Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day: Honey Lemon Glazed Carrots

These yummies will make you "leap" with joy. haha. Not only are they super tasty but they are pretty much healthy. When my husband and I were first married, we lived in Idaho. This wonderful older couple, the Seiperts took us under their wings. They invited us to the most delicious roast and potato dinners. She made the best honey glazed carrots. They were like candy! I have never had any as good since. These are a close second. I love the lemon zing. It's a nice twist. I got this recipe from Food Network.

  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt and then carrots and cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the carrots and add back to pan with butter, honey and lemon juice. Cook until a glaze coats the carrots, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.





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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna in any form gets a thumbs up in my book! Soup form is ingenious! It was so much faster and it was even better the next day! Get some crusty bread and soak it up! I got the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. The girl rocks!

INGREDIENTS
Soup:
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 bay leaves
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tablespoons dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound fusilli noodles, cooked and drained

Cheese topping:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:
In a large 4-quart pot, add the Italian sausage and cook over medium heat, breaking the pieces up with a wooden spoon or spatula while it cooks. I prefer the sausage in fairly small pieces. After about 3-4 minutes, add the onion. Cook the sausage and onion together, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is cooked through and the onions are soft,a bout 5-7 minutes. Drain any excess grease, if desired. Stir in the garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices, bay leaves and chicken broth. Add the basil, if using dried (if using fresh basil, add it in the next step).

Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and the fresh basil, if using.

For the cheese mixture, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and basil. Set aside.

To serve the soup, add a scoop of cooked pasta noodles to a bowl. Top with a ladle or two of soup and dollop with a generous spoonful of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Serve immediately.




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Monday, February 27, 2012

7 Layer Dip and a new twist

Is there anything yummier than a 7 layer dip? It is so good any time of the year! And there are so many different versions. I threw one together the other night for Bunco night.
Refried Beans
Sour Cream
Green onions (my favorites!!)
Sliced Olives
Tomatoes
Cheese
Ok, so mine is only 6.
There is a recipe I would love to try when I have the time from The Farm Girl Recipes. It is the 7 layer dip with a twist and a lot of flavors!



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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thinking Thursday: I Open my Eyes and See

Here is another little something I wrote. I hope you don't mind. I am trying hard to update and increase my writing abilities.

I Open My Eyes and See 11/15/11

I open my eyes an see my dreams for the future. My children grown, beautiful, happy together at Christmas, in the temple, reunited for births, birthdays, reunions. Older and wiser and loving.

I open my eyes and see Blake and I at last in Spain, London, Ireland, Italy for starters. Then North Carolina, Hawaii, New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Maine. Traveling and exploring the world together after years of hard work and waiting. Trying new things, trying new foods. Having memorable and life changing experiences.

I open my eyes and see my future home full of love, Adirondack chairs and a tub big enough to lie down in. D├ęcor that can’t be destroyed by grandchildren but can be enjoyed by all. A gazebo, a swinging porch swing, a flourishing garden where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables. A tire swing, a wraparound porch. Laughter, tears, secrets shared and memories made.

I open my eyes and see a classroom full of college aged students awaiting knowledge and inspiration I hoping to instruct and inspire them in good directions and paths. Projects, late night gradings, conferences, expanding knowledge of the love of literature and writing.

I open my eyes and see daughter/mother reunions, fishing trips, camping trips, Disneyland. Late movie nights with popcorn and early morning snuggles in a bed that is too small for so many growing children. Game nights, crafts, stories read, make believe, dancing. Prep for dances, dates, weddings, funerals. College farewells, graduations, missions, good byes, but not really. Kitchen dates with plenty of cooking and experimenting. Messy faces, messy hands, grubby fingerprints.

I open my eyes and see my future, my past and my present and know that my life and love is where my family is. Their goals and dreams are my goals and dreams. Together through tears, smiles and life, we will walk together and say “Wasn’t that a great time?” “Wasn’t all the work worth it?” And we will smile and say, “Yes.”



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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Breakfast Burritos with velveeta cheese

My college roommate, Sherise, introduced this to me ten years ago. She had just gotten married and invited my husband and I over to dinner. This was a fun breakfast for dinner!

It is a nice mixture of eggs and sausage and has a great little kick with the salsa. You can switch ingredients up however you like to. I have used bacon before too.

This can be doubled with no problem.

Cook half a roll of sausage. When it is done, add 6 scrambled eggs. While they are cooking, melt half a cube of velveeta cheese with 1/2 cup salsa in a separate pot.
When they are done, add about a half cup of the egg mixture to a flour tortilla and a spoonful of the cheese mixture on top. Roll up and place in 8 by 8 pan. Makes about 6 tortillas. Add remaining cheese mixture to the top. Cook at 400 for 10 minutes or until crispy.



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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rigatoni with Roasted Broccoli and Red Onions

This was a really fun and easy dish to make with so much flavor!! It had a nice mix of onions, broccoli, bacon. Just so simple and yummy! The whole family ate it without complaint! I got it from Womans Day Feb 2012.

4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 red onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
2 T olive oil
4 slices bacon
12 oz rigatoni
1/2 c. grated parmesan

Heat oven to 425. On a rimmed pan, toss olive oil, salt and pepper with the broccoli, onion and garlic. On another pan, place bacon. Cook on separate racks at same temperature. Broccoli pan for about 25 minutes and bacon for 15 minutes. While those are cooking, boil pasta. Reserve 3/4 cup of the water after the pasta is cooked. Mix it with 1/4 cup. parmesan in a separate bowl. Drain pasta. Mix pasta with pasta water and parmesan mixture. Add the vegetables and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.

There was an option to add 1 T lemon juice, but I forgot about it. I am sure that it would be delicious!



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Monday, February 20, 2012

Pizza Bites

This was a mish mash of lots of recipes I came across and I kind of just tried my own thing on it. It was supposed to be made in a bundt pan and have the bundt shape but it didn't really work out that way. Oh well, it was still yummy!!

I used this pizza dough recipe from squidoo. I still love my go to recipe, but this was perfect for the calzone, so I thought I would try it out here too.

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (can use a combination of white and whole wheat if you prefer)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 cup very warm water


Combine yeast, sugar, 1 cup of the flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add the warm water and oil and mix. Stir in remaining flour slowly until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead until smooth. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before making the calzone.

Then I rolled them into 2 inch or so balls and made an indentation in the center and added a 1/2 inch cube of mozarella cheese and a quarter of pepperoni. Then I rolled it in some butter and bread crumbs. Talk about yum!

Cook them at 375 for about 10-15 minutes.



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Saturday, February 18, 2012

I was Featured!

I like blogging my recipes for the sake of blogging them. It's just fun. So, it's great when other people can use my recipes for their families and friends!

Six Sister's Stuff featured my chocolate chip cookie bars on their site today. They really are the chewiest and yummiest and easiest bars ever! So, thanks to Six Sisters! I love their site!

Blissful and Domestic featured these super soft sugar cookies which I originally found on Four Sister's Kitchens. These sites are both great and cute!

Check them out!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fat Friday: Best Ever Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cups!

I originally posted this with Heath bars, but made it for my 7 year old's birthday with pb cups because she loves them! It was just as delicious as the first time!

THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE EVER!
cake recipe from: Kevin and Amanda
  • 1 box Devil's Food cake mix
  • 1 small pkg Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large bowl, mix together everything except for chocolate chips. The batter will be thick.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans. (You could use whatever cake pan you choose. Just follow cooking time and temperature on the back of the Devil's Food box and add about 10 additional minutes to whatever the original cooking time requires.) Make sure to do the toothpick test to check if it is done or not. It usually takes about 45 minutes for two 9-inch cake pans.

After cake is baked, let cool completely. I usually plop the two cakes onto a wire rack and stick them in the freezer. It is so much easier to cut them when they are a little frozen and they don't crumble as much. Once cakes have cooled completely (or are slightly frozen if doing my method) cut in half width wise so you have 4 equal circles.

While cake is cooling prepare the frosting.


BEST CHOCOLATE FROSTING
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup butter
Mix milk, vanilla, chocolate syrup together
In a large separate bowl, beat softened butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa together.
Slowly add in wet ingredients until you reach desired consistency.
Beat an additional 5 minutes to get a fluffy consistency.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thinking Thursday: My Make Believe Life

I wrote this for fun....I am sure some of you out there can relate!

My Make Believe Life

For starters, I get dressed on a daily basis. Not just dressed but hair and make up done as well. Lotion, perfume and jewelry are part of the ensemble. Sometimes I wear heels just for fun. My eyebrows are perfect. “Bad hair day” is not in my vocabulary. My nails are unbitten and lovely.

I sit down at a clean table with fresh wildflowers in the middle and eat a breakfast of warm homemade waffles and syrup-made by someone else. Fresh strawberries, blueberries and bananas included. A mug of steaming hot chocolate (not the cheap kind) with fresh whipped cream awaits me.

In my make believe life, my house is clean, organized and decorated with a mish mash of items that wouldn’t seem to go together, but do. I have floor to ceiling bookcases filed with the best unripped books from Wordsworth to Shel Silverstein. There is enough space for everyone and everything and all bins are labeled and once organized, stay organized.

We go on quarterly vacations. Sometimes the beach, sometimes Europe, others Disneyland and Hawaii. The kids are always happy and never cry because they are tired or hungry. They love walking for miles and never complain about seeing historical sites. We have a scrapbook of our adventures where we are color coordinated, smiling and looking at the same camera. Everyone is potty trained!

I can run marathon! I have my 20 year old body again, which could go for hours on end without needing a break. I can go through a day without needing caffeine or a nap or the restart button pushed on my temper. I can actually do the move from tae bo without looking like an idiot! Saddle bags and spare tire are things that belong on horses and cars, not me. I eat healthy and only indulge in treats sparingly because I have no cravings for chocolate.

I have reading days where I read the books from the Newberry and Caldecott award winning lists. Also, from the “100 books everyone should read” list. And the books never bore me-classics included. I feel so uplifted by the books that I write a book of my own to critical acclaim. I do not need the praise, however, because I have merely written the book for my own enjoyment.

My husband makes enough money for us to pay off our debt in a short amount of time. He has a normal work schedule, gets home early on Fridays and never has to work suddenly on the weekends. He loves his work and feels fulfilled every day. We have a regular date night where we have no budget and a perfect babysitter who cleans the house and requests to babysit for free because my kids are so enjoyable.

In my make believe life, my children don’t fight and always listen the first time! They don’t cry over going to the bathroom, eating dinner, doing homework or bedtime. We do a daily craft where they make little mess and happily share the supplies without loss to limb or bloodshed. They happily complete their chores and do extra just to be helpful.

In my make believe life, I am pretty selfish and boring. I don’t have time to take care of other people because I am so busy taking care of my needs and wants. I am a rather uninteresting and unhappy person. I haven’t had stretching or learning experiences to help me grow and become better. In my real life, I am grateful to have dreams and hopes for my future. Some I will get to and some I won’t. And that is ok. I am grateful that my real life is more exciting and unexpected than my make believe life. I wouldn’t trade my real life for my make believe life for anything. Except I think I will take the reading day.



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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Easy Calzone!

I tried to be fun and make this look like a Christmas tree over Christmas break and it did not turn out that way, but this was delish anyway!! The dough was perfect (and I am picky!) The prep was easy (and I am picky!) The kids loved it (and they are picky!)
The recipe came from Squidoo

Dough:
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (can use a combination of white and whole wheat if you prefer)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 cup very warm water


Combine yeast, sugar, 1 cup of the flour, and salt in a large bowl. Add the warm water and oil and mix. Stir in remaining flour slowly until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead until smooth. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before making the calzone.

Here is the step by step instructions for making a calzone.....

But here's a quick version,

1) Roll out like a rectangle

2) Cut about 2 inch lines on the sides of the dough. Make sure they will pull over the top to keep the filling inside.

3) Pull over the top criss cross alternating.

4) Bake 375 for 25-30 minutes.






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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Food!

I am not going all crazy on Valentine's. Maybe I should? Or maybe I am 7 1/2 months prego and I am feeling pretty good about any creativity! So, I will be making overnight french toast in my heart shaped pan. Think it will be pretty great! Dinner will probably be lasagna because my whole family LOVES lasagna! And I truly have the best recipe for it, but we'll see how things are going around that time of day! Might just settle for heart shaped grilled cheese.=)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 loaf french bread cut into slices
1 cup brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. vanilla
5 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk

Melt butter and pour in 9 by 13. Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla separately. Layer bottom of pan with half the bread and Sprinkle half brown sugar mix over the bread. Layer second layer of bread. Pour egg mix over the bread making sure all are covered. Sprinkle remaining brown sugar over top. Cover and refrigerate. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes at 350. Take off foil and cook for 15 minutes longer.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chore/Reward Charts

I am a slacker mom and not much for chore charts. I just say "Help now!" But something has got to change around this joint with baby 4 approaching. We are trying to teach our kids more respoinsibility while rewarding them with privileges instead of Target $1 toys!

So, here it is.....

Usually, I would forget to print the list each week, forget to get the prize, forget there was even a chart and then be really annoyed when I felt overwhelmed!

I made each kid a chart off the computer. Easy peasy. Took 2 minutes. I know what I want them to do!!

Then, I covered them in contact paper and put them on the fridge. We have markers they will "x" out each job. Then we can erase and start over every week. If something changes, we can just change the chart on the computer and done.

We even made one for our 2 1/2 year old. More of a behavioral chart than anything. The girl is crazy!

Here are what ours look like:

(2 year old)

Brooke!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

No Scratching

No Scratching

No Scratching

No Scratching

No Scratching

No Scratching

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

No Hitting

No Hitting

No Hitting

No Hitting

No Hitting

No Hitting

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

(7 year old)

Hailey!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Practice Piano

Practice Piano

Practice Piano

Practice Piano

Practice Piano

Practice Piano

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

(4 year old)

Spencer!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Get Dressed

Share Toys

Share Toys

Share Toys

Share Toys

Share Toys

Share Toys

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Brush Teeth Morning

Night

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Job

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Homework

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

Scriptures

Prayer

REWARDS! If you get 30 x’s each week, you get a reward!

· Stay up 30 minutes later on Friday or Saturday night

· Ride bikes with mom

· Play cars with mom

Play do with mom

· Get 2 extra books before bed

· Game night with dad

· Special sweet treat

Etc....


I am hoping and praying! that I can make this last this time! Do you have any tips?!


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