Monday, December 31, 2007

Good-bye 2007


I pray 2008 is filled with joy, love, prosperity and an
eager heart to do His will.
God Bless.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Adore Him


"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Prepare your heart




"Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me."
Luke 1:46-49

Monday, December 17, 2007

No posted menu this week

Sorry. Please, check back next week!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Careful what you wish for....

Well, that snow showed up in a big way. We are under a snow emergency for the whole county. Basically, that means, no travel unless you are driving to work or are an emergency vehicle. All churches have closed.

Fortunately, we are all home safe and warm. We are going to play Ticket to Ride, wrap Christmas presents, eat cookies, make a snowman and watch corny holiday movies.

By the way, you haven't laughed until you watch a basset hound run in snow. His legs are so short, he is nearly buried in the backyard, but he just seems to love the challenge. At one point, he ran toward the deck but stopped midway looking very confused -- not understanding that the deck is completely buried in snow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


We are under a winter storm watch today and tomorrow. The snow has just begun to fall.
If the reports are correct, we should see about 14 inches by tomorrow. See that little purple tip that comes down into Indiana? That is right around us.

Yay.

Today we are having a couple people from church over to make sugar cookies. I expect sprinkles, frosting and dough to cover the island and tables in mere moments. Good times.

Oh, the nativity play by the kids? The cutest darn thing I have seen in a very long time. They really did do a great job with it, right down to Bible reading and singing. It will be my fondest memory of Christmas 2007.

Stay warm and be blessed!
:-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

A quiet afternoon.

It's a relatively quiet afternoon. We finished lessons early and the kids ran upstairs to read and plan a surprise for Jeff and I. Due to the loud whispering and giggling, it won't be much of a surprise (but I will put on my game face). They are going to re-enact the birth of Jesus for Jeff & I after our Advent reading this evening. Can you stand it!?

There are bed sheets, baby dolls, pillows, boxes and hay (we had a bit left over from fall decorations) all over the place. Bailey, the old and deaf cocker spaniel, is playing a black lamb, begrudgingly. He keeps escaping from the room and running to my side. Baxter, the goofy hound, is playing a cow from what I can tell. I guess his round belly made him a shoe-in for the part? Indy, the hyper kitten, will be playing himself, cause cats are too cool to do anything else, you know? He has been reprimanded a few times for falling asleep on the job though.

The kids are talking over one another. I can't tell who is who but Emily is definitely the director, much to the annoyance of her little sister, Grace. I can't wait to see the show later this evening. It will be one for the memory books, I'm sure!

In other news, I keep hearing the 'crack plop' of icicles falling off of the house. We have been hit with quite a bit of ice. More is expected this evening. I would rather drive through a blizzard than deal with ice. It's not fun.

The kids have tumbled down the stairs in search of hot chocolate. That sounds good. I think I will join them.

Monday menu......12/10 - 12/16

Monday
Breakfast: oatmeal, fruit
Lunch: leftovers from weekend
Dinner: chili, cornbread, veggie sticks
Treat: popsicles


Cornbread

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



Tuesday
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast, fruit
Lunch: turkey sandwiches, veggie sticks, chips
Dinner: jambasta, salad
Treat: honey peach freeze

Jambasta

Adapted from Rachel Ray

salt
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
¾ lb boneless, skinless chicken, diced
¾ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, 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.


Honey Peach Freeze

From: Taste of Home, Best of

1 package (20 oz) frozen sliced peaches, partially thawed
¼ c honey
2 T orange juice
1 T lemon juice

Set aside a few peach slices for garnish if desired. Place remaining peaches in a blender; add honey and juices. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into 4 freezer-proof dishes. Freeze for at least 2 hours; remove 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: double


Wednesday
Breakfast: yogurt, toast
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Doug’s famous chicken, couscous, broccoli
Treat: nothing planned

Doug’s Famous Crockpot Chicken

From: cooks.com

1 whole chicken (or 2 pounds full leg pieces)
1 16 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 12 oz can black eyed peas
½ T rosemary
½ T minced garlic
½ T salt
1 T pepper

Wash peas and place into crockpot with undrained tomatoes and all spices. Mix well and add chicken.
Place crockpot on high for one hour and turn down to low for 5 hours.
When taking the chicken out, be sure to use large spoon; chicken will be very tender.
Serve with rice or pasta.



Thursday
Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: chicken noodle soup (frozen from previous meal)
Dinner: German apple pancake, turkey bacon, oranges
Treat: hot chocolate with candy canes and marshmallows

German Apple Pancake

From: Kim (adapted from Cooking from Quilt Country)
Serves 6

This is a favorite with the family. I serve it for breakfast or dinner, along with ham or turkey bacon.

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.


Friday
Breakfast: cream of wheat
Lunch: PB&J, veggie sticks, pretzels
Dinner: beef provencal, egg noodles, green beans, rolls
Treat: ice cream


Beef Provencal

From: Cooking Light

2 tsp olive oil
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (2 pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
1-1/2 t salt, divided
½ t black pepper, divided
1 c red wine
2 c chopped carrot
1-1/2 c chopped onion
½ c beef broth (I use low sodium)
1 T tomato paste
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
1 t chopped fresh thyme
dash of ground cloves
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
3 cups hot cooked egg noodles (about 4 cups uncooked pasta)
chopped fresh parsley – optional

Preheat oven to 300.
Heat olive oil in a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add garlic to pan; cook for 5 minutes; stirring often (do not burn). Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan. Sprinkle beef with ½ t salt and ¼ t pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, remaining salt/pepper, carrots, and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; bring to boil.
Cover and bake at 300 for 2-1/2 hours until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles. Garnish with parsley.

Note: To make in slow cooker, prepare as above, omitting ½ c beef broth. Cook on high for 5 hours.



Saturday
Breakfast: pancakes
Lunch: ?
Dinner: tilapia, oven roasted veggies, salad
Treat: coconut cranberry macaroons

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.

Coconut Cranberry Macaroon
From: Food TV

2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3 cups (about 8 ounces) finely shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk the sugar, egg whites, cranberry, orange zest, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Toss the coconut with the egg mixture until completely coated.
Moisten your finger tips with water. Form about 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter into pointed mounds or pyramids on the prepared pans, spacing them about 1-inch apart.
Bake until the edges are golden brown and the entire macaroon is nicely toasted and dry, 16 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.
Store macaroons in a tightly sealed container for up to a week.


Sunday
Breakfast: baked oatmeal
Lunch: Moe’s
Dinner: crockpot roast w/ veggies, rolls
Treat: cookies

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

Monday, December 03, 2007

Menu Monday ....12/3 - 12/9

Monday
Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: chicken noodle soup (frozen/thawed from previous meal)
Dinner: taco soup*, cucumber/carrot slices, chips
Treat: coconut crisps* (start holiday baking)

Taco Soup
Adapted from Food TV

2 pounds ground turkey (or cooked shredded chicken)
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.


Coconut Crisps
From: New Recipes from Quilt Country

1 c butter, at room temp.
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 t almond extract
2 c flour
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
2 c flaked coconut
additional sugar, for sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325. In mixer bowl, beat together the butter slightly and gradually add the sugar. Add the egg & extracts; combine. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; then add to the egg mixture, combing thoroughly. Add the coconut and mix well.

Using a heaping TBS, drop the dough onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each cooking with a bit of sugar. Then using the bottom of a sugar coated glass, press the cookie lightly to about 3/8 inch thickness (they will rise slightly during baking).

Bake 12-15 minutes and do not allow to brown. Remove to rack to cool and store in tightly covered tin or freeze

Note: Jeff’s favorite --- great with hot cocoa


Tuesday
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast, oranges
Lunch: ham sandwiches, apples, pretzels
Dinner: swiss steak*, mashed potatoes, green beans
Treat: make dough (and freeze) for snickerdoodles* (make 1 dz. today)

Swiss Steak
From: Paula Deen

1 round steak (approximately 1 1/2 pounds), see note
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, cut into strips
1 medium bell pepper, cut into strips

Cut steak into serving-size pieces. Season, to taste, with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Dust meat with flour. In heavy skillet, brown both sides of meat in vegetable oil. Transfer to Dutch oven. Combine garlic, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and 1 tomato-can measure of water. Pour over steak and simmer over low heat until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours adding water, if necessary to keep meat partially covered. Season, to taste, with additional salt and pepper. Hint: Cook this in a slow-cooker, according to manufacturers instructions, on low for a most fabulous dinner. Low heat on a slow cooker is about 200 degrees F and high heat on a slow cooker is about 300 degrees F.
Note: to ensure tenderness, it is necessary to have the butcher run the round steak through a cuber.

Snickerdoodles
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.


Wednesday
Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: crockpot enchilada casserole, salad
Treat: make dough for oatmeal cranberry* cookies (make 1 dz today)

Crockpot Enchilada Casserole
From: Kim

2 cans diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ t ground red pepper
¼ t cumin
½ t salt
2 cans tomato paste
22 corn tortillas
2 lb ground turkey, browned and drained
1-1/2 c Monterey cheese, shredded
1-1/2 c medium cheddar cheese, shredded

In a food processor, blend tomatoes and their liquid with onion and garlic. Pour into medium sized saucepan. Add pepper, salt, cumin, and paste and blend again.
Place a few tortillas on bottom of the crockpot. Add 1/3 of the meat, 1/3 of the sauce, and 1/3 of the cheese – repeat layer two more times.
Cook for 6 hours.


Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
from : LeeAnne

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.



Thursday
Breakfast: yogurt, toast, fruit
Lunch: PB&J sandwiches or leftovers
Dinner: pan bbq chicken*, sweet potato wedges, broccoli, rolls
Treat: make dough for jam thumbprints (bake 1 dz for today)


Fry Pan BBQ Chicken
From: Kim

1/3 cup olive oil
6-8 pieces of chicken (breasts and legs work best)
1 c flour
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp pepper
1 c ketchup
½ c brown sugar
1 small onion, diced
2 TBS Worchestershire sauce
¼ c vinegar (cider or white)
2 TBS prepared mustard
¼ c water

Preheat skillet and add oil. In large plastic bag, combine flour, salt, chili powder and pepper. Add chicken and shake well. Place in skillet. Fry until golden brown. In separate pan, heat ketchup, sugar, onion, worch sauce, mustard, vinegar and water to boiling; simmer. Pour sauce over chicken and simmer for 45 minutes.

*You can bake this chicken as well. When chicken is half done on the stovetop, place in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake at 350 until chicken is cooked through (time will vary depending on cuts of meat).

This sauce is wonderful with biscuits or fried potatoes.



Friday
Breakfast: gingerbread waffles*, fruit
Lunch: quesadillas, veggie sticks
Dinner: Jeff’s work Christmas party – kids will have pizza
Treat: nothing planned

Gingerbread Waffles
From: Rachel Ray

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, plus some to butter the iron
Syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruits for topping, to pass at table

Preheat waffles iron.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses and melted butter. Stir the wet into dry until just moist. Do not overstir the waffle batter. Brush the iron with a little melted butter and cook 4 waffles, 4 sections each. Serve with toppings of choice.



Saturday
Breakfast: poached eggs, turkey bacon, fruit
Lunch: ?
Dinner: salmon, brown rice, broccolini/beans*
Treat: popsicles or pudding

Roast Broccolini and Beans
From: Rachel Ray

2 bunches broccolini, trimmed
1 pound string beans, trimmed
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425. On a baking sheet, toss the veggies and garlic with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until crisp at the edges, 15-18 minutes.


Sunday
Breakfast: cereal, fruit
Lunch: Subway
Dinner: hamburgers, sunny carrots*, baked beans, fruit
Treat: apple crisp*

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.


Apple Crisp

2/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans, toasted, chopped
Pinch fine salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
4 medium baking apples, such as Braeburn, Rome, or Golden Delicious,
Unsweetened whipped cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter 6 (6-ounce) ramekins.
Whisk the oats, flour, brown sugar, pecans, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it is in even, pea-size pieces. Peel, core, and coarsely chop the apples and divide evenly among the ramekins. Scatter the crisp topping evenly over the fruit in each ramekin.
Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and cook until the fruit bubbles around the sides and the top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Preheat a broiler. Place the crisps about 4 inches from the broiler and cook until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with whipped cream, if using.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First day of Advent



What a joyous time. We lit the first candle for Advent this evening, right after dinner. There are many books and websites available for those interested.
We use Christ in Christmas for our family devotional time.

"O Come Let Us Adore Him"