Monday, November 26, 2007

Menu Monday 11/26-12/2

Breakfast: yogurt, fruit
Lunch: leftovers from TDay (the last of them)
Dinner: Mexican stuffed chicken*, black beans, cucumber/tomato slices
Treat: nothing planned

Mexican Stuffed Chicken

4 cups crushed cornflakes
2 T chili powder
2 packets dry fajita seasoning
½ c chopped red bell pepper
½ c chopped yellow bell pepper
½ c chopped orange bell pepper
2/3 c chopped fresh mushrooms
1 medium red onion, diced
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded thin
2 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
½ c salsa

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a baking dish.
In a shallow bowl, mix the corn flakes, chili powder, and fajita seasoning. In a separate bowl, mix the peppers, mushrooms, and onion.
Dredge the chicken in the corn flake mixture to coat. Sprinkle one side of each breast with 2 T cheese, and later with ¼ the veggie mixture. Top with equal amounts of salsa. Carefully roll the chicken over the filling. Seal seams with toothpick, then dredge again in the corn flakes.
Arrange the chicken into the baking dish. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Top with remaining cheese, and continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear and cheese is melted.

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: quesadillas with leftover chicken from last night’s dinner
Dinner: broccoli pasta alfredo*, salad
Treat: frosted brownie cake*

Broccoli-Pasta Alfredo
Adapted from Southern Living Magazine

Serves 6-8

1 (16 oz) package uncooked farfalle or bow-tie pasta
4 cups broccoli florets
4 TBS butter
1 tsp minced garlic
½ c finely chopped shallots*
2 c half-and-half
2 c refrigerated grated Parm. Cheese
½ c loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
¾ tsp black pepper
½ tsp crushed red pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain and keep warm.
Melt butter and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in half-and-half. Cook; stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Stir in Parm. cheese and next 3 ingredients until smooth. Stir in pasta and broccoli. Serve immediately.

*1/2 cup finely chopped white onion may be substituted

Frosted Brownie Cake
From: Kim

2 c flour
2 c sugar
1 t baking soda
4 T cocoa powder
1 c water
10 T butter
1/2 c buttermilk
2 eggs

Sift together flour, sugar, soda, and cocoa in a large bowl. Heat water to boiling; remove and cool slightly, then pour into dry ingredients. Beat until well blended. Beat in buttermilk, then add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into greased 10x15 for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then spread frosting over while still warm.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 box of powdered sugar, 1/4 c cocoa powder, 1/3 c milk and 1 t vanilla. Slowly add 1/2 c butter and beat until desired consistency (depending upon how thick you want it, you may not want to use all of the butter).

note:This is better if made the day before and transports well.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J, oranges, pretzels
Dinner: tuscan bean and sausage soup*, rolls, veggie sticks
Treat: brownie cake

Tuscan Bean and Sausage Soup

1 lb Italian sausage links, removed from casing and cut into small pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow squash, sliced
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Italian tomatoes, undrained
2 cans chicken broth, low sodium
1/3 cup red wine
2 cups spinach, shredded
1 t Italian seasoning
3 T Romano cheese, grated

In a soup pot over medium heat, brown sausage and fully cook. Drain grease. Add onion and garlic and cook till tender. Add squash and sauté for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients except cheese, and simmer till heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve with cheese on top.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: beef barbecue sandwiches*, roasted potato cubes, green beans
Treat: vanilla pudding

Beef Barbecue Sandwiches
From: Kim

Serves 10-12

1 3-lb bone-in chuck roast, well trimmed
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns
2-1/2 c beef stock

¾ c ketchup
¼ c brown sugar
2 T cider vinegar
1 T Worches. Sauce
2-1/2 t prepared mustard
1 t chili powder
½ t paprika
¼ t hot sauce


In slow cooker, combine the meat, veggies, seasonings, and stock. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and metal spatula to a platter; pour the liquid into a degreasing pitcher and skim the fat.

Prepare the sauce: Combine all of all the ingredients plus 1-1/2 c of the beef liquid. Shred the meat with 2 forks, leaving it in large pieces, then add to the sauce. Reheat the mixture on high in the slow cooker or on top of the stove for about 20 minutes. Serve meat/sauce on buns.

Breakfast: oatmeal waffles*
Lunch: leftovers from last night
Dinner: Jeff and I have a wedding to attend – kids will have Wendy’s
Treat: nothing planned

Oatmeal Waffles
From: Kim

1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 c quick oatmeal (not instant)
½ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1-1/2 c milk
6 T butter, melted
2 T brown sugar

In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In small bowl, stir together eggs, milk, butter and sugar. Add to flour mixture. Stir until combined, careful not to over-mix. Pour batter onto preheated waffle iron.

Breakfast: poached eggs, toast, orange slices
Lunch: grab and go – Sarah has gymnastics comp
Dinner: crockpot chicken w/ autumn veggies*, couscous
Treat: nothing planned

Crock Chicken and Autumn Veggies
From: Saving Dinner

1 T olive oil
6 skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, diced
2 turnips, cut in ½ inch slices
2 carrots, cut in ½ inch slices
1 t tarragon
1 can chicken broth, low sodium
½ c white wine, optional
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 c half and half

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet; salt and pepper to your taste.
Reduce the heat and add the onion to the skillet and cook for two minutes. Add remaining veggies and tarragon, tossing well to mix, but don’t cook. Place veggies in the crockpot, then layer chicken on top. Pour in the chicken broth and wine. Cook on low for 6 hours. When chicken is cooked, remove chicken and veggies; keep warm.
In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk together till well blended (no lumps). Cook for a minute but don’t brown. Add cooking liquid and bring to a boil to simmer for a minute. Add half and half and bring up to a low simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. To serve, pour the sauce over veggies and chicken.

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: leftovers or tuna salad
Dinner: maple mustard pork*, brown rice, carrots, additional fried apples
Treat: ice cream

Maple Mustard Pork Tenderloin
From: Kim (adapted from WFD board)

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.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ramblings from a tired woman

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with blessings, family and a full tummy.

We had a good day with the exception of a small bout of food poisoning for Yours Truly.
It happened Wednesday during lunch. I was out for the rest of the day and found myself queasy much of Thursday morning. Thankfully, by early afternoon, I was feeling much better.

We normally go to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner but nothing caught our eye this year. Instead, we had a Santa Clause movie marathon. We watched 1&2 before dinner and snuggled after dinner for SC3, which was loved by all.

Friday morning had Jeff and I out at 4:45 in the morning. We had it all mapped out and were back home, sipping coffee before the first child was out of bed. With the exception of a few things, we are done with our Christmas shopping. Let the wrapping begin - which is my favorite thing to do.

On Friday, all of the girls and I headed to a cookie baking extravaganza. We arrived at 8:45 and left (exhausted) at 5:30. There were 7 women and 7 girls. By the time we were done, we baked 3,558 cookies. We packed numerous tins, bags and plates. A lot of the cookies will end up with our outreach ministry at church. There are a group of men who minister to the county jail through the year and during December, they take cookies with them to each visit.

It was great fun. We laughed, talked, sang and shared stories with the younger girls. Three of the women were grandmothers and added so much to the day. They adored the girls and really made them feel special. All that said, I am thoroughly 'cookied' out. I hope to recover by the first of December when I host a small cookie party in our home.

This morning I was up and out of the door by 6:30. I headed to Borders where I was thrilled to purchase Glenn Beck's new book and receive his autograph. I've never done something like this before - I'm not one to get starstruck, but I am happy I made the trip out this morning. The store was packed beyond belief, but it was a happy gathering. I took several pictures but Photobucket is throwing a hissy fit and won't load anything.

Jeff is out in Ohio today. He has been there all day and should be home around 11 tonight.
The kids and I went out to the hospital this afternoon to have lunch with him. After lunch, we hit a couple of stores for wrapping paper, tape and a new tabletop tree for the boys room.
I had hoped to start with Christmas decorating today but the hours slipped away. I did get all of the fall decorations put away, so at least I can start with a clean slate tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I think we are going to take a true day of rest and stay home from church. With Jeff working a 14 hour stint out in Ohio today and recuperating from controlled chaos, I think the family will benefit from some quiet downtime. Perhaps, if things go well, we can start getting the house ready for Christmas - beginning with our Jesus tree.

Our Jesus tree sits on the buffet in the dining room. It is decorated with Proclamation ornaments, a special gift from my very best friend (waving to Gina). I also need to get things ready for Advent. If I did things properly last year (ha!) - the candle wreath, candles and books should all be in the top box of the Christmas decorations.......

The mention of friendships reminds me of my super sweet friend, Mandy. She has the most darling family and we have become close through the years. I recently found out that her family will be moving down to the Nashville, TN area after the holidays. I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue their ministry work (her hubby is a youth/family pastor) but the selfish side of me is terribly sad to see them leave the area. Mandy, if you are reading, the boys would like for Presley to sing an arranged marriage agreement with one of them before the move. What do ya think? :: smile ::

Well, I've certainly rambled enough to confuse myself even further so I will sign off for the night.
I think my big ol' tub is calling my name, along with a good book.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a blessed day.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Menu...11/19 - 11/25

Breakfast: soft boiled eggs, toast sticks
Lunch: grilled cheese, tomato soup
Dinner: rice, beans, veggies
Treat: snickerdoodle cookies*

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. The cookies will puff up at first, and then flatten out with crinkled tops. Cool on racks.

Breakfast: cereal
Lunch: 7 layer casserole*, veggie sticks
Dinner: French toast, turkey bacon, fruit
Treat: cookies

7 Layer Casserole
from: Kim

1 c uncooked rice
1 c canned corn, drained
½ t salt
1/8 t pepper
8 oz can tomato sauce
½ c water
½ c onion, diced
½ c green bell pepper, diced
1 lb ground meat, lightly browned
½ t salt
1/8 t pepper
8 oz can tomato sauce
¼ c water
5 strips bacon, cut in half
½ c shredded cheese

Place ingredients in a 2 qt casserole dish in the order given. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Uncover, top with cheese and bake 30 minutes longer.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J sandwiches, pretzels, carrots
Dinner: white chili, salad
Treat: nothing planned

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: cereal
Lunch: cheese, crackers, angel eggs, veggie tray
Dinner: roast turkey, dressing, mashed taters, sweet taters, green beans, creamed onions, brussel sprouts, corn, cranberry relish, rolls, gravy
Treat: pumpkin pie, vanilla ice cream

Leftovers for the day

Breakfast: cream of wheat
Lunch: ?
Dinner: turkey ala king*, salad
Treat: cookies or pie

Chicken (or turkey) A La King
From: Kim

Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped
¾ c diced celery
¼ c diced green pepper
¼ c diced red pepper
1/3 c butter
¼ c flour
¾ t sugar
1-1/2 c chicken broth, low sodium
¼ c half and half
3 c cubed cooked chicken or turkey
1 can (4 oz) sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
6 slices of toast or biscuits

In a skillet, sauté the onion, celery and peppers in butter until tender. Stir in flour and sugar until paste forms. Gradually whisk in broth. Bring to a boil; boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Add cream, chicken and mushrooms (if using); heat through. Serve either over biscuits or toast.

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: nachos with red beans
Dinner: chop chop salad with turkey*
Treat: hot chocolate with marshmallows

Chop Chop Salad with Spicy French Dressing

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

*add shredded turkey or chicken for additional flavor

Friday, November 16, 2007

16 years ago...

I said, "I Do" to my very best friend. What a tremendous blessing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Menu Monday...11/12 - 11/18

Breakfast: hard boiled eggs, fruit
Lunch: sweet n spicey kielbasa*, buttered noodles
Dinner: Vball award dinner – potluck
Treat: nothing planned (there will plenty of sweets at the dinner)

Sweet and Spicy Kielbasa
From: Kim


½ - ¾ c brown sugar (depending on your taste preference)
8 TBS spicy mustard
1 small onion, diced
2 lbs. smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into bite size pieces

Combine sugar, mustard and onion in crock-pot; add meat. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Serves 6

*This makes a great appetizer for game day or served over buttered noodles for lunch

Breakfast: cereal, toast
Lunch: tuna salad, crackers, fruit
Dinner: chicken asopa*, salad
Treat: ice cream

Chicken Asopa
From: Food Network

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized cubes
2 t dried oregano
½ t black pepper
1 T paprika
½ t salt
5 T olive oil
3 ounces Canadian bacon, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 spicy turkey sausage, cut into ½ inch thick slices
¼ c pimiento stuffed olives, chopped
1 T capers
1 c long grain white rice
3 c chicken stock (or water)
½ c frozen peas

Toss chicken with oregano, pepper, paprika, salt and 2 T olive oil until coated. Brown chicken in skillet over medium high heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat remaining 3 T of oil in large pan. Add bacon and garlic; sauté until fragrant. Add the onion, and bell pepper; sauté until both are tender.
Add tomato, browned chicken, and sausage to skillet. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add olives, capers, rice and stock. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add peas and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Breakfast: baked oatmeal*
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: quick minestrone*, salad, rolls
Treat: nothing planned

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

Quick Minestrone
From: Kim

Serves 8

2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 TBS minced garlic
2 (32 oz) cans low-sodium vegetarian broth
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz) package of frozen green beans
1 tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp black pepper
2 (10 oz) boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
favorite rolls or bread

In large pot, over medium heat, bring the tomatoes and their liquid to a simmer; add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth, white beans, and kidney beans and bring to a simmer. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and spinach and stir until heated through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with bread or salad.

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: soft tacos, refried beans, rice, fruit
Treat: oatmeal cranberry cookies*

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
from : Two Peas

1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
2 cups quick oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tbsp orange zest
12 oz vanilla or white chocolate chip

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in oats, raisins, cranberries and zest. Stir in vanilla chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake cookies at 375ºF for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Breakfast: sunshine muffins*, yogurt
Lunch: PB&J sandwiches, apples, pretzels
Dinner: date night for our anniversary – kids will have pizza
Treat: coke floats

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, fruit
Lunch: nachos (using leftover meat from taco meal)
Dinner: teriyaki chicken with loads of veggies over brown rice
Treat: cookies

Teriyaki Chicken
From: Kim

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin pieces
¾ c water
½ c lite soy sauce
¾ c brown sugar
¼ t garlic powder
¼ t ground ginger
½ T cornstarch
1 T veg oil
hot cooked rice
assorted steamed veggies (broccoli, snow peas, carrots, celery, onions)

Combine water, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger; whisk well.
Marinate chicken in half of the sauce 2-3 hours, turning once. Stir in cornstarch into remaining sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens slightly. Cool to room temp.
Drain marinade off chicken and reserve a bit of marinade, throw the rest away. Stir fry chicken in oil until almost cooked through. Stir in reserved sauce and continue frying until done. Serve over hot rice and veggies, top with sauce.

Notes: double
Make extra sauce

Breakfast: pancakes, turkey bacon
Lunch: ?
Dinner: chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad
Treat: brownies

Chicken Fried Steak with Gravy
From: church cookbook

2 lbs round steak, cut about ½ inch thick and tenderized by the butcher (make sure pieces are quite thin)
salt and pepper to taste
2 large eggs
5 dashes of hot sauce (less or more to taste)
½ c flour
½ t garlic powder
2 c finely crushed saltine crackers
½ c olive oil

½ c flour
2 c milk
2-1/2 t Wor.sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Season each steak on both side with salt and pepper, rubbing it into the meat. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs together with hot sauce. Place the flour and garlic on a sheet of wax paper. On separate wax paper, place cracker crumbs. One at a time, dredge the steaks in the flour, then dip in the eggs, then coat with the crackers.
In large skillet, heat the oil over low heat. Add the steaks and cook slowly, turning them carefully once or twice. It will take about 25 minutes until the meat is full cooked through and crumbs coating is crisp. Transfer the meat to a heated platter, cover, and keep warm (in oven if necessary).
Make the gravy: Pour the oil remaining in the skillet through a sieve save 4 T and discard the rest. Return any cracklings from the sieve to the skillet along with the 4 T oil and set over low heat. Whisk the flour into the oil and cook, constantly stirring and scraping, for 2 minutes, or until mixture bubbled in the center. Gradually whisk in the milk and Wor. sauce and raise the heat slightly to bring the gravy to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, scraping the bottom of the pan, 6 minutes, or until the gravy is thick; season to taste to salt and pepper.
Arrange the steaks on a platter and present the gravy in a bowl. Serve immediately.

Note: a special treat

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.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

In honor of our brave and loyal servicemen/women, please consider a
donation to Unmet Needs or the USO.

No amount is too small.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Paige!

Happy Birthday, Paige!
You are a blessing to all who know you.
We love you, sweets.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Menu Monday: 11/5 - 11/11

Breakfast: steel cut oats
Lunch: leftovers from weekend
Dinner: chicken and dumplings*
Treat: vanilla orange freeze*

For the chicken and dumplings, I don’t have a typed out recipe. I need to get one in the system. Basically, I poach 1 whole chicken with garlic, onion, salt and pepper. I reserve the broth, skimming off the fat.

Once the chicken has cooled, I take all of the meat off and place back into the broth, along with 2 cups of water (give or take). I season the broth with parsley, salt, teeny bit of nutmeg and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Add cubed red potatoes, carrots, celery and onion. Simmer until veggies are tender, but not mushy. Mix 1/8 c cornstarch with ¼ c milk; swirl into simmering broth. Stir for 5 minutes. Add 1 bag of frozen peas and cover for 5 additional minutes.

Drop dumplings (basic dumpling recipe found in cookbook or on box of Bisquick) into broth, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

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.

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: PB&J sandwiches, veggie sticks, prezels
Dinner: red beans/rice with taco toppings
Treat: big batch cookies*

Big Batch Cookies

Adapted from Midwest Living

3 c flour
2 c old fashioned oats (not instant)
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ t cinnamon
2 t baking soda
½ t salt
2 c butter, softened
1 c chunky peanut butter
1 c sugar
1-1/2 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 t vanilla
2-1/2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter and peanut butter with mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add both sugars and beat until combined; scraping sides often. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in as much of the flour mixture as you can with mixer. Using a spoon, stir in remaining flour. Stir in chocolate chips/
Drop dough by rounded tsp 2 inches apart onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cook on sheet for 1 minute before removing to wire rack.

Makes 100-120 cookies

Breakfast: cream of wheat, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: ruby chicken (crockpot)*, broccoli, rolls
Treat: popsicles

Ruby Chicken

From: Cami

* 2 lb Chicken; pieces
* 1 md Onions; chopped
* 2 tb Oil
* 2 ts Salt
* 1 ts Pumpkin pie spice
* 1 can Orange juice, concentrated
* 2 ts Orange peel, grated
* 1 lb Cranberries
* 1 c Sugar

Add ingredients to crockpot. Cook 8-10 hours, till done. Serve over hot cooked rice or pasta.

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch: quesadillas, veggie sticks
Dinner: grilled pork chops, apple filled sweet potatoes*, salad
Treat: cookies

Apple Filled Sweet Potatoes

From: Sandi (Amazing Grace)

6 medium sweet potatoes
¼ c brown sugar
½ c butter
½ t grated orange peel
1 c peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apple
½ c chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 375
Prick sweet potatoes with fork and bake for 40 minutes, or until fork tender. Cut thin, lengthwise slice from top of each potato. Scoop out inside, leaving a thin shell. Set aside. In large mixer bowl, place potatoes and remaining ingredients except apple and pecans, beat at medium speed, scraping often until well mixed and no lumps remain. By hand, stir in apple and pecans. Place shells on cookie sheet and fill with mixture. Top with pecan halves if desired. Bake 15 minutes.

Friday - Paige's birthday...her meal choices
Breakfast: PB&J french toast sticks*
Lunch: undecided at this point
Dinner: burgers, fries, baked beans, green beans
Treat: chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream

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.

Breakfast: poached eggs, toast, sausage
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: veggie pasta toss*, salad, rolls
Treat: nothing planned

Vegetable Pasta Toss

From: Kim

1 lb short curly pasta (various types to choose from)
1 medium zucchini
1 large carrot
2 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 jarred roasted red pepper – drained, quartered and thinly sliced
2 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
1 cup vegetarian broth
1 cup milk
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 (15 oz) part skim ricotta cheese (1-1/2 cups)
1 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan will work in a pinch)
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried well

Cook pasta to al dente; drain. Reserve a ladle of cooking water before draining.

While the pasta cooks, halve the zucchini lengthwise, then thinly slice into half-moons. Peel the carrot and slice into thin strips; and then chop into small pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and carrot to the skillet. Cook the veggies for 3 minutes, tossing once, then add the onion and garlic to the pan. Season the veggies with salt and pepper and toss. When the onions are tender, about 5 minutes more, add the peas and red pepper and stir to heat through. Transfer the veggies to a large dish.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk in the broth and milk. Bring to a bubble and thicken the sauce by letting it reduce for 3 minutes; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Slide the veggies into the sauce.

Return the reserved ladle of pasta water to the pasta pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, stir in the ricotta, then add the grated cheese. Add the pasta with veggies and sauce, then toss to combine. Tear the basil and toss into the pasta. Serve with extra cheese on top (if desired).

Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: Moe’s
Dinner: salmon or tilapia (your choice)*, roasted veggies*, couscous
Treat: apple cake*

Ginger Salmon

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 pound salmon fillets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small bowl, blend olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard and ginger. Brush salmon fillets evenly with the olive oil mixture. Place in a medium baking dish. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the fish flakes easily with fork.

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.

Awesome Apple Cake

From: Kim

1 c canola oil
2 1/2 c flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
6 Granny Smith apples (about 1-1/2 lbs) – peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 c sugar
1/3 c orange juice
2 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 350
Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan . In a medium bowl, combine the 2-1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and 2 tsp cinnamon. In a large bowl, toss the apples with ¼ cup sugar, remaining cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat 1 cup of oil with the eggs, orange juice, vanilla and the remaining sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the flour in 2 batches, mixing until just combined. Add the apples and hand stir to combine. Transfer to the pan and bake until golden, about 80 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 40 minutes before removing it to a rack.

*I have made this with ½ cup applesauce ½ cup canola oil with success

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday catch-up

These are two of my very favorite Christmas CDs. I know what you are thinking, "Kim! Kenny Rogers, really?"

Yes, really. It is an album full of songs, devoted to our very best gift, Jesus. Also, in my opinion, this CD has the best rendition of Mary, Did You Know? (one of my top 3 favorite songs of all time).

Today is filled with house cleaning, kid care (more on that to follow) and baking. We will have Christmas music playing in the background. Jeff is out in Ohio today, helping a sister hospital with their lab practices. He will be home later this evening.

Yesterday we had to take our Jake to the doctor. He has been battling a cold for a few days and unfortunately, it all moved into his chest. I knew he needed a breathing treatment, but because it had been so long since this came up, we didn't have any medicine on hand. He was also running a fever, so off to the doctor.

She gave him a breathing treatment in the office and sent us home with 2 prescriptions and told Jake, "Listen buddy. I need for you to take it easy this weekend. No running around and bouncing off the walls, you hear me?"
I giggled and the doc looked over and said, "Yeh, I know. I just like to hear myself talk." She gave Jake a high five and told him, "You should feel better tomorrow but you finish all your medicine, okay? If you don't feel better by church day, have mom give me a call."

I really like our doctor. We've been seeing her for 5 years. She is a DO and sees the whole family, sans Jeff, who sees her partner, a male physician. She is just so 'real' and takes time with each appointment. She is a mom herself and relates beautifully with the kids.

Granted, we try to stay far away from the doctor office, but when it is necessary, I'm happy to have her on our side.

Speaking of doctor visits, I don't think I shared about Caleb's last cardio appointment? His visit went very well. All looks and sounds great. He had his medicine tapered down a tiny bit. If all goes well, they will slowly wean him off all medicine in 6 months. From there, it is a wait and see game. He may never have another SVT episode, but if he does, they will reassess the situation and consider surgery. For now, we are thankful for his strength and health. God is good.

With that, I will sign out for the day. Blessings to you.