Monday, October 29, 2007

Last game of the season

E played her last game of the season, sans one tournie coming up in November. She did well on JV and hopes to make Varsity next year - where she can start working toward her letterman jacket. I love vball season, but I have to admit, the chauffeur side of me is happy to have my Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays back.

Varsity played 14 games this season, only losing 1. They head off to Omaha the end of this week for the National Homeschool Tournament. There will be 50+ teams in attendance from all over the US. Last year, our varsity took 1st place in their bracket. The team will lose 4 girls this year -- they graduate in the spring! We celebrated their contribution at the last home game with flowers and special banners. They will be missed.

JV played 14 games, losing 2. With the exception of Em and 1 other girl, this was a brand new team this year. I think they did exceptionally well.

The junior high team, which was all brand new girls, most with no prior experience, played 12 games this season. They won 6 of their games. Again, excellent work!

Menu Monday - 10/29 - 11/4


Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: leftovers from weekend
Dinner: lazy day stew*, salad, rolls
Treat: popsicles

Lazy Day Stew
from: Kim

2 lbs. round steak, cubed
4 potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
6 carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
3 onions, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped into bite sized pieces
15 oz tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tsp sugar
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
4 tsp quick-cooking tapioca mix, uncooked (usually found on the top shelf of the pudding area at the market -- look for a red box)
1 package of frozen peas

Arrange steak in a 3 qt casserole dish or Dutch oven. Layer veggies on top of the steak. In medium bowl, mix tomato sauce, water and sugar. Pour over meat and veggies. Add spices. Scatter tapioca on top; do not stir in. Place a piece of foil over the top and cover with a tight fitting lid. Bake at 325 for 2-3 hours. Do not open during the cooking time. (place a cookie sheet on the rack under the pot to catch possible spills).
After cooking, take stew out and gently stir in peas. Place foil and lid back on, allowing stew to sit on stove top for about 5 minutes - enough time for the peas to get hot.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch: turkey sandwiches, veggie sticks, chips
Dinner: chicken & veggie pie*, salad
Treat: sugar cookies* – cut out into leaf shapes

Chicken and Veggie Pie
From: adapted from Rachel Ray

2/3 cup rice
3 T olive oil
¼ c grated Parm cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 t finely chopped fresh rosemary
dash of fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
1 whole poached chicken or 1 store bought rotisserie chicken, cut into cubes
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425.
In a small pan, combine the rice with 1-1/3 c water. Cover and simmer over medium high heat until water is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Let cool.

Brush the sides of a 9 inch pie pan with 1 T olive oil. In a medium bowl, combine the cooled rice, parm cheese, egg and pepper. Using lightly oiled fingers or a rubber spatula, press the rice mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegs are golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the spinach and rosemary, season with salt and squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the chicken and ½ c cheese.

Lower the oven to 375. Fill the crust with chicken/veggie mixture, leaving a 1 inch border at the top of the crust. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Awesome Sugar Cookies
From: Nancy

3 cups of flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup margarine
2 eggs - beaten
1 cup sugar
Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in margarine (think pie crust). In another bowl, mix the eggs and sugar. Mix to flour. Blend. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 on second rack from top for 6-8 minutes

Breakfast: yogurt, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Moe’s for dinner – movie after
Treat: nothing planned

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: tomato soup, grilled cheese
Dinner: lemon cream pasta w/ chicken*, sunny carrots*
Treat: caramel popcorn

Lemon Cream Pasta w/ Chicken and Asparagus
From: adapted from Christine’s recipe

3 TBS butter
4 boned, skinned chicken breasts – cut into strips
1 lb asparagus
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
3 TBS chopped parsley
2 t grated lemon rind
½ c heavy cream
¾ t salt
½ t pepper
16 oz, bow tie pasta – cooked and drained
½ c chicken broth

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Saute’ chicken for 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
To juices in the skillet, add asparagus, broth and lemon juice; reduce heat.
Cover partially; cook 5 minutes or until veggies are tender (but not mushy!)
Add chicken and other ingredients, except for pasta. Boil 4 minutes to reduce liquid. Add pasta and toss.

Sunny Carrots
From: Kim

1 lb carrots, julienned
¾ T brown sugar
1 t cornstarch
¼ c orange juice
2 T butter

Steam carrots until just fork tender (do not over-cook)
Meanwhile, in another pan, combine brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in orange juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in butter. Drain carrots; top with orange juice mixture and toss to coat.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: crackers, cheese, hummus, veggies
Dinner: hearty beef barley soup*, cornbread*
Treat: vanilla pudding

Hearty Beef Barley Soup
From: Kim

2 lbs chuck roast, trimmed and cut into small cubes
2 T canola or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 qt. beef stock or 4 (16 oz) cans beef broth
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped celery
¾ c chopped green pepper
2/3 c quick cooking barley
2 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t black pepper
salt to taste
2 T minced fresh thyme
½ c chopped fresh parsley

In large covered stockpot, over medium heart, slowly braise the beef in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the onion and continue the browning for 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Stir in the stock and tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Add the carrots, celery, gr. pepr, barley, W sauce, pepper, and salt; cover and cook until the veggies are tender, about 25 minutes. About 5 minutes before soup is ready, add the herbs. Serve immediately.

from: Kim

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 egg, well beaten
2 TBS melted butter

Preheat oven to 425. Grease an 8 inch square baking dish (I use a large cast iron skillet)
Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add milk, egg and butter and blend well. Pour into pan and bake for 20 minutes.

*I double this recipe for my family - allow about 5 extra minutes for cooking

Breakfast: baked French toast, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: sloppy joes*, tator tots, green beans
Treat: nothing planned

Baked French Toast Casserole
(plan ahead – fridge time)
From: Kim

Serves 6-8

1 loaf of French bread
8 large eggs
1 c half and half
1 c milk
1-1/2 granulated sugar
1-1/2 vanilla
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t grated nutmeg
small dash of salt

1 c butter, at room temp
¾ c brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans
1-1/2 T light corn syrup
½ t cinnamon
¼ t grated nutmeg

maple syrup, honey or fruit preserves

Slice bread into twenty 1 inch slices. Arrange the slices in a well greased 9x13 baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; beat with a whisk until well blended (but not bubbly). Pour over bread slices, making sure all are covered; spooning some of the mixture in between slices too. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

(next day)
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl and spread it evenly over the bread. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with syrup, honey or preserves.

Sloppy Joes
From: Kim
Serves about 12

2 pounds ground meat (I use turkey)
½ c. diced onion
½ c. diced green pepper
½ c diced red pepper
1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted (may substitute 1 can of tomato paste)
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
¼ c. brown sugar
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
½ TBS. prepared mustard
1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic salt
hamburger buns

Brown meat and onion over medium heat; add green pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes; drain. Add the remaining ingredients; bring to a consistent simmer; stir often.
Cover and place at a low simmer for 1 hour. Serve on buns.

*If mixture is thicker than you prefer, add a small amount of chicken broth or water to thin.

Breakfast: cream of wheat
Lunch: Subway
Dinner: chicken satay noodle salad*, veggie sticks
Treat: applesauce pie*

Chicken Satay Noodle Salad
From: Rachel Ray

1 lb. pound whole wheat spaghetti
1/3 cup peanut butter, softened
2 T honey
¼ cup tamari (dark soy sauce)
juice from 2 limes
1 t hot pepper sauce
1 clove of garlic, grated
2 T veg. oil
2 cups skinned and sliced cooked chicken
1 cup packed fresh spinach, thinly sliced
1/3 cup shredded carrots
4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
¼ c chopped peanuts
2 T chopped parsley or cilantro

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain; rinse under cold water and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey and ¼ c warm water. Whisk the tamari, lime juice, hot pepper sauce and garlic. Pour in the oil in a steady stream, whisking to combine. Add the reserved noodles and toss to coat.
Place the noodles in 4 bowls and top with chicken, spinach, carrots, scallions, peanuts and cilantro.

Notes: double
Notes: add a handful of shrimp for extra taste

Applesauce Pie
From: Marcia Adams

Pastry for a 1 crust pie
2 eggs
1 c sugar
2 T flour
1 t grated nutmeg
½ c butter, melted
1 c chunky unsweetened applesauce
1 t vanilla
2 T fresh lemon juice (unless the applesauce is tart)

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs until just combined. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and nutmeg. Add the sugar mixture to the eggs and blend. Add the butter, applesauce, vanilla, and lemon juice, if using, and combine gentle, being careful not to over-mix; you want to avoid adding too much air to the batter.

Pour the filling into the pastry and bake for 45 minutes or until the top of the pie is golden. Remove from oven, cool on rack, serve.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Go Team!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thank you

You know, sometimes the best prayer one can say is,
"Thank you."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Here, let me help!

I snapped this picture a couple of days ago.
E was working on her grammar/vocabulary when Indy jumped into her lap. He was fascinated by the pencil.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Menu....10/22-10/28

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: quesadillas
Dinner: Italian harvest soup*, wheat rolls
Treat: chocolate pudding

Italian Harvest Soup

From: Connie (Grace Christian)

Serves 4-6

4 slices of bacon, chopped
3 T olive oil
1 lg onion, diced
2 garlic clove, minced
4 cans chicken broth, low sodium
1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cans diced tomatoes, with juice
½ box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 sm zucchini, diced
3 T chopped fresh basil
3 T chopped fresh parsley
1 t dried oregano
1 can white beans (cannelloni is best), drained and rinsed
2 c chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 c small pasta (elbow or shells), cooked and drained
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

In large pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Remove excess bacon drippings from pan. Cook onion and garlic in olive oil, stirring often, until tender. Add broth, carrots, celery and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add spinach, zucchini, basil, parsley, oregano and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add chicken and pasta and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.

Note: double

Breakfast: yogurt, toast
Lunch: leftover soup
Dinner: chili mac*, salad
Treat: brownies*

Chili Mac

From: Kim

1-1/2 lb ground meat (I use turkey or chicken)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
2 c water
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 TBS chili powder
½ tsp. oregano
8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
1 can (15 oz) red beans, undrained (kidney beans work well too)

Brown meat, onion and garlic in large skillet; drain.

Return meat mixture to pan. Add tomatoes, water, sauce, and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in uncooked pasta and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes until pasta is tender. Serves 6

*I often add chopped green pepper to this dish for extra color and texture.

Best Brownies
Makes 30 brownies
From: Marcia Adams

1 c butter, melted
2 c sugar
7 T cocoa
4 eggs
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
2 t vanilla
½ c chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350
In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar and cocoa. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just until combined. Pour into a greased 9x13 glass baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is firm to the touch; being careful to not over-bake. Allow to stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: leftovers, veggie sticks
Dinner: German apple pancake*, turkey bacon, orange slices
Treat: popsicles

German Apple Pancake

From: Kim (adapted from Cooking from Quilt Country)

3 large cooking apples (Granny Smith work best)
½ c butter
1 c flour
1 c milk
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ t salt
¼ t grated nutmeg
¼ cinnamon

Preheat oven. Peel, core, and very thinly slice the apples; you should have about 2 cups.
Melt 2 TBS of butter over medium low heat in a small fry pan, and sauté the apples until they are just tender, about 3 minutes. Keep warm while preparing the batter. Place a 9 inch cast iron skillet in the oven to heart for at least 5 minutes – the pan has to be very hot for this recipe to work properly. When it is well heated, add the remaining 2 T of butter to melt and put skillet back in the oven; the butter should be very hot but not brown when you add the apples and batter.

While the skillet is heating, place the flour, milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices in the blender, and blend until smooth. Remove the skillet from the oven, quickly arranges the apples over the butter, and pour the batter evenly over all. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and bake 10 minutes longer. The pancake will puff and climb ups the sides of the pan. Sprinkle with powered sugar, then cut in wedges and serve with syrup or jelly.
Serve with bacon or ham.

Note: You can use fresh pears or peaches in place of the apples.

Breakfast: cream of wheat
Lunch: grilled cheese, tomato soup
Dinner: honey glazed chicken, roasted potato cubes, broccoli
Treat: ice cream

Honey Glazed Chicken
From: Kim

1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds of chicken(your favorite cuts)
1/2 cup of butter, melted, divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice(fresh)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder

In a bowl or bag, combine flour, salt and cayenne pepper; add chicken pieces and dredge or shake to coat. Pour 4 tablespoons butter into a 13x9 inch baking pan; place chicken in pan, turning pieces once to coat. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Combine brown sugar, honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, curry powder and remaining butter; pour over chicken. Bake 35- 40 minutes more or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Baste several times with pan drippings.
yield 4-6 servings

note: double for lunch – sauce is great for dipping chicken strips

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: tuna salad, veggie sticks, crackers
Dinner: date night! – kids will have Wendy’s
Treat: nothing planned

Breakfast: poached eggs and sweet potato/sausage hash*
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: taco pizza*
Treat: sherbet

Sweet Potato and Sausage Hash
From: Rachael Ray

1 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
½ lb bulk sausage
2 TBS olive oil
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper
salsa (green salsa works best)

In a medium pot of boiling, salted water, cook the sweet potatoes until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until browned and crumbly, about 10 minutes; transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Hear the oil in the skillet. Add bell peppers, onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sauce, cumin and sweet pot. And cook for 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with salsa.

Taco Pizza
From: Kim

1-1/4 c cornmeal
1-1/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t salt
2/3 c milk
1/3 c butter, melted
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 can tomato paste, 6 oz
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained, 14-1/2 oz
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 sm can diced green chiles
¾ c water
1-1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey cheese
2 c chopped lettuce
1 c diced fresh tomato
½ c sliced olives, black
½ c sliced green onions

In medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk and butter, mix well. Press onto the bottom and side of a 14 inch pizza pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool.
In a large skillet, brown meat; drain. Stir in the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, chiles, taco seasoning and water…bring to boil.
Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Spread over crust. Combine cheeses and sprinkle 2 cups over meat. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Layer lettuce, tomato, olives, onions and remaining cheese. Serve.

Notes: tricky to cut

Breakfast: pancakes
Lunch: ?
Dinner: turkey meatloaf*, barley bake*, carrots/peas
Treat: lemon meltaways

Turkey Meatloaf
From: Kim

2 pounds ground turkey
2 egg yolks
5 TBS chopped parsley, fresh
1-1/2 TBS butter, softened
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1-2 cups vegetarian broth (or chicken broth)

Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except the broth. Form into a loaf and place in lighted greased pan. Pour the broth (use desired amount; between 1-2 cups) and bake for 60-80 minutes (check for doneness), basting periodically. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

Nutty Barley Bake
From: Tracy (Amazing Grace)

1 medium onion, chopped
1c medium pearl barley
½ c slivered almond or pine nuts
¼ c butter
½ c minced fresh parsley
¼ c thinly sliced green onions
¼ t salt
1/8 t pepper
2 14 oz cans beef broth, low sodium (or vegetarian broth)

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion, barley, and nuts in butter until barley is lightly browned. Stir in parsley, green onion, salt and pepper. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Stir in broth. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Lemon Meltaways
From: Dorette (Amazing Grace)

1-1/3 c flour
½ c cornstarch
½ c powdered sugar
¾ c butter, softened
1 t grated lemon peel
1 T lemon juice

¾ c powdered sugar
¼ c butter
1 t lemon peel
1 t lemon juice

Mix all dough ingredients. Refrigerate in 2 rolls for 2 hours. Slice and bake at 350. Cool completely; then frost.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vball Season

The season is coming to an end soon.
Em has 2 more game and one tournie in Michigan -- and we will be done until next year. I have loads of pics to share, but for now.....her team photo.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Turkey Day, dishes and oh yeah, a kitten

So, I dropped all of the kids off at dance and swim. That left me with 2 hours - alone.
I get this little retreat every Thursday afternoon. Normally, I come home and enjoy the quiet with a good book, but today I decided to do a bit of shopping.

I was on the look-out for new table linens for Thanksgiving. No dice. I did however find some new dishes. No. I don't need new dishes, but I have this problem.......I adore dishes. I buy dishes the way some women buy shoes.

These two sets will intermingle on the Thanksgiving table this year. I will mix and match colors and patterns. I love doing that!

I really like these as well, but I figured I should show a teensy bit of restraint. I will haunt the sales and see if I can get them on a deep discount. Aren't they pretty, though? They would match my kitchen so well.
Now, about that kitten. I miss our Belle Belles. She was my furry buddy. But see, the house is just not the same without a guard cat. Never mind the fact that we have 2 dogs! A close friend from church had a 6 week old kitten left on her office doorstep. He needed a forever home. He found one with us. His name is Indy and he is a ferocious cuddle-bug. The boys have *really* taken to him. So sweet.

Maye we should have named him Killer or Spike, eh? :: laughing ::

Monday, October 15, 2007

Menu Monday, 10/15-10/21

Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: chicken drumsticks, veggie sticks
Dinner: peking pork chops*, brown rice, broccoli
Treat: chocolate pudding

Peking Pork Chops
From: Kim

8 pork chops
¼ c brown sugar
1 t ground ginger
¾ c lite soy sauce
½ c ketchup
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Trim fat from pork and place in crockpot. Mix remaining ingredients in small bowl and pour over meat. Cover, turn to low and cook 4-6 hours. If needed, season with salt and pepper. Serve with steamed Jasmine or brown rice.

Notes: great with chicken wings in place of chops

Breakfast: yogurt, fruit, toast
Lunch: quesadillas, carrot/cucumber sticks
Dinner: spaghetti w/ meat sauce, salad
Treat: frozen fruit salad*

No set recipe for spaghetti sauce. I use fresh and canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, spices and lots of simmer time.

Frozen Fruit Salad
From: Taste of Home

Serves 12-14

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling, low sugar
1 can (15 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple (not in syrup), drained
2/3 c chopped pecans
1 carton (8 oz) frozen lower fat whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, combine milk and pie filling. Add orange, pineapple, and nuts. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spread in a 13x9 pan. Cover and freeze. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.

Breakfast: poached eggs, toast
Lunch: leftover spaghetti
Dinner: beans and ham*, cornbread*
Treat: popsicles

Beans and Ham
Adapted from Midwest Living

1 pound dry pinto beans
8 cups water
4 cups water
1 meaty smoked pork hock (1-1/2 to 2 lbs)
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 bay leaf
¼ - ½ t ground black pepper

Rinse and dry the beans. Place beans in a Dutch oven. Add 8 cups of water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes. Remove from h eat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. (you can also place the dry beans in 8 cups of water overnight)

In the same Dutch oven, stir together drained beans, 4 cups fresh water, the pork hock, onion, bay leaf and pepper. Bring to a boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender and beginning to split. Remove from heat.

Remove pork hock; cool slightly. Trim off meat; chop. Return the meat to the beans. Remove bay leaf. Heat through. If necessary, add a bit of salt (but taste first…ham is very salty on its own).

Note: Check beans occasionally during cooking process. Add more water if necessary. Or boil gently, uncovered, for a few minutes at end of cooking time there is too much liquid. Beans should be moist – not runny.

From: Kim

¾ cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
¼ c sugar
3 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 c milk
1 egg, well beaten
2 T melted butter

Place cast iron skillet in an oven, heating to 425.
Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add milk, egg and butter and blend well. Spoon into hot skillet and bake for approx. 20 minutes.

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: PB&J, pretzels, grapes
Dinner: roast*, red potatoes, green beans
Treat: chewy pecan cookies*

Place roast in crock pot with roughly chopped potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions. Season with garlic, salt and pepper. Pour 1 can of beef broth over food. Cook on high for 6 hours.

Chewy Pecan Cookies
From: Kim

Makes 5-6 dozen

1 c butter, softened (no subs)
1 c sugar
¾ c brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 t vanilla
2-1/4 c flour
1 T ground cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
¾ t pumpkin pie spice
2 c quick cooking oats (not instant)
1-1/2 c raisins (Craisins works well too)
1-1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars, eggs, milk and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in oats, raisins and nuts; mix well. Drop by TBS onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on write racks.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: turkey sandwiches, apple slices
Dinner: enchilada casserole*, salad
Treat: ice cream

Enchilada Casserole
From: Kim

2 pounds of ground meat (I use turkey most of the time)
1 medium onion
1 small can of diced green chiles
chili powder
1 can of red or black beans, drained
1 can of low sodium corn, drained
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained
1 28 oz can of enchilada sauce (red or green, your choice)
approx. 18 corn tortillas
shredded Monterey or cheddar cheese (amount you prefer)
chopped fresh cilantro
sour cream

In skillet, brown meat with onion and green chiles. When meat is cooked, add desired amount of seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes. Add beans, corn and olives -- cook for additional 5 minutes.

In a casserole, place 5-6 tortillas on the bottom of the dish. Put ½ of the meat mixture over the tortillas. Pour ½ c enchilada sauce over meat. Put 5-6 tortillas over sauce and add remaining meat mixture. Over the meat, put ½ c enchilada sauce and ½ of your cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, sauce and cheese. Bake in 350 oven for 30-35 minutes. Take out of oven and let sit for about 8 minutes. Cut and serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Breakfast: waffles, turkey sausage
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: spinach lasagna roll-ups*, breadsticks, sliced tomatoes
Treat: cookies

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups
From: Stephanie

8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/3 c finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T oil
1 c ricotta cheese
1/3 c grated Parm cheese
1 egg
½ t salt
½ t pepper
2 cups marinara sauce
1 c shredded Mozz cheese
2 T grated Parm cheese

Cook noodles according to package until just tender (do not overcook); drain and set aside. Squeeze spinach dry; chop fine and set aside.
In a small skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, mix spinach, onion and garlic, ricotta cheese, Parm cheese, egg, salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly on noodles; roll up.
Pour all but ¾ c of the marina sauce in bottom of an ungreased 3 qt baking dish. Place rolled noodles, seam side down, in sauce. Pour reserved sauce over. Sprinkle rolls with mozz cheese and parm cheese. Cover with foil. If making ahead, place in fridge up to 24 hours.
Bake, covered, in a preheated 375 oven for 45 minutes.

Notes: double
Great potluck dish
Freezes well

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: baked parmesan chicken strips*, veggie sticks
Dinner: no bake mac and cheese*, garlic broccoli*
Treat: nothing planned

Oven Fried Parmesan Chicken Strips
From: Kim

Serves 8-10

4 TBS butter
2/3 c flour
½ t salt
½ t garlic powder
½ t chili powder
2/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 t Old Bay seasoning
¼ t pepper
4 lbs. chicken breast tenders

Melt butter in a 15x10 jelly roll pan in a 425 oven. (large cookie sheet with sides)
Place flour and next 6 ingredients in a large bag; shake well to combine. Add chicken, several pieces at a time, shaking well to coat. Arrange chicken in melted butter in hot baking dish.
Bake at 425 or 25 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once. Serve immediately.

*To freeze, place uncooked, coated chicken on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, place strips in freezer bag and keep for up to a month. Bake frozen strips on hot buttered pain at 425 for 35 minutes, turning after 25 minutes.

No Bake Mac-n-Cheese
From: Kim

½ lb elbow macaroni
4 TBS butter
1 egg
6 oz evaporated milk
½ tsp hot sauce
1 tsp salt
fresh black pepper
¾ tsp dry mustard
½ block of cream cheese (at room temp – cut into small chunks)
12 oz sharp cheddar, shredded

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Return to the pot and melt butter. Toss to coat. Set aside.

In saucepan, whisk together the egg, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add both cheeses. Over low heat continue to stir for 2-4 minutes or until creamy.

Serves 6
Notes: double

Broccoli with Garlic
From: Kim

4 tsp olive oil
2 lb broccoli, chipped and steamed until tender-crisp
5 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried oregano leaves, crumbled
½ c julienned roasted red bell pepper

In large skillet, heat the oil. Sauté the broccoli, garlic, and oregano until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes; do NOT burn. Stir in the roasted pepper; cook, stirring often, until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Notes: for extra taste, stir in ½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese with the bell pepper

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Good-bye, Belle

We said good-bye to a long time friend on Tuesday. Her name was Belle, our 16 year old kitty.
Jeff and I had her before we had children. It is so weird not having her around the house.
We are sad.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Monday Menu...10/8-10/14

Breakfast: cereal, toast
Lunch: chicken nuggets, grapes, carrots
Dinner: salad with grilled chicken*
Treat: something at the volleyball game

Chop Chop Salad with Spicy French Dressing
from: Kim
Serves 6-8

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 cup cider vinegar
½ c sugar
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp paprika
several dashes of hot sauce, to taste

2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
1-1/2 red onion, chopped
4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cucumbers – peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups of raw broccoli, chopped
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1-1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese

In a small food processor, blend the garlic, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worch. Sauce and paprika until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the hot sauce and blend.
Place the veggies in large salad bowl. Toss with the dressing; top with cheese

*you can add any veggies you like – this salad is perfect for leftover dinner veggies or cleaning out the veggie drawer in the fridge
*use leftover grilled chicken for extra taste/protein

Breakfast: PB&J French toast sticks*
Lunch: turkey sandwiches, apple slices
Dinner: chili, veggie sticks, cinnamon rolls*
Treat: nothing planned

Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast Sticks
From: Rachel Ray

½ c peanut butter
8 slices sandwich bread
½ cup jelly
5 eggs
1/3 c milk
2 t vanilla
4 T butter
½ cup syrup or warmed jelly

Spread the peanut butter and jelly on bread to make 4 sandwiches.
In a wide, medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. In a large skillet, heat 2 T butter over medium heat. When the butter is almost melted, dunk two of the sandwiches into the French toast batter and let the excess drip off. Place in the pan and cook until golden, about 4 minutes for each side. Repeat with other sandwiches.
Let cool slightly and cut into sticks. Serve with syrup or warm jelly.

The chili is homemade but I have no set recipe. Ground beef, loads of beans, spices, etc.

'Cinnabon' Cinnamon Rolls

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk (105 to 110 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 c softened butter
1 t salt
2 eggs
4 c flour

1 c packed brown sugar
2-1/2 T cinnamon
1/3 c softened butter

1/2 c softened butter
1-1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c softened cream cheese
1/2 t vanilla
1/8 t salt

For the rolls, dissolve yeast in warm milk in a large bowl. Add the sugar, butter, salt, eggs and flour; mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, adding more flour as necessary, until dough pulls away easily from your hands. Put back in bowl, cover with towel, and let rise in warm place for about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat until it is approx 21 inches long and 16 inches wide. It should be about 1/4 inch thick.

Preheat oven to 400.

For the filling, combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the butter evenly over the dough and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over surface.

Working carefully from the top, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. Cut the rolled dough into 1-3/4 inch slices and place six at a time, evenly spaced, in a lightly greased pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until light brown on top.

While the second bath of rolls bake, combine icing ingredients. Beat will with mixer until fluffy.

When rolls come out of oven, cool 5 minutes and coat each with icing. Serve.

Breakfast: yogurt, fruit
Lunch: leftover chili
Dinner: Moroccan chicken*(crockpot), pasta, green beans
Treat: popsicles

Moroccan Chicken
From: adapted from Saving Dinner

2 16 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained
1 12 oz can diced tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper, seeded, cut into small squared
1 small red onion, chopped
½ cup golden raisins
2 T tomato paste
¼ c chicken broth, low sodium
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 t ground cumin
4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut into cubes
2 T peanut butter

Place beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, raisins, pasta, broth, garlic, and cumin in a crockpot. Mix until well combined. Place chicken on top of bean mixture. Cover. Cook on low heat for 6 hours. Stir in peanut butter; cook for 5 minutes. Serve.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch: quesadillas
Dinner: chicken with spinach*, brown rice, rolls
Treat: oatmeal banana cookies*

Skillet Chicken with Spinach

From: Kim

2 T olive oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb red potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 c low sodium chicken broth
½ c white wine
½ t fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups spinach

In a skillet, heat oil. Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides. Add onions, garlic, potatoes, broth, wine, thyme, salt and pepper. Lower heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Serve on raw spinach and let the heat of the chicken wilt the spinach. Serve.

Oatmeal Banana Cookies
From: Stephanie

¾ cup shortening (butter flavored Crisco)
1 large ripe banana
1 egg
1-3/4 cup oats
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
¼ t ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 400. Lightly great cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and banana until smooth. Beat in egg. Stir in oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg until well blended.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until down. Remove cookies to countertop to cool. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen

Notes; for variety, add raisins or chocolate chips.

Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: tomato soup, grilled cheese
Dinner: date night – kids will have pizza
Treat: ice cream

Breakfast: pumpkin pancakes*, turkey bacon
Lunch: nachos
Dinner: gingery shrimp & couscous*, broccoli
Treat: cookies

Pumpkin Pancakes
From: Kim

4 c flour
4 T brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
3-1/4 c milk
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 c canned pumpkin
¼ oil
¼ applesauce (or ¼ more of oil)

In large bowl, combine flour and other dry ingredients. In a second bowl, combine eggs and remaining ingredients. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture and combine gentle. Do not over-mix. You will have a few lumps.
Heat lightly greased skillet over medium high heat. For each pancake pour ¼ cup batter onto griddle. Cook until golden; turn when tops are bubbly and edges are a bit dry (about 2 minutes each side).

notes: the kids love chocolate chips sprinkled over hot pancakes

Gingery Shrimp and Couscous
From: Real Simple magazine

1 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 T finely chopped ginger
1 cup white wine (or veggie broth)
1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
8 oz snow peas - cut in half
1/3 c fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½ t kosher salt
¼ t black pepper
1 10 oz. box (1-1/2 c) couscous

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook 2 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Place shrimp on onions and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the snow peas and stir to combine. Continue cooking until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook!
Stir in cilantro, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to package directions. Divide the couscous among bowls and spoon the shrimp and veggies over top.

Notes: double
Notes: is great with chicken too!

Breakfast: baked oatmeal*
Lunch: ?
Dinner: carne asada tacos*, black beans, salad
Treat: vanilla orange freeze*

Baked Oatmeal
From: Kim, adapted from Dorette

Plan ahead – start the night before

1/3 c butter
2 eggs
½ c brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 t grated nutmeg
½ t cinnamon
¼ t salt
1 c plus 2 T milk
3 cups oats (not instant)
warm milk for serving

Melt butter and set aside. Grease 1-1/2 qt casserole, and drop in the eggs. Beat slightly. Add the brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Mix well, making sure there are no brown sugar lumps. Whisk in the melted butter and milk, the stir in the oats. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Uncover the oatmeal and bake for 35 minutes or until top is brown. Remove from oven and place in serving bowls. Pour warm milk over servings.

Serves 6

*note – double recipe – sits well in fridge for a couple days
*note - Place some chopped apple in the individual serving bowls before adding oatmeal

Carne Asada Tacos
From: adapted from

3 pounds boneless beef top sirloin, cut into thin bite sized slices
1 t Kosher salt
2 t black pepper
¼ t crushed red pepper
2 limes
2 cans tomatillos
3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded
½ c oil, divided
2 cans beef broth, low sodium
24 corn tortillas
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
2 bunches of fresh cilantro

Place sliced meat in bowl, and season with salt and peppers. Squeeze the lime juice over the meat, and turn until evenly coated. Cover, and place in fridge for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, combine tomatillo and jalapeno. Puree for 15 seconds, or until thick. Heat 1 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Carefully pour in tomatillo mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in beef broth. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until mixture coats a spoon. Transfer mixture to a serving dish.

Heat T oil in large skillet over high heat. Stir in 1/3 of the beef and sauté for 1 minute. Transfer to serving dish. Repeat with remaining beef. Meanwhile, heat tortillas to soften.

To serve, place two tortillas on top of each other. Add desired amount of meat, spoon over some tomatillo mixture. Top with onions, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro. Garnish with a wedge of lime if desired.

Vanilla Orange Freeze
Source: Real Simple

2 pints vanilla ice cream
1 12 ox can frozen orange juice concentrate
½ c cold water

Coat an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper by cutting 2 strips and overlapping them inside the pan (make them long enough to hang over the edges of the pan by 2 inches)
Chill in freezer for 10 minutes. Scoop the ice cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with a paddle until it is soft but still holds its shape, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the chilled pan and spread to smooth the surface. Freeze for 30 minutes. Whisk together ¾ c orange juice and cold water. Pour over ice cream; freeze for 2 hours. Lift the ice cream out of the pan by pulling up the ends of the paper. Use a hot knife (run under hot water) to cut into 8 rectangles.

Notes: So yummy. Kids love it.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

One for the journal

This afternoon after church, I was cleaning up the kitchen and heard the boys fighting in the other room. I listened carefully, trying to tell if I needed to intervene or let them work it out. After a couple minutes it became apparent they needed an adult to play peace keeper. As I was walking into the room, Jeff came down the stairs. He had heard them fighting.

After hearing both sides, offering forgiveness, and handing out hugs -- Jacob turned to me and asked to be held. That doesn't happen very often. He is six now, ya know.
I quickly scooped him into my lap and gave him a big hug. He melted into my arms and said, "Mom, you are my favorite lovey."

:: melt :::

I love being a mom.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

6 years ago....

we had this........twin boys born at 32 weeks.....

Now we have this.....healthy, active, fun-loving 6 year old boys

Happy Birthday to the Dynamo Duo!
We love you very much!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Menu Monday, 10/1 - 10/7

Breakfast: sunshine muffins*, fruit
Lunch: leftovers from Sunday
Dinner: turkey and/or chicken sandwiches, fruit, pretzels (volleyball game tonight)
Treat: popsicles

Sunshine Muffins
From: Kim

Makes 15-18 muffins

1-1/2 c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
¼ c flax seed
1-2/3 c sugar
2 t baking powder
½ t salt
¾ c butter
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 c fresh orange juice
1-1/2 t vanilla
½ t orange extract
1 T orange marmalade
½ c chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350
In large bowl, combine flours, flax, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add remaining ingredients; stir just until combined (do not over-mix). Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until top of muffin springs back with touched in the center.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch: tomato soup, grilled cheese
Dinner: ‘jampasta’*, salad
Treat: vanilla pudding


From: Kim
adapted recipe from Rachael Ray magazine
Feb/March 2006

1 lb pasta
about 2 TBS olive oil
¾ lb andouille or turkey sausage, casings removed and meat diced (I will be using chicken/apple sausage from Emeril – sold at Sam’s)
2 TBS unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 poblano chile, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green pepper,chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
black pepper
2 TBS flour
1 c beer
1 c chicken broth (low sodium)
1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
hot sauce to taste
2 TBS fresh thyme, chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken, diced
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned, tails removed
1/3 c heavy cream
2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, then add the pasta, cook until al dente and drain.
2. While the pasta works, heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, and the sausage and brown for about 4 minutes to render the fat and crisp the sausage. Transfer the sausage to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add the butter, garlic, chile, bell pepper, celery and onion to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, then whisk in the beer and cook until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, hot sauce and thyme. Bring the liquid to a bubble and stir in the chicken and shrimp. Cover and cook for 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the shrimp are opaque and firm. Stir in the cream and add the pasta. Ladle up the “jambasta” and top with the scallions and the reserved crispy sausage.

Wednesday (the boys pick the meals – birthday!)
Breakfast: cream of wheat
Lunch: chicken nuggets, grapes, mandarin oranges
Dinner: meatloaf*, mashed potatoes, broccoli
Treat: birthday cake – chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting


Adapted from Rachel Ray

½ c red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
1-1/2 lbs ground turkey
½ lb lean ground beef
½ c bread crumbs (or oatmeal)
2 eggs
1 t salt
1 T Worch sauce
2 T ketchup
8 strips of bacon (optional – I use turkey style)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the red bell pepper, carrot, onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetables, turkey, pork, bread crumbs, eggs, salt, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup and mix well. Place the meat mixture in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and, using your hands, form it into a loaf. Cover the loaf with the bacon strips. Bake the meat loaf, uncovered, until cooked through, about 1 hour.
3. Pour off the melted fat, slice the meat loaf and serve.

Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: PB&J, carrots, chips
Dinner: grilled chicken, oven roasted veggies*, salad
Treat: cake

Oven Roasted Veggies

From: Country Home

10 small red potatoes, halved
1 c baby carrots
1 head garlic, trimmed
1 small red onion, cut into strips
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ c olive oil
3 T fresh lemon juice
1 t salt
½ t pepper
1 c cauliflower florets
1 small leeks, halved lengthwise
1 c chunked sweet pepper (red or orange)
1 c small zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, coarsely chopped

In a 13x9 roasting pan, combine potatoes, carrots, garlic, onion, rosemary, and thyme.
In a small mixing bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle over veggies and herbs in pan; toss to coat. Roast uncovered, in a 450 oven for 30 minutes; stirring once.
Remove from oven. Add cauliflower, leeks, sweet pepper, and zucchini; toss to combine. Return to oven; roast 10-15 minutes or until veggies are tender and brown; stirring once

Breakfast: yogurt, fruit
Lunch: tuna salad, crackers
Dinner: white chili*, salad
Treat: ice cream floats

White Chili

Adapted from Midwest Living

1 pound dry Great Northern beans
6 cups water
6 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
1 T dried oregano, crushed
1 T cumin
¼ t cayenne pepper
¼ t black pepper
4 cups cooked, diced chicken
¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Rinse beans. Place in a Dutch oven and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.
In the same pot, stir together the beans, broth, onion, garlic, chiles, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 90 minutes.
Stir in chicken. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes more. Just before serving, sir in the cheese until just melted.

Breakfast: French toast, turkey bacon
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: garlic lime chicken*, mashed carrots/parsnips*, salad, rolls
Treat: snickerdoodles*

Garlic Lime Chicken

Adapted from Saving Dinner

1 t salt
1 t pepper
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t paprika
1 t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
¼ t thyme
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-1/2 T butter
5 T fresh lime juice
½ c chicken broth, low sodium

On a dinner plate, mix together the first 7 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken.
In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Sauté chicken until golden brown; about 7 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and add lime juice and broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits. Keep cooking until sauce reduces a bit. Add chicken back to the pain and thoroughly coat and serve.

Note: wonderful with garlic mashed potatoes
Leftover chicken is great in stir-fry

Mashed Carrots and Parsnips
Serves 4

4 large carrots (about 1 lb)
6 large parsnips (about 1 lb)
2 whole cloves
1 t granulated sugar
½ t salt
2 T butter
1 T brown sugar
fresh mint or scallion tops

Peel carrots and slice coarsely. Peel parsnips and cut in lengthwise. Cut again and remove rough centers. In a deep saucepan, place the carrots, parsnips, cloves, granulated sugar, salt, and water to cover. Cover pan, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Drain, removing the cloves, and add the butter and brown sugar. Mash and place in a serving dish. Sprinkle with mint.

From: Kim
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
*plan ahead – dough chilling time

This is one out of a handful of recipes I use that calls for margarine. It really does make a difference in this particular cookie.

1 c margarine, softened
1-3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
2-3/4 c flour
2 t cream of tartar
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
3 t cinnamon
1 t ground nutmeg

In a large mixer bowl, cream the margarine. Slowly add 1-1/2 c sugar, then the eggs. Mix the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Chill overnight.

Combine the remaining sugar and the spices on a small plate. Divide the dough in half, keeping one half in fridge until needed. Shape the dough into walnut size balls, roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased sheet and bake just until golden – check the bottoms to make sure they are not getting too brown – about 8 minutes. Then cookies will puff up at first, and then flatten out with crinkled tops. Cool on racks.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: Subway
Dinner: maple mustard pork tenderloin*, sweet potatoes, peas
Treat: cookies or popsicles

Maple Mustard Pork Tenderloin

From: Kim

2 pork tenderloins (they come 2 to a package in the market)
cooking spray
¼ cup Dijon mustard
6 TBS. maple syrup, divided (yes, use the real stuff)
1 TBS. fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried rosemary)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3-4 medium apples, peeled and cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 425. Trim the fat from the tenderloins. Place on a broiler pan coated with spray. Combine mustard, 2 TBS syrup, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; brush over pork. Insert meat therm. into thickest part of pork. Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes or until therm. Registers 160. While is baking, heat skillet over medium heat (using a bit of cooking spray if necessary) until hot. Add apples and sauté 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add 4 TBS of maple syrup. Place apples at a slow simmer for 10 minutes. Cut pork crosswise into slices; spoon cooked apples over pork.

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