Sunday, January 24, 2010

I feel like chicken tonight ...

No menu plan this week because either Will or I have something almost every night this week and the kids are going to visit their grandparents in Alabama this weekend so we can go out to eat 2 nights in a row (with friends). Here are some recipe links for a few yummy eats that we had this week.

Mushroom Chicken Parmesan with mushroom rice. I found this recipe online Thursday morning and decided to veer from the menu plan and make this for dinner instead. The nice thing about this recipe is that it called for things I always keep on hand in my pantry and fridge. (In theory anyway.) It made quite a fancy meal served with green beans, rolls and a bottle of Chardonnay. BTW, to make mushroom rice, I sauteed a 12oz. pkg. of fresh sliced mushrooms with butter and then mix with a box of prepared brown rice.

Pumpkin Spice cake. This is an easy breezy dessert and I actually bought the ingredients to make it back in the fall, but never got around to making it. Good thing cake mix and canned pumpkin have a long shelf-life. To make this cake, mix one box spice cake mix, one 15oz. can pumpkin and 3 eggs. Pour into greased bundt pan and bake at 350* for 45-50 minutes (until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean). Sprinkle with powdered sugar or make this yummy cream cheese glaze: 1/2 c. cream cheese frosting (from the can), 2-3T. milk and 1/4t. cinnamon. Stir all glaze ingredients together and drizzle over cake (add more milk if needed to get it to drizzling consistency).

The best chocolate sheet cake. EVER. Click on the link for step-by-step instructions from Pioneer Woman. I took this to a party on Friday night and it was a hit. We are still munching on the leftovers. I will pay for it in the gym this week, but it is WORTH EVERY BITE!

Egg-In-A-Hole. Another recipe from Pioneer Woman. I made this for breakfast on Saturday morning. I used homemade sourdough bread that we bought from a local bakery for $1.50/loaf. (This particular bakery supplies bread to Cracker Barrel restaurants.) It was greasy, but good. Make sure the skillet is hot enough to toast your bread but not overcook your egg. (Mine was a little well-done, but Will likes it that way. I like the runny yolk.) Best made in an iron skillet, which I apparently don't have. I will have to lift one from my mother or mother-in-law's house next time I am there. They both have plenty.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This and that ... for memory's sake

-My new year's resolution schedule is slowly killing me. I have been getting up at 5 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to have my quiet time, and then going to the gym for spin class at 6am. I get home around 7:15am, get ready, and leave for work at 8:30am. (I don't work on Fridays.) By the end of the day, I am pooped and have been going to bed before 10pm. Yikes! That is early for me. But that explains my very sporadic blogging this year.

-Claire saw her first movie last Sunday. Will took her to the matinee while I stayed home with David during his nap. It cost a small fortune even with it being a matinee, but she loves her some popcorn and we wanted to make her first real movie memorable. She saw Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel. She did good although had some problems with the chair closing up on her so she sat in Will's lap for most of the movie.

-Speaking of entertainment, Will and I finally caught up on LOST. This summer, we started watching the TV show on DVD. Our goal was to finish all five seasons before the sixth and last season came on TV (starting next month). Season 5 came out Dec. 12 and we finished it up last weekend. I am pumped for the final season, but it will be weird having to wait a week in between episodes as we would usually watch several episodes at a time because we couldn't wait to see what happened. We are trying to decide what show to start watching next. (I love TV on DVD!) We are thinking either Mad Men or Friday Night Lights.

-David's new nickname is Linus. You know, from Charlie Brown. He carries both of his blankets with him all the time when we are home. He even holds them up close to his ears like the Linus character. He is too cute. He has always loved his two blankets (a blue crochet blanket made by a member of Will's parents' church and a white knit waffle-weave blanket with his name on it from a close family friends) and he must have them to sleep, but he just started carrying them around all the time around Christmas. Fortunately, we do have two sub blankets that he takes to nicely when it is laundry time.

-Claire is learning a lot at school this year. She can spell her name (we are still working on writing it), she recognizes a lot of letters, and she can recite the fruits of the spirit.

-David is talking up a storm. I don't understand a lot of what he says, but he certainly has a lot to say!! I understand most of the single words that he says (like walk, up, open, shoes), but have a harder time understanding his longer phrases. He does has "wake up Daddy" and "let's go" down pat.

-We had a new nanny start last week and she is great! I have come home to a picked-up house and clean kitchen every day. Yesterday, she straightened/organized my refrigerator. It looks great!! The kids really seem to love her too. When she left yesterday, Claire gave her a big hug. She is trying to make it as a country music singer and yesterday she brought her guitar. Claire said she had a "singing lesson".

-Lastly, David got some new rain boots right before our so-called Winter Storm of 2010. He needed some anyway, but I thought he could wear them in the snow too and keep his feet dry. He wears them all the time around the house. It is too cute. Pictures coming soon.

Sorry for all the randomness. Just wanted to do a quick update of what was going on in our lives at the moment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: January 18-24

We had a TON of leftovers this week and a couple of carry overs that I never made last week, which means no trip to the grocery store for me for a second week in a row (except for milk and fresh produce of course).

Our favorite meal by far this week was the Chipotle Chicken Chili. I used 3 chicken breasts instead of the whole chicken because Publix was out of chicken on this particular trip. (I cooked 6 total chicken breasts in the crockpot and saved the other 3 for another meal.) I also used about 4-5T of the pureed chipotle pepper sauce, which gave this soup LOTS of flavor.

Another fave this week that was not on the formal menu plan was homemade granola bars. Claire has been eating Quaker chocolate chip granola bars for breakfast about 4-5 days/week for a while now (she loves them), but I wanted a little healthier option so I tried these. A few notes: (1) I didn't add any of the optional add-in items (like walnuts, chocolate chips, etc.) and these were a tad sweet. I will use 3/4 c. honey next time and probably add some mini-chocolate chips. (2) These are chewy granola bars so don't expect a crunchy bar or you will be disappointed. These are more cakey, like dense brownies.

Monday: Leftover baked Parmesan fish, mushroom rice, green beans

Tuesday: Dinner at bible study

Wednesday: leftover Mixed Up pizza casserole, salad

Thursday: leftover Chipotle Chicken Chili, tostitos

Friday: pizza at a going away party for a couple in our Sunday school class. I think I am going to make this cake to take for dessert.

Saturday: This meal is still up in the air. We are having friends over for dinner so I'll have to figure out something to make.

Sunday: Sage pork chops with apples, buttered pasta, salad

Check out other menu plans here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our family in 2009 ... looking back

I realize that it is mid-January and I am a little behind, but here is a short recap of 2009. I tried to find a family picture from each month, but I couldn't. The kids are in all the pictures, so it is fun to see how they have changed this past year.

January: On a trip to Gatlinburg with Will's family. I just now realized that I may be the only one with my eyes open in the picture. We also had birthday parties and baby showers this month.

February: Valentine's Day shirts. (Claire saying, "Cheese!"). Also, more birthday parties and a scrapbooking weekend/girls' weekend for me!

March: Showing our St. Patrick's Day spirit (mainly because I found this fun shamrock headband in the dollar bin at Target and Claire had to wear green to school that day). We also celebrated my 32nd birthday and hosted a fun mini-high school reunion get-together at our house.

April: Claire turned 3 and David turned 1. So, we celebrated many birthdays and attended many Easter egg hunts.

May: Mother's Day! Will took and long weekend trip to Florida for his annual guys' golf trip and we took a family vacation to Hilton Head, SC where we had the worst vacation weather of all time.

June: Father's Day! Will and I took a mini-vacation to Las Vegas and that was about it for this month. I am loving David's hair in this picture and missing all those sweet curls!

July: July 4th (our fireworks viewing plans got rained out shortly thereafter). Other than celebrating the 4th, we had a shrimp boil at our house with my bible study group that we hope to make an annual event.

August: Apparently, we didn't do much in August. It was slim pickens in the ole photo folder. But we did make homemade playdough one day ... and I took pictures. Oh, and Will took a trip to Arizona for work and went out a few days early to play A LOT of golf.

September: On our beach trip to Destin that I never blogged about. We went with four other families for a grand total of 10 adults, 9 kids (all under age 7) and 2 high school aged babysitters. Oh my, this was a busy month!! Claire started preschool and David started Mother's Day Out. Claire started playing soccer and taking ballet lessons. We also attended baby showers, weddings and birthday parties. Will went to several football games that I missed because I was toting the kids around to all this other stuff!

October: At the pumpkin patch. I just realized that I never blogged about this either. Well, we went to the pumpkin patch and it was muddy and David did not want to get his picture made. Claire had fun and picked out a pumpkin for herself. This month brought more soccer, football games, fall festivities and Halloween.

November: Yeah!! An event I did blog about here. We took the kids to Tuscaloosa with us one weekend. Again, David is thrilled to be in the family photo. In addition to more football games, we took Claire on a long weekend trip to Disneyworld. She is so much fun right now! We also hosted Thanksgiving at our house for both of our families.

December: We were very busy with lots of Christmas activities in December, most of which, I have not blogged about. But, we made progress in that David is sitting and smiling for a picture. That, my friends, is a big accomplishment! Look for a Christmas wrap-up post coming soon!

I hope that 2010 is an equally great year, but less busy. I love January and February because we have nothing much going on and I feel like I can sit back and enjoy life!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mullet No More

This little boy got a haircut last week (at Meme's salon aka the master bathroom).

He was not too thrilled about it. There were lots of tears ... by David and me!

But he looks so handsome ... and grown up!

(Notice big sister in the background helping clean him up.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: January 11-17

We have a few carryovers from last week due to extra leftovers, etc. Fortunately, I am not going to have to make a trip to the grocery store this week except for milk.

I made these yummy banana wheat muffins for us to munch on for breakfast this week. I also plan on making this cranberry bread with some leftover cranberries for breakfast/snack.

Monday: Meatball subs, salad

Tuesday: Leftover meatball subs for Will, leftover cheese pizza for kids, salad (I get to eat dinner at bible study)

Wednesday: Leftover Sausage and Wild Rice, green beans, cantaloupe

Thursday: Mixed Up pizza casserole, salad

Friday: Chipotle Chicken Chili, tostitos

Saturday: eating dinner out ... date night.

Sunday: Sage pork chops with apples, buttered pasta, salad

If you want a recipe for something, leave a comment. Check out other menu plans here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Facing my biggest kitchen fear ...

I finally finished those red velvet cake balls I wrote about here. My hands got a little messy. (Don't worry. I am not permanently red.)

As you can see, they are far from perfect. I finally decided to dip them into the chocolate coating and pull them out (with the aid of a toothpick) and not to worry about getting them fully covered. A very nice addition to my plate of goodies I took to my family's Christmas Eve gathering.

And, they tasted delightful. But I will not EVER make them again. Maybe.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let it Snow!

We had some good flurries on Saturday morning, but nothing like the heavy dusting that my parents got at their house the first weekend in December when they were keeping the kids for us. {We were in Atlanta.}

Poppy busted out my old sled. {We lived in a subdivision called Hurricane Hills when I was growing up and it had awesome sledding hills ... this sled has some miles on it!}

Please note that my dad is not wearing any shoes. Are you kidding me?!? He never wears shoes, but I would think that barefoot in the snow would cross even his "shoe-wearing" line.

Claire had fun too. Clearly my children were ill-equipped to play in the snow. The fleece jackets were all I sent. I wasn't aware that SNOW was in the forecast when I packed their bags for the weekend!

Clearly, David was not ready to go inside. But it looks like the snow was starting to melt away in the background.

Fun times! Hopefully, we will get another snow this year ... good snow that we can go outside and play in.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: January 4-10

I hate that my first post of 2010 is a menu plan, but I have been busy since we got back from our trip last week. I did about 8 loads of laundry in one day and uploaded about 2000 pictures to Snapfish so I can order prints. Plus, Will and I did a major toy and closet clean-out and some major reorganizing of the toys that we kept/new toys that we got for Christmas.

{We also go Toy Story Mania and Band Hero for the Wii and have spent quite a bit of time playing! Talk about a time killer! We also went all over town looking for an extra Wii remote only to learn at the last store that Nintendo would not be shipping anymore to any stores for several weeks.}

So, back to the real world and our menu plan for the week. I am glad to get back to our normal routine even if it means heading back to work (and the gym) tomorrow.

Monday: Ritz Chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli

Tuesday: Sausage & Wild Rice casserole, green beans, fruit salad

Wednesday: Meatball Subs, salad

Thursday: pizza, salad (friends coming over to watch Alabama play for the National Championship. Roll Tide!!)

Friday: steak, mashed potatoes, green beans

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday (lunch): Mixed-up Pizza casserole

Sunday (dinner): Chipotle Chicken Chili, tortilla chips

Sorry, no recipe links this week. Don't have enough time. Check out other menu plans here.