For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Easy Three-sy

Cheryl over at Twinfatuation has convinced me that playing along can be fun. Feel free to join in! Just delete my answers and write your own, post it on your own blog. Fun! And hopefully we'll all learn about each other.

Be sure to comment if you want to play too. :)

Three Names I go by
1. Amy
2. Honey
3. MaMa

Three Jobs I have had in my life
1. Real Estate Agent & Leasing Agent
2. Tour Guide (at my college and the zoo)
3. Retail (lots of places)

Three Places I have lived
1. Portland, OR
2. Clark County, WA
3. Boston, MA (suburbs)

Three TV Shows that I watch
1. The Office
2. CSI (in all it's forms)
3. Masterpiece Classic

...and non-scripted (you may call it reality if you wish...) shows I watch
1. The Amazing Race
2. Ace of Cakes
3. Jon & Kate Plus 8

Three places I have been
1. Honduras
2. Various Caribbean Islands
3. All but 3 US states

Three books I have especially enjoyed
1. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
2. Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers
3. No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

People who e-mail me regularly
1. My Mom
2. Facebook Updates
3. Blog commenters

Three of my favorite foods
1. Thai Food
2. Anything that involves pasta and cream sauce
3. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Three friends I think might re-post
1. Julie
2. ummmm....
3. Not sure who else.

Three things I am looking forward to
1. SPRING!!! And planting my garden.
2. The girls' second birthday.
3. Possibly taking our first family vacation.

I'm not officially tagging anyone, but am thoroughly encouraging anyone who wants to, join in! (And be sure to comment accordingly if you do so we can go see your answers, and your friends'...and as the old Faberge Organics commercial chanted, "and so on, and so on, and so on...")

Our Church Hunt

Yup, Hubs and I are in search of a new church home. The church we've been going to for the past 4 years just doesn't seem to be a good fit for us at this stage in our life, which is sad... but after lots of prayer and discussion we've decided that we should check out some other places.

Finding a Church is HARD dang it! I did some searches online yesterday, and it's amazing how some churches have websites.. but don't include a phone number. Word to all pastors out there, please include contact info on your website!

We realize that no church is perfect, but there are some basic things we're looking for:

- Bible believing. Teachings are scripturally based, not just morality lessons.
- Close to home. Because early Sunday morning it's just too easy to think about the drive and decide to skip it. Plus we want to meet people who live in our area.
- Excellent children's programs. For obvious reasons. I'd prefer that all people who work there are given background checks.
- Women's Bible Study is something I'd love to be involved with again.
- Flexible service times. We'd love to find a place that also offers an evening service on the weekend as an alternative. That way if Hubs continues to work nights we're able to have that as an option.

Lately we've been thinking that we'd be very interested in finding a church that meets at a school or some other type of leased/rented space. Our reasoning? Our old church started this huge building project, and subsequently preached a lot of sermons on finances... ugh... This to us just seemed like a big waste. There are so many people in need right now... we'd like to find a church that puts their money towards helping others rather than finance a building project. And a church that PURPOSEFULLY decides to lease/rent rather than build would be totally refreshing.

It's interesting to note how we as Americans go about choosing such a thing as a Church. Our Freedom of Religion is so literal here. And there are SO many options it's crazy... many of which believe basically the same thing. I consider myself to be non-denominational, which to me means that it really doesn't matter which denomination I attend as long as it's protestant and somewhat calvinistic. I think a lot of the lines we as humans draw in the sand mean nothing to God. It's not up to me who gets to heaven and who doesn't, so I try not to pass judgment. I know what I believe, but I'm not foolish enough to say that everyone else is wrong. Those decisions are fully God's, thank goodness.

Friday, February 27, 2009

How to pick your Baby's Name

A lot of people ask me how we came up with our girls' names. I guess that's what you get when you decide to go with more unusual names. Some people are nice about it, "Oh how beautiful! How did you think of that?!" Some people, not so nice, "Oh. That's... different..." But I would say that 90% of people we meet really like our girls' names and are honestly interested in how they came to have them.

If you happen to be that 10%, be nice. Or keep it to yourself. :p

We decided very early on in the process that we wanted to pick more uncommon names. Hubs is a junior, and has never been thrilled about it. Plus his first name is possibly one of the most popular male names of all time. Lets just say it's Biblical. I have possibly one of the most popular names given for the year I was born (besides Jennifer of course). And throughout my growing up years there were ALWAYS other Amy's in my class, and I was constantly going by Amy Last Initial. Although I think Amy is a pretty name, I didn't like having to share it with anyone. And in all honesty, I've never had a friend named Amy because I sort of automatically dislike any other Amy out there. So if you're an Amy, I'm sorry. I'm just being honest! I know I'm messed up that way... I'm working on it.

We also have a very long, very german sounding, last name. It's hard to spell. When someone pronounces it right we're always shocked and impressed. So we decided that although we wanted to give our girls unique names, they also had to be short, easy to spell, and easy to pronounce for most people.

Before we found out we were having girls we were CONVINCED that we were having 2 boys, and even had 2 boy names picked out.... and then of course we found out we were having 2 girls. Back to the drawing board!

So the first thing we did was visit the Social Security Administration web site. It's an AMAZING resource for picking out your baby's name! They have lists of the most popular (top 1000) baby names for each year dating back to 1879! How cool is that!? So if you're like me and you're wondering how popular your grandmother's name was the year she was born you can look it up!

We took the 2006 list (all 1000 names), printed it out, and then took turns crossing off the names we didn't like. They say the top 10 names take up the majority of the population, so we automatically eliminated those. When we were done crossing off the names we didn't like, we had a very short list of 13 names left. Anya was the name on that list that kept sticking out to us.

To find out more about the name Anya I checked out the site Behind The Name. It gave us all kinds of great info! We found out that Anya is a Russian form of Anna. That it means "favor, grace". That only .037% of the population born in 2006 were given that name. We found a very large list of other names that are in some way related to the name Anya (awesome if you're looking for other names you might like!). We could view how other visitors to the site had ranked it and read their comments. And if we wanted to we could add it to a list of names that we liked. This site became my go-to site any time we came across a name that we were remotely interested in!

Once we found the name Anya, Hubs decided to make things a bit more complicated. He decided that the other girl should also have a 4 letter, 2 syllable name ending in the letter A. He really wanted matchy matchy twin names, and I really resisted that idea, and we really had a hell of a time coming up with another name.


And then it came to us like a flash of lightening. My OB/GYN's assistant's name was Dava (pronounced Day-va). We really started to love that -va sound and decided that a name ending in -va would be the PERFECT counterpart to Anya. So we found the Think Baby Names website. It has some really great search features, but the part we were most interested in was you could search for names that either begin or end with certain letters. So we just typed in va, clicked the girls name box, and ta-da! We had a list of girls names ending in -va! Sweet! At the very very end of that list was the name Ziva. We liked it, we pondered it for a long time, I did lots of research on it, and the more I read the more I liked it. It's Hebrew, and it means "splendid" or "God is my Light". There are a bunch of other meanings for it, all of them related to things bright, shinny, or sparkly. LOVE IT! We decided to keep her name our little secret until they were born because we weren't sure how people would react to it, but so far it's gotten a very positive response and we get lots of compliments on it. Hopefully she'll get lots of compliments too someday.

Two more truly amazing sites that you absolutely MUST check out if you're expecting!

Nymbler! It wasn't around when I was expecting, but dang I wish it had been! You type in names that you like, and then it suggests other names that might be interesting to you. Super helpful if you like a name but your significant other doesn't! Might help you find something you can both love and agree upon.

Baby Name Wizard Voyager! It's an interactive graph that allows you to explore baby name trends over time, letter by letter! So cool!

Know of any other great Baby Name websites? Drop me a comment and share with the rest of the class!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why I Should Win BlogHer Passes

If you're interested in winning a free pass to the BlogHer Conference then check this out!

I've only been blogging for 2 months, but already it's made a pretty huge impact on my life. After the birth of my twin girls in 2007 my social network became very very small. I spent quite a bit of time playing online games, but after a couple months (ok fine, a few months) of that paired with mothering twins something had to give. And I had to find a new way to connect with the world.

I joined a Mommy Group, which is really amazing for me. But I don't get to talk to those mommies every day.

But I do sit at my computer every day. And I do love to write, and cook, and garden, and I have cute kids. So blogging became a totally natural thing for me to do. It's become a daily task that keeps my mind busy throughout the day, something which I DESPERATELY needed!

As I said, I'm new at this, but I would LOVE to attend BlogHer! A year ago, it wouldn't have been possible. But now that my girls are older and Hubs is confident with baby duty I could totally get away for a weekend alone! It would be a much needed break!

Coupon Code for Tilty Cups!

I just got an email from Tilty Cup informing me that for a limited time they are offering 15% off if you buy 2 or more 2 packs of cups! How cool is that! You can order directly from them at

The coupon code at check out is: THKU09

If you're wondering, hmmm... what are these Tilty Cups of which you speak? Then go check out my very positive review!

Things I Love Thursday: Cuisinart Griddler

For more things to love, check out The Diaper Diaries! Each and every Thursday bunches of people link up their favorite things!

The same day that we bought my steam mop, we also bought the Cuisinart Griddler. I've been looking for an indoor grill/griddle for a long time, and until recently I guess I just haven't been thrilled with the options. I wanted something that was versitile, something that I could use to make lots of things, not just pancakes or just grilled chicken or burgers. I have an average sized kitchen, but even so I don't have room for small appliances that can only do ONE thing. I considered getting an electric skillet for a while... but then banished that idea from my mind because where would I put it???

Enter the Griddler! It comes with 2 sets of metal plates that can be interchanged depending on what you're making. One set is like a grill, the other is like a griddle, hence the name. PLUS! It folds in half so that it can also be used as a pannini press! How cool is that?!

So far I've used it to make grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes, and chicken. There's never been a need to spray anything on it to prevent sticking. Everything always comes out perfectly cooked. And the plates can be washed in the dishwasher. I'm totally thrilled with it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Way Back When-endsday: Tandum Play

This one goes waaaaay back to last week. lol

I could go on and on about the silly things my girls do in unison. It's so interesting to watch the twin relationship develop! Just last night I caught them both laying on their backs in the living room, both with their feet up in the air, both playing with similar toys and facing the same direction. So goofy! They don't do it ALL the time, but whenever they do it totally cracks me up. Whenever one does something that looks particularly fun or interesting the other must do the same!

The picture above was NOT set up by me in any way. The chairs were already there, that's where they usually are, but the fact that they both decided to sit and watch TV with the SAME bunnies in basically the same position is what gives me a giggle.

For more Way Back fun visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation! Or if you have a picture you just can't stop talking about (even though the picture says it all!) then feel free to participate in Wordful Wednesday with Angie over at Seven Clown Circus!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Anya's New Do

As I'm sure you've noticed in many of my pictures of her, Anya has quite a bit of hair.

Until recently, there wasn't much I could do about it besides cut it, and I just wasn't ready for that. So we just kept pushing it out of her eyes every time she held still long enough. We tried clips and such, but although Anya didn't seem to mind, Ziva was fascinated with such adornments and would pull them out of Anya's hair. So poor little Anya just looked through a veil of hair to see the world.

That is, until just a few days ago when I decided to try the rubber band approach.

And thankfully, Anya is now big enough to protect herself a little better and won't let Ziva anywhere close to her hair. WOO HOO!!!

Oh, did I mention the girls are sick again? Yup, they both have colds... again... So that should explain the spacey look on her face and her refusal to stop watching TV even for a second.

Looking back, I should have just turned it off.

But I'm starting to feel yucky too so my brain is only 1/2 functional.


And of course, the cutest picture of the day is of Ziva, the child I wasn't trying to capture. lol But if bringing out the camera perks her up for just a minute then it was well worth it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday: Bonus Recipe!

I decided this week really needed a little something extra. Especially since the Mystery Spice was actually an extract. So I decided to report my findings on a recent experiment today. It's not something you'll likely ever make at your own home, but I think you'll find it entertaining anyway.

May I present to you....


Yup, that's what I said.

You may recall a couple weeks ago when I told you about some of the wacky things in my spice cabinet.

One of the things I had in there was this:

It's an assortment of various teas (I use the term tea very loosely here) that my parents bought for me over in Turkey.

I'm very skeptical of any tea sold in crystal form, but for you my loyal readers, I'm willing to try anything!

Willing to climb the highest mountain!

Willing to swim the deepest sea!

And willing to drink Sex Tea!

Thanks to my instant hot water tap I was able to have some hot water in a jiffy. I decided to start with 8 ounces since I had no idea how much one vial of "tea" would make.

Here's the Sex Tea. Doesn't it look.... sexy?

I should note that the little granuals did not just freely pour into my cup. I had to sort of squish the tube in order for them to seperate enough to pour out. So out of curiosity I decided to see if there was an expiration date on the package. Sure enough, it expired back in May 2008.

This should be delicious!

I stirred it up, sipped it, and decided I couldn't handle any more sweetness than that. Whew... looks like I have a LOT of sex tea left! Thank goodness!

And how about that, it DOES look like tea!

How does it taste?

Well, it's not too horrible. It does taste like some sort of fruity herbal tea.

Do I feel sexy now?

Not especially.

Dang it!

If you're interested in participating in Mystery Spice Monday you can hook up with Mr. Linky in yesterday's post Here!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday! #3

Welcome Back to Mystery Spice Monday! I realize it's still Sunday, but I thought I'd start a day early this week, give everyone a chance to participate today and tomorrow, and introduce to you not one but TWO great recipes!

If you'd like to learn more about Mystery Spice Monday, find out why I'm doing this and read about my little rules Here.

So this week Hubs picked out the spice again. And again I was left shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and frantically looking up recipes online. Why does he have to do this to me? I suppose it's my fault for letting him pick, but still!

He picked out...

Are you ready for it?


Lemon Extract!


I know...

And then he said...

"Make an entree with it!"


I did some searches online, and came up with nada.

So I decided to make cookies instead.

We could always use more cookies, right? lol

Especially with Girl Scout Cookie season in full swing.

So I found this recipe, and decided to use 2 sticks of butter instead of using shortening. I don't know why, but that stuff grosses me out. Looking back I think they probably would have come out with a chewier texture if I had used shortening, with all butter they ended up more cakey, which I liked but isn't what the recipe is supposed to be all about.

First you cream together 2 sticks of softened butter (or 1 stick, and 1/2 cup of shortening).

Then 2 cups of sugar.

Crack 3 eggs into a cup, make sure you don't get all the shell out, and then pour them into the mix. I suppose if your brave you can just put them directly into the mix, but I'm a chicken in that regard.

And here's the star of the show! Lemon Extract! It really does give these cookies a great flavor. So add 1 teaspoon of lemon extract, and also 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Then here's what probably gives the cookies their moistness, sour cream! When I saw this ingredient I knew it was going to be a great recipe. Add 5 tablespoons to the mix.

Then you mix it allllllll up!

Next you add the dry ingredients. I sifted together 4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.

And then I poured the dry ingredients into the wet, mixed thoroughly, and then put the dough into the fridge for several hours while Mom and I went to go buy garden beds. :)

When we came back it looked like this!

Then I used a mini-ice cream scoop to form the cookies into balls, and pressed them flat with the bottom of a sugar coated glass. If you pick a glass that has cool marks on the bottom you can end up with some really pretty cookies!

Then you toss them in a 350 degree oven until they just barely start to turn color on the edges. DO NOT OVERBAKE!!! If you do you will loose all the wonderful chewy texture. Mine took about 8 minutes.

And Voila! Beautiful sugar cookies!

Now, I will say that these cookies are just BEGGING for icing of some sort. I decided to go with a glaze type icing because I thought it would be pretty with the star shape on top. But I am seriously not happy with how my icing turned out... such a bummer!

What I ended up with was some serious cookie carnage.

What can I say, I was practically dead on my feet while I was making these and by the time I finally finished I was ready to pass out. I was not making wise decisions at that point. lol

So I won't share with you how I made my icing, it's not something you'll want to do anyway. I'm sure you have some fabulous icing recipe that your grandmother used to make that would be MUCH better!

But if you really must view the carnage, here it is... in all it's dripping glory.

Gotta great Mystery Spice Monday recipe to share? Just enter your name and a permanent link to your post below! Be sure to come back and check the list over the next couple days to see more great recipes!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Yet Another Busy Day

This has been a pretty emotional week for me. There are a couple really huge things going on in my life, things I'm not at liberty to share yet, but in the context of this post it's important to note that I've been stressed and more emotional than usual.

Today didn't start out great. I accidently shut the door when little Ziva had her finger poked inside where it hinges together. So she was screaming, and I was crying because HOW COULD I DO SUCH A THING TO MY KID?!? I know it's just life, and that's how it goes sometimes, but it pretty much left both of us a blubbering mess. Ziva is ok. Really she is. We ran her finger under cold water, and she's able to move it just fine. It's a little swollen, so we'll keep an eye on it, but I think she's really ok. Thank God! I had visions of us running to the ER and getting her finger into a little tiny finger cast or something. But I don't think that's going to happen.

But then things started looking up! My Mom and Dad came over and my Mom and I went to the nursery to pick up my new garden beds while my Dad and the girls napped. I'm really excited about my new garden beds! But dang was getting them stressful for some reason! We couldn't find anyone in the store to help us, and those we did find had no clue why I would ever want to buy such a thing. You'd think they'd want to cash in on such a big sale... but one guy kept trying to convince me I should just use lumber. Sigh. I was beginning to question it myself, until the kindest guy at the store helped us load everything into our truck. He said, "I got these exact ones last year and I LOVE them! So glad I upgraded from wooden beds!" Made me feel a ton better let me tell ya! So to that nice guy at the Nursery, thank you so much! We still had to run to the store's other location after that in order to pick up enough kits to make what I need, but it was a nice time with my Mom, and in the end I got what I wanted. WHEW!

So now I'm home, making something yummy which will be featured here on Mystery Spice Monday! So stay tuned and think about what you might like to share with the rest of the class (and Mr. Linky). :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

My New Babies

They seemed to show up right on time!

Just when I was feeling down.

Just when it seems like life sucks in such a royal way.

These little bits arrive and give me hope that Spring is just around the corner.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: My Bissel Steam Mop

For many more great Things to Love visit The Diaper Diaries and check out all the great links!

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was to get this steam mop 3 weeks ago! Hubs and I went on a date, and instead of going to the movies we went shopping. Now, I'm not a huge fan of shopping, I find it boring and usually end up buying nothing. But when I saw the Bissel Steam Mop my heart went pitter pat and I just HAD to get it. It's something that's been on my wish list for oh... a year maybe? And I've looked for it everywhere and the only place I'd previously been able to find it is online. Nothing wrong with buying online, but I guess I just wasn't motivated enough to place the order or something. So when I suddenly found it at Kohl's I practically lept for joy! I had looked for it there in the past, but they just recently started carrying it.

I was so excited that I told the cashier, "This is almost as good as Christmas!" Yup, that's what I said. lol

We also got the Cuisenart Griddler, which I'm thrilled with, so stay tuned for that review next week. :)

So what do I think of my new steam mop now that I've had the chance to use it?

Well, there are several features that set it apart from other steam mops I looked at:

#1: It comes with 2 re-useable terrycloth pads. So there's nothing disposable to buy more of later! Ever! You just throw the pads into the wash and so far mine have come clean beautifully. I've read other reviews online that talk of their pads slipping as they use the mop, but I haven't had that problem and I suspect that it's something bissel has fixed with this model.

#2: It uses pure water, no cleaning solutions! This to me was a huge draw. No chemicals on my floors! This is huge to me since obviously I have two little ones. Plus it's very economical, nothing more to buy ever in order for it to work the way it's designed to. Fabulous! So far, I don't feel like I'm missing anything in regards to how clean my floors come out. Except for maybe that pine scent (barf!).

#3: It is EFFECTIVE! Even Hubs who pretty much never comments on my cleaning raved about how clean the floors were. Some cleaning products that I've used in the past have left my tile either tacky or slippery, but with the steam mop my floors are simply clean. Honestly, my floors haven't been this clean since the day we moved in.

#4: Easy to use! Just put the pad on, put some water in, plug it in, wait a couple minutes until the light comes on, then you're good to go! I did have to do some minor scrubbing action with the mop to get up some spots, but I know I'd have to do a lot more with a regular mop! The steam really assists in getting up those tough sticky spots.

There are only two drawbacks to the Bissel Steam Mop that I've found and I'd be remiss to omit them. Obviously, it's a mop, not a vacuum. You do need to sweep or vacuum before you use the steam mop otherwise you'll end up with clumps of dog hair in the corners and such. It's simply not intended to pick up hair or particles, it's intended to clean and sterilize and that's exactly what it does. The only other minor thing that I'd change about it is that the cord is too short, not nearly as long as the cord on my vacuum. As a result, there is one area of my house that will never be cleaned with the steam mop unless I get out an extension cord (which I probably won't bother with). I think it's a little silly that the manufacturer didn't test this in a real home, because I think if they did they'd automatically see the flaw and make the cord about 6 feet longer. Our house is only 3 years old and our outlets are spaced according to code (read: close together), so you'd think this wouldn't be a problem... but it is.

All in all, I LOVE my steam mop. I'll never go back to a regular mop or one of those swiffer dealies. The other floor cleaning options out there totally and completely suck compared to my new steam mop. I've never been so thrilled with a cleaning product, and Hubs has never been so baffled over my glee. :)

Be sure to come back on Mystery Spice Monday for a great new recipe and an opportunity to link up your own using a random spice from your own spice rack!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Way Back When-endsday: Sleepy Babies

The girls were 13 months old in these pictures. And they were so sweet and fun. I was finally starting to enjoy motherhood. Yup, took me that long to decide that I was actually having a good time. Before that I knew I loved them, I knew they were wonderful, but my life was hard and I was decidedly not having any fun.

So glad those really hard days are over! Although I'm sure there will be hard days ahead, they'll be hard in a different way, and for that I'm very thankful.

Would you like to participate in Way Back When-endsday? Then check out Twinfatuation. Or if you don't have twins and you'd still love to post and talk about your old photos you can check out 7 Clown Circus.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Busy and Beat

Well, sort of. I'm pretty tired today, and headachy, and my eye hurts.

Let me explain the eye. I had lazer eye surgery back in October on my right eye, my left eye has perfect vision already. I'm convinced that I'm just not a very good patient. Lately I haven't been putting eye drops in my eye, and at about 4am this morning I rolled over and I must have opened it a little bit and it HURT SOOO BAD!!! I can't even tell you... I think it was just extremely dry or something. And of course due to the pain it woke me up, and then started to tear up like crazy, so I was not only wide awake but my face was covered in tears. Ugh! I finally got back to sleep, only to repeat the event 2 more times before my alarm went off. So annoying. So today I've been trying to be a good patient and I've been applying the fake tear drops. Yippy skippy.

I'm still in my pajamas... at 2:30pm. I'm ok with that.

I decided to make a big batch of spaghetti sauce in my crock pot today. I had some leftover tomato paste that I wanted to use up. I went with this recipe, and I'm sure it's going to be good because my house smells amazing. You should go check it out! Then you can be like me and have a big huge batch of sauce to stow away in your freezer.

I also planted seeds today in my indoor growing tray thingy. I planted peppers, lettus of 2 different types, marigolds, nasturtiums, parsley, and pansies. "Why all the flowers? I thought you were growing a veggie garden?" Well, SFG (Square Food Gardening) suggests planing some flowers in with your veggies. Apparently marigolds and nasturtiums are particularly good for pest control. Who knew!? Not me, I knew absolutely nothing until recently. Which just goes to show that it's never too late to learn and pick up new skills.

Ok, back to the grind of sitting around in my pj's, putting drops in my eye, and hoping the girls sleep for another 30 minutes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mystery Spice Monday! #2

I know, I said I'd post this up last night. Unfortunately I was pretty sick last night and ended up taking 2 naps before finally going to bed early. I'm feeling better today... I think. :P

As always, if you have any questions about Mystery Spice Monday you should consult the rules Here.

So without further delay...

Today's Mystery Spice is Nutmeg!

But not just any ol' Nutmeg... WHOLE nutmeg. Now let me tell ya, if you don't have one of these Nutmeg kits in your house you really should run out and buy one. The flavor of freshly grated nutmeg is just about a million times better than the pre-ground stuff you can buy. Don't believe me? Try it. You won't be sorry.

I know, you're wondering why I chose nutmeg rather than that exotic Greek mountain tea that came with no instructions. Well, Hubs and I have started a new Mystery Spice Monday custom, he picks the spice and then determines that I should ONLY make an entree, not a desert. Just wait till you see what he picked out for me for next week's Spice... *rolls her eyes*... But don't worry, I'll slip in some vials of sex tea or other such nonsense in the midst of his picks... it should be very entertaining.

Obviously since I was only allowed to make an entree with the nutmeg my choices were fairly limited. But thanks to the search by ingredient tool on I was able to come up with something that sounded really goood... and got a bunch of other ideas for future meals too!

I ended up picking Fake-baked Ziti! I know... YUM!!!

So first you boil your noodles per package directions.

Then you get some parmigiano-reggiano cheese and some ramano cheese... and try not to drool all over them before you get them out of their packages...

Then you grate each one in your food processor.

Until they each look like this:

Then you start working on the cream sauce. I think there's a fancy name for this type of sauce... bechamelle or something or other... they say it on the Food Network but I have no idea how to spell it.

You melt 2 T of butter and then you add 2 T of flour and stir it constantly for about a minute.

Then you add some salt and pepper and grate in some nutmeg. I probably put in about 1 teaspoon nutmeg total.

Then you pour in 2 cups of milk. And whisk it constantly, you want to make sure you don't have any flour lumps in there.

Keep stirring, eventually it'll come to a simmer, and you'll keep stirring and simmering for another 5 minutes.

Then it's time for the cheese! Be still my beating heart...

Look at how thick and dreamy it gets!

Now it's time to put this dish together. Put your noodles in some sort of dish and then pour 2 cups of jarred marinara sauce over the top.

Mix it until the noodles are completely covered.

And then pour the cream sauce over the top..... oooooh baby!

Then if you're smart you'll buy one of those big balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, if you're not, you'll buy small ones like me. Either way, slice them and put them all over the top.

Toss it under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes...

We pretty much died and went to heaven when we tasted this for the first time... and then we revived ourselves to proclaim how amazing it was.. and then we died again and again.. totally delicious!

You actually CAN taste the nutmeg in this dish, and it's basically a hint of "Hm... what's in this sauce?"

We're thinking that next time we make this we'll use 1/2 as much noodles and use the same amount of sauce, but we're huge sauce fans in this house.

The girls really liked it too.

For the complete recipe including a printable format click HERE.

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