Sunday, November 29, 2009

FNCCC Assignment #13 - Dave Lieberman

Sorry, I forgot to post our new assignment last week. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. "Dave Lieberman's love affair with food began as a child while watching his father cook for family in center city Philadelphia, Pa." I love how most of these chefs got a love for cooking from their parents. His show is called Good Deal with Dave Lieberman and he has hundreds of recipes at the Food Network site. There is a ton to choose from with lots of variety. I hope you join us! We'll post on Wednesday, December 2.

Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Creamy Apple Cranberry Crisp with Challenge Dairy

Challenge Dairy is having a holiday recipe showdown! They sent me their goodies, along with OXO whisk and POP container, as well as spices and vanilla from Spice Islands. My challenge was to create a dessert with the ingredients.

They are also having a sweepstakes for you to win A Taste of the West during a 7-day/6-night trip for 4 to the Mountain Sky Guest Rance in Montana! Go enter for a chance to win (and bring me along if you do)!

So armed with my bounty, I created Creamy Apple Cranberry Crisp with my favorite holiday flavors!
Preheat the oven to 350. Peel, core, and cut 5 baking apples (I used Golden Delicious) place in an 8x8 pan with 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries.

Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 T flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1 tsp vanilla.

Whisk in 1 cup heavy cream and 2/3 cup milk. Pour over the apples and cranberries.

Cut together 1 cup cold butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar. Rub in the butter until it is a coarse, pebbly texture (I use my hands, it's just easier). Put on top of the apples.

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Enjoy!!

So yummy!

Don't forget to enter the sweepstakes for a dream vacation!

Visit Blessed With Grace for more Tempt my Tummy recipes!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hubby and the kids have vacation this week so I'm on a blog vacation. I am also doing my first wedding cake this weekend (actually a 50th anniversary cake but it's a replication of their wedding cake) and I'm starting to have cake nightmares. The party is on and I haven't even started baking yet.....then I can't frost the cake without it falling apart.....then I have a spill carrying it.....darn cake nightmares :)

We'll resume with Food Notwork Chef's Cooking Challenge and Kid Friendly Friday next week. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

GO Gators!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - Christmas Books

I wanted to share with you are great list of Christmas books. I have been gathering them for a few years (some listed I do not own) and only take them out for the month of December. There's such anticipation and we have fun enjoying them during the advent season. I have gotten many of them at used books stores or on-line at No need to buy brand new! Click HERE for more information about how we celebrate Advent all season long.

Traditional Christmas story:

Little One We Knew You'd Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones - my favorite
There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve by Pam Munoz Ryan
The First Christmas produced by The Complete Works
How God Decorated Heaven for Christmas by Ron Mehl and Melody Carlson
The Christmas Path by Sue Wright
The Christmas Story told through the eyes of an animal:
A Dozen Silk Diapers by Melissa Kajpust
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Christmas is the Stable by Astrid Lindgren
Little Lambs Christmas by Josephine Page
The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger
Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate and AShley Wolff

Christian Santa Stories:
Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gratschev
A Special Place for Santa by Jeanne Pieper
Santa Are You for Real? by Harold Myra

Celebrations in Other Cultures:
The Legend of the Spider by Julie Puntch
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tommy dePaola
Light the Lights by Margaret Moorman

Misc Stories:

The littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
The Tiny Star by Arthur Ginolfi
O Holy Night; Christmas With the Boys Choir of Harlem Illustrated by Faith Ringgold
Silent Night illustrated by Susan Jeffers
The Indescribable Gift by Richard Exley

Do you have a favorite Christmas book? I would LOVE to hear about them!

This is Kid Friendly Friday so link your post to ANYTHING kid friendly below. Can't wait to see what you have been up to this week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Advent Celebration Calendar 2009

When I posted about how we celebrate Advent all December long I told you I would post this year's schedule so without further ado:

2009 Advent schedule

Each night – go through the Christmas cards received that day and pray for those people.
Remember to have Christmas music on a bunch. Wear aprons when cooking. Light the smelly candles (I love evergreen).

Sun Nov 29 - Decorate the Christmas Tree! Light the first Advent Candle. Read Luke 1:26-31, 37, 38

Mon Nov 30 – Make a paper prayer chain for the advent season

Tues Dec 1 – E – Skate Night SO…D, L and S read Christmas books and watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

Wed Dec 2 – Have breakfast for dinner in our pajamas!

Thurs Dec 3 – Make noisemakers with ribbon spools.

Fri Dec 4 – E’s Prophets and Promises event at church at. Bring Cookies

Sat Dec 5 – 9 am - Build a wagon at Home Depot! 3pm - Watch the Gator Championship Game. After the game - Visit “A Walk Through Bethlehem” 5-9pm

Sun Dec 6 – Let’s go shopping so you can pick out a gift for your sister! Then let’s come home and wrap it! Kendall’s Birthday party. Light the second Advent Candle. Read Luke 2:4-7

M Dec 7 – Look through scrapbooks and home video.

T Dec 8 – Bake cookies for the Northland Cookie Drive

W Dec 9 – Make Kool-Aid play dough

R Dec 10 – Make Christmas cards for your teachers (thumbprint reindeer).

F Dec 11 – Bring Cookies for Northland’s Cookie Drive – E performs Frosty at 7 pm!

Sat Dec 12 – Run the Reindeer Run! Deliver a basket for Northland. E performs Frosty 7pm.

Sun Dec 13 – Small Group Christmas Party. Light the third Advent Candle. Read Luke 2:8-14

M Dec 14 – Game Night! Make mulled cider and popcorn!

T Dec 15 – Neighborhood Christmas Party! See Santa!

W Dec 16 – L’s Christmas Program in the am. Read Christmas books. Color Christmas stained glass pictures.

R Dec 17 – Have dinner using the fine china (dress up for dinner)

F Dec 18 – Bring the tabs to the Ronald McDonald house (bring cookies too!). Dinner at McDonalds

Sat Dec 19 – Make Gingerbread Houses for Neighbors.

Sun Dec 20 – Feed the homeless. Bring them Christmas cookies, blankets, mittens.. Light the fourth Advent Candle. Read Luke 2:15-20

M Dec 22 – Watch The Christmas Story (our traditional holiday movie) and eat popcorn!

T Dec 21 – Have a picnic dinner at the park then go look at Christmas lights.

W Dec 23 – Camp out in front of the Christmas tree and read stories. Make Cinnamon rolls for family and friends.

R Dec 24 - Make a birthday cake for Jesus! Church! Party at Aunt Susi’s.

F Dec 25 – Traditional Christmas morning Breakfast!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FNCCC Week 12 - Danny Boome

This week's featured chef is Danny Boome, host of Food Network's Rescue Chef.

I chose the Lime in the Coconut Pie as I still had a few limes that needed to be picked and used. It was great! It will go on my list of "things to do with limes" that I desperately need each season. It was an easy pie to make and the lime really pops! Our oldest daughter liked it a little, middle daughter had to spit her bite in the trash (didn't like the coconut) and the baby LOVED it. Apparently my husband also thought it was a big hit because I found the empty pie plate in the sink the next morning.

Lime in the Coconut Pie
Recipes written by Danny Boome - All rights reserved by Crash Bang Boome Production LLC

1 prepared frozen 9-inch pie crust (I am not a huge fan of pastry crust so made a graham cracker crust with butter and applesauce)
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
4 large egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 to 5 limes)
3 tablespoons coconut rum (I didn't have any so omitted this)
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes, divided
1 cup heavy cream (I also used a little powdered sugar and vanilla in my whipped topping)
3 thin slices lime, for garnish (um, garnish at home just gets in the way of eating :) Maybe this is why I don't have very good pictures)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove crust from freezer and let thaw for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile in a bowl, whisk together lime zest, egg yolks, condensed milk, lime juice and rum. Mix well. It may look like it's starting to separate but mix it well and it will come together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the coconut flakes on the bottom of the crust then pour the mixture into the crust and top with the rest of the coconut. (I might have used, ahem, a *tad* bit more coconut than the recipe called for)

Bake until the center is set, but still jiggles a bit when the pan is nudged, about 20 to 25 minutes. (Mine didn't take anywhere near this amount of time....maybe closer to 10 minutes.)

When baked, cool the pie completely on a wire rack. (At this point the pie can be chilled up to a day ahead and topped when you're ready to serve.)
For the topping, beat cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Spread cream over cooled pie; garnish with lime slices. Serve immediately.

After making the filling I just couldn't get the sticky feeling off me. I kept wiping it off and it kept coming back. I finally realized that the filling was all over the back of the baby's head. Don't ask. I have NO idea. She really like it though.

So what did YOU cook? Next week is Thanksgiving (gasp, already?) so we are going to take a break. In case you want to jump ahead, here is the schedule for December:

Dave Lieberman - #13 post December 2, 2009 - he has over 225 recipes!
Duff Goldman - #14 post December 9, 2009 - no recipes, decorate a cake or cupcakes and post!Ellie Krieger - #15 post December 16, 2009
Emeril Lagasse - #16 post December 23, 2009
George Duran - #17 post December 30, 2009
If you ever add anything to an previous chef's post, let me know and I'll make everyone aware.

And from Challenge member Rebekah:
Hi Sarah and everyone!I am quite far behind the rest of you who are doing this Challenge, but at least I am still here! So take a step back in time to Brian Boitano's recipes. :) I chose to do his Coq Au Vin-guine recipe which is an Italian twist on the classic French dish, Coq Au Vin ("cock with wine"). Please read all about my cooking experience by visiting my blog, Sabbath Supper. Thanks a bunch!Rebekah

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tempt My Tummy - Pretzel Covered Fish

I have a hard time getting my kids to eat fish. A friend of mine suggested breading it with pretzels and panko. I didn't have panko crumbs so went with only crushed pretzels and we LOVED it. Even my oldest daughter asked for seconds. I had left over compound butter from a blackened catfish recipe I did the previous week, which put it over the top (I used plain butter on the kid's fillets). The fish was moist and flavorful.

Pretzel Covered Fish

4 fillets of whatever fish you like (We used Talapia)
1 cup pretzels
1 egg
butter or compound butter (below)

Crush pretzels inside an empty cereal bag/liner, because they are thicker than plastic bags, to avoid messy crumbs. My daughter had a rough day so she used a rubber mallet to crush them. There were some pretty large crumbs as you can see by the picture.

Butter the bottom of a baking dish (or use half of the compound butter). Coat the fish with an egg wash (I used only whites) then dip in pretzel crumbs. Drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (or until fish is flaky - will really depend on the thickness of the fish).

Blackened Compound Butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon Creole seasoning
1/2 lemon, juiced (1 TBS or so)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Mix all.
Enjoy! Go find more Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!
Do you have any other ways you can get kids to eat fish?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - Planning for Advent

Advent season is the time leading up to Christmas and is meant for preparing our hearts and minds for Christ's coming. It starts four Sundays before Christmas, which is November 29th this year. We celebrate the entire Advent season and the entire family looks forward to it all year long. Before we started doing this, Christmas time was a hectic time where I tried to fit a million things into a few weeks and was stressed to the gills trying to make everything perfect. I was exhausted by the time Christmas came. With this new approach I am completely refreshed and can embrace Christmas for what it really is.

Now you have a few options. You can plan a special family night each Sunday (or whichever night works for your family) or you can do what we do, and plan a special family night EACH night of advent. Crazy, you say? I have realized what is important during this time (family, friends, service, Jesus) and not so important (shopping, too many superficial outings, over committing, a dozen different kinds of intricate cookies). The first year we did this I went way over the top. I planned crafts that were too much for the kids, I had a specific Christmas carol for each day, way too long bible readings, and too high of expectations. It was stressful. That isn't what I was going for. My suggestion, make it simple and fun.
The trick to making this successful is in the planning. Get a blank monthly calendar and fill in your normal weekly obligations. Make the activities on these nights very simple, as you are already probably stressed, running around getting everyone to where they need to be. For example, "Breakfast for Dinner (everybody come in your pj's)" or "All Foods Red and Green Dinner" can be events. You are already making dinner, so make it special. Then put on it any of the special holiday events you have (school programs, neighborhood parties, holiday races, etc.). Make these activities the "special" nightly activity. No need to plan anything over and above. Most importantly, do the activities as a family.

I keep the events secret and have put together little boxes they have to find and open each morning which tells them what special activity we have for that night. You can see them HERE. There is also a list of the activities we did last year listed on that post.

I also try to make the atmosphere Christmassy. We have holiday music playing as much as possible. I burn pine smelling candles. I have a big selection of Christmas book that are only out during this time of year. The holiday Little People also come out and the everyday Little People hibernate. We wear our Christmas aprons when cooking. We open the cards we received that day at dinnertime and pray for those families. Each of the Sundays we light the appropriate candle on the advent wreath and read about whichever part of the Christmas story it represents.

Advent is special to us because we are together. We are preparing our hearts and minds together. We are enjoying each other. For me, that is what makes this time of year special.

I'll share a great list of Christmas books next week. Once it's done, I'll share my list of activities we have planned for this year. I'll also do a post on the traditional Advent wreath, readings, and meanings which we incorporate into our Sunday night activities.

Do you have any advent traditions? What did you do this week? Post your link below and let us know!

I'm linking this post up to Amy's Round Robin carnival. Go check it out and add your link there as well!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen - Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies

I found this recipe in an AllYou magazine many months ago and finally got around to making it. I wish I had tried it sooner as it will be a great breakfast for the girls. Lots of protein and whole grains. We modified it a bit. It is GOOD!

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 cup milk
1/2 cup ice
1 banana (frozen works best)
2 Tbs peanut butter
1 packet instant oatmeal (I thought I had banana but it ended up that all we had was blueberries and cream. It was yummy anyways....peanut butter, banana, and blueberries. Who would have thought?)
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pretty easy, even for Kids in the kitchen!

Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts!

FNCCC Assignment #12 - Danny Boome

Next week's featured chef is Danny Boome. "In his series, Rescue Chef, everyday cooks experiencing personal culinary obstacles welcome Danny into their homes to save the day". Besides this Food Network show, Danny has had several different shows on UKTV Food. We will be posting his recipes on November 18. Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Halloween

So I forgot to post Halloween pictures last week :)

Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts HERE , HERE or HERE.

FNCCC - Week #11 Daisy Martinez

This week's featured chef is Daisy Martinez. You can tell by her list of recipes that she comes from a Latin background. Too many good things to choose from!

I chose the corn empanadas and was very happy with them. I had an oozing problem so the next time I make them I'll seal them much better. Now that I have discovered frozen empanada wrappers I will be creating many flavorful empanada delights! Think of the possibilities.... :)

Creamy Corn Empanadas: Humitas
Recipe courtesy Daisy Martinez

4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (is regular paprika the same?? that is what I used)
Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups frozen corn, defrosted (I used low salt canned corn)
1 heaping tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley (we left out for the kid's sake)
8 (6-inch) store-bought empanada wrappers, preferably red (seasoned)
Vegetable or canola oil (didn't fry them so I didn't need)

Make the filling: Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook until smooth and bubbly, about 3 minutes. Add the milk slowly while whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, paying special attention to the corners of the saucepan. Add the paprika and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in the corn and parsley, return to a simmer. Scrape the filling into a bowl and cool completely before filling wrappers. (mine wasn't completely cool, we were hungry!)
Here is the corn filling that I was eating by the spoonful. It was so yummy!

To Form: Moisten the edges of 1 of the empanada wrappers with a fingertip dipped in warm water. Center a generous 1/3-cup of the filling on the wrapper. Bring the sides of the wrapper together to meet over the filling and pinch the sides together to seal and form a half-moon shape. Lay the half-moon flat on the work surface. Work you way around the edges, bringing about 1/2-inch of the bottom layer of dough up and over the top layer, to make a mini-pleat. Press as you go to seal the pleats. If you don't want to mess with crimping, just seal the edges all the way around with the tips of the tines of a fork.

(If I had a picture I would have messed with the crimping but no visual equals fork closure for me).
Fry the Empanadas: (empanadas may also be baked; see Note below): Pour enough vegetable or canola oil into a large heavy skillet to fill about 3/4-inch up the sides. Heat over medium heat until the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon immersed in the oil gives off a lively sizzle, about 375 degrees F. Carefully slip as many of the empanadas into the oil as will fit without crowding. Cook until the dough is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and repeat. Drain briefly on paper towels before serving. Repeat with remaining empanadas.

I just have this phobia of frying foods. I like to eat them but don't like the grease smell it makes my house have for way too long after eating. So needless to say, I baked them.

Note: To bake empanadas, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a nonstick baking sheet. Bake until the empanadas are light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool a few minutes before serving. (we didn't wait)

Aren't they pretty?

So what did you make??

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tempt My Tummy - Crock Pot Refried Beans

I have been crazy for homemade for quite some time. This past week, while buying the hundredth can of refried beans this year, it dawned on me that I could be making these myself. Which turned out to be a great idea because they are easy, incredibly tasty AND a fraction of the cost of canned. I bought the 4 pound bag of dried beans and made a bunch - they freeze well.
Crock Pot Refried Beans
1 pound dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed, and drained.
1 medium onion (minced, if you want to keep them in there, or cut into big enough chunks to take them out after cooking. I left them in and you couldn't tell they were there)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 TBS kosher salt (I would use a little less regular grain salt)
Combine all in the crock pot, add enough water to cover the beans and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until the beans are tender. Strain (reserve liquid in case you need to thin the beans a little). Mash beans with a potato masher using reserved liquid to get them to the desired consistency. Enjoy!
While checking out recipes for this (the above is a combination of many) I made a list of things that could be added as well. If you are daring, try a variation!
chili powder
bay leaves
ham hocks
diced tomatoes
Enjoy! Go find more Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

So Proud of My Girl

Bigs had a piece of her artwork displayed at a local art festival. She was SO excited to see it there :) Me too! It has been doing the entire art festival circuit (pretty big here in the fall) but this was the first one we were able to attend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - Leading up to Advent

OK, so the PTA meeting ran WAY longer than expected and I was going to write about planning your advent season. What? You don't PLAN for advent? Well, a few years back I attending a workshop that gave tons of background and ideas for advent celebration and it completely changed the way our family does the holidays. IT IS AWESOME. The girls look forward to it all year....and now you'll have to look forward to my explanation next week. I know my's bedtime. What have you been up to this week?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

FNCCC Assignment #11 - Daisy Martinez

Daisy Martinez did six episodes of Viva Daisy at the start of this year. She hosts a very popular PBS series, Daisy Cooks! Prior to becoming a chef she was an actress and model. You will find her Latin roots throughout her recipes. There's not a lot to choose from but there are a lot of basics.

We will post recipes from her on Wednesday, November 11, 2009.

Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

Kids in the Kitchen - Pumpkin Seeds!

I tore out recipes for spiced pumpkin seeds from the last issue of Redbook and I found a keeper! The Sugar and Spice seeds are so very good. They will be a holiday tradition in this house. I'm not actually sure if anyone else likes them but the baby and I cannot get enough :) I would try the savory recipes but would feel bad if they weren't nearly as good. We had fun with this recipe. Even Little Bit joined in (as she always tried to do).

Sugar and Spice Seeds
1 cup(s)
pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoon(s) melted unsalted butter
3 tablespoon(s)
1 teaspoon(s) pumpkin-pie spice
1 pinch(s) kosher salt
Clean pumpkin seeds: Rinse under cold water and remove all the pulpy strings. (This is best done before the pulp dries.) Dry seeds thoroughly.
Roast pumpkin seeds: Heat oven to 350°F. Line a
baking sheet with nonstick foil. Toss seeds with melted unsalted butter, sugar, pumpkin-pie spice, and kosher salt. Place on prepared baking sheet and roast 15 to 20 minutes, or until browned.

Separating the seeds from the goo.

Playing with the goo. Getting the goo on the floor.OK.....I felt like a cooking show. After separating the seeds you are supposed to let them dry, which I find takes a few days. I had roasted a pumpkin a few days earlier so had dried seeds on hand...we used those so we could do all the steps at once. The ones that she just separated will have to dry a few days.

Mixing in the spices. Posing. Cheesing.The finished product in all of their glory.

Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts!