There’s no confusion about soup.

Is it me or does this time of year cause a lot of anxiety and confusion?  I went to the mall yesterday to just look for a skirt for Autumn’s band concert.  The mall had Christmas decorations up. Christmas music was playing. SANTA WAS ALREADY THERE! When the hell did Santa get to the mall?  It used to be a big production! Is it Christmas season already? I missed the turkey. I’m so confused.  And then I get all anxious because all the decorations and music and Santa make me feel like I’m super behind!  I haven’t started shopping.  I may have thought about it, but nothing is purchased. I don’t have room for the tree. I don’t have my 25 Days of Giving plan together yet. I still have “It’s ____ Days Until Halloween” sign up for Pete’s sake! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE THE SEASON. When it’s appropriate; like after Thanksgiving. Oh! And fuck you Hallmark Channel for sucking away all of my free time. I effing love all of those stupid Christmas movies.

Rant over.  What’s going on in our neck of the woods you ask? I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. You can thank Hallmark. Just kidding! Luckily for you, you haven’t missed much. I’ve been behind the camera a lot over the past few months. It’s a lot of work but I love it! I’m working on a blog page showcasing my work. That certainly is a work in progress. I took a WordPress class. I haven’t taken a class in years! All it did was just prove I have a lot of work to do to make my blog awesome. I’ve increased my gym schedule. Trying to get a rockin’ bod for 2016. Probably should stop eating the Halloween candy eh?

Ms. Autumn is fantastical.  She’s kicking 5th grade butt. French Horn is going well. She was invited back to Solo Fest in January.  I’m super proud of her!

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Although here where I live it’s been unseasonably warm, which is fine with me by the way, it will soon get chilly. I found (via my inbox from a coworker at work, thank you Taste of Home) this soup over the summer and tried it the first cold day in the autumn.  It’s delicious. All 3 kids, and the ol’ man love it.  It’s perfect for a cold day.  I’ve altered it a little since I like my veges.  You know, rockin’ bod for 2016.

Italian Tuscan Soup

  • 5 Italian turkey sausage links without the casings
  • 2 Onions, small and chopped
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 oz Chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 1¾ C Water
  • 2 Cans (14½ oz) Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 2-9oz packages Cheese Tortellini, refrigerated
  • 1-6oz package Fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 Medium Zucchini, cubed
  • ¾ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  1. Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven; add onion.  Cook and stir over medium heat until no longer pink.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  2. While it’s coming to a boil, in a separate fry pan, lightly saute the zucchini, for about 5 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Back to the soup. Add tortellini; return to a boil.  Add the zucchini. Cook for 7-9 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, and pepper.
  4. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.
  5. Serve with sprinkled cheese.

 

italiantuscansoup

 

italiansoupcollage

Zucchini Fritters and Puppies

Wow.  Has it been 2 months since I’ve been on this thing? Seriously, where does the time go?  Somehow I’ve missed the whole month of August.  We’ve made it through summer school, the 2015 soccer season and camp. We had a death of a puppy, then we acquired 2 more puppies. Now it’s already autumn.  And who doesn’t love Autumn?

I’ve never had puppies. Ever. Dogs really aren’t my thing. But the kids were super sad about the passing of Tinkerbell. We went to the pound and we looked. We found a little one named Diva. I wasn’t opposed to Diva, but she was adopted before we got the chance to. For the record, the idea of brand new, fresh out-of-the-womb-puppies wasn’t even run by me. These puppies that we have are little, and not trained. They are like babies. They whine, and cry and shit every where. The kids will take care of them he said. The kids. The same ones who simply can’t put their dishes in the dishwasher are going to train and take care of the puppies? Diva was trained, just saying.  These puppies, albeit very cute, are a pain in the ass. I’m going to leave it at that.

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Kids are back at school! Who else is doing a little dance? I love the start of school.  It’s like New Year’s Day. Everything is fresh and new.  This year we have a senior, a junior and a 5th grader. Already Ms. Autumn in the 5th grade, with the attitude of the senior. Seems like yesterday she was just starting kindergarten.  Who am I kidding?  It seems like she was just a baby! The school gives the 5th graders an iPad this year.  Who on this planet thinks it’s a good idea to give her an iPad? She’s cute, and smart; but she is as clumsy as clumsy can get. Why?  Why do they do this? And yes, I took out the insurance. And yes, I’ve already started saving for the deductible.

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It’s fall.  I’m so excited for football, and Halloween, and falling leaves and crisp mornings. Don’t forget pumpkin. Pumpkin every-freaking-thing. But I’m not quite done with summer.  A co-worker of mine put this recipe in my inbox.  I think I’ve made it a half dozen times since. I added corn once to it even.  It’s a nice light, fresh side dish. So delicious!  And I know you still have a zucchini or two lying around.

Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 1/2 lbs   Zucchini, grated
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 C All purpose flour
  • 1/4 C Parmesan, grated
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Large Egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Place grated zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and gently toss to combine; let sit for at least 10 minutes.  Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth; drain completely. I mean, really make sure it’s dried completely.
  2. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic, and egg; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter, flattening with a spatula.  Cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook the other side, 1-2 minutes longer.
  4. Serve immediately

zucchinifritters

 

 

From “Mommy” to just “Mom”

It’s been a work in progress. I’ve noticed little changes here and there.  But it finally happened.  My little girl is no longer “little”.  I used the (“) because she will ALWAYS be my little girl.  At 10, she’s no longer little. In the past few weeks things have happened.  She now sits in the front seat of the car; and was very proud that she could call shotgun on the oldest and actually mean it.  She’s begging for Jordans for the school year, so she can be cool. She doesn’t understand why she can’t have a smart phone. You know, because all her friends have phones. I’m no longer allowed to give her kisses or say “I love you” to her when I drop her off at camp.  Apparently, it’s embarrassing.  The most notable change?  I’m no longer Mommy. I’m just Mom. Oh, it’s said often, and usually with some sort of demand.  But that’s the change that’s breaking my heart a little. Mom. Not Mommy. We’ve gone from this:

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to

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Dear fantastical daughter of mine:

I know you are growing up. You are growing up, and I’m growing old. Those are facts.  Here are a few other facts for you. Fact #1: I’m also proud that you get to call shotgun, and mean it.  But now the game is real.  If Allison calls it before you, suck it up and get your ass in the back seat.  Those are the rules sweetheart. Just learn to be smart enough to call it for the ride back. Fact #2: I don’t know what fucking Jordans are. Like any supportive mother, I Googled it.  News Flash: You will get sneakers I can afford.  Your feet grow too fast for me to spend $100 on sneakers every 3 months.  Fact #3: You my love, will not have a phone for at least another 3 years. I don’t give a shit that all of your friends have smart phones.  They probably have Jordans, too.  I DON’T CARE. And if you keep asking me for one, you’ll be 16 before you can hand out your digits. Or your dad pays for it.  You know the answer to that. Fact #4: I gave birth to you. I labored for NUMEROUS hours with no epidural.  When I drop you off at camp, I will give you kisses. I will tell you I love you.  No one goes through that much pain unless they truly love something; that my dear is you. I am your mom. Your mother. Your Mommy. I will embarrass you for the rest of your life. Deal with it. Just think of it as payment for all those temper tantrums you threw in Target when you were 2. For the record, oh wee one, for me to tell you that I love you isn’t embarrassing. It’s essential. I need you to know that I LOVE YOU.  And given the amount of times I have to tell you to clean your room, it will take a while for it to sink in.

Can’t wait for the teen years.

Love,

Mom

 

 

Summertime=Salad time!

And ice cream!  I mean, FroYo of course.  Since we are back on the wagon seeking a healthier lifestyle, we {I} don’t really do ice cream anymore. The wagon still has chocolate chip cookies.  End of story. Save your judgement.

Well, today’s post is brought to you courtesy of “wet field conditions”.  No soccer, and no plans for the gym, I thought I’d share what’s up in our little neck of the world.  Hmmm..Nothing really.  Nothing’s up.  School is almost over. Bobby and Autumn did fine, and should be moving on.  I’m not sure Allison is going to see her senior year; bad study habits, lots and lots of excuses and a boyfriend got to her this year.  She’s definitely bought herself a little summer school. I won’t touch upon how parenting factors into this. The ol’ man reads my blog, and probably wouldn’t like it if I did.  All I’m going to say is I find it frustrating.

Ms. Autumn is all signed up for summer recreation.  Summers kind of suck for her.  Ok..well they probably really don’t.  But she doesn’t get to sleep in during the week.  Mama still has to be at work at 8am!  I remember being a kid and sleeping in, eating breakfast and then home promptly at 5pm for dinner, after chores, I didn’t have to be home until the street lights came on.  Between breakfast and 5pm? Crazy chaos all over the neighborhood!  I’m kidding of course.  I mean, there were lazy days, and days I stayed inside, days I laid out in the sun slathered in baby oil. (GASP!!  Simmer down Millennials. It was the early 80’s and skin cancer wasn’t a “thing” yet. Besides, I had an older sister who made tanning seem soooo awesome!)  By the end of July, I was bored, and was ready for summer to be over.  However, I started babysitting in the summers at 11 years old. My childhood hell-raising ended at 11.  Autumn on the other hand, is 10 years old in the year 2015.  She goes to the local recreation for 6 weeks. Field trips and swimming are the extent of her daytime hell-raising.  It’s all I can handle.

Enough of my boring life. Let’s talk salad! I’m not sure that’s any more exciting….Anyway, no one likes to eat heavy in summer; unless it’s meat smothered delicious BBQ sauce.  I love Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey sauce.  I could drink that shit straight from the bottle. FOCUS: SALAD. This recipe is from another blog, Green Valley Kitchen.  It was floating around Facebook and I thought it looked fantastical.  I’ve made a similar version in the past, so I did change their recipe just a little, as with most of the recipes I post. My kids are so damn fussy. Have to keep the buggers happy. Ish.  Happyish. I switched out the Feta cheese for mozzarella. And I added extra onions.  I love onions and I didn’t feel like kissing the ol’ man.

Tomato, Cucumber, Avocado Salad (with a Little change)

  • 1 ½ C Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced. (I just used an English cuke)
  • 1 Avocado, diced
  • 4 oz Mozzarella cheese, cubed small
  • 2 Tbsp Red onion (2 Tbsp or so..you know..at your discretion)
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 8 Twists of black pepper from a pepper mill
  1. Chop tomatoes into a medium dice.  If using cherry tomatoes, (which I did because it’s easier) cut in half. Add to bowl.
  2. Peel and seed one cucumber and dice.  Add to bowl
  3. Remove pit, dice avocado and using a spoon, scoop out the avocado from the peel.  Add to bowl.
  4. Cube cheese, add to bowl
  5. Add minced onion and parsley to bowl.
  6. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, and black pepper, pour over salad.
  7. Toss gently so the avocado doesn’t break up.  Serve immediately.
  8. If refrigerating, keep the avocado aside and add before serving.

Tomatosalad

 

Off to surf Pinterest for inexpensive, yet cute teacher’s gifts!

I give apologies in the form of Shrimp!

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So at this point, you guys must really, really heart me!!  I do sincerely apologize for my absence. I seem to be having some time management issues.  I’ve been hitting the gym 4 nights a week and trying to focus on a healthier lifestyle and it’s quite time consuming.  Apparently, I can’t work 40+ hours a week, workout 4-5 times a week, get 7 hours of sleep a night, spend time with my family, research for my blog, promote the blog and actually blog all at the same time. And let’s not forget, cleaning, grocery shopping and soccer. I’ve also been photographing more than just food, which I’ve really come to enjoy.

Ms. Autumn had the band concert the other night.  It was um..not exactly the RPO, but they did great.  She was actually invited to play a piece with the advanced band.  She’s been busy with soccer, band and a boyfriend. Oh yes, I said it. Boyfriend. At 10.  This is the next parenting challenge, as she knows boyfriends are not allowed until high school. Or ever. But right now it’s high school. What is worse, is she’s lying to me about it. This is another post for another time.  After I’ve figured out what to do with it.  Feel free to email if you have any suggestions as to what to do. If I push too much about the boyfriend, she will not only continue to do it, she will be sneaky about it forever.  If I don’t do anything, I will be one of those parents that “didn’t do anything” to control her kid.

On to the good stuff!!  As previously mentioned, I’ve been scouting around for healthier, family friendly recipes.  I found this one in Cooking Light. I’ve made this twice.  Three out of three kids liked it. The first time, I followed the recipe to the letter (minus the celery, cause I’m allergic, I just doubled up the cukes).  It was delicious.  The second time, I used less Sriracha, and used frozen, already cooked and deveined shrimp.  Thaw it out, and it was just as good as using fresh, and it saved time. I’m carb watching, so I didn’t used a bun for mine, I put it over avocado.  OMG….soooo good!

Sriracha Shrimp Rolls

  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/4 C Canola mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 1/4 C Finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 C Finely chopped English cucumber
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 2 Green onions, chopped
  • 4 New England-style top-split hot dog rolls
  • 5 tsp Butter, melted
  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Add shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until done. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Discard tail shells; coarsely chop shrimp.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, Sriracha, celery, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice and green onions in a large bowl.  Toss in shrimp, coat well.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Brush cut sides of each hot dog roll evenly with butter. Add rolls to pan. Cook until lightly toasted and golden brown. Fill each toasted roll with about 3/4C shrimp mixture.

srirachashrimp

 

It’s not too late for soup!

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted! Super sorry about that! So much and yet absolutely nothing has been going on. If that made any sense, you let me know. I know what I was thinking in my head..not sure if it really came out the way it’s intended.

First, let’s get this out of the way.  After weeks and weeks of consistently going to the gym, planning meal after meal, very carefully watching my calories, and carb intake; I have officially lost 7 pounds. All since Friday. All due to a nasty GI virus, that I still have.  Saturday I walked, brace yourself, an entire 935 steps.  All of them from the living room to the bathroom. And now that you know things about me that you really don’t need to know..

Easter here in our crazy house was fantastical! Actually nothing happened. Wait! Yes it did! We made Easter eggs with Kool-Aid. I saw the post floating around Facebook, and thought we’d try that. Had I found it on Pinterest, it would have been a Pinterest fail.  Ok, so not a fail, but certainly not a PAAS coloring experience! The red turned out red, the purple turned gray and everything else dried various shades of orange.

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The ol’ man hid plastic eggs for the lil’ monsters.  Yes, even the older 2 liked looking for about 800 plastic eggs in our palatial abode. Of course, I’m kidding. About the palatial abode. Undoubtedly, we will find one in August with a moldy Twix in it.  We don’t go super crazy here at Easter.  Some people go nutty, almost like Christmas!  The kids under our roof get a chocolate bunny, and 1 gift. And a roof. This year they got impostor Fitbits so they can start monitoring their steps and sleep. We are trying so hard to get them on the healthy track!  New mamas: Listen up!!  If you want your kids to have a healthy lifestyle, start ASAP!  Once they develop bad habits, it’s soooooooo difficult to break those habits!  What’s that song?  5-2-1-0 be a healthy hero!  You totally sang the song in your head..admit it!

Since I woke up to snow yesterday morning, and it’s going to be cold for the next week, soup for dinner is still fair game! Seriously, if I had no sense of portion control, I would have eaten the whole pot. It’s a Pillsbury recipe, but I changed things around a little.  It’s delicious. I served this bisque with the Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. It was a perfect combination.  Everyone liked it!  Even the one who likes NOTHING liked it. Only because I made hers without the crab. Apparently, I have a “made to order” kitchen.

Tomato Crab Bisque

  • 1- 32 oz carton Bisque style tomato soup (any tomato soup is fine)
  • 1- 7oz can Chopped green chiles
  • 1 C Whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Seafood Seasoning (from 6 oz container)
  • 1 C  Chopped cooked crabmeat (I used imitation crabmeat)
  1. In large saucepan, heat soup and chiles to boiling over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low.
  2. With a wire whisk, beat in whipping cream and seafood seasoning until blended.
  3. Cook until just hot (do not boil).
  4. Stir in crabmeat.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls or mugs. Garnish with thyme.

tomatobisq

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna-Just following the crowd!

Happy March!!  Whoo Hoo!!  We are on the upswing of this miserable winter.  Here in upstate NY we are starting March like a lion.  Snow, Ice, Rain, Snow, repeat.  Effing winter.  At least we, all fingers crossed, will go out like a lamb!

Proud Mommy moment!  Ms. Autumn has been asked to participate in the NYS Solo Festival with her French horn. I’m not too sure what it all means, other than that judges get to listen to her mimic the dying moose and judge her on it. Not a job I would want, but whatev.  WAIT!!!  We get that job every night for 20 minutes.  Of course, I’m kidding about the dying moose. Sort of.  It’s getting better. *insert eye roll* At least she’s practicing!

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Photo courtesy of Mrs. Fabrizio

 

 

Well, today is National Pancake Day.  I didn’t even make pancakes for dinner! I’m a slacker today as a mother. But Sunday was National Peanut Butter Lovers Day.  As a good mother should, I frantically surfed Pinterest for a good peanut butter recipe to make and ya know, throw it up on the blog if it tasted good.  I was in search of a chicken with a peanut sauce sort of recipe. Like a satay or something. I didn’t get very far. All over Pinterest and Facebook for that matter, is this Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna. As any good PMSing mother should do, I abandoned the healthy chicken search and settled on this.  The recipe I looked at was from Hugs and Cookies.  I altered it slightly, and if it were up to Ms. Autumn, it would have been altered a bit more.  She thought it needed more chocolate, and more chocolate cups.  I told her the recipe was highlighting peanut butter not chocolate.  She wasn’t impressed with my answer.

Peanut Butter Cookie Lasagna

  • 1 Box Nutter Butter cookies
  • Cool Whip (the small container worked fine)
  • Miniature peanut butter cups, roughly chopped (the more, the better according to Ms. Autumn)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter, melted in the microwave (do not over do! It will burn 🙂 )
  • 1 Box instant vanilla pudding (I used the large box), made according to the box directions
  1. Line the bottom of an 8×8 pan with Nutter Butter cookies
  2. Top with a drizzle of the melted peanut butter (“drizzle” is interpreted differently for everyone! just sayin’)
  3. Add 1/2 the pudding
  4. Add 1/2 the Cool Whip
  5. Top with chopped peanut butter cups
  6. Repeat the layering
  7. Decorate the top with peanut butter cups, crushed nutter butter cookies and a drizzle of peanut butter (and melted chocolate according to Ms. Autumn)

cookielas

 

I brought the leftovers in to work.  If it were left at home, I personally would have eaten the entire pan.  As it was, Bobby called me a demon for bringing it in to work. I’m fairly certain he would have tried to eat the rest himself.  At work, I think it lasted a whole 5 minutes before it was gone. Really, it’s that good. Next week, we start the Eat Well, Live Well project at work.  I am the team leader.  With recipes like this, I’m leading my team straight to Hell. I really should have looked for that chicken recipe.

Getting ready for summer with Strawberry Jam!

Show of hands…who is ready for Spring?  If I didn’t need to type, I would have both hands in the air. Today it was a balmy 15°F and the roads were decent!  Total win!  Bring on any day there isn’t white-knuckle driving. It’s so cold and snowy that I don’t want to do anything.  It’s what I don’t like the most about this time of year; I’m constantly just wishing the time away for warmer weather/blue skies/sunshine/flip flops.  Ok..I have ugly feet and don’t even need to be in flip flops; but maybe few days without the heavy boots.  Is that too much to ask?

In preparation for the big season change, we’ve upped our gym time.  I need to be bikini ready!  HAHAHAHAHA!!! I’ve never worn a bikini.  EVER.  But for real, we have increased our time at the big Y. Not for the bikini I will never wear, but just to emphasize it as a part of the healthy lifestyle I’m trying to teach Autumn.  She’s so focused on her weight, and not on the big picture. I’m trying to get it in her head, that strong is the new thin.  I’m trying to change her focus to being healthy. She’s at an age where everything is changing; her body, her weight, her attitude. I’m hoping that if I push healthy now, we can get her into some good habits. Seriously, who am I kidding?  I need to reestablish mine! And oh yes, Ms. Autumn has permission now to be in the adult cardio area.  We were working out side by side just the other day on the elliptical and the girl was kicking my ass!  A few more months of that, and she will be ready for the soccer season.

And since it’s almost summer, here’s a picture of Ms. Autumn berry picking last year. We {I} make strawberry jam. The cherries we eat straight out of the box.  They don’t even make it to a recipe! Thankfully, we are lucky enough to have a farm just down the road from us that we go to every summer. And in the fall for apples.

autumnstraw

I love love love berry picking! I don’t know why I find it so much fun. Probably for the strawberry jam baby!!  YUM!  I use the recipe straight from the Ball Blue Book.  This recipe is so good!  The ol’ man LOVES it. Considering when he eats PB&J, he eats 2 or 3 sandwiches at a time, it seems to work out well. If you can’t wait until summer, Sam’s Club has the big pack on sale for under $4. Just an FYI.  Summer, Summer, Summertime…(the tune just went in through your head, admit it)

Strawberry Jam

  • 2 quarts strawberries
  • 6 Tbsp Ball classic pectin
  • 1/4 C Lemon Juice
  • 7 C sugar
  1. Wash strawberries, drain. Remove stems.  Crush strawberries one layer at a time.
  2. Combine strawberries, pectin, and lemon juice in a large saucepot.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  4. Return to a rolling boil.  Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat.  Skim foam if necessary.
  6. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Adjust two-piece caps.
  7. Process 10 minutes, in a boiling-water canner.
  8. Listen for the “Ping, Ping, Ping”

strawberryjam

Slow Cooker Sunday!-Beef Barley Soup

Holiday season is over. Valentine’s is over. Football is over……Wake me up in April. Seriously, I’ve added enough insulation to get me through until then.  Wait!!!  Fat Tuesday is coming.  Let me add another layer of gumbo and hurricanes.  Then hibernation begins!!  If I could I totally would. I’m kidding of course. Sort of.

How was everyone’s Valentine’s day?  I spent the day with the kids. I made pink pancakes for breakfast.  The ol’ man went to a movie with a friend who lost his wife a few years ago. We’ll hit the movies next weekend, when they aren’t so crowded; and you know how I feel about restaurants on Valentine’s.  I made mini chicken and waffles for all of us.  Doesn’t that scream romance!  I made something without vegetables in it.  The kids think that’s love. Win for Mom!

Mini Chicken and waffles!  No real recipe here.  I mean, you totally could make homemade waffles, and bread the chicken yourself.  I make this when we are running from work to soccer to the grocery store, ‘Oh shit it’s 7:30pm already’ what am I going to make for dinner?  Eggo mini waffles, and chicken strips.  Bake the chicken strips according to the directions on the package, pop the mini waffles in the toaster. I cut the strips in half, make a little sandwich, spear with a tooth pick to hold them together, drizzle with maple syrup.

minichickwaf

 

So parenting challenge #14,864?  The 16yo wants to read 50 Shades of Grey. Some of you are thinking, where’s the parenting challenge? The answer is no. She’s 16, are you out of your mind? The ol’ man did say no.  But I’m not entirely against it.  I know I’m not going to make a lot of friends with my opinion of 50 Shades, so I’m going to just touch on it a little. She has friends who have read it.  She reads books from the “romance” section already. I mean she is 16,  I’ve played Cards Against Humanity with her, so I know not a whole lot in the series is going to be shocking to her. Ok, so there may be a little shock. I’m impressed that she even asked at all.  Easily, she could have purchased it to her tablet, and we would never know.  She didn’t ask permission to smoke her first cigarette, or do shots of cake batter vodka. Proof that she’s unsure why it’s wrong. I’m not entirely sure I disagree with her. I lived that lifestyle for a few years before I met the ol’ man, who is very vanilla. So I feel like if she reads it, we know she’s reading it, when she has questions she can ask, and we {I} can answer them. Real answers. If she reads it behind our back, she will ask her friends questions and goodness knows what the hell they will answer with. Part of me feels like 50 Shades is romanticizing S&M; just like Pretty Woman did for prostitution.  The reality of the lifestyles just isn’t as black and white has Hollywood and fiction makes it out to be. Probably one of the best things about fiction. Bottom line, I told her if I got written permission from her mom that it’s alright for her to read them, then she can borrow the books. She can duke it out with her father.

On to things that will get me in less trouble! Slow Cooker Sunday!  Today, in our -25°F, snowy weather, nothing sounds better than Beef and Barley Soup!  Straight from Betty Crocker 🙂 The kids liked it, although 2 of the 3 thought there was too many vegetables, and not enough beef.  Damn carnivores!

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

  • 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 lbs Beef boneless chuck, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Medium carrots, cut lengthwise in half, then cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 C Pearl barley, uncooked
  • 8 C Beef broth
  • 1.5 C frozen sweet peas
  • 1 C frozen corn
  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, beef, salt and pepper in oil until beef is brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Spoon beef mixture into 6-quart slow cooker.  Stir in carrots, barley and broth.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours.
  4. Increase heat to high. Stir in frozen peas and corn. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes or until peas and corn are hot.

beefbarleysoup

 

 

 

Peppermint Mousse Cups

I know, I know..a post 2 days in a row.  What?  What’s going on here? Crazy, right?!  I really wanted to get this Peppermint mousse recipe out to you since there’s only three days until 50 Shades of Grey is released. Um.. I mean until Valentine’s Day!  This would be super cute to do with the kids or bring to a Valentine’s Party at work.  And since I have every intention on going to the gym tomorrow night, here I am 🙂  In general, I don’t watch television. I do make time for Vampire Diaries on Thursday nights. The ol’ man just got me hooked on Grimm. I think he’s a jerk for doing that.  Now I’m frantically trying to catch up. We just started Season 3, and Season 4 is on the tv now; it’s a little frustrating.  The point here, as I’m sure you are wondering, is the time I would have normally made time to try to get to the gym, is spent watching Nick the hottie on Grimm.  🙂

This little treat is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Or any day really. Pillsbury had this recipe in one of their Christmas books from like 2007.  If you want to make your own chocolate shells, you can it’s pretty simple. I totally took the easy way out and bought them at the store.

Peppermint Mousse Cups

  • 1.5 C Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C White vanilla baking chips
  • 1 C Whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp Peppermint extract
  • 2 drops Red food color
  • Colored sugar or crushed peppermints
  1. Line 24 mini muffin cups with petit four paper cups. In a small sauce pan, melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips over low heat, stirring frequently. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the chocolate into each paper cup.  With the back of a small measuring spoon, spread the chocolate up sides to within 1/8″ of the top.  Chocolate should be warm enough to spread. Refrigerate about 20 minutes or until completely set. (Or go to the store and purchase them!)
  2. In a small microwavable bowl, microwave the vanilla baking chips uncovered on high 1 minute.  Stir in 3 tablespoons of the whipping cream; microwave about 30 seconds longer or until the chips are completely melted. Stir in peppermint extract and food color.  Cool slightly.
  3. Carefully remove paper cups from chocolate cups.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat remaining whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold melted vanilla chip mixture into whipped cream. Spoon or pipe whipped cream mixture into chocolate cups. Refrigerate until serving.  Just before serving, sprinkle with candy.

Peppmintcups