Friday, January 29, 2010

Recipe #6

First, I want to share this picture:


And then share this tidbit:
The fact that I made it out of this situation alive, is amazing.

Ok, I might be a little over-dramatic here, but not by much.

I have NEVER cooked a meal that required a pot or pan on every stove burner available ~ and it was an absolutely frightening experience. I was completely out of my element. By the time Dan got home from work I was a mess, and I probably won't do this again... anytime soon, anyway.

So here goes, out of the trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook:


Shrimp in Garlic Butter
1lb fresh or frozen medium shrimp in shells
2 Tbls butter or margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbls snipped fresh parsley
1 Tbl dry sherry*

1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and de-vein shrimp.** Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a large skillet heat butter or margarine over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 3 minutes or till shrimp turn pink. Stir in parsley and sherry.

*I don't really know what sherry is (a cooking wine?), but I didn't have any - so I improvised (woah) and used a few splashes of white wine vinegar... turned out pretty darn yummy!
**There is no sane reason, that I know of, to buy shrimp that has shells and veins. For goodness sakes, let someone else do this for you!!!!


The meal was yummy. I made the Fettuccine Alfredo that I tried a few weeks ago, and some steamed broccoli & cauliflower - but like I said, I was in way over my head. Four pots and pans, and three kids to maintain was a little much. Plus, I never time things right - the shrimp was done far too early, and I always start veggies too late. But when I mixed the shrimp in with the noodles, it warmed them up nicely.

The other thing I'd do differently was to cut the tails off before I cooked the shrimp - for no other reason than it was just more work to do when I had hungry children crying for dinner. The girls absolutely loved the shrimp! It hardly had time to settle on the high chair before they gobbled it up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a little something special

I debated.

About whether or not to call attention on my blog that I turned THIRTY today.


I decided.

And you are now reading my decision.

I asked for the day off.

My 3 little bosses said no.
After all, who would feed them, and change their diapers?




Speaking of days off, I explained to my husband last night that since moving to Iowa when I was 12, it has almost always snowed on my birthday. I think the first three years it snowed bad enough that school was canceled. And I was disappointed.

My husband asked why on earth I was disappointed about school being canceled... nerd.

Well, I've always loved making treats and sharing them, and having everyone say "Happy Birthday!" And it's just not as special when it isn't on your birthday...

I've always thought birthdays are special.
Except mine.
Now.
Since having kids.


Now it's their birthday that's special.

Possibly why I am so excited that in one week my girls are turning ONE!


Anyway, back to me.

I made treats. Rice Krispy treats.

With Evan.
He helped cut them out in heart shapes.




And my Dad sent me flowers.

Which made me cry.
Like a baby, not a 30-year-old woman.



A little later in the morning I received flowers from "the kids."

Which also made me cry.
But less like a baby, and more like a proud wife & momma.




And later tonight we are going out to dinner.

Pizza.
My favorite.


So, really, today is still special.

Just special for different reasons.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Practice makes...

...you a little better!


video


video

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Fight for Sprite

I think we all know by now that pop (soda for non-Mid-westerners) isn't good for you.

But I'm not going to talk today about the calories, the sugar, or the caffeine.

I am going to take a different stance on the subject.

The fact there is one of me, and two of them.


And I only drink one pop at a time.


So when they want to play with the bottle.


That presents a problem.


Because there's only one bottle.


And two of them.


Now, you might ask, why did I let them fight?


Well, because it's kind of cute when they fight (and I do realize the older they get, the less cute it will be).

And because I am not going to get in between every fight they have the rest of their lives.


Because there will be many.


And they will get over it.


Eventually.


*On a side note - Brynn was especially fussy this particular incident because she was starting to get her first ear infection... :(

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Got hair?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Loads of fun...

...and I'm not talking laundry!


video

Just one more of the many fun things about having twins...

Recipe #5

I debated.

I decided.

I wasn't sure if I was going to count this as a recipe towards my resolution since (yet again) it didn't come from a cookbook.

Oh well.

It's new.

It counts.

It's my blog.

If you like sweet potatoes, I'm gonna guess that you will LOVE* this:

Sweet Potato Oven Fries (must click to get to the recipe)

These were scrumptious. Can't say much more than that - it's a great side dish!


*Ok, a little nervous about this statement, but I'm just gonna go with it!



Sorry, Mom - I know you only want to see grandkids... I'm working on it! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Recipe #4

I finally cracked open a REAL cookbook for dinner last night!



When I initially flipped open the book, I found a few I thought looked good but it was difficult to narrow it down to just one. So I let Dan decide. He told me to start reading off the names, and I started with Appetizers. And this is what he chose:

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1-1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-in pieces
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 Tbs snipped fresh cilantro

1. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar, lime zest and juice. Press the garlic into soy sauce mixture; mix well. Reserve 1/3 cup soy sauce mixture for Peanut Dipping Sauce. Set aside. Add chicken to remaining soy sauce mixture, cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place chicken with marinade in baking dish. Bake 18-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Meanwhile, prepare Peanut Dipping Sauce by adding peanut butter and cilantro to reserved 1/3 cup soy sauce mixture; whisk until smooth. Serve with chicken.


This was in the appetizer category, but was easily made into a meal by adding some brown rice and asparagus. Quite yummy - and to me, any recipe that has more than two words in the title, sounds complicated. This really wasn't complicated.

The hardest part was probably zesting the lime.

But I would never have known that if I hadn't tried!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh Happy... Day!

I was going to title this post... "Glad it's Wednesday!"

But then, I realized it's actually Thursday!



Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO, it's Piggy Brynn!

How do the little piggies eat?

video

Yup, just like that!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Recipe #3

I still haven't broken into any of my actual cookbooks, but believe me, I'm getting there...


Shepherd's Pie

1 tsp vegetable oil
1-1/2 lbs lean ground beef
2 tbsp chopped onion *
1/4 tsp salt **
1/4 tsp mixed dried herbs (parsley, thyme, sage) ***
1-1/4 cups gravy or bouillon ****
1 can (12oz) corn kernels *****
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375, use a 9x13 inch baking dish
2. In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Add beef and cook until browned. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in salt, herbs, gravy and corn.
3. Pour beef mixture into baking dish and cover with mashed potatoes. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are browned. Top with cheese and bake for another 5 minutes.


* Seriously, you must go here to find the EASIEST, SIMPLEST way to chop an onion!
** When we ate this meal tonight, it was a touch on the bland side. But then I realized that I actually printed this recipe from a book called Better Baby Food. It really is a great meal for the family, the kids all loved it, but you might want to add a little more salt - before or after, depending on who is eating it.
*** Just thought I'd share that I had the Simon & Garfunkel song going through my head every time I read this line of the recipe! And in all reality, I would probably add a little rosemary to this dish the next time I make it ~ and I do plan to make it again! Also, I didn't have any dried parsley, but I did have some fresh stuff that I forgot to put into my Fettuccine Alfredo dish, so I threw that in. Eh, I think I'll buy some of the dried stuff for next time.
**** I had no idea how to make gravy - I knew it had to be a little thick, but what I bought were bouillon packets and it had no directions on how to make it into gravy. The recipe called for 1-1/4 cups of gravy - so I put one packet into 1-1/4 cups hot water. Not thick enough. So I added another packet. Not thick enough. So I added it the way it was, and it made the dish a little watery, which wasn't terrible since the mashed potatoes soaked a lot of it up. I was informed that I should have added corn starch or flour to the mix to thicken it up - or buy a gravy packet that probably tells you exactly how to make gravy.
***** My hubby hates canned corn, so I used frozen white corn. I didn't measure it *gasp*, I just threw enough in to sprinkle the dish with corn (I don't like so much corn that it overwhelms a dish).

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Paige



You are turning into quite the lovely young lady!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Recipe #2

The 2nd new recipe of the year was sent to me by my Aunt Elaine (hi!) last week, so I still haven't technically used any of my cookbooks yet, but I just couldn't let this recipe collect dust.

Before I go into it, let me just say - don't make this for only 2 people. You'll end up wasting a lot! (duh) I've got a whole pan sitting in my fridge that is going to go to waste, and it's just sad. But I do intend to make this again when my family is here in a few weeks for the girls' birthday celebration!!


French Toast Casserole
Giving credit to: Amber Fifield - don't know who she is, but her name is on the recipe - you are a smart lady, this recipe is YUMMY!

1 loaf french bread, cubed
1 8oz package of cream cheese, cubed
8 eggs
2-1/2 cups whole milk (I ended up using 2 cups skim, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream left over from the Fettuccine Alfredo I made last week - but the author of this recipe said she used 1-1/4 cups whipping cream with vanilla and 1-1/4 cups whipping cream)
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbl melted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup (the side note says to use REAL syrup, I did)

1. Spray 13x9 dish with cooking spray. Place 1/2 of the bread in the dish. Sprinkle with cream cheese cubes. Top with remaining bread.
2. Whisk remaining ingredients (butter will clump). Pour over bread. Press in bread to soak up liquid. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Heat oven to 350 and bake uncovered 45 minutes or until lightly browned.


My oven is finicky - usually it cooks fast, but this didn't seem done after 45 minutes. The tops were golden brown, but the insides were a little mushy - the cream cheese didn't melt all the way, but it did melt when you dished it out. Who knows - but the flavor was quite good, not as sweet as you might think - which was perfect!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Brooke



So happy you are a part of our family!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Recipe #1

My absolute favorite meal to have when I go out to eat is Fettuccine Alfredo. Since we rarely go out to eat anymore, I never eat it! (Ok, probably not a horrible thing since the dish isn't exactly low in fat...) So, it would seem fitting that I add this dish to our meal plans.

So here it is, my first new recipe of the year!

Fettuccine Alfredo
8oz uncooked fettuccine
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used shredded, not sure what the difference would be)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Dash of pepper
Chopped fresh parsley (I just realized as I am typing this I forgot to use the parsley I bought for this meal... crap!)

1. Cook fettuccine as directed on package.
2. While fettuccine is cooking, heat margarine/butter and whipping cream in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until margarine is melted. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper.
3. Drain fettuccine. Pour sauce over fettuccine; stir until fettuccine is well coated. Sprinkle with parsley.



So easy! Why didn't I make this 10 years ago when I printed it out!?!?! The date on the print out was 10/4/99 from the bettycrocker.com website ~ and as many times I have moved over the past 10 years it has traveled with me in my pile-o-print-outs just begging to be made! (just affirmation of why I set the resolution that I did, I suppose) It was quite scrumptious - I threw in some cooked chicken & broccoli at the end ~ yummy, yummy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

breakthrough of the New Year!

video


Granted... they were the mushy-cooked-out-of-a-can variety... but I think we are making progress!

Monday, January 4, 2010

one step at a time...

Well, I was off by a few days with my guess that Avery would be taking steps by Christmas... She waited until a couple days later - Brynn took her first steps on New Years day!

The kicker... they seem more than happy not to take any more!


Avery has been very timid once she is standing up on her own, she puts more effort into NOT taking steps than she would if she just started moving her little feet!

Brynn, on the other hand, is ready to go! As soon as she figured out she could let go and stand on her own, she has been trying to take steps. She is a no-holds-bar kind of a girl. She likes to lunge herself 2 feet away to another object, and she is laughing the entire way down to the floor as she falls!

I really shouldn't get in any big hurry to have these girls walking... they keep me on my toes enough just crawling around. !

Friday, January 1, 2010

Reflection and Resolutions

Hard to believe another year has gone by.

Tomorrow my baby girls will be 11 months old.

This month I will turn 30.

In April my son will turn 4, and my husband and I will celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary!

This holiday season has been very reflective and sentimental for me. When I look back at the last year and reflect on all the changes my family has experienced and lived through ~ it's just amazing! And looking ahead at what this new year holds is equally amazing and exciting for me.

---------------------------------------------------

And on to my resolution.

I don't normally do "resolutions" ~ a resolution just asks to be broken, if you ask me! But I think this one is manageable.

If you remember back in November, I wrote a post about what my one resolution was going to be.

I am already falling behind on it, because I had planned to have all my recipes picked out for the year... but all the farther I got was pulling out the cookbooks and (sort of) sorting them, and counting them.



I had 33 cookbooks, one pile of printed out, or copied pages & one pile of note cards that have been cut out of magazines or were in some kind of mailing.

I had a hard time sorting the random pages that were all over the place, and when I flipped through the papers I found quite a few I wanted to try.

My official goal is going to be 35 new recipes. I may pick out more, but at least 35. That's totally achievable considering I tried 36 recipes in about 8 months...

Part of me thinks this is a bit lame, but really what I want to achieve from this is to force myself to use these great cookbooks that I already have!

Ok, enough of my blabbering since I've probably lost most of you by now anyway... I think if the recipe is good enough, maybe I'll just post it on here!

And if you have made it this far down this run-on-sentence-of-a-post... here is one of my favorite Christmas pics of the girls...



Thanks to all of you who have read along about my family this past year, and shared my ups and downs and all-arounds!

Have a blessed New Year!
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