Monday, March 31, 2008

Exciting news!

Just wanted to tell everyone that I am pregnant! I am almost 12 weeks and have heard the heart beat twice! HURRAY!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Youth Conference

My husband and I are in charge of our ward youth conference that is in a month. We have a group of youth helping plan and some other people. We finally decided on a theme of Survivor. We are trying to think of workshops and activities to go along with it and it is not working out so well. Please help me with ideas. It is getting to be crunch time and I am going crazy. You are all creative I am sure you have ideas.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

What are your views on guns?

I very much dislike guns... which makes life interesting as far as Scott's job goes! Scott carrying his weapon at all times has taken quite a bit of getting use to for me. To this day, I have still never held any of his weapons... I know I need to get over my fear of guns, and learn to use them and be safe around them, especially if I want to teach my children gun safety.

I've always planned to not have toys guns in our home as I'm a firm believer that guns are anything but toys. Now though, my thoughts on how to handle guns have changed quite a bit since we have several in our home. From an early age, Cecelia and future children will participate in gun safety courses, they will go out shooting with their dad so they know how to properly use a gun and also so they learn not to be scared of them the way I am!! I want them to learn respect for guns and I want it to be very well understood that they are not to EVER touch the guns in our home without their father around. (FYI- we have a gun safe at our house and one at my in laws. Our gun safe travels with us, and we never leave the gun out in the open, even for a moment)

I'm wondering what your view are on guns? Do you or will you allow your children to play with toy guns? Do you have guns in your homes? What are you/have you taught your children when it comes to guns and gun safety?

Home Decor Ideas

I'm looking for a little inspiration. I'm starting to feel like lots of the home decor in my lil' apartment is getting old, you know what I mean? I'm getting sort of bored with it and am looking to change things up a bit. There are, however, a few limitations, the main one being cost.

So, do you have any decorations or craftiness in your home that you absolutely LOVE and want to share with others? I found this idea on another website and I love, love, love it. Who needs a headboard when you can get cute mirrored frames like that? Next time I'm near IKEA, I'm going to make sure to purchase those babies (only $1.99 each!)

Break out the camera and snap a few shots of some decorating ideas in your homes. I'd love to see them, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Big projects or small, post 'em!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Workout Music

So we finally replaced my broken iPod and I'm now looking to download some new songs to workout to... What are your favourite songs to listen to when you are working out? I'm looking for upbeat and motivating!! Thanks for your help!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Coupon - save 40% all CDs in Barnes and Noble Stores

My friend just forwarded me an email with a coupon to get 40% off every CD in Barnes & Noble stores. No limits!!! The coupon expires March 30.

I am not sure if this link will work.

If it doesn't work, leave a comment with your email and I'll forward it to you!

Good for a Laugh

My sister-in-law put this on her blog and its SO TRUE! I figure that you ladies would enjoy it!! :)

What Do You Do All Day?

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still In their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the
front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She again smiled and answered, "You know everyday when you come home from work and you ask me what in
the world I do all day?"


"Yes," was his incredulous reply.


She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Biting Child.

My son is turning into a horrible biter. He used to only bite my husband and me but he has started to bite other people and children included. It is driving me crazy. I have read some different literature on biting and it's not because he is hungry or even angry, which is what they suggest. It is always random. I do not know what to do. I have tried flicking his mouth and putting him in his bed but it is not working. He almost made me bleed from biting me yesterday and I have a bad bruise. I don't know what to do to make this stop! I need help and suggestions. Has anyone been through this before?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wednesday Weekly

What is the worst injury you have ever had?

Book request

For adults that is...I know we've had this question in the past, but I'm looking for books that people have read lately (or awhile ago) that are really great, favorites, etc. I am going on a little getaway with my hubby soon, and I am planning on doing lots of reading on the plane, airport, by the pool, etc., a luxury I don't usually have time for. I plan to go to the library before we leave, but I hate picking random books that I know nothing about. I may not get another chance like this for years to come, so spare me the "just okay" books you've read lately and tell me the ones you couldn't put down!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Christ-centered Easter

I liked the answers in February's Ensign Q&A that had ideas about how to have a gospel-centered Easter rather than an Easter Bunny-centered one.  I was actually going to find the article from Tales that they posted last year that had great ideas like having a Spring Day for chocolate and Easter for Christ.  But they already reposted it, so go check it out! One of these years, I'll actually get it together and do it!  :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Baby Shower Games

I need your help, ladies. I did a few baby shower games in October, but am interested in some new ideas. I'll take all ideas, but I'll admit that I like things that are fun and creative yet SIMPLE. By simple I mean, not much preparation on my part. hee hee
Thanks in advance!

Freebie on Tales from the Crib

Check out this freebie on Tales from the Crib. I've seen this cute product in action and it's really fabulous for your kids. You have to make a comment by Saturday at midnight!

The Golden Books

When I asked about children's books one person replied that they love the Golden books. Well for those of you who are looking for inexpensive children's books check out your local Walmart. Yesterday at my Walmart they had many of the Golden Books and they were only $2.50! That is a steal of a deal. If you want a really good one my very favorite is The Monster at the End of This Book. Just wanted to let everyone know.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Coupons, coupons, coupons....

So I am wondering if some of you coupon cutters could enlighten me. I really think that clipping coupons can really help your grocery bill, however, I am in the search to find a way to organize them and use them effectively and efficiently. Currently, I have two Sunday papers coming to my house and I cut out the coupons that I will actually use and store them in plastics in a binder according to their category. The problem is that when I go to use them at the grocery store, I have so many that I end up feeling frustrated that I don't have them more organized so they are easier and quicker to use.

Do any of you utilize coupons and have a method that works for you? They say that groceries are one of a families biggest expenses, so i am hoping to find a way to use coupons and save, save, save!

VOTE FOR CECELIA!!!!!

I've entered Cecelia into a baby photo contest hosted by a local radio station. Its called Baby Idol 2008. The Grand Prize is $2500 (yay college fund!) and the title of Cutest Baby In The Valley!

I would LOVE for Cecelia to win, so I need all my blogging buddies to help me out! Go to http://www.mix969.com/pages/babyidolvoting.html?feed=258884&article=3427876 to vote. Find Cecelia on the page of photos (she's baby #88), click on the radio button below her photo then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on vote. The radio buttons will then disappear. You are allowed one vote per day. Please, PLEASE vote, and feel free to tell anyone and everyone you know to vote also. I'd love for you to post this on your own blogs, facebook, myspace... anything you can do to get the word out would be great!!

LAST RECIPE BOOK CATEGORY!

Whoops!! I forgot about the last recipe category. Contributions have been smaller in number this year, let's get a lot of recipes for this last category! Since I posted it late, feel free to post through next week too.

Grab bag!! (your FAVE desserts, breads, appetizers, breakfast recipes, etc.)

Wednesday Weekly

What is your favorite beverage?

72 hour kit

I was looking at 72 hour kit ideas after I read Linds' post. I found this specific meal plan and thought it was cool so I decided to share it.

Breakfast-Day 1 Breakfast-Day 2 Breakfast-Day 3
--------------- --------------- ---------------
Cereal Instant Oatmeal Granola Bar
Powdered Milk Fruit Roll Granola Bar
Fruit Cup Box of Apple Juice Box of Grapefruit Juice
Box of OJ Hot Cocoa/Ice Tea Hot Cocoa/Ice Tea

Lunch-Day 1 Lunch-Day 2 Lunch-Day 3
----------- ----------- -----------
Cup of Soup Beef Jerky Box of OJ
Saltine Crackers Peanuts Cheese & Crackers
Box of Apple Juice Applesauce Cup Fruit Cup
Pudding Cup Box of Grape Juice Granola Bar

Dinner-Day 1 Dinner-Day 2 Dinner-Day 3
------------ ------------ ------------

Corned Beef Hash Chili with Beans Beef Stew
Applesauce Cup Saltine Crackers Bread Sticks
Box of Grape Juice Box of OJ Box of OJ
Granola Bar Tapioca Pudding Cup Fruit Cup

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Last Call: March Madness

Any takers on the Sugar and Spice March Madness bracket competition?? We've got to have some college basketball fans on here SOMEWHERE!! Let me know ASAP!

food in 72 hour kit

What do you have in your 72 hour kit in terms of food?

April's Book

I've really been doing some serious thinking about the book to choose for April, but I think I'm going to have to go with Pope Joan. I didn't know anything about it when a friend of mine suggested it and it took me a while to actually pick it up and read it but I'm so glad I did! I couldn't put it down. So, hopefully you can all get your hands on it and read it for next month! Thanks for picking me, Liz!

Monday, March 17, 2008

She's not just a picky eater...

Sometimes she doesn't eat at all!!! AAAarrrrghhhhh! My almost 18 mos old has gone from being a great eater to literally not touching her food the majority of the time! I'm going crazy. Tonight we were both in tears by the end of the meal. It's so frustrating putting the time and effort into preparing nutritious meals for her, and she literally won't even take a bite. I know I probably have the first-time mom syndrome going on, so I need those of you with older children and multiple children to tell me it's just a phase, they grow out of it, and my child isn't going to starve to death or lose a bunch of weight, be malnutritioned, etc. She LOVES milk, and would drink it all day long if I let her. So I know she's at least getting fat and calories. But it would be nice if she actually ate something as well. Make me feel better please!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

where are my fellow LOST junkies??

So, my husband hasn't been keeping up on LOST and so I have no one to talk about it!!! So there aren't spoilers for any fans who aren't up to date, I'll post some comment questions that maybe you can help me with!

crib to bed

How old was your babe(s) when they moved from their crib to a bed?

Friday, March 14, 2008

going away presents

We're moving soon and I'm trying to figure out what to do for my daughter's babysitter and family.  This woman has taken care of my little girl for over a year and a half two days a week and loved her like she was her own.  Her three girls think of my daughter as their sister.  I want to do something nice to thank them and show them how much they mean to us but of course, we're moving, things are tight right now.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

candles

I burn candles a lot, mostly to get food smells out of my kitchen. When I have piano students over, I don't want them to have to smell my dinner. Plus, I don't want to smell what I cooked for dinner the previous night when I wake up in the morning. Anyway, I love Yankee Candles, and I usually purhcase them when I can buy one and get one free. I'm wondering if there are more affordable options out there where the candles actually release enough scent to get other smells out. Some of the generic candles I have just don't do the trick. Any suggestions? There was a post about Scentsy awhile back. I thought those sounded cool, but I assumed that it was a type of room fragrance that was continuous. Am I right about that? I don't necessarily want something that will always be releasing its fragrance, just something I can use like after dinner.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wednesday Weekly

Bethany VH had a question to ask this week:

Do you like to rearrange furniture?

Speaking of Bethany, congratulations to both Bethany's on their new baby boys!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Vegetarian Entrees

I could very easily be vegetarian! Most of my favourite recipes are meatless, or can be made without meat. Unfortunately, Scott is very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so we compromise. I get a few meatless dishes every week. I'm posting a BUNCH of recipes, so be prepared for a long post! I'd post them throughout the week, but we'll be out of town, so you get them all in one big post. Enjoy!!


Easy, Easy Stuffed Shells

4 cups (16 oz) shredded mozzerella cheese
1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 package (12 oz) jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
1 jar (28 oz) pasta sauce

Combine cheeses and spinach, stuff into shells. Arrange in a greased baking dish. Pour sauce over shells. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

** To easily drain jumbo shells, lift each one out of the water with tongs or a slotted spoon. Pour out any water and drain on lightly greased wax paper until you are ready to stuff them.


Black Bean Burgers

1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
¼ cup each minced onion, green pepper, carrots and celery
2/3 cup drained black beans, white kidney (cannelloni) beans or red kidney beans
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs

In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tsp of the oil. Add onion, pepper, carrot and celery. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and moisture has evaporated (about 1 minute). Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash beans. Stir in egg then add bread crumbs and vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Shape into 4 equal patties. Set patties on a plate, cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.

In a skillet heat 1 tsp of remaining oil. Add 2 patties cook over medium heat, turning once, until browned on both sides and heated through. Remove patties to plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining oil and 2 patties.

Serve as you would beef burgers, with lettuce and tomatoes on a hamburger bun.

**Variations- for extra spice, add cilantro and jalepeno
** I use Bush's Seasoned Black Beans when I make these... Very, very yummy!



Bean Gazpacho

4 cups cooked dried pinto beans (or canned- rinsed and drained)
1 quart tomato juice
3-4 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
16 ounce thick and chunky salsa (mild or medium)
1 cup peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
1 cup thin sliced celery
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tsp minced roasted garlic
½ small avocado, peeled & chopped

Process 2 cups of beans, tomato juice, lime juice and Worcestershire sauce in food processor or blender. Pour into large bowl Mix in remaining beans and remaining ingredients, except avocado. Refrigerate until chilled, 3-4 hours.

Carefully mix avocado into soup and pour into bowls.

**Yummy served with Herb Croutons & Avocado Sour Cream


Avocado Sour Cream

½ medium avocado, peeled, pitted & chopped
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and season with salt and pepper


Herbed Croutons


3 cups firm or day old bread, cubed (French or Italian bread works best, cut into ½- ¾ inch cubes)
Butter flavoured or olive oil cooking spray
Desired herbs… basil, tarragon, oregano, savoury, rosemary, etc

Spray bread cubes with cooking spray. Arrange in a single layer on a cooking pan. Sprinkle with desired herbs. Bake at 375 degrees until browned, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.



Broccoli Cheese Soup


4 cups water
1 small pkg frozen broccoli
1 lb velvetta cheese, cubed
4 cubes chicken bouillon
2 cans cream of chicken soup

Boil water. Add broccoli & bouillon. Reduce heat, add cubed cheese and chicken soup. Simmer on low until cheese melts, stirring frequently.

**Serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese on top and fresh bread or rolls.



Creamy Broccoli Soup

2 cups water
4 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
½ cup chopped onion
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 tsp onion salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt

Bring water to a boil in soup pot. Add broccoli, celery & carrots; boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain & set vegetables aside.

In the same pot, sauté onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually add broth & milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, boil & stir for 1 minute. Add vegetables & remaining ingredients. Reduce heat, cover & simmer 30-40 or until vegetables are tender.

**For extra flavour, add 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley before simmering.
**Yummy variation: add a couple of cubed potatoes to the boiled vegetables.



Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash, halved
lengthwise and seeded
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 Tbsp sliced black olives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

* Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
* Place spaghetti squash cut side down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
* Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warm
* Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with sautéed vegetables, feta cheese, olives and basil.
Serve warm.



Stuffed Picnic Loaf


1 round loaf of bread, about 9 inches around and 4 inches high
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp pesto
2 large red onions
2 large red bell peppers
2 large zucchini
8 oz soft goat cheese, diced
12 large basil leaves
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Cut a large circle out of the top of the loaf of bread. Set the circle aside as it will later be used as the lid of the sandwich. Carefully scoop out most of the bread, leaving behind a crusty shell.
In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and the pesto. Spread half of this mixture around the inside of the bread shell and on the inside of the lid. Set aside.

Cut the onion into thin wedges and brush with a bit of the remaining olive oil. Grill either outdoors or on a stovetop grill pan (the George Foreman works well too!) for 10 minutes on either side, or until very tender. Set aside to cool.

Cook the peppers the same way for about 15 minutes, or until blackened all over. Place the peppers in a paper bag and let cool. Once cool, peel away the skin then cut into quarters and discard the seeds. Set aside.

Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1 inch slices. Brush the slices with the oil and grill as above for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred and softened. Set aside to cool.
Allow all the vegetables to cool thoroughly, then arrange the vegetables in layers inside the loaf, then put the goat cheese and pesto in the middle, before arranging the rest of the vegetables on top. Sprinkle with any remaining oil, top with the basil leaves, salt and pepper to season then replace the lid.

Wrap the entire loaf in plastic wrap and set on a plate. Top with a cutting board or another plate.

Place a heavy can or jar on top of the cutting board and refrigerate overnight.

Cut sandwich into wedges to serve, and enjoy!



Taco Soup


Olive oil or canola oil
1 or 2 cans chopped green chilis
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 oz) small white beans or kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (28 oz) peeled, cut tomatoes
1 can (14 ½ oz) hominy or corn, drained
2 Tbsp Salsa
2-3 cups water

In a large kettle, sauté onion & chilis in oil for about 3 minutes. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheddar cheese & sour cream.



Twice Cooked Spaghetti


6 oz spaghetti
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch
1/3 cup water
½ tsp curry powder
3 Tbsp cooking oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 medium onion, sliced
½ cup chopped broccoli
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup shredded carrots
1 Tbsp cooking oil
3 cups shredded cabbage

Cook noodles, rinse in cold water & drain well. Stir soy sauce into corn starch. Stir in water and curry powder. Set aside.

Heat wok over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil. Add ½ the noodles and stir fry 7-9 minutes or until light brown. Remove to a plate. Repeat, adding another Tbsp oil and remaining noodles. Remove to plate.

Add another Tbsp oil to the wok. Stir fry garlic for 30 seconds. Add onion and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add broccoli, stir frying for 2 minutes then add mushrooms and carrots for 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce mixture, cook & stir until thick and bubbly, then for 2 minutes more. Stir in noodles, heat through, remove from wok and keep warm.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to wok. Stir fry cabbage for 3 minutes or until crisp tender. Serve noodles on a bed of stir fried cabbage.

**Can be used as a main dish, or a yummy side for grilled chicken.
**Yummy variation- add grilled chicken strips to mixture when combining vegetables and noodles.



Tomato Basil Toss

¼ cup chopped onion (app. 1 medium onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
2 cans Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp fresh basil or 2-3 tsp dried basil
Cooked pasta

Saute onion, garlic and olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Simmer together.

Toss with cooked pasta of choice.

I haven't had much to contribute this round-I feel like I already gave my faves last time. But here's a few for this week's category:


Lasagna Margherite (off one of the online recipe sites, I don't remember which!)

26 oz jar tomato basil pasta sauce
15 oz carton ricotta cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
6 (I use a few more) lasagna noodles
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh basil

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in an 8 in square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine ricotta, 1/3 cup basil, pepper, and salt. Arange 2 noodles over sauce, top with ricotta mixture and 3/4 cup sauce. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Cover and bake at 450 for 25 minutes or until noodles are tender and sauce is bubbly. Uncover, top with parmesan and 2 tbsp basil and bake additional 5 minutes.

Note: This has kind of a strong basil taste, so you may want to cut back a little on the basil


Scalloped Corn:

1 can whole kernel corn
1 can cream style corn
1 stick melted margarine
8 oz sour cream
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Mix all together and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. I think of it as kind of a corn "mush." I love the taste and it's SO easy. We like to take it to potluck dinners!


Sweet Potato Casserole (This came from a Mennonite Church Recipe Book, and is SO yummy!):

3 cups sweet potatoes,cooked and smashed{I use canned sw.potato}You can also substitute canned pumpkin for part of it if you are doubling or tripling the recipe

1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

TOPPING:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

3 Tbsp. butter,melied

1 cup chopped nuts{I use Walnuts}


COMBINE sweet potatoes,sugar,salt,butter and milk.Place in a greased 1 1/2 quart or 3 quart if doubled casserole dish and sprinkle the topping over it. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly (apprx. 30-40 minutes)

Cabbage Soup

1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 large carrots, cubed
1 sweet onion, minced
4 stalks celery, cubed
3/4 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cups tomato vegetable-juice cocktail
3 cups vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz ) can peeled and diced tomatoes

Place chopped cabbage into a large soup pot.

Microwave diced carrots in 2 tablespoons water for 6 minutes on high.

Microwave diced celery in 2 tablespoons water for 4 minutes on high.

Add the microwaved vegetables to the pot. Add minced sweet onion, celery, and ketchup. Add juice cocktail, vegetable broth, chicken broth, and tomatoes. Fill each can with water, and add the water to the mixture. Cover, and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 2 to 3 hours.

Serve with French baguette. (some like to add Tabasco, salt, or pepper to soup).

Linz's note: I got this one from allrecipes.com. My hubby doesn't like celery so we don't use that and put in extra cabbage and carrots. Cut your cabbage so it's in nice strips...not like super diced. The only tomato-vegetable juice cocktail I have found is Clamato. My grocery store gives the option of buying just like a pop can of it. One can is just about enough for this recipe. I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes in the recipe. But we just love this soup. I never even have to add salt. Healthy, yummy, and veggie-tastic!

This week's cookbook category...

VEGETARIAN ENTREES/SIDE DISHES!

We all need inspiration in this area. Bring on your faves!

Late recipe (pork/slow cooker)

Slow cooker pork chops

2 T. butter (I use Smart Balance)
4 pork chops
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 large onion, sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom
2 cups milk

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip pork chops in beaten egg, then dredge in flour. Cook in hot skillet, turning once to brown both sides.

Place pork chops into a slow cooker, and arrange sliced onions over meat. Pour soup and milk over the meat and onions.

Cover, and cook on high 4 to 5 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours.

Very yummy with whole grain rice or mashed potatoes (lots of leftover gravy/sauce in your crockpot), and with steamed vegetables.

Weaning Question

My daughter is 10 1/2 months old and I have just weaned her to formula. Prior to my weaning her she seemed to want less milk (she has been at 4-6 oz feedings for several months). She eats quite a bit of "solids" these days and enjoys drinking water from her sippy cup. Should I be concerned if she drops a bottle or reduces the amount she is getting? Any advice you have is wonderful, I always appreciate hearing your input.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kindred Revisited

Hey ladies! If you read February's book, Kindred, but missed the brief conversation, don't forget to check it out!  It was a great book that Claire suggested and those who commented seemed to enjoy it! I did!

And don't forget to get started on Life of Pi! I spent a few too many late nights finishing it recently and I can't wait to talk about it!  (And I may do it a bit early since I'm moving at the end of the month!) Oh! And I tag aubreydoll for the April book!  She always has great suggestions on her blog for books!

Google Reader

I know some of you use Bloglines to get your blog fix in one fell swoop.  I recently discovered Google Reader.  I LOVE it!  Since I have a google account for blogger and email, there was no additional set up and no additional accounts or passwords. I get so bogged down with all the accounts and passwords, so I love this!  So, I type in reader.google.com and it pulls up a list of blogs I read on a frequent basis and highlights the ones with new posts! It's soooo easy! I used to spend so much time clicking back and forth between blogs, and I never spent enough time to figure out how bloglines works (even though I assume it's the same way).  But this is a wonderful time saver!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Super Late Recipe Posts

So...I'm pretty much the slowest person ever on getting recipes posted...but I figured better late than never. So...without further delay:

Slow Cooker Recipes:
Chicken and Corn Chili
4 chicken breast halves
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 can corn (or the equivalent of frozen corn)
2 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes

Place chicken breast halves and salsa in your crock pot or slow cooker. Season with spices. Cook 6-8 hours on low setting.

About 3-4 hours before you want to eat, shred the chicken with 2 forks. Return the chicken to the pot and continue cooking. Stir in the corn, beans and tomatoes and simmer until ready to serve.

Entrees with Chicken:
Caramelized Baked Chicken
3/4 c. ketchup
3/4 c. honey
1/2 c. soy sauce
3-4 cloves minced garlic
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
6 chicken breasts

Cook ingredients (except chicken) on stove until boiling and reduce heat. Pour on top of chicken and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. (I like to save a little of the sauce to pour over my chicken and the rice that I have with it after its cooked.)

Soup/Chili:
Blue Ribbon Chili
1-2 lbs. ground beef or turkey (depending on how meaty you like it)
1/2 onion chopped
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) jar salsa (medium or hot is best)
4 T. chili seasoning mix
2 cans kidney beans
corn (frozen or canned) to taste (opt.)
water to taste

Combine the ground meat and onion and saute for 10 minutes or until the meat is browned and the onion is tender. Drain grease. Add all of the ingredients to a large sauce pan. Mix well. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least one hour. Serve with sour cream, cornbread, cheese and chips!

Food Storage Recipe:
Okay...so this is actually a corn bread...but we recently got a wheat grinder that we like to make cornmeal in...so I figured that it sort of counts as a food storage recipe. Also...we use freshly ground wheat for the flour. My husband and I CRAVE this its so good!
Golden Sweet Cornbread
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil*
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk, vanilla and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

*It's good to use a little more oil for less flaky cornbread.

**I got all of these from allrecipes.com. I love that place! I just search for ingredients and only use 4.5 star recipes or better. It's great! Enjoy!

Baja Fish (or Shrimp) Tacos

You can use fresh or frozen fish.  My Mom wasn't more specific on the type of fish! :)
Over medium high heat, cook fish in Pam.  Sprinkle one package taco seasoning on fish, turn and sprinkle other side.  Juice 1 lime over fish and cook until it flakes apart easily.

Fill small flour tortillas with fish, shredded cabbage, salsa, tomatoes and fish sauce.

Fish Sauce
Equal parts of mayo, sour cream and low fat/non fat plain yogurt. Add 1-2 Tblsp. taco seasoning, 2-4 Tblsp. cilantro, and juice of one lime.

Watermelon Salsa
3 cups diced watermelon or cateloupe/honeydew
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper, diced
3 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
2 1/2 Tblsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, if desired
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ears of fresh corn, cut from the cob
Combine and serve

Mango Salsa
1/2 or less medium onion, minced
1 3/4 cup mango, diced
3 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/6 tsp. cayenne pepper
red or green bell pepper, if desired
Combine and serve

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

March Madness Is Quickly Approaching!!

I don't know how many college basketball fans there are on here, but is anyone interested in doing a little March Madness bracket competition?? If you are interested, send me an email at officerswife33 at gmail.com and when the brackets are out I'll email you one. Then email it back to me and I'll keep tally of everyone's points. I'll keep everyone updated on the progress, and at then end we can announce the Sugar and Spice March Madness winner. Let me know if you are interested!

Fish Entrees

Woohoo!! I've been waiting for this week's cookbook topic. We LOVE fish in our house, and we tend to eat fish at least once a week. We'd be perfectly happy to eat it every night, but I try to mix it up a little bit!! I actually tried a brand new fish recipe tonight and we all loved it. Its the perfect mix of my two favourite foods... seafood and Greek/Greek-inspired food!

Greek Baked Alaska Halibut
Found in the coupon section of my Sunday paper! Of all places!!

4 Alaskan Halibut steaks or filets (4-6 oz each), fresh, thawed or froen
4 sheets of aluminum foil (12 by 18 inches each)
Greek seasoning or lemon pepper

1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp white grape juice (the original recipe calls for dry white wine... grape juice is an awesome substitute!)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp dry oregnao leaves (I suggest using Greek oregano for a more Mediterreanian flavour)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish, if desired
2 cups cooked rice (optional, but very yummy!!)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If using frozen halibut, rinse off any ice glaze under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the foil sheets, dull side up, on a countertop. Spray with cooking spray. Centre the halibut portions on each sheet of foil and sprinkle liberally with seasoning.

In a small bowl, toss together the tomato, onion, peppers, lemon juice and zest, grape juice, olive oil, oregano and feta cheese. Divide the topping evenly between the halibut portions and drizzle any remaining juice onto the fish.

Seal packages by bringing up the foil sides and double fold the top and ends. Seal packets well, but leave room for heat to circulate inside.

Place packets on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes for frozen halibut or 12-13 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout. Open packets carefully at the table and garnish with parsley if desired.

** If using the rice, put 1/2 cup under each piece of halibut before topping with the vegetables. The rice will soak up the juice and flavours as the fish cooks. You may need to increase cooking time if adding rice.


Salmon with Blueberry Sauce
From Flavours of Home cookbook

This is on of our family favourites, and one of my "signature meals", as in, when its my turn to host family dinners, there are always requests for this one! This or my fish tacos (recipe to follow). This is a great "fake out" meal. It looks and sounds fancy, but is so, so easy to make.

4 salmon steaks
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vinegar (I have only ever used white vinegar for this recipe, but I am going to try balsamic next time I make it... a lot of gourmet restaurants use balsamic vinegar with fruit to make sauces...)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp lemon pepper

Thaw salmon if frozen. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and vinegar. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and continue with a rolling boil for 4 minutes, stirring and crushing berries. Remove from heat. Set aside, but keep warm. (Sauce will have berry lumps still)

Preheat broiler or grill. Melt butter and stir in lemon pepper. Cook salmon until it flakes when tested with a fork and is cooked through. Brush with lemon butter while cooking.

Serve salmon with blueberry sauce on top, or in a side dish for dipping.


Claire's Fish Tacos
From me!

When I'm making up recipes of my own, I generally don't measure things out!! So, here's a list of ingredients with a general idea of how I put it all together!

Tilapia
Egg
Milk
Flour
Season salt
Oregano, dried
Basil, dried
Parsley, dried
Cooking oil
Corn tortillas
Taco toppings... we usually put sour cream and salsa on ours

Thaw tilapia, rinse and pat dry. In a small dish, whisk together 2-3 eggs and a few tablespoons of milk. In another small dish, combine flour, enough season salt to tint the flour a slight orange, and a palmful of each of the dried herbs. Coat each piece of tilapia in the egg mixture and then in the flour mixture. Fry breaded tilapia in hot cooking oil and drain on paper towels. Serve in corn tortillas with desired taco toppings.

** We usually flash fry the tortillas as well.

This week's cookbook category

ENTREES WITH FISH!

Children's books

I love collecting children's books, reading them, and sharing them with my son. We have books in every room in our house! Anyway I am just curious to know what everyone's favorite children's books are and why you like them. I am hoping to go to the library this week and check some books out and ideas would be great!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Freebie from Mott's for Tots

Babycheapskate.blogspot.com is promoting a freebie from Mott's for Tots and PBS KIDS Sprout. Click here and fill out a 6 question survey and in return get a bowl and lid, juice cup, fork and spoon set from the sponsors. There is also a $.75 coupon for Mott's for Tots products that you can print out while you are there.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pork Recipe

Oven Fried Pork Chops
From Better Homes and Gardens cookbook

4 pork loin chops
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 beaten egg
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup herb seasoned stuffing mix, finely crushed

Trim any fat from the meat. Pour butter into a baking pan and tilt pan to coat the bottom. In a shallow dish, combine eggs, milk, and pepper. Place stuffing mix in another shallow dish. Dip chops into egg mixture, then coat both sides of the meat with the stuffing. Place in prepared pan.

Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn the chops. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until meat reaches 160 degrees and the juices run clear.

Beef Recipes

Beef with Cucumber Raita
From Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

8 oz (1 cup) plain yogurt
1/4 cup coarsley shredded cucumber
1 Tbsp finely chopped sweet or red onion
1 Tbsp snipped fresh mint
1/4 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
Fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Preheat broiler. To make raita, combine yogurt, cucumber, onion, snipped mint and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Trim fat from meat. Sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Place meat on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat, turning meat half way through broiling pan. For medium rare (145 degrees) allow 15 to 17 minutes. For medium (160 degrees) allow 20 to 22 minutes.

Cut steak across the grain, into thin slices. Garnish with mint leaves and serve with raita.

** Raita is a South Asian/Indian condiment made of yogurt and chopped fruits or veggies. The cucumber in this raita makes it more like Greek tzatziki, as authentic raita does not include cucumber.

** Because I love Greek/Mediterreanian food, I use Greek yogurt in this recipe. I also strain the cucumber in cheese cloth for 5-10 minutes so the raita isn't too watery. I like to eat the raita as a dip or salad dressing. Greek yogurt by itself, without any seasoning or vegetables, also makes a yummy dip or salad dressing!


Swiss Steak
From Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 lb boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4 inch thick
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with basil, oregnao and garlic, undrained
1 small onion, sliced and separated into rings
1-2 stalks celery, sliced
1-2 carrots, sliced
2 cups hot cooked noodles or mashed potatoes

Trim fat from meat. Cut into 4 serving size pieces. Combine flour, salt and pepper. With the notched side of a meat mallet, pound the flour mixture into both sides of the meat.

In a large skillet, brown meat on both sides in the hot oil. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes, onion, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/4 hours or until meat is tender. Skim off fat and serve with noodles or over mashed potatoes.

** The original recipe calls for only 1 can of tomatoes, but I've found that it doesn't make as much sauce as I like, so when I make it, I do 2 cans. I also tend to just throw in whatever amount of carrots and celery I have on hand.


Chinese Beef with Broccoli
From Flavours of Home cookbook

2 Tbsp oil
1 lb sirloin or flank steak, sliced into thin strips
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/4 lb sliced fresh mushrooms (optional, but VERY yummy!)
4 cups small broccoli florets
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 small clove crushed garlic
3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup cold water
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce

In a deep skillet or wok, heat the oil and add beef and onion. Brown over medium high heat until beef is cooked and onion is transparent. Add mushrooms, broccoli and seasonings. Stir fry until evenly distributed in pan. Add 3 Tbsp water and cover. Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the broccoli is tender-crisp.

Mix the 1/2 cup cold water and cornstarch until the cornstarch dissolves. Add remaining ingredients to the cornstarch mixture. Pour over meat and veggies and stir until sauce is thick and veggies are coated. Add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce. Serve over steamed rice.

** I don't usually measure out the veggies... I just add as little or as much as I want. It always turns out just fine! If you slice the beef when it is still partially frozen, it can be sliced much thinner.