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

 

 

Chocolate and a Sweater. Summer 2015.

Ah Summer. I love summer. Sundresses and sandals. Long walks on the beach and picnics. Warm nights with a cool breeze and mosquito bites. Salads and meat on the grill.  This may be true where you are right now. Today, I’m in a sweater and muddy sneakers. I mean, it’s warmer in Alaska than it is here.  What’s up Mother Nature?  Who pissed in your Cheerios this month?  We only get 3 months of summer! Get your shit together and give us some sunshine! The up side of this weather rant? There is no snow.

Good news!! Everyone is moving on to the next grade.  Well, with a little help from summer school for the oldest. Now let the childcare games begin! And may the odds be ever in your favor.  I’m going to start petitioning for year round school. Seriously, I have 6 weeks in the middle of summer break covered.  This year, one week prior to camp, and 3 weeks after camp, I will be frantically looking for childcare.  My sister takes her a lot, which is greatly appreciated, but still there is so much running around.  Selfishly, I’m finally in a gym routine.  Not that I’ve lost a single pound, but still the routine is there.  All the running around mucks it all up!  Who has time for all that?

The. Whining. Stops. Now.  Moving on…

On a much brighter note, I helped photograph a wedding last weekend. It was a beautiful wedding.  Yes, it rained. Luckily, all the outside shots were taken before the heavens opened up!  Editing give or take 800 photos is a lot of work. Creatively, it’s a lot of fun. But time consuming!

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Since I have about 200 more edits to do, I leave you with this.  If you are experiencing any sort of summer and are looking for an easy ice cream treat, this is it.  If you are in need of a chocolate fix, this is perfect.  Triple Chocolate Brownie Bites. We all need a little chocolate now and again, even if you are on the wagon.  That’s the great thing about these babies!  They are small. And super chocolaty.   The original recipe is from Food Network Magazine. The idea is they resemble Snow Caps that you get at the movies, but you eat them at home while watching movies there. They used donut holes not brownies.  Well, I tried the donut holes, and they didn’t work out so well for me.  The mini brownies worked great!  I was, like always, short on time.  I purchased the already-made-for-you-thank-you-Danny-Wegman mini brownies.  Of course, you can always bake your own using your favorite brownie mix and a mini muffin pan.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bites

  • 1 package Mini Brownies
  • 1/2 gallon Slow Churned reduced calorie chocolate ice cream
  • 1-12oz package semi sweet chocolate chips
  • Nonpareils, optional
  1. Set the ice cream out at room temperature just to soften (about 10 min)
  2. Cut the brownies in half.  Set in freezer for about 10 minutes, just to set a little.
  3. When the brownies are hardened, and the ice cream is soft, spoon about a tablespoon of ice cream on the bottom half of the brownie. Set the top part of the brownie over the ice cream, making a sandwich.
  4. When all the brownies sammies are finished, set in freezer again to set.
  5. Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt chocolate chips. (I add a tablespoon of shortening in with the melty chips, it just gives it a shine)
  6. When the chips are melted, take the brownie bites out of the freezer; pour over chocolate sandwiches. Tip: if you set the sandwiches on a cooling rack, set cooling rack in a cookie sheet lined with foil, it makes clean up sooooo much easier.
  7. Sprinkle the nonpareils over the top.  Freeze.  Store in an air tight container in the freezer.

browniebites

 

Maybe if you eat one of these fantastical little babies, you will have a hot flash, and need not worry about a sweater!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Spinach Day?

I quit cold turkey. It’s been 4 days.  Four. Cuatro. Quatre.  It’s been four days without a single chocolate chip.  It may not seem like a lot to you, but to me?  Oh, stop with your eye roll, you judgmental bastard!  I realize there are bigger real world problems out there. But, seriously, I’m ready to punch someone in the throat.  Like the ol’ man perhaps? He had the nerve to buy Chips Ahoy! cookies, without the decency to hide them from me. Asshole.  Testing my will power is not love.  It’s torture. I have plenty of internal struggles with “eat or not to eat”. Don’t make it worse by teasing me with the goods! When it comes to chocolate chips or chocolate chip cookies, I have ZERO control. Cake? Pie? Ice cream? Chips?  I can say no to it all.  Having chocolate chips or any of their accomplices is like stocking up the liquor cabinet with alcoholic in the house.  I. Will. Not. Break. Down.

Enough of my whining.  Rumor has it that tomorrow is National Spinach Day.  I’m not entirely sure why we need a National Day for Spinach, but we do.  Luckily for spinach, it’s delicious.  And Popeye seems to like it, so I guess it’s worthy.  Since I’m Striving for 5 and all that fun stuff, (Go Team Go!) Campbell’s has a fantastical spinach and mushroom frittata that I made a while ago.  Easy, and the kids like it. Well, 2 of them did. I will give you a penny and a half if you can guess which one didn’t.  Heaven forbid they saw the microscopic mushrooms in it. This would make a great Easter brunch recipe! Just don’t tell the kids there are mushrooms. Or Spinach. Nevermind.  Serve it at the adult table.  Or call it just a Frittata.  It’s all in how you spin it!

Spinach and Mushroom Frittata 

  • 10 Eggs
  • 1 Can cream of mushroom soup (used the 10¾ oz size of 98% fat free)
  • 1-10 oz pkg Frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 1.5 C Shredded Swiss (honestly I probably used closer to 2 C, since ya know, I used almost fat free soup, lol my logic kills me)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 12x8x2 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs.  Stir in the soup, spinach and 1 cup (or so) of the cheese and black pepper.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until the eggs are set in the center.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Let stand for about 5 minutes until the cheese melts.
  5. If you make this the day before, refrigerate until you are ready to use.  Let it sit out for 30 minutes to get to room temperature.  Then reheat in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes.

spinach frittata

I’m changing the name to Shrimp Piccata!

It is almost Friday.  It. Is. Almost. Friday. I’m gonna slap a big WOOOO HOOO on that. Truly, it’s been a very long week.  On the bright side, the  sun was out today; cold, but the sun was out!  It’s almost like you can actually almost see Spring around the corner.  Then the weather comes on and the pretty boy in the suit says “Snow next week”.  And you want to punch his pretty face. Ok, ok, so it is upstate New York, and fine, it is only mid-March.  Yes, I know snow is still to be expected until April. UGH, fine!  I will leave his pretty face alone 😉

I think I mentioned a few posts back that I’m the team leader for the Eat Well, Live Well challenge.  That has really thrown me into the “let’s be super healthy until I get discouraged” mood.  I’m back on MyFitness Pal, logging everything I eat.  I purchased a Fitbit. I’m down to a handful or two of chocolate chips a day. And yes, I’m logging those too. I’m in no way a paid person for Fitbit, (unless of course they want to throw a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ my way), but I have to say, the thing is nifty.  In general, technology blows my mind.  Computers? Tablets? Fax machines?  All magic. This Fitbit? Serious magic.  It knows things.  Things that I don’t think it really should know. Quite frankly, it creeps me out just a little.

The one thing it doesn’t know?  How many carbs are being consumed!  I aim for high protein options and I strive for 5 and all that jazz. Every now and again though, I come across a pasta recipe that strikes my fancy.  This pasta recipe from Rachael Ray was one of them.  It was 2 out of 3 kid approved, and the ol’ man loved it. Guess which kid wouldn’t even try it?  Come on…Guess.  I’ll give you a penny if you get it right! She calls it “Pasta Piccata”.  I called it Shrimp Piccata.  It really highlights the shrimp.  Pasta is just pasta.

Shrimp Piccata

  • 2 Cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 C  Chicken stock
  • 1/3 C Capers
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 lb  Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 10 oz. Linguine, cooked and drained
  • 1/4 C Parsley
  1. In skillet, cook garlic in butter over medium heat, for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in chicken stock, capers, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest. Simmer 2 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes (or until done)
  4. Toss with pasta and parsley.

 

shrimppiccata

 

Easy! This week… easy is needed!

I have exactly 20 minutes to get my post up! I’m on a time schedule. I’m trying to stay on a planned schedule, but it’s not going so well this week.   Everything was planned, the gym, blog posts, the menu.  Then the ol’ man’s mom had to have unexpected open heart surgery yesterday. Poor thing ended up with a quadruple bypass. She’s off the ventilator and awake; which is fantastical for just 24 hours after surgery. Ironically, 16 years ago today, my dad died, essentially after the same surgery. It kinda sucked being in the same hospital, the same unit, the same everything.  The good thing, if there is a good thing, is that I was able to give the ol’ man some insight as to what will happen. Like when we saw her right after surgery, she had a little bit of color.  I thought she looked good! You know, good for someone who just had their chest cracked open. My dad looked gray and dead.  The smart ass he is, said “We are Italian, of course she has color!”  Point made lol.

Needless to say, I needed easy this week.  Nothing easier than the slow cooker, and since I neglected slow cooker Sunday for you, I’m giving it to you now. Easter is coming, and you undoubtedly will have leftover ham. This Pillsbury recipe is perfect!  As always, I changed it a little. On the kid scale, 2 out of 3 liked it.  I will give you a penny if you can figure out which one didn’t like it!

Cheesy Ham Au Gratin

  • 3C Milk
  • 1 Can condensed Cheddar cheese soup (10 3/4oz can)
  • 2- 5 oz pkgs cheesy scalloped potatoes, with skin on potatoes (I didn’t used the skin on)
  • 2 C Cooked diced ham
  • 2 Cans Whole kernel corn, with Red and green peppers, drained (I used a frozen bag of corn and peppers)
  • 2 C boiling water
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)
  1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine milk, soup, and contents of seasoning packets from potatoes; blend well.  Add potatoes, ham and corn; mix well.  Pour mixture into sprayed slow cooker.  Pour boiling water over potato mixture; stir to mix.
  2. Cover; cook on low setting for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

hamaugratin

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