Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apple Pickin'

My friend Leigh and I took our kids on their first field trip for the school year ... Breeden's Apple Orchard.  There really wasn't much too it since they don't do tours or anything.  But we spent a good 30 minutes picking apples (and taking photos) and then ate lunch together.  The kids had fun together and the apples were really good.  We picked Golden Delicious apples, which happen to be Claire's favorite! 

The kids are ready to go pick some apples!



Luke was way more interested in sitting in his stroller and playing on my i-phone than picking apples.  He was watching our wagon too.

Here is the whole group (minus Luke).

Sweet friends!

David with his basket full of apples. 

Look at all of our apples!  We took half of these home.  So now I have 15 pounds of apples in our fridge.  I did learn a neat tip for preserving them though from the owners.  Wet 1 apple and place it in a gallon-sized ziploc bag.  Fill with apples and seal, getting as much air out as possible and store them in your fridge.  They should last up to 6 months.

David and Neyland.

McCall and Claire.

We decided to make an apple treat when we got home so I combined a couple of recipes based upon what I had in the pantry and came up with a yummy applesauce cake.

Applesauce Spice Cake
1 spice cake mix (I used a yellow cake mix and added 1t. cinnamon, 1/2t. allspice and 1/2t. nutmeg)
1/2c. buttermilk
1c. applesauce
1/3c. butter
1/3c. shortening (I used 1/3c. coconut oil b/c I didn't have shortening)
1t. vanilla
1t. finely grated lemon zest (I omitted this because I didn't have any)
2 large eggs
1c. chopped peeled apple
1/2c. chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients except apples and pecan.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Scrape down sides of bowls.  Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Fold in apples and pecans.  Pour into 12-cup bundt cake pan that has been sprayed with vegetable oil and dusted with flour (or use Baker's Joy spray).  Bake cake until golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger ... 50-55 minutes.  Remove the pan from the over and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Allow cake to cool completely for 30 minutes.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: September 24-30

Most of the recipes I used the last 2 weeks came from Once a Month Mom.  I still have a few carry-overs that I never made and/or we have enough leftovers for another meal.

Lunches: leftover Ham & cheese muffins, sandwiches, Tomato soup and grilled cheese rolls

Monday: Pepperoni pizza roll, salad
Tuesday: BBQ chicken pizza, salad
Wednesday: leftover Simple stuffed peppers, corn on the cob (On a side note, the stuffed peppers took a while to make, but it makes 8 peppers.  We ate 2, saved 2 for leftovers and froze the other 4, so technically, we are getting 3-4 meals out of it.)

Thursday: breakfast for dinner (ham, swiss cheese & veggie omelet, biscuits)

Friday: Ginger cilantro baked tilapia, orzo pasta, steamed broccoli

Saturday:  Alabama football versus Ole Miss ... we are headed to the game.

Sunday: Leftovers for lunch; Arrington Vineyards with Will's bible study group
Check out Laura's blog for more Menu Plan Monday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Me, me, me ...

I know the blogging has been a little sparse here lately.  I have several posts started, but I can't seem to find the time to sit down and finish them!  Hopefully soon!  We have been busy, busy, busy with just life stuff in general.

So, in my effort to put something new on the blog for my few loyal readers (I know you're tired of reading about what we eat!), here is a little questionnaire all about me! 

1. Most hated chore on the household chore list? cleaning tubs and showers, unloading the dishwasher

2. What bad habits of other people drive you crazy? forgetfulness
3. What is your worst travel experience? 8th mission trip to Jamaica ... driving from Montego Bay up into the mountain on small, curvy road in small, cramped bus.
4. Last thing you ate? Caprese lasagna and salad (for dinner last night)
5. Favorite lunch meat? turkey
6. Favorite cereal? Honey Bunches of Oats (with almonds)
7. Where's the farthest you've been from home? Italy
8. Favorite TV show? The Good Wife and Parenthood
9. What time did you go to bed last night?  10 pm (that's a little early for me)

10. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? play the guitar or speak another language fluently

11. If you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do? surf the Internet or "tidy up" the house

12. What did you do growing up that got you in trouble? talking back to my parents

13. What one thing do you miss about being a kid? nap time

14. Song stuck in your head today? punctuation song from Leap Frog "Learn to Read" DVD

15. If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to? I like my name now, but growing up, I wanted a more trendy name (at the time), like Suzanne, Jennifer or Melissa.

16. Sweet or salty? both together

17. Favorite home cooked meal? my mom's friend chicken

18. Favorite grab and go meal? grilled chicken dinner from Zoe's Kitchen

19. Have you ever been horseback riding? yes ... my childhood best friend had a horse growing up

20. Favorite soup? tomato and Italian wedding soup

If you get bored and decide to complete this survey, pleaes comment with a link.  Thanks!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: September 17-23

Most of the recipes I used last week came from Once a Month Mom, which is a freezer meal-planning service based upon the premise of having one BIG cooking day a month and then pulling meals from the freezer all month long.  The meal plan includes breakfast lunch and dinner.  I have never managed to pull-off the one big cooking day a month thing, but I do like the idea of having one prep day at the beginning of the week AND when making a meal, double the recipe and save the second for later.
All of this to say, my meal plan last week was intended to last over the course of a 2-3 weeks.  So, much of this week's meal plan will include leftovers or duplicates from things I made last week AND things I planned (and bought groceries) to make last week, but never got around to cooking.

Lunches: leftover Cilantro Lime Quinoa salad (I add diced grilled chicken), leftover Ham & cheese muffins

Monday: Caprese lasagna, salad, bread sticks 
Tuesday: Pizza Hut pizza (leftovers from Luke's birthday on Saturday)

Wednesday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese rolls

Thursday: Simple stuffed peppers, corn on the cob

Friday: Ginger cilantro baked tilapia, orzo pasta, steamed broccoli

Saturday:  a much needed DATE NIGHT for Will and I!

Sunday: leftover Chicken Caprese Sandwich, chips, cantaloupe

Check out Laura's blog for more Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

First Days of School

Claire (1st grade)
Claire started school back on August 6th. She had a great first day and likes her first grade video teacher, Ms. Weiler, "okay". (1st grade teachers are much more strict.)  Here are a few pictures I shot on the first day of 1st grade!
Lots of reading in 1st grade.
I love this outfit, but Claire was ADAMANT that she pick out her first day of school outfit.  Miss Independent ...
Here is Claire's 1st grade school questionnaire for the year:

My best friend's name is: Kathryn and Avery

My favorite thing to play: play outside

My favorite color: yellow

My favorite book: any American Girl Doll book

My favorite TV show: "Jessie" and "Good Luck Charlie"

My favorite food: Mexican food

When I grow up, I want to: be a teacher

Something I really like: playing soccer

Something I really don't like: stinky brothers

My favorite thing about myself: "I can write my name in cursive."

Something I want to do this year: "Go to Chuck E. Cheese all week."

David (Pre-Kindergarten)
David started his last first day of preschool (sniff, sniff) on August 28th.  He goes to a church preschool near our house 2 days/week.  He was super pumped to start school.  He really likes playing with all the little boys in his classroom.

With his teacher, Ms. Michelle.

Outside of his classroom on the first day!

David's pre-kindergarten questionnaire for the year:

My best friend's name is: Ian and Will

My favorite thing to play: the Wii

My favorite color: all colors

My favorite book: "Easy Street"

My favorite TV show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

My favorite food: chicken nuggets

When I grow up, I want to: be a train engine (I think he means, drive a train)

Something I really like: going to Chuck E. Cheese

Something I really don't like: storms

My favorite thing about myself: "I'm funny."

Something I want to do this year: "Go to the beach."
Luke (Parents' Day Out)
Luke started PDO at the same place David goes to preschool, 2 days/week.  He was a little tearful the first week, but since then, he walks right in without a second glance at Mommy!

Luke really loved his lunchbox!  And there was no way I was getting a picture of him at school in front of his classroom or with his teachers.  He is very much "on the move" right now.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: September 10

Wow.  It has been a while.  Our lives have been kind of crazy since July and much of our eating has been of the "fly by the seat of our pants" variety.  I am determined to get back on track!

Here is the menu plan for the week:

Breakfasts: Tomato-Basil quiche, Maple Pecan Pie Bars, Baked Apple Oatmeal and Banana Blueberry Muffins

Lunches: sandwiches, Cilantro Lime Quinoa salad (I add diced grilled chicken), Roasted Garlic Chicken Pesto Pizza, Ham & cheese muffins, grilled cheese rolls

Monday: Moe's Southwest grill (using coupons)

Tuesday: Kids' night at Chick-Fil-A (soccer practice until 6:45)

Wednesday: Chicken Caprese Sandwich, chips

Thursday: Simple stuffed peppers, corn on the cob

Friday: Ginger cilantro baked tilapia, orzo pasta, steamed broccoli

Saturday:  Luke's birthday party and Alabama football!!  (Party planning still in progress!)

Sunday: Caprese lasagna, salad, bread sticks

Check out Laura's blog for more Menu Plan Monday.