Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Loving your spouse all year long...

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day in our home (except with the kids). I know it's odd to be writing this at the end of September, but it has been on my mind. So, when Valentine's Day rolls around I hear the same song and dance from My Sweetie. He says that Valentine's Day is a holiday made up by the greeting card companies. He says he doesn't need a date on the calender to have to remind him to tell me he loves me. Instead, he tells me all year long.

Sometimes, he tells me in big ways, like when All Clad Cookware shows up on my door unexpected. Sometimes it's a simple loving post of my Facebook wall, or a huge note on living room floor telling me how much he loves me.

Recently, when at 2:00 AM, I went downstairs to the fridge for the babies bottle, I find this little gem:

I too, try throughout the weeks and months to remind My Sweetheart that I love him. Little notes in his lunch sack or a bag of Corn Nuts on his dash board that say "I am nuts about you"! Little things with love notes on them.

We both try to make sure that even with our crazy lives with work and raising three small children, that we take the time and really say I love you in our own special way!

How do you show your spouse you love them?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bringing Back a Classic: Cobb Salad

I am not sure what really prompted me to make a Cobb Salad this past Summer, I think I was just having a serious craving for one.

After the first one I made, the kids and hubby raved so much, I made it a regular on our meal plan. However, I think the home made Ranch Dressing sealed the deal. With plenty of herbs in the garden, it was fun to go out with Sissyboo and pick what I needed for the salad dressing.

If you are looking for a classic to add into your weekly menu, here is the oh so easy recipe:
6 slices bacon
3 eggs
1 Romaine lettuce, shredded
2 cups chopped, cooked and diced chicken meat
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

On the bottom of the salad plate, add the romaine, then evenly divide and arrange chicken, eggs, tomatoes, blue cheese, bacon, avocado and green onions in a row on top of the lettuce. Dressing is on the side.

Pioneer Woman's Ranch Dressing
1 clove Garlic
Salt To Taste
1/4 cup Italian Flat-leaf Parsley
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives
1 cup (Real) Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Buttermilk (as Needed To Desired Consistency)
Apple Cider Vinegar (optional, To Taste)
Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste (optional)
Fresh Dill (optional, To Taste)

Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about an 1/8 to ¼ teaspoons of salt on it and mash it into a paste with a fork. Chop the parsley, chives and any of the optional herbs very finely and add to the garlic.

In a bowl combine all ingredients, adding other optional ingredients as you wish, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thin with milk or buttermilk if desired.

This salad makes my family, very happy! I have the picture to prove it:

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Fall Favorite...

Every September I start scouring the produce shelves for these summer treasures, Concord Grapes. You may even see me buy two or three packages at the same time, because they are hard to find. However, if you look hard enough, you will find the grapes, off to the side of some obscure shelf in the produce department.

You know that you 've eaten a grape when you 've had a Concord Grape. They are rich and robost, and the perfect healthy snack!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homemade is the Only way to go..

Every week I make my own salad dressings. Why would I want to do that when every grocery and specialty store has entire aisles devoted to them? Mainly because I like to control what my family consumes! Have you looked at the ingredients on the back of a bottle of salad dressing (not just the calories)? I have always said, if I can't pronounce what it is, I am not going to eat it. Plus you know it can be good for you if it's shelf life is several years!

So, I have put together a list of just a few of my families favorite home made salad dressings. Some of the ingredients I have had to adjust so it will be pleasing to the palate of my family. My hubby and the little ones like bright bold flavors. When I make a salad, that is always the first thing gone off of their plates!

Just click on the link and they will take you actual recipe:

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing/Dipping Sauce (I also use this s a a dressing for a warm chicken wrap)

Ranch Dressing (great for dipping or along with a Cobb Salad)

Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette (yummo warmed over dark greens and blue cheese crumbles and pecans)

Aunt Betty's French Dressing

St. Louis Style Italian Dressing (great with the salad listed. It's a St. Louis thing!)

Blue Cheese Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing (Great with a Spring Strawberry Salad)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Here is my menu for this week. Most are tried and true recipes, however, I am adding a Pioneer Woman's recipe from her show this past Saturday. That darn woman keeps making things my hubby wants me to cook. I am going to have to stop watching her show with him! Ha ha

Monday: Chicken Quesadilla's (these are literally the best I have ever had). I make them with left over chicken from Sunday's dinner.

Tuesday: The Marlboro Man's Sandwich

Wednesday: Nigella's Spanish Chicken with Chorizo (family favorite)

Thursday: Pan Bagnat This was also a request from my honey. He has GOT TO STOP watching the Food Network! Ha ha

Friday: Home made baked chicken strips with home made honey mustard dipping sauce

Saturday: Firm Picnic at the St. Louis Zoo (fun times)!

Sunday: Roast Chicken (so I can have leftovers for Monday nights meal)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dusting off the Cobwebs...

As you know, I am having a hard time finding the time to blog. For so long, I have wanted a family, and literally all my dreams have come true. So I just want to soak up every second with them.

However, fantasy football has started back up, so I have a bit more free time then usual on Sunday afternoon and evening after the kids go to bed to blog. But don't think I am not right beside my honey helping cheer on his teams! He always has two teams so there are a lot of football players to get to know. (I hate the fact that they change every year! Just when I get to know who is who, the season is over).

So, I am dusting off the blog cob webs for a wonderful Fall blogging season. I looking forward to sharing some tried and true recipes, Fall decorating ideas as well as some family updates.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A break is needed...

Dear Friends and Family,

I have decided to take a break from blogging. Just a short break, until I can find some free time. I want to spend all my time with my small children and there are some days I feel so distracted by things like the IPAD, Facebook, telephone, television and blogging. I want everything I do to be done well and be done with a purpose. As for blogging, it has fallen to the last page of my to do list.

I only get one chance at my children's childhood and I don't want to waste it by always being on the computer. I agonize over not blogging on a daily basis and recently realized, this is not something I HAVE to do. So when I get a chance, I will blog, and when I don't I won't beat my self up!

Enjoy the picture above! It cracked me up.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

I took a blogging hiatus for the last few weeks in order to get my home organized. After a new baby, several trips away this summer, things around the house have been put on the back burner. I have used my blogging time to clean out drawers, organize the kids clothes for the fall and steam clean carpets and chairs.

I look forward to sharing some of the things that are going on around here. Like discovering Fruit My Cube, Valentine's Day in August and celebrating Double D's 2nd Birthday.

Monday - Easy Shepherd's Pie

Tuesday - Ham and Bean Soup with Cornbread

Wednesday - Spanish Chicken and Chorizo

Thursday - Leftovers (Tonight is My Sweetie's Fantasy Football Draft, so he will be gone)

Friday - Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Saturday - Chinese Take Away for Double D's Second Birthday Dinner

Sunday - Roast Chicken and The Neely's Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

What should you do with all those tomatoes and basil growing in your garden, make bruschetta of course!

I have been using this recipe for the last 15 years and even my friends (and hubby) that despise tomatoes, always come back for second helpings.

I originally got this recipe from Pampered Chef, but after searching the Internet, I could not locate it. Maybe because the recipe is older, but to me this recipe is the best and using only fresh ingredients will do!

3 Ripe medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 Small onion, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, snipped
1 Garlic clove, pressed
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Ground black pepper
24 Slices of French Bread, cut 1/4-inch thick
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tomatoes and onions and add to a bowl. Add snipped basil and pressed garlic to the tomato mixture as well as the salt and pepper. Set tomato mixture aside.

Place bread slices on baking sheet and brush surface of bread lightly with olive oil. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.

Remove bread from oven, scoop tomato mixture onto toast slices and serve immediately.

Enjoy! This is the perfect fresh summer appetizer.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

After a fun filled and somewhat of an adventurous weekend, I am happy to be back in my own home with the kids back on their schedules.

This past weekend we headed to Columbus, Indiana for a family reunion. I had a wonderful time seeing family especially some that I haven't seen in over 20 years! Yikes, that is a long time. Saturday night we spent the evening at a local hotel there and everything was fine...until I got the giggles because Double D was still talking at 2:30 am and saying the funniest things! Well that lead to every one else carrying on and laughing and somewhere in the midst of being way too tired and laughing...Sissyboo got sick. I mean, really sick. So sick I should have left the maid a $20 for the clean up! My poor girl. Needless to say none of us went to sleep until somewhere around 4:30 in the morning. It was a LONG trip home too. What takes 4 hours seems to drag on for eternity.

But we survived and I am happy to report everyone here is happy and healthy and we are all rested!

Here is the menu for this week:

Monday: General Tso's Chicken

Tuesday: Grilled Marinated Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Schmear and Bruschetta

Wednesday: Clam Chowder and leftover french baguette

Thursday: Baked Rigatoni

Friday: Cobb Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Saturday: Cool Veggie Pizza

Sunday: Roast Chicken and Stewed Tomatoes

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kips (Kale Chips)

KIPS...what my little man calls kale chips. If you want a fun and healthy snack for your kids, try kale chips. By the time the oven is heated, I have a tray full of kale ready to go in and within ten minutes, the crispy kale chips are baked.

I make these several times a week for my little family for a mid morning snack.

1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
2. Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt.
3. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 10 to 15 minutes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tomato Pickin'

My family loves cherry tomatoes so I planted 8 cherry tomato plants this past Spring. Now, they are growing with gusto! Every other day, Sissyboo and Double D and I have been going out and gathering a basket full. Sissyboo gathers and Double D sneaks away and eats them.

"If a child has a pure cherry tomato off the vine, it's the sweetest thing you'll ever have. And he'll actually like it," Michelle Obama.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daddy's Garden

On my recent trip home to Ohio, I spent a lot of my time out doors enjoying my parent's deck and flowers. Daddy built a gorgeous deck that wraps around the back of the house and has planted flowers all around the deck and also has several garden areas.

Straight out back is his green bean garden. Daddy plants the beans and then he and Mom pull weeds, pick the beans and then she cans them. They are awesome too! We love getting a can or two of these green beans:

Here is a raised bed that I am green with envy over. I never thought I would like the higher raised bed, but I love this one. There are tomatoes in the center and then onions on each lower end. So cute!

Here are just some of his perennials around the deck:

Here is his shed along side of a gorgeous purple Rose of Sharon Bush. I am now going to have incorporate a Rose of Sharon around my house after seeing how lovely this one turned out to be:

This butterfly was fluttering around the Rose of Sharon for awhile. So after about 15 minutes of watching it, I decided to grab a photo. I could have sat and watched him flutter all day.

These are just a few of the flower pots Daddy has sitting on the built in bench on the deck. He is currently in the process of staining the deck or else they would be placed around the inside of it. Can you see the bar above the deck. That is actually a hammock! The hammock sits nicely underneath the shade of the Cleveland Pear Tree.

This is just a view from the outside and a little glimpse of my Daddy! :) He sits here daily watching the birds and wild life. I found myself just sitting out there with him taking in the beauty of the area. He has made quite a little haven for him and my Mom.

This black rod iron basket is just gorgeous. Yes, I am coveting once again! I didn't get a picture of it, but they have two of these baskets on either side of their window. It looks stunning.

Thank you for taking a little tour of my Daddy's garden. It's a little piece of quiet heaven there in Ohio.

Meal Plan Monday you hear that? That is the sound of silence. Because it is a rare thing around here, I am trying to get all my work done! While all kids are napping, I have just planned out this week's menu, written a few thank you notes, organized the family's health records and finished the children's chore charts. Whew...time for a iced coffee break if I do say so myself.

Last week was a good but weird week. We came back from Ohio only to have the entire family including the hubster get sick! We were sick all week and didn't get celebrate Sissyboo's third birthday. (Boo!!!!) Fortunately for us, she didn't think a thing about it. However, I am dying to give her, her birthday gifts! If you know me, then you know that I love my kids birthdays! I get so excited that I can't sleep the night before their birthdays or Christmas. I love seeing them excited and happy. I am looking forward to celebrating Sissyboo's birthday this coming Saturday with her Grandparents from Missouri and taking her out to her favorite Mexican Restaurant.

Here is my menu for this week. Trying a few new dishes! Who knows...maybe there will be a keeper in this group. (I have decided to make light desserts on the nights I make new just in case they don't work out, there will be something yummy to look forward to after wards.

Monday: Chicken Hurry and rice with asparagus (or trees as my kids call them)

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Mama Disalvo's (a Dayton, Ohio Restaurant) Sauce

Wednesday: Creamy Lentil Soup with Chorizo Croutes

Thursday: Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork with corn on the cob

Friday: Chicken Teriyaki and Sushi Rice

Saturday: Taking Sissyboo to her favorite Mexican Restaurant (the girl drinks salsa!)

Sunday: Make your own Pizza's (letting the kids make their own pizza's)

Blessings on a wonderful summer week!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This Girl Made My Dreams Come True

My oldest daughter turned three this past weekend and I can not believe how fast the time has gone.

Sissyboo has made all my dreams come true in many more ways then thought possible.

There is not a day that has gone by that I am not grateful that the Lord placed her in my life. She is such a wonderful little girl. She helps me out so much around the house whether it's cleaning up or helping with the baby, she always lends a hand.

Currently her favorite loves are Buzz Lightyear, Mickey Mouse and my old red cowboy hat (that she wears 90% of the time when we are home). She is a girly girl that has to have her toes and finger nails polished weekly! Loves to sneak into my make-up and usually has one of my old purses around her shoulder. She has a smile on her face when she gets up in the morning and her favorite thing to do is run into Double D's room and wake him up.

Her best buddy without a doubt is her little brother Double D. Oh those two love to play with one another and when apart they almost seems lost with out each other.

Each night before she goes to bed she also has to give Double D a kiss through the rails on the stairway (or the kissing stairs as we call them).

I just love this little angel and I am so glad the Lord is allowing me to be her Mommy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Trip Home

Like I said in my previous post, I drove my three little ones home to visit my family last week. We had a great time, but Mommy and Double D were exhausted by the time we got home.

Here are some highlights from our trip:

I visited with my lifelong best friend and her son at the mall and we all crammed into a photo booth. Sissyboo is not pictured because she was crying in the corner of the photo booth because it was so small. Two adults (one being preggo) and four small children equals this picture:

Taking Sissyboo up to Cedarville University to show her where I want her to go to college (big smiles):

Going swimming with the entire family at Aunt Niecey's club:

Having Missymoo meeting Aunt Niecey and cousin Enjoyment for the first time:

Double D swimming with cousin Lovely:

Sissyboo just being cute:

My parents threw a Toy Story birthday party for Sissyboo and Double D since they don't usually get to see them on their birthdays. (The kids where over the moon with their cake):

A trip to Young's Jersey Dairy was in order. We had to get ice cream and feed the animals:

Double D hugging the goats! He has such a big, kind heart:

Being with the cousins is always my kids favorite part of any trip home:

Sissyboo hugging Buzz Lightyear after a long few days:

We had a great time at home and created some wonderful memories.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday...even though it's Wednesday

(The kids picking blueberries on our back porch)

I recently got back from taking the kiddo's to see their Grandparents and the rest of my family in Ohio. My hubby had to work so he stayed here in St. Louis, while I made the 6 hour journey to Ohio with three small children. The trip was great, but exhausting. However, I am very thankful that I got to spend some time with my dear family.

Because of my trip, I am a little behind on the menu plan:

Monday: Soup Beans

Tuesday: Turkey Tacos Picadillo (since this post is being done after I made these, these were surprisingly good!)

Wednesday: Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes (a family favorite)

Thursday: Green Beans and New Potatoes with a side of corn on the cob (this is my favorite summer time meal that reminds me of home)

Friday: Chicken Peanut Pad Thai

Saturday: Chinese Take Away for Sissyboo's Third Birthday (one of her favorites)

Sunday: Pork Steaks and Sauerkraut

Friday, July 8, 2011

Easy Grape Salad

This is a wonderful and refreshing salad to take to family functions.

2 lbs green seedless grapes
2 lbs red seedless grapes
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to taste

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
1 cup crushed pecans, to taste

Wash and stem grapes.
Set aside.
Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand until blended.
Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl.
For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans.
Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely.
Chill overnight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Edible Landscaping

Several years ago when we had our landscaping put in, I asked the landscapers to leave a bare patch of land next to the walkway for me to play around in. Every year I have had fun planting the typical summer annuals like petunias and impatiens. However, this year I wanted to try something new. So, when I read an article about edible landscaping I knew I had to give that a try.

In the middle of May when I started clearing out the vegetable/herb gardens in the back yard, I was surprised to find a little sprig of oregano and thyme growing. After the horribly cold winter, I didn't think any of my perennial herbs would return. But there they were, tiny as ever, but growing fast. So with those two herb plants and a Live Forever (that I snagged from my Grandmothers house last year), I started my own edible landscaped garden.

Since planting those three little plants, I have added some additional edible herbs, and perennial plants.

Here is how the garden looked when I first planted at the beginning of June:

Here it is as of last week with the plants tagged so you can see what all is in the garden:

Since this photo was taken, I have added a Lambs Ear plant and a Pink Yarrow. I am looking forward to adding a purple Echinacea this weekend to make the garden complete.

It has been fun to walk out the front door and clip the fresh and edible herbs for meals.