Monday, November 29, 2010

I am OLD!

Remember last week when I said that exercise was my nemesis? Well, my leg has been feeling better over the last few days so I decided I would try my regular 3.5 mile walk with my friend. At about the 2.5 mile mark we were walking up a hill and I felt a pop and something retracted in my leg. I have been thinking that ice would help but I guess it is off to the doctor I go....tomorrow.
Picture from bodybyrazz.com/excercise

Oh yeah, did I mention that I also have a loose crown that needs to be replaced. Fun times. I am feeling old today.
picture from smilebrokenarrow.com

On a different note that makes me feel old. Yesterday at church Susan Ashton helped lead worship.
If you went to high school with me she was on very high rotation on my sony discman and on the tape player in my car. There were two sixteen year old girls helping me at the check in desk at church and when I told them that I had Susan Ashton's tape they gave me the look that said "Tapes? What? Huh? You are old". It was very exciting for me to meet Susan as her music was so inspiring to me as a teenager. I adored her Wakened by the Wind album.

   She was lovely to meet. :) I need to go back and dig out my tapes now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Part 2

One thing I am incredibly thankful for is friends. New and old and friends that I am just getting to know better. We have known Andrew and Vanessa for about 7 years. Andrew was in Salient and that is how we met.

The guys were playing Wednesday night worship at a church in Brentwood and we came with them one time. I remember her asking me that night if we were planning on having more children to which I replied "I am sure we will but I don't know when". Which was a lie. I was actually pregnant with Little Man but we hadn't told anyone yet. Way to start off a friendship huh? :) Anyway, even though Andrew is no longer in Salient we have still maintained contact through the years. She is one of my friends that I am thankful for that I am getting to know better. While she was here she gave me a funny idea for a blog post that will be showing up in a few days.

Before dinner started my children, oh so eloquently, sang happy birthday to the turkey in opera style. I was in the kitchen but Vanessa caught some fun pictures of them singing. Once dinner was over and the kids had had their fill of playing upstairs they came down and took over the entertainment. I may have mentioned before that every time we get in the car the kids request the Wicked soundtrack. They pretty much know the entire thing by heart. Here they are singing Defying Gravity...it gets slightly more intelligible around the 50 second mark (filming from my droid does not give the best quality): 


Somehow I managed not to get any photos of Andrew and Vanessas cute girl (Vanessa explained she had already used up her quota of photos for the day) but I did get this fun one of my Little Man tackling Vanessa. Ah. tackle football in the living room. Fun times! :)




We are thankful for friends and good entertainment. ;)

Thanksgiving 2010 Part 1

 We decided not to travel for Thanksgiving this year...well decided and we just didn't have extra to travel so I suppose the decision was made for us. :) At kind of the last minute we invited Andrew and Vanessa over and their sweet little girl. My kids love her so as soon as they arrived they all just wanted to play. We were able to get dinner on pretty quickly though so most of the play time was going to happen after dinner.

I made Pioneer Woman Creamy Mashed Potatoes except that I never peel my potatoes. It is not laziness...it is keep in the nutrients..yea..we will go with that. :) I also added garlic and topped them with cheddar cheese. Next on the menu was Pioneer Woman Green Bean Casserole. I am a pretty die hard off the back of the crispy onion box green bean casserole girl but I thought since I have been trying to make more things from scratch that these would be the way to go and I think I was right. Tasty!

My turkey was the same basic recipe that I have been using for a few years. Cover in butter, cut a few slits in the skin and push butter, fresh garlic and rosemary under the skin. Throw some butter, garlic and rosemary inside and rub butter over the outside. Sprinkle with slat and pepper stick it in an oven bag and bake. There is no basting and no fuss and it is juicy and quite tasty. My hubby said when it came out "I love it when you make it like this!" That made my day! :)

I also made a chocolate chip cheeseball from Taste of Home and Strawberry Pretzel Salad from Paula Dean. The kids LOVED the cheeseball, especially since I served it with Kelloggs Scooby Snack Graham Cracker sticks. My husband surprised me though because he really like the strawberry pretzel salad. I thought he would be iffy on it and I was wrong. So, that recipe will definitely go into the special occasion repertoire.

For bread we had Cornmeal Crescent Rolls. My mom always made these growing up and I love to make them too. A lot of times I see people writing about how scared they are of yeast. I guess seeing her make these all of those years just made it seem natural to make them too. They really don't take that much time. An hour and a half rise cycle before rolling out, buttering, cutting and rolling and then a 40 minute rise cycle before they go in the oven.

Vanessa brought Reba McEntire's Sweet Potatoes and a Mississippi Mud Pie. Both were delicious but I need to get the recipe for the sweet potatoes. I could have eaten the entire pan of those myself!

I made two pies. One was a Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours and the other was a Johnny Appleseed Pie. It is a basic apple pie recipe that I add chocolate chips to and a crumb topping. Out of everything I was most excited for the apple pie and it had to go back in the oven for almost an extra hour. That was disappointing and I didn't even like it after that. My son and hubs both love it but for some reason it tasted off to me. Oh well.

Everything was delicious, the company excellent and we were all stuffed. Anyway, that is it for the food. Tune in again tomorrow for the entertainment section of Thanksgiving at our house. :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cookin and Bakin and Cleanin

Do you know that song at the beginning of My Best Friend's Wedding. Kissin and Huggin and Lovin. That is the tune my title goes to. :) I am gearing up for tomorrow in the best way I know how....by going to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving with everyone else in all of Tennessee.

On the agenda for today:
-Bake Cornmeal Crescent Rolls
-Bake Johnny Apple Seed Pie
-Bake Pumpkin Pie
-Make Strawberry Pretzel Salad
-Slice veggies for veggie tray
-Slice meat and cheese for tray
-Vacuum the stairs
-Dust
-Try to find a place for all of the clutter
-Attempt to sell an entertainment center on Craigslist
-Make the kids clean their rooms
-Laundry
-Wipe down bathrooms
-Fall into bed exhausted

That's all. What is on your to do list today?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{TWD} Brioche Snails

Today is Tuesday and another week with Tuesdays with Dorie. Wait...What? eiroD htiw syadseuT htiw keew rehtona dna yadseuT si yadoT.....Rewind! Every once in awhile we have a week where we choose the recipe instead of the one chosen by another fabulous baker. Every time I flip through Baking from My Home to your the Brioche catches my eye. The photo of the Brioche loaves is lovely but the recipe I keep thinking about is the Brioche Snails.
Pastry Cream and Cheddar Cheese
Cinnamon Sugar and Garlic Powder
Chocolate Chips and Bacon
The dough came together pretty easily except that I am apparently the Kavorkian of food processors. My new one has a dough setting on it and I think I managed to ruin it.  There may have been a bit too much dough for the food processor to handle. I had to finish off the dough by hand and I was a little worried that I hadn't mixed it well enough. Since I am so good at reading directions I completely skipped the part where I needed to make pastry cream. I pulled that together Sunday morning and let it cool in the fridge while we were at church.

On Sunday I was not thrilled to finish off the brioche...I was just feeling a little unmotivated. I posted on Facebook that I needed to finish it. A fellow gigwidow from England, Kristie, posted that she loved Brioche with mushrooms and spinach. That go me thinking about how to make my snails savory. I decided to make half with pastry cream, cinnamon sugar and chocolate chips and the other half with cheddar cheese, garlic powder and bacon.

Imagine walking through the doors of Panera bread and lovely smell that wafts toward you. That is what my house smelled like when I opened my oven. I could hardly wait to try them and they were hardly cool when I handed them off to my children. They devoured both the sweet and the savory Brioche snails.
My husband loved them as well even though every time I said the word "brioche" he finished it off "burrito".

This are on my list to make again however, I may need to wait until I have a Kitchenaid before mixing dough like that again. :) Make sure to check out LYL to see what the other TWD bakers chose this week.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Exercise is my Nemesis

Apparently I have to do more than exercise (or more exercise) to lose weight. Obviously I like to bake and cook and need to hand off more of the treats too! 
I joined a 100 mile challenge a couple of months ago. The goal was to walk/run 100 miles in 8 weeks. I missed it by about 20 miles but, I was walking 14-17 miles a week. I may not have met the challenge but I got into some good habits.

I am still walking around 10 miles a week. I am trying to drink more water and not eat anything after 8PM. 
Today I didn't get to go walk so I decided I would do Wii Fit Plus to get in some exercise. I am fairly certain I pulled a muscle in my calf. What exercise you ask? Running.... Only I can injure myself doing a virtual exercise.  :)

I need to pick my kids up from school and teach tonight. It will be interesting driving my manual transmission car to go do those two things. Hopefully it will heal really quickly so I can get back out and walk in the mornings. 

Boo on injuries!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spam and Anchovies



What's that you say? Spam and Anchovies are not your favorite things to eat? Well, I have joined a cooking club with the name Spam and Anchovies. :) Melissa and Vanessa beat me to the punch on blogging about it and you will have to go to Vanessa's site to see the purty pictures as I, the one whose given sound in the game Quelf is "click, click, click" did not take my camera out of the bag. I promise I will take some photos next time. We are trying to convince Kenna to blog and we missed our fifth lady Anne.

When I think of entertaining at my house I just hope no one sees the dog hair. Melissa does the entertaining thing right. Each of us brought ingredients for dinner and Melissa set up little stations for each of the recipes.We all kind of pitched in and helped make the pork roast, fall veggies, tea and Jasmine rice. Vanessa admitted she is not one for measuring and we were glad for a clean (unopened?) pair of pantyhose for the spiced tea. They make a fantastic strainer. :)

This was the first time in a long time I sat down with a small group of women and had conversation and dinner. We were not shouting over music at a restaurant or not talking because we were watching a movie. Those are fun too don't get me wrong but it was nice to sit down with other women on a meal we had made together and have good conversation. Did I mention these ladies are hilarious? One quote from the night "Everyone is normal until you get to know them". :) Ain't that the truth!

On a completely unrelated...ok it is related to the name...my mom used to make spam and broccoli casserole. It also makes a tasty treat when you have been on a two day fast and solo on Walkabout at Azusa Pacific and the leader of the team fries it up for everyone with pancakes (did we have pancakes?).
So, I have actually eaten Spam (don't say spam, it is real spiced ham, SPPAAAAMMMM). Don't shun me! ;)
In this week of Thanksgiving I am thankful for a fun group of ladies with a super cool cooking club name. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Being Mom is Hard

It is one of those days when I really want to pull my hair out.
We had a quiet morning making brioche dough, Munchkin went with Hubs to a Lowes Build and Grow clinic and we spent the afternoon at the zoo.
When we got home I went upstairs and discovered kids clothing piled in the hallway. I called both kids up but only Munchkin heard me. She ran up (obediently) and I said "I want the two of you to take all of these dirty clothes to the basement". The response was whining and crying about how her legs hurt and it wasn't fair that she had to do it all by herself. I stopped her and said "That is not what I said, Little Man needs to help, I called both of you up and said The Two of You". More screaming about not wanting to take the clothes downstairs.
I told her to sit down on the step in the bathroom. She was on timeout until I said otherwise (you might think at this point I would start taking things away however she is already grounded from TV, Wii and Computer for the weekend after I let them stay up late watching a movie last night and she had a temper tantrum because I said she had to go to bed).
She kept throwing her body around and wouldn't quit touching stuff. So I told her to go stand in the corner and she screamed at me and sat in the corner. Hubs came up and took it from there. He is very good at reminding her that Jesus does not want her to act that way. We do not spank our children often (and only in cases of willful disobedience) but this called for a couple of swats on the butt. He told her to stay in her room until she had a better attitude and to come out when she was ready to apologize.

Not too much later she shoved a note under her door for her brother to give to me that said "I need a lock on my door, on the inside too!" Hubs and I just put a lock on the inside of our door...well you don't really need to know the reason for that, right? I just wrote "So not happening!" 
She eventually came down a few minutes ago to apologize through gritted teeth. I told her it hurts my feelings when she acts like that and even though I love her she has to be respectful. She cannot think she is entitled to anything and everything and to have a screaming fit when I tell her to do something, especially after we have spent the day having a good time. So, I told her if she has a good attitude the rest of the day that will be a good thing but she is treading on thin ice so if she has a bad attitude she will have to spend the rest of the night in her room AND I will take all of her books away. I don't think she cares so much about the Wii and the TV or even the computer but she LOVES to read.
Since I started this post, Munchkin has given a good apology (I do believe in apologizing to your child if you are in the wrong but this is not the case. Willful disobedience to a reasonable request with a terrible attitude is not OK), given a few minutes of cuddle time, has checked her room for more dirty clothes and has unloaded the dishwasher.
Maybe the rest of the evening will be OK. I love my kids so much but some days being Mom is hard.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{TWD} Cranberry Lime Galette.

I am so sorry to Whitney, April and Elizabeth of Celestial Confections. I have not had a chance to make the Cranberry Lime Galette yet. I believe next week for the rewind I will be making the brioche snails. If you would like to see how other TWD's fared with the galette check out this link or even better put Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan on your Christmas wish list. :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Like Big Bundts - Milky Way

In case you didn't know, today is National Bundt Cake day. My Tuesdays with Dorie and Twitter friend Mary the Food Librarian is a big fan of Bundt cakes. Last year I watched as she blogged everyday for a month leading up to National Bundt Day. The link in the last sentence is a post of all last years bundts. She did it again this year but for today several others are joining in and baking with her. Mary is sending out an "I like Big Bundts" button to each baker. JustJenn designed them and has other fun pins on her design site. So, in honor of National Bundt Cake day and "I Like Big Bundts" I present a Milky Way Bundt Cake.
The identical recipe for a plain vanilla bundt cake is found on several different websites and blogs. The one I used was on Bundt cake Pans dot net You can click the link to go to the recipe or use the one posted here:

Vanilla Bundt Cake Recipe

Ingredients: 
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 
1 egg at room temperature 
2 egg whites at room temperature 
3/4 cup low-fat milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel, (optional) 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
4-1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar 

Instructions:
1.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour Bundt pan, keep it aside.
2.Beat the granulated sugar, butter, egg and egg whites in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended.Add milk and vanilla; mix well. Add flour, lemon peel, baking powder and salt; beat for about 2 minutes until smooth.
3.Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Gently loosen cake from pan with knife and turn out onto wire rack; cool completely.
4.Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish as desired. 

To make the Milky Way bundt I cut up a bunch of bite size milky way candy bars, put half of the batter into the pan, sprinkled on the candy bars, and added the rest of the batter and baked as directed. 
Once cooled I added Chocolate Caramel Ganache from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours. You can find the recipe here. Or better yet go to Amazon and buy the book. You will not regret it! :) I made this particular ganache last year and sent it out for Christmas gifts because it is just that good. 

This cake was A-Ma-Zing! My hubs told the kids they needed to give him theirs so they didn't get sick.  I also tried to send the rest of it off to 102.9 the Buzz tonight but I was shot down. So we are keeping it and enjoying it. :)

If you haven't already, go check out Mary's blog and see her gorgeous bundts and amazing bundt cake pan collection. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Salient on the Buzz

This week my husband's band, Salient, has been trading off with another band on a local station for their local spotlight all week. Tonight they are on 102.9 the Buzz, on their local spotlight. I am so proud of them and I can't wait to tune in and hear them on the radio! It should be fun to hear them. :)


Thursday, November 11, 2010

{FFwD} Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

Have you ever had a day where you had some time to cook but felt kind of lazy. You might have a sick hubby you need to take care of, homework to look over, papers to grade, etc. Well, this chicken is for you. This is Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

On a completely unrelated note, the other night my daughter had Girls Scouts. I took Not just for Thanksgiving Cranberry Cake as a snack. The topic for the night?...Healthy eating...doh! Anyway, homework for Girl Scouts for my daughter was to help make a grocery list, go to the store with me and help make a healthy meal. I felt like this recipe fit the bill.

Dorie says you do not have to wash the chicken before popping it in the pan but Mr. chicken was still slightly frozen so he had to take a bath. As a little girl I remember my mom making the chicken or turkey do a dance in the sink. I am proud to say that I have passed this on to my daughter. :) She thought it was really funny..until she said. "hm, they had to chop its head off". Yep honey, they did. It didn't make her too squeamish though as she helped stuff rosemary and garlic in the chicken and was happy to sprinkle on the salt and pepper. She was even more pleased that she completed her Girls Scout homework.

The beauty of this chicken was how easy it was. After the few ingredients were added all we had to do was throw it in the oven and wait. After 45 minutes I put in the potatoes and carrots and put it in for anther 45 minutes. Everyone loved it and it was a very satisfying meal. Delicious, easy, satisfying...what's not to love? You should buy the book and make this this weekend!

PS. I made my poor sick hubby hold up one of my photography lights so I could get a halfway decent picture of this tasty chicken. Thanks hubby!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Obsessed

 My little guy has recently become obsessed with football. He loves to play Madden on the Wii, loves to watch football with his daddy and even got to go to a Titans game. He even recognizes Chris Johnson on the billboards. It has now come to this:


These guys are all huddled up making their plans for the game. It appears that Snoopy and the horse are the play makers. He explained to all to me so I would know what was going on. I didn't get a photo of the bench warmers but they were all lined up on the sideline. :)
Funny boy! I am glad he has such an imagination!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

{TWD} Not just for Thanksgiving Shortbread Cake

Once upon a time in a land far away (California) there lived a girl who knew nothing of cranberries...well that is not exactly true..she knew of cranberries at Thanksgiving as a can of coagulated (blech, I despise that word in describing any kind of food stuff) gel stuff with ridges. Do not misunderstand, the girls mother was and is a fabulous cook but she could not remember a time where cranberries were served in anything.

One day the girl went to the giant conglomerate, Starbys, and got a cranberry orange scone. She was feeling adventurous that day and thought the extra sugar boost would be a nice start to the day. To her surprise she found she was in love with cranberries. 



Up until yesterday the girl had never purchased or cooked with cranberries. Since she is in a lovely baking group called Tuesdays with Dorie and it was on the list this week (chosen by Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen) she decided to hunt down fresh cranberries and make the recipe for Not Just for Thanksgiving Shortbread Cake as close to the directions as possible. She discovered why her mother most likely never cooked with fresh cranberries..those things are dang expensive. She brought her cranberries (and tangerines, not navel oranges at her store) home and began the recipe. Everything came together beautifully. The crust was slightly crisp, the cranberries tart but not terribly so. They were sweet enough that even the girls cooked fruit hating daughter loved it. The girls husband said "eh" and her son who would live on sugar if allowed was not a big fan.

The girl however, loved it and ate two pieces before bed and gave herself a terrible case of heartburn. She sent pieces off to her children's teachers today so they could (hopefully) enjoy the deliciousness of this sweet easy little cake. The end.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Things I should be doing...

It is Monday morning and the first day in quite some time I haven't been all stressed out. I am not sure why since there are the things I really need to be doing:
-tackling the giant pile of laundry in the basement. I swear I just washed all of my kids school clothes and they were digging the wrinkled ones out of the back of their drawers this morning.
-cleaning off my dining room table...it would be nice to sit there as a family but it currently is host to my daughters scrapbook, and a giant pile of mail and stuff to go through...yes it is a hot spot for those of you flylady types out there.
-organizing Munchkins room. The kids decided they wanted their own rooms again after about a year of sharing. I took on Little Mans Saturday and got it completely done (thinking about adding some vinyl Star Wars characters though). Munchkin was not happy that hers looked like it exploded. (I would make them do all this but it involves moving furniture and my little 8 year old can't quite move it herself yet). So, I have her bed moved, Bobby built a bookcase and that is in there but now I have to actually organize the room and make her keep it clean.
-I am actually in the process of making a "Not Just for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake" for Tuesdays with Dorie. Jam is cooling on the stove, butter is making its way to room temperature and then it will be on its way to the oven hopefully before school lets out.
-Perhaps I should be out to lunch with a friend right now....that would be good. Who wants to go out? That way we can reconnect and have a lovely day away from the chores. :)
OK, well that is all I can think of for right now. Enough procrastinating, I hear the washer has stopped so it is time to switch the laundry. My kids need clean underwear so I guess I can't put it off any longer.
I hope you are getting more done than I am today!

Friday, November 05, 2010

{FFwD} Potato Gratin

Garlic infused cream....
Let me say it again garlic infused cream.

Now add to that Gruyere cheese.
Can you taste it yet?
If not you need to go buy the book "Around my French Table" by Dorie Greenspan, join French Fridays with Dorie and make these potatoes now.
This recipe was a snap to make. While slicing the potatoes the garlic was being infused into the cream on the stove. It is the first time I have NOT boiled cream over on my stove when cooking Yea me! (However I did try to slice my thumb off with my mandolin. Note to self find guard and use it when slicing potatoes.)

I did have to cook them a bit longer than the stated recipe as my potatoes were sharing the oven with a pork roast that coincidentally had to be cooked at the same temp for the same amount of time. :)
These would be a fantastic addition to any Thanksgiving table.

Head over to the Leave your Link page and check out how other cooks around the world did with this or one of the other 3 recipes for the week. (It is November so the can be cooked in any order for the month.

Next week: Caramel Topped Semolina Cake

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Good Thursday Morning!

Hello world. I say good morning because I am surprisingly in a halfway decent mood. Of course being woken up at 4:30 AM by a cat digging her claws into my stomach really shouldn't do anything for the mood. Hm or the flailing of limbs as I pinwheel to the floor after said digging in of claws....or the finding a small child in the bed who had pushed me to the very edge of the bed...or the getting to the very edge of sleep and the same cat hacking up a hairball in the hallway outside my bedroom door (at least she had the decency to hurk on the hardwood rather than the carpet. All of these things can't really darken my mood because....I had time to shave my legs this morning. My husband may be participating in no shave November but I am not.

Ladies, if you would like to share, how often do you shave your legs and can you shave in the shower or do you use the sink or tub. It is impossible to shave in the shower at our house due to the 10 minutes of hot water we get at a time so to the sink for me.

Ok, now that I have smooth legs and have had a hot shower (rare in my house with the extremely temperamental water heater) I think I will go back up to bed and try to sleep a little more...or play angry birds on my phone while it is plugged in...

Have a fabulous day! :)

Monday, November 01, 2010

{TWD} Peanutiest Blondies

Once again it is Tuesday and time for another delicious Dorie recipe. This weeks selection is Peanuttiest Blondies chosen by Nicole of Bakeologie. Nichi graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie & Baking Program at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena in 2006 and has nichicakes.com. You should check out her cakes because they are a-mazing!


These blondies were amazing and super easy to make. They required chunky peanut butter (which I don't typically have) and your typical chocolate chip cookie ingredients. I doubled the recipe as I was taking them to my students. They were a hit! I had an enrollment counselor come to my class twice to get a blondie and I had a student who specifically sat by the blondies to protect them...


Along with the chocolate chips I also tossed in some white chocolate chip toppers for fun. This was definitely a win and will be made again! :) 


Make sure to check out the link on TWD so you can see how 200 other bakers did with these blondies. You will fall in love!

No Shave November

This is the first year my husband has participated in No Shave November. It is a lot like every other month only this time he decided to shave he beard off to have the same start as the rest of the guys in the office. It is so fun to see my sweet hubby's face. I have missed that handsome face under all that hair. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the beard but it is nice to see the boy I married almost 13 years ago. 

Isn't he handsome? :)