Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today...

was a good day.

I...
worked out hard
got dinner in the crockpot
picked up a little birthday present for a friend
kiddos had a great first day of camp
we only lost one towel...;)
they are bathed and in their pj's before 6 pm...:D
camp dirties are already washing
my headache from earier is gone!!!!!!

And how was your day?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Crockpot Root Beer Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork with Root Beer Sauce
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 8 to 10 hours (low) or 4 to 5 hours (high)

Ingredients
1 2-1/2- to 3-pound pork sirloin roast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
1 cup root beer*
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups root beer (two 12-ounce cans or bottles)*
1 cup bottled chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon root beer concentrate (optional)
Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)
8 to 10 hamburger buns, split (and toasted, if desired)
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)

Directions
1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut roast to fit into a 3-1/2- to 5-quart crockery cooker. Sprinkle meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet brown meat on all sides in hot oil. Drain off fat. Transfer meat to cooker. Add onions, the 1 cup root beer, and garlic.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.

3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the 3 cups of root beer and the chili sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 cups. Add root beer concentrate and bottled hot pepper sauce, if desired.

4. Transfer roast to a cutting board or serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions from cooking juices and place on serving platter. Discard juices. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds. To serve, line buns with lettuce leaves and tomato slices, if desired. Add meat and onions; spoon on sauce. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*Note: Do not substitute with diet root beer.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 356
Total Fat (g) 10
Saturated Fat (g) 3
Cholesterol (mg) 59
Sodium (mg) 786
Carbohydrate (g) 44
Fiber (g) 1
Protein (g) 22
Vitamin A (DV%) 4
Vitamin C (DV%) 9
Calcium (DV%) 4
Iron (DV%) 13

Crockpot Pasta with Eggplant Sauce

Pasta with Eggplant Sauce
6 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 7 to 8 hours

Ingredients
1 medium eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can Italian-style tomatoes, cut up
1 6-ounce can Italian-style tomato paste
1 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup water
11/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives or pitted ripe olives, sliced
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
4 cups hot cooked penne pasta
1/3 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)

Directions
1. Peel eggplant, if desired; cut eggplant into 1-inch cubes. In a 3-1/2- to 5-1/2-quart crockery cooker combine eggplant, onion, undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, garlic, wine, water, and oregano.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. Stir in olives and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with toasted pine nuts. Makes 6 servings.


Nutrition facts per serving:
Servings Per Recipe 6 servings
Calories 259
Total Fat (g) 6
Saturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 4
Sodium (mg) 804
Carbohydrate (g) 42
Fiber (g) 7
Protein (g) 10
Vitamin A (DV%) 18
Vitamin C (DV%) 37
Calcium (DV%) 13
Iron (DV%) 20

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lanyards


Natty Patty working oh so hard to create the perfect lanyard. :) She did pretty good. :) Are all my layouts starting to look the same to you? Because, they are to me! :O

Cranky

I'm so cranky today!
Just thought you'd like to know. :O

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paper Purse Party


So, yesterday was Natalie's 7th birthday. And, we had 9 of her little friends over to celebrate with some food, music & arts & crafts.

They made paper purses and monogrammed notecards to go inside. They turned out sooo CUTE!

Here's Natty modeling hers. :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cherry Picking





Besides swimming, picking fruit is our favorite summer activity. Today was our first venture out. We went to a new place called Wrights up in Gardiner, NY. It's really close to the Gilded Otter, the brew pub we like up in New Paltz. So, it was perfect. The 92 degrees only made it seem more like summer. I was pretty much in Heaven. :) Now what to make with all those cherries we picked. I'm open to any good recipes you may have. So, please share. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Natalie is 7 (almost)




Today we celebrated Natalie's 7th birthday with the family. Her actual birthday is Wednesday. We will have her friend party on that day.

The weather was perfect. It was mid 80's and sunny with a breeze every once in a while...just when you needed it. :)

We BBQed and had a couple of subs too. And Aunt Lisa made one of her famous cakes for the festivities. :)

Natty racked up on gifts too. She got tons of adorable outfits. She's all set for summer now. :) She got an Ipod, a Raven Simone cd and a pink Derek Jeter jersey...she thinks he's dreamy. LOL! But, I think the hit present of the day was the digital camera Grandma & Grandpa gave her. She was a picture taking fool as soon as she figured out how to work it. Stew asked my Mom where the $500.00 GC to Ritz was. LOL!!!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

End of the School Year




is fast approaching. So, it is time for celebration. Dylan's class voted for a breakfast celebration instead of an ice cream party.

Mr Ringer flipped the jacks, I made chocolate milk and the kiddos ate and ate and ate. There was cereal, fruit, bagels, & cream cheese or butter, donuts and brownies! YUM!

We had a fabulous group of parents this year. They were always eager to send in whatever was needed. And, sometimes I even had to turn people away. I wish I always had thast problem. :)

And, we gave Mr. Ringer his gift from the class. I wrapped a beach towel with sunscreen a magazine and a Home Depot GC. He had told me a couple of weeks ago that he loves that place. So, his gift was an easy one. He really was an amazing teacher. I can only hope that Natalie gets him when she reaches 3rd grade.

Happy almost summer vacation!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Art to Wear


The final try it badge this year is art to wear. To fulfill the requirements of this badge, the girls made tie dye t shirts. They also decorated socks with sequins. And, they made lanyard key chains. I've never made a lanyard before so I had fun learning too. I love Girl Scouts. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Winding Down



This time of year is always so hectic with end of the year celebrations and field trips, etc.

Today was Natalie's Brownie Troop Family Dinner. It was to celebrate the great time the girls had this year as Brownies. We had it at our local Chinese Buffet.

The girls each contributed a page to the troop scrapbook. And, they made vases for us to take home. So cute!

And at the end of the dinner, each girl was presented with an award and a new pin. Natalie got the award for the 1st to always volunteer....that's my girl...always eager to try new things and have fun!

Pig Roast

I ate chicken! :D







My Stew (in the middle) flanked by his two good buddies, Stu and Stevie.




And, my no buying challenge is still intact. It is June 10th and I have made it without buying anything other than food, gas and other supplies for Natty's 7th birthday party. Only 20 more days to go. Wish me luck. :)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Audubon






I'm not really what you call a nature girl. I don't hike. I can't tell the difference between one tree and the next unless it is a weeping willow. :O

I'm waiting for the class trip to Bloomies. ROTFL! But, I'm not holding out any hope for that.

But, I had a great time today with Dylan's class exploring at the Audubon Center in Greenwich. The kids got to explore ponds and rivers and even catch some wildlife. They learned about frogs, crayfish and all sorts of little critters.

And, our weather was perfect. Sunny and it didn't get really hot until we had to leave.

Here's my peek into nature from behind my D70. :D

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Got lots crossed off my list...

-made beds
-did laundry
-set up for field day
-sent Natty's evites
-dropped off jeans at my neighbors
-dinner is done

ok....off to tackle some more of my list. :)

To Do...Ta Da

I have a to do list a mile and a half long but I am determined to get it all done. I find if I make an actual list, I get more things done. And, the high I get when I cross something off my list is very powerful. I highly recommend it! :)

So here's my list:
-make beds
-mail books to Dawn
-Brownie scrapbook pages
-Dylan's thank you's
-Natty's e-vites
-jeans to Robin
-iron
-fold & put away laundry
-help set up for field day at school
-dinner
-make banana bread with rotten bananas in kitchen...:D
-make headbands & ponytail holders for girls
-call and RSVP to Alex's & Zak's bday parties

Whew! Wish me luck! :)

Here is my favorite banana bread recipe. It's from a domino sugar bag. I've been making it for years to rave reviews. :)

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of domino light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup of butter or margerine, softened
2 eggs
1 cup of mashed ripe bananas, 2-3
1/2 cup of milk

Directions:
Preheat overn to 350
Grease a 9x5 loaf pan
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl
Beat brown sugar and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy
Add eggs and bananas
On low speed, gradually add flour mixture alternately with milk
Pour batter into loaf pan
Bake 55-60 minutes
Cool in pan 10 minutes

I promise you it to yummmm-oooooo!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Baseball Birthday




This year Dylan had a really hard time deciding what he wanted to do for his friends' birthday party. We've either had it or been to every type of party in the area.

So, when Stew suggested taking a few friends to a Mets game, he jumped on it. He was allowed to invite as many boys as we could fit in our car. And, that had to include his sister. LOL!

So, on Sunday, June 3rd, we picked up 4 of his friends and took them to the game. It just so happened to be Visor Day so the boys all got free visors.

And, the best part of all was when they put Dylan's name up on the scoreboard wishing him a Happy 9th Birthday! The boys started screaming!!!

Such a fun time. I'm sure he will remember this birthday forever. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Quick Chicken Teriyaki


Quick Chicken Teriyaki
Serves 4

Ingredients
1/4 cup KRAFT LIGHT DONE RIGHT! Zesty Italian Reduced Fat Dressing, divided
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 1/3 cups water
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups MINUTE White Rice, uncooked

2. Cooking Directions
Heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 7 min. or until cooked through.
Add water, teriyaki sauce and garlic powder; stir. Bring to boil.
Stir in broccoli and rice; cover. Cook on low heat 5 min. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. Fluff with fork.
Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition InfoPer Serving
Calories: 162 kcal
Carbohydrates: 6 g
Dietary Fiber: 2 g
Fat: 2 g
Protein: 26 g
Sugars: 2 g

Monday, June 04, 2007

And just because I *heart* mangoes

Triple-Mango Chicken
4 servings
Start to Finish: 20 minutes


Ingredients
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 mango, seeded, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup mango-blend fruit drink
1/4 cup mango chutney
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions
1. In very large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat; reduce to medium. Add chicken. Cook 6 minutes; turn. Add mango cubes, mango drink, and chutney. Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, place zucchini and 1/4 cup water in microwave-safe 2 quart square dish. Cover with vented plastic wrap. Micro-cook on 100 percent power (high) 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once; drain. Place chicken on top zucchini. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.

3. Tip: Mango nectar, carrot juice, or orange juice may be substituted for the mango-blend drink.


Nutrition facts per serving:
Servings Per Recipe 4 servings
Calories 274
Total Fat (g) 9
Saturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 66
Sodium (mg) 277
Carbohydrate (g) 22
Fiber (g) 2
Protein (g) 28
Vitamin C (DV%) 59
Calcium (DV%) 4
Iron (DV%) 8

One more....

Quick Chicken Panzanella
Start to Finish: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes with green pepper, celery, and onions
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 2- to 2-1/4-lb. whole roasted chicken
4 cups cubed Italian bread
2 medium cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup torn fresh basil or spinach

Directions
1. Spoon off 2 tablespoons of tomato liquid. Combine with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, dash salt, and pepper; set aside. Remove meat from roasted chicken. Cut into pieces.

2. In skillet stir bread cubes in 2 tablespoons hot oil over medium heat 5 minutes or until golden. Remove. Add diced tomatoes; toss. Divide on plates. Add cucumbers, chicken, and basil. Pass tomato-oil mixture. Makes 4 servings.

3. Pantry Ingredients: oil, salt, pepper.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 596
Total Fat (g) 27
Saturated Fat (g) 6
Cholesterol (mg) 92
Sodium (mg) 824
Carbohydrate (g) 50
Total Sugar (g) 10
Fiber (g) 4
Protein (g) 37
Vitamin C (DV%) 17
Calcium (DV%) 15
Iron (DV%) 27

A new recipe for the Week

Meatballs Stroganoff
Start to Finish: 30 min.

Ingredients
1 12- to 16-ounce package frozen cooked meatballs
1 cup lower-sodium beef broth
1 4-ounce can (drained weight) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
4 cups hot cooked wide egg noodles
Snipped fresh parsley (optional)

Directions
1. In a large skillet, combine meatballs, broth, and mushrooms. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.

2. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and flour. Whisk in milk and mustard. Stir sour cream mixture into skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve over hot cooked noodles. If desired, stir in snipped fresh parsley. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 424
Total Fat (g) 25
Cholesterol (mg) 73
Sodium (mg) 696
Carbohydrate (g) 36
Total Sugar (g) 3
Fiber (g) 3
Protein (g) 16
Calcium (DV%) 11
Iron (DV%) 14

Field Trips





I loved them as a kid and I still love them as a Mom and teacher. This year I've been to the Bronx Zoo, Muscoot Farm and Wright Reis Homestead. I still have an arboretum to go to. :)

This past Friday I went to a local historical place called Wright Reis Homestead. Carolyn Wright Reis is a woman who donated something like 860 acres of land to our town back in the 1800's.

Our town park is called Reis park. It is home to many ball fields and playgrounds and the town library. It is what she wished the land to be used for.

On this trip, we got to visit Mt Zion Methodist church. It was the first Methodist church in Westchester county. We were treated to re-enactments from history and then took part in a scavenger hunt around the cemetery. That was a huge hit with Dylan and his friends. :)

After lunch, we visited Carolyn Wright Reis's house and learned all about life back then. All the tour guides wore period dress. Even the chaperones and students were asked to wear period attire. I wore a prairie skirt and peasant top. Dylan wore work boots, shorts, button down and carried his lunch in a bandana tied to a stick! How FUN!

I got some really fun shots. Too many to post here but, I'll share a few of my faves. :)

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Happy Birthday Big Mama


Today is my grandmother's 85th birthday! We call her Big Mama because she really is the matriarch of the family. I was lucky enough to have my great grandmother alive when I was a kid and I'm so happy that my kiddos have gotten to know her too.

Some of my fondest memories are of when I was a little girl and I would spend weekends with her. She would let me wear her make up and perfume and take me to mass on Sunday morning. After mass we would get some pastries and visit her mother and father. Sweet memories indeed!

So, here's to Big Mama! I love ya! :D