Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is It Too Much To Ask?

Is it too much to ask that I just get some sweet and sour sauce with my chicken strips?  If you're going to take the time to ask me what kind of sauce I want, then please take the time to put it on my tray or in my bag.  Every time I order, you ask, "What kind of sauce?" and every time, you fail to give me any.  It's quite frustrating.

That's all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blueberry Muffins. Yum.

Is it sad that I used to think of blueberry muffins as the Martha White dry mix that you just added milk to?  I'm not knockin them...they're good...but they just don't compare to a fresh, homemade muffin.  And they're so easy to make, why not do that instead?  I haven't bought the dry mix since I learned this recipe from my mother-in-law.

The fresh blueberries add a little burst of tartness in the sweet muffin...and the way warm berries taste is 'outta this world' as Paula Deen would say.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tins.
Mix dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk, and oil.
Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry mixture.  Mix only until flour is moistened.
Fold in the blueberries.
Spoon two heaping tablespoons into each muffin tin.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Makes about 10 muffins. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

But Dinosaurs Were Trying To Get In!

Sorry, Dave...I don't know where you were this time, but he came back in my dreams again.  Yeah, it was him...Michael Buble.  I don't know why I have dreams about him, but I certainly don't mind...he's pretty easy on the eyes dontcha think?  Well, you probably don't think that since you're a dude.  Whatever.  You know he's handsome and has a voice that even our son can pick out. (One time at a restaurant, a Michael Buble song came on and he started yelling his name over and over...yes, I know son, it's him.)

But why does he show up in my dreams?  No idea.  This time, he was playing tennis by himself.  He was really getting into it, hitting the ball against the wall and it would spring right back to him.  But as all my dreams do, well, maybe not all, but a vast majority, they turned really weird and hard to explain.  Like, for instance, in this dream, dinosaurs were trying to get onto the court.  I was just watching him play, and I knew who he was, but I didn't want to bother Mr. Buble since he was having time to himself away from crowds.  But those dinosaurs were trying to get in!  I had to warn him or he was supposed to save me or something.

I wish I knew what happened, but then I heard a door shut very loudly and the pitter patter of little Peamite Alpha footsteps.  Oh well, maybe he'll show up again one day and I'll know what happens.  Or, I'll just forever wonder what happens like I am with my other dream I had about him.  S'ok.  Maybe I'll have enough dreams that I can just piece them together one day and have a heck of a story for ya. ha.

Ok, so if you didn't know this already, you definitely know now, that I am indeed a little weird.  I may have scared some of you away, and I apologize.  Please come back, and I'll try to be a little more normal next time.


Oh, and I'll leave you with one of my favorite cartoons depicting what really happened to dinosaurs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

She Loves This Chair

I have a couple of chairs on my front porch.  One my size and one kid size.  They used to sit out on our tiny little balcony when we lived in an apartment.  Now, they sit on my front porch in place of rocking chairs and a porch swing that I hope to get one day soon.

Whenever I take the kids outside to play, I'll take a break in the shade on my chair, and Peamite Bravo will toddle right behind me and climb in the chair her size.  She's gotten very good at maneuvering on and off of it now.  She always looks so proud when she gets up there, too.  It's especially funny when she slouches and has her legs crossed.  Unfortunately, I have not caught her doing this with a camera, yet.

Last night when David arrived home from the store, I held the front door open for him so he could get in easily with the few groceries he had picked up.  Peamite Bravo wanted to go outside, too!  She was already dressed for bed, but that was not to deter her!  She skillfully climb down the step onto the porch and made a beeline straight to her chair.  So, here she is sitting in her favorite chair in her jammies.  How cute.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I was really in the mood for some Asian flavors last night.  But what in the world would I have at the house that I could whip up?  I looked on the internet for inspiration, but every recipe I found required several ingredients that I didn't have on hand.  Well, I did finally find inspiration...lettuce wraps.  I loved getting them as an appetizer whenever we went to PF Chang's or Cheesecake Factory.   I had the right least for something that I would like, and got to working.

Since I never found a recipe with everything that I had or would like, I ended up just making my own version, and I think they're turned out very good thank you very much.  Seriously good.  I'm actually eating some of the leftover filling right now...yum.  David had 2nd and 3rds last night and bragged on me.  I just couldn't wait to share this with all of you.  Now, go to your kitchen, and make these! (or go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients and promise to make them!)

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • 2 pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 4 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided Use)
  • 1 cup (2 Servings) Minute Rice
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 whole Carrot, Shredded
  • ¾ cups Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • 3 Tablespoons Chopped Onions
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 8 leaves Iceberg Or Bibb Lettuce
For the Sauce:
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • ¼ cups Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Spicy Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 dash Crushed Red Pepper
Heat a large frying pan or wok with 3 Tablespoons of oil on high heat and saute the chicken breasts. Remove the chicken and cut into small, bite-size pieces.

Prepare the Minute Rice per package instructions (1 cup rice to 1 cup water). I like to do mine in the microwave for 6 minutes.

For the sauce, dissolve the sugar in water in a small bowl. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and mix well.

In the hot pan/wok, add the remaining Tablespoon of oil, the diced chicken, shredded carrots, peanuts, chopped onion, minced garlic, rice, and stir in the sauce. Saute for a couple of minutes and then serve in the lettuce leaves.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


This title has a double meaning today.  First, a story, and then, a recipe.

When we lived in Birmingham, we had a friend that would come over and play video games with my husband.  Peamite Alpha was (and still is) at the age where he repeated everything he heard.  I'm sure many of you know what that have to watch your mouth.

Gamers really get into whatever they're playing.  It could be something as simple as Tetris or as complex as one of my husband's games of NCAA 10.  If something doesn't go just the way they want, they yell.  And yell loudly or in this case, rudely.

I was discussing this with David saying,

I really don't like that he (his friend) uses that language when Peamite Alpha is around.  You know how he picks up on things when you think he's not really listening. 
David responds with, I don't remember him saying that.
Of course he didn't.  David doesn't remember what he wore yesterday.

I didn't feel comfortable "getting on" to his friend, and I thought it should be David's place to tell him to watch it around the peamite.  So, since David said that he doesn't even notice when he says anything out of place, that I should let him know when it happens.

But how to do that without being so obvious?
But I want it to be you that brings it up, not me!
David comes up with the idea of using a code word.
That'll be the code word you say when I need to discuss the language situation.
So, from that day forward, that is the word we say whenever our language is not appropriate and the other needs to be reminded to watch their mouth.  It was meant to just point out when this one particular friend was using language in front of my son, but it quickly turned into a code word for both us.  Hey, none of us are perfect.  Afterall, David was a Marine and I have a temper, so things slip out.

Onto pancakes that will have your mouth too full to say anything bad. ;)

I asked David what he wanted for breakfast, and after a few, I don't knows and I'm not a morning person and me saying I'll make you anything you want, he finally came up with pancakes.

Fine, finally, I got something out of him.  Pancakes were no problem.  The kids love them, I love them, and obviously my husband loves them since he requested them.

I wanted to jazz them up a bit with some fresh strawberries that I bought yesterday.  Fresh fruit is so yummy, and it's even better when in season.  I also love how the warm fruit tastes in the pancake.

So, Strawberry Pancakes it is.  This recipe is the one I use for regular, plain ol fluffy pancakes, but in this case I added a cup of diced strawberries.  Feel free to add different fruits, or try without any.

Strawberry Pancakes
1 1/2 cups self rising flour  (you can use All Purpose, but I really like them fluffy)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup diced strawberries
2 Tbsp butter

Sift all the dry ingredients together.  Beat the egg in the milk and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir until moistened.  (Don't over mix or the pancakes will be tough) Fold in the strawberries.

Melt the butter and add the pancakes to the griddle/pan.  When the pancakes start to bubble around the edges, check the pancake for brownness. Flip and brown on the other side.  Put butter between each pancake. If you're working in batches, keep them warm in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells

I made this dish the other night for a potluck, and they were delectable.  Since my husband and kids were not accompanying me to said potluck, I made sure they had some in their own dish.  These are a bit time consuming to make, so I don't break out this recipe that often, but man, they are good.  To help with time, the filling can be made a day in advance and refrigerated until needed.

I start off defrosting a couple of packages of frozen spinach under running water...
While the spinach is defrosting, I brown the ground meat...
 and chop an onion... (Sorry Dave, but the rest of us like onions)
When the meat is browned, drain off the fat reserving a tablespoon or 2 to saute the onions in until translucent.
Once the spinach has thawed, squeeze all of the water out of it and place in a large bowl with the drained meat.  Add a block of cream cheese to the meat and spinach and stir until blended.
Add in the onions, shredded Parmesan, salt, pepper, and combine.

The kids showed up and said take my picture! So I did. Here are Peamite Alpha and Peamite Bravo.

Now, back to the food. Let the mixture cool and then add the egg.  (Don't want scrambled eggs in your mix...)

If you're on top of things, which I'm usually not, you'll remember to cook your pasta shells in boiling salted water while you're making the stuffing mixture.  That way, when you're done with the mixture, the shells will be cool to the touch, so you're able to get ta stuffin.
Put a little tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish...
and place your stuffed pasta shells on top.  Pour the rest of the tomato sauce on top of the shells.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about an hour.  During the last 10 minutes of baking, remove the foil and sprinkle some shredded mozzarella on top to your liking.  Bake uncovered for the remaining time.


They were a success.  I didn't have a single one left over from the potluck.  When I got home, my husband informed me that my newly-one-year-old ate 2 shells.  Wow...that's a lot for the little lady! Since I had a brain fart and totally forgot to leave some mixture onion-free, my poor husband didn't get to enjoy them. (he reeeeeaally doesn't like the taste of onions.)  But hey, more for me.  I enjoyed them next day for lunch, too!

Spinach Stuffed Pasta Shells
2 packages frozen, chopped spinach
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 large egg
1 (12 oz) package jumbo pasta shells
2 cups tomato sauce (your own or jarred)
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella

Place the spinach in a colander and run under water until thawed.  Meanwhile, brown the meat and chop the onion.  Drain the meat reserving a tbsp of fat to saute the onions in.  Squeeze all the water out of the spinach and place in a large bowl with the meat and a package of softened cream cheese.  Stir until blended together.  Add the sauteed onions, shredded Parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Let the mixture cool and then add the egg.
Cook the shells in boiling, salted water until they are al dente.  Drain and cool.  Stuff the shells with the mixture.  Pour a little tomato sauce into the baking dish and spread around until lightly covered.  Add the stuffed pasta shells and top with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover with foil and bake for about an hour.  During the last 10 minutes of baking, remove the foil and add the shredded mozzarella and baked uncovered for the remaining time.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peach Orange Banana Smoothie or Peach Banana Orange...whichever you prefer

When I lived in Hattiesburg, I went to Smoothie King all the time.  I had the punch card and it filled up quickly.  I would do a little dance for joy inside my head every time I got another punch...that much closer to a free smoothie..woo!  Ahh, the simple things in life.

So, now, without Smoothie King, I make them in the comfort of my own home.  Which is probably better for me, because I always wanted the really big size, which probably had 10 million calories, but I didn't want to think about that...I just thought about the yummy goodness that was disappearing quickly with each sip of the straw.
Anyway, back to me making them at home now.  I put a cup of frozen peaches and one small banana in the blender.

Then I measure 1/2 cup of orange juice...
Then I add the creaminess - yogurt.  Today I'm using plain yogurt, but if I can find it vanilla yogurt is really good, too.
Then I hit the Blend button and let the blender do its thang.  See? The blender doing its thang?
And here's the end product in all its deliciousness... was gone in like, 2 minutes.  Well, maybe not that fast, but probably very close.  Great breakfast.

Peach Smoothie
1 cup frozen peaches
1 small banana          
1/2 cup orange juice 
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
Blend until smooth. Drink. Yum.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sunshine On My Shoulder

Now that I'm a homemaker, my schedule is totally different than what it used to be 2 years ago.  I had to wake up really early - ok, maybe not really early to some of you, but to someone who likes to sleep, it was early - and get myself and the little munchkin ready for work and daycare.  At that time, my husband got up uber, before the sun (poor guy) to get to work, so he wasn't there to help me get the little munchkin ready.

A few things have happened in the last year that have altered our previous sleeping schedule.
  • Now that my husband has a new job, he goes into work waaay later than he used to at his previous job.
  • We had a baby, and many of you know, babies like to sleep...a lot...more than me. ha.
  • I stay home with the kids now, so no need to hop up and get everyone ready ASAP.  
  • We changed Peamite Alpha's bedtime so he would sleep later in the morning so A) he wouldn't wake up Peamite Bravo (see point #2) and B) he wouldn't wake Mommy and Daddy up who had stayed up later to have alone adult time - and no, not like that, get your head out of the gutter.  Just normal adult conversation or the ability to complete a task without a peamite being under foot or crying or screaming or asking a million questions.
 Everyone once in a while a peamite will wake up before I'm good and ready to.  I just want to get 8 hours! Please! Is that too much to ask? ... I was tired when I thought all that...  Today was one of those days.  Poor Peamite Bravo had a dirty diaper, and she was letting the whole house know about it.  She wanted to be clean - pronto. I believe (I could be wrong) that Peamite Bravo's wailing woke up Peamite Alpha, and at that point, I really have to get up.  He is very insistent when he wants a "ganola bar" (granola) first thing in the morning.  Somehow, Dave is able to sleep (or pretend to sleep) right through all this so that it will be me that does the getting up.

After I tended to both the kiddos, I caught a glimpse of the whole hour before I normally get up.  No wonder I can't think straight.  I go into the kitchen to get some OJ and I see little rainbows being thrown on my cabinets.  I have this beautiful tealight holder given to me by my awesome friend turned sis-in-law.  I have it sitting in the window sill above the sink, and when the light hits it just right, rainbows are created.  Purdy.  Well...I usually miss this, because for the sun to be able to hit it just right, it has to be low in the sky and I'm usually asleep for another hour at this point.

 Pretty rainbows...sorry, the picture just doesn't do it justice.

So, I had sunshine in my window and then on my shoulder when we met up with some friends and family for a picnic at the park.  That was a bit random, that last sentence...but hey, that's me...I'm a bit random.