I ruined the surprise!

Can I have every afternoon off please?  Because I knew I was leaving at 12:30, the morning actually moved by rather quickly.  I stopped on my way home to vacuum out my car – when the hell did it start to cost $2 for the vacuum machine at the gas station?!

All I had for breakfast was a yogurt from McDonald’s so I was hungry for lunch.  Since I was home I decided to make a panini – this one had mortadella, roast beef, a slice of pepperoni and provolone with some baby greens.  Oh, and lot’s of Gulden’s mustard!


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Then it was clean, clean, clean .  . . oh, and make Good Eats Girl’s Blueberry Lemon Muffins!  These are delicious.  I think the streusel topping makes these.  I did adapt it a bit because I left out the apple sauce because I couldn’t find it have any, and I halved the amount of streusel topping.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins with Streusel Topping

(slightly adapted from Good Eats Girl – thanks Autumn!)

For the muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 cup blueberries (tossed in flour so they don’t sink)
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

For the streusel topping:

  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

I am a lazy baker, so I just threw the dry ingredients in a bowl, mixed well, then added all the wet ingredients and mixed just until combined.  I used a fork to mix the streusel topping and just evenly distributed that over the muffins.  Each muffin was about 2/3 of an ice cream scooper and I got exactly 12 muffins.

Baked at 400 for 23 minutes exactly.  Start checking them around 20 minutes.

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I made these for my Mom’s breakfast this morning.  Now that Hannah’s moved out our second bedroom is now our guest bedroom!  My Mom had all the movers move everything out of her house yesterday and she and Hannah cleaned the house when it was empty.  I have to give a huge thank you to Hannah.  Organizing/cleaning, etc. is her strength and my Mom said she never would have gotten everything done without her help.  Open-mouthed smile  (proud Momma here!)

So here is how I ruined the surprise (and reason 2,971 I love Tony . . .)  About every other day I go on our bank accounts website and see what’s come through etc.  I’ve had fraud on my debit card before, and I try to stay on top of things so nothing falls through the cracks. 

I saw a debit charge for the fitness center right by my office.  Last year when I moved into this new office, we had our premium membership at a gym by our house, and while I visited the gym and loved it, I couldn’t justify the extra cost just for me. 

Fast forward to now – I have a Charter Fitness membership for $10 a month.  It’s basic, but it serves its purpose.  So I called the fitness center and left a message for the woman in charge of membership and told her there had to be some sort of mistake.

In the midst of my cleaning, Tony calls me and says “did you call the South Barrington fitness center?”  I said yes because there was an unauthorized charge on our account.

Duh!  Tony was surprising me by signing me up at the fitness center – which is literally a minute drive from my office and has all the bells and whistles – indoor/outdoor pool, sauna, nice locker rooms, fitness classes, you name it.  So while I ruined his surprise THANKS TONY!  He knew I wouldn’t do it myself, so I am happy he did it.  With this weather being so hot, I love that I’ll be able to get my lunch time workouts on. Open-mouthed smile  I even got a free coffee travel mug too.

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Since my Mom was coming over for dinner, I decided to make marinated flank steak, twice baked potatoes and a zucchini gratin.  The only problem was that I was out of milk.  I decided to see if it would work with chicken broth.  I melted my 2 tablespoons of butter, stirred in 2 tablespoons of flour, and slowly poured in 1.5 cups of chicken broth.  It was thickening nicely!

Until I tasted it and obviously what I had made was chicken gravy!  So I went to my fridge and mixed in 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/2 a cup of shredded extra sharp cheese.  I only added cracked pepper because there was enough salt in the chicken broth. 

Second time around I could only taste a hint of the chicken broth. Open-mouthed smile  I nuked three zucchini in the microwave, let them cool slightly then sliced into coins.  I laid the zucchini on the bottom of my casserole dish, added the chicken/cottage cheese mixture then topped it off with 1/4 cup of Italian bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

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I really liked the gratin, my Mom thought it was okay, but would have preferred a more crisp tender zucchini.  Tony took one look at it and said “no fucking way.”  Hey, he got me a gym membership so I can cut him some slack on not trying my food!

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I couldn’t find my placemats, but I had some scrapbook paper that I picked up at Michael’s a while back when it was on sale for 4 sheets for $1.  I thought they subbed in nicely for placemats!

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I found yet another food porn site, this one literally is called www.foodporn.net.  They are much more forgiving at accepting pictures than Tastespotting and Food Gawker, my steak house burgers with creamed spinach sauce made it on their site!

I am going to check out my new gym at lunch today.  I have been dying to swim since its been so hot out – my suit, work out clothes and goggles are packed – thanks again Tony for such a wonderful gift!!

I won’t be blogging again until Monday.  I’ll be helping my Mom unpack tomorrow, then tomorrow night I am having Tony’s family over – my nephew and his girlfriend are moving out of the state at the end of the month, and Saturday night is the only time they are available for one last dinner at our house.

I think we are going to do the marinated pork tenderloin they sell at Sam’s Club, but I am still not sure what side dishes to make – if you have a tried and true side dish, can you leave a link in the comments?

Have a fabulous weekend!  Hugs!


32 thoughts on “I ruined the surprise!

  1. ahh that is so sweet of Tony! And congrats at getting your picture accepted, I’ll have to check out that site! Have a great weekend!

  2. That was so thoughtful of Tony. What a fantastic gift!

    I always throw the wet ingredients right on top of the dry ingredients and mix. I hate dirtying two bowls. My muffins seem to turn out fine. Yours look great.

    Have a wonderful weekend Biz! I look forward to hearing all about the new gym. Enjoy!!

  3. Tony is so cute… and I want those muffins NOW.

  4. That is a gorgeous shot of the muffins/blueberry edging on the plate!

    Sounds like a fun, busy, family weekend – and you getting to cook for extra people is your happy thing, so woohoo!!! Enjoy!

    Tony is a keeper…what a wonderful gift!

  5. finally getting a chance to read your blog! Congrats on the pics…I will have to check out that food porn site, congrats on the surprise….awe….Tony is sooo sweet! The muffins look FAB U LOUS…and you don’t consider yourself a baker? Puft! lol Hope you are having a fantastic summer as well….it sure is flying by! Take care Biz!!!

  6. That is so sweet of Tony! I love when men do surprises and they’re actually good ones 🙂

  7. The muffins look beautiful!!

    How sweet of Tony…what a great guy!

  8. Awwwwwwwwwwww! What a sweet gift! That is rocking. Those muffins look divine. I adore that Hannah is such a big cleaner. I am too. Hope you have a fantastic weekend

  9. That panini looks so good! That is awesome that Tony surprised you with a membership. The pool sounds great for these hot days, plus it’s good exercise. My husband does the same thing, he just looks at food and won’t eat it and he says the same thing as Tony too…ha ha ha! That’s great that Hannah helped your Mom too, I wish I was that organized! Here’s a few side dishes for summer…just minus the onions in the first two 😉


    Have a great weekend Biz!

  10. Oh, Tony! That’s a good man. Congrats on your new membership!

  11. mm…those muffins look really good. Enjoy your swim!

  12. Aw, what an awesome gift, that’s so nice!! 🙂

  13. I love Tony. Not only for surprising (or not) you with the gym membership, but for his “no fucking way” response!

  14. There is a layered pasta salad in the Food Network Mag that looks good. Also, an orzo pasta salad with shrimp and feta. Or, you could make a red potato salad. Paula Deen has an amazing doctored up baked bean recipe. I think its called Glorias or some other womans name.

  15. I keep an eye on our finances too and that sounds like something I would have done. Surprise or no surprise, it’s still an amazingly thoughtful gift. Way to go, Tony! Setting the husband bar high…I like it! 🙂

    Have a great weekend, Biz! Enjoy your family time!

  16. Loved the blueberry border on those delicious looking muffins! Tony is so sweet! And, it was still a surprise only you found out earlier 😉

    I also love the placemat idea! What a great idea for cute disposable (if messy) placemats.

    Have a great weekend and good luck with the unpacking!

  17. Go Tony! What a nice surprise, he is definitely a keeper 😉 Have a wonderful weekend!

  18. LOL, it’s hard to pull off a surprise when you share an account. That was very thoughtful of him! Your muffins look perfect. Speaking of which, I’m sure you used your new WS goldtouch pans and I just bought my first goldtouch pan yesterday-a loaf pan. Best rise I ever got out of a banana bread and it slid right out of the pan with nary a crumb. I wouldn’t have gotten it if you hadn’t recommended the muffin pans so thanks! Those are next on my list.

  19. That’s totally something I would do, too 🙂 What a sweet thing for Tony to do! The photo of you at the gym the other day…those bathrooms/locker rooms look 5 star to me! WoOOO!!

  20. What a sweet, thoughtful surprise! You guys are adorable – glad to see you’re doing so well – i’m back to blog reading and hope to catch up with your posts soon!

  21. Aaah! What a great surprise by Tony, and so thoughtful, too. Looks like you’ll enjoy your gym trips more!

  22. What a lovely gift of Tony and thoughtful too.

    Hope you got everything done this weekend at your Mom’s house and had a great family dinner.

  23. […] I had blueberry muffins for her, she had the guest room set up for […]

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