Thursday, May 31, 2007

School's Out For Summer!!


Well, for me it is! Today was graduation day at the pre school where I teach. It's really a bittersweet day. You are sad to see them go but happy because you know they are ready for the next thing. And, it is summer vacation for Heaven's sake! What could be better than that!? Not much, really!

My kiddos don't get out of *real* school til June 22nd. So, by my calculations, that leaves me with 3 weeks of me time! I hope to use it wisely and go to the gym, and get some much needed scrapping done. :)

I hate posts with no photos so I leave you with this fun tote I picked up at Target....the greatest place on Earth...Walt Disney's got nothing on ya! :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fighter?

Apparently I'm a fighter not a lover. Yeah, I can see that. LOL! I took another quiz....What's your pirate name at www.piratequiz.com and this is my pirate name:

Your pirate name is:
Bloody Anne Rackham

Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Ok. Off to find another meaningless but fun quiz to take. ;)

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii




My brother is a total electronics nut. He is solely responsible for Dylan's gaming addiction. LOL! Over the years, he bought Dylan every handheld and game system that he ownns.

So, when Nintendo came out with the Wii, he was all over it. He wanted to get it for him for Christmas. The problem....they were almost impossible to get. He went on wait lists and stood in line, but nothing.

Fastforward to a couple of weeks ago, he's in Best Buy and he overhears the man say they just got in a shipment of Wii's. He was in the right place at the right time and Dylan got a Wii for his birthday.

This has got to be the best game system ever invented by a company. It is truly interactive and gets the kiddos up and moving. When he pitches, he actually makes a throwing motion. He bowls and golfs and it looks like he's actually doing it. It's so much fun just watching him.

On the first night he got it, we asked him if he was ever going to bed and he said...I don't think so. LOL!!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Laundry!!!!!!

What do you do when you neglect the laundry for a week? You spend your entire Memorial Day holiday doing laundry!!! :O

What do you do in between loads? Read blogs. :)

I found this fun quiz on Steph's blog...http://stephpea.typepad.com/stephs_stuff/

http://www.quizmeme.com/color/quiz.php

I am yellow...

You are very perceptive and smart. You are clear and to the point and have a great sense of humor. You are always learning and searching for understanding.

Oh, and I'm also 30% weird...weird enough to scare myself but not weird enough for other people to notice. LOL!

I wonder how many of these quizzes I can take? ;)

Happy 9th Birthday Dylan

Look at this sweet baseball birthday cake that my sister made for him!!!!
She made it using the Betty Crocker cake set we gave her for Christmas!
Gotta love gifts that give back. LOL!!! It was really tasty too. :)



















Here are some fun shots of the birthday boy with his sister after she gave him a Lego AquaRaiders set, with his beloved Ipod his grandma & Papa gave him and the Mets jersey "we" gave him. I had no say. If I did, it would have been a Chipper Jones jersey instead. LOL! He also got a Wii from my brother that is sure to keep him in his room til he's about 20. LOL!!!



Friday, May 25, 2007

I'm not that weird afterall!!!!!

LOL!!!

After taking this fun quiz I saw on Libby's blog, I found out that I am actually not that weird. Who woulda thunk it!? LOL!!!!

My results:

You Are 30% Weird

Not enough to scare other people...
But sometimes you scare yourself.

It's so true too. I seriously scare myself almost on a daily basis. ;)

You can see it here: http://libby-lou.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Self-Portrait Wednesday


a bit early. I just got my hairs cut and I'm super stoked. It had been way too long in between cuts but that's how it goes when your stylist lives in Miami. LOL!!!

The back is super funky layered short. And it gradually gets longer as it comes towards my face.

So, what do ya think?

Pic courtesy of my budding little photog...Natsy Tatsy. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

I loves me a good salad

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad
Prep: 30 minutes
Chill: 4 hours


Ingredients
8 oz. dried campanelle, penne, or mostaccioli pasta (2-1/3 cups)
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini (8 oz.) trimmed and cut into matchstick-size strips (2 cups)
8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, finely chopped (3 Tbsp.)
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Finely shredded Asiago cheese (optional)

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boiling; add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta under cold water; drain again. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic; cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add zucchini; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add snap peas; cook 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes; cook 30 seconds or until beginning to soften. Transfer vegetable mixture to pasta bowl; toss well.

3. For shallot-mustard dressing, in a small bowl combine shallot, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in remaining oil; stir in parsley. Pour dressimg over pasta mixture; toss well. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 3 days to allow flavors to meld. Before serving, sprinkle each serving with Asiago cheese. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4. To cut preparation time, use 1/3 cup bottled vinaigrette salad dressing in place of shallot-mustard dressing.


Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 434
Total Fat (g) 18

Sunday, May 20, 2007

And.....

look at this beauty. Natty spotted him this morning as we were leaving to go sell some Girl Scout cookies.

Who could resist....

these sweet faces? Not many people leaving the local A&P that's for sure. The girls sold 161 boxes of cookies in 4 short hours. And, they got almost $60.00 in donations for our troop. WooHoo!!!!! Congrats girls!!!! :)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Mini Books Galore





Last night my friend who is a Stampin' Up! demonstrator hosted a workshop at her house. We decorated SU's new 5x5 chipboard journals. The idea is that they would make perfect end of the year teacher gifts. Well, I love mine so much I'm not sure I want to part with it. LOL! I have an extra chipboard mini book just in case. ;)

And, this morning since softball was cancelled, Natalie got to attend her second scrapbook class at the lss. This time she made a flower mini book. She cannot wait to add pictures of her and her friends in it. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Shortbread Brownies

I'm gonna make this for Dylan's Memorial Day BBQ/Birthday Party.

Shortbread Brownies 24 bars Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 48 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 cup flour and the brown sugar. Cut in the 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 1/4 cup chocolate pieces. Press into prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl stir together granulated sugar, 3/4 cup flour, the cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, melted butter, and vanilla; beat by hand until smooth. Stir in the 1/2 cup chocolate pieces. Carefully spread over crust in pan.

3. Bake 40 minutes more. Cool brownies in pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies out of pan by lifting up on foil. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Trying to get back.....


in the swing of things. I haven't had time to pee let alone scrap for myself. So, last night with a new IG at DML I forced myself to try. I figure I was rusty so I kept it simple and I went back to my all-time fave color combo too. And, I cannot forget my trusty corner rounder. Relying on old faves made it easy to come up with this layout. HAGD! :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Crab Season

May thru August is crab season and I couldn't be happier. I love those little guys esp. when they are in the form of a crab cake. LOL! Here's a recipe for crab cake burgers. YUM-O!

1 pound crabmeat
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (see Note)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced chives
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Mix crab, egg, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, chives, mustard, lemon juice, celery seed, onion powder, pepper and hot sauce in a large bowl. Form into 6 patties.
Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter stops foaming. Cook the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
Yield: 6 servings
the fish counter. If you prefer lump crabmeat, cut it into small, uniform pieces.

Note: Panko breadcrumbs, also known as Japanese breadcrumbs or bread flakes, are coarser in texture than other dried breadcrumbs. They produce a crispy crust and are less likely to become soggy than finely ground breadcrumbs. Look for panko in the Asian food section of large supermarkets and in specialty Asian markets.


Enjoy! I know I will. Maybe even this week. ;)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Baked Eggplant Pamresan

Gonna make it this week. Yum-O!

Baked-Eggplant Parmesan

Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes

Choose firm, smooth eggplants. Bake rather than fry eggplant for less mess and less fat.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
Olive oil, for baking sheets
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 large eggplants, (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
6 cups Chunky Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella


Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more. Remove from oven; raise oven heat to 400 degrees.
Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 2 cups sauce, then 1/2 cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Shopping List:
-Olive oil, for baking sheets
-2 large eggs
-3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
-3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/2 teaspoon dried basil
-Coarse salt and ground pepper
-2 large eggplants (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
-6 cups (48 ounces) store-bought chunky tomato sauce (or homemade)
-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Enjoy!

Happy Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day to all you FABULOUS women!

This is a little poem my Sweet Natty made for me. I think I will use it as a bookmark for the new book I got for Mother's Day:

My First Five Husbands...and the ones who got away
by Rue McClannahan. Yay!!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Perfect World

In my perfect world...

there would be no war
there would be no disease
there would be no poverty
everyone would have a place to live and food to eat
I would live where there are palm trees
my daughter would be almost 10 instead of gone
it would rain only at night
the temps would never dip below 60
baseball would be played all year round
the Atlanta Braves would be World Series Champs every year
Al Gore would be our President
I would know how to sew
I would have rock hard abs & big boobs
the word hate would be eliminated from the English language

What would your perfect world be like?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mother's Day Breakfast & Chicks!




This morning was Natalie's class Mother's Day celebration. We were greeted by our children, given a corsage and escorted to the classroom.

At my table was a placemat made by Natty with a photo of her and a menu. I had to check off what I wanted from the menu and then she served it to me.

Then each child got up and recited a poem they wrote about their Moms. Some of them were a hoot. But we all felt very loved. :)

And, as a bonus I got to see Natty's class chicks that had recently hatched. They are adorable!!!!

What a GREAT day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We're talking baseball....




I love this sport.

We've been in full baseball mode for 3 weeks now and it is so FUN! Dylan has games on Saturday and one night during the week. And Natty has softball on Saturday mornings.

To say that baseball consumes my family is an understatement. If we are not at one the kiddos' games, we are a Mets (ugh!) or Hudson Valley Renegades game, or we are watching it on tv. Thank goodness for the baseball package or we'd have nothing to watch. LOL!

And, my tan from sitting in the bleachers for 4 hours on Saturdays is really coming along nicely. LOL!

During the first game of the season, our town hosted the annual truck and equipment show. What luck. And it is always a hit. The kiddos get to go on all the trucks and pretend like they are driving and operating the trucks. I managed to get some cute pix. :)

Tigers & Bears & Ice Cream?




Nothing like a field trip to the Bronx Zoo. It was such a beautiful day. The weather was perfect. The zoo was empty. And I only had two kids to watch. :D

We only had about 3 hours at the zoo. But, we managed to see tigers, bears, pandas, reptiles and enjoy a refreshing ice cream thanks to the generosity of Mario's Dad. He bought the whole class ice cream. :)

And thanks to Jessica's Mom the whole class rode on the Bug Carousel.

Perfect!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sock Hop



Natty right before the Annual Brownie Sock Hop. We were so lucky to be able to borrow a friend's poodle skirt this year. Natty was thrilled. Last year she went in capri's and a top with cute little bobby socks and sneakers. She was so disappointed that she didn't have a skirt but as you can see this year she was all smiles and full of excitement. :)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Smoky Chicken Corn Cakes

For Genevieve...

Smoky Chicken Corn Cakes

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound rotisserie chicken
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs
1 cup part-skim ricotta
10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones.
In a medium bowl, combine the meat, chipotle, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, the onion, tomatoes, and cilantro; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, pepper, and the remaining salt.
Stir in the eggs and ricotta until no lumps remain.
Fold in the corn.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
For each corn cake, spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and cook until golden brown and set on one side, 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a spatula, flip the cakes and cook 1 minute more.

Divide the cakes among individual plates and top with the chicken mixture.

Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Tip: Turn down the heat in this dish by reducing the chopped chipotle by half or dropping it entirely and using just 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Casseroles...

are a busy woman's best friend. This one sounds delish!

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 tablespoon olive oil 1
6.9-ounce package chicken-flavored rice and vermicelli mix
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes (2 medium)
3 tablespoons canned diced green chile peppers, drained
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

Directions
1. In a medium saucepan cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until tender. Stir in rice and vermicelli mix (including seasoning package); cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in broth and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).

2. Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. Stir in chicken, tomatoes, chile peppers, basil, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Transfer to a 2-quart casserole. 3. Bake, covered, in a 425 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Make Ahead Directions: Prepare as above through step 1. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Bake, covered, in a 425 degree F oven about 40 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

First time, Long time

I've been so busy. Too busy actually.

Work.
School
and Sports.

3 baseball games a week and a practice thrown in every now and then.

Field trips.

Projects.

But, it's all good.

And with all this going on, I still make sure we eat real meals every night. I'm hooked on Real Simple. I made Smoky Chicken over Corn Cakes last night that were TDF! I kid you not.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try this recipe I got from BH&G. Sounds good! I'll let you know how it tastes.

Lemony Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas
2 servings
Start to Finish: 35 minutes

Ingredients
1/4 cup light cream, half-and-half, or whipping cream 1 tablespoon margarine or butter 3 ounces packaged fettuccine, linguine, or other pasta 1/2 cup loose-pack frozen peas 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel 2 tablespoons broken pecans or walnuts

Directions
1. Let the light cream, half-and-half, or whipping cream and margarine or butter come to room temperature (allow about 30 minutes). 2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, adding peas the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain immediately in a colander. Return pasta and peas to the warm saucepan. 3. Add the room-temperature cream and margarine, the Parmesan cheese, and lemon peel to the pasta. Toss gently until pasta and peas are well coated. Transfer to warm individual plates. Sprinkle with pecans or walnuts. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings. Fettuccine Alfredo: Prepare Lemony Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas as directed above, except omit the peas and the lemon peel.

Menu Idea: Team this side dish with grilled salmon fillets and crisp tossed salads.

Nutritional Facts per serving for Fettuccine Alfredo: Same as Lemony Fettuccine Alfredo with peas, except: 344 calories, 11 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate, 268 mg sodium.