Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup

I can't take full credit for this soup that I took to the Halloween lunch we had at work sister came up with the idea years ago. I just re-tooled it so it isn't as thick. I wish I had an actual picture (the one above is stolen from the interwebs...), but by the time I thought about it, it had been gobbled up. People loved it!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
16 oz. diced ham
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups half and half
1 lb. swiss cheese, grated finely
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup margarine

In a large pot, melt the margarine on medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes (it will be globby). Add the chicken broth a cup or two at a time and whisk between each addition until smooth. Simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. Stir in the half and half and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add in the cheese, little by little, whisking it in to melt it after each addition. In the meantime, fry the diced ham for 3-5 minutes in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Add ham and chicken to soup mixture and simmer longer to let the flavors meld. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Family Pictures

These were taken in August (courtesy of my uncle) while the whole family was here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I came. I saw. I dated...Nate.

Let's do a little math. I know that's not par for the course for the English major in me, but hear me out. What do you get when you turn in one application, answer eight questions, get called the wrong name twice, and survive a week of over 150,000 votes? Give up? Answer is: one hilariously amazing date.

In case you missed it, I was voted on to You got it, folks...yours truly took place in the online reality dating craze that's, the nation? Well, at least Salt Lake City and my family. With amazing support from fast-clicking friends and family (that's you!), my dream of Internet fame has finally come true. I guess I didn't realize I had this dream until about a week ago...and now it's all a blur. But a good one.

To sum up, I met up with the DateNate production crew a little before filming. I waited at our activity location while he introduced the evening to our viewing public. I have to admit, I was extremely nervous at first. I think I covered it well, but I was shaking with anxiety about the whole situation. After a few minutes, I was completely at ease because of Nate's easy-going personality and attitude about doing adventurous new things.

We got started doing the belly dancing, and I had a riot! Amanda at Cairo Classic Studio was a great teacher and put up with all of my smart alec remarks and uncoordinatedness. I heard the video feed was pretty choppy because of some wireless connectivity issues, but we did get some good archival footage (thanks, crew!) seen here. I also learned that these hips of mine don't lie. Wait, that can't be right...

Watch live video from datenate on
After our activity, we headed to Other Place Restaurant for dinner. We both got the Gyros, and while messy, they were so delicious. I also really liked the salad it came with...lots of feta and blue cheese dressing. Can't go wrong. And I downed a few Diet Cokes as well...I'm nothing if not predictable.

I could outline how fun and animated our conversation was, but how about you just watch?

Watch live video from datenate on
After we stopped filming, Nate and I ended up talking for a bit over some dessert. In case you thought he was just putting on a show for the people, he's basically the same person on and off camera. I only heard great things about him before I went on the show, and I will add my high opinion of him to the mix of what I heard from his friends and others who know him. We talked about family, church, the website...all sorts of things.

I had one of those mornings where I woke up and thought, "Did I really say that last night? Really??" Who can say that they have video archive footage to go back and review all of the hand gestures, facial expressions, stupid stories, weird reactions, and all? Pick me! I do! It was incredibly strange to watch something I had already lived from a third-party perspective, but kind of fun to see how it all turned out.

Thanks to everyone who made this night possible. I can't possibly list you all here, but much gratitude to those of you who persisted in voting, who provided moral support, and kept me going in general when I thought the whole process might drive me just a tad insane. Also, thanks to the whole production crew: Estee (production assistant), Rick (driver), and Chad (camera man). It was great to meet new people and have such a fun and refreshing experience.

Ultimately I had a fantastic time. Nate is a great guy who is charming and easy to talk to and get along with. He was so considerate of me and very complimentary of everything he knew about me. We had good conversation and an even better time. I wasn't lying when I said I would go out with him again, either. I'm happy with the fun we had. But he's got a whole lot of DateNate ahead of him... Best of luck to Nate's next few dates!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rocking the vote

When I woke up this morning, I found that I had survived another elimination on Whew! The pressure! I also discovered that Liz had over 2000 votes (since midnight!) and realized I had to do something about it.

I'm calling everyone to clear-the-cache action! It's easy, and there's nothing in any sort of rules about not voting more than once, so let's do this thing.

Here's how you do it:

Download the Opera browser. Just do it. You can delete it later, once I've won. Go here:

Got that all set there? Good. Ok. Click on the little "Opera" in the upper left-hand corner. Click Settings > Preferences > Advanced (tab) > Cookies (on the left-hand side) > Select "Never accept cookies" and then OK. (See, aren't you glad I'm not making you mess with your usual browser?)

Now you're set. Go to and keep clicking Annie, Vote. You don't even have to refresh the webpage.


If you really want to use Firefox or Internet Explorer:

* Open the browser

* Under the ‘Tools’ section in the browser menu bar, select the ‘Private Browsing’ option ( or Ctl+Shift+P on your keyboard)

* Open the web site you wish to use (

* Cast your vote

* Close the private browsing window or tab.

* Other family members can then open a private browsing session and vote without being restricted by other family members votes.

(Thanks to my dad for this information!)

Really, this contest has become about so much more than going out with a random stranger--well, one could argue that I have a very loose connection to the fella. It's really about who has the most and best friends who will click the "Vote" button a zillion times. So if you've got a spare 10 minutes, open a few windows and click the time away!

Your votes are much appreciated. And I'm considering doing something kinda fun and crazy on the date (if I get voted on!) to show everyone how grateful I am. :) Happy voting!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Votes for women!, Annie!

So...I'm on an online dating game show. How did this happen, you ask?

It began with the question posed last week at work: "Annie, in what age range would you be willing to date?" My response: "Probably anywhere from about 25 to 40." Co-worker Bob ninjafies to his office for a minute, returns, and says: "Ok, go to" Long story short and before I know it, I've applied.

Fast forward a couple days to when the actual DateNate himself emails me, wondering if I'll be included in the voting. Sure! Why not? Lots more profile questions (knocked those suckers out of the park) and one photo later, and now I'm here for your voting pleasure.

Want to see one of my first dates webcasted live? Go here. Vote for me from every web browser you've got. Then get all your friends to join in the three clicks worth of fun! I promise to give shout outs to you all if (when??) I'm eating dinner with Nate next Monday night. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sneak Peek

A little something crazy to look forward to...stay tuned (tomorrow) for more!