Sunday, November 1, 2009

slow-cooker pot roast

we just finished a wonderful pot roast- it was juicy, succulent, and savory!
I've done this recipe before but using the oven instead of the slow-cooker and let me tell you- what a difference!!!!

ok now down to the good stuff:

1T cornstarch
8 med carrots cut into thirds
2 med onions cut into wedges
salt and pepper
1 beef chuck roast 3 lbs (we actually used a cross rib roast tonight)
2T Worcestershire sauce

in a little bowl add cornstarch and 2 T of cold water. mix until "dissolved." toss the veggies with the cornstarch mixture in the slow-cooker. Salt and pepper and sear both sides of the roast. place the roast on top of the veggies and sprinkle W. sauce on top. cover and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

once done, turn off the heat and let rest for about 15 minutes. serve with juices!

yeah way easy, but still delicious! I hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

most requested recipes and a hair cut

Here's a little collection of recipes- copies of which have been repetitively requested. Even though I would love to take the credit of formulating such flavorful awesomeness, these are not original "Mandy Cliffords".

I hope you enjoy!

Meatball Soup from studio5 recipes

* 1 pound ground beef
* ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
* 2 tablespoons chopped onion
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 2 teaspoons dried basil
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ½ teaspoon pepper
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* Soup Ingredients:
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 small-medium onion, chopped
* 1 celery rib, finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 5 cups chicken stock
* 1 can ( 14.5 - 15 ounces) pureed tomatoes (
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
* ½ teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup pasta


Combine meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls (about 4 dozen). In a skillet over medium-low heat, pour a small amount of vegetable oil. Cook the meatballs for 8-10 minutes turning often to brown all sides until the middles are only slightly pink. Remove from heat and set aside.

Soup Directions: Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat, add onion, celery and garlic. Cook 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add chicken stock, tomatoes and spices. Bring soup to a simmer over medium-low heat, then add pasta. When pasta is almost cooked, add meatballs and cook for 3 minutes. Serve with bread sticks. Serves 6.

mandy's 2 cents: just the meatballs themselves are out of this world!!!

Creamy Potato Soup from stuido5 recipes

* 3 14 oz cans beef broth
* 1 cup minced onion
* 1 cup chopped celery
* 5 potatoes, peeled and diced
* 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
* 4 cups cream or milk (cream works best)
* ½ cup butter
* ½ cup all-purpose flour
* ¼ cup white cooking wine
* 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
* ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
* Created Parmesan or cheddar cheese, for garnish


In a large soup pot, bring broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots. Boil, covered, for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir in the cream. In a separate bowl, melt butter in the microwave on high power. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Once roux is mixed well, add slowly to hot soup, stirring vigorously with a wire whisk until roux is gone. Bring to a slow rolling boil over medium heat. Soup will thicken to a nice creamy texture. Add cooking wine, seasoned salt, and parsley. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Garnish with grated cheese.

Serves 8 to 10

mandy's two cents: I just made this soup with chicken broth instead of beef- and it was amazing!!! I think i like that variation a whole lot better!

Chicken Puffs from Kaulene Kunz (former roommate)

8 oz cream cheese
4 Tb butter (divided)
2 T milk
chives or green onions chopped- to taste
3 chicken breasts (cooked!)
crushed croutons
2 cylinders of croissants
chicken gravy

pre heat: 350

mix cream cheese, milk, 2 Tb butter, chicken, and chives together, unroll each triangle and spoon out chicken mixture into the center- fold up into a relative square* just so the guts aren't coming out. melt the rest of the butter. roll each in the butter and then crushed croutons, bake for 20 minutes pour gravy over top. I like to serve it with rice pilaf or regular rice is good as well.

mandy's 2 cents: I just eyeball the cream cheese-butter-milk-chicken- combo just until it looks like a perfect ratio of each. I also like to poach the chicken (chicken+ water+ a pot- bring to a boil- reduce and simmer with it covered for 5 mins and remove and let sit for 12. remove and let cool)
and to be super technical: * the best way to fold a square from a triangle is to place the dollop of chicken near the base of the right triangle- fold the short side up on it's self toward the 90 degree angle- then fold the long side on it's self toward the 90 degree angle- then pinch the now center slit (the hypotenuse folded on it's self) closed- ta da! nice little package.

and last but defiantly not least:

Bread maker rolls: From Terra Skousen

1 cup and 2 Tbs of hot water
1/4 cup sugar
5-6 tbs of butter
1 egg beaten
1 tsp of salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tbs of powdered milk
2 tsp of yeast

add the ingredients respectively in the bread maker. run the machine on the dough cycle. roll out on to a floured surface and use a wide mouth glass or cup to cut out rounds- if you have biscuit cutters- by all means use them! Fold the rounds around bits of the remaining dough. place on a buttered rimed baking sheet- cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20-30 minutes. bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. perfection is in the oven! I seriously make these rolls so much- I actually have the ingredients and their proper measurements memorized by heart!

well that's all for today folks- don't forget to watch the video of Tre trying to eat grapes with no hands and him crying during his first haircut (well technically it's not his first- but the other one didn't count cuz it was a failed attempt.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Treson baby!!!

here are some recent pictures for you all!

getting ready for a fun filled afternoon at Lagoon!

Tre's favorite ride- the dadda! ;)

getting ready for the merry-go-round except it was more like the scary-go-round to Treson. he would have loved to run around and play on it with out it turned on

he LOVED the boat!!!!

now for the plane!

Tre's first roller coaster- to say the least- he didn't like it very much

"out of the way!!!"

vrummm vrumm!!!

exhausted after riding the rides

Tre is wearing his cousin's bikini like a hat while he's doing a hula dance

our little fam in front of Multnomh falls in OR

wearing mommy's heels

in a drawer...'s hard to keep him out of things

first time feeding himself!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Please check out my web site

Please check out my web site, I am trying to build a portfolio to apply for a new job. This is the first in a couple of web site that I will be making.

It is only a mock up and not a real business site.

Comments on color, layout, content, etc would be helpful.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Oregon Trip

mikes icecream and wind surfing! it doesn't look like we're going that fast at all but then again you need to take in consideration the camera point of view and the zoom in factor- and figure in the low wind and the place were were surfing. we were in a "baby pool" teaching area and not out in the treacherous Columbia gorge. we probably would have died if we were out on the river!

My Grandpa's old orchard.
the owner now had a lot of good things to say about him. He said my Grandpa was burly man with the biggest biceps he's ever seen.

Monday, April 13, 2009

yay for more home videos!

Treson's birthday party bits at lats!!!! I hope you all enjoy!

musical tubs!

Tub races!- Treson got scared and started crying- sad but still kinda funny

birthday cake time!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

easter EGG HUNT

There's a picture of me when I was about 7 months old (mom please correct me if I'm wrong)where I'm in a cute spring outfit with a little bonnet crawling in the grass with a pretty plastic egg in hand. The epitome of Easter morning. So I couldn't help myself when I dressed Treson up and scourered the internet for places and times for easter egg hunts around town. I was so excited to get pictures of him bending over and delicately picking up a plastic egg and putting it in our little baggie- we even practiced in our living room before we left!

When we got there, the green field in my fantasy was replaced by a roller skating rink... surrounded by a swarm of closely packed parents. we stood waiting in the appropriate section (0-3 yr olds) behind heads of other parents for about 15 minutes. There must have been a 1:32 still on the clock when the circle collapsed in and the mad rush started. I guess a toddler was too jazzed by their parents pep talk that they ran in and started grabbing- other parents ran in themselves clawing at the floor. I was trying to carefully get into the rink to set Treson down somewhere to pick up an egg, but the ground was sprawled with mothers with baskets already half full. I saw a father coming back from the middle and with a disappointed look on his face and say "it looks like they are all gone." I kinda sighed and reciprocated a weary smile understanding that his kid didn't get any eggs either.

well to say the least- I was disappointed. More in the mothers than with the situation. It took me awhile to get over my childish disappointment and be comforted by the fact that Treson wasn't upset and didn't know (or care) what he missed. I know my husbands going to hate me for my charity, but I started giving these mothers the benefit of the doubt. Maybe this was the only Easter they could provide for their kids and they wanted to reuse the eggs for tomorrow morning.
.... I'm still trying to think of something positive that I got out of being there but it's hard to find. bit of wasted time I guess, and it wasn't pleasant to be in a mob of desperate parents. I guess we'll stick to hunting in our own yard tomorrow; we'll post some of those Kodak moment photos along with video of birthday party tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I JUST finished a scrumptious dinner (I'm still licking my lips!!!) and HAD to post the recipe.

it's Mac and cheese!
I bet you all think that's the only thing we eat around here...

well I actually got this recipe from a (must I say High Class) restaurant that I used to work at back East. The Fat Canary- and do they know what they're doing or what!!

2 1/2 T butter
3 1/2 T flour
2 C half and half (divided)
2 C aged cheddar grated (I used regular med. cheddar and it was still delicious!)
1/2 t salt
grinds of pepper
1 C chopped scallion (again I substituted with shallots)

start the macaroni (2 cups) in salted boiling water and move on to another sauce pot for the ruex.
start off with the butter in sauce pot on moderate heat until bubbly, add the flour and whisk well. cook off the flour until foaming (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and add 1 1/2 C of half and half whisking vigorously until there are no lumps. Return to the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes- thinning the sauce every now and then with a dribble of half and half when it gets thick. Whisk in the salt and pepper and remove from heat. Incorporate the cheddar and whisk until smooth. Drain the pasta and fold into the sauce along with the scallions.

and you thought this couldn't get any better! Ha! just wait!!!!

take a rimmed baking sheet and toss some shrimp and cherry tomatoes in some olive oil and set the oven for broil under 400 degrees. keep the shrimp shells on and season with salt or old bay seasoning and broil for 5 minutes- or until the tomatoes have burst. turn the shrimp over about half way through. it makes such a huge difference when the shrimp shells stay on- oh wow! and it's worth every slight delay shelling them when your eating!

Even though Treson couldn't have shrimp- he sure loved the tomatoes with this creamy version of a favorite!

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

maybe this will wet your appetie.... for mac and cheese

so it kinda bums me out that not a lot of people have been commenting on our blog lately- even when I throw free stuff at you all, no one seems too enthusiastic to catch it :(
Maybe you guys were all scared of commitment or it could be that you don't have a blog to "pay it forward" on.... either way I should get over it...

So what better medium to get lost in when you're down than your children?!? I did promise cute videos did I not?

hope you enjoy!!!

oh and please leave a comment!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pay it Forward

great movie is it not? made me cry.

well this is something a bit different, the concept is there, but it's between me and the first three that comment on this blog post.

here's what you're in for- the first three people that comment on this post will receive a cute hand-mad craft (i.e. bracelet, earrings, scarf, mitten- the cutest mittens you ever saw!- etc...) then those individuals will "pay it forward" on their blogs. there is a general one month rule though- you must make the gift and pass it on within a month of committing.

so time starts now!


go go go!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Treson boy!

Sorry I haven't posted pictures of the Treson boy lately, but these should be more than enough to make up for it!

he was so excited to get a valentine from his great-grandparents

yay for cup drinking!

helping me fold laundry- aka eating socks

it's his new thing- putting chapstick or lipstick in his mouth

I know he looks 3 here... but he's really like 10 months and tall for his age

Tre and his cousin Chloe- they really look a lot alike!

here's one where he pulled the chair down on himself and was laughing about it

these are out of chronological order- but I know you won't judge.

so valentines day was fun- AJ and I went ice skating at the Olympic oval and went to dinner at Macaroni Grill (good thing for reservations!!!!)We came back to our house watched a chick flick and had fun with rose petals.

AJ made it an extraordinary week that lead up to a wonderful day spent with him. it's all about the thoughtful little things! He thinks you should let your loved one know how much you care more than just one day a year. yes I know I'm lucky :)

I hope you all enjoyed the photos- we'll post some fun videos soon!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday Night Fun.

So this past Saturday the 7th of Feb. We spent some time with our upstairs neighbors. Our partys get a little crazy :)

The Dye only cost 3$ so it was hard to pass up. My mustache looks really weird black. We decided Todd looks like Blackbeard or something hehe. I'm gonna shave here on Monday Night after work.

Everyone says i look like one of the Following guys:

Stan from Italian Job


Or Groucho

Which one do you think I look like?

Don't let the picture fool you. Mandy digs it :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

happiness in my mouth!

Every now and then I like to experiment with different recipes that come my way. I just had to pass this one along because it was so good!!!! I had my doubts after looking over the ingredient list- but WOW, you can't pass this one up!!!

Asian Kabobs

1 C. Mayonnaise
1/4 c. apricot preserves
1 sauce
1 T. Dijion mustard
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 t. of ground ginger

mix all of the above together and reserve 1/3 cup for dipping.
skewer shrimp and chicken (in my house- shrimp for me and chicken for my husband, everyones happy!)and brush the remaining sauce on the kabobs. grill until done(chicken takes a bit longer than the shrimp, so I would grill them first and set them aside to juice back up) serve with rice and steamed veggies with the dipping sauce along side. You've got a little piece of Heaven on Earth!


Sunday, February 1, 2009

What sites do you check regularly?

Just for fun I thought I would post some of the sites I like to visit. In no certain order.

Check them out, maybe you will find one that you will like.

Reply with some of your favorites :) - A great site for finding Online Movies, games, Tv, etc... -tech, science, news and social issues for geeks :) - Life Hacking... Tips and Downloads for getting things Done. - Fun site with random guy stuff. - Popular Science Online. - Various artsy stuff. Especially the flash section. - Random Tutorials for computer stuff.

That should be good for now. Share what you like to surf on your down time :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

How will the End of the World Happen?

Click here for a quick laugh.

End of Days video

Which is this page (

I have faith that the Flying Spaghetti Monster will defeat the Mutant Noodles and cast them in to the Tupperware Of Eternal Torment, where they shall remain until the end of time. RAmen.

Please make Sure to Read Mandys Post bellow she worked really hard to write it.

home sweet home?

As some or you may know, we have been looking into buying a house. Preferably the one that we are currently living in- our stuff is here, we have great friends as neighbors… plus the fact that it’s a mother-in-law. A mother-in-law apartment is a house that has two separate living areas; two kitchens, two living rooms, two baths and two bedrooms per portion. It’s a really good set up, and we figured if we buy the house, the rent that we currently pay plus the rent that upstairs pays would easily cover the mortgage! So in short- pay the same as rent, yet own the house! Big advantages here! Like- I could paint the walls something other than white, and I could landscape the yard and have a garden! We would be rid of the horrid RV sitting in our patio that belongs to our landlords and actually have an awesome place to entertain!!!!! (Party- our place!)

Given the current situation America is in, we thought it would be a great time to buy- low prices and good incentives… well after talking with the bank and other connections, we found out that the CMA for this house is $$$ ( smiley face ). However, when talking to the landlords they wanted $$$ ( frowny face ). We still could afford the $$$ (frowny face), but we’re a little taken back that they want that much, even though it’s WORTH a lot less.

Here’s their side: they are not that motivated it sell the house- they have multiple properties, and this is just something that would help them pay their other mortgages- (they don’t even have this house up for sale). And just because the market is down doesn’t mean they have to settle for what the economy has dragged its worth down to. Back when they DID have it for sale, they originally had this house priced at $$$$ ( double-frowny face). They have dropped it considerably after learning of the CMA. They believe that even though the house currently isn’t worth $$$ ( frowny face ) that if they hold on to it longer they would easily get that amount.

It’s just a bummer, we can see their side- just because the market is down doesn’t mean that they have to sell their house at a reduced sell. But then again, no one wants to buy something that's over priced.

What do you all think? Who should give? suck-it-up and go for it? or "just say no"?

I was having fun thinking about all the cute things I could do with the yard….. *sigh*…

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nostalgia and lessons from my Childhood.

Enough with all the baby and girl posts already :) I thought I would make a man post (Gurr…) for all the husbands who probably don’t read this :). As a side note, parts of this are a bit lengthy don't feel obligated to read it all. I included it because for those who do want to read it I feel that it has a lot to offer.

The term nostalgia describes a longing for the past, often in idealized form. The word is made up of two Greek roots (νόστος nostos "returning home", and άλγος algos "pain"), to refer to "the pain a sick person feels because he wishes to return to his native home, and fears never to see it again"

This past week for some odd reason I came across a remake of a song that I thought was pretty cool when I was a kid.

Oddly enough the song comes from a…. yep a computer game. (I know women roll your eyes.) The song is called Stones. Stones is a song, composed by David "Iolo" Watson for ORIGIN, inc.'s Ultima computergame series. His wife Kathleen "Gwenno" Jones wrote the lyrics. This song became one of the most famous in computer gaming history. The game actually set the precendence for games to come, but more on that later.

The Lyrics are:

Long ago ran the sun on a folk who had a dream
And the heart and the will and the power:
They moved the earth; they carved the stone; moulded hill and channeled stream
That we might stand on the wide plains of Wiltshire

Now men asked who they were, how they built and wonder why
That they wrought standing stones of such size
What was done 'neath our shade? What was pray'ed 'neath our skies
As we stood on the wyrd plains of Wiltshire

Oh what secrets we could tell if you'd listen and be still
Rid the stink and the noise from our skirts
But you haven't got the clue and perhaps you never will
Mute we stand on the cold plains of Wiltshire

Still we loom in the mists as the ages roll away
And we say of our folk, "they are here!"
That they built us and they died and you'll not be knowing why
Save we stand on the bare plains of Wiltshire

For those of you who don’t know Wiltshire is where Stonehedge is found.

So it’s a pretty cool song with a catchy beat. Not to mention the memories it brings back as a kid. Now to explain why it was so great.

To listen to the song click here.(This will navigate away from this site)

When I was a kid I played a game with my brother and sister named Ultima 6. It was actually the 6th of 9 games made in 1990. It makes me think of some of the earlier movies where since the technology wasn’t too great entertainment had to rely more on an involving story than flashy graphics and special effects. The game stirred my imagination and creativity. To this day when I think of it I get warm fuzzies thinking of times playing the game with my brother and sister. Maybe there were better ways to spend time together or be outside but it still has fostered lasting happy memories.

Here is a little background on the game.

In the game you use a stone to travel to another world that is in need. There you make friends and together save the land.

The creator of the series Richard Garriott stated that he began writing this game when he realized (partly from letters of enraged parents) that in the earlier games immoral actions like stealing and murder of peaceful citizens had been necessary or at least very useful actions in order to win the game, and that such features might be objectionable.

The object of the game is to focus on the main character's development in virtuous life, and become a spiritual leader and an example to the people of the world of Britannia. The game follows the protagonist's struggle to understand and exercise the Eight Virtues.

As told throughout Ultima, The Eight Virtues explored in Ultima are based on Three Principles: Truth, Love, and Courage.

The Eight Virtues are:










Truth, Love


Love, Courage


Truth, Courage


Truth, Love, and Courage


Independent of Truth, Love, and Courage

The relationship between the Principles and Virtues is often explained this way:

· Honesty is respect for Truth

· Compassion is Love of others

· Valor is Courage to stand up against risks

· Justice is Truth, tempered by Love

· Sacrifice is Courage to give oneself in name of Love

· Honor is Courage to seek and uphold the Truth

· Spirituality is to seek Truth, Love and Courage from one's own self and the world around

· Humility is the opposite of Pride, which is the absence of Truth, Love or Courage

Humility is the most difficult Virtue to describe, as it cannot really be understood without its Anti-Virtue, Pride. Pride merely has nothing to do with Truth, Love and Courage; Humility is similar, but rather than being a complete antithesis, it exists independently of the Principles and acts as their foundation.

Humility: The absence of Truth, Love, and Courage is Pride. Pride is the surest measure of goals never attained. Pride goeth before, Shame cometh after. This Shame leads to awareness of Humility, the root from which all Virtues grow. Humility is to strip oneself of all conceits.

Surprising the game is quite deep in philosophy in many areas. In almost every game there are virtues or principles taught. Here is another gem of knowledge I learned from the ultima games:

“All begins with the three principles: Control, Passion and Diligence. From Control springs Direction. From Passion springs Feeling. From Diligence springs Persistence. But these three virtues are no more important than the other five: Control combines with Passion to give Balance. Passion combines with Diligence to yield Achievement. And Diligence joins with Control to provide Precision. The absence of Control, Passion and Diligence is Chaos. Thus the absence of the principles points toward the seventh virtue, Order. The three principles unify to form Singularity. This is the eighth virtue, but it is also the first, because within Singularity can be found all the principles, and thus all the virtues. A circle has no end. It continues forever, with all parts equally important in the success of the whole. Our society is the same. It too continues forever, with all members (and all virtues) equal parts of the unified whole."

As you can see it is a not a typical Role Playing Game though it has its Good versus Evil, magic, quests, fantasy, etc…but really is about teaching people to be better. Imagine a game that teaches people to be noble.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

quick look back at Dec 2008

We finally got a camcorder to permanently capture all of Treson's baby moments- cute and embarrassing alike! here are three videos that ranked high enough on the "Cute factor" to share with all of you guys!

Treson having a blast in the tubby!

making a snowman

And now.... (drum roll please!)

the best for last (click to see the attachment)

hope that made you smile! Happy New Year!!!