Wisdom to Live By

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sunday, February 28, 2010

FFF, well, Saturday

Well, it's that time again. FFF, of course, this time it didn't happen on Friday with the chaos that ensued. This may be the last FFF for a few weeks. The kiddos and I are taking a trip. My baby sister is having a baby. I'm so very excited and can't wait to get there. I am very nervous though. I am about to drive 1100 miles with three children. Whew. It's exhausting just thinking about it. My hubby wanted to go so bad, but he couldn't get off work. So, back to FFF, Fun Food Friday. The menu for tonight was Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake, yumm and Lemon Layer Cake. The recipes were super simple and I didn't even start making the dessert until after dinner was in the oven. I just pulled it out when it was finished and let it set up while I finished the cake batter and popped them in the oven. My hubby and I gave Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake 5 stars and the kiddos gave it a 4. The ingredients are:

1 package Stove Top stuffing
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bag (14 oz.) frozen broccoli florets, thawed, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Ok, so, super simple. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the stuffing mix as it says on the box and set it aside. Mix your chicken and your broccoli in a 13 x 9 casserole dish. I just bought some chicken tenderloins and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Then you stir in your soup, milk and cheese and spread the stuffing mix evenly on top. Bake for 30 min and your done. Told ya. Simple. Now onto dessert. My absolute favorite dessert is Tiramisu, but a very close second is anything lemon. So the dessert on the menu was Lemon Layer Cake. Unfortunately, this recipe had a lot of flaws, so I'll let you know how I would change it up. The hubby and I gave it a 4 and the kiddos gave it a 5. The ingredients are

2 sticks of butter, softened(always important)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 can lemon frosting

So after you have pulled out the Chicken Casserole, put your oven on 350 degrees. Grease 2 round cake pans, preferable 8 inch. Put your softened butter in your mixer and beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 min. Slowly add sugar, beating on high for about 5 min. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure you beat it well after each one. Beat on medium speed until very light, about 3 min. Slowly beat in the milk, and vanilla and lemon extracts. In another bowl, combine your flour, baking powder and salt and add it slowly to your mixer or you get a white kitchen. Beat on low speed while you are incorporating flour until it is well blended. Stir in your lemon rind. Pour your batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 20-25 min. Mine only took 20. Just test it with a toothpick. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 min and then remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely on wire racks. If you do not let them cool, you will have a runny mess when you frost them. After they have cooled, place the first layer on your cake plate and frost and top with the second layer and frost with your lemon frosting. Honestly the lemon frosting was too sweet for me. The next time I will be frosting mine with whipped cream. It's light and airy and goes so well with the lemon cake. If you want to frost with the whipped cream, you could also garnish with fresh strawberries. Ohh, the possibilities. Well, I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know how yours turns out. Don't forget to check the pics of my little helpers. They had a blast. All for now.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Postponing FFF

Today was a hectic day. We are postponing Fun Food Friday to tomorrow night. Today my house was a disaster area, but at the end of it all, we spent way too much money and we now have a new air conditioning system in our house. Part of me wishes we would have done this earlier so that we could enjoy it more. My yard sale is tomorrow and I'm hoping to a) clean house and b) make a little money for my trip. Details on the trip coming later. Tune in tomorrow for Fun Food Friday. All for now.

Woo Hoo!!

A wonderful thing happened on Tuesday. We had snow. Yes, we've had snow before, but this time my wonderful hubby got to enjoy it. It seems to always snow when he is gone. He was so giddy and happy. The kiddos had field day and were even more excited when Daddy got to come home early from work to play in it with them. It's definitely one of those moments we will remember for a long time. Especially since this is most likely our last winter in Texas. We had a blast. Hope you enjoy the pics. All for now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A New Day

Every year at Easter I try to make sure that my children know the real meaning of Easter. Of course, every year, they never seem to forget that colored eggs and easter baskets are involved. It never ceases to amaze me that nature will never forget what happened that first Easter. The ultimate Love and sacrifice was displayed when Jesus Christ, after dying on that cross, arose and conquered death so that we may live. Check out this cool link of nature reminding us of that sacrifice. Also, Proverbs 31 section will be updated weekly. All for now. http://wandascountryhome.com/pinetrees/index

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fun Food Friday 2/19/10

It's here again. My children now know and look forward to Fun Food Friday. This Friday we did not do a brand new recipe. I decided to go back, way back, and pick recipe I haven't cooked in a long time. Our menu for this night was Eggplant Parmesan and Chocolate Chip Banana Bread. Now when I say way back I mean I haven't made this since before I had my kids. A few things I discovered were my kids are not big fans of eggplant (such a shame), Big Man has a skin allergy to marinara, and "Can't we just skip to the dessert." Sometimes don't I wish. Of course, like every week, when I make these dishes I end up putting my own twist on it or changing it somehow to suit my needs and style of cooking. So here we go. The ingredients for the Eggplant Parmesan are:

1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium eggplant, unpeeled
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 jar marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce(which I will be using next time) (24 oz)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz.)

I want to point out just a few things. When you buy eggplant, make sure there are no brown spots and you will want to use them within 2 days of buying them. My children gave this a 2 out of 5. My hubby and I gave it a 5. So, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Beat milk and eggs in a medium bowl until blended. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and salt in a shallow dish or pie plate. Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Dip the eggplant into the egg mixture and then coat in the bread crumb mixture. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat and add eggplant. Cook until golden on both sides. It takes about 5 - 7 minutes total.
Place the eggplant in a 13x9 casserole dish slightly overlapping. Top with marinara or spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake until bubbly and cheese is melted and lightly golden which will take about 30 minutes. It is best served warm. On a side note, do not cut the eggplant until you are ready to begin coating the slices because they will discolor very quickly. It is not a good idea to cut and soak in water because a lot of the nutrients will actually leave the eggplant. Ok, onto the dessert, my kiddos favorite. The Chocolate Chip Banana Bread was so yummy and, of course, I changed it. The recipe is not even called Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, it is actually Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread, but because I like to do things my way, I changed it. :P The ingredients are:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, softened
3 eggs
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package chocolate chips(my favorite are the dark chocolate, but you can use what you like)

So preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans. Beat sugar and butter in your mixer on medium until light and fluffy. I like my to go for a while, but 2 minutes is sufficient. Add eggs, one at a time, until blended well. Add bananas and buttermilk and beat on low speed until blended, about a minute. Two things I want to point out. As you can see from the picture, the bananas I like to use are really brown, past the eating point. Also, I never buy buttermilk because I don't use it a lot. My substitute for buttermilk is put 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring cup and then enough milk to make 1 cup and let it sit for 5 minutes. Works every time. In another bowl, while that is slowly mixing, combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Add flour to banana mixture on low speed until just blended. Stir in your chocolate with a spoon and pour the batter evenly into the two loaf pans. Bake the breads until toothpick inserted comes out clean, 50 - 60 minutes. As you can see from the pics, I have 2 different colored loaf pans and cooking time varies depending on the color of the pan. My darker pan took 50 min. and my lighter pan took 55 minutes. Cool the breads in the pans for about 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack and cool for about an hour before slicing(just a suggestion). My kiddos definitely gave this recipe a 5 and my hubby said at least a 7. :P I hope you try these out and let me know how yours turns out. Until next time, all for now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lovin my Kiddos

As we were driving home from the grocery store Big Man starts asking about certain holidays. He asked me if it was still Valentine's Day, and I told him no, that it had already passed. He asked me what holiday was next and I told him St. Patrick's Day. He said, "Ok, then what? Will it be St. Spongebob's Day." It's moments like that that lighten the day. I love my kiddos. All for now.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ahh Love.

Well, it's the end of Valentine's Day and I have to say it was a pretty good one this year. Just the fact that my husband was home makes it all worthwhile. We went out last night (without the boys which is an amazing thing for me) and did a little shopping and went out to eat. It was so much fun. Tonight to celebrate our love we decided to watch Fireproof. A few people joke that to see me cry would be a miracle, so watch this movie with me and it's a guarantee. Every time I watch it, I cry. We had a blast with the kiddos this year. My kiddos decided that they wanted to make heart cookies and deliver them to their friends. We had a blast. At the end of it all, there were sprinkles all over my kitchen, but it was so much fun. The important thing I think I want my kids to take away from all of this is what Love truly is. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. All for now.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fun Food Friday 2/12/10

This Friday was a special one for Fun Food Friday. Big Man was so excited to have Daddy cooking with us this time. He was so excited. I think we were all a little ready to fly through dinner and get straight to dessert. This weeks recipes were Baked Fish Fillets, Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and, for dessert, Coconut Cheesecake. Yuumm! We were out and about to late to do our appetizer, so we will do that one today. Ok, so Baked Fish Fillets. The ingredients are:

4 cod fillets (a serving is 3 - 4 oz.)
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

My DH gave this recipe a 3 out of 5. I thought he was being generous, but that is probably because I'm not a big fan of cod. Honestly, if you are going to try this recipe which is super simple, you could substitute tilapia. Much better taste to me. So since I like to change things up anyway, I will let you know how I did this recipe. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Coat a medium side casserole dish with cooking spray (I use butter). Pat your fish dry. Combine melted butter and lemon juice in a bowl. I just squeezed a lemon wedge into my melted butter. Combine your bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings in a shallow dish. I did not use all the seasonings. I like to make things easier so I used Italian bread crumbs instead of regular and a few shakes of Italian seasoning. Dip fillets in the butter mixture coating really well and then dip in the bread crumb mixture coating a the entire piece. Place the fish in the casserole dish and drizzle the remaining butter mixture left in the bowl. Bake the fish for about 8-10 minutes. In the interest of safety, fish should be 145 degrees internally. When the fish starts to flake it is done. Feel free to try it with cod, but I didn't like it. I give this one a 2. Big Man and Goose loved it though. They kept asking for more.

Ok so Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus. I found out that my children love prosciutto, which is a little odd. If you have never had prosciutto, you will be interested to to discover that it smells really weird. It has a very strong, pungent smell. It is definitely an acquired taste. It is also not cheap. Prosciutto is $12.99 a pound. Yea! So, DH gave this recipe a 2. I gave it a 3. My kiddos gave it a 4. The ingredients are:

1/2 pound prosciutto
1/2 package neufchatel cheese, softened
12 spears asparagus, trimmed

My ingredients are:

1/4 pound prosciutto
1/2 package fat free cream cheese
1 bunch of asparagus

I really do not want to add an entire blog on what Neufchatel cheese is, so I will give you a link to a site and you can check it out. I will tell you that I used fat free cream cheese because in America, it is pretty much the same thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neufch%C3%A2tel_(cheese). So, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. It should already be there from the fish. Spread prosciutto slices with the cream cheese. Wrap the slices around 2 or 3 asparagus spears. Arrange spears in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. I put my asparagus in the oven and when it only had 8 minutes left, I popped in the fish. Simple. Even though I wasn't impressed with this, I can't complain because my kiddos loved and ate all of it. That's really what matters. So moving right along to the good part.

Coconut Cheesecake. Enough said. It was so stinkin' good. It was so good that the Goose savored it. I've never seen a 3 year old enjoy food so slowly on purpose. It was also super simple. We all gave this recipe a 5, even my little woman enjoyed some. The ingredients are

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cream of coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 cup cool whip
1/2 cup coconut, toasted

Mix together your cream cheese, cream of coconut, sugar and vanilla at medium speed until it is blended well. Add eggs, one at a time, (helps them incorporate well). Pour into your crust and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Allow to cool. I let mine rest for about 15 minutes. Refrigerate anywhere from 3 hours or overnight. When ready to eat, top with Cool Whip and toasted coconut. If you are unsure how to toast coconut, place the coconut on a baking sheet, pop it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes continuously checking and shaking it. Coconut will burn quickly. We had so much fun. I love my fun food Fridays. Check out our pics. All for now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teething Woman

Well, my little woman has reached a big milestone this week. She is now cruising on the furniture and getting into everything off the floor too now. The past couple of days she has been really fussy and I couldn't figure out what was going on with her. Of course she would get fussy this week. I'm trying to get some things done on the house before we put it on the market and my wonderful hubby is in the "field". So this morning, I'm holding my little woman and I'm getting frustrated because she is gritting her teeth (gets it honestly from daddy), when it hits me, "Wait a minute, she only has 2 teeth on the bottom. How is she gritting her teeth?" I reached in and we have a third tooth now, on the top. Now maybe we can get back to the bubbly, happy little woman. All for now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Proverbs 31 Woman

A good friend of mine has asked for and inspired a little section of my blog to be entitled the Proverbs 31 woman. I never saw myself as the virtuous woman, but if someone else does and is inspired by me, then maybe I'm doing something right, to which I give God the glory. I will post little tidbits about how I do things in my home to keep things a little less crazy. I hope you all enjoy. Let me know what you think. Thanks Amy. :) All for now.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fun Food Friday 2/5/10

Well, it's Fun Food Friday again and this time it was bittersweet. Big Man was not feeling up to cooking. He was way to busy playing. We had to say goodbye tonight to some friends of ours. They are PCSing to Korea. Tonight we had them over for dinner for one last get together. It was sad to say goodbye since it feels like they just got here. But, thus is the life of the military family. We always see friends come and go. Only keeping in touch through email and letters. Since Big Man was too busy playing with his friends, I had another helper. My goose decided he wanted to cook tonight. What was on the menu this Friday, you ask? Our appetizer was White Pizza Dip. I give this one 2 out of 5 stars. The recipe was very simple, but it just didn't taste that great. My DH thought it was awesome so at least someone will eat it. The ingredients for the White Pizza Dip are:

1 envelope of Garlic Soup Mix
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup pepperoni

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Get a 1 to 1.5 quart casserole dish. Mix together the soup mix, the sour cream, the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. After you've mixed it together really well, top with the remaining cheese and bake for 30 min. We ate it with tortilla chips. The Goose did an excellent job of stirring. Check out the slideshow for the pics.

For our main dish we had Three Cheese Baked Ziti. I give this dish 5 out of 5 stars and my DH gave it 10. He said it was absolutely wonderful. Goose was a little busy while we made the main dish so I had a little help from Amy. Since she begged me not to put the photo on, I will not. The ingredients are:

1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 box (16 oz.) of ziti pasta, cooked and drained
1 jar (26 oz.) spaghetti sauce, your choice, we used Italian Garden style
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix your ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs(make sure you beat the eggs well before adding them). In another large bowl, combine the pasta and pasta sauce and mix well. Put half of the pasta mixture in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Spread the ricotta cheese mixture on the pasta evenly. Top with remaining pasta mixture and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30 min. It will be easier to serve this dish if you wait a few minutes after it is out. Check the slideshow for pics.

For dessert we made something so yummy. I think I'm going to have to break my 5 star rule and give it a 10. It was so yummy. We made Lemon Poundcake. We made six mini loaves and 1 big loaf, to which I have to say we only have half of the large loaf left. My goose did such a great job helping me make this one and we got lots of good pics. Of course, he had to stop to taste and lick everything before we went to the next step. It was so much fun. The ingredients are:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup plain yogurt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 lemons

Make sure you bring your ingredients up to room temperature before you start. It will make your poundcake lighter and fluffier. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Coat your loaf pans with cooking spray (I prefer just to wipe them down with butter). Combine your flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add butter and beat on low speed until it forms moist crumbs. You will have to scrape the sides of the bowl. Beat on low speed while you add in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla. When it is blended (about a minute), scrape the bowl and turn it up to high speed and beat until light and fluffy. I beat mine about 4 to 5 min. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and squeeze both the lemons into the batter and stir. Pour your batter into the prepared pans. For the mini loaves, I baked them 30-35 minutes. For the main loaf, it was about 40-45 minutes. Insert a toothpick to test for doneness. Let me know how these recipes turn out for you. If you put your own flair in it, I would love to know. I want to thank my good friend for sticking around and making a small memory with us. I love my Fun Food Friday with my kids and I hope to continue for a long time. All for now.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Miss Destruction

So I'm pretty bad at this whole update thing. My little woman has been crawling now for almost a month and you can always tell exactly where she's been. She always leaves a path of destruction in her wake. She is really flying now that she has it down. Here are some pics of my little woman's handy work and a picture of her caught in the act. All for now.

Upcoming Trip

Well, very soon, I will be taking a trip. It feels a little weird, but my wonderful hubby will not be going with me. One of my baby sisters is due with her very first baby on March 23. I'm so very excited for her and am very determined to be there for the birth. This will be very difficult since I have to drive 1100 miles without my hubby and with 3 kids. So far I've kept a lot of stuff from my little woman that I will be passing along. Since she is under a lot of stress right now with different things going on, she is very excited to be getting them. She has already moved into the "I'm tired of being pregnant already" stage to which I replied, "It's all worth it." Assuming everything goes as planned I will be leaving in the middle of March. This comes at such a difficult time since we are in the process of trying to sell our house. I hope to take lots of pics of my trip and let you know how crazy it was. All for now.