Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall decorating...ahhh

I am definitely a true to the season sorta gal....You'll hear me say during every season how much I love it! I guess it's the change in scenery, clothes, foods etc. Nothing like curling up with a good book and Fall makes it alot easier to snuggle down into the covers and enjoy a good read!!

And the food......Fall foods? I love Fall foods, I'm sure you do too! I love a good burger on the grill but there's nothing like that first hot pot of soup, or a mug of hot cider, a fresh apple pie out of the oven or a bubbly hot casserole pulled from the oven and leaving the oven door a bit ajar to let the heat into the room.......mmm

This room I have to say is my favorite to cozy into a chair or on the couch and peruse some magazines while I listen to someone practice piano! I love decorating this mantel with sparkling lights all year round.......and the nice thing about decorating for Fall is I leave it up until Thanksgiving day ends...and you KNOW what comes to this mantel after that...but that's a whole new post for then! ha

Apples Apples Apples.....I love all things apples, I love having a basket full of them, even fake ones like the ones under this globe, apple PIE, apple cake, donuts, fritter, .......endless!

I hope you're all settling into Fall, soon the leaves will be raining down their orange and golden rains......I have to laugh at Grace when we go for a walk and she rides her bike, she likes to ride over the fallen crunchy leaves to hear it crunch......"I got that from you Mom!" I'm glad my kids love the changing seasons and I'm so glad they take notice of the changing seasons indoors too...I think they enjoy the decorations too.....Sometimes it makes me think about wanting to make a mental note to see if any of them do this when they have their own homes someday (gulp)....I can hear them now "We ARE NEVER buying any Charlie Brown CD's and take it easy on the decorating!" haha

Getting ready for supper....

Ok so I got this great idea from a new cooking show Rachel Ray has about making 5 meals on the weekend for the week's meals ahead.......
So Sunday afternoon I got busy with cooking and am very pleased with the results! Yesterday for lunch we had Butternut squash and I always make Butternut soup with the leftovers...You can go here to find the recipe in my archives! We all love this soup, and by chance I had 1/2 a pint of HEAVY cream leftover from a dessert I made this week and Half and Half so I used that instead of milk and OH BABY! creamy goodness....can't wait until lunch today!!
I also put on a pot of sauce to simmer......I just brown up Ground chuck, and Ground turkey, onion and garlic, add the largest jar of Prego, a small can of Tomato paste, 3 cans of water from that can, salt and pepper, a can of mushrooms, fresh basil (when I have it, or dried is fine), 2 T. sugar, and let that simmer away! Mike ate a bowl of it for a snack with a piece of bread! he would eat Spaghetti everyday he has said! ha
I also made a batch of Sloppy Joes, the only difference in the recipe you can click on here in my archives is I used half ground turkey and half ground chuck. I often use just ground turkey but I wanted to stretch the cost too! Be sure to click here to make the best fries EVAH to go with it!
I'm so glad to have these things ready to reheat......last week dinnertime was chaos, between after school activities, sports and church I was so unprepared for meals in the timing to prep and cook hopefully this will make dinner easier! I love to connect with the kids at dinner and talk so if I'm prepared with easy and filling meals ahead I think it will go well...until Sports end for us in Mid November anyhow......
Tonight is Spaghetti, can't wait to smell that sauce fill the room with it's yummy savory good smell! You can just add a salad/veggie or hot crunchy bread to any of these and you're good to go!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Monday......

HAPPY MONDAY.....decided I'm going to dust the house throughout and put up my Fall decorations! It's time....and it's a gorgeous day! enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Give away.......

Go here to Danielle's blog and check out an awesome give away on 30 day cooking.....she's already tried it and it seems soooo great!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stuffed Meaty Pizza

This is a great weekend go to recipe for me in Fall/Winter, I always double it and freeze two halves for future use!
1 loaf Italian bread
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, (I use ground turkey, 99%)
1 ts. minced garlic
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 C. finely chopped carrots, peeled (this makes the recipe)
1 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 ts. Allspice
1 jar Prego (or any sauce you like)
1 1/2 C. Mozzarella cheese
2 T. fresh basil, opt'l
Preheat oven to 450*. Split bread length wise and hollow out most of the bread leaving a shell. (Toast the hollowed out pieces and grind them into bread crumbs or just eat them! ha) Lightly crisp the bread loaves on a baking sheet for a few mins. watching carefully.
In a large pan cook beef, onion and carrots until the meat is done and vegetables are tender. Drain any excess grease. Add Worcestershire sauce, allspice and Spaghetti sauce and simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer meat mixture to hollowed out bread loaves, sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese is just melted and bubbly. Pull out of oven and top right away with snipped basil (you can use dry). Enjoy.....these freeze great so double or triple it!
To prepare from frozen, defrost and bake at 375* for 15 mins. or until heated through and cheese is bubbly! Enjoy!

I can see clearly now........

I got reading glasses......did I tell you that? I went with Grace this summer to get eye check ups.....and I knew she would be getting new glasses since she's worn them all along but I didn't know I would be getting READING glasses!
He put reading lenses up to my eyes and I gasped, out loud and the Dr. sort of snickered and said "it sneaks up on you doesn't it?" WELL YEAH!
But I have to say as much as I love to's probably a good thing that I have them! I just cannot get used to seeing the bottom rim of the glasses and find myself pulling them down on my nose like a I know why people do that! ha So.....I guess it's not so bad...I made it to age 42 with perfect eyesight......guess some things gotta give and if it's gonna give then let it be my reading eyes! ha Read on my friends......

My day so far.....

Outside my window....gray skies, wet grass from a hard rain, and blustery wind through the wet trees.

I am thinking.....that I wished I felt better, I have a cold that came on from allergies I think....Gotta love Oak tree season and falling acorns!

I am thankful for.....a friends mom who passed away today loved Jesus with all her heart and now is completely healed and in heaven! it's bittersweet.

From the learning rooms.....back to school routine is slowly but surely falling into place...can't say I am liking that 6 a.m. alarm but it does make Friday date night and Saturday morning sleep ins more appreciated! ha

From the kitchen.....Peach and Rosemary glazed turkey breast, sweet potatoes and carrots! I love Fall cooking!

I am wearing .....a black t shirt and my favorite black track pants and slippers!

I am creating.....hmmm not much as of now I guess!

I am the library to get a recommended read and hopefully to veg on the couch a bit!

I am reading.....see above! ha

I am feel GREAT tomorrow, have a good date night, that a friend of ours that had a heart attack pulls through a-ok, and that the weekend is good!

I am hearing......Jordan practice the theme from "The Office" on actually is very pretty but I don't like that show! haha

Around the house.....getting things tidy, hoping to decorate for Fall next week....thinking about putting Fall touches around and getting some cider and crunchy Cinnamon donuts soon in this place!

One of my favorite I have to say lately, it's such a mood setter, changer isn't it?

A few plans for the rest of the week.......Get groceries tomorrow, try a new Caramel apple cake recipe (don't think I can go too wrong there), B Day shop for my dad, celebrate his B Day Sunday, hosting youth group at our house, jean shopping for Jordan, hair cut for Jordan.......busy "mom" stuff I guess!
You can go here to make up your own daybook!

Picture for Favorite fall snack....but it HAS to be Brachs! Enjoy the Fall my friends! <3

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Give away...I hope I win!!

Danielle is having another awesome giveway here, click here to check it out!! Even if you don't win there are alot of cool ideas on this lunchbox site for some good lunch ideas for kids! I think the containers are so cool and I might buy them if I don't win......but I hope I do!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall, Zhucchini, and back to school....

Well we're back to school....and so far it's not going so well! I'm so tired, and I don't like getting up at 6:00 a.m. and I miss watching tv. or reading at midnight and getting up at 9:00 and I just don't understand why these kids can't just get themselves up and get a ride from someone else! haha OK I'm teasing about "some" of this.....I do enjoy taking them to school and connecting with them in the morning (sort of)...everyone is sort of quiet in the mornings and now Macy goes to school an hour and a half earlier than last year so I've enjoyed her bubbly spirit at the breakfast table....Jordan is there too but he's a bit like me.....he coasts slowly into mornings......Grace gets up 45 minutes after the rest of us and I'll tell you about Grace.......Grace comes racing full speed into mornings.....she's got a song in her heart at the crack of dawn!! and it's now 5:00 p.m. and I'm preparing dinner and she is STILL full of energy.....I tell ya, she keeps me going! ha
All three kids are in different schools this year, Jordan is a Jr. in High School, Macy is in 7th. grade and Grace is in 4th grade. Fortunately Jordan and Macy go about 10 minutes apart to school so the driving time works out for me and Grace goes about 45 minutes after them! So we're all going to be fine!!
My friend Jacki called one day and asked if I could use some I said SURE no one has blessed us with any this season......I said I'll take all you have! hahaha WHICH LED TO......11 BIG OLE BABIES!! It was a job but we got 18 bags of shredded Zucchini in 2 Cup portions, since most bread recipes take 2 Cups and 11 bags of cubed...for soup and stir fry! I'm not a big fan of it plain, but I do LOVE bread and I have a great recipe for Zucchini cake.....I'm sure I'll come back soon to blog about that cake because I'm craving it, and I like it in Vegetable soup! I don't mind it grilled with some Lemon Pepper on occasion either!

I was grating it on a box grater and Mike said "why aren't you using your food processor? DUH!!! "I don't know!" so he hauled it out and do you know WHAT?? he and Macy did them all.......I only washed the outsides and got out of dodge and came back to the kitchen looking disastrous but all the Zucchini was neatly packed and in the freezer!! pretty nice......wonder what else I could trick him into doing......hmmm we are apple picking in a few weeks! ha

Zucchini is a love hate deal isn't it.....either you love em or you don't! I love em hidden in yummy breads, muffins, and cake! My friend Jacki brought me some CHOCOLATE Zucchini muffins......oh man was it just enough chocolate flavor to wake this sleepy gal up in the morning!! ha

We're back to teaching on Wednesday nights at church, 1-5th grade! we love those kids and love teaching! Grace is taking a Gymnastics Rec. class once a week for 2 hours, Jordan is running Cross Country daily after school with a meet 2x a week or so, all three kids are taking piano lessons......and now you know why I'M TIRED! ha We always allow one extra curricular thing to do per kid, per season and so far that's taking up alot of nights......but when end November hits all is quiet again, no one is running after school for practice and we settle in for a long Winter's nap....(speaking of naps...I think I might have to take one once in a while during the week.....can you tell I'm very weak when it comes to sleep? haha).......So we're back in the routine.....back to a schedule of sorts, driving 5, 6 and 7x a day sometimes.........but it's what I family!! I hope you are all ready for Fall and sinking lower into the covers, refreshing your book pile and making some yummy gooey appley, cinnamony things!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Operation Christmas Child is coming soon......

Operation Christmas Child is coming soon.......I hope you will click on this link and watch or read the incredible story about a gal who was the recipient of a shoe box when she was SIX years old and she now shares her testimony on what it mean to her was amazing! I read her story to my kids and I could barely choke out the story as I read kids really love doing the shoe boxes and I'm so glad to be part of it!!

Also if you go can get some great ideas on how to pack a box and what to pack! I read a great idea about hosting a Shoebox party at your house and invite guests to bring items to put in boxes, and then you can spend time together filling and wrapping the could have things out to write letters to put in the shoe boxes for the kids that attend the party.....also Veggie Tales was a sponsor last year with this DVD! So they suggest maybe showing this DVD for a fun part of the party and serve snacks and then discuss how the DVD and it's content ties in with being part of the Shoebox giving!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cookies....make everything better!

Last week Macy and I got in the kitchen and made six dozen each of Chocolate Chip cookies and Peanut Butter. We love homemade cookies at our house so we thought it would be a good start to the school year to have some on hand! Usually I make cookies every Monday, but there are some Monday's that I just don't feel like it...... so now I'll have them to pull out of the freezer as needed! (or wanted!)
I have a Pampered chef medium scoop that I used to scoop the Chocolate Chip cookies. Scoop them on to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and freeze for a few hours or overnight. With the Peanut butter I roll them into 1 inch dough balls ( you can eye a 1" dough ball by the size of a walnut) and freeze the same way.
Mark a Ziploc bag with the kind of cookies they are, the temperature and time they take to bake and that way you aren't having to look up the recipe when it comes time to bake them.
You can pull out as many cookies as you'd like and thaw them on a plate in the fridge for a few hrs. OR if you're really craving a cookie and a cup of tea at 1:00 in the afternoon.......defrost a few dough balls and VOILA.....
I really like course sugar for the Peanut Butter cookie tops, just thaw the Peanut Butter cookie dough balls for about 1/2 hr. dip the top in the course sugar and make your criss crosses with a fork. Of course you can use regular sugar but I love the crunch of the course sugar, and it comes in many colors too for fun! I usually buy mine at a cake supply store but you can get them in the grocery store in the spice aisle or the sugar aisle.
I just made a few dozen for a work bee at Jordan's school and I had Gold sugar and blue sprinkles because his school colors are.....BLUE AND GOLD! You can also sprinkle them with Chocolate sprinkles instead of sugar, just make your criss crosses first and sprinkle on the Chocolate sprinkles OR Mini Chocolate chips are good too!
I clean house for a good friend and I love to pop 1/2 a dozen cookies in the oven before I go and then leave her a plate of homemade cookies for after school when she's home from teaching.......
You'll love having the cookie dough on hand for a sick friend, a sad friend (haha), or yourself......Nothing like smelling cookies bake while you're eating dinner and enjoying a hot gooey chocolately cookie after dinner.......You can do the same with sugar cookie dough and then flatten them out with the bottom of a glass and add sugar or sprinkles.......Ginger snaps......practically anything.........
Of course we baked up a few while we were scooping for the frozen ones and I will admit I LOVE Chocolate Chip cookie dough.......I can't tell you how many belly aches I've had from eating too much dough.....but it's SO WORTH IT!
Enjoy the end of your summer!!! <3