doing laundry (not normally horrible but it was time, very low on clean clothes). We ended up staying at the Holiday Inn, we could not be more grateful for Jeff's corporate discount. We both had to be at work at 5 am but we were off at 9 (which is when we were planning to leave for Boise), not too long of a work day and another phone call to our landlord letting her know the direness of the situation. Roto Rooter showed up at 2 and everything was finally going down the drain, woo hoo!!!! By 5 we had everything cleaned out of the wet boxes and drying throughout our house, just in time for Jeff to make it to the second half of his work day and too late for us to still make our weekend in Idaho... Oh well, the roads were not the best for travel anyway, we look forward to trying again in January :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving and the return of the coffee beans

Thanksgiving has a specific picture in my mind of 70 members of my family eating massive quantities of food and getting as much quality time crammed into one weekend as we possibly can... it is something that we all look forward to all year and as November approaches you get a little more excited about it each day. It was truly difficult not to see my family this weekend but we still had a great day! Our dear new friends, Todd and Jenny Moore, invited us over to spend the day with them. We had more food than 12 people could possibly eat (love Thanksgiving leftovers!) and great fellowship. Jeff was, once again, the big toy for the kids so after a day of cooking and playing we came home full, tired, happy and thankful for our day.

As we reflect on the last year we see some truly difficult times in the loss of our close friend Kelly and the loss of our baby... but the thing that really stands out in our mind is how thankful we are to have a God who carries us through these times, to be able to rejoice in the truth that Kelly and our little one are in the presence of the Almighty and that we have the hope of Christ to rejoice in ALWAYS. We discussed many things that we are thankful for this afternoon so I could give you a list from each of us but the above is what stood out the most.

Back by popular demand (and also just because I miss them) are our coffee beans... the blog is a bit different than it was and hopefully will soon see a few more changes but, at least for now, the coffee beans will remain :)

Here are a couple of pictures from our day:




Sunday, November 23, 2008

Comments

So, some insight into Jeff and I with the blog. We write a blog and then proceed to stalk the comments section to see if anyone is reading it and what they might have to say about it :) Sad, I know, but what I also believe is the result of living so far from our family and friends. I know that not everyone has a blog so it can be difficult to figure out how to leave a comment, fortunately our friend Molly has already written a blog explaining how to go about this and this is the link to that explanation http://gtrankandfamily.blogspot.com/2008/10/want-to-get-set-up-to-leave-comments-on.html.

We are going to miss spending Thanksgiving with our Texas family but will be attempting to recreate some of the amazing food that will be there. We plan to have pictures up on the blog with our first Montana Thanksgiving and hope it will not be to terribly long before we can visit.

We want to say congratulations to Tim and Liz on the arrival of our niece Michala Eve Grissom, we are so excited and can not wait to meet her. Her arrival (and a little peer pressure from us) has inspired The Chronicles of Grissom, a new blog that we will be following.

Let us know what you think of the new blog design, there is a place where you can vote to the right of this blog under the list of followers.

Happy Thanksgiving a few days early, hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recipe 6

I made these the night before we went hunting and I have already made them again, one of Jeff's new favorite items:

Apple Pie Muffins

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg [beaten]
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream [or substitute]

2 cups diced peeled apples
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped apricots or prunes [optional]

Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts [or pecans]
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. melted butter [or olive oil]

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream brown sugar and butter. Add vanilla, egg, and buttermilk. Mix well. Add wet to dry and sprinkle with diced apples. Stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Mix first four topping ingredients, drizzle butter over and toss with a fork. Spoon batter into large greased muffin tin - filling only 3/4 full. Sprinkle topping on top and put another spoonful of batter on top. Or - stir topping ingredients into batter until just barely blended in and spoon batter into muffin tin. Bake at 375 F for about 25 min.

[Buttermilk substitute - 1 Tbsp. vinegar and 1 cup of milk. Let sit for 5 minutes]

Sunday, November 16, 2008

THE HUNTRESS

2008 continues to be an astonishing hunting season. LeeAnn and I got up early and went hunting this morning and by 4:00 pm we had a deer and an elk in the back of the truck. The Elk have been hunted pretty hard this year and are quite spooky so it took us a while to find them. . . quite a while, but I was able to knock a cow down shortly after noon. After she was in the truck we went down to the lower part of the ranch and I am very proud to report that LeeAnn shot her first deer shortly thereafter. It's a sweet first deer too actually it's just a sweet deer period. He is a nice four point mule deer and unfortunately for him he was more interested in chasing does around than he was in running away from my wife's bullet. LeeAnn made a nice shot nice shot and down he went. Here are some pictures





Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rouladen is RAD!

I know I just posted a dead deer recipe and some of you may not have any dead deer to cook, but rest assured this works on dead cows too. This stuff is great!! Thanks to my sister in law Suedee for sending it. . .

Here's the rouladen recipe: Slice the round steak or roast thin (about 1/4 in. Make sure it is a very lean cut of meat) cut into pieces about 4in. by 6in. and pound each side well. spread with mustard and salt and pepper. put a slice of raw bacon on meat and a thin slice of onion and roll up and secure with toothpicks or cooking string. brown in a little oil on all sides. Put in a dutch oven pot or slow cooker and add water or beef broth (I use water with beef broth base) and simmer 2-3 hours with a lid on the pot or in slow cooker on low all day. If the liquid gets low in the pot add more. It needs to cook until the meat gets tender. We also like to add mushrooms at some point. The broth becomes gravy so you serve the meat rolls with the gravy on the side. Let me know if you have any questions. It's not an exact recipe...just passed down in our family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Deer Chili

I got my deer back from the meat shop Saturday and while LeeAnn is typically the chef in the family, I do make a pretty good deer chili so I thought I would share the recipe. You will need:

2 LBS Ground Venison
1 Onion Diced
2 jalapeƱo peppers split in two with seeds removed
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 cans of kidney beans (I like to do one light and one dark for looks)
2 cans of Rotel Tomatoes or 2 cans of diced tomatoes depending on how spicy you like things (not everyone is from TX)
2 packages of McCormick chili seasoning (I use the stuff with 30% less sodium)

The most important step is to smoke the frozen deer burger and the jalapeƱos in your BBQ over Mesquite chips. I usually do this by putting a bunch of soaked mesquite chips over the flame guard and turning the heat to low. Smoke the meat and peppers for about 20 minutes, this will mostly thaw the burger and it helps get rid of the any gamy flavor.

Once the meat and peppers have been smoked, dice the peppers and place the meat, onions, and peppers into a stock pot and brown the meat over medium heat. Once the meat is browned, add the remaining ingredients (drain and rinse the beans first) Let the concotion simmer for 20 minutes or more and serve with cheese and sour cream. It should feed four or five adults no problem devide the recipe in half for two people. Happy hunting.

Jeff

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Dad

Last week my Dad called and said that if we were available he could come for a visit on Sunday and Monday and, thankfully, it was the perfect weekend for a visit. He arrived Saturday night, Sunday we went to church and took Dad to see where we work, watched the Broncos (ugh), ate good food and ended with a trip to Red Lodge. It was a good time and I am so glad that the trip worked out! Here are just a couple of pictures from our weekend:



Saturday, November 1, 2008

Recipe 5 Kori's Baby Shower :)

Last Sunday we had a baby shower for my friend Kori, it was a lot of fun (I'll throw a party with Abby any day!). Below are some of my favorite pictures and below that are the recipes for the sandwiches I made, enjoy :)



Goat Cheese Cucumber Sandwiches



The spread is soft goat cheese, cream cheese (more goat cheese than cream cheese), crushed garlic, fresh thyme and parsley, salt and pepper. Put spread on both slices of bread with cucumbers in the middle, mmm mmm good.


Asparagus and Prosciutto Sandwiches



Cut asparagus to fit your bread and then steam for 3 minutes immediately plunging it into ice water when it is done (you want 6 spears per sandwich). To assemble the sandwiches, spread cream cheese on both pieces of bread then season with pepper. place a slice of prosciutto on cream cheese, spread honey mustard on prosciutto, place 6 spears of asparagus on the mustard, place another slice of prosciutto on asparagus and then finish with your other piece of bread. One of the favorites at the shower.

We also had chicken salad on croissants, if you want my recipe for chicken salad let me know, I wasn't planning on posting it but I can...

Monday, October 27, 2008

CARNAGE 2008 - AN OPENING DAY TO BEAT ALL OPENING DAYS!

You know that saying, "it's not what you know but who you know,"  Well I know Don Gibson and he was able to get access to 48,000 acres of prime hunting real estate for me and my hunting companions.  Today Ian, Ryan, Todd and myself accessed said hunting real estate and had an absolutely amazing opening day to the 2008 rifle season!!  By 11:00 am all four of us had our bucks loaded in the truck. These were pretty nice bucks too.  All were four points and the product of passing up a multitude of shots on lesser animals.  After lunch, we went up to the high country and shot three elk, Ryan and Todd got their first and I would have but mine didn't stay dead and disappeared into the forest never to be seen again :(  I looked until it was too dark to see and I feel really bad but these things happen.  Fortunately, Don's dad manages the ranch we were hunting on and the elk have been driving him nuts so he invited us back to kill some more, which we can do because in that unit you can shoot two!  All in all it was an awesome day, I've never seen a truck so full of dead animals.  Well I've been up for 23 hours so I think I'll go to bed. . . actually I smell like a dead deer so I think I'll take a shower.  Here are some pics.




Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cooking and Hunting, a good day for the Grissoms :)

So, I sit here tonight completely overwhelmed by my trip to Walmart, known by my husband as "The Beast". It has been many moons since I have had a pleasant shopping trip there and today only reiterated why I shop at Albertson's. Parking, maneuvering through the masses and standing in line FOREVER... okay I'll stop, now I'm just complaining. I write all of that because I am sitting here after stopping at 5 shops to get everything I needed and I am worn out... although, unlike most of my dear friends, it was just me and my shopping list... no babies, no toddlers... how do you guys do it?

Tomorrow is going to be a good day, for both Jeff and I :) My sweet friend/boss Kori is soon to have a little girl and tomorrow Abby and I are throwing her a baby shower so I get to spend the day assembling neat little finger sandwiches, chopping and decorating to my hearts delight (hmmmm, contented sigh). Jeff gets to go hunting, it is opening weekend and he has been invited to a ranch, hopefully tomorrow we will have more red meat than we can eat and you will get to see some photos of Jeff and his trophy/trophies. I really do plan to go hunting with my husband some day, some day is just taking a lot longer to get here... oh well, soon enough (I'll catch up to you some day April ;)

We haven't posted in a few days so I thought I better fill you in on what is happening, we should have photos and recipes from our weekend adventures soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a Difference a Week Makes!

This was the view from our front porch Saturday morning.  As you can see all but that little pile of snow by my truck is gone and the weekend was very pleasant.  Fall is back or should I say Indian Summer. The temperatures were in the mid 70's which made for some great outdoor recreation over the weekend.  Saturday afternoon I went paintballing with Ryan Lynch and his buddies, I felt kind of weird being 31 years old and hanging out with a bunch of 14 year olds but I quickly got over it and had a great deal of fun shooting them.  I didn't get shot up very badly this time either, the only one that really hurts is the one I took to the side of the head, my head was actually misshapen for a while. . . good times!  Sunday after church I went fishing with my buddy Ian in the Beartooth mountains.  The brown trout are spawning right now so they are all schooled up in the river, I've actually never seen so many trout in one place.  They weren't very hungry and we each only caught one, but it was great to get out of town and see the fall color in the mountains!  Reading over this I feel like quite the neglectful husband as I left LeeAnn at home with a painful knot in her neck.  She assured me that it was okay for me to go play but I still wish she could have come. . . we would have dominated at paintball! Anyway please pray for LeeAnn she has been in a lot of pain with her neck!  Oh yes, work is going much better as well, I test flew the hangar queen on Friday and after four months of being worked on she is finally flying which means that all of our 1900s are flying again.  Which really means that I don't have to fly all over Montana in the middle of the night to bring airplanes back for the morning UPS operation.  All is good!  Except LeeAnn's neck so pray about that!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Recipe 4

Last weekend we had the opportunity to make dinner for some new friends, the Moores. Not only did I get to cook lots of fun food but we also had a blast, Sunday was a great night :)

This is a recipe from the Food Network website, we have really enjoyed Alton Brown's recipes and this is one of our favorites:

Beef Tenderloin in Salt Crust
Prep Time:25 minInactive Prep Time:4 hr 35 minCook Time:40 min
Level:
Intermediate
Serves:
10 to 12 servings
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
5 egg whites
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, and/or sage)
1 (6 to 7-pound) whole beef tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place the flour, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and water and add to the dry ingredients along with 2 tablespoons of the herbs. Combine with a potato masher until the mixture begins to come together. Then knead with your hands for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large zip-top bag, seal, and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out to 3/16-inch thickness, approximately a 24 by 18-inch rectangle. Trim away extra dough, if necessary. Sprinkle the remaining herbs on the center section of the dough and gently press down.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In order to achieve uniform cooking, fold over slender tail end of tenderloin and tie with kitchen twine. Set a large electric griddle at its highest setting; brush the tenderloin with the olive oil and sear on all sides until well browned, approximately 10 minutes. Rest the meat for at least 5 minutes or until it is cool to the touch so as not to melt the dough.
Place the tenderloin in the center of the dough. Fold top part of dough over, flipping back about 1-inch of dough onto itself. Repeat with the bottom half of the dough. Press together the 2 flaps of dough and seal. Make sure the dough is not too tight around the tenderloin. At the ends of the tenderloin, press together dough to form a seal and cut away any excess. Transfer to a sheet pan, place in the oven and roast to an internal temperature of 125 degrees F, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. The tenderloin will continue to cook 10 to 15 degrees more. Cut salt crust at 1 end and extract meat by pulling out of dough tube. Slice and serve immediately.

I served this along with:

Mashed potatoes with garlic butter, sour cream, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper

Fresh green beans sauteed with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic salt and lemon juice

Salad of Romaine, blueberries, cucumber, pine nuts and Brianna's French Vinaigrette

Rhode's rise and serve dinner rolls (in the frozen section, really good)

and for dessert we found this, also on the Food Network website, it was my first tart and it was really easy, really pretty and turned out really well:

Fresh Fruit Tart
Prep Time:25 minInactive Prep Time:15 minCook Time:14 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
8 servings
Crust:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and sliced
Filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:
Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices, blueberries, raspberries
Glaze:
1 (6-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Whipped cream, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust: In a food processor, combine the confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter, and process until the mixture forms a ball. With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, taking care to push the crust into the indentations in the sides. Pat until the crust is even. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
For the filling and topping: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. For the next circle, use kiwi slices. Add another circle of strawberries, filling in any spaces with blueberries. Cluster the raspberries in the center of the tart.
For the glaze: Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pastry brush, glaze the entire tart. You will not use all of the glaze.
Keep the tart in the refrigerator. Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Slice into 8 wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Well Now That's a Bit too Early!!

This was the view from our front porch this morning.  I thought about not posting it because I thought it would keep people form coming up to visit us, but then I realized that nobody comes to visit us anyway.  We've had an upper level low parked over us since Friday and as a result we had 22" of snow on the ground as of noon on Sunday.  Red Lodge 50 miles to the south has over four feet on the ground!!  Not to worry though, in true Montana fashion the temperatures will be back up in the 60's by Wednesday.  While the snow is welcome (due to the fact that it will drive all the critters to lower elevations where I can then shoot them) it has made for a very long week!  I took over as the Assistant Chief Pilot in charge of UPS operations on Monday which is a fancy way of saying that I'm the guy that has to make everything work.  Unfortunately for me, snow, cold, fog and airplanes don't mix well and I pulled more than one 24 hour day last week making plans and changing them over and over again as airplanes broke or couldn't get to the places they were supposed to be.  I made 47 phone calls on Thursday/Friday trying to get everything coordinated!  Ultimately my efforts weren't in vain and everything did work out, but I'm really starting to wonder what I've gotten myself into!  Well at least I don't have to fly this winter. . . oh wait, I flew 6 legs yesterday in CRAPPY weather and shot 4 ILS approaches to minimums, that's exactly what I was trying to avoid by taking this job.  Oh well at least I'll get some management experience and gray hair out of the deal.  Oh yeah and a company cell phone!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Recipe 3 2x4

The temperature dropped into the 30's today, it rained most of the afternoon and now it is snowing. The first truly cold night warning us that fall is on it's way out and winter is almost here. When the weather is wet and cold like this Jeff and I crave 2x4 soup, a recipe that I was given years ago by my sister in law Emily. Our favorite things about this recipe are that it is quick to make, tastes really good and is really filling.

2x4 Soup

2 lbs of ground beef
2 cans of Minestrone Soup (usually Progresso)
2 cans of Rotel
2 cans of Ranch Style Beans

Brown your ground beef and then open and dump the rest of your ingredients, allow the soup to heat through and that is all there is to it. I like to add sour cream and cheese (mozzarella is really good on this soup), but it is really good on its own as well. When Jeff and I are the only ones eating it we cut the recipe in half and it still is more than one meal so I would keep that in mind.

Hope you guys are enjoying these recipes :) We might be cooking for some friends this weekend and if we do I will post one of my more elaborate meals.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hurry up and wait



Yesterday I discovered that an out-patient surgery is a series of "hurry up and wait". We were told to arrive at the hospital at noon for my 1:30 surgery. Upon checking in we sat in the waiting room; once called back to the prep room I was asked to change and then laid in the bed waiting; my iv was done, the initial vitals were taken and then we waited for the surgery department to say they were ready; I was wheeled up to the surgery department where Jeff was shown to the waiting room at which time there was some paperwork unfinished and once again I was waiting... This sounds like everything was delayed while in actuality it went very smoothly. Since Monday when we found out that our baby was gone I have been grieving while also waiting on pins and needles. My options were to allow my body to go through the natural miscarriage process of severe cramping, bleeding and pain or to have a D & C. Since we made the decision to go ahead with the D & C I have been nervously hoping/praying that I would make it to the surgery before that cramping began. As the Anesthesiologist put the mask over my mouth the surgeon was on one side and a nurse on the other, tears began to fall and each of them reached out at the same time to wipe them away... sadness and relief mixed together. I believe that God is still healing us and that this cannot be a quick thing to recover from... but some closure was reached yesterday and the tears are a little fewer and far between. God is good, His hope is constantly the light at the end of our tunnel, the joy amidst our sorrow and the lifeline that we can cling to when things go awry. We believe God as He promises:

"Jer 29:11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Jer 29:12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you."

and we cling to the command to:

"Phl 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
Phl 4:5 Let your gentle {spirit} be known to all men. The Lord is near.
Phl 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Phl 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

See You Up There

Monday morning we went to the OB-Gyn full of excitement at the prospect of hearing our little baby's heart beat and possibly getting to see him on ultrasound. After trying unsuccessfully to find the heartbeat with the doppler, the doctor did an ultrasound to locate the baby.  We knew something was wrong when she said, "where's the heartbeat?"  Apparently our little one died a few weeks ago and stopped developing at 9 weeks.  We are very sad but know that God has a plan and that this is for our good.  We just have to wait a little longer to meet our little baby in Heaven.  LeeAnn is having a D&C procedure tomorrow at 1:30 so we would appreciate your prayers for that as well as for us as we get through this.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Recipe 2

Dinner tonight was:

Salmon pan fried in a little bit of olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper and then topped with avocado salsa.

I cooked the salmon on medium heat, it took about 4 min on one side and maybe 3 once I turned it but our filets were pretty thin. I like to make sure that the salmon is not overcooked because it gets really dry when over cooked but cook it how you like it.

Avocado Salsa:

1 large tomato seeded and chopped
1 large avocado chopped
1/2 of a small onion (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tbl of fresh cilantro chopped (I left this out because my husband is not a fan)
1 Tbl lemon or lime juice (I used a little of both tonight and was really good)
1 clove of chopped garlic
a few dashes hot pepper sauce (I used tobasco)
a little salt

It will taste good right away but is best if you chill it for a couple of hours. This is from The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and there is a Mango Salsa recipe in there that is also wonderful on fish.

This is a great, really healthy meal that takes no time to make.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Moose update

Moose has been a really good kitten, very playful but really just a lap cat. We took him to the vet on Wednesday and he was given 3 vaccinations. We were warned that it might be a bit much for him and it was, when we came home he fell asleep and barely moved for the last two days. Today he is back to his hyper playful ways so I think all is well. Here are a few pics, the most concerning one being Moose on top of Frank's cage... our only real issue with our kitten :)



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Recipe 1

I have decided to post may favorite recipes as I make my favorite meals, after all the one hobby that I have always kept up with is cooking.

My first recipe is one of my favorite salads and is probably one that you all know but I made it for a church pot luck today and thought I would go ahead and make it my first post.

Spinach
Strawberries
Walnuts
Feta
Vinaigrette (my favorite on this salad is Briannas blush wine vinaigrette)

Just slice up your strawberries, make sure your spinach is clean and toss everything together, you do not need much feta because it is a pretty strong cheese. Super simple and really good!


The other recipe I made this weekend is Leigh's Yummy Banana Bread and that recipe can be found here. I have been looking for "my" banana bread recipe for a long time and think I finally have one that I plan to always use, thanks Leigh :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Encouraging

This morning we visited Hope Evangelical for the second time. The pastor recognized us from our visit last week and we were welcomed by several of the members. We really did enjoy attending Harvest but were so lost in the crowd that we never felt a part of the church. This morning was so encouraging because it really feels like a place that we can be involved, the message was meaty and interesting, the people were friendly and the church has a heart to reach out to the community. We are excited to see what God has for us and what we can do to serve Him in this new place :)

On the baby update, I am still feeling pretty rough everyday. If I am not in the actual act of eating I am in a constant state of nauseousness. I am actually encouraged by this, albeit tired of it, but at least I know that the hormones are doing their job and if I am as far along as we found out at our appointment it should only last for one or two more weeks. Our next appointment is on Sept 29th so we will let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WOOHOO!

In the tradition of recent blogs making the same announcement we are making, here is a photo you might find interesting...



We are excited to announce that there will be a new little Grissom added to our family some time around April 3rd :) We had our first appointment with our OBGYN's nurse today and it had its ups and downs. We really like our nurse and feel like we are in capable hands for this brand new process but were a bit disappointed when we did not get to hear the heartbeat. I am only 10 weeks along and it is not uncommon to have a hard time finding the little heart at this early stage, but it was one of the main things we were looking forward to today. Once we finished our appointment we were sent downstairs to get bloodwork done... when they finished taking my blood everything got a little woozie and I ended up passing out (no fun at all!). I was only out for a few seconds but the lab insisted that I go to the clinic and get checked out before I left, it ended up being a pretty long morning and I am still pretty tired from it. Quite a bit more of a dramatic beginning than I was hoping for...

We are excited to finally make this public information and will keep you posted on how it is going :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sad day

Yesterday Jeff and I had a sad day. Gus was rescued from a home where he had been neglected, left in his crate all the time and not really interacted with. This being said, we did not leave him alone much but when we did put him in his crate he was not a happy camper and apparently he would bark and cry for longer than we knew. Our neighbors called our landlord 3 days in a row (Gus was only in his crate 1 of those days...) without ever talking to us and on Sunday morning, on our way to church, we received a phone call informing us that we had to get rid of him. We called the family that gave him to us, packed up all his stuff and dropped him off with tears in our eyes. Due to his history Gus was a very high maintenance dog and we were struggling with that a bit but, overall, he was a great dog and will be missed!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Our little circus and visiting a new church

So, I know that we have only been blogging lately when big things are happening, hopefully I will keep up a little better now :)

Lately our lives have been working and taking care of the pets... a little overwhelming, not to terribly unexpected with all the change that we had in such a short time but the size of our little house has been felt lately. We are tired, Gus has a tendency to keep us awake but he is getting better all the time. This followed in the wake of Moose getting use to us, he used to cry all night as well but we have gotten past that phase now. Frank continues to be the easiest of our little circus to take care of, chirping politely most of the day and occasionally hearing a bird outside or on TV causing him to go into a fit wishing he had a friend to play with.

Tomorrow we visit a new church, Hope Evangelical. We are excited about trying to find a smaller church where we can hopefully get plugged in a little easier. We have enjoyed Harvest but feel disconnected and lost in the crowd...

I hope you all enjoy our blog as much as we have enjoyed our friends blogs. My wish is that it would not feel like we are so far away :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Big Hike



We titled this The Big Hike but the word that Jeff has used most to describe it is HUGE! 26 miles through several different kinds of terrain and some of the most beautiful scenery we have seen. All of us were in considerable pain by the time we reached mile 26 and if we never see another power bar or dehydrated meal again we will be just fine. All of us ended up with at least a blister but the prize for the worst blister goes to LeeAnn and the prize for the most blisters goes to Ryan. The burger that we ate at The Dewdrop Inn when we finished the hike is one of the best meals that we have ever had. Here is a link to all of our pictures http://picasaweb.google.com/jefferyjg/CookeToERB (as you know we tend to take a lot but there are some great ones so they are worth going through). Who's coming with us next year?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meet Gus

Along with all the other changes going on in our lives we have added one more furry friend to the family. Gus is a 1 year old Weimaraner and, while being a bit of a handful, is a very very sweet dog who already seems to have found his best friend in Jeff. We took him with us on our 26 mile hike (the next thing we will blog about) this weekend and he did so good :) Moose was incredibly traumatized at first but seems to be warming up a little bit now.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

LeeAnn's New Truck



I gave LeeAnn a hug the other day after she drove home from work in her '98 Escort. She was so hot it felt like she just stepped out of the oven. Then the other night she was going to bring me some dinner at work but her car wouldn't start (a reoccurring problem). So I started thinking that we ought to do something about her transportation situation. Friday I hopped on a flight to Missoula and brought back a Toyota RAV4 for her. It's four wheel drive and has the 268 HP V6 (more than my truck, that makes me a little sad) and it gets the same mileage as the V6 Camry. Plus it has lots of room for our future kids and we can take it camping in places that a car just can't go. It will be great in the snow which the escort certainly was not! Best of all LeeAnn gets a cute little grin on her face when she floors it and the little V6 throws us back in the seats. Come on up we'll take it camping.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Meet our new little Moose

Here is our new little kitten Moose. He is 14 weeks old, solid black with these green eyes that have just a little bit of blue around the pupils. We are having a little trouble getting a decent picture of him but here are the best we have gotten so far.



Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ugh and WooHoo!

Well it's official, we gave notice on our apartment today and will be moving into a house where we can have a dog and a cat. We would like to get a puppy but since the landlord wants the pets to be house trained, I think we will have to get a used dog. We had a dog all picked out in Missoula, but we called a day too late and she already has a new family. I was going to fly her home on the airplane too. Speaking of which. . . they make these things called mutt muffs which are ear muffs for your dog so she doesn't loose her hearing while flying with you. I've wanted a dog to go flying with ever since I saw a guy that was flying a check run flying with his dog. He would tell the dog to take the checks to the airplane and the dog would take the bag of checks and load them on the airplane for him. How cool is that?! You see all kinds of cool stuff flying in the middle of the night. Anyway, back to the house, it's a two bedroom so ya'll can come up and stay with us (hurry summer is almost over). The actual living area is kind of small but I think it will be fine. There is an unfinished basement where we will finally have enough room to store all of our crap. I think this winter I might accidentally throw up some studs and drywall and finish the basement for them. . . what are they going to do evict us? Leave it better than you found it right? So all in all we are excited, no more noisy doods downstairs, no more carrying groceries up three flights of stairs, the rent is cheaper and we get to have pets! The only down side is moving which is the worst thing in the world in my opinion. I think in hell, people are forced to move for eternity, at least that sounds like the worst thing possible to me. Too bad we can't get the company to pay for our moving expenses I would hire movers in a heartbeat! Oh yeah, we will be two blocks away from a really cool park and we will both be closer to work too. Does anyone know of a great dane than needs a new family? That would be a dog that could load a lot of mail on my airplane!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jaco and Bianca's Wedding

We have been traveling once again. We left on July 18th for Silver City, New Mexico to attend our good friend Bianca's wedding. It was so much fun to meet Jaco and to participate in their wedding. Here are a couple of the pics.









I will blog about the rest of our trip some time this week... no more big trips for a while so hopefully we will be back on our consistent blogging schedule :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jeff's favorite holiday

The Fourth of July is Jeff's favorite holiday :) He just loves to set things on fire and blow things up! This year it was Jeff and the kids out there, a place where we felt the loss of our friend because in the past it was Kelly, Jeff and the kids out there blowing things up. We spent it with Kelly's sister Terry and her family which is always a good time :) My favorite part of the holiday is playing with my camera so here are some of my favorite shots.









Crazy Pilot - Plane race

Thought this was kind of funny

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The 10 Day Tour of Texas

It has been a while since we have posted, sorry, time just gets away from you when you are preparing to be away for 10 days. In those 10 days I stayed in 7 places beginning and ending my journey in Austin. Texas is home, although my trip began without my sweet husband and home is really wherever he is, but it still felt familiar and Montana just hasn't reached that place yet.

My first stop was Dallas where I was able to spend time with my brothers and their families (we missed you Emily) and then with one of my best and oldest (as in time not in age) friends, Jennifer and her husband Eric. I left Dallas for Longview where there was some quality time spent with my Mom, Uncle Thomas and Aunt Nancy and my cousin Leigh. Next was visiting College Station and getting to see many dear friends, have a little midnight adventure (like the old times) and watch SYTYCD :) Then it was back through Austin to pick up my sweet husband Jeff and head off to San Antonio where we had our first marathon date. I had booked a room at "the" Hyatt on the riverwalk that morning so when we arrived we parked in the parking garage, unloaded all our luggage and went in to check in... no reservation... oops we are at the other Hyatt. So we load up the car, get our parking validated and head out to the other Hyatt, park in the parking garage, unload all our luggage and went in to check in... no reservation... "are you kidding me.... are there 3 Hyatts on the riverwalk?" Yes, yes there are. We load up, once again get our parking validated and head out to find yet another hotel on the oneway unfamiliar streets of downtown San Antonio. Fortunately this was the correct hotel and we were finally able to get settled in, our vacation just had a little scavenger hunt thrown in, good times. We had blast at the riverwalk, the next day we went to a museum which had built several of DaVinci's machines. We spent the afternoon in historic Gruene, TX, ate dinner at the Gristmill and then headed out the friendunion (or reunion of friends) in Stonewall just outside of Fredericksburg (the original reason for the TX tour). Friends, Bocce ball, Scummy and food from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon... so much fun! We went to Austin that night and were able to eat dinner one more time with Gabe and Whitney, one of the couples at the friendunion and flew back home the next day.

Here are the pics, I made a few albums because there are a lot... hope you enjoy them :)

Before Jeff Arrived




Us in San Antionio/Gruene




Stonewall Freindunion 2008




We have a tendency to go a little bit photo crazy, just be glad that we only had one of our cameras with us ;)