Friday, January 30, 2009

A Week Wrap-Up

A couple of months ago, I was posting on Fridays about my favorite things.

But then, I just forgot. Consistently forgot.

I was never one to follow all the rules anyway. So let it be stated: Friday Favorites is over.

In other matters:

--It is still freezing cold with inches of snow on the ground.
--I feel like I might be going crazy, (For real, this time around), I'm assuming from cabin fever.
--Goody's is having a huge closing sale. Everything for the whole family is 50-75% off. My Durango needs worked on--there's my shopping money.
BOOOOO!
--Bryce is pulling every book and magazine I have off the shelf...RIGHT NOW!
--My husband brought a nice new dryer home yesterday because mine stopped heating. Hooray! (but then again, that's more shopping money)
--My toaster blew up a few days ago. (Again, more shopping money)
--I ate 5 chocolate truffles yesterday and then felt guilty all day long. (I'm an emotional eater and was being emotional about all my stuff blowing up...this, of course is a whole other post, but I'm actually thinking about having a couple more right now, you know, since I am re-living my week here.)
--Triston is reading all. by. himself! Hooray! He's so proud of himself, and so are we!

That's about all for this week.
Have a good weekend!



Lasagna: A Family Recipe

1 lb. ground beef*
1 onion, chopped
marinara sauce
lg. container of cottage cheese
2 eggs
rated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
dried parsley
mozzarella cheese
oven-ready lasagna noodles

*I use ground beef, however, my mom uses Italian sausage. I also make this a vegetarian dish and use fresh spinach leaves in place of the meat. It's really whatever you prefer.

Cook ground beef and onion together until meat is browned. Drain grease and then combine with marinara sauce. (I didn't specify how much sauce to use. This is because I usually make my own sauce, but I also just a regular size jar or a lg. can of the traditional Hunt's.) Set aside. Combine the cottage cheese, eggs, salt and pepper, parsley, and parmesan--mix well. Set aside. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, place enough noodles on the bottom to cover. Pour half of the meat mixture on top of the noodles and spread evenly. Do the same with the cottage cheese mixture. Then cover with mozzarella cheese. Repeat--noodles, meat, cottage cheese, moz cheese. I top it off by sprinkling parsley on top. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Check to make sure the cheese doesn't burn on top. If that is the case, you can cover with foil, but this seldom happens.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Have You Been Here...


I work hard cooking for my family. Or, as Travis puts it--I work hard so I can take pictures of my recipes and BLOG about it. Either way, I try to try different things. When I do, I post them here. Tonight I'm making lasagna. It's not different, but a family recipe and it's yummy. Check for it here, tomorrow.

Apple-Oatmeal Muffins

These are grown-up muffins. Unless you have a kid with a grown-up palette, do not serve. Triston and Jackson used the word hate for this, but I, was in whole-wheat heaven.
2 c. quick-cooking oats
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. buttermilk*
2 T. veg. oil
1 large egg, beaten
1-2 medium baking apples (I used Granny Smith), finely chopped
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
*To substitute buttermilk, use 1 T. lemon juice and milk to make 1 c. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl, set aside.
In another bowl, beat buttermilk, egg, and oil until just moistened. Stir in apple and mix well. Combine with dry ingredients and mix well. Batter with be thck. Fold in pecans. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.
Slap a little butter and EAT!



Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Leftover Tortillas = Yummy Treat

Coat any leftover tortillas with melted butter on both sides. Sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon on both sides as well. Bake at 400 until slightly bubbly, 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully, though. They don't taste good even if they are slightly burned. You want them to be crispy, though.
Top off with carmel sauce. I use Carmel Sundae Syrup from Smuckers. Yum.

The Good Thing About a Snow-Storm...

Cute winter pictures of cute little boys.





Bryce had a hard time. He fell face first in the snow immediately after this picture was taken.






Jackson entertained himself well enough.



Triston had a blast.


The snow is too powder-y to make anything out of it. We got another 6-8 inches last night--I think it's safe to say we are snowed-in.

Fish Tacos

FISH:

4-6 tilapia fillets, thawed, rinsed, and patted dry
4 TBS. butter, melted
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
dried cilantro
crushed red pepper flakes

TOPPINGS:

1 can black beans
shredded Colby Jack cheese
torn baby spinach leaves
pico de gallo
8-in flour tortilas
sour cream

PICO DE GALLO:

2 medium tomatoes
1 medium purple onion
sugar
dried cilantro


Place fish fillets in baking dish. Stir minced garlic with melted butter and generously coat each fillet. Sprinkle each fillet with salt, pepper, and cilantro--don't be stingy. Cautiously sprinkle each fillet with crushed red pepper. Bake at 400 until fish flakes easily, about 10-12 minutes.

In the meantime, make the pico. Chop the tomatoes. Chop the onion. Mix together in bowl and sprinkle on a little salt. Add just a tad of sugar, and a little cilantro. I never measure.

Cook black beans, grate the cheese, tear the spinach, ect.

When the fish is done, I fold over the tortillas and let them bake 2-4 minutes until slightly, just barely, crispy.

Assemble and EAT!



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Award Nominated Movies = Weird Viewing

I admit--I could choose to watch better films.

I don't usually choose films with graphic violence, graphic sex scenes, or even graphic language. It makes my skin crawl just a bit.

For the most part, we try to watch wholesome movies, with a few rated-R (for whatever reason) films thrown in from time to time.

I have a problem, though.

Every year, after nominations come out for for the Best Picture of the Year award I make a mental note.

This mental note lasts indefinitely--I always remember the title was nominated as a 'good film' as I peruse the shelves of our local library. (Did I mention there is not a movie rental place here? It's true.)

I always grab it, thinking we're in for a treat.

I should realize my mistake by now. The first time this happened, I chose the movie Monster with Charlize Theron. Oh. My. Goodness. Have you seen it? Don't.

Sideways. --Weird. But, likable. In fact, I've actually thought about this movie several times since viewing it years ago. There's parts that just stick with you. (plus, I watched it with my parents, which made it even weirder.)

Hustle & Flow (or is it Hustle & Flo?) --I made Travis watch this with me. I really like Terrence Howard, but obviously this wouldn't be a good example of a type of film we usually watch. But, I really liked it. As for Travis? That would be a huge--NO.

More recently, we watched Running with Scissors. Kind of crazy--kind of entertaining if you like that sort of thing.

And the most recently, as in last night recently, we watched The Squid and the Whale. Whoa. What?

There are a few movies that caught my eye from last year that I haven't seen and a few from this year, too. But, I am proceeding with caution--maybe think twice about grabbing it off the shelf.

Award nominated movies = weird viewing.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Digital Headache



I received my coupon in the mail and promptly took it to the nearest Wal-Mart to get my converter box.

I giddily drove home with the anticipation that I might actually get ABC to watch my beloved Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy that I have missed for the last 2.5 months. I can always catch up with the drama that I missed when the season comes to DVD.

I was under the impression that the converter box was supposed to take the place of fuzzy channels received by ancient antennas. And that is what it did--kind of--then, no.

A little background: We live in the middle of nowhere between Bloomington and Columbus, both of which are wonderful places where we could have lived, but I suppose the timing wasn't right. There was literally zero houses in our price range to rent at the time we were moving. So, we settled on Nashville (where Travis' actually works). We rent waaaaaaaaaaayyyy out in the country--and obviously, no cable companies run out this far. However, we can get TV via satellite, but we are too cheap to pay 60.00 a month for trashy television that we don't really watch anyway. We receive two! channels from our antenna----the CW, of which I have been told shows actually go there to die and NBC usually. Which is fine---I get my drama fix by watching 90210 (and really this is a whole other post, because we all know teenagers don't really look or act like that--plus real teens watch shows like such and create their own drama in real life...anyway...) and my news fix from NBC. It works out just fine.

But then the government is making everyone switch to digital TV, which I still don't get, but here I am driving home and fantasizing about what kind of new channels we're going to receive.

I put it together--even before putting my groceries away--and set it all up. Wow, the CW which used to come in great has all these weird digital "scratches" and it keeps still-screening. NBC is no where to be found. We picked up ION, which occasionally came in anyway but now we get in a whole host of Christian stations plus one Christian Music Video channel--which is kind of cool, and Quboa?--A kids station.

Then, all of a sudden--nothing. No signal--a black screen. I played around with it while my milk was getting warm. Nothing.

"Don't worry about it," says Travis. "We'll mess with it another time. We can just unhook it and the regular channels will come in." (Which really means in guy talk--"Get the groceries put away, woman." )

I unhook it all--put it back in the box, to be messed with another time. I casually flip to the CW, just for background noise....and NOTHING!

Nothing works on my TV now. Nothing from the converter box-nothing from the antenna. No news, no SNL, no flaky teen dram-adies.

Of course, when it gets warmer, this won't even be an issue. Warm weather + longer sunlight = outside all day.

So, in February, when the whole world makes "the switch", I will already be comfortable by then with the "switch" I am making right now. No more TV for us.....lots of books, lots of talking, lots of games, and lots of music.

Wish me luck.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Burning Questions

A tumultuous night of bed-wetting, bad dreams, and a baby that still doesn't know night from day is lingering.

It's 5 a.m.

I've been up since 3.

As I sit here, alone in the dark, burning questions run rampant in my delirious little mind:

Can lack of sleep actually kill a person?

If I muster up enough patience to endure a trip to the store with 3 little boys in tow, will it be worth it? I mean, I'm okay with no milk, no bread, and no eggs. Is everyone else?

Why does my hair shed so freaking much?!

Will the massive pile of laundry I have yet to complete this week ever be done?

Is the scary little girl from that weird show I so stupidly watched on TV last week standing behind me RIGHT NOW?! (Oh, good. She's not...I checked.)

If I go for baby #4, can I find some sort of guarantee it will be a girl?!

Am I completely insane?

The answers--they may come, they may not. For now, I will start the day. Get a head start on the laundry. Start breakfast for my children who say they are hungry after immediately rising from slumber. Study a Sunday School lesson...and start doing all the doings that a good stay at home mom would do.

Even if she only slept for 3 hours--what a humbling job I have.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tortellini Primavera

1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 c. diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. butter
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 t. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
2 8oz. packages of tortellini

Combine mushrooms, onion, and garlic--saute over medium heat in butter. Add remaining ingredients except tortellini. Mix well. Cook until mixture boils, stirring occasionally. Stir in tortellini (unless it is the dry packaged kind, in which you would have to cook first). Heat through.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Few Complaints/A Few Delights

Complaints:

All the pictures I tried to download from my camera just disappeared once they transferred to my computer. Who knows where they went....someone in China is probably enjoying my pictures of the many recipes I planned to add today, cute little bottoms in the bathtub, and my F-I-L feeding sardines to my kids.

The cold-ness all around.

Delights:

I don't have to cook dinner tonight!

This book that I wanted to buy, but found at the library.

I won a giveaway from here! (Which gave me a great idea...you like getting free stuff, right?)

Any complaints/delights in your life?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Apparently...

Chivalry is not dead.


Reports indicated that the men aboard may have rallied together to get the women and children off, first.
This, I like to hear.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Shout-Out to the Lurkers...

This year, I am making a concerted effort to spend less time looking at blogs of whom I do not know the author.

I have done well.

There are also a lot of blogs that I occasionally look at that belong to people I once knew, or kind of knew, or now know--but not that well. I tend to "lurk" as they call it...reading posts and not making myself known. So, in joint effort with my goal of less blogging, I am also going to start letting people know I'm around when I'm blogging. I mean, I'm reading their life story and they don't even know it. Seems kind of weird to me.

Also, this is an invitation to my own "lurkers"...let me know who's out there--everyone is welcome. You know, if you aren't a real stalker, that is.

Breakfast Blend Smoothie

5 oz. Greek yogurt
few splashes of O.J.
1 banana
handful of assorted berries, frozen (I used straw, rasp, blue, and black)

Blend until smooth--enjoy!

The smoothie contained approximately 300 calories, and kept me feeling full well into lunch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And Then There Were None....

This is Triston. He's not very happy with me, as you can tell in the picture. Behind him, you can see a mountain of toys piled high on top of another in the closet. The reason for this? A lesson. A lesson was learned over the weekend on why we keep our toys picked up. Why do we keep our toys picked up? Because they get taken by a mom with a case of mommy-rage. Today they got them back and we spent nearly two hours separating and organizing toys. I'm not sure if the lesson sunk in, but I am sure that in the future, no mommy-rage will rear it's ugly head. Instead, a simple delievery to Salvation Army will do. But seriously, he's pretty cute when he's mad--trying to be all serious about it....I can say "poop" and the frown would be turned around in no time flat and he would be on the floor rolling with giggles. Silly kids.

1-2-3....Dinner!

When I had Bryce, a friend brought me dinner. This one was SO good, I inquired for the recipe and was shocked to learn it only had 3 ingredients! I just made this the other night and was reminded how easy and delicious it is. Thanks, Nicol!


Nicol's Cream Cheese Chicken

4 chicken breasts, thawed (although I have put mine in frozen)
1 8 0z. container of cream cheese, softened
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
salt and pepper

Place the chicken breasts in a crock-pot and season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl mix cream cheese and soup until smooth. Pour over chicken. Set at high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Serve over rice. Easy Easy Easy.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Can your baby...

Shoot baskets?




Do push-ups?


Fold his arms for a prayer?



Turn into the Hulk?
Photos taken December 2008

Lemon Tea Muffins with a Vanilla Drizzle

I will just say right now that these muffins are not good for you. They have way to much sugar and butter involved, and it's a bad thing. But, they are really good and I find that citrus helps with the wintertime blues.

2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs, seperated
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 T. brown sugar

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt--set aside. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add just the yolks of four eggs and beat until batter is light. . Gradually add lemon juice alternately with dry ingredients until all is mixed together. In a smaller bowl, beat the whites of the leftover eggs until stiff and fold 1/3 in at a time to lemon batter. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Vanilla Drizzle
1/2 c. powdered sugar
2-3 T milk
1 t. vanilla
Drizzle over muffins while warm.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas



When I was pregnant for the third time, I had a hankering for some serious Mexicana flavor. I couldn't get enough Mexican food, and although, my own version of Mexican cooking probably wouldn't qualify for the real thing, I did make these creamy goo-ey enchiladas that satisfied my cravings. We've been having it regularly ever since, much to the dismay of Triston. (He really hates these, but Jackson and Bryce eat them right up--proof that not all kids will shun them.)

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 medium onion
2 4 oz. cans of green chilies
2 T. butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
10 inch flour tortillas
Topping:
1 can of Cream of Chicken
sour cream
milk
Optional:
shredded cheese
tomatoes

Saute onions in butter until soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1 can of green chilies to onion. In small bowl, mix cream cheese, cumin, and salt and pepper until smooth. Add onion mixture and chicken. Mix well. (If you're having problems mixing the cream cheese, pour the hot onion mixture and chicken that is still warm from cooking on top and then mix. The heat helps melt the cream cheese.) Place mixture in tortillas, about 1/3 full, and roll up. Place in glass baking dish. This recipe makes about 8 10-inch enchiladas. Once all the tortillas are full and placed in dish, pour half a can of Cream of Chicken soup, sour cream, the other can of chilies, and a little milk together and pour on top. (Some like the topping very thick, some like it more soupy. I use just enough of the topping ingredients to make a thick sauce to cover the top of the enchiladas, but play with it until you get it the consistency you want.) Place in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. I add shredded cheese and then put back in the oven until the cheese is melted, and then I throw fresh cut tomatoe chunks on top right before serving. Serve with sour cream or guacamole salad and black beans. YUM!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Have You Ever....

wanted to know where

"Chip on your shoulder" came from?

How about "Dressed to the nine's"?

Or..."Stealing one's thunder"?

Go here, to find out!

Monday, January 5, 2009

All for Me!

I have mentally gathered a list of several items I want. Notice, I said "want" not "need", so there is no justification for me purchasing any of these items. But, I do have a mom and a dad and a husband out there who reads my posts and occasionally surprise me with little niceties. So, this, then, is really for them...but know--it's really for me.
This.--in Black and White.
and
Oh, and this.
Now, after looking, don't you want these things, too?!

iPhone Dump 2019

In January, boys 7th grade took home conference championship Disney on Ice with Emma  Pretty meager winter, we...