Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Craft Day

Today I had made plans with a friend to do some pinterest crafting.  I think all my friends now know that I am hopelessly addicted.  So we had decided to make a feather boa wreath.  I had music class with the kids and wanted to make a yummy lunch (also from Pinterest) so I had to stop at the store.  I was in and out and my friend still beat me to my home.
It was a nice day.  Lots of great conversation and some AWESOME food.  I made French Dip Crescents with Au Jus.  Yum.  Mouth still waters when I think of them.  I wrapped up the rest for when hubby gets home (I'm thinking he will adore them as well).  Here are some pics and the recipe of course!  I used provolone (not a fan of swiss).  We did the horseradish as well :)

French Dip Crescents

French Dip Crescent Ingredients:
  • 2 packages crescent rolls, 8 count
  • 1 pound deli roast beef, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Swiss or provolone cheese, cut in 16 equal sized pieces
  • optional: Horseradish Sauce
  • optional: Au Jus for dipping

French Dip Crescent Directions:

  1. Unroll crescents onto a large cookie sheet.
  2. Spread a small dab of horseradish on each crescent, then place a slice of roast beef and a piece of cheese on each crescent.
  3. Roll crescents starting from the wide end and ending at the narrow end.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes, until crescents are a golden color.
  5. Serve with Au Jus and enjoy!
Easy Au Jus Ingredients:
  • olive oil, just enough to saute
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced (I use jarred)
  • 1/8 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon flour
Easy Au Jus Directions:
  1. Caramelize the onions in a small amount of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two more.
  2. Deglaze the pot with white wine, then add Worcestershire sauce and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add beef broth and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Strain broth and then return it to pot. Add flour and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!
We did actually get some 'crafting' done.  We each made our wreaths but I have yet to find a great ribbon to attach it to the door.  Needs some flair... so its in the 'work in progress' pile.

Not quite there yet
Once the kids woke up it hit me that it was like 60 degrees out (yep Jan 31st in CLEVELAND). I decided to take them on a walk to get the mail (we have a 750 foot driveway) and to just be outside.  It was amazing out.  We must have spent over a hour out there... did I say AMAZING?  It was then like 6:30 so it was time to make dinner.
Earlier I had decided to make YET ANOTHER pinterest meal for diner so I boiled some chicken breasts and let them cool.  I then made Chicken Crescent Bundles.  Lately  I have been all about making quick freezer meals to store for the days I don't feel like cooking.  This one was right up my alley.  The recipe makes 8 bundles so I ended up cooking 2 for D1 and I and then freezing the other 6 for another time.  They were A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  yep, I said it again.  So VERY YUM.  Now... in my usual type A way, I had to tweak it a bit..  I used Philly cooking creme Savory Garlic flavor.  We pretty much can't make a meal without garlic.  We love it.  I also added a bit of cheese on each heap before wrapping them.  I used a mozz/provolone shredded mix.   So here it is:


1 package (8 ounces) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese (softened)
4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided into 2/2
2 tablespoons green onions
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup crushed seasoned chicken stuffing

  1. In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, 2 Tbl butter, green onions, milk, salt and pepper.
  2. Stir in the cooked chicken.
  3. Open and unroll a tube of crescent rolls. Don't separate them. Pinch the diagonal seems shut, creating four rectangles.
  4. Spoon 1/8 of the filling on to each rectangle.
  5. Take the opposite corners and twist them together at the center of the bundle. Repeat with the other corners. Do this for all eight bundles.
  6. Put the bundles on a baking sheet. Brush with remaining butter.
  7. Top with a handful of dry, seasoned, stuffing. You can also use croutons if you don't have stuffing. Press down gently to make sure they are secured on the bundle. Put baking sheet in freezer. Once frozen, place in labeled Ziploc bag.
  8. To bake, let bundles thaw overnight or during the day. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until crescent roll is cooked completely.
Tomorrow Stanley Steemer is coming.  Thank goodness... lets just say that our huggies pure n naturals let me down with D2 today.  I thought she was happy as a clam breakdancing on her back on my carpet.. when really she was just using the carpet as a baby wipe.  Ewww.

St Patty's Wreath

Wanted to post the pics of the St Patty's wreath!

I found a thin luann-ish decoration at Pat Catan's for $5.97. It was sparkly on the front.

The back was plain so I decided to attach the felt here

I bout about 30 pieces of felt and cut 8 3" circles out of each piece.  HINT... if you fold the felt in an accordion style you can cut 3 circles at a time.  I do one on either side and then refold in half for the last two.

Fold circles in half and half again and hot glue the point to the board.  Try to get them as close to another as possible and WALA!  Its gorgeous!

Good day & recipe box

Today was a good day.  Both girls woke up at 5am so D2 got a bottle and D1 joined my husband and I in bed.  Everyone went back to sleep until 8:30 which suited me well.  Cereal for D1 and coffee for me as I proceeded to get some of my "to do"'s done.  I was pretty successful.  I even got to run a few errands before my husband had to leave for work at 4.  SCORE!

During nap time I had big plans to run 3 miles but D2 had other plans... she napped and woke up 1 mile into my jog so I had to cut it short.  It was 5:30 and I really had no intentions of making dinner.  One of my high school friends posted her 'breakfast dinner' on FB last night so it consumed me all day.  I texted a friend to see if I could pique her interest in IHOP.  Needless to say it worked!  Her 2 boys and my 2 girls all had a nice evening of BREAKFAST. YUM.  D1 has only wanted cereal for the last several weeks so I have been craving some pancakes.  IHOP's are simply the best.

Anyway... wanted to post some pics of another project I have been working on.  I was at a friends house last month and she had her cards LAMINATED.  The light went off in my head... WALA!  No more drips on recipe cards! And a new project was born. I have wanted to organize my recipe drawer. Its been getting to the point that I can't open &/OR close the thing so it quickly became priority.  I LOVE having my recipes online so I copy and email them to myself and have them in a folder for quick reference while out (at grocery store, etc) BUT I also like the printed version in my hands when I cook. When I did go through all of the drawer I found 10 copies of the same recipe (obviously good ones)!  So I borrowed a laminator from the MIL and wanted to make the cards stand out from my countertop and flour/sugar, etc so I decided on some fluorescent index cards.  I used 4x6.  I made a template on Word and went to town.  It took FOREVER.  I have TONS of recipes.  I had originally planned to organize them by type and do yellow for entrees, orange for soups, etc and decided that would not work because I would have to buy 10 packages of index cards to get enough of the entree color and have a ton of the other colors left... so I revised my plan and decided to randomize them and just handwrite the letter associated with the recipe in the corner and then file them by type to find them easier.
I attempted to print the cards directly on the index cards but my printer would NOT allow me to do them in landscape mode.  I think the cards were just too small.  It wouldn't recognize them.  It would let me do them in portrait... NOT what I wanted.  So I ended up printing them on paper, cutting them out and then glue sticking them to the paper.
Here's how it went!

The unlaminated cards

Getting laminated


My pile to be cut apart
Then I found a photo box at Pat Catans to put everything into... now I have to figure out how to "spill proof" that.... another day!

Cut & Filed

Tomorrow is craft day with a friend so more to come!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Healthy Dinner

We try, really we do, to eat healthy.  A friend emailed me a recipe (which of course I had to tweak a bit) and this is what I came up with... pretty good!!  We do eat vegetarian-ish pretty often.  I always feel like its "better" for us.  I was a vegetarian for 2.5 years before getting pregnant with D1 so I've learned to cook this way over the years.


I will tell you what I did different FIRST.  Once the oil was hot and I browned the garlic (a bit extra) I threw in about 1# of shiitake mushrooms that I sliced up.  I then used a 12 oz bag of baby spinach as the green.  Not too shabby!!!

This recipe is from whole foods.

Sauteed Greens with White Beans and Garlic

Serves 6 to 8

Fresh greens combine with pantry classics of olive oil, crushed red pepper and canned cannellini beans in this simple, nutritious side dish that pairs well with hearty entrées. This dish can be made with a mix of your favorite greens such as spinach, mustard greens, curly endive, escarole, kale and broccoli rabe.


Per serving: 230 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 135mg sodium, 35g total carbohydrate (11g dietary fiber, 1g sugar), 13g protein


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 pounds mixed greens, trimmed and roughly chopped, such as escarole, curly endive, mustard greens, spinach, kale or broccoli rabe
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add greens (in batches, if needed), and cook, tossing often, until wilted and bright green, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander as done and drain well. Return skillet to heat.

Add broth to skillet and deglaze, scraping up any browned bits. Add beans and simmer until hot throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Return greens to skillet, toss gently and season with salt and pepper.

Then I made one of D1's favorite... its been a work in the making.. this time is was FABULOUS!!

My Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes w/Rosemary 

1 med Butternut Squash
1 large sweet potato
2 twigs of Rosemary
1/4 C onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, sliced
Salt & Pepper

I take a 9x13 pan and drizzle EVOO.  Chop up the squash and potato into bite sized cubes.  If you make them too big then they take forever to cook.  Toss in rosemary & salt & pepper.  Cook @375 for an hour.

Add chopped onion and garlic... and stir.  Cook additional 20 mins.

Done! YUM!
I even cooled some and threw it into the Beaba baby cooker and blended it with some leftover chicken broth (to thin it a bit) and D2 LOVED it!!!
Love the Beaba!

I am that girl....

My older daughter (D1; who is 2.5years old) has had some GI thing going on the last few days. She is completely potty trained with pee... and we are getting there on #2 so she wears a diaper at night.  So this GI bug is not stopping her from being herself... just something that has made it messier for my husband and I (Mostly I stress the 'I').  Today she woke up earlier than normal and it was still slightly dark here in Ohio and her room is a bit dark to begin with so I walked in and picked her up.  Then it hit me... WHOAAA.  Then I felt the wetness on my shirt.  GROSS.  It took everything I had not to fling her down but  I was trying to be in sympathetic mommy mode.  I was only half awake and JUST KNEW.  It was EVERYWHERE.... through the diaper, clothes, hair (I know, gag), hands,  stuffed animals, blankie, sheets, it was EVERYWHERE.  It was a regular pooparama!
I then began my type A, OCD cleaning.  First it was us... directly into the shower.  Then I had to clean her room, then I had to disinfect the shower which turned into all 3 bathrooms.  Then I decided that we must eradicate this virus so I washed all dirty laundry in 'sanitize mode' and then I wiped down all handles, faucets, doorknobs with bleach.  The kitchen floor MAY carry germs so that got done as well.  Somehow I started in on the kitchen cabinets and then the refrigerator innards.  And then it happened... I started washing the TRASH CANS... yep... elbow deep in trash cans by 11:30am.  Our cans are in one of those double racks inside of a cabinet.  I tore apart the entire apparatus and went to town.  Thank goodness for Princess & A Frog... both D1 and D2 (7 months old) were completely enamored.
My hands are now completely chapped from the 10,000 times they were washed today.  Im sure the bleach, comet, and Seventh Generation disinfecting spray also contributed to their new state of dryness.  UUGGHH.  My husband better be glad he had to work today!!

On a better note... I have taken on some organizational projects lately.  Trying to get our 'built ins' from being a dumping ground so I got some totes and things are looking nice!  These are from Amazon.  I love them.

Household Essentials Medium Tapered Bin with Wood Handles, Coffee Linen


Then I bought the matching low ones for my built ins on the landing... They look good.  They have a window but I don't want everyone to see the crap I put in there so I turned them around. :)  Wish they were a bit bigger though... we'll see how they grow on me.  I haven't had anything there for the last 2 years because I couldn't find "the right ones" so again, we will see.  

The low boxes

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Avocado Hummus

Ok.. had to post this quick because it was completely off the top of my head and Lilly LOVES it....  I had an avocado that was gonna go bad if I didn't use it TODAY so I thought... Hmmmm.... HUMMUS!!

1 ripe avacado
2 cans Garbanzo beans, drained (but keep liquid)
2-3 T tahini
2-3 T lime juice
salt & pepper
4-5 cloves garlic

I threw everything into the Cuisinart (food processor) and wham... AWESOME.  Add the bean juice sparingly as it processes and add enough to get a creamy peanut butter consistency.  AND... we REALLY like garlic so if you are adverse to bad breath... then add as you go and err on the side of caution as it gets stronger the longer the hummus sits.

Freezer Cooking

So I am VERY addicted to Pinterest.  Its really a fabulous site and I wish I would have thought of it!!! It does make me chuckle that one of the founders is from York.  Small world.  So I have been picking things out that I adore and one of them is recipes.  I LOVE food and if I can keep things interesting I do.  I ran across someone's pinning of freezer meals.  I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!  I then googled some recipes and took some from the pinned site and went at it.  Shopping took me a bit over an hour (sans kids) and then I got home and prepped everything which took about 2 hours.  I now have 10 meals in my freezer awaiting its debut in my crockpot.  CAN. NOT. WAIT.  Best part is the cost... bout $10-15 per meal which is pretty darn good!!! Here are the recipes I did:

Bloody Mary Chicken
4 - Chicken quarters (I used breasts)
Big Bottle of Bloody Mary Mix
Directions: Bag the chicken and bloody mary mix and FREEZE.  Then defrost slightly morning of and then place contents in the slow cooker frozen. Add enough water to make sure chicken is covered. Cook on low all day.No need for seasoning, the bloody Mary mix has all the seasoning you need. Very very tasty. I serve this with rice.

No-Peeking Peking Chicken 
8 bone in chicken thighs 
salt and pepper 
3/4 cup chopped scallions 
4 cloves garlic 
1/4 cups soy sauce 
3 tbsp. honey 
1 tbsp. ginger 
1/4 tsp sesame oil 
1 bag frozen corn kernels 
1 bag frozen snow pea pods 
1 red pepper chopped 

Chicken and Corn Soup 
2 lb yukon gold potatoes 
4 lbs chicken thighs
4 cups chicken broth
4 scallions 
4 cloves garlic 
salt and pepper 
1 bag frozen corn 
2 red peppers chopped 
**** add everything you would put in soup except noodles (keep these in pantry) Carrots, extra corn, etc)

Garlic Chicken 
2 pounds chicken thighs 
2 cloves minced garlic 
4 tablespoons dijon mustard 
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1 medium onion 
2 large green peppers 
1 red pepper 
1 zucchini 

 Mix all of the ingredients for each recipe together and divide evenly into two, 1 gallon sized freezer bags per recipe. Seal, and freeze. On the day of, thaw the bag on the counter for about 30 minutes, dump into the crockpot, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Pineapple pepper chicken
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbls soy sauce
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 chicken breasts
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained **** Add morning of
1 medium green pepper, julienned (optional)

 TO PREPARE FOR FREEZING:In a gallon size freezer bag combine the first 10 ingredients, then add chicken. Seal and freeze. Set aside pineapple for pantry and freeze sliced pepper in a separate bag.

TO PREPARE AFTER FREEZING: Thaw ingredients enough to place in crock pot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. 30 minute before it is finished add pineapple and green pepper, cook an additional 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

I will let you know how they all are... I am quite excited.  I just found another one for crescent chicken rolls that I may have to do as well.  

One of my friends posted on my FB page that I am her GOTO person... and that her family would starve with out me... HA!  I really look it as a step of laziness... 2-3 hours of work for 10+ meals is GENIUS, not to mention laziness at its best!  See how I have people fooled :)))

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year.. new resolutions

Well, its January 3, 2012 and I am gonna take a stab at Blogging.  Its one of this year's resolutions and I am finally getting a chance to write them down and start this off.  Of course, 3 days late.  Not sure what direction this thing is gonna take.  I want it to be a reflection of me, wife, mother, sibling, daughter, but I also want it to be FUN and therapeutic.  Could go a billion different ways.  Guess we will see.  Here are my 'to do's' of 2012:
1. Be a better mother... play more... laugh more... do more and enjoy more.
2. Be a better wife.  Try not to be so defensive and communicate better.  Love him even more.
3. Run a marathon.  Planning to do the Cleveland half in May... so why not.... hoping 20# go with the training.
4. Find a church and allow my kids that decision.
5. Save money.

I think they are all attainable and realistic.  Welcome to the start.