Monday, December 5, 2011


So welcome back to the Headley neck of the woods.  We've been up to quiet a bit trying to keep up with these three!  We're having fun and trying to keep our heads screwed on straight while we're doing it. : )  Here's just a small glimpse of some of the cuteness these three have been up to lately. 

Grandpa gave the boys these masks when we were at the beach and they are often seen running around our house with them on pretending all sorts of things! 

Libby Lou got a swing put up in the backyard so gone are the days of the boys going to play outside by themselves while I cook.  If they do go outside, then this is what I see.
Cutie boy with his baseball hat and glove.

She loves to be outside!

Sweet boy!

Silly Willy!

Mom found these costumes at a yard sale.  Jack likes the idea of them but usually doesn't want to wear them.  Sawyer, however, loves them! 

Stay tuned for more pictures to come!  We've got to catch up on the SC State Fair and mommy's photography class. : )
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Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 17

Well, I had good intentions, so that should count for something, right? To make a long story short, I had to give up my computer to our church secretary for a few days, leaving me no way to blog! Oops! When I got it back, I was just out of the habit, and didn't take the time to sit down and catch up. I'm not going to try and go back and write 6 blogs, but what I will do is write 2 recipes each day for the next 5 days so that we're back on track at least for that part. It amazes me how quickly we drop back into old habits, even when we were doing so well with the new ones! It can be true for any part of your life, so just remember that when you're cooking! Just like it would be so much easier to sleep in than to get up and go running (for those of us who are NOT runners!), the same is true for cooking! If you don't regularly cook for your family, then trying to make that a habit isn't going to happen over night! It's going to take discipline and the understanding that you're going to stumble a few times. Just like we tell our kids, you've got to keep getting back up and trying again! You can do it! It would have been a lot easier for me to just quit blogging, but it's something I started and I want to finish it. If you've stopped cooking for a few days, get back in the saddle and finish the month! It's better than nothing, right?! To give you a little inspiration, here are two new favorites in my house, Stuffed Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup.
I have a new love interest that shows up often at our house recently. Ian wasn't so sure at first, but now he's more than ok with it. Who? No, it's a what, goat cheese. I LOVE it! It's got such a great tang, but it's soft, which makes it great for so many things, like stuffing chicken breasts!
  • 3-4 chicken breasts (as many as your family needs)
  • 2-4 ounces goat cheese
  • spice blend (Italian, steak seasoning, Greek, whatever you have!)
  • chicken stock
  •  salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Ok, so you can do this one of two ways, and it's totally up to you. You can cut a slit in the middle of your chicken breast (the length of the breast, not the width) to make a pocket in the majority of your chicken or you can pound it out thin and roll your cheese up inside. I made the pocket, because I don't have a mallet for pounding and have to use my rolling pin. That gets old, so a knife works much better for me. : ) If you roll it be sure to skewer to hold it closed and brown all sides. Bring a skillet to a medium high heat. Stuff each chicken breast with about an ounce of goat cheese and be sure to spread it into all the corners and crevices of the pocket. Now sprinkle one side with a little bit of salt, pepper and your spice blend. You won't the chicken to be lightly covered in spices to give plenty of flavor. Now, lightly coat your skillet in olive oil and put the chicken spice side down in a skillet and let brown for a few minutes. You want a nice caramelized brown before flipping. Flip and do the same on the other side. As soon as it's browned, turn the heat down to a medium low, cover and let it finish cooking for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Now set your chicken aside and put your reserved liquid into a bowl. Turn the heat back up to a medium heat, then put your butter in the pan and let it melt. Next add your flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Don't let it burn, but make sure to whisk up the little browned bits in the bottom of your pan. Slowly add the reserve liquid into the pan, whisking as you pour. If it is too thick, then continue to thin with chicken stock. This is the sauce to go on top of your chicken so make it as thick or as thin as you want it. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, then lower the heat and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add some wine or lemon juice to your sauce for a different taste.   
I will admit that this one is a little more time intensive, but oh so worth it! This soup is wonderful, hearty and screams fall in a bowl! : )  You can also add chicken to this, if you have some leftover roast chicken in the fridge. 
Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/2 of a smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup half and half (or milk)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool. In a blender or food processor, puree the squash with 1 cup of the chicken stock. When smooth set aside.

While the squash is roasting, bring 2 cups of chicken stock and a 1/4 cup of onion to a boil and then add your rice, cover and reduce to simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, then set aside.  In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp.  Pull the bacon out and leave just enough bacon grease to cover the bottom of the pan.  Saute the sausage for about 3 minutes.  Next add the onion and corn, lightly salt and pepper and saute for 3 more minutes.  Add the remaining chicken stock and squash puree (as well as cooked chicken if you're using it) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off any fat that rises to the top.  Add the rice and cook for another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add your half and half (or milk and stir until well combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.   

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 11

So it's Tuesday which means some more Tips in the Kitchen.  So I'm going to give you a run down of my essentials for three different areas in my kitchen:  spices, pantry and the fridge.  Today I'll cover spices and then we'll hit the others in the days to come.  Spices are often expensive and you aren't going to want to buy them all at once.  They do go on sale, so watch for it and buy a few at a time.  The holidays are generally a great time!  Here's my list, but keep in mind that I also do a lot of baking so some of these won't be as critical in your pantry.

- oregano
- basil
- rosemary
- cumin
- corriander
- garlic powder
- thyme
-  ginger
- nutmeg
- cloves
- celery salt
- paprika
- chili powder
- bay leaves
- vanilla extract
- almond extract
- steak seasoning
- greek seasoning
- italian seasoning
- baking soda
- baking powder
- corn starch
- cream of tartar

Now I realize this is a long list, and you won't use these every one of these each week, but having them around will allow you to try a multitude of new recipes without having to run to the store each time!  Hope that helps and we'll get to the rest soon, I promise!

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

So my hubby loves pork chops.  I like them periodically, but I always had a hard time over cooking them.  I discovered that crusting them in cheese and bread crumbs really helps that. : )  Also, if you don't like pork, you could easily do this with chicken.  It's an easy recipe and goes with just about anything. 

2 eggs
1 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (or italian blend if that's all you have : )
4 - 1/2 inch pork chops
salt and pepper
olive oil

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate until blended.  Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate and the cheese in a third pie plate. Generously sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper on each side. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the pork chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.  I know this order may seem strange but gently dip and pat to keep as much cheese on the pork as you can.  This is part of what keeps your cheese on the chop, keeping it moist. 
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, be sure not to crowd the pan, and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side.

Tomorrow we'll take it up a notch on the degree of difficulty and share a new favorite in our family, Stuffed Chicken.  You'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what it's stuffed with. : )

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 9 and 10

So yesterday was a crazy day for us, but I'm hoping that this will be the last time we do a two for one blog post. : )  I'll try my best!
So let's just get real for a minute shall we?  Tonight I was reminded of how my evenings don't always go as planned and sometimes dinner doesn't get on the table "on time" and my circumstances aren't always ideal . . . and that's OK!  I got home from running some errands a little late this afternoon and I needed to go ahead and get something in the oven so I just left the groceries on the floor and started peeling some apples.  While I was doing this Sawyer started "helping" unload the groceries for me and when I turned around all three of the kids were in the middle of the floor and the rest of the floor was literally covered in groceries and empty bags.  Yep, I've got some great helpers. : )  We all have moments like this, and often during dinner preparation.  In these moments we've got a choice to, out of frustration and pure self, send the kids out of the kitchen and proceed to clean up in a huff or gently guide and direct our kiddos and teach them to put away the groceries and really help.  Which do you choose?   After a long day, I know sometimes I'm way to quick to make the wrong choice, instead of letting the Spirit work through me to teach my kids.  For you, maybe it's a co-worker that leads you to the breaking point, your husband or another family member.  It's hard, but when I'm tempted to be short, or when I have been short I can't help but remember this encouragement from Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."   Doesn't that melt your heart and give you such a peace?  If you have been bought with the blood of Christ, if you are part of His flock He carries you close to His heart!  I hear those words and it makes me feel cared for, loved and cherished.  He gently leads me, and He, more than anyone, knows how much I need it!  Lord, let me gently lead my babies the way you lead me! 

Well, since I can't figure out a good transition, I'll just leave you with two recipes. : )  We'll do one for breakfast and one for dinner.

My kids love oatmeal.  I love the idea of oatmeal.  I love the health benefits of oatmeal, but I really don't care for the texture of oatmeal.  That is, until I tried baked oatmeal.  This I love!  It makes a lot, but you can keep it in the fridge and then reheat in individual bowls the next morning with a little bit of milk or water. 

Baked Oatmeal

2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 (18-oz.) container regular oats
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Toss 2 cups blueberries in 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Combine oats, next 9 ingredients, and remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a large bowl, stirring until well blended.  Mix gently with the blueberries and pour into a greased, 9x13 baking dish.  Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 20 more minutes or until golden brown and set. 

Variations:  You can switch the blueberries for peaches, or a 1/2 cup toasted pecans and 4-5 chopped Granny Smith apples. 

One of our family's favorite recipes!  This is such a nice change from plain old barbecue sauce out of a bottle.

White Barbecue Chicken

1 pint mayonaise
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons white vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 package bone-in, skin on chicken

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  You can cook your chicken in the oven or on the grill.  If you choose to grill it, then partially boil it first so as not to burn  it or over cook it.  Either way, you'll want to start applying your sauce the last15-20 minutes of cooking.  Brush sauce on, let cook for a few minutes, then flip and brush the other side.  Continue doing this coating each side 3-4 times.  Remember, there is sugar in the sauce, so it will burn if you cook it too long.  If done on the grill, you may want to move it to indirect heat while applying the sauce. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 7 & 8

So how was your first week of October and the challenge to cook everyday? Did you do it? I'd love to hear what you cooked this week and if you tried anything new! If you didn't make it all week, then try again this week! I didn't make remember to blog everyday, but there's always this week, right? : )
So I thought that to round out the week I would share two more recipes that are easy and another good use of leftover chicken. The first is my all time favorite chicken salad. I used to hate chicken salad. I'm really not a fan of celery in my food. I feel that it is a crunch I don't really want in my sandwich, and it seems that chicken salad always has it. Well, if you like celery in your chicken salad, you can always put it in, but this recipe doesn't need it! Also, I usually just trim down the recipe based on how much chicken I have leftover.
Chicken Salad
- 4 cups chicken (diced or shredded, depends on how you like it)
- 1 cup dried cranberries or sliced grapes
- 1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans (walnuts are also great)
- 1 1/4 cups mayo
- 1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix the chicken, berries and nuts together in a bowl. Mix the mayo, honey, salt and pepper together until well combined then pour over the chicken mixture. Gently stir until well coated. Serve on bread or eat with crackers.
This second dish is really easy and if you don't have enough meat, you can always add some sausage to bulk it up a bit. If you don't have leftover chicken or choose to use some sausage, then you can cook it before the onions and garlic.
Italian Chicken Pasta
2 cups cooked chicken
1/2 a box of pasta (whatever you prefer)
2-3 strips of bacon
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white wine (can substitute chicken stock)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup half and half
1 cup italian blend cheese, plus more as needed
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta. Cook the bacon in a large saute pan and then set aside. Leave just enough bacon grease in the pan to cover the bottom. Saute the onions and garlic on a medium high heat for 3-4 minutes, but be careful not to let them burn. Deglaze the pan with the wine and let reduce for another few minutes. Add the tomatoes and spices and continue letting it cook for about 5 minutes. Take out the bay leaf, slowly pour in the half and half and then whisk in the cheese. Let this simmer for a few minutes and then add more cheese if needed, as well as checking your spices. Add your drained pasta and chicken to the sauce then top with a little more cheese and run under the broiler just until brown.

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 6

Sorry for the delayed post!  We had some technical difficulties, but I think they're worked out . . . at least I hope so. : )

Since I'm trying to play catch up here, I'm going to give you a link to today's recipe and then my thoughts on it.  I think spaghetti is one of those things that every mom cooks at some point during the month, some possibly once a week.  : )  Growing up, I really didn't care for spaghetti.  I would eat it because we were taught to eat what was on our plate, but I never asked for it.  Then I got married, and my husband asked for it often.  I think he could eat it twice a week and be perfectly content.  Since that was the case I started experimenting and trying to come up with different ways to eat it, so I wasn't forced to eat something I really didn't like.  Well, I happened upon this recipe and I could definitely eat it at least every other week. : )

Cowboy Spaghetti

First of all, I would definitely try it with the beer at least once.  I can't stand to drink beer, but I love to cook with it.  It adds such a unique flavor, so give it a try.  Second, I would have an extra can of sauce around just in case.  I like my spaghetti with a little more sauce, so I always add a little more.  Third and last, you can definitely change up the meat and try it with ground chicken or ground turkey.  It will have a slightly different flavor, but still great.  This is one of those recipes that's so great, you don't really need to change much about it, so go give it a try! 

Later today, let's look at another use for that roasted chicken and try my absolute favorite chicken salad!  Great for a wonderful fall weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 5

For this Wednesday I thought a little Word Filledness was in order.  I've been doing a study at our church, with a bunch of other ladies, on Isaiah.  It's a Precept study, which in short is a very indepth method of studying the Bible.  As a mom I think finding time to study scripture is probably the thing a lot of us struggle with the most.  We can read for a few minutes maybe, and pray for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but really study?  Does that happen everyday in your house?  There are always things that seem to take precedent over it; kids have to be fed, diapers need to be changed, you have to take little people to school/sports/music, and the list goes on and on.  Well, for me it was very hit or miss, but as I've done this study (sometimes feeling like I was getting kicked in the rear the whole time) I realized how desperately I need it.  This week one of the passages we studied was Isaiah 55.  The beginning of the chapter says this,

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.  I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David." 

Our study of the Word is part of what it means to "eat what is good".  Other things you do are just striving in vain and laboring for nothing if you aren't filling your soul with the gourmet fare the Lord provides.  Feast at His table so that you can do your daily tasks with a joy filled heart that's overflowing! 

And because I promised, here's another recipe. : )

One of my favorite things to make with my kids is pizza.  It's super easy to put together, and they will eat so many things piled on their pizza, that they might not otherwise eat, just because they helped!  It may not be perfectly even, but it's fun and it still tastes good regardless.  Of course, if you want your pizza to look nice and neat, you can always make little personal ones for the kids. : )

Pizza Dough and Sauce

3 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 cup warm water

Combine water and yeast and let it get nice a bubbly, should only take a few minutes.  While that's working, mix your dry ingredients and whisk them together.  Stir in your oil and water/yeast mixture until completely mixed and dough forms.  At this point you have two options, if you're in a hurry, just spread it out on a pan and top with sauce and toppings.  If you have a little time to spare, throw it in a bowl that has been brushed with oil, cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place (I like the oven, turned off, but with the light on).  If you can let it rise for an hour, that's great, but any time is better than nothing.  Once risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and work it into the shape you want.  The longer it sits the stretchier (I know, it's an awesome cooking term : ) it's going to be, so it may take a little work.  You can break into two pizzas or one large one.  Brush the edges with a little bit of olive oil and top as you see fit.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust is done and the cheese starts to brown.


one can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt

This is the easiest thing you'll ever make.  Are you ready??  Put it all in a jar and shake it up.  That's it.  The longer it sits the better it gets, so store it in the fridge if you don't use it all.   

Tomorrow, in keeping with our weekly theme of easy, seriously jazzed up spaghetti, cowboy style!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 4

For the rest of this month we'll spend Tuesdays doing Tips for the Kitchen. I know, really clever, huh? : ) Today's tips may seem a little basic and common sense to some of you, but I think it's very needed. If there is one question I get asked the most, it would have to be, "How do you coupon, spend so little on groceries and plan your meals?". Well the answer is pretty simple, I use what I have. Ok, let me be a little more detailed in case that was about as clear as mud. : ) I go shopping each week, and I always make a list so I know how much I'm spending when I go into the store. When I'm looking at the sales, I always start with meats. I try to buy enough meat for the week, so I look at our week and weekend to see if there are any events or plans that would alter that (i.e. going over to someone's house or a meeting). If there's a really great sale on something that I use often, like chicken breasts, then I might get enough for two or more weeks depending on how sales run. Once I've picked out my meats then I look through the sale items for things that I will use. If I see things on sale like tortillas then I'll make sure that I have stuff to do fajitas one night before I finish my list. I don't always plan every meal, I just make sure that I keep my spices well stocked and plenty of the essentials (we'll go over this in another post). I usually make sure I have meat out the night before, and if there isn't something that jumps out at me right away I start searching. I'll flip through my recipe book first, and then I will usually go to or My goal is always to try one new recipe a week. I look for recipes that have 5 stars and lots of ratings. If that doesn't seem to really work for you, then just e-mail or call a friend that you know as a good cook and ask them what you can do with the ingredients you have. : ) Make sense? If you need more detail about something, or if a portion of that didn't make sense, then just ask! So on to our recipe!
Today, I wanted to give you something to put on the side with your chicken and something that will probably be a new favorite in your house! Seriously, my children love this super easy recipe! About a year ago, I was looking for something new to do with sweet potatoes. I love a good baked, sweet potato, but I was getting a little tired of them. I love sweet potato casserole, but there is no way that can be a regular attendee at my table! Well, then I found a recipe that I changed up and I think it might be better than sweet potato casserole and definitely better for you!
Honey Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Cut your sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes then place in a bowl. Melt your butter then stir in the honey and cinnamon. Pour the butter mixture over the sweet potatoes and then mix until evenly coated. Put in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until tender. You can serve as is or sprinkle a little sea salt for that salty/sweet combo.

Note: you can roast these in the same oven with roast chicken, just cut the cook time a bit and make sure to watch them so your sugar doesn't burn!  Also, excuse the little bit of missing skin on the chicken.  I may have nibbled a little bit before I thought to take a picture. : )

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 3

So, I was thinking about it, and I'm pretty sure a large portion of my favorite day-to-day memories were made in the kitchen. This particular memory has absolutely nothing to do with my recipe, but I thought I would share anyway. : )
Growing up, my Dad's parents lived in Florida so we didn't get to see them often, but when we would visit we would stay for a week at a time. My grandparents were very active then and would get up early for breakfast and then go walking or riding their bikes. Getting up to eat breakfast with them was the highlight of my trip! Now, you might think that would be because of the wonderful breakfast food we ate, but it wasn't the food that made it special. It was normally a bowl of cheerios or raisin bran in these little plastic bowls in muted pastel colors. I would be so excited about joining in that I would usually wake up before them and then sit on the step in the dark, looking in the direction of the kitchen, waiting for the light to come on. As soon as I saw that light I would make a beeline for the kitchen where I always got a hug, a bowl of cereal and some juice. We would sit, eat and Grandma and Grandpa would ask me about my little world. The best part though, which I can remember as though it happened yesterday, was when breakfast was done. Grandpa would get his Bible out and Grandma and I would sit on his lap while he read. I remember feeling so special in those moments. Now that I'm older, I look back on the love that they had for one another and I'm grateful for another wonderful example of marriage that the Lord gave me starting at that kitchen table.
Well, like I said, that story has nothing to do with my recipe, but that's ok. Chicken Enchiladas can go with anything. : )
- 2-3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
- 1 package mexican blend cheese
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1 16 oz container sour cream
- a few shakes of ground cumin, coriander and chili powder
- tortillas
Now before I get started, let me say that this makes a lot! I usually do one of two things, make it and freeze some for later or cut the recipe in half.
So this is one of those super easy recipes that you can use when you need something fast! You can use the lowfat version of everything and it tastes the same to me! Mix all of the ingredients together, feel free to add some black beans or green chilis if your family likes them, then put several spoonfuls in your tortilla and roll it up, making sure to tuck in the ends and edges. Once they are all wrapped then you can either brown them in a pan one at a time with a little bit of oil, or line them up in 9x13, brush them with oil and brown in the oven. While they are browning, you can cook the sauce.
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon flour
1-2 tablespoons chili powder (depending on how hot you like it)
8 ounces chicken stock
5 ounces tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan and then whisk in your flour and cook for one minute, but be sure not to let it burn! Add your chili powder and cook another 30 seconds. Whisk in the rest of your ingredients and then bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, then ladle over enchiladas before serving. For a twist you can add some lime juice.
Note: you can use the leftover bones and skin from your chicken to make some stock!

31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 2

So I'm off to a great start; I completely forgot to blog DAY 2 of this series.  Awesome.  : )

I'm sure that a lot of you think of Sunday as the day you had a huge family dinner after church, and while that happened often in our house, I think big breakfast (even as dinner sometimes) were more common.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE a big family dinner but on Sundays sometimes easy is where it's at!  For the majority of our married life I've worked a job that has allowed me to work from home but requires that I work on Sundays at our church.  Awesome for our kids, but not very conducive to cooking lunch or dinner for that matter.  Since I didn't want to eat out a ton, we started doing breakfast for dinner on Sundays.  More often than not, it will be pancakes, eggs and bacon.  What's the best part about it (besides how easy it is)?  Little people really can help!  Since Sawyer was little he's helped dump and stir and now I have two little helpers.  : )  One gets the dry ingredients and one gets the wet and they can stir to their little hearts' content.  I love that my boys love to help (at least most days) and while it may take a little bit longer, the time we spend together is worth a little extra flour on the floor, milk on the counter and batter on my clothes.

So Day 2 is Pancakes!!

1 cup self-rising flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup buttermilk (just add 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to milk)
3 tablespoons melted and cooled butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a bowl mix your dry ingredients until well incorporated and there are no big lumps of flour.  In a separate bowl mix the milk and butter, then whisk in your egg and vanilla.  Once mixed well, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry.  Now, here's the important part DON'T OVER MIX IT!!  The temptation is always to try and make it a smooth batter because you don't want to have clumps of flour, but if you do that you will have flat pancakes.  I usually whisk it briskly while counting to 20 and then make yourself stop.  Obviously, you don't want huge lumps of flour, but you will have some small ones and that's ok.  Put your batter in the fridge while your griddle (or pan) heats up to a medium high heat.  On my griddle that's about 375, but just play with your settings.  When you get your batter out you should see lots of little bubbles on the top.  Don't stir it up again, just be sure that you scoop down deep into your bowl to get some of the bottom and the top layer.  Pour it on and watch those beautiful pancakes fluff up!  Yum! 

Come back later today for some ideas for that leftover roasted chicken!
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Wheels on Mommy's Van . . .

go round and round, round and round, round and round
the wheels on Mommy's van go round and round,
all the way to preschool!

This sweet little boy started preschool earlier this month, and to say he loves it,
well that's putting it mildly.

He was so excited to go on the first day and play with all his new friends and his very sweet teachers!  Jack thought it was all great fun.  He got to get new shoes too, eat a special breakfast and smile for the camera.

Until he realized he didn't get to go. : (

For the first two weeks, every few minutes all I heard was, "Mommy, we go get Sawyer now?".  It nearly broke my heart the first few days, but then I realized how wonderful it was.  My boys love each other so much that they're sad when they're apart.  What sweet, brothers they are! 

The time apart has been good.  My little social butterfly loves to mingle at school, which gives the middle child some time alone with Momma; that's never a bad thing.  : )  It makes the time together even more fun and exciting, and Sawyer is quick to share all his new knowledge with his brother and sister.

  So here's hoping that this Mommy can make the most of every day and every moment this year with my three babies as the wheels go round and round.
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31 Days in the Kitchen - Day 1

For me, the kitchen is a warm, wonderful, homey, loving, fun-filled, creative outlet kind of place.  I know it sounds cliche, and it probably is, but it's true for me.  I love being in my kitchen.  Coming up with new recipes and ideas for foods I love is really my creative outlet.  I will scower the internet for hours looking for recipes and then tweaking them to make them something I think will be great.  Now, don't get me wrong, it doesn't always turn out that way, but I love to give it a try! 
Some might say that it's just genetic, like mother like daughter, and there's probably some level of truth to that.  My mom is an amazing cook and she definitely passed on a lot of her knowledge to me.  I think my love for the kitchen is more than just having a mom that cooked all the time.  Mom didn't just use the kitchen as a place to teach me how to cook so I would be a good little wife and mother.  The kitchen was the place where I learned to work hard to achieve something, and while I was doing that, I was having heart-to-heart discussions that the Lord used to shape much more than my cooking skills.  Anyone can cook, and anyone can learn to cook, but learning how to both cook and be a Godly woman, that's what makes the kitchen a special place for me! 
So here's my plan.  I know there are plenty of cooking blogs out there, and I'm not going to try and turn into one of them.  However, for this month, I'm going to do two things: I'm going to share more of my memories and thoughts on how to make the kitchen a special place for your family and while doing that, I'm going to share a new recipe everyday.  I don't have any particular plan for the recipes, just different ones I like on varying difficulty levels, so if you have something you want to learn to make or a general concept you want to hear about, just let me know!  Blogging everyday is going to be a huge challenge for me, so here's my challenge for you, cook everyday for the next month.  It can be as easy as scrambled eggs for breakfast, or a 3 course meal for dinner.  I don't care what you cook, just try it!  

To kick things off we're going to start with one of the easiest things you'll ever make, and that you can use in TONS of different recipes!  Roast Chicken is probably the number one go to on my list of dinner items.  Some of you may look at the cook time and think, why??  Well, I can roast an entire package of chicken (side note, I can get said package for $5 when on sale) and then use it for multiple meals throughout the week.  The possiblities are endless!  So without further ado, Roast Chicken.

- bone in, skin on chicken breasts (however many you want or will fit on your pan)
- salt (I prefer sea salt)
- pepper
- extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Rub both sides of your chicken with the above ingredients and don't be afraid to give it a good sprinkle of salt!  I probably use about a tablespoon of salt (maybe a little more) for an entire package (5 very large breasts), about a teaspoon of pepper and maybe 2-3 tablespoons (give or take) of olive oil.  Rub it all in good and then place them on a roasting pan or a cookie sheet, whatever you've got will work.  Be sure they aren't overlapping or touching, so they will cook evenly and get a nice crispy skin.  Cook for 1 hour and then you're done!

I like to add some carrots and potatoes (cut into about 2 inch chunks) rubbed with the same ingredients and dinner is done.  The sky is the limit for variations.  Switch up your spices and add some rosemary and thyme, greek seasoning, italian, cajun, or brush on barbecue sauce for the last 15 minutes of cooking!  Whatever you don't eat, you can pull off the bone, stick in a ziploc and freeze or refrigerate for another meal later.  I promise, you can do it!!  Now go cook! : ) 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beach Trip Part 2

So here's some more cuteness for your viewing pleasure. : )

Note that there is NO ONE in the background! That is a lot of empty beach which made for an extremely peaceful trip.

Sawyer was up building castles with Daddy and had no interest in joining us in the water for some pictures. However, these two were being super cute together.

Thanks to our sweet babies, we were up to see the sunrise from our porch every morning. At least we had a great view! :

Snugglin' for a movie before bedtime!

This big boy was all about digging, building and exploring! He didn't stay still for very long!

My little blue-eyed girl loved every part of the beach from the second we put her in the sand and water. The only time she fussed while we were out there was when she was hungry and as soon as that belly was full, she was back to enjoying the sand, sun and water.

The kid in Ian still loves to explore, so he and the boys would take off everyday to check out the island. For some reason every time I see this picture, I hear the song from Peter Pan,
"We're following the leader, the leader, the leader. We're following the leader wherever he may go" : )

Lovin' the taste of salt : )

Jumpin' the waves!

Watching the fish boats come in and ready to go!

Digging and more digging!

So the last day we were there I tried to get some pictures of my beautiful babies. We didn't end up with perfection, but it's better than where we started.
We started with playing and eating some grass . . .

And then some less than enthusastic facial expressions . . .

What's that, Mom??  You want me to smile???

Maybe next time.  I'm outta here!

 I hope and pray we always love to spend this much time together! Can't wait for next year and many more family vacations to come.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beach Trip

Last week we went on vacation to Harbor Island and had a WONDERFUL time.  It was the perfect beach for little ones and it was almost empty this time of year.  To say we enjoyed it would be an extreme understatement.  The boys had an absolute blast and Libby is a beach baby for sure!  I tried to narrow down the pictures, but it's still going to take two posts. : )

Marching, Marching
There were several people fishing down the beach so Sawyer decided to get in on the action.

Here fishy, fishy!
Nothing like a yummy, sandy snack!

We built a sandcastle . . . or ten!  : )
I tried to get the boys to look at me, but who wants to look at the camera when you can put sand on each other's heads!

The best we could get with a family picture . . . 3 out of 5 looking at the camera and smiling isn't too bad, right? 
This particular island stretched for miles at the same depth, so when the tide went out you were left with little tide pools everywhere.  So fun for little ones!

Two things about this picture.  First, I just love that she's all prissy with her legs crossed even though she's covered in sand.  Second, any idea what she's looking at?

The beach was so empty that the boys would draw lines down the beach and have races. 
On your mark get set GO!
One particular little boy in our house is very fast : )
She's got her eye on the bubbles . . .
Now get 'em girlie!

Where did they go Libby Lou?

Mom, this is the life!  Can we just stay here??

Silly Willy! 
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