Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Facebook's loss = Blogland's gain

Sorry I couldn't get it to go on facebook (a friend asked for a recipe suggestion...and FB was having issues_ so I decided this was the best way.  This is one of our family's FAVORITE meals....and the recipe has been shared with just about everyone who eats it because it's so yummy!!  It's one of those that looks really impressive, but isn't really that hard at all!!  My neighbor asked for a good easy recipe to impress her soon to be new inlaws a couple years back and this is what she made.  It's now their favorite company dish as well!!  Perfect with just some simple sides... like fruit salad and a veggie  (we like steamed fresh green beans)

(found the image here at Culinary Adventures of a New Wife.  Her recipe is different than mine, but overall the same idea, and she has another picture)

Chicken Bundle Recipe

4 chicken breasts cooked and cut up 

(you can even used canned chicken or leftover turkey after T'giving, etc)
1 stk margarine, melted
Pepperidge farm stuffing or seasoned bread crumbs
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Chopped celery * (optional...I don't add this)
Chopped onion *
Chopped water chestnuts *
2 cans pillsbury crescent rolls

* just add as much of these as you want  - probably around 1/2 cup or more

Mix together chicken, cream cheese, celery, onions, w.chestnuts.  Separate crescent rolls and roll each one thin (I just do this one at a time).  Place a small amount of chicken mixture in center of each roll (maybe it's about 1/4 cup).  "Bundle" the dough around the mixture. Just stretch each point of the crescent roll over the chicken and tuck it so that you end up with no holes.   Dip each bundle into melted margarine and roll in the crumbs or stuffing.  Bake at 350 til browned.

Bundles may be frozen separately, then placed in a freezer bag, taken out and baked as needed (no need to thaw)

As far as stuffing vs bread crumbs.  If I use stuffing then I generally crush it up a bit so that it will coat the 'bundle' well. But you don't have to do that.  Just makes it 'prettier'

UPDATE: Got this message from my friend that I originally tried to give this to over facebook

"The chicken bundles were a hit and super easy. Thanks again!"  HOORAY!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Valentine Garland

So I saw THIS garland.  Which led me to THIS garland and then to a few more.  I thought they looked like fun.  But when I headed to the store, the felt choice colors I didn't love.  So I decided I'd be boring and stick with the traditional Valentine colors.  And then on my way out of Michael's I found the felt "LOVE" and decided that I might could incorporate it into my garland. 
So when some precious neighbors and I got together to craft last night I decided to give it a whirl. 
The kids love it.  It definitely adds a festive touch to our family room!  right now it's just sort of 'propped' on the mantel.  Can't decide if that's where I want it for sure or not.....we'll see.


It was SUPER easy.  And would have been a super fast craft had I not been chatting away with sweet ladies (eh hem...til nearly 1am), but then it might not have been as much fun to make!  Here's what Emilee worked on and let me tell you I'm going to have to do this....SO cute!!  And Mandy worked on the most beautiful quilt.  I am in love with the color and fabric choices.  It makes me want to quilt!!  These two ladies are inspiring!!
Who knows what will be created when we get together next!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Very Merry UNBirthday!!

When my husband decided it was just downright hysterical to change his birthday regularly on facebook so he got birthday wishes every 2 months (I've always said he was wonderful....not necessarily sane), the kiddos and I decided that we would throw him a surprise UNBirthday party.  Since he obviously was in need of some extra attention....or therapy...we're still undecided.  But since it was all of our UNBirthdays each of us were sung to and blew out a candle....whenever in the meal we chose to light our candle!  

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a teatray in the sky."

Madhatter hats were a must

We had a guest...nope her name wasn't Alice...but she was just as sweet and beautiful!
I'm pretty sure she thought we were NUTS and sadly she was too young to enjoy the goodies.
She opted for butternut squash instead....hmmm....perhaps I should take a lesson from her and forego cheesecake for butternut squash?
YEAH RIGHT (now that WOULD be Wonderland)!!

Yummy food (notice Alice in Wonderland in the background - we found the UNBirthday scene on YouTube for our 'mood music')
We had fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers, hummus & tortilla chips, cucumber sandwiches, mini-peanut butter and jelly, and 3 types of mini- cheesecakes....that we shared the leftovers of with a few neighbors and wished them Happy UNBirthday as well
(and thanked them for saving our waists...just a bit)

If today happens to be your Birthday.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY
But it's more likely your
HAPPY UNBirthday to you!!! 
Now go put a candle in a cake, or your ham sandwich, or leftover lasagna...who cares??
Blow it out and celebrate the day!!  It's worth celebrating after all....
This is the day the Lord has made!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One more reason I love that man of mine:


When he cleans the kitchen after a meal he always considers the details!

Yep....I love this man
(and having a clean stove!!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Let Freedom Ring"

If you have never watched his entire speech, you should. No you NEED to. (on my knees begging) I have never done it without chills that progress into a lump in my throat that progresses into tears. I can't imagine what it must have been like that day at the base of the Lincoln Memorial.  
Wow....just WOW!!

But the work isn't over yet.....

where I give in to the lump in my throat and let the tears drop is:

"I have a dream that one day........little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers"

I just pray that we don't lose sight of the dream and stop working. Never assume all is well or "we got there, the work is done" Our country has made incredible progress which is 
worthy of rejoicing and celebration. But please oh PLEASE let's not stop dreaming that we 
can do even better!!!

Today I celebrate the man Martin Luther King, Jr, the progress this country has made, and I am reminded that there is dreaming left to do!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Summary of our school day


 feeling some serious Annie singing coming on!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is what I was invited to this morning....


My two fabulous children prepared b'fast and the table all by themselves.
(okay MK did come and ask me the substitution for Self Rising Flour for the
all purpose that we had...but other than that....)


No arguing!

I wasn't allowed to come downstairs til it was all ready.  Daddy was gone to a meeting.

AND.....John Mark insisted on washing all the dishes afterward.

Did I mention how much I ADORE these kids of mine?  
(and how spoiled I am)


WHAT?!!? you don't eat clementine and Zucchini salad for b'fast? 
oh, not at all?
Well MK scoffed at John Mark's culinary addition to our meal, til she tried it.  And she decided he was on to something.  I discovered there was no zucchini in the salad....instead it was cucumber.  oops! 
That was school lesson #1 for my kids.

No worries.  They pulled out a zucchini and ate it for lunch.  It's their new favorite food.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Seriously how adorable is this snow person and dog?
MaryKyle and John Mark made them all by themselves last night!
We ooohed and aaahhhed!!
now the snow person is in the freezer....sigh....

I just love the moments that snow somehow can help create.
What is it about this cold white stuff?
Maybe it's not the same somewhere that gets tons of snow....I don't know.
But I don't remember my Mother fussing at me for tracking snow or puddles in the house.
although she probably did a time or two (or 50)

I DO remember the hot cocoa, Russian tea, snowmen, sledding and running in and out to warm up with all my friends in tow and just a general carefree fun magical feeling!!

So today when the kids went racing out to play with the kids in the neighborhood (after doing some school work) and I thought.....'aaahhhhhh Silence....a nice break! Now, I can kick back and check blogs and facebook...whooohooo!!!'

I kicked myself


it worked (today).

and I made cookies and cocoa.
And served it (on china with candles lit) to my kids and
the bunch of kiddos they were playing with.

And later when one of the boys came
back in the house on one of their warm up sessions and said
"Ms R. would you mind making some more of that delicious cocoa"

Gulp....that I'd used the last of with the previous servings.
But he called it "delicious" What else could I do???

Well melt of course, and make some more cocoa mix!!


And the kids were happy....
(even if seconds weren't served in the china tea cups cuz they were still dirty)
and so was the Mommy!!

Want to make some too?

Here's the recipe:

In a BIG....
no BIGGER bowl combine:
10 cups powdered milk
4 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups cocoa (we like it dark)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of powdered coffee creamer
(try different flavors for some fun flavor...we like hazelnut)

That's it.
for a smaller coffee cup put in about 3 TBSP with hot water
For a good ol regular size mug....about 4 with hot water. Just whatever tastes
yummy to your tastebuds! made your own cocoa. My kids think that's "very COOL" and like to help make it.

I know I know it's far from the raw milk we drink each day to stay away from icky chemicals and fake stuff. If anyone has a recipe that doesn't use the creamer or the milk, please pass it on!! But, for now, it's a nice winter help in memory making.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What do you do in a dusting of snow???
well create memories - of COURSE!!

even in your PJ's at 10:30 at night
so there isn't enough snow to actually's a great shield for a snowball fight with Daddy!!

and since you were already in your PJ's, then you can come inside & curl up with your Daddy to watch the game and fall fast asleep
hats make sleeping much sleepier I'm told!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Exciting events in Georgia today!!!

look closely....see anything AMAZING!!!??
Did you miss it?
Try this one....
And for those that still might have missed it...this one should do the trick
(edited to point out the above chunks of ice did not fall from the sky...only the snow dust....the ice was a 'school' experiment of John Mark's....he's been putting bowls of water out all week and watching how quickly they freeze - oh and then chopping them up with a hammer....he's a boy after all)
WHAT?? A dusting of snow isn't exciting to you?
Well here in Georgia, at least this part of Georgia, it's a pretty big deal!!
As in....wait for it....
schools are cancelled for tomorrow thanks to this.
And some were cancelled today for the 'threat of' this.
No, really!!!
My poor tortured homeschooled kids....'unsocialized' AND the stairs leading from our bedrooms to our living room and classroom never seem to ice or flood....
no inclement weather days here.
It's like the perfect day for my precious husband.
1)Snow. He grew up in L.A. (Lower Alabama) So this is a BIG deal!!
2) This in the oven:
We call it "Nuts and Bolts" but most would call it Chex Mix
3) and Alabama in the National Championship
'Chef's' Note: When making Chex mix and you all of a sudden realize that the new box of butter you thought you had & you don't and you borrow some from your sweet wonderful neighbor and all she has is salted butter, I suggest that you DON'T put the salt in the recipe that it calls for...and the seasoning salt...and the garlic salt. well you get the picture.
Yeah...heart attack in a roasting pan.
But hubby still loves it, and it helps me not eat it!!! So life is still good...just salty! Well, as long as he doesn't have a heart attack tonight watching this ballgame while eating nuts and bolts!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

not just another video game

Yeah....forget that 'game' part. Clearly not a game. Nope no way. It will help you discover muscles you never knew you had. And unless you can compare your fitness level to the likes of a Flo Jo....don't start with the high intensity workout - just sayin'
(consider yourself warned).
It is 'fun' as workouts go. But don't let the fact that you are 'playing' on a 'video game' console fool you. It's work. And you will be sore.
And guess's open 24hrs, no contracts and no monthly fees!
AND my house doesn't smell like a sweat locker....

not sure that stinky dog with a skin infection smell is any better though
sigh...who decided to give in & keep this stray

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All gussied up!

So I don't really 'do' resolutions I don't guess....maybe I don't have enough resolve?

Yeah yeah, I can say all I want that I don't set resolutions, but truly we all do it, whether we write them down (or admit it) or not. Even if we wanted to do the same thing a month ago...or a year ago, or even 2 years 3 months ago. Hey it's JANUARY after all, and a NEW YEAR. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, right!? Right?
Oh please...I hope so, I hope that maybe this flip of the calendar might give me more resolve (and less cookie eating), more organization to actually DO (or in the case of the cookies...NOT DO) the things I know I need to.
But Goodness I keep looking at blogs, facebook, listening to people and I'm so impressed with all their goals for this brand new lovely year. What about me? I needed something fancy to share, to impress, to sound cool.

hmm....FANCY you say?

better pull out the china.

No really, honey we need to pull out the china. We got to get fancy!!
So what if it's a frozen burrito, it will taste better on fancy china, right?
(shh...really there's a story there. That's the first thing I served on our fine china to my sweet hubby...I'm so ashamed
But hey, I'm sure it tasted better. It was all fancy after all!!)

That's right folks. We're pulling out all the stops. Gettin' classy 'round here and eating our PB&J's on the "Fancy Dishes!" I mean really, what's the point of having it if it only gets dusted off a couple of times a year. Nope no more.

We're going to be FANCY in this here 20-10.

So, we've taken it from it's formal china cabinet, and nicely arranged place settings. Stacked it up in a much less formal cabinet in the kitchen and.....

....we're using it!

And you know what that means??

Well, that the child in charge of setting the table actually puts thought into it and folds the napkins all fancy-like, of course.

And fine china means you light candles....even at breakfast in full daylight apparently.

And fine china means you sit up straighter.

And fine china means you don't forget, and put your elbows on the table.

And fine china means you chew with your mouth closed (no matter how stuffy your nose is).

And it means you must stick your pinky up when drinking your hot cocoa.

And fine china means we use our best manners and talk in your best british accent. Okay not really...well the accent I mean...although don't give my hubby and daughter any ideas.

and fine China means more dishwashing by hand.


yes, in fact, I think it's worth it!!

I should have gotten fancy in 2009.....but you see now it's 2010...and anything is possible. Even this family getting fancy-like!!
(maybe by 2020 we'll even be classy)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Surprise!! (for me)

so this is funny. After I published my other post about the gingerbread house winning, I was searching for something totally unrelated on blogger and realized....I WON!! I won something...something from HERE how cool is that? If you don't read Tongue n should. I started reading for cupcake recipes (previous blog name was Conversation with a Cupcake), and just love the recipes and pictures!!

Merry Late Christmas to me. Granted it may be way too late now for me to claim my prize. But you know what? I'm okay with that, seeing as how I rarely win anything and rarely enter to win anything. The thrill of victory is fun too!! Just seeing my name on the list of winners....yep that was a super nice way to start this day!!
Happy cooking to all of you!! Now go over to tongue and cheeky and pick a fabulous recipe!! We absolutely love the 'Cinnamon Steamers'!!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My kids are "Famous" well at least they think so...

This is my Brother in Law (sorry, you can't have him, but by the end of this post you'll probably wish you could be related to him too)
He's a great gift giver. (Is that proper English....probably not, but I've never claimed to be proper) But seriously, the thought this man puts into gifts is amazing! I wish I had such talent.
PhotobucketEarlier this year, the kids and I were heading for a quick visit to Nashville - like nearly over night. He called me and asked if, while we were there, he could sneak my kids away and take them to a recording studio. What, huh? Seriously? a WHAT? People I know don't generally just hang out in recording studios.

Well, turns out he had been working on this huge surprise for my sister and their kids. He was recording some of their favorite songs. Oh did I mention he can sing? oh yeah and paint (remember this?), cook, woodwork, plumbing, remodel, teach Bible class, design buildings (he's an architect), etc....yeah he's cool that way! (see how blessed we are to have him in the family?!!)
So back to our story.He wanted some children his kids knew as backup to make it even more of a personal touch for his kids. So, we were sworn to secrecy and he whisked my kids away for a fun afternoon at a recording studio. They had a blast!!
The finished CD was a huge surprise slipped into the kid's Easter baskets this year...yeah I challenge you to put that much thought and effort into your kid's Easter basket presents! My poor kids are stuck with jelly beans and chocolate eggs (oh the therapy that will be required). Their kids got a CD complete with awesome cover, shrink wrap, etc!

The coolest part after tons of awesome feedback from family, friends and clients who heard's just made it onto ITUNES (and CD baby read the reviews there)! Because really, it's awesome!! My kids are quite convinced they are famous (shh don't tell them any different). He happens to be friends with real back-up singers (he lives in N'ville after all) who assist my kids on the album - like how I put that? hee hee. But really you can hear my kids singing back up in two songs on his album; PollyWog in a Bog (they are the "Jump Jump" and "Stump Stump") and Puff the Magic Dragon.
The album is SO fun. It's the perfect bedtime or car CD because it's just an original mix of great songs. So I encourage all 3 of you that read my little blog here to head over to itunes and check it out. That's the cover picture above (oh yeah did I mention that he's an amazing photographer too...and that's my sweet niece and nephew when they woke up one morning...sitting together just like he and his big sister did when they were little, watching Sesame Street!!) Thus the title of the Album "My Big Sister" too sweet!! Love those kids!!

what's your favorite kid's song?
I have to say I think mine is now Pollywog in a Bog. The chorus is too cute (which you can't hear on the little cut of the song on itunes sorry you'll have to buy it)!! My hubby's new one is My Big Sister...he cracks up every time it comes on!! But my tried and true song my Mommy sang me to sleep with and I have sung to my kids since their appearance on this earth is I See the Moon! LOVE IT (and it's on the sister sings it to her kiddos too you see)!!!
ANYWAY...head over to itunes and check out "My Big Sister" By Brian Oliver so my kids can feel even more 'famous'!

edited to add: and when you go to the album on itunes be sure to read my BIL's write up in the reviews!! I just did and I loved reading all about it and the sweet way he made my kids feel special by what he wrote about them!!! Yep....they are blessed to have him as an uncle for sure!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Better late than never.....RIGHT??

I'm running behind....I made some of these homemade peppermint marshmallows for some gifts. I only got a few delivered before Christmas. So I made more tonight:
I'll combine them with homemade cocoa and deliver them tomorrow.
I'm not sure about the cocoa in all honesty. My family really likes it, but I tend to think it needs more cocoa. Or chocolate chips....hmmmm.....
Better late then never.....RIGHT?? I figure if public schools are still out than it's still "The holiday season" so maybe I'm not TOO bad....yeah I's bad. oh well!!
I have to say, we're now totally addicted to homemade marshmallows. They taste SOOOO much better than storebought. Hubby is dreaming of different flavors and roasting homemade ones over a fire. I'm pretty sure they'll be fantastic. We'll see....BUT just an FYI....peppermint they won't stay pretty for too long...and especially not in cold. Still taste good and aren't too sticky of shaken in a bit of powdered sugar.
(FYI you can click the word "these" above for the recipe I used. However, I did not use the full amount of peppermint extract. Some may want to eat them and can be a bit overpowering to me. In fact I put even LESS in this second batch and more vanilla then the recipe calls for)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010

We had a true southern meal to kick off 2010 today....

Our menu:
Country Ham
fried in a cast iron skillet with a mixture of Brown Sugar, a touch of apple juice and a bit of water
A mixture of Collard Greens and Turnip Greens
(that's what you get when you take the kids to the store with you and they are so thrilled by the big bunches of leafy greens they want both)
Black Eyes Peas
(no not from a in dried, soaked and cooked for a few hours)
and Parker House Rolls
(I know I know southern tradition calls for cornbread....but well....LOOK at these...really, we're changing tradition at our house!)
oh yeah....
and so for you I give you one of our new favorite recipes
1 cup whole milk
2 pkg dry yeast (I didn't quite have that...but just used what I had)
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 -1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
about half a stick more butter will be needed for brushing
Warm the milk just a bit (you only want it warm to warm and it will kill the yeast)
Mix 1/3 of the milk and the yeast in a small bowl and let it sit for about 10-15 min (should be bubbly). In a large bowl (I just used my kitchenaid bowl) combine remaining milk, melted butter, salt and sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the eggs. Beat. Add the milk/yeast mixture after it is bubbly.
In my stand mixer I added flour...slowly...just about 1/2 cup or less at a time. When the dough gets stiff add dough hook and knead for about 5 min. Until it's a beautiful satiny dough ball.
Place dough in a greased bowl. turn so it becomes coated. Cover and place in a warm location to rise for about an hour. Dough should double.
Punch down dough and roll on a slightly floured surface to 1/2" thickness. Cut with a large circle cutter (a glass or something about 3". I used a pampered chef cutter sealer thing for fried pies)
brush circle with butter. Fold over into a half circle and pinch to seal closed. place in greased pan (like a 9x13). After all are done, cover and let rise another hour. Place in 350 degree oven for about 20 -25 min. Remove from oven and brush again with fresh melted butter.
insanely perfect to use the leftoves for b'fast....with a slice of the ham on the rolls!! sigh.....oh yeaahhh!! Southern eating at it's finest!!
HAPPY 2010!!!!!