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!

Who’s ready for some football?!

Who am I kidding?  WHO’S READY FOR SPRING?!  I’ve had it with white knuckle driving.  Ok. Good night friends!

Alright, alright.  It’s not really good night.  Although I’m very tired.  Monday’s always suck for me at work. And on top of that, guess who was up late last night doing her book report?  Yeah.  My parenting skills at their best.  I talk the best parenting game.  But the bottom line?  I suck.  I didn’t do any of it for her, like she wanted. But I did let her stay up to finish it, even though I had many many threats of “bed at 9”.  She didn’t like the feeling of being unprepared. I think the next time, there won’t be so much procrastination.  A parent can hope.

Football!!!  Every year Autumn and I have a Superbowl party.  It’s usually just us. And it’s fun 🙂  We’ve been trying various recipes over the past few weeks, just to change up our party menu. We seriously make enough food to eat leftovers for a week.  I’m not entirely convinced that there will even be a Super Bowl this year, but we are going to party like there will be.  And our decorative balls will be inflated!

If you have read any of my previous posts, you know how I feel about meatballs, Oreo balls, cookie balls etc. When I saw these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs from Rachel Ray, it was game on.  I knew this would be on the menu. Next time I make them, I may try baking them.  The kids LOVED these. Let’s focus on what’s important.. I loved them!! Feeding a real crowd?  Like more than just 2 people?  Double the recipe!

Chicken Parm Meatballs

  • 1lb Ground Chicken
  • 1/2 C Grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 C Panko
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Egg
  • 16 cubes Mozzarella
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 C jarred arrabiatta sauce, warmed (I used regular spaghetti sauce)
  1. In a bowl, mix chicken, Parmesan, panko, Italian seasoning and egg.
  2. Gently form meat around cheese into 1.5-inch balls.
  3. In a nonstick skillet, cook in olive oil over medium-high heat, turning. About 8 minutes.
  4. Serve with sauce.

chickenmeatballs

Soup and Snow!

In Buffalo.  Let it keep snowing in Buffalo. Like a lot of the rest of country, west of me is getting slammed with snow.  They can keep it!  I woke up to 17*F, but that’s A-OK with me; I don’t have 4ft of snow in my doorway this morning.

Although it is the first of many, enough of the weather update.  I’ve have other very important things to report.  After a lot of feet dragging, and story after story, the soccer coach finally put Ms. Autumn on the soccer team. Offically.  I think. It’s very confusing. She tried to play it off like it was nothing, but out of the corner of my eye when she thought I wasn’t looking, I saw her give a big smile. Secretly she’s pretty excited.

In honor of my Buffalo friends, and everyone else home bound due to snow, I leave you with an “OMG this is so delicious” recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Soup to keep you warm!  I saw the recipe on The Kitchen. I was like how easy is that??  It turned out to be not as easy as it sounded, but worth it. Every. Single. Minute.  I did alter this a little, like I didn’t add fresh basil.  I’m sure your kids aren’t nearly averse to things green. Admittedly, I did actually fry the eggplant.  Next time, I’m going to try baking it. Surprisingly, really liked by the little people and the Ol’ Man.  Although, I don’t think Allison ate any of the eggplant. Show me your shock face!!

Eggplant Parm Soup

  • 8C                          Prepared Tomato soup (bisque style)
  • 1 1/3 C                   Flour
  • 2 Large                  Eggs (beaten)
  • 2 C                         Italian-style bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Medium              Eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 8 Slices                  Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim)
  • 1/4 C                      Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  1. Set up a breading station with the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in shallow bowels. Add a little salt and pepper to each.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, dredge the little eggplant squares through each station, shaking off the excess.  Set aside on a wire rack.
  3. To the Soup! Pour the soup in a medium pot, add the Parmesan cheese, and bring to a slight simmer.
  4. Back to the eggplant croutons!! Heat 1/2 inch of oil in 2 large straight sided saute pans over medium heat.  Working in small batches, fry the eggplant pieces, turning once, until golden brown. I let them drain on paper towel.
  5. Preheat oven to broil.  Ladle the soup into individual ovenproof crocks or ramekins on parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover each crock with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese.  Broil until golden brown and bubbly.  Top each ramekin with several fried eggplant cubes.

 

Eggplantparmsoup

 

Off to Photo 101!!

 

Happy Autumn!!

Nope, not my daughter.  The season. Autumn is here.  Yep, I said it, and it pains me to do so.  But it’s August 17, and it feels like October.  The leaves on the parkway are changing already.  By the time Autumn actually gets here, the leaves will be long changed and falling off the trees.  What the heck happened to the “dog days of summer”? What happened to 95 degrees and hoping for the sprinkler to go on?  It scares me to think what this winter is going to be like 😦

On to happier things!!!!  I’ve completely carb loaded this week and feel like a slug, even though I walked 7 miles yesterday. Not sure really why that’s a “happier thing”. Anyway, it will be a healthier diet week this upcoming week. Hopefully. The little one starts soccer practice (practicing for what, you ask?  I don’t know, since she won’t be playing any games).  OMG the drama with this coach in unreal.  Truly.  But Autumn wants to keep with it. Whatev. Back to the point.  I have to plan a few meals in advance, otherwise on soccer nights, everyone else is eating cereal.  Not that there is anything wrong with cereal! Except for the carbs. And sugar.  OK…so there is everything wrong with cereal if you are on a high protein diet.

Dee from The CSI Project   finished the editing our interview.  Listen to it here! (Hopefully! I really hope the links work!)  Technology really isn’t my strong point.  And we even talk about that in the interview.  She really did a great job!  I was nervous, please keep that in mind!!  I haven’t been on a job interview in 12 years.  Even though it wasn’t a job interview, it felt like it!

Two more weeks until school starts!!   I love love love the old Staples commercial where the Mom is riding the shopping cart around the store to that Christmas song “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.  It is so accurate!! We received the supply list, and it wasn’t too bad this year.  We tried to go out shopping today, but the little bugger isn’t feeling well.  We got as far as Target, and she was begging to go home.  Without a doubt, you know she’s sick when she passes up shopping.

I pinned some scrapbook pages on my Pinterest page if you want to check them out!! (in case that link doesn’t work:  http://www.pinterest.com/alittleofthis14/a-little-of-this-and-that/   I don’t know what the heck I’m doing here 🙂

Yummies!!!!  So, my little one and I stopped at a local farmers market and picked up some fresh basil garlic and tomatoes.  I love the farmers market, can I just tell you that?  I made the most delicious sandwiches from Ree Drummond last night for dinner.  The ol’ man loved it and so did little miss picky pants.  Therefore you know it’s good.  I will need to try it on the now 16yo..that will be the true test! I made the homemade pesto that’s in the recipe, but I’m sure you could use the jar pesto.  And for the record, I did not add any nuts that is called for in this recipe and I added like 5 little cloves of garlic, not just one.  What can I say?  We gots vampires in these here parts!

Pesto Tomato Sandwiches

  • 6 C                Basil leaves (more if needed)
  • 1/4 C            Roughly chopped raw almonds
  • 1/3 C           Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 tsp        Salt
  • 1 Clove       Garlic, peeled
  • 1 C                Olive Oil (more if needed)
  • 4                   Whole Ciabatta Roll, crisped in the oven, cooled and sliced in half
  • 1                   Large tomato, sliced thick
  • 4 oz             Fresh mozzarella, sliced thick (because who doesn’t like things thick?)
  1. Add basil, almonds, Parmesan and salt to the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Use a microplane zester to grate in the garlic (or use a garlic press)
  2. Start the food processor, and drizzle in the olive oil until totally incorporated.
  3. Check the consistency of the pesto.  Add either more basil or more olive oil, depending how you like it. (thick from what I understand)  I kid, I kid!  Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
  4. Spread some pesto on the cut side of both halves of the Ciabatta roll. Lay a thick tomato slice on the bottom, followed by a thick slice of mozzarella.  Top with the other roll half and serve immediately.

pestoandmozsand