Sunday, November 11, 2012

Little Chatterbox




That beautiful sweater was hand-made by her godmother!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Re-Organized Thoughts

After talking with Nick, my thoughts have finally come together.  I'm sort of having a rough time and my thoughts are refusing to coalesce into some sort of recognizable patter, so it's taken this long to say what I've been meaning to say.  This is the post I was trying to write a few weeks ago for Food Pantry Feasts' second anniversary.

Through not very much reflection, I've realized that I've been slowly moving the dynamic of the blog away from food, and writing more about our family life and what the children are doing.  However, from some of the feedback that I've gotten, those are some of the best stories.  Okay, that's fine, I like writing about my family--sort of like an online journal. 

I've also realized that this was always my project and I can do whatever I want with it.  I started this blog as a feeler to see if there would be enough interest in a cook-book for low-budget families.  I think that there is; during the weeks that I was posting recipes and stories regularly there was some pretty good page views and positive feedback. 

So my next project is to try to organize some of the recipes and stories into a book.  We are looking at self publishing, and I'm even thinking about offering an ebook version.  If you'd like, please let us know which were your favorite posts and pictures, and we'll try to include them in the book. 

This has been (aside for getting married and having kids) the biggest adventure that I've undertaken, and it has been so much fun.  I've learned a lot, and struggled some, and now I think that this blog has reached it's fruition.  Now, don't think that means that we are going to stop writing, or discontinue this blog.  Our plan is to take some time and refocus our ideas, and then start writing along a different line.  

We love you all, and we hope that you'll join us in our next adventure!
Zizi

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mimi Can Talk!

Mimi discovered how to make sounds other than screams, and we've been having so much fun talking with her.  I also got her to laugh the other day, but she didn't want to laugh for the camera.  I can't wait till she's old enough to hit back, 'cause boy, is Thing One going to get it!  She will tell him in no uncertain terms that she is not his toy. 



Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary!



 Well, this is our second anniversary, sort of.  Again this year we haven't written consistently, but this year has had a lot in it--and has taken a lot out of me.  In some ways I'm still recovering since Mimi's birth.  I spent the past two weeks crafting and getting back into the swing of cleaning daily.  It's been wonderful!  I've also been taking a break from all that I'm "supposed" to do, like blogging and making dolls for my shop.  But as we approach the second anniversary for this blog thoughts begin to creep up on me. 


 Actually, I'm not sure what thoughts are creeping up on me, but I know which thoughts I should be thinking around this time of year.  I should be thinking of all of the different ways that our life has changed during this year, the things we've accomplished, the dreams we've abandoned and the blessings that we have. 


For instance, at this time last year we had started lessons in Italian.  That just didn't last.  We were also thinking about getting pregnant again.  Mimi was born a few weeks ago. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Horror Stories!



Mim and her godfather.  He'd been dancing with
and she fell asleep.
 People have been asking me how the birth went.  To some extent, what can I say; it's only the hardest thing that the body will go through naturally.  And please, do not get the impression that when I say it was easy I mean that it was painless.  This was the most painful of the three.  It was also the fastest (there is a cause/effect relation there). 

I'd been in what I was calling "pre-emptive labor" for eight weeks before Mim was born.  It's kind of like the training you need to do before you go and run a 5K race--except that when I got to the race part I took a short cut through a briar patch.  That's how I give birth; and I'd rather go through eight weeks of labor and an hard, fast delivery than go through a 20hour labor and delivery. 

Anyway.  I'd woken up Thursday morning with a feeling--the one that says "in the next two days."  By dinner time I was mildly disappointed that I hadn't gone into labor yet, but around 8pm I noticed a subtle change in the contractions.  They were becoming consistent.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to Business

Sometimes he'll just sit with her.
Well, we have our little girl now; and things are beginning to settle down somewhat.  We are beginning to find new routines, and solutions to new problems.  Like, even though Thing One is completely wrapped around her little finger, he is jealous of all of the attention that his sister needs.  He's started throwing fits; and I'm adjusting my own attitudes so that I can deal with the root problem, rather than just correcting his behavior.  Thing Two is just quietly in love.  

I'm officially back to doing everything myself this week.  The first week after she was born my youngest sister stayed with us and played that she was Mary Poppins.  I didn't have to change the boys diapers all week!  And we had arranged with our church to be included in the meal program, and all the little old ladies cooked for us for two weeks.  And then we picked up some leftovers after the parish picnic, and have had a few meals at Nick's parents house. 


The lady at church who organizes the meals, Mrs. Shoen, brought our first one and she included the recipe with it.  That's what I'm giving you today.   It was a baked pasta dish called "Mostaccioli"   Nick said he's heard of it and had wanted to try it.  It was really good!  

1 16oz box mostacchioli (a type of noodle)
1 tube Italian sausage --(she used turkey sausage)
1 can Cheddar cheese soup
1 large can pasta sauce
3-4 C shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375degrees.  Brown sausage, cook noodles.

Combine everything in a large bowl and mix together.  Transfer to 1 large (or 2small) casserole dish(es).  Top with more mozzarella and bake covered for 45 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly).  


She brought us one small casserole, a salad and bread.  She had also bought two small cars for the boys, so they wouldn't feel left out.  Nearly everyone else who brought us meals also bought small things for the boys.  Thing One has been packing his toys into food containers, putting them into gift-bags with some toys, and saying that he's bringing me dinner! 


The next post will be the birth story.  People have been asking about it, and I haven't forgotten, I've been a little pre-occupied.   Right now I have to go put her down--she's been gaining an ounce a day since birth and she can break an arm when she falls asleep on it.  I haven't quite figured out what to call her for blogging purposes;  I'm thinking either Madam Mim, or Mimi--pulling those from her initials.  I'm leaning towards Mimi just because Madam Mim was a bad guy, and our little girl is too sweet and pretty to be associated with her.  Thoughts?

Zizi

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cutest Pictures in the World

Words cannot describe the excitement!

We were all pretty tired that afternoon.

Her feet will never touch the ground...

and she will never meet any boys.

Life is about perfect!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fun and Games

I thought this looked kinda fun, and I'm tired enough to need to sit for a while still, but not so tired that I need to go back to bed.  Besides, the boys are playing together quietly.  And I need to stay off of Pintrest for a day or three; I'm getting depressed looking at all of the foods and crafts that I can't make. 

This is the Liebster Award (as near as I can figure out it an "I love you/love your blog" award of coolness).  It is given from one blogger to another and involves a number of random, cool things about them and you.  If it is awarded to you,  you have to post 11 (or 7) random things about yourself, answer the 11 (or 7) questions asked by the person who tagged you and tag 11 (or 7) bloggers that you like and come up with 11 (or 7) questions for them to answer.  And it can only be awarded to blogs with less than 200 followers.  It could also be just a fun game for the self promotion of small blogs--I'm okay with that! 

I was awarded this from Nick's cousin (and the baby's godfather), Ryan, who writes "The Man Who Would Be Knight"  I highly suggest you read it.  And I, too, will go with the 7 of everything.  Mostly because I don't think I'm in a condition to think of 11 of everything--besides, Ryan only asked 7 questions.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Beginning of Autumn Foods

I gave in and made myself a pumpkin pie spiced latte today.  It's the second one that I've had this season, and technically it's still summer.  But there have been so many pumpkin recipes on Pintrest, and I'm really, really starting to like Autumn.  Besides, I'm still pregnant, and to some extent can have what I want.  Sort of.   

Anyway, I actually followed a recipe this time for my pumpkin creamer (look here!!).  It's kind of the same thing that I did last year, I'm not sure if I told you about that adventure, except last year I simmered it.  Apparently cooking the creamer isn't necessary.  Makes it that much easier!  I also did not add the sugar to this creamer;  I'm still trying to limit my sugars, so it's better to have the creamer sugar-free and just add it to the coffee as needed.  Oh, I forgot the vanilla.  It tastes fine without it.  Last year my pumpkin creamer kept in the fridge for just under a week, and I had to shake it well every time I wanted to use it. 

Enjoy!
Zizi


Friday, August 24, 2012

The Final Days

Here are some random cute pictures to take up space!
I think I've been a week without a post, maybe two?  There are several reasons.  I was having some strong contractions last week, and we thought the baby was coming.  So all of last week was kind of tense and then somewhat of a let-down.  The frustrating part is that I don't actually expect the baby to come for another week and a half.  I just know myself well enough to know that we've got some time left.  Besides, I determined that the contractions last week were due in part to the coffee that I had been drinking.  Apparently even decaf coffee has enough caffeine in it to have some effect.  

Then I got a little sick.  Very bad timing.  And to help the infection go away I've had to cut out anything and everything that my body could remotely turn into sugar.  So no pasta, potatoes, bread, fruit or juice, and even some dairy products.  The up side is that I'm left on roughly the same diet that Nick is on, so I'm not cooking two menus at each meal.  The down side is that I'm about two shades of crazy with a sugar/carb withdraw (only two shades because I let myself have a piece of chocolate cake when we went out for lunch today). 

Monday, August 13, 2012

A New Perspective

Today was a day full of surprises.  Due to some stupidity on my part, and some other things, I was up a lot last night and ended up oversleeping the boys by two hours.  They had not only not destroyed the house, they didn't even make much of a mess.  They did, however, find a sharpie.  Thing One had "painted" his nails, and given his brother a tattoo.  Not bad considering they had a completely free reign for two hours. 

Surprise number two: when I did get up I found a lovely and thoughtful "encouragement" card telling me that this pregnancy will not last forever.  It was attached to a pack of bacon!

Surprise number four (I'll come back to three):  we found a box on the doorstep (we'll never know why the mailman didn't knock) and inside was a brand-new, jungle print diaper bag and a gift card.  Our old diaper bag was ripped, and I'd been using a beach tote bag that was getting a little ratty looking.  And jungle print happens to be one of my favorite themes for new babies!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Zucchini!!

This is another recipe that I found on Pintrest (by the way, I'm changing the name of my food board to "Food Pantry Feasts" so there is some continuity), and I forget why I made it, but it ended up being a simple, protein and veggie packed delicious snack, or side dish.  And yes, with anything that I find on Pintrest and post here you will have to follow the link for the recipe.  More credit to the original authors and cooks! 

I did not have the panko crumbs, the Adobo spices or the Parmesan cheese.  I used regular bread crumbs, and they worked just fine; and I added some shredded carrots for color (and filler) and that also worked beautifully. I forget which spices I added, probably some sage and garlic.  This recipe reminds me a lot of the fish cakes that I like to make, except without the mayo (I think the fish needs the mayo to help hold it together), and a lot of people have commented that they either substitute or alternate the fish and zucchini (or use both!). 

Enjoy!
--Zizi

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chelsea Buns

This recipe is straight out of my bread machine book. 

Chelsea Buns:

Put into the bread pan in this order (unless your machine says otherwise)
1C milk
1 egg
4 1/2 C white flour
1/2 tsp salt
6tbsp sugar
1/4C butter, softened
1tsp yeast

Set your machine to "Basic Dough" setting and press start.

Lightly grease a 9" square cake pan (I used a 10" pie plate).  When dough has finished, place it on a lightly floured surface, punch it down gently and roll it out to a 12" square. 


Filling:
2tbsp butter, melted
2/3C golden raisins
3tbsp chopped candied peel
2tbsp currants
2tbsp brown sugar
1tsp apple pie spice

Brush the rolled dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the raisins, peel, currants sugar and spice (I used trail mix--minus large nuts and I should have left out the small ones too-- and cinnamon and nutmeg).   Roll up the dough, cut into 12 slices and place in the pan.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.  Pre-heat the oven to 400degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they have risen well and are evenly golden.  Let them cool in the pan before turning them onto a wire rack to cool further. 


Glaze:
1/4C sugar
4tbsp water
1tsp orange flower water

Mix the sugar and water in a small saucepan.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved, then boil rapidly for 1-2 minutes without stirring, until syrupy.  Stir the orange flower water into the glaze and brush onto the warm buns (I used a vanilla icing leftover from some birthday, but they didn't need it).

Serve warm. 
--Zizi

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Simple Dinners. . . .

Dinner tonight was a simple affair, it had to be.  Both boys have mild ear aches/infections.  I think the worst part is over, we're all just very tired and they want to do nothing but cuddle with me.  Nights have been the worst, Thing One has been waking up every twenty minutes to cry--in spite of everything we do.  But they both went all day today without medicine and have been eating, so we're getting there.  

The three of us napped today for about two hours, and then we made it outside.  I pulled the last of the carrots from the garden while the boys just absorbed the fresh air.  Then we came in and I made dinner.  I decided that I was going to have roast beef with vegetables.  I threw a potato in the microwave (I do not like potatoes in my roast beef) so I'd have a baked potato.  Then I sauteed some broccoli, half an onion and a handful of the carrots I'd just pulled.   When the vegetables were done I threw in a five ounce can of beef with gravy (I get those at the dollar store for when I need a fast and easy protein meal). 

The carrots had a tangy flavor that became sweet when cooked in butter, and they were so good with the beef.  Thing One really wants to eat all of the carrots, but I told him that we do need to save some for Daddy, and some for tomorrow.  Although, right now he's saying that he's tired and asking me to sit on the couch with him.

Happy Harvest!
Zizi

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cookie Day!

One of my Pintrest discoveries was the blog, The Burlap Bag.  They have a store, somewhere far from me, and feature a lot of DIY options for the home as well as a few recipes.  The most recent was the recipe for these cookies

It's a good thing I found that recipe, and that it was so very easy to make.  And that I happened to have some bananas in the freezer.  Today has been one of those days where the boys will only condescend to eat cereal and yogurt.  So I had Thing One mix these cookies, and he got two when they were done.  I told him he could have more if he finished a small bowl of rice first.  

Parenting lesson #425:  Bribery is not a sin; use it wisely, and often.   The only problem we ran into was that he said he was full half-way through his rice and that he didn't want cookies anymore.  And it's not like he's really ruining his dinner or eating badly if he has these cookies instead of dinner, so I don't feel to badly about leaving them out for the both of them to grab later.  The only tweaking I did to the recipe was to add roughly 1tsp of nutmeg and 2tsp of cinnamon, and Thing One insisted on adding a spoonful of honey.  If we kept bananas and instant oatmeal in stock I'd probably let him make a batch every day.  I'd also add chocolate chips, if we had them. 

Enjoy!
--Zizi

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Harvest!

Well, technically we got seven sweet pea pods before they died of heat-stroke, but the carrots are coming in strong! I think I've given up on the cucumbers, one plant cannot self-pollinate, and the tomatoes are stunted.  But we love carrots.  And the flavor is amazing, rather soft at first but then they end with a tangy-carroty zing that really hits you!  Thing One is excited because we still have more to pull. 

Zizi

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Waste Three Hours with One Click

I have recently succumbed to Pintrest as a way to increase the advertising for my Etsy shop.  But I've been finding so may good looking recipes there. . . .   I do plan on pinning my own recipes when I start writing some more (my food board is The Joy of Cooking, and Eating).  I'm not very confident about writing regularly until after the baby is born.  We have a few weeks left. 

Anyway,  I was wasting time one day looking at all of the good food and wishing I wasn't pregnant and that we had money to buy half of the ingredients, and I found a recipe for Churros.  I had no idea what Churros were, but they looked really good, so I re-pinned it to my board with the intention of trying it sometime.  Then I got the insatiable pregnant craving for something similar to doughnuts, but not quite so. . . I'm not sure, sugar-laden, flour-heavy?  I wanted some deep-fried air, but not so American. 

I was about to drag out my bread-machine and make some doughnuts again, but I thought I'd look at this recipe and see what it was first.  I'm glad I did.  I was surprised at how easy they were!  Even the chocolate sauce, which I hadn't originally planned to make but ended up making anyway. 

Thing One and I ended up cutting the recipe into thirds because I wanted to save some eggs for later, and I didn't figure that I needed 20 churros--which I might have.   And I didn't have any chocolate chips for the sauce, but 2tbsp of cocoa powder worked just as well.  And I didn't have a pastry bag, so I dropped little spoonfuls into the oil. 

Sigh.  Every time I see him I'm surprised at how fast he's growing up.  I know that it happens, I see it every day, and I know everyone says, "Don't blink--they'll be gone before you know it."  But it's so different to watch your own children grow.  In a way I'm glad we're having another one because we get to have both our growing little boy, and a tiny baby at the same time. 

Zizi

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Incredible, Edible Egg!

My raw ingredients, I added bacon, a mushroom,
cheese and some zucchini.
Finally, a post about food again.  When I was younger my mom figured out how to microwave an egg.  It doesn't sound that hard, but it was a matter of timing; long enough to cook the egg through but not so long that you could re-tire your car with it.  We also figured out a few important things: 1) you must grease the bowl! 2) if you don't break the yolk you will spend the rest of the day scrubbing the microwave.  This knowledge has been one of my saving foods this month.  I have made so many egg sandwiches to get me through half of the day that it might be worth it to buy a chicken!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Late Night Musings

This post wrote itself the other night, and I have to get it out of my head.  This one started with a realization--which I tend to have a lot of.  Most of the realizations are minor, and some are kind of big.  This one was both big and important. 

For most of the spring and half of the summer I had been fighting depression.  Then, about three weeks ago, it suddenly went away in one great blinding voip.  The sudden-ness has left me reeling, and for these three weeks I have been trying to recover both from that and from the depression itself.  I have been spending most of my time on the couch reading, or doing slightly mindless crafts--like the rockets I made for the boys.

The boys hate this, and it's understandable; I've been acting like a convalescent.  It's been really hard on them, especially since we've been trying to cut back on our excess spending and we haven't been going to air conditioned play-places as often. 

I talked to the midwife about this at our last appointment (the baby is doing wonderfully, by the way) and she said not to underestimate the amount that depression can take out of a person and how hard it is to recover.  I can tell that I am getting better.  I might still be a little slow for a while, but the fact that I thought of this post nearly word for word and needed to write it down is a good sign.

I'm still concerned about how long and hot this summer is going to be, however, now that I don't have that problem hanging over my head I'm more optimistic about surviving; and maybe even having some fun.  My prayers go out to all those fighting depression, and I am grateful that I am able to recover as well as I am.  Now I'm going to go tickle my children.

Zizi

Friday, July 6, 2012

Birthday Pictures

Here is a picture-post of Thing Two's birthday.  Enjoy the cuteness!

Nick took them out that morning and bought a lot of bubbles!

Trying very hard not to take a nap.

Extreme sports for toddlers, Head Dunking!

. . . .

Too much cuteness!!

Okay, so this isn't his birthday, it's Father's Day.  They had so much fun, and
since then, everything--even their motorcycles--has become a rocket.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Selection of Old Favorites

I have been feeling so blah lately, and then I realized that I've run out of one of the natural supplements I've been using to help with the pregnancy.  I was almost shocked to see how much that stuff was helping me, now that I do not have it and I'm having trouble staying awake throughout the entire day.  Have you ever been so utterly wiped out that you can't even listen to music?  That's where I am without this stuff.  But I must have gotten some sleep last night, because this morning I feel okay.  I'm even thinking of going out and doing laundry--after I buy more supplement!

The other day, and by that I mean a few weeks ago, I had a package of ground beef, some potatoes and a can of cream of mushroom soup.  I threw those together with some fried onions and half of a green pepper.  I wish I could remember what I was thinking when I made this, but the only thing I can remember is being acutely surprised when it came out tasting just like the hash my mom used to make when I was little. 


The other dish I made that I've been wanting to write about is the creamed peas that I made.  Now, I did not grow up eating or loving creamed peas, that is a new thing.  And the odd thing is that Nick and I had been avoiding buying peas because we had each thought  that the other hated them, when in reality we would both eat a whole bag of frozen peas by ourselves.  So now I'm trying to make sure we have at least two bags of peas in the freezer at all times.  With this dinner, I remember that I had cooked the peas in the microwave and then added them to the fried onions and mushrooms, with a generous amount of butter.  Then I threw in a few heaping tablespoons of sour cream.  It tasted wonderful, it was everything I'd hoped it would be; and I've made it several times since then.  The creamed peas go so well with most types of meat, pork, steak, chicken--I've sort of stopped doing ground beef as I cannot finish a whole pound by myself.   And a small word about the beer in the picture:  It was great!  Nick splurged a bit for Mother's Day and this was the one that we compromised on.  It's very similar to a Blue Moon, but not quite as sweet.  I do recommend this one if you want to try something new.  Next time we are going to try the Lager.

The boys need my attention now, and I have promised to take Thing Two shoe shopping with his birthday money (birthday stories later). 

Ciao!
Zizi

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday Night Fever

Well, almost.  We had fevers earlier this week; we're recovering now.  We traveled up to visit my family for Memorial Day, and got sick when we returned.  That put a damper on all of my plans for the week, several of which included writing posts about recipes that I've made in the past few weeks.  I'm glad we're getting better and life can return to some kind of normal.



At some point (I forget when) my mom gave me her automatic pasta maker; everyone was going through diet changes at the time, my parents were cutting back on the starches and I must have been pregnant and eating a bowl of pasta every day. After a few years, I finally pulled it out of the closet.  I've used it once before and had an understanding of the recipe and the technique.  Over the past few weeks I've been under the impression that it would be better to start making my own staple foods, like pasta; besides the crazy feelings of needing to actually do something productive. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Untitled Ramblings

I've been taking the boys to the airport a lot this past week, and they've been having a lot of fun.  We live in a large town (or small city, I'm not sure which) and it has a small regional airport.  The university in town also has an extensive flight program. 

On Saturday there was a small conference of Air Force men, and one had flown up in his private plane.  He was happy enough to see two small boys so interested in aircraft that he let them sit in his plane.   Over the past few days we've seen a number of small business jets, and today we saw a helicopter take off! 

We've also seen a lot of fire trucks (not really good outside the station, but still exciting) and many motorcycles.  It looks like it's going to be a good summer for little boy adventures!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Gardening, 101

The day before my birthday I planted a garden.  Just a simple, small thing; for different vegetables and one flower.   Nick and I have done some research on permaculture and companion planting, and I did the garden with those on mind.  The carrots next to the tomatoes and peas, the peas next to the cucumbers--which will grow in the shade of the tomatoes, and marigolds to control the pests and attract bees.  And guess what, since I planted it's only stopped raining on the weekends! 

The boys and I have been going a little stir crazy because we haven't been able to play outside much, and I'm sure that that's been hard for Nick.  He's been wonderful about it though, and lets us go to the indoor play places.  I haven't been too sick with this round of storms, just enough to keep me from doing everything I need to do.  Like write, and advertise for my shop.  But I can tell that the weather is changing, in spite of all this rain, because I am gradually less sick with each storm. 

I needed a soup for dinner today.  It stated with the recipe on the back of a box of ranch powder.  The recipe was for ranch roasted vegetables, just toss assorted chopped veggies with some oil and the ranch powder, and bake.  I was going to do that, and remembered that I still had some chicken in the freezer.  Then I thought that the broccoli I had was not going to go well with the ranch, not roasted.  So I was just going to use some oil and spices, when I remembered that I had some chicken broth in the freezer too. I threw it all together in a casserole dish and baked it till the potatoes were done, about forty minutes I think. It was kind of like a good roast beef, with chicken instead of beef, and enough broth to justify serving it in a bowl--which I did. 

This is a picture of the boys when they had some M&M's, I thought Thing Two looked like a chocolate vampire.



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tried and True

"Look Mom! It's snowing!"
I have run into a problem, and it seems to be a re-occurring one.  For the past month or more Thing One has been a little terror and I haven't been able to figure out why, or what to do with him.  Finally I called my mom, and after talking about it I remembered a few things about him that I'd figured out a while ago.

Thing One craves attention.  Okay, that's normal.  He also has a personality type that needs structure.  Having a routine provides him with a sense of security; he's not overwhelmed by complete freedom and he knows when to do what.  That's more of a problem for me.  The only times I have ever been able to keep a schedule were when I was in school or at work. 

These are things that I've known about my oldest son since he was about eight months old, and I had the solution figured out then, too.  It's amazing how often we can forget things.  What am I doing about it this time?  We have started school. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring, Lite and Simple

I do not like the new Blogger interface. Just sayin'. If the last few posts haven't looked right it's because I haven't figured the interface out yet.


I was feeling well for the past week or so, and then we had a storm come through; and I was thrown for quiet a loop. It's the most ironic thing, but I can't wait for summer. I know that I'll be miserable then because of the heat, but at least the spring storms will be over. We did have another baby appointment, and with the exeption of some low blood pressure, everything is going well. The midwife is beginning to suspect that low blood pressure just might be normal for me, and then my mom tells me it runs in her family. Chuckle, chuckle.

Thing One's godmother came over for a few days and watched the boys so I could catch up on some cleaning. I realized that I can always get to within one load of dishes of being caught up, but I never get that last load done. It almost feels like I'm afraid of having the kitchen completely clean! So, it'll probably kill me for the next two days, but I'm going to finish the dishes tonight! And if I actually ask, Nick will vaccum the floor. Then we'll be able to start the spring cleaning.




I inherited a set of dishtowels that some great ancsestor in my mom's family embroidered, and the first one finally fell apart. Really good towels since it has taken thirty-odd years. This one was always a favorite with my sister and I; and despite everything Mom would tell us, we alwasys used this one as an apron instead of for dishes. Maybe that's why it fell apart first. I just couldn't throw the whole thing away, but I'm not sure what I'll do now that I've got it framed.

Oh yeah, the pasta salad. . . . I woke up this morning craving a cold pasta salad. So after this mornings dramatics and remedies, I cooked the pasta, chopped some broccoli, half a green pepper, some grape tomatoes, and shredded some carrots. I fried the chicken with salt, pepper and sage and then chopped it up. I mixed it all together with a generous amount of mayo, more salt and pepper, two tsp. sugar and one tbsp. vinegar. All that it needs now is some fresh, chopped parsley. But it's really good as it is.

Thing One is becoming dramatic again.
Ciao!
Zizi

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day of Happiness and Joy

This one will be short, because I didn't really cook anything. I pulled a steak out of the freezer and fried it with some salt and pepper, and sprinkled some dried garlic tops on it. I served that with the leftover pasta alfredo.


It was really good, despite being just thrown together, and I wish I had started it earlier in the day because it was our anniversary, and I had pulled the steak out for the celebration. Nick and I are celebrating four years together, and are looking forward to many more.

Zizi

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Picnic Season!


I made pasta alfredo again. I'm kind of excited that I am making it right again, so I've been making it about once a week or so. This time I didn't add enough salt so it tasted somewhat plain, but it was still good. I used onions, mushrooms and brocoli; and the brocoli might have been a little off with the mushrooms. I wanted to add some chicken, but it was another Friday in Lent.


It's been nice enough lately that we've been outside a lot, and we took our dinner outside. The boys eat their pasta without any sauce, and I had set some aside for them before I added it back to the alfredo. They loved eating outside and we're excited about it being warm enough for picnics again.

Ciao!
Zizi

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Butternut Squash

I know I've been promising to write about what I did with the Butternut squash that I bought a few weeks ago, and I'm finally getting around to it. After I had roasted it I scooped all the meat out and mashed it with butter, salt and pepper. I had big plans to do stuff with it and even googled a bunch of recipes (I really want to try some of them someday, when I have more money). All I did this time was serve it mashed as a side dish, or just ate it when I needed something fast.


It was good all by itself, or served with fried liver and onions, like I did one day. The liver I just fried to crisp, and put salt and peppper on the onions. I had the squash and a baked potoato on the side. It was fast, and filling; and would have been cheaper if the squash had been in season.

Zizi

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy (upcoming) Easter!

Happy Easter to all my readers! It has been a long road here, but we made it, once again. I will be back next week with something intellectual; as of right now my brain is mush after working a double shift at work. Ciao!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Italian Pasta, and Trains


I had been feeling particularly bad one day, so Nick asked his mother if the boys and I could come over for a few hours. His brothers would watch the boys and I could get some much needed rest. We stopped by the library on our way there, and played for a little while. Thing One was reading Thomas the Tank Engine books and asked me to make a train out of the blocks they had there. He was upset about not being able to take it with us, but we did get the books.

I'd brought some food with us, and there was a lovely recipe on the back of the pasta box. I had the onions and a can of chopped tomatoes, the recipe also called for spinach, sausage and two types of cheese--none of which I had. I didn't plan on adding the sausage anyway because it was a Friday in Lent, and I figured it would be okay without the spinach and cheeses.




It was supposed to be a baked pasta dish, but I think that was just so all the cheese would melt into it. I just sauted it all together and it was just as good that way. One of my brothers-in-law was wondering if there was something other than tuna sandwiches that he could have for dinner, and I told Mom that if I could add some of her spinach to my pasta then he could have some pasta when it was done.

I also took the liberty of raiding her spice rack, and that worked because the rest of the brothers-in-law also ate the pasta. I added parsley, sage, thyme and garlic. I did not put any cheese on mine; I don't know if the boys put cheese on theirs. I enjoyed my pasta, and the rest I got.

Happy Easter!
Zizi

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Long Forgotten Favorite


I'm feeling a lot better this morning, so my intention is to write a bunch of things and set them to post automatically throughout the next few weeks or so. Besides, I've actually taken pictures of what I've been cooking and have a bunch of recipes backed up. So here goes!


Back in Feburary I had a craving for some pasta with alfredo sauce. A good alfredo sauce has always been one of my favorite things. When I was working at my last resturaunt job I was constantly experimenting with various vegetables in pasta alfredo. I think one of my best was an horseradish alfredo with roasted asparagus wrapped in proscuitto--soo good! But asparagus is a hit or miss vegetable, and it missed with most of the staff.

Since I left the resturant I've forgotten how to make alfredo sauce. I've been sad about that for the past four years. I finally got it right! I started with nearly half a stick of butter, and lightly sauted some chopped onions, garlic and sage. When the onions were starting to turn brown I added what must have been three cups of milk. I had to use a lot because I had a lot of pasta. I did not let the milk boil, I'm not even sure it simmered for very long, but when it was heated up I added a third of a cup of sifted flour and whisked it in very well. After another minute on the heat it was thick enough. I added the pasta back in with salt and pepper and kept it on the heat just long enough for everthing to be warm all through.


I served it with some carrots and green beans that simmered in salt water, and pork with a sweet and sour sauce (and I forget how I made that, I was focusing more on the alfredo).

We had gone out to the park earlier that day, and stopped for something cold on our way home. Thing One had a dollar that he earned so he could buy some ice cream. He picked out a massive freezer pop, and he was good enough to share it with his brother. They were purple for hours!

Enjoy!
Zizi

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Late Night Food

Well, it's been a while since I've posted something here. Partly because when I have thought about putting up a post I mentally chuckle at the insanity of doing eighty million things at once instead of the usual seven hundred ninety nine million. But I finally revived my desire to cook late at night and threw together one of the easiest stir fry dishes in human history.

I wish I had a garden to grow veggies in, but I must be content for the moment with frozen. All this recipe takes is a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, pre-chopped and ready to fry, a third of a stick of butter, a little oil, a pack of imitation crab meat, a half spoonful of sugar, and soy sauce. Fry the veggies first to get them unfrozen, then add the crab meat, sugar, and soy sauce. Pour a dash or two of water in with it all to create a gravy of sorts in the bottom of the pan. Serve and enjoy!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Welcome to Spring! (Officially)

Welcome to springtime! Now that we are about a week or so into spring already, I have decided that I needed to spruce up our look with a "growth" theme. So enjoy our new look, and checl back for more good stuff coming up!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just Fun

I was feeling good today, and managed to take this video.  I also roasted the butternut squash, but that only just came out of the over--so I'll have to tell you about it later.  Anyway, the weather here has been gorgeous and we've been having a lot of fun playing outside.  Have fun with us!
Zizi


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lunch, Take One.

I feel like I've been gone forever; I've been so tired it's been hard for me to concentrate on the internet.  That, and last week I was on vacation.  We went to my parents house for the weekend, and then the boys and I spent a few days with Nicole before coming home.  Then it took me the rest of the week to recover. 


I had a major victory this morning.  Since our vacation the boys have been getting up much earlier than they used to, and going to bed earlier.  We got up this morning and went shopping. I picked up a butternut squash (which we had while we visited Nicole) so I should have at least one post on that soon, and I found two packages of steak on sale.  Real steak, thick and juicy, almost as large as my skillet, and going for only $3 a pack.  I put one in the freezer, and cooked the other for lunch. 


I fried the steak in a little oil, with salt, pepper and dill; and julienned carrots and onions.  I also put some potatoes into the microwave for a quick bake.  I ended up cutting the steak into thirds so that Nick would have something to take to work after we had eaten. 


Now I should go lay down, before Thing Two decided that his nap is over and they both sneak outside again!

Zizi