Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Power of THREE!

Today my baby girl turns 3! Last night she sent 2 out with a bang - a major melt down throw yourself to the ground tantrum. Good times.
It seems so unreal to me that she is already 3. If the last 3 years went so quickly how fast are the next 3 going to go? Am I just going to wake up one day to find her graduating from Smith College (you know, ALL girls) at the top of her class?!?! So crazy.
Recently we have talked to Rachel a bit about how she came to us so early and how she lived in the hospital for 2 weeks. Her version of the story includes how much she liked it there :) I am sure she did, but we didn't!!! Ryan remembers it - he tells her she was too sick for him to see her (not true - he was too young to see her, but they did hold her up the glass window 2 days before she came home for him to see) and how the nurses gave him graham crackers and toys (they did).
What does the next year hold for this little girl? We are taking quite a leap of faith and sending her to the FULL. DAY. PRESCHOOL!!!! She'll ride a bus, wear a uniform, and spend all day submerged in all kinds of Montessori goodness. I am nervous for her. She is shy, painfully shy. She also gets overwhelmed and over stimulated very easily. I have lost a ton of sleep over this issue but I think, in the long run, she'll be fine. She also starts gymnastics this summer and Sunday school at church. She wears mermaid "unnerwears" and mostly keeps them clean :)
She is 3. In full force!

Rachel at a week and at 3!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

behind again!

I have a few recipes in the wings but I made nothing new last week. I honestly don't even remember what I made last week except for the package gnocchi from Wegmans that was a HUGE hit! Ryan took the leftovers to school the next day
Coming up:
truffles - yum!
grilled ribs (for Father's day)

I think that is all actually!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Host.ess Cupcakes

A few months back I got a cupcake decorating kit from Wil.ton. It came with a Bismark tip for filling cupcakes and I immediately thought of Host.ess cupcakes! YUMMMM
It turns out there are a ton of receipes on-line for these. I used this one from Food and Wine:chocolate cupcakes with cream filling
What I did differently: I used a box cake mix since I was low on time and I keep a couple on hand (Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake mix is milk-free!)
What I learned:
Do NOT fill the cupcakes until they are cooled. I had to fill them twice since the warm cupcakes liquified the filling the first time!
In order to make the squiggles on the top you need to refridgerate the filling for about 1/2 hour before piping with it.
Remember - I mess up do you don't have to!

Salsa pork chops

I'll start right out with the rating: 10++++
These were DELICIOUS! WOW!
boneless pork chops
1 Tblsp chili powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tbls brown sugar
1/2 tbls onion powder
1/2 tbls garlic powder
2-3 tbls olive oil
Mix the dry ingredients together and put in a large ziploc bag. Add oil and pork chops and shake up to coat the chops. Refridgerate for 30 minutes.
We then grilled them and served them with's Own Peach Salsa on top. HUGE HIT!
I also made:
Spanish Rice

1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plain tomato sauce*
3 cloves finely chopped garlic *
1/4 of a medium onion*
2 tablespoons oil
4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped parsley (optional)
Preparation:In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add in the fresh garlic and onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add in dry rice. Stir for about 5 minutes until rice becomes a golden brown color.
Add in broth and tomato sauce (Slowly into rice, not directly onto hot pan!) Add in the parsley if you're using it. Stir it up and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cover. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and fluff with a fork.
*I used crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.
Rating: another 10! I wanted Spanish Rice to go with this meal and the ones I saw in the store all had added dairy in them so I made it myself and it was really no harder than using a mix (except the dicing onions)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not really a new recipe but...

We've had these before but last night I decided to let the kids help out.
We used:
premade pizza dough from Wegmans (I know most pizzarias sell their dough as well, or my friend Ellen makes a yummy one in her bread machine!)
can of diced tomatoes
shredded mozzarella
parmesean cheese
artichoke hearts (because I had them and I love them)

I cut the ball of dough into 5 pieces, rolled each one out and then each person took turns filling it with their toppings. The kids LOVED doing this! Even Rachel who usually is only interested in helping by licking the spoon when I am baking something!
After folding each one up, I brushed some olive oil on them and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese and Italian Seasoning on the top. Each kid got a different colored toothpick so we could keep track. Oh and cut a vent in the top of the dough or else you'll have messy, leaky calzones. 20-25 minutes at 375
And as usual, Joey's was without any cheese (the dough was free of dairy as well).
Rating: 10, fun to make, quick, and easy to eat.
Still looking for grilling recipes. I am thinking of grilling shrimp kabobs this weekend. Maybe marinade them in Greek dressing. OOOH, I wonder if I can find that yummy orzo salad recipe from Rachael Ray....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Back to our regular scheduled programming...

So it turns out that once a week just wasn't working for me. For one, Rob's schedule is crazy and there are weeks that he isn't home for dinner at all. I don't want to try new things on just the kids (although they are the best critics sometimes!). But I have been making an effort to make one or 2 new things on the weeks Rob is around. So far there have been 17 weeks in the year right? I have made 11 new things. Hmmmm, I am 6 recipes behind - oops! I'd better catch up!
Any recipes? Send them my way!
For this week we had:
Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Dill Sauce

1 cup cubed seeded peeled cucumber
1 1/2 cups fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 (3-pound) salmon fillet (about 3/4 inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
Dill sprigs (optional)
1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir well. Cover and chill 30 minutes.
2. Prepare grill.
3. Sprinkle fish with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place fish, skin side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes. Rotate fish one quarter-turn (45 degrees) for diamond-shaped crosshatches. Grill 3 minutes. Turn fish over; grill 4 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce and dill sprigs, if desired.

Rating: 10! DELICIOUS! Ryan ate his salmon without the sauce and used ketchup (GAG!), Rachel tasted the sauce, declared it yucky and ate nothing - have I mentioned that she is almost 3? Yeah, fun! Joey couldn't eat the sauce but devoured the salmon. I used the sauce as a salad dressing later in the week.
When I make it again I may substitute the horseradish for garlic. I love horseradish but I LOVE LOVE garlic!
We also had Grilled Pork Sandwiches

1/4 cup hot jalapeƱo jelly
1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/4 cup light ranch dressing
1/4 cup sweet hickory smoke tomato-based barbecue sauce (such as Bull's-Eye) *I totally used Dinosaur sauce!!!*
8 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Combine jelly and water; set aside.
Combine paprika and next 6 ingredients (through pepper); rub evenly over pork. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 15 minutes, turning pork occasionally. Brush pork with jelly mixture. Grill an additional 5 minutes or until thermometer registers 155° (slightly pink).
Place pork on a cutting surface. Lightly cover with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice pork. Combine ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. Serve pork and ranch mixture with buns.
Rating: 10+ OH MY GOD! These were FANTASTIC!!! Everyone loved them! Joey had his with plain BBQ sauce and was cool with it.
I got both these recipes from Linda over at Indigo Girl, who I believe got them from Cooking Light. I may just have to start getting Cooking Light because these have been fantastic!!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Week #8 - Creamy potato soup

There is a week 7 - Chicken Florentine but I really need to look the recipe up again and post it. At any rate it was a hit all around!
Week #8 - Creamy Potato Soup
I am not certain where I got this recipe from - a blog but I don't know whose since I copied the recipe and not the source. If this is your soup PLEASE claim the bragging rights in the comments!
3 1/2 cups peeled, cubed, raw potato (about 4 med potatoes)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup frozen niblet corn
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup grated carrot
2 Tblsp (low sodium) chicken oxo powder (or a boullion cube or two)
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
3 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups (skim) milk
1 cup diced ham
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 cup flour
In a large saucepan combine potato, onion, corn, carrot, oxo powder, parsely flakes, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until veggies are tender. Meanwhile in a small saucepan melt butter on med/low heat and add flour, cook for one minute and then whisk in milk until smooth. Use a potato masher to lightly mash the potatoes and veggies in the saucepan, then stir the milk and flour mixture into the soup. Serve immediately.
What I did differently:
a lot actually!
  • For starters I was out of onion but I would definitely use it the next time I make this.
  • I used a chicken boullion cube (reduced sodium) and added 5 cups of water (which is what it took to cover the veggies in the pot and then some.
  • I used 5 potatoes and chopped carrots. I forgot the celery but that was just an oversight

Since I wanted Joey to be able to enjoy this I didn't use any milk in it. Instead (and I will give credit where it is due - my friend Karen suggested this) I pureed some of the cooked potatoes and added just enough chicken broth the make them a milk like consistency and used this in place of the milk. When I served it I stirred a little milk into each bowl (except Joey's of course!). Now I will point out that this has butter (well I used Coun.try so it isn't totally milk free but as of right now Joey seems okay with that. To make it totally dairy-free you would have to use a butter substitute.


8 - I LOVED it! Joey LOVED it (ate 2 bowls), Rachel ate a piece of carrot. Ryan ate a piece of ham. Rob hasn't had it yet! So I guess the verdict is still out.

Next time I want to serve it in bread bowls with shredded cheddar on top!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Week #6 - Taco Soup

Another one from my favorite message board - thanks, Val!!!

2 lbs. ground beef or turkey 1/2 lg. onion, chopped 2 15 oz. cans black beans, pinto beans, or 1 of each 3 packs taco seasoning 1 pack ranch mix (not low fat) 1 4 oz. can green chiles 2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce 8 C. water 2 C. frozen corn Chili Cheese Fritos Shredded Cheese Sour Cream Brown meat and onion and drain grease. Add beans, and mix in seasonings. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer - the longer the better. It is also excellent to make in a crock pot. To serve put a small handful of Fritos in a bowl, and spoon soup over them. Put a dollop of sour cream on top, and then sprinkle some cheese over that.

What I did different:
I used black beans only, 1 pack of seasoning and the ranch mix, and I threw in a can of diced tomatoes. I would have used fresh if such a thing existed around here this time of year! I also used tortilla chips instead of fritos because I had them on hand.
10. Everyone loved it except our friend's 4 year old who was joining us for dinner (but then gain last night he wouldn't touch my meatloaf - I think we are going to have to stop inviting him for dinner)