Friday, February 22, 2008

"F" is for...Food Friday

Well this week has been crazy and my posting is falling behind again, but I wanted to make sure I at least did a recipe this week. I found this recipe from Heidi Swap (a famous scrapbooker) and had to give it a try. I made it for Christmas Eve dinner and it was delicious. I had intentions of making it this week, but we had way too much cake left over from Anali's birthday celebration. Any how I think this is a great cake all made from scratch....I have had a hard time finding a scratch cake recipe that I like. Give this a try, I promise you will not be disappointed. This makes a whole sheet cake so you will have plenty to take to neighbors, a pot luck or just indulge. The Mud Pie additions are also good, but I was a fan of just plain old chocolate.

1C. water
½ C. oil
½ C. margarine
2 C. Sugar
2 C. flour
1 tsp. soda
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ C. sour or buttermilk***
4 T. cocoa

In a saucepan, melt the marg(or butter) and mix in water, oil and cocoa. Bring to a boil, dissolving cocoa well. Remove from heat. Add sugar, flour and eggs and beat well. Dissolve soda in buttermilk, and mix in with vanilla. Bake in a 10x17 inch greased cookie sheet (the kind w/ sides) at 325 for 20 minutes.
***if you don’t have buttermilk, you can add ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to regular milk and let it stand for about 10 minutes to substitute.

1 lb powdered sugar
¼ C. cocoa
¼ C. milk
½ C. butter

Put all ingredients in saucepan. Stir well over medium heat until everything dissolves. Remove from heat and add 1 t. vanilla and frost while warm

Remove cake from oven and cover with mini-marshmallows and return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and wait just a couple minutes, then pour the frosting over all the top.

Out of a possible 5 'yums':

Monte rates this: (3) yums, It was not his favorite, but it helped his chocolate craving.

JoAnn rates this: (4) yums, It is all chocolate and very moist, what's not to love!

Anali rates this: (4.5) yums, not very crumb messy to eat and cake with brown icing is her favorite.

Aden rates this: (3) yums, he likes cake, but would rather have a cookie.

Avalon is unrated in the review.

Once again return next week as I just went to a "cooking show" and have a bunch of new fun recipes to try out and will be posting them in the weeks to come, on my installment of Food Friday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"F" is for...Food Friday

So I think I am going to try to talk about a new recipe on Fridays. We have been trying lots of new things at our house lately and I think this should be fun to see how our tastes change. The most recent thing we tried was Chicken Tortilla Soup. Now I must admit that I am not a big soup person, in fact Monte is really the only one I know that likes soup. We got the recipe out of the Sunday USA Today paper and the picture of the bowl of soup looked super yummy, so we had to give it a try. So I have to say this soup was AMAZING!!! I even ate it as leftovers, which I usually don't do. Here's the recipe and our family 'yum rating'.

READY IN: 40 Min
SERVINGS & SCALING: Original recipe yield: 8 servings

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (we used mexican flavored)
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions

In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in corn, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.
Leftover can be frozen and can be done in the crockpot if you wish.
Out of a possible 5 'yums':
Monte rates this: (4) yums, thought it could use some more spice
JoAnn rates this: (4.5) yums, I loved the cheesy goodness and tangy flavor.
Anali rates this: (.5) yums, we are lucky she tasted the broth
Aden rates this: (1) he took several bites and ate lots of chips
Avalon is unrated in the review.
I hope you enjoyed this installment of "Food Friday". Return next week when we review a "sweet" dessert.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

"L" is for...Love Day!

Were DOG-GONE Crazy about YOU!!!
I LOVE Valentines Day!!! Next to Christmas it is the best crafting day of the year. I had so much fun making the above Valentines with Anali for her PreSchool Class. I just think they are the cutest! She was such a little perfectionist with the placement of the the noses and eyes and I think she had fun, and if not she humoured me.
My favorite memory of Valentines day(and the week leading up to it) is that of my Grandma's Valentine Cookies. When I was little and starting school my Grandma used to make these Gigantic heart cookies. They had a lacey frosting around the edge, and my name boldy spelled in the middle. Every Valentines day from Kindergarten, and maybe before, clear up until my senior year my Grandma would ask for my Valentine list. She would then make a special oversized cookie for every person on the list. Teachers got an even bigger and more special cookie. Grandma did this for every Grandchild she had, and even hand delivered them to those who lived farther away. I think I once heard her say that she had made almost 600 cookies at one time.
It was quite the process. She worked on them for days and days. I remember walking down to her house and watching, sometimes even helping. Mostly I would sneak cookie dough and of course wanted to be there when she wrote the names of those in my class. Everyone that was ever in my class LOVED getting a extra large and oversized Valentine cookie. I was so proud to pass these out and I felt so special. I would love to carry on the same wonderful tradition, but thanks to the "no baking" rules at schools they have totally ruined it for me.
I just wanted to take a little trip down memory lane.
My Grandma is such a wonderful, selfless and talented person and I miss not seeing her more. I espicially miss her around Valentines day and other holidays that she has made special traditions for. Today would be perfect if I had a hand delivered Valentine cookie from Grandma. I guess I will have to attempt baking these special cookies once agian this year. Happy Valentines Day Grandma Parrish, we Love You!!! Thanks for making heart day so special for me each and every year. Your the greatest!!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"D" is for...Deep Water

So what do you do when you are 4 and 2 and locked in the house for days on end? PRETEND!

Three is the number of days my house has been full of "deep water". Two is the number of beaches we have in our house. One is the number of outfits that the kids have worn for 3 solid days. One is also the number of water guns defending the "deep water". Thier imaginations are in full swing!! My living room has been turned into the deep ocean, complete with bad guys, mermaids, sharks, superman, sun, boats, a beach and of course a water gun. I am amazed that a little boy and girl wearing swimming suits and one play gun can be entertainment for 3 solid days.
Aden has developed a new lazer vision used for fighting bad guys in the deep water. He calls it "power eyes"! This is Aden's spin on Superman's heat vision. This action is being used for every single thing now days and looks something like below, with a sssssppppppp sound attatched to it.

In the last three days I have walked into the living room and been grabbed by a shark attacking me. I have also been saved from drowning by Superman. I have been able to sun bathe on the beach while watching kids jumping into the water. All this in the dead of winter!!! Now if only I had a tan.My favorite thing about this is that Anali and Aden are finding out how great it is to be brother and sister. I also love that they get up each morning planning thier day at the beach and go straight from thier PJ's to swim suits. I love that Aden has at least 5 other suits, but he picks the one that is too small for him and constantly pulls it down so it will cover his belly. I love that they have such imaginations. I love that they know how to play so nice together. I love that Anali and Adens swim suits match! But most of all I love that they LOVE each other!!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

"J" is for...John Deere Tractor

The good saying goes "Nothing runs like a Deer but smells like a John" and Aden could care less. He thinks that John Deere may well be the best thing in the world!!! Last year on my quest to find Aden a lawnmower for his birthday, I went to the local John Deere dealership in hopes that they had a toy section. What I found was a whole lot more!!! Not only did they have a toy section, but they had a whole store full of "real" lawnmowers. Some were push mowers, riding mowers and even some smaller tractors.....needless to say a little boys dream. Since this day last year we have made many visits to the John Deere Dealership.
Most mornings start off with Aden announcing that he wants to go to the "lawnmowerererer store". Once he gets that in his head, not many things will distract him. So off to the lawnmower store we go. I know the salesmen think I am nuts, but they let us have the run of the store and have not asked us to leave yet, which I am thankful for. I can't think of a better place to take kids on a snowy day. It's warm, clean and mostly germ free!
Aden is now able to locate the gas tank on every model. He loves climbing on and off each model and moving to the next, taking in every button and feature. After he gets off each lawnmower he will proudly announce "Me want that one". The funniest thing of it all is that at the back of the store sits plenty of wonderful John Deere Toys, which he will have nothing to do with. Aden is all boy thats for sure!!! It is only a matter of time before we actually come home with a John Deere and if Aden had his way it would be sooner rather than later!

"F" is for...Frosty the Snowman

Due to the recent snow storms that have kept us home from work and school we decided to make it into a fun time and this is the result.
They were finally able to put to good use the Snowman kit that I made for them. I had so much fun making the kits (I made a total of 12 for Christmas gifts) that I only hope they had as much fun using it. I think it made the building of a snowman a little more fun, if I do say so myself. All three kids have a great time in the snow. That would be Monte, Anali and Aden. They have spent many hours shoveling snow and Aden has even gotten out his dear old friend the lawnmower and "snow mowered" the back yard. We only wish that the snow was more snow man building friendly (it is always to light and fluffy) and that the tempature reached above zero. The last week has been down right miserable!!! We are all going a little stir crazy and need some fresh air that doesn't freeze your spit when you open your mouth. Until the weather cooperates so that we can enjoy the out of doors once again, we will continue using our imaginations inside and try to stay warm.