Thursday, August 30, 2007

Baskets


Baskets.
Oh how I love baskets.
Especially ones with lids.
They hide books and toys oh so well.

These are in the family room.
Tucked neatly behind the couch.
They hold books, Barbies, arts & crafts and games.

I am in love. ;)

Din Din Tonight

Think I can get away with telling the kiddos the lima beans are edamame beans? LOL!



Wide Noodles with Chicken and Lima Beans
4 servings
Start to Finish: 25 minutes

Ingredients
8 ounces dried pappardelle or mafalda pasta, fettuccine, or wide egg noodles
1 10-ounce package frozen baby lima beans
1 14-1/2-ounce can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
6 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding lima beans to the water with pasta. Drain pasta and beans; return to saucepan.

2. Meanwhile, place undrained tomatoes in a food processor bowl or blender container. Cover and process or blend until pureed; set aside.

3. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. For sauce, cook chicken, onion, and pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Reduce heat; stir in tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in cream; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more or until sauce is desired consistency.

4. Pour sauce over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Transfer pasta mixture to a warm serving dish. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Servings Per Recipe 4 servings
Calories 503
Total Fat (g) 12
Saturated Fat (g) 4
Cholesterol (mg) 43
Sodium (mg) 438
Carbohydrate (g) 75
Fiber (g) 7
Protein (g) 25

Swimming & Smores

This past weekend we had plans with the Wallachs. We were going to go camping in their backyard and make a day trip to an amusement park. Two other families were supposed to join us. But, then tragedy struck one of the families. So, instead of scrapping the whole thing we spent a quiet weekend at the Wallachs who just happen to be fabulous hosts. We swam, bbqed and made smores. Being shark bait, I got to take all the pictures. Enjoy!

I have him trained really well.....look at this shot!?


Just lounging around....ahhhhhhh



I absolutely love this shot of Jess and Dylan....oh to be a kid again and jump in the pool with reckless abandon....;)



Would you look at these two crazy girls!? The smoke from the fire was getting in their eyes. So, they came up with this brilliant solution....wearing goggles as they roasted their marshmallows. LOL!!!



And one last group smores shot....

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sleeping With the Enemy







Remember that movie? Ya know with Julia Roberts. She was married to a psycho that had all the cans lined up in neat little rows in the closets.

That was the first thing I thought of when I stepped back to admire my new neat pantry.

While I do have anal retentive tendencies. I really don't consider myself a psycho or anything. LOL!!!!

Ok. I have to finish up my dining room and get to filing those important papers you must save just in case......

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Sunshine Please!

It's been so cold and dark here these last few days, I need some sunshine. So, I was going thru some more Florida photos and thought I'd share a few with you...





I took this fun quiz at www.findyourspot.com to see what they say would be my ideal spot to live. Their top choices were, San Diego, Ca, West Palm Beach, Fl, Las Vegas, NV, Tampa, Fl. and Houton TX. Hmmmm, pretty interesting and right on target except for Vegas. Having been to Arizona, I realize I am not a desert person. I need to be near water and see some green. :)

Ok. I better go back to work. I finally finished sending out Natalie's thank you cards for her birthday almost 2 months ago. :O Better late than never, right?

I also started reorganizing my dining room. It's the catch all room in the house....you know the one where you put presents, etc. Well, I'm sick of looking at it all disorganized. I'm on a mission to pare down my stash. I really like serving dishes and bowls and have amassed quite the collection. I need to either find a home for them or they are getting tossed. Watch out. I'm in a throwing out mood. LOL!

If I can get anything accomplished, I'll take pix.

TTFN!

Hello! Can you say YUM-O!?!?!




Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

Ingredients
8 ounces beef top round steak
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 to 3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
Nonstick cooking spray
1-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium carrot, thinly bias sliced
3 cups small broccoli florets or 1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
1 small red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips (1 cup)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 green onions, bias-sliced into 2-inch lengths (1/4 cup)
2 cups hot cooked brown rice

Directions
1. If desired, partially freeze beef for easier slicing. Trim fat from beef. Thinly slice beef across the grain into bite-size strips. Set aside. For sauce: In a small bowl, stir together beef broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and ginger; set aside.

2. Lightly coat an unheated wok or large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and carrot; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add broccoli and sweet pepper; stir-fry about 2 minutes more or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from wok.

3. Carefully add oil to wok. Add beef; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Push beef from center of wok. Stir sauce. Add sauce to center of wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

4. Return vegetables to wok. Add green onions. Stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce; heat through. Serve immediately over hot cooked rice. Makes 4 servings (1 cup beef mixture with 1/2 cup rice per serving).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Hair Shots

She made me take shots from every angle. LOL!!!!!!



Locks for Love


I'm so proud of Natty. She grew her hair really long so we could donate it to Locks for Love. She was so excited and she really loves her new look. She can't keep her hands out of it. LOL! I think she looks so cute. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Quickie Meals

Love 'Em!

Fast Chicken Fettuccine
Start to Finish: 20 min.

Ingredients
1 9-ounce package refrigerated red sweet pepper fettuccine
1/4 of a 7-ounce jar oil-packed, dried tomato strips or pieces (1/4 cup)
1 large zucchini or yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast strips for stir-frying
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese (2 ounces)
Black pepper, freshly ground

Directions
1. Use kitchen scissors to cut pasta in half. Cook in lightly salted boiling water according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to hot pan.

2. Meanwhile, drain tomato strips, reserving 2 tablespoons oil from jar; set aside. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon reserved oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet. Add remaining reserved oil to skillet. Add chicken; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until no longer pink. Add zucchini, chicken, tomato strips, and cheese to cooked pasta; toss gently to combine. Season with pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Dietary Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 very lean meants, 2 fat.

Test Kitchen Tip: If red sweet pepper fettuccine isn't available, you can substitute refrigerated plain, spinach, or herb fettuccine, or linguine.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 381
Total Fat (g) 14
Saturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 40
Sodium (mg) 334
Carbohydrate (g) 40
Fiber (g) 3
Protein (g) 24

As Promised

Here are some summer shots from our glorious 3 weeks on the beach in Florida. This year I didn't take nearly as many shots as I normally do. I just wanted to live in the moment. I would like nothing better than for my kids to beach rats. I hope these vacations help them develop a love for the beach. :)

Building a trench...life on the beach is good. :)



Playing ball on the beach...



LOVE this...just a typical day at the beach....



I LOL when I saw this shot. Could they stand any further apart and still have thier arms around each other??



Natty Patty while sea shell hunting...



My favorite shot of Dyl at The Pelican retaurant on the pier....

Monday, August 13, 2007

1st time, long time

So, it's been quite awhile since my last post.
Lots of things have happened.
First off, I was on vacation for 3 weeks. There is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to live near the beach...a warm one. :)
Secondly, dear friends of ours lost their 10 year old little girl. A horrible unexplained tragedy. Life is cruel and it is short.
I am taking the next couple of weeks before school and work to refocus my priorites, renew my passion for things and rekindle my love for my family and friends.

But, first things first, I have a few things to share with you all. Some thoughts, new shows, recipes, freebies...

-Tonight at 10 pm on MTV is the premier of the new season of The Hills. Go Lauren! ;)

-Have you ever seen the show Big Spender? If you have any kind of debt, you should watch it. You can learn a lot of little tricks for decreasing clutter, debt and chaos from your life. I am working towards eliminating all the things I have. Which brings me to my next new find...

-Dr Wayne Dyer's new book is out. It is called Change the Way You Think, Change Your Life. I have been reading it at trips to the bookstore. (I'm trying to be a good girl and not buy every book I see) There is a great section about our need to have everything...collect things....hoard things. This only creates chaos in our mind in our lives. I agree. Do I really need every cookbook that Rachael Ray writes? I don't think so. I've decided to pare down my collections of things, including scrapbook supplies, and donate or sell the excess. Wish me luck. :)

-I love freebies. Who doesn't? Here's one for Folgers new gourmet coffee...
http://folgersgourmetselections.offerprocessingcenter.com/Offer.aspx?source=[WUScom]

-and one for Pantene....http://www.pantene.com/en_US/expressions/

-PotLuck Chicken Tetrazzini is din din tonight. :D
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 15 minutes
Cool: 5 minutes
Stand: 5 minutes

Ingredients
1 purchased roasted chicken
8 oz. dried spaghetti or linguine, broken in half
12 oz. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. small whole fresh mushrooms
3 medium red and/or yellow sweet peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 14-oz. can chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (2 oz.)
1 Tbsp. finely shredded lemon peel
2 slices sourdough bread, cut into cubes (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove meat from chicken; discard bones. Cut chicken pieces in chunks to equal 3 cups. Save remaining chicken for another use.

2. In Dutch oven cook spaghetti according to package directions. Add asparagus the last 1 minute of cooking. Drain. Return to pan.

3. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook mushrooms and sweet peppers in hot butter over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and black pepper until well combined. Add broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

4. Add mushroom mixture, chicken pieces, Swiss cheese, and half the lemon peel to pasta mixture in Dutch oven. Toss gently to coat. Spoon pasta mixture into 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

5. In a medium bowl toss together bread cubes, olive oil, and remaining lemon peel. Spread bread cube mixture on pasta mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Makes 10 (1-cup) servings.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 282
Total Fat (g) 10
Saturated Fat (g) 4
Monounsaturated Fat (g) 3
Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 48
Sodium (mg) 258
Carbohydrate (g) 28
Total Sugar (g) 4
Fiber (g) 2
Protein (g) 20
Vitamin C (DV%) 176
Calcium (DV%) 9
Iron (DV%) 13


I'm off to run some errands, pay bills and finish unpacking. Oh the joy of it all. How will I ever contain myself?

I'll be back later with some pix from our trip.

TTFN!