Monday, March 30, 2009

My Zither

When I went to my mom's house last time I was asked to go through some of my stuff..I have about 2 boxes there! Zach dug out this thing I have owned for many years..I always called it a lap harp. I can't let the kids play with it here because they are too wild with it, and someone broke one of the strings on it.
I thought maybe its time to find out what it is... Apparently according to google what I own is called a Zither..its an auto harp of sorts.
If you are interested in it here is the e-bay link...
So at its highest price I could probably get about $20 for it at most...maybe I will just keep it.
This is what happens when spring cleaning occurs..I have to part with some things, but have a hard time doing it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Corned Beef and cabbage
(the corned beef is was on sale for obvious reasons)

Creamy chicken and pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 2 inch pieces)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 green onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 oz uncooked pasta
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded Asiago cheese, divided
3 tablespoons low fat cream cheese, softened
1 can plum tomatoes drained
olive oil for cooking

Saute chicken until cooked. Saute mushrooms, onion and garlic. Remove from the heat; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add cream and broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add 1/2 cup Asiago cheese and cream cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Drain pasta. Toss chicken, pasta and mushroom mixture with cream sauce. Top with tomatoes and remaining Asiago cheese.

Breakfast for dinner!

Corned Beef hash
scrambled eggs

1 1/2 cups cubed cooked corned beef
2 cups frozen hash browns(the cubed style)
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 finely minced small onion
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Saute the onion in a small amount of veggie oil until just softened, add the potatoes and a more oil and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the corned beef and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the beef broth and cook on high until the liquid is absorbed.
Cook until a soft crust forms. Serve hot with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.

Asian chicken wraps
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 lb snow peas, trimmed
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
6 tortillas (10- to 12-inch diameter)
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 cup shredded cooked chicken breast

Cook rice according to package directions; set aside. Meanwhile, in medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add green onions; cook and stir 1 minute or until wilted. Stir green onions into cooked rice. Fill 2-quart saucepan half full of water; heat to boiling. Add snow peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Pat dry and cut lengthwise into thin strips. In medium bowl, stir together snow peas, cabbage, carrot, rice vinegar and ginger root.
To assemble wraps, lay tortillas on work surface. Spread each with 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce. Place one-sixth of the chicken in a strip along the bottom of each tortilla, 1 inch from edge. Divide rice and vegetable mixtures evenly over chicken. Fold over bottom edge of each tortilla to cover filling. Fold sides in and continue to roll up tightly, burrito style. Cut each in half crosswise with a serrated knife to serve.

Greek Style grilled cheese
tomato soup (canned)

grilled cheese:
1 1/2 teaspoons butter, softened
2 slices whole wheat bread, or your favorite bread
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 slices Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1/4 tomato, thinly sliced

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the non buttered side of one slice, layer the feta cheese, Cheddar cheese, red onion and tomato. Top with the other slice of bread with the butter side out.
Fry the sandwich until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. The second side always cooks faster.

Baked Tilapia supreme
steamed asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
8 tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preheat an oven to 350.Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion and red pepper in the oil until onion is tender and golden, and peppers are slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Stir balsamic vinegar into the vegetables; season with salt and pepper.
Rub tilapia fillets with each 2teaspoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place fillets in a small baking dish, and top with the balsamic onion mixture. Sprinkle fish evenly with blue cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until fish flakes easily.

Eat out!

I know that there are a few pricey cheeses in this weeks menu, but someone gifted us those cheeses so they did not cost us. When you are unable to purchase those items make subsitions when needed. Have a great week and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Argghhh bad Day

I am having a sucky day...I was on the phone with the IRS for an hour trying to find out why our tax return had been delayed...they told me we won't get it for 2 more months. Then I spent another hour on the phone trying to start paying back my student loans..they had no idea who was handling my case..haha thanks US gov!
While I was on the phone Zach was a royal butt..with tantrums and all. Also while I was on the phone I dropped a can on my left big toe..then about 20 minutes later I stubbed my right big toe on the door. I am so glad dinner is ready to go, because at this point I was thinking take out. I treated myself to a Dr.Pepper, and am making cookies despite the fact that my house is a mess...I need the relaxation that baking brings me. Yay for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! I am now having a quiet afternoon with the sweet smell of cookies, one taking a nap and two others playing oh so nicely with the legos..why can't Zach be more like these guys?
I hope everyone is having a better day than I am. Adios friends...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pic low

Since my camera was missing for a few days my blog has been a little pic here are a few pics of what we did last week.
I made two rounds of preparation for the preschool 5K run in May.

And Gene was feeling brave so he let Zach cut his hair.

We stayed home this weekend for a change, and did a whole lotta nothing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This weeks menu

Orange chicken
steamed broccoli

6 chicken skinless chicken thighs or breasts (can be boneless or with bone)
Salt and pepper to season chicken
1/4 teaspoon paprika or enough to sprinkle on each chicken piece
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup low sugar orange marmalade
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remove skin from chicken if necessary and place chicken in a 9”x13”x2” glass baking dish. Season the chicken with a small amount of salt, pepper and paprika. Pour apple juice into a cold sauce pan and stir in cornstarch. When mixed, add the marmalade, salt and black pepper. Place pan on the stove and cook over medium-low heat, while stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and spoon the glaze over each piece of chicken. I use the back of the spoon to spread the glaze around the chicken.Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes or until done (small boneless pieces may be done in less time)
Serve over rice.

Baked potato bar
Make baked potatoes and let everyone choose thier own fillings. Chili, cheese, sour cream, leftover steamed broccoli, bacon bits, sauteed mushrooms..are a few of our favorites.

Roasted asparagus and goat cheese pasta

1 pound linguine
1 pound fresh asparagus
4 green onions, chopped with green portion reserved
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 (4 ounce) package of goat cheese crumbles
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Place water on to boil for the pasta. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Meanwhile, trim the asparagus by cutting off of the ends and then cutting into 2 inch lengths. Place the asparagus in baking dish along with the white portion of the green onions and the minced garlic cloves. Pour olive oil over veggies and sprinkle with salt. Toss the asparagus so the olive oil coats all pieces.
Cook linguine as directed. Bake the asparagus mixture for 9 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, which have been cut in half, to the asparagus and continue to roast for 1 more minute. 10 minutes is usually about right for max amount of roasting time.
Drain linguine. Add roasted asparagus to the pasta. Make sure you add all of the olive oil from the pan that the fettuccine was roasted in. Add the green onion tops, goat cheese and Parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.

Crockpot beef stew

1 1/2 pounds stew beef
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 to 2 medium carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth
1 cup dry red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary, or a dash of crumbled dried rosemary
1 diced onion
Trim stew beef and cut in small bite-size pieces. Put in a food storage bag with the flour, onion powder, and seasoned salt; toss to coat well.
Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; add beef to hot oil and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the onion and celery; continue cooking, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Drop everything into the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Fish sticks

Fish sticks: (recipe from Parents magazine)
Oil in a spray bottle
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 lb. thick whitefish fillet (cod, scrod, or halibut), cut into 3/4" x 2" pieces

Heat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with foil; spray with oil. In shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, wheat germ, salt, paprika, and garlic powder. Place flour in a second bowl and egg in a third.Coat fish pieces 1 at a time. Dip first into flour, then into egg, then into crumb mixture. Gently press crumbs onto fish. Arrange on prepared baking sheets.Lightly spray fish with oil. Bake 5 minutes; carefully turn pieces with a spatula. Bake 5 minutes longer, until cooked through. Care-fully remove from baking sheet; cool slightly on wire rack (pieces will firm up as they cool).

Stuffed cabbage

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
27 ounces sauerkraut, drained
1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 medium head cabbage
5 slices bacon
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Mix beef and pork together. Stir in onion, cooked rice, parsley, salt, pepper, garlic salt and 1/2 can of tomato soup. Mix well.
Core head of cabbage, place in boiling water and boil until partly cooked. Separate leaves and trim stems. Reserve about 24 to 32 whole leaves. Cut remaining leaves and line the bottom of large roasting pan.
Lightly pack a small handful of the meat mixture and place in the center of a cabbage leaf. Fold top part of leaf over mixture, then fold in the sides and roll until mixture is completely encased. Lay rolls on top of torn cabbage leaves in pan. Place sauerkraut evenly over rolls. Lay bacon on top of sauerkraut. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix chopped tomatoes and soup with water and pour over rolls. Add additional water to reach top of cabbage rolls.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until cooked through.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tues survived

Well I got through tues, with a few surprises. One extra daycare kid and my 8 o'clock kids brought to me at 6 instead.. busy super fun day. I love Lawrence, and I missed it so much when I was gone. This town puts on a hell of a was at least 2 hours long. I had to skip the end because the boys and I were getting fried in the 80 degree weather we had yesterday. I managed to have one beer..and that was it for livation for me. We had some good pizza, and lots of corned beef and cabbage. The kids enjoyed some green sugar cookies, and green hummus and bread. I made it home by 9pm with three in tow..bathed them all and put them to bed. The last two of the day were picked up by 10:30 and I put myself to bed.! More jam making this afternoon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Pats!

Well hello you beautiful people! Happy St Pats! Are your crockpots cooking some corned beef? I hope so! Busy day for Miss Evie.
I am taking the boys(3) to story time at the library, then to lunch for a slice at Rudy's and then do the parade at 1pm, after that to a friends house for beer and potluck. I have to be back at 5 to return 2 boys to thier mama, then go back to the party and return home by 8 for a few hours of babysitting so my friend can go see Joan Baez at Liberty Hall..WHEW! I do like to stay busy. Some where in between all of this I whould like to make some mango jam. Hope you all have productive and fun days!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Great start to the weekend

What a busy day yesterday! I had 6 babysitting kids, hosted playgroup, had participation at Zach's preschool, got home at 5 in time to clean up, took Zach back to school at 6:30, and then hosted a get together. WHEW!
So we had ppl over from 6-9 last night for drinks and apps. I broke out the homemade cordial and we basically drank the whole bottle. There were not a lot of folks, but we did have a very good time. Someone was generous enough to bring Zach home so we did not have to go get him...yay..more drinks for us!

Now time for the menu. It is the Irish time of year, so a few cabbesque meals are included this week. Hope everyone has a great St.Pats!

Baked Lamb or beef
steamed asparagus

Baked lamb:
1 lb. lamb or beef chunks
2 lg. potatoes
2 lg. onions
3 lg. tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 tbsp. butter
1/3 c. water

Cut meat in 1 inch pieces. Peel and slice potatoes to 1/8 inch thickness. Slice onions and tomatoes. Arrange meat, potatoes, onions and tomatoes in layers in a greased 9 inch casserole. Season each layer with salt, pepper, nutmeg and oregano. Top with butter and add water. Bake covered in 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more or until done.

Red Beans and rice

1 pound Red Beans
1 -2 pounds Smoked Neck Bones
2 packages Hillshire Hot or Regular (pork or beef) Sausage
2 medium Yellow Onions, chopped
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 ribs Celery, chopped
Salt to taste (you may use regular or seasoned salt)
Black Pepper to taste
3 large Bay Leaves
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Paprika

Soak red beans overnight, or about 6 hours, in enough water to cover all beans. After this soak, drain water, then cover with fresh water. Let beans remain in this water until ready to cook.
Place ALL ingredients and seasonings in the crock pot, add water to cover, adjust heat level to HIGH, cover with the lid, and go about your business. This will take approximately 7 - 8 hours. Serve over hot cooked rice(make twice what you will need, and save the rest for Thursday.)

Happy St Pats!
Corned beef and cabbage

3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.
Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain.

Sit back and eat some great leftovers!

Baked Cod
rice (heat up leftover rice with any juice left from cooked fish)
steamed broccoli

Baked Cod:
1 lb cod fish fillet
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 tsp paprika

If fish fillets are large, cut into serving pieces. Mix butter and lemon juice.
In another bowl, mix flour, salt and white pepper. Dip fish into butter mixture; coat fish with flour mixture. Place fish in ungreased square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Pour remaining butter mixture over fish; sprinkle with paprika.
Cook uncovered in 350 degree oven until fish flakes easily with fork, 25-30 minutes. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon slices if desired.

Chicken Taco soup
1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Grill out night!
Grill pork chops
And that's all I got folks...have a great weekend

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

French Toast

I woke up this morning with a mission. Make french toast.(mainly beacuse I bought a loaf of texas toast bread for .30) I love it, and rarely make it. The outcome was delish and freezeable too!

French toast:
Loaf of texas toast bread(it's really thick)using 6 pieces of bread
3 eggs well beaten
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Grease and heat non-stick skillet. Cook on medium high heat for a few minutes on each side or until golden brown...being careful not to burn. Serve hot with syrup or powdered sugar.

I made a double batch of these. We ate 6 and the remaining 6 I used the pizza cutter to cut into strips. Placed on a cookie sheet and froze, then placed in a bag after frozen. These are great for a quick breakfast..and cheaper and healthier than the preservative filled store bought french toast sticks.
I hope your Wednesday starts as sweet as mine has.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday blues

Well nothing much to report here. We have had a few days of cold rainy weather, a sharp contrast to the days we had last week reaching almost 80 on a few days. Those warm days are tricking me into wanting to plant stuff. We should only have one more cold snap before is officially warms up and spring arrives for real. Right now all of the spring flowers have started to peek out but sadly they will probably die once we get the predicted snow storm, a sad thing indeed.
I am looking forward to a monthly movie night on Wednesday. The Unitarain fellowship is hosting. The movie selection is "The Future of Food". I have not heard of it but I am sure it will be very informative and eye opening. There is free daycare provided and dinner is available for $5 a good deal indeed! How could I pass it up?
My productivity in the house cleaning dept has been pretty low. I am starting a spring purge, we own too much junk. Maybe when I don't feel so bogged down by my earthly possessions I can keep a tidier house.
I vowed to only go to the grocery store once this week...can you do it too?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Did you miss me?

Well here I am! Wow I had a busy week. Two days in a row I had 8 kids in my care. That was pretty exhausting.
I can't believe its Sunday already. I am posting the menu late..again. Oh well what's a gal to do?

well here goes:

German Hot pot
hot mashed potatoes

1 lb ground pork
1 lb smoked sausages cut into rounds
1 head of red and green cabbage each
1 onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
lotsa salt and pepper
1 can sauerkraut
1/2 stick butter minced up to diperse
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shredded carrots
Dump all ingredients into crockpot mix and cook on low 6-8 hours and stir once in awhile. Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

Smoked Tofu and veggie stirfry

2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
a (roughly!) thumb sized piece of ginger, very finely chopped
1 block of smoked tofu
about half a head of brocoli, chopped into little florets
1 small bag of cashew nuts about 3-4 oz (salted is fine)
about 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil

Fry the onion, garlic, and ginger in the oil for a few minutes then add the tofu, brocolli, nuts and soy sauce and cook for a further few minutes. The tofu should be firming but you don't want the brocoli to be over cooked - at the end of cooking you stir in the sesame oil. Serve over rice.

onion rings(oven baked)
salad fixings (lettuce, tomatoes, onions)

Bean and cheese burritos
use leftover salad fixings
serve with salsa and sour cream

Pasta with tomatoes and cheese

8 ounces rotini, cooked as directed, drained
2 cups cooked diced chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
Dash ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
Grease a 2-quart baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 350°.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan; add onion and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and basil; cook for 2 minutes, until heated through. Taste and add the pepper and salt, making adjustments to suit your taste. Stir in the hot cooked rotini and chicken. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese; spoon into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top of the casserole. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Lamb chops
steamed cauliflower
leftover mashed potatoes

8 lamb chops, about 2 1/2 pounds
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine, such as pinot noir

Sprinkle lamb chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Lightly coat chops with flour; place in hot skillet. Sear until well browned, turning once. Remove to a plate and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.
To the skillet add the mushrooms, green onions, garlic, and butter. Cook the vegetables, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add beef broth and red wine and simmer until reduced by about 1/3. Add lamb chops, cover skillet, and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until lamb chops are done as desired.

Dinner out!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Quiet weekend

This weekend passed fairly quietly. We had no pressing engagements or otherwise to attend. We spent a good deal of time cleaning the house and generally bugging each other. A surprise blast of 3 inches of snow prompted a sledding adventure for Gene and Zach on Sat.

We had an excellent breakfast Sunday morning. The spinach in our garden has flourished due to those warm days and the help of a grow blanket. Before the snow storm we collected enough for a few meals. I made scrambled eggs with sauteed spinach and some homemade cheese,alnog with hunks of toasted homemade bread it was wonderful!
A quick pic of my spinach cooking down.

And just cause I forgot to post them from last week, pics from the farm show.

And the big news:
I already got my certificate of registration for my daycare already.
Now I have tons of paperwork to do, and lots of chores to get everything in order.
have a great one...E