Showing posts from April, 2008

Baseball Hall of Fame

We are a baseball family. We love it. So it seemed fitting that on spring break we would take a trip to Cooperstown, NY to see the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was about a 3 hour drive...not too bad. And the weather was fantastic. We spent the whole day at the hall. Not only do they have memorabilia but they show movies and teach a lot about the history of the game. We all learned something. I took a ton of photos. Here is just a sampling. Enjoy!

Dylan with Tom Seaver...

And Ted Williams...

My two kookie kiddos pretending to do the wave...

What would a trip to the baseball hall of fame be without paying homage to my favorite team...the Altanta Braves...

My personal fave, Tommy Glavine...

Smoltzie with hair...

The incomparable Bobby Cox...

I am convinced that I will go back when my favorite players get inducted. That must be amazing. If you live close enough and like baseball, it's worth the trip.

The Farmers Museum

On our second day in Cooperstown, NY we visited the Farmers Museum. It was recreated to how they would have lived in 1845. We really enjoyed learing about what life was like back then.

Some cool tools from 1845...

The fam...

Butter Molds

Sitting at a desk in an old school house....

They were trying to teach the chickens to eat from humans. So, I got a shot of Natty feeding the chickens. She was the only one they would eat from. She really does have a way with animals. I hope she does something with animals when she grows up. :)

Sunday Sweet Spot

Ginger Carrot Cake
Prep: 1 hr.
Bake: 30 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Stand: 10 minutes

4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups finely shredded carrots
2/3 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger or 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (optional)
1 recipe Double-Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Let eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with waxed or parchment paper; set aside.

2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl combine eggs, carrots, oil, orange juice, and ginger. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture, stir in nuts. Spread batter in prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until pick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool thoroughly o…

Friday Five

1. What is harder to live without, chocolate or alchohol? Chocolate, no wait booze, oh Good Lord, it's a toss up.

2. Does the colour yellow remind you of anything? Bees

3. Who most annoyed you last week? My co-teacher who didn't show up for 3 days....

4. Do you have a cutesy romantic nickname for your partner (or previous partners)? Screwy Stewie ... does that qualify?

5. What is your favourite Stephen King movie? Um, not sure I've even seen one but I think I saw one with Kathy Bates in it that might have been a Stephen King movie????

Best Ever Garlic Bread

So easy and better than any frozen kind out there. Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes at ... a gem of a site.

1 16-ounce loaf of Italian bread or French bread
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 350

2 Cut the bread in half, horizontally. Mix the butter, garlic, and parsley together in a small bowl. Spread butter mixture over the the two bread halves. Place on a sturdy baking pan (one that can handle high temperatures, not a cookie sheet) and heat in the oven for 10 minutes.

3 Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over bread if you want. Return to oven on the highest rack. Broil on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the edges of the bread begin to toast and the cheese (if you are using cheese) bubbles. Watch very carefully while broiling. The bread can easily go from un-toasted to burnt.

4 Remove fr…

One More Chicken Recipe

Sesame Chicken and Noodles
Start to Finish: 20 min.

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. Asian garlic-chili sauce
2 6-oz. pkg. refrigerated grilled chicken breast strips
12 oz. dried udon noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 medium yellow, red and/or orange sweet peppers, cut in bite-size strips
Fresh cilantro

1. In medium bowl stir together vinegar, green onions, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic-chili sauce. Add chicken; stir to coat. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.

2. Meanwhile, in large saucepan cook noodles in boiling water about 8 minutes until just tender. Drain noodles well and return to saucepan. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Add chicken mixture and toss to combine.

3. Transfer to bowls. Top each with pepper strips and cilantro. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 391
Total Fat (g) 11

New Hair

Ok. Ignore the hive on my cheek and the zits on my chin and the arm fat and look closely at my hair. I got highlights for the first time in my life..subtle but I like them.

Carrot Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Carrot-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 45 minutes
Cool: 35 minutes
Stand: 35 minutes

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. water
6 to 8 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh pineapple, cored and halved
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk
3 carrots, finely shredded (1-1/2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. In small saucepan combine brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. butter, and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to boiling and is smooth. Pour in prepared pan; tilt to evenly coat bottom. Arrange pineapple slices over top.

3. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

4. In large mixing bowl beat 1/2 cup butter on medium-high 30 seconds. Gradually add granulated sugar, beat until …

For all you chicken lovers...

I'm always looking for new ways to make chicken cutlets and to make weeknight dinner fast and easy. I think this recipe fits the bill. Enjoy!

Chicken with Capers
Servings: 4 servings
Start to Finish: 20 minutes

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb.)
1 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
8 oz. green beans, trimmed
2 lemons, 1 sliced and 1 juiced
1 Tbsp. capers

1. Place one chicken breast half between sheets of plastic wrap. Lightly pound with flat side of meat mallet to even thickness. Repeat. Brush chicken with mustard; sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, and bread crumbs to coat.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook 4 minutes per side or until no pink remains (170F). Transfer to plates. Add 2 tablesppons olive oil to skillet. Cook green beans in oil 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; add lemon slices the last minute. Transfer to plates. Add juice and capers to skillet; heat t…

Speaking of Pineapples....

Reenie! See what you did!? ;)

Pineapple Chicken

1-1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp. curry seasoning blend
1 red sweet pepper, cut in strips
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut in large chunks
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar

1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and curry seasoning. In 12-inch skillet quickly brown chicken on both sides in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook 12 minutes, until tender and no longer pink.

2. For sauce, in second skillet cook sweet pepper in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil over medium-high heat 3 minutes; set aside. Add pineapple; cook 5 minutes or until brown. Add serrano pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and brown sugar; heat through. Serve sauce with peppers over chicken. Makes 4 servings.

*I'd use breasts since I only eat white meat and I'd serve this over white rice. Yum-o!*

Sunday Sweet Spot

Rosemary-Lemon Sandwich Cookies
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 8 minutes
Cool: 30 minutes
Stand: 30 minutes

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. snipped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, rosemary, lemon peel, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can. Stir in remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. With bottom of glass dipped in sugar flatten to 1/2-inch thickness. Bake 8 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack; cool.

3. Meanwhile, in small bow…

This is why....

I really don't scrap 12x12...I simply cannot get it to look good online!!! ARGH!!! But, I have to scrap some of these photos I have just sitting in boxes. I mean I ain't getting any younger.

The kiddos with their lucky money from Pui. Products used: Die Cuts A View Cardstock (Brights) American Crafts Patterned Paper, Rub Ons, Buttons and Marker, Chatterbox Letter Stickers and Mrtha Stewart Label Strips. TFL!

It's Official

Baseball season is underway in our house. Dylan is on The Muckdogs...a minor league affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals. He knows a couple of kids on his team. I hope he has fun! :)

Getting ready to go to the first game of the season...

BP before the game...

Such a great shot. Love his face. The only thing that would have made it better was if he hit the darn thing. LOL!

And this is what Natalie does while Dylan is playing in the park right next to the field.

Friday Five

1. If you had the ability to legally change your name, would you? To what? Jennifer
2. What do you with with change that you receive from banks/purchases/find on the ground? Spend it, of course.
3. If you could travel back in time to change the course of one historical event, what event would it be? 9/11
4. Would you rather live a safe, stable, moderately interesting life or one where every day was dangerous, volatile, and different? safe, stable and moderately interesting
5. What do you think you'll be remembered for when you die and, if you could, would you change it to something else? I was always there to help out and no I wouldn't change it.

Sunday Sweet Spot

Lemon-Thyme Cookies
36 Cookies
Prep: 35 min.
Bake: 12 min. per batch

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Coarse sugar or granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Beat the butter in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar until combined. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice, and cardamom. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Knead until smooth; form mixture into a ball.

2. Divide dough into three equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6x4 1/2-inch rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares with a scalloped-edge pastry wheel. Sprinkle cut…

My Boot Tray

I went to The Home Depot this am and they didn't have the rocks I was looking for. Michael's had them but they would have been way too much money. So, the nice guy at HD told me to try a pet store. I told him you are a genius. Off I went to Animal Kingdom and there I found the perfect shade of aquarium rocks for my boot tray. I only needed two bags so it was very affordable at $3.99 a bag. Doesn't it look purdy? I cannot wait to put the kiddos' boots in there. :D

Natty's First Horse Show

A couple of weeks ago, Natty was in her first horse show. She was so excited and nervous too. She had to ride Henry which is not the horse she usually rides, Duke. And Henry was not cooperating. So, in the first round she scored 4th place. Then as she competed more, she got him to do what she wanted and in the next round she scored 3rd place. And, in the final round she got the blue ribbon!! She actually cried she was so happy. :)

Just getting on Henry...

With her riding buddy Kristina before the show...

Showing off her ribbons, blue for first place, yellow for third and white for 4th place.

What do you do when...

life hands you rotten bananas? You make banana bread bread of course. :)

To learn how to go from these..

To this...

Do this...

Simple but perfect banana bread

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Friday Five

1. What type of food do you most like to eat? Pasta
2. What type of food do you most like to cook? Chicken
3. What ingredient could you not live without? Garlic
4. What do you never let in your kitchen? My husband ;)
5. What is your favorite drink? Unsweetened Iced Tea.

Now, it's your turn. :)

Organizing Tip of the Day

A Pebble Filled Boot Tray

How Clever! Now with the rainy spring under way I thought this was a brilliant idea. I already have a boot tray so I am off to the garden center to get some pebbles. :)

Make a boot tray by the door even better: Fill it with stones (found at garden centers). Ice and snow will melt and drain through the rocks to the bottom of the tray so your boots won't stand in a puddle. Most of the moisture will evaporate, but you should clean out the tray regularly.


I know I know I never said I would buy these for my kiddos let alone wear them myself. BUT, these are AWESOME!

Atlanta Braves croc flip flops!!! I think I just flipped my lid because I am going to plunk down 35 buckaroos for these doubt. :)

One More for the Sweet Spot

Lemon Cream Cheese Cupcakes!

Oh My!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 34 minutes
Makes: 24 servings,
one cupcake each
1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 pkg. (4-serving) JELL-O Lemon Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 cup water
4 egg whites
2 Tbsp. oil
1 pkg. (16 oz.) powdered sugar
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, water, egg whites and oil in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) Beat on medium speed 2 min. Spoon batter evenly into 24 paper-lined 2-1/2-inch muffin cups.

BAKE 21 to 24 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

MEANWHILE, beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and juice with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Frost cupcakes.

The Sweet Spot

I'm thinking I'm going to make this a once a week post. Something sweet. Maybe Sundays. I like lemon so here is an easy recipe for lemon sugar snap cookies.


Easy Lemon Sugar Snaps
about 3-1/2 dozen cookies
Prep: 25 minutes
Bake: 9 minutes per batch

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 package 2-layer-size lemon cake mix with pudding in the mix
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons finely shredded lemon peel
Coarse sugar or granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and egg with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in cake mix until combined; stir in cornmeal and lemon peel, if necessary knead dough to blend.

2. Using 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie, roll into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire rack. Co…

I couldn't resist...

I guess I'll put off becoming a vegetarian a little more. LOL!

Tangy Barbecue Beef
8 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 10 to 12 hours

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 3-pound fresh beef brisket, trimmed of fat
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 cup bottled smoke-flavored barbecue sauce
1/2 cup beer or ginger ale
8 large sandwich buns or Portuguese rolls, split and toasted
Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)
Mango slices

1. In a small bowl combine the chili powder, celery seeds, salt, and pepper. Rub the spice mixture onto all sides of the brisket. Scatter half of the sliced onions in the bottom of a 3 1/2-, 4-, 5-, or 6-quart crockery cooker. Place the brisket on the onions, cutting the meat to fit the cooker, if necessary. Scatter the remaining onions on top of the brisket. In a small bowl stir together the barbecue sauce and beer or ginger ale. Pour over the brisket and onions.

2. Co…

I lied....

Brisket in Ale
10 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: Low 10 to 12 hours, High 5 to 6 hours; plus 10 minutes

1 3- to 4-pound fresh beef brisket
2 medium onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 bay leaf
1 12-ounce can beer
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons no-calorie, heat-stable, granular sugar substitute (Splenda)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

1. Trim fat from meat. If necessary, cut brisket to fit into a 3-1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker. In the cooker place onions, bay leaf, and brisket. In a medium bowl combine beer, chili sauce, sugar substitute, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic; pour over meat in cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.

3. Using a slotted spoon, tansfer meat and onions to a platter; keep warm. Discard bay leaf.

4. For gravy: Skim fat from cookin…

One More Amazing Slow Cooker Recipe

Beef Goulash
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 8 to 9 hours (low) or 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours (high), plus 30 minutes on high

1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat
2 medium carrots, bias-cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/4 cups beef broth
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 red or green sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips
Hot cooked noodles
Dairy sour cream or yogurt
Hungarian paprika (optional)

1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine meat, carrots, onions, and garlic. In a small bowl, combine broth, tomato paste, the 1 tablespoon paprika, the lemon peel, salt, caraway seeds, black pepper, and bay leaf. Stir into vegetable and meat mixture in cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.

Beef in Red Wine Gravy

Beef in Red Wine Gravy
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 to 12 hours (low) or 5 to 6 hours (high)

1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium onions, cut up
2 beef bouillon cubes or 1 envelope (1/2 of 2-ounce package) onion soup mix
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups dry red wine
Hot cooked noodles (optional)

1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine beef stew meat and onions. Add bouillon cubes or dry onion soup mix. Sprinkle cornstarch, salt, and pepper over beef and onions. Pour red wine over beef mixture in cooker.

2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.

3. If desired, serve over hot cooked noodles. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving:
Calories 211
Total Fat (g) 4
Saturated Fat (g) 1
Cholesterol (mg) 67
Sodium (mg) 430
Carbohydrate (g) 8
Fiber (g) 0
Protein (g) 24
*Percent Daily Values are base on a 2,000 calorie diet