Friday, October 30, 2009

I Finally Did It

I have been wanting short hair for some time now and finally just did it...Here is my before picture.And here is my after :) Ahhhhh, now the 90 degree October days don't seem so hot. It's shorter than I have ever had it and I like it. Though the real test comes tomorrow when I have to style it myself. We'll see! Have a wonderful weekend. Ours started tonight as our school district has off tomorrow. Gotta love those three day weekends - especially when you gain an extra hour! Don't forget to reset those clocks.

Bonus! Bonus! I found out this morning that I can put the front and sides up into a pony tail! This is huge for me - sometimes you need those "I don't want to do a thing with my hair" styles, and I can't stand hair in my face when I'm working out. Thinking about cutting your hair? DO IT! Woo Hoo - I'm free :)

Kid Friendly Friday - Bean Mosaic

Welcome to Kid Friendly Friday where were share anything that other parents might find interesting. Use a post that you did today or one from last year. Whatever. I look forward to seeing what you are up to!

We attended a local art festival last weekend where the kids made these bean mosaics. What a great idea. A handful of all different kinds of beans and you are set. Let older kids make their own patterns. Make a pattern that younger kids could fill in (of course, they could make their own as well). Be sure to use a paper plate or other sturdy backing. Let them sort the leftover beans - extra educational :)

So what did you do this week? Post your link in Mr. Linky below. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen - Honey Milk Balls

Little Bit is at the point where she only wants to eat oyster crackers and hot dogs. SO, I broke out my baby food (and toddler food) bible - Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron. It has so many good toddler foods that I don't know why I forget to use it more often. For our Kids in the Kitchen post Mimi made Honey Milk Balls. Grind 1 cup of oatmeal in the blender until fine (Do I get Worst Mom of the Week award, for letting my 1 year old operate the blender? Look how much fun she is having ;)

Mix 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, and 3/4 cup powdered milk, along with the ground oats in a bowl. Stir.

Make into bite sized balls. They need no refrigeration.

And look! Little Bit is eating them. This is a success!
Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts!

FNCCC Assignment #10 - Clair Robinson

As much as I like Food Network, I have never seen her show (or heard of any of the chefs featured this month). "Claire Robinson combines her passions for food and television in 5 Ingredient Fix, a new Food Network series featuring delicious eclectic recipes made with five ingredients or fewer. " However, this sounds right up my alley so I'll be tuning in to see what I can find out. Five ingredients just can't be beat :) We'll be posting recipes from her on November 4, 2009.
Just FYI - the link to Claire's recipes might not be working - they have been having some glitches. Instead you may do a search useing a chef’s name in quotations, and make sure to switch the search box focus from “entire site” to “recipes”. Hope this works!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Parking Lot Pumpkins

My camera was doing some funky overexposure thing..... This is her grunchy face....

All of you that get to pick your pumpkins out of a field, be thankful. We get to roam around a parking lot....on a 90 degree day. Sign. Happy Wednesday! Check out more Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts HERE , HERE or HERE.

FNCCC Week 9 - Cat Cora

This week's featured chef is Cat Cora, who has been on numerous FN shows. If you looked at her recipes at FN you realize her Greek heritage runs deep in her cooking. I wish I had time to make some of those Greek dishes but ran short on time. I have her Avgolemono: Chicken Soup with Egg-Lemon Sauce on my must-try list. Hopefully one of you chose that one so I know if it should stay there :)

I just happened to buy broccoli slaw last week so needed a recipe to use it. I don't like mayonnaise based slaw so this was great for me. Very tasty. Very easy. I would make it again.

Cat's Broccoli Slaw
Recipe courtesy Cat Cora


1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons hot sauce (I only had wing sauce so used that)
1 teaspoon celery seeds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 packages broccoli slaw
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard and the sugar. Slowly add in the remaining ingredients for the dressing, continuing to whisk. Add in the broccoli slaw and mix thoroughly.
So what did you cook? Enter your link below!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Kid Friendly Friday - Pumpkin Projects

Welcome to Kid Friendly Friday where we share ideas that other parents would find helpful. Recipes, crafts, lesson plans, giveaways, or anything else you have posted about that is kid friendly! Link you post to Mr. Linky below and then come back later to see what others have been up to. I always get plenty of good ideas. (thanks!!)

Yesterday was the first time I gave Little Bit a paintbrush WITH real paint (painting with water, which is a fun, low-mess activity is nice). She painted her paper plate for the base of the pumpkin. Then she colored the pieces of the face and stem. SO cute. HERE is where I got he idea and the templates (couldn't be easier). I have been to this site before but then forgot about it.
See, I really did give her paint....

Then I printed out THIS TEMPLATE for a pumpkin lacing activity. I have seen these lacing activities a lot but never thought much of them. Mimi LOVED it. It took 2 minutes for me to get ready for her. Definitely a keeper. They have plenty more to choose from (like this cutest little candy corn) Yay!

So what did you and the kids do this week?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

FNCCC Assignement #9 - Cat Cora

Cat Cora has one hefty resume. She comes from a Greek background which you will see in many of her recipes. She is formally trained and has hosted many different Food Network programs as well as being the first female Iron Chef.
"She was raised in a small Greek community in Jackson, Mississippi, by a family for whom cooking and eating were the center of life.
Outside of the kitchen, she is president and founder of Chefs for Humanity, an organization which was founded in response to the 2004 tsunami disaster. Modeled after Doctors Without Borders, the non-profit organization gathers the culinary community together to raise funds and provide resources for important emergency, educational and hunger-related causes."
Check out her website HERE. We will be posting her recipes on Wednesday, October 28. Can't wait to see what you are cooking!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FNCCC Week 8 - Brian Boitono

I'm linking this to 12 Days of Bloggie-mas at A Moderate Life

This week the featured chef was Brian Boitono, figure skater turned FN chef/host. His show is really new and has only aired 4 episodes, so the pickin's were slim (unless you opted to do another recipe from a previously featured chef, or maybe one you missed). I didn't think I would be able to choose one from Brian that would fit my family but decided to give this one a shot. It was a winner. Everyone ate it (some things were picked out by the girls) but overall it was very tasty and I would make it again. The croutons themselves were WONDERFUL!

Tomato and Garlic Crouton Salad
Recipe courtesy Brian Boitano 2009

6 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 loaf ciabatta bread, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 pints red and yellow, grape and pear tomatoes, sliced in 1/2
1 cup halved, sliced kalamata olives (I didn't add these because everyone would have picked them out)
1/2 pound perlini mozzarella (couldn't find this specific so used fresh mozzarella, cubed)
8 basil leaves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, the butter, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook to infuse the butter and oil with the garlic, about 4 minutes.
Add the cubed bread to a large bowl, pour the butter and garlic mixture over the bread and toss to coat. Transfer to a sheet tray and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a small bowl whisk together the remaining olive oil and red wine vinegar and set aside.
In a large serving bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, croutons, basil, and the oil and vinegar mixture. Gently toss to coat all the tomatoes and croutons. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Can't wait to see what you are cooking. Link your recipe posts below. Next week we will be cooking and posting recipes from Cat Cora, who has a ton of recipes to choose from. She was the first female Iron Chef. Neat.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tempt My Tummy - Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This is one of my favorite recipes....and nobody in the family likes it but me. I'm OK with that because that means I get to eat leftovers all week long :) I like that it is baked and not fried. And I make everyone try a bite or two then serve with a side of spaghetti noodles.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (make your own from all of the heals that your kids refuse to eat :)
1 cup wheat flour (or get rid of this step all together)
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups Parmesan cheese
3 eggs, beaten with 1 Tbs water
2 medium eggplants cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices (you can peel it but I like the extra fiber, I like thick slices because it seems more "meaty" but thin slices are more the norm)
spaghetti sauce (I don't have an exact measurement because I use a bag of my own from the freezer but you could use about 2 jars of store bought....depending how saucy you like it)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. In medium bowl combine bread crumbs, spice, and 1 cup Parmesan cheese. Put flour in another bowl and egg mixture in another. Dredge in flour, then egg, them bread crumbs. You can skip the flour I just have always done it (anyone know why??). Arrange slices on a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until golden.

2. In 13x9 baking dish, spread about 2 cups of spaghetti sauce. Layer half of the baked eggplant, then 1 cup sauce, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat.

3. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Enjoy! Go find more Tempt My Tummy recipes at Blessed With Grace!
Eggplant Parmesan on Foodista

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen - Easy Apple Turnovers

Mimi is really enjoying her time with me in the kitchen and asks every week what we can make. This week was her idea. She wanted apple pie so we compromised with apple turnovers.

Easy Apple Turnovers


2 or 3 apples, peeled and chopped, we used Golden Delicious which is a great cooking apple

2 Tbs melted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 Tbs flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Pie Crust - we used store bought, hence the "easy" in the title.


2/3 cup powdered sugar

1/8 tsp cinnamon

2 or 3 tsp apple juice

Mix the filling ingredients and set aside. Cut each crust in half and then in quarters (this is a great time to introduce fractions to a 4 year old, really, she dug it). Fill each triangle with about 1/4 cup filling, fold over, seal edges with a fork (this was Mimi's favorite part and took her time to make sure it was done right). Prick tops with a fork. Bake at 375 for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes then top with glaze and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. Enjoy!

They are delicious and Mimi will feature them at her future restaurant, which she told me will be called The Four Musketeers. It's funny because my husband and I were just talking about what if one of our darlings didn't want to go to college but wanted to go to chef school or something like that (totally OK with us, but hard to swallow when you never questioned the "life after high school route", which we always assumed would be college). Then, out of the blue, Mimi told me she might be a cook when she grew up. Maybe she heard us talking :) Go over to A Little Fun With Me and Lu to check out more Kids in the Kitchen posts! I'm using this for my Kid Friendly Friday post as well. Join along by posting your Kid Friendly project, activity, recipe, etc. below. Have a great weekend!

FNCCC Assignment #8 - Brian Boitano

We know that Brian Boitano is a figure skater that won a gold medal for the US at the 1988 Winter Olympics Games in Calgary, Canada. But did you know he stars in his own Food Network series that started in September of this year? The show is called What Would Brian Boitano Make?
So if you really want a challenge, this is the week. There are only 21 recipes listed for him SO let's open it up to those 21 (for those daring individuals out there!) OR a recipe by any of the chefs we already have done but you didn't get a chance to try. I have several in my to-try list. We have already done Aaron McCargo, Jr. Aida Mollenkamp -Alexandra Guarnaschelli Alton Brown Anne Burrell Bobby Flay Bobby and Jamie Deen or Paula Deen . Come back October 21 and we'll post about them. I would love to have everyone try one of his recipes but I know it might be tough to try to fit one in your menu plan!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FNCCC Week 7 - The Deen Brothers

I chose a "Lady and Sons" recipe from Food Network, to include the Deen Brothers. Asparagus was on sale this week again and after falling in love with grilled asparagus from a recipe a few weeks ago I couldn't wait to try this....but I had to wait until I was cooking for myself (I knew nobody else in the house would want it).

I grilled a big bunch of asparagus and used in on a salad as well. With that being done in advance, this recipes was quick and easy to prepare and SUPER delicious!! It's a grown up grilled cheese. I did not make her Thousand Island Dressing as listed because I was only making one sandwich and don't use it on salads. I used the ingredients she listed in questionable amounts (I don't know what Thousand Island is supposed to taste like) and I liked my concoction - but can't vouch for hers. I saved the leftover asparagus so I could make another one of these tomorrow. Two thumbs up!!

Lady and Sons Asparagus Sandwich
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
1 sandwich

8 to 10 fresh asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper or lemon pepper
2 slices pumpernickel bread
2 slices Jack cheese (I only had shredded, so used that)
1 or 2 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing, recipe follows
3 slices red onion, cut into rings
Pickle slices or fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

Blanch asparagus spears in boiling, salted water for 1 minute. Remove immediately to a bowl of ice water.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and lightly saute. Season with salt and pepper, or lemon pepper. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. (I skipped this whole step and used grilled asparagus)

Butter 2 pieces of bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Place bread in the same skillet, buttered side down, and grill on 1 side. Flip bread and lay 1 piece of cheese on each slice of bread. Grill until cheese is melted and then remove from pan.

Spread desired amount of dressing on top of each slice of bread. Arrange asparagus on top of cheese, rotating the spears. Place onion rings on top of asparagus. Cut sandwich in half. Garnish with pickle slices or parsley, if desired.

Thousand Island Dressing:
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 hard-boiled egg, crushed finely
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dill relish
Salt and pepper
Lemon pepper
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper, to taste. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: 2 3/4 cups

So what Deen Family recipe did you try out?? Next week we'll post a recipe by Brian Boitano , yes, the skater turned FN chef/host. OR, because there are only 21 eclectic recipes listed by Brian Boitano (there are only 4 episodes), do a recipe from a chef we have already posted about but you didn't get around to trying. I have several of these!

On a side note, Rebekah added her Alton Brown Southern Biscuits to the challenge a few weeks ago. Check them out here. They are pretty! And Tanya, who posts on Facebook, I love your posts but can't figure out a way to comment. I want that bacon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tempt My Tummy - Chicken and Dumplings

I made chicken and dumplings for the first time last week and LOVED it! It's the northern way (like stew with fluffy dumplings).....not southern (with only chicken and the little slippery dumplings that are more like thick noodles). I made extra broth out of the carcass as well (in the crock pot) - bonus! The recipe (and picture) I used comes from Penzey's Spices. If you have never heard of them, go visit. They have excellent recipes and spices! If you are lucky enough to have a store near by you should definitely consider going.

Chicken and Dumplings
1 fryer chicken, cut up
2 tsp. your favorite SEASONING (we used NORTHWOODS)
2 TB. canola (vegetable) oil (I didn't use oil)
3 Cups water or chicken broth
1 Cup celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 small onion, chopped (1/2 Cup) (I used more)
1 Cup carrots, cut into small pieces
1-11/2 tsp. salt (too much for us)
1/3 Cup flour or chicken gravy mix
1/2 Cup water

2 Cups flour (I used 1 cup wheat and 1 cup white)
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. PENZEYS FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER (I didn't use because of the kids)
2 TB. butter
1 Cup milk

Preheat oven to 375°. Place the chicken in a pan and SEASON. Bake the chicken until browned, about 30 minutes. It doesn’t need to be fully done. Remove the chicken from the bones and skin and set aside.

Place the bones and skin in a soup pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the BAY LEAF. Cook for 45 minutes.
While the stock is cooking, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Strain the stock and return to the pot.

Add the chicken, celery, onion and carrot to the pot. Add the salt and PEPPER. Simmer for 30 minutes, using a large spoon to skim off any fat that rises to the top.

Combine the flour and water and whisk to a smooth paste. Slowly drizzle into the broth, stirring continuously, until the desired consistency.


Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and PEPPER.

Cut in the butter and blend until you have pea-sized bits of dough. Add the milk and stir until mixed.

Drop by the teaspoon into the broth and chicken mixture. Cover and simmer until the dumplings become light and fluffy (about 10 minutes).

Check out Blessed With Grace for some more Tempt My Tummy recipes!

Monday, October 12, 2009

For The First Time Again - Musical Monday

I am so in love with this song. It's not on YouTube for a embedded post but the song plays on his web site in it's entirety. Follow the link below then in the top right corner is a play button next to the song title (just the arrow, not the arrow with the line, which will bring you to different songs), For The First Time Again.

I'm linking to Diane and Jori's Musical Monday. Go see what other songs are moving people!