Jan 26, 2010

Musings of a Three Year Old....

So today Alayna comes up from quiet time and sits down on the couch with me. She looks up lovingly in my eyes and says.....

"Mommy, can I noise? (Her word for "nurse", and she has been weaned for a year and a half)

"Ummm, no, sweetie, remember nursies are for babies? You're a big girl now."

She looks down all disappointed and says, "then can I have pa-coin (popcorn)?"

Ohhh, the precious things they say. It always cracks me up that she will still ask once in awhile:)

Chicken Pot Pie

I want you to stare at the picture and imagine this flaky creamy concoction sitting in front of you.

Drooling yet? You should be. If you're not than you are one of those lucky people that doesn't have to worry about intense food cravings. And I'm a hundred per sure (wise words from my Godson) those people don't exist. Now, on with the recipe....

I have finally found the perfect recipe for pot pie. I used to make the good ole Bisquick brand, but haven't used that stuff in years. I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com, and modified it to what I had on hand. It does take some time to make, but ohhhhh so worth it!

Best Ever Chicken Pot Pie

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast meat
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 c milk
3 Tbl butter
1 onion, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 c frozen chopped veggies ( I actually just used fresh chopped potatoes and carrots)
1 Tbl fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dried Thyme

2 pastries for a 9 inch pie

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine chicken meat, broth, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to boiling and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from broth and let cool. Pour broth into measuring cup. add enough milk to measure 2 1/2 cups. Cube chicken.

In the same pan, melt butter, and add onion and celery; sautee until tender, about 3 minutes. Add flour and stir until well blended, add broth mixture gradually, stir until sauce thickens. Add chicken, vegetables, parsley and thyme. Roll out one crust and form to the bottom of dish. Pour into a 1 1/2 quart deep casserole dish, and top with second crust. Make sure to crimp the edges so the filling doesn't spill out.

Bake at 4oo degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Linking to:
Tasty Tuesdays
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Jan 25, 2010

Crafty Weekend

The weather was rainy (yes, it's January, and yes I live in Minnesota) this weekend, so it was the perfect weekend for staying home and crafting! I got out all my scrapbook supplies and the girls and I went to town. Amazing how one can get nothing done with three girls needing help though! However, I did manage to craft out a few things:)

First of all, you must head on over to "Oops I Craft My Pants" (Oh my gosh do you not LOVE that title??!!!). She has some adorable crafts to check out. One of my faves were these adorable soap bottles that she made with scrapbook paper and mod podge. Thankfully I keep all my soap bottles (why I don't really know, but how cool that I kept them:), so I made one to see how easy it would be. Do you love it? How fun and EASY, I am giving these to the girls' teachers for Valentine's Day.
I love the Valentine on it, "I was SOAPIN you'd be my Valentine". So fun!
I also wanted to make a quick Valentine banner for the hutch in the dining room. I cut out the hearts and letters with my Cricut machine and strung them. Fun and cheap!
I am loving all these fun Valentine crafts!
Linking up to:

Jan 20, 2010

Homemade Chicken Stock

Saturday Evening the girls and I were alone for the night as hubby was out with guys seeing Larry The Cable Guy live (unfortunately not a fun even t for him, he fell asleep, lol!). As we had to make a trip to the grocery store, I figured we I would pick up a rotisserie chicken from the deli, those are always sooooo yummy! So, for supper we had smoothies, chicken and jello (my what a combination!). I was just about ready to throw the carcass away when my bloggy brain screamed STOP!!! Umm, hello?? Make stock with this, silly woman. So I did. First time I have ever made my own stock.

It was crazy easy to do. I filled up my stock pot half full of water, then added the carcass, chopped up carrots, celery, onions, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, minced garlic and two bay leaves. I brought all this to boiling, and then let it simmer for about 4-5 hours.

I ended up getting 8 bags with two cups of stock in each to freeze. I was really amazed at the difference in flavor from good ole Swanson's Chicken Broth! Next recipe to come is Chicken Pot Pie with our homemade stock, delish!!!


Jan 12, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones

I had an amazing time this past weekend scrapbooking with 16 other ladies. I can't remember eating and laughing as much as we did! We all pair up and take turns preparing meals, which is a great way to try some new recipes. One of the best ones were these White Chocolate Raspberry Scones, these were unbelievably delicious! So of course I came home and made these right away for breakfast, and they were just as good as I remember. I plan on making a big batch of these to freeze for the girls' breakfasts during the week.

White Chocolate Raspberry Scones

2 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbl baking powder
1/2 C softened butter
1/3 C milk
1/3 C non-fat vanilla yogurt (I only had strawberry yogurt which I used)
1 egg
1 Tbl vanilla extract
2 C frozen raspberries
1 C white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together; add softened butter to dry mix and combine until mixture is the size of small peas. Combine milk, yogurt, egg and vanilla and add to dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in remaining ingredients, and spoon 1/3 cup of batter onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown.

Linking up to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Jan 4, 2010

Beef Stew

I have tried many, many different recipes for beef stew and I FINALLY found one that is what I have been looking for. Stew needs to be thick, and saucy, and full of yummy flavorful goodness. I made this tonight with a loaf of crusty homemade bread.

Beef Stew

3lbs. stew meat (I used round steak)
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbl olive oil
3 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 lb carrots peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
4 large potatoes cubed
1 Tbl dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 C boiling water
2 envelopes onion soup mix
3 Tbl butter
3 lg onions quartered
2 Tbl minced garlic
1/2 C Marsala wine (or beef broth)
2 pkgs button mushrooms sliced
1/4 C warm water
3 Tbl cornstarch

Toss the beef, flour, salt and garlic powder in a sealable bag until beef is coated. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Combine beef and Worcestershire in the skillet; cook until beef is browned on all sides; transfer to a slow cooker but do not clean the skillet. Add potatoes, carrots, parsley and pepper to the slow cooker.

Combine the boiling water and onion soup mix, add to the slow cooker. Melt butter in skillet, and cook onions and garlic until soft, add to slow cooker; Add wine and mushrooms to the skillet, cook until mushrooms absorb the wine, pour into slow cooker.

Cook on low 6-8 hours. Combine 1/4 C warm water and cornstarch, whisk together and add to slow cooker to thicken mixture up.

This is a little more work that other recipes I've tried, but believe me, it's worth it!!

Linking up to:

Tasty Tuesdays

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Crockpot Wednesdays

Tuesdays at the Table

Menu Plan Monday

With the holidays it seems I got stuck in a rut with my cooking. I was used to trying two or three new recipes a week, but once November hit, I kept to my "comfort" meals. I think with being so busy, I just didn't want to take the time to look for new recipes. So, with a huuuuge SIGH, I am back to regular programing! It actually started New Years Day. We took the girls bowling, came home and I did my favorite activity, COOKING! I spent all afternoon putzing (is that a word?) in the kitchen, and felt completely rejuvenated. I made our favorite meal, Chicken Marsala, baked asparagus, twice stuffed baked potatoes, and homemade bread. It truly was a heavenly meal!

So, with the first week of January started, here is our meal plan for the week!

Monday- Lunch- "Red" hotdish (this is hubby's favorite meal to make, just egg noodles, hamburger and a brown sugar/ketchup sauce), veggies, bread
Supper- Beef Stew, homemade bread (I'll be posting the recipe tonight)

Tuesday- Lunch- Mini Meatloaves, raw veggies, bread
Supper- Venison smoked sausage, mashed potatoes, corn, bread

Wednesday- Lunch- Crockpot Pizza, green beans, garlic bread
Supper- Pizza Burgers, steamed veggies, beans (I am going to try making my own baked beans)

Thursday- Lunch- Chicken Alfredo, raw veggies, bread
Supper- Spaghetti (sauce made in the crockpot, will post the recipe), garlic toast

Friday- Lunch- Leftovers- I leave for a girls scrapbooking weekend, yay!!

Breakfasts are always the same, Mondays is cereal, Tuesdays is pancakes, Wednesdays is either oatmeal or baked oatmeal, Thursdays is some sort of homemade muffin and Fridays are usually eggs.

Can't wait to share the beef stew recipe, it is the BEST I have tried so far!

Linking up to Menu Plan Mondays

Jan 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe New Year! This is what we spent most of our time doing, well up until the middle of this week at least. The last 4 days have been 5 degrees and under, yuck! But we did manage to get some sledding and snowman making in:) Christmas and New Years was wonderful, lots of time with family and friends, and lots of time just hanging out with our family.

I always make New Years Resolutions, and honestly, I usually keep them (although I never make any that are sooo far out there, lol!) So, this year's resolutions are: To find a church that both Brad and I are comfortable with, get back into working out again (Mexico trip in March is coming up waaaay too fast!), and finding like-minded women to connect with.

So, with it being January 3, I *think* I might have accomplished one already! We decided to visit a church this morning that our friends attend. It's an Assemblies of God church, and I knew it would be far out of Brad's comfort zone:) Brad is born and raised Catholic, I was raised mainly Methodist, but for the past 9 years, have attended a Lutheran church. So basically we switch off between *his* church and *my* church. The problem was that he never cared for my church, and the girls really hate going to Sunday School there. I like it, but haven't ever felt much of a connection, even after teaching SS for two years.

This church we tried this morning was AMAZING! The music was incredible, and the message was great. I know Brad was uncomfortable with people raising their hands while singing, and going up to the alter to be prayed upon. But he actually thought it was ok! The couple in front of us were incredibly friendly, she ended up taking Rachel and Emma to the Children's Church part of the service and stayed with them so they would be comfortable. How neat is that? We also met some more neat people after church, and I think it really helped Brad feel comfortable. The girls LOVED Children's Church, and Rachel already can't wait to go back, yay! They also have a Wed. night program for the girls that I am going to take them too, their kids programs sound amazing. I am just so excited to find a place that we can attend together as a family and grow as a family.

Ok, enough already, can you tell that I am thrilled? I have been praying for this for a looooong time! Have a wonderful week, and I look forward to getting back into trying new recipes again!