Home at last

This post is well overdue. It’s a stormy evening, which means no swimming and a quiet evening at home with the mister. The rest of the week he’ll be gone in the evenings to rehearse and perform in a local musical, Sweet Charity. I’ll be busy swimming a lot to finish my passes before the end of the season (thanks, stitches) and watching the last season of Downton Abbey before my Amazon Prime ends this month. These are serious deadlines.

Speaking of deadlines, I ended up not turning in my grant application for the August deadline. So the good news is that the last few weeks were not so crazy with writing, but the bad news is that this grant application is going to drag on slowly until December. I’d rather either run experiments or write. If I try to do both at the same time, I end up just doing science and the writing goes to the wayside. So, we’ll see how this goes…

Over the past few weeks I completely forgot about the blog here, but then last week I remembered this lonely space and have started to collect some thoughts in my head. I figure the first thing to write about is the new house. The big move happened a few weeks ago and we were blessed to have my parents and Chris’ parents come help us move, get settled, and do some home improvement two weekends in a row. We’ve also been working on finding some furnishings. You’ll notice that much of the house is pretty bare. This is a problem compounded by my hesitancy to decorate without some critical furniture. We’re working on this. Without further ado is a photo tour of our new digs. We’ll consider these the ‘before’ pictures. Commence photo dump.


Our new homestead.

This is a picture from the day we moved in a few weeks ago. Funny story: This is probably the last picture of that 4Runner. Within a couple weeks the car gave up the ghost (and front underside) when my dad was using it to pull holly bushes out of his front yard. The holly bush is still in the ground and the car has been traded in. A true, sad, (and ridiculous) story. Rust was not its friend.

First floor


Living room. Matching blue Lazboy chairs – recent Craigslist finds! These will migrate next to the fireplace in the family room once we find a couch for this space. We had a lawn chair in here too for awhile so that we could sit down with our parents.


My mom helped me unpack the kitchen. This was quite a project what with all the high cabinets and me being a shorty.


Hi, Mom!



Garage with some of recent Craigslist finds waiting to be cleaned up. This will get shelving, which will allow us to get both cars in here. Winter.is.coming.

Basement and Man Cave


Chris in his natural habitat. If you look closely he’s looking at furniture on Craigslist. The story of our life right now.


L: “Let me take a picture of you in the basement.” C: “But it’s not unpacked yet.” L: “These are ‘before’ pictures.” C: “Ooookay.” We just got him that lovely dresser yesterday for music accoutrement storage.

wpid-img_20140811_173820944.jpg wpid-img_20140811_173747841.jpg






Chris and my dad re-wired the dryer outlet and installed the dryer exhaust and Chris and his dad hung the lovely shelf for the laundry.

Upstairs – Chris and his dad worked hard wiring three of the bedrooms for overhead lighting, which is wonderful.


Our bedroom with newly-installed ceiling fan.


Fancy guest bedroom, now with overhead lightbulb! I promise that is the best air mattress ever and those sheets are freshly washed.


Craft room and library


All the decorations still in their boxes. So pretty.














Also, I got a new cell phone number. I’m working on getting that out to people. But if I haven’t gotten it to you yet, email me or text my old phone number.

Whew, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for virtually stopping by! Hopefully that doesn’t scare you from coming to visit. Please do!











American Chicken Enchiladas


This is a family favorite. I can’t tell you how many times I have made these chicken enchiladas for us and our friends. These are very Americanized, especially since we like them crispy rather than soggy. The original recipe is from Allrecipes and you can find it here. However, over time I’ve found the tweaks that make this recipe AWESOME. And here’s how it’s done at Casa de la Mike. Follow along to the bottom for a few other notes from moi.

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped green onions (or just 1 bunch)
4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
2 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
2 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt, use less if it’s a thinner yogurt)
5-6 large frozen chicken breasts, shredded
2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
12 (medium) white flour tortillas (Mission Brand, because these don’t crack like ALDI brand)
1/4 cup milk
Optional Seasonings
1.5 t cumin
1/4 t Slap Ya Mama hot creole seasoning (or red pepper)
1/4 t nutmeg
1. Load your chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Cook on high 2-3 h or low 3-8 h.
2. The chicken should pretty much fall apart at this point. I shred it on a cutting board with a fork, or cut it with a knife if I have to.
Pre-heat oven to 350*F and spray a 11″x14″ pan with canola oil.
3. Saute your green onions for a couple minutes and then add in the garlic for a minute or two more.
4. Add in the 2 cans of diced chiles, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, and sour cream.
5. Season as desired. I wrote in the seasonings I typically use (estimated amounts!) to give you some direction. Season, taste, and adjust to your preference.
6. Remove 1/4th of the sauce (opposite of Allrecipes!).
7. Add the chicken and 1.5 C of shredded cheddar.
8. Fill the tortillas and load them seam down in the greased pan.
9. Add 1/4 C milk to the filling you set aside and mix it to thin it out. Spoon this over your rolled enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.
10. Bake at 350*F for 30-35 min.
P1010532Chris taking a siesta while waiting for the enchiladas to be ready.
P.S. Put your leftover green onion bulbs in a glass of water on a sunny window sill. Change the water once a week and you’ll have enough green onions to make this recipe again in 3-4 weeks!
P.P.S. Oh, my suggested seasonings – I told you this was American Enchiladas. Why not put Greek, Cajun, and nutmeg in a Mexican dish? Actually, the Greek Seasoning, Slap Ya Mama, and nutmeg are my triumvirate of secret ingredients. However, to be clear, they do not usurp Salt, Pepper and Garlic powder, which are like the Holy Trinity of spices (i.e. in the essence of EVERYTHING). You’ll see these guys reappear over and over again in my recipes.