Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pink or Blue?

Looks like our house is going to be full of more pink. The boys are really outnumbered now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Monday...Menu plans




Here's what's on the table this week:

Sunday: Bacon Chili Cheeseburgers

Monday: Chicken marinara

Tuesday: Hula Joes

Wednesday: Church fall festival

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: individual pizzas

Saturday: clean out the fridge

I really have to rave on the bacon chili cheeseburgers from last night. D was skeptical only listening to the name of the recipe and not hearing that I said there were no actual chili beans. It's just the flavors of chili in the burger. D snacked heavily before dinner thinking it was going to be a complete disaster. He was incredibly disappointed at his choice since the burgers were incredible! It was the sort of burger you'd find at Red Robin. It's probably one of the best burgers I've ever made.

For the church fall festival, I'm bringing a crockpot chili. I'm not exactly sure what I'm putting in to it, but I'm sure I'll figure something out before Wednesday night!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Feels like fall

It finally feels like a real fall here. I'd be lying in saying that after four years here, I was used to the fall. I mean, there's only so many days of 80+ degree temps and sunshine you can handle. The summers are downright miserable. The winters are great because it never does get too cold. Last winter, we actually had snow...for a couple hours at least.

But today is special. It's a day that's like the falls I grew up with. The high today is only in the mid 60s and it's raining. It's like a little taste of home.

Days like this actually motivate me. I'm excited to actually do some fall sewing...like those Halloween costumes I need to have done. And, I think I'm going to change up dinner plans. I want to make a soup. It's a soup day. Or maybe some sort of chicken stew. Either way, I need to google and find some recipes before noon so I can get it in the crockpot. I'm also in the mood for some homemade bread.

Yes, definitely a nice fall day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stay at home

Today is one of those days where even tho it's my "day off" from work, I'm not really getting a day off. It's the day where I get to spend time catching up on all those things that have fallen by the wayside while I've been working and tending sick children. I used to think it would be nice to have a weekend with nothing to do, like D gets every weekend. Then he pointed out that I usually have a long "honey do" list for him. heehee

I got a jump start on things yesterday during the few minutes I was home. The girls cleaned their rooms and somehow managed to give me about five loads of laundry. I do not know where they were putting it all, but I swear Kari just dumped her dresser into the laundry basket. Today, I'm tackling blankets and the laundry in the boys' room.

Oh and I need to really address the kitchen. I need to do a major reorganization before my stomach completely gets in the way. The last time I was expecting, we hadn't completed our kitchen remodel yet. Now that it's done, I can't reach the cupboard with all the cups. I need to find a place for the cups that I can reach. I'm not sure what should go in that upper cabinet.

And I'm going to get all of this done by 3:30 today. hahahaha

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



I'm extra organized this week, so I'm bringing menu plan monday out at day early :)

I'm sure excited this week because I am trying two new recipes, one of which is a lot more labor intensive than I'm used to. But from the taste of it, well worth the effort.

Sunday: Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches

Monday: goulash

Tuesday: Turkey ham and potatoes

Wednesday: Bird's Nests with chicken and broccoli

Thursday: buttermilk chicken and smashed potatoes

Friday: Mini Pizzas

Saturday: leftovers

I really ventured outside my "under 30 minutes" mantra for dinners this week with the pulled pork. But, the giant picnic roasts were down to $1.29/lb and I wasn't sure what else to do with it. I only shredded about half of it up. The other half will be shredded but popped in to the freezer for later use. I'm really going to get my money's worth out of this $10 roast. I expect to have quite a bit of leftovers tonight even if the boy is starving.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

pizza reviews

We had pizza night a day early. Call it a pregnancy craving. I watched an episode of Rachael Ray earlier this week where she made two wonderful looking pizzas and that was the end of it for me. I had to have pizza.

Unlike most recipes where I tweak them here and there to taste, I made these two pizzas according to the recipe with two exceptions...I can't get fontina cheese so I had to use mozarella and I used homemade crusts. It was one of those rare instances where most of the ingredients were already in my refrigerator.

The first recipe I was completely drooling over was a spinach and mushroom deep dish pizza. Spinach pizza is one of my favorites (and several of my children, as a matter of fact!) We were really excited to try her version which just piled on the spinach. I am not sure exactly what was off with the recipe but it just didn't taste as good as we had hoped. Maybe it's because we were anticipating the same yumminess that's in a spinach alfredo pizza. If you enjoy spinach florentine then this recipe is probably a good choice. It's not very creamy and not nearly as cheesey as we'd have liked.

The second recipe featured on the program was a bacon carbonara pizza. I'm not a fan of carbonara at all, but really made this pizza for Alex who loves everything that has bacon in it. He's like the little dog on the snausages commercial who goes around sniffing everything and thinking "BACON!" I was not at all expecting to like this one, but it was so delicious beyond my expectations. It was wonderfully deep dish with just the right balance of flavors. Not overkill on the cheese, much to the delight of D who hates cheese, and just the right amount of bacon for the boy. Even lizzy ate an entire slice of this very thick pizza. I would have gone back for seconds, but the children gobbled it up.

It's a good thing I made a few other mini-pizza creations! One of our "grown up taste bud" favorites is a buffalo chicken and mushroom pizza. Spread a generous layer of buffalo wing sauce on the crust. Top with chicken, mushroom and jack cheese. Cook til it's nice and gooey melted cheese. Another favorite is the hawaiian BBQ pizza...teriyaki BBQ sauce, followed by chicken, green onions, pineapple and jack. It could stand some green peppers but somebody doesn't like green peppers so i always forget to add them to my half.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

bummer

I lost the Project Runway pool. I was really hoping my person would win. She was in the final two, tho. Too bad I don't get a consolation prize. Winning all that fabric would have been beyond fabulous. Of course I really don't *need* any more fabric.

I picked some up today using the gift card I won at the fair. I had to restrain myself on some fabrics because I knew they were going to be going on sale soon. In fact, I have a coupon for 40 percent off a fabric purchase. I found some adorable retro owls. I may buy about 6 yards in one cut since I know the girls are going to want matchies out of it. Much better to do it with the 40 percent off.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The end of the fair...

The fair ended with a whimper, not a bang. We were really hoping to really do it up with our great chicken recipes Saturday night, but it seems that the stars were aligned against us. I think Mercury is still in retrograde hahaha

We didn't even make it to the chicken cook off. As we were attempting to leave our horrible failure of the sweetened condensed milk bake off, my van wouldn't start. This isn't that uncommon when the kids leave all the lights on in the van. I was parked next to a police officer who kindly gave me a jump. The van went about three feet backwards before dying again. After a few more tries at getting it going, it became painfully clear the alternator was no longer alternating, or whatever it does. I had to call a tow truck, or wrecker as they are called here in the south, and hauled the van the entire five blocks home.

On the bright side, we did take home two additional ribbons for sewing. I'll have to post pictures of the outfits that won later. But, we did take a third place ribbon for under 6 special occasions outfit. The dress that won, was a small black and floral Mary Englebreit fabric ottobre pattern which was very easy to put together and not the pain in the rear Hillary pattern. We also received a FIRST place ribbon for another pattern from otto. I swear, I'm only entering otto sewing at the fair next year. I probably got bonus points for the the French Seams and the fact that I was able to do them on a curved edge, which supposedly is very difficult. So, Yay me LOL

Friday, October 10, 2008

Great Spam Cookoff...Spam recipes included!

It's sort of amusing, when I told the kids there was a Spam cooking contest at the fair they looked confused. At first I thought it was because they'd never heard of Spam before, however, they were trying to figure out how to cook junk e-mails.

Once I explained that it was a canned meat, they were willing to give it a try.

Alex is really in to wrap sandwiches right now, so his choice was fairly easy. Teriyaki Spam Wraps. You place a couple tablespoons of your favorite teriyaki sauce on a wrap, add Spam, some green leaves (Alex prefers spinach) and some pineapple, wrap up and enjoy. It's too bad the judges didn't enjoy it.



While I was overseeing Leelee's creation, Alex spent his time on the computer researching Spam and it's history and obscure facts. Alex may not be the greatest artist or kid chef, the child is a sponge for useless information. He's going to be great on Jeopardy! one day. At the competition, the audience could win prizes for answering Spam trivia. Of course Alex knew pretty much all the answers. He won a Spam shirt and then began telling other people the answers to questions so they could win. LOL

Leelee wanted to do some sort of Spam sushi. After thinking about it, we decided judges in the south probably wouldn't be too keen on eating much of anything wrapped in seaweed. We had to come up with a plan B. She really wanted to keep it Asian and settled on Spam potstickers.



They look pretty tasty, like something you'd want to eat even if you didn't know it was filled with Spam instead of pork or chicken. The recipe was incredibly easy. The sauce recipe is one of the best gyoza sauce recipes we've found. It is just the right amount of sweet and quite thick. You can't even taste the Spam in the recipe, which, IMO is a huge bonus. The judges agreed and Leelee won third place!




Spam Pot Stickers

2C shredded cabbage
5 green onions
1 can Spam, run through a food processor to resemble mush
package of wonton wrappers
1/4 C water
1T sesame oil
1T veg oil

Heat sesame oil in a pan. Add shredded cabbage and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the spam and cook until cabbage begins to wilt.

Place 1T of spam mix in middle of wonton wrapper. moisten the edges and seal. Put 1T veg oil in another fry pan. Fry potstickers on each side. At the end of cooking, add 1/4 C water cover pan and steam.

Serve with:
Simple Gyoza Dipping Sauce Recipe
2 Tbsp sesame seed oil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallions

In a small pot stir brown sugar and sesame seed oil over med-low heat until sugar melts. Stir in teriyaki sauce and ginger and bring to a simmer. Take off heat. Pour into a sauce bowl and sprinkle with scallions. Serve with gyoza.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun At the Fair...pumpkins!

We've been crazy busy at our house with the fair. Yesterday was the best day so far. The kids had the day off from school and were entered in several contests. We ended up with three very happy children and one rather sad one. But, that happens sometimes. We're trying to show him what he is good at...like useless trivia...I'll get to that a bit further down.

First, the kids participated in a no carve pumpkin contest. We didn't have the camera with us, so we were stuck with cell phone pictures. Kari spent nearly an hour putting spots on this ladybug. She won third place in the "wee ones" division, which is for kids 7 and under. They didn't put her pumpkin up correctly in the display, but well...Kari just turned 5 and did her very very best...



Ben also competed in the "wee ones." He spent a lot of time decorating Harry Potter. He won first place! Some of the paint got smeared in the transport to the display window.




Leelee was in the older kids division. She made Wilbur and attached to the top is Charlotte and her web with the words "some pig." She took third place!



Alex did his very best in making R2D2. But I guess the fair people aren't big Star Wars fans. He didn't place :(

I kept telling the kids how important it was to just have fun. It's not about the ribbons or the prizes, it's the memories and the fun. Hopefully the message sinks in.

That evening we did the Great American Spam Cookoff competition. I'll write on that tomorrow. We're taking a break from competitions today and tomorrow, it's Pie Day at the Fair. I'm entering Nutella Banana Pie. If I don't win, I can share the recipe with you all...so I guess you better hope you don't see the recipe posted hahaha. We'll only be posting *one* of our two Spam recipes. :) Too bad you are stuck with only the losing recipes!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sassy Apron Swap...Fall

i decided I needed just one more thing on my plate and signed up for an apron swap. I like aprons a lot so it seemed like a great idea. I sent the halloween themed apron I created off to a lucky recipient in New Mexico and I finally got my apron yesterday. Leelee decided it fit much better on her than me and was much more her coloring and since i have so many aprons, I really needed to give this one to her.

Yes, I know it's only a matter of time before we're having this same conversation about my shoes. She'll be 10 next month and wears a size 6 in women's. I wear an 8. We have giant feet in our family. Alex (11) wears a 10 in men's. My husband wears a 10.5. I am hoping Alex is like a puppy and will just grow in to his feet rather than those boats keep on growing.

So here's a picture of Leelee modeling my...uhh... her new apron. And yes, it does fit her a bit better than me. I hate it when she's right.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

something interesting

I wish I had something interesting to say or post, but I don't. The fair is starting tomorrow, so we're just focusing on getting things ready. Have to bake some cupcakes for the cupcake decorating Saturday. Oh, and I decided to enter the biscuit contest. No real reason. I'm making cheese biscuits using pepper jack. I'll post the recipe once I iron out the kinks.