Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Well, I haven't been on here in quite a while, but things are starting to slow down a bit and slowly returning to normal (whatever that is).  So, here's what's been going on in no particular order.

I've been working on some of my small painting projects.  On Wednesday, I'll have updates on the bookcase that I bought from Goodwill, a picture frame that I painted, and the tall window frame that I posted about several weeks ago. 

Rachel and I entered chili in the chili cook-off at work.  I don't remember how many entries there were, but it was fun.  Neither one of us won, but ate lots of good chili, played games, visited with friends, and had fun.  Carl and I played ping pong (we are so bad), the boys and Carl played dodge ball, and there was a scrabble game going on that looked somewhat intense. 

The boys are both finished with basketball and we have been talking to them about doing AAU basketball and/or basketball camps this summer.  Carl has been working on the dirtbikes and we've decided not to send the boys to camp again this year, but to concentrate on riding more at places close to home.

We've been trying to figure out where to go for spring break.  We've heard lots of good things about the Georgia Aquarium and would like to check that out.  The boys would like to go back to Estes Park, and Carl wants to go back to San Francisco. We were there about 9 years ago and watched the sea lions on the floating docks - they were amazing to watch.  Now I've read that many of them have left the area and headed to another location.  There are a few other places that we would like to visit and I'm trying to get our spring and summer calendar ready now.

I'm on a cleaning kick - cleaning out the extra stuff and junk type of cleaning.  We all went through our clothes and got rid of tons of stuff.   Goodwill here I come!  I'm in such a cleaning mood that I'm going to check out Organizing Junkie's 28 Day Organizing Challenge.

I found my first bike ride of the season on May 1 for me, Roxana, and Carl.  Roxana and I are ready to start "training" and yet Carl says "we have 3 months yet".  Well, I need to start riding so I can get these knees and legs in shape.  I definitely don't want a repeat of last summer and have to stop riding.  I think some of these rides are also going to have to be added to our summer calendar. 

Carl's feelings about the cold have started to rub off on me.  I'm tired, tired, tired of the cold and I know that it's not as cold here has it has been in other places.  Maybe it's my age, maybe it's listening to him, but I know I'm ready for warmth.  I keep thinking about having a vegetable garden and visiting garden shops.  I don't know why that last one excites me - maybe it's flowers = warmth.  Maybe Punxsutawney Phil will have some good news.

Last week I spent this past week clipping, sorting and filing coupons and then shopped.  It's alot of work, but so worth it.  I spent $258.50 and saved $386.81.  I started the night shopping with Rochella and then saw Rachel (plus alot of other people from work), and then Carl and I went back on Saturday to do more shopping.  I've collected a bunch of receipts from my shopping and plan on keeping track of my savings to stay motivated. 

On Saturday our family (along with our flock group aka - bible study group) served lunch at the soup kitchen in town.  It think it was a good experience for my boys to help with this project.  I'm very happy with the attitudes they had and the help they provided.

The Colts made it to the Super Bowl!!  We will be watching the game on Sunday and I even bought a Colts shirt to wear! 

Tuesday is a night that Carl and I have been waiting for for a long time.  It's the season premier of LOST!  We are so hooked on that show and even though it's the last season, we are really looking forward to it! 

Menu Plan Monday started yesterday and I'm hoping to have some really good meals for my family this week.  Carl and the boys really like strombolis so that will be on the list again.  I've pulled out some cookbooks looking for some inspiration this week.

Pizza, corn, cheesy garlic bread

White Chicken Chili, salad, rolls

Strombolis, chips, fruit

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 T canola oil
2 med onions, chopped
2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 - 15 oz. can whole kernel mexicorn
1 - 15 oz can black beans
1 - 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 - 4 oz can chopped green chiles
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
2 - 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1/2 hot banana pepper, chopped

Saute onion in oil.  Add chicken corn, beans, tomatoes, chilies, and taco seasoning.  Stir to combine and add chicken bbroth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Serve with optional shredded cheese and sour cream.  Serve corn chips on the side.

Porcupine Balls, salad, California veggie blend w/ cheese sauce
1 lb ground beef
1/2 c. uncooked rice
1/2 c. water
1/3. c. chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/8 tsp.garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 - 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Mix meat, rice, 1/2 cup water, onion, salt, celery salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Shape into tablespoonful sized balls.  Put meatballs in  8x8x2 baking dish.  Mix together remaining ingredients.  Pour over meatballs.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake additional 15 minutes.

Favorite Oven Beef Stew
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 T vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 - 13 3/4 oz. can beef broth
1 - 14 1/2 oz. can stewed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1 med. onion cut into wedges
2 large unpeeled potatoes (about 1 pound)
2 c. carrots, sliced
1/2 c. thawed frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt and pepper and add beef - shake to coat.  Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add garlic and beef, reserving any remaining flour mixture.  Cook until beef is evenly browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove beef and garlic to large baking dish, sprinkle with remaining flour mixture and thyme.  Add beef broth, tomatoes and onion.  Cover and bake 1 1/4 hours.  Meanwhile, slice potatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices and slice carrots - add to beef.  Cover and bake 1 hour until beef and vegetables are tender.  Stir in peas.

This receipe is baked in the Pampered Chef Stoneware Baking Bowl and Deep Dish Baker.

Crispy Buffalo Chicken and Slaw (From Janna)
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons, plus 1 tablespoon Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 bag of cole slaw mix – no dressing
1 large box waffle crackers (recommended: Triscuit), pulverized in a food processor or crushed up in the bag
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Between two pieces of wax paper, pound chicken breasts to about ¼ inch thick. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons hot sauce in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, and blue cheese in a medium size bowl. You should have about 1 cup dressing. Just before serving the chicken add enough slaw mix so that the slaw is covered with the sauce mixture. You can decide how much slaw to sauce ratio you like and adjust the amount of slaw you add.

Put the cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl or plate. Lift the chicken pieces 1 at a time and drain off the excess liquid. Dip into the crumbs and turn to coat on all sides.

Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add half the chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken. Place cooked chicken on plate with paper towels to drain off any excess oil. Serve on plates with slaw mixture on top of chicken.

If storing left over’s be sure to store the chicken and sauce separate.

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